Mystical Emergence: An Architectural Journey Through Jung’s Tower

Judith A. Savage
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Inter-Regional Society of Jungia Analysts

Mark Larson
Architect
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Mark Larson: Introduction to the Project

Houses are where we begin and end each day. They shape our patterns of living and contain our relationships. We cook, eat, sleep, procreate, study, raise children, store our belongings, make our plans for the future, and interact with each other within them. They frame our view of the outside world, while providing privacy for our interior lives. Paradoxically, they conceal our deepest secrets while transparently displaying our values, tastes, and social status through their form and style. Yet, despite the extremely personal role our houses play in our lives, few of us actually design or build them ourselves anymore. More often, like the resourceful hermit crab, we move into the best shells that we can find. We rely on the skills of architects, contractors, and interior designers to shape or remodel our homes to fit our personal tastes. The elusive goal of achieving the ideal home seduces us endlessly to fantasize a “dream house” where our lives are imagined as complete, in perfect harmony between a person and a place. Magazines, newspapers and television run stories about them twenty-four hours a day. Home tours of the rich and famous satisfy our voyeuristic interest in seeing how others live. Recently, this hype and longing for gorgeous, seductive architecture has been referred to as “yuppie porn.” Yet, it is human nature to be interested in where and how other people live. This is especially true of such deeply personal places as Carl Jung’s private retreat at Bollingen.

Houses express our individual character. Whether visiting Bollingen or Graceland, Mt. Vernon or Anne Frank’s house, unique places such as these draw us to them through their promise to tell us not only about their owners, but about ourselves. Architecture is a subjective language that expresses the people and culture from which it derives, just as Jung’s tower reveals a great deal about both the man and his time. “From the beginning,” he wrote “I felt the tower to be a place of maturation – a maternal womb – in which I could become what I was, what I am, and will be. It gave me a feeling as if I were being reborn in stone. I built it in a kind of dream. Only afterwards did I see how all the parts fitted together and that a meaningful form had resulted: a symbol of psychic wholeness.” (Jung, 1963, p 213-214).

Other than its splendid setting on the shores of the Obersee, with its panoramic view of the Glarnish Alps on the horizon, it has few luxuries. It is a practical house, evocative of a medieval time, resembling a small castle with its turrets, archways, and a courtyard. Privacy is a central motif of the tower. Built as a retreat, it resembles more a monk’s cell than it does any vacation home. Despite being on the shores of a beautiful lake, its views are oddly obscured by its courtyard walls and rooftops. While its whimsical towers give it a spiritual dimension, in contrast, its rusticated doors and stone walls encapsulate it.

Yet, despite belonging to one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century, Bollingen is still only a piece of real estate. Jung’s personal “house of dreams” might just as well be described by a real estate agent in the following way:

This cozy 2300 square foot, 5-bedroom, 2-turret lakeshore property, provides lovely views of the upper shores of Lake Zurich. Its rustic kitchen facilities, private study, charming outdoor toilet, and wood-heated rooms, await you. A fenced in yard, with sailboat mooring and plenty of wood storage are an added bonus for the lucky buyer. Welcome home to Bollingen!

This project provides a fascinating example of the life of a house. Begun in 1922, Jung added and subtracted from it four more times over a thirty-year period, altering its form like a barometer of his own changing inner evolution. It has remained unaltered since 1956. Although emblematic of its famous owner, it remains shrouded in mystery even forty-three years after his death. In the hands of a family trust, an inventory of its contents, its precise size, and layout has never been made public. From correspondence (March 27, 2002) with Ulrich Hoerni, Jung’s grandson, we learned that although the Erbengemeinschaft C.G. Jung has “made extensive photographic, computer aided measurements for conservation purposes, no publication of this data is intended.” (personal correspondence 3/27/02) Although it is known that some architectural sketches were made, only two small, drawings of a rejected design were found in the published literature. (Bair, 2003, p. 323, Wehr 1989, p. 68) Without any plans or measure ments to guide us, we were left to puzzle out the size of its footprint and its layout on our own.

