Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Active Imagination

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_5

C. G. Jung’s development of the dissociative technique of active imagination, the visionary practice of “dreaming with open eyes,” arose out of his early experimentation with paranormal phenomena, especially mediumship, itself a dissociative technique of contacting the dead which traces its provenance to shamanism. His discovery of active imagination led him to associate psychological and spiritual transformation with the autonomous creation and manipulation of images.

Jung’s Descent into the Unconscious

In December 1913, believing himself to be threatened by a psychosis, Jung overcame his violent resistance to experiencing a series of waking fantasies, which would provide the raw material for the subsequent development of analytical psychology (Jung 1963). In these waking visions, triggered by the suspension of his rational critical faculties enabling conscious receptivity to unconscious psychic contents (Chodorow 1997; Jung 1916/1958), Jung descended to the Land of the Dead (which...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of European Culture and Languages, Religious Studies SectionUniversity of KentCanterburyUK