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

An Evening with C. G. Jung in Winterthur, October, 1955

God, you sent us the wise one!

Please, let him, with his hand,

kindle for us eternal fire,

and let us find him

in the depth, where he feels

that we, all seven of us,

love him!

In the fall of 1955 it suddenly became reality: On a radiantly golden day in October, Jung came to our home for a visit!

At 5 o’clock, I went to pick him up in our car, was of course half an hour too early and waited on the street.

But when I finally pulled into the driveway, it turned out that he, too, had been waiting already for quite a while in front of his entrance.

He had to do some errands on the way and guided me securely through the complicated maze of the streets in Zurich, all the while talking and joking.

He expressed his unhappiness over the many misunderstandings around his theory of synchronicity and, in general, over the lack of followers.

Once we were on the quiet stretch to Winterthur, I told him that I was writing everything down about our meetings for my children to remember, and how I would always feel pain at first.

Each time, the feelings of ‘having missed out,’ of ‘having come too late,’ would overcome me, but after working through the material, I’d feel gratefulness and a sense of freedom.

He responded by telling me about the demand of fate for detachment.

He laughed, “Had you known me earlier, life would have become much more difficult for you, because the demand for detachment is there anyway, but when we are older, we can fulfill it more easily.

Besides, everything has happened precisely as it had to, and that is always right!”

At home, the entry and the stairway were lit with candles, and our five children greeted him like Santa, full of expectations.

Butzli even said, “Welcome, C. G. Jung!”

Once in the living room, he was asked to light the fire in the fireplace, where Jurg and Christian had prepared an artful sculpture with kindle wood.

This act was supposed to symbolize how he had enlightened and spiritualized our place in the world, by putting the emphasis on the Otherworld.

(It did not catch fire right away, and I was secretly glad about it!)

We sang the canon Dona nobis pacem for him, and immediately afterwards he began

to tell us stories of his travels in Africa, enthralling us like a magician:

“We had pitched our tent by a brook close to the jungle.

Every evening at the same time we heard a brief hissing sound very close by, a sort of coughing.

Finally, I asked the porter who had come with us what this could be, and he said it was a lion.

The next morning, I went looking for footprints and, indeed, found rather large pawprints on the bank.

Now I started to feel uneasy and went to the chief, asking him whether that lion couldn’t become dangerous for us.

The chief replied quietly and in a matter-of-fact tone that this particular lion was ‘theirs’: they knew him well; he always came at that time to drink water.

He surely wouldn’t hurt anybody.

Leopards accompany the people on their pheasant hunts, skipping along, but only if the hunters use a shotgun – with courser rifles they are not to be seen or heard.

On the pheasant hunt they accompany the people, from tree to tree along the path.

My companion always had something to deal with snakes somehow.

There are such white men who are especially vulnerable to snakes, and black people immediately take notice.

They are the pueri aeterni types, those who are not grounded, who shy away from any

sort of responsibility, wanting to be free and unbound, ‘flying high.’

They usually die early, and this is their way of being ‘free as a bird.’

One time we were en route, crossing a difficult terrain full of termite hills (about 2 meters high).

Suddenly one of the porters shouted, Atari!, a warning call, meaning, ‘stop, danger!’

I immediately reacted and stood still, but my companion did not understand the call, because he didn’t know the language, and kept on walking.

Now a huge snake was about to attack him with lightning speed, and only in the last

moment he was able to escape, thanks to his unusual agility.

A bite would have killed him within a minute, for it was high noon, the sun burning hot, and water scarce in that region.

He shot the snake.

From then on he was terribly afraid of snakes and kept having unpleasant encounters with them.

One night he was especially restless, imagining that there was something in the room or under his bed.

At last, I angrily told him to be quiet and stay within his mosquito net, where he would be safe, even from snakes!

The next morning, I suddenly heard a piercing scream: Just when my companion was about to put on his pants, a snake crawled out of them!

Moreover, he was quite negligent in taking the necessary precautions.

For example, I had to keep reminding him to put on his mosquito boots at night (because the dangerous insects sneak into the pajama pants and sting there).

Still, one time he omitted to put them on and got very sick with malaria, so much so that we didn’t believe he had much of a chance.

He simply was ‘marked.’

Only much later, unfortunately, I got to know a dream he had had before our departure, namely that a man was bit by a snake and died.

He did not tell me that dream because he believed that I was that man!

So, he projected his own death onto someone else.

Such people often endanger their fellow men.

He wanted to talk me into another trip, but I preferred to return back home to my work.

Later, he died in a car crash.

His sister was driving; nothing happened to her at all, but he was immediately dead.”

Meanwhile, careful not to interrupt Jung’s storytelling, we had made preparations to roast the meat over the fire.

But he suddenly stopped, saying matter-of-factly, “May I be part of the cooking?”

We laughed and happily agreed, whereupon Jung gave us a most sophisticated cooking lesson.

The meat had to be held into the open fire under constant rotation and seasoning.

