During the two and one half years of practicing Active Imagination to channel Lumi Laura’s Carpathian Vampire, I came across several instances where the material went beyond what I consider my own personal boundaries for the presentation of violence and sex in literature intended for young people ages 16 to 25 but also possibly of interest for all adults. Some of her language in Chapter 3 “To Grandmother’s House” concerning her protagonist’s physical attributes seemed too crass. I let this pass. The first of the instances that truly bothered me was in Chapter 9 “An Unfortunate Encounter” where Ms Laura’s protagonist is attacked by a rapist. Her reaction to the attack and her subsequents actions, her violence and sexual aggressiveness, went far beyond what I would have written by my usual creative methods. Even in other areas of less concern, I didn’t agree with what she’d written. I started to edit it out, but then thought I should at least try to maintain the integrity of the process by honoring her perspective.
My apprehension dramatically escalated in Chapter 29 “The Pleasure Dome” when her protagonist was initiated in a vampire psychic location called Millennium Road. The problem was that this scene is reprised even more dramatically close to the end of the novel in Chapter 47 “Battle of Pivniţă de Vinuri.” I had pulled the scene in “The Pleasure Dome” back to something I thought I could tolerate only to learn that the even more graphic nature of “Battle of Pivniţă de Vinuri” demanded that the original material of “The Pleasure Dome” had to be reinstated. It seems that Ms Laura knew what she was doing all along. I felt that I was being played. I was concerned about my reputation as an author, and it was obvious that she didn’t see me as the ultimate authority on her story. This was when I decided to publish it under her name and not my own. Do I think that that absolves me of responsibility for the nature of the material in the novel? Obviously not. But still…
It seems that Jung provides guidance for practicing Active Imagination that really puts pressure on an author trying to use the technique for creative storytelling. We’re supposed to contact autonomous entities and let come may, but he also tells us to use our own moral judgement when bringing material from the Unconscious into the real world. Of course, the author isn’t bringing anything into the real world but the fictional world. Still, I contend that the author is morally responsible for a work’s content and to some extent its impact on the real world. But he tells us that we’re not responsible for what we produce under the influence of the Collective Unconscious. We don’t write it, the autonomous entities within our psychic space write it. All this presents some real difficulties for an author.
I capitulated. I pulled the material back as much as Ms Laura would tolerate and left it at that. But I’m still uneasy about it. I didn’t expect “my” vampire story to involve a ménage à trois either, but that’s another story… I think.
All this points out a rather curious aspect of today’s culture. We seem to have little restraint in what we will now present before the public. Some of our most popular protagonists are hitmen (Bourne Identity, Spy Games), cannibals (Hannibal Lecter), porn addicts (Don Jon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt), etc.