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Soul Power

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"I need you to let me touch it. The human soul — it's pure... energy. If I can siphon some of that off, I might be able to bring Sam and Dean back."
Castiel the angel (to Bobby), Supernatural, "Frontierland"

A subtrope of Elemental Powers. This is the power over spirits, or spiritual energy. People using this power are likely to be able to manipulate this energy, which may or may not equate to magic, depending on the setting. Expect them to be able to speak to the spirits of the dead, as well as have some authority or control over them. Possession and Mind Control may also be within their powers.

This can be either a villainous or heroic power, depending on how it's portrayed and used. (If portrayed negatively, this may overlap with power over darkness) If it is used by a villain, be very careful — it's likely they have some very nasty powers, like being able to remove people's souls from their bodies or draining their life force. This may or may not instantly kill them. People using this power are also likely to be quiet, creepy, and stoic. Can be Element No. 5.

Unlike some of the other Elemental Powers, this power is more closely associated with subtlety, subterfuge and deceit rather than blasting stuff, though there are exceptions, such as spirit blasts and Faux Flame. Oh, and be careful if you try to kill these people — it's very likely that they'll come back as ghosts, possibly even stronger than they were in life. At extremes they may become a Psychopomp with complete control over the forces of life and death. Keep a can handy to cram them into, and look out for external containers they might use to sustain their life or powers.

Super-Trope to Soul-Powered Engine. Compare Your Soul Is Mine!, which involves actually acquiring or stealing souls (and its subtrope Soul Eating), and Psychic Powers. It may be the justification for why The Devil wants to make deals to claim a human soul for his own. Depending on the setting, this may or may not overlap with Ki Manipulation and Life Energy. Some of the ways to use this power overlap with Power of the Void, though conceptually they're not that similar. Contrast Necromancy, which is a power over death and manipulation of The Undead, although both can overlap. See also Our Souls Are Different.

Not to be confused with the concert documentary Soul Power. Also has nothing to do with Tom Morello's guitar.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Lucius Zogratis from Black Clover. His innate magic is Soul Magic, transforming the soul, the source of human life, spirit, and magic, of anyone he touches. He uses it to transform himself and Sister Lily into the angelic "true form of humanity". As a side effect, he can also brainwash his target by instilling an overriding belief that overpowers their personality, making them consciously think that Lucius is righteous in his actions. Even if deep down they do not wish to follow his orders, they will still be compelled to fight for him and believe in his cause.
  • Bleach: The powers of incorporeal beings are based on their "spiritual power", otherwise known as Reiryoku, and their ability to control it. The energy that is actually used manifests as "spiritual pressure", Reiatsu, which determines the strength and durability of a spirit. This includes Soul Reapers (kido spells, shikai/bankai, resistance to injury) as well as Hollows. Some humans are able to use spiritual pressure/powers as well (Orihime, Chad, Quincies like Uryu, Bounts, etc.). Soul Reapers and Hollows are effectively spirits or ghosts. Humans who possess spiritual power, even if they don't have extra abilities from it, can see ghosts and therefore can interact with both Soul Reapers and Hollows as well as normal ghosts.
    • And then there is the Zanpakutō themselves which are made of the souls of dead Soul Reapers.
  • Despite it being explained in-universe as a scientific Applied Phlebotinum, the Void Genome power in Guilty Crown is referred to numerous times as this, as its user can temporarily extract a physical manifestation of a person's true, hidden personality.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
  • Jujutsu Kaisen:
  • Mob Psycho 100: Keiji Mogami can control the evil spirits he has absorbed over his lifetime. However, there is a limit to how many he can use at a time.
  • Natsume of Natsume's Book of Friends has it, which lets him see youkai, draws youkai to him and makes him taste good to them, and lets him punch youkai clear across a room even though he only has average strength.
  • The AT Fields of both the Angels and Evangelions from Neon Genesis Evangelion. The Movie eventually reveals that every living being has one, and that is all that keeps them as separate entities. When Lilith neutralises the AT Fields of everything on earth...
  • One Piece:
    • It turns out this is the true power of Brook's Revive-Revive Fruit. He can separate his soul from his body and channel Ghostly Chills through his sword.
    • The Pirate Emperor Big Mom has eaten the Soul Soul Fruit, which gives the ability to take souls and lifespans from people and can store them inside inanimate objects, trees, and animals giving them life as creatures called "Homies". She can also put part of her own soul into objects, allowing her to manipulate them to her own will; it lets her manipulate a living flame and a living thundercloud as her "guards". It is said that she cannot put souls inside corpses. Hers and Brook's powers are diametrically opposed as Brook is able to fight, injure, and intimidate the Homies like no one else can.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica Magic is revealed to be the power of human souls.
  • The Cancer saints in Saint Seiya have a cosmo affinity and an attack spread based around summoning or banishing the dead. This means they routinely travel to the underworld, attack with the ghosts of the dead, and are pretty hard to kill. Even Thanatos, the god of Death, had a handful and got shoved into a box.
  • In Slayers, the fifth branch of Shamanism is Astral/Spirit Shamanism, which focuses on spells dealing directly with souls and the astral plane. Example spells include blasts of pure astral energy that can actually harm Mazoku (which are pretty much immune to other forms of shamanistic offense) and dispelling effects. The form of White Magic has been hinted at by the author as being a specialist form of Astral Shamanism focusing on healing and exorcising.
  • Soul Eater characters have Soul wavelength which they can use to resonate with others usually between Meister and Weapon.
    • Black*Star and Stein can attack using their soul wavelength without a weapon.
  • Several characters in YuYu Hakusho have variants of soul power. Yusuke, Genkai, Kuwabara , and Sensui all have attacks based on "reiki" or spirit energy. Kuwabara also has a heightened spirit awareness. Kaito is able to remove souls from bodies by the application of his taboo power.

