Anima Mundi

"Let us imagine the anima mundi as that particular soul spark, that seminal image, which offers itself through each thing in its visible form. Then anima mundi indicates the animated possibilities presented by each event as it is, its sensuous presentation as a face bespeaking its interior image - in short, its availability to imagination, its presence as a psychic reality. Not only animals and plants ensouled as in the Romantic vision, but soul as given with each thing, God-given things of nature and man-made things of the street."

James Hillman, "Anima Mundi" pp. 77-80


I was reading this passage in Hillman's collection of essays entitled, "Blue Fire", when I thought of the following composite photograph (two images overlaid) I put together for a brochure for Plawhatch Farm some years ago.



It is composed of a photograph of a sculpture of Adam, at Windy Ridge in East Sussex, and a mountainscape from Lake Tahoe in California.

Here it is in context with the (unrealised) brochure layout in which I placed the photograph with quotes from D.H. Lawrence and Joseph Conrad which allude to our deep connection to the land:



This has made me want to revisit the image and work on it further. I would like to encapsulate within it somehow the notion Hillman explores, brilliantly I must say, that the world itself in all its particulars has soul.

I also chanced today upon a quote I have written down at the back of my note book which bolsters these thoughts. Its excellently conveyed ideas are central to my own thinking:

"...we also need the personal qualities of self-control and willingness to learn from one another... In this regard, 'the relationship between a good aesthetic education and the maintenance of a healthy environment cannot be overlooked'. By learning to see and appreciate beauty, we learn to reject self-interested pragmatism. If someone has not learned to stop and admire something beautiful, we should not be surprised if he or she treats everything as an object to be used and abused without scruple. If we want to bring about deep change, we need to realize that certain mindsets really do influence our behaviour. Our efforts at education will be inadequate and ineffectual unless we strive to promote a new way of thinking about human beings, life, society and our relationship with nature. Otherwise, the paradigm of consumerism will continue to advance, with the help of the media and the highly effective workings of the market."

Pope Francis, "Laudato Si, On Care for our Common Home"


In summation of such wide concerns:

"What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?"

The Gospel of Mark, New International Version, 8:36