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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Face Used in the Qabbalah especially for the first emanations of the Sephirothal or Cosmic Tree, the cosmic structure. Two Faces are mentioned: ’Arikh ’Anpin (Macroprosopus, Great or Long Face), applied to the first Sephirah; and Ze‘eir ’Anpin (Microprosopus, Small or Short Face), applied to the lower nine Sephiroth. A third Face or Head, corresponding to ’Arikh ’Anpin or Kether, is also enumerated: Resha’ Hiwwara’ or Re’sh Hiwwar (generally rendered White Head), signifying the white or colorless spirituality of the cosmic originating source. From the moment of their emanation, says the Qabbalah, all the material for future forms was contained in the three Faces, Heads, or Beginnings. It is when the Faces look toward each other that the Holy Ancients in three Heads are called ’Arikh ’Appayim (Long Faces) (Zohar iii, 292a): the union or conjunction thus signified by “looking towards each other” meaning the combined unity in a triad of an individual, whether the monad be human, cosmic, or intermediate.

Fafnir A mythical dragon in the Norse Edda. In the long and involved saga of the Children of the Mist (Niflungar, best known as the Wagnerian Nibelungen), Fáfnir slew his father for his golden treasure, which had been cursed by the dwarf Andvari [from and spirit + vari watcher or guardian]. Fáfnir assumed the form of a dragon and lay guarding the gold on Gnipaheden (high heath). His brother Regin, desiring to share the gold, persuaded his ward, the hero Sigurd, to kill the dragon and cook its heart for him. When Sigurd did so, he burnt his finger. Instinctively putting it in his mouth, he found that, as soon as the dragon’s heart-blood touched his tongue, he became able to understand the language and messages of the birds.

This tale, like so many mythic stories, is an allegoric history of the early races of mankind, featuring their successive development of distinctive qualities and intelligence. Many myths feature the slaying of a dragon or serpent of wisdom to obtain a treasure of gold (wisdom), which in many cases carries with it a curse, indicating the need for discrimination in its use.


Faith Healing, Drugless Healing Apart from the regular medical and surgical practice, widespread forms of drugless healing are employed today. Public opinion generally is either frankly skeptical about the whole matter, or believes that such afford safe and easy means of relief and escape from suffering and disease. As a whole, these forms of faith or magnetic healing depend on the “inborn or inherent, ability of the ‘healer’ or practitioner to convey healthy life-force from himself to the diseased person. This is the key to success, or the lack of success, in all cases, and in all kinds of healing of whatever so-called ‘school’ ” (SOPh 622). If the practitioner succeeds in conveying the vitality of the pranic fluids from his own healthy body to the diseased body or organ of another person, that healthy life-force “expels” or changes the inharmonious vibrations in the afflicted part and, by restoring harmony there, brings about health. Such cures can be permanent; usually they are temporary, lasting from a few days to a few years.

All these methods were known to the ancients. Unfortunately, the Western lack of any true psychology leaves unexplained the rationale of these healing systems — whether by hypnotism, magnetism, mesmerism, or healing by faith as practiced by the Christian Scientists and faith-healers — and gives no hint of their end results. The potential dangers incurred, both physical and superphysical, are unsuspected. The magnetic healer’s emanation of his vitality and will-force inevitably carries and implants in the person it affects something of his own quality of mind, heart, and body. The germs of any latent disease, hidden vice, or mental bias will complicate any supposed cure. Moreover, the subtle infection on inner lines karmically links for the future both healer and patient in the outcome. Even diseased or evil-minded persons of strong will and animal vitality can displace a disease and, by driving it back onto some inner level of the sufferer’s constitution, can make a seeming cure. Howsoever it is displaced out of sight, it cannot be denied out of existence, and sooner or later it will reappear in a more untimely, unnatural, and probably a more dangerous form because of its suppression at the moment of its endeavor to exhaust itself in physical expression. Physical disease, originating in wrong thought in this or a former life, becomes visible on the most material level in working its way out of the system for good. It is positively pernicious for a healer to act upon the will, conscience, or moral integrity of the sick person by hypnotizing his mind, will, and conscience into believing that sickness does not exist, or that he is a victim of fate instead of suffering from his own past actions. Any such control of another’s conscious life is a form of suggestion or hypnotism, and falls under what was formerly called black magic.

On the other hand, we are morally obligated to help the sick and suffering in the right ways of treating the body, mind, and soul; right because involving the arousing of the patient’s own inner powers of spiritual, moral, and intellectual resistance against the weaknesses in himself. The wrong ways consist in the overpowering — however good the motive of the practitioner may be — of the moral instincts, will, and conscience of the sufferer, thereby rendering him weaker than before. In genuine mesmerism the vital emanation from a pure-minded, unselfish, healthy operator arouses the inert or disordered forces of the diseased organ or body, causing them to vibrate harmoniously and naturally. Thus the sufferer makes himself whole or healthy, and has no bad reaction. The best of all drugless healing methods is where the sufferer is brought into a state of hope, self-confidence, and the higher kind of resignation bringing peace and inner quiet, all of which works in harmony with the body’s natural resources of health and healing. This is the kind of faith-cure used by Jesus and others of similar spiritual and intellectual stature.

Fakir (Arabic) [from faqīr poor] An Islamic religious mendicant, synonymous with dervish; the term is loosely applied to any mendicant devotee or yogi in India. According to T. P. Hughes, there are five principal orders of fakirs in North India and Pakistan: the Naqshbandia, Qadiria, Chishtia, Jalalia, and Sarwardia — all being ba-shara (with the law) fakirs — those who govern their conduct according to the principles of Islam. Fakirs should not be confounded with sannyasins or Hindu yogis.

Fall With reference to Christian theology and thought, the fall of the angels; or the fall of man. The former in theosophy refers to the descent of those dhyanis whose mission was intellectually to enlighten nascent mankind, and in a sense also the lower kingdoms of nature. The latter refers to the descent of human beings into matter, when they became clothed in coats of skin, and incidentally began to reproduce by sexual generation. Both of these events in the cycle of evolution have been perverted by ecclesiastical error into calamities. The descent of the manasaputric dhyanis has been transformed in Occidental theology into a rebellion of Satan and his host against God, through which Satan becomes a perpetual foe to God and mankind. The War in Heaven is allegorical and means the natural opposition and resistance of lower nature and its hosts to the progress of unfolding beings which is essential to evolution. The fall of mankind includes the natural human evolutionary passage into physical corporeality, and also the misuse of human intelligence; but does not refer to the natural use of procreative functions or to innate sinfulness.

Fallen Angels Those cosmic entities or dhyanis of various classes who in the course of their evolution descended into matter in order to form and inform the lower worlds. In doing so they rebelled in a purely mystical sense against spirit or heaven, asserting individual free will and divine love. Their act is in part one of compassion and self-sacrifice, and they are eventually saved, while they carry the cycle of evolution along the ascending arc. Christian theology has interpreted this into the legend of the fallen angles, whose rebellion against God is a crime, who are the eternal enemies of God and mankind, and who are in consequence doomed to final destruction. The myth in its original form has many variants, as in the story of Prometheus, Bahak-Zivo, the Dragon of Revelation, the kumaras, etc.

Family Race In theosophy, each of the main seven racial cycles is first divided into seven primary subraces, each of which is again divided into seven secondary or sub-subraces, each of which latter is divided into seven so-called family races. The period of such a family race is generally given as that of the precessional cycle (25,920 years).

