Toni Wolff and Carl Jung

For a number of years, I thought less of Jung because he had so many (alleged) extra-marital relationships, including relationships with his clients. However, if this is what it took for him to individuate as he did and to provide us with such profound insights into the nature of the psyche, then so be it.

President Kennedy allegedly said he couldn’t think as well unless he slept with a different woman every night; somehow the Kennedy myth has survived in a more intact way that Jung’s reputation.

This is an excellent summary article from Wikipedia:

Toni (Antonia Anna) Wolff (18 September 1888 – 21 March 1953), was a patient and later a student and lover of Carl Jung. Wolff later became a Jungian analyst. Her extramarital relationship with Jung was openly enacted through a course of ten years. Jung had been looking for the “Anima woman”, eventually coming to call Toni his “second wife”, his legal wife being Emma Jung.

During her psychoanalytic career Toni Wolff focused on analysis and published relatively little. Her best-known paper was an essay on four “types” or aspects of the feminine psyche: the Amazon, the Mother, the Hetaira (or Courtesan), and the Medial (or mediumistic) Woman.

Wolff’s relationship with Jung began in 1913, when she was twenty-five, and Jung thirty-eight years old. According to the film Matter of Heart, after successful analysis with Jung she requested that they move to an intimate relationship and Jung agreed. Dr. Sonu Shamdasani notes in editorial comments to The Red Book, Jung recorded in his diary that he decided to undertake the relationship with Wolff after an impressive dream that occurred at the end of 1912. During the critical period of Jung’s “encounter with the unconscious”, the period between about 1913 and 1917 documented in Jung’s The Red Book, Wolff was a crucial companion to Jung.

Jung’s initiation of a relationship with Toni initially caused understandable tensions in his marriage, but by 1920 an accord of acceptance was evidently reached between Jung, his wife Emma, and Wolff.

Wolff was a frequent visitor to the Jung house, occasionally working on projects for Jung at his home office in the late mornings until the family lunch (from which she was excluded) and then continuing in the afternoon. She usually joined the family for Sunday dinners. From around 1920 until the end of her life, Jung was commonly accompanied by both Wolff and his wife, Emma, at public and private functions.

Throughout his life, Jung acknowledged the importance of his relationship with Wolff. Even in later years of life, they frequently spent time together at Jung’s Bollingen tower. Until his health deteriorated after a heart attack in the 1944, Wolff and Jung usually spent Wednesday evenings together at the home of Wolff.

In the early 1930s, Jung began to pursue alchemy. To Jung the internal, private mental processes of alchemists paralleled the process of individuation. Wolff became concerned that Jung would be marginalized by this arcane focus of study. She invited a group of university students to visit Jung, including the brilliant and socially awkward 18-year-old Marie-Louise von Franz.

In her 2003 biography of Jung, Deirdre Bair quotes von Franz as saying she intellectually replaced Toni Wolff in Jung’s life, confirmed by von Franz herself in Matter of Heart:

“Her [Wolff’s] big mistake was in not being enthusiastic about alchemy. It was unfortunate that she refused to follow him there, because otherwise he would not have thrown her over to collaborate with me. He would have used me just for translating, and he would have confided in her. But she wasn’t interested. She was too much a slightly conventional Christian, and she refused to follow him.”

By age 60, Toni Wolff was in poor health, suffering from both severe arthritis and her years of heavy smoking. In 1953 she died suddenly and unexpectedly. Jung was overcome with grief, and found himself physically and emotionally unable to attend her funeral, fearing a public collapse; Jung’s wife, Emma, attended for them both. (Jung’s absence at the funeral is often misrepresented as implying Jung’s coldness toward Toni, while in fact it was the result of the depth of his feelings in old age.)

