I don’t read the news every day, and even if I did, many of the things I care most about don’t appear on the front pages. So it’s about a month after the fact that I learned the sad news that just before Hallowe’en, James Hillman died.
He was mostly known for his work in the mens’ movement and his books about archetypal psychology. He encouraged people to see stories as healing, to not get caught up in musty old ideas about gender when dealing with the anima/animus, and to listen to dreams in order to learn something, rather than imposing our waking consciousness onto their interpretation. But what moved me most about his work was a sense that he cared deeply, in an animistic way, for the anima mundi; the soul of the world. The man was a pioneer of spiritual ecopsychology.
Here are some of his words:
“Ecology movements, futurism, feminism, urbanism, protest and disarmament, personal individuation cannot alone save the world from the catastrophe inherent in our very idea of the world. They require a cosmological vision that saves the phenomenon ‘world’ itself, a move in soul that goes beyond measures of expediency to the archetypal source of our world’s continuing peril: the fateful neglect, the repression, of the anima mundi.”(Anima Mundi: The Return of the Soul to the World).
If you haven’t yet read his work, consider doing so now. Your life will be richer for it. Resurgence magazine has kindly put many of their back issues on the web, cross-referenced by author. Here’s a link to Hillman’s three articles in their fine publication.
And here is a transcribed “conversation” with Hillman (which others might call an “interview”), conducted by Scott London for The Sun magazine. This is another very worthy publication; an indie that features beautiful writing and photography, and has no advertising!
Finally, here is an obit written by his close friend Thomas Moore: Remembering James Hillman
RIP, wise elder. I never knew you, but my soul recognized kin in your words.