It’s been a few months since I’ve quit practicing Active Imagination and published the results as two books:
- Carpathian Vampire: …when you’ve never known love… (pen name Lumi Laura)
- Story Alchemy: The Search for the Philosopher’s Stone of Storytelling
Carpathian Vampire took two years to write using Active Imagination, but Story Alchemy took at most two months since it was the result of methods developed during writing Carpathian Vampire, although I did write Story Alchemy using Active Imagination. I took the preliminary methods uncovered as starter material for Active Imagination sessions where I wrote Story Alchemy. Of course, before any of this, I practiced Active Imagination for a year to learn what I could of the process and documented that material here. During all three years, I documented what was happening; however, I didn’t document the Active Imagination session here concerning Carpathian Vampire. Those sessions of course are documented in the novel.
The purpose of this post is to talk some about the impact all this has had on me. The most profound effect seems to be in my relationship to my dreams. First of all, I seem to be more assertive while dreaming. I exercise a stronger will when interacting with the psychic beings I encounter in them. Also the nature of the dreams seems to be somewhat different in that they cover different psychic material. Not sure how to characterize the difference except that the subject matter seems to be more adult. Perhaps I’m dealing more with material from the Collective Unconscious instead of the Shadow.
The largest effect is in my relationship with the dream as I am coming awake. I find that I have much more control over the content of the dream and am able to shape what is happening as I become more aware that I’m dreaming and waking. I guide the events and shape the outcome until I realize that I’m no longer dreaming but fantasizing. The resulting fantasies can go on for as much as an hour post-dream. They become a story where I’m an active participant, the protagonist actually.
Another affect is that during my daily routine I seems to have access to different modes of behavior that I haven’t had before. I recognize modes of behavior available to me that I’d not noticed in the past and understand how to put them into action. I’m both more assertive and functional. I seem to have tapped into a social resource not available to me in the past.
I would characterize the impact as a demonstration of what Jung called the Transcendent Function. I’m more integrated with my hidden resources buried in both the Shadow and the Collective Unconscious. These new behavior modes seem to be both more usable and less trouble causing than what I experienced during the five years of Freudian therapy I underwent from 1987-92. That process at times seemed to put me at direct odds with circumstances and individuals in the real world. The conflict felt forced, unnatural. But then I was much younger and going through midlife. I was also writing a novel (The Escape of Bobby Ray Hammer) on nights and weekends. Still, I wonder how that therapy would have progresses if it had been Jungian rather than Freudian. I felt beat up during and after that therapy. I don’t know but what it caused as much trauma as it resolved.