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A Complete Guide to the Soul [Paperback]

Patrick Harpur
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 9.12 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

3 Jun 2010

Who am I? What's my life's purpose? Where am I going when I die?

These questions lie at the heart of all our lives, yet clear answers seem hard to come by. A Complete Guide to the Soul explains that answers can in fact be found in a secret history that runs like quicksilver through Western culture, from philosophy and alchemy, to poetry and modern psychology. This hidden tradition places our soul at the centre of the universe and shows us how to recover a sense of meaning that so many of us have lost today.

In this important book, Patrick Harpur explores the nature of our soul, as well as its destiny. He unpacks the myths that surround it and shows how it may actually be the very fabric of reality. And he explains that, not until we have a clear understanding of this invisible part of ourselves, can we discover the answers to many of our questions about existence and human nature. Ultimately, this knowledge could help us find our true place within the world in which we live.

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Frequently Bought Together

A Complete Guide to the Soul + The Philosophers' Secret Fire: A History of the Imagination + Mercurius: The Marriage of Heaven and Earth
Price For All Three: 23.10

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Rider (3 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846041864
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846041860
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13.4 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 295,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Praise for 'The Philosophers' Secret Fire': 'Casual brilliance' -- Independent

Praise for 'Mercurius': 'An authentic spellbinder' -- Guardian

Praise for 'Daimonic Reality': 'Brilliantly, beautifully and intelligently observed' -- Sunday Times

Book Description

The guide that explores the nature of our souls: who we are and our place within the world

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soul review 8 July 2010
I'm sure there are many of us who are termed `spiritual searchers' but who are essentially searching for answers to the question of what this life is all about, and challenging the idea that it's the only reality, as the militant atheist brigade would have us believe. Given that the Christian church is forever complaining that people like me are giving up on it, one might imagine that it could offer some sort of answers. However, my latest question to some Anglican priests about the afterlife brought answers which ranged from `dunno', `it's really nice', to `it's really SELFISH to expect an afterlife - this one should be enough for anybody'. As to the idea that Jesus could come back from other dimensions and enjoy fish and chips with his disciples - impossible! The resurrection was a `metaphor' and not to be taken literally.

For those of us convinced that there is more in Heaven and Earth that is dreamed of in our philosophy (i.e. I suspect most of us), the work of Patrick Harpur is, literally, a Godsend. I had come across his fascinating work on alchemy, Mercurius, years ago, and was bewitched by its combination of magic and logic. It was both metaphor and physical reality - which is surely what existence is all about. Years later I came across Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld which brought the same mix of logical thinking and imaginative enquiry to the case of `unexplained phenomena' such as fairies, anomalous animals which seem to pop in and out of our dimension, and UFOs. The answer - that all these are examples of our interaction with other worlds and dimensions with which ours is interlinked - is stunningly simple yet brilliantly logical - a model of good critical enquiry.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SOUL FOOD FOR A HUNGRY TIME 14 July 2010
Patrick Harpur is among the most important thinkers writing in England today - not because he has anything particularly new to say, but because he has found a new, lively, utterly contemporary way of restating an ancient tradition of wisdom for our time. His earlier books, Daimonic Reality and The Philosopher's Secret Fire made startlingly clear the degree to which our still largely positivist and scientistic culture remains shut inside the confines of its narrow literalism. With a clarity of thought as witty as it is lucid, Harpur has insisted that the sovereign remedy for that condition is the proper exercise of the imagination, for only through its activated vision are the raw events of our lives refined into experiences, and passages opened from feeling into meaning. In this new book he turns his attention to a theme for which materialist philosophies have little time - the soul and its importance as the source of meaning in our lives. In a time which, as the nightly devastations of the news reveal, has largely lost touch with its soul, there could be few more important enterprises

