ESOTERIC TERMINOLOGY AND SYMBOLISM
GENERAL ABOUT ESOTERIC TERMINOLOGY AND SYMBOLISM
”It is part of seeming ineradicable human conceit that all (lacking the Sokratean realization of their own total ignorance) believe they comprehend, understand, and can interpret everything.”
Those ignorant of life who begin to study esoterics and believe they are able to comprehend “everything”, demand that this totally unknown reality be made conceivable, which is impossible. For new realities a new terminology must be constructed. Regrettably, those who have tried to make comprehensible systems of the esoteric facts that little by little have been communicated by the planetary hierarchy have used old misleading terms that have made esoteric study even more difficult. It is true that the esoteric facts that have been allowed for publication after the year 1875 have been communicated through disciples of the planetary hierarchy. However, on account of the lack of Western terms of the “new” realities (higher worlds, higher envelopes, etc.) and the inability to find new words for these, the abortive terminology has resulted in a confusion of ideas and concepts.
The esoteric knowledge – thoroughly different from the exoteric – must be mastered gradually. The concepts and principles must be understood first. If concepts and principles are not exactly defined and if these concepts do not agree with reality, the result is vagueness and thereby fictionalism as well. This is the defect that has always been inherent in all esoteric literature up to the present. The reader has never been able to acquire exact basic concepts. The terminology used has been an utter failure, which fact has also contributed to the confusion of ideas. It is a psychological error to use old worn-out terms for new unknown things, especially when these new things are beyond the normal individual’s possible experience (the term “spiritual world” used for world 45, for instance).
European languages lack words for superphysical realities. When theosophy first appeared, making attempts at describing those realities, the consequence was that the authors had to find new words for them. Alfred P. Sinnett, who was entrusted with this task and carried it out by writing his book Esoteric Buddhism, was largely obliged to use ancient Sanskrit words. Like his theosophical successors he apparently was unable to find suitable designations (such Greek and Latin terms as science utilizes when giving names to its discoveries, since the pertaining word-stems are familiar to the West).
In her work The Secret Doctrine, Helena P. Blavatsky tried to find new words and also used old symbolic designations with deplorable results, since these symbols were either meaningless or misleading. The Sanskrit terms introduced by Blavatsky are unsuitable for several reasons. They, too, denote realities that are beyond human experience, but they have been used by vedantins and yoga philosophers who have misinterpreted them irremediably. Thus these terms have lost their original meanings and so have become unserviceable, since they bring about a confusion of ideas. It is amazing, to say the least, that theosophists did not realize this from the beginning or even later. It was probable inevitable, however, that esoterics should be clothed in an Oriental garb. One reason for this was that Blavatsky had received her training in a Tibetan monastery. Another reason was that the 45-self (D.K.) who inspired The Secret Doctrine was a Tibetan, a very learned expert on the entire esoteric literature in Senzar and Sanskrit. In the absence of Western terms, Indian ones were resorted to.
It is to be regretted that Alice A. Bailey – recipient and transmitter of the esoteric knowledge D.K. wanted to convey [Jonas föreslår som alternative “impart to”] to the humanity – consistently used a misleading and exceedingly unserviceable terminology. Being an old Christologist, she found it easiest (which presumably also was the intention) to use her old Christian outlook when choosing terms for esoteric ideas. Her writings are bristling with words and phrases from the “New Testament”, so that the Christians can identify themselves with it and are not at once repelled by a strange terminology. D.K. was thus reduced to start from the possibilities of understanding that existed. He was therefore to a very large extent forced to employ partly the largely unsuitable theosophical terminology already existing, partly Patanjali’s Sanskrit terms, partly terms from yoga philosophy. D.K. also often deplored the lack of words and terminology, a deficiency that precluded a reasonably adequate communication.
The terms used in the yoga philosophy correspond somewhat to the terminology that was elaborated in Atlantis and is still used in the planetary hierarchy. But these terms of course have been misunderstood by the yogis and so have had their meaning distorted, which has brought about a deplorable “idiotization” of their entire way of looking at things and produced dogmas that have proved well-nigh ineradicable. You could just warn Westerners from letting themselves be led astray, which is hard to avoid if they as researchers enter deeply into the yoga literature. Also from Indian philosophy in general it is apparent that precise, clearly defined terms are necessary if you wish your readers to gain clarity and have an exact conception of reality. Hints are always cherished by mystics (emotionalists) but impossible for mentalists (a category including not only those at the humanist stage but civilizational individuals as well: the higher and the lower mental stage).
The mystics love the vague, the unclear. They love to express all sorts of real things by metaphors which are incomprehensible to other people and that, of course, cannot be rendered literally but must be rephrased to be comprehensible. The mentalist, however, demands clarity in a mental system exactly formulated. He demands exact concepts, for without them mental clarity is impossible. You cannot be too exact when attempting to think right, in accord with reality, to acquire a new world view and life view. Most people have very diffuse conceptions for the very reason that their mental system has not been made sufficiently concrete. Abstract thinking must start from a concrete system to be correct. Even intuition must have a basis for its perception of reality.
To the individual at the mental stage, however, exactitude is a justified claim and necessary, if a science is to be obtained and mankind is to be raised to become mental selves from the emotional stage, where “belief” without real comprehension dominates. Symbolism uninterpreted only degenerates into new belief systems.
“New wine must be put into new wine-skins” is a truth that esotericians apparently easily forget, finding it difficult to abandon old symbolism and to describe reality using the terminology of our times. Such mixture of two quite different ways of looking at things seems to be a characteristic trait of missionaries. These failed attempts at keeping the old sentimental or dogmatic formulations and combining them with the new exact, mental ones produce irremediable confusion of ideas, particularly in literalists of all sorts.
The real significance (“value”) of philosophy was that it taught people how to think clearly and exactly through definition of terms to the extent that this was possible. This is done more extensively in esoterics, when it has been given the requisite terminology and so has its terms defined, a condition that did not obtain in theosophy, as is to be regretted.
The majority of misleading terms in the expositions of esoterics made hitherto is due to the mixture of symbolic and scientific terms. It will be the task of hylozoics to purge esoterics of all symbolic expressions – which is possible! – so that the knowledge is made an exact mental system and logically unassailable. Esoterics must be formulated into an exact science, and loose expressions be eliminated. For such is the Occidental scientific and philosophical mentality with its demand for mathematical exactitude. Whatever cannot be incorporated with the system mentioned cannot be grasped by intellect or intuition either, will remain incomprehensible to man even as a causal self and so has no justification. Incomprehensible symbols belong to the fifth, not to the fourth natural kingdom.
Lower selves have to develop mental consciousness, and one of the tasks of Pythagoras was to scale down the knowledge to a mental level so that it could be formulated into a mental system. He therefore created no symbolism but a formulation of the exact reality concepts, necessary for mankind as fundaments of exact research into reality. By hylozoics, or spiritual materialism, Pythagoras did away with the opposition of spirit and matter, clarifying that spirit is the same as the consciousness of matter. This was a totally new mode of presentation which he had not copied from anybody. It was the first time that the knowledge was presented in this way.
The esoteric knowledge is symbolic and will always remain so, all the way up through all the kingdoms. The genuine esoteric symbols are abstractions from the permanent relations of life. Since all lower worlds are down-scaled replicas of higher worlds, certain constant analogies recur in them all. It has been possible to make certain parts of this symbolism exoteric through the publication of facts and certain basic concepts. However, the publicized part is only an exceedingly small fraction.
The esoteric knowledge has been imparted in exclusive societies to the few who have had the qualifications. Such societies have existed in all ages and in all nations. The reason for this is that symbolism and other esoteric modes of writing can be rightly interpreted by “initiates” only. Neither acuity nor profundity or the saint’s “patent for omniscience” suffice for understanding. It remains for theologians, mystics, “vedantists”, and quasi-occultists to learn to see this.
Since most esoteric symbols appear erroneous to common sense, it is a fair assumption that they were made incomprehensible and misleading on purpose. The symbols were never intended for mankind but to protect the knowledge. They can be correctly understood by second selves only. Since all knowledge is misinterpreted by all people who are on lower levels than the one on which a certain portion of the knowledge can be rightly understood, it was (and will in the future prove) necessary to protect the ignorant from a learning that could only be injurious or fatal to them.
True knowledge affords power, and that power has always been abused by all who have been able to use it for their own good. Knowledge is for those who have for all time to come consecrated their lives (they cannot do otherwise) to the service of mankind, evolution, and unity. Others do not need it and so they are content with the fictions supplied by theology, philosophy, and science.
Exact concepts were protected against being comprehended by outsiders through carefully elaborated symbols, which were often intentionally wrought so as to be mistaken for actual facts and occurrences related. It stands to reason that this symbolism still remains esoteric without the necessary key to it. It may be said that symbolism in this case was intentional. That is not true of the higher symbolism, however, but these symbols owe their existence to something quite different, that basic factor according to which we can rightly understand and master only what we have already realized. The higher symbols are never interpreted. That would be impossible and, even if possible, quite unnecessary. Only when the individual has realized what he seeks to understand and to master will the solution present itself in an obvious manner. The disciple in a higher kingdom is given a hint as to what he should realize. When he has succeeded in this, he sees that this knowledge could be expressed only through that symbol. Higher knowledge is symbolic and can be expressed through symbols only. Higher mathematics is illustrative in this case.
The symbols were common to the different degrees in the secret schools, but the interpretation was different in each higher degree. In addition, the exposition had to be adapted to the stages of development and conceptions of reality generally prevalent. The differences in the expositions of the knowledge were due to the different nations’ general conceptions in different ages, at different stages of development. For instance, it was impossible to speak of atoms and molecules, energies, evolution, etc. to people who could not possibly grasp what is meant by these terms. That was why they time and again established new orders in which the symbols were presented differently than before. The initiates were usually old esotericians who had been members of older orders and did not need magical experiments for objective apprehension any more. Their latent knowledge from previous incarnations enabled them to understand quickly.
