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The Meaning of Jung

Irene Gad, M.D., PH.D.

Delivered as The Jung-Memorial Lecture to

the Jung Society of Washington at the 

Embassy of Switzerland on June 2, 2000

We have entered the 40th year since Jung's demise. On the afternoon on which Jung died, a great thunder-storm raged over his house in Künsnacht, as if nature itself were mobilized to acknowledge the event. At just about the time of his death, lightning struck his favorite tree in the garden (Laurens van der Post, Jung and the Story of Our Time, p.273). Several years later Laurens van der Post was making a film of the story of Jung's life. The final sequence on the last day of all was to be filmed in Jung's house.

When the moment came for me to speak directly to the camera about Jung's death, and I came to the description of how the lightning demolished Jung's favorite tree, the lightning struck again in the garden. The thunder crashed out so loudly that I winced, and to this day the thunder, wince, and the impediment of speech it caused are there in the film for all to see, just as the lightning is visible on the screen over the storm-tossed lake and wind-whipped trees (van der Post, p.275).

It seems as if nature wants us to pay attention to the man who once lived among us. We need to pay heed and remember.


On his father's side, Jung came from a family of German physicians from Mannheim. His grandfather, Carl Gustav Jung senior, a promising young doctor, became involved in some political persecutions, and after spending 13 (or 19) month in prison, he left Germany. In Paris, Alexander von Humboldt helped him obtain a position at Basel University. He founded the Institute of Hope, a home for retarded children, and had 13 children of his own from three marriages. His last child was Paul, who became a pastor and Jung's father. On his mother's side, his grandfather was a churchwarden, a visionary who often had conversations with "ghosts." He, too, had had 13 children, and his last child was Jung's mother.

Jung was born on July 26, 1875, in Kesswil on Lake Constance. He was barely six months old when his family moved to Laufen, almost at the edge of the great Falls of the Rhine. Some four years later, they moved again to Klein-Hüningen, a small hamlet just outside Basel, but still on the Rhine. Until the age of nine, he was an only child, his sister being born when he was that age. The speculations that Jung was really Johan Wolfgang von Goethe's grandson seem to have been only rumors. His actress great-grandmother had indeed known Goethe, but research into the factual data has disclosed that Goethe had not been in Mannheim at the time of Jung's grandfather's conception and birth.

Jung married his wife Emma in 1903 and in 1906 moved into the house he had built at 228 Seestrasse in Küsnacht. Above the entrance to the house one finds the words vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit (invoked or not invoked, god will be present), a Delphic oracle and a quote from a book by Erasmus that he had bought in the early days of his psychiatric residency in 1900 when he could ill afford it. He cherished it to the end. As Jung saw it, the quote contains the entire reality of the psyche. (William McGuire and R.F.C. Hull, C.G. Jung Speaking, p. 164).

In the reports of people who have met Jung (Victoria Ocampo, 1934; Kenneth Lambert, 1939 and 1950; Pierre Courthion, 1945; Eleanor Bertine and Alberto Moravia, 1948; Charles Baudouin, 1949 and 1958; Mircea Eliade, 1952; Claire Myers Owens, 1954; Michael Schabad, 1955; Margaret Tilly, 1956; Ester Harding, 1958; Miguel Serrano, 1959 and 1961), he is invariably described as very tall, vital, exuberant, friendly, putting one completely at ease, and full of respect for the other person and concern for the individual value in anyone. The force that emanated from him was amazing; one feels that he had fully completed the cycle from the experience of blind instinct through ego-consciousness and back through a broad conscious relation to the powerful tides of the unconscious. His penetrating, observant eyes seemed to focus beyond time (McGuire and Hull, 1977).

The effect he had on people was described thus: One leaves Jung's presence feeling enriched and appeased, as by contact with a pine tree in the forest - a life as much below ground as above . . . . He has, like his books, some magical incalculability, some gift to probe a wound and assuage in the same breath, some power to move us beyond the meaning of the abstract word. . . . I divined from his books the same two Jungs that I now so clearly see. In the forefront a dynamic, thinking, modern man, in whom life, with all its diversity runs clear and strong like a spring; and in the background a wise, redeeming figure, a very ancient and intuitive man, a sort of gardener, who walks along conversing softly with his dog, his hands full of new shoots to graft onto the tree or life (Elizabeth Shepley Sergent [1931], in C.G. Jung Speaking, p.56).

