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Although the primary purpose of this site is not commercial, but to provide basic and important information on the inner experience, a bookstore has been added offering hand-picked selections. Only those materials that provide clear and helpful information and insights have been chosen. That is why out of the hundreds or thousands of related books we have only a few titles per topic area.

For out-of-print suggestions (and links, magazines, etc), also see Learning Resources.

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Featured Resource  

Transcendent Sex - Jenny Wade

This is a serious look at survey results with case studies of the potential for a variety of mystical experiences sparked by sexual activity.

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ACTIVE IMAGINATION SECTION

For Beginners

Johnson, Robert A. Inner Work:Using Dreams and Active Imagination For Personal Growth

This is the beginner's text. One half (the last) focuses on Active Imagination---how to do it, when to do it, and generally, what to expect. (Unfortunately, Johnson doesn't give us a strong enough sense of what Active Imagination feels like. See Middelkoop, Pieter. The Wise Old Man: Healing Through Inner Images for that missing element.)

Progoff, Ira. At A Journal Workshop

Jungian Progoff slips Active Imagination into his two decade old journaling process by calling it "twilight imagery." His approach is non-technical but very broad in application. Using twilight imagery and his journaling exercise we go deep into our psyches, revealing heretofore unexamined aspects of our lives we never see. To help the reader into Active Imagination state of psyche, he has developed several poetic books and tapes that take the user on a journey deeper into their psyches. These materials can be ordered either from Progoff's organization Dialogue House or from our bookstore.

Progoff, Ira. Star/Cross Entrance Meditation Tape

Kast, Verena. Imagination As Space Of Freedom

Jungian Kast takes step by step into Active Imagination through a range of exercises and considerations. At times she is difficult to read but given a chance, she offers exactly what the beginner needs.

For Intermediate Work

  Stone & Winkelman. Embracing Our Selves: The Voice Dialogue Manual

This book introduces in a very accessible way that which is found early on in Active Imagination and what seems to be always there in our dreams---personifications. Personifications is psyche energy that takes the form of "flesh and blood" dream figures that make up the characters in our imaginal dramas. Stone and Winkelman show how these personifications can be worked with and how they can work against us when we choose to ignore them. A very practical and important book.

Moore, Robert. King, Warrior, Magician, Lover

Jungian Moore concentrates his efforts on those energies/personifications that appear to make up the male psyche. This is a good book to follow work with Embracing Ourselves. Includes Active Imagination instructions for getting in contact with four personifications.

Rowan, John. Subpersonalities: The People Inside Us

Another book that helps anchor an appreciation for personifications. A theoretical work though not a heavy psychological tome.

Watkins, Mary. Waking Dreams

Provides and excellent history of the application of Active Imagination and imagery. The last two chapters are powerful presentation of the nuances of Active Imagination.

Middelkoop, Pieter. The Wise Old Man: Healing Through Inner Images

Intermediate Level - Middelkoop does an excellent job providing a real sense of the power of images to lead us to deep, new understandings. He does this in a gentle way of a master. This book should be read several times and one should allow themselves to imagine that they are there with Middelkoop as he leads us through the depths of Active Imagination. (One caution: The way the cases are written it is easy to assume that everything happens quickly and easily. The chapters must be the work of many, many sessions patched together to create a whole piece. Not some cascading single experience of Active Imagination that took twenty minutes.)

 

Hannah, Barbara. Encounters with the Soul


 For Advanced Work

Goodman, Felicitas. Where the Spirits Ride The Wind: Trance Journeys And Other Ecstatic Experiences

Goodman proposes that the postures shown in native art around the world and through out time are deliberate poses needed to contact various levels of Active Imagination. This book contains scholarship and practical information on how to experiment with these postures. See Belinda Gore book below for even more detailed, how-to-do-it information.

Gore, Belinda. Ecstatic Body Postures: An Alternate Reality Workbook

See Felicitas Goodman annotation above for details.

