Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary: Em-Ez

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 eglossary@theosociety.org

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 | Ass-Atm | Ato-Az | Ba-Be | Bh-Bo | Br-Bz | Ca-Ce | Cha-Chy | Ci-Cz | Da-Der | Des-Dir | Dis-Dz | Ea-El | 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


Emanation [from Latin emanatus having flowed forth from e from + manare to flow] The issuing of streams of light and life from a sun is an act of emanation; the unfolding of what is latent in a germ is an act of evolution — but equally so an emanation, for all the attributes of the developing germ “flow forth” from the inherent life which is unfolding itself. Emanation is the more appropriate term for the process by which hosts of individual monads issue from their originant or parent-source; and evolution for the subsequent unfolding, from each monad, of what is latent in it. In the word emanation is summed up the doctrine of the manifestation of worlds and living beings from a unitary divine source; so that it is opposed both to the Christian doctrine of special creation and to the materialistic scientific theory of evolution, which is a blind building up from below.

The word has a particular use in the Gnostic system of Valentinus, where the pairs of aeons successively emanate, the lower from the higher.

“The doctrine of Emanation was at one time universal. It was taught by the Alexandrian as well as by the Indian philosophers, by the Egyptian, the Chaldean and Hellenic Hierophants, and also by the Hebrews (in their Kabbala, and even in Genesis). For it is only owing to deliberate mistranslation that the Hebrew word asdt has been translated ‘angels’ from the Septuagint, when it means Emanations, AEons, precisely as with the Gnostics. Indeed, in Deuteronomy (xxxiii., 2) the word asdt or ashdt is translated as ‘fiery law,’ while the correct rendering of the passage should be ‘from his right hand went [not a fiery law, but] a fire according to law’; viz., that the fire of one flame is imparted to, and caught up by another like as in a trail of inflammable substance. This is precisely emanation” (TG 113-4).


Embalming. See MUMMY

Embla (Icelandic) The alder tree; in the Norse Edda, one of the two trees from which the first humanity is said to be created, woman being created from the alder and man from the ash tree. Emblu-askr is apparently a form of the askr (ash tree), the Tree of Life, a replica in the small of the cosmic ash tree, which represents a universe with all its lives, each of which is at once a branch of the “noble ash tree” and a tree of life in its own right.

The creative trinity of gods — Odin, Lodur, and Honer — endowed the ash and the alder with their own properties, thus bringing into being the human race. Odin gave his spirit, Lodur his life-force and appearance, while Honer endowed mankind with his intelligence. The vegetative growth-force was already present in the ash and alder.

Embryo In general, the vitalized germ of an organism in its earlier stages, and sometimes applied to it until it leaves the egg or womb covering. The fertilization of the germ-cell in plant or animal is an everyday working of the universal law by which spirit incubates matter for the purpose of differentiating on the objective planes, in order to manifest the subjective monadic life. Thus the reincarnating ego, in beginning to make a new body for itself, with the division of the fertilized microscopic egg cell, is analogous to the world-germ awakening in a laya-center to begin another galactic, solar, or planetary existence. “This desire for a sentient life shows itself in everything, from an atom to a sun, and is a reflection of the Divine Thought propelled into objective existence” (SD 1:44).

In the unfolding marvel of the embryonic germ-cell, both in the human and subhuman kingdoms, each kind manifests its own essential selfhood or svabhava, and its own degree of evolution. In the unfolding growth of the human embryo it rapidly epitomizes the aeon-long history of the imbodiments of the race, as it also repeats its individual course through all the forms of matter — a process often referred to as recapitulation. It goes back to past manvantaras of manifestation in mineral form, for “the cell-germinating substance (the cytoblastema) and the mother-lye from which crystals originate, are one and the same essence, save in differentiation for purposes” (SD 2:256n).

Back of all the orderly unfolding of the embryonic cells — usually ascribed to nature — is the subconscious directing influence of the monadic ego born from and bathing in the cosmic intelligence. In human beings the reincarnating ego is a ray of a spiritual monad, whose self-consciousness and activity takes in the solar system. This monad is karmically bound to oversee the evolving career of the human ego; and this celestial parentage in the cosmic hierarchy makes humans literally children of the sun. Here, then, is the solution of the biological mystery of unfolding purpose which is so harmoniously worked out by the reproductive material of a single cell. This intelligent influence acts upon the embryo through the directive power of “the astral fluid, working through and in conjunction with the vital capacities and potentialities of the cell . . .” (MIE 217-8).

Emepht (Egyptian) “The One, Supreme Planetary principle, who blows the [world] egg out of his mouth, and who is, therefore, Brahma”; (SD 1:367) “the supreme, first principle, produced an egg; by brooding over which, and permeating the substance of it with its own vivifying essence, the germ contained within was developed; and Phtha, the active creative principle proceeded from it, and began his work.” (IU 1:146; 2:41)


Emims. See ANAK, SONS OF

Emotion(s). See KAMA; SENSES

Emptiness. See SUNYATA

Empusa (Greek) A horrible monster, often considered to be a specter, said to be sent by Hecate in her capacity as deity of the underworld, to scare people, especially travelers; it was said to change into various shapes. By transferred meaning, used of hobgoblins in general. However, empusa was also a generalizing term for certain spectral beings or appearances entering the physical world from the lower realms of the astral, which were all directly under control of the moon, Hecate being goddess of the moon in one of the its most esoteric functions.

Empyrean [from Greek empyres fiery] In certain ancient and medieval cosmologies the earth was surrounded by concentric crystalline spheres, the nearest being that of the Moon, followed by the spheres of Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The outermost sphere was the Empyrean, composed of a subtle cosmic fire — the word is sometimes used for heaven or firmament. These crystalline spheres of the ancients, so grotesquely misunderstood today because taken literally, were given sometimes as seven, ten, or twelve, depending on the point of view. See also CRYSTALLINE SPHERES

Emunah (Hebrew) ’Emūnāh [from ’ēm mother] Mother; the cosmic feminine builder or mother-builder; feminine ’Ao (builder, architect). Found infrequently in the Qabbalah, applied to the third Sephirah, Binah, which forms the first Qabbalistic triad with the first Sephirah, Kether — to which the term ’Abba (father) is applied — and Hochmah, the second Sephirah. Both ’Amon and ’Emunah likewise mean firmness, stability, or security, thus involving the ideas of fidelity, faithfulness, regularity in procedures; from these last ideas, Binah or ’Imma is called Intelligence — because it is through cosmic intelligence and its firmness or stability and fidelity in ideation that the worlds are built in their manifold manifestations and follow the intrinsic regular courses of divine ideation.

En (Greek) [from en, eis one; cf Latin unum] With Pythagoras and Empedocles, it corresponds to the yliaster (primordial matter or matrix) of Paracelsus, and to akasa, anima mundi, or alaya. (BCW 7:283)

En (Hebrew). See ’EYN

Encapsulation Medieval theory, a misunderstood rendering of the pagan Mystery teaching of the One becoming the many, which later was rejected by scientists.

