23 Jul Imagination and phantasy
When following Maier’s path one will meet somewhere on his/her road, Böhme. Like the contemporary student of the inner world, alchemists were concerned about differentiating imagination from fantasy. They were aware that true imagination possesses a power and depth that fantasy does not possess. Jakob Boehme was one of those who warned against the delusions of fantasy.
For Paracelsus, imagination belonged to the spirit, while fantasy belonged to the body. Imagination discovered the latent forces in nature, and compelled herbs to yield their power. It is no surprise that imagination was paired with the spirit, for the spirit has been defined as the capacity to create images. Imagination was able to uncover the powers of nature, because Paracelsus believed, as Boehme did, that imagination could be equated with wisdom. The wisdom of the imagination teaches the mysteries of both the soul and the outer world. By using the imaginative capacity, the alchemist could see behind the outer, physical form of the herb or metal, and detect its symbolic meaning. By so doing he came to understand its true uses and essential nature. This was an idea that was widely held in the Renaissance; each object had a hidden meaning beyond its physical appearance. If one could understand the secret essence, he or she would be able to use the substance in magical, alchemical, or healing ways.
One can say that any outer “worldly” situation can provide clues about something that is meaningful. Many outer situations point to an inner image that can be experienced directly through active imagination. By seeking the meaning of life events, the ego escapes from the illusory world of fantasy that only sees concrete reality and appearances.
A very good read: