What is the Imaginal Realm

Yesterday I watched an amazing movie called The House of Cards – not the BBC’s political box set trilogy, reengineered by Kevin Spacey for an American audience. This is an old (1993) movie starring Kathleen Turner and Tommy Lee Jones.  It brought me back to the theme of mental health and the differently abled.  It underlined how we tend to be in the world, afraid of what we do not understand.

In the movie the father of a young child dies and she is told that he has gone to the moon. This sends the child into trauma, which forces her into the imaginal realm where her consciousness expands and she can do extraordinary things. It also means that she is not in an ‘attachment’ relationship with the physical world. But that makes her differently abled or autistic as she is labelled by a psychiatrist who then tries to extricate her from the family home, in order to 'normalize' her. 

Why is it so difficult to co~exist with those who are differently abled and who, in many cases, are more ‘able’ than we are.

The imaginal kingdom is the natural domain of poets, mystics and the magical child, the one who inhabits an imaginary world and believes that everything is possible, as the 6~year old in the movie did. Some may dismiss the imaginal realm as mere day dream – a short term escape from the ‘real’ world – at best frivolous and mostly a waste of time. For the artist however, in all its many guises, the imaginal world is an undeniable reality, a place of unbounded imagination and inspiration.

Those accustomed to thinking in terms of more than one reality – metaphysicists, shamanic practitioners and mystics, have moved beyond superstition to embrace the ordinariness of the extraordinary.

Albert Einstein, one of the great thinkers of our time, inhabited both worlds. He believed that the most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mystical. Living on the boundary of inner and outer, this world and ‘other’ worlds, Einstein had the ability to decode and then transmute his imaginal insights into practical applications that dramatically changed the course of human life.

But journeyers beware: the imaginal realm is the space ‘between worlds’, an ‘edge’ place where boundaries blur and that fluidity causes worlds to merge. We require the skill and prowess of the shapeshifter to navigate these different states of consciousness.


  1. yes, yes, oh yes, this film is beautiful ;)


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