    Audio Play 
  • Jan Tenner: Big Bad Seytania creates most of her puppets by pushing people's souls out of their bodies with her magic. The shells have no will of their own and only do what they are told. Only those performing tasks that required independent thought are allowed to keep their souls. The souls themself are forced to wander the night looking for a new body to take.

    Comic Books 
  • Kid Eternity, due to temporarily winding up in Heaven too early, came back with the power to summon spirits of the dead for advice—and, for some reason, also people from mythology. He's a decidedly heroic version of this trope, though Post-Crisis he's had a Darker and Edgier reboot.
  • In Supergirl story Demon Spawn, villain Nightflame can remove souls from their bodies. She pulls Supergirl's soul out from her body and makes off with it back to her home dimension.
  • In Superman story Kryptonite Nevermore, the titular hero loses most of his power and Wonder Woman's mentor I-Ching helps him get his powers back. Ching can use his mystical knowledge to pull souls from bodies and cure them.
  • Thanos from Ultimate Fantastic Four has power over souls, and may transfer the soul of someone into another body as a way to reward or punish. He has also shown the ability to project his own presence into the bodies of others, quickly burning them out in the process.

    Fan Works 
  • A Crown of Stars: Avalon's Royal Family has soul manipulation powers: they can remove them from a body, talk to them, heal them, mend them, split them…
    • Shinji and Asuka witness this first-hand when Rayana pulls Yui's soul from Unit 01 and Daniel mends Kyoko's soul.
  • Scar's Samsara has magic based on African shamanism, where characters can commune with spirits and harness their power.
  • It turns out the Element of Desire that Dark World!Rarity ends up with in the Pony POV Series has this. Rarity can allow ghosts to inhabit her body with her, which gives her the ability to project them as golems to help her fight. She also nearly takes Fluttercruel's One-Winged Angel form Odyne's soul to seal it inside herself, but Odyne fends her off.
  • Hope Springs Eternal: As the God of Death, Hades has power over souls. Indeed, his attachment to Leuke and her attachment to him gives the dryad a soul.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Mordru uses his magic to draw Supergirl's dark side out of her body and give that piece of her soul a physical body.
  • The LUNAverse (RWBY): This is revealed to be Lucian's true semblance in "Blood Moon Rising", which allows him to manipulate aura and copy semblances.
  • Accidently invoked in One to Find All where Salem using a forbidden spell to summon someone who she indoctrinate into her minion so that she can win her eon-long war against Ozpin. The spell would've killed her had it not been for her Complete Immortality and only stopped working until all her reserves of magic were drained completely. By the time the forbidden spell stopped, six of Izuku's classmates had their souls taken and reincarnated on Remnant.

  • The Lord Marshal of the Necromongers in The Chronicles of Riddick was transformed into a "Holy Half-Dead" because he visited and returned from the Underverse, the Necromongers' promised land. He shows particular mastery of souls, as he can move his own soul separate from his physical body, giving the illusion of Super-Speed. He can also directly take hold of anyone else's soul, with the victim dying as soon as he releases it.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: The last of the Infinity Stones to be revealed is the Soul Stone, which can only be obtained by sacrificing your loved one ("a soul for a soul"). Aside from completing the Infinity Gauntlet and Thanos briefly using it to rat out the real Doctor Strange during the confrontation at Titan in Avengers: Infinity War, the stone is not utilized in any capacity, making its exact power ambiguous. It is implied, though, that the stone's real usage is to trap the souls of the people erased by the Blip, enabling them to be restored to life when the Blip is undone.
  • Gul'dan's powers in Warcraft (2016) center around manipulation of souls - he can remove souls, take a soul of one thing and put it in other, giving the latter life, or use souls as pure fuel to power his spells.

  • Soul Burn in An Outcast in Another World is a spell that drains a user’s life essence in return for massively increased power. It’s effective, but the user is doomed the second they use the Skill even once.
  • Necromancy in the Old Kingdom trilogy works like this, since necromancers have to literally cross over into the realm of death and bind spirits to their will in order to summon them as undead.
  • This is Shroud's and Graffiacane's main power in Dis Acedia. The former uses it to create familiars, the latter for necromancy.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Soulfire. Generally a power of angels, Soulfire draws on the soul of the user to form a foundation that strengthens his magic, especially constructive magic. Fallen Angels can grant Hellfire, which also turbocharges magic, but is especially good with the destructive spells.
    • Souls also seem to be an aspect of magic due to the similarities of its various (intricate but internally consistent) rules to those of "normal" magic.
      • A wizard can put Soul/Hellfire to both Good and Bad uses, depending on the wizard and his/her intent and purpose. Harry spent a while fueling both his shields and attacks with Hellfire, and was able to make both constructs and attacks with his Soulfire. He even charged a Theugy ritual with some Soulfire!
      • Using too much Soul/Hellfire will drain your soul and thereby kill you, just like how using too much magic will kill you by draining you of all of your energy. Need that ATP to do bodily functions? Not anymore you don't!
    • General interactions seem to affect changes in one's soul - something as simple as a hug can be seen hours later by Bob.
      • This is apparently the mechanism of how true love protects someone from a White Court Vampire, for example - in consumating that love, some of the couple's soul is shared, and that soul defends their love.
  • One of the aspects of Emperor Steer's powers in The Crew of the Copper-Colored Cupids, although he has many others. His supernatural hold over his subjects is voiced as his being "the Sovereign of the Souls", although quite how this works has yet to be revealed; he was also revealed in The Time of the Toymaker to have the ability to tear off part of his own soul and use it to grant sentience to inanimate objects, although this evidently comes at a price.
  • Warbreaker has Bio Chromatic Breath. Each person is born with a single Breath which can given to others or used in Awakening to animate and give Commands to organic materials like cloth or wood. Idrians believe that Breath is a person's Soul, meaning that taking other's Breath or using Breaths in Awakening is a horrible sin. The people of Hallandren don't ascribe the same significance to one's Breath, and generally view giving up one's Breath as fine as long as they get paid well for it.
    • Word of God elaborates a little: Breath isn't a person's soul, exactly, but it is a part of it. In the broader context of The Cosmere, each person born on the planet Nalthis has a little more Investiture (basically the Mana that makes up everything) than people on other planets in the form of their Breath, courtesy of resident god Endowment. Giving up their breath puts them a little bit below the baseline of humans, leading to some detrimental effects like being generally more irritable and depressed, make the world in general appear duller, and becoming more susceptible to disease, while holding more Breaths will have the opposite effects.
  • Mina in Dragonlance is a villainous example of this trope, as a Dark Messiah necromancer.
  • Lissa and Adrian's brand of magic in Vampire Academy. They use spiritual energy for a variety of effects.
  • Soul Power in the "The Zombie Knight" manifests in the ability for Servants to make something tougher or to make an attack more potent. It is the only way to harm a reaper, the source of a servant's life and strength, and Aberrations. Soul power can also be used to prevent a weaker servant from using their unique ability. It can be a major deciding factor in fights because of this and as soul power can only increase with age older servants can completely stomp scores of younger ones.
  • Hraesvelgr in Unlimited Fafnir can manifest its soul outside its body, giving it complete immunity to physical attacks. It can also do this to humans, which paralyses them and allows it to consume their souls.

