Reading the intro to Joan Chodorow’s book on Jung’s writings on active imagination (Jung on Active Imagination), & Jung apparently—from my perspective—engaged in inner pathworking, trance projection, etc., using the simple methods Fries has pointed to. Jung sought to frame these experiences as (seemingly) wholly psychological, though he apparently noted the “energy” & pathos unleashed with his explorations.
Jung sees the ego “forming” opposing, reactive counters in the unconscious in a constant stream of binaries that reflection must reconcile into a third term—it’s a very Hegelian dialectical mode I don’t buy, participating in the binary modal logic of One:Other for ages. However, the intro posits “either/or” as how those binaries begin [in Jung]—which makes me think of Spare & “neither-neither” & “not this—nor that”—either Spare’s refutation of this binary system (to a kind of zero-sum, null Chaos set, but that seems very him & the Chaos Magick brigade) or his own revision [of Jung]. However, I can also see how Jung’s mode merely apprehends the Other & seeks to reinscribe it into a new One (Spare arguably goes into “—,” trying to escape the binary). However, Spare’s art & magic definitely points to a Jungian active imagination mode.
Actually, Spare is directly rebuking Jung—Jung shoots for “both/and”—both binaries & the new term—but Spare says “not this—nor that.” Spare sees how the [what we now call] Jungian method remains ego-mediated, including the ego’s apprehension & contextualization of the unconscious/Otherworlds. I can imagine Spare seeking to blank ego during an aesthetic trance, so that the Other can be brought forth as it is, on its terms (if in any terms at all)—immerse yourself into symbols & inhabit, but Jung remains the tourist & colonizer, trying to impose “rational” & consensus (cishet male German psychoanalytic) frames on what he discovers.
Active imagination entails engagement, role playing, code shifting, & an authorial, editorial, critical & creative engagement. Self takes active, intentional, but immersive & adaptive mode with the unconscious. Passive imagination leads us to identity with the fantasies, & they dominate (the psychic censor in its manifestations)—shells [of egoic personality] & etc. We mistake them for ourselves even as they lack depth, realness, Otherworldly power—
Betrachten—to look at an image or symbol until it comes “alive,”—that is, scrying & shadowed gaze, looking past the symbol to its shadow, or to what it points to—
Jung also noted in private to von Franz that dramatic engagement—ritual, drama, kinesthetic, etc.—but he apparently couldn’t say why.
Active imagination as textualizing, weaving Self & Talker, etc.
Image: blue sky