Copyright © 1999 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved.
EDITORS’ NOTE: This online version of the Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary is a work in progress. The manuscript, originally produced in the 1930s and ’40s, is currently being revised and expanded, and will be updated periodically. Comments, corrections, and suggestions are welcome; please send to email@example.com
For ease of searching, diacritical marks are omitted, with the exception of Hebrew and Sanskrit terms, where after the main head a current transliteration with accents is given.
Quick links: Aa-Adh | Adi-Ag | Ah-Al | Am-Ani | Anj-Arc | Ard-Asr | Ato-Az | Ba-Be | Bh-Bo | Br-Bz | Ca-Ce | Cha-Chy | Ci-Cz | Da-Der | Des-Dir | Dis-Dz | Ea-El | Em-Ez | F | Ga-Gl | Gn-Gz | Ha-Hh | Hi-Hz | I | J | Ka |Ke-Kz | La-Li | Lo-Lz | Ma-Mam | Man-Mar | Mas-Me | Mi-Mo | Mp-Mz | Na-Ne | Nf-Nz | O | Pa-Peq | Per-Pi | Pl-Pral | Pram-Prj | Pro-Pz | Q-Rec | Red-Roos | Root-Rz | Sa-Sal | Sam-Saq | Sar-Sec | Sed-Sez | Sh-Sir | Sis-Som | Son-Sq | Sr-Sum | Sun-Sz | Ta-Tel | Tem-Thn | Tho-Tre | Tri-Tz | U | Va-Vih | Vij-Vz | W-X | Y | Z
ETG Main Page
List of Abbreviations
Ass In the cults of Asia Minor a symbol of Set, Typhon, Satan, Jehovah, or Saturn. Jesus rides into Jerusalem “upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass,” in accordance with the prophecy in Zechariah (9:9). If the ass is Saturn, and its foal the earth (whose physical globe is governed by the genius of Saturn in connection with the moon), this is an apt symbol of the descent of the Christos into the lower worlds. Plutarch relates that Typhon or Set fled on an ass into Palestine and there founded Hierosolymus and Judaeus (De Iside et Osiride, ch 30).
Assassins [from Arab hashshashin hashish eaters; or from proper name Hassan] Originally an order founded in Persia and Syria during the 11th century by Hassan ben Sabbah, an offshoot of the Ismaelites of the Shiite division of Islam. They taught the esoteric doctrines of Islam, encouraged mathematics and philosophy, and are said to have used hashish as a means of obtaining celestial visions. They held that creation began with the intellectual world, moved to the soul and then the rest of creation. The human soul, imprisoned in the body to carry out the teacher’s orders, rejoins the universal soul at death. The usual accounts state that they sanctioned the employment of secret assassination against all enemies.
Assessors One name given by Europeans to the 42 judges in the scene of the weighing of the heart in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. They stand as accusers of the defunct before Osiris in the former’s progress through Amenti after death. The idea of the judges reading the record from the weighing of the defunct’s heart is a variant of the teaching concerning the lipikas or karmic scribes recording all things in the astral light (cf SD 1:104-5).
Assorus [from Chaldean] “The third group of progeny (Kissan [Kissare] and Assorus) from the Babylonian Duad, Tauthe and Apason, according to the Theogonies of Damascius. From this last emanated three others, of which series the last, Aus, begat Belus — ‘the fabricator of the World, the Demiurgus’ ” (TG 36).
Assur (Chaldean or Assyrian) [from a-shir leader] Also Asur, Ashur. Originally the titular deity of an ancient Assyrian city of learning on the Tigris, but with the rise of the Assyrian Empire his prominence was extended so that he became one of the foremost gods of the Assyrian pantheon. The title Asir was also given to other important deities such as Marduk and Nebo. Like Marduk, Assur was first recognized as a solar deity and represented in symbol with the adjunct of the winged disk; but later he became a god of war, so that the winged disk took a minor place under the figure of a man with a bow. Assur remained the chief deity even when the Assyrian capital was moved to Nineveh about the 8th century BC, although he was obliged to share this honor with Ishtar, then regarded as his consort, until the fall of the Assyrian Empire (606 BC).
Assyrian Tree of Life. See ASHERAH
Asta-dasa (Sanskrit) Asta-daśā [from the verbal root as to remove, finish + daśā state, condition] Perfect, supreme wisdom; the finished, ended, or completed state, thus pointing directly to a cosmic monad which has become supreme for and in its own hierarchy, and hence for such hierarchy is perfect, supreme wisdom — a title of the controlling divinity of the hierarchy over which it presides.
Astaphai, Astaphoi (Gnostic) [from Greek astaphaios] With the Egyptian Gnostics, the genius of the planet Mercury, corresponding to the Egyptian Thoth and the Greek Hermes.
Astarte (Greek) Greek form of the Syro-Phoenician goddess Ashtoreth, female counterpart of Baal. The goddess of love and fruitfulness, she was essentially a lunar goddess of productiveness or fertility. The Assyrian and Babylonian form was Ishtar, in Syria Atargates, in Phrygia Cybele, in the Bible Ashtoreth, and in North Africa Tanith or Dido. She was intimately connected in the Chaldean form of her worship with the planet Venus. She corresponds to the Egyptian Isis or Hathor, Greek Aphrodite, and Norse Freya. The Virgin Mary represented on the crescent moon weeping, is taken from similar images of Astarte (BCW 11:96-7).
Asteria (Greek) Daughter of Coeus and Phoebe, sister of Leto or Latona, and mother of Hecate; said to have turned into a quail (ortyx) and plunged into the sea to escape from Zeus. The island of Delos was originally named for her: first Asteria, then Ortygia.
Asterism Constellations in general, but more specifically applied to the divisions in the zodiac, which in ancient thought were believed to hold special significance. Also applied to the lunar mansions or divisions of the ecliptic, each being 13 1/2 degrees or 1/27 of 360 degrees, representing approximately the average daily progress of the moon in ecliptic longitude. The original number of lunar asterisms is said to have been 27, but another was added, represented on the lunar zodiac by a smaller division. This arrangement of 28 is divided into lucky and unlucky halves. As the first mansion in the Hindu system is dedicated to Krittika, the Pleiades, it is believed that this arrangement of lunar mansions was made at least before 2000 BC. According to the allegorical stories, King Soma, the moon, married 27 daughters of Daksha and divided his time among them.