    Live-Action TV 
  • There are several soul manipulators in Supernatural:
    • Over the course of Season 6, it is revealed that angels can use souls to gain extra power. In the season finale, the angel Castiel absorbs all the souls in Purgatory and declares himself the new God. This backfires badly since souls aren't the only residents in Purgatory. It doubles as a prison for the Leviathans, the ravenous primordial entities that precede both angels and humanity.
    • Demons are also able to use Soul Power, as Crowley considers dealing and soul-numbers the most important aspect of Hell, and in season six, he wanted half of the Purgatory souls. Also, when he is King of Hell, he seems to have more personal power, which is implied to be because he personally owns more souls.
    • The Men of Letters can use the power of their own souls to perform particular feats of magic, such as Time Travel.
    • In Season 14, Jack is given this power after dying from an incurable illness brought about by the loss of his Nephilim powers and being brought back. Using a little bit of his soul, he would be able to keep himself alive and healthy, but him using his powers to protect his loved ones at the expense of his soul led to him becoming The Soulless.
  • Truth Seekers: The plan of the Big Bad relies on this, he wants to sacrifice 200 souls so he can Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The slightly obscure Spirit Shaman class from 3.5 is an unusual good-to-neutral take on this trope. The class learns to banish and manipulate spiritual entities such as ghosts and elementals, perform spell-like Ki Manipulation, and eventually even to shove souls back into their bodies to revive people.
    • 3.5's slightly less obscure Incarnum concept is this in a general sort of sense — incarnum is soul energy, and the incarnum-using classes get to shape it in various ways, but as their methods essentially just borrow free-flowing soul energy from the immensity around in reality, they can't actually do anything special with specific souls.
  • Magic: The Gathering splits the field between White and Black magic. The White variant tends to be benevolent, summoning phantom guardians and offering protection, while Black favors malevolent spirits and corrupting, enslaving, or even consuming souls. Naturally, characters and factions that use both tend to emphasize this power. The page image comes from a Blue spell, however, one of the few instances (Blue usually prefers to deal with the mind over the soul, since it prioritizes intellect and logic over spiritual concepts... which is ironic, since its ally colours are White and Black).

