The Tower

Memories Dreams Reflections

Gradually, through my scientific work, I was able toput my fantasies and the contents of the unconscious on a solid footing.Words and paper, however, did not seem real enough to me; something more was needed.

I had to achieve a kind of representation in stone of my innermost thoughts and of the knowledge I had acquired.

Or, to put it another way, I had to make a confession of faith in stone.

That was the beginning of the “Tower,” the house which I built for myself at Bollingen.

It was settled from the start that I would build near the water.

I had always been curiously drawn by the scenic charm of the upper lake of Zurich, and so in 1922 I bought some land in Bollingen.

It is situated in the area of St. Meinrad and is old church land, having formerly belonged to the monastery of St. Gall.

At first I did not plan a proper house, but merely a kind of primitive one-story dwelling. It was to be a round structure with a hearth in the center and bunks along the walls.


I more or less had in mind an African hut where die fire, ringed by a few stones, burns in the middle, and the whole life of the family revolves around this center.


Primitive huts concretize an idea of wholeness, a familial wholeness in which all sorts of small domestic animals likewise participate.


But I altered the plan even during the first stages of building, for I felt it was too primitive.


I realized it would have to be a regular two-story house, not a mere hut crouched on the ground.


So in 1923 the first round house was built, and when it was finished I saw that it had become a suitable dwelling tower.


The feeling of repose and renewal that I had in this tower was intense from the start.


It represented for me the maternal hearth.


But I became increasingly aware that it did not yet express everything that needed saying, that something was still, lacking.


And so, four years later, in 1927, the central structure was added, with a tower-like annex.


After some time had passed again the interval was four years I once more had a feeling of incompleteness.


The building still seemed too primitive to me, and so in 1931 the towerlike annex was extended.


I wanted a room in this tower where I could exist for myself alone.


I had in mind what I had seen in Indian houses, in which there is usually an area though it may be only a corner of a room separated off by a curtain

to which the inhabitants can withdraw.


There they meditate for perhaps a quarter or half an hour, or do Yoga exercises.


Such an area of retirement is essential in India, where people live crowded very close together.


In my retiring room I am by myself. I keep the key with me all the time; no one else is allowed in there except with my permission.


In the course of the years I have done paintings on the walls, and so have expressed all those things which have carried me out of time into seclusion, out of the present into timelessness.


Thus the second tower became for me a place of spiritual concentration.


In 1935 the desire arose in me for a piece of fenced-in land, I needed a larger space that would stand open to the sky and to nature.


And so- once again after an interval of four years I added a courtyard and a loggia by the lake, which formed a fourth element that was separated from the unitary threeness of the house.


Thus a quaternity had arisen, four different parts of  the building, and, moreover, in the course of twelve years.


After my wife’s death in 1955, I felt an inner obligation to become what I myself am.


To put it in the language of the Bollingen house, I suddenly realized that the small central section which crouched so low, so hidden, was myself!


I could no longer hide myself behind the “maternal” and the “spiritual” towers.


So, in that same year, I added an upper story to this section, which represents myself, or my ego-personality.


Earlier, I would not have been able to do this; I would have regarded it as presumptuous self-emphasis.


Now it signified an extension of consciousness achieved in old age.


With that the building was complete.


I had started the first tower in 1923, two months after the death of my mother.


These two dates are meaningful because the Tower, as we shall see, is connected with the dead.


From the beginning I felt the Tower as in some way a pkce of maturation a maternal womb or a maternal figure in which I could become what I was, what I am and will be.


It gave me a feeling as if I were being reborn in stone.


It is thus a concretization of the incjividuation process, a memorial aere perennius.


During the building work, of course, I never considered these matters.


I built the house in sections, always following the concrete needs of the moment.


It might also be said that I built,


it in a kind of dream.


Only afterward did I see how all the parts fitted together and that a meaningful form had resulted: a symbol of psychic wholeness.


At Bollingen I am in the midst of my true life, I am most deeply myself.


Here I am, as it were, the “age-old son of the mother.”


That is how alchemy puts it, very wisely, for the “old man/* the “ancient,” whom I had already experienced as a child, is personality No. 2, who has always been and always will be.


He exists outside time and is the son of the maternal unconscious.