Asterope. See PLEIADES
Aster’t (Syrian) Goddess of the moon, consort of Adon, one of the most important divinities of Syria, corresponding closely to the Jewish Adonai. See also ASTARTE
Astoreth. See ASTARTE
Astra (Sanskrit) Astra Missile, weapon; in the war between the Pandavas and Kurus in the Mahabharata, in addition to the regular weapons (astras), others are mentioned: mantra-astras (weapons made powerful by mantras); divya-astra (weapons received from higher beings); and agneyastras (weapons of fire). Likewise racial remnants of the earlier Atlanteans (commonly called Rakshasas) employed the power of hallucination (maya); this is also described in the Ramayana. See also ASHTAR
Astraea (Greek) [from astr star] Star maiden; daughter of Astraeus and Eos, or of Zeus and Themis. Themis, born of Uranus and Gaia (heaven and earth), signifies law, order, equity, as does her daughter Astraea, who lived among men in the Golden Age as the goddess of justice. But when wickedness prevailed in the bronze age, she was the last of the gods to withdraw, with her sister Aidos (modesty), and is found among the stars of Virgo. Another myth says that Zeus, when he carried off Ganymedes, the personified object of lust, threw Astraea back on earth again, where she fell on her head. Ganymedes is Aquarius, and the astronomical meaning refers to an inversion of the poles, which brings Aquarius into the northern celestial hemisphere and places Virgo upside down in the southern half (SD 2:785).
The return of Astraea also means the return of the Golden Age (the beginning of a new root-race). Astraea, in another sense, is Venus-Lucifer, and Zeus the personification of the cyclic law which arrests the downward course of root-races.
Astral Bell. See BELLS, ASTRAL
Astral Body Generally equivalent to the Sanskrit linga-sarira, the ethereal model-body, usually invisible to our physical eyes, upon which the physical body (sthula-sarira) is modeled. There are three ethereal forms or bodies which might properly be called astral bodies: 1) mayavi-rupa — the illusory form-body of thought and substance projected by high initiates; 2) linga-sarira — the model- or pattern-body, the second principle of the human constitution; and 3) kama-rupa — the phantom or spook which is seen occasionally in the vicinity of graves or which occasionally materializes at seances.
Astral Double. See ASTRAL BODY; BHUTA; CHHAYA
Astral Light This is the next cosmic plane above the physical, which is to the physical globes of our earth or of the other bodies of our solar system what the linga-sarira is to the human physical body. As such, it is the carrier of life-forces — jiva cosmically, and prana individually — and the storehouse of cosmic energies on their way to or from physical manifestation. It preserves an indelible record of all events on the astral and physical planes, there being continual interaction between the two planes. No natural phenomenon, whether mental, psychic, or physical, can be explained without it; without it, the physical world would crumble to impalpable dust.
The astral light is itself divided into subordinate planes; the lower regions teem with gross emanations from the earth, including psychic remnants from deceased beings, which exert a negative influence on the living, especially when intercourse with these remnants is encouraged by moral and physical weakness or by ignorant experiments.
The alchemical action of the astral light and its intimate connection with the physical sphere explains epidemics, whether physical or psychological. Because it transmits thoughts and emotions, its connection with karma is evident. The astral light is the mother of the physical world, just as akasa is the mother of the astral light.
The astral light is virtually the same as the sidereal light of Paracelsus and other medieval mystic philosophers who followed him. The reason for calling this kosmic plane astral or sidereal is that all nature being a vast and intricately interwoven organism, the stars and planets emanate into each other their respective celestial energies and substances. Thus, because there is this constant interchange of starry fluids emanating from the different celestial bodies, the term astral light has a foundation of esoteric scientific fact. It is applied specifically to the second kosmic plane only because it is nearest to the physical and beings living on the physical plane at times become sensible of the existence of the second kosmic plane by means of flashes of starry light or sensations of luminosity. Hence the ancient initiates, knowing the source of this starry substance, properly called it the astral or sidereal light, or by some similar expression. The astral light, finally, is the very dregs of akasa, and is virtually the same as the hypothetical ether of science.
Astral Plane. See ASTRAL LIGHT
Astral Monad or Soul The animal soul or vital-astral soul, the lowest and feeblest reflection or vehicle of the divine monad; when enlightened by the human monad, it produces the human being known today.
Astral World. See ASTRAL LIGHT
Astrology Universal analogy provides a key to occult mysteries by studying the nature and motions of the celestial orbs. The heavenly bodies are in essence gods, and the influence they shed is the aura which likewise emanates from all living beings. Ancient astrology taught the absolute solidarity of the universe and of everything within it as an organic entity so that the operations and motions of the celestial bodies and influences flowing forth from them governed or regulated all subordinate beings over which their sway fell. The seven sacred planets are correlated with the cosmic and human septenates; learning the natures of these planets provides one key to an understanding of the natures of their correspondences. By their motions they measure cycles and determine epochs. Every being, if we reckon its life cycle, is an event; its nature, its destiny, is shown if we know and can define the epoch of its birth. Thus the adept, in proportion to his skill, can interpret the past and estimate what is to come; he can define the interrelations of things and arrive at an understanding of the structure of macrocosms and microcosms, which are spread out alike in time and space. “Astrology is a science as infallible as astronomy itself, with the condition, however, that its interpreters must be equally infallible; and it is this condition, sine qua non, so very difficult of realization, that has always proved a stumbling-block to both. Astrology is to exact astronomy what psychology is to exact physiology. In astrology and psychology one has to step beyond the visible world of matter, and enter into the domain of transcendent spirit” (IU 1:259).
Astrology therefore embraces a science of vast scope, permitting of studies which range from the sublime to the trivial, from the most spacious to the most confined. If astronomy concerns itself with the physical constitution of the celestial bodies, astrology concerns itself especially with what might be called the reasons rather than the mere laws of the universe. Considered in its largest aspect, it includes the entire universe and every being or thing, not only on the physical plane but even more so on the invisible or causal planes — the physical plane being merely the consequence of the actions and operations of the lives and forces residing in the invisible worlds.
Astrology today is an impaired legacy from Greece and Rome through the medieval art, elaborated by the speculative industry of modern students; and that same medieval astrology was itself no more than a decayed scion of the ancient stock. Modern astrology is too often cultivated in a spirit which binds us to our personality or caters to frivolous curiosity. To the merest tyro, however, it soon becomes evident that the planets cause or indicate character and events; what use the individual makes of this knowledge depends on the motives with which it is sought. Anxiety about personal fate, the desire for influence and notoriety, the need for earning a living, or even knowledge for its own sake — such motives will qualify his attainments in proportion to the scope of the sphere to which he limits himself. As the old saying attests, the stars impel, they do not compel.
Four branches of astrology are now chiefly studied: 1) mundane, applying to meteorology, seismology, husbandry, etc.; 2) state or civic, regarding the future of nations and rulers; 3) horary, solving doubts arising on any subject; and 4) genethliacal, concerned with the future of individuals from birth to death.
