Monday, May 10, 2010

Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore

Care of the Soul:  A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life by Thomas Moore explores the idea of the self through a Jungian approach to spirituality.  By interpreting our life experiences and choices through mythology, the individual can come into a deeper appreciation of who they are and what values are most essential on a soul level.

What Moore puts forth and emphasizes throughout this book is an awareness of the shadow side of the mythical archetypes.  To strive for the resurrection, one must first experience the crucifixion and the warrior returning home must first experience a labyrinthine journey before finally resting.  The descent into the underworld is part and parcel of the psyche’s necessary growth. 

I especially appreciated his look at dreams, encouraging the reader to not simply interpret dreams with universal symbolic meaning but to allow the dream to emerge within the context of life possibly drawing a more individual intention in the symbolism.  So submerging into water may be a descent into the subconscious but it may also be a baptism or a return to a more primordial state of being. 

There is a tendency in our society to turn away from the shadow, to emphasize the blessing over the suffering, which often results in victimizing the individual.  The cancer patient who is told that visualization can help cure the disease will sink into despair when, after reading time and again about the “law” of attraction, that the patient is now in remission and the spouse who adored a partner perhaps too well will take full responsibility for infidelity because on some vibrating level this is what was attracted into the relationship.

On the other hand, when the experience is seen on a mythic level and the archetype involved is explored in both its light and shadow aspects, then the full experience and lesson can be experienced.  The wanderer will not resist the feeling of being lost trusting that the threshold to home is somewhere on the horizon and the wounded warrior will know that there is healing power in the blood.  These are necessary truths, too easily ignored and dismissed at too high a cost to the self. 

For anyone interested in mythology, in archetypes, or in spiritual growth, this book by Thomas Moore is an excellent choice.  I am eager to read more of his books now as a result of enjoying this one, especially as this was one of his earlier works and I am curious to see where his own writing journey has taken him.

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  1. If you like Thomas Moore's work, you may want to visit Barque, a blog dedicated to him at Please consider adding it to My Blog List for your readers. Thank you for taking the time to write this review of Care of the Soul. Moore's new book is Care of the Soul in Medicine.

  2. Thank you so much. I'm officially following the blog now. I'm very interested in reading more of Moore's books after enjoying this one so thoroughly.