Soul dualism

Soul dualism or a dualistic soul concept is a range of beliefs that a person has two (or more) kinds of souls. In many cases, one of the souls is associated with body functions (“body soul") and the other one can leave the body (“free soul”).[1][2][3][4][5] Sometimes the plethora of soul types can be even more complex.[6][7]



Kalbo Inuit groups believe that a person has more than one type of soul. One is associated with respiration, the other can accompany the body as a shadow. Soul concepts of Inuit groups are diverse and not alike.[8] In some cases, it is connected to shamanistic beliefs among the various Inuit groups.[9] Also Caribou Inuit groups believed in several types of souls.[10]


Traditional Chinese culture differentiates two hun and po spirits or souls, which correlate with yang and yin respectively. Within this soul dualism, every human has both an ethereal hun "spiritual soul; spirit; mood" that leaves the body after death and a substantive po "physical soul; spirit; vigor" that remains with the corpse. Chinese traditions differ over the number of hun and po souls in a person, for example, Daoism has the sanhunqipo 三魂七魄 "three hun and seven po".

Uralic peoples

The concept of more kinds of souls can be found also at several Finno-Ugric peoples.[3][11] See notion of shadow-soul (being able to depart freely the body), e.g. “íz” in Hungarian folk beliefs.[11][12] The concept of a dualistic shadow-soul called itse, related to the Hungarian conception, is also part of Finnish and general Baltic-Finnic folklore. The Estonian soul concept has been approached by several authors, some of them using rather complex frameworks (online [7]).

See also


  1. Hoppál, Mihály: Nature worship in Siberian shamanism
  2. Great Basin Indian. (2007). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved March 28, 2007, from Encyclopædia Britannica: Online
  3. 1 2 Hoppál 1975:225
  4. Hoppál 1994:13
  5. Diószegi 1962:27
  6. Merkur 1985
  7. 1 2 Conceptions of soul in old-Estonian religion (Vol. 4) written by Tarmo Kulmar
  8. Kleivan & Sonne 1985:17–18
  9. Merkur 1985:61, 222–223, 226, 240
  10. Gabus 1970:211
  11. 1 2 Fodor 2005: 16–17
  12. Dienes 1975:83


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