Myth is the language of psyche – of soul. And the psychology I’ve actually practiced down all the years (as opposed to the disenchanted, scientistic, experimental methodology I was taught early on) has always been about soul – and has always been founded on a deep immersion in myth. Above all, it’s been about working with the mythic imagination in order to understand, express, create soul.
Soul-making and myth-making: two utterly entangled ideas in that psychology – and mythology – which I specialise in.
But what are we really talking about, when we talk about soul? It’s a word that’s almost always used when we’re speaking about humans. The human soul: my individual soul, or yours. But as James Hillman – founding father of Archetypal Psychology – suggested, psyche is not really in us; we are in psyche. We’re a part of the world psyche; the world soul. Each individual human soul – combined with the soul of everything else that exists – is a part of this anima mundi: the world, ensouled. Everything that we are now, and everything that we might someday become; everything that we see, hear, smell, imagine – all of these things are unique expressions of the anima mundi, captured in a particular time and place.
Isn’t that a beautiful thing? And whatever else we might or might not do or be, isn’t that – at the heart of it all – enough? Not constantly to be striving; not to feel that we have to save the world, or ourselves. But rather, sometimes, to remember to be, like the beautiful rosa mundi bush – the ‘rose of the world’ – which I cherish in my garden, just one uniquely beautiful expression of the anima mundi, in this time and in this place. Sometimes – just sometimes – that’s all we can be. And sometimes – just sometimes – it’s enough.