A Hillman Dream

I dreamed of the figure James Hillman last night. I phrased it that way to please him!  Upon awakening I wondered if there will be a collective stirring amongst those of us who resonate to and with Hilman's ideas, and will perhaps in the future begin having a sort of collective experience centered around dreams of him.  I for one want to be counted in should that occur.In the meantime here's my dream. I was walking the streets of a neighborhood looking for a place to eat, during my attendance of some conference meal break. I looked in the window of a restaurant and saw Hillman sitting alone at a table writing something in a rather foreign looking, unintelligible script.   The phrase was one black line that I at first though may have  been musical notation but on closer inspection if seem more like calligraphy, that was broken up rather like a piece of musical notation. It was clear Hillman wanted no contact with anyone until this very important one line , artistically rendered on rather boldly drawn  was complete.

As I write this now I'm aware of the "seeing through" aspect of the image.  Seeing through and into the window, not outward.   I'm also aware of needing be be content with the image as it is given.  There is no meaning yet in the script itself.  I'm looking in not out at the world. I must be content with not knowing what that script means. It's in a language I cannot understand.  I understand and am moved by the writer, his passion for the work and his commitment to  completing it. That has to be and must be enough for now.

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  • Thanks for the dream. I too had a Hillman dream about a year or so ago.   So he had passed away a couple weeks before my dream, though I was unaware of his passing. It's a little more involved than yours.so won't go into it. But it was also literary related. I love the references to music ....musical notation are very affirming for me. The pyche doesn't a give a tinkers dam about James Hillman's  big " " but it sure as hell loves it's music. This is not to say Hillman ( intellectually brilliant)  wasn't musical, but from my prospective he lacked a certain lyricism. Or maybe I just can't hear it.


    • Well Jeffrey,your Hillman dream and and consequently my re- visitation of my Hillman dream,  reminded me once again, that there are always things, places persons, symbols, etc., that may elude us as to their meaning, literal and/or imaginal or symbolic.  Yet, it is this continued, patient respect for the image which, without knowing its meaning or significance must be respected and honored.  It is to  the image itself, whether in dream or life, that respect must be given. If an interpretive answer exists, we will know it when the time is right. 

      • May I be a somewhat disrespectful jackass and ask what James Hillman represents to you regardless? Obviously you hold the man in esteem, but in what ways in particular? And what do you find mysterious about him? I'm quite interested to know what he was like from those that did know him.

  • Dear Judith, I, too, have been visited in dreams by the figure James Hillman.  And I, too, soak up the writings of JH. You and Bonnie make reference to a piece he did on depression.  Which journal does this piece appear in?  Also, you may already know, but Vol. 1 of Dick Nelson's autobiography of JH is due out before Christmas.  Warmly, Dennis P

    • Hi Dennis! Thanks for your comments. I didn't know about the biography--Looking forward to that!

      I found the interview with Hillman on the web site for "New Therapist Magazine." You can access it by clicking the link in my post above, which takes you to the aggregate of articles I'm curating for Depth Psychology--but If you click on the title there, it will take you to the page with the article... I'd love to hear your thoughts on it if you get a chance to read it.

      • Hi Bonnie, Vol. 1 of Dick Russell's biography of JH is called The Life and Ideas of James Hillman: The Making of a Psychologist.  It's due out Dec. 1st.  The publisher is Arcade.


        As for Hillman's talk on depression, I think his perspective -- that this experience is the person's psyche extending an invitation to slow down and look inward -- is so important.  I see people in therapy every day who want to get over whatever's bothering them right now.     Sitting with, lingering in, what hurts or is unknown or ambiguous is not always what I like to experience myself.  But what's the price we pay if we ignore our depressed mood?  I like what JH says: without time for loss we don't have time for soul.  As a therapist I'm especially grateful for Hillman's reminder that healing is not necessarily about doing something -- not about being a therapist who enacts something against the problem -- but about staying in contact with the other person. 


        I'm starting to explore where I want to train as a Jungian analyst.  One thing I've learned so far is that no Jungian training body even reads Hillman.  This is criminal!  I guess we'll just have to learn and practice the soul-making Hillman modeled on our own.   

  • Judie--This is a fascinating dream on many levels, though I really resonate with your interpretation of it.

    I've never had a dream about Hillman, but coincidentally was reading an interesting online article/interview with him about depression this morning. It probably warrants it's own post, but I'll put the link here since it's synchronistic--and maybe will have some meaning for others reading these posts. Click here for "Giving depression a  fair hearing: An afternoon wit...

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