Bibliography Robert M. May, Ph.D.
My Eleven Books: Robert M. May, Ph.D. – 2009
- Physicians of the Soul
- Physicians of the Soul: Second Edition
- Cosmic Consciousness Revisited
- Echoes of God: A Journal of One Man’s Search for God
- Oz and Other Myths of the Journey
- Psychology and Religious Experience
- Religious Dreaming
- Sacred Stories: Prayers to the Great Mystery
- From Adam to Christ (Work in Progress)
- A Memoir: My Spiritual Journey
- Sometimes I am a Verb (Work in Progress)
(1) Physicians of the Soul
(published: Crossroad 1982, Amity House 1988, Element Books 1991): This psycho spiritual work has been called the “classic in its genre.” It looks at six world spiritual founders who are central to six world religions: Lao Tzu (Taoism), Moses (Judaism), Jesus (Christianity), Buddha (Buddhism), Krishna (Hinduism), and Muhammad (Islam). It evaluates both the similarities and the differences between these world spiritual traditions, and discovers at their core the same spiritual center. It has had many excellent published reviews and famous authors’ endorsements, including, Jean Houston, Ph.D. who said: “Physicians of the Soul is considered by many religious and psychological scholars to be the seminal work in the field of sacred psychology.” John A. Sanford, D.D. said: “If anyone wanted to know more of the inner meaning of the world’s great religions this would be a book to refer to.” Choice said: “May focuses on the search for Self among the central spiritual teaching of the world. The author devotes a chapter each to the life and teaching of Lao Tzu (Taoism), Moses (Judaism), Jesus (Christianity), Gotama (Buddhism), Krishna (Hinduism), and Muhammed (Islam). … A well-written book offering a selected overview of the major spiritual traditions against the background of the inner search for the Self.” Catholic Periodical and Literature Index said: “This study, the product of the author’s 10 year inner journey, presents Lao Tzu, Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Buddha and Muhammed as spiritual teachers and sacred psychologists who can lead the seeker toward wholeness and the source of life.”
(2) Physicians of the Soul: Second Edition
(published in second edition, White Cloud Press, January, 2003). It is now 20 years since I wrote the original Physicians of the Soul in 1982. It was my first book. It was republished two more times in first edition, in 1988, and in 1991. I have since published a second book, Cosmic Consciousness Revisited, in 1993. Both of these books have been honored with many published reviews and endorsements by world level authors including one Nobel Laureate, Sir John Eccles. Since those first and second published books, I have written four more books, a total of six, including: Echoes of God: A Journal of One Man’s Search for God, Oz and Other Myths of the Journey, Psychology and Religious Experience (my Ph.D. thesis), and Religious Dreaming. A new book project is Sacred Stories: Prayers to the Great Mystery.
To the original six World Spiritual Teachers, Lao Tzu, Krishna, Buddha, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammed, I have added a seventh “World Teacher” to this second edition of Physicians of the Soul, and she (yes, she) is: White Buffalo Woman who was the prophetess to the Lakota (Sioux) people. I have added her for three reasons:
1. She represents Native American spiritual teachings (once called “primitive” in world religion texts), which I believe are very important for 21st century humanity.
2. She is a woman representing the other 50% of the human race, whereas all of the other World Teachers, for various historical and cultural reasons, and some would say for reasons of societal sexism, were men.
3. Her teachings represent a radical ecology which represents the Native American philosophy of living in harmony with Mother Earth which they did successfully for 15,000 – 50,000 years in radical contrast with the white man’s suicidal race to conquer Nature – which has been their way for the last 500 years – and has resulted in such “benefits” as: air pollution, water pollution, deforestation, destruction of the top soil, and the coming plague of global warming based on the Greenhouse Warming Effect. White Buffalo Woman’s message of harmony with Mother Earth may be what we need to save us from self-destruction. Her message includes, harmony with the Great Spirit, as well as, harmony with Mother Earth. The Lakota call the Great Spirit: Wakan Tanka. I feel it will be valuable to add this spiritual tradition coming from a Wakan (Holy) Woman to our book, which now has six Holy Men. She deserves to be a World Teacher to a World on the brink of environmental collapse. We need a reborn planet as well as reborn people.