Blavatsky wrote that astrology is the “science which defines the action of celestial bodies upon mundane affairs, and claims to foretell future events from the positions of the stars. Its antiquity is such as to place it among the very earliest records of human learning. It remained for long ages a secret science in the East, and its final expression remains so to this day, its exoteric application only having been brought to any degree of perfection in the West during the lapse of time since Varaha Mihira wrote his book on Astrology, some 1400 years ago. Claudius Ptolemy, the famous geographer and mathematician, founded the system of astronomy known under his name, wrote his Tetrabiblos which is still the basis of modern Astrology in 135 AD . . . As to the origin of the science, it is known on the one hand that Thebes claimed the honour of the invention of Astrology; whereas, on the other hand, all are agreed that it was the Chaldees who taught that science to the other nations. . . . If later on the name of Astrologer fell into disrepute in Rome and elsewhere, it was owing to the frauds of those who wanted to make money of that which was part and parcel of the Sacred Science of the Mysteries, and who, ignorant of the latter, evolved a system based entirely on mathematics, instead of transcendental metaphysics with the physical celestial bodies as its upadhi or material basis. Yet, all persecutions notwithstanding, the number of adherents to Astrology among the most intellectual and scientific minds was always very great. If Cardan and Kepler were among its ardent supporters, then later votaries have nothing to blush for, even in its now imperfect and distorted form” (Key 318-19).
Astronomos (Greek) An astronomer; in ancient Greek usage equivalent to astrologos; in the sixth degree of the Egyptian Mysteries at Thebes the candidate was taught the priestly dance in the circle and was instructed in astronomy, and in the seventh degree he received the title of astronomos (IU 2:365; TG 39-40). The initiate now understood the astronomical key to cosmic mysteries, such as the real meaning of the zodiac and of the positions, movements, and influences of the stars in general and in natal astrology.
Asu (Sanskrit) Asu [from the verbal root as to be] As a masculine noun, breath, spiritual life; in the plural, the exoteric five vital breaths of the body or pranas. Nearly all archaic languages have the same word for both breath and wind or air and spirit, such as the Greek pneuma and the Latin spiritus.
As an astronomical term, equivalent to four seconds of sidereal time or one minute of arc. As a neuter noun often used for reflection or thought, connected with the heart as its seat.
Asura (Sanskrit) Asura [from the verbal root as to breathe] A title frequently given to the hierarch or supreme spirit of our universe, as being the primal “Breather”; also a class of spiritual-intellectual beings. In Hinduism it commonly signifies elemental and evil gods or demons. “Primarily in the Rig-Veda, the ‘Asuras’ are shown as spiritual divine beings; their etymology is derived from asu (breath), the ‘Breath of God,’ and they mean the same as the Supreme Spirit or the Zoroastrian Ahura. It is later on, for purposes of theology and dogma, that they are shown issuing from Brahma’s thigh, and that their name began to be derived from a privative, and sura, god (solar deities), or not-a-god, and that they became the enemies of the gods” (SD 2:59).
Further, the asuras “are the sons of the primeval Creative Breath at the beginning of every new Maha Kalpa, or Manvantara; in the same rank as the Angels who had remained ‘faithful.’ These were the allies of Soma (the parent of the Esoteric Wisdom) as against Brihaspati (representing ritualistic or ceremonial worship). Evidently they have been degraded in Space and Time into opposing powers or demons by the ceremonialists, on account of their rebellion against hypocrisy, sham-worship, and the dead-letter form” (SD 2:500).
Asura is employed with frequency in theosophical writings to signify the class of spiritual-intellectual beings called manasaputras, kumaras, or angishvattas. As a matter of fact, asuras, maruts, rudras, and daityas are but various ways of describing the intellectual gods or manasas, as contrasted with the as yet incompleted devas or suras.
Asura is used in the earliest Vedic literature as a title of the cosmic hierarch or supreme spirit. The Vedic Asura is nothing other than the Great Breath of archaic occult literature — the Great Breath coming and going as manvantara and pralaya. The other Vedic gods mentioned so much more frequently in the slokas, such as Agni, Indra, and Varuna, are all subordinate hierarchically and cosmogonically to the Vedic Asura, which is really Brahman-pradhana or the Second Logos, Father-Mother; Varuna is the acme or summit of akasa-tattva; Agni is the summit or hierarch of cosmic taijasa-tattva; and Indra is often identified with Vayu as the summit of cosmic Vayu-tattva. See also MAHASURA
Asura-devata (Sanskrit) Asura-devatā [from a not + sura god + devata from deva god] Equivalent to the Flames of the Stanzas of Dzyan, or the manasaputras, “for, as said, they were first Gods — and the highest — before they became ‘no-gods’ ” (SD 2:248).
Asuramaya (Sanskrit) Asuramaya Also Mayāsura, Mayeśvara. Legendary astronomer spoken of in Sanskrit literature as versed in magic, astronomy, and military science. “In the old Stanzas Pesh-Hun is credited with having calculated and recorded all the astronomical and cosmic cycles to come, and with having taught the Science to the first gazers at the starry vault. And it is Asuramaya, who is said to have based all his astronomical works upon those records, to have determined the duration of all the past geological and cosmical periods, and the length of all the cycles to come, till the end of this life-cycle, or the end of the seventh Race. . . .
“The chronology and computations of the Brahmin Initiates are based upon the Zodiacal records of India, and the works of the above-mentioned astronomer and magician — Asuramaya. The Atlantean zodiacal records cannot err, as they were compiled under the guidance of those who first taught astronomy, among other things, to mankind” (SD 2:49).
“Asuramaya is said to have lived (see the tradition of Jhana-bhaskara) in Romaka-pura in the West: because the name is an allusion to the land and cradle of the ‘Sweat-born’ of the Third Race. That land or continent had disappeared ages before Asuramaya lived, since he was an Atlantean; but he was a direct descendant of the Wise Race, the Race that never dies. Many are the legends concerning this hero, the pupil of Surya (the Sun-God) himself, as the Indian accounts allege” (SD 2:67).
Asura-medha (Sanskrit) Asura-medhā [from asura lord + medhā intelligence] The lord who bestows intelligence; a name of the manasaputras. See also Ahura-Mazda
Asurendra (Sanskrit) Asurendra [from asura a class of deities + indra] The lord of the asuras; as Indra was popularly called the chief of the gods, so Asurendra is similarly the chief of the asuras.
Asvamedha (Sanskrit) Aśvamedha [from aśva horse + medha the sacrifice of an animal, oblation] The horse sacrifice; an ancient Brahmanical ceremony, going back to the Vedic period. Its greatest prominence occurred during the era described in the Asvamedhika-parva of the Mahabharata. Kings alone were permitted to perform the sacrifice, and the proponent was considered for the time being a king of kings. A horse of particular color, selected and consecrated by ceremonies, was permitted to wander wherever it wished for a year. The king performing the sacrifice, or his representative, followed the horse with an armed escort, and every ruler of the region so entered was obligated to submit to the entering king or do battle with him. If the liberator of the horse proved successful in subjugating all the rulers encountered, he returned followed by the vanquished kings (if unsuccessful he was derided and the ceremony relinquished) and the concluding sacrifice, either actual or figurative, was performed with great celebration. The Asvamedha also is mentioned in the Ramayana.
