Care of the Soul Book Summary - Care of the Soul Book explained in key points
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Care of the Soul summary

Thomas Moore

A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life

4.2 (228 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore is a thought-provoking book on enhancing our inner lives. It explores how to nurture our psyches and live more fully by embracing spirituality, creativity, and intuition.

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    Care of the Soul
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    The sacred mother, father, and child

    David just couldn’t get along with his mother. His father was out of the picture; he’d left years ago. When David went home to visit his mom every weekend, they’d argue – and she’d accuse him of being just like his dad.

    In their sessions, David’s therapist asked whether he thought he was like his dad. David insisted he didn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps – which likely explained why he religiously stayed close to his mom and didn’t have any girlfriends.

    Instead of using the behavior of David’s father as a way to explain David’s struggles and find a cure, the therapist helped David tell his dad’s story. It was a story of a man whose own father had set a precedent for a neurotic need to wander and create distance between himself and others. Through the storytelling, David was able to understand and accept who his dad was – for all the good and bad. And through that process, David could then see himself more clearly.

    In so many therapy sessions, family is treated as a dysfunctional source of various symptoms that need to be treated. In reality, though, family is inherently dysfunctional. Caring for the soul means openly looking at family – in all its mess and devastating abuse and wonderful closeness – and seeing it not as something to be overcome, but as the raw material upon which to build a life.

    To see family as a sacred source for your life, let’s look at its three primary components: the father, mother, and child. With each of these aspects, we aren’t talking about an identity – for instance, we’re not discussing your role as a mother. Instead, we’re talking about how we honor these three energies in ourselves.

    The father is most aptly embodied in the tale of The Odyssey. Odysseus is a father at sea who’s trying to get back to his son and wife. In the story, we also see Telemachus, Odysseus’s son, who longs for his missing father. The most universally meaningful exploration here is the idea of the absent father. Whether it’s a dad who goes to work every day or a dad who was never there to begin with, their absence is something every child must endure.

    And sometimes, it’s hard to get resolution. In David’s story, he reached out to his father and was able to learn more about him – but he wasn’t able to restore him to his rightful place in life. Instead, David had to become his own father. Ultimately, this is something we all have to do. It’s a process that requires honoring everything in us that can provide, protect, and take a stand.

    Next up? The mother. She’s embodied in Greek mythology’s story of Demeter and Persephone. In this myth, Persephone is reaching for a beautiful flower when the earth suddenly cracks open. Hades, the god of the dead, captures her and takes her to the depths of the underworld. Demeter, who is the goddess of the harvest, refuses to allow anything to grow until her daughter is returned. In the end, Hades agrees to return Persephone – but he places a pomegranate seed under her tongue and says that she will always partly belong to him.

    As the mother, Demeter loses her daughter to darkness and danger – and even when she gets her back, she’s altered. As a daughter, Persephone is taken by darkness and danger. This is a metaphor for the natural process of separating from parents. Understanding this myth means recognizing the mother-daughter energy in ourselves, and the eternal conflict of wanting to hold on while needing to let go.

    Last, let’s look at the child, who has appeared in religious stories throughout history. Often, there’s the myth of the special or divine child – such as the Christian story of Jesus, a child born unto us. But in our modern world, we’re required to conform to prescribed systems that say we should be mature at all times. Because of this, we’ve essentially abandoned the child in us.

    The power of the child lies in its vulnerability – something we typically flee from. To regain access to our child energy, we need to embrace vulnerability, fault, fear, passion, excitement, and many other feelings that often make us uncomfortable. 

    These ideas of fatherhood, motherhood, and childhood are ancient and woven into the tapestry of human history. Treating family as a broken thing that needs fixing is naive, and potentially harmful. Instead, it’s important to recognize the family as something sacred – that means acknowledging both the pain and the pleasure, the mistakes and the wisdom.

    The process of moving your mind into this new paradigm is gradual and ongoing. But in making the shift, you’ll find any anger, anxiety, and depression slowly slipping away. You might eventually be willing to sit across from the ones who hurt you. And most importantly, you’ll be able to see yourself for who you truly are – and to love that whole being with all your heart.

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    What is Care of the Soul about?

    Care of the Soul (2016) offers a Jungian approach to everyday life. It’s a guide for codifying our experiences into story and myth, recognizing and accepting the soulfulness and messiness of our experiences, and seeing the sacred in the ordinariness of life.

    Care of the Soul Review

    Care of the Soul (1992) is a thought-provoking exploration of the human spirit and the importance of nurturing our inner selves. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • Offers practical wisdom that encourages personal growth, self-care, and the pursuit of purposeful living.
    • Explores various everyday experiences and challenges with depth and insight, helping readers find spiritual meaning in their lives.
    • Blends psychology, philosophy, and spirituality to provide a holistic understanding of the human condition and its profound richness.

    Who should read Care of the Soul?

    • Spiritual people
    • Those struggling with their mental health
    • Fans of Jung and Campbell

    About the Author

    Thomas Moore is a best-selling author of more than 30 books on spirituality. Throughout his life, he’s worn many hats – monk, psychotherapist, musician, and professor.

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    Care of the Soul FAQs 

    What is the main message of Care of the Soul?

    Care of the Soul reminds us to nourish our inner selves, find meaning in everyday life, and live authentically.

    How long does it take to read Care of the Soul?

    The reading time for Care of the Soul varies depending on your reading speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Care of the Soul a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Care of the Soul is a must-read for anyone seeking a deeper connection with themselves and the world. It provides valuable insights and practical guidance for soulful living.

    Who is the author of Care of the Soul?

    The author of Care of the Soul is Thomas Moore.

    What to read after Care of the Soul?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Care of the Soul, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung
    • Spirit Hacking by Shaman Durek
    • Falling Upward by Richard Rohr
    • Toward a Psychology of Being by Abraham H. Maslow
    • The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
    • You'll See It When You Believe It by Wayne W. Dyer
    • 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management by Kevin Kruse
    • Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche
    • Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World by Iddo Landau
    • The Little Book of Stoicism by Jonas Salzgeber