SPIRITUAL SCIENCE

Alchemy is an approach to the investigation of nature which does not take into account just physical substances and chemical processes perceptible with our physical senses, but it strives to find what is the nature of spiritual forces which are working behind and through the various material substances. The origin of alchemy can be traced back to old Egypt, but the most well known are medieval alchemists because of their misunderstood search for the transmutation of base metals into gold. Modern metamorphosis of alchemy is the spiritual scientific approach to the investigation of the natural world and the various substances that are at the basis of it.

Animalic refers to the unconscious activities of the astral body in the human being which are similar to the activities of the astral body in an animal.

Anthroposophy (Anthropos-Sophia: the wisdom of the human being) is the modern form of esoteric knowledge suited to the present state of cosmic evolution where the intellect is the dominant power of human beings. Anthroposophy gives explanations about the spiritual background of the human being, the nature, and the universe which can be understood by anybody who has mastered clear, unprejudiced, logical thinking. Anthroposophy reveals multifarious and multilayered relationships between the spiritual and the physical world, thus creating a bridge between these two worlds. This is one of the reasons why is also called spiritual science. With the aim of distinguishing it from other attempts to bring together the spiritual and the physical world, it is sometimes called  anthroposophical spiritual science.

Astral body (or soul body) is the second supersensible body (after the etheric body). It is the carrier of sensations, feelings, drives, urges, cravings, instincts, etc. The main polarity at work in the astral body is the polarity between sympathy and antipathy. For that reasons it can be also called 'sentient body' and identified as the 'soul'. For longer description see FOURFOLD HUMAN BEING.

Atavistic is an adjective with the meaning: very old, originating from earlier, primeval stages of human existence.

Atavistic clairvoyance refers to clairvoyance which has been the normal state of human consciousness in the primeval stages of human evolution. This type of clairvoyance did not enable an understanding of what has been perceived and it has been gradually lost through the millennia when humanity has been developing the capacity of intellectual thinking.

Biographical counselling helps individuals in their search for meaning of their life. It is based on the seven-year cycles of human life and the search for archetypal patterns in a person's life. For more information go to www.biographicalcounselling.net/biogcounselling.htm

Chemical ether (also sound/tone ether, or number ether) is one of the four ethers. It is the ether which governs the chemical affinities of substances. Its main medium of activity is the element of water (i.e., fluids). When it is active in the air it is the source of the tone. See also COSMIC EVOLUTION OF SUBSTANCES.

Clairvoyance refers to the ability of people to see the spiritual realities active behind physical existence. In ancient times people had an innate ability of clairvoyance which has been slowly vanishing through the millennia of human evolution until the present, when human power of perception is firmly rooted in the physical realm. There might be still some people with atavistic clairvoyance, but there are already those who have developed a new form of clairvoyance which is connected with an understanding of the spiritual realities.

Consciousness soul (or spiritual soul) is one of the three parts of the human soul, beside sentient soul and intellectual soul. The age of the consciousness soul began in fifteen century with the emergence of Renaissance. The main task of human beings in this epoch is to emancipate themselves from belief in authorities, rigid moral codes of behaviour, and blood bonds, and thus becoming an independent personality. This is the age of free development of the universal-human qualities and of ethical individualism.

Cosmic ether (or universal ether, world-ether, free ether) is spread out everywhere in the universe. It is composed from warmth ether, light ether, chemical ether, and life ether which are streaming towards the Earth from all sides of the universe. The cosmic ether is fundamentally of like nature with the human etheric body. But cosmic ether contains in it different etheric shapes, forms of movement, etc. than etheric bodies of living beings on our planet.

Cosmic forces of healing are similar in their balancing effect to the human forces of healing, although they work on a much grander scale. For a proper understanding of their nature one needs to study the spiritual scientific literature which throws light upon the esoteric background of these forces. A short explanation is: The task of the cosmic forces of healing is to maintain the dynamic balance between the main polarity of world existence – that is, between spirit and matter (spiritual and physical forces and substances), or (in the language of myths) between heaven and earth. Among mythological images of these forces is Hermes (Roman Mercury), the only god among Greek gods who can travel and carry messages between the upper gods living on the mount Olympus (Zeus, Appolo, Hera, etc.) and the lower gods living in the underworld (Hades, Persephone, etc.).

Cosmic forces of nourishment are the spiritual forces which enter the Earth in winter time and renew the mineral layers in the Earth crust with spiritual archetypes. This process – called the cosmic 'salt process' – is of crucial importance for the new growth of the plants. For a proper understanding of their nature one needs to study the spiritual scientific literature which throws light upon the esoteric background of these forces. A short description of the process in which cosmic forces of nourishment enter into the yearly cycle of growth of the plant is available in text The Source of Nourishing Forces in Our Food.

Cosmic forces of thinking are not the same as the human forces of thinking, although they are related. For a proper understanding of their nature one needs to study the spiritual scientific literature which throws light upon the esoteric background of these forces. A short explanation is: The cosmic thinking is creative, living wisdom which is the origin of every form of being and phenomenon in the kingdoms of nature. The human thinking is 'dead' thinking which can only mirror the great world outside us and which can only create a 'dead' world of machines and technology. In comparison to this the cosmic forces of thinking contain power to create living beings.

