Copyright © 1999 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved.
EDITORS’ NOTE: This online version of the Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary is a work in progress. The manuscript, originally produced in the 1930s and ’40s, is currently being revised and expanded, and will be updated periodically. Comments, corrections, and suggestions are welcome; please send to email@example.com
For ease of searching, diacritical marks are omitted, with the exception of Hebrew and Sanskrit terms, where after the main head a current transliteration with accents is given.
Quick links: Aa-Adh | Adi-Ag | Ah-Al | Am-Ani | Anj-Arc | Ard-Asr | Ass-Atm | Ato-Az | Ba-Be | Bh-Bo | Br-Bz | Ca-Ce | Cha-Chy | Ci-Cz | Da-Der | Des-Dir | Dis-Dz | Ea-El | Em-Ez | F | Ga-Gl | Gn-Gz | Ha-Hh | Hi-Hz | I | J | Ka |Ke-Kz | La-Li | Lo-Lz | Ma-Mam | Man-Mar | Mas-Me | Mi-Mo | Mp-Mz | Na-Ne | Nf-Nz | O | Pa-Peq | Per-Pi | Pl-Pral | Pram-Prj | Pro-Pz | Q-Rec | Red-Roos | Root-Rz | Sa-Sal | Sam-Saq | Sar-Sec | Sed-Sez | Sh-Sir | Sis-Som | Son-Sq | Sr-Sum | Sun-Sz | Ta-Tel | Tem-Thn | Tho-Tre | Tri-Tz | U | Va-Vih | Vij-Vz | W-X | Y | Z
Shaberon (Tibetan) zhabs dpad blon (shab-pe-lon) [from zhabs dpad lotus feet cf Sanskrit padmapada a title of respect + blon, blon po officer, minister] Exalted officer; often the head of a Tibetan monastery. The Shaberons are mentioned as occasionally possessing wonderful powers, but are not necessarily tulkus of the Buddha (as the Dalai Lama and Tashi Lama are generally believed to be). While the ordinary Lamaist and uninstructed Tibetan supposes these Buddha reincarnations to be those of Gautama Buddha, the instructed or initiated higher classes of the Tibetan hierarchy understand that in great men there is always a ray of the celestial buddha; and therefore that when these great men reincarnate, the buddha ray is likewise reimbodied.
Shadayatana (Sanskrit) Ṣaḍāyatana [from ṣaṣ six + āyatana seat, abode from ā towards + the verbal root yat to rest in or on] Six seats of the human sense organs, each of which has a physical means of expression and of reception: the eyes, nose, ear, tongue, body (for the sense of touch), and brain (the organ of mind). The physical organs of sense themselves are mere vehicles of the living impulses of sense acting from their seats within the astral constitution, these being the shadayatana. Commonly described as the organs of sensation through which consciousness passes to and fro, it is recognized as the eighth of the twelve nidanas.
Shaddai (Hebrew) Shaddai [from the verbal root shādad to be powerful, strong] The omnipotent, the Almighty — a form of the grammatical plural of excellence; commonly used in the phrase ’El Shaddai (omnipotent divinity), an epithet properly belonging to any cosmic hierarch, but in the Old Testament often applied to Jehovah.
Shaddai corresponds to the Latin Omnipotens or the Greek Pantokrator, all signifying all powerful.
Shad-darsana (Sanskrit) Ṣaḍ-darśana [from ṣaḍ six + darśana vision, school] The six schools of ancient Hindu philosophy. See also DARSANA
Shades The astral remnants of the dead, spooks, ghosts, phantoms, lemures, larvae, bhutas, etc. In the singular, also used for the linga-sarira or khaba in the Egyptian enumeration of souls.
Shadja (Sanskrit) Ṣaḍja Born of six; the first of the seven svaras or primary notes of music, so called because in Hindu theory it is supposed to be produced by six organs: tongue, teeth, palate, nose, throat, and chest. The other six svaras are riishabha, gandhara, madhyama, panchama, dhaivata, and nishada. Nishada and gandhara are referred to as the udatta accent, the acute accent or a high or sharp tone; rishabha and dhaivata as the anudatta accent, the grave accent or a general accentless neutral tone which is neither high nor low; and shadja, madhyama, and panchama as the svarita accent, corresponding to the Greek circumflex or a kind of mixed tone produced by a combination of a high tone and a low. The sound of the shadja is said to resemble the note of peacocks.
Shadows Everything on earth is the shadow or reflection of its prototype in superior and inner spheres; more generally, matter is the shadow of spirit; our sun is the central sun’s shadow. The human linga-sarira (model-body) is called the shadow-body, and similarly the astral light is called the shadow of cosmic substance, both representing the nether pole of their respective higher counterparts. The Gnostics, speaking of good and evil, said that shadow is what enables light to manifest itself by giving to light objective reality; it is the necessary corollary which completes light or good — their creator on earth. Every deity has its accompanying dark aspect of shadow, frequently called its veil, sheath, of vehicle.
In the plural, used of the first root-race, a chhaya (shadow), reflection, or vehicle of the as yet latent indwelling monad, and hence this race is called amanasa (mindless), and sons of the self-born; they were the shadows in the sense that their spiritual progenitors, the first dhyanis whose evolutionary duty it was to form mankind in their own image, emanated forth or evolved their “shadows” for nature spirits to work upon. These shadows were later endowed with mind by dhyanis of a more highly evolved grade, manasaputras or intelligences.
Also used for the bodhisattvas of the celestial realms who are the shadows or spiritual living and self-conscious projections emanated by the dhyani-buddhas.
Shadowy Arc. See ARC, ASCENDING AND DESCENDING
Shaitan [from Arab shaitan] In the Koran an angel of high degree who was expelled from heaven because he refused to worship Adam at his Lord’s command; often regarded as equivalent to Iblis.
Shakers A sect called the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, founded by Ann Lee in England, which afterwards spread to the United States. Their asceticism and religious emotionalism often led to their being seized with violent tremblings, like those of the early Quakers or of the Convulsionnaires among the French Jansenists. In themselves, such exterior physical phenomena are due to a one-sided emotional development, and to the evoking of genuine and powerful forces within a physical organism not properly and duly prepared to deal with and sustain them. Such conditions often lead to reactions which both physically and mentally are dangerous, and in the most extreme cases may render the physical organism peculiarly subject to being influenced by excarnate astral entities.
Shakya-thub-pa (Tibetan-Sanskrit) Sakya the mighty one; a name of Gautama Buddha in Tibet, equivalent to the Sanskrit Sakyamuni (the Sakya sage); Sakya was Gautama’s clan name.
Shamael. See SAMAEL
Shaman [from Tungusian saman; Russian shaman an idolator] Originally magician or sorcerer of the wandering tribes of Tartary, Mongolia, or Siberia (either man or woman); follower of the primeval religions, such as the Bhon religion of Tibet. Today applied to sorcerers, medicine men, etc., among traditional peoples, or what is based on their practices, anywhere in the world.