    Play-By-Post Games 

    Video Games 
  • The Feys in Ace Attorney: Mostly this is used for channeling the dead, but spiritual power can also be used as a sort of lie detector. (One, likely non-canon, manga shows that there's even a hidden technique to "channel" people who are still alive, just to get them someplace they can't go at the moment.)
  • Asura's Wrath: The Deities gain the power for their weapons this way, either through prayer or harvesting human souls by killing them. The Karma Fortress has 7 TRILLION Souls powering it up.
  • Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear has a character class called Shaman (which was part of the wider Forgotten Realms lore, but not available in other games of the Baldur's Gate series). The class is based on being able to see and manipulate spirits.
  • Bioshock Infinite: The ghost of Lady Comstock has the ability to raise the dead, leading to battles where your enemies are repeatedly resurrected until you destroy the ghost itself.
  • In BlazBlue, half of the setting is this, since Nox Nyxtoires are powered by human souls. Also, the titular BlazBlue/Azure Grimoire is this in a nutshell.
  • In Divinity: Original Sin, Source is a cross between this and Life Energy. All living things as well as their very souls are made from Source, and in Divinity: Original Sin II the Player Character can use Source magic to commune with the dead and potentially consume them for power.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, Enchanting is carried out by ripping out the souls of creatures using specialized spells, trapping them in gems, and using these gems to enchant items. This is typically done with the souls of beasts and other monstrous creatures - more powerful creatures usually have stronger souls that can make for stronger enchantments. It is possible to do this to sapient races as well, and their souls make for some of the most powerful enchantments, but require rare and special gems to capture them. Trapping the soul of a sapient being is among the most heinous acts possible, since it robs the target of its afterlife and sends them to the Soul Cairn instead. The Soul Cairn is a rather... unpleasant place.
  • FromSoftware:
    • Demon's Souls is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Pretty much every game mechanic — leveling up stats, upgrading equipment, learning new spells and miracles, etc. — requires souls of some kind. The game specifically refers to this as "Soul Arts", and unfortunately, overuse of this kind of power also caused the whole mess that you're trying to fix in the first place.
    • Dark Souls uses souls as currency, much like Demon's Souls. The souls that are really important to the plot are the Lord Souls. These Souls manifested themselves as flames that appeared before a select few — Gwyn the Lord of Sunlight, Gravelord Nito the First of the Dead, the Witch of Izalith and her seven Daughters of Chaos, and the oft-forgotten Furtive Pygmy — and granted them the power to slay the immortal Ancient Dragons and shape the world to their liking. The Pygmy's Lord Soul, the Dark Soul, was inherited by the player character whose true destiny is to bring an end to Gwyn's Age of Fire and begin the Age of Darkness.
    • Dark Souls II even has spells that cost souls to use (they're pathetically weak if you don't have any) and an Infinity +1 Sword that does more damage the more souls you are holding (it needs one million to do full damage).
    • Dark Souls III has Ludleth of Courland, whose specialty involves using an artifact known as a Transposing Kiln and boss souls to create spells and equipment.
  • Granblue Fantasy has a primal beast named Deus Ex Machina. It can move souls around, however, it can't destroy or create new souls.
  • Legacy of Kain: Raziel has the power to devour souls and use them to power his Wraith Blade, a sword that is made up of Raziel's future soul.
  • All ether-elemental characters in MARDEK, particularly Qualna. (Qualna has the opposite personality from the one described here, however.)
    • All annunaki have this to a certain extent, since they can perform "soul transfers" upon dying that will allow their souls to inhabit another body.
  • The Sorrow in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, who is a spirit medium that could communicate with dead people prior to his passing, and has the power to show people the souls of those they killed.
  • In Minecraft Dungeons, some Artifacts require you to absorb Soulsnote  from enemies in order to use. Several item perks and enchantments also directly aid the collection of Souls.
  • The Ghost type in Pokémon.
    • There has been a Ghost user in every generation except for Generation VI: Agatha, Morty, Phoebe, Fantina, Shauntal, Acerola, Allister, and Rhyme.
  • RuneScape:
    • The Soul Split curse allows players to regain health through damaging monsters, restoring life points by a fraction of the damage inflicted.
    • Split Soul (both the Eldritch Crossbow's special attack and the Necromancy incantation) temporarily reverses the effect of Soul Split and inflict four times the amount of life points that would've been healed otherwise.
    • Various Necromancy abilities revolve around accumulating "Residual Soul" stacks and using them to either stun enemies at the cost of a single stack or spending all the stacks to unleash a volley of attacks.
  • In Shining Force, the Desoul spell literally rips someone's soul out of their body and blasts them to the afterlife. It's not seen as evil, though; the heroic wizard Kazin from Shining Force II can learn it (assuming he doesn't choose to become a Sorcerer instead).
  • Street Fighter: M. Bison literally uses his soul as a weapon with his infamous "Psycho Power".
  • Rin Kaenbyou from Touhou spends her days carting corpses to a furnace in hell. She can also command their "Spirits" to attack you.
    • Eiki Shiki, Yamaxanadu and Komachi Onozuka spend a fair share of time talking with spirits.
    • Miyako Yoshika from Ten desires seems to have the ability to eat spirits to restore health.
  • The plot of Undertale is partially caused by Monster's ability to absorb Human SOULs, which are much more powerful than those of Monster's and thus make great macguffins.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Fate/stay night and its prequel, Fate/Zero, the Holy Grail and the true artifact powering it, Greater Grail is actually this. It recreates the souls of dead heroes throughout the ages including from the future, and summons them as familiars called Servants. Even the way it grants wish, it materializes the desire inside the Holy Grail War winner's soul and turn it into reality. Makes sense, since the Holy Grail is actually an attempt to recreate the Third True Magic, whose domain is to materialize and manipulate soul.
  • Shows up in two variations in Dies Irae:
    • First is the magic of Die Ewigkeit which allows one to use souls as a means of both defense and offense. Defensively it allows the user to resist standard weaponry as most weapons can only take one life while they have thousands in stock, hence why only weapons of mass destruction can really hurt them as they are capable of killing thousands. Offensively it acts on a similar principle, taking multiple lives in a single strike. Due to this, soul count and mass is quite important.
    • Second is the Sonnenkind. Unlike the regular users of Die Ewigkeit which simply uses souls as fuel, those born as Sonnenkind can manipulate and control the flow of souls directly which is quite important in making sure that the central magic that much of the plot revolves around functions properly. This becomes quite important during the climax of Marie's route where Rea uses her powers to reverse the flow of souls, severely weakening Reinhard allowing Ren to finally defeat him. And despite being an incomplete Sonnenkind, Kasumi can also do this as shown in her own route, though to a fairly limited degree.