Together we have worked to create a visual and narrative journey through the tower that respects the Jung family’s privacy while fostering a deeper understanding of its place in Jung’s life. Its central importance is clear in his answer to the question whether he wished to be reincarnated? “If I might have Bollingen,” he answered “I would be willing to come again.” (Hannah, 1997, p. 154) We have spent many hours gathering its images from books, videos, and personal snap shots. We have interviewed people who had visited there, and in the summer of 2003 Judith toured parts of the tower. While scouring the literature we quickly learned that the written descriptions of Bollingen lack detail, and are often vague and confusing. While Judith clarified these facts, I began making architectural drawings and models, puzzling out the undocumented angles of the roof lines or the dimensions of its unmeasured spaces. My finished models, which correspond to the building phases of the tower, were interpolated from many sources and are intended more as an interpretation of Bollingen than as an exhaustively accurate representation. This architectural chronology reveals that the design experienced many changes, missteps, and revelations as it matured. While this is typical of any design process, more often it occurs on paper rather than in built reality!

As an architect, I normally begin a project with a client, a site, a budget, an empty sheet of paper, and with these tools I develop my architectural plans. But, in this project, I started with a building already constructed, a famous homeowner who had died in 1961, and only photos and written descriptions to base my renderings upon. Of course, there was no design fee! In the process, I soon learned that the place could be understood best as a sculpture more than as a final product of a linear, architectural process. In architectural terms, Bollingen resembles the sculptural work of Frank Gehry rather than the graphically organized rigor of Frank Lloyd Wright. Like Gehry’s own house, Bollingen evolved throughout the process of its construction, its form emerging from its relationship to its environment and the individuation of its owner, rather than from a fixed architectural plan created prior to construction. As a result, Bollingen has been reluctant to reveal its true configurations. During this presentation, I will present my own architectural interpretation of what I have discovered, and how it has taught, frustrated, and ultimately inspired me to explore further without knowing where I might arrive at the end.

Architecturally, my first task was to determine scale. Using Jung himself, who was known to be about six feet tall, and guessing him to be about two feet wide, I established a scale from a photo of Jung standing in the doorway of the original tower. From there, I went to the heart of the design process, albeit in reverse order. Since most of the available photos are of the completed configuration of the house, I began by drawing the basic geometries of the floor plan at it exists today. I based the size of the site, the floorplans, and elevations of the house upon my estimations of their relative sizes, my understanding of the inherent nature of the construction materials, and photographs showing Jung standing in the door of the central tower. From these drawings, I worked back and forth between each building phase, trying to decipher how each stage had originally existed. Through this process, I imagined that I was struggling with the same design issues as Jung must have faced, that I was encountering the same challenges he must have met as he puzzled out his next building move.

Since he had added and subtracted from his original building four times over the course of thirty years, it seemed to me that this poor house had worked hard, taking a fair amount of abuse. Sometimes, spaces literally became blocked off, or ended up awkwardly relating to one another. Given that Bollingen’s evolution was never a linear or logical process I was, like Jung himself, often frustrated by the guesswork. I could not help but react to his haphazard design process by thinking that some of these forms would have worked out better if they had first been drawn on paper rather than done in stone! However, the mystery and complexity of the place continued to fascinate me as much as it frustrated my attempts to pin it down.

Through our interdisciplinary collaboration as an architect and a Jungian analyst, we have deepened our understanding of this project much more than we could have achieved alone. We would like to introduce you to this unique building, describe to you its place in history while illustrating how the story of a person can be told through the structures they build. As Mimi Lobell wrote, “Just as we cannot understand bees without knowing the beehive, we cannot understand human beings without knowing architecture.” (Lobell, 1977, p. 5)

Judith Savage: The Context and Origins of Jung’s Tower Building

As an analyst, I was curious to discover what had motivated Jung to build such a sequestered sanctuary in the first place? Jung’s tower building impulse first originated in the incipient emotional crisis which broke through in him following his split with Freud in 1912. This difficult period in Jung’s life is commonly known as his “confrontation with the unconscious,” and in his own words, lasted from 1912 until 1917 (Jung 1965, p. 170). Banished from the ranks of the psychoanalytic community, he felt isolated and betrayed. “After my break with Freud,” he wrote, “all my friends and acquaintances dropped away. My book was declared rubbish; I was a mystic and that settled the matter. Riklin and Maeder alone had stuck by me.” (Jung, 1963, p. 162) The resulting social isolation and rejection by Freud, his fatherly mentor, had reopened childhood wounds, and initiated “a period of inner uncertainty” within him. “It would be no exaggeration to call it a state of disorientation,” he wrote. “I felt totally suspended in mid-air, for I had not yet found my own footing.” (Smith, 1996, Jung 1963, p. 165)

