The Soul Cluster: Reconsideration of a Millennia Old Concept (cont.)
By Ede Frecska, Levente Móró and Hank Wesselman
The third one is the 'avenging soul', the muisak wakanl, which takes the stage when an arutam bearer is murdered. The function of muisak wakanl is revenge. When an individual with arutam wakanl is killed, his 'avenging soul' leaves through the mouth and proceeds to try to kill the murderer. Because the Shuars are frequently engaged in killing raids, it is important for them to come up with a mechanism to stop the 'avenging souls' from coming after them. This is the reason why the shrunken heads (tsantsa) are made. Shrinking the head prevents the muisak leaving the body, and covering it with charcoal blinds this 'avenging soul'. Moreover, the preparation moves the power of muisak to the killer’s family (for example awarding them with more food). However, the muisak means potential danger for the tribe even when it is incarcerated into the tsantsa, so after a while they excommunicate it to its village of origin, or sell the head to someone passing by (e.g., a tourist). In the belief system of the Shuars, the three-soul concept serves a double function: the conservation of tribal warfare, and the protection of the individual’s well-being (Winkelman & Baker, 2008, p. 184).
According to the view of Hawaiian aboriginals (Kahuna mysticism), everybody has a lower soul – the ‘unihipili, connected to the body and feelings – a medial soul – ‘uhane, related to mentality, and thinking – and a superior, immortal ‘aumakua (Wesselman & Kuykendall, 2004, p. 12, Wesselman, 2008, 2011). Ancient Greek thinkers would definitely ponder upon the tripartite definition of the Kahuna tradition, as in classical Greek thought, the psyche subsumed the emotional and the cognitive functions into one, while the Polynesians perceive these to be functions of two quite different souls.
The composite picture derived from the concepts of the soul in numerous cultures outlines meaningful commonalities and offsets insignificant differences. The results suggest that the singularity defined as 'self' by Westerners, is actually a cluster, a personal 'soul cluster' (Table 1). All aspects of the soul cluster are combined to create a functional self, and all of them are part of the same totality, originating from the same source, yet they exist in very different states of quality. In considering the Hawaiian Kahuna teachings, we find a psychodynamically intriguing interplay between the three soul components, a sort of souldynamic (taken after the term ‘psychodynamic psychotherapy’) which has been utilized in treatment concepts and enjoys an extensive multicultural acceptance spanning across space and time. It has been my experience (Frecska) that my psychiatric patients can relate to this tripartite soul division more easily than to the terminology and psychodynamic approach of classical psychoanalysis.