Familiar Spirit “A man or woman having a familiar spirit” is the translation in the Old Testament of the Hebrew ’Ob or Aub, which means a sorcerer or necromancer, and in The Secret Doctrine (1:364n) is translated serpent. Such a person is a medium who is more or less under the control of this elemental or elementary, miscalled spirit, by whom he may be entranced; and is to be distinguished sharply from an adept or genuine theurgist, who is in self-conscious control of his own higher faculties through initiation following due and long preparation. These familiar spirits are equivalent to the Greek daimones, and to elementals and elementaries.

Farbauti (Icelandic) [from far travel, ship + bauti to beat, chase] In Norse mythology, a giant, father of Loki, whose mother is variously named Lofo (leafy isle, earth) or Nal (needle). Farbauti represents the wind that beats or chases the ship of life and may allegorically be connected with the manifestation of living things. This in turn produced the human intelligence (Loki).

Fargard (Pahlavi) The sections or chapters of the Vendidad, the principal book of the Avesta.

Farses, Farsis. See ZOROASTER

Farvarshi. See FRAVASHI

Fascination Bewitching, exercising a charm or spell over another person or an animal, consciously or unconsciously, either for good or ill, but more often the word has an evil implication. True fascination is never used by any of the right-hand path, for their working is invariably by arousing the innate spiritual, intellectual, and psychic powers inherent in others, and training the individual to take command of these powers. Fascination is exercised by snakes on birds, and by the human eye on beasts. It is used as an evil power by sorcerers, and is exercised more or less consciously by ordinary people upon each other. It is even taught today as an art for swaying the minds of customers, or more obviously by advertisements offering to confer occult powers for a fee.

Fatalism. See FATE; KARMA

Fate [from Latin fatum that which is divinely decreed from fari to speak] The regents of the kosmos, acting as karmic agents of past destiny, are said to be the establishers of fate or destiny for the world or universe then beginning its manvantaric evolution. They establish in the noumenal worlds the roots, and in the phenomenal worlds the fruits, of the essential laws of being. Fatalism is the belief that human beings have no free will; however, in actual fact, though perhaps we cannot maintain our own personal will against the laws of the universe except in very moderate degree, yet we have considerable latitude to make experiments and learn from our mistakes. The Latin fatum means the laws of nature or the will of the gods, personified as the Parcae or three Fates, the Greek Moirai. In the best sense therefore it means our lot, appointed by the destiny born of our own past thoughts, feelings, and acts. See also KARMA; MOIRA

Fates. See MOIRA

Father in Heaven, Father in Secret Phrases used by Jesus in the New Testament for the human divine or spiritual monad, atman or in another context atma-buddhi; and in a smaller sense Father may be applied to the higher or reincarnating ego. In the case of an individual it is his own Absolute, the crown or summit of his constitutional hierarchy, the root or seed of all that he is. In this sense likewise, one may call the Father the paramatman, the person’s spiritual self, the ray from the dhyani-buddha with which the individual is in most intimate connection. For each person the Father is his own individual Wondrous Being. Jesus bids us invoke, not an imaginary image of God, but our own spiritual self, which is in its essence one with the universal self or cosmic paramatman.

Father-Aether or -Ether. See ARCHAEUS

Father-Mother. See LOGOS; SVABHAVAT

Father-Mother-Son. See TRINITY

Fathers. See PITRI(S)

Fauns, Fauni Faunus was an ancient Italian deity, protecting agriculture and flocks and giving oracles. The Romans later identified him with the Greek Pan, and because of the many manners in which the forces of nature manifest themselves, pluralized the name into fauni, which in turn were identified with the Greek satyrs. The fauns were popularly pictured as mischievious, carpricious imps and were said to cause nightmares.

Feast of the Dead Roman Catholic festival held on November 2; “it is the same thought or fear of the soul’s torments at being earth-bound that underlies the ceremony of the Feast of the Dead” (BCW 3:483).

Female Principle Once the unmanifest One becomes the Duad, duality pervades the kosmos, often represented as male and female, or as active and passive, spirit and matter, mind and body, positive and negative. These latter expressions are much to be preferred because of their lack of personal attributes. Synonyms for the female principle are root-matter, mulaprakriti, the eternal cosmic Virgin, Great Mother, womb of nature, cosmic ark, etc. The physical distinction which furnishes this symbol to human minds is that of duality; and if we reason from below to above, we may easily fall into the error of assigning attributes of physical human nature to the celestial beings and formative powers of the kosmos, resulting in phallicism and the degradation of sacred symbols.

The male and female principles are not entities in themselves but aspects of a unity; and since every element is compound, the words male and female as applied to any element signify merely a temporary predominance of the one or the other quality. Again, the distinction is not one of fundamental nature but of relationship, so that what is female in relation to one thing may be male in relation to another.

Feng Shui. See FUNG SHUI

Fenris, Fenrir (Scandinavian, Icelandic) The mythical Norse wolf destined to devour the sun at the end of its lifetime. Fenris is one of the three monstrous offspring of Loki, the other two being Hel, queen of the realms of death, and Iormungandr, the serpent that encircles the earth in the ocean’s depths.

According to popular tale, Fenris grew so rapidly that the gods became alarmed lest he devour the sun prematurely and tried repeatedly to restrain him with heavy chains with no success. The dwarfs forged a magic thread, Gleipnir (lissom bond), with which the gods bound the wolf, but only when one of the gods, Tyr (Mars), agreed to hold his hand in its jaws. Tyr sacrificed his hand, so that Fenris would be harmless until the end of the cycle.

Ferho (Gnostic) Used by the Nazarene Gnostics in the Codex Nazaraeus for life per se, which in itself is unknown and formless, because being the productive cosmic vitality behind and within the worlds of form. “Before any creature came into existence, the Lord Ferho was” (Codex Narazaeus 1:45). He is described as the Supreme Lord of Splendor and of Light, manifested as the unrevealed cosmic life which exists in Ferho from eternity.

In tabulating the Gnostic names into triads, Blavatsky places Ferho heading the first trinity of Ferho, Chaos, and Fetahil, equivalent to Father, Mother, and Son of the Christian system (IU 2:227). This is the concealed or nonmanifested trinity, equivalent to the unmanifested or First Logos of theosophical literature. At the same time Ferho is “the Life which is no Life — the Supreme God. The Cause which produces the Light, or the Logos in abscondito” (IU 2:295). Ferho, therefore, was at one time viewed as is the Hindu Brahma, the formative and creative cosmic power, and at another time as is the Hindu Brahman. Cosmic life has the same double significance: it is either the root-life or unmanifest source of all, or again the life manifest, the producer and former of the worlds.

Feruer or Ferouer (Persian) [from fravashi or farvarshi] A highly mystical term in ancient Persian theology, signifying generally a spiritual veil, lining, or vehicle of a still more spiritual and higher original. Consequently in mystical thought, the feruer or fravashi need not necessarily always be of the higher spiritual type or class; if the original divinity is not high, its feruer, lining or darker side, will also not be of a high spiritual character.

Ferver. See FERUER

Fetahil, Ptahil (Gnostic) With the Nazarene Gnostics, the builder of the material worlds. In the Codex Nazaraeus, Abatur, the Father, opens a gate and walks to the dark water (chaos) and looks down into it. The darkness reflects the image, whereupon a son appears or is emanated, the Logos or Demiurge, Fetahil. Because Fetahil is thus produced in order to bring forth the worlds of manifestation, the Codex describes him as being immersed in the abyss of primordial stuff or matter (chaos), soliloquizing on his inability alone to produce it. Whereupon Spiritus (the Gnostic “Mother”) appears and unites with Karabtanos, cosmic kama involved in primordial matter, thus bringing forth seven stellars. These are, however, seven imperfect figures “which represent also the seven capital sins, the progeny of an astral soul separated from its divine source (spirit) and matter, the blind demon of concupiscence. Seeing this, Fetahil extends his hand towards the abyss of matter, and says: — ‘Let the Earth exist, just as the abode of the powers has exited.’ Dipping his hand in the chaos, which he condenses, he creates our planet” (SD 1:195).

