Spirit, Soul and Ghosts
This contribution is a reply by D Marsland to questions
asked by an enquirer at Cardiff Lodge
What is the difference between Soul, Discarnate Entities and Spirit ?
This is my analysis of Spirit, Soul and Discarnate Entities. Explanations from other Theosophists may be different.
This is the piece of the divine in everyone known as the Atma. Pure Spirit is ineffective by itself and needs a vehicle. This is provided by the Buddhic principle which is The Thesosophical equivalent of a Soul. Neither of these can act without the other.
The combination of Atma and Buddhi are termed the Monad which is the individual spiritual entity. These two elements still need to be reflected in some consciousness and a third element is added. This is the Manas “mind” principle which is divided into higher and lower. The combination of Higher Manas with Atma and Buddhi is known as the Causal Body or Reincarnating Ego. The Causal Body carries experience from life to life and evolves with the lives lived. It is also subject to Karma. Eventually the Causal Body evolves (hopefully) beyond the need to reincarnate and reaches Nirvana and the states beyond. When this is reached, the individual is really no longer human. The individual can choose to help mankind without incarnating (Bodhisattva or Ascended Master) and therefore would become one form of Discarnate Entity. However, the term discarnate entity is rarely used to denote highly developed beings.
These are several beings in this category they generally inhabit the Astral Plane.
A thought form if powerful enough can take on an identity of its own which can have a beneficial or malevolent effect. Sometimes these thought forms take the form of elementals created by sorcerers or magicians. Most Theosophists believe that if anyone creates a malicious elemental then it will come back on them.
Belief in a Deity can create it as a thought form
There are also entities on the Astral Plane which are people who have died and are unable to leave their earthly life behind (unfinished business). These are said to attach themselves for their own purposes to vulnerable living people. A sort of possession.
People strongly unable to accept that they have died can be trapped in a twilight world between the physical plane and the Astral.
Sometimes remnants of the etheric body (body of prana) can linger around a corpse and may be seen as wraiths in churchyards. Although these may be recognizable as the person who has died, they are just a shell.
What about ghosts ?
Here is my view on ghosts. I like to make a clear distinction between something caused by an active entity and something that is an imprint from the past.
The term ghost is usually used to refer to an apparition or a presence in a building, at a site or in certain specific circumstances. A ghost in my view is not a discarnate entity but an imprint left by an event probably involving emotional trauma or obsession. There is a hypothesis that in the way that an audio tape can absorb and store a human voice and replay it later, the walls of a building can absorb human stress and release it given the right conditions.
Ghosts, poltergeists, apparitions and mysterious presences are likely to be old trauma trapped as energy. You rarely hear of happy ghosts and the reason why many people are frightened of ghosts is that they usually represent negativity.
Psychometrists can pick up an object and tell you its history, so it may be that everything absorbs something from the energy it comes into contact with but most of us are not sensitive enough to pick it up. Hauntings are probably a more intense example of absorbing energy that is strong enough to release to people who are not normally sensitive enough to pick up subtle energies.
Apparent contacts at séances are usually a bit different. Theosophists believe that what a medium contacts is not the actual deceased entity but the imprint that they have left on the Akashic Record. The Akashic Record is effectively the memory of the space time continuum where everything that happens leaves an imprint. It is however possible that a discarnate entity may use a séance as an opportunity to break through possibly with a bit of unfinished business.
The Ghost of Hamlet’s father has a clear purpose and is dealing with unfinished business and would be the discarnate entity of Hamlet’s father using etheric or astral material to contact the physical plane. Once he gets his message to Hamlet, he isn’t seen again. I believe that it is very possible for a deceased person with unfinished business to make contact for a specific purpose with a receptive living person using some from of apparition. This would be rare or single event and not a haunting unless the discarnate entity was malevolent and exercised some form of possession over the person.