Jungian Active Imagination & Hypnagogia

"the royal road to the unconscious"
-C.G. Jung

James Hillman on Active Imagination

James Hillman has spent the last several decades as a radical. Radical in the sense of fighting for simplicity when dealing with the unconscious. Hillman sees that the contents of the unconscious as something natural and organic, not as material to be forced into therapy or overly shaped by some psychological practice. The image rules.

His philosophy can be easily heard in his longest piece about Active Imagination (perhaps it could be said that most of his work is but one long writing on Active Imagination).

Active Imagination Is Not A Spiritual Discipline

It is not a discipline because there are no prescribed images that one must follow. One works with the images that arise.

Active Imagination Is Not An Artistic Endeavor, Nor A Creative Production Of Paintings And Poems

Active Imagination Is Not Done To Silence The Mind, But To Give It Greater Speech

Active Imagination Should Not Be Used To Pursue A End, Even If It Goes By The Name Enlightenment, Samadhi, Satori, or Other Statement of Ultimate Spiritual Achievement

This would be giving the process a Spiritual basis rather than following it as a statement of the Soul.

Active Imagination Should Be Used For Breaking Free Of The Literalism Of Our Daily Lives

We need to discover within the power to see mythically and poetically. Once contact is made, this view is brought to our world and balances our literalist, mechanistic view of ourselves and the world.

Source: Hillman, James. Healing Fiction, (Spring, 1983), 78-81.
For more information, see the James Hillman Web site.



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