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“Remember that self-doubt is as self-centered as self-inflation. Your obligation is to reach as deeply as you can and offer your unique and authentic gifts as bravely and beautifully as you're able.”
Bill Plotkin, Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World
“... to wander far from the familiar "home" of his adolescent ways of belonging, doing, and being. He must, as poet Mary Oliver puts it, "stride deeper and deeper into the world." His culture will greatly influence the manner in which he wanders, as will his gender, physical constitution, psychological temperament, age, and bio-region. In one culture, his wandering might take him geographically far from his hometown or village. In another culture, geographic movement will have little importance for the true depth of his wandering. What is critical is not whether he engages in this practice or that, or undergoes this ritual or another, but that his wandering changes his relationship to the world, that he leaves the home of his adolescent identity, and that his border crossings usher him into the mysteries of nature and psyché.”
Bill Plotkin, Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World
“As soon as enough people in contemporary societies progress beyond adolescence, the entire consumer-driven economy and egocentric lifestyle will implode. The adolescent society is actually quite unstable due to its incongruence with the primary patterns of living systems. The industrial growth society is simply incompatible with collective human maturity. No true adult wants to be a consumer, worker bee, or tycoon, or a soldier in an imperial war, and none would go through these motions if there were other options at hand. The enlivened soul and wild nature are deadly to industrial growth economies - and vice versa.”
Bill Plotkin, Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World
“Given that the human soul is the very core of our human nature, we might note that, when we are guided by soul, we are guided by nature. Both soul and greater nature do guide us in our individual development, whether or not we ask for this guidance.”
Bill Plotkin, Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World
“The soul faithfully comes to our aid through dreams, deep emotion, love, the quiet voice of guidance, synchronicities, revelations, hunches, and visions, and at times through illness, nightmares, and terrors.”
Bill Plotkin, Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World
“Nature, too, supports our personal blossoming (if we have any quiet exposure to her) through her spontaneities, through her beauty, power, and mirroring, through her dazzling variety of species and habitats, and by way of the wind, Moon, Sun, stars, and galaxies.”
Bill Plotkin, Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World
“Arrested personal growth serves industrial "growth". By suppressing the nature dimension of human development (through educational systems, social values, advertising, nature-eclipsing vocations and pastimes, city and suburb design, denatured medical and psychological practices, and other means), industrial growth society engenders an immature citizenry unable to imagine a life beyond consumerism and soul-suppressing jobs.”
Bill Plotkin, Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World
“Having lost the training and rites that prepare a girl for becoming truly queenly, a mature woman, we have instead beauty-queen contests for five-year-olds.”
Bill Plotkin, Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World
“Imagination may be the most essential, uniquely human capacity - creating both the dead-end crises of our time and the doorway through them.”
Bill Plotkin
“What we need now are new stories to share with each other, new tales to live into the world, which is to say, stories to make real by living our own versions of them.”
Bill Plotkin, Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World
“In this tiny interval of the twenty-first century, we, the human species, will either learn to become a life-enhancing element within the greater Earth community . . . or we will not. If we fail, humanity will be reduced to a small number, we will have forsaken our potential as a species (this time around, at least) and we will have perpetrated the extinction of many thousands of species, perhaps millions — beyond those that have already perished at our hands. And yet we now behold the possibility of a radical and foundational shift in human culture — from a suicidal, life-destroying element to a way of life worthy of our unique human potential and of Earth's dream for itself. What lies before us is the opportunity and imperative for a thorough cultural transformation — what eco-philosopher Joanna Macy calls the Great Turning, the transition from an egocentric “Industrial Growth Society” to a soulcentric “Life-sustaining Society,” or what economist David Korten in The Great Turning calls the transition “from Empire to Earth Community.” The cultural historian Thomas Berry refers to this vital endeavor as the Great Work of our time.2 It is every person's responsibility and privilege to contribute to this metamorphosis. Transformational”
Bill Plotkin, Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World
“Soul has been demoted to a new-age spiritual fantasy or a missionary's booty, and nature has been treated , at best, as a postcard or a vacation backdrop or, more commonly, as a hardware store or refuse heap. Too many of us lack intimacy with the natural world and with our souls, and consequently we are doing untold damage to both.”
Bill Plotkin, Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World
“From the perspective and experience of the Wild Indigenous One, we are enchanted, and in two ways. First, the South Self is utterly moved by, deeply touched by, the things of this world — its creatures, greenery, landforms, weather, and celestial bodies — and recognizes that each thing has its own voice and presence. It’s as if we’re under a spell — enchanted — captured by the magic and utter mystery of each thing. And when we’re alive in our South facet, all that we do, even “work,” becomes play. The world fills us with wonder and awe. Sometimes we’re terrified by the deadly potential of terrestrial forms and forces such as tornadoes, grizzlies, and hornets, sometimes simply exhilarated, sometimes both at once. We’re also enchanted in a second, reciprocal sense: The things of the world are allured by us and to us! We ourselves, individually and as a species, are a magical power or presence in this world. The other-than-humans recognize in us a form of mystery no less stunning than their own. We, too, place other beings under a spell (including each other).”
