Tag Archives: Assagioli

Books, Books and More Galore!


At first glance, you might think that life coaching, shamanic soulfulness, short stories about Japan, and a textbook on psychosynthesis might not have much in common. But they do! All have come into my hands (literally) during the last year in the form of books, and I would like to share them with you now.

In addition, I am planning to publish a series of short books based on my blogs. So this list ends with a preview of my first book in the series. But before we peek inside all these book covers, I would first like to introduce you to a wonderful new resource…

Search Engine for Psychosynthesis Articles

The Istituto di Psicosintesi has recently launched a search engine to help you find articles published in their magazine Psicosintesi. The search engine is easy to use and offers students, scholars, and admirers of psychosynthesis a valuable resource with direct links to the magazine’s published articles. It’s free and easy to use. You don’t need to sign in or try to remember yet another password. Here’s what you do:

  1. Go to this link:
  2. Click on “Enter the Public Area”
  3. Enter your search term. For example, here I searched on “Assagioli” which you see circled in red.

Screenshot of Florence Search Engine

A list of all his articles published in Psicosintesi magically appears. This list has all kinds of interesting information, which I marked with a blue arrow. You can see whether the article is written in English, Italian or both and even directly link to articles published after 2003.

Now for the books…

The Way of Psychosynthesis: A complete guide to the origins, concepts, and the fundamental experiences

Petra Guggisberg Nocelli

Book cover A complete Way of PsychosynthesisThis book is truly a gift to the English-speaking psychosynthesis community. Petra has thoroughly read, organized and compiled a multitude of psychosynthesis material available in Italian only, including various works by Roberto Assagioli. It is really a textbook, which means you need to read it in small chunks, like nibbling on rich pieces of dark chocolate. I found it a real revelation to see what my Italian psychosynthesis colleague has been up to all these years! Petra has also included a comprehensive biography of Roberto Assagioli. This book is an invitation to anyone who wants to gain a broad and deep overview of psychosynthesis concepts, theory, and history.

The Call of Self: Psychosynthesis Life Coaching

Edited by Dorothy Firman

Book cover call-of-self-book-psychosynthesis-life-coachingIn this book, authors from around the world offer their expertise in specialty areas of coaching within the psychosynthesis context. Each chapter is a little gem, showing you how psychosynthesis coaching can not only enable world leaders to activate their values and will, but also how yoga teachers, activists and organizers, career guides, and sports coaches – just to name a few – have experienced psychosynthesis life coaching in their daily practice and lives. This book is a rich tapestry of experience, practice, and theory especially for coaches who are unfamiliar with psychosynthesis.

I’m particularly fond of this book as I contributed the chapter “Robert Assagioli: A Multifaceted Life”. It’s way in the back (starting on page 399!), but I hope somebody manages to find their way there and read it! Click here for an excerpt..

Soulfulness: The Marriage of Shamanic and Contemporary Psychology

David England

Book-Cover-SoulfulnessWhen Shamanic and psychosynthesis practices become integrated, they can transform the power and wisdom of psychotherapy. With psychosynthesis as its psychological context, this book brings together the wisdom of the ancient healing practice of Shamanism and the insights of present day psychology. David, who is a formidable storyteller himself and co-author of two books of folktales, weaves along with his text a fascinating reflection on the Russian folktale “The Bold Knight, the Apples of Youth, and the Water of Life”.

Finding Land: Stories of Japan

Marian Pierce

Book Cover Finding LandSpeaking of tales, this collection of stories about Japan by my dear friend Marian is a joy to read. Marian and I actually met in Japan in 1988 and have been friends ever since despite my constantly moving around the world. Marian is a gifted and award-winning writer, and this book is entertaining, witty, and fun to read. Full of poignant moments of reflection on identity and belonging, the stories dance with delightful dialog and are steeped with cultural insight. You enter another world through the eyes of a Jewish girl from Cleveland as she tries to decipher, not only the maps in Tokyo’s train stations, but her own inner quest to find land.

A Free and Wild Creature: Women, Service and Motherhood

Catherine Ann Lombard

Book Cover I am a Wild CreatureLast but not least, I am excited to announce my upcoming book series based on a selection of blogs that you have all been faithfully reading over the years. If you love my blog, you will love these books. (For sure!) I am also hoping that you will find it the right gift for people dear to you, those souls who have no idea what you’re up to or talking about!

Thanks to all who have encouraged me to put this small book series together, and to the Istituto di Psicosintesi, Florence, and Gruppo alle Fonti for giving me permission to include many of Assagioli’s handwritten notes.

Available soon in print and as an ebook at a website near you!

A Wild and Free Creature
Women, Service and Motherhood

Love and Will in a Tea Cup
A Little Book about Psychosynthesis
and Roberto Assagioli

Bread and the Art of Synthesis:
Love, Balance and God

The Dark Days before Christmas


When No Money Talks

Assagiolis writing about jail

Assagioli’s writing about his time in jail.

One of my favorite anecdotes from Assagioli’s time in prison is when his prison money was running out. He wrote in intimate detail about this experience in his book Freedom in Jail, under the chapter “An Incident and a ‘Test’”.

From the time of his arrest, Assagioli’s wife Nella was making sure that there was enough money in his prison account to warrant his receiving special treatment. In 1940, Regina Coeli prisoners could buy a more comfortable, private cell and more varied and higher quality food. Continue reading

Snapshot of the Philosophical Library

Note that this blog is an excerpt from my published article: A Snapshot of the Philosophical Library: Florence, Italy, 1922)

Figure 4 Herron-george-1900

George Davis Herron in 1900.

While conducting research, I often become like Alice and Wonderland, chasing rabbits down the garden path. Most recently, I came across a fascinating book, written by George David Herron (1862-1925), an American clergyman, lecturer, and writer from Indiana. In his book The Revival of Italy, published in 1922, Herron has a beautiful passage describing Roberto Assagioli as the inspiration for the Biblioteca Filosofica. (Philosophical Library) in Florence.

A lively center of philosophical discussion, the Philosophical Library was started around 1903-1905 by those studying theosophy. Wanting to deepen their understanding of Oriental philosophy, library members loaned books, organized classes, conferences and published a bulletin.

Assagioli was one of its more frequent visitors.[1] The Philosophical Library’s intent was to create a “free university for philosophical and religious studies” where the public could come and learn more about the current cultural movements such as Pragmatism, Idealism, and Modernism in a non-academic setting. Continue reading

The Only Way Out is Up!

Assagioli wrote the motto of psychosynthesis as:

000193 the only way out is up

Motto of Psychosynthesis: “The only way out is the way up”

During Journey to Places of the Higher Self, September 17–23, we will be doing just that… As we descend into the Frasassi Caves, some of the largest in Europe, we will have no choice… the only way out will be the way up!

grotta di frasassi

The Frasassi Caves, Italy

Assagioli often wrote about how mountain climbing can be a symbol of ascent to spiritual heights… And we promise to bring you to 1000-year-old mountaintop churches in the Apennines. But he also wrote about how caves can be a symbol for “going deeper, descending to the ‘bottom/depths’ of our being.” Don’t worry, we won’t be too long inside the Frasassi Caves, just long enough to “get ready to transform”! Not to mention the promise of a delicious picnic lunch in the Italian countryside afterwards.

Places are still available for this special Journey to Places of the Higher Self. Why not join us? If you have any questions, please contact Catherine at:

A Mystic’s Gift


Evelyn Underhill

Recently I wrote about Sorella Maria – “A Wild and Free Creature”, who founded a small Franciscan community in the heart of Umbria. While further exploring the life of this inspiring spiritual pioneer, I discovered that Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941) also visited the Hermitage of Campello in 1927 (a place that we too will visit on September 20 during  Journey to Places of the Higher Self). (You can read the essay Underhill wrote for The Spectator about her visit, A Franciscan Hermitage.)

According to Underhill’s biographer Dana Greene, this one-day visit was fundamental to her decision to return to active participation in the Anglican Church in which she had been baptized and confirmed. She wrote:

“Certainly nothing has ever brought me so near to the real Franciscan spirit as a few hours spent in the Vale of Spoleto with a little group of women who are trying to bring back to modern existence the homely, deeply supernatural and quite unmonastic ideal of the Primitive Rule.”

By the time Underhill paid a visit to the Hermitage, she had already published her best-selling book Mysticism: A Study in Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness. This book, published in 1911, reclaimed mysticism as part of the human condition. In her 500+ page book (with more than 1000 footnotes), she explored for the first time in a systematic and scholarly way mysticism throughout the ages and across cultures, nations, and religions. While she focused on mysticism in Christianity, she also examined Sufism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other belief systems. She defined mysticism as:
Continue reading

Bread and the Art of Synthesis

bread with kitty

My cat Kitty is not impressed with the fresh bread from the oven. © Catherine Ann Lombard, 2018

Synthesis occurs when a pair of opposites continually interact until they are brought into equilibrium. Ultimately the opposites are transmuted into a transpersonal quality. But synthesis is even more than the balancing of opposites. Assagioli writes that:

“Synthesis is not just between two opposites, but between multiple and heterogeneous endpoints. All syntheses of polarities are true but partial syntheses. Complete syntheses unite several elements into one organic unity.”

In this light, bread becomes a beautiful metaphor for synthesis – the unification of many diverse ingredients into a higher organic form that gives life. Bread unites a multitude of opposites – dry, earthy flour with the fluidity of water. Sugar (to help the yeast rise) with salt (for taste and preservation). Air within the dough is heated by the fire in the oven. Finally, the baker’s two hands, one heart and skillful will bring them all together so they might ultimately be transformed into nourishment for body and soul. Continue reading

“A Wild and Free Creature”

Eremo delle Allodole 1

The gate of the Eremo di Campello (Design by Carlotta Gentili)

One of the special Places of the Higher Self that we will visit in September is the Eremo di Campello, near the town of Trevi in Umbria, Italy. The final road up to the Hermitage is an unpaved, unmarked climb through olive groves and wooded hillsides. The feeling is desolation mixed with expectation. When we finally arrive in front of a locked wooden gate guarded by a furiously barking dog, the feeling turns to “What am I doing here?” But soon Sister Lucia appears with grand tranquility and a warm smile. She slowly walks down a long path from the Hermitage towards us and swings the gate open. “Welcome in Peace,” she says, inviting us inside. Continue reading