Terms of Special Usage


Sanskrit, Ars is the root of the word “art.” It means to bridge different realities. Especially it is a means to bridge the distance between the spiritual world and material world. Compare with the words “symbol” and “religion” below.

Nepsis is a New Testament Greek term that implies sobriety, certain kinds of preparation (Yoga for example). Nepsis implies being awake spiritually so that one might notice the ‘coming of the Lord’ i.e. clearing away obstacles and distractions to the Beatific Vision, epiphany in a general sense. See Matthew 25:1-13.  Nepsis is a method of inner examination conversant with Buddhist meditation and many other traditions for exploring perception and the nature of reality.

NEPSIS as a doctoral project–a life project for this editor– ranges across cultures, academic and religious disciplines; Art, Religion and Science (i.e. critical methodology); Cultures and the Individual; Identity in Nature, Civilization– Human Identity… But always in these travels there are certain themes and practices that express themselves as essential. The following indicate a core of content and activity thus distilled and expressive of this search for human identity and meaning. Also see POSTULATES on the Nepsis Foundation Site Map.


In good Abstract Expressionist fashion, the captions and titles for the artworks of NEPSIS (can) indicate the locale or complex of themes and interests that are the aesthetic environment in which these works operate. To a great degree, it is in the progress of these paintings that the artist works out the theologies and philosophies of his concern. By using these artistic processes in addition to discursive thought, a method develops for expressing and catalyzing a broader and deeper experience of being. These captions and titles thus become directional signs for artifacts of a broader excavation.


To be cleansed or purified as spiritual preparation for the divine encounter.


Panikkar declares consciousness itself to be ‘untouched by the temporal’ and precedes any subsequent process of experience, reflection or analysis of perception.  It is, in its essential condition, one with the non-temporal, the eternal moment (of Glory). For the purposes of this project, perception is designated as an experiential process subsequent to the original (and always) moment of consciousness.

The Shift of Consciousness is the principal theme for the Frost Ph.D. dissertation included as the ‘critical’ aspect, along with other essays, in NEPSIS. The Shift of Consciousness is the essential, ingenious, Shamanistic ‘means of discovery’ from Paleolithic origins and the spiritual (prayerful) heart of all subsequent religions. These include the yogic traditions of Asia as well as the ascetical practices and theologies of the Western (sacramental and evengelical) Traditions.

Principal techniques of the Shift of Consciousness pertinent to NEPSIS:

  • Art: Shamanistic Fetish; Tibetan Mandalas–rooted in the cosmologies of Mesopotamia (and Egypt.)–As are Christian Icons; American Abstract Expressionism.
  • Erring: …to wander aimlessly until the world opens its doors of perception, i.e., Pilgrimage (as well as fasting, repetition, visualization, impersonation… etc.)

(The theories of Yoga and Asceticism [i.e. Christian yoga or monastic disciplines.])


Panikkar uses ‘discursive’ in reference to contemporary critical processes as opposed to non-discursive ‘modes of knowing’ such as contemplative or aesthetic processes- Though, a more common denotation of ‘skipping from topic to topic superficially’ also engages his critique of Modernity as he warns that one’s strengths can also lead to downfall.


‘Geni(us) Loci’ -Spirit(s) of place(s). Reference also world soul/psyche, Elemental Powers, Deities–

The term and its idea are taken from Pilgrims of the Middle Ages who tried to go to the Holy Land in Palestine. But the process of long arduous pilgrimage can change one on all levels.  It is also an inner journey, a journey of the heart to discover everything about one’s life.  This is the true Holy Land- the way to it are the means and goal of the Nepsis Foundation.

Generally, the Hesychasm is a monastic movement whose origin goes back to the “Fathers of the Desert” in the third century, and is the major school of mysticism in Byzantine Christianity. The Hesychasm uses a physio/psychic, sacramental method of prayer that integrates the various dimensions of our personality with the spiritual in a singular act of worship.


