Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary

editors’ note: This online version of the Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary is a work in progress. For ease of searching, diacritical marks are omitted, with the exception of Hebrew and Sanskrit terms, where after the main heading a current transliteration with accents is given.

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Cicero, Marcus Tullius (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, and philosopher, who helped popularize Greek philosophy in Roman thought and create a philosophical language in Latin. Famous for the style of his speeches, letters, and essays, he is credited as the creator of classical Latin prose. A firm republican, he was executed for opposing the imperial factions after Caesar’s murder.

Cidacit. See CHIDACHIT

Cidagnikunda. See CHIDAGNIKUNDA

Cidakasa. See CHID-AKASA

Cidrupa. See CHIDRUPA

Cikitsa-vidya-sastra. See CHIKITSA-VIDYA-SASTRA

Cimah. See KIMAH

Cimmerians In Greek mythology a people who dwelt in a land of mist and darkness, variously placed, as by Homer in the extremest west on the ocean; in historical times, a people in the Palus Maeotis, who were driven away by the Scythians. The Cimmerians were contrasted with the Hyperboreans, who inhabited a land of perpetual sunshine.

Cinmatra. See CHINMATRA

Cipher. See CIRCLE; ZERO

Circle In the description of cosmological symbols, the first figure is a circle: ever-eternal, universal nature, the abstract space of a cosmic hierarchy. The circle itself may be taken as the symbol of this first manifestation, the clean sheet of paper representing abstract space, the Boundless. This circle is in reality boundless, its circumference being ideal, representing the limits of our perceptions of physical or inner space, or the ideal boundary which must be postulated in our conceptions of infinitude.

The second circle, with the central point, represents the First Logos of any hierarchy, the mystic unity symbolized by the inclusive number one, the unitary source from which proceed the creative rays or sevenfold manifestation of the Logos. The point at its center is the symbol of the cosmic germ of generation out of which all later beings emanate or flow, and hence it is the first manifestation.

Considering the circle as a line, it is without beginning or end; progress from any point in it brings us eventually to the same point again without turning back. Thus it is a symbol of cyclic evolution. Eternal motion is essentially circular and vibratory. A circular motion becomes spiral, and this is the cosmic serpent, emblem of cosmic forces, and hence of life on all planes. The egg is another form of the circle or sphere symbol; the chakra or wheel as used in India is another. The circle may be conceived as either one unbroken line, having no parts, or as an infinitude of points — which shows that zero and infinity are extremes which meet. In the symbol of the circle, spirit and matter are not yet separated; it is spirit-substance. For the problem of squaring the circle, see PI.

Circle of Necessity The general evolutionary cycle involving the cycles of reimbodiments which every monad has to undergo, whether on this earth, or on this or other planetary chain. In another usage, it is the kuklos anankes (Greek “circle of necessity,” or “unavoidable cycle”) which the excarnated soul has to pass through, according to the Egyptian teachings. The first usage refers to the periodic reimbodiments of the revolving and evolving egos on globes and planetary chains; whereas in the second are contained the ideas of kosmic monadic cycles involving a far wider range of evolutionary activity. See also KUKLOS ANANKES

Circulations of the Cosmos The pathways or channels connecting the invisible worlds of the solar system by vital and nervous cosmic streams. Just as in the human body, the solar system, which is an organic entity, has its own network of nerves, arteries, and veins, as well as its pathways along which run to and fro the streams of forces imbodying various degrees of cosmic intelligence and life. See also INNER ROUNDS; OUTER ROUNDS

Cit. See CHIT

Citi. See CHITI

Citkala. See CHITKALA

Citkara. See CHITKARA

Citragupta. See CHITRAGUPTA

Citrasikhandin. See CHITRASIKHANDIN

Citta. See CHITTA

Citta-riddhi-pada. See CHITTA-RIDDHI-PADA

Citta-smriti-upasthana. See CHITTA-SMRITI-UPASTHANA

City of God. See HOLY CITY

Clairaudience Clear-hearing; ways of hearing which, at our present stage of evolution, are abnormal, whether psychic or spiritual. Psychic clairaudience is a reflection or distortion of spiritual clairaudience, which extends to the solar system or even beyond, enabling one to perceive as sound the movements of all nature, from the cycles of the spheres to the vibrations of atoms.

Clairvoyance Clear-seeing; generally, the power to use the psychic sense of vision to see things on the astral plane, the imperfect shadows of things to come or the astral records of things past. But this faculty is of restricted scope and very apt to mislead; prematurely developed in an untrained person, it is more likely to lead to error than to benefit. True clairvoyance is the opening of spiritual vision, called in India the Eye of Siva and beyond the Himalayas the Eye of Dangma; a faculty which enables the seer to see the truth and to recognize it as such. Among the seven saktis (occult powers) is enumerated jnana-sakti, which in its higher aspects is the power of knowing, true clairvoyance, but which on lower planes becomes more or less perfect psychic clairvoyance. True clairvoyance enables the seer to discern the reality behind its veils, to know right action, and to see what is happening in worlds removed by distance or difference of plane from our own. Retrospective clairvoyance interprets the past through its indelible records in the akasa.

Cleanthes (3rd century BC) Greek Stoic philosopher and poet, native of Asia Minor, who studied under Zeno at Athens for 19 years and succeeded him as head of the Stoic school in 260 BC; a beautiful hymn to Zeus is the only one of his writings that remains today.

Climacteric A critical period; a year in which important changes are held to occur, as in one’s 63rd year (grand climacteric). But climacteric year “has more than the usual significance, when used by Occultists and Mystics. It is not only a critical period, during which some great change is periodically expected, whether in human or cosmic constitution, but it likewise pertains to spiritual universal changes” (SD 1:656n). Each person has a climacteric point “when he must draw near to death; if he has squandered his life-powers, there is no escape for him; but if he has lived according to the law, he may pass through and so continue in the same body almost indefinitely” (BCW 8:400).

Clito (Greek) Neptune “finds on a small island only one human couple made of clay (i.e., the first physical human man, whose origin began with the last sub-races of the Third Root-Races). It is their daughter Clito that the god marries, and it is his eldest son Atlas who receives for his part the mountain and the continent which was called by his name” (SD 2:765)

Cloaca Maxima. See EIGHTH SPHERE

Clothed with the Sun. See INITIATION

Clotho (Greek) Klotho. The spinner; in Greek mythology, one of the three Moirae (Fates). Human life was mystically pictured as a thread of destiny overseen by three sisters, powers of nature, named Clotho, Lachesis (disposer of lots), and Atropos (inevitable). Clotho, represented as a maiden holding the distaff, spun the thread of life.

