An Hermetic Perspective Upon the "Soul Mate" Phenomenon and Other Multi-Incarnational Relationships
While the term "soul mate" is commonly used to describe quite a broad spectrum of human relationships, from an Hermetic perspective it refers to a very specific and relatively uncommon phenomenon. It means far more than just an uncommon intensity of human love or an uncommon degree of rapport. It is, in fact, the most intimate and longest term sort of relationship that can exist between two human beings.
This sort of intertwining of lives occurs at the Individual level of Self and begins the moment that a single human Greater Self originally projects two Individual Selves into the same moment of time-space. Usually, when a human Greater Self (our Eternal Mental Body) creates or projects a quanta of ItSelf into the temporal realm, it projects only one quanta of ItSelf into a single temporal moment -- thus an Individual Self is "born" and begins its cycle of incarnations into the material realm.
Such an Individual Self (a temporal mental body), once projected into the stream of time-space, repeatedly descends into the astral and then material realms in order to incarnate physically. Throughout the incarnations of such an Individual, many human loves and relationships will develop that span many lifetimes, but none of them would qualify as a true "soul mate", regardless of their intensity or significance.
A true "soul mate" phenomenon occurs only when a human Greater Self projects/creates two new Individual Selves (temporal mental bodies) into/at the same moment of time-space. When this occurs, the two Individual Selves are inexorably entwined for the remainder of their existences. In other words, they will incarnate together throughout their entire existence, each time directly affecting each other's lives and development in one way or another. As these Individual Selves progress throughout their span of time-space together, they will progressively weave themselves together and, upon the mental plane, will appear to be embracing each other like two snakes entwined.
This entwinement continues until either one of the two Individual Selves reaches the temporal end of their cycle of incarnations and permanently re-merges their quanta of temporal mental Awareness with their Greater Self (Eternal Mental Body). Often, both Individual Self "soul mates" will reach maturity simultaneously, but not always. When the two do not reach their maturity simultaneously, the one Individual who does reach it first may choose to preserve their Individuality astra-mentally, in order to directly affect their "soul mate" from that realm and thus continue to aid in their "mates" development.
During each incarnation as a human being, the Individual Selves will form some sort of relationship. Common relationships for "soul mates" are parent-child, siblings, mentor-student, "best" friends and, most potent of all, lovers or life-partners. Each of these relationships is highly charged in terms of karmic significance and pertains directly to the developing maturity of the Individual Selves involved.
The essence of the "soul mate" phenomenon is that it is a very powerful and focused manifestation of the Universal Force (or Principle) of All-Love at the personal (time-space-matter) level of existence. The two Individual Selves are repeatedly giving birth to each other, loving each other and teaching each other, over and over and over, throughout the whole of their existences. Over time, their incarnations become, in many respects, like astra-mental mirror images of each other, so close is their harmonization.
But just because the two are "soul mates" this is no guarantee that these relationships will all be "perfect", "easy" or filled with "happy endings". :) Nor does it guarantee that either or both of the incarnate persons will even be aware that they are true "soul mates". Ultimately, it doesn't matter whether or not an awareness of this relationship exists at the personal level during incarnation.
To my mind, there are two main reasons why it doesn't matter: Number one, all of our relationships with others should be treated as if they were with our "soul mate" (i.e., enacted with sincerity, honesty, respect and love). :) And of perhaps equal importance is number two, it is hard to know for certain that so-and-so is your "soul mate". ;-)
There are really only two ways to know for certain, both of which rely upon direct personal perception and both of which are prone to self-delusion and the influence of an emotional desire for an affirmative result.
One method is to regain conscious awareness of your past incarnations to the degree that you can willfully review them and, in effect, "remember" them. This is done by first focusing and seating your conscious awareness within the Individual (or Tiphareth) level of your own Self Awareness. [In the language of the Self-Healing Archaeous: within the "solitary mental body", or "Fire and Air regions of the temporal mental body".] Then let your Awareness expand slightly with the Fire until you can perceive your own Individual Self as if from slightly "above". If you see that your Individual Self is entwined with another Individual Self and has been entwined since their mutual point of temporal origin, then this is an indication of a "soul mate" relationship with another Individual Self.
However, you must verify whether or not this is a self-delusional projection of an emotionally rooted desire to be in such a relationship with another Individual or person. Of course, if you have truly been able to focus your awareness within your Individual Self then there will be no emotional motivations involved, but therein lies the test -- have you truly focused your awareness??? A second test is whether or not you can make the entwining Individual disappear from your perception. If you can change the initial perception then odds are, it was not a reliable perception. But here again, there is a great possibility of self-delusion -- can you convince yourself that you can't change the "perception" if you have a deep seated emotional desire for your "perception" to be an accurate one?
