Beginning in one of the most fertile periods of American rock music, Spirit created some of the most memorable music of the past three decades, outlasting many pop music trends along the way. With its eclectic musical mix of rock, jazz, blues, and folk influences, Spirit was one of the premier West Coast rock bands to emerge during the late 60s. Although the band never reached superstar status, it has maintained a dedicated following. Spirit’s musical activities came to a premature and tragic end with the accidental death of leader and guitarist Randy California in 1997.
The story of Spirit began at the folk club, The Ash Grove, in the early 60s. The Ash Grove hosted traditional artists such as Doc Watson, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and The Carter Family. The owner of the Ash Grove frequently brought artists to the home of his teenaged nephew, Randy Wolfe, an aspiring guitarist. In 1965, Wolfe’s stepfather Ed Cassidy was the drummer in another of the Ash Grove’s regular artists, the blues band The Rising Sons, which featured Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder.
Members include Mark Andes , (b. February 19, 1948, member c. 1967-71, 1975), bass; Matt Andes (member c. 1976-1996), guitar; Rachel Andes (member 1996), vocals; Randy California , (b. Randy Craig Wolfe, February 20, 1951, Los Angeles, d. January 2, 1997, drowned, Molokai, Hawaii), guitar, vocals; Ed Cassidy (b. May 4, 1923), drums; Jay Ferguson , (b. John Arden Ferguson, February 5, 1947, member c. 1967-71), vocals; Barry Keene (member c. 1975), bass; Larry Knight (member c. 1973-78), bass; John Locke , (b. September 23, 1943, member c. 1967-72, 1975, 1996), keyboards; Steve Loria (member c. 1970s-96), bass; AlStaehely (memberc. 1972), bass, vocals; J. Christian Staehely (member c. 1972), guitar.
Formed c. 1967, in Los Angeles; released debut album Spirit on Ode, 1967; appeared in and scored film The Model Shop, 1969; disbanded c. 1971; reformed c. 1973; formed Potato Records, 1978; formed W.E.R.C.C.R.E.W. Records, c. 1990s; disbanded c. 1997.
Awards - R.I.A.A. Gold Album Certification, Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, c. 1976.
Address: Record Company—Spirit/W.E.R.C.C.R.E.W., P. O. Box 655, Ojai, CA, 93024.
By the end of the year, Cassidy had left the Rising Sons, and began sitting in with Wolfe’s new folk-rock band The Red Roosters, with guitarist Jay Ferguson, bassist Mark Andes, and vocalist Mike Fondiler. The Roosters disbanded in 1966 when Wolfe’s family moved to New York City. Wolfe later described losing his guitar during the move as “a stroke of luck”, as he met Jimi Hendrix at Manny’s Music Store. Hendrix dubbed Wolfe “Randy California” and invited him to join his band Jimmy James and the Blue Flames.
Soon Hendrix went to England to form the Experience, and Randy back to California. At a love-in in Hollywood, Randy and Ed Cassidy ran into former Red Roosters Ferguson and Andes. They reformed, adding pianist John Locke and called the band Spirits Rebellious after the book by Khalil Gibran. They soon shortened the name to Spirit. The band, its musical mentor Barry Hansen Tradio DJ Dr. Demento] and families moved into a big yellow house in Topanga Canyon, California to rehearse.
Spirit played clubs around Los Angeles and auditioned for record companies early in 1967. Producer Lou Adler signed Spirit to his new label Ode Records. Spirit’s self titled debut album begins with a series of enthusiastic shouts by the band members before launching into the insistent ensemble playing of “Fresh Garbage”; Spirit’s sound reflected the many influences of each band member and their abilities to fuse them into a cohesive sound.
While Spirit reached the Top 40 of Billboard’s Album Chart, the band needed a hit single. California was up to the task with “I Got A Line On You”, the leadoff track to 1968’s The Family That Plays Together. An insistent guitar riff propelled the single to number 25 on the BillboardCharts. The album found the band further refining its sound and reflecting its concern for the spiritual well-being of humankind in its lyrics.
Spirit appeared in and scored parts of Jacques Demy’s film The Model Shop in 1969. This activity caused the band to lose focus during recording sessions for Clear. Randy California recalls in the Time Circle (1968-1972) liner notes, “The album itself was an afterthought in that we were working on the soundtrack to the movie. …So of all the albums, that was the least concentrated effort of the group…” Despite that humble summation by California, Clearboasted many strong tracks, including “Dark Eyed Woman”. The band’s fortunes were damaged by a radio tip sheet report that its single “1984” was “too political” for AM radio play, halting its progress in the charts.
Most damaging for Spirit’s career in 1969 was a management decision to send the band on a radio promotion tour instead of appearing at Woodstock, right before Randy California’s old friend Jimi Hendrix. California recalled in Clear’s liner notes, “You can imagine how we all felt watching Woodstock on the 5 o’clock news knowing we should have been there.”
Recording sessions for Spirit’s fourth album were delayed when California fell from a horse and fractured his skull. After much delay, Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus was released late in 1970. The album featured Spirit’s most structured material to date, put together to form a cohesive statement. Disheartened by the lukewarm reception it received, Spirit disbanded in 1971, with Ferguson and Andes forming the group Jo Jo Gunne. After an unsuccessful solo album, California quit the music business and relocated to Hawaii.
Ed Cassidy and John Locke attempted to revamp the group for 1973’s unsuccessful Feedback. Eventually California returned to the fold, and Spirit recorded an album, Journey Through Potatoland, that remained unreleased until 1981. Touring enabled the band to finance further recording sessions which led to a contract with Mercury Records in 1975 and the albums Spirit of 76 and Son of Spirit. 1976’s Farther Along featured John Locke and Mark Andes for the first time since Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, while Future Games was a bizarre, science fiction inspired solo album.
Spirit continued to record and tour throughout the 1980s. The 90s have seen a renewal of interest in Spirit’s early work, culminating in Randy California’s assistance with deluxe reissues of the first four Spirit albums. Yet Spirit would not remain a name from the past. The band contributed a new track, alongside the most innovative rock artists, to a benefit CD for the English magazine Ptolemaic Terrascope when it was in financial trouble. California Blues, the most recent Spirit album was released on the band’s W.E.R.C.C.R.E.W. label. The lineup features California and Cassidy with guitarist Matt Andes, brother of former bassist Mark, and his daughter Rachel on vocals.
Spirit’s career came to a tragic end on January 2, 1997, when Randy California was body surfing in Hawaii with his 12 year old son Quinn. Caught in a rip tide, Randy was able to push his son to safety but was dragged away by the waves. His body was never recovered.
Spirit, Ode, 1967, reissued Legacy, 1996.
The Family That Plays Together, Ode, 1968, reissued Legacy, 1996
Clear, Ode, 1969, reissued Legacy, 1996.
Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, Epic, 1970, reissued Mobile Fidelity, 1992, reissued Legacy, 1996.
Feedback, Epic, 1972.
Best of Spirit (rec. 1967-73), Epic, 1973.
Spirit of’76, Mercury, 1975.
Son of Spirit, Mercury, 1975.
Farther Along, Mercury, 1976.
Future Games (A Magical Kahuna Dream), Mercury, 1977.
Live, Potato, 1979.
The Adventures of Kaptain Kopter and Commander Cassidy in Potatoland (rec. 1974), Rhino, 1981.
Spirit of’84, Mercury, 1984.
Rapture In The Chambers, I.R.S., 1989.
Tent of Miracles, Dolphin, 1990.
Time Circle (1968-1972), Epic, 1991.
Chronicles, W.E.R.C.C.R.E.W., 1992.
Potatoland, W.E.R.C.C.R.E.W., 1992.
Live At LaPaloma, W.E.R.C.C.R.E.W., 1992.
California Blues, W.E.R.C.C.R.E.W., 1996.
The Mercury Years (rec. 1975-1977), Mercury, 1997.
“Cages”, from Succour, A Terrascope Benefit Album, Fly-daddy, 1996.
(by Randy California), Kapt. Kopter and the (Fabulous) Twirly Birds, Epic, 1973.
(By Randy California), “American Society”, POT 6 EP accompanying Ptolemaic Terrascope Issue 6.
Joynson, Vernon, Fuzz, Acid, and Flowers, Borderline, 1995.
Billboard, February 3, 1968; September 27, 1969; February 13, 1971; April 29, 1972; July 19, 1975; September 15, 1984.
Crawdaddy, March 19, 1972; May 14, 1972.
Creem, November, 1976.
Jazz & Pop, March, 1971.
Melody Maker, February 7, 1970; June 10, 1972; March 31, 1973; April 23, 1973; July 12, 1975; September 18, 1976; March 18, 1978; September 9, 1978; May 9, 1981.
Ptolemaic Terrascope, Issue 3; Issue 4; Issue 23.
Rolling Stone, March 4, 1971, August 14, 1975; January 1, 1976.
Variety, February 7, 1968; October 22, 1969; April 19, 1972; September 8, 1976; September 15, 1976.
Additional information was provided by W.E.R.C.C.R.E.W. Records.
Primitive terms used to designate spiritual reality, such as the Sanskrit atman, the Hebrew rûaḥ, the Greek πνε[symbol omitted]μα, and the Latin spiritus, originally referred to air as breathed from the lungs; the soul left the body at death almost as air escaped from the mouth. This primary meaning is retained in the expression πνε[symbol omitted]μα Ψυχικόν (animal spirit) found in Greek medical treatises such as those of Galen, and used in medicine and philosophy to signify a fluid and vaporous material element dispersed from the heart or brain throughout the body, and accounting for vital interactions. This use was made common by Renaissance philosophers such as G. Cardano (De subtilitate 14.585), B. telesio (De rerum natura 5.13, 17),F. bacon (De digitate 4.3; Historia vitae et mortis, Intentions, 1), and R. descartes (Les Passions de l'âme 1.10, ed. Adams and Tannery 11:334–335); it remained in common use until the 18th century.
As employed in philosophy, spirit means any reality that in its nature, existence, and activity is intrinsically independent of matter, is not subject to determinations of time and space, is not composed of parts spatially distinct from one another, and is, or is related to, an original source of such activities as are centered on being under the universal aspects of truth, goodness, and beauty. Such a notion is analogical, capable of being verified in different beings in different ways and to different degrees. These differences may bear on the mode of subsistence (complete or incomplete), on the degree of independence from matter (perfect or imperfect), or on the manner of exercise of the activities characteristic of spirit.
For some thinkers, spirit is primarily identified either with reality as a whole in its inner nature (spiritualistic monism), with an objective order of transcendent realities (Platonism), or with impersonal and collective realms of being (values, group-spirits).
Christian Concept. For those of the Christian tradition, spirit is always personal and subjective, and all other manifestations of spirit can be reduced to their source in the person. Within this tradition, the radical and essential manifestation of spirit has been variously singled out as: creative activity, self-consciousness, interiority or subjectivity, intelligence, reason, knowledge of universals, love, freedom, and communication (dialogue). These are activities by which the presence of spirit may be known, and they furnish a clue to the nature of spirit in itself as a form of subsistent being.
Christian thought also recognizes three main kinds of spirit: (1) the human soul, incomplete in its mode of subsisting and extrinsically dependent on the body; (2) pure finite spirit, i.e., the angel, perfectly subsisting and independent of matter; and (3) Absolute Spirit, or God, infinite, utterly pure, and fully actual being (subsistent existence) without any limitation. Man's primary apprehension of these forms of spirit is gained through self-knowledge. The spiritual being most proportionate to his way of knowing is his own soul, manifesting its nature through activities that are immediately present to his consciousness. His knowledge of other spiritual realities is in turn based on such knowledge (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, C. gent. 3.46).
Human Spirit. The spirituality of the human soul can be discerned from its characteristic intellectual activities of understanding and judgment, from its voluntary activity, and according to some, from its objectivating of such activities in permanent external forms.
Regarding intellectual activities as such, it should be noted that all knowledge implies a degree of immateri ality, of superiority over every merely material manner of receiving forms. Yet the transsubjectivity of knowledge, by which the knower is identified psychically with the known precisely as it is other than the knower, is found also in sense knowledge and is not of itself evidence of spirituality. Sense knowledge is characterized by reference to time and space and to the external appearances of things and, of itself, is entirely directed to action; it has a primarily biological function, since it attains its objects precisely as they act on the animal. Thought, on the contrary, transcends such limitations, for it is not centered on self or on objects seen merely as useful or harmful to the knower. It implies a power of being present to other beings in a purely objective way and is open to all possible modes of being. It attains things not simply in their biological reference to the knower but as in themselves, in their interiority and intimacy.
