Definition of Words and Background Information


The word "Alb" in German is another version of "Alp", "Alf", "Elf", "Elb" (English: Elf), which are old words for elves. Elves are considered higher beings of nature – should not be confused with flower fairies.



Amrita (Sanskrit) is seen as "nectar of immortality" in Yoga. In India it is symbolized iconographically by a jar. In introspection, Amrita is seen as golden liquid and tastes like flower nectar. In my opinion, it is generated through the transformation of ectoplasm (see: ectoplasm) in the heart centre (Anahata chakra) with the aid of head chakras. In the opinion of the theosophists and the Indian yoga, it originates in the palatine, where the Soma Chakra is opening out. According to yoga, it can be stimulated by the Khechari Mudra (the tongue is bent back to the posterior palate).

Nectar of immortality


Awareness of sleep paralysis (abbreviation). See: sleep paralysis.


Astral body/ Astral

Our transcendent body, consisting of subtle matter. It is a spiritual body and generally appears as a reproduction of the physical body.


Astral Travelling

Travelling through transcendent planes (dimensions, worlds) with the astral body. Also called astral projection or out-of-body-experience (OBE or OOBE).

In medicine, astral travelling is understood as lucid dream (LD). Astral travelling is known to practically all religious and shamanic cultures, but the records are often very vague, so that the underlying principle isn’t recognized anymore (only contents are reported, but not the process and the origin of the phenomenon).



Subtle field around the human being, which can give information about health or spiritual evolution of the person to the clairvoyant. Such a subtle evaporation (radiation) can emanate from different subtle bodies. Corresponding to the type of subtle body, the aura is called "etheric aura", "astral aura", "aura of the causal body" etc.

Aura of a praying person (seen by Ananda Ballabene). Auric vortexes gain form and can leave the closer range of the Aura.


Soul bird in the ancient Egypt – the soul has the appearance of a bird. It is supposed that it correlates with the astral Body.

Ba bird


Especially east-European parapsychologists preferred this term for the etheric body (it is supposed there that this body can be made visible by Kirlian photography). The term was established in 1966 by the Russian scientist V. S. Grishenko as a description for the 5th state of aggregation (the first four are: solid, liquid, gaseous, plasmatic). After Grishenko, bioplasm is synonymous with the vital energy.


Central Channel (Sushumna)

The energy channel within the spinal column (sanskrit: Sushumna), through which Kundalini flows in a "Kundalini ascension".



Are energetic vortices and, at present, widely accepted in yoga and in esotericism. In Indian yoga, chakras are understood as centres which are of essential importance for the spiritual transformation and the development of magic/ spiritual powers.

Chakra as vortex


In different religions, "consciousness" is referred to as perceptive being. In the view of Tantra (see: Tantra), consciousness can exist independently of a vehicle (= body) and is seen as the primal source of all existence. This principle is depicted by Shiva (male). Body and creation are depicted by Shakti (female, here Lilith).



Fairy with magical powers. Dakinis are the ritual partners of the Yogis and Yoginis which practice Tantric Yoga.



Deity (God/ Goddess) is a very imprecise term which can refer to very different things, corresponding to what religion, culture or practice defines this term. In Europe and the Mideast, deities are understood as kings of heaven. In India, deities (Sanskrit: Devas) are immortal beings which belong to a higher sphere of existence – among them kings of heaven, demons, fairies, witches, shamans, Yogis and others. In buddhism, deities are understood as beings living in a temporary existence, a life in heaven.

In Maha Yoga the term refers to intelligences which have passed beyond the space-time continuum. It can happen that a Yogi/ Yogini is chosen by such beings as their protégé and this deity will guide the Yogi/ Yogini and contact him/ her individually in different manners. Here, processes can occur like those which have been described under the term "Yidam" (see: Yidam). The origin of this personal deity may be different in Maha Yoga and mostly remains hidden.



Sanskrit term for "goddess"; Maha-Devi = the Great Goddess (All-Goddess)


Ectoplasm (also called Bioplasm)

Ectoplasm is a very dense etheric effusion which is considered responsible for various poltergeist-phenomena. Ectoplasm is generated through an inner alchemic process in the abdomen. It can be released by the body in different manners. Like mist, it can evaporate from the whole body surface. In its densest manifestation, ectoplasm can slowly flow out of body orifices (especially mouth) like honey, whereat it vaporizes at the edges.

