Meeting at the Well Spring – Part II

Assagioli’s archives – accumulators of energy

Roberto AssagioliThick blue boxes wait for us at various tables throughout the villa where Assagioli once lived, worked, and studied. Some of us move to rooms where he and his wife once slept, ate, or received guests. Windows are open and dry hot breezes waif in from the street and neighboring courtyard. At first, we buzz with excitement along with a touch of anxiety, dividing ourselves amongst the boxes like kids in a candy shop or at the school library.

Boxes labeled: “The Will—Italiano,” “Transpersonal Self—English,” “Writings of others,” “Handwritten Notes of Assagioli—English” call to us. Without much thought, I sit in front of the first free box I find, one labeled “Superconscious Material—English.” I unsnap the box’s clip, unwind the protective blue cover, and discover folders and folders of material.

Reverently I open each folder. Staring back through time are onion-skinned papers lined with typed quotations, handwritten notes, various pamphlets and letters all concerning superconscious material. Suddenly I stop shifting through these pages, frozen by a simple note of Assagioli’s: “The Will of God.” It is paper-clipped to a small book on prayer written by an American minister. The book’s margins are full of penciled notes. Double vertical lines run along the edge of a paragraph he once noted, some words in the text are underlined for emphasis. The Will of God. I shudder and cry.
It is all so much, so I stop, climb the stairs to the apartment where his principal collaborator, secretary, and the first president of the Institute of Psychosynthesis after his death, Ida Palombi, once lived with her cats. I sip black coffee, ease myself into a chair on the terrace and breathe in the room’s empty silence.

057Soon I return to where the others are busy, filled with determination. Everyone seems like an explorer of hurried mission. Some scribble notes, others run the pages through their hands. A Parisian woman gasps. I look up and our eyes meet across the table in acknowledgement of the profundity before us. She is weeping.

I now survey a small yellow folder on the Will. There seem to be endless slips of small, sepia-stained pages, 8×12 cms in size. Some have been visibly torn to size, others are purposely folded together to form small, loosely-bound books. Assagioli’s hand varies from dancing loops, to bold strokes, to indiscernible scratches. His notes appear in Italian, English, French, or German, depending on what language he was reading at the time.

I discover quotes from Dante. The verses float before me, anchored between my fingertips. “Luce intellettual piena l’amore. Intellectual light full of love” (Paradiso XXX:40). I remember Assagioli’s quoting this verse in his essay on the synthesis of polarities when he discusses Logos verses Eros.[1]

Hand drawn egg diagramTurning away from Dante, I am delighted to discover a small drawing of the egg diagram, a brief sketch concerning inner obstacles to the will. I wonder, what made Assagioli consciously select this size paper? A week later I find the answer in Massimo Rosselli’s article “Roberto Assagioli: A Bright Star.” Andrea Bocconi, one of Assagioli’s youngest students, once posed the same question. “They are accumulators of energy” was Assagioli’s smiling answer.[2] Amongst these ‘accumulators’ I find he has written on the back of an invitation to attend a meeting in Rome. It is 1930.

I am so full, I hardly know what to do anymore. Half of the three hours allotted to this encounter has flown by. I move again to another room, sit at an empty table, allow my thoughts to soar out a high window open to the greenery across the street. Where did he find the time to write all this? We are thirty students all engaged with our own box and still more material lines the bookshelves. What a great scholar he was, carefully quoting others, meticulously studying all that he read. How much life flowed though him! What a gift it is to see his reflections and thought process on the higher synthesized realities of compassion, spiritual dignity, and revelation.

Sadly, the time is over and we must leave the boxes to return to the group circle. As I leave his apartment for the larger meeting room and the others, I find that I already miss Assagioli’s presence, whole in my hands.

You can also experience a day at Casa Assagioli this October with my husband, Dr. Kees den Biesen, and me on our guided journey In Dante’s Footsteps: A Psychosynthesis Trip to Florence and the Casentino Valley. For more information, see

Note: You can read a a longer version of this story which was published in the Association for Advancement of Psychosynthesis September 2007 newsletter. An abridged version appeared in Italian in “Psicosintesi”, published by the Istituto di Psicosintesi, Florence.

[1] Roberto Assagioli, L’Equilibramento e la Sintesi degli Opposti (Firenze: Instituto di Psicosintesi, 2003), p. 12.

[2] Massimo Rosselli, Roberto Assagioli, a Bright Star, International Journal of Psychotherapy, Volume 16, Number 2, 2012, p. 18.

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