The Essentia project began in 1994, although it's roots go back many years. Originally conceived as an alternate layout system for divination cards, it grew into a complete set of cards with a specific placement and interpretation system used for meditation and inspiration. The Essentia project has been evolving ever since and has expanded in scope, which continues to this day.
The founder had been online since 1987 and active on the Internet since 1991, and so plans for a website began in late 1995. The Essentia.com website was registered and launched on October 28, 1996. Essentia.com was one of the early InterNIC registrants (ICANN didn't exist) when only an estimated 180,000 website existed in the world. The Netscape browser was used by 90% of all users and Internet Explorer 3 was the latest offering by Microsoft. Everyone at home used 28.8 kbps dialup modems to access the Internet, and the fastest connection available to home users was 128kbps ISDN. The original Essentia.com website was designed with these current technical limitations in mind. The use of low bandwidth graphics and text content allowed visitors to access information without frustrating waits.
Essentia was also designed to be artistic, and served as a outlet for creative expressions. It was a place to freely exercise the First Amendment rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. With the ability to communicate ideas to vast numbers of people, the Information Age had begun. The original website featured the Essentia Atom, which is the basis of the project's meditational system. Also included was a collection of inspirational quotations which became very popular and still receives a high amount of traffic. An extensive listing of links to other websites was also developed to help users find related content on the web. As the Internet growth exploded, and new technologies became available, the Essentia website began to include new features and content.
A forum was added to the website to allow users a way of communicating and providing feedback. A search function was added to facilitate finding content on the website. Essentia joined WebRing to help link related websites together and create community. Essentia also began hosting guest sites that had interesting and related content but did not have the means to maintain their own website. Many other sections began to appear within the Essentia website over time.
With the release of Internet Explorer 4, Essentia.com was chosen to be one of Microsoft's Active Channel partners. This allowed Essentia to push content to the browser as it became available. While this Microsoft program was in operation, Essentia.com was one of the very few Active Channels providing spirituality based content. In 1998, Arnold Ingalls Moranville used the Essentia Atom as the inspiration for the marketing campaign developed for the world's second largest search provider. It was a surprise when visiting the Inktomi booth at Web99 to see the copying of graphics on the Essentia website, but not entirely unexpected since their "Essential" branding was related to Essentia (the concept).
As the year went by, problems with bots and spam forced Essentia to remove much of the automated functionality. The Forum was closed. Automated link submission was disabled, and maintaining linked content became difficult as website URLs changed or disappeared. Website content was removed as it became obsolete, and many articles were deleted for various reasons. The need for Essentia to provide certain content became unnecessary as other website came online.
Overall the visible website content shrank, although much of the hidden content remained. Even as these changes occurred, the Essentia.com website has remained online continuously without fail since the first day it went online in 1996. Today the Essentia website is undergoing a massive redesign. There have been significant improvements to the overall content, and some new and dramatic changes to the central concepts behind Essentia.com. And there are some nice surprises in store.
Due to concerns about unauthorized copying of content, premature disclosure of new material, and timing of the launch of the new unified website, all these changes have been kept offline. Come back and visit, the new site should be up soon!