Ectoplasm spilling form mouth

Its colour is light to dark gray. It does not need to be homogenous and can contain granulate material. In a few experiments, ectoplasm has been successfully photographed. There have been attempts to make measurements on ectoplasm, but those tests showed very varying results without any significance (electrical conductivity, Albert Freiherr v. Schrenk Notzing, 1862-1929, Munich, physician and parapsychologist). For searching photos of ectoplasm in the internet, the term "teleplasm" is useful as well.

Etheric body or fluidal body

These terms, historically put forth and both an unfortunate choice, refer to a denser subtle, energetical appearance of a human being. The term etheric body was characterized by the theosophists, especially by Helena Petrova Blavatsky (1831 – 1891) and by Charles Webster Leadbeater (1847 – 1934). Paracelsus (Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim, 1493 – 1541) wrote about the "sideric body", which refered to a similar or even the same thing as the etheric body.

In theosophy, the etheric body is seen as a link between the astral body (transcendent) and the physical body (material). It is actually not a "body", but it is rather the astral body with (denser) fluidal energy still adhering to it after this astral body has moved out of the physical. When changing into the astral body itself, the etheric/ fluidal energy is drawn back to the physical body and the astral can move freely. Other terms for "ether" in the above sense: chi, ki, prana. See also: bioplasm.


Fluidal body

Is another word for the etheric body. The term was preferred by the French. In this context, the experiments of Hector Durville are known: Hector Durville: The Theory and Practice of Human Magnetism. Primary Source Edition, Nabu Press 2014 (Scan of the original translation of 1923)



Creation of a Golem. In the Golem’s mouth lies the parchment with the Shem (word of creation) written onto it. In Yiddish common speech, "Lamater" is a mentally retarded person. "Lamater" means: one who has been made of clay (= Golem).


Higher Self

(see also: inner structure of the human being) This term was coined by the theosophists. It refers to the highest aspect in the human being, immortal and permeated by the divine. The higher self stands above the individual part which is subject to reincarnation.


Hypnagogic state

This is a state before falling asleep; on one hand, the person is still awake and on the other the person is already seeing pictures which are fading in, hearing noises etc. It is the preliminary state of dreaming.



Abbreviation for "in-body-experience". This means the perception of astral occurrences which are perceived in deep immersion – without having left the physical body with one’s astral body.



An energy channel which winds around the Sushumna (central channel) in three coils. The other polar channel is Pingala. In some traditions, these two currents run straightly and parallely to the Sushumna.


Inner structure of the human being

Inner structure of the human being

We are structured like an onion. The inner heart is the higher self; the eternal, divine part inside of us. The further away the skins are from the higher self, the more they are characterized by an individual consciousness and separated from the divine core. The material body is the furthest away.



"Breath soul", term in the ancient Egypt. Presently, Ka is understood as the etheric body/ fluidal body. In the ancient Egyptian illustrations, this "double" is often shown with one finger pointing at its mouth – this is a hint to "breath".



Is a Sanskrit term and originally means "coiled up".


Liquid Gold

Alchemy: aurum potabile – is extracted from the philosopher’s stone.

Here, the term refers to Amrita, because in spiritual immersion Amrita is perceived as liquid gold.



Maha = great (e. g. Maharaja = great king), Shakti: see Shakti. Mahashakti is the cosmic all-force.



Energy channel. There are main nadis (Sushumna, Ida, Pingala) and secondary nadis.


Naga (Water Serpent)

In India (and Tibet), serpents were seen as sacred since time immemorial. It is said that the ancestors of the serpents originated from the primeval ocean, long before the creation of the earth. Serpents are the yogi’s protectors. They possess wisdom and magical powers and guard the magical jewels.



Strictly speaking, a nightmare is not a bad dream but the state of awareness of sleep paralysis (see: sleep paralysis). The inability to move causes fear. Additionally, in this state (mostly dorsal position) the breath can become shallow and the blood can become poor in oxygen. There is a certain center in the brain which triggers alarm, in form of panic, under these conditions. In the intermediate state between sleep and waking, dreamlike perceptions can occur, in which the subconscious – out of panic – creates illusions of outside entities attacking.



Od is another term for ether, Chi, Prana, bioplasm, fluidal.

The term "Od" was coined by Karl Freiherr von Reichenbach. Reichenbach was a chemist, natural scientist, industrialist and discoverer of creosote and paraffin. He did very thorough research on polar emanations of objects and persons with the help of the observations of "sensitive people".



see "Ida"



When hearing of polarity in an esoteric sense, we are thinking instantly of a polarity of good and evil – due to the fact that we are influenced by Christianity. In Tantrism, polarity isn’t viewed so much from a moral-ethical point of view. According to Tantra, polarities are frictions which are – due to their dynamics – forming the creation and the inherent happenings. Iconographically, they are represented as a couple that is complementary.



