Jung on Active Imagination
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
All the creative art psychotherapies (art, dance, music, drama, poetry) can trace their roots to C. G. Jung's early work on active imagination. Joan Chodorow here offers a collection of Jung's writings on active imagination, gathered together for the first time. Jung developed this concept between the years 1913 and 1916, following his break with Freud. During this time, he was disoriented and experienced intense inner turmoil --he suffered from lethargy and fears, and his moods threatened to overwhelm him. Jung searched for a method to heal himself from within, and finally decided to engage with the impulses and images of his unconscious. It was through the rediscovery of the symbolic play of his childhood that Jung was able to reconnect with his creative spirit. In a 1925 seminar and again in his memoirs, he tells the remarkable story of his experiments during this time that led to his self-healing. Jung learned to develop an ongoing relationship with his lively creative spirit through the power of imagination and fantasies. He termed this therapeutic method "active imagination."
This method is based on the natural healing function of the imagination, and its many expressions. Chodorow clearly presents the texts, and sets them in the proper context. She also interweaves her discussion of Jung's writings and ideas with contributions from Jungian authors and artists.
which the dead lay. They reminded me of old church burial vaults, where knights in armor lie out-stretched. Thus the dead lay in my dream, in their antique clothes, with hands clasped, the difference being that they were not hewn out of stone, but in a curious fashion mummified. I stood still in front of the first grave and looked at the dead man, who was a person of the eighteen-thirties. I looked at his clothes with interest, whereupon he suddenly moved and came to life. He unclasped his hands;
spring and early summer of 1914, I had a thrice-repeated dream that in the middle of summer an Arctic cold wave descended and froze the land to ice. I saw, for example, the whole of Lorraine and its canals frozen and the entire region totally deserted by human beings. All living green things were killed by frost. This dream came in April and May, and for the last time in June, 1914. In the third dream frightful cold had again descended from out of the cosmos. This dream, however, had an
use, I was able to approach the problem at just the point indicated by the picture: she is caught in the unconscious and expects magical help from me, as from a sorcerer. And since her psychological knowledge had made her completely au fait with certain possible interpretations, there was no need of even an understanding wink to bring to light the apparent sous-entendu of the liberating magician’s wand. The sexual symbolism, which for many naïve minds is of such capital importance, was no
– he encouraged his student and colleague Dora Kalff to develop a method of symbolic play. She developed a therapeutic technique based on the sandbox and floor games that children have played throughout history, in every culture. She brought hundreds of miniature figures, cultural symbols and natural objects into the consulting room and arranged them on shelves. There they wait, until it is time for them to enter a shallow tray filled with sand as someone chooses or is chosen by them. Dora Kalff
reason and convention. Though the unconscious motifs are repressed again, as before, the unconscious is satisfied to a certain extent, because the patient must now make a conscious effort to live according to its principles and, in addition, is constantly reminded of the existence of the repressed by annoying resentments. But if his recognition of the shadow is as complete as he can make it, then conflict and disorientation ensue, an equally strong Yes and No which he can no longer keep apart by