THE MYTHIC IMAGINATION: Your Quest for Meaning Through Personal Mythology by Stephen Larsen

THE MYTHIC IMAGINATION: Your Quest for Meaning Through Personal Mythology

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The author of The Shaman's Doorway (1976) continues his exploration of the ""mythic imagination"" by linking it to psychotherapy and personal development. Larsen first justifies the use of individual mythology as a resource in dream interpretation and psychic understanding. Relying extensively on Joseph Campbell and C.G. Jung, he integrates Eastern and Western religious, historic, and scientific traditions--and offers many specific examples of symbolic dreams culled from clients and acquaintances. Then he compares shamanistic images with contemporary spiritual quests. In the well-adjusted psyche, Larsen believes, heavenly deities such as Odin and Zeus are not offset, but are balanced by underworld figures like Hades and the various representations of death. Demystifying universal concepts and discovering archetypal connections should be the responsibility of the psychoterapist, argues Larsen (a practitioner). Rather then pigeonholing dream images according to a single belief system (e.g., Freud's sexual contexts), he asserts, a more thorough analysis can be accomplished by incorporating diverse paradigms throughout the entire history of the world. Scholarly, academic, and quite comprehensive. Larsen is loath to discredit any particular ideological framework, believing in at least a limited relevance of any mythological system in the search for self-knowledge. Worthwhile fare, then, for anyone interested in psychology, culture, or human consciousness.

Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 1990
Publisher: Bantam