The Mysterium Coniunctionis 1952–1955
After Aion, Answer to Job, and the long article on synchronicity had been written, the decks were clear for Jung to devote himself to his opus magnum, his goal ever since he had finished Psychology and Alchemy. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 224
It was only after he had completed the preliminary books that he wrote the sixth and last part on the coniunctio itself, the section which contains the essence of the book.
As mentioned before, he wrote the greater part of the earlier five sections before his illness in 1944.
He did add to and deepen the thought in some places, but the “new formulation” of the union of opposites “took shape” only in the sixth and final part.
In 1952, however, he sustained a great loss in the sphere of his work. Marie-Jeanne Schmid, who had been his secretary for over twenty years, left him in the autumn in order to get married. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 224
In the nine subsequent years that passed before his death, Jung had three other secretaries, but none of them was able to settle into his work and life as Marie-Jeanne had done. This was not the fault of the subsequent secretaries; they simply did not have the advantages which Marie-Jeanne possessed. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 224
Another difficulty—especially for the first—was that whereas Marie-Jeanne had always stayed all day and had consequently done full-time work, Jung decided when she left that, as he was now doing so little analytical work, it was not necessary for him to have more than a half-day secretary.
It was quite true, of course, that there was much less work than before, but it must have been very difficult, if not impossible, for the new secretaries to keep up Marie- Jeanne’s standards with only half the time at their disposal.
And though Marie-Jeanne, as an old family friend, fitted in very well at lunch every day, it would not have been so easy for a comparative stranger to do the same; Jung therefore did not attempt it, which was another reason for limiting the secretary’s work to a half-day.
Fate had a much worse blow in store for him before he could finish the Mysterium Coninuctionis. In the early spring of 1953 he suffered a most unexpected and poignant sorrow: Toni Wolff died as suddenly as her father had done over forty years earlier, on March 21. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 224
As Jung said to me later: “Toni was thirteen years younger than I am and I never seriously considered the possibility that she could die before me.” ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 224
He had, it is true, been seriously disturbed by one dream of hers and two of his own concerning her, which occurred seven years before her death, in the spring of 1946 but since the dreams could just as well have pointed to rebirth as to actual death, and since he had done everything he could in interpreting them to her, his alarm had subsided. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 224
Therefore her sudden death was a most unexpected shock and blow to him. Jung had been seriously unwell for a few weeks, but was up and about before the blow fell. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 224
Curiously enough, a short time before Toni died he had told me a dream which had made him decide to give up smoking. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 224
Now, Jung had smoked a great deal all his life, although usually a pipe and never to the extent that Freud had smoked, but to give it up entirely so suddenly must have been exceedingly difficult. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 224
Toni, on the other hand, did undoubtedly smoke too much— about thirty to forty cigarettes a day—and she told me that half of the doctors she had seen had told her it was aggravating her condition and ordered her to give it up, whereas the others said there was no connection. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 224
She preferred to believe the latter.
Jung had urged her for years to reduce it at least, but this was one of the very few pieces of advice she refused to listen to, and she smoked incessantly until the day of her death. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 224
This was not in any way due to weakness of will.
She used to say: “We must have a vice and I have chosen smoking as mine.” ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 225
I believe her to have been completely convinced that her smoking (which seemed excessive to us but not to her) was right for her, whatever it might be for other people. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 225
At all events, I have never seen anyone look more peaceful and fulfilled or so strangely alive than Toni did after death. I found myself asking her old maid, Lena, if she could really be dead, was the doctor sure she was not asleep? ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 225
Toni had apparently been in good health that spring of 1953, except for her terrible arthritis, and though it was the Easter holidays, she had two analysts from England analyzing with her every day.
One of these told me afterward that she had been very disquieted by Toni the day before her death, although Toni had insisted there was nothing wrong.
Toni did, however, walk around to see her doctor after tea.
He apparently found nothing to alarm him.
Lena, who had faithfully been with her for well over twenty years, told me that she ate hardly any supper that night and went to bed directly afterward, a thing Lena had never once known her to do before.
She absolutely refused any attention in the night; when Lena went to call her in the morning she found her dead.
