Borrowed Wisdom

The following books have especially inspired me. They are in a rough order, with those books at the top of list being the ones that currently speak to me most deeply. Between 2011 and 2015, I delved into books that approached spirit through the reductive lens of psychology (e.g. Carl Jung, Eva Pierrakos) because they provide our busy Western minds with a framework we recognise, allowing us to analyse our way to a point of greater surrender. Since 2016, I’ve been drawn to the expansive, empowering words of the old stories, myths, recounted and made relevant to today’s world by gifted storytellers like Robert Bly and Dr. Martin Shaw. They have exactly what we need, especially now – age-old wisdom to guide us through life’s periods of transition, reminding us that seeking the right kind of trouble and making the right kind of mistakes are a vital part of the journey.

Ultimately, both types of books are fine feathers in the cap. Both counsel that if we wish to be who we truly are, the most dependable guides we have are our fears. Step towards them and watch them transform into something radiant.

I feel that if everyone read the first four books highlighted in red then in twenty to thirty years time we will have the world back on track – the foundations laid for a pristine and balanced planet by 2100.

No Planet B, Mike Berners-Lee

Wilding, Isabella Tree

From What Is to What If, Rob Hopkins

A Branch from the Lightning Tree, Dr. Martin Shaw

Wolferland, Dr. Martin Shaw

Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer (audio book recommended)

The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of Soul in Corporate America, David Whyte

Iron John, Robert Bly

The Maiden King, Robert Bly and Marion Woodman

The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden, Robert Johnson

The Waters of Life, Michael Meade

The Children’s Fire, Mac Macartney

Underland, Robert Macfarlane

Who Owns England, Guy Shrubsole

Feral, George Monbiot

The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible, Charles Eisenstein

Fear No Evil, Eva Pierrakos

Women Who Run With Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes

How to be an Elder, Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Mythos – The Greek Myths Retold, Stephen Fry (I highly recommend the audio book version)

The Odyssey, Homer (translator Robert Fagles)

Living Energies, Callum Coats (Viktor Schauberger’s brilliant work explained)

The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart – A Poetry Anthology, Robert Bly, James Hillman and Michael Meade

Snowy Tower, Dr. Martin Shaw

Scatterlings, Dr. Martin Shaw

The Night Wages, Dr. Martin Shaw

Wolf Milk, Dr. Martin Shaw

Courting The Wild Twin, Dr. Martin Shaw

All Those Barbarians, Dr. Martin Shaw

Application for Release from the Dream, poems from Tony Hoagland

Soulcraft: Crossing Into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche, Bill Plotkin

Wild Mind, Bill Plotkin

How to Thrive in the Next Economy, John Thackara

Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children, Thich Nhat Hanh

The Art of Power, Thich Nhat Hanh

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki

A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki

Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami

From Strength to Strength, Arthur C. Brooks

Secrets of the Talking Jaguar, Martín Pretchel

The Disobedience of the Daughter of the Sun, Martín Pretchel 

The Uses of Enchantment: the Meaning and Importance of Fairytales, Bruno Bettelhelm

The Four Insights, Alberto Villoldo

From Suffering to Joy: The Path of Heart, Prem Baba

The Final Crossing, Scott Eberle

The Story of B, Daniel Quinn

Black Elk Speaks, John G. Neihardt

Man and his Symbols, Carl Jung

Memories, Dreams and Reflections, Carl Jung

The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers

The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell

Inner Reaches of Outer Space, Joseph Campbell

Inner-Work, Robert Johnson

Ancient Futures, Helena Norberg-Hodge (an excellent book on Ladakh relevant to the world)

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Sogyal Ringpoche

The Anatomy of Spirit, Caroline Myss

Plant Spirit Medicine, Eliot Cowan

The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle

The Quantum and the Lotus, Matthieu Ricard and Trinh Xuan Thuan

The Chomsky Foucault Debate, Noam Chomsky & Michel Foucault

The Wayfinders, Wade Davis

The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben

Tao the Golden Gate, Osho

Just Like That: Talks on Sufi Stories, Osho

Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda

The Prophet, Khalil Gibran

Aghora – At the Left Hand of God, Robert Svoboda

The Soul of Man Under Socialism, Oscar Wilde

De Profundis, Oscar Wilde

Bioenergetics, Alexander Lowen

The Hakomi Method – Body-Centered Psychotherapy, Ron Kurtz

Skills in Gestalt Counselling & Psychotherapy, Phil Joyce and Charlotte Sills

Dreaming the Soul Back Home, Robert Moss

Lucid Dreaming, Robert Waggoner

The Interpretation of Dreams, Sigmund Freud

The Secret Doctrine, Madame Blavatsky

Many Lives, Many Masters – Dr Brian Weiss

The Teachings of Don Juan, Carlos Castaneda (A series of 6 books)

Jitterbug Perfume, Tom Robbins

What Am I Doing Here? Bruce Chatwin

The Discovery of Slowness, Sten Nodolny

The Glassbead Game, Herman Hesse (and other books by Herman Hesse)

Faust, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Ali and Nino, Kurban Said

The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, T. E. Lawrence

My Early Life, Winston Churchill

The Road to Oxiana, Robert Byron

The City of Djinns, William Dalrymple

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig

Doors of Perception, Heaven and Hell, Aldous Huxley

A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson

The Prize: the Epic Quest for Oil Money and Power, Daniel Yergen

Hidden Agendas, John Pilger

The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, Michael Hart

The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power, Daniel Yergin

What If? Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been, Robert Cowley

A History of the World, J. M. Roberts

Persian Fire, Tom Holland

The Great Game, Peter Hopkirk

The Messianic Legacy, Michael Baigent

The Fabric of the Cosmos, Brian Greene

The Fingerprints of the Gods, Graham Hancock

Meditations, Krishna Murti

Reincarnation: The Phoenix Fire Mystery, Sylvia Cranston

Wild, Jay Griffiths

Animal Wise, Ted Andrews

On the Study of Words, Richard Chenevix Trench

Mother Tongue, Bill Bryson

The Boudica series of books, Manda Scott

The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley

Circe, Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller

His Dark Materials Trilogy, Philip Pullman

The Book of Dust, La Belle Sauvage, Philip Pullman

The Book of Dust, The Secret Commonwealth, Philip Pullman

The Riftwar Saga trilogy, Raymond Feist

The Earthsea Series, Ursula Le Guin

The Idiot, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Magus, John Fowles

The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame

The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss

The Wise Man’s Fear, Patrick Rothfuss

The Broken Earth series, N. K. Jemisin

Mistborn Trilogy, Brandon Sanderson

The Wind in his Heart, Charles de Lint

Moonheart, Charles de Lint

Greenmantle, Charles de Lint

The Way of Wyrd, Brian Bates

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy, Laini Taylor

The Shepherd’s Crown, Terry Pratchett