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999 encounters

Encounters with C. G. Jung: The Journal of Sabi Tauber (1951–1961)


On a dark evening I secretly sneak through the front door, without telling anybody. “I’m expected” is my whispered password.

A small, warm light, where I find him sitting wrapped in blankets, quiet and secure in his corner as if from ages long ago.

To him I flee from this world, without paper and pencil, only with flowers.

I don’t want to ask questions; I don’t want to know anything – just sit close to him and feel his overflowing good heart.

In this very spot of the earth new life awakens within me, warm and true. I sense it and I give it back to him, all of it.

Jung simply starts talking, continuing from where he has been in thought, seemingly from time eternal.

In this corner we’ve always talked about things eternal.

Today it surely is the last time – the thought keeps crossing my mind, and I’m resolved not to disturb it by bringing up anything personal.

But he extracts it anyway; he brings in the present moment, the despicably human, as if there was a force streaming from it that he needs. Is it possible?

I marvel, but feel it acutely: The oil that feeds the flame of eternity flows from transitory things.

Jung: ” … Whoever has a claim on another cannot fulfill his own.

Where sexuality is concerned, there are as many women with a passive disposition as there are those who are active.

There simply are both, and one is either one or the other.

It’s a fact with which one has to come to terms.  Human shortcomings are simply facts.

Anything real in this world is better than some fantasy. Never can we have everything we want. I wanted to travel.

God – how much I still would like to go on many great trips: real, far, vast travels to discover many new things!

But fate put a veto in place; I was only allowed a little bit, not more.

If your husband wishes for a more sexually active wife, he should use his feeling toward himself more actively.

He should give more love to his soul. This is the real demand that is put to him.

He doesn’t fulfill it, and so he puts it onto you. And in this respect, it is never enough.

One has to take things into one’s own hands, feel solely responsible and cut one’s losses where one cannot have everything.

We have our limits. Nobody can live it all, we are limited all around.

There are people, of course, who travel and seek all their lives – but what do they have in the end?

Nothing, not even an insight!

If a poisonous remark from you destroys his relationship with another woman, it wasn’t a real relationship.

(Evidently, it had to come out. Only you can know whether it could have been suppressed.)

Then it was nothing but a fantasy, which sooner or later would have burst like a bubble anyway.

A true relationship would have gained sober ground because of it.

And if he, after a night with you, goes and cuts flowers in the garden for another woman, and even tells you so, it is a particularly tactless thing to do, even with the perception of inner righteousness on his part.

One simply can’t jump over facts by means of fantasy.

After all, this is why we have facts, to awaken us to holy soberness – and he wanted to throw them to the wind.

Take care of your heart; do only half as much, and everything a bit less impulsively!

If you have to write, do it.

An artist doesn’t ask whether it makes sense, he simply must, and he does.

It emerges from the unconscious regardless of the people around, or the world, or the reasoning of consciousness.

Only much later does it make sense.

Most of the time what is written is not appreciated at all among experts, and is read last.

This happens to me. But it is a general rule.

Your husband will experience it with his research in Egyptian symbolism.

But there are other values, especially those concerning one’s own individuation, for which one is responsible, and should be.”

Outside, lights were dancing on the dark lake, and the wind rattled the shutters. Jung mused,

“Yes, the Fohn has claimed a few people again (Wolfgang Pauli, Rudolf Jung) – they were younger than me, and I’m still here, don’t know why … ”

“Oh, yes, I know why!” I grumbled happily on my stool, but I couldn’t really tell him, because he was smiling so mysteriously.

Then he looked at me again, “What else?” without making a move to get up.

So, I told him my two most recent dreams:

In a kind of school of life, my grade of 6 was suddenly cut in half, to 3, without giving me a chance to ask why.

I protested. But I was told that such was the rule in the school of life. I referred to the highest authority, Prof. Jung.

They wrote to him and received a letter back, saying that I was allowed to speak, everybody was.

I should give a talk on the history of the soul (connected to culture and world history).

Jung’s comment was simply, “Well, then do it!” “But how?”

“I don’t know either, but you have to do it, perhaps in writing – one doesn’t know.”

The other dream was, I took my horse out of the stable into the deep snow. There was a broad, deep ditch.

My dog and I were already on the other side, I don’t know how, but the horse hadn’t made it yet.

I gave him free rein, so he could make it over in his own way.

Then, with my last remaining strength, I brushed the snow off the hedge, so he could see how deep the ditch was, and hoped that he would make it.

Jung mused, “In general, the horse follows its master, so most likely it will jump across the ditch.

With your instinct you made it.

But where the horse is concerned, there it depends on your relationship to it, how you nurture it, the whole power of your nature – it will come.

Depressions are the soul’s economy.

If one has overexerted oneself the soul has to contract, in order to pull up new strength from the deepest ground.

One should take good care of the soul’s household.” He looked pensive, and it was late.

