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Reply To: The New Old Age” with Monica Martinez, Ph.D.”



Good to hear you are writing a book about active imagination!

I came to Jung through Campbell, many decades ago, and fell in love with the depth of the ideas Jung expresses in his writing. Much like Campbell’s work, at the end of almost every paragraph of Jung (or sometimes even just a single sentence), I need a moment to sit and and simmer for a few minutes to absorb what he just said – and, also like Campbell, Jung is one of those rare authors that, when I re-read something I might have read several times in the past, I find new thoughts and ideas unfolding.

However, one of my frustrations with Jung at first was that, though he refers to active imagination a lot, he doesn’t really describe how to do it. For that, I had to go elsewhere, and eventually discovered useful works in English by Robert Johnson, Mary Watkins, Robert Bosnak, and others that offer ideas on the process  but the closest I came in Jung’s writing were references to his confrontation with the unconscious in Memories, Dreams, and Reflections.

That changed when I discovered his Dream Analysis: Notes of the Seminar Given in 1928 – 1930 by C.G Jung, and the translation of Children’s Dreams: Notes from the Seminar Given in 1936 – 1940. Between the two, that’s nearly 1200 pages of intense, thorough training psychiatrists in working with dreams over the course of these two multi-year courses. They are given dreams to study, and then in each session he poses a series of questions to them, offers guidance, and takes their questions. There are so many other useful works I’ve studied on dreamwork, but, at least in my experience, none so valuable as these.

But not everyone can read Jung. Though there’s more to choose from today than there used to be, I believe it’s so important to make active imagination more accessible.