30 Responses to Toni Wolff and Carl Jung

  1. Stephen: I’ve read through the Red Book and am left with the feeling that Sonu does not honor the role that Toni Wolff played in it. In my conversations with Franz Jung in July 1983 in Kusnacht, he told me that Toni ‘more or less’ saved his father’s life and sanity. She was his lover and ‘therapist’-he took his dreams(ie written into his ‘black books’) to her,she did active imaginations with them(him) and then he later polished them and wrote and drew them into the Red Book. This was the period 1913-1919. She was his constant companion-not only the Wed lunches and evenings at her apartment,at his house but also at Bollingen and travels to Ravenna in 1914(immediately after the birth of Helene) and again in 1933.I am concerned that Toni is not given sufficient credit for her ‘major’ role in this amazing testament(Red Book) to the Soul. Do you have any thoughts? John

  2. John: You’ve provided some very interesting anecdotal information about Ms. Wolff. I think the role of Toni Wolff has been largely ignored and denied in much of Jungian history; it doesn’t surprise me that your review of Shadamsani’s Red Book material concludes that he doesn’t give due credit to Ms. Wolff. Given her absolutely vital work and influence, we all owe her a great debt.

    As I am sure you are aware, there is no mention of her in Memories, Dreams and Reflections. (It is my understanding that an entire chapter about her was deleted from the book.) It reminds me of the old Soviet strategy of airbrushing historical figures out of photographs as a propaganda technique. (I would also note that a Google search for images of Toni Wolff results in finding only two unique photographs.)

    One explanation is that the the family (and culture) want to keep the persona of Jung as reputable as possible; this relationship certainly was outside of the cultural norm. The fear is of an ad hominem argument that would allegedly discredit Jung — that his theories are not legitimate because this relationship was not “legitimate.” (I’m also concerned that there may be some feminist issues here, that the cultural viewpoint once again is favoring the patriarchy and established order and not giving the Feminine its due.)

    I am reminded of the anecdote about Abraham Lincoln — when the Union generals were losing all the battles and only Ulysses Grant was winning battles in the West, Lincoln told his Cabinet that he wanted to promote Grant and give him a larger role in the Civil War. Their response was essentially, “But Mr. President, Grant drinks like a fish.” Lincoln responded, “Find out what he is drinking and send it to my other generals.”

  3. It does not take being a feminist to despise the omissions of Jung. I see a very selfish needy puello in him who took what he wanted/needed from women and then jealously wanted to claim all the knowledge and all the credit, so that he would be known to history, but she would not. It was all about him, or so the propaganda was. That he respected no relationship boundaries when it came to getting what he wanted was not a credit to him, as a man, and certainly not as a therapist. It seems by your comment that the ‘end justifies the means’. I think this is sloppy thinking and amoral. Sloppy thinking also applies to your anecdote, which was not aply to this argument.

    As a woman writer, I have often seen how men were very happy for me to be the intellectual companion, philosophical friend, and inspiratrice, but who became treacherously jealous and undermining when it came to my own work and ideas, something that was profoundly undermining. Perhaps this is also why Toni Wolff did not publish much. All her best work and thoughts had been creamed off and appropriated by Jung. This is a saboteur male shadow that perhaps you should examine, despite the shame, rather than dismissing with platitudes about ‘feminism’. If he had appropriated a male companion’s brilliant work, it would have been the same insult and betrayal.

    I have noticed that women sit at the well of the unconscious. We are the grail maidens. Men like Jung are not heroes, but rapists and thieves, seducing and plumbing the depths, and then greedily claiming themselves as the fount of illumination. Your initial revulsion for his amorality was correct.

    Another good example of this are the voices of women surrealist painters, which were stifled until art historians like Whitney Chadwick brought artists like Leonor Fini, Leonore Carrington, and Remedios Varo to attention in the 1980’s. Compared to the male surrealists whose work, which was often a puello’s playground of frustration/obsession with women and their power, their issues with their parents, and repressed homosexuality (Dali), the women’s work rings true, fluently. Some of these women were wives, lovers, muses to those men, and their work was buried.

    Also, much of the literature on these archetypes tries to split women literally into these little boxes for all time, when indeed, they are all there in one woman, simultaneously, layering and shifting, tools and positions from which she might operate. Mother-Queen, Amazon, Hetaira, Medial woman, I can speak as a women that I am all of these things at once. I am a mistress who marries, an amazon who senses and reads the portents, and who will call a spade a spade with a man like Carl Jung, and not make excuses for those who want to make a humble god out of him, or some kind of Prometheus figure. Nothing could be further from the truth, as he plundered and used every woman he knew, taking their energy and voices and going off with the glory – as though this was his entitlement as a man – and then presents the feminine to the world.

