Musings on depth psychology, synchronicity, dreams, and the imaginal world
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Fire and ice
Browsing my journals from earlier this year, I came across this quote that seems very appropriate at the moment:
Finding the power of the sacred, not despite suffering, but in the midst of it: This is the alchemy of the dark emotions. Through this alchemy, grief moves us from sorrow for what we’ve lost to gratitude for what remains. Fear of life’s fragility is transformed to the joy of living fully, with openness. And even despair becomes the ground of a resilient faith—not just an opiate for our pain, but a profound commitment to life as it is. — from Healing Through the Dark Emotions by Miriam Greenspan
There have been moments of grace in my life when, in the midst of intense grief and emotional pain, I was able to embrace the experience with joy and gratitude that added an almost unbearable sweetness to the agony. It is at these moments when I have felt myself transformed.
Would that those moments of grace occurred more frequently....
The imaginal world, for me, provides a framework for understanding experiences that just can’t be explained by the version of reality that I was taught as a child. Dreams that seem way too vivid; encounters with ghosts or spirits; moments of intuition so profound that they change your life; psychic events like remote viewing or what’s commonly called ESP: All of these make sense if the imaginal world exists.
And alchemy: the search for a way to turn lead into gold, or a metaphor for the process of psychological development that Jung called individuation. Looked at in this way, the passions and dramas and profoundly painful and joyful events in our lives form the alchemical opus of our psyche.
In these posts I’ll share some of my experiences with imaginal figures—from Brian Kinney (my bad-boy alter ego) to Merlin the Magus to the group of imaginal women who helped me write my dissertation. I’ll share the process of working with my dreams. I’ll share my curiosity, my process, and what knowledge I can bring to this strange work.
Perhaps my journey will resonate with yours. If so, read on. Comments are welcome.
[Note: if you're not familiar with the concept of the imaginal world as used by Carl Jung and Henry Corbin, reading the series of posts entitled "Brian Is Real" will be helpful. Please also read my sincere warning here.]
I am a depth psychologist specializing in dreamwork and equine-guided personal growth. Through private sessions and group workshops, I coach people through the sometimes difficult process of psychological development.
I have a PhD in Botany from the University of Oklahoma, and a PhD in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute.