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Jung on Active Imagination Paperback – July 7, 1997

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

At last we have a collection of Jungs writings together in one clearly designed book. A valuable aid to research and writing on this important and creative Jungian subject. An outstanding contribution. - Shelia Powell, Training Analyst in Private Practice --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German
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Product Details

  • Series: Encountering Jung
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Later Printing edition (July 7, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691015767
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691015767
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist, an influential thinker and the founder of analytical psychology (also known as Jungian psychology). Jung's radical approach to psychology has been influential in the field of depth psychology and in counter-cultural movements across the globe. Jung is considered as the first modern psychologist to state that the human psyche is "by nature religious" and to explore it in depth. His many major works include "Analytic Psychology: Its Theory and Practice," "Man and His Symbols," "Memories, Dreams, Reflections," "The Collected Works of Carl G. Jung," and "The Red Book."

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jung on Active Imagination is a compilation of C. G. Jung's writings on the particular discipline called "active imagination." This book is the definitive individual work on the subject. Jung developed the technique during the years immediately following his split with Freud. It is not, as some suggest, a meditative technique but a method of actively engaging the imagination in pursuit of contents generally hidden within the unconscious. The book's editor, Jungian analyst Joan Chodorow PhD, has done a marvelous job of assembling all the relevant material from Jung's collected works. Chodorow also provides a marvelous, twenty-page introduction for those not familiar with active imagination. This then is a book that will be of value to both the Jungian professional and the interested layman, such as myself.

Active Imagination in and of itself is a discipline wherein the practitioner, after securing a secluded place of relative isolation, clears away a space within the psyche and then actively watches for images and listens for voices that originate spontaneously. The practitioner then focuses on the images and/or voices and attempts to engage these psychic entities in dialogue. The intention is to encounter psychic entities that come from within the practitioner's subconscious. Jung recognized two different aspects of the unconscious. The first, he termed the shadow, which has its origin in the repressed, culturally unacceptable, portion of the ego. The second, Jung termed the collective unconscious, which contains the inherited archetypes of human existence that ultimately create civilization. When the practitioner encounters entities from either aspect of the unconscious, he/she allows the entity to retain its autonomy as much as possible.
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I am a bit disappointed in the book. Not in its content or quality, but only because I already have these essays in other books that I have by C.G. Jung. That is the only reason why I give it three stars. I wish there would have been a table of contents that could be reviewed prior to purchasing the book, but at this time, there isn't.
Someone contacted me recently about the contents of the book so here are the essays as they appear in "Jung, On Active Imagination."

Confrontation with the unconscious. From: Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Chapter 6, pages 170-199.

The Transcendent Function. From: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. Collected Works, Volume 8, paragraphs 131-193.

The technique of differentiation between the ego and figures of the unconscious. From: The relations between the ego and the unconscious, in Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. Collected Works, Volume 7, paragraphs 341-373.

Commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower. Excerpts from: Alchemical Studies. Collected Works, Volume 13, paragraphs 17-45.

The aims of psychotherapy. From: The practice of psychotherapy. Collected Works, Volume 16, paragraphs 66-113.

A study in the process of individuation. Excerpts from: The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. Collected Works, Volume 9.1, paragraphs 525-626.

The Tavistock Lectures. Excerpts from: The Symbolic Life. Collected Works, Volume 18, paragraph 4 and paragraphs 390-415.

The psychological aspects of the Kore. Excerpts from: The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. Collected Works, Volume 9.1, paragraphs 319-334.
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As it is the basis for many of the philosophies we have today. Here is the man who investigated the ancient eastern and shamanic philosophies, melded them with his own psychological observations, and changed the course of western thought. The concept of active imagination, a way of tapping creative intuition and allowing inspiration to become conscious, has been tremendously influential and has been endlessly copied and written about. This is the source, or rather, the man who did the most to make these insights respectable within the western tradition. Important and relevant for any creative persons, those involved in meditation, and anyone interested in such subjects.
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Jung on Active Imagination (1997) is a 200-page book that is a collection of writings and speeches from Dr. Jung on his technique of active imagination. Active imagination is a method for visualizing unconscious issues by letting them act themselves out. Active imagination can be done by visualization (which is how Jung himself did it), which can be considered similar in technique at least to shamanic journeying. Active imagination can also be done by automatic writing, or by artistic activities such as dance, music, painting, sculpting, ceramics, crafts, etc. Doing active imagination permits the thought-forms of the unconscious, or inner 'self', and of the totality of the psyche, to act out whatever messages they are trying to communicate to the conscious mind.

The best part is that it is a relatively easy to understand book. It is much more accessible than many of Jung's other writings (e.g. The Red Book). Jung provides a good overview of his basic beliefs about the unconscious in this text. However, don't expect a step-by-step guide because some previous psychoanalytic experience is implied if you want good results (don't expect instant results when you do it yourself). There is essentially one page of technique surrounded by various speeches Dr. Jung made about the topic. Supplementary notes, results and case studies (perhaps added by Jungian analysts) could make the text even better now.

For an intro to Carl Jung, check out Man and His Symbols. Jung on Active Imagination has managed to hold its value.
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