Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life

Rate this book
This New York Times bestseller (more than 200,000 hardcover copies sold) provides a path-breaking lifestyle handbook that shows how to add spirituality, depth, and meaning to modern-day life by nurturing the soul.

Readers are presented with a revolutionary approach to thinking about daily life—everyday activities, events, problems and creative opportunities—and a therapeutic lifestyle is proposed that focuses on looking more deeply into emotional problems and learning how to sense sacredness in even ordinary things.

Basing his writing on the ancient model of "care of the soul"—which provided a religious context for viewing the everyday events of life—Moore brings "care of the soul" into the 21st century. Promising to deepen and broaden the reader's perspective on his or her own life experiences, Moore draws on his own life as a therapist practicing "care of the soul," as well as his studies of the world's religions and his work in music and art, to create this inspirational guide that examines the connections between spirituality and the problems of individuals and society.

312 pages, Paperback

First published January 26, 1988

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Thomas Moore

125 books501 followers
Thomas Moore is the author of the bestselling book, Care of the Soul, Ageless Soul, and fifteen other books on deepening spirituality and cultivating soul in every aspect of life. He has been a monk, a musician, a university professor, and a psychotherapist, and today he lectures widely on holistic medicine, spirituality, psychotherapy, and the arts. He lectures frequently in Ireland and has a special love of Irish culture. He has Ph.D. in religion from Syracuse University and has won several awards for his work, including an honorary doctorate from Lesley University and the Humanitarian Award from Einstein Medical School of Yeshiva University. He also has a B.A. in music from DePaul University, an M.A. in musicology from the University of Michigan, and an M.A. in theology from the University of Windsor. He also writes fiction and music and often works with his wife, artist and yoga instructor, Hari Kirin. He writes regular columns for Resurgence and Spirituality & Health.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
6,753 (38%)
4 stars
5,741 (32%)
3 stars
3,491 (19%)
2 stars
1,013 (5%)
1 star
554 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 484 reviews
Profile Image for Keriann.
27 reviews8 followers
May 11, 2007
The chapter "Gifts of Depression" is phenomenal. One cannot feel true happiness until they've felt true pain. Our society today is so focused on the quick-fix in order to 'feel' happy, that we don't allow people to go through the NORMAL ups and downs of life. It is NORMAL to hurt, and cry, and feel pain. By going through those emotions we are able to move on to greater happiness. I would not give up the pain in my life for anything in this world. Nothing.
Profile Image for Candace Whitney Morris.
188 reviews53 followers
April 17, 2008
There will be many revisions of this review because I will probably have to read and re-read this book for my entire life just to fully absorb it.

Freaking Thomas Moore. He grabs my soul where no other nonfiction spiritual author has managed. The other night, I craved some spiritual comfort (don’t' even talk to me about opening my bible right now! :), and his words jumped from the pages and balmed my broken soul. Let me share some of my favorite passages from the last chapter i read:

On page 258, he just finishes a story about a nun who "lost her faith." To sum up he says something profound.

"There is a Job-like mystery in human suffering and loss that can't be comprehended with reason. It can only be lived in faith. Suffering forces our attention towards places we wound normally neglect. The nun's attention had long been focused on her spiritual practice, but then she was forced to look at her own heart without any spiritual props or lenses. She had to learn that faith comes not only from the spiritual life and high revelations, it also comes as an emanation from the depths, a starkly impersonal reality from the most personal place...we have to arrive at that difficult point where we don't know what is going on or what we can do. That precise point is an opening to true faith."

On page 260, "This is the goal of the soul path - to FEEL EXISTENCE; not to overcome life's struggles and anxieties, but to know life first hand - to exist fully in context."

on page 262, after embracing your soul work..."Then your soul, cared for in courage, will be so solid, so weathered and mysterious, that divinity will emanate from your very being. You will have the spiritual radiance of the holy fool who has dared to live as it presents itself and to unfold personality with its heavy yet creative dose of imperfection."

Being a student of classical literature, I have very rarely found nonfiction that can speak in the same language to which I am accustomed. This book is deeply profound and challenging--perhaps the most evocative approach to psychology, philosophy, and mythology that I have ever encountered.

It is especially helpful to those who enjoy literature. It is artistic and aesthetic, yet still very, very helpful for practical use and everyday living. I have found myself challenged deeply towards personal and spiritual fulfillment, and have been recommending the book to everyone that I know.

