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Seascapes of a Soul: Wholeness and the Sense of Self-bookcover

By: Venetia Somerset

Seascapes of a Soul: Wholeness and the Sense of Self

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The search for self-knowledge and identity is a common theme in autobiographies these days. So also is the search for a spirituality other than that of the conventional religions. Both are found in Seascapes of a Soul: Wholeness and the Sense of Self. This book is an account of a unique spirit on an often solitary journey. With clear argumentation and transparent honesty, this author presents a story that reaches towards individuation, gained partly through discovering C.G. Jung’s ideas about the psyche.
Several themes recur: the onset of old age, Jungian individuation, solitude and aloneness, mood swings, a rejection of orthodox religion, a love for the natural world, an interest in gnosticism, the inner sense of the Divine. Her relationship with her twin sister is also prominent. There is light and dark here: the ups and downs of living with a twin.
In rejecting the Christianity she grew up with she followed an innate urge to a spirituality that ultimately arose from the strong sense of self she had had from an early age. If this has a name it would be ‘gnostic’ because it is a perception of inner divinity, the God within.
This is a woman’s story with a difference. Although, unlike so many, she did not have to struggle through a life of disadvantage and deprivation, she did have to wrestle with a powerful self that sometimes wandered up blind alleys into ego. But she learned to accept mistakes and incorporate them into what Einstein called a ‘calm and modest life’.
Images of the sea, symbols of the unconscious, run through the book. The ‘seascapes’ at the head of each chapter function in the story as a leitmotif for the modes and moods of the spirit.

Venetia Somerset is a retired book editor who lives in a country town in Gippsland, Australia. She has two sons and two daughters, and enjoys discussing all kinds of significant things with them. Born in England in 1939 and moving to Australia at age ten, she has had a partly academic career, gaining a PhD in Middle English from Sydney University in 1976. For nearly forty years she worked as an editor of academic books, mainly for university presses. In 1993 she moved to the Gippsland countryside, after her divorce changing her surname to Somerset, her birthplace. With her twin sister she developed a 40-acre property on which they built a house, planted trees and bred alpacas. After her twin died in 2011 she moved into the nearby town, Warragul, and began writing about her life. She has some of the minor ailments of old age but her mind is quite clear; she concerns herself with the Meaning to be found in life and the intense joy this brings. She has a love for the natural world and for what she can learn about astronomy and the cosmos. She sees herself as a spiritual being rather than an adherent of a religion.

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