Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture and Spring Journal Books
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Clio's Circle
Entering The Imaginal World of Historians

by Ruth Meyer

ISBN: 978-1-882670-70-3
211 pp.

How do historians make an imaginative leap into the past? How do they recreate historical events as if they can reach out and touch, smell, hear, see, and even taste them? According to depth psychologist and historian Dr. Ruth Meyer, dreams, visions, and altered states form an unacknowledged and misunderstood part of the historian's creative process. Drawing on the autobiographical writings of historians such as Arnold Toynbee and Simon Schama, Clio's Circle weaves together the insights of depth psychology with life-changing moments of historical inspiration. We enter the circle of Clio, muse of history, where time takes on a different meaning and the spark of historical creativity ignites.


"When historians are supposed to be 'objective,' getting their 'facts straight,' they rarely risk sharing the degree of their imaginal immersion in the history that has called them. Depth psychologist, history educator, and psychohistorian, Ruth Meyer, shares her fascinating sleuthing in the autobiographical confessions of historians for evidence of the dreams, visions, and empathic imaginative experiences that have deepened their historical grasp. This groundbreaking work shows us that being an historian is in part an imaginal activity, with the radical implication that teaching history should engage the empathic imagination of students. Only then can they cross the border from their own experiences to those of other peoples and times. If only Ruth Meyer had been my history teacher! What imaginal forays would have been possible!" —Mary Watkins, Ph.D., co-author of Towards Psychologies of Liberation and author of Waking Dreams and Invisible Guests: The Development of Imaginal Dialogues

"Full of fascinating stories. Meyer's quickening of history will delight lovers of archives and place alike. There are many literary friends in here – historians, poets, artists, psychoanalysts – who seem to drink, like proverbial History and Memory, from each others lips. Entering the imagination of history with her is a true thinking person's pleasure." —Nor Hall, author of The Moon and the Virgin and Those Women

"With gentle scholarship and persuasive passion, Ruth Meyer rescues the arts of the imagination at the heart of history. Clio's Circle discovers the depth psychological creativity by which historians past and present enter the underworld both tragic and glorious. This book is an important addition to understanding the meaning of history and to nourishing its future." —Susan Rowland, Reader in English and Jungian Studies, University of Greenwich, UK

About the author:
RUTH MEYER, Ph.D., was one of the first female undergraduates admitted to Corpus Christi College, Oxford in 1979. She studied and taught history in England and Spain for 10 years before discovering the work of depth psychologist, C. G. Jung. Since then, she has combined her lifelong passion for history with the insights of depth psychology. Her Master's research at the University of London focused on the field of psychohistory and eventually led her to California where she is a pioneer in Jungian psychohistory. She earned her doctorate in depth psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in California. She currently teaches history at a college preparatory school in San Jose and presents workshops on her research about dreams and history.