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 | Ass-Atm | 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 | 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
Lobha (Sanskrit) Lobha [from the verbal root lubh to desire greatly] Covetousness, avarice, stupidity; in Hindu mythology a god, the son of Pushti and Maya, equivalent to the Latin Cupido, from which comes the modern European Cupid. In this connection Lobha is said to be a son of Brahma generated by the latter in an evil moment.
Lodge-Force, Lodge-Spirit The spiritual and intellectual influence or atmosphere radiating from the chief Lodge of Light or the Great White Lodge, and shared to a greater or less degree by students and bodies of students whose devotion and achievement render them receptive.
Lodur, Lodurr, Lodurr (Icelandic, Scandinavian) In the Norse Edda, one of the creative divine trinity who endowed nascent humanity with their own properties, thus creating a thinking kingdom of beings out of the ashtree and the alder. Lodurr’s gifts were la and laeti (skill and manner, also translated as blood and keen senses), while his brother deities Odin and Honer gave them respectively spirit and discernment.
There is an analogy between Odin (spirit) and air; between Honer (intelligence) and water; and between Lodurr (vitality) and fire or vital heat in any organism.
Logi (Icelandic, Scandinavian) Flame; in Norse myths, wildfire, the destructive property of fire, another aspect of it being Loki, who represents the fire of mind in the human race. In one tale of the Eddas Logi and Loki compete to see who can eat the fastest. They finished together but, while Loki had eaten all the food, Logi had also consumed the wooden platter and won the contest.
Logi and his cohorts are allied with Surt, the fire which destroys the world when its life is ended.
Logia (Greek) Sayings, referring to the spoken teachings of an initiate to his disciples, as distinct from written teachings; sometimes equivalent to agrapha (unwritten teachings) and the aporrheta (things that must not be revealed) of the Mysteries. It usually refers to such sayings believed to have been given by Jesus and not recorded in the canon, but the secret basis on which Matthew and other evangelists constructed their Gospels. Certain schools of early Christians, whom afterwards were called heretics — the Nazarenes and the Ebionites — based their teachings and rules upon some of these secret discourses. They could only be interpreted by those possessing the keys, hence Jerome, who was employed by the ecclesiastical authorities to translate some of them, could not make much out of them; and what he did make out was hard to reconcile with the canonical Gospels.
Logic An attempt to formulate the processes of the ratiocinative mind, connecting idea with idea in a causal sequence, leading from predicate to conclusion. When the predicate consists of axioms, the species of logic is called deductive, or reasoning from the general to the particular; when the predicate is facts of experience, the logic is called inductive, or proceeding from particulars to generals. As a means of arriving at truth it alone is quite unreliable, as it is but a body of rules based on human experiences, and hence it is often rather a means of justifying conclusions after they have already been formed. This unreliability arises both from the difficulty of applying the process with rigid precision, and also from the uncertainty of the predicates in both systems. A study of what is written on logic will show that there is no agreement as to what constitutes an axiom — whether it is an intuitive perception of truth, or whether it is merely an inference from experience. The same uncertainty exists as to the validity of the assumptions from which inductive chains of reasoning are drawn.
The Greek Skeptics and Pyrrhonists demonstrate that rigid logic leads to contradictory conclusions (antinomies), a fact which led them to doubt the efficacy of the mentality as a means of ascertaining truth. A strictly logical system may be found in pure mathematics, where we lay down axioms and postulates, which are to be treated as not open to question; and then proceed by rigid rules to the inevitable conclusion. But what is possible in an ideal science is not possible in an actual world of infinite variety and fluidity. Theosophy places the subject in a different light, because it recognizes the existence in man of powers of direct cognition by the awakened faculties of buddhi. Thus man has the means of a true deductive system; but even so, deduction must be considered together with induction, analogy, and other methods, as merely one of the various means by which we arrive at a knowledge of truth.
Logograms [from Greek logos words + gramma letter] A single letter or other sign representing a whole word. Many ancient esoteric writings are written wholly or partially in logograms, such as the Egyptian Book of the Dead, certain names in the Vedas, and to some extent in the Bible, so that they have a hidden meaning beneath the sense of the words and sentences. The Chinese written language itself is logographical. In Hebrew and Greek, letters represent numbers, which also is often a key to hidden meanings. See also GEMATRIA
Logos (Greek) plural logoi. Word; expressive cosmic intelligence manifested in every rational being. With Plato, that power of the mind which is manifested in speech; its relation to nous or intelligence is not always clearly distinguished. With reference to the logos in man, an important distinction was made by the ancients between the logos endiathetos (ideal or unspoken word) and the logos prophorikos (expressed or spoken word), the former being an unexpressed idea in the mind. The word was adopted by Christian theologians mingled with ideas taken from the Hebrews, used in the second sense, as found in the first chapter of John, where the Logos seems almost anthropomorphized.
