How did you successfully create your tulpa

Tulpamancer — a new internet subculture made up of imaginary friends

Kitsune, a tulpa from host Maciej from Wrocław in Poland.

Kitsune was a capricious celestial body that hovered over a marble obelisk. Maciej looked at her. “How do you want to look?” Asked Maciej. Then he heard the tapping of feet on grass. He turned around. There she was. Naked. With large fox ears and a bristly tail. She looked at him with wide, naive eyes.

When Maciej opened his eyes, he was lying on his bed at home in Wrocław. It was gray outside. He jumped up, sat at his laptop and wrote to me.

"I did it. She's there, ”he typed in the Skype chat.
"Can I talk to her?" I asked. Maciej paused for a moment. A soft, sweet voice mingled in his own thoughts. His fingers moved as if by magic.
"Hello. I am kitsune. I am a tulpa. "

Tulpae are sentient beings that are created through meditation-like techniques. Their creators, also called "Tulpamancer", are the newest subculture on the internet. They meet online at and the subreddit r / tulpas.

“I have three tulpae,” says Nick Kingston, a game design student from Plymouth. “You have been with me for 20 months now. The three ponies in human form are called Twi, Dash and Scoots and are approximately 30 cm tall.

Nick is close friends with the three ponies that live in his head. “You always hold back somehow in the presence of other people. I don't have to do that with my tulip. "

Example of the shape of a tulpa in Tibetan mythology.

Tibetan mystics have long used a technique by which one can create sentient beings by power of one's thoughts. Travel writer Alexandra David-Néel was the first to introduce these practices to the Western world. In her book published in 1929 Mystiques et Magiciens du Thibet, she wrote: “Besides having few opportunities to see tulpae, my innate skepticism made me want to try it myself. My efforts have been successful. "

Until 2009, tulpae were assigned more to the occult. But then the topic came up at Some anonymous members started experimenting with creating tulpae. As 2012 then adult fans of the series My Little Pony - friendship is magic (anyone who has been anywhere near a computer for the past three years, also known as bronies) jumped on the bandwagon and things really got rolling. They created a new forum on Reddit and designed tulpae based on their favorite characters from the series.

According to Dr. Samuel Veissière, visiting professor of transcultural psychiatry, cognitive science and anthropology at McGill University in Montreal, the Reddit forum now has over 6,000 members. His study is the first scientific work on the Tulpa phenomenon in the present. The Russian social network allegedly already has over 6000 members in its forum. It is difficult to find reliable figures.

Ele Cambria, a Tulpamancer from Warrensburg, Missouri, told me, “That My little pony-Fandom was one of the first Internet communities to take seriously the issue of tulpae. Bronies are very open to such special things. They think ‘Wow, this is not normal, this is cool’. The figures from My little pony evoke a simple good-naturedness in us. Which fan wouldn't want a friend like that? "

And because everything is interwoven on the Internet, it didn't take long before manga and fantasy fans began to deal with the phenomenon. “My tulpa's name is Jasmine,” says Ele. “She is human, but she comes from an alternate reality in which she has magical powers. I created it twelve years ago for my own fantasy series and then turned it into a tulpa. "

“Tulpa” by Jeffe Slimjim

So is it just about fans with imaginary friends? Not really. It is believed that tulpae are beings with their own consciousness and preferences and that they cannot be completely controlled by their host.

Veissière writes that tulpae are understood as mental constructs that have developed sensitivity. Almost 40 percent of the study participants reported that their tulpas felt like real people. 50.6 percent of respondents described their tulpas as something that was quite different from their own thoughts.

“Hehe, Papa taught me that,” laughs Storm, a tulpa from Ryan Painter of Oregon, who jumps down her words for me in an email. “Cogito Ergo Sum - I think therefore I am. But I am not entirely independent. I use my host's mind power to think for myself, and sometimes we clash when we try to think at the same time. "

Tulpamancers describe how their creations say unexpected things, bring back memories that were believed to be lost and make their hosts laugh. "I can bring back any hidden or faded memory," says KT, a tulpa from Sam Isatis of Maryland. “I can control a lot of your unconscious reactions. A few months ago I even made them yawn several times in a row just for fun. "

“Amon” drawn by Daia Le.

“I can't be sure about that, but I know that I exist,” says Kitsune, Maciej's tulpa with the fox ears. “Maybe I'm just an illusion, a disorder in his brain. We'll never be able to say for sure, so we just have to believe it. "

Tulpae act as mediators between their hosts and their subconscious potential. The hosts claim their creations could bring any hidden memory to light, heal trauma, relieve chronic pain, help them study, or just keep company.

“The satisfaction of tulipamancers was measured using different qualitative interview methods,” writes Veissière. "The results suggest that her experience with the tulpae had a very positive impact on her general happiness."

Society is just enough for most of them. “I made a tulpa for the same reason that people usually make friends,” says Ele. “To have someone who knows everything about you and still loves you. Someone who not only knows the facade, but also your inner workings. "

For those who want to dive into the depths of the mind, there are instructions for creating tulpae, the so-called forcing. A tulpamancer first has to create an imaginary world, a so-called wonderland, in which he can interact with his tulpas. “My Wonderland is a small forest,” says Ele. “I imagine how I spend time with my tulpas. We talk, we go exploring - pretty much what you would do with friends in real life. "

A drawing of the brain of a tulipamancer, which is supposed to show where you perceive your tulpae.