The shock caused a relapse in Jung’s own health; his tachycardia returned, he kept an unusually high pulse for several weeks, and was not well enough to go to the funeral. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 225
Outwardly he kept extremely calm, so that both his wife and his secretary told me they thought he had overcome the shock after a few days, but from my notes for April, 1953, I see that he said himself that his pulse was still between 80 and 120; moreover, this trouble continued for some time. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 225
He had been helped, it is true, by seeing Toni in a dream, which he dreamed on Easter Eve, looking much taller and younger than she had been when she died, and exceedingly beautiful. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 225
She was wearing a frock of all the colors of a bird of paradise, with the wonderful blue of the kingfisher as the most emphasized color.
He saw just her image, there was no action in the dream, and he was especially impressed by having dreamed it on the night of the Resurrection. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 225
Although it took Jung a long time to overcome the shock physically, he was able much sooner to find a psychological attitude to Toni’s death and to accept the pain it gave him. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 225
The strain of not smoking must have been especially hard just then but Jung was sure the craving must be overcome, so he went on doing without for about two months. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 225
Then his doctor remonstrated and said that, since he had smoked all his life, it would be much better for him to smoke in moderation than to give it up altogether. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 225
This is well known to be much more difficult, but from then on until his death, about eight years later, Jung smoked his pipe again, and an occasional cigar, but in strict moderation. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 225
It is an impossible task to give any idea of the essence of the Mysterium Coniunctionis in a few pages.
The earlier chapters are concerned with the components of the coniunctio, and with the endless paradoxes, symbols, and personifications in which the opposites have appeared.
One marvels how Jung ever found the time, even with the assistance of his collaborator, to do the immense research necessary for this work, for it is founded solidly on the texts and there is not one word of speculation in the entire book.
Jung began the last and culminating chapter by crediting Herbert Silberer with having been the first to realize that the coniunctio was the “central idea” of the alchemical procedure.
Alchemy separated the opposites before it tried to unite them, and Jung often pointed to the historical necessity of the Christian religion to put its whole stress on the light and spiritual opposite in order to preserve it at all in the dark state of the world at the time it arose.
He said in this book that “the division into two was necessary in order to bring the ‘one’ world out of the state of potentiality into reality.”
The dark opposite, including matter, was so increasingly rejected by the Church that alchemy, which was always the current beneath the surface and the inner compensation of the outer teaching, was inevitably forced to turn its full attention to saving the dark opposite from oblivion and to uniting it with the light opposite.
The alchemists’ preoccupation with and incessant work on matter in their retorts was, of course, mainly a projection of the then entirely unrecognized unconscious, a fact which a few particularly intelligent alchemists, such as Gerard Dorn, suspected.
As they labored passionately in their retorts, they called up much the same symbols as are produced spontaneously today by the dreams of modem people.
The parallel is so striking that Jung followed the three stages, as they were described by the sixteenth-century Dom, and was able to show exactly the same stages in the individuation process today, for it was this that Dorn found projected into his work in the retort.
The first stage is called the unio mentalis and can be more or less completed by the mind of the alchemist.
He thinks over the whole situation, more or less what we should call intellectually, although his intellect was nothing like as one-sided as ours has become.
Medieval man could easily think of the same veritas being found in God, in man, and in matter.
It was his task to liberate this veritas, sometimes spoken of as a subtle substance, or as the soul, from matter, where it was imprisoned.
Some alchemists, even in very early alchemy, realized that it must first be liberated in themselves before they could achieve it with their substances in the retort.
This first stage of the unio mentalis is really a separation of the spirit from matter and has mainly to be accomplished by the mind, or as we should call it, by becoming conscious of the situation. Jung pointed out that we go through exactly the same stage in analysis.
We call it “becoming conscious of the shadow,” or you could also describe it as becoming conscious of all the turbulent emotions by which we are caught and then learning to separate ourselves from them by knowing them.
As The Secret of the Golden Flower said all those centuries ago: “Indolence which a man knows and indolence he does not know are a thousand miles apart.”
