Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche

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Overview


Our human psyches possess astonishing resources that wait within us, but we might not even know they exist until we discover how to access them and cultivate their powers, their untapped potentials and depths. Wild Mind identifies these resources — which Bill Plotkin calls the four facets of the Self, or the four dimensions of our innate human wholeness — and also the four sets of fragmented or wounded subpersonalities that form during childhood. Rather than proposing ways to eliminate our subpersonalities ...
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Overview


Our human psyches possess astonishing resources that wait within us, but we might not even know they exist until we discover how to access them and cultivate their powers, their untapped potentials and depths. Wild Mind identifies these resources — which Bill Plotkin calls the four facets of the Self, or the four dimensions of our innate human wholeness — and also the four sets of fragmented or wounded subpersonalities that form during childhood. Rather than proposing ways to eliminate our subpersonalities (which is not possible) or to beat them into submission, Plotkin describes how to cultivate the four facets of the Self and discover the gifts of our subpersonalities. The key to reclaiming our original wholeness is not merely to suppress psychological symptoms, recover from addictions and trauma, or manage stress but rather to fully embody our multifaceted wild minds, commit ourselves to the largest, soul-infused story we’re capable of living, and serve the greater Earth community.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Bill Plotkin’s Wild Mind ushers in a new era of depth psychology....To study it is to pass through a magical gateway into one’s unique role within the Great Work that Earth is calling us to.”
Brian Thomas Swimme, coauthor with Thomas Berry of The Universe Story

“Here, Bill Plotkin guides us into a landscape where we recognize the extraordinary gifts of our own true nature. Through his Nature-Based Map of the Human Psyche we can find not only our powers of leadership, joy, sensuality, and renewal, but also the dragons of self-deception whose energies we can liberate for the healing of our world.”
Joanna Macy, coauthor of Active Hope

“In Wild Mind, Bill Plotkin maps the relationship between the human psyche and the rest of nature — a task akin to painting a detailed portrait of a tree in a stiff wind. As in his other books, Plotkin writes with grace, eloquence, and humor. And through this brave effort to capture the wind, he makes an enormous contribution to our species.”
Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle and Last Child in the Woods

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608681785
  • Publisher: New World Library
  • Publication date: 4/16/2013
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 323,941
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Bill Plotkin, PhD, describes himself as a “psychologist gone wild.” A cultural visionary, author, and wilderness guide, he’s been blazing new trails for decades. His ecocentric re-visioning of psychology invites us into a conscious and embodied relationship with soul and with the natural world. His previous books are Soulcraft and Nature and the Human Soul. He lives in southwestern Colorado.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2013

    (This is an abridged version of a review that first appeared in

    (This is an abridged version of a review that first appeared in Transition Voice)

    We know it in our bones, as well as our brains – the enormity of the times we live in, the cultural and environmental challenges, the opportunity to re-vision a human culture living in harmony with our planet.

    As we become aware of the scope of these challenges, we may move from asking “how can I and my family best survive” to “what is the best contribution I can make to these times and for future generations”. That’s asking a lot from ourselves. Extraordinary times invite extraordinary contributions. It invites us to become our fullest self and from that place make our best contribution to these times of transition.

    “The thing we most need to do well now in the early twenty-first century is to transform our Western and Westernized cultures from being life destroying, as they are now, to being not only life sustaining but actually life enhancing…” writes Bill Plotkin, a depth psychologist, wilderness guide and founder of Animas Valley Institute. His new book Wild Mind, A Field Guide to the Human Psyche, offers a pathway to making our best contribution to these and future times.

    Wild Mind introduces the Nature Based Map of the Psyche, developed through the decades since Animas Valley Institute began offering programs in 1980, drawing on the experience of program participants, fellow guides, and a wide range of other resources.

    “Wild Mind guides us to reclaim our original wholeness, our indigenous human nature granted to us by nature itself, “ writes Plotkin, “The key is not to merely suppress psychological symptoms, recover from addictions and trauma, or manage stress but rather to fully flesh out our multifaceted wild minds, committing ourselves to the largest story we’re capable of living, serving the greater Earth community… to shape ourselves into visionaries with the artistry to revitalize our enchanted and endangered world.”

    Wild Mind’s Nature Based Map of the Psyche is a trail guide to doing exactly that.

    Perhaps the most path breaking aspect of Plotkin’s approach is not pathologizing our wounded or fragmented parts, but rather befriending them, understanding them and realizing that often our most valuable gifts and treasures lie hidden within those parts of ourselves. We can learn to have a different relationship with our wounded and fragmented parts – to recognize, dialog with, learn from, and avoid being hijacked by them, to honor both their gifts and limitations,

    “The nature based map of the psyche highlights our positive, life-enhancing resources and perspectives and extols them as foundational to our humanity…” writes Plotkin, “the accent is on our wholeness and potential magnificence, how we can enhance our personal fulfillment and participation in our more-than-human world, and how we can become fully human and visionary artisans of cultural renaissance.”

    Wild Mind invites us to discover our mythopoetic identity, our unique soul purpose or image. Poet David Whyte revers to it as “the largest conversation you’re capable of having with the world” and “your own truth/ at the center of the image/ you were born with.” It’s a self-knowing much deeper than social-vocational role or personality. Our mythopoetic identity is what lies at the core of living our most fulfilling lives and offering our fullest selves to our world and these times.

    “Deep and radical cultural renewal arises from true adults embodying their wild minds,” writes Plotkin.

    His book is a wild read, rich and expansive, with experiential activities designed to take you deep within yourself, and there gather the treasures you have to share with our world.

