Carl Jung Resources for Beginners
Someone who had trouble understanding Carl Jung asked me for resources. I am documenting them here.
Diagram of Jung’s Model of the Human Psyche
Resources for Learning Jung’s Ideas
Jung is not always easy to understand. In fact, he’s usually far from it. His ideas build on one another, so misunderstanding one, or not knowing its meaning, creates a domino effect. That said, he does have a couple works that are on the easier side and work well for beginners.
The Undiscovered Self
The Undiscovered Self is a short and relatively easy read that works as a good introduction into Jung’s world of ideas.
This is an interesting, and free, copy of a chapter of one of Jung’s books on archetypes. It is a good introduction to Jung’s archetype theories.
Transcripts of Jung’s Talks
I have found that reading transcripts of Jung’s talks is a much easier way to understand the man’s ideas in his own words. Here is an example of that.
Works Edited by Jung
Man and His Symbols is an excellent way into Jung’s ideas. The book is a compilation of essays by Jung’s contemporaries, edited by Jung himself.
It has some excellent essays that cover a range of Jungian topics, from the symbolism in Beauty and the Beauty to dream analysis to approaching the unconscious.
If you can find it, I highly recommend the old hardcover version (that’s the version I linked to above) that has larger and full-color images. In a book about symbols, big, colorful images really help.
YouTube Videos that Explain and Quote Jung’s Ideas
The way I first came to learn about Jung and his ideas was through one of my favorite YouTube channels: Academy of Ideas. They have a whole playlist of videos introducing Jung’s ideas. The videos are full of great quotes and wonderful art.
Your Own Mind
Ultimately, I think you have to do a lot more thinking about Jung’s idea than reading about them. You have to really chew on them; “is this what he meant by that? No, that would contradict this. He must have meant this. Oh wait, this scholar puts it this way. Yes, that seems right, doesn’t it? No, if that’s so, then this could not be.” Eventually, Jung makes you go crazy and his whole purpose is accomplished.
Works by Jungian Scholars
King Warrior Magician Lover is a popular book from the 1990s that gives an interesting persective on Jung’s ideas of archetypes and the shadow. The book describes what the authors call the four masculine archetypes, and each of their shadow archetypes.
I believe these archetypes apply to women as well. They are really just personifications of what the Catholic Church calls “the cardinal virtues.”
The book also has a method of shadow work toward its conclusion. That part of the book is a gem because most sources that offer a method of shadow work (e.g. the shadow work journals you might find on Amazon) were created by people who have no real understand of Jungian psychology.
A Word of Caution
There are many people on the internet who will speak of Jung’s ideas as though they have a strong grasp on them, but miss the mark entirely. This post on Reddit is a good example of the broad range of beliefs among Jung’s followers. It is also an interesting idea to think about.
I originally posted this on Medium.com. There, Samantha Price Fischer left the following comment:
I would say his autobiography “Memories, Dreams, and Reflections” is another beautiful way to get a feel for Jung the man. It was completed near the end of his life and is excellent as an audible.