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Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  211 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Our human psyches possess astonishing resources that wait within us, but we might not even know they exist until we discover how to access them and cultivate their powers, their untapped potentials and depths. Wild Mind identifies these resources — which Bill Plotkin calls the four facets of the Self, or the four dimensions of our innate human wholeness — and also the four ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 16th 2013 by New World Library (first published April 8th 2013)
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Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
I loved Soulcraft - an inspiring and spiritual book which I often dip back into. But in keeping with the sequel, whose name and content I've since forgotten, this new book feels more academic and laden with an intricate system of categorising experience which seems to me to detract from an appreciation of the present moment, rather than enhancing it.
Erica Rhinehart
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Bill Plotkin is a master cartographer of the human psyche. His maps have the potential to guide one into the long forgotten magic of being fully human in an animate world. This book is a profound gift to the human community.
Rani Goel
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Rani by: Jonathan Gustin
Highly recommend to anyone with a psyche and an interest in understanding the human mind, spirit, and ego. Helps a person understand our own behavior and why people act "out of character" sometimes. If you're into "shadow work" you will likely dig it.
Erica Jones
Nov 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Highly recommended for those pursuing self-development, or studying the therapeutic possibilities of ecopsychology. To fully grasp the concepts, I think one must engage the practices and try it out for oneself.

"It's time to take an ecological and holistic look at the human psyche, to make a fresh start with Western psychology. ...Conventional Western psychology has focused on pathology rather than possibility and participation, and renders it incomplete...and in many ways obsolete. ...What if
Marcie Baria
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Insightful, spot on

I actually attended a Wild Mind retreat in which we read all of and used many exercises in the book. The personality inventory presented was so comprehensive and the illustrations of the nature of the inner-workings and relationships between the various “subs”was so insightful. I discovered profound connections amongst different aspects of my personality, as well as fears, triggers and strengths I had never fully realized or understood.
Most importantly, the insights provide
Karl Auburn
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
A unique trip into animalism and shamanic take on personality. The clear descriptions of subpersonalities protecting you into adulthood from childhood fears and societal constructs mirror plenty of people you meet, even yourself. It is quite verbose and repetetive in theory, yet the short stories provide one with the means to retire your limiting selves with gratitude to let you thrive fully. My south and west are strong, yet now I will expand my east and north consciously. I'd read more of his ...more
Adam Johnson
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredibly insightful book, bringing Jungian psychotherapy an even richer layer of eco-depth. Plotkin works with a quadrant model (North - South, East - West), and describes the depths to be brought from each to become a 3D human. A fully whole person. He also talks of the subs, those sub-personalities in each quandrant that form for various reasons, but typically to keep the childhood Self safe.

