[[quoteright:320:[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lifestream.jpg]]]]
->''"Why do we stay in the cradle? Why do we provide suffering to our little heart? Our star did not leave us...did not leave us... our star did not leave us... did not leave us. The pulse of veins flowing in the earth. Faint... faint pulse, heart leading to death. And the weak life return to the planet. Is it necessary to sacrifice the soul? Why do we stay in the cradle? Why do we beg for mercy? In the fatal earth?"''
-->-- '''"[[OminousLatinChanting The Promised Land"]]''', ''Anime/FinalFantasyVIIAdventChildren''

A specific form of the afterlife, a nexus where [[OurSoulsAreDifferent souls/hearts/spirits]] go to die, and sometimes where they come from. This is sometimes implied to be a physical place, or maybe in another dimension. In Western media, has parallels to Eastern religion aside from occasional [[CrystalDragonJesus artsy substitutions]], and a very good way to refer to the concept of life and death when a series may not allow you do to so without offending {{Media Watchdog}}s by portraying {{Heaven}}. Naturally very common in anime.

The TropeNamer is ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII''.

See also SentientCosmicForce. May be part of the conflict in a setting where HarmonyVersusDiscipline is used. Not to be confused with AIM's Website/{{Twitter}}-esque status update feature.



[[folder: Anime & Manga]]
* The Galaxy Cauldron from the ''Manga/SailorMoon'' manga.
* Something similar is seen in the {{anime}} ''Manga/{{Mushishi}}'', in which it is called a ''koumyaku''[[note]]"light pulse vein"[[/note]] and described as a river of small ''mushi'', creatures who represent life in its purest form, amidst a flowing substance that is said to be the source of all life, callied ''kouki''[[note]]roughly, "light wine"[[/note]]. Its presence is good for life in general, but it can have weird effects on humans. Stare at a ''koumyaku'' for too long and mushi may come along that [[EyeScream consume your eyes]]. And if you're invited to drink ''kouki'', you can find your ties to the living world loosened as you're transformed into a ''mushi''.
* The Akasha from the {{Franchise/Nasuverse}} is the place where souls of the deceased are recycled to create new souls. However, it is also described as "the root of everything", as the concept of time does not apply; if a conscious being somehow manages to enter, it is basically TheNothingAfterDeath. Akasha is also where [[VisualNovel/FateStayNight the magi]] strive to reach, as "connecting" with Akasha allows the use of True Magic, which are miracles beyond the scope of current science or magecraft, such as [[{{Tsukihime}} Zelretch's]] alternate dimension travel.
* In the [[Anime/FullmetalAlchemist 2003 anime version]] of ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', the souls of people who die in our Universe is [[spoiler:converted to energy that fuels alchemy in their Universe]]. Ouch.
* In ''[[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion End of Evangelion]]'', there is a brief scene where Shinji Ikari is watching all the souls gathered from Third Impact flowing around in the Black Moon like a stream of water. Not really a surprise since the entire movie is a {{Downer Ending}}.
* ''Anime/{{Kaiba}}'' has an interesting physical version of this: people's memories are gold-colored "roe", and ones that are no longer in use for whatever reason (often death), if they aren't stored in special facilities (or if those facilities are destroyed), will float up into outer space, so there is an enormous river of memory roe flowing through space.
* The Primary Village serves the same purpose in ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}''. All slain digimon's data recollects itself here as eggs.
* ''Manga/ChronoCrusade'' also has this, referred to as, "The Astral Line".
* The rukh from ''Manga/MagiLabyrinthOfMagic'', which comes in white or black. White rukh is created from those who live within life's flow and follow fate, and is drawn to positive emotions. Black rukh is created from those who try to defy that flow and destiny, and is drawn to negative emotions like malice. [[spoiler:Turns out it's the other way around: White Rukh embodies the free will of mortals and the ability to persevere without destiny. Black Rukh is the will of a "god" who once trapped mortals in a destiny of suffering and wishes to do so again.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The Speed Force in Franchise/TheDCU is sometimes portrayed like this. In essence, it acts as the Valhalla for all speedsters who use it directly when they die, as a place where they'll be eternally happy and run forever... but also lose their individuality. Its existence is explained two ways:
** It has always existed and will always exist, and is just a part of the multiverse.
** When the second Flash, [[Franchise/TheFlash Barry Allen]], was hit by the lightning bolt that gave him his powers that it simultaneously made him the first user of the Speed Force and sent the Speed Force throughout time and the multiverse. Since Barry is the first person to have the Speed Force, every step he takes causes the Speed Force to grow making it its own dimension.
* The Keywork in [[Music/CoheedAndCambria The Amory Wars]] is a subversion: the souls are tortured and used as a fuel source for the entire galaxy. In fact, [[spoiler:there is an entire race, called Stars, who were created just for there to be more souls to burn.]]
* There was an issue of ''ComicBook/{{Stormwatch}}'' (''ComicBook/TheAuthority'''s predecessor) where it was revealed that Heaven and Hell were cosmic siege engines locked in an endless war, powered by the souls of the dead. There was a bar next to a nuclear testing range with a wall of photos of physicists who'd ended their lives at ground zero of a nuclear blast to deny either side their soul.
** Said bar was also visited a few times in ComicBook/{{Planetary}}