There are two classes of Shamans, however; “The Shamans of Siberia are all ignorant and illiterate. Those of Tartary and Thibet — few in number — are mostly learned men in their own way, and will not allow themselves to fall under the control of spirits of any kind. The former are mediums in the full sense of the word; the latter, ‘magicians. . . .’
“But, while the illiterate Shaman is a victim, and during his crisis sometimes sees the persons present, under the shape of various animals, and often makes them share his hallucination, his brother Shaman, learned in the mysteries of the priestly colleges of Thibet, expels the elementary creature . . .” (IU 2:625-6).
Shamanism Generally regarded as spirit worship, commonly and often unjustly classed with the religions of primitive peoples referring particularly to the beliefs of wandering tribes in Siberia, Tartary, and Mongolia. Belief in a supreme being is a prominent feature but this supreme being must be propitiated through secondary powers, both beneficent and malevolent, by means of intermediaries — priests or shamans. Blavatsky had contacted several shamans and wrote concerning it: “What is now generally known of Shamanism is very little; and that has been perverted, like the rest of the non-Christian religions. It is called the ‘heathenism’ of Mongolia, and wholly without reason, for it is one of the oldest religions of India. It is spirit-worship, or belief in the immortality of the souls, and that the latter are still the same men they were on earth, though their bodies have lost their objective form, and man has exchanged his physical for a spiritual nature. In its present shape, it is an offshoot of primitive theurgy, and a practical blending of the visible with the invisible world.” “The true Shamanism . . . can no more be judged by its degenerated scions among the Shamans of Siberia, then the religion of Gautama-Buddha can be interpreted by the fetishism of some of his followers in Siam and Burmah. It is in the chief lamaseries of Mongolia and Thibet that it has taken refuge” (IU 2:615-6).
“Its followers have neither altars nor idols, and it is upon the authority of a Shaman priest that we state that their true rites, which they are bound to perform only once a year, on the shortest day of winter, cannot take place before any stranger to their faith. . . . Whenever they assemble to worship, it is always in an open space, or a high hill, or in the hidden depths of a forest — in this reminding us of the old Druidical rites. Their ceremonies upon the occasion of births, deaths, and marriages are but trifling parts of their worship” (IU 2:624).
Shamash (Chaldean) The sun as one of the seven planets, also the Assyrian and Babylonian sun god, regarded as the all-pervading spirit of justice, as exposing injustice and wrong — as the morning sunbeams by their very presence disperse shadow and darkness. The principal centers of solar worship were in Babylon and Sippara, although temples were erected in all the principal cities of the empire, the structures being named ebarra (the shining house or house of the shining one). As with so many ancient peoples, the sun was popularly held to be driven across the sky by means of a chariot and horses, the charioteer being known as Bunene; while Justice (Kettu) and Right (Mesharu) followed as attendants.
With Ishtar (the nature goddess) and Sin (the moon deity), Shamash formed an important triad, regarded as the life-giving forces in all manifestation.
Shamayim (Hebrew) Shāmayim Shemayin (Aramaic) Shĕmayin. Dual of “the heavens”; in the Qabbalah, the celestial world of the stars, sun, planets, and moon. “The real meaning of Sha-mayeem is, that the heavens are made of אש ומים i.e., esh fire, mayeem water; also soo mayeem, the heaven carries the waters” (Myer, Qabbalah 348). As a Hebrew dual form, the heavens were anciently conceived of as dual — the higher and lower heavens. Nevertheless, it is constantly used likewise to signify heavens in the usual sense of plurality.
Shambhala. See SAMBHALA
Shanah (Hebrew) Shānāh [from the verbal root shānāh to repeat, continue in cycles] A year; a cycle, circle, or ring, with reference to cyclic periods of time. The ancient Jewish year was a lunar year, based on the recurrence of new moons within the annual solar cycle.
Shang (Chinese) In the I Ching, the constant virtues — benevolence, laws, and rites of social life, righteousness, and correctness — constituting the tao of man. “If the man of eminent virtue cultivates those four virtues, he is first and principal, all-pervading, beneficent, and immutably correct” (Wen yen 1).
Shannagarikah (Sanskrit) Ṣaṇṇagarikāḥ Belonging to six towns or cities; “a famous philosophical school where chelas are prepared before entering on the Path” (TG 81).
Sheath Used as a translation of the Sanskrit kosa in the Vedantic enumeration of the human principles or five sheaths of atman. After atman (the essential self) comes anandamaya-kosa, corresponding to buddhi; vijnanamaya-kosa (buddhi-manas); manomaya-kosa (kama-manas); pranamaya-kosa (prana and linga-sarira); and annamaya-kosa (sthula-sarira). This system expresses the idea that a human being is not a string or group of separate principles, but one self manifesting in and through a succession of veils or vehicles.
Sheba‘ (Hebrew) Shĕba‘ [from the verbal root shāba‘ to swear, take or make oath] Seven; also the Biblical Queen of Sheba.
Sheba‘ Heichaloth (Hebrew) Shĕba‘ Hēikhālōth Shib‘ah Heichalin (Aramaic) Shib‘āh Hēikhālīn [shĕba‘ seven + hēikhālōth worlds] The seven worlds or habitations of the Zohar, and on a smaller scale the seven zones into which the world or underworld was divided according to the Qabbalah. This corresponds to the theosophical concept of the seven manifested globes of the planetary chain. In the Qabbalah, each world or zone belonging to the lowest of the septenary is inhabited by races of beings, called collectively shells (qelippoth — often wrongly rendered demons), under the dominion of Sama’el, Prince of Darkness or Angel of Death. The real meaning of these shells is that these races of beings living in the lower globes of each septenary are beings with bodies, imbodied entities as contrasted with purely ethereal spirits; and these bodies are looked upon as shells. In another sense the seven worlds or globes refer to the seven sacred planets of antiquity.
Shechinah (Hebrew) Shĕkhīnāh [from the verbal root shākhan to settle down or around, dwell] An emanation, a dwelling; referring both to the primordial emanation and to the dwelling or kingdom containing the Sephiroth, collectively considered the cosmic Tree of Life. In Jewish religious and mystical thought, the cloud of glory, or veil, surrounding a spiritual or divine manifestation. In the Qabbalah, used in a cosmic sense — termed the superior Shechinah — as the first splendor, or divine or spiritual substance, emanating from ’eyn soph and enveloping it as a veil, from which proceeded the hierarchy of the Sephiroth. This thought corresponds to the Hindu parabrahman and its splendorous veil mulaprakriti, from which proceed the hierarchies of the manifested universe. The inferior Shechinah is associated with the tenth or lowest Sephirah, Malchuth (kingdom or dwelling), which is equivalent to the material or physical universe, as the vehicle or carrier of all the preceding hierarchies of Sephiroth.
