“The Tower” Carl Jung Summary

The Tower Carl Jung Summary
“The Tower” Summary

“The Tower” is a short piece by Carl Jung, excerpted from his partial autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections, which focused on his inner experiences, including dreams and visions. In the Amazon sample, you can read the prologue, section 1 and some of section 2. This piece describes a particularly vivid dream he had while staying at Bollingen Tower, a small stone castle he started building in 1923. After three additions, it was completed in 1935, having four towers.

“The Tower” Summary

Jung is alone in Bollingen as the first tower is being finished, the winter of 1923-24 or possibly the early spring, as there’s no snow. One evening, he boils the kettle at the fireplace. The whistling sounds like polyphonic music, like there’s an orchestra inside the Tower and another one outside, responding to each other. He listens, fascinated, for over an hour to the music’s harmony and chaos. It’s too strange to describe accurately.

Another night around the same time, Jung awakes to the sound of footsteps, talking, laughing and distant music. He looks out the window, but there’s no one in sight and everything is still. He’s sure it was real, but it must have been a dream. Falling asleep again, the dream returns with the image of hundreds of dark-clad peasant boys walking around the Tower playing accordions. Waking up, he checks outside again only to find it perfectly still. He feels haunted.

Jung ponders the meaning of this insistent dream that seems to be conveying a message from the unconscious, powered by physical sensations and archetypal figures. It’s difficult to distinguish the dream from waking reality, and he can’t discern the meaning of the peasant boys.

Jung never has a similar dream again. He finds an explanation for it later in the Lucerne Chronicle by Renward Cysat. While climbing Mount Pilatus, he dreamt of a procession of singing men. The herdsman told him those are departed souls who habitually show themselves this way.

Jung speculates the dream’s content was brought on by solitude, or that solitude made him sensitive to their reality. He tends toward the latter belief.

Most likely, his intense dream or vision has a correspondence in reality. Jung finds out there were gathering of young men such as he experienced in the Middle Ages. Mercenaries gathered in spring and marched from central Switzerland to Locarno and then on to Milan, where they became soldiers. Jung’s vision could have been one of these journeys, when young men left their native land with singing and jollity.

I hope this summary of “The Tower” by Carl Jung was helpful.