November 2012 Seminar - Poetry and Active Imagination

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November 2012 Seminar - Poetry and Active Imagination

Postby treegod » 31 Oct 2012, 23:13

Murky Pool
I look down into the deep murky depths;
This is my subconscious.
Every so often something surfaces.
Movement disturbs and dislodges
Something from the bottom.
It bubbles up and makes itself known.
And there we have it,
Poetry.

Recently I began reading up on C.G. Jung’s ideas about active imagination, a creative way to bridge the gap between conscious and unconscious parts of the psyche. It brought to mind my years of writing poetry, and the inner process it allowed me to express. Also, in recent years, I’ve been involved with various art projects, especially as a journey into the imagination, or Imagi-Nation as one group called it. My own experience of psychology and art has been informal, and in fact I am currently on a course of psychosynthesis, so what I present here is some of my own creative experience and some of the material of Jung that I have been reading.

Very early on I recorded my insight into poetry and inspiration in the following six principles. Even now they carry relevance, and I see some parallels with active imagination too.
- Poetry is created by the formless ore of Universal Inspiration, which is filtered and forged through Personal Experience.

- Inspired poetry is an organic product that is made intuitively, instinctively and spontaneously, so the most inspired poetry cannot be forced nor rationalized.

- It doesn’t matter whether a poem is good or bad; as long as it’s expressed that’s enough to make it good.

- Because part of poetry is from Personal Experience it remains to some degree a subjective experience. Therefore let each person find their own interpretations.

- There are traditions and practices that help inspire and structure poetry in different ways. Whilst these are not essential to write good poetry they do exist as powerful tools to enhance the poetic experience.

- Being a poet is not about being able to write poetry all the time. It’s about accepting that inspiration is irregular.
As Druids we look for Awen, or “inspiration”, not something that can be forced, but encountered every now and then, something that has a life of its own, that arises when it is needed, whether we want it or not. There is a Cauldron lying deep down within us, brewing and fermenting until something stirs and germinates, growing out of its dark bed and reaching for the light, for manifestation.

In the early days of my encountering Paganism I resolved to do something artistic, something creative and expressive, something that would complement my more intellectual pursuit into the many philosophies and belief systems I would investigate. I would meditate and cogitate about new ideas, digesting them and searching for their nutrition. These ideas would “ferment” within me and later would seek expression, for which I’m glad I chose poetry.

I felt that as I investigated and experimented with many different beliefs and ideas that I was planting seeds within me. These seeds would later erupt in words and images, often without my meaning to. Often a few words would spontaneously come to me and I would make notes of them, maybe on a scrap of paper, perhaps on my mobile phone; anywhere convenient for me, since I’d usually be doing something where I wasn’t really in a good position to write anything (inspiration doesn’t have to be a convenience, lol). I could be working in a shop, or doing some gardening somewhere, or else out and about. Sometimes the poems would come coherently, and each line would come in order. Other times there’d be a dizzying array of words and phrases that I’d later have to edit and put into coherent form.

I didn’t do poems of rhyme and meter, because when I did I found them too restricting and forced. I soon developed a style of “poetic prose”, where sentences would be divided into lines, and the language wouldn’t be my usual day-to-day language but poetic in its expression. I didn’t have to be restricted by grammar or style, because this wasn’t about aesthetics or their comprehensiveness but simply to express something that wasn’t fully rational or so subject to conscious effort.
“It is not important for the picture to be technically or aesthetically satisfying, but merely for the fantasy to have free play and for the whole thing to be done as well as possible.” C.G. Jung
In writing poetry, and even editing their form, I didn’t just employ rational capacities to give them order and meaning, I often had to intuit the sense of what was being written. It wasn’t about what my conscious “thought” was right, but whether it felt right. This was the key. I think we’re often led to believe that art is about aesthetics, about what is somehow pleasing to the eye, that it has a merely cosmetic function, which can be the case, but I think that much art has a deeper significance, that the rational-aesthetic sense can’t appreciate nor duplicate.

