Monthly Archives: February 2022

North American Indian Soulology

Of all our blog-segments for this series the present one is perhaps the most intriguing. For such a primitive culture the North American Indians notion of soul is far from simplicity—indeed, it is rooted in various soul-extensions or soul-pluralisms. Essentially, each tribe has its own soul-system. Different tribes have different notions of soul–hence, no uniformity amidst the tribes. Yet, one renowned scholar in the field, E.B. Tylor, developed and vividly pointed to the understanding of the general perception of this phenomenon by American Indians: “soul is a fine, immaterial human image, something like steam, air or shadow by its nature. It is the cause of life and thought in the creature it animates”. While multilayered, there are two dominant strains in this analysis: soul is formed from a root-verb, sken. read more

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Christian Mystics & the Soul

The first on the horizon to give birth to what became known as Christian Mysticism is undoubtedly Dionysius the Areopagite. He in essence formulated the terminology that Christian Mystics use to describe their experience of Union with the Godhead. Yea, despite the overwhelming influence of Dionysian ideas on writers such as Eriugena, Meister Eckhart, The Cloud of Unknowing and many others, there has never been anything like Dionysian theology—it set the apophatic standard for all that came after it. Dionysius shed illuminative light on the notion of the soul: read more

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The great delusion and awakening of the soul

The great sadness of deity-based religions, be it monotheistic or polytheistic ones, the deity in name and worship, be it One or Many, all suffer from the souls’ delusion of servitude, either desired or forced upon itself by merit of self-ignorance, fear, love or guilt. It is servitude to something higher than its actual true self – the latter being PURE SPIRIT, BUDDHA NATURE, but in the soul by reason of ignorance being perceived as lower. It fails to realize that in any realm, or reality, there is nothing higher than its true self. read more

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Aerial Toll Houses

The phenomenon of what has become known as the Aerial Toll Houses is Eastern Orthodox in origin. It was made popular again due to the efforts of Fr. Seraphim Rose (1934-1982) in his book, The Soul After Death. But it’s an olden belief. Etymologically these “toll houses” are also named “telonia”, from the Greek:τελωνεία / telonia, customs). Not all Eastern Orthodox Ecclesiastical offices are sold on the idea, but the immense literature on the subject by renowned Orthodox saints, theologians, and ascetical personages place it in the category of being a spiritual probability. An immense Volume, The Departure of the Soul, According to the Teaching—A Patristic Anthology (2016), numbering 1111 pages is indeed a vast anthology of the said personages who give absolute witness and credence to the phenomena. According to the literature, once the soul leaves the body it enters an aerial realm that is populated by a denizen of evil spirits that block the passage to Heaven in toll-houses where the demons proceed to accuse the soul of past sins with the intent of dragging it down in the fiery depths of hell. read more

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St. Maximus the Confessor: Premier Ascetical Theologian of the Byzantine Orthodox Tradition

We now turn East in our series and consider the most brilliant Byzantine-Orthodox Ascetical Theologian of them all, St. Maximus (Maximos) the Confessor (580-662). He lived through the most catastrophic period the Byzantine Empire was to experience before the Crusades. He was highly educated and served as the executive chief-secretary of Emperor Heraclius but eventually abandoned this walk of life and became a monk. He wrote voluminous ascetical and theological works. He became a staunch critic of the Monothelite heresy: read more

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St. Augustine—The Great Lover of the Soul and Spirit

St. Augustine, also known as Saint Augustine the Bishop of Hippo (Aurelius Augustinus, 354-430 CE), caroused in promiscuity at the age of 18 while a student at Carthage. Sex was an overriding obsession. He would later write in his Confessions, “From a perverted act of will, desire had grown, and when desire is given satisfaction, habit is forged; and when habit passes unresisted, a compulsive urge sets in.” Hence, his early life can be likened unto the Prodigal Son, who this time in the person and prayers of his mother, Monica, was inspired to end his carousing ways. He was later officially converted through the sermons of Bishop Ambrose, who was also later to be crowned a Saint. Augustine and his teacher Ambrose are the first Latin Christian writers to maintain that the human soul is incorporeal. read more

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Plotinus—The Man of the One and Unborn

All Platonic notions reached their Zenith in the teachings of Plotinus (205-270 AD). Philosophy for men like Plotinus was a full-time professional occupation and religious vocation that demanded withdrawal from worldly affairs. He disregarded physical hardships, right up to the point of his death by a form of Leprosy-ailment: read more

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Recognize the difference between Spirit and Soul.

The soul is Spirit´s “cognitive” power and knower of all things.

Where it needs to perceive and know as a demon, it perceives and knows as a demon. Where it needs to perceive and know as a man, it perceives and knows as a man. Where it perceives and knows as a god, it perceives and knows as a god. read more

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Gnostic Notions

An overview of Gnosticism is in order. Etymologically, from Ancient Greek: γνωστικός, romanized: gnōstikós, Koine Greek: [ɣnostiˈkos], ‘having knowledge’ [gnosis]. It’s a composite of mystical and religious ideas which became amalgamated during the latter half of the first century AD, consisting mainly of Jewish and early Christian sects. Their main focus was upon individualized gnosis which sharply contrasted with mainline ecclesiastical institutions. The Gnostics significance is not to be minimized as they were the gate-keepers of the magnificent Library of Alexandria, and as such, they were the guardians of the secret mystery schools of Greece and Egypt. Their main import taught that what was considered to be Supreme Being was in essence a mother-goddess—Sophia—who represented an allegorical function that reflected objective truths that led to the formation of self-realized entities. read more

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Pauline Revelations

The Apostle Paul was no stranger to Greek notions of the soul. In the first chapter of Romans, he narrates his acknowledgment to the wisdom of the ancient Greeks. Even though he notes that salvation is only available through the gospel of Christ, nonetheless the Greeks had contact with the truth. This truth had been made manifest to them by God. “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse . . .” (Rom. 1:20).  Also, St. Paul spoke to the men of Athens about their temple that he witnessed being dedicated to an unknown God. Paul then said this “unknown God” is the true God who created the world. read more

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