Whatever the stage of manifestation, there may always be said to be a radiance or splendor enveloping that stage; just as in ancient Hindu philosophy, pradhana is considered the veil or emanation of Brahman. The Jews also spoke of the cloud of glory enveloping the tabernacle, and its sanctum sactorum, the holy of holies. Carrying the idea still farther, we might speak of the Shechinah which envelops the human being, his vital aura, which is the carrier of all his higher principles.
Shechinah is equivalent to Devamatri or Aditi — mother of the gods; to Vach; the music of the spheres of Pythagoras; and the Holy Ghost in the Christian Trinity. Shechinah is always regarded as feminine in the Qabbalah, “And so it is considered in the exoteric Puranas, for Shekinah is no more than Sakti — the female double or lining of any god, in such case. And so it was with the early Christians whose Holy Spirit, was feminine, as Sophia was with the Gnostics. But in the transcendental Chaldean Kabala or ‘Book of Numbers,’ ‘Shekinah’ is sexless, and the purest abstraction, a State, like Nirvana, not subject or object or anything except an absolute Presence.
“Thus it is only in the anthromorphised systems (such as the Kabala has now greatly become) that Shekinah-Sakti is feminine. As such she becomes the Duad of Pythagoras, the two straight lines of the symbol that can never meet, which therefore form no geometrical figure and are the symbol of matter. Out of the Duad, when united in one basic line of the triangle on the lower plane (the upper Triangle of the Sephirothal Tree), emerge the Elohim, or Deity in Cosmic Nature, with the true Kabalists, the lowest designation, translated in the Bible ‘God’” (SD 1:618-9).
Shedim (Hebrew) Shēdīm [plural of shēd] used in ancient Hebrew writings and in the Qabbalah with a general significance of nature spirits or elementals of various kinds, and therefore corresponding to the Greek daimonia, the Persian devs, and the Egyptian afrites. They were considered to be evil spirits of nature or demons of whom Lilith was popularly said to be the mother. “The Canaanites, we are told, worshipped these evil powers as deities . . . [and] shed the blood of their sons and daughters to them” (WWW in TG 298).
Shells Derivative from qelippoth in the Hebrew Qabbalah, having the sense of empty form. They are the astral remains of the lower parts of man disintegrating in kama-loka after the death of the physical body and the separation of the higher principles. These shells persist for a short time in the case of the good, and for a long time in the case of the evil; and may be used as vehicles by various evil entities, or endowed with a temporary vitality by the necromancy of the seance room, which enables them in the physical phenomena of the seance room, whereby the ignorant very often pathetically mistake them for the spirits of the dead when they are in fact but astral phantoms.
Shem (Hebrew) Shēm Name; eldest of the three sons of Noah (Genesis 10), reputed founder of the Shemitic race. The Hebrew legend of Noah and his sons populating the globe after the deluge can refer to any root-race or large subordinate subrace, Noah and his family standing for the seeds of life carried over from one global or minor catastrophe to the beginning of the new racial period; hence Noah stands for the collective humanity of the beginning of the fifth root-race, although the legend of Noah and his ark can apply equally well to larger things, such as the beginning of the pralaya of a globe or of a planetary chain.
Shemal (Hebrew) Śĕm’ol North, the northern quarter, the left-hand, or the left quarter, the positions of space being taken from the observer who is supposed to be facing the rising sun (east). The spirit or regent of the earth, the shadow side of spirit, the darkness of matter.
“Schemal, the alter ego and the Sabean type of Samael, meant, in his philosophical and esoteric aspect, the ‘year’ in its astrological evil aspect, its twelve months or wings of unavoidable evils, in nature; and in esoteric theogony . . . both Schemal and Samael represented a particular divinity. With the Kabalists they are ‘the Spirit of the Earth,’ the personal god that governs it, identical de facto with Jehovah. For the Talmudists admit themselves that Samael is a god-name of one of the seven Elohim. The Kabalists, moreover, show the two, Schemal and Samael, as a symbolical form of Saturn, Chronos, the twelve wings standing for the 12 months, and the symbol in its collectivity representing a racial cycle. Jehovah and Saturn are also glyphically identical” (SD 1:417).
Shem Ham-mephorash (Hebrew) Shēm Ham-mĕfōrāsh [from shēm name + ham def article + mĕfōrāsh from the verbal root pārash to separate, declare, specify] The separated or distinguished name; a Qabbalistic term for the Great Name, said by some to have been pronounced by the High Priest in the Holy of Holies. “The mirific name derived from the substance of deity and showing its self-existent essence. Jesus was accused by the Jews of having stolen this name from the Temple by magic arts, and of using it in the production of his miracles” (TG 297).
This name is a mystical term implying — but without giving it — that among all the various names that might be given to the universal spiritual hierarch there is always one which is the highest and closest in descriptive power to the divine essence. From this idea flowed the logical deduction that if one could understand the divine essence sufficiently to realize what this best name for it might be, such knowledge de facto signified that the knower thereafter could wield a mighty spiritual power — because to understand the divine essence would signify that the understander already was an adept of the highest degree. All countries and peoples have believed that if one could give the exact and proper name to spiritual things, one could control them — a thought which has real occultism back of it, but which nevertheless has to be properly understood.
Shemsu-Heru or Heru-Shemsu (Egyptian) Shemsu-Ḥeru or Ḥeru-Shemsu. Followers of Horus, commonly called the children of Horus; four minor deities represented as the helpers of Horus (Heru), especially in regard to the embalming of the deceased. Hapi, dog-headed, and Tuamutef, jackal-headed, had charge of the two arms of the deceased; Mestha or Amset, a bearded man, and Qebhsennuf, hawk-headed, had charge of the two legs. These four deities also had surveillance of the four cardinal points: north, east, south, and west respectively.
Followers of Horus also applied to those early invaders and conquerors of Egypt who built up the great dynastic Egyptian civilization; over a number of centuries there was an inroad or influx from the Far East, possibly Southern India and Ceylon, or possibly even from the last remnants of the ancient Lanka of the Hindus, of immigrants who mingled with the then natives of Egypt — Atlanto-Aryans from Poseidonis — thus forming what became known in later days as the Egyptian people or race.
Shen (Chinese) In Taoism, when employed in relation to yang, it refers to the celestial or spiritual, hence the gods; in relation to man it is generally translated soul. Yang is defined as a supreme, universal shen — living, creating, dividing itself into an infinite number of shen — depositing the shen in the various beings of the worlds. “The shen are omnipresent; it is they which perform the unfathomable work of the Yang and the Yin. These two vital breaths (of the universe) create the beings; their peregrinating hwun (or shen) are the causes of the changes (in nature), from which, accordingly, we may learn the actions and manners of the kwei and the shen” (I Ching, Hi-ts’ze 1).
