Meetings with Jung: Conversations Recorded During the Years, 1946-1961

Küsnacht, 3rd January 1957

Arrived in Küsnacht.

In the evening we sat first in the garden room, and after dinner in the library upstairs.

This is a big room, about twenty-four feet by fifteen feet, lined with books.

Off it opens an inner study, and C.G. told me I could use this as my room for writing.

It is a smallish room, and in it I now write at the big table-desk with an array of pigeon holes on it to take stationery and odds and ends.

There is a photograph of Toni Wolff on the table, and also a rather beautiful collection of twenty-one figures representing all the states in India; each one is labelled.

They depict the different apparel of the peoples of India, and are about ten centimetres in height and delicately made and coloured.

The religions also are marked on the labels – Hindu, Buddhist, Islam (Baluchistan), and one from Burma.

On a side shelf are two lovely cloisonne pieces, one of a sage on a creature with horse’s legs and the head and tail of a dragon; the other is an old vase.

On the pigeon-hole part of the desk are books and a few other figures – one a beautifully carved ivory figure of Lao-tse on a stag, the same as the two I have.

There are three lights in the window and an amount of stained glass in the panels.

At the top of each segment is a religious subject – Christ being lashed with whips on the left; in the centre, the crucifixion; and on the right our Lord after death with Mary weeping; two disciples are there with Mary Magdalen, and above is an angel.

In the centre window below is an elaborate coat of arms dated 1590, and on the right the arms of Basel dated 1543, ‘Basilea 1543’.

The centre light also contains a small round inset of stained glass showing our Lord and the twelve apostles at the last supper.

One picture is covered with a cloth; it is a photograph of the Shroud of Turin, the cloth which is said to have covered our Lord’s face and afterwards bore the imprint of his features.

The walls are lined with bookcases; there are many old alchemical books and books of reference of all kinds.

They are labelled and no doubt catalogued; both rooms are filled with them.

There are also numerous ornaments of various kinds, many of them gifts.

On the mantelpiece in the main study is a collection of little ivory carvings depicting the twelve transitions of Vishnu.

C.G.’s writing table is a beautiful mahogany or walnut table with curved legs and a finely shaped stringer.

It is covered with papers and other objects. C.G. told me that one, a metal figure, bearded, and sitting on an elephant, represented a previous incarnation of the Buddha; in Christianity it would correspond to one of the disciples, a
special associate of the master.

And there is a carved lotus which opens out – a present from the Indian Psychiatric Society.

In a standing bookcase are some small leather-bound books; and there is a photograph of Mrs. Jung, and another of C.G. with her.

On the floor of the main study, as in the inner room, are a couple of Persian rugs.

All the floors in the house, the rooms and the landings, are parquet.

4th January 1957

Speaking of his early work at the Burghölzli, C.G. said that when hisobservations on the word association tests were established he wrote to Freud telling him how these experiments provided clinical proof of his theory of repression.

He said, too, that he had noted that the complex acted autonomously, and apart from repression.

Although in his reply Freud agreed with this, he never made use of the idea of unconscious autonomy and confined his interest to the phenomenon of repression.

Besides his work on the word association tests, Eugen Bleuler, his senior at the Burghölzli, suggested that C.G. should do research on the brain.

He turned to this with enthusiasm, working many hours week after week on the various parts of the brain.

He became keen on the work and used to deputise for the Professor and give lectures on histology.

But so far as the normal functioning of the mind was concerned, or abnormalities in thinking which he observed in patients, this work on the histology of the brain was fruitless.

Many of the patients in the hospital were schizophrenics and no attempt was made to treat them.

But he could not accept dementia praecox as deterioration of the personality and leave it there.

Through the word association tests he had come to see the reality of the unconscious, and he recognised that many of the fantasies or delusions of his patients were paralleled in mythological material of which they knew nothing.

The Psychology of the Unconscious was a study in schizophrenia; in it he showed the significance of symbols through historical and literary analogies.

But the book was not a psychological study; one of the difficulties in those days was that there was no psychology, only intellectual abstractions which explained nothing.

People paid little attention to what might lie behind the symptomatology of an illness.

The Psychology of Dementia Praecox was an advance, but even now psychiatrists have paid little tribute to it.

The Relations between the Ego and the Unconscious was written to bring people into touch with the unconscious and make them aware of its importance, but it, too, made very little impression.

During the First War he was in command of a camp on Lake Geneva at Château-d’Oex for interned British and Canadian officers.

He said that for some this would have been important and interesting work, but he was more concerned with his writing and the development of his thought.

He was then working on Psychological Types.

I asked him if, looking back, he could see a single thread running through his work.

He said only to a certain extent.

In the early days he had expected his work to follow scientific lines.

But after the break with Freud he did no scientific work for a time, but sought to discover the meaning of the contents of the unconscious.

