Carl Jung believed that active imagination is a channel for messages from the unconscious.
In December 1913, Jung first experienced what he was later to call active imagination. However, he did not talk about these experiences until twelve years later, when, in May and June 1925, he “spoke for the first time of his inner development” at two sessions of a series of weekly seminars he was giving in Zurich. The contents of these lectures were not published until 1989, but a partial account of these experiences was given in 1962 by Aniela Jaffé in Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections, which she largely wrote. This account is the foundation myth, the charter, for active imagination.
In 1913, according to this account, Jung, profoundly distressed at his break with Freud, began to experiment with different ways to enter into his own imaginings. As James Hillman describes it, “When there was nothing else to hold to, Jung turned to the personified images of interior vision. He entered into an interior drama, took himself into an imaginative fiction and then, perhaps, began his healing — even if it has been called his breakdown.
In this imaginal world, Jung began to confront and question the figures who appeared to him; and, to Jung’s surprise, those imaginal persons replied to him in turn. “Near the steep slope of a rock,” Jung says, “I caught sight of two figures, an old man with a white beard and a beautiful young girl. I summoned up my courage and approached them as though they were real people, and listened attentively to what they told me... (Click title for more)