My husband and I read it together and are continuing to sift through its richness. No other book has been able to so completely shift my spiritual and psychological paradigm effectively. This is a must read.
Profile Image for etherealfire.
1,212 reviews209 followers
August 28, 2019
Another book I had forgotten that I'd read until I saw it on my feed via a GR friend who just rated it. Read this in the early nineties.
Profile Image for Ganesh.
77 reviews61 followers
June 29, 2007
Many of the religions I've been exposed to preach reaching for an impossible ideal, and my attempts as transcendence have left me inevitably frustrated with myself, others, and my life. That is why I appreciate Thomas Moore's philosophy. Here is, in a nutshell: don't try to transcend your humanity, embrace it.

Moore's ideas would resonate with spiritual wanderers and people who view life as an artistic work in progress.

Here is what I took away from the book:

-When Moore was a therapist, he noticed that many clients would come to him, wanting him to remove a flaw of theirs. They went to him like patients seeking a surgeon to remove a tumor.

For instance, once a woman told him that her problem was that she was too dependent on others, and she wanted him to help her get rid of this tendency. He explained to her that if it were magically possible to remove this tendency, she would simply acquire an entirely new of problems that comes with being an independent person. Instead of fighting one's nature, why not accept it and the inevitable positives and negatives that come with it, and find a way to live more peacefully with that knowledge.

-I had always assumed that nothing good could come from being jealous. So, I found it immensely frustrating when I fell in love and experienced intense jealousy for the first time. Moore helped me realize that jealousy is natural and even necessary in an intimate relationship. It is that possessiveness that keeps a couple together. If there's too high a level of detachment, then it'd be too easy for the couple to drift apart.

-When people think of what "creativity" means, according to Moore, most people think of the child-like initial stages of creativity. However, the less-than-glamorous, mundane tasks are also essential to the creative process.

-He is critical of conventional psychotherapy because of its often cold, scientific approach. He feels that labeling a person with a condition can reflect a condescending view.

I've sat around with friends listening to someone's relationship problems, when a friend will say "The problem is he's avoidant and a total narcissist." Everyone, including myself, would then roll their eyes and nod in agreement. But I would feel like something's wrong with dismissing someone in this way. Thomas Moore's approach seems much more compassionate to me. He might respond by saying that there are reasons people resist dealing with difficult situations and it can take time for them to work through denial, and narcissists have good and bad traits.