Indian term for consciousness in the sense of "perceiving life". Instead of purusha, it is mostly the deity "Shiva" which is used in the records. In this representation, it is Shiva who withdraws into himself, not longer recognizing the outer world (creation) and dwelling in a state of pure consciousness (Shiva in meditation position).



Fire serpent/ serpent-fairy with half-human appearance.



Rebirth. According to Tantric teachings, a person can have different personality traits than in former life when being reborn. A part of the psychic mistakes and impurity are being cleaned in a next incarnation through a combination with various remainders of former incarnations. This means that a next incarnation is not a hundred percent continuation of a former incarnation, but a combination out of an reservoir of personality traits from different lives.


Sleep paralysis

While we are asleep, there is a safety mechanism which prevents us from physically performing the movements which we make in our dreams. This is what causes the inability to move one’s limbs in this state. Normally, while dreaming we do not feel our physical body. But there are exceptions, in which some persons can enter a state between sleep and awake. When this happens, on one hand the sleep paralysis is still active, but on the other hand the normal thinking begins to work. In this case the person realizes that he or she cannot wilfully control the body, which often causes panic.



In Tantric Yoga, Shakti contains all aspects of energy, motion, dynamics and body. In a cosmic aspect, Shakti is represented by the all-mother, Mahadevi, Parvati etc. Any female deity is in fact the Shakti (the creative, visible and shaping aspect) of a male deity. Shakti can become manifest as a quality within the whole range of compaction, beginning with the finest spiritual appearance (most subtle matter) down to the earthly in human being (densest matter). Energetically and functionally, this means that different appearances of Shakti become manifest within the scale of chakras, beginning at the root with the earthly (Muladhara Chakra) up to the head chakras, in which the highest cosmic appearances become apparent.

In depth psychology (after C. G. Jung), Shakti can be understood as personified libido resp. as Anima, as well.



In archaeological discoveries in Mohenjo Daro and Harappa (5000 years old), the god Shiva or his early form is seen represented in a sitting yoga position (apparently a jungle deity). The inscriptions mention the term Minakanna, which hints to an old yoga tradition. In former times, yogis were called Minas, which was referring to their ascetisism and self-discipline. In those times they lived in caves, and – sometimes – they still do so today.

According to the belief of Tantra, Shiva is the creator and sustainer of the world – and the one who will dissolve the world again. From him, the creation is born and also ends, just as if it was his breathing cycle. This "breathing cycle" of arising and dissolving is a process which applies to every individual. If this process is completed, one dwells in the Shiva consciousness beyond time and space – practically identical with the Nirvana. Becoming one with the all-encompassing unity of Shiva is the goal of all the ascetic disciplines of the sadhus and yogis. In asceticism, this becomes apparent in their way of life through a "leaving of mundane attachments" (non-attachment, lack of possessions) and symbolically through diverse attributes of death.


Silver cord

The term was actually firstly mentioned in the Old Testament, Ecclesiastes (Preacher) 12:6. Thus, the term "silver cord" has established.

Eccl. 12:6, 12:7 (The Bible, New Revised Standard Version): 12:6 - "before the silver cord is snapped, and the golden bowl is broken, and the pitcher is broken at the fountain, and the wheel broken at the cistern … " 12:7 - "and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the breath returns to God who gave it."

Eccl. 12:6, 12:7 (The Bible, New International Version) 12:6 - "Remember him – before the silver cord is severed, and the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, and the wheel broken at the well …" 12:7 - "and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it."

"Silver cord" refers to a cord-like connection between the material body and the fluidalastral emanation. The etheric or fluidal body contains the astral body; strictly speaking it is the astral body – but with a part of the person’s denser fluidal energy still adhering to it. While being in this etheric state, the silver cord simply acts as a link between this adhering energy and the fluidal energy which remained with the person’s physical body. When changing into the astral state, the fluidal energy is drawn back to the physical body through the silver cord and the astral body can move freely. This is why the silver cord can never be seen in pure astral states.



Sometimes used in the sense of Amrita. Originally, though, Soma referred to a mysterious potion which brought a state of consciousness similar to enlightenment.


Subtle matter

A term used for any form of "matter" which does not belong to the physical (material) sphere. It is a very imprecise term and is especially used when a person does not determine a certain kind of matter (which would be e.g. etheric, astral etc).


