3 Jungian Psychology Books for Navigating Midlife Crisis

Sonia Akavan
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Why are men so present in Jungian psychology? Because the main research on-subject in the field has been done with men. Even if not consciously, many psychoanalytical notions and tools have been devised to diagnose and treat male psychological issues, showing, in my opinion, an important bias in the field.

If you’re located in southern California, you can tell your therapist that you’re struggling to deal with the loss of your professional identity in this time of unemployment and you’ll be diagnosed with a midlife crisis on the spot.

In the (unlikely) case that you’re a male working professional and you’re going through a midlife crisis, don’t bother yourself with this post. This post is not for you. This post concerns men without a career, without a family, without an occupation.

NameCategoryProduct
The Divine ComedyBest OverallThe Divine Comedy
Middle PassageBudget PickMiddle Passage
The Eden Project: In Search of the Magical OtherUpgrade PickThe Eden Project: In Search of the Magical Other

1. The Divine Comedy

Our rating: 9 / 10

The Divine Comedy

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Pros:

  • A genius poetic work
  • The only book ever written in triple form (in Latin, to be precise)
  • Over here all the readers, in order to read just one of these three sections – not all of them – will get a small fraction of what they will see or understand
  • But it is the rules with all the greatest works – one grabs however small an amount of “entropy” (energy) from them
  • And the risk of losing something in translation is always there
  • I swear I will not explain a word of it – just for fun, here are at least some keywords:
  • Paradiso – the ascendent domain of the medium, or not centered, and perfectly amorphous
  • Hell – the beginning of imperfection, the matrix where something resides and from which it originates
  • Purgatorio – a place of transition between Hell and the higher realms
  • The root of the word power all derives from Latin, immediately after statement of vice and before if he

2. Middle Passage

Our rating: 7 / 10

Middle Passage

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Pros:

  • Fun yet powerful concepts
  • Practical
  • Enlightening
  • Insightful
  • Valuable

James Hillman's approach to psychology was uniquely his own, and that uniqueness is reflected in this book. Like many of his books, there are many seemingly abstract concepts that emerge out of nowhere, and Hillman supports them brilliantly.

This book is probably the most valuable one to me personally and I am grateful I was exposed to the many ideas that James Hillman discusses in this book. His descriptions of archetypes, sin and redemption. Numinosum and the "flow" of grace. The many aspects of man, woman, god and beast. The deepest levels of ourselves and the "collective unconscious" are revealed to us.

James Hillman's grasp of a non-Cartesian reality is quite remarkable. Those who have been exposed to the constructs of analytical psychology know how different it is in comparison to other forms of Psychology, but for those who have not, this book is still quite easy to follow.

3. Swamplands of Soul: New Life in Dismal Places

Our rating: 6 / 10

Swamplands of Soul: New Life in Dismal Places

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Pros:

  • Easy to read
  • Elicits a new understanding of the archetypes
  • Good foundation for Jungian psychology

Cons:

  • Not very thorough
  • Basic knowledge is assumed

This book by Robert Hopcke does a great job of introducing the reader to Jungian analysis. It's written in a very approachable, non-threatening manner which makes it perfect for the beginner.

It covers the basics of Jungian psychology, including the role of the unconscious mind, the personality types, personality development, the psyche and the shadow, anima and animus, the self, etc. The book also covers infant development which is not the case for all books on Jungian psychology and archetypes.

It's a very short book that is easy to read. It's not very thorough, and, of course, basic knowledge is assumed. However, for the beginner or for someone who is just now trying to understand what Jungian psychology is all about, Swamps of the Soul works very well. This book is especially good in its ability to make esoteric concepts seem less daunting and, therefore, more relatable.

4. The Eden Project: In Search of the Magical Other

Our rating: 6 / 10

The Eden Project: In Search of the Magical Other

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Pros:

  • A little bit of Jungian philosophy in every page
  • Packed with fascinating stories about relationships and people
  • Touching and insightful

The Eden Project: In Search of the Magical Other (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysis, 79) is a book by Stefan G. Jung that explores the process of individuation and spiritual development from a Jungian perspective.

The author tries to emphasize the importance of relationships and the "magical other" in this process. The book is written in plain language to make it easily accessible to people who are just interested in personal development and self-knowledge,

As part of the book's objective to offer insights into the most intimate emotional connections, it contains detailed stories of relationships between people such as close family members, lovers, or life partners. The book even explores relationships of an intra-psychic nature between the reader and his or her own inner self.

Conclusion

Unless you're living in the middle of nowhere, you can't avoid being concerned about the rise of the average age of people receiving pacemakers. Indeed, as people live longer and longer, they're also changing in ways that create a sea change in lifestyles and views of the world. This means that more people are facing a 'midlife crisis' than ever before.

This is a result of aging, of course, but it's also a result of finances, career changes, and a world that is changing around you. There is no one solution for anyone, but we hope that this list helps you navigate your midlife crisis and even provides some resources for you to help your loved ones do the same.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
The Divine ComedyBest OverallThe Divine Comedy
Middle PassageBudget PickMiddle Passage
The Eden Project: In Search of the Magical OtherUpgrade PickThe Eden Project: In Search of the Magical Other