Professor David

Professor David Tacey


College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce

Humanities and Social Sciences

Melbourne (Bundoora)


BA Hons (Flinders), PhD (Adelaide).



Area of study

Religion and Spirituality

Brief profile

David Tacey is a public intellectual and a recognised international authority on psychoanalysis and spirituality. He has published several bestselling books on mental health, spirituality and gender. Many of his books and articles are with international publishers and he often writes by invitation from editors and publishers. He is an interdisciplinary scholar who works across several fields, including literary studies, psychoanalytic studies and religious studies.

He studied literature, philosophy and art history in his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree at Flinders University, and his PhD at Adelaide University spanned literature and psychoanalysis. After winning the Bentham Prize at Adelaide he was one of four Australians to be awarded a post-doctoral fellowship by the Harkness Foundation, New York. He worked under the supervision of James Hillman in psychology (Dallas Institute of Humanities) and Thomas Moore in religious studies (Southern Methodist University). 

David Tacey was born in Melbourne and his family later moved to Alice Springs, central Australia. He spent his adolescence and early adulthood living alongside Aboriginal cultures. This was the impetus for his lifelong interest in Aboriginal religions and the spiritual relationship between land, nature and human consciousness. He has maintained a commitment to public intellectual activity in the areas of religious education, indigenous health, men’s issues and environmental issues. He has published 14 books, 70 essays in refereed journals, and 45 chapters in edited volumes. Writing in the public domain, he has published 50 articles in non-refereed journals and magazines. He regularly contributes reviews and opinions to newspapers and online media outlets. His writings have been translated into several languages including Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Greek, Portuguese and French. 

Research specialisation

- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History

- Gender, Culture, Sexuality

- Literary Studies

- Religion and Society

Teaching units

  • The Crisis of Meaning in the 21st Century
  • Jung’s Cultural Psychology
  • Spirituality and Rites of Passage
  • Writing Transcendence: Derrida, Girard and Levinas

Recent publications


  • Beyond Literal Religion, New Jersey, USA and London: Transaction Publishers; Melbourne: John Garrett Publishing, 2015. 
  • The Darkening Spirit: Jung, Spirituality, Religion. London & NY: Routledge, 2013.  
  • The Jung Reader. Edited by David Tacey. London & NY: Routledge, 2012. Co-edited with Craig San Roque and Amanda Dowd, Placing Psyche: Exploring Cultural Complexes in Australia. In the Analytical Psychology and Contemporary Culture Series. New Orleans, Louisiana: Spring Journal Books, 2011. 
  • Gods and Diseases: Making Sense of Our Physical and Mental Wellbeing. Sydney: HarperCollins, 2011; London & NY: Routledge, 2013.
  • Edge of the Sacred: Jung, Psyche, Earth. Revised International Edition. Einsiedeln, Switzerland: Daimon, 2009.
  • The Idea of the Numinous: Contemporary Jungian and Psychoanalytic Perspectives. Edited by Ann Casement and David Tacey. London & NY: Routledge, 2006.  
  • How to Read Jung. London: Granta, 2006; New York: Norton, 2007. 
  • The Spirituality Revolution: The Emergence of Contemporary Spirituality. Sydney: Harper Collins, 2003; London & NY: Routledge, 2004. 
  • Jung and the New Age. London & NY: Routledge, 2001. 
  • Re-Enchantment: The New Australian Spirituality. Sydney: HarperCollins, 2000.
  • Remaking Men: Jung, Spirituality, and Social Change. London & NY: Routledge, 1997; Melbourne: Penguin Viking, 1997. 
  • Edge of the Sacred: Transformation in Australia. Melbourne: HarperCollins, 1995; and Sydney: HarperCollins, 1998.  
  • Patrick White: Fiction and the Unconscious. Melbourne and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. 

