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Testimony of Alwine’s profound attachment to Olga Frobe-Kapteyn and Eranos…


A testimony of Alwine’s profound attachment to Olga Frobe-Kapteyn and Eranos is to be found in the letter which she wrote for Olga’s seventieth birthday, on 19th October 1951.

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We quote it in its entirety:

Dear Olga,

You have asked me to express, for you, what, from my point of view Eranos represented, and represents still; I cannot do this, however, save on a purely personal level.

I was attracted by the Eranos project right from our [first] meeting in Florence in 1937.

I recognized even then the archetype of the ‘All’ as supreme value in the project of your life; my interest was awakened, then, by the idea to which you have devoted all you possess and all you are.

This force, which rose from the depths of the unconscious, convinced me to turn my attention to the Eranos phenomenon. The link between your work and that of C.G. Jung, which had already given me so much, was evident and persuasive.

The first session of Eranos which I attended met my expectations fully.

I was touched by the meeting with wise men such as Jung, H.[einrich] Zimmer, [Erwin] Rousselle and the other eminent professors of psychology, mythology, and other fields of research, all of whom, each from his own point of view, presented single aspects of the same ‘Eternal Image’ to an attentive and curious audience.

And the atmosphere of Eranos was one of the liveliest.

In the years which followed, through the war, the conviction took hold that both the lecturers and the audience were participating actively in the construction of a new ‘science of man’, on the basis of the psychological concept of ‘becoming conscious’.

This concern, paramount since ancient times, became the urgent problem of our age: what is this human being?

What is it, in relation to the forces which are in him and outside him?

This question, in its various specifications, became the theme of all the Eranos meetings.

This search for a new Image of Life in its temporal and eternal totality allows one to integrate often heterogeneous data and represents Eranos in its innermost essence.

But, I must add, Eranos could never have been such a meeting place if you yourself had not been constantly devoted to the work, predisposed and attentive, one might say, just like an elderly alchemist who surveys the mysterious work of the transformation of lead to gold.

Your personal work and your spiritual growth to attain ‘correct perception’ are the foundation stones of Eranos.

All my congratulations and my affection on your birthday, and my best wishes for the years of work to come and the realization of your work. Alwine von Keller (Ritsema undated, pp. 86 f.)  ~Journal of Analytical Psychology, 2011, 56, 232–254