Hester Solomon, 1943 – 2021

We are heartbroken to learn that Hester Solomon passed away peacefully on the 5th of October 2021.

Hester McFarland Solomon

The death of Hester McFarland Solomon on October 5th, 2021 is truly a profound loss for the international Jungian community.  Hester was only the second woman to become president of the IAAP, following Verena Kast.  Both instituted much needed major changes: Verena brought clear, shorter term limits to the IAAP Executive Committee for inclusion of those interested in serving the organization; Hester, during her presidency began the process of revising and modernizing the IAAP constitution.  As I was president-elect during Hester’s term, we worked closely together, collaborating on this and many other projects, e.g., developing the IAAP Education Committee, and evolving the role of finance officer.  She set a high bar for leadership.

Hester was a very dynamic person, who was a good friend and colleague to many analysts around the world.  She was a skilled diplomat with an ecumenical grasp of culture.  I was one of those fortunate enough to have had the chance to develop a close friendship with her over our 9 years serving together on the IAAP Executive Committee, in addition to collaborating as part of The Journal of Analytical Psychology’s editorial board, as well as other professional projects.  As a result, I was able to witness and learn first-hand what a skillful administrator she was, tackling complex problems with innovative solutions.  She had a keen mind and could discern potential problems in emergent states and then effectively strategize interventions before difficulties could escalate.  She was also a fine writer with a broad knowledge base and range of skills and was able to produce scholarly contributions to the analytic literature as well as composing important technical and bureaucratic documents.  All of this in addition to having a rich family life created in her chosen country of emigration, the UK. 

During our years on the IAAP Executive, we traveled the world together for association business.   She was an intrepid globetrotter and good companion that allowed for memorable shared adventures on numerous continents.  Her insightful vision and good sense of humor made for convivial and pleasurable excursions for all who accompanied us.   We worked hard, accomplished much yet always found time for   important historical and cultural  encounters: for example, when in South Africa preparing for the Cape Town Congress, we visited Robben Island where Nelson Mandela had been a political prisoner; when in China assisting the founders of the Shanghai Jungian contingent achieve Developing Group status, we toured Taoist shrines and Buddhist monasteries; prior to presenting at a conference in Rome, we immersed ourselves in the splendors of the Vatican Museum and at an officer’s meeting in Milan, after a rather long day of meetings, we saw a memorable production of Carmen at the Teatro alla Scala.

Hester’s kind, open-minded and thoughtful demeanor made her an excellent leader, with an empathic knack for mediation of conflicts. A person of her caliber does not come along often and I am grateful to have been a part of her orbit. It was a high honor and privilege to work in partnership with Hester and count her as a significant friend. The world has been diminished by her passing.

In fond memory,

Joe Cambray

In Memory of Hester Solomon on All Souls Day 2021

When I bring Hester to mind from my storehouse of memories of her, two faces appear. There is the serious Hester and the playful Hester: Queen Hester and Hester the Puella Aeterna. The faces are distinct, and both are authentic.

Queen Hester is the side of her that presided at the gala dinners of the IAAP Executive Committee in Zurich and at business meetings, and the one who lectured from the Chair.

Puella Hester is the joyful, fun-loving, gay Hester who took delight in people (her many friends), places (especially Paris!) and things (beautiful toys and objects).

There is the Hester who thought and taught deeply about professional ethics, theoretical and practical. This is the serious scholar and woman of the book.

Then there is the Hester who during a break from business suddenly decided while we were walking down Boulevard St. Germain in Paris to duck into the small elite shop and buy an exquisitely feminine umbrella with such joy and pleasure as only adults blessed by the presence of the divine child in their psyches can possibly know.

I see Hester in my imagination with her patients, both serious and playful. I see her at our last rendezvous, which took place at the River Road Cafe in London, studying the offerings on the menu with the gravest seriousness and then laughing uproariously with delight at a story I told her about some common friends. Both are Hester undiluted.

Hester was a big presence in every sense of the word. She did not dominate others but rather elicited their respect through her Queenly manner. It was a courageous person indeed who would risk offending her, and it was a happy person who received the blessing of her approving smile.

Hester was a marvellous companion on and off IAAP Executive Committee work. In London, I stayed in her beautiful home many times and always felt the relaxing effect of her affection. We could speak easily about difficult issues that faced our beloved IAAP, and we could celebrate successes and accept defeats with the confidence that life is a journey with many up’s and down’s.

I have missed being with her over the past several years as her health was increasingly unstable and unreliable, but her vivid presence in my memory has only increased with time. And now I celebrate her passage to another world where I’m sure she has retained her distinct roles as Queen and Divine Child.

                                                                                              Murray Stein

                                                                                              Goldiwil, 2 November 2021

My friend, Hester McFarland Solomon, who has died aged 78, dedicated her professional life to the treatment of psychological illness, as a noted Jungian psychoanalyst of the developmental school. She rose to the heights of her profession as an analyst, author, teacher and administrator, and in 2007 became only the second female president of the International Association for Analytical Psychology (IAAP).

Hester was American by birth. She came from a modest background in New Haven, Connecticut, and was a war baby who started life in a garage, later upgraded to a log cabin on a hillside dotted with virgin forest. She was the elder of two children born to Emily Tutak, a nurse, and Orrin McFarland, who was in the building trade.

Hester was a top student at North Haven high school and dreamed of exploring the world. One of her teachers told her the gateway to that came through learning languages, particularly French. Although Hester gained a place at university, the family were unable to finance her so she took a secretarial job in New York City to try to attain her goal.

Having gained a full scholarship to study French at Tufts University in Massachusetts, she found her desire to spend her third academic year in France was thwarted by the cost of the airfare. She solved that by finding fellow passengers to pay for a chartered flight to Paris. She attended the Sorbonne and during that Christmas, on a trip to London to meet a friend, she met Jonathan Solomon, a civil servant. They were married in 1966.

Hester trained at the British Association of Psychotherapists, qualifying in 1977. She became a training analyst and chair of the Jungian training committee in 1986. Her responsibilities as chair of the ethics committee (2001-04), president elect (2004-07) and president of the IAAP took her frequently to its headquarters in Switzerland. She remained loyal, too, to her parent organisation, the British Association of Psychotherapists, subsequently the British Jungian Analytic Association (BJAA).

Her profound commitment to ethical practice was always apparent, and she achieved her youthful goal of travelling the world by working in South Africa, Latin America, Russia and China. In addition to this demanding work, she contributed to analytical psychology and, despite periodic bouts of ill-health, was chair of the BJAA from 2017 until shortly before her death; an outstanding example of dedication and endurance.

Her work as an author was brought together in her professional autobiography, The Self in Transformation (2007). Hester was a much respected and popular colleague with an infectious sense of fun.

The good fortune of meeting Jonathan led to what turned out to be a lasting, happy marriage. Throughout his illness with cancer, Hester was a devoted carer.

Jonathan died in 2000. She is survived by their son, Gabriel, and grandchildren, Moselle and Jonathan, and by her brother, Brian.

Ann Casement

(Source: The Guardian)

Hester Madeleine McFarland Solomon, analyste jungienne, auteure, professeure, éditrice et administratrice, chercha à combler les fossés entre divergences idéologiques et plaça l’éthique au cœur de la pratique clinique.

Ann Kutek (British Jungian Analytic Association) avec Claire et Christian Raguet (SFPA France), 15. octobre 2021

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