Struggling against a torrent of emotions and a flood of images emanating from his unconscious, Jung concluded that his emotional survival demanded his reliance upon his own conception of the psyche. No better solution existed in the psychology of the time. “Originally I held to Freud’s view that vestiges of old experiences existed in the unconscious,” he wrote, “but my actual experiences taught me that such contents are not dead, outmoded forms, but belong to our living being.” (Jung, 1963, p. 167) He resolved that, much like a shaman, he must “undergo the original experience himself. This would be my greatest wealth,” he wrote. “I loved it and I hated it. [But] delivering myself over to it was the only way I could endure my existence and live as fully as possible.” (Jung, 1963, p. 184) Throughout these difficult years, his psychiatric and scholarly training provided him with a internal, mental infrastructure which, along with his immense personal creativity, helped him to survive the internal chaos of this period. Otherwise, he wrote, “the material would have trapped me in its thicket, strangled me like jungle creepers. I took great care to understand every single image, to classify them, and to realize them in actual life.” (Jung, 1963, p. 184, italics mine)

Only after the instability had subsided and he no longer was “held captive inside the magic mountain,” was he able to take an objective view towards his experience. The first question he reflected upon was “what does one do with the unconscious?” (Jung, 1963, p. 198) Memories of himself at age eleven, building little houses and castles with stones and mud, quickly flooded him. He thought to himself “there is life in these things, this small boy is still around, and possesses a creative life that I lack.” (Jung, 1963, p. 168) Like a small child, he then began to assemble ritually tiny villages and stone structures along the lake shore of his home in Kusnacht. Self critically, he thought to himself, “What am I doing? I am building a small house as if it were a ritual.” (Jung, 1963, p. 169)

However, an inner certainty that he would discover his own myth through this playful activity prevailed. This playing with stones was a rite of passage into his own creative imagination, and it unleashed within him a stream of fantasies and thoughts which he conscientiously recorded. According to Hannah, “whenever he succeeded in translating emotions into images, he was inwardly calmed and reassured.” (1997, p. 108) Drawing and dialoguing with his inner figures, he filled over 1, 330 pages of his Red and Black notebooks (Smith, 1996, p. 76) searching for an answer to his unrelenting inner question, “what is my myth, what is it I believe in?” (Jung, 1965, p. 171) Much later, he regarded this as the most important time of his life. In spite of his emotional suffering, it had provided him with a lifetime of work, and many of his most creative ideas were formed during this seminal period.

This drive to transmute psychic images into form and substance was the force behind Jung’s tower building impulse. Through it he participated in an ancient and archetypal urge to secure the ineffable in the permanence of stone. History is filled with the archaeology of such longing, from the Paleolithic Venus of Willendorf, the stone circles of Northern Ireland, Stonehenge, and the monumental heads of Easter Island. At the center of Islam is the black stone, set in the wall of the Ka’ba at Mecca. All holy places and shrines share this human urge to meld meaning into rock so that it may endure for generations. With each structural decision at Bollingen, Jung sculpted psyche into stone. As each stone was set, his resolve to define his own views was strengthened. Much as a castle’s tower claims its territory, Bollingen marked Jung’s emancipation from the Freudian dogma, laying stake to the ground of his own ideas:

Words and paper did not seem real enough to me. To put my fantasies on solid footing, something more was needed. I had to achieve a kind of representation in stone of my innermost thoughts and of the knowledge I had acquired. Put another way, I had to make a confession of faith in stone. That was the beginning of the tower, the house I built for myself at Bollingen. (Jung, 1963, p. 212)