In Jung and the Story of Our Time (1977), Laurens van der Post wrote:

What was of overwhelming consequence to me was that as we sat there talking, something was communicated to me more out of what Jung was in himself rather than out of his ideas; and in the process, this feeling of isolation and loneliness in a vital area of myself, which had haunted me all those years, vanished. I was no longer alone; I had company, and company of a noble order (p.53).

He was a born, great, inspired neighbour. He had a genious for propinquity. He was a neighbour to all sorts and conditions of men and women, from the most despised and rejected forms of life, ideas, and attitudes to those overcome with a kind of nausea and vertigo of the worldly heights they have achieved. He is a neighbour to millions that are yet to be born. His gift of propinquity brought him near to all the most hopeless forms of being, locked out from the norms of life and concern of his day, no matter whether it was a deeply disturbed spirit shut away in some asylum, some cast off and mentally deranged woman, or some despised and oppressed and by all civilised standards, ignorant, primitive, humble . . . barber in Chattanooga, the chief of an almost vanished American Indian entity, or a Swiss lakeside wine merchant. They understood and felt near to him when great minds of his own day, without having read him, dismissed him as a woolly and treacherous mystic. . . . However, he had so enriched the meaning of our time as to provide perhaps a kind of Archimedean support in the contemporary spirit from which it could be levered out of the dead weight of itself (pp. 54 - 55).

This he did for Richard Wilhelm, the translator of the I Ching. Wilhelm carried about with him an isolation due to his experience of China and its ancient culture which he neither could share with others nor knew how to integrate with his European self. Deep as this was, his loneliness vanished when he met Jung, as his experience could immediately be decoded and rendered into an idiom that had meaning to Europe and to the world (p. 54).

I can find no better description of Jung's essence than his description of Wilhelm in the eulogy he gave at Wilhelm's death. If we replace Wilhelm's name with Jung's, we may see what Jung saw in the other, but was in himself:

Wilhelm possessed the mastership which is won only by the man who surmounts his specialty, and so his knowledge became a concern touching all humanity. . . . It could only have been an all-embracing humanness, a greatness of heart that divines the whole, which enabled him to open himself without reservation to a profoundly foreign spirit, and to put at the services of this influence, the manifold gifts and capacities of his mind. . . . As a rule, the specialist's is a purely masculine mind, an intellect to which fecundity is an alien and unnatural process; therefore it is an especially ill-adapted tool for receiving and bringing to birth a foreign spirit. But a greater mind bears the stamp of the feminine; to it is given a receptive and fruitful womb which can reshape what is strange into a familiar form. Wilhelm possessed in the highest degree the rare charisma of Spiritual Motherhood.

But all mediocre minds in contact with a foreign culture lose themselves either in blind self-deracination or in an equally uncomprehending, as well as presumptuous, passion for criticism. Touching only the externals of the foreign culture, they never eat its bread or drink its wine, and so never enter into the communio spiritus, that most intimate transfusion and interpenetration which prepares a new birth (Secret of the Golden Flower, p.138). 

I cannot help but hear, in this last paragraph's description, an almost perfect fit with the spirit that some neo-Jungians display. The same parallel is evident to me in the story Jung told at the Oxford Congress in 1938 (see C.G. Jung Speaking, p. 113) describing a similar sort of incomprehension. Jung reports that a wise old man of the Pueblo Indians told him, "Oh, it is very nice what the priest is doing; he comes along every second month, and when we bury our dead he does very interesting things with them, but then we do the Indian medicine afterwards." They always wrap up the dead twice, first according to the Christian rite and afterwards according to the Indian rite. Such people understand nothing of the Christian religion, what it really is. And it seems to me that this matches the opinion of contemporary so-called Jungian analysts who believe that in order to be well analyzed you have to undergo a Freudian analysis after a Jungian analysis. It has come to my attention that some Jungian training analysts, during an examination of a candidate, have asked questions that focused thoroughly on the analysis of the transference as the only relevant subject. In addition, there were derogatory comments suggesting a total irrelevancy of dream analysis. Having become more Freudian than Jungian, they look upon the unconscious as the dumping ground of the psyche, so the dreams expressing it are as disreputable as any garbage dump.

