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The Soul Cluster: Reconsideration of a Millennia Old Concept (cont.)
By Ede Frecska, Levente Móró and Hank Wesselman

The 'soul cluster' in indigenous cultures

Among aboriginal groups, the term 'soul' cannot be used as it is in the Western tradition, because indigenous peoples widely hold the belief in multiple souls (or aspects) of a human being. The Native American Lakota Sioux distinguish the woniya (physical self), nagi (cognitive self), and nagila (spiritual self). Similarly, the Inuit Eskimos separate three souls: an anerneq soul, which we receive with the first breath at the moment of birth, an ateq soul, which we get with our names after birth, and a tarneq, our immortal soul. The Caribbean Voodoo religion also differentiates three forms of soul: grosbon ange, ti bon ange, and z'étoile (Wesselman, 2008.)

The Puyuma people – indigenous in Taiwan – believe that each person has three souls, one of which resides in the head, and the other two reside on each shoulder. Chinese aborigines belonging to the Hmong tribes (it is of interest to know that the Hmong people were settled in China before the Chinese) follow their ancient shamanic tradition, and believe that each living body has many souls (not in full agreement on the numbers though). For a newborn infant, one soul enters his or her body when he or she is conceived in the mother’s womb. Another soul enters when the baby has just emerged from the mother’s body and taken its first breath. A third one will have to be called on the third morning after birth. The first soul is the one that normally stays with the body. The second soul is free, it wanders; this free soul causes a person to dream while asleep. The third soul is the protective soul that tries to protect its owner from harm.

According to the view of the Kwawu people in Ghana, three soul categories animate each human being (Bartle, 1983). At the time of conception, blood and flesh come from the mother. The person’s body comes from his mother, belongs to his mother’s matrilineage, and ultimately returns to the Great Mother: Earth. It is occupied by the bodily soul form saman. A person receives semen from the father at conception. By this medium a child gets fertility and cleanliness. Cleanliness means morality in a spiritual sense, while fertility is closely linked to personality by them. The soul component associated to it is called sunsum. In contrast to blood and semen that a child obtains at conception, the breath of life is received from the Great Spirit at time of birth. The soul part entering the body this way is called כkra. Death means that כkrais taken back by the Great Spirit.

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