Monday, March 2, 2009

Notes From The President and Editor

Dear Friends of The C.G. Jung Society of Vermont,

As winter draws to its close, we look forward to the shift in weather that signals the return of spring. March in Vermont, however, still has us in some of the worst winter weather until the inevitable St. Patrick Day (or thereabouts) snow storm, which finally brings the cold season to its end, or more descriptively "breaks the back of winter." The saying "in like a lion and out like a lamb" so often applied to the coming and going of March was never more true than here in northern New England. And yet, when we consider things symbolically, this volatile month which takes its name from the Roman war god, Mars, has a light side as well as a dark. In The Reader's Encyclopedia, it states that originally Mars was an Italian god of fertility whose month of March "began the spring season of growth and fruitfulness and only later took on the attributes of the Greek god of war, Ares" (Bennet, 1965, p. 640). The light and dark complement each other and each has a function within the life cycle of the natural world.

Although it is the beginning of March, we are still situated in the interior world of heated homes and bundled bodies as we brave the frigid temperatures, snow and ice of the outer world to go about our exterior lives. In keeping with this time of year, this issue of Jung in Vermont speaks especially to our interior world, of psyche, and its various manifestations in symbols appropriate to this threshold month. We open with an essay on Jungian dream work in the Clinical Perspectives section entitled Dreams: A Path to Awareness of the Unconscious. Following this is a conference paper, Home, Hearth, and Grave: The Archetypal Symbol of Threshold on the Road to Self, which explores the significance of three threshold places important to Jung on his journey of individuation. Next we offer two poems in The Arts section, Dream of a Bear and The Milagros. We close with a new section, This Month, which lists Jungian events in the area for the current month. We will keep this section updated as we become aware of Jungian and Jungian-related events in the vicinity so you will want to check it periodically during the month. And, regarding events, be sure to check the Calendar of Events & Society Happenings page on our website for information on upcoming society events.

As a reminder to our readers and for those of you who are new to Jung in Vermont, we are including below the guide to the e-journal's content areas and monthly archived material as well as information on how to post your comments on material in the current issue.

E-Journal Guide. The e-journal offers submitted material from our membership in the following categories: Clinical Perspectives, Conference Papers, Essays, Reflections, Reviews, News From…, Notes From the President and Editor, The Arts, and This Month. An alphabetically ordered list of these content areas is located to the right of the text in a side bar headed Labels. You’ll notice a number in parentheses after each and this indicates the total number of pieces in this area including pieces from previous issues. The titles of the pieces in the current issue – arranged in the order of appearance – are displayed farther down in the side bar under the heading Blog Archive and past issues of the e-journal can be accessed by month in this area as well.

Posting Comments. If you'd like to comment on any or all of the pieces in this month's e-journal, scroll down to the end of the piece and click on comments, this will open a message box - write your comment and click submit and within a short time your comment will be available for others to read and comment upon. To access readers' comments, just click the same comments box at the end of the piece.

We hope you enjoy this month's contributions to this issue of the e-journal, Jung in Vermont. We invite members to submit their work on Jungian themes for consideration for publication. For information on submission guidelines, please refer to the Calendar of Events and Society Offerings page of our website accessed at . Submissions should be sent to The Editor at

With regards,
Stephanie Buck

Editor Contact:

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Clinical Perspectives

Dreams: A Path to Awareness of the Unconscious

The Pathway
With no doubt, dreams attest to the existence of the deeper levels of the human psyche. It is through dreams that one symbolically works over complexes, memories, daily struggles and pleasures one takes in consciously and unconsciously. However, dreams speak to us in their own representational language which is rarely clear. As in allowing oneself to become embraced by a musical composition, we are drawn in to the dream by the tone, theme, rhythm, emotion, and nuances evoked in thought and intuition. Because a dream is an encapsulation of that which disturbs or distracts the dreamer, hearing the message embedded in the dream is a humbling challenge.