(3) Cosmic Consciousness Revisited
(published: Element Books 1993): This book looks in depth at one hundred years of the psychology of religion from the 1890’s to the 1990’s covering: Bucke, James, Watson, Freud, Jung, Gurdjieff, Maslow, and Houston. It begins with Bucke’s Cosmic Consciousness and ends with Houston’s “Integral-Religious Consciousness.” Among its endorsements by distinguished authors in its field: John A. Sanford called it “a classic in the field,” Robert Johnson said: “I am pleased and impressed and find it a noble book,” Jean Houston said: “May has given us a profound portrait of Richard Maurice Bucke, M.D., the father of spiritual psychology.” Nobel Laureate, Sir John Eccles, called it: “an amazing book” dealing with the “human mystery of being.” This is an important book on the emergence of a spiritual consciousness as we enter the 21st century.
(4) Echoes of God: A Journal of One Man’s Search for God
(new and unpublished): is a highly personal ten year account of the author, Dr. Robert May’s, spiritual quest, which tells the story of his journeys in a variety of spiritual traditions from the Arica training, to Sufism, to Taoist practices (e.g. Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung), to Yoga, to Kabbala, to Christian mysticism, to his work with some of the great Jungians, such as, Robert Johnson, author of He, She, We, and Inner Work, and John Sanford, author of The Kingdom Within and Dreams: God’s Forgotten Language. Dr. May recounts both his sufferings and his revelations in his quest for healing, wholeness, and what Jungians call the Self, and beyond that to what sacred traditions call “God” by various Names: Tao, YHWH, Allah, Brahman, Nirvana, Wakan Tanka, Gitchie Manitou, etc. This autobiographical book can be of true inspiration to those on the spiritual quest.
(5) Oz and Other Myths of the Journey
(new and unpublished): As we leave the 20th century and enter the 21st, what myth or myths will guide us in the uncharted space-time to come? Seven great myths of the spiritual journey are examined in depth in this book:
l. Gilgamesh, 2. Odyssey, 3. Perceval, 4. Divine Comedy, 5. Pilgrim’s Progress, 6. Moby Dick, and 7. The Wizard of Oz. This exegesis relies on Jung and the Jungians, Mircea Eliade, and Joseph Campbell, and goes beyond these perspectives to the pioneering work of Jean Houston who explicates her theory of the four levels of consciousness:
(1) Sensory, (2) Psychological, (3) Symbolic Mythic, and (4) Integral-Religious. The third level is the Symbolic-Mythic, which is familiar Jungian territory, the domain of dreams and myths. But, the fourth level, which Houston calls: Integral-Religious, or Spiritual, goes “beyond Jung.” Both third and fourth levels are necessary to begin to comprehend the meaning of myths for our time and the new myths of the 21st century which lie ahead.
(6) Psychology and Religious Experience
(Ph.D. dissertation): Dr. May’s recent Ph.D. thesis (1995 – 1997) completed at Berne University: International Graduate School, looks at a series of seven psychologists and psychiatrists of the past one hundred years on the question of religious experience: Bucke, James, Watson, Freud, Jung, Maslow, and Houston. Dr. Robert May’s dissertation mentor was Dr. William Rogers, Chair-Emeritus in Psychology and Religion at Harvard Divinity School. and President-Emeritus of Guilford College. This Ph.D. thesis, 246 pages in manuscript length, is a short scholarly book concerned with finding an adequate psychology of religious experience – which relates closely to the quest for religious healing, as in the works of Larry Dossey, M.D., e.g., Healing Words and Prayer is Good Medicine. Dr. Larry Dossey read Dr. May’s Ph.D. thesis, and called it “a great work.” It has real scholarly book market potentials.
