By Stefan Stenudd
I'm a Swedish writer and aikido instructor. In addition to fiction, I've written several books about lifeforce concepts and East Asian traditions. I'm also a historian of ideas, researching creation myths. My personal website: stenudd.com
The life energy exists in many traditions, such as qi (chi) in China, prana in India, pneuma in Ancient Greece, spiritus in Latin, and vitalism in philosophy. Here they are all explained.
Books by Stefan Stenudd:
The Greek philosophers and what they thought about cosmology, myth, and the gods, by Stefan Stenudd. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. The great Chinese classic, translated and extensively commented by Stefan Stenudd. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
The ancient Chinese life energy qi (chi) explained and how to exercise it. Click the image to visit.
Taoism, the old Chinese philosophy of life, based on Tao, the Way. Click the image to visit.
Creation stories from around the world, and the ancient cosmology they reveal. Click the image to visit.
Life Energy Beliefs V
Life Force Ideas Around the World
Vibration is a term often used about life energy, and how it is perceived. This implies some kind of waves, like in radiation, suggesting an emanation that reaches the surroundings, but not necessarily so that any of the five senses notice it.
Vis medicatrix naturae (Latin for ‘nature’s healing force’) is used for the principle of a healing energy that permeates everything, according to the Greek physician Hippocrates (460-377 BC), who is in western tradition regarded as the father of medicine. His healing methods were mostly very practical and concrete, emphasizing diet and cleanliness. The vis medicatrix naturae has several evident parallels to life energy such as qi.
Vita see life.
Vitalism (from the Latin vita, life) is a theory in older European biology about a goal oriented force in all living things, controlling their evolvement. Aristotle (384-322 BC) called this force entelechy (see this word). The vitalism theory, which was established around the year 1600, made a distinction between organic and inorganic matter, where the former was said to contain life force. The idea was picked up in the early 20th century, under the name neo-vitalism, by the French philosopher Henri-Louis Bergson (1859-1941, photo above) and the German biologist Hans Adolf Eduard Driesch (1867-1941, left photo). They also claimed that a certain life force, not just purely biological mechanisms, governs the evolvement of living creatures. Bergson called this governing life force élan vital (see this word), whereas Driesch used the Aristotelean term entelechy.
Vital magnetism is an expression for the life force coined in 1910 by the physician Charles Wentworth Littlefield (1859-?). He experimented with mental concentration by repeating certain Bible verses, and by visualization, in order to influence the crystallization of salts, which were by this process vitalized. He also claimed that they formed into different animal shapes. Littlefield stated that the mental image precedes each creation, and therefore decides its properties. The salt crystals were processed through several evaporations in water, which he claimed to be the universal process – in the seas and on land – generating the subtle magnetism that is the life force of animals and plants. This magnetism saturates the body salts, so that mental influence on them becomes possible.
Vivaxis (formed from the Latin vivus, ‘alive’, and axis) is a term established in the 1970's by the Canadian Francis Maude Nixon (1910-1984). It is a vertical line through humans, which to the life energy is sort of an umbilical cord to Earth. The society she formed around this idea, Vivaxis Energies Research International Society, was dissolved in 2001.
Vördr/vörd se hugr.
Vril is a term introduced by the English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873) in his science-fiction novel Vril, the Power of the Coming Race, from 1871. Bulwer-Lytton was also the writer of the infamous introductory sentence to another of his novels: “It was a dark and stormy night,” parodied in the comic Peanuts. A Vril society was formed in Berlin, 1918, by the German general Karl Ernst Haushofer (1869-1946), who was a student of the Armenian mystic George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (c.1866-1949). The society was also called The Luminous Lodge. It was inspired by Bulwer-Lytton’s book, and occult ideas from different cultures. They built a saucer-shaped vril machine for time travel. The maiden trip was in 1934. In Bulwer-Lytton’s book, vril was a mystical energy, a radiation or a flow from the Black sun at the core of Earth, consisting of Prima materia (see this word). This was a secret knowledge kept within a superior race, vril-ya, which hid below Earth but aimed to emerge and take over the rule of the world. This people was linked to the arian race, which explains the interest in the Vril society shown by Nazi leaders in the 1920's and 1930's.
Vril time travel vehicle. See Vril.
Vyana see prana.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
BooksI have written two books on the subject of life energy: Qi: Increase your Life energy and Life Energy Encyclopedia. This website has material from the latter. Here are the two books: