The longed-for source of the soul’s knowing

The journey to the underworld is a metaphor for an individual’s turn inwards, and their corresponding withdrawal from the external world with its social and interpersonal relationships; the point of making that journey is to learn something spiritual: for spirit can appear personified in the realm of pure soul (i.e., in Hades) as Wise Old Man — so that the individual can learn from him. But what...

A theory of ghosts: note on methodology

When I left off this line of thought in my previous post, I concluded that ghosts are a different sort of thing than persons. They are better seen as psychological patterns, appearing in a narrative around a personification. 3. Now all this talk about psychological “patterns” may sound a little vague. Patterns are forms or dynamics that occur repeatedly (and recognizably so). But whether we see a...

Visions, dreams, and false dichotomies

A little while ago, I dug into a question Hillman poses about dream characters: “why don’t the shades and Gods come in their own shapes; why do they bother with the dream incarnations, my family and friends and odd strangers?” (DU 99); and I don’t think I got really clear about what the answer to that question is supposed to be (according to Hillman). Hillman thinks that, if the “shades and...

Anima confusions and obscure language

I have started to sketch one of Hillman’s most original lines of thought: that archetypal psychology, as he views it, is akin to ancient eudaimonistic philosophy — an approach to how we should live our lives —, and that the role of the telos — that which we aim at in living our lives this way — is played by the production of soul. Generating more soul is what we are here for: it’s what gives...

Enigmatic playfulness and its depths

Salvador Dalí famously rejected symbolic interpretations of the dream-like imagery in his paintings. Surely there is a good measure of funny insolence (and self-mystification) about this attitude, but it also has a serious and important point behind it.

More ways to distinguish between spirit and soul

In my previous post, I have discussed Hillman’s criterion for distinguishing between spirit-work and soul-work from "The Myth of Analysis". Hillman has also written an entire essay on this topic: “Peaks and Vales", and there he lists three more criteria.

Leif Frenzel is a writer and independent researcher. He has a background in philosophy, literature, music, and information technology. His recent interest is Jungian psychology, especially synchronicities and the relationship between consciousness and the unconscious.

alchemy allegorical style archetypes causality dark side death depth dreams ego eros erotetic arch film frame analysis ghost-story style ghosts individuals Jung philology liminality literature magic methodology mirrors mystery mysticism Narcissus narrative analysis nekyia pathologizing persona personal note personification persons projection psychoid romantic love self-knowledge shadow soul space spirit subjectivity symbols synchronicities technology time