(7) Religious Dreaming
(new and unpublished): This book, completed in 1999, asks the question, “Does God speak in dreams?” It looks at “religious dreaming” from Ancient Greece to modern times. Its chapters are: Introduction, Ancient Greek Dream Psychology, Biblical Dream Psychology, Freudian Dream Psychology, Jungian Dream Psychology, Dream Neuropsychology, Aristides’ Dream Journal, Swedenborg’s Dream Journal, and Does God Speak in Dreams? Aristides was an ancient Greek orator (2nd century A.D.) whose dream journal is still extant. Swedenborg was a Swedish scientist and mystic (1688 – 1772) who wrote many books both in science and religion, whose dream journal is extant, as well. Recently, an Appendix has been added to this unique book called: “Dream Journal of a Contemporary Woman.” It is based upon the dream contributions and dream interpretations of a woman named Sarah who contacted Dr. May over the Internet to make known her religious dreams. It brings the book into the year 2000! Dreams relate to the Personal Unconscious -Freud, and to the Collective Unconscious – Jung. Can dreams reach beyond the Personal and Collective Unconscious to the Spiritual Source — and provide Divine revelation for ourselves, others, or the world at large? This book examines these questions. An e-mail from Dr. Jean Houston: “I’ve just had a chance to look at Religious Dreaming and it is splendid, rich, and deep exploration with original insights and much food for the developing of a new natural philosophy of spirituality and the dream.”
(8) Sacred Stories: Prayers to the Great Mystery
(new and unpublished): This book is on seven Sacred Stories of seven Native American Tribes and Spiritual Traditions. It includes such Sacred Stories as: the Lakota Story of White Buffalo Woman, the Tlingit/Haida Story of “Raven brings the Light,” the Iroquois Story of the Peacemaker, etc. It will complement May’s first book, Physicians of the Soul, which is now a second edition, on seven World Religions, with a book on seven Native American Sacred Stories from their Spiritual Traditions. There is one overlap between Physicians of the Soul and Sacred Stories, and that is the Lakota story of White Buffalo Woman. Native Americans were/ are the Soul and Collective Unconscious of America. Their Sacred Stories guided them for from 15,000 – 30,000 years on the North American Continent ( and there were parallel Sacred Stories among South American Indians). Can these Sacred Stories speak to modern human beings in the beginning of the 21st century? This author believes that they speak to all of us, not only in America, but all around the world. White Buffalo Woman, for example, is to the Lakota (Sioux) exactly what Moses was/ is to Jews, and Jesus was/ is to Christians and Muhammad was/is to Muslims. White Buffalo Woman speaks to a world ecological crisis of 2005 and she speaks to our hearts and souls – as we will see. The Peacemaker certainly speaks to us in his message of Peace which he brought to the warring Iroquois tribes. Raven, the bringer of light, also speaks to us, as do the other sacred figures in these Native American Sacred Stories.
Three Reviews or Endorsements of Sacred Stories: Prayers to the Great Mystery
A Journey of Reverent Appreciation and Insight :
- Brief Review of Robert M May, Sacred Stories: Prayers to the Great Mystery, 2005
In the unfolding of seven mythic story traditions from Native American tribes across the US and Canada, Robert May illuminates not only the beauty and mystery of the legends themselves, but also the psychological and religious relevance of the themes made vivid in the stories. The stories, most likely unfamiliar to many readers, are little gems of Indian history and tradition. And the insights they yield bring uncanny recognition of personal and even political issues that are very contemporary.
Robert May is careful and deeply respectful in his recounting of the stories – taken from Lakota, Iroquois, Haida, Athapascan, Kwakiutl, Nez Perce, and Navajo traditions. In several cases, he has gone to the regions where the sacred stories are maintained and has participated in some of the sacred rites. There is a reverent appreciation for the spiritual and human sensitivities that are carried by the stories. I found the drama and the implications of the Spider Woman, the Raven, and the Coyote and the Shadow People particularly compelling.
The author goes beyond the stories to reflect briefly, but cogently, on striking connections to spiritual literature and theology in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and in a few cases, Hinduism and Buddhism. The universality of the human longings, temptations, struggles to understand creation, life and death, the uses and abuses of power, and above all, the quest for connection with the sacred, is ever present.
Robert May draws on his earlier scholarship in psychology, as well as in cross-cultural religious studies, to make suggestive observations for the reader. He is particularly helpful in drawing on the insights of Carl Jung regarding the functions of symbolic and archetypical images, the role of gender as in the Great Mother, and the play of opposites. Especially insightful are the observations on the connection between the search for self and the response to the sacred.
The tone of the writing is easy and engaging – not at all ponderous. And the result of this reverent journey through Native American sacred stories is a thoughtful reaffirmation of the values of respect for Mother Earth, compassion for our neighbors, peace-seeking in the midst of violence, and awe before the mysterious presence of the Great Spirit.
William R. Rogers, Ph.D.
Retired Parkman Professor of Psychology and Religion, Harvard University
Endorsement for Robert May’s Sacred Stories: Prayers to the Great Mystery
With openhearted appreciation, Robert May offers us these profound Native American stories. In both his storytelling and spiritual amplifications Robert blends erudite contemplation with an innocent wonder of a receptive mind. In this marriage of heart and intellect Robert plunges us into the emotional power of the stories, allows us to assimilate their darkness and light, and invites us to integrate their mythos and wisdom with texts from depth psychology and Judeo-Christian and Eastern traditions. Told in finely crafted contemporary language, the stories have immediacy without losing their archetypal power. After reading this collection the reader will experience the afterglow of the lightness and joy that springs from experiencing the Native American vision of the oneness of all things.
Walter R. Christie, M.D., DFAPA
DFAPA = Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.
Currently I am an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at University of Vermont Medical School where MMC (Maine Medical Center) gets its academic credentials. My credentials have been submitted to make me a full professor. I am a Founder of the Brunswick Jung Center. •
- To whom it may concern:
There is much work that needs to be done in exploring the relationship between Native American spirituality and Christianity. This is a great mystery, and attempts need to be made to find points of contact.
SACRED STORIES: PRAYERS TO THE GREAT MYSTERY by Robert May is a fine contribution to this quest. I have always believed that stories are a very important part of Christianity. I read and use stories a lot. I always have. Robert May tells some wonderful Native American stories here. And he relates them in a very interesting fashion to the stories that are part of the Christian tradition. Then he reflects on possible relationships between them and some implications for us today.
This book not only explores some new territory for Native Americans, Christians and those of other faith traditions. It could also be an excellent tool for small group discussions. A wonderful educational tool. Whether participants agree with all of the conclusions of the author or not, they will be stimulated to think through many new possibilities in regard to these faith traditions.
I treasure this new book as a valuable resource in my own collection of books on comparative religions. It has made me think about this subject of sacred stories in some new ways. Ways that I have only begun to explore. I highly recommend it.
Rev. Luther E. Peterson
Sr. Pastor Emeritus of St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota
(9) From Adam to Christ: A Psychospiritual Study of the Characters in the Bible
(Work in Progress) From Adam to Christ is a work on the Psychospiritual Evolution of Consciousness in the Biblical figures, OT and NT, from the innocent Adam (and Eve) to the fully enlightened Master, Jesus the Christ. In between are found: Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, and John the Baptist. We believe that there is an evolution of consciousness in these series of Biblical characters. What is consciousness? The living brain consists of billions and billions of electro-chemical neural impulses, but we do not believe that this explains what consciousness is. We believe that consciousness, the awareness of oneself and what is around oneself, is the presence of God within oneself. God is consciousness. He (She) called Him (Her) Self: I Am that I Am. This is the First Person singular of the verb: to be. This is being itself. Being itself is consciousness. These series of Biblical characters exemplify an evolution of consciousness. It is useful to see ourselves in light of this series of Eight Levels of Consciousness. What are we ultimately seeking in life, but the evolution of consciousness? Is this not more important than material possessions, or social status, or power, or other things we seek in our culture? What are these things if we lack in consciousness? Humankind has been evolving in consciousness from its early origins in ape men called Australopithecus through Homo Habilis, and Homo Erectus, and Neanderthal Man, to Homo Sapiens, or Modern Man. Self Consciousness is the achievement of Modern Man. But there is a level of Consciousness beyond Self-Consciousness. It has been called Cosmic Consciousness. The 19th century psychiatrist, Richard Maurice Bucke, M.D. was one of those who discovered Cosmic Consciousness and wrote about it in his book, Cosmic Consciousness. In Cosmic Consciousness, one is aware of the Oneness of all Creation and the Love behind the Universe. One is aware of God! One is also aware of the immortality of the Soul. When one reads the Gospels of Jesus, they all speak to this level of Consciousness, Cosmic Consciousness. So, from the utterly innocent child-like level of Adam, we are destined to ascend upwards to the Christ-Consciousness exemplified by Jesus. This is what this book is about: the evolution of consciousness from Adam to Christ.
(10) A Memoir: My Spiritual Journey
(Work in Progress)
(11) Sometimes I am a Verb
(Work in Progress)