Weaver, Rix. The Old Wise Woman: A Study of Active Imagination

This is an advanced book because the majority of the text concentrates on decoding a long Active Imagination which comes forth as a complex myth. Readers should be aware that what appears in the text as a seemless and cogent story and interpretation took a great deal of time and a great deal of work over a long period of time. It is easy, when reading these sort of case histories, to say "Oh, my god, I could never have an Active Imagination experience like that." Many people do have experiences like that but they are not so carefully and completely packaged as the ones that get published.


Jung's Writings On Active Imagination

 Chodrow, Joan. Jung On Active Imagination

A good inexpensive collection of Jung's major comments on Active Imagination.

Douglas, Claire (editor). The Vision Seminars

A new translation with expanded notes of a seminar series given by Jung. Included are the numerous drawings conducted by the subject of the seminars, Christiana Morgan. Describing her as "having perfect pitch" in terms of her ability to go into Active Imagination and work with the images there, Jung gives extensive commentary on each drawing.


MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE SECTION

General Works - Beginning

Happold, F.C. Mysticism: A Study and An Anthology. A very good introduction with the added benefit of a wide collection of works by the famous mystics. Good coverage of the major forms of mystical discipline and achievement.

Spencer, Sidney. Mysticism in World Religion. As the title implies, this general introduction pretty much discusses mystical experience as it relates the world's major religions. Although well worth reading, Happold's Mysticism covers mysticism more generally and more completely.

General Works - Intermediate to Advanced

Idel, Moshe & Bernard McGinn. Mystical Union in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.A good introduction of mystical union across these traditions. For a more general discussion, see the next listing (Dan Merkur).

Merkur, Dan. Mystical Moments and Unitive Thinking.Gnosis: An Esoteric Tradition of Mystical Visions and Unions, Mystical Moments and Unitive Thinking, The Ecstatic Imagination: Psychedelic Experiences and the Psychoanalysis of Self-Actualization. All of these books are excellent and invaluable outlining of the various types of mystical experience and of that which leads up to them. Unfortunately, Gnosis is shockingly out of print; perhaps the most valuable of all of Merkur's works.

Merkur, Dan. The Ecstatic Imagination: Psychedelic Experiences and the Psychoanalysis of Self-Actualization

Underhill, Evelyn. Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Man's Spiritual ConsciousnessThis is the classic. Underhill shows the path of the mystic and takes us on a poetical and detail journey of the western mystics. A great resource. For more information on Underhill and her work, see the Evelyn Underhill Association website.

Otto, Rudolf. The Idea of the Holy. A scholarly work focusing on what constitutes an encounter with the divine. It is here Otto expounds upon his widely accepted and used term, "the numinosum."

Underhill, Evelyn. The Essentials of Mysticism.A collection of essays on mystics and mystical topics.

Collections or Descriptions of Mystical Experience

Underhill, Evelyn. Practical Mysticism.An outstanding discussion in non-typical terms of many of the experiences one has along the mystical path.

Bucke, Richard Maurice. Cosmic Consciousness.A classic work from the friend of Walt Whitman. Bucke surveys the experiences of religious leaders (Jesus the Christ, Mohammed, Gautama the Buddha) and others such as Balzac, Whitman, Blake, and Pascal. He also puts together some statistical tables that show the typical age in which the strongest mystical experiences occur.

Masters, R.E.L. & Jean Houston. The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience. Outstanding structuring of the psychedelic encounter. Shows a progressive movement from personalistic to the spiritual to a sense of wholeness.

Jacobs, Louis. The Shocken Book of Jewish Mystical Testimonies.A fairly advanced collection of related religious writings.

Paffard, Michael. The Unattended Moment.A very good small collection of first person accounts.

Roberts, Bernadette. The Experience of No-Self.Roberts reports on her experience of pure consciousness as she moves throughout everyday life. Very interesting and detailed view.

Roberts, Bernadette. The Path of No-Self.

Sparrow, G. Scott. I Am With You Always: True Stories of Encounters With Jesus. Encounters by everyday folk written in clear language.

Wiebe, Phillip. Visions of Jesus: Direct Encounters From the New Testament To Today.A much more academic view of the experiences recorded by Scott Sparrow (see previous listing) but well reading for the big view it provides.