The first Gnostic trinity, equivalent to Father-Mother-Son is composed of Ferho, Chaos, and Fetahil — this first triad is concealed or nonmanifest — a pure abstraction to us (IU 2:227).

In the Codex Nazaraeus Fetahil is also presented as one of the creative powers who were commanded to form man, and who tried to obey but failed because he was too pure; whereupon other and lower powers — Iukabar Zivo — had to be called to complete the work. In the hierarchical structure of the universe, all so-called creative powers of too high a rank are unable because of their spiritual purity and lofty state to form the lower planes until the intermediate ranges, in the gradually descending ladder of life, have been evolved or emanated into manifestation.

Fetishism [from Latin facticius artificial] Applied by modern scholars to the practice of worshiping various objects, either natural, as a tooth or claw of some animal, or artificial, as a carved image (idolatry). It is a relic of ancient knowledge concerning the interrelationships of everything in the kosmos and the use of objects and symbols, corresponding to particular kosmic potencies, as a means of invoking those potencies. It is a relic of archaic magic, now in many cases become degraded to a superstition; though even among many so-called primitive peoples, sympathetic students have found that certain among them often still possess more knowledge than they are willing to disclose to the casual unsympathetic outsider. The subject verges upon that of ceremonial magic, talismans, and the like, where powers of nature many be influenced.


Fiat Lux (Latin) Let there be light (Genesis 1:3); the light meant here is the cosmic appearance of the sons of light or the hierarchy of light, the formative logoi in their hierarchical unity.

Fiat lux ex nihilo (Let there be light out of nothing), another Latin phrase, refers to the alleged creation of light out of nothing, which is meaningless unless nothing is understood as the primordial chaos of the universe, the cosmic void or sunyata (emptiness).

Fiery Lives They are “the seventh and highest sub-division of the plane of matter, and correspond in the individual with the One Life of the Universe, though only on that plane” (SD 1:262n). These lives by the use of their vitality alternately allow the microbes to build up and destroy the human body. See also LIFE-ATOM (SD 1:249-50, 262-3n; 2:117)

Fifth Principle. See MANAS

Fifth Root-race. See ROOT-RACE, FIFTH

Fifth Round. See ROUND, FIFTH

Fifth Rounders Human monads who, though incarnate among us in this present fourth round, are psychically, mentally, and spiritually at the stage which humanity as a whole will reach in the fifth round. The life-waves which pass around the planetary chains are not rigid and fixed as wholes so as to bind all individuals to perfect conformity with group evolution; so it is possible for certain individual monads to outstrip the mass of the life-wave in their own development, somewhat as a few drops of rain may precede a coming monsoon. These forerunners of the life-wave as individuals through their various incarnations finish the fourth round and inwardly, although not in physical bodies, undergo the experiences which the life-wave as a whole will undertake during the course of the fifth round. Thus because they have experienced at least part of the fifth round conditions, and are developed by it in this fourth round, these individuals are called fifth rounders.

Fifty Gates of Wisdom. See GATES OF WISDOM

Filia Vocis. See BATH QOL

Filioque Dogma [from Latin filioque or et filio and from the Son] Originally the Christian Creed stated simply a belief in the Holy Ghost or Spirit, and to this was added qui ex Patre procedit (who proceeds from the Father); still later the clause filioque or et filio was added by one of the Councils of the Western Church. The position of the insertion of this clause in the Creed marks one of the main distinctions between the Western and Eastern Churches, the former holding that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and from the Son, whereas the latter has always held the more original Christian thought that the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father, and being of a feminine nature, from both these proceeded the Son. Thus the procession so called in the Western Church: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; whereas in the Eastern Church it has always been Father, Holy Spirit, and Son. This difference in the procession of the Holy Spirit was one of the main causes of the breaking of the Christian Church into its two main original branches, the earlier or Greek Orthodox Church, and the Western, of which the Roman Church is the typical and largest example.

Fimbulvetr (Icelandic) [from fimbul mighty + vetr winter] In Norse mythology, the immensely long period of nonlife intervening between cycles of universal existence, equivalent to the Sanskrit pralaya. In the Edda it is interchangeable with the frost giant Ymer or Ymir, who is “slain” by the gods at each new creation.

Fire Fire has been venerated in all ages as the symbol of spirit as opposed to matter. Its essence or substance is spirit; with essential or substantial air or water — considered as primordial elements — it becomes soul; with the further addition of the element earth, it becomes animated bodies because ensouled and enlivened with the attributes and qualities of the preceding more ethereal elements. Great importance was attached in ancient times to keeping alive the sacred fires of hearth and altar. In all this it was recognized that terrestrial fire is the representative of celestial fire, a phase of cosmic consciousness. Deity is often spoken of as the cosmic fire of consciousness.

The ancient conception of fire thus embraced far more than the ordinary view of fire as chemical combustion or one of its phenomena. Among all the older peoples fire was multitudinous in both characteristics and attributes, ranging from divine-spiritual intellectuality through all intermediate stages of its manifestations to the physical heat arising from the burning of material such as wood, or the natural heat of the body. It is for this reason that certain ancient philosophers, such as Heracleitos, spoke of fire as the primordial element of the universe, in close accord with the archaic outlook.

Fire is the active, energic, vitalizing, quickening principle on all planes. It is often paired with water as spirit and form; contrasted with earth, as celestial and terrestrial; air is spoken of as its vehicle, as is also aether, because the root of cosmic aether is the celestial fire. The order of the elements varies, from different points of view and on different planes of manifestation. The Secret Doctrine states that from primordial chaos came forth a fire that was cold, formless, and luminous — essential consciousness-substance. The first manifested hot fires and flames issued at a much later stage in manifestation. Concealed within the central sun is the triple formless invisible fire, which precedes the septenary manifested fire of cosmos. Fire, whether heavenly or terrestrial, is the most perfect and pure reflection of the one universal flame; it is life and death, creator and recreator; the origin and end of every material thing — divine consciousness-substance. From one flame all lamps can be kindled: fire imparts infinitely without loss. Fire alone is One, on the plane of the one reality; and on the plane of illusion, its particles are fiery lives.

Like most other things, fire has its nether pole and hence its infernal aspect; but the fires of hell are purificatory. By his power of self-conscious choice an individual may set himself at variance with nature’s processes, thus creating his own devils. Fire was the great agent of purification in medieval alchemy, for it removes the dross from the gold. The same is true on the moral plane, for spiritual aspiration calls down an inner fire that purifies the gold from the dross in the aspirant’s heart. The two births or baptisms relate to water and fire; the former being carnal, the latter being the spiritual birth or baptism that comes to the aspirant. See also AGNI; ELEMENT; FLAMES; TAIJASA-TATTVA

Fireless Progenitors Primeval mankind issued from the bodies of its fireless astral progenitors, who were aeriform and devoid of compactness, although these progenitors were the former astral-physical vehicles of the human stock itself. Thus we may say that the adult issued from the body or being of his youthful progenitor, himself as a child. These progenitors are called fireless because, not having the flame or fire of mind, they could not consciously receive and contain the higher intellectual pitris or classes of the manasaputras.

Fire-Mist In The Secret Doctrine (1:83, 86-7) used to signify the fire or living intellectual life of the one element in its second stage as Father-Mother, akasa, jivatman, divine astral light, or world-soul; or again as the first or highest stage of physical or lower astral substance, in some respects equivalent to the mahabhuta creation.