I cannot help but speculate what a marvelously rich territory might have been discovered if, at the time of his meeting with Jung, Freud's theory had not become rigid and ossified. Had Freud been able to allow Jung's insights to cross-fertilize his path-breaking inroads into the richness of the psyche, he might have reconnected within himself with the archetypal treasure of his Jewish heritage from which, from all reports, he had kept himself away. Instead we have Jungians, seemingly afraid of what they have not understood, retreating defensively into their intellectual dongeons, barely able to glimpse through the narrow slits of their keeps all the avenues that Jung in his overabundance of ideas, his vastness and immense wealth of empirical data, barely developed in his work.

There is a story that one day J.S. Bach was approached by a young admirer and asked, "Herr Bach, how do you manage to think of all these new tunes?" "My dear fellow," Bach is reported to have answered, "I have no need to think of them. I have the greatest difficulty not to step on them when I get out of bed in the morning and start moving around in my room" (van der Post., p. 123). It could have been Jung talking. Sadly, this richness that has already brought so much to so many is falling into oblivion. Jung would not have been at all surprised at this total loss of connection with his message among some of the present-day schools of thought within the Jungian community. Van der Post quotes, "I remember Jung telling me that the Institute would be lucky if it did not outlive its creative uses within one generation" (p 4).

I can imagine the feeling of despair that may have overwhelmed somebody living during Galileo's time. After the exhilarating experience of sharing the ground-breaking discovery that the sun and not the earth is at the center of our galaxy, within less than half a century the obsolete patterns of the past are taking over and we are back reasserting that the earth is the center of the universe.

It is the same dismay that overwhelms me when I hear that the analysis of the transference is taken again as the cornerstone of a valid psychoanalysis, while dream analysis is not only ignored but also demeaned and dismissed. Even if some of Jung's direct followers may not have been trained to address the issue, Jung himself developed his views on the transference dynamic in CW 18 , par. 310-356, and in The Psychology of the Transference, CW 16. Of course, his statements that "We do not need transference," and "Transference or no transference, that has nothing to do with cure" (CW 18, par. 351) may sound outrageous, as well as the fact that he was looking at the transference more as a hindrance to the work rather than a help. Understood from a depth-psychology point of view, it starts to make sense.*

If a contractor were called to restore a house destabilized by an earthquake and spent all his time analyzing the cracks in the walls, the house would not be "cured." If, on the other hand, he were to go into the basement and find out how he could consolidate the flaw in the foundation that the earthquake brought to light, then the house would be restored.

Jung discovered that much more was involved in the transference than the projection upon the analyst of qualities possessed by significant people of their pasts. Archetypes are stirred up by the analytic relationship. When projected onto the person of the analyst, these archetypes confer great therapeutic - or great destructive - power. In Jung's experience, the archetypes most often projected were the savior, shaman, healer, or wise old man/woman (Anthony Stevens, The Two-Million-Year-Old Self, pp.105 - 106).

Jung illustrated this with the following case material (C.G. Jung Speaking, p.346). In the dreams of one of his patients:

[S]he was a little infant, sitting on my knees, and I held her in my arms. I was a very tender father to the little girl, and more and more her dreams became emphatic in that respect. I was a sort of a giant and she was a very little, frail human thing, quite a little girl in the hands of an enormous being. The last dream of that series was that I was out in the midst of nature, standing in a field of wheat, an enormous field of wheat that was ripe for harvesting. I was a giant and I held her in my arms like a baby, and the wind was blowing over that field. Now you know that when the wind is blowing it makes waves in the wheatfield and with these waves I swayed, as if putting her to sleep. And she felt as if she were in the arms of a god. I thought 'Now, the harvest is ripe, and I must tell her.' And I told her, 'You see, what you want and what you are projecting into me, because you are not conscious of it, is the idea of a deity you don't possess. Therefore you see it in me.' That clicked . . . she saw what she really was missing, that missing value which she projected onto me, making me indispensable. And then she saw that I was not indispensable because as the dream says, she is in the arms of an archetype. That is a numinous experience, an archetypal experience that gives people an incorruptible value.

One could almost say that every dream, in its own manner, carries a message. It not only tells us that something is amiss in the depth of our being, it also brings a solution for getting out of the crisis. For the collective unconscious, which sends these dreams, already possesses the solution: nothing has been lost from the whole immemorial experience of humanity; every imaginable situation and every solution seem to have been foreseen by the collective unconscious. You only have to carefully observe the message sent by the unconscious (C.G. Jung Speaking, p. 231). All dreams reveal spiritual experiences provided one does not apply one's own point of view to their interpretation (C.G. Jung Speaking, p 71). Analysis helps one to read these messages correctly.

