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Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche [Kindle Edition]

Bill Plotkin , Thomas Berry
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Since 1980, Jungian psychologist Bill Plotkin has been guiding men and women into the wilderness — the redrock canyons and snow-crested mountains of the American Southwest — but also into the wilds of the soul. He calls this work soulcraft.

There’s a great longing in all people — a longing to uncover the secrets and mysteries of our individual lives, to find the unique gift we were born to bring to our communities, and to experience our full membership in the more-than-human world. This journey to soul is a descent into layers of the self much deeper than personality, a journey meant for each one of us, not just for the heroes and heroines of mythology.

A modern handbook for the journey, Soulcraft is not an imitation of indigenous ways, but a contemporary nature-based approach born from the landscape of the Southwest, the traditions of Western culture, and the cross-cultural heritage of all humanity. Filled with stories, poems, and guidelines, Soulcraft introduces over 40 practices that facilitate the descent to soul, including dreamwork, wilderness vision fasts, talking across the species boundaries, council, self-designed ceremony, nature-based shadow work, and the arts of romance, storytelling, and soul-infused poetry.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"As we enter a future where humans and the natural world are more intimate with each other, we will surely be powerfully influenced by this new guide into the mysteries of nature and psyche. In Soulcraft, Bill Plotkin gives us an authentic masterwork. In the substance of what he has written, in the clarity of his presentation, and in the historical urgency of the subject, he has guided us far into the new world that is opening up before us. We will not soon again receive a work of this significance." — From the foreword by Thomas Berry, author of The Dream of the Earth and The Great Work "The fundamental worldview of industrial society is that Earth is like a gravel pit or a lumberyard — just a resource for human use. We live disconnected from the evolving earth community, but our deepest allurement is a rich, intimate participation in nature and the ongoing adventure of the Universe. In this stunningly original and inspiring guide book, Bill Plotkin shows us how to reconnect with the sacred powers of life, of nature, of soul, and the ways that each one of us can reinvent ourselves and discover our unique way to flower forth." — Brian Swimme, cosmologist and author of The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos, The Universe is a Green Dragon, and coauthor with Thomas Berry of The Universe Story

About the Author

Bill Plotkin, Ph.D., is a depth psychologist, ecotherapist, and wilderness guide. He is the founding director of Colorado’s Animas Valley Institute, which has been leading nature-based soul-initiation programs since 1980. He thinks of himself as a psychologist gone wild.

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
110 of 112 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential, Hazardous Journey October 19, 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bill Plotkin's Soulcraft, grounded in the author's formal training as a clinical psychologist, and in his decades of experience as a wilderness guide who guides his clients through both inner and outer wilderness, provides readers with an experience-based, intellectually stimulating, and potentially life-altering antidote to mainstream Western civilization.
Based on the premise that virtually all of us live lives that attempt to satisfy the ego's needs while ignoring the soul's deeper yearnings, Plotkin guides us to a severance from our ego-based lives, through an encounter with soul, and finally into a return, with new knowledge of the gifts we carry to our people--family, friends, co-workers and community.
As he encourages us to grow from our necessary and valuable uninitiated adolescent need to be accepted by society, into our initiated adult need to live authentically these gifts we carry, he treats us to his own story and the stories of others who are doing the work of authenticity.
More than 30 practices validate the presence of the word "craft" in the book's main title. Whether the reader is drawn to meditation, drumming, dream work, deep imagery, befriending the dark, wandering in nature, working with shadow or any one of more than a score more approaches to living a soul-based life, Bill Plotkin challenges us to live our true callings, and provides us the means with which to do so.
Soulcraft engaged me both experientially and philosophically, calling me to both act and think. It's no accident that Thomas Berry wrote the foreword, or that Brian Swimme, Angeles Arrien, Robert Johnson, and Derrick Jensen, among others, praised the book before publication.

Bill Plotkin, in the words of David Whyte, whose poetry graces many of these pages, carries "what is hidden as a gift to others." For this we should all be grateful.
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68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life-changing February 21, 2005
Format:Paperback
I am currently translating this book into the German language. It is the most exciting translation I have done in the last years. Even though I am only copying it down it has already changed my life in a profound way. I am very thankful for the destiny that put this book on my desk - and I know that there was no coincidence involved.

