The Myth of Soulmates

Posted on Posted in Ancient Greece

It is said that in the beginning of time, when humans were first created, they had a form different to that they have today. They were both man and woman, had four arms, four legs and a single head made of two faces.

In “The Symposium”, Plato has Aristophanes, a famous Greek theatre and comedy writer, tell the story of the Soulmates.

As Plato puts it:

“According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.”

Before we find out what the Gods feared in them, let us describe their nature a bit more. There were three genders in nature: Man, Woman and the “Androgynous”, which literally means man-woman in Greek. Each gender had two sets of genitalia, with the Androgynous having both the male and the female sex. The gender of humans had to do with their origin; the Men were children of the Sun and Women were the children of the Earth. Andorgynous however, were children of the Moon, born out of the merging of the Sun and the Earth.

And there was a time that humans were very powerful creatures, fearless and strong, and even dared to threat the Gods. They threatened to conquer them and rule in their stead, and become the new Gods. So the Gods had to answer, and contemplated on how to face the humans’ threat and what needed to be done for balance and harmony to be restored once again. They thought of destroying humans completely, face them in a battle and kill them with lightning, as they did with the Titans. But if humans no longer were, there would also be no more tributes to Gods from the humans, a thought that the Gods did not enjoy at all.

So Zeus came up with another solution. They would split the humans in half and punish them for their pride and hubris. Apart from the pain that would cause them, they would also double the population of humans, hence doubling the tributes that had to be made to them by humans. And so they did and the humans everywhere split in two. These new creatures were living in complete misery, drenched in their pain and sorrow. They were so sad that they wouldn’t eat or drink for days, not caring if they died.

Apollo, God of music, truth and prophecy, healing, and light, could not bear see them like this, so to ease their pain, he sewed them up, reconstituted their body forms and just left the navel as the only reminder of their original form. So, humans went from double face and double sex creatures with eight limbs, to single faced ones of a single sex, with two arms and two legs. And they forever longed for their soul and physical other half. Their physical nature would feel a burning desire to be completed with the physical nature of the other sex, and their soul alike would yearn for their soul’s other half be complete, their soulmate. And according to the myth, when these two halves find each other, there will be a silent understanding of one another, they will feel joined and exist with each other in unison and will know no greater joy than that.

In much later times, the notion that God created androgynous souls, souls that are both man and woman, still exists in Theosophy. Other theories state that the souls separated into the two genders could be due to their incurred karma of their existence on Earth, or due to their “separation from God”. It is believed in some Theosophy genres that each soul half seeks the other over many reincarnations in this world. When their karmic dues are paid and they are liberated, the two halves will fuse back together in union and return to the Ultimate.

Whether the Soulmate story is purely a Myth or there is some truth in it, we may never know. However, the lucky ones that have found their soulmate, or twin-flame, partner in life, they all describe the feeling in a similar way: “He was the stranger I recognized. She immediately felt like home to me. It was as if we knew each other for years. It felt like we belonged to each other.” So, may we all tread fearlessly this brave path of finding the One for us, the One that Is us. And may we never yield in our Quest for Tue Love. And the Quest will be challenging, with love that is not pure disguising itself as True Love, with us losing faith and perhaps settling for something less as we persuade ourselves that True Love is a fantasy. In a daunting world full of noise and misguidance, may our hearts be strong and our will adamant. For if not, it is us that will ultimately pay the price, a life not accomplished, a happiness not found, a home never felt. For home is not a place. It is a feeling.

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