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The Way of Individuation Paperback – April 1, 1983
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Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The back cover says that "The Way of Individuation" was written to make the core of Jungian thought accessible to the general reader. It is an essential interpretation for all who seek to understand Jung's vision of the path that human beings must follow to attain full selfhood." This is a perfect summary of what this little book of 150 pages is all about. It has been written in a very accessible language, except that it is a translation from German. So it might be a bit less fluid than one would wish. But it's the same problem with many books on Jungian psychology that were originally written in German.
What I found particularly interesting was the short biography of the author at the end of the book. Jolande Jacobi was an important figure in Jung's entourage but she remains an obscure figure today. Most fortunately the last chapter of the book offers a fine summary of her life and explains the role she played in popularizing Jung's psychology. We also learn that the extraordinary dream that was presented anonymously in the middle of the book was actually the author's own dream which she had made about six months after meeting Carl Jung for the first time when she invited him to give a conference in Vienna. After the conference she gave a reception at her house and Jung used the opportunity to introduce her to the I Ching, which made a great impression on Jacobi.
Even if you are already familiar with Jungian psychology I believe this little gem offers a unique contribution that gives immediate access to the core of his teachings. It is certainly overdue for a reedition, and there are no substitutes for it.
Individuation is ultimately the process to arrive at the destination to which we all aspire, whether consciously or not. Although of course destination is not really accurate, since the process is ongoing, so no final destination is possible, Individuation is a journey like a long and treacherous sea voyage, but reaching the shore is only a waypoint in this process of exploration and discovery that never ends.
With that in mind, we can't have enough guides in this and to have one from a colleague of Jung's is too good to pass up. I hope the book becomes more available, but I'm very glad I was able to obtain a used copy in very good condition. The ideas in this are worth tracking down. You cannot have too much help in this difficult, yet infinitely rewarding process.