Published by Analytical Psychology Press in 2020.
The book will be available from Itasca Books: https:itascabooks.com
My name is Steven Herrmann and I am a certified Jungian analyst, teacher, and writer with a passionate interest in the evolving field of depth psychology, American poetry, and spirituality. I have presented papers at the C. G. Jung Institutes of San Francisco, Chicago, and Zurich and I have published five books that have opened doorways to advance my teaching career nationally and internationally. My analytic research has focused in particular on the subject of vocational dreams as doorways to the Self, an idea that came to me while I was meandering through the hallways of Yale Divinity School, before delivering a talk called “C. G. Jung’s Vision of Spiritual Democracy” during the Summer of 2015―at the same University, coincidentally, where James and Jung both spoke! My interest in James began while I was a teaching assistant at the University of Santa Cruz, where I first read James’s 1902 book The Varieties of Religious Experience. It is not theology, doctrine, or religious dogma that interests me most as an author, but similar to James and Jung, it is the phenomenology of spiritual experience, plain and simple; the pragmatic, analytic, scientific view of the psyche, and its Self-path towards health, healing, wholeness, the beautiful symmetry of life, wellbeing, peace, and human Love. Spiritual experience, I teach in this new book is here; it is Now; it is everywhere around us, if we pay close and careful attention to the miraculous synchronicities that cross our paths at key moments of our destiny-patterns in space and time. I taught the psychologies of James and Jung at Sofia University in Palo Alto, CA, and at the Unitarian-Universalist Church in Berkeley, CA. As I see it, there are lines of American influence in Jungian psychology that began with Jung’s reading of James and their two meetings in 1909 and 1910, influences that some European Jungians have overlooked. Hence, I feel that there is a need for such a book to arose a calling for greater clarity in the field of Jungian studies at this time in history. At the same time, I earnestly hope that this book might open some doors to bring James and Jung into the mainstream of American academic psychology by stressing the importance of the empirical attitude towards the Self. Such a study might help to counter the tragic threat to our democratic and spiritual freedoms world-wide. The liberty of the soul and self/Self in each reader can only come about, I feel, through what Jung calls the “Fight the Shadow.” When one puts oneself in accord with psychophysical realities of the Self as an empirical experience and an awareness of evil, the reader may attain a supraconscious realization of his or her place in the Cosmos, as a carrier of a myth of the expansion of human consciousness and meaning that James and Jung both shared in a complimentary way. This Jungian myth is essentially the same vision that James brought to bear in his voluminous essays, lectures, and books while he was teaching at Harvard, a task Jung extended in his own lifetime. American psychology began with a transpersonal view of the psyche that James and Jung gave us. I think it is time our Universities began teaching the history of their analytic psychologies to students who are interested in contemporary neuropsychology, the study of exceptional mental states, and consciousness studies world-wide. Analytic psychology as taught by James and Jung begins with a science of the subconscious or unconscious mind; it begins with scientific research into the hidden depths of the soul, which can be accessed directly through automatic writing, journaling, and the study of dreams. This is an area of advanced research I have made my own and which I teach patients in my private practice setting in Oakland, CA. I have a vocation to help individuals in various walks of life live out their destiny dreams by listening to the wisdom of their inner voices. As an American Jungian and now a Jamesian, I feel we need to bring the vision of Spiritual Democracy, with its focus on the integration of the Shadow, into the political field especially today. We are living in a time of mass psychic epidemics that are threatening to destroy us as a global civilization and this little book makes it explicit that we must return to the wisdom of Nature; our outer Nature and inner nature, before it is too late. This is a message that my book teaches and I am interested in delivering it to readers who are looking for changes to superficial politics and lower levels of democracy, which is currently losing its soul. Opening this book is metaphorically equivalent to opening a doorway to the Self that the reader might not at first grasp the handle of experientially, but I have interwoven the door-metaphor into my book’s narrative in such a creative way that the careful reader might begin to perceive that I am actually speaking about an inner reality that can be accessed directly and pragmatically in a plural sense, by the reader. Teaching is a central doorway for this book to hopefully reach a general public in a way I feel is personally meaningful to me. I am open to giving presentations for those who are interested in knowing more about how to access the creative energies of the spiritual unconscious and who wish to gain new understandings of pathology, neurosis, existential anxiety and depression, through which the hidden doorways can be accessed if one opens oneself. My book’s teachings begins with a simple instruction of the “breath,” which, during a time of COVID-19, is a psychophysical reality during a critical moment in world history, when it is vitally important for all of us to reflect upon our place on the planet and our responsibilities to preserve the integrity of our Mother Earth, an urgency that is increasing by each precious moment. “Doorways to the Self” is not merely a metaphor but a living spiritual reality that exists in every person and that can be accessed by beginning with the simple exercise of paying attention to the breath. This is why I placed on my book’s cover a picture of Jung’s stone carving of “Atmavictu,” which the unconscious called “the breath of life.” Coincidentally, Jung carved it and placed it in his garden in Küsnacht, Switzerland, in 1920 after the 1918 pandemic.