    Men always fail when they try to interpret the feminine to women. It is sadder still when they seek to be the bringers of knowledge and wisdom in an area that is not only natural for women to be experienced and wise in for them to be the teachers, but for which they are punished and marginalized under patronizing rationalizations. It is no wonder that Toni Wolff lost her voice, but spare a moment’s thought for Emma, who was forced into being a sacrificial doormat for all of them, neither a powerful wife, nor a mistress, and certainly not the scintillating and dangerous amalgamation of both of them. The unconscious is dangerous, you know.

    It serves patriarchal ends to split the archetypes of Madonna and whore or mother and hetaira between two or more women, but this is a literal and rigid interpretation which shows its masculine failing relative to nature. In short, you don’t get it. A woman can be all of these things with her husband. It is the suppressed woman who is not. There needs not be a slew of ‘other women’. It precludes the smug idea by both the husband and the intruding woman that the wife will play along in mute servitude as Emma did. Beware. A woman like me is a mistress who marries, but the man who forgets that I am his mistress will wake up one day to find that I am the mistress of another, and that soon, I will dispense with him, like the archaic face of the goddess.

    Jung has a very sanitized unreal image of the goddess he created, just as he engineered his relationships with women in his lives to serve him and to control. The feminine does not work that way. He is thinking of sheep dogs and cattle, and she is a leopard.

  4. Melusine:

    Thanks for your articulate comments.

    Regarding the “end justifies the mean,” i.e that Jung was ammoral when it came to women, but it resulted in greater knowledge for the rest of us.

    The paradox here is that, in my opinion, I think his work is very much behind the consciousness that has increased the awareness of the feminine and provided some of the material connected to evolution of the women’s movement.

    I think (and my intuitive side has always been better than my thinking side, so help me out here) it is a bit like the ethics of what to do if there is a runaway train headed for five people, and if you throw the switch to change the track the train is on you will kill an innocent bystander. His writings probably saved more people than he damaged by his actions, although that doesn’t make it moral. (And if there is a parallel of the runaway train to an out-of-control patriarchal society, that is fine with me.)

    Overall, I think his view of the feminine is very archaic and is very limiting.

  5. Thank you for your kind comments sir, it is good to stretch the intellectual muscles and to be well met in a tennis match of sorts.

    I agree that Jung’s view of the feminine is ‘very archaic and very limiting’. It is because he was basing it on what served him as a German patriarchal male living in the 19th century, what served and did not threaten him, and a tool to condition, deceive and coerce women into what they should be according to his paradigm. In such, I’ve never felt that he brought so much to women, because the message was so warped, encouraging women to look to him, rather to their own inner knowing for the nature and truth of these archetypes. It is disturbing that he not only fleeced off women thinkers to make his formulations, but assiduously destroyed all writings and letters of their work, which would have meant so much more, even a chapter in a book to make sure that her contributions were not known.

    I see no value in that, except what it did for his ‘legacy’. It reminds me of how the ancient Romans never even recorded female births and their names. This was referred to in the histories of Tacitus who covered the Celtic and Teutonic tribes and was horrified at the strength and presence of their women, how fiercely they fought, and sometimes even more dangerously ferocious than their husbands. He loved his wife very much, but never would have had her name known, as it was for men in his mind, and not for women to be remembered by history. (Our only records of Aspasia, wife-mistress of Pericles, are vile slanders by the comic poets.) Carl Jung is no different from Tacitus, actually he is worse, because he took important contributions of women on women and passed them off as his own.

    This is not uncommon though, as I said, I have experienced this dynamic many times, where I am the philosophical friend who enlightens a male writer into his work, especially per the voice of his female characters, and in one case, found a more apt quote from Jung than he had chosen, and he sucked this all up and then distanced himself from me so that he would not have to have been reminded of the feminine mind who instructed and enlightened him.

