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   Becoming Whole:
   Jung's Types and Individuation   

     Introverted Intuition: The Visionary Gifts
November/December 2012

This image fascinates the intuitive activity; it is arrested by it and seeks to explore every detail of it. It holds fast to the vision, observing with the liveliest interest how the picture changes, unfolds, and finally fades.
C .G. Jung
(CW 6, par 656)

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Klee Sailing
"Departure of the Ships" by the intuitive Swiss artist, Paul Klee.


In the last letter, we reviewed the energetic type, extraverted intuition, referring to it as "catalytic" intuition for its impulse to pursue new possibilities. In this letter, we will review its quiescent cousin, introverted intuition. On the Gifts Compass, we refer to it as the "visionary" gift set for its extraordinary ability to apprehend the inner images emerging from the unconscious. Though similar sounding and from the same root function, introverted intuition can be as different from extraverted intuition as a horse chestnut from a chestnut horse. 

Introverted Intuition: The Visionary Gifts
Both the introverted attitude and the attitude of intuition are oriented to the inner object--the deeper unconscious that Jung called "collective." This dual orientation to the inner life renders introverted intuition a highly mystical, imaginative, and far-seeing type. While extraverted intuition perceives possibilities in the world as tangible projects, events, and ventures, introverted intuition is more oriented to intangible and illusive inner images.

Jung wrote that without this type there would have been no prophets in Israel. The possibilities made apparent to introverted intuition are often for the age, for the nation, or for the world. Introverted intuition can sometimes see history and the outworking of future events in clips of a thousand years.  

A person born to this type may hardly know what to make of the perpetual stream of visions, images, and epiphanies made apparent in the inner life. The visions transcend personal imagination; they are too big, too profound, and too meaningful to be merely personal. They are of the collective and for the collective.

Mystics like Jacob Boehme, Mary Baker Eddy, George Fox, Gandhi, Meister Eckhart, Rumi, Isaiah, or John the Baptist apprehended these visions. They saw more clearly what others could only dimly perceive. They were sometimes like a "voice crying in the wilderness;" they had the capacity to figuratively touch the harp strings of the unconscious in a way that resonated with the melodies of eternity. 

Yet, introverted intuition is not confined only to a mystical orientation. It can also deliver the inner imagination that inspires people in many arenas. Physicists, mathematicians, architects, poets, artists, and composers look to inner images and visions to shape their work. "Imagination is everything," said the intuitive Einstein. "It is the preview of life's coming attractions."

James Graham Johnston
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