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Remembrance of the Gods: What the Origin of the Term Soul in English Reveals

Origin of Soul and Spirit in English

In our English, the sawol (from saiwalōProto-Germanic origins), or soul, meant: life; animate existence; living being; the spiritual and emotional part of a being. Circa, 971, the term also referred to the “spirit” of a deceased person. The terms “soul” and “spirit,” became in the English, confusedly synonymous, and passed down to us today.

When the Scandinavians adopted Indo-European language, they used saiwaz to replace the vacancy of a term for ocean, which became the Old English term for sæ (“sheet of water”; sea). The sound and tones of saiwaz and saiwalo evoke a sense of the surface of a sea, pool or lake; and saiwalo is the quality of something both full and empty.

This concerns the doctrinal position of Theosophy on emptiness (śūnyatā), or the nature of the ultimate reality, as emptiness or fullness. Usually, these terms soul and spirit are confused, and few care of the difference, or whether the soul exists anyway. Yet, the origin of the term reveals the mode of thinking of ancient peoples like the Scandinavians, and the connection between the sacred and language, “lost in translation.” Saiwolo is the quality of the Spirit, we describe as the PROTEAN SUBSTANCE, spirit-matter, LIFE, or the “Spirit of the Universe” (Purusha-Prakriti), and the ONE REALITY. Those dual aspects in the conditioned Universe is represented by a sea, ocean, i.e., water.

The tone of the word, Saiwolo is meant to remind you of being on the surface of a sea, or lake, and of Spirit. 

These terms once invoked remembrance of the Gods and ELEMENTS.

Artist. Walter Crane

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