In theosophy, logos stands for the manifested unity at the head of any hierarchy, which is the First Logos. There are innumerable such logoi in cosmic space. The Second Logos emanates from it and is dual, combining both the active and passive sides of the emanation from the First Logos, just as a word combines idea or thought with the vibratory energy of sound. The Third Logos, again, is the offspring or emanation from the Second or Dual Logos.
It is just in these three logoi, considered as a cosmic unit, that arose the original teaching of the Christian Trinity. In the original Christian idea, the Son was identified with the Third Logos and proceeded from the Father and the Holy Spirit, the Second Logos, originally in Christianity a feminine cosmic power; whereas the Roman Catholic Church made the procession of the Son come directly from the First Logos or Father, the Holy Ghost being misplaced and made the Third Logos. In later developments of Christian theology, the Logos is spoken of as the Word made flesh, the manifestation of God on earth, the Son of God, Christ, the miscalled Second Person of the Trinity. This idea was still further narrowed and debased into the doctrine of a single and special earthy manifestation of the Godhead.
After parabrahman, the one ineffable and unthinkable reality, comes the First or Unmanifested Logos, corresponding to paramatman in cosmos and atman in man, the supreme monadic self in any hierarchy; then as an emanation from the former comes the quasi-manifested or Second Logos, corresponding to cosmic and human buddhi, always envisaged as a feminine potency; and then from the former two proceeds the manifested, creative, or Third Logos, corresponding to mahat on the cosmic plane and manas in the human constitution. Thus Logos is a center of unity in a being, which may exist in an unmanifest or a manifest condition, but always derivative from the supreme mystery above it — to which must be added an intermediate state of partial or incipient manifestation. Man is sometimes spoken of as the Third Logos, as it corresponds to manas.
“This [first] Logos may be called in the language of old writers either Eswara or Pratyagatma or Sabda Brahmam. It is called the Verbum or the Word by the Christians, and it is the divine Christos who is eternally in the bosom of his father. It is called Avalokiteswara by the Buddhists; at any rate, Avalokiteswara in one sense is the Logos in general, . . . In almost every doctrine they have formulated the existence of a centre of spiritual energy which is unborn and eternal, and which exists in a latent condition in the bosom of Parabrahmam at the time of pralaya, and starts as a centre of conscious energy at the time of cosmic activity. It is the first gnatha or the ego in the cosmos, and every other ego and every other self . . . is but its reflection or manifestation. In its inmost nature it is not unknowable as Parabrahmam, but it is an object of the highest knowledge that man is capable of acquiring. . . .
“ . . . Parabrahmam by itself cannot be seen as it is. It is seen by the Logos with a veil thrown over it, and that veil is the mighty expanse of cosmic matter. It is the basis of all material manifestations in the cosmos.
“ . . . the first manifestation of Parabrahmam is a Trinity, the highest Trinity that we are capable of understanding. It consists of Mulaprakriti, Eswara or the Logos, and the conscious energy of the Logos, which is its power and light; and here we have the three principles upon which the whole cosmos seems to be based. First, we have matter; secondly, we have force — at any rate, the foundation of all the forces in the cosmos; and thirdly, we have the ego or the one root of self, of which every other kind of self is but a manifestation or reflection” (Notes on BG 18-22).
On account of the universal analogies running throughout Nature, every cosmic unit, such as a solar system or a sun, is an expression in itself of a minor series of First, Second, and Third Logoi; and this primordial Triad through the Third Logos breaks into seven offspring-logoi, which become the seven solar logoi.
Lohita (Sanskrit) Lohita Red; a title of the planet Mars.
Lohitanga (Sanskrit) Lohitāṅga [from lohita red, ruddy + aṅga limb; the red-limbed] The planet Mars; the third root-race is born under Lohitanga. (SD 2:29)
Loka (Sanskrit) Loka Place, locality; in Brahmanic literature, heavens; in theosophical literature, world, sphere, plane. Used in the metaphysical systems of India, both in contrast to and in conjunction with tala (inferior world). “Wherever there is a loka there is an exactly correspondential tala, and in fact, the tala is the nether pole of its corresponding loka. Lokas and talas, therefore, in a way of speaking, may be considered to be the spiritual and the material aspects or substance-principles of the different worlds which compose and in fact are the kosmic universe” (OG 168). The lokas and talas must be thought of by twos: a loka and its corresponding tala can no more be separated than can the two poles of a magnet. They are the two sides of being, the two contrasting forces of nature, the light-side and the night-side.
