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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Habal de Garmin. See HEBEL DE-GERMIN

Habel (Hebrew) Hebel [from the verbal root hābal to breathe, blow, be vain, transitory, impermanent, fade away] Breath, mist, vapor, emptiness; whatever is illusory, non-enduring, corresponding to the Sanskrit concept of maya; translated in Ecclesiastes (1:2) as “vanity.” (FSO 105)

Also the son of Adam and Eve, Abel. See also ABEL

Hachamim (Hebrew) Hakhāmīm Hakkim (Aramaic) Hakkīm. Wise men; philosophers, statesmen, magicians — also at times the historical Magians.

Hachoser. See HA-HOSER

Hades or Aides (Greek) [from aides, Aidoneus the invisible] Son of Kronos and Rhea, brother of Zeus and Poseidon. When the world was shared among the three brothers, Hades obtained the nether regions sometimes equated with Dis, Orcus, and Tartarus. After the time of Homer the name was given to the region he presided over with his consort Persephone. This corresponds to the underworld, those regions of the astral light which extend from the highest kama-loka to the deepest depths of avichi; although the more restricted usage of Hades applies to kama-loka. Hades is pictured as a dark realm in the depths of the earth, surrounded by rivers. However, the meaning of underworld shifts according to the viewpoint had at any time, the earth itself sometimes being equated with Hades.

The god Hades is sometimes called Pluto, giver of wealth, because grain grows from the depths of the earth, and in this respect he was worshipped as an agricultural god.

Hagar (Hebrew) Hāgār The Egyptian handmaiden of Sarai (Sarah), who bore Abraham a son, Ishmael (Genesis 16). Some interpreters identify Hagar with Mount Sinai, as the numerical interpretation of her name is 235, the number of lunar cycles in 19 tropical years (SD 2:76).

Hahnir. See HONER

Ha-Hoser (Hebrew) Ha-Ḥoser The diminished, implying derivation and reflection; reflected lights is a Qabbalistic term for a minor hierarchy of builders of inferior power.

Haimavatas. See HIMAVAT

Ha-’Idra’ Rabba’ Qaddisha’ (Aramaic) Hā-’Idrā’ Rabbā’ Qaddīshā’. The Great Holy Assembly; one treatise of the Zohar, consisting of discourses by Rabbi Shim‘on to his assembly of disciples upon the form of the Deity and on pneumatology. It is considered to be a development of the Siphra di-Tseni‘utha’, the most ancient portion, and therefore the basis of the Zohar.

Ha-’Idra’ Zuta’ Qaddisha’ (Aramaic) Hā-’Idrā’ Zūṭā’ Qaddīshā’. The Less (or Small) Holy Assembly; a small treatise of the Zohar, containing the discourses of Rabbi Shim‘on to his remaining six disciples upon the Sephiroth; based upon the Ha-’Idra’ Rabba’ Qaddisha’.

Haima (Sanskrit) Haima [from heman gold, winter] Golden, equivalent to hiranya; also wintry. Mystically, certain things or entities were considered golden in the sense of best, the most superior. Thus the Himalayan mountains, because they were considered the best of mountains, were often spoken of as haima (golden), and possibly in later times the term often was used merely to express the idea of golden, having lost its original implication.

Hajaschar. See HAY-YASHAR

Hakem The wise one, the Messiah to come, of the Druzes or the Disciples of Hamsa (TG 133).

Hakim (Arabic) Ḥakīm [from ḥakama to appoint, chose, judge] A sage, wise man, or physician.

Hakim (Arabic) Ḥākim [from ḥakama to appoint, chose, judge] Title for a governor or judge.

Halloween. See ALL SAINTS’ DAY

Hallucination Commonly, perception of objects without reality or an experience of sensations without external cause, usually thought to arise from a disorder of the nervous system. However, hallucination means something different to an occultist.

“A state produced sometimes by physiological disorders, sometimes by mediumship, and at others by drunkenness. But the cause that produces the visions has to be sought deeper than physiology. All such visions, especially when produced through mediumship, are preceded by a relaxation of the nervous system, invariably generating an abnormal magnetic condition which attracts to the sufferer waves of astral light. It is the latter that furnishes the various hallucinations. These, however, are not always what physicians would make them, empty and unreal dreams. No one can see that which does not exist — i.e., which is not impressed — in or on the astral waves. A Seer may, however, perceive objects and scenes (whether past, present, or future) which have no relation whatever to himself, and also perceive several things entirely disconnected with each other at one and the same time, thus producing the most grotesque and absurd combinations. Both drunkard and Seer, medium and Adept, see their respective visions in the Astral Light; but while the drunkard, the madman, and the untrained medium, or one suffering from brain-fever, see, because they cannot help it, and evoke the jumbled visions unconsciously to themselves, the Adept and the trained Seer have the choice and the control of such visions. They know where to fix their gaze, how to steady the scenes they want to observe, and how to see beyond the upper outward layers of the Astral Light. With the former such glimpses into the waves are hallucinations: with the latter they become the faithful reproduction of what actually has been, is, or will be, taking place. The glimpses at random caught by the medium, and his flickering visions in the deceptive light, are transformed under the guiding will of the Adept and Seer into steady pictures, the truthful representations of that which he wills to come within the focus of his perception” (TG 133-4).

Halo The radiance streaming from the head of a holy person. See also AUREOLE.

Haltiat (Finnish) Singular haltia. Regents or genii; in Finnish mythology everything in nature was governed by these invisible deities or cosmic spirits, who were generally represented in pairs. They were regarded as immortal, having spirits and distinctive individual forms, the minor ones in the hierarchy being less distinctive in vehicle and power than those of higher grade.

Ham ham (Hebrew) Ḥām [from ḥām hot, warm, heat, warmth] In the Bible, one of the three sons of Noah, from whom a great majority of the southern nations were supposed to trace their descent (Genesis 10). Some scholars have suggested that ham is equivalent to khem (black), the native name of Egypt, for Chem is the name of Egypt in the Qabbalah.

Noah and his sons in some instances represent the fifth root-race, in others the third root-race; or cosmically the collective symbol of the lower quaternary, “Ham being the Chaotic principle” (SD 2:597n).

Hamadryad [from Greek ‘ama together with + dryad tree-soul] Nearly the same as dryad, but indicating that the life of the tree elemental was bound up with that of the tree. With dryad, the mind dwells upon the fact that the physical tree is but an expression of an indwelling life or tree-soul, an elemental being expressing itself as a tree. With hamadryad, the emphasis lies in the thought that not only is a tree the expression of a tree-soul, but that this tree-soul and the tree are essentially, and even physically, one; and that the dryad or tree-soul itself is but again the expression of a still higher monadic essence.

Hamingja (Icelandic) Also fylgja. Luck, lot, or fortune in the Norse Edda; a human being’s guardian angel, the spiritual soul who guides his destiny. She is descended from the norns, who are the hamingjas of the world. To bestow one’s hamingja on another is to give a blessing. When a human being dies, his hamingja departs, withdrawn to its own divine realm.

Hamitic Races Generally speaking, the races or tribes which are supposed to have been descended from Ham, one of the sons of Noah according to Biblical legend. Now used by scholars chiefly in a philological sense, referring to a class of languages represented principally by the ancient Egyptian, and its greatly modified modern descendant Coptic; the Libyan or Berber languages of Northern Africa; and the Ethiopic languages of Eastern Africa.