“The idea was that Mother Eve in the Garden of Eden held encapsulated in her womb all the seeds of the human race, which she passed on to her children, the families of which in their turn held encapsulated the seeds of future generations, passing them on to their children; and so forth. When properly interpreted, this is what H. P. B. meant when she spoke in The Secret Doctrine (I, 223-4) of the unmodified germ plasm — Weismann’s theory.
“Here again the Christians anthropomorphized the esoteric doctrine, thus distorting it. As a matter of fact, not only the animal kingdom, but the vegetable, mineral, and even the three elemental kingdoms, came forth from the primal human, the ’Adam Qadmon. They were all encapsulated within him, and he brought them forth” (FSO 354n). (Dialogues 3:421-3)

Endor, Witch or Wise Woman of. See WITCH OF ENDOR

Eneidfaddeu (Welsh) [from enaid soul + maddeu to forgive] The Druidic doctrine that the soul was cleared of its sins by suffering, that suffering was both the result and the forgiveness of wrong thinking and doing; the law of karma.

Energia Naturae (Latin) Energy of nature; the same as vis naturae and similar terms in 19th century theories of a unitary vital force in nature.

Energy [from Greek energeia possessing + ergon active power] In physics, energy is treated as a measurable quantity, without reference to its actual nature or source. It used to be considered as distinct from and correlative to either matter, inertia, or mass; but now the conception of mass or matter as distinct from energy has disappeared.

Science admits the existence of vast stores of latent energy in the atoms; and considering everything as a question of physical dynamics, it infers that an equivalent quantity of physical energy must have been expended in creating the atom. Energy or life is a fundamental attribute and function of the universe, which has its manifestations on all seven or ten planes of prakriti, appearing as centers of energy which radiate outwards from within. Also used to denote the female potency or sakti (SD 1:l36); aether too is mentioned as the quintessence of energy. Energy expended on the astral plane is far more productive of results than the same amount expended on the physical plane, according to occult dynamics.

Theosophy makes a distinction between force (or forces) and energy. The former is the name of active monadic essences, each one of which may be considered to be a living, intelligent, self-conscious force; and when this force is actively used, its power to do work or to produce effects is energy.

Enneads [from Greek ennead group of nine] A work of Plotinus (205? - 270) — one of the last and most famous of the Neoplatonic philosophers, and pupil of Ammonius Saccas — published by his disciple Porphyry. Each of its six books contained nine chapters.

Ennoia (Greek) [from en + nous mind, as contrasted with the object or act without] The divine mind spoken of by Simon Magus as coequal with the supreme (the Father), and as being the mother of all the archangels and angels (aeons or emanations). Ennoia had descended through the lower worlds and finally become imprisoned in gross matter, where she was subjected to abuse; but the Father manifests himself as the Son and rescues Ennoia to reinstate her on her original throne. Simon used the first person in giving out this teaching, and in the same symbolic way called Ennoia his wife Helena, and speaks of her degradation as prostitution; this has been the occasion of misunderstanding on the part of scholars, ancient and modern. Ennoia is paired with Ophis (the serpent of divine wisdom) to constitute the creative Logos.

There is a close mystical connection between Ennoia and Epinoia, the first passive aeon — aeon in Gnosticism signifying both a period of time and also a spiritual entity forming part of a cosmic hierarchy.

Enoch, Onech (Hebrew) Ḥanōkh Initiation or initiated; hence also hierophant. In the Bible (Genesis 4, 5), “there are three distinct Enochs — the son of Cain, the son of Seth, and the son of Jared; but they are all identical, and two of them are mentioned for the purposes of misleading. The years of only the last two are given, the first one being left without further notice.” He is the great grandfather of Noah, and stands for the first subrace of the fifth root-race (BCW 14:86&n).

The prophet Enoch, supposed to have been an antediluvian, was the inventor of learning, letters, and the founder of initiatory rites. Among the Arabs Enoch is commonly called Idris, meaning the wise or learned. Again, “The Kerkes and the Onech stand for a race cycle, and the mystical tree Ababel — the ‘Father Tree’ in the Kuran — shoots out new branches and vegetation at every resurrection of the Kerkes or Phoenix” (SD 2:617). The connection with the phoenix is purely mystical, because just as the phoenix is said to be reborn from its own ashes, thus bringing about a new cycle, so the neophyte during initiation is said to be reborn from the “ashes” of his past self.

Enoichion (Greek-Hebrew) [from Hebrew ḥanakh to make narrow, be narrow; pressure; hence to initiate, train into the paths of consecration or dedication; probably from ḥanōkh (Enoch) initiated, initiator] The root-meaning of narrowness, that which is straightened or close, is reminiscent of the New Testament saying: “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way” (Matthew 7:14) — a direct reference to initiation. Thus enoichion can be rendered as a seer. “Esoterically and spiritually Enoichion means the ‘Seer of the Open Eye,’ the inner spiritual eye” (SD 2:530).

Ens (Latin) [from esse to be, being] According to scholastic philosophy, being in the most abstract sense, not necessarily existent, requiring the addition of a category to yield reality. Equivalent to the Greek ousia (essence), the essential nature of a thing; or the Hindu sat. In alchemy, an extract containing the essential qualities of a substance; e.g., primum ens melissae (the spirit of balm).

Used for the real or spiritual presence in universal nature, as signifying the Ever-being or Ever-existing.

En Soph See ’EYN SOPH

Entelechy [from Greek entelecheia from en telos echein to be complete] In Aristotelian philosophy, actuality as opposed to potentiality: water is potentially solid, liquid, or gas, but actually only one of these at a time. Soul is spoken of by Aristotle as the entelecheia of body — the subsisting principle of the body’s existence, and therefore the real although unseen actuality of the body’s being, irrespective of emanated monads from the fundamental spirit-substance (svabhavat), when the latter is considered as their collective unity. It is the principle or substantive element of a being or thing, which produces or makes the actuality of such being or thing, considered apart from or irrespective of dependent or derivative powers or qualities.

Entropy [from Greek entropia turned in] The second law of thermodynamics, enunciated by mathematical physicist Clausius (1822-1888), which states that heat cannot of itself pass from a colder to a warmer body; also that it is impossible, by means of inanimate material agencies, to derive mechanical effect from any portion of matter by cooling it below the temperature of the coldest surrounding objects. The process of cooling is considered irreversible, and the energy is said to have passed into an unavailable form. The entropy of such a cooling system is said to have attained a maximum — all energy is “turned in” or run-down. The final result of such a process on a universe supposed to be dissipating its energy in the form of heat, would be to reduce all bodies to the same temperature; hence there could be no further transference of heat or energy among them and a state of quiescence or deadness would ensue. Such has been the scientific view, which assumes that the sun is a hot body cooling — a view not held by theosophy.

