Saturday, 23 August 2008

The Soul 1

What do Pagans mean by ‘soul’? We don’t seem to have one definition so here are some thoughts to begin with.

'A soul is an entity which is evolved by experiences; it is not a spirit, but it is a vehicle of a spirit. 'The spiritual soul and the divine soul, or atman, combined, are the inner god -- the inner buddha, the inner christ.'

The Occult Glossary by G. de Purucker 1996 Theosophical University Press.

Since most of western occultism is founded on Theosophy, we can cautiously begin to frame the understanding that the spirit is that which animates the body and the soul is that which experiences. Though that great theosophist and member of the Order of the Golden Dawn, Dion Fortune, seems to blur the two:

It is a great mistake, nay, a blasphemy, to think of our loved ones as dead, or to associate them with the dust that is returning to the earth whence it came. We should think of the vital mind, the everliving and aspiring spirit, going up and on with its evolution and calling us to comradeship in that great adventure.
Book of the Dead p36

'Celtic' mysticism moves into the mists of poetry

Since the human heart is never completely born, love is the continuous birth of creativity within and between us. We will explore longing as the presence of the divine and the soul as the house of belonging.
Anam Cara, JohnO’Donohue p17

But lets not get lost in the mist, let’s stick with the idea of a soul as that which experiences, which is eternal, which is most truly the Self.

The Greek for soul is psychikos from which we get our word ‘psychic’. There are any number of ways we can understand this: my understanding is that when we work with the soul we work with and in the Otherworld, and the Otherworld works in and with us whether we know it or not.

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