The Art of Seeing

Dr Carl Jung’s Active Imagination: Image as Cosmos

Friday 26th April 2024 

 7-8pm UK time via Zoom

with Mary Attwood  


Looking, psychologically, brings about the activation of the object; it is as if something were emanating from one’s spiritual eye that evokes or activates the object of one’s vision.” 

Dr Carl Jung

This session will be recorded.

In this month’s Art of Seeing session, one work of art will be our focus as we explore the potency of what Dr Carl Jung called the cosmic flow of the Active Imagination.  Jung maintained that the psyche was made up essentially of images and first termed the Active Imagination as a psychic function which finds the tension between the conscious and unconscious. He describes a receptive state of pure being to allow the unconscious to come up and take the lead, while the conscious mind acts as a scribe. He researched the world of images extensively both in dreams and in their material form. He said that images were our most intuitive responses, before words, and realised their natural healing function in relation to human emotions and healing the split from the psyche, or soul, through participation in the imagination proper which he described as a cosmic function.
For Jung, the mode of active seeing was a threefold process and one where the final stage was the most important – he said we had an ethical and moral obligation to make meaning from our encounters with images.

Any image, depending on how we encounter it, can potentially open up to deeper meaning. But some works of art were created with the intention of revealing, in part, the nature of the cosmos, glimpsed through the awakened imagination. We will follow Jung’s tripartite framework for the practice of Active Imagination which includes active seeing, participation and reflection.  The work of art will not be revealed until the evening but I can tell you it is a painting which invites us to experience the unfolding cosmos through the imagination, grounded in gesture, movement and expression. Through the image, we are able to explore the interplay between heaven and earth, brought into being by both image and us.

These sessions offer theory, participation and reflection as a way to draw together the threads of historical context, meaning, and a personal encounter with a work of art.

This session is £10 per household. If you are not a fan of PayPal you can email Mary directly at
For those who cannot attend live, there will be a recording available.

BOOKING: Please book through Mary Attwood’s website here

About Mary Attwood

Mary is co-founder and director of The Centre for Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred, an art historian, author, teacher and mentor. She is co-founder and director of Channel McGilchrist, was the founding Chairman of the Victoria branch of The Arts Society, is a qualified practitioner of yoga, meditation and mindfulness, has published two books with Watkins, and has recently published an ancestral family book. She holds a BA hons degree in the History of Art from UCL and Birkbeck, and an MA with distinction in Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred from CCCU.

Mary’s teaching and research seek to offer a broader understanding of art, not as an object to be analysed, but as a bridge between seemingly disparate ways of understanding the world and our place in it. While honouring the historical, broadening perceptions of art beyond rationalising analysis, categories and styles, opens doorways both in us and in the image. But beyond this, how we look at art art can reveal ways of knowing and seeing that change not only what we see in art, but change us and the world around us, and can help us meet the complexities of modern living by offering a renaissance of humane values.

You can find out more via her website

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