Through a Jungian Lens

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Active Imagination and Fantasy

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Alternate realities - caught in the world of fantasy

I took this photo on one of the many walks I take when not teaching.  I was entranced by the twin silver balls on the railing that separated a small park from a canal.  I liked the colours and the contrast.  Little did I know that when I took the photo that my image would be caught in the silver balls.

Do we believe in fantasies, of living a secret life of fantasy? In my opinion, I think we do.  Living fantasies through the characters we come across in a novel or in a movie is a typical way in which we live a fantasy existence. We become more than our prosaic daily self that meets the world.  By day we are teachers, clerks, laborers, cops, medics or any number of ordinary people.  When in the midst of a novel, a comic, a computer game or a film, we become heroes and villains engaged in all sorts of adventures we would never dare enter as our normal real (to our own minds) version of ourselves.  Yet not all of our fantasies are experienced vicariously.  A sales clerk in a store during the daytime becomes a Wiccan at night or during special festivals; a waitress transforms into a dominatrix; a carpenter transforms into a high-ranking and mysterious masonic grandee – these are just a few of dual existences that allow some to engage actively in concretized active imagination, fantasy.

“. . . the scientific credo of our time has developed a superstitious phobia about fantasy. But the real is what works. And the fantasies of the unconscious work, there can be no doubt about that. Even the cleverest philosopher can be victim of a thoroughly idiotic agoraphobia. Our famous scientific reality does not afford us the slightest protection against the so-called irreality of the unconscious. Something works behind the veil of fantastic images, whether we give this something a good name or a bad. It is something real, and for this reason its manifestations must be taken seriously.” (Jung, C.W. Volume 7, paragraph 353)

As I use active imagination I learn to give respect and weight to what emerges.  As fantastic as the contents might seem, there is within this alternate world being perceived that has its own reality and a power that can act upon my self in ways that are beyond my control.  Acknowledging the presence and weight of this alternate reality, I bring the energy (libido) out of the unconscious and bring it into the realm of my consciousness and the ego’s control of that measure of consciousness.  And in the process, I cease being a victim of the unconscious.


2 Responses

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  1. I love this post and your justification of imagination and fantasy. We need to be conscious of and honest about our use of both instead of being ashamed without even knowing why! The left brain is such a daunting critic and the right brain so vulnerable to the left’s superior attitude! Thanks.


    Jean Raffa

    September 13, 2011 at 8:17 am

    • I appreciate your reply, Jean. We do indeed need to be conscious and honest. I look forward to hearing more from you in the future. One of your blog site fans (Matrignosis) 🙂


      September 13, 2011 at 12:06 pm

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