Asvattha (Sanskrit) Aśvattha The Hindu tree of life or bodhi tree, which grows with its roots upwards into the invisible worlds and its branches downward to form the visible world. (SD 1:549, 523, 536, etc; IU 1:153)
Asvini (Sanskrit) Aśvinī The first nakshatra (lunar mansion).
Asvins, Asvinau (Sanskrit) Asvin-s, Asvinau The two horsemen; two Vedic divinities which in some respects parallel the Greek Dioscuri, Pollux and Castor. Harbingers of Ushas (the dawn), they are represented as twin horsemen, appearing in the sky in a golden chariot drawn by horses or birds. One myth gives their origin as children of the sun by a nymph, Asvini, who concealed herself in the form of a mare; another myth makes Asvini their wife. Since they precede the sun’s rising they are called the parents of the sun’s form, Pushan. They are also the parents of Nakula and Sahadeva, Arjuna’s brothers by Madri. Many Vedic hymns are addressed to them; their attributes pertain to youth and beauty, to speed, and to duality. They bring treasures to mankind, averting misfortune and sickness, for they are the two physicians of heaven (svar-vaidyau). Yaska, the earliest known commentator on the Vedas, in his Nirukta writes that the Asvinau represent the transition from darkness to light and are identified with heaven and earth.
Blavatsky says that “these twins are, in the esoteric philosophy, the Kumara-Egos, the reincarnating ‘Principles’ in this Manvantara” (TG 41). That the Greek Dioscuri were respectively the son of Zeus and the son of a mortal, is a direct reference to the dual character of the kumaric mind or the higher manas, an immortal quality in human beings in its higher aspect, the lower aspect being connected with the mortal part of the human constitution.
Aswina. See ASVINI
Aswins. See ASVINS
Aswattha. See ASVATTHA
Atabulus (Latin) Atabutos in SD. A hot southeast wind in Europe, now called the scirocco or sirocco.
Atala (Sanskrit) Atala [from a not + tala place] No place, no material locality; the first and most spiritual of the seven talas, so nearly one with satyaloka, its corresponding loka or pole, that the two nearly conjoin into one — hence it is called “no place.” Atala bears somewhat the same relation to satyaloka that prakriti bears to Brahma; hence it is the first quasi-spiritual, quasi-material plane in the solar universe. “In satyaloka-atala, the highest loka combines into or rejoins the monadic essence of the planetary chain. The differentiation so marked on the lower planes ceases here and, because of this, the two blend into or become one” (FSO 264). Cosmically atala emanates directly from the solar logos and contains with satyaloka the substantial seeds of all that was, is, and will be, from the beginning to the end of the solar mahamanvantara. Atala, with satyaloka, may be considered from one standpoint the sphere of the hierarchies of the dhyanis, who are, when completely in this condition, in a state of parasamadhi, and hence clothed in the dharmakaya.
Blavatsky relates that Atala was also the name applied by the earliest of the fifth root-race to Atlantis as a whole (SD 2:322). See also LOKA
Atarpi or Atarpi-nisi (Chaldean) The man; in the Babylonian account of Genesis, a pious person who prayed to the god Hea to remove the evil of drought and other things before the deluge is sent. In answer to this prayer, “Hea announces his resolve to destroy the people he created, which he does by a deluge” (TG 41-2).
Atash, Atash-Azar (Persian), Atur (Pahlavi), Atar (Avestan) Fire; the name of the ninth day of the month of the ancient Iranian calendar as well as the ninth month of the year (Sagittarius). Zoroaster uses the term in the Gathas in the sense of the life-giving force or the spiritual nature of the eternal truth. It is this fire which guides the universe as well as the individual towards its destiny — perfection.
In the ancient Aryan faith, atash has three qualities and sometimes is called trishazashta (fire of the three stations). These stations are named: Azar-borzin-Mehr, Azar-Faranbagh or Azar-Khordad, and Azar-Goshnasp. In later Avestic literature five different fires have been named: 1)Brezisevangha (beneficent fire of the high) spiritual fire; 2) Vohu-Fryana (fire of instinct) animal fire; 3) Urvazishta (fire of life, most beneficial fire) vegetation fire; 4) Vazishta (celestial fire of heavenly bodies) the most supporting fire; and 5) Spenishta (holy fire or paradisical fire) the most bountiful fire (Yasna 17, 11).
There have been seven commonly accepted fire temples named after the seven heavenly bodies: 1) Azar-Mehr (Mithra’s fire); 2) Azar-Noush (fire of sweetness, healing) symbolizing Ab-e-Hayat or Water of Life; 3) Azar-Bahram (fire of victory) symbolizing creation of light; 4) Azar-Aeen or Azar Abteen (Apam-Napata, the universal self or the fire of glory that the son of the waters wishes to seize); 5) Azar-Khorin (the rule of the sun) symbolizing perfection; 6) Azar-Borzin (fire of the high); and 7) Azar-Zartusht (fire of Zoroaster, the eternal light).
Atash-Bahram, Atash Behram (Persian) Verethraghna (Avestan), Varhran, Varhram (Pahlavi) The sacred fire of the Parsis, kept perpetually burning on the altars; the third fire in the septenary system represents the first created fire, the fire of consciousness. Philosophically it alludes to the idea of becoming. It corresponds to the Hindu akasa (SD 1:338). Bahram (victorious) is one of the seven planets which rules over the first month of the Iranian year, Farvardin (Aries). In Vedic literature he is known as the slayer of the demon Vritra. In Islamic mystical writings Bahram is referred to as the fifth sphere or intellect. “As the earthly representative of the heavenly fire, it is the sacred center to which every earthly fire longs to return, in order to be united again, as much as possible, with its native abode. The more it has been defiled by worldly uses, the greater is the merit acquired by freeing it from defilement” (Vendidad 113). The Vestals in ancient Rome also kept a fire burning perpetually on their altars, as did the Greeks in the temple on the Acropolis, thus keeping the remembrance of the “living fire” by means of a visible manifestation.
The fundamental idea in these various manners of adoring fire was that, because of the warming and life-giving functions of this universal element, it symbolized the vital and all-penetrating activity of cosmic life. Furthermore, because the sun was the focus or heart through which pours the life of any solar system, therefore the ideas connected with ancient fire worship are likewise intimately connected with the teachings concerning the solar orb and its indwelling divinity.
