Meetings with Jung: Conversations Recorded During the Years, 1946-1961
Küsnacht, 20th March 1959
Arrived at the Hauptbahnhof at 2.20 p.m. and was met by Ruth Bailey and Müller [Jung’s chauffeur] and so to Küsnacht.
Tea on the verandah.
C.G. is in good form and looking very fit.
He was interested at seeing the dredger arriving, apparently to dredge by the Strandbad.
After tea he went to see a patient and I visited Barbara Hannah.
Back at the Seestrasse C.G., Ruth and I strolled in the garden before dinner and had a look at two magnolia trees, one of which was planted last year.
Then we went on through the garden to the lake.
I asked about a cross which is nailed to the summer house and he said it was from a churchyard (I wonder where).
We had a pleasant chat at dinner.
C.G. was glad he had finished work for the term and had only one or two people to see.
I reminded him of the man we had met in St. Gallen who told us of the river in flood and his (C.G.’s) remark, ‘These extraverts are quite useful!’, and he laughed heartily.
Later we went upstairs to the study.
He arranged – ‘as usual’ he said – the chair for me under the lamp by his writing table, and he sat by the window reading the evening paper and smoking a cigar; he gave me one.
On his writing table is an object I have seen before, sent to him by the Indian Psychiatric Society; it is a carved wooden lotus which opens.
They also sent him, years ago, a dhoti of cotton which he once put on with much difficulty and amusement.
There is also a metal statue of Buddha on the table.
Another feature in the main study is the large Swiss stove of green tiles; this one is quite an architectural feature as it is fitted at an angle.
These stoves are easily lit and use little fuel, usually wood.
Behind where I sit are the books on alchemy – a remarkable collection.
When C.G. had finished with the newspaper he played patience on a board on his knee, sitting with his feet up on another chair.
We sit quite silently, a very peaceful scene.
He likes to be quiet in the evenings and let his mind unbend, uncoil.
21st March 1959
After breakfast C.G. and I sat in the garden in the sun and he read my Introduction and part of Chapter 2.
He made a few comments as he read.
His father was Lutheran, but of the Basel Reformed Church.
There were variations between Geneva (Calvin) and Zürich (Zwingli) – the latter was very rational; wooden vessels were used at communion and there were no ornaments, whereas at Basel they were more ritualistic, or more old fashioned.
Coming to my notes about his childhood dream of the underground chamber he said what a tremendous impression it had made upon him.
A red carpet led to the dais, just a strip, and on it was a large golden throne.
He said that the object which stood upon it, which he took to be a tree trunk, was about four times his height – twelve or fifteen feet – and he corrected my manuscript in pencil accordingly.
It had an eye like a demonic god, and his terror at this apparition intensified when his mother’s voice called from outside, ‘Just look at him, he’s the man-eater!’
He told me that he had been writing an autobiography of the first twenty-five years of his life but he was hesitant to publish it because it could so easily be misunderstood, and this could disturb many people who depended upon him.
He said it was only two years ago, while he was working on this autobiography, that he suddenly linked the three early episodes of his dream of the cave, the priest and funerals.
He often saw funerals for the churchyard was near their house; only at these services did the men appear with polished shoes,
black clothes and tall hats.
In his mind he linked the dream of the cave with a tomb – like Jesus in the tomb – and with the priest; he thought the priest
was a woman.
Throughout the years these experiences had been ‘islands of consciousness’ and now he saw the connection between them for the first time.
As a small child he was taught to pray that Jesus would look after, keep safe, this chicken (himself) and put his wings over him.
There was some link between the idea of a chicken and a little cake, and God would not eat the cake.
But the devil would eat any amount of cakes like this.
All these reflections of his were a secret for he thought his parents would not know these things nor understand them; so this separated them from him.
He associated his mother’s words in the dream of the cave – ‘That is the maneater’ – with the priest, and it was absolutely terrifying.
Then, much later, in the dream in Basel he saw that he must accept the strange idea of God treating the Church with disrespect.
What would a scientist think of such ideas?
For him they were impressive and a source of development.
In the afternoon we drove to Bollingen, C.G., Ruth and I.
It took half an hour.
The Tower looked its best in the warm sunshine and we walked around.
