Soul Mates. The words evoke a sense of divine partnership, a blessed union where two hearts, two souls, two people, come together as One. The state of Oneness prevails through all of life's adversities. The couple is melded together through thick and thin, and there is always and throughout pervasive feelings of telepathic connection, unconditional love, and simmering sexual passion.
Ah, bliss. We all share this innate longing for our "other half." Since the age of romance began, literature has fed us the imagery of such a perfect union. Much is illusory, a fantasy; but still, we crave this perfection.
Our bodies hardly need encouragement. It is the prerogative of the body to seek its "other half," the yin for its yang, the positive for its negative. Kahlil Gibran said: "Your children are not your children, they are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself." It is this longing of life to reproduce that drives us to seek union with our opposite.
And for our higher selves, our souls, the desire to merge comes from an instinctive "knowing." Our higher self knows that only through relationship can we bring our "unwholeness" into our conscious awareness, in order to heal—and thus become whole.
We cannot do this on our own. We need another to help us negotiate our gaps and wounds, and to teach us how to open, and keep open, our hearts. There is no healing with a closed heart. We must open and let go. And this we do best when we are loved and loving.
The words "Soul Mates" are a bit like the words "God" or "Love." We can create any number of interpretations for these words; they are capable of expressing the highest truths, as well as truth's opposite. From the pain of deception, loss, betrayal, and separation to the joy of profound intimacy and deep merging with another, the Soul Mate relationship can bring us any or all of these.
I use the word Soul, together with the word Mate, tentatively. And for the reason mentioned above—the words are too easily misconstrued. They are minimized, mangled, and mutated, changed from two innocent, singly comforting words to something almost intimidating: Do you have a Soul Mate? Is your partner your Soul Mate, or a watered down version of one? And if he is, why is living with him so difficult? He can't be. Or: Will you ever find that elusive Soul Mate? Do you even believe in such things? If they're for real, why hasn't yours shown up yet? Where IS he? The subject of soul mates seems invariably to be accompanied by feelings of ambivalence and vulnerability.
There is a lot of confusion about Soul Mates (as there is about anything to do with the mysterious Soul), which is why I wanted to talk about them. After forty something years of living and loving, I have come to the conclusion that every significant relationship we enter into is with a Soul Mate. Yes, afraid so. (And when I say significant, I mean a relationship lasting longer than most of the food in your refrigerator). When we give our heart to another—for however short or long the duration—we are entering into the sacred territory of the Soul. This person has then become a Mate of our Soul; our Soul Mate.
Now, we need to qualify the above. Significant relationships are all Soul Mate relationships, but there are soul mates and Soul Mates. There are "dark" Soul Mates and there are "light" Soul Mates.
Some of those with whom we enter into a significant relationship have come into our lives to demonstrate the less attractive side of relating—and to show us the less attractive side of ourselves. You may have known such Soul Mates in your past; your relationship with them would have been marred with darkness, destruction, and desperation. Soul Mates have been known to kill each other!
The Soul has a "knowing" that our conscious selves do not possess. This knowing ineffably, sooner or later, draws us into the orbit of people with whom we have shared a past, a past that is outside of our conscious awareness. We "mates of old" have karma to resolve together; perhaps we have agreed to come back into a relationship to complete something we didn't finish up in the past, or to do it differently. As an evolutionary astrologer I would add to that: ideally, complete in a positive and integrated way. Sometimes we finish our relationships, but we neglect to complete the work we were in them to do!
These Soul Mate relationships serve the great purpose of assisting us in our awakening. They unerringly dredge up the old karmic patterns, the needs and expectations that we have unconsciously crafted through lifetimes of experiences: pain, fear, disappointment, loss, betrayal. Once our relationships show us—often in glaring Technicolor—where exactly our "issues" are, we may be forced to go through more than a few dark nights as we learn to meet ourselves and transmute our woundedness into something more life giving.
We both signed up for this relationship, we Soul Mates. And however long, short, or in between, this partnership that takes us to the deepest and often most painful places is an agent for the Soul. Always, "darker" Soul Mate connections will end in a parting of the two personalities—one way or another. The karmic contract will expire and then there is no longer a necessity to stay together. Hopefully, the work has been done and each party has healed some wounds and come to a place of greater self-awareness. If not, then there is always the next lifetime…
Light Soul Mates are those are not fueled by the need to complete karmic contracts. They are, rather, about growth. These are two Souls who have come together in a significant relationship, in full consciousness. That is, the personalities have matured emotionally and spiritually to a point where they understand that they are responsible for their realities—in or out of a relationship. They know that life is an ongoing journey of unfolding, learning, and growing—and that this new relationship will bring up a new set of lessons and challenges. This conscious awareness draws partners of a like mind. The couple is concerned with each other's growth and wellbeing as much as their own. They also know that love is the reason they are together. This is why their relationship is light-filled.
My book Sun Signs & Soul Mates is, primarily, not about your relationship but about you! The term "Sun signs" comes first in the title because this is where we start: with ourselves. We cannot hope to create positive, fulfilling, loving, life-affirming relationships if we are fractured spirits ourselves. No one can rescue us from ourselves. If we understand the deeper significance of the principles of our Sun Sign, if we know about the light and dark expressions of these, then we move to a higher awareness. We are "awakened" to our greater potentials and we can consciously choose to bring them into our lives. When we do, our relationships naturally transform. Our self awareness spills over to become a tolerant, compassionate, benevolent energy in the relationship. We know ourselves and our partners more deeply, because we know our astrology. Tolerance, for both, arises from this acceptance.
All of our relationships of significance are with our Soul Mates, but the more conscious we become, the more we move toward light Soul Mate relationships—and away from the dark, destructive ones. Once we have made friends with ourselves, come to a place of acceptance (self-worth) and celebration for who we are, in the depths of our hearts, then we attract souls who resonate in kind, who love us because we do too! These are the lovers with whom we will grow and evolve. We draw them into our lives to share a divine partnership where two hearts, two souls, two people, come together as One.
Until we do this work to make friends with ourselves, to love ourselves, we will continue to attract relationships that offer us a reflection of what we feel about ourselves. The dark and destructive Soul Mate is simply the mirror showing us how little we are valuing ourselves.
Nothing in this life is more valuable than the journey we make into the center of ourselves. The master keys to creating joyful, loving lives are self-knowledge and an awakening to who we really are.
This is why I wrote Sun Signs & Soul Mates. I hope this book gives you the insight and clarity to look at yourself—and your lover—through fresh eyes; the Eyes of Love.