Soul Is Imagination

Soul Is Imagination

There seem to be two types of imagination. One is called daydreaming, where one intentionally forms a mental image of something. The other, however, brings forth images spontaneously. This type of imagining seems to be similar to what Jung called active imagination. This is what occurs in dreams and when we enter dreams, allowing them to take whatever shape they want. Soul is imagination. 

Soul is vulnerable and suffers; it is passive and remembers. It is water to the spirit’s fire, like a mermaid who beckons the heroic spirit into the depths of passions to extinguish its certainty. Soul is imagination, a cavernous treasury—to use an image from St. Augustine—a confusion and richness, both. (James Hillman, Re-visioning Psychology, 1975).

The images the Soul presents to us should not be interpreted to serve Ego. There is much of this going on today after people learn a little about Jungian dream theory and begin coming up with all sorts of off-the-wall interpretations. They even go out and buy so-called dream dictionaries to supposedly help them. This is the wrong approach. Sure, meditate on dreams, allow the images to flow, but stick to the images. They are to be examined phenomenologically.

The Soul is an immense cavern of images, as Augustine alludes to in his Confessions:

What is my nature? It is various and manifold and immeasurable: behold the numberless fields and caves and caverns of memory, each innumerably full of an in-numerable variety of things. Some of these things are there through images, as in the case of all physical objects; some through their own immediate presence, as with the intellectual arts; some by indefinable notions or impressions, as with the affections of the mind which, even when the mind is not experiencing them, the mind yet retains (although whatever is in the memory is also in the mind). Through all of these do I run to and from, flying hither and thither. I penetrate them as far as I am able, on this side and that, and nowhere is there an end. So great is the power of memory, so great the power of life in man, whose life is mortal.

He refers to memory, but Soul is memory as well as imagination. As Jung said, . . . at “bottom” the psyche is simply “world.” . . . the symbol of the world itself is speaking (The Archetypes And The Collective Unconscious, section 291). Basically, Soul is all.


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