Archetypal Imagination

Glimpses of the Gods in Life and Art

Noel Cobb; Introduction by Thomas Moore

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This unique book is about freeing psychology's poetic imagination from the dead weight of unconscious assumptions about the soul.

235 x 152 mm
Lindisfarne Books
Philosophy of Human Life
288 pages
Publication date:
11 Nov 2020
2nd edition


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, behaviourally 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.

Cobb teaches us to look at the world as a record of the soul's struggles to awaken and as the soul's poetry. From this perspective, the real basis of the mind is poetic. Beauty, love, and creativity are as much instincts of the soul as sexuality or hunger. Cobb shows us how artists and mystics can teach us the meaning of love, death, and beauty, if only we can awaken to their creations. The exemplars here are Dante, Rumi, Rilke, Munch, Lorca, Schumann, and Tarkovsky.


'Archetypal Imagination finds wonderful new ways to bless psychopathology. Rich with good learning and clear writing."
-- James Hillman, author of The Soul's Code

'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, author of Iron John and The Sibling Society

'In this richly stuffed book, Cobb takes psychology to the threshold and invites it into the world, where the artist is bold enough to live, where its language may have more life and its images more independence.'
-- Thomas Moore, author of The Care of the Soul and Original Self: Living with Paradox and Originality


Noel Cobb was born in 1938 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As a young man, he lived for almost a quarter century in Oslo before returning to the U.S. He has published numerous books of poetry and non-fiction. He has worked with R.D Laing, studied various forms of meditation, became a Jungian analyst, and founded a charitable trust, The London Convivium for Archetypal Studies. He is the author of Prospero's Island: The Secret Alchemy at the Heart of The Tempest.

Thomas Moore was a monk in a Catholic religious order for twelve years and has degrees in theology, musicology, and philosophy.

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