An Interview with MARY BELL PALOMBO
by Doroethy Leonard (Board Program Chair 2005 – 2010)
December 10, 2004
Mary didn’t know anything about Jung. She had bought a book about Jung but she hadn’t really read it. One weekend she went to a Sensitivity/Encounter Group at the CASA’s Franciscan Renewal Center. There were two facilitators at this gathering, one she had already met and didn’t particularly like, so she chose the other one. It happened to be Dr. Gerald Crines, who would soon become her dear friend. Because this was a small group Mary shared a dream.
Dr. Crines looked at Mary and said, “I can see you in Zurich.” Mary said, “What’s a Zurich?” He went on with the conference, but later he mentioned this another two times. Mary learned that Zurich is in Switzerland where Carl G. Jung lived, worked and died.
This year of 1965 was a difficult year for Mary as she lost her husband, Paul Bell, as well as her son, Dale. Her second son is Leonard Bell, an attorney living in Phoenix. Mary was pretty depressed. She said to herself, “Well, why not go to Zurich? Nothing else is working.” When she arrived at the Zurich Jung Institute in Switzerland she said, “I felt I was home.”
Mary’s first Jung book, read by a 25 watt bulb at the Institute, was Answer to Job. Mary returned to Zurich 4 times, saying simply, “I had to.” Altogether she studied 7 years at the Institute, not returning after 1972. By that time Mary was a Jungian dream therapist (also using Max Schupbach’s Process Psychology for dream analysis). She was a frequent presenter at the Franciscan Renewal Center (CASA).
Mary worked with Maria VonFranz, and other Jungian’s of that stature. She was working on dream analysis with Jolande Jacobe. Maria and Jolande had personally studied with Jung for some years and were considered with high regard by Jung, as well as other analysts.
Mary met and married Tullio Palombo in 1972.
One year she went to the Penurian Conference in Los Angeles, California. There were three Jungian analysts presenting at this conference, as well as three other presenters from other disciplines. Mary met a woman there who mentioned lay organizations called “Friends of Jung.” Now, Mary claims she is not an activist, not a starter. However she had a dream about Jung. In this dream she goes to see him. He is in a theater, but Mary is the only person there. Jung’s secretary, Mary Armstrong, calls her name and asks what she wants. Mary replies, “I want to see Dr. Jung.” At this time Jung comes out into the theater. He asks Mary, “What do you want?” She replies, “I don’t know.” Jung then says, “Well, I will help you. What’s going on in Phoenix?”
Mary taught a class called Introduction to the Psychology of Jung at the Casa about 1975. She thought no one would attend this class, but there were about 75 who came. Some wanted to continue meeting with Mary so she said it was up to them to form the group. She asked if anyone would take minutes and Hazel Ricketts was the first to volunteer. Hazel is still an active member, and served on the Advisory Board of the Phoenix Friends of C. G. Jung for many years.
Interestingly, at the first meeting to begin the Phoenix Friends of C. G. Jung, Mary had asked four people to a meeting. Two of the four didn’t even show up. Still, they tried again, and this time with success.
Hazel and Mary said everyone was so excited, full of spirit and enthusiasm. They were “thirsty” for Jungian analyst speakers. However, before the non-profit status completes the organization in 1986, there were other speakers (a complete list of speakers is available). Mary remembers Scott Haasarud as the very first speaker.
The first presentation following the legal organization was the showing the Van der Post video on his relationship with Jung and this was followed by a very animated discussion. Mary was totally dismayed when the projector didn’t work after someone had assured her that it would. There was a delay of 15 minutes that, to her, seemed much longer. The next day Mary saw a report in a newspaper that there had been a catastrophe at the Cannes Festival– the projector wouldn’t work. Mary reflectively thought, “It’s in the air.” She was reassured, as she wondered about synchronicity.
The first president of Phoenix Friends of C. G. Jung was Dr. Bruce Bromley. The organization wanted someone with credentials in order to add prestige to the Phoenix Friends of C. G. Jung, and Mary says Dr. Bromley was “quite proud of his doctorate degree.”
One of the early speakers was to be Marian Woodman. However, she had to cancel at the last minute. Carol Lake, an early member, filled in and “did very well!” said Mary. Marian Woodman was able to return many years later (1996). Other early speakers were John Bebee, Joan Price, Max Schupbach, Dean Franz and Estelle Weintrub
Mary was born on December 15, 1913 in Hume Illinois, and passed away in Scottsdale, AZ September 30, 2007.