The Sons of the Fire-Mist are the “Sons of Will and Yoga,” the minor hierarchy of the elect or select which came into existence in the fourth root-race. See also AD, SONS OF

Fire-philosophers Philosophers of medieval Europe who regarded fire as the supreme principle. Their ideas were largely those of Oriental occult or semi-occult bodies; hence they may be described as either the Persian Magi, or the European followers of Robert Fludd (1574-1637), a student of Paracelsus who taught the analogy of macrocosm and microcosm and the four elements.

“The name given to the Hermetists and Alchemists of the Middle Ages, and also to the Rosicrucians. The latter, the successors of the Theurgists, regarded fire as the symbol of Deity. It was the source, not only of material atoms, but the container of the spiritual and psychic Forces energizing them. Broadly analyzed, fire is a triple principle; esoterically, a septenary, as are all the rest of the Elements. As man is composed of Spirit, Soul and Body, plus a fourfold aspect: so is Fire. As in the works of Robert Fludd (de Fluctibus) one of the famous Rosicrucians, Fire contains (1) a visible flame (Body); (2) an invisible, astral fire (Soul); and (3) Spirit. The four aspects are heat (life), light (mind), electricity (Kamic, or molecular powers) and the Synthetic Essence, beyond Spirit, or the radical cause of its existence and manifestation. For the Hermetist or Rosicrucian, when a flame is extinct on the objective plane it has only passed from the seen world unto the unseen, from the knowable into the unknowable” (TG 119-20).

Fire, Sacred An equivalent for sacred spark, with reference to the lighting of the fires of mind in man during the third root-race. Especially used in connection with the occult allegory of the ancient Greeks dealing with Prometheus, who is represented as bringing the sacred fire — signifying the fire of mind and thought — to mankind from heaven.

Also used in reference to the sacred Samothracian deities, the kabeiroi: “the personified sacred Fires of the most occult powers of Nature” (SD 2:106).

Equated with Living Fire as “a figure of speech to denote deity, the ‘One’ life. A theurgic term, used later by the Rosicrucians. The symbol of the living fire is the sun, certain of whose rays develope the fire of life in a diseased body, impart the knowledge of the future to the sluggish mind, and stimulate to active function a certain psychic and generally dormant faculty in man” (TG 119).

Fire-self Fire-self has several meanings, from the divine to the physical fire of vitality. When used alone, it signifies the divine-spiritual power which is the very essence of the divine monad, its individuality; and because fire in occultism is but a manifestation of pure intelligence, the fire-self is therefore the loftiest monadic or individualized egoity, divine in its essence in the human or cosmic constitution.

Fires, The Forty-nine Refers to the seven states of manifestation of the one life with its various septenary subdivisions — whether these seven states of manifestation be in the kosmos or in an individualized entity. Thus cosmically it refers to the seven cosmic principles with their respective seven subdivisions. When applied to the individual it refers to its seven principles with their septenary subdivisions: “To man, it gives all that it bestows on all the rest of the manifested units in nature; but develops, furthermore, the reflection of all its Forty-nine Fires in him. Each of his seven principles is an heir in full to, and a partaker of, the seven principles of the ‘great Mother’ ” (SD 1:291).

To illustrate the meaning in the case of the human being, every one of the seven main elements or principles into which the human constitution may be divided might readily each one be called a fire, subdivided in a septenary way, so that all the seven human principles and elements when thus considered are seen to be the fires of intelligence, life, consciousness, and substance, reflecting as the individual does in his sevenfold constitution the seven kosmic elements and principles subdivided in septenary fashion.

In works such as the Hindu Puranas, the fires are personified in Agni-Abhimani and his 48 descendants, each one of which might likewise be called a brother of Abhimani, each being a particular representation or aspect of fire. The term is also applied to the Dioscuri and kabiri.

Fire or the 49 fires refer not only to the physical kosmic fire or the human vital warmth which is so generally recognized; but more strongly to the fires of vitality and intelligence. Thus for instance the kosmic First Logos might be called the original kosmic fire of intelligence and life as well as substance, dividing in manifestation as it does into its offspring which are likewise in a sense its brothers, the various principles and elements of the manifested universe. In the Gnostic Pistis Sophia the Rabbi Jesus in speaking to his disciples says: “Nothing therefore is more excellent than the mysteries which ye seek after, saving only the mystery of the seven vowels and their forty and nine powers, . . .” (SD 2:564).

Fire-walking The ability to walk unharmed across a bed of live coals, or to handle fire and heated objects with impunity. Recently this feat has been corroborated by research. It is well known to many ordinary Oriental fakirs, tribal medicine men, sorcerers, and adepts. Some mesmerists who, with a few passes, can anesthetize a limb use the same means as the fire-walkers. While some mediums are entranced before being rendered invulnerable to fire, in Tibet and India the condition is produced consciously and at will.

In all these cases the condition results from a compression of the astral fluid already existing “about a person, so as to form an elastic shell, absolutely non-penetrable by any physical object” (IU 1:378). Nor does ordinary heat register, as such, on astral substance. This invisible shell of compressed astral fluid also accounts for the instances where the person so protected cannot be shot. In these cases the bullets appear just beyond the muzzle of the weapon, quiver in the air, and fall to the ground, as if meeting an impenetrable barrier. This protecting, elastic shell also explains why heavy blows and attacks with sharp instruments will make no impression upon “convulsionaries” as was shown by the historic records in the cases of the convulsionaries of St. Medard (IU 1:373-6).

Firmament Combines the meanings of support, expanse, and boundary; a translation of the Latin firmamentum (a support), which again renders the Greek stereoma (a foundation). The Hebrew is raqia‘ (an unfolding or expanse). The ordinary European meaning is the vault of heaven or sky. It is often identified with air, called the breath of the supporters of the heavenly dome in Islamic mysticism; in India the ethery expanse is the domain of Indra, and one reads of the 1008 divisions of the devaloka (god-worlds) and firmaments. It also relates to the supporters, pillars, or cosmocratores in so many ancient cosmogonies, said to uphold or support the world.

In this connection “waters” in Hebrew often has the mystical significance of ethers or aether, and hence the division between the waters above and the waters below does not refer to the common fluid. In this sense firmament signifies one aspect of Ring-pass-not, the dividing line between one hierarchical division and another, which divisions, rings, or firmaments mutually support and complement each other, and thus build up the web or fabric of the cosmic structure.

First Cause The first cause is demiurgic, the originating principle or root-impulse unfolding a universe or some portion of a universe. By the very fact of individualized activity it must be finite, however immense, not infinite or eternal. If the universe is a chain of causation in which each link is the effect of a precedent cause, then if there is no first cause there can be no effects, and the principle of causality disappears altogether. Infinity has no first cause but is the all-fecund womb of literally infinite numbers of productive demiurgic first causes. We can therefore but recognize the necessary limits of human conceptual power, and postulate a causeless cause: parabrahman or what the Vedic sages called tad or tat (that).

First Logos. See LOGOS; BRAHMAN; etc.


First Root-race. See ROOT-RACE, FIRST

First Round. See ROUND, FIRST

Fish In ancient theologic or mystical thought, fish is cognate with water and the matrix; in the Stanzas of Dzyan, the Mother is called the Fiery Fish of Life, and the defunct in the Egyptian Book of the Dead says, “I am the Fish of the Great Horus.” The esoteric meaning of the fish symbol is divine, but the theological is almost universally phallic.

