What is animal presence? Why do animals visit in dreams? James Hillman, founder of archetypal psychology wrote that from a depth perspective of the world
all things are displays, and imagination and perception, invisible and visible, intuition and sensation do not fall apart when discerned with an animal eye (Animal Presences, Spring, 2008).
So what is an animal eye? What is it like to look at the world with an animal eye? Hillman speaks to using another kind of vision that moves beyond the usual correspondences, symbolization and metaphors that we usually impose on animals in attempting to define their meaning. Through leaning into the mysterious otherness of animals, by
bringing our superior postures to the level of the creature, kneeling to it, condescension, we begin to see as they do; a transposed eye [...] to see with the creaturely eye is an act of imagining the world so that it appears in continuing animation, in a continuing play of creation with which human consciousness participates by means of imagining acts. (Hillman, 2008)
Here the creative imagination is not a gift that is bestowed upon us in order to create great works of art, images or ideas. Animal vision is a way of releasing what already exists. When we see with the animal eye we are able to see and connect with creative process that is ongoing and the possibilities that exist in play. Hillman emphasizes that
the human imagination is not the creator, does not create; it sees the creative, creatively (Hillman, 2008)
Seeing creatively with the animal eye is a way to open, improvise and play your way into creative process.