There are many different divisions of the lokas and talas used in Hindu literature, but many are merely exoteric blinds. Dividing the universe into seven manifested grades or planes of being, which are really worlds, these worlds are polarized into lokas and talas, two by two throughout. The seven lokas and seven talas together form the seven cosmic planes. Of these seven loka-tala pairs, the three highest belong to the relatively arupa (formless) or spiritual worlds, and are often called arupa lokas and arupa talas. The four lowest pairs belong to the rupa (form) or material worlds, and are often called rupa lokas and talas. These lokas and talas are not placed in nature’s structure above each other like steps of a stair, but are within each other, interblending and continually interacting. Each inner one is finer and more ethereal than the next outer one; the inmost of either series is the most ethereal and spiritual of all. The more spiritual the center, the wider is its outflow of radiation and influence, and it therefore reaches far beyond the more material ones. Exoteric Hindu literature details specific limitations or frontiers to the reach of each loka and tala, as for instance when it is said that svarloka and talatala extend to the pole star, or that the reach of influence of bhuvarloka and mahatala extend to the sun.
Our earth, globe D of the earth-chain, is patala if we look at it from the material standpoint; and it is bhurloka if we look at it from the energy-consciousness side. In this globe the loka and tala are equally bipolarized because it is the only globe on the lowest cosmic plane. It is the turning point of our planetary chain where matter and spirit are equilibrated. The field of influence of this loka and tala — and indeed of all the lokas and talas — extends little farther than the psychomagnetic region of globe D.
The solar system as a whole has its corresponding cosmic lokas and talas; so has any planetary chain of the solar system and any globe of such chain. Each one of these different scales is built of its own series of lokas and talas on the analogical principle that what prevails in the cosmic whole as its fundamental structure must necessarily prevail in its every portion.
Just as the kosmos is divided into seven planes with its kosmic lokas and talas, its tattvas and bhutas — its principles and elements — so is every globe of our planetary chain, and indeed every human being, of necessity divided in a similar manner, with its own seven lokas and seven talas, which in the case of man are the principles and elements of his constitution. Thus,
“the seven principles of our globe are the seven lokas and seven talas belonging especially to earth; and the seven principles of each one of the other six globes of our planetary chain, are the respective lokas and talas belonging to each one of them. Now the two other globes on each plane of the three planes above ours, making thus the other six globes of our planetary chain, receive their respective life force, recieve their respective inflow of intellectual and spiritual energies and beings, from the respective lokas and talas of the sun. There are seven suns, but only one sun on this plane, as our globe is but one on this plane, the lowest of the seven kosmical planes.”
“each one of these lokas and each one of these talas produces the following lower one of the scale from itself, . . . The highest of either line projects or sends forth the next lower. It, in addition to its own particular characteristic or swabhava, contains also within itself the nature of the one above it, its parent, and also sends forth the one lower than it, the third in the line downwards. And so on down the scale. So that each one of the principles or elements [or lokas or talas] is likewise sevenfold, containing in itself the subelements of that or those of which it is the reflection from above” (Fund 472, 481-2).
The lokas, in our present fourth planetary round, are dominant on the luminous arc, while the talas are recessive; whereas the talas are the dominant factors or worlds on the shadowy arc of descent, where the lokas are recessive or involving. Virtue, purity, kindness, compassion are signs that the entity possessing them is evolving the spirit within, and therefore is ascending along the lokas of the luminous arc and thus is a denizen of the lokas as the dominant factors in his evolution. Selfishness, impurity, unkindness, cruelty, and deception are the signs that the entity possessing them is then under the influence or dominance of the talas, and is for the time being on a shadowy arc — the particular and characteristic effect of the working of the influences of the talas.
Loka-chakshus (Sanskrit) Loka-cakṣus [from loka world + cakṣus eye] The eye of the world; also one name of the sun.
Lokaloka (Sanskrit) Lokāloka [from loka world + aloka unworld] The world and that which is not the world, the world and the invisible worlds, the inner ranges of being. In the mythological geography of the Puranas, said to be the belt or circle of mountains surrounding the outermost of the seven seas and dividing the visible or manifest world from the invisible or unmanifest worlds, often called the region of darkness (darkness here signifying merely nonvisible).
