Connections to another person that usually don’t help anyone.
Tom Blaschko and Heather O’Connell
Cording or entanglement is a topic that is discussed in many traditions of counseling and healing. With this article I’m hoping to show how using a soul model provides added insight into the dynamics of the interaction.
The topic turned out to be a much larger than I expected, so this version only looks at some of the highlights. It covers what cording is with examples of when it is good to cord and when it is not. It also looks at how cording happens, the basic steps to cut harmful cords, and how you can maintain a healthy, uncorded state.
The discussion is not complete. There is more to say in all of these areas, and I’m hoping you will help me add to the page. The plan is to post a more complete version here as soon as it gets written.
I want to thank Heather O’Connell for her help as I was writing this article at Alida Birch’s shamanic soul retrieval class last weekend. You can read more about Heather’s healing practice and workshops on her website, theyewtreeshamanichealing.com. Alida’s website is AlidaBirch.com.
Cording or entanglement is an attachment between two people that binds them together. There are lots of reasons for cording, but they usually involve some intention of holding another person close. Often there are aspects of control.
When I think of cording in soul reality it is clear that the cording is between souls. There is no physical string, after all, so we are in the realm of connections using the life force. My model the soul has seven parts. There is an introduction to it here. I’m sure cording could happen between any of the five parts within the I-Am (Mind, Voice, Heart, Will, and Wish). I’m still studying whether cording can happen in the Info or Energy regions of the soul. Your thoughts on that would be appreciated.
I also believe cording, like any soul connection, can occur between the same soul parts of the two people involved or between different soul parts. If it is between the same parts, such as Heart to Heart, it might be helpful, neutral, or harmful. If it’s between different parts, such as Will cording to Wish, I believe it’s always harmful.
Traditional shamanic practitioners speak of four kinds of harm that happen to the soul: losing soul power, losing soul parts, intrusions, and possession. Although cording has aspects of each of these, I think cording is a problem that belongs in a class of its own.
Heather and I believe that cording is probably more common in our age than in earlier times. The traditional shamans usually lived in villages that were small enough for people to know one another and have a chance at daily contact. In our age we live with thousands of people we don’t know, go far distances physically or electronically, and can disappear for extended periods of time in the rush of our lives. It makes sense that people cord to other people to keep closer track of them.
Most cording seems to be done unintentionally. Our culture does not have a tradition that warns us about these kinds of dangers to our souls, so we toss cords around and attach to people without realizing we are using power or directing energy. When cording is done without evil intention, it’s important to not blame the person doing it. Tossing blame around just makes things worse.
Sometimes cording is appropriate. The best example is parents cording to children. The cord between a parent and a child is a tether the parent uses to understand and guide the child. I believe there are cords between all five of the central soul parts when the child is still a baby. For example, a newborn has no verbal way to express wishes like food or warmth or change my diaper, and just becomes upset. The parents need to sense a wish and a cord between the Wish regions lets them do that.
It’s important to consider which direction the energy and information in the cord are flowing. If the information is flowing from the baby to the parents, useful information is being given. If the information is flowing from the parents the baby, such as when the parents say, “Oh, you’ll feel better if you eat something” to solve every problem, then the information is likely to be harmful.
Some people suggest cording between parents and children is appropriate up to the age of 16. I’d like to refine that based on soul regions. Your additional thoughts in this area are not only welcome – they are desired.
I suggest that the cord between Wish regions should be dropped as soon as the child is able to express wishes – perhaps ages 2 or 3. A child needs understand that wishes are owned by the person who has them. No one has a right to put a wish into another person and no one has the right to know our wishes unless we tell them.
Whether the wish should be carried out is another question entirely, so the Will cord needs to be in place longer – at least until the child is able to start making decisions based on input from the Heart or the Mind. Let’s say that’s about age 7 to 10.