In my fantasies he took the form of Philemon, and he comes to life again at Bollingen.


At times I feel as if I am spread out over the landscape and inside things, and am myself living in every tree, in the plashing of the waves, in the clouds and the animals that come and go,


in the procession of the seasons.


There is nothing in the Tower that has not grown into its own form over the decades, nothing with which I am not linked.


Here everything has its history, and mine; here is space for the spaceless kingdom of the world’s and the psyche’s hinterland.


I have done without electricity, and tend the fireplace and stove myself.


Evenings, I light the old lamps.


There is no running water, and I pump the water from the well.


I chop the wood and cook the food.


These simple acts make man simple; and how difficult it is to be simple!


In Bollingen, silence surrounds me almost audibly, and I live “in modest harmony with nature.”


Thoughts rise to the surface which reach back into the centuries, and accordingly anticipate a remote future.


Here the torment of creation is lessened; creativity and play are close together.


In 1950 I made a kind of monument out of stone to express what the Tower means to me.


The story of how this stone came to me is a curious one.


I needed stones for building the enclosing wall for the so-called garden, and ordered them from the quarry near Bollingen.


I was standing by when the mason gave all the measurements to the owner of the quarry, who wrote them down in his notebook.


When the stones arrived by ship and were unloaded, it turned out that the cornerstone had altogether the wrong measurements; instead of a triangular stone, a square block had been sent: a perfect cube of much larger dimensions than had been ordered, about twenty inches thick.


The mason was furious and told the barge men to take it right back with them.


But when I saw the stone, I said, “No, that is my stone, I must have it”


For I had seen at once that it suited me perfectly and that I wanted to do something with it.


Only I did not yet know what.


The first thing that occurred to me was a Latin verse by the alchemist Arnaldus de Villanova (died 1313).


I chiseled this into the stone; in translation it goes:


Here stands the mean, uncomely stone,

“Tis very cheap in price!

The more it is despised by fools,

The more loved by the wise.

This verse refers to the alchemist’s stone, the lapis, which is

despised and rejected.


Soon something else emerged.


I began to see on the front face, in the natural structure of the stone, a small circle, a sort of eye, which looked at me.


I chiseled it into the stone, and in the center made a tiny homunculus.


This corresponds to the ‘Tittle doll” (pupilla) yourself which you see in the pupil of another’s eye; a kind of Kabir, or the Telesphoros of Asklepios.


Ancient statues show him wearing a hooded cloak and carrying a lantern.


At the same time he is a pointer of the way.


I dedicated a few words to him which came into my mind while I was working.


The inscription is in Greek; the translation goes:


Time is a child playing like a child playing a board game the kingdom of the child. This is Telesphoros, who roams through the dark regions of this cosmos and glows like a star out of the depths. He points the way to the gates of the sun and to the land of dreams.


These words came to me one after the other while I worked on the stone.


On the third face, the one facing the lake, I let the stone itself speak, as it were, in a Latin inscription.


These sayings are more or less quotations from alchemy.


This is the translation:


I am an orphan, alone; nevertheless I am found everywhere. I am one, but opposed to myself. I am youth and old man at one and the same time. I have known neither father nor mother, because I have had to be fetched out of the deep like a fish, or fell like a white stone from heaven. In woods and mountains I roam, but I am hidden in the innermost soul of man. I am mortal for everyone, yet I am not touched by the cycle of aeons.


In conclusion, under the saying of Arnaldus de Villanova, I set down in Latin the words “In remembrance of his seventyfifth birthday C. G. Jung made and placed this here as a thanks offering, in the year 1950.”


When the stone was finished, I looked at it again and again, wondering about it and asking myself what lay behind my impulse to carve it.


The stone stands outside the Tower, and is like an explanation of it. It is a manifestation of the occupant, but one which remains incomprehensible to others.


Do you know what I wanted to chisel into the back face of the stone? “Le cri de Merlinr


For what the stone expressed reminded me of Merlin’s life in the forest, after he had vanished from the world.


Men still hear his cries, so the legend runs, but they cannot understand or interpret them.


Merlin represents an attempt by the medieval unconscious to create a parallel figure to Parsifal. Parsifal is a Christian hero, and Merlin, son of the devil and a pure virgin, is his dark brother.


