Remembering Jung Through the Eyes of Aniela Jaffe.
(Suzanne Wagner’s Interview with Aniela Jaffe)
Suzanne Wagner: Mrs. Jaffe, can you tell me how you met Jung?
Aniela Jaffe: Yes, I met him first in his lectures in the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zurich, Switzerland.
At that time I was in analysis with Frau Dr. Frey.
In 1937 I had my first contact with Dr. Jung. I went to him as an analysand.
I attended his lectures and later I attended his seminars on children’s dreams. I saw him very regularly.
During the war, when people from abroad could not get to Zurich, he had more time and he could work with me and other local pupils once a week.
After the war a certain professional collaboration had started between us.
Later I became secretary for the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich and in 1955 I became Jung’s personal secretary.
Wagner: Can you say something about the way Jung worked in analysis – for instance, how he related to the transference phenomenon?
Jaffe: No. You see, he treated every analysand in a different way – I cannot tell you about my analysis-it would not be possible.
We spoke about my problems and my dreams, of course. I made a lot of drawings, I did active imagination.
Often he told me about himself.
He showed me alchemical books and he took me seriously; he took me as a grown-up.
Wagner: His view of the transference in analysis was very different from Freud’s. Jung had personal relationships with some of his analysands. Do you also do that?
Jaffe: I don’t know what you mean. A transference is a projection.
So I projected on him, this and that. And he took it seriously, and he acted accordingly.
But he never laughed at it. He accepted it.
The relationship between analyst and analysand . . . is an impersonal one, but at the same time it is also personal because every analysand has an individuality.
I was a refugee from Germany, so I was quite different from any analysand living in Switzerland, for instance.
Jung taught me also to start a creative work of my own.
I made dream interpretations in his seminars and later I started my first writing on a fairytale, which he published later in one of his books.
So this way of relating to Jung belongs to me, while with others, it was quite different.
Wagner: What about the idea that there is a search for meaning involved in the transference itself?
Jaffe: If you have a relationship with C. G. Jung, then you have to work on it and the meaning is the result.
One can say I projected on him a father, but I also projected on him a mother and the one who accepted me, I could say.
From this, in the course of the years, I found a place in this world. I found a place in myself and in the world.
Wagner: You found your own particular work.
Jaffe: Yes, my work. My meaning. Yes, my place. Where I belong.
Wagner: How did Jung relate to the problem of people becoming too dependent on him?
Jaffe: He accepted it.
It was quite normal for him to accept that people were dependent.
But we also had to be careful that we didn’t trouble him with our dependencies.
He had to live his own life and we had to live our own lives. So it was a compromise.
Wagner: In your own analytic work with other people, do you find it helpful to have personal contact with them?
Jaffe: What do you mean by “personal contact?” The analytic relationship is always personal.
Wagner: I mean, do you find it helpful to relate to the analysand outside analysis?
Jaffe: No, I avoid it as much as possible because, you see, talk in analysis is quite different from the talk outside of analysis.
It’s something different. So meeting analysands in the outer world, perhaps with other people, is difficult.
Some of my analysands I don’t even greet in the street.
We meet each other, but I act as if I do not know them-and they are very grateful.
But here in analysis they open themselves.
I don’t say that I know everything about them, but what they can tell, they tell.
There must be a shelter for these secrets.
These mysteries of the soul must have a protection, a shelter in this room where analysis takes place.
Maybe one can even say, this is something of a sacred place because it is a place where one can be vulnerable.
Wagner: What about Jung in this regard? Didn’t you often see him outside?
Jaffe: Yes, we saw him in Bollingen and we saw him in the Analytical Psychology Club. Later, of course, I collaborated with him on his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections.
But it was different. But, I am not Jung-I have to do my own analysis in my own way and he did it in his way.
Wagner: How did he feel about writing Memories, Dreams, Reflections? Was it his own idea or did other people suggest it?
Jaffe: It was Kurt Wolff (from Kurt Wolff-Verlag) who made the suggestion, and then Jung suggested that I should do it with him. Jung and I collaborated very intensely.
He went over the manuscript and helped me, and I helped him, so it was a very important time.