Therefore both in alchemy and analytical psychology the first stage can be achieved primarily by the mind. The alchemists, however, fully realized that this separation of the soul by intellectual effort was not enough. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 226
Jung emphasized that, although Dom expressed this more clearly, he did not discover it, it was known right through the tradition of alchemy.
The objective standpoint that has been gained or, as one could call it, the liberated spirit, must then be reunited with the body, with matter. This stage was represented in alchemy by many symbols, of which perhaps the best known is the “chemical marriage.” ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 226
But the alchemists were not satisfied with representing it as a marriage between man and woman.
It was too far-reaching and mysterious for that.
They used many other symbols, such as the dragon embracing a woman in her grave, two fighting animals, or the king dissolving in water.
They also described this stage as opening a window on eternity.
They tried by repeated distillation to produce an actual sky-blue fluid of the subtlest consistency, which they called their caelum (their heaven).
In analytical psychology this stage consists of making the knowledge we have gained actual by applying it in our daily lives.
Clearly it is no use learning to know our shadow, for instance, if we are not going to draw the conclusions and act upon them.
The goal of this stage could also be called uniting the highest and the lowest in oneself, a gap which was left wide open by Christianity and which alchemy constantly tried to fill. Jung said:
The second stage of conjunction therefore consists in making a reality of the man who has acquired some knowledge of his paradoxical wholeness. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 226
The great difficulty here, however, is that no one knows how the paradoxical wholeness of man can ever be realized. That is the crux of individuation. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 226
Jung went on to say that in this dilemma it is especially worthwhile “to see how the more unencumbered symbolical thinking of a medieval ‘philosopher’ tackled this problem.”
Jung pointed out that no alchemist ever laid claim to having gone beyond the second stage, but he emphasized that how far the alchemist succeeded in his endeavors is really much less important than the fact that he was gripped by the numinous archetype behind his effort, so that he went on trying without interruption throughout his whole life. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 227
Dorn was an exception in that he tried to reach a third stage, which he called the union with the unus mundus.
Dorn did not, however, regard this as the outer world but as the potential one world from which everything was created, and his highest aim was to reunite mankind with this unus mundus, this potential world of the first day of creation when everything was still one. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 227
This is possible only after the soul has been reunited with the body, or the spirit with matter, in the second stage and man, or the content of the retort, has thus become strong and whole enough to stand the impact.
This potential world is the foundation of everything, just as the Self is the basis of the individual and includes its past, present, and future. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 227
“Thethought Dorn expresses by the third degree of conjunction is universal: it is the relation or identity of the personal with the suprapersonal atman, and of the individual Tao with the universal Tao.” ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 227
Western man thinks this a mystical idea because he has no experience of any world except the outer visible world, and he cannot therefore see that the Self enters three-dimensional reality when the ego touches the potential world, the unus mundus.
Jung had just such an experience—as we have seen and often recalled—on the Athi Plains near Nairobi when he saw:
. . . the world as it had always been in the state of non-being. . . . There I was now, the first human being to recognize that this was the world, but who did not know that in this moment he had first really created it. There the cosmic meaning of consciousness became overwhelmingly clear to me.
“What nature leaves imperfect, the art perfects,” say the alchemists. Man, I, in an invisible act of creation put the stamp of perfection on the world by giving it objective existence. This act we usually ascribe to the Creator alone, without considering that in so doing we view life as a machine calculated down to the last detail, which, along with the human psyche, runs on senselessly, obeying foreknown and predetermined rules.
Then Jung thought of his old Pueblo Indian friend and how he had envied his meaningful certainty that he had to help his father the sun to cross the sky each day; and in that moment Jung realized the longed-for myth of our own:
“Human consciousness created objective existence and meaning, and man found his indispensable place in the great process of being. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 227
This was such a moment when the Self cane into reality by the ego entering “into relationship with the world of the first day of creation,” for it was naturally the Self and not the ego that put “the stamp of perfection on the world by giving it objective existence.”
Or, in the language we used when considering this experience of Jung’s before, it was his No. 2 personality, although the experience had to be registered by No. l. The No. 2 personality was called forth and made intensely real by the glimpse Jung had of the world as it was first created, the potential world of the beginning.
The unus mundus showed itself to Jung as he stood there by himself.
Although Dorn saw that man himself had to become one in order to be capable of facing this third stage, he, like all the other alchemists, labored incessantly to produce in his retort the sky blue fluid, and his hope was that he could bring about a union between this subtle substance and the unus mundus and thus complete the third stage.
Jung remarked at the beginning of his chapter on the third stage, “The Unus Mundus,” that Dorn was a “significant exception,” for he realized that the production of the stone, or sky-blue fluid, marked only “the completion of the second stage of conjunction.” ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 227
He pointed out that this agrees with psychological experience, and continued:
For us the representation of the idea of the self in actual and visible form is a mere rite d’ entrée, as it were a propaedeutic action and mere anticipation of its realization. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 228
The existence of a sense of inner security by no means proves that the product will be stable enough to withstand the disturbing or hostile influences of the environment.
The adept had to experience again and again how unfavorable circumstances or a technical blunder or—as it seemed to him—some devilish accident hindered the completion of his work, so that he was forced to start all over again from the very beginning.
Anyone who submits his sense of inner security to analogous psychic tests will have similar experiences.
More than once everything he has built will fall to pieces under the impact of reality, and he must not let this discourage him from examining, again and again, where it is that his attitude is still defective, and what are the blind spots in his psychic field of vision.
Just as a lapis Philosophorum, with its miraculous powers, was never produced, so psychic wholeness will never be attained empirically, as consciousness is too narrow and too one-sided to comprehend the full inventory of the psyche.
Always we shall have to begin again from the beginning.
From ancient times the adept knew that he was concerned with the “res simplex,” and the modem man too will find by experience that the work does not prosper without the greatest simplicity.
But simple things are always the most difficult.
“The One and Simple” is what Dorn called the unus mundus.
This “one world” was the res simplex.
It was just this simplicity that was so evident in Jung himself.
He could always reduce the most complicated situation to simplicity, and the same gift was the secret of his unrivaled dream interpretation.
One was constantly reminded of Columbus and the egg!
But unfortunately, as he said, “simple things are always the most difficult,” and I have never seen anyone else attain the simplicity which was the essence of Jung. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 228
He pointed out that, in spite of the projection, the alchemists had an advantage over us in that they were constantly engaged with matter in their retorts, whereas in psychology we tend to “pale abstractions.”
The alchemist, on the contrary, felt his work to be “a magically effective action which, like the substance itself, imparted magical qualities.”
It is often evident in modem dreams that the trend in the collective unconscious itself is toward a better balance between spirit and matter, a balance that was maintained throughout the Middle Ages, when Christianity became more and more spiritual, by the undercurrent of the alchemists working passionately in their retorts.
When the alchemistic current ceased, the archetype itself seems to have moved Pope Piux XII, impressed by the many dreams and visions of simple people, to produce a new blossom on the Christian surface which even raises a symbol of matter—Mother Mary’s body—to the level of the Godhead. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 228
Jung never tired of pointing out the vital importance of the new dogma, and in Mysterium Coniunctionis he went into it particularly deeply.
For example, he said that for more than a thousand years, the alchemists prepared the ground for the dogma of the Assumption, which is
. . .really a wedding feast, the Christian version of the hierosgamos, whose originally incestuous nature played a great role in alchemy. The traditional incest always indicated that the supreme union of opposites expressed a combination of things which are related but of unlike nature. . . . Alchemy throws a bright light on the background of the dogma, for the new article of faith expressed in symbolic form exactly what the adepts recognized as being the secret of their conjunctio. The correspondence is indeed so great that the old Masters could legitimately have declared that the new dogma has written the Hermetic secret in the skies. Page 229
Later Jung said:
The archetype is a living idea that constantly produces new interpretations through which that idea unfolds. . . . It is naturally not only the archetypes mentioned in the canonical writing of the New Testament that develop, but also their near relatives, of which we previously knew only the pagan forerunners. An example of this is the newest dogma concerning the Virgin; it refers unquestionably to the mother goddess who was constantly associated with the young dying son. She is not even purely pagan, since she was very distinctly prefigured in the Sophia of the Old Testament. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 229
It is strange that so many Catholics—to say nothing of Protestant theologians—have failed to see the vital importance of the new dogma.