Understanding. Evidence of such superiority to sense knowledge is found in understanding, the manner of knowing that is proper to the intellect. Here the concept is obtained by abstraction, without the aspects of "this, here, now," and refers to the quiddity of things, so that the meaning of the word and something of the nature of the things known are grasped. Understanding is free from the relativity of sense; it has an absolute character, and it alone can make sense knowledge objective. It can know what perception is, distinguishing it from other activities as well as from its object.
Objects known as to their essential nature, and as freed from the particularity of their concrete manner of existing in the world, are attained as universals—called such because what is represented in the concept is predicable of many things that, though differing individually, are of the same nature. The concept exhibits a specific kind of being, an essence, and may be predicated of each and all the members of a class by identity, whereas no individual may be predicated of another. Moreover, thought can know what is meant by abstract and universal.
Not only the manner of knowing, but also the kind of objects known by thought, shows the superiority of intellect to sense. Man can know relations precisely as they are relations (or kinds of order), objects that cannot exist in reality (logical intentions, such as genus), and even negations (nonbeing) or privations (evil and blindness). He forms concepts of thought, substance, and cause that say nothing of the outward or spatiotemporal appearances of things. He can think about such immaterial realities as truth, goodness, and virtue. Above all, he can know things as real, as having determinate natures, as sharing the fundamental characteristic of being, the primary aspect under which everything is known by mind. Man is unique in this relation to other things, to the world as a whole, which phenomenologists describe as his universal horizon.
Judgment. Understanding leads to the more perfect act of the intellect, judgment, by which the knower returns to the object known in its concrete and existential reality. One can distinguish here (1) intentional judgment, bearing on an object distinct from the knower and his act of knowing, and (2) reflexive judgment, bearing on either the act itself or on the knower.
As the primary object of understanding is being as essence, the primary object of judgment is being as existent, since existence, as actualizing actuality, is adequately attained by the mind only in the act of judging. It is this prerogative of the intellect, its power to grasp existent being as such, that is its essential activity and the principal and sufficient evidence of its spirituality. The explication of such knowledge is carried out (with constant recourse to experience) through the use of first principles, formulated in dependence on the primordial grasp of being. The interpretation of experience by means of such principles gives rise to the sciences, in which a further mental activity is employed, that of reasoning. All these activities are proper to man and point to his spirituality. Among the sciences, metaphysics stands out as supremely witnessing to the spirituality of man; it is no accident that philosophers who see no essential difference between the souls of men and of animals inevitably deny the validity, or the meaningfulness, of metaphysics as the scientific knowledge of being as such. It is metaphysics alone that can justify man's knowledge of the existence of God. The fact and the object of such knowledge clearly show its spirituality.
The intellect, centered on being as such, can know its own act (which is a being) and thus arrive at some knowledge of its own nature as well as of its own existence and of that of the ego (see reflection). It can know the relation of its act to its object, its power to attain that object as it is in itself, and thus know truth and error. Man can know himself as a subject, as a subsistent source of spiritual acts that attain being as such. He is, as M. Heidegger insists, that being in which being becomes conscious of itself and whose inner nature is to be an affirmation of being (Sein und Zeit [Halle 1927] 12–15).
Voluntary Activity. The will reveals the same openness to being in all its universality that one finds in the intellect. Man can love all that shares in, or is thought to share in, the goodness that is consequent upon being as such. It can tend to others as others with that pure and disinterested activity proper to human love, as best appears in the power to treat another human being as another, in his own intimacy and interiority, that is, as a person, and to love God in and for Himself.
Man as intelligent and loving is a person; the inter-personal relationships of communication, dialogue, and encounter ("I-Thou"), through which he lives as a person, show his distinctive spiritual nature. Because he can love goodness in all its fullness, he is free with regard to all that is only to a limited extent good and he has access to the world of values. As intelligent and free he can direct his actions to ends that are preconceived and deliberately chosen; his activity is marked by rational finality.
The actualization of value is possible to man because he is free; it is incumbent upon him because, being free, he is responsible for his actions. The free and responsible guidance of his life in accordance with values consciously known and accepted raises his activity to the domain of morality, where man is the subject of rights and duties and is ruled by law. As a person he can enter social groupings on various levels. The distinctive character of his spiritual activity shows itself in what one may call its perfectional trend, since in contrast with his biological life fixed within definite limits, no limits can be set to his spiritual perfection in knowledge, art, morality, and love. This is true above all in regard to moral perfection, by which man's spiritual nature is at once most evidently signified and most completely attained, especially when his existence is ennobled by religion through adoration of God.
Objective Spirit. It is doubtful that distinct evidence of spirit can be found in what M. scheler and N. hartmann call objective spirit, namely, the world of opinions, outlooks, and attitudes shared by many persons in common, in matters of religion, law, politics, morals, taste, and art; an impersonal spirit, in the sense in which one here understands spirit, is a contradiction.
What W. dilthey calls objective spirit is better named objectivated spirit by Hartmann. It signifies things (e.g., sounds, books, stones, and canvases) on which spirit has engraved its signature, as in language, literature, plastic and musical works of art, monuments, tools, arms, utensils, myths, philosophical systems, and codes of law. These are the external depositaries of the spiritual activities referred to above and imply reference to spirit both as to their origin and as to that for which alone they have meaning. culture and civilization betray the presence of the spiritual element in man's being; they are the voice of spirit recorded in history, a voice that can be heard only by spirit. One may also appeal to history itself as showing signs of providential guidance (St. augustine and J. B. bossuet) or also of rational pattern (G. vico,J. G. von herder, and G. W. F. hegel) pointing to human or to divine activity.
Angels. The conviction, expressed in many religions, of the existence of spiritual beings that mediate between God and man, finds support in the teaching of many philosophers. Of the ancients it will suffice to quote Aristotle, who posits beings separate from all matter, not subject to alteration, enjoying an excellent and eternal life, as movers of the heavenly bodies (Meta. 1073a 13–1074b 14; Cael. 279a 19–23). St. thomas aquinas argues that the perfection of the universe, in order to manifest more completely the ways in which the Creator may be imaged, demands the existence of pure spirits (ST 1a, 50.1, 3). Among contemporary writers one may refer to Eugenio D'Ors (1882–1954) in Spain, who held that the world of angels is the most authentic one created and that man tends to the state of angels as to perfection (Introduccion a la vida angélica, Madrid 1941; El secreto de la filosofia, Barcelona 1947). (see angels)
Absolute Spirit. The supreme objective evidence for the existence of spirit is that which moves the mind to conclude to the existence of god, who alone can ultimately explain the origin of finite forms of spirit.