After meeting their tulpae in Wonderland for the first time, the hosts feel a strange squeeze in parts of their heads. This is how the tulpae begin to communicate. As the forcing progresses, the tulpa's voice becomes clearer and clearer. Finally, a tulpamancer can make his tulpa a reality by creating a realistic hallucination. In one of the instructions, the time it takes to do this is estimated at 200 to 500 hours.

Most tulpas communicate with their hosts using language. However, tulipamancers can also learn to stroke the fur of their tulpas, feel their breath on the neck and even become sexually active.

Tulpae quickly become curious about their host's body. Some want to know what carnality feels like. Resilient hosts then resort to a practice called switching. They allow their tulpas to take control of their bodies while they watch on the edge of the unconscious. To some, that sounds too much like schizophrenia or a dissociative identity disorder.

Not remotely, say Tulpamancers. In 99 percent of the cases, the hosts can switch back at any time. Veissière wrote in an email that the phenomenon could have radical effects on the treatment of schizophrenia and other psychoses. At a time when pharmaceutical companies are gaining more and more power and madness is being marketed, "Tulpa therapy" is a free alternative that does not involve either admission to a psychiatric clinic or social isolation.

“Shira” drawn by Daia Le.

Some Tulpamancers already use this practice for self-therapy. Sam, Maryland: “I've been depressed and suicidal for over ten years. My tulpa tried to attack my fears and even took possession of my hand so that I wouldn't hurt myself with a knife. "

But what happens to the one percent that gets the switching off track? Take Koomer and Oguigi, for example. Koomer is a tulpamancer who has recorded his attempt to let his tulpa take permanent control of his body. In the end, he collapsed.

Koomer wrote on his blog earlier this year, “What happened wasn't Oguigi's fault. It's the result of a year of idiotic behavior and my fixation on switching over and over again. Just don't try to let your tulip take over. Not because they would harm you, but because other things will harm you if you open up to that degree. I tried and almost lost my mind. "

Cases like Koomer's are rare. For Veissière “schizophrenia can be understood as a form of 'involuntary tulpae' that make us incapable of acting. Therefore, if someone develops a positive relationship with their symptoms, it can help them get better. This idea is also advocated by the Hearing Voices movement, which challenges psychiatric conceptions of schizophrenia and suggests that pathologizing only makes symptoms worse. ”

"My schizophrenia manifests itself through conflicting thoughts and ideas that everyone yells at me," says Logan, who refused to give his last name. "By making tulpas out of them, I was able to give these thoughts a face and order them that way."

A drawing of Siouxie, a host Kelson's tulpa.

Sex with tulpae is a controversial topic in the community. "Imagine how you would feel if you knew that they were only made as sex toys," writes Linkzelda, the anonymous author of a tutorial on creating tulpae. But whether sex is part of the relationship in general is another matter. "Yeah, we have sex," says Scoots, one of Host Nick's My Little Pony-esque tulpae. "Each of us has had sex with our host at some point."

Siouxsie, a Tulpa from Host Kelson, who did not want to reveal his identity, said to me: “Yes, of course we are doing it. You sure want to know how it works. Well, it's like jerking off. Only that you break away from reality and go to Wonderland. "

For all their penchant for pounding imaginary ponies and weird cat creatures, tulpamancers have a great sense of humor. They created the subreddit r / TulpasGoneWild, in which users can upload photos of their conquests - only that no one can see them. So what we see is a bulletin board full of photos of empty beds and rooms.

“[F] ucked in public” posted on r / TulpasGoneWild.

Thousands of young men have joined the tulpa community and started living out their fantasies. They populate their private Wonderlands with talking ponies that they may also have sex with. Honestly, did our grandfathers go to war for this?

With a move that would make Terence McKenna proud, the dominant culture succeeds in forcing the young men into gender-ambiguous subcultures. “Tulpa fans get their strength less from the real world than from thoughts and ideas,” says Ele. “Girls are encouraged to behave like this, but boys don't like it. This can lead to someone wanting a friend who won't judge them. "

“Among tulipamancers, the male to female ratio is around 75/25 (male / female),” writes Veissière. "However, up to 10 percent do not have a clearly defined gender and can creatively try out gender and ethnic variations through their human-like tulpae."

Just like the Bronie movement before them, the Tulpamancers also have their own ideas about gender. "I think the ideas of masculinity and femininity are out of date," says Nick. "Fortunately, the norms and boundaries that were created over time to prevent people from doing what they want seem to be a thing of the past."

This is my first article that speaks to an imaginary being. It seemed strange to me at first. But after all, if I remember William James correctly, a worldview does not have to be verifiable to be meaningful.

What is significant about the phenomenon of the tulpae is that it illustrates the dialectics of our time: the meeting of an enthusiastic and noisy internet culture with the slow and silent world of fantasy. This connection attracts people who were once marginalized and are now building communities.

In Wrocław, Maciej is in his Wonderland with Kitsune. She is now over a month old. “We don't share the idea of ​​souls,” Kitsune wrote to me via email from Maciej. “It's just an illusion that our mind creates. Maciej and I were created from a bunch of neurons. We live together and we die together. "

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