    Another case would be the male writer friend who sat and listened raptly while I read some of my own work, and after praising it, he spoke bitterly about how he wished that it had been his. Some time later, he astounded me by telling me about a film project he was working on – that followed the structure of my work exactly. He slipped when he told the title, it was a version of my own. I was sick. I never spoke to him again. I watched the film ‘Camile Claudel’, and empathized with her rage. I was so discouraged, I buried my own project, and will never share with a male writer again.

  6. Melusine:

    What you say feels right, and it is disturbing and insidious how pervasive the patriarchal structure is.

    It kind of makes me as a male want to move to back to Mars in order to save this planet, and leave this one to the better sides of our nature.

  7. “I shall always be grateful to Toni for dong for my husband what I or anyone could not have done for him at a most critical time.” ~Emma Jung in Jung and the Story of our Time by Laurens van der Post [Page 177]

    “You see, he never took anything from me to give to Toni, but the more he gave to her the more he seemed able to give to me.” ~Emma Jung in Jung: His Life and Work by Barbara Hannah [Page 110]

  8. I think perhaps “Melusine” is projecting. One of the most valuable things I have learned from Jung and from his childhood dreams is the futility of being judgmental. I am a female and I, for one, am sick of the “feminist” diatribe. You don’t have to bash men to be secure in being female. I learned this from Joseph Campbell, who was also accused of trivializing women. Garbage on both counts. Jung was human and he reflected his times—that was also part of his message. The same is true of Campbell and lamentably apparently also of Melusine. I am probably much older than she—too old to give the feminist movement any credit for my security as a female. Honey, I did it myself. Quit blaming men—what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Thank God for them. Maybe a course in anger management if you can’t let it go.

  9. I stumbled across this interesting discussion while researching Toni Wolff.

    While I agree that Jung falls into the category of men who have absorbed women’s experience & wisdom & passed if off as their own, the fact that has to be acknowledged & examined is that women allow it.

    My view is that through several thousand years of conditioning many women, certainly at the time of Jung’s life, although even now to some extent, see themselves as reflected by men & exist through them. Of course this is changing – the 20th century has instituted a profound shift in women – but it is one that I think, deep down, has still not been completely absorbed.

    Unless women sit down and systematically explain what they know and how they know it, as male philosophers have since time began, their knowledge will end up being channelled through men.

    So, while I think Jung was amoral & unscrupulous, the fact is that Wolff, at the time, did not have the confidence to explicate her ideas & chose to surrender herself to Jung.

    Sylvia Plath once said ‘every woman adores a fascist’ – there is an element of truth to that. Women’s tendency to self-immolation on the pyre on what they perceive to be a stronger man, is one we would do well to examine.

  10. Psyche

    Melusine, you are an honest and decent human being, well versed in the indecency of many men whose main mission seems to be to steal a woman’s creative efforts and camouflage the theft. That is what Jung did to Sabina Spielrein and to Toni Wolff, while living off the generous funds provided by his long suffering wife, Emma.

    He was, indeed, a deeply flawed man who is, even now, being inflated by a great number of male (and some female) Jungian analysts in the most disgusting and transparent fashion. His shabby treatment of the women in his life is obvious to any human being with eyes to see.

    At the same time, he lived off their generous financial, emotional and intellectual support. No wonder he felt a duty to bring back ” the rejected feminine.” After is shabby treatment of them, at least he got the adjective right.

    The bitterest irony is that Jung’s “shadow” mysogyny is being excised from the text, and the women he stole from are being indecently edited out, with the utmost hypocrisy and zeal, even unto the current Red Book publication. Jung remains a demi god of heroic proportions with no mention of all that complex and astounding womanly support.

    What a crock.

    How much more appealing would Jung’s work be if we knew how flawed he had been as a human being. Without a doubt, he was a mysogynist, arrogant, manipulative male who only made it with the multiple and generous support of the women in his life. A very common occurrence.

    Mr Parker, your comment re Kennedy is inappropriate and wrong. He was not a better president because of his sexual proclivities. My Lafontaine, your comment re Van der post is naive in the extreme. Van der Post was one of the first inflaters of Jung’s image, regardless of the evidence.

    That is something a lot of men do for each other. The inflation bit. Another thing they do in spades is bury the creative woman. Very quickly. It is there, in all its gory detail, throughout history. Melusine, right on!

