Since 1980, depth psychologist Bill Plotkin has been guiding women and men into the wilderness — not just the outer wilderness of redrock desert canyons and snow-crested mountain ranges of the American West — but, more to the point, into their inner wilderness, the wilds of the soul. He calls this work soulcraft.
There is a great longing in each one of us — a longing to uncover the secrets and mysteries of our individual lives, to find the unique gift we were born to bring to our communities, and to experience our full membership in the more-than-human world. This journey to soul is a descent into layers of the self much deeper than personality, a journey quite distinct from the transcendence aspired to in many eastern spiritual disciplines. In the contemporary Western world, we live as if the spiritual descent is no longer necessary or with no awareness that such a journey is meant for each one of us, not just for the heroes and heroines of mythology.
Soulcraft is a modern handbook for the journey of descent: what it is, why it is necessary, how to recognize the call to descend, the necessary prelude and preparation to the descent, what the process of descending looks and feels like, and a set of nature-based practices to initiate and quicken the descent and to maximize its soul-making benefits.
A border crossing into mystery, Soulcraft is rooted in depth psychology, wilderness experience, and the poetic tradition. It is not an imitation of indigenous ways, but a contemporary nature-based approach born from the landscapes of the American wilderness, the traditions of Western culture, and the cross-cultural heritage of all humanity.
Filled with stories, poems, and guidelines, Soulcraft introduces over 40 practices that facilitate the descent to soul, including dreamwork, wilderness vision fasts, talking across the species boundaries, council, self-designed ceremony, nature-based shadow work, and the arts of romance, being lost, and storytelling.