Soul Purpose

Google's International Women's Day Logo
Understanding the Soul's Purpose
International Women’s Day is an appropriate time to explore the meaning and purpose of soul.

According to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, ‘the soul is the principle of life…the spiritual part of humankind, in contrast to the purely physical…the seat of emotions, feelings or sentiment…the essential part or quality of a material thing’.     

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary has eight different descriptions of ‘soul’ – the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life; the spiritual principle embodied in all rational and spiritual beings; a person's total self; an active or essential part; the moral and emotional nature of human beings.

Transpersonal psychologists use the word ‘soul’ interchangeably with the word ‘psyche’. The word ‘psychology’ itself is an amalgam of spirit and soul.  James Hillman, a High Master of the art of psychology, said that in using the word ‘psychology’, he is referring to the study or order (logos) of the soul (psyche).

Our ‘spirit’ or masculine qualities and attitudes are described as active, hard, outgoing, penetrating, logical, aggressive and dominant; while our feminine soul nature is defined as receptive, soft, inward, encompassing, intuitive, emotional passive, empathetic and relational. These motivations are governed by the left and right brain respectively.  These qualities are equally represented in men and women but will be more or less developed, in distortion or in balance, depending on culture, early life experience, and other factors. 

 Jung described this feminine and masculine polarity as anima and animus, respectively. Human beings tap into these innate anima and animus responses at will, depending on whether they choose to be receptive and relational or active and dominant. The ‘animus woman’ has an abundance of active masculine qualities; while the ‘new man’ is regarded as having more receptive and relational qualities.

From time immemorial the dominant left brain of logic and rationality, the masculine principle, has generally abandoned the intuitive aspect of its existence. However, the relegated right brain of emotion and intuition, the feminine principle, may be overlooked and undermined, but can never be annihilated.

On the physical plane this rejection of a vital aspect of self finds reflection in every society where woman is undervalued and repressed, and even destroyed in utero.  The rejection and relegation of the Feminine Principle is obvious in the world at large - in government and politics, in the economy, in religion. The abuse and violation of women is tantamount to the abuse and exploitation of the Earth, a global symbol of the Feminine.


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