The Soul Cluster: Reconsideration of a Millennia Old Concept (cont.)
By Ede Frecska, Levente Móró and Hank Wesselman
Discussing the traditional Estonian religion Ivar Paulson (1958) refers to the body-soul by the name eluhinged, (or eluvaim) and claims (relying on Arbman) that the body-soul isn't unitary. Its mental complement is the ego-soul (ise, vari, teisik, nimi), which can take over the functions of the free-soul (irdhing) – the king of souls, as a breath-soul, and as such it can leave the body as a soul-animal or in a dream. He also emphasizes a connection between the free-soul and the body-soul (Paulson, 1958, pp. 208, 234, 253-263), a relationship which also assumes importance in the distant Hawaiian Kahuna tradition (see below).
The Shuar (Jívaro) headhunter tribe living in the Upper Amazon regions of Ecuador also believe in the trinity of the soul. In their culture, everyone bears a 'true soul', the nekás wakanl, which arises at the moment of birth. This soul resides in the blood of an individual, and therefore blood loss equates partial soul loss to a Shuar. The 'true soul' leaves the body when one dies, and starts an immortal existence reliving the entire life of the individual that it belonged to. After reliving this life, it may become a forest demon, or after several transformations it evolves into mist and in this form unifies with the cloud of every deceased persons’ 'true soul'. The war-cultivating Shuars are pragmatically minded and preoccupied with their everyday warfare. Therefore, the 'true soul' interests them the least among the three, since – they suppose – it has minimal effect on their actual affairs.
The second soul is the arutam wakanl, which brings vision (arutam), and provides protection to the person. This 'protecting soul' is so important that no one can reach adulthood without it, and it has to be gained before puberty. To acquire this soul, a young Shuar boy must go out into the forest for an about five-day long vision quest. It is the vision (arutam) that brings power and intelligence; it shields against malevolence and witchcraft. Over the course of a lifetime, a warrior acquires several 'protecting souls', or helping spirits that give him extra protection.