Languages have their roots in the primal screams, grunts, gurgles and calls of our animal ancestors. So words have instinctive (pre-rational) as well as intellectual dimensions, yet they can also be intuitive, conveying a trans-rational meaning. The mystics say that the spiritual experience is ineffable, that words are poor conduits to convey it properly; perhaps because we understand words at an intellectual, dictionary level. All mystics have also used words to convey or express their experiences, knowing full well the limits of language. Those with “eyes to see” and “ears to hear” may be able to see what is hidden within or between the words.

Writing poetry has been about expression, and one of the most important things was not to worry about how “good” or “bad” it was, because this would impose conscious expectations of what the poem is “supposed to be”. The purpose was to connect with something that didn’t neatly fit the limits of what I could consciously think about. Although the final product would be shaped by consciousness, its source would be unconscious, and so uncensored.
“The method of ‘active imagination,’ hereinafter described, is the most important auxiliary for the production of those contents of the unconscious which lie, as it were, immediately below the threshold of consciousness and, when intensified, are most likely to irrupt spontaneously into the conscious mind.” C. G. Jung, The Transcendent Function
Imagine my surprise when, with this experience behind me, I discovered that Jung had used this with other forms of art and had called it “active imagination”, a psychotherapy to bridge the gap between conscious and unconscious parts of the psyche; in other words, to facilitate wholeness of the psyche. It was something I had been doing all along, something I had discovered for myself.
(1) Consciousness possesses a threshold intensity which its contents must have attained, so that all elements that are too weak remain in the unconscious.

(2) Consciousness, because of its directed function, exercises an inhibition (which Freud calls censorship) on all incompatible material, with the result that it sinks into the unconscious.

(3) Consciousness constitutes the momentary process of adaption, whereas the unconscious contains not only the forgotten material of the individual’s own past, but all the inherited behaviour traces constituting the structure of the mind.

(4) The unconscious contains all the fantasy combinations which have not yet attained the threshold intensity, but which in the course of time and under suitable conditions will enter the light of consciousness.
C.G. Jung, The transcendent function
Permit me to use an image: the conscious has built a dam to keep the unconscious at bay. Always there are little trickles and bursts of unconscious material when the pressure rises. Perhaps the pressure becomes too great and it overwhelms the conscious, but there are ways of “easing” the pressure so as to allow the unconscious some free expression. Art is one such method, at least in the sense that it is used with active imagination.

Through art, conscious and unconscious can learn to cooperate with each other; the unconscious can generate material that the conscious wouldn’t normally accept, and the conscious can integrate a wider psychological life. The fragmented psyche can makes creative steps towards wholeness.
“Here too a product is created which is influenced by both conscious and unconscious, embodying the striving of the unconscious for the light and the striving of the conscious for substance.” C.G. Jung
In one of the books I use for containing my poems I wrote a note at the beginning about poetry, written a few months ago. I share it here with you for posterity:

Poetry, the weaving and expression of words into meaningful form, has been a real blessing in my life. Where I could not express myself in life I had a little space for it in poetry. Here I had a mirror, a reflection in words, of me, my inner processes and the new perspectives to embrace and grapple with. I would consume and digest new ideas, new philosophies, and poetry represents an integration of that.

They are my experiments too. By taking on new ideas that were or are not part of my usual thinking or beliefs I had space in poetry to suspend disbelief and step into the unfamiliar and even the terrifying.

First and foremost, it would seem, the theme of nature dominates, and my relationship with it. Nature has always been my guiding star, but underneath all it is my soul, its journey, its evolution, its adventure through life.


The Soul’s Tapestry
I see a tapestry,
Woven out of threads from the past
In the loom of the present
And offered to the future.
It is worn and neglected when I discover it,
So I tenderly pick it up
To peer at the details.
It makes little sense
In its worn and fragmented state,
Each thread seems to blur into another.
So then I carefully trace each thread
Of each fragment,
Following how they weave,
Making sense of where they go
And untangling where they are indistinct.
Slowly and bit-by-bit
They are returned as a whole
Making the picture more clearly seen and known.
This is the tapestry of my soul.
But I have not finished there
For the weaving goes ever on.

Thank you for reading, and I look forward to this month's discussion! :)

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References and links

Jung on Active Imagination - a collection of Jung's work connected with active imagination.

My artistic work: http://jakefishoutofwater.wordpress.com/ - describes the journey of Jake Fish through Imagi-Nation, also includes the current adventures of St. John de Monmouth through The Realms Beyond the Sea. And I also share my work on my conlang Alahithian.