Cochran, Tracy & Jeff Zaleski. Transformation: Awakening to the Sacred in Ourselves. Sort of a scattered discussion of mystical experience, but it does contain some interesting cases and thoughts.

A.E. The Candle of Vision.A poetical vision of mystical vision and the quest for such.


BODY, SOUL, AND SPIRIT AWARENESS SECTION

Body Readings

On the Soul's Connection to the Body

Grealy, Lucy. Autobiography of a Face

Ms. Grealy tells the powerful story of her "loss of face" when bone cancer claims her jaw as a young girl. Through surgeries and the years, Grealy becomes an excellent writer and strong enough to tell her story. An excellent book to sharpen our awareness of Body and self-image.

Kreinheder, Albert. Body and Soul: The Other Side of Illness

Sacks, Oliver. A Leg To Stand On

Sacks, who has given us so many insightful books on the unusal medical condition (i.e. Awakenings, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat), gives a close view of an accident that could have cost him his life in his earlier years. A shattered leg reverses roles, Dr. Sacks becomes the patient.


Fiffer, Sharon Sloan & Steve Fiffer. Body

A very fine collection of essays from a wide variety of authors each on a body part (i.e. "Eyes", "Hair", "The Nose", "Breasts."


On Connecting More Deeply With Body

Jerome, John. Stone Work: Reflections on Serious Play & Other Aspects of Country Life

This is an excellent book in the sense that we get both a wonderful view of Body in terms of nature and a continual reminder to experience the natural world for what it is instead of just thinking about it. Jerome takes us through several environments each time pointing out to us (and himself) what is important. Stone walls, swimming upside down, the smelling power of dogs are a few of the vehicles for this sharp vision of Body.

Knapp, Carolyn. Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs

There are dozens of books that could be included here but this is a recent discovery. Caroline Knapp (author of Drinking: A Love Story) brings us into her close relationship with her dog. Not an unusal event considering there are 50 million dogs in this country. But Knapp draws us in so deeply we can stand back and ask ourselves what is this basic linkage between humanity and animals. Why does the Body seek other bodies outside of the human species to know itself. While this could be a Soul issue, the call to know a dog is also a call to know a greater world beyond the human.

Lawlor, Anthony. A Home For The Soul: A Guide For Dwelling With Spirit and Imagination

This coffee table style book walks us through the house we should have, showing us connections between the physical and our Souls.

Adams, Cass. The Soul Unearthed: Celebrating Wildness and Personal Renewal Through Nature

A very encompassing collection of writings about nature from many perspectives and levels of depth.

Jamal, Michele. Deer Dancer: The Shapeshifter Archetype in Story And In Trance

Caution: The use of this book is not meant to feed our inherent need for power. It is easy to turn the technique of shapeshifting towards the limiting purpose to get "the strength of the lion", the "cleverness of the fox," or the "agility of the cat." How this book should be used is to get different perspectives on the embodied world. How does the world and the physical objects within it look for the bird's eye, from the snake's eye, or from a bear? Jamal has written a very valuable and approachable book to a shamanistic tradition not fully appreciated before.

On External Sensing

Don, Mantagu. The Sensuous Garden

This beautiful book is not devoted to how to garden but how to experience a garden. Chapters are split into one per sense as well as a chapter for intuition. To give you more information that might give a sense of the character of this book, Touch is into subject sections on Soil, Tools, Feet, Foliage, and Bark. Every section is heavily illustrated with color and high quality black and white prints. Sure to sharpen the senses.

Franck, Frederick. The Zen of Seeing: Seeing/Drawing As A Meditation

An excellent book that shows us how to open our eyes generally and how to deepen that experience through simple drawing.

Grunwald, Henry. Twilight: Losing Sight, Gaining Insight

This small book (just the right length) draws our attention to our eyes and the world captured in their lenses. Grunwald becomes our accidential teacher through the slow progression of disease that robs much of his eyesight. He gives us lessons in eye mythology, sight, and on how precious it is.