Atavism [from Latin atavus ancestor] In biology, the reappearance of the characteristics of a remoter ancestor in its descendant; reversion to type; delayed heredity. A manifestation of the activities of life or the life-atoms collectively, which in building new forms “copies family resemblances as well as those it finds impressed in the aura of the generators of every future human being” (SD 1:261). Weismann approached the truth in his theory of the germ-plasm, or aggregate of life-atoms which are transmitted unchanged through generations; but the atom is the vehicle of a jiva or monad — on whatever plane — and is therefore endowed with spirit and soul and, in consequence, memory.
The tendency of specialized animal or plant species to revert to their primitive racial type conflicts with the Darwinian idea that changes result from the gradual accretion of small differentiations. Scientists see heredity as a string of beads, connected one to the other without any thread running through the whole; whereas the theosophical philosophy regards each bead as springing from the connecting vital thread or line, so that the characteristics of all ancestors may be transmitted in latency, ready to appear at any time, should circumstances favor it.
Atef (Egyptian) Father; the Atef-crown was one of the crowns of Osiris (also of Khnum, less frequently of other deities) and of some kings of Egypt, especially the Ramessed line. It consisted of the tall white conical cap of Upper Egypt, flanked with a pair of ostrich plumes and having the solar disk and uraeus in front; oftentimes the cap was omitted. The atef was emblematic of the sovereignty of Egypt under the attributes of light, truth, and divinity — the feather being the hieroglyph for truth; also the “two feathers represent the two truths — life and death” mystically, while the uraeus is the symbol of initiation (TG 42, 355).
Aten (Egyptian) The disk of the sun and its vivifying, light-giving beams. Extended during the 18th dynasty to become the basis of a new religion under Amenhetep III and his son Amenhetep IV. They endeavored to arouse a more devotional feeling in the life of the Egyptians in opposition to the rigorous formalistic worship prescribed by the priests of the time, with its animal sacrifices and rigid ceremonialism, stressing the most material aspect of the gods as represented in the popular mythology. Incense and flowers decked altars, instead of blood sacrifices; joyousness pervaded the new capital city, while architects and painters created new ideas in their works. However, his successor Tut-ankh-Amen, reinstated the worship of Amen-Ra under the direction of the priests. The worship of Amen or Ammon was an idea in conception far older than and philosophically and mystically superior to the conceptions which clustered about the newer worship of Aten. This newer worship, with the ideas woven into its meaning by the monarch and his wife, was not only a reform when contrasted with the rigid ritualism into which the worship of Amen had degenerated, but actually was an attempt to infill the minds of the Egyptian people with the joyousness of the solar orb itself as the vehicle of the recondite, secret, and highly mystical Amen, abstract and highly philosophical. This illustrates how a noble worship can become ritualistic and empty, and how a more sensuous but more joyous worship can be used in a revivalistic sense to awaken a new religious devotion in the hearts of the multitude.
Athamaz [rare Hebrew identical with Thammūz, or Tammūz] A Syrian deity worshiped by both Syrians and Hebrews, equivalent to Adonis (the Greek form of the Shemitic ’Adon, “Lord”).
Athanor [probably from Arabic] A self-feeding furnace of the alchemists, and also a transmitting agent formed of astral substance or fluid. “Electricity, the one Life at the upper rung of Being, and Astral Fluid, the Athanor of the Alchemists, at its lowest; God and devil, good and evil” (SD 1:81).
Atharva Veda (Sanskrit) Atharva Veda One of the principal Vedas, commonly known as the fourth; attributed to Atharvan or Atharva. The Rig-Veda states that he was the first to “draw forth fire” and institute its worship, as well as the offering of soma and prayers. Mythologically, Atharvan is represented as a prajapati, Brahma’s eldest son, instructed by his father in brahma-vidya: thus was he inspired to compose the Veda bearing his name. At a later period he is associated with Angiras and called the father of Agni. The Atharva-Veda, considered of later origin than the other three Vedas, comprises about 6000 verses, 760 being hymns, consisting of formulas and spells or incantations for counteracting diseases and calamities. The hymns are of slightly different character from those in the other Vedas: in addition to reverencing the gods, the worshiper himself is exalted and is supposed to receive benefits by reciting the mantras.
Atheism, Atheists In modern times, those who do not accept the monotheistic Christian God or any god. It formerly signified those who did not believe in the accepted divinity or divinities of the State or populace.
The Roman Empire was entirely tolerant of religious beliefs, but took strong measures with the early Christians because they were, from the legal viewpoint of the conservative Roman magistrate, religious and quasi-political radicals of a dangerous type. They were atheists in that they did not accept the State gods. Later, to the Christians, the pagans in their turn became atheists because though they believed in gods, they did not believe in the orthodox Christian God. Theosophists, Buddhists, Confucianists, etc., have been at various times called atheists because they do not accept monotheism. To strip a deity of personal human attributes is, in the eyes of monotheists, to deny the existence of that deity altogether.
Athena (Greek) Daughter of Metis (wisdom, wise counsel) and Zeus, said to have sprung fully-formed from her father’s head; with Zeus and Apollo one of a divine triad. Famed for wise counsel both in peace and war, Athena was the strategist, as Homer portrays her in the Iliad. As patron deity of Athens, she was the genius of statesmanship and civic policy. Certain archaic monuments show Athena assisting Prometheus (the intellectual fire-bringer) in shaping the first human body from the plastic stuff of earth. It is equally significant that she was connected with Apollo, the god of the seers and the sun personified, in producing climatic changes due to the shifting of the poles. Athena is to be found, variously named, in every theogony, as one of the kabeiria, those mighty beings “of both sexes, as also terrestrial, celestial and kosmic,” who when incarnated as initiate-teachers or kings, “were also, in the beginning of times, the rulers of mankind,” giving “the first impulse to civilizations” and directing “the mind with which they had endued men to the invention and perfection of all the arts and sciences” (SD 2:363-4).
As a virgin deity of intellectual character, Parthenos, Athena is the mother of manasaputric kumaras. Thus through these intellectual progeny she is the source of ideative or intellectual power. See also MINERVA
Athenagoras Second century Christian apologist and philosopher, said to have been influenced by Ammonius Saccus and to have been “thoroughly instructed in the Platonic philosophy, and comprehended its essential unity with the oriental systems” (Wilder, New Platonism and Alchemy, p. 3-4) (BCW 14:305-8).
Athivahikas. See ATIVAHIKA
Athor. See HATHOR
Athravan, Atravan (Avestan), Atourban (Pahlavi), Azarban, Azarvan (Persian) Fire-guardian; the attendant of the sacred fire in Persian temples; the proper word for a priest in the Avesta, likewise Zoroaster’s name with the Persians in far later times. Blavatsky interprets the word as “teacher of fire.”