Lokanatha (Sanskrit) Lokanātha [from loka world + nātha refuge, protector] World refuge or world protector; law. A title of Gautama Buddha, conveying the idea that he is the spiritual refuge and protector of our world.
Lokapalas (Sanskrit) Lokapāla-s [from loka world + pāla protector from the verbal root pā to protect] The spiritual supporters, rulers, and guardians either of a universe or of a world. The cosmic, solar, or planetary spirits who preside over the eight points of the compass, among them being the four Maharajas. Each of these guardian spirits has an elephant (or other symbolic animal) who takes part in the defense and protection of the quarter, and these eight elephants are themselves sometimes called lokapalas. These elephants and their spouses pertain “to fancy and afterthought, though all of them have an occult significance” (SD 1:128). According to the Hindu pantheon, Indra presides over the east; Agni, the southeast; Yama, the south; Surya, the southwest; Varuna, the west; Vayu, the northwest; Kuvera, the north; and Soma, the northeast.
Lokapala-sabha-varnana (Sanskrit) Lokapāla-sabhā-varṇana [from lokapāla world protector + sabhā assembly + varṇana description] The description of the assembling of the world protectors (or kings); one of the subsections of the Mahabharata.
Lokaratha. See LOKANATHA
Loki [from Danish lys, Swed ljus, Anglo-Saxon leoht, Latin lux light; cf liechan, liuhan to enlighten; Greek leukos white.] In Norse myths, the giant grown to godhood who represents the active human mind: on one hand he is related to Logi (flame), destructive wildfire; on the other he is called Lopt (lofty), when he represents aspiring, elevating intelligence. Like Lucifer, he is the enlightener of humankind who became transformed in popular stories into a culprit guilty of all the ills that can result from the misuse of mind.
Loki is descended from giant stock, but he is accepted among the Aesir (gods) as one of them and is considered a blood brother to Odin. Although as prankster and mischief maker he causes trouble for his brother deities at every turn, nevertheless, when appealed to, it is Loki who with his ready wit saves each situation. The panorama of evolution is thus epitomized: the pure deities must use mind, self-consciousness and free will unhampered, unruly though these properties are, to gain understanding. That is the purpose for which they embody; this means that the human thinking faculty must earn its godhood by freely choosing to cooperate with the divine purpose.
Loki is thus a complex figure of markedly dual character: his giant ancestry, which rightly belongs to the past, suggests the only partly evolved human nature, uninspired by divine wisdom. At the same time he is associated with the divine fire of intelligence. This godlike quality entails free will, which in our human condition is often unwise unless guided by inspiration and brings misfortune when acting on its own.
Loki is closely related to the gem of Freya (human higher intelligence), and to Gullveig (thirst for gold). The latter can represent either wisdom or plain greed for possessions.
With the giantess Angerboda (boding regret) Loki sired three offspring: the Midgard serpent (the equator) which is curled round the earth in the depths of the oceans and which also has larger astronomical applications; the wolf Fenris, which is to devour the sun at the end of its lifetime; and Hel, the queen of the realms of death. According to one tale Loki in the shape of a mare gave birth to Odin’s eight-legged steed, Sleipnir (slider), and so provides the mount which enables Odin to enter all spheres of life. In another, Loki and Dvalin, the human “dwarf” (animal) nature, competed with the sons of the giant Ivaldi to produce valuable gifts for the Aesir (gods).
Loki is variously named the son of Lofo (leafy isle, the earth), because it is here that apply the various allegories concerning this at once sacred and naughty figure; the son of Nal (needle); and of Farbuti.
One of the most familiar stories of the Eddas is that in which the sun god Balder was killed by his blind brother Hoder through the machinations of Loki. This brought the golden age to an end and for this the bringer of mind and free will to man is condemned to remain in the underworld, “bound with his dead son’s guts” until the end of this world cycle, when he will be released.
Lokothra. See LOKOTTARA
Lord of the Flies. See BEELZEBUB
Lord of the Lotus (Sanskrit Kumuda-pati) Title applied to various productive intelligent powers in nature, and on the macrocosmic scale to the generative lords of the universe, the lotus being the symbol of the manifested universe, the matrix of nature, so that the Lord of the Lotus is the activating productive power in it.