The book provides several practices and approaches that help to address the problem a lot of people encounter in the middle of their lifes - or sometimes even earlier: The moment when you notice that things that have always made sense all in a sudden don't carry any meaning for you any more. It is the first book I ever read that does not only promise to, but actually really helps you finding out what you are here for and how you can act according to this insight. It brings you on your path - the soulpath. Work your way through the practices, exercises, and ceremonies in this book and your life will never be the same again. Seriously, I see a lot of books on new age and nature spirituality going over my desk, but this one definitely outdoes all I have been reading and working on during the last ten years.
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70 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unparalleled Guide to Soul Initiation in the Wilderness September 9, 2003
Format:Paperback
Every now and then a book is birthed into the world that is destined to irrevocably alter the spiritual face of modern culture. Bill Plotkin's Soulcraft is just such a book. Charting a course through the underworld pathways with the heart of a shaman, mapping the powers of myth and psyche with all the soul and interpretive skill of Jung or Campbell, Plotkin's guide to the journey of initiation is to nature-based soulwork what Huxley's Doors of Perception was to consciousness studies. This book is an immense treasure that will provide wisdomseekers, psychologists, shamanic practitioners, and seasoned wilderness guides alike with a fresh heart-opening soul language, a new mythos for fathoming the depths of change, as well as time-tested practical methods for navigating the landscape of authentic transformation. In essence, Soulcraft is Plotkin's "soul gift," a user's manual for the journey of the human soul, as well as a guide to the futurescape of why we are all really here. It is the book I wish I could have had at my fingertips when I began to feel the ancient call for rites of passage in my early youth. It is required reading for anyone guiding other people in soulwork, or delving deep into their own. As philosopher Parker Palmer has said, "The way to God is down." Plotkin shows the way.
- Frank MacEowen, author of The Mist-Filled Path: Celtic Wisdom for Exiles, Wanderers, and Seekers
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lighthearted Review of Bill Plotkin's book, Soulcraft September 9, 2004
Format:Paperback
What do you get when you cross a Jungian-oriented depth psychologist, an ecotherapist, and a wilderness guide of the highest caliber? And then what do you do? The answer to the first question is Bill Plotkin, director of Animas Valley Institute ([...] The answer to the second: spend 20+ years creating a way to approach soul in a culture that over the years has lost its ways of soul connection that once were as natural as walking upright. Half guidebook, half storybook, and half pure poetry, Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche by Bill Plotkin describes his lifelong work in discovering and developing nature and the outer wilderness as mirrors for our inner nature and inner wilderness. In Soulcraft, Bill tries to compile and present approaches to the mystery of our souls and what Mary Oliver calls "our place in the family of things." Of the many fruits one can take away from the stories and practices Bill describes in Soulcraft, I think four of the juiciest are: (1) his distinction between "spirit" and "soul", (2) his approach to dreamwork, (3) his belief that soul work, while not promising any easy answers to the harsh realities of life, certainly makes life more interesting, and (4) the practices that lead to cultivating a soulful relationship to life.

Bill explains, "By soul I mean the vital, mysterious, and wild core of our individual selves, an essence unique to each person, qualities found in layers of the self much deeper than our personalities. By spirit I mean the single, great, and eternal mystery that permeates and animates everything in the universe and yet transcends all. Ultimately, each soul exists as an agent for spirit. ... Soul is what is most wild and natural within us.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
wonderfull
Published 25 days ago by charlesbarnhouse
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
This book is very inspiring. It has a good balance of trying to explain the mystery and then leaving it as it is
Published 3 months ago by Booksarebestfriends
5.0 out of 5 stars I want to drink this book
This is my new all-time favorite book and I will read it again and again, very slowly so that I can do my best to absorb all the soul-nutients that it offers.
Published 5 months ago by chillmama
2.0 out of 5 stars Mehhh
I did not find that the content of the book fully met the wording of the title. Also, the author frequently slid back into soapbox preaching which immediately took all the mystery... Read more
Published 5 months ago by kueen
5.0 out of 5 stars Soulcraft
I surprised my Daughter with this book to go with the Nature and the Human Soul......she was totally surprised and loved that I had also purchased this one.
Published 5 months ago by Roxanne
4.0 out of 5 stars Soulcraft
I really like the book because it addresses any honest seeker and focuses in on real life-situations as examples to the perhaps at times too theoretical aspects. Read more
Published 9 months ago by mackay irene
5.0 out of 5 stars it's brilliant
i recommend this for anyone who is lost in themselves and is ready to take the next step in discovering both themselves and their ultimate place in the world.
Published 11 months ago by tiahna
1.0 out of 5 stars A really confusing mish-mash of New Wave religion and nature loving.
As a practicing Pagan, I found the rambling narratives about finding one's center and attaching to nature quite inadequate. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Lois
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written insight
I passed my copy on to a native indian shaman, I hope he will pass it onto somebody else.

Whether you are thinking of taking a soul-journey, or you are treating your... Read more
Published 12 months ago by James Blake
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
Phenomenal book about the transformation from adolescence into true adulthood [which most people never make]. A handbook. Parallel to "I Don't Want to Talk About It. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Will Szal
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