-Our culture celebrates light, and many feel ashamed when we aren't happy. However, Moore contends that sadness is, in a sense, a gift, for it gives one depth and perspective. Healing can take time. It rarely occurs overnight.
Profile Image for sAmAnE.
582 reviews87 followers
December 21, 2021
ما هیچ‌وقت از مرور خاطرات گذشته خسته نمی‌شویم. تعریف کردن داستا‌ن‌های زندگی راه موثری برای مراقبت از روح است.
اولین قدم برای دوست‌داشتن روحمان توجه به آن است.
مراقبت از روح به ما می‌آموزد که وقتی در زندگی مشکلی پیش می‌آید در برابر آن حالت دفاعی نگیریم. بلکه ظرفیت روحی‌مان را آن‌قدر بالا ببریم تا بتوانیم آن را به تمامی در برگیریم.
برای شناخت روح‌مان چاره‌ای جز روبرو شدن با جنبه‌های تاریک، انحرافی و غیرعادی آن نداریم. حتی باید جنبه‌های عادی روح‌مان را زیر سوال ببریم. این عادی بودن می‌تواند روکشی برای جنبه‌های سایه‌وارمان باشد.
این کتاب برای من خیلی کاربردی و مفید بود. برای خواندنش حتما باید با نظریات یونگ و مبحث خودشناسی و اسطوره شناسی تا حدودی آشنا باشید.
نویسنده‌ی کتاب یکی از یونگین‌های غرب است و از پیروان یونگ می‌باشد. وی با اعتقاد به تفاوت‌ها و انعطاف‌پذیری‌های رفتاری در انسان‌ها سعی در شناخت و به کارگیری درست آن‌ها را دارد که برای حل مسائل درونی و بیرونی آن‌ها را مفید می‌داند.
در جایی از کتاب آمده : نباید از زندگی ترسید و باید با آن مواجه ش. نباید از آن هراسید باید تجربیات سخت زندگی را در آغوش کشید و به طور کامل با آن‌ها رو به رو شد. گاهی باید از دست داد و خالی شد...
کتاب ماحصل تلاشی‌ست برای بازگرداندن روح به زندگی انسان. برای مراقبت ابتدا باید نیازها و تمایلات‌ را شناخت. دست‌کم گوشدادن به آن‌ها باعث باعث غنای شخصیت و هویت می‌شود. انکار نکنیم و سرنوشت را بپذیریم. تلاش کتاب برای موثر دانستن خانواده برای ریشه‌یابی مسائل جامعه مورد توجه بود. اهمیت دادن به سلامت جسم در کنار سلامت روان، تاثیر ورزش... و مباحثی که در مورد افسردگی، خشونت، حسادت، رشک، عشق، فقدان و جدایی و ... شده بود برای من بسیار مفید بود.
در کل سفر روح یک فرایند همیشگی است و پایان نمی‌پذیرد. مراقبت از روح لزوما به معنی تغییر و بهبود شرایط نیست، بلکه کنار آمدن با حس‌های آزاردهنده است و نهایتا این��ه زندگی آموختنی است...🦋
7 reviews
February 22, 2008
Ok, the title sounds cheesy, but this is basically the best book of all time. It has absolutely informed my approach to my life, my friends', and my clinical work. Basically, Moore addresses what he terms our culture's overly "hygenic" approach to mental health - the idea that we need to clean up and get rid of undesirable parts of ourselves. Having been educated in theology, psychology, and musicology, Moore is in a good position to advocate for a polytheistic approach. He does not mean that literally, in terms of accepting multiple deities, but rather uses examples and Greek myths to show that all parts of ourselves are important and deserve listening and care. Instead of repressing undesirable parts of ourselves, Moore advocates honoring symptoms as voices of soul. If something is bothering us, we may need to listen to parts of ourselves that have been hidden. Moore also explains that not everything needs to be resolved, and that it is often appropriate to welcome perspectives within ourselves that have very different needs. It is in caring for our multiple needs and complex, contrasting parts that we can honor different parts of soul and facilitate comprehensive care.
Profile Image for Hussam Elkhatib.
Author 2 books227 followers
May 23, 2017
It takes the reader to great depths within the realm of their soul. There are no words that may describe what this great book can offer to someone in the midst of their suffering, as it provides healing that comes with a deep understanding. Such outlook could replenish contentment and restore warmth to someone's life with a reason. Thomas Moore had valuable information to share. He also contributed significant knowledge that enriches both the mind and soul. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Kimber.
207 reviews61 followers
September 12, 2017
Care of the soul is much neglected by the individual in our society and this neglect effects personal happiness, how we view relationships, and our feeling of fulfillment. Soul is who we are and soul is the prescription we need for our sicknesses and disorders of mind.

Moore, writing in 1992, definitely saw clearly the problems of the future: "One day I would like to make up my own DSM-III with a list of disorders I have seen in my practice. For example, I would want to include the diagnosis of Psychological Modernism, an uncritical acceptance of the values of the modern world. It includes blind faith in technology, inordinate attachment to material gadgets and conveniences, uncritical acceptance of the march of scientific progress, devotion to the electronic media, and a lifestyle dictated by advertising. This orientation towards life also tends toward a mechanistic and rationalistic understanding of matters of the heart. In this Modernist Syndrome, technology becomes the root metaphor for dealing with psychological problems."

Moore's many insights of 1992 have come true and society has clearly moved away from the soul and more towards technology. Technology is unavoidable but the call and tending of the soul is essential to being in balance and the pharmaceutical approach to treating mental problems is an abysmal failure.
Profile Image for Leslie.
293 reviews113 followers
September 21, 2015
Thanks to Rowena https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...--- who suggested we “buddy-read” bell hooks’ 1995 book Art On My Mind earlier this year, my love for that book was re-kindled. Like I told Zanna https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...--- who recently began reading Art On My Mind --- “this book is my jam.”

In her essay “The Poetics of Soul: Art for Everyone” ---hooks takes to the pulpit to speak about the sanctity of the soul as revealed in artworks created by Alison Saar. She cites Thomas Moore’s book Care of the Soul (1992) in this essay about four times, which is what made me curious to read his book. Well, it has taken me 20 years to get around to reading Moore’s book! (Take THAT! those of you with extensive TBR lists!) But I think that now is the good time for me.

