[Aurelius Rising] Musings on Soul Formation
These are the human musings on how life energy and complexity impacts soul formation. The Sobeki have somewhat different views. I feel I should clarify that in this setting ‘life’ and ‘soul’ are two completely independent things and both measured in different ways, and yes this affects culture in various forms that have not been explored here.
Every living creature is imbued with life energy, and this living energy forms the first element of magic. The greater and more complex the creature the greater the volume and the more potent the life magic within. Measuring the potency of this energy is challenging and many practitioners have developed testing methods over a great span of time. None, as yet, has formed a theory that holds true in any but a handful of related beings. Broad strokes can be made: the energy of a century old eucalyptus is different to that of a mammoth even if the total volumes are similar. But knowing the patterns they will form when drawn upon is still more art and instinct than science.
Amongst higher beings the problem is compounded by the presence of the soul. The precise nature of souls is one that triggers significant debate. It is known that they are directly linked with high concentrations and complexities of life energy within a discrete being. It is less certain if crossing some threshold will trigger the formation of a soul, or if possession of a soul enables the greater magnitude of energy to coalesce and protects it from being dissipated.
While the presence or absence of one’s soul is easy to detect in adults of the sapient species this is mostly due to it being the seat of consciousness and identity. It is unclear when the soul is developed. It has been proven present in infants slightly over two months of age, and tentatively detected in babes of four weeks. However the younger the infant the more difficult it is to detect and, more pressingly, the greater the risk to the child; attempting to measure souls in younger babies or even those still within the womb has resulted in death on too many occasions. Yet the same magics have been cast upon women who did not know they were pregnant and caused no harm provided she is still within her first trimester, suggesting the soul cannot have formed before then.
Due to the inherent risks the question is now left to the theoreticians and theologians. The most popular consensus is that the soul rapidly develops in the first hours after birth once the child begins inhaling the natural energies in the air. Some still feel that these wild energies must be capable of penetrating the mother and that the soul forms in the womb, whilst ages as late as twelve months and the recognition of self have also been suggested (with younger ages stated to possess a still forming proto-soul).
A soul may be briefly separated from its body without harm. The difficulty comes in returning it. A sudden separation can cause a great shock that results in an individual injuring themselves, or they could panic and flee their body and become lost. Within a day the isolated body will start to shut down. People trained in soulwalking can extend this time somewhat but even the most talented are limited to two or three days and to a prolonged recovery period should they push themselves that far.