Etheric body

The etheric body, ether-body, æther body, a name given by neo-Theosophy to a vital body or subtle body propounded in esoteric philosophies as the first or lowest layer in the "human energy field" or aura.[1] It is said to be in immediate contact with the physical body, to sustain it and connect it with "higher" bodies.

The English term "etheric" in this context seems to derive from the Theosophical writings of Madame Blavatsky, but its use was formalised by C.W. Leadbeater[2] and Annie Besant[3] due to the elimination of Hindu terminology from the system of seven planes and bodies. (Adyar School of Theosophy).

The term gained some general popularity after the 1914-18 war, Walter John Kilner having adopted it for a layer of the "human atmosphere" which, as he claimed in a popular book, could be rendered visible to the naked eye by means of certain exercises.[4]

The classical element Aether of Platonic and Aristotlean physics continued in Victorian scientific proposals of a Luminiferous ether as well as the cognate chemical substance ether. According to Theosophists and Alice Bailey the etheric body inhabits an etheric plane which corresponds to the four higher subplanes of the physical plane. The intended reference is therefore to some extremely rarefied matter, analogous in usage to the word "spirit" (originally "breath"). In selecting it as the term for a clearly defined concept in an Indian-derived metaphysical system, the Theosophists aligned it with ideas such as the prana-maya-kosha (sheath made of prana, subtle breath or life-force) of Vedantic thought.

In popular use it is often confounded with the related concept of the astral body as for example in the term astral projection - the early Theosophists had called it the "astral double". Others prefer to speak of the "lower and higher astral".

Sangreal
The Holy Grail, illustration by Arthur Rackham, 1917. Pre-Raphaelite art at this time often represented contemporary interest in the "spirit body", "aura" or "body of light".

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Linga sarira is a Sanskrit term for the invisible double of the human body, the etheric body or etheric double (or astral body in some Theosophical concepts). It is one of the seven principles of the human being, according to Theosophical philosophy.

Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy, often referred to the etheric body (Ätherleib or "Life Body") in association with the etheric formative forces and the evolution of man and the cosmos.[5] According to him, it can be perceived by a person gifted with clairvoyance as being of "peach-blossom color".

Steiner considered the etheric reality or life principle as quite distinct from the physical material reality, being intermediate between the physical world and the astral or soul world. The etheric body can be characterised as the life force also present in the plant kingdom. It maintains the physical body's form until death. At that time, it separates from the physical body and the physical reverts to natural disintegration.

According to Max Heindel's Rosicrucian writings,[6] the etheric body, composed of four ethers, is called the "Vital Body" since the ether is the way of ingress for vital force from the Sun and the field of agencies in nature which promote such vital activities as assimilation, growth, and propagation. It is an exact counterpart of our physical body, molecule for molecule, and organ for organ, but it is of the opposite polarity. It is slightly larger, extending about one and one-half inches beyond the periphery of the physical body.

Samael Aun Weor teaches that the vital body is the tetra-dimensional part of the physical body and the foundation of organic life.[7][8] He states that in the second Initiation of Fire, which is reached through working with sexual magic with a spouse, the Kundalini rises in the vital body. Then the initiate learns how to separate the two superior ethers from the others in order for them to serve as a vehicle to travel out of the physical body.[9]

On the Tree of Life of the Kabbalah, the vital body is often related to the sephirah Yesod.[10]

Beings that possess only etheric bodies

In the teachings of Theosophy, Devas are regarded as living either in the atmospheres of the planets of the solar system (Planetary Angels) or inside the Sun (Solar Angels) (presumably other planetary systems and stars have their own angels) and they help to guide the operation of the processes of nature such as the process of evolution and the growth of plants; their appearance is reputedly like colored flames about the size of a human being. It is believed by Theosophists that devas can be observed when the third eye is activated. Some (but not most) devas originally incarnated as human beings.[11]

It is believed by Theosophists that nature spirits, elementals (gnomes, ondines, sylphs, and salamanders), and fairies can also be observed when the third eye is activated.[12] It is maintained by Theosophists that these less evolutionarily developed beings have never been previously incarnated as human beings; they are regarded as on a separate line of spiritual evolution called the “deva evolution”; eventually, as their souls advance as they reincarnate, it is believed they will incarnate as devas.[13]