Pisces, the Fishes (Sanskrit Mina), is the last sign of the zodiac, and therefore marks the end of one cycle and the initiatory stage of the succeeding cycle. The fish-avatara of Vishnu is both the first and the tenth or last; and this applies both to mahakalpas and to minor cycles within them, likewise to a division of the present and former manvantara. Though Pisces as now understood refers to cyclic junctions in general, with their accompanying world saviors and floods, it has particular reference for Occidentals to Jesus and the entry of the equinoctial point into Pisces.

Out of the Greek ichthys (fish) has been made the acrostic Jesus Christos Theou Yios Soter (Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior). Jesus, Bacchus, the Chaldean Dagon and Oannes, the Akkadian Ea, the Babylonian Xisuthrus, and the Hindu Vishsu and Vaivasvata-Manu mystically are all fish characters, and hence connected with floods and avataras.


Five Because of its being one half of the perfect number (ten), five held the attention and study of all followers of the Pythagorean system of numerals. As we are now in the fifth root-race, the fifth principle (manas) takes an especially prominent position in human evolution. The five-pointed star, or again the pentagon, is the symbol of the microcosm, man, often referred to as a five-limbed man. Five “symbolizes at one and the same time the Spirit of life eternal and the Spirit of life and love terrestrial — in the human compound; and, it includes divine and infernal magic, and the universal and the individual quintessence of being” (SD 2:579).

The symbol of the kali yuga is the five-pointed star reversed, with the two points or horns of the star pointing upwards. This is also a sign of sorcery.

In the numerical mysticism of ancient Egypt five crocodiles, for instance, were represented as in the celestial Nile, and the emanating deity calls forth these crocodiles in his fifth creation. The number five, as well as other numbers, was sacred to the Gnostics, hence five words signifying the five mystic powers attained by the initiate were written upon the garment in their interpretation at the glorification of Jesus. In classical Greece the E Delphicum, a sacred symbol, was the numeral five. There were five ministers of Chozzar (the Gnostic Poseidon); and in the Hindu mythology Brahma is represented as uttering five words or vowels at the creation. From another standpoint, five is the “universal quintessence which spreads in every direction and forms all matter” (SD 2:583). See also PENTAGRAM

Five-pointed Star. See PENTAGRAM

Flagae Used by Paracelsus to denote an order of spiritual beings which correspond to the Christian guardian angels, or what would be called in theosophy the higher pitris or the sixfold dhyani-chohans — that class of the dhyani-chohans in whom six of the seven constitutional principles of nature are more or less actively manifest.

Flames Largely interchangeable with fire, both being borrowed from the Fire-philosophers in an attempt to render the ancient teachings. Often the same distinction is made as in ordinary usage: that flame is a portion of fire, or that fire is a more abstract and general term and flame a more concrete and particular. Thus, the intellectual and guiding cosmic spirits, as well as the astrally and physically creative builders, are spoken of as being a hierarchy of flames. The Lords of the Flame are the agnishvatta-pitris, or the intelligent architects cosmically; as the givers of mind to humanity they are alluded to as those whose fire is too pure for the production of physical mortal mankind. The Asiatic Qabbalists or Shemitic initiates meant by Holy Flame what is called the anima mundi or world-soul, and this is why adepts were called sons of the holy flame. Flame is also a projection of fire, as when a flame of the divine fire descends into matter, or flames of fire descend upon one inspired by the Holy Spirit or encircle the head of an initiate.

Flamma (Latin) Fire, flame; an alchemical or Western Hermetic term used to denote one of the four elements, corresponding to the alchemical sulphur and spirit.

Flood. A story found in various forms in every cosmology. The Chaldean and Sumerian versions antedate the Hebrew; India, China, and other Asiatic countries furnish their own versions. It occurs in the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Quichés of Central American, as well as among many ancient American tribes; the story is found among the ancient Scandinavians, the Polynesian peoples, and among African tribes, such as the Masai of East Africa.

These stories refer in part to an actual great deluge in the world’s history, mainly to the sinking of the great and smaller islands of the Atlantean continental stretches. In many if not all the versions, we find that a race had become so corrupt that nature or the gods would no longer tolerate it, and destroyed it and brought forth a new race. There is usually a type-figure, like the Hebrew Noah, who builds an ark or other vessel of salvation, thus saving from the waters the righteous few to be the seeds of the new race. In many versions are traditions of the destruction of the preceding root-race, Atlantis, by water, and of the saving of various groups of human remnants to found new civilizations on lands, then or shortly later geologically speaking, emerging from the ocean. But besides the particular application to this latest cataclysm in the earth’s history, the story refers to cataclysms in general, to the death of old races and the birth of new ones. The evolution of the earth goes on pari passu with that of the beings upon it. These stories are evidently allegorical as well, with reference to cosmological facts. See also ARK

Fluidic Double Often used by Europeans for the linga-sarira, the astral or model body, whose form is duplicated with extreme exactness by that of the physical body, but which is mobile somewhat as a fluid is, instead of being comparatively rigid like the crystallized or physical body.

Fo-chu, Fo-ch’ou (Chinese) [from fo Buddha + chu lord] A Buddha-lord, Buddha-teacher, a teacher of the doctrines of the buddhas.

Foeticide. See ABORTION


Fohat (Tibetan-Mongolian) [from Mon pho, fo buddha, buddhi] Cosmic life or vitality; bipolar cosmic vital electricity, equivalent to the light of the Logos, daiviprakriti, eros, the fiery whirlwind, etc. As the bridge between spirit and matter, fohat is the collectivity of intelligent forces through which cosmic ideation impresses itself upon substance, thus forming the various worlds of manifestation. In the manifested universe, it “is that Occult, electric, vital power, which, under the Will of the Creative Logos, unites and brings together all forms, giving them the first impulse which becomes in time law. . . . Fohat becomes the propelling force, the active Power which causes the One to become Two and Three . . . then Fohat is transformed into that force which brings together the elemental atoms and makes them aggregate and combine” (SD 1:109).

Fohat is ever-present and active from the primordial beginnings of a manvantara to its last end, nor does it then actually pass out of existence, but becomes quiescent or latent as it were, sleeping or dormant during the cosmic pralaya.(OG 51)

Fohatic Magnetism(s) The spiritual magnetism or electricity individual to each entity, from subatomic to galactic. The twelve signs of the zodiac each has its own fohatic magnetism which together form the characteristic quality of the galaxy. These twelve magnetisms, which are actually six bipolar magnetisms, are also responsible for the precession of the equinoxes (FSO 140). “Any planetary chain, as well as any globe thereof, is produced not only by its own monadic swabhava, but . . . the twelve fohatic magnetisms of the twelve constellations are likewise intimately involved with these inherent magnetic swabhavas in producing the planetary chains and their respective globes” (FSO 143). (FSO 125, 127, 139)

Foh-maeyu, Fo mai-yu (Chinese) [from fo buddha + miao temple] Buddha’s temple; a temple dedicated to Sakyamuni Buddha.

Foh-tchou. See FO-CHU

Fons Vitae (Latin) Fount of life; Latin title of the chief work of Ibn Gebirol (Avicebron), the Arab Jewish philosopher of the 11th century, believed by many to be a profound Kabbalist. The Hebrew title is Meqor Hayyim (Fountain of Lives).

Force Used in two senses: an effect produced in matter, and the unknown cause of that effect. In the former sense it is a definite measurable quantity, usable in calculating the quantitative relation between phenomena, and of practical service in mechanics. But in the latter sense, force remains for science a mystery. If it is an inherent property of matter, then matter becomes a self-moving entity, a divine thing in its essence; if it acts on matter from outside, then where does it inhere? Is it an independent existence? The whole question is thus left hanging in the air.