Introducing her chapter on dreams in Boundaries of the Soul (1974), June Singer states: “I believe that the experience of dreaming is the clearest proof we have that the unconscious exists. The inner life of an individual unfolds through dreams, and those who carefully observe their dreams may gain access to dimensions of their natures that would otherwise remain impenetrable.” Singer further states that “Jung saw the dream as an image of the dreamer’s unconscious psychic situation, expressed in symbolic terms that could be unraveled to reveal an underlying meaning.” In his brief overview of Jungian psychotherapy, Kaufmann states that “A Jungian views the dream phenomenologically. The drama of the dream is the unconscious message expressed in symbolic form, a message not necessarily repressed or hidden, but rather trying to reveal itself” (Kaufmann, in Corsini & Wedding, 1989). Jung himself realized that “When we consider the infinite variety of dreams, it is difficult to conceive that there could ever be a method or a technical procedure which would lead to an infallible result” (Whitmont & Perera, citing Jung, 1999). And, “So difficult is it to understand a dream that for a long time I have made it a rule, when someone tells me a dream and asks for my opinion, to say first of all to myself: ‘I have no idea what this dream means.’ After that I can begin to examine the dream” (1999). Jung understood that dreams are so private, so sacred, that with little exception, they could only present themselves in an obscured (symbolic) expression, protecting the dreamer’s deepest level of struggle, fear, love, or hope. It is through symbolic representation that the unconscious communicates what would otherwise elude one’s conscious mind for many varied reasons. Kaufmann says, “It is a basic tenet of Jungian therapy that all products of the unconscious are symbolic and can be taken as guiding messages” (1989).

Inner World/Outer World
When a client brings me a dream, I am curious if it is a dream about the dreamer’s inner or outer world (Morazzini, personal communication). Were it an “outer world” dream, it would mean that the issue in the dream is about something that is actually going on in the dreamer’s waking life, the outer world. For example, if the dream depicts the client preparing to go on vacation, bathing suits or shorts laid out on the bed by the suitcase as if headed for a warm island, and she is indeed planning to go on a Caribbean holiday, the dream may actually be about the upcoming journey, the dreamer working over preparation for the trip. This could be an outer world dream, or as Kaufmann referred in lecture as a “just so” dream. Of course there may be added meaning embedded in this dream, but for our purposes, we will leave this explanation as is.

However, if the dreamer dreams that, for example, his wife is leaving him, when the wife is quite devoted with no intention of separation, the dream may likely be addressing turmoil within the inner world of the client. Here, the dreamer may be grappling with the wife-part of himself, a projection of some part of his behavior that he associates to or projects on to his wife’s behavior. In some way, this behavior has an abandoning influence (the dreamer may escape responsibility or avoid facing behaviors that he needs to attend or perhaps is unhappy in the marriage, but refused to acknowledge this) rather than working his issues out to find more productive, healthier solutions. This could then be considered an inner world dream.

Dissecting the Dream
One needs more ingredients than this to decipher the meaning of a dream, however. The client’s associations to the images and drama of the dream help point the way. We will address this in a minute.

Jung identified the sequence of a dream. He said that there are four distinct stages:

1. exposition, which is the statement of place, the opening scene which introduces where the dreamer is and who he is with (the protagonists). Exposition sets the tone of “what is the problem?” One can see this as akin to watching a play: the curtain opens; what is the set depicting? Who is in this beginning moment and what is he or are they doing, which may begin to reveal the situation of the dreamer. Next comes

2. development, in which the plot of the dream emerges or begins to become complicated through action. Here the story’s tension becomes apparent. Accordingly,

3. culmination (or peripeteia) follows during which the plot thickens; that is to say, something significant happens or something changes totally and the main character responds to that significant event. Finally, we have

4. lysis which is the conclusion or resolution of the dream. How does the situation or dilemma resolve itself? What does the dreamer or main character do? Is this a habitual resolution, resolving the conflict in the usual way? Or a novel ending, finding a new way of dealing with the issue. Some dreams lack lysis.
Often in therapy, the dreams of a new client are resolved habitually: “My mother is coming to pick me up. I wait and wait and finally I realize she is not coming. I am crying as I wake up.” In this case, the client, by his ongoing report, resolves the dream in his usual, sad, but ineffectual way that is true to life; relying on people who fail to follow through responsibly in their commitments and allowing that pattern to continue. Later on, hopefully after gaining inner strength and awareness, the client may resolve the dream differently: “My friend is distracting me from my job, as usual. This time, I tell her to go away so I can work and I will contact her later.” Here the client has changed his usual way of dealing with problems. Instead of succumbing to an inability to draw boundaries, he has drawn one with the knowledge that the friend’s distraction can cost him his job and if she is a good friend, she will understand and await his call.