Hammer (of Creation). See SVASTIKA; MJOLNIR

Hamsa, Hansa (Sanskrit) Haṃsa The mystic swan or goose; representing divine wisdom beyond the reach of men. Exoterically, a fabulous bird which, when given milk mixed with water, drank only the milk and left the water, milk standing for spirit and water for matter. Anagrammatically, hamsa

“is equal to a-ham-sa, . . . meaning ‘I am he’ (in English), while divided in still another way it will read ‘So-ham,’ ‘he (is) I’ — Soham being equal to Sah, ‘he,’ and aham, ‘I,’ or ‘I am he.’ In this alone is contained the universal mystery, the doctrine of the identity of man’s essence with god-essence, for him who understands the language of wisdom. Hence the glyph of, and the allegory about, Kalahansa (or hamsa), and the name given to Brahma neuter (later on, to the male Brahma) of ‘Hansa-Vahana,’ he who uses the Hansa as his vehicle. The same word may be read ‘Kalaham-sa’ or ‘I am I’ in the eternity of Time, answering to the Biblical, or rather Zoroastrian ‘I am that I am’ ” (SD 1:78).

Hanoch, Hanokh. See ENOCH

Hansa-Vahana (Sanskrit) Haṃsa-vāhana He who uses the hansa (swan) as his vehicle, a title of Brahman (neuter).

Hanuman or Hanumat (Sanskrit) Hanumān, Hanumat Monkey-god of the Ramayana. The son of Pavana, god of the winds, or spirit, Hanuman is fabled to have assumed any form at will, wielded rocks, removed mountains, mounted the air, seized the clouds, and to have rivaled Garuda in swiftness of flight. According to the epic, Hanuman and his host of semi-human monkey-beings became the allies of Rama, the avatara of Vishnu, in his war with the Rakshasa-king of Lanka, Ravana, who had carried off Rama’s wife, the beautiful Sita. As advisor to Rama and leader of his army, Hanuman showed unparalleled audacity, wit, and wisdom, thereby accomplishing great feats.

The deep reverence that the Hindus for ages have held for this monkey-being is based on an intuitive, but nevertheless traditional, remembrance of the connection, more intimate than at present, that existed during Atlantean and even Lemurian times between human beings and the apes and even monkeys. The monkeys, although now static stocks, were originally derivative from Lemurian humanity, just as the anthropoids were later derivatives from miscegenations between undeveloped Atlantean savages and the monkeys of those distant times. Therefore, there is a strain of manas, however as yet undeveloped, in the anthropoid and the simian stocks.

Haoma (Avestan) Hūm (Pahlavi) Homa (Persian) The Tree of Life; there are two haomas: the yellow or golden earthly haoma, which when prepared and used as an offering for sacrifice is the king of healing plants, the most sacred and powerful of all the offerings prescribed in the Mazdean scriptures. This haoma is equivalent to the Hindu soma — the sacred drink used in the temples, and is said to endow he who drinks it with the property of mind.

The white haoma (or hom) is called the Gokard, the sacred tree of eternal life created by Ahura-Mazda which grows up in the middle of the Farakhard ocean (unbounded ocean or the waters of space), surrounded by the ten thousand healing plants, created by Ahura-Mazda to counteract the 99,999 diseases created by Angra-Mainyu. By the drinking of the Gokard men will become immortal on the day of the resurrection, according to the Bundahish. From the white haoma was also cut the sacred baresma of the Mobeds.

In later esoteric Persian literature, Simorgh takes the place of haoma at the top of Mount Alborz. It finally becomes the mythical bird that brings happiness and good fortune to those he protects.

The fruit of the haoma was the fruit of the tree of knowledge and wisdom (later transformed into the forbidden fruit), similar to the apples of wisdom and the pippala. See also ASVATTHA

Hap or Hapi (Egyptian) Ḥāp or Ḥāpi. God of the Nile; Hep (later Hap) is a name believed to be given to the river by the predynastic Egyptians. The deity is always represented in the form of a man with the breasts of a woman: symbol of fertility and nourishment.

As Egypt was divided into the North and South, the deity took on two aspects: Hap-Reset, the North Nile, pictured with a cluster of papyrus plants upon his head, and Hap-Meht, the South Nile, depicted with lotus plants. He was called the vivifier, creator of things which exist, father of the gods. In one aspect, Hap was identified with Osiris, especially Osiris-Apis or Serapis; thus Isis came to be regarded as his consort. Likewise he had absorbed the attributes of Nu, the primeval watery abyss from which Ra, the sun god, emerged on the first day of the new world period; therefore he was designated the father of living things, for without the waters of Hap, all living things would perish. Blavatsky points to his psychopompic role and his equivalence with the angel Gabriel (BCW 10:55-6).

Hap among the ancient Egyptians was considered to have two existences, the celestial and the earthly, and in a sense was in Egypt what the river Jordan, both mystical and earthly, became to the Jews and Christians. Again, it is both the river of life and the river of death, crossed at the beginning of the peregrinations undertaken by the deceased.

Happy Fields A name for the afterdeath state among the ancient Chaldeans, Babylonians, and Assyrians. These regions were reached after passing through the place of purgation (in a restricted sense therefore equivalent to the Greek Hades) which was ruled over by the Lady of the Great Land, called Nin-Kigal by the Assyrians and Allatu by the Babylonians. The entrance to this place was by means of the cave of Aralu.

The whole underworld was said to be ruled over by Nergal, god of wisdom, and was divided into seven spheres or regions, each under the guardianship of a watcher stationed at a massive portal. The deceased is represented as a traveler who must surrender a portion of his vestments (his sheaths of consciousness) to each one of the seven guardians in turn. See also ISHTAR

Hara (Sanskrit) Hara [from the verbal root hṛ to bear, take away] Bearing, taking away, carrying off, destroying; as a proper name, the destroyer, applied to Siva as the regenerator.

Hare Many mythologies have featured the hare, especially the Egyptian. Thus the symbol of the hare frequently occurs in the hieroglyph, as well as a hare-headed deity named Unnu, with his consort Unnut — ancient divinities of Hermopolis, the latter being closely associated with Sekhet.

A striking similarity is present in the mythology of the Algonquin Indians of North America; their chief deity was a mighty hare known as Menabosho or Michabo, to whom they went at death. One account places him in the east, another in the west. The ancient Germanic and Scandinavian peoples used the hare as a symbol, being sacred to the nature goddess Freyja; likewise to the Anglo-Saxon Ostara, goddess of springtime. This is believed to be the basis for the present-day association of the rabbit or hare with Easter. The anthropomorphic idea is found also among other races, very frequently among the Mongolians, Chinese, Japanese, and other Far Eastern peoples. It was considered to be androgynous, thus typifying an attribute of the creative Logos.

Eros, god of sexual love, is represented as carrying a hare. The hare was sacred to Osiris and was also a symbol of the moon.

Hari (Sanskrit) Hari [from the verbal root hṛ to take, remove; to be yellow] Especially the name of Krishna as an avatara of Vishnu; likewise applied to other deities, generally Siva. Also an alternative name for the sign of the zodiac Simha or Leo — the word itself meaning a lion, as well as being a name for the sun, the moon, the horses of Indra, and for one of the nine varshas or divisions of the world.

As an adjective, yellow or green.

Hari-ashvas. See HARYASVAS

Harikesa (Sanskrit) Harikeśa [from hari yellow + keśa hair] One of the seven principal rays of the sun; also a name for Savitri. As an adjective, yellow- or golden-haired. It is a title especially given to Siva.

Haris (Sanskrit) Hari-s One name of the twelve great gods or jayas emanated by Brahma in producing the universe and all in it.

