Jung pioneered the technique of active imagination, a process by which the ego engages with imagery and content generated by the unconscious. Active imagination can help us understand our dreams, and lead us into new psychic situations. On today’s episode, we share some personal examples of active imagination, discuss some suggestions of how to engage in it, and explore what active imagination has to do with snorkeling.
Here’s the dream we analyze: “I am about to light four candles on the dining room table, each in its separate candlestick. They are ivory-colored tapers and are about two-thirds consumed already. Two of the burned wicks are quite short and two are long, curling at the top. I am arrested by this fact as it seems significant and I’m somewhat afraid of getting it wrong somehow.”
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This collective work is amazing, thank you….
Could the candles simply represent 4 phases of life…youth, adulthood, middle age and old age. The first two have past. Now she fears lighting the candle of middle age and old age…but if she is to live this is inevitable. She must try to embrace the processes of life and trust in herself so that she can proceed and cope with the future
The curled wicks are youth and adulthood…the long are the future…acceptance maybe…the curled wick is possibly unlightable.
The long wicks have been lit before suggesting perhaps others have gone before her-patents etc.
The candles themselves perhaps represent the collective consciousness that aspect of us that is immortal in some sense…the clear light that is beyond space/time of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. The Dreamer could take solice in meditating on this aspect that is beyond the phases of incarnation. What is that that divides into the 2,3,4 etc.
I connected strongly with this dream and the meaning feels clear to me. The dreamer is arrested because the 2 long wicks remind her that in 2 years she’s going to be 50. The 4 candles represent the 4 decades that are fully gone. The candles are “about two thirds” consumed because her lifespan has been about two thirds consumed.
Sometimes we light candles for the dead.
The dreamer doesn’t light the candles because she is afraid she is getting it wrong somehow. I’m imagining her ego doesn’t want to light candles for her ‘dead’ decades; it wants to defend against acknowledging the loss by having a sense of wonder instead. But her unconscious wants her to mourn and to acknowledge the weight of the upcoming half century mark.