Sunday, June 23, 2013

Active Imagination with photographic images, not dreams

The Serpent
CC Jean Stimmell
C. G. Jung discovered active imagination out of his own need of self-healing. Active Imagination involved opening oneself up to the unconscious and giving free rein to fantasy, while at the same time, maintaining an active attentive conscious point of view: in a nutshell, he devised a method allowing himself to dialogue with his dream subjects. I am using this same process with this image of the serpent which appeared to me unexpectedly out of the corner of my eye, as if as in a dream. (see the original, untouched photograph of Snake at the bottom of this page)

While walking through the dark forest, I am confronted by Snake disguised as a red lichen-tinged, broken-off stub of a pine tree branch, still attached to the mother tree.

Snake, who are you? You don’t shiver my timbers with sheer terror like those giant serpents of old, promising certain death to any man who dared to sail his ship into uncharted waters, past the boundaries of the known world. [1]

Neither do you seem benign and spiritually uplifting like the snakes depicted in Native American petroglyphs coiled in an open-ended spiral representing continuity and,  through the never-ceasing cycle of death and rebirth, everlasting life.

Snake, you appear assertive, somewhere in between friendly and deadly, but like you’ve got a chip on your shoulder-less shoulder.

You’re damn right, replies Snake. I’m here to kick your ass and lead the way.  Paraphrasing William Blake: The fact that you can see a whole new realm in a broken off, dead pine stub means you are on the cusp of a new way of seeing and being, deeper and more real than your own.

Don’t stop now!

I am the portal you must enter to finish the job, to cleanse the doors of your perception until you see infinity in my face, leaving behind Apples, iPhones, and your whole rational brain addicted to facts and computer logic – far worse than a brain on drugs. Leaving behind abstracted science obsessed with how many quacks can dance on the head of a pin while the real world burns. Leaving behind mumbling bureaucrats speaking word salad statistics and politicians in baggy suits afraid to take a stand. Leaving behind gray flannel suits, Wall Street, designer jeans, genetically modified plants  and Madison-Avenue-modified people.

I represent the portal you must enter: the wild cry of the loon in the dead of the night, the sun rising out of the Atlantic on summer solstice, serpents, gods, goddesses, grand mythological drama, petty jealousies, sweat-soaked passions, and most of all, the resurgence of the real: a roiling tsunami of pure IMAGINATION finally unleashed on the world.

Snake, I had trouble taking you seriously after stumbling upon you yesterday like a sharp stick in the eye.  But now I think you have had your way with me: I went to bed last night and had fantastical dreams of ecstatic rapture with Mother Nature in the woods behind my house and then a passionate fling with Aphrodite.

Perhaps you do represent my coiled desire, intuition, creativity, my imagination – finally casting out an entire age of stale thoughts and rational despair – to swing freely like the primate I really am from tree to tree, from the serpent’s lair into the great unknown.

[1] From Temple of the Sacred Feminine by Sheila Foster:
Original untouched photograph taken at Wagon Wheel Farm, 6/22/13
CC Jean Stimmell

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