Soul means many things, both to us as individuals, and in centuries of religious and cultural interpretations, literature, scripture, doctrines and debates. Almost every interpretation varies on the same theme, that every living body is made up of visible, physical matter and an invisible spirit, the soul. The soul is considered by some to be the conscience or the individual consciousness. It is viewed as the centre of energy and as the manifestation of invisible reality in people.
"What is the source of this soul power and how can we tap into it? I believe it often comes from unexpected places. It comes first of all from living close to the heart, and not at odds with it. Therefore, paradoxically, soul power may emerge from failure, depression, and loss. The general rule is that soul appears in the gaps and holes of experience. It is usually tempting to find some subtle way of denying these holes or distancing ourselves from them. But we have all experienced moments when we've lost a job or endured an illness only to find an unexpected inner strength."
Thomas Moore "Care of the Soul"
According to Carl G. Jung, the soul was a link to the unconscious and a personification of its contents which belonged both to the individual and to the spirit world. Jung developed the concept of individuation. Individuation is a process by which we achieve the sense of being a unique individual actively involved in the workings of our soul. The more we can embrace the possibilities of life entering into us, the more individual we are. He felt that only when we embraced our grief could our souls grow.
"Transparent Man, who is seen and seen through, foolish, who has nothing left to hide, who has become transparent through self acceptance; his soul is loved, wholly revealed, wholly existential; he is just what he is, freed from paranoid concealment, from the knowledge of his secrets and his secret knowledge; his transparency serves as a prism for the world and the not-world. For it is impossible reflectively to know thyself; only the last reflection of an obituary may tell the truth, and only God knows our real names."
James Hillman "Myths of Analysis"
Pythagoras believed the soul was a fallen, polluted deity incarcerated in the body and doomed to a perpetual cycle of rebirth. He also believed that the soul could be liberated by ritual purifications which would allow the soul to achieve harmony with the universe. Origen, a third Century Christian Platonist, believed there was a kinship between God and the soul and that knowledge of the divine was a natural state. He viewed the Virgin Birth as the birth of the divine Wisdom in the soul.
Gnosticism held that spiritual beings had grown tired of perfect comtemplation of the God who had shown himself to them in the Logos, the divine Word and Wisdom. They had fallen from the divine world into physical bodies which stopped their descent. The soul could still ascend to God in a slow, steady journey which continued after the death of the physical body. The Apostle Paul distinguished between the soul (psyche) which animated the physical body (soma) and the immortal spirit (pneuma) which was informed by the Holy Spirit. The spirit shone through the psyche onto the complete individual, so that the individual could live and be made whole again after the resurrection.
I have developed the following reading based on some of the higher concepts and lower limitations of our souls. This is a 22 card spread and the whole deck is utilized. To prepare for the reading create your atmosphere as per your typical routine, I recommend a white candle. Close your eyes and focus your consciousness on your soul space, the space between your rib cage and your back. Relax and bring your focus inward. Inhale deeply and release the breath. Formulate the question "What is my soul's story?" and let it drop into your soul space, visualize or simply feel this occurring. Listen for the answer and continue holding the question in your soul. Open your eyes, shuffle your deck and cut the cards in your usual method. One or two words will float into your awareness. Meditate on these words as you deal out the cards in the following layout.
1. What is the burden or beauty of my soul's memory?
2. What informs my soul's understanding?
3. What strengthens or weakens my soul's will?
4. What is sweetest to my soul?
5. What is highest to my soul?
6. What is best to my soul?
7. What is helping or hindering my soul's ability to discern and embrace new ways?
8. What is helping or hindering my soul's perseverance, strength and endurance?
9. What is helping or hindering my soul's patience to learn and accept deep love?
10. 11. 12. 13. 14.
10. What does my soul feel?
11. What does my soul sense?
12. What does my soul believe?
13. What is my soul attached to?
14. What does my soul know?
15. 16. 17. 18. 19.
15. What does my soul have faith in?
16. What does my soul have hope in?
17. What does my soul love?
18. What is my soul waiting for?
19. What fills my soul with peace?
20. What is helping or hindering my soul to experience beauty?
21. What is helping or hindering my soul to exercise restraint?
22. What is helping or hindering my soul to surrender to pleasure?
I would recommend this as a good reading to include in your journal in order that you may come back and reflect and meditate on its insights at a later date. Eat something after you have completed the Soul Story to ground yourself again. This reading would be helpful done once a year for insight or on a birthday or anniversary date. Please use it as required if a genuine soul crisis occurs in your life or someone else's. Be prepared for a surprising, insightful and genuine story of the state of your soul. Let self be transparent, send ego to bed along with your lower emotions, fears, anxieties and doubts. The dark beauty of your soul's story is calling you, make time to listen.
"So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. And you learn that you really can endure...that you really are strong, and you really do have worth."
Veronica A. Shofstall "After A While"
"Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me."
Psalm 142, Verse 7 KJV
"For what shall it profit a man, is he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
Mark 8, Verses 36, 37 KJV
"For most of human history we have searched for our place in the cosmos. Who are we? What are we? We find that we inhabit an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions, and by the depth of our answers."
"We gaze up at the same stars, the sky covers us all, the same universe encompasses us. What does it matter what practical system we adopt in our search for the truth? Not by one avenue only can we arrive at so tremendous a secret."
Symmachus 384, C.E.
"The great events of world history are at bottom profoundly unimportant. In the last analysis the essential thing is the life of the individual".
Carl Gustav Jung