Chasing a Soul Print in the Middle of the Night

At my request, someone emailed me a section from their in process autobiography. Curious and interested, I wanted to sniff the flavor of its essence and writing style. After reading a small, poignant selection of the author’s work, I responded hastily to what I’d read. In my response, I’d used the terms soul print, and soul imprint interchangeably. This term foreign to Ed its author, was frankly upon further reflection, also rather foreign to me. So, when he wrote back asking, “What is a soul print or imprint?” I, prompted and moved by his question, my own curiosity and the concurrent background sounds of a howling coyote enjoying a much coveted kill outside my tiny canyon home, proceeded to offer up an answer!

As so often happens, in unintentional Talmudic style, Ed’s question led to other questions, as my own need to craft a less cavalier, more thoughtful, response and definition of greater depth encompassed me. As I worked to further mine the meaning of the term soul imprint, it became clear that my request to read Ed’s work and his curious question, were unintended gifts.

With the term soul, currently red hot and growing hotter with each day, commercially, collectively and in psycho-spiritual circles, it is no surprise that my use of the phrase, soul print, thrown out so cavalierly by me across the internet miles, clearly warranted, if not further thought, then at the very least, an exploration of greater clarification and depth.

I was interested in following through on this exploration, but my immediate answer to Ed’s request for a clearer definition of the term soul print would have to wait. Or, if not wait, then be further defined by my efforts to seek a clear definition of the term. Not exactly comfortable I’m sure, for the quick response often sought by an Aries! However, I do thank Ed for the provocation, elicited by his question! And so I riffed on it and riffed on it until I felt inklings of the satisfaction that comes with having riffed just long enough so that at the very least, as in the Talmudic tradition, further questions while not completely answered have at least been provoked.

There’s no holding back or denying the impact that being such an integral and intimate part of the terminal ending of a beloved’s only partially lived life, must’ve had upon Ed in his role as caretaker of his terminally ill partner.

I imagine that for Ed, the witnessing of, caring for, and final loss of a piece of himself and of his life, at the very least, qualified as having left a significant soul print in its own right. One might conjecture, that a terminal experience such as that, had penetrated to the very matrix of Ed’s own life and very soul. Yet, a soul print made and left by the hand of a child in wet cement, also conjures the as yet unlived possibility of the kind that only a tiny hand print left by a small child in wet cement might evoke. In fact, both the loss of Ed’s friend and lover, and that of the as yet undeveloped   hand print of a small child may both be considered to be mysterious images of as yet unlived possibilities. One, never to be lived, the other, a tiny, presumably living hand, so very much alive and waiting in life’s wings, for actualization.

Other questions arose within me as I reflected upon and contemplated this notion of soul prints. For example, is the capacity to create and/or to experience the living out and unfolding of soul imprints as given at or with birth carried within the physiological DNA until fleshed out by the experiences of our lives, and of which my friend Ed’s experience is but one example

There is no doubt that it fits as a part of his nature, his autobiography, as well as that of his departed friend. What is one to do with this kind of experience? Ed has certainly personally carried it forward into his life’s work with the dying. Are their different soul imprint questions and issues at different stages of life? How does one live from here on out after a life-changing event? What impact, i,e, soul print/imprint, has, does, or will trauma make upon one’s biography? Poetic? Literal? Psychological? Physiological? Is the impact, if there is one, ever complete in and by its effect(s)? After a powerful experience, is one called upon to take from and give back to life differently? And/or to be in this life more fully, perhaps even more courageously, while allowing and awaiting the unlived, untried, sleeping dimensions of oneself to awaken?

What are psyche’s (soul’s) messages (imprints) in the here and now?  Do they translate only into rich, unique, though often difficult, life experiences? If so, what kind? Will something of value continue to emerge from Ed’s deceased friend, even now while Ed is still alive? Does the living on of their experience continue? If so, how, and where? What is the special facet of the autobiographical imagination that makes this experience, this soul imprint, their soul imprint unique?