A selection of my earlier poetry, not yet all published: http://www.theblackbirdsperch.wordpress.com

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Re: November 2012 Seminar - Poetry and Active Imagination

Postby Dathi » 01 Nov 2012, 12:42

Heck treegod, this seminar is pure platinum, i.e. every atom is noble. I've read through this about 4 times looking for a logical discussion start point. From whence comes poetic Awen?

This bit strikes a chord.
Permit me to use an image: the conscious has built a dam to keep the unconscious at bay. Always there are little trickles and bursts of unconscious material when the pressure rises. Perhaps the pressure becomes too great and it overwhelms the conscious, but there are ways of “easing” the pressure so as to allow the unconscious some free expression. Art is one such method, at least in the sense that it is used with active imagination.
So, you are saying that Awen is a bit like a vindaloo washed down by several pints and finished off with tiramasu with clotted cream!? All the ingredients are there (in the unconscious / belly) and repeat on you in fits and starts, often when least expected.

Odd things can trigger the flow of inspiration. I often find that my morning shower is my most imaginative / creative part of the day. Somewhere I read that the rythmic stream of water on the head galvanises the brain cells into action.

I like your 6 principles. Just wish school English teachers would work by these.

Also, reading your blog, that poem about Ken is really powerful.

Congrats, and looking forward to see how this seminar plays out. I'd say there could be some surprising twists and turns.

Dathi
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Seminar. September 2010: African Druids? Sangomas, Inyangas http://www.druidry.org/board/dhp/viewto ... =2&t=36777

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Seminar. October 2012: Druids & Bushcraft viewtopic.php?f=326&t=41256

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Re: November 2012 Seminar - Poetry and Active Imagination

Postby treegod » 01 Nov 2012, 13:49

Heck treegod, this seminar is pure platinum, i.e. every atom is noble. I've read through this about 4 times looking for a logical discussion start point. From whence comes poetic Awen?[
Thank you very much. :D
So, you are saying that Awen is a bit like a vindaloo washed down by several pints and finished off with tiramasu with clotted cream!? All the ingredients are there (in the unconscious / belly) and repeat on you in fits and starts, often when least expected.
There are lots of images to use to describe the unconscious. If all those ingredients help you understand a bit about the unconscious then use it. :-)
Odd things can trigger the flow of inspiration. I often find that my morning shower is my most imaginative / creative part of the day. Somewhere I read that the rythmic stream of water on the head galvanises the brain cells into action.


My productive moments were when I had time to think (two years in a shop, another two years as a gardener, that was a lot of thinking time). I had a lot of "inner space" just to let my brain do its own thing, and every-so-often something would "spark" and I'd have to find a scrap of paper or even use my mobile to write something down. A few times it's happened that I've not been able to sleep because my brains working overtime, but what calms it down is writing a poem, then I can get to sleep. The unconscious won't rest until it has had its say! :D

Also "random" phrases that appear in the brain can be a useful starting point. I've had a few that (A recent example was "I believe in Dalriada", which was hanging around for quite a while, and only recently I thought of using it for a poem). Once these phrases have become poems the phrases don't seem to pop up so much, if at all. It's like there's something trying to get out, and once it's expressed it doesn't need to be so present any more.
I like your 6 principles. Just wish school English teachers would work by these.
That would be quite a revolution! (almost wrote revelation, which could be appropriate too, lol) Words can seem so stifling sometimes, so dry and intellectual, but there's something quite interesting about them. It would be interesting for children to play with words, aside from more structured education. :)
Also, reading your blog, that poem about Ken is really powerful.
Yes, sitting in a park, waiting for my job interview and along came a homeless drunkard, who sat next to me. Didn't get the job, but had one of the most interesting conversations in my life. And inspiration for a poem.

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Re: November 2012 Seminar - Poetry and Active Imagination

Postby mark the compost elf » 01 Nov 2012, 14:17

I like your seminar :) I'm not too sure that there is much more to say, a myriad of ideas and forms floating around in my mind, but, not as questions, more like as nails, just awaiting the right piece of wood to lodge in.....