Coach ha-Guf. See KOAH HAG-GUPH

Coadunation or Coadunition [from Latin coadunare to unify] Union; used in theosophical literature to define the interrelation of the globes of any planetary chain. Speaking of the earth-chain, “In short, as Globes, they are in co-adunition but not in consubstantiality with our earth and thus pertain to quite another state of consciousness” (SD 1:166). Were they consubstantial they would be on the same plane and of the same degree of manifested substance that our fourth-plane or physical globe earth is, whereas the higher globes are on different planes (cf SD 1:200, diagram). Yet they form one unitary system. Nevertheless, this must not be taken as implying that they occupy the same space. “Of course if there was anything in those ‘worlds’ approaching to the constitution of our globe it would be an utter fallacy, an absurdity to say that they are within our world and within each other (as they are) and that yet, they ‘do not intermingle together’ ” (Blavatsky Letters to Sinnett, 250).

Coats of Skin. See KOTHNOTH ‘OR


Cock A “very occult bird, much appreciated in ancient augury and symbolism. According to the Zohar, the cock crows three times before the death of a person; . . . As the cock was always connected in symbology with the Sun (or solar gods), Death and Resurrection, it has found its appropriate place in the four Gospels in the prophecy about Peter repudiating his Master before the cock crowed thrice. The cock is the most magnetic and sensitive of all birds, hence its Greek name alectruon” (TG 86). In the Zoroastrian Avesta, the cock is called Parodarsh “he who foresees” the coming dawn, and is also termed the drum of the worlds, for he crows in the dawn which dazzles away the fiends of the Avesta: thus he shares with the dawn the honor of the victory.

Codex Nazaraeus or the Book of Adam (i.e., of man or humanity); the chief sacred scripture of the Nazarites and of the Mandaeans or Nasoraeans; written in a Chaldeo-Syrian dialect mixed with the mystery language of the Gnostics. It is an instance of esotericism in a sect whose origin was pre-Christian, but which survived for many centuries into the Christian era as an esoteric school running parallel with exoteric Christianity. Its symbolic teachings are shown to be identical with those in The Secret Doctrine.

Coelus. See OURANOS

Collyridians [from Greek collyris a little cake] A Gnostic sect in the early Christian Church, who transferred their worship of Ashtoreth to the Virgin Mary, to whom they offered ceremonial wafers with emblems stamped on them to denote the Queen of Heaven.

Colob. See KOLOB.

Color From darkness comes white light; from white light comes color. These correspond to the unmanifest Logos, the manifest Logos, and the seven rays, and this cosmogonical scheme is repeated throughout the universe.

White light is in the physical world resolvable into a spectrum or band of colors, and color is defined as a quality of visual perception depending on the wavelength of light. But according to theosophy we could see no color at all unless we had it in our mind from the first, and thus recognized the color outside because of its identity with what is within us. Still less could we resolve the continuous band into seven colors, as even infants can do. The physical stimuli merely evokes what is already in us, the latter recognizing what is objective outside us, causing a phenomenon of cognition to pass along the plane of the physical senses. This becomes more evident when we remember that color sense is relative, depending largely on contrast. Colors are light or sight in its septenary aspect; and color, sight, and light are used almost interchangeably in speaking of the evolution of the senses and their corresponding planes of prakriti.

Colors and sounds have great potency in practical magic, as cosmic powers can be evoked by an understanding use of the proper colors and sounds. The seven colors correspond with other septenates, such as the notes of the musical octave, the sacred planets, and the seven primary elements. It is the universal septenate viewed from a visual aspect as manifested light.

Colors are one of the manifold manifestations of cosmic vitality, a septenary unity — or a denary or duodenary unity, according to the manner of enumeration — these cosmic forces are interchangeable, their incomprehensible aggregate being cosmic life; therefore, any form of this cosmic life has not only its particular keynote of sound, but likewise its particular keynote of color, etc.

Columns. See PILLARS

Comet [from Greek komet long-haired, alluding to the cometary tail] A stage in the formation of globes from the primordial world-stuff, following the state known as the comic curds and preceding the formation of suns and planets. “What does Science know of Comets, their genesis, growth, and ultimate behaviour? Nothing . . . And what is there so impossible that a laya centre — a lump of cosmic protoplasm, homogeneous and latent, when suddenly animated or fired up — should rush from its bed in Space and whirl throughout the abysmal depths in order to strengthen its homogeneous organism by an accumulation and addition of differentiated elements? And why should not such a comet settle in life, live, and become an inhabited globe!” (SD 1:204). They are called wanderers, and some of them become suns, others planets. Some become attracted to solar systems and pursue closed orbits because they are reimbodying planets; others have not yet assumed periodic form; more are either broken up or absorbed by the influence of neighboring suns or globes. The matter of which they are composed, though on the same plane albeit in its higher portions, as our senses (otherwise they would not be visible to us), is not of the same kind as our terrestrial matter, but they are on their way towards it during their ages of condensation.

Come to Us, Day of. See DAY BE WITH US, GREAT

Communion In Christian Churches, the sacrament of the Eucharist, an ancient pagan rite early adopted by Christendom. It originally signified communion of the human self with its inner god, a state attained more or less perfectly during initiation, or by those who have attained the power thus to communicate, and symbolized in the Mysteries by ceremonial rites similar to those which the Church has borrowed. See also BREAD AND WINE

Compassion [from Latin com with + pati to bear, suffer] Sympathetic understanding; the feeling of one’s unity with all that is, resulting in an “intimate magnetic sympathy with all that is.” (OG)

“Canst thou destroy divine compassion? . . . Compassion is no attribute. It is the LAW of laws — eternal Harmony, Alaya’s SELF; a shoreless universal essence, the light of everlasting Right, and fitness of all things, the law of love eternal.
“The more thou dost become at one with it, thy being melted in its BEING, the more thy Soul unites with that which IS, the more thou wilt become Compassion Absolute.
“Such is the Arya Path, Path of the Buddhas of perfection” (VS 69-70).

Compensation, Law of. See KARMA

Concentration With meditation, an equivalent for certain parts of yoga, as found in samadhi, dharana; the removal or surmounting of distractions originating in the mind and centering the latter on the spiritual and intellectual objective to be attained, which in the best sense is union with the inner god, the divine monad — a conscious identification of oneself with the universal through the individual’s innate divinity. The method of meditative concentration prescribed in the Bhagavad-Gita is to perform all the duties of life without either attachment or avoidance. The hindrances to concentration which are to be removed are those arising from anger, lust, vanity, fear, sloth, etc. Such obstacles are removed by lifting the mind above them or by deliberately ignoring them, since directly fighting with them serves to concentrate the mind on them, thus defeating the object aimed at; and by cultivating the spirit of impersonal love and the light of wisdom which it evokes. Thus the blending of the personal self with the impersonal self is achieved by an orderly process of self-directed evolution, first by unselfish work in the cause of humanity, continued in the various degrees of chelaship, culminating in initiation.

