The definition of spirituality has changed and grown over time, and several definitions coexist today. As demonstrated by the founders and holy books of the world’s religions, spirituality has traditionally been understood as a religious process of re-formation that “aims to reclaim the original shape of man” and is oriented toward “the image of God.” The phrase’s meaning was expanded to include mental aspects of life during the Late Middle Ages from its original use in early Christianity, which described a life focused on the Holy Spirit.


The phrase evolved in modern times to encompass a larger spectrum of experiences, encompassing a variety of esoteric and religious traditions, as well as to encompass other religious traditions. The “deepest principles and meanings by which individuals live” and a subjective perception of a sacred dimension are frequently referenced in modern usages, frequently outside of the context of organised religious institutions. This may entail faith in a supernatural realm outside of our normal range of perception, personal development, the search for a higher purpose or holy significance, religious experience, or coming into contact with one’s own “inner dimension.”


The definition of spirit is “the animating or life-giving principle in man and animals.” It derives from the Latin word spiritus (soul, ghost, courage, energy, breath), which is related to the Old French term espirit (to breathe). The Greek pneuma and the Hebrew ruach are translated into the Latin word spiritus in the Vulgate.

In topics “concerning the spirit,” the term “spiritual” is derived from Old French spirituel (12c. ), which is derived from Latin spiritualis, which originates from spiritus or “spirit.”

The word “spirituality” comes from the Middle French word spiritualit√©, which itself comes from the Late Latin word “spiritualitatem” (nominative spiritualitas), which itself comes from the Latin word spiritualis.

Classical Spirituality

The first words that could be translated as “spirituality” appeared in the 5th century, but it wasn’t until the end of the Middle Ages that they became widely used. Biblically speaking, the phrase refers to being inspired by God. The idea of being led by the Holy Spirit is presented in the New Testament as opposed to living a life that rejects this influence.

This meaning altered in the eleventh century. As opposed to the material and sensual components of life, “spirituality” became to refer to the cerebral side of life, or “the ecclesiastical domain of light against the dark world of matter.” “Spirituality” took on a social and psychological connotation in the 13th century.

Modern Spirituality

Modern concepts of spirituality emerged in the 19th and 20th centuries, blending Christian principles with Western esoteric customs and components of Asian faiths, particularly Indian. The relationship between established religious organisations and institutions and spirituality grew more distant. Today, it may be linked to ideologies, social movements, or political ideologies like liberalism, feminist theology, or green politics.