Using mostly Eurocentric references, Moore’s discussion of the soul and its care seems even more resonant and urgent now, in these splintered, anesthetized, and technology-driven times. Care of the Soul does not read like a generic “self- help” book but offers concepts regarding the soul and its care which challenge western contemporary expectations toward solving internal and external mysteries of life. Care is not synonymous with cure. As Moore says in the introduction:

“The act of entering into the mysteries of the soul, without sentimentality or pessimism, encourages life to blossom forth according to its own designs and with its own unpredictable beauty. Care of the soul is not solving the puzzle of life; quite the opposite, it is an appreciation of the paradoxical mysteries that blend light and darkness into the grandeur of what human life and culture can be.”

I am very behind on summer fun and writing for my blog so this is as long as this “review” is going to get, today!
Profile Image for Diane Challenor.
350 reviews67 followers
July 25, 2016
This book if full of wisdom. I've abandoned it because it relies heavily on mythology for analogies and I have a personal dislike of mythology, therefore I had difficulty getting through the book. When authors use mythology within their prose, a knowledge of the myths is required. I have very little knowledge of the myths and have very little desire to learn more about them. AS Byatt referred to a lot of myths in her book "Possession" and I cross referenced most of them because I was determined to read her book from beginning to end. Unfortunately I didn't have the same energy when it came to reading "Care of the Soul", I gave up about one third of the way through. That said, I would like to try again some time "down the track" because I know the book holds profound thoughts on how to live a "good-life" which is something I strive for.
Profile Image for Danielle.
548 reviews35 followers
September 20, 2020
This was flowery and hard to grasp the authors ideas because his explanations weren't straightforward. Much of his "facts" was truly opinion and based on personal experience.

I was looking for a book about how to cultivate ritual and sacredness into everyday life with practical ideas but this book was more of the philosophy of the soul and what care for it means.
50 reviews4 followers
March 19, 2009
Although this book was presented to me as "not a self-help book," it really is. The most important point that this book made for me was the value of accepting contradictions, why we accept or reject certain behaviors/characteristics.

All behaviors exist on a continuum, and the actions that we pursue change in response to our circumstances and maturity. These behaviors may be opposites and they would appear to contradict each other, but we draw on these characteristics and use them as they are needed in life. At their extreme they do harm; in moderation they allow us to flourish as individuals and coexist in society with others:
Creation - destruction
Gentleness - aggression
Solitude - social contact
Self-love - humility
Need for approval - no regard for the views of another
Being adrift - being anchored
Openess/freedom - order/limit
Possessive attachment - dispersion of desire
Forgiveness - Vengeance

Quotable quote: p. 254 "But the real trust of faith would be to decide whether to trust someone, knowing that betrayal is inevitable because life and personality are never without shadow. The vulnerability that faith demands could then be matched by an equal trust in oneself, the feeling that one can survive the pain of betrayal."

Soul has a preference for details and particulars, intimacy and involvement, attachment and rootedness.
Also a need for retreat.
Idealism and romanticizing deny the darker elements of doubt, hopelessness, and emptiness.

If you are not of the Christian persuasion, you probably want to avoid the last section of the book, the rest provides insights that anyone can use, regardless of their religious affiliation or non-affiliation.

Personally I found this book useful to me. It came at just the right moment and it helped me to ask and consider the answers to questions about different aspects of my life.

Profile Image for Matthew.
245 reviews2 followers
January 20, 2018
I wasn’t prepared for his interpretation on myths and the souls that walk this earth today. The book started off well. It helped me ponder more of a shade of grey than simply black and white regarding good and evil.

My perception of narcissism and depression have been on the side of evil. Moore treats it as an undeveloped side to your soul and a part that is screaming out for attention.

I started to skim a little towards the end when he started talking about beauty and interpreting dreams. I believe that dreams are a glance directly at the soul but can be dangerous to interpret if you are not trained in that area. It is similar to interpret the Bible on your own without studying theology. Dreams and the written word of God might be readily accessible but should not be analyzed without a sturdy guide to help along the way.

I have to admit that I almost decided to abandon the book when he did not call himself a lapsed Catholic but a highly reformed one. It came across egotistical and challenging God.