With regard to man, the Li Chi states that “Man is a product of the beneficial operation of the Yang and the Yin, and the union of a kwei with a shen; he consists of the finest breath which the five elements contain” (Li yun 3). See also KWEI
Sheol (Hebrew) Shĕ’ōl or Shĕ’ol The region of the shadow of the dead, in the Old Testament generally translated hell or the pit. It was considered as the common abode both of the righteous and the unrighteous, where life was continued as a shadowy, wavering, or dim reflection of earth life. Those in Sheol have no part in earth life nor is there any knowledge or productive work there (Ecc 9).
Sheol has all the attributes of subterranean gloom and wan bloodless activity that characterize the Hades or Orcus of the Greeks and Latins. The dying, without exception, are all spoken of as going down to Sheol, which in most of its aspects corresponds to the modern theosophical astral world or kama-loka.
The main difference between Sheol and Gehenna is that the former may in certain conditions lead to the latter as an extreme; for whereas Sheol is a region of inactivity and wan stillness, Gehenna is both the region and the state of active dissolution of the compounded kama-rupas bereft of their higher principles.
She’ol-’ob (Hebrew) Shĕ’ol ’ōb [from shĕ’ōl the Hebrew Hades + ’ōb a necromancer] One who raises the phantoms or kama-rupic shades of the dead from Sheol, a necromancer; intercourse or trafficking with the various kinds of inhabitants of the lower realms of the astral light or kama-loka.
Shigatse (Tibetan) gzhis ka rtse (Shi-ka-tse) The second largest city in Tibet, situated at the confluence of the Tsang-po River and one of its tributaries. Near the city stands the monastery of Tashi Lhunpo. However, references in The Mahatma Letters (where it is spelled Tzigadze or Tchigadze) do not seem to refer to this exoteric city.
Shi‘ites [from Arab shi‘a sectary] Moslems are divided into two main groups: the Sunnites, the most numerous, who accept the orthodox tradition (sunna), basing their beliefs on the words of the Koran); and the Shi‘ites who uphold ‘Ali as the representative of Allah, and reject the pronouncements of the other caliphs. The shi‘ites are located principally in Iran, although they are represented throughout the Moslem world. They incline towards interpreting the Koran, rather than holding to the letter of the law as do the Sunnites.
Shila. See SILA
Shin-sieu (Chinese) A sage and seer; the sixth Buddhist Patriarch of North China who taught the esoteric doctrine of bodhidharma, one of whose sayings appears in The Voice of the Silence: “For mind is like a mirror; it gathers dust while it reflects. It needs the gentle breezes of Soul Wisdom to brush away the dust of our illusions. Seek, O Beginner, to blend thy Mind and Soul”; “The human mind is like a mirror which attracts and reflects every atom of dust, and has to be, like that mirror, watched over and dusted every day” (VS 26, 83).
Shinto (Japanese) [from shin god + to, tao way, path] The way of the gods; applied to the popular religion in Japan prior to Buddhism. Japan was considered to be the land of the gods — a conception current among nearly all ancient peoples, each one of which looked upon its own land as the land of the original divine incarnations — and the ruler (mikado) as the direct descendant and actual representative of the sun goddess (Tensho Daijin). Spiritual agencies were attributed to all the processes of nature, and a reverential feeling inculcated toward the dead. Hero worship took the direction in the prevalent belief that noble-minded warriors should be exalted nearly to the position of demigods.
The shrines or temples were of simple construction, without adornment or statuary, the outstanding characteristic being the tori or gateway always present before a temple. The gateway was erected as a perch for the fowls offered to the deities, but the tori came to be regarded as an offering to the deities themselves, hence as many as desired might be erected in the vicinity of a temple.
There is much that is distinctly elevating and beautiful in the ancient Shinto religion, especially the emphasis laid upon spiritual influences permeating the universe, so that everything that was, is, or will be, and everything that happens, is in the last analysis the production of spiritual influences. It was a religion notably without the ceremonial trappings of many other religious systems, for simplicity in all things was a particular teaching of Shinto itself.
Shittim (Hebrew) Shiṭṭīm The wood from the shittah plant, believed to be the Acacia seyal, a shrub held in high esteem by the Jews, as its wood was by legend stated as used for the building of the ark of Noah, also for the altar in the temple. The horns placed near the altar, which served as the place of sanctuary or refuge when grasped by a fugitive, were also stated to be made of shittim wood.
Shiva. See SIVA
Shloma. See SOLOMON
Shoo King. See SHU-KING
Showbread, Shewbread The bread placed by the ancient Jews every Sabbath before Jehovah on the table made of shittim wood, which was set in the holy place on the north side of the altar of incense. The bread itself was made of fine flour and baked into twelve cakes, as commanded by Moses: “two tenth deals shall be in one cake. And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the Lord. And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row” (Lev 24:4-8). The bread remained on the golden table throughout the week, and was then removed to the sanctuary and eaten by the priests alone.
Philo Judaeus states that Moses instituted the showbread with twelve loaves in order to represent the twelve tribes of Israel; and that he divided the nation into twelve tribes in order to represent the twelve signs of the zodiac.
Shu (Egyptian) Shu [from shu dry, parched] The Egyptian god of light, popularly associated with heat and dryness, and the ethereal spaces existing between the earth and the vault of the sky; often depicted as holding up the sky with his two hands, one at the place of sunrise, the other of sunset. The phonetic value of shu is the feather, which is the symbol of this deity, and appears above his headdress. Shu is manifest during the day in the beams of the sun, and at night in the beams of the moon; the solar disk is his home. He is likewise one of the chief deities of the underworld, the gate of the pillars of Shu (tchesert) marking the entrance to this region, the pillars representing the four cardinal points said to hold up the sky. Although the twin brother of Tefnut — often alluded to as the twin lion-deities — Shu is more often represented with Seb and Nut (deities of cosmic space and of its garment of ethereal substance) in his position of holding up the sky, because in theosophical terminology cosmic light as well as cosmic intelligence (the Logos) is born from Brahman and pradhana, or parabrahman and mulaprakriti.
Shu on the smaller scale is solar energy (SD 1:360).
Shudala-madan (Tamil) The class of elementals which haunt the vicinity of graveyards, and also hover about scenes of crime and murder and places of execution. Popular folklore describes them as half-fire and half-water dwellers, as Siva granted them the power of assuming any shape desired; also the power of transforming one thing into another, so that he aids the juggler in his feats by causing people to see that which they really do not see.
Shu-king (Chinese) Also Shoo King, Shu Ching. Popularly known as the Canon, or Book of History; one of the Four Shu Books compiled by Confucius from documents which were ancient in his day. Blavatsky refers to this work as “China’s primitive Bible” compiled from the Book of Dzyan (SD 1:xliii), remarking that it is full of reminiscences about the fourth root-race and the giants of bygone times (SD 2:280-1).
Shula-madan (Tamil) Furnace demon; the elemental associated with the earth, described in popular folklore as living underground and of mischievous nature: helpful if placated, but causing trouble if annoyed. He is said to be skilled in pottery and baking, and said to help the juggler in his feat of causing a mango tree to sprout and grow from a seed in a quarter of an hour and ripen its fruit.
