Julian David

Condolences and Tributes for Julian David

2 July 1933 — 2 September 2021

…nothing once created ever fully leaves us. Seeds are planted and come abloom generations, centuries, civilizations later, migrating across coteries and countries and continents.

The atoms that huddled for a cosmic blink around the shadow of a self will return to the seas that made us.

What will survive of us are shoreless seeds and stardust.

(Maria Popova, Figuring)

View: Montage of Julian David

Julian was the first analyst of the first training group in SAAJA, commencing analysis in January 1989, and continued his support of SAAJA and the Gauteng group on an annual basis, for the next 30 years.

Julian David and his wife, Yasmin, chose to leave their home in England and come to South Africa for a period of four years, to fulfil the need the Centre had for a resident analyst.  They arrived at the beginning of 1989, and soon settled in Scarborough. We owe a great debt of gratitude to Julian for his work as founding analyst, and his unwavering commitment to SAAJA’s growth over these years. He played a similarly huge role in the enduring success of the Jung group in Gauteng.

He was a storyteller and a philosopher, with in-depth and sensible insight into the workings of the human psyche. His wisdom and enveloping humanity will stay with us evermore.

Julian died around four o’clock on the morning of Thursday, 2 September.  He was lying peacefully, in his bed at Luscombe, with his family close by him.

We wish to thank the following people for their assistance with the memorial:

To Charlotte Hoffman, for assisting with the images and music; Oliver Tringham, for photographs and information, and willingness to assist; Sheila, for providing a beautiful set of photographs; Lynda Blanchard and Jo Hill, for behind the scenes admin; and Ester Haumann, for co-hosting the online platform; and everyone else, who attended the memorial and for their contributions.

A condition of complete simplicity

(Costing not less than everything)

And all shall be well and

All manner of thing shall be well

When the tongues of flame are in-folded

Into the crowned knot of fire

 And the fire and the rose are one.

T.S. Elliot

Remembering Julian, the beloved analyst

I don’t know how one can ever talk about the mystery that is the relationship of analysis. Its very essence is the sanctity of the confessional, where secrets are shared that belong to you, and you only. It facilitates and supports knowledge of oneself, and helps one to bear that knowledge consciously and responsibly. It facilitates the encounter with the eternal, and the mystery.

But I am going to try and say something of my experience with Julian, my first analyst.

When Julian arrived in January 1989, I was at the beginning of a shattering encounter both with life and with my psyche. I have often said that my analysis with him saved my life. And I still believe that. Julian was able to hold the dismemberment I was experiencing. He showed me the creative springs that bubble up from wounds, and that once accepted, wounds become channels of communication between the ego and archetype, the girl and the moon-mother. He knew the poetry of soul.

He helped me find my humour, as he addressed the inflation of the saviour complex in me. He lit a flame of laughter into my darkness, helping me to become objective to myself. He was my father-mentor, and showed me great kindness as a human being. He encouraged me to explore my shadow, and balance that with exploring, and living, my talents. He stood awed by the mystery, and supported my seeing of it.

During my last visit to him, in February 2020, I shared a memory with him, from my early years of anaysis, when I had a session with him at Scarborough. I was deeply depressed at that time, and he insisted we go down to the rock pools on the beach, which we did. When we got there, he pointed at the rock pools and the swirling water, and said:  ‘This is where we all go to. That is not so bad, is it?’  I remembered how comforted I felt by that, the fact of our transience, and the sense of becoming part of nature when we pass. And yes, that is not so bad.

On this occasion, he listened to this reminiscence with a smile, and then he suggested that we walk down to the beach. Which we did. He was frail, and the walk was slow. And yet, sweet, as we shared that memory in silence. After this visit, I reflected in my journal: ‘These moments are gold, and all we have.  Because the tidal pool, that is where we all go. And it is not so bad.’

It was a privilege to be his analysand. The work we did was foundational for my life. I will always be grateful for having known him.

Renee Ramsden

Dear All

I have a multitude of memories of Julian and of the breadth and depth of his insight into the human psyche. and the work of Jung.  He was most certainly the most significant influence on my enduring interest and love for Jungian psychology.  I am grateful to have spent time with him.

Warm regards to all.

Lindy Greyvenstein

Dear Renee and SAAJA Colleagues

We are saddened to hear about Julian’s passing.

We appreciate the enormous role he played in the finding and continuing success of SAAJA.

He played a similarly huge role in the enduring success of our group in Gauteng as well.

We have many pleasant memories of our multiple seminars and unforgettable retreats in faraway places with Julian.