The esoteric symbols always have a sevenfold meaning and are not chosen at random. They can also hide the knowledge from the uninitiated. They force the seeker to develop his intuition. They can summarize the entire knowledge of the solar system: geometrical figures with colours and numbers. The initiates learnt to perceive these things via their symbols as a part of the initiatory ceremonies.
We perhaps understand how hopeless it is for an exoterist to try and interpret an esoteric symbolic writing. If such writings fall into the hands of the uninitiated, the result is superstition, for of course the “learned” understand everything (otherwise they would not be “learned”), typical of the sovereignty of ignorance and wiseacreness. But what did theological fantasists do with these symbols? They picked up an expression. And at once they all believed they knew its meaning. That is what happens when authorities do not suspect their ignorance and are not judicious enough to see it.
Symbolism is only for those who already possess a knowledge of reality, for those who no longer need concepts for understanding, for those who have reached a higher mental stage. The symbols contain the knowledge masked in such a manner that it cannot be understood by others than those who are able to realize it. As the individual acquires a greater insight and understanding, the symbols gain an increasingly wider content of knowledge. The “symbolic method” is a guarantee for the right use of the knowledge. Then the power available to the individual does not extend further than his understanding of the symbol.
In the older orders, the members were not allowed to join any other order. The reason was that the teachers wanted to forestall confusion of ideas on account of the differences there were in terminology, presentation of symbols, etc. In the Gnostic Order we find the terminology of all these orders. It had no uniform exclusive symbolism, but every member had the right to his own symbolic expressions. It granted to its members the greatest possible freedom as for modes of presentation, although it had originally started from mainly emotional hermetism and mental hylozoics. The aim was to institute a “universal order” in which all kinds of symbols and symbolic expressions could be used and understood by all. Even the modes of presenting the knowledge were individual, so that everybody could treat his subjects at his own discretion. This was the reason why the teaching could be presented in symbolic form, be popularized, dramatized. There were risks with this method, of which fact Christianity is a proof.
What people have never understood is that all religious scriptures are symbolic and can be rightly understood only by esotericians. The four gnostic gospels of the New Testament are altogether symbolic. Their purpose was to account for the five stages in the development of man’s consciousness from his first aspiration to discipleship to his acquisition of superessential consciousness. The gnostic authors of the gospels tried to popularize and in the form of novels to dramatize the gnostic symbols without betraying their true import. It must be admitted that they fashioned the symbols in a manner that evidences supreme literary talent. If these symbols are literalized, as has always been the case hitherto, then even at best their meaning is somewhat distorted. No esoterician criticizes religion as such, only what has been falsely given out as reality, the inability to interpret the symbolism, and the grotesque literalism.
On account of the great number of attempts at interpretation of it, Indian symbolism has degenerated into chaotic mythology. The Indian predilection for inessential subtleties, for using the same term for different things and different terms for the same thing, for drawing arbitrary boundaries between various realities, and for using the term “unmanifested” arbitrarily, has conduced to this. Had they, when making their distinctions, referred to the different kinds of matter instead, then clarity and order would have been obtained in the simplest way.
Symbolism has proved to be unsuitable psychologically in both the Orient and the Occident. The Indians give full rein to their imagination, and everybody makes his own idiology. In the Occident, symbolism has had the effect that everything is taken literally or that the individual is generalized or the relative is made absolute or the factual is minimized or at any event is inevitably misinterpreted. It is totally abortive to mix designations, terms, sayings, views, outlooks belonging to Oriental and Occidental esoterics. The Oriental is a symbolist and mystic, the Occidental is a scientist demanding facts and exact concepts (clarity above all). The mystic enjoys what is unclear, vague, diffuse, sentimental, poetical and permits imaginative expansions into “infinitude”. The hylozoician demands a system of facts that is non-contradictory, incontrovertible, logical, exact, and explains everything.
The diversity of sects and of conflicting interpretations is the outcome of the ambiguity of the old symbolism. From the objective point of view, such ambiguity is the same as saying one thing and meaning another. And therefore misunderstandings are inevitable. The new esoteric literature has to a great extent adopted the ancient misleading symbols, not because of ignorance but because the writers were unable to find new terms for superphysical realities, terms that within the limits of the possible were as exact as possible.
After the requirements for understanding have nowadays been lowered below a minimum, the vagueness of symbolism in respect of concepts has of course led to charlatans, mystagogues, and divers coxcomb prophets springing up like mushrooms. At last a profitable industry! Impressing the gullible by mysterious intimations as to their superior knowledge of the secret wisdom and by miscellaneous tricks with breathing exercises, mirrors, pendulums, crystal balls, formulas, ceremonies, divinations, they propagate their superstitions, everybody according to his own infallible method, with belief in miracles, witchcraft, suspension of the laws of nature, intervention of “exalted spirits” (for hard cash) in egoistic matters, instruction in how to utilize the powers of the “overself”, and other nonsense. Their attempts at interpretation of ancient symbols evidence their lack of true insight. Should they, when making their attempts, come in contact with the unexplored powers of emotional-mental superconsciousness (which are capable of much designed to confuse and deceive), the result will be worst for the conceited and curious who always think they are chosen and never let themselves be cautioned lest they like “fools rush in where angels fear to tread”. Of course there are still undiscovered laws of nature governing unexplored forces in nature. But ignorance will always become their victim. Any ambiguity has proved to make it easier for mystagogues to deceive. The fact that superstition gains ground more and more and the general disorientation is more and more aggravated has demonstrated the need for an unshakably concrete mental system.
Hylozoics – an easy-to-understand terminology without symbolism
It is meaningless to give people knowledge they cannot grasp and cannot rightly use. And this has been the constant error of esoteric writers. Concepts and symbols have been mixed indiscriminately. Symbolism is the language of initiates, not of non-initiates. Symbols have no place in an exoteric book on esoterics.
What appears strange, to say the least, is that almost all the traditional terms are unsuitable, the whole of the old terminology of the traditional esoteric knowledge is positively deceptive and misleading. Those misleading terms have of course been misinterpreted by the uninitiated, which has often had catastrophic consequences. Even at the very beginning of the publication of esoterics, K.H. (Pythagoras) advocated the necessity of establishing an esoteric terminology. The attempts since made by Helena P. Blavatsky, Alfred P. Sinnett, Annie Besant were mostly based on either Sanskrit terms or old theological ones and may be regarded as on the whole unsuccessful.
It must be admitted that theosophy had only itself to blame for falling into disrepute. The knowledge offered to the seekers was given such a form that it all had a deterring effect. If the author writes so that not even the learned understand what is intended, it is all rejected summarily. The terms used must be clearly defined. They must be part of Western language and scientific mode of presentation. If you want to give knowledge to people, you must do it in such a manner that they are able to comprehend it. Instead, there was a monstrous mixture of symbolic sayings and unintelligible terminology with Sanskrit words already misunderstood.
One has every reason for wondering why the different worlds, different envelopes, different kinds of consciousness and energy cannot be given a scientific treatment, one freed from those incomprehensible, unsuitable, and misleading names they received in the religious, mystic, occult, Vedic literature of past ages. Why should we waste an enormous amount of energy on studying symbolic terms in all languages and in all kinds of literature? Why not “put new wine in new bottles”? Everything can be given an enormously simple presentation.
It is highly desirable, as hylozoics is presented to the West, to find a terminology that is as exactly formulated as possible. Such a terminology liberates from the dependence on old, unusable, outdated, abortive terms, sayings, and vague symbolism. Anyone who has understood what the matter is about also is able to formulate the content of reality and of ideas with his own words and desist from the manner, typical of mental laziness, of quoting the ancients (= the initiates) and so flaunt one’s erudition. As a teacher of philosophy said: “Here we do not quote but think by ourselves.” It is also a stage in the process of liberation from the credulous dependence on alleged authorities. For independent thinking it is an imperative demand not to imitate or parrot in essential things. It is a duty of all who are able to form their own independent view. This includes the ability to tell the difference between what you understand and what you merely believe you understand, the latter condition being that of the majority.
It is quite sufficient to use only mathematical terms for such things as are beyond human comprehension. Using such terms you make it clear to students that “this passes your comprehension”. Then you know at once where something has its place in the cosmos, or the solar system, or the planet. You will not know it in any other way. There is no point in inventing lots of strange (usually misleading) words for those incomprehensible things. The mathematical method reduces terminology to a minimum, and is the only truly international terminology. Where it is not used, chaos will ensue sooner or later. Mathematical terms make an exactitude possible that cannot be obtained otherwise.
It has been Laurency’s endeavour to definitively eliminate all symbols and vague terms, and to introduce instead a simple, easy-to-grasp, economical terminology. Since Pythagorean hylozoics makes it possible to divide the different kinds of matter and worlds mathematically, Laurency had recourse to that expedient. Any nomenclature which names unknown worlds, matters, energies, consciousnesses, etc., by terms that are incomprehensible, more or less abortive, not to say misleading or idiotized because abused by ignorance, is meaningless and almost always brings about confusion of ideas. Also human imagination is enticed to believe that it comprehends the matter, reasoning that a term surely must have a meaning.
It is true that esotericians have voiced some apprehensions about a too strict application of exact (mathematical) terms for phenomena in the envelopes of man. The kinds of consciousness have a tendency to overlap their indicated limits in a way that cannot be fixed except in each individual case. Nevertheless these terms are valuable as being generally valid indications.
The esoteric world view of Laurency’s The Philosophers Stone (published in Swedish 1950 [Jonas skriver: Tänkte att det var år för första utgivningen som bäst placerar Laurencys idéer i tiden]) was written for three reasons: to correct the insufficient and in part misleading presentations made by various theosophists and other occultists; to introduce a workable Western terminology; to particularly emphasize the three aspects of reality. Anyone who has made himself thoroughly familiar with occult literature will find that the hylozoic terminology (including the mathematical nomenclature) is the simplest possible, the most exact and unitary, and moreover forestalls confusion of ideas. Hylozoics liberates us from Oriental symbolism the purpose of which was to train the “intuition”. The hylozoician acquires causal intuition via perspective and system thinking and essential intuition through collective consciousness via telepathy. A great number of misleading notions and sayings can thereby be discarded.
The text above is a compilation of excerpts from Henry. T. Laurency’s The Philosophers Stone, Knowledge of Life One, Knowledge of Life Two, Knowledge of Life Three, Knowledge of Life Four, Knowledge of Life Five and The Way of Man, www.laurency.com.
OLDER ESOTERIC TERMINOLOGY
”Education involves some knowledge of the true meaning of words and the sense to refrain from using words the meaning of which you have not ascertained.”
Terms for matter and the worlds of the solar system (43–49)
Form is the mode of existence of matter. Even the atom has a form. Therefore, it is handy for subjectivists to call the matter aspect “form” or “appearance”. The “sensuous world” is the subjectivists’ term for the physical world. (49).
The four worlds of man (the visible physical, 49:5-7, the etheric physical, 49:1-4, the emotional, 48, and the mental, 47) are called the “worlds of form”, since in these worlds matter assumes more or less permanent forms. In the higher worlds, the forms dissolve simultaneously with their effects and manifest themselves as rapidly dissolving colour and light phenomena.
When there is mention of “subjective worlds” in esoterics, this refers either to those worlds which are invisible to normal man in the physical world and thus are perceptible only in his subjective consciousness, or to the consciousness aspect of those worlds. (Worlds as well as everything else in reality constitutes of the three aspects.)
In esoterics, the terms “matter” and “substance” have been used with some difference in meaning: “matter” has been used for matter in the worlds of the first triad (47:4 – 49:7) and “substance” for matter in the worlds of the second triad (45:4 – 47:1). The word “substance” thus has no other meaning than “matter of a higher kind”. This could justly be called an unnecessary complication of terminology, since it is quite sufficient to explain once and for all that matter is completely different in the different worlds. That is better information. In esoterics, matter is also called “light”; and energy, “sound”.
The worlds of man (47=mental, 48 =emotional and 49 =physical) were called by the ancients the “worlds of illusion”, since the conception of life in these worlds must be illusory. The expression “living in appearance” was also used. “Illusion” meant life ignorance. No esoterician could call matter “illusion”, as philosophical subjectivists do. “Maya”, or the “great illusion”, simply means that the individual without esoteric knowledge inevitably takes the physical world, then the emotional world, later the mental world, according as his envelopes of incarnation (the worlds of the first self) dissolve, to be the only existing reality.
Those worlds (physical, emotional och mental worlds) are thus not without reality, existence, but they delude the individual into believing them to be the sole reality, whereas they exist only for the consciousness development of the monad in worlds 47–49, make it possible for the monad to activate the pertaining kinds of consciousness. It is totally wrong to call them illusions. The individual may do so when in the fifth natural kingdom he has acquired envelopes in the worlds of that kingdom (45, 46) and identified himself with the consciousnesses of those envelopes. Then he will not need the envelopes of lower worlds, and then that misleading term, “illusion”, may be somewhat justified or at any event understandable.
In old esoterics the term “veils” was used. This had reference to those kinds of matter (atomic kinds or even molecular kinds) that the individual cannot ascertain himself until he has acquired objective consciousness in them.
Essential consciousness (46), the lowest collective consciousness, has been given many names: “love”, “wisdom”, “Christos”, “unity”. Annie Besant called world 46, at first “rational”, then “pure reason”, finally “intuitional”. “Buddhi” was the name given by the rishis to world 46. The meaning of the word buddhi has however become lost in yoga philosophy. The gnosticians called world 46 or the pertaining consciousness “Christos”. “Entering Christos” meant the acquisition of 46-consciousness.
Superessential consciousness (45) is called now “atma”, now “spirit” or “will”. “Nirvana” has several meanings. The word has been thought to designate the extinction of consciousness or the superconscious world (chiefly equivalent to the causal world, 47:1-3). By “nirvana” the rishis meant world 45. The theosophists are mistaken when saying that in India “nirvana” and “atma” are used in the same sense. The Indians do not know what those words refer to in reality. It is abortive to call world 45 the “spiritual world”, as Besant did, since “spiritual” has many different meanings, and the result of this must be ambiguity and a confusion of ideas.
It is totally abortive to call world 44 the “monadic world”, as Besant did, and so demonstrated that she never understood what is meant by monad. The same is true of Helena P. Blavatsky, who used the word “monad” in many different connotations except in the only correct one.
It is inappropriate to call world 43 the “divine world”, as Besant did, since all worlds are divine, and especially the 42 ever higher worlds.
Terms for man (first self)
Strange to say a rational explanation of the primordial atom – the monad – the individual – the self has never been given in esoteric literature. You will seek for it in vain. There is talk about the “personality” and the “individuality” (or the “Ego”) and the “monad”, completely misleading terms for the three triads, but the monad as a primordial atom is never mentioned. Therefore, the result is a general obscurity in that respect which is the most fundamental (the “inmost secret”).
The monad is a primordial atom. Pythagoras was the first one to use term “monad”. He thereby meant the least possible part of primordial matter and the least firm point for individual consciousness, the very ultimate self, the individual. The Pythagorean monad was a mystery until Demokritos presented his atomic theory. The “least conceivable part of a substance” was the first primitive definition (conceivability was not very great at the time). Platon, being a causalist, in his symbolic language meant by “monads” mental atoms with causal ideas (Platonic ideas containing entire conceptual systems).
Thus the word “monad” existed in literature. When Blavatsky was hunting for words, she took the ones existing, unconcerned about their original, proper sense. And that was the beginning of the theosophical wild confusion of ideas. The theosophists never understood what Pythagoras meant by “monad”. “Monad” was soon another word for an atom of some kind. Later Besant changed this and gave the word “monad” a defined sense, which also Bailey accepted, namely the third triad. The word “monad” means indivisible unity. And then it is used to denote an amalgam of three units! D.K. let the matter rest there, although he deplored that the term was misleading. It was not his business to change an accepted terminology.
The terms “the personality and the individual” were used by Henry S. Olcott for the first time to explain reincarnation to the public. The “personality” meant the envelopes of incarnation (triad, mental, emotional, and ether envelope), which are formed and dissolved. The “individual” meant the causal envelope (47:1-3), which is permanent in the human kingdom and uses the envelopes of incarnation for its development. They differentiated between “personality” and “individuality” as if they had reference to two different individuals, instead of making clear that “personality” meant the self in its envelopes of incarnation and “individuality” the self in the causal envelope upon the conclusion of its incarnation. They never explained that the self is a primordial atom (monad) in a first triad both in its envelopes of incarnation and in the causal envelope, that the “personality” is the self in the first triad in a particular triad envelope (a lesser part of the causal envelope incarnating) and that the “individuality” was the same self upon its return to its greater causal envelope.
When more facts became known to the theosophists and it became clear to them that the solar system has seven atomic worlds (43–49), they had to give a more definite explanation of the self’s existence in world 46, etc., after the self had left the causal envelope to be dissolved. Besant then renamed the “individual” the “Ego” and decided to call the first triad the “three permanent atoms”. The second triad was called the “spiritual triad”, and the third triad was thus called the “monad”, a term that is used for submanifestal consciousness (44) as well.
The gnosticians called the first triad “body” (since the matter aspect dominates in it); the second triad, “soul” (the consciousness aspect dominating); and the third triad, “spirit” (the motion aspect dominating). Other terms were used as well: for the second triad “Christos”, the “son”, “Augoeides”, “Adonai”; and for the third triad, the “father”, the “great carpenter”, etc. The Essenes, who misinterpreted most symbols which they found in the Babylonian temple archives and in the Chaldean Kabbalah and even managed to snatch up some data from esoteric orders instituted by the planetary hierarchy, took over the name Adonai to denote their tribal god, the blood-thirsty elemental Jehovah (Jahveh) whose name must not be uttered.
Man is thus a monad in a first triad in a causal envelope (47:1-3). The first triad consists of a mental molecule (47:4), an emotional atom (48:1) and a physical atom (49:1). As long as man, i.e. the human monad, is centered in one of the units of the first triad, he is called according to the hylozoic a first self, a more suitable designation of the five envelopes of incarnation, which theosophists call the “personality”. The first self is what the genuine gnosticians (theurgists) called the “Dweller on the Threshold”, which name especially emphasized that the first self is the obstacle to the monad (caught in illusions and fictions) as it strives to reach the second self. Bailey calls the first self now the “Personality”, now the “Dweller on the Threshold”.
Man works within and gains experience in the worlds 47–49, which are thus the worlds of the first self. Since man has no more to learn in the worlds of the first self, i.e. after the monad has fully activated all the human consciousnesses belonging to the first triad (47:4–49:7), the monad transfers to the second triad and continues as a second self (the monad centered in the second triad; 45:4, 46:1 and 47:1) its evolution in the worlds of the fifth natural kingdom (45–46). The “second self” is the best term of what the theosophists call the “Ego”.
Finally, when the consciousness of the second triad is also fully activated, the monad transfers to the third triad and continues as a third self (the monad centered in the third triad; 43:4, 44:1 and 45:1) to the worlds of the sixth natural kingdom (43-44). First self, the second self, and the third self is the same monad, individual in different triads. The chain of triads forms a chain of consciousness, as it were, uniting the physical atom (49:1) of the lowest triad with a manifestal atom (43:1), and can be compared to a ladder which the monad is to climb from world 49 to world 43. The three units of the three triads form the nine rungs of this ladder. This process of evolution and expansion in the three triads takes many eons to complete (one eon is 4.32 billion years).
The triad chain is the explanation of the symbolic sayings “spirit–matter” and “matter is the lowest kind of spirit and spirit is the highest kind of matter”. The opposition concerns the essential difference between the first triad (matter) and the third triad (spirit). The gnosticians called the triad chain the “apostolic succession”.
Inasmuch as the term “monad” has been given different meanings in the occult sects, it is emphatically stated that Pythagoras (the author of the term) by “monad” intended the primordial atom (the indivisible primordial atom) and that this is the original and only true meaning. In hylozoics, however, “monad” still means primordial atom and no envelope for the primordial atom. Since the term monad appears in many different contexts, it is desirable to define what is meant in each particular case, for example mineral monad, vegetable monad, animal monad, human monad, all of which are evolutionary monads.
Terms for the vicarious second self (Augoeides) and third self (Protogonos)
The Augoeides (46- or 45-self) and the Protogonoi (44- or 43-self) belong to the deva evolution but cooperate with the planetary hierarchy. Just as Augoeides is the “guardian angel”, supervisor, and vicarious second self of the first self (the human monad in the first triad), so Protogonos is the corresponding for the second self (the monad in the second triad). Just as Augoeides serves as a connecting link between the first and second triads, so Protogonos connects the second and third triads. The terms, Augoeides and Protogonos, were used by Pythagoras and later also by the gnosticians.
There is mention of Augoeides in occult literature and also in fiction literature under many different names and always in vague terms, most often in wrong contexts as well. Augoeides has among others received the designations: agnishvatta, manasa-deva, asura, fire dhyani, son of fire, nirmanakaya, son of mind, solar god, solar angel, solar pitri, adonai, etc. Bailey calls man’s vicarious second self, Augoeides, now the “Angel”, now the “Ego”, now “Solar Angel”, now the “Angel of the Presence”. Some Rosicrucians used the handy adonai for Augoeides, since the name Augoeides was only for initiates. This multitude of different names has caused confusion, of course.
Augoeides is man’s true “causal self” until he can become a causal self himself. In occult literature this fact has caused a confusion of ideas that it is apparently very hard to remedy. He is presented as our true self, so that you get the grotesque notion that man is made up of two or, in case also Protogonos is mentioned, three different individuals.
Augoeides is thus not man’s second self but serves as the deputy of the second self until the individual himself can take over his functions, which happens when the monad moves from the first to the second triad. This was not clarified in the old literature, but Augoeides was described as “man’s higher self”. They could not explain that two individuals were involved and that the greater causal envelope (the “soul”) and the lesser triad envelope (the “personality”) were not the same envelope during incarnation. Emerson’s “oversoul” as well as Freud’s “superego” are accordingly examples of the designations resorted to by those who lack a knowledge of reality.
The fact that Augoeides is called “man’s soul” has also contributed to the confusion. The causal envelope is man’s soul, whether it is a gift by Augoeides or a causal envelope formed by the monad as a second self (the monad in the second triad) itself. In order to explain how this causal envelope at incarnation could be split into two parts (the greater causal envelope remaining in the causal world and the incarnating triad envelope) they invented the legend of the “twin souls”, which of course was idiotized, as usual, and gave rise to the most deplorable errors. (People on the look-out for their twin souls among the opposite sex and suchlike follies.)
Augoeides is that “spirit of truth” Christos spoke of. What Christos said verbatim was very little known to the gnostic legend-writers one hundred years afterwards. They used the general, “popular” gnostic expressions, which led to a total distortion of the gnostic symbols. That Augoeides would guide the disciple (who was an initiate) to the truth was an expression of the gnostic insight that Augoeides is able to help efficiently only when that need of worship which is in emotional devotion has been eliminated. When Christos, according to the gnostic legend, said of the children that their angels always behold the face of the heavenly father, he thereby referred to the Augoeides, wanted to intimate their existence and the fact that they are counted among the planetary hierarchy. Only in our times has it become possible for esotericians to elucidate the true function of the Augoeides.
The Bhagavad-Gita of the Hindus, originally from Atlantis and later revised, describes the meeting of Augoeides (the god Krishna) and his protégé (prince Arjuna), “prince” symbolizing an individual at the stage of the disciple. The author of the poem, a “rishi” in Atlantis, elaborated several motifs in it. He wanted to direct man to his own personal god in the superconscious. He wanted man to cultivate his higher emotional consciousness, “mysticism”. He wanted to influence the inactive people to purposeful activity.
At the emotional stage, most people are in need of some higher being to resort to, to worship. Only at the mental stage can man begin to acquire subjective causal consciousness and to identify with his causal being (his “soul”) and with Augoeides as his deputy causal self until he has become a causal self himself. It is an individual matter whether he conceives of Augoeides as his own causal being or as another individual.
“Prometheus Bound”, known from the Greek tale of the same name, symbolized the first self (the monad encapsulated in the first triad). He was set free by Herakles (Augoeides in the second triad).
The “voice of the silence” is the symbolic expression of the fact that “inspiration” from Augoeides can be apprehended by anyone who is able to disengage his attention (or even his consciousness) from the physical, emotional, and mental. To such a person, phenomena in the worlds mentioned can no longer hold his interest. The “silence” is the symbolic term for the mental quiet ensuing when man has set himself free from that urge which like a slave-driver’s whip compels him to pursue all the chimaeras of ignorance. In that stillness the humanist (47:5) can take part in the revelation of causal intuition. The voice of the silence is the “voice of the soul”, intuition from superconscious causal consciousness. In their language, the great mystics have said the same about the pertaining experiences. The esoterician is able to explain the process in its material reality.
Protogonos and things connected with him have (as usual) been given different names in the different knowledge orders. The gnosticians, for instance, called the consciousness of the third triad submanifestal atom (44:1) “spirit”; and manifestal consciousness (43:4), “god” or “the father”. D.K. (one of Christos’ disciples in Palestine) has used the term “the angel of the Presence” about Augoeides and “the Presence” about Protogonos, which usage is reminiscent of Christos’ saying about those who “always behold my father’s face”.
“Soul” and “spirit” were hylozoic terms that both denoted consciousness in general. In their usual naïveté (rätt stavat? förslag; naivite!) the exoterists then thought that the “soul of everything” meant that the same kind of soul or consciousness was present in all things. The souls of the stone, of the plant, of the beast, and of man were placed on a par.
With the ancients, the term “soul” had several meanings. It could refer to the first self or second self, the causal envelope or Augoeides, the active causal self or the second triad. Whatever was intended in each particular case was clear from the context incomprehensible to the uninitiated.
A confusion of ideas has also been occasioned by esoteric writers who, using the term “soul”, have meant no less than five different things, without specifying in each particular case the meaning intended: the self in the triad envelope, the causal envelope, causal consciousness, Augoeides, the second triad (which is called the “Triad” only, whereas in fact there are three triads), quite apart from such blunders as the “emotional soul” and the “mental soul” meaning man’s consciousness in those envelopes. Only the Pythagoreans had a special term for the monad, or the self. All the other esoteric schools used the term “soul” also in this sense as in several others.
Annie Besant decided for her Indian Theosophical Society that the “soul” should refer to the causal envelope or the “Ego”. In the writings of Alice A. Bailey, the term “soul” is used in five different senses: the consciousness aspect in general, the second triad, Augoeides, the consciousness of the causal envelope, and the monad (the self) in the triad envelope.
Some writers say that the soul is omniscient, omnipotent, is living in an eternal now, foresees the future, etc. Then it is said that the “soul incarnates in order to have experiences”, that the “soul makes the mistake of identifying itself with its envelopes of incarnation”, etc. One esoteric writer calls the incarnating triad envelope the “human soul” and the greater causal envelope, now the “soul”, now the “over-soul”. Taken literally, all of these assertions are sheer absurdities.
Some writers have a habit of expressing themselves in absolute statements that must imply absurdities and contradictions. Anyone who wishes to be exact strives instead to relativize, to indicate under which conditions the statements he makes are valid. The more you know and the more exact in your expressions you want to be to forestall misinterpretations, the more careful you are to indicate limiting conditions. Therefore, it is highly desirable that the word “soul” is replaced with terms that in each particular case indicate what is meant by “soul”: either the consciousness of the causal envelope or the consciousness of the essential envelope or the consciousness of the second triad or the deputizing deva (Augoeides). All too often the reader will be in the dark about what kind of consciousness is meant and whether the consciousness intended is within the range of what is possible for the individual in the human kingdom. Instead of talking loosely about omniscience they should state what kind of consciousness they have in view, what kind of world consciousness, whether 46, 45, or 44, etc.
The soul is not omniscient. Not even a 43-self is omniscient, because his “omniscience” does not extend beyond the solar system. The collective consciousness of the causal envelope knows what it has learnt through countless incarnations. It knows that death does not exist, since it has experienced its incarnations. It knows that it will die some time in the future, when the envelope is dissolved and the monad passes to world 46. The soul (Augoeides) is not omnipotent. His capacity does not exceed that of a 46-self. He is a power, in worlds 47–49, to be sure, but he is not omnipotent because of that.
The soul is not living in an eternal now. It is true that Augoeides has an unbroken continuity of consciousness, and the same is the case with the causal envelope. But the monad in the triad envelope is conscious only in its lower envelopes and is asleep when these envelopes of incarnation have been dissolved, if it has not acquired self-consciousness in its causal envelope.
As the knowledge has been made exoteric, the old term “soul” is thus unsuitable and should be replaced with a more exact one that cannot cause confusion of ideas.
The word “spirit” is abused by life-ignorance as often as it is used. In hylozoics (spiritual materialism), “spirit” means the same as the consciousness inherent in matter. The ancients used the term spirit–matter to indicate the opposition of higher–lower: worlds of higher and lower kinds, consciousness of higher and lower kinds, energy of higher and lower kinds. The higher kinds were called “spirit”, the lower kinds were called “matter”, because the consciousness aspect dominates in the higher kinds, and the matter aspect rules in the lower kinds. You could also express this as follows, which perhaps is the best way of putting it: in the worlds of man (47–49), the matter aspect appears to be the essential one; in the worlds of the fifth natural kingdom (45 and 46), the consciousness aspect seems the most important; and in the worlds of the sixth natural kingdom (43 and 44), the will aspect (the energy) rules sovereign.
The gnosticians (the genuine ones) divided man into spirit, soul, and body. By “spirit” they meant the third triad; by “soul”, the second triad; and by “body”, the first triad. In ancient knowledge orders, the symbol “spirit” was also used for 1–3 and the symbol “matter” was used for 4–7 in a septenary, quite irrespective of which worlds were under discussion.
In religious philosophy there is talk about spirit–matter. Often spirit is light and good; and matter, darkness and evil. In the largely abortive terminology of the theosophists, “spirit” is placed on a par with “monad”, by which the third triad is meant. Annie Besant called world 45 (nirvana) the “spiritual world”.
Many occultists think that the “soul” (the second triad) is immortal, whereas the “spirit” (the third triad) is immortal. No envelopes are permanent, however.
The term “god” occurs in esoteric literature, too. It then denotes the most developed monad in each collective being (a group of monads having a consciousness of community) in all the higher worlds; the monad, whose task it is to organize the functional work in the processes of manifestation for all members of that collective. “God” also refers to the whole cosmic organization with the seven ever higher divine kingdoms.
To the esoterician, “god” is the symbol of omniscience, omnipotence and law personified, of higher kingdoms in nature, of the cosmic total consciousness or of the Law. God is no person, but a collective which has the task of supervising everything and also does so efficiently.
The following expressions were originally gnostic. “God is spirit” = the lowest matter for the collective of unity is essential matter. “The union of the soul with god” = “the entrance into nirvana” of Buddhism = the centring of the monad into the third triad.
The ground of the fiction of the “commandments of god” is the laws of life. The ground of the fiction of the “promises of god” is the good reaping from good sowing. The ground of the fiction of “wrath of god” and the “punitive righteousness of god” is the bad reaping from bad sowing. The ground of the fiction of the “guidance of god” is the possibility of achieving contact with our superconscious.
The “kingdom of god” is the fifth natural kingdom. The “promised land” is the essential world. ((46) i Svenska texten). “Love god above all” means that the man becomes so filled with the sense of being one with Life that he applies all his powers to self-realization. In so doing, the essential thing is not that he reaches the goal himself but lives in order to serve evolution, mankind, and all life being on the path to the same final goal. “There is none good but one, that is, god.” Nothing is good if separated from unity. Only in unity can we understand right the significance of that which we in our ignorance call good and evil and its function for our development.
“God is love.” This is a very ancient truism, which the theologians have managed to corrupt by their dogmatism of atonement. We are all co-sharers in the cosmic total conscious-ness, and anyone who has acquired conscious collective consciousness is thereby “one with all”, a self with all other selves (monads, primordial atoms).
The planetary hierarchy, at least those members of it who belong to departments 1, 3, 5, and 7, refrain from using the word “god”, since it has become abused to the point of idiotization in all historic forms of religions, except, of course, Buddhism. That those working in departments 2, 4, and 6 use that term is due to the fact that the people having envelopes of those departments are supported and helped by personal devotion and adoration for purely emotional reasons and so need those feelings. Thus essential selves use the term as a concession to sentimentality existing. The obvious risk is the ever inevitable belief that a divine person can be affected by prayers and arbitrarily exempt individuals from the consequences of their violation of the arbitrary laws he has announced. Not until mankind has seen the absurdity of the belief in the possibility of abrogating laws of nature and laws of life, has seen that the gods have reached the divine stage through absolutely faultless application of the universal law comprising all the laws, will mankind in its development have attained the stage of common sense. As long as the idea of god is made a fetish confirming the belief in arbitrariness and satisfying egoism, so long will the religions try to outdo one another in promising divine favours.
Terms for Collective Beings
In the esoteric literature, there is frequent use of the term “Universal Mind”, coined by Besant and later adopted by Bailey. Like so many other theosophical terms it was never given its exact definition and so came to denote the collective consciousness of pretty well any world: the causal world, world 46, world 43. Since worlds 43–45 are common to all the planets of the solar system but are inaccessible to causal selves and essential selves (46), quite apart from the fact that it is meaningless to speak of the “universe” in reference to the solar system, an exact indication is very necessary. “Mind” is the vaguest of all English words and thus unserviceable if you want to be exact but highly suitable if you do not need to know what you are speaking about. Consequently, the term has become very popular, and in theosophical literature it has been used for one higher world after another.
In theosophical literature occurs also the expression “Planetary Logos”, which can mean the planetary government or the planetary ruler or that collective of cosmic selves which has the planet as its sphere of activity. This collective being in the third divine kingdom (the second cosmic kingdom), worlds 29–35, has formed the planet and supervises the processes of manifestation in it. Such a collective being certainly need not be constituted by the same individuals all the time, but new ones enter into it when previous ones pass to higher kingdoms.
The term “Planetary Logos” can mean a common envelope for the individuals of the planetary government in worlds 29–35. It can mean the planetary common consciousness, in which all monads in the planet have their ultimate collective consciousness.
Sometimes certain “chakras” in the “Planetary Logos” are spoken of. Its “heart chakra” is the planetary hierarchy.
“Planetary consciousness” and “Heavenly Men” are terms for collective 45-consciousness.
The terms “Solar Logos” and the “Grand Man of the Heavens” have several different meanings. They can mean full solar systemic consciousness (43) or the solar systemic government or the solar systemic ruler.
Shamballa is the theosophists’ name of our planetary government.
Like all symbolical expressions, the word “death” has several different meanings. It can refer to the dissolution of envelopes or triads. It can refer to the annihilation of various idiologies and fictions. The gnosticians talked about two deaths: the first and second death. By the first death they meant the dissolution of the envelopes of incarnation and the transition of the monad to the second triad. By the second death they meant either the dissolution of the causal envelope or the monad’s acquisition of or transition to the essential envelope or the monad’s centring in the third triad along with a possible dissolution of the second triad. “Death” also meant the loss of self-identity on account of loss of continuity of consciousness. Since this continuity was lost at the dissolution of the envelopes of incarnation and the self did not possess causal consciousness, the individual could not know anything of his previous lives.
In the esoteric literature there is mention of the monad consciousness as the “seeing eye”, “all-seeing eye”, etc., symbolic locutions for the monad consciousness in the higher worlds where subjective and objective consciousness are no longer differentiated but all lower kinds of consciousness are included in the monad consciousness.
The “way” mentioned in the esoteric literature is characterized by the automatic activation of the seven main centres in the aggregate envelopes. The three lowest ones are active in everybody, so that the true way begins with the activation of the heart centre through devoted service to mankind and evolution.
According to the planetary hierarchy, ”akasha” is world 44 (the submanifestal world, or paranirvana), not world 48. “Akasha”, which Blavatsky used for practically any world. What collective memory Steiner stopped at, calling it the “akashic records”, is uncertain, since there are many indications that sometimes he mixed up the memories in the third and fourth counted from below (that is, 48:4 and 5). “The akashic records”, besides, is a very unfortunate term, adopted via Eliphas Levi’s alchemist terminology.
By “astral” the ancients meant the physical etheric world. With Blavatsky it stood for everything superphysical, being used in all contexts: astral monad, astral ego, astral light, etc. Blavatsky, who did not care about terminology, took the term from Eliphas Levy, who made it designate all kinds of superphysical matter and energy, sometimes even “anima mundi” (the universal soul). Her disciple William Q. Judge became utterly confused and mixed the physical etheric world (49:2-4) up with the emotional world (48:2-7), the result being a perfect medley. The fact that higher kinds of matter are luminous in their respective worlds does not justify their being called astral light. Since she was not to speak about several higher worlds, they had all to be called “astral world” and “astral light” became a generic term for all higher kinds both of matter and of energy. That term thus cannot any more be used by those who know what they speak about.
For want of a better terminology three kinds of intuition can be enumerated: causal intuition concerning the matter aspect in space and time; essential intuition concerning the consciousness aspect; superessential intuition as for the energy aspect, will aspect, simultaneously a synthesis of all three aspects. Intuition thus is a faculty of individuals of the fifth natural kingdom. Usually, however, the term “intuition” has been used for causal and essential consciousness.
It should be mentioned in this connection that the spiritualists’ talk of “spirits in the astral world” refers to human beings who live on in their emotional envelopes. Those “spirits” are so far from being “omniscient” that they are less judicious than they were in the physical. They are by no means “immortal”.
The text above is a compilation of excerpts from Henry. T. Laurency´s The Knowledge of Reality, The Philosophers Stone, Knowledge of Life One, Knowledge of Life Three, and The Way of Man, www.laurency.com.
OLDER ESOTERIC SYMBOLISM
”From darkness lead me to light, from the unreal lead me to the real, from death lead me to immortality.”
Trinity, three triads, three aspects
Trinity is a term occurring in many different contexts and often causing confusion of ideas: for example the three aspects of reality (energy, consciousness, matter); the three triads; the triplicity of each triad; the three main departments (1–3).
The trinity of Christian theology the father, the son, and the holy spirit is a gnostic symbol, which theologians have never managed to interpret, because the symbol refers to consciousness in the three triads. In gnostic symbolism the “father”, the “great carpenter” meant the third triad and worlds 4345; the “son”, “christos”, meant the second triad and worlds 4547; and the “mother”, Maya, or the “holy ghost”, the first triad (enclosed in the causal envelope) and worlds 4749. By the “father”, the “great carpenter” they also particularly meant world 43 with its pertaining world consciousness; and by the “son”, “Christos”, world 46, which was also called the “kingdom of god”, the “kingdom of heaven”, and the “community of the saints”. Man (the son) could become a second self after his experiences as a first self and subsequent assistance from the planetary hierarchy. The mother gives birth to the son: in the first triad the monad has the possibility of becoming a second self; and in the second triad, of becoming a third self. The first triad corresponds to Brahma of the Hindus; the second triad, to Vishnu; and the third triad, to Shiva.
This symbolism also referred to the three aspects of reality. The father was will, the son was consciousness, and the holy ghost was matter. Symbolically, “matter” was the physical world. Also the gnostic “spirit, soul and body” referred to the three triads. That piece of information alone should suffice to clarify how impossible it was for the quasi-gnosticians who worked out the Christian system of dogmas to define these terms correctly. They made a perfect mess of them all.
Some of those gnosticians who in Alexandria authored the legends that were selected to become the gospels of the New Testament, belonged to the Jewish race. When writing, they had a predilection for Old-Testament sayings and used prophecies then extant in order to connect their expositions with ideas prevalent among the Jews, possibly with a view to gaining proselytes among the Jewish people. The planetary ruler was termed the “king of Jerusalem”. The expression “go up to Jerusalem” meant the monad’s use of the triad chain to reach the second triad and finally the third triad.
In order to forestall confusion of ideas it is pointed out that in the esoteric literature the three triads are often called the “three aspects”. Since the three aspects of reality (in all worlds) are matter, consciousness, and motion (energy, will), it must be pointed out with particular emphasis that two quite different categories are intended. There is an obvious risk of confusing them also on account of the fact that the most characteristic traits of the three triads are their relations to the three aspects of reality: the first triad and the matter aspect, the second triad and the consciousness aspect, the third triad and the motion aspect. The same is true of the term “trinity”, which also occurs in both categories.
Spirit, soul, body
The terms “spirit, soul, body” are symbols, as always with several meanings. They can refer to the three aspects: the motion, consciousness, and matter aspects. They can, as with the gnosticians, refer to the three triads, where “spirit” means the third triad; “soul, the second triad; and “body”, the first triad.
Blavatsky says in Isis Unveiled (Vol. 2, p. 362) that “the spirit alone is immortal – the soul, per se, is neither eternal nor divine”. Such loose expressions have always harmed esoterics. By “spirit” the esoteric writers meant the third triad; and by “soul”, the second triad. No triad is immortal, eternal, or more divine than the other two. The monad in the triads alone is immortal. However, if you take into consideration the enormous difficulties the first writers had when formulating the teaching, that their absolutizations, although necessary psychologically, should be taken in a relative sense, etc., that symbolical terms were almost unavoidable, then our assessment must be toned down accordingly.
The old symbolic expression, the “union of spirit and matter” had reference to the direct connection between the first and third triads, in which the second triad is dissolved. The monad had acquired omniscience and omnipotence in the seven atomic worlds of the solar system (43–49). The 43-self could ascertain seven dimensions (nine if line and area are counted separately) even in world 49, that world 43 penetrates all the lower worlds.
In the symbolic tale of Atlantean origin (which the Jews found in the Babylonian temple archives), “Solomon” meant the human monad and the “temple” meant the causal envelope. The gnostic locution of the “temple of the holy ghost” as the dwelling of man was connected with this legend.
The old formulation, “matter is the lowest form of spirit; and spirit, the highest form of matter”, becomes comprehensible when you learn that the matter aspect grows in importance in each lower world, and the consciousness aspect grows in importance with each higher world. This is said in reference to the ancient expression spirit–matter.
The symbol “the descent of spirit into matter” meant the process of incarnation (“everything comes from higher worlds”); even the whole process of involvation in which the primordial atoms are involved to form ever more composed atomic kinds.
The Symbolic Import of the Gospels
The four gnostic gospels of the New Testament are altogether symbolic. Their purpose was to account for the five stages in the development of man’s consciousness from his first aspiration to discipleship to his acquisition of superessential consciousness.
The birth in the manger symbolizes the first stage. It signifies the awakening of the poor, naked soul. “More joy shall be in heaven” over this one, who has decided on one-pointed self-realization (the self = Christos) than over the ninety and nine just persons, who blame this one for everything he does, because he does not do it otherwise. The birth denotes the entry into the fifth natural kingdom, the acquisition of consciousness in the lowest molecular kind (46:7) of the essential world (the world of unity, the gnostic world of Christos, the buddhi of the Hindus). For the individual this means first of all an experience of something hitherto inaccessible in his own superconscious.
The baptism and the temptation in the desert symbolize the second stage, the emancipation from emotional illusions and mental fictions with the simultaneous acquisition of consciousness in the second essential molecular kind from below (46:6). It is a great temptation when the individual thereby knows for certain and also in other ways has confirmation that his view of existence is sovereign to those of other people, and this can result in spiritual pride and conceit. By his immense acquisition of knowledge the individual becomes clearly aware of his incomparably superior insight and ability. He is greatly tempted to use this capacity, to demonstrate his power in order to prove his authority, to give weight to his message, to force people to heed his teaching. There is always a great temptation of achieving results in other ways than by the usual, all too well-known, fruitless methods of information. However, it is rightly forbidden. Every individual must wake himself, begin to seek by himself, find the truth himself. Truths from others, which the individual cannot assimilate or perhaps cannot even comprehend or understand, are but little better than superstition, serve just to offend and to hinder. This desire to force anyone to do what is good is a proof of egoism and ignorance still remaining.
The transfiguration symbolizes the third stage, the monad’s full acquisition of causal consciousness as a causal self. It is the confirmation that the individual has himself acquired objective intuition in the causal world (or the world of Platonic ideas) and subjective consciousness in the three lower molecular kinds of the essential world (46:5-7).
When the individual passes the final test, which makes him a causal self, then the three envelopes (physical-etheric, emotional, and mental) also reach their perfection. The “three apostles” on the mount of transfiguration are symbols of these three envelopes.
The crucifixion on Golgotha and the resurrection symbolize the fourth stage, the transition of the monad from the first to the second triad, implying the acquisition of full essential consciousness and the definitive, final reaping of all remaining bad sowing in the human kingdom.
When the gnosticians spoke of “resurrection”, they did not mean a certain person but all. We are all immortal and are reborn to physical life until we have learnt everything there is to be learnt in the fourth natural kingdom. The gnosticians used the word “resurrection” also in other senses. The “path of resurrection” was an expression they used to denote the triad chain.
The ascension symbolizes the fifth stage, implying the essential (46) self’s acquisition (in a subsequent incarnation) of a superessential (45) envelope and his conquest of full conscious-ness in the superessential world (nirvana, atma). The “ascension into heaven” as a symbol intimates the fact that the individual does not need to incarnate any more. It is the symbolic farewell to the fourth natural kingdom.
As yet no theologian has even surmised, let alone comprehended, the meaning of these symbols. What have the theologians made of this symbolism? The symbol of “purification”, which intended to show how the disciple was gradually emancipated from the lower interests in favour of the higher ones in one world after another, at best was turned into celibacy and vegetarianism, thus limiting it to the physical world, instead of showing how to acquire emotional attraction, mental insight, causal intuition.
The cross and the symbol of the crucifixion
The symbol of the cross has many meanings. In the esoteric astrology of the Chaldeans, the twelve zodiacal constellations of the celestial circle (observable from the earth in the course of 24 hours) as three crosses with three quite different meanings; the crosses of the three triads. In a very general sense it can be said that the more the individual develops, the more he can assimilate of all the zodiacal energies pervading his envelopes.
In esoteric astrology, the three crosses have their counterparts in the three triads. The lowest cross (that of the first triad) is made up of Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces. It is also called the Swastika. The middle cross (that of the second triad) is formed by Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. The highest cross (that of the third triad) consists of Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. Their significance appears in the fact that the energies indicated can be apprehended, understood, and mastered in those triads only. Later, the gnosticians made the three crosses refer to mankind, the planetary hierarchy, and the planetary government.
The authors of the Gospel symbols made out of those three crosses a tale of the crosses on Golgotha with three individuals at different stages of development (fourth, fifth, and sixth natural kingdoms), a symbolism that has not been understood right.
In esoteric symbolism, the word “crucifixion” has a threefold meaning. Firstly: incarnation in general (the “four spokes of the eternally revolving wheel of existence” were the four envelopes of incarnation). Secondly: that incarnation during which the self becomes an essential self. Thirdly: the very process of the self’s passage from the first to the second triad, in which the causal envelope, hitherto enclosing the first triad, is dissolved. Other terms for incarnation were “fallen into sin” and “driven out of Paradise”.
The Symbol “Christos”
The word Christos existed in the Egyptian word krst (the mummy that was laid in the tomb). In Greek it was turned into Christos, the initiate, symbolizing that “resurrection to a new life” which the acquisition of essential consciousness entailed. In quite general terms it can be said that “Christos” denotes the connecting link between the highest and the lowest in cosmic, solar systemic, and planetary evolution.
In gnostics, the term “Christos” was a symbol for three quite different realities: the “personal Christos”, the “planetary Christos”, and the “cosmic Christos”. The “personal Christos” referred to that 43-self who is the head of the second department (department of education) of the planetary hierarchy. The “planetary Christos” referred to the second self, or the essential consciousness (the 46-consciousness) in its middle position between 45- and 47-consciousness.
The gnosticians called Christos (the second triad) the mediator between god (third triad)and man (first triad).
“Christos” means the fifth natural kingdom. The entry into this kingdom was called the “resurrection from the dead”, freedom from reincarnation. The “dead” was the term for man-kind. “Salvation through Christos” is the entry into the essential world (the Christos world), the world of unity. “If any man be in Christos, then he is a new creature” means esoterically: anyone who has acquired an essential envelope (46) has entered a higher kingdom.
The Symbol of the “Father”
The esoteric symbol, the “son of god”, denoted all members of the fifth kingdom. Those belonging to the sixth kingdom were called the “father”. This was of course only in the esoteric gnostic order, the symbols of which were distorted into theological dogmas that ever since mislead people and are hostile to life.
The legend makes Christos say, “I and the Father are one,” as well as “He that hath seen me has seen the Father”, because he was a father, that is: a third self (a monad centred in the third triad).
In gnostics, the third triad is called the “father”; the second triad, the “son”; and the first triad, the “mother” or the “holy ghost”. Anyone who has become a 43-self is a monad centred in the third triad and is sovereign in that triad. He can therefore say, if he wants to express himself symbolically, that he is “one with the father”. This also means that he has free access to the planetary government. But he is not on a par with the planetary ruler, who belongs to the third divine kingdom (29–35).
“No one cometh unto the Father, but by me.” No one reaches the sixth natural kingdom (the father) but by the fifth natural kingdom (the son). No one reaches the divine stage but by the stage of unity, divine love. The monad in the first triad cannot reach the third triad but by the second triad.
The Symbolism of Jeshu’s Life
The gnostic authors of the gospel novels meant by Bethlehem the physical world. It is in the physical world that the individual acquires all qualities and abilities and finally both subjective and objective causal consciousness. In former times he thereby entered the fifth natural kingdom. Nowadays the planetary hierarchy has left the causal world and moved on to the essential world, and so consciousness of unity (46) must be acquired in order to join the hierarchy.
The names of the twelve apostles were the gnostic terms for the twelve zodiacal signs. The constellation of Pisces was called Judas. They quite anticipated that Christos would be “betrayed” in the Piscean epoch, which the Christian church certainly has done.
The symbol of the three crosses on Golgotha meant: the “saviour” = the planetary government, the “repentant thief” = the planetary hierarchy, the “unrepentant one” = mankind; also the monad in its envelopes of incarnation. The three crosses on Golgotha also stand for the three worlds 45, 47, 49, and many other things.
The expression, “the veil of the temple was rent in twain”, is typical of the free manner in which the authors of the gospel novels used gnostic symbols. The symbol has many meanings. It stands for that veil of Isis which the individual must lift in order to become a causal self. It stands for the entry into the planetary hierarchy or government. It stands for the passage of the monad from the first to the second or later to the third triad, from one kingdom to another.
“The woman at the sepulchre”: Christos remaining in mankind. “The disciples’ walk to Emmaus”: Christos in the planetary hierarchy. “The twelve disciples in the upper room where Judas was present”: Christos has access to the planetary government.
The Rich Young Man
One example of how reality was distorted in the gospels of the New Testament is the gnostic legend of the “young man who had great possessions” and who asked Christos about the conditions of “eternal life” and who “went away sorrowful” when he had learned this; that you give away everything you have.
This is a symbolic tale of a causal self who could not decide to become an essential self, since he would not “offer up his possessions”. That meant too great a sacrifice. The passage from the first to the second triad entails the dissolution of everything that the causal self possesses; his old causal envelope with all its qualities and abilities which he has acquired in the human kingdom, its omniscience of the worlds of man and of all past events, its “omnipotence” in these worlds, all this which is the sum total of evolution through the lower four natural kingdoms. All this he must sacrifice in order to acquire a serviceable essential envelope (the embryo existed before) and be able to definitively centre himself, the monad, in the second triad essential atom. The sacrifice entails an annihilation of that which was reality and life to the self and thereby an apparent obliteration of self-consciousness. The essential self enters something that appears to be empty nothingness, and everything that is left of his old consciousness is just self-identity (I am I). This is said to be the ghastliest experience during the entire evolution.
Note that this must be done before you have made sure of what you receive instead. There is no more difficult choice in the entire evolution, and many there are who hesitate during several incarnations before that step, to go through the “needle’s eye”, until they have been convinced through essential selves that the gain of shared knowledge is incomparably greater than the loss. In that knowledge they retrieve even their own individual one, which seemed to have been lost. Only then they see that the “sacrifice” was just apparent, that nothing that has been can be lost, that everything which had a value in life remains the property of the individual and of all in common. In the globe memory you retrieve, not just everything you have been (the monad retrieves also in its second-triad mental atom everything which its old causal envelope contained), but you become a larger self including all of your own kingdom and the lower ones. The expression, “eternal life”, was the symbolic term the gnosticians used (and which of course was incomprehensible to the uninitiated) for life in the planetary hierarchy, the liberation from the necessity of reincarnation.
The Symbolic Meaning of the Christian Festivals
The Christian festivals are connected with the course of events in the Gospels and thus they, too, are symbols of the five stages on the disciple’s path from the fourth to the fifth natural kingdom. This fact has never dawned on the Christians, because they base their ideas on their belief that the gospels describe historical events. They do not know that the life of Christos in Palestine during the years 105–72 B.C. (according to our chronology, which is based on what is mistaken for the birth-year of Christos) was not as it is described in the New Testament, although he was a historical personage.
Advent and Christmas were symbols for the first stage of discipleship. “Advent” in gnostic symbolism meant the “return of the strayed son to his father’s house”, the awakening of the monad in its causal envelope. Christmas symbolized the birth of the Christos child in the individual. Christmas does not signify the birth of any particular man. In fact, Jeshu was born in the month of March (the sun in the zodiacal constellation of Pisces) in the year 105 B.C.
“There is born to us a saviour.” Every human being, in whom the Christos child has been born, is a saviour for himself and will also be one for others at lower stages of development some time. We teach others in two ways. It is true that we cannot convey understanding of such things as are above other people’s level of development. However, we can give facts previously unknown to them. And in those who have the knowledge latently we can rouse it to a new life by putting them into contact with what they have known before. If this means latent esoteric knowledge, then the expression is used: to open the closed door into reality.
Easter was intended to symbolize the passing of the causal self from the causal world to the essential world, his joining in the lowest collective of the planetary hierarchy, his entry into the fifth natural kingdom. That incarnation in which this transition is made has been regarded as the hardest of them all and for that reason (although wrongly) has been called the “incarnation of suffering”.
“Kingdom of God”
The “kingdom of god” is the fifth natural kingdom. The “promised land” is the essential world. “Seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. That promise is of course only given to those who have entered unity, live in order to serve, and apply the laws of life right. Special promises are always given on special conditions. There are no other general promises than the eternally immutable laws of life.
“The kingdom of god is within you” means that it shall not be sought outside us. For this has been the great mistake of Christianity and the cause of its errors and impotence. We are “gods in exile” until we use the causal and essential energies that pour through our centres in our endeavour to realize the kingdom of god on earth, in doing which the “god within us” is roused to life.
When Christos declared, “My kingdom is not of this world”, then the esotericians under-stood this. His kingdom is the divine kingdom of our planet. The father of the church, the quasi-gnostician Augustine and the Roman Catholic Church after him desired, contrary to the declaration of Christos, to make the physical, the lowest world the kingdom of god. And the result was a struggle for power, a constant, albeit temporarily masked, religious war. Also the Jews insist on making their Messiah a physical supreme king. Both are victims of the same error.
People dream of peace, and those who await the “return of the Lord” believe that he will proclaim a “kingdom of peace”. In fact, there will be no peace until all mankind has attained beyond the emotional stage. The symbolic term “peace” means the domination of emotionality by mental consciousness. The legendary “my peace I give unto you” was a statement to the effect that a higher mental level (47:5) had been attained.
Sin, or evil, is everything lower, everything that is below the individual’s true level. Sins are no “crimes against an infinite being”, but mistakes as to unity and the laws of life. Our sins are forgiven, not by our revelling in contrition, meaninglessly making ourselves nervous wrecks unfit for life by all manner of self-accusations, but by our ceasing to do what we ourselves see is wrong. No god can forgive sins, violations of the laws of life. Sowing has to be reaped. No god can abolish that law. And why should he do so? To make it suit the transgressors of the law who wish to escape the consequences of their actions? That would be the right way of promoting lawlessness, as the church’s forgiveness of sins has done. What seemingly implies forgiveness of sins is either the ascertainment that the sowing has already been reaped or (in exceptional cases) a transfer of the reaping meted out for them to their next incarnation.
The “forgiveness of sins” is the liberation from identification with what is lower. But this forgiveness does not imply any abolition of the Law. That doctrine is satanic. Sins are mistakes as to the laws of life. We shall have opportunities to make up for those mistakes in future incarnations.
The gnostic “liberation from sin” had the result that the individual no more thought of, and was no more tormented by, his past with its many mistakes. The memory of what had been was blotted out, and the “saved one” was taught “never to look back”. Everything that is attended to is revitalized in the old complexes. One of the first conditions of discipleship also is that the aspirant has learnt so much thought control that he never looks back.
“Sin against the holy ghost” is the refusal to recognize the unity of life and the definitive refusal to enter unity. It implies the individual’s conscious, deliberate resolution, systematically carried out, “to disclaim his humanity”, his share in unity, to sever the connection between the lesser causal envelope with the lowest triad and the greater causal envelope with the higher triads. After that there is no more any desire to re-establish the connection. The expression, “that sin shall not be forgiven, neither in this eon nor that which is to come”, means that the individual, in case the greater causal envelope has been definitively dissolved, must in the course of evolution acquire a new envelope, after he has reaped to the last grain all the bad sowing he has sown as a “soulless” self.
The “fall of man” meant “incarnation” pure and simple. It is true that it may appear as a degradation when such a radiant being as the causal being incarnates into an “animal body” (the human organism). However, since all the requisite qualities and abilities can be developed in the physical world only, this procedure is inevitable and the greatest charitable deed. It is the very opposite of “falling into sin”.
Judgement Day, the Devil, the Sacrifice of Atonement, the Sword
“Judgement day”, comes when the emotional forms in the emotional world are dissolved. Those who then are unable to live a mental life will be reborn on planets in the solar system where emotional life is still possible.
“Deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil.” “Deceits of the world” are the pressure of the masses, public opinion, ignorance of life within all domains. The “flesh” is those bad qualities which we have acquired in all previous incarnations, which all together express themselves as a perverse instinct of life. The “devil” is the black lodge.
We in our turn should become “sacrifices of atonement” by “taking up our cross” and like Jeshu bear the “sins of the world”, endure calumny, persecution, etc. Only so can we be liberated from the identification with what is lower. This is connected with destiny and reaping.
The “sword” as a gnostic symbol had a twofold meaning: The mental sword or the power to discriminate between true and false, right and wrong. The physical sword or the ability to liberate consciousness from everything that hinders its development, that wants to attach the self to physical things.
“Resist Not Evil”
The saying attributed to Christos, “resist not evil”, is an obvious distortion of the original meaning, which was that we should not fight “evil” in ourselves. Using that psychological method, which is as common as perverse, we only strengthen evil. Instead, we do not attend to it at all. We think of something else, perhaps of the opposite quality or of our own Augoeides. Evil has power only as long as it is attended to. It dies for lack of fuel, if it is not attended to. Anyone who has acquired the power of thought control, decides himself what is to exist in his consciousness. The exhortation “resist not evil” was addressed to one-pointed self-realizers who were conscious of their purpose. Those who have decided to sacrifice everything in order just to serve life, first of all try to intensify the attractive tendency and learn to love people. For love is the motive power of man’s altruistic actions. Those who have entered unity do not fight evil but with the weapons of love. Evil manifests itself in many forms and has the satanists as its most powerful representatives; those who with every imaginable diabolical means counteract evolution, act negatively in all respects, make a system of lying, preach the right of violence, the obvious justification of egoism, the self-glory of self-assertion. The exhortation was addressed to those who had reached the stage of ideality and with one-pointed purpose were bent on acquiring essential consciousness. Many people, Tolstoy and Gandhi for instance, have misunderstood that saying. Not to resist evil would amount to handing power over to the satanists and to outlawing good. Thus for instance the entry of the United States into both world wars was in full agreement with the desire of the planetary government.
The “Word,” Symbolic Numbers
A central esoteric symbol still haunting is “logos”, the “word”. It is high time it were elucidated. Doctrines to be taught should be comprehensible. Otherwise they should not be taught, for then the inevitable result is mental misconstructions and confusion of ideas. The word “logos” has eventually, like all symbols, been given many meanings: the motion aspect of existence, sound (with its correspondences in all the worlds) being the mightiest energy; higher divine kingdoms; collective beings, etc.
“The word was made flesh”, Logos became man, Christos incarnated as a representative of the planetary government (the “father”) having become a 43-self and so having free access to the planetary government (having become a “son of god”). “The word was made flesh” also was the gnostic term for the perfected “personality” (the integration of the envelopes, the mental sovereignty over human consciousness) and the humility of the personality before the gradual acquisition of the causal knowledge. Here the “word” meant the knowledge of reality.
The story of Solomon’s temple symbolized the construction and shaping of the human monad’s causal envelope. The number of days worked upon Solomon’s temple, which in First Kings, 5:15 and 16 and First Chronicles 2:17 and 18 is given as 153,600 in all, was thought to tally with the approximate number of incarnations required for a certain type of men: 70,000 at the stage of barbarism, 80,000 at the stage of civilization, 3,000 at the stage of culture, and 600 at the two remaining stages. These numbers of course are “doctored”.
Man can enter the fifth natural kingdom when all the “spokes” of his principal seven centres (chakras, “wheels”) are fully active. The total number of these spokes runs to 144 000 (4, 6, 10, 12, 16, 96 x 1000). This is, according to the gnostic locution, the “number of the saved” (masked in the Book of Revelation and misinterpreted, as always).
The number of the beast (666) in the Book of Revelation is a symbol that refers to man and to the six physical, six emotional, and six mental molecular kinds in his envelopes. The beast is man, which mankind should have learnt to see, if we can learn anything at all from history.
The Triangle and the Square
Symbols constantly recurring in the writings of the esoteric knowledge orders are the triangle as a sign of man’s triplicity (physical-emotional-mental or the single first triad or the triads); the square (man’s four envelopes of incarnation: organism, etheric envelope, emotional envelope, mental envelope); the cross (man incarnated, crucified on the four spokes of the wheel of incarnation); the five-pointed star (the symbol of the 45-self, also the symbol of the planetary hierarchy). L3 2.10.1 In the esoteric literature there is mention of fourfold man as the square and the threefold soul as the “triangle”. The square can except the four envelopes of incarnation as well refer to all mankind. The triangle means in addition the three centres of the causal envelope (corresponding to 47:1-3), the second triad, and all the other three-partite realities. This predilection for geometrical designations is connected with the fact that most abstract concepts in the forms of mental matter are geometrical figures.
“Triangle” was Blavatsky’s term for the triad. In the esoteric literature, the symbol was used as a description of the universal motion round three points, the geometrical form of all the outputs of energy of manifestation.
The symbol of the six-pointed star, formed by two intertwined equilateral triangles, has never been any “seal of Solomon”, although the Jews claim that. It is a very ancient esoteric symbol with several different meanings. The most well-known meanings are that of the triangle pointed upwards denoting the planetary hierarchy and the triangle pointed downwards denoting mankind; the triangle pointed upwards representing evolution and the one pointed downwards, involution. They also represent the second and first triads.
The legend of twin souls has arisen on account of the fact that the causal envelope is divided in two at incarnation. The lesser envelope (the triad envelope) embraces the envelopes of incarnation. Since the monad in this envelope is unaware of consciousness in its highest envelope, and since in its physical, emotional, and mental envelopes it has no other awareness than that which it has itself been able to activate out of the passive consciousness of those envelopes, the monad is unwittingly in opposition to causal consciousness. This antagonistic attitude endures until the monad has acquired consciousness in its (greater) causal envelope.
The symbol has of course caused endless racking of brains and the misinterpretation of it has also had deplorable consequences. A contributory cause of the misinterpretation of the symbol was the experience of the “community of souls”. It is due not so much (as astrologers believe) to the harmony of zodiacal vibrations as to that rare combination where two people at the same, higher stage have the same department in their causal as well as triad envelopes. Between such people, misunderstandings are impossible.
Symbols for Worlds
The terms earth, water, fire, and air were used not only in reference to the four lowest physical states of aggregation but by the Pythagoreans also for different atomic kinds: earth = physical, water = emotional, fire = causal-mental, air = essential. The esoteric symbol for the physical world was “desert”; for the emotional world, “stormy sea”; and for the causal-mental world, “consuming fire”. Esoteric terms should not be taken from other fields, however. The characteristics of the worlds referred to can be clearly elucidated once and for all. Occidentals require exact terms and, moreover, facts, no mystical allusions and similar obscurities.
Blavatsky called the different worlds “planes”, not giving a thought to the fact that they are spheres within the planet.
The various occult sects largely use the same symbols and the same terminology but interpret the symbols differently and understand different things by the terms they use. “Cosmic consciousness” may serve as an illustration of this. Thus Blavatsky called the worlds of the solar system (43–49) the “cosmic physical” and the worlds 36–42 the “cosmic astral”. She did this by analogy with the physical (49) and the astral (48) worlds. The cosmic physical world was divided into the cosmic etheric (43–46) and the cosmic dense (47–49). In hylozoics, the term “cosmic” has been reserved for worlds 1–42 outside the solar system. However, the term first cited, “cosmic physical” has brought about a confusion of ideas, so that occultists claim they already possess cosmic consciousness when they have only acquired clairvoyance (48:4-7).
The fabulous animal the “unicorn” originally referred to the Capricorn of the zodiac. The symbol (one horn) meant that one-pointed purposiveness to which there is only one goal that also shall be achieved. According to the legend, the unicorn with its horn pierces the lion (self-glorious man), which means the final fusion of the greater and the lesser causal envelopes, in which process the individual becomes a causal self.
The twins Castor and Pollux were an esoteric symbol that had several meanings: the first and second selves, the incarnating triad envelope and the causal envelope, man and his Augoeides, the disciple and his teacher (an individual of the fifth natural kingdom), corresponding to Arjuna and Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita. The all-pervading idea is that man can reach higher only by the help of the higher and by gratefully receiving that help.
The tale of Abel and Cain is taken from the same source as the myth of Pollux and Castor, the Chaldean Kabbalah. Its symbolical description of how Cain (mental consciousness) slew Abel (causal consciousness) meant esoterically that the intellect in its self-glory and presumption is an insurmountable obstacle to the development of the intuition. The Jews never understood the tale but remade its symbolism into a historical tale.
One instance of how the Jews misinterpreted esoteric symbols is the tale about Shadrach, Mesach, and Abed-nego, the three men in the fiery furnace. Before man can come in contact with his Augoeides (the angel in the furnace), everything selfish must have been “burnt”. Shadrach meant the emotional, Mesach the mental, and Abed-nego the physical. That is the manner in which Biblical history (the “pure, unadulterated word of god”) is made.
The text above is a compilation of excerpts from Henry. T. Laurency´s, Knowledge of Life One, Knowledge of Life Three, and The Way of Man, www.laurency.com.