Photographer

Hamish Ta-mé

Jess chatting with Kate Pell. Photograph by Hamish Ta-mé.Jess chatting with Kate Pell. Photograph by Hamish Ta-mé.

About

Welcome to The Soul Spectrum, an online space dedicated to documenting the presence of “soul” in the full spectrum of our everyday lives. It’s headed by me, Jessica Raschke. I’m utterly obsessive about the notion of “soul” and what it means to each person. Because it seems to mean very different things to each person, and it’s expressed so specifically by each person. Some feel more comfortable with “spirit” or “spirituality”, others prefer to work with the notion of “self”. I’ve chosen “soul” as it resonates most rightly with me. The very word itself stirs me up, it just feels so beautiful and transcendental all at once.

So it’s not surprising that I often find myself having long, dark nights of the soul. At least, that’s where I think I’ve been, somewhere in the soul, or just somewhere close if not actually in it. Yet the notion of the soul itself is ever elusive. What is it, exactly? Sometimes I know I’m there, deep in some kind of soul-space, but most of the time my rational self steps in and interrupts any chance of really feeling it. I doubt it. I forget it. I challenge it. Sometimes I ignore it. This poor treatment of the soul-space must be why I keep returning to a quote by that wondrous poet and mystic, Rumi:

My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there.

To me, the soul is inextricably linked with a strong sense of spirituality, and I keep pushing myself to reach a place within myself where I completely feel soulful. Yet I hardly ever reach it. Perhaps I’m already there, perhaps I’m always there and I have just taken it for granted. But something within me says, “You should just know it.”

No, the truth is that I envy others who can confidently claim that they are living a soulful life. I’m fascinated by this kind of person. I’m in deep admiration of this kind of person. Well, actually, I’m intensely envious of this kind of person. They have reached a place that I can only struggle to arrive at. And I might not ever get there. Although – as the line from Rumi suggests – I have every intention of getting there. I certainly have every hope that I’ll get there.

But, just in case I don’t, I want to learn from the many people out there who are living soulful lives wholeheartedly. I want to hear their stories and ask them how they came to believe and feel what they do, and what their soulful beliefs look like in their everyday lives. I’m particularly curious about those who walk comfortably in their soulful selves in a contemporary and secular sense.

That’s what brought me here, to The Soul Spectrum, which features long-form conversations with people living soulful lives. I hope you enjoy reading the interviews and that you find them as inspiring as I did (and still do).

All the best to you,

Jess x

PS: The photo here features me in conversation with Kate Pell. You can read it here. Thanks go to Hamish Ta-mé for so generously offering to take photographs for this website and to Mik Efford for coming up with such a beautiful website design.