What does life ask of us, and how are we to answer that summons?
Are we here just to propagate the species anew?
Do any of us really believe that we are here to make money and then die?
Does life matter, in the end, and if so, how, and in what fashion?
What guiding intelligence weaves the threads of our individual biographies?
What hauntings of the invisible world invigorate, animate, and direct the multiple narratives of daily life?
In Hauntings, James Hollis considers one’s transformation through the invisible world—how we are all governed by the presence of invisible forms—spirits, ghosts, ancestral and parental influences, inner voices, dreams, impulses, untold stories, complexes, synchronicities, and mysteries—which move through us, and through history.
He offers a way to understand them psychologically, examining the persistence of the past in influencing our present, conscious lives and noting that engagement with mystery is what life asks of each of us. From such engagements, a deeper, more thoughtful, more considered life may come.
The Best of James Hollis: Wisdom for the Inner Journey is a collection of excerpts from his writings.
These selections, compiled by editor Logan Jones, span across his body of work from The Middle Passage (1993) to Prisms (2021) organized into different topics ranging from the psychological concepts of Carl Jung to the everyday tasks of our living and callings.
The Broken Mirror: Refracted Visions of Ourselves explores the need to know ourselves more deeply, and the many obstacles that stand in our way. Also included is the chapter, Notes Toward a Personal Memoir:
“I never plan to write a memoir or an autobiography,
hence the key word ‘toward.’ So this essay is rather a processing of memories that keep coming to the surface, apparently because there is some serious affect attached,” James Hollis, The Broken Mirror.
The various chapters illustrate internal obstacles such as intimidation by the magnitude of the project, the readiness to avoid the hard work, and gnawing self-doubt, but also provide tools to strengthen consciousness to take these obstacles on. Additional essays address living in haunted houses, the necessity of failure, and the gift and limits of therapy.
Prisms: Reflections on the Journey We Call Life summarizes a lifetime of observing, engaging, and exploring why we are here, in service to what, and what life asks of us. These eleven essays, all written recently, examine how we understand ourselves, and often we have to reframe that understanding, the nature and gift of comedy, the imagination, desire, as well as our encounters with narcissism, and aging.
Hollis explores the roadblocks we encounter and our on-going challenge to live our brief journey with as much courage, insight, and resolve as we can bring to the table.
James Hollis, Ph.D. is a Jungian Analyst in private practice in Washington, DC. Originally a Professor of Humanities, he is the former Director of the Houston Jung Center and the Washington, D.C. Jung Society.
He is Vice-President emeritus of the Philemon Foundation, author of eighteen books, and a frequent public speaker. He lives with his wife Jill, a retired therapist and painter, and together they have three living children.