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He: Understanding Masculine Psychology

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,626 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
Robert A. Johnson, noted lecturer and Jungian analyst, updates his classic exploration of the meaning of being a man, and adds insight for both sexes into the feminine side of a man's personality.
Paperback, 96 pages
Published November 1st 1989 by Harper Perennial (first published 1974)
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Mar 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
This was like looking through a kaleidoscope submerged in water: I can see there's a pattern of bright colors and shapes at the end of the cylinder, but it just won't come into focus.

I appreciate the Jungian psychological concepts symbolizing the masculine life's journey, including man's quest for the grail, his fight with dragons and knights along the path, the hermit years, and of course the various feminine characters and complexes represented at every stage of life. The tale of Parsifal bat
Dec 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology, jungian

Robert A. Johnson is a Jungian analyst. His book answers positively to the questions: can old myths describe today's man/woman behavior... and psychological development?...and help in psychological healing?

The main myth he's referring to is the quest of Parsifal for the Holy Grail. But also the Wounded Fisher King (applying to man,or the masculine side) and the Handless Maiden (applying to woman,or the feminine side)...and other myths.

Interestingly,even in Tolkien (Lord of the Rings) the myth
I'm just astonished by the implications of this short mythopoeic narrative of masculine psychology—I learned so much! Added to Books-Men-Must-Read-List—which I'll be adding to from now on...

Johnson employs the myth of The Fisher King and his unlikely hero, Parsifal, in capturing the psychological ascent and descent of man in the course of life.

Growth begins when man seizes the Sword from the Red Knight and embarks on his heroic quest. Next step is when he meets the Fairy Damsel, whom he is not a
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
اسطوره ی جام مقدس سفر روحانی مرد امروز برای رسیدن به جام مقدس و کشف آنیمای درون و به وحدت رسیدن با عنصر شفا بخش درونی است.
در این اثر از داستان نمادین سفر پارسیفال برای دستیابی به جام مقدس و نجات پادشاه ماهیگیر زخمی برای بیان مطلب استفاده شده است.
در این اثر از زخم های انسان به عنوان آبستن یک تولد تازه و یک گام به کمال آگاهی سخن گفته شده است. آنچه مرد را با عمق وجودش مرتبط می کند بخش زنا نه ی اوست در واقع انیما پلی به عمق خویشتن مرد است.
دیدن زخم اولین قدم در راه شفا است ولی فرایند شفا خرد هوشیا
Apr 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
I loved some parts of the myth which do really apply to real life and I can relate to. But in some parts, i felt the author pushing and squeezing the story and moral to a different direction, a direction that he wants. The academic background or the scientific (psychological) part of the story is weak over all. The myth is O.K and his explanation is o.k but trying to put one on top of the other has failed.
p.s: I might lack knowledge about the original myth. This should be a point for the author
Dec 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
He: Understanding Masculine Psychology is a pretty interesting book for philosophically and psychologically inclined people. Johnson relates masculine psychology to the myth of Parsifal and the Fisher King.

The Fisher King was severely wounded and unfortunately, his kingdom suffered because of this. The cure for his wound would come when a fool entered the Grail kingdom and asked a specific question. Parsifal, the fool, was very fond of his mother, but broke her heart when he left home to becom
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
rarely do i read a book in one night, even a short one like this. but its mythological/archetypal/mystical power was too strong to let me take a break. if you're going to read a book like this, you should realize it's by a Jungian analyst - so don't expect "scientifically true" statements. but that mystical aspect is what i love about some writing - it's really the only way i can connect on a deep, meaningful level.

"The object of life is not happiness, but to serve God or the Grail. All of the G
Dec 30, 2010 rated it liked it
This was really good, but the only reason I gave it 3 stars instead of my typical 4 is because a lot of it was covered in the last R.A. Johnson book that I read (Balancing heaven and earth). I recommend this book as a great, detailed analysis of the Fisher King and the Holy Grail
David Bonesteel
May 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book doesn't speak to me at all. I agree with Robert A. Johnson that legends and myths, as well as great works of literature, correspond to the human condition--after all, that's what makes them resonate with generations of readers. However, I don't see the usefulness of picking one and elevating it to a grand statement and prescriptive account of the life journey of every man. His interpretation of the Parsifal myth lacks concrete examples from actual human experience. If you accept his pr ...more
Apr 15, 2007 rated it liked it
He; Understanding Masculine Psychology, deconstructs the myth of Parsifal's search for the Holy Grail, and applies it to a man's search for meaning in modern society. The myth itself is worth knowing, if it has not already been consumed in its original form, and this is a suitable vehicle to pin down its basics. Author Johnson's use of Jungian pyschology posits the basic conclusion that just as Parsifal ultimately finds meaning by sacrificing for the King instead of focusing on his own needs, a ...more
Jorge García
¿Alguna vez te has cuestionado lo difícil que llega a ser tratar de entender a una mujer?

