A thoughtform is a manifestation of mental energy, also known as a tulpa in Tibetan mysticism.[1] Its concept is related to the Western philosophy and practice of magic.[2]

(Khanna 1979, p. 21) links mantras and yantras to thoughtforms:

Mantras, the Sanskrit syllables inscribed on yantras, are essentially "thought forms" representing divinities or cosmic powers, which exert their influence by means of sound-vibrations.[3]

File:Music of Gounod - Annie Besant Thought Form - Project Gutenberg eText 16269.jpg

Working definitionsEdit

A number of prima facie unrelated definitions have been suggested:

  • An image or images held in the mind of a practitioner which aids in the manifestation of intent.
  • An agency of psychic effect which exists and takes form on the pre-physical realms of existence, which acts in accord with the Intent of its creator(s).[4]
  • A living spiritual being created by humans. It could be a magical person's helper, or a being created by the belief in it from masses of people.[5]
  • A homunculus of awareness: an instantaneous observer / observed duality. They are created by everyone every moment (in some formulations they are everyone every moment); and they possess wills of their own.

Thoughtforms and Annie BesantEdit

Thought Forms is a book by Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater that studies the nature and power of thoughts (ISBN 0-8356-0008-4). It states that thoughts have two effects: "a radiating vibration and a floating form". Thought forms are divided into three classes:

  • That which takes the image of the thinker.
  • That which takes the image of some material object.
  • That which takes a form entirely its own, expressing its inherent qualities in the matter which it draws round it.

The effect of music, emotions, and colors on thought forms is also described in the book. The effect of the music of Mendelssohn (No. 9 of his "Songs without words"), Gounod (Soldiers Chorus from "Faust") and Richard Wagner (Overture to "The Meistersingers") is analyzed. The music of Wagner produced a "marvellous mountain-range" on the thought forms.

Thoughtform in popular cultureEdit

Many authors and artists have since used tulpas in their works, both in the context of fiction and in writing about mysticism. Horror author Clive Barker, for example, envisioned his famous "Candy Man" killer to be nothing more than a myth gone terribly awry in his original story.

Thoughtform use in television spans several different franchises. In the X-Files episode Arcadia (6X13), the president of the homeowners' association for an exclusive gated community uses a tulpa to enforce the neighborhood rules. The Supernatural episode Hell House (1.17) features a haunted house in which the resident malevolent spirit turns out to be a tulpa, created when the beliefs of thousands of website visitors are focused through a Tibetan sigil painted on one wall of the house.

In The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, in the third book, Sorceress, the ancient Archon named Cernunnos was powerful enough to create a Thoughtform which traveled miles and miles just to talk to Dr. John Dee for a meeting.In Nightingale's Lament by Simon Green, a tulpa in the image of John Taylor's client is sent after him at one point, tracking him by a hair the client left on his jacket; it disappears when the hair is destroyed. In American Gods by Neil Gaiman, various deity-like beings are created through cultural belief, a certain society's perception of, say, Odin, creating a form of that god particular to that society. In It by Stephen King, the eponymous entity's various manifestations are given form and power by the belief of the townspeople.

In Grant Morrison’s Marvel limited series Fantastic Four: 1234 (2002) Reed Richards muses on a fictitious journey to Tibet where, with the help of Bön priest, he creates a Tulpa, a “thoughtform”. After Richards names it ‘Victor’ the Tulpa takes on a life of its own, becoming Richards’ opposite number. This was an alternative, fantastical, origin for Richards’ arch enemy Dr Doom (aka Victor Von Doom).

According to the book The Teachings of Don Juan Matus, a Mexican shaman by the name of Don Juan Matus, who had taught his student Carlos Castaneda, the books author, about the true nature of the physical universe and how intense concentration can summon, apport, and even materialize objects out of thin air. It was said that Carlos Castaneda was able to materialize a living squirrel on the palm of Don Juan's hand based on the latter's instruction.[6] Many of his claims have been disputed by members of the anthropological profession.[7]

In The Wheel of Darkness by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, a tulpa is created.In Warren Ellis's Doktor Sleepless the title character creates a Tulpa of himself allowing for one to be imprisoned while the other goes free. Starting in July 1989, Alan Grant (writer) wrote a story arc for Batman entitled "Tulpa", in which a Tibetan man creates entities to steal for him in order to repay a mob boss. In the Fables series of graphic novels by Bill Willingham, the lifespan/health/vitality of each of the "Fable" characters (i.e., Snow White, Goldilocks, etc...) is directly tied into the degree of popularity or belief that real "mundy" (mundane) humans have in them, implying that they are willed into existence by the thoughts of humans.