So, assuming that your perception is that your Individual Self is entwined with another Individual Self and that you have verified this perception to your satisfaction for the moment, you must then look closer and see where you both incarnate together. Project your awareness "down" and "into" several of those incarnations and you will come to "recognize" your "soul mate" as they have been in those past lifetimes. You will see that even though their personalities are slightly different in each case, there is a recognizable essence shining through each face.
Then, using your mundane awareness (in its holistic sense of being an intentional combination of all the levels of Self-Awareness available), "scan" the people in your life for this essence that you've perceived as belonging to your "soul mate". A BIG caution here is that your mundane awareness naturally includes your emotional body and all of its perhaps subconscious motivations!
The only other reliable (yet equally unreliable and equally susceptible to self-delusion) method that I am aware of relies upon the direct perception of a specific physical energetic that develops between two incarnate "soul mates" when they are both within close spatial proximity of each other. It is not uncommon for true "soul mates" to experience this physical energy without realizing what it is. And it is even more common for only one of the pair (the one more naturally sensitive or the one with trained senses) to perceive it. This energetic can become very addictive, to the degree that one literally craves the other's presence and feels temporarily "down" when the physical distance becomes too great. This physical energetic feeds both parties and is caused by the astral and mental energetics that are likewise caused when two "soul mates" come within close physical proximity of each other. This is a physical consequence of the powerful and focused manifestation of the Universal Force of All-Love at the personal (time-space-matter) level of existence.
It is actually very difficult (for me, at least) to accurately describe the physical sensation of this energetic since such perceptions are so intimately subjective. In general terms though, it feels very physically pleasing, electric, sparkly and as if it could sustain itself forever. :) I hate to say it, but it really is the sort of thing that one recognizes only when it is experienced. Usually, if there's any doubt at the moment of experience then odds are that you're perceiving something else. It is easy to misinterpret very strong emotions and/or sexual desire as being this specific energetic, so beware.
There seems to be a limited spatial radius within which this physical effect is felt. Unless its radius is consciously extended by one or both parties, it seems to be naturally limited to around 9 meters. This "natural" distance seems to increase substantially when two "soul mates" remain within visual range of each other, and of course, it can be extended as far as desired through conscious effort.
As I said earlier, this physical energetic that forms when two true "soul mates" are in close physical proximity of each other, is caused by a similar energy dynamic that forms at the astral and mental levels, only when the two are in close physical proximity. Although there is always a mental level energy dynamic in play between two "soul mates", this dynamic changes substantially and is greatly amplified when the two parties are in close physical proximity. At the mental level, this is seen as a radiant brilliance whose hue depends upon the maturity of the two "soul mates" -- it is a mutual radiance. This radiation causes an excitement of the astral materia surrounding the two "soul mates" which quickly becomes very colorful and active with motion (usually circular).
So, if you feel that you are perceiving the physical energetic of a "soul mate" with another person, you can further investigate it at the astral and mental levels. But as before, this is all quite open to self-delusion and truly requires a very high degree of self-honesty.
Ultimately, it doesn't matter whether or not some one is your "soul mate". That is, until one or both of the Individual Selves nears end of their cycle of incarnations. Then, it becomes quite important, but by then there is certainty. The reason it becomes vitally important at that point has to do with the final resolution of the mutual karma between the two Individual Selves. This karma must, at that point, be consciously and intentionally resolved and this can take several lifetimes to accomplish.
"Soul mates" are blessed with the opportunity to develop a degree of intimacy unrealized in the majority of human-to-human relationships. Such intimacy may be used by both parties to speed their individual and/or mutual maturation process and thus attain final Liberation more quickly than "average". And even when this extraordinary degree of intimacy is not achieved, the relationship that still exists between the two "soul mates" will "stir" and "quicken" the karma (i.e., it will shorten the temporal lag between action and consequence) of each to such a degree that their evolution is still sped beyond the "average" pace. This effect is increased exponentially when the two parties are in close physical proximity of each other due to the physical-astral-mental energetic that arises in such a circumstance.
