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May 16 , 2009

Jung and Shamanism in Dialogue: Retrieving the Soul / Retrieving the Sacred


In this highly original study, C. Michael Smith draws on phenomenological resources and hermeneutic dialogue to explore the affinities and distinctions between shamanism and Jungian psychology, both rooted ultimately in a heart-centered way if life, and both having highly intricate maps of the human psychic interiors. As the reader adventures through this book he or she will encounter shamanic initiation, dismemberments, disassociation, grief, despair, and soul loss, the healing power of ritual, ecstasy and other altered states. The book explores many rich topics including the role of talismans and amulets, the various levels of the collective unconscious, the archetypal and imaginable perspectives on such phenomena, and implications for psychotherapeutic practice today. In the new preface, the author argues that in the end "It isn't the fascinating and powerful techniques that are the essential thing, but the person inside, its capacity to live from the heart n Earth-honoring and Nature- attuning ways that is the essential center of the Jung/shamanism interface."

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In Jung and Shamanism in Dialogue, C. Michael Smith has written a "must have" classic for all students of shamanism and Jungian psychology. Thorough, clear and authoritative, Smith writes from first-hand perspective, drawing on his own depth experiences in studying and teaching shamanism and Jungian psychology for decades. As in his previous book, Psychotherapy and the Sacred, he is psychological and spiritual, phenomenological and historical in his unique perspective. Jung was often described as a "shaman" by those who knew him well, but few have had the courage to openly make this claim, and none has presented the case as thoroughly as Smith has. This new preface to this second edition adds a richness of wisdom worth the price of the book.

-Tess Castleman, Training Analyst, The C.G. Jung Institute, Zurich

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