I will not be reading this book again.
Profile Image for culley.
191 reviews29 followers
September 10, 2016
"Care of the soul is not a project of self-improvement nor a way of being released from the troubles and pains of human existence. It is not at all concerned with living properly or with emotional health. … To the soul, memory is more important than planning, art more compelling than reason, and love more fulfilling than understanding. We know we are well on the way toward soul when we fell attachment to the world and the people around us and when we live as much from the heart as from the head. We know soul is being cared for when our pleasures feel deeper than usual, when we can let go of the need to be free of complexity and confusion, and when compassion takes the place of distrust and fear. … Therefore, when in the midst of my confusion and my stumbling attempts to live a transparent life, I am the fool, and not everyone around me, then I know I am discovering the power of the soul to make life interesting."
Profile Image for Miriam.
26 reviews3 followers
September 20, 2011
This is such an amazing book that really helped me shift my perspective of the healing journey. In one of many metaphors that stuck with me, he describes the soul journey as a following the path of a labyrinth rather than a climbing up a mountain, reaching a spiritual peak. There's a place for those spiritual ascents, too, but Moore always brings our attention back to our ordinary broken humanness--which is where we can find true nourishment. I will be referencing this book again and again.
Profile Image for Miyuki.
121 reviews1 follower
October 29, 2012
Thomas and I had a great deal of conversations over 6 months. He introduced me to the Greek mythology, invited me to see differently the emotions I preferred to avoid, and encouraged me about imagination and mystery. What was once called hallucinations is now the soul of the world again, and this time, I am so happy to be Home.
Profile Image for Rosalinda.
64 reviews39 followers
June 27, 2019
I deeply savored this book while reading it. I highlighted many sentences & copied much of its wisdom into a journal. I know I’ll revisit this book; I consider it a mini bible on the care of my soul & will refer to it when I feel a part of me slipping into the daily dust of routine.
Profile Image for Aline.
478 reviews
January 25, 2020
How to find more depth in „ordinary life“ explored on archetypes and psychological meanings.

