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Eden Project: In Search of the Magical Other

(Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts #79)

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  762 ratings  ·  73 reviews
"The author's challenge is compassionate and inspired. He wants us to succeed." -Psychological Perspectives A timely and thought-provoking corrective to the generalized fantasies about relationships that permeate Western culture. Here is a challenge to greater personal responsibility, a call for individual growth as opposed to seeking rescue through others. ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published August 12th 1998 by Inner City Books
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Average rating 4.49  · 
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 ·  762 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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Mary Karpel-Jergic
This is my fourth Hollis book. Am I addicted? Possibly. The truth is, I have never found Jungian ideas so accessible or so relevant - that is until I read Hollis. I'm finding the framework of Jungian analysis such an enlightening tool to use when thinking about self and others. This book is a slim book but it packs a lot in. What it did for me was to unravel the romanticised fantasies that permeate modern culture.

Hollis suggests that two great ideas or complexes animate the lives of us all:
This book was the the tipping point in my recent exploration of the Jungian genre. I now officially self-identify as a Jungian. Powerful book that lays out the psychological process of our yearning and search for "the one".

This short book is now a must-read in my view. Its 144 pages but the main meat and power in this book is the first 3 chapters, a total of 85 pages.

The Eden Project - Part 1 of 3: Understanding Our Yearning For Connection and How It Can Destroy Our Relationships.

This series, c
Dim Ether
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psyche
A rather bleak take on what our modern day idea of romantic attachment actually constitutes. It's an easy read on the Jungian scale with a hard to digest message. What if we ever only loved ourselves? And maybe that's what we did. Like Narcissus, we stare at our own reflection and can't have enough; and that special person we swear to love is nothing but a creation of our own imagination; a poorly tailored awkward suit which they carry around for us to worship. Until the day the suit starts to f ...more
Joli Hamilton
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thought Hollis had peaked for me when I read Through the Dark Wood, but Eden Project is on another level entirely. This was one of those books full of ideas that are both strikingly obvious and completely foreign all at once. I underlined so much I'll have to decode my underlinings. ...more
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
How can Hollis be thanked for such an eye-opening, profound book? I'm grateful for what I learned in this excellent book. ...more
William Berry
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Like most other books I’ve read this year, this took me longer to read than it should have. The book isn’t long, and it’s interesting enough to get through in a short period of time. I definitely enjoyed the book, quoting the author (and others the author quoted) multiple times while reading it.

The book explains the some of the Jungian theory of romantic relationships, specifically how we project onto our beloved and additionally expect them to save us: from death, from the hardships of life, f
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the most important books on human relationships that I've ever read. Highly recommended to anyone in a relationship who wants to learn more about themselves and their relationships. ...more
Charles Jiang
Feb 18, 2021 rated it liked it
Reading this was a grind and a half. Felt repetitive and a bit difficult to understand at times. Has some good wisdom though
Michael-David Sasson
4.5 stars

Super-helpful explanation/articulation of Jungian ideas about projection, schema and individuation -- especially as they relate to romantic love and its development/usefulness. I'll go back and review those parts for sure.

The ideas about spirituality and religion are provocative and perhaps useful. The hubris of the writing bothered me more here than when talking about interpersonal love and personal growth -- identifying the author's theories as "facts" that others just can't seem to h
Steve Ellerhoff
Aug 18, 2020 rated it liked it
James Hollis consistently offers so many enriching insights, and many are to be found in this book. There is a certain unevenness to this volume, however, which distracted me from the chapter on the corporate other to the end.
Anita Ashland
Aug 25, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
At a workshop years ago I heard Hollis say this book will ruin your love life. 😊 He emphasizes the importance of becoming more aware of what we project on our partner.
“If we really love the Other as Other, we have heroically taken on the responsibility for our own individuation, our own journey. This heroism may properly be called love. St. Augustine put it this way: "Love is wanting the other to be."”
Avalon French
Jul 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: therapy
Emily VH
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The way this book captures the lost paradise we (or I at least) are always searching for is magic. Psychology always seems like it can be poetic then isn't, but this is beautifully written and touches on some really complex sensations/experiences that seem like they can't be articulated. Hella recommend if you're moved by and motivated by love, especially the mysterious inexplicable parts of it ...more
Jun 16, 2022 rated it liked it
A fascinating discussion of the psychological reality of relationships that often passes many people by. Hollis suggests that our yearning for an Other in relationships stems from the trauma we suffer at birth as our connection to our mothers is severed. We thus develop a yearning Eros to return, and project this onto the seeking of a Beloved: this Magical other who will be there for us, read our minds, know what we want, meet those deepest psychological needs and be the good parent to protect u ...more
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Surprisingly readable yet ideologically challenging, my copy of this little book is now full of underlined passages like this one:
Being in an intimate relationship is a bit like asking someone to join hands with us, but only after walking across a field in which we have planted mines.
If one could stay in that permanent state of romantic excitation I suppose one would so choose, but it is not possible. (I recall someone asking the Buddhist Alan Watts why no one would remain in satori,
David Teszár
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My favourite book on relationships. Hollis is great all-around, his other books are also highly recommended.
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book that changed my life.

This is not a typical self-help book but instead dives deeper.

This book will turn everything on your relationships with others, on its head. It is a very hard read as it deals with one's self but if you really want to develop further, this is a must read and often requires re-reading as you adjust and re-adjust in and out of relationships.

Hollis makes it clear from the get-go that this is no practical guide to fix a relationship and serves as a corrective to societal
His Fair Librarian
Nov 23, 2022 rated it it was amazing
An enriching and insightful experience, this book speaks to
Hollis’s skill with the pen and how incredibly gifted he is at the articulate expression of otherwise complex and layered ideas. In the book, he speaks of the frantic search for the magical Other. He explains that what we are is wounded wanderers, uprooted from the garden, severed from the initial and original connection- wounded wanderers looking to reconnect to the garden through the Other.

I got into the book already resigned, expectin
Carol Watt
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent read. The subject of spirituality and ethics in the process of sexuality and relationship has been a solid interest for many years. In this book, James Hollis expresses a great deal of my lived experience and intuitions concerning the vast illusion of what he refers to as the ‘Magical Other’ as embedded in our cultural images and social experience. The central concern of his work here is to redirect us towards the Mystery, towards integrity in our relationship with the numi ...more
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was exactly what I needed at this time. It dispelled the myth that there is a perfect other and yet left me with a sense of acceptance and calmness. Although dense in places, and thus requiring a second or third read, it is well worth the effort. I'd recommend this book to anyone who is despairing about a relationship, or lack of one - a thoughtful companion for those dark nights of the soul. ...more
May 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Such an important read to all, in my opinion. Theoretically an easy read... But emotionally quite tough because of its honesty. Touched a lot of topics that have shaped my life, and obviously that of many others... If not all.
It was eye opening to how normal this is to experience, but also how it is not to be simply excepted. That we have power, and should make use of it, to shape our encounters with others, the world... And in our most intimate relationships.
Oct 26, 2022 rated it it was amazing
An important book about relationships and love from a Jungian perspective. How we project stories and fantasies on the Other in relationships and view them as someone to make us a feel whole or complete. That completeness can only come from recognizing our projections and coming to terms with our shadows. Working on ourselves and our relationships with ourselves is the best way to make our relationships with others better. Accessible and interesting with relatable examples.
Alda Pontes
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an experience... James Hollis takes you on a tour-de-force of the unconscious energy that drives our hunger for romance. Most of it is anchored on our earliest attachment (which is quintessentially part of their school of thought), but I found the writing to be generous enough and broad enough for those amongst us who aren't psychoanalyst aficionados to enjoy. Really recommend it! ...more
Roselle Angwin
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If there were one book I'd insist on all teenagers reading - suppose I created the school curriculum – it would be this one (and probably also Women Who Run with the Wolves).

Every adult should read it too. I think our relationships with each other would be so much more harmonious. Hollis is just amazing.
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding exploration and synthesis of our search for the Magical Other, the Lost Paradise, those dejected split off scared parts of ourselves, and the ways in which we can work to becoming whole and still believe in magic :) Honestly, I think this book is a must read. I loved it!
Jamie Alfieri
Oct 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Some simple and profound treasures in this book for anyone looking for the magical Other in romance, a guru or practice, or work.

First half and the ending were good, I felt the middle dragged a bit but I could have unfair expectations of comparing to James Hillman's writing.
Dec 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Well, is pretty easy to read, short, leaves you thinking but is pretty much the same things with some tips and tricks on how to deal and recognize that you should be your best self and not be dependent¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book but it certainly isn’t for everyone.
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Challenging on many levels. Glad I stuck with it.
Troy Powell
A penetrating overview of depth Psychology as it relates to interpersonal relations. This book called me out, in the best ways.
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James Hollis, Ph. D., was born in Springfield, Illinois, and graduated from Manchester University in 1962 and Drew University in 1967. He taught Humanities 26 years in various colleges and universities before retraining as a Jungian analyst at the Jung Institute of Zurich, Switzerland (1977-82). He is presently a licensed Jungian analyst in private practice in Washington, D.C. He served as Executi ...more

Other books in the series

Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts (1 - 10 of 132 books)
  • Alcoholism and Women: The Background and the Psychology
  • The Illness That We Are: A Jungian Critique of Christianity
  • Vertical Labyrinth: Individuation in Jungian Psychology (Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts, 20)
  • The Spiral Way: A Woman's Healing Journey
  • When the Spirits Come Back (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts, 33)
  • The Mother: Archetypal Image in Fairytales (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts, 34)
  • Acrobats of the Gods: Dance and Transformation
  • Eros and Pathos: Shades of Love and Suffering (Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts, 40)
  • The Dream Story (Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts, 44)
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“When one has let go of that great hidden agenda that drives humanity and its varied histories, then one can begin to encounter the immensity of one's own soul. If we are courageous enough to say, "Not this person, nor any other, can ultimately give me what I want; only I can," then we are free to celebrate a relationship for what it can give.” 44 likes
“The search for fusion regularly gives rise to various symptoms. Our own psyche knows what is right for us, knows what is developmentally demanded. When we use the Other to avoid our own task, we may be able to fool ourselves for awhile, but the soul will not be mocked. It will express its protest in physical ailments, activated complexes and disturbing dreams. The soul wishes its fullest expression; it is here, as Rumi expressed it, 'for its own joy.'
Let's continue the fantasy of finding an Other willing to carry our individuation task for us. Well, in time, that Other would grow to resent us, even though he or she was a willing signatory to the silent contract. That resentment would leak into the relationship and corrode it. No one is angrier that someone doing 'the right thing' and secretly wishing for something else.”
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