C.G. took me to see his carving of Attis at the end of the path near the boat house.
The carving, in stone, was a small pillar and had on it Tô ATTEI – to Attis.
It was set in the midst of anemones, small wild ones, and C.G. said this was the flower of Attis.
He spoke of the story of Attis as one of the most beautiful in antiquity and classed it with that of Apollo and Demeter.
On the wall of the Tower he had made a new carving of a woman kneeling; he said she was the mother of Attis.
While we were there C.G. spent much of the time sitting beside a little stream which comes from two springs and runs down to the lake.
He had a tool which he said was used by shepherds – a small spade, part of which stood up to make a crook; he had it fixed to a polo stick with a thong at the end.
The stick was long and he sat by the stream and cleared the channel with the spade so that the
water flowed freely.
I asked why he did this and he said he found it was relaxing and let his mind work; he liked to be beside the flowing water which suggested the flow of life and ideas.
Ruth said he often did this when, as now, the water in the lake is low.
After the snows melt the lake rises and the little streams are usually covered.
When he is reflecting in this way C.G. likes to be silent and alone.
He never finds it irksome to be alone.
22nd March 1959
We went for a drive to see the grounds which are being prepared for the coming exhibition; it will be held on either side of the lake and connected by a cable railway which is now being constructed.
C.G. wanted to see this and we walked round.
He is very interested in such a thing; also in old buildings and houses.
From the site of the exhibition we drove down the Sihl Valley and had coffee with Müller joining us.
Then we returned over the Albis Pass.
C.G. took great pleasure in the natural surroundings, the trees, the little lake Türler, and in the various views of Zürich.
When we got back we walked round the garden and he looked at every plant and flower.
I asked whether he had met James Joyce, and he had done so.
He remarked that his writing in Ulysses was brilliant at times; he mentioned particularly the detailed description of a piece of paper floating down the river to the sea which he had quoted in his paper on Ulysses.
After tea C.G. and I sat in the front garden just behind the wall.
I asked some questions about the origin and development of his theory of types.
Later he talked of kinship libido, the natural bond between people, the link they need to prevent isolation, to be aware of belonging with others of like interest and awareness.
23rd March 1959
C.G. told me to read Dr. Zhivago, a novel by the Russian, Pasternak; it was a wonderful picture of the anima.
‘You don’t know who she is, she’s not quite real, too good to be true; and there’s something wrong somewhere.’
In the library in the evening he said to Ruth, ‘If you want to know what the anima is you must read that book!’
In Dr. Zhivago the anima is absolutely typical, and he (Pasternak) did not know what she was.
Before dinner C.G., Ruth and I went for a walk to the little park by the Strandbad pier.
He had just seen a French professor who was very concerned about the real truth of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, the historical Jesus; this man knew all the various versions and was in doubt about the truth.
C.G. told him, and repeated to us, an experience he and members of the British Association had when he was in India.
They were near Darjeeling, and went up Signal Hill, a well-known place, to watch the sunset.
They had the good fortune to get an absolutely clear view of Kanchenjunga which is rare, for the high mountain is usually in
On Signal Hill is a mound of stones; they are reddish in colour being painted with red oxide of lead, and the Mohammedans pour ghee over them.
The red represents blood.
There are also many very tall bamboos – ‘as high as the electric standards,’ he said, pointing to one in the road.
These trees were hung all over with little flags printed with a horse (a special horse which he described but I could not get the details) for this had been a sacred place for many many centuries, since long before Mohammed.
It was a marvellous spectacle with the valley in shadow and then the bluish-purple, and out of it all the brilliant fiery setting of
Everyone gazed spellbound at this striking scene, and one of the members of the British Association muttered ‘Phew!’ – an involuntary exclamation of awe. C.G. said to him, ‘What is it that you do?
You are uttering quite spontaneously the exclamation of awe which has been uttered for countless centuries, and you
don’t know it!’
There was quite a crowd there and Barker, the professor of English from Cambridge, said, ‘Now Jung, you must know the famous passage in Faust about the setting sun!’
And Jung did know it, and recited it.
It was a most impressive and highly unscientific spectacle, he said.
He repeated the passage from Goethe to us as we sat in the little shed by the pier where, as often before, we had sat after a similar stroll.
