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

Visit to Zürich on the occasion of C.G.’s eightieth birthday.

Saturday, 23rd July 1955

To Zürich.

Met there by C.G., and then to the Seestrasse in Küsnacht for lunch which was followed by the Jung family celebration of his birthday, in which I joined.

The celebration was a family boat trip on the Stafa from Zürich to Schmerikon; the lake is 43 kilometres long.

There were thirty eight people on board – so many boys and grandchildren; the two little great grandchildren
came to Küsnacht but were too young to come on the boat.

Ruth Bailey and myself were the only people present who were not members of the Jung family.

One of the little grandsons stood up completely freely and cheerfully and made a speech to C.G.; he had it typed out and delivered it splendidly.

Later we had a quiz, Fragebogen, with all the questions about C.G.

All the time there were wonderful refreshments, wine, game and fruit ad lib.

We alighted at Ufenau, the island near Rapperswil, and went to the church.

This island belongs to the monastery at Einsiedeln and they have given C.G. permission to visit it.

It is famous as the place where Hutten, a friend of Luther’s, spent his last years and died.

There are two churches, both old; the larger of the two is Norman, about a thousand years old, but it was closed.

Then we continued up the lake and opposite C.G.’s Tower at Bollingen three of his grandsons dived off the ship from the roof over the deck, quite unexpectedly.

The ship swung round and stopped, and they climbed on board again amid cheers.

As they dived two fish eagles flew over high up.

Then we went on to Schmerikon, to the Hotel Bad where I have stayed on several visits.

The host was Herr Kuster, and in the ‘cellar’, or lower room, a feast was prepared.

Upstairs there was a wedding party.

We had a wonderful dinner, interspersed with incidents.

To begin with C.G.’s son-in-law, Fritz Baumann, made a speech which evoked great applause; then various groups of grandchildren ‘did’ items, such as enacting details of the life at Bollingen, and there were plenty of family jokes.

Another ‘act’ was a simulated mixture, or mix-up, of four ‘radio programmes’: four of the children, two boys and two girls, came and stood in front of C.G. and Mrs. Jung and did a turn.

Each was giving, in his or her act, a radio programme; one was on philosophy, one on farming, one (I think) on housekeeping, and one on Analytical Psychology.

These ‘programmes’, of course, got mixed up with amusing complications.

Then from the floor, on a large dish, they lifted a huge ham and presented it to C.G. who drew out his familiar pocket knife and cut some slices from it.

He always carried this knife.

The children did their acts extraordinarily well; they entered into the spirit of it all very naturally and their spontaneity impressed me very much.

Sunday, 24th July 1955

Chat in the morning with C.G. after breakfast.

He mentioned the witch doctor at Bollingen, whose house on the hill we had seen from the boat yesterday.

The witch doctor has a very ancient book which was given to him by a monk of Einsiedeln who liked him when he was a boy.

It is a reprint of an older volume, and contains the so-called sixth and seventh books of Moses.

This is a spurious writing which contains black magic and incantations about witches.

The witch doctor calms people, and so helps them.

C.G. saw him at work once on a farm.

The farmer and his two sons stood at the corner of the big barn, and the witch doctor stood at the other.

He had his prayer book and read, and he wore a blue ribbon round his neck; C.G. could not get near enough to see what was hung on the ribbon as he had to stay more or less unnoticed at the side.

Monday, 25th July 1955

C.G.J.’s eightieth birthday Celebration

There was a reception at 10.30 a.m. in the Dolder Grand Hotel; I went with Barbara Hannah.

The notice in the hotel hall was ‘Cocktail Party 10.30’!

We had some drinks and the place was crowded with people at little tables.

There were speeches by C. A. Meier and others, then the presentation of the Festschrift and of the Codex Jung, followed by more speeches.

The Rector of Basel University spoke, and so did Baudouin from Lausanne – nice speech. He mentioned the old Swiss custom of erecting a small pine tree decorated with ribbons on a building, when the structure has reached the point when it is possible to put the roof on; then there is a feast.

This occasion was like that; Jung’s building had gone up to its present height and had taken shape, but it was not yet complete and much may still be added.

We returned for lunch at the Seestrasse, and I chatted with Ruth Bailey in the garden afterwards while C.G. and Mrs. Jung rested.

Later in the afternoon we all talked after tea, sitting round. C.G. was very pleased with the seal I had given him.

