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Glossary

With thanks to Wikipedia – with some additions by BT

 A Brief Glossary of Spiritual Terms

Afterlife: (or life after death) A generic term referring to a continuation of existence, typically spiritual and experiential, beyond this world, or after death..

Agnosticism: the view that the existence of God or the supernatural is unknown or unknowable.

Akashic Records: (Akasha is a Sanskrit word meaning "sky", "space" or "aether") Said to be a collection of mystical knowledge that is stored in the aether; i.e. on a non-physical plane of existence

Asceticism: Denotes a life which is characterised by refraining from worldly pleasures (austerity).

Atheism: In the broadest sense, is the absence of belief in the existence of deities.

Blessing: (from to bless, Old English bleodsian or bletsian) Originally meant "sprinkling with blood" during the pagan sacrifices, the Blóts (reference: AHD). A blessing, (also used to refer to bestowing of such) is the infusion of something with holiness, divine will, or one's hopes.

Chakra: In Hinduism and its spiritual systems of yoga —a chakra is thought to be an energy node in the human body.

Chant: The rhythmic speaking or singing of words or sounds,

Channelling: The act of having spirits enter or possess one's body in order to speak and act through one as practised in many cultures and religions.

Creation: The term creation refers to the beginnings of humanity, earth, life, and the universe (cosmogony).

Consciousness: A quality of the mind generally regarded to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, sapience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and one's environment

Contemplation: A type of prayer or meditation in the Christian, especially Catholic, tradition.

Cosmogony: the creation and origination of the universe. It is also the study of these aspects. Universe at large, throughout its existence.

Deism: Historical and modern deism is defined by the view that reason, rather than revelation or tradition, should be the basis of belief in God.

Deity: (or a god) A postulated preternatural being, usually, but not always, of significant power, worshipped, thought holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, or respected by human beings. consciousness, intellects, desires, and emotions much like humans.

Dharma: (sanskrit, roughly law or way) The way of the higher Truths.

Enlightenment: As a concept is related to the Buddhist Bodhi but is a cornerstone of religious and spiritual understanding in practically all religions. It literally means being illuminated by acquiring new wisdom or understanding.

Epiphany: (Greek: επιφάνεια, "the appearance; miraculous phenomenon") A Christian feast intended to celebrate the 'shining forth' or revelation of God to mankind in human form, in the person of Jesus.

Eschatology: (from the Greek eschatos meaning "last" + -logy) A part of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or the ultimate fate of human kind, commonly phrased as the end of the world.

Esotericism: Refers to knowledge suitable only for the advanced, privileged, or initiated, as opposed to exoteric knowledge, which is public. It is used especially for mystical, occult and spiritual viewpoints.

Eternity: a timeless existence outside of time..

Exorcism: The practice of evicting demons or other evil spiritual entities which are supposed to have possessed (taken control of) a person or object.

Faith healing: The use of solely spiritual means in treating disease, sometimes accompanied with the refusal of modern medical techniques

Fasting: The act of willingly abstaining from all food and in some cases drink, for a period of time.

Glossolalia: Comprises the utterance of what appears (to the casual listener) either as an unknown foreign language (xenoglossia), meaningless syllables, or utterance of an unknown mystical language;

Gnosticism: A blanket term for various mystical initiatory religions, sects and knowledge schools, which were most prominent in the first few centuries AD.

God: The term God is capitalized in the English language as a proper noun when used to refer to a specific monotheistic concept of a supernatural Supreme Being in accordance with Christian,

Goddess: a female deity in polytheistic religions

Great Awakenings: Commonly said to be periods of religious revival in Anglo-American religious history 

Hymn: A song specifically written as a song of praise, adoration or prayer, typically addressed to a god.

I Ching: The oldest of the Chinese classic texts. It describes an ancient system of cosmology and philosophy which is at the heart of Chinese cultural beliefs

 Iconolatry: in Greek simply denotes a picture but has now come to be closely associated with religious art used by the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches.

Inner peace: (or peace of mind) A colloquialism that refers to a state of being mentally or spiritually at peace, with enough knowledge and understanding to keep oneself strong in the face of discord or stress.

Integrity: Comprises the personal inner sense of "wholeness" deriving from honesty and consistent uprightness of character.

Intelligible - anything that can only be known through the intelligence or rationality - the faculty through which non ‘sensible’ things can be recognized. Ancient philosophers called an’ intelligible thing’ a Noumenon.

Involution: the process by which the Divine manifests the cosmos is called involution. The process by which the creation rises to higher states and states of consciousness is the evolution.

Karma: (Sanskrit: कर्म from the root kri, "to do", meaning deed) or Kamma (Pali: meaning action, effect, destiny) A term in several Indian religions that comprises the entire cycle of cause and effect. Karma is a sum of all that an individual has. In religions that incorporate reincarnation, karma extends through one's present life and all past and future lives as well.