Lorelei The legendary maiden who sat on a rock in the Rhine between Bingen and Coblentz, combing her beautiful hair and by her entrancing song bewitching sailors on the river to their doom. She belongs to a numerous class of such mythologic maidens, representing mainly the fascinating powers of the astral light over the unwary pilgrim in search of knowledge. The astral light partakes of the “watery” cosmic element, and the nature spirits pertaining to water on this plane were called by medieval European mystics the undines, of whose entrancing beauty and singing many tales are told, such as that of Odysseus and the sirens, or the Scandinavian lake maiden.
Lost Soul An entity who through a series of rebirths has been slowly following the easy descent to Avernus. A lost soul is one who is not merely “soulless” in the ordinary theosophical usage, but is one who has lost the last link, the last delicate thread of consciousness, connecting him with his inner god.
This loss of the soul cannot ensue as long as even one spiritual aspiration remains functionally active. When not one single, quivering aspiration spiritward remains, the soul is lost for that manvantara; its essence, as it were, is inverted, and its tendency is downwards into avichi where, depending upon the power over nature acquired by the soul, circumstances may bring about an almost immediate annihilation of it or, perhaps, a manvantara of avichi-nirvana, a fearful state indeed, contrasted with the wondrous nirvana of the dhyani-chohans.
But this horrible fate, the easy descent, is brought about gradually. Passing from human birth to an inferior human birth, and then to one still more inferior, the degenerate astral monad — all that remains of the human being that once was — may finally even enter the body of some beast to which it feels attracted (and this is one side of the teaching of transmigration, which has been so badly misunderstood); some finally go even to plants perhaps, at the last, and will ultimately vanish. The astral monad will then have faded out. Such lost souls are exceedingly rare.
The lost soul is at one pole of consciousness and the master at the other. It is between the higher human soul, and the human soul (or man proper) that lies the psychological frontier over which one must pass forwards or backwards, into regeneration or degeneration. The first leads to masterhood, the second to final annihilation. For, as attraction to matter increases, the egoic soul-quality deteriorates, and through attrition the link is broken, and the soul finally sinks into the Eighth Sphere, the Planet of Death.
Lost Word According to the Masonic ritual of the third or Master Mason’s degree, the Word which was in the possession of the three Grand Masters of the Craft, King Solomon, Hiram of Tyre, and Hiram Abif, and could be given only when the three were “present and agreed,” was said to have been lost on the death of Hiram Abif, in consequence of which it was decreed that until the True Word was again found, a Substitute Word should be used. By the death of Hiram Abif not only was the Master’s True Word lost, but it was discovered that there were no plans upon the Trestle-Board for continuing the work of the building of the Temple. This gives a clue to the meaning of the Lost Word which “ought to stand as ‘lost words’ and lost secrets, in general, for that which is termed the lost ‘Word’ is no word at all, as in the case of the Ineffable Name” (TG 191). Communicated to man in the childhood of the human race, these lost secrets were passed on from hierophant to hierophant in turn.
Every true Mason is in search of the Lost Word, the secret knowledge or gupta-vidya, yet the lost secrets of the Royal Art can never be communicated to, because they cannot be comprehended by, one who does not recognize and in degree at least realize his own inner divinity, the immanent christos or buddha within, which is his true self; i.e., through initiation become, actually and in fact, a Christos, an Osiris, a Hiram Abif. Every degree of initiation into the Mysteries has its secrets, its Word, its sacred formula, which may be communicated only to those who, according to Masonic ritual “are duly and truly prepared, worthy and well qualified,” else the penalty is death to the one so revealing the Word or secrets.
The mythos of Orpheus and Eurydice is a Mystery-story of the loss of the Word — Eurydice being a personification of the esoteric wisdom. The recovery of the Word is possible only to him who, during initiation, descends into the Underworld fully prepared, and who fulfills the inescapable conditions for return therefrom in possession of the Word, as was Orpheus through his marriage with Eurydice. Should he like Orpheus lose it — fail to bring Eurydice back with him — such loss brings inevitable death, or at least a rupture between the personal man and his higher spiritual nature, so that the personal man, unprotected by his spiritual nature, becomes the prey of remorse and of the lower terrestrial passions, the Bacchantes, and is finally slain by them. But this is not necessarily final failure, for in the next or in a succeeding life he may again begin his search for the Word, and if undaunted by obstacles, even by repeated failures, he continue in his search, he may and probably will ultimately find it.
Lotus [from Greek lotos] A lily belonging to the genus Nymphaea, an ancient and universal symbol; in India spoken of innumerable times under its Sanskrit name padma.
“It is the flower sacred to nature and her Gods, and represents the abstract and the Concrete Universes, standing as the emblem of the productive powers of both spiritual and physical nature. It was held sacred from the remotest antiquity by the Aryan Hindus, the Egyptians, and the Buddhists after them; revered in China and Japan, and adopted as a Christian emblem by the Greek and Latin Churches, who made of it a messenger as the Christians do now, who replace it with the water lily. It had, and still has, its mystic meaning which is identical with every nation on the earth” (SD 1:379).
In relation to men, the lotus is the symbol of the self-producing soul which, during manifestation immersed in material life as the lotus seed is embedded in the mud of lake or pond, is wakened by the warm rays of the spiritual sun, and grows upward through the world of illusion (symbolized by water) to blossom in the free air and sunlight of truth. Cosmically the lotus symbolizes the emanation of the objective from the subjective, the manifested effect or production of the eternal plan on which the invisible worlds are built by the formative logoi. This lies buried, until the time for its svabhava or production comes, in the bosom of eternal ideation — as the lotus plant of visible nature exists in miniature in the seed.
Lower Face or Lower Countenance. See MICROPROSOPUS
Lower Nature, Lower Self The dual human nature arises from the fact that manas (mind), the field and substance of human thought and reasoning, is the scene of interaction between the spiritual soul (buddhi-manas) and the animal soul (kama-manas). Thus there is a threefold division, so that lower self may be considered as either the kama-manas as opposed to buddhi-manas, or else the dual human consciousness or false ego, consisting of both selfish and unselfish elements. The term lower nature, however, refers to the animal and selfish side of human nature, that part which tends downwards and which has to be regenerated and raised.
Lower Principles, Lower Quaternary According to the septenary division of human nature, the septenate is divided into a triad above and a quaternary below, four being a number in this case corresponding to matter, and three corresponding to spirit and intellect. Theosophical teachings enumerate the seven principles in several different ways which tends to keep the student’s ideas fluid and thus prevent dogmatic orthodoxy.
At one time the lower quaternary was given as kama (desire), prana (vitality), linga-sarira (astral body) and sthula-sarira (physical body); later the physical body was excluded from the list of principles, and lower manas was added to make up the four. These principles, however, must not be regarded as separate things conjoined or strung together, as they are several aspects or states of manifestation of the one life that circulates through the human constitution. Another way of regarding the matter is to say that there are two triads, the higher triad of atma-buddhi with higher manas and the lower triad of our astral-vital nature, each of which becomes a complete quaternary when the element of self-conscious mind is added to it.
If we use the symbol of the Tetraktys, the two lower lines consisting of a three and a four, will stand for the human septenate, the three highest points representing cosmic principles.
It is also necessary to avoid looking on the lower quaternary as something evil, which must be destroyed or wrongly subjugated; it is in fact an essential part of the complete human being, and what it needs is regulation, inspiration from above, and consequent regeneration.
Lubara (Chaldean) The god of pestilence and disease.
Lucianists A Christian religious sect of the 2nd century which taught a version of the occult doctrine as to the meaning of Satan and the so-called Fall of the angels, who descended into matter to bring light to the lower planes.
Lucifer (Latin) Light-bringer [cf Greek Phosphoros; or Eosphoros dawn-bringer]; the planet Venus, the morning star. Lucifer is light bringer to earth, not only physically as the brightest of the planets, but in a mystical sense also. In mysticism he is the chief of those minor powers or logoi who are said to rebel against high heaven and to be cast down to the bottomless pit — the so-called war in heaven and the fall of the angels. This allegory is found also in the legend concerning Prometheus, in the Hindu Mahasura who rebels against Brahma and is cast by Siva into patala, and in the Scandinavian Loki. In the cyclic sweep of evolution, spirit has first to descend or become involved in differentiation and in the worlds of matter, so that worlds and beings may be brought forth and evolved. The logoi who thus bring the light may allegorically be said, like Prometheus, to steal the fire, and their assertion of divine free will may be construed into an act of evolutionary rebellion; yet such is their karmic function as well as duty.
Lucifer has been transformed in later Occidental theology into a synonym for the Evil One or the Devil. If the god Jehovah were the highest divinity, which this Jewish tribal deity is not, then any power withstanding him must necessarily be considered to be his adversary; and in the same way the teaching as to the immanent Christ, not only in the world but in each individual person, not being altogether agreeable with the doctrine of salvation by faith in an external savior, became transformed into the Tempter inspiring man to sinful rebellion against God. Lucifer in a very true sense stands for the self-conscious mind in man, which is at once tempter and enlightener — tempter in its lower aspects and enlightener and inspirer in its higher. See also MANASAPUTRAS; PROMETHEUS; SATAN
Luciferians A Christian sect formed in the 4th century by Lucifer, bishop of Cagliari. He was an ardent supporter of the Athanasians against the Arians, but split off from the other Athanasian prelates because they were not sufficiently intolerant in their opposition of the Arians. The sect perished after his death and left no distinctive doctrine of importance.
Lucina (Latin) [from lux light] A name of the goddess Juno, or of Diana as the goddess of productivity and therefore with direct connection with the moon. A secondary meaning refers to Hecate, the lunar goddess, in her aspect of causing disturbed dreams and specters. The different names given to the functions of the moon, such as Diana, Lucina, Hecate, or Artemis, do not represent different mythologic individuals, but different lunar functions as exercised on earth — different aspects of the moon.
Lug (Tibetan) [possibly lugs (luk, lu) way, method, manner] A method of writing in cipher whereby esoteric doctrines may be preserved, using numerals and colors, each of which correspond to a letter of the Tibetan alphabet to form a complete cryptographic alphabet (cf VS vii-viii).
Luminous Arc. See ARC, ASCENDING AND DESCENDING
Luna. See DIANA; LUNAR GODS
Lunar Chain, Moon-Chain The planetary chain of the solar system which, although now dead and in decay, was the former imbodiment of our present earth-chain. When the life forces inherent in a globe of a planetary chain have completed seven rounds on that globe, these life forces progressively pass out into a laya-center which then becomes, after a time period determined by karma, the vital nucleus for the corresponding globe or the next imbodiment of that planetary chain. This took place on the lunar chain as the globes of this chain in the preceding chain-manvantara reached the end of their life-term in manifestation, and died in serial order from the first to the last globe. Thus each globe of the lunar chain as it died became a lunar globe-corpse still infilled with the molecular life of the globe, but deprived of all its higher, more ethereal and spiritual parts — exactly as happens at the death and decay of a human physical body. Though globe D of the moon-chain, as an instance in point, thus passed into invisibility with the disintegration of its molecular components and with the passage of cosmic ages, yet we are able to discern its phantom, our moon, because our senses, correlated to the physical plane of matter of our chain, are also correlated to what on the lunar chain would be astral matter, and thus are able to perceive what is actually the kama-rupa or astral shell of globe D of the lunar chain (our moon). Hence the earth-chain is the child or reimbodiment of the lunar chain.
Lunar Gods If moon stands for the feminine side of nature, it is Isis, the Great Mother; and thus a lunar god may be a very august being, and even with some nations regarded as superior to and prior to the masculine side. On the other hand, moon may stand for the nether pole of manifestation and thus lunar gods may stand in contrast with solar gods, as pertaining to an inferior, exoteric, or materialistic cultus. The moon is said to be threefold, e.g., Diana-Hecate-Luna, ruling over the superior, inferior, and middle worlds. Lunar gods may also apply to the lunar pitris.
“Called in India the Fathers, ‘Pitris’ or the lunar ancestors. They are subdivided, like the rest, into seven classes or Hierarchies. In Egypt although the moon received less worship than in Chaldea or India, still Isis stands as the representative of Luna-Lunus, ‘the celestial Hermaphrodite.’ Strange enough while the modern connect the moon only with lunacy and generation, the ancient nations, who knew better, have, individually and collectively, connected their ‘wisdom gods’ with it. Thus in Egypt the lunar gods are Thoth-Hermes and Chons; in India it is Budha, the Son of Soma, the moon; in Chaldea Nebo is the lunar god of Secret Wisdom, etc., etc. The wife of Thoth, Sifix, the lunar goddess, holds a pole with five rays of the five-points star, symbol of man, the Microcosm, in distinction from the Septenary Macrocosm. As in all theogonies a goddess precedes a god, on the principle most likely that the chick can hardly precede its egg, in Chaldea the moon was held as older and more venerable than the Sun, because, as they said, darkness precedes light at every periodical rebirth (or ‘creation’) of the universe. Osiris although connected with the Sun and a Solar god is, nevertheless, born on Mount Sinai, because Sin is the Chaldeo-Assyrian word for the moon; so was Dio-Nysos, god of Nyssi or Nisi, which latter appellation was that of Sinai in Egypt, where it was called Mount Nissa” (TG 192-3).
