“My disunion with myself and uncertainty in the world at large led me to an action which at the time was quite incomprehensible to me. I had in those days a yellow, varnished pencil-case of the kind commonly used by the primary-school pupils, with a little lock and the customary ruler. At the end of this ruler I now carved a little manikin, about two inches long, with frock coat, top hat and shiny black boots. I coloured him black with ink, sawed him off the ruler, and put him in the pencil case, where I made him a little bed. I even made a coat for him out of a bit of wool. In the case I also placed a smooth, oblong blackish stone from the Rhine, which I had painted with watercolours to look as though it were divided into an upper and lower half, and had long carried around in my trouser pocket. This was his stone. All this was a great secret. Secretly I took the case to the forbidden attic at the top of the house (forbidden because the floorboards were worm-eaten and rotten) and hid it with great satisfaction on one of the beams under the roof – for no one must ever see it! I know that not a soul would ever find it there. No one could discover my secret and destroy it. I felt safe, and the tormenting sense of being at odds with myself was gone. In all difficult situations, whenever I had done something wrong or my feelings had been hurt, or when my father’s irritability or my mother’s invalidism oppressed me, I thought of my carefully bedded-down and wrapped-up manikin and his smooth, prettily coloured stone. From time to time – often at intervals of weeks – I secretly stole up to the attic when I could be certain that no one would see me. Then I clambered up on the beam, opened the case, and looked at my manikin and his stone. Each time I did this I placed in the case a little scroll of paper on which I had previously written something during school hours in a secret language of my own invention. The addition of a new scroll always had the character of a solemn ceremonial act. Unfortunately I cannot remember what I wanted to communicate to the manikin. I only know that my ‘letters’ constituted a kind of library for him. I fancy, though I cannot be certain, that they may have consisted of sayings that particularly pleased me.


The meaning of these actions, of how I might explain them, never worried me. I contented myself with the feeling of newly-won security, and was satisfied to possess something that no one knew and no one could get at. It was an inviolable secret which must never be betrayed, for the safety of my life depended on it. Why that was so I did not ask myself. It simply was so.

The little wooden figure with the stone was a first attempt, still unconscious and childish, to give shape to a secret.”

Carl Jung: Memories, Dreams, Reflections

CITADEL, a two person exhibition with new works by Rebecca Ackroyd and Sebastian Jefford opens September 2, 6–9pm, and runs through October 6, 2018. For inquiries, please contact Hannes or Nick at hannes@openforum.info or nick@openforum.info