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 center (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).

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). Mostly, the term "out-of-body experience" refers to all kinds of states out of body (e. g. also the etheric state), whereas the term "astral travelling" is more specific.
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 can’t be recognized anymore (only contents of the experience are reported, but not the process and the origin of the phenomenon).

Subtle field around the human being, which can give information about health status 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.

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

In different religions, "consciousness" is referred to as "perceptive being". In the view of Tantra Yoga, consciousness can exist independently of a vehicle (= body) and is seen as the primal source of all existence. This principle is represented by Shiva (male). The life force inside of body and creation is called Shakti and often represented by a goddess or fairy.

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 Middle East, 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 a life in heaven in a temporary existence.
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. The origin of this personal deity may be different and mostly remains hidden.

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.
Its colour is light to dark grey. It does not need to be homogeneous 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/Fluidal body
These terms, historically put forth and both an unfortunate choice, refer to a denser subtle, energetic appearance of a human being. The term etheric body was characterized by the theosophists, especially by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831 – 1891) and by Charles Webster Leadbeater (1847 – 1934).
Paracelsus (Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim, 1493 – 1541) wrote about the "sideric body", which referred 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, fluid, fluidal.

False Awakening
"False Awakening" is the term for a state, in which, after classical view, we dream to get up and do all the things we usually do after waking up (like getting dressed etc.). In my opinion these aren’t normal dreams. It’s a different process: while thinking of getting up (or rather while we are subconsciously getting prepared to get up), one sets free the astral body and performs the usual morning activities automatically.
False Awakening can occur in all transitional forms between unconscious and fully conscious states. It can be induced through meditation and concentration so as to provoke an OBE.

Fluid body/Fluidal body
Is another word for the etheric body. The term was preferred by the French (Hector Durville).

Higher Self
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 (see also: inner structure of the human being).

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.

See "Spiritual Immersion".

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.

Is a Sanskrit term and originally means "coiled up". Kundalini is a force inside of the human being which can manifest itself in various forms – e. g. as an energy or as consciousness. The more evolved the person is inside, the purer and higher are the manifestations of this force.

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

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 centre 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.

Out-of-body experience. The term refers to the state in which the consciousness of the person is inside of the astral body or etheric body. The person can visit different astral planes, but always stays connected to the physical body and can return (see also: Astral Travelling).

A term used in parapsychology, established during the"Philip Experiment" in 1972 in Toronto, Canada. It defines a mental form existing for a longer period of time, which is created and controlled by a single person or a group. As the control of the psychogon happens unconsciously (resp. subconsciously), it seems to possess an own individuality, but in fact it is a marionette. Consciously created psychogons are possible as well (egregora, golem), but still they are pseudo-lives.

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.

Silver cord
The term was actually firstly mentioned in the Old Testament, Ecclesiastes (Preacher) 12:6 ("Remember him – before the silver cord is severed …"). Thus, the term "silver cord" has established.
"Silver cord" refers to a cord-like connection between the material body and the fluidal-astral 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.

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.

Spiritual Immersion
Can be understood as a kind of deep meditation, but in spiritual immersion, one is concentrating and focussing on one’s inside ("listening inwards"). The purpose of the immersion is to reach higher forms of consciousness within oneself, but without expectations and specifications from the ego. The key is to give oneself up to the divine consciousness and to be guided from inside.

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.).

Thought forms (Mental forms)
Manifold structures can occur in the auric periphery of a human being. Partly this phenomenon has a dynamical, fluctuating character. The common and established term for this is “thought forms”. The term was coined by Charles W. Leadbeater and Annie Besant, published in their book “Thought Forms”. The thought forms after Leadbeater represent preliminary stages of psychogons. They are short-lived, unconsciously built structures.

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 taught in Advaita Yoga (yoga of non-dualism).

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


© Alfred Ballabene (Vienna) translated and complemented by Corra