AN EVENING WITH
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Tonight, we explore Barbara Hannah’s life story, and how she, in 1929, at age 38 -- at a transformative moment -- found her way to Zurich. What happened next is the rest of the story.
If we can entertain the idea that each of us is born with a daimon, an “inner companion,” an innate intelligence, or a particular destiny that works its way through our life, Barbara Hannah’s would be characterized as a striving towards wholeness. Barbara Hannah was a consummate introvert who rarely spoke about herself and her life. She said that she did not care if she was remembered after she was dead, and what mattered to her was that she might contribute to the field of analytical psychology. Therefore, she paid little attention to publication or notoriety. We, therefore, are grateful to those people who knew her, loved her, and valued her, along with her work, and who took the time to honor and remember her.
The body of her work consists of three books that she published towards the end of her life. They are Striving Towards Wholeness (1971), Jung, His Life and Work: A Biographical Memoir (1976), and Encounters with the Soul: Active Imagination as Developed by C. G. Jung (1981). The remaining publications are largely edited books of essays and lectures, most of which she presented at the C. J. Jung institute in Zurich. Dean L Franz, editor of The Cat, Dog, and Horse, and The Beyond, began this book with a beautiful essay in tribute to her life titled, “In Tune with the Unconscious: A Portrait of Barbara Hannah.” These books have been curated and published by Chiron Publications and Inner City Books. In addition, Barbara Hannah’s interviews about C.G. Jung are included in “A Matter of Heart,” the 1985 film produced by Kairos Films, and a eulogy in her honor is archived at the Psychology Club Zurich Library.
Tonight, we shall follow the unfolding of Barbara Hannah’s daimon and see her destiny unfold. We shall begin with her birth on August 2, 1891, in Brighton, England, into a family of Scottish origins, follow her through her adolescence and young adulthood, which took her to Paris where she studied painting, had a “dark night of the soul,” and found herself in Zurich at C. G. Jung’s door. From there we shall see how her analysis led her into her calling as an analyst, a pioneer in the field of analytical psychology, a scholar, an author, and a friend. Hannah was blessed with a long and productive life. She is a shining example for me, and I hope for all of us who dare to follow a calling, even when we have no idea where it will lead, and who stay true to that call through the dark and into the light.
Dr. Bonnie L. Damron is a psychotherapist, ethnographer, storyteller, and Archetypal Pattern Analyst in private practice in the Washington, D. C. metropolitan area. She is an independent scholar, with a particular interest in pre-patriarchal, goddess-based, and woman-centered cultures. During her many years in practice, she has led seminars on the writings of C. G. Jung, archetypal motifs in fairy tales, myths, the arts, and has conducted study tours to Crete and the Greek mainland.
Dr. Damron holds a Masters of Social Work degree from Catholic University, a Doctoral Degree from the University of Maryland, Department of American Studies, and a Certificate as an Archetypal Pattern Analyst from the Assisi Institute for Archetypal Studies.
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