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 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 and not taking any new analysands.
This was a great disappointment.
In the late nineteen forties she decided to go to London for the water divining conference. While in London she met up with Mrs Jacobi, the graphology expert whose method she had studied in Melbourne. Rix learned from Mrs Jacobi that the C. G. Jung Training Institute of Zürich had recently been established. Mrs Jacobi 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 from the lecturer to attend these, so she wrote to the lecturer (James Kirsch) telling him about herself.
Also at that time while in London, she did some Freudian analysis with Mrs Stekel 1. She (Rix) must have made a good impression as later, when she was doing her training in Zurich, she was invited to help out in Mrs Stekel’s London practice during study breaks in Zurich. She told me that this experience was invaluable when she returned to Perth to set up her own practice.
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 in Perth her first grandchild Jackie was born. She didn’t stay in Perth long as she had been given permission to attend James Kirsch’s lectures. And also as she was soon to know, an acquaintance had arranged that she would be introduced to Queen Elizabeth at the very first garden party of the newly crowned Queen.
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 Liliane Frey-Rohn. ‘Would you ask her if she will see me?’ Liliane agreed to see me once.”
Rix was accepted as a trainee and continued to analyse with Liliane 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 actual case histories of the process of active imagination as Jung envisioned it.
Rix described her books The Old Wise Woman (first published in 1964)2 … and Spinning On a Dream Thread (1977)3 as “text books”. Perhaps in a sense they are – but textbooks with a difference. In a card dated April 1977 Marion Woodman, an analyst who worked 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 on your work.”
Back in Perth
Rix returned to Perth in 1953 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. The date of the formalisation was on Jung’s birthday July 26th, 1954. 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 80th birthday. She stayed there for a few months to have some analysis with Dr Marie-Louise Von Franz. On November 22nd 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. 4
When I joined the Club in 1961, Jack Parker was the President. On the 23rd of September 1990 we organised a Celebration of the Life of Rix Weaver to coincide with a visit from Dr Hans Dieckmann, the immediate past President of IAAP (the International Association for Analytical Psychology). Many of Rix’s analysands and friends spoke warmly of their association with her.
One of these one was Jack Parker:
I first met Rix Weaver back in the middle 19 fifties, just after her return from study in Zurich. I grew to know her in the step-wise, discontinuous way one gets to know one’s analyst as a person.
Behind the pleasant, intensely caring woman, I came to appreciate deep and comprehensive education in a field of study quite unknown to me. Then shining through the learning I became aware of outstanding intellect, and the quality for leading others on the road she herself had travelled, towards the inner self. Only after a year or more, when I thought I knew her well, did I begin to see the external project to which she had bound herself, establishing this wonderful path to human fulfilment in the great part of the world where it was so totally unknown.
She introduced me to the Analytical Psychology Club, and I served it as president and later treasurer for many years. We met in those early days in her apartment at 200 Adelaide Terrace, when the club had only six or seven members. For a long time to come, it was to be the only group of its kind in Australia, and I think in the Southern Hemisphere.
In an earlier century Rix would have been seen as a saint and a missionary, and those are the terms by which I personally shall always remember her.
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. Muriel’s 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 concepts5 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.
Journey to the Centre
In 1965 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 their sacred chants and symbols; Harney translated for her. She was just in time as Bill Harney died the following year.
She was given permission to take photos of the sacred sites. She used these slides along with the notes she made and recordings of the sacred chants of the men’s initiation ceremonies as the basis for lectures. A year or two later she presented these at the CG Jung Institute in Zürich and for the Analytical Psychology Clubs in New York and Los Angeles. In 1989 she accepted an invitation to go to Paris to present this material to the International Association Congress6 However, she was too frail to undertake this journey and the material was incorporated into the video – A BOOK IN STONE – and duly presented to acclaim in Paris.
C G Jung Library of Perth
In 1964 we officially started to make individual money contributions to assemble a Library. Previous to this we had been borrowing Rix’s own books. Over time we have acquired a very impressive collection not only of Jung’s books, which by the way were being systematically translated into English during the sixties, but also of Jungian related books and journals.
Also during this period we were able to buy a copy of two films made about Jung. The first was the 1959 BBC interview of Jung by John Freeman in the Face to Face series. As result of the interest shown in this interview, John Freeman was persuaded to edit a book “for the general public” which was given the title Man and His Symbols. The second film was made after Jung’s death by Laurens Van der Post: The Story of Carl Jung. It has 3 parts: In Search of the Soul, 67.000 Dreams and The Mystery that Heals.
1975 marked the centenary of Carl Jung’s birth. The city of Zürich produced a set of display panels(mentioned above) featuring the life and work of C.G Jung. They very generously arranged that every continent in which there were C.G. Jung organisations should have a copy of this display. The copy for Australia was sent to Perth because we were the only Australian Club that had been registered in Zürich. In addition we produced a book to which we gave the title Quest. It consists of contributions from numerous Analysts who knew Rix Weaver. The articles had been collected by Muriel Stanley as tributes to Rix on her seventieth birthday (1972). At that time no one knew how to have them printed in book form, but by 1975 we had a member who had had books printed in Perth so we had copies co of Quest printed as part of the commemoration for Jung’s Centenary celebrations.