Thoughtform has also been used in video games. In the role-playing game Over the Edge, tulpas are used as background characters (NPC's). They also have natural enemies, sociopathic individuals called "Sandmen", who prey on them to create either "Nightmare" (a drug) or "Dreamweb" (gossamer webs that can capture dreams from people). Dreamweb are typically used to capture the nightmares of neurotic individuals, which are also sold as something like a drug. Although the word "Tulpa" is never used in the Changeling: the Dreaming RPG, creatures known as "Chimera" fulfill a role very similar to Tulpa. Chimera may be sentient or non-sentient entities made manifest in the mental alternate reality of "The Dreaming". They typically arise spontaneously due to the force of human thought and emotion, sometimes from the dreams of individuals but potentially as amalgams of all human thought. These beings are typically weakened by exposure to human doubt, but nevertheless some have the necessary strength and abilities to manifest as tangible entities in the mundane world of humans, at least for a time. In the alternate reality game The Hunt for Sammex83, it is said that the Sammex83 is a tulpa that lives in both the Internet and the real world.

See also Edit


  1. Eileen Campbell, J.H. Brennan and Fran Holt-Underwood, Body Mind & Spirit: A Dictionary of New Age Ideas, People, Places, and Terms, Tuttle Pub, ISBN 0-8048-3010-X
  2. Cunningham, David Michael, Creating Magickal Entities: A Complete Guide to Entity Creation, Egregore Publishing. ISBN 1-932517-44-8
  3. Khanna, Madhu (1979), Yantra : the tantric symbol of cosmic unity, Thames and Hudson, p. 21, ISBN 9780500272343, 
  4. "The World Mind Society Library". Retrieved 2007-02-26. 
  5. "The Mystic Cauldron". Retrieved 2007-02-26. 
  6. The Teachings of Don Juan Matus


  • Bailey, Alice (1951). A Treatise on White Magic or The Way of the Disciple (Hardcover). Lucis Pub. ISBN 0853300232 & ISBN 978-0853300236 Source: (Accessed: Friday January 19, 2007)
  • Beer, Robert (1999). The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs (Hardcover). Shambhala. ISBN 157062416X, ISBN 978-1570624162
  • Eileen Campbell, J.H. Brennan and Fran Holt-Underwood, Body Mind & Spirit: A Dictionary of New Age Ideas, People, Places, and Terms, Tuttle Pub, ISBN 0-8048-3010-X
  • Gold, Peter (1994). Navajo and Tibetan Sacred Wisdom: The Circle of the Spirit (Paperback). Inner Traditions. ISBN 089281411X, ISBN 978-0892814114
  • Haselhoff, Eltjo H.(). The Deepening Complexity of Crop Circles: Scientific Research and Urban Legends ISBN 0-285-63625-1. Full text version on Google Books [1]
  • Houston, Jean (1982). The Possible Human: A Course in Extending Your Physical, Mental, and Creative Abilities.
  • Houston, Jean (1987). The Search for the Beloved: Journeys in Mythology and Sacred Psychology.
  • Houston, Jean (1996). A Mythic Life: Learning to Live Our Greater Story.
  • Houston, Jean (2000). Jump Time: Shaping Your Future in a World of Radical Change.
  • Lawlor, Robert (1991). Voices Of The First Day: Awakening in the Aboriginal dreamtime. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions International, Ltd. ISBN 0-89281-355-5
  • Lovelock, James (1995). The Ages of Gaia: A Biography of Our Living Earth ISBN 0-393-31239-9
  • Norbu, Namkhai (2002, revised). Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light. Snow Lion Publications. ISBN 1-55939-007-7
  • Padmasambhava & Kongtrül, Jamgön (transl. Erik Pema Kunsang) (1999). The Light of Wisdom (Vol. 1). Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications. (A translation of the Lamrim Yeshe Nyingpo)
  • Perkins, John (1994). The World Is As You Dream It: Shamanic Teachings from the Amazon and Andes. Rochester, Vt.: Park Street. ISBN 0-89281-459-4 [4]
  • Schmidt, Marcia Binder (Ed.) (2002). The Dzogchen Primer: Embracing The Spiritual Path According To The Great Perfection. London, Great Britain: Shambhala Publications, Inc. ISBN 1-57062-829-7 (alk. paper)
  • Thomas, Andy (2001). Scientific Studies “Confirm Crop Circles Are Made By Balls Of Light” - 31/07/2001. Andy Thomas is a principal part of Swirled News
  • Unknown Compiler (Undated). Quotes from the Tibetan Master Djwhal Khul on Thought-forms (the title of website. Source: (accessed: Friday January 19, 2007)
  • Wolf, Fred Alan (1994). The Dreaming Universe: a mind-expanding journey into the realm where psyche and physics meet. New York, New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-74946-3


Further reading Edit

External links Edit

it:Tulpa pl:Tulpa pt:Tulpa sk:Tulpa

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