In midlife: a Jungian perspective
Drawing on analytic experience, dreams, and mythology, Murray Stein, Jungian analyst and author, formulates three main features of the midlife passage. It begins with an erosion of attachment to the world, as if an inner treasure had been thieved away. This is followed by hints of a fresh spirit, renegade, mischievous, that scoffs at established routines. This new spirit - whom we must call Hermes - disrupts life and alarms family and friends. Finally, with luck, a deep transformation occurs, as the personality adjusts to the influx of Hermes and receives his gifts. An important book - the first to address this critical transition in terms of the psychology of C. G. Jung and the anthropology of Victor Turner.
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The two reviews I read are disappointing --one because it claims Murray took the effort too far (it's a short little book so it wasn't tedious or over done at all for me), and the other review thinking the book too academic or difficult. For those who look at the old mythology as BS this might be the case. Stein handles the myths from a perspective of reasonable contemporary meaning and gets good mileage out of them as a Jungian, and for me that's the value! IN MIDLIFE will be read several times in our household and read aloud in the car on our next road trip. I suggest taking your time with this book and let it sink in. Maybe then Hermes, Achilles, and Odysseus will have the meaning they can possibly have for 21st century people more in need of reclaimed mythological stories as treasures for the common journey instead of simply entertainment reading or adventure movies.