Todiscover where ideas came from, and how others understood them in the past, he searched for the historical and cultural sources of the images and symbolism he encountered.

It was when he had written his commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower that he began to study the writings of
alchemists and found links with this material through parallels in the imagery of their thought and practices, and through their understanding and interpretation of ideas from still earlier times.

His study of alchemy had been foreshadowed in his dreams, and his work had always developed in this way – out of his own experiences and dreams.

He mentioned by way of illustration a dream he had in April 1914; with variations it recurred twice, once in each succeeding month:

He was climbing up the hill above Küsnacht to the plateau where now the Niehuses have their house.

But it took nearly all day and in fact the hill is not very high.

He got to the plateau just as the sun was setting behind him (it does set on the hills on the opposite side of the Zürich Lake).

A cascade of water was falling down the hill, and the sun lit it up with silver and gold.

Away to the left, and higher up – for there was another hill behind, though not so high as the one he had ascended – he observed a big hotel (such as the Dolder Hotel), and he could see the cars parked there looking very small.

He could not understand the dream then.

But much later he discovered an alchemical text, Speculativa Philosophia (Theatrum Chemicum (1602), I) of Gerald Dorn,
in which a similar scene was described.

The gold and silver in the water had a special meaning, and the building was there as well; it was not a hotel, as in his dream, but a building of great symbolic importance.

Dreams such as this fascinated him.

‘That’s the worst of being an introvert,’ he said, ‘you are pushed on by your inner drives.’

He said that Freud was really a feeling type, but he kept this back and worked with his inferior thinking, so what he thought had too great a significance for him.

It even came about that he believed things were so merely because he had thought them.

He mentioned the notion of prevision, that sometimes it was like a waking dream.

On one occasion he was sitting at Küsnacht reading the paper, and suddenly there was a gap in it, a big hole, in which he saw the face of Hans, the servant at Bollingen. (This youth was devoted to C.G., for during the war, C.G. had given food to his mother, who was poor with several children, and he had bought a bicycle for Hans so that he could go to school.)

Shortly after, to C.G.’s great surprise, Hans arrived in the garden at Küsnacht. C.G. had no idea he was coming but he had cycled from Bollingen (about 37 kilometres) to bring C.G. some early strawberries.

He told me of another incident, during the Second War when petrol was scarce.

He was returning to Küsnacht from Bollingen by train and was reading, but his mind became insistently occupied with the idea of a man being drowned – something he had once seen.

Why should he think of it now?

But he could not get the thought out of his mind.

When he reached his house in Küsnacht some of his grandsons (who were living there at the time) were in the garden looking
rather upset, and he asked, ‘What’s up? What’s the matter?’

They told him the youngest boy, who could not swim, had fallen into the water in the boat-house; it is very deep there and they had had great difficulty in getting him out. C.G. said, ‘That would have been about half an hour ago?’ – the time when the idea of drowning had filled his mind in the train – and they said, ‘Yes, that was the time.’

5th January 1957

I asked C.G. if he had ever, as it were, heard the future calling him.

He said it was never like that with him.

He knew others – Goethe, for example – had felt that; but for him it was always something behind, a vis a tergo, pushing him on to find the truth, what things really were.

He had never been satisfied with Freud’s theory because it lacked historical support; it had no background, it was no more than Freud’s theory.

Yet, he said, it was to Freud’s credit that he tried to find a background in Totem and Taboo.

It was after he had written The Relations between the Ego and the Unconscious that C.G. became interested in Chinese thought.

In 1928 he had a letter from Richard Wilhelm asking if he would write a commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower, a book on Chinese alchemy, and he did so.

He found Chinese thought impressive and studied the I Ching.

Through his study of types C.G. found similarities with Chinese thought; he drew a diagram of the four functions to illustrate what he meant: Thus if a man is predominantly a thinking type he begins to speculate; so he takes in intuition, the knowledge from the unconscious.

But he wants then to see how it relates to facts, and so sensation is included.

This results in a triangle which excludes feeling.

This happened, he said, with Freud.

But the feeling is there, nevertheless.

‘I had a hell of a lot of trouble with that!’ said C.G.

When feeling is left out you get a narrow circle round the thinking, the intellectual function.

But, he observed, the diagram of the functions corresponds to the Yin Yang of the Chinese, it makes for completeness.

I gave him the synopses of my lectures to read and he expanded on parts of them and said he thought they did give the bones on which the flesh could be put.

He digressed a good deal and all he said was interesting.

When he came to free associations he said they were futile for they lead only to the complexes; but in dream analysis they do not tell us what the dream says.

He gave an example: ‘Think of a man who dreams of a daisy and you ask for his associations; he says, “Well, Daisy is a name, it’s the name of my girl friend.”

Freud would go on from there to sex.

