Before my hiatus I mentioned that I was working on a system of Bacchic Orphic soul-parts which would serve as the basis for a number of healing and magical techniques within the Starry Bull tradition.
I think it’s finished.
Soul part: Arche – ἀρχή (ancestral inheritance)
Body part: Bones
Overseen by: Astragaloi (Knucklebones)
Powers: Luck, gifts that run in the family, communication with the dead
Challenges: Inherited disorders, ancestral trauma, scrupulosity
Element: Water (ὕδωρ) + Fire (πῦρ)
Entheogen: Silene capensis
Soul part: Thumos – θυμός (seat of passions)
Body part: Heart
Overseen by: Rhombos (Bull-Roarer)
Powers: Accelerated strength, endurance and healing
Challenges: Wildly fluctuating mood, penchant for violence
Element: Fire (πῦρ) + Earth (γῆ)
Soul part: Zoe – ζωή (life-force)
Body part: Genitals
Overseen by: Mela (Apple)
Powers: Growth, fertility, creativity, attractiveness
Challenges: Sexual voraciousness, compulsive need to be outdoors
Element: Earth (γῆ)
Soul part: Nous – νοῦς (intellect)
Body part: Limbs
Overseen by: Paignia Kampesiguia (Puppet)
Powers: Reason, persuasion, mimicry, possessory work
Challenges: Schizophrenia, apophenia
Element: Air (ἀήρ) + Aither (αἰθήρ)
Entheogen: Salvia divinorum
Soul part: Aisthesis – αἴσθησις (sense perception)
Body part: Flesh
Overseen by: Strobilos (Whip Top)
Powers: Heightened senses, empathy, synaesthesia, ability to turn chaos into harmony
Challenges: Attraction to dangerous and damaging things, self-harm, confusion, disorientation
Element: Earth (γῆ) + Water (ὕδωρ)
Entheogen: Amanita muscaria
Soul part: Ego – ἐγώ (constructed self)
Body part: Head
Overseen by: Sphaira (Ball)
Powers: Dominance, seduction, cleverness, turning situations to one’s benefit
Challenges: Assorted personality disorders
Element: Fire (πῦρ)
Entheogen: St. John’s wort
Soul part: Pneuma – πνεῦμα (animating breath)
Body part: Mouth & Tongue
Overseen by: Krotala (Rattle)
Powers: Storytelling, vocal magic, ability to calm others down
Challenges: Compulsive lying, dementia, agitation
Element: Air (ἀήρ)
Soul part: Mneme – μνήμη (memory)
Body part: Intestines & Internal organs
Overseen by: Trochos (Wheel)
Powers: Exceptional instincts, ability to find the way out, access to memories (including somatic)
Challenges: Paranoia, anxiety from not being able to let things go, alzheimers
Element: Water (ὕδωρ)
Soul part: Psyche – ψυχή (disembodied consciousness)
Body part: Hair
Overseen by: Pokos (Tuft of wool)
Powers: Spirit-journeying, shapeshifting, ability to manipulate the threads of reality and fate
Challenges: Fragmentation and dissociative identity disorder, psychic wounds
Element: Fire (πῦρ) + Air (ἀήρ)
Entheogen: Syrian rue
Soul part: Daimon – δαίμων (Divine Power)
Body part: Eyes
Overseen by: Esoptron (Mirror)
Powers: True sight and visions, communion with the divine, ability to reflect things back
Challenges: Obsession, delusion, megalomania, narcissism
Element: Aither (αἰθήρ)
4 thoughts on “A Bacchic Orphic soul-parts system”
Does this relate to the Norse concept of soul parts?
I’m very intrigued.
Yes and no.
Both cultures originally had a multi-part soul, but I’m not sure how related they are (beyond a possible Indo-European origin) or that there are one-for-one cognates.
In Greece you see this plurality in Homer and the Presocratic philosophers, with around 14-16 different components. Unfortunately there was no universal agreement on the matter and different philosophers drew up different lists, with none including all.
By the time of Aristotle and Plato the number was drastically reduced down to three components, though later on, with the Neoplatonists it’s back up to 5 or 6 parts or 3 parts with minor subdivisions.
Since all of that is really confusing, I streamlined things for my tradition, coming up with 10 parts, each of which are overseen by one of the Toys of Dionysos based on a dream I had in which I saw the dissolution that occurs in death, and how initiates maintained their integrity thanks to the activity of these Spirits.
I do think it’d be interesting to compare this to the Norse system, as well as others such as the Egyptian, Vedic or Hebrew – though I’m not familiar enough to do them justice.
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I too have dreamed about soul parts but not with such clarity as you present it here. Mine was related to Frau Holle and Her mill which separates the parts after death and directs them to their designated paths. Since then I’ve been intrigued by the concept but like I said I don’t have a lot of personal clarity on it. I’m sure that will come with time and study/meditation. Thank you for taking the time to share all this and reply. I hope you’re doing well.
Oh, that’s beautiful. Hail Frau Holle!
You might want to check out Claude Lecouteux, particularly his Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Astral Doubles in the Middle Ages as he discusses the various parts of the Germanic soul, in both its pre- and post-Christian expressions. He also analyzes the dead, land- and house-spirits and other fascinating topics.
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