Concentration has often been perverted to mean a kind of personal self-culture, having for its aim the attainment of personal power or self-satisfaction. If unsuccessful, the attempt upsets the balance of the constitution, and if successful, it sows a bitter harvest of aroused personality for future reaping; for when yearning for sympathetic fellowship with our fellowmen we shall find our faculties counterworking us. True meditative concentration actually applies more to the heart than to the mind, and is not a forcible mental practice but a general although very positive and impersonal attitude towards life. It means the centering of our wishes, thoughts, and acts on the ideal of self-identification with the spiritual and universal. See also DHYANA.

Conflagrations. See CATACLYSMS

Conjunction A conjunction of two heavenly bodies occurs when, as seen from the earth, they are in the same ecliptic longitude, according to astrology; or in the same right ascension, according to astronomy. More than two bodies appearing in exact conjunction is an exceedingly rare occurrence. The planets and the sun and moon are usually considered, but the fixed stars may be included. Such conjunctions have always been held in astrology to indicate, prefigure, or cause important events and changes, and to mark the changes of cycles. The conjunctions of Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars together are specially mentioned. The conjunctions of the sun and moon are related to human and animal physiological conception. Also, the fact that the planetary orbits have nodes and apsides with their own periods of revolution, affords us material for the calculation of many longer periods. See also ANNUS MAGNUS.

Conscience The imperfectly received or recognized working of one’s spiritual being, in itself a spiritual activity of the inner god, which as yet is able to send only some faint gleams of light, truth, and harmony into the heavy and obscure brain-mind in which most people live. The higher the stage of evolution, the more easily and abundantly is this spiritual energy transmitted to the lower self. Conscience is the voice of innate and of garnered spiritual wisdom, emanating first from the spiritual monad (buddhi) and also from the stored-up higher experiences of previous incarnations, reaching us through the veils of the intermediate principles. The thinner these veils are made through the cultivation of the virtues involved in impersonal living, the more easily does the conscience rule us and work within us.

Notwithstanding its source, the conscience cannot be said to be an infallible guide until the divine powers of the god within flow freely and are thus fully manifested. The cause of its fallibility is the blindness and reluctance of the brain-mind to receive these radiations from the divinity within. Yet, fallible though conscience be, it should be trusted and followed because it is a more or less complete shining, in itself, of the inner light, and because by recognizing and using it, the radiation grows stronger and a person grows wiser.

Conscience is usually thought of as ethical and admonitory, and intuition, its alter ego, as instantaneous knowledge.

Consciousness [from Latin conscio knowing with, knowing together] The active state of spirit or the supreme fundamental in manifested existence. Like light, consciousness can become manifest only by means of a vehicle, and it can have various degrees of manifestation according to the planes. Individual consciousness originates in the Logos of any hierarchy. Every manifested entity is conscious to some degree, and is an expression of divine consciousness or spirit. Buddhi is said to be latent spiritual consciousness which becomes manifest intellectually in manas, so far as the human constitution goes (SD 2:275). Human consciousness is also closely linked to the senses.

The term consciousness is often used as alternative to spirit, as where it is said that consciousness and matter are the two aspects of parabrahman or that consciousness is the purest form of cosmic force; yet, strictly speaking, consciousness is an attribute of active spirit. It is sometimes called the universal life, the kosmic force-substance. The relative use of the word enables us to speak of states or degrees of consciousness, according to the state in which the essence is manifested on one plane or another; or to call one state unconscious by contrast with another, as when we compare waking consciousness with the consciousness of sleep or trance. See also SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS

Consentes Dii “Consenting or cooperating gods;” Etrusco-Roman gods or planetary rectors, also called the Superior Deities or Twelve Counsel Gods, sometimes given as Juno, Vesta, Ceres, Diana, Minerva, Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jove, Neptune, Vulcan, and Apollo (BCW 5:222; FSO 319)

Conservation of Energy A scientific theory that the total energy of any material system is a quantity which cannot be increased or decreased by any action among the parts, and that when energy seems to disappear it is merely transformed into an equivalent quantity of another mode of energy. The theory, interpreted in its widest sense, means no more than an affirmation that something cannot be created out of nothing or resolved into nothing, and so would seem a perfectly harmless generalization. However, theosophy teaches that there is a constant inflow of force into any such physical or material system, which in the scientific view is from sources exterior to a “closed material system.” Theosophy does not regard such forces as exterior but looks upon closed material systems as merely phenomena on the physical plane of inner and powerful forces which produce such physical systems as an appearance — real enough for the entities within it while it lasts, but vanishing once the inner, controlling forces are withdrawn. Then the atoms simply vanish because the cohering energies which make them are likewise withdrawn.

From these considerations it is readily seen why the Masters or mahatmas in Blavatsky’s time stated that the scientific theory of the conservation of energy was wrong in concept and therefore untrue in fact, although workable enough as a mere hypothesis for laboratory studies and the then closely restricted scientific theorizing of the day.

Correlation of forces, used by Sir William Grove (1842), is equivalent to the conservation of energy. It states that physical energies, such as light, heat, and mechanical energy, are convertible one into another, in equivalent quantities.


Consubstantiality. See COADUNATION

Contemplation. See DHYANA


Controls In Spiritualism, one of the two intermediaries between the living receiver of the communications and the so-called spirit from whom the communications come. These intermediaries are the medium, who is on earth, and the control, who is beyond and serves as the agent of the communicating spirit and who controls the medium. Sometimes “guides” is used in a similar sense. In common with the spirits themselves, controls are spurious personalities engendered out of the temporary interaction of various elements in the astral light and the constitution of the medium and sitters.

Copts [from Arab from Greek Aigyptioi] The early native Christians of Egypt and their successors of the Monophysite sect, and now racially the closest representatives of the population of ancient Egypt. The Coptic language is a mixture of ancient Egyptian with Semitic and Greek borrowings; in the inscriptions the older demotic characters were replaced by a Greek alphabet with supplementary letters from the Demotic. The Pistis Sophia was originally discovered as a Coptic manuscript.

Corax (Greek) The raven; the lowest degree, that of servant, in the Mithraic systems of initiation, these various degrees corresponding to the different grades on a rising scale attained by the advancing neophyte.

