Thursday, August 5, 2010

The True Human Soul Complex or the Anthropology of Mankind

The following is the second chapter from a book that I am writing.  This is to give the student a basic idea of how the human soul complex works.  The samples from cultures outside of traditional Germanic culture are given as approximations only, to give a basic point of reference to those readers who may have experience with these.
The True Human Soul Complex or the Anthropology of Mankind

                           Perhaps nothing that we know of in occultism today has been more trampled underfoot and mangled than the concept of the human spirit and soul.  The idea of the soul as it was understood in antiquity has been butchered, destroyed and oversimplified in the modern world.  This is much the fault of the simple literalist beliefs that plague the world today.  Even in their meager beginnings religions such as Christianity and Islam had very deep and profound views of the soul complex, that is to say in their mystical incarnations.  Yet, due to the mass of literalist belief, the mysteries of the soul have been nearly lost.  This is in large part due to the fact that it is very comforting to the masses to believe that if they ascribe to the wrote teachings of a particular faith and accept it’s gods, that they will have to do little else to gain “salvation” or life eternal in some paradise.  To the witch and the occultist, however, this may seem a far fetched idea, as the wisdom traditions do not allow for such a simple concept to exist in what we know to be reality.  Alas, even much of what is being called “occultism” and “witchcraft” today contains watered down misunderstandings of the soul.  While I can, to a degree, agree with such concepts as the astral body and aura, in my own understanding, I see what is passing for these subtle bodies today to be an oversimplification of the true mystery that lay behind them. 
    I propose that an understanding of the ancient views of the anthropos, as it was called in the Hellenistic world, is one of the great keys to the Mystery.  The anthropos, or the entire makeup of the human being is what we might refer to today as a soul complex.  The study of which would be anthropology, as opposed to the study of anthropology being the study of mankind’s beliefs and culture.  Anthropology, for our purposes in this chapter shall be used to denote the study of the anthropos. 
    As I have already stated the anthropos is seen in terms far to simple to do it’s true splendor justice today.  It is often seen as the body and the soul, or occasionally as “body, mind and spirit.”  While the latter may hold a glimpse of the truth, that actual anthropos is much deeper and more complicated than this.  I theorize that western culture today is lacking in this area of knowledge due in part to two things. The first of these being the wide spread literalist slave beliefs, not to say that the ancient world had no literalist religions, only that the Mystery faiths were more widespread as well as philosophy.  The second of these, and perhaps the greater reason, being today’s secular media based lifestyle.  Simpler views of the soul would seem better in a populous that cares more for watching reality television and blindly accepting either secular science or literalist views purely out of laziness and lack of study. 
    It is this author’s view that it is time for the witches and occultists of our day to gain a proper understanding of the anthropos and the role that it plays in the universe and learn how this understanding can impact our lives and mystical practices.  Remember that one of the keys to the Mysteries is “know thyself.”  We cannot begin to know ourselves unless we have an understanding of our whole self.  I shall define each of the parts of the soul complex using the Germanic form of the part, as this is how I had first learned this system, but I will also include cross references from both Hellenic and Egyptian models as well.  I shall also give, in brief an analysis of how each part can be seen in the modern light of the following four bodies:  physical, mental, ethereal and astral.  It may be worth noting that in some circles these four bodies are viewed in the symbolic guise of the four evangelists: Matthew, Mark, John and Luke.  In this light I invite you to decipher the bodies in astrological terms (that is to say in their guises as a man, bull, lion and eagle) if you so wish, to gain a deeper understanding of their function.  It is up to the reader to look at the astrological correspondences on their own, as it is not my intent to dawdle on such here, only to give this remark to encourage further research.
      I give these comparisons  to give perspective to those that may be familiar with these four bodies in modern occult philosophy but have not experienced the ancient views of the anthropos.  Most of what I present here, I have learned through study and my sources are contained in the bibliography.  Some material however is additional and I have gained by conjecture and personal magical work.  The Egyptian variations are not always completely identical to the definitions that I provide and in several cases are only loosely comparable.   I encourage any student who wishes to learn more about these concepts to study Egyptian Anthropology by itself as well.  Some sources for this material may be found in the bibliography.