Shule Madan. See SHULA-MADAN
Sibac or Zibak (Quiche) The pith of a little rush or reed, which the ancient Quiches used for making mats. In the Popol Vuh, woman is described as being made out of the sibac; however, “Sibac means ‘egg’ in the mystery language of the Artufas (or Initiation caves)” (SD 2:181n).
Sibika or Sivika (Sanskrit) Śibikā, Śivikā The weapon of Kuvera, the Vedic god of wealth equivalent to the Greek Pluto; made out of the parts of the divine splendor of Vishnu, a sun god, and filed off by Visvakarman, the architect of the gods.
Sibyl [from Greek sibylla probably from sios bylla Doric for dios boule she that tells the will of Zeus] Often confused with the Greek Pythia, Sibyls are reputed to have been possessed of occult knowledge, the power of prophecy and divination, and the inner sight. Practically nothing is known about their occult life, though in many cases they seem to have been initiates. Greek and Latin writers name ten, of whom the most famous is the Sibyl of the Cave of Cumae whom Aeneas consulted just before going down to Avernus (Aen 4:10) — a veiled record of one stage in the initiation journey. Others were the Delphian, Babylonian, Libyan, Cimmerian, Erythraean, Samian, Hellespontine, Phrygian, and Tiburtine Sibyls.
The Emperor Augustus consulted in the time of stress not only the Sibylline Books, but also a certain sibyl who dwelt in seclusion near Rome; as Numa, the second of the so-called legendary kings, consulted his consort Egeria, a wise woman who dwelt in seclusion in a forest, on all affairs of state. She is no more legendary than he, and it is upon the institutions he founded and the calendar he placed in order that the religious and civic institutions and the calendar of later Rome were built.
Such wise women or initiates are known in the Orient and also among ancient Germanic tribes with their amazing priestesses, without whose counsel and consent war could not be declared, who received deputations, at times dictated alliances and treaties, and were consulted as oracles in matters of state and religion both — Albruna, Ganna, Aurima, Veleda, and others. Such oracular or prophetic power is limited to no people and to no time, or to either sex, for what the sibyls and their Sibylline Oracles were in Greece and Rome the prophets and oracular priests and priestesses were to other countries. As far as Greece is concerned the Pythia or Prophetess of the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi was a sibyl, but of a somewhat different type, her functions being officially recognized by the Greek States and her responses received in accordance with traditional methods of interpretation. See also SIBYLLINE BOOKS; ORACLES
Sibylline Books The story of the origin of the Sibylline Books of the Romans tells how a mysterious old woman appeared to Tarquinius Superbus, the last of Rome’s seven kings, and offered him nine prophetic books at a certain price; how, when he refused to buy them, she destroyed three and offered him the remaining six at the same price; how he again refused and was offered the last three at the same price; and how he then bought these three, and entrusted them to a college of guardians. From that time on they were consulted by the senate on critical occasions until they were destroyed in the burning of the temple of Jupiter; but they were replaced by other sibylline books collected at different times and from various places.
While the Romans produced critics and skeptics who attempted to throw doubt on the nature and reliability of these Sibylline Oracles, the greatest men of the Roman State held them in reverence, and they were most carefully guarded through the centuries of Roman history as being among the most important and sacred treasures of the royal, republican, and imperial archives. The Sibylline Oracles or Books were consulted on every occasion of important crisis which confronted the Roman State, and it would appear from existing records that when so consulted, the results following always accrued to the benefit and prosperity of the government and people.
Sibylline Oracles Early Christian ecclesiastical literature written in imitation of the archaic Sibylline Books, containing apparently no small amount of material derived from pagan sources. They mostly belong, as far as is now known, to the 2nd and 3rd centuries and are strongly colored by Jewish and Christian ideas; what is called Book IV of these is a virtual attack on the integrity of the archaic heathen sibyls, the records of which the writers of the Christian Sibylline Oracles nevertheless so closely imitated in many respects.
Siddhanta (Sanskrit) Siddhānta [from siddha accomplished from the verbal root sidh to accomplish, succeed + anta end, completion] An established or canonical textbook or scientific treatise on astronomy and mathematics. One of the best known and most ancient in India is the Surya-Siddhanta, whose age dates even from Atlantean times. The Surya-Siddhanta itself claims to have been written down under solar instruction by the Atlantean astronomer and mathematician Asuramaya, so that it is contemporaneous with the first appearance of the present fifth root-race.
Siddhapura (Sanskrit) Siddhapura [from siddha attained from the verbal root sidh to attain, perfect + pura city] City of the blest, or the White Island; in Hindu mythology a sacred city situated in the extreme north. “According to Tibetan tradition the White Island is the only locality which escapes the general fate of other dwipas and can be destroyed by neither fire nor water, for — it is the ‘eternal land’ ” (SD 2:408n). All the avataras of Vishnu are said to come from this sacred place.
Siddhapura is elsewhere stated in ancient Hindu writings to be located in the lower or most southern regions of our earth. Thus Siddhapura is a name for either one of the poles of the earth, otherwise called Meru. See also SVETA-DVIPA
Siddhartha (Sanskrit) Siddhārtha [from siddha attained from the verbal root sidh to accomplish, attain, succeed + artha object, aim] One who has attained or accomplished his object, one who has fulfilled the object of his coming on earth; a name given to Gautama Buddha. See also GAUTAMA
Siddhas (Sanskrit) Siddha-s [from the verbal root sidh to attain] Perfected one, one who has attained relative perfection in this manvantara through self-devised efforts lasting through many imbodiments towards that end. A buddha is in this sense at times called a siddha. Generally, a hierarchy of dhyani-chohans who, according to Hindu mythology, inhabit the space between the earth and heaven (bhuvar-loka); the Vishnu-Purana states that there are 88,000 of them occupying the regions of the sky north of the sun and south of the seven rishis (the Great Bear). In later mythology they are confused with or take the place of the sadhyas, but in the Vedas the siddhas are those who are possessed from birth of superhuman powers — the eight siddhis — as also of knowledge and indifference to the world (Svetasvatara-Upanishad).
“According to the Occult teachings, however, Siddhas are the Nirmanakayas or the ‘spirits’ (in the sense of an individual, or conscious spirit) of great sages from spheres on a higher plane than our own, who voluntarily incarnate in mortal bodies in order to help the human race in its upward progress. Hence their innate knowledge, wisdom and powers” (SD 2:636n). In this sense siddhas may be applied to the highest class of manasaputras who incarnated in the first but best prepared human protoplasts in the early part of the third root-race in order to bring mind to nascent mankind.
Also applied to any inspired sage, prophet, or seer (e.g., Vyasa, Kapila), especially to one who has attained a state of beatitude; or to any great adept who has acquired the siddhis.