Anthony Stevens, in his book, The Two-Million-Year-Old Self (p. 117), presents the following dream:

A very old and richly-ornamented sword was dug up from a tumulus and presented to the dreamer, an unmarried woman who was in analysis with Jung. When asked for her associations, she recalled an image of her father holding a dagger, which flashed brilliantly in the sunlight. Her father was an energetic, strong-willed man who had had numerous love affairs and had died when the dreamer was still very young. She had, nevertheless, formed a strong father complex, though she tended to become involved with men who were weak and neurotic and very much unlike him.

Now if Freud had been analyzing this woman, be would have seen the sword as a phallic symbol and would have concluded that her preference for weak men was due to the repression of her incestuous desire for her father. Jung, however, went an important step further. When she entered analysis, the patient herself had been weak and neurotic . Through the image of the sword, her unconscious was telling her that she could be strong and healthy like her father. In other words, Jung's interpretation was offering her a way out of her illness, a course for future action. The sword represented her will to health. It was phallos, a sacred generative power like Osiris's Djed, restored by Isis, the ultimate goddess figure, representing the feminine soul. It was a symbol embodying the transcendent function.

This dream illustrates how the endogenous powers of healing present in the patient can activate the transcendent function. Jungian therapy can be understood as one long process of mobilizing the transcendent function using dreams and active imagination to grant the ego access to the archetypal world within. The transcendent function is, according to Jung (CW 18, par. 1554), a cooperation between conscious reasoning and unconscious data. Besides, Jung says, it is a natural and spontaneous phenomenon, part of the process of individuation; it is a function that progressively unites the opposites.

For Jung psychoanalysis is the searching back into the soul for hidden psychological factors that have brought about a false adjustment to life (C.G. Jung Speaking, p. 21).

One is reminded here of the belief of some West African people in a prenatal contract made by each individual with a heavenly double. According to them, before we enter this world, we draw up a contract with our double as to what we will do in the course of our life. Then, just before birth, we are led to the Tree of Forgetfulness; we embrace it, and from that moment on we lose conscious recollection of the contract. We must live up to our contractual agreements, however. If we do not, we will become ill and will need the help of a diviner, who will contact the heavenly double and discover what articles of the contract we are failing to fulfill (Stevens, p. 117 - 119).

Therapy restores the free flow from the unconscious, removing the blocks that have been formed. This flow is essentially in itself a natural process and it will force itself through. What counts is that when people hear the inner voice, they do not go against it but act on it (C.G. Jung Speaking, p. 210 - 211). Patients dream of analysis as of a refreshing and purifying bath. Their dreams and visions present symbols of rebirth, which show unmistakably that knowledge of their unconscious and its meaningful integration in their psychic lives gives them renewed vitality and appears to them as a deliverance from otherwise unavoidable disaster or from entanglement in the skeins of fate (Jung, CW 18, par. 1816).

In therapy, acknowledging and supporting symbolic processes and working on transference and countertransference are not diametrically opposed techniques; according to Kast (p. ix-x), they are mutually interwoven. Attempts to assess the effectiveness of different forms of psychotherapy seem to have reached a general agreement that, contrary to the assertion of the Freudians, insight and analysis of the transference are not indispensable to a favorable outcome (Stevens, p. 118). The basic characteristics needed seem to be prestige and genuineness of the therapist, a positive relationship, and trust.

Healing is an act of enablement. The healer is one who perceives what is needed and knows how to alter the circumstances to make it possible for the organism to heal itself. Jung saw this self-correcting process as achieving its highest manifestation in the workings of the human psyche. Healing is thus the art of providing the optimum circumstances in which the self-correcting powers of nature can most efficiently achieve their purpose (Stevens, p.93).

A meaningful life is the third archetypal imperative after pleasure, which I call joy, and power, which I call mastery; it is concerned with the perception of what Jung called the spirit of the depth, whereas the other two are in the realm of the spirit of the time. Human beings cannot live a meaningless life.