Corn. See WHEAT

Coronation. See CROWN

Corpuscular Theory of Light Newton enunciated the theory that light consists in the emission and propagation of minute particles or corpuscles; but this theory failed to explain may important phenomena, especially those of diffraction, and was in time abandoned in favor of the undulatory or wave theory of Young and Fresnel, which proved satisfactory in explaining diffraction and polarization and in showing the connection between light and radiant heat, and its analogy with sound. This theory led to the supposition of an ether, in order that the undulations might be conceived in the same way as those waves which are observed in ordinary matter. Later, refined investigations into energy transmission showed that this transmission must be regarded as particles, so that physicists speak of quanta of energy and photons of light. The apparent irreconcilability of the two necessary theories emphasizes that the former distinction between atoms and vibrations is no longer serviceable. But that which physicists call light is the effects produced in matter by light itself, which is one of the modes or effects of cosmic vital electricity — of fohat acting on the terrestrial planes. The forces of science are entified abstractions.

Correlation of Forces. See CONSERVATION OF ENERGY

Corybantes (Greek) Korybantes. Celebrants in the Mysteries of Rhea Cybele in Phrygia. The outer rites, celebrating the death and rebirth of Atys, began with lamentations and ended with rejoicings. On account of the boisterous character of these public celebrations, the word Corybantic has become a modern synonym for roistering. Also, the name for the eunuch priests of Cybele.

The death and rebirth of Atys represent initiation and subsequent adeptship. His impotency points directly to the perfect chastity required for the higher degrees of initiation.


Cosmic Element-Principles. See TATTVA

Cosmic Ideation Another name for divine thought, out of which springs the activity of universal mind — the collective aggregate of all individualized dhyani-chohanic consciousnesses everywhere. Theosophy postulates the appearance and disappearance of worlds, whether visible or invisible, as a continuous process, each world being a link in an endless chain of interlocking cosmic hierarchies. As one of these comes into manifested existence it is likened to an outbreathing of the divine breath, each such outbreathing being a thought of the cosmic ideation, this thought becoming a world. This divine breath, then, may be assumed to be cosmic ideation entering into the activity of manvantara; and cosmic ideation is the root again of all individual consciousness everywhere. Just as precosmic ideation is regarded as the root of consciousness, so precosmic substance is the spiritual substratum of matter. Thus manvantara is produced by means of the interlocking and interacting motion of cosmic ideation with primordial cosmic substance. Further, fohat is the intelligent energy behind this interlocking activity, which during manvantara joins these two together.

Cosmic ideation and cosmic substance are one in their primordial character, yet as the reawakening of the universal mind into manvantara needs the appropriate cosmic fields of action, cosmic substance may be said to be the manvantaric vehicle of cosmic ideation. Conversely, during cosmic pralaya, all the varied differentiations of cosmic substance are resolved back or indrawn once again into cosmic unity, a subjective condition, and hence during the cosmic pralaya cosmic ideation can no longer be called active, but passive.


Cosmocratores (Greek) Kosmokratores [from kosmos world + kratores lords] World lords; it occurs in Orphic literature, and in the New Testament Paul uses it of evil powers. In theosophy it is applied to the planetary regents who fabricated the solar system and who were hierarchically superior to the ones who fabricated our material earth (SD 2:23). The word is especially used in reference to three principal groups, corresponding to similar groups of dhyan-chohans and lipikas. The first group rebuilds worlds after pralaya, the second builds our planetary chain, and the third are the progenitors of humanity. Collectively they are the formative Logos, grouped under various names among different peoples, such as Osiris, Brahma-prajapati, Elohim, Adam-Qadmon, and Ormuzd. Again, “the Ases of Scandinavia, the rulers of the world which preceded ours, whose name means literally the ‘pillars of the world,’ its ‘supports,’ are thus identical with the Greek Cosmocratores, the ‘Seven Workmen or Rectors’ of Pymander, the seven Rishis and Pitris of India, the seven Chaldean gods and seven evil spirits, the seven Kabalistic Sephiroth synthesized by the upper triad, and even the seven Planetary Spirits of the Christian mystics” (SD 2:97). Following the plan of divine ideation they fashion systems out of primordial material, called aether, ilus, protyle, etc. The cosmocratores, as the Masons of the World, work in the vehicular or matter side of nature and receive the impress for their work from the hierarchy that works in the spirit side, the dhyani-buddhas or architects.

In another aspect the cosmocratores relate to the genii or rectors of the seven sacred planets, and stand as the world-builders of the earth planetary chain.

Cosmogenesis [from Greek kosmos world + genesis birth] The genesis of worlds, as distinguished from anthropogensis or the genesis of mankind; as defined by Blavatsky: “At the commencement of a great Manvantara, Parabrahm manifests as Mulaprakriti and then as the Logos. This Logos is equivalent to the ‘Unconscious Universal Mind,’ etc., of Western Pantheists. It constitutes the Basis of the subject-side of manifested Being, and is the source of all manifestations of individual consciousness. Mulaprakriti or Primordial Cosmic Substance, is the foundation of the object-side of things — the basis of all objective evolution and Cosmogenesis” (SD 2:24). The word is not restricted to earth, but includes innumerable globes; nor is it confined to those worlds which happen to be visible to our eye, but includes worlds on all the various planes of manifested substance. It does not mean that the worlds were created ex nihilo by divine fiat, nor that they were merely the productions from dead, unconscious, albeit eternal and uncreate matter. Again, cosmogenesis is not a process which has occurred only once and for all, but a process which is repeated indefinitely during manvantaras and after great pralayas. Thus worlds are evolved from the state of latency or pralaya into which they passed at the close of the preceding manvantara, and both primordial matter and primordial spirit come from the same source — parabrahman — and are resolved again into it. The process is one of evolution or progressive manifestation on various planes of objectivity of the potentialities latent in the spiritual germ. World must be understood, not with regard to any standards of size, but as including a universe of stars on the one hand and an atomic speck on the other.

The births and rebirths of worlds are not the haphazard productions of a consciousness eternal in its working on matter, eternal in itself and different from consciousness; but are the offspring or productions of consciousness-life-substance periodically manifesting its inherent life and powers by the appearances of different world systems — be these galaxies, solar systems, individual suns, or planetary bodies; or again, in the infinitesimal realms, atoms and their component electronic monads. The entire process of the appearances and disappearances of world systems is dependent on inherent karmic causality manifesting on all planes and taking its rise in the characteristics and action of consciousness and consciousnesses.

Cosmology The science of the structure, laws, and operations of the universe. “Occult Cosmology may be mastered if the student bears in mind that there is but One Universal Element, which is infinite, unborn, and undying, and that all the rest — as in the world of phenomena — are but so many differentiated aspects and transformations . . . of that One, from Cosmical down to microcosmical effects” (SD 1:75).