Of the characteristics of the universe that have been regarded by philosophers as pointing to the existence of spirit, characteristics that find their full explanation only in reference to a Creator, the one that has been stressed is the order of the universe—the rational design apparent in the harmonious interrelation and interaction of the bodies that compose one system, and of their movements (see universe, order of). Closely connected with this order is the finality, internal and external, apparent in living beings. Philosophers such as F. W. J. von schelling found evidence of spirituality in such natural phenomena as polarity (recalling the subject-object opposition of consciousness), artistry (natural objects as embodying ideals), and evolution toward higher forms. Others, such as I. Kant, marveled at the adaptation of the world of nature to the exercise of moral activity.
The rationality of the universe is most stressed by the idealists. What is most acceptable in their theories is that they point to the undeniable fact of a deep affinity between mind and the whole material universe. Since that universe is actually knowable, it must be somehow proportioned to mind; and this can ultimately be explained only by postulating that both mind and matter have a common source in the intellectual activity of the Creator. The recognition of this fact, however obscure, lies at the root of the well-nigh universal fact of religious worship among men, a fact that bears eloquent witness to the existence of spirit in man and in his creative source.
See Also: god, proofs for the existence of; soul, human; immortality; spirit (in the bible); spirit, modern philosophies of; spiritism; spiritualism.
Bibliography: s. strasser, The Soul in Metaphysical and Empirical Psychology (Pittsburgh 1957). w. a. m. luijpen, Existential Phenomenology (Pittsburgh 1960). b. miller, The Range of Intellect (London 1961). m. f. scheler, Man's Place in Nature, tr. h. meyerhof (Boston 1961); On the Eternal in Man, tr. b. noble (New York 1960). j. de vries, La Pensée et l'être, tr. c. de meester de ravenstein (Louvain 1962). a. marc, L'Etre et l'esprit (Paris 1958). k. rahner, Geist im Welt, ed. j. b. metz (2d ed. Munich 1957). h. conrad, Die Geistseele des Menschen (Munich 1960). m. f. sciacca, ed., L'Anima (Brescia 1954).
[a. j. mcnicholl]
Spirit is a complicated, nebulous term extending from the sacred and holy to the depths of the human. It captures human consciousness of meanings and purposes extending beyond individual lives, and directs people to the boundaries of self. Spirit may also refer to the supernatural or immaterial, the divine or sacred, an animating principle, a property of the person, mind or consciousness, the process of emergence or coming into being, an orientation to ultimate mystery, and the ethical or transformative. There is a Christian tradition, from Irenaeus in the second century to Erasmus in the sixteenth, that views the human person as a tripartite complex of spirit, soul, and body, but there is an alternative sense in which these are varying orientations of a unitary person. With reference to the individual, spirit and soul are used almost interchangeably, although spirit tends to be less individuated, and the soul more tied to the religious.
Theological developments begin with the ancient understanding of spirit as life. The Hebrews used the word ruach to refer to divine breath, and the word nephesh to refer to a product of the spirit, translated as "person" or "soul." The Greek term pneuma, meaning "breath of life," is translated as "spirit" of life and breath and is distinguishable from the images and ideas of the psyche, translated as "soul" or "mind.". This sense of spirit may also include the "new life" of prophetic inspiration, art, poetry, and courage.
The ancient Hebrews understood humans to be unitary persons, which is also consistent with the early Epistles of the New Testament. The medieval Christian philosopher Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225–1274) drew on Aristotle's understanding of form as inseparable from substance, seeing the human spirit inseparable from its corporeality. A disembodied soul may be theologically problematic, both in failing to fulfill the total life of a person and in negating of the body. A deeply immanent view of the relation between spirit and life is also found in modern theologies like that of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955), Karl Rahner (1904–1984), and Wolfhart Pannenberg (b. 1928). On this view, evolution itself is the continuous development of matter towards spirit, nature becoming conscious of itself in human beings, systems open to the future.
The idea of spirit is restricted to mind in early Christian syntheses, equivalent to the Latin word mens for Augustine of Hippo (354–430 c.e.). He sees the self as transcendent in all of its functions, including memory and understanding, and his emphasis on private experience contributed to the inwardness institutionalized by Christianity. During the seventeenth century, René Descartes argued that mental faculties are largely explainable as bodily activities, except for conscious thought. To account for consciousness, Descartes posits a nonmaterial dual substance, causally interacting with the brain, knowable only through privileged and incorrigible introspection. Contemporary solutions to the mind-body problem recognize an inescapable dependence on mind upon brain, but have not yet explained subjective experience.
A tension remains between a view of spirit as internal or as external to the human mind. Pannenberg warns that while the identification of spirit with mind may be a human projection, its Christian opposition often results in irrational subjectivism (p. 127). Spirit as the principle of life may be generative of mind, more than an individual's brain function, but a set of interiorized relationships. Even a scientific understanding of mind may require more than individual neurobiology, but it is not clear whether spirit requires a further step, since human invention and divine inspiration are not mutually exclusive.
Human spirit has also been equated with self-transcendence, intimately tied to human freedom and development. The theologies of Teilhard de Chardin and Paul Tillich (1886–1905) treat spirit as a dimension of life that takes one's biological, individual self-awareness into the personal and communal, with ecstatic acts of self-transcendence overcoming existential anxiety. According to Rahner, human minds enable the abstraction by which people move beyond themselves to a horizon of meaning. If spirit is about the meanings that transcend human finitude, it can encourage an obliteration of a bounded and autonomous self. The theological idea of kenosis captures this idea of emptying the self into a larger vessel. The spirit is then constituted by stepping beyond the boundaries of self, in relating to others and, as Rahner writes, to the "unutterable mystery of life we call God" (Grenz and Olson, p. 240).
Science and religion
In the dialogue between science and religion, spirit is a bridging concept between the ultimate metaphysical concerns of religion and their embodiment within human experience. The sense of spirit as an immanent creative force finds expression in process theology's use of developments in physics to understand even matter as including an experiential interior. This sense is also seen in the use of chaos theory, complexity theory, and autopoesis to understand the work of spirit. Ian Barbour sees spirit in the emergent novelties of evolution, including unique activities at higher levels of organic complexity.