I must admit I've been in a poetry mood the last couple of days and I'm waiting for the right thread to pull to unravel the poem and let it spill out on to paper - all I have at the moment is 'and swaying oak leaves, yellowed like butter dipped in powdered rust' I'll have to see where that goes.... :)
From decay comes growth, fungal or otherwise. All stages of death are filled with life and life to be. Creation is made up of ugly beauty that is gorgeous to those who can feel as well as they can see.

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Re: November 2012 Seminar - Poetry and Active Imagination

Postby Sciethe » 02 Nov 2012, 00:16

Treegod. I'm liking this a lot, I'm with the others, this seminar is so comprehensive and psychologically erudite that it is smooth like an egg. Expect that incubation is going to be needed before the thoughts on it begin to flow.
A personal perspective as an offering:
I really like your Jungian hydraulic image of the poetic unconscious, reminiscent of the Freudian concept of libido. Funnily enough I was recently wasting my time reading Stephen Fry's 'The Hippopotamus' - and I quote:
"it doesn't fall in gleaming sheets from the bar of heaven. You want poetry, first you have to muck in with humanity, you have to fight with paper and pencil for weeks and weeks until your head bleeds: verses aren't channelled into your head by angels or muses or sprites of nature."
I think that this is also true. Except that chanelling actually does happen. I understand so well what you say about the muse striking - when you only have berry juice and your jeans to write on; and I also know that educating myself in forms until my head bled really helped the muse to flow. Never mind the fact that I hardly use those forms when I write, it still seems to help. What S.F. says about mucking in with humanity is true too, as you get older you know more, seen more, there's more to say.
Thanks Treegod
Blessings
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Re: November 2012 Seminar - Poetry and Active Imagination

Postby treegod » 02 Nov 2012, 08:45

Good quote from Stephen Fry, there. :)

I think that creativity is "channelled", but from within. And it isn't an easy process, it's really a searching a digging deep down and planting things, and then waiting without expectations. But this process isn't "channelled into your head by angels or muses or sprites of nature". Quite often it would come spontaneously, so I didn't have to purposefully sit down to write a poem, but it was always because I was contemplating something, really "chewing over" an issue or concept. Then a poem would come, without me meaning to.

"Mucking in with humanity" is a good one too. It reminds me of Jung's quote above where (to paraphrase) "the unconscious strives for light and the conscious strives for substance." It's a process, a real grappling that produces poetry, not "magical inspiration from somewhere out there-up there."

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Re: November 2012 Seminar - Poetry and Active Imagination

Postby Bracken » 02 Nov 2012, 11:46

Hi, treegod.

Thanks for a very timely seminar. I'm doing some work on art and healing at the mo, (what do I mean, 'at the mo'? I'm always doing work on art and healing), and this has brought back some fundemental ideas to centre stage.

I loved this.
As Druids we look for Awen, or “inspiration”, not something that can be forced, but encountered every now and then, something that has a life of its own, that arises when it is needed, whether we want it or not.
This gives the process of creation almost a personality of its own, and I'm thinking about the way that in ancient Greece and ancient Rome, creativity was actually seen as a Spirit that came to the artist to help them out with the creation. I'm just going to do a shameless plug for my own seminar on art and personal transformation here as I think it's so closely linked to yours. And I'm even going to quote myself.
In the opening paragraph of Art as Medicine, Shaun McNiff says, “Whenever illness is associated with loss of soul, the arts emerge spontaneously as remedies, soul medicine. Pairing art and medicine stimulates the creation of a discipline through which imagination treats itself and recycles its vitality back to daily living.” Imagine that. A self-regulating system of healing that we all possess, but which many of us actively suppress by judging ourselves as being ‘not good enough at’ to even let happen. I think that is very interesting.
For me, this is one of the most important functions of our time in the Bardic grove. So often people will post here saying that they aren't 'poets or storytellers' so they don't feel a connection with 'that part of' the Bardic work. But for me, art making is just so much more than delivering an accomplished poem or story.

You absolutely hit the nail on the head for me when you quote Jung saying that the art work produced doesn't have to be 'technically or aesthetically satisfying'. It's in the making, and then in the looking/listening/engaging with the art work that healing is found, even of that's not your intention. The question is, as always, how to show the world that this is the case? :-)

We've got our work cut out for us. Fight the good fight. And once again, thank you.

