Today we may not fully appreciate the workplace as a laboratory where matters of soul are worked out. We tend to focus on literal concerns such as pay, product, and advancement, whereas developments in work life deeply affect your sense of meaning (Moore, 2008, p. 3).
The imaginatio, as the alchemists understand it, is in truth a key that opens the door to the secret of the opus . . . The place or the medium of realization is neither mind nor matter, but that intermediate realm of subtle reality which can be adequately expressed only by the symbol. The symbol is neither abstract nor concrete, neither rational nor irrational, neither real or unreal. It is always both (Jung, quoted in Rowland, 2005, p. 113).
Yun-men said to his assembly, “Each of you has your own light. If you want to see it, you cannot. The darkness is dark, dark. Now, where is your light? Answering for his listeners, he said, “The storeroom, the gate!” (Aitken, 1984, p. 62)
These excerpts illustrate the current status of my vocation—I am searching for it utilizing very real psychic tools: imagination, symbol, and paradox. Susan Rowland’s expository chapter on Jung and Alchemy provides a structural basis for such vocational explorations which would be deemed vague at best by the scientific worldview, with its rigid parameters for research and knowledge. After all, “Science and reason are modern constructs designed to conceal more irrationally infused modes of consciousness from cultural recognition” (Rowland, 2005, p. 12). Science might scoff at the question, “Where is your light?” precisely because it cannot answer it. Rowland provides a way for the artist/alchemist to define true substance in her work: “For the alchemists, the active power of the imagination transforms matter. For Jung, active imagination transforms the matter of the psyche” (Rowland, 2005, p. 114).
Aitken, R. (1984). The mind of clover. North Point Press. New York: NY.
Moore, T. (2008). A life at work. Broadway Books. New York: NY.
Rowland, S. (2005). Jung as a writer. Routledge. New York: NY.