Many traditions divide the soul/self into a variety of parts, elements, and so on. Those familiar with the GD system know that they adapt and steal a qabalistic model:
- Neschamah—the highest part of the self, that which the soul aspires towards
- Ruach—the middle part of the self, that which relates to the mental faculties
- Nephesch—the lowest part of the self, that which reflects the so-called animal, corporeal body
The hermetics associate these parts with various emanations of the divine, Sephiroth on the Tree of Life, etc. However, this division of selfhood follows a fairly conventional and dualistic model of self: Body, Mind, and then that which transcends Body and Mind. Many systems, including Feri, wind up adopting a similar division: Fetch, Talker, and God-Self.
However, as I began working on aligning the Triple-Soul, it occurred to me that my body was often, or had been often, divorced from Fetch. Accordingly, for me at least, I recognized that Body occupied another term in this spectrum of selfhood, one I wanted to align together with the rest.
As I worked (and work) on these aspects of my practice, I also see how the goal isn’t transcendence—at least not for me. The goal isn’t to somehow ascend and just reconnect to God-Self and bam, I’m outta here. I intend through aligning to embody my selves here as an integrated whole self—as who I want to live and act as here—so the purpose for me is that wholeness, which I identify as a fifth but composite term. For the moment, let me call that term Wholeness. So in my practice, I work with Body, Fetch, Talker, God-Self, and Wholeness.
Ultimately, the number of terms, souls, whatever doesn’t matter except in how the metaphors you choose to use matter and mean something and have significance for you. The hermetic model and symbolism and terms never connected with me, and they remained rather abstract. I would also say that hermeticism also framed them in a very transcendental manner that disdained Nephesch (“animal instincts” as Regardie associates it in his The Golden Dawn Third Knowledge Lecture). Feri framed them in far more accessible terms and experiences for me, but the secondary terms (ori, vivi, etc.) never “sang” for me.
Naming Things for Myself
One part of my practice has been the naming of things for my own use. I will get into specifics as far as why I feel this practice helps me when I get to Talker/Dariar, but in part, I distrust buying into other folks’ systems too deeply (or rigidly) and I see how Talker has to be lured into working with the rest and I have to reweave Talker to better align and do magic and etc. Naming helps with these enterprises. So for me, Body is Hrávë, Fetch is Taniel, Talker is Dariar, God-Self is Elaith, and Wholeness is “C.” That C is code here for the actual name/motto I have discovered for myself in this process. Elaith/God-Self whispered it to me years ago, when I asked what my “true name” was, and she obliged. I held on to it but didn’t really understand it until I reached a particular stage in my current practice and it came back again.
And in a way, C isn’t so much a name as an intent and motto and purpose and knowledge and will. That said, I feel it is something to hold close rather than sharing here.
Body and Fetch
Many systems effectively treat Body and Fetch as one thing, one “soul” or mystical body. You have your body, and it happens to have an “etheric” double that usually hangs out just inside or on top of your corporeal, everyday body. Fetch typically looks much like your regular body. However, this resemblance is not always the case. Atypical body image can result in a divide between Body and Fetch, and that includes concerns like dysmorphia of all kinds (gender, body, and others).
Before I go further, let me admit that I’m referring to my own experiences and what I understand of basic human psychology. I want to avoid reductionist thinking (and rhetoric!) that flattens/levels distinctions for people. Your experience and magic is your own—and mine are my own. Also, for gods’ sakes, don’t use me as a reference for psychological conditions or social representation/identity.
I’ve suffered from negative body image for most of my life in some way (too tall! Too fat! Too skinny! Too old! Too weak! Too muscular! etc. etc. etc.), and that image effectively led me to push away Fetch for a long time because Fetch was a reminder that my Body wasn’t what I thought Body should look like. My work with the Guardians and the Pentacles has helped address that divide—as well as other elements of my practice and even just some basic CBT—but what has also helped me has been taking those measures I can to “reclaim” my body as my own rather than as a purely social object.
And it occurs to me that some measure of disassociation plays into this element of my practice, as well. My Talker is very dominant for me, and that has resulted in a very disembodied experience that tries to disassociate body from self as an object. Instead, I continue to work to reclaim my body as part of my self, as part of my subjectivity.
Next Time: I’ll continue talking about Body and Fetch as I move towards Talker and the rest.