By the way, in writing this I reminded myself of an excellent TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert on creativity. It's under 20 mins and well worth a watch.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86x-u-tz0MA
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Re: November 2012 Seminar - Poetry and Active Imagination

Postby Sciethe » 03 Nov 2012, 12:45

Hi Bracken, I like this comment,
You absolutely hit the nail on the head for me when you quote Jung saying that the art work produced doesn't have to be 'technically or aesthetically satisfying'. It's in the making, and then in the looking/listening/engaging with the art work that healing is found, even of that's not your intention. The question is, as always, how to show the world that this is the case?
One of the things that I've noticed, and heard a number of people say is how they're often at their most creative when coping with a problem, or unhappy. The wellspring of creativity is there for those that realise that they can drink from it, and bring a solution or an explanation into reality for themselves.

I find that there is another side though, and that is the performance aspect. Jung's words about the way that others view our outpourings can only apply to the fruits of a healing process- satisfying and healing to ourselves, but not necessarily for public viewing and criticism. The work often needs to go through a later process of knocking into performance shape so that the point is taken and appreciated by the audience. At its very best work that has gone through both processes speaks to the readers and listeners, feeding and watering souls and bringing healing into the outer world. I think that the very best poets are wounded, self-healing healers, and technical writers both.
Sciethe
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Re: November 2012 Seminar - Poetry and Active Imagination

Postby treegod » 03 Nov 2012, 15:50

I've been fortunate to share my poems "raw" and yet people still enjoyed them and found something to connect with. By raw I mean that I tailored them to my own tastes without regard for what other people thought.

My poems have always been primarily for me, so even if they hadn't been received in such a positive way it wouldn't have mattered, they expressed part of me that they needed to. I could say that people liking my poetry is a bonus, but at the same time it's has been good to get recognition as well, that people can somehow connect to my poetry as well as me.

I've heard a lot of people say "I can't write poetry" and to me it seems it comes from an overly critical viewpoint, that somehow there is supposed to be a "proper way" to create art. I think that comes later, if at all. For me it's been important to give myself over to pure personal expression, with no expectations of appreciation by other people.

With more experience and confidence we can afford to be less "selfish" with our art. In psychological terms the first bridge is between conscious and unconscious (and the wholeness of the psyche), the next to build is between psyche and the world in creative and beneficial ways.

For me being an artist is a basic part of human nature, that we are essentially creative and inventive, and that, as Sciethe says, we can find creative solutions and new viewpoints into our lives.

Bracken, I think I'll have a thorough read of your seminar now. :)

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Re: November 2012 Seminar - Poetry and Active Imagination

Postby Sciethe » 03 Nov 2012, 19:57

Treegod, yes. We have accord, your explanation prevails:
With more experience and confidence we can afford to be less "selfish" with our art. In psychological terms the first bridge is between conscious and unconscious (and the wholeness of the psyche), the next to build is between psyche and the world in creative and beneficial ways.
You've made my point better than I could. Form is not essential, only one of the things that can help. Curious now, forgive me if I slip off to look at Bracken's seminar for a bit. :D
Sciethe
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Re: November 2012 Seminar - Poetry and Active Imagination

Postby treegod » 07 Nov 2012, 18:22

Things that have helped me "produce" poetry...

- The Flow
The most common, which was that every-so-often a whole poem would bubble up in my mind, sometimes in fragments that I later put together, other times in order. This usually happened when I was deep in thought about something deeply "philosophical", and when I least expected it it flowed.

- "random" phrases
Sometimes, instead of a whole poem, a phrase or image would come to me. Normally the conscious would just "swat them away", but if you pay attention to them then sometimes they would stand out as "this is a poem". Write it down then use it as a springboard to more words.

- sleepless nights
I got back to sleep after writing down whatever had been flying round my mind keeping me awake. The unconscious doesn't care if you have to get up at 5am the next morning, it has to say something.

- The Celtic Way
Lay down blindfolded in a dark room with a rock on your belly. I tried this (or something similar) once or twice, but with all the above it wasn't really necessary.

- just sitting down and saying "I'm going to write a poem now"
Didn't work very well. I did it once, but ended up writing a poem about "why I can't write poetry". It was a big help for me in my decision not to force poetry.

