The One and the Many and the Source Card!

Welcome to the SoulCollage® website whether you are new to us, or returning.

I’m going to write, in this column, about a foundation principle underlying the SoulCollage® practice, the principle of The One and the Many and the symbolism and importance of the Source Card. In my book I was brief about these key issues, and even here I can barely begin to touch on ideas mystics and philosophers have pondered for centuries.

In brief, here is my position and the one on which I have built the SoulCollage® practice: I am one whole, unique person and, at the same time, I am made up of many parts. You are the same. Your family is many and yet one family. So also is our nation, our planet, our solar system, our universe. All life, and indeed all that exists, is nested into Oneness, like those little Russian nesting dolls. Beings emerge in individuated forms out of this Oneness or Ground of Being, and remain forever held and sustained by it…whether they are conscious of it or not. Humans sometimes do become conscious of it. There seems to be in human beings what I call “a spark of conscious spirit”. That spark, in some, awakens and yearns to rise and shake off the sense of separateness and the busyness of its mind. It wants to know the Oneness, to merge its spark of spirit with Spirit. For most it takes discipline and long practice to still the mind and body enough to experience this blissful unity. Some just happen upon it suddenly, as on a walk in nature, and then yearn forever to go there again. It is a place of peace and calmness and joy. Many have called it union with God.

In SoulCollage® we create one card that symbolizes this Spirit, this Oneness, this Ground of Being, this Mystery. I call it the Source, and the card symbolizing it is the Source card. In truth, there can be no image for the Source because it is beyond form, beyond being. It is the source of all beings, all forms, all personalities, visible and invisible, mortal and immortal. I hesitate to call it God because God, in most religions, is a Being with a name like Yahweh, or Father or Mother or Vishnu or Allah. These Divine Beings are revealed to have personalities, and they relate with chosen humans, and speak words and intervene in history. Hence, in SoulCollage®, they would be found in the suit of the Council or the archetypes. Cards can be created for them representing the various manifestations by which each person knows and follows them. I will discuss that suit in a few months, and it is discussed fairly fully in the book.

The Source Card, when created, is placed in the center of a SoulCollage® reading to symbolize the oneness of all the guides and challengers represented on the other cards in a deck. The Source Card does not have a voice itself, so it isn’t questioned or consulted. Its reality is known through the voices of all the other guides and allies represented in a person’s SoulCollage® deck.

While our spirit may, at times, yearn to rise and merge with Source, it is our soul that loves the many! The soul wants to stay grounded in the beauty and the muck, in the dance of the particulars, creating and loving and fighting for causes. It is soul that is heart and compassion and will take the risk of making mistakes and looking a fool and feeling harried, all in the name of being alive and vibrant. Down here is the Land of the Many, of the particular, of the complex. We could call it Soul-Land. I am not the first to make this distinction between spirit and soul. James Hillman also does, as do others.

Often in books by ardent advocates of the nondual position, the many of people’s particularities and unique characters, including their egos, is given short shrift. Ego is seen as negative, a limiting thing in the upward thrust towards Oneness. Not so in the SoulCollage® practice. Here ego is accepted as one part of soul, perhaps a limiting, restraining part but still an essential part of personality. Here in soul are the workers, the lovers, the caretakers, the creators, the dancers. Also here are the ragers, the whiners, the procrastinators and the critics. These are all soul parts of us, and our Council archetypes work through them to evolve the planet.

Ken Wilber has a very interesting take on this difference between spirit and soul. He sees the upwards thrust of spirit as masculine and he names it Eros. On the other hand, he uses the name Agape for the descending, all embracing “face of spirit” (which I call soul) and sees it as feminine. Here’s a short quote: “Where Eros strives for the Good of the One in transcendental wisdom, Agape embraces the Many with Goodness and immanent care.” ( p. 284 in A Brief History of Everything and p. 81 in The Simple Feeling of Being.) For me that is good food for thought!

Next year, I will write a column first on collage, it’s power and symbolism, and why we are not ashamed to use it as our media of creativity in SoulCollage®. After that I will write about each of the suits in turn and the experience that others and I are having with them. I am truly astounded by the emails I receive telling of people’s experiences with their cards. Some of you are delving into the process so deeply, and having such transformative results. Keep going!

Copyright © 2004 by Seena Frost (December 2004)