BOOKS BY ROBERT
Following are a few insights from some of Robert's books I
THE FISHER KING &
The Fisher King: The wounded masculine
In the story of the Fisher King a young and naive prince is
mortally wounded by an impulsive act of bravado. It is his
creativity, generativity, and masculinity that are injured and he is
left "too badly wounded to live, but unable to die." Unable to feel
warmth or pleasure, his only solace is in solitary fishing.
Many men are wounded fisher kings now. This wound is to be seen
on the face of almost any man who passes on the street; the ache of
life, the anxiety, dread, loneliness, the corners of the mouth
pointing down....It is the sense that life has lost its savor, or a
fortune that one cannot enjoy, a marriage where there is an
unbridgeable gulf between the partners, a fine body that no longer
brings the runner's high that used to thrill one, the sound of
applause that no longer affirms the performer.
The Handless Maiden: The wounded feminine
In the myth of the Handless Maiden a miller makes a deal with the
devil in order to get more work done quickly and with less effort.
The devil demands the miller's daughter as payment. "The miller is
desolate but unwilling to give up his much expanded mill, so he
gives his daughter to the devil. The devil chops off her hands and
carries them away." Waited on her by newly prosperous family, the
handless maiden is content for a time, until a growing sense of
desperation sends her out to the forest alone.
The cry of contemporary women, like that of the handless maiden,
is often some variation of "What can I do?"-a wounded, sometimes
angry plea appropriate in a world that often makes women feel
useless and second-rate outside of the realms of courtship or
Parallel and divergent experiences of men and women
As the tales of the handless maiden and the fisher king
illustrate, women and men suffer differently and much of the tension
and lack of communication between the sexes spring from this
difference. What is wounded in each is the ability to feel-to find
joy, worth, and meaning in life. Robert A. Johnson's thoughtful
analysis of these two timeless myths elegantly reveals the parallel
and divergent ways men and women experience and overcome alienation
and recognizes how the story of the king speaks to the masculine
side of women, while the tale of the maiden addresses the feminine
side of men. Reminding us that "a real myth always provides a
healing or cure for the ill that it describes." Johnson draws from
these stories a healing heroic path for women and men.
OWNING YOUR OWN
In this powerful work, popular Jungian author Robert A. Johnson
explores our need to "own our own shadow"-the term Jung used to
describe the dark, hidden aspect of the ego or persona. Johnson
guides us through an exploration of the shadow: what it is, how it
originates, and how it is formed through the process of
acculturation, and the havoc that it can wreak if not absorbed.
"It is (also) astonishing to find that some very good
characteristics turn up in the shadow," writes Johnson. "Generally,
the ordinary, mundane characteristics are the norm. Anything less
than this goes into the shadow. But anything better also goes into
the shadow! Some of the pure gold of our personality is relegated to
the shadow because it can find no place in that great leveling
process that is culture,," writes Johnson. Curiously, people resist
the noble aspects of their shadow more strenuously than they hide
the dark sides."
Johnson sees the "owning" of one's shadow a means by which
wholeness is restored to the personality. This is accomplished by
coming to terms with the shadow and incorporating it into the
In Transformation, Robert Johnson offers a new model to
understand the stages of personal growth to achieve maturity and
wholeness. Using three quintessential figures from classical
literature-Don Quixote, Hamlet, and Faust-he shows us three levels
development that are to be completed to experience the self-realized
state of completion and harmony.
We are all Don Quixote, Hamlet, and Faust at various stages of
our lives. They represent levels of consciousness that live inside
us, vying for dominance, one winning one moment, another the next.
Don Quixote is the innocent child in us all, unaware of life's pain.
Shakespeare's Hamlet represents conscious imperfection, a man
divided between the opposing forces within himself and full of
despair in the face of the tragic nature of life. This is the state
of the modern Western person-aware of one's shortcoming, anxious
over what to do, neurotic and incomplete. As a result, modern
Western culture has historically dismantled the more natural
societies it has encountered, leaving entire populations stranded in
the purgatory of this second level of consciousness.
The third state, conscious perfection-the state of the fully
integrated person-is represented by Goethe's Faust. His is an
awareness that has been gained by struggling with and working
through the second level of consciousness-a journey that is both
painful and dangerous and of particular pertinence to our
contemporary culture. It is Faust who, through his own inner work,
restores to wholeness the life he had torn apart to achieve the
ecstatic, visionary, enlightened consciousness of which we are all
A Jungian psychological interpretation of the Grail Legend; the
journey of individuation as experienced by the archetypal figure
Parsifal. This book is an excellent introduction to masculine
psychology through a classic European tale.
FEMININITY LOST AND
Using the Oedipal myth and the Hindu myth of Nala as examples,
Johnson illuminates the dynamics of feminine energy as it functions
within men and women.
LYING WITH THE HEAVENLY
WOMAN: UNDERSTANDING AND INTEGRATING THE FEMININE ARCHETYPES IN
Johnson brings clarity and profound insight to the interior world
of feelings, values, moods, and intuition. Some subjects include the
mother complex, the mother archetype, the sister, the anima, and the
CONTENTMENT: A WAY
TO TRUE HAPPINESS
Johnson and Ruhl explore the many gifts of contentment-from
energy and spontaneity to dreams and ordinariness-showing how we can
integrate them into our daily lives. They envision contentment as a
"dance between your wishes and reality, (between) what you want and
what you get," and they teach us how to do this dance until you're
"in love with the moment, not just dutifully accepting its but
passionately, rapturously embracing the eternal now."
INNER WORK: USING
DREAMS AND ACTIVE IMAGINATION FOR PERSONAL GROWTH
Through a practical four-step approach, Robert demonstrates how
our dreams and imagination can be transformed into an active,
creative part of our lives. He calls this technique "inner work"
because "they are direct, powerful ways of approaching the inner
world of the unconscious." Using dreams from real case studies,
Johnson guides the reader through a simple program for analyzing
one's own dreams, enabling us "to search the hidden depths of our
own unconscious to find the strengths and resources that wait to be
WE: UNDERSTANDING THE
PSYCHOLOGY OF ROMANTIC LOVE
We retells the myth of Tristan and Iseult, one of the earliest
romance tales, and uses it as a reference point to explain the
essence and meaning of romantic love. Employing Jungian philosophy,
Robert uncovers many of the unconscious beliefs about love shared by
both sexes and shows how these attitudes are expressed symbolically
in the Tristan myth.
BALANCING HEAVEN AND
EARTH: A MEMOIR OF VISIONS, DREAMS, AND REALIZATION
This is a moving and instructive memoir in the traditions of Carl
Jung's Memories, Dreams, and Reflections, Robert A. Johnson's
delightfully candid, profound, and entertaining reflection on his
seventy-five years of life reveals his mystical visions, encounters
with modern sages, holy men, and con-artists, and the wisdom of a
lifetime devoted to balancing the inner and the outer, the masculine
and the feminine, the eternal and the everyday.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF JOY
Reviving the myth of Dionysis, this book elucidates and brings to
us the importance and need for an ecstatic vision of human
consciousness. Johnson offers many avenues through which each one of
us can find and enjoy inner ecstasy and ecstasy in our connection to
the collective unconscious and to each other.
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