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Pneuma/Subtle Energy

March 27, 2014 | By | Add a Comment

Pneuma, Subtle Energy

The continuum of existence may be described as a spectrum from subtle, ethereal phenomena to dense, material manifestations.  Reality at the etheric level consists entirely of a numinous, subtle energy.  This subtle element has been pondered by philosophers and mystics for millennia.  It has been known by many names including Chi, Prana, Aether, and Pneuma.  This ever present pneuma exists in various forms from vast energetic fields and currents to complex etheric patterns.  Pneuma may flow as a fluid, tactile force or emanate as a radiant, expansive energy.  This subtle pneuma should not be confused with the familiar energy of physics.  In the context of physics, energy refers to a quantifiable, predictable phenomenon such as electricity or heat.  By contrast pneuma is an ethereal, subtle medium.  This subtle energy interacts with and affects material phenomena, yet exists in a state of being outside the boundaries of material reality (See Etheric Convergence).

Pneuma is a fundamental tool of magick.  Three types of pneuma are of particular importance to the art of magick.  Cognitive pneuma is the etheric energy of thought, awareness, and information.  Emotive pneuma is the energetic essence of the various emotive states.  Raw pneuma is undifferentiated, primal etheric energy.  The subtle energetic nature of etheric reality is extremely sensitive to consciousness, emotion, and etheric energy.  Through training, transformation and ritual the magus gains the ability to generate and summon these etheric energies in abnormally potent, large amounts.  Through the magickal techniques these energies are merged together to create pneuma capable of directly affecting change at the etheric level.  The magus uses this powerful blend of consciousness, emotion, and raw energy to alter reality at the etheric level in accordance with the magickal goal.  The ancient Greeks spoke of such potent pneuma as Pyr Technikon or “creative fire”.  This pneuma technikon created during magickal acts is an extension of the self, a life-force that embodies the intention of the working.


The externalization of consciousness and energy is a feature of various magickal traditions, an example being found within the occult practices of Tibet.  In such practices, powerful energy work and meditative states are employed to externalize consciousness and energy towards the creation of tulpas (thoughtforms), the vivification of ritual items such as purbhas (ritual daggers) and to affect change at a distance by etheric means.



© 2013 Vasilios Wennergren

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Category: Esoteric Philosophy

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