    Perhaps you are already dancing your wild dance of nature and psyche, offering your treasures to these times… or perhaps you are just now beginning to discover your unique steps and tune.

    No matter where you are in your personal journey, these times invite and call on each of us to dance our unique treasures into these times of transition and transformation.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2013

    The quick review is - READ THIS BOOK.  If you are familiar with


    The quick review is - READ THIS BOOK.  If you are familiar with Bill Plotkin's soul-centered and eco-centered work or were simply intrigued by the title enough to look at the reviews, read it.  There is something in Wild Mind A Field Guide To The Human Psyche for you.




    The brief review:




    I had the honor of interviewing Bill Plotkin for Circles on the Mountain, the annual publication of the Wilderness Guides Council , right before the publication of Wild Mind.  It gave me an opportunity to discuss the "field guide to the human psyche" with the author who has also been guide, mentor and colleague within the now international wilderness rites community. I highly value all of Bill's work and found that Wild Mind articulates the foundation of his work in a remarkably clear and usable form.   Wild Mind returns explicitly to the roots of nature based work (the four cardinal directions within time and space) and offers ways to deepen our understanding of that work for ourselves or others.  Readers who have experience with wilderness quests and eco-psychology will find it both very familiar territory AND new ground. Readers unfamiliar with Bill's other two books will find Wild Mind a good place to start.  I have recommended the book to people that I work with as a life coach and wilderness rites guide. 




    And for those who want a bit more:




    Wild Mind is powerful, important, extraordinary, visionary.  Bill Plotkin is a master with words, able to be both poetic and erudite in the same sentence.  There are a couple concepts that he explores that I found particularly poignant.  




    There are at least three ways in which someone can be indigenous: culturally (of a particular people or tribe), ecologically (of a particular ecosystem or geographical place), and terrestrially (of Earth), each kind having an essential relationship with the other two. (page 55)  As he notes in the next paragraph, "most people today are neither culturally nor ecologically indigenous."  Many people come to wilderness rites programs (or therapy, coaching, healing practices) with a sense that something is missing - a yearning, or that they are broken and need to be fixed.  It is this connection with lineage, history of place, and connection with Earth that many are seeking.  This search leads many to Native ceremony of the Americas or other lands and dangers on appropriation.  What Bill's so aptly names is that we all, regardless of how far removed we are by time and distance, from our true ancestors and the land where their bones lie, we can enter into authentic and meaningful relationship with Earth where we are now. It is not only possible, but necessary, and perhaps the only thing that can change the human relationship with the Earth to one of honor and respect. 




    "Indigenity" is related to one of the core messages in Wild Mind - what needs to exist for a healthy culture:  Protect and nurture the environment, "raise elders" who can initiate the young into true adulthood, and protect the the wholeness of individuals. (page 21.)   People who live in proximity with each other and in right relationship with the Earth can be the seeds for the future generations.  As Wendell Berry says in his poem Work Song Part 2  A Vision, they are the "lives that our lives prepare."  




    The Field Guide subtitle is apt - Bill offers pictures (in words and maps) of what you are looking for so you can recognize it when you see it and suggests ways to sharpen your tracking skills. What I found most useful within those were the Four Facets of Self - what constitute wholeness.  The images they create in the mind and the emotions they elicit are enough to jump start your psyche!  The Wild Indigenous One.   The Muse and Inner Beloved.   The Nurturing Generative Adult.   The Innocent and the Sage.  Bill provides descriptions of each including what we are most often aware of - when those natural human essences are wounded and not developed.  Rather than focus on fixing the brokenness,  Wild Mind invites us to develop wholeness.  It is strength based, asset development model of the human psyche. 




     What do I NOT like about Wild Mind?  If I have to name something it is the use of an acronym for three dimensional ego - 3-D ego.  A trite comment, perhaps, but it sounded gimmicky in the otherwise solid book.  I made a point to say it in full every time I read 3-D ego, to feel the weight of it, the challenge in it, the possibility of it.   




    Thanks, Bill.  Waiting for the next book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2013

    Wild Mind presents an amazingly comprehensive and deep model of

    Wild Mind presents an amazingly comprehensive and deep model of the human psyche and how its wholeness can be cultivated.  This is not only fascinating and awesome, it is a source of great hope for the possible survival of humanity and all the other species on Mother Earth.  Bill Plotkin offers not only a map of the territory of the psyche, but also a plethora of suggestions about how one can explore and (re)claim the deeper parts of this territory.  Great wisdom and power are potentially available to those who make these journeys—wisdom and power possibly great enough to pull us back from the brink of destruction.  Some of these journeys can be undertaken individually, and some of them require the assistance of guides who have themselves become familiar with such domains of reality.  As soon as I finished reading this book I signed up for one of Plotkin’s retreats.  I am writing a more extensive review for a professional psychotherapy journal and will provide a copy of that to anyone who requests it. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    Wild Mind is nourishing and satisfying and so substantial.  It i

    Wild Mind is nourishing and satisfying and so substantial.  It is also rich and deep and dense  -- a whole life time of Bill Plotkin's 
    journeying through nature, and soul, and psyche distilled down to its essence and then shared oh so generously.  

    I find myself hungry for this kind of perspective and understanding of the world and being human. And, I find that I can only 
    read a chunk of  it at a time because there is so much to absorb and integrate.  

    This book also makes me want to grow wild, in every possible way, and I would love to participate in the Wild Mind training 
    program that is offered through the Animas Valley Institute. But, even if I can't do the training program, I have the book -- something so 
    meaningful, a master work full of real ways to cultivate my wild mind and participate in life's greater story and unfolding.

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