THEOSOPHY, Vol. 41, No. 12, October, 1953
(Pages 548-555; Size: 22K)


It is stated in the Zohar that the primordial worlds (sparks) could not continue because man was not yet. The human form contains everything; and as it did not yet exist, the worlds were destroyed. 

--The Secret Doctrine
THE Monad has to pass through its mineral, vegetable, and animal forms, before the Light of the Logos is awakened in the animal man. Till this awakening the animal man cannot be referred to as "MAN" but has to be regarded as a Monad imprisoned in ever changing forms. The monadic essence begins imperceptibly to differentiate towards individual consciousness in the vegetable kingdom. The tendency toward segregation into individual monads is gradual, and in the higher animals comes almost to the point. The "human" monad, whether immetallized in the stone atom, or invegetallized in the plant, or inanimalized in the animal, is still ever a divine, hence a human monad. It ceases to be human only when it becomes absolutely divine.

The difference between man and animal is not that he has one principle more than the tiniest insect, but because man is a perfected animal, the vehicle of a fully developed monad, self-conscious and deliberately following its own line of progress, whereas in the insect, and in the higher animals, the higher triad of principles is absolutely dormant as a functioning basis for action. Man belongs to a kingdom distinctly separate from that of the animal. That he was not the last member of the mammalian family, but the first in this Round, is something that science will be forced to acknowledge one day. Physical nature, when left to herself in the creation of animal and man, fails. She can produce the first two, mineral and vegetable, and the lower animal, kingdoms. But when it comes to man, spiritual, independent and intelligent powers are required for his creation -- besides the "coats of skin" and the "breath of animal Life."

The human monads of preceding Rounds needed something higher than purely physical materials to build their personalities with, under the penalty of remaining even below any "Frankenstein" animal. To construct a thinking man, "living Fire" is needed, that fire which gives the human mind its self-perception and self-consciousness, or Manas. This explains the mystery of and fills the gap below, the informing principle in man -- the higher self or human monad -- and the animal monad, both one and the same, although the former is endowed with divine intelligence, the latter with instinctual faculty alone. Man needs four flames and three fires to become one on Earth, and he requires the essence of the forty-nine Fires to become perfect. The four flames and three fires correspond to the four lower and three higher human principles. The Zohar, repeating the archaic teaching, distinctly says that the real man is the Soul, and his material form no part of him.

The human type is the repository of all potential organic forms, and the central point from which these latter radiate. Having appeared at the very beginning, at the head of sentient and conscious life, man becomes the living animal UNIT, from whom the "cast-off clothes" determine the shape of every life and animal in this Round. Owing to the very type of his development, man cannot descend from either ape or an ancestor common to both, but shows his origin from a type far superior to himself, and this type is the "Heavenly Man" -- the Dhyan Chohans. Man was the storehouse, so to speak, of all the seeds of life for this Round, vegetable and animal alike. All the forms which now people the earth, are so many variations on basic types originally thrown off by the MAN of the third and fourth Round. The astral prototypes of the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms up to man ... are re-formed out of the cast-off materials of the preceding Round. The basic types were few in number in comparison with the multitude of organisms to which they ultimately give rise. But a general unity of type has, nevertheless, been preserved throughout the ages.

In the first chapter of Genesis, animals, whales and fowl of the air are created before the androgyne Adam. In the second, Adam (the sexless) comes first, and the animals only appear after him. This first creation is an allegorical reference to the "Sacred Animals" of the Zodiac and other heavenly bodies. Some Kabalists see in them the prototypes of the animals. The prototypes or ideas of things exist first on the plane of Divine eternal Consciousness, and thence become reflected in the Astral Light. There are hierarchies of Builders of form, and series of forms and degrees, from the highest to the lowest. While the higher are shaped under the guidance of the "Builders," the gods, "Cosmocratores"; the latter are fashioned by the elemental and nature spirits.

It is stated that there are seven kingdoms. The first group comprises three degrees of elemental, or nascent centers of force -- from the first stage of differentiation from primordial homogeneous matter to its third degree -- i.e., from full unconsciousness to semi-perception. The second or higher group embraces the kingdoms from vegetable to man; the mineral kingdom thus forming the central or turning point in the degrees of the monadic essence, considered as an evoluting energy. Three stages sub-physical on the elemental side; the mineral kingdom; three stages on the physical side -- these are the (first or preliminary) seven links of the evolutionary chain. In the earlier ages, when astral evolution was alone in progress ... the two planes, the astral and the physical, though developing on lines that ran parallel with one another even into the earliest geological ages, yet had no direct point of contact. They were not in the same phase of manifestation in which they are now.

In reality, as Occult philosophy teaches us, everything which changes is organic; it has the life principle in it, and it has all the potentiality of the higher lives. All in nature is an aspect of the one element, life is universal, there can be no such thing as an inorganic atom. Matter thought to be inorganic is but an indication of the life-principle in profound latency. The simplest monad, a microscopical point of protoplasm, formless and structureless, exhibits yet all the essential vital functions, alimentation, growth, breeding, motion, feeling, and sensuous perception, and even such functions which replace "consciousness" -- the soul of the higher animals. Even crystals undergo a process of accretion, which for them answers to the function of nutrition. H.P.B.'s Theosophy declares that every atom is alive and has the germ of self-consciousness. ... What is now called human flesh is so much matter that one day was wholly mineral, later on vegetable, and now refined into human atoms. At a point of time very far from now the present, vegetable matter will have been raised to the animal stage and what we now use as our organic or fleshy matter will have changed by transformation into substance of the plane of mind. And so on up the scale until the time shall come when what is now known as mineral matter will have passed on to the human stage.

The Pythagorean doctrine of metempsychosis applies to the development of the human foetus, from the first instant of its physical appearance as a germ to its ultimate form and birth: a stone becomes a plant; a plant, a beast; a beast, a man, etc. The process of human foetal growth epitomizes not only the general characteristics of the fourth, but of the third Round terrestrial life. During all these ages before our man came into being, evolution was carrying out the work of perfecting various powers which are now our possessions. This was accomplished by the Ego or real man going through experiences in countless conditions of matter all different one from the other. Occultists are at no loss to account for the birth of children with an actual caudal appendage, or for the fact that the tail in the human foetus is, at one period, double the length of the nascent legs. The potentiality of every organ useful to animal life is locked up in Man -- the microcosm of the Macrocosm -- and abnormal conditions may not unfrequently result in the strange phenomena which Darwinists regard as "reversion to ancestral features." The prototypes which man shed in the course of his astral development became useful appendages in the lower animals.

The whole order of nature evinces a progressive march towards a higher life; and spiral development proceeds in accord with the law of analogy and correspondence. As the foetus develops amidst the liquor amnii in the womb, so Earths germinate in the universal ether, or astral fluid, in the womb of the Universe. These cosmic children, like their pigmy inhabitants, are at first nuclei; then ovules; then gradually mature; and, becoming "mothers" in their turn, develop mineral, vegetable, animal and human forms. The embryo evolves in its pre-natal sphere, the individual in his family, the family in the state, the state in mankind, the Earth in our system, that system in its central universe, the universe in the Kosmos, and the Kosmos in the One Cause. Thus runs the philosophy of the Occultists.

Even on this plane of ours there are other and various intelligences, besides those of man, in creatures visible and invisible, from minds of subjective beings, high and low, to objective animals and the lowest organisms -- in short, "from the Deva to the elephant, from the elemental to the ant." Elementals are attached only to the four elements of air, fire, water and earth, and only to the two lower kingdoms of nature, the mineral and vegetable; in which they immetalize and inherbalize. In relation to its own plane of conception and perception, the ant has as good an intellect as we have ourselves, and a better one. For though it cannot express it in words, yet, over and above instinct, the ant shows very high reasoning powers, as all of us know. The ant has conceptions of time and space which are its own; concepts which are entirely on another plane. If a scientist could become an ant for a while, and talk as an ant, and remember his experiences on returning to his own sphere of consciousness, then only would he know something for certain of this interesting insect. As it is he can only speculate, making inferences from the ant's behaviour. We are on a higher scale of evolution than the ant, but, comparatively speaking, we are as ants to the plane above.

