Most people think of themselves as the singular actor within their body. You choose to lift your arm, and up your arm goes. You choose to drop your arm, and it falls. However, the connection between the things you do and the fact that you feel as if you choose to do them is not as plain as it might seem. Tulpamancy assumes that your sense of self is malleable, and that rather than having a single actor who you recognize as creating all of your thoughts, your mind can be trained to divide the actions it takes into one or more identities. This process of training your mind is what this guide is all about.
Examples of this phenomenon appear to be far more common than you might think when you look closely at popular culture. For example, authors and actors commonly report experiences of characters acting as if the author was not in control of them. More commonly, many find that they act as if they are a totally different person when put into a new social context. The practice of tulpamancy attempts to be both an explanation for these experiences and/or a means by which you can use this existing mental foundation to create an experience of there being more than just your current sense of self in your head.
In this guide there will be four main steps in the creation of a new tulpa:
Why try to manipulate your sense of self in this way?
Tulpamancy is an experiment that can help teach you about the way your thoughts function and the nature of your experiences of yourself. A tulpa can create a feeling of friendship, act as a character brought to life, or serve as a means to hold a new point of view to help enhance your decision making process. If you are a person in a stable situation in life, then there is likely little to no harm in trying this out. If you are in a less stable place, under a lot of stress or diagnosed with a mental illness, I strongly recommend that you first speak to a therapist or doctor about the effects this sort of thing might have on you before you consider trying anything.
The first skill of interest when starting tulpamancy is your ability to create and address a tulpa.
To get things started, attempt to imagine that there is an orb floating or sitting above a desk sitting nearby to you. Focus on that orb and speak to it using your thoughts. After getting used to speaking to this orb, turn away from that orb and think something to yourself. Do you notice a difference?
As you speak to this orb on your desk, you will hopefully notice that there is some form of trigger or action in your mind that leads you to feel as if your thought is directed at something other than you. You may experience it as a focus on the back of your head, a shift in the tone of your thoughts, a muscle tensing in your neck, or some other subtle shift. If you don't notice anything, try going back and forth a few times, and as you do you should hopefully notice some sort of difference.
Once you become familiar with how you can address something else in your mind, you want to start training your mind to be used to the idea that there is this new tulpa sitting around in your head which can be addressed at any time, and isn't you. Currently, if you are left alone with your thoughts you won't think anything of it, but at the end of this step you should have some sense that there is a someone else sitting in the background which can be addressed at any moment. To accomplish this you can start to take every excuse you can to address thoughts to this new tulpa. Going grocery shopping? Address thoughts to this tulpa which describe what you are buying. Driving? Describe what's going on outside or where you are going. Waiting in line or in a waiting room? Talk about why it is that you think it's worth waiting in line. The more you interact through your day the better. The more time you spend addressing this tulpa, the more habitual and consistent the process of addressing thoughts to them will become.
Early on, a lot of people will report that speaking to a new tulpa feels a bit silly, like they are speaking to themselves. By speaking to your tulpa constantly you are training your mind to get used to the fact that there is another entity inside of your head alongside yourself. If the feeling that you are talking to yourself fades away with time, that is a sure sign that you are making progress.
Once you have a consistent target to which you can address your thoughts, you can move onto the next step of this guide.
With the ability to address your tulpa, your next step is to build a personality and associate it to your tulpa.
Normally you learn to understand someone's personality by being around them and speaking to them a lot. However, the tulpa you just created is not exactly going to be doing a whole lot at the moment, and you aren't going to learn a lot about their personality by observing them doing nothing. Instead, the most direct path forward is to explicitly create a personality for your tulpa. Doing this requires you write stories and imagine the traits and behaviors that your tulpa will hold.
Defining a personality can be hard, but fortunately there are a large number of resources out there on how to go about doing it. Resources on character creation for authors, worldbuilders, DnD games, video games, or other media are plentiful, free, and very useful for this process. The advice of those people is going to be far better than any advice you can get from this guide.
After a quick google search, the following resources show up. Be sure you do some of your own research as well, as the above examples are just a small selection of what is available.
Once you read a bunch of these resources and do some of your own research, you may want to consider doing some of the following.
Authors will often describe characters they've been writing for years and years appearing to write their own stories by speaking in the author's mind rather than needing to be explicitly written out. What you are doing by memorizing a personality is to piggyback on this phenomena. You are creating a strong sense of who your tulpa is so that your mind will eventually be able to generate thoughts for them without much prompting or reason.
Once you have a reasonably strong sense of the personality of your tulpa, and you could probably guess what they'd do in a large variety of situations, you should be ready to move onto the next step of this guide.
