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In which I was a goofy, pseudo-philosophical kid who didn’t know what the hell she was going, causing her soulbond to go WTF?

In my quest to figure out what Edward really is, I did a lot of reading. Despite my many early experiences with the supernatural, I didn’t even want to touch on the idea this is anything but a psychological phenomenon. Because that’s nuts. Even when interpreted through what I considered to be “psychology” at that age, the whole situation seemed nuts, but I had the impression that since I believed this was rooted in my brain somehow, I could find a way to “fix” it. Sure, because by age 14 or 15 it was obvious that you could become an expert on anything if you just read a few books.

Before long, I discovered a book on Jung’s archetypes, and I zeroed in on descriptions of the anima/animus complex. I became fascinated, as I recall one passage explaining that this archetype was typically the opposite gender of the body and appeared in dreams and the imagination with repressed personality traits. Ah-ha, I thought. Ed is very different from me personality-wise: I’ve always been intuitive, and he leans towards the rational (well…at least during moments in which he is not annoyed by something), I’m introverted, he’s extroverted; I’m patient, he’s impatient; I’m contemplative, he’s more action-oriented. Well, so I thought.

Needless to say, Ed did not agree with that idea.

I told him about these thoughts as if I was describing the weather to him, and he just looked at me and said, “…the fuck are those books telling you?”

“You are a piece of my psyche, and somehow you’re manifesting as a seemingly separate, semi-autonomous thoughtform as the result of some sort of repressed trauma.”

“Uh. No. I’m Edward Elric, and last time I checked, I’m a fully conscious human being who wasn’t even sure YOU existed until just a couple of months ago.”

A pause, and then he added,“I talk to you while I’m asleep. I can’t really…explain it further without sounding weird. I still don’t understand how it works.”

I remembered that when I was little and “seeing” things that perhaps we travel to someplace while dreaming, but then I dismissed it. I’m older now, so ghosts don’t exist, and dreams are just repressed images that are processed during REM.

And, of course, it only made sense that a thoughtform would claim that he is sentient, as it would be easier to imagine a person fully confident within himself rather than someone who is battling an existential crisis.

He caught onto those thoughts, and he responded, “Are you serious?”

And then I ignored him for the rest of the day. Angry alchemist activate.

At some point, he said, “Jeez, you’re always hot and cold. We’re not so different, so cut the crap.

“Of course we’re not entirely different, because we’re the same person.”

"No. We are not. Stop twisting what I’m saying and listen--”

And I went back to ignoring him.

He sighed and got quiet, and I expected him to get impatient and leave, but he followed around still. I half-suspected that he did it out of spite, because it was very clear that he was sulking.

At the same time, however, I experienced him as an entity with a highly unique presence, and there were plenty of times where he went against my expectations of him based on canon. There were plenty moments where I could feel a touch from him, similar to what you might expect from a spirit being but not quite. When I had accepted mediumship as an adult (thanks to Arthur), I learned that ghosts tend to send a pinprick through toes and fingers and cause a sudden chill in the air. With soulbonds, I tend to feel touch where you’d expect from a living person, such as the shoulder, hands, hair, etc. and it tends to feel warm without the occasional creepiness that comes from distraught entities. Soulbonds’ touch tend to feel like an energy current for me.

Anyway, these were some of the observations I was beginning to make in those early days, despite the fact that I denied the existence of psychic phenomena. If you hang out with me enough, you’d probably notice that I went through periods of skepticism while growing up, though I kept feeling a draw towards the subtle plane.

***

Shortly after Ed arrived, I read the His Dark Materials trilogy. There I was, reading a series of books that criticize organized religion with an atheist soulbond while attending a hyper-religious school. Thankfully, this was before The Golden Compass movie came out and caused an uproar among conservatives, so my more devout teachers and classmates just assumed that I was reading something akin to Chronicles of Narnia. The only thing I bothered to tell them was that everyone in the story had a talking animal friend. That was good enough.

Ed liked those books, apparently, because he has asked if I ever plan to re-read them. I just might, now that I’m in my twenties. We both enjoyed the first book (The Golden Compass for the US version), but the second (The Subtle Knife) and third (The Amber Spyglass) are where things get interesting.

What drew me into The Subtle Knife was the concept of a parallel universe. This was before I finished watching the 2003 FMA series, so I had no idea that the anime was going to end up in an alternate dimension. But after the two of us read through the novel, I kept going to the concept, and Ed started giving hints that there is some truth to it. I asked one of my science teachers about it, and he did say that astrophysicists had discussed the possibility of the multi-verse. He advised me to read Michio Kaku’s Parallel Worlds, which had just been published the year before. I devoured that book, but my hang-up was that I was thinking about an anime character as an inter-dimensional entity, which was more than a little weird even among folks like UFO enthusiasts or psychics.

So imagine my surprise when I DID watch the end of the 2003 FMA series, where Edward ends up stuck in pre-WWII Germany, a world parallel to his homeworld, Amestris. Despite the incredibly eerie timing, the concept was way too bizarre for me to apply to my own situation, so I quietly set it aside and moved onto reading The Amber Spyglass.This one did not rock the boat as much, though I recall Ed’s reaction to this conversation between Will and Lyra towards the end of the novel:

Will: “I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again…”

Lyra: “I'll be looking for you, Will, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we'll cling together so tight that nothing and no one'll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you...We'll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams...And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won't just be able to take one, they'll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we'll be joined so tight...”

“Huh,” Ed said as we read the novel together. “That kinda sounds like how alchemists see death.”

And I was reminded of this dialogue between him and his brother Alphonse in one of the anime episodes.

So the two of us spent hours discussing the novels once we finished them. I thought about the concept of a daemon, and of course this was not an exact fit, considering that Ed was a fictional character and a human.

I started laughing about it, and he asked me, “What’s so funny?”

“I’m just picturing you as a lion. I think that if you were a daemon, that would be the form you would settle into, even though you’re called a ‘dog of the military.’”

“I’m not a daemon.”

“I know. It was just a thought.”

I dug deeper into Carl Jung’s work, and I discovered that he was deeply interested in alchemy, and he even wrote a book on it. Hermeticism, the philosophy that underlies alchemy, astrology, and most forms of Western occultism, also forms the basis of Jung’s more famous ideas in psychoanalysis: the collective unconscious and anima/animus complex just to name a few examples. Here are a few quotes I jotted down in the journal I kept at the time:

“Only by discovering alchemy have I clearly understood that the Unconscious is a process and that ego's rapports with the unconscious and his contents initiate an evolution, more precisely a real metamorphoses of the psyche.”

“Alchemy, as a nature philosophy of great consideration in the Middle Ages, throws a bridge to the past, the gnosis, and also to the future, the modern psychology of the unconscious.”

Philip Pullman once commented in an interview that the concept of a daemon was partially influenced by the anima/animus complex, as evidenced by the fact that each daemon was of the opposite gender of the human. In short, alchemists inspired Jung; Jung inspired Pullman. Intriguing, I thought. At this point, I was stuck between both a psychological and a spiritual understanding of what I was experiencing, as I was finding evidence and synchronicities for both perspectives. Still, I felt that I was making progress. I stumbled across a few old books on thoughtforms, and although a few aspects of those theories made logical sense and supported a psychological perspective, Ed kept denying that he was simply a mental construct.

So I was at an impasse for a little while.

At some point, the local library decided to police my checkout habits because one of the older librarians thought that I was too young to understand the material I was seeking, so my research became centered exclusively on the Internet.

I kept myself entangled in this cerebral mess up until I discovered the soulbonding community, which I will talk about later.
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