He was a storyteller and a philosopher, with in-depth and sensible insight into the workings of the human psyche.

His wisdom and enveloping humanity will stay with us evermore.

We will definitely read his new book and I will suggest to our group to have an honoring seminar discussing that work.

Warm regards

Deon van Zyl

Leading Jungian analyst, writer, lecturer, farmer and former Dartington Hall School teacher, Julian David, has died at the age of 88 at his home near Buckfastleigh.

Surrounded by his family, Julian died at Luscombe Farm in the early hours of Thursday 2 September.

Brought up by a Catholic family “of exceptional piety,” sent to the Benedictine boarding school, Ampleforth College in Yorkshire and then studying History at Oxford, he was an “unlikely Jungian analyst,” Julian wrote on his website.

After coming down from Oxford, Julian retired into a monastery where he spent two years studying Mediaeval philosophy.  He left the monastery in 1958 to teach in a school for maladjusted boys.

Julian moved to Devon in 1960 to teach English and History at Aller Park, part of Dartington Hall School.  A year later, he married Yasmin Wishart, the daughter of Laurie Lee, author of the bestselling ‘Cider with Rosie.’

In 1962, the pair bought what was to become their lifelong home, Luscombe Farm, originally a dairy farm, but which has since become famous for its cider and organic fruit juices.  The business is now run by their son Gabriel.

In 1965, Julian stopped teaching to devote himself to farming.  However, he returned to teaching at Foxhole – the Dartington Hall Senior School – in 1969 to run a course for the Sixth Form in Comparative Religion and Philosophy.

The following year, Yasmin and he set up the Dartington Sicily Project, in the village of Scopello, Sicily.  This lasted until 1973, taking students from Foxhole to run courses in schools in the Palermo slums and to set up art and craft workshops, including a pottery, in the village.  Julian also brought most of the village’s peasants together to form an agricultural producers’ co-operative.

From 1978 – 81, Julian trained at the C.G.Jung Institute in Zurich.  After graduating, he set up his psychoanalytic practice in London, where he helped found the Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists (IGAP).

In 1989, Laurens van der Post invited Julian to South Africa to set up a training programme with the South African Association of Jungian Analysts (SAAJA).  In Cape Town, Julian also lectured regularly n a wide variety of subjects, from a Jungian perspective, at the Cape Town Planetarium.

After four years in South Africa, Julian and Yasmin returned to Devon, where Julian continued his practice as a Jungian analyst from Luscombe.

In 2006, Julian was elected Chair of the C. G. Jung Club in London and became editor of its journal, Harvest.

Yasmin, an artist whose work is only now becoming publicly recognized (with an exhibition, currently at the New Art Gallery in Walsall), died in 2009, aged 70.

Julian continued to return to South Africa during the English winters.  During his visits, he lectured again in Cape Town, as well as seeing old friends, former students and colleagues.

From 2010 – 2013, Julian participated in an annual 10-day yatra – a Buddhist pilgrimage with his friend, local Buddhist Christopher Titmuss, joining some 120 adults and children, walking in the foothills of the Pyrenees sleeping in a tent or on a mattress in the back of the luggage truck.

Christopher writes:

“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.
“The ferryman called on Wednesday.

“Julian left us with a rich harvest.”

In August this year, Julian’s daughter Clio, a documentary film-maker, organised the launch of his new book ‘A Brief History of God,’ at the East Gate Bookshop in Fore Street, Totnes. As usual, he held the room spellbound.

Julian leaves three children, artist Esther, Gabriel and Clio, and seven grandchildren.

Totnes Times (local newspaper in Devon)


Julian David was and always will be a part of the weave of my life. He was my personal analyst during my training to qualify not only as an analytical psychologist, but as a registrar in psychiatry that he became both an elder and a friend. Meeting up with him and Yasmin on their annual summer visit to their Scarborough home and after Yasmin’s death, with his caring friend and travelling companion Oliver Tringham, was something I looked forward to. I always felt at ease with him.

I warmed to his rich and sharp sense of humour and not least, to the depth and breadth of his intellect. A gifted story teller – from mythology to morality and religion – he will be long remembered for his wide ranging and fascinating lectures and presentations. As the analyst and critical thinker that he was, what I most remember and value about his influence on me, was his understanding of and attention to the psychology and significance of the human “shadow” in all human beings… of how important it is to recognize it, embrace it and to let it transform you. He understood the difference between morality and ethics, that morality (mores) is mostly about obedience to social conventions and customs – the language of the superego … that ethics (ethos) is spontaneous, individual and personal …standing up for oneself, saying yes and no to the collective.  It was through his understanding of the “shadow” that Julian so ably and fiercely defended Laurens van der Post following the 2001 publication of JDF Jones’s damning biography: Storyteller. In a brilliant critique, Julian succinctly highlighted the flaws and failings of JDF Jones’ book – that it revealed not only the author’s thinly-veiled ‘shadow’, but a revelation as well of a deep misunderstanding of the complexity, spirit and character of a man who was, until his death a mere five years earlier, a long- time friend and confidant of the man. Julian’s response was both spontaneous and courageous. I will not forget that.

