|Since the shadow falls over every form of human interaction, understanding the human shadow takes knowing more than one kind of thing. This ridiculously long list is therefore divided up into 6 basic categories.|
The Human Shadow
A Little Book on the Human Shadow, Robert Bly. HarperSanFrancisco, 1988. This “little” book contains a huge amount of life-changing information. Get it.
Evil, The Shadow Side of Reality, John Sanford. Crossroad Publishing, New York, 1994. Don’t let the title scare you off. This is a very good book. Sanford is an Episcopalian priest plus a well-known Jungian psychologist and author, so he’s examining the ever present problem of evil from several perspectives: psychological, Christian, philosophical, mythological and literary.
The Human Shadow, Robert Bly. Audiocassettes of a live lecture, edited by William Booth, Sound Horizons, 1991. This is a lecture given at the Open Center in New York on the subjects covered in that “little” book above, and it is without a doubt the single best work ever done by any one individual on the human shadow. It’s dated now—he’s referring to George Sr., not George Jr.—but powerful. Bly uses poetry, music and compassion for his audience to talk kindly yet forcefully about the human shadow. If you can listen to this whole lecture without feeling uneasy about something, have someone check your pulse. You might be dead already. Perhaps if enough of us ask for it Sound Horizons will update and re-release this lecture on CD.
Inner Gold, Understanding Psychological Projection, Robert A. Johnson. Koa Books, 2008. We don’t just project evil onto others, we also project our hopes and ideals onto others. That’s what falling in love is. That’s what hero or star worship is. This accessible little book makes understanding projection—seeing traits in others before we’re able to recognize them in ourselves—much easier to understand.
Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature, Edited by Connie Zweig & Jeremiah Abrams. Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., 1991. This is a treasure chest of information about the human shadow—it contains 65 different essays (reviews here) on the human shadow by everyone from Carl Jung to Scott Peck. You need this book.
Owning Your Own Shadow, Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche, Robert A. Johnson. HarperSanFrancisco, 1991. Johnson is a Jungian analyst and the author of Inner Work, listed below in Dreamwork. Here he emphasizes the necessity of looking beyond opposites, the importance of consciously honoring the shadow, and the value of embracing paradox.
People of the Lie, the Hope for Curing Human Evil, M. Scott Peck. Touchstone, 1985. In this book Peck examines what often lies underneath the “nice” in what we refer to as a “nice” person. It’s well worth examining. As Jung said once, “I’d rather be whole than good.”
Romancing the Shadow, A Guide to Soul Work for a Vital, Authentic Life, Connie Zweig & Steve Wolf. Ballantine Wellspring, 1999. Paperback (OR) Romancing the Shadow, Illuminating the Dark Side of the Soul. Connie Zweig & Steve Wolf, Ballantine Books, 1997. Hardcover. The “introduction to shadow-work” in these books is thorough and informative, as is the authors’ explanation of the difference between the over-medicated medical model of psychology and the more introspective analytical approach. Then they delve into numerous case histories illustrating how the human shadow effects life and relationships. Easy to read and extremely helpful.
Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales, Marie-Louise von Franz. Spring Publications, 1974. As a student and close friend of Jung’s, von Franz has a unique historical perspective. Plus, her writing is warm-hearted, direct and uncluttered. This book examines how the shadow manifests in civilizations through fairy tales. More books by von Franz below in Jungian Thought.
The Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless Versus the Rest of Us, Marsha Stout. Broadway Books, 2005. If the statistics presented in this book are accurate then almost 4% of the population, or 1 in every 25 people, has no conscience—which is the clinical definition of a sociopath. It’s a brain wiring issue. These typically charismatic, high energy people wreck a great deal of damage in the world because the rest of us just can’t imagine hurting others without feeling guilt or shame. Thus we can be easily duped by those who do not feel remorse for evil deeds; we can be easily manipulated by those whose only motivation is a desire for power and control and “winning.”
Why Good People Do Bad Things: Understanding Our Darker Selves, James Hollis. Gotham Books, Penguin Group, 2007. Alas, our good intentions are often thwarted by our bad attitudes. And Hollis is brave enough to look at how unrecognized shadow material affects us culturally as well as personally. Our search for the “Other” as he calls it, for someone who’ll take care of us—or just someone to blame—ultimately leads us right back to ourselves. The chapter on ‘shadow in relationships’ in this book should be copied and given to every couple considering marriage. Hollis is also a very good public speaker, so catch him if he ever comes to your town.
