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What is a Spirit?

Spirit, according to folk belief, is the vital principle or animating power that exists within all living things. As recently as 1628 and 1633, both William Harvey and René Descartes believed that a “vital spirit” or “vital force” existed somewhere within the body, in a specific location, that animated the entire corporeal frame, much like the engine in a factory moves the machinery. The term “spirit” has frequently been used to refer to a supernatural person or non-physical creature, such as a demon, ghost, fairy, or angel. However, in traditional Islamic language, the term spirit (r) refers to only “pure” spirits and not to other unseen beings such as jinn, devils, or angels. Historically, the term “spirit” has been used to allude to a “subtle” as opposed to “gross” material substance, as seen in Sir Isaac Newton’s famous final paragraph of Principia Mathematica. The term “the Spirit” (with a capital “S”) refers especially to the Holy Spirit in English Bibles. The terms spirit and soul frequently overlap, and some systems assert that both survive physical death. “Spirit” can also refer to a “ghost,” which is a manifestation of a deceased person’s spirit. The term “spirit” is frequently used interchangeably with “awareness” or “personality.”

Cambiel Angel
Transpersonal psychology