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The Archetypal Imagination (Carolyn and Ernest Fay Series in Analytical Psychology) Paperback – November 25, 2002
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Hollis has many interesting and profound things to say about art and poetry and there relationship to depth psychology. Ultimately this book is about our soul, our psychic life; the wounding and the healing each of us face. I particularly liked his notion that "psyche" is a verb, rather than a thing.
A major part of the book is devoted to an analysis, through depth psychology, of the paintings of Nancy Witt. I wish that the illustrations had been reproduced in color rather than black and white.
What Hollis convincingly argues is that there is no real substitute for true meaning, grounded in the encounter with the immense forces of the Psyche. Material things aren't what we need, or infantilizing beliefs that swaddle rather than challenge us -- what we need is to go into the darkened abyss & grapple with the unanswerable questions, the unfathomable mysteries. He doesn't offer any guarantees of success, only the hard promise that the journey & effort are well worth it.
This book is an exploration of the roots & purposes of Myth. Not "myth" in the sense of falsehood, but in the sense of Meaning, a narrative or frame of reference that provides a personally satisfying framework for living. And by "personally satisfying," we're not talking about something that coddles & placates the ego. Far from it! A living myth doesn't shield us from the transcendent experience, it enables us to face it without being overwhelmed or destroyed by its immense power.
Hollis draws his examples from Art, showing how individual creators have forged living myths for themselves, myths which speak to us as well. They don't provide pat answers -- indeed, they may well leave us with even more questions -- but they do provide windows into a larger world, a world that enables us to live with suffering & despair & loss, perhaps even to become far more than what we are now.
If you want to grow, if you want more than a world of sound bites & factoids & superficial culture, this is an excellent place to start. Most highly recommended!
I highly recommend it!