The word ‘psychology’ is rooted in the word psyche. Psyche is from Greek psykhe “the soul, mind, spirit; breath.” It is unfortunate that the field of psychology has moved away from its glorious roots, loosing contact with the soul. Depth psychologist, James Hillman understand this. He calls on us to “speak for the soul” (p. 161). In doing so he is aware of the difficulty of such a tasks.
According to Hillman, psychopathology rejects the soul and the soul’s language, “calling it pejorative names” (p.161). In Myth of Analysis, James Hillman says that “Freud’s Psychology, and Jung’s, and analysis itself all arise from the ontological ground of pathological imagination” (1972, p. 172). How can psychology speak for the soul if the soul’s language is seen as pathological?
From the perspective of enlightenment spirituality, it is the fantasy relationship of the ego toward the soul that may become pathological. The soul is never pathological. Meister Eckhart said that the “soul is an image of God” (cited in Jung, CW 5 para. 424). The soul’s instincts and aims are fundamentally linked to the God image. In archetypal terms the soul holds an “intermediate position” within the inner psychic world (CW5, para. 425). She is the “mediatrix to the eternally unknowable” (Hillman, p.133). The soul guides us beyond what is known into the unknown.
The soul guides us on a journey into the great mystery of life. By opening to the soul we open to the transformational potential of being.the true nature of Self. Jung understood that the transformations of the soul are teleological. The word teleological comes from Latin word télos, meaning the ‘consummated goal.‘ The soul ask us to trust in life. Life offers transformations in the field of being, toward a ‘consummated goal.‘ The soul’s transformations are expressed through acts of creative imagination: through our narrations, through our dreams and personal storytelling. Jung writes:
“symbols act as transformers, their function being to convert libido from a “lower” into a “higher” form… “It is able to do this because of the numen, the specific energy stored up in the archetype” (Cw5, para. 344).
The soul is always in relation to inner numinous forms which, if respected, guide the soul in psychical development. Dreams, imagination, narrations offer access to this transformational potential.
Opening to our the transformational potential of the soul, we may realize the power of ‘creative imagination.’ Henry Corbin speaks of “the world of the Image, the mundus imaginalis,” focusing on the symbolic perspective of the soul. Corbin says:
It is “a world as ontologically real as the world of the senses and the world of the intellect, a world that requires a faculty of perception belonging to it, a faculty that is a cognitive function, a noetic value, as fully real as the faculties of sensory perception or intellectual intuition. This faculty is the imaginative power, the one we must avoid confusing with the imagination that modern man identifies with “fantasy” and that, according to him, produces only the ‘imaginary.’”
Corbin delineates an imaginal sphere separate from an egoic fantasy sphere. The mundus imaginalis is the realm of the soul, of spirit, of God. All fantasy is egoic fantasy, fundamentally in relationship to egoic desires, desires in and of the material (object) world. The mundus imaginalis transcends such egoic desires.
- Symbols of Transformation(Collected Works of C. G. Jung Volume 5)
- Myth of Analysis by James Hillman