In my alchemical pursuits, I’ve done a lot of thinking about the relationship of spirit and soul. And I think it’s rather interesting to consider the ramifications of those spiritual traditions which focus so intently on the protection or persistence of the soul. From the standpoint of someone who considers the careful transformation of the deepest motivating beliefs within you to be the most important focus of spiritual activities, this call to protect those things from outside influence is actually really troubling.
As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in a conservative, evangelical Christian household, so my earliest understanding of the souls was that it was the essence of a person, the only eternal part of them, and it was imperative to guard and tend one’s soul, to do whatever was necessary to assure it’s salvation. I was taught that your soul could be perfected by god or sullied by the devil through the temptations of the world, but not that you could do anything to change your soul. You were who god made you to be, and why would we consider trying to change that?
This is why such paths vilify the actions of the spirit. Thought, communication, exchange, the free flow of energy and passion between people, they have little place in such religious traditions. But it’s that exchange and connection, that life force, which powers the universe. It’s arguably the most sacred essence of everything.
And since there is no god, no devil trying to deliberately control and shape us at the soul level, for good or for evil, that leaves it up to us to control and shape ourselves. To do so, we need a constant flow of spirit in our lives and a deep exploration of our own souls.