Animal Presences by James Hillman

By James Hillman

Uniform variation of the Writings of James Hillman, quantity 9

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The raptus effect of the eagle, by which I mean the identification with its vision, comes out in this dream of an elderly man: I am in a landscape bordered by mountains. Birds in the sky. Two eagles. Enormous, with a wingspan of some 30 to 50 meters. I can hear the swish of their formidable wings beating as they gyrate around in some kind of love play. The spectacle is awe-inspiring. Nearby is a fishpond. Dark fish in it. Suddenly I realize that on my left, as if hidden in a grotto just underneath the shore, is an enormous fish.

Noah, too, entered the animals into the ark according to their kinds, and this is how they appeared to Adam, as species – each a morphological presentation. Pig, Crab, Eagle assert that each animal kind is a recognizable essence, a concrete and visible universal, always the same. As such, these rubrics give essentiality to the dream, and as substantives, they give substance and power, like totemic authority to the dream as an entirety. Indeed, it is a pig dream, not a tunnel dream, because each animal name evokes the animal presence as the daimon in whose name the dream shall be told.

First, the criterion of sufficiency cannot be met. By definition, amplifying means enlarging, adding details, enriching – so when does one achieve sufficient stuff? Where does one stop? Therefore, second, limits must be set arbitrarily in the selection of material by the analyst and patient according to their proclivities and the exigencies called heuristic. Therefore, third, amplification does not achieve an objective context in which “pig,” say, inheres, nor can it impartially circumscribe the connotations of pig.

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