- Haiku series
I've done them on certain themes, like the Ogham, Druidcraft tarot, Animal oracle and some others. I like haiku for their simplicity and compactness. To get information about a subject (one of the Ogham) and try to boil down the essence into three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables each, this is an interesting exercise for something "artficial".

Drawings:

- I found painting a bit difficult, but found a trick that worked, which was to write a story or journey. As I follow the character through their journey I can take images and
It's difficult for me to draw something "out of the blue." Jake Fish and St. John de Monmouth's journeys can be found here: http://jakefishoutofwater.wordpress.com/

- I did one drawings recently from an image that came to me, of a lit up city. I haven't finished it yet, but when I do I want to try more of that. And just with pencil.

- I'm also getting into photography, which has been interesting.

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Re: November 2012 Seminar - Poetry and Active Imagination

Postby DaRC » 08 Nov 2012, 14:59

Treegod thanks for such a great seminar :tiphat:
- it seems your perspective has managed to crystallise many of my own. Even though the mead of poetic inspiration seems to be missing at the moment (for a number of reasons) I am aware that the compost pile is constantly being added to.

I tend to think of the subconscious as my inner compost heap; all the stuff gets put in there.
It then feeds the conscious garden, and I often think my real garden probably reflects my conscious mind - striving to be ordered but somewhat over-crammed with plants, a little bit neglected and messy but with moments of excellence.

I think there is a balance between the discipline of writing and waiting for the inspiration. It reminds me of a visitation in meditation, during one of the Gwersi...
I was in an Autumnal grove, all fallen leaves and low light levels when between two tree trunks a light appeared. The trunks seemed to move apart and there was the sound of rumbling and a blowing of leaves. A large wain appeared - a large, square hut like wagon on many small wheels# - rapidly running into the grove to stop in a shower of leaves and curling mist. The wain is that dark green that Holly has and is full of the deep tones that the Weald's marsh / fens have. As the doorway opened outwards, becoming a stepped ramp, Frige in all her beauty & wonder steps forth to say
"If you want to be a writer then WRITE."
She gives a meaningful stare, the one that Granny Weatherwax would've used to calm troublesome trolls.
Just as quickly the doorway raises and the Wain rumbles away...

Finally, I also love Haiku (I've produced a day to day account of the Tour de France for the past 7 years) but have developed more recently into a Waka-Englyn type of 5 lines with 33 syllables which allows more development of ideas.


#I guess similar to Sheelba's house in the Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar series which took inspiration to an extent from Baba Yaga's house and was in turn appropriated by Terry Pratchett for the Luggage.
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Re: November 2012 Seminar - Poetry and Active Imagination

Postby treegod » 08 Nov 2012, 20:00

Treegod thanks for such a great seminar :tiphat:
- it seems your perspective has managed to crystallise many of my own.
Now, that's what I call confirmation. :)
I tend to think of the subconscious as my inner compost heap; all the stuff gets put in there.
It then feeds the conscious garden, and I often think my real garden probably reflects my conscious mind - striving to be ordered but somewhat over-crammed with plants, a little bit neglected and messy but with moments of excellence.
It's amazing the number of metaphors that can be made. I think the psyche has so many dimensions and dynamics to it that there are many images to represent it

I live on almost 40 ha. of land, and I don't know 90%+ of it. There's the houses and buildings, there's garden ("civilised" or "conscious" areas). There are the semi-civilised bits, sort of "farm" where humans and nature interact, and then there's the completely unknown forest. Every-so-often I go down into the forest, explore new and old paths, maybe create some others, seeing what there is, but still not doing anything to it. And this image brings to mind one possible perspective of how to see the psyche, that there are "civilised" zones, and "uncivilised" zones with a life of its own, and grades in between. The more you explore the area the more accessible it becomes, the more familiar you become of all its hidden features. Even then it changes so you never see it the same twice, and then there are hidden areas that still surprise, no matter how thoroughly you may look.
"If you want to be a writer then WRITE."
Very good advice. :)

I'll tell you something about the creation of this seminar: I must have written 2 or 3 different versions of it before settling on this. The information hasn't changed much but the structure has. It reminds me of some poems I've written where the phrases come in fragments, and not in order, my job is then to put it into the right order, which is both intuitive and intellectual.

