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Contents Acknowledgements vii About This Book ix PART I SYMBOLISM, EVOLUTION, AND PSYCHOLOGY 1 Ariadne's Clue 3 2 What is a Symbol? 12 3 The Evolution of Meaning 22 4 How Do SymbolsWork? 36 5 Basic Symbolic Themes 45 6 The Conjunction of Heaven and Earth 62 7 Living the Symbolic Life 77 PART II THE EXPLANATORY THESAURUS 1 The Physical Environment 97 i Landscape 99 ii The psychic Compass 116 iii The Four Elements 123 iv alchemy 132 v Celestial Bodies 134 vi Colours 146 vii Buildings 150 viii Migration 1154 2 Culture and Psyche 161 i Religion and the Sacred 1170 ii Gods, Goddesses, and Demons 173 iii Creation Myths 195 iv Paradise and the Fall 200 v Heroes and Heroines 208 vi Initiation, Male and Female 2. 16 vii Eros and Psyche 220 viii Individuation and Transcendence 235 ix Death and Rebirth 256 x Morality 262 xi Sickness and Healing Z74 xii Tools, Weapons, Utensils, and Musical Instruments 280 xiii Transport 2911 xiv Performance and Ritual 298 3 People, Animals, and Plants 305 i Sex, Gender, Bonding, and Childrearing 306 ii Power: Dominance and Submission 323 iii Animals 332- iv Monsters and Fabulous Beasts 367 v Plants, Fruits, and Trees 379 4 The Body 395 i Adornment, Clothes, and Nudity 396 ii Parts of the Body 401 iii Physical Activities 415 Bibliography 423 Glossary 433 General Index 439 Symbol Index
Stevens has a unique capacity for relating myths and symbols to the way our psyches function today, thus bringing symbols alive rather than dismissing them as historical curiosities. He is also a stylish writer, and is able to link his conclusions from a variety of fields into a consistent, readable whole. -- Anthony Storr, University of Oxford
Anthony Stevens has worked as a Jungian analyst and psychiatrist for the past thirty years. He is a graduate of the University of Oxford and, in addition to his medical degree, he has two degrees in psychology. His previous books include Archetype: A Natural History of the Self, The Roots of War, On Jung, The Two-Million-Year-Old Self, Jung, Private Myths: Dreams and Dreaming, and, with John Price, Evolutionary Psychiatry: A New Beginning.
One need not be a Jungian to appreciate this fine book as both a reference and a contemporary introduction to symbolism. Psychiatrist Stevens (Private Myths: Dreams and Dreaming, LJ 3/15/96) treats the specialist or lay reader to a brilliant integration of psychological archetypes with Darwinian theory. Symbols, a "natural Esperanto," transcend ethnic and linguistic boundaries while absorbing and reflecting cultural (as well as biological) influences. Stevens draws heavily on Jung but goes beyond him, making effective use of philosophy, semiotics, biology, and dream research. His "Thesaurus" (over 300 pages) is divided into four parts: Physical Environment; Culture and Psyche; People, Animals, and Plants; and The Body. Stevens presents vast learning easily and precisely in prose that is at once calm and exciting. A bibliography rich with recent references, a glossary, and a separate symbol index combine to make this a standardÄif not the standardÄin the field; essential for most libraries.ÄE. James Lieberman, George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, DC
"This is a fascinating book, packed with ideas and out-of-the-way information... a thesaurus of symbols. [Stevens] aim[s] to provide clues to the origin, meaning, and development of some of the most common symbols and, like Ariadne's thread, to trace connections between different parts of what seems like an impenetrable maze."--John Habgood, The Times Higher Education Supplement "What sets this book apart from many others ... is Stevens's viewpoint. He approaches symbols as an evolutionary psychologist ... one who seeks to understand the biological reasons underlying our symbols... [This] would be of interest to anyone who tries to understand themselves, whether they do it by biology, psychology, astrology, or tarot. The symbols are always there."--David Smillie, Discovery Channel "One need not be a Jungian to appreciate this fine book both as a reference and a contemporary introduction to symbolism. A brilliant integration of psychological archetypes with Darwinian theory... Stevens presents vast learning easily and precisely in prose that is at once calm and exciting... [A] standard--if not the standard--in the field; essential for most libraries."--Library Journal (starred review)