SOS - save our souls - was the commonly used signal used by people in dire danger. Even today mariners are taught to use a flashlight to broadcast SOS in morse code out into the night. Note that it's save our souls not SOB (save our bodies) or SMP (save me please)...save our souls. It seems that the people of the past were well versed in the idea of having a soul. And, importantly, that one could lose it.
So what is a soul?
The body is nuts and bolts - our functioning, solid expression of life on earth. But what about the other part of us that makes us alive - that bit that makes me me and you you? This must surely be the soul.
To be honest, I hadn't given much thought to the idea of a soul before, but in my work as a psychopomp I have had to become very aware of the soul and how important it is. As you may have read on the About page and as you will see in the pages of this blog, souls visit me. In my work as a psychopomp I don’t get visited by the bodies of people. That would not work, the body is dead and non-functioning. But the soul, the bit that animates the body, has simply left, it is moving about, only out of its body.
Having identical twins has really helped my family to understand the idea of souls in real terms. While the twins are essentially genetically identical, they have identifiably different personalities, and this was clearly evident right from birth. At that point there aren't many other forces that could have influenced their character (although there could perhaps be some, such as their position in the womb or which twin received the most nutrients). As they go through life they will share many things that will continue to shape them - family environment, siblings, and schooling, holidays, and generational influences such as music, books, media and cultural ideas, interactions with extended family and friends, the local culture in which we live etc. And they will have some different experiences, too, although during childhood these may be less different than two other siblings of slightly different ages or genders living in the same family. Through all of this they will grow and change, and their personalities will evolve too. Yet anyone with more than one child will confirm that, all else being largely equal, siblings do have different personalities. So, what creates this innate character? Identical twins show us that it can't be something solely resulting from social influences and it can't be something solely resulting from genetics. And, it can't only be these two combined either - it can't only be genetics influencing how we react to experiences or how experiences impact us. There has to be something else as well. Everything would suggest this something else is our soul.
Through the twins it has become much clearer to us that the body is the vessel that gives souls the opportunity to experience life on earth. In the case of identical twins, the body is essentially identical, but the soul inside it is not. My wife and I have found this makes it so much easier to really appreciate that our twins are different people.
If we come back to SOS again then, there are actually a lot of other times that we make reference to souls in our language. We talk of soul mates and soul sports, 'Mind, Body and Soul' and things being good for our soul. We talk of people who are soul-less, sullying your soul and also of those who are sensitive souls. The idea of souls has remained with us even if we don't often give it much thought or attention.
To follow this blog you don't need to give as much thought to souls as I do. But to get the most out of this blog you do have to be willing to accept that we have a body and we have a soul. If you find this really difficult try saying to yourself, "OK, well I'm not really sure about all of this, so let's just pretend I accept the idea." My wife and I did that a lot in the early months of me becoming a psychopomp. We could think of many reasons to be skeptical and many possible ways to explain things differently. We talked over all of those, and then we also just said, "OK and now if we run with the idea of souls and soul work, what happens next?" It was always fascinating to see what would happen next.
Last of all, back to the souls in my visions and journeys. The souls I see look like the bodies that they were - they are recognisable as the person they were. Depending upon how they died they might have some injury or a damaged area of the body, which often appears blackened to me, almost burnt. The souls can also look a little different to how they looked when they died. I think this is because they appear to me in the way that the soul saw themselves or as they naturally were. So, for example, I might not see a person at the age that they were when they died, but I'll see them at the age that they thought of themselves as (sometimes younger and fitter, but not always if they have a tortured sense of self). I'll often see women with their natural hair colour and hair style (e.g., wavy not straight). In fact, my wife has convinced me that the idea of souls could be enormously healing for our society. The idea that we are a soul having an experience of life on earth can make us much more accepting of our bodies, and to make the most of our experience of life in this body. What is it like to be in a body with curly hair or of a certain ethnicity or skin colour, or even to have a disfiguration? What is it like to experience life on earth with disability - while some of us may have disabilities of body or mind, everyone has a full soul (or they do at the start, it is possible to experience soul fragmentation through trauma or abuse, but more on this another time). What can we learn from our experience in this body, and what do we teach to others by being in this vessel? Fascinating, isn't it?
Let me know in a comment any thoughts or reactions that you have. What do these ideas raise for you? What do you find affirming? What do you find difficult to accept?