Siddhasana (Sanskrit) Siddhāsana [from siddha perfected + āsana seat] The sitting position for attaining siddhis (spiritual powers) in hatha yoga theory; a sedent posture in religious meditation, where the left heel is placed under the body and the right heel in front of it, the sight is fixed between the eyebrows, and the mind is directed on the syllable Om.
Siddhasena (Sanskrit) Siddhasena [from siddha perfected + sena lord, leader] The leader of the siddhas. As the siddhas are the highly evolved sages or saints who have become semi-divine and virtually a class of dhyani-chohans, it means the leader of the celestial beings of both heaven and earth who are endowed with occult yogi powers.
Also one of the many titles of Karttikeya.
Siddhi (Sanskrit) Siddhi [from the verbal root sidh to be fulfilled, perfected, attain an object] Perfect attainment, full accomplishment; philosophically, occult power or secret mystical power, “attributes of perfection’; phenomenal powers acquired through holiness by Yogis” (TG 298). Equivalent to the Pali iddhi.
There are two classes of siddhis: those pertaining to the lower psychic and mental energies, and those pertaining to the intellectual, spiritual, and divine powers — both possessed by the spiritual initiate. These siddhis should never be used for purposes of self, but always for the benefit of mankind and all creatures.
Siddim. See SHEDIM
Sidereal Force Used by Paracelsus to denote an emanation from the stars or stellar regions, which helps to build and feed one of the inner human principles. He recognized the existence of higher forms of matter, subtler imbodiments of the monad, and the intimate relations between the universe and man its offspring. There are a number of such sidereal forces, each one of which has its respective influence upon the different principles of the human constitution.
Words such as sidereal and astral, are used somewhat vaguely in theosophical literature to designate invisible manifested planes of various hierarchical grades both kosmic and human.
Sidereal Year The time taken by the center of the sun’s disc, departing eastward from the ecliptic meridian of a given star, to return to the same; being at present 365.2564 days. As a Hindu value gives 365.25868 and the Surya-Siddhanta gives 365.2587565 (SD 1:665), does this indicate a slow slackening of the earth’s speed of rotation, thus lengthening the day?
Also used in The Secret Doctrine to mean the precessional year. See also EQUINOX
Si-dzang. See HSI-TSANG
Sif (Icelandic) [plural sifjar affinity, kinship] Thor’s wife in Norse mythology; the singular form occurs only in the proper name of the goddess whose golden hair is the harvest, pride and joy of all the gods. Sif is guardian of the sanctity of marriage and the ancient law which forbade the union of any couple more closely related than through the fifth generation.
One tale relates how Sif’s hair was stolen by Loki who, with the aid of the dwarf Dvalin, was able to restore it.
Sigalions [from Greek sigao to be silent] Images of Harpocrates, the deity borrowed by the Greeks from one aspect of the Egyptian Horus, said to have been born with his finger on his lips and so represented in his statues. He thus becomes the emblem of both neophyte and initiate who seals in silence of both mind and voice what has been learned in the initiation crypts.
Sige (Greek) Silence; one of the fundamental hypostases in early Gnosticism. The gnosis was said to rest on a mystic square whose angles were sige (silence), bythos (the deep), nous (understanding), and aletheia (truth). In the Valentinian theogony, bythos and sige are the primordial binary. See also SILENCE
Sighra or Sighraga (Sanskrit) Śīghra, Śīghraga Swiftly moving; the father of Maru, “’who is still living through the power of Yoga, and will manifest himself in the beginning of the Krita age in order to re-establish the Kshattriyas in the nineteenth Yuga’ say the Puranic prophecies”; Moru (Morya, Maurya) standing for “the dynasty of Buddhist sovereigns of Pataliputra which began with the great King Chandragupta, the grandsire of King Asoka. It is the first Buddhist Dynasty” (TG 299).
Sight Among the elements, correlated with fire or light. Like the other senses it has its spiritual originant which expresses itself through its several forms, corresponding to the different planes. The organ of spiritual vision in the human body is the third eye. Some of the Atlantean magicians and initiates had this inner sight, which was even in their material race highly developed, so that their vision could pass any distance and penetrate opaque bodies.
In the order of evolution of the physical senses and their organs, sight comes third, and was evolved as a physical sense towards the end of the third root-race, though existing in rudimentary form in the preceding root-race. The third eye was once external and an organ of physical vision, but retreated inwards when it was replaced by the two eyes as at present functioning; the third eye has now become the pineal gland.
Sigurd (Icelandic) [from sig victory] The hero of a long, involved tale in the Norse Edda, better known as the Wagnerian Siegfried. As a member of the Niflungen (Nibelungen) clan, he represents a very early humanity on this planet earth, before the globe and its components became physical as they are today.
Sigurd was persuaded by his teacher, the magician Regin, to slay the dragon Fáfnir who lay guarding his treasure on the heath. Sigurd did so with the magical sword to which he had fallen heir and, having tasted the dragon’s blood, became able to understand the language of the birds.
In many mythological stories the serpent or dragon symbolizes an initiate teacher, while understanding the voices of nature represent true wisdom. Fafnir and his brother Regin who coveted his treasure, apparently stand for the two opposing poles of hidden wisdom, while Sigurd in his innocence represents a race of humanity which was taught by the wise ones but had yet to acquire by experience the discernment to choose its proper course for the furtherance of its evolution.
Sila (Sanskrit) Śīla [from the verbal root śīl to serve, practice] Moral fortitude, ethical steadiness, one of the Buddhist paramitas. Described as “the key of Harmony in word and act, the key that counterbalances the cause and the effect, and leaves no further room for Karmic action” (VS 47). The Mahayana Sraddhotpada Sastra says of practicing sila: “Lay disciples, having families, should abstain from killing, stealing, adultery, lying, duplicity, slander, frivolous talk, covetousness, malice, currying favor, and false doctrines. Unmarried disciples should, in order to avoid hindrances, retire from the turmoil of worldly life and, abiding in solitude, should practise those ways which lead to quietness and moderation and contentment. . . . They should endeavor by their conduct to avoid all disapproval and blame, and by their example incite others to forsake evil and practise the good.” (FSO p. 45)
Silence Like darkness and space, used in attempts to express the ineffable. To our minds they often seem negative qualities, yet if we ordinarily call silence the absence of sound, it is also possible to call sound the absence of silence. A maxim bids us learn the fullness of the seeming void, the voidness of the seeming full; and, applying this, we may name silence as a mighty positive power, not a mere emptiness. Silence is that in which sound becomes manifest; it is the container of sound, the privation of sound. It means the rest of all the senses, both external and internal. To the personal man such silence may seem an unutterable horror, or a ring-pass-not; but it must be faced if he is to win to the sublimities beyond. All these words are used mystically: thus, what is a silence to our ears, and on higher planes a silence to our soul, may in either instance be celestial harmonies which our grosser nature cannot take in.
