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Jean Houston

Jean Houston

American writer
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro American writer
Countries United States of America
Occupations Philosopher
Gender female
Birth May 10, 1937 (New York City)
Education Barnard College
The details

Jean Houston (born 10 May 1937) is an American author involved in the "human potential movement." Along with her husband, Robert Masters, she co-founded The Foundation for Mind Research.


Early life and education

Houston was born in New York City to Mary Todaro Houston who was of Sicilian descent, and Jack Houston who was related to Sam Houston of Texas. Her father was a comedy writer who developed material for stage, television and the movies. His work required him, and the family, to move frequently. After the breakup of her parents' marriage, she spent her teen years in New York City.

Houston attended Barnard College in New York City.

She subsequently earned a Ph.D. in Psychology from Union Graduate School and a Ph.D. in Religion from Graduate Theological Foundation.


While participating in a US Government sanctioned research project on the effects of LSD (before such research was banned), Houston became acquainted with Robert Masters, a writer and a researcher into the varieties of human behavior and potentials. The two married in 1965 and soon became known for their work in the Human Potential Movement. Together they founded The Foundation for Mind Research.

Houston taught at Marymount College, Tarrytown from 1965 to 1972. She was a lecturer at Hunter College for less than a year in 1961. Her interest in anthropology brought about a close association with Margaret Mead, who lived with Houston and Masters for several years before her death in 1978.

In 1982, Houston began teaching a seminar based on the concept of "the ancient mystery schools."


During the first term (1993–1997) of the Clinton administration, First Lady Hillary Clinton, while she was writing It Takes a Village (1996), invited Houston to work with her in the White House as an advisor. Houston suggested an imaginary meeting between Clinton and the deceased Eleanor Roosevelt. The First Lady duly submitted to the "visioning" and "role-playing" game. Bob Woodward's book The Choice revealed this exercise publicly in 1996. After both the New York Post and the Daily News labeled Houston "Hillary's Guru" and the Boston Herald dubbed her the "First Lady's Spiritual Adviser", People reported that Houston had "suddenly found herself the hapless butt of a thousand gags." When the media subsequently "beat a path to her door," she was compelled to explain, "There was no séance! There were no spooks!"

Selected writings

Mystical Dogs: Animals as Guides to our inner Life Inner Ocean Publishing (2002) ISBN 1-930722-13-3

Jump Time: Shaping Your Future in a World of Radical Change Sentient Publications (2nd Ed. 2004) ISBN 1-59181-018-3

The Passion of Isis and Osiris: A Union of Two Souls Wellspring/Ballantine (1998) ISBN 0-345-42477-8

A Mythic Life: Learning to Live our Greater Story HarperSanFrancisco (1996) ISBN 0-06-250282-4

Manual for the Peacemaker: An Iroquois Legend to Heal Self (with Margaret Rubin) Quest Books (1995) ISBN 0-8356-0709-7

Public Like a Frog: Entering the Lives of three Great Americans Quest Books (1993) ASIN B0026SIU0G

The Hero and the Goddess: The "Odyssey" as Mystery and Initiation Ballantine Books (1992) ISBN 0-345-36567-4

Godseed: The Journey of Christ Quest Books (1988) ISBN 0-8356-0677-5

A Feminine Myth of Creation (with Diana Vandenberg, in Dutch) J.H. Gottmer (1988) ISBN 90-257-2118-4

The Search for the Beloved: Journeys in Mythology and Sacred Psychology Tarcher (2nd Ed. 1997) ISBN 0-87477-871-9

The Possible Human: A Course in Extending Your Physical, Mental, and Creative Abilities Tarcher (2nd. Ed. 1997) ISBN 0-87477-872-7

Life Force: The Psycho-Historical Recovery of the Self Quest Books (2nd. ed. 1993) ISBN 0-8356-0687-2

With Robert Masters

Mind Games Doubleday (1972) ISBN 0-385-28650-3

Listening to the Body: The Psychophysical Way to Health and Awareness Delta (1979) ISBN 0-385-28577-9

The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience Park Street Press (2000 edition) (1966) ISBN 0-89281-897-2

Film and television appearances

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