The parents keep the cords to the Heart and Mind longer because they are feeding information through them to supplement the information given without cords using Voice. The child learns how to combine the information from the parents with his or her Wish in the Will to decide what to do. In this case the parents are sending information to the child, and that’s the healthy condition. If the child is sending so much life force into the Will of the parents that the child always gets his or her way, it is very unhealthy for the whole family.
The Mind cord needs to stay in place until a person starts to think clearly. Sixteen is a possible age to cut this cord. I know many people aren’t sure a 16-year-old is able to think, but if the cord isn’t cut, the person will never learn to think. Cut the cord – trust in the child’s helping spirits to hold the child safe. That’s my suggestion.
Do we ever cut the Heart cord? Yes, if we don’t, the child will never learn to love. I’ll explain in a separate article.
After the cords are cut, all the life force can continue to flow. The pair of people makes decisions about what to offer and what to accept. The flow is no longer across the cords, of course, because those are cut. The life force goes into the space between the people. It is offered by one and accepted or not accepted by the other.
Keeping a cord in place after child is grown or creating a cord between two adults is not a healthy situation. I was searching for a way to explain that when some spirit offered this image:
Using a cord to move energy between two adults is like force-feeding a person on a hunger strike. It may keep the person alive but the relationship is like the one between the jailer and the prisoner. We have better ways to interact.
Even worse, most practitioners believe that the energy transferred through a cord can’t be used by the person receiving it. Here is the traditional view on the two cases: If the person who created the cord is trying to take energy – sometimes called psychic vampirism – he or she can’t actually use the energy. It is just dead stuff that the person needs to haul around. If the person creating the cord is trying to give the other person energy, the energy still can’t be used. It’s a mismatch.
There is also codependency, where both people are trying to control the other person. In this case the cords form a complicated pattern of links between mismatched regions of the souls. For example, an addict will suck life force from all of the regions of the “support” person with cords going between matched regions. That’s just being a vampire. The key is that the addict also runs a cord from his or her Will region to the support person’s Heart. The accompanying words go like this, “If you really loved me, you would…”
I’m still studying unhealthy cording. Unlike many other practitioners, I think the energy transferred may be usable in some cases – not healthy for either person, but usable. Why would sorcerers, who are experts at stealing life force, continue to do it if it didn’t work? I’d like for your thoughts on this, too.
The short version of cutting a cord is to imagine a soul-cord knife and use strong intent to slice through the cord. Watch it wither away.
Then seal up that hole in your I-Am where the cord went through. Duct tape might be enough, but I usually grab some soul seal, fill the hole, and polish it up to full sparkle. Soul seal, of course, is one of those Otherworld tools that you have to create in your mind before you can apply it to your soul.
If you don’t seal up the hole in your I-Am, the cord will sneak right back in. Cords can be remarkably resilient if you don’t change your patterns of connection with strong intent. Spending time to polish the I-Am is a sign of intent and also provides a good mirror to look at yourself when you are deciding what you need to do differently.
Heather points out that we want to disentangle as gently as possible. If you can, consolidate a few cords and ask them to dissolve. The other person might not even notice. If the person continues to cord to you, perhaps you can take a shamanic journey to the person’s higher self and ask him or her to stop. Or you can take a separate journey to ask how to maintain a right relationship.
We are accountable for taking care of ourselves. One part of that is checking for cords periodically. If you are willing to share what you do, I will be glad to add your ideas to this article.
One point that I want to make is that cording isn’t just in one soul region. People usually think of the Heart region as the one to take care of. Sometimes they understand that the Will may have some cording, too. But you can have cording in all of the soul regions. It is really important to look at all of the regions when you try to remove cords placed by some other person or cords you have attached to another person. If you don’t, the cords that remain are openings for cords to come back in regions that you cleared out.
As always, your feedback is appreciated. I’m so grateful that Heather took the time to discuss cording and entanglement with me. If we have soul connections and share the life force in our Heart, Mind, and Will, we will form a community that changes the world.
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