Politics, Culture, History
An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It, Al Gore. Rodale Press, 2006. Global warming shares quite a few qualities with the human shadow—extremely inconvenient, highly uncomfortable to acknowledge, hard to get to work on, and usually denied. Al Gore is a true national hero; a Nobel Peace Prize winner who keeps on going to bat for what he believes in no matter how heartbreaking his last strike out was. The documentary for An Inconvenient Truth, now available on DVD, won an academy award.
A People’s History of the United States, 1492-Present, Howard Zinn. HarperCollins, 2003. When you first see the size of this book you think you won’t be able to finish it. Then when you start reading it, you won’t be able to put it down. It should be required reading for every citizen of the USA. What we aren’t told, compared to what we are told, is simply astonishing. And Zinn is fearless—he never pulls his punches.
The Assault on Reason, Al Gore. Penguin Press, 2007. Not running for office sure frees a guy up to speak his mind. This book kicks some serious ass.
The Audacity of Hope, Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, Barack Obama. Three Rivers/Crown/Random House, 2006. This is as good a short history of the US as you’re liable to find anywhere. How we got where we are and what we need to start doing about it, by a man who has thoroughly studied the subject. And what a refreshing viewpoint! “…we could resist the temptation to impute bad faith to those who disagree with us.” Now there’s an original concept.
The Chalice and the Blade; Our History, Our Future, Riane Eisler. HarperSanFrancisco, 1987. A review of the mounting archaeological evidence which suggests that human beings did not always live in patriarchal, warlike societies, and do not necessarily have to in the future. That’s good news.
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Jared Diamond. Penguin Group, 2005. Diamond (author of Guns, Germs and Steel) is trying to help us out, here. He’s making it clear that whether we ultimately fail or succeed as a society is entirely up to us, examining the choices made by present and past societies which led to their successes or failures, and offering suggestions for the future.
Confessions of An Economic Hit Man, John Perkins. Berrett-Koehler, 2004. A chilling book. Why do rock stars keep trying to get Third-World loans cancelled? Turns out most of the loans are bogus—merely fronts for big business interests. The smooth talking representatives go over and say “You guys need a dam (or a bridge or whatever). Let us build one for you!” Then the countries go deeply into debt to a giant corporation for something they really didn’t need which completely destroys their way of life and leaves them too broke to provide even the most basic services for their own people. In most cases the money never leaves the USA. Many small Central and South American countries have been economically strangled in just this way.
Dreams from My Father, A Story of Race and Inheritance, Barack Obama. Three Rivers/Crown/Random House, 2004. A beautifully written memoir that reads like a novel. It reveals a man who can look clearly yet respectfully into his own background and his family of origin. It reveals a man with enough depth of soul and strength of character to become the first black president of the United States.
Fast Food Nation, The Dark Side of the American Meal, Eric Schlosser. HarperCollins, 2002. I think that title says it all.
Fiasco: The American Military Misadventure in Iraq, Thomas E. Ricks. Penguin Press, 2007. I hate to recommend a book that may make you cry, but we should all read it anyway. If our fiasco in Iraq does indeed lead to the decline of the American empire, at least we’ll know what happened. Written by a Senior Pentagon Correspondent for the Washington Post.
The Future of Success, Working and Living in the New Economy, Robert B. Reich. Vintage Books/Random House, 2000. A former Secretary of Labor and a very bright man with a very big heart, Reich is always worth a look. In this book he makes telling points about what’s awry in our time, without letting any of us off the hook about how things got that way. I was particularly struck by what he calls “sorting:” the way we all unconsciously sort ourselves into communities and neighborhoods and school districts to the exclusion of those who have less resources than we do, and the impact it will have on our culture if not mitigated by other factors.
Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, Michael Isikoff and David Corn. Crown Publishers, New York, 2006. There’s no better way to learn about the shadow than to take a look at recent US history. If you or I said things we knew were not true, aggressively attacked those who dared to say so, and then blamed the disastrous consequences of our actions on others, it would be called lying. Or perjury. Or libel. We’d face serious consequences. But in the highest levels of US politics these days, it’s called “spin,” and there are no consequences. This needs to change.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma, A Natural History of Four Meals, Michael Pollan. Penguin, New York, 2006. The “omnivore’s dilemma” in the 2000s is whether or not you can find anything to eat that isn’t made from huge-factory-farm-mono-crop corn. High fructose corn syrup is in everything these days, and not necessarily because it’s good for us. See the documentary film Food, Inc., too, produced by Robert Kenner with input from Pollan and Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation).
