Tagsoul

Visions, dreams, and false dichochotomies

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 Gods”...

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...

The production of soul as a kind of telos

What is the purpose of our lives? What are we here for? Following Hillman, here’s one way of looking at it: We are here to generate psyche. Our task is thus a creative one: we are meant to produce more soul; and we perform this creative job by getting into the activity of loving anima. This makes the generation of soul into something like the telos of ancient eudaimonistic philosophy: an idea...

The spiritual mirror, eros, and Narcissus

When I wrote about projection and the mirror of Narcissus last week, I realized there is a hidden connection between some of the topics I recently discussed: the neo-Platonic mirror theory of eros, and Jung's notion of spirit.

Dreams of the soul, visions of the spirit

In one of the most fascinating passages of "The Dream and the Underworld", Hillman considers dream characters: “In dreams we are visited by the daimones, nymphs, heroes, and Gods, shaped like our friends of last evening.” But the next question is obvious: “why don’t the shades and Gods come in their own shapes?" And once again Hillman’s answer has to do with the difference between soul and spirit.

The spirit of Jung, and the spirit of Hillman

In recent posts, I have discussed Hillman’s distinction between soul-work and spirit-work (doing psychology vs. spiritual development). Hillman claims Jung’s ancestry here, but there are also grave differences in how they understood these notions.

Spiritual practice and its distractors

To add some more detail to the distinction we’re exploring, between spirit-work and soul-work, according to Hillman’s “Peaks and Vales” essay, let’s look at a common experience: distractions we suffer when we attempt some typical spirit work. These may fall under either of Hillman’s first two criteria (pathologizing of the soul and anima confusions), or perhaps even remain in a grey area in...

Is the way of the soul riskier than the way of the spirit?

We have now looked into two of the three marks that distinguish soul-work (psychology) from spirit-work: pathologizing and anima confusions are regarded as inherent activities of the soul, and therefore in soul-work we must attend to them and engage them on their own terms, rather than trying to get rid of them.

Loving anima confusions

I have started to discuss Hillman’s three criteria for telling soul-work and spirit-work apart. The first was that soul-work would take the soul’s pathologizing seriously. Now the second: love for anima; Hillman says that he would not recognize someone as doing soul-work if they “dismiss anima confusions for ego strength or spiritual illumination”. There’s a good bit to unpack here.

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.

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