The "soul mate" relationship also presents a special burden to both parties because of the high degree of emotional and mental intimacy it produces. The attachment at these levels is so significant that when it is severed by life circumstances, a very deep emotional and mental loss is experienced by both parties and this loss can cause a debilitating sadness. It is not uncommon for a "soul mate" to "die of a broken heart" after their "mate" has physically died; especially if the two were lovers or if they were manifesting a parent-child relationship and the child "mate" died first. Additionally, emotional injuries that arise during their relationships will be felt more deeply and more painfully by both parties than in "average" human relationships. On the other hand, as their astral and mental harmony increases over time, they are both better equipped to resolve any differences that arise and mend any injuries that result.
Out of the currently incarnate human population of the earth, approximately 10 percent of us are paired with a true "soul mate". This fact is quite remarkable considering that the actual overall incidence of this phenomena between human Individual Selves (incarnate and disincarnate) occurs less than 1 percent of the time. But while this phenomenon is relatively rare between humans, it is quite common among other types of Individual Selves and, in fact, many types of Greater Selves create/project by this manner exclusively (e.g., the Greater's who are responsible for mineral lifeforms). In other words, many types of Greater Selves normally project large quantities of ThemSelves into the same moment of time-space; but with specifically human Greater Selves, this rarely occurs and when it does occur, it involves only two Individual Selves at a time.
Conversely, there are three other multi-incarnational relationships that commonly arise between humans but which are uncommon between other types of Individual Selves (and in many cases absolutely do not occur between some types of Individual Selves). The most common multi-incarnational relationships arise from interpersonal karma. For example, a person kills another person and due to the karmic consequences of their action, they will incarnate repeatedly with that other person until such time as the karmic issue is finally resolved between them. While this is an extreme and negative example, the instigation of this sort of multi-incarnational relationship can be anything which develops a karmic issue (positive and/or negative) between people that is not resolved within the lifetime during which it occurs. These relationships can span anywhere from just one following incarnation together, to thousands of incarnations together.
The second-most common multi-incarnational relationship that arises between humans is rooted at the level of their respective (and separate) Greater Selves. Within the eternal realm, Greater Selves experience affinity with other Greater Selves. To the mental eye, this is indicated by their "proximity" to each other -- Greaters who appear "close together", appear so because they are similar in essential nature and experience an "affinity" with each other. Their commonality draws them together, so to speak, and this is expressed through their projected Individual Selves. Thus, Individual Selves who are projections of Greaters who share affinity in this way, will often incarnate together and manifest some sort of mundane affinity as well. These relationships are invariably supportive and often span hundreds of incarnations, if not the entire temporal existences of the Individuals involved.
The third-most common multi-incarnational relationship is that shared by Individual Selves projected by the same Greater Self (but into different moments of time-space). In many ways, this is similar to a "soul mate" relationship but is not as intense, nor as karmically significant. Similar to the "soul mate" phenomenon, such persons will share an extraordinary commonality which can (and usually does) result in a deeply transformative relationship.
For the "average" person it is not very common to meet another incarnate projection of their own Greater Self, face-to-face. Instead, they are more likely encountered as influences from afar, such as an author who's writing really inspires you, or as a person who's life accomplishments really inspire you and resonate with you. However, as the Individual Self matures and moves closer to its final Liberation, face-to-face encounters become more and more common with each successive incarnation until at the end of an Individual's incarnational cycle, their lifetime is literally filled with encounters and relationships with others who share the same Greater Self.
Recognizing another projection of your own Greater Self is easy if you shift and expand the focus of your personal awareness so that you, in essence, become your own Greater Self. From this perspective, all the Individual Selves projected by your Greater Self are "visible", so it is just a matter then of investigating which of them are incarnate at the same time as you are and whether or not the person in question is among their number. It is also quite possible to simply recognize your own Greater Self manifest within another person, but this again presupposes a deep familiarity with the Greater Self level of your own awareness.
Face-to-face encounters with other incarnations of your own Greater Self are marked by a physical, astral and mental energetic similar to that generated by true "soul mates", but in this case it is much, much less intense. Since these encounters do not carry with them the degree of intensity of "soul mates", they tend to be less emotional and more intellectual, and generally filled with an easy openness.
While each of these multi-incarnational relationships are, in essence, specific manifestations of the Universal Force of All-Love at a personal level, the "soul mate" phenomenon is the most powerful and significant of them all. When it occurs, it indicates a mutual necessity to learn the proper way to experience, manifest and exemplify the Universal Force of All-Love at a personal level specifically. As the two "soul mates" mature through their cycle of incarnations together, they forever help one another in the fulfillment of this overriding necessity.
My best to you!
:) Rawn Clark
31 October 2005