You may have noticed in the past that you will sometimes think thoughts you never really intended to think when you are in a risky situation. An example of this would be a button which, if pressed, would detonate the next three city blocks. Assuming you aren't the sort to want to press such a button, you'd probably find yourself imagining what would happen if you wildly waved your arms and pressed the button as you stood next to it. These intrusive thoughts are theorized to have come about as a way for you mind to remind itself that the situation it imagines are bad and should be avoided. Nonetheless, intrusive thoughts often leave a person confused as to why they are considering such a dangerous activity.
These intrusive thoughts are a great example of how we aren't exactly as in control over our thoughts as we are commonly led to think. In this step of the guide you will be aiming to leverage these tendencies in order to train your mind to act as your tulpa without your explicit intent. In the previous two steps of this guide, you've been on the road to that goal. With an ability for your thoughts to be directed to your tulpa, and a strong knowledge of the way your tulpa behaves, your mind should already be primed to start thinking as this tulpa without your prompting.
Consider that you had to create a way to direct thoughts towards your tulpa earlier in this guide. This time around you will be doing the reverse. Instead of learning to direct thoughts to your tulpa you will be tricking your mind into thinking as your tulpa, and using those thoughts to build up a feeling of what it means for your tulpa to be speaking to you. To kick this process into gear, try to start asking your tulpa simple questions at random points while you speak to them through the day. Examples of such questions might be "Do you like the taste of this food?" or "What is your favorite color?". If you have defined a personality already, try asking things that you are fairly confident you know the answer to. If you haven't chosen to define a personality, try to ask questions to things that are obvious in general, like the color of the sky or if ice cream tastes good. Your aim is to ask questions whose answers can be generated without a ton of thought or effort so that the barrier to your mind generating a response is as low as it can possibly be.
As you ask these questions, you might notice at some point that somewhere in the back of your head you think of an answer. This thought should be considered as a response from your tulpa, and will likely have a few traits.
Getting a response at these early stages is a combination of dumb luck and skill. The more easily your mind is able to think with this new personality, the more likely you will be to observe thoughts which feel as if they were not intentionally created by you. However, like figuring out the solution to a math problem or a tricky puzzle, sometimes you can be the most intelligent person in the world and just never make the correct guess required to find a solution. In this case, finding the right state of mind to trick your brain into doing the right thing can be hard. Just keep on trying to address your tulpa while expecting your mind to think for it, and try to do a variety of different things until it finally clicks for you.
Another thing you can consider if you are having trouble is that people tend to do when asking their tulpa simple questions is to still their thoughts in order to listen for responses. If this technique does not work for you, try to instead not quiet your thoughts at all and learn to listen to your mind as it runs wild. Quieting your mind's thoughts can lead to you also silencing or ignoring the part of your mind that is generating the idle thoughts which this guide relies on.
Once you have these simple responses, keep on asking questions and getting more responses. The more often you can get your mind to think in the context of your tulpa and successfully identify those moments, the better you will be at instinctually recognizing such moments in the future. As time passes you will hopefully develop a sense of the voice of your tulpa. The more you speak, the more you will build up a collection of associations and context clues that will pair the act of your mind thinking with this tulpa with a strong feeling that it is another voice in your head speaking to you.
Once you've spent a few weeks to a few months in normal communication, and can reliably get responses from your tulpa on a wide variety of topics, you can move onto the next step of this guide.
As you work on associating automatic responses to your tulpa you will likely discover that your mind makes certain assumptions about the way things should work during communication. These little behaviors, called internal mechanics in this guide, are created due to your mind creating layers of expected behavior atop the tulpa you've been making so far.
The following are examples of internal mechanics. Keep in mind that these examples are limited, while the number of possible mechanics is nearly infinite.
In the same way that your expectations can result in your mind creating the words of your tulpa, they can also lead to your mind creating systems and behaviors that will be followed while speaking to your tulpa. The unique set of mechanics and behaviors you experience while working with your tulpa will be different for everyone who attempts to practice tulpamancy. Where one person may experience reports of their tulpa having to sleep, eat, getting tired, and needing to be imagined as nearby in order to be heard, another person may experience their tulpa doing none of those things. What occurs is entirely a construct, something you go along with for fun and accept as real simply because it's more interesting to do so.
Additionally, you can engage in fantasy while interacting with your tulpa. Imagining your tulpa having a body, imagining that body in the room nearby to you, imagining a world inside of your head where you interact with your tulpa, and so on and so forth, are all things that you can do should you wish to have those experiences. As is the case with internal mechanics, the sky is the limit when it comes to this, and you can do anything within your imagination. The only important note to make while doing so is that these things are fantasy, and you should not allow your fantasies to get out of hand or take them as seriously as if they were real life occurrences.