Harpur approaches his theme in a wonderfully pragmatic spirit. None of the thinking in this book is fundamentalist, sectarian or remotely flakey. His scholarship is wide and far-ranging - from anthropological insights into traditional cultures and a careful reading oif their myths, through Heraclitus and the Platonic schools, to the imaginative insights of the alchemists and visionary poets such as Blake, Keats and Yeats, and on through Jung to a consideration of recent developments in Archetypal Psychology. But his learning is worn lightly and his concern throughout is for the integrity of individual human experience and a life lived through the always available riches of the imagination.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Nature of Reality 8 July 2010
It's not very often that one comes across a book that strikes to the heart of the matter - the nature of reality and our place and purpose in it. However, Patrick Harpur's "A Complete Guide to the Soul" is certainly one such book, and it can't come more highly recommended. Building on his earlier seminal works "Daimonic Reality" and "The Philosophers' Secret Fire", Patrick outlines a thesis that is less concerned with providing answers than developing an alternative way of looking. A sort of dual vision, or as Patrick would put it "a daimonic vision" in which the internal, imaginative realms are married to the external, material world and the borders between the two are softened or blurred and what we unquestioningly hold to be the case is often turned completely upside down, or perhaps inside out. Despite drawing from and referencing such lofty sources as the Neoplatonists, Greek Mythology, Jungian Psychology and the Romantic Poets, Patrick's writing is completely accessible and he elucidates and renders simple swathes of difficult material. But it's the breath taking originality with which these seemingly unrelated and disparate strands are woven together that is the real joy and wonder of this book. It is not a book that can be paraphrased or satisfactorily summarised, as the material trickles through one's fingers and mercurially resists easy categorisation or precise definition. The book has simply to be read in its entirety, and then read again, and probably then read several more times thereafter.

This book is not a manual, a prescriptive tome from which to draw banal conclusions, but a useful signpost with which to orientate oneself in the otherworld, or to the otherness of this world.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars I liked most of it. Glad I got it used though
It was an interesting read. I love books that tie in mythology with contemporary psychology and I especially liked the concept of the Daimon (you know we all like the rebel without... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Gerry
5.0 out of 5 stars Regain Some Perspective
Patrick Harper is the man for me in this area at the moment.He often criticises his views well and leaves himself out of the narrative most of the time and effect is that you seem... Read more
Published on 26 Sep 2011 by nicholas hargreaves
2.0 out of 5 stars soul
Disappointed. As a guide it failed to cover a wide spectrum.
Same old airy-fairy soul nonsense without critical thought.
Published on 26 Feb 2011 by Goddess Loves
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Harpur's strongest work
Having read and enjoyed Harpur's previous book 'The Philosophers Secret Fire' I eagerly looked forward to reading this, which was influenced by the previous reviews. Read more
Published on 16 Jan 2011 by L. Farrell
4.0 out of 5 stars Making Peace With Mortality
Back in the psychonautic sixties and seventies, when hallucinogenic drugs were taken as sacrament even by those who understood nothing of naguals and shamans, it was common wisdom... Read more
Published on 22 Aug 2010 by Andrew Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars Spirited writing
On p.210 the author apologizes for what he describes as a "duplicitous title". Well, it's true. This is not a complete guide to the soul, but a compact and informative guide to... Read more
Published on 19 Aug 2010 by Philoctetes
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful 'vale of Soul-making'
I adore this book, as I did Patrick Harpur's previous books, particularly 'The Philosopher's Secret Fire. Read more
Published on 11 Aug 2010 by Urania
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete Guide to the Soul by Patrick Harpur
"Death is the last and unavoidable initiation. It is up to us how we approach it".
This the concluding sentence of a chapter in Patrick Harpur's brilliant new book, "Complete... Read more
Published on 11 Aug 2010 by Evan Parker
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful soul
Patrick Harpur is a man with a beautiful soul and here is a book to prove it (as if proof were needed...). Read more
Published on 4 Aug 2010 by EJ Waldron
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book, brilliant author
This is another wonderful book from Patrick Harpur. I loved his previous books Mercurius, Daimonic Reality, and The Philosopher's Secret Fire. Read more
Published on 25 July 2010 by Mr. Timothy S. Jones
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