Robert A. Johnson ayuda a entender que la respuesta a esta pregunta no se encuentra en el mundo exterior, sino en una profunda búsqueda interior por parte del hombre.

A través del mito del Rey Pescador herido y de Parsifal, en la versión de Chrétien de Troyes, este autor ofrece una visión psicológica de la jornada del hombre, a través de tres etapas:

La preparación: donde Parsifal, al lado de su madre, vive en
Will Bellais
Aug 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: selfhelp, psychology
"He" takes the story of a man's life from boyhood to adulthood and finds through the Parsifal myth the metaphor to describe the maturing process. Johnson, a Jungian psyhologist, tells the story with the death of Parsifal's father and brother and the knights he encounters along the way. We find our first love, the idea that feast table is set for us, when it is not, and becoming loyal to a "king" who at first makes us a page and then a knight. The knight in us then must search for the Holy Grail. ...more
Jul 21, 2011 rated it liked it
I found it far more interesting and insightful than She, mostly because the myth seemed more detailed so there was more of a symbolic framework for the narrative to operate in. I found some of his claims about gender very dualistic and limiting (ex: Creativity is an inherently feminine force. I think it's a human or divine force and not something that can be gendered). Not being a man, I'm not sure how accurate or helpful this book is. I found it interesting, but not always pertinent to my own d ...more
May 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: life
I liked this, but it was so foreign to me, I had a hard time wrapping my head around it. Maybe if I read it again in a year or two, it will sink in then.

One thing I liked: when I guy is in a mood ("bitchy"), it's his anima running the show; if you want to help, being more feminine than his anima may help him out of it. Or just stay away. Trying to argue him out of it will just lead to a big awful battle between his anima and your animus.

Mary Woody
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
In this book the Jungian analyst Robert A Johnson uses the French version of the myth of Parsifal's search for the Holy Grail taken by a poem by Chretien de Troyees. I found this book to be entertaining at the most as I do any writings on masculine psychology I felt like I was reading a Philosophers view of a mans journey and this book came off merely someone's theory of mans search for his feminine self.
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book really explains everything about every man that I know. I'm not kidding. I think it should be required reading for men and women, alike. It's only about 80 pages, but it is something that can and probably should be read multiple times.

I just bought She and We, and I hope they are as enlightening as this one has been.
Aja Gray
Feb 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own-this-book
First, I cannot emphatically root for Robert A. Johnson more so than with jazz hands and a happy dance--he totally nails the psychology of men and with his additional book on the psychology of woman. He's great, and I'm a tougher critic. Don't walk, run, to get ANYTHING written by this gifted psychologist.
Kirtida Gautam
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
A wow book.
Camille McCarthy
May 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very short book by the same author as "Iron John." I thought that "Iron John" went into a lot more depth and detail, and really followed male initiation very closely, whereas "He" is a very short book. While it had some solid information and advice, I felt that it was not very thorough. It does give the advice that women should avoid their husbands or boyfriends when they're in a "mood," rather than nagging them or criticizing them - I'm sure that's good advice. I recommend it but only as an i ...more
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
I am starting to read more about manhood since there is a lack of guidelines in our modern society. This book takes much from the Arthurian romance, a subject very dear to many writers from the last century. I enjoyed reading this book and event hough, I knew much of the stories, the analysis and interpretations gave me much to think about.
Shannon O'Shea
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Another great read. He is always so insightful. Highly recommend whether male or female this book applies. One in a series of Roberts.
Dylan Grant
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
I started and finished this book today. Started reading it while a friend was making a resume at my house... finished in two hours after he left. Considering how quickly I read it is obviously very good.

here's a review: Robert A Johnson's book is a work of Jungian psychology. I really like Jungian psychology, with its key ideas of "Archetypes" (universal patterns in our thought, e.g. mother archetypes) and the "Anima" (the inner woman in a man) and "Animus" (the inner man in a woman).

What I li
Sep 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The mythic adventure of the hero.
I have enjoyed Robert A Johnson's other books -- She: Understanding Feminine Psychology; Inner work: Using active imagination; and Owning your own shadow. However, I will admit I was surprised to see this one was so short and wondered at the reading. I was not disappointed.