No recovery of a sense of meaning seemed possible to Jung without a recovery of personal religious experience. He saw as his task to make religion once more credible to his patients. Through objective experience of their dreams, fantasy, and imagination, they were brought to an area of the spirit where the connection to the mystery of the Divine was more likely than not to happen. For him the future of humankind depended on the rediscovery of its capacity for religious experience accessible, in a 20th-century idiom and not in the archaic, dogmatic, doctrinal, conceptualized way in which it has been imposed for centuries (van der Post, p. 213). 

In the end, only the wounded healer heals and even he cannot heal beyond the extent to which he has healed himself. Nothing is more dangerous than expecting from the wounded patient qualities that the healer has been incapable of realizing in himself (van der Post, p.128). No one should become a therapist unless she or he has gone through an analysis in what we now call analytical psychology (van der Post, p.149). If the analyst does not keep in touch with his unconscious objectively, there is no guarantee whatever that the patient will not fall into the unconscious of the analyst . . . a condition of personal contamination through mutual unconsciousness (Jung, CW 18, par. 323), a participation mystique. Ultimately Jung's advice to psychotherapists was to "learn the best, know the best, and then forget everything when you face the patient" (CW 10, par 882).

Jungian ideas such as archetypal world, transcendent function, process of individuation have become almost as well known as introvert/extravert, animus/anima, shadow, persona, complex, projection. We forget that we owe both the words and what they depict to Jung, and at times we use them without really knowing what he meant by them.


1). Sensation. Sense perceptions tell us that something is. We can see, hear, taste, smell the world around us, and so are conscious of it. Sensation does not tell us what it is, only that it is. Examples of its nonexistence at the conscious level:

Jung, as a boy, almost drowning because he did not see he was stepping off a bridge; A person watching TV without being aware that one of his dogs has had an "accident" until his wife comes home and smells it, etc. An inferior function is a bridge to the unconscious and all its richness: we have seen how Jung used his carvings to access his inner world.

2). Thinking tells us what something is. It is a constant comparing of sense perceptions with memory images, differentiating and identifying and concluding with a recognition.

3). Feeling tells what value the observed thing has for us. One needs to become conscious of the concomitant emotional phenomena known as feeling tones, informing us if a thing is pleasant or unpleasant, desirable or not, acceptable or not. Imagine, for instance an introverted feeling type, by definition self-referential, in partnership with an extraverted sensation or thinking type. It is like having a submarine relating via its periscope with a ship of the line, a fairly frustrating proposition for both. So a feeling type is not necessarily a good partner, but an intuitive is almost certainly in difficult partnerships.

4). Intuition is a very personal hunch about the possibilities inherent in a situation (see Jung, CW 8, par. 288-292; also C.G. Jung Speaking, p. 306). 

Knowledge about the orienting functions is extremely important as a guide to misunderstanding within relationships. Jung warns, "One always has to answer people in their main function; otherwise no contact is established (CW 18, par. 321).

Archetypes is another of these ubiquitous terms. For Jung they are a living system of reactions and aptitudes that determine the individual's life in invisible ways (CW 5, par. 259; CW 8, par. 339). The archetypes are not ideas, but possibilities of ideas. They precondition all existence; they are a bridge to matter in general, i.e., they have a "psychoid" aspect, thus healing the body/mind split. The archetype provides a basis for a common understanding of data derived from all sciences and all human activities (Stevens, pp. l3 - 14). Whenever a phenomenon is found to be a characteristic of all human communities, irrespective of race or culture or historical epoch, then it is an expression of an archetype of the collective unconscious. When a pattern such as maternal bonding, dominance striving, or home building is found to satisfy the criteria of universality, continuity, and evolutionary stability, it is likely to be archetypally based. The knowledge of the existence of the archetypes can be infinitely reassuring, especially in times of crisis, when external guidelines fail. The concept is rather difficult to conceive of, but Marie Louise von Franz has found a very appropriate image to describe it. Compare a glass filled with pure water to a glass containing a concentrated solution of salt. The two glasses seem identical: same color, same transparency When one evaporates the liquid, however, there will be salt crystals on the bottom of only the glass that contained the salt solution. These crystals are the indication of the existence of the salt, the manifestation of the archetypes in the archetypal image, whereas the transparent solution is the archetype itself.

The Self and the mandala are among the most important archetypes of the collective unconscious. Jung said, "The mandala is a very important archetype. It is the archetype of inner order. It expresses the fact that there is a center and a periphery, and it tries to embrace a whole. It denotes a center which is not coincident with the ego but with the wholeness which I call the self. . . . We could easily say that it is the main archetype" (C.G. Jung Speaking, pp. 327-328).

