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Shaivism - Concepts and symbols - Spirit and matter



Type of Spiritual Experience


Shivaism is based on animism.  In other words, there is an understanding that every single physical thing one ‘sees’ with one’s eyes is animated by spirit, a set of functions.  In effect, we see the hardware, but it only works because of the software.  It is thus exactly the same as every other mystic movement in this respect.  There is ordered energy [spirit] and unordered energy [chaos].  There is also the shared understanding that the ‘hardware’ is not actually ‘hard’.   ‘Matter’ is simply spirit at a lower vibrational level and on a wavelength that can be perceived by the physical senses.

Matter is energy ordered in space time.  If we imagine a computer system continually producing a log of the events as the software executes, the sum of all the logs is ‘time’ and matter is being continually created and then dissolved by activity.  In other words, matter only exists because there is activity, programs executing.  Once the animation stops, the physical world disappears!


A description of the experience

Paolo Santarcangeli - Le Livre des Labyrinthes

For all people who live in harmony with the consensus of the powers which surround them. . . many animals are sacred, and therefore, in this sense, everything is sacred: sky, earth, fire, air. .The whole life of … man is a succession of ‘magical’ operations aimed at creating an 'affective tie' between himself and the world around him, 'to bind', 'to put a spell on', 'to conjure up' the powers of nature.

Danielou, Alain  “The man who finds his proper place in the natural world becomes conscious of spirits, or aspects of the divine to be found in mountains, springs, rivers and forests”…

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Communing with nature