Cosmos. See KOSMOS

Cow The ancients employed certain animals as symbols to convey specific aspects of philosophical and religious teachings to the multitude, and “the cow-symbol is one of the grandest and most philosophical among all others in its inner meaning” (SD 2:470). Generally, the cow represents the fructifying power in nature — the Divine Mother or feminine principle. Among the Scandinavians that which first appeared at the birth of the universe was the divine cosmic cow, Audhumla, from whom flowed four streams of milk, providing sustenance to all the beings that followed. Among the Greeks the founding of a new race was associated with the cow — as instances, Io and Europa. In Egypt the goddesses representing the aspect of the Universal Mother are associated with cow symbols, principally Hathor and Isis. In India the cow symbol is reverenced: Kamaduh or Surabhi (the cow of plenty) represents the nourishing and sustaining vital and productive principle in nature. The goddesses of lunar type are found to be connected in symbology with the cow.

“The cow was in every country the symbol of the passive generative power of nature, Isis, Vach, Venus — the mother of the prolific god of love, Cupid, but, at the same time, that of the Logos whose symbol became with the Egyptians and the Indians — the bull — as testified to by Apis and the Hindu bulls in the most ancient temples. In esoteric philosophy the cow is the symbol of creative nature, and the Bull (her calf) the spirit which vivifies her, or ‘the Holy Spirit’ ” (SD 2:418n). See also BULL; CALF


Creation [from Latin, cf Greek krainein, Sanskrit kṛ to make, do] The Ever-existent, which in its transcendent aspect is the eternally embracing Boundless, is the source as well as the sum total of all beings and things; hence in essence all beings and things are eternal and have never been created in the Christian sense, for they are of the very stuff, essence, and be-ness of the Boundless itself. Yet the word creation has a legitimate use in the original sense of coming forth from being into existence, not as something produced from nothing but in the ordinary sense of production of something out of something else. A human being can be said to be created in that he is brought into being as such, not from nothing but from the various elements which when combined form the human constitution, conjoined with the contemporaneous evolution of the powers and substances of the monad by which it acquires its various sheaths; worlds also can be said to be created out of primordial matter, and compound elements from simpler ones.

Hermes says that matter becomes; formerly it was — profound expressions indeed; and Fichte expresses the same idea in his distinction between Seyn and Daseyn. In this sense, matter or worlds may be said to be brought forth or created, with the significance of becoming. See also PRIMARY CREATION; SECONDARY CREATION

Creative World. See BERI’AH; ‘OLAM


Cremation Since the last quarter of the 19th century, the practice of cremation has gained acceptance in America and many European countries, whereas in the Orient, especially in India, it has been perhaps the most common way of disposing of dead bodies. Among peoples ancient and contemporary it ranks with other modes of disposal of the dead, such as exposure to the air, burial in the earth, or being devoured by animals. Blavatsky maintains that it was universal until 80,000 or 100,000 years ago (SD 2:753). Some Christians oppose the practice because they believe that the dispersal of the physical body by fire makes it impossible for the soul to regather a body in time to be saved at the Last Judgment, and so leads to annihilation.

In our day cremation is favored chiefly for hygienic reasons, as preventing the pollution of the soil and water supply and thus removing causes of infection. Cremation does not destroy even the chemical atoms, much less the life-atoms. It aids the dissolution of the astral body, which is no longer attracted magnetically to the decaying corpse or able to exchange life-atoms with it.

Crescent [from Latin crescere to increase] The moon in its first quarter, or the figure of a circular arc or lune; a symbol of the moon, which in its highest signification is the Queen of Heaven, Diana, the great mother of the earth, as the sun is the great father of all. It is associated in Egypt with Isis, in Greece and Rome with Aphrodite and Venus, in Asia Minor with Astarte or Astaroth and many other lunar goddesses, who are often represented with cow’s horns. The Roman Catholic Mary is sometimes represented as standing on the crescent moon, and when Venus-Lucifer became transformed into Satan, its crescent became the devil’s horns. The symbol also parallels that of the ark or argha and appears in the Egyptian symbol of the solar boat, where it indicates that the moon is the sun’s vehicle.

But the moon is a triple symbol, and may stand for the lower astral light, the linga-sarira, and the female generative function. In the symbol of Mercury, which represents the human being, we have the crescent representing the lower mind or soul; the circle, heart or spirit; and the cross, functions or body. This symbolism appears in other planetary symbols: in Saturn, for instance, the cross is over the crescent, while in Jupiter the crescent is over the cross. Also, the crescent and star (or sun) is the emblem of the Moslem faith.

Cretaceous Period. See GEOLOGICAL ERAS

Criocephalus [from Greek kriokephalos ram-headed] Ram-headed; applied to representations of deities with the head of a ram, as Khnum and Ammon in Egypt, and the ram-headed sphinxes. Sometimes ram’s horns are used, as in representations of Moses, to signify a high initiate but, on the other hand, the meaning is often phallic, signifying productive, generative power. A connection with the zodiacal sign Aries is highly probable, as for instance when the equinox passes from the sign of the Bull into the sign of the Ram.

Crocodile [from Greek champsai, Egyptian emsehiu] In Egypt deified under the name of Sebak (or Sebeq). The principal seat of this worship was the city Crocodilopolis (Arsinoe) where great numbers of mummified beasts have been exhumed. When the canals became dry, the crocodiles would wander about the fields and make such havoc that they were naturally associated with the powers of destruction and evil, the principal malefactor of the pantheon being Set or Typhon. The ancient Egyptians did not regard Set or Typhon, and the crocodile which represented him, as the enemy, the destroyer. In fact, in the earlier dynasties Typhon was one of the most powerful and venerated of the divinities, giving blessings, life, and inspiration to the people, and in especial perhaps to the Royal House or rulers of Egypt. The reason lay in the fact that the earlier mythology showed Typhon or Set mystically as the shadow of Osiris, the god of light and wisdom — Typhon or Set being the alter ego or more material aspect of Osiris himself. “The Crocodile is the Egyptian dragon. It was the dual symbol of Heaven and Earth, of Sun and Moon, and was made sacred, in consequence of its amphibious nature, to Osiris and Isis” (SD 1:409). The crocodile was also named as one of the signs of the zodiac, the regency of which was connected with a group of lofty beings, whose “abode is in Capricornus” (SD 1:219).

Cromagnon Man A highly advanced type of prehistoric mankind existing before the Neolithic Period, supposed to be separated into several distinct races. The first remains discovered consisted of four skeletons found in a rock shelter at Cromagnon in southwestern France in 1868; but many specimens have been found since which show that the Cromagnons were widely spread in Europe — although they are not found outside of Europe — in the last third of the Glacial Age, at the close of the Mousterian and during the Aurignacian period.

