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Human Development/Consciousness Evolution
Record Type: Review   ID: 547

The Search for the Beloved: Journeys in Sacred Psychology

Houston, Jean

Houston is a past president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology and guides two schools, a three-year training program in human capacities and another that is directed toward spiritual studies modeled on the ancient mystery schools. This work is based in part on her lectures and processes for those courses. Emphasis is given to the "Search for the Beloved," of the soul. She points out: "In nearly all traditions, sacred psychology assumes that the deepest yearning in every human soul is to return to its spiritual source, there to experience communion and even union with the Beloved. This relationship is then expressed in the deepened and renewed forms of your daily life. The emphasis on this union and transformation is what distinguishes sacred psychology from other depth psychologies. Thus the methods of sacred psychology involve processes that enhance the connection between the historical self and the ultimate reality. These processes have the effect of regeneration, so that you come gradually to have an extended body, an amplified mind, a compassionate heart, an active soul, and a new life of high service. Through sacred psychology, you become a citizen in a universe larger than your aspiration and more complex than all your dreams" (p. xi).

The book is arranged in a manner to encourage the reader "to experience sacred psychology as a developmental path" (p. xi), which is also the order in which she teaches the material. Part I, "Perspectives," consists of three chapters that provide "the ancient and modern settings for sacred psychology" and that suggest "the premises from which the practice of sacred psychology flows" (p. xi). Part 2 (five chapters) provides "basic exercises" aimed at attuning body and mind to experience sacred psychology. Three of these chapters may have import for parapsychology. They are on "extending the senses," training the creative imagination, and "developing the imaginal body." Part 3 consists of three chapters about "the basic themes and mythic structures from which this work springs, and provides experiential processes relevant to these themes" (p. xi). Two chapters of stories comprise Part 4, in which the reader is "invited to participate (preferably with a group) in the actual living journey of transformation drawn from two great scenarios of the journey of the soul. In re-creating and harvesting these old stories, you are challenged to discover within yourself the new story that is emerging" (p. xii). There is a glossary, list of musical compositions, and a selected bibliography aimed at assisting the reader to enhance his or her experience and understanding of sacred psychology.

Publisher Information:Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1987. 252p. Chap notes; Glos: 235-237; 4 illus; Ind: 245-252; Musical compositions: 238-241; Selected bibl: 242-244
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