Mytho-Poetic Men's Bathtub Books

shelved under Self-Help

I call them "bathtub books." I'd grab a cigar, a ceramic cup of wine, a pen for Marginalia, and I'd take the precious few mystical, magical books that prodded me to wake up psychically into a warm bath. Again and again, I found myself refilling the tub over and over because I couldn't tear myself away. The water would go cold, but I'd read on. My fingers and toes would prune, but my soul would sing.

My bathtub books are a hungry bunch. They devour cynicism, pessimism, misanthropy, Nihilism. I consider them Mythopoetic. That is to say, they all use, in some way, allegories or archetypes to express greater truths.

Here they are. Jump in! The water's warm... at first.


Puer Aeternus: A Psychological Study of the Adult Struggle With the Paradise of Childhood

by Marie-Louise Von Franz

As I first read this book, my reaction was, "Oh my god, this is me!" Von Franz exposes the airy-fairy forever boy, Puer Aeternus, the type of man so many of us new-age, sensitive men are. By extrapolating the late French aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery's book, The Petit Prince, von Franz nails the passive, naïve male. It took a woman to do it!


The Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling

by James Hillman

Maybe we don't have to search to discover our life's work. Maybe we are born with a predestine potential that we allow to flourish or we suppress. That potential shows itself during childhood. Did you know yours?


Iron John: A Book About Men

by Robert Bly

In the early 19th Century, Jacob and Whilhelm Grimm transcribed a collection of fairy tales. Some of those stories were thousands of years old, passed down orally from one generation to the next. Bly reveals the wisdom behind the Grimm story Iron Hans, thereby elucidating the masculine journey from boyhood to the sensuous, ecstatic community man. Surprisingly, the key to unlocking each boy's wild man lies beneath his mother's pillow. An international best seller.


King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine

by Douglas Gillette, Robert Moore

Moore and Gillette use archetypes to explain the male psyche: the King, the Warrior, the Magician, and the Lover. Each has a radiant potential and a shadowy dark side. A must read for "hunters lying in ambush for themselves."


The Hero with a Thousand Faces

by Joseph Campbell

This book was written over sixty years ago, but it is a must-read for anyone wanting to access the magic of stories, tales, and myths. Campbell's genius was made famous by Bill Moyers in the interview series and the book The Power of Myth. Campbell will make you see mythology in a more profound way.


Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious and Fantasia of the Unconscious

by D. H. Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence provides a brilliant, in-your-face-dear-reader argument against Freud's claim that sex is the prime human motive. Lawrence says of Freud's assertion, "Nothing but a huge slimy serpent of sex, and heaps of excrement, and a myriad of repulsive little horrors spawned between sex and excrement." (Apologies to the Freudians.) Lawrence invokes the chakras — the lumbar ganglion and the thoracic ganglion, etc. — to elucidate the magic that is each physical and psychic human being.


Memories, Dreams, Reflections

by C.G. Jung, edited by Aniela Jaffe, translated by Richard Winston, Clara Winston

Freud claimed the primary human motive was sexual, and few of his inner circle dared to disagree. One of his colleagues, Alfred Adler, was the first to break away, claiming that "social interest" was the prime motive. Adler was effectively banished and publicly denigrated. Finally, Jung realized that his mentor and, to some degree, father figure was clinging to his pet theory rather than searching for what really made humans tick. Jung eventually posited his own theory, that of the collective psyche, complete with universal symbols, archetypes, and themes. See how Jung fared. See Freud through Jung's eyes.