Wagner: I had heard that there were parts of his autobiography that were not allowed to be published-ideas about reincarnation, for example.
Jaffe: No, we published everything I thought could be published.
What I cut were parts on the chapter he had written on Africa. It was simply too long.
It would have taken the whole book. But I discussed it with him and he was very glad.
Wagner: He loved Africa.
Jaffe: Yes, he loved Africa.
Wagner: In the last chapters of Memories, Dreams, Reflections, he writes quite a bit about the subject of death and the psychological importance of formulating stories or ideas or views about death. Do you find that the psyche asks you now, as you grow older, to think about death more?
Jaffe: I think there are certain periods, for instance, in puberty, when young people are very much concerned with the question of death-according to my experience.
Even this little girl you saw [a neighbor had come to the door just before the filming] was very much concerned with death when her grandmother died, of course.
You see, as death comes nearer and nearer, it also becomes more and more natural.
So one gets accustomed to the idea that there are no longer many years ahead.
Sometimes one is glad, sometimes one worries, so it depends. One doesn’t want to live 120 years! I wouldn’t.
Wagner: Did Jung ever talk to you about dreams that told him death was approaching?
Jaffe: Not especially Yes, there was one dream which is published in lung’s Last Years.
Wagner: In Memories, Dreams, Reflections he mentions a dream about Emma Jung, after she died, in which her image had a different quality- as if it were a portrait of herself from the other side. This is a very different kind of dream, a kind of metaphysical image. Have you yourself experienced any of those kinds of dreams?
Jaffe: I was always very much interested in these questions.
Even Freud was very much interested in this area.
He said-I say in my words, not Freud’s words-he said if he had to begin again, he would have concentrated on parapsychology.
Once there was a questionnaire sent to people regarding their experience with ghosts and parapsychology.
They received over a thousand answers.
They sent these answers to Jung and Jung gave them to me and I wrote a book about it.
Wagner: Jung encouraged you to write a book?
Jane’: Yes, sure. He said, “I am too old. I cannot do it. You want to do it?”
And I said yes with great pleasure.
Wagner: So it’s not necessarily from any personal experiences of –
Jaffe: My personal experiences?
Wagner: Of parapsychology?
Jaffe: No. No. I have not the second sight. But I have truth-telling dreams, I should say. That happens very often.
Wagner: Dreams that predict?
Jaffe: Yes, predictive dreams. Very often. But that is so normal.
People who pay attention to their dreams will find it very often.
People who are not interested in dreams or in what happens around them don’t realize how often it happens.
Wagner: At this point in your life, do you still consult with an analyst about your dreams, or do you work alone?
Jaffe: Yes, no-perhaps from time to time, if I have a dream which seems interesting, I speak with my friends about it-with Frau Frey or Dr. Meier-to get their reactions.
We do this mutually.
Wagner: How do you feel about the way things have gone with Jung’s psychology in the world?
Jaffe’: I feel interest is growing.
Of course, new things come to depth psychology, because science is going on.
That is quite natural and necessary, and Jung often said that he himself did not speak the last word.
Now there is more interest in group psychology, and why not? I agree with this.
Wagner: You don’t have any quarrels with doing analysis in a group?
Jaffe: I don’t do group psychotherapy.
But often I send some of my analysands to group psychotherapy.
Other people wouldn’t do this. For instance, I have a colleague who would hate this idea, but I don’t.
I believe that group therapy may complement personal analysis.
Relationships With People and the Unconscious
Wagner: Do you think that sometimes the experience of the unconscious has an isolating effect on people?
Jaffé: I should say, on the contrary, contact with the unconscious is the condition of having a good relationship to other people.
For instance, if a person doesn’t know his or her shadow, then the relationship to other people is very difficult and easily disturbed.
But if I know, this is my shadow, then I am more tolerant towards other people.
I can also more easily discern between what is my shadow and theirs: what was my fault and what was his or her fault.
People who are in relation with the Self attract other people. It’s a precondition for relationships.
But, of course, in every life there are perhaps phases – weeks or days -when one needs to be alone in order to introvert.
But that’s quite natural.