Reality and Complex
Another important piece to explore in a dream is if the story line or the image is grounded in reality or is symptomatic of grappling with a complex. Jung gives an example of such a dream in his Analytical Psychology (1968): it is a dream of a patient, in his 40s, well-established as a director of a public school, intelligent, but who, Jung describes, “…has nothing to do with details of human life but moves in the stratosphere of abstract ideas.” This patient has worked his way up from the bottom to his current level of accomplishment. His parents were “poor peasants,” and so the gentleman continues to pursue loftier professional goals. Jung writes the dream thus: “He knows that he ought to go to an important conference, and he is taking his portfolio. But he notices that the hour is rather advanced and that the train will leave soon, and so he gets into that well-known state of haste and fear of being too late.” The dream continues with the poor fellow struggling to depart, but consistently realizing he has mislaid his clothes or his portfolio, frantically trying to find all that he needs. He rushes off to the station. Jung proceeds: “Pantingly, he arrives at the station only to see that the train is just leaving. His attention is called to the railway track.” Here Jung has put an illustration of a train that is on a track with a great curve in it. The dreamer is watching this from the station.

Jung continues: “He watches the train, a long one, winding round the curve, and he thinks, ‘If only the engine-driver, when he reaches [past the curve] has sufficient intelligence not to rush full steam ahead; for if he does, the long train behind him which will still be rounding the curve will be derailed.’” But the engineer fails to foresee the disaster, accelerates fully and the train derails as the dreamer feared. Jung points out that when one is frantic and struggles to gain organization and control in a dream, it is indicative of anxiety, a symptom of danger, and often experienced when a complex is at work. Jung says, “One is nervous because there is an unconscious resistance to the conscious intention … consciously you want something very much, and an unseen devil is always working against it, and of course you are the devil too.” Jung clarifies that the dreamer is the engineer, attempting to advance before he is able or ready, if ever, to take on the next level of achievement.

This demonstrates the incongruity between the outer or objective reality and the dreamer’s inner or subjective perception. The discrepancy indicates a break down in the thought processes of the dreamer; an inability to grasp the true value of or perhaps make the necessary sacrifices needed to earn the next academic step, indicative of the complex around his origins. Thus, the frenetic tone of the dream.

Dream Images and Associations
Jung said, “I do not want to know the complexes of my patients. This is uninteresting to me. I want to know what the dreams have to say about complexes, not what the complexes are. I want to know what a man’s unconscious is doing with his complexes, I want to know what he is preparing himself for. That is what I read out of the dreams” (1968). It is important then to gain the client’s thoughts or associations to the images or story line of the dream. Although these thoughts may come from the unhealthy part of the person’s personal unconscious (the complex), personal associations to the dream can help point the way to the meaning of the dream. For example, if a dreamer reports that he had a pleasant dream of a duck and further speaks of how much he enjoyed looking for ducks with his father as a child, how precious this bond was, the connection may be a positive one. If, however, a dreamer reports a dream about being in a carnival house of horrors, and associates to having grown up in a chaotic, unhealthy, possibly even traumatizing home, the associations have the potential to indicate the complex.

Image and Nature
It is important to understand how the dream image occurs in nature. For example, if someone dreams of an iguana, the interpreter may have to do some homework on the nature and habits of an iguana. This is vitally important; the image of such a reptile speaks of something that is cold-blooded, reptilian, primitive; a tough-skinned throwback to dinosaurs. Thus the clinician may already know quite a lot about the client (even if the client has a pet iguana!) and the defense system. The defenses are antiquated and likely to be currently ineffective; part of the defense is to have a thick emotional skin or to be emotionally shut down or cold. These defenses probably are not working very well. If one dreams of a dog, however, we may be in the realm of something that is domesticated, hopefully obedient and devoted. Although a dog is a more dependent pet than, for example, a cat, dogs can be trained.

In a presentation on dream interpretation by Yoram Kaufmann, Jungian analyst (Antioch New England Graduate School, 1997), a dream of a money or silver dollar plant (Lunaria) on which mistletoe is growing was presented. The dreamer was a slightly older, rather wealthy woman, romantically involved with and subsidizing a younger man. To understand the warning in this dream, one must know that Lunaria is a plant whose flowers become seed pods resembling silver coins; mistletoe is a hemi-parasitic plant that infests trees and other shrubs, thriving on the water and mineral nutrients from the host. When the nature of the symbols psyche chose are grounded in reality, the warning of the dream becomes clear: the client was blind to the male lover availing himself of her financial liquidity, threatening the loss of that which was valuable: not only her money, but more importantly, the hope of a sincere, loving relationship.