My biggest takeaway:
„Melancholy thoughts carve out an inferior space where wisdom can take up residence.“ <3
Profile Image for Carl R..
Author 6 books26 followers
May 9, 2012
Thomas Moore brings an impressive background and set of degrees to his psychiatric practice. He was a monk before he got into psychology, and he has a Ph.D and a number of other impressive certificates to his credit. He also plays the piano, he lets us know, as a way of relieving grief and anxiety in strenuous moments such as 9/11, which spurred him into a three-hour communion with Bach.
Care of the Soul he envisions as a “Guide for cultivating depth and sacredness in everyday life.” An ambitious goal, and I suppose you could use the book in this way, although if you do, I think it ought to have a warning label or two.
I found Moore impressive and insightful, but have some reservations to mention before I get to the positives. A person in the wrong frame of mind could suffer severe consequences by taking Moore’s advice too literally. He maintains, for example, that it might be a good idea to combat depression by diving into the negative feelings, dealing with the causes, and coming out stronger on the other end. Trying to combat such feelings with drugs (allotropically rather than homeopathically), he goes on, is liable to cover up the root causes of melancholy without solving the problem. With expert guidance, this could be a fine approach. No doubt we’re way too dependent on pills as problem solvers. However, true depression can often end in suicide, and Moore’s remedy as a do-it-yourself cure would be, to say the least a bad idea. He also doesn’t mention that there are millions of people for whom life and relationships would be impossible without the help of psychotropic drugs. I know a few such folks, and they are neither addicts nor idiots. Moore doesn’t offer such caveats.
Too, he keeps harking back to the Greeks and medievals as true guides to body and spirit, reminding us of the beneficial influences of concepts like the four humors. True, he often speaks of these as metaphorical and wants his readers to use them mainly as ways around the concept our scientific age has created that we can have concrete, linear solutions even for situations for which they are inappropriate. Again, well and good, except that the medicine and “science” based on such ideas produced in their day dangerous practices like bleeding, purging, and heavy metal cocktails. His heavily anti-scientific bent could easily feed those among us today who deny all things scientific. Those, who, for example, put their own children and the rest of us in danger by refusing vaccinations. Although I am receptive to much of his message, I wish he’d made the context and limits more clear.
When I taught in an experimental high school way back when, I had the exciting opportunity to invent a course called Dreams, Myth, and Magic. We used Jung’s Man And His Symbols as the central text, along with a wonderful book called The Lost World of the Kalahari by Laurence Van Der Post. Van Der Post’s study of the lives and myths of the San People, or the Bushmen of South Africa took a Jungian look at how myths and dreams can be used to guide and structure a peoples’ very existence. Because the Bushmen lived, at the time he was among them, virtually without influence from the modern west, they provided a virtual tabula Rasa for testing some of Jung’s pet theories about the universality of the myth patterns and unconscious sources of dreams and archetypes. Afterwards, the Bushmen quickly became rather famous, and there was even a Hollywood movie out for a while that made fun of the little men as they encountered 20th century modern miracles, a little on the order of the Beverly Hillbillies.
However, my students and I had a good time exploring Jung’s theories of myth and archetypes and dream analysis. I wasn’t and still am not qualified to act as either a scholar or therapist, so we approached it all in a rather literary and historical way. I didn’t want things to get too personal, though we did have some relatively intimate discussions, and I think the course did us all a lot of good. The reading and interactions have provided some good guideposts for me and I hope for my students.
I say all this to demonstrate that I have at least a passing interest and involvement in much of what Moore is “preaching,” and I am receptive. What he calls the “Soul” is more or less what Jung calls the “Unconscious,” or what Freud calls the “Id.” Freud and Jung were trying to separate their work from the theological frameworks which had always been responsible for explaining the mysteries of our existence. Moore, by contrast, wants to dive right back into the world of the numinous and provide an antidote to the intellectualized, materialistic world we have created and in which we have such “faith.”
He prescribes everything from meditation/prayer to arts and crafts. Concentrate on your inner self. Do your own work--housecleaning, dishwashing, gardening. Create--not just buy--your own art and decorations. But he’s not nearly that simplistic. You also need to encounter your own fears, anxieties, failures. Not to “fix” them. The soul is not a mechanical object to be repaired. Instead, you embrace your negatives with the notion that they are single aspects of whole entities, of which you are at any moment experiencing only a part. In that whole entity reside positives you will never know or understand unless you accept the negatives that go with them. And once you have understood the whole you will be a richer being inside and more effective in the world.
One of the most fascinating areas of the book was the idea of animism, the dominant religion of “primitive” cultures whose gods are multi-faceted rather than monotheistic. Seen from this perspective, our personalities are a collection of separate drives and desires and influences that live within us contradictory and often argumentative lives. There is the Daedalus, the inventor in a labyrinth; there is also the Icarus, the son who longs to soar beyond the labyrinth and who destroys himself in the process. There is the Narcissist who in a truncated and undeveloped form sees in the whole world only himself--Freud’s “ego,” undeveloped and dangerous. And the Narcissist who dives into the pool after his own image and comes out on the other side with a vision of the whole world and a wholeness and affection for self without which the true self the whole ego, is either terrifying or insignificant in the world. It was Jung’s idea thyou were to eventually unify all these fragments in the eventual process of “individuation.” Moore doesn’t seem to see that as a goal.
So the book goes, myth after myth, one psychological theory after another, patient and dream anecdotes galore. Moore acts as his own Virgil guiding us on a fascinating journey through his conception of “the underworld” with the idea that if we pay close enough attention, we’ll be able to fashion a way out of our own labyrinth.
Not an easy read, but a worthwhile one. Or, you could just opt for no growth.
Profile Image for Rose Rosetree.
Author 15 books213 followers
December 18, 2022
First, my Official Rating. In my view, given what the author aimed for, to what degree was that accomplished? Definitely Thomas deserves five stars for this masterful job.

"Soul" was a new concept to me, on reading this book; at least in contrast to cultural references I'd already absorbed, like "soul music" and "soul food."

Such an important concept for helping me upgrade my interest in being human!

Yeah, yeah. Technically I had been human all along, but with considerable lack of enthusiasm. "My eyes were on the lookout for God," to adapt Zora Neale Hurston's brilliant title, "Their Eyes Were Watching God."

"Care of the Soul" helped me to start taking better care of my soul.

Now I'll follow up with a review that gives a second kind of rating, my Personal Rating. Here's where I'll confer a second number of stars according to my current opinion... and my personal values.

One star only.

Here's why.

Which Books Can Actively Help a Person to Gain Spiritual Enlightenment?

What kind of book can help a questing reader to gain direct experience of more depth and sacredness... at all?

Unlike those long-ago years when I first read "Care of the Soul," by now I work as an Enlightenment teacher. Not just a spiritual teacher, which I'd been involved in doing for decades by the time I read this book. Long story short, by the time of writing this review, I had quite a bit of experience at serving as an Enlightenment teacher.