The Cromagnons were a magnificent race with splendid physical development. The capacity of the skull is 1550 cm cubed while that of the Neanderthal skull is only 1200 cm cubed. “If I had to seek for the people which most nearly represent the Cromagnon blood in the modern world, I would seek them among the tall races of the Punjab in India” (Keith, The Antiquity of Man). Some of the Cromagnons said to show a marked African negroid strain are found on the Mediterranean coast on the frontiers of France and Italy.

The attempt to fit the Cromagnons into a graduated scale leading back to the immediately preceding European race, the more brutal Neanderthals, has not been successful, and the progress of anthropological discovery renders such attempts ever more difficult. The problem becomes more complicated the farther back we go; the earliest remains of humanity yet found show distinctions of racial type as marked, or more so, as those of contemporary races.

Science has not yet solved the problem of the origin of the Cromagnons. Blavatsky hints that they came indirectly from Atlantis by way of Africa: “The earliest Palaeolithic men in Europe — about whose origin Ethnology is silent, and whose very characteristics are but imperfectly known . . . were of pure Atlantean and ‘Africo’-Atlantean stocks. . . . As to the African tribes — themselves diverging offshoots of Atlanteans modified by climate and conditions — they crossed into Europe over the peninsula which made the Mediterranean an inland sea. Fine races were many of these European cave-men; the Cro-Magnon, for instance. But, as was to be expected, progress is almost non-existent through the whole of the vast period allotted by Science to the Chipped Stone-Age. The cyclic impulse downwards weighs heavily on the stocks thus transplanted — the incubus of the Atlantean Karma is upon them” (SD 2:740-1).

Cronus. See KRONOS

Crook, Episcopal Part of the insignia of bishops and abbots in the Roman Catholic Church, said to have been adopted from the augurs of Etruria; usually considered as representing a shepherd’s crook, in allusion to Christ as the Good Shepherd and his delegated function as such. But, taken in connection with the archbishop’s crozier, which has a cross at the end, it seems likely to be one of the ancient geometrical symbols, perhaps the serpent. Some Egyptian divinities are represented with scepters in the form of a crook or bearing a resemblance to it: it always appears in the hands of Osiris, especially in his aspect of judge of the underworld. The fundamental significance of the crook was of spiritual and intellectual dynamic energy or power usable at the will of its holder or possessor.

Crore [from Hindi karor 10 millions; cf Sanskrit koṭi] Numeral adjective 10 millions; in India, 100 lakhs — a lakh being 100,000. Used with graphic force in the Stanzas of Dzyan: “The Wheel whirled for thirty crores” (SD 2:15) — 300 million years or three occult ages.

Cross One of the most ancient, widespread, and important symbols, the vertical and horizontal lines representing Father and Mother Nature respectively. Some of its forms are the ank or tau, svastika or Thor’s Hammer, crux ansata or cross with a handle, denoting power over material nature. The four arms of the cross represent the four elements, and its central point their synthesis or laya-point. The bending of the arms in the svastika signifies rotation and equilibrium attained by managing the changes among the elements. If a cube is opened out, its six faces make a cross with the upright limb prolonged; and the cube was another favorite symbol of Hermes. In Classical times the symbols of Hermes-Mercury, the son of Jupiter and Maia, were cruciform and were placed at crossways; and, like Jesus after the resurrection, Hermes was the conductor of souls.

In Christianity, the symbol was not derived from the crucifixion, for though the cross is a frequent early Christian symbol it is not found with a man upon it till the 6th century. It was a symbol of the mystic Christ or Christos — the Word made flesh or the Son of the trinity.

The cross may also be considered in its relation to the circle and the crescent, with which it forms a trinity of symbols, denoting Father-Mother-Son. These three are found in various combinations with each other, especially in the signs denoting the sacred planets. Thus we have the cross placed severally above the circle (the sign of Mars symbol ), within it (the sign of the Earth symbol, and below it (the sign of Venus symbol ) — thus representing the lower and higher nature and the balance or midway point. The sign of Mercury combines the three elements, representing head, heart, and organs; or sun, moon, and earth. Again, a circle with vertical and horizontal diameters signifies that humanity has separated into two sexes; when the circle disappears, the fall of mankind into matter is accomplished. Originally denoting the union of spirit and matter to form spirit-matter or life, or the Second Logos, it may become a phallic symbol of physical generation. The cross has many significations, both spiritual and material as well as cosmic, earthly, and human.

For the use of the cross in initiation ceremonies, see also CRUCIFIXION.

Crown In the Qabbalah, the first or highest Sephirah, Kether (Crown). In the Stanzas of Dzyan, “Fohat traces spiral lines to unite the sixth to the seventh — the Crown” (SD 1:31), which means that fohat, in this case working as Eros or divine love, strives to blend atman with buddhi, and the same on the corresponding cosmic planes.

Crown also signifies the summit of attainment in initiation, spiritual sovereignty, or dignity or splendor, and is much used in those senses in both the Old and New Testaments, and was typically so employed in pagan initiatory rites.

The kings and pontiffs of modern times are the feeble imitators of former king-initiates, whose insignia comprised the crown, representative of the glory or buddhic splendor, which actually encircled the head of the initiate as a nimbus, as it does in the case of the yogi in samadhi and of the buddha. The ceremony of coronation was performed in the Mysteries as the outward symbol of the completion of this attainment; and that ceremony is still perpetuated. The later Roman emperors adopted the Eastern royal fillet, which they called by the Greek name diadema; the Papal tiara goes back through it to the Persian royal headdress of that name. The American Indian wears feathers imitating the rays of light from the head.

Crucifixion The Christian doctrine of the crucifixion contains at least three elements: 1) the ancient method of execution, in use among the Romans, of fastening the victim to a tree, post, or cross; 2) the rite used in initiation; and 3) the emblem of the god in man becoming incarnate. In the initiation ceremony, which not only represented but in ancient times was the culminating event in a person’s regeneration, the candidate was laid bound upon a cruciform couch, which symbolized the matter to which his consciousness is bound, while the ego-soul was liberated to experience other realms of being.

A symbolic crucifixion takes place in every incarnating divinity when it takes up terrestrial life. The myth of crucifixion symbolically has therefore become by custom significant of world saviors in general, as signifying those who lay down the personal life in order to arise a regenerated and impersonal savior. While the crucifixion mythos has become the central emblem of Christianity, the general idea of crucifixion as a symbol of regeneration is connected with many religious systems. Certainly Paul uses the word in the mystic and symbolic sense, as taking place interiorly in the individual, rather than referring to the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. See also CROSS.

Crux Ansata (Latin) Cross with a handle symbol; the handle of this cross may mean that the four terrestrial elements are grasped and controlled. The circle surmounting a tau signified life and immortality as in the Egyptian ankh, the circle denoting eternity and the cross the manifested and limited universe.

