Vis Imaginativa: The Power of Imagination in the Theory of Magic and its Relationship to The Jungian Collective Unconscious

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“Alchemy provides the psychology of the unconscious with a meaningful historical basis."

Academic discussions of magic are controversial. Occultism is often viewed as deviant. What is forgotten is the huge influence of magic on modern chemistry, medicine, and psychology. Our rational and skeptical modern world has dismissed magic as superstition; it is difficult (if not impossible) to prove the existence of God, ghosts, and demons scientifically.

Carl Jung once noted that “rationalism and superstition are complementary. It is a psychological rule that the brighter the light, the blacker the shadow; in other words, the more rationalistic we are in our conscious minds, the more alive becomes the spectral world of the unconscious.”In popular culture, there is still a thriving interest in ghosts, demons, and other sorts of undead creatures like zombies and vampires, as well as aliens. Scientific method has been established as the way to “truth”, yet these irrational constructs of the imagination have not disappeared. Indeed, throughout history, the more rationalism is established as the basis for society, backlash occurs in the revival of religious and spiritual movements.
I would like to take a step back from “superstitious” assumptions and focus on imagination and magic, particularly on the relationship of these concepts to Jung’s ideas about the collective unconscious. Thinking about D. P. Walker’s concept of vis imaginativa, I hope to demonstrate the relationship between the philosophy of magic and some basic Jungian psychoanalytic ideas.

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A profound and essential connecting the dots. Will go re-read some select stuff, including the Red Book and return with my odd alchemical gold doublons…

“I indignantly answered, “Do you call light what we men call the worst darkness? Do you call day night?”
To this my soul spoke a word that roused my anger, “My light is not of this world.”
I cried, “I know of no other world!”
The soul answered, “Should it not exist because you know nothing of it?”
― C.G. Jung, The Red Book: Liber Novus

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