The soul is the immaterial part of a being, which in many belief systems is held to live on after death. Wizards and witches, like Muggles, have sought to uncover the nature of the soul, particularly its role in magic. While the human body relies on the soul to have their own unique mindsets, a torn soul that is encased in a Horcrux is dependent on the object's well being. That is to say, if the human dies, the soul would be able to move on beyond the Veil or return as a ghost, while if a Horcrux is destroyed, the soul within would die away and disappear.
A Fidelius Charm implants a secret into a person's very soul, which would give the secret the highest level of security, unless the Secret-Keeper chooses to divulge it.
Damage to the soulEdit
Murder is such a serious crime that it causes the soul of anyone who commits it to be torn apart. This damage can be undone if one feels genuine remorse, but the process is extremely painful, and can even be deadly. Reconciliation can only be done when alive, as after death, the soul's condition is set and cannot recover. It is very likely that one's motive for ending the life of another person might influence whether or not their soul is damaged. It seems that the murder may be committed indirectly, as long as the murderer has the intent, seeing as Tom Riddle used the Serpent of Slytherin to kill Myrtle to create his first horcrux, rather than kill her himself.
While ripping the soul apart and then having it contained outside the body results its diminished form that would lead to a terrible existence after death, it is unclear what effects would befall if all fractions of the soul remain inside the main body despite multiple ripping.
- "The soul is supposed to remain intact and whole. Splitting it is an act of violation, it is against nature."
Wizards and witches who have committed murder can use a spell to place a torn fragment of their soul inside an external object, called a Horcrux, which anchors their soul to the living world, rendering them immortal. Creating a Horcrux makes the part of the soul left inside one's body very unstable, and, for obvious reasons, is widely considered the darkest of all the Dark Arts.
If the soul fragment has been detached from the body for a long time, the destruction of a Horcrux containing such a fragment might not be felt by the owner. A soul that has been torn apart and partially removed from the body will leave the remaining portion of the soul weakened, and that if they remain as such, they would be trapped in Limbo when they die, unable to move on or return as a ghost.
It is possible for a person to live without any soul at all so long as their heart and brain are still functioning. However, without a soul, a person is left in an incurable vegetative state — they have no awareness of themselves or the world around them. The soul cannot be recovered once it has been lost. This is a fate that is considered worse than death.
One known method of removing the soul from the body intact is the Dementor's Kiss. The Dementor — a creature which is itself soulless— locks its mouth over that of its victim and sucks out his or her soul. The Ministry of Magic has in the past used the Dementor's Kiss as a form of punishment.
- Main Article: Ghost
A ghost is the imprint of the soul of a witch or wizard who chooses to linger in the world of the living after death. Few people actually choose this fate, because it means they will never move beyond the Veil, as most do. This cannot be achieved if the soul is damaged or completely removed.
The Resurrection Stone is capable of summoning the souls of the deceased back to the world of living, as more than ghosts but less than bodies.