During his travels he had always looked out for the most exquisite ethnic recipes and learned to prepare them.

In Bollingen he would always cook himself; at home the cook would ask him about menus and advice on how to prepare them.

He knew hundreds of exquisitely rare and exotic recipes! “Cooking is earth,” he said in response to our incredulous giggling.

“Why should taste be less important than hearing? Cooking over the open fire is a difficult and dangerous matter. It is magic!

The fire is hot and we get ‘fiery’ – a thousand different things have to be observed to make it a success.

Of course, ‘swearing’ is part of it (as with sailing)!

All cooks, male and female, are hot-headed people, a bit crazy, because they have to do with fire.”

After he had emptied his glass of Burgundy, I asked Jung, with the wine bottle in hand, whether he liked some more.

He declined resolutely, “No thanks, I only drink one glass” – then took the bottle out of my hand, “or one and a half” and poured himself some more.

Roswith played a Bach invention on the piano after the meal, which he enjoyed very much.

By now, the room was very warm and became quiet again, as we gathered to listen to the continuation of Jung’s engrossing story-telling:

“One day, I talked for thirteen hours straight with Freud!

I was so pleased to be able to share all my secret trains of thought, and he listened with burning interest.

At one point, however, we diverged.

He suggested to make a dogma out of (his) science, to set firm boundaries against the ‘dangerous occultism.’

I, on the other hand, wanted to discover the mystery.

I had just presented him with my perspective and he had rejected it as being crazy.

I became silent for a moment, as self-doubts arose within me.

Right then, there was a sudden, tremendous racket in the heavy bookcase Freud was leaning against, right above his head.

We both were shocked, thinking that the case might crash.

But not a thing had changed.

In that moment an almost sacred certainty overcame me that my ideas were right.

Something within me declared with a firm voice, ‘This was the proof that I am right! And to prove that I am right saying this, another such noise will follow!’

And indeed, a second, equal racket followed immediately!

The noise seemed to penetrate Freud to his very marrow and terror seized him.

We politely separated.

But afterwards I was stunned, ‘How did you know? Why were you so sure? How could you make such a claim? Why was there actually a second racket?’ But for the moment, it simply had been ‘right’ for me.”

Surely, that moment had been of highest importance for all of humanity, which is why fate itself had to speak! From then on, the two men went their separate ways.

Freud called Jung a ‘prophet’ and sought to fight him.

Jung discovered the irrational and helped the unconscious to have a voice.

Because he was so alone with his ideas and his way of thinking, he had to rely on the support of the unconscious.

This he often experienced.

For example, Jung once dreamed, completely out of context that, An unknown lady was sitting in his office and telling him about her life. In the end he exclaimed, ‘but this is a fantastic father complex!’

He continued, ” … This exclamation woke me up, but the whole dream didn’t make sense at all.

The very next day a lady from Berlin sat in my waiting room, elegantly dressed, looking very sophisticated, in brief, tiree a quatre epingles

She had come to me because of a phobia

that simply couldn’t be cured, though she’d been to several other doctors.

The last one had asked her to leave, so as not to destroy his life, for he had fallen in love with her.

My dream came to my mind, but there was nothing in particular about her father to be heard.

Perhaps it had to do with her grandfather, I thought, and when I asked about him, she suddenly lowered her eyelids and became silent.

This told me immediately that something about him ‘had an effect.’

As it turned out, this grandfather (as the Great Father) had been a Hasidim, a Jewish saint.

But the family had kept it in the dark; one didn’t talk about it.

But something like this cannot be suppressed! A saint is alive in the blood of many generations to follow! This woman was lacking the respect for the sacred, the proper ‘fear of God.’

So, she was haunted by a phobia.

In the following night, I dreamed that, I was at a big party and that lady was there too.

At some point, I was presented with one of those collapsible umbrellas (as they are available today; at that time, they weren’t).

I was supposed to unfold it, open it up, and then present it, on my knees, to the said lady!

Then I knew that I had to show her my own reverence for the sacred, so she could learn it too.

The opened umbrella signified both the reverence of, and the protection against, God.

The phobia corresponded to the folded umbrella; opened up, it became the fear of God. I told her the dream and how I interpreted it.

The phobia disappeared, and the eccentric lady changed into a true woman.

Fortunately, she survived the war!

Perhaps one should rather know about phobias, instead of insisting on absolutely healing them.

I remember a patient who was afraid of open staircases.

He had to avoid them everywhere.

But once he got into a shooting scene in the middle of a street.

To get out of harm’s way, he aimed for a building to hide in, which, however, he

could only reach over an open staircase.

While on the stairs, he was hit by a bullet and died.

Another female patient had a life-long fear of Paris. I tried to cure her of that phobia.

When she was already much better, and quite a bit older, she told me that she had decided to visit Paris together with her friend.

On the first day there she was hit by a taxi and died.”