Mod/Self (the ego; Mental Body)

    This is essential self awareness, our entire being’s awareness of itself.  Mod is the whole of the “self” or rather the completion of the soul complex, properly aligned.  In the modern world this self awareness is often only seen in physical and mental terms but there is a spiritual entity, the fetch which shall soon be explained in depth, that is aware of this “self” as well.  These twin modes of self awareness make the entire anthropos a model of the self awareness that the Godhead experienced at the dawn of creation.  This means that each individual human being is essentially a microcosmic model of the cosmos as a whole.  Interestingly enough this gives a strange level of validity to the passage in the Book of Genesis that states that we are made in God’s own image.

Lich/Lyke (Hellenic: demas/soma; Egyptian: ha/djet; Physical Body)

    The Lich is the physical body.  This is the most basic portion of the entire anthropos.  It is also a very necessary part of the complex.  Without the physical realm that we all dwell upon called Middle Earth, no part of Fate could ever be resolved and the chaos of the physical realm would be eternal, leaving Fate, the Godhead shattered.  Thus the true Great Work would never be completed and all would be for naught.  This “crude” physical matter, which many spiritual traditions wrongfully preach to be worthless in the grand scheme of things is in fact the vehicle by which spirit resolves it’s wyrd and moves closer to a reunion within Fate or the Godhead.  The ancients did not share the views of many modern religions when regarding the physical world.  Indeed by adhering to certain ethics and codes of conduct such as the Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru, or discovering other mytho-poetic variations of these within mythology we experience a spiritual and mystical lifestyle even in the secular world.   This, of course, should be an aspiration for true mystics and magicians.  There is no division between the physical and spiritual in true western and northern occultism.  The Egyptian djet was also used to refer to the inner self of the person.  The Hellenic soma was also used to refer to the bodies of the dead. 

Hyde (Egyptian: sheut [shadow] Ethereal Body)

    This is a quasi-material body which may be seen as having a rough shape resembling the lich.  This is what we today might refer to as an ethereal body.  I have often seen it used interchangeably with hamr which I shall speak of soon, but have seen the two to be separate, the hamr being reliant upon the hyde.  The hyde is possibly what is today identified, and simplified, as the “aura.”  It is the seat of power within the soul complex.  Victor Anderson made claim that this body would appear to be the sex opposite  the physical body, though I have not seen evidence of this, and I believe that this may have been  confused with the concept of the fetch.
    There is a portion of the hyde that is variously noted as hamr, which portrays a bit in the way of a seat of power and corresponds under this notion with the Egyptian heka or more loosely to the eastern concept of chi.
    This is the portion of the soul complex that works magic and leaves the body in spirit travel.  The practitioner who works in the otherworlds sends this portion of the soul complex “out of body” via the athem to perform otherworldly workings or join in the True Sabbat.  Some would say that this is the work of the fetch, but my opinion differs and shall become clear when I discuss said spirit shortly.  We also tap into this power when we use any form of magic.

Hugh (Hellenic: thymos; Mental Body)

    This is one half of the mind.  Hugh is the intellectual and logical portion of the anthropos.  By this part of the soul do we learn and grow.  By this do we understand and make sense of the world around us, both seen and unseen.  This is the seat of worldly knowledge and experience and is thus important to the resolving of fate.  This might also be seen as the seat of the conscience, as it encompasses the ability for rational and ethical thought.  It is this logical portion of the mind that begins to take hold in the mind of the true initiate when they begin to become something “more than human” and replace emotional responses to all that happens with rational and logical ones.  It does so in the advanced magician or witch by taking hold of other areas of the mind and soul complex.  This is made possible because the hugh is in fact the seat of the will. Being both the seat of the will and the intellect it should be easy to see that this is the portion of the soul that allows for personal gnosis, though for retaining knowledge it is co-dependent upon the myne, which shall be discussed next.   It is strange that while I equate the idea of hugh with the idea of thymos, the thymos actually appears to have been a seat of both thought, will and emotion.  If it is truly the seat of emotion as well, it is easy to see how the logical side of the advanced magician can become the more powerful side of the hugh.  Hugh coordinates with the left brain in scientific terms.

Myne/Minni (Hellenic: nous; Mental Body)

    The myne is the archetypal “well of memory.”  It governs and holds memories both mental and spiritual.  That is to say the myne is a storehouse of memory both of this life and of the ancestral and universal memories found in the collective consciousness.  Here are stored the mysteries.  The myne collects the significance of symbols, both physical and otherwise that are found in the old lore.  It is for this reason that a person may be inexplicably compelled or drawn to a particular animal, symbol, faith etc.  The myne feeds us information sent to us by the fetch through the athem, both of which I shall discuss.  It is the co-working done between the hugh and myne that allows for our true intellect and our function in the universe.  As a bit of lore, the Hugh and the Myne are represented in Germanic mythology as Odin’s ravens Huginn and Muninn.  Myne coordinates with the right brain in scientific terms.

Athem/Ond (Hellenic: pneuma; Egyptian: ka; Spirit Cord)

    The Athem is the spirit cord, divine spark or “breath of life” which flows through us.  These cords, which all things possess are the “Threads of Fate” which tie all things together.  It is when these “threads” cross that we become attached to another being or thing and thus generate more “fate” (understood by most modern cultures as karma.)  It is the series of all athems which bind all things together in the great tapestry of Fate.  It is both a completion and destruction of the tapestry, by resolving all fate that we shall finally achieve the Great Work as a universe and allow the Godhead to be whole again.  Each athem by itself also binds together each part of the individual anthropos.  It is through the athem that we make contact with entities of spirit and, indeed, our own spirits.  This is because the athem is in constant contact with the spiritual forces of the universe.  It is interesting that the Egyptians seem to have believed that life ended when the ka left the body, which seems to support our analysis here.  

Wode/Odr (Hellenic: mania; Inspiration)

    Wode is inspiration, as well as a state of mind or state of ecstasy.  This force is responsible for the inspiration of the artist, the ecstasy of the magician and the rage of the warrior.  This is a very important faculty in our lives as it allows the occultist to perform his work and the writer and artist to dream new worlds when used properly.  Experience of this as an ecstasy is a dangerous thing if not properly integrated into the life and soul complex of the individual.  It can lead one to live in a maddening fantasy of only inspired works and leave one in depression and desperation in their secular life.  This can be seen through history when we look at the tragic lives of writers and artists such as Hemingway and Poe. 

Sal/Maegen (Hellenic: psyche; Egyptian: ba; Astral Body/Soul)

    Here we come to the true soul of the anthropos.  This is a life force or vital force, aside from the athem, which encompasses the entire essence of the anthropos fully formed.  This body does not truly come into play until after death in most persons.  In life this aspect is typically passive and records the deeds and experiences of the individual.  Lore would suggest that this part of the soul complex then lives on in the underworld or with the gods.  My belief on this differs greatly, as I have seen evidence, both literary and in the form of mystical gnosis, that would say otherwise.   It is my belief that this soul is the life force supplied from the planet, or more accurately the universe, and is a part of the power that runs through it.  Most would understand this as ley lines or earth energies.  It is my belief that when the individual dies, this soul returns to this current as earth power once again and brings the imprint (in the form of the hyde) of the deeds done in life with it.  This accounts for the Well of Memory in which the ancestral memories can be viewed.  After death, this imprint of the self is what is summoned and communed with via necromantic rites.  This being the reason that people seem to think that we “live on” in the underworld.  I will speak more on this phenomenon in a future chapter. 
   