Overthrow, America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq, Stephen Kinzer. Times Books, Henry Holt & Co., 2006. Absolute proof that the USA’s heroic rhetoric does not always match her clandestine actions. Meticulously documented evidence of the 14 governments toppled by the USA since 1893. You really have to read this book. Kinzer should have won an award for it. The Tell It Like It Is Award? The Truth In Action award? Too bad we don’t have such things.
The Sibling Society, Robert Bly. Addison-Wesley, 1996. Bly points out that the USA has become a nation of squabbling siblings because no one is willing to grow up. We refuse to take up the mantle of “elder” no matter how old we get, and we neglect the acquisition of wisdom to buy increasingly elaborate toys while manipulating our bodies to look young. A good book for aging baby boomers stuck in denial about what lies ahead.
Mythology, Comparative Religion
Adam, Eve, and the Serpent, Elaine Pagels. Vintage/Random House, 1989. An examination of how sexuality and the feminine principle came to be so reviled in the development of Western thought. The needle points to St. Augustine, who confused his own obsessive sexual nature with human nature in general, and then came up with the theory of innate depravity or “original sin.”
A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Karen Armstrong. Ballantine/Random House, 1993. This is a history of monotheism, from Babylon to the present—how these religions came into being, how they influenced and shaped one another. It’s an eminently readable book absolutely crammed with well-documented historical information. Now that’s hard to do.
The Battle for God, A History of Fundamentalism, Karen Armstrong. Ballantine/Random House, 2000. Twenty first-century fundamentalism is a knee-jerk reaction against the growth of scientific and secular culture. As new ways of thinking spread, old ways try to cling ever more tightly to their beliefs. And the reason to study it? “History shows that attempts to suppress fundamentalism simply make it more extreme.” Unless we want to regress to warring tribal factions ruled by ruthlessly opinionated madmen, we need to figure out how to deal respectfully with fundamentalists’ fears.
The Case for God, Karen Armstrong. Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. You’re seeing a lot of Karen Armstrong’s books on this list because she’s great: the Joseph Campbell of the 2000s. She does incredible research, manages to turn that research into a broad historical view, has a loving heart, and is a pleasure to read. If you merely used the excellent index at the end of this book as a way to refresh your memory about things like “Now, who was Spinoza?” (or Plato or Plutarch or Kant) or “What was the Romantic Movement?” (or rationalism or the Diaspora or the Protestant Reformation) it would be worth the $27.95 cover price.
See The Chalice and the Blade, in Politics, Culture & History, above.
Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters, Heroines in Folktales from Around the World, Kathleen Ragan. Norton & Co., 1998. Ragan has done all our daughters a favor by collecting traditional stories in which women save the day. There’s no waiting around for the prince in these pages! Stories as charming and magical as the fairy tales we’re used to, featuring female heroines.
The Flight of the Wild Gander, Explorations in the Mythological Dimensions of Fairy Tales, Legends and Symbols, Joseph Campbell. HarperPerennial, 1990. One of Campbell’s most accessible books, which contains extremely useful descriptions of what happens to reality if one insists on taking what should be considered religious metaphors as historical facts. (For instance, if the actual, physical body of Jesus started to ascend toward “heaven” 2000 years ago, even if it went at the speed of light, which is not possible for a physical body, he would still not be out of our galaxy.) The title refers to the wild ganders that often figured as totem spirits for Shamans in Northern tribes and as symbols of enlightenment in India. Campbell, like Neumann below, felt that at this point in human evolution each person has to become their own shaman, has to learn to follow the flight of their own wild gander, in order to soar.
The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels. Random House, New York, 1979. This book won the National Book Critics’ Circle Award the year it came out, for bringing Christianity’s tumultuous and divisive beginnings to light. The Gnostics were one of the sects the Orthodox Church (which ultimately won the day, getting to decide what went into the Bible and what didn’t) labeled heretical. Equality between men and women, the belief that one could “know” (gnosis: to know) God for oneself without intervention… such beliefs might have made a real difference in the development of Western civilization had they not been totally suppressed by those who gained the most power in the first few centuries after Jesus died.