The early Gnostics mystically said that the gnosis rests upon a square whose corners are silence (sige), depth (bythos), divine mind (nous), and truth (aletheia). In the system of Simon Magus, the one root from which the aeons proceed is called silence; in Valentinus’ system, silence and sempiternal depth proceed from the one root, depth. The Marcosians viewed God under four aspects: the ineffable, the silence, the father, the truth.
The Stanzas of Dzyan (2:2) speak of a time when there was neither silence nor sound; for these constitute a duality, and before this all was cosmic oneness.
Silent Watcher, In theosophy, highly advanced spiritual entities, each the summit of a spiritual-psychological hierarchy composed of beings working under their direct inspiration and guidance. Every hierarchy, high or low, has a Silent Watcher as its own supreme head. “There are human ‘Silent Watchers,’ and there is a ‘Silent Watcher’ for every globe of our Planetary Chain. There is likewise a Silent Watcher of the solar system of vastly loftier state or stage . . .” He is “one who through evolution having practically gained omniscience or perfect knowledge of all that he can learn in any one sphere of the kosmos, instead of pursuing his evolutionary path forwards to still higher realms, remains in order to help the multitudes and hosts of less progressed entities trailing behind him. There he remains at his self-imposed task, waiting and watching and helping and inspiring, and so far as we humans are concerned, in the utter silences of spiritual compassion. . . . He can learn nothing more from the particular sphere of life through which he has now passed, and the secrets of which he knows by heart. For the time being and for ages he has renounced all individual evolution for himself out of pure pity and high compassion for those beneath him” (OG 156). See also WATCHER
Silenus (Latin) Seilenos (Greek) The more elderly satyrs were called sileni, and their chief was Silenus, represented as a drunken pot-bellied old man with a wineskin, depicted as riding on an ass and the constant companion of Dionysos or Bacchus; sometimes also associated with Pan. These nature gods had a higher and a lower aspect and are most familiar to us in the lower, because of the common reference to them in popular mythology. Hence we find Silenus with all the marks of roistering jollity, but gifted, like Pan and the other satyrs, with the power of prophecy.
Esoterically, Silenus is represented as the chief of these lower productive powers of nature, usually connected with the fertilizing effect of water, which connects them immediately with the generative powers of the moon. Bacchus or Dionysos, on the other hand, in his higher aspect is representative of the spiritual fructifying and stimulating powers of the solar energies.
Silik-muludag (Akkad) The god among all the gods, offspring of the abstract divine wisdom — the great unseen divine, represented by the Akkadians as dwelling in the shoreless sea of space — cosmic spirit. In a more particular sense, referred to as the merciful guardian of humanity.
Siloam, The Sleep of [from Hebrew the verbal root shalam wholeness, completion, perfectness, peace, health] Used by one of the highest schools of initiates in Asia Minor, Syria, and upper Egypt for one of the processes of initiation. While the candidate was plunged in deep sleep, his spiritual ego was enabled to confabulate with the gods, descend into Hades, or perform works of divinely spiritual character. When the neophyte begins the holy sleep of Siloam, he leaves the body, and his consciousness enters into the river of Lethe, the pools of quiet, where the complete work or great work of inner understanding takes place. After this he is rendered whole or perfect, is completed and is safe, and is the master of the peace and quiet of inner unity — masterhood. The same holy event has been known in all times and among all peoples under various names.
Silurian Period. See GEOLOGICAL ERAS
Silver In Greek and Roman mythology, a racial or age division in the Hesiodic cycle of gold, silver, bronze, and iron, corresponding in the Hindu yugas to the treta yuga. This metal was regarded as standing next to gold in importance. The quicksilver of Paracelsus was not the mercury of familiar knowledge alone, but also the living spirit of silver. Silver in astrological symbolism corresponds to the moon.
Simha (Sanskrit) Siṃha Lion; the fifth zodiacal sign, Leo, said by some mystics to represent the jivatman or spiritual ego, corresponding to the immanent christos.
Simorgh (Persian) Meregho-saena (Avestan) Sen-murv, Sene-muruk (Pahlavi) The gigantic bird of fable likened by some to the hippogriff or griffin; half phoenix, half lion. In the ancient Zoroastrian scriptures of the Avesta, it is described as a gigantic bird whose resting place is the tree Jad-besh (opposed to harm of all seeds); when he rises aloft a thousand twigs shoot forth from that tree; when he alights, he will break off the thousand twigs and shed their seed. The bird Chanmrosh forever sits in that vicinity, and collects the seed which drops from the tree and conveys it where Tishtar seizes the water, so that it may rain on the world.
In later mythology, as in the epic of Firdusi, the simorgh is depicted as a gigantic bird who finds the infant Zal on the mountain Alberz [Berj], carries him to his nest and rears him “teaching him the language of the country and cultivating his understanding.” Simorgh-anke (simurgh-’anka), the steed of Taimuraz or Tahmurath equivalent to the phoenix or roc, was “a marvelous bird, in truth, intelligent, a polyglot, and even very religious. . . . It complains of its old age, for it is born cycles and cycles before the days of Adam (also Kaimurath). It has witnessed the revolutions of long centuries. It has seen the birth and the close of twelve cycles of 7,000 years each, which multiplied esoterically will give us again 840,000 years” (SD 2:397).
Behind the tales that have clustered around this wonderful bird, there was a deep symbology: “Simorgh was the guardian of the ancient Persian Mysteries. It is expected to reappear at the end of the cycle as a gigantic bird-lion. Esoterically, it stands as the symbol of the Manvantaric cycle” (TG 299). Simorgh symbolizes the ancient knowledge and the creative life force. In later Persian literature, it represents the perfect man who has exalted himself to the highest degree of freedom.
Simorgh-anke. See SIMORGH
Simulacra [plural of Latin simulacrum image, likeness, phantom] The kama-rupic images left in the astral light by the reincarnating ego after death, which resemble the former living physical body in appearance but in fact are disintegrating shells only — kama-rupas which all too often are the “spirits” of the departed of the seance room.
Sin Evildoing, moral obliquity expressed in thought and act; in its relation to human evolution, it applies especially to the misuse of human creative powers which occurred after the fall into material existence. The procreative act, for example, in itself is not sinful, for this is but nature’s arrangement for the continuing of the human strain, but the abuse of this power, especially for black magical purposes. This truth has been perverted by Christian theology, which regards the procreative act as essentially sinful and permissible only as a concession to the “original sin” stamped upon us by our first parents in the Garden of Eden, and only to be purged by the Atonement.
The fall of man is symbolized in the zodiacal signs of Virgo-Scorpio, and it is mankind who has become the serpent of Genesis and thus causes daily and hourly the fall and sin of the celestial Virgin, who becomes the mother of gods and devils at the same time. But karma in one of its senses would be a better word for this: “Karma . . . means, as a synonym of sin, the performance of some action for the attainment of an object of worldly, hence selfish, desire, which cannot fail to be hurtful to somebody else” (SD 2:302n).
