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Nature and the Human Soul

Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World
Paperback Book
New World Library
January, 2008
In stock now: 
$29.95 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

Nature and the Human Soul illustrates how great cultural changes can come when people allow themselves and their children to fully engage with the world. The book explores the Eco-Soulcentric Stages of Life—Innocent, Explorer, Societal Entrepreneur and Wanderer, Soul Apprentice and Artisan, and Master and Sage—and offers insight as to how the reader can realize their greatest potential by working through the cultural and individual tasks associated with each stage. These tasks are designed to facilitate full engagement with the developing soul as well as the wider world and nature. Told in meditative prose and moving anecdotes, this book truly builds a template for a more whole and naturally engaged life.

In this magnum opus more than 25 years in the making, psychologist, eco-therapist, and wilderness guide Plotkin (Soulcraft) brings forth a new model for the whole of human life and spirituality in our “patho-adolescent society.”

True adulthood, or psychological maturity, has become an uncommon achievement in Westernized societies, and genuine elderhood nearly nonexistent… Interwoven with arrested personal development, and perhaps inseparable from it, our everyday lives drifted vast distances from our species’ original intimacy with the natural world and from our own uniquely individual natures, our souls.

Beginning fittingly with elder eco-sage Thomas Berry, Plotkin calls us to a fresh circular conception of individual and collective evolutionary life genuinely reconnected to the wild of nature. Using the indigenous template of the four compass directions, he articulates eight stages on the wheel of spiritual development.  

The Wheel is a deep-structure portrait of nature-and-soul-oriented cultures, a portrait that encompasses child-raising practices, core values, stages of growth, rites of passage, community organization, and relationship to the greater Earth community.

Leaning heavily on psychology, Plotkin also draws upon a heavenly host of the rich sources that inform a lifetime including poetry, global cultures and much more.

 “This vital book provides a road map to help us remember how to be human—which means how to be a human being in relationship to the natural world, to our home. We owe Bill Plotkin a deep debt of gratitude for this important work.” —Derrick Jensen, author of A Language Older than Words

“As important as it is to both Depth Psychologies and Eco-Psychologies, this book is also fresh and readable, poetic in its imaging and easily accessible to everyone. The weaving of interviews into the text with elders Joanna Macy and Thomas Berry are startling and poignant as we get to experience their far reaching wisdom. As well, Plotkin’s own storytelling masterfully draws one into the natural world showing us how nature can teach us and mirror our own humanity. He brings the soul’s logic into view.” —Barnes & Noble


Publisher’s Description: 

Addressing a pervasive longing for meaning and fulfillment in this time of crisis, a depth psychologist and wilderness guide introduces a visionary ecopsychology of human development. His model for a human lifespan rooted in the cycles of the natural world reveals how fully and creatively we can mature when both soul and wild nature guide us. In turn, this blueprint for individual development yields a strategy for transforming our egocentric, competitive, consumer society to an ecocentric, soul-based one that is cooperative, compassionate and sustainable. 416 pp.

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