Center for Sacred Psychology

Soul Food Archive: Our Symbolic World

Main Courses are offered on a frequently changing menu. Here are words and images to ingest and digest for inner nourishment. We hope these hearty meals invite you to taste and savor, to muse, reflect and remember, to journal, to create art...that is, to feast on food for the spirit.

Pascha #2, by Archimandrite Kiprian,
Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY*

Our current main course, below, is just one of several Soul Food offerings. Please visit, also, our buffet of Guest Caterer Specials and, for lighter fare, our Desserts & Snacks counter. And, to sample earlier menus, we hope you'll check out the Soul Food Archive. Like all who prepare foodstuffs, we hope to hear from those we serve! Space to leave comments, or read others' comments, on our cuisine follows each Soul Food offering.






Let’s take a look at a very familiar idea.  Many, many songwriters, film makers, and other writers (including C.G.Jung) have used traveling as an image of the journey of life. 



Think—just to name a few examples: the movie Easy Rider and the early ‘60s t.v.series Route 66 (loved by Corvette fans); countless songs, such as Travelin’ On and the Beatles’ Long and Winding Road; the tragic Voyage of the Damned and, lighter, John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley (his French poodle).



And these are just 20th century western examples.
Then, too, think of the travel language that’s seeped into our vocabulary:
•  “I’m traveling light” (can be about physical travel—or a way through life)
•  “My bags are packed” (can be a euphemism for death)
•  “What a trip!” (any experience that has moved us—for better or worse)
•  “Foul for traveling” (not just in basketball, but any time rules are ignored).

Traveling comes into our life in many ways—not just the vacations or trips we plan to other places, but in as mundane an event as “My trek—or schlepp—through this day.”  And we travel on foot, by car, bicycle, skateboard, whatever, or via group transportation: rail, air, wheels—alone or with others.
There’s actual travel, when we’re going somewhere (grocery story, safari); even space travel—for non-astronauts—may not be fictitious for much longer.  Then, there’s armchair travel, when we sit tight and imagine a destination, and some of this can also be time travel.  Dream travel is common: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”  Travel can be towards a destination (Europe in Seven Days, anyone?) or just a ramble through the neighborhood.
Some of us are born travelers, can’t wait to hit the road.  Others are happy to stay put, grateful to avoid the stress of airports, highways and crowds.  (Some of the latter will make the effort if the travel is about a pilgrimage—a soul-journey.)

Some questions to consider:
~ What is my ideal travel destination (if any)?  Do any of the exotic posters here call to me?  If not, what does?
~ Am I a happy road warrior, always on the go?  Or am I the one who says, “How wonderful—I don’t have to go anywhere today!” (or, more rarely, “I’ve taken a vow of stability.”)
~ How about my vocabulary: do I use any of the expressions above?  what are other travel-based expressions in my lexicon?  (I can watch for these.)
~ What images from popular culture speak to me of travel—books, t.v., movies, songs? (maybe these include maps of travel, such as Oz’s yellow brick road, or even Pilgrim’s Progress).

The bottom line:  Since travel of one sort or another is omnipresent in our lives, it gives us the opportunity to consider, constantly, the archetypal experience being symbolized…that is, the journey of life—from birth to death (and beyond).










We're interested in ways this Soul Food may have touched your life.

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Read Others' Comments...

Your essay reminds me of some of the necessities of successful traveling: plan ahead, pack carefully--and lightly, be prepared for surprises, take time to savor the journey as well as the destination, appreciate homecoming. Aren't these tips as valuable for inner travel as for outer?
chicago, USA



* Credits for this page:

~ Pascha #2 by Archimandrite Kiprian, Holy Trinity Icon Studio, Jordanville, NY
A family in old Russia welcomes visitors with special Pascha (Easter) treats. Gratefully used with permission from Holy Trinity Icon Studio, Jordanville, NY, 13361. This excellent website is the source for inexpensive traditional icon prints and mounted icons.

~Vintage posters and ephemera from Old-Time Travel Posters and Luggage Labels.  (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1996).