Design: Alma Mekking
Paintings by: David Ridley
Every culture and religion believes in a concept of the soul or whatever it is called. There is a belief that we are more than our body and that we also have a soul, which continues after the body’s death and returns to where it once came from.
In shamanistic traditions, it is believed that we do not have one soul, but several souls as human beings. The ideas about how many or which and how they are called differ per culture.
In this article, I make a distinction between:
– the family soul
– the tribal soul or collective soul
– the individual soul
– the universal soul
If you want to learn more about Systemic Ritual and working with the concept of the Soul: See:
This classification is based on the work of Daan van Kampenhout and is also described in his book: The tears of the ancestors.
The family soul
The family soul becomes visible during a family constellation. The family forms a system, and everyone within that system is interconnected. Every person in a family is connected to all other relatives. One also remains connected with those from the family who have been excluded or rejected. Everyone carries the energies within the family. This means that if a disturbance occurs, for example, an accident or an untimely death of a family member, it will affect everyone in the family and efforts will be made to compensate for this disturbance. This often happens because one or more family members take on a burden that does not belong to them. They help carry that burden out of love and loyalty to the family.
The sickening thing about it is that one cannot bear the burden of another. One is only strong enough to carry one’s own burden. This mechanism is called entanglement. Entanglements within a family weaken and disrupt or obscure the deeper order.
A family constellation makes the entanglements, conflicts and tensions of a family visible. These are energies that often unconsciously determine the course of affairs within a family. A constellation usually also shows the way to the solution of the problem.
The family soul can also be called family karma.
The tribal soul or collective soul
We are not only part of our family system but also of several collective fields. These collective fields are not connected to each other. The boundaries between tribal fields are strong and aim to remain intact. This is called the tribal soul or collective soul.
Each tribe that defines itself in words of “what we have in common” and “in which we differ from ….” has formed its own tribal soul. As a person, you are usually part of different tribal souls. Think of: possessing a nationality or coming from a certain region, being part of a religious community, being part of an association, being part of a school, etc.
Within a particular ‘tribal soul’, certain aspects of yourself come to the fore more than others. For example, you work at a bank, and in your spare time, you immerse yourself in shamanism. You probably don’t show that side of yourself at work. And during seminars on shamanism or other spiritual matters, you may not want to say that you enjoy your job as a bank mortgage seller. This is the impact of the ‘tribal soul’.
A tribal soul disappears after the group falls apart. Some tribal souls are very powerful – think, for example, of nationalities and religious communities.
There are ‘hard cores’ in the tribal soul. Groups that only look inward cannot or do not want to enter into a relationship with others. These hard (i.e. fundamentalist) group cores do not allow individuation, i.e. this hardcore does not tolerate dissenting opinions or behaviour from its group members. We know this from religious communities, but the same thing happens within football clubs and other associations or between political ‘camps’.
The individual soul
This is the part of ‘I as an individual’ – autonomous, independent of others. Your values and truths, your personal experience are the most important for you here.
If you believe in reincarnation, you might add that this is the part of your soul that appears, evolves and leaves again and again at different times in different places on this earth.
The universal soul
This is the deep realization that we are universal beings, one with the whole—timeless, formless, equal, absence of ‘I’ and absence of the polarities.
This is also referred to as ‘the great soul’ by Bert Hellinger. At this level, everything and everyone is connected.
Inspired by: Van Kampenhout, D. Tears of the ancestors.