In his talks with Miguel Serrano (C.G, Jung Speaking, p. 394), Jung states, "I have found no stable or definite center in the unconscious, and I don't believe such a center exists. I believe that the thing I call the self is an ideal center, equidistant between the ego and the unconscious, and it is probably equivalent to the maximum natural expression of individuality in a state of fulfillment of totality." In his interviews (p. 327) he states that he does not believe that God is the Self or that the Self is God. He simply considers that the two terms are psychologically related, that there is a psychological relationship between them.

I imagine the ego as the manager of a marvelous chamber orchestra who is in charge of making the performances of the orchestra possible: taking care of the bookings, the hotel reservations, the plane or train tickets, etc. When, however, he believes he can direct the orchestra and attempts to take over, disaster ensues. Only the conductor of the orchestra knows the musicians and the music. Only he is able to mediate between the manager and the musicians, negotiating an understanding and delivering performances that delight one's soul.

For Jung, the experience of the unconscious, whatever form it may take, is an approach to wholeness, the one experience lacking in our modern civilization. It is the via regia to the Unus Mundus. He emphasized that the unconscious is the Mother of All (i.e., of all psychic life), being the matrix, background, and foundation of all differentiated phenomena we call psychic (CW 18, par.789).

The archetypes exist in the unconscious as undifferentiated symbols (C.G. Jung Speaking, p. 216). Every symbol is a condensation of the personal and the collective, the individual and the universal. According to Stevens (p. 29), the symbols of dream language are the products of the archetypal assimilation of experience:

Archetype + Experience Þ Symbol 

It seems a natural possibility to reverse the direction and to access the archetypes by following the symbol. Indeed, for Kast (p. 9) a symbol is, in the first place, a common object perceived by the senses, although it also signifies something mysterious; it refers to a meaning beyond, which cannot be fully grasped at first, if ever. Whenever a symbol gains importance in our lives, it reflects a current existential situation. This symbolic point of view incorporates our every-day reality into a greater continuity, whereby the hidden meaning influences the apparent and the apparent influences the hidden meaning. It is this capacity to develop an imaginative connection with the symbolic life that can open the door to the wisdom with which we are endowed. "The kingdom of Heaven is within you," and this realization heals the suffering of the soul (C.G. Jung Speaking, p. 72).

I wonder how today's neo-Jungians would answer Jung's question, "What has happened to the passion of the spirit, that it should have declined into an arid exercise of intellect alone, and what of the effect on consciousness, that it should be held as the equivalent only of that which is capable of verbal articulation?" Think of that and you will see how the spirit of the West has been impoverished and become sick in a vital area of itself (van der Post, p. 133).

To correct all that in his patients was as common a task as it was difficult. Jung has shown us that we certainly need to mobilize the energies of the conscious ego, but instead of fighting or suppressing the illness or rationalizing the symptom and acting it out, one goes down into the dark night of the soul to find the meaning in the symptoms and the myth and symbol it points to. The approach is then a dialogue between inner and outer, upper and lower, contemporary and archetypal. And in the last resort, healing is achieved only Deo concedente, by the grace of the divine energy we are able to access.

In his Red Book, Jung carefully wrote all his fantasies and thoughts during his own Night Sea Journey; in it he wrote the following (Jaffé, p. 155-156):

I have returned, I am once again there - 

I am with you - after long years of long wandering 

I have come again to you.

Should I tell you everything I have seen, experienced, drunk 

into myself?

Or don't you want to hear of all the noise of life 

and the world?

But one thing you must know, one thing I have learnt, 

that one must live this life.

This life is the way, the longest sought after, the way 

to the incomprehensible, which we call divine.

There is no other way.

All other ways are false paths.

I found the right way, it led me to you, to 

my soul.

I return, tempered and purified.

Then I was still utterly engrossed in the spirit of the time 

and thought differently of the human soul.

I thought and spoke much about the soul; I knew many 

learned words about the soul; I judged it and made a 

scientific object of it.

I did not consider that the soul cannot be the object of my 

judgement and knowledge. Much more are my judgement and 

knowledge the object of my soul.