It is asserted by Theosophists that all of the above-mentioned beings possess etheric bodies (but no physical bodies) that are composed of etheric matter, a type of matter finer and more pure that is composed of smaller particles than ordinary physical plane matter.[14] (See the book Occult Chemistry by C.W. Leadbeater)

See also

References

  1. ^ Brennan, Barbara, Hands of Light : A Guide to Healing Through the Human Energy Field (Etheric body), Bantam Books, 1987
  2. ^ Leadbeater, C. W., Man, Visible and Invisible, 1902
  3. ^ Besant, Annie, Man and His Bodies, 1911
  4. ^ Kilner, Walter J., The Human Atmosphere, or the Aura Made Visible by the aid of Chemical Screens, 1911, reprinted as "The Human Aura" by Citadel Press, NY, 1965, ISBN 0-8065-0545-1. The Aura, by Walter J. Kilner. Introd. by Sibyl Ferguson. New York, S. Weiser, 1973.
  5. ^ Steiner, Rudolf, Occult science – An Outline. Trans. George and Mary Adams. London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1909, 1969
  6. ^ Heindel, Max, The Rosicrucian Mysteries (Chapter IV, The Constitution of Man: Vital Body - Desire Body - Mind), 1911, ISBN 0-911274-86-3
  7. ^ Samael Aun Weor, The Pistis Sophia Unveiled, Thelema Press, (1983) 2005
  8. ^ Samael Aun Weor, "Death Archived 2007-05-09 at the Wayback Machine", The Book of the Dead, 1966
  9. ^ Samael Aun Weor, The Three Mountains, Thelema Press, (1972) 2003
  10. ^ Samael Aun Weor, The Initiatic Path in the Arcana of Tarot and Kabbalah, Thelema Press, (1978) 2007
  11. ^ Hodson, Geoffrey, Kingdom of the Gods ISBN 0-7661-8134-0 – Has color pictures of what Devas supposedly look like when observed by the third eye – their appearance is reputedly like colored flames about the size of a human being. Paintings of some of the devas claimed to have been seen by Hodson from his book "Kingdom of the Gods":
  12. ^ Eskild Tjalve’s paintings of devas, nature spirits, elementals and fairies:
  13. ^ Powell, A.E. The Solar System London:1930 The Theosophical Publishing House (A Complete Outline of the Theosophical Scheme of Evolution) See "Lifewave" chart (refer to index)
  14. ^ Powell, A.E. The Solar System London:1930 The Theosophical Publishing House (A Complete Outline of the Theosophical Scheme of Evolution) See "Lifewave" chart (refer to index)

Further reading

  • Kambhampati, Parvathi Kumar. The Etheric Body (First ed.). Visakhapatnam: Dhanishta..
  • Powell, Arthur E. The Etheric Double
  • Wilde, Stuart. The Sixth Sense: Including the secrets of the etheric subtle body. Hay House Inc.
Aether (classical element)

According to ancient and medieval science, aether (Ancient Greek: αἰθήρ, aither), also spelled æther or ether and also called quintessence, is the material that fills the region of the universe above the terrestrial sphere. The concept of aether was used in several theories to explain several natural phenomena, such as the traveling of light and gravity. In the late 19th century, physicists postulated that aether permeated all throughout space, providing a medium through which light could travel in a vacuum, but evidence for the presence of such a medium was not found in the Michelson–Morley experiment, and this result has been interpreted as meaning that no such luminiferous aether exists.

