Since I learned that my task for this part of the year would be to “free spirits” I have been trying to absorb as much information as possible about this subject. I have been listening to related podcasts from the British Society of Dowsers, from books on the subject of spirit rescue, and from discussions with friends who have experience of these subjects from a lifetime spent studying the paranormal. At this point I feel confident about providing some background theory that will make the remaining posts of the year make much more sense!
Let me start by elucidating a paradigm that might help to frame the definitions that I will provide below. If we consider that in this earthly plane of existence a person is composed of three elements:
- physical body,
- energy body (aura)
- animating force (animus)
I believe that in the next level of existence, when the body dies, what remains are the animating force and its energy body together. There is then a further disintegration of the energy body, leaving the animating force to move freely, unconstrained, and with its original animating energy only remaining.
I must point out that I am not using the Jungian context for the word ‘animus’. In that context the animating force is split into two forms – anima and animus. Anima is the female force within the male, and animus is the male force within the female. I am using the term in a gender-neutral context, and when I say ‘animus’ I am referring to its more original meaning of being an animating force.
Each of these forms – body, aura and animus – will now be explained more fully.
The body is the strongest of the forms – integrated to such an extent that it is present, physical, and perceivable by other humans.
Far from simply being a wrapper to consciousness, the body has an intelligence of its own which is an automatic form of intelligence. When our body works without conscious direction it is employing this bodily sentience. Psychologists attribute this to the ‘subsoncscious’ which they believe to be an aspect of mind that is hidden from our waking consciousness, however they have not demonstrated yet how this intelligence works, or how it can be contacted.
One form of body intelligence is “proprioception” – your sense of where your body is. Here’s a link to an article explaining its importance in the world of dance. Body intelligence, awareness and memory may be linked to the phenomenon of “phantom limb” cases, where limbs that have been removed may still trigger psychological responses in the brain, and may also record spacial placement despite having nothing physical to sense with.
The aura is less integral than the body – it must be, because if it were more coherent then it would be integral to the body and would die with it. This is not what happens, as reported by a great many mystics, seers, yogis, mediums, clairvoyants and people who have had near-death experiences. Such a weight of evidence demands a better concept to validate such experiences.
Let’s consider that the aura is a diffused subtle energy form that is invisible to normal perception, although visible to some as a coloured form extending beyond the confines of the body. I have been trying to see this for several weeks and have recently done so – with practise this mysterious force can be seen in the peripheral vision. The aura can be detected by most people at a subtle level, and we all react to it daily when interacting with other humans when we recognise someone’s “personal space”, which is a measurement of the edge of someone’s aura and its strength. If someone is generating a lot of energy their aura becomes more easily detected by those whom it touches or encompasses. Some say that it can be photographed using the Kirlian Photography method.
The intelligence and memory of the energy body is held within the human aura, perhaps in a holographic format. This is the space within which we store memories and in which we form our intelligence, out sentience, our perceptions. We create this store of knowledge, wisdom and attention via our bodily sensory organs. When those organs no longer exist, we are still able to see – such as when we perceive during our dreams. The sensory perception available in the dream state is not as acute as in our waking state because we are perceiving without the extra input of the physical sense organs, which add to the ability of our innate senses, clarifying, dividing, specialising, and extending their capabilities.
The energy body seems to have some degree of synaesthesia in that some perceptions are muddled, and sense perceptions are apt to moving between the normal senses. In some ways this allows a better perception, but when our mind attempts to understand the perception then the sense that is requested to report the effect may report ‘muddled’ or incomplete information. Thus, our dream body appears not to be able to distinguish things clearly in dreams, and sometimes we feel things rather than see, hear, smell or taste them.
Some say that the aura also reflects the health conditions of the host, and previous traumas (not necessarily from this current existence) can be perceived in this aura. Certainly it is possible for someone conscious of their subtle energy field to be able to manipulate their aura to extend or contract it, or to express a state of mind (in the form of colour) within the aura.
Finally there is the animus intelligence – the creative force and its “soul memory”, which is the memory of its former incarnations. The animus is impossible to perceive using human senses. Some psychics and mediums can make contact with an animus, but only if the animus is making an effort to be detected, otherwise the force is too diffuse to be recognised as an integral or independent entity.
The animus is a similar concept to that employed by the Spiritist and Spiritualist organisations in their description of Spirit. Here’s a definition from Allan Kardec’s book “The Spirits’ Book”:
Spirit – In the restricted sense of Spiritism, “spirits are intelligent beings of creation, populating the Universe outside the material world and constituing the invisible world“. They do not belong to a special creation, but they are the souls of those who lived on Earth or in other planets (spheres) and who leave their material envelope. (source: Spiritist Vocabulary)
In some cultures the animus is synonymous with the concept of the soul. That term has been so widely used and abused that I prefer to re-term the concept as Animus, because that establishes the idea that the thing that is being discussed is the animating force, the life essence that gives motivation, creativity and purpose to the being whose body it inhabits.
Properties of the Animus
Some of the properties associated with the Animus are the ability to travel outside of the body linked by a silver cord. There is also the ability to move, as though in a dream, beyond the normal boundaries of the earth-bound body’s perceptions of space and time. This is akin to the tribal shaman’s ability to travel in the spirit body, to step out into another world in order to save souls, retrieve knowledge and heal psychic wounds.
When I travel out of my body (the classic OOBE) I feel the contact with my physical body. It feels like bi-location – being in two places at the same time. I have a faint awareness of my physical self (much as one is aware of one’s own heartbeat) yet my awareness, my thinking self is elsewhere, travelling through impossible space and time contortions, being wherever and whenever I imagine that I could be. Here’s a link about how to make this happen for yourself.
In both astral travel and lucid dreaming there is an auric body with the Animus present. The physical body is left behind (or usually below) whilst an energy body goes ‘beyond ‘, empowered by the Animus. The link between the two world is maintained by the silver cord that links between planes of existence (I wonder if this is similar to the Near Death Experience “tunnel of light” if you are travelling inside the cord, rather than outside of it?)
The Animus is the sentience within all these forms – physical body, energy body and spirit. It is therefore the continuing force, the link between worlds, between existences too, some say. Despite its continuity it is highly flexible under the right conditions – able to move between forms with sufficient energetic will to make the shift. People have literally willed themselves to remain living, or to die – to make the switch between physical and energetic forms. It is the shaman, the druid, the magician who seeks to make this shift when required, rather than when circumstances insist upon it.
Let’s see now how these terms bring us neatly to a definition of the different forms of being that inhabit this world and the human Underworld. In my next post on this subject I will be explaining my understanding of human ghosts, shades and spirits.