In the twelfth century, when the legend arose, there were as yet no premises by which his intrinsicf meaning could be understood.


Hence he ended in exile, and hence e’le cri de Merlin which still sounded from the forest after his death.


This cry that no one could understand implies that he lives on in unredeemed form.


His story is not yet finished, and he still walks abroad.


It might be said that the secret of Merlin was carried on by alchemy, primarily in the figure of Mercurius.


Then Merlin was taken up again in my psychology of the unconscious and remains uncomprehended to this day!


That is because most people find it quite beyond them to live on close terms with the unconscious.


Again and again I have had to learn howhard this is for people.


I was in Bollingen just as the first tower was being finished.


This was the winter of 1923-24.


As far as I can recall, there was no snow on the ground; perhaps it was early spring. I had been alone perhaps for a week, perhaps longer.


An indescribable stillness prevailed.


One evening I can still remember it precisely I was sitting by the fireplace and had put a big kettle on the fire to make hot water for washing up.


The water began to boil and the kettle to sing.


It sounded like many voices, or stringed instruments, or even like a whole orchestra.


It was just like polyphonic music, which in reality I cannot abide, though in this case it seemed to me peculiarly interesting.


It was as though there were one orchestra inside the Tower and another one outside.


Now one dominated, now the other, as though they were responding to each other, I sat and listened, fascinated.


For far more than an hour I listened to the concert, to this natural melody.


It was soft music, containing, as well, all the discords of nature.


And that was right, for nature is not only harmonious; she is also dreadfully contradictory and chaotic.


The music was that way too: an outpouring of sounds, having the quality of water and of wind so strange that it is simply impossible to describe it.


On another such still night when I was alone in Bollingen (it was in the late winter or early spring of 1924) I awoke to the sound of soft footsteps going around the Tower.


Distant music sounded, coming closer and closer, and then I heard voices laughing and talking.


I thought, ‘Who can be prowling around? What is this all about? There is only the little footpath along the lake, and scarcely anybody ever walks on it!”


While I was thinking these things I became wide awake, and went to the window.


I opened the shutters all was still.


There was no one in sight, nothing to be heard no wind nothing nothing at all.


“This is really strange,** I thought.


I was certain that the footsteps, the laughter and talk, had been real.


But apparently I had only been dreaming.


I returned to bed and mulled over the way we can deceive ourselves after all, and what might have been the cause of such a strange dream.


In the midst of this, I fell asleep again and at once the same dream began: once more I heard footsteps, talk, laughter, music.


At the same time I had a visual image of several hundred dark-clad figures, possibly peasant boys in their Sunday clothes, who had come down from

the mountains and were pouring in around the Tower, on both sides, with a great deal of loud trampling, laughing, singing, and playing of accordions.


Irritably, I thought, “This is really the limit! I thought it was a dream and now it turns out to be reality!”


At this point, I woke up. Once again I jumped up, opened the window and shutters, and found everything just the same as before: a deathly still moonlit night.


Then I thought: “Why, this is simply a case of haunting!”


Naturally I asked myself what it meant when a dream was so insistent on its reality and at the same time on my being awake.


Usually we experience that only when we see a ghost.


Being awake means perceiving reality.


The dream therefore represented a situation equivalent to reality, in which it created a kind of wakened state. In this sort of dream, as opposed to

ordinary dreams, the unconscious seems bent on conveying a powerful impression of reality to the dreamer, an impression which is emphasized by repetition.


The sources of such realities are known to be physical sensations on the one hand, and archetypal figures on the other.


That night everything was so completely real, or at least seemed to be so, that I could scarcely sort out the two realities.


Nor could I make anything of the dream itself.


What was the meaning of these music-making peasant boys passing by in a long procession?


It seemed to me tiiey had come out of curiosity, in order to look at the Tower.


Never again did I experience or dream anything similar, and I cannot recall ever having heard of a parallel to it.


It was only much later that I found an explanation.


This was when I came across the seventeenth-century Lucerne chronicle by Rennward Cysat.


He tells the following story: On a high pasture of Mount Pilatus, which is particularly notorious for spooks it is said that Wotan to this day practices his magic arts there Cysat, while climbing the mountain, was disturbed one night by a procession of men who poured past his hut on both sides, playing music and singing precisely what I had experienced at the Tower.


