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Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche Paperback – August 29, 2003


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Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche + Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World + Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: New World Library; English Language edition (August 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1577314220
  • ISBN-13: 978-1577314226
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Here is an abundantly wise and carefully crafted survival guide for the wild soul currently dozing (or dying) at the heart of your civilized life. Plotkin has wandered again and again into the nourishing darkness, and has returned with this earthly bundle of insights and images — talismanic tools for awakening to the outrageous depths both within us and all around us. He has bound them into a book that is immensely practical, alive with ritual intelligence, thick with useful tools from a host of courageous comrades."
David Abram, author of The Spell of the Sensuous

"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.

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Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a longing to know their true calling and is ready to embark on the journey.
Barry C. Schlimme
Thank you Bill for an amazing book and a fabulous guide for the most important journey of our lives - the journey to ourselves.
Lauri Lumby
I believe Bill Plotkin's book provides the knowledge needed to understand how to connect with your soul and live authentically.
Diane Bruhn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

112 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Reggie Marra on 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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69 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Vicky Gabriel on 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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72 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Frank MacEowen on 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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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By J. Woolley on 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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