Active Imagination & Hypnagogia
"the royal road to
Figures with Active Imagination
We are experts
at developing inner figures. Every night we produce
a rich field of characters and dramas in our dreams.
Over a life time we have about 100,000 dreams which
probably means that we have a cast of characters in
the 1000s. With
the proper depth, Active Imagination produces the same
Why inner figures? The psyche seems to have clustered
psychological energies and perspectives
in these figures. From
these personifications we can learn a great deal about
our emotions, our opinions, our physical energies, and
our hidden abilities.
Inner figures can take on the form divine
figures, devilish characters,
or rather mundane persons.Of course, we can also non-human
figures such as birds, fish, bears, and other animals.
These are also representations of inner forces.
Finding our inner figures (or introducing personifications
from mythology while in Active
Imagination), is especially
powerful. Not only can we learn a great deal by observing
which figures appear we also can hold dialogues with
them. Holding a dialogue produces some surprising results.
We hear from the figures things that we
might not expect or things
we have thought of before but haf forgotten over the
years. We also may be surprised to hear words of deep
1. Do preliminary research on the nature of inner figures.
See especially Robert Johnson's Inner Work and
Hal and Sidra Stone's Embracing Ourselves (available
in the bookstore).
2. Do Active Imagination. While in this state introduce
an inner figure from a recent dream or from other sources
(i.e. a Tarot card, a movie) or wait for a figure to
arise from your unconscious.
3. Trust the process. At times it will feel like you
are just making up what is being said. Some times this
is true, but this is a helpful process to help get the
process going. Don't worry about the source, just go
with the process.
4. Record as much as you can.
5. After finishing your Active Imagination session,
try collecting images of the figure to help deepen your
6. Keep things private. This is something special for
you. Please honor it by carefully holding it in intimate
space. Share it wisely.
7. Don't get overly hung up on what you find. Some people
take what they find literally, assuming that they have
communicated with divinity. Of course, in a sense this
is true, but we can, unfortunately, get too puffed up
with our own self importance. Don't forget that many,
many other people can turn inward and have the same
experience. Please use humility and common sense here.
We are living in an age where worldwide communications
and our vast libraries are teaching us that spirituality
is indeed special but it is also universal. Perhaps
the world needs fewer, one of a kind leaders/gurus and
more non-leaders/gurus who simply do a practice day-in
and day-out, bringing their new discoveries forward
in a more organic and less dramatic way.
If you have
any psychiatric condition or suspect that you might
have some difficulties handling your dreams, work
with the imagination, or maintaining a comfortable
grasp on the requirements of everyday living, please
do not work with Active Imagination alone. Work with
mental health professionals who can advise you on
how best to approach this sort of work.For
those who have no such problems, Active Imagination
should make for a helpful and exciting way of learning
how to live a meaningful and more expansive life.