But I would say, “That’s interesting, but what about the daisy? It’s still there on the ground – what of the daisy itself?”

Then the man might say, “Well, it’s a flower with white petals and a golden centre; it draws health from the sun and opens when the sun shines.

It exists in itself, apart from other daisies.”

So then I ask, “What about the sun?” and he may think of God or religion.

But that is not Daisy, his girl friend.

So the unconscious is producing something which shows that there is more than Daisy, there is his own life and also a greater life.’

The Self – it is the whole, conscious and unconscious, ‘what I myself am’; it involves much we do not know is there, for example our body and its workings, and the unconscious.

6th January 1957

In the morning C.G., Ruth Bailey and I went up to Bollingen by car.

The sun was shining and the place looked wonderful with the new room added, and the painted ceiling in the loggia.

The painting of this ceiling was C.G.’s idea; his coat of arms, or the separate parts of it, fill a long panel at one end and at the other end is that of Mrs. Jung.

The intermediate panels are painted with the crest of the Hoernis (one of their daughters married into this family) – the emblems were horns, hunting horns.

Opposite this is the Baumann crest (another daughter married one of them).

That of the Niehus family (their other son-in-law) was not yet complete and there was a In the two centre panels the space.

The crests of C.G. and Mrs. Jung were repeated.

We went up to the new room.

The woodwork and metal work of the door hinges and door knobs was excellent and C.G. said it was old.

He told me about the original building, and of the various additions as time went on.

We looked at some of the many stone carvings he has done; a small one was of a snake which had swallowed a perch and died.

A beautiful stone in the classical style was a memorial to Mrs. Jung; this, he said, was to be put up on the wall by the loggia.

At the side of the house is a carving of Mercury.

I asked why he had done it.

He said that when he was writing on synchronicity something restricted him – he just could not get it right.

His eye kept looking at the stone wall at the side of the tower, and he decided to fixate (my word) the interruption and carved a rather smiling face depicting Mercury; beneath he inscribed the words: ‘O (that is, Mercury) Fugaci illi. Ambiguo, duplici, illudendi jocoso’.

That did it.

He could then get on with his work.

On our return we passed the old church between Rapperswil and Bollingen.

C.G. said it dated back to the seventh century and had frescoes of the fifteenth century.

It was dedicated to Dionysius the Areopagite, and no churches were dedicated to him after the eighth century.

After coffee on the verandah, following lunch, C.G., Ruth and I went and sat on the pier by the lake and fed the swans; nine of them collected and seagulls came.

The seagulls breed on the upper lake and remain here all the time.

There were also some coots.

It was sunny and when C.G. went for his sleep, I sat on a chair by the lake in the shelter of the pier; it was beautifully warm.

Later I talked with C.G. in the garden room while he sat in front of the stone he was working on and now and then chipped at it.

He spoke of the importance of rumours as psychological phenomena, and in particular of those concerning flying saucers.

That there are such rumours, so widespread, is significant.

A fact which impressed him in one case was that the radar beam had been deflected; this is beyond rumour and remains a most important, though unexplained, fact.

There seems to be something factual about the hundreds of well-attested reports over many years of these phenomena.

A Californian psychiatrist was driving over a bridge in San Francisco with his wife when she suddenly saw these things in the sky and called his attention to them.

He glanced at them, but as he was driving could do no more.

C.G. heard of the incident and wrote to him; he replied saying he had seen the objects but was puzzled to know why C.G. should be interested in such things.

C.G. was amazed that this man could be so wooden-headed as to disregard such a phenomenon.

He said it was certain that these things could not be explained by our ordinary categories of thought; we had to take note of them for they may well come from outside our world, as we know it.

The French have a special bureau to investigate them, and so have the Americans.

He referred also to the remarkable effect of an American broadcast (this was Orson Welles’s radio adaptation of H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds) about an invasion of New York by people from Mars.

People were ready to accept this, as though they were inwardly expecting some momentous event from outside.

In the ‘little room’, that is the inner study in which I write, and on the table-desk, is the cricket ball presented to C.G. by the Society of Analytical Psychology in London with the inscription: ‘The C.G. Jung Anniversary Cricket Match 10.7.55’.

This was presented to C.G. by Dr. Leopold Stein on behalf of the S.A.P. at the birthday party dinner at the Dolder Hotel in Zürich 1955.

C.G. enjoys detective stories, and I asked him why.

He turned the question and asked me what I thought.

I suggested that people like to identify themselves with, for instance, the clever detective; or in the story they find a character doing all the things they would like to do if they dared.

He said this was probably true, but his own interest was that the stories had nothing to do with him or his work; most of them, too, were about men.

Many novels had psychological themes and these bored him for he had plenty of this with his patients, far more interesting stuff.

But the detective stories were a rest, chiefly because they had no bearing on his professional work; and he could sleep after reading them because they were not true.

