Julian David, aged 89, a much loved and respected Jungian analyst and lecturer, died at his home, Luscombe Farm, Totnes, last night (Wednesday, 1st September 2021). His family were close at hand in the final days as his faculties and energy gradually faded. I regard him as one of the most beautiful human beings I had regular contact with. A truly wise and compassionate soul.
In August, Clio David, his daughter, organised a book launch in the East Gate bookshop, Totnes, for her father’s new book, A Short History of God. Jullian spoke there on the present and future. The bookshop owner told me this week he could see the Davids were a closely knit family.
In knowing Julian for around 18 years, I benefitted much from his wisdom, the originality of his mind and his willingness to express radical insights into the nature of the psyche/unconscious/dreams, the pervasive influence of the patriarchal society, the problematic language of God and the significance of the spiritual.
I took this photo of Julian on his 80th birthday party held at his home at Luscombe Farm, near Totnes, Devon, England. I have this photograph of Julian on my office room in my home in Totnes.
Friends can read Julian’s description of the flow of his life, his upbringing and his deep spiritual journey on the home page of his website (www.juliandavid.co.uk), beautifully designed and built by Richard Gonski, musical director and conductor of the Torbay Symphony Orchestra. You will find on the website several of his lectures and articles addressing the animus and anima, the problem of opposites, conscience, ego and its shadow, the tragedy of patriarchy and time and the eternal.
He wrote: “I began to see my real enemy clear. It was the patriarchal world itself, founded firmly in the hypothesis that the Creator God was a man. It mattered not whether one ‘believed’ in this God or not: what was passionately affirmed or denied was the same God, still the One Male God. The absurdity of such a figure, from the point of view of Nature, evaded the attention as if it flew under the level of the culture’s radar.”
The parents of Julian sent their son to Ampleforth College in north Yorkshire, regarded as the foremost boarding school of the Catholic Church. He experienced the separation for extended periods from his parents. Julian told me once: “I sent my children to the local comprehensive school. My children had a happier upbringing than I did.”
After Ampleforth, he read Ancient Greek History and more at Jesus College, Oxford University and then taught history and religion at nearby Dartington College, Totnes, before training at the CG Jung Institute in Zurich to be a Jungian psychologist. He wrote:
“Coming from a middle-class Catholic family of exceptional piety, followed by a Benedictine boarding school followed by Oxford, I was an unlikely Jungian analyst; for, Jung was still anathema in all those sections of society. Freud could be absorbed by the culture. He paid tribute to logic, cause and effect and above all the natural evil of the human subconscious. But Jung was doubting of all those things.”
Julian told me: “We must stay open to the expansive influences of the dream world and its origins. We should not come to a fixed conclusion that only our mind creates the dream,” He regarded fixed views about anything as dogma.
Julian would give me poems, essays and chapters from books, sometimes the words of Jung and others, to read. Then he would ask what I felt about what I read. After he gave his view. I found every session a steep learning curve.
Julian and Yasmin, his wife, lived at Luscombe Farm. Purchased in 1960, the farm sells organic fruit juice worldwide. It is famed for the delicious taste of the juice. Their son, Gabriel is the director of company. His sister, Clio, is a filmmaker. I once said to Julian: “Your son is surely the most handsome man in Totnes.” He smiled and offered nothing more.
Yasmin’s father was Laurie Lee, author of the best seller Cider with Rosie. Yasmin’s family story is worthy of a book or TV series. I spent the summer of 1977 with friends in Laurie Lee’s second cottage next to Rose Cottage in Slad, near Stroud in Gloucestershire. One of the friends in the cottage, Steve Brett spent months in India on retreats with us the year or so before. His parents were friends with Laurie Lee who allowed us to rent the cottage.
After spending some five years in Zurich between 1977 and 1982, with regular flights home, Julian and other Jungian analysts launched a new Jungian institute in London. Julian told me that a Jungian institute in London had come under too much influence of Freud’s negative view of the psyche and religion. He felt the teachings of Carl Jung (1875-1961) pointing to the full individuation of human being had become watered down and marginalised to fit in with orthodoxy of the time. Hence, he launched a new institute. It became UKs major Jungian Institute.
At the invitation of Laurens van der Post, the author, conservationist and mentor of Prince Charles, Julian travelled to South Africa to set up a similar Jungian Institute as he started in London. He and his wife spent every winter in South African for 10 years including writing and giving lectures.
Julian worked continuously with the dream world, transference, unconscious activities in the mind of his clients. As a senior Jungian analyst, Julian offered analysis to numerous Jungian analysts in the UK. He told me we usually interpret the event as the dreamer (an ego witness) who had a dream. Insights emerge when we explore the dynamics of the inter-action of the features of the dream, sentient and insentient. Clients then have the potential to understand the relationship of the unconscious triggering problems in daily life. Through this process, one developed the skill to address the waking state. The line between the conscious and the unconscious is very thin.
I remember telling Julian during regular 1-1 sessions with Julian over a three-year period in the first decade of the millennium with him of Gautama. Shortly before his enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree, Gautama the Buddha had five dreams. Gautama described his dreams and offered an interpretation of them. The face of Julian lit up. “Can you send the dreams to me?”
When I shared my dreams with Julian, he would always ask first how I understood the dream and then he would respond after. I adopted the same approach. I typed up the dreams from the ancient Pali text and read them to him. I asked for his analysis. Then I read to him after the Buddha’s analysis. Not surprisingly, Julian offered a different view based on contemporary Western influences not Indian influences 2500 years ago.
In 2006, Julian accepted the chairmanship of the C.G. Jung Club in London and the editorship of its annual journal, Harvest. He regularly travelled to London to give lectures there.
In 2009, Yasmin, an artist specialising in colour, light and dark in nature, died aged 70. I asked Julian a decade ago how long he was married. I seemed to remember he said “47 years. “He paused and then said, “And seven months.” He loved Yasmin very much.
In 2010, Julian joined our 10-day Yatra (Buddhist pilgrimage) in the July of each year for three years in a row. More than 120 adults and children participated in the walk in the foothills of the French Pyrenees. He kindly offered 1-1’s with the pilgrims under a tree in his role as Jungian analyst. He would sleep in a tent or on a mattress in the back of the luggage truck, especially if a rainstorm looked likely.
Julian offered us beautiful talks, such as from morality to ethics, consciousness on the edge of eternity and more. During the Yatra, Julian had conversations from time to time with Kye, my grandson, 10 years old at the time. Kye, currently studying economics at a Russell Group university, began his understanding of individuation and skills in communication. He remembers Julian with deep appreciation for the 1-1s with him. Julian told me in the years ahead Kye would become a leader in his field.
In the last paragraph on his home page, Julian wrote several years ago: “Without feeling that the ferryman is due yet, I feel that my harvest, such as it is, is largely in, and that it should be available to those who might want to connect with it. That is the purpose of this website.”
The ferryman called on Wednesday. Julian left us with a rich harvest.
A beautiful commemoration of an extraordinary life. Thank you. It’s interesting that it brings to my mind that when I was on the train to Totnes to visit you in 2018 I had a two-hour conversation with the London distribution manager of Luscombe drinks. At the time I thought it was just another organic farm… had no idea it concealed such a treasure.