Further, it is a mere assumption that a process is irreversible, made on no better ground than that we have not yet been able to reverse it. For example, if all the waters of the earth ran down into the sea, and no other agency intervened, we should soon have a universal dead-level and no more running water. But this result is prevented by the effects of evaporation and other causes collaborating with it. It is easy to fall into errors by considering only a portion of the facts; but we live in a living universe and not in a soulless heat-engine.



Eolus. See AEOLUS

Eon. See AEON

Eosphoros (Greek) The morning star, equivalent of Lucifer or Venus. Venus “was known in pre-Hesiodic theogony as Eosphoros (or Phosphoros) and Hesperos, the children of the dawn and twilight. In Hesiod, moreover, the planet is decomposed into two divine beings, two brothers — Eosphoros (the Lucifer of the Latins) the morning, and Hesperos, the evening star. They are the children of Astraios and Eos, the starry heaven and the dawn, as also of Kephalos and Eos . . .” (BCW 8:16). (BCW 8:5-6, 10-1, 18, 25, 27n)

Epaphos (Greek) Son of Zeus and Io, in this case the sun and moon; in the Dionysos-Sabazian Mysteries, the son of Zeus and Demeter, who is also a moon goddess. The birth of Epaphos, like that of Prometheus, symbolizes the entry of humanity on the upward arc of evolution after its descent into materiality. For Epaphos in one sense is the Logos, Zeus in the form of a serpent, and stands for the power that will carry humanity up again towards the spirituality from which it descended or fell — plus the experience garnered as intellectual beings.

Ephesus The chief of the twelve Ionic cities on the coast of Asia Minor, where the cultures of western Asia and Greece blended. Associated with Artemis or Diana of the Ephesians, Greek name of the Mylitta, Cybele, etc., of the Asiatic cults. The Ephesian Artemis is represented as a female figure with many breasts, the Great Mother Multimamma. The original temple was built in the 6th century BC, burnt in 356 BC and so magnificently restored that it was enumerated among the seven wonders of the world.

Ephesus was one of the foci of the universal secret doctrine, a laboratory whence sprang light derived from the quintessence of Buddhist, Zoroastrian, and Chaldean philosophy (IU 2:l53). It was such in the early days of Christianity, and from it spread that Gnosis to which the Church was later so bitter an antagonist. It was “famous for its great metaphysical College where Occultism (Gnosis) and Platonic philosophy were taught in the days of the Apostle Paul. . . . It was at Ephesus where was the great College of the Essenes and all the lore the Tanaim had brought from the Chaldees” (TG 114).

Ephialtes (Greek) In Greek mythology a titan, son of Poseidon, who with his brother Otus makes war on Olympus and puts Ares in chains for l3 months. At the age of nine years each brother was 54 feet high and 36 feet broad. These two titans as types refer to the late Lemurians of the third root-race, and also to the earliest Atlanteans, known for their huge size, daring spirit, and their wars against the gods or Sons of Light. However, they were not demons in the Christian sense; for these early races were simply the gigantic early mankind in which self-consciousness expressed itself in high pride, the love of material power as compared with spiritual, and in works of material or physical achievement.

The name Ephialtes was borrowed in medieval etymology for a demoniac spirit who causes nightmares; and later still, for that complaint itself.

Epictetus Greek Stoic philosopher, a freed slave who taught philosophy in Rome until 90 AD, when Domitian expelled all philosophers. He left no writings, and his philosophy is known through the Discourses and Enchiridion of his pupil Flavius Arrian. Like other Stoics, he held that each person has at the root of his or her being a spark of the Logos, so that all people are brothers and relationships with others must be respected. Inner harmony could be attained by correct perceptions and attitudes, differentiating between what is “ours” and thus under our control, and what is “not ours” and therefore beyond our control. He encouraged making new habits of thought and action through constant practice and self-discipline and by acting deliberately.

Epicurean Philosophy School founded by Epicurus (b. 341 BC), an atomist philosopher popularly associated with later travesties of his teachings. His actual teachings and way of living prove that his chief aim and good was happiness rather than pleasure; for he taught and practiced abstemiousness of living. In this he reacted to the travestied forms of Platonism which existed in his time, moving away from a barren idealism towards a concrete practicality, trying to substitute realities for empty abstractions, both in philosophy and ethics. For this reason he lays the chief stress on ethics, to the comparative neglect of logic and philosophy.

In philosophy he taught atoms and a void as the cosmic fundamentals; but his atoms were not the material particles of later European science, but the living monads or intelligent souls of the older Atomists. He did not attempt to represent the universe under the form of physical matter, but merely insisted upon the substantial nature of all being and life in protest against the impractical idealism which had reduced significant values to unrealities.

Again, Epicurus based everything on sensation in order to bring people back to actual experience, as opposed to vain outlooking speculation, as a solid foundation for an ethic. He was not an atheist in the modern sense, for he explicitly says that there are gods, but not the gods of the anthropomorphic religionists. In the same way, he did not teach a selfish individualism, but that the way to final freedom is within oneself; and when he depreciates the State and sundry social or political theories, he was merely opposing the futile abstractions then prevalent under these names.

Epidemics [from Greek epi upon + demos the people] The causes usually assigned to epidemic diseases are: individual susceptibility; earth conditions of heat, moisture, soil, water, hygiene, and sanitation; and mass movements of people, as in wars, pilgrimages, etc. While all these factors provide physical and psychological conditions favorable for the spread of certain epidemic diseases and emotional disorders, there remain potent invisible causes to be reckoned with.

Blavatsky discusses unusual and serious effects of certain causes which in some cases are cosmic rather than bacterial (BCW 13: 109). She explains that all such mysterious epidemics as influenza are due to an exuberance of ozone in the air, where an excess of oxygen has become ozone under the powerful stimulus of electricity.

The pranic life-atoms of the human body make an electrical field which, permeating our astral-vital-physical constitution, puts us in contact with the natural flow of ethereal currents of electric and magnetic force. These forces emanate from great cosmic entities who are the intelligent agencies for the karmic action of the so-called laws of nature. They function in the noumenal realm of causes which are due to appear on earth as phenomena of all kinds. These entities, leaving aside solar forces, are the regents of the seven sacred planets, who help to build the body and oversee the destiny of both humanity and the earth. They act automatically and impersonally in harmony with the combined causes and effects of ethereal and terrestrial conditions.

The sun, moon, planets, earth, and human brain are all magnets in contact with a common network of “live” wires of consciousness. The atoms in the solar system not only probably change their combining equivalents on every planet, but they undergo a certain change in their rapid passage through our atmosphere: concerning “the Spirit, the noumenon of that which becomes in its grossest form oxygen and hydrogen and nitrogen on Earth. . . . Before these gases and fluids become what they are in our atmosphere, they are interstellar Ether; still earlier and on a deeper plane — something else, and so on in infinitum” (SD 1:626). These fluids and gases, then, have been stepped down, plane after plane, bringing to us the karmic influences of the hierarchies of entities which compose the solar organism. They are the tangible carriers of the cosmic electrical fire of divine, spiritual, mental, psychic, astral, and material forces which infill the universe. Here, in brief, are the astrological causative influences in typical epidemics, which are variously operating in other karmic diseases and mental and emotional disorders such as popular uprisings, fanatical movements, and waves of crime and vice. Happily, the same impersonal agents of the karmic law, under the influences of far higher spiritual agents, are equally active and helpful during human cycles of ethical and spiritual aspiration and progress.

