This past weekend, I spent considerable time on my About Me page and blog posts reflecting on my work on a Ph.D., and simultaneous immersion in the world of Jung’s archetypal psychology, followed by my fantasy fiction writing. In the midst of these reflections, I searched for a Charles De Lint novel with a curio shop. I knew it was one of the Newford Stories, with the house that moves from place to place. In searching, I came across an interview in which De Lint explains the creation of his mythic city of Newford.
I downloaded the first of the Newford books, Dreams Underfoot, and was amazed to find that the introduction refers to several Jungian writers and ancient archetypes!
Here is a portion of the introduction to Dreams Underfoot:
“If the imaginary city of Newford is more mythic, more mysterious than the cities you have known, that may be only because you have not seen them through Charles De Lint’s eyes, through the twilight dreams he weaves out of language and music. He spreads these dreams before us and bids us, in the words of Yeats’ poem, to ‘tread softly,’ for urban magic is fleeting and shy and its touch is a transformation. Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, James Hillman, Louise Marie von Franz and others have written eloquently and extensively about the importance of myth in our modern society, the need for tales rich in archetypal images to give coherence to fragmented modern lives … [These images] give substance to dreams and lead us to understanding of the deepest longings and most daring visions of humankind. Images from the ancients speak to us in modern tongue … Like dreams, the meanings slip away, leaving us shaken into new awareness … We are moved by them … they are penumbral, partially lit … The modern myth maker, the writer of literary fairytales, dares to touch the old magic and try to make it work in new ways … De Lint mines this vein … Ours is a society that loves to separate and classify … [putting] fantasy fiction on a shelf far away from books of realistic or mainstream fiction despite the fact that the mainstream shelves include works of modern fantasy by foreign authors such as Garcia Marquez … While American book distributers and critics continue to build up genre walls, writers like De Lint are quietly laboring to take them down again, brick by brick, story by story. Forget the labels. Forget the assumptions …”
Jung defined synchronicity as “meaningful coincidence.” Such clusters of like images or ideas coming into our lives in a short span of time give an affirming sense or bring new meaning to an idea in the very nature of their collectivity.