Modern Science, Ancient Magic, and the Hidden Potential of the Unconscious Mind
by Daniel Z. Lieberman, MD
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Pub Date 23 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 01 Nov 2022
The conscious mind, the part of your mental life you experience directly, is responsible for only a tiny sliver of what science says is going on inside your brain. Most of what you experience, your moods, and the things you like or dislike—most of who you are—comes from a much more mysterious part of your mind: the unconscious.
And to really understand the influences of the unconscious, says psychiatrist Daniel Z. Lieberman, coauthor of The Molecule of More, we need to look to something often considered science’s alter ego: magic. Drawing on the work of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, and with deep dives into what we can learn from ancient mystical traditions from alchemy to numerology to meditation, Spellbound weaves together ancient magical traditions, psychological research, and the latest neuroscientific discoveries, in order to bridge the gap between the conscious and unconscious mind.
Like it or not, your unconscious is currently the source of most of your choices. It’s the source of your passions, your energy, and your “gut instinct.” It can help you solve seemingly impossible problems with the gift of inspiration. But it’s not always working in your favor: The unconscious is wild and untamed, often leading us down self-destructive paths that leave us baffled by our own decisions. Spellbound helps you take a new path: one where you learn how to recognize the influences of the unconscious, and make it an ally in helping you become the person you were meant to be.
The human mind is perhaps the most mysterious thing in the universe. Science is only beginning to uncover its secrets, and some believe that we may never fully plumb its depths. But the ancient traditions of magic, traditions of understanding that have been built up over centuries, give us another window into the hidden facets of our humanity.
After all, as the visionary Arthur C. Clarke once said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 16 members
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was very philosophical, and as a pagan, it really created a world of magic for me. The way that the author wrote this book, the book flows very easily from one subject to the next, bringing magic and philosophy into the natural world around us. This book goes a long way in bridging the gap between psychology, physical science, and the "supernatural" or magick. I was incredibly impressed by the way the author brings these worlds together in a way that has not been done before.
By bringing things together such as fairy tales, numerology, alchemy, and tarot cards with the world of physical science and physics as we know it currently, one can infer many connections and rationalities for how those ideas connect. Using Jungian psychology, the author explains how the "shadow self" can integrate the hidden world around us with the physical world that we interact with each day; in other words, as Jungian psychology often aims to do, it integrates the conscious with the unconscious mind.
The author not only brings these things to the table, but also integrates different cultures, religions, and philosophers together to illustrate how this integration can occur, including Christianity, Buddism, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, and others.
I found the sections on numerology, and especially the tarot, to be exceptionally interesting. Instead of using the cards' mystical meanings alone, the author gives us what should be the psychological implications of the more mystical meanings of the cards to bring what I would consider being more credulity to the meanings of tarot cards.
If you are someone who is researching, or personally practicing pagan practices or mysticism and would like to explore the psychological and philosophical meanings behind those practices, this is an ideal book that bridges that gap. Or, if you are someone who is highly philosophical and would like more insight into the world around you including how we perceive and understand our shadow selves and the world of mysticism, then you will be glad you read this book. A fantastic book that fills a void in current literature to explain some of the more mystical aspects of the world we live in.
'Spellbound' is a book about individuation, wholeness, the alchemical marriage, and the ouroboros. Bringing together the conscious with the unconscious is the basis of magic as proposed by author Daniel Z. Liberman. He takes the reader on a journey through the unconscious and shares how learning to wield its powers is no different than the magician wielding his wand. Exploring the power of archetypes in fairytales, tarot, numerology, and astrology offer teachings on how one can fully integrate these seemingly opposite forces. The first section of the book explains the unconscious and how it shows up in daily life through both mundane and mystical experiences. The second section of the book explores various magical traditions and how the unconscious is at play in these realms. The Jungian psychology perspective of the marriage of the conscious with the unconscious is explored in depth in the latter half of the book. Finally, chapters on meditation as a manifestation of the conjunction offer interesting insights into what unity and or magic may look and feel like.
Ultimately this is a book about the invisible power of the unconscious in waking life. It is compared to the principles of magic which essentially reveal in their symbolic ways how to become more aware so as to enact purposeful and meaningful change in one’s life.
Compelling and enchanting, this is a must read for anyone looking to develop more awareness of their unseen world.
This is a lovely book! with so much insight, I could easily read it again, as it was a very easy and beautiful read. Very informative! thank to Daniel and NetGalley for allowing the ARC.!
Spellbound by Daniel Z Lieberman, MD is an informative and insightful look into the melding of the conscious and unconscious mind , utilizing a wide scope of spiritual and scientific reach to approach the gap between the two.
What Worked For Me
1. Jungian psychology woven into the text was a special treat
2.The meaning of numerology and tarot than has become typical in modern books on the topic.
3.The writing style of the book was lovely to read while being straight forward enough to now become overwhelming.
What Didn't Work as well for me
1.The only major weakness within the book comes from its great variety of topics covered. In approaching such as wide scope of magical information the book occasionally skims lightly across one topic in order to dive deeply on others.