In another interpretation, the crux ansata may stand for the universe and signify that the bearer is a universe in embryo. The circle hovers over the cosmic cross as the golden germ or hiranyagarbha, and from this seed drops the perpendicular which crosses and traverses the plane of matter.

Crux Dissimulata. See SVASTIKA

Cry from the Cross The cry of the expiring Jesus — given in the Gospels as “Eli, Eli, lama, sabachthani” (Matt 27:46) [in Mark it is Eloi]; translated in Greek “Theemou, Theemou, hinati me ’egkatelipes”; and then translated into English as “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” — is a curious instance of mistranslation, for the Hebrew words as quoted mean, “My God, my God, how thou hast glorified me!” On the other hand, Psalms 22:1 has the words, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” but here the Hebrew for forsaken is ‘azabtani (forsaken me). There seems to have been a desire to represent the cry from the cross as a fulfillment of these words of Psalms. What Jesus really uttered, according to the Hebrew, was a cry of ecstasy over the peace of attainment, clarification, and liberation. The cry in Psalms is that of the candidate for initiation left to his unaided resources, to achieve or fail by them and them alone — which is the only fair and certain test of ability.

Cryphius [from Greek kryphios secret, occult] In the Mithraic Mysteries, the second degree of initiation or the candidate at that state.

Crystalline Spheres “The Egg of Brahma is composed of concentric spheres centered in the Sun, and each one of these spheres is a cosmic world. . . . The world or sphere of our Earth . . . surrounds the Sun as a sphere of dense substance, and the nucleus in this sphere or egg . . . is what we commonly call our Earth”; “These concentric world-spheres considered as a whole were the crystalline spheres of the ancients, which astronomers have so grossly misunderstood, and therefore have so much derided. . . . The meaning was, spheres of which the center was the Sun and which were transparent to our eyesight. Just as glass is very dense and yet is transparent to our eyesight, so are the ethers of our fourth cosmic plane very dense and yet transparent to us. To the inhabitants of Earth viewing the phenomena of the solar system from the Earth, the entire system of concentric spheres, due to the Earth’s rotation, seems to revolve around the Earth, and hence arises the geocentric way of looking at the apparent movements of the planets and the Sun, Moon, and stars” (Four Sacred Seasons 11, 15-4). (FSO 147-8)

Crystals, Crystallization The formation of crystals shows the working of intelligent life forces in the mineral world. The shapes of crystals show, in their harmony and proportion, the mathematical and geometrical principles permeant throughout the universe. A solution of salt, when evaporated, first crystallizes in triangular shapes and ultimately builds up cubes, both of which are symbolical figures of fundamental importance; and salt is a well-known alchemical symbol of the element of earth, also denoted by the cubical shape. Every salt has a particular form in which it crystallizes, or has perhaps two different forms; but different salts may have the same crystalline form. Snow crystals show the hexagonal patterns which display the septenate — a center from which six radii proceed. Cubic, tetragonal, hexagonal, and octagonal shapes occur; but the fivefold forms of the regular dodecahedron and icosahedron are not found. Clairvoyant sensitives see light emanating from crystals, and luminous phenomena are often seen at the formation or disruption of crystals. Blavatsky alludes to the idea that the process of crystallization might be a step in the evolution of the minerals to the next higher kingdom.

Cube Often mentioned as equivalent to the square, tetrad, or quaternary. The line, square, and cube represent three stages of matter, with the cube derived from the square in the same way as the square is derived from the line. A cube opened out gives a cross of six squares, four in the vertical line and three in the horizontal, one square being common to both, which is an emblem of the human being with his spiritual and material nature meeting at the intersection.

Cup A container, vehicle, upadhi; having in certain connections the same general sense as graal, solar boat, ark, crescent moon, etc.; so that it answers to buddhi among human principles and to mahabuddhi cosmically, as the vahana or container of atman or paramatman. It may contain wine, the symbol of spiritual life. The cup figures in the Bacchic and Orphite Mysteries, a sacred cup being handed around; this has become the chalice of the Christian Eucharist. The Grail or Graal cup is well known in European legend.

The cup has always been one means of divination, whether by looking into it, or looking into water in it, or shaking up tea leaves or coffee grounds. These last gestures are physical adjuncts to the use of the clairvoyant vision. In the Tarots, the second suite was the cups, answering to the hearts in playing cards.

Cupid [from Latin cupido desire, equivalent to Greek eros] A being symbolizing desire in the various senses of the term, ranging from that primary formative force which brings about the union of spirit and matter, to erotic passion. See also EROS; KAMA; PSYCHE

Cupunika. See CHUPUNIKA

Curds In connection with the evolution of a universe, the first differentiation in manifestation of cosmic or primordial matter in its early differentiated forms. Astronomically, the curds are irresolvable nebulae and sometimes, in accordance with older European astronomical views, the Milky Way. The primordial matter, radical and cool, becomes at the reawakening of cosmic motion scattered through space; appearing in its early differentiated forms in clusters and lumps, like curds in whey. These are the cosmic seeds of future worlds and world systems. Particles of the curds become comets, then stars (the centers of vortices), or solar systems with their individual sun and planets. See also CHURNING OF THE OCEAN

Curetes (Greek) Kouretes. The priests in the Mysteries of Rhea Cybele in Crete, and in Classical mythology daemons or demigods to whom Cybele entrusted the infant Zeus. Identified with the kabiri, who belong to the septenary creative groups of dhyan-chohans which incarnated in the elect of the third and fourth root-races — Zeus is said to be the god of the fourth race (SD 2:360, 766, 776).

In connection with the Mysteries of Cybele in Crete, initiation in the temples of the Curetes was extremely arduous, lasting a lunar month (27 days), during which the initiant was left by himself in a crypt, undergoing the severest kind of tests; Pythagoras is stated to have successfully undergone initiation in these rites (TG 91).

Cush (Hebrew) Kūsh Black; the eldest son of Ham, grandson of Noah, and father of Nimrod. Also applied to his descendants, usually translated Ethiopians, and to a region vaguely defined as Ethiopia. An old tradition states that Ham stole seven books out of Noah’s Ark and gave them to Cush; and Mas’udi, the Arabic historian, says that the Nabathaeans were those descendants of Ham who settled under the leadership of Nimrod.

Cutha Tablets Tablets found at Cutha, an ancient city in Babylonia, containing fragments of the ancient Chaldean account of creation.

