The new second-floor library at Jung Center Buffalo on the grounds of Trinity Episcopal Church on Delaware Avenue is a serene space with clean lines, oak wood walls and two stained glass windows.
“We hired an architect and a wood craftsman to work together in composing the room,” said Ted Bickford, a member of the Jung Center’s board of directors for 15 years. “Once you get in that room, you don’t want to leave. It’s a thinking man’s sanctuary.”
The newly opened Barbara Moot Memorial Library at 371 Delaware Ave. – named for a founding member – represents a year of preparation and book-moving by members of a group committed to self-exploration, said Jennifer Fendya, president. It also capped a period of transition in which members decided whether there was enough interest to continue the group pursuit of Jungian psychology.
“A huge complaint about the Jung Center was that no one could understand the teachings,” said Fendya. “Jung is not taught in academia. It’s pretty much shunned because it does not fit into neat little boxes. It deals with the messiness of human beings, but also the beauty.”
In 1948, the C.G. Jung Institute Zurich was founded with the cooperation of the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung. Today, there are fewer than 20 training institutes around the world certified in Jungian analysis. About 2,500 Jungian analysts exist worldwide.
“Jung Center Buffalo is not a training institute," said Fendya. "We started based on what happened in certain cities like Zurich, New York, San Francisco, Washington and Sante Fe. While those cities had training programs for analysts, we never have."
Moot and others first met more than four decades ago at Trinity Church as a Centerpoint Study group. Moot's launching of the women's study group, as well as her leadership in the Analytical Psychology Study Society that flowed from it, are memorialized in the library’s name. Centerpoint was a global movement that started in 1971.
Fendya, who was born in Erie, Pa., came upon Jung because she was the youngest child in the family who devoured the Jungian books passed down from her siblings, she recalled.
“I picked up Jung as a teenager and it just clicked. It allowed me to study architecture, art, anthropology. Jung looks at every creative expression as an expression of our psyche,” said Fendya. “For me it was the only approach in psychology. It was the only study that offered depth and richness.”
Fendya completed residencies in the psychiatry departments of Yale and Northwestern universities before volunteering at Men-Tsee-Khang, the Medical and Astrological Institute of H.H. the Dalai Lama established in 1916 in Dharamsala, India. She’s been in private practice locally for 20 years and is working on certification as a nature and forest therapy guide.
The Jung Center moved to Trinity after 28 years at its former location, 408 Franklin St., where Fendya curated bimonthly art exhibits that “fit in perfectly with the Jung philosophy of image,” she said. The Jung Center’s return to Trinity includes the promise of continued art exhibits in the church’s undercroft, a subterranean space beneath the nave that formerly held children’s classes. The invitation was extended by Trinity rector, the Rev. Matt Lincoln.
The new library with its 1,000 books will serve as a point of accessibility for those contemplating Jung study. Group historian Liz Anthony serves as the collection’s curator, sorting books into categories including nature, philosophy, symbolism, poetry, fairy tales, mythology and legends.
“Some of the editions are not easy to find because they are from the '50s and '60s,” Anthony said. “The miracle is that we found Maura Hasson, a retired librarian, who implemented the system to enable the online catalog.”
Through the years, Jung Center Buffalo sponsored a series of authors and Jungian lecturers at various locations throughout the city. In September 2006, David L. Miller, a retired Syracuse University religion professor, helped the center celebrate its 30th anniversary with a discussion on depth psychology perspective at the Unitarian Universalist Church.
James Hillman, the late archetypal psychologist who was called "the smartest man in the world” in a New York Times article, presented two lectures on behalf of the center, including an exploration of “the other faces of welfare” in November 1997 in Kleinhans Music Hall.
Jung Center Buffalo embraces approximately 30 core members in psychological self-study, said Bickford, who noted the group has traveled full circle in returning to its original meeting place on the grounds of Trinity Church.
“That’s very Jungian,” said Bickford.
Library hours are from 1 to 3 p.m. on Thursdays.