Epigenesis [from Greek epi upon + genesis production] A biological theory of generation which holds that the embryo is created from the original germinal elements by a process of gradual evolution, i.e., by a passage from a relatively homogeneous condition to a specialized condition through a process of differentiation. This replaced the older idea of encasement according to which the future organism existed entire, but of microscopic dimensions, within the ovum, and was afterwards merely enlarged; and it also replaced the idea that the organism was formed by a relatively sudden accretion of parts derived from the corresponding organs in the parents. It thus accommodated embryology to the modern theory of evolution. It is open to the objections that by attempting to view growth as a purely physical process, development is made to appear as a process of accretion or adding together, instead of as a process of unfolding; and suggests the notion that something entirely new can be formed by such an additive process. But nothing can be formed unless it has previously existed in entirety, though on a subtler plane of materiality; and the coming together of physical elements is merely the filling in of a plan that has already been sketched. The astral prototype of the physical organism, seeking incarnation, draws together the physical elements required, using the procreative processes as a means. The older theory of encasement contains as much truth as the epigenesis theory, though distorted by a too physical and theological view of the process. See also EMBRYO

Epilepsy A disorder recognized in antiquity as an obsession or possession by an elementary which ousts temporarily the astral-vital soul from the physical body and for the time being assumes control of the bodily mechanism. The mind thereby loses direct connection with its physical vehicle and unconsciousness results. The theosophical teaching about elementaries — astral entities whose intense desires draw them to neurotic, mediumistic, and negatively sensitive natures — gives the key to the injurious, purposeless explosions of force in the person who has been dissociated from his body and brain. Of the various bizarre sensations which usher in many typical attacks, one of the most common is the sudden look of fear or terror with which the sufferer stares fixedly as if held in thrall by some gruesome astral sight. The frequent hallucinations are, as a rule, of the same quality which the alcoholic senses in delirium tremens. Blavatsky says that epileptic fits “are the first and strongest symptoms of genuine mediumship” (Key 195).

Modern medicine reports that some cases of essential or idiopathic epilepsy often are normal individuals between attacks, and also that many autopsies reveal no organic disease to account for such marked disorder.

Epimetheus (Greek) The after-thinker; a titan, the brother of Prometheus (the fore-thinker), husband of Pandora and creator of the animals while Prometheus created humankind. Epimetheus stands for the lower aspect of human mind.

Epinoia (Greek) Thinking on a thing; by extension of meaning, the power of thought, inventiveness; a purpose, design. In Gnosticism, a name of the first passive aeon or spiritual entity forming part of a cosmic hierarchy. See also ENNOIA

Epiphany [from Greek epi to + phaino appear] In the Christian Church, the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, celebrated later in the Christian Church on January 6, and variously referred to the baptism of Christ, the visit of the Magi to Bethlehem, and other events noted in the New Testament.

In connection with initiation, it means a minor manifestation of the inner god to the candidate, as contrasted with theophany, which takes place in a higher degree, and is the appearance of the inner god.

Epithumia (Greek) In Greek metaphysics, equivalent in the human constitution to kama or the desire principle. Psyche or soul was a union of bios (physical vitality, prana), epithumia, and phren or mens (mind, manas). (BCW 1:292, 365) “Pythagoras and Plato both divided soul into two representative parts, independent of each other — the one, the rational soul, or logos, the other irrational, alogos — the latter being again subdivided into two parts or aspects the thymichon and the epithymichon, which, with the divine soul and its spirit and the body, make the seven principles of Theosophy” (BCW 7:229). See also PRINCIPLES

Epithymichon. See EPITHUMIA

Epopteia, Epoptai(o). See EPOPTES

Epoptes (Greek) [from epi at, upon + opt to see] Sometimes epopt. In the Eleusinian Mysteries, seer, overseer, master mason, one who has the vision sublime; an initiate into the highest degree of the Mysteries (epopteia) who had attained, among other spiritual faculties and powers, that of spiritual clairvoyance. The state attained, epopteia, was the seventh and highest degree of initiation in the Eleusinian Mysteries, when the inner god shone forth through the human being, so that the candidate was at one with his inner divinity.

Equinox [from Latin aequinoctium equal nights] The two annual epochs when the sun, in its apparent path around the ecliptic, crosses the celestial equator, occurring about March 2l and September 23, when the days and nights are equal to each other in length. The position of this intersection or node — the equinoctial point — on the ecliptic, at the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere, is called the first degree of Aries in the ecliptic zodiac. But this point shifts continuously, having a retrograde motion around the ecliptic occupying about 25,920 years. This period is very important because every astronomical cycle is indicative of cosmic and human cycles. In accordance with the signs of the zodiac, it is divided into twelve parts, each of 2160 years, called in theosophy the Messianic cycle and marking the coming of a world savior. The recession of the equinoxes from Pisces into Aquarius is stated to occur somewhere about the present age, and to mark a new spiritual dispensation.

In SD 2:330, a cycle is mentioned which is obtained by compounding the processional cycle with the cycle of the apsidal revolution; this, according to figures for apsis and equinox given by modern astronomers, gives a period of about 21,000 years (probably 21,160 years).

The two equinoctial epochs of each year are also highly important as they indicate conditions favorable to certain operations, initiations, and ceremonies. These times were the ones often chosen as being favored for the celebration of the ancient Mysteries and the initiation of candidates; although the two solstices, falling in December and June, are equally important.

Erataoth (Hebrew-Syrian) The dog; one of several somewhat arbitrary but highly mystical titles given to spiritual beings among early Syrian, Hebrew, and other Near Eastern mystics, having especial reference perhaps to the seven sacred planets.

Erebus erebos (Greek) Darkness; Erebus and Nux or Nyx (night) sprang from Chaos, and the pair gave birth in their turn to Aether and Hemera (Day). Darkness begets light. “Erebos was the spiritual or active side corresponding to Brahman in Hindu philosophy, and Nyx the passive side corresponding to pradhana or mulaprakriti, . . . Then from Erebos and Nyx as dual were born Aether and Hemera, Spirit and Day — Spirit being here again in this succeeding stage the active side, and Day the passive aspect, the substantial or vehicular side” (FSO 72).

Cosmically, the darkness spoken of here is the light of cosmic spirit, which is so far beyond all human ability to grasp or sense, that to us even intellectually it is as darkness; because even our intellectual light, being a secondary derivative from the cosmic darkness, is like a shadow to it. Therefore darkness and night, signifying the light of cosmic spirit in connection with original substance (here called night), gave birth to cosmic aether and day.

Similarly, the name Erebus became transferred to the underworld because its vast regions, reaching as they do into the cosmic deeps, are to human intelligence obscure and therefore dark.

