The unconscious

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Because ‘the unconscious’ is vast and inexhaustible, Carl Jung himself says that any one description of it will be limited. Still, to provide one example: in his book On the Nature of the Psyche (par. 382) he says: ‘So defined, the unconscious depicts an extremely fluid state of affairs: everything of which I know, but of which I am not at the moment thinking; everything of which I was once conscious but have now forgotten; everything perceived by my senses, but not noted by my conscious mind; everything which, involuntarily and without paying attention to it, I feel, think, remember, want, and do; all the […]

The imaginal

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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, […]

Divination and prediction

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‘The role of the shaman, is to be able to contact the other world, to be in touch with the forces which affect this world. The shaman goes into a trance whereby he or she is able to move between the worlds and to answer questions or seek help.’ – Martin Palmer, from Tao Te Ching Divination and prediction It is unfortunate that in our culture, divination has been ‘bastardised’ into being a tool for prediction. Because, divination in its true form was never meant to be used in this manner. The true purpose of divination is to see the meaning of our existence against […]

Crafting a sense of soul

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‘[P]sychic reality can only be grasped through non-rational awareness … [by] the fool (in the positive sense) … who does not follow a straight path, who surrenders the security of a rational, one-sided attitude … [whose] spontaneity is not destroyed by the tension between opposites, and so can follow every path, without being determined by reason or collective norms.’ – Françoise O’Kane, from Sacred Chaos Spirituality and transcendence Most of the various schools or centres of spiritual and metaphysical teachings breed cultures of goal-directedness, of achievement, of levels of advancement and hierarchies, of progress and of linear formulas for how we should change or be […]

Fundamental uncertainty

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Federica Gionfrida

‘And so long as you haven’t experienced this: to die and so to grow, you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth.’ – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, from The Holy Longing We are going to die. Our continued existence is uncertain in every moment. And if we’re absolutely truthful with ourselves, we have to acknowledge that we really do not know what will happen to us as we die and after we die. Whatever our beliefs. For believing is not knowing. None of us have gone through the passage of death, yet. The more deeply we drop into being truthful with ourselves about […]

The unfathomable vastness of being

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Unfathomable vastness

‘You cannot discover the end of the soul, even if you travelled every road to do so, so deep is its meaning.’ – Heraclitus Our being in this world is a gateway for deepening into awareness of the vastness dwelling in existence. But who or what is this vastness? Who reside there? What is the presence we experience when we touch into it? What is this ‘place,’ this live source, this sacred river that flows inside the very essence of being? And how do we open to being deeply intimate with it, while avoiding being consumed by its sheer force? And, how do we maintain […]