Here is one final example: “There is a parquet floor in the middle of a meadow. There are white curtains hanging on either side, flowing in the breeze. I can smell the meadow.” At first glance, this dream may evoke a warm feeling. However, in reality, one is most unlikely to find an expensive, complicated parquet floor unprotected in a meadow. It simply would not endure. Further, the curtains are hanging on nothing. This dream belonged to a client who had struggled with suicide, both personally and in her family, had done some good work with a therapist (the parquet floor), but the therapist had to leave the agency where the work was taking place (the complex of hopelessness due to family members abandoning the client through suicide and alcoholism). Thus whatever progress had been made was at risk of enduring, just as curtains must be suspended from a rod or they will succumb to gravity.

I attempt to interpret a dream with deep curiosity, humility, sensitivity and attention. Dreams are exquisitely personal, deeply revealing, spiritual and sacred. I use patience, aware that that which may be revealed in the examination of the dream can be painful for the dreamer and received with resistance. I am also aware that the meaning of the dream may show itself over time. Jung required a dream series, rather than a single dream, in order to gain insight into the pattern of the complexes. Above all, I am honored when a client presents a dream to me, knowing well that something deeply private and invaluable has been shared.


Jung, C. G. (1968). Analytical Psychology: Its Theory and Practice. New York: Random House.

Kaufmann, Y. (1989). Analytical Psychotherapies. In Corsini, R. & Wedding, D. Current Psychotherapies. Illinois: Peacock Publishers, Inc.

Morazzini, G. personal communication.

Singer, J. (1972). Boundaries of the Soul: The Practice of Jung’s Psychology. New York: Doubleday Publishing Group, Inc.

Whitmont, E & Perera, S (1989). Dreams, A Portal to the Source. New York: Routledge.
-Submitted by Barbara Darshan

Conference Papers

Home, Hearth, and Grave: The Archetypal Symbol of Threshold On the Road to Self
Paper Presented at The Jungian Society for Scholarly Studies Conference, Salve Regina College, Newport, RI, August 6, 2004

On the lintel above the entrance door to his home at Kusnacht, Jung had carved the message Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit, that is, “Called or not called, the god will be present” (Adler & Jaffe, 1975, II, p. 611). Over the fireplace of his retreat at Bollingen, Jung had carved the words Quaero quod impossibile (Heisig, 1979, p. 103; Heisig, personal communication), that is, “Seek that which is not possible.” Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit reappears, not once, but twice, on the gravestone marking Jung‘s final resting place. How do we understand these inscriptions? That they held great meaning for Jung is evident since they would not be there - and carved in stone - otherwise. What these two inscriptions mean, however, is not certain, nor should it be. Similar to a Japanese koan, or teaching riddle, each sets forth an intentionally confusing riddle, the potential solution of which rests not on any one thing - in other words, not on the linear this or that answer so crucial to science, but irrelevant to psyche. Their solution is to be found instead at the very heart of the koan itself, at the in-between place, where the opposites join together and are experienced at last as one. At this place of possibility, opposition becomes opportunity. The intent of these inscriptions, then, is to confound ego consciousness, to shake it up, as it were, so that another kind of knowing can unfold. This knowing is the knowing of the soul.

One way to unravel the mystery of these ultimately unsolvable inscriptions is to position each within the context of Jung’s mature work, such as his alchemical writings, or to revisit the involved and still ongoing debate of Jung’s critics as to his belief or non-belief in God. This paper will travel neither of these well-trod routes. Instead it focuses on the symbolic meaning of the placement of these inscriptions at the threshold of home, hearth, and grave.

Home, hearth, and grave. For Jung, home was the Kusnacht house on the Zurichsee that he and his wife Emma had built for them in 1909, and lived in until their respective deaths a half century or so later. Hearth refers to Jung’s Bollingen retreat on the upper Zurichsee which grew by Jung’s design over a span of thirty plus years. And, finally, grave refers to Jung’s place of internment in the Jung family plot at Kusnacht cemetery following his death in 1961.

