One of the most important aspects of experience that I want to share with people is that the imaginal realm is not something that you just make up.
It is a way of tapping into the depths of the ineffable and unseen aspects of reality. Of being in touch with the energies and invisible parts, that are as real as the physical world, even though it is hidden and formless.
Opening to the imaginal realm gives you the language and senses for feeling these parts of yourself, others and the world around you.
“The soul has been given its own ears to hear things the mind does not understand.”
You have to be careful with how you relate to it – you neither want to reify it into fixed realities, losing the essence of its mysterious nature, nor explain it away as something that doesn’t have a true nature that can be felt or expressed. It takes a huge amount of sensitivity, clarity, sincerity and depth to be able to feel and experience this aspect of reality. It requires having integrated your darkness for it to be grounded in realness.
“The world is full of magic things patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
William Butler Yeats
One of the reasons people find it hard to come into contact with this part of experience is because their connection to the imaginal realm is so implicitly embedded in how they see and experience the world; it is the water that each person is swimming in. It’s the essence of what it’s like being in your body, heart, mind and soul, which can be pretty wildly different to what it’s like being in someone else’s body, heart, mind and soul.
One of the easiest ways to see the water you are swimming in is to see the water that other people swim in, without going into judgement. Then you are able to notice the differences and resonate with the similarities. With this in mind I have written some short vignettes of people I know and what the imaginal realm of our connection feels like to me, so that you can get a sense of different ways that this can look and feel.
This isn’t a cute, poetic embellishment that is being added to experience, it’s one of the deepest, most embodied ways I experience people and the world around me.
I have also created a whole practice modality around this for anyone who wants to explore this further. Where you get to guide people through, be guided through and witness people exploring their imaginal realms. Being able to see the imaginal realm from many different angles and perspectives reveals how each person experiences the world so differently and yet there is still a deep resonance possible.
It is worth saying that people are incredibly complex, multi-dimensional beings; that everyone’s imaginal realm will have different qualities when they are alone compared to when they are in connection; and that each relationship we have is different. The vignettes are capturing one aspect of the world that emerges from our connection.
Everyone here has deep and lasting realisations that they are embodying so their imaginal realm is also revealing a deep truth of the nature of the Universe.
I have redacted people’s names and replaced them with the letters of the alphabet for privacy and also because it’s more fun that way.
When I’m with A it’s like everything is a magical flowing river. Everything is always moving and going somewhere and yet it is also just being an expression of its river self with nowhere else it needs to go.
It can move through wildly different phases – sadness, energy, happiness; lovely little streams, quiet eddies and vast deep forces. Everything is included and swept up in the flow. Things bubble up to the surface from the depths of being and there is a dark undercurrent that flows beneath the surface. There’s the intelligence of an entire interconnected eco-system that lives within and around the river that is utilised in its own growth and for the nourishment it shares with the world. This very alive eco-system is also part of the living breathing expression of its natural joy and beauty.
When I’m with B it’s like everything just sits as it is. Like the the whole of the Universe past and present is a lush and fertile time-agnostic landscape that we can slowly meander around and explore. Different items can be picked up and turned over in a very calm, methodical way. Sometimes something urgent is screaming for our attention and we have to figure out what it needs. Nothing is off bounds, there is space made for the full depths of everything to be present.
There’s a deep unfazed quality that underlies it all, even though we can feel disturbed or confused on the surface. The disturbedness, the confusion, or whatever is there, becomes another thing that we can carefully pick up and turn over like a pebble on a beach. The image of a beautiful lake, surrounded by mountains comes to mind for the landscape.
When I’m with C it’s like an ineffable and fierce Goddess energy is slowly coming into form. The depths of sadness, anger, beauty and spaciousness are working their way through the energies and the bodies, unravelling themselves from the oppression they’ve experienced and forming a cloud of presence and power that is deeply connected to a fierce love. I resonate with the deep pain of being connected to these parts in a patriarchal world and find solidarity in the mutual reinforcement of our realities.
When I’m with D it’s like we’re subconsciously connected to an invisible network of soul information – it’s like a fractal network of different colour energy balls just hanging around in the ether both around us and inside us.
Through discussing different topics, we’re gathering the nodes, turning them around, looking at them from both our perspectives, passing them through our energetics, feeling all the bits they’re connected to and dissolving and coagulating them into new configurations and forms. All under the surface of pretty nonchalant conversation.
It has the energy of a couple of people who’ve been working nearby each other on an archaeological dig for a while, gently uncovering important things.
With E the Universe comes to life as a modern Shakespearean play. Humour and tragedy weave together through the fabric of Space-Time. We’re the actors, going through the joy and frustration of rehearsing, learning our parts and performing. The Universe is like a wry writer-director who knows how to tickle us and push our buttons, as well as how to immerse the audience in the drama of the play. Poignancy and laughter create a structure of meaning that floats outside space-time in a very light and ethereal form that disappears the moment you try and grasp it; all that is left behind is the sense that there is some good in this world and it’s worth fighting for.
When I’m with F it’s like a sapling tree of radiant loving energy is emerging into the world. It’s already rooted into the soils of the soul realm and contemplative practice and is starting to grow into itself. There’s a fun emergent quality to all the archetypes, opportunities and aspects that are there to be explored and a sincerity of facing the challenges, underpinned with a strong connection to what is meaningful. I feel like a gardener who gets the joy of seeing a tree come into itself.