Friday, January 30, 2009

Spirituality and work honour Venusian soul

Julie Register summarizes Thomas Moore’s session for spa professionals, "The Spirituality of Venus" in her report about the 2008 ISPA Conference, held in Las Vegas, Nevada last November. She includes,
"Thomas Moore uses the word archetypal about the notion of the Venusian/Aphroditic as part of life, our sensuality, and our care for things like our hair. In the tradition of Aphrodite and Venus, hair is a wonderful thing. Taking care of our hair is a good and virtuous thing to do. It's a way to be religious or spiritual in the realm of Venus. Taking care of our hair and our body is something we are called to do and we need to do. Materials we use like shampoos, lotions, and anything else we use to care for our body are holy objects in the realm of Venus. They are used in service for this type of spirituality.

Americans do act out some of these things, but we do it with guilt. Or we don't see how our concern for our body and the time we spend in front of a mirror or in the bath is part of our spiritual practice. It goes against the Puritan spirituality (which didn't get that at all). We need to understand that the care of our bodies, the pleasure of our bodies and the taking time for our bodies is part of our spiritual practice. Many depictions of Venus show her at the bath and for her, the bath is a holy thing to do. You take a bath for your body and for your soul as well.

We find the Venus/Aphrodite nature within us in the bath, in front of a mirror, applying ointments and lotions and oils to our body and taking care of our physical life, including sexuality. Our souls need this attention to sensuality and sexuality. If we could be more sensual in life, many of our emotional issues would be helped. If you don't take care of the realm of Venus, you become aggressive and depressed."
Moore’s ISPA talk is available on two CDs for $12 from Mobiletape. Scroll down the linked page to order:
08ISPA-SS01 Working for Body and Soul with Thomas Moore.

For another description of Moore's presentation in Las Vegas, read an earlier Barque post.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Care of the Soul named in Lynn Levin's poem

Lynn Levin references Thomas Moore’s Care of the Soul in a poem, “The Span Worm Moth,” published in her collection, Imaginarium (2005). In her review of this book, Maggie Paul suggests,
"The Span Worm Moth" is a poem that contains some of Levin’s finest artistry, illustrating her humor and ability to encapsulate both the unspoken ruptures and affections of a married couple while engaged in the common act of cleaning out their third-floor study. The sensitive speaker in "The Span-Worm Moth" guiltily watches the wings of a moth beat in the threads of a spider web, while her partner confesses to being in a "throwing-out mode." He proceeds to discard a copy of Thomas Moore’s Care of the Soul, whose title in the speaker’s opinion could just as well pertain to "an embalming / manual or a how-to you might want to read / while waiting in your open coffin / for the relatives to arrive," as it does to a "Guide to Cultivating Depth / and Sacredness in Everyday Life." "As if existence / were not pointless," the speaker comments in a cynical tone, then ventures, "or maybe / Moore suspected it was and so had to invent / a reason for it." After admitting she would never savor "The Book Lover’s / Calendar" on a pillow next to her partner, and mocking his insistence that smart people write smart books "so few will ever read," the speaker frees the moth from its prison and the couple throw off their clothes. Love prevails despite differences; the primal freedom of union overrides the couple’s intellectual and emotional gulf.”
Levin’s poetry is published byLoonfeather Press in Bemidji, Minnesota.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Writer suggests pain contributes to maturity

Today, the Alive on the Edge blog posts a 2006 column that appears on the Western Catholic Reporter and the Tidings Online sites, written by Fr. Ron Rolheiser. The original piece, "Let the pain take you where you need to go" or "Growth through dark nights" addresses "positive disintegration," the paradox that "we mostly grow by falling apart." Rolheiser references James Hillman and Thomas Moore. He writes, "Thomas Moore, in a recent book, Dark Nights of the Soul, offers this advice to anyone undergoing this crisis of soul: 'Care rather than cure. Organize your life to support the process. You are incubating your soul, not living a heroic adventure...'" Barque reported the original column on 8 December 2006.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mythologies of world offer fresh insights

Today, Faye Longo posts "A New Mythology" to urge re-imagination of our world. She refers to Thomas Moore’s Care of the Soul in this blog entry that suggests world mythologies may contain valuable insights for today. Longo writes,
"Descartes’ image of the world and everything in it as a machine has helped us dramatically to improve our lives and to evolve at an unbelievable rate. But the bottom line is that those views are dangerous to us now. If we continue living like we have been the world is going to be a very dark place. I can see this already happening everywhere I turn. I see it in the depleting ozone layer, in global warming, and in the crazy rate in which we drain our resources. I see it in the starving nations, the tortured children and animals, and in the dumps and waters overflowing with garbage. Most of all I see it in my own city, community and life. We give up so very much to run efficiently, like good little machines should, but we are NOT machines, our world is NOT a machine, and the beings in it are NOT machines! If we continue to keep this view, to have this be our "image of the world" or our world myth everything will die."
Longo cites a number of writers sympathetic to this view and continues,
"What I am suggesting is that we take another look at those ancient mythologies and the many world mythologies that still exist and, with our current knowledge intact, study them for what they have to offer. Elsa-Brita Titchenell explains this much more clearly in her article "Mythology Today", "If we recognized the never-failing wisdom, thinly veiled in all ancient traditions, the human predicament would be greatly relieved and mankind would be less prone to suffer the delayed effects of its own unwisdom." (1999). And Moore has this to say, "... we could resurrect mythmakers of the past by recovering an appreciation for mythologies from around the world."(1992)
Longo provides references at the end of this post. A number of themes such as suffering children and environmental degradation echo Thomas Moore's recent blog post with Psychology Today, "Therapy for World Politics".

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Winter season invites restoration of soul

In today’s Huffington Post, Dr. Judith Rich writes about "The Soul of Winter", the seasonal solstice, and opportunities to explore our interior lives. Her column includes,
"The soul continually calls us to make the journey to the farthest reaches of our own interior, to places the light of awareness has never reached so that we too, might be rewarded with the riches of renewal and restoration. However to do so, we must be willing shed the skin of the ordinary world in order to enter the darkness.

Dr. James Hillman, founder of Archetypal Psychology, an extension of the work of Carl Jung, has written many books on the subject of the soul including his most important work, The Soul's Code, a highly recommended read for anyone interested in learning more about this area. Archetypal Psychology is devoted to the study of world mythology, which includes soul process and evolution.

Two other important writers in this area: Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul and The Soul's Religion, and Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero With A Thousand Faces, who became especially known for his PBS series with Bill Moyer. All speak of the soul's process as characterized by the necessity to descend repeatedly into this inner realm of darkness."
Rich suggests, "The call may come in the form of a loss: perhaps the loss of a job or death of a loved one, the end of an important relationship or a life-threatening illness. Or perhaps it's a betrayal or deep disappointment that pierces the veil of our resistance and renders us ready to deepen. When all the usual outer-oriented coping mechanisms no longer work, when we've run out of ways to avoid or means to distract ourselves, the call to begin the inward journey can finally be heard."

She includes a YouTube video link to Thomas Moore talking about a dark night of the soul, and two quotes:

"Instead of seeing depression as a dysfunction, it is a functioning phenomenon. It stops you cold, sets you down, makes you damn miserable." — James Hillman

"Loss means losing what was. We want to change but we don't want to lose. Without time for loss, we don't have time for soul." — James Hillman

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