Occult science investigates the nature, power, and qualities of everything sublunary; of the elements and their parts, of animals, all varieties of plants and their fruits, of stones and herbs. It explores the essence and power of everything.

Plants have mystical properties in a most wonderful degree, and the secrets of the herbs of dreams and enchantments are only lost to European science -- unknown to it except in a few marked instances, such as opium and hashish. Metals, woods and plants have all an affinity with, and bear a close relation to, the human organism. The idea of such a sympathetic power existing in plants, animals, and even stones, was once universal. Every plant without exception feels and has a consciousness of its own. From the gigantic tree down to the minutest fern or blade of grass, every plant has, Occultism teaches us, an elemental entity of which it is the outward clothing on this plane. Each plant has its Karma and its growth is the result of Karma. This Karma, it is said, proceeds from the lower Dhyan Chohans, who trace out and plan the growth of the tree.

During the higher spiritual cycles on earth -- the occult powers of plants, animals, and minerals magnetically sympathize with the "superior natures," and the divine soul of man is in perfect harmony with those "inferior" ones. But during the barren period, the latter lose their magnetic sympathy, and the spiritual sight of the majority of mankind is so blinded as to lose every notion of the superior powers of its own divine spirit. There are well authenticated cases to show the existence of a mysterious sympathy between the life of certain plants and that of human beings. Persons have been known to fall sick simultaneously with the uprooting of a tree planted upon their natal day, dying when the tree dies. Reversing affairs, it has been known that a tree planted under the same circumstances withered and died simultaneously with the person whose psychic brother, so to speak, it was.

According to Paracelsus, plants are the earthly representations of astral influences, corresponding to the quality of the "stars." In medicines, that which is active is the astral element, which acts upon the astral man. It makes a great difference whether a medicine is pervaded by one influence or by another. By the judicious use of plants, beneficial astral influences may be attracted and evil influences neutralized.

A homoeopathic physician of this century, Dr. James Kent, thought it highly probable that there is a throwing off from the sick human race of influences which are subsequently absorbed by plants, and that plants will correspond to man in the region in which they grow. Another idea advanced is that in any particular region, the vegetable kingdom provides all that is necessary for curing disease in that region. Dr. Mure of Brazil taught that, in the mineral kingdom as well as among the plants of his region, man may find his remedy when sick. Homoeopathic philosophy, drawing upon its own experience of the occult affinities between man and medicines, endows medicine with a "soul" and expresses it in such terms as these: "Drugs are people, with whims, fancies and terrors; with temperaments and idiosyncrasies and characteristics. They stalk about the world speaking, and moving, and halting, with the bodies, minds and souls of men. ... We all recognize, in the most common mental states, the 'gentleman with the gold-headed cane' in the fastidiousness of Arsenic; the irritations of Bryonia, Chamomilla, Nux Vomica; the gentle yielding, lachrymose Pulsatilla; the ever varying moods of Ignatia, the hauteur of Platina, the lack of self control of Silicea, the presentment of defeat of Apis, the want of natural affection of Sepia and Phosphorus, strange impulses to kill those dearest of Mercury and Nux; the suicidal promptings of China -- not obvious and open like those of Natrum Sulph but hidden, shamefaced and mixed with fear!..."