7th January 1957

In the afternoon we sat in the garden room; C.G. had the stone he was carving and worked at it now and then.

‘Well, fire away!’ he said.

I asked of his first impressions of the anima and he said it came in his dream of the white dove when the little girl stood beside him; she was like his eldest daughter.

He had this dream at Christmas time in 1913.

It was a momentous dream ranking in quality with his early dream at the Rhine Falls at the age of four.

He was sitting in the loggia of an old, beautiful and impressive castle; the loggia was at the top.

He sat in a gilded chair.

To his left was a table with gilded legs and a top of wonderful green stone, marble of a special kind (vert du mer), or emerald – it was the vivid green of an emerald.

Around the table were his children.

His wife was not there.

He sat gazing out through an arched window which had no glass in it; outside was the clear blue sky, not a cloud in sight.

Suddenly a white bird like a seagull or a white dove flew in and perched on the table beside him.

He signalled to the children not to speak and waited.

The bird disappeared; it was no longer there – this puzzled him greatly.

Then he was aware of a small girl of about eight years of age standing at his right side; she had fair hair like his eldest daughter.

She ran to join the children and afterwards returned for a little.

Then she disappeared.

Shortly after the white dove reappeared and perched on the table and said, ‘I can only come in the early part of the night when the master of the doves is engaged with the twelve dead men.’

At the time he could make nothing of the dream but later he linked the white dove with Hermes – it was the spiritual element.

And he recognized the green table as the Tabula Smaragdina of Hermes Trismegistos on which the basic elements of alchemical wisdom were engraved.

The dream foreshadowed his work on alchemy.

He spoke also of another dream which he had about 1925: There was fighting between Germans and Italians in North

He was escaping in a carriage drawn by horses; someone was driving this vehicle.

They reached the plains of Lombardy and he thought, ‘Here we are safe.’

They then came to a beautiful ducal palace; it stood in extensive grounds enclosed within a wall.

Before them a gate stood open and beyond, in the wall at the opposite side, was another open gate.

They drove in intending to pass right through; but at the castle steps the coachman jumped down – he had to stop.

Then the gates closed.

He knew they were imprisoned, yet had the feeling that he would nevertheless escape.

It was later that he came to see in this dream a reference to alchemy, for he discovered parallels to the castle and the closing of the gates in an old alchemical text, the Artis Auriferae.

The dream, as he saw it, was a prevision, an anticipation of his research, his captivation by alchemy.

8th January 1957

I asked about the negative aspect of the anima, and he said, ‘Well, we become aware of things first when they seem to be against us, to go in an opposite way.

That calls our attention to them.’

He mentioned how once, when he was painting, he distinctly heard the voice of a woman saying, ‘this is art’.

This happened at a time when his work on a book he was writing had come to a halt – he could not get on with it.

The meaning of the incident seemed to be that his writing could be regarded simply as art, as if truth did not matter and that he might write novels or something of the kind equally well.

It was the voice of a woman he knew, an artist who had come to work in Zürich and had had a very great influence on a former colleague of his at the Burghölzli – an unfavourable influence.

So when he heard her voice saying ‘this is art’, he realised that this was, as it were, the voice of the woman who had led his friend astray, and so he could deal with it.

This occurred at a very difficult time in 1913, when he was about to resign his post in the university as a lecturer in psychiatry.

He could not continue to teach because he had studied Freud’s way and also Adler’s, and had seen that they both had something which was too narrow.

So he had to find his own way, and it was tempting to think, as for a moment he did, of his work as Art.

But this was a deception, it was the negative aspect of the anima leading him astray.

In the afternoon after lunch I sat in the sun by the lake for an hour and a half.

Then tea, and a chat with C.G. and later a walk to the little park.

He was talking about types.

The extraverted person cannot value anything from the inside, hence the superficiality of much academic psychology – psychological tests for example, or the physical explanations of mental experiences.

There is no understanding of the fact that the mind itself has its causality; something from the inner life exerts its influence – ideas just arrive in the mind, or symptoms appear.

But people assume that these are derived from something outside themselves; the ‘cause’, however, may lie in their feelings which they have not considered.

He referred to psychological tests and experimental psychiatry, and the vast sums of money spent at Harvard on it – a big building filled with apparatus measuring reactions.

One experiment, in which he took part, was to demonstrate an optical illusion of a fast-moving object seeming to go in the opposite direction to that in which he was moving.

He asked the professor why they did such things, especially in a ‘Department of Human Relations’.

What results did they get from the work?

He could not answer, but said it was necessary scientific research.

C.G. regarded this and similar things as insignificant – they measured so small a part of human reactions it seemed to have no real bearing on psychological understanding.

In the evening C.G. and I were alone for dinner and sat afterwards in the study.