The more sincerely you do this introversion, the more you are able to relate to other people afterwards.
You are no longer so dependent on other people.
You are a separate entity-other people are entities, and your partner is a separate entity. Then there is a relationship between each other. There is not this fusion – this –
Jaffe: Yes, symbiosis. It is always very dangerous.
The unconscious does not want this symbiosis. It disturbs it – by rough or lenient means.
Wagner: So there is a natural development from the unconscious toward independence.
Jaffe: Toward independence on the one side and toward a relationship on the other side. Certain independence in the course of the years, of course, is a condition of a good relationship.
But not over-identification with each other.
Identification is wonderful; if you have never experienced an identification, then you have missed a lot.
But then one has to become oneself again.
Wagner: How did you experience Jung‘s relationship to his shadow? His consciousness of his own dark side?
Jaffe‘: He was very conscious of it.
Wagner: How did you experience his dark side in working with him, for example?
Jaffe: When I was his secretary, he grumbled at me in a very loud voice and he didn‘t like it when I took it personally.
So I took it, and sooner or later there was a big and very beautiful compensation. He compensated.
He knew exactly what he had done and then one was rewarded – if one could stand it – and if one didn‘t take it personally.
You see, he was so burdened by his ideas, his inner figures, and by people outside.
So I understood it quite well. He had to have a “let-out,” to ventilate, the steam had to come out.
Wagner: And sometimes it came out on you.
Jaffe: Yes, why not?
Wagner: Did that help you to learn how to defend yourself?
Jaffe: I didn’t defend myself at all. No, I knew him.
Wagner: You didn‘t need to?
Jaffe: No. I knew him.
I knew in a sense this old man must let his steam out and he was grateful, you see, if I didn’t take it-if I didn’t behave as a “bloedite Schonheit ‘‘ [offended, insulted beauty], as we say in German.
I was not offended.
Wagner: How is it that you came to be his secretary?
Jaffe: His secretary got married.
I was the secretary of the Institute and then I switched to his office in Kusnacht.
Wagner: He stole you away from them?
Jaffe: Yes, he stole me away!
The Letters of Jung
Wagner: You have also worked on the C. G. lung Letters that are now published.
Jaffe: Yes, with Gerhard Adler.
Wagner: Are they all published now, or are there more to come?
Jaffe: I don‘t know whether more will come, but it is not possible to publish them all. You see, there are letters that contain no interest at all- setting an appointment, for example-and there are letters that cannot be published for reasons of medical discretion. Then there are the letters to the family to his wife, his children, his mother-in-law, his mother -very beautiful letters – and I hope they will be published one day.
Jaffe: Two or three letters to his wife are going to be published in this picture book called C. G. lung: Word and Image, which I edited recently.
They will also be published in English by Princeton University Press. So you will find some.
Wagner: Do Americans still come to Zurich for analysis?
Wagner: Is it more difficult for American people to relate to the shadow, or do you think that it is just as difficult for everybody?
Jaffe: It is difficult for everybody, I should say.
Wagner: Jung once commented that, in relating to the deeper aspects of the unconscious, Americans didn’t have a stairway down – that they just dropped!
Jaffe: That is not my experience.
There are people coming from America who are very well prepared to meet the unconscious.
Wagner: Do you think there is a tendency to polarize in Jungian groups and in the training institutes?
Jaffe: Yes, why not? Jung’s psychology is very much based on the individual.
It’s a very natural movement, I should say.
At the same time, there is also a uniting movement with group psychology.
If I dare prophesy, I should say that in 100 years, Jungians will get together with Freudians.
Jung himself said, “You can hear me speaking Freudian or Adlerian.” That is also true for me.
There are certain pupils to whom I speak Freudian, and I even give them books to read. So there is a tendency to split on one side and a uniting movement on the other side.
It’s never either/or, as Jung said. It’s always either and or. There is always a thesis-antithesis.
The Problem of Evil and the Secret of Life
Wagner: How do you feel about the possibility of another world war?
Jaffe: I’m not a prophet and I’m not a politician, but I think that the situation is most dangerous. Most dangerous.
There are too many explosive situations in the world today.
Wagner: You left Germany in 1933, I believe.