The Golden Ass, Apuleius. Translated by Robert Graves, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1979. Written in the second century CE, this is one of the funniest, bawdiest books you will ever read. It also contains the most famous version of one of the oldest animal husband stories, Cupid and Psyche.
The Great Mother, Erich Neumann, translated by Ralph Manheim. Bollingen Series, Princeton, 1991. The archetype whose influence—for good and for evil—none of us can escape, described in detail as it appears from the earliest dawn of human culture down to the present time, with hundreds of pictures of artwork from all over the world. If you get bored with Neumann’s pedantry, you can just look at the pictures.
The Great Transformation, The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions, Karen Armstrong. Anchor Books, Random House, 2006. From about 900 to 200 BCE (what German philosopher Carl Jaspers called the “Axial Age”), four traditions that continue to shape world thought were born: monotheism in Israel, Confucianism and Daoism in China, Hinduism and Buddhism in India, and philosophical rationalism in Greece. Armstrong beautifully and thoroughly describes each of these developments, and makes it clear that only a return to the core insight of all four traditions—treat others as you wish to be treated—will provide a way forward for humanity.
The Greek Myths, Robert Graves. Penguin Books, 1996. Introduction by Kenneth McLeish, illustrations by Grahame Baker. This is a beautifully illustrated, gorgeously bound, hard cover edition of Graves’ 1955 classic. Everything you ever wanted to—OK, OK, more than you ever wanted to—know about Greek myths, with Graves’ analysis after each major grouping. It’s a valuable reference and a lovely book.
The Hero With A Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell. Bollingen Series, Princeton, 1973. An absolute classic. The publication of this book made Joseph Campbell a star. I will always remember when my high school aged son looked up from reading it and said, “Wow. This is awesome! Joseph Campbell must’ve studied for years to put all this together, and now all I hafta do is read this one book!” Exactly.
The Masks of God: Volume I, Primitive Mythology; Volume II, Oriental Mythology; Volume III, Occidental Mythology; Volume IV, Creative Mythology; Joseph Campbell. Penguin Books, 1976. I have to put these books in here, because they’re incredibly important to me. I also have to warn you that it took me a year—yes, that’s right, one whole year—to read and study them to my own satisfaction. In other words, these books are not casual reading. Campbell was a spiritual historian, and in these books he’s giving us the whole spiritual history of humanity as accurately as it could be given at the time he wrote the books. They’re difficult, and they refer to about 50 other books that you’ll have to read to keep up, but they are absolutely worth the effort for anyone curious about the history and the future of the human spirit.
Myths to Live By, Joseph Campbell. Penguin Compass, 1972. This book contains 12 essays derived from 25 different lectures originally given at the Cooper Union Forum in New York. The results are inspiring, informative comparisons of the world’s major religions. What’s the difference between Mahayana Buddhism and Zen Buddhism? Why do so many world myths feature virgin births? What are those chakra things? etc. Find out by reading this book.
The Origins and History of Consciousness, Erich Neumann. Bollingen Series, Princeton University Press, 1954. This is a dated book and fairly difficult to read, but it has an interesting and well-developed premise: that myths and religions evolved the way they did in response to humanity’s emerging consciousness, which is still emerging. We hope.
The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers, Edited by Betty Sue Flowers. Doubleday, 1988. If you only get one book by Joseph Campbell, this should be it. (No! Reflections on the Art of Living! No! Myths To Live By! Oh, shoot. Just get several.) And make sure you get the illustrated edition of this one. It contains the entire, now famous dialogue between Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell that regularly appears on public television at fund-raising time. Moyers’ questions slow down Campbell’s brain enough for the rest of us to keep up, and the stunning illustrations on every page make it a visual delight.
Reflections on the Art of Living, A Joseph Campbell Companion, selected and edited by Diane K. Osbon. HarperPerennial, 1991. My absolute favorite. A book to open at random anytime you need comfort or inspiration, compiled from excerpts of a month-long seminar JC taught at Esalen Institute. “Every moment is utterly unique and will not be continued in eternity. This fact gives life its poignancy, and should concentrate your attention on what you are experiencing now. I think that’s washed out a bit by the notion that everyone will be happy later in heaven. You had better be happy here, now. You’d better experience the eternal here and now.”
Diamonds of the Night, The Search for Spirit in Your Dreams, James Hagan. PageMill Press, 1997. As the author says in the introduction, “This is a book for ordinary people, people who do not have a doctorate degree, but who will read and understand. For that reason, the book has been written in plain language, with brevity, without footnotes, and with as little scientific language as possible.” Very valuable for anyone interested in doing dream work.
Every Dreamer’s Handbook, A Step-by-step Guide to Understanding and Benefiting from your Dreams, Will Phillips. Kensington Books, 1994. Phillips takes the mystery and anxiety out of studying your own dreams, bless his heart. Simple enough for a twelve year old, effective enough for anybody.
Healing Dreams, Marc Ian Barasch. Riverhead Books, New York, 2000. The author has collected dream experiences from all sorts of cultures, from all over the world. He primarily focuses on “big dreams,” the ones that change your life if you heed them, but there’s also a helpful section on how our shadows affect our dreams. Interesting reading, thought provoking material.
Inner Work, Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth, Robert Johnson. HarperSan Francisco, 1986. Johnson offers an accessible, four-step approach to dream work that he developed during his practice as a Jungian analyst, and encourages readers to do dream work on their own by proceeding consciously and carefully through these steps. He also offers a four-step procedure for practicing active imagination, with appropriate cautions.
New Directions in Dream Interpretation, Edited by Gayle Delaney. State University of New York Press, 1993. Seven approaches to dream interpretation described by the practicing psychologists and psychiatrists who use them. Written for the profession, but also readable for us lay folk.
Sacred Dream Circles, A Guide to Facilitating Jungian Dream Groups, Tess Castleman. Daimon Verlag, 2009. Not that you or I are liable to facilitate a Jungian dream group, but the information in this book will let you see whether or not you’d like to participate in one.
Threads, Knots, Tapestries: How a tribal connection is revealed through dreams and synchronicities, Tess Castleman. Daimon Verlag, 2004. One of the things that happened when our forefathers wrenched this continent from the Native Americans was a loss of tribal connection. We are an extremely isolated and fragmented society. (Is that why so many of us wear logos on our clothing? I’m with Nike? I’m an Oregon State Beaver?) Castleman specializes in group dream work, and here she notices how the connections people have to one another manifest in their dreams.
Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill, Using Dreams to Tap the Wisdom of the Unconscious, Jeremy Taylor. Warner Books, 1992. Taylor is a co-founder of the Association for the Study of Dreams. This book includes techniques for working with groups, for improving dream recall, for working by oneself, and a list of recommended books for further study.
Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche, Marie-Louise von Franz. Shambhala, 1999. The human race is in transition—rigid old cultural and religious rules no longer apply to our lives; new ways of living in contact with our bodies and in contact with nature, as well as new ethical standards, will be required. Here von Franz presents mythological examples of how the collective psyche points toward, and can guide us through, this transition period.
Archetypal Patterns in Fairy Tales, Marie-Louise von Franz. Inner City Books, 1997.
In-depth interpretations of six fairy tales from six different countries. Another good book from von Franz. See The Interpretation of Fairy Tales, below.
Care of the Soul, A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life, Thomas Moore. HarperPerennial, 1992. Moore advocates learning to care for yourself, rather than trying to cure yourself. Simple and powerful advice. Also see Soul Mates, by Moore, listed below.
C.G. Jung: His Life and Work. A Biographical Memoir, Barbara Hannah. Perigree, 1976. Sonu Shamdasani says this is still the best biography of Jung to date, and since he’s an eminent historian of psychology, I’d take his word for it. Also see Jung Stripped Bare By His Biographers, Even below.
Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, How to Finally, Really Grow Up, James Hollis. Gotham, 2006. This is a great book—I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone past their 35th birthday. Hollis is a realist. Not airy-fairy, not namby-pamby. In a culture that values youth more than wisdom, growing up is hard to do. A little Hollis helps.
He, Understanding Masculine Psychology, Robert A. Johnson. Harper & Row, 1989. A look into the male heart through a re-telling of the heroic tale about Parsifal and his search for the Holy Grail. A companion volume to She and We, listed below.
The Interpretation of Fairy Tales, Marie-Louise von Franz. Shambhala, 1996. Jungians analyze classic fairy tales because they’re one of the simplest and purest expressions of the collective unconscious, and as such they offer rich glimpses into basic patterns of human behavior. In this book von Franz describes the steps involved in analyzing a fairy tale, and then uses these steps to discuss a variety of European tales.