Anthroposophic medicine

Anthroposophic medicine (or anthroposophical medicine) is a form of alternative medicine. Devised in the 1920s by Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) in conjunction with Ita Wegman (1876–1943), anthroposophical medicine is based on occult notions and draws on Steiner's spiritual philosophy, which he called anthroposophy. Practitioners employ a variety of treatment techniques based upon anthroposophic precepts, including massage, exercise, counselling, and substances.Many drug preparations used in anthroposophic medicine are ultra-diluted substances, similar to those used in homeopathy. Homeopathic remedies are not medically effective and are generally considered harmless, except when used as a substitute for a scientifically proven and effective cure. In certain European countries, people with cancer are sometimes prescribed remedies made from specially harvested mistletoe, but research has found no convincing evidence of clinical benefit. Some anthroposophic doctors oppose childhood vaccination, and this has led to preventable outbreaks of disease.Anthroposophic medicine departs from fundamental biological principles in several respects. For example, Steiner said that the heart does not pump blood but that blood propels itself along. Anthroposophic medicine also proposes that patients' past lives may influence their illness and that the course of an illness is subject to karmic destiny. Professor of complementary medicine Edzard Ernst and other physicians and scientists including Simon Singh and David Gorski have characterized anthroposophic medicine as pseudoscientific quackery with no basis in reason or logic.

Ashtar (extraterrestrial being)

Ashtar (sometimes called Ashtar Sheran) is the name given to an extraterrestrial being or group of beings which a number of people claim to have channeled. UFO contactee George Van Tassel was likely the first to claim to receive an Ashtar message, in 1952. Since then many different claims about Ashtar have appeared in different contexts. The Ashtar movement is studied by academics as a prominent form of UFO religion.

Astral projection

Astral projection (or astral travel) is a term used in esotericism to describe an intentional out-of-body experience (OBE) that assumes the existence of a soul or consciousness called an "astral body" that is separate from the physical body and capable of travelling outside it throughout the universe.The idea of astral travel is ancient and occurs in multiple cultures. The modern terminology of 'astral projection' was coined and promoted by 19th century Theosophists. It is sometimes reported in association with dreams, and forms of meditation. Some individuals have reported perceptions similar to descriptions of astral projection that were induced through various hallucinogenic and hypnotic means (including self-hypnosis). There is no scientific evidence that there is a consciousness or soul which is separate from normal neural activity or that one can consciously leave the body and make observations, and astral projection has been characterized as a pseudoscience.

Edith Maryon

Louisa Edith Church Maryon (9 February 1872 in London – 2 May 1924 in Dornach, Switzerland), better known as Edith Maryon, was an English sculptor. Along with Ita Wegman, she belonged to the innermost circle of founders of anthroposophy and those around Rudolf Steiner.

Etheric plane

The etheric plane (see also etheric body) is a term introduced into Theosophy by Charles Webster Leadbeater and Annie Besant to represent the subtle part of the lower plane of existence. It represents the fourth [higher] subplane of the physical plane (a hyperplane), the lower three being the states of solid, liquid, and gaseous matter. The idea was later used by authors such as Alice Bailey, Rudolf Steiner, Walter John Kilner and others.

The term aether (also written as "ether") was adopted from ancient Greek philosophy and science into Victorian physics (see Luminiferous aether) and utilised by Madame Blavatsky to correspond to akasha, the fifth element (quintessence) of Hindu metaphysics.

The Greek word aither derives from an Indo-European root aith- ("burn, shine"). Blavatsky also related the idea to the Hindu Prana principle, the vital, life-sustaining force of living beings, present in all natural processes of the universe. Prana was first expounded in the Upanishads, where it is part of the worldly, physical realm, sustaining the body and the mind. Blavatsky also tended to use the word "astral" indiscriminately for these supposed subtle physical phenomena. The esoteric concepts of Adi, the Buddhic plane, the causal plane, and the monadic plane are also related to that of the etheric plane.Leadbeater and Besant (both belonging to the Adyar School of Theosophy) conceived that the etheric plane constituted four higher subplanes of the physical plane. According to the Theosophist Geoffrey A. Farthing, Leadbeater used the term, because of its resonance in the physical sciences, to describe his clairvoyant investigations of sub-atomic physics.

Integral yoga

Integral yoga, also called supramental yoga, is the yoga-based philosophy and practice of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother (Mirra Alfassa). Integral yoga finds all life conscious or subconscious a yoga, defines the term yoga as a methodised effort towards self-perfection by the expression of the secret potentialities latent in the being and highest condition of victory in that effort - a union of the human individual with the universal and transcendent existence which is seen partially as expressions in humans and in the cosmos. As a yoga idea, that Spirit manifests itself in a process of involution. The reverse process of evolution is driven toward a complete manifestation of spirit.