Wagner: Did you move as a result of an inner experience, or was it that you could see what was happening, outside?
Jaffe: No, I was in Hamburg, studying at that time, and they threw me out. Quite simple.
Wagner: They threw you out!
Jaffe: I’m Jewish. If I put it in a more polite way, they gave me the advice to leave.
Wagner: Did you have a family or were you alone at that time?
Jaffe: My parents and my older sister left several years later for England.
My younger sister is in America, so we are spread all over the world.
Wagner: But everyone left Germany?
Jaffe: No, not everyone. There were uncles who perished in the death camps.
Wagner: What effect will the increasing publication of Jung’s work have? More people read Jung’s books all the time, and yet there are relatively few analysts in the world. Do you think that people who never go into analysis will benefit?
Jaffe: Some are influenced in a very good sense – for instance, artists.
Natural scientists also profit from Jung’s books, without having ever been in analysis. Analysis is for people who have difficulties with life, though that is not always the case. If people read the books carefully, then they may profit from it.
It’s a very interesting question, but I couldn’t answer it fully.
Wagner: Toward the end of his life, how did Jung feel about the way his work was received in the world?
Jaffe: He was not very satisfied and sometimes he was depressed about it; he found that there were too many misunderstandings.
But at other times he held a positive view.
In his Memories, Dreams, Reflections he wrote, ”I got more recognition than I ever
could have expected, because what I have had to say was just a compensation of the conscious, of consciousness.”
It was difficult for people to accept what Jung said.
It was not intellectually difficult, but difficult from the human standpoint.
The whole problem of the shadow and evil, the issue of responsibility and the autonomy of the unconscious are very difficult questions.
But they are more and more recognized now as urgently relevant.
I always say that the recognition of the value of Jung’s ideas will not come from Jungians alone but from many others.
I mentioned natural scientists; physicists also understand him much better.
They understand him because they touch something now which I should call the “secret of life.”
In this Jung also went to the border, to the limit, where the secret begins.
Natural scientists and physicists know now that they come to a limit where the secret begins.
Rationalism stops; causalism stops.
Body, Mind, and Spirit
Wagner: What did Jung mean by the ”psychoid?”
Jaffe: [Amused] You give very difficult questions!
The psychoid is a paradox which contains both the psychological and the physical.
It is a medium’s sphere, where these strands of spirit and matter meet. That is the psychoid. One doesn’t know.
Wagner: What could you say about your view, or Jung’s view, of the relationship between the body, or matter, and spirit?
Jaffe: Do you mean psychosomatics?
Meier first brought up this question to Jung and he stated that psychosomatic symptoms might be synchronistic -not causal, but synchronistic.
How can matter influence the psyche? One doesn‘t know. Even Kant, the famous philosopher, was concerned with this.
Or vice versa: How can spirit influence matter?
Kant said, “It’s the greatest riddle how it comes that, if a person wants to lift his arm, he lifts it. Can you explain this?”
Nobody can, really. So we don’t know what happens when the psyche influences matter, but it happens all the time.
So here you come to the limitation of the principle of causality.
The relationship between spirit and matter is a mysterium coniunctionis, which is what Jung wrote about in the last chapter of his two volumes on, Mysterium Coniunctionis. The alchemists were concerned with this age-old question, because they found that there was a spirit in matter.
This view comes up now again. Who tells you that, in a crystal, there is not a spirit?
Who makes it grow? It is the spirit? What is it? In any case, it is a mystery. So one canno
t answer this question with one word.
From quite a different standpoint we do know that the shape of the face tells something about a person’s character.
It is also a synchronistic phenomenon.
This mouth and this nose tells something about my character, so here there is a synchronistic relationship between spirit and matter (face).
Wagner: There is the idea that in the work with the psyche, one discovers one’s own particular myth.
Jaffe: I should say that myth is an archetypal tale. What do you mean by ”particular” myth?
Wagner: Well, that’s what I wanted to ask you. What is it? It is a matter of discovering parallels? For example, Dr. von Franz suggests that the story of Merlin has many interesting parallels with Jung’s own life, which Jung only discovered very late in life.