* The ''Franchise/MassEffect'' fanfic ''[[Fanfic/CrucibleMassEffect Crucible]]'' has The Song, the place where all souls come from and return to. Billion and billion of universes floating in it, tied to it but mortal cannot see it, only hear its sings. Since the scale is so large, each universe has their own AnthropomorphicPersonifications of Life and Death who control the traffic of souls between their world and The Song to make sure things run smoothly since now and then there are souls that refuse to move.

* In the ''StarWars'' mythos, the Force is described as working like this, and characters who die are often described as becoming "one with the Force."
* In ''Anime/FinalFantasyTheSpiritsWithin'', the Earth is described as having a Gaia which is essentially the Lifestream from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' with a different name. The entire plot of the movie is actually that of [[spoiler: the battle between Earth's Gaia and one from a dead world, '''its''' souls having been driven insane after drifting through space for untold aeons until slamming into Earth]].
* In ''Film/{{Avatar}}'', the spirits of the departed live on inside Eiwa -- and their memories are accessible if you plug your ponytail into a tree.

* The computer system that runs the Afterlife in Paul Robinson's ''InstrumentOfGod''.
* ''Literature/ThePendragonAdventure'''s Solara.
* Dust in ''Literature/HisDarkMaterials''. It's described as the main factor in the existence of sapience and possibly life itself, and without it the Multiverse is pretty much screwed.
* The mindstream in ''Literature/TheObernewtynChronicles''.
* Roger Elwood's ''Literature/TheWandering'' has the Currents Of The Cosmos, the preferred afterlife of Neshi's homeworld.
* ''Literature/AwakeInTheNightLand'' has the Earth Current, which allows people who die close to it to reincarnate.
* In the ''Literature/BlackJewels'' series, the Darkness is the [[DarkIsNotEvil benevolent]] source from which the Blood draw their powers, as well as where their souls go when they die and come from when they are born. It is occasionally appealed to similarly to a deity, but without any anthropomorphic representation. Interestingly, the series never addresses whether the non-Blood [[{{Muggle}} landen]] come from the Darkness, or somewhere else.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2TZhruT-Xs This performance]] by Harry Belafonte on ''Series/TheMuppetShow''.
* "The next emanation" of an alien humanoid species in the ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' episode "Emanations."