Therefore the spirit of the depths pressed me to speak to my 

soul, to call upon it as a living and independent being whose 

re-discovery means good fortune for me. I had to become 

aware that I had lost my soul, or rather that I had lost myself 

from my soul, for many years.

Therefore the spirit of the depths sees the soul as an inde- 

pendent, living being, and therewith contradicts the spirit of 

the times for whom the soul is something dependent on the 

person, which lets itself be ordered and judged, that is, a thing 

whose range we can grasp.

Before the spirit of the depths, this thought is presumption 

and arrogance. Therefore the joy of my re-discovery was a 

humble one. . . . Without the soul there is no way out of this time.

For those of us lucky enough to have found a home that Jung's spiritual motherhood provided, the obligation to guide others to the place of harmonious interaction with the world around is paramount. In the process we need to remember that as Jung had said, what we are doing for ourselves is not done for ourselves alone, because we are, each of us, a grain of sand in the balance of the universe and we may then be able to contribute to the decrease of the chaos in the world around us. Stevens (p. 119) ends his book by saying:

There is no knowing how any of this can be achieved, but if the Self wills it, it must be possible. To gain access to the archetypal world, to begin to know the unknowable is at least a beginning. The natural world of our planet now depends for its whole future survival on what can be achieved through its intra-psychic representative - the Self - the primordial survivor in ourselves.

I want to end by taking you with me to an Eastern Orthodox church to attend Easter services. You need to imagine a rather dimly lit interior, the tall, very narrow windows do not provide very much light. There are no pews, but only around the walls there are old, ornately carved stalls on which the older members of the congregation are allowed to sit. The rest stand or kneel. The walls are covered with icons and so is the wall that separates the altar from the area where the congregation gathers. In this wall there are three doors, two small side doors and the center, two-panel door, which opens at crucial moments during the Mass, thus allowing the members of the congregation to see the priest officiating. For Easter one gathers at 4:00 A.M. in total darkness. Each person has an unlit candle in his or her hand and one waits, in darkness and in silence. One hears only the murmur of the priest at the altar behind the closed door. And then all of a sudden the door opens, and in the darkness the priest appears holding a lighted candle. He touches the candle of the nearest member of the congregation saying, " Christ is resurrected," and the person whose own candle is now lit answers, "Indeed, Christ is resurrected." He or she now turns to the closest person, lights the candle with the same exchange of words, and one by one all the candles are lit. And at the end of the Mass, each person leaves the church with her or his lit candle, walking home while carefully protecting it, so that it can reach home alight. It is this light that Jung can bring to a lost soul, and it is this light that can survive outside and inside the home.


Jaffé., Aniela. Jung's Last Years and Other Essays. Dallas: Spring Publications, 1984.

Jung, Carl Gustav. Collected Works, vols. 5, 8, 10, 16, & 18, Princeton Univ. Press.

Kast, Verena. The Dynamics of Symbols: Fundamentals of Jungian Psychotherapy. New York: Fromm International Publishing, 1992.

McGuire, William, and Hull,R.F.C. (eds.). C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters. Bollingen Series XCVII, Princeton Univ. Press, 1977.

Post, Laurens van der: Jung and the Story of Our Time. New York: Random House/ Vintage Books, 1977.

Stevens, Anthony: The Two- Million-Year-Old Self, Texas A & M Univ. Press: College Station, 1993.

Wilhelm, Richard (trans.). The Secret of the Golden Flower: A Chinese Book of Life. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1962.

Jung Society of Washington

5200 Cathedral Ave., NW Washington 20016


Executive Director - James Hollis

Office and Library Hours:

Weekdays from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

Member Benefits: Members have borrowing privileges at our library and receive a discounted fee to most of our events. 

Looking for a local Jungian  Analyst?

Other Program Venues

Guy Mason Recreation Center - 3600 Calvert St., NW, Wash DC

Wesley Theological Seminary - 4500 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Wash DC
George Mason University, , 3351 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Virginia

Images of mandalas throughout this site were created by Carl Jung's patients between the years 1926 and 1945.

Jung Society of Washington

Directions: The Jung Society of Washington is located in the educational building of the Palisades Community Church, From MacArthur Blvd., turn east (away from the Potomac River) onto Cathedral at the light between Loughboro and Arizona.  We are accessible via the Metro D6 bus line.  Entrance to the Jung Society library and office is from the side street, Hawthorne Place.

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