|Bollingen Tower, Lake Zürich|
I'll end my series on literary and spiritual 'towers' with the tower built by the Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist, Carl Gustav Jung. In 1922 Jung began work on a spiritual retreat near the village of Bollingen on the northern shore of Lake Zürich — which became known as Bollingen Tower. He kept enlarging the house over a period of many years. His intention was to create an architectural symbol for the structure of the human psyche: the whole conscious and unconscious mind. After the death of his wife in 1955 Jung added a second storey, which for him represented an extension of consciousness achieved in old age. As a child, Jung had often imagined a castle on an island in a lake — a symbol of the unconscious inner stronghold of the self. Now his dream had become a physical reality.
Jung spent several months a year at Bollingen, where he was able to fulfil his great need for solitude. His life there was of utter simplicity: he cooked, chopped wood, fetched water from the well, sailed boats on the lake. He painted murals and carved in stone. Most of all he went deep within himself, into the dark recesses of his mind. He encountered universal archetypal figures such as the 'anima' figure of Salome, and the 'animus' figure of Philomen, whom he identified as his personal, spiritual guide. And he described these psychic discoveries in the manuscript that was published much later (in 2009) as the Liber Novus or The Red Book.
I've been fascinated by Jung ever since I read his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, in my early twenties; and I'm constantly amazed how contemporary his ideas still feel. He did much research into the field of symbols and dream interpretation. He explored alchemy, astrology, the occult, literature, sociology and Eastern philosophy. He originated the terms 'extrovert', 'introvert', 'synchronicity' and 'collective unconscious'. Jungian thought still permeates our current concerns with personality, the self, the causes and cures of neurosis and psychosis, and the spiritual life.
As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being. CARL GUSTAV JUNG
A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them. CARL GUSTAV JUNG
Thanks go to Ruth for inspiring this post.
(Image from Wikimedia Commons)