Drawing from a wide range of sources–my past work in counseling and the hospitality industry, my craft of architectural restoration, and interdisciplinary studies in spirituality, alchemy, and the humanities–I forge new tools and weave new images for soul-making.
Here are a few more precise descriptors of the kind of soul-making I am committed to hammering out:
- Primal. While appeals for a spirituality that is “practical,” “experiential,” or “everyday” all have a kernal of truth, I believe the heart of the urgency in our age is for the recovery of a primal spirituality, a spirituality emergent out of soul rather than one deductively factored from abstract spirit. I am not alone, of course, in this realization.
- Commonplace. I mean this word in the sense which Brother David Steindl-Rast defines that term, i.e., as “that which is common to us all.” In other words, our appeal must be to the primal, human condition.
- Well-crafted. The principles and practices of the Arts and Crafts movement need to be applied to soul-making. Images, then, should be aesthetically rich, well-made with natural materials (see next descriptor), and useful.
- Grounded in Organic, Local Imagination. Nutritionists have learned that neither fats, carbohydrates, nor sugars constitute the primary source of obesity in our age but, rather, it is processed foods. “Eat real food,” Michael Polan wisely advises us,”mostly fruits and vegetables.” The same could be said for our consumption of images. Most people in our age exist in a psychic energy depleted world of virtual “processed images” when what would nourish us would be the organic images that emerge out of the bedrock of the human psyche–the images that emerge from a recollected and nurtured dreams, contact with nature that culminates in reverie, and appreciative enjoyment of masterful amplification of primal (archetypal) imagery produced by artists and artisans.
- Practice-able. Talk about soul-making that is “practical” and you’re likely to make people think you are going to develop an app for a smart phone. Soul-making that is practice-able, on the other hand, is grounded in a resonance with life and is action-able. That is to say, it rings true to life, is characterized by wisdom and, hence, is in touch with Sophia.
- Three Centers of Primary Interest. Though not exclusively, three centers of poetic imagery inspire me: nourishment, dwelling, and hospitality. The soul wants to burrow in, Thomas Moore suggests. It is the soul that knows how to dwell. Thus, domesticity of being seems to me a good place to begin soul-making. There is a precedent for such a focus in Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space and The Flame of the Candle, two books which have affected me deeply.
I was born in Freeman, South Dakota but never lived there. (It was the closest town to where my family of origin lived that had a hospital. I mention this origin because I like the fact that I was born in a town called “Freeman” and because I like the fact that I was born in South Dakota. I dream I am a cowboy…
(Autobiography to be completed soon.)