The Theosophical Forum – September 1949

THE EARTH, A LIVING BEING — A. James

The more we study the mineral, plant, animal and human life of our home the earth, the more apparent it becomes that all life is linked together in a vast hierarchy so interwoven as to resemble a living organism.

Moreover, recent scientific studies of the upper atmosphere, the depths of the ocean, and the magnetic currents of the earth, approach every year closer to the Theosophic understanding of the mutual relationship existing between the world and its surrounding layers upon layers of atmosphere. Truths hinted at in The Secret Doctrine in 1888 are now becoming subjects of scientific investigation. Even the interior of the earth is beginning to yield up its secrets.

In the fifth century of our era, the Alexandrian philosopher Proclus taught that:

Gold and silver, and each of the other metals, as likewise other things, grow in the earth, from the celestial Gods, and from an effluxion thence derived.

According to his philosophy, each of the planets was the outer expression and home of a divine being, and when it is said that gold pertained to the Sun, silver to the Moon, copper to Venus, or iron to Mars, each of these metals was understood as being derived or concreted from one or other of the divine essences. Moreover, it was thought that every planet, like the solar system itself, was surrounded by these same divine essences, each partaking of the nature and characteristics of the planet itself. Thus gold was thought to be of an earthy nature on Earth, of a solar nature on the Sun or of a martian nature on Mars. These subtle essences symbolized by the planets were the spiritual cause or source of all things, or as Proclus expressed it, "The metals which are here, derive their concretion from the effluxions of the celestial Gods." Growing within the Earth they are "extended to a partial nature, apostatizing from the whole."

It is now believed by many geologists that the emission of different types of lavas from the same volcano is due to what is called "magmatic differentiation." According to this theory homogeneous magmas of molten rock deep within the earth split up into different kinds of lava because of conditions which are as yet unknown.

Most primary deposits also issue forth from the earth's interior in a gaseous condition during volcanic or igneous activity, or else rise from the depths dissolved in the magmatic waters. Examples of such deposits are the copper and zinc veins of Butte, Montana, and the gold-bearing veins found at Tonapa, Nevada.

It is difficult for the average person to realize the extent to which air and water are continually renewed by additions from deep within the earth itself. A number of years ago a careful study was made of a single minor vent on Mount Etna for a period of 100 days. At the end of that time it was found that 460,000,000 gallons of water had issued forth in the form of steam. Due to the great amount of water continually added to the air by volcanos and hot-springs, Suess went so far as to state that "the body of the earth has given forth its ocean."

In Alaska, in the Valley of "Ten Thousand Smokes," literally hundreds of thousands of tons of chemicals are emitted by the numerous vents, mostly in the form of steam and gas. These include such substances as hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids, hydrogen sulphide and many others.

Further light is thrown on the emanation of substances from within the earth by Dr. de Purucker where, in speaking of the "singular points" postulated by Dr. Jeans, he says:

Every globe that you see in space has as its center, its heart, just such a "singular point," to adopt the language of Jeans, the English astronomical physicist; and through this center of each such globe come into that globe the streams of entities, the river of living things, by which that globe is inhabited, all of them on their evolutionary pathway. They then enter into the atmosphere of any such globe, such as our earth, and find, if they be human entities, their habitats in the bodies of little children; and similarly so is it the case with the beasts and the vegetables, as well as the atomic entities of the mineral kingdom.
      — Questions We All Ask

Here is food for thought. But if as Suess suggested the body of the earth has given forth its oceans from within itself, what about the mineral content of marine waters?

We know that desert streams and lakes in evaporating leave a deposit of alkali; and that where salt lakes are found they have resulted from the slow evaporation of trapped or uplifted arms of the sea. The same is true of the large underground salt deposits found in many places.

The question arises, can it be that, contrary to all established opinion, the waters of the oceans have always been much as they are today? When Dr. de Purucker was asked this question he replied in the affirmative and added "It is the vast body of mineralized water which the oceans are, which gives the gravitational pull of the moon its chance to produce tidal action." Then as an afterthought he continued: "I believe there are small tides on the big fresh-water lakes, but very small."

It is an important teaching of the Ancient Wisdom that the Earth is indeed a living being, and that the life of all kinds in all kingdoms forms a universal brotherhood, in which every part affects and is affected by every other part.

There is a myth found in both East and West, of a beautiful virgin goddess who became the earth. From her bones were formed the rocky framework. Her hair became the vegetation, her eyes the lakes, her teeth the gems and crystals and her breath the wind. Each portion became a part of the world, not a globe of dead matter but a living being.


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