The Encounter with Emma Rauschenbach

 

The central theme in the work of C. G. Jung is that of individuation, the self-development of the human being through the process of unifying the opposites.

And because every person is embodied as either man or woman, yet carries within a predisposition to be completed through the other sex, the polarity of masculine and feminine stands at the center of all human existence.

Rather than philosophizing about such things-Jung always rejected the mere philosophical discussion of a problem for its own sake-his psychoanalytical inquiries led him to assume the existence of an oppositely sexed soul-image within the person’s unconscious: the anima in the case of a man, and the animus in a woman.

 

In the productions of the unconscious, for example in dreams, such anima- or animus images are manifested in characteristic ways, and Jungian dream analysis makes corresponding assertions about them.

In waking consciousness the soul-image of animus or anima that everyone carries within often tends to be projected onto other persons.

Thus a woman can come to carry the projection of a man’s own unconscious inner femininity-in other words, something that comes from within him, a specific complex of his own inner functions, confronts him from without, whether by fascinating him, awakening sympathy or erotic feelings, or in the form of some dark side or inferiority, which everyone likewise carries within but projects onto others if he is not consciously aware of it.

As far as the man’s anima is concerned, even in folklore it is said that every man carries his Eve within him.

Naturally the image of the mother, as the first woman in every man’s life, is very closely bound up with this anima.

Jung repeatedly mentioned the ambivalence of his own mother and her character, speaking of an explicit mother complex that was troublesome for him to overcome.

 

This calls to mind especially the enigmatic No. 2, the side of her nature that was open to the supernatural.

Other feminine figures, insofar as he mentions them, appear in contrast to have played no great part in his childhood and youth, though there is no lack of peculiar first encounters with the other sex.

(He said, incidentally, that he had for a long time connected with femininity a feeling of “inherent untrustworthiness.”)

But there was one fleeting impression imparted to him-permanently-at the age of three or four, even though on the surface of it nothing spectacular had happened, which involved the Jung family’s maid.

The way the girl held little Carl on her arm as he laid his head trustingly on her shoulder engraved itself on the child’s memory:

“She had black hair and an olive complexion, and was quite different from my mother.

I can see, even now, her hairline, her throat, with its darkly pigmented skin, and her ear.

All this seemed to me very strange and yet strangely familiar.

It was as though she belonged not to my family but only to me, as though she were connected in some way with other mysterious things I could not understand.

This type of girl later became a component of my anima.

The feeling of strangeness which she conveyed, and yet of having known her always, was a characteristic of that figure which later came to symbolize for me the whole essence of womanhood.”

Around the same time, when his parents were separated for a short time, another young woman made her appearance.

She had blond hair and blue eyes and was very amiable.

And again the setting remained in the autobiographer’s memory-a stroll beneath golden maple and chestnut trees on a blue autumn day “along the Rhine below the Falls, near Worth castle.

The sun is shining through the foliage, and yellow leaves lie on the ground.”

And, Jung added, twenty-one years later he would meet this woman again; she was his future mother-in-law, Bertha Rauschenbach-Schenk.

Many years later, Jung, as a student at the Gymnasium, was visiting his father, who was on leave in Sachseln, where the Swiss saint Brother Klaus (Niklaus van Fltie) 3 had lived.

The youth had visited Klaus’s hermitage, where he was deeply moved by the genius loci, the peculiar atmosphere of the place.

He was just about to come back down from the hill to the valley, when suddenly there appeared the slender figure of a young lady, a friendly farm girl in native costume.

The two made their way down together.

Carl was unable to conceal his awkwardness in conversation; at the Gymnasium in Basel there were only boys, and the few girls he had ever met were his cousins.

The boy sensed the “impenetrable wall” that stood between them.

“Sad at heart, I retreated into myself. . . . Outwardly this encounter was completely meaningless.

But, seen from within, it was so weighty that it not only occupied my thoughts for days but has remained forever in my memory, like a shrine by the wayside.