According to Sri Aurobindo, the current status of human evolution is an intermediate stage in the evolution of being, which is on its way to the unfolding of the spirit, and the self-revelation of divinity in all things. Yoga is a rapid and concentrated evolution of being, which can take effect in one life-time, while unassisted natural evolution would take many centuries or many births. Sri Aurobindo suggests a grand program called sapta chatushtaya (seven quadrates) to aid this evolution.

Mental body

The mental body (the mind) is one of the subtle bodies in esoteric philosophies, in some religious teachings and in New Age thought. It is understood as a sort of body made up of thoughts, just as the emotional body consists of emotions and the physical body is made up of matter. In occult understanding, thoughts are not just subjective qualia, but have an existence apart from the associated physical organ, the brain.

Mental plane

The mental plane, or world of thought, in Hermeticism, Theosophical, Rosicrucian, Aurobindonian, and New Age thought refers to the macrocosmic or universal plane or reality that is made up purely of thought or mindstuff. In contrast to Western secular modernist and post-modern thought, in occult and esoteric cosmology, thoughts and consciousness are not just a byproduct of brain functioning, but have their own objective and universal reality quite independent of the physical. This reality itself constitutes only one gradation in a whole series of planes of existence (the total number of planes varies, although seven is a common number in Theosophical formulations). In most such cosmologies and explanations of reality, the mental plane is located between, and hence is intermediate between, the astral plane below and the higher spiritual realms of existence above.

Rosicrucian Fellowship

The Rosicrucian Fellowship (TRF) ("An International Association of Christian Mystics") was founded in 1909 by Max Heindel with the aim of heralding the Aquarian Age and promulgating "the true Philosophy" of the Rosicrucians. It claims to present Esoteric Christian mysteries or esoteric knowledge, alluded to in Matthew 13:11 and Luke 8:10, to establish a meeting ground for art, religion, and science and to prepare the individual through harmonious development of the mind and the heart for selfless service of humanity.The Rosicrucian Fellowship conducts Spiritual Healing Services and offers correspondence courses in esoteric Christianity, philosophy, "spiritual astrology" and Bible interpretation. Its headquarters are located on Mount Ecclesia in Oceanside, California, and its students are found throughout the world organized in centers and study groups. Its declared mission is to promulgate a scientific method of development suited particularly to the Western people whereby the "Soul body" may be wrought, so that humanity may hasten the Second Coming.

Silver cord

The silver cord in metaphysical studies and literature, also known as the sutratma or life thread of the antahkarana, refers to a life-giving linkage from the higher self (atma) down to the physical body. It also refers to an extended synthesis of this thread and a second (the consciousness thread, passing from the soul to the physical body) that connects the physical body to the etheric body, onwards to the astral body and finally to the mental body.In other research, it is described as a strong, silver-colored, elastic cord which joins a person's physical body to its astral body (a manifestation of the physical body that is less distinct).Alfred Ballabene, an astral projector, reported observing that during his out-of-body experiences "glue-like strings" appear as the astral body tries to separate itself from the physical body. As the astral body moves further away from the tangible body, some of the strings break apart and clump into a specific and smaller region - preferably the head, breast, back, stomach, and the abdomen area - thus forming the silver cord.

Subtle body

A subtle body is one of a series of psycho-spiritual constituents of living beings, according to various esoteric, occult, and mystical teachings. According to such beliefs each subtle body corresponds to a subtle plane of existence, in a hierarchy or great chain of being that culminates in the physical form.

The subtle body (Sanskrit: sūkṣma śarīra) is important in several Indian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, mainly in the forms which focus on Tantra and Yoga. According to Bhagavad Gita, one of the most sacred texts of Hinduism, the subtle body is composed of mind, intelligence and ego, which controls the gross physical body. In Buddhist Tantra, it is also called the ‘innate body’ (nija-deha) or the ‘uncommon means body’ (asadhdrana-upayadeha).Other spiritual traditions teach similar ideas of a mystical or divine body, such as: "the most sacred body" (wujud al-aqdas) and "true and genuine body" (jism asli haqiqi) in Sufism, the meridian system in Chinese religion, and "the immortal body" (soma athanaton) in Hermeticism. The various attributes of the subtle body are frequently described in terms of often obscure symbolism: Tantra features references to the sun and moon as well as various Indian rivers and deities, while Taoist alchemy speaks of cauldrons and cinnabar fields.