He showed me an English Bible of 1540, owned by Thomas Wallis of Tonbridge who, according to the inscription at the beginning, died of ‘gout of the stomach’ at the age of eighty-five in the year 1775.

He showed me also his collection of alchemical works which he said was the best in Switzerland.

One volume, he said, was particularly interesting.

This was subtitled:

Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum containing several Poetical Pieces, of our famous English Philosophers, who have Written the Hermetique mysterium in their own Ancient Language Faithfully collected into one Volume with nnotations thereon By Elias Ashmole Esq.

Que est mercuriophilus Anglicus London Printed by J. Grifmann for Nath: Brooke at the Angel in Cornhill MDCLII The Prolegomena by E. Ashmole 26 Jan. 1651 addressed to All Ingeniously Elaborate Students In the most Divine Mysteries of Hermetique Learning.

In the main study hang two oil paintings, one on the left of C.G.’s father and the other of his grandfather.

He said he had a letter written by his grandfather, who went over the Gotthard Pass in a coach with horses and was mighty glad to get to the other side and down to the valley, for the road was narrow and difficult.

9th January 1957

Today C.G. received two little booklets entitled The Divine Law sent to him by their author, an Indian philosopher named B. Subramanya Iyer, whom he first met twenty years ago at a philosophical congress in Paris.

They were inscribed: ‘With affectionate regards. 30.11.56.’

C.G. recalled that at the Paris conference no one listened to Iyer’s lectures because he was speaking like someone of the thirteenth century.

It was as if Meister Eckhart were lecturing, and talking of the divine spark in man.

People just disregarded him.

C.G. cheered him up and invited him to Zürich; but he realised that he was unable to grasp modern thought and could not understand why no one took him seriously.

Then when C.G. was in India, he was invited to Mysore State where this man was the guru to the ruler; he was treated very well, stayed in the ruler’s guest-house, and was taken for drives in an ancient but comfortable motor car.

This incident illustrated C.G.’s open attitude; he saw the interesting side of such a man while realising that he could understand nothing of his own psychology.

Also when he was lecturing in Bombay he saw that no one had the slightest idea of what he was talking about, so he began to tell stories of hypnotism and they thought this wonderful!

Later, he referred to the appearance, in analysis, of the archetypes: first comes the anima, then the old wise man, and then the puer aeternus, for every wise old man must also have the spirit of youth.

He mentioned also the archetypes as the representation of the instincts, that is, the instincts can be expressed in many ways – there are hundreds of possibilities.

But one form is selected because it corresponds to the instinct – it is an image of it.

He spoke of Dorset, which he knew well, and of the White Horse of Cerne Abbas, and other things.

Then, after dinner, Ruth opened The Listener, and the first thing she saw was a picture of a White Horse in Yorkshire.

C.G. was interested in this picture and mentioned that the ground had been moving and the horse was distorted.

All is moving…. He found Dorset strange and eerie.

He had camped somewhere there.

10th January 1957

C.G. discussed the point of view of the natural scientist.

He said that his own work made no attempt to be philosophical.

He was not interested in abstractions; he was concerned only with what he observed, and these things he sought to comprehend.

He had a critical mind and could not accept explanations that certain illnesses were caused by certain events.

He wanted to study the particular illness, to see what it was.

Life is not only what we expect it to be. P

eople want to get at reality; they seek, for example, to dismiss a delusion merely because it does not conform to ‘reality’.

But the delusion itself is something; one cannot deny its reality because it is unusual.

He spoke of a dream he had years ago at Bollingen at a time when only the first tower was built.

He was alone there for some days, perfectly quiet and at home with Nature.

He dreamt that he heard music of various instruments, accordions, violins, and so on, and saw a long procession of people walking by the side of the lake, coming from the direction of Schmerikon.

When they reached the Tower they divided, one column passed on one side and one on the other. It was so vivid that he woke wondering what they could be doing.

He did not realise he had been dreaming and got up and pulled the shutter aside to see these people.

There was no one there, nothing but the light of the moon on a clear night.

He went back to bed and fell asleep.

The same dream returned, but in it he dreamt that he thought it to be a dream although in fact it was real.

Then he woke, and again looked out having pulled the shutter aside.

At the time he could make nothing of this dream.

It occurred about thirty years ago, and only last year he came across an account written by an old historian in Lucerne, R. Cysat (1545-1614), who made a collection of the folklore of the area at the beginning of the seventeenth century.

Amongst the tales was one of a shepherd on Pilatus.

Another man went up and spent a night with him, and in the morning he asked the shepherd about the procession of people playing musical instruments which had passed on either side of the place where they were camped.

The shepherd said, ‘Oh, you have seen the hosts of Wotan.’

C.G. mentioned this dream as an instance of how the collective unconscious is constellated at certain times, and the great value of this.

It is important to be alone and unhurried sometimes, for then we are close to Nature (as he was on the night of this dream); then we can hear the voice of Nature speaking to us.

