For those interested in a readable introduction to the life and ideas of Carl Jung, I highly recommend Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Covering Jung’s early life, his extraordinary “Confrontation with the Unconscious,” and his travels across the globe, this autobiographical work (completed with the help of Aniela Jaffé) has drawn readers to Jungian psychology since it was first released in the early 1960s.
Though this is a personal account, Memories, Dreams, Reflections (often called MDR by many Jungians) is, perhaps, one of the best texts for understanding what active imagination is, and how to approach the practice. Additionally, for those interested in reading Jung’s The Red Book, MDR serves as a helpful orientation that will make reading The Red Book more understandable and enjoyable.
In these pages, readers will encounter Philemon, Jung’s imaginal guide, as well Jung’s Personalities #1 and #2. With honesty and clarity, Jung gives readers sense of a life lived in tandem with — and respect for — the plural psyche. The pages radiate with his commitment to the theory of psychic reality, offering a real-life example of how such a stance deepens our engagement with the inner and outer worlds.
For a factual, historical approach to the life of Jung, readers may be interested in Deirdre Bair’s Jung: A Biography.