Miss Julia Garnet, recently retired history teacher and proudly atheistic communist that she was, did not expect change. She certainly never planned to plunge alone from her dryly unremarkable London life into the heart of another ancient and exotic city, all awash with an unfamiliar intensity of colors and flavors, intriguing strangers, and, most of all, beauty. The desiccated cells of her soul soaked up the essences of this new world. They softened, opening themselves to the abundance until, most unexpected of all, Miss Garnet encountered the reality of yet another world around her.
Henry Corbin was among those who, alongside C. G. Jung, attended the Eranos gatherings as a professor of Islamic religion at the Sorbonne and, concurrently, at the University of Tehran. He delved deeply into the spiritual worlds of the Persian Zoroastrians and of the Sufis. It was he who coined the term imaginal to speak of an interior spiritual plane between the world of intellect and that of the senses, which he viewed as the home of the soul. Corbin also spoke of active imagination, through which Jung encountered Philemon and Salome as he described in his Red Book.
With a little help from Corbin, study group participants will explore Miss Garnet’s experiences and how they relate to the individuation process and other things. For this book has multiple layers, including one which reaches back to the apocryphal Book of Tobit. Salley Vickers is leading us on a mysterious and beautiful adventure.
On September 18 Salley Vickers will present a program offered by The C. G. Jung Society of St. Louis through Zoom (register online here). Miss Garnet’s Angel was the first of her 12 published novels. Her latest, The Gardener, will be published this autumn.
June Vaughan received an A.B. in English and American Literature and in Religious Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. She has pursued her interest in Jungian psychology for more than 35 years and is a past president of The C. G. Jung Society of St. Louis.