What do you think and imagine?

Here's some of my answering.

2-How do we dissolve a mindset (p.42) and what is the difference between that and resolving a problem?

In the problem of the difficulty of reading the text–entertaining the opaque language, Encountered in other educational experiences (or therapy?)- some of the advice has been “Try harder” and “Try longer”,  “Think man think! Solve the problem.” In dissolving the mindset–even as I am considering what to write in writing this, I find myself seeing problems with my thinking and writing and wanting to solve them. So I’m trying to say something and let it go.



3-What is the particular kind of circulation of the pelican and how does it differ from an ordinary stoppered vessel?

Circulation, repetition, I’m interested in the changing, the repeated passage through states. Can I see the cycle not that one precipitates another–1st and 2nd, original and final, but the mutability. Heraclitus: “All things change.” and “The known way is an impasse.”



4-What does JH mean when he says that it is the opus that needs to be fed? (p.43)

“A.P. refrains from stating goals for therapy ... and for its phenomena such as symptoms and dreams. Purpose remains a perspective toward events...” Archetypal Psychology, section 12.   And “the efflorescence of its [soul’s] own emotional time” ibid

“The depth of psyche is beyond report.” Heraclitus    So the work, the movement must go on, there is no end. “A continuing circulation ensues...” JH, Alch. Psyc. p.42


5-What is an instance of a sacrifice of non-arrival, constant iteration? (p.43) And why is it felt as sacrifice and humiliation all at once?

In the 18 years I’ve been working the field of archetypal psychology, going back and forth over the same ground, with plow and seed, hoe and scythe, with ambition and desire for mastery, my mastery of the material has not progressed one bit. Instead, the psychological ideas and the images slowly and quietly began moving into my “house”, and are slowly shifted my point of view on suffering and on caring for the imaginal realm between the literal and the intellectual/spiritual. I am constantly reading, thinking, imagining, and working on writing. I have reached no satisfactory concluding point. I keep working at being ok with no conclusion, “...no beginning, middle, and end..” [cf Hillman, DVD: The Art, Practice and Philosophy of Psychotherapy] Well maybe it’s all middle.

It’s sacrifice in that one must give up something one identifies with, with the idea that in doing so, room will be made for something more appropriate to the desires of the materials and the images. It is humiliation in that it may well be that no one will see that non-attainment of the expected goal, failure to achieve the expected goal may be necessary for the unrecognized images to live their own lives well.

6-If the soul is nourished by its wound, how might we understand that?

[In your pathology is your salvation’ - not salvation as adaptation, but salvation from adaptation. [see “LOSS OF SOUL”] All our pathologies are imaginings, and so therapy’s job is primarily to deal with the symptoms, just as Freud tried at the beginning, but now because the symptoms are the imaginings of the psyche seeking a better form.” JH,  ...100 years...   154-4

[“Rilke said about therapy, ‘I don’t want the demons taken away because they’re going to take my angels too.’ Wounds and scars are the stuff of character. And the word character means, at root, ‘marked or etched with sharp lines,’ like initiation cuts.  JH, ...100 years.. p.29]

[The wound can bring our attention to soul, to it’s reality. Perhaps the soul is nourished when we turn our attention to (care for) its wound, and enter into relationship with it on it’s terms,  imaginal terms. Joe]

[The soul sees by means of affliction. JH, RP, p.107]

[“...for each thing to be true, good and beautiful must also be pathological.” JH, A Blue Fire, p.149]

[“... The process which Hillman calls “pathologizing” understands that our afflictions, neuroses, complexes, fears, compulsive behaviors – in other words, our woundedness – reveal our deepest soul needs and wants....” JH, RP, 105]

7-How is co-generation by mutual imaginings embodied by the double pelican, and what is its relationship to psychotherapy and art? (p.43)

[Participating in more than one point of view follows the way of conversation among images of psyche, including oneself, that is the ego-image. “We are one image among many.” I believe is the quote of Hillman’s. Imagining, and acknowledging and experiencing this cares (therapea) for soul (psyche), cares for the mundus imaginalis and so .. I ended in middle of sentence ]


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  • Dear Joe,

    I really appreciated you bursting through like this,  
    mortificatio - a humbling transformation through rotteness - forget mastery!  
     I am following the seminar rather slowly and out of synch - but passionately there in the background and yes to more personal  conversation on the struggle with the opus .... 
    best wishes
  • You know, when they send the questions for the next class, let's post a few as discussion topics and see whether anyone takes the bait.
  • 13    How might we understand the force of a void creating the vessel?

     The void could be the archetype, which we can have no experience of, so phenomena partake in something unfathomable. "The depth of the soul is beyond report".-Heraclitus. The ultimate real about which we know only that, out of it comes existence. In Daoism, out of YinYang, come "the 10,000 things"- differentiated existence. Prior to YinYang is WuQi (The Void) 


  • 9-Why do alchemists warn against undigested material - extraneous comparisons, borrowed interpretations, theories, and explanations -- and say that things must be cooked in their own blood?

    How much of my writing above is "extraneous comparisons, borrowed interpretations, theories, and explanations"? I feel I didn't take enough time with it. I know I haven't read the material closely enough. Perhaps I will be embarrassed enough by this that I take more time in  the future. But it was either "do it" with what I've got, or again withhold from speaking. And again what I'm writing is about ME!! I don't like that. 

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