Rix Weaver’s contact with Jung came about somewhat indirectly.
Her interests extended far beyond the early years of settlement in Western Australia which were the
basis of her romantic novels – Behold New Holland etc. She had a lively group of friends with
diverse interests and one of the liveliest topics of conversation was Freudian psychology. Rix felt
that the best way to understand this was to undergo Freudian analysis herself. This she did with a
Perth psychologist during the latter years of the Second World War (1944-5). One day when she
arrived for a session he thrust a book into her hand: “Here” he said, “read this. You might
understand it better than I could.” The book was C.G. Jung’s Modern Man in Search of a Soul. She
read it and there and then decided that she must analyse with Jung. She wrote to Zürich and
eventually received a reply from his secretary to the effect that Jung was old now and was not
analysing any more.This was a great disappointment.
In the late forties she decided to go to London for a water divining conference in Bogna Regis. There
she met up with Marianne Jacoby, the graphology expert whose method she had studied in
Melbourne. Rix learned from Mrs Jacoby that the C. G. Jung Institute of Zürich had recently been
established. Mrs Jacoby had a spare application form so Rix filled it in. Most of the lectures that she
selected were starred. It was pointed out that as she was not a trainee she needed to get
permission of the lecturer to attend these, so she wrote to the lecturer James Kirsch telling him
Just before Christmas while still in London Rix became very ill after a heart attack. The specialist
advised her to return to Australia as soon as possible as she didn’t have long to live. She recovered!
and remained in good health for the next few years. It was a happy coincidence that during this stay
her first grandchild Jackie was born. She didn’t stay long in Perth as she had been given permission
to attend James Kirsch’s lectures.
Zürich Years 1951-1953 (inclusive)
In Zürich Rix met some US students who wanted to know who her analyst was. She said that she
didn’t have an analyst – she was just going to attend lectures. As she explains in an unpublished
video interview with Muriel Stanley:
“They said ‘You can’t study in Zürich and not analyse.’
But that was what I intended to do. At that time, I thought that all learning was in books. I didn’t
realise that I had knowledge within me.”
It was a long weekend when she arrived in Zürich and on the Sunday the bells started ringing– from
the Grossminster to the smallest parish church in the nearby mountains. In the interview she said:
“The bells threw me. I asked one American who her analyst was. It was Lilliane Frey-Rohn. ‘Would
you ask her if she will see me?” Lilliane agreed to see me once.”
Rix was accepted as a trainee and continued to analyse with Lilliane Frey-Rohn. She also analysed
with Professor C.A. Meier who later became Head of the Institute. In the course of her work with
him she did the active imagination which became the basis of her book The Old Wise Woman. This
book was the first one written that outlined an actual case history (her own) of the process of active
imagination as Jung envisioned it.
Rix described her books The Old Wise Woman (first published in 1964) 1 and Spinning On a Dream
Thread (1977) as “text books”. Perhaps in a sense they are – but textbooks with a difference. In a
card dated April 1977 Marion Woodman, now an analyst working in Toronto and a well known
Jungian author wrote:
“The Old Wise Woman is great! There are so few books for women on this journey! Many, many
thanks. I am in my first year as a diploma candidate at the Zürich Institute and find this book
invaluable. Have you any idea where I might purchase a copy? I’ve had no luck here, England or
America. Any information much appreciated. Blessings in your work.”
Back in Perth
Rix returned to Perth in 1954 and started practising as an analyst. At this time she founded The
Analytical Psychology Club of Perth with a constitution based on that of the London Club and had it
registered in Zürich. At that time the Perth Club was one of only six in the world. The locations were
Zürich. London, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Perth. Rix wrote to Jung to let him know what
she had done and was very thrilled to get a personal note of acknowledgement. It was as a result of
this connection with Zürich that in 1975 we became the possessors of a copy of the display boards
produced in Zürich to celebrate the centenary of Jung’s birth.
In 1955 Rix returned to Zürich for the celebrations of Jung’s 80 th birthday. She stayed there for a few
months to have some analysis with Dr Marie-Louise Von Franz. On November 22 nd before returning
to Perth she had an hour with Dr Jung. Her memories of that hour are recorded in a book published
by the Analytical Psychology Club of San Francisco: C.G Jung, Emma Jung, Toni Wolff – A Collection of Remembrances.
When I joined the Club in 1961, Jack Parker was the President. He had first met Rix just after her
return from her 1955 trip to Zürich. In those days she had an apartment at 200 Adelaide Terrace and
the club met there twice each month.
By the mid-sixties she was living in Applecross. Muriel Stanley, wife of Professor Neville Stanley and
mother of Fiona, was invited to join at this time. Her connections with the UWA world were pivotal
in taking the Club to a wider audience (this opportunity came in 1975). She had this to say about
those earlier meetings:
“One could say that she took us to Zürich spiritually and intellectually, passing on to us the riches she
had enjoyed there. She gave us a refresher course each year in the basic Jungian concepts 3 which
opened doors for us in day to day awareness. She could be very humorous. For example, I
remember how she explained the difference between anima and animus by the way they each
might respond to a simple question.
Wife says to husband: ‘Where did you get this meat?’
Husband replies: ‘At the butcher’s.’
Husband says to wife: ‘Where did you get this meat?’
Wife replies: ‘What’s wrong with it?’
…There was always so much warmth and fun, graciousness and charm where Rix was, and her
knowledge freely given was prodigious.”
In 1961 Rix Weaver made an extraordinary journey to Ayers Rock driving over 5000 miles on
unsealed roads in an erratic Volkswagen Beetle. She had dropped everything to seize the
opportunity when her friend, bushman and poet Bill Harney told her: “You should come now.” On
Harney’s word, the aborigines trusted her and explained the form and meaning of the sacred chants
and symbols. She was just in time. Harney died the following year.