Most uses of spirit in the science-religion dialogue have been in making sense of the evolutionary biology of human mental and moral lives, including both an opposition to theological dualism and an understanding that a reductive materialism would explain away much of what is important about human life. The beacon for theological anthropology is the view that spirit, soul, person, and mind are emergent properties of evolved human biology. Under this view, persons are psychosomatically unitary organisms, characterized by an inner life of extreme complexity, unpredictability, and novelty in which the evolution and development of complex nervous systems bring autonomy, identity, and will into being. The human spirit is a contingent product of a hierarchy of biological functions on which personal existence depends, and which gives rise to capacities like morality and religious experience. In theologies of nature like those of Ian Barbour, Arthur Peacocke, and Philip Hefner, human personal and social lives are intimately related to the rest of natural creation by virtue of evolutionary emergence and novelty, mind and spirit. Religious neuroscientists, such as Donald Mackay, Malcolm Jeeves, and Fraser Watts, also emphasize a complementarity or compatibilism between neuroscience and theology. While higher-order properties physically depend on their components, relationships between the emergent unit and its elements is neither identical with nor derivable from them. Philosophically oriented thinkers, such as Nancey Murphy and Philip Clayton, describe spiritual and mental events as "supervenient" over neurophysiological ones, and as both multiply realizable and multiply constitutable. Warren Brown and John Teske suggest further that human spirituality is neuropsychologically constituted only in the context of personal relationships, and in the shaping of human brains by cultural forces.
A range of naturalistic theories of religious experiences ties them to patterns of emotional attachment and to neural structures as in Eugene d'Aquili's life-long program, synthesized in The Mystical Mind (1999). Disciplines like prayer and meditation have documentable physical effects, and a whole literature exists on the psychological benefits of spirituality. A tradition of research in the psychology of spiritual development, of which James Fowler's Stages of Faith (1981) is the best known, also connects the interdependent self of mature ego-development to the breakdown of self/other boundaries sought by spiritual and ethical traditions. At higher levels of development, spirit is really not about the individual, nor is it otherworldly, but still strongly opposes a materialistic ethic.
See also Aristotle; Augustine; Descartes, RenÉ; Dualism; Freedom; Holy Spirit; Human Nature, Religious and Philosophical Aspects; Kenosis; Materialism; Neurosciences; Physicalism, Reductive and Nonreductive; Pneumatology; Process Thought; Self; Self-transcendence; Soul; Spirituality; Supernaturalism; Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre; Thomas Aquinas; Whitehead, Alfred North
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brown, warren s.; murphy, nancey c.; and malony, h. newton, eds. whatever happened to the soul? scientific and theological portraits of human nature. minneapolis, minn.: fortress press, 1998.
d'aquili, eugene, and, newberg, andrew b. the mystical mind: probing the biology of religious experience. minneapolis, minn.: fortress press, 1999.
drees, willem b. religion, science, and naturalism. new york: cambridge university press, 1996.
flanagan, owen. the science of the mind, 2nd edition. cambridge, mass.: mit press, 1991.
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grenz, stanley j., and olson, roger e. twentieth century theology. downers grove, ill.: intervarsity press, 1992.
hefner, philip. the human factor: evolution, culture, and religion. minneapolis, minn.: fortress press, 1993.
pannenberg, wolfhart. toward a theology of nature: essays on science and faith, ed. ted peters. louisville, ky.: westminster john knox press, 1993.
peacocke, arthur. theology for a scientific age: being and becoming—natural divine, and human, 2nd edition. minneapolis, minn: fortress press, 1993.
rahner, karl. foundations of christian faith. new york: seabury, 1978.
sacks, oliver. "neurology and the soul." new york review of books, november 20 (1990): 44–50.
spong, john shelby. why christianity must change or die: a bishop speaks to believers in exile. san francisco: harper, 1998.
teske, john a. "the genesis of mind and spirit." zygon 36, no. 1 (2001): 93–104.
john a. teske
"Spirit" is a religious concept in American history and culture that cannot be reduced to any one definition—its meanings are too various. At the beginning of the twenty-first century these meanings proliferate across multiple boundaries: theological, psychological, and philosophical, as well as institutional, ethnic, and gender. In the broadest sense, definitions of spirit have at their core a focus on persistent, existential questions. What is the "really real"—that is, the nature of reality and of the universe? Is there someone or something, energy or presence, that brings the universe into being and sustains it? Does that something lie outside the boundaries of the cosmos in other realms of reality? Or does it dwell within nature as an inextricable part of the whole? Of what substances and forces, energies and organizing principles is it made up? What substances and forces, energies and organizing principles make up the human being? How do we as human persons most fruitfully name the sources of our experiences of depth or transcendence, "the More," as William James put it?
Responses to questions such as these emerge from the plurality of religious and secular worldviews that are at home in America at the beginning of a new millennium. The very variety of worldviews testifies to the fact that temptingly terse definitions of spirit, such as "incorporeality," "consciousness," "energy," "animating principle," "life source," or "inner dimension" offer a starting place for understanding the complexities of what spirit means. But they do not convey the density of meanings or the metaphysical and cultural struggles that have accrued around "spirit" in a religiously plural society that is also secular and consumerist.
In spite of the religious pluralism of present-day America, in a society whose historically dominant religious tradition is Christianity, "spirit" has strong, persisting connections with the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Christian Trinity. Diverse and even competing interpretations of the Holy Spirit have acknowledged to greater and lesser degrees their foundations in the Hebrew concept of ruach, "breath of God," and the Greek pneuma, or soul (pneumatology is the branch of Christian theology devoted to doctrines of the Holy Spirit). It is the function of the Holy Spirit in Christian theology to pervade, sustain, and sanctify the universe, to be the bridge between God and the world. The most versatile in form of the divine persons (wind, fire, dove, etc.), the Spirit is known to break forth in unpredictable and innovative fashion. The revivals that are so much a part of American religious history—the First and Second Great Awakenings of the mid-eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the holiness and pentecostal movements of the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries through the charismatic renewals in Catholicism and Lutheranism in the 1960s and the political prominence of the religious right in the 1980s and 1990s—all of these are attributed by followers to the workings of the Spirit. This emergence is often accompanied by theological and political conservatism—back to the basics, back to the time of apostolic origins.
Paradoxically, invoking the Spirit also continues to serve as a strategy to counteract institutional or social restrictions. Numberless women have asserted a call by the Spirit to preach when their religious traditions have forbidden them to do so. Many prophets and founders of new religious movements report visitations of the Spirit as the source of their new revelations and the basis for claiming religious authority. In fact, new religious movements often come into being at least in part based on dissatisfactions with prevailing understandings of spirit and its relationship to matter.
