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What are the Divine, Spirit, Soul, & the Sacred? – Part 2: Soul

This is Part 2 of 3! Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 3!

island on forested lake, same shape as nearby mountain - Lake Tahoe, Inspiration Point, Emerald Bay, California
  • Every day in my life and work, I get to talk with folks about their Souls. This is at the core of our spirituality, and where we find our life callings. But what exactly is this "Soul" that we each have? And what's the value of getting to know your own Soul?

  • To learn more about the characteristics of your own unique, beautiful Soul, join us at my upcoming class... and bring a friend!

  • Our Wildest Dreams: The Transformative Power of Your Soul and Subconscious

  • Fri, March 17, 6:30 - 8:00 pm CST, hosted by Wisdom Ways Center for Spirituality (and online)

  • In this introductory class, you'll get to explore the meaning in dreams and other numinous experiences you've had. And I’ll share about my approach to this art of interpretation, so you can keep practicing this yourself!


Whereas we can say Spirit is the universal aspect of the Divine, we can say the Soul is the particular.

A Soul is a person’s unique, innate manifestation or reflection of Spirit. It is the part of you that is most connected – intimately and always connected – with Spirit. It is your truest particular place and your truest particular purpose, in relationship with others’, in this world and what lies beyond. We have other names to refer to the Soul too: your angel, atman, Buddha-nature, daimon, destiny, dharma, essence, genius, etc. Each of these seem to point to a similar awareness we all have of a Being or Consciousness – a Someone or Something – which is bigger than us and beyond our full understanding. Yet it belongs to each of us as individuals.

Because it comes from Spirit, your Soul is good. It is your own unique goodness, your one-of-a-kind beauty, which preexists and prefigures you. It is larger than all the other aspects of you combined: your relationships, callings, vocations, and creations; your emotions, mind, will, and body; your consciousness, psyche, and personality. It is the center that holds your various parts into a single, whole self.

Often the Soul is described as something residing within each individual, but it may be even more true to say each individual resides within their Soul, just as the cosmos resides within Spirit. But it would be not quite true to say that each individual resides entirely within their Soul. Harkening back to our discussion of Spirit in Part 1, if people were suffused with their Souls, how then would we explain suffering?

parched desert with dramatic canyon in background - Sun Lakes Dry Falls State Park, Washington

The truth is we all also have an ego – a defensive grasp-iness in our nature – which operates somewhat independent of the Soul. The ego is not inherently bad, though it can be used to do great damage while the Soul cannot. However, the ego is limited. Fortunately, it can actually work in harmony with the Soul. More on these ideas later in this series.

Suffice it to say for now that even the most enlightened person has an ego, and even the most fragmented, demented person has a Soul; we all have both – no exceptions. But we get to decide how much we identify with the ego, versus how much we learn about and live into our Soul.

An important part of spirituality is this journey of relinquishing the ego and nurturing the Soul. There are ways to find or come home to your truest place and purpose, to give your Soul the devotion it deserves in your life. Here are a few of the many directions from which we can approach this task:

huge mountains at the edge of forest and valley plain - Grand Tetons, Wyoming, USA

This can be a difficult and lonely process, requiring lots of contemplation, exploration, time, and effort. That’s why it’s essential to seek out guides, mentors, companions, and community on your journey. After all, our Souls are also defined by relationship with other Souls, and we could even say that our interpersonal relationships have Souls of their own, created where individuals’ Souls meet.

All of this is why I’ve trained as a literal Soul Friend (or an Anam Cara) through the Celtic Center – I’ve personally needed many Soul Friends throughout my life, and I want to be a proficient one for others. It’s also why, by convening community and sharing writing, I hope I can be a resource for people seeking broader Soul-support and inspiration.

By now, you may have asked – why should the reality of the Soul be confined just to individual humans? Don’t other living beings and their relationships have Souls too? What about places and objects? Of course they do! For simplicity’s sake I refer to these under the category of the Sacred, to which we turn next.

Along the way, I offer you some reflection questions:

  • How have you been getting to know your unique, innate manifestation or reflection of Spirit?

  • How have you been getting to know your truest particular place and your truest particular purpose?

  • How have you been living into your Soul, giving it the devotion it deserves in your life?

  • How have you been seeking guides, mentors, companions, and community in this process?

Image credits: #2 - Rick Beckel; #3 Devin Bard



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