The next morning Cysat asked the herdsman with whom he had spent that night what could have been the meaning pf it.


The man had a ready explanation: those must be the departed folk sdlig Ltit, in Swiss dialect; the phrase also means blessed folk namely, Wotan’s army of departed souls.


These, he said, were in the habit of walking abroad and showing themselves.


It may be suggested that this is a phenomenon of solitude, the outward emptiness and silence being compensated by the image of a crowd of people.


This would put it in the same class with the hallucinations of hermits, which are likewise compensatory.


But do we know what realities such stories may be  founded on?


It is also possible that I had been so sensitized by the solitude that I was able to perceive the procession of “departed folk” who passed by.


The explanation of this experience as a psychic compensation never entirely satisfied me, and to say that it was a hallucination seemed to me to beg the question.


I felt obliged to consider the possibility of its reality, especially in view of the seventeenth century account which had come my way.


It would seem most likely to have been a synchronistic phenomenon.


Such phenomena demonstrate that premonitions or visions very often have some correspondence in external reality.


There actually existed, as I discovered, a real parallel to my experience.


In the Middle Ages just such gatherings of young men took place.


These were the Reislaufer (mercenaries) who usually assembled in spring, marched from Central Switzerland to Locarno, met at the Casa di Ferro in Minusio and then marched on together to Milan.


In Italy they served as soldiers, fighting for foreign princes.


My vision, therefore, might have been one of these gatherings which took place regularly each spring when the young men, with singing and jollity, bade farewell to their native land.


When we began to build at Bollingen in 1923, my eldest daughter came to see the spot, and exclaimed,


What, you’re building here? There are .corpses about!”


Naturally I thought, “Ridiculous! Nothing of the sort!”


But when we were constructing the annex four years later, we did come upon a skeleton.


It lay at a depth of seven feet in the ground.


An old rifle bullet was imbedded in the elbow.


From various indications it seemed evident that the body had been thrown into the grave in an advanced state of decay.


It belonged to one of the many dozens of French soldiers who were drowned in the Linth in 1799 and were later washed up on the shores of the Upper Lake.


These men were drowned when the Austrians blew up the bridge of Grynau which the French were storming.


A photograph of the open grave with the skeleton and the date of its discovery August 22, 1927 is preserved at the Tower.


I arranged a regular burial on my property, and fired a gun three times over the soldier’s grave.


Then I set up a gravestone with an inscription for him.


My daughter had sensed the presence of the dead body.


Her power to sense such things is something she inherits from my grandmother on my mother’s side.


In the winter of 1955-56 I chiseled the names of my paternal ancestors on three stone tablets and placed them in the courtyard of the Tower.


I painted the ceiling with motifs from my own and my wife’s arms, and from those of my sons-in-law.


The Jung family originally had a phoenix for its arms, the bird obviously being connected with “young,” “youth,” “rejuvenation.”


My grandfather changed the elements of the arms, probably out of a spirit of resistance toward his father.


He was an ardent Freemason and Grand Master of the Swiss lodge.


This had a good deal to do with the changes he made in the armorial bearings.


I mention this point, in itself of no consequence, because it belongs in the historical nexus of my thinking and my life.


In keeping with this revision of my grandfather’s, my coat of arms no longer contains the original phoenix.


Instead there is a cross azure in chief dexter and in base sinister a blue bunch of grapes in a field d’or; separating these is an estoile d’or in a fess



The symbolism of these arms is Masonic, or Rosicrucian.


Just as cross and rose represent the Rosicrucian problem of opposites (“per crucem ad rosam”), that is, the Christian and Dionysian elements, so cross and grapes are symbols of the heavenly and the chthonic spirit.


The uniting symbol is the gold star, the aurum philosophorum.


The Rosicrucians derived from Hermetic or alchemical philosophy.


One of their founders was Michael Maier (1568-1622), a well-known alchemist and younger contemporary of the relatively unknown but more important Gerardus Dorneus (end of the sixteenth century), whose treatises fill the first volume of the Theatrum Chemicum of 1602.


The two men lived in Frankfurt, which seems to have been a center of alchemical philosophy at the time.


In any case, as Count Palatine and court physician to Rudolph II, Michael Maier was something of a local celebrity.