According to theosophy the forces of science are effects produced on the physical plane by elementals or nature forces, which are themselves secondary causes and the effects of primary causes, ultimately of divine origin, behind the veil of terrestrial phenomena. Descending through the planes of cosmos there is a chain of effects. Theosophy sees no fundamental difference between force and motion: eternal motion gives rise on every plane to the dual manifestation of force and matter, twin aspects of the same substance.

In the universe force may be generalized as a unity, just as substance or consciousness may; but nevertheless just as there are consciousnesses and substances, so likewise cosmic force is to be understood as a generalizing phrase for cosmic forces essentially intelligent, and therefore that these cosmic forces are essentially divinities — these divinities existing on different planes of the invisible worlds of the universe in hierarchical structure or degrees. We have therefore the picture of inner and invisible conscious and likewise self-conscious forces, which are really divinities of many kinds, which by their interconnections and interwoven activities, produce the differentiated and marvelously varied manifested world in which we live.

Form Aristotle’s three hypostases of objectivization are privation, form, and matter, compared to Father-Mother-Son, in which however is included life. Privation does not signify emptiness or nothingness, for the term means that which precedes form and actively manifested life as the root cause and source of the latter; and because it is formless it is called privation as having no form implying limitation or constriction. Form also is equivalent to vehicle, and so to body or imbodiment, and to the Sanskrit rupa, as seen in the distinction between rupa and arupa worlds.

Formative World. See YETSIRAH

Formless Equivalent to the Sanskrit arupa (without body or form). Because an absolutely formless thing on its own plane would have no qualities by which it could be distinguished from any other entity or thing there, the word seems rather to mean without body or form as seen from our earthly point of view. Hence it implies that entities in the arupa spheres exist as what Plato would call ideas, which will become imbodied in the various lower planes in one or another period during the immensely long cosmic existence. Cosmic pralaya is not such for arupa entities, as only the rupas are dissolved; but this statement, while true, is made from our earthly standpoint.

Forty-nine A septenate subdivided into sevens, and made into fifty by the inclusion of a synthesizing unit. The seven elements of our terrestrial nature, of which only five are thus far actually manifest, are each divisible into 49 sub-elements. The 49 fires are made up of Agni, the three original fires (Pavaka, Pavamana, and Suchi), and their 45 sons. The mother-principle develops in the human being the reflections of these 49 cosmic fires, without which we are not perfect. A similar grouping is found in the division by some mystics of the seven mystic vowels, with their 49 powers. See also FIRES, THE FORTY-NINE


Fo-tchou. See FO-CHU

Four The square of two, and the second even number, hence feminine in characteristics. It was regarded by the Pythagoreans with especial esteem, for it was the base number of the tetraktys. It corresponds to a solid figure, or a square — the quaternary although on the spiritual plane, as being the immediate successor of the triad, it became the symbol of immortality, and hence in this sense a perfect number, the ideal root of all subsequent hierarchical numbers on the lower planes including the physical. Thus there is the spiritual four as the mother-type of all productivity, and there was likewise the material four, the ideal root of all numbers on the astral and physical planes. It was called by the Pythagoreans the key-keeper of nature, but it was only so in union with the number three, for then the sum made seven — the perfect number of nature in our world. The Hermetists had the same idea: four was the symbol of truth when expanded into a cube, for when this cube is unfolded the production is seven. Four is the number “which affords an arithmetical division between unity and seven, as it surpasses the former by the same number (three), as it is itself surpassed by the seven, since four is by as many numbers above one, as seven is above four” (SD 2:582).

The number four is considered feminine on the planes of matter; it is considered to be masculine and energic only on the highest plane of abstraction. When united with three (spirit), “their union is the emblem of life eternal in spirit on its ascending arc, and in matter as the ever resurrecting element — by procreation and reproduction” (SD 2:592).

In ancient and modern occultism, 3, 4, and 7 are respectively held sacred as symbolizing light, life, and union — at least during our present manvantara; for the reckoning was somewhat as follows: unity, the One or the monad, was the generating point of spirit, from which flowed forth the first manifested stream of energy or the duad, which became in expressing itself the triad, the carrier and holder of cosmic wisdom and therefore light to our view. These three expressing themselves in the next stage of differentiation clothed themselves in a vehicle, the square or four, which thus became manifested life. Hence, when light and life conjoin in unitary action we have the complete septenary, the significant number of complete monadic being on this plane — the septenary individual.

Four also appears in the sacred key-numbers 4, 3, 2 (in this sequence): these are the basic numbers used in esoteric computations, and hence they form the numerical structure of the time periods of the four yugas of ancient India, which likewise were prominent in ancient Chaldean calculations — for the numerical science was the same in both lands. “The sacredness of the cycle of 4320, with additional cyphers, lies in the fact that the figures which compose it, taken separately or joined in various combinations, are each and all symbolical of the greatest mysteries in Nature. Indeed, whether one takes the 4 separately, or the 3 by itself, or the two together making 7, or again the three [4, 3, 2] added together and yielding 9, all these numbers have their application in the most sacred and occult things, and record the workings of Nature in her eternally periodical phenomena. They are never erring, perpetually recurring numbers, unveiling, to him who studies the secrets of Nature, a truly divine System, an intelligent plan in Cosmogony, which results in natural cosmic divisions of times, seasons, invisible influences, astronomical phenomena, with their action and reaction on terrestrial and even moral nature; on birth, death, and growth, on health and disease. All these natural events are based and depend upon cyclical processes in the Kosmos itself, producing periodic agencies which, acting from without, affect the Earth and all that lives and breathes on it, from one end to the other of any Manvantara. Causes and effects are esoteric, exoteric, and endexoteric, so to say” (SD 2:73-4).

As instances of the recurring of the sequence 4, 3, 2: the addition of 3 ciphers produces the length of the kali yuga, 432, 000 years; with 4 ciphers, the total of the four yugas or one mahayuga, 4,320,000 years; with 7 ciphers, the period of 14 Manus or 1,000 mahayugas, which is one Day of Brahma or a period of 4,320,000,000 years. When this latter figure is multiplied by two, in order to add the period of a Night of Brahma, and then multiplied by one year of Brahma (which is equivalent to 360 such days and nights) we have the basic figure of Brahma’s Life (which consists of 100 years). When 4320 is halved the result is 2160, which multiplied by 12 is the number of years in one turning of the precessional cycle; again 2160 is the period of the so-called Messianic cycle.

Four Ages. See YUGA

Four Animals When used by Hebrews and Christians, the sacred animals seen by Ezekiel in his vision (Ezek 1:4-10): the man, the eagle, the ox or bull, and the lion. “These four animals are, in reality, the symbols of the four elements, and of the four lower principles in man. Nevertheless, they correspond physically and materially to the four constellations that form, so to speak, the suite or cortege of the solar god, and occupy during the winter solstice the four cardinal points of the zodiacal circle” (SD 1:363).

Sometimes called the sacred animals of the Bible, they have been associated by Christians with the four evangelists. In this connection, “each represents one of the four lower classes of worlds or planes, into the similitude of which each personality is cast. Thus the Eagle (associated with St. John) represents cosmic Spirit or Ether, the all-piercing Eye of the Seer; the Bull of St. Luke, the waters of Life, the all-generating element and cosmic strength; the Lion of St. Mark, fierce energy, undaunted courage and cosmic fire; while the human Head or the Angel, which stands near St. Matthew is the synthesis of all three combined in the higher Intellect of man, and in cosmic Spirituality. . . . The Eagle, Bull and Lion-headed gods are plentiful, and all represented the same idea, whether in the Egyptian, Chaldean, Indian or Jewish religions, but beginning with the Astral body they went no higher than the cosmic Spirit or the Higher Manas — Atma-Buddhi, or Absolute Spirit and Spiritual Soul its vehicle, being incapable of being symbolised by concrete images” (TG 121).

Fourfold Classification There are many different ways of dividing the constitution of the universe or of any integral entity within it, such as a human being. Several philosophical and religious systems employ a fourfold division, as is found in certain Hindu systems. Subba Row, a Vedantist as well as a theosophist, pointed out that the fourfold classification of the human principles in some Hindu systems is not only applicable to man, but likewise to the universe and solar system. The Taraka-Raja-Yoga system — perhaps the most subtlety philosophical of the Brahmanical yoga schools — divides the human constitution into three upadhis (bases) plus the atman or essential self, as follows: atman, karanopadhi, sukshmopadhi, and sthulopadhi.

Subba Row’s fourfold classification follows:

Universe Solar System Man
   Beyond Brahman
Brahman, Paramatman
   Cosmic Monad
   Essential Self
   Primordial Thread-Self
   Causal Vehicle
   Essential Egoity
   The Logos
   Golden Egg
   Subtle Vehicle
Personal Monad
   Light of the Logos
   Subtle Essence
   of Physical Vehicle
   Manifested Universe

In these three columns there are correspondences reading right to left which apply to three vastly differing scales of magnitude both in quality and in explanation. Thus the last term in the first column is daiviprakriti, which really means spirit-matter in manifestation, and therefore is a gross body of the universe, although in the human case this is equivalent to the sthula-sarira or gross physical body.

It is likewise to be noted that the Vedantist classification of the principles, whether of a universe or an individual, is six in number: the essential self or atman, and five kosas emanating from it; the main reason for the Taraka-Raja-Yoga fourfold division lies in the fact that the atman of a person may be used in any one of the three upadhis independently as it were of the others, without the person’s running the risk of killing himself. In this way they form a natural division of the human being.

Comparing this fourfold classification of the human constitution with the sevenfold division commonly set forth in theosophical literature: atman (the essential principle of selfhood and therefore the highest) is the same in both; karana-sarira is equivalent to buddhi and the higher manas; sukshma-sarira comprises manas and kama; while sthula-sarira takes in the three lower principles — prana, linga-sarira, and sthula-sarira. The reason for the two classifications is that Subba Row fastened “attention on the monads, looking upon the universe as a vast aggregate of individualities; while H. P. B. for that time of the world’s history saw the need to give to the inquiring Western mind . . . some real explanation of what the composition of the universe is as an entity — what its ‘stuff’ is, and what man is as an integral part of it. Now the seven principles are the seven kinds of ‘stuff’ of the universe. . . . [however] we must not have our minds confused with the idea that the seven principles are one thing, and the monads are something else which work through the principles as disjunct from them” (FSO 443-4). See also PRINCIPLES.



Fourteen A septenate in which each member is dual. In the Hindu Laws of Manu, fourteen manus are enumerated; and in theosophy a root-manu and a seed-manu are given for each round. In a Hindu allegory, there arise from the churning of the ocean fourteen “precious things,” which in a corresponding Japanese system are enumerated as seven. See also KURMA-AVATARA

Fourth Continent. See ATLANTIS

Fourth Dimension A subject on which there is great confusion, owing chiefly to failure to distinguish between physical concepts and the concepts of pure geometry. Physical bodies are three-dimensional, neither more nor less; anything with fewer or more dimensions is not a physical body. In pure mathematics we may assume as many or few so-called dimensions as we like, as independent variables, and use this formulation in the interpretation of phenomena. Thus we can represent motion or position in time by a vector or a line, and thus devise a special calculus for the interpretation of physical phenomena, which we may call a space-time continuum. But we err if we try to imagine the existence of one-, two-, or four-dimensional physical bodies. It is of course easy to calculate how many sides, edges, such a transcendental body would have, supposing it could exist; but such calculations are purely algebraic. Such cloudy speculations have been seized upon to explain such phenomena as spiritualism and UFOs. However, this dimensional calculus is only useful for the interpretation of nonphysical ideas or phenomena — for example, the phenomena of thought or emotion — where physical concepts have been abstracted from our mind.

Fourth Globe or Sphere The globe D of any planetary chain, especially of our earth-chain. The lowest of the chain, because it is by itself on the lowest of the series of cosmic planes in which a planetary chain is manifesting. See also PLANETARY CHAIN

Fourth Principle In any septenate the fourth is the middle, and in the sevenfold human constitution it is the kama or animal soul which forms a link between the higher and lower triads, a contact-field between spirit and matter, whether cosmically or in man. This principle is fully developed during the course of the fourth round, as a fit vehicle for the next higher principle. Among the principles which create worlds, fohat in its secondary aspect as solar energy, electric vital fluid, or animal soul of nature, is denoted as the preserving fourth principle. See also KAMA: PRINCIPLE

Fourth Race. See ROOT-RACE, FOURTH

Fourth Round. See ROUND, FOURTH

Fravashi (Avestan) Fravahr (Pahlavi), Fravati (old Persian) [from fra before + var to grow upright, incline upward, be true] Sometimes Farvarshi. Primeval truth; the alter ego or spiritual counterpart of every entity. “The Fravashi is the inner power in every being that maintains it and makes it grow and subsist. Originally the Fravashis were the same as the Pitris of the Hindus or the Manes of the Latins, that is to say, the everlasting and deified souls of the dead; but in course of time they gained a wider domain, and not only men, but gods and even physical objects, like the sky and the earth, etc., had each a Fravashi” (Darmesteter, Farvardin Yasht 179).

In Yasna 26 five different faculties for understanding or five stages of consciousness are mentioned: Ahu, Daena, Baudha, Urvan, and Fravashi (the need of upright growth). In the Bundahish (ch 1),  Ahura-Mazda produces a preparatory creation of embryonic and immaterial existences, the prototypes, fravashis, spiritual counterparts of the guardian angels of the spiritual and material creatures afterwards produced.

 Ahura-Mazda, previous to the material creation, consults with the Fravashis of men (the sons of light) and these guardian spirits of men choose to fight the adversary, Ahriman, in a bodily form.

Cosmically it is the celestial double of lower celestial beings, the cosmic Christos or universal spirit (SD 2:478).

Freemasonry. See MASONRY

Free Will The inherent power or capacity of choice, divine in its origin, which every being in the kosmos exercises in some degree as, consciously or unself-consciously, it evolves forth its essential self. Every thing and being has its own essential characteristic or svabhava and, the universal urge being towards self-expression and self-consciousness, of necessity each has its relative share of inherent free will with which to work out its destiny. Since evolution is a coming forth of the involved monadic essence, the unfolding of inner capacities and attributes, it cannot be produced, however stimulated, by something outside of itself. The one divine will is the force behind evolution on all planes of manifestation throughout the kosmos. Hence, each entity, as a unit of the divine All, has its portion of free choice and power to bring forth what is within itself.

Free will is manifesting, however feebly, in vegetative or automatic action in the whirling electrons of the atom; also in characteristic actions of matter, such as cohesion, polarity, and electricity; in the varied growths of vegetation; in the range of animal activities; in the evolving human being, and in the perfected humans called gods; and so forth up the scales of being. It acts in the urge which brings the monad to cast off its former garments in the minerals in order to assume new ones in the vegetable kingdom, from which again, after casting off these latter, it progresses to the animal kingdom; and from this again, the monad rejects beast forms and assumes the human shape where it gains in range and momentum because now acting self-consciously in greater or less degree.