Who I would recommend this for
This book is a great read for those interested in mysticism wanting an overview and variable approach to the topic.
A mix of neuroscience and Jungian psychology, this book explores how ancient myth and mysticism can help us better navigate the modern world. I’ve read a lot of books on neuroscience and the unconscious, but I learned a number of new and useful things from this one. It’s enjoyable and easy to read.
Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.
4.5 rounded up
"A magic moment wakes us up from our familiar routines. It makes us realize the world has deeper, more mystical dimension than we're accustomed to seeing."
There might not be an adequate way in which I can review how profound this book is.
For starters, the cover. *chef's kiss* Not only is the design and typography just speaking to me, the inclusion of the ouroboros truly encapsulates the novel and the research that went into it. The ouroboros (for those of you who might not know) is symbol with origins in Alchemy and Gnosticism depicting a snake or dragon devouring its own tail, representing the unity of all things material and spiritual in a perpetually never-ending cycle of destruction and re-birth.
Through Jungian psychology, Daniel Lieberman explains how our "shadow self" can integrate the hidden or "magical" world around us with the physical world that we interact with on a day to day basis, unifying the conscious with the unconscious mind. Through scopes of ancient magical tradition, modern neuroscience discoveries and psychology, Lieberman presents a foundational bridge between the magic of the world we see as children, and how it morphs and compels our lives as adults, who no longer "believe".
"The longer an object is in contact with a human being, the more likely it is to be perceived as living. We value it not for it's usefulness, but for its essential being."
All of this ultimately creates a book about the invisible yet compelling power of the unconscious mind, and the "magic" that can be noticed and created by living a fulfilling and meaningful life. It's enchanting, captivating and personal in a way that will leave you aching for more, and beginning the dive into your own mind and inner magic.
"When you lose a friend, you not only lose that person, you also lose the part of yourself that person brought out. When a friend dies, part of you dies as well."
Spellbound is set to be published on August 23, 2022. Thank you to BenBella Books, NetGalley and the author for the ARC.
I was interested in this title from the moment I read the title - Modern Science, Ancient Magic, and the Hidden Potential of the Unconscious Mind. I have long been interested in tarot, crystals, and simple spellwork and was looking for more knowledge into these areas, specifically, which this book provided. I found this initially a little bogged down in information that was of little interest to me personally but found it a sound instructional guide, overall.
Spellbound is an amazing look at how the world views and applies magic to every day objects. It was extremely informative and opened my mind to how I describe my day to day life.
Spellbound weaves together ancient magical traditions, psychological research, and the latest neuroscientific discoveries, in order to bridge the gap between the conscious and unconscious mind.
The unconscious is wild and untamed, often leading us down self-destructive paths that leave us baffled by our own decisions. Spellbound helps you take a new path: one where you learn how to recognize the influences of the unconscious, and make it an ally in helping you become the person you were meant to be.
The first section of the book explains the unconscious and how it shows up in daily life through both mundane and mystical experiences. The second section of the book explores various magical traditions and how the unconscious is at play in these realms. The Jungian psychology perspective of the marriage of the conscious with the unconscious is explored in depth in the latter half of the book. Finally, chapters on meditation as a manifestation of the conjunction offer interesting insights into what unity and or magic may look and feel like.
The author not only brings these things to the table, but also integrates different cultures, religions, and philosophers together to illustrate how this integration can occur, including Christianity, Buddhism, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, and others.
A fantastic book that fills a void in current literature to explain some of the more mystical aspects of the world we live in.
I am thankful to netgalley and the publisher for giving me this marvellous book in return of an honest review.
Loved reading it...
This is truly a wonderful book. I have been a therapist many years, and I have studied Jungian work throughout my entire career. This book belongs right along side the other Jungian classics throughout the last century. Lieberman layers in the depth of Jungian thought without ever overwhelming the reader as many alchemy texts seem to do. When Reading, "Spellbound," I am reminded of Marion Woodman and Marie Louise Von Franz. Spellbound creates a very difficult balance as it creates space for someone new to this kind of book, and it teaches advanced practitioners new angles and approaches. I highly recommend this book to anyone with a curiosity about their inner life.
This is a detailed, well-written and interesting read about how we can bring the conscious and unconscious minds together. This is the alchemy we need to learn and master to make ourselves whole.
The parts on magic are a pleasure to read. The interpretations and illustrations on fairytales, tarot cards and numerology are eloquently written and insightful. I love the explanation of why various forms of magic still exist today: because it is not superstition or pure fiction, it is how we can safely communicate with and meet our unconscious.
The author’s tone of voice is friendly and warm, I find this book a delight to read.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in knowing more about how the mind works. It's a mix of neuroscience, pop psychology, fascinating information, and self-help. Daniel Lieberman's explanation of the unconscious mind brings this powerful force to life, making it feel real and tangible, helping the reader uncover a superpower that lives within each of us.
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