A brief excursus into James Hillman’s psychology of archetypes and the Imaginal
We call this world the vale of soul making; the soul, Psyche, drawing her patterns and images before descending into her next incarnation in this world. The world is then seen as the stage where the Soul can become her true self. The journey will take her through the challenging images she has chosen to the sole purpose of reminding herself of her true calling – which is to love. This is a process of two: the person incarnating their life on one hand, and this other something, the Dàimon, calling her back to her mission, which seems to have been forgotten. This is the time where unease, disease, or troubled events shake us from that daily, ongoing sleep we seem to have fallen into. Thus, challenging events are seen as a chance to regain consciousness from the apathic diversion off one’s path.
Just like Psyche. The mythological maiden, having lost her godly lover Eros, had to face many challenges before she could be reunited to him. The mythological motive is a recurring one, as in the Nordic tale “East of the moon, West of the sun”. It is the tale we all know, of the wake-up call, leading the girl to overcome many obstacles in order to get back to her true calling – which is always, in many forms and aspects, Love. The same way, we are suddenly called back, shaken and waken by an apparently less than friendly event which forces us to leave the daily routine we had given into and chase what has been lost. Because, just like the fair maiden Psyche, we are made for Love. The same pattern occurs in the shamanic sickness, as one would call this in the Eastern traditions of Siberia and other Asian areas. In Plato‘s words, it is the voice of the Dàimon, sitting on your shoulder and reminding you of your calling. The acorn, as would the American Psychoanalist James Hillman call it, bearing the fate of the fully grown oak within its tiny shell. So we are acorns who forgot their true essence of oaks.
All these theories and traditions seem to agree on one single perspective: that we all come into this world with a fate, a vocation, a calling that we need to accomplish and fulfil in order to fully achieve our potential. This sometimes seems larger than the actual person being the acorn, and yet, the calling finds it way to have its voice heard. All disease and unease in one’s life would then be pointing to the fact that one is resisting – or not seing this goal or vocation.
This is where mythical thinking comes to help.
Because we all put on a myth on our own life’s stage, and we set ourself free upon identifing, recognising and acknowledging this myth. It is from Hillman’s learning teaching as well as those Eastern mystical traditions we mentioned above, that Selene Calloni Williams founds the teaching and practices of her Imaginal Academy, where I have been enrolled since 2020. Her goal is a call to all of us, to acknowledge and follow that good dàimon which is the happy fate of our vocation. And of course, joy, the inner vocation of every man – Calloni Williams, a student and teacher of Integral and Shamanic Yoga, loves to quote yogi Sri Aurobindo to us students. “Let all thyself be bliss. This is thy goal”. She also adds: “Sammasati!“, which is the last world the enlightened One, the Buddha is said to have whispered upon his own death. “Sammasati! Remember who you are!”