Hamingja (“Luck” or Inherited Fate)

    Hamingja is one’s personal “luck” as it were.  In the past it was often portrayed as a double of the body.  It is what many today might call karma and can be changed, for better or worse by one’s own decisions in life.  In reality this and Orlog, which I shall cover next, make up what others might call karma and what I would call personal fate or destiny.  Some of what we call Hamingja is actually inherited from ones family.  This meaning that actions taken by family members in the past (both living and deceased) have a ripple effect which is passed down the line, much as our DNA is passed on.  Thus we should live virtuously so that we pass on no dishonor to our own kin or future generations.  It can also be passed on consciously from one individual to another, as in a ritual passing of power.  It will only be temporarily passed unless it is somehow bound to the recipients own fetch.  Hamingja, in my experience is also transferred by personal association.  This may seem strange, but the company that you keep and support most certainly affects your own life.  If a friend lives in a dishonorable way and you continue to support the friend, even if it does not reflect your own lifestyle, are you not just as accountable as said friend.  Even in passing daily occurrences we should be careful of who we are friendly with, and just how much information we give about ourselves and others to complete strangers.  Even a little bit of knowledge about yourself given straight out to someone ties their fate to your own, though maybe not in a drastic way.
    This is a good reason to use what the old Magister of the Clan of Tubal Cain, Robert Cochrane, referred to as “gray magic.”  This is a method of social disguise, giving those you do not know or are unsure about little information so they develop a somewhat confused idea of who you are, so as not to link yourself to closely with them until you are certain that they are truly honorable people.  Sadly, even this is sometimes difficult to do, as there are people who can be hard to judge until it is too late.  The easiest way to better ones hamingja is to follow a good code of ethics.  I personally like the “Nine Noble Virtues” used in modern Asatru.  I find this to be a very complete ethical system and abide by it as much as I can.  I will provide a short description of this list in the appendices of this book.  Also, encouraging honorable and virtuous behavior in one’s family and friendships and frowning upon dishonorable behavior is helpful, but one must remember to lead by example.  It should go without saying that hamingja is shared on a deeper level between those who chose to marry, as the bond is a willing decision to take on all aspects of the other.
    All of this also means not supporting dishonorable behaviors in entertainment either, as many other people looking at the same entertainment are often given to follow what they are exposed to, as it were.  In today’s modern world of “reality television” and gossip mags and televison, these things are best avoided.  The gossip or tabloid shows and magazines have always made their money by exposing things about people that they would most likely rather have kept to themselves.  They are horribly dishonorable with their paparazzi and ambush tactics, not to mention the very word gossip.  Reality T.V. on the other hand typically promotes terrible unethical behavior and schoolyard hate games and backstabbing, all to make money.  Believe me, supporting such industries most certainly affects you and, if you are a supporter and watcher/reader of such “entertainment” it is likely a cause for some of the ills in your life.  Such things are not the “way of the gods.”  A true witch or magician could not truly excel with such mindless dishonor as a part of their entertainments.  A last note here is to keep yourself out of relationships with people who cannot abide by good virtuous behavior and honorable lifestyles, as this will, in the long run, affect your own life.

Orlog/Orlaeg (personal wyrd/fate)

    Wyrd itself is Fate, the web of all things that were once whole.  Orlog is the ever changing threads which are found in the athem.  It is the fate of the individual itself.  Orlog affects hamingja and vice versa.  The hamingja bears the orlog in this life.  By fulfilling and bettering the hamingja, one takes care of orlog.  This in turn “feeds” the fetch, or spirit, by fulfilling fate and bringing the fetch one step closer to completing the true “Great Work.”  So it would seem that Orlog is the transmitter of wyrd to the hamingja and that by improving hamingja one can create a better wyrd for the future.

Fetch/Fylgja (Hellenic: daimon; Egyptian: ka [the ka would appear to double under two of our distinctions of the soul complex;] Spirt Body)

    The Fetch, also called the Holy Guardian Angel, Higher Self, Personal God, etc. is a spirit which is bound to each individual in life.  It’s goals are the true purpose of our existence and hold the key to the meaning of life.  It is such a vital and complex part of the soul make up that I have decided to devote the following chapter to it, rather than include it in with the parts which make up the human being.