1st Edition

The Muses of Truth and Transformation A Jungian Perspective on Timeless Tales

By Allan B. Chinen Copyright 2025
    186 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    186 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Drawing on the author’s own experiences as a psychiatrist-psychotherapist, this fascinating new book gathers and analyzes folktales from around the world about adults struggling with conflicts and trying to determine truth. These narratives illustrate how storytelling is crucial to the process of reconciliation.

    The stories included within this book feature both familiar and forgotten ones: e.g., "The Fisherman and the Djinn" from Arabia; "Why the Platypus Is Special" from Australia; the Native American, "How Nanapush Brought the Peace Pipe to the People," and the ancient Greek tale of "Baucis and Philemon". The anthology retells the tales and discusses them in terms of psychological and spiritual development - the role of individuation and wisdom in reconciling disputes. The tales reveal astonishing cross-cultural similarities about how to do so, and directly apply to many modern dilemmas. Particularly important is a new paradigm of truth and transformation illustrated by long overlooked tales of the Greek Muses.

    Tales of Truth and Transformation draws on Chinen's research in adult cognitive, emotional, and spiritual development. The new perspective will appeal to Jungian Analysts, psychotherapists, as well as students of psychology, mythology, and epistemology.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons [Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND)] 4.0 license.

    Part 1: Timeless Storytelling and Contemporary Wisdom  1. Our Plight Today: “The Fisherman and the Djinn,” Part I.  2. Storytelling and Modes of Comprehension: “The Fisherman and the Djinn,” Part II.  3. Comprehension and Transformation Today: “A Christmas Carol“  4. Why Comprehension Modes Are Cross-Cultural: “When You Really Listen to a Story”  5. Ancient Modes and Modern Doctors: a Joke  Part 2: Comprehension Modes in Operation  6. Comprehension Operations: “The Turtle Tower”  7. The Development of Comprehension Modes: “The Navajo Story of Emergence”  8. Structures of Creation and Comprehension: “Ta’aroa Creates the World,” and “The Big Bang”  Part 3: Comprehension, Truth, and Transformation  9. Comprehension Modes and Transformation: “Why the Platypus Is Special”  10. Comprehension and Contemporary Disputes: “The Wolverine Grudge”  11. Truth and Transformation: “Orpheus’ Descent into the Underworld”  12. Monotheism and Monolithic Truth: “Moses Part I.”  13. Disciplined Truth: “The Muses”  Part 4: Judging Multiple Modes of Truth  14. Judging Shoes and Facts: “The Elves and the Shoemaker  15. Faith, Fact and Feat: “A Lost Shoe of Gold”  16. Virtual Understanding and Empathy: “The Rich Man’s Dreams”  17. Games and Free Speech: “The Princess Liar”  18.Principles and Problem-Solving: “Penguin Island”  19. Creative Problem-Solving: “Crossing the River”  20. Judging Mythic Experiences: “Krishna and Arjuna”  21. Transcendence and the Mythic Mode: “Moses Part II”  22. The Place and Practice of Home: “Baucis and Philemon”  23. Absolute Truth: “Procrustes“  24. Summary: Truth, Transformation and Re-Forging: “How Nanapush Brought the Peace Pipe to the People”  25. Epilogue: The Practice of Chivalry and Comprehension Today: King Arthur’s Roundtable


    Allan B. Chinen, MD is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry (voluntary), University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine and a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He is the author of In the Ever After, Once Upon a Midlife, Waking the World and Beyond the Hero, as well as a co-editor of The Textbook of Transpersonal Psychiatry and Psychology.

    'Chinen’s splendid, new book, The Muses of Transformation and Truth, is an enlightening analysis of two dozen ancient international folk tales which are still relevant today. He argues that we repeat classical folk tales of truth to understand our realities. Though it may seem that tales are fiction, they are, in reality, embedded truths on which we depend to confront reality. In this regard, his explanations are dependable and highly insightful.'

    Jack Zipes, Professor Emeritus in the Department of German, Nordic, Slavic and Dutch at the University of Minnesota, co-author and editor of 69 books including The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm, Buried Treasures: The Power of Political Fairy Tales and recipient of numerous awards, such as the Guggenheim Fellowship