Sin (Chaldean) The moon; also the Babylonian and Assyrian moon deity called Enzu (the lord of wisdom) and Nannar (the illuminer). The wisdom is that of the lower manas, the reflection of the higher, and this wisdom can all too often become the dark wisdom of evildoing and sorcery. Temples to Sin were erected in all the principal cities of the two empires, named E-gish-shir-gal (house of the great light). The worship of the moon deity predominated at Ur and Harran, and he was portrayed as an old man with flowing beard, having the crescent as his symbol and 30 as his number. Sin was known as father of the gods, creator of all things; and some of the ancient nations held that the moon was parent of the sun, and that the moon in its turn was once eons ago a sun itself.
The name is likewise found in the Hebrew Sinay, commonly written Sinai — a moon-mountain, referring indirectly to the fact that all such places in ancient times which were named mountain of the moon or a similar title, were then centers of occult training and initiation, whether good or bad.
Referring to the forming of mankind, the Stanzas of Dzyan say: “Who perfects the last body? Fish, Sin, and Soma.” Soma was in Hindustan also a name of the moon, and fish refers to a similar fact — fishes often being taken as symbols of the productive power of the lunar influence because of their great fecundity. Fish, Sin, and the moon conjointly are the three symbols of the immortal Being (SD 1:263). As these symbols, among other things, stand for Pisces, karma, and the mother of terrestrial life, it would seem that the pilgrimage of the human monad through the halls of experience, and the completing of its evolution thereby, is indicated.
Sin A letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Sinai (Hebrew) Sīnai Often Har Sinai (Mount Sinai). A holy mountain of the Jews, associated particularly with Moses and Jehovah (Ex 19). All races have had their holy mountains, “some. Himalayan Peaks, others, Parnassus, and Sinai. They were all places of initiation and the abodes of the chiefs of the communities of ancient and even modern adepts” (SD 2:494). The mountain has been associated with the moon, and its name links it with the Phoenician lunar deity Sin. “Mount Sinaï, the Nissi of Exodus (xvii., 15), the birthplace of almost all the solar gods of antiquity, such as Dionysus, born at Nissa or Nysa, Zeus of Nysa, Bacchus and Osiris . . . Some ancient people believed the Sun to be the progeny of the Moon, who was herself a Sun once upon a time. Sin-aï is the ‘Moon Mountain,’ hence the connexion” (TG 299). As to the fire which Moses saw upon the mountain while the multitude saw it enwrapped in clouds and smoke, fire represented the “Wisdom of the true gnosis or the real spiritual enlightenment. . . . For Moses, the fire on Mount Sinai, and the spiritual wisdom imparted; for the multitudes of the ‘people’ below, for the profane, Mount Sinai in (through) smoke, i.e., the exoteric husks of orthodox or sectarian ritualism” (SD 2:566).
Sing Bongha (Kolarian) Applied to the spirit of the sun by Kolarian tribes.
Singular Point Used in mathematics in contradistinction to an ordinary point or Euclid’s point, without length, breadth, or thickness. The singular point is made by the intersection of two lines, at the apex of a cone, where a decreasing magnitude reaches zero, the node of a vibration, or when something passes from one state to another. Sir James Jeans, in Astronomy and Cosmogony, says: “The type of conjecture which presents itself, somewhat insistently, is that the centers of the nebulae are of the nature of ‘singular points,’ at which matter is poured into our universe from some other, and entirely extraneous, spatial dimension, so that, to a denizen of our universe, they appear as points at which matter is being continually created.” This suggests that he avoids the idea that matter can be created, and resorts to a fourth-dimensional theory to explain its mysterious appearance. In theosophical philosophy, physical matter is formed or deposited from ultraphysical matter, as energy-substance passing from one plane to another, so there is no need to resort to a fourth-dimensional theory.
Sinivali (Sanskrit) Sinīvālī The first day of the new moon when it rises with a scarcely visible crescent, a day greatly connected with occult practices in India. Also a goddess said to preside over fecundity and easy birth, which relates her to lunar powers and to the festival itself known by this name which celebrates the first appearance of the new moon. She is sometimes called the consort of Vishnu. The Greeks, Latins, and other nations had various names for this divinity, commonly known, for instance, among the Greeks and Latins as Eileithyia or Ilithyia.
Sinsapa, Simsapa (Sanskrit) Śiṃśapā The tree Dalbergia Sissoo, the Asoka tree.
Siphra’ di-Tseni‘utha’ (Aramaic) Sifrā’ di-Tsĕnī‘ūthā’. “Their counting or telling of the concealed mysteries,” the Book of Secrets or Mysteries; one of the principal books of the Zohar (Light); the secrets or mysteries dealt with are those relating to cosmogony and to the inhabitants of those worlds, thus forming the basis of the Hebrew Qabbalah. The work opens with the statement: “The book of the concealed mystery is the book of the equilibrium of balance,” and proceeds to expound this thesis in Qabbalistic terminology.
Blavatsky calls it “the most ancient Hebrew document on occult learning” (SD 1:xlii), although the language used is largely Chaldean, and states that it was compiled from the very ancient Book of Dzyan through the archaic Chaldean Qabbalah.
Siphra Dtzenioutha. See SIPHRA’ DI-TSENI‘UTHA’
Sirius [from Greek seirios scorching] In classical myth, the dog of Orion, who followed his master when he was made a constellation; it is called the Dog-star; by the Egyptians, Sothis. The dog at times symbolizes Mercury or Budha, who was called Cynocephalus, the dog-headed. It is a symbol of watchfulness and guarding. The heliacal rising of Sirius coincides in the northern hemisphere with the sultry heat of late summer, and was regarded in antiquity as a cause of that heat, or as contributing a baleful quality to it.
“The star worshipped in Egypt and reverenced by the Occultists; by the former because its heliacal rising with the Sun was a sign of the beneficent inundation of the Nile, and by the latter because it is mysteriously associated with Thoth-Hermes, god of wisdom, and Mercury, in another form. Thus Sothis-Sirius had, and still has, a mystic and direct influence over the whole living heaven, and is connected with almost every god and goddess. It was ‘Isis in the heaven’ and called Isis-Sothis, for Isis was ‘in the constellation of the dog,’ as is declared on her monuments. ‘The soul of Osiris was believed to reside in a personage who walks with great steps in front of sothis, sceptre in hand and a whip upon his shoulder.’ Sirius is also Anubis, and is directly connected with the ring ‘Pass me not’; it is, moreover, identical with Mithra, the Persian Mystery god, and with Horus and even Hathor, called sometimes the goddess Sothis. Being connected with the Pyramid, Sirius was, therefore, connected with the initiations which took place in it. A temple to Sirius-Sothis once existed within the great temple of Denderah. To sum up, all religions are not, as Dufeu, the French Egyptologist, sought to prove, derived from Sirius, the god-star, but Sirius-Sothis is certainly found in connection with every religion of antiquity” (TG 300).
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
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