At Bollingen, psychic reality eventually emerges as “place”, and through examining the place, the restorative process within the man is revealed. Throughout his life, whenever he got stuck, Jung “painted a picture or hewed stone.” (Jung, 1963, p. 169) Stonemasonry was his therapy. After his wife’s death in 1955 he wrote, “the close of her life, the end, wrenched me violently out of myself. It cost me a great deal to regain my footing, and contact with stone helped me.” (Jung, 1965, p. 175 italics mine) In her memory, he carved a classical but tender monument to her and placed it just below the loggia inside the tower “where the sun would fall upon it much of the day, and when the weather was just right, light was reflected upon it from the lake.” (van der Post, 1977, p. 254)

Although he built and occupied Bollingen only after his recovery, Jung always conceived of the tower as a monument to the knowledge he had reaped during his creative illness. Throughout its building, all of the architectural decisions emerged from his deep inner connection with the archetypal unconscious. At times, these decisions seemed influenced by an unseen hand. Only years later did he realize he had built each section of the tower in four year increments, thereby forming a natural quaternity of wholeness.

Mark Larson: The Architecture of Bollingen

This house tells its own story through the language of architecture. The first phase of the project began in 1923 as a sort of Primitive Hut. This portion of the project has also been referred to as the ‘maternal tower’ since Jung himself associated its construction with his mother’s death (Hannah, p 156). As Jung described, “it was to be a round structure with a hearth in the center and bunks along the walls. I more or less had in mind an African hut where the fire, ringed by a few stones, burns in the middle, and the whole life of the family revolves around this center.” (Jung, 1963, p. 212) Its small round tower is inwardly focused, protective, self-referential, and without any orientation. Access is gained through a single, fortress-like door, which today would certainly result in a housing code violation. The singular tower, almost completely made of stones mined from the quarry on the opposite side of the lake, has timber framed floors and a hexagon, cone-shaped roof. A rustic outpost away from civilization, its crude living accommodations were heated only by firewood and it was without running water or electricity. At this stage, the house is in its infancy, no more than a small step up from camping.

The second phase, built in 1927, begins to resemble more a Family House when a two-story wing was added to the lone tower. The house now opened itself more to the lake, aligning roughly with the shoreline, thereby creating an outdoor space between the building and the lake. This addition added larger windows on the main level, a second larger entrance, and more living space. Jung “divided this addition into several areas, the foyer, the lower study, and the guestroom.” Overall, these developments suggest that Jung was now able stay at Bollingen for longer periods of time and his family could visit “without having to sleep outside in threadbare tents.” (Bair, p. 323)

The third phase, which could be characterized more as a Mansion, was built in 1931. A second, more slender turret was added to the end of the 1927 wing, which “added a new long room with an open fireplace, where Jung later did a great deal of cooking.” In addition, “it provided a flat roof outside his study and the tower-like annex was extended and the ‘retiring room’ came into being.” Jung painted all the walls of his private study with images that had, in his own words, “carried me out of time into seclusion, out of the present into timelessness. This place became a place of spiritual concentration.” (Hannah, p. 200-201) He was known to have carried the key to this room around his neck, and only select guests were ever invited into it. To accomplish this renovation architecturally, some of the previous addition had to be dismantled and rebuilt, and the once rectilinear form at the end of the wing was modified into a round tower. This addition further defined a half enclosed courtyard near the lake, more clearly defining a front for the house on the lakeside and a back towards the woods. At this stage of the house, the structure feels to me as if it were in its adolescent stage, it is formally awkward, has a blank middle section, and its two towers seem not to be on speaking terms with each other.

The fourth building phase transforms the project into more of a Fortress. Built in 1935, Jung added a courtyard wall and loggia along the lake side. It is my guess that the entire courtyard area was built on fill created by remnants from the many stages of renovation which literally added to the size of the property. Today this would be in direct violation of most Department of Natural Resources laws, or at least would require some sort of variance! The courtyard has two large doors on massive hinges. It was now necessary to enter the courtyard before entering the house, creating an architecture of walls, privacy and control. Jung’s use of “mood flags,” signaling his openness for visitors, seems fitting to this more withdrawn stage of the house. This fourth addition radically changed the relationship of the house to the shoreline, strangely, and perhaps deliberately, blocking eye level views of the spectacular lake and mountain views from within the house and courtyard. The result created a space open to the sky but closed to its surrounding landscape – a place of openness yet privacy.

The loggia, built as part of this addition, created a small but formal small room with a massive oversized fireplace and small windows to the lake. A raised walk provided the height needed to see over the wall and was reached from the stairs adjacent to the loggia. To me, this stage in the life of the house feels as if it was experiencing a midlife crisis. It’s wonderful site is blocked by its own walls, its many elements are without a compositional center, and the towers seem not to be on speaking terms with each other.

The fifth and final addition to the house transforms the project into nothing less than an Enchanted Castle. Built in 1956, with the help of his architect son Franz, a dramatic upper room was added along with three large windows that could be fully opened to the view. He labeled this section “his ego personality” explaining:

After my wife’s death I felt an inner obligation to become what I myself am. To put it in the language of the Bollingen house, I suddenly realized that the central section which crouched so low, so hidden, was myself! I could no longer hide myself behind the ‘maternal’ and ‘spiritual’ towers, so I added an upper story which represented myself. Earlier, I would not have been able to do this. I would have regarded it as presumptuous self-emphasis. Now it signifies an extension of consciousness achieved in old age. With that the building was complete. (Jung, 1963, p. 213)

At the age of eighty-one, after the building’s completion, Jung did his writing in this light-filled and more comfortable room with its longs view of the lake and the mountains beyond. This room “could be well heated and was much more spacious and airy than the small study below where he had worked since 1927.” Another advantage to this renovation was the “two small bedrooms that were useful for visiting children and grandchildren.” (Hannah, p. 330-331)

Bollingen was now complete with its turrets, rusticated doors, barred and shuttered windows, fortress walls, inner and outer courtyards, and even a moat! In the end, the house is beautifully, almost organically composed of forms now seeming to relate to each other. In my opinion, it now has an optimistic face and the whole composition resembles a closely related group of individuals – much like a family, and more integrated, like a well rounded individual. This final stage is an architectural relief since the house seems at last to have found its final composition, reaching its full maturity. While it is impossible to separate this house from the life of its creator, the monument he has left behind is inspiring to me personally and professionally. In architecture, as in life, one cannot know where the design might lead us but, for a creative outcome to be achieved, we must believe in the process along the way.

Judith Savage: Images in Stone

Since childhood, Jung felt a deep, inner split between his outer world adaptation and his inner world self which he labeled his number two personality. This number two personality became symbolized by Philemon, an image he first experienced in a dream in 1913 which had “brought home to me the crucial insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not produce. Psychologically, Philemon represents superior insight.” (Jung, 1963, p. 175-176) One of the first paintings Jung made on a second floor bedroom wall in the original tower was of Philemon. Another was of a mandala he painted above his own bed. Jung wrote that the mandala helped him “understand the goal of psychic development” which gave him “ psychic stability” and allowed “inner piece to return.” (Hannah, p. 127)

The simple lifestyle of Bollingen allowed Jung to live in harmony with nature. He wrote, “I have done without electricity and tend the fireplace and stove myself. Evenings, I light the old lamps. There is no running water, I pump the water from the well. I chop the wood and cook the food. These simple acts make man simple; and how difficult it is to be simple! Here, at Bollingen, the torrent of creation is lessened; creativity and play are close together.” (Jung, 1963, p. 214) Giegerich described Bollingen as the place where Jung “could return to a state of unborness.” In contrast to Kusnacht, where Jung “worked at his desk” and was “the scientist who dug up facts,” at Bollingen he became “the fish swimming in the waters” of the primordial unconscious.” (Giegerich, 2004, p. 47-48)

Although he regarded Bollingen as a private retreat, he had many visitors there. Hans Kuhn was his long time caretaker, and the nearby Fierz estate was often used by Aniela Jaffé, Maria Louise von Franz, and Barbara Hannah as well as Hans and Linda Fierz themselves. To prevent unwanted guests, he was known to have raised colored “mood” flags to signal his desire for visitors or privacy. His wife and children were often there, as was Antonia Wolff. According to Brome, “Bollingen helped divide off his extramarital from his marital life. His wife and family remained in Kusnacht while he spent weekends with Antonia Wolff. There was a sense in which the house symbolized the split in his marriage.” (Brome, 1978, p. 195) Similarly, Bair concluded that “Emma was represented by the original tower while the second tower represented Toni and was a self-contained spiritual place.” (p. 324) This characterization of the towers, each representing either his wife/mother or lover/anima, suggests that Jung’s underlying motivation for building the middle section in 1956 was his need to resolve his place between these two women. Seen from this perspective, Bollingen in its final form resembles a family portrait, with Jung himself rising in the middle and extending his arms to embrace each tower.

