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The Etheric Studies Cosmology

by Tom Butler

Updated September 2011



Worldview is a most powerful thing. It is the perspective from which each of us forms an opinion of our surroundings, and thus it is the mold in which we form our local reality. Everything in our experience is measured against this seemingly solid, absolute yardstick of judgment, even as this worldview evolves with our gathering maturity. Those of us who believe many metaphysical concepts are valid, and who have worked to incorporate them into our way of living, know that spiritual maturity grows within us as our worldview becomes more aligned with reality. This is not the reality of our world we seek to understand, but the greater reality that embraces this world and extends beyond our physical knowing.


Perhaps you know people who work with metaphysical concepts without apology and with little doubt in their validity. I expect these people express ideas that seem contradictory to you. For instance, they may express an absolute belief in life after death. Yet when asked for their proof, explain that they have faith in the immortality of personality . Have you decided they are deluded?


This is an important point I hope to clarify with a brief meditation to focus your recollection. After you have finished reading this and the next paragraph, I would like you to close your eyes and relax while you take a deep breath. Remember to hold this breath and feel the oxygen infuse your body with new energy. Slowly exhale, and then take another deep breath and allow your body to settle upon itself. Feel your neck muscles relaxing, your back curving to fit the chair. Allow the air to escape from your lungs, and as your eyelids relax, feel the energy of your breath go to that place in your head that seems to be the center of your relaxation. Relax.


Now I would like you to remember when you have heard someone express what you considered irrational New Age thinking. Perhaps you can remember someone say that Spirit came to them, or that they would send someone healing light. Can you remember something like this? Can you sense the sincerity in their voice? They believed what they said, didn't they? Did you notice that they spoke with the same sincerity others express when they say that they will pray for someone? Can you remember? Can you hear them and sense their sincerity? When you have finished, take another deep breath and sit up in your chair. Stretch and be active for a moment so that you will be alert.


The purpose of this exercise is to help illustrate that a substantial portion of Humankind believes in and successfully applies what I will describe here as metaphysical concepts. While they are widely held concepts, there is little organization to them as a community resource. What people know, they have haphazardly learned through reading and from collectives such as their church or New Age focused gatherings. Can you see the paradox in this? If these concepts are valid, then they are fundamental to human existence. Yet there has been little effort to codify the concepts into an ordered system or to help people find ways to apply them to improve their lot.


An exception to this might be the ancient wisdom schools. In the Hermetic tradition, I think Builders Of The  Adytum (B.O.T.A.) offers an important path toward spiritual maturity in a form which anyone with patience and who is self-motivated may follow. The Hermit, is from Key 9 of the Major Arcana in the Waite deck. Here is a good explanation. Think of the first 22 cards of the Tarot as an illustrated path toward spiritual maturity.


By the way, if you practice meditation, you will have recognized this exercise as a brief guided meditation. I asked you to participate in the exercise so that you might sense the potential of meditation, even as you encountered the ambiguity inherent in the terminology. Concepts, such as "center of relaxation" or "sensing," when referring to guided imagery, are intangibles that require you to accept your understanding of their meaning as a matter of faith. Most people arrive at this acceptance with the help of role models, and eventually, by learning to behave as if they understand the concepts. This exercise illustrates the central difficulty of codifying metaphysical terms. That is, it is very difficult to describe abstract terms without a vocabulary derived from shared experience.


A Standard Vocabulary


The study of metaphysics is assuming the mantle of an organized science. To be sure, it is not a hard science . . . yet. You will see though, that it has great potential to become a profound, practical discipline capable of guiding Humankind into a new era of personal understanding. Yes, this is a grandiose claim, but how else would you describe an area of study concerned with the nature of reality? Before this grand potential can be realized, however, considerable effort is required to bring metaphysics out of the darkness of esoterica and into the light of popular wisdom.

God and creator entities

In this cosmology, God is definitely not a father figure judging from his throne. God is considered a self-aware intelligence which is curious about itself and the results of its actions. (That could also be said of people.) The rest of reality is the result of God's attempt to understand itself.

As this model is written, God the Source or Prime Creator imagines a situation in which it might experience the reality it has created in operation. To know that situation, it must populate it with aspects of itself.

People do this as an exercise in imagination. For instance, if you have imagined yourself owning a new sports car, you would have created an imagined personal reality which is an aspect of your reality (but a subset of detail) and populated it with a 'little you' and other people you might need to complete the experience, such as your spouse  or a car dealer. The imagine little you is an aspect of you, for which you are a creator entity.

At the very least the hierarchy of personalities consists of God, you and little you. As we understand the cosmology, there are numerous rounds of expectation between little you and God, arguing that it is your creator entity to whom you owe a final report and not God.

Group consciousness: Virtually of the channeled communicating entities describe themselves as a group of personalities working together. There is some evidence that every personality is, in fact, an individualized point of view of a greater consciousness. The implication of this is that each of us may be simultaneously experiencing many venues of learning. It would then be focus of attention which determines which 'little me' a person considers "me."




Contrary to appearances, metaphysics is not about religion even though it has inherited most of its vocabulary from religion-based systems of belief. For this reason, central to the usefulness of metaphysics as a tool for enhancing human potential is the codification of acceptable terms and concepts. My work in describing a metaphysical cosmology, which I refer to as the Etheric Studies Cosmology, has shown this normalization of terms to be very important. This is especially true when professionals who have been trained in the scientific method are asked to speak to religious or New Age audiences. At issue is the diversity of worldviews. A person of science avoids words that are imbued with emotion or faith-based meaning while a person of religion will deliberately use such words. New Agers tend to select words that convey immediacy, making it seem as if nature were a sentient friend. Scientists tend to shun this view as mysticism or worse, escapism. The objective then, is to select words with meanings that can be agreed to by everyone, at least within the context of the Etheric Studies Cosmology.


My approach has been to define terms as they are first used and then to faithfully apply those terms in the context of their definition. A good example of conditional meaning in the Etheric Studies Cosmology is the name given the Prime Creator. Names for the Prime Creator, such as "First Cause," "Source" or "Creator Intelligence" are more acceptable to pragmatists, while religious leaders prefer "God" or "Infinite Intelligence." "Prime Creator" is used in the Etheric Studies Cosmology for any reference to the first cause of our reality. This term is less charged with religious connotation, and helps to keep the reader's focus on important principles, rather than the deity.


Another example is the word "spirit." This word is used in so many ways within religious and New Age communities that discussions about spirit are often reduced to confusing generalities involving vague references to unseen forces. True, a person who is well based in these cultures can generally capture the intended meaning from context. So yes, communication may be accomplished, but not to the degree necessary for codification. In the Etheric Studies Cosmology, "Spirit" with a capital "S" is reserved for an aspect of the Prime Creator believed to be responsible for the operation of Natural Law. When healing energy or energy from the Prime Creator is intended, I ask the religious community to conditionally accept the term "etheric energy" as a general concept, just as I ask the scientific community to conditionally accept the possibility that such energy may exist. "Spiritual" is used as a reference to things concerned with the Prime Creator.


You may think it naive of me to believe I can convince my readers to consider these concepts with an open mind by simply asking them to suspending judgment. My answer is to remind you that this is routinely done in science. In my experience, people of widely differing worldviews are open to consider most metaphysical concepts. It is the context in which these concepts are presented that causes problems. Once the vocabulary has been normalized and the demand for blind faith removed, disagreements tend to dissolve into simple differences in style. Consider meditation. It has religious origins, yet it has been embraced by the western world as a tool for improving health and for communion with the personality.


Etheric Studies Cosmology


At the very core of any worldview is a system of belief. In a religious context, this system of belief is codified in church doctrine. In the scientific community, it is codified in models, laws, hypotheses and the like. In metaphysics, this system of belief is codified in a cosmology that includes a genesis, an explanation of the relationship between personality and the Prime Creator, and a system of principles intended to explain the operation of reality.


The cosmology I propose here is intended to provide the foundation for a change in worldview without requiring a change in belief system. It is a hypothesis, and as such, it is a model intended to represent what is understood about reality. As you know, hypothetical models may be used to refine an initial understanding of reality, through iterative testing, to see how well the hypothesis predicts the operation of reality. Some may mistake hypothetical reality for truth, but that is not what is intended. Likewise, some may refuse to accept the possibility that a hypothesis may accurately describe reality and never make the logical leap from conjecture to application. Hypothesis is a tool that can lead to better understanding of reality. I ask you to neither accept the Etheric Studies Cosmology as truth, nor reject it as impossible. Above all, have fun with it and imagine . . . what if?


Here is a summary of the essential elements of the cosmology followed by a creation story intended to establish the initial condition of our reality. After that, I will focus on some of the more important elements of the cosmology, including a listing of principles. Finally, I will discuss implications of the Etheric Studies Cosmology and suggest ways in which it may be tested.


Essence of the Etheric Studies Cosmology Hypothesis


  • There is a prime creator personality.

  • The Prime Creator exists in a reality that has evolved as the spiritual maturity of its citizens has evolved.

  • Reality is continuous beyond the physical.

  • Reality exists as a dynamic response to the influence of intention on etheric energy.

  • Creation of reality continues.

  • The Prime Creator extended an aspect of Itself as a creator entity, known here as personality, with the instinct (urge or imperative) to fulfill a specific purpose and self-determination in how to proceed.

  • Personality's purpose is to experience reality, recognize underlying principles, understand the implications, and return to its creator entity with that comprehension.

  • Personality differentiates the nature of etheric energy according to its worldview, and emanate that energy into its environment.

  • The Prime Creator extended an aspect of Itself as a formative entity, known here as Spirit, with the instinct to fulfill a specific purpose and self-determination in how to proceed.

  • Spirit exists to enable the formation of reality based on images and intention held by personality.


Local reality is a component of a greater reality that has been imagined by one or more creator aspects responding to an imperative to understand the nature of reality. As an aspect of a creator entity, personality is a member of a group awareness or hierarchy, to which it contributes a unique understanding of the operation of reality.


Personality must enter into a symbiotic relationship with a physical body to exist in the physical aspect of reality. As described in The Unfinished Hypothesis: Comparing Personality-Body Models


As personality forms an image in its awareness, it gathers etheric energy to that image. Personality's intention or expectation for that image to become reality focuses this energy. This focused energy empowers Spirit, which is necessary to manifest the image as a component of reality. Spirit maintains these components as long as personality's attention remains focused on them.

A Note About Personality and Spirit

In the past, I have referring to "personality" as "Self." The intention has been to find a term indicating the essence of who we are which survives transition out of this lifetime. The above mentioned Unfinished Hypothesis will make that a little clearer.

The idea behind "Spirit" is to identify the intelligence which operates natural principles to manage the creation of what a personality intends. In Hinduism, this intelligence is known by the Sanskrit word for luminous beings responsible for the maintenance of the realm created by creator entities. In Western cultures, these entities are often referred to as nature spirits for the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms. For humankind, these entities are often referred to as guides or angels.

The point is that there are two branches of aspectation in this cosmology which begins with the intention of a source producing personality as the creator and experiencer and Spirit as the enabler and manager. The rest of the story is that there are thought to be many subsequent rounds of creation as each new aspect seeks the understand intended by its creator.




Predictions of the Etheric Studies Cosmology include:

  • The specific purpose for personal existence is to gain understanding about the nature of reality based on an inherited imperative. If a person does not initially understand the principles involved in an experience, the person will likely find further opportunities for understanding.

  • Natural principles involved in a lifetime experience are seldom understood at first encounter. Therefore, a person may choose to continue beyond an individual lifetime to gain understanding. This may be in venues for learning other than the physical. (In this context, imperfect understanding of these principles might be seen as the basis of Karma.)

  • The ability to modify local reality depends on the ability to focus attention, clarity of visualization, understanding of principles of nature and how well the person is able to behave in accordance with that understanding.

  • A person initially enters into this local reality with the collective understanding of nature held by a creator entity, but with a certain naiveté concerning the involved process. Therefore, individuals will exhibit varying degrees of spiritual maturity that bears little relationship to their physical maturity.

  • There is a difference in the nature of reality between a person's local reality and the creator entity's local reality. Communications must be possible across that difference.

  • A veil of forgetfulness must exist to cloud personality's recollection of nonphysical experience. Such a veil assures complete involvement with physical experiences. It must require a high degree of spiritual maturity to bridged this veil.

  • Physical death, which is transition out of the physical aspect of reality, will not automatically end personality's involvement with physical reality. Interaction between a discarnate personality and physical reality should be expected for some time after transition.

  • Personality must understand the unique characteristics of its local reality before it may return to its creator entity. Therefore, there should be cooperation amongst fellow physical and nonphysical aspects of that creator entity that aids personality in the pursuit of spiritual maturity.

So there you have the basic Etheric Studies Cosmology. It is a hypothesis. Reality is complex, and for a model of reality to be of any use, it must necessarily address many abstract subjects. Whatever the truth may be, whatever may lay hidden beyond, the one certainty is that there is more to reality than can be sensed with our physical selves. Is there a nonphysical reality? What if there is?


Etheric Studies Concepts

Index of Articles

Some articles are in multiple indexes so you may need to use the "Back" button


The Etheric Studies Cosmology

Ordering Principles in Nature

Balance and Personality (pdf)

Related Articles

ATransC: The Cosmology of Imaginary


ATransC: Glossary of Terms Related to

   Trans-Etheric Phenomena




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