Harivamsa, Harivansa (Sanskrit) Harivaṃśa The lineage of Hari, or Krishna. A celebrated poem of 16,374 verses, generally regarded as a part of the Mahabharata, but believed by some to be of much later date than the greater epic. It treats of the adventures of the family of Krishna, being divided into three parts: an introduction that traces the dynasty; the life and adventures of Krishna; and the conditions occurring during the kali yuga and the future condition of the world.

Harmachis (Greek) Harmachus (Latin) Heru-khuti (Egyptian) Ḥeru-khuti. Horus of the two horizons, an aspect of the god referring particularly to the sun god Ra. The two horizons represent the day sun and the night sun, or sunrise and sunset. The principal sites of this worship were at Annu (Heliopolis) and Apollonopolis. The largest monument of Heru-khuti is the famous Sphinx near the pyramids of Gizeh. The meanings of Harmachis, the Sphinx, are both numerous and perplexing, but one of the most illuminating is that it was the symbol of the risen god-man, the type-figure of success achieved under the most difficult and trying ordeals of the initiatory cycle.

Haroeris, Haroiri. See AROERIS

Harpocrates (Greek) Heru-pa-khart (Egyptian) Ḥeru-pa-kharṭ. Horus the Younger, or Horus the Babe. Representations of his mother Isis with an infant are common in Egypt, and with his father, Osiris, a trinity is formed of Father-Mother-Son. Harpocrates came to be regarded as the type of new birth and life, thus the first hours of the day, the first days of the month, and the first days of the year, were especially associated with him. He was the god of silence or of the Mysteries, and little has come down to the present day with regard to this aspect of the deity.

Finally, at least in some important aspects of his characteristics and worship, he was adopted by both Greeks and Romans, albeit recognized as being a foreign divinity.

Har-Ru-Bah (Egyptian) Ḥeru-āa-ȧbu. The heart of Horus; a title of Horus in The Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Harshana (Sanskrit) Harṣaṇa Thrilling with joy or desire; the name of a particular sraddha (rite) and of a deity presiding over sraddhas.

Harviri. See AROERIS

Haryasva (Sanskrit) Haryaśva [from hari bay + aśva horse] Bay horse; a name applied both to Indra and Siva. In the Harivansa, the Haryasavas are represented as the five or ten thousand sons of the patriarch Daksha, born for the purpose of peopling the earth, but the rishi Narada persuaded them to remain celibates; after which they dispersed themselves through the regions and did not return. This means “that they had all incarnated in mortals. The name is given to natural born mystics and celibates, who are said to be incarnations of the ‘Haryaswas’ ” (TG 136).

Haryaswas. See HARYASVA

Hasoth. See YESOD

Hatha Yoga (Sanskrit) Haṭha-yoga A lower form of yoga practice which uses physical means for purposes of self-development, teaching that it is possible to attain to a certain grade of psychomental abstraction and to develop some of the lower vital-astral powers, by means of a set of physical exercises and postures, by the regulation of the breath, or by certain other psychophysical methods. These methods are to be neither recommended nor followed, for they are exceedingly dangerous except when practiced in minor degree under the supervision of a teacher, and above everything else in full coordination with the higher forms of yoga.

Hatha yoga practices can be exceedingly dangerous to sanity and health. Being of nonphysical nature on one side, they can adversely affect the mind, and in extreme cases even dislodge the mind from its normal and proper seat, producing insanity. Being of a physical nature also, they interfere with the proper pranic circulations in the body; the pranas when left alone are usually productive of health, and when disturbed by attempted meddling produce disease.

One phase of hatha yoga is the pranayama (suppression of the breath), interference with the normal and healthy respiration of the body; a practice which can readily produce tuberculosis of the lungs. It is breathing deeply, healthfully, and as often as common sense suggests, that brings benefits to the body because bringing about a better oxygenation of the blood and therefore a better physical tone. In very rare circumstances only, where a chela has advanced relatively far mentally and spiritually, but has still an unfortunate and heavy physical karma as yet not worked out, it may possibly be proper, under the guidance of a genuine teacher, to use the hatha yoga methods in a limited degree, but only under the teacher’s own eye. For this reason hatha yoga books are occasionally mentioned in theosophical literature — the Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali, for example, is a hatha yoga scripture, but one of the highest type. But generally, hatha yoga practices are injurious and therefore unwise, for they distract the attention from things of the spirit and direct it to the lower parts of the constitution.

Unfortunately, however, physical practices of various kinds seem to be particularly attractive to the average person because apparently within the sphere of easy performance. One does not know the dangers lurking there; but actually, to achieve even the minor results that come from perfect performance, greater effort and larger difficulties have to be encountered than in raising one’s eyes to the nobler forms of yoga. It is always safe and indeed requisite for a disciple to practice the higher branches of yoga: jnana yoga, raja yoga, bhakti yoga, and karma yoga, which means the yoga of unselfish action in daily life. Consequently, when considered apart from the nobler forms of yoga there is not a particle of spirituality in all these hatha yoga practices.

Hathor (Greek) Het-Hert (Egyptian) Ḥet-Ḥert [from ḥet-ḥert the house above] One of the oldest known Egyptian deities. Het-Hert refers to the sky or heaven, known by the Greeks as Hathor. Originally, Hathor was a cosmic goddess, consort of Ra, mother of light — the production of which was considered the opening act in cosmogony, producer of the twin deities Shu and Tefnut (the sky and the moisture of the sky). Later she was regarded as the great Mother, bringing forth all the gods and goddesses — Mother Nature personified. She has been associated with all the goddesses of Egypt, partaking of all their attributes; but her principal title was Lady of Amentet (the Holy Land or underworld).

The Greeks identified Hathor with Aphrodite, for she was the patron deity of beauty and joy in life, of artists and their creative work as was the celestial and earthly Venus. Her chief position, however, was goddess of the Underworld, providing the deceased with food and drink.

Astronomically she was associated with the star Sept (Sothis or Sirius), which rose heliacally on the first day of the Egyptian New Year. When the sun god Ra entered his boat, Hathor went with him and took up her position as a crown upon his forehead.

Hathor was closely connected with Neith (at Sais), and in Ptolemaic times with Nekhebet, Uatchet, and Bast. “Hathor is the infernal Isis, the goddess pre-eminently of the West or the nether world” (SD 1:400n). Yet this was but the lower aspect of Hathor, Neith, and Isis. Neith, or the celestial Hathor, was one of the most spiritual, recondite, and abstract of all the deities of the Egyptian pantheon, in this sense the celestial womb of light, out of which came in hierarchical procession the world or the cosmos and all in and of it. See also NEITH

Hati. See AB HATI

Haunted Houses Physicho-astral remains of the deceased tend to haunt the places where they dwelt in life; and in cases which are relatively rare, though numerous absolutely, conditions may bring about a connection between the lower astral plane and the physical so that visible images are seen, voices or footsteps heard, and objects may be moved. In some cases the astral image or reliquiae may persist for centuries, making what is called a ghost; it is an astral corpse or relic, automatically repeating acts or words. Often bones have been found under a house, and popular belief has it that the haunting has ceased after they were ceremonially interred. Sometimes there is an evident desire on the part of the kama-rupa to communicate information of some sort, as of a hidden document or buried treasure, and this is not because the kama-rupa is the spirit desiring to communicate its information, but because the kama-rupa has stamped upon it photographically, as it were, the intense desire of the person during life to guard the treasure and conceal it, and even to reveal it to some individual.

Under this heading must be included the mischievous pranks of the poltergeist, due to the action of a persistent relic of the psycho-astral nature of a deceased person, in combination with elementals, often again working in conjunction with a mediumistic living individual.