We contacted the West Australian tertiary organisations and arranged with each to display the panels and show the Jungian films which we owned and also to sell copies of Quest.
Murdoch University (very new at that time) decided to do their own “thing” and we handed over the panels and films to them for a week; then we displayed them at what is now Curtin University for a week. At that time it was WAIT (West Australian Institute of Technology) which interestingly enough had had a lecturer – Eric Atkinson – who was Head of the Psychology and Social Work course and very interested in Jung. Sadly he died suddenly earlier that same year (1975).7 Finally the panels were displayed in the Library of UWA (University of Western Australia). The Psychology Department of UWA were not particularly interested in Jung so we hired one of the English Department lecture rooms for 3 nights to show the films. The interest shown was quite unexpected: Monday night the room was almost full, on Wednesday night it was packed – some couples had brought their children and the younger ones went to sleep on the desk tops – and on Friday night the room was even more packed and some of the latecomers actually had to sit behind the screen!
It was at this time we organised public lectures once a month, but continued with private meetings in Rix’s lounge room on alternate fortnights.
Where to have the public lectures? We started off in a church in Mosman Park. On occasions when we wanted to show a film we had to hire a projector. This was no problem (or so we thought) as Archie - my husband, a school teacher – had used projectors in the schoolroom. But on this occasion the projector was a later model than the one he was familiar with and he couldn’t get it working…. This was particularly embarrassing, as Muriel had invited the Head of WA’s Department of Mental Health (Dr Ellis) to come to our meeting. The upshot of this was that he offered us the use of a Lecture hall in Shenton Park in a building assigned to the Mental Health Department. It held about 90 people… and there was a kitchen and dining room attached which we could also use. It was perfect! All for no charge. This enabled us to pay the fares for the occasional visiting speaker. Terry McBride (the Sydney President) was one who came on several occasions – he was very popular. And quite a few came from the US and some from England.
The most daring thing we did while Rix was still alive was to organise a visit by Frazer Boa and his partner to bring The Way of the Dream to Australia.
Fraser was a Canadian Jungian Analyst who had trained in Zurich with Marie-Louise von Franz. He had originally worked as a Film Director and he conceived the idea of making a film in which Dr von Franz would analyse dreams. She consented with the proviso that all dreams were to be told on film by the dreamers themselves. This entailed considerable time effort and money: 25,000 miles of travelling and many, many hours of editing. The result was 20 half-hour films which were shown in Canada, USA and England to great acclaim. Finally after months of organisation it was arranged that over 6 consecutive weekends the films would be shown in 6 cities across New Zealand and Australia.8 They were to be transported and presented by Fraser Boa and his partner Jenny.
In Perth we hired UWA’s Octagon Theatre. It was ideal but not cheap - Rix thought we were mad, but it paid off and we actually made a profit of over $12,000 – a lot of money in those days.
Sadly, although she did meet Fraser and Jenny, Rix was not well enough to actually see the films. Later in that same year (1990) we had a visit from Dr Hans Diekmann and his wife Ute (also a Dr). Hans was the patron of the C.G. Jung Institute of Western Australia Inc. which Rix had set up in order to start Jungian training in Australia. He was very keen to catch up with Rix but sadly she died a month before his visit so all he could do was to present one of the eulogies at the Remembrance of Rix Weaver Ceremony (mentioned above).* And a week later he and his wife presented their promised Seminar Series over a night and three days. It was the last weekend of September - a long weekend.
So Farewell to a very special woman.
Dr Hilde B. Stekel was the second wife of Wilhelm Stekel, the latter trained by Freud, was a prolific writer. (He fell out with Freud as he dared to publish some ideas of his own.)… Wilhelm and Hilde were Austrian Jews who escaped from Europe to London in 1940. Wilhelm died in 1940 and his wife continued with the practice.
The Old Wise Woman was originally printed in London (Vincent Stuart) in 1964,
republished in New York in 1973 *, republished by Shambhala Press 1991 & 2013.
Spinning on a Dream Thread was privately printed in Perth W.A. in 1977. *
C.G. Jung, Emma Jung, Toni Wolff – A Collection of Remembrances *
Sally Kester commented: “I also have vivid memories of Rix starting each year with basic Jungian concepts. At the time these were so new to us that we needed this annual revision.”
These Congresses are held every three years in selected cities around the world.
A WAIT journal* wrote up the display and included a tribute to Eric Atkinson.
Trying to get 6 organisations scattered across New Zealand and Australia to agree to a Programme was no easy task. New Zealander Ian Laird who was in Perth at that time analysing with Rix in preparation for admission to the Jung Training School in Zurich, took on this task. He did an amazing job.
Note * indicates that we have a copy in the Library.