James Hillman

Psychologists who do not attend enough to spirit forget that it is one of the essential components of the conjunction and cannot be dismissed as a head trip, as intellect, as just theology or metaphysics or a puer flight. Spirit neglected comes into psychology through the back door, disguised as synchronicity, magic, oracles, science fiction, self symbolism, mandalas, tarot, astrology and other indiscriminations, equally prophetic, ahistorical, and humorless. For it requires spirit to discern among the spirits.

Diakrisis(discernment) itself is a gift of the spirit, and psychologists who refuse the puer chug along empowered by doctrinal mechanisms of dead masters, their own imaginative sails decayed or never even hoisted, circling in the doldrums of low-profile, low-horizon humility: the practice of psychoptherapy.

Once the spirit has turned towards the soul, the soul can regard its own needs in a new way. then these needs are no longer attemps to adapt to Hera’s civilizational requirements, or to Venus’s insistence that love is god, or to Apollo’s medical cures, or even Psyche’s work of soul-making. Not for the sake of learning love only, or for community. or for better marriages and better families, or for independence does the psyche present its symptoms and neurotic claims. Rather these demands are asking for inspiration, for long distance vision, for ascending eros, for vivification and intensification(not relaxation), for radicality, transcendence, and meaning – in short the psyche has spiritual needs, which the puer part of us can fulfill.

James Hillman

Peaks and Vales

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