The Ancient Wisdom

The Ancient Wisdom is a book by Annie Besant published in 1897, as per the dedication in the leader of the undated first pressing.

In this book, Besant introduces and explains the Physical plane, Astral plane, Mental plane and other planes of existence.

George Farthing has criticized the book, because Besant has introduced new terms like "Etheric body" into the theosophical literature, which were not used by Blavatsky or the theosophical Mahatmas.

Thelma Moss

Thelma Moss (born Thelma Schnee, January 6, 1918 – February 1, 1997) was an American actress, and later a psychologist and parapsychologist, best known for her work on Kirlian photography and the human aura.

Theosophical mysticism

Within the system of Theosophy, developed by occultist Helena Blavatsky and others since the second half of the 19th century, Theosophical mysticism draws upon various existing disciplines and mystical models, including Neo-platonism, Gnosticism, Western esotericism, Freemasonry, Hinduism and Buddhism.

Universal White Brotherhood

The Universal White Brotherhood is a New Age-oriented new religious movement founded in Bulgaria in the early 20th century by Peter Deunov and established in France in 1937 by Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov (1900–1986), one of his followers.

Their teachings are also known as "Dunovism", after the founder. The group proposes a Christian esoterism characterized by a number of practices, including prayer, meditation, breathing exercises, yoga of nutrition and paneurhythmy.A person can be both member of the group and of another religion.In France, the group achieved notability in the media in 1971. It has two centers located in Sèvres and Fréjus and 2,000 followers in France, and is present in many countries, including Canada, Switzerland and Belgium. The 1995 and 1999 reports established by the Parliamentary Commission on Cults in France, as well as the 1997 reports issued by the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission in Belgium listed the group as a cult.The main criticisms by anti-cult associations are the alleged harmful effects of the doctrine on the psyche of some followers, the diet that can lead to nutritional deficiencies, and the authoritarian nature of education.

Vitalism

Vitalism is the belief that "living organisms are fundamentally different from non-living entities because they contain some non-physical element or are governed by different principles than are inanimate things".a Where vitalism explicitly invokes a vital principle, that element is often referred to as the "vital spark", "energy" or "élan vital", which some equate with the soul. In the 18th and 19th centuries vitalism was discussed among biologists, between those who felt that the known mechanics of physics would eventually explain the difference between life and non-life and vitalists who argued that the processes of life could not be reduced to a mechanistic process. Some vitalist biologists proposed testable hypotheses meant to show inadequacies with mechanistic explanations, but these experiments failed to provide support for vitalism. Biologists now consider vitalism in this sense to have been refuted by empirical evidence, and hence regard it as a superseded scientific theory.Vitalism has a long history in medical philosophies: many traditional healing practices posited that disease results from some imbalance in vital forces.

Vril

The Coming Race is a novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, published anonymously in 1871. It has also been published as Vril, the Power of the Coming Race.

Some readers have believed the account of a superior subterranean master race and the energy-form called "Vril", at least in part; some theosophists, notably Helena Blavatsky, William Scott-Elliot, and Rudolf Steiner, accepted the book as based on occult truth, in part. One 1960 book, The Morning of the Magicians, suggested that a secret Vril Society existed in Weimar Berlin. However, there is no evidence for the existence of such a society.

What Dreams May Come

What Dreams May Come is a 1978 novel by Richard Matheson. The plot centers on Chris, a man who dies then goes to Heaven, but descends into Hell to rescue his wife. It was adapted in 1998 into the Academy Award-winning film What Dreams May Come starring Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Annabella Sciorra.

Matheson stated in an interview, "I think What Dreams May Come is the most important (read effective) book I've written. It has caused a number of readers to lose their fear of death – the finest tribute any writer could receive."In an introductory note, Matheson explains that the characters are the only fictional component of the novel. Almost everything else is based on research, and the end of the novel includes a lengthy bibliography.

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