Hauvah, Hava(h). See EVE

Havas. See HADES

Havvah. See EVE

Havyavahana (Sanskrit) Havyavāhana The fire of the gods; the sacrificial fire which receives offerings to the gods. In the Puranas, Suchi, the solar fire, is made its parent.

Hawk Symbol associated in ancient Egypt with the sun; whenever there was an emphasis placed on solar worship the hawk was usually present, especially at Hieraconopolis (the hawk city) south of Thebes. The hawk was especially sacred to Horus, Ra, Osiris, and Seker. Horus and Ra (the latter particularly in his association with Menthu, the lord of Thebes) were often depicted as hawk-headed, both being solar deities.

The golden hawk was often identified with the bennu (the Egyptian phoenix), and there was also the hawk of the gods itself which was regarded as an offspring of the god Tem and associated with Horus in his aspect of the son of Osiris.

The hawk too depicted one of the parts of the human constitution, the human soul; oftentimes it is represented as hovering over the mummy: “The sense varies with the postures of the bird. Thus when lying as dead it represents the transition, larva state, or the passage from the state of one life to another. When its wings are opened it means that the defunct is resurrected in Amenti and once more in conscious possession of his soul. The chrysalis has become a butterfly” (TG 136).

In many other countries the hawk, or some other flying creature, symbolized the human soul. See also KHENSU

Hayah. See HAYYAH

Hayo Bischat. See HIWYAI’ BISHA’

Hayyah (Hebrew) Ḥayyāh [from ḥāyāh life, vitality.] Sometimes Chiah, Chayah, Hay-yeh, etc. Life in the abstract; as an adjective, living; a living being or thing, and hence often a beast or an animal; in a collective plural, living beings including human beings.

In its connection with nephesh, equivalent to the Greek psyche or Latin anima, there is frequently found the phrase nephesh hayyah (living creature). Equivalent also to the Sanskrit prana or vitality; and when considered as an entity, it corresponds closely with the astral monad, for prana or vitality must have its astral vehicle or body to work through, such as the linga-sarira.

The vital spirit or spirit of life runs throughout all the seven principles whether human or cosmic, so that there is a direct and distinct application of this word even to the highest or spiritual part of any being. Indeed, life itself which permeates the entire human and cosmic constitution is derived originally from the spiritual monad, which explains why hayyah is connected in meaning with neshamah (spirit), being equivalent to buddhi.

Hay-Yashar (Hebrew) Hay-yāshār Blavatsky spelled Hayasscher. The straight, upright, or righteous, the light-forces; used in the Qabbalah for a group or minor hierarchy of forces or energies of an inferior grade, but still belonging to the powers of light.

Hayyim (Hebrew) Ḥayyīm [masculine plural of feminine ḥāyyāh life] Lives, living beings. See also HAYYAH

Hayyoth Haq-Qadosh (Hebrew) Ḥayyōth haq-Qādōsh [from ḥayyāh a living being + haq definite article + qādōsh holy] Holy living creatures; Qabbalistic term for the four creatures of Ezekiel’s vision, generally referred to as the cherubim. These holy living creatures are the four symbolic beasts which in the zodiac are called Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius.

Hazim hozim (Hebrew) Ḥozīm [from plural ḥāzāh to see, behold, contemplation as of spiritual or divine things; singular ḥozeh prophet or seer] In ancient times there were schools of hozim which were well known, in which occult sciences were taught. Samuel is said to have been the head of such a school at Ramah, while Elisha is said to have had his at Jericho.

Hdu-Byed (Tibetan) (hDu-bYed) ’du byed (du-je) Equivalent of Sanskrit samskara; many meanings, including the fourth in the Buddhist list of five skandhas.

He’, Hei (Hebrew) Hē’, Hēi The fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, text, supposed to be a window or opening. Blavatsky suggests that its meaning in the Tetragrammaton (IHVH) text is that of a womb. The numerical value is 5.

It holds an intermediate position in pronunciation between the soft aleph text and the harsher heth text and consequently both in pronunciation and writing it is occasionally interchanged with these two other characters.

Hea. See EA

Head of all Heads [from Chaldean Reisha’ dechol Reisha’] Qabbalistic term also referred to as the Ancient of Ancients (‘Attiqa’ De‘Attiqin), the Concealed of the Concealed, or the Hid of the Hid.

“In that Atteekah [‘Attiqa’] nothing is revealed except the Head alone, because it is the Head of all Heads . . . The Wisdom above, which is the Head, is hidden in it, the Brain which is tranquil and quiet, and none knows it but Itself. . . . And this Hidden Wisdom . . . the Concealed of the Concealed, the Head of all Heads, a Head which is not a Head, nor does any one know, nor is it ever known, what is in that Head which Wisdom and Reason cannot comprehend” (Zohar iii 288a).

It corresponds to Brahman-pradhana, behind and within and above which is the ever-incomprehensible, parabrahman. See also RE’SH HIWWAR


Hearing The fifth or highest sense corresponding in the tattvas to akasa. It was only during the third root-race that hearing became manifest as a distinctly individualized physical sense apparatus. Vibrations of material particles in and outside of the body arouse the sense of hearing as a physical manifestation. See also SENSES; SOUND

Heart The heart is the seat in the human body of buddhic consciousness, corresponding to the anahata chakra which is ruled by the planet Venus. There are three principal centers of the human body: the heart as the center of spiritual consciousness; the head as the center of mental consciousness; and the navel as the center of kamic or emotional consciousness. The heart is the organ through which the higher ego acts, seeking to impress the lower self which works through the brain. In this sense the heart is the most important part of the body, and when developed leads to spiritual mastery, the unity of atma-buddhi-manas. In another sense, the heart corresponds to prana, “but only because Prana and the Auric Envelope are essentially the same, and because again as Jiva it is the same as the Universal Deity” (BCW 12:694).

Cosmically, the sun is the beating heart of the solar system, and the sunspot cycle of approximately 12 years represents the cycle of its beating, as it sends forth and receives back the circulations on many planes which sustain the solar system. The sun is “a beating heart; in another sense, it is a brain. There is a temptation to use the words heart and brain literally, and such usage wanders not far from fact. But it is not the physical globe which is the true head and heart, except insofar as the physical universe is concerned. The real head and the real heart, coalescing and working as one, are the divinity behind and above and within the physical vehicle of our glorious daystar” (FSO 299; cf SD 1:541-2).

Heart Doctrine In Mahayana Buddhism, the hidden or esoteric teachings as opposed to the eye doctrine, the public or exoteric teachings. In theosophy, the heart doctrine is considered to contain the more profound and compassionate teachings which go beyond the literal interpretation of the publicly given doctrines. ( )

Heart, Sacred. See SACRED HEART

Heat In science heat is a class of effects called thermal, and diagnosed as vibratory affections of the particles of bodies, produced by solar radiation, mechanical means, chemical action, or the flow of electric current. In seeking the unity which may reconcile these diversities, science has agreed to call heat a mode of motion or one of the forms of energy. According to this theory, heat energy and mechanical energy are mutually convertible. Heat in the terms of modern physics cannot be described either as a fluid or as a mode of motion; but like all physical phenomena, whether we call them substantial or dynamic, it is a function of the activities of some substratum whose nature science is still striving to define.

Theosophically, heat is a manifestation of one of seven forces emanating from the fount of cosmic life and manifesting itself by various effects on various planes. It is a form of one of the seven primordial conscious forces emanating from anima mundi, one of the seven sons of fohat, or one of seven radicals — one aspect of universal motion; in other words, the emanation from a living entity expressing itself on our plane as heat. The forces of physics are manifestations of elementals, which themselves are manifestations of noumena on a still higher plane. Heat is both substantial and energic in character, and we may speak of it as being actually a fluidic emanation from living bodies; although it is equally possible to produce heat in so-called inanimate matter because of the stirring up of the same fluid in these bodies by means of intelligence acting to that end.

Heathen. See PAGAN

Heaven and Hell In Christian theology, the abodes of Deity and the celestial hierarchy on the one hand, and of Satan and his fallen angels on the other hand; the final goal of those who are saved and of those who are damned. The origin of the doctrine is founded in the ancient Mystery teachings concerning the human afterdeath experiences and the corresponding experiences passed through by the candidate for initiation. Hell may be likened to kama-loka and also avichi, though neither is eternal. Kama-loka is better represented, however, by purgatory. Heaven is a reflection of devachan, blended also with ideas of nirvanic states. Thus heaven and hell should both be used in the plural, as is commonly the case in their non-Christian equivalents: Elysium, nirvana, Paradise, Valhalla, Olympus, and many other names for heaven; and Tartarus, Gehenna, She’ol, Niflheim, etc., for hell.

Heaven and hell may denote states of consciousness experienced in daily life on earth. A rough division of cosmic spheres makes heaven the highest, hell or Tartarus the lowest, with the earth beneath heaven, and the underworld beneath it and preceding Tartarus. The crystalline spheres of medieval astronomy are called heavens surrounding the earth concentrically. Far from being adjudicated by a deity to happiness or torment, after death a person goes to that region to which he is attracted by the affinities which he has set up during his life. Thus theosophy teaches the existence of almost endless and widely varying spheres or regions, all inhabited by peregrinating entities; and of these regions the higher can be dubbed the heavens and the lowest the hells, and the intermediate can be called the regions of experiences and purgation. All spheres possessing sufficient materialized substance to be called imbodied spheres are hells by contrast with the ethereal and spiritual globes of the heavens. Therefore in a sense and on a smaller scale, the lower globes of a planetary chain may be called hells, and the higher globes of the chain, by contrast, heavens.

All evolving entities go to both the heavens and the hells of our solar system in accordance with their evolutionary necessities, and for the purpose of purgation through the suffering of material experience; but in all cases such peregrinating egos are attracted at the different times of their long evolutionary schooling to those spheres by sympathy or psychomagnetic pull. The immense justice of this idea, from which the heavens and hells of the different religions have come, is readily apparent. See also LOKA

Heavenly Adam. See ’ADAM QADMON

Hebdomad [from Greek hebdomas a group of seven] A group of seven, a septenary; a period of seven days, or seven years, etc., as in Sabbatical periods.

Hebel. See ABEL

Hebel de-Garmin, Hebel de Germin (Aramaic) Hebel de-Garmīn [from hebel breath, vapor + gerem a bone] The breath (life) of the bones, rendered by some Qabbalists as the body of resurrection, referring to the tselem (image) of the deceased believed to remain as an indestructible prototype. Also met with in the Old Testament in the vision of Ezekiel (ch 37) where the army of bones are breathed into life; likewise in Daniel and Isaiah.

A somewhat parallel concept occurs in The Egyptian Book of the Dead: “Rise up thou, O Osiris, thou hast thy backbone, O still-heart, thou hast thy neck vertebrae and thy back” (ch 155).

Hebel is also the Hebrew spelling of the second son of Adam, usually rendered in English as Abel, brother of Cain.

Hecate (Greek) Hekate. This goddess, daughter of Perses and Asteria, was given power from Zeus in heaven, earth, and sea. She was a mysterious divinity, popularly represented as the goddess of sorcery and witchcraft, haunting crossroads and graveyards, wandering only by night and seen by dogs, whose barking told of her approach. Identified with Artemis and Persephone, she was held to be the same as Selene or Luna in heaven, Artemis or Diana on earth, and Persephone or Proserpina in the underworld; hence she was called Tergemina, Triformis, Triceps, etc. She is the personified moon, whose phenomena are triadic and is one prototype of the Christian Trinity (SD 1:387).

Just as Diana represented the moonlight splendor of night, so Hecate represented its darkness and terrors; and she is best known as a deity of the nether world, sending forth terrible phantoms and presiding wherever sorcery is practiced.

In the Orphic teachings, she was trimorphas (three-formed) “the personified symbol of the various and successive aspects represented by the moon in each of her three phases; and this interpretation was already that of the Stoics, . . . while the Orpheans explained the epithet [[Trimorphos]] by the three kingdoms of nature over which she reigned” (SD 1:395).

Hedonism [from Greek hedone, pleasure] In ethics, the doctrine that the gratification of natural inclinations is the chief good, and that the moral law is thereby fulfilled. The value of this doctrine depends entirely on what we are to understand by pleasure or inclination. In the best sense, which was that of Epicurus and his followers, these words may be considered as one way of trying to express the summum bonum, the goal of human endeavor; and this school pointedly taught that neither happiness nor peace are ever attainable by the subjection of human thought, mind, and conscience to the instincts or inclinations of the body. Some aspects of modern utilitarianism may be considered as a form of hedonism. But the doctrine as stated is easily degraded, and in its worst form becomes the pursuit of sensual gratification. In fact, hedonism as a word, and as understood now and by many even in ancient times, is the exact opposite of what these early philosophers believed and taught. See also EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY

Heh. See HE’

Hekat, Heket. See HEQET

Hel (Icelandic) [from helju hell, death] The mythical regent of the Norse realm of the dead, depicted as half black or blue and half flesh-colored. In myths the representative of death is usually said to be a child of mind: in the Edda she is the daughter of Loki (fire of mind) and of the giantess Angerboda (boder of regret). She rules the nine worlds of death which correspond to the nine worlds of life, and apportions to each arrival a domicile appropriate to that soul’s merit or demerit. Some may frolic in sunlit meadows, others suffer agony beneath the lower gates leading to Niflhel [from nifl cloud + hel death] where matter is ground to extinction. The realm of Hel with its varied accommodations resembles the Greek Hades more than the hell of popular belief where evil souls are sent for punishment. Rather, the kingdom of death is a restful interlude where souls spend a fitting time in their rightful environment. The Eddas relate that elves (human souls) sleep among the gods when they are feasting on the mead of a past period of life (experience); thus the resting souls are present in the divine spheres even through unconscious of their surroundings.

In the Edda’s Vagtamskvadet, the tale is told of the sun god’s death and departure for the house of Hel, where a sumptuous apartment is furnished for him and mead is being freshly brewed for his arrival.

Helheim, Helhem (Icelandic, Swedish) Hel’s home; in the Norse Eddas the domain of Hel, ruler of the realm of death. Hel or Hela, daughter of Loki, governs the lands where souls spend the time intervening between lives in the “victory worlds.” The realms of death vary from beautiful, peaceful meadows of delight to cages woven of venomous serpents where the occupants undergo acute suffering. The lowest of these hells contain rivers of venom in which oath-brakers and adulterers must wade.

Heliocentric The heliocentric system was universally known in antiquity as a part of the teaching of the Mysteries, and certain eminent sages of those archaic times even taught it more or less openly, among them Confucius in China, Greek philosophers, Egyptian priests, and Hindu astronomical and other writers. Pythagoras veiled the heliocentric theory under the teaching that the planets (and the sun) revolved around a mysterious central fire, invisible to us, but whose light was reflected to the earth by the sun.