Eridanus (Greek) In Greek mythology, a river into which Zeus cast Phaethon, a son of Helios (the sun), when he rashly tried to drive the chariot of the sun and had nearly set the earth on fire. It is identified with the sacred river Nile, and its etymological roots are the same as those found in Jordan.

As the myth of Phaethon refers, among other things, to geological changes, Eridanus has both a cosmic and earthly significance; in the former referring to the flowing of the ocean or river, mystically supposed to surround the world; and in the latter, referring to the mystical river of inspiration flowing downwards in its descent from the spirit into recipient minds.

Eridu One of the oldest seats of religious culture in ancient Babylonia, located a few miles SSW of Ur in Chaldea, and mentioned in ancient records as the city of the deep. In it was a temple of Ea, god of the sea and of wisdom. Rediscovered in 1854, it is now about 120 miles from the Persian Gulf, though spoken of in old records as being on the shore; calculations based on the rate of alluvial deposition places its date in the seventh millennium BC. Sayce, by comparing the Akkadian calendar with the present position of the vernal equinox, gives a date going back to 4700 BC.

Erinyes (Greek) [cf Latin Furae furies] Also Dirae. Furies, avenging goddesses; sometimes legion, sometimes three in number, according to the point of view of the ancient writers, named by Alexandrian authors, copying Euripides: Tisiphone (avenger of the slain), Megaera (the jealous), and Alecto (unceasing hatred). Their mission was to follow and reform evil doers, which has popularly been misunderstood to be persecution. Aeschylus speaks of them as being daughters of Night, Sophocles as being born of Darkness and Earth, and Hesiod as having sprung from the blood of the injured Uranus. They dwell in the underworld, whence they issue to pursue the wicked towards reformation and the reestablishment of all broken natural equilibrium; upon the expiation of crime in Aeschylus they transform themselves into gracious and beneficent deities called the Eumenides. In Athens they were known as Semnae (the venerable ones).

The Erinyes or Eumenides are thus seen as beings who function almost automatically as karmic agents in the restoration of broken or disturbed equilibrium in the universe, and therefore are inherent in the vegetative and automatic functions of nature; thus the human body, as an analogy, when injured in some part, will attempt by latent and automatic restorative functions, as it were, to heal the injury. Their functions therefore in the world are seen at once as avengers and beneficent healers or eumenides.

Eros (Greek) Love, desire; represented in the Hesiodic theogony as one of four self-existent deities, the others being Chaos, Gaia, and Erebos; otherwise as the son of Aphrodite by either Ares, Zeus, or Hermes. Eros is the cosmic force which causes the unmanifest to seek self-manifestation: it is divine love, will, desire; the desire to manifest in creative activity, and thus to give life and existence to all beings. This desire, which “arises first in It” (SD 2:578), is in the gods and in all nature. After the worlds have been manifested, Eros then becomes, under the form of fohat, the ever-active force which brings together and combines the elemental atoms. “Fohat, in his capacity of Divine Love (Eros), the electric Power of affinity and sympathy, is shown allegorically as trying to bring the pure Spirit, the Ray inseparable from the one absolute, into union with the Soul” (SD 1:119). Eros, like his synonyms kama, amor, and cupido, acts on many planes.

Eros-Phanes (Greek) [from eros god of love + phanes revealed, manifested] One of the Orphic triad — Chaos, Chronos, Phanes — evolving from the divine or cosmic egg, which the aethereal winds of space impregnate. Similar to Eros which Hesiod makes the third person of the original Greek trinity of Ouranos, Gaia, and Eros. There is a relatively close affinity between Eros or Eros-Phanes and the spiritual aspect of fohat.

Esau (Hebrew) ‘Ēśāw Hairy, rough; the son of Isaac and twin brother of Jacob (Genesis 25). These twins symbolize duality in nature — good and evil, day and night; “Jacob-Israel is the feminine principle of Esau, as Abel is that of Cain, both Cain and Esau being the male principle” (TG 158). Esau as father of the Edomites (Genesis 36:43) is said to represent the race between the fourth and the fifth root-races (SD 2:705). See also ADAM; EDOM

Eschyus. See AESCHYLUS

Esculapius. See AESCULAPIUS

Esdraelon. See ARMAGEDDON

’Esh (Hebrew) ’Ēsh ’Eshsha’ (Chaldean) ’Eshshā’ (cf Sanskrit ush to burn) Sometimes Ash(a). Fire.

’Esh Metsareph (Hebrew) ’Ēsh Metsārēf [from ’ēsh fire + the verbal root tsāraf to smelt, refine, purify] Fire purifying; one of the books of the so-called Dogmatic Qabbalah, usually called “The Book of the Purifying Fire,” considered by some to be a rare hermetic and alchemical work.

Eshmim. See SHAMAYIM

Esoteric [from Greek esoterikos pertaining to the inner] Applied to the advanced instructions given to qualified candidates in Mysteries or schools of philosophy, first used popularly in Greece by Aristotle. Jesus in the Bible had teachings for his disciples in private, and others for the public, precisely as all other ancient religious and philosophical teachers always had. Esoteric teachings both were and are such as could not be understood or profitably received by those not previously prepared by study and probation. Exoteric or outer teachings were often given in symbolic language which revealed the esoteric meaning only to those who were in possession of the keys to interpretation.

Esoteric Doctrine, Philosophy, or Science. See THEOSOPHY; OCCULTISM


Esse (Latin) Being, essence; in esse is sometimes contrasted with in posse, as actual existence is contrasted with potential existence. Esse is also contrasted with existere, in the same way as being is contrasted with existence. Alexander Wilder defined genesis as a coming from esse into existere, from Be-ness into being, from the eternal into kosmos and time.

Essence [from Latin esse to be] The characteristic nature of an entity or element. In one sense equivalent to svabhava (characteristic nature, type-being, pure individuality). As the name of a logical category its use was not uniform even among the Schoolmen who originated it, and it has been both identified with and discriminated from substance.

Essenes [probably from Hebrew asa to heal] Described by Josephus as one of three principal sects among Jews from about the middle of the 2nd century BC; the title Healer, often equivalent to savior or teacher (cf therapeutae). They were a sect of Jewish theosophy, rather exclusive, adhering to Jewish tradition in some respects though regarded as heretical in others. Their cardinal principles were active benevolence and self-discipline. They had an esoteric school guarded by secrecy, accessible through novitiate and degrees. Josephus, describing the rule of a community, presents the picture of a tranquil life, divided between practical avocations, assemblies, and ritual observances.

Estufas. See ARTUFAS

Eswara. See ISVARA

Eternity [from Latin aeternus, aeviternus from aevum an age] Originally eternity signified time divided into endless cycles stretching from the indefinite past through the present into the indefinite future, comprised within encompassing frontierless duration. Eternity therefore is the abstract sum total of endlessly cyclical time periods. As used in The Secret Doctrine, eternity often means a kosmic mahakalpa or manifestation period; thus the seven eternities means seven kosmic periods equivalent to 100 Years of Brahma or 311,040,000,000,000 human years. Even in the Hindu Vishnu-Purana, immortality, which is given as a definition of eternity, means merely “existence to the end of the Kalpa” (2:8). Occasionally used as a synonym for duration.

