Animal Group Souls . by Arthur E. Powell . with comments by Alice B. Clagett

Begun on 27 November 2013; published 13 December 2017

Dear Ones,

Here is a description of animal group souls from “The Causal Body and the Ego,”  by Arthur E. Powell. Theosophy holds that animals have group souls. For instance, all dogs, they feel, share but one group soul. Here is the quotation …

“Group–Souls, which exist in the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms thus represent intermediate stages leading up to complete differentiation into separate human entities or units. Hence in the three kingdoms mentioned, we do not find one soul in a block of mineral, or a plant or an animal. Instead of this, we find one block of life – it we may use such a term – ensouling , a vast quantity of mineral substance, a large number of plants or trees, or a number of animals. Into the details of these we will enter later, confining ourselves for the moment to a consideration of the general function and purpose of the Group-Souls.

“The best physical analogy of a Group-Soul is perhaps the oriental one of water in a bucket. If a glassful of water be taken from the bucket, it represents, the soul—or portion of soul—of say , a single plant or animal. For the time being, the water in the glass is quite separate from that in the bucket, and, moreover, it takes the shape of the glass which contains it.

“So may a portion of a Group-Soul occupy and vivify a vegetable or animal form.

“An animal, during its life on the physical plane, and for some time after that in the astral world – has a soul, just as separate as a man’s; but when the animal comes to the end of its astral life, that soul does not reincarnate in a single body, but returns to the group-soul, which is a kind of reservoir of soul-matter.

“The death of the animal would thus, in our analogy, be represented by pouring water from the glass back into the bucket. Just as the water from the glass becomes thoroughly mixed and united with the water in the bucket, so does the portion of the soul from the particular animal become mixed and incorporated, with the total soul in the Group-Soul. And just as it would not be possible, to take again from the bucket another glassful consisting of the same molecules of water, so is it not possible for the same portion of the total soul in the Group Soul to inhabit another particular animal form.

“Continuing the analogy further, it is clear that we could fill many glasses with water from the bucket at the same time: equally is it possible for many animal forms to be ensouled and vivified by the same Group-Soul.

“Further, if we suppose that any given glassful of water becomes coloured with a distinctive hue of its own, then, when the water is poured back into the bucket , that colouring matter will be distributed throughout the whole of the water in the bucket, the colour of all the water in the bucket being thereby to some extent modified.

“If we consider the colouring matter to represent experiences or qualities acquired by a particular animal, then, when the portion of soul vivifying that animal returns to its parent Group-Soul, those experiences or qualities will become part of the general stock of the whole Group-Soul and be shared by every other part of it equally, though in a lesser degree than that in which the experience existed in the particular animal to whom it occurred; i.e., we may say that the experiences concentrated in a particular animal are spread, in a diluted form, over the whole Group-Soul to which the animal is attached.” (1)

In love, light and joy,
I Am of the Stars


(1) from Citation: “The Causal Body and the Ego,” Ch IX. Group Souls,” by Arthur E. Powell, public domain, available at or


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myths of creation, stories, Theosophy, myths, animal group souls, Arthur E. Powell, group soul, soul, soul evolution,

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