    Web Comics 
  • Pai in What's Shakin' uses spirit magic, which draws from the powers of creatures in the spirit world.
  • Aradia in Homestuck is able to hear the voices of the dead and send them to haunt people, and has the ability to remain in the physical world as a ghost. She also has very potent Psychic Powers, and fits the Personality Powers bill after she dies. She has the opposite personality before then, however.
    • Sburb players with the Heart aspect turn out to have this powerset. Special mention to Dirk, the Prince of Heart, which basically equates to "Destroyer of Soul", has the power to tear out people's souls, which is first shown failing against Aranea, and later seen used successfully against Caliborn, Arquiusprite, and half of Gamzee to seal their souls inside of Lil Cal during Caliborn's Masterpiece. It's said they possesses the ability to destroy them outright, but only the removal is shown.
  • In The Story of Anima, this is one of the many theories as to what exactly the titular Anima power really is.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: The story's version of The Plague affects both the body and the soul. In rare cases, infected Finnish mages are known to become Kade, who spread a variant of The Plague that targets the soul to the point that it can infect mages who are otherwise The Immune in regards to the "standard" version of the disease.

    Web Original 
  • Stygian of the Whateley Universe can summon ghosts of the dead, even the long-dead. In a bizarre twist, they look out for him. He's suicidally depressed, and several ghosts routinely keep him going to classes and eating meals.
  • The Entire League of Patrons from the Sporewiki Fiction Universe does this, but The Cleanser in particular seems heavily pre-occupied with this.

    Western Animation 
  • Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender learns to do this as a form of bending. It is implied that this is the purest form of bending, or the original form of it. It's likely that entering the Spirit World and entering the Avatar State (merging all the Avatar's souls into one body) were subconscious uses of this power.
    • Amon from The Legend of Korra can do more or less the same, though whether it's authentic is somewhat questionable. In the finale "Endgame" it's revealed to be fake — he's really using Bloodbending.
    • After being restored by Aang and the rest of her past lives, Korra can also Energybend.
  • In Filmation's Blackstar episode "The Zombie Masters", the villain Shaldemar uses this in conjunction with a Soul Jar to turn people into zombies.
  • The Dragon Prince: This is how dark magic is cast. Since Viren's a virtuoso at it, he is able to capture people's (or at least, elves') souls in gold coins.
  • The Nightsisters of Dathomir in Star Wars: The Clone Wars have a cult-like society connected to spirits and their ancestors. They believe in strong family ties, to the point of communing with souls of the long departed. Even the living aren't safe from their power (as Dooku quickly learns), Mother Talzin and Daka were particularly gifted in manipulating the soul. Summoning Zombies, inflicting curses and even curing insanity.