Suskind, Patrick. Perfume: The Story of A Murderer

This novel tells the story of an evil man, a man who could smell everything but had no scent himself. The descriptions of what he sensed in this world draws us in as much as the tale itself.

Ackerman, Diane. A Natural History of the Senses

Although there are no sensory awareness exercises in this book just reading Ackerman excellent description of the role of the senses and that which affects the senses sharpens our alertness.

On Internal Sensing

Chia, Mantak. Awaken Healing Engery Through the Tao

Chia has provided an immensely valuable service in bringing the way of chi kung to the West. In his many books he clearly teaches ancient techniques of cultivating that mysterious and real inner energy called chi. Not only does Chia show us how to unmask these energies and relate to their unique flows he also teaches us anatomy. Chi and anatomy bind us closer to our Bodies.

Gendlin, Eugene. Focusing

This book puts the body back into the picture when doing psychotherapuetic work. Gendlin uses his relatively easy to learn Focusing technique to help us find the "gut feeling" behind our dreams and feelings. When we find that feeling, we know, claims Gendlin, that we are getting to the truth of the situation.

Feldenkrais, Moshe. Awareness Through Movement

A classic work that covers the basics of body awareness through the slow movement of various parts of the body.

Walton, Todd. Open Body: Creating Your Own Yoga

A book for those who want to pursue their own path of body movement/body awareness. This small book presses the reader to try their own thing rather than follow a system devised by others.

Knaster, Mirka. Discovering The Body's Wisdom

An outstanding guide to the full range of current body therapies and awareness enhancing programs. Knaster gives the history of each program, some examples of its work, and where to find more information.

Hanh, Thich Nhat. The Long Road Turns To Joy: A Guide To Walking Meditation

Straight, to the point instructions on mindfulness possible when walking with alertness.

 

Soul Readings

On The Character of Soul

Snunit, Michal. The Soul Bird.

This book looks like a childrens book (and it can be read to children), but it is perfect for Soul awareness training. It is short so its message can be easily retained but it is tremendously complex in its vision. It covers almost every essential point about the Soul. Outstanding!

Fox, Suzanne. Home Life: A Journey Through Rooms & Recollections.

The title tells it all.

Lawlor, Anthony. A Home For The Soul.

This coffee table style book walks us through the house we should have, showing us connections between the physical and our Souls.

Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol.

A perfect example of the power of Soul to grab and to enlighten. Scrooge doesn't have a chance once he is targeted by Soul and "ghosts" appear to teach him how to open his heart.

Berry, Carmen Renee & Tamara Traeder. Girlfriends: Invisible Bonds, Enduring Ties.

Male or female, this book serves well to remind us of the precious friendships that we have and how the Soul is connected to this world largely through people.

On Finding The Soul

Moore, Thomas. Care of the Soul.

Moore, Thomas. Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life.

Moore, Thomas. Soul Mates: Honoring the Mysteries of Love & Relationships

Moore, Thomas. The Planets Within

Heckler, Richard A. Waking Up, Alive: The Descent, The Suicide Attempt, And The Return To Life

Although this is a very serious book on a serious topic, it carefully delinates issues not only essential for the person who has attempted sucide but for all of us. What the Soul needs to survive, to avoid deep despair, and to flourish is outlined by Hecker.

Progroff, Ira. At A Journal Workshop.

An essential guide for getting a soulful grasp on life. Great for life reflection or life change. Includes instructions for going deeply within the Soul to find the wisdom offered there.

Stone, Hal and Sidra Stone. Embracing Our Selves: The Voice Dialogue Manual.

The Stones provide an excellent introduction to the many sides of the powers of the Soul as expressed through the emotions. They also show how to find the emotions as they take on the form of inner figures populating our dreams and imagination.

Chopich, Erika J. & Margaret Paul. Healing Your Aloneness: Finding Love and Wholeness Through Your Inner Child.

A few years ago there was an explosion of books on one's "inner child." Reading carefully many of these authors seemed to describing many aspects of the Soul. This book is one of the better books to come out of the inner child era.