    Melusine, I would be delighted to get in touch with you. Your analysis is the only honest one I have found in days of research on the net. What a sad commentary on the state of affairs in the, oh so hypocritical Jungian community. What a sad bunch of inflaters they are, out of touch and soon to be extinct as the dodo.

    The pity of it! The irony of it!

    Jung – the older one at least – would, I hope, be disappointed. His work – that of bringing back the rejected feminine – has failed within his own community. But then again, maybe he’d just be flattered by the endless, unrealistic inflation of his person.

    Instead of accepting the rejected feminine, the current crop of failed jungians have actually buried her.

  11. I think that some people “idealize” Jung and they think that Jung had access to some kind of supreme knowledge or something like that. I acknowledge Jung´s contributions to psychology but I do not idealize Jung. And I think that one of Jung´s mistakes was to make his analytic psychology a dogma. Yes, Jung made the same mistake than Freud did. It was Boss, a Jung´s student and an existential psychologist, who tried to make Jung aware of that. Jung displayed immoral behaviors, and precisely it was Jung´s justification of immoral behaviour his excuse to fall in a kind of psychological dogma.

  12. What a terrific page this is…
    Melusine says ” In such, I’ve never felt that he brought so much to women, because the message was so warped, encouraging women to look to him, rather to their own inner knowing for the nature and truth of these archetypes. It is disturbing that he not only fleeced off women thinkers to make his formulations, but assiduously destroyed all writings and letters of their work, which would have meant so much more, even a chapter in a book to make sure that her contributions were not known.”

    Jungian analysis is about looking to ones “own inner knowing” via dreams, active imagination etc. I have never observed that Jung encouraged women, or men for that matter, to “look to him” for this knowing.
    This is NOT to deny that in ALL fields of endeavour unscrupulous men have stolen from women and the system has supported it. The DNA double helix, Einstein’s theories of relativity, are but two glaring examples.
    However, in the end, it seems to me that what counts is our experience with using the tools, the methods pioneered by Jung, in our own personal journey and the journeys of our clients (if we are working in the field). I for one would not like to consider my life without Jung’s legacy.
    As for the “assiduously destroyed all writings and letters of their work” statement, well, were you there?
    As for not promoting women’s contributions to the work, well, look at the plethora of books written by women “Jungians” (don’t like the term). A large portion of Man and His Symbols was written by women.

    However, yes, it is true that Jung was initially a product of his era. The social mores of that time were repressive, not only for women but also for men. The fact that Jung was able to rise up out of these mores is a miracle in itself! I don’t expect Jung to be perfect. He is a human being … we ALL have a shadow. Oh, to be inside his head to truly see what his, “confrontation with the unconscious” was like. Then again, I have my own, so I will assume that if it is as half as intense, then . . . enough said!

    Thank you Lewis for these two quotes. I would have used them too.

    Melusine, has working with Jungian methods helped you in your life? I am trying to understand what you are actually trying to achieve here?

  13. Melusine,
    I have had that same understanding about Jung as you do but lacked the courage to say anything about it especially in Jungian circles. I have thought that Jung used women for what they could offer him instead of forming equal partnership with them. I often wonder about his relationship with Sabina Sablink as well. She is an example of another amazing woman who was relegated to a footnote in both the lives of Jung and Freud. Her contribution to the development of child psychology and the development of the Anima complex has been completely obliterated. I agree that all four archetypes can be experienced within one woman and I certainly do experience myself that way. I wonder why it is considered normal for a man to split his anima and project it out onto several women instead of dealing with it internally. I think it is just another way to justify the dominance of men by women. The quote above by Emma Jung reminds me of what a Senior Morman wife says about her Husband’s Junior Morman wife. I would have more respect for Emma Jung if she had had an affair of her own but maybe she was just too tired after raising all of Jung’s Children.

  14. Some of the above comments which relate to the influence of ‘women’ in Jung’s life seem to miss one point, as I see it. The Anima is an archetype and not a ‘real-every-day’ woman/feminist. It is difficult to comprehend the manifestations of the Anima in any male with respect to their eveyday life. Such manifestations are not directly, if at all, attributable to a particular disposition towards women. The Anima is an archetype….its effects and emanations are far more subtle than to cast a judgement on ‘Woman’ per se. The archetypes are evolutionary and based in the unconscious. I fail to see the validity of some of the above comments from women who see flaws in Jung’s personality which are based on social observations and not on underlying, depth psychology.

