The art of restraint

Posted on
restraint

‘Where the moods of one’s own heart are concerned, one should never ignore the possibility of inhibition, for this is the basis of human freedom.’ – From the I Ching or Book of Changes, by Richard Wilhelm What does it mean to be truly free? We encounter so many paradoxes when we dwell deeply on this question. Entering the many-mirrored realms of paradox is a sign that we’re making progress. Which in itself is a paradox. But a paradox at the heart of the difference between a psychology that aims to cultivate imagination, and one aiming at productivity, health or even self-realisation. For if we […]

The imaginal

Posted on
imaginal

In his paradigm-shattering book, Re-Visioning Psychology James Hillman says, ‘The term “imaginal” for the realm of images, which is also the realm of the soul, comes from Henry Corbin.’ Perhaps this passage from the same book gives us a taste of what he means with ‘the imaginal’: ‘Today we are so unconscious of these persons that we call their realm the unconscious. Once they were the people of the imagination, as the unconscious was once the imaginal realm of memoria. But now we cannot distinguish between fancy and fantasy, between imaginary, imaginative, and imaginal. And we struggle in vain with the conceptual semantics of allegory, […]

Encounter in the forest

Posted on
encounter in the forest

‘Do not say the moment was imagined Do not stoop to strategies like this As someone long prepared for this to happen Go firmly to the window, drink it in Exquisite music Alexandra laughing Your first commitments tangible again … As someone long prepared for the occasion In full command of every plan you wrecked Do not choose a coward’s explanation that hides behind the cause and the effect’ – Leonard Cohen, from his song  Alexandra Leaving High up in the forest, early morning. No-one else around this high up, so early. Space to breathe. A tender layer of clouds stretching across the flowing hills […]

On the inside of God’s face

Posted on
archetypes

‘Religious experience is absolute; it cannot be disputed. You can only say that you have never had such an experience, whereupon your opponent will reply: “Sorry, I have.” And there your discussion will come to an end.’ – Carl Gustav Jung, from Psychology and Religion Archetypal Psychology The psychology infusing the culture from where these pages are written is called Archetypal Psychology. Therefore, a central question is, ‘what are archetypes?’ Some say they are really no less than ‘the gods’ or different aspects of God. Others emphasise that they are ‘patterns for life and death from which all that exist are born’. That they pre-exist […]