Seems to me, for an experience to be and/or to leave a soul print or imprint on and in one’s life, it must fall into at least one or more of the categories listed below:

  1. Must be an integral and necessary part of one’s calling
  2. This calling may be further indentified/articulated in and by the patterns in one’s astrological horoscope such as has been postulated by Hadley Fitzgerald and myself in our recently released publication, Images of Soul: Reimagining Astrology.
  3. The archetypal, astrological horoscope itself, in its entirety, with its various themes, that when taken together become one large soul imprint and/or container out of which smaller soul imprints may be created, lived and when appropriate released into the world?
  4. Possess certain unique qualities, gifts, and/or talents, that like a finger print, belong to, identify and represent only you.
  5. Are any pro, or con, life-altering, life-changing experience or set of experiences that throughout the course of one’s lifetime, could be said to be responsible in-part for the transformation and/or the course of one’s life.

And, then there’s that one final question that occurs to me now, here at the end of this blog:

  1. Is there an aspect of your psyche’s DNA that you would, if given the chance, designate as your eternal soul print or imprint? And if, given the vote, how would you like this imprint to be remembered, and/or identified at the soul level?

JANUARY 16, 2015

Judith Harte, Ph.D., LMFT

Psychotherapist/Marriage/Family Therapist /Archetypal Astrologer/Emerging Sculptress/Author


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Comment by Sister Helen E. Provost on February 26, 2015 at 7:42am

A simple practical point. It would be good that there be an edit button to correct spelling, etc before one posts.
I', simply learning the ropes of this site and communication system. Daunting at times!

Comment by Sister Helen E. Provost on February 26, 2015 at 7:38am

Can't believe I did that! added a comment when nothing was there! Perhaps this is what you meant, Judith, by ask coyote and looking at where the soul print is not! As little as I know, coyote is a trickster, there one moment, gone another, a mostly night wanderer, with slight of presence, and a huge hunger for "chickens" when they can be found sleeping in the hen=house! You say that soul exists in hungry moments, as well as in moments of satiation, or fullness! So, emptiness and fulness can conjure the coyote image, energy, symbol, animal, -- aspect of the soul that is yet unknown to a person! This aspect can also be called "demon"or "daemon" depending upon which belief or point one is coming from!
In relation to "soul print" is it there or not there? depending upon the place/space where a person-soul-individual is at in its "life's journey".
As far as I can see in my own experience, one must be attentive to the passing of coyote, trickster, demon, daemon, energy, whatever it is called; and, attempt to perceive and acknowled what it is that passed and left an imprint upon the soul even if it wasn't totally perceived in that moment or flash of presence! a simple first step, perhaps?

I do hope to continue this conversation, Judith.

Comment by Sister Helen E. Provost on February 26, 2015 at 7:24am

Comment by Judith Harte,Ph.D. on February 25, 2015 at 10:27pm

Hello Sister Helen, Thank you for your provocative interest in the idea of a soul print. Perhaps we should find that coyote and ask him! I think soul is such a magical  term in that that it most likely has many definitions aside from the obvious, spiritual, religious, psyche-logical, locations!  In our book Images of  Soul: Reimagining Astrology, Hadley Fitzgerald and I explore the notion of soul from psyche's  perspective,  also when viewed astrologically from an evolutionary sense,to name a few of its references. I think of that coyote and I want to say soul exists in our hungry moments! And likewise in  moments of utter satiation. Now that idea is just for openers. Each individual has knowledge of what soul is to them. That coyote knew! Today soul has become so many things. Or at least is referred to in so many ways. Perhaps one should start where soul isn't. In revisioning astrology,  Hillman refers to it as a perspective. 

I like the idea of imagining where soul prints aren't for each of us. Perhaps then we and others can compare notes.You've got me going now...and the subject is so  vast, almost too vast. that one must narrow it in order to come up with any valid ideas. THanks for your soulful provocation

Comment by Sister Helen E. Provost on February 25, 2015 at 5:31pm

This topic intrigues me; I'm thinking about this concept of "soul print" ! Thank you for sharing this article. I do hope to deepen the thought-image-sound-sense of this "soul print" which I've used before, too.  What is soul?  How and Why can it or desire to  leave a print of itself?  Where is this "print" found and accessed, especially by the individual soul itself?  And, finally who would discover this "soul print" even over the years, centuries, eons?  

Just wondering if anyone else is somehow impacted by this term:  "soul print".

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