In neighboring Mainz at that time lived Dr. med. et. jur. Carl Jung (died 1654), of whom nothing else is known, since the family tree breaks off with my great-great-grandfather who lived at the beginning of the eighteenth century.


This was Sigmund Jung, a civis Moguntinus, citizen of Mainz.


The hiatus is due to the fact that the municipal archives of Mainz were burned in the course of a siege during the War of the Spanish Succession.


It is a safe surmise that this evidently learned Dr. Carl Jung was familiar with the writings of the two alchemists, for the pharmacology of the day was still very much under the influence of Paracelsus.


Dorneus was an outspoken Paracelsist and even composed a voluminous commentary on the Paracelsan treatise, De Vita Longa.


He also, more than all the other alchemists, dealt with the process of individuation.


In view of the fact that a large part of my life work has revolved around the study of the problem of opposites, and especially their alchemical symbolism, all this is not without a certain interest.


When I was working on the stone tablets, I became aware of the fateful links between me and my ancestors.


I feel very strongly that I am under the influence of things or questions which were left incomplete and unanswered by my parents and grandparents and more distant ancestors.


It often seems as if there were an impersonal karma within a family, which is passed on from parents to children.


It has always seemed to me that I had to answer questions which fate had posed to my forefathers, and which had not yet been answered, or as if I had to complete, or perhaps continue, things which previous ages had left unfinished.


It is difficult to determine whether these questions are more of a personal or more of a general (collective) nature.


It seems to me that the latter is the case.


A collective problem, if not recognized as such, always appears as a personal problem, and in individual cases may give the impression that something is out of order in the realm of the personal psyche.


The personal sphere is indeed disturbed, but such disturbances need not be primary; they may well be secondary, the consequence of an insupportable change in the social atmosphere.


The cause of disturbance is, therefore, not to be sought in the personal surroundings, but rather in the collective situation.


Psychotherapy has hitherto taken this matter far too little into account.


Like anyone who is capable of some introspection, I had early taken it for granted that the split in my personality was my own purely personal affair and responsibility.


Faust, to be sure, had made the problem somewhat easier for me by confessing, “Two souls, alas, are housed within my breast”; but he had thrown no light on the cause of this dichotomy.


His insight seemed, in a sense, directed straight at me.


In the days when I first read Faust I could not remotely guess the extent to which Goethe’s strange heroic myth was a collective experience and that it prophetically anticipated the fate of the Germans.


Therefore I felt personally implicated, and when Faust, in his hubris and self-inflation, caused the murder of Philemon and Baucis, I felt guilty, quite as if I myself in the past had helped commit the murder of the two old people.


This strange idea alarmed me, and I regarded it as my responsibility to atone for this crime, or to prevent its repetition.


My false conclusion was further supported by a bit of odd information that I picked up during those early years, I heard that it had been bruited about that my grandfather Jung had been an illegitimate son of Goethe’s.


This annoying story made an impression upon me insofar as it at once corroborated and seemed to explain my curious reactions to Faust.


It is true that I did not believe in reincarnation, but I was instinctively familiar with that concept which the Indians call karma.


Since in those days I had no idea of the existence of the unconscious, I could not have had any psychological understanding of my reactions.


I also did not know no more than, even today, it is generally known that the future is unconsciously prepared long in advance and therefore can be guessed by clairvoyants.


Thus, when the news arrived o the crowning of Kaiser Wilhelm I at Versailles, Jakob Burckhardt exclaimed, “That is the doom of Germany.”


The archetypes of Wagner were already knocking at the gates, and along with them came the Dionysian experience of Nietzsche which might better be ascribed to the god of ecstasy, Wotan.


The hubris of the Wilhelmine era alienated Europe and paved the way for the disaster of 1914.


In my youth (around 1890) I was unconsciously caught up by this spirit of the age, and had no methods at hand for extricating myself from it.


Faust struck a chord in me and pierced me through in a way that I could not but regard as personal.


Most of all, it awakened in me the problem of opposites, of good and evil, of mind and matter, of light and darkness, Faust, the inept, purblind philosopher, encounters the dark side of his being, his sinister shadow, Mephistopheles, who in spite of his negating disposition represents the true spirit of life as against the arid scholar who hovers on the brink of suicide.