As the Persian scriptures says, it was not only the wearing of the priestly robes and bearing of the implements and the baresma which made one an athravan: “He who sleeps on throughout the night, who does not perform the Yasna nor chant the hymns, who does not worship by word or by deed, who does neither learn nor teach, with a longing for (everlasting) life, he lies when he says, ‘I am an Athravan.’ Him thou shalt call an Athravan who throughout the night sits up and demands of the holy wisdom, which makes man free from anxiety, with dilated heart, and which makes him reach that holy, excellent world, the world of paradise” (Vendidad 18:6, 7).
In Shah-Nameh (the Book of Kings) it was Jamshid (Yima) who categorized society into four classes. The first of these four were the Atourbans. The kings of the early Aryans were also chosen from among the first category, who were royal sages.
Athtor. See HATHOR
Ativahika (Sanskrit) Ativāhika [from ati beyond + vāhika from the verbal root vah to transport or carry] To convey or carry across; a class of beings inhabiting the lower lokas: “With the Visishtadwaitees, these are the Pitris, or Devas, who help the disembodied soul or Jiva in its transit from its dead body to Paramapadha” (TG 42), to the highest bliss. Applied to the Sukshma-sarira or subtle body in Vedanta philosophy (cf. SD 1:132).
Atizoe. See OITZOE
Atlanteans The various peoples which flourished during long ages, on the fourth great continent, called Atlantis by theosophists; the fourth root-race. “The Fourth Race Atlanteans were developed from a nucleus of Northern Lemurian Third Race Men, centred, roughly speaking, toward a point of land in what is now the mid-Atlantic Ocean. This continent was formed by the coalescence of many islands and peninsulas which were upheaved in the ordinary course of time and became ultimately the true home of the great Race known as the Atlanteans” (SD 2:333-4).
“The term ‘Atlantean’ must not mislead the reader to regard these as one race only, or even a nation. It is as though one said ‘Asiatics.’ Many, multityped, and various were the Atlanteans, who represented several humanities, and almost a countless number of races and nations, more varied indeed than would be the ‘Europeans’ were this name to be given indiscriminately to the five existing parts of the world; . . . There were brown, red, yellow, white and black Atlanteans; giants and dwarfs . . .” (SD 2:433n).
It is customary to regard the later Atlanteans as a race of sorcerers because, according to the narratives told concerning the doom of Atlantis and its inhabitants (cf SD 2:427), many deliberately followed the left-hand path — yet not all were black magicians, for there were millions in all ages of Atlantis who earnestly essayed to preserve the wisdom of their semi-spiritual forebears of the third root-race. There were wonderful civilizations during the millions of years of Atlantean development surpassing in material things anything that is known today.
In regard to the remarkable achievements that the Atlanteans made in all the arts and sciences, we read that the early fifth root-race received their knowledge from the fourth root-race. “It is from them that they learnt aeronautics, Viwan Vidya [vimana-vidya] (the ‘knowledge of flying in air-vehicles’), and, therefore, their great arts of meteorography and meteorology. It is from them, again, that the Aryans inherited their most valuable science of the hidden virtues of precious and other stones, of chemistry, or rather alchemy, of mineralogy, geology, physics and astronomy” (SD 2:426).
When the cyclic hour for the climax of the geologic changes in the earth’s surface finally arrived, the catastrophe occurred during which the greater part of Atlantis and its population, largely of sorcerers, perished beneath the sea; yet many islands survived, some of them of large extent, such as Ruta and Daitya. But the wiser and more holy portions of the Atlanteans had left Atlantis before this, migrating to the high tablelands of Asia: they were the forefathers of the Turanians, Mongols, Chinese, and other ancient nations.
Atlantidae (Greek) Descendants of Atlantis; “The ancestors of the Pharaohs and the forefathers of the Egyptians, according to some, and as the Esoteric Science teaches. . . . Plato heard of this highly civilized people, the last remnant of which was submerged 9,000 years before his day, from Solon, who had it from the High Priests of Egypt. Voltaire, the eternal scoffer, was right in stating that ‘the Atlantidae (our fourth Root Race) made their appearance in Egypt. . . . It was in Syria and in Phrygia, as well as Egypt, that they established the worship of the Sun.’ Occult philosophy teaches that the Egyptians were a remnant of the last Aryan Atlantidae” (TG 42).
Atlantis In Theosophical literature the fourth great land-massif or continental system which composed the land area of this globe several million years ago, and which was the home of the fourth root-race. Atlantis was not the name of this land area when inhabited by its own populations, but is borrowed by theosophists from Plato.
A surprising number of very ancient traditions besides those of Greece support the Atlantean hypothesis. Some of the widespread deluge stories, certainly those surviving during the Classic period in the nations surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, relate only to Plato’s relatively small island, Poseidonis, more or less the size of modern Ireland, if we follow Plato’s statements of size; but in addition to these there have been many deluges noticed in the traditions of other peoples scattered over the face of the globe. The chief great flood referred to the principal collapse of Atlantis, the main sinking occurring during the Miocene period several million years ago. Other island-continents sank later, e.g., Daitya and Ruta (Sanskrit name for one of the last great islands of the Atlantean system in the Pacific Ocean) which went down during the Pliocene times — in Geikie’s Nomenclature, about 850,000 years ago. (SD 2:314).
“The Atlantic portion of Lemuria was the geological basis of what is generally known as Atlantis. The latter, indeed, must be regarded rather as a development of the Atlantic prolongation of Lemuria, than as an entirely new mass of land upheaved to meet the special requirements of the fourth root-race. Just as in the case of Race-evolution, so in that of the shifting and re-shifting of continental masses, no hard and fast line can be drawn where a new order ends and another begins. Continuity in natural processes is never broken” (SD 2:333).
Referring to the vast expanse of lands, including both continents and islands, occupied by the populations of the fourth root-race, Blavatsky wrote: “at a remote epoch a traveller could traverse what is now the Atlantic Ocean, almost the entire distance by land, crossing in boats from one island to another, where narrow straits then existed” (IU 1:558). While the term Atlantis derived from Greek sources undoubtedly gave its name to what we now call the Atlantic Ocean, yet the Atlantic continental system reached even into what is now called the pacific; and the islanders of this body of water almost universally amongst themselves have legends all pointing to the fact that their ancestors lived on and came from “great islands” which preceded the present distribution of land and sea. See also ATLANTEANS; ROOT-RACE, FOURTH
Atlas (Greek) [from tlenai to bear] In Greek mythology a titan, a sea god who supports on his shoulders the vault of heaven. Son of Iapetus and Clymene or Asia; brother of Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Menoetius; father of the Pleiades, Hyades, Calypso, and sometimes the Hesperides.
