The Soul

The Multi-Part Soul

The modern concept of a soul as being a singular spiritual aspect of a person is not the way that these things were conceived of in ancient Anglo-Saxon society. For those ancient heathens, the soul was multi-faceted, made up of many different parts; each of those parts carried its own function. While no universal list of parts of a soul has persisted from Anglo-Saxon society, there are inklings of this which remain in ancient literature and within the language itself.

The Soul in Fyrnsidu

The names for the various components of the soul can be found in the language of Old English and reconstructed to understand their various purposes.

The Lic:
What is the spirit without the body? What is the body without spirit? The two are necessary for one another to together create the being we are familiar with. On this level, the Lic is the body, the physical body.

The Ealdor (Æþm):
The Ealdor, or Æþm, is essentially the breath of life. It stays inside your body until you die.

The Hama:
Hama means a natural covering, a membrane. The Hama seems to play a role in connecting the person to their Lic so they may return properly to their body when dreaming.

The Hiw:
The Hiw, rather than being a distinct part of the soul, is likely just the shape the Ferþ takes outside of the Hama and Lic or an extension of the Hama outside of the Lic. Given the connection with the Hama, it could be that the Hiw naturally takes the shape of the Hama it is connected with but that it is malleable in ways that the Hama is not.

The Ferþ (alternatively, the Mod):
The Ferþ (also spelled Ferhþ, Feorþ, Færþ) can be translated as the spirit or soul and this is the part of us which is most akin to what we think of when we think “soul”. However, this aspect of ourselves is itself composed of other parts. Furthermore, this is not the only term for this particular aspect of oneself. The Mod and the Ferþ are both synonymous terms for the spirit, the inner self. The Ferþ includes the Hyge and the Myne.

The Hyge:
The Hyge is the thinking, considering, and judging part of the mind. It is our mental capacity for thought. It is also the conscience, the part of us telling us to do or not to do something. The Hyge is a part of the Ferþ, the inner self.

The Myne:
The Myne is the memories of a person and their ability to recall them. It is a further part of the Ferþ.

Further Reading

This text is made up of excerpts from and his explanation of the multi-part soul, if you would like to know more, please visit here: