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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Group Soul

The collective soul of animals and plants. This concept was developed by second-generation theosophists, particularly Charles W. LEADBEATER, in his Man, Visible and Invisible. He stated that unlike human beings, animals and plants share common souls according to their species and degree of advancement.

A group soul, for example, may manifest or incarnate in the bodies of a hundred lions. The experiences of each single lion become, upon death, a common property of the other ninety-nine lions. As the group soul develops, it splits up and each group soul then incarnates in lower and lower bodies, until one soul mainly manifests in one single body. Then it becomes ready for individualization as a human being. Some group souls have millions of physical bodies, such as insects.

Leadbeater stated that the group soul of a feline may begin animating the bodies of lions and later, as it splits up, may become five group souls, each of which may be attached to five cats. He considered domesticated animals as the most advanced of animals, and individualization is only possible for them. Animals belong to any of the seven Ray types, at the head of which are domesticated animals, such as the dog, the cat, the elephant, and the monkey. When the group soul is ready for individualization, the soul itself becomes a vehicle of a higher principle, namely, ATMA-BUDDHI-MANAS.

See also ANIMALS, SOUL OF.

V.H.C.

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