Assuming you've been following only this guide, you've been using your mind's ability to quickly generate thoughts in order to jumpstart the process of getting responses under your tulpa. This engine to produce thoughts is great, because it feels independent from your mind and is easy to kick into action, but it will often fail to produce thoughts which are more complex. While you may be able to hold a conversation with your tulpa using these sorts of responses, you are likely to notice that the responses you receive are inconsistent and lack thought. This can be solved by learning to listen to your tulpa think, allowing your tulpa to produce responses with the same engine of thought that your own idle thoughts derive from.
Inside of your mind, your thoughts are likely running in a constant loop of self-evaluation. You have thoughts, you listen to those thoughts, and you think new thoughts based on what you did just a moment ago. Up to this point, you've likely never had thoughts associated with your tulpa fall under this loop. Instead, you likely consider almost all of the actions of the mind as yourself, and only the special cases where a thought is generated in association to your tulpa as not yourself. Due to this, when your mind sets about processing and understanding the context of a thought which fell under your tulpa, you experience it as yourself explaining and rationalizing why your tulpa did what it did. If you learn to sit back and allow this process to be associated with your tulpa instead of yourself, you should experience your tulpa being able to take a thought, look it over, and expand on it just as you do now.
This process is similar to some forms of meditation where you learn to let your thoughts go wild without you. You may want to reference this sort of meditation if you end up having troubles or are curious about the topic.
An important step in the ability to listen to your tulpa is the ability to prime your thoughts. Doing this involves being able to intentionally reproduce the state of mind you enter after you address your tulpa but before you get a response. As you become more and more practiced at normal communication with your tulpa, your familiarity with this state of mind and your ability to reproduce it should increase. Your end goal is to be able to get into this state of mind without asking a question or addressing your tulpa, and to be able to hold onto that state of mind for a long duration of time, or at least a minute or two.
To start the process of hearing your tulpa think, you should seek a neutral space with a good number of things that can be observed or thought about. This could be a quiet living room filled with various decorations, or your bedroom at a peaceful time of day. Optimally, you want to be in some sort of situation in which there are lots of little things around from which your mind can think things like, "Wow this room is nice". While these things are not strictly necessary, the more opportunity for idle thought on the part of your mind, the better.
To really begin, try to step back from your thoughts. Unfocus your eyes, stare at a boring wall or rest your head back, and try not to direct or control what you are thinking. After a moment of silence, you'll likely notice the ever-running engine of thought ticking away in the background. Topics tend to be left incomplete, and you'll find yourself picking and prodding at seemingly random sources to think thoughts about. It could be the details of the boring wall you are looking at, or something that happened through the day, or your opinions on this very guide. Whatever it is, once this idle thought engine is running without your active input, you should have a good sense of what it means to step back from your thoughts.
Finally, attempt to do the above while priming your mind to think under the scope of your tulpa. Focus on them as you step back from your thoughts, and if you are lucky those idle thoughts which were once yours will start to either bounce back between your own sense of self and your tulpa, or hold steady in their new voice and cadence. Early on, you'll likely notice that you have a tendency to respond to your tulpa during this time, especially to serve as a way to compare and contrast your own thoughts with the primed thoughts that fall under your tulpa. Don't try too hard to supress this, just go with the flow and encourage your mind to speak as your tulpa wherever possible.
Once your mind is primed to think as your tulpa you can start to look around the room you are in and focus on various objects which your tulpa may find interesting to comment on. As these thoughts come in, your aim is to observe that thought without commenting on it. You should be able to keep on priming your mind and start listening for the next thought. If you are lucky, you should see your mind thinking further thoughts under your tulpa, leading to your tulpa carrying on a narrative of thought without your intervention.
As a very crude case study, imagine a tulpa whose main personality traits so far can be outlined as such:
Consider a situation in which your tulpa somehow ended up on the topic "Why are people arguing against building a flood wall on the river?".
Rather than asking your tulpa what they think of these people, and getting a "That's selfish" response a moment later, you may notice something akin to the following while listening to your tulpa:
"A person should always put the community above themselves."
"The flood wall would help a ton of people"
"What happens if it floods and people die?"
Note that these responses aren't addressed to you, and are instead formatted in first person like your own thoughts when you consider a topic. This sort of running narrative is what you are looking to generate by learning to put yourself in the listening state of mind.
As time passes, you should be able to apply this listening technique to questions, or when you are going about your day doing something mundane like shopping. With time and practice, it may well be possible to have this sort of listening state be a more common engine for your tulpa to produce thoughts than the earlier gap-fill engine taught in this guide.
If all else fails, simply try to listen to your tulpa speak. Sometimes just doing what feels natural to you can be far more effective than any amount of advice that could be given here.
The contents of this guide are somewhat different to the common ideals of tulpamancy. While it is still tulpamancy it is different enough that I've created an alternative guide which uses new terminology for the concept. That version of the guide is linked here, use whichever you prefer.