View Full Version : Essay: The Parts of the Soul

05-18-2005, 07:45 PM
The Parts of the Soul
by Dayan Martinez

I have recently been thinking that perhaps there are more parts to the body/soul duality than one would expect. True, these may appear as in-between stages or "parts of parts of parts" but I believe that it is necessary to know them all in order to more effectively pursue a working connection with the Greater Whole. In order to help me in this presentation of my ideas, I will make references to the ancient Egyptian views on this matter, and even go as far as to correlate whatever I have thought of with their more ancient concepts of the soul and its many parts.

First of all, let's take a look at the Spirit and the Soul. Some would use the name interchangably, and many would not realize that each refers to a particularly different thing. It is my understanding that the Spirit (of a person, not THE Spirit) is the most basic unit of an individual that exits almost explicitly in the higher spiritual realms. The Spirit itself manifests into the more physical realms (by whatever degree moreso) and due to the condensation of physical energies becomes the Soul, which is a more complete version of an individual being.

The "condensation of physical energies" could be described as a whole new "part" since it initially did not belong to, or was grouped with the Spirit itself, and is a required ingredient to fashion the Soul from the Spirit's projection. This physical energy (though perhaps not yet measurable by modern science, but definately experienced by mystics, witches, psychics and the like) is what the Chinese also termed c'hi or ki energies, which are the life-froce of the being (contained in either Body or Soul). While it is possible to replentish this energy, it is imperative that one should keep in mind that these are finite, and definately extinguishable. Precautions should always be taken to ensure that this component of the individual is not spent or used, for--if it cannot be immediately replentished--it will cause the degeneration of life, beginning from the highest levels and spreading throughout with relative quickness.

Once at this stage of formation, the Spirit-Soul-Ki will begin to gain certain levels of self-identity that will destinguish it from any other individual--indeed, making it an individual! These will each proceed in a non-orderly manner, but generally there must be Knowledge of the Self before there is a corresponding Feeling; thus both Intellect and Emotion are experienced in the "solidifying process" of life.

Two things come at this stage: a "true name" and the "shadow" or the "astral body" of the individual. The True Name is the culmination of the Self Knowledge and Emotion process; it is when the individual acquires an intimacy with itself and all its components in order to be finally able to call itself this or that. By knowing so, the True Name becomes one of the most essential components of the individual, since it is who s/he is, and it commands its entire Being. It is known among those who follow more spiritual paths (who derived this from more ancient cultures) that a True Name is to be kept secret by the individual at all times and from all people. For others to know one's True Name would give them alarming power over the individual to whom the name belongs to. The ancient Egyptians were particularly keen on this, and many (if not all) of its people lived their entire lives with a "knickname" rather than expressing their True ones. Consequently, in our modern society, one could say that our names given at birth are also knicknames, for more than often they're not adequate to encompass our entire Beings.

The Shadow or Astral Body of the Being that develops at this stage is not necessarily one that would go beyond the current boundaries set by the Being's existence. This is so because at this moment the Being does not necessarily own a physical form; it does not yet have a body to contain all its essence. However, once this Being becomes "encased" or "hardened" in physical form (for this is the entire aim/goal of the First Cause, which started the progress from Spirit to Soul and beyond) then it will begin to be more and more able to use its Astral Body or Shadow. The usage either comes moved by the will to experience what is commonly known as "out of body experience" or to travel beyond the boundaries of the Body without necessarily physically doing so.

Here, already, we've stumbled upon yet another component of the Being: the Body, its most physical component. The physical and biological manner in which this vessel is produced is not to be covered here for obvious reasons of its length and complicated progress. However, let it suffice it to say that in many ways, the processes of conception, fertilization, and growth of the zygote do indeed mirror the progress through which the Spirit becomes a Soul by gathering to it Energy, Intellect, Emotion, True Name, and a Shadow. The Body is the final step in the ladder, and the all-important vessel that was fashioned, not by chance, but by the necessity of this Being as it became evermore physical. There was a need for a physical vessel to lend the Being its desired experience (of and in Life) and thus the Universe supplied the necessary events, actions, and processes to fulfill this need. The Body itself is equiped with all necessary faculties for the Being's Self-expression. Other situations that would either overcompensate, or fail to provide enough capacity for this expression are still somewhat nebulous because of its moral and spiritual implications.

Now, archaeologists and Egyptologists have found that the ancient Egyptians sustained a similar view of the components of the Soul. Here is how I paired them according to their description, function, and correlation to my own system:

Spirit = Akhu
Soul = Sahu
Energy Body = Sekhem
Intellect = Ka
Emotion = Ab
True Name = Ren
Astral Body = Khaibit, Ba*
Physical Body = Khat

* There is a reason for placing the Khaibit and the Ba together: The Khaibit (identified as "the shadow") is the traveler itself, while the Ba is the bird that must always be guiding it, to prevent it from getting lost. In this way (unlike the Akhu which lives within the Sahu), these two serve a similar function. To explain more of the Egyptian's view of this phenomena, while the Khaibit and the Ba existed and performed a similar functions in the Living Body, the Khaibit ceases to perform its function in the Dead Body (or mummy) which is tended to and by the Ba alone.

To further complicate the picture, one could see that the Ba (represented as a shining bird who guides) is similar to the shamanic functions of animal and spirit guides for the Shaman. This further echoes into modern spirituality, though different groups view this differently: some assert that, as with the Higher Ka, the Ba is part of the Being's make-up; others believe that both are separate from the Being itself, belonging to another entity in another stage of development/experience/evolution.

While the complete intergration of the ancient Egyptian's views on this subject is rather lacking security and completion of uniformity, one should keep in mind that our modern conceptions of these components of the soul are pooled together from many different cultures, which often times are not necessarily congruent on all matters. Furthermore, ancient Egyptian beliefs and practices have not been entirely found nor even begun to be understood due to the lack of archaeological materials. However, in order to accept this theory with more grace (until a better, more complete one comes), one should not think of these two systems as having direct correlations, but as an attempt to explain each other, as well as reach beyond Space and Time to utilize the wisdom of the Ancients.