Dictionary of Spiritual Terms – A
Abracadabra: A magical formula that was used by the Gnostics to invoke the aid of spirits to ward off disease and illness. It is derived from the abraxas, a word that was engraved on gems and amulets or was variously worn as a protective charm. Handed down through the Middle Ages, the abracadabra gradually lost its occult significance, and its meaning was extended to cover any hocus-pocus.
Alternatively a word of Kabbalistic significance that was, and still may be, used for incantations. It was used in a ritual to ward off any ailment. It is derived from the Hebrew phrase abreq ad habra, meaning “hurl your thunderbolt even unto death”
Acharya: Spiritual guide/master of his subject
Adept: Someone who has attained; in theosophical literature, one who has attained mastery in the art and science of living, an initiate or mahatma.
Adyar: A suburb of Madras, India, where Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott established the headquarters of the Theosophical Society in 1883. One of the Theosophical Societies continues to make its international headquarters there.
Aeon(s): An age, a period of time; used alone, equivalent to the word logos, but the usual meaning includes a spiritual being considered as an emanation from the divine essence and also a period of time which is brought about by the existence of this spiritual being.
Agape: Christian. Christian love as contrasted to erotic love. It can also mean charity.
Aham: I am Brahman.
Ajna: The third chakra located on the forhead.
Aka: The cord between the astral body and the physical body. Also known as the astral cord or the silver cord. This concept may be derived from the biblical reference to a “silver cord” connected the body and the soul.
Akashic Records: An Edgar Cayce concept which states that somewhere there is a universal hall of data / records. Records containing all the information about our past lives. It does not exist on the physical plane but rather on a more psychic level. Some believe it can be accessed on the astral plane, others feel it can only be accessed through a visualization journey the mind.
Alchemy: A form of magic which stems from the middle ages. It is noted by the attempts of alchemists to make lead turn into gold. A practioner of alchemy is an Alchemist.
Turning metal into gold was symbolic of the process of self transformation in which the Alchemist changed his negative energy into the divine spiritual energy (gold) this was done through a variety of methods. (see also the violet flame).
Amon: (also known as Amon-Ra, Amen and Amun) The Egyptian god of wind, fertility, and secrets. Sometimes refereed to as ‘The Invisible One’. The word or root amen means ‘what is hidden’, ‘what is not seen’, ‘what cannot be seen’ and the like. Not only is the god himself said to be ‘hidden’, but his name is also ‘hidden’, and his form is said to be ‘unknown’.
Amon was represented on five forms:
1. As a man, when he is seen seated on a throne, and holding in one hand a sceptre, and in the other the ankh.
2. As a man with the head of a frog
3. As a man with the head of a cobra.
4. As an ape
5. As a lion crouching upon a pedestal
Amen: (religious) The word ‘amen’ is similar to and comes from the same Hebrew root word for ‘believe’. The translation of amen might best be expressed as ‘let it be so’, or ‘I believe’.
Anahata: The fourth pranic center/chakra located at the heart.
Ananda: Bliss,devine joy.
Antra Darshaan: Vision of inner self (meditation)
Antra mouna: Inner silence(meditation)
Angel: A generic term to describe heavenly beings / messengers from beyond the material realm. Often seen as protectors. (more information )
Ankh: The symbolic representation of both Physical and Eternal life. It is known as the original cross. The loop of the Ankh represents the feminine discipline or the (Womb), while the elongated section represent the masculine discipline or the (Penis). These two sacred units then come together and form life.
In ancient Egypt it was believed the Ankh symbolized eternal life and bestowed immortality on anyone who possessed it. Everyone of the gods possessed an ankh and ancient Egyptians believed each god’s life force was maintained through their ankh. The ankh also held power over all evil spells.
It is believed that life energy emanating from the Ankh can be absorbed by anyone within a certain proximity. An Ankh serves as an antenna or conduit for the divine power of life that permeates the universe. The amulet is a powerful talisman that provides the wearer with protection from the evil forces of decay and degeneration.