  15. Reading the above comments, I wondered – not for the first time – whether anyone ever considered that Carl Gustav Jung actually LOVED Toni Wolff and Sabine Spielrein, and that his choices were based on love instead of therapy? And that Emma Jung understood what happened in Jung’s relationships because of the same LOVE she and Jung shared? Or is our judgement clouded too much by political, therapeutical and feministical correctness to understand the consequences of love? Didn’t we learn anything from the alchemical, mysterium coniunctionis and archetypal studies of Jung?

  16. I think this piece and the responses are excellent and provide a beautiful counter-balance to the All Wise, All Knowing, Almighty aura that Jung has accumulated over time. We are, and the Unconscious is, all things at all times and never one way only. Jung’s drift was clearly to the good of the whole even if the women who helped him find his way were “disappeared” by that very way. I don’t think it would have been possible for him–a child of his culture and times–to have been more conscious and responsible in his treatment of them than he was. We are never “all grown up,” and are stuck with “doing what we can”–and if we had longer to work with who we are and what we are doing, would do better over time.

  17. I disagree with this anti feminine characterization of Jung. For his time he was way ahead of the game. He didn’t destroy Marie Louise von Franz’s work. To the contrary, he supported her. She was a genius in her own right. To suggest that Jung having a second women is some ignorant expression of not recognizing the multidimensionality of one women is ridiculous. Many men and women have sought relationships outside of their primary one for things they wanted in a relationship that they weren’t getting. As to the removing that chapter about Toni. There could be many reasons behind that decision other than an attempt to suppress her recognition.

  18. First of I would like to mention, that I have no psychology degree, nor a very deep understanding of Jung and his theories. My information on Jung does not exceed on that what was written on wikipedia, so based on this I hope any flaws in my argumentation on Jung and his relationship towards women is considered in this context.

    May I point out first of all that Jung lived in a time in which the relationship between man and woman was in no way equal. Feminism was just on the rise during this time and as such one cannot expect from Jung a modern relationship towards woman. I think nowadays we judge history based on beliefs and convictions that cannot be applied to any time period before the second world war. Everybody is child of its time and its surroundings.

    Taking this under consideration, I personally think that Jung cannot be criticized in the way he approached the relationship with women. In doing so any feminist should be appalled, since the idea of feminism is the total equality between man and woman. Assuming Jung took advantage of women and “stealing” (according Melusine) their ideas would mean they needed to be protected and this sense patronized. Patronizing and protecting women from men that exploit them would then mean women are incapable to fend for themselves, which goes against the idea of feminism.

    Arguing now that Jung may have manipulated those intelligent women means those women were not able to make their own decisions. A person not being able to make his or her own decision as such is already being patronized. A second person telling them this manipulative person is a bad influence on them and should be removed from their lives is also patronizing. This means either way the manipulated person is being told by both sides what to do, even if it is with the best intentions. Unfortunately trying to protect a person from themselves is impossible. Only a self analysis and discovering this exploitation can truly help those people. Helping a person on this self analysis is sometimes crucial but there is a fine line between helping to find this self analysis and manipulating them. However if this self analysis never occurs and the person chooses to continue this path of being exploited, this has to be accepted. So if Jung actually stole the ideas of Toni Wolff and she accepted it, this has to be also accepted by us.

    In any way I believe it is not the name nor the woman or man behind the idea that is ingenious but the idea itself. Ideas have been stolen often and published under names that did not come up with them, but the idea survived. We should not look at the person that who came up with idea, but the idea and what it stands for.

    Being deprived of the glory of a ingenious idea is tough and I understand that everybody would like to be recognized for their work, but would you deprive humanity of a historic find even if it is not published in your name or would you be excited that this find will (maybe) outlast you?

    Either way the ideas that Jung published are out there and helped our understanding of the psychology of humans. It does not matter who came up with them, it could be called Jungs ideas or Wolffs ideas, it is the idea that counts. Remove the person from the pedestal and replace it with the idea. Do not mix up the discoverer with the find itself. These are separate issues.