Father Victor White (author of God and the Unconscious), a friend of Jung who stayed with him more than once at Bollingen, used to say he heard far more about it in Zürich than in Rome, but then, Victor White had an excellent sense of humor and was not at all narrow-minded.
He was an authority on Thomas Aquinas and I have never forgotten how he said to Marie-Louise von Franz with a delighted grin: “Oh, how marvelous it would be if you could bring irrefutable proof that it was certainly Thomas who wrote the Aurora Consurgens.”
Just as Jung brought alchemy vividly into the present by his description of its connection with the new dogma, he also provided the modern reader with a technique by means of which he can labor with the same fervor and industry that the alchemists devoted to their retorts.
We have seen the beginning of active imagination when we were considering Jung’s own “confrontation with the unconscious,” a technique he always recommended to those of his pupils who were destined to experience the same confrontation, and which he mentioned often in his writings.
But his latest and perhaps his most profound description of it is to be found in the volume we are considering.
Space prevents more than a very few short excerpts, and all that he says about it here should be read in full.
The production of the caelum is a symbolic rite performed in the laboratory.
Its purpose was to create, in the form of a substance, that “truth,” the celestial balsam or life principle, which is identical with the God-image.
Psychologically, it was a representation of the individuation process by means of chemical substances and procedures, or what we today call active imagination.
This is a method which is used spontaneously by nature herself or can be taught to the patient by the analyst.
As a rule it occurs when the analysis has constellated the opposites so powerfully that a union or synthesis of the personality becomes an imperative necessity.
Later he explained more clearly how this could be done.
For example, he said:
Take the unconscious in one of its handiest forms, say a spontaneous fantasy, a dream, an irrational mood, an affect, or something of the kind, and operate with it. Give it your special attention, concentrate on it, and observe its alterations objectively. Spare no effort to devote yourself to this task, follow the subsequent transformations of the spontaneous fantasy attentively and carefully. Above all, don’t let anything from outside, that does not belong, get into it, for the fantasy-image has “everything it needs.” In this way one is certain of not interfering by conscious caprice and of giving the unconscious a free hand. In short, the alchemical operation seems to us the equivalent of the psychological process of active imagination. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 230
Jung also illustrated how the opposites can unite:
In nature the resolution of opposites is always an energetic process: she acts symbolically in the truest sense of the word, doing something that expresses both sides, just as a waterfall visibly mediates between above and below. The waterfall itself is hen the incommensurable third. In an open and unresolved conflict dreams and fantasies occur which, like the waterfall, illustrate the tension and nature of the opposites, and thus prepare the synthesis. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 230
Jung went on to explain the way fantasies can develop and unite conscious and unconscious, as the water unites above and below.
But, he emphasized, this process will remain fruitless unless the patient learns “to take part in the play and, instead of just sitting in a theatre, really have it out with his alter ego,” in order to fix its actuality and to do so whatever it costs him.
“Only in this painful way is it possible to gain insight into the complex nature of one’s own personality.”
These few excerpts are scarcely sufficient to give the unprepared reader an idea of the value and use of active imagination.
The whole misunderstanding of Jungian psychology begins right here: that many people do not seem able to understand “the complex nature of one’s own personality” or that they can have an “alter ego” real and powerful enough to justify treating it with the same concentration and labor the alchemists gave to their retorts. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 230
The unconscious and its content, the alter ego, seem to them something fantastic, even mystical, whereas even a little experience would convince them that the contents of the unconscious are just as real and unalterable as the chemical substances of the alchemists.
Both are symbols for something beyond human comprehension, which nevertheless gives life its meaning and value.