In the mid-nineteenth century, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) and other Transcendentalists speculated about the extent to which nature reveals or conceals and distorts spirit. They looked to the human heart and within nature itself as sources of wisdom and truth on the assumption that spirit dwelt within each. In response to the growing primacy of science as the arbiter of truth and fears about human abandonment in a mechanistic and soulless universe, Emerson's contemporaries, the nineteenth-century Spiritualists, sought knowledge of life after death. Based on messages from the spirits of the dead, they claimed the reality of a spirit world whose laws ran parallel to those of the material world and that could be learned just as surely as the laws of chemistry and physics. Joseph Smith (1805–1844) and those who followed the Mormon religion he founded engaged in developing a commonsense theology undergirded by an understanding of spirit as eternally existing invisible matter. Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), the founder of Christian Science, broke the growing tension between spirit and matter by declaring her loyalty to Spirit as the only reality and matter as ultimately an illusion that was the cause of sin, suffering, and death.
A leap to the beginning of the twenty-first century reveals ever more diverse groups of Americans struggling to find understandings of spirit and access to it that:
- are coherent with post-Newtonian, even post-Einsteinian, knowledge about how the universe operates;
- take into account discoveries in psychology and the biological sciences about the human person, such as the fact that we share more than 99 percent or our DNA with chimpanzees;
- can accommodate the multiple religious worldviews available, from Eastern religions to beliefs about spirit and spirits among Native North Americans to theories about healing energies abroad in the universe;
- recognize the manifold manifestations of religious vitality and creativity that lie outside institutional and academic boundaries;
- have as their goal not only individual fulfillment and healing but also the good of particular communities in the larger society and the well-being of the entire planet.
All of this ferment and creativity have fostered the contemporary emphasis on spirituality. Attention to this phenomenon suggests a pivotal question: To what does the "spirit" in "spirituality" refer? To press that question is to discover that it is nearly impossible, or at least not satisfying, to speak of spirit or spirituality in the abstract. One is compelled to turn immediately to particular kinds of spirituality and to pursue what "spirit" might or can mean in any of them: Jewish feminist spirituality; Tibetan Buddhist spirituality; Roman Catholic creation spirituality; Celtic spirituality; New Age spirituality; womanist spirituality; gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender spirituality; Lakota spirituality.
The list, if not endless, is very, very long. If spirituality in general refers both to a way of seeing the world and a way of acting on what one sees, definitions of "spirit" point in more particular directions to the very heart of a tradition or worldview or practice and to the acknowledgment that distinctions are required. The "emptiness" of Buddhist spirituality is not the equivalent of the Spirit in Christian spiritualities, for example, nor are the multiply described energies of the New Age movement reducible to one source. In other words, if "spirit" is to be understood in contemporary America, its meanings must always be sought out in a particular context. Spirit is always embodied in the beliefs and practices of a particular community. If, as the old saying goes, spirit bloweth where it will, it nonetheless cannot be felt or defined until it becomes the stuff of human experience.
Then again, even after an insistence on the plural nature of "spirit," and its propensity to take many forms, it must be acknowledged that there are efforts in American culture to articulate understandings of spirit that stress its unifying power. Many philosophers and theologians who place themselves in the lineage of early-twentieth-century American pragmatism believe that there exists an underlying American spiritual culture that has contributions to make to public life and the flourishing of society in all its diversity. They tie the meaning of "spirit" to possibilities of transcendence in nature that are, finally, finite and do not presuppose absolute meaning or any kind of underlying, unifying reality that exists independent of natural forces or human experience and efforts at transformation.
What becomes apparent in a brief survey of the meanings of spirit is that the power of this concept to inspire creative efforts at definition has not been diminished—not by the desupernaturalizing of the cosmos, the rejections of metaphysical absolutes, the competing worldviews of religious pluralism, or challenges to the house of institutional authority. "Spirit" continues to conjure images of transcendence in human experience and to lend its intimations of "the More" to American culture.
See alsoDevils, Demons, and Spirits; Feminist Spirituality; Masculine Spirituality; New Age Spirituality; Spirit Guides; Spirit Possession; Spiritual Path; Spiritualism; Spirituality; Transcendence; Trinity.
Albanese, Catherine L. Nature Religion: From the Algonkian Indians to the New Age. 1990.
Anderson, Victor. Pragmatic Theology: Negotiating the Intersections of an American Philosophy of Religion andPublic Theology. 1998.
Bednarowski, Mary Farrell. New Religions and the Theological Imagination in America. 1989.
Brown, Warren S., Nancey Murphy, and H. Newton Malony. Whatever Happened to the Human Soul? Scientific and Theological Portraits of Human Nature. 1998.
Miller, Timothy, ed. America's Alternative Religions. 1995.
Van Ness, Peter H. Spirituality and the Secular Quest. 1996.
Mary Farrell Bednarowski
Spirit, American rock group. Membership: (from 1967 to 1971), Mark Andes, bs. (b. Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 19, 1948), Randy California (Randy Craig Wolfe), gtr. (b. Los Angeles, Calif., Feb. 20, 1951; d. near Molokai, Hawaii, Jan. 2, 1997), Ed Cassidy, dim. (b. Chicago, 111., May 4, 1923), Jay (John Arden) Ferguson, voc. (b. Burbank, Calif., May 10, 1947), John Locke, kybd. (b. Los Angeles, Calif., Sept. 25, 1943).
Spirit played an eclectic mixture of rock, jazz, and other forms of popular music on a series of critically acclaimed, moderate-selling singles and albums, including the Top 40 hit “I Got a Line on You” and the gold album Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus. After 1971 the group for the most part consisted of California, Cassidy, and various bassists, occasionally joined by other original members, and continued to record and to perform internationally until California’s death.
California was the son of Bernice Pearl, whose brother ran the Ash Grove nightclub in Los Angeles. In the early 1960s, Cassidy, a veteran jazz drummer, played at the Ash Grove with his own group, The New Jazz Trio, which included Locke, and with the folk-rock group the Rising Sons, which included Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal. He married Pearl, becoming California’s stepfather. He began sitting in with California’s group, The Red Roosters, whose members included high school friends Andes and Ferguson, in 1965. In 1966, Cassidy, Pearl, and California moved to N.Y., where the 15-year-old California joined Jimi Hendrix’s band Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, who were performing in Greenwich Village; Hendrix dubbed him Randy California to distinguish him from another Randy in the band. When he acquired a manager who wanted to take him to England, Hendrix asked California to come along, but his parents felt he was too young and refused permission.
