The myth of the soul

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Dragon
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The myth of the soul

Postby Dragon » 25 Mar 2011, 06:36

There are such wide ranging views as to what the soul is,( examples may include: we are souls, have a soul or more than one, we have no soul but share in a world or Nature soul...) so how do Druids conceive of the soul?
Do you subscribe to a particular soul-myth? Do you have a personal unique view? If you dont have a soul thats OK too, let me know.
Thanks.

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DaRC
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Re: The myth of the soul

Postby DaRC » 25 Mar 2011, 11:25

Hmmm the meso Druidic view is based upon the Circle of Abred,
although this is druidry and you will have as many views as there are druids :duck:

In the Norse / Germanic / Heathen cosmology there are a number of concepts related to the soul. Some folklorists (Viktor Rydberg) have suggested that our modern concept of the stork bringing babies is related to the god Hoenir / Hana / Vili, who has the stork or heron associated with him, taking souls that are the fruit of the world-tree, Yggdrasil, and delivering these to the mother.
The sacred breath is deep within the concepts too - Odin breathes life into people and a father used to ritually breath life into his new-born child.
There are guardian spirits, the Disir, who are associated with protecting families too. If you upset them they will desert you, usually leading to fatal consequences.
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
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Re: The myth of the soul

Postby Dragon » 29 Mar 2011, 20:47

Thank you DaRK but tell me...what is YOUR view? what is the soul? Do you feel you have one? Or are you solely (! :-| ) myth based and if so what makes you adopt the myth as true for you?
Don't be shy all you other Druids viewing I won't bite...honestly... :hug:

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Re: The myth of the soul

Postby Zylah » 29 Mar 2011, 22:32

My personal view tends to be that the physical realm reflects the spiritual. Regarding the soul specifically, I think that what we know about reproduction is a parable of sorts; what it says to me at this stage of my journey is that both universal and individual theories of 'soul' are valid; we have individual souls that spring from one source, the Creatrix/Creator. We are on a journey that both isolates us and teaches us community; weaving our own path with that of others so that we learn fellowship as well as tolerance; unity in diversity.

Thereby we have both continuity and discontinuity, which is reflected in cyclical patterns of minutiae as well as the big picture type stuff.

As with anything spiritual, I can't prove it empirically. I also reserve the right to change my mind at any time, since I'm constantly learning new things! However, at this moment these words express as well as it is in my power to express what I feel to be true. I'm satisfied with it, but not remotely dogmatic. :)
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Re: The myth of the soul

Postby Twig » 30 Mar 2011, 08:27

Yeah. What Zylah said! :D

That is a tough question to answer in 25 words or less. I find myself confusing soul & spirit sometimes, although I couldn't tell you why. I do believe that the soul is that component of ourselves which continues its life after the physical body is gone. It's the part of us which incarnates to learn, and our personality is the part through which it acts. So, what is our spirit? :???:

And, yes. I, too, invoke a disclaimer to not believe the same thing tomorrow! :grin:
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Re: The myth of the soul

Postby DaRC » 30 Mar 2011, 12:40

Firstly I do believe we have a spirit or soul - yes I fundamentally believe that there is some vital spark that makes each individual unique. I ought to I wrote a 12 page essay on my concept of Northern Soul!
Personally I think that my spirit and body certainly do live on - my spirit is in the memories of my family and loved ones which will echo down the generations, physically the atoms that I am comprised of are eternal as well.

Hmm :thinking: is there a difference between what is spirit and what is soul? This would be related to the transmigration of souls or reincarnation. Whether we have an eternal soul that can return to the world soul and then choose to transmigrate / reincarnate is the great mystery...
The Dictionary suggests this for Spirit:
1. the principle of conscious life; the vital principle in humans, animating the body or mediating between body and soul.
2. the incorporeal part of humans: present in spirit though absent in body.
3. the soul regarded as separating from the body at death.
and this for Soul:
1. the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part.
2. the spiritual part of humans regarded in its moral aspect, or as believed to survive death and be subject to happiness or misery in a life to come: arguing the immortality of the soul.
3. the disembodied spirit of a deceased person: He feared the soul of the deceased would haunt him.
Looking at point 1 in both dictionary references it would suggest that the the body, spirit and soul are separate but related and that it is the spirit that connects the body with the soul. This is rooted in Christian thought but also in ancient Germanic thought, so it may be a rooted in our earliest human concepts that have since diverged into the different religions. In Germanic thinking the World Tree would be the home of the World Soul and it's fruit the individual souls.

So can my soul transmigrate? I like to believe it can but also accept that it may well not, in this respect my mind is still open.
Death will be the great revealer... or not. :where:
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
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Re: The myth of the soul

Postby Nicholaas » 03 Apr 2011, 03:54

Being a naturalist to the end, I see no reason to think there is an ethereal, non-physical aspect that survives after death. I will wither, die, decompose, and my matter will be recycled back into the earth. That is the only manner in which I will "live on", so to speak.

