Archetypal Imagination

Glimpses of the Gods in Life and Art

Noel Cobb



This unique book is about freeing psychology’s poetic imagination from the dead weight of unconscious assumptions about the soul. Whether we think of the soul scientifically or medically, behaviorally or in terms of inner development, all of us are used to thinking of it in an individual context, as something personal. In this book, however, we are asked to consider psychology from a truly transpersonal perspective as a cultural, universal-human phenomenon.

Noel Cobb teaches us to look at the world as the record of the soul’s struggles to awaken, as the soul’s poetry. From this point of view, the true basis of the mind is poetic. Beauty, love, and creativity are as much instincts of the soul as sexuality or hunger. Thus these essays praise the value and nobility of the imagination, and instead of the usual masters of psychology the exemplars here are the artists and mystics of the Western tradition: Dante, Rumi, Rilke, Munch, Lorca, Schumann, Tarkovsky.

I like Noel Cobb’s outcries on behalf of ferocity, loneliness, anxiety, “the hideous hag of life,” beauty sitting in the lap of terror, Edvard Munch’s paintings and Garcia Lorca’s panther-like poems – let’s have more.

– Robert Bly

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