I believe it would be instructive for anyone coming to these pages for the first time and who is not familiar with the writings of Carl Jung to first read my chapter in Novelsmithing titled “The Psychology of Creativity.” It’s available for free on the Internet here.
This blog will document an experiment I’m conducting on myself. I’m not sure if I’ll stay with it, but I will keep my readers informed of the experiment as it progresses. The experiment involves what is known as C.G. Jung’s Active Imagination, which is a mental technique/activity wherein elements of the individual’s unconscious are translated into images and narrative as separate personifications. I will be working from both my dreams and meditation sessions that will involve the techniques of Active Imagination.
The reason I’m attempting this at all is that I believe I have been using a watered-down version of Active Imagination when I write both fiction and non-fiction. If that is true, I’ve been using it for the past forty years. Specifically, I have been doing a lot of writing just before I go to sleep in the evening, during my insomnia periods in the middle of the night, and when I first wake in the morning.
Why call this blog the “Iris of Time”? I was talking to my son in May 2010, and I mentioned the vision I had at the very beginning of my excursion through Active Imagination, when the Hermes-like character burst through the darkness and swept past me. I compared it to the TV series Stargate, where people returning from other worlds enter through a stargate, which is an entrance to a wormhole. The stargate is covered by an iris that opens and closes, thus permitting or preventing entry. This connection caused me to recalled that I have an unused domain name, IrisOfTime.com, for which I’d never found a use. I’d registered the domain after the phrase turning up in a dream of mine a couple of years ago, or at least that’s what I thought at first. A few days later, I remembered that I had coined that phrase when I was writing about Mary Shelley and her compatriots, Percy Shelley and Lord Byron, when she first came up with the idea for Frankenstein. I described all of them coming together with the following sentence: “And now the iris of time starts to shrink, closing about our young heroes, inexorably drawing them together as one visible event in space and time.” At any rate, I registered the domain name the next day, on January 18, 2008, but didn’t know if I’d ever develop a website there. Now, seems I’ve found the use for it intended all along.
If not executed properly, Active Imagination can be dangerous to the individual, and since I have no intention of doing harm to myself, at the first sign of trouble, I may drop the entire project. I will be using two texts with the experiment. The first is edited by Joan Chodorow and titled Jung on Active Imagination. It’s part of the Encountering Jung series published by Princeton University Press. The second is titled Encounters with the Soul: Active Imagination as Developed by C.G. Jung by Barbara Hannah. I’m also rereading Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections, and reading Jung’s The Red Book, which was published just recently for the first time.
So there you have it. That’s the plan.