  19. I have been studying analytic psychology for years and I still puzzled by the biography of Dr. Jung. His theory is correct but the way he lived his life was a contradiction to his theory. At the end, I always get to the same conclusion: Jung was a great academic and researcher of the psyche, but it´s my conviction that he failed to experience the psyche fully and the individuation process. When a person goes through the individuation process, such person ends up having a conscious relation with his/her psyche; in other words, the person stops unconscious projections. At the very core of the individuation process there is an unimpeachable ethical command. In the very first instance in which Jung projected his anima on Toni, he showed that he did not only was being immoral but, most importantly, he was acting guided by unconscious projections. So it´s very hard for me to think of Jung as an authentic, individuated person. The fact that Jung was a great researcher of the psyche, it doesn´t necessarily mean that he experienced the psyche to its fullness. After all, what he did was to recollect the teachings of true individuated people like the alchemist Gerhad Dorn. Jung used his intellect to make inferences from the lessons of truly individuated people in history. I have to give Jung credit for being a great researcher and a great interpretor, but that´s all. The alchemists used to say that the opus requires the most important element: love. I cannot think that there was love when Jung was having extramarital relations with other women. Sorry, love does not work that way!

  20. Stephen,

    When you say, “Regarding the “end justifies the mean,” i.e that Jung was ammoral when it came to women, but it resulted in greater knowledge for the rest of us,” there is something that you don´t understand. The knowledge that Jung left means NOTHING. The best way to explain you this is by means of a story that comes to my mind. I mean the movie of Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail. At the end of the movie, if you remember, the bad guy was left with the the decision of choosing between two cups; one of the them was the Holly Grail. One cup was shinny full of jewelry and beautiful; the other was ugly and worthless. The bad guy was seduced by the resplendent and sophisticated cup, as he was convinced it was the Holly Grail. But he was wrong. The Holly Grail was the cheap and ugly cup that represented humbleness.
    Knowledge means nothing if there is not the right moral/ethical attitude.

  21. Andres: I think morality is a very complicated, relative and cultural issue. Rumi allegedly said, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” Perhaps that is where he met Ms. Wolff.

  22. Stephen ~

    Wow, your reference to Rumi’s beautiful quote seems quite a stretch of your romantic imagination!

    If you re- visit the documentary, A Matter of the Heart, you will hear Jung say that we must find access to our inner divinity through aloneness, dreams and reflection (when the unconscious visits).

    An affair is an intoxicating shadow that often takes over in mid-life. To say it is divine is as delusional as one feels in that state! It is a sexual compulsion, and although perhaps a striving to unite with the Divine through a relationship, it falls short of the goal of Individuation.

    Women are naturally closer to the numinous and so we must be careful not to over extend ourselves. Everyday I take some alone time to reconnect within. And my partner and I meditate together. As a near-death survivor, I am clear that my psychic well being is my individual path. Whether or not my partner dives inward as deeply as I do or not, that doesn’t threaten our love or enjoyment of one another. The best I can be is to stay close to my wisdom self – what is God but the still voice within? (Rumi) – and practice loving kindness and compassion. But it all begins with an open inward connection.


  23. Sarah — I suspect that much of the torment that surfaced in Jung’s writing to the Red Book was due to his conflict over his relationship to Toni Wolff that started about this time, although I have yet to see anything written about this hypothesis. This violation of basic social norms was one reason for his feeling as if he had been through hell. That this work partially came out of such a violation does not justify it, but it does suggest — (and now from Rumi to Shakespeare) that “Sweet are the uses of adversity.” Thanks for your thought and heartfelt response.

  24. Andres: I think morality is a very complicated, relative and cultural issue. Rumi allegedly said, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” Perhaps that is where he met Ms. Wolff.

    Stephen–I can see now why you justify Jung´s extramarital affairs. If you maintain a relativistic posture on ethics and morality, then you are quite lost. It´s true that there are moral values that are relative to cultures and times, but there is also another ethics and morality that is universal because they are imbued in our human condition. The universal ethic/morality I am referring to isn´t based in wrongdoing or rightdoing but on being honest with oneself. I have a degree in philosophy, but studying philosophy doesn´t necessarily teach you to be ethical either.