Lunar Pitris [from Sanskrit pitṛ father, ancestor] Lunar fathers, also called barhishad-pitris and lunar ancestors; used in distinction from the solar pitris or agnishvattas. Lunar pitris are the actual progenitors of our lower principles, as distinguished from the dhyani-chohans who are, in an important sense, our own selves. Lunar pitris, in the wider sense, come from the moon-chain to inform the earth-chain, forming a sevenfold or tenfold hierarchy. In a more restricted sense, they are those elements in our constitution which are below the evolutionary standard of the agnishvattas, informing our lower principles; whereas the solar pitris originating not in the moon-chain but in a higher sphere, give to man the higher parts of his constitution. There is a subdivision of the seven classes of lunar pitris into arupa (formless) and rupa (form). The lunar pitris built a psychophysical vehicle fit for the informing intellectual spirit which the agnishvattas communicated.
Lunar Race. See CHANDRA-VANSA
Lung (Chinese) Dragon; the being who excels in intelligence. Dragons of Wisdom was the name given by the Chinese to the first disciples of the primitive adepts of the third root-race, and later of the fourth and fifth root-races. The dragon was described as: “gifted with an accepted form, which he has the supernatural power of casting off for the assumption of others, he has the power of influencing the weather, producing droughts or fertilizing rains at pleasure, of raising tempests and allaying them” (Mythical Monsters 212).
Confucius spoke of the dragon as one who “feeds in the pure water of Wisdom and sports in the clear waters of Life”; while the Twan-ying-tu says of the yellow dragon, “His wisdom and virtue are unfathomable . . . he does not go in company and does not live in herds (he is an ascetic). He wanders in the wilds beyond the heavens. He goes and comes, fulfilling the decree (Karma); at the proper seasons if there is perfection he comes forth, if not he remains (invisible)” (SD 2:365).
Lucina. See DIANA; LUNAR GODS
Lunisolar Year The year of twelve lunations, widely used and often spoken of as the lunar year; otherwise, applicable to various cycles which adjust with more or less approximation the periods of the sun and moon, especially the period of 532 years (Dionysian cycle). This is sometimes called the lunisolar year which combines the Metonic cycle of 19 solar years with the cycle of 28 years, which latter brings the days of the week into harmony with the days of the Julian year.
Lunus. See LUNAR GODS
Lupercalia (Latin) Roman festival of purification and expiation held on February 15, originating from a pastoral festival dating before the foundation of Rome. The power invoked was that of Faunus (under the name of Lupercus), Pan, or some similar nature god, considered to be protector of flocks and promoter of fertility. The best known feature of the later Roman rite was the running around of the two youths called Luperci, who smote people with leather thongs, especially women wishing to be cured of barrenness. In 494 it was changed to the Christian Feast of the Purification.
Lusus Naturae (Latin) Sport of nature; a freak or rare production or phenomenon, also sometimes used for a chance resemblance, such as a flint with the form of a human foot or ear.
Lux. See LIGHT
Lycanthropy [from Greek lykanthropos wolf-man] In all times and places there has been prevalent the belief that human beings can become transformed into wolves or other animals, obsessed by the spirits of these animals, or even assume this condition at will through sorcery; the object being to gratify hatred or to satisfy voracious instincts. People thus affected are said to have appeared both to themselves and to others in the form of wolves and to have attacked animals, but especially human beings. The English name for such a person was werewolf (man-wolf). The belief was very prevalent in medieval Europe, and was the occasion for numerous legal executions. It has disappeared before the advance of our present culture, but it was a fact, depending upon little understood mysteries of psychologization, and the belief still holds among some people.
The phenomenon is a variety of black magic, involving both the practice of psychologization and in certain cases the subjection of the victim to astral obsession: either an involuntary astral seizure on the part of a mediumistic person, or a deliberate act of sorcery on the part of a degraded one. The lower realms of the astral light harbor baneful exuviae of various sorts, with which a pernicious commerce may be had through various forms of moral depravity and psychic weakness. It was an exaggerated and specialized form of obsessions which takes place in our day in people transported by passion or afflicted with violent insanity; hence it is often found convenient to describe it simply as a form of insanity, which however does not explain how the appearances of a wolf were caused. In extreme cases, however, the craving for physical life and the dread of personal extinction in a human kama-rupa may be so great that it may seize and enter the body of a living animal.
Lycomidae (Greek) A family living in ancient Athens, hereditary torch-bearers in the Eleusinian Mysteries. The members of this family formed with the Eumolpidae, likewise hereditary officials, two of the most important functionaries in the celebration of these archaic rites. The torchbearers with the hierophants (Eumopidae) had to be men of proved and known integrity and of spotless life, until the Mysteries degenerated in later times.
Lyre of Apollo. See HEPTACHORD
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
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