A BIG chunk, deeper, bigger and more profound and more confounding!

Here are a few things that stood out for us.

As we go deeper into the distinction between symbol and image, between interpretation and being in an embodied image, what we want  is the “internal logic of the images”, not our our logic/our understanding of the images. Again, waiting to allow them to reveal themselves as we experience them as Other with it’s own “LOGIC”. 

or “waiting for the fruits” of the madness.

“We are real and not symbols.” (Elijah talking to Jung in reference to himself and Salome.)

Robbie: "This most famous answer which I think is the beginning of a whole new psychology, the beginning of the psychology I most subscribe to and the beginning of the psychology where Jung becomes most original." 

Elijah says that “you may  call us symbols for the same reason that you can also call your fellow men symbols [the way we talk about projecting onto others/seeing others as aspects of ourselves], if you wish to.  But we are just as real as your fellow man.”

I like how Robbie equates symbolizing with colonizing.  So interpreting dreams is like colonizing the dream world. Wow! Embodied Imagination as de-colonizing the imaginal world. We are social activists!

The distinction of thought as Other (as phenomenon) a “forest of thoughts” , especially confusing or difficult thoughts, allows me to not identify with my thoughts and to approach them in a stance of not knowing as well so they can reveal their “internal logic”. 

Also when Jung is deep in the second image scared, astonished and confused, Elijah asks him, “if it were not your law to be here, how would you be here?” Robbie explains the translation of “law” to be something innate (like purpose) (inner necessity) --how uncovering your law becomes Jung's individuation.  

Then Elijah continues with “it burned deep inside you.” and then talks about how hard it can be to acknowledge ones yearning.

This whole conversation makes me think of my own dreams and how the Embodied Imagination work with them can help reveal my life’s purpose, not as in an answer (interpretation) but being willing to experience the distonic elements especially and be with them, or as we say “practice” the dream through the various elements worked in the dream as a composite.

Which then continues in the ending of this book when Jung says, “The mystery showed me in images what I should afterward live.  I did not possess any of those boons that the mystery showed me, for I still had to earn all of them.”

Oh wow, so it looks like a dream , even worked deeply, is only the beginning, to try to find the “meaning”  is like trying to “possess the boons.”

And even when the “boons” begin to reveal themselves it is still a constant revelation as when Elijah tells Jung,

“Your work is fulfilled here.  Other things will come.  Seek untiringly, and above all write exactly what you see.”

Even in sharing these thoughts I see an attempt to make meaning, so maybe just to hold them as Other, that they may continue to reveal.


Chris and Janet

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  • It is fascinating to me to observe the progression of Jung’s relationship with the reality of objects in the imaginal world. He struggles with Elijah’s statement, “We are real and not symbols” in the Red Book (page 246). Years later, in his first meeting with Marie-Louise von Franz, Jung told her about a woman who’d had a vision of being on the moon and being held captive by a black-winged man. He described it as if she really had been on the moon. Von Franz objected, “But she wasn’t on the real moon. That was just a vision”. Jung looked at her seriously and replied, “She was on the moon.”  Pointing to the sky, von Franz responded, “Wait a minute.  It can’t be.  She wasn’t up there.”  Jung looked at her penetratingly and repeated, “She was on the moon.” This story was related by von Franz in a fascinating article by Gary S. Toub [“Stopping the World: Psychological Reflections on the Teachings of Don Juan”, The San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal, 21 (4), 13-23, available at http://www.cgjungpage.org/].

    • Thank you so much for this story. I remember her telling it. It is good to remember how Jung eventually came over to Ilijah's side. But it did take a while and the Red Book shows the struggle it took. It is heartening to realize that in the end we can honor, in clear and twinkling dual consciousness, the indigenous denizens of the Deep as they populate the moon.

  • The notion of symbol I hear best explained once by David Miller. He told of two friends who were departing from one another. They took a plate and broke it in half. Each took half of the plate with him. These half plates, in Greek, symbolein with one another. A symbol refers to something not present, something invisible elsewhere. A presence, like you, me the Red Man, Ilijah, does not refer to anything. Ric is Ric, not a pointer to something else. So I am very hesitant to interpret the presences at all. Because then they become symbols, referring to their counterpart elsewhere, as in the symbolein plates.

  • Thanks so much for this recommendation, Ric. I found the link you posted here on the Alliance and managed to put the video in the Alliance video library here: http://www.depthpsychologyalliance.com/video/the-use-of-active-imag... 

    It's just a 10 minute video: I look forward to watching it.

    The Use of Active Imagination in Jungian Analysis - from Asheville Jung Center
    Dr. Murray Stein & Dr. Paul Brutsche, renowned Jungian analysts from Zurich, conclude the final seminar in a four part series entitled The 4 Pillars…
  • Hi All,

    Almost a week in to Lecture 3 which covers a great deal of ground. Curious, the conversations are fewer as the number of members (70!) in the forum keeps growing.

    Newcomers, feel free to jump in with what is moving you.

    As David Hartman wrote--it is a long journey we are on together. Likely there will be ebbs and flows in the rhythms of our conversation.

    Donna, don't worry about "falling behind" and it's good to hear your appreciation of others' contributions.

    I can attest to this forum creating a "group field".  So much so that in the first few weeks, I was staying up til all hours as though feeling all of your thoughts from all the different time zones! 

    Hoping the seriousness and depth with which Jung records his inner journey will stimulate your own.


  • Hi Ric,

    We are glad to see how much thought and sharing this forum has stimulated for you.

    Chris and I won’t be evaluating your (or anyone’s) assumptions as correct or not nor are we Jungian scholars.  So I can't speak to your quotes from Karen Hamaker on Anima/Animus.  Perhaps Robbie or others can.

    Chris and I also spoke about your 2 sides of colonizing:  the initial daring/adventure and the subsequent darker side of greed and oppression.  For me, it can seem exciting (ego gratifying) to want to or think I know what a dream/vision/image means.  But if I let myself be colonized by the need to understand, I run the risk of missing the delicate process of letting the revealed nature of the image work on me.  So, the daring is in the not colonizing,



  • Hello all. My name is David Hartman, and for a week now I have been listening to Robert, and to each entry in the discussion from the beginning. I appreciate the companionship on this year-long journey into the Red Book. With lesson 2 and now with lesson 3, and with Robert’s equating symbolizing with colonizing, I am reminded of James Hillman’s dramatic warning in The Dream and the Underworld that I imagine applies to any experience of the imaginal world: “It is this dayworld style of thinking – literal realities, natural comparisons, contrary opposites, processional steps – that must be set aside in order to pursue the dream into its home territory. There thinking moves in images, resemblances, correspondences. To go in this direction, we must sever the link with the dayworld, forgoing all ideas that originate there – translation, reclamation, compensation. We must go over the bridge and let it fall behind us, and if it will not fall, then let it burn.” (p. 13) I know that for me, it requires the burning. So as bravely as I am able, I cry out, “Burn, baby, burn!” Maybe it is the yearning that Elijah spoke of that "burns deep inside you."

    • My warnings about colonialism are very much in line with James Hillman's thinking. Colonizing is a way of assuming that the indigenous beings of the embodied imagination can not speak for themselves. It is a way of avoiding the phenomenon in the wild to reveal itself.


  • Hello...have fallen behind a bit and still here....opening further, deeper and wider....appreciate everyone's contributions here...

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