"Our being is imaginal being, an existence in imagination. 

We are indeed such stuff as dreams are made on."

 

James Hillman

The word image is also used in a very specific way in the Jungian and archetypal context.  Jung once wrote, “Everything of which we are conscious of is an image” and boldly stated, “image is psyche.”  In other words, everything we experience is made of images; we know the world through images.  

 

This takes us beyond image as visual perception and into image as the currency of our psychological experience.  Here, every piece of experience is an image.   Put another way, in this context, image refers to a psychological experience.

Hillman took it even further and stated, “If psyche is image, then psychological work or soul-making is image work, image-making, poesis.”  Psychological work requires careful attention to the images that live in our conscious and unconscious lives, or perhaps more accurately stated: it requires careful attention to the images that are living through us consciously and unconsciously.  We understand our lives more deeply by engaging with these images, that is, with every aspect of our psychological experience.  So, we could say that we lean into soul, mystery, and meaning precisely through imagination. 

In a time when soul is endangered by lack of love for the imagination, this perspective is crucial.  As a mechanistic, function-obsessed view of the world dis-enchants and dis-illusions us, we are blinded to the soul in the world. 

 

We are often trapped on the surface of things and cannot move into making meaning because we have lost the art of imagining.  We seem to have forgotten that what lives in our imagination, though it may not be material, is very real. 

“What supports the life of the soul are stories and imaginations and hidden connections that can never be proven and for that reason continue to exist.  Each person makes a leap of faith every time they open their eyes.”

 

 Michael Meade