Also a mountain or range in West Africa. Mount Atlas, considered both geographically and mythologically, parallels Mount Meru of the Hindus. Both are intimately connected with the fourth root-race. Atlas is a symbol of the fourth root-race, and his seven daughters, the Atlantides, are the seven subraces (SD 2:493). But Atlas is also the old continents of Lemuria and Atlantis, combined and personified in one symbol, and Mount Atlas is spoken of as a relic of Lemuria. “The poets attributed to Atlas, as to Proteus, a superior wisdom and an universal knowledge, and especially a thorough acquaintance with the depths of the ocean: because both continents bore races instructed by divine masters, and because both were transferred to the bottom of the seas . . .” (SD 2:762). Atlas was compelled to leave the surface of the earth and join his brother Iapetus in the depths of Tartarus, where he supports the new continents on his “shoulders.”
Atma. See ATMAN
Atmabhu (Sanskrit) Ātmabhū [from ātman self + bhū to become] Self-existent, self-becoming, hence self-born. Applied to each member of the Hindu Trimurti — Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva — likewise to the god of cosmic desire or unity, Kama-deva.
Atmabodha (Sanskrit) Ātmabodha [from ātman self + bodha wisdom] Wisdom of self; knowledge or wisdom of the hierarch or highest portion of any being. Also a work by Sankaracharya; likewise one of the Upanishads of the Atharva-Veda.
Atma-buddhi (Sanskrit) Ātma-buddhi [from ātman self + buddhi spiritual soul] The divine-spiritual part of a human being, the Pythagorean Monas or higher duad. Full mahatmas, who may be called vajra-sattvas, have merged their whole being in their compound sixth and seventh principles (atma-buddhi), through and with the buddhi-manas. Atma-buddhi is impersonal and a god per se, but when divorced from manas it can have no consciousness or perception of things beneath its own plane.
Atma-buddhi-manas (Sanskrit) Ātma-buddhi-manas [from ātman self + buddhi spiritual soul + manas mind] The reincarnating ego in conjunction with the monad. This trinity includes only the highest essence of manas — the higher manas. The combination of atma-buddhi-manas is sometimes mystically called the divine swallow or the uraeus of flame, when the speaker intends to convey the idea that spirit, the spiritual soul, and the intellect or higher manas are all united and therefore immortal and enduring for the cosmic manvantara. “The ‘Three-tongued flame’ that never dies is the immortal spiritual triad — the Atma-Buddhi and Manas — the fruition of the latter assimilated by the first two after every terrestrial life. The ‘four wicks’ that go out and are extinguished, are the four lower principles, including the body.
“ ‘I am the three-wicked Flame and my wicks are immortal,’ says the defunct. ‘I enter into the domain of Sekhem (the God whose arm sows the seed of action produced by the disembodied soul) and I enter the region of the Flames who have destroyed their adversaries,’ i.e., got rid of the sin-creating ‘four wicks’ ” (SD 1:237).
The reincarnating ego is at times loosely used to signify either atma-buddhi-manas as a monadic unity or, on the other hand, the higher manas. Strictly speaking, the reincarnating ego is the combined spiritual, intellectual, and psychological fruit gathered in by the monad or atma-buddhi at the end of each individual life of the imbodied entity; hence, the reincarnating ego is the higher manas. However, as these various manasic fruitages are ingathered by the monad in which they have their abode and from which it is impossible to separate them, the reincarnating ego is often spoken of as being the atma-buddhi plus the higher manas.
Atma-jnanin (Sanskrit) Ātma-jñānin [from ātman self + jñānin knower from the verbal root jñā to know] The knower of atman or the universal self; likewise one who knows the world-soul. In a more mystical sense directly applicable to the individual, atma-jnanin signifies one who knows his own inner divinity and recognizes his spiritual solidarity with the cosmic self, the paramatman of our solar system. Those who thus recognize their oneness with the cosmic divinity are mahatmas of the highest class.
Atmamatra (Sanskrit) Ātmamātra, Ātmamātrā [from ātman self + mātra or mātrā element, particle] A primordial spiritual particle or monad, a particle or elementary portion of original prakriti or elemental material; “atmamatra is therefore the spiritual atom as opposed to the elementary, not reflective ‘elements of himself’ ” (SD 1:334). See also ATMAMATRASU
Atmamatrasu (Sanskrit) Ātmamātrāsu [from ātman self + mātrā element] In the elements of self, in the original elements or particles of selfhood. The feminine form, atmamatra, is the spiritual atom or the elements of self, as contrasted with the differentiated atom or molecule of manifested existence.
Atman (Sanskrit) Ātman Self; the highest part a human being: pure consciousness, that cosmic self which is the same in every dweller on this globe and on every one of the planetary or stellar bodies in space. It is the feeling and knowledge of “I am,” pure cognition, the abstract idea of self. It does not differ at all throughout the cosmos except in degree of self-recognition. Though universal it belongs, in our present stage of evolution, to the fourth cosmic plane, though it is our seventh principle counting upwards. It may also be considered as the First Logos in the human microcosm. During incarnation the lowest aspects of atman take on attributes, because it is linked with buddhi, as the buddhi is linked with manas, as the manas is linked with kama, etc.
Atman is for each individualized consciousness its laya-center or entrance way into cosmic manifestation. It is our self precisely because it is a link which connects us with the cosmic hierarch. Through this atmic laya-center stream the divine forces from above, which by their unfolding on the lower planes originate and become seven principles. “We say that the Spirit (the ‘Father in secret’ of Jesus), or Atman, is no individual property of any man, but is the Divine essence which has no body, no form, which is imponderable, invisible and indivisible, that which does not exist and yet is, as the Buddhists say of Nirvana. It only overshadows the mortal; that which enters into him and pervades the whole body being only its omnipresent rays, or light, radiated through Buddhi, its vehicle and direct emanation” (Key 101).
Atman is also sometimes used of the universal self or spirit, called in Sanskrit Brahman or paramatman. The individual is rooted in the surrounding kosmos by three superior principles, which are that atman’s highest and most glorious parts. Atman is included among the human principles because it is the universal absolute essence of which buddhi, the soul-spirit, is the carrier, transmitting its rays to the remainder of the human constitution.
Atmanam Atmana Pasya (Sanskrit) Ātmānam ātmanā paśya [from ātman self + the verbal root paś to see] See the self by the self; a favorite phrase used in Vedanta philosophy, especially by Sankaracharya. In its highest interpretation it refers to Avalokitesvara which is “in one sense ‘the divine Self perceived or seen by Self,’ the Atman or seventh principle ridded of its mayavic distinction from its Universal Source — which becomes the object of perception for, and by the individuality centred in Buddhi, the sixth principle, — something that happens only in the highest state of Samadhi. This is applying it to the microcosm” (ML 343).
In the Upanishads the same idea is often expressed in the allegory of the two birds seated in a tree — one bird looking at the other.
