When I was writing Dreamer, I kept bumping into old-fashioned terms that couldn't come close to describing the things I was trying to describe. It was a strange experience. Ever since I was very young, I'd both wondered where words come from, and had the idea that there were enough to describe anything. While writing the book, I found out that wasn't true at all. Even more, I discovered that while I was trying to figure out how to describe the things I wanted to describe (an exercise that ultimately forced me to create a number of new words), I also found that I understood my subject better because of it.
Take the word "ghost" for instance. At first brush, it seems pretty straightforward. Everyone knows what a ghost is, right? Not so, as I quickly discovered while working on my book. Here's the reason: "ghost" can refer to the spirit of a living or a dead person, and if left unmodified, is assumed to be a discarnate spirit. Right there, three options for how to use the word are clear. Now, the problem I had is that I wanted to point out that a discarnate spirit is in all respects save one identical to the ghost of a living person. The difference is that one is associated with a living body, and the other is not.
This is a meaningful difference because my contention is that ghosts of living people are frequently mistaken for discarnate spirits. This is made even easier because the word "ghost" isn't particularly clear. There is another type of spirit also, though theoretical, and these are spirits that have never been incarnated at all, or are no longer associated with a body, living or dead. How can this be? If a person dies with a strong attachment to the world, his mind may force his spirit to remain in the Mundus Limus, focused on physical things. This is a classic "ghost" who can also be a "haunt." What if this ghost gives up on haunting the Mundus Limus, after having his consciousness raised by an angel? Then he leaves the Mundus Limus, no longer associated with a deceased body. Previously, he was attached, but by his own effort. Similarly, what do we make of the moment before a spirit is associated with a living body? If it hasn't been associated with one before, or has broken the connection to its most recent incarnation, then it is unassociated. There is no word to describe this state.
To separate these three states, I made up these words:
"Lebengeist" : a spirit associated with a living body [GER, leben=life, geist=ghost]
"Todgeist": a spirit associated with a deceased body [GER, tod=death, geist=ghost]
"Freigeist": a spirit with no physical connections [GER, frei=free, geist=ghost]
There is one last, very important step I had to take. So far, I've only touched on the problem. Based on information in my many dreams, as well as observations made from other writings, it occurred to me that it is highly likely that beings identified as "angels" are more often lebengeists or freigeists than genuine angels. I think the reason for the misidentification comes partly from not understanding the difference between the three states described above, but also some prejudices dating back to the early days of the Catholic church that have since been adopted by most Christian denominations. According to this doctrine, any active spirit is evil. Good spirits take their rest after death in "Abraham's bosom" until "the end of days" when they will be resurrected. This means that, if inexplicable events occur, particularly those of a benevolent nature, then the only two choices a person would have (if he or she subscribed to this doctrine) would be to assign credit to either angels or evil spirits. Naturally it is preferable to say an angel did a good deed than otherwise, so this is the default answer in place of a better one.
My impression is that there is good reason to believe that the lebengeists of living people are very active while their bodies sleep. One of the things they will often do is help other people out, in much the same way a "guardian angel" is given credit for doing. This continues after death by freigeists. The todgeists generally do not do this because they are too preoccupied with their other concerns, but it is not impossible for them to be helpful either. To describe a spirit who is helpful in this manner, I use the term "servo spiritus", which just means a spirit who provides a beneficial service.
The big issue with all this is that if it is true, then the Abraham's Bosom doctrine is not.