All natural forms bear their signature, indicating their true nature. The forms of minerals, vegetables, and animals indicate their character. Man's character often belies his form. His character may have changed into that of an animal, his form retaining the human shape (Paracelsus). Up to almost modern times there were physicians of repute who held that the signature or physical properties of the vegetable or mineral medicines in many instances gives us the key to their remedial virtues. Thus, euphrasia (Eyebright) is a plant whose flower resembles the iris of the eye, and had been found especially useful for dimness of vision. The elder branch, with its pith resembling the spinal marrow, was used in diseases of the spine; the lichen pulmonaria, shaped like the lung, was valuable in treatment of phthisis; cyclamen european, like the stomach, was used in stomach ailments. And so on, with varying resemblances and correspondences through a long and colorful list of flowers, herbs, roots. Paracelsus was one of those who made practical use of the art of signature reading in treating the sick. Fire Philosophers and alchemists, all the scoffing to the contrary, seem to have been possessors of the knowledge of the later physical sciences. They well knew that plants have nerves, sensations, and instincts, and they further insisted that each was endowed with its astral builder.

The Secret Doctrine unifies all the diverse relationships in the one monadic essence, irrespective of the "kingdom" under scientific analysis and scrutiny, pointing out the true connection between kingdoms and man:

In sober truth, every "Spirit" so-called is either a disembodied or a future man. As from the highest Archangel (Dhyan Chohan) down to the last conscious "Builder" (the inferior class of spiritual entities) all such are men, having lived aeons ago, in our Manvantara, on this or other Spheres; so the inferior, semi-intelligent Elementals -- are all future men.
It is taught that from the Atlantean Fourth race the Aryans inherited their most valuable sciences of the hidden virtues of precious and other stones, of chemistry, or rather alchemy, of mineralogy, geology, physics and astronomy. The Magnesian stone or Magnet was named in honor of the Magi, for they were the first to discover its wonderful properties. The priests used it for curative and magical purposes. Orpheus taught how it was possible to affect a whole audience by means of the lodestone. Paracelsus demonstrated that except in the case of the lodestone all the minerals are magnetized by the higher potencies of animal magnetism, while the lodestone enjoys it as the direct emanation from the first cause. There are occult properties in many other minerals equally strange with that in the lodestone, of which exact science is wholly ignorant. Mention is made of the Carnelian (Heb. Odem), worn on the breastplate of the Jewish High Priest. It is of red color and possesses a great medicinal power.

The Buddhists assert that the sapphire produces peace of mind, equanimity, and chases all evil thoughts by establishing a healthy circulation in the man. "The sapphire will open barred doors and dwellings for the spirit of man; it produces a desire for prayer, and brings with it more peace than any other gem. But he who would wear it must lead a pure and holy life." The Hindus knew which was the most electric of all the prismatic colors, and the peculiar influence of the sapphire stone was as well defined as that of all other minerals. Pythagoras pays particular attention to the color and nature of precious stones; while Apollonius of Tyana imparts to his disciples the secret virtues of each, and changes his rings daily, using a particular stone for every day of the month and according to the laws of judicial astrology.

Less familiar perhaps are still other records of once cultivated relationships between man and the kingdoms, his younger brothers. Ancient writings tell of walking, prophesying, and rocking stones. Control of occult powers including vital forces makes it possible to animate statues, causing them to act and speak like living creatures. The famous stone at Westminster was called liafail -- "the speaking stone" -- which raised its voice only to name the king that had to be chosen. Pliny mentions stones which "ran away when a hand approached them." The Celts had their clacha-brath, the "Destiny or judgment stone"; the "divining-stone," or the "stone of the ordeal" and the oracle stone; the moving or animated stones of the Phoenicians; the rumbling stones of the Irish....

Thus on and endlessly, the MONAD, the One Life, in its limitless panorama; the ever evoluting Energy, the ever changeless Essence. This Essence is the spark in the mineral, the intelligent force in plants, the instincts and qualities in the animal, and the Forty-nine Fires in man. ... "It whirls in the breeze, blows in the hurricane, attracts and repels the waves ... not an atom can escape it. Therefore, the ancient Sages have wisely called it the manifested God in Nature." And this is, too, the essence of MAN.

COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:

The term "astral" is used for everything beyond the physical. But, it should be understood that as on the physical we have earth, water, air and fire as divisions of this plane, so on the astral plane are similar divisions. 


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