This month’s book disclosed a work of significance and perspective that requests comment. In Nature and the Human Soul, Bill Plotkin provides a guide to the unfolding stages of the eco-soulcentric human path in exquisite detail. His stages of human soul development are:
Stage 1- Early Childhood (Innocent)
Stage 2 – Middle Childhood (Explorer)
Stage 3 – Early Adolescence (Thespian)
Stage 4 – Late Adolescence (Wanderer)
Stage 5 – Early Adulthood (Apprentice)
Stage 6 – Late Adulthood (Artisan)
Stage 7 – Early Elderhood (Master)
Stage 8 – Late Elderhood (Sage)
While familiar with many soul stage development models from Joseph Campbell, James Fowler, Harry Moody, Jenny Wade and Carol Pearson something occurred in our discussion with the integration of these loops of circles that connect us and our paths that made me see these differently.
In each individual person’s biological and cognitive development there are parent guides and school teachers. In our soul journey there are spiritual and spirit guides and teachers. In our wider journey in our community there too are guides for the social evolution of society, such as those who lead in justice, equality and sustainability. Yet there are also the guides to our past societies forgotten, where we remember our indigenous knowledge and rites of passage (Plotkin’s own important contribution to our Middle Childhood learnings as a people).
This cycles within cycles approach triggered for me the new role of the guides and teachers of humanity’s own evolution, beyond our societies, and the current journey as we move as one through our growing up to become self-aware enough to enter Early Adolescence as a humanity.
These cycles of body, person, individual, society, species and humanity development all need dedicated guides and teachers. There are guides to the collective consciousness that precedes us, there are guides for personal physical, cognitive and emotional development, we are our own internal guides to our interior development, societal guides guide our social development, stage guides assist our ego-maturity development, there are phase guides for the many transitions between ego-stages, there are elder guides that guide the navigation of the sequence of the soul phases, there are humanity guides that see the stages of all humanity’s faces … and there are guides for the phase transitions humanity navigates continually in eras, epochs and eons.
The difficulty comes in this last category of guides, because as a humanity we have not individually been here before. We are both within and guiding at the same time. This is how the Hero’s Journey of the individual, of the society, and of a humanity of which we are part has always occurred. But to see the path, one cannot see from within. To do this requires the Wanderer to explore, to come back and to leave a breadcrumb trail so that we might find our way to where we have never been, once more.
The question I ask myself continuously is who are these new explorers for humanity's next cycle of development, what will they need and can they go to this place alone. The stages of the Hero’s Journey and its dynamics (and its necessity), to see that which the world does not know that it has lost and have it returned, have always defined this search for that which is intuited and is not yet known. Our boon prize in this quest is the navigation of our own becoming. This is a quest worth undertaking.
Who then will take that path ...