This is an act of the imagination. Imagination and the symbol generating capacity of the psyche are inextricably related in a way I’m still trying to understand. Someone postulated that it wasn’t an opposable thumb, and therefore tool-making ability, that led to human development, but our capacity to make symbols. I think that capacity emerged from our visual, pre-verbal experiencing of the world. I see a tree, though I have no word for it. It has fruit. Limbs I can climb to escape a predator. Without words, I see the tree and come to associate it with food and safety. This was the arising of symbolic thinking.
In the spirit of the bonfires burning to wait upon the dark last night, we can also set a fire to light our imaginations. I’ve been a writer since the second grade, but only in the last four years have my imaginative abilities truly taken flight. And I know why. I began to record and watch my dreams.
Dreams arise out of the dark, out of that pre-verbal symbol making place in our psyche. Dreams are pure metaphor. Gob-smackingly original. As I watched my dreams and saw over time how the symbols and metaphors developed, my ability to think metaphorically grew exponentially. It was set on fire. I was exercising the fundamental “muscle” where all writing arises from—all poetry, fairy tales, myth, and story.
“If you wait upon the silence, it is not silent.
And when you wait upon the darkness, it is luminous.”
--CG Jung. Collected Works Volume 17