Cybele (Greek) Kybele. A Phrygian goddess of caves and mountains, vines and agriculture, and town life, first worshiped at Pessinus; later throughout Asia Minor and in Greece. The equivalent in Phrygia and Crete of Rhea, the Magna Mater (great mother), wife of Kronos and mother of Zeus. Her worship was celebrated exoterically, especially in later degenerate times, by wild dances by her votaries. In one of her phases Cybele was closely connected with the moon and its extremely recondite functions. The moon is at once a sexless potency, to be well studied because to be dreaded, and a female deity for exoteric purposes. Cybele is “the personification and type of the vital essence, whose source was located by the ancients between the Earth and the starry sky, and who was regarded as the very fons vitae of all that lives and breathes” (BCW 12:214). The breath of Cybele, equivalent in its highest substance to akasa-tattva — “is the one chief agent, and it underlays the so-called ‘miracles’ and ‘supernatural’ phenomena in all ages, as in every clime” (BCW 12:215). See also CORYBANTES; CURETES

Cycles [from Greek kyklos circle, wheel] The law of cycles arises out of the ever-unceasing alternations of the Great Breath of spirit in the universe. Abstract absolute motion, as the worlds evolve, assumes an ever-growing tendency to circular movement. Hence arise the wheels and globes of cosmic evolution and the rounds of the evolutionary life-waves. Motion is repetitive, ever returning to similar, but not identical, points. The geometrical symbol is the helix, which combines the cyclic with the progressive motion; if the axis of the helix is itself a circle, a vortex results, and thus wheels within wheels as the process advances to further degrees of complexity.

“The ancients divided time into endless cycles, wheels within wheels, all such periods being of various durations, and each marking the beginning or end of some event either cosmic, mundane, physical or metaphysical. There were cycles of only a few years, and cycles of immense duration, the great Orphic cycle referring to the ethnological change of races lasting 120,000 years, and that of Cassandrus of 136,000, which brought about a complete change in planetary influences and their correlations between men and gods . . .” (Key 327).


Cycle of Necessity. See CIRCLE OF NECESSITY

Cyclopean Structures Applied by the Greeks to certain architecture of huge stones without mortar, such as found in Tiryns and Mycenae, and attributed to the cyclopes. Cyclopean masonry is found in the platforms of the Easter Island statues, of Lemurian origin; in the vast walls of Tiahuanaco, Peru; in the colossal statues of Bamian, Asia, and many other places.

Cyclops (Greek) Kyklops [from kyklos circle, round + ops eye] Plural cyclopes. Round-eyed giants; Homer locates them in Sicily as a lawless race of giants with one central eye, devouring men and caring naught for Zeus; their chief is Polyphemus. For Hesiod, they are three sons of Heaven and Earth, named Arges, Brontes, and Steropes, titan of flame, thunder, and lightning respectively. Later they were considered assistants of Hephaestus in his workshops under volcanoes and their number was no longer confined to three.

The history of human evolution has passed down to us transfigured by the progressive accretion of myths, so that the name cyclopes was handed down to various owners until it meant merely giants who built vast walls. Hesiod’s original three were the last three subraces of the Lemurians, the one eye was the wisdom eye, the other eyes not being fully developed as physical organs until the beginning of the fourth root-race. Odysseus, a fourth-race hero, though he destroys a barbarous race in the interests of culture, nevertheless puts out the third eye. It is an allegory of the passage from a simpler Cyclopean civilization of huge stone buildings to the more sensual civilization of the Atlanteans (SD 2:769). Disciples of the initiates of the fourth root-race were said to hand over divine knowledge to their cyclopes, sons of cycles or of the infinite (SD 1:208), while the cyclopes supposed to have built walls were masons in the sense of initiators (SD 2:345).

The legend of the cyclops with the third eye is also found in ancient Ireland. De Jubainville parallels the three cyclopes of Hesiod with the three famous Irish smiths, Goibniu (Gavida) and his brothers. Goibniu slew the wicked Fomorian Balor — also a cyclops with one eye in the middle of his forehead — to give victory to the Tuatha De Danaan (gods of day and life) (Irish Mythological Cycle 122).

Cymry (Welsh) The Welsh people. Many derivations of this word have been suggested; the accepted one nowadays gives Cymry the meaning of “associated peoples” [from Old Welsh combrox compatriot from com with + bro district, region], and assumes that it came into vogue in that lost period of history during which England changed from Latin and Celtic to Germanic or Anglo-Saxon in speech; and Wales, from being mainly Gaelic, became Brythonic or Cymric in speech — the language being called Cymraeg. George Borrow identified the word with the Sanskrit kumara; others see in it cyn mru (first womb, or first mother).

Cynocephalus [from Latin canus dog + cephalus head] The dog-headed ape (Simia hamadryas) which in Egyptian mythology was called Amemet (eater of the dead) whose master was Thoth or Tehuti. In the Judgment scene in The Egyptian Book of the Dead, Amemet is represented as seated by Thoth, ready to inform his master when the pointer marks the middle of the beam on the balance, when the heart is being weighed in the scales. After Thoth makes his announcement to the gods concerning the result of the weighing of the heart, the company of the gods decree that Amemet shall not be permitted to prevail over the successful candidate.

“There was a notable difference between the ape-headed gods and the ‘Cynocephalus’ . . ., a dog-headed baboon from upper Egypt. The latter, whose sacred city was Hermopolis, was sacred to the lunar deities and Thoth-Hermes, hence an emblem of secret wisdom — as was Hanuman, the monkey god of India, and later, the elephant-headed Ganesha. The mission of the Cynocephalus was to show the way for the Dead to the Seat of Judgment and Osiris, whereas the ape-gods were all phallic” (TG 92).
“The dog-headed ape was a glyph to symbolise the sun and moon, in turn, though the Cynocephalus is more a Hermetic than a religious symbol. For it is the hieroglyph of Mercury, the planet, as of the Mercury of the Alchemical philosophers, ‘as,’ say the Alchemists, ‘Mercury has to be ever near Isis, as her minister, as without Mercury neither Isis nor Osiris can accomplish anything in the great work.’ Cynocephalus, whenever represented with the Caduceus, the Crescent, or the Lotus, is a glyph of the ‘philosophical’ Mercury; but when seen with a reed, or a roll of parchment, he stands for Hermes, the secretary and adviser of Isis, as Hanuman filled the same office with Rama” (SD 1:388).

Cythraul (Welsh) The principle of evil, later personified as the Devil.

Cytoblastema An obsolete biological word for the formative material from which cells were supposed to arise.

Cyuta. See CHYUTA

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

MU - Mundaka Upanishad

M-Wms Dict - Sanskrit-English Dictionary, by Monier Williams

N on BG - Notes on the Bhagavad Gita, by T. Subba Row

OG - Occult Glossary, by G. de Purucker

Rev - Revelations

RV - Rig Veda

SBE - Sacred Books of the East, ed. Max Müller

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 University Press Online Edition