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A soulmate is a person with whom one has a feeling of deep or natural affinity. This may involve similarity, love, romance, comfort, intimacy, sexuality, sexual activity, spirituality, or compatibility and trust.
Historical usage of the concept
In his dialogue The Symposium, Plato has Aristophanes present a story about soulmates. Aristophanes states that humans originally had four arms, four legs, and a single head made of two faces. He continues that there were three genders: man, woman and the "Androgynous". Each with two sets of genitalia with the Androgynous having both male and female genitalia. The men were children of the sun, the women were children of the earth and the Androgynous were children of the moon, which was born of the sun and earth. It is said that humans had great strength at the time and threatened to conquer the gods. The gods were then faced with the prospect of destroying the humans with lightning as they had done with the Titans but then they would lose the tributes given to the gods by humans. Zeus developed a creative solution by splitting humans in half as punishment for humanity's pride and doubling the number of humans who would give tribute to the gods. These split humans were in utter misery to the point where they would not eat and would perish so Apollo had sewn them up and reconstituted their bodies with the navel being the only remnant harkening back to their original form. Each human would then only have one set of genitalia and would forever long for his/her other half; the other half of his/her soul. It is said that when the two find each other, there is an unspoken understanding of one another, that they feel unified and would lie with each other in unity and would know no greater joy than that.
According to 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.
In current usage, "soulmate" usually refers to a romantic partner, with the implication of an exclusive lifelong bond. This is to say, the word is used with more rarity than other terms associated with 'romantic partner'. It is a very versatile term, being defined differently by different individuals, as it is related to the concept of love. It commonly holds the connotation of being the strongest bond with another person that one can achieve. Soulmate is not used as often as other terms representing the same idea, and this is likely to lead to its perceived rarity in meaning. The definition ranges widely and cannot be pinpointed. It is commonly accepted 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. The term "soulmate" first appeared in the English language in a letter by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1822.
Speculated term confusion
According to spiritual teachers like Mark L. Prophet and Elizabeth Clare Prophet, it is not a soulmate that is one’s true love, perfect match, or literal other half as is often times imagined, but instead it is the twin flame that is one’s true love, perfect match or literal other half. In The Ascended Masters on Soulmates and Twin Flames the Prophet’s state that “A soulmate relationship has to do with the seat of the soul chakra, that chakra just above the base. The connection is one of parallel and mutual evolution rather than origin.”. With the chakra "just above the base" often being described as “the creativity and sexual chakra”, the Prophet’s claim that a true “literal other half” relationship doesn't center around energies or activities believed to be related to the sacral chakra is not completely inconsistent with the claims Plato makes about a literal other half relationship in his Symposium. In his Symposium, Plato has the character Aristophanes relate that “the intense yearning which each of them has towards the other does not appear to be the desire of lover's intercourse, but of something else.” In The Ascended Masters on Soulmates and Twin Flames, the Prophet’s state that “if you really meditate at inner levels, you know that that relationship doesn’t go as high or is not as profound as the one with the person who is your direct counterpart—the twin flame you have known as your other self from the first moment of your creation.”
In the 1988 released The Ascended Masters on Soulmates and Twin Flames, Mark and Elizabeth Prophet describe the “one true love” or “origin” based twin flame relationship that is oftentimes referred to as a soulmate relationship by saying “They are called twin flames because they came out of the original single ovoid. The Electronic Presence of each soul is the exact duplicate of the other. And when they descend into form, one assumes the positive or masculine and one assumes the negative or feminine polarity.” The Prophet’s ideas about the physical nature of a “true love” relationship are not completely inconsistent with the words and ideas expressed by ancient philosophers and in various religious traditions. The Greek philosopher Aristotle is quoted as saying "Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies" and the Zohar states that "Each soul and spirit prior to its entering into this world, consists of a male and female united into one being. When it descends on this earth the two parts separate and animate two different bodies. At the time of marriage, the Holy One, blessed be He, who knows all souls and spirits, unites them again as they were before, and they again constitute one body and one soul, forming as it were the right and left of one individual." In Hinduism, the gods Shiva and Parvati fit the “right and left of one individual” description given in the Judaism related Zohar when represented in their composite androgynous form Ardhanarishvara. It is said that Ardhanarishvara “represents a synthesis of masculine and feminine energies of the universe“. In Christian literature, there is mention of an Ardhanarishvara like “two into one” union in the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Matthew “the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh”. Additionally, in the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus reportedly describes a “two into one”, yin and yang like or Ardhanarishvara like relationship to his disciples as the way to enter the Kingdom. "Jesus said to them, "When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom].". In Islam, it is believed that the Prophet Muhammad once said “women are the twin halves of men”.
The Prophet’s and other spiritual teachers around the world teach or have taught that one can have many soulmates but only one true love or twin flame.“You have only one twin flame. But you may have brothers and sisters in various places whom you’re working with.”. Spiritual teachers like Mark and Elizabeth Prophet ultimately define or 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.”
Bashert (Yiddish: באַשערט) is a Yiddish word that means "destiny". It is often used in the context of one's divinely foreordained spouse or soulmate, who is called "basherte" (female) or "basherter" (male). It can be used to express the seeming fate or destiny of an auspicious or important event, friendship, or happening.
A Roman matron, on being told by Rabbi Jose ben Halafta that God arranges all marriages, said that this was an easy matter and boasted that she could do as much herself. Thereupon she assembled her male and female slaves and paired them off in couples; but on the morrow they all went to her with complaints. Then she admitted that divine intervention is necessary to suitable marriages
- (Genesis Rabba lxviii. 3-4).
Even God Himself finds it as difficult an undertaking as the dividing of the Red Sea. Forty days before a child is born its mate is determined upon (Genesis Rabba lxviii. 3-4; also Babylonian Talmud, tractates Soṭah 2a; Sanhedrin 22a; comp. M. Ḳ. 18b; "Sefer Hasidim," § 1128).
In modern usage, Jewish singles will say that they are looking for their bashert, meaning they are looking for that person who will complement them perfectly and whom they will complement perfectly. Since it is considered to have been foreordained by God whom one will marry, one's spouse is considered to be one's bashert by definition, independent of whether the couple's marital life works out well or not.
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