I loved it. Perhaps not everyone's cup of tea, but I'll keep returning to it for insights into
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Drawing on Jungian Archetypes, Plotkin maps the human psyche, parts of the self to grow into (Nurturing Generative Adult, Wild Indigenious One, Sage/Trickster, the Beloved/guide to the soul) and ways that an under-developed part of the psyche manifests itself in life. Interesting stuff here, sounds a little out there but I think a lot of it could be helpful.
Somewhat pedantic and long winded. I enjoyed Chapter 9 West: The Shadow and Shadow Selves.
"The purpose of the Shadow is to protect us from enacting personal characteristics that, if expressed, might land us in big trouble with others or ourselves."
and one way to identify Shadow- "The way you would complete this sentence: “The one thing absolutely not true about me is …”
Stephen Monroe Monroe
While I don't agree with all of Mr. Plotkin's names for the various "people" in our psyche, and while the book was repetitive at times, I think he had some great ideas for how to get beyond ourselves and stretch our comfort zones to experience more of the magic that life has to offer. Definitely worth a read.
Rayne Dowell
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting read. We're taught to expect to go through three major transitions in our lives, from child to adolescent, from adolescent to adult and from adult to senior. It's gratifying to read that there are many more transitions we can expect to embrace along the way.
Andjelka Jankovic
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I owe a lot of my second-wave awakening to Bill Plotkin who urged me to leave ‘my summer house’ and enter the Cocoon of my wanderer phase. His writing hits you somewhere deep and acute, as the truth always does. The fourfold Self is a lifetime achievement worthy for us all to pursue.
Bill Plotkin is a revolutionary. We worked with some of the exercises in this book in a vision quest program and it was really powerful.
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A thoughtful and useful map to the human psyche. The writing is excellent, and the ideas well-developed. His explanation of the sub-personalities I found particularly interesting.
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I jumped at the chance to receive a review copy of Wild Mind, having already read Nature and the Human Soul by the same author. In Wild Mind, Plotkin draws on Jungian archetypal theory / depth psychology to describe the process of individuation -- the ultimate aim of mature, integrated people. He makes a unique contribution by using the four points of the compass to describe a variety of subperonalities that people's psyches might adopt in an effort to manage conflicts and achieve their aims for ...more
Trey Wentworth
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As with his other books, I absolutely loved this investigation of the human psyche by Bill Plotkin. An excellent companion to his book Nature and the Human Soul; in this one, he analyzes the four aspects of the Self, and the subpersonalities that we develop in childhood to protect our immature selves. He advocates a process of recognizing and embracing those subpersonalities in order to overcome them, rather than rejecting or reprimanding them. This book will definitely be added to my list of ...more
Ro Babcock
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I would give this book 4.5 stars. I love Bill Plotkin's work and his first book, Soulcraft, is still my favorite. It took me some months to read this book - it has to be read in small amounts, pondered and digested. At times it was a little too academic for me but I still found it educational and informative with regard to the psyche.
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this book with a group. The book and the process was very helpful to me. I don't think I could have gotten through the book and certainly would not have gotten so much out of it if I had tried to read it on my own. I am now starting to read it again and finding that I understand it so much better. It is am important book for me.
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
I liked aspects of the premise, esp. the notion that there are wounded childlike traits in everyone but overall the book was a little bit too out there for me, which is saying something.
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“From the perspective and experience of the Wild Indigenous One, we are enchanted, and in two ways. First, the South Self is utterly moved by, deeply touched by, the things of this world — its creatures, greenery, landforms, weather, and celestial bodies — and recognizes that each thing has its own voice and presence. It’s as if we’re under a spell — enchanted — captured by the magic and utter mystery of each thing. And when we’re alive in our South facet, all that we do, even “work,” becomes play. The world fills us with wonder and awe. Sometimes we’re terrified by the deadly potential of terrestrial forms and forces such as tornadoes, grizzlies, and hornets, sometimes simply exhilarated, sometimes both at once. We’re also enchanted in a second, reciprocal sense: The things of the world are allured by us and to us! We ourselves, individually and as a species, are a magical power or presence in this world. The other-than-humans recognize in us a form of mystery no less stunning than their own. We, too, place other beings under a spell (including each other).” 2 likes
“In common parlance, “fool” and “sage” appear to be opposites, one connoting ignorance and the other wisdom. At their depths, however, both exhibit a nonattachment to form or outcome. The Sacred Fool acts from what often seems to be innocence, insanity, or lampoonery but is no less wise for it. We think of a Sage, in contrast, as strictly sober; but because she doesn’t strive and doesn’t seek positions of elected or hired leadership, the true Sage has neither investment in sobriety nor compulsion to comply with rules. The Sacred Fool dimension of our own psyches merges the innocence of the child and the wisdom of the elder. Both draw on the capacity to perceive simply and purely, to be fully present to the moment and to all things existing and happening within it. The Sacred Fool — in others or in ourselves — helps us grasp the big picture by poking fun at himself (and, in so doing, at all of us) or by making fun of us directly. He also might respond to our solemn questions and conceptions with perspectives that reject or reframe our most cherished assumptions.” 1 likes
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