‘But,’ C.G. went on to tell us, ‘here was a living myth, for the mountain lit by the sun is said to be the wife of Vishnu; and the myth
gives the story and the experience meaning.
That is what myths are.’
He spoke of the stupidity of an Anglican parson who had visited him and talked of ‘trying to get Truth’, as if
he could get it in a form he would be able to understand and that it would not be truth otherwise.
In the evening when we were sitting in the library he asked Ruth to show me the pictures in an Italian paper of flying saucers.
He had got this paper from an Italian who had taken a photograph of a flying saucer in 1952; he had been thrown out of his photographic club because it was assumed to be a false picture, but recently it has been accepted.
C.G. knows a lady in southern Switzerland who is the secretary of an organization which records observations of UFOs, and she sends him reports about them.
One was a photograph, which he showed me, of a typical UFO; he had written on the back that it had been taken by an eighteen-year-old girl, the daughter of a parson in California.
She had, so he wrote, put her camera in the fork of a tree for a time exposure, and later came to terminate it.
When the negative was developed there was the flying saucer.
Apparently she had not seen it.
24th March 1959
In the morning we drove to a high point above Küsnacht and sat in the sun and had coffee.
On our return C.G. and I sat in the front garden.
I asked about Ernest Jones’s remark that on an early visit to Freud he (C.G.) had demonstrated poltergeist phenomena.
He said this was utter nonsense; he knew the statement had been made by Freud.
The basis of it was this: at the close of their first talk, which lasted thirteen hours, he felt disappointed because the
discussion had been restricted by Freud’s insistence on explaining everything only in terms of sexuality.
C.G. had been thrilled to meet and talk with him and at the end of the conversation he was still full of unresolved expectations.
Suddenly there was a loud cracking in the bookcase above Freud’s head, a formidable crash as if the wood were expanding and the whole thing coming down. Freud looked up startled, and C.G. said, ‘What do you make of that?’
He knew at once that it was an extracorporeal expression of a psychic situation and that it would happen again, though he did not know why.
But he told Freud, ‘It will happen again,’ and at once it did.
Freud was aghast though he would not say so; he tried to dismiss it as nothing.
But it was a real crash and C.G. told him at the time that it was significant.
They examined the bookcase and there was nothing to see.
C.G. had had experience of similar incidents – extra-corporeal effects, he called them – and added that these parapsychological things are exteriorised affects and happen like complexes – that is they are projected.
The crash affected Freud very much but he never sought to explain it.
‘If I had never asked Why? in the word association tests,’ said C.G., ‘I would never have discovered the complexes.
But Freud brushed these things aside.
There is now an Institute for Parapsychology at Freibourg and the Director comes to consult me.’
A similar incident had happened with Eugen Bleuler and when C.G. mentioned parapsychological phenomena to him he said it was all nonsense; but twenty years later he became a spiritualist and had many experiences of this kind.
C.G. described the crash in the bookcase as a synchronistic event, as acausal.
It could not be explained; but it happened, of that there was no doubt.
It gave him an odd feeling: ‘Now look out! – there might be a split between us.’
We went on to talk of dreams and I mentioned my idea of making dreams and clinical material central in what I would write; he thought this quite a good plan.
Speaking of dreams he said we must always ask ‘Whose dream?’
It was always an individual matter, we cannot generalise; we develop guidelines but not laws.
For Freud all dreams were wish fulfilments, and he looked on the dream as a means of preserving sleep.
C.G. thought that more often than not they failed to keep us asleep.
He talked for a while about Laufe, his early home above the Rhine Falls.
Then at tea-time Mrs. Niehus came.
She asked about my book.
I told her C.G. had mentioned that he had already written much of his autobiography (I remember him talking of the difficulties of writing about his life a year or two ago and perhaps this put the idea into his mind).
She said Mrs. Jaffé wanted to publish what he had written.
I gave her my Introduction to read.
She said my approach was quite different from Mrs. Jaffé’s and pressed me to continue.
She said mine was more masculine, and the fact that another biography was in preparation should not prevent me from going on with it. C.G. had read it earlier and he also thought it good and on the right lines. ~E.A. Bennet, Conversations with Jung, Pages 272-290