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Earth Talk Video: Soul Initiation, Nature Mysticism, and the Unfolding Cosmos

With Bill Plotkin and Geneen Marie Haugen.

With stories and poems, Geneen Marie Haugen and Bill Plotkin explore how humanity’s recovery or cultivation of a mystical relationship with Earth and Cosmos is an essential component of both the individual journey of soul initiation and the collective evolutionary unfolding.

When a caterpillar enters its cocoon, everything recognizable about the creature dissolves. Yet, within the caterpillar body, certain dormant cells — called “imaginal cells” — have always held the shape and possibility of a butterfly. Once in the cocoon, the imaginal cells awaken and bring forth a winged being utterly unlike the former earth-crawler. Likewise, for human creatures, our earlier story and identity must disintegrate before we can embody the hidden promise carried by our imaginal cells. This is the individual journey of soul initiation. The human species, as a collective, is undergoing a comparable transformation at this time; we are enduring the collapse of our old story of progress while — through the work and lives of initiated “imagineers” — the possibility of an evolutionary, generative, life-enhancing human/Earth relationship is emerging.

Recorded September 2017.


Dr Bill Plotkin, describes himself as a “psychologist gone wild.” An underworld guide, depth psychologist, and agent of cultural evolution, he’s been blazing new trails for decades. His ecocentric re-visioning of psychology invites us into a conscious and embodied relationship with soul and with the more-than-human world. As founder of southwest Colorado’s Animas Valley Institute, he has, since 1980, guided thousands of women and men through nature-based initiatory passages. He’s also been a research psychologist (studying nonordinary states of consciousness), university professor, rock musician, and whitewater river guide. In 1979, on a solo winter ascent of an Adirondack mountain, Bill experienced a “call to spiritual adventure,” leading him to abandon academia in search of his true calling. Bill is the author of Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche (an experiential guidebook), Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World (a nature-based stage model of human development), and Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche (an ecocentric map of the psyche — for healing, growing whole, and cultural transformation). To learn more about Bill and Animas Valley Institute, visit

Dr Geneen Marie Haugen grew up a little wild, with a run-amok imagination. As a guide to the intertwined mysteries of nature and psyche, she delights in multidimensional listening and in offering perceptive questions, ceremonies, escapades, and reflections that help expand a sense of our own possibilities as individuals (and as a species), and deepen our experience of participation with an intelligent, animate Earth/Cosmos. Her writing has appeared in many anthologies and journals, including Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth; Thomas Berry: Dreamer of the Earth; Written River; Parabola Journal; Kosmos Journal; Langscape, and The Artist’s Field Guide to Greater Yellowstone. A former tipi-dweller and whitewater river guide, she now lives amidst the creatures and features of southern Utah’s sandstone labyrinth. She is exploring the awakening of what she calls “planetary imagination,” and the possible emergence of a new mode of the human that she has called Homo imaginans. She is committed to the world-transforming potential of the human imagination in collaboration with the Earth.