Before I left, we talked about spring; that he would like to come once again for a question and answer seminar, “out of the fullness of life,” in our living room – in the spring, yes, if he still … he smiled.

And smilingly we said farewell, both thinking, perhaps for the last time?

His steps died away in the empty dining room. I felt a momentary chill.

Then the roaring Fohn carried me home to the living.

Yes, Lord, help my horse over the ditch –,. perhaps I should simply call him?

Or perhaps I must go back myself, a whole segment of my life, in the dark, laboriously and alone.

I’ll mount my horse, and we’ll jump over the ditch together!

A star will help!

Give everything

to the holy life!

The star and the earth

will thus forgive –

To sit on one’s horse means to live fully, to be happy from top to bottom – and totally sad! Just to be fully with it, every minute.

Perhaps this is why a faithful friend suddenly showed up in my life, one who had helped me as a child to jump from stone to stone across a river.

Faithfulness in attitude is withstanding the fire and creates the divine.

Can one know this? I’d rather feel it.

Thus comes the crazy February Do you hear the jingle-bells?

There is a reason why this Children’s song is in minor mode: February is the season of flus and colds.

Our kids are sick, one after the other, and when the last one is done, the first one starts over with a relapse.

Ignaz, with unbearable back pain, drags himself to between thirty and forty patients a day, gray in the face, looking past us out of hollowed eyes.

We have a felt sense: If he were to rest here with his family, he’d never get up again.

During the night, emergency calls alternate with nightmares.

fig 26

Surely, medicine men and their families are “chosen:” by god – and the devil!

There’s only creeping around, on high alert, like being in the jungle: Then out of the gray ether there is a phone call (one of too many): “Someone has canceled.

Prof. Jung is free tomorrow at 5 pm. Can you come?” – “Yes, of course!”

Do miracles have anything to do with naturalness? I’d been so sure that I’d seen him for the last time.

I found him as if resurrected in broad daylight, healthy and happy.

And quite soberly he started to complain about his own biography that is to be written:

Jung: “Damn it! What was really important for my existence – encounters with personalities that were milestones for me – may not be divulged because of medical confidentiality.

I’ve forgotten everything else. And what might otherwise interest the world in terms of names and politics I may not say either, in consideration of surviving relatives.

Well then, what’s left? When my book on alchemy was published, a professor from Holland wrote to me, ‘Only this one particular person in the whole world could have had these dreams – was it true?’

And it was!

I’d been sure that I had changed and concealed almost everything beyond recognition.

Biographies are hypocritical. They are here to throw dust into people’s eyes.

In the biography that Richard Wilhelm’s wife wrote about him there is nothing of what he and I had considered the most important issues in our conversations.

She simply didn’t know.  That’s how it is.

Well, now I have written about the first twenty years of my life myself, as well as I could. For the rest, there has to be a way – it’s a real headache for me.”

But what is happening with me? I suddenly live much more intensely than earlier.

Just now, when life is supposed to recede into the distance, I begin to really love it! The / Ching, too, responds repeatedly with “The Marrying Maiden” and “Fellowship with Men.”

Why so reversed?

Then he turned his attention to me: “Before, you stood too directly under the impression of life.

Like being in a battle, you had to seek new cover at any moment what with so many precipitating events.

Too much was going on.  There was no time for realization.

Similarly, there was no awareness about the extent of the war in Germany – there, one was too close, too immediately involved.

Time and distance for realization were more likely to be found in Switzerland.

By the same token, a neurosis takes individuals out of daily life, so they can have a realization.

Only then one gains a new, unprejudiced orientation with open eyes and inner distance to one’s experiences.

Only now, the ego is really present.

Before that, one doesn’t know who one is, so there is no true experience possible.

The family most often is not a real community, but rather a participation mystique.

(As, for example, when father or mother wants to quickly call one of their children and ends up calling all the other names, even the dog’s or the cat’s, or mixes them all up!)

I have often observed how mothers only late in life come to truly live their own life.

Only the consolidated ego can truly absorb, without having to watch out for all the various reactions. Judgment becomes more secure.”

I asked, “Have not our young people already overcome the ‘antichrist’ and are working on a new principle? Or will the atom bomb destroy everything?”

Jung answered, “They don’t ask any more, ‘What is good and what is evil?’

Rather, they seek to distinguish the ‘right path’ from the ‘wrong path.’

The two wavy lines of the astrological sign Aquarius ~ are parallel, meaning that good and evil belong both to the same principle.

They are no longer going in opposite directions like they were in the Christian age of Pisces.

This is a development that arises right out of amoral paganism.

The gods are favorably or unfavorably inclined, no longer good or evil.

They have lost their absoluteness. We live in paganism again. Wotan was an amoral nature principle.

He hung on the world tree for nine days, ‘wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin, myself to myself;’ and on the tree he invented the runes.

(Wotanism is a shamanistic religion).

Similarly, King Wen discovered the / Ching in prison; he found himself in a similar situation as Wotan.

