SEEING THRU ART
ORIENT YOURSELF BEFORE YOU DESCEND
dive into the dark depths of your psyche/soul
ORIENTATION - A DEEP DIVE
A Stage by Stage Evolution
from whose waters we evolve
This website seeks the center
Jung's lament, there wasn't a wider circle.
““The artist is not just a reproducer of appearances but a creator and educator” (Jung, 1921/1990, p. 432).
~ C Jung
INTO THE DEEP — The fathomless depths of the soul
The field of study that Jung pioneered is called depth psychology, referring to the fathomless depths of the soul and the primordial unconscious from whose waters we evolved in the past and continue to evolve today This website is a deep dive into those dark depths, but before you descend into the unknown it is important to have a brief orientation.
In this undertaking you will be diving into your Self and your psyche or soul. In particular, you will be working with what Jung (1961) called “the ‘soul’ in the primitive sense” (p. 186) as the soul of The Red Book and the body which “still carries within it the discernible traces of primeval evolution” (p. 187). Jung (1933) believed that “every civilized human being, whatever his conscious development, is still an archaic man at the deeper level of the psyche” (p. 126), and his art-based approach plumbs these depths looking for buried treasure or what Jung called “primordial vision” (p. 159).
""The sea is the favorite symbol for the unconscious, the mother of all that lives." C. G. Jung
IMAGINAL RESEARCH— Accessing the Wealth of the Soul
In The Red Book the “wealth of the soul exists in images” and “he who possesses the image of the world, possesses half the world” (p. 130). The soul declared, “I speak in images,” since with “nothing else can I express the words from the depths” (p. ). The soul is the heart of The Red Bookand her imaginal research is what you will learn in this art-based approach. Images come from the imagination and exist in the imaginal realm or world (Mundus Imaginalis) of philosopher and theologian Henry Corbin. Instead of the normal sense of “a figment of the imagination, “Jung spoke of the God Izdubar as becoming “a living fantasy, whose working” he “could feel on” his “own body” (p. 295).
Fantasy images are essential to the art-based approach in which: “Everything to come was already in images,” as Jung noted in The Red Book (p. 143). These images were born out of creative fantasy and a “knowledge of the hear” that “is in no book and is not to be found in the mouth of any teacher but grows out of you like the green seed from the dark earth” (p. 133). This is an image, a living form that is activated by the imagination and grows, pregnant with life. In this website, like The Red Book, images are both paintings and painted or poetic words. Images are a way of reimagining and reanimating words and thought in which, for example, “God is an image” and “supreme meaning . . . image and force in one” (p. 120). Artists are exploring this way of knowing that takes place in dialogue between therapy and education.
ART-BASED METHOD — A Repressed Need
The basis of art-based research, art is the flowering of the maternally creative urge that has been repressed in our time. It is also the foundation of what Jung called a “proper education” and “the best safeguard against psychic illness in its manifold forms, which we call neurosis. Jung called for a “schooling” to “try to awaken the hidden artist who slumbers in every man,” adding: “Given him a chance to bring to light the pictures he carries unpainted within himself, to free the unwritten poems he has shut up inside him, and yet another source of psychic disturbances is removed” to “cleanse and release his psyche” (Jung, 1928, p. 45)
The cleansing of the soul that Picasso also spoke of is the purpose of this art-based approach—an approach that is for everyone. Jung “In everyone some kind of artist is hiding. Among savage peoples this is evident from the fact that the warrior decks his spear with feather or paints his shield. In our mechanized world this urge for artistic creation is repressed by the one-sided work of the day and is very often the cause of psychic disturbances. The forgotten artist must be fetched up again from the darkness of the subconscious, and a path cleared for the urge for artistic expression—no matter how worthless the paintings and poems may be that are produced in this way.” (Jung, 1928, p. 42)
CREATION — Creating theory through practice
In this practicum creation is education, creating theory through practice--and it requires practice or the creation of art. Jung’s methodology is art-based (based on creating art) research and art-informed (based on viewing art—your own and others), and studied art (primarily ancient, religious art from diverse times and traditions) that informed his creation of art in The Red Book. Jung’s methodology is also art-based as opposed to arts-based (plural), because it focuses on painting and the process of artistic elaboration in The Red Book as a specific example and genre of art (illuminated manuscript). While Jung carved, for example, throughout his life, three-dimensional work will not be a central focus of the website which looks specifically at the illuminated and animated images of his painted opus. Also, I can only use 5 images by any artist, given dissertation website restrictions, so the images displayed will be painted.
Though the focus of this website is narrow (the art of The Red Book or The Red Book as art), it is deep. Jung (1923) said that a “knowledge of anthropology, mythology and so forth are needed” in this process because the it works with “totem psychology” and ideas (p. 5) along with art history to create what The Red Book’s editor Sonu Shamdasani referred to as a psychology of vision and a new iconography. Essentially, Jung used his art-based process as a methodology to distill psychic “experience” that could not “be accepted by the conscious outlook” (p. 159) within the vessel of his own body and a body of art. Diving into the depths of the unconscious to find treasured visions, he then painted them to help him remember, assimilate, and morally integrate the content in visionary art. In this process Jung used amplification to evolve his understanding.