Life Energy Beliefs

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

Life Force Ideas Around the World

Here are the Q 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.


Qi (chi).

Qi/chi/ch'i is the Chinese concept of life force. The word originally means steam, but has also for a very long time been used for breath. The pictogram consists of two parts, whereof one stands for steam, wind, air, and the like, and the other part is rice, the dominating food for traditional China. Of course, the steaming rice is the one that is cooked, and thereby has become edible. Thereby the sign shows nourishment, an energy crucial to life, which in its form is similar to steam and wind, and in its nature is related to breathing. The word also has many other meanings, connected to life spirit in Chinese and Japanese tradition, such as: mood, soul, intention, interest, attention, temper, wrath, essence, sense, spark. Qi permeates everything alive, but also more or less everything else in nature. It can have different qualities, and vary in power from person to person as well as from one moment to another. Inside humans, it is said to flow in certain courses, meridians, and where this flow is halted or hindered it can be stimulated by different types of techniques, for example acupuncture, qigong, dao-in and taiji (see these words). In the Eastern martial arts, qi is exercised as a way to mobilize one's own power and defeat the opponent. When transcribed from Japanese, the word is usually spelled ki.

Acupuncture doll.
Acupuncture doll.

Qi gong.

Qigong (also spelled chi kung) is a Chinese method for training the life energy qi (see this word) on one's own, with a number of ritualized body movements and breathing techniques, where posture is of particular importance. Gong means approximately 'skill achieved through practice'. The method may have its origin in China as early as the 17th century BC, but the oldest known text on it is from the Han dynasty (206 BC - 220 CE), during which the method was called dao-in (from Japanese transcribed do-in, see this word).

Quasi-electrostatic field is an expression from 1959 by the American physicist Henry Margenau (1901-1997), intended to explain parapsychological phenomena, especially ESP (extra-sensory perception). Margenau claimed the necessity of backward-moving time to explain such things. H. A. C. Dobbs presented a quasi-field theory in 1965, where there were psi-trones, linked to two-dimensional time.

Quinta essentia see quintessence.


Quintessence (Greek pempte ousia, 'fifth element', Latin quinta essentia) is according to Aristotle (384-322 BC) the substance that the celestial bodies consist of, contrary to the four elements on Earth: earth, water, fire, and air, established by Empedocles (c.490-430 BC). The fifth element is according to Aristotle perfect and transparent, with an even circular movement. It keeps the other four elements intact. He also called it aither, eter. In Greek mythology, Aither was the light air high up in heaven, contrary to Aer, which was darker air closer to Earth. Medieval alchemists tried to extract quintessence. It has certain similarities to life energy such as qi, but not as many as the Greek concept pneuma (see this word). See also prime mover.

Life Energy Beliefs from 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

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Qi Energy Exercises

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

Creation Myths

Creation stories from around the world, and the ancient cosmology they reveal.

Cosmos of the Ancients

What the Greek philosophers believed about the cosmos, their religion and their gods.


Taoism, the ancient Chinese philosophy of life explained. Also, the complete Tao Te Ching online.

My Life Energy Books

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.

My Other Books

Cosmos of the Ancients. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Cosmos of the Ancients

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

Tao Te Ching - The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Tao Te Ching

The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. The great Taoist classic, translated and extensively commented chapter by chapter. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

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

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.

Stefan Stenudd, Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction. Stefan Stenudd

About me

I'm a Swedish author and historian of ideas, researching the thought patterns in creation myths. I've also written books about Taoism, the Tarot, and life force concepts around the world. Click the image to get to my personal website.