Except a fragmented seminar is larger than a fragmented poem, and a lot harder to put together in the right order. I didn't bother editing it (like I did with poems) so I just rewrote it a couple of times until I found the right version. It's a good practice for intuition, because you learn to intuit what's right, and there's an extra-intellectual sense making going on - something I use when writing messages, like now. :)

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Varkeon
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Re: November 2012 Seminar - Poetry and Active Imagination

Postby Varkeon » 08 Nov 2012, 23:53

Thank you Tree God, I think this just what I need.
:shake:

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Fiona The Bard
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Re: November 2012 Seminar - Poetry and Active Imagination

Postby Fiona The Bard » 09 Nov 2012, 01:01

Bracken, that Elizabeth Gilbert talk is fantastic, and so apt, both for what is being discussed here, and for the bardic pursuits of Druidry in general. The idea of awen as a gift: there it is, in different language.

Treegod, Bravo. This is such a thorough meditation on poetry and it's helping me shape an idea of the daily exercise I'd like to put into practice. I especially like the emphasis on it (poetry) not needing to be good or perfect. Such thinking usually (regularly) keeps me from expressing myself at all. Maybe the skill will come later, but for now, the sheer exploration and expression is what's important.

:applause:

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treegod
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Re: November 2012 Seminar - Poetry and Active Imagination

Postby treegod » 09 Nov 2012, 08:31

Maybe the skill will come later, but for now, the sheer exploration and expression is what's important.
:shake:

the sheer exploration and expression is what's important

:D

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nia-ceridwyn
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Re: November 2012 Seminar - Poetry and Active Imagination

Postby nia-ceridwyn » 06 Dec 2012, 23:55

Just want to say that as a poet, coming across this Seminar is a delight. I intend to look it over again when I am in a more coherent frame of mind, but thank you, treegod, for writing this and sharing it with us.
Nia Ceridwyn

"it is within our power
to observe the magic of this world
to witness it with all our senses
we need only kindle the fires within us
and become conscious
of the sacred and magical world"


My Poetry
My Spiritual Musings

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DaRC
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Re: November 2012 Seminar - Poetry and Active Imagination

Postby DaRC » 07 Dec 2012, 13:47

I've had discussions recently, probably prompted by a visit to the Tate Modern, on the perennial question of:
1) what is art
2) why is art needed

Whilst i firmly believe that art, and within that poetry, are important in a civilised society it wasn't until re-reading this seminar and thinking around this point
Through art, conscious and unconscious can learn to cooperate with each other; the unconscious can generate material that the conscious wouldn’t normally accept, and the conscious can integrate a wider psychological life. The fragmented psyche can makes creative steps towards wholeness.
that it's relevance at a societal level showed itself.
if the 'establishment' , i.e. the organisations and societal functions that are controlled by the dominant group, is the consciousness of a society then artists are often part of a society's unconscious (with anti-establishment views) and art is essential in ensuring the health of that civilisation by enabling communication between the conscious and the unconscious.
This painting sprung to mind
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guernica_%28painting%29
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
http://gewessiman.blogspot.co.uk Image

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Re: November 2012 Seminar - Poetry and Active Imagination

Postby treegod » 07 Dec 2012, 14:23

Just want to say that as a poet, coming across this Seminar is a delight. I intend to look it over again when I am in a more coherent frame of mind, but thank you, treegod, for writing this and sharing it with us.
And thank you. :)
if the 'establishment' , i.e. the organisations and societal functions that are controlled by the dominant group, is the consciousness of a society then artists are often part of a society's unconscious (with anti-establishment views) and art is essential in ensuring the health of that civilisation by enabling communication between the conscious and the unconscious.
This painting sprung to mind
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guernica_%28painting%29

Good point. Artists are fairly unique in that art is one of the few "non-conventional" activities that has been accepted by mainstream society. A few individuals have been able to inhabit the fringes of conventionality in a legitimate and acceptable way. I wouldn't say all art has the function of bridge conscious and unconscious; sometimes it is purely aesthetic and panders to society's ego structures (look at paintings commissioned by royalty, and jingles on adverts). But many artists have indeed been able to bridge the gap to some extent, where more conventional roles wouldn't.


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