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A Complete Guide to the Soul Paperback – 3 Jun 2010

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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: 13.5 x 1.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 397,522 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

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R. Brown on 8 July 2010
Format: Paperback
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 By Mercurius on 14 July 2010
Format: Paperback
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 By Allan Brown on 8 July 2010
Format: Paperback
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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