At the same time, practically all antiquity adopted the geocentric point of view for public dissemination of their ideas. Secrecy may have been their reason; or they may have wished to represent the mechanism geocentrically for convenience of use, since they and their readers lived upon the earth and not upon the sun. The same secrecy is not necessary today because we no longer recognize the harmony of nature and the universal correspondences: we can be trusted with the key because we have mislaid the lock.

Heliolatry. See SUN WORSHIP

Helios, Helion, Helius (Greek) The sun god, son of Hyperion and Theia, brother of Selene (the moon) and Eos (the dawn). He drives the chariot of the sun across the sky. Generally identical with Apollo or Phoebos; sol in Latin, sun in English, assimilated etymologically with the Hebrew ’El and ’elohim, the Chaldean Bel, and the Phoenician Ba‘al. Helios is paired with Selene the moon, as Sol is with Luna.


Hemadri (Sanskrit) Hemādri [from heman golden + adri mountain.] The golden mountain; one name of Mount Meru.

Hemera (Greek) Day; in older Greek mythology, from Chaos issue Erebus and Nox (cosmic darkness and cosmic night) and from these two under the action of Eros, issue Aether and Hemera (light and day) — darkness generates light. Aether is the light of the heavenly or superior spheres, whereas Hemera is the light of the inferior and terrestrial regions.

Henoch. See ENOCH

Hephaistos, Hephaestus (Greek) A fire god, child of Zeus and Hera, equivalent to the Latin Vulcanus or Vulcan. He is twice cast down from Olympus, to which however he returns; thus he is a messenger of the gods to earth, and appears on various planes as a manifestation of cosmic fire. He is a kabir, a cosmic teacher of men, whom he instructed in the use of fire and the metallurgic arts. Jupiter, or the four-faced or four-sided Brahma, partakes of all four elements and disputes his fiery function to Hephaistos. The volcanic island of Lemnos, on which Hephaistos is said to have fallen when cast from Olympus, was sacred to him.

Hephaistos has both a cosmic and an earthly significance; and because he is essentially a fire god, his nature and functions are necessarily involved with all the mystical ranges of thought into which fire enters: the fire of spirit, the fire of intellect, the fire of creative activity, etc. He may generally be identified with the fiery or aspiring element in human beings derivative from the higher manas, which links Hephaistos with the manasaputric activities.

As the smith of the gods, he is related to the kabiri, the instructor of mankind in the metal arts. He made thunderbolts for Zeus, armor, jewelry, and other items for the gods, and is said to have molded the first woman, Pandora, which was sent to Epimetheus.

Heptachord The seven-stringed lyre of Apollo, corresponding to septenates in general, such as seven musical tones, seven prismatic colors, seven human or cosmic principles, etc. From it the god evoked the harmony that governs the worlds in their motions.

One of its correspondences is the seven sacred planets, Apollo being the sun. As the ancients all regarded the sun, under whatever name, as a seven- or twelve-rayed one — the allusions here being to the doctrine of the logoi proceeding from the sun’s heart and finding their respective individual habitations in the planets — the heptachord is thus the actual or organic structure of the solar system; and in reality Apollo’s heptachord is Apollo’s own self flowing forth in seven logoic powers.

Heptad. See SEVEN

Heptakis (Greek) heptaktys. Seven times; equivalent of the seven-rayed Chaldean Iao, as represented on Gnostic gems. See also HEPTACHORD

Heqet or Heqtit (Egyptian) Ḥeqet or Ḥeqtit. A goddess, represented as frog-headed, generally identified with Hathor, but in Hermopolis also associated with Isis, as the two goddesses were the abstract and the concrete aspects of the same cosmic power. Originally the female counterpart of the god Khnemu, by whom she became the mother of Aroeris (Heru-ur or Horus the Elder). She is also connected with resurrection. See also FROG

Hera (Greek) Olympian divinity, sister and consort of Zeus, counterpart of the Roman Juno. According to the Homeric poems she was accorded the same honors by the other divinities as Zeus himself, who counseled with her and also shared with her secret things unknown to the other gods. She is represented as Queen of Heaven only at a later date. Like Zeus she had the power to confer the gift of prophecy. Mother of Ares, Hephaistos, and Hebe, she was the goddess of marriage and birth, patron divinity of woman from birth to death, and of domestic duties. Sanctuaries for the worship of Hera existed in many parts of Greece, the principal center being Argos.

Hera corresponds to the personalized prakriti of the Hindus, as Zeus in so many respects is a Greek counterpart of Brahma. This explains why the functions, high and low, of Hera were generative and productive, in general the fecund producer of all things throughout the drama of manvantara.

Heracles (Greek) Herakles Hercules (Latin) [probably from heros free man, cf Latin herus lord of a household; or “renowned through Hera”] Son of Zeus and Alcmene, greatest of the Greek heroes. He delivers Prometheus from Zeus, and slays the two serpents representing the nodes of the moon. The passage of the sun through the zodiacal signs typifies the twelve labors of Heracles, in this case denoting the energies of the cosmic Logos working on various planes, and also in the microcosmic sphere the trials through which an initiant must pass before reaching adeptship. In one of his highest aspects he is a solar entity, self-born, and possibly equivalent to Thor of Scandinavia (SD 1:131-2). He is the first-begotten, in some ways equivalent to Bel of Asia Minor and to Siva in India (SD 2:492). He is one of the minor logoi who strive to endow humankind with higher faculties. Again, he appears as the sun god who descends to Hades (cave of initiation) in order to deliver the denizens there from their bonds, thus being equivalent to Mahasura and Lucifer.

The name Heracles was often given to heroes and demigods who imbodied his particular characteristics.

Heraclitus Herakleitos (535-475 BC) Greek philosopher from Ephesus, known as “the obscure” because of difficult writing style. He held that knowledge is based on sense perceptions, and wisdom consists in recognizing the intelligence that guides the universe. Everything is in constant flux, everything being resolvable into the primordial element fire after cycling through all the elements. Nature is constantly dividing and uniting itself, so that all things are at once identical and not identical. ( )

Herakles. See HERACLES

Heranasikha (Singhalese) [from herana novice + sikha rule, precept] Manual of Precepts; a work written in Elu or the ancient Singhalese, for the use of young priests.

Herbs The very large number of plants used as remedial agents in medicine are the natural remedies in treating disease, divine instructors having revealed to early humanity the great boon of agriculture and the medical use of plants. Echoes of the archaic wisdom appear in Vedic writings, but few can interpret the philosophy of the one Life which functions in the elements and forces of the human body, and their related action in the plants and minerals of the body of the earth.

The Sanskrit word for medicine in general is aushadha (consisting of herbs), and the ancient Hindu materia medica was the source from which subsequent systems of practice in many other countries drew their remedies, when a broad conception of the sacred art of healing marked their highest periods of national attainment. Originally the medical practitioners were as familiar with the mystical and occult properties of plants and minerals as magicians themselves were. Both understood the analogy and interrelations between the principles of the composite human being and all the various elements throughout the realm of nature. That some plants are attracted by the sun and others by the moon, etc., was explained by a profound knowledge of astronomy and of the occult influences of solar, lunar, and planetary time periods and sidereal forces. This gave the key for the best time, place, and conditions for gathering the herbs, and for the special pharmacy required for bringing out the vital remedial action which, by working with nature, left no unfavorable aftereffects. There is no record of medical laboratory work producing artificial synthetic products which, even when duplicating nature’s substances chemically, are not different vitally. Nor was organotherapy resorted to when and where the healing art held a worthy place in high civilizations.

One of the earliest physicians in Europe to bring herbs into medical practice was Paracelsus, who taught that every plant on earth belonged to, or had its origin in, a star. Following him there were many who allocated the herbs and plants as pertaining to the seven sacred planets of the ancients. The Hermetists of old also had the plants so listed.