These three places are linked in a number of key dimensions. First, they are all dwelling places where Jung was rooted in the material world. Second, these three sites were instrumental to the development of Jung’s psychological researches. In a very real way, each place embodies a particular developmental stage in his work concerning psyche and psychic processes. Jung’s deepening understanding of psyche is mirrored in these three earthly abodes. Third, these sites exist as the physical containers that provided Jung the necessary environment in which to appropriately engage with the psychical world. Specifically, the Kusnacht home functioned as a vas bene clausum, the “well-sealed vessel,” of alchemy within which Jung could effectively grapple and make sense of the powerful psychic forces at work within him. In this way, Kusnacht helped give birth to Jung’s psychology of the supraordinate, the archetypal psychology of The Self (Hayman, 1999). The Bollingen retreat, which really isn’t in Bollingen village but near to it, and to which Jung referred as the “Tower,” served as a different sort of container for Jung‘s explorations. Whereas Kusnacht functioned as the stable center of family, friends, colleagues, and clinical practice, Bollingen was the space away from the extraverted activity of Jung’s family life, patient care, and the like. Kusnacht situated Jung in the here and now, with all the routines and ordinary activities of the work-a-day world, when Jung needed a dependable structure the most, that is, during the lengthy period when he was first formulating his hypothesis of a collective unconscious. Kusnacht provided Jung the means to journey safely into the uncharted psychic underworld and to return more or less unscathed. Bollingen was different. It was in the natural setting of Bollingen that Jung lived out his introverted nature, becoming more truly who he was destined to be. As Jung matured psychically, Bollingen matured physically. Jung’s simple retreat gradually developed from its beginnings as a lone tower into a small enclosed compound of three towers with connecting structures. Each and every addition to the original round tower became the materialization in solid form of a psychic content that Jung had worked with, integrated and owned as his. It was as if in order to delve ever deeper into the mystery that is psyche, Jung had actually to replicate his psychic maturation in earth-bound structures of stone and mortar. Jung (1965) writes as much in Memories, Dreams, Reflections, and I quote, “I had to achieve a kind of representation in stone of my innermost thoughts and of the knowledge I had acquired. Or, to put it another way, I had to make a confession of faith in stone [italics added]. That was the beginning of the ‘Tower’” (p. 223)

Bollingen, then, is the manifestation in space and time of Jung’s own process of individuation, his opus magnum fashioned from the enduring substance of the earth’s maternal womb. By the time Bollingen was completed with the addition of a third tower in 1956, Jung had constructed an impressive oeuvre by which he was known world-wide. Notwithstanding this achievement, Jung considered the different facets of his scholarly work to have been, “but by-products of an ultimate process of individuation” (Serrano, 1971, p. 51). Bollingen was Jung’s reflection permanently engraved in quarried stone. The difficult and demanding journey on the road to Self that Jung had embarked upon so many years earlier at Kusnacht reached its maturity at Bollingen, and its fulfillment at his death. The final threshold place, Jung’s grave site with its five foot tall headstone, brings his life and work full circle. Jung’s grave will be addressed towards the end of this paper.

What has been covered up to this point will have been familiar ground to most if not all of you. It isn’t anything new or anything especially revealing as far as the facts go, and is possibly most interesting in the arrangement of the material. The central idea presented is that Jung’s home at Kusnacht and his retreat at Bollingen provided Jung with just the right environment for the development and deepening of his psychology, and for his own growth to wholeness. Both of these, Jung’s psychology and his individuation, are inextricably linked and cannot legitimately be separated.

Keeping this in mind, I will now bring the discussion back around to the specific focus of this paper, which is the deciphering of two inscriptions, Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit and quaero quod impossible, with which Jung marked his home, hearth, and grave. To discover Jung’s intent, we must begin by exploring their placement at the threshold since the archetypal symbol of threshold carries the weight of meaning for these two inscriptions.

Every dwelling has a threshold, and most have two, possibly more. It’s likely that upon hearing the word “threshold,” you will have conjured up the image of the wood sill or stone slab immediately underlying a doorway. This is the most common understanding of threshold, that of the entry point which marks the place of transition from outside to inside or from one place to another. Unlike a bridge or gate, which serves a similar purpose of allowing access to a different environment, a threshold as material thing is solid and firmly set into or upon the ground; a threshold grounds one to the earth.

Threshold also refers to phenomena other than tangible matter. For example, a psychic threshold refers to the place of transition from one belief to another, or the shift from one state of being to another. Thus threshold is both place and process. As place, it is the point of transition marking the boundary between two opposing regions (Barrie, 1996); as process, threshold holds together the tension inherent in duality and paradox (Eliade, 1987). The entrance, beginning, and opening to a state or action (Onions, 1955), threshold is a powerful place of communication between the opposing worlds that lie on either side of it - the profane temporal world of history, of human affairs and events, on the one side, and the sacred metaphysical world of soul or psyche on the other (Eliade, 1987). Threshold is the in-between zone where passage from one sphere or one way of being to another is made possible. Inside and outside, sacred and profane, psyche and matter, conscious and unconscious, are among the significant “regions” that the threshold both divides and brings together at its borders. At its essence, threshold is the stable center that mediates between and holds the tension of the opposites; it is a place of possibilities where both sides have the potential to be seen and where energy has the opportunity to flow in either direction.

