Through a Jungian Lens

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Changing Personality via Active Imagination

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Mid-Autumn Festival Full Moon in China

Yesterday evening I went out for the purpose of meeting with new students at the university, the Freshmen classes who were taking part in a combination “Welcome to University” and “Mid-Autumn Festival” celebration. As I walked to the university campus I saw the full moon in the sky, not an unusual site as it happens once every four weeks; but this full moon was special in terms of China as it is this particular moon which is celebrated for the Mid-Autumn Festival.  I ended up taking a fair amount of photos of the moon but this one is the only one that jumped out begging for my attention when it came to writing today’s blog post after my last set of teaching classes was done for the day.

The moon is framed by a fair-sized high-voltage power pole structure.  The moon seems to be trapped within the steel bars, imprisoned and contained.  But of course, this is all illusion as one knows that the moon is not really contained within the crossbars, it just looks that way.  It is all about perspective.

Perspective – what does the inner voices tell us about an image?  What does the ego tell us about an image?  What fantasies are evoked? By listening with active imagination in which we safely participate in the fantasies that come  out of the engagement with the images, we can come to begin to hear our own inner self speaking to us.  Perhaps it is the soul, anima talking to us through the image of the moon. Does the soul, like the moon feel trapped and unable to find release?  We do this to our soul when we deny the soul, when we put boundaries to bind the soul to darkness and silence.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, in order to grow we need to engage in active imagination activity with those images that pull at us, those that catch the attention of some part of us.  Listen to what Jung tells us:

“Continual conscious realization of unconscious fantasies, together with active participation in the fantastic events, has, as I have witnessed in a very large number of cases, the effect firstly of extending the conscious horizon by the inclusion of numerous unconscious contents; secondly of gradually diminishing the dominant influence of the unconscious; and thirdly of bringing about a change in personality.” (Jung, C.W. Volume 7, paragraph 358)

When we continue to ignore the faint voices of the unconscious that seek our attention so as to be included in the larger sense of self, of identity, we risk acting out unconsciously.  We all know of those who do and say things that they appear to be unaware they have said or done to the point of thinking that we are telling lies about them. We have heard of those who somehow slip into and out of alter personalities like some Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, situations where the ego is banished for some time while the unconscious takes over and runs wild.  The process of engaging in active imagination allows us to carefully unmask the shadow removing the necessity for the unconscious to burst out of its prison running rampant over the ego.

Remember, it is all about perspective.  Once we change our perspective, we change everything.


2 Responses

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  1. I never even thought of the moon as trapped when I saw the photo. To me, it looks like a Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass window. To me it looks like art. Much of the world looks like art to me, through my eyes. When I go out, I notice details, things so often overlooked by others and that’s what I like to take photos of, to show ordinary things in a new light. Weeds are one of my favorites.


    September 13, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    • I am appreciative of the fact that you see with your lens and don’t accept my way of seeing as a correct or incorrect way of seeing. What we see is determined by both consciousness and the unconscious that is evoked. Thank you for saying what you see. The work is to go into what is seen, what emerges and let it come to life through active imagination, to “animate” the image so to speak. I look forward to your comments, Deb. 🙂


      September 13, 2011 at 8:57 pm

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