Week Six: Companions on the Path of Individuation

In my experience, there are certain imaginal figures who can accompany you for many years on your path. You may already have encountered some of these companions, and you will likely meet others along the way. Sometimes they’re like best friends—someone to share a laugh or a disappointment with, someone who’s interested in the same kinds of things that you are, and who can point out really interesting sights along the highway or in the grocery store.

Others are like older, wiser friends who will ask the questions you don’t know need asking, and who won’t let you get away with evasion. Still others are Guides with a capital G … like Merlin/Gandalf is for me. When they speak, you listen.

During this next week, continue to work with whatever imaginal figures have been most important to you, either during this course or from previous work. Do at least two sessions of work—either active imagination, “bridging the imaginal boundary,” or another method of your choice. Take careful note of your dreams, and see if you can link your conversations, reveries, and dream images to your path of individuation. Come to class prepared, if you’d like, to share ways in which your work with the imaginal world is helping you with your psychological growth.

We’ll talk about how our imaginal companions can help us along that road.

Here are some suggested readings for you:

One of the many reasons to keep a dream journal over the years is that you’ll be able to look back at your dreams from years past with entirely new eyes. It’s amazing, sometimes, what different messages you’ll receive from the same dream, and also to see how the same dream themes change as you do. This post, “Galahad and the Beanstalk” (some of you have seen it before), talks about two dreams, many years apart, that show how my own individuation has progressed during that time.

Here’s one of the prize-winning essays from our recent “Jung in the Heartland” conference writing contest. Lola Wilcox submitted this fascinating story of her encounter with Turtle.

In class I’ll share some quotes from Robert Romanyshyn, Carl Jung, and others that pertain to our discussion last week about the importance of our work of “witnessing” the generational pain and trauma that come to us through our families.