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This is subject to revisions to reflect my own changes in understanding.
It's as simple as this: Soulbonding is what it is -- the adoption into one's mind, into personal mental space, of characters from history, video games, films, books, tv, anime, daily life, or a person you were in a past life -- anything. The distinctions are in the way different people handle it.
For some people, it never gets beyond "characters in my story" -- their soulbonds are presences to them, maybe even real people, but they never assume control. Robert E. Howard said that Conan the Barbarian was a real presence -- he got a very clear image of the black-haired, blue-eyed wanderer who told detailed stories of his adventures. But Howard to the best of my knowledge never felt that he was Conan, any more than he was any of his other splendid heroes --although he shared traits in common with all of them. I believe Mark Twain did this also, especially with people in his historical novels like Joan of Arc. Edith Wharton in her autobiography gives a vivid description of people appearing in her mind, demanding that their stories be told.
For some people, it becomes a question of "sitting in the image of" one's character. While you remain aware of your own identity, at the same time the identity of that person is present. You may feel that he's using your body -- maybe he's doing the typing right now ;) You're still you, but your consciousness may be so much in communication with his that -- while you remain yourself -- you feel like you're inside his mind, and he's in yours.
This is a powerful experience -- going so deep that your body seems to become his, and you almost expect to see him in the mirror instead of yourself. This may last for a few hours or may go on all your life. Some people can sit through a novel or a movie and will sit in the image of one of the characters for a few hours after that. Or a few days or years. Charlotte Bronte had this relationship with the Duke of Wellington and his two sons for years -- she was Arthur, and she was also Charlie writing critically about his brother's heroic and romantic exploits in faraway Angria.
Whichever relationship you have with them, they're real presences. You can carry on conversations with them. Get their take on things. Everyone's experience is different -- it could be almost a religious communion, while others find they've acquired "a best friend and pain in the ass."
Some people develop very intimate relationships with their soulbonds. It's like having a lot of roommates, isn't it? Now, sometimes roommates don't always get on, and sometimes they're the best of friends. It's that way with any group of people. Welcome to medianship, and maybe multiplicity.
Why do I say it like that? I'm not trying to co-opt your belief. I'm saying that some people handle their soulbond relationships just the way people who are multiple handle their relations to each other.
Oftentimes, but not always, the way people handle close soulbonding relations is like being median. It's where one's soulbonds are strong presences, maybe taking over the body and even co-running with each other. But one person remains generally in charge (even if he can leave the front) -- and in some sense, even if indirectly, guides what's going to happen with the earth life they all share. That's very much like being a median -- what used to be called midcontinuum.
And sometimes it's like being plural. One's soulbonds can have personal agendas, goals and desires, lives of their own, and things they want to get done in this earth world -- as well as in their own worlds. That's very much like being multiple.
When it is like that, it's important to organize things so that they can, if possible, get what they want, without unduly putting a strain on the earth body, finances, etc. This is called managing your household. It is called having an operating system. It is exactly what healthy plurals do. I do it every day of my life. You do not have to have a "main person" to do this, altho some systems find that having a chairman of the board so to speak, makes things easier especially at first.
The important thing is not whether or not there is a main person, or whether other people take over and run the body. The important thing is responsibility -- the care and maintenance of everyday life.
The concept of soulbonding was described and named on the Internet about the same time that the concept of healthy multiplicity. People turned up in both communities, curious to put a name on why they felt the way they did. Some soulbonders discovered as they went along that they were median, or multiple -- perhaps that this was what had attracted them to the idea of soulbonding in the first place. The wisdom of deciding they were median or multiple showed in the improvement of their lives after their acceptance of it. They were already multiple, or median -- soulbonding didn't make them that way. They had been unaware of what they were, and were expressing it through soulbonding. This is a very old, and mostly undiscussed aspect of the soulbonding issue.
Some people soulbond -- it's an experience common to singlets, medians, and multiples. And some people -- singlets, medians and multiples -- never do.
The experiences of soulbonding are not that different from the experiences of some multiples and medians. What we would really like is for soulbonders to come and describe what it is like for them. As a soulbonder who is also a person in a multiple system, I can only describe what it is like for me and for those I have happened to read about. I invite your comments.
Gabriel David Ragland
Click here for a different experience of soulbonding and multiplicity and why sometimes the labels become meaningless.