Ian McCallum

I am a newcomer to SAAJA having only recently completely my training.  I never met Julian, and was curious to find out something about him.  Thank you to you all for creating an image of Julian and all he was to you.

Julie Manegold (at the memorial)

I know that I was extremely blessed to have met Julian and Yasmin – and for this memorial, thank you.

Susan Scott (at the memorial)

Dear Lynda

Thank you for the invitation to the memorial.

Sadly, I will not be attending, but I was very saddened to hear of his passing.

I did not have the pleasure of knowing him personally, but always greatly looked forward to his annual visits and wonderfully enlightening lectures.

I so enjoyed attending them and gained so much insight from them. I also treasure the transcripts of his talks, of which I have many.

He will be greatly missed and may his wonderful soul rest in peace.

Kind regards,

Carol Duffett

I am so sad to hear about Julian David’s death.  So many beautiful experiences to remember.

He certainly helped to shape my love for and interest in Jung’s philosophy.  I am immensely thankful to have known him.

A wonderful idea Deon to discuss his latest book and honour him in this way.

With love to all,

Carly Vosters

I am very sad to hear this Deon… I had a great appreciation and affection for him.  Wonderful memories of sitting around the fire talking gently.

I look forward to a seminar on his latest work.

Melanie Esterhuizen

Dear Julian, my training analyst and mentor during the 1980’s, later colleague and true friend; you will be much missed.

Recall that South Africa in the mid 1980’s was a country in turmoil, on the brink of civil war. Yet Julian had the courage to relinquish home and safety in peaceful rural Devon and to relocate here. Without Julian SAAJA would not have come into being.

I will always treasure the memory of Julian’s love of life and of his unwavering generosity of spirit. At gatherings, whether sharing words or simply the taste of the wine, his clear enjoyment of sharing with others was heart-warming.

Julian’s energy and dedication is evident in the rich collection of lectures, talks, and writings he has left us. These words and teachings will live on and, I believe, become ever more relevant as we, humans, continue to comprehend the devastating imbalance between ourselves and nature. Reconnection with nature, our inner nature included, was for Julian of paramount importance.

Gerald Stonestreet

The Ferryman finally came for Julian David at 88. For 40 years Julian was an analyst, writer, lecturer and key member of the Jungian community. After Ampleforth College, reading History at Oxford and living in a monastery, he taught Religion and History at Dartington Hall School where he set up with his family a gap-year social work project in Sicily. From farming and cider-making in Devon he set off to Zurich in 1977 to train at the C.G. Jung Institute. Back in London he co-founded the training organisation The Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists. Invited by Laurens van der Post at the ending of apartheid, Julian helped set up a training institute in Cape Town The South African Association of Jungian Analysts, introducing medical professionals to Jungian psychology. In 2006 he became Chairman of the C.G Jung Club in London and editor of its journal Harvest.

Julian was an ardent advocate of Jung’s work. He was a loving teacher, analyst, and supervisor, enthusing us with the wisdom of the unconscious and the archetypal forces moving within us. He took very much to heart Jung’s belief that God is found in the difficult places, seeing our complexes and illnesses as gifts to be worked with, and the analytical relationship providing the container for such psychic transformation. He invoked a sense of the numinous, taking us to the places others avoid. He knew in his bones the language of dreams and opened our eyes to metaphorical seeing. Dreams were welcomed in as honoured guests at the conferences and joyous retreats Julian ran; there we danced across the threshold into the world of myths, fairytales and dreams. In these egalitarian moments student and teacher, analyst and analysand, shared and comingled.

He is widely known for the open lectures he gave across four continents. He published many articles and books including Interweaving Symbols in African Fairy Tales (1990). In A Brief History of God (2021), Julian examines the history of patriarchal religion and it’s devastating effect on western culture, women and nature itself.

The harvest gathered in, Julian died at home in Devon with his family around him. He was married to painter Yasmin David for 47 years, and is survived by their three children and seven grandchildren. He was my training analyst and friend, and I miss him.

By Isabel de Salis (Other Lives – The Guardian Obituaries)