Zweig, Connie & Steve Wolf. Romancing The Shadow: Illuminating The Dark Side of the Soul.

To be Soulful means to honestly explore what is at the heart of one's own nature and to learn to accept it. This book covers the uncovering process needed to find ourselves.

DeSalvo, Louise. Breathless: An Asthma Journal.

While this short book does not need to read its entirety, (try reading about 70-75%), it wonderfully conveys how one can explore a life event towards greater wisdom. DeSalvo takes asthma and digs deeply into what this condition means to her as she explores what it has meant to others. A great example of how to do Soul work.

Spirit Readings

On The Character Of Spirit

Metzner, Ralph. The Unfolding Self

A well written overview of the great metaphors of spiritual transformation. Each chapter is dedicated to single theme such as "removing the veils of ignorance" and "trial by fire."

Cousineau, Phil. The Art of Pilgrimage

One can feel the Spirit as Cousineau takes us along the path followed by so many pilgrims throughout time and around the world. Spirit laden rituals, sacred places, and writings are discussed in artful detail.

Hesse, Hermann. Journey To The East

Hesse takes us a on a grand journey to the great achievement of Spiritual understanding.

Hesse, Hermann. Siddhartha

This telling of the Buddha's life captures our attention by its simplicity of detail and richness of Spiritual consideration.

Stuart, Micheline. The Tarot Path To Self Development

Similar to the above books with the exception we given the wonderful images of the Tarot to contemplate along with a description of Spiritual development.

Turner, Kay. Beautiful Necessity: The Art & Meaning of Women's Altars

A heavily illustrated discussion of the why and the power of collecting and honoring Spirit laden objects.

Arguelles, Jose & Miriam Arguelles. Mandala

A good overview of how symbols are used to convey concepts about the Spiritual experience.

London, Jack. The Star Rover.

London at his very knowledgeable best. Written in 1913, he writes a book that grips us with the hope for Spirit as he contrasts freedom to the hell of early American prisons. These prison experiences of torture are hard to get past, and the middle section when the main character is living in other times is slow going, but when London soars, we feel like we are right along side of him. This book is recommended here not as a story that embraces reincarnation and astral travel but as one that conveys clearly the archetypal/mythological nature of Spirit.

On Appreciating The Experience of Spirit

Paffard, Michael. The Unattended Moment

A well presented small collection of transpersonal experiences experienced by an assortment of people of various ages and in various circumstances.

Masters, R.E.L. & Jean Houston. The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience.

Masters and Johnson conducted extensive research with clients who were administered psychedelics over an extended period. This book outlines the chief characteristics found as one moved along the path of inner development fostered by these sessions.

Sparrow, G. Scott. I Am With You Always: True Stories of Encounters With Jesus

Encounters by everyday folk written in clear language.

Underhill, Evelyn. Practical Mysticism

An outstanding discussion in non-typical terms of many of the experiences one has along the mystical path.

On Spirit Practices - Via Inner Images

Masters, Robert & Jean Houston. Mind Games: The Guide To Inner Space

A very good collection of a an overwhelming number of exercises that seek to give some impression of the Spirit experience.

Johnson, Robert A. Inner Work:Using Dreams and Active Imagination For Personal Growth

A good introduction to developing one's capacity to go deeply into active imagination.

Casey, Michael. Sacred Reading: The Art of Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina is a simple process of taking a very short passage of sacred text (or poetry) and letting the words free reign to come alive in the mind's eye. If carefully chosen, they can lead the sacred reader to a close encounter with sacred symbols and concepts.

Gore, Belinda. Ecstatic Body Postures: An Alternate Reality Workbook

Gore proposes that the postures shown in native art around the world and through out time are deliberate poses needed to contact various levels of Active Imagination. This book contains scholarship and practical information on how to experiment with these postures.

On Spirit Practices - Via Inner Silence

Leshan, Lawrence. How To Meditate

A good introduction and instruction in classical meditation.

Goldstein, Joseph. Seeking The Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation

Carries the Leshan material further by putting meditation into a wider context without steeping it in a specific religious system.

 

 

 


 

 

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