Hercules. See HERACLES

Heredity The theosophical philosophy explains heredity as being the attraction of reimbodying monads to the respective families with which they have affinities of various kinds; and thus it is the reimbodying egos carrying such individual characteristics or attributes which perpetuate them in the family life-stream. It is the sutratman (life thread) which runs through successive generations.

The life-atoms of the lower human principles are drawn again to us when we reimbody so that both the soul and the life-atoms of its bodies are essentially the same from life to life. The cause of heredity is a certain class of dhyani-chohans spoken of as the fourth order of angelic beings. They “are the field wherein lies concealed in its privation the germ that will fall into generation. That germ will become the spiritual potency in the physical cell that guides the development of the embryo, and which is the cause of the hereditary transmission of faculties and all the inherent qualities in man. . . . This inner soul of the physical cell — this ‘spiritual plasm’ that dominates the germinal plasm — is the key that must open one day the gates of the terra incognita of the Biologist, now called the dark mystery of Embryology” (SD 1:219).

That the child carries on or transmits many features from his parents cannot be denied, but it is of no greater significance than the fact that he also derives features from a variety of other sources, all which contribute materials and subordinate agents by which the karma of the individual is fulfilled. That karma is the innate character of the individual, as imbodied in the various spiritual, manasic, psychological, or astral vehicles which contribute to the composite human being. Without taking into account these acquired characteristics on the inner planes, what determines the extent or manner in which the character of the offspring will be modified by the modicum of new physical influence derived from the parents cannot be explained. For, “it is . . . unquestionable that in the case of human incarnations the law of Karma, racial or individual, overrides the subordinate tendencies of ‘Heredity,’ its servant” (SD 2:178).

Further, nothing in nature is static, and energy always flows into the physical system from within. Heredity cannot be understood on the presumption that inorganic particles exist; it is necessary to bear in mind that all the results are due to the cooperation and interaction of living beings of many kinds and degrees.

To summarize: what modern usage calls heredity, the transmission of characteristics from parents to children, is not a merely physiologic or biologic mechanism acting automatically or fortuitously; but actually is brought about because of the attraction to certain families, or certain parents, of reimbodying egos possessing in greater or larger degree the same characteristics which the parents themselves have. On identic lines is to be explained the reason why races and even nations continue with their respective characteristics; egos are drawn to similar fields for incarnation. Thus it is that the transmission of type and characteristics continues both racially and individually from generation to generation, always modified by the individualities of the reimbodying egos.

Heresy of Separateness The belief that one’s self is or can be separate in essence from all other selves. Our apparent separation is functional, not organic or real. This heresy is the one fundamental error against which all theosophical students are warned, and is alluded to in Christian mystic thought as the sin against the Holy Ghost. See also BROTHERHOOD

Hermanubis (Greek) Heru-em-Anpu (Egyptian) Ḥeru-em-Ȧnpu [Anubis in connection with Horus] The aspect of Anubis (Anpu) connected with the wisdom of the underworld, particularly in regard to its Mysteries, hence very little is known of this phase except what is mentioned mainly by Plutarch and Apuleius. In this aspect Anubis was “ ‘the revealer of the mysteries of the lower world’ — not of Hell or Hades as interpreted, but of our Earth (the lowest world of the septenary chain of worlds) — and also of the sexual mysteries. . . . The fact is that esoterically, Adam and Eve while representing the early third Root Race — those who, being still mindless, imitated the animals and degraded themselves with the latter — stand also as the dual symbol of the sexes. Hence Anubis, the Egyptian god of generation, is represented with the head of an animal, a dog or a jackal, and is also said to be the ‘Lord of the under world’ or ‘Hades’ into which he introduces the souls of the dead (the reincarnating entities), for Hades is in one sense the womb, as some of the writings of the Church Fathers fully show” (TG 139-40).

Hermaphrodite [from Greek Hermes + Aphrodite] The form and typical nature of both the god and goddess in one individual. Androgyne also relates to a dual-sexed human being. Thus, the hermaphrodite imbodies nature’s universal polarity on its lower planes, which polarity is an emanation from the non-dual or non-bipolar mental and spiritual realms. In an abstract sense, this is a personification of the universal polarity in nature on its lower planes, wherein the so-called masculine and feminine principles are the opposing but coordinating agencies, often called positive and negative, in their creative and generative aspects. “The ancients taught the, so to speak, auto-generation of the Gods: the one divine essence, unmanifested, perpetually begetting a second-self, manifested, which second-self, androgynous in its nature, gives birth in an immaculate way to everything macro- and micro-cosmical in this universe” (SD 1:398).

Attention is drawn to the philosophic need of making a sharp distinction between what Blavatsky has called primary creation and secondary creation, the former referring to the one divine unity in which all later manifesting hierarchies primordially inhere as One; whereas the secondary creation or stage in cosmic evolution begins with the fourth stage or fourth cosmic plane beneath the former, where polarity, duality, and the consequent emanational elaboration of the universe into its hierarchical structures begins. Thus through emanational cosmic evolution the One breaks through its two aspects of parabrahman and mulaprakriti into the cosmically androgyne and phenomenal finite manifested universe.

The asexual procreative methods of the early root-races had evolved to the hermaphroditic status in the early and middle third root-race. The present conditions of sex will also pass away in due course of time after ages of experience as man and woman shall have brought forth the innate masculine and feminine aspects of the human ego. The human race in the course of millions of years will become dual-sexed and finally sexless.

Hermas The Pastor of Hermas or The Shepherd of Hermas is an early Christian book, attributed to Hermas because that name occurs several times in it, though the authorship is doubtful. It was widely known in the East and regarded as inspired, receiving a respect approximating that paid to the canonical New Testament. It had wide vogue as early as the 2nd century. Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen quote it as scripture; and Origen identifies the author with the Hermas mentioned in Romans. Though it is impossible to assign to it a definite date of composition, conjecture points to the time of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius (117-161 AD). Full of legends and allegories, it presents in suggestive forms the gospel of love, but the name of Jesus Christ does not occur. It was thought by some to be Jewish in origin and contains passages from the Zohar. It has come down to us in several Latin translations, but only fragments of the Greek manuscript have yet come to hand.

Hermes (Greek) Greek god, son of Zeus and Maia, the third person in a triad of Father-Mother-Son, hence the formative Logos or Word. He is equivalent to the Hindu Budha, the Zoroastrian Mithra, the Babylonian Nebo — son of Zarpa-Nitu (moon) and Merodach (sun) — and the Egyptian Thoth with the ibis for his emblem; also to Enoch and the Roman Mercurius, son of Coelus and Lux (heaven and light). Among his emblems are the cross, the cubical shape, the serpent, and especially his wand, the caduceus, which combines the serpent and cross. The name has been used generically for many adepts. To Hermes were attributed many functions, such as that of inspiring eloquence and healing, and he is the patron of intellectual, artistic, and productively agricultural pursuits. The nature and functions of this divinity express themselves to our mind as light, wisdom, intelligence, and quickness — especially in an intellectual sense. He was the messenger of the gods, and also the psychopomp or conductor of souls to the netherworld. In his lower aspects he is often made to serve as the inspirer of gross misuses of intelligence such as clever theft — thus illustrating that even the noblest qualities have their dark side.

Hermes-Fire Equivalent to St. Elmo’s fire, the brush-discharge of electricity seen at mastheads.

