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Care of The Soul

“It is part of the mystery of life on earth that the human soul can awaken, grow greater, and reveal inner gifts when everything turns dark and seems about to fall apart. Soul does not fear a downturn or seek to avoid a period of darkness. Soul carries a deeper wisdom and darker knowledge born of descent and loss and renewal. Soul would have us go where we fear to go in order to learn who we are intended to be.”
- Michael Meade, “Why the World Doesn’t End”


The spirit asks that the psyche help it, not break it or yoke it or put it away as a peculiarity or insanity….

Soul asks that its preoccupations be not dismissed as trivia but seen through in terms of higher and deeper perspectives, the verticalities of the spirit. When we realize that our psychic malaise points to a spiritual hunger beyond what psychology offers and that our spiritual dryness points to a need for psychic waters beyond what spiritual discipline offers, then we are beginning to move both therapy and discipline.
The puer-psyche marriage results first of all in increased interiority. It constructs a walled space, the thalamus of the bridal chamber, neither peak nor vale, but rather a place where both can be looked at…
The puer-psyche marriage finally implies taking our complexes both out of the world and out of the realm of spiritual systems. It means that the search and questing go through a psychological search and questing, an exploration of soul by spirit for psychic fecundations. (James Hillman, Puer Papers, Spring Pub., p. 54–73).

In our part of the world, we can come in for a lot of criticism if we bother to listen to the voices of meaning and beauty rather than practical common sense voices. We are used to our sensitivities being discounted. We try unsuccessfully not to appear to be “too sensitive.”

But little green shoots of soul are pushing up through the cracks in the sidewalk. Imagination, dreams, creativity, beauty, the search for meaning, love, care of the earth, all of these things cause the planet to thrive. Making beauty is one of the most satisfying things you can do, whether you use sound, material, paints or words.

Until Hillman started writing, the Puer type (eternal boy) was seen as a dreamy creampuff who just needed to get grounded, get a job, get married and settle down. Hillman objected to clipping his wings so severely. Let him fly, let’s see where this goes. Maybe this is his genius. Maybe there’s something there to be developed rather than squashed.

That made me think, since I’m a little Puer-ish around the edges, that my lifestyle has been exactly what the doctor ordered. There’s been a lot of moving around, a kind of unease in the world. How to get comfortable in yourself when you don’t fit where you grew up?

You are set upon a journey, looking for something without being quite sure what it is.

Maybe it’s just love, love for the world, for yourself, for life itself. Finding that one place you can put down roots may not be meant for all of us. Maybe we do better to put our roots into those we love and little else — as long as we are prepared to let go when the time comes.

We come here for a reason, don’t we? Don’t we have something to give, don’t we have gifts to bestow? Yes, and we also have mistakes to make, wounds and losses to endure, lessons to learn about love and its lack.

We come into the world as who we are, uniquely equipped for our future trials and with a profound nature we spend a lifetime learning about. That deeper part of us just wants to be taken seriously.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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