Holy Breath, Holy Spirit, Holy Ghost

Holy is “belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power; sacred.” Breath is “spirit, vitality, animation.” Spirit is “a power or principle believed to animate living beings and often to endure after departing from the body of a person at death; the soul.” Ghost is “spirit; a person’s spirit or soul.”—American Heritage Dictionary

The Holy Breath, Holy Spirit, and Holy Ghost are essentially one in the same—the animating vitality of soul bestowed by God. In Hebrew, the Holy Breath is Ru’aḥ ha-Kodesh = רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ = breath (of life), divine spirit of inspiration. In Ancient Greek pneuma = πνεῦμα = vital breath, spirit, animation. Ghost comes to us from Old English gast = ghost, spirit, angel. Breath, Spirit, and Ghost all refer to one supernatural essence of Being, which is immortal and eternal. The apparent difference in the words is nothing more than an artifact of their translation and transcription from one language to another. Edna Lister used all three terms depending on the context of what sources she was using or quoting.

Three passages from Scripture illustrate the interrelatedness of these three terms: And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.—Genesis 2:7. There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.—Job 32:8. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.—John 19:30. Thus we see that what we call the Holy Spirit is three expressions of one sacred animating essense of soul, eternally flowing from God to man as life and from man returning to God as praise. Thus the soul may renew its body through breathing deeply and praising God.

A further perspective, St. Paul to the men of Athens: God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.—Acts 17:24-28.

From man’s perspective, God the Holy Spirit is the apparent composite of universal Christ consciousness as the mind that was in Christ Jesus, the Holy Breath of life as the essence of substance, and the Christ principle of power, as energy and action within mankind.

Edna Lister on the Holy Breath, Holy Spirit, and Holy Ghost

The Power of the Godhead moves as the Holy Breath, the Father-Mother as One or Holy Spirit, which is universal Christ consciousness, the Christ principle, and the Holy Ghost to become the Christ life within man. The Logos is the Source of all the life that we breathe.—Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941.

God the Father acts through the Holy Ghost. God the Holy Spirit acts as the Universal Christ consciousness or Christ principle. God as the Holy Breath acts as the Christ Life within humanity.—Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941.

You must ascend in consciousness to have inspiration fill your body with every Holy Breath breathed of the Holy Ghost, for it comes only from above. You are now living in His "flesh and blood" because all has come from the same universal Substance, which is a mystery of the Holy Ghost.—Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941.

Preaching sometimes includes prophecy under inspiration of the Holy Ghost or breathing of the Holy Breath, when harnessed to the desire to serve.—Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941.

The Holy Breath is pure Light, but if you color it with negativity, you receive no benefit as it flows through you. You send it forth as dark clouds, or as Light.—Edna Lister, Flaming Desire, May 26, 1941.

Faith is the Holy Breath that we breathe. Every idle word misuses that Holy Breath. This you must overcome, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.—Edna Lister, Victory at What Price? July 5, 1942.

The breath you inhale is the pure substance of God, but your outgoing breath is how you use that substance.—Edna Lister, Secrets of the Hidden Mother, July 22, 1951.

Reach out with mothering love into the eternal Breath of God and send it to him who considers himself your enemy. What you breathe from the eternal Breath will permeate an enemy with just as great success as God has at the Source. Breathe on the darkness and God rewards you by cleansing the enemy, making him part of the original Breath. God fills him with the Holy Breath, gathers and stamps all who have a similar illness with the name and number of Wisdom. The vibration travels around the world, gathers substance and forms it into a mold that Wisdom has planned.

Every breath you draw expands your aura with the potentialities of divine consciousness. With every exhalation, you send forth consciousness permeated with the mothering ray of love. You step from creature to creator consciousness and your spoken Word stands fast. All you need to do is consciously to inhale and exhale, holding in mind that the Mother Love potential cleanses. The Father Wisdom potential fills the world to overflowing. This is the process of miracles.—Edna Lister, Secrets of the Hidden Mother, July 22, 1951.

Since the Son Emanation of Joy is the pure Christ principle within us, the Holy Breath you breathe with every physical breath, it follows that to be whole in body, you must live as his joy always.—Edna Lister, I AM Joy, 1953.

The bread of life is substance ready to manifest in the world. "I am that bread of life" means Jesus is the First Begotten Son of God; he is called the Holy Breath in the mysteries. "That bread" is your share of the Holy Breath that you consciously accept and express. The real difference between life and death is that life represents activity, while death is static.—Edna Lister, The Bread of Life, August 7, 1955.

We have One Foundation, the Source of All Life, and breath, the Holy Breath, is our contact with our Source. Our breath is our identity with God, who has made us in His image and likeness.—Edna Lister, Stand, Endure and Hold, Three Magic Words, November 30, 1970.

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of holy: Old English halig “holy,” from Proto-Germanic khailagas “holy,” adopted at conversion for Latin sanctus. Primary (pre‑Christian) meaning was probably “that which must be preserved whole or intact, that which cannot be transgressed or violated,” and connected with Old English hal “health.”

Etymology of breath: Old English bræd “exhalation, vapor,” from Proto-Germanic bræthaz “smell, exhalation.”

Etymology of spirit: Latin spiritus “soul, courage, vigor, breath,” related to spirare “to breathe.”

Etymology of ghost: Old English gast “soul, spirit, life, breath; angel, demon.”

Holy Spirit is an absolute principle, rooted in the Logos Emanation.

Holy Spirit is an abstract principle.

Breathe on Me, Breath of God
Breathe on me, breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.
Breathe on me, breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.
Breathe on me, breath of God,
Blend all my soul with Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.
Breathe on me, breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.
—Edwin Hatch


Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

Hatch, Edwin. Towards Fields of Light, "Breathe on Me, Breath of God." London, 1890.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.