Desennium asks: Do you think that the “soul” belongs to a person? Also, what is the rainbow bridge?
Hi Desennium –
Thanks for your question about the soul, and the rainbow bridge. Of course, they’re very closely related subjects.
The Soul is something very difficult to define. I looked up the word, and the Merriam-Webster dictionary gave me a number of definitions. I’ll comment on each of the ones I use.
– the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life
This is probably what you meant in your question. And of course, one’s answer really depends on one’s beliefs – whether religious or spiritual or not. As my readers know, I don’t work from any specific religion (I am a dog!), but it seems to me that, by this definition, we don’t own our souls – our souls own us!
– the spiritual principle embodied in human beings, all rational and spiritual beings, or the universe
It sounds like the difference between this definition and the first one is that the first sees everyone as having an individual soul, whereas this second sees us all as part of one great soul. So with this one too, I’d have to say, we’d be more owned by it than we’d own it.
– a person’s total self
Hmmm… That’s a tough one. I guess, yet again, it depends on what you believe. Some believe they own themselves, others believe they’re owned by God, and yet others believe that they are owned by their loved ones, their families, or the Earth. The law says I’m owned by Handsome (but if I am, that’s because I love him so much, and he loves me, not because of a tag on my collar!).
– the moral and emotional nature of human beings
Okay, now here’s where I get a bit peeved. Who says only people have souls? Dogs have moral and emotional natures! In fact, I’ve met quite a number of humans who have a lot less moral/emotional nature than your average mutt! In fact, if you want to see my moral and emotional nature, just walk up to me some time and tell me dogs don’t have souls! I’ll moral and emotional you right in the seat of the pants!!!
– spiritual or moral force : fervor
Yep, that’s what I’m talking about! Tell me pooches don’t have souls and you’ll get a mouthful of spiritual and moral fervor right in the keester! You know, desennium, even you referred to souls belonging to “a person!” And yet you wrote me to ask about it?! I think you might want to be more careful with your wording, my dear friend!
– a strong positive feeling (as of intense sensitivity and emotional fervor) conveyed especially by black American performers
Okay, this kind of soul can definitely be owned. In fact, it can be bought. Like, I think Handsome has all of Aretha Franklin’s records, and he has a great CD collection of Otis Redding, and… oh there’s that awesome live album of James Brown at the Apollo, and yeah he’s got a few copies of Sam Cooke singing “A Change is Gonna Come” which just make ya swoon every time you hear it, and oh man his Smokey and the Miracles collection is almost worn through from so many listenings to “Ooh Baby Baby” and “You Can Depend on Me” and… Oh, and then there’s that group he named his dog after; they’re pretty soulful too!!!
So I don’t know if that really answers your question about the soul. But I’m afraid that’s one of those questions we don’t get the real answer to, until we cross…
(nice segue, huh!)
…The Rainbow Bridge is a beautiful view that someone wrote, of the Afterlife for animals. The idea is that when a beloved animal dies, its soul (yes, we have souls, hello!) goes to a meadow, where it’s healthy and happy and gets to run around and play and have a great time. When the person who loved them later dies, they go to that meadow, where they’re met by their beloved pet, who then joins them as they walk up a Rainbow Bridge to Heaven.
I can no more tell you whether the Rainbow Bridge is real than I could tell you if souls live forever or who is watching us all now.
But I can say that I sure love that image. And if, when I go, I find myself in a beautiful meadow, it will make me very happy. First, because I love running around in meadows. But second, because it will give me hope that I might have a chance to see Handsome again. Because I know I’ll miss him so deeply, and I’ll feel so bad about how much he’ll be missing me too.
And who knows! Maybe, desennium, if we do get to keep our souls and go to that meadow, I’ll find a way to come back and tell you about it! That would be really fun! So if some night, you should wake up and see a big dog standing over you looking down and telling you about the Afterlife, don’t be too surprised!
(Or if you are, I apologize for the laundry you’ll have to do!)