The karma which brings to a person conditions which he does not choose or wish for in his present life, is yet consistent with his free will because he is the result of all his previous actions, now expressing themselves in results. These reactions of causes which he set in motion in this or in former lives, being the result which was inherent in his previous choices, is a self-imposed destiny; but it is not fatalism, because he is now free to decide again how he will meet the results of what he previously had chosen for himself. Karma is mathematically exact, both physically and metaphysically, but it is so constantly involved with new elements of choice and of proportion that its effects of necessity are measured on a sliding scale of being, so to say.

There is an automatic phase of free will in the purposeful instinct which marks the various activities of even minute and lowly forms of life. The unself-conscious beasts are protected, and therefore guided, by the wills of celestial beings who make the so-called laws of nature, yet even the beasts instinctively choose to run true to their own inner types or svabhava. They unconsciously will to be themselves and to copy no other. They have free will exactly in proportion to their consciousness, just as any person has it in the higher degrees of his intelligence and more active intuition. Thus human beings have the power to work out their evolution, for the kingdom of heaven is taken by strength. The gods have gone ahead on the pathway towards omniscience — so far as our universe is concerned — by their own individual efforts consciously to act with an ever-enlarging measure of harmony with the one divine will. Thus the volume or power of free will is in strict proportion with the degree in which the entity has brought forth the central spark of divine willing fire which animates all that is. Nevertheless no single being or entity has completely unfettered and perfectly irresponsible free will, because of its relative imperfection and because of its inescapable subordination to greater wills, each such entity ever evolving from its stage of imperfection as it ascends along the scales of being: those on the higher rungs of the hierarchical ladder consciously willing in ever-enlarging degree to follow the greater divine will which holds all in its keeping.

Frey, Freyr, Fro (Icelandic, Scandinavian) [from fro seed; Anglo-Saxon frea; Swedish frojda rejoice] The Norse god associated with the earth: in theosophy he represents the planetary chain whose soul-world (Alfhem) was his “teething gift in the morning of time.” Frey and his sister Freya, goddess of the planet Venus, are the children of Njord, the Norse Saturn-Chronos.

At the formation of the globe earth, in which Frey embodied, the dwarfs fashioned for Frey the magic ship Skidbladnir [from skida ski + blad blade] which contains the seeds of all living things but which can be folded up like a kerchief when its lifetime has elapsed. Frey is also owner of the magic sword (spiritual will) which is invincible in battle against giants (matter) provided the wielder is pure and resourceful. He is the god of sunshine and fertility.

Freya, Freyja, Froja (Icelandic, Scandinavian) Lady; Norse goddess of the planet Venus and sister of Frey, god of the planet Earth. Both are children of Njord, the Norse Saturn-Chronos, patron of the planet Saturn and the representative of time. Hence Frey and Freya are the children of time and due to end in time.

Freya, the goddess of love and beauty, corresponds to the Greek Aphrodite and the Roman Venus. As the higher intelligence of the planet Earth, she is the sponsor and supporter of motherhood, the family, and of the human race. She wears on her breast the “fiery jewel” Brisingamen, representing humanity’s finest characteristics. Often confused with Frigga, she is in certain respects interchangeable with her, inasmuch as the divinities of the solar system have strong correspondences with one another. Sacred to Freya is Friday (as Vendredi is to Venus).

Frigga, Frigg (Scandinavian, Icelandic) In the Norse Edda, the consort of Allfather Odin and wise mother of the aesir (gods) and of all creation. She spins the clouds (nebulae) and knows every being’s destiny. In Valhalla she “receives half the fallen” — Odin’s warriors who battle daily on Vigridsslatten (the plain of consecration); she has been connected with the planet Venus, but this properly belongs to Freya, with whom Frigg is sometimes confused.

Frog One of the oldest symbols in Egypt, for although associated particularly with the frog goddess Heqet, the four primeval gods of Egypt — Heh, Kek, Nau, and Amen — were each depicted with a frog’s head, the reference here being to the cosmic waters of space, out of which all things arose in the beginnings. Frog gods and goddesses were associated with the beginning or formation of the world, the symbol of the frog itself being that of resurrection and hence of renewed birth. “There must have been some very profound and sacred meaning attached to this symbol, since, notwithstanding the risk of being charged with a disgusting form of zoolatry, the early Egyptian Christians adopted it in their Churches. A frog or toad enshrined in a lotus flower, or simply without the latter emblem, was the form chosen for the Church lamps, on which were engraved the words ‘I am the resurrection’ . . . These frog goddesses are also found on all the mummies” (SD 1:386).

Frost Giants, Rime Thurses In the Norse Eddas, the primeval hrimthurses [from Icelandic, Scandinavian hrim rime + thurs, thruse giant] or frost giants are ponderous, motionless, totally mindless and stupid, to illustrate that their characteristics are those of nonliving, inert matter, not formed or organized in any way. They are the equivalent of the Greek Chaos. They represent ages of nonlife between manifestations of universes, corresponding to the Sanskrit pralaya (dissolution). They depict graphically the stage of utter cold, unmoving “wavelessness” when no atoms move and therefore nothing exists. The frost giant from whose limbs the creative deities brought into being the spheres of life in the universe is named Ymir. His slaying marked the creation of worlds, when the gods “raised the tables” (spheres) where the deities feast on the mead of experience. The rime-thurses are said to be born from Ymir’s feet.

Ymir becomes Orgalmer when he is transformed into the primeval sound which gives rise to the range of vibrations or substantiality of which our world is built. Orgalmer becomes Trudgalmer during the period of activity of the universe, and culminates as Bargalmer, who is “placed on a boat keel and saved” or “ground on the mill” to be re-used in future existences. This sequence parallels the Hindu progression where Brahma (the expander) propels the universe into being, Vishnu sustains it, and Siva destroys its manifestation.

The Edda’s frost giants should not be confused with the giants and their daughter giantesses, or giant maidens, which represent periods of life and activity. The gods are energic consciousnesses (monads) at all-varying stages of evolution; the giants are their physical expressions or forms, whose lifetimes, however long, are limited. The giants’ daughters represent lesser life periods, several daughter races together comprising their father-race.

Fulgur (Latin) Lightening; one aspect of Zeus or Jupiter as a cosmic god, was as Jupiter fulgurans (Jupiter when expressing his power as lightning).

Fullness, Doctrine of the. See PLEROMA

Fundamental Propositions In theosophy, the three fundamental religio-philosophic principles or propositions which Blavatsky states in the Proem to The Secret Doctrine are the foundation on which theosophy presents its modern philosophical teachings: 1) “An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable Principle on which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception”; 2) “The Eternity of the Universe in toto as a boundless plane; periodically ‘the playground of numberless Universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing’”; and 3) “The fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul, the latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Root; and the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul — a spark of the former — through the Cycle of Incarnation (or ‘Necessity’) in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic law, during the whole term” (SD 1:14-17). There are also three fundamental propositions in volume 2:

As regards the evolution of mankind, the Secret Doctrine postulates three new propositions, which stand in direct antagonism to modern science as well as to current religious dogmas: it teaches (a) the simultaneous evolution of seven human groups on seven different portions of our globe; (b) the birth of the astral, before the physical body: the former being a model for the latter; and (c) that man, in this Round, preceded every mammalian — the anthropoids included — in the animal kingdom. — 2:1

Fung Shui, Feng Shui (Chinese) Wind, rain, or water; the science and art which tends to realize the ideal aim that every human dwelling place — village or city, fields and surrounding regions, roads, gates, temples; in fact everything connected with human activities upon earth — must be situated and constructed so that the universe can exercise as completely as possible its favorable influences upon them.

Also called khan yu (heaven and earth) in Han literature.


Fylfot. See SVASTIKA

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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