top of page
  • Writer's pictureSusan Plunket

Pilgrimage to Jung's Tower


The day after I visit to Jung’s house I set off for his tower on the other side of Lake Zurich at Bollingen. His grandson Andreas has told me that none of the family is there now. The train doesn’t stop at Bollingen so I get off at the closest town and walk a few miles along the railroad tracks which run beside the lake. I stop to greet some friendly goats. I must slow my approach to Jung’s tower to prepare myself. At any moment it could appear in a clearing or through the treetops.

Half a mile later there it is, standing behind the swaying branches of a group of tall trees, peaking out. I stop and stand still. I cannot believe that it exists in the here and now and I am looking at it. It has lived in my psyche since at least the the late 1970s. It's now 2003. I take my disposable camera out of my backpack and snap the photo above. I move toward the tower. I am approaching what is for me a sacred place.

Jung called his tower a concretization of his psyche in stone, the place where he could be his inner being. I walk closer, right up to it and I lay my palm on it in greeting, not believing. yet that it is real.

One wall is so close to the lake’s edge it’s as if the tower is wading in the lake, its feet in the water up to its ankles. It’s fitting for the tower to be in touch with the unconscious in this way, standing right in it, as Jung did when he lived, in contact with both his personal unconscious and the collective conscious. A powerful silence encases me, the tower, and the trees. I feel I’m in Medieval times.

This is the home which Jung built out of stone a palace for his eternal Self, that deeper, more private solitary part of his being, to live while he was on Earth. And I am here touching it. It feels as if Jung’s consciousness is spread out over the tower, trees, the land, the water. The breeze has stilled. Only the water moves lapping at the tower’s feet. I bend down and run my fingertips through the water. They close around a small stone. I put it in the pocket of my skirt. Maybe it will help me write down all the piled-up images from that other deeper realm with in my Self. I whisper a prayer to Jung asking for his help to live as he did, expressing my inner being through my human existence, developing my consciousness through contact with my unconscious.

I walk around the tower examining it from every angle, feeling its strength. I sit beside it. I try to tuck all my feelings about it into a pocket in my heart. My feet and heart feel stuck to this ground. I am sad at the thought of walking away, too sad to pick up my feet.

I remember Jung wrote that when he was in the grip of a powerful emotion he’d look for an image concealed in the emotion, almost like a sculpture hidden in a stone not yet carved. When he found the image he’d focus on it and in that way understand the feeling and free himself from its grip. So what is the image concealed inside my paralyzing sadness?

I lean back against the tower and close my eyes. I ask my unconscious to produce an image to help me understand my overwhelming sadness at leaving Jung’s tower. I remind myself that my unconscious can produce an image to help me. I feel the tower supporting me. I wait, then it comes; I see a mountain in my mind’s eye.

I hear my inner voice say, “Look at it. You must stand like a mountain in the center of your life.”

The idea that I can embody the steadfastness of a mountain, be my own tower, have access to my inner masculine reassures me. I breathe a little easier. My energy returns. My feet come unglued. I muster the libido to walk away. Jung’s tower cannot be the source of my strength. My inner mountain must be that source as it reaches up connecting me to the Divine and downward grounding me into the earth.

(This is an excerpt from Paranormal Perspectives: A Jungian Understanding of Transcendent Experiences, Collective Ink Books, October 1, 2024)


bottom of page