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a JUNGIAN approach to imaginal research


A video introduction to Heather

and her dissertation

The Soul's Voice

"Oh, that you must speak through me" Jung to his soul (p. 131) The soul speaks in images. Sample Active Imagination


“Despite the fact that I have so often travelled this path with individual patients, I have not yet succeeded in making the process clear to a wider circle and in working it up in a form suitable for publication” (p. 72). "

~ Modern Man in Search of the Soul, Jung

JUNG'S REGRET  An unfinished work

*All citations from The Red Book are from the reader's edition.

When asked toward the end of his life if he had any regrets, Jung said that he had, “failed to open people’s eyes to the reality of the soul and the buried treasure in the field” (as cited by Rolfe, 1989, p. 158). This website can be seen as an attempt to open people’s eyes to the reality of the soul through the recently uncovered buried treasure of The Red Book (TRB) and its art methodology. Jung (1933) lamented: "But despite the fact that I have so often travelled this path with individual patients, I have not yet succeeded in making the process clear to a wider circle and in working it up in a form suitable for publicalledion" (p. 72). This website seeks to serve the purpose of bringing Jung's art-based process to the wider circle of the earth, inviting "the artist" that Jung (1977) said was "hiding" in "everyone" (p. 43) out to play. It can also be seen as the embodiment of the soul or what Jung called living your animal (from the Latin root anima for soul). Based on Jung’s statement that the soul was in the painted visions of TRB and her book—or a book made in this image, I see this website as a way to embody and view, commune and communicate with the soul. It is a way to be taught by the soul in the imaginal practice of active imagination through the body and a body of art. Jung pioneered art-based research methodology of which The Red Book is claimed as the best-known example according to another art-based research pioneer Shaun McNiff. 


Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times

The Spirit of the Depths EDUCATES the Spirit of the Times

Moving beyond traditional scholarship: Learning to VIEW images as visual and verbal teachings of the soul

"“The greatest danger of traditional education is that learning may remain purely verbal.” Jung

"The personal idiosyncrasies that creep into a work of art are not essential; in fact, the more we have to cope with these peculiarities, the less is it a question of art. What is essential in a work of art is that it should rise far above the realm of personal lire and speak from the spirit and heart of the poet [artist of both visual and verbal images] as man to the spirit and heart of mankind. The personal aspect is a limitation—and even a sin—in the realm of art." (p. 168)



The Dark Night of the Soul

Art Self-Care


Exploring Imaginal Research

images from Imagination


Sonu Shamdasani Answers

Bridging Theory and Practice

ORIENTATION An embodied gestalt, active imagination

In this website the art will be visionary art (a term Jung coined for art based on symbolic inner visions), and it will be figurative—based on imaginal figures in recognizable form (a tree, a bird, a woman). This allows the details of the image to speak more precisely and comprehensibly—and it is how the images show up, whether in visions, dreams, or the "real world." (If you dream or vision in pure color fields, your art will naturally reflect that, and you will, presumably, be able to decipher that through feeling and active imagination.)

This brings up an essential point, perception or viewing is MULTISENSORY—comprised of an embodied gestalt that Jung engaged in active imagination. In activating an external image (art) we activate our own body as an image. Viewing in this way activates the image both externally in the body of art and internally within the body. This proprioceptive or tacit way of knowing through a body or a body of art will be explored throughout the website in which the body (physical and imaginal) is a knowing organ of perception that draws upon the 5 senses as well as intuition as a 6th sense. 

Profoundly Personal

This is archetypal

and Personal

Embodied Ways of Knowing

Enlightened Thought


Living Your Animal

Embodying Soul

A PERSONAL NOTE   Rebirth of the soul

Jung (1933) said that the “artist moves us through the age” (p. 169), calling for a new movement like “at the Renaissance [an art movement Jung said marked the rebirth of the soul’s images] the Divine freed itself from the Church and lived elsewhere, and this in spite of the saying, ‘Outside the Church is not salvation’” (Jung, 1923, p. 22).


Describing the Church’s creed as “eternal death,” Jung said that it “is a terrible mutilation when man is compelled to live only by a truth two thousand years old and thereby sacrifice his actual life to a mummy” (p. 22).  Implying that it was time for a Reformation and Renaissance, Jung concluded that “fanaticism is due to an unconscious doubt threatening the conscious attitude”  (p. 22), seeming to speak to modern times where we again walk upon this art-based path of individuation.


An Illuminated Example

Practical Insight

Notes for Beginner

Imaginal Research



Video Offerings

Live Engagement
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MYTHOPOESIS    Mystique, Collective Representation

The focal point of this website is thus art and the artist in what Jung (1933) referred to in their “higher and “collective” (p. 172) sense and what sociologist Lucien Lévy-Brühl called participation mystique and “collective representations.” These themes will be discussed throughout the website and can be seen in the glossary. The point here to recognize or review is to see through collective eyes as Jung emphasized in Modern Man in Search of the Soul (1933):

If I had taken these fantasies of the unconscious as art, they would have carried no more conviction than visual perceptions, as if I were watching a movie. I would have felt no moral obligation toward them. The anima might then have easily seduced me into believing that I was a misunderstood artist, and that my so-called artistic nature gave me the right to neglect reality. If I had followed her voice, she would in all probability have said to me one day, “’Do you imagine the nonsense you’re engaged in is really art? Not a bit.’ Thus the insinuations of the anima, the mouthpiece of the unconscious, can utterly destroy a man. In the final analysis the decisive factor is always consciousness, which can understand the manifestations of the unconscious and take up a position toward them. (p. 187)


This leads to a paradoxical beginning in which we find our way by exploring the example of Jung’s way—despite statements like Jung’s early exclamation: “Woe betide those who live by way of examples!” (p. 125). Reading Jung’s following line, “If you live according to an example, you thus live the life of that example, but who should live you’re your own life if not yourself? So live yourselves” (p. 125). The art-based process embodied in the website is an archetypal way to live yourself—to live your Self in the larger archetypal sense of a greater whole of the soul. In this website, as in TRB the soul is multiple. It is not your soul or my soul but the soul. Yet, Jung uses the term “my soul” and I will too—this is the paradox.

AN INTRODUCTION   A Visual Dissertation

Seeing Thru Art

Building a Bridge


Seeing Thru Art

Soul Mapping


An Informal Reenactment

of the Defense

"It is not to be thought; it is to be viewed. It is a painting." Jung of his soul

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