Hermes, Tablets of. See SMARAGDINE TABLET

Hermes Trismegistus Hermes thrice-great; the name of Hermes or Thoth the divinity in his human aspect as a high initiate. A mythical name for adepts adopted by several writers on so-called Hermetic subjects, with which the early Christian Fathers and the Gnostics show that they were acquainted. See also PYMANDER

Hermetic Axiom “As it is above, so it is below; as it is below, so it is above.” See also SMARAGDINE TABLET

Hermetic Chain or Great Chain of Being Greek expression found even in Homer, signifying the chain of beings from divinities reaching down to inferior gods, heroes, and sages, to ordinary human beings. Each link in this aggregate of hierarchies, of which each link is itself a hierarchy, transmitted its wisdom and power to the next below it; and it is thus that knowledge was originally communicated to early mankind. See GURUPARAMPARA

Hermod (Icelandic) [from her host, army + mod might, courage] A son of Odin in Norse mythology, equivalent to Hermes or Mercury, messenger of the gods. Best known for his memorable journey to the kingdom of Hel on behalf of the gods, when he was sent to entreat the queen of death to give up the sun god Balder whose death at the hands of his blind brother Hoder had been brought about by Loki (in some versions Odin himself undertakes the errand).

Heroes [from Greek heros free man, lord, great man] Classical antiquity speaks of heroes and demigods, of mingled divine and human parentage, who ruled over and instructed mankind in bygone ages. The mingled divine and human parentage has reference to the great human figures of the later third and early fourth root-races who imbodied as individuals the spiritual qualities of their divine ancestors as well as the human attributes which in those days were continuously becoming more dominant, and in time were destined to overshadow the diviner parts.

Such traditions are found everywhere, from Chaldea to Peru and Mexico, and always consistent with one plan. They recount the evolution of mankind through long ages preceding the present kali yuga; and teach that, as mankind proceeded on the descending arc, human beings were ruled successively by gods, demigods, heroes, and finally mortal initiate-kings, who later gave way to ordinary human rulers. Among genuine semidivine heroes who belong to the earliest part of the present root-race, are such names as Orpheus, Hermes, Cadmus, and Asclepios, all of whom revealed true esoteric sciences to humanity, from which sciences have descended to our own times the various arts, knowledges, and sciences.



Heru-pa-khart, Heru-sa-Ast. See HARPOCRATES; HORUS


Hesed or Chesed (Hebrew) Ḥesed [from ḥāsad to be zealous towards, to feel kindness and love for] Love, kindness; the fourth Sephirah, Mercy, Love, or Compassion, also called Gedulah (greatness, magnificence), emanated from the three preceding Sephiroth or first triad. Hesed is regarded as an active masculine potency, the second in the right pillar of the Sephirothal Tree. Its Divine Name is ’El (the mighty); in the Angelic Order it is represented as the Hashmaim (the scintillating flames), as of polished or burnished brass. In its application to the human body, regarded as the right arm, giving strength; while in its application to the seven globes of our planetary chain it corresponds to globe G. From this Sephiroth is emanated the fifth, Geburah.

Hesiodic Cosmogony The cosmogony and theogony of Hesiod, the Greek poet-philosopher of the 8th century BC, are historical but need interpretation to understand the symbology involved and to filter out the accumulation of minor myths which have been mingled with it. His two great works are Works and Days and Theogony. Among the features he mentions are: that gods and mortals have one common origin; that there have been four races preceding ours — called golden, silver, bronze, and iron, the fourth being that of the heroes who fell at Thebes and Troy; that seven is a sacred number in days and in constellations; that the beginning of all things was Chaos (Hesiod having the singular restraint to say nothing about what preceded Chaos); that “night” came before “day.” The giants he mentions parallel the asuras and suras and are reminiscences of Atlanteans. His three cyclopes are said to have been representative figures for the last three subraces of Lemuria, and also for three polar continents (SD 2:769, 776). His Prometheus typifies the Greek moral ideal in representing this rebel demigod as the benefactor of mankind, in contrast with the Christian Satan.

Hesperides The Greek goddesses who, with the hundred-headed dragon Ladon, guarded the golden apples which Gaia (earth) gave as a wedding present to Hera on her marriage to Zeus. These apples grew on a tree in a garden by the banks of the river Oceanus near Mt. Atlas, which geographically for the ancients was the peak of Teneriffe, a remnant of Atlantis. One of the tasks of Hercules was to secure some of these apples. The Hesperides are, according to various authorities, three, four, or seven in number. Hesiod calls them the daughters of Night; they are also called Atlantides, and by some made the daughters of Atlantis and Hesperis.

In this we recognize the mythos of the tree of knowledge with its fruit and its location in the garden of life, localized in those mysterious lands of the West from which the ancestors of the Greeks migrated when the new race was in birth from the surviving elect of the old. It represents the Golden Age, the Eden of Grecian mythology.

Hesperos (Greek) Venus as the evening star, brother of Eosphoros or Phosphoros (equivalent to the Roman Lucifer), the morning star, children of dawn and twilight. In Hesiod they are children of Astraios and Eos (starry heaven and dawn). Hesperos was glorified in early Christian and pagan bridal songs, and Blavatsky calls Hesperos the father of the Hesperides. (SD 1:386; BCW 8:16-8)

Hestia. See VESTA

Heteremeroi. See DIOSCURI

Heterogeneity and Homogeneity Heterogeneity applies in theosophy to the immensely differentiated and variegated emanations of the cosmic spirit, itself considered the homogeneous or nondifferentiated source and root of all. During a manvantara the one uniform and noncompounded spirit becomes differentiated into the incomprehensibly vast varieties of manifested nature; whereas during pralaya differentiation vanishes and all returns into the noncompounded homogeneity of the cosmic spirit. Neither term is used in too absolute a sense; each refers to cosmic hierarchies or universes, surrounded by the limitless spaces of infinite space. See also DIFFERENTIATION; ELEMENT; LAYA-CENTER; PRIMEVAL MATTER; UNITY

Hetu (Sanskrit) Hetu Cause, motive, impulse; in the Nyaya system of philosophy, a logical reason or deduction or argument; the reason for an inference, applied especially to the second member or avayava of the five-membered syllogism. In Buddhism, a primary cause, opposed to pratyaya (concurrent cause).

Heva(h). See EVE

Hexad. See SENARY; SIX

Hexagon, Hexagram. See SIX; SIX-POINTED STAR

Hezekiah (Hebrew) Ḥizqiyyāh Jehovah makes strong; according to the Bible, one of the greatest and best kings of Judah, the titular son of Ahaz and son-in-law of Isaiah. He sought to purge the religion and beliefs of the Jews: this is symbolized in the Bible as the breaking of the Brazen Serpent (2 Kings 18:4). “It was Hezekiah who was the expected Messiah of the exoteric state-religion. He was the scion from the stem of Jesse, who should recall the Jews from a deplorable captivity, about which the Hebrew historians seem to be very silent, . . . but which the irascible prophets imprudently disclose. If Hezekiah crushed the exoteric Baal-worship, he also tore violently away the people of Israel from the religion of their fathers, and the secret rites instituted by Moses” (IU 2:441).

Hgrasena. See UGRASENA

Hhachamim. See HACHAMIM

Hhanoch. See ENOCH

Hhawwah. See EVE

Hhayyah. See HAYYAH

Hhayyim. See HAYYIM

Hhayo Bishah. See HIWYAI’ BISHA’

Hhayyoth Haq-Qadosh. See HAYYOTH HAQ-QADOSH

Hhesed. See HESED

Hhiwyai’ Bisha’. See HIWYAI’ BISHA’

Hhochmah. See HOCHMAH

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