[[folder: Religion & Mythology]]
* In some versions of Buddhism, souls go to the "Bardo" for a time-out between incarnations. Several interludes in ''The Years of Rice and Salt,'' an alternate-history novel by Kim Stanely Robinson, are set in the Bardo. The Chinese "Di Yu," or "Earth Prison," is similar to the Bardo although it is usually translated as "Hell" and there is some tormenting of sinners in the lower levels.
* [[UsefulNotes/{{Gnosticism}} The Pleroma]] is this, combined with PiecesOfGod.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The "Rebirth Into Death" setting in ''TableTopGame/AllFleshMustBeEaten'' poses that all life is ultimately part of one overarching source of life. In the beginning, living creatures were born randomly, but once humanity evolved, some souls retained their consciousness after death and figured out how to rig the life force (effectively creating chains of reincarnation). They stopped paying attention to it when some of their number worked out how to get into Paradise, and the system is breaking down - life energy is now going into corpses. Cue the ZombieApocalypse.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'': Creation always have the number of souls necessary to animate living beings in it, since the Ewer of Soul always provide exactly that much. The problem that Autochthon --a machine-god who is also a self-contained world-- face in his self-imposed exile is that he need to eat souls (to put it simply), and he's dying because he can't get fresh ones.
** Note that there's no Lifestream in a traditional sense; souls normally reincarnate, thus they enter Creation but doesn't leave it. The only way souls meet FinalDeath is by falling into Oblivion. The Neverborn want to [[OmnicidalManiac toss everything, themselves included]], into Oblivion.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' has the (rather poorly-defined) Incarnum. It's either souls or LifeEnergy, and the lack of it causes stillbirth. Which happened when a dragon by the name [[BigBad Ashardalon]] sat on [[TheLifestream its source]], gleefully omnomnom-ing it. Some heroes eventually dealt with him, but the source of Incarnum was cracked (or something), causing Incarnum to be available-as-powers like magic or psionic. When it's materialized, it looks like light-blue sands. [[TheForce Sounds awfully familar, don't it?]]
* The Source in ''[[TabletopGame/ProseDescriptiveQualities Dead Inside]]''. The cosmos is structured like a bird's egg, with the real world as the shell, the Spirit World as the white of the egg, and the Source as the yolk, protected by everything else from the void of oblivion on the outside. All soul energy comes from the Source, and all soul energy returns to the Source. That is, unless it rots away through indulging one's vices, or eaten by living holes in reality, or burned away to power magic, or... Well, suffice to say that not enough soul energy comes out of the Source these days to keep up with all the possible ways it might be lost, so one of the ways to lose your soul in the game is to have never had one in the first place. [[ParanoiaFuel And nobody knows if the Source can be tapped out, and if so, how close it might be...]]
* [[SpaceAmish Eldar Exodite]] Maiden Worlds in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''. The planets have thin crystal veins running through the world's crust, which the Exodites use as repositories for the spirits of their dead, in a manner similar to the Infinity Circuits on Eldar Craftworlds. This a good thing for the Exodites in a few ways; it means they don't get [[FateWorseThanDeath claimed by Slaanesh]] when they die, the spirits often serve as guides and mediators to living Exodites, and due to the fact that Eldar are inherently psychic, this means that the planets themselves are sentient and will direct native creatures to fend off any threatening invaders.
* Present in ''TabletopGame/AnimaBeyondFantasy'' as the Stream of Souls, and being quite based on ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'''s Lifestream. Souls of the dead go there, circling the planet and being sort of purified, before being reincarnated. The [[TarotMotifs Arcana]] are said to come from there, representing basic emotions.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The Aether in ''VideoGame/{{Aion}}''. It's rather disturbingly also used as an all-purpose tool to power all kinds of things, such as flight, magic, armor, weapons, and force fields.
* Used in several ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games:
** The Lifestream in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'', which is the TropeNamer. It's both a metaphorical afterlife in which the LifeEnergy of every living thing returns to "the Planet" upon their death to be recycled into more life, and a very physical mass of [[GreenRocks green energy goo]] that you can use to run your blender, [[FunctionalMagic power your Fire spells]], or turn you neighbor into a HumanoidAbomination.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'' has a similar concept running behind the scenes; the EvilPlan is to [[spoiler: prevent the souls of the people of Gaia from reincarnating, so the souls of the people of Terra can replace them]].
** The Farplane in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' and ''Final Fantasy X-2''. A young Spiran genius named Shinra speculates on its use as a power source, and as it turns out, [[WordOfGod that wide-eyed boy's descendants developed space travel, found a planet with a similar afterlife, and made his dream come true]]. [[DontExplainTheJoke I'm talking about the Planet from FFVII]].
** The basic motivation of the BigBad in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' is to turn the world's remaining human population into this in order to get the attention of his long-vanished god.
** The concept returns in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'', and the "aethernet" is the technique of using a network of crystals to hitch a ride in the stream and pop back up at your destination intact. There are a couple cases of people travelling the Lifestream without the aid of those crystal entrance/exits [[spoiler:(Y'shtola and Thancred)]] by use of a forbidden spell called Flow. In both cases, long-term exposure had lasting effects. [[spoiler:Y'shtola, who couldn't even escape the stream without outside help, wound up blind and now resorts to "seeing" the aether around her with her own life force. Thancred's personal aether was disrupted to the point that he can no longer use magicks, meaning he couldn't just teleport back home when he popped back into the world.]]
%%* Glaive Le Gable in ''VideoGame/{{Wild ARMs 2}}''.
%%* ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' has the titular [[{{MacGuffin}} Kingdom Hearts]].
* In the game ''{{VideoGame/Darwinia}}'', each creature has a digital "soul" that rises into the sky and merges into a soul collector which hovers over the world when they die, and which feeds them back down as a rain of souls on another location, where they go on to be processed into new creatures. In this manner, even the souls of TheVirus that infects the digital world of Darwinia can be reincarnated as clean darwinians. One virus creature permanently destroys the souls of those it eats, however.
* The [[spoiler:Chroma]] in ''VideoGame/{{Fahrenheit}}''. While its nature is not fully explained (which might place it into TheForce category instead), it ''is'' mentioned that [[spoiler:this is where all living things derive their life energy from, hence, a person with high concentration of chroma in their body (like Lukas) is extremely energetic, like, bare-handedly-fighting-off-a-police-squad-and-then-jumping-atop-of-a-moving-train energetic.]]
* In ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga II'', the Sun holds the "data" of dead people until they reincarnate. Or, at least, it used to, before [[AfterTheEnd something went horribly wrong]]...
* ''VideoGame/BioShock2'': [[spoiler: ADAM has become a variant. Once a human Splices with it, their genetic blueprint, personality, memories, and powers are imprinted in the substance contained in their bodies. [[KnightTemplar Sophia Lamb]] wishes to fuse her daughter with the aggregate genius of Rapture to make her the first "[[AGodAmI Utopian]]".]]
* The Sea of Souls in ''VideoGame/KingsQuestVI''.
* How Mantra is portrayed in ''VideoGame/AsurasWrath''. [[spoiler: Controlled by Chakravartin, a God who's a major asshole that thinks he does good deeds by testing the demi-gods that use the mantra he bestowed upon them by sending monstrous gohma to try and kill them.]]