Sympathetic magic

Sympathetic magic means a connection between magician, target person and a power (which may be an egregore, psychogon etc.) which is directed towards the target person. This connection is achieved with the help of objects that are connected to the target person (hair, photos etc). The term "sympathetic" does not necessarily indicate a positive intention, but refers only to the fact of interaction and connection between the targeted person and the "copy" of the person stated by the object (usually a doll or puppet). While the voodoo practice of attaching a person’s photo to a doll has the purpose to harm this person, the practice of "puppet magic" has the purpose to help the target person.

Description of puppet magic, taken from: The Mystica - Puppet Healing

Puppet healing, or puppet magic as it is frequently called, is another form of sympathetic magic. The puppet represents the sick or injured person which the practitioner, or practitioners, wish to help or heal. The ultimate goal is to secure a complete cure for the person.

The first procedure in puppet healing is the construction of the puppet. The person for whom the puppet is being made is constantly kept in mind during the construction (see Visualization). First, two cloth outlines of the persons are cut out. The outlines are then sewn or embroidered together except for an opening which should be left at the top of the head. Next the puppet is decorated or marked with special characteristics (such as a mustache if it represents a man possessing a mustache, or long hair if it is for a woman with long hair) that resemble that person. These can be marked or embroidered on the puppet as well. Also there should be marked the person’s astrological signs, including the Sun, Moon, and rising Sun symbols. The puppet should represent the person as closely as possible. Also, since this puppet is being use for healing purposes the afflicted area can be marked. For incidence, if the person is recovering from surgery an incision can be marked on the puppet to indicate the surgery. This will attract the practitioner’s attention to the afflicted area. If the person should have an injured leg, foot, or arm, they could be marked.

Next fill the puppet with the appropriate herbs that will help the healing process and then sew up the opening at the top. When possible lay the puppet on an altar and/or in a circle. Using visualization see the circle being filled with a white light which is the goodness and love of the Goddess and the God which surrounds the puppet and it through it and the practitioner is channeled to the person. The practitioner may perform any of the healing techniques which have been described on the puppet knowing that the person that it represents is partially or completely healed.


Tantrism, Tantra

Originally, Tantras (or Agamas) refers to a post-Vedic literary genre of the second century A. D., but which came to thrive in the 7th/ 8th century at the earliest. Its views, ideas and practices became characterizing aspects of Hinduism and later Buddhism – especially the Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana within the Mahayana tradition).


Tantric Yoga

Characteristics of Tantric Yoga are: representation and visualization of spiritual principles through sexual symbolics, the polarities active and passive, resp. male and female. It is assumed that two principal forces form the universe through their interaction (an idea which can be found in the oldest world views – e. g. churning of the ocean of milk through the polar powers of gods and demons).

The harmonic interaction between those prime forces is expressed through the representation of Shiva and Parvati (see Shiva, Purusha, Shakti).

Important elements of the exercise system:

  • Chakras
  • Nadis (subtle energy channels)
  • Kundalini
  • Mudras (positions of the body), breathing techniques, visualizations, Mantras (words of power), Yantras (symbolic images)



The word "Yidam" (in Sanskrit: "Ishta-Deva") consists of the words "Yi" and "Dam". "Yi" means "spirit" and refers to the disciple’s wish to achieve enlightenment. "Dam" is a kind of promise of the Buddha aspect to ensure enlightenment. In Indian Tantra it is not called "Buddha aspect" but "deity". There are male and female Yidams, but beyond a world which is split into two poles, it actually makes no sense to speak of "female" and "male". This means that, referring to their qualities, all Yidams are equal. Still, male or female illustrations and appearances are used, because the subconscious shows a stronger emotional reaction to them as to abstract symbols. In Buddhism, the teacher or the disciple choose a suitable Yidam. In Maha Yoga it is the other way round: the disciple is chosen by the deity.

The realization of the Yidam practice has three states:

1) Meditating on the Yidam.

2) Encountering the Yidam’s appearance.

3) Merging and becoming one with the Yidam – this is a state, and the visual and bodily aspects are dissolving in favour of this state of consciousness.



There are several disciplines of yoga. Recently, similar practices of other cultures are termed "yoga" as well (Taoist Yoga, Tibetan Yoga etc). Most yogis practise several types of yoga in combination and with different emphases, depending on individual preference.

Compared to Hinduism, yoga looks deeper into the question of being. On the highest level, the yogi learns that all manifestations of creation – deities inclusively – are illusion. The true being cannot be described (neti neti – not this, not that). In its purest form this is teached in Advaita Yoga (yoga of non-dualism).


Yogi/ Yogini

A person which is practising yoga and that is experienced in this field.


© Alfred Ballabene (Vienna) translated and complemented by Corra