Chapters in Books

  • ‘The Light of Faith in a Dark Time’. In John W. H. Smith and Rex A. E. Hunt, eds., New Life: Rediscovering Faith: Stories From Progressive Christians. Melbourne: Mosaic Press, 2013, 123-131. 
  • ‘Jung: Respect for the Non-Literal’. In Jean Kirsch and Murray Stein (eds), Why We Read Jung and How: Personal and Professional Reflections. London: Routledge, 2013, 178-194. 
  • ‘Contemporary Spirituality’. In Mark Cobb, Christina Puchalski and Bruce Rumbold (eds) Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2012, 473-479.
  • ‘Falling in Love with the Sacred Other’. In Roland Ashby, ed., A Faith to Live By: Conversations About Faith with Twenty-Five of the World’s Leading Spiritual Teachers. Melbourne: Mosaic Press, 2012, 193-214. 
  • ‘The Ecology of Soul and World: Jung, Hillman and the Aboriginal Dreaming’. In Pramila Bennett and Robert Hinshaw (eds), Montreal 2010: Facing Multiplicity: Psyche, Nature, Culture. Proceedings of the 18th International IAAP Congress for Analytical Psychology. Einsiedeln, Switzerland: Daimon, 2012. 
  • ‘The Australian Resistance to Individuation: Patrick White’s Knotted Mandala’. In eds., Amanda Dowd, Craig San Roque, and David Tacey, Placing Psyche: Exploring Cultural Complexes in Australia. New Orleans: Spring Journal Books, 2011; 282-303. 
  • ‘Teaching Jung in the University’. In eds., Kelly Bulkeley and Clodagh Weldon, Teaching Jung. In the Teaching Religious Studies Series. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press and American Academy of Religion, 2011, 13-27. 
  • ‘The Power of the Dark Side: Part 1: Jung, Religion, Individuation and Evil’. In Stacy Wirth, Isabelle Meier and John Hill (eds) Destruction and Creation: Facing the Ambiguities of Power. Jungian Odyssey Series, Vol. 2. New Orleans: Spring Journal Books, 2010, 59-69. 
  • ‘The Power of the Dark Side: Part 2: Psyche, Art, and the Containment of Evil’. In Stacy Wirth, Isabelle Meier and John Hill (eds)  Destruction and Creation: Facing the Ambiguities of Power. Jungian Odyssey Series, Vol. 2 New Orleans: Spring Journal Books, 2010, 71-80. 
  • ‘What Spirituality Means to Young Adults’. In Sylvia Collins-Mayo and Pink Dandelion (eds)  Religion and Youth. London: Ashgate, 2010. 
  • ‘Extraversion, with Soul’. In Gottfried Heuer (ed.) Sacral Revolutions: Reflecting on the Work of Andrew Samuels - Cutting Edges in Psychoanalysis and Jungian Analysis. London and New York: Routledge, 2010, 276-282. 
  • ‘Jung: Rebuilding the Temple’. In Raya Jones and Murray Stein (eds) Cultures and Identities in Transition: Jungian Perspectives. London and New York: Routledge, 2010, 126-137. 
  • ‘Spirituality in a Secular Society’. In Marian de Souza and Julie Rimes (eds) Meaning and Connectedness: Australian Perspectives on Education and Spirituality. Canberra: Australian College of Education Foundation, 2010, 7-18. 
  • ‘Spirituality and Mental Health: The Mystery of Healing’. In Marian De Souza, Leslie Francis, James O’Higgins-Norman and Daniel Scott (eds) International Handbook of Education for Spirituality, Care and Wellbeing. International Handbooks of Religion and Education Vol 3.  Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London and New York: Springer, 2009, 275-290. 
  • ‘The Sacred from Below’ and ‘Entering the Dream of Nature’. In Jonathan Marshall (ed.) Depth Psychology, Disorder and Climate Change. Sydney: Jung Downunder Books, 2009, 265-276; 365-394. 