Late in 1966, Cassidy, Pearl, and California returned to Los Angeles, where Cassidy and California resumed working with Locke under the name Spirits Rebellious, taken from a 1948 novel by Kahlil Gibran. By the spring of 1967, Andes and Ferguson had joined the group, whose name was shortened to Spirit. In August they signed to Ode Records, a start-up label founded by Lou Adler, previously the head of Dunhill Records and producer of The Mamas and the Papas; the label was distributed by Epic Records, a division of the major label CBS Records. Adler produced the group’s debut album, Spirit, released in January 1968; it spent seven months in the charts, and a single, “Mechanical World” (music and lyrics by Mark Andes and Jay Ferguson), also charted.
Although the hybrid musical style of the first album was well received critically, the group tried for greater commercial appeal by releasing the hard- driving rock song “I Got a Line on You” (music and lyrics by Randy California) as a single in October 1968, in advance of their second album, The Family That Plays Together, which appeared in December. The single became a Top 40 hit, while the album spent more than four months in the charts. In January 1969 the group scored and appeared in director Jacques Demy’s film The Model Shop. Their third album, Clear, was released in July and stayed in the charts three months.
Spirit tried to regain its commercial momentum with the release of the ominous “1984” (music and lyrics by Randy California) in December 1969, but although the single reached the charts, it did not become a substantial hit. Work on the fourth album was interrupted in April 1970 when California was injured in a riding accident. In the meantime, Adler parted ways with the group, whose contract was transferred to Epic, with David Briggs, known for his work with Neil Young, taking over as a producer. A new single, “Animal Zoo” (music and lyrics by Jay Ferguson), appeared in July and barely made the charts. The fourth album, Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, finally appeared in November 1970 and spent three months in the charts while the group toured to promote it.
In June 1971, Andes and Ferguson announced that they were leaving Spirit to form a new group, Jo Jo Gunne, with Andes’s brother Matt(hew) as guitarist and drummer Curley Smith. Jo Jo Gunne went on to release four albums on Asylum Records through 1974, the first of which, Jo Jo Gunne (1972), featured the Top 40 hit “Run Run Run” (music and lyrics by Jay Ferguson and Matthew Andes). California also left the group, moving to England and, despondent, attempting suicide. Cassidy and Locke added twin brothers guitarist Chris (John Christian) and bassist Al Staehely and continued to perform as Spirit. This lineup recorded a new album for Epic, Feedback, which was released in February 1972 and spent three months in the charts. Cassidy and Locke then left Spirit, and the Staehely brothers briefly performed under the name.
Meanwhile, Spirit’s record catalogue continued to be active. Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus sold steadily, finally going gold in 1976. Epic reissued The Family That Plays Together in mid-1972 and saw it return to the charts. In mid-1973 the label released a compilation, The Best of Spirit, that spent two and a half months in the charts, along with a charting single “Mr. Skin” (music and lyrics by Jay Ferguson), originally released on Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus; a two-disc reissue of the Spirit and Clear albums also reached the charts in 1973.
Randy California returned to action in November 1972, releasing a solo album, Kapt. Kopter and the (Fabulous) Twirly Birds, on Epic, with such sidemen as Cassidy, bassist Larry “Fuzzy” Knight, and, performing under a pseudonym for contractual reasons, former Jimi Hendrix Experience bassist Noel Redding. The album failed to chart, but California, Cassidy, and Knight began performing under the Kapt. Kopter name and recorded a follow-up album, originally titled The Adventures of Kaptain Kopter & Commander Cassidy in Potatoland, that Epic rejected. The trio did a European tour billed as Spirit, after which California retired to Hawaii and Cassidy assembled a new Spirit lineup for live performances.
In January 1974, California and Cassidy reunited and began to perform as Spirit with bassist Barry Keene. Signed to Mercury Records, they released the double album Spirit of ’76 in May 1975; it spent two months in the charts and was followed in October by Son of Spirit, which charted briefly. With the demise of Jo Jo Gunne, the Andes brothers joined Spirit, as did Locke, for a third Mercury album, Farther Along, released in June 1976, and even Ferguson turned up for a July 31, 1976, concert marking a full reunion of the original group. Nevertheless, Farther Along only charted for four weeks.
Mark Andes joined Firefall, later becoming a member of Heart; Locke also left, and Ferguson launched a solo career, hitting the Top Ten in 1978 with “Thunder Island” (music and lyrics by Jay Ferguson). California and Cassidy continued to work as Spirit, releasing Future Games (January 1977), which reached the charts.
Spirit formed its own Potato Records label to release Live in 1979, and Rhino Records belatedly released Potatoland in 1981; it reached the British charts. California worked largely as a solo act in the early 1980s, but in early 1984 the original lineup of Spirit reunited to record Spirit of ’84, consisting largely of remakes of their old songs, for Mercury; the album did not chart. The Spirit album Rapture in the Chambers, released by I.R.S. Records in 1989, credited California, Cassidy, and Locke as group members and Mark Andes as a guest artist. Tent of Miracles, released by the Dolphin Record Group in 1990, featured California, Cassidy, and Mike Nile. Chronicles, 1967–92, was released on the group’s own W.E.R.C. C.R.E.W. label and featured recordings from their original demo tape as well as later material. The new California Blues album was ready for release when California accidentally drowned in 1997 at the age of 45.
Spirit (1968); The Family That Plays Together (1969); Clear Spirit (1969); Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus (1970); Feedback (1972); Farther Along (1976); Future Games (1977); Live Spirit (1978); Journey to Potatoland (1981); Spirit of ’84 (1984); Rapture in the Chamber (1988); Tent of Miracles (1990); Time Circle (1968–72) (1991).
spir·it / ˈspirit/ • n. 1. the nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions and character; the soul: we seek a harmony between body and spirit. ∎ such a part regarded as a person's true self and as capable of surviving physical death or separation: a year after he left, his spirit is still present. ∎ such a part manifested as an apparition after their death; a ghost. ∎ a supernatural being: shrines to nature spirits. ∎ (the Spirit) short for Holy Spirit. ∎ archaic a highly refined substance or fluid thought to govern vital phenomena.2. [in sing.] those qualities regarded as forming the definitive or typical elements in the character of a person, nation, or group or in the thought and attitudes of a particular period: the university is a symbol of the nation's egalitarian spirit. ∎ a person identified with their most prominent mental or moral characteristics or with their role in a group or movement: he was a leading spirit in the conference. ∎ a specified emotion or mood, esp. one prevailing at a particular time: I hope the team will build on this spirit of confidence. ∎ (spirits) a person's mood: the warm weather lifted everyone's spirits after the winter. ∎ the quality of courage, energy, and determination or assertiveness: his visitors admired his spirit and good temper. ∎ the attitude or intentions with which someone undertakes or regards something: he confessed in a spirit of self-respect, not defiance. ∎ the real meaning or the intention behind something as opposed to its strict verbal interpretation: the rule had been broken in spirit if not in letter.3. (usu. spirits) strong distilled liquor such as brandy, whiskey, gin, or rum. ∎ a volatile liquid, esp. a fuel, prepared by distillation: aviation spirit. ∎ archaic a solution of volatile components extracted from something, typically by distillation or by solution in alcohol: spirits of turpentine.• v. (-it·ed, -it·ing) [tr.] convey rapidly and secretly: stolen cows were spirited away some distance to prevent detection.PHRASES: enter into the spirit join wholeheartedly in an event, esp. one of celebration and festivity: he entered into the spirit of the occasion by dressing as a Pierrot.in (or in the) spirit in thought or intention though not physically: he couldn't be here in person, but he is with us in spirit.out of spirits sad; discouraged: I was too tired and out of spirits to eat or drink much.when the spirit moves someone when someone feels inclined to do something: he can be quite candid when the spirit moves him.the spirit world (in animistic and occult belief) the nonphysical realm in which disembodied spirits have their existence.PHRASAL VERBS: spirit someone up archaic stimulate, animate, or cheer up someone.ORIGIN: Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French, from Latin spiritus ‘breath, spirit,’ from spirare ‘breathe.’
A basic concept in the Western religious traditions, in which it is often contrasted to the material aspect of existence. The Hebrew word ruah (spirit) originally meant "breath" or "wind," and the association of spirit with breath and wind is also found in the Greek word pneuma. In the Christian tradition, biblical interpreters generally argue for one of two views of the spirit. Some see the spirit as synonymous with the soul and as the principle of all life, including the intellectual, moral, and religious, and believe that when the body dies the soul returns to God, who made it. Others tend to see a distinction between the spirit and the soul. They believe the soul (psyche) is the principle of animal life and is possessed by humans and animals alike. The spirit, in contrast, is that which humans possess which is not shared with other animals—a moral and an immortal life, a conscious relationship to God. In this view, the soul and body die, but the spirit survives and goes into God's presence. This latter view has tended to dominate within Spiritualism.
The Spirit in Spiritualism
In Spiritualism spirit is variously defined as the inmost principle, the divine particle, the vital essence, and the inherent actuating element in life. It is seen as manifesting through its association with protoplasm and dwells in the astral body, which Spiritualists identify with the soul, the connecting link between the spirit and the physical body.
At death the connection between the spirit and the physical body is severed, and the spirit finds no ordinary means of manifestation. Spirits appear to be cognizant of space, although not conditioned by it. The same applies to time. Past, present, and future cease to exist for the spirit in the earthly sense.
Spiritualists do not see spirits in the role of Peeping Toms, keeping watch on the most private actions of the living, but have concluded that they are partly conscious of the thoughts and emotions directed toward them from the Earth.
They also maintain that spirits cannot hold communion with the living if the mental attitude of the latter is not receptive to spirit communication. In the mid-nineteenth century chemistry professor Robert Hare was told by alleged spirits that there were peculiar elementary principles out of which spiritual bodies were constructed that were analogous to material elements; that spirits have bodies, with a circulation and respiratory apparatus; and that they breathe a gaseous or ethereal matter that is also inhaled by men, beasts, and fish.
William Denton a geology professor noted for his research in psychometry, wrote: "The vision that can see through brick walls and distinguish objects miles away, does not belong to the body; it must belong to the spirit. Hundreds of times have I had the evidence that the spirit can smell, hear and see, and has powers of locomotion. As the fin in the unhatched fish indicates the water in which he may one day swim, so these powers in man indicate that mighty realm which the spirit is fitted eternally to enjoy."
Crawley, A. E. The Idea of the Soul. New York: Macmillan, 1909.
De Vesme, Caesar. A History of Experimental Spiritualism. 2 vols. London: Rider, 1931.
Driesch, Hans. History and Theory of Vitalism. New York: Macmillan, 1914.
Hare, Robert. Experimental Investigation of the Spirit Manifestations. New York, 1856.
Heysinger, Isaac. Spirit and Matter Before the Bar of Modern Science. London: T. Werner Laurie, 1910.
Hyslop, James H. Contact With the Other World. New York: Century, 1919.
King, J. H. The Supernatural. 2 vols. London, 1892.
Mead, G. R. S. The Doctrine of the Subtle Body in Western Tradition. London: J. M. Watkins, 1919.
——. Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death. London: Longmans, Green, 1903. Reprint, New York: Arno Press, 1975.
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A. breath of life;
B. vital principle;
C. incorporeal being XIII; immaterial element of a human being;
D. vital power XIV;
E. †any of four substances so named of the alchemists XIV; liquid of the nature of an essence XVII. — AN., aphetic of espirit, OF. esperit, (also mod.) esprit — L. spīritus breathing, breath, air, life, soul, pride, courage, (in Chr. use) incorporeal being, f. spīrāre breathe.
Hence spirit vb. (arch.) enliven, inspirit XVI; carry away mysteriously XVII. spirited (-ED2) XVI. spiritism XIX. So spiritual pert. to the spirit XIV; ecclesiastical XIV. ME. spirituel (later latinized) — (O)F. spirituel — L. spīrituālis; see -AL1. spirituality XV. — (O)F. or late L. spiritualism XIX. spirituous †spirited XVI; ardent, alcoholic XVII. — F. spiritueux or f. L. spīritus.
Spiritualism is a system of belief or religious practice based on supposed communication with the spirits of the dead, especially through mediums; the word in this sense is recorded from the mid 19th century.
the spirit is willing (but the flesh is weak) someone has good intentions but fails to live up to them; with biblical allusion to Matthew 26:41.
the spirit moves me I am inclined to do something, a phrase originally in Quaker use with reference to the Holy Spirit.
Spirit of St Louis the name of the single-engined monoplane in which Charles Lindbergh made the first solo transatlantic flight in 1927.