Witches Are Soul Collectors

Witches Are Soul Collectors March 7, 2019

Witches collect the souls of the spirits summoned. We crave the essence of all that life has to offer, from other people to stone spirits. Witches go beyond being an empath by using the souls connected with, and collected, in their magick. 

Soul collecting has always been associated with witchcraft and the entities associated with us. Although reviled by those who seek to control our natural powers, soul collecting is far from evil. It’s an inherent part of witchcraft. How we use it is entirely up to us. There are several signs of being a soul collector, from mundane to spiritual. Toxic soul collecting is often not the work of witches, but of psychopaths both human and etheric. Claiming soul collecting power as our right enables us to heal and to practice witchcraft that speaks truth. 

Canstock photo. Witches collect souls, including those of the animal spirits we work with.

Psychopomps And Soul Eaters

There’s so much mythology and folklore about soul collecting deities, demons and witches, from Hekate to The Sluagh. Across cultures and times, there has always been a fear of infernal creatures stealing the soul. Psychopomps, soul guides to the afterlife, are also common. Usually these guides are underworldly in nature. The common themes across the myths and folktales include the soul being is finite and giving life to our material world existence. Soul collectors consume the soul through various methods. Eating them is a popular idea. This usually leads to death or becoming an empty shell.

Souls claimed by such creatures often ensures eternal damnation, except for psychopomps who get the souls of the departed where they need to go in the afterlife without interference from nefarious soul seekers. Like demons, zombies and such. Psychopomp spirits are often also associated with necromancy, making them especially protective against evil soul stealers and also skilled in reanimation. Witches are always associated with such spirits, deities and entities. Is it a fear of our power that has led to soul collecting being seen as evil?

The Cumaean Sybil by Elihu Vedder (1876). Not only a seer, but also an underworld psychopomp. Definitely a soul collector of sorts.

Working With Spirits: Summoning Souls

Essentially all of witchcraft can be seen as soul collecting. Working with spirits is one of the two core practices of witchcraft, the other being (obviously) casting spells. Since the latter requires the former, spells are really the only unique characteristic of witchcraft. What do we really mean when we say “working with spirits”? We are summoning the psychospiritual properties from plants, stones and sigils. But, it’s also conjuring the spirits of entities, including animal spirits, to do our magickal bidding as allies and fetches. Then there are the entities we entirely create, such as servitors. Don’t forget the spirits of the departed. What – or who – is it that we are calling upon when we summon these forces? We are calling forth the essence of whatever it is we are interesting in working with.

In other words we are summoning souls, the essential force of these spirits. It’s not by accident that “soul” and “spirit” are often used interchangeably. Like the soul collecting entities so closely associated with witchcraft, we practitioners do a similar sort of deathwalking, especially since we often reach out to these beings from our own souls.

Jan van de Velde, The Sorceress (1626). The witches’ familiar, here depicted as a goblin, is a type of soul we collect.

Witches Are Soul Collectors

Witches collect a coterie of souls, from spirit allies to our ancestors, forming our very own horde. However, soul collecting has often been perceived as evil. There’s a few reasons for this. Notably, having the ability to connect with and potentially use at will another’s soul is frightening, especially since it demonstrates incredible raw power. Then there’s the idea that souls are finite, so that taking one from another being would result in them no longer having one. Some cultures and religions believe that death of the physical body occurs once the soul is taken. Regardless of the cultural specifics, there is a common view among them that witches possess this ability.

Far from being the evil practice that Christianity and other belief systems would have it to be, soul collecting is a natural part of witchcraft, neither good nor bad. Of course, the purposes determine the morality of the specific practice, as with all things. Souls are not something easily put in a box. Unless, of course, that’s the point of the spell. Most times, the summoning of spirits involves working with a willing soul whose gift of their essence doesn’t harm them in any way. There’s nothing wrong, though, with trapping a malevolent soul, human or otherwise, in a container.

Canstock photo. To summon a spirit and direct it into an object, or to release an objects spirit both can be considered forms of soul collecting. We learn the soul signature and use it in witchery. At times, the soul is immediately released, but others the soul becomes attached to us. Be mindful of letting such souls become entwined with yours.

Signs Of Being A Soul Collector

  • Our natural craving for souls is why we are often drawn to stones. They are easy to obtain, attractive and (most importantly) socially acceptable. Who doesn’t like pretty things? My challenge to you is to ask yourself if these crystals are truly fulfilling. Perhaps if your impressive collection never seems complete, it’s because you crave stronger souls.
  • Plant spirits eagerly lend their souls to witchery. As they sustain life in the material world through their physical properties, their psychospiritual onces do the same in the energetic realms. For me, the souls of the plants I find on the poison path are more than allies. They are true soulmates, as are the spirits of the animals I collect using bones and other symbols.
  • Speaking of soulmates, the witches’ need to collect souls is found in our burning desire to have deep conversations. We often shun the mundane, demanding truth in our partners.
  • Preoccupation with mythology and folklore is another sign. It’s the souls we are after.
  • Needing to isolate from others  can also indicate soul collecting denial. As is always knowing what people are thinking. Being able to connect to the energy signature is also an indicator. Our souls are doing what comes naturally: connecting with and collecting souls.
  • Problems in interpersonal relationships, where we either become completely enmeshed with another’s soul or have to avoid certain people also can be a sign.
  • Physical problems, from chronic headaches to muscle aches, all can be symptoms of unintentional soul collecting. We try to manage all the souls that are coming at us, but get overwhelmed.
  • Always needing to have people around, or periods of isolation mixed with people collecting.
  • Hoarding of belongings, magickal supplies, etc.
  • Perhaps the most telling characteristic of being a soul collector is a strong pull towards deathwalking witchery, especially psychopompery and necromancy.

