Jung & the art of Active Imagination

Alton Wasson offers a brief exploration of Carl Jung and the origins of Active Imagination, the transcendent function and the invitation to experience “both/and”. This talk was recorded during the annual Contemplative Dance/Authentic Movement Week I Introductory workshop, held in June 2016 at Hampshire College.



“Active imagination is thus THE most powerful tool in Jungian psychology for achieving wholeness – far more efficient than dream interpretation alone…It is a form of play, but a bloody serious one…But I think that nobody who has once discovered active imagination would ever want to miss it, because it can literally achieve miracles of inner transformation.

We also know that many alchemists used an IMAGINATIO VERA ET NON PHANTASTICA in their work, which was a form of active imagination. This gives us the satisfaction of knowing that we are dealing here not with a weird innovation, but with human experience, which has been lived through before. It is actually a new from of one of the oldest forms of RELIGIO, in the sense of “giving a careful consideration to the numinous powers.”

~Marie-Louise von Franz

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What is Contemplative Dance?

Tiffany Sankary interviews Alton Wasson (audio/mp3)

What Is Contemplative Dance? (pdf – transcript of audio)

In this interview with Tiffany Sankary, Feldenkrais Practitioner, Alton Wasson describes Contemplative Dance/Authentic Movement, the structure, how he came to the practice, the relationship between creativity and CD/AM, the role of Active Imagination in Authentic Movement, and why he continues to embody and teach this practice.





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Witnessing and the Chest of Drawers

Witnessing and the Chest of Drawers (pdf)

by Alton Wasson

This article offers a way of thinking about our projections and perceptions as we witness another person moving. The list of drawers is infinite and serves as an invitation to remind us of the multiplicity of ourselves as witness and as mover and to broaden our awareness of our projections – the images, stories, memories and associations evoked by what we see and feel. Through this homey and accessible image I offer a way to both contain and expand our perceptions. Like the practice of authentic movement, the chest of drawers metaphor connects the studio and everyday life by pointing to the many levels of dimensions of what is always going on.


Wasson, Alton. “Chapter 7: Witnessing and the Chest of Drawers.” 2005. Authentic Movement: Moving the Body, Moving the Self, Being Moved. A Collection of Essay, Volume Two. Ed. Patrizia Pallaro. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007. 69-72. Print.

Wasson, Alton. “Witnessing and the Chest of Drawers.” Contact Quarterly 27.2 (2002): 13-17. Print.

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Nature and Contemplative Dance (pdf)

by Alton Wasson

This article explores my connection between Contemplative Dance/Authentic Movement and being and working in Nature. I am interested in how connecting with ourselves as body enables us to experience ourselves as part of nature rather than lording over it. There are some examples of how I facilitate groups in CD workshop called Spirit of Place and in other shorter experiences of moving outdoors.

I also share a belief that paying attention to inner ecology through body mindfulness and movement enhances our participation in deep ecology.

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Enhancing the Grace

Enhancing the Grace (pdf)

An Interview with Alton Wasson

By Annie Geissinger

“There is grace abounding in the world that we can participate in, that we can perpetuate, that we can enhance by this simple practice.”

The Summer 2005 issue of A Moving Journal focused on the connection of Authentic Movement with various religious practices and traditions. In this interview I speak about the continuing process of integrating aspects of Authentic Movement into my Christian roots and practices.

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How is that about you?

“How Is That about You? Alton Wasson and Aileen Crow Talk about Witness Projection”

In this January 2012 article from Journal of Authentic Movement and Somatic Inquiry  (pdf), Alton and Aileen explore the dynamics of projection in witnessing. They discuss a practice used in a workshop that asked the witness “How is that about you?” in order to tap his or her internal responses during the witnessing experience. Bringing awareness to one’s projections as a witness and owning them can enable differentiation between the mover’s and the witness’ experience.





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