Jungian Active Imagination & Hypnagogia

"the royal road to the unconscious"
-C.G. Jung

Meeting Inner 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 thing.

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 wisdom.

The Steps:

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 experience.

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.


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