Older publications

 Chapters in Books

  • ‘Spirituality in Australia Today’. In Makarand Paranjape (ed.) Sacred Australia: Post-Secular Considerations. Melbourne: Clouds of Magellan, 2009, 44-64. 
  • ‘The Mythopoetic Approach to Belief in God: Experience, Imagination and Faith’. In Peter Willis, Timothy Leonard, Anne Morrison and Steven Hodge (eds) Spirituality, Mythopoesis and Learning. Brisbane: Post Pressed, 2009, 70-87. 
  • ‘Imagining Transcendence at the End of Modernity: Jung and Derrida’. In Lucy Huskinson (ed). Dreaming the Myth Onwards: New Directions in Jungian Therapy and Thought.  London and New York: Routledge, 2008, 58-68. 
  • ‘The Challenge of Teaching Jung in the University’.  Chapter 4 in Ann Casement (ed). Who Owns Jung?  London: Karnac, 2007, 53-71.
  • ‘What is Religion For? Drawing out the Sacred in Secular Times’.  In Ross Langmead (Ed.) Re-Imagining God and Mission: Perspectives from Australia.  Adelaide: ATF Press, 2007, 45-65.
  • ‘The Role of the Numinous in the Reception of Jung’. Chapter 14 in Ann Casement and David Tacey (eds). The Idea of the Numinous: Contemporary Jungian and Psychoanalytic Perspectives. London and New York: Routledge, 2006, 213-228.
  • ‘Spirituality as a Bridge to Religion and Faith’.  In De Souza, M., Engebretson, K., Durka, G., Jackson, R., McGrady, A., (eds).  International Handbook of the Religious, Moral and Spiritual Dimensions of Education. Amsterdam: Springer, 2006, 201-214. 
  • ‘Spiritual Perspectives on Suicidal Impulses in Young Adults’.  In Richard H. Cox, Betty Ervin-Cox, and Louis Hoffman (eds). Spirituality and Psychological Health. Colorado Springs: Colorado School of Professional Psychology Press, 2005, 107-128.
  • ‘Encountering Tradition in a Postmodern Context’. In Cathy Ota and Clive Erricker (eds). Spiritual Education: Literary, Empirical and Pedagogical Approaches. Brighton, England: Sussex Academic Press, 2005, 175-189. 
  • ‘Educating the Heart: Spirituality and Interiority’. In Peta Heywood, Tricia McCann, Bernie Neville and Peter Willis (Eds). Towards Re-Enchantment: Education, Imagination and the Getting of Wisdom.  Brisbane: Post Pressed Publishers, 2005, 39-49.
  • ‘Spirit Place: Aboriginal cosmology of David Mowaljarlai’. In John Cameron (Ed). Changing Places: Re-imagining Australia. Sydney: Longueville Press, 2003, 243-248. 
  • ‘Youth Spirituality as a Response to Cultural Crisis’, Chapter 7, in Jane Erricker, Cathy Ota, and Clive Erricker, eds., Spiritual Education: Cultural, Religious and Social Differences, Brighton, England: Sussex Academic Press, 2001, 88-104.  ISBN 1-902210-61-1
  • ‘Dimitris Tsaloumas: poet of the mythic imagination’, in Helen Nickas, ed., Dimitris Tsaloumas: A Voluntary Exile, Melbourne: Owl Publishing, 2000, 185-191.  

Research projects

 Essays in International Refereed Journals 

  • ‘James Hillman: The Unmaking of a Psychologist. Part 1: His Legacy’. The Journal of Analytical Psychology (London & New York: Blackwell Publishing), 59:4 (September 2014): 467-486. 
  • ‘James Hillman: The Unmaking of a Psychologist. Part 2: The Problem of the Puer’. The Journal of Analytical Psychology (London & New York: Blackwell Publishing), 59:4 (September 2014): 487-503.
  • ‘The Author Replies’. The Journal of Analytical Psychology (London & New York: Blackwell Publishing), 59:4 (September 2014): 530-531. 
  • ‘Healing Fiction: Spirituality and Psychotherapy’. The Psychotherapist (Journal of the UK Council for Psychotherapy, London), Issue 57 (Summer 2014): 15-17. 
  • ‘Jacques Derrida: The Enchanted Atheist’. In Thesis Eleven: Critical Theory and Historical Sociology (London: Sage Publishers), 110(1) 3-16 June 2012.
  • ‘Grassroots Spirituality as a Holistic Expression of the Psyche’. In The International Journal of Jungian Studies (London) 3(1), March 2011, 36-52. 
  • ‘Ecopsychology and the Sacred: the Psychological Basis of the Environmental Crisis’. In Gay Bradshaw (ed.) Minding the Animal Psyche. Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture (New Orleans: Spring) 83 (Summer, 2010): 329-352. 
  • Review Essay: The Fay Book Series in Analytical Psychology: Part 2’. In The Journal of Analytical Psychology (London and New York: Basil Blackwell) 55(4) (September 2010): 576-586. 
  • Review Essay: The Fay Book Series in Analytical Psychology: Part 1’. In The Journal of Analytical Psychology (London and New York: Basil Blackwell) 55(2) (April 2010): 300-312.
  • ‘Environmental Spirituality’.  International Journal of New Perspectives on Christianity (Sydney) 1(1) (2009): 17-22. ISSN: 1836-8999. 
  • ‘Mind and Earth: Psychic Influence Beneath the Surface’.  Jung Journal: Culture and Psyche (San Francisco: University of California Press), Vol.3, No.2, 15-32, March 2009. 
  • ‘The Gift of the Unknown: Freud(ians) and Jung(ians) at the End of Modernity’.  European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling (London: Routledge). 9(4) (December 2007): 423-434.  
  • ‘Rising Waters of the Spirit: The View from Secular Society’.  Studies in Spirituality (Leuven: International Journal of the Titus Brandsma Institute, The Netherlands). Number 13, May 2003, 11-30. 
  • ‘Student Spirituality and Educational Authority’. The International Journal of Children’s Spirituality (Brighton, UK). Vol. 7, No.2. September 2002, 171-182.

