Soul Sisters: Do You Have One

Accompanying us on our spiritual journey, soul friends are there to help us stay focused on what really matters.

Adapted with permission from "Soul Sisters" by Pythia Peay, published by Tarcher books, a division of Penguin Putnam.

What is a "Soul Sister"? Quite simply, a soul sister is a woman friend who tends to the needs of our souls. A soul sister keeps her eye on what really matters, even when we may not be centered on that ourselves. She is that person who recognizes the simple truth that while material security and professional success have their place in life, they cannot satisfy all our needs. Thus, soul sisters are those who are loyal to the innermost essence, the deepest heart's desire, of their friends. By maintaining a fidelity and trust to the better part of their friend's nature, they help nurture it into existence.

It is my strong conviction that we are each born, as Jungian thinker James Hillman has written, "called." Each person comes into this world, I believe, with a spiritual mandate, and the realization of that mandate is the soul's aim. Only a rare few, however, are privileged to know the secret of their reason for being from birth. Though we may have hints when we are young, our life purpose only becomes visible over the course of time, forged through life's trials and errors. As the heroine in the classic fairy tale must spin fine cloth from sheaves of wheat in order to win her freedom or the hand of the prince, so, too, must we each sort and sift through the childhood memories, social and cultural influences, dreams, emotional conflicts, and major life events that have gone into making our lives, spinning from them the fine cloth of our own particular destiny.

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There is great meaning in the image of the Moira, or Three Fates, for women. Pictured with their spindles at the spinning wheel, they are the feminine forces dispensing threads of destiny. Together they weave beautiful designs in the shape of human lives, then cut the thread of life when the pattern is complete. We learn from them that fate is an ongoing creative process of interweaving bits and pieces of many colors, shapes, and textures into a complex, whole, and beautiful image. We learn from the fates that this is not a solitary task, but one undertaken with the companionship and involvement of others.

That is why we all need a soul sister--someone who, metaphorically speaking, can sit beside us at the spinning wheels of our lives--talking, laughing, crying, feeling--weaving, in the process, commonsense wisdom out of who we are and why we are here. This process between soul friends is what feminist thinker Christine Downing calls "the mutuality of soulmaking," the "reciprocal and equal love for one another's psychic development." Says my longtime acquaintance Jan Clanton Collins, a Jungian analyst and professor of anthropology, "Friends are steadfast companions on the spiritual pilgrimage. They are a grace that makes the journey worthwhile. Just to know that they are in the world and that we are not alone gives us courage to go on."

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Pythia Peay
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