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Dyane Sherwood
Jan 17, 2021
In Journey to Snakewoman
Henry Corbin referred to the "Western reader, who...has to be roused from his old engrained way of thinking in order to awaken him to another order of things." (Mundus imaginalis or the imaginary and the imaginal, Spring 1972) [emphasis mine] He describes the 12th century visionary stories by Sohrawardi, which begin with the protagonist suddenly encountering a "supernatural being of great beauty." He asks the being who he is and from where he comes--the same method I often suggest to my analytic patients when a numinous figure appears in a dream, vision, or other form of active imagination. We see this same phenomenon, the appearance of beautiful and enigmatic figures, in many of Churchill's visions. The late Jungian analyst Donald Sandner likened Norma Churchill's visions to those of Christiana Morgan, which Jung discussed in the Visions Seminars. Norma's embodied visions, in which she is a participant, were full of pain and shadow, as well as ecstasy. Her deep empathy took her dangerously close to experiencing the suffering of the world and the suffering to come--too much for any human to bear. As when reading Jung's Liber Novus, or Red Book, we confront material that is totally unexpected, at times very difficult and dark, and always wondrous. Such material is difficult to metabolize, and Norma Churchill spent decades reflecting on her visions before feeling ready to write about them and share them publicly. Readers, please join me and add your own reflections
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Dyane Sherwood

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