The emblem of eternity is the serpent in the form of a circle, biting with its active head its passive tail, and from its emanations spring worlds, beings, and things.


Ethereal, Ethereality Used in an attempt to define states of matter more refined and less dense than familiar physical matter. The differences between the higher divisions of matter is analogous to the corresponding subdivisions of physical matter — solid, liquid, gas, and fiery. Thus the characteristic of the solid is fixity of form, restriction of movement; that of liquid, mobility; of gas, expansibility; while the fiery element among other things is exempt from gravitation. The major divisions of matter must be graded on a somewhat analogous scale.

There is a clear distinction between 1) akasa; 2) the astral light; and 3) ether. Akasa in its higher portions is pure spirit; the astral light is the seventh or highest division of our physical cosmic plane and may even in a sense be called the most subtle part of the terrestrial atmosphere; whereas ether is a material agent or stuff interpenetrating molecular matter, and is therefore even more gross than is the astral light. In one sense these three are the highest, the very low, and the lowest parts of spirit or akasa itself, the physical stuff or body of our plane being its lees or dregs.


Ethics In theosophy, a philosophy of moral conduct based on the inner structure and operations of the universe itself, not a mere code of conventional behavior. The grounds alleged for moral conduct depend on one’s view of man and the universe. Theosophy distinguishes between a person’s real self and the illusive personal masks which are mistaken for that self. As with Kant, a sharp distinction is drawn between wish and inclination on the one hand, and the sense of moral obligation on the other; this latter is regarded as supervening upon the drama of self-interest and imposing a higher law.

Recognizing the essential oneness of the individual with the universe, not only spiritually but on all planes, the student of occultism strives for the subordination of the personal self as an individual to the common good of all mankind, and indeed of all things that are. With this training, the student in time comes keenly to realize that there is no longer a moral obligation lying upon him to subject his personal wish to the common good, but that this subordination becomes the first joyful duty of all his life. In this manner spiritual powers, faculties, and attributes are gained, as well as intellectual expansion that, when more or less complete, combine to make the full adept or initiate. A master of wisdom is one who has developed an individual consciousness of his oneness with the Boundless, and this is the very foundation of the ethics of theosophy.

The human ethical sense is a manifestation of one’s awareness and willing cooperation with the inherent spiritual laws of the universe. No person can misconduct himself without injecting disharmony into the human hierarchy of which he is a part, and for this he must pay, though nature does not revenge or punish but readjusts or restores the disturbed harmony. Though these essential laws are eternal and changeless, the degree of their manifestation at any time or in any group vary; so that we may speak of ethics also in a relative sense. The world saviors and messengers from the Great Lodge, in obedience to cyclic necessity, strike for humanity the ethical keynote for each coming cycle.

Etruscans An ancient Italian people predating the Romans. Among the older Greek historians there is mention of Tyrrhenoi or Tyrsenoi, and of a king of Lydia named Tyrrhenos who led a Pelasgian colony to Umbria. Roman history describes a mixed population, Etrusci, Tusci, or (by their own name) Rasenna, formed by immigrants from Asia and from over the Alps, still preserving much of their ancient culture amid corrupted habits, and diffusing it to other Italian peoples.

Throughout Roman history Etruria and the Etruscans were looked upon by virtually all classes of peoples under the sway of Rome as being the seat and the exponents of magic, profound mystical thought, and esoteric philosophy; and as the Romans knew much more about those so close to their own time than modern scholarship does, this manner of viewing the ancient Etruscans cannot be set aside lightly.

‘Ets Ha-Hayyim (Hebrew) ‘Ēts Ha-ḥayyīm The Tree of Lives; sometimes simply called the Tree (Chald ’ilan). A Qabbalistic term applied to the Sephirothal tenfold scheme, when arranged diagrammatically in three columns of three Sephiroth each, crowned with the tenth, Sephirah or Kether.

‘Ets Ha-Hayyim is an important Qabbalistic work, which is often called together with the Zohar the two Bibles of the Qabbalah. It was produced by Chajim Vital (1543-1620), an Italian Qabbalist.

Eucharist [from Greek eucharistia thanksgiving] Adopted in the early centuries of the Christian era for the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, because of the thanksgiving offered over the sacred elements; also applied to the elements themselves. Thus the original meaning, a manifestation of the spirit or inner god in the soul of the neophyte or adept, became degraded into a mere ceremonial rite, itself based on the ceremony of the Bacchic participation of wine and bread — wine signifying the spirit and bread the manifested body of the spirit in matter. See also BREAD AND WINE

Eue, Eua. See EVE

Euhemerization The theory of Euhemeros, a Greek of about 316 BC, that the ancient Greek myths were imaginative or allegorical renderings of historical events, the gods once having been mortals or men, and their deeds the poetized actions of archaic human worthies. Hence to euhemerize is to interpret myths as having been once historical events. It is sometimes used in The Secret Doctrine as equivalent to anthropomorphism. A great deal of archaic mythology, however, is the half-forgotten and often distorted racial tradition or memory of events in the lives of once semi-divine humans, who actually were in most cases the demigods, god-men, or initiates of the later third and early fourth root-races.

Eumenides (Greek) [from eumenides beneficent or gracious ones]. Beneficent deities; they appear in the famous Greek tragedy The Eumenidies by Aeschylus. Originally karmic agents, called by the ancient Greeks avenging Erinyes (Furies), whose functions it is to attend upon human acts such as crimes and to bring about the reestablishment of the broken harmony, immediately after which they are seen in their real character: divinities of beneficence and beauty. See also ERINYES

Eumolpidae (Greek) Descendants of Eumolpos, a demigod who founded the Eleusinian Mysteries, of which these descendants continued to be the hereditary hierophants, although living in Athens. See also LYCOMIDAE

Eurydice (Greek) She of wide power and justice; the beloved companion of Orpheus. After her untimely death, he gained access to the underworld in order to lead her back to earth, only to lose her again.

The marriage of Orpheus to Eurydice is but one of many similar allegories of the union of the initiate with the esoteric truth he has won after heavy trial. Soon after her marriage, Eurydice was seen and pursued by Aristaeus who was enamored of her beauty, and she consequently died of a serpent’s bite. “Aristaeus is brutal power, pursuing Eurydike, the esoteric doctrine, into the woods where the serpent (emblem of every sun-god . . .) kills her; i.e., forces truth to become still more esoteric, and seek shelter in the Underworld, which is not the hell of our theologians” (IU 2:l29-30).

The legend of Orpheus and Eurydice has also an astronomical or cosmic significance connected with terrestrial cataclysms produced by cyclic changes in the angle of the ecliptic and by the precession of the equinoxes, Eurydice or Astraea being the constellation Virgo (SD 2:785)

Eurymedon (Greek) Wide-ruling; title of Poseidon (Neptune).

