Life Energy Beliefs

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

Life Force Ideas Around the World

Here are the V 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.


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.

Henri-Louis Bergson

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 Hans Adolf Eduard DrieschHenri-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.
Vril time travel vehicle. See Vril.

Vyana see prana.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.