  25. I want to thank the original posters/webmasters and contributors to these comments, this article gave me some powerful food for thought this year, and is really more relevant than ever.

    A few thoughts:

    – This relationship has interesting parallels with the Nietzsche/Wagner relationship (particularly in terms of the philosophical break in the couples) and Nin/Rank later.

    – Not everyone wants fame and accreditation, and some really don’t care a whit about their place in history.

    – Unless I’m mistaken, Toni got exactly what she wanted out of the relationship – and, really had a life which most adults wouldn’t mind in terms of freedom and companionship – and both began and ended the sexual component of their relationship. She ended it, not incidentally, when Jung was at an age where all men tend to lose what remains of their physical and intellectual potency.

    – Progressives/Intellectuals of a century ago would feel a sense of bewilderment and pity at our current attachment to marriage as an institution and as some mystical vessel of social morality. It is ridiculous and archaic, and really has nothing to do with the mechanics of any relationship of any real personal value. Thankfully, we have Emma’s direct quotes above, which should really be the last word on the subject.

    – I see a bit of projection at a failed Daddy figure more than anything else in some comments. This certainly ties in with some of the more cultish aspects of Jungian thinking, with “individuated” being analogous to “clear” in the syntax of other groups. Oh, how we love to rage at our failed Daddies, cannibalistic, blind titans that they are!

    – It strikes me as a beautiful love story. Almost twenty years of a transformative, truly intimate relationship with a real peer and co-explorer is twenty years more than almost all of us get, and the same may apply to their forty years of friendship. Too bad our own baggage obscures that.

  26. I’ve never quite understood why our heroes also need to be saints, and if they fail to live up to some standard of saintly behavior their heroism becomes false or empty. If one were a teacher, and a student’s work warranted an A+ grade, would you suddenly give the student D’s and F’s because it was discovered the student was a ferocious bully, or a drug dealer, or was earning bad grades from a different teacher? Of course not. The student’s character is judged by one standard, and the student’s work is judged by another – namely it’s quality and accuracy. One need not want to be Jung’s friend to see the value of his professional output.

    More importantly (to me, anyway) is the fact that Jung never held himself out as a guru, or leader, or a model for others to pattern their lives after. To the contrary, he made a point of emphasizing his individuality, of emphasizing the point that he could not POSSIBLY tell others what they ought to do because only they can live their own individual life, and even went as far as to mock the idea of there being “Jungians” at all!

    Jung is, at the end of the day, a human being. He did not transcend the flaws of his historical epoch and cultural upbringing in some ways. In other ways, he did. Take what was useful from him for yourself, discard or ignore what isn’t useful, and go on your way.

  27. First of all I apologize for any unintentional mistakes or wrong word choice (as I’m not an English speaker). I agree with Melusine that says :”he respected no relationship boundaries when it came to getting what he wanted was not a credit to him, as a man, and certainly not as a therapist.” This has always been one of my big problems. Not only about Jung but also other big figures who failed to make a life based on what they claimed as I’m such a person who cannot separate a book from its author. When it comes to me a psychologist’s or philosopher’s life style affects me more than his/her theory’s or books. If the life follows the words, then their words or theories make sense to me.I simply get disappointed when I understand about Jung’s or Bertrand Russell’s or others’ biography. However I don’t think that Jung was really a “bad man” who wanted to misuse and deceive Emma’ and Toni’s emotions and intellect. He did it because he was too busy with discovering important things to bother himself even “seeing” the unimportant things of his life: his wife, children and even assistant and it seems that his life’s women let him emotionally and intellectually behave this way towards them. Who can help us when we “accept” to be “the second sex”? In fact which one is more helpful in knowing people? Their “opus” or “life”?

    P.S. I’m very happy for finding this interesting and useful page.

  28. In memory of Wolff, Jung carved a memorial stone to honor her that read in Chinese characters arranged vertically, “Toni Wolff Lotus Nun Mysterious. I wonder what evidence/ hard facts are there that Wolff and Jung really had a sexual relationship?

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