Koan: A story, dialog, question, or statement in the history and lore of Chan (Zen) Buddhism, generally containing aspects that are inaccessible to rational understanding,

Love: Has many different meanings in English Expressions of love may include the love for a "soul" or mind, the love of laws and organizations, love for a body, love for nature, love of food, love of money, love for learning, love of power, love of fame, love for the respect of others, et cetera.

Mantra: A religious syllable or poem, typically from the Sanskrit language. They are primarily used as spiritual conduits, words and vibrations that instill one-pointed concentration in the devotee.

Material  - Sensible - the object of Sensibility. Receptivity.  The ability to receive in the mind, through the physical senses, an impression of an object. Ancient philosophers called a ‘sensible thing’ a phenomenon

Meditation: Refers to any of a wide variety of spiritual practices (and their close secular analogues) which emphasize mental activity or quiescence.

Metaphysics: (Greek words meta = after/beyond and physics = nature) A branch of philosophy concerned with the study of "first principles" and "being" (ontology). Problems that were not originally considered metaphysical have been added to metaphysics.

Miracle: According to many religions, a miracle, derived from the Latin word miraculum meaning 'something wonderful', is a striking interposition of divine intervention by God in the universe by which the operations of the ordinary course of Nature are overruled, suspended, or modified.  Sometimes the term miracle may refer to the action of a supernatural being that is not a god. Then the term divine intervention refers specifically to the direct involvement of a deity.

Mysticism: From the Greek μυω (mueo, "to conceal"), is the pursuit of achieving communion with or conscious awareness of ultimate reality, the divine, spiritual truth, or God through direct, personal experience (intuition or insight) rather than rational thought

Neopaganism: (sometimes Neo-Paganism) Describes a heterogeneous group of new religious movements which attempt to revive ancient, mainly pre-Christian and often pre-Judaic Indo-European religions. As the name implies, these religions are Pagan in nature, though their exact relationship to older forms of Paganism is the source of much contention.

New Age: Describes a broad movement of late twentieth century and contemporary Western culture characterised by an individual eclectic approach to spiritual exploration. It has some attributes of a new, emerging religion but is currently a loose network of spiritual seekers, teachers, healers and other participants.

Nondualism: The belief that dualism or dichotomy are illusory phenomenae. Examples of dualisms include self/other, mind/body, male/female, good/evil, active/passive, and many others.

Noumenon -  From Greek noeo to perceive with the mind, think; Nous - Plural Noumena. An object perceived by the mind apart from the senses, an object of cognition. Reality as distinguished from apparent or sensible qualities Noumena are the conscious guiding causes behind the physical cosmic forces and elements. The emphasis is upon consciousness as opposed to mere appearances.  Behind every phenomenon must lie a noumenon: the former is the intelligent cause, the latter the produced effect or appearance.

Numen - a Latin term for "divinity", or a "divine presence", "divine will." 

Numinous is an English adjective, derived in the 17th century from the Latin numen, a "deity or spirit presiding over a thing or space".

Pantheism: (Greek: pan = all and Theos = God) Literally means "God is All" and "All is God". It is the view that everything is of an all-encompassing immanent God; or that the universe, or nature, and God are equivalent.

Parapsychology: The study of the evidence involving phenomena where a person seems to affect or to gain information about something through a means not currently explainable within the framework of mainstream, conventional science.

Phenomenon - from Greek phainomena appearances from phainomai to appear. The impermanent, ever-changing outward appearances of things, as opposed to the permanent enduring realities lying behind.  Objects of perception as opposed to objects of cognition; that which is perceived by the senses, contrasted with that which is conceived by the mind.

Physical universe: The part of the universe composed of matter, as opposed to a spiritual or supernatural essence.

Pilgrimage: A term primarily used in religion and spirituality of a long journey or search of great moral significance.

Plane (cosmology): In metaphysics and esoteric cosmology, a plane of existence (sometimes called simply a plane, dimension, vibrating plane, or an inner, invisible, spiritual, supraphysical world or egg) is a theoretical region of space and/or consciousness beyond the known physical understanding.

Prayer: An effort to communicate with God, or to some deity or deities, or another form of spiritual entity, or otherwise, either to offer praise, to make a request, or simply to express one's thoughts and emotions

Prophecy: In a broad sense, is the prediction of future events

Qi: Also commonly spelled ch'i, chi or ki, is a fundamental concept of everyday Chinese culture, most often defined as "air" or "breath" - "life force" or "spiritual energy" that is part of everything that exists..

Reality: In everyday usage means "everything that exists." The term "Reality," in its most liberal sense, includes everything that is, whether or not it is observable, accessible or understandable by science, philosophy, theology or any other system of analysis.

Reincarnation: As a doctrine or mystical belief, holds the notion that one's 'Spirit' ('Soul' depending on interpretation), 'Higher or True Self', 'Divine Spark', 'I' or 'Ego' (not to be confused with the ego as defined by psychology) or critical parts of these returns to the material world after physical death to be reborn in a new body. The natural process is considered integrative of all experiences from each lifetime. A new personality feature, with the associated character, is developed during each life in the physical world, based upon past integrated experience and new acquired experiences.

