General Interest Books -- Soul Mates: Honoring the Mysteries of Love and Relationship by T. Moore

Article excerpt

Moore, T. (1994). Soul mates: Honoring the mysteries of love and relationship. New York: HarperCollins, 267 pp., $25.00.

Judging by the popular reception of this work and of his earlier one, Care of the Soul (1992), Thomas Moore seems to have struck a chord in the collective consciousness. Neither of these works falls into the category of self-help or pop-psychology; instead they provide concentrated, challenging ideas, with strong overtones of Jungian thought and classical mythology. This surely seems to indicate that many people are looking for a deeper understanding of life and relationships rather than just the nuts and bolts of what "works."

Moore believes that the lack of meaning in modern life comes from our "loss of soul," the great malady of the 20th century. Definitions are not Moore's strong suit; he prefers to tell us what soul is like rather than what it is. Soul has to do with genuineness, depth, and meaning, as distinct from perfection, transcendence, or salvation (more overtly spiritual or religious goals). Its tools are feeling and imagination, which take us into the realm of story and myth. This is different from popular psychology which, says Moore, sometimes "lays down impossible rules and expectations for a relationship" (p. 29) but which ignores soul. Soul, by its nature, does not lend itself to understanding or to clarity of expression, being far more complicated and mysterious. As a result, he believes that sometimes it appears that "there is more moralism in the world of psychology than in religion" (p. 30).

From the outset, Moore makes it clear that he is addressing relationship not as a psychological problem or issue but as mystery with the emphasis on deepening and enriching imagination. "We can do nothing well in life, and that includes intimacy, unless we have the schooled imagination for it" (p. xviii). There are two "pulls" in us, he states. One is upward toward transcendence, ambition, success, progress, intellectual clarity, and cosmic consciousness; this we traditionally call the "spirit. …