"The fact is that this happens," Wicca went on. "And when people think of reincarnation, they always come up against a very difficult question: if, in the beginning, there were so few people on the face of the Earth, and now there are so many, where did all those new souls come from?"
Brida held her breath. She had asked herself this question many times.
"The answer is simple," said Wicca, after pausing to savour the young woman's eager silence. "In certain reincarnations, we divide into two. Our souls divide as do crystals and stars, cells and plants.
"Our soul divides in two, and those new souls are in turn transformed into two and so, within a few generations, we are scattered over a large part of Earth."
"That is why, as well as dividing into two, we also find ourselves. And that process of finding ourselves is called Love. Because when a soul divides, it always divides into a male part and a female part.
"That's how the Book of Genesis explains it: the soul of Adam was split in two, and Eve was born out of him."
"In each life, we feel a mysterious obligation to find at least one of those Soulmates. The Greater Love that separated them feels pleased with the Love that brings them together again."
"But how will I know who my Soulmate is?" Brida felt that this was one of the most important questions she had ever asked in her life.
Wicca laughed. She had already asked herself that question and with the same eager anxiety as the young woman opposite her. You could tell your Soulmate by the light in their eyes, and since time began, that has been how people have recognised their true love. But she wouldn't tell the girl that just yet; she might one day learn to see that point of light, or she might not.
"By taking risks," she said to Brida. "By risking failure, disappointment, disillusion, but never ceasing in your search for Love. As long as you keep looking, you will triumph in the end."
"Is it possible to meet more than one Soulmate in each life?"
"Yes," thought Wicca with a certain bitterness. And when that happens the heart is divided, and the result is pain and suffering. Yes, we can meet three or four Soulmates, because we are many and we are scattered.
"We are responsible for the whole Earth because we do not know where they might be, those Soulmates we were from the beginning of time. If they are well, then we, too, will be happy. If they are not well, we will suffer, however unconsciously, a portion of their pain. Above all, though, we are responsible for re-encountering, at least once in every incarnation, the Soulmate who is sure to cross our path. Even if it is only for a matter of moments, because those moments bring with them a Love so intense that it justifies the rest of our days."
"We can also allow our Soulmate to pass us by, without accepting him or her, or even noticing. Then we will need another incarnation in order to find that Soulmate. And because of our selfishness, we will be condemned to the worst torture humankind ever invented for itself: loneliness."
- Paulo Coelho