:gulp:
"Everything is right for me, which is right for you, O Universe. Nothing for me is too early or too late, which comes in due time for you. Everything is fruit to me which your seasons bring, O Nature. From you are all things, in you are all things, to you all things return."
-Marcus Aurelius

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Re: The myth of the soul

Postby Twig » 04 Apr 2011, 09:09

DaRC -- I like the idea that Spirit is the "cosmic glue" holding body & soul together. I am wondering when the body is gone if Spirit & soul stick together... :whistle:
"...some part of me is tree." -- Stephanie Kaza (Buddhist author)

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Re: The myth of the soul

Postby wyeuro » 05 Apr 2011, 02:19

i believe that the material universe is like a single page of a book with infinite pages, and our bodies occupy it and are confined to it by the limitations of our perceptions. the body is continuum with all materiality, but because atoms are living, responsive beings, our molecular, material body is not a dead, empty thing that a living soul animates for a while, but a sensitive, wise, emotive being as beautiful and responsive to meaning and love as the soul. it derives a full array of human characteristics, virtues, strengths, and sense of purpose and direction initially from the parents and ancestors, and continues the evolutionary process specific to the body. but the body is configured to bond with and co-evolve for a while with a soul personality not bound to the thin sliver of matter-mediated experience that binds our body; a soul being that derives its characteristics from prior incarnations and other experiences. the bond forms a union that is greater than its parts and the exchange between the psyche and the body is usually mutually beneficial, although sometimes one dominates the other to the disadvantage of the one dominated.

sometimes more than one soul competes for the privilege of bonding in this way, and very often many souls form a collectivity that makes the whole person. for example, when my mother died, not only did i see her as an ethereal angel-like being with her own face radiant with that lovely light that angels have, but she also often appears to me as a fairy, about two feet high, and very pretty and full of joy. i know i have several optional forms, parts of my soul that are evolving towards an array of delightful afterlives. and i believe that when my atoms have dispersed, they will retain the imprint they got of my life and bear its spirit through every other form it conjoins with, just as i am daily enriched by the spiritual load and experiential imprint of every atom that passes through me. whew, just as well our senses and reasoning are so limiting. :boggle:
wy

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Re: The myth of the soul

Postby Mannan » 11 May 2014, 13:57

A good place to start when trying to understand ancient European doctrines of the soul is with a couple of ancient Greek philosophers: Empedocles ('fragments') and Plato (Dialogue of Timaeus). It is worth studying Hesiod's 'Theogony' and 'Works and Days' as well... 700 or so years later, the influence of these can be seen in the so-called 'Corpus Hermeticum', at the dawn of the Christian era.

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Re: The myth of the soul

Postby Sciethe » 11 May 2014, 14:24

Great thread, glad you re-found it Mannan,
Answering Dragon's original question I'm an empiricist, and although I love the inspiring and thought-provoking writings of the past and considering the question of what our spiritual forebears thought I'm reluctant to accept past theories as dogma (of course :grin: ).

For me, right now, Spirit and Soul are synonymous in the sense that the soul is a fragment of the all pervading spirit, which I recognise as the Solar Logos among other things. Fragment is a poor word, I mean fragment in the way that a cupful of water poured into the ocean is a fragment of the ocean. In that sense the Soul is indestructible, although it may become indistinguishable from the "ocean" when released from the personal singularity at death. Or it may not. I toy with the idea that a well-lived life may result in a metaphorical "fish" being returned to the ocean of Spirit, that is strong enough to keep a singular consciousness. A precondition would presumably be that the strong Soul had already achieved a "cosmic consciousness" while embodied.

There is an old saying (not a scholar of ancient history, so can't reference this, prob. Celtic though) paraphrased goes:
Four kinds of spirit can survive destruction in the cauldron: Warriors, Poets, Sorcerers, and Kings.
Food for thought, eh? :D
S
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Re: The myth of the soul

Postby Twig » 12 May 2014, 09:06

Beautiful post, wyeuro. Well-stated and moving. I think it's so wonderful that your mother comes to you. I have not yet reached that state of evolution where I can sense her presence. I am approaching the second anniversary of her passing and wish so much that I could feel her around me.

Don't we, as Druids, believe that the body simply transmogrifies to reincarnate after death? And that the part of our being which takes on this job is the soul?

Sciethe: Although I can't explain it at all, I believe that the soul & spirit are two different entities. I shall endeavor to figure out a way to state my belief. Don't wait up.
"...some part of me is tree." -- Stephanie Kaza (Buddhist author)

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Re: The myth of the soul

Postby Sciethe » 12 May 2014, 11:15

Sciethe: Although I can't explain it at all, I believe that the soul & spirit are two different entities. I shall endeavor to figure out a way to state my belief. Don't wait up.
Thanks for taking me seriously Twig, while you're thinking (and to save time) I account for an observable fact with my view of Spirit/Soul: when we hurt the world and others we hurt ourselves. Injuries are recursive and diminish our soul. I do very much (and respectfully) look forward to your thinking on this. :)
S
For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him. For he is of the tribe of Tiger. Christopher Smart

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Re: The myth of the soul

Postby Mannan » 16 Aug 2014, 23:40

The soul is that part of the body which exists in the reflected Otherworld. It is the 'spirit', although that is a definition which must include both worlds, and the definition in each is different.

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Re: The myth of the soul

Postby Twig » 17 Aug 2014, 10:43

Is it as simple as this: The soul is earthbound, but the spirit is not? :shrug:
"...some part of me is tree." -- Stephanie Kaza (Buddhist author)

"It takes courage to live ordinary lives." -- Connie Schultz (newspaper columnist)

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Re: The myth of the soul

Postby treegod » 18 Sep 2014, 21:07

I'm feeling poetic. For your contemplation... :)

The body is the outer expression of the soul; soul is the inner experience of the body. Ego is a box within the soul that believes itself to be the totality of self, but soul is deeper, wider and higher than the ego's knowledge of itself. The ego is but a conscious, identifying and directing force within the soul, at the service of the soul, but it doesn't realise this.

Spirit is at once the centre and the wholeness of the soul. At least potentially. Once the ego has recognised its true function and let go of the reins to let the soul live its own life, Spirit unites the soul. It has it's own process to be lived out that the ego cannot even imagine.

With humility, the ego purifies itself and puts itself at the service of the Spirit, uniting the soul. Individualism is the limiting life of the ego, individuality is the uniting life of the Spirit within the soul: wholeness of being.


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