Atmasamyama Yoga (Sanskrit) Ātmasaṃyama-yoga [from ātma self + saṃyama restraint + yoga union] The attaining of at-one-ment with the highest by means of self-restraint. The Bhagavad-Gita (ch 6) treats of atmasamyama yoga, or the quieting of the mind and the passions and desires of the personal self, in order to attain the complete realization of the true self or atman.
Atma-vada. See ATTAVADA
Atma-vidya (Sanskrit) Ātmavidyā [from ātma self + vidyā knowledge] Knowledge of the self; the highest form of spiritual-divine wisdom, because the fundamental or essential self is a flame or spark of the kosmic self. “Of the four Vidyas — out of the seven branches of Knowledge mentioned in the Puranas — namely, ‘Yajna-Vidya’ (the performance of religious rites in order to produce certain results); ‘Maha-Vidya,’ the great (Magic) knowledge, now degenerated into Tantrika worship; ‘Guhya-Vidya,’ the science of Mantras and their true rhythm or chanting, of mystical incantations, etc. — it is only the last one, ‘Atma-Vidya,’ or the true Spiritual and Divine wisdom, which can throw absolute and final light upon the teachings of the three first named. Without the help of Atma-Vidya, the other three remain no better than surface sciences, geometrical magnitudes having length and breadth, but no thickness. They are like the soul, limbs, and mind of a sleeping man: capable of mechanical motions, of chaotic dreams and even sleep-walking, of producing visible effects, but stimulated by instinctual not intellectual causes, least of all by fully conscious spiritual impulses. A good deal can be given out and explained from the three first-named sciences. But unless the key to their teachings is furnished by Atma-Vidya, they will remain for ever like the fragments of a mangled text-book, like the adumbrations of great truths, dimly perceived by the most spiritual, but distorted out of all proportion by those who would nail every shadow to the wall” (SD 1:168-9).
Called by Purucker the last of the seven jewels, the keynote running all through this jewel of wisdom being how the One becomes the many.
Atmosphere Any of various aery spheres enveloping a globe. On earth the lowest is familiar air, but there are others in the ethereal realms beyond, and the word is applied to mahat and manas, as mythologically represented by Indra, god of the firmament, the personified atmosphere (SD 2:614). However, mahat and its ray in the human being, manas, are far beyond in quality and ethereality anything that the human imagination understands by atmosphere — unless it is endowed with the mystical sense that spiritus had among the philosophic ancients.
The elements of our present atmosphere are compounded from simpler elements which existed on earth at earlier stages of its evolution, and which exist now on some other globes. The atmosphere of our earth has become not only a chemical, but an alchemical crucible, in which “there is a perpetual exchange taking place in space of molecules, or atoms rather, correlating, and thus changing their combining equivalents on every planet” (SD 1:142). Neither sun nor stars are said to have our terrestrial elements, except in the sun’s outer robes, for it is only in its outer robes that the integration of atomic substances become sufficiently physical to permit the appearance of our terrestrial elements; also our globe is said to have its own special laboratory on the far outskirts of the atmosphere, and when the atoms and molecules cross this, they change and differentiate from their primordial nature. The spectroscope may show certain similarities between the elements on sun and stars and those on earth but we have no logical right to infer identity in other respects; and actually the physical and chemical properties of atoms differ on different globes, as do also most of the effects of temperature (SD 1:142).
Our atmosphere teems with invisible lives, of which germs are merely the physically imbodied or integrated samples, minute and very weak in power. Our atmosphere contains likewise hosts of invisible beings of tremendous energy. Medieval philosophers combined these denizens of the atmosphere under the curious name of sylphs. As compared with the populations of the other elements of mystical philosophers, the sylphs are perhaps the most dangerous, psychologically and otherwise, at least so far as mankind is concerned. Further, theosophy teaches that both the atmosphere and the solid earth are interpenetrated by other spatial realms, invisible and intangible to us, but as objective to their own denizens as our world is to us.
The early races of mankind on earth did not require an atmosphere as we now know it. There are organisms on earth at present which do not need oxygen for their vital activities, and the beings at every stage of time or on every globe are invariably adapted to the external conditions which surround them.
Atmu, Atum (Egyptian) [from tem to make an end of, complete] Also Tem, Tum, Temu. A form of the sun god, represented as bringing the day to its close, thus associated with the evening sun — whether of our ordinary day, or of the ending of a manvantara. “I am the god Tem, the maker of the sky, the creator of things which are, who cometh forth from the earth, who made the seed of man to come into being, the Lord of things, who fashioned the gods, the Great Gods, who created himself, the Lord of Life, who made to flourish the Two Companies of the Gods. . . . My coming is like unto that god who eateth men, and who feedeth upon the gods” (Egyptian Book of the Dead, Budge 258-60).
The Egyptian god Tem is connected by Blavatsky with fohat, for Tem is “spoken of as the Protean god who generates other gods and gives himself the form he likes; the ‘master of life’ ‘giving their vigour to the gods’ (chapter lxxiv.) He is the overseer of the gods, and he ‘who creates spirits and gives them shape and life’; he is ‘the north wind and the spirit of the west’; and finally the ‘Setting Sun of Life,’ or the vital electric force that leaves the body at death, wherefore the defunct begs that Toum [Tem] should give him the breath from his right nostril (positive electricity) that he might live in his second form” (SD 1:673-4).
Top of File
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
BCW - H. P. Blavatsky: Collected Writings
BG - Bhagavad-Gita
BP - Bhagavata Purana
cf - confer
ChU - Chandogya Upanishad
Dial, Dialogues - The Dialogues of G. de Purucker, ed. A. L. Conger
Echoes - Echoes of the Orient, by William Q. Judge (comp. Dara Eklund)
ET - The Esoteric Tradition, by G. de Purucker
FSO - Fountain-Source of Occultism, by G. de Purucker
Fund - Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, by G. de Purucker
IU - Isis Unveiled, by H. P. Blavatsky
MB - Mahabharata
MIE - Man in Evolution, by G. de Purucker
ML - The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, ed. A. Trevor Barker
MU - Mundaka Upanishad
N on BG - Notes on the Bhagavad Gita, by T. Subba Row
OG - Occult Glossary, by G. de Purucker
Rev - Revelations
RV - Rig Veda
SD - The Secret Doctrine, by H. P. Blavatsky
SOPh - Studies in Occult Philosophy, by G. de Purucker
TBL - Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge (Secret Doctrine Commentary), by H. P. Blavatsky
TG - Theosophical Glossary, by H. P. Blavatsky
Theos - The Theosophist (magazine)
VP - Vishnu Purana
VS - The Voice of the Silence, by H. P. Blavatsky
WG - Working Glossary, by William Q. Judge
ZA - Zend-Avesta
Theosophical Society Homepage