Jung was a boundary crosser. He possessed the Hermes-like ability to cross the accepted boundaries between the physical world and the psychical world, and, to return with the knowledge he had gained. Every boundary crosser begins and ends the journey at a threshold. The archetypal symbol of threshold held great importance for Jung, and a close reading of his work, especially his alchemical writings, confirms this. When we turn from his writings to his dwelling places, the significance of threshold as symbol is evident in the prominent placement of Latin inscriptions over the physical thresholds of the Kusnacht home, the Tower hearth, and the headstone at his grave. The importance of these inscriptions is evidenced by the fact that they are in Latin, the language of the Church and of alchemy, that is, the language of religion and science. The inscriptions are also carved into the stone and thus intended as permanent and enduring fixtures to their sites. These inscriptions are specific to these threshold placements. In order to understand what they mean beyond their English translation, one must understand what the threshold symbolizes at each particular dwelling. It is to these inscriptions and their meaning - which is intimately connected to their threshold context - that we now turn.

Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit, “Called or not called, the god will be present.” Everyone who walked down the front path to Jung’s Kusnacht home saw this enigmatic message as they approached the building’s threshold. Everyone who stood at the Baroque entrance door, waiting to be admitted, waited under the lintel bearing this weighty message. The question is, what does it mean? Why would Jung select this long-remembered and puzzling phrase from the humanist writings of Erasmus, and insert it here, boldly chiseled into his entrance way for all to behold and ponder? Jung gives us some understanding as to its intent when he writes that: “It is a Delphic oracle.…It says: yes, the god will be on the spot, but in what form and to what purpose?” (Adler & Jaffe, 1975, II, p. 611).

Jung is saying that god, The Self archetype, or whatever we choose to name the power that animates all creation, is ever available to us. We don’t have to do anything, and we also can‘t control it. For as long as we are alive, this ultimately unfathomable psychic force is active within us, guiding and directing us in a process of psychic growth and maturation, a process Jung named individuation. The form taken by and the purpose of this individual journey to wholeness is as unique to the person experiencing the dictates of The Self as individuals are unique, one from the other. Jung emphasizes this all-important point by placing this inscription on the entrance door lintel. The lintel is the weight-discharging horizontal piece above the door and directly over the threshold. In name, purpose, and function, lintel mirrors the threshold beneath it. In name, lintel is derived from the Old French linteau for threshold (Onions, 1955, p. 1149). In partnership with the grounded threshold, the lintel above creates the opening between two places. This doubling reinforces the entrance place as a power place; it is both the potent symbol and powerful vehicle of passage from one world to another and must be crossed with care.

Jung took seriously the threshold’s dual function of creating the space between while at the same time both uniting and separating the different realms. Hence the placement of the Vocatus inscription at exactly this spot. Jung wrote: It is a remind[er] to my patients and myself, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Here another not less important road begins…to God himself and this seems to be the ultimate question (Adler & Jaffe, 1975, II, p. 611). Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit is the guardian of the entry way to this road. The Vocatus inscription invokes the power of The Self archetype, while also stating that no invocation is needed. This is the paradox of the archetype of Self and of the individuation process: The Self leads and directs us in the on-going innate process to wholeness - we help it along by working with it, or we do nothing. At the most basic level it doesn’t really matter: It happens whether we want it to or not.

In keeping with the duality inherent in all things psychical, this threshold message offers both an invitation, and a precautionary note. It warns all who are about to enter - do not cross the threshold unprepared and in ignorance of what you will meet here inside this house, inside yourself, on your road to Self. The god who resides here is malevolent as well as benevolent. Such is the nature of psyche. This warning is necessary, for to stand at the threshold
is to indicate one’s readiness to obey the rules by which the place is governed. But this readiness…requires acceptance…. To stand at the threshold is also to place oneself under the protection of the [one who governs there] (Chevalier & Gheerbrant, 1996, p. 997).

Jung is saying, in effect, that crossing his threshold into therapy is serious business and is not to be undertaken lightly or by the fainthearted; it requires a strong ego, one strong enough to surrender to the dictates of The Self. To encounter The Self is to deal with issues of life and death, fate and destiny, so the threshold must be crossed consciously, mindful of the dangers that await within the depths of the psychic sphere. Crossing the threshold to Self is transformative. The encounter may be positive or negative; it may entail risk or reward, loss or gain, but in all cases the crossing marks the cross-er of thresholds in some way.

