Monday, October 31, 2011

James Hillman (1926 - 2011)

Years ago I was fortunate enough to attend a depth psychology conference with James Hillman, Robert Bly and Coleman Barks as presenters.  Watching and learning from any one of them was a treat but to see all of them in one place and watch their interaction with each other was truly a beautiful experience.

James Hillman, one of the foremost psychologists of our time, left this world this week and will be missed.  Stephen Aizenstat, Chancellor at Pacifica Graduate Institute, one of Hillman's academic bases, sent out the following note from author/professor Richard Tarnas:

Dear friends,

James Hillman, one of our great mentors, died peacefully this morning at his home in Connecticut. He was 85.  His wife Margot said he was true to his character to the end, even as he moved into that place between day and night, speaking through the night in many languages, very funny, and himself. During these last several months, despite the pain and the meds needed to manage it (cancer in his pelvis), James had managed to finish the many projects he'd been intensely committed to completing before he left.

May I just add, in tribute to him as a friend, how deeply James has enriched us with his unending flow of insights, placing so many things in new light—and in shadow. His depth of soul and reading and culture, his trickster wit, his heretic originality, his sharp-edged individuality. He will be deeply missed, but he left us with so much that we will be integrating for a long time to come.  It was just over thirty years ago that he came to San Francisco and presented what would later become his profound and influential essay, "Anima Mundi: The Return of the Soul to the World"—a turning point in depth psychology.

"Ecology movements, futurism, feminism, urbanism, protest and disarmament, personal individuation cannot alone save the world from the catastrophe inherent in our very idea of the world. They require a cosmological vision that saves the phenomenon 'world' itself, a move in soul that goes beyond measures of expediency to the archetypal source of our world's continuing peril: the fateful neglect, the repression, of the anima mundi."

May he rest in peace, and live on here through us, as he would have wished.


1 comment:

  1. A very fitting tribute to a great and wise man.

    Thank you Joyce.