The Archetypal Imagination
Analytical Psychology
5.5 x 8.5, 160 pp.
13 b&w photos.
Pub Date: 11/25/2002
Carolyn and Ernest Fay Series in Analytical Psychology
Price:        $16.95

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The Archetypal Imagination

By James Hollis
Foreword by David H. Rosen

Also available in an open-access, full-text edition at

What we wish to know, and most desire, remains unknowable and lies beyond our grasp.” With these words, James Hollis leads readers to consider the nature of our human need for meaning in life and for connection to a world less limiting than our own.

In The Archetypal Imagination, Hollis offers a lyrical Jungian appreciation of the archetypal imagination. He argues that without the human mind’s ability to form energy-filled images that link us to worlds beyond our rational and emotional capacities, we would have neither culture nor spirituality. Drawing upon the work of poets and philosophers, Hollis shows the importance of depth experience, meaning, and connection to an “other” world. Just as humans have instincts for biological survival and social interaction, we have instincts for spiritual connection as well. Just as our physical and social needs seek satisfaction, so the spiritual instincts of the human animal are expressed in images we form to evoke an emotional or spiritual response, as in our dreams, myths, and religious traditions.

The author draws upon the work of the poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies to elucidate the archetypal imagination in literary forms. To underscore the importance of incarnating depth experience, he also examines a series of paintings by Nancy Witt.

With the power of the archetypal imagination available to all of us, we are invited to summon courage to take on the world anew, to relinquish outmoded identities and defenses, and to risk a radical re-imagining of the larger possibilities of the world and of the self.

James Hollis is a Jungian analyst and executive director of the C. G. Jung Educational Center of Houston.

What Readers Are Saying:

“Hollis has written a brief, elegant, and well-crafted volume that looks at aspects of the archetypal imagination. The author draws bits of wisdom from many fields and combines them in an overview divided into sections treating religious, literary, incarnational (art/painting), and therapeutic ‘imaginings.”--Choice

“In reading these well crafted essays I feel an unusually fine intelligence at work on an issue that centrally eats away at the soul of so many contemporary people - the absence of full some sustaining mythic images in their lives. Hollis probes deeply and offers a way to heal this illness.”--Murray Stein, Author of Transformation- Emergence of the Self

“This book on archetypal imagination is a feast of poetic and artistic references to the numinosity of the imagination.”--Journal of Analytical Psychology

“Those interested in Jungian psychology, spirituality, and healing will appreciate the mental stretching necessary to enjoy this book.”--Review of Texas Books

" . . . beautifully crafted and conceived . . . As befitting a work on the necessity of imagination, this book is written in a heightened poetic style. . . I find it heartening that contemporary depth psychologists  are finding continued insight and wisdom in the great poetic works."--Journal of Analytical Psychology


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