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  • Writer's picture Brian E Pearson

The Eloquence of Thomas Moore

It can get lonely out here on the far side of conventional religion. But lonely as in a crowd. There are so many voices vying for our attention in the spiritual marketplace, hawking their wares--their books, their theories, their esoteric practices, their winning personalities. Many spiritual seekers have freed themselves from their former bonds only to discover that there are new masters in the slave trade trying to woo them back into servitude.

That's what makes some writers and guides more helpful than others. They invite, they suggest, they postulate, but they never preach. They never presume to have the new answers to our old questions, but offer instead new questions. Their desire is to enlarge our view of the world, whether inward to the deep mysteries of Soul or outward to the vast wonders of the Universe, and often to both. They offer us a vision to guide our walking, not a map to show us the way.

For over thirty years, Thomas Moore has been such a guide. Steeped in conventional religion--he lived for thirteen years in a religious community--he knew that world intimately. He knew the world of academia, too, teaching Religious Studies at several universities in the US. But he also knew the intractable inner movement of Soul and its claim upon his life. So, he left both the religious world and the academic world to follow his own road, the one less travelled.

He published books and offered therapy and wrote music, wherever his soul led him, never imagining how his life would be changed by one book in particular, "Care of the Soul," published in 1992. Almost a year on the New York Times' Bestseller list, selling over a million copies, Moore's book reintroduced us to a word long neglected in the modern world--"Soul." It was the word we most needed to hear.

Traditional spiritual beliefs and practices had offered us an upward path, transcending this world with its loud confusions and blistering sorrows. But "Soul" pulled us in the opposite direction, downward, into the depths of earthly experience, finding the sacred incarnate in the here and now. For many readers of "Care of the Soul," this was precisely what they had always suspected. Life is found in flesh and bone and in the charged present, not just in the ethereal realms and in a spiritualized pie in the sky when you die. It changed everything.

Moore continued to write books, some hitting, some missing. But always he was drawing us back to the powerful presences of the psyche, the archetypal images that rise up from the depths to haunt us, to move us, and to heal. The gods live, as Jung taught us, no longer from Mount Olympus but from the inner complexes and neuroses that disturb our lives, calling us into a larger more fulsome version of ourselves.

Thomas Moore is still at it with his newest book, "The Eloquence of Silence." It was my great pleasure and privilege to have a conversation with him about it for The Mystic Cave. At eighty-two, and freed by Zoom from having to travel to audiences around the world (they now come to him, online), he was gracious, generous, and sparkling with insight. We explored the deep experiences of loss, absence, and emptiness. We also spoke of his old friend and mentor, James Hillman, another "Soul man."

This is the last episode of The Mystic Cave for the season. We will return in the fall, allowing readers and listeners to go back now and find blogs and podcast episodes they may have missed. But our soulful journeys continue. Feel free to write to me about your own, at:

To listen to my conversation with Thomas Moore, press the Play button below. To access the show notes, including links to a few of his books, as well as several by James Hillman, press the Information button ("i") and scroll down the page that appears.

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