I chose the word “Aspect” deliberately for this purpose as it has several definitions that work in describing our relationship to God.
Here’s how the Merriam-Webster defines the word Aspect:
Main Entry: as·pect Pronunciation: \ˈas-ˌpekt\
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin aspectus, from aspicere to look at, from ad- + specere to look
Date: 14th century
1 a : the position of planets or stars with respect to one another held by astrologers to influence human affairs; also : the apparent position (as conjunction) of a body in the solar system with respect to the sun b : a position facing a particular direction : exposure c : the manner of presentation of a plane to a fluid through which it is moving or to a current
2 a (1) : appearance to the eye or mind (2) : a particular appearance of the face : mien b : a particular status or phase in which something appears or may be regarded
3 archaic : an act of looking : gaze
4 a : the nature of the action of a verb as to its beginning, duration, completion, or repetition and without reference to its position in time b : a set of inflected verb forms that indicate aspect
There’s a lot to work with here! First, the word’s origins mean”to look at more.” This would indicate that the 5 Aspects of God would be five ways to look at God more… more deeply, more closely, more clearly.
The first definition, “a position” of astrological bodies, or facing a certain direction suggests to me that the Aspects of God are ways of facing, or relating to, God. This works nicely with the presentation of various practices for each of the Aspects. The practices are ways of relating to God.
The second definition, “appearance to the eye or mind” correlates nicely to the aspects being the five “illusions” of separation from God. We appear to be separate beings, separate energies, separate intellects but in God’s reality we are all One. The illusion of separateness appears to our eye or mind.
The third definition, “an act of looking : gaze” reminds me that the Five Aspects are ways in which we look past the illusions to the reality of our union with God.
The fourth definition, “the nature of the action of a verb as to its beginning, duration, completion, or repetition and without reference to its position in time” … well that’s pretty abstract… but it sounds pretty groovy. Time is part of the illusion, after all! If you have a succinct way to explain this one, please comment here!