The last woman to care for Jung at Bollingen was Ruth Bailey, a long time family friend who he first met in his travels to Africa. She assumed his care shortly after Emma’s death and remained with him until his death. “Since Jung always had said he would like to die at Bollingen, Ruth was determined to make that possible.” She accompanied him there for extended periods, his last visit occurring in the spring of 1961, shortly before his death in June. (Hannah, p. 331)

Jung etched and painted Bollingen with images and words that were meaningful to him. Above its entryway, he carved the Latin phrase “Philemonis sacrum – Fausti Poenitentia” (Shrine of Philemon – Repentance of Faust). Mythically, Zeus and Hermes, disguised as humble beggars, arrived at Philemon and Baucis’s door. Already refused by many, the old couple offered these disguised gods their hospitality. According to von Franz (1975), Philemon became the totem figure of Bollingen because he symbolized the attitude of humble respect needed when encountering the divine energies within the human psyche. Like neglected gods from an earlier time, such divine energies are undervalued in an egoistic world. Robert Brooke speculated that Jung’s vision of Philemon presaged a psychological shift that was occurring within him. “As Jung grew more psychically hospitable towards the material emerging from his own unconscious, his uncertainty and neurotic European anxiety lessened, and his ego began a deeper relationship with the Self.” (1991, p. 186) Philemon became the patron image of Bollingen the place and Jung’s personal experience of the Self, the curative energies that enabled him to transcend the torment of his own fractured self.

He honored his ancestry by painting the ceiling of the loggia with emblems from the family crests of his, his wife’s, and their sons-inlaw’s family’s. According to von Franz, at the lake’s edge, Jung carved a small monument with an ivy wreath dedicated “to the most beautiful Attis who embodied the spring-like glory of life.” (von Franz, 1975, p. 23) On another occasion, he carved an image of a serpent and placed it near the tower’s entrance. In 1950, while working on the subject of synchronicity, he described seeing the shape of a face emanating from the outer wall of the original tower. As he carved out its outline, a mercurial trickster emerged.

Jung never ceased his stone masonry. As late as 1958, at the age of eighty-three, he carved a kneeling woman, drinking the spiritual milk from the mythic horse Pegasus (Hannah, 1997, p. 341). According to Jaffé, Jung regarded this woman as an image of the archetypal anima who “ushered in the coming age of Aquarius.” Further to the left, he carved an image of a Russian bear pushing a ball, and inscribed the words, “Ursa movet molem,” or the force that starts things rolling. (Jaffé, 1979, p. 194) Aldo Caruotenuto (1980) has suggested this Russian bear is a veiled reference to Sabina Spielrein, an early patient of Jung’s, with whom he had an erotic entanglement. Similarly, the anima figure milking Pegasus is thought to represent Antonia Wolff. It is noteworthy that both of these carvings are found on the outer walls, away from the house and its inner courtyard, much as these two women have only been acknowledged at the perimeter of Jung’s history.

Lastly, only the story of the orphan stone remains. Jung carved it in 1950 in recognition of his seventy-fifth birthday as a monument to express what the tower meant to him. A large square stone had mistakenly been delivered in a shipment for a garden wall. Rather than return it, he stopped the quarrymaster from sending it back since, in the spirit of Philemon, he felt he must never reject any form of a mysterious visitor at his door. (Jung, 1965 p 226) Upon it he carved a simple poem from the thirteenth-century alchemist Arnaldus de Villanova:

Here stands the mean, uncomely stone,
Tis very cheap in price!
The more it is despised by fools,
The more loved by the wise.” (Jung, 1963, p. 215)

A similar idea is expressed in Psalms 118:22, “The Stone which the builders have rejected has become the head of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes”, and also in the Buddhist koan, “The Tao is eternal, but has no fame. The uncarved block, though seemingly of small account, is greater than anything under heaven.” (Oakes, 1987, p. 88)