While Kusnacht is the threshold place that marks Jung’s struggle with psyche, Bollingen is Jung’s realization in stone of that hard-won psychic wholeness. Acting as an axis mundi, the tower at Bollingen connected Jung concretely with the three realms of earth, heaven, and the underworld, that is, with his total self. Within the squat round tower, whose shape represents the enclosing embrace of the maternal womb, Jung nurtured his instinctual nature and began living into his introverted personality to a degree not possible at Kusnacht. It was here in the “smoke-smudged kitchen” (Wehr, 1988, p. 226) Jung was most at home: the open hearth, cooking utensils arrayed on the rough stone walls, simple peasant furnishings, and carefully stacked wood ready to hand, to heat water for cooking, washing up, or for warmth and company in the evenings.

The first tower is a psychic center point of Bollingen containing as it does the kitchen with its hearth - the most physically alive part of the household because of the vital functions carried out there. Jung indicates the significance of the hearth by carving into the stone above it the inscription, Quaero quod impossible, that is, “seek that which is not possible” As one would expect, this inscription, like the one at Kusnacht, makes no sense if taken at face value but when considered in relation to its placement, its meaning takes shape. Quaero quod impossibile, alludes directly to the alchemical process of transformation. By placing this inscription at the hearth, the heart and focus point of home, and a powerful threshold place, Jung acknowledges the crucial role that alchemy played in his understanding of individuation. The placement over the fireplace highlights the psychological and alchemical analogy between the transformation of the individual and that of firewood to heat. Understanding and engaging with this transformational process was Jung’s life-long pursuit By placing this inscription at the vital center of his most private dwelling, Jung reminded himself daily of his greatest work and greatest joy. At every meal time, and whenever he sat reflecting or relaxing in front of his fire-warmed hearth, Jung was reminded of his greatest discovery, the means by which one comes “to terms with that indefinable Being we call God” (Jaffe, 1979, p. 207), Jung’s greatest desire.

Jung’s quest for wholeness, his road to Self, ends at his death. Or does it? At this third and final threshold place, Jung publicly professes something about which he had chosen to be silent during his lifetime - his own belief in God and life after death. Jung’s grave is his last word and testament to both his most publicly asserted belief, the lifelong process of individuation, and his most private belief, the transformation of the spirit after death. Whereas Bollingen was Jung’s “confession of faith in stone” of this psychic process active in his life, his grave is his proclamation and affirmation of his faith in the transformation of the spirit after death. Once again, Jung has carved his beliefs into stone, into the four borders of his headstone. Vocatus atque non vocatus, deus aderit frames the margins above and below, similar in placement to lintel and threshold. A passage from St. Paul’s Resurrection epistle to the Corinthians [I Corinthians 15:47/King James] (Pregeant, 1995) appears on the upright or vertical margins. Its English translation reads: The first man is of the earth and is earthly [facing left] and the second man is of heaven and is heavenly [facing right] (Wehr, 1988, p. 457). By the doubling of the Vocatus inscription at the top and bottom, mirroring threshold and lintel, and by the placement of the Resurrection scripture at both vertical edges, mirroring the doorposts, Jung has clearly marked his grave as threshold, as point of passage. With these inscriptions, Jung asserts his rock-solid belief in the guiding presence, influence, and power of the archetype of The Self, in life and in death.
Of these three threshold places, Jung’s grave site holds the greatest symbolic significance. Much could be said about the symbolism, but time permits only a few brief words. The headstone is the height and breadth of a small man. It is meant to be seen, to be noticed. It both marks and guards the burial place. As marker, the headstone not only serves the purpose of identifying the one interred, but also marks the burial site as a threshold place, an axis mundi or sacred site of convergence where the three worlds meet: that of the gods, the living and the dead. As guardian, the headstone invokes the power of Hermes in his dual role as god of both the crossroad and the journey, directing the dead on their journey to the next life and providing safe passage along the way.

The difficult and demanding journey to The Self, upon which Jung embarked so many years earlier at Kusnacht, and by which he was transformed in his private world at Bollingen, had reached its fulfillment. And at this final guidepost, and once again in stone, Jung had carved his most deeply-held beliefs. In stone, as he had in his life’s work, Jung created an enduring legacy to his unshakeable knowledge of the power of the archetype of The Self.

Adler, G., and Jaffe, A. (Ed.) (1975). C.G. Jung letters, 2 (R.F.C. Hull, Trans.). Princeton: Princeton University.

