New Mythos Theory & Practice
On Natural Magic & Archetypal Psychology
in New Mythos Theory & Practice
De Magia naturali demonstrates how James Hillman’s archetypal psychology embodies Renaissance natural magic in theory and practice, bearing the philosophia perennis or prisca theologia of the Neopythagorean and Neoplatonic tradition into the New Mythos of our time. This natural magic exegesis of archetypal psychology does not claim to encompass Hillman’s opus in its entirety, but serves to ground both traditions in a shamanism that is indigenous to humankind.
James Hillman claims Neoplatonism as archetypal psychology’s precursor, naming Marsilio Ficino in his direct lineage. Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples—Ficino’s contemporary and colleague—inherited De Magia naturali directly through Ficino’s teachings at the Florentine Platonic Academy. Their Renaissance natural magic encompasses Renaissance Neoplatonism within the prisca theologia, which I bring forward as humankind’s indigenous shamanism.
Hillman’s polytheistic archetypal psychology is thus an exegesis of Renaissance natural magic that is helpful for understanding the meaning and value of Neopythagorean and Neoplatonic cosmology and virtue ethics and for today’s Academy. It is one of the seeds that germinates throughout my commentary on Lefèvre’s treatise. I return Hillman’s cosmological practice in archetypal psychology to its immediate source in the spring waters of C. G. Jung’s initial opus, The Red Book, which also germinates in my commentary.
This work contributes to New Mythos theory and practice currently manifesting out of Pacifica Graduate Institute's corpus of scholars, and internationally across numerous disciplines. This emerging development in critical theory and methodology is interdisciplinary, bearing particular relevance to Humanities disciplines directly, but also to the Humanities as applied in other disciplines. My work in this project embodies New Mythos as it develops out of established critical theories and methodologies from these disciplines: Literature, Philosophy, Medieval & Renaissance Studies, Translation & Interpreting Studies, Consciousness Studies, Religious Studies; and Spiritual Psychology, Transpersonal & Humanistic Psychology, and Depth & Archetypal Psychology as taught in the Academy and as practiced in clinical and counseling settings. Those critical theories & methodologies are: archetype-myth, phenomenology-hermeneutics, translation-interpreting voice, Neoplatonic virtue ethics, and Yoga-philosophy.
This contribution to New Mythos acknowledges the inseparability of theory and practice, demonstrates the applicability of Neopythagorean and Neoplatonic cosmogenesis, cosmology, and virtue ethics in today’s Academy and in spirituality globally, and envisions archetypal psychology as the grounding rod for a shamanism indigenous to humankind. Writings detail my syncretic practice of Medicine-Wheel, a system of spiritual exercises for readers interested in personal practice, and for professionals to practice with their patients. Central to my New Mythos theory and practice is the interweaving of personal spiritual experiences within the scholarly text. Grounding the teacher’s and student’s lived experience within the Humanities, the greater Academy, and globally is essential to the New Mythos of our time.