Jung said that before carving, he “allowed the stone to speak for itself.” Seeing first the shape of an eye in the center he etched out the figure of Telesphoros. Telesphoros is known as the child companion to Asklepios, the Greek god of healing and was also associated with the Cabiri, dwarf-like Roman talismans that protect travelers and navigators on their journeys (Oakes, p. xiv). In keeping with its mythic roots, like the Cabiri who lit the way for the traveler, Jung carved the figure holding out a lantern. In Greek he inscribed:

Time is a child. This is Telesphoros, who roams through the dark regions of the cosmos and glows like a star out of the depths. He points the way to the gates of the sun and to the land of dreams. (Jung, 1965, p. 227)

Jung had been drawn to this Cabiri image having used it much earlier in 1917 in his painting in the Red Book entitled “Knight with Sword.” There, several of these small, hooded figures are gathered at the base of a phallus-like shape. (Wehr, 1989, p. 141) On the side of the stone facing the lake, Jung carved in Latin,

I am an orphan, alone; nevertheless I am found everywhere. I am one, but opposed to myself. I am youth and old man at one and the same time. I have known neither father nor mother, because I have had to be fetched out of the deep like a fish, or fell like a white stone from heaven. In woods and mountains I roam, but I am hidden in the innermost soul of man, I am mortal for everyone, yet I am not touched by the circle of aeons. (Jung 1963, p. 227)

One side of the stone remained blank, covered over by the growth of the nearby bushes. In his autobiography, Jung wrote that he often thought of inscribing it with the French phrase, “Le Cri de Merlin.” (Jung, 1965, p. 216) According to von Franz, Jung sometimes felt like a modern day Merlin who, “after the old pagan ways were no longer valued, vanished from the world, deep into the forest. But his cries could still be heard, although no one could understand or interpret them any longer.” (von Franz, 1975, p. 279-80) After completing the Orphan Stone, Jung told Maud Oakes, “I need not have written any books; it is all on the stone.” (Oaks, 1987, p. 88) He placed it outside the tower, as a monument to the place.

Although built on the shores of a lake, Jung’s tower was much more than his weekend cabin. It was a healing temenos in which he embraced the very mysticism that had caused his banishment from the psychoanalytic community. Although built of stone, it was surprisingly flexible. It evolved organically, much as a coral reef builds upon itself. Theodore Ziolkoski described Jung as a lapidary mystic and his tower building as proof of Jung’s powerful connection with stone. In addition, “the central position stones occupy in his thought: the Philosopher’s Stone or the lapis philosophorum, the stone as an image of Christ, as in Alchemical Studies and Aion, or the stone as a symbol of the unified self … constitute a veritable quarry of references “ in the Collected Works. (1998, p. 133)

Bollingen was Jung’s sanctuary in which he could develop his own theory of psychology, not one grounded on the clash between the ego and id, but upon the mystery of the human psyche’s longing to restore itself to its original wholeness. Like Martin Luther before him in 1593, who “underwent within the Wittenberg Tower what theologians refer to as his Turmerlebnis (tower experience), the years Jung spent pursuing his inner images inside his tower were the most formative of his life and theory.” (Ziolkowski, 1998, p. 19) It was there, he wrote, that “everything essential was decided.” (Jung 1963, p. 191) Bollingen was a place where he could be himself, “as I am, was, and will be. It gave me a feeling as if I were being reborn in stone.” (Jung, 1963, p. 214)

Even Jung’s last dream was about stone. Just days before his death in 1961, at the age of eighty-six, he dreamt of a great white stone. On it was the inscription “This shall be a sign unto you of wholeness and oneness.” (Hannah, 1997, p. 347) Laid to rest in the family cemetery in Kusnacht, his gravestone is graced by the same Latin phrase he had first carved and placed just inside the original tower’s entryway and above the door to his home in Kusnacht, VOCATUS ATQUE NON VOCATUS DEUS ADERIT (Whether called or not, the God will be present).

References

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  • Breger, Louis (2000) Freud: Darkness in the Midst of Vision. New York, John Wiley & Sons.
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