Wilderness and the Four Dimensions of Human Wholeness

“To speak of wilderness is to speak of wholeness. Human beings came out of wholeness.” – Gary Snyder


Took my cousin out into the High Sierra for a few days of wandering North along Ebbett’s Pass to Raymond Lake. This area is one of California’s finest and best-kept secrets (shush). Images paired with some notes from Bill Plotkin’s new book, Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche. Plotkin is a true visionary and someone you should be following. Psychologist, wilderness guide and unbelievable human being, I got to spend some time with him last Fall and it definitively changed the course of my life. A dedicated revolutionary and leader for the co-creation of sustainable, life-enhancing cultures.

In this book, he explores a pan-human, nature-based map of the human psyche. I’ve included some basic characteristics of the four dimensions of human wholeness, but there is so much more to it, so I recommend picking up this or any of his other books.


1. The East – The Innocent, The Sage
“Innocent, wise, clear-minded, light-hearted, wily and extroverted / fully at home with the big picture, light, enlightenment, laughter, paradox, eternity and mysteries of the Divine and the Upperworld / The Fool / The Trickster.”



2. The South – The Wild, Indigenous One
“Emotive, erotic-sexual, sensuous, instinctive and playful / fully at home in the human body and in the more-than-human world / every bit as wild and natural as any animal, flower or river and experiences a kinship with all species and habitats.”



3. The West – The Muse-Beloved
“Imaginative, erotic-romantic, idealistic, visionary, adventurous, darkness savoring, meaning attuned and introverted / revels in night, dreams, destiny, death and the mysteries and qualities of the underworld / leads us down to Soul and wants us to be dying to our old ways while giving birth to the never-before-seen. Anima. Animus. Hermit. Wanderer.”

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4. The North – The Nurturing, Generative Adult
“Empathic, compassionate, courageous, competent, knowledgable, productive, able to provide loving care and service to both ourselves and others / contribute our best and most creative parenting, leading, teaching, directing, producing and healing.”




“The Self is what enables us to dream the impossible and to romance the world, to feel and honor our kinship with all species and habitats, to embrace the troubling wisdom of paradox, and to shape ourselves into visionaries with the artistry to revitalize our enchanted and endangered planet.”


11 thoughts on “Wilderness and the Four Dimensions of Human Wholeness

  1. Art and poetry here. These words touch a knowing that is tough to describe, and oh-so-worth repeated attempts at describing! The pictures speed the delivery. Beautiful. I sigh, as I begin a happy day, with company in the quest to rebirth our culture for the coming generations!


  2. You reach wide and deep, Nick, you teacher/artist and so much more! I have put “Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche” on hold at the library and look forward to more of it soon. Fondly, Leslie

      • We’d love that too, Nick. Give us a call or email when you have an idea of the time or date, so we can be sure to be here when you are. Where and when will you be going to school? XOXO

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