Nature and The Human Soul by Bill Plotkin

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Based on the Medicine Wheel, which appears in Native cultures throughout the world, this book outlines the life cycles, in some of the most beautiful, eco-centric language I have ever heard. If you are curious what ecotherapy is, this book is a great sample.

 

Many spiritual and tribal traditions throughout the world have some kind of map of the life cycles, highlighting the importance and significance of different phases. In Western societies, we generally lack maps of psychic space, or rituals for community recognition of passages through the different phases. There is a vague trajectory of the standard or ideal American lifetime: school, job, marriage, family, retirement, etc. But the map presented in this book (and held in many indigenous societies) is soul-centric and eco-centric. This is opposed to the linear timeline our society holds, which is, (because we are such an individualistic society,) based on ego and industrial achievement. Collectivist societies are very caring of the natural world which sustains them. Progress is measured not only by the achievement of the individual, but also in how it simultaneously supports the natural world and the community as a whole. If individual progress or achievement compromises the wellbeing of the environment or the community, it is no achievement at all. An eco-centric model of development assumes that these phases of development are preeminent. That is to say, they exist before us and despite us. They are intrinsic to Nature itself. A soul-centric model of development implies that the community prioritizes the Soul over the ego. That is to say, it prioritizes our personal aspect that is inter-dimensional and indestructible…our heart-centered essence we can feel when we are most aligned with our integrity and the universe. Indigenous and collectivist societies base the course of our development on the uncovering of our soul’s purpose in this lifetime, and the carrying out of different tasks the soul finds it necessary to undergo in order to manifest its purpose in the world. This is a very different and compelling model than most Westerners are familiar with.

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