Letters Volume II

To H. J. Barrett

Dear Mr. Barrett, 1956

Sorry to be so late with my answer, but as I beat you by ten years I am presumably ten times slower than you.

Your letter not only interested but also impressed me.

The choice of your wives was characteristic.

They were temporary incarnations of what I call your anima.

I don’t know whether you are so far acquainted with my writings that you know about the female archetype each man carries in his unconscious.

The Middle Ages already knew about this peculiar psychic fact and said:o mnis vir feminam suam secum portat. [“Each man carries his woman with him.”]

In practice it means that the woman of your choice represents your own task you did not understand.

There is a certain creative ability which apparently is not accompanied
by a corresponding technical gift.

Such people are pretty frequent and cannot understand that the creative man has to create and make visible in spite of the fact that he cannot do it properly.

He may be a painter who cannot paint or a musician who cannot compose, Not even play the piano.

But he ought to do it nevertheless like the Jongleur de Notre Dame and ad maiorem Dei gloriam.

Your wives were “unfortunately” (for you) gifted enough to carry out what you should have done in an incompetent way, but you were too rational and also too intelligent to waste your time on an apparently thankless task.

But there has always been the creative urge in you-at peace as long as the marriage functioned, as it was taken care of then, but appearing all by itself in a useless explosive form, namely as knockings and raps and such things after the death of your second wife.

It then became urgent for you to realize the pressure of the unconscious and its desire to produce immediately with the humble means at your disposal.

Never mind the imperfections of technique; the contents wanting to come to light are the thing that matters.

How psychic energy can transform itself into physically sound phenomena is a problem in itself. I don’t know how it is done. We only know that it is done.

This is the non-spiritualistic explanation which I prefer in such cases.

It has to my mind the great advantage of bringing the problem home to the living individual.

Sincerely yours,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 321-322