Iron John, A Book About Men, Robert Bly. Addison-Wesley, 1990. A ground-breaking work about male initiation, the role of the mentor in a man’s life, and the reality of being male as opposed to the stereotype of being male that permeates modern life. Highly recommended for both men and women.
Jung Stripped Bare By His Biographers, Even, Sonu Shamdasani. Karnac, 2005. Shamdasani is the editor of The Red Book, and a psychological historian. Which means he uses facts, bless his heart, not hearsay or mythologizing, when he discusses Carl Jung and/or his work. I would studiously avoid many of the “biographies” of Jung which have been written so far—many of which are sheer drivel—and head straight for this one or Barbara Hannah’s, listed above.
The Maiden King, The Reunion of Masculine and Feminine, Robert Bly and Marion Woodman. Henry Holt and Company, 1998. Woodman, a Jungian analyst, joins Bly here. Together the two, male and female, examine the same story to illustrate how far removed masculine and feminine principles have become from one another in modern life, and to suggest steps which could be taken to bring them back together in the future.
Man and His Symbols, edited by Carl Jung. Doubleday Anchor Books, 1964. An old book and a gorgeous book. Illustrations from art, film, and life on every page make the role that symbols play in our psyches graphically clear. Definitely the easiest of Jung’s books to read, and an interesting book historically too, as most of his life Jung refused to write for the general public, fearing it would only lead to misunderstanding. Then he dreamed in his waning years that he should try to reach the masses and this book—a collaboration between Jung and some of his closest colleagues—was the result. Get the hardback with all the artwork. It’s a collectible item.
Memories, Dreams, Reflections, C.G. Jung, recorded and edited by Aniela Jaffe, translated by Richard and Clara Winston. Vintage Books Edition, 1989. If there is any spark of the visionary, the artist, the impossible dreamer, or the heroic introvert in your soul, you need to read this book. Spoken aloud to Jaffe and/or hand-written in the last 4 years of his life, this is a candid glimpse into the psyche of a truly unique individual—a man who really did follow his own heart.
Men and the Water of Life, Michael Meade. HarperSanFrancisco, 1993. This is simply a great book, in any genre. I took it on a road trip once and read passages aloud to my whole family, who were enthralled. When telling a story, Meade can get more mileage out of a metaphor than any person on earth, and when recounting his real-life experiences as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam war—including prison—Meade is mesmerizing.
The Myth of Analysis, Three Essays in Archetypal Psychology, James Hillman. Northwestern University Press, 1972. James Hillman has written a slew of books and has profoundly influenced the entire post-Jungian psychological community. He’s a courageous, original thinker. I love the hell out of him. I have a shelf full of his books. But this is the only book of his I’m putting on this list because it’s the only one that doesn’t make me grind my teeth at some point while reading it. Hillman has terrific ideas, but he tends to take off with those ideas into the stratosphere. I recommend him to practiced, critical readers who will sift through his ideas and form their own opinions as they read.
The Portable Jung, Edited by Joseph Campbell. Penguin Books, 1971. This is the most dog-eared, highlighted, written in, and worn out edition of Jung’s work in my house. Written by Jung, edited by Campbell—each man a visionary and a genius.
The Red Book, C.G. Jung, Edited by Sony Shamdasani. Norton & Co., New York & London, 2009. This is Carl Jung’s own dream journal, which he worked on from 1914 to 1930. The paintings alone are worth the price of the book. Absolutely gorgeous. And fascinating. Here, in calligraphy and gallery-quality artwork, lie the visions that led to much of what we call analytical psychology today. Shamdasani spent 14 years putting this book together from various drafts which were the private property of Jung’s family up until now. Not only is Shamdasani the world’s foremost expert on Jung, he approaches his subject as a historian of psychology, not as a cult follower. He’s interested in accuracy, not in the smarmy, half-true mythologizing which distorts so much of the information available about Jung’s life up until now. A phenomenal work that will have lasting repercussions.
She, Understanding Feminine Psychology, Robert A. Johnson. Harper & Row, 1989. Johnson examines the feminine heart by taking us through the Greek myth of Eros and Psyche. A companion volume to He and We.
Soul Mates, Honoring the Mysteries of Love and Relationship, Thomas Moore. HarperCollins, 1994. Here Moore applies the idea he explored in Care of the Soul—“caring for” rather than “curing”—to how couples relate to one another. Very useful.
