© fra Nefastos 2007
In order to understand the world, we must have if not clear knowledge, at least clear hypothesis of that which is the instrument with which we perceive that world – in other words, what is man and what is his composition.
Traditional opinions of this composition may be divided to spiritualistic and materialistic, of which the former gives man a spiritual and / or soul side, while the latter sees matter alone a sufficient explanation for all things. The world view of a materialist is right in that that for to be organized as perceptions of an incarnated consciousness (which during its incarnation experiences things through material concept) sensations must be reflected in matter. If this does not happen, extrasensory things do exist after all, but when left without any registration they are as non-existent to the consciousness; although they effect one’s life, one can not be part of their activity in other way than to be their passive, reactively functioning marionette. (Which, by the way, helps us to understand from the one side the fact why the expansion of consciousness always means the expansion of freedom and power, even if it does not always appear to be such.) The view of a materialist is as well more apt than many believers that he rightly thinks world as a unity and not a duality. The negative sides of the materialistic world view and the concept of man are related abundantly in other places and need not to be dwelled here.
Christian belief of the soul is in many ways problematic thing, although it is nearer to truth than the narrow materialistic concept. First, Christians and other people who divide matter and spirit in a dualistic way, are driven to endless conflicts when they see possible two de facto divided sides of the universe. They think that on the other hand there is the will of God and on the other the pettiness of man, of the other the kingdom of heaven and on the other the world of flesh, and so on, life and death, law and desire, wisdom and folly, etc. All of this will lead to great problems, whether one chooses the former or the latter of these assumed sides, for the world is complete unity and every man is an image of the whole. His choices – for choices he must make – should never be based on one-sidedness of his view. While disposing soul and body as opposites believer creates his own hells, for he coerces himself to live in a way without eloquency, comprehensiveness, personal spirituality, individuality, harmony, appreciation for other-ness. A little bit closer to the truth are those who divide soul and spirit apart: in that system a soul is man’s personal although superphysical part, and a spirit stands for something pure and divine in itself. But even of this kind of thinking there is a substantial leap to be made to the well ordered terminology.
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Theosophical division of the principles divides man in seven parts. (By “principle” is here meant fundamental although not absolutely undivisible aspect of man’s composition.) Of this division of principles there exist a few little differing versions, but their summarization is not needed in this writing that aims to simplicity and clarity. It is enough to mention here that a view presented by the philosophy of the Star of Azazel does not deviate from correct theosophical divisions much more than by its method of presentation.
We divide man in two trinities: the indestructible or spiritual side and the changing or material side, and the mediatory life force which carries energy, information, consciousness between these two. All these things could be described differently as well, but this method of 7 or 3+1+3 or 3+4 is practically best at the present condition. It would be also true to say that there is only one absolute principle (atma) or two, or divide these principles and their aspects to dozens or thousands of dozens. But the division of seven is practically most useful. It is important to remember as well that these customs of division are not casual nor lines drawn in water but facts, although we have here chosen one method of describing the geometrically organizing truth.
The higher trinity is pictured with a triangle with one point upwards: this is a traditional and universal symbol for divinity and spirit – and, quite correctly, a symbol for Fire. The lower trinity that is cast to the mould of form and thus is bound to change is symbolized by a triangle one point downwards – a sign for Water, for water is the essence of matter in symbolism, being metaphysically illusion and pragmatically also power, the latter both in the sense of potency and of barrier, depending on how it is used. When the former triangle is drawn up and the latter down, and to join these is drawn an equilateral cross, we get “a Hieroglyphic Key,” which aptly interpreted helps to understand many a thing. This “Key” can be, with only slightly changing meaning, presented by the Seal of Solomon (nowadays the so-called Star of David) which have in its center the point, sun, cross or ankh. If there is no such sign drawn in the middle, it must be still be remembered, for if that existence of the central point is forgotten, the whole meaning of the star will change radically, even if it remains identical in its appearance.
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The Original Trinity.
1) WILL. Man’s true, spiritual will. Individual’s connection to his ”dharma,” his mission of life widely understood; his spiritual intensity and intention. Theosophical Atma. The source of all true action.