When we reminded Jung of the story told of Rev. Fink and his wife, he corrected us: He [Jung] saw his wife as a 15-year-old girl in the stairwell [at the Rauschenbach’s home] for the first time and immediately knew that this was his wife! He had even left the house and told his friend that he had just seen his wife!

Now it was our children’s turn to ask the old wise man a question.

Roswith asked him how one could stay permanently in a ‘higher realm,’ without falling down in between; or what was the shortest way to the self, the one without detour.

Jung laughed: “What looks like the straight-way is often a detour, and the detour is really the straight way!

The self knows this much better than we do.

What seems unimportant or lowly to us may be very important and necessary to the


Jurg wanted to learn from an experience once and for all, so as not to have to make the same mistake twice.

Jung answered, “You can never bathe twice in the same river, for the water has run downstream.”

Jurg grumbled, “But each time it is water.” And Jung, “Yes, but not the same.”

He continued, “Youth needs firm guidelines to grow up (as, for example, to always act like a gentleman, or to always be absolutely honest).

In old age, the situation changes; increasingly, it depends on the ‘how’ instead of the ‘what.’

Jesus was the first to teach people that one’s attitude is important – he went to school with the Essenes.”

Between these conversations, Jung relaxed by waxing about cooking recipes from far-off countries.

Christian wanted to hear more stories from the jungle, which blended nicely with the recipes, as Jung, during his travels, prepared most of the meals himself.

And so he continued: “Once we had made a big fire pit in the middle of the jungle; ashes and some burning wood were still laying around in a large circle.

The black people hopped between them with admirable grace and precaution, without ever getting burnt.

I still had a bag of flour left that I absolutely needed to use up.

I wanted to make ‘Knopfli’ and tried to give my black assistant an elaborate

description of what it was.

Suddenly he jumped up, clapped his hands and exclaimed enthusiastically, ‘Knepfle, Knepfle!’ I was completely surprised and baffled.

He then told me that earlier in his life he had worked for a Swabian missionary where he got to know and love the dish.”

Marianne had put her black doll into his arms and brought him from time to time a piece of apple or banana, which he always ate at once.

Finally, we asked him whether he could paint the Latin vernacular, which he had given us in writing ten years ago, onto the sill of our fireplace.

We were a bit worried that he might be far too tired, but he happily and joyfully accepted the task, painting the words very carefully and exact, including his name.

Ten years ago he had written:

Omnia in se habet quo indiget. What he painted onto the sill was:

Omne portat cum se quo indiget.

It surely has its own significance:

We can ‘have’ something unconsciously, whereas ‘to carry’ is a conscious act; cum se is with oneself; omnia (plural) is all-encompassing, whereas omne (singular) is limited to one destiny.

Marianne received a farewell kiss on her cheek, which she quickly wiped off.

Jung presented him with his carved leopard; Christian gave him his two-pronged stick.

Jung left our home again in the soft glow of candlelight, after the children had bidden farewell with a canon, which he still enjoyed during the car ride back to Kusnacht:

Wenn dieser Mann zu den Menschen marschieret,

offnen sich alle die Fenster und Turen,

rum rum rudududum

rum rum rudududum

Ei, das ist ein wahres, ein wahres Gaudium!B9

Along the way, Jung happily commented on the Germans who were such good psychologists in theory, but failed in life, whereas the French who often acted with a healthy and natural instinct, contributed little to the science of psychology.

When we pulled into the driveway of his house at exactly 11 p.m., Jung declared with satisfaction that this was precisely the time he had had in mind for his return.

Ignaz and I made our way back to Winterthur, both deeply content and tired.

It was wonderfully quiet at home; the children had neatly cleaned up before going to bed and were already sound asleep.

Jung later told us that the evening had been good for him; he had slept very well and woke up refreshed the following morning.

As for us, there was a slight melancholic hue lingering in the days that followed, as we kept asking each other, “Remember?” Into our reminiscent mood a big box with the most delicious chocolate candies was delivered, with a note attached,

Fig. 19: “For the happy band of children, with gratitude … ”

Oh magician! We thank you!

You sat here!

Transformed the false world

into a true one,

the soul, as the wonderful,

into firm, clear reality;

it is ready

and flies out!

The magician won!

October 24, 1955

The most beautiful gift Jung had received for his 80th birthday was a delicately carved Sudanese crest of a mask: a gazelle mother with her young [fig. 20].

I so badly wanted to show it to our children.

When I dared ask, he spontaneously invited the whole family for tea!

It was three days before Christmas.

We met him laboring heavily out on the porch, chiseling a tree and a Chinese aphorism into a stone slab.

It was to be set beneath the freshly planted Ginkgo tree in the yard, and we all knew for whom it was.

My dear children, never forget: From his grief, from the energy-loss of a depression, he created a ‘power station!’

Out of suffering – creation!

This is why he has so much vital energy (available libido) at his disposition.

Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit is written over the entrance of the Jung family house. ~Saba Tauber, Saba Tauber: Encounters with Jung, Page 81-90