Poetry as a Re-birthing of the Feeling Function
Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you’re bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.
—Rumi (13th century)
I have never been through a re-birthing process. And yet, I can imagine into how one comes to a new relationship and way of being in the world by re-entering it through a ritual imbued with welcoming and warmth. What was once neglected gets held with tenderness and attention. We tend to the unattended. We look at what was missing and, perhaps, still is. One reclaims a sense of self-value, a worthiness to be in the world and in relation to others. We bring back out what was lost long ago.
In his powerful series of lectures on the feeling function, Hillman (1971) claimed that this function “has lain like a buried continent in the collective psyche” (p. 113). Both Hillman and Jung himself seem to suggest that poetry may be a means to excavate the remains of a function long ago lost from society, to re-birth it—a way of tending to what has been unattended to, to bring the feeling function back out into the world in a meaningful way.
It is essential to understand that each of the four functions (sensing, intuiting, thinking, and feeling) is a function of consciousness, and an “individual adapts and orients himself chiefly by means of his most differentiated function” (Jung, 1971, para. 556). However, all of us contain aspects of all four functions, and much of our path of individuation is seeking balance and wholeness within the psyche, which includes an integration of the various psychological types. The functions “belong to the development of the conscious personality, forming part of the ego, its consistency, its habits, unity and memory, its characteristic way of performing” (Hillman, 1971, p. 113).

Full Personality Type In Depth Article Here