At that time I was still in that childlike state where life consists of single, unrelated experiences.

For who could discover the threads of fate which led from Brother Klaus to the pretty girl?”

One day the time came to fasten upon, or perhaps pick up again, one very specific life-thread, to seize upon one out of the manifold facets of the feminine soul-image, the unique face of his own anima.

The occasion itself was once again quite ordinary.

Jung, still a student in Basel in about his second semester, was visiting a friend from Schaffhausen, quite near the place where he himself had spent his earliest childhood years.

When his mother heard of this plan, she made a suggestion:

“If you visit that friend in Schaffhausen, you go and see Mrs. [Bertha] Rauschenbach, too-we knew her as a young  woman.”

He was supposed to convey greetings, and Carl, age twenty-one, looked forward to a reacquaintance after two decades.

But when he entered the Rauschenbachs’ home, he saw on the stairway a girl of about fourteen, in pigtails.

 And   like a flash it was clear to him:

 This is my wife!

 Working on his memoirs with his secretary Aniela Jaffe, he added in his old age:

 “I was deeply shaken by this, for I had really only seen her for a brief instant, but I knew immediately with absolute certainty that she would be my wife.”

 A friend in whom he confided laughed at him, especially as Jung had to admit that he had so far not exchanged a single word with the girl. Emma, the daughter of the Rauschenbach family, came from an extremely well-placed middle-class home. Her father was a well-to-do manufacturer in Schaffhausen.

What chance was there for a destitute student who was incurring a debt of several thousand francs just getting through his studies?

But Jung was certain of his quick intuition, and was comparable in this crucial situation with Sigmund Freud, who once stated his personal practice as follows to the psychoanalyst Theodor Reik:

“When I had to make a decision that was not too important, I always found it advantageous to weigh all the pros and cons.

In vitally important matters, however, such as the choice of a partner or an occupation, the decision has to come from the unconscious, from somewhere within us. In the most important decisions of our personal life we must, I think, let ourselves be guided by the deep inner needs of our being.”

 

As we know, Jung’s decision to go into psychiatry was also arrived at spontaneously.

Some six years after this first meeting, Carl Jung proposed to Emma Rauschenbach.

After all, he was now officially a doctor with a position at a respected clinic.

At first, though, she turned him down.

The same thing had happened to his grandfather Carl Gustav, and only with the second attempt was he successful.

Gerhard Adler, one of the few able to get a look at the two lovers’ correspondence, which was still retained in the family archive, testified to the romantic beauty and sentimental charm that was expressed in their love letters.

When Jung went to study with Janet in Paris in the fall of 1902, he was already engaged.

 

Immediately after his return-only a short trip to London was planned-the wedding took place on 14 February 1903.

 

After a honeymoon at Madeira and the Canary Islands, the Jungs moved into a flat above Eugen Bleuler’s lodgings, in the central wing of the Burgholzli clinic.

The view westward soared out over the beautiful Lake Zurich.

 

By taking up residence in the clinic, Jung was on one hand following the well-known rule according to which the doctor was expected to live under the same roof with his patients.

But on the other hand it was an expression of how important the young husband’s work was to him, then as ever.

The new life-style he adopted, on account of his wife and also thanks to her dowry, was unmistakable.

When purchases had to be made, for example, Emma was present to make sure of quality.

The days of financial want were over.

His youthful wife was not lacking in self-confidence and quickly became accustomed to her new role.

Emma Jung was known everywhere as a quiet, clever, and self-possessed personality.

Her engaging manner made her well liked in her new surroundings, and Director Bleuler did not neglect to congratulate his colleague on his excellent choice of a mate.

Aniela Jaffe, who had known Emma Jung-Rauschenbach since 1937, described her as a person who combined earnestness and spontaneous gaiety.

 “And she made an impression because of an inner calm, which beautifully compensated for C. G. Jung’s often volcanic temper.”

After a year offspring began to appear.

On 26 December 1904 Agathe was born; Gret followed in February 1906, and Franz in November 1908.

At this point Jung’s family determined to leave their residence in the Burgholzli and build their own house, especially as the necessary financial conditions had long since been met. From his cousin Ernst Fiechter’s plans a stately country house was built in Klisnacht (at Seestrasse 1003; since 1915 Seestrasse 228) only a few kilometers distant from Zurich and situated-in fulfillment of Jung’s childhood dream-directly on the lake.

The three children up to that time were joined by Marianne in September 1910 and then Helene in March 1914.

Above the entrance gate of the house Jung had an inscription carved in Latin, one that he had first seen at the age of nineteen in a text of Erasmus of Rotterdam

(Collectanea adagiorum, 1563):

Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit. “Invoked or not invoked, the god will be present.”

Even in a letter from the last year of his life, the master of the house declared unmistakably that the inscription was not to be understood in a specifically Christian sense.

The words were not meant to be an ecclesiastical “profession of faith”; what was affirmed here was rather God himself, “the ultimate question”:

“It is a Delphic oracle though. It says: yes, the god will be on the spot, but in what form and to what purpose? I have put the inscription there to remind my patients and myself:

timor dei initium sapientiae [“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Psalm 111:10].

Thus it was a rather primitive religiosity under whose protection C. G. Jung placed himself and his family consciously including his patients.

For in this house, especially after giving up his position at the Burgholzli, he received the innumerable seekers of advice and help, visitors, and an international clientele.

Emma Jung was included in this work from the beginning.

“She was known as an ideal hostess in a house where both parents’ and children’s friends were always coming and going. In her sense of reality she showed herself superior to her husband and hence was an indispensable help to him in many things …. Even though she was heavily taxed by the demands of her family and the large house, she learned mathematics, Latin, and Greek, and devoted herself for decades to the study of Old French texts.”

From these studies came the extensive work Die Gralslegende in psychologischer Sicht (The Grail Legend from a Psychological Perspective), which was completed by Marie-Louise von Franz after the author’s death in 1955.

This and a study of the animus and anima problem were not Emma Jung’s only contribution to Jung’s analytical psychology.

Her participation and collaboration in her husband’s daily work also began in the early years of their marriage.

 

At  the close of his Studies in Word Association (1904, 1906), the author felt “indebted with special thanks to Mrs. Emma Jung for her active assistance with the repeated revision of this voluminous material.”

Over the years she managed to grow ever deeper in practical experience in psychotherapy, so that she herself did analytical work, presented lectures and seminars, and was even active as a teaching analyst, that is, in the training of psychotherapists of the Jungian school.

Thus when we look at the impressive photo of the psychoanalysts’ congress of 1911 in Weimar, a group picture of all the founding figures of the psychoanalytic movement, we see Emma

Jung sitting in the front row, not only her husband’s wife, but here already his colleague as well.

We cannot fail to mention the fact that at times considerable difficulties arose for her in this role, precisely because the anima projection, as a vital problem facing every man, did not bypass C. G. Jung himself.

Quite early an ever-growing crowd of “Jung ladies” began to form, who attached themselves to their master with great enthusiasm, partly in serious collaboration, but partly with the fanatical affection of people who believe they have found their guru.

Two gifted Jungian women who were both students and loving admirers should be mentioned at this point: the young Russian Sabina Spielrein, who studied medicine in Zurich from 1905 and came under Jung’s psychotherapeutic care from around 1906, at the age of twenty; and also Toni (Antonia) Wolff (1888-1953), whom Jung called in a letter to Freud in 1911 “a new discovery … , a remarkable intellect with excellent feeling for philosophy and Religion.”

 

Close friendships and love relationships developed for both that were not without problems for Jung’s marriage.

Sabina Spielrein became Jung’s student, and the relationship broke up after some years; Toni Wolff was for four decades Jung’s closest coworker, next to his wife. Both women made

independent contributions to psychoanalysis and Jungian analytical psychology.  ~Jung: A Biography by Gerhard Wehr, Pages 87-95

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