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Eden Project: In Search of the Magical Other

(Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts #79)

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  564 ratings  ·  54 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.
Paperback, 160 pages
Published August 12th 1998 by Inner City Books
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Barb Roddy
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An accurate understanding of what love isn't. There is no magical other. Young girls will resist his message, older women will recognize it as true.
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:
Michael Rusk
Dec 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The book took me a long time to read. It is deceptively small but packs so much thought provoking material into its pages sometimes I would find myself backing up and rereading a page or two to absorb the full impact of a statement.

"A Jungian Perspective on Relationship" intimidated me. My only class in Psychology was all about Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung was not mentioned. It's a shame. After reading this book I have a new interest in reading more of his original writing. A friend has suggested
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
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.
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all therapists
Recommended to Sandy by: James Hollis
How can Hollis be thanked for such an eye-opening, profound book? I'm grateful for what I learned in this excellent book.
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.
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
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.
Emily Axelson
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
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.
Zee Fakier
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
Theodor Kaljo
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic introduction to Jungian psychology.

It was actually reccomended by Neill Strauss on the Tim Ferriss Show episode #450 alongside some other great reads about psychology and relationships.

The primary motif that ran through the book was that the quality of our relationships to others cannot be more conscious and dynamic than the relationship we have to ourselves.

Of course, we don't actually know ourselves and our "shadow side" very much. Our partners - even less. The are just SO
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.
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!
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.
Elvira Baryakina
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
Got some very profound insights.
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.
Andrew Marshall
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nobody likes the message in this book. There is no magical other who will come along and save us - despite all the promises of romance and fairy tails. As Hollis admits it's not a pretty picture but it is a whole lot better than getting angry at our beloved for not saving us, getting divorced and expecting the next partner to do his or her magic. More importantly, once we face the truth, we can ask ourselves a series of interesting questions like: what am I asking my partner to do for me that I ...more
Estuardo Valenzuela
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who would consider going into a relationship with another person (which I assume is a large majority of us) should read this book.
Anton Channing
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm pretty much done reading this book. I've got the six pages of the 'Afterword' still to go. Already it has helped my wife and I untangle certain repeating misunderstanding that have occurred between us, to see that we have been carrying baggage from past relationships and family into our own. I didn't buy the book for that reason, but its good to get unexpected benefits from a book, even before you finish reading.

The first chapter explores parental relationships and how the patterns that emer
Michael Hirn
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
"In Search of the Magical Other" is a collection of mainly theoretical essays that inquire on the relationships we have, starting from the one with ourselves to romantic partners, organizations and finally God and shows how and why they are driven by either fear or love.

The author states, that this is very much anticipated to be a thought provoking instead of scientific expository text, which is true in both regards. The text, as the title hints, is written from a Freudian/Jungian perspective an
Aug 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is an excellent explication of what relational love is (vs. What Romance ISN'T.) Hollis provides a lucid analysis of the psychodynamic underpinnings of intimate relationships (whether gay or straight), and why relationships work when they do- at their highest, most functional states- and why romances tend to dissolve into anger and resentment among the unconscious. More detailed and therapeutic than Johnson's "We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love", this book is a great companio ...more
Mar 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
"If there is a single idea which permeates this essay it is that quality of all our relationships is a direct function of our relationship to ourselves.....The best thing we can do for our relationship with others is to to render our relationship to ourselves more conscious." Fair enough. Hollis takes it many steps forward by advocating a "disinterested" type of love, as oppposed to anything that might smack of idealized romanticism. Idiosyncratic yet somewhat compelling. Interestingly, he twice ...more
Nick Brown
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing

"This video essay takes a look at one of the most powerful relationship books ever published. In The Eden Project: In Search of the Magical Other (Inner City Books) James Hollis examines society's fixed views and fantasies in regards to relationships.This text is not a practical guide on how to fix a relationship, but rather a challenge to greater personal responsibility, a call for individual growth as opposed to seeking rescue through others. "

Heather Buelow
Jun 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Basic principles of this book that I feel most adults already know:
1. There is no Disney reality of love or soulmate. Relationships are ongoing decisions.
2. Past relationships affect future relationships, and early relationships (ie parent/child) are most likely to be formative.

Wish the book weren't written so esoterically for such basic ideas. The takeaway message is simply: figure out what past experiences are shaping your current ones so that you can live more freely in the present.

I agree wi
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James Hollis, Ph. D. is Executive Director of the Jung Center of Houston, TX, a practicing Jungian Analyst (psychotherapy developed by C.G. Jung - the eminent Swiss psychiatrist), and author of eleven books.

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)
  • Saturday's Child: Encounters With the Dark Gods (Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts, 51)

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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.” 34 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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