Icons, like Tibetan Mandalas, are a mode of access to other states of consciousness which can be a program of grace in human potential encoded in the very flesh of our existence. The Hesychasm was strongly iconophilic. Icons, like mandalas are not really images or pictures in the sense of a painting or drawing, but a world of radiant beauty that leads to the production of the art that in turn refers back to that world. The significance of an icon, like a mandala, is not the aesthetic form itself but what it evokes in the viewer, in the world. The image is a reference point for the meditator, a portal of transcendence for those who understand its function. The maker of icons is required to fast and pray and go on pilgrimages, to practice perhaps many other forms of ascetical discipline in order to infuse the icons with holy energy that comes from such practice. It is similarly necessary for the viewer to do the same in order to shift into the realm of the divine presence, to access that capacity for this type of experience. “Put yourself in the presence of God.”


One is capable of taking on the persona of another, which accounts for the power of Drama in theater. Given the usual topics here, we are talking about taking on the persona of deity. One need not just imitate God, but one can discover their own spiritual core in common with the non-temporal.


To be empty of self or selfless.


Remember, reader/viewer, remember the sensations you have viewing the image, reading the poem, adventure/fantasy fiction, non-fiction Nepsis Narratives, and critical essays of The Nepsis Foundation.  Then, let your unconscious remember it—Recompose image, poem, history to tell its real story, to have its real effect in you- you will do so anyway!  But, remember the real destination -From titillation to tragedy, the human heart rages, raves and roves in its search for true identity and Peace.


I.e., that which can only be experienced as ineffable, (not a detective novel). In theism, mystery indicates the experience of deity as beyond conceptualization.


To bond or re-bond opposite realities which should be one, such as heaven and earth. Compare to Art and Symbol.


Latin: ‘To make sacred.’


Ordinary and extraordinary sexuality seen as a means of spiritual realization and liberation here, compares ‘traditional’ attitudes with scientific insights about sexuality. See Tantra. Also see “Memo to a Bishop,” “Eagle Rock,” and refer to “Interstate Reflections” numbers 2 and 3 in NEPSIS Section II for development of these themes. As well, the works of fiction in Section II, also from this project’s Table of Contents- See UCB/ECAI Site Map, bottom of the page.

NEPSIS deal extensively with yogic/ascetical sexuality in both a personal and a technical sense, especially Chastity.


Sanskrit: One who has given up domus and civis and taken to the road or wilderness where only the Mercy of God can be depended upon.


Greek: Symbolon is the bridge between opposite realities. Christ is the great ‘Symbol’ effecting union between God and the World.


Tantra is pan Indian and is the culmination of trends long present in Buddhism. Buddhist Tantra originated in the frontier lands of classical India, peaked sometime during the sixth century AD, where it flourished, both in the far northwest and northeast of India. In the far northwest, it was influenced by Brahmanism. And northeast of India–in Bengal, Orissa, and Assam–Tantra was influenced by local magic and occult practices; Prajna-paramita ideas were combined in Tantra, uniting metaphysics with ritual, magical practices. Magic was allowed in Buddhism; the early Pali Canon contained spells, for instance, that offered protection from such dangers as snakebite. Magic spells, dharani, were also practiced in the Mahayana sutras as early as 200 AD These spells were thought to epitomize the doctrine of the sutras, giving those who repeated them a shortcut to enlightenment. By the seventh century, Buddhism borrowed the Hindu idea of intrinsically efficacious sounds, such as AUM, and created a set of magical syllables, each linked with a major figure in the Tantric pantheon and with a center or chakra in the meditator’s body and mystic physiology. (Robinson, Buddhist Religion, p. 116-123) Sexual union is often used as the great metaphor of Tantric transcendence, Kundalini and Shiva joined, there being many such yogic practices to thus over come duality.


Panikkar uses these terms in reference to the dual nature of perception; existence and non existence, heaven and earth, spirit and matter, or as he would also say, consciousness and matter.