This was two days ago, and since then he had kept it in his pocket.

With it, in the same chamois leather bag, he had a little jade Chinese wishing wheel (it looked eighteenth century and was celadon jade with a movable centre).

While we were talking he had the seal in his hand and was looking at it with Mrs. Jung; he said she must get a yellow silk cord to hang it on and pointed out that the stone had been selected because of its dual colour, to carry the idea of the opposites.

In the evening the big dinner was held.

About seventy-five people were there.

To my great surprise I was placed at C.G.’s right hand at the main table; on my right was his daughter, Mrs. Marianne Niehus.

There were ten people at this big round table; Mrs. Jung was there also, with Michael Fordham to her right.

There were several speeches at the dinner, including one from the Mayor of Zürich, and a lot of jokes about the relative merits of Basel and Zürich, and some allusions to Berne.

Wednesday, 26th July 1955 This was C.G.’s actual birthday.

We had a meeting in the morning at the Institute4 regarding the formation of the International Association for Analytical Psychology.

In the afternoon there was a trip on the lake on a chartered steamer; about two hundred people were there.

To everyone’s joy and surprise C.G., with Ruth Bailey, joined the ship at Meilen; they left it again at Rapperswil.

Many had been sure they had seen C.G. in the garden of his house as the ship passed, but this could not have been the case.

On the return journey I left the ship at Küsnacht (having nearly got left behind on the boat) with a big bunch of flowers and a stick with ‘8o’ carved on it for C.G. – Meier threw a bottle to me from the deck, which I caught; I chucked it back to Fowler McCormick and he also caught it – great cheers.

I was given a lift to the Jungs’ house and on arrival found the local band of Küsnacht playing in the garden.

There were about twenty players with the usual instruments, brass and others.

As they played some of the family party danced; C.G. danced twice, once with his wife and again with one of his daughters.

Later he told me, ‘I never thought I would dance again!’

He was in great form.

When the band dispersed we went into the house, and for a couple of hours or more there followed the most wonderful evening.

Seven or eight of the Jungs’ children and grandchildren sang and played; a niece, Frau Homberger, played the piano and her husband sang with the others.

Several of the grandsons were very lively, entering into the spirit of the occasion.

Then some left, and C.G. went out and returned with a selection of gramophone records; they were all of Negro spirituals.

One of his grandsons worked the gramophone and C.G. sat beside it, listening and nodding his head in time with the music.

Eventually, at about midnight, the party came to an end; it was a remarkable and impressive family evening.

27th July 1955

In the garden, writing about the birthday proceedings for the B.M.J. Several talks with C.G. …

In the evening Franz Riklin took me to Meilen for the first meeting of the provisional committee of the proposed International Association; this we held in a hotel in Meilen overlooking the lake.

There were a few discordant elements which stemmed from the London group, and one or two people took a very negative attitude.

Riklin and Meier were amazed, but I was not.

Returned to the Jungs’ house at 1 a.m., brought by Riklin.

28th July 1955

Moved to the Waldhaus Dolder Hotel.

At noon Fowler McCormick called for me.

I was sorry to go, for it had been one of the most eventful visits to the Jungs I had had.

Mrs. Jung said I must certainly stay with them when I come over to lecture next February; and C.G. also said warmly, ‘Well, goodbye, and be sure to come back soon.’

Fowler McCormick took me to Schaffhausen, where we had an excellent lunch and then visited the Rhine Falls.

He has an Oldsmobile car and we had a lovely drive in sunny weather.

29th July 1955

At the Waldhaus Dolder.

Went into town in the morning, shopping; called at Rolf Hofer’s office and got his secretary to type a short article on Jung for the B.M.J.

She did this and posted it for the evening air mail to get to London on Saturday morning.

No lunch; but tea with Fowler McCormick at the Congress House.


McCormick talked of synchronicity, and then mentioned two of his dreams in which he had been impressed by the time element, for in both a later event carried the dream further, and it was immediately linked in his mind with the dream.

The most striking of these was a dream in which he saw two aeroplanes weaving a cord (or rope) in the sky in such a way that they joined Europe and America.

He saw this as a commentary upon his life, divided between the continents and somehow coming together, for he is constantly passing from one to the other. ~E.A. Bennet, Conversations with Jung, Pages 130-143