2) LOVE. The sense of unity. Theosophical Buddhi. The source of all true feeling.
3) UNDERSTANDING. Understanding, abstract intelligence, ability to comprehend entireties and draw conclusions in a non formal way. Metaphysical, philosophical ability. Theosophical Manas. The source of all true individuality and creativity.
The Reversed Trinity.
4) REASON. Intellectual abilities, when they consider things bound to form. Logical and matemathical ability, ability to use memory adjustably and to keep imagination apart from emotions. Theosophical Kama Manas. The reason is lower mind’s application of understanding.
5) EMOTIONS. Desires, hopes, fears, sympathies, antipathies. Natural, animal instincts. Theosophical Kama. Emotions are lower mind’s application of love.
6) BODY. The energy within man’s physiological body, keeping it dynamic and active. Theosophical Linga Sharira. The physical body we see is only an outer garment of this true physical body, its clothes which do not belong to essential composition of man and which therefore is not counted as a principle. The most material body is called Sthula Sharira by Theosophists. When the effect of sleep, death or even anaesthetic brings about separation of these two physical bodies, the other is discovered to be completely lifeless. (That is, from a point of human individuality; from a macrocosmic standpoint there is no such thing as completely lifeless substance.) The body is lower mind’s application of will.
7) LIFE-FORCE. Energy that holds higher and lower trinity attached to each other and makes possible the activity of body-substance. Theosophical Prana. Life-force is electric charge made by unison of two polarities existing everywhere, making possible the manifestation of the higher in the lower and the unity in other-ness.
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Although we have above described the life-force to be the seventh principle, 0 symbolizes it even better, being here the sun’s halo. These numbers have meaning in the system, for they help to understand interactions between the principles and their activity. For example, the three spiritual and the three material duads form three sevens:
Will 1 + Body 6 = 7.
Love 2 + Emotions 5 = 7.
Understanding 3 + Reason 4 = 7.
And these are together the perfect number of manifestation, 777, and these sevens summed up 7+7+7 become 21 of the Great Mysteries. (Or the Grand Arcanas of the Tarot, plus the card 0 representing life-force as mentioned.) In a similar way we can learn to understand principles by studying their numbers – the unity of true will with the “will of God,” seeming manifestation of the other-ness needed by the concept of love, etc. It is most interesting to observe that each one of these key-numbers of the principles contains a paradox. For paradox is always a seal and a custodian of the metaphysical truth, closing profane mind outside the living understanding of things.
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When we behold this world from the standpoint of forms, we can divide these principles under the four so-called elements of antiquity. In these elements we have matter in its different stages of being – fixed, liquid, gaseous and that form which could be nowadays called plasmic. It must be understood, however, that when we talk about “earth,” “water,” etc. in occultism, no physical substances are meant but their correspondences, which do reach the whole range of spectrum of existence in some or other form. They have their concrete shapes only in man’s body and are reached by that body’s senses of similitude as correspondences in the outer world. The language of occultism is inevitably a language of symbols, and as such much nearer to nature’s own comprehensive expression. Exact, unambiguous advices can be given only in each case or situation separatively. Nature does not work altogether like the modern science thinks, but it demands involvement in order to be fully understood – although theories like Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle are eventually making science to approach our view.
Earth – Body
Water – Emotions
Air – Reason
Fire – Life-force
The so-called ”fifth element” or the quintessence (fifth essence, innermost essence) sometimes known as Ether (in the words antique, not modern application) or Space is the manner of manifestation of the higher three principles in the lower four.
Because body is in its way only a presentation of will, earth does present these both. In a same way emotions and love are both presented by water, and reason and understanding both by air. Now, when life-force mediates the higher three’s impulse to the lower, fire is the sign of manifesting spirit; but to the spirit it likewise presents the semimaterial grade. Thus in man one has both the subtle and the gross manifestation of all elements.
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Besides elements, different principles do find correspondences from certain Dominations of the Stars, namely, the known spheres of the old world and their divinities and archetypes:
Body – Moon
Emotