Page 300

following so-called active imagination of a woman, which I will recount. By “active imagination” is meant a particular kind of meditation on fantasies, in which one relates to the unconscious as to a real partner.43 This form of meditation can in many regards be compared to certain Eastern meditation techniques, such as those of Zen Buddhism or tantra yoga, or to the Western technique of the Jesuit exercitia, but with the fundamental difference that the meditator has no conscious goal or program whatever. In this way active imagination remains the solitary experiment of a free individual with himself or herself, devoid of any tendency to steer the unconscious. But we cannot go into this subject further here. I must refer the reader to Jung’s essay “The Transcendent Function.” In this woman’s meditation, a deer appeared, which spoke to her and said, “I am your child and your mother at once and am called the ‘bond animal,’ because I establish a bond between people, animals, plants, and stones, when I enter into them. I am your fate or the ‘objective I,’ ” it continued. “My appearance redeems you from the meaningless arbitrariness of life. I establish a bond between the mind and the body and between life and death. The fire that burns within me burns in all of nature. When a human being loses this, he becomes lonely, egotistical, directionless, and without strength.” The Self is often symbolized as an animal, which represents our instinctive nature and its connection with our natural surroundings. (That is why there are so many helpful animals in myths and fairy tales.) This relationship of symbols of the Self with the natural surroundings and even with the universe shows that this “atomic nucleus of the psyche” is somehow interwoven with the whole inner and outer world. All the higher organisms known to us are attuned to a specific environment in time and space. Animals, for example, have their territories, their building materials, their food types, to which their instincts are precisely attuned. One need only consider the fact that most grazing animals give birth to their young exactly at the time when grass is most abundant. A highly reputed zoologist therefore said that the inner nature of animals stretches far out into the world and imbues space and time with psyche.44 The human unconscious, too, is attuned at an ungraspably profound level to its environment, its social group, and, beyond that, to space and time and the whole of nature. The “great man” referred to above as the psychic center of the Naskapi Indians not only reveals inner processes in dreams but also provides advice to the hunter, such as how and where he should hunt.

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

Advertisement