Welcome to my page of quotations about the geography of our souls and our minds, of love and of the heart, about inner wayfinding, emotional topography, exploring who we are even while laying new paths, about our own boundaries and freedom from boundaries, about the search for, the finding of, and the constant mapping and re-mapping of oneself.
There is an eternal landscape, a geography of the soul; we search for its outlines all our lives. Those who are lucky enough to find it ease like water over a stone, onto its fluid contours, and are home. ~Josephine Hart, Damage, 1991
The soul of man is like a countryside…
What bogs and fens on every side extend,
What desolate moors that seem to have no end,
Dotted with little gleaming groves of thought!…
~Harry Kemp, “The Soul’s Cartography,” in Munsey’s Magazine, May 1921
There is a great deal of unmapped country within us which would have to be taken into account in an explanation of our gusts and storms. ~George Eliot, Daniel Deronda, 1876
Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey. ~John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom, 1997 [Note for citations: The word “cara” in this book title is a dotted C, but my web font does not support that letter so for aesthetics’ sake I’ve changed it to a plain C.
Philosophy is map-making for the soul, cartography for the human journey. ~Tom Morris, Philosophy for Dummies, 1999
This is a contour map where I may read
With reverence your soul’s geography—
The heights, the depths, stark valleys of our need,
The luminous peaks of love’s bright ecstasy.
The lines become more lovely with the years…
My wound is geography. It is also my anchorage, my port of call. ~Pat Conroy, The Prince of Tides, 1986
…The clouds to me
Were brothers, and like them I spurned the earth,
Soaring where only souls newly set free
By love requited, thru a second birth
Enter that holy realm we know must be
Fair charted in the soul’s geography!
~Laban Lacy Rice, Sonnets to Blanche Buchanan Rice, 1921
A birthchart and its evolutionary transits depict an individual’s specific soul-cartography in resplendent detail. ~VerDarLuz, Codex of the Soul, 2012
It’s easy to get lost when the map is in your hand and not in your heart. ~Terri Guillemets, “Kicking up dust on my own path,” 2015
…The earth our bulb from which we spring
our green body a vaster thing
an unknown island to be sought
the oceanic span of thought
the soul’s geography
~May Swenson, “An Unknown Island,” Another Animal, 1954
Silentness is not Silence.
He’s silent in silence whose
Soul’s geography is bare.
But silentness is deportment
Heroic, when the field is
Occupied. He’s silent in
Silentness—whose God is there,
Or when God lies dying,
A finger to His lips. Hush!
~José Garcia Villa (1908-1997), “Silentness is not Silence”
Let your heart be your compass, with a clear conscience for your binnacle light, and you’ll sail ten knots on a bowline, clear of shoals, rocks and quicksands! ~W. S. Gilbert, Ruddygore; or, The Witch’s Curse!, 1887 [An Entirely Original Supernatural Opera by Gilbert & Sullivan. Character line: Richard Dauntless.
A goose flies by a chart which the Royal Geographical Society could not mend. A poet, like the goose, sails without visible landmarks to unexplored regions of truth, which philosophy has yet to lay down on its atlas. The philosopher gets his track by observation; the poet trusts to his inner sense, and makes the straighter and swifter line. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, “The Professor at the Breakfast-Table,” October 1859
Poetry — soul cartography.
~Terri Guillemets, “Treasure seeking you,” 2003
Strange how long it takes us to discover ourselves… The brain may take advice, but not the heart, and love, having no geography, knows no boundaries: weight and sink it deep, no matter, it will rise and find the surface: and why not? any love is natural and beautiful that lies within a person’s nature; only hypocrites would hold a man responsible for what he loves, emotional illiterates and those of righteous envy, who, in their agitated concern, mistake so frequently the arrow pointing to heaven for the one that leads to hell. ~Truman Capote, Other Voices, Other Rooms, 1948
I am going into a far country, farther than the East is from the West — the Land of my Separate Selves. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), “Songs of Longing: XXIII,” At the Roots of Grasses, 1923
Dreams are foreign lands within the bounds of our own hearts. ~Terri Guillemets, “Mid‑night journeys,” 2017
To use a geographical metaphor, Poe’s life was bounded on the north by sorrow, on the east by poverty, on the south by aspiration and on the west by calumny; his genius was unbounded. There are literary hyenas still prowling about his grave. But his pensive brow wears the garland of immortality. His soul was music and his very life-blood was purest art. His ear caught the cadences of that higher harmony which poets hear above the world’s turmoil. In spite of detraction he is safely enshrined in memory while poetry shall live. Young poets will always have tears and roses for his grave. ~Chauncey C. Starkweather, “Special Introduction,” Essays of American Essayists, 1900
My mind’s terrain has become exceedingly rough. Emotional scars are changing my internal geography faster than the mapmaker can keep pace. Wrong turns and dead ends abound, and I’m afraid someday I’ll drown in a river I didn’t know was there. ~Terri Guillemets, 1996 [This is a journal entry from my early 20s, when — to get quite personal — I was taking a prescription contraceptive that really messed me up, physically and emotionally, and I had clinical depression. I no longer feel this way and haven’t for many years but thought I would leave this published as a potential comfort to others who do feel like this.
Geography of Self Quotations
Original post date: 2016 Feb 4
1st major revision: 2018 July 2