I have a question for any readers who would care to respond. Is your soul real?
Thomas Moore wrote the book Care of the Soul. James Hillman wrote about soul making, the process of moving from a relationship with an abstract concept to really feeling our soul, and relying on it. Thomas Moore edited these writings for A Blue Fire.
Hillman says we must first make an idol to represent the soul. Today’s churches rebuke idols and those who honor them. Churches say God objects to idols. Making soul using Hillman’s approach, churches say, puts us at risk of severe punishment. I am taking Hillman’s advice with great enthusiasm. I ask you, what is NOT an idol? Are not Big Macs, and Porsches, and cleavage idols?
Idols are fashioned from images. As a photographer I am fond of images, and deeply interested in them. Hillman tells us:
Psychological faith begins in the love of images, and it flows mainly through the shapes of persons in reveries, fantasies, reflections, and imaginations…Trust in the imaginal and trust in soul go hand in hand, as depth psychologists have recognized.
If we do not delve into imagery we will not have a profound relationship with soul. Yet we have been taught to streamline our notions of life by stripping out the charm, mystery, and wonder of it all. I experience this all the time when I suggest to people that we make images of them to highlight their wonder and magic. “My what?” they usually say. Exceptions are people like MaryLu and Dallas who recognize and celebrate their wonder.
I affirm Hillman and Moore in their statements that we must celebrate ourselves through images in order to build working relationships with soul. It is an act of imagination, a virtue much scorned these days.
My suggestion is try it, you might like it.