We, The Psychology of Romantic Love, Robert Johnson. HarperSanFrancisco, 1983. Western culture has been confusing romantic love with spiritual longing since the 12th century. So do your part to help humanity evolve: from now on, every time you receive a wedding invitation, give the happy couple 2 books: this one and Why Good People Do Bad Things by James Hollis (listed in Human Shadow section above). Our never-ending search for fulfillment and ecstasy in our lovers merely burdens them with impossible expectations, and invariably leads to disappointment and disillusionment. It is simply not possible—or fair—to throw our longing for wholeness onto another human being. Completeness comes from within.
Women Who Run With the Wolves, Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Ballantine Books, 1992. A terrific book. A classic. Estes is a great story teller and a loving heart as well as a Jungian analyst. Her passion for life is infectious, her courage to look life right in the face inspiring. Highly recommended for both men and women.
Authors who aren’t afraid to show a little shadow in their work: Sherman Alexie, Margaret Atwood, Joseph Conrad, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Dave Eggers, Louise Erdrich, William Faulkner, Nadine Gordimer, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hermann Hesse, Franz Kafka, Ursula K. LeGuin, D.H. Lawrence, Hermann Melville, Joyce Carol Oates, Flannery O’Connor, Edgar Allan Poe, Toni Morrison, Annie Proulx, Wallace Stegner, Alice Walker, John Trudell, Eudora Welty, Edith Wharton
1984, George Orwell. For only $2.95—thousands of used copies exist on the Internet—you can have one of the best books ever written. How Orwell knew in 1949 what many places in the world would look like today is one of the great artistic mysteries. And the mid-book explanation of ‘why there must always be a war’ is worth any price. You cannot pretend to be educated until you’ve read this book. There’s a film version of 1984 with Richard Burton as the bad guy.
Always Coming Home, Ursula K. LeGuin. Harper & Row, 1985. First off, LeGuin is my hero. She’s written over 50 critically acclaimed, prize-winning books while raising a family here in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. And versatile doesn’t begin to describe her work: novels, short stories, science fiction, criticism, poetry, young adult, children’s books. The common thread in them all is how LeGuin bravely explores the innermost reaches of what it means to be human—this woman writes soul fiction. The Left Hand of Darkness, Four Ways to Forgiveness, The Dispossessed, The Lathe of Heaven, Searoad, The Wizard of Earthsea series (listed below). This particular book, Always Coming Home, is a Utopian novel that takes place in Northern California several thousand years after an apocalyptic meltdown on the planet Earth. Appropriately, it’s written in experimental form. You can read it straight through, or you can skip around. Either way, when you’ve finished the book your only question will be, “How do we get to Kesh?”
The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown. Doubleday, 2003. And why not? It’s OK to play around sometimes. Dan Brown manages to write rip roaring mysteries that have re-introduced thinking in “symbol” to the general public. That’s pretty amazing, actually. See also Angels and Demons, 2000, and The Lost Symbol, 2009, for more good reads in the same vein. They’re all real page turners. Plus, who else would bother to explain where “Friday the 13th” came from?
Hermann Hesse, novels of. East meets west in Hermann Hesse. Steppenwolf, Demian (amazing), Narcissus and Goldmund (love this book), Siddhartha, Magister Ludi (for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1946, but it’s actually his most boring work)… again, thousands of used copies of Hesse’s works are available for mere pennies on the internet. How could you lose?
The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart: Poems for Men, Anthology, edited by Robert Bly, James Hillman and Michael Meade. HarperCollins, 1993. Poetry by men and about men collected from all over the world by three renowned author/titans of the men’s movement. Poignant, powerful, heartbreaking, inspiring… just about everything you need.
SHADOW Searching for the Hidden Self: Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious, Vol 1. Described in the Human Shadow section above. Gorgeous. And spooky.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson. And yet another instance where you can have a great book at a small cost by looking online. There are also several film versions of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. The version truest to the spirit of the book stars Fredric March, but the one starring Spencer Tracy and Ingrid Bergman is wonderful in its own way.
The Wizard of Earthsea, series of 6 books: The Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, Tehanu, Tales from Earthsea, The Other Wind, Ursula K. LeGuin. From the first book in this series, where a headstrong young wizard has to confront his own shadow in order to survive, to the last book in this series, which brings the feminine principle in Earthsea back into power and accord with the masculine principle, these books are absolutely awesome. Tonic for the soul. If you’ve never read LeGuin, start here.