Cosmic forces of Will are the spiritual forces working behind the existence of all physical matter. For a proper understanding of their nature one needs to study the spiritual scientific literature which throws light upon the esoteric background of these forces. But we can get an impression of their nature when we look at the Nordic god Thor with his iron hammer – a mythological image of the macrocosmic power of Will. We all have inside our bodies a microcosmic counterpart of this power – the sum of the millions of red blood cells with iron – which enables us to exercise our own Will in the physical world.

Ego or 'I' (also Ego-organization) is the spiritual body of human beings which enables them to understand the world they live in – which is one of the essential differences between human beings and animals. By means of ego people become aware of their own existence as separate individuals. This includes also the ability to reflect on their own deeds, feelings, and the way of thinking which can lead individuals to take responsibility for their own development. For a longer description see FOURFOLD HUMAN BEING.

Ether is the main substance of the etheric world, the first supersensible world which borders on the physical world. There are four kinds of ether: warmth ether, light ether, sound or chemical ether, and life ether. See also COSMIC EVOLUTION OF SUBSTANCES.

Etheric body (or life body) is the first supersensible body which is in the human being, almost identical with the size of the physical body. The etheric body is the carrier of life functions – growth, regeneration, and propagation – in all living organisms. In human beings one part of the etheric body is the seat of more lasting attributes of their character, such as memory, temperament and habits. For a longer description see FOURFOLD HUMAN BEING.

Ethical individualism refers to the stage of the development of human being when his actions have their source in those ideas which are rooted in the moral intuitions of the single individual. This is the stage of true freedom from the constraints of natural laws and the constraints of all conventional moral norms. The development of ethical individualism is the main task of the people in the age of the consciousness soul.

Esoteric or occult refers to the hidden knowledge which was in the past accessible only to those who were initiated in the mystery schools. In modern times this knowledge is no longer hidden, but is freely available in the form of spiritual science or anthroposophy to all those who wish to study it.

Eurythmy is the art of movement which can be designated as 'visible speech' or 'visible music'. By means of specific gestures the whole body is turned into a kind of visible organ that manifests speech and/or music. Eurythmy connects the physical, soul and spiritual aspects of the human being in a harmonious whole. Curative eurythmy is the metamorphosed form of artistic eurythmy for the purpose of healing.

Folk-soul or folk-spirit denotes the specific soul-spiritual characteristics which are present in the members of specific ethnic group. This doesn't mean that people do not have other, more individual characteristics as well. We can nevertheless distinguish different qualities of the folk-soul of an Italian from a Russian, or a Norwegian, etc. One means to do this is to look at their languages, folk music, and other forms of traditional cultures.

Four elements (earth, water, air and fire) are Old Greek equivalents for the four conditions of matter: solid, fluid, gaseous, and plasma.

Four ethers include warmth ether, light ether, chemical ether and life ether. See also COSMIC EVOLUTION OF SUBSTANCES.

Inner cosmic system is the term which refers to the supersensible relationships between our inner organs and the seven bodies of our planetary system. The heart is linked to the Sun, the brain to the Moon, the kidneys to the Venus, the lungs to the Mercury, the gall-bladder to the Mars, the liver to the Jupiter, and the spleen to the Saturn. See also Seven Members of 'Inner Cosmic System'.

Inspiration (from the Latin inspirare, meaning 'to breathe into') in common use refers to an unconscious burst of creativity in artistic, scientific and other kinds of endeavour, whenever a person is very intensively involved in a search for a discovery, an invention or an artistic creation. From a spiritual-scientific perspective inspirations are the manifestation of rhythmical forces which are active in the middle part of human organism.

Intellectual soul (or mind soul) is one of the three parts of the astral body (beside sentient soul and consciousness soul), the part which enable the activity of our thinking. The age of intellectual soul lasted from 747 BC to 1413 AD; this was the period of the dominance of old Greek and Roman civilisations (therefore it is also called the Graeco-Roman cultural epoch).

Intuition (from Latin intueri, meaning 'to look inside' or 'to contemplate') is usually regarded as the ability to acquire knowledge without the use of rational thinking. This means that processes by which they happen remain mostly unknown to the thinker. From a spiritual-scientific perspective intuitions are the manifestation of forces of will which are active in the unconscious part of human organism.

Life ether is one of the four ethers. It is the supersensible source of all living beings. See also COSMIC EVOLUTION OF SUBSTANCES.

Light ether is one of the four ethers. It is the supersensible source of light which enable us to see the physical world. See also COSMIC EVOLUTION OF SUBSTANCES.

Life-spirit is the name for the part of the etheric body which has been gradually transformed by the power of human ego. Although in the present phase of cosmic evolution only initiates can work consciously on this transformation, we all possess the germ of life-spirit.