Sometimes known as the Crux Ansata, it is derived from two hieroglyphs, and literally means “everlasting life” or the “life which cannot die.”
Anthropomorphism: Anthropomorphism is the assigning of human attributes to God in order to describe God. Eg: phrases such as ‘the breath of God’, ‘God hears’, etc. This does not mean that God actually has lungs and ears, it is just a figure of speech. Describing God with human characteristics may make it easier to communicate the incomprehensible.
Archangel: heavenly beings / messengers. Archangels are from the order / family above angels. We are most familiar with the archangel Michael who is the protector of the christian church. He is usually depicted holding a sword and scales. (more information)
Arche: (Of Greek Origin) This word is in the opening sentence of the gospel of St. John and has been translated to mean “In the beginning”. Alternative interpretations however would translate it to mean “an elementary condition” or “a first principle”, “a chief source”. The significance of the alternative interpretation comes to the fore if we discuss the nature of our beginnings.
Opening sentence of the Gospel of St.John: “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and God was the word.”
Ascension: Ascension is a change in the focus of consciousness. The souls acceleration into higher consciousness. It is the natural, on-going evolutionary process of all creation. As eternal, spiritual beings, we were created by God to expand through experience. When we choose to incarnate third dimension, (physical) we descend. We come to Earth repeatedly in order to experience, learn, and master this dimension with unconditional love. Ascension is thus the returning to spiritual realms with added wisdom and experience.
Ascended Masters: A dimension of the brotherhood of light, they are perfected beings who have mastered third dimensional incarnations with love. They have evolved beyond the need to return to physical incarnations. They have ascended into higher levels of consciousness. Many Ascended Masters decide to return as teachers and guides for their younger brothers and sisters along the evolutionary path. Some of the better known Ascended masters are Jesus, St. Germain, Kuthumi and El Morya.
Ashram: Spiritual community a place of dependence
Astral Body: Also known as the emotional body. It carries your feelings, emotions and character traits. It occupies the same space as the physical body but it’s aura extends approximately one meter further.
Astral Cord: The cord between the astral body and the physical body.Also known as the silver cord.
Astral Plane: A plane parallel to the physical world, traveled through by the astral body during projection.
Astral Travel: Also called soul travel and astral projection and out of body experience. The phenomena in which the nonphysical or astral body disengages from the physical body and in that state consciously experiences other physical realities or distant astral planes.
This is probably why witches were thought to be able to travel on broomsticks, they were in effect astral traveling.
Astrology: The most basic aspect of astrology, star signs or sun signs has been popularised in horoscopes that appear in daily newspaper columns and magazines.
Astrology is about the interaction between the Planets (including the Sun and Moon) and the Signs. The relationships between them and their interactions are mathematically based, and Astrology studies these mathematical cycles. Each Sign represents a different aspect of the whole human.
Aries starts the cycle, representing the Self, and Pisces completes it, representing the mass unconscious of all mankind. In between, each other Sign carries the energy of a different phase of man’s evolution within the universe.
Your sun sign/star sign represents the Sign of the Zodiac that the Sun was in at the time of your birth. The Sun rules will power and ego. It is the core of your potential and uniqueness as an individual; who you are and what you are about. The forces between the Planets involved in Astrology can be simplified into one word: gravity. The Sun has the greatest gravity and the strongest effect in Astrology. (see also zodiac and read more at the astrology section)
Atmabhava: Awareness or experience of self.
Atman: The eternal self identical with Brahman, the absolute.
Aum: Original sound from which all creation emenates.
Aura: An energy field which surrounds living beings. An aura is most often visible only to those born with the skill to see it, or those who developed this ability. A visible aura contains various colors and tells about the spiritual and emotional persona of the plant, human, or creature surrounded by it. However, an aura can also be felt, heard, or sensed through other means.
Avatar: An avatar is a person who is fully god realized at birth and therefore needs no spiritual training. In Hinduism it is the manifestation of a deity in human or animal form.
Avalon: Avalon is the mythical (celtic) dead warriors paradise. King Arthur was taken there after he was mortally wounded.