Johnson chooses a more religiously-neutral myth - in this case, that of Parsifal - over the Christ myth, so that more men will be able to not only gain insight and interest, but come to conclus
Stevie Agostinelli
Interesting read. I read this book for my psychology of gender class and it offered a unique take on the nature of men's psychological journey through life, with an emphasis on Jungian psychology. It's not a long read, but a thought provoking one. I look forward to reading the "She" counterpart to this book.
The Grail myth speaks of masculine pyschology. X

"A true myth teaches us the cure for the dilemma which it portrays" 10 or 11
"Freud said that the unconscious is the repository of all the inferior elements of the personality, the us valued things of one's life. Jung insisted that the unconscious is also the matrix, the artisan well from which all creativity springs Freud would have none of this so the two parted." 14-15

"Much of our religious heritage is a map or set of instructions for the deepest
William Burr
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
a tiny book, about eighty pages, packed with wisdom.

it looks at an old myth about the search for the holy grail that was told over and over again for centuries, and tries to find some general truth about every man's journey through life in the different elements of the myth. i could definitely see my own life in this myth, as the author describes it.

i highly recommend it.

I'd be interested to know what women think of this book- I wonder if some of the stages in life and some of the yearnings he
Chad Newton
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychology
Robert Johnson's book unfortunately failed to serve the supposed purposes stated in the title. One cannot understand elements of male psychology by analyzing fictional narratives and applying theoretical assumptions onto the texts in order to suggest interpretations. In fact, exegetical methods would reject Johnson's approach because his methods appear as eisegesis. Furthermore, Johnson offered no theological frameworks for why he believed that the Christian deity should be a quaternity versus a ...more
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Erin by: Sabrina Lorah
This book solidified my understanding of the path I'm on to find myself, through re-balancing an over-masculine way of being by re-kindling my long neglected inner feminine. Much of my spiritual/inner journey and it's lessons are captured in this book, and given even further clarity. This book described the journey I'm on, the journey my partner is on, and the journey we share as a couple. The book served as a place-marker for me to understand the process of my journey and where it could be head ...more
Olga Kovalenko
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The motive of a quest is my favorite and this book gives it a great interpretation. I wish I have read "He" straight after finishing Jung's writings on the archetypes, since Johnson gives more practical examples to the archetypes at work. Now both "The Lord of The Rings" and "On the Road" look more understandable, if one interprets it from the point of view of psychoanalysis. Besides, the themes of alienation and lostness in modern cinema and literature appeared for me in a new light after this ...more
Shavawn Berry
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
In, He: Understanding Masculine Psychology, by Robert A. Johnson, the author unpacks the Parsifal story from the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, as a means to explain the process that a man must go through to become conscious. It is, essentially, the hero's journey. He explains the symbolism of the Fisher King, as well as the inner feminine aspects a man must greet, embrace, or leave behind, in order to become whole. I am fascinated by Jungian psychology, so this was ju ...more
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Robert A. Johnson is a noted lecturer and Jungian analyst in private practice in San Diego, California. He has studied at the Jung Institute in Switzerland and at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in India.
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“Generally, a mood will run its course in an inteligent man; if a woman doesn't puncture it prematurely, the man will puncture it himself. He will regain his senses somewhere along the way; he will say, "Now wait, we had better think about this." That is, if his wife hasn't said five minutes before, "Now, dear, don't you think we had better think about this?" Because then he won't, of course.

If a woman is needling, it is doubly hard for a man to come out of a mood. That intensifies it. A man is really in a kind of travail when he is in a mood. He needs help, not needling, but feminine help. He probably won't thank you for it, but inside he will be awfully grateful.

When a woman has to deal with a man in a mood, she generally does the wrong thing. She generally gets her animus out, that nasty thing, and says, "Now, look, this is utter nonsense, stop it. We don't need any more fishline leader."

That is just throwing gasoline on the fire. There will be an anima-animus exchange, and all will be lost. The two are in the right hand and in the left hand of the goddess Maya, and you might as well give up for the afternoon.

There is, however, a point of genius that a woman can bring forth if she is capable of it and willing to do it. If she will become more feminine than the mood attacking the man , she can dispel it for him. But this is a very, very difficult thing for a woman to do. Her automatic response is to let out the sword of the animus and start hacking away. But if a woman can be patient with a man and not critical, but represent for him a true feminine quality, then, as soon as his sanity is sufficiently back for him to comprehend such subtleties, he will likely come out of his mood.

A wife can help a great deal if she will function from her feminine side in this way. She has to have a mature feminity to do this, a femininity that is strong enough to stand in the face of this spurious femininity the man is producing.”
“Someone observed darkly that it is always two A.M. when one is in the 'dark night of the soul.” 5 likes
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