* In Webcomic/TwoKinds, Dark Mana is actually life-force energy siphoned from the planet and people. It's used to cast shadow magic.
* In Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt, while those who die may go on to some sort of afterlife, in the end, everyone is brought back into the Ether, which is the source of all magic in this verse.
* Near the end of ''Webcomic/ThePhoenixRequiem'' it is revealed [[spoiler: that instead of an afterlife, the dead souls merge into a pool from where they can later be reborn. The spirits were actually eating these souls instead of letting them enter this pool, giving people magic in exchange. The heroes argue that this pool would dry up over time, so they refuse to free the spirits.]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{MYth}}'', gods, when they die, don't go to Hades like the mortals but return to Gaia, the original mother and if she's merciful enough, are able to reincarnate as humans.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The [=AllSpark=] in the ''{{Transformers}}'' series. At least, as far as the Anime/UnicronTrilogy is concerned. In ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' and ''WesternAnimation/BeastMachines,'' it was interchangeably called the Matrix (which is ''also'' the name of a MacGuffin that isn't really related to it.)
** The name is changed to "The Well of All Sparks" in ''TransformersAnimated'', mostly because in this one the Allspark is an actual, physical item. This may or may not go for the movieverse as well.
** Annoyingly, the name changes as the concept stays the same. But for all Transformerdom, this trope is the best way to describe it. All Sparks come from a source when they're incarnated and return to this source when they terminate, taking with it its knowledge and experiences to share with and improve the whole. "Where all are one," as Rhinox put it. You can ''sometimes'' communicate with it.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'', the Well of All Sparks is the soul of Primus, the creator of the Transformers. Every Spark is born from him and returns to him after death. [[spoiler:Transformers corrupted by Primus' ancient foe Unicron, like Megatron, are unable to return to it.]]