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A Twin Flame is a spiritual (esoteric or New Age) concept describing a special soul connection between two souls. The Twin Flames are thought to be a template for an ancient/eternal type of relationship between lovers. The fundamental thought behind this concept is that the dawning new era in human spiritual evolution will be a time when relationships foster enhanced spiritual growth between lovers, whereas in previous times and still early in the 21st century couples stayed together for purposes of physical survival and economical safety more than anything else. According to the mythology of Twin Flames, in the beginning of time we were created from one source, that was split into smaller and smaller units down to two souls (and on rare occasions, halves of one soul) that would journey to Earth to learn an experience duality. They would reincarnate over lifetimes with this longing for each other, often meeting until, they would reunite and then leave this physical plane as one.
Many confuse the twin flame with soul mates (any significant relation), and the rare split soul.
There are plenty of modernised theories of Twin Flames, many of which presenting the view that there is a twin flame for everyone (thus confusing catalytic relationships and soul mates to twin flames) and that the halves of twin flames are not necessarily a male and female, but can also be homosexual. Sometimes a set of twin souls choose to incarnate as the same sex. There can be many reasons for this. All twin soul relationships are between male and female energies of the same soul. This means that it doesn’t matter if we think of ourselves as heterosexual or homosexual. If you meet your twin soul, one of you will be the female half and the other will be the male half, no matter what gender each of you have. When you meet your twin soul, you will be forced to face your Self. When we talk about heterosexual or homosexual relationships we focus on the gender of the physical body instead of the gender of the soul. At the level of the energies when twin souls meet, they will be drawn to each other, no matter what gender they have. This means that sometimes the male and female halves of the same soul meet and both of them can be incarnated in women’s or in men’s bodies. Also, some theorists accept that this is not a relationship that can be experienced once in all life cycles only, but repeats over several. However, most take it as a sign of spiritual enlightenment and a sign of evolution. Despite these differing views Twin Flame concept is still very much tied to monogamous ideals, and the thought that only graduate souls have twin flames on Earth as their purpose is to do spiritual work and energy work to help the Planet. However, that does not mean a Twin Flame relationship is idealistic, as Soul mate relationships are often more harmonious; Twin flames go through a lot of cleansing and purging of the chakras and energetiacal bodies, and with true Twin Flames the connection is so intense that it causes fear and many twin flames initially run from the experience (the Twin Flame runner). 
The first mention of what has been later interpreted to be a description of Twin Flames comes from Plato:
In his dialogue The Symposium, Plato has Aristophanes present a story about soul mates. Aristophanes states that humans originally had four arms, four legs, and a single head made of two faces. He continues that there were three genders: man, woman and the "Androgynous". Each with two sets of genitalia with the Androgynous having both male and female genitalia. The men were children of the sun, the women were children of the earth and the Androgynous were children of the moon, which was born of the sun and earth. It is said that humans had great strength at the time and threatened to conquer the gods. The gods were then faced with the prospect of destroying the humans with lightning as they had done with the Titans but then they would lose the tributes given to the gods by humans. Zeus developed a creative solution by splitting humans in half as punishment for humanity's pride and doubling the number of humans who would give tribute to the gods. These split humans were in utter misery to the point where they would not eat and would perish so Apollo had sewn them up and reconstituted their bodies with the navel being the only remnant harkening back to their original form. It is said that when the two find each other, there is an unspoken understanding of one another, that they feel unified and would lay with each other in unity and would know no greater joy than that.
Twin Flames are still considered a real concept amongst some esoterics and New Age followers. Some use the term Twin Flame merely to describe the unusually tight and overwhelming bond that is characteristic to some (sexual) lovers. Most strip the mythological origin of the words from their belief system, but still consider their Twin Flame to be a spouse chosen for / given to them by God.
Apart from Plato's Androgyne there is at least three other spiritual theories attempting to explain this love connection that to those describing it seems almost supernatural. These are Essence Twins of Michael Teachings  and Mirror Spirits  The main difference to Twin Flames for both of these theories is that they do believe these bonds are potentially multiple.
The concept of Twin Rays should also be mentioned. There are several interpretations to what Twin Ray means, some believe it to be even stronger connection to Twin Flames that are a total of 12 grouped in two's (Twin Flame pairs) and then connected with a 13th person, who is a Twin Ray to all of them. Some believe a Twin Ray is the core essence of each Twin Flame pair, the part how they recognise each other.
Twin Flames assist in the ascension process by aiding in the release of karma. When true Twin Flames come together, their soul will automatically bring to the surface any past emotion or experiences that need to be released. This can make being in a Twin Flame relationship very difficult because often the person will lash out at their other half and not truly understand why. This process is done because it prepares the Twin Flames to truly reunite and become one again when they ascend.