Bess Bolton: Memory of Toni Wolff

I went to Zurich to study at the C. G. Jung Institute.

It was in one of the lectures that I heard about using active imagination, as well as one’s dreams , to get in touch with the unconscious.

With Miss Wolff’s support and encouragement I was able to seek guidance from this introverted activity. It was in following this activity that I first met the tortoise.

Ever since he has served as a meaningful reminder of that significant experience.

These excerpts are statements of Dr. Jung’s from a seminar, “Dream Analysis.”

“There is a high mythical symbolism connected with the tortoise . . . a tortoise is a most fundamental being- the basic instinct that
carries our whole psychological world, because the world is our psychology, our view .. . .

“The characteristics of the tortoise are the characteristics of the transcendent function, the one that unites the pairs of opposites.

“It is the reconciliation of the pair of opposites. From this reconciliation, there is always a new thing created, a new thing realized.

That is the transcendent function, and that is the tortoise. And the new thing is always strange to the old thing …. So the result of the
transcendent function is as strange to us as the turtle is.” When I stopped dreaming of the tortoise I felt bereft.
How fortunate I was to have worked with Toni Wolff. She was dignified and quiet.

My original image of her was a rather tall, very serious, erect, straight-backed woman-the way she always sat in her chair.

Later I saw her as a comforting, warm, gentle, relating person.

The maid would bring a cup of tea-just one, for Miss Wolff but never two. I was wilting, but there was no tea for me. Bess Bolton, J.E.T., Page 10