von Franz on Active Imagination
von Franz met C.G. Jung in 1933 and worked with him
until his death in 1961. A founder of the C.G. Jung
Institute in Zurich, she published widely on subjects
ranging from alchemy to fairy tales. Many of her major
observations about Active Imagination were recorded
in two chapters of her Psychotherapy (pp. 146-176).
from "Active Imagination In The Psychology of
Franz says while dreams can be helpful in inner development,
Active Imagination can intensify and accelerate development
because it brings the conscious mind along in its
work. "...a beneficial effect arises from attempting
to objectivize (carefully observe) contents of the
unconscious in the awake state and relate with them
consciously. This can be done through painting or
sculpting---or, more rarely, through dancing---but
principally through writing down inwardly observed
phenomena. Conversations with inner figures play an
especially prominent role here. (p.146)"
Active Imagination Is Not
Imagination can be easily confused for passive imagination
by those without proper training. Active Imagination
"Internal cinema" most people see when the
close their eyes;
"Talking to oneself" most people do at one
time or another;
When images that are not honored and taken as real;
When the person appears as some fictive personality;
"When the imagination comes off very easily,
this is often suspicious, since real active imagination
is a considerable endeavor that in the beginning can
rarely be kept up longer than ten or fifteen minutes."
A kind of "cramp of consciousness" makes
it so that nothing comes to one's mind.
A sureness that "This whole thing is not real,
it's just being made up."
For those with major psychological problems: "It
can, as Jung stressed, bring latent psychoses to the
point of outbreak." (pp. 148-149)
of Time Needed to Do Active Imagination
to 15 minutes
from "On Active Imagination"
Empty ego consciousness, get free of the flow of thoughts.
Let image arise in mind, follow it through. Don't
let change too rapidly into other images and don't
hold too tightly so that nothing happens.
Give the image form by writing it down, painting it,
sculpting it, writing it as music, or dancing it.
Don't over do this by trying to be too artful, but
don't be sloppy either.
Apply what one has learned in daily life.
we know that for the ego complex to get in touch with
the unconscious has a vivifying and inspiring effect,
and that is really the basis of all our therapeutic
von Franz, Marie-Louise. Psychotherapy, (Boston:
von Franz, Marie-Louise. On Divination and Synchronicity:
The Psychology of Meaningful Chance, (Toronto:
Inner City Books, 1980).