Pneuma – An ancient Greek word meaning “Breath” or “life breath.” This term carries various meanings depending on its context and the philosophical or religious framework in which it is used. In a religious sense, it is often understood as the animating force of the soul, equivalent to “spirit.” Pneuma can also refer to wind, air, atmosphere, or the movement of air.
In Kabbalah, the term “ruach” (רוח) is used instead of pneuma and describes the activity of the life power as it shapes the mind through sensory impressions, thoughts, desires, and essence.
The Hebrew letter aleph (א), symbolizing an Ox, is closely associated with pneuma because the life power or spirit is considered the primordial substance in which all things move, live, and exist. Similar to an Ox, a beast of burden harnessed to achieve the goal of tilling the field for a future harvest, ruach is the force that carries the burden of the manifested world and works towards the completion of the goal of Creation.
Pneuma can be understood as both the medium of space in which motion occurs and the force that initiates it.