By Stefan Stenudd
Stefan Stenudd
About me
I'm a Swedish author and aikido instructor. In addition to fiction, I've written several books about life force concepts and East Asian traditions. I'm also a historian of ideas, researching ancient thought and mythology. My personal website:

Life Energy
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.

Life Energy Fundamentals

Life Energy Beliefs A - Z


Life Energy Encyclopedia


Books by Stefan Stenudd:

Cosmos of the Ancients. Book by Stefan Stenudd.

The Greek philosophers and what they thought about cosmology, myth, and the gods. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

Sunday Brunch with the World Maker. Novel by Stefan Stenudd.

Fiction. A brunch conversation slips into the mysterious, soon to burst beyond the realm of possibility. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

Other Websites:

Qi energy

The ancient Chinese life energy qi (chi) explained and how to exercise it. Click the image to visit.

Creation Myths

Creation stories from around the world, and the ancient cosmology they reveal. Click the image to visit.

Life Energy Beliefs. God gives life to Adam, by William Blake.

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.
Medicine Bear, Mato Wakan, Dakota indian medicine man. Photo by Alexander Gardner, 1872.

Wakanda see wakan.

Wakonda see wakan.

Jan Baptista van Helmont

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.
Melusine. Painting by Guillebert de Mets, c.1410.

Life Energy Beliefs A to Z

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

Life Energy Books

I have written two books on the subject of life energy:

Life Energy Encyclopedia. Book by Stefan Stenudd.
Life Energy Encyclopedia

Qi, prana, spirit, ruach, pneuma, and many other life forces around the world explained and compared. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

QI - increase your life energy. Book by Stefan Stenudd.
Qi - Increase your life energy

The life energy qi (also chi or ki) explained, with several very easy exercises to awaken, increase, and use it. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.