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Paperback The Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling Book

ISBN: 0446673714

ISBN13: 9780446673716

The Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling

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Book Overview

Some call it" genius." Others have named it "spirit," "daimon," and even "guardian angel." But while philosophers and psychologists from Plato to Jung emphasized the fundamental essence of our individuality, our modern culture refuses to accept that a unique, formed soul is within us from birth, shaping as much as it is shaped. Now in this extraordinary bestseller, James Hillman presents a brilliant new vision of our selves not defined by family relationships...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

Life-Changing Perspective

After reading Moore's "Care of the Soul," I decided to move on to his teacher, James Hillman. And I am glad I did. This book gave me pause to conduct my own personal "archetypal autobiography," an exercise that has utterly transformed my life. Hillman's insights into the forces that move and motivate us have helped me as a man, as a father, and as a scholar. I had my own copy bound in leather and I refer to it periodically -- when trends and events in my my life require archetypal realignment, when my soul needs grooming, and when I need the kind of perspective that shows me how I can gracefully my past into my present, and thence to the future. It is a subtle and sophisticated set of arguments, not for the feint of mind. Flip to his presentation of Plato's myth of Er (pp. 7-9 and 44-47) to capture a sense of Hillman's expansive wisdom.

Extraordinary!

This is a book for anyone who has ever been stuck in the quicksand of the intellect or has made the emotional descent into the pit of angst. In my opinion, it is no mere hyperbole to say that, if you have ever questioned the meaning of your life's purpose or struggled with the concept of destiny, "The Soul's Code," might be the Rosetta Stone with which to illuminate and give meaning to your life. James Hillman is a psychologist and Jungian analyst with a thoroughly modern view of the human psyche that I can only describe as truly empowering for the reader. The subtitle of the book--"In Search of Character and Calling"--not only illustrates the investigative intent, it delivers a discovery that is nothing short of miraculous. In "The Soul's Code," Hillman uses the metaphor of an acorn to serve as the image of the soul and its "calling" in life. Just as the acorn contains all the information that is needed to grow a complete oak tree; so does the soul contain the entire history of a life, from the moment of birth to the end of a life. Using biographical examples of diverse personalities such as Judy Garland, Adolf Hitler, Josephine Baker, Manuel Manolete, Ella Fitzgerald and others, Hillman makes a credible case to support his theories. The idea of the book, in a nutshell, is that the soul of every individual is given a unique "daimon" which has selected a pattern that we live on earth. Another word for daimon--which comes from the Greeks--is "genius" (which is the word that the Romans used). In Hillman's own words, from Chapter One: "This soul-companion, the daimon, guides us here; in the process of arrival, however, we forget all that took place and believe we come empty into this world. The daimon remembers what is in your image and belongs to your pattern, and therefore your daimon is the carrier of your destiny." In a nutshell, then, this book is about calling, about fate, about character, about innate image. Together they make up the 'acorn theory,' which holds that each person bears a uniqueness that asks to be lived and that is already present before it can be lived." I enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone who has wondered and pondered and searched for meaning in their life beyond the the mundane and habitual patterns they may have settled into.

a refreshing antidote to reductionist, mainstream psychology

I am on my second reading of this book, having read it once a couple of years ago and let the ideas percolate in the back of my mind. It is one of the most liberating books I have ever read. As an adult survivor of child abuse, I was in therapy for over 16 years and never felt that mainstream psychologists have any idea of just how powerful our soul's nature is. A system of healing which leaves out our spiritual energies-- and our ability to transform our realities into the stuff of myth--is an impotent system, at least if you are someone whose roots run very deep. I made little progress in my own healing until I began working on the spiritual and soul aspects of my life. Hillman writes that we are not as shaped by the horrors of our early upbringing as we are told by psychotherapists. What an inspiration for transcending the past! Unlike authors such as Carolyn Myss, he offers this teaching in a way that does not blame people for their anger about the past. He simply offers a way beyond the anger and other self-imposed limits, cheerfully and graciously. The detractors of this book state that it is not scientific enough. Of course it is not scientific--it's about bringing the energies of the invisible into your life. You don't have to do reductionist studies of the principles involved to have them change your way of thinking about yourself... I recommend this book to anyone who is tired of the dry, sterile approach to healing offered by professional counselors who have not themselves explored the "realms beyond" and therefore cannot teach us how to experience them for our benefit.

The one that (literally) changed my life

No matter what critics said here, when I found this book in a shop in Helsinki (of all places!) I was very unhappy - when I started reading, somehow I found strenght to cope with life.It gives me back the glow on the face, my self-confidence and hope - soon after I started reading this book, I know I should listen my inner voice: I quitt the job that made me very unhappy and moved to another country where I feel much better.It seems that I finally have life in my hands, but then,Mr.Hillman would probably said that everything HAS to be that way anyway.I cant find words to describe how strongly this book influenced me, this is the first time in my life that I am reading very slow because I simply dont want to finish.I like Mr.hilman ideas and his writting style which is very comforting, and I will look for everything that he wrotte.
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