Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Archetypes for Spiritual Direction: Discovering the Heroes Within

Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Archetypes for Spiritual Direction: Discovering the Heroes Within

Article excerpt

BRUCE TALLMAN: Archetypes for Spiritual Direction: Discovering the Heroes Within. New York: Paulist Press, 2005, 254 pp., $19.95, ISBN 0-8091-4358-5.

Dr. Bruce Tallman is a full-time professional spiritual director and marriage coach living in London, Ontario, Canada. Tallman holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Spiritual Direction from the Graduate Theological Foundation, which is affiliated with Oxford University in England. He is a member of Spiritual Directors International and Spiritual Directors of Ontario. Archetypes for Spiritual Direction is his first book.

A word of preparation for potential readers of this book: Tollman is an integrationist, making use of modern Jungian archetypal theory to explore the realm of spiritual direction, with an undercurrent of Christianity throughout. I do not say this as a warning, nor do I feel this detracts from the value of Tallman's overall contribution to the understanding of archetypes. However, the critical reader may find that some of Tallman's ideas seem blurred as he makes connections and parallels between and across religious and philosophical boundaries.

Tallman begins his work with a personal story tied to the book's theme, that of a heroic journey in the quest for spiritual fulfillment. This initial description of his experiences of coincidence brings the reader to the Jungian frame that bounds the subsequent discussion.

Tallman envisions humanity as poised at a critical turning point in its evolution as a race. This critical juncture is marked by a spiritual unfolding that, though not yet felt by all, calls to a few. These few are tasked with the job of leading those who would "go against the current of our culture, to fight the great dragon of idolatrous materialism and, like the salmon, never give up, until everyone is filled with the Spirit and we are all spiritually back on the right evolutionary path toward the reign of God" (p. 10). In this statement, Tallman sets up the classic quest or hero's journey for his book and his readers. From this point on, the reader is set to either join the quest, or risk finding him or herself lost in the shadow.

Tallman takes the basic archetypal forms of the King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover and reframes them as Sovereign, Warrior, seer, and Lover. …

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