Margaret Needham

JOURNEY TO THE INLAND

My journey was to gradually discover that these powerful influences come from within. “The kingdom of heaven is within.” Hence the confrontation with aspects of myself that needed attending to before I could be capable of handling more potent spiritual experiences..eg The need for growth of psychological awareness was described in the swamps that Dalmos took me into wearing in his case a brown cloak rather than his customary white one. All very symbolic stuff in a realm that communicates through imagery .

Jung’s experience of “falling down a hole into unmentionable places” really resonated with me! When I read of his account of this I felt great relief. Like him I subsequently discovered a way to intentionally enter this inner world and that is a different thing to my initial “confrontation with the unconscious.” The way to intentionally enter one’s own subconscious is by using the technique which he later called Active Imagination. So I was then able to give a name to what I was doing myself… and this is what I practised for several years subsequent to what I now think of as the initial “wake -up call from Soul.” Jung came to describe this practice as co-operating with the soul too. I found that Robert A. Johnson( a pupil of Jung’s) is the best scholar in explaining this inner work and how to do it. I have also spoken with him. Also James Hillman.

As you realised my personal story of realising more and more that our soul wants to relate with us, has taken me into exploring the manifestations of that relationship. My delight is in finding that as I introduce people how to begin their own practice of Active Imagination , for them also, a soul relationship truly begins and they report a new spiritual awareness and new-found abilities . What is exciting is that this is a “technique/work/tough commitment” that is available to any seeker who is prepared to enter into the sacred space of the imaginal (the frontier lands between the conscious and the unconscious.) How to do it? It is not at all difficult to introduce people to how to practise Active Imagination but there is a commitment and humility required that not everyone can accept. Reading about Active Imagination is interesting but experiencing it is what is absolutely necessary. That is the key. Active Imagination is not meditation but an active involvement of the ego with the contents of the subconscious.The ego gets scared at giving up its control.

Although I have read reasonably widely in the spiritual tradition I find it difficult to say what comes closest to what I experience. Many traditions seem to come together. Robert Johnson says that Active Imagination is the purest and most potent form of prayer that he knows. I love the way that in this dimension one can relate to the Greater Other through the deeper aspects of one’s multifaceted soul.

Well…perhaps the beginning of further conversation and further questions…. I am very willing to keep on with finding a useful context .

Assistant Editor, Nate Cull sees the following as a comparison to the work of Margaret Needham:←

Reading “Call to the Inland” reminds me of Palyne Gaenir‘s somewhat similar account "Bewilderness"

I’m not saying that the two experiences are the same but that both seem to share a few similar features: half-conscious lucid dream-states that take place across a science-fiction/fantasy dreamscape and seem to have some ‘teaching’ connection to the soul.