Religion: Sometimes used interchangeably with faith or belief system—is commonly defined as belief concerning the supernatural, sacred, or divine; and the moral codes, practices, values, institutions and rituals associated with such.

Religious ecstasy: A trance-like state characterized by expanded mental and spiritual awareness and is frequently accompanied by visions, hallucinations, and physical euphoria.

Repentance: The feeling and act in which one recognizes and tries to right a wrong, or gain forgiveness from someone that they wronged

Responsibility assumption: A doctrine in the spirituality and personal growth fields holding that each individual has substantial or total responsibility for the events and circumstances that befall them in their life.

Revelation: Refers to an uncovering or disclosure of that which had been previously wholly or partly hidden via communication from the divine.

Revivalism: A revival is the apparent restoration of a living creature from a dead state to a living state. In a New Testament story, Lazarus was revived by divine intervention. In religious terms, Revival is the substitution of religious fervor in life and worship, for an intellectualized, pragmatic approach to everyday conduct (often stigmatized by revivalists as 'pride').

Ritual: A formalised, predetermined set of symbolic actions generally performed in a particular environment at a regular, recurring interval.

Sacrifice: (from a Middle English verb meaning 'to make sacred', from Old French, Commonly known as the practice of offering food, or the lives of animals or people to the gods, as an act of propitiation or worship. The term is also used metaphorically to describe selfless good deeds for others.

Saint: Generally refers to someone who is exceptionally virtuous and holy.

SBNR: Acronym used by individuals who define themselves as Spiritual But Not Religious

Seven Virtues: Derived from the Psychomachia, an epic poem written by Prudentius (c. 410). Practicing these virtues is alleged to protect one against temptation toward the Seven Deadly Sins. The Seven Virtues considered by the Roman Catholic church are those of humility, meekness, charity, chastity, moderation, zeal and generosity. These are considered to be the polar opposite of the seven deadly sins, namely pride, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony, sloth and greed.

Shamanism: Refers to the traditional healing and religious practices of Northern Asia (Siberia) and Mongolia. By extension, the concept of shamanism has been extended in common language to a range of traditional beliefs and practices that involve the ability to diagnose, cure, and sometimes cause human suffering by traversing the axis mundi and forming a special relationship with, or gaining control over, spirits.

Soul ethereal substance – particular to a unique living being. Such traditions often consider the soul both immortal and innately aware of its immortal nature, as well as the true basis for sentience in each living being.The concept of the soul has strong links with notions of an afterlife

Spirit: The English word spirit comes from the Latin spiritus, meaning breath. In religion and spirituality. Spirit has evolved to denote that which separates a living body from a corpse.

Spiritual - The spiritual dimension of human experience: Non-material, inner, psychic,incorporeal, intangible, otherworldly, ethereal; transcendent, mystic, numinous, metaphysical

Spiritual evolution: The philosophical/theological/esoteric idea that nature and human beings and/or human culture evolve along a predetermined cosmological pattern or ascent, or in accordance with certain pre-determined potentials.

Spiritual Life - The generic term is describing all that is non-material and has a broader meaning than the word ‘Religious’. It is possible to live a spiritual life without following any specific religious faith

Spiritualism: May refer to a variety of modern religious ideologies, primarily active in the United States and Europe. Central tenets of Spiritualist liturgy and dogma are the beliefs and practices of mediumship which purports to be evidence of the continued existence of an individual's spirit or soul after death.

Spirituality: In a narrow sense, is a concern with matters of the spirit, however that may be defined; but it is also a wide term with many available readings. It may include belief in supernatural powers, as in religion, but the emphasis is on personal experience.

Supplication: (also known as petitioning) The most common form of prayer, wherein a person asks a supernatural deity to provide something, either for that person who is praying or for someone else on whose behalf a prayer of supplication is being made.

Theism: The belief in one or more gods or goddesses. More specifically, it may also mean the belief in God, a god, or gods, who is/are actively involved in maintaining the Universe.

Tithe: (from Old English teogotha "tenth") A one-tenth part of something, paid as a voluntary contribution or as a tax or levy, usually to support a Jewish or Christian religious organization.

Torah: (תורה) A Hebrew word meaning "teaching," "instruction," or "law." It is the central and most important document of Judaism revered by Jews through the ages

Transcendentalism: The name of a group of new ideas in literature, religion, culture, and philosophy that advocates that there is an ideal spiritual state that 'transcends' the physical and empirical and is only realized through a knowledgeable intuitive awareness that is conditional upon the individual.

Worship: Usually refers to specific acts of religious praise, honour, or devotion, typically directed to a supernatural being such as a god or goddess

Yoga: (Sanskrit योग, "union") A family of spiritual practices that originated in India, where it is seen primarily as a means to enlightenment (or bodhi)..