The epilogue with which Jung closed his opus magnum presents the whole picture so vividly in two pages that I cannot resist quoting it almost in full:
Alchemy with its wealth of symbols gives us an insight into an endeavour of the human mind which could be compared with a religious rite, an opus divinum. The difference between them is that the alchemical opus was not a collective activity rigorously defined as to its form and content, but rather, despite the similarity of their fundamental principles, an individual undertaking on which the adept staked his whole soul for the transcendental purpose of producing a unity. It was a work of reconciliation between apparently incompatible opposites, which, characteristically, were understood not merely as the natural hostility of the physical elements but at the same time as a moral conflict. Since the object of this endeavour was seen outside as well as inside, as both physical and psychic, the work extended as it were through the whole of nature, and its goal consisted in a symbol which had an empirical and at the same time a transcendental aspect.
Jung then pointed out that alchemy groped its way through an endless maze and that in the nineteenth century the psychology of the unconscious took up the trail that was lost at the end of alchemy.
Just as alchemy was always searching in the darkness of cheap substances thrown out into the street, so psychology searches in the rejected darkness of the human soul, which has meanwhile become accessible to clinical observation.
. . . There alone could be found all those contradictions, those grotesque phantasms and scurrilous symbols which had fascinated the mind of the alchemists and confused them as much as illuminated them. And the same problem presented itself to the psychologist that had kept the alchemists in suspense for seventeen hundred years. What was he to do with these antagonistic forces? Could he throw them out and get rid of them? Or had he to admit their existence, and is it our task to bring them into harmony and, out of the multitude of contradictions, produce a unity, which naturally will not come of itself, though it may—Deo concedente—with human effort? . . . Today we can see how effectively alchemy prepared the ground for the psychology of the unconscious, firstly by leaving behind, in its treasury of symbols, illustrative material of the utmost value for modem interpretations in this field, and secondly by indicating symbolical procedures for synthesis which we can rediscover in the dreams of our patients. We can see today that the entire alchemical procedure for uniting the opposites, which I have described in the foregoing, could just as well represent the individuation process of a single individual, though with the not unimportant difference that no single individual ever attains to the richness and scope of the alchemical symbolism. This has the advantage of having been built up through the centuries, whereas the individual in his short life has at its disposal only a limited amount of experience and limited powers of portrayal. It is therefore a difficult and thankless task to try to describe the nature of the individuation process from case-material. . . . No case in my experience is comprehensive enough to show all the aspects in such detail that it could be regarded as paradigmatic. Anyone who attempted to describe the individuation process with the help of case-material would have to remain content with a mosaic of bits and pieces without beginning or end, and if he wanted to be understood he would have to count on a reader whose experience in the same field was equal to his own. Alchemy, therefore, has performed for me the great and invaluable service of providing material in which my experience could find sufficient room, and has thereby made it possible for me to describe the individuation process at least in its essential aspects. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 231
Jung finished his opus magnum in all its essential aspects before the beginning of the fateful year 1955.
He always continued to improve and correct his writing up to the stage of page proofs.
In fact, he had an arrangement with his publisher, Rascher Verlag of Zürich, by which he gave the latter various advantages in exchange for permission to change his text right up to the last proofs.
Not that he made extensive use of this privilege, but he hated to have to read his work for printing errors and then discover passages in which he might have expressed himself better without being able to alter them.
We have lost sight of Ruth Bailey since the return from Africa in the spring of 1926.
Up until now there has been no special occasion to mention her, although she frequently stayed with the Jungs; in fact, I think she did so every year except during World War II.
But from 1955 on, she became of vital importance in Jung’s life.
As early as the summer of 1926, Emma had invited Ruth to stay with the Jungs at Küsnacht, and she became a firm friend of the whole family. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 232
All the Jung children stayed with her at the Bailey family home, Lawton Mere in Cheshire, during their various (exceedingly successful) attempts to learn English, and Jung and his wife each managed to visit her there also.
The third daughter, Marianne, even stayed for many of her holidays from her English school.
Ruth had promised Jung and his wife (after her own mother had died, during the war) that she would live with and look after the survivor, whichever it might be, and even before 1955 her visits became longer and more essential every year.
Emma Jung’s health had given cause for mild anxiety ever since her seventieth birthday in 1952, and she was in the hospital for some time with trouble in her back.
While there, to Emma’s great relief, Ruth came and kept house for Jung. Bollingen became more and more difficult for Emma, but when Ruth stayed there with them and undertook most of the work, she could still enjoy the place very much. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 232
It worried Jung a great deal, however, that while Bollingen remained his greatest pleasure and source of health, it was beginning to be too rough a life for his wife. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 232
He could never bear people doing things for him if they did not enjoy it themselves, and he began to feel that Emma was going to Bollingen for his sake. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 232
Although she seemed to be aging more rapidly than her husband, in spite of being nine years younger, and although she sometimes did not seem very well, there was no cause for real anxiety until the spring of 1955, when she got really ill and had to go for a time to the hospital. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 232
To her great relief, Ruth immediately came from England, so that she was spared any anxiety about her husband.
As a matter of fact, Jung was himself very well just then and quite all right up at Bollingen with Hans Kuhn to help him, but ever since his illness in 1944, when she had had such a sudden shock, Emma was almost overanxious about him. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 232
Jung returned immediately to Küsnacht and remained there all the while his wife was in the hospital.
The operation went very well.
We all hoped it had been undertaken in time and that we should keep Emma Jung for a number of years.
She was out of the hospital after a short time and Ruth returned to England, under promise, however, to return for the summer holidays in order to make the Bollingen life suitable for them both.
Emma could not speak too highly of how much Ruth’s help meant to her in her last two years.
In July, 1955, Jung celebrated his eightieth birthday.
Any hope for quiet, small celebrations had already disappeared by his seventy-fifth birthday, and for his eightieth the club had a large afternoon celebration, and the C. G. Jung Institute had two, one morning and one evening, all three at the Dolder Grand Hotel.
The morning event, open to anyone who had attended any lectures at the institute, was on a very large scale, so we expected it to be accordingly dismal.
But the opposite was true, for it had one of the most meaningful and healing atmospheres I have ever experienced.
Jung stayed for an unusually long time and seemed to drag himself unwillingly away.
The same evening there was a small dinner party, consisting of all the “high ups” from the many Jungian groups all over the world and from the curatorium and lecturers of the Zürich institute.
The atmosphere was the reverse of the morning.
Jung was very pleased to receive a bound advance copy of the first volume of the Mysterium Coniunctionis, but on the whole he looked anything but happy and left as early as he could.
This contrast struck me so deeply that I asked Jung about it a few days later.
I vividly remember that we were sitting by the lake in Bollingen while he was engaged in his favorite occupation of chopping wood.
He agreed immediately and said the same thing had struck him very forcibly.
“I am sure there must have been a great many good spirits there that morning, and I think they mostly belonged to people we did not even know. But you know, those are the people who will carry on my psychology—people who read my books and let me silently change their lives. It will not be carried on by the people on top, for they mostly give up Jungian psychology and take to prestige psychology instead.”
This made the difference very clear to me: in the morning no one had been trying to get anything; it was too large a gathering to hope for special contacts with Jung and by far the majority were satisfied to see him looking so well and happy.
Many of them had probably never seen him before.
There were tables and refreshments, but there was no seating order; everyone sat where and with whom he liked.
But in the evening there was a rigid seating order and the majority of the guests were occupied with such questions as to whether they had been given a good enough place, how much they could manage to talk to Jung, whether he had been nice to them or not, and so on, naturally producing a most disagreeable atmosphere.
This experience taught me a lot; it was the only time I ever knew Jung more pleased with a very large group than with a comparatively small one.
That summer of 1955 was a particularly happy summer for the Jungs.
Emma felt well enough to enjoy the eightieth birthday celebrations and the great appreciation that was shown to her husband.
She was also well enough to spend most of the rest of the summer at Bollingen, with Ruth Bailey’s indefatigable care and the family paying visits.
Jung was very happy too, for he felt—at any rate for the present—that a solution had been found for the Bollingen dilemma, and he very much enjoyed his wife’s evident pleasure at being there.
Linda Pierz, who was so long on the committee of the club and a pupil and friend of Jung, died in the spring of 1955, having survived her husband only for a year or two.