One of the roles of any Enlightenment teacher is to develop discernment about which kind of path could help which spiritual seeker.

Disclaimer before I give my opinion, under these circumstances: Of course, if this book is important to your spiritual path now, don't let my words dissuade you. And please don't interpret what I'm about to say as criticizing either you or that so-successful author, Thomas Moore. That said...

Some Spiritual Paths Involve Paying Attention at HUMAN Vibrational Frequencies

To me, that was Thomas Moore's approach. Other examples are mindfulness practices; also, Be Here Now-style meditation methods (with or without religious tie-ins, such as some Zen Buddhist teachings).

With relatively few exceptions, these methods work only up to a certain point.

According to my experience with helping Enlightenment students long term, what's it like following any path that lacks a means for direct experience at the DIVINE Vibrational Frequency? That path will be very slow going indeed; an arduous slog at best.

Granted, Thomas Moore's book was about soul. Human soul. Acknowledging and appreciating soul. Was he claiming to help readers as an Enlightenment teacher? I don't think so.

In this context is noted do you really think that care of the soul... is likely to help a person take significance steps toward spiritual evolution?

Hey, I was fascinated to learn about the soulful significance of animal-style imagery on old-fashioned chair legs. However, that sort of understanding would -- to me -- qualify as SHALLOW. Not DEEP.

Moore's book is wonderful. But it didn't teach me how to cultivate either "depth" or "sacredness." Therefore, I don't believe this fine book belongs on Goodreads lists about Spiritual Enlightenment.

That would be like elevating the elegant dining car of a train... promoting it to the First Car position, aiming to use that wonderful dining car as the train's locomotive: a certain kind of nonstarter.

(Just my opinion.)
Profile Image for Mommalibrarian.
741 reviews46 followers
December 15, 2013
I read Care of the Soul because it belonged to one of my daughters and she left it at my house. I almost quit multiple times and had large periods of time in which I did not touch it. Somewhere during one of these breaks I read Freud & Jung by Stevens also left by my daughter. F&J contains the barest outline of their thought. The section on Jung gave me some insight into what the COTS author was trying to explain.

Couple of things - Soul is not the same as ego, intellect or even spirit to the author. The author is not a proponent of religion except as it is nourishes soul. He talks about the poverty of soul that is characteristic of most homeless, criminal, and delinquent persons. Schools and commerce/jobs emphasize ego and intellect and totally neglect soul. RFT had an article on investigation of some psychedelic potion which might be of use in treatment of addiction and other mental illness such as depression. Knowing if the treatment works is based on pre and post measurement of quality of life, emotional regulations, outlook and hopefulness, empowerment, and mindfulness. The COTS point of view p.283 "To take care of the soul we will need to give up our limited ideas of what psychology is, our attempts to gain rational control over our moods and emotions, our illusion that our consciousness is the only sign of soul in the universe, and our desire for dominance over nature and fabricated things. We have to expose ourselves to beauty, risking the irrationality it stirs up and the interference it can place in the way of our march toward technological progress ... we only encounter soul in intractable problems and deep-seated neuroses."

Soetsu Yanagi - Beauty as that which gives unlimited scope to imagination.

My mind strayed to the "homeless, criminal or delinquent and how the idea of Beauty might be made real to them.

Is this Beauty a luxury when many people just need to get through their day with as little collateral damage as possible? Is this strange idea of caring for the soul just so much psychobabble? Nothing was clear to me at the beginning of the book. There wass extensive blathering about Odysseus as father and Demeter as mother - myths to guide our soul building. Completely weird, incomprehensible and useless. I am not sure at what point the book turned around for me but by the end I was glad I read it. Restarting from the beginning I was again to put off by the myth explanations.
Profile Image for Colleen.
84 reviews218 followers
October 29, 2007
This is the sort of book that I'll keep near my tissue box for the rest of my life, not because it made me cry. Rather, when I cry, I'll go for a tissue, see Thomas Moore's brilliant book, and feel better, hopefully. I'll give myself time to brood, time to weep, and time to allow my soul to grow.

There's a chapter in here for nearly every modern major problem. I'll be memorizing the ones on jealousy and depression. Sex, relationships, love, careers, and money are covered, plus more. What a bargain. And Moore navigates these rough seas with such grace. It was a joy to read.