Essays in National Refereed Journals

  • ‘Experience, Imagination and Faith’. in Eremos: Exploring Spirituality in Australia (Sydney), No. 112 (August 2010): 17-23. ISSN 1037-4922
  • ‘Spirituality in Australia Today: Psychological, Social and Religious perspectives’.  In Maureen Miner and Martin Dowson (eds.) Spirituality in Australia: Psychological, Social and Religious Perspectives.  Sydney: University of Western Sydney Press and Metanexus Institute, 2007. 
  • ‘Landscapes of Learning Communities: Spirituality as a Bridge to Religion and Faith’.  In Journal of the Tertiary Campus Ministry Association (Perth & Sydney). Vol 2.1, 2004, 29-43. 
  • ‘Spirit Makes us Human’. In Dialogue Australasia (Sydney). October 2003, 24-29.   
  • ‘The Way to the Future: Bridging Religion and Spirituality’, Zadok Perspectives: A Journal for Christianity and Society (Melbourne), No.79, Winter 2003, 7-9. 
  • ‘The Recovery of the Sacred in Student Experience’, Catholic Education (Adelaide), Vol.9, No.1, May 2002, 12-14.  
  • ‘Mind the Gap: Youth Spirituality and Formal Religion’. Australian Journal of the Tertiary Campus Ministry Association (Perth). Vol.1, No.4. September 2002, 1-12. 
  • ‘Exploring Youth Spirituality and Religion’, Catholic Education (Adelaide), Vol.8, No.2, November 2001, 8-14.  
  • ‘Prospects for ReEnchantment’, Zadok Perspectives: A Journal for Christianity and Society (Melbourne), No.67, Winter 2000, 9-15. 
  • ‘Sacred Ground: The Australian Spirit and the Sense of Place’, 1999: The Social Ecology Journal (Sydney, Journal of the School of Social Ecology, Univ. of Western Sydney), Vol.1, December 1999, 63-72.  
  • ‘Spirit and Place’, The Summit: Journal of the Office of Worship Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Vol.26., No.4, November 1999, 7-8.  
  • ‘Youth Spirituality, Religion, and Cosmic Sacredness: Postmodernity, Post-Christianity, and the Coming Age’, Interface: A Forum for Theology in the World (Adelaide, ecumenical journal of the Australian Theological Forum), Vol.2, No.2, October 1999, 22-37. 
  • ‘What Are We Afraid Of?:  Intellectualism, Aboriginality, and the Sacred’, Melbourne Journal of Politics, Vol.25: ‘The Aboriginal Reconciliation Issue’, October 1998, 189-194.  
  • ‘Spirituality and the Common Good’, South Pacific Journal of Mission Studies (Sydney), No.20, March 1998, 3-6.  
  • ‘Youth Spirituality and Authenticity in Aboriginal Cultures’, Youth Issues Forum (A Journal of the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria), Summer 1997/98, 14-18.