The Difference Between Empaths And Witches

There’s a deviation between witches, who are natural soul collectors, and empaths. The lack of discussion about soul collecting within witchcraft leads to many witches misidentifying as the latter when they are the former. An empath is a person who connects to the energy of others, being able to discern truth and read soul codes. Witches connect, and collect souls, to perform magick, and further our spiritual development. We take spiritual empathy to the next level, benefiting from the gifts of curiosity, creativity, and discernment plus witchery.


Collecting Unwanted Souls

Looking back at the times when my natural tendency to collect souls was problematic, I can see that I lacked the spiritual awareness to know what I was doing. I also didn’t have the vocabulary, left with trying to reconcile my place between being an empath and a psychopomp. There is a part of me that requires the energy of others, from human to spirits, in order to function. I need to have my own horde around me. This is only a problem when I don’t know that I am doing this.

I do think that this is a need, and that this isn’t unique to me. It’s woven in the DNA of many witches. For me, the more broken the person was, the more I was attracted to their energy. I craved souls that were restless, unwanted and usually toxic. I’m starting to sound like some sort of spiritual vampire, but I think there’s much more going on than this sort of simplistic categorization would indicate.

I also sound a lot like my favored goddess, Hekate, who leads a horde of the unwanted dead and frightening spirits. She is the Grand Psychopomp, Soul Collector Divine. Turn to her for assistance in your own soul collecting. Her torches will never lead you astray. She collects our souls, to guide us inward so that we can reveal our deepest truth. Yes, we are her children and soul collecting is our claim.

Canstock photo. Hekate’s Horde is the witches’ blessing and the bane of the uninitiated. While we willfully may collect our own horde, be wary of unintentional soul collection.

Toxic Soul Collecting

While soul collecting is a natural part of witchcraft, it can be incredibly toxic when we don’t know what we are doing. Like I wrote above, spiritual ignorance leads to all sorts of trouble. However, there are those among us who feed off souls in order to bolster their own power. In extreme cases, the person or entity doesn’t have their own. Psychopaths are the human embodiment of toxic soul collecting.

Soul Retrieval

We can lose parts of ourselves, either willingly or unwittingly, to toxic entities and humans. That’s why soul retrieval is such an important component of the Witches’ Journey. Our experience of trauma heightens our own soul collecting abilities as well. We need to retrieve our missing pieces and then practice safe soul collecting. Perhaps it is through these painful experiences that our soul collecting abilities are unleashed. It’s up to us to hone our talent, to use it for our own benefit and that of the souls we collect. It’s vital that our souls be true or else we run the risk of collecting toxic ones and being toxic ourselves. The soul has a shadow, too.

Witches Need Souls. We’ll Get Them One Way Or Another.

Practicing safe soul collecting requires soul retrieval, great boundaries, appropriate shielding, calling back our own power, training ourselves to identify our soul allies, and responsible collection methods. Don’t drain others dry. Take what you need, leave the rest. Do an inventory of your relationships and spiritual possessions. What speaks truth to you? What is simply filling the void? What are you naturally drawn to?Practice ethical extraction.  View souls as infinite sources from which you borrow unless it’s necessary to fully trap one. Claiming your soul collecting power is a process.

Hekate’s Horde: Spirits, The Restless Dead And Witchcraft

Witches Are Not Light Workers. We are Death Walkers

The Toxicity of Crystals and Ways to Practice Real Stone Spirit Magick

Recognizing And Dealing With Psychopaths In The Pagan, Occult And Witch Communities

The Witches’ Journey: Working With Spirits, Shadows and Shades

Boundaries Are Your Personal Magic Circle: Ways to Know and Strengthen Them

The Dangers Of Shielding And Ways To Practice Healthy Self Protection

Hekate and Her Four Sovereign Goddesses: Artemis, Medea, Persephone and Kirke (includes a ritual)

Connect with Keeping Her Keys on Facebook, Instagram or even Twitter. I love Pinterest, check out Keeping Her Key’s many boards on witchery.

Apply to join one of my groups: The Witches’ Realm of Hekate’s Cave.

Purchase Keeping Her Keys: An Introduction to Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft.

About Cyndi
Cyndi is a witch and spiritual teacher, a trained energetic healer, psychic and herbalist. Her teaching and writing extends from where she stands at the crossroads of personal development, spirituality and witchcraft. Merging together her experience as a psychologist with training in shamanism, tarot, past life work, meditation and mediumship, she teaches and writes about better living through witchcraft. Keeping Her Keys: An Introduction to Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft explores Hekate from her ancient origins to modern understanding through magic and personal development is available now for pre-order from Moon Books. True Magic: Unleashing Your Inner Witch uses the magic of the elements and the three realms to activate your true witch powers and will be available later in 2019 from Moon as well. Connect with her on Facebook or at keepingherkeys.com to learn more about her teaching and writing. Cyndi lives in rural coastal Nova Scotia with her two sons where she can often be found wandering the cliffs or wild foraging plants. She lives what she teaches: fierce love, emotional courage and true magic. You can read more about the author here.

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