Life Energy Beliefs
Life Force Ideas Around the World
Here are the W entries of life energy beliefs around the world and from antiquity to the present. An edited and expanded version of this Life Energy A to Z is published in my book Life Energy Encyclopedia
Waka see huaca.
Wakan is a word among the North American Dakota Indians for things
spiritual, sacred, and mystical. That can be objects in nature, in particular
certain big rocks. Spirits therein were called Taku skan skan, Inyan and
Tunkan. The rocks were painted in significant colors. Taku skan skan was
the spirit of all movement, connected to heaven and the blue color. Wakan
is sometimes mentioned as a synonym to life energy such as qi, which is doubtful. Among
neighboring tribes (Omaha and Sioux) there are similar concepts, such as
wakonda and wakanda. See also manitou.
Medicine Bear, Mato Wakan, Dakota indian medicine man. Photo by Alexander Gardner, 1872.
Wakanda see wakan.
Wakonda see wakan.
Wild spirit (in Latin spiritus silvestris), also called forest spirit, is an
expression introduced by the Flemish chemist Jan Baptista van Helmont
(1577-1644), for the gas that appears at both combustion and fermentation
– actually carbon dioxide. Helmont was the one to invent the term gas (see
this word). He studied gases, especially carbon dioxide, substantially.
Helmont was also interested in the principles of alchemy. For his ideas
about a life force, see magnale magnum.
Wind is a natural phenomenon that has inspired many ancient ideas about
invisible forces beyond comprehension. In several traditions it is very
closely linked to breath as well as to ideas about spirit (see these words)
and a life force.
Wodan (also Odin or Oden) is the supreme deity in Norse mythology, in
German spelling. The word is sometimes mentioned as a synonym to life energy such as qi,
which is misleading. For Norse life force beliefs, see megin and hugr.
Wong is a word for the life force, among the Gold Coast (Ghana) people,
according to C. G. Jung: On the nature of the Psyche.
World brain see psi plasma.
World of Forms see World of Ideas.
World of Ideas (also called World of Forms, in Latin mundus imaginalis) is
Plato's (427-347 BC) cosmological theory about a perfect higher reality, to
which the soul longs while we live in this limited world of the senses. The
Arabian commentator of Greek philosophy, Avicenna (Ibn Seena, 980-1037), translated it to alam al-mithal, a term also used by al-Suhravardi
(1154-91), founder of the illuminatory philosophy in Islam, to describe a
borderline between sense and thought in the being. It is sometimes
mentioned as a synonym to life energy such as qi, which is misleading.
World soul (in Latin anima mundi) is an idea of Plato's (427-347 BC) in his
book Timaeus. Here, the whole world is seen as a living organism, given a
soul by the Demiurge, the creator of the world. Plato's idea has been
adopted by many later thinkers.
Wouivre/vouivre/wivere/wyvern (from the Latin vipera, snake) is the
name of a dragon or serpent, also for life force or spirit, in ancient French
and English traditions. In some French depictions of the dragon, it was
half woman, half winged serpent, also called Melusine. The life force was
believed to flow in slithering paths underground, fertilizing the soil from
below. Where it did not reach the surface, the soil got barren. Wouivre
also flowed through the air, and where this flow met that of the earth,
dragons were born. See also nwyvre. Compare kundalini.
Melusine. Painting by Guillebert de Mets, c.1410.
Life Energy Beliefs from A to Z
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