The Active Imagination Archetype

    The Active Imagination archetype is an important principle by which the unconscious leads us down the inner path further from the egotistical experience of material existence. We can consider the Active Imagination archetype to be an important element in controlling proper spiritual development. I would even call it a barometer of one's spiritual state, since in the case of egotistical thinking the active imagination disappears from dreams. The Active Imagination archetype is quite easy to understand; through depersonalization it eliminates attributes stemming from attachment to the ego.

    The loss of ego triggers the Active Imagination archetype. It is therefore possible to achieve the principle of the conscious control of dreams even without a spiritual path and without an introvertive orientation of the consciousness. It is enough to surrender yourself as a personality, to forget about yourself and live for others. This explains the frequent occurrence of "flying dreams" with people in love who breathe only for the other, which is why "flying dreams" so often appear in adolescents lost in their first love. Once love turns into attachment and the ego returns as the unconditional master and oppressor, dreams in which the ego-free individual enjoyed moments of magical wingless flight also disappear. Naturally, I do not have in mind dreams about flights and falls filled with fear and emotions that reflect a disturbed psychological or physical state of health (heart problems, menopausal problems, bereavement, loss of status, etc.) Only controlled dreams, in which a person's consciousness is able to adapt to the dream setting, to his dream role or even go through a dream fully conscious, belong to the Active Imagination archetype.

    The archetype's images especially appear in the form of flying without any supportive means since this is one of the main restrictive factors in everyday life. Later other phenomena of this archetype are added to flying – sorcery, consciously controlled falls, the materialization of ideas, control of objects, emptying of the mind, change of the backdrop of a dream or correction of a "wrongly developing" dream. In the Active Imagination archetype, a person has the power to suppress the actual setting that the unconscious created and use his imagination to forge a setting of the required qualities. An individual who is active in his dreams in this way has found the power to model the setting of his own dreams. Even though flying is not the same as flying, the Active Imagination archetype deals with controlled, desired flying. Once flying becomes unwanted, unpleasant or forced in dreams, the experience is the linked to disturbed physical or mental health.

    A person's activity in the Active Imagination archetype seems to be entirely positive, though even here there are pitfalls that one should avoid. The biggest threat stems from imposing one's own will on other people, and from one's constantly present pride that increases with the slightest success not only within the Active Imagination archetype.


Scheme for the Active Imagination archetype:

  1. The understanding that the world is a mental phenomenon and as such we can influence it through thought
  2. The entrance to the mental world of dreams as a controlling aspect
  3. The flight of divided components of the soul (anima – animus)
  4. Help in eliminating a dual world view
  5. Unfamiliar imagination as help and a warning from the unconscious
  6. The flight of a united soul (anima + animus + child as a symbol of the union)
  7. The number 7 as the numerical guide through the archetype
  8. A deviation from forcing one's own will on one's surroundings
  9. Abandoning the material level of thought
  10. An awareness of one's own dreams (I know that I dream)
  11. Ridding oneself of the slightest hint of pride

    It is clear from the scheme that the Active Imagination archetype is a path and constantly developing process. It seems to me that it has no final destination and can be likened to a dance that is full of joyous movement without concern for a goal, or to a confluence with the divine stream of creation. 

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