My own inner contradictions appeared here in dramatized form; Goethe had written virtually a basic outline and pattern of my own conflicts

and solutions.


The dichotomy of Faust-Mephistopheles came together within myself into a single person, and I was that person.


In other words, I was directly struck, and recognized that this was my fate.


Hence, all the crises of the drama affected me personally; at one point I had passionately to agree, at another to oppose.


No solution could be a matter of indifference to me.


Later I consciously linked my work to what Faust had passed over: respect for the eternal rights of man, recognition of “the ancient,” and the continuity of culture and intellectual history.


Our souls as well as our bodies are composed of individual elements which were all already present in the ranks of our ancestors.


The “newness” in the individual psyche is an endlessly varied recombination of age-old components.


Body and soul therefore have an intensely historical character and find no proper place in what is new, in things that have just come into



That is to say, our ancestral components are only partly at home in such things.


We are very far from having finished completely with the Middle Ages, classical antiquity, and primitivity, as our modern psyches pretend.


Nevertheless, we have plunged down a cataract of progress which sweeps us on into the future with ever wilder violence the farther it takes us

from our roots.


Once the past has been breached, it is usually annihilated, and there is no stopping the forward motion.


But it is precisely the loss of connection with the past, our uprootedness, which has given rise to the “discontents” of civilization and to such a flurry and haste that we live more in the future and its chimerical promises of a golden age than in the present, with which our whole evolutionary background has not yet caught up.


We rush impetuously into novelty, driven by a mounting sense of insufficiency, dissatisfaction, and restlessness.


We no longer live on what we have, but on promises, no longer in the light of the present day, but in the darkness of the future, which, we expect, will at last bring the proper sunrise.


We refuse to recognize that everything better is purchased at the price of something worse; that, for example, the hope of greater freedom is canceled out by increased enslavement to the state, not to speak of the terrible perils to which the most brilliant discoveries of science expose us.


The less we understand of what our fathers and forefathers sought, the less we understand ourselves, and thus we help with all our might to rob the individual of his roots and his guiding instincts, so that he becomes a particle in the mass, ruled only by what Nietzsche called the spirit of gravity.


Reforms by advances, that is, by new methods or gadgets, are of course impressive at first, but in the long run they are dubious and in any case dearly paid for.


They by no means increase the contentment or happiness of people on the whole.


Mostly, they are deceptive sweetenings of existence, like speedier communications which unpleasantly accelerate the tempo of life and leave us with less time than ever before.


Omnis festinatio ex parte diaboli est all haste is of the devil, as the old masters used to say.


Reforms by retrogressions, on die other hand, are as a rule less expensive and in addition more lasting, for they return to the simpler, tried and tested ways of the past and make the sparsest use of newspapers, radio, television, and all supposedly timesaving innovations.


In this book I have devoted considerable space to my subjective view of the world, which, however, is, not a product of rational thinking.


It is rather a vision such as will come to one who undertakes, deliberately, with half-closed eyes and somewhat closed ears, to see and hear the form and voice of being.


If our impressions are too distinct, we are held to the hour and minute of the present and have no way of knowing how our ancestral psyches listen to and understand the present in other words, how our unconscious is responding to it.


Thus we remain ignorant of whether our ancestral components find an elementary gratification in our lives, or whether they are repelled.


Inner peace and contentment depend in large measure upon whether or not the historical family which is inherent in the individual can be harmonized with the ephemeral conditions of the present.


In the Tower at Bollingen it is as if one lived in many centuries simultaneously.


The place will outlive me, and in its location and style it points backward to things of long ago.


There is very little about it to suggest the present.


If a man of the sixteenth century were to move into the house, only the kerosene lamp and the matches would be new to him; otherwise, he would know his way about without difficulty.


There is nothing to disturb the dead, neither electric light nor telephone.


Moreover, my ancestors’ souls are sustained by the atmosphere of the house, since I answer for them the questions that their lives once left behind.


I carve out rough answers as best I can.


I have even drawn them on the walls.


It is as if a silent, greater family, stretching down the centuries, were peopling the house.


There I live in my second personality and see life in the round, as something forever coming into being and passing on.  ~Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections, Pages 223-237