A primary tool I will be offering with the upcoming book Life Paths is the Archetype Dialogue Practice. This approach lets you use active imagination and journaling to engage directly with your unconscious archetypal parts-of-Self (personae) so you can get to know these ever present aspects of your own Self and so you can enlist the Strengths of your archetypal cast as Allies in the pursuit of your most integral goals or Life Dream.
The process of active imagination has been well described and exemplified by Carl Jung. Wikipedia explains:
As developed by Carl Jung between 1913 and 1916, active imagination is a meditation technique wherein the contents of one’s unconscious are translated into images, narrative or personified as separate entities. It can serve as a bridge between the conscious ‘ego’ and the unconscious and includes working with dreams and the creative self via imagination or fantasy. Jung linked active imagination with the processes of alchemy in that both strive for oneness and inter-relatedness from a set of fragmented and dissociated parts. This process ultimately resulted in the Red Book.
A simple method for engaging in active imagination yourself to explore or to meet & greet some of your own archetypal energies (or, synergies) is simply to close your eyes and imagine going down into a subterranean cave or down a set of stairs where your archetypal sub-selves can meet with you. Use this or another active contemplation technique to encounter or to observe these aspects of your psyche, then when you return to your usual conscious awareness, as if waking from a meaningful dream, you can record what you experienced or learned. You can also use any artistic media to represent this encounter or what you have learned from it.
I find it easy after long practice with this approach to simply “shift down” to a subconscious perspective and to journal a dialogue directly with my own archetypal aspects. It is important to be receptive and allowing; create an internal environment of acceptance and offer a safe space for the dialogue to occur. Note that the ‘voices’ you will encounter will feel naturally to be aspects of yourself; they are not external ‘entities’ (you can discontinue your session if these voices do feel external). You will know you are ‘in the zone’ when the alternating perspectives in your dialogue feel inwardly to be authentic and clearly distinct parts of Self.
So for this week’s pairing of Idealist archetype traits with the metaphor of life as a Long and Winding Road, allow me to demonstrate, and I invite you to encounter your own “inner Idealist”, too. Remember that your archetypal personae might manifest either as masculine or feminine images and they might present in either Strength (positive) or in Shadow (repressed or feeling suppressed) modalities.
LW: Calling Doña Jeanne [a combination of a female Don Quixote and Joan of Arc!; I used to address my fencing foil by this name]; come in, Doña!
DJ: We like how you animated and personified your blade in this way; ‘et la!’ we would say…
LW: Thanks. How are you doing these days?
DJ: We—Let’s say I—am always available. I wish lately you would allow me and the rest of us to shed light on why it is so important for you to maintain your trust, your faith. It is one thing to claim a faith but quite another to demonstrate the ‘faith of the mustard seed’, remember?
LW: Or of the Acorn?
DJ: Tell the story; have you ever found its message for you?
LW: Ok… One of my greatest mentors, Antoinette Paterson (Toni), loved oak. All her furniture, mostly from Salvation Army stores around Buffalo, NY, was made of oak. She once showed her young son an acorn while under an oak tree in a park, saying to him, “There is God!”
DJ: And the meaning, dear?
LW: I have always figured she meant that the Acorn, as the seed of the great Oak it will grow into, is a manifestation of the divine principle of Creation. Isn’t that the message?
DJ: But there is more, much more.
LW: What else then?
DJ: The Acorn IS GOD, as God IS the essence of Everything and No-thing—the Alpha and the Omega; Yin and Yang; beginning and goal achieved; inner and outer; Spirit and form; Sea and Foam. Do you see?
LW: I like the sea and foam image.
DJ: It is no metaphor. It Just IS! From out of the Formless, Form emerges. Then and Now, Once and Forever, IS. What does this imply for you?
LW: I look into the Acorn to see therein the Oak in full expression. It is not now and later but it is One. The Oak already exists in the Acorn. Is that what you mean?
DJ: Can you apply this to your recent displays of frustration and impatience?
LW: You mean re. the arduous, nebulous publishing process?
DJ: How can you bring about the bend in the Road you desire?
LW: By focusing on the End achieved.
LW: By further editing?
DJ: Not even!
LW: Hmm…just by allowing the process to be already complete from within?
LW: So when I dreamed last week that several large boxes of books were ready for delivery…
DJ: Precisely! On the Inner first; the Outer is a reflection. “All creation is finished in the lower worlds.” (Paul Twitchell)
LW: So trust, allowance, acceptance!
DJ: Love is All! Love is the acorn is the oak and all its roots and branches and leaves. Even its corpse is Love.
LW: Thank you.
DJ: God Bless!
LW: God bless you too, with Love.
I invite you to your own Idealist dialogue. I welcome all your insights and stories!