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A soulmate is a person with whom one has a feeling of deep or natural affinity.[1] This may involve similarity, love, a romantic or platonic relationship, comfort, intimacy, sexuality, sexual activity, spirituality, compatibility, and trust.[2] The term soulmate may have originated in Judaic poetry, but was popularized in the 19th-century Theosophy religion and in modern New Age philosophy.

Definition

In current usage, soulmate usually refers to a romantic or platonic partner, with the implication of an exclusive lifelong bond.[3] It commonly holds the connotation of being the strongest bond with another person [4] that one can achieve. People who believe in soulmates commonly accept that one will feel 'complete' once they have found their soulmate, as it is partially in the perceived definition that two souls are meant to unite.[5] The term soulmate first appeared in the English language in a letter by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1822.[6]

Criticism

Some psychologists state that believing that a soulmate exists specifically for a person is an unrealistic expectation.[4][7][8]

Historical usage of the concept

Judaism

The term soulmate may have initially been borrowed from the 16th century poem Yedid Nefesh. This poem became popular due to its customary weekly recital by traditional Jews during their final Shabbos/Shabbat meal, seudah shlishit, as a means of comfort during the day's waning moments. The poem opens as a declaration of love and connection to one's Creator, stating: "Yedid Nefesh, Av HaRachaman - My Soulmate, Father of Compassion." This poem was first published in Venice in 1588 in a book titled Sefer Charedim. Its composition is commonly attributed to that book's publisher, Rabbi Elazar ben Moshe Azikri (1533-1600). However - largely because this poem was missing from the original galleys containing Rabbi Azikri's own poems - others posit that it was composed by another of his contemporaries, Rabbi Israel ben Moses Najara and famed kabbalist Rabbi Moses ben Jacob Cordovero being the most commonly offered. Still others assert that this poem - and thereby this term - is far older, dating to the 11th century Rabbi Judah Halevi.

The Hebrew word Yedid, meaning close mate or dear friend, is first found in Deuteronomy, chapter 33, verse 12. The Hebrew word Nefesh, meaning soul, is first found in Genesis, chapter 2, verse 7. While this poem is known by its opening refrain, Yedid Nefesh/Soulmate, in the 18th century prayer book of Rabbi Jacob Emden, he records its official title as: "Song of Awakening of the Soul-Toward the Love of Blessed Hashem (the Name)" (translation from his original Hebrew).

Theosophy

According to the esoteric religious movement Theosophy, whose claims were modified by Edgar Cayce, God created androgynous souls—equally male and female. Later theories postulate that the souls split into separate genders, perhaps because they incurred karma while playing around on the Earth, or "separation from God." Over a number of reincarnations, each half seeks the other. When all karmic debt is purged, the two will fuse back together and return to the ultimate.[9][10][better source needed]

New Age

According to Mark L. Prophet and Elizabeth Clare Prophet, a soulmate is a separate entity with whom one has spent many lifetimes as a friend, lover, co-worker, or partner, and to whom one is usually drawn to fulfill a specific mission.[11] They describe a soulmate as one of many potential spiritual brothers or sisters: "even though there may be a great attraction and bond between soulmates, fundamentally, in the ultimate sense, you could define it more as a brother/sister relationship, even though soulmates have great marriages and a great union of hearts."[12] According to Mark Prophet: "A soulmate relationship has to do with the seat of the soul Chandra, that Chandra just above the base ... The connection is one of parallel and mutual evolution rather than origin."[12]

See also

References

  1. ^ Patrick Hanks, ed. (1985). Collins English Dictionary. William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. p. 1390.
  2. ^ Eddie Chandler (2006-02-01). "Do Soul Mates Exist? - AskMen". Uk.askmen.com. Archived from the original on 2015-10-22. Retrieved 2015-10-22.
  3. ^ "Soul mate - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Merriam-webster.com. 2012-08-31. Archived from the original on 2013-10-16. Retrieved 2013-08-24.
  4. ^ a b "soulmate". Natural Health Magazine. Archived from the original on 2013-11-09. Retrieved 2013-09-16.
  5. ^ Rishika, Dange. "Soulmate: Dive Deep Into The Idea of "The One"". www.beingawakened.com. Retrieved 2023-08-11.
  6. ^ Bishop, Katie. "Why people still believe in the 'soulmate myth'". www.bbc.com. Retrieved 2023-06-13.
  7. ^ Springer, Shauna (2012-07-28). "Soul Mates Do Exist—Just Not In the Way We Usually Think". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2013-08-24.
  8. ^ Auzeen, Goal (2012-06-06). "Do Soulmates Exist?". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2013-08-24.
  9. ^ Krajenke, Robert W. (1972). Suddenly We Were!: a Story of Creation Based on the Edgar Cayce Readings. A.R.E. Press.
  10. ^ "What is a Twin Flame?". Soulevolution.org. Archived from the original on 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2007-12-21.
  11. ^ Elizabeth Clare Prophet, Soulmates and Twin Flames: The Spiritual Dimension of Love and Relationships. Summit University Press, 1998.
  12. ^ a b Prophet, Mark and Elizabeth, The Ascended Masters On Soulmates And Twin Flames: Initiation by the Great White Brotherhood: Volume 2. Summit University Press, 1988, pg 87-88.