About Etheric Studies

Tom Butler, 2007

What is Etheric Studies

Etheric studies is the study of psi  and survival phenomena as a system. Current practice is to view paranormal phenomena as impossible (mainstream science), as psi field and intentionality  (parapsychology) or as as psi and survival phenomena (etheric studies).

It is important to keep in mind that this term is a construct decided on by a few people. It is not an industry standard and is used here to provide a name to facilitate conversation.

In the same way, “paranormalist” is used here as a name to describe people interested in psi and survival phenomena. This, to distinguish them as a community of like-minded people.

A person who studies these phenomena with the intention of gaining understanding of their nature is said to be a paranormalist working in etheric studies.

It is up to you to adopt this nomenclature or to find a more suitable one. I would be grateful for any input that will improve these terms or provide better ones.

More Than Just Psi Phenomena

Even a cursory review of the scientific literature will show that survival of the personality after physical death (trans-survival), and an aspect of reality in which personality survives (the etheric) is not well studied by the scientific community. Even the field of parapsychology stops short of the study of survival as a possibility, tending instead, to study it as probable illusion. Parapsychology generally address psi phenomena as the existence of a psi field, how intentionality influences the field (psi functioning) and healing intention. Psi is seen as a human potential that does not require survival or things etheric to exist.

Based on current understanding provided by ITC, mediumship and implications of psi for the mind-body relationship, psi alone is only part of the picture.

The subjects of near-death experiences, reincarnation and out-of-body experiences are also studied in parapsychology, but typically only as a mental condition and seldom as possible evidence of survival.

There remains a substantial body of experiences, evidence–both anecdotal and from research–and logical gaps in mainstream and psi theory that require consideration. It is this “other information,” which is the focus of etheric studies.

Etheric-to-Physical Interface

If the study of reality were to be ranked from the etheric studies point of view, as is illustrated below, the physical aspect of reality would be just a subset of all of reality. Anything other than physical reality, that which is not considered physical, is etheric. There is some form of etheric-to-physical interface, and it is thought that the study of the psi field is closely associated with that interface.

In the Implicit Cosmology, reality  is modeled as consisting of life fields and the expression of life fields. Reality itself is modeled as a life field called Source. As such, it is the reality field and all of the elements in the reality field are either direct or indirect expressions of Source.  (See the Creative Process essay.)

The physical aspect of reality is one of those expressions, and as life fields entangled in an avatar relationship with a human, we express reality as we understand it. Here, it is important to note that the physical is seen as a collective creation in which we are both one of the creator personalities and experiencer.

Reality is modeled as conceptual in form and only experienced as objective because the mind is trained to experience it as such. Hints via various forms of transcommunication indicate that our sense of what is objective will evolve as we move on to other venues for learning.

With these considerations, the etheric-to-physical interface is seen as conceptual experienced as physical. Such physical characteristics as evolution and great planetary age are artifacts of how the physical was conceived. It is seen that worldview, which represents our personal reality, resists large changes, but is responsive to small, incremental changes. We create based on habit, so evolution of the physical is a reasonable artifact of how the collective learned to experience the physical.

Scope of Etheric Studies

Why the Name, “Etheric Studies”?

Mainstream science and parapsychology have largely ignored the study of ITC. In fact most of the people involved in the study of survival from the perspective of ITC are citizen scientists. As such, there is a definite difference in point of view amongst the various communities of interest.

It is always important in report writing and conversation to clarify which point of view is being used, and to take care not to seem to be speaking under cloak of academic authority. So, to facilitate conversation, a name was required to distinguish that part of the paranormalist community concerned with the study of survival.

One of the requirements for a name is that it is easy to use, not a new term and recognized by the average person. For instance, when someone hears the term, “things etheric,” he or she at least understands that the subject has something to do with the nonphysical.

Terms, such as “meta science” turn out to be too arcane and anything that is specific to ITC or any other subject of the paranormal would not accommodate the other aspects of these phenomena. “Empirical metaphysics” was a good candidate at one time, since the study is primarily based on research and objective examples, but again, the term sent people scrambling for a dictionary. Simplicity is important for a household term.

“Nonphysical” was tried for a while. It works okay, but it is something of a physical-centric term while all of the models are etheric-centric. Surprisingly, fewer people have indicated that they have even an idea of what is intended by “nonphysical,” while “etheric” is easily related to the early efforts to define the greater reality.[1]  Most people have been taught about aether in relationship with Greek philosophy in high school.[2]

It is interesting that even Albert Einstein speculated about the existence of a characteristic of space still best described as “ether.”[3] Even though the idea was set aside by later scientists, the need for an etheric characteristic of reality is often noted in quantum physics, although physicists will probably not be referred to as ether.

What Einstein called the “Universal Constant” seems to have been resurrected as “Zero Point Energy” in quantum physics. This differential between absolute zero energy and what is actually measured in a vacuum at absolute zero temperature my represent the etheric-to-physical interface–a good illustration of how important mainstream science is to etheric studies.

Surely a better term for this field of study can be found, but by now, “etheric studies” is fast becoming established and changing it would cause much lost time. It is thought to be best to settle on the current term for now and let circumstances lead us to whatever will become common usage as this field becomes established.

Paranormalist Community

A second term that has been needed is a name for the community of people who accept the existence of paranormal phenomena. Here, “paranormal” is used to describe phenomena associated with the psi field and survival. For the lack of a better term, and once again as a place-holder, “Paranormalist” is used on this website. As such:

I am a paranormalist

I am in the paranormalist community

My community of interest is etheric studies.

The paranormalist community is very different from the New Age community and does not concern religion; however, there is usually an overlap of interests for many terms. The New Age community has long been concerned with human potential, and of course, paranormalists are probably interested in their potential and may be religious. The only time I have noted faith-based thought in the paranormalist community is when people express what they have been taught without examining the “received wisdom.”

Who Studies the Etheric

Anyone attempting to understand the nature of survival is inadvertently involved in etheric studies. This is not necessarily because they want to be in etheric studies, but because that the current definition.

A mental medium or a person working with ITC is an etheric studies practitioner. A person who studies these subjects is an etheric studies researcher. A researcher may be a physicist or psychologist specializing in psi studies as a parapsychologist, but when studying the relationship between the medium and the etheric communicator, the researcher is working in the field of etheric studies.

The demarcation amongst physical, psi and etheric studies is dependent on the subject. For instance, a theory proposed by Alexander MacRae (personal converstations) to explain the mechanism of etheric to physical influence is that the physical property first influenced is the relative permeability of physical matter.[4] This hypothesis involves a conceptual influence organized by a person which produces a physical change. To evaluate this hypothesis, it is necessary to employ researchers with psychology, metaphysics, transcommunication and physics skill sets.

In a different example, a proposal that there is a field of subtle energy connecting people, is normally the domain of parapsychology (psi studies), yet when the question of how an etheric communicator influences that field, say via mediumship is studied, etheric studies must be considered. The distinguishing assumptions here are the parapsychologists preferred point of view that mediumistic messages are psi functioning only and the etheric studies point of view that they are (often) expressed by discarnate personalities.


As a term, etheric studies is a place-keeper until it has more popular acceptance or a more popular/useful one comes along. As a field of study, etheric studies and parapsychology should eventually merge, just both will likely eventually merge into the mainstream.

In the meantime, there remains an academic-layperson partition that defeats efforts by citizen scientists to collaborate with parapsychologists. As citizen scientists try and fail to find cooperation from parapsychologists, and as more one-sided research reports are published which include statements known to be wrong, naïve and/or harmful to the community, the partition becomes a “Do it yourself” signpost for citizen scientists.


  1. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Nothingness,”http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nothingness/,  Site reviewed: January 2007

  2. Plato, http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/glossary/plato.html,  Site reviewed: January 2007
  3. Einstein, Albert, “Ether and the Theory of Relativity, University of Leydon, 1920,http://www.tu-harburg.de/rzt/rzt/it/Ether.html, Site reviewed: January 2015.
  4. Relative Permeability http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/solids/ferro.html#c5,  Site reviewed: January 2015