There is a tea set that I use frequently. This set consists of four pieces: a saucer, the cup, a teapot, and a lid. All of these pieces nest together to make a very nice, compact arrangement.
And if you will indulge me, I would like to compare this tea set to a soul.
I know that many of us think that souls are all in one piece, but the truth is that this isn’t really the case. Sometimes your soul line can be in only a few entities, but in many cases, one’s soul is spread out across many many existences, like branches on a tree (see also: Donut Theory). In the case of this tea set, the “soul” would take up four pieces- residing in each of the parts of the set. These pieces work well together and fit well together in order to make a complete setting that can be used for drinking tea.
Of course, each of these pieces could be separate entities- such as bond mates, but sometimes they are “duplicates” of yourself, if you will, which are sometimes called facets by members of the astral community. Soul bits and pieces can be spread apart many different beings, some of which may look like you, and some of which may not. Some of these pieces may work well together and fit well together like the pieces of this tea set. Or sometimes these pieces don’t fit well together at all, and they end up falling over when you open up your cabinet.
So when I got this tea set, it was a whole set that worked well together. Everything fit well together and worked smoothly and everything was great. But one day I was stupid, and I dropped one of the pieces- the lid from the top of the teapot. I remember watching it fall and trying to catch it before it hit the ground, and ultimately failing. The lid shattered into several pieces that flew in different directions across the room.
Souls can do this, too. Souls can be broken, splintered, shattered, and otherwise ripped apart. You can cleave non-physical beings into multiple pieces- both by force and by choice. When a soul is broken apart, its usually not done on purpose (at least in my experience), and just like the shards of ceramic flying across my kitchen floor, so too can soul bits go flying across the universe. These bits can be large or small, they can fly by themselves and land totally separate from everything else, or they can land close together where they are easily gathered back up.
I looked to gather up as much of the broken lid as possible, with the hope that maybe I could glue it back together and make it usable again. But the truth of the matter is, no matter how few pieces a piece of ceramic breaks into- you will always be missing something. There are tiny bits that you’ll never ever be able to get back.
And in this case, some of the pieces went flying under the fridge where they would never be seen again. Some rolled under the stove, and others were just too small to be salvageable. For all I know, the piece under the fridge was picked up by an ant and carted off to be used somewhere else. And soul bits are like that, too. Have a piece that flies off into no man’s land? Good luck getting it back. And if some less-than-savory character happens across that piece where you can’t reach it anymore? Well, that’s how you wake up in the astral with 93858746 years of fuckery to clean up.
Just like with the lid, when a soul breaks, it rarely gets put back together in the same way that it was before the initial fracture. There are ways to “glue” a soul back together. To re-melt it and re-forge it into something new and shiny. But when you do that, it’s rarely the same person, entity, or consciousness that it was before. It would be the equivalent of making an entirely new cup from old materials. The materials of the previous cup may exist within the new cup, but the cup is technically still very different.
Of course, my tea set technically works just as well without the lid (though my teapot may be sad to be missing its companion). I could have decided to scrap the lid entirely, and go from having a four piece tea set to a three piece tea set. You can do that with soul bits, too, technically. You can destroy them, consume them, discard them. But even then, you can only destroy what you have in your hands. That piece that landed under the fridge that the ant got a hold of? I can’t do much about that. Not until I find the shard again. Another possibility is taking the larger pieces of ceramic and using them in another project such as a mosaic. You can also do that with soul pieces. You can meld them together, break them down and reform them with other soul pieces into new souls or beings. You can shove pieces of one soul or entity into another entity (with and without consent, with a variety of outcomes from doing so). There are many options for how you can handle shards.
And of course, I have to decide if I want to move into having a three piece tea set. Sometimes you really really want to salvage whatever you can, even if the “fixed” piece isn’t the same as it was before. Much like with Japanese Kintsugi, sometimes people think that flaws and break lines add character to a person or an item.
In the case of the lid, I gathered up as much as I could. We worked to glue it back together as best as possible. Of course, there were pieces I couldn’t get. There are now holes in the lid. There are huge chunks missing. The lid works, but it doesn’t really work as well as it did before. You have to be more careful with it. You have to be conscientious of how you handle it. It now has special needs that you have to recognize in order to utilize it. This probably sounds familiar to anyone whose body has broken down on them over the years. Spoonies spend their entire existence catering to the fickle needs of their body.
Souls can get like that, too. The soul can break, it can be thrown across the universe, and you have to go and find as many pieces as you possibly can. Sometimes you’ll think you have them all, but when you glue the thing back together, you realize you’re missing a ton of pieces. You can try to compensate for this with gold or mortar or thicker glue. Or you can just leave the holes there like scars that tell a tale of your past. Sometimes you’ll be living with those holes, and you’ll suddenly stumble across another piece- you know, the one that the ant took. And you’ll take it into you and you’ll feel it click into place. Sometimes you’ll grab a piece up you didn’t even know was missing to begin with, and feel the solidity of having that gap filled.
Other times your “lid” will break and you won’t be able to glue it back together. So instead, you opt to find a new “lid” to replace it, to try and fill the hole that the missing piece has left in your “set”, in your existence. Or you’ll continue on and live with the hole that now exists within you- for better or worse.
In many ways, my work over on the astral has been a lot like fixing this lid. I woke up over there to find that I had holes in my body, holes in my soul line, and holes in my heart. I spent years working to find the pieces to fill these holes. I can’t tell you how many places I’ve been because I finally picked up on a tiny soul shard, and upon finding it, I had to extract my piece out of the situation so that it could be rejoined with the “set”. It has taken years, and my “lid” still isn’t finished. I don’t know if it will ever be entirely whole again (despite the whole “two pieces now made whole” thing). But sometimes that is the best you can do when things go wrong. Much like with my tea set, I have to learn to like the various flaws that now exist within the lid because I wasn’t careful with it. Much like with my body that isn’t ideal, I have to learn to work with the shortcomings that exist in my life. And much like with my soul, there will likely always be reminders of being broken- some of them in the form of holes, some of them in the form of lines of gold.
Because souls are like that. Imperfect. Breakable. And yet strangely durable.