As mentioned before, she left a Gastrecht of her house at Bollingen to Marie-Louise von Franz and myself, so that we now had the great privilege of being near neighbors of the Jungs. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 233
They had lent their cark to a daughter and son-in-law that summer, so Jung asked if they could depend on mine.
Naturally, I was delighted and thus saw a lot of them those holidays.
Not that they used a cark much at Bollingen—they were too happy at home—but one or the other of them quite often had to go to see the doctor, or on some other essential errand, so it was necessary to be able to use a car whenever they needed one.
Emma was usually very introverted at Bollingen, but that summer she was hospitable and friendly, and always seemed pleased to see either or both Marie-Louise and myself whenever we went over.
Even when she returned to Küsnacht in the autumn, her good health apparently continued, but in early November, to everyone’s surprise and horror, she became seriously ill again.
She went to the hospital for a short time, but evidently there was nothing they could do, for she was soon home again, where she died peacefully, at the last very unexpectedly, on November 30, 1955.
Jung told me afterward that the surgeon had warned him in the spring that there might be more trouble later, but, he added: “I thought we might reckon on a few years.”
Emma’s death was the worst relationship loss that Jung ever experienced. Nothing is worse than losing your congenial daily companion and, after fifty-two years of very meaningful and deeply related marriage, it must have been almost more than most old men of eighty could have recovered from. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 233
Indeed, at first it seemed to be an almost mortal blow to Jung. In all my eighty years, I have never seen a marriage for which I felt such a spontaneous and profound respect. Emma Jung was a most remarkable woman, a sensation type who compensated and completed her husband in many respects.
I also esteemed her very highly and loved her as a friend. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 233
Jung led his now very large family into Küsnacht Church for the funeral service. The way he did this, evidently tortured but erect and composed, struck the large congregation to the heart. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 234
I still often hear from comparative strangers: “When I think of Jung, I always see him as he came in that morning.” ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 234
He also attended the luncheon that was held at his house later, and though he made it very clear to his near friends that he wanted to be let alone, he was calm, friendly, and very related to all the people he knew less well.
It had been a great comfort to Emma, when she realized the end was nearing, to know that Jung’s health and daily comfort would be safe in Ruth Bailey’s hands. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 234
Any or all of his daughters would have gladly looked after him, but as he said to me: “They all have their own full lives with their families and I could not bear to be a disturbance.”
It was a great comfort to him that Ruth had, at the time of Emma’s death, no vital obligations.
The brother with whom she had lived since her mother’s death had died a few years earlier, and a long visit to South Africa, where her youngest sister and husband had moved from East Africa, had ended a year or two before.
She had, it is true, a house—Lawton House—of which she was very fond, close to her old family home—Lawton Mere—but Ruth was the born companion (and, if necessary, nurse) to someone she valued, so that coming to live in Switzerland with Jung just at that time, for the five and a half years until his death, was also a godsend to her.
Jung often told me what a blessing it was to him to feel that the natural dependency of his old age was interrupting no one’s life.
After learning of Emma’s death, Ruth came as quickly as she could, but was only able to make it a day or two after the funeral. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 234
On our Saturday drive Jung spoke to me about the attitude he wanted me to take toward Ruth, insofar as psychology was concerned.
She was the only one of his friends, of whom he saw a great deal in the last years of his life, who had never been analyzed or made a deep study of his psychology, a state of things that had its advantages and drawbacks.
He said that morning:
“You are sure to see a lot of Ruth and I want you to answer any questions about psychology she may ask you to the best of your ability, but never to begin the subject yourself or in any way to rub in anything about it.”
That drive lives with particular vividness in my memory, for Jung’s courage had never struck me more forcibly.
He was evidently stricken to the heart by the loss of his wife, yet he quietly faced the necessity of going on.
Although he had finished his opus magnum, the Mysterium Coniunctionis, there was apparently more he still had to do before his own appointed time
During these weeks after his wife’s death, he wrote in a letter that it helped him most not to dwell on the past, but to concentrate on why he had to be the survivor, and to give his whole energy to finding the purpose he still had to fulfill. Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Pages 224-234