Jaffe: I am already satisfied, as I told you, to have discovered where I belong and what my task in this world is – my situation as a woman and as a servant.
But these are also archetypal. Being a Jew is archetypal.
And I feel-if you want to know what I feel my myth is-I am a servant to Jung’s work.
Wagner: As a woman, you are a servant to Jung’s work.
Jaffe: Yes, I am not a man.
Wagner: Many people have commented that Jung‘s work was received first by women and has been elaborated more by women.
Jaffe: Yes, this is an “on dit”-but if you count women here and men there, you come to about the same number.
It is true that Jung gave a high value to the feminine side of life.
The psyche and the unconscious is, in a certain way, a mother and a woman. The creative man attracts women.
All artists, scientists, psychologists, and religious persons (for instance, Schweitzer, Teilhard de Chardin) attract women, because the feminine nature is receiving.
Women want to profit from this creativity. It’s quite natural.
But in reality the same number of men and women write about Jung.
Women love the creativity of men. That’s true. Don’t you? [Laughter]
Wagner: Yes, and vice versa.
Jaffe: You mean that men love the receptivity of women? Yes, 1 agree.
Jung’s Influence on Religion
Wagner: Do you think that Jung’s work will influence the relationship between science and culture? Does his work contain implications of the limitations of science?
Jaffe: I think the scientists came to the same conclusion as Jung did. I see great influence of his work on religion.
Wagner: Can you say more about that?
Jaffe: Yes. Evil in the world, evil in the God-image-not in God, but in the God-image-was a great concern for Jung.
He had a long correspondence with the Dominican monk, Father Victor White, which is not yet published.
Father White believed evil was privatio boni-the absence of the good.
Jung didn’t agree, and there were letters back and forth, and it was a very hard quarrel between the two.
Now, recently I read that Pope Paul VI declared that evil is not a privatio boni but a reality in itself.
Perhaps the Pope formulated it in a more primitive, concretistic way, but the idea was the same.
The difference between God and God-image is also very important. One cannot make metaphysical statements.
When one makes a statement, it is always a statement of the soul, of the psyche.
It is an image, and the image of the very good God has no value anymore.
If you have only the good God, then you have the devil on the other side.
In all his theories Jung emphasized the paradox -it’s never either/or, as I told you, it’s always both. Good and mil are concepts of man, not concepts of the beyond.
Wagner: But it seems as if the God image that is coming up in the psyche now is-
Jaffe: More ambivalent. Yes. And there’s the other thing which young people are looking for – what Jung called the experience of the numinous.
As far as I am informed about young people today and what they are striving for, I think it is a religious experience.
Wagner: Did Jung ever talk to you about prayer?
Jaffe: [Laughter] Jung’s father prayed; therefore, he didn’t like prayer!
But it is not a question of praying. It is a question of experience.
Suzanne Wagner, Ph.D., is a Jungian analyst practicing in Malibu, California. With George Wagner, she is co-producer of two films – Matter of Heart and The World Within – both centered on lung, his discoveries, and his closest associates. Currently she is in production on a 24-hour video series, Remembering Jung, featuring many close associates o lung. This interview with Aniela was filmed in Zurich in March of 1977 in Jaffe’s office at home.
Settling In by Robin E. Van Loben Sels
A still sky, the color of old bone.
And winter, darkening the periphery of days.
Now is the time precarious battles wage,
before the coming midnight of the year.
Bright as the last bright leaves before a storm,
promises enter my life again, singing.
Knowing the tumult they portend,
I sing with them.
I have been told my mind can burn
like a clear flame, protected from the wind;
that thoughts can pass like wild birds
crossing a night sky, leaving no trace.
So sages tutor me, to slight avail.
The prophets instruct me: for a long time
angels will not come again, nor will you.
The oracle of my bones I read alone.
Robin E. van Loben Sels is a Jungian analyst in private practice in New York City and Connecticut.
She is currently completing work on her Ph.D. in psychiatry and religion at Union Theological Seminary in New York. (1992) Aniela Jaffe (1903-1991), Psychological Perspectives: A Quarterly Journal of Jungian Thought, 26:1,104-116