Euthanasia [from Greek eu well +thanatos death] Easy death, a painless death; used for the practice of mercifully killing people who would otherwise suffer a painful death. To decide if a person should or should not be kept alive by artificial means or a life ended by artificial means requires almost superhuman discernment. An individual is not his body nor even his mind, but fundamentally a spiritual being. Physical suffering from bodily ills, however unpleasant, provides an opportunity to meet and dispose of certain karmic causes, and thereby learn and grow. Aside from the difficulty of preventing abuses in legalized euthanasia, the ethical and spiritual questions surrounding artificial prolongation and shortening of life remain extremely complex. The Stoics held that life is a gift of the gods and therefore no person has the right to reject that gift — for oneself or another — until the gods themselves call it back.

Also used for the power possessed by adepts to quit or drop their physical body painlessly, in order to work as nirmanakayas, which is the meaning of the stories in the Bible which speak of men being taken to heaven without dying.

Evangelists, Four The evangelists to whom are ascribed the four Gospels in the New Testament — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — associated in the symbolism of the Roman Catholic Church with the four sacred animals found in so many ancient mythologies: the man, bull, lion, and eagle; Aquarius, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio; the four Maharajas, etc.

Evapto. See EPOPTES

Eve (Hebrew) Ḥawwāh [from ḥāwāh to breathe, live] Mystically the mother of all living, an allegorical yet actual figure in all archaic cosmogonies. Genesis describes three Eves: 1) the archetypal Eve, the feminine aspect of the divine androgyne which is on the one hand ‘Adam Qadmon, and on the other hand Sephirah-Eve (ch. l); 2) the Eve of the early third root-race, after the separation of the sexes but before the awakening of mind (ch. 2); and 3) Eve the mother of Abel and of Seth, here beginning the course of human history after the awakening of mind. The first Eve was no woman but, like the first Adam, the spiritual feminine aspect of an archetypal spiritual host; the second was no woman but womankind; while the third was woman and mother as now known. They companion and correspond to the three Adams: the first, the spiritual albeit masculine type of the archetypal host; the second, the mindless first human race; and the third, “the race that [had fully] separated, whose eyes are opened” (SD 2:46n). Between the Eve of Genesis and Eve the mother of Seth (Genesis 4) passed long ages, involving millions of years during which the archetypal preparation of the globe for human habitation was followed by distinct root-races and three Edens, with millions of years between even these latter.

The original from which the Hebrew Genesis was later compiled is lost. Yet even as the latter has reached us — first veiled, then probably remodeled by Ezra with shiftings that confuse the chronology — despite important words and clauses mistranslated by European scholars, its resemblance to the esoteric account is unmistakable. For Jehovah, who gave the human body and (physical) breath of life, is the hyparxis of Saturn and an earthly, not a celestial, hierarchy. The human mind and spirit are essentially emanations from the immortal spiritual monad coeval with the universe, and subsequent human evolutionary development was both from and aided by the elohim, a spiritual host. Adam and Eve, once mind appeared in them, enter the path of self-directed evolution, a reference to the second and third Eves mentioned above. The eating of the fruit of the tree is the awakening or lighting of mind in man. It shows Eve as consorting with spiritual, not demoniacal, forces and incidentally reconciles the two creation stories. Like the serpent, the tree is an ancient and universal symbol of sacred and esoteric knowledge. To eat of its fruit is to acquire the knowledge that only the gods possess, and the possession confers immortality under the law.

There is neither relationship nor historic nor philosophic resemblance between Eve and Lilith, Adam’s “first wife.”

Ever-living Human Banyan. See BANYAN; WONDROUS BEING

Evil Good and evil are attributes of relativity in nature as cognized by the minds of percipient beings. “Esoteric philosophy admits neither good nor evil per se as existing independently in nature. The cause for both is found, as regards the Kosmos, in the necessity of contraries or contrasts, and with respect to man, in his human nature, his ignorance and passions. There is no devil or the utterly depraved, as there are no Angels absolutely perfect, though there may be spirits of Light and of Darkness . . .” (SD 2:162).

Pythagorean philosophy regards the duad as evil, and the One as the only good; which symbolizes that manifested qualities are in pairs of opposites, so that contrast subsists not merely within the pair itself but also between the pair considered as a whole and the One which is superior to it. Since throughout nature we find such pairs of opposites, reconciled by a synthesizing unity, it follows that the words good and evil of necessity are used in a relative sense, and convey the notion of incompleteness as contrasted with an intuitively conceived perfection. We cannot suppose that things can be good or evil in themselves, except relatively, or even in their relations to other things.

Evil Spirits A vague expression, often applied by theological misinterpretation to the Fallen Angels — the cosmic spirits who form or produce the lower worlds; or to the powers of the matter side of nature. Again, it may designate any of a numerous class of nonphysical beings, such as elementals, nature spirits, ghosts, or astral entities generated by human thoughts, all known in Christianity under the generalizing term Devil.

Evocation [from Latin evocare to call forth] The calling forth of simulacra of the departed by magical processes; or the calling forth of the daemons or nature spirits of various classes by will directed by knowledge. The spiritual aspects of human beings cannot, however, be called forth, except in rare instances immediately after death, which in this case means black magic; and even so, these disimbodied spirits do not actually come, but cause their simulacrum to be formed, or send a messenger. The attempt thus to evoke the departed is a wrongful interference with the courses of nature and detrimental to the welfare of the departing egos. It is much easier and more common to evoke spooks from kama-loka, or denizens of the lower astral light; and the appearances thus created are often of a composite nature, to which the medium and sitters, whether knowingly or not, contribute. This must necessarily be the case where there is actual materialization. Such practices come under the general heading of necromancy.

Evolution [from Latin evolutio unrolling, opening] The unfolding or bringing into manifestation of the inherent, already inwardly existing characteristics of a being; it is therefore growth from within, development. The process is universal, since the universe consists of living beings, all of which are growing because unfolding. Evolution presupposes two main factors: the entity which is evolving, and the form which is evolved. These two are related as spirit to matter, as the monad to its organism. Every one of the countless beings which constitute the universe is essentially a spark of the universal divine fire, life, or spirit; and at any time is at one stage or another of a continuous career of unfolding growth. Every spark creates for itself a succession of forms by which it expresses more or less of its inherent qualities. The physical vehicles are merely the physical end-products; before these physical imbodiments are engendered, there are other imbodiments made of subtler grades of matter or consciousness-substance on intermediate planes, and astral stuff on the lower plane close to the physical. Evolution is a continual reaction between what is within and what is without: environment modifies growth; but without the urge of the indwelling monad, there could be no action upon environment, nor any reaction by environment.

Evolution is not a process of accretion from without; such accretion could not produce an organism unless the full plan of that organism existed already latently in ideation. Nor is evolution in the vegetable and animal kingdoms a process of mere transformism by which one physical organism changes into another. The changes take place because of the unfolding growth of the indwelling entity, each new evolutional enfoldment of the latter impacting on the body, and therefore more or less modifying it; and this indwelling entity in this manner builds for itself new forms suitable to its own changed or more largely unfolded states.