Christ hung on the ‘tree of the cross,’ and out of this came the New Testament.

In their hopeless situations, they all discovered the meaning of changing forms and a new principle of action.

The / Ching is based on the synchronicity principle; Yang and Yin are only relative opposites.

These days, opposites are relativized once again. One must not be offended by this trend.

Neither is there proof of correctness, only a ‘corresponding behavior.’

At times, it appears good, at others evil; one simply has to ‘go with the possibility.’

This is today’s principle of orientation. One doesn’t know much about it. Life is much too complicated for the intellect.

This is why people are using the / Ching’s synchronistic approach as a helpful tool, also dreams and dreamlike imaginations.

And then there is the behavior of animals! They guide us instinctively.

My daughter recently told me an example from her vacation.

She was walking with her dachshund during a thunderstorm.

Suddenly, the dog ran backwards about fifty yards, its hair on end, and in the next moment lightning struck exactly at the location where the dog had stopped and retreated!

Earlier in my life I had a French boxer dog that accurately captured the character of my patients.

At the end of a session I asked a patient of mine, who had gone through a deep

depression, what actually had helped her the most. ‘Your dog,’ was the answer.

Every time she felt like jumping into the lake, or throwing herself under the train, my dog accompanied her and didn’t leave her side until she had boarded the train.

Another female patient told me about an uncanny encounter she once had while going for a walk in the little forest near a suburb of Berlin.

It was after the war and it was still rather dangerous to walk by oneself.

And so, when a dark-looking bicyclist passed her by, she immediately regretted not having taken her dog with her. Indeed, a bit further down the road, the bicyclist stopped, got off his bike and came towards her in a threatening demeanor. She just stared at him, paralyzed by fear.

But about two meters away from her, he suddenly retreated, terror in his face, his gaze fixed at her legs.

It puzzled her, but when she let her cramped up hand sink, exhausted, her fingers touched the cool nose of a dog.

A big German shepherd stood next to her – strange, she didn’t see an owner.

The dog had sensed the danger and had come to her rescue.

She immediately turned around and went to the train station, and the dog accompanied her.

Dogs sense life-threatening dangers.”

I had come burdened with my persistent worries about my husband and his research into Egyptian symbolism:

Was the family too much of a hindrance? Would he be happier without a practice? Should he take a vacation?

So, I asked Jung, “Did you enjoy doing scientific research, and was there a reward?”

Jung answered, “There’s always ambition and a claim to power involved in a scientific project.

The work is then of dubious value. But it is inevitable.

A vacation should only be taken for the sake of one’s health; there is no claim to power in that.

Ideally, ‘work’ should resemble an ‘active imagination,’ devoid of power and ambition.

Any expenditure beyond such an approach is driven by power and ambition. It then becomes about one’s prestige.

An effort without any reward would be disproportionate, but the true reward lies in the creative moment.

Man finds true satisfaction in the moment of insight. One shouldn’t wish for anything more.

Such insight I savored in the moment, all by myself.

The writing came afterward, out of gratitude and for other people.

I had no claim to power and my only ambition was to understand.

I felt as if I was standing on an alpine meadow in bloom, alone under the sun, terribly spoiled in the happiness of so many true and lively thoughts.

And suddenly I felt the presence of a dear female friend, who so arduously tried to climb out of darkness into the light.

Time and again, old Saturn pulled her back into the depth of her depression. “How could she do it?”

Jung exclaimed: “Precisely, together with Saturn go into the depths! By all means, do not escape with illusions!

Only at the very bottom will she experience what she is looking for. But one doesn’t believe that.

Many people love their depression and remain attached to it – instead of sensing that an invisible hand has placed them exactly into this situation.

They let themselves be overwhelmed and don’t ask, ‘Why? What for? What am I to do?”‘

I’ll be following everything, I think almost boisterously, while taking leave from this old man who is so much more alive than the young.

As a gift for my way back to my stormy everyday life, he affirms with a quiet smile, “In the spring I would quite enjoy coming to Winterthur again.”

His promise is resting like a little bouquet of violets in my lap, helping me through the crazy traffic between Zurich and Winterthur, in rain and blinding headlights.

fig 27

Fig. 27: In Winterthur, June 27, 1959.

  1. G. Jung, Sabi, Ignaz, and Marianne entering Tauber’s house.

Fate can be benevolent; it allowed him be true to his word.

He came on “Seven Sleepers Day,” June 27, 1959.

We invited some friends to a gathering under a motto from Don Carlos by Friedrich Schiller, which Jurg once gave me.

Participants were: Helen and Peter Stierlin, Ernst Baumann, Mimi and Jakob Fopp, Fries, Rupli, Arnold Renold.

fig 28 check

Sabi sends her regards to all who contributed to the good atmosphere, animating Jung to speak. ~Sabi Tauber, Sabi Tauber: Encounter with Jung, Page 178-187