Barrie, T. (1996). Spiritual path, sacred place: Myth, ritual, and meaninginarchitecture. Boston: Shambhala.

Chevalier, J., and Gheerbrant, A. (1996). The penguin dictionary of symbols (J. Buchanan-Brown, Trans.). London: Penguin.

Eliade, M. (1987). The sacred & the profane: The nature of religion (W.R. Trask, Trans.). New York: Harvest.

Hayman, R. (1999). A life of Jung. New York: W.W. Norton.

Heisig, J. W. (1979). Imago dei: A study of C.G. Jung’s psychology of religion. Lewisburg: Bucknell University.

Jaffe, A. (Ed.) (1979). C.G. Jung: Word and image. Princeton: Princeton University.

Jung, C.G. (1965). Memories, dreams, reflections (A. Jaffe, Ed.; R. & C. Winston, Trans.). New York: Vintage.

Onions, C.T. (Ed.) (1955). The Oxford universal dictionary on historical principles. London: Clarendon.

Pregeant, R. (1995). Engaging the new testament: An interdisciplinary introduction. Minneapolis: Fortress.

Serrano, M. (1971). Jung and Hermonn Hesse: A record of two friendships. London: Routledge.

Wehr, G. (1988). Jung: A biography. Boston: Shambhala.
-Submitted by Stephanie Buck

The Arts

Dream of a Bear
It loomed there outside the picket fence. The heavily falling snow
Dusted the broad shoulders and massive head, matted the shaggy cinnamon breast.
Whence or for what it had come no mind could divine,
But with mute purpose it shattered the yard’s perimeter,
Wooden slats falling away in fragments before it.
With lumbering grace it moved forward,
Traversing the drifted enclosure with mighty strides.
It then steered its bulk up the hillside,
And I realized with regret that this visitation would be brief.
(Such magic cannot stay.)
Some bestial inner compass impelled it to press onward through whiteness
To disappear into the dark among laden spruces
Beyond the painted human pale.

I watched it go.

It left in its furrowed wake the consolation of a mystery to muse upon,
And Spirit knew despite its rue that in some unfathomable way
This glimpse of majesty would long leave traces
Leading to the gate of my frozen heart.

I long to travel into the darkness
To view one by one
The radiant objects suspended there.
Golden, bejeweled, finely wrought;
Some high, some low, some far away, some close at hand;
Revolving with a sedate grace
They reveal themselves to the marveling eye.
Of splendor absolute, existence eternal,
Their crystalline forms and shadows govern birth and death.
At times they cast off sparks like blinding daggers
Which penetrate the shroud of temporal earth.

Intricate structures,
You are that remote, indifferent source of all imagining.
Your glow from within suffuses the void with light.
I, poorest of pilgrims, beg your leave
To prostrate myself upon this floor of stone:
Your witness.

*“Milagros” is the Spanish word for “miracles”, and also refers to the small golden emblems which are affixed to cathedral altars throughout the Hispanic world as offerings of gratitude for answered prayers.

- Submitted by Emily Peña Murphey

This Month

March 4th
Burlington, VT

Dr. Polly Young-Eisendrath, Jungian analyst, will be presenting on "The Truth About Happiness" at Burlington's Fletcher Free Library, 7:00 p.m.

Dr. Young-Eisendrath addresses the questions: “What is happiness, and why is it so elusive? Is there something about being American that makes us particularly hungry for happiness?

For more information, contact Barbara Shatara at 802.865.7211.

March 5th

The C.G. Jung Society of Montreal is sponsoring a 4-week "reading seminar series" by society members on the theme of "The Child: A World of Wonder."

The evening seminars (6:30 - 8:30 p.m.) take place at the Westmount Library with topics as follows: The Child Archetype (March 9th), The Abandoned Child (March 30th), The Child's Magical World (April 6th) and Children's Dreams (April 20th). The seminar series fee is $40 or $12 for individual evenings.

For more information, go to the Montreal Jung Society's link on the Resources page of The C.G. Jung Society of Vermont's website or phone: (514) 481-8664 [Montreal, QC]

March 20th
Lessons in Letting Go: The upside of Uselessness, Irrelevance and Impermanence, Presented by Bruce C.S. Barnes, Jungian Analyst. 7:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m., Dawson College. Sponsored by The C.G. Jung Society of Montreal.

For more information, go the Montreal Jung Society's link on the Resources page of The C.G. Jung Society of Vermont's website or phone: (514) 481- 8664 [Montreal, QC]