Theosophy does not hold to the idea of a single-track, end-on evolution from a protoplasmic speck to human being, without inner astral, mental, and spiritual urge from within. Rather, the plan of evolution as represented by the different classes and orders of beings on earth may be represented by a tree, whose main trunk is the human stem, from which (so far as this manvantara is concerned) the various animal types have issued like branches, each of them then entering upon a special unfolding development and differentiation of its own. Indeed, the same observation applies with equal force to the vegetable and mineral kingdoms, although their root-types issued from the human stem long aeons before the animal types appeared on earth.

Evolution is an ancient and cardinal tenet of the archaic wisdom and was formerly called emanation. In mankind, three distinct, principal lines of evolution take place and converge; the spiritual, the mental or manasic, and the astral-vital-physical. The manasic factor is derived from the perfected humanity of a previous manvantara, whose entrance into the human stock of the third root-race brought about the union of the heavenly and the terrestrial so as to make a complete self-conscious being who thereafter mirrors every plane in nature. In humankind, the divine monad, a spark of the universal spirit, emanates from itself its first vehicle, and thus is formed the spiritual monad, atma-buddhi. This monad, emanating from itself in its turn another vehicle, becomes the higher human soul or reimbodying ego; and the emanational process is continued throughout the human constitution by the formation of the astral-vital soul which in its turn emanates or oozes forth the physical body.

The process of evolution cannot be considered as ending. Just as below human beings there are less evolved kingdoms, so above are beings in whom fuller self-consciousness has been achieved than we have yet achieved, and still more of the divine potentialities realized. All evolution beneath humankind tends towards humanhood as its objective; but humanity itself has ever greater heights still before it to attain in the future.

Existence [from Latin exsisto standing forth, emerging] Although often used interchangeably with being, in theosophy being refers to abstract continuity in spirit, while existence means the phenomenal manifestation of an entity in the phenomenal worlds. Therefore being is the noumenon and existence is the phenomenon. Hence one can speak of the causes of existence (nidanas), or of all existences being dissolved. The Absolute, a cosmic hierarch, is defined with equal appropriateness as absolute existence and as non-existence. Non-existence is described as absolute being, existence, and consciousness (SD 1:39). Fichte makes a proper distinction between being (Seyn) and existence (Daseyn), the former being the noumenal One, and the latter the phenomenal manifold through which the One is known.

Exorcism [from Greek exorkizein to bind by an oath] In the Christian Church, the casting out of evil spirits by adjuring and commanding them. Under other names the rite has been practiced in all lands and times, with a great variety of ceremonies, and by the power of a person who is versed in the procedure and especially efficaciously by one whose life is holy. Jesus of the Gospels exercises the power and delegates it to his disciples.

Exoteric [from Greek exoterikos pertaining to the outer] Applied to teachings given to the public or to nonprepared candidates in the Mysteries or schools of philosophy. It applies to all the various great religions of the past insofar as their popular or public teaching is concerned. Thus exoteric does not mean false or untrue, but simply that form of the inner wisdom which was so clothed as to hide much of the inner truth; but nevertheless, despite that cloak, contained it in hidden and secret sense.

Extension Applies chiefly to the familiar attribute of physical objects or space, but can be used in a wider and more general sense. The terms space, extension, and spatial extension are to a great extent interchangeable in popular speech. The notion they convey seems essential to our mental processes, and we cannot even think of a point without having first imagined an extended space for it to be located in. When abstract space is spoken of as boundless extension, the latter word must be understood as the extension of this, that, or some other cosmic plane, and hence on each such plane resembling the spatial extension which we recognize as physical space, great or small. However, extension is not abstract space itself, for all extensions of whatever character, and on whatever plane, are contained in abstract space; so that if we speak of abstract space as boundless extension, we must enlarge the word extension to include the inner and the outer, the high and the low, and all that is visible or invisible, past, present, and future.

Extracosmic Outside the cosmos; applied to a theological personal God, who is regarded as outside of or separate from the universe which he is supposed to have created. It is the opposite of the pantheistic conception of the divine as the all-permeant cosmic spirit of the universe, in which all beings that exist “live, move, and have their being.”

Eye of Horus or Osiris One of the names by which the Egyptian symbol of the eye is known, especially its hieroglyphic representation, designated Utchat in Egyptian. There were, in fact, two eyes: one the symbol of Thoth (Tehuti), representing the full moon; the other, the utchat of Ra (or Osiris), representing the midday sun. When referred to as the eyes of Horus they were designated as the white and the black: the white eye standing for the sun, the black for the moon. Or again they were called the right and the left, referring respectively to the sun and the moon.

“The Sun was always called by the Egyptians ‘the eye of Osiris,’ and was himself the Logos, the first-begotten, or light made manifest to the world, ‘which is the Mind and divine intellect of the Concealed’ ” (SD 2:25). This symbol connects Horus with the characteristic nature and functions of the manifest Logos which spiritually surveys all, guides all, and watches over all; and as the Logos contains in itself all that is, both of spirit and matter when they are manifested, the reason is seen for the more detailed ascription to sun or moon of this or that function or activity of the Logos.

Eye of Siva The third eye; physically the pineal gland, which when awakened into activity becomes the organ of the inner spiritual vision of a seer. The pineal gland was in former ages an active physical exterior organ before the present-day two eyes were developed, and was then the faculty both of physical vision and of interior illumination. As the ages passed, this third eye or pineal gland receded within the skull, finally being covered by hardened bone and the scalp. This eye may be described as the organ on this plane of spiritual intuition, through which direct and certain knowledge is obtainable at any time at the will of the seer. “The ‘eye of Siva’ did not become entirely atrophied before the close of the Fourth Race. When spirituality and all the divine powers and attributes of the deva-man of the Third had been made the hand-maidens of the newly-awakened physiological and psychic passions of the physical man, instead of the reverse, the eye lost its powers” (SD 2:302).

’Eyeh. See ’EHYEH

Eyn Soph (Hebrew) ’Ēin Sōf Also Ain Soph, Ayn Soph, Eyn Suph, Ein Soph, etc. No-thing, the negatively existent one, or the no-thing of space corresponding closely in some respects to the mystical sunyata of Mahayana Buddhism. Used in the Qabbalah for that which is above Kether or Macroprosopus, i.e., no-thing. “It is so named because we do not know, and it is impossible to know, that which there is in this Principle, because it never descends as far as our ignorance and because it is above Wisdom itself” (Zohar iii, 288b).

Strictly speaking, ’eyn signifies abstract Be-ness or the vast spatial deep in which all existences take their rise. Anything that is existent is a production and exists; and the womb of being or Be-ness, from which existences arise, is not only the cause of all existences but likewise their field of action — the spatial deeps. Often wrongly translated as “nothing”; but Be-ness is certainly not nothing, but essential, full Be-ness itself.

Top of File


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

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