Living substance is physical substance which is permeated by the etheric body and its forces. These types of substances are the main ingredients of plants. In comparison to this we have ‘dead’ mineral substances which are permeated only with physical forces.

Maya is a Sanskrit word with multiple meanings. The most common translation is illusion, deception. In Indian spirituality it is used to describe the illusionary nature of the physical world in comparison with the reality of the spiritual world. 

Mysteries or mystery centres were special esoteric schools in the ancient epochs of human development, where the chosen pupils were trained with the aim of acquiring the sacred knowledge of human being and the universe. This spiritual knowledge was available only to initiates – that is, those who had already been initiated. The mystery centres were also the source of rituals and festivals that were open to all members of society. Through these yearly events the hidden wisdom of the centres was transmitted in allegorical forms suitable for general state of consciousness. The mystery centres were also the source of all cultural life, the healing centres and the source of unique life styles of the ancient communities.

Occultism (or esotericism) is the study of the hidden supersensible aspects of the world. It is hidden to normal physical perceptions; however, with study and exercises one can develop an ability to perceive the spiritual side of existence.

Old Moon (also Ancient Moon) is the third stage of cosmic evolution where, beside the elements of warmth/fire, air, and light ether, there existed also water (i.e., fluid substance) and chemical ether. From this stage is retained a special relationship of water and chemical ether. In this stage the human astral body came into existence. See also COSMIC EVOLUTION OF SUBSTANCES.

Old Saturn (also Ancient Saturn) is the first stage of cosmic evolution where only the element of warmth/fire existed. All that existed was the result of several metamorphoses of this primeval substance. In this stage the germ of the present physical body came into existence, consisting only of the warmth ether. See also COSMIC EVOLUTION OF SUBSTANCES.

Old Sun (also Ancient Sun) is the second stage of cosmic evolution where, besides the element of warmth/fire, there existed also the air and light ether. From this stage is retained a special relationship of air and light. In this stage the human etheric body came into existence. See also COSMIC EVOLUTION OF SUBSTANCES.

Prana (Sanskrit: life force or vital principle) is in Hindu worldview cosmic energy permeating the universe on all levels, often referred to as the 'life force' or 'life energy'.

Rite or ritual is an act of the group of people which is performed in the mood of recognition of the spiritual realities of the world existence. In the ancient times, when people still had natural clairvoyance, there was no need for any ritual, for all actions of human beings were performed in this mood. Later when atavistic clairvoyance has been lost people established religious rituals with the aim to purposely nurture this mood. In the present times we have more or less just empty forms left. The modern meaning of the word rite/ritual is: the prescribed or customary form or order of conducting a religious or other solemn ceremony. For modern people it is possible to achieve such mood again only if they consciously strive to understand the existence of the spiritual worlds.

Royal art is an esoteric expression which refers to the nature of human creativity. In the past and in the present we can be creative only with the materials and forces of the mineral kingdom. But in the future man will acquire control over similar forces to the forces of germination in the seeds of the plants. Thus will the royal art of the future enable human beings to create with the forces active in the realm of etheric. Today the first beginning for the use of these living forces is already possible in the affairs of social life if people would use spiritual-scientific insights about the nature of the social organism. The term 'royal social art' refers to this potential creativity in the social realm.

Sentient soul is one of the three parts of the astral body (beside intellectual soul and consciousness soul), the part which is active in the perception of the outside world through our physical sense organs. The age of sentient soul lasted from 2907 BC to 747 BC, the period of the dominance of old Egyptian and surrounding civilisations (therefore it is also called the Egyptian-Chaldean-Babylonian cultural epoch).

Sentient substance is substance permeated not only with the etheric body, but also with the astral body and its forces. These substances can be found abundantly in animals and human beings, because they all have an astral body. They are called ‘sentient’ because they enable beings to sense their bodies, which is not possible in the case of plants because they do not possess the astral body. We can experience the difference between a sentient and living substance when we get an  injection against pain at the dentist. Then we are not capable of sensing the afflicted part of the mouth because the chemical substance in the injection has forced the astral body out of one part of our body which is still alive.

Sheaths of man is another expression for the trinity of physical body, etheric body and astral body which together provide the suitable dwelling place for the human ego.

Social organism is any group of people which live and/or work together, or engage in any form of cultural activity, such as education, art, religion, etc. It can be small, such as family; moderate such as company; or large, such as state.

Spirit-man is the name for the part of the physical body which has been gradually transformed by the power of human ego. Although in the present phase of cosmic evolution only initiates can work consciously on this transformation, we all possess the germ of spirit-man.

Spirit-self is the name for the part of the astral body which has been gradually transformed by the power of human ego. In the present phase of cosmic evolution we can all work on the conscious transformation of our life of emotions, desires, passions, etc, into spirit-self.

Vegetative refers to the unconscious activities of the etheric body in the human being which are similar to the activities of the etheric body in a plant.

Warmth ether is one of the four ethers. It is the supersensible counterpart of physical heat (i.e., element of fire). See also COSMIC EVOLUTION OF SUBSTANCES.