Bill Plotkin, Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche
“In common parlance, “fool” and “sage” appear to be opposites, one connoting ignorance and the other wisdom. At their depths, however, both exhibit a nonattachment to form or outcome. The Sacred Fool acts from what often seems to be innocence, insanity, or lampoonery but is no less wise for it. We think of a Sage, in contrast, as strictly sober; but because she doesn’t strive and doesn’t seek positions of elected or hired leadership, the true Sage has neither investment in sobriety nor compulsion to comply with rules. The Sacred Fool dimension of our own psyches merges the innocence of the child and the wisdom of the elder. Both draw on the capacity to perceive simply and purely, to be fully present to the moment and to all things existing and happening within it. The Sacred Fool — in others or in ourselves — helps us grasp the big picture by poking fun at himself (and, in so doing, at all of us) or by making fun of us directly. He also might respond to our solemn questions and conceptions with perspectives that reject or reframe our most cherished assumptions.”
Bill Plotkin, Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche
“Egocentrism is the problem, then, not Egos. Egocentric people are agents for themselves only (and perhaps also for their immediate families), without awareness of or tending of the social and natural environments that sustain their lives. Their consciousness is Ego-centered. A person with a healthy, mature Ego, in contrast, is ecocentric; she understands herself as, first and foremost, an agent for (the health of) her ecosystem (and second, as an agent for the health of her human community, which dwells within that ecosystem; and third, as an agent for her immediate family and self). Spiritual practice helps mature our Egos. Faced with the assertion that the goal of spiritual practice is to eliminate the Ego, the East facet of the Self might respond with a hearty laugh and the blended perspectives of the Trickster, Fool, and Sage, as, for example, expressed by Jay Leeming: Trying to get rid of your ego Is like trying to get rid of your garbage can. No one believes you are serious. The more you shout at the garbage man The more your neighbors remember your name.6 Rather than attempting to jettison the Ego, a sensible person draws on the resources of her East Self to cultivate her relationship to innocence, wisdom, humor, and the great, transpersonal, and universal mysteries of life.”
Bill Plotkin, Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche
“Every day I see or I hear something that more or less kills me with delight, that leaves me like a needle in the haystack of light. It is what I was born for — to look, to listen, to lose myself inside this soft world — to instruct myself over and over in joy, and acclamation. Nor am I talking about the exceptional, the fearful, the dreadful, the very extravagant — but of the ordinary, the common, the very drab, the daily presentations. Oh, good scholar, I say to myself, how can you help but grow wise with such teachings as these — the untrimmable light of the world, the ocean’s shine, the prayers that are made out of grass? — MARY OLIVER, “MINDFUL”
Bill Plotkin, Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche
“Oh what a catastrophe, what a maiming of love when it was made a personal, merely personal feeling, taken away from the rising and the setting of the sun, and cut off from the magic connection of the solstice and equinox! This is what is the matter with us. We are bleeding at the roots, because we are cut off from the earth and sun and stars, and love is a grinning mockery, because, poor blossom, we plucked it from its stem on the tree of Life, and expected it to keep on blooming in our civilised vase on the table.16”
Bill Plotkin, Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche
“As Carl Jung repeatedly declared, our goal is wholeness, not perfection. People living soulcentrically are not untroubled or unchallenged. They are not beyond experiencing times of confusion, mistakes, and tragedies. They have by no means healed all their wounds. They are simply on a path to wholeness, to becoming fully human- with all the inevitable defects and distresses inherent in any human story and with all the promise held by our uniquely human imagination.”
Bill Plotkin
tags: soul
“WE’RE ALL IN RECOVERY FROM WESTERN CIVILIZATION Sooner or later, we each must address the paramount addiction in the Western and Westernized worlds: our psychological dependence on the world-view and lifestyle of Western civilization itself.6 The Western worldview says, in essence, that technological progress is the highest value, and that we were born to consume, to endlessly use and discard natural resources, other species, techno-gadgets, toys, and, often, other people, especially if they’re poor or from the global South. It’s a world of commodities, not entities; of consumers, not human beings; and economic expansion is the primary measure of progress. Profits are valued over people, money over meaning, our national entitlement over global peace and justice, “us” over “them.” This addiction to Western civilization — especially now that the Chinese, too, are hooked — is by far the most dangerous one in the world because of how rapidly and extensively it’s undermining the natural systems of Earth. Addiction to Western civilization protects us from seeing and feeling the staggering price all Earthly life pays for our consumer habit. And it protects us from having to make any radical changes in lifestyle,7 or from having to grow up, leave the “home” of our adolescent comforts, and embark upon the hazardous journey of initiation that leads to an existence that’s life enhancing, meaningful, and fulfilling. The more we live in a materialistic flatland, the more we need it in order to keep from experiencing the agony of our alienation. Each of us has the opportunity to carefully examine our lives, uncover the ways in which our addiction to Western civilization operates, and make the biggest, most courageous changes we’re capable of.”
Bill Plotkin, Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche


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Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche Soulcraft
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Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World Nature and the Human Soul
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Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche Wild Mind
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Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth Spiritual Ecology
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