The only slow part for me was the opening chapter. It takes a hundred pages or so for me to get the rhythm of most authors. In this case, Moore was not only introducing himself stylistically. He was also defining the terms in his piece, and setting up the historical precedent for the care of the soul. Fascinating, but heady, stuff.

I heartily recommend this book for all of my family and friends. After all, you'll be feeling its influence through my actions and attitudes regardless of whether you actually pick it up.
Profile Image for Vicky.
909 reviews36 followers
October 31, 2008
It took me some time to finish this book, but it was worth the effort. Here is an important book that teaches you how to accept the everyday life, to understand yourself and not be afraid to fail, to be sad, to be ordinary. To care for your soul is to appreciate the everyday moments, to feel the sadness and happiness in small things, to know how to be quiet, to contemplate. The author, who was brought up as a Roman catholic, has an education in theology and now works as a psychoanalyst. He talks about ancient philosophers and their art of living; there are a lot of references to other religions in a book as well. To care for your soul – is the main purpose of any of us, we can find soul in nature, in animals and even in our homes. It is all about how we appreciate our life. The ego works on our careers, wealth and prestige, but we have to allow the soul to be sad, even depressed and not to succeed. I want to buy this book and read it again in a future.

Profile Image for Helynne.
Author 3 books45 followers
May 15, 2009
This is a short, but very wise and soothing read, just as one might imagine from the title. While providing a lot of suggestions for treating ourselves with gentlessness and respect to better our daily lives, Thomas Moore urges readers to remember that our souls are only partly on the earth, and partly in eternity, "We might remember the part the resides in eternity when we feel despair over the part that is in life" (96). An especially interesting discussion in this book is Moore's caution about religious beliefs, which can quickly become orthodox; that is, the opposite of spirituality, and thereby, self-defeating. "Formal religion, so powerful and influencial in the establishment of values, always lies on a cusp between the divine and the demonic. Religion is never neutral . . . The Latin word "sacer" , the root of sacred, means both "holy" and "taboo," so close is the relationship between the holy and the forbidden" (215-16). Lots of interesting food for thought!
Profile Image for Chelsea.
25 reviews6 followers
February 12, 2010
I was attracted to this book because of Thomas Moore's scholastic background in mythology, musicology and theology. It was a nourishing book, with little to no overtones of "churchiness". In fact it is a direct challenge to the traditional religious way of thinking about spirituality. He casts the obstacles of life in a soothing light, using the tales of Greek/Roman mythology and traditional shamanic dreamwork to add richness to our understanding of life's trials (depression, anxiety, death, narcissism, low-self esteem, envy). Even though it was geared towards a more mature adult audience, I felt I benefited from this book. Through ancient stories and archetypes Moore illustrates how we can make our bodies, our living spaces and our relationships a living testament to the beauty of life.
Profile Image for Angella.
9 reviews1 follower
July 14, 2008
This book reminded me of the richness in life and that if I just slowed down to notice, I would be a happier person.

Moore draws on Greek myths such as that of Echo and Narcissus and Tristan and Isolde to exemplify his ideas around Self-Love and Love. He has a poetic way of writing that while it may not agree with everyone (at times myself included), it did remind me that we all have our own ways of expression.

The biggest take away I had was his take on depression and melancholy. While most would write it off as a disease to medicate, Moore suggests that perhaps it's a rite of passage and an opportunity for growth.
Profile Image for Trey Kennedy.
528 reviews8 followers
October 31, 2018
There are some books it takes shear force of will to finish. This is one of those books. Moore claims to be helping us to care for the soul, but then refuses to tell us what soul actually is. Although he accidentally lets slip what soul is towards the end, the statements of his book often contradict the definition. The path he proposes is one drowned in bad philosophy, religion, science, interpretation, and psychology. Most of his premises come from mangled interpretations of classic myths that have little to do with what the original myths were actually about. This book is not worth the time or trouble it takes to read it.
3 reviews
September 3, 2014
Care of the Soul addresses the problem that so many people today face: how to love one's self (yet also explaining the monumental difference between loving one's self and ego). I've never read a book that was as genuinely real as this one. Although referencing some Christian aspects, Moore remains religiously unbiased. Moore also frequently comments upon the difference between "care" and "cure." One must accept his or her human traits and appreciate them rather than try to get rid of them. The soul is not something that needs to be fixed, but rather something that needs to be loved.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 484 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.