Archetypal Psychology Lecture (dr. coppin)

Pacifica Graduate Institute 2007 – Lecture

This course will unfold in several modalities. I do lecture but it is always designed to have a rhetorical tinge in that I don’t like the one way information thing, just putting information out. I want us to always be in dialogue. What I found is that when the topic is interesting something else teaches all of us, something enters the room and it is really a field of ideas.

In the year 2000, James Hillman came and taught this course and he asked me what I wanted him to do. I asked him to teach this course in regards to the origins of archetypal psychology, really teach it as a basic course of information as to where this psychology comes from. And he did a really good job and I have it on videotape, so periodically I will bring Jim in and let him speak for himself.

There is a way that there is a spiral feel to this course. We find that as the days progress the ideas keep turning in on themselves, like tilling soil, some ideas come back in a slightly different form. So there is a little of repetition, and it will feel like, oh yeah now we have to re-engage this idea. OK?

Day one we are going to cover mostly theoretical material, the philosophical content of archetypal psychology. We will look at the postmodern Freudian and Jungian use of this psychology. Day two we will have more of that although by the end of the second day we will be moving into practices of archetypal psychology. We are going to try and spend some focused time on the four chapters in Revisioning Psychology, those four moves that Hillman does as a part of the practice. On the third day, we will start with student presentations and then we will finish in the afternoon. After all the presentations are done, we are going to talk more about practice. But I am also going to give you a written summary of what I think you need to know if you were going to have an academic grasp of archetypal psychology. The reason I am doing that is so that you don’t have to be such an academic note-taker while we are doing the course. You can be an embodied learner, knowing that I am going to give you the cheat sheet on the last day of class. So let that whole part of you float away.

First of all, a few introductory remarks on archetypal psychology: it is a depth psychology. I want to start by saying a few words about depth psychology. You probably have already been tortured by a number of professors who have asked you to try and define depth psychology. There is a reason that we do that and it’s because we don’t know. We understand it, but it is a mutating idea. It is always morphing. It is hard to nail down the essential elements. You are here spending a lot of money and you have people at home wondering what you are up to, and you can’t really even describe it. But that leads us to a willingness to be heartfelt every time we try to explain depth psychology. There are a couple of things I want to say about it. First of all, I think that the words ‘depth’ and ‘psychology’ are somewhat synonymous. And so I like that we put them together here. I think that the Psyche is naturally deep and I also think that the dimension of depth is inherently psychological. So you put those two words together and they really start to create a picture. It is really important to get a hold of the idea that it is a naturally occurring thing, because the world will try to tell you it is fringy and it does not have any real substance. In fact, the world we live in tries to say that about a lot of natural phenomenon. I think it is also important to get that it’s natural because of what it may mean, if it’s true, that the method of it is really about trying to find some attunement to a deep, natural rhythm in the world. So it is not this weird artifice that you have to invent to get there. In fact, some people who have spent some time with this recognize that the method of depth psychology involves stripping away of methodology, of trying to get out of our methods which carry implicit bonds to a positivistic, materialistic way of being in the world.

If you go to the edge of a canyon, and you think about the way the body engages space, and stare into the canyon, what will happen to you in very short order is that you will start reflecting on strange stuff, on ideas that don’t occur to you when you are driving down the highway. Same thing if you just stare into the night sky filled with stars. Metaphysical things start to occur, and what I am saying is that this is not rocket science but it is just the body’s way of being in the natural world. That dimension of depth encourages us to move in a psychological way.

Now when we talk about depth, there is a great tendency, and actually for a long time our theorists thought about depth as a vertical thing, in fact it may be in Re-visioning Psychology where Hillman talks about the dimension or experience of depth as inward and downward. So there is that sense of verticality, of upper world and underworld. It lives in the idea that the Psyche naturally moves downward, and also in the metaphors of conscious and unconscious there is a sense of verticality in that, the unconscious is in the earth and the conscious is enlightened or elevated from that.

We are going to look at depth a lot when it comes to Hillman’s book on the split between Spirit and Soul. That soul moves downward and spirit moves upwards, but here I want to say that in this program, which is revolutionary in so many ways, that we understand that depth also has a horizontal axis. You have to do things with your camera lens to get depth of field, so you control the aperture and the focal length and photographers know that as you play with depth of field you start to change the impact of your photograph. So we have an awareness that there is a horizontal dimension in the communities that we live in. They tend to have centers and boundaries, whether it is a community of people or buildings, or a community of ideas. There are boundaries and borderlands, and when we stand in the center of a field like that where there is a concentration of uniform ideas, it is different from the field of the borders. Also, that horizontal dimension is available to us when we think about time moving or stretched out we can get a sense of the depth of time. When we talk about ideas having a historical content, it gives them that horizontal depth.

So it is important to get the sense that we have moved the idea of depth psychology from this purely vertical plain to this multi-axial horizontal plane. One of the orientations of archetypal psychology, the goal if you will, is to create or to foster more psychic space. So there is already this notion that the work of psychology lives in this spatial metaphor. As I am saying this, I hope that you are inviting yourself to validate or invalidate what I am saying through your own bodily memory of being a person on the earth, so that when I talk about depth and space you bring your own memories of what it means to walk on this earth. Can you do that throughout the time that we are together? This is about a return to the soul and the body. That is one way that archetypal psychology feels like depth psychology.

It is also a mytho-poetic psychology. And what I mean by that is that archetypal psychology sees the movement of Psyche as more comprehensible as myth rather than science. You need to compare these two: in the western culture psychology is primarily seen as a science, a ‘wanna be’ science, but Hillman turns that whole ‘wanna be’ on its ears and says, no…I don’t want to be a science. Jung did this first. We make more sense of Psyche when we think like poets, and mythologists, and mystics.

The thing is…is that it is easier for people who are not scientists to see this for the most part. A lot of practical lab scientists take [psychology] literally and do not engage it as myth. And then particular psychologists who take the scientific method as their approach [which is American psychology] really like to hold fast to measurable, concrete ideas about Psyche so if it is not measurable it tends not to be valid. Whereas in this psychology that whole test is left off, there are other tests that we use to approach the question of validity but not that one. Okay?

Student asks if he could say a little bit more about that but Coppin says let me get back to the point I was trying to make which is that one of the…let me ask you this…Ginet does a lot of work with myth, and using mythology as a lens to look at the Psyche. The test of validity for her is an aesthetic test, in other words, does it feel right? It is not measurable like a ruler but does it feel right, does it have a kind of resonance to the soul?

Okay, archetypal psychology is also a critical psychology. Over and over again as you work with Hillman’s materials you are going to see its roots in post modernism. What a critical psychologist does is a couple of important things. It takes, as it were, a critical view of the culture or of whatever context it is looking at. Its job is to look at things that are given and to deconstruct them at a critical level. So in that way it is a piece of the post modern critique. It lives in that tradition.

Back in the 60’s when I was out here at UCSB the tradition was, “everything you know is wrong”…anybody ever hear that one? So there was this idea that you had to live in that paradigm where everything you need to know…well, you had to deconstruct it if you want to know it. It’s a pretty uncomfortable way to be in the world, and this psychology kind of lives in that realm too. It is iconoclastic, and it takes on ideas and holds them accountable. It looks through the givens, assuming that there is some hidden text that is governing our thought.

The next layer of that is that it is self-critical. By being a critical psychology, it does not just criticize everything outside, it also criticizes itself. So it is continually disassembling its own meaning…but that is the practice. The practice is not to assemble anything that you can’t escape in a heartbeat.

The next element is that it is a participatory psychology. This is very important. What I mean by that is by comparison, typical American Psychology is an operational psychology. That is to say, it looks at the psychological phenomenon in terms of classifications and categories and then decides how to do operations on that. So it derives out of the clinical paradigm where the patient is sick and the doctor heals. The way that goes is that the doctor classifies and categorizes what is going on with the patient and sets up a treatment plan as an operation, not necessarily surgical, but some type of operation. So their view of the Psyche is that there is something we operate on. We manage it somehow.  Our psychology, being participatory, has a view that the Psyche is alive, the world is full of soul, and if we really want to be in any kind of effective relationship with the Psyche, we participate with it, not operate on it. That means that the Psyche has its own stance that has to be engaged, just as when I sit here and have a conversation with a student I don’t give myself permission to operate on the student. He or she is a person who has their own stance, and everything has to participate with her if we are going to do anything. Okay? So the Psyche is not an object.

Finally, archetypal psychology is a Jungian psychology. Some folks think of it as a post Jungian psychology. Hillman does not like that idea. He calls himself a Jungian, and so we will stick with that. What that means is that the core pieces of theory are derivatives from the Jungian understanding of Psyche. But there are some very important differences and we are going to take those up one at a time, and they make for profound shifts as to how one works with the Psyche. So we will look at those, but essentially, it is a Jungian psychology.

Hillman tries to say what psychology is and what it isn’t in one little paragraph at the beginning of Revisioning Psychology. He says, “psychology has no limit when it is true to the limitless soul [as in Heraclitus who said you cannot find the bottom of the soul no matter how deeply you go] but although to revision psychology means that one must range widely [in that horizontal depth that we were discussing]” etc. etc.

So I would like to unpack what Hillman is saying here. He really has a lot of ire for new age thinking. A program of animism…I think that you are alluding to something I am going to say later about his intellectual style…He is confessing his limited perspective at the same time that he is celebrating it. And that is the piece I want to focus on. Do you remember I said this is post modern? One of the elements of that is the idea that the particular is the universal. Have you ever heard that before? It is really important for this program to get hold of this idea. What it means to say is that we have been living in an intellectual tradition that has prided itself on producing and enshrining universal facts about the human condition or the earth, things that we can sayof “this is a given, it is true”. We have been living in this realm since the age of the enlightenment when we enshrined truth as universal, and part of what happens in the post modern process is that we began to see that those universal truths are actually confining. Meaning that we are all locked into this thing and we don’t even know what universal truths are. And so there was a big philosophical project to deconstruct those universal truths. That’s the first step. The second is to get past that silly childhood maxim,  which all of us who grew up in the 60’s were taught, that everything you know is wrong. It that were really true we should just be anti-intellectuals. What we really need to do is find a way to engage in practices of truthing, or finding valuable things that we might know, without getting locked up these universal ideas. That is the second step of that whole post modern thing.

So this is a circuitous way of getting to this idea of the particular as universal. In this philosophy the idea is that everybody, not just Hillman, has a lens and it is quite limited, actually. Some lenses might be a little better polished than others. We can talk about ways that you polish your lens. But ultimately you have a lens, okay. It is your obligation, in a sense, to know the lens that you use to interpret the world. It is also your obligation not to give up trying to interpret through that lens. It is your lens. It is like we are all locked up inside a building and everybody has a window and the thing of it is, is that we are all in here trying to see what is out there.  I actually depend on you doing a very good job of looking through your lens. Just as you count on me to look through mine. We are all supposed to know our lens well enough to…so go back to the analogy of the camera again. If you really know your camera, its flaws, etc., then you can take some decent photos. But if you don’t know how to set it up, etc., you are not going to take very good photos. So, it starts out with knowing what your limitations are and then go beyond that and say, nevertheless now that you know you are limited, you have to do the best you can. You have to be true to your lens, you have to do the work that has been given to you. And when we all do that, we make a contribution. If we all do that, now we are doing the universal thing, because it all joins. Follow what I am saying? So a big piece of what we need to get out of this is to appreciate Hillman’s method and see through his window, to understand his method and unpack that knowledge, and then get to a fuller understanding of …not some universal thing, but what is universal is that, hopefully, his method begins to invite us to do the same thing. (It is not universally the same, but universally valuable). Okay? To do it artfully is the intricate discipline of the task.  So, I invite you into his lens even though his method is difficult in many ways. 

Some other disclaimers: things that make it hard to read James Hillman.  This is a very ambiguous psychology even though it places a lot of value on seeking meaning, but everytime that we try to actually declare what the meaning is, it just morphs out and kind of evaporates. It turns out this is also a piece of his intention or practice. And it turns out that it also emanates from that post modern philosophical context. Because one of the ways that the critical view comes into play is that it looks at every grand narrative as being suspect. Anytime that you start to put together a bunch of philosophical or sociological ideas and start to weave them together in a way that creates this grand meaning, that becomes suspect. Grand meanings tend to be co-opted by political structures as a way of oppressing the people. This particular idea has come out in feminist critiques of a way of understanding that ideas are actually prisons if we are not careful. Hillman looks at that straight on and says ‘therefore, in my psychology, I am going to build in little improvised explosive devices so that just at the point where you think it is starting to make sense, it is going to blow up.’ He does this as a way of defending against the grand narrative. Does that make sense? I am going to show you a clip where he talks about this a little bit.

Something about narrative [could not hear re-recording.] Coppin continues…You get a sense of the come and go-ness of that. Our tendency is to string the pearls together because we don’t want them to come and go. We want to make them relate to one another and if you think about this analogy, when you put the pearls together on the string the left pearl and the right pearl have to regard each other in that orientation. And they can’t regard each other in a different orientation and that becomes the way they are seen. So an idea becomes a fixed property of that point. Hillman is saying that it is best not to be strung together. What that does is make us uncomfortable because you cannot think systematically about it because when you move that way each pearl has the potential to move off into a whole other direction, to be free and show itself by its own nature. One idea does not have to be bound to another to hold its value.

Jeff says that the system is built around the pearl so that people can have dependable access to the experience of the pearl (Coppin says, very nice) but then people tend to get attached to the system rather than to the pearls. Right, says Coppin. Then they lose access to the pearls, says Jeff. Coppin says they become bound by the system, they can only see the necklace. And if the pearls try to escape, then they say the string broke. The other thing about this is that we have to tolerate the experience that pearls, like ideas, have their own nature. The idea that we form today seems wonderful and enlightened but when we go to try and discuss it tomorrow, the idea may not be there. We have to tolerate being disassembled ourselves. And then we have to show up new with what is there the next day. That is hard!

Many of the moves of this psychology are understood if we reconnect life to death. So this move of letting go of meaning is like a little death. So there are rehearsals for that in this psychology. We can do them if we really always live in relation to death. That is a topic that he really covers a lot in the “Dream of the Underworld”. Thom says he suspects this is what he is going through in this program. He feels like he is moving into that psychic void of not knowing and standing alone. His experience since starting the program is about deconstruction. The other half of that, says Coppin, is not to become a disciple of melancholy and resist engagement because you can’t make anything happen. One has to be crazy enough to keep trying, you see what I am saying?

This is like liberation psychology, too, I said. Coppin said we are getting it.

Aside from being ambiguous, this psychology is metaphorical rather than literal. Typical American psychology strives for literal truths, and it make lots of deals with experimental science in order to do that. This psychology doesn’t move that way at all. So just when another psychology might take an interesting systematic idea of some kind and lead you into an experiment to validate that idea, archetypal psychology will get to that place and offer you a hole. It’s really a different direction. What that means is that in reading the language you have to be willing to let go of your need for that positivistic orientation.

It changes the language in several important ways. The language is poetic rather than correct. You will find sections of your reading where you will read a part of a phrase and say ‘is that really a word?’ And Hillman himself will say that editors often point that out.  Sometimes in order to really be true, he has to let go of the idea that he is going to use words correctly. The extreme model of this is Lewis Carroll. The idea is that words are not as interested in being correct as we are. Words can play and non-words can have significant meaning. Hillman moves that way.

Also, the language tends to be mythic rather than utilitarian. These ideas are not immediately useful. There is a real value to utilitarian thinking which is useful. Utility is something that Hillman would like to avoid. But you will have a mythic sense that you have encountered something that has a deep powerful necessity and that an encounter with ideas is important and valuable. Not necessarily useful, but necessary.

The language is also literate, rather than literal. You will find, as I have found, that if you are really going to read these books, you need to be close to your dictionary, thesaurus, mythological encyclopedia, philosophy texts…you are constantly encountering references that, unless you have a really rich classical education, you will be clueless. In order to read that material you need to become literate as opposed to becoming literal, because after all that work of becoming literate, you cannot take anything he says as literally true.

And the last little language trick that is involved in this is that the language tends to be rhetorical rather than rational. The rhetorical style is one of speaking or writing wherein we engage in a kind of erotic field with meaning, so that what I am about to say or write is exactly what the field wants to hear. It is best described as a kind of erotic thing. Now when I say erotic I hope you understand that I am not talking about just sex. What I am talking about is a creative field where the energy is one of desire and attraction so that the energy of ideas get together and bounce off of each other. So in this erotic field the language starts to move in such a way that the meaning is called for at an aesthetic level, it is desired rather than understood. That is pretty tricky because you can have an experience of attunement and really not know what the heck you are hearing or reading at an intellectual level.

A student says it is when his body says ‘Yes!’ when he is reading. Coppin says that is fascinating, and that it is the rhetorical style. So you have a big smile on your face and someone asks what are you reading, and you can’t respond…There was a moment about four years ago here at Pacifica where I was teaching in a classroom that was narrower so the rows were going all the way back. I went on this long riff about something. I remember half of it. Finally there was a hand in the back from a person who had gone with me on this journey, but had heard the word I was referring to completely differently. She hear the word “frog” and created a parallel story about frogs that went right along the entire conceptual structure of what I was doing. The literal word is not the point. The point is how animated this field gets where the ideas move around in, which has a rhetorical, erotic sense to it. It is always amazing to me when that kind of split happens, like when I say a word and it leaps across the room and by the time it gets to you it has done a pirouette. I always love it when that happens.

Another element that makes Hillman difficult to read is that it is full of contradictions. He says something on page 20 and by page 25 it appears that he is contradicting himself. I still get hung up on that because you struggle to read the material and then he will just contradict himself. A way of thinking about it is that it is hermetic, so that it continuously morphs on you. There is an image that I want to give you at this juncture. In the edition of Revisioning that I have, about ten years old, there is an image on the cover of a butterfly hatching out of a net or something. I want to use that here because the image is the most traditional image of Psyche as the beautiful young woman. It is Psyche as a butterfly. I want to get that into this context of contradictions and ambiguity and mutation because Hillman’s psychology follows the butterfly. So if you imagine that Psyche is a butterfly, what is your image of Psyche’s movements? The movement into the dark, wet underworld where it morphs, and then there is the flight movement all around. If we really imagine that is Psyche, now imagine what sort of logos are we supposed to use for that kind of Psyche?

We have to come up with a psychology that can follow. Typical American psychology puts the butterfly in a field jar and pins it to the wall. Typical American psychology is about killing the Psyche in order to study it. I know this is extreme, but otherwise we are stuck with running through fields chasing butterflies.

“Exactitude is not truth” says a student. We can perfectly draw the butterfly but it is not the lived truth.  Nor is it a truth that we can really use anymore. So what that means, if we follow the idea, is that we can have an approximation of truth not to mention the grief at not being able to say what something exactly means.

Jeff says instead we need to cultivate the flowers which attract the butterfly, and Coppin says that makes you a gardener. Psychologist as gardener…

What would you grow to attract Psyche?

Thomas Moore studied Jim early on, and said that if you really want to work with the Psyche you have to learn to set out decoys, as in the hunter’s metaphor. One of the decoys of the Psyche is the flower. Here is the hard part. We really have to remember that however psychological we get there will always be a Dick Cheney. He has to fit into whatever psychology we create.

So if we want a psychology that engages that image of a psychology, depth psychology has to be willing to work with the elusive and the ineffable. It has to be willing to work with something that is transitory, so this whole thing has to be allowed to move and morph around. After lunch we are going into the way that the Psyche is symptomatic. We catch Psyche with our symptoms. Isn’t that nice? And, of course, we have to remember the part about the metamorphosis and whatever we do that we can’t get in the way of this natural progression.  This is an idea that will return over the next few days. What is the movement of the Psyche other than this flitting movement? What is that nature and where is it headed? If we can start to predict its intention, then we can almost catch up to it and support it along its way but we have to get a sense of that intention. Where is it going? My feeling is that you have to take the whole thing as it goes round and round and round. What if that is really the movement of Psyche versus a Psyche that moves through time and gets more and more developed.  

Tape 3

Hillman is a self-identified puer and he dances with the senex, the wise, old, nay-saying man, so you have the eternal youth, the puer, and the wise old man.. He is good at acting like a senex, but a senex would always be more grounded and able to defend his positions whereas Hillman laughs off the struggle. In that regard, he is basically saying that he is not accountable to your systems of meaning nor your evaluation of my systems of meaning.

The pairing of Dionysus and Apollo is similar, where the puer figure functions as Dionysus who is always loosening the knots, which is another word for Dionysis, the loosener. Peter Pan is another idea of the puer, but at least Hillman acknowledges it.

These are my disclaimers about Hillman. He feels he is in good company, and in Healing Fiction, on page 31 he identifies with this wild trickster side as a Hermes quality, and he says that Freud and Jung each began with hermetic tricks. A lot of Freud’s orientation to the unconscious came from his recognition of the errors in the unconscious, likewise Jung studied cognitive gaps that were to him indicative of complex psychological things going on (the time lapse between associations). If you trace Jung’s development of the idea of the complex it goes right back to this business of the hermetic trickster in the Psyche. Things get turned upside down and those symptoms like slips of the tongue and lapses of cognition, those are signposts pointing to the unconscious for both Freud and Jung. Hillman jumps right in there. He said, “something crazy happened to me yesterday…” That idea of something crazy became messages for both Freud and Jung. It’s the craziness, the oddness they are interested in and they took it into meaning something of vast psychic significance. They were both masters of hermetic conversion.

The Center of the Bell Curve is the normative, but for depth psychologists that is the boring part of the curve. We are the ones who gravitate towards the odd, the broken, the distorted, and the things that don’t fit and we are interested in those because we intuitively know they will tell us interesting tales, and they are going to tell us things that we really need to know about what is considered normal. In other words, it is those odd broken things that give us the sense of depth and what is really normal. All of us want to be normal sometimes, but I get the sense that those in this room would rather be perfectly abnormal. That is just how we are and it is something we really need to acknowledge about our calling. And it does make us different from a lot of the folks that we live with and share things with. But we have a job to do from that strange place.

That place, it turns out, is primarily defined by fascination with the symptom in that generic sense. That fascination draws us to this work. What I mean by the symptom is not the DSMIV diagnoses per se, but in general everything that appears in a kind of broken, distorted, lacking, painful, suffering sort of way. That presence of the symptom is the first place of depth psychology.

The reason we are interested in the symptom is because we intuitively know the symptom is connected to the soul. Moreover, the Psyche or the soul actually gravitates towards pathology. This is a tremendously important and odd idea because it turns the clinical idea about the Psyche completely upside down. Soul is mucking around down there in the symptoms and that is why we see soul there. We are drawn to look there because we know there is a connection between suffering and the soul. We just sort of know that, so that is why we look under stuff, all that activity that is inherently suspicious of the surfaces, we are always looking for what is hidden. And what is hidden is the suffering soul. So what is the relationship between the soul and suffering? Hillman’s idea is that the soul gravitates towards this suffering.

The soul has a natural tendency to pathologize. While you are watching Jim speak to that, think about how in the clinical idea all suffering requires therapy to fix it. So if you have a suffering soul, that is a problem and you darn well better get it fixed. But in this psychology the soul speaks through the suffering, so we don’t assault symptoms. We make relationship to them. It is a whole different treatment idea.

The problem with analysis is that the work is too precious and isolated. The work needs to go on in a much wider arena. So let’s watch Hillman.

The symptom itself points to a dialectical presence within. It is almost inescapable because it is both very personal and very Other. That is what Hillman is alluding to.

Hillman calls psychology “pathologizing”. This is a fundamental activity of the Psyche. The soul produces strange patterns and sicknesses. Even the newspapers present pathology. In our society we blame our pathology on chemistry or mom and dad. Especially mothers in our culture, they get quite a beating. There is another pathology we are being invited to in our culture right now which is a fantasy if we could just capture and kill all the people who are different from us, then we might all be happy. That is pretty scary. Hillman is basically talking about natural tendencies of the Psyche to experience the pathology and the question becomes, what do you do with that awareness? With the acknowledgment that there is all this sick and broken stuff going on?

We all have such a great investment in the divine child in this culture and the innocence of the child, so that child and the mother form a pair that sort of inoculate us from all this pathology if we so indulge. I think we can’t think about this enough. What do we do to avoid our own affinity for the dark side? Our Psyche’s own gravitational pull towards what is broken and sick?

Archetypal fantasies of being saved, of coming home, are symptomatic of wounding.  There is a difference between suffering and pain. Pathologizing has to do with imaginal thinking rather than clinical thinking. That is part of understanding the soul, says Hillman.

Imaginal versus clinical is what I was trying to get at earlier. Hillman makes the case that our work with images actually is therapeutic. You see art springing up in places in response to suffering all the time. Artists know this, it is just that now we can say it is an appropriate form of therapy as opposed to the clinical form of therapy. And if that is true, what other expressions are we missing out on when we hold to the clinical idea? Remember the clinical idea or fantasy is “patient sick, doctor heal” and that idea has such a huge sway in our culture, even doctors believe in it. And they should know better.

If we really get this whole idea of the imaginal level of the symptom we recognize that we need to engage the symptom with images. Our first relationship to the image is simply to engage it. To resist the impulse to interpret it, which we are inclined to do because of hermeneutic suspicion that there is something underneath, but underneath the need to interpret is this pathologizing thing. It’s like probing, and we want to do that but it is important when we do it to understand what it is that we are interpreting.

Are we saying the image heals? Yes, you just jumped the gun and we are right into the next part of the lecture. This is the part where we are going to pull off the things that Hillman derives from Jung. The first one is the Jungian idea that Psyche is image and image is Psyche. The image is the primary datum of the Psyche. Stick to the images as that is where the truth is. Hillman says this is no longer science but psychology in the wider meaning of the word: creative fantasy is given prior place, which means that the Psyche is made of creative fantasy. Now, I am going to make a move with this that leads to another element that is Jungian but that Hillman steals from. If the Psyche is constituted as images so that now they can be seen as discrete bits, they are not my images and they are not your images…they are just images. If that is true, then the Psyche is not constituted of my bits. I don’t construct the Psyche. It is already constituted from the images that were there previously. We are dealing with a Psyche that is transpersonal. It is amazing to me how many Jungians don’t go for that ride but stay mired in the idea that images are about the personal Psyche, about personal development. But when we get to the part where we are talking about images that are apriori, part of an activity of creation, then we are beginning to make the move of constructing the collective Psyche.

There is a field of images, and I am in that field. It is a big idea, it is a Jungian idea. So many people who study Jung won’t go there because it insults the personal. The derivative that Hillman takes from Jung is the idea of the autonomous Psyche, I think you called it the objective Psyche, and Jung called it the collective Psyche. There is one way of thinking about this. Using a geographical metaphor will help. Your mind is in the Psyche and not the other way around. Your sense of personal mind is a phenomenon that you experience and we are asking you to experience that your mind is in the Psyche. Think of the Psyche being the larger container, rather than thinking of the Psyche as a phenomenon of the mind. It does not rule out the fact that your Psyche is also in the larger Psyche as on a continuum.

If you get this geography move that all the time you are walking around with this self-sustaining fantasy of “I”, then you are actually walking around as Psyche. When you are in a dream, don’t you know that you are in the dream while you are having it? Where are you?  When I am experiencing the dream I am actually in another place that are part of the dream landscape, I am actually in the dream. As soon as you wake up, the language that you are trained to use is to say, “I had a dream” as if the dream were in you rather than you were in the dream. We are indoctrinated to make that shift in geography that supports the idea that I don’t have to worry about my mind being penetrated by the wild Psyche, it is just all in my brain, it’s all locked up in here and I am safe, I produce my own dreams and they are there for me. Whereas the actual phenomenology is that we are not in the day world anymore but that we are in a world that is configured by the dream.

In a sense the images are saying that the world we live in is too small. There is a sense of wildness, and people are afraid of wilderness in general. It’s deranged in there, says Coppin. The other thing that happens is that you enter a profound ecological consciousness. If you really go there, and you really dissolve the “I”, then you enter a space where everything you encounter has its own Being. It is all there having its own rights, not my projections.

So, what to remember about this autonomy of the Psyche is that it is an ontological realm of its own. The Psyche just is. Another bit of Jungian psychology that finds its way into Archetypal Psychology is that the Psyche is dialectical in nature. I assigned a chapter from my book about the philosophical commitments of depth psychology. One of the commitments is that the Psyche is dialectical and that means the Psyche continues to be in a conversation with itself. That is, it has two sorts of thinking going on, for example it is continually positing something to think about and then continually answering itself in response.  Jung talked about this in Memories, Dreams, and Reflections when he talked about person 1 and person 2.

Who is here while all this talk is going on? Jung sometimes calls it Philemon. I am using the word in a slightly Hegelian sense of the way that an idea calls a response. Every idea seems to enter a call and response type of relationship and it is all going on all the time. It is wonderful and fascinating.

Thom said he was taught that this was always his mind having that conversation. So what Coppin and Jung are saying is that it is not mind but Psyche. Coppin would be happy if Thom said it was his mind as long as it was not only his mind. The Psyche is both personal and more than personal. The move of Archetypal Psychology always takes a thought about the personal and makes it more than personal. Ok, it’s your mind, but where in your mind, why would your mind think that? Yes, it’s your mind but the reason your mind does that is because it is in a Psyche whose nature is to do that. Your mind is always in this heartbeat, it is always going on. My guess is that it is pretty hard to shut down the conversation, as in meditation. Could this be the mind that the Buddhists suggest that we still? Yes, I think it is. Do you think the voices that schizophrenics hear are the same process? Yes, I think so. It sounds like we are talking about this incredible dualism and what I want to move to is that Person 1 and Person 2 is just one of a billion possible conversations going on. It is not a dualism as much as it is just a constant chatter. For psychotic people they lack the capacity to objectify it as “mind”. You wish you could just go in someday and say that it is ‘all in your mind’ and you wish that they could just take a deep breath and say ‘OK!’ It would help so much to know that. Psychotic patients would say ‘you have no clue’ because it is too real for them. Psyche cannot be contained in those nice boxes. Ego is a wonderful box, and it works well.

So we move from the Psyche being dialectical in nature to the Psyche being plural and having more than one conversation going on. Holly mentions that it is interesting to find that cultures with a polytheistic system have a need to meditate and be calm. Coppin says he does not know what that is about. Cultures that live in an animated world tend to develop ways to shut that down. Holly says it is probably not a coincidence.

Those dream images that are alien to us point to a disowned piece of our soul and they invite us to look at them, at the same time they are not you. The nightmare decentralizes you and puts you in a much more wild psychic landscape.

Another idea that Hillman gets from Jung is that Jung considered himself to be a phenomenologist philosophically, and in an actual practice as a method. Hillman really takes this piece of Jung’s work and runs with it. Coppin responds to a student’s question whether Jung is really being a phenomenologist by saying that it takes us back to this whole notion of the collective psyche, in that the things of the world have intention. The things of the world intend to show themselves and speak to us. The images have their own autonomy and desire to be engaged. Is this the same idea that a thoughts exist without someone thinking them? There you go, it is the same idea. Thoughts and ideas are there apriori without a thinker. And again, if you think about this idea that the world has intention for us, then the world becomes en-souled with its own consciousness. You can walk through a dead world because you are dead, or you can walk through an animated world.

This business of the neurons and how they fire and that you can change your thoughts to change your brain (Thom’s computer geek friend) to which Coppin says, yes, you can control affect and cognition…but the question is, WHY? We are not uninterested in the fact that people suffer, but as depth psychologists we understand suffering to be a little more complicated, that the suffering points out to the soul that there is a need to engage. If we just do instant symptom elimination, then we really start to imagine a non-human human, a dead thing. Let’s take the brain out of the body and just feed it the proper images and chemicals so it never has to die. So now let me ask you if you are interested in this? This discussion of the brain has been a philosophical discussion for thousands of years.

Jung got from Freud, and Hillman gets from Jung, the idea that psychological truth is truth. In Freud’s case we can locate this idea in his early work and later revisions on whether hysterical patients were actually molested or whether those were compensatory fantasies. When he originally came up with this notion of hysteria, he said all these women were actually molested as children and it was repressed. We can analyze that, break through the repression, and recover the memories as actual things and analyze the person into a different state of being and then we would get rid of hysteria. At one point he was forced by the medical establishment to give up the idea that they were really physically molested as it was too intolerable to the Victorian mind at the time. So it was reconfigured as a fantasy instead. The interesting byproduct of Freud’s struggle in coming through this circuitous thing was that he got to a breakthrough in terms of understanding the psyche, which is a thing which operates entirely at a fantasy level can have vast huge consequences in the body. In other words, he came to an understanding that if a thing is psychologically true, then it is true at the deepest level.

There is nothing about truth at all in the courtroom. It is about winning, about control of what can be said and what cannot be said, and yet people live and die by that. Let me give you an example of this psychological truth stuff. For those of you who have been in a relationship with a person with whom you actually sleep with, what happens is that one of you is going to have a dream about the other person. For example, a dream where they have done something really bad like lie to you or were unfaithful. This person carries the shadow through your dream. If you have a dream like this, then their life is going to be miserable for about a day or a week. And it will not matter to you if you tell yourself it is only a dream. You actually experience it in a way that will make both our lives miserable.

The image has a certain claim and you don’t have much choice about being in its grip. “I felt like I wouldn’t have the image if it wasn’t true in some way” Well you just made my case for me.

We are not sure what the image wants. The corollary to this is that it might just want air time. You just might be the foil for Psyche. Some of my patients are just drivers. They just brought the thing here and you get hooked into the idea that you are treating a person, but you might be treating a messed up image.

For all we know, the image that jumped into my brain was ticked off at my partner. I don’t know. Doug says he hears this frequently and he does not think they are dreaming about him, but themselves. We don’t know. Get yourself out of assuming that the dream comes for people. Just pause for a minute and imagine that the dream has some other reason for coming than commenting on my life or someone else’s life. The dream could have had some business to do that I would not perceive if I am always holding it accountable to personal psychology. The dream comes for itself, and it needs to tell me why it is here. It goes back to the autonomy of the Psyche.

Tape 4

We were discussing the bits of theory and philosophy that Hillman derived from Jung. Here are a couple of quotes from Jung that deal with the area of psychological truth from Collected Works, Volume 8, page 25: “Science has never discovered any God. Epistemological criticism proves the impossibility of knowing God. The fact is valid in itself, requiring no non-psychological proof and inaccessible to any form of non-psychological criticism. So long as the experience of god does not claim universal validity or assert the absolute existence of God, criticism is impossible.” Volume 8, paragraph 625. What he is saying is that there are powerful knowledges that are irrefutable to criticism, and that do not lend themselves to that. In the same context he says he does not know how to prove the existence of the ghost of a dead person as an empirical reality, nor does he know a logical method by which he can deduce with certainty the continuance of life after death, but nonetheless at all times and in all places Psyche has claimed to experience those. OK? That is what he is talking about. Powerful psychological truths that frame our sense of what it means to be a person are not provable.

Forensic truth has a higher value than psychological truth. We need to be able to operate in more than one world at a time, especially if people’s lives are at stake. That is a complex world, even though you would say something was true literally.

There is an interesting thing that comes from this idea if you go along with it. You can do what Jung did, which is to call himself an empiricist. If psychological truths are real experiences, then dreams are real experiences. To study your dreams makes you an empiricist. Interesting little twist and I like it, actually, because it helps us reclaim psychological experience as a real experience. For him, the imaginal is experience. We are used to the idea that we can divide the world into empiricists and non-empiricists, and Jung says his work is empirical and is valid. And, what that means then, is some interesting things about truth. Fiction is truth. Imagination is experience. How many times have you found yourself reading a novel or seeing a film where you experienced the movement of deep feeling and you felt something had been revealed to you that you really needed to know? And yet, it is fiction.

I would encourage you to read “Healing Fiction” in regards to case history or the way we actually see or configure our lives as fiction. You could take your prize fictions and you can say, let me empirically test this. Then you would be caught in determining what a valid experience really is. Earlier we agreed that a resonance in the heart is probably a valid experience. Do you follow this? That whole question “is this really true or is this imaginally true” can be discussed all day but we have to get down to cases: what are we measuring, you know, the most radical reductionistic view which gets rid of all the emotional stuff and just gets into fact and eye witness testimony. It is an interesting question whether something is really true or imaginally true. What is our method and how are we making these determinations? That is always something we have to ask ourselves.

The word fiction simply means “to make”.[1] This truth tends to be descriptive rather than denotative, i.e. that is good, that is bad, this is large, that is small. The descriptive thing tends to walk around it and is more psychological. This kind of truth is more inclusive than exclusive. When you are working in a Jungian modality you tend to let everything stay that shows up, whatever thoughts, ideas, or images show up. Not dichotomize that one thing is true and another is false.

“Nature of the Psyche (1946) has essential ideas,” says Hillman. “One is the relation between instinct and image: instinct is not sublimation, but instinct and image are each other. It means that only a symbol can overcome a symptom. Whether it is true or not, I don’t know but it’s a lovely idea.” What we notice is that the learning is aesthetic, not rational. The opening occurs in an aesthetic way, as a lovely idea. This sounds silly and frustrating to the rational mind. But psychology builds on this poetic sensibility. And Jung did, too, for that matter. “When you are doing image work in a profound, direct encounter with active imagination then you are affecting instinct…there is a deep relation between what we do with this image work that is not just ideational, mental head stuff. It is profound, emotional, and challenging and affecting the other side of instinct. Therefore, rituals and all those things that we do with body, are both patterns of behavior and instinctual. The old medical idea is that like cures like. It could mean that the instinct or action could also do something to (cough) messed up images.”

Do you see where he is talking about how the images themselves could be messed up and could need some attention? We were talking earlier about a clinical approach to changing our thinking, and it would rewire us somehow. I would suggest we are talking about the same thing here, only now we are suggesting it goes beyond the personal and it affects the image.

“Second idea that is important is when he says psyche is image, and image is the primary datum…he seems to be saying that the first manifestation of the psyche is as an image…(something about object) and these come spontaneously as in dreams…prior to perception…so when you are all locked up in a cell, what you have are your images…”

I have a little problem with that. Did you see what he did there? He was talking about images as primary datum of psyche but then he struggles to give an example – did you hear the problem with the language? When you are locked up in a cell, and there is nothing there and all you have are your images…personal. It is hard not to slip into the limited space of the personal psyche, apparently. He even looked guilty when he said it, said Holly. I like to stop the film and show that because it is so tricky, it is so seductive to fall into that. There was a different energy there when he slipped into the limited space of the personal psyche. He could make his point without doing that.

“In that same paper from Volume 8 he talks about the structure of psyche as multiple eyes (stars) that are luminescent (can’t hear) not all in one place, but there are multiple consciousnesses and complexes which emphasized the structure of the psyche rather than developmental psyche going through stages. This emphasizes a dramatic view of the psyche, that these are characters in a play and they interact, rather than a development view of psyche moving through time from childhood.”

You are familiar with the idea of developmental psychology: we are a product of our upbringing, that there is a way that we develop through time, and this idea explains everything within the psyche besides genetics. The idea that he is borrowing from Jung is different, not that development does not happen, but that archetypal images are like stars in the sky, there are a gazillion possibilities and they just are out there just living where they are and that psyche is about the structure of the relationship between those luminescences. It does not need to be explained by parenting. It is the relationship that produces the event, the consciousness. It is a very different idea. If you buy into it, it would change your approach to psychological work. You would not be looking for antecedent causes that produced this phenomenon rather you would ask ‘who is here?’ By the way, this is a nice little bit of archetypal method: assuming there are lots of presences here. This psychology departs from the developmental paradigm as the singular way of looking at the psyche.

“These are really profound differences in vision and he didn’t articulate it like that because he was in it, but now years later, we can. It is a structural, non-developmental, non-dogmatic view and these multiple complexes were once called Gods, Demons, or Spirits which are as active today as they ever were (Jung wrote as late as 1961 in his last book Man and his Symbols: they are demonic if they are the cause of our misfortune, but they are angelic if they are for our benefit. We are dependent on powers beyond our control, Jung wrote. In Association, Dream and Hysterical Symptom he writes, “complexes appear in dreams as persons and appear in life as symptoms. He really put this together. When working on a dream we are really working on a complex system. I am just trying to tease out some basic ideas. You can pursue anything in your own work. Another important idea is where he broke with the psychiatry of his time which was very concerned with madness and psychoses. The psychiatrists of his time tried to understand these breakdowns in terms of functions, i.e. memory, language, associations, feelings, a whole series of functional categories but Jung was interested in the content of the psychosis, i.e. it is not just that her memory is faulty or she doesn’t understand, Jung wants to know what the content is expressing.

The image has information in its content that perhaps you wouldn’t get if you didn’t draw it, or see it, or act it out in some way. It is a really different view of psychology to get down to the level of the content, what is the story here? Just hold the contents and see what the symptom feels like and represents rather than label it as something like being defensive.

“When Jung talks about images in Volume 6 he says this autonomous activity of the psyche which can be explained neither as reflex action nor as peculiar archetypal patterns of behavior…the psyche is constantly inventing, imagining, doing, creating activity”. Did you notice that? What is this? When I see Hillman do this, I see a fountain that is symbolized all over the world. This image comes up for him when he talks about psyche. What if psyche’s purpose and intention is simply to be a continuing creative pattern?

The therapist is a plumber, letting it flow. If we imagine that the problem really is that the pipes get clogged up and things can’t flow…(we are back to hysteria, a student says i.e. a woman’s plumbing!)

Jeff alluded earlier that all of the images are not pretty. There is a way death has to come into this image, too. See if you can hold this around the question, what if this is what the psyche wants?

“The psyche creates reality everyday. The only word that I can use to describe this is ‘fantasy’. Fantasy is just as much ?? as intuition and sensation. There is no psychic function that is not inexplicably bound up with the other psychic functions. In paragraph 722, fantasy as imaginative activity is simply the direct expression of psychic energy. You can say a phantasm (fantastic) is a force that has an effect, it can also be an idea or memory. When you do something with fantasy in your active imagination or dreamwork you are involved with energy, it is not just mental, it is also instinctual. These are not easy passages but they are extremely important. Then also Jung tries to explain where he got the word image that he is using, from poetic usage…do you see how this leads us to think of psychology more aesthetically?”

There is an interesting bit I want to tie into here. About 4-5 years ago there was a book called “Jung Cult” which criticized Jung’s psychology by doing an analysis of early word association experiments and came to the conclusion that Jung faked his data. The author was so excited, and I suddenly had an image of Jung saying, yeah so what? The psychology has an aesthetic component, in that meaningful ideas can just as easily be pulled out of poetic usage as out of the laboratory. That is the psychology that we are working with here and it is important to get that. I don’t think the fellow who wrote that book actually convinced anyone. Read Kuhn on Scientific Revolutions…

The next place in the lecture we are going to go is how to deal with the archetypes.

Tape VI (V was empty)

Any questions about yesterday? Why is Hillman so difficult to read, Fiona asks. He is so hard to explain to someone else. It is like a hypnotic induction, says Coppin. To a certain extent it is his method, and so, that odd blend of eloquence and obscurity is actually method. So begin to get a sense of how he moves that way.

I think Doug’s question is an interesting line of criticism with what appears to be moral ambiguity in Hillman’s whole project, that is to say, just offering people excuses not to be responsible for their behavior, thoughts, orientation, etc. I suppose you could say that, but certainly you are questioning the idea of personality firmly under the control of a well-ordered ego. What is being asserted is a view of our way of moving as governed by forces that we seem to have little awareness of, and certainly not having any control over their impact on our lives. I am nudging this to the side. The forces that influence us are relegated to the unconscious. By bringing them to consciousness, as in the Freudian sense that ‘where there is id there shall be ego’ Hillman and Jung don’t propose that the ego is supposed to ultimately be in control. But think about it this way. If you are aware that you live in and walk through a world where you are governed by powerful forces, we might be able to make some choices about how we move through our world. We replaced a moral innocence with a bit of moral ambiguity which leads to a moral responsibility. If we are morally unconscious, then we think we are just nice folks. Otherwise, we have an opportunity to govern things a little differently.

Jeff says, “As in having an addiction when you become sober, becoming aware does not make you less of an addict but it makes you aware that there are ways that you can relieve the problem.”

This moral ambiguity stuff is a tough one. Frankly, I don’t see the recognition about these forces as ultimately liberating except for a false sense of power. Steven mentions that the murderers or criminals are influenced in the same way that others are. It does not eliminate us from responsibility but leads us to articulate it better. It puts us into a community of psyche, we are not walking alone. We are just one player out of many. If you play mental games with yourself around that idea, you can arrive at the place of not taking any action. Any idea is as good as another, so why even bother thinking about anything, if you carry moral ambiguity to its silly, logical conclusion. One of my most liberating ideas was (Cultural Relativity) that no culture can be judged through the experience of another culture. They have to be judged according to their internal systems of morality, legality, etc. Judging cultural activity is a similar ambiguity, and Jim said the problem is that you ultimately come to a place where you can’t decide that one idea is better than another, and the truth is that some ideas are really better than others. The value of what he is saying is that we have to live as moral beings, and we do have to decide in this moment, should I kill him or not, and it actually does matter even if I am wrong. In that moment we are called upon to make an assessment of ideas that lead to action, and we have to recognize that we are somewhat configured to make those assessments even if we are sometimes wrong. And to philosophically put ourselves in a place where we cannot judge whether one idea or another is better is a mistake.

You all are about to do fieldwork, which is your psychological work. You enter a particular field in the world and engage it. What I suppose is that in all psychological work, you will be entering a field of dreams, if you will. The field itself is full of pre-set images, and new images about you going into it. How do you know when you are hosting a dialogue that you are being welcoming to ideas? We don’t know how we are already configured by the concept of ourselves as psychologists. Take out a piece of paper. Thinking about the fieldwork, answer the following questions. 1) What is in the field that I am going to that is calling me to the work? 2) Who am I as I enter the field? 3) Who will they think I am as I enter the field. 4) What will I do when I am in the field? Answer in short phrases that are imagistic. Try to be imaginal, not too conceptual. It will be so much richer when you do this work to take these images with you. Then you won’t be caught off guard when you find them. Instead of taking things personally you will know you are caught in an archetypal situation that lives in the field. You are not alone.

Tape VII

We are going to talk about archetypes. To begin that, I know that you have all had Jung 1, and so you should be able to define archetype.[2] No-one said an underlying matrix, something that gives the crystalline shape. There is an ideal form that gives things structure. It is like the channel of a river, but not the river. It has ancient roots…Jung acknowledges the idea is a direct lift from Plato. And he talks about Plato’s ideal forms. It is neo-platonic philosophy. Are you familiar with Plato’s idea of a realm where the ideal forms of everything exists. Through their influence they give rise to the actual things that are manifest. We aspire to that ideal form, Plato would say. The idea of the archetypes is actually philosophical but also represents psychological patterns. It is the force of the archetypes pressing in on us from the unconscious that gives rise to our conflicts. Jung himself, in acknowledging this, says “if I have any share in these discoveries it is that archetypes are not only disseminated from traditions, language, and migration but they can arise spontaneously at any time, in any place without any outside influence for their own purposes. The far reaching implications are that there are forms in every unconscious which are nonetheless active, living dispositions or ideas in the platonic sense that influence our thoughts, feelings, and actions.”  He is talking about how those archetypes impinge on personal psychology but they are also there on their own account.

I am now going to give you a place where Hillman diverges from Jung. According to Jung, living beings can never actually touch an archetype in the platonic sense (which are in another realm) and we can only see their manifestations. Jung has gone to great pains to make sure we understand there is an archetypal realm and a mundane realm, and the archetypes influence the mundane realm from their position. Let me go right to the Hillman departure. He is simply uncomfortable with this idea about archetypes in an archetypal realm. He says in Archetypal Psychology, A Brief Account “furthermore unlike Jung who distinguishes between the numinal (non-phenomenal) archetype and the phenomenal archetypal image, archetypal psychology refuses to speculate about a non-presented archetype per se.” His concern is with the phenomenon, the archetypal image itself. His concern is with the phenomenon itself. In other words, Hillman is not interested in talking about something that you speculate is there but that you can never experience. I asked if that is that like saying, God is literally in the plant.. That the archetype is embodied? Coppin says “Bingo…say it again”…The archetype is embodied literally in the same way a religious person would say that God is in the plant. Coppin says that what Hillman would say is that this podium is the podium but when I touch this podium I am able to be with its archetypal presence. That’s beautiful then, I said, because there is no separation, which is the human condition of anxiety. That’s right. We are here and this world in ensouled.

I think that Jung was straddling a world that was either religious or materialistic (religion vs. science). Hillman’s take on this is that it is a remnant of unconscious Christian thought. I am going to play this section of the tape where Hillman talks about this. Remember the socio-cultural period that Hillman was in, where there was a huge discussion as to how many archetypes were there, etc. Something like what the Christians did with saints. Hillman got frustrated with that.  A student asks Hillman if he thinks archetypes are simply a style of being, and Hillman says maybe, and the student asks, when we die what is it that is leaving the body?

“I have no idea! The one chance we had to know something was with Lazarus. He was dead three days and then he came back to life and no-one did the research.” He didn’t debunk theology, he just said this it was a different game. This Christian unconscious myth is built into the political and economic structure of this nation, just as Thom says it is in him although he has not set foot in a Catholic Church in 30 years. Even if you never stepped into any church, it is here and it lives so profoundly in the unconscious of the nation that it is inescapable. We are at the threshold of the next thing we are going to discuss, that is, spirit and soul, and trying to unpack our psychologies not to strip them of theology but at least to see the theology that is there.

Hillman decides that the problem with what the Jungians were doing was turning Jung’s psychology into a psychology of the archetype. And so he wants to change it to archetypal psychology, which is to move the idea of archetype from the noun sense to focus instead the way a phenomenologist would do, on what is archetypal. And then to really free the notion of archetypal so that we recognize that it lives in the world and we, too, are archetypal. We are moving around in this archetypal field that has these qualities of archetypes. If you thought we were going to start talking about archetypes, i.e., pull out Jean Shinoda-Bolen and look at the goddesses in every woman, well, we are not going to do that. This is not a psychology about archetypes. Let’s take a break.


I had a student who was an urban planner who had no imagination. He got a degree in this program and he has really made some changes. I think the beauty of this program is that it acknowledges that the psyche shows itself in everything we need to do and think about. Let’s take it outside of the therapy room and realize that this is quite revolutionary.

There were a few residual questions on moving from archetype to archetypal. I want to emphasize that, according to Hillman, it is a move to reclaim Jungian psychology as a craft of phenomenology. It is an effort to articulate and describe the qualities that are archetypal rather than the particular things that are archetypes. And also, it is about wanting to acknowledge that the world is full of archetypes, and we don’t need to create any fantasies of them. In the film clip I am about to show you, Hillman describes what he feels constitutes an archetypal experience. Here is a quote from Revisioning, “Here archetypal psychology sees through itself as strictly a psychology of archetypes, a mere analysis of structures and beings such as gods and their myths. And, by emphasizing the value of the adjective ‘archetypal’ it restores to images their priority of place as that which gives psychic value to the world. Any image termed archetypal is immediately valued as universal, transhistorical, basically profound, generative, highly intentional and necessary.”

This can lead to some confusion. One is drawn to define what intention or necessity is. So if a dream image comes to you and it feels potent, that is the experience of the necessity of the intention. The problem is that we often use some sort of analytical means to determine what the message is. Part of what is being asked of us it to be able to feel necessity or intention without defining what it is. Likewise to feel a sense that there is some goal for us without jumping into defining what the goal is. What if we just pause at the experience instead of supposing that we might understand it? Instead of referring everything back to ourselves. This move is about inserting another sense but let me not go first and think it is about me. Let me first feel the necessity and let it speak for itself. Analysis gets you to the personal place, but it never leads you away from being the center of the universe. Steven suggests that this is the depersonalization which Hillman speaks of, and Coppin agrees. Coppin says he doesn’t have a problem with going there, the problem he has is with never leaving there.

We are unconscious of how desperately we need everything to be about ourselves. It limits our capacity to even consider that you are not the author of your dream. But think about the possibility that the last dream you had was not a product of your personal unconscious. Consider how the world becomes more spacious…no! it is not your collective unconscious. It is so hard to let go of the side of the pool.

We are given a bigger cosmos! Any other image is too small!

I have at least one confident answer as to why a dream comes to anyone and that is so that we will remember dreaming. Just so that we remember there is such a thing as a dreamworld, and then there are other things as well. What does the dream want? It wants another dream. It wants itself, it wants dreams. Listen to Steve Aizenstadt’s dreamwork recordings.

There are a couple more things. Hillman says an archetypal image is animated like an animal. Archetype connotes intention and the mythical field of personifications, it is animated like a person whom one loves, fears, delights in, is inhibited by and so forth. What we are saying is that you can actually engage the archetypal image, and once again it is okay to feel personal about that. OK, now, I am going to go back just a bit to the Spirit/Soul business.

It is a big piece of what Hillman wants us to get: how the sense of spirit is such a dominant theme in our culture and it tends to make us forget about soul. So he does this whole thing where he tries to capture the sensibilities of the soul.

Hillman thinks that other cultures don’t even make broad distinctions between soul and spirit. They have many kinds of spirit, many kinds of voices, many kinds of influences like demons and daimons. Using our own language we try to group them into classes, he says. We want to put them into categories of soul or spirit. It would be better to get rid of both of those words and just deal with the phenomenon as they appear, Hillman says. Nevertheless he tried to make the distinction as to how the words are used in the New Testament and refers to his article “Peaks and Vales” which is the best article for understanding spirit and soul. He counted the number of times the words were used, and says the culture is pro-spirit. One tends to dominate, the soul tends to take a humble place. Male patriarchy is actually the archetype of Spirit and is not as personalistic (or paternalistic) as we tend to think it is. Part of the whole anima revolution that is going on is the return to Soul in the religion and the culture. Remember some of the ways that Spirit catches you. It is important to know how you get caught by spirit and then the soul will take care of itself. When you are a gardener you pay attention to the weeds and the flowers will take care of themselves. Spirit travels by the means of  the “via negativa”[3] or not this, not that (neti, neti).[4] Soul replies by saying Yes this too has archetypal significance. By taking all of it in, psychic space grows.” Again, we hear that goal of growing psychic space where everything is inclusive. Everything that shows up has a place.

“When people say ‘Psyche, what does that mean’ that is a spirit attack, it is a spirit question about soul. I try to describe how soul speaks for iself in “A Blue Fire” as well as this book where the language of soul becomes clearer…(I can barely hear clearly). It is hard to be psychological in the context of logistics, opposites, structured thought, being logical.” I just want to give you another example. A few minutes ago I listed a field of things that were archetypal. That is a spirit way of describing it as if you could count on that list, and if it is not on that list it wouldn’t count. Whether what I said is true or not, there is a way that we are attuned to want to receive that kind of language. In a minute we are going to see him do that list, too. “Soul conveys with memories, fantasies, fears…at these times, spirit will quickly extract the meaning and centralize them into rules. Soul sticks to the realm of experience (indirectly) where dreams are as important as imaginings.” We never admit we are wrong, we never go back, it is a powerful theme we are talking about here. As depth psychologists we become just as interested in retreat, it becomes just as valuable. In the clinical realm, we really have a problem. The patient ‘regressed or decompensated’ to describe this retreat. But in this psychology we might say the patient went into a mode of ‘regathering or rumination’ and it would be celebrated. It is a different mode. Therapists and patients are indoctrinated into the idea of progress. As long as we make progress, we can stay together. If we make too much, then we have to stop. If we don’t make any, then I have to be mad at you for resisting or you have to be mad at the therapist for not being any damn good. So, it becomes very difficult to do these retreats. But there are moments of brilliance where I, as a therapist, will say something and a patient will just be amazed, where we just have this moment of great smartness together, and at that moment it is essential to find a way out of that trap.

He is not trying to push away the pagan idea of spirit in the world. He is talking about the Christian context that leaves the earth and the body behind, and which denigrates the soul. He makes that split mostly as a heuristic device. Holly says, do you see him contradicting himself? Quite often! We end up having to live with each idea on its own terms and have to let go of the sense that it is contradictory…try to do this instead of thinking systematically.

Hillman says we do live in a world of prejudices in favor of Spirit. Anyone who practices religion knows how strong this is. Hillman tries to disabuse us of the idea of the spirit of psyche. “This is not analytical psychology, which suggests that psychology is about analysis whereas archetypal psychology suggests that the archetypes are everywhere in culture, in history and analysis is only a piece of that. The idea was to free psychology… I did not understand enough at that time about the Imaginal realm. But it seems archetypal fits well in the imaginal realm… (or something like this). I wanted to move away from this knowledge of archetypes…polytheism is a way of being in the world as opposed to theism and is a spirit way of looking at the question. The psyche way of looking is that there are hundreds of thousands of phenomenon in this world, and there is a multiplicity. In the Greek way of thinking, there are multiplicities in particular ways, not in general. That type of polytheism is sensational, not phenomenal. Polytheism is a word invented in our culture (which identifies itself with spirit).”

“An archetypal event happens over and over again, it is eternal in some sense, it is emotional, it moves, it has affect, it is atemporal (outside of time), the same kind of imagery tends to appear. We are not talking about the warrior archetype, but the way something happens. It takes the event out of the immediate personal…into something broader, other peoples, other cultures, other times.”

Initially, it is often experienced as personal, and you may be tempted to think you are visited by the god, but the work is to take it out of the person. Another geographical idea is that the personal is always in the world, not an isolated person. As you start to psychologize this archetypal dream image can we talk about how this is your mother, father, or personal history but can we also talk about the culture, can we move it out into the wider world. This was heretical when I was in training, where they said to make it so personal that they cannot escape it.  As if people don’t live in the world! There are eight different places where Hillman does this and he never does it the same way twice. If we use this schema how do we know the difference between a plain old image and an archetypal image? I don’t know how helpful that is. If you told me you had an archetypal dream that would be enough for me.

Tape X

Most mainstream spiritual traditions of the culture we are in try to co-opt every great idea that we have. They pull it in, reconfigure it, adopt it, and feed it back to us in sanctified form. That is what Hillman criticizes, and as well certain aspects of Jung’s psychology where he says, wait a minutewhy this particular way of seeing?  He wants us to see through that and consider other possibilities.  The other piece that he is about is in general attacking anything that requires us not to think and inquire.

So that specifically taps those elements of fundamentalism which we know exist, and are on the ascendant and amassing political power. And we are invited to participate in that without thinking about it. And Hillman is opposed to that. He talks a little about what happened in Latin American where you encounter this elaborate polytheistic system and how Christianity did that co-opting thing.[5] When you are in Latin America you can feel there is still this strong polytheistic force. But you also feel the authority of the Church there. Wherever Christianity landed it just missionized everything. And it did it fast and forcefully. You could say they did it with force or disease but the bottom line is that it is a powerful seductive idea that people were pulled into, a protective innocent space. 

I want to move into talking about the four tropes from Revisioning Psychology. This begins our move to talking about this psychology at the level of practice. The first theme is called Personifying or imagining things. On p. 13 he engages a definition of it: a mode of thought which takes inside events and puts them outside. It takes the personal experience and puts it outside of you at the same time making the content alive, personal, and even divine. Personifying recognizes soul as existent prior to reflection. Personifying is a way of being in the world and experiencing the world in a psychological field where events, images, ideas are all conceived as persons in their own way so they become experiences that touch us, heal us, move us. The world becomes personified and we talked about it in Memories, Dreams, and Reflections person 1 and person 2, which is kind of a baseline for that. But I think the most important piece to get is that it is an answer to personalism. Personifying is the antidote to personalism. And what we mean by personalism is that sense that everything really is about me.

What is inside and outside? Let’s let that frame go. It is one of those areas where you have to go with him without worrying about what is correct. When he is talking about inside here, he is putting it into the context that it is the inner self, the locked in skin encased “I”, that’s what he means by inside as opposed to outside, the world that I tend to objectify. The soul I hoard, I take my experiences of my life and allow them to be outside of me.

There is nothing wrong with persons, the problem he has is everything being personal in the singular way. Hillman didn’t invent the word but is borrowing the word from poetic usage. People who study poetry have been aware of personifying since forever. It is an art and the images are personified.  In this way you can enter into a conversation with the feeling as separate from yourself. You can negotiate with the feeling and work with it. Fiona said something about not personalizing emotion, and instead of saying ‘my anger’ just saying ‘anger’. Coppin said that makes sense. Personification creates space around the emotion. Persona/ personify, it is a double-edged sword in terms of engaging with affect. You don’t have to go so far as to think that anger or hate has legs like inside another person.  Drop the objectifying word “the” before something and just say the thing, then it has its own “person” hood. “The” is an objectifying word. Spanish has articles, but in French they are different, she says. Language is so interesting. In Spanish, you would not say “I lost my book” you would say “my book is lost to me”. There is a way the book has its own volition in that language. Sometimes the French do personalize, says Doug. What Coppin says is important is that these psychic realities are built into our language, and American English has a much more pervasive presence of the heroic ego.

That is why it makes sense for us to experience what it feels like when we say I hate Robin, or when I am with Robin there seems to be hate in the room. We can make choices about how we use language. What about not owning one’s feelings? What about depersonalization? In this framework (archetypal psychology) we are offered an alternate. The fact is, we don’t even know how to talk as if it were not personal. We are actors on a stage. We are inside the experience at the same time we are outside the experience.

Look at the idea as a mythos. At a mythic level, what are we talking about? That when I have an idea about myself I project it out onto you? Why should that be more true than anything else? The idea that everything has to go back to my personal responsibility contains the mythos that underneath it all is that every single one of us is alone, a solitary figure. In contrast, he experiences that he is deeply affected by the people he is connected to. We are not solitary.

I want to talk about some of our defenses against personifying. One is this powerful idea that we must continue to be personally responsible for everything that we think or feel (ala Tony Robbins?) Little kids seem to know better than this by the way they play with imaginary figures, that they are not personally responsible. It is our enculturation…That is one defense. The first scary thing that happens when entering this personified way of feeling is that we worry if we really start doing this we are not going to be able to hold everybody accountable for what they say and do. We have to endure that.

Another defense against personifying is called parts work. It rests on the idea of multiple voices and these attitudes and perceptions that seem to be pluralistic but they are all just parts of you. In this work we let those things be themselves. It does not mean I don’t have a personal responsibility but they are not parts of me.

One of the symptoms of not being able to personify is that space collapses. If you can’t be curious about the thing’s otherness and it is all just about me, the space collapses. Not just the psychic space but also the physical space and then the whole world has to be contained inside of me. An interesting thing starts to happen then. All the beings that I have just incorporated and made to be me, well, they don’t have any space to live in, they have to be nurtured by me, they have to feed off of me. They become like little vampires, eating and drawing their life off of you. You have to take all the responsibility for the world!

We need to differentiate enough to feel a compassionate connection, Sharon suggests. Hillman does not like the story of individuation as the universal pathway to wholeness, but Sharon is suggesting a move towards differentiation. Another way that Hillman describes ‘to personify’ is an epistemology of the heart, a study of how we know..

The main thing I want you to remember about personifying is that it is a remedy for personalizing. I appreciate the criticism that it indulges in that need to see everything as human like in order to see it all. I think that is a valid criticism. Let’s talk about personifying as only meaning to give respect as we would to other persons as in the respect for autonomy, sensitivity, sensibility and that kind of thing.

Tape XI

One of the other practices is to shift from the question ‘who am I’ to ‘who is here’. If you go into that context literally or personally, it is not the same as in the way of personifying. I teach therapists to start each session with every patient by asking this question. It is then just a short step to saying ‘who else is here’. When you do field work one of the ethnographic moves is to understand there is always a gap between what people say they do and what they actually do, and even what other people think they do. There is always a mythos around all of these things that helps build a sense of identity.

Part of being literate is to know how many gods there are, and not just Greek but Roman, and Egyptian and South American, etc. There are these other presences around, and there is an openness to welcome them. People pray to gods and archetypes versus seeing the archetype what is there already and being open and aware to it.

The next chapter is on pathologizing or falling apart. It is in some ways the most difficult for us to live with, and for the culture to live with. On p. 57, it means the psyche’s autonomous ability to create abnormality and suffering…I would twist it from autonomous ability to do this, to autonomous proclivity. It does this as an ontological imperative rather than to become a malady in search of a cure. Jung somewhere does a treatise on imagination by saying it works through deformation, meaning that imagination is always a kind of deformed piece of work about something more pristine. You can fault the post-Jungian’s who turned the analytic process towards the symptom as something that needs to be cured. Hillman is reclaiming pathology. He alludes to a discussion he wants to have about differentiating an imaginal versus a clinical approach to the symptom. Typically, Jungian analysts don’t diagnose, said Doug. Not all of them, but typically they are after a change or a healing, says Coppin. If you try to do this idea in a mental health clinic, they might sue you for malpractice!

There is another bit here that Hillman does where he positions this idea of pathologizing as opposed to a tendency towards naturalistic idealization. This is a way that we engage in rhetoric around the idealization of nature that if things were just left to their natural way, then everything would be okay. We have been sold to this idea that if nature was left to its own devices there would never be war, pollution, as if they never saw a volcano go off and all the death and destruction that nature gives us.

Another form of idealization is the projection of evil as if to say that if we could just educate our kids properly and do that developmental bit properly then there would not be any crime or theft. Another form is the idea that if we could just get rid of evildoers then it would all be ok. If we could just identify all the misfits and kill them, then we would all be okay. We are really dominated by this fantasy about human beings and the natural world as if it is somehow capable of this symbiotic balance point. How could such a thing develop, really, if you live in the real world? It is fascinating.

Sharon adds ‘inferiority’ to that list, the inferiority complex and things that are inferior to us. Both of those ideas are talking about how we project evil onto other people. But how do we project perfection onto nature? If we can perfect ourselves then we can return to paradise.    

The dangerous thing is the fantasy of some sort of pristine nature of life, because once you have engaged in that fantasy you have to project the nasty stuff onto other people or things. And to pathologize, quite honestly, puts us back into the understanding that this is the psyche’s real nature and we cannot pretend niceness about ourselves or the world anymore.  

When we open ourselves to the pantheon of possibilities, and ask the question, ‘who is here’ well, then, we have to be open to the possibility that Hilter is here (or fascism). If Hitler were alive in this room, says Thom, what would we do? The burden for us is to get out of the imagination that Hitler isn’t alive and in the room. The first thing we have to do is recognize the possibility that he is here, he is here. If we try to hold ourselves accountable as a nation, and we are being told by our leaders that we are absolutely good, and they are absolutely bad and don’t think about it any further. There are demonic powers in every generation from Jung to the present. Thom says no-one is answering his question as to what we can do if Hitler were physically present. What do we do? If he is here, we need some big ideas. It is almost too big, and yet it can’t be because it’s the one we have. Thom’s point is that we are really steering away from taking responsibility, ‘calling him accountable’. What you are talking about, Thom, is the Nuremberg idea and it mattered. There has to be some acceptance of responsibility as in the Truth Commissions in S. Africa, says Thom. He is struggling with the idea of moral responsibility? What about McNamara, what about our bad guys, asks Jeff. How do we engage around responsibility if that is a myth? The archetypal perspective does not absolve people of responsibility. I would say the Nuremberg trials were about finding Nazi’s, telling the story, and hanging them (rapidly). The world needed this accountability. That, to Thom, is not accountability. All he is saying is don’t confuse that it is an either/or situation. Moral ambiguity from an archetypal view…You can see the action you are compelled to take in an archetypal context, says Coppin.

We are hand-wringing here. What is the action of archetypal psychology? When you spoke about Jung and his affairs, a new spirit entered the conversation. So what is that? What is that called when we tell a story of something that is messed up and we don’t actually know for sure? Gossip. And it turns out that gossip is one of the practices of this psychology. The word gossip really means the speech of the gods. And so what happens is that when we are able to engage in this gossiping thing as luridly and as often and as communally as we can, we are sharing the shit. We are telling possibilities of what can go wrong, and we are getting it on us, in a way, and we are letting go of our pristine sense of self. We are mucking about and we like it. One of the things I hold trainee therapists accountable for is that they like the stories while hiding behind the idea of being helpers. And we all like the stories, and are somehow attracted. Go to the library and look at the H section. There are hundreds of books about this guy. Hillman would say that is the soul’s nature from which we all come to which we will all return. And if you don’t believe it, look at what is on television, newspapers, reality shows…these are seriously messed up lives and let’s pretend it is really happening.

Is this ritual for us? Do we do it for the satisfaction of vicarious experience, Ayana asks. Theatre is like this. In that Greek setting, when there was a play, everybody had to go to this horrible, tragic, comedic shit.  Another experience of gossip is that it gets us, we are pulled down into the muck (it stings us). It is not an escape. What was happening with Thom was that we were in a box and we could not get out of it. Like Ayana said, we needed another metaphor. We needed another story that maybe had a little something we could identify with, so we gossiped about Jung having affairs.

I want us to recognize our relationship to the pathos of the world and the soul’s desire for its own messy stuff and to have those tales told. It is terribly important to be about the business of bringing the ass to the show. We have to let people understand that is the piece of the thing they need. Why is psyche interested in the soul as a mess? His sense is that it is connective, that stories of suffering invite us to pretend that it is not about someone else, somewhere else. It reminds us of birth, growth, decay, and death. Tales of the mess serve the function of bringing us back to the wholeness of our existence. And, if we can ultimately tell tales that help us own our own pathos, then we won’t have to get somebody else to own it for us. That is our job. There is a great book by Thomas Moore called Dark Eros, and in this book he takes the position that the patient seeing the psychotherapist is the Marquis de Sade. It is an important awareness. We are always in a sense the ones who are requiring our fellow beings to show their shit, which is what the Marquis did.

There is another piece here that I think answers why the psyche wants this. Helene gets it. We really have to get in touch with the idea of rupture. Nothing new or valuable can be done without rupture. If our psychology tries to cleanse our minds of the impulse for things to rupture, if we get rid of all the destroyers, and begin to fix this monolithic entity then we can never change. To have positive change, our world is going to require destroyers: those who ridicule, tear down, burn and that sort of thing. It becomes positive when we restore the wholeness of our possibilities.

When Hillman said he wanted to take psychotherapy into the world, he pretended that he didn’t care about psychotherapy anymore. And he abandoned that whole question to the point where he would not have answered your question. He would have said, well the whole idea of therapy is stupid, no one gets well anyway. I am exaggerating. But he basically abandoned us as therapists. I said to him over coffee one day, we have had a hundred years of golf and the world is getting worse, so why blame it all on psychotherapy? Actually, if you read the book, you can hear a hopeful thought of revisioning psychotherapy. I am in the process of writing a book on archetypal psychotherapy and that book is going to be a big piece of it. He lays the seeds in there for how you would redeem psychotherapy.

I think there are many ways these principles and ideas can live side by side with other modes of therapy. In a clinical setting you can do 45 minutes of cognitive behavioral work and as you are saying goodbye at the door you can do 2 minutes of archetypal work. In cognitive behavioral work there really is the image of being smart and in control. You are building these cognitions about controlling behavior. It is an interesting picture of becoming intellectually in control. To work in an archetypal way, we would give that its mythos. You might recognize at the door how smart we got today, that we figured this stuff out, and it would be interesting to see if it actually works. Do you see that? You can even work imaginally with people who are psychotic, it is a question if you can find a way to meet them in that land and find a way to have a little more control over their delusions.

Any statement that you make that can offer a metaphorical possibility for what is being held as a literalism, if you can help the context become de-literalized, then you make possible another interpretation (loosen the bonds of suffering). Don’t contribute to the literal. Even though my example sounds glib and simplistic, it’s quite profound. You created a literal pathway to get rid of symptoms, and simply by loosening that up, it creates a wedge of possibility where the patient might say, yes there might be another way, too. You are running against the image of the smart therapist in this move. Once you have actually got that guy to stand up for you in the room, it is hard to look dumb. But sometimes that is the move.

It’s got to be experienced. Otherwise these are just dead words.

Tape XII

This is a therapy of ideas partly, as Hillman would say, because one of the reasons the world can be seen to suffer is for the lack of ideas. If you enter a field where there is a poverty of ideas, there is usually some kind of repression going on or something squelching the continually creative act. The more possibilities for ideas there are that exist, the more creative. What he wants us to do is engage in a resuscitation of ideas, to bring them back. One way to do this is to think them. The rub is that when as academics we learn a bunch of big words and start to use them in the place of thinking. Several ideas that I am trying to resuscitate, because as a faculty member at Pacifica I participated in the strangulation of these ideas, are the feminine and the patriarch. Have these words creeped into your lexicon here? The problem is that everybody starts to use them and if you notice, as soon as the word appears, all thought stops. It becomes a profound reduction of meaning. The ego is another word. The self is another word. The best thing to do, Hillman says, is to try and do psychology and never use the word ego, or self, or patriarchy, or the feminine. But think the thoughts. What if you have to describe the patriarchy without using the words? You would have to become a phenomenologist. You would have to think. The problem we have is that some of these ideas become old and tired. The therapy of ideas involves the resuscitation of ideas which is psychologize-ing. Instead of looking at a situation where you see masculine domination and marginalization of feminine principles, you would instead really think through the whole process.

The discipline here is that after you write your papers in any class, go through and underline all the fifty cent words and ask yourself, what do I mean here? See if you can’t just say what you mean instead of using the reductionist word. Use the ideas instead of the reduction. It is smart.  When we psychologize we are looking for the ideas that live behind the surfaces of things. It is important in this area to acknowledge that we are told a lot to make a contrast between thinking and action, that if we are thinking then we must not be doing anything. Hillman says no, if you really think this way, that is an action that has consequences in the world. If you really think the ideas, you are doing CPR!

For the most part you are already inclined to see-through. Not all ideas are psychological. This is important to remember, too. We hit grandiose at Pacifica “in service to soul in tending the world” we get this thing in our mind that everything needs to be psychologized. And Hillman will say quite frankly that not everything wants to be psychologized. There is a point in our work where we would just rather the psychologist leave and I don’t want to think about it anymore because things have to get done. It frees us to act in non-psychological ways, which is in our nature, and it reserves psychological thinking for those things that really want it. You don’t doodle around everywhere as an artist, you do it in prescribed ways. Ayana says, not everything has to be sacred because if everything is sacred, then nothing is sacred. Sort of like that.

Are you talking about not being too precious? Yes, exactly. If we make everything psychological, then we diffuse that psychological energy and when it is really needed it doesn’t work. When I was a building contractor it was a literal world, although I could be metaphorical at lunch.

Let’s move onto de-humanizing or soul making. This chapter to me is at the core of Hillman’s critique of humanistic psychology, which lives in a human potential paradigm that says we need to work on our path as human beings in order to live more fully. It has a progressive element, and according to Hillman, it emanates out of that unconscious connection to dominion theology. The human being is at the center of creation, and the humanizing invites us to take the human being out of the center of creation and into a participatory role where we are involved in a co-creative process with the world soul. We are just a piece of it. And a fairly short term piece, at that. The world looks like it is preparing to spit us out.

We are not in the center of the world, and the world was not created for us. We have to de-bunk that theological story in order to get there, in order to uncover all the other unconscious prejudices that put us in the center of creation.

Maybe projecting it out in our sci-fi fantasies is a way of projecting ourselves out and looking at alienation. We give our ethos to the aliens.

The moves of this bit involves seeing us more in an en-souled world, as servants and if we are really in service to the worlds soul, that is what soul making is about. It is not about personal authorship, but about being in service. There is also a piece in this chapter which is that we have to re-gather our own shadow. We have to gather our portion of the death, and decay and that part that remains in the world that we try to leave behind.  So, he would say on p. 188, correctly speaking to humanize means not just loving and forgiving, but torturing, and vengeance, and every …history will not let us forgive. Gathering back our shadow, and recognize that to be human means to hold the dark pieces instead of humanistic psychology’s fantasy that we can leave it behind. He said also, humanistic sentimentality deadens our sensitivity to archetypal realities and keeps our perception too short sighted and keeps our focus only on ourselves.

The first of three moves is called ‘notitia’. It is a word that sounds like notice but there is a differentiation. When I notice something, I am looking into a space and I notice something (as an operation). When I am engaged in notitia, I am walking along and I suddenly have to turn around and see the orchid. What has happened here is that I had to turn around because the orchid wants my attention. It calls back the idea of the intentionality of the world. In order to do that we have to give up our directed focus and be aware we are walking through an animated landscape that is full of soul and capable of having a better idea of how we should spend our time that the idea we have.

Let go of your intentionality? Be of service. Holly talks about the center being a place of service. Coppin says he is converted the way she describes it. You brought us full circle where we can have the notion of service and the notion of personal blessing at the same time. They do work together, and there is a certain destiny, appropriateness, and giveness to that. You also have to let go of defining what grace is about.

Notitia is an event that happens as part of a collaborative participation between person and world, and it is because of the stance that we hold.

Another move in this soul making business is eloquence. This is related to the work of ideas. The work of eloquence is being willing to spend some real devoted time to finding the right words to represent what is here. The quality is one of service. You have been given tremendous power with words, this is your gift. This is one of the tools of our trade. This is how we show our love of the work. In order to be eloquent, one needs to know many words. Never translate a word from one language to another unnecessarily. Always make sure you can think in two languages. You need lots of words, and you need the capacity for words to morph around and shift. If you don’t have that facility, then you won’t be eloquent. If you have only one language or limited language ability, you just would not be able to be a psychologist. Otherwise, I would go back to being a carpenter.

So get your words. Bring them to life. Never use a word without thinking what the word means. Otherwise you kill the word (and the idea). And then someone has to come along and resuscitate. Another thing to remember about eloquence,  P. 216, archetypal psychologists are interested in speech, not among humans, but to develop confidence in language to be able to speak what is speaking to the gods. Language is a beautiful set of colors, paints, ideas, etc.

The last one is Hillman asking us to hold a religious attitude about the world that we live in, to be in awe and have respect “To not require the world to be useful”. As we enter our day, continually be open to what might show. Imagine the space that you are working in as a religious space.

Tape XIV (the missing ones are student presentations)

11:02 Gingrich is a Jungian analyst and journalist who has an ongoing dialogue with Hillman in a mutually appreciative but critical way. Gingrich supports a few things about archetypal psychology 1) he also criticizes Jungian idea of clinical reduction. He praises archetypal psychology for taking things beyond the personal and for understanding the beauty of Jungs work cannot really be contained in the therapy room, 2) he praises it for its emphasis on thinking and ideas, 3) relativizing the ego, that is, putting it into relation with a larger world…but Gingrich probably would not appreciate unpacking, reusing and reliving the myth of Perseus, for example, because he would say it is old dead stuff, it is regressive as far as psychology goes. We need to go forward.

Gingrich criticizes Thomas Moore for his romantic attachment to myth. In general he sees archetypal psychology as romantic in today’s world of technology and rapid change. The biggest thing that he criticizes is that it bails out on itself all the time. It is a continuing creative act without a telos, and he doesn’t like that image. Because in his eyes there must be a telos, and we need to uncover it. The soul, after all, has a logical life. He feels Hillman’s puer side gets the better of him, that he stops short of doing the hard work of analysis that would uncover the real telos of the psyche. He is talking about the collective psyche, whether one for anybody or multiple manifestations, either way you can’t just let it sit there. It has intentions to be something.

He would say if we don’t get out of our myth and this childish idea that the psyche is a fundamentally continually creative act; that the psyche will degenerate into some sort of chaos. He looks at the world and sees this mix of technology, chaos, violence, and decay. We need to look forward at what we are creating and deal with that, he would say. But he does not define it any more than that, as in creating the ideal image of the metropolis. By letting go of the idea of a defined telos…remember when we come to that point in Hillman, the psyche does have a sense of telos and a sense of purposiveness but the problem becomes in defining that. The idea is the discipline of bearing the intention without having any idea of what the intention is for.

Remember when Hillman decided to go with Jung’s idea of psyche as content as opposed to development? I think Hillman’s idea is that telos is a content thing, and not a process. Gingrich is much more process oriented.  You will see him referring to Hegel’s way of moving through via negative logic. We can arrive at the right thing by eliminating the wrong thing. He uses disciplined thinking and abhors the idea where everything can include itself and be of equal value or have simultaneity. In the archetypal mode we can eliminate something today, and incorporate it tomorrow…which is really unsystematic. This is the main difference between Gingrich and Hillman. It is a really important criticism and it holds us accountable about not getting romantically attached. We can hold the myths accountable to today, instead of being romantically attached to the past, and note that there is also value in not pretending that ideas spring out of nowhere. It is nice to know ideas have roots and to know their context.

I feel that Gingrich has taken up the spirit side, while Hillman has taken up the soul side and by claiming each other as partners they get to occupy those positions more intensely.

We do not need a new mythology or psychology of nature. We already have a psychology of nature and it is called physics, Gingrich says. Technology replaces mythology.

Right at the place where the rubber meets the road, it feels like they are not talking about the same psyche. But it is still valuable.

Tape XVI

The next piece I want to work on is more on the actual practices. Let’s start by talking about Ginet Paris and Pagan Meditations. Ginet is an archetypal psychologist and mythologist. She studied with Jim Hillman and is known for psychologizing using a mythological lens. What I wanted you to understand from reading this book is an example of the best kind of mythological interpretation, using myth as a way of interpreting phenomenon that we live with in our daily lives. It is one of the archetypal moves, to use mythology as a lamp, and she does it about as good as anybody. And some of you might want to use a mythological lens for your papers.

First of all, can looking through a mythological lens really produce anything valuable?  Gingrich calls that regressive and does not have much use for it. One of the aspects of that particular criticism is his supposition that the mythological lenses are being taken literally. He focuses on that possibility, and we seem to be confused about whether these gods exists or not, and that is why we are bringing them back. I want to read a piece where GInet talks about that, ‘about the gods, I love them as if they really existed…just how much do you believe in them? I don’t believe in them at all, no more that I believe in the ego, etc. etc.’ or all of those words we tend to use as if they were real…there is no need to believe in any of these things. Value and substance are not about belief and verifiability, Coppin says, and that is the point of the mythological lens. Unverifiable or unbelievable stories are not unvaluable.

I think the mythological approach automatically institutes a metaphorical context. It brings us into another space, which is an essential move of archetypal psychology to re-infuse appreciation through the metaphor. Once we start looking through the mythological lens, while the thing we are looking at holds its meaning, it is also moved to a different position, in other words we are deliteralizing it. And, if you create all these possible positions, then the implication is that you create more space, which is another archetypal move. So, Ginet’s book is filled with examples of ‘cases’. These things represent possible things to investigate using the mythological lens: birth, marriage, beauty, sexuality, ugliness, depression, laughter, joy…she is choosing psychological experiences and showing them as cases while using a mythological lens to interpret them.

A particular case that I would like to look at today is Aphrodite and flowers. She takes something mundane like flowers and looks at this phenomenon through the lens of Aphrodite. What happens? I want you to understand the hermeneutic of this methodology, not just enjoy what she says about flowers.  Read page 19. She lets the rose talk about love, and love talk about the rose. Lots of metaphors…and leaps. Like the flight of a butterfly…that is the image of this method, but it circles back.

You could take any mythical context and any phenomenon like a window, and use the mythological lens to look at phenomenon through the window (or look ‘phenomenologically’). This is a possible approach to use in your writing. You don’t have to be an encyclopedia of myth to do this. In the process of doing this you become more literate.

There is a film she uses when she teaches this class to talk about how Aphrodite can be missing and what it looks like when Aphrodite shows up and what we can do to invite her to show up. That film is the Baghdad Café. In the beginning of the film everything is out of place, messed up and jarring. If you don’t want Aphrodite to be there, then do this. After Aphrodite shows through a vision, and the problem becomes how to make her show up.

Let us talk about the goals and moves of archetypal psychology. What I think the first goal emanates from that image we started with on the first day and if you make a goal out of that, what would it be? It would be to make sure that whatever you do does not get in the way. Do no harm by entering the field with the idea to give up the idea of having a goal. The first goal, then, is to change your attitude about how necessary it is to have a goal to pursue and achieve. When you do that it is entirely possible that you are just going to get in the way. This becomes more important in the clinical setting, because we don’t know what really needs to be done. Recognize that we justify our existence by entering a space and setting up goals to rationalize our own reason for being there. Another way to say this is to adopt a stance of a witness instead of trying to fix things.

You are presented with a riddle here, because in your project proposal you need to have a goal. How do you deal with that if you are being told that you had to suspend the need for goals and then you are told you have to come up with a goal in order to justify your project? You play the game? Uh huh. I have to admit I am a little bit surprised. Different advisors have different ideas about the fieldwork. Institutionally, it is understandable.

Ayana reiterates a core theme about Pacifica in that we are often told one thing and then we do another. It’s a waste of energy, she says.

I think Mary and Helene tried to build a structure that is rigorous and thoughtful. I know they would not set anything up proforma, lock/step so to say. I am so surprised to hear this.

Let’s go on to the next goal since we talked about not having a literal goal as the first goal. The next goal is to enrich our relationship to the symptoms.

That means to tap into what we know about pathologizing, that one of the things that calls us into the field is the sense there is something amiss. There is a supposition in doing field work that there is a symptom there. The typical move is that whatever is amiss is the thing you are going to focus on and bring your change agenda to. And, of course, that whole idea lives in the fantasy where the patient is sick and the doctor is supposed to heal them. That is a relationship to the symptom. To enrich it means to find other ways to sit with whatever is amiss besides trying to change it.

Of course, this idea lives in the idea that symptoms are a signpost that points to the soul, so whatever is symptomatic in the field needs to be engaged in a relational way and not in a warrior way of conquest. Enriching really means to expand the possibility of what you might do. I think I had a teacher long ago who impressed me with this one idea. How can you approach your patients if you initial attitude is that the work is about change? How can you approach you patients with the idea that you accept them if your initial posture is about change? That does not mean that you wouldn’t co-create some changes, you very well might do that, but if you come to the field with your relationship to the symptom being initially about change, you already are gong to be seen as unaccepting of what is there.

Another goal is to enrich imaginal life and that means to engage in anything that invites the dreamscape, the dreamlife, fantasy, art, any focus on image at all…to enrich imaginal life means to go into a space and ask yourself, well this feels like Aphrodite would be welcome here so what practice should I set up to invite her in?

Invite the imaginal.

Another goal that I have said many times…is the increase of psychic space. That means increasing possibilities. Suffering is the result of limited narratives and points of view that we repeat over and over again. We need more characters, bigger space, more possibilities. Another way to increase space is to make sure that when you are very smart and you close the inquiry down, you do something to leave an escape hatch out of the meaning you just made. As psychologists we are seeing ourselves as professional makers of meaning, and too often we make structures that we get trapped in.

Increase play. It loosens our attachment to smart ways of knowing and into the body.  Don’t take your smartness so seriously. And whatever structure you build, make sure it has space in it. Things don’t connect well without it. Read the Existential Pleasure of Engineering.

Relativizing our relationship between truth and fiction will help us to move our work from science to art.  Remember that truthing is a complex and confusing process and what we think is true, may not actually be truth. Or unpack your truths. Everytime you solidify your position (make a conclusion) go back and question each certainty. It is interesting what you come up with. In academia so often what we think is true is that thing we read in another book. Knowledge is passed down through the authority of print. But ask, how do I truth? And recognize that is just how everybody does it, they have some fictional way of making truth. So we want to relativize our ideas on truth and fiction. That makes it much more spacious.

A big piece of the work involves cultural work, that is, understanding, appreciating, and investigating the socio-cultural context of everything that we are looking at. Everything has context and if you are going to be a depth psychologist then you can’t just look at the surface of things. It really requires that you be a deep student and you are never going to get it all. But the idea is that to be really and truly psychological you have to get the context. This is a different perspective from the clinical, which might look at a patient and simply look at the symptoms and diagnosis and treatment plan instead of taking into account the vast cultural underpinning. All clinical programs should have at least one course where they examine every diagnosis in the DSMIV and trace it back to its cultural roots. That would be an archetypal approach to the DSMIV.

The biggest area of moves that archetypal psychology has is in the realm of language. We talked about personifying language, being eloquent, using repetition and reverberation. We could also add the function of silence. Wordplay and puns are included in this. Language is really our tool. That is our kit bag. It becomes important to find the right words. Read Nor Hall, listen to her lectures from Pacifica around ten years ago.


Etymology: Middle English ficcioun, from Middle French fiction, from Latin fiction-, fictio act of fashioning, fiction, from fingere to shape, fashion, feign — more at dough Date: 14th century

1 a : something invented by the imagination or feigned; specifically : an invented story b : fictitious literature (as novels or short stories) c : a work of fiction; especially : novel
2 a : an assumption of a possibility as a fact irrespective of the question of its truth <a legal fiction> b : a useful illusion or pretense
3 : the action of feigning or of creating with the imagination

Etymology: Latin archetypum, from Greek archetypon, from neuter of archetypos archetypal, from archein + typos type Date: 1545

1 : the original pattern or model of which all things of the same type are representations or copies : prototype; also : a perfect example
2 : idea 1a
3 : an inherited idea or mode of thought in the psychology of C. G. Jung that is derived from the experience of the race and is present in the unconscious of the individual

[3] (Latin for “Negative Way”) and Apophatic theology—is a theology that attempts to describe God, the Divine Good, by negation, to speak only in terms of what may not be said about the perfect goodness that is God.In brief, negative theology is an attempt to achieve unity with the Divine Good through discernment, gaining knowledge of what God is not (apophasis), rather than by describing what God is. The apophatic tradition is often, though not always, allied with the approach of mysticism, which focuses on a spontaneous or cultivated individual experience of the divine reality beyond the realm of ordinary perception, an experience often unmediated by the structures of traditional organized religion or the conditioned role playing and learned defensive.

[4] Perhaps the most widespread use of Negative theology occurs in the Hindu scriptures, mainly the Upanishads, where Vedantic theologians speak of the nature of Brahman – Supreme Cosmic Spirit as beyond human comprehension. “Whenever we deny something unreal, is it in reference to something real”[Br. Sutra III.2.22].  The Taittiriya hymn speak of Brahman as ‘one where the mind does not reach’. Yet the scriptures themselves speak of Brahman’s positive aspect also such as, “Brahman is Bliss”. The idea of using these contradictory descriptions is to show that the attributes of Brahman is “similar” to one experienced by mortals but not exactly the “same” in quality or quantity. Negative theology figures in the Buddhist and Hindu polemics. The arguments go something like this – Is Brahman an object of experience? If so, how do you convey this experience to others who have not had a similar experience? The only way possible is to relate this “unique” experience to common experiences but explicitly negating their sameness.

The most famous expression of Negative theology in Upanishads is found in the chant, neti neti, meaning “not this, not this”, or “neither this, nor that” . In Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, Yajnavalkya is questioned by his students on the nature of God. He states, “It is not this and it is not that” (neti, neti). Thus, God is not real as we are real, nor is He unreal. He is not living in the sense humans live, nor is he dead. He is not compassionate (as we use the term), nor is he uncompassionate. And so on. We can never truly define the Divine in words. In this sense, neti-neti is not a denial. Rather, it is an assertion that whatever the Divine may be, universally or personally, when we attempt to conceptualize or describe it, we limit our transcendent experience of “it.”

[5] Hillman did not write about this but mentioned it in a lecture that Coppin attended.