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According to the occult definition "The Latin term meaning 'Soul of the World', a pure ethereal spirit diffused throughout all nature, regarded by ancient philosophers as being the divine essence which embraces and energizes all life in the universe".
The idea can be traced back to Plato and was an important component of most Neoplatonic systems. It was later taught in occult and hermetic schools. It can be found in the works of Paracelsus, the philosophers Baruch Spinoza, Gottfried Leibniz, Friedrich Schelling and later in the writings of William Butler Yeats.
- Roszak, Theodore (1992). The Voice of the Earth: An Exploration of Ecopsychology
- Vassányi, Miklós (2010). Anima Mundi: The Rise of the World Soul Theory in Modern German Philosophy