He told me also how many years ago he and his wife and children were on holiday in a part of Switzerland he knew well.

One morning he went on an expedition with the children and returned at lunch time.

His wife told him she had been for a walk on the other side of the town where there was a moraine and some small hills.

She had seen a very old wooden building at the top of one of these hills and had gone up to look at it.

She was very interested in the carving on the door; the wood was dark with age and the carving was of unusually fine quality.

C.G. said, ‘That’s funny! I can’t remember such a building and I know that moraine quite well.’

He asked her to describe its position again and she suggested that after lunch they should go and see it, it would only take about twenty minutes; it was on the second, or possibly the third, little hill.

After lunch they set off and passed the second, third and fourth hill, but no building was there.

She was puzzled, but absolutely certain she had seen it.

They spent two hours inspecting every hill but could not find it. C.G. said his wife was a particularly well-balanced person, full of common-sense: ‘She was a sensation type – you couldn’t put anything over on her.’

But she had that experience; here was a fact, and he could not explain it.

A similar episode occurred much later. C.G. had spoken to Toni Wolff about the Baptistry of the Orthodox in Ravenna where Galla Placidia was buried.

Early in the fifth century, after surviving a stormy sea voyage to Ravenna, she had built a church there in fulfilment of a vow.

The original church was later destroyed, but her tomb is there.

After visiting the tomb they entered the Baptistry.

It was filled with a bluish light, though there was no artificial lighting. C.G. looked round the building and remarked to Toni,‘Isn’t it curious?

Here are these beautiful mosaics on the west, the east, the south and the north in this octagonal building, and I can’t remember Seeing them before – it’s most remarkable for they are so striking!’

In the centre was the font; it was big for it was used for immersion.

For twenty minutes they studied the mosaics.

C.G. described them as about twice the size of a tapestry hanging in the verandah (which is about six feet by eight feet).

Each depicted a baptism scene: one of St. Peter sinking into the sea and our Lord saving him; one of the Israelites in the Red Sea, when the water drowned the Egyptians; one of Naaman the Syrian bathing in the water and being cured of leprosy; and one of our Lord’s baptism.

The double symbolism of baptism as a saving of life and as a danger of death was shown in each mosaic.

C.G. was particularly impressed by that showing Peter sinking in the sea and stretching out his hand and Jesus reaching for him; this was a most beautiful mosaic of lapis lazuli.

On leaving the Baptistry they went to a shop opposite to get photographs of these mosaics – one of the small shops always found near such places.

They were offered pictures of the Baptistry, but none of the mosaics.

They went to another shop – no luck – and to several others, but they could not find the photographs they wanted.

Soon after C. A. Meier was going to Italy and C.G. told him to be sure to visit Ravenna and see these mosaics and get pictures of them, or if he couldn’t, to take photographs.

Meanwhile C.G. was giving a seminar, in the course of which he mentioned the wonderful mosaics he and Miss Wolff had seen at Ravenna, and he described them in detail.

When Dr. Meier returned from Italy he told C.G. that he had gone to the Baptistry in Ravenna but that there were no mosaics there of the kind he had described.

C.G. told this to Toni Wolff who said, ‘That’s ridiculous, I saw them with my own eyes and you talked of them for about twenty minutes!’

‘Nevertheless,’ he said, ‘there are no such mosaics!

So at the seminar he said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I’m sorry but there are no mosaics.’

Here was an experience which two people had, yet how to explain it quite defeated him – he had no suggestion to offer.

He mentioned these things to show how mysterious the mind is, how little we know of it, and how futile it is to ‘explain’ the manifestations of the psyche away when they do not conform with what we are accustomed to call reality.

There are many things in the psyche which we do not understand and have yet to discover, and it was this which initiated his trips to Africa, to the Pueblo Indians, and to India.

He wanted to study the mind of the primitive in Africa, people whose point of view was absolutely different from our own.

The spectrum of human understanding is infinitely varied and we cannot look on one attitude as right and another wrong in our attempts to explain things beyond our comprehension.

Thus, on the African trip he asked a very intelligent man who was a priest or teacher whether the world was flat, a disc or a globe. ‘It’s a flat disc,’ he replied.

‘Well,’ said C.G., ‘if you see a ship on the horizon, which part do you see first?’

‘You see the ship.’ ‘No,’ said C.G., and he referred the question to one of the others who said, ‘You see the smoke first, then the masts, and then the ship.’ ‘That’s right,’ said C.G., ‘and that’s because the world is a globe.’

‘No,’ said the priest, ‘that’s not true!’

‘Well,’ said C.G., ‘what is the reason?’

The priest looked very puzzled; he walked up and down holding his head and for a time could find no answer.

Then he said, ‘Now I’ve got it!

Allah once made an enormous stone bull and threw it into the ocean but its left horn remained above the surface; that horn is the earth.

It sticks up so that you think the earth is a globe, but it could not be a globe for if it were the sea would fall off!’

‘Yes,’ said the others, ‘that is the true reason.’

C.G. was greatly interested for he recognised this as an old Persian idea.

These people took it for a fact and were satisfied.

He continued to talk about his visit to Africa, where he first met Ruth Bailey; this was in 1925, and she has remained a close family friend ever since.

C.G.’s companions on the journey were Peter Baynes and George Beckwith; Fowler McCormick was to have come but was prevented.

On the same boat Ruth was also travelling to Africa with her younger sister whose fiancé they were to meet in Nairobi.

She did not meet C.G. on the boat however; he and his companions did not share in the general social activities of the ship but kept apart, reading or talking.

They came to be called ‘the three Obadiahs’ (from the old song, Obadiah, Obadiah).

In Nairobi everyone stayed in the same hotel, and Ruth’s sister was joined by her fiancé.

He, of course, showed Ruth every courtesy as well and she became embarrassed when the couple would not allow her to go off on her own and leave them together.

In the evening there was a dance in the hotel and Ruth slipped away from her companions into an adjoining lounge; C.G. was sitting there studying maps and she asked if she might, without disturbing him, sit at the same table in order not to appear isolated.

He said, ‘Oh yes,’ and went on looking at his papers.

He did not speak for about an hour, and then suddenly said, ‘Are you interested in maps?’

She said, ‘Yes, very.’

He then talked of his projected journey and showed her where they were going.

After this meeting Ruth spent some of her time with C.G. and his companions until they left the hotel.

They made their way towards Mount Elgon and were encamped in its foothills when C.G. received a letter from the Governor of Uganda asking if he would escort an English lady who was to travel back from Nairobi by way of the Sudan and Egypt – the route he himself planned to follow.

Ruth was the person in question, so the meeting in Nairobi paved the way to C.G.’s assent.

She made her own way to the site of their camp and was with them for the rest of the expedition – about three months.

She had not heard of C.G. previously and knew nothing of his work or reputation.

She was well equipped for the eventualities of camp life with a natural ability to meet any situation with humour and goodwill,
and sound practical sense.

11th January 1957

C.G. referred again to the publication of The Psychology of the Unconscious and said he had great difficulty in writing about sacrifice – he could not do so for two months.

He said he did not write in chapters but continuously, and divided the work later.

He felt the book would not be acceptable to Freud because it brought in another principle, namely, that the
unconscious acted autonomously.

This notion Freud had never admitted into his thinking, and C.G. felt that the publication of the book would mean a break with Freud.

His wife reassured him that this would be impossible but he remained unconvinced, and events turned out as he had anticipated.

I referred to the point he had made previously, that his work sprang from his own mind and was not learned from others.

As an instance he quoted his interest in trying to understand why Freud and Adler could not agree.

Plenty of other people were aware of this but no one saw it as a problem except himself.

For him it was a serious matter, and the study of it led to his work on types.

I asked about himself – how his own attitude fitted in with his classification of types, and he said he was most definitely the introverted thinking type.

Like Freud, Adler was satisfied with his own theory, for by it he could explain everything.

For him, sex was not the important thing, but rather that the man wanted to be on top.

C.G. saw that there were these two points of view and each explained a lot, but not everything.

Freud had made his method and his theory one, and this was false.

He would not, and could not, be empirical for you cannot be empirical if you have a fixed theory.

He mentioned that he had a tussle with himself when he realised that through the word association tests he had found clinical proof of Freud’s theory of repression.

The devil said: ‘Why not publish it?

It’s very interesting and nothing to do with Freud.’

But he resisted this momentary idea and decided there and then to throw in his lot with Freud.

It was a serious decision for it meant sacrificing his academic career and going against the advice of many of his friends.

But he was interested in the truth and ‘to hell with an academic career.’

He remarked how important it was for people to be in their own function – as they really are.

For instance how boring it is when women are always sensible – it is better when they behave a little unexpectedly, irrationally; this makes them more interesting.

Regarding Freudian assumptions that everything was infantile sexuality which had been repressed, he said, ‘Their view is that when this is realised you must just put it away, forget it and be cured.

But you can’t put it away without hurt because childish things are very valuable – the dependence, the interest, the expectant attitude.

This is the puer aeternus and you need it, especially in old age for it keeps people healthy.

So it is a bad blunder to try to get rid of it; moreover, you cannot just dispose of it.’

He said he often asked what sublimation really was and he could never get an answer.

It is just a term and has no reality.

You can’t change people to fit a theory.

I asked him for his ideas in the treatment of manic-depressive patients.

He thought they were very difficult, but a good plan was to put them to bed when, as often, they became irritable before either a manic or a depressed phase.

He cited also two cases of depression.

One was a woman who had depressions and a fear of going to Paris.

Having remained well for two years, and being eager to see the pictures in the Louvre – she was a highly educated person – she went to Paris with a friend.

On the day they arrived there she and her friend were killed by a taxi.

The other was the case of a man who was afraid to go up steps into public buildings such, he said, as the steps to the British Museum.

This man was in Berlin during the civil troubles before Hitler; there was firing in a street and people ran into houses for shelter.

He was outside a public building and rushed up the steps to seek safety, but on the steps ‘a bullet found him’ and he died.

Apart altogether from psychological discussions, I have noted again and again in general conversation with C.G. how he always gets the facts straight before he makes any comment, and when anything is obscure he questions people until he is sure he understands their meaning.

This is very typical of his work and of his attitude, he takes nothing for granted, but wants the facts.

He is always ready for something new or unexpected; this is why he has no final theories.

On a walk this evening he asked if I had ever heard a sermon upon the parable of the unjust steward. I said I hadn’t.

‘No,’ he said, ‘the theologians never preach about that, for Christ praised the man who had cheated or, in other words, was fully conscious.’

After dinner we sat on the verandah, C.G. behind the little table wearing, as usual, a blue apron, and on the table lay the stone he was carving of the family lineage on the male side.

Now and then he chipped at the letters with an expert touch.

He mentioned that the inscription was in Latin: ‘You see, Latin is the correct, dignified language in which to address the ancestors.’

He added that when he was given an honorary degree at Harvard there was a Latin oration, and he was presented with a ‘parchment’.

He was particularly interested to see how they had translated the word ‘unconscious’ into Latin, and it was mens vacua, the unknown or unexplored mind.

He had been described as the explorer of the unconscious, and he thought this phrase particularly apt.

Later he showed me the knife which long ago had broken into four pieces with a loud report.

He had it mounted on a piece of thick paper, and he wrote a description under it.

He also spoke of the table which had split with a sudden sharp crack; it was a walnut table which had been part of his grandmother’s dowry and it was about seventy years old.

Both these events were unexplained.

They had happened shortly before he met the mediumistic girl about whom he wrote his dissertation On the Psychology and Pathology of so-called Occult Phenomena.

At the same time he showed me a small tumbler of slightly tinted (red or pink) glass, and the rim at the top was sharp all round.

He said that at the moment his wife’s mother died the upper part of the glass had broken off.

And he referred again to the experience in the Baptistry at Ravenna as yet another unexplained event.

A point of interest to me was that he had kept this knife carefully since 1898, and also the glass later.

It was interesting, too, that he had not written a note on the paper on which the knife was mounted until this evening.

12th January 1957

At breakfast this morning C.G. spoke of his visit to Paris in 1902.

He never saw Charcot, who had retired, but he attended Janet’s lectures.

He found them terribly boring – no fertilising ideas at all.

Janet never knew his patients; he was the opposite of Freud who could never see beyond his patients, but saw them only through his own theory.

Janet was typical of French psychology, which was still of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when the French were the centre of Europe.

The French did not travel; he had read an article in Le Matin about this.

They looked on foreigners as barbarians, and why go to see them?

They had all they needed.

The French language was spoken by all polite, educated people; thus in Basel, French was quite de rigueur amongst the patrician families.

Even Leibnitz wrote his works in French.

He mentioned the famous tapestry in the museum in Zürich.

It depicts a treaty made with one of the French kings, and shows the French in gorgeous dresses and robes, and the Swiss delegation in top hats and black coats, like a collection of elders – ‘Nothing outside, it was all inside, and they were very clever, very cunning.

It is the best summary of French and Swiss psychology – you get the whole thing.

You have to know these things to understand the psychology of French patients.’

He was in Paris for months but never got to know a French family.

There were plenty of students, but no meeting them outside the lecture rooms.

The French would be very polite if you were buying something from them or if they wanted something from you; otherwise all was on the surface.

They were like that before the Revolution.

Then came Napoleon and La Grande Armée – but still on top, and everyone else nowhere.

They are like that still, so they make wonderful dresses to sell – all on the surface.

It was totally different when he went to London and lived in a little hotel near the British Museum.

He showed me a letter from an American patient whom he had treated for a schizophrenic breakdown over twenty years ago.

She wrote: ‘You told me at the time that it, the break, was my one big chance, and I thought you were only trying to give me the courage to fight through.

But you were right, and I have the proof of it now.

However, if I hadn’t had the great fortune to get to you, that break would have been my complete ending, and none of the good fortune I listed above would have happened.’

This evening we are sitting again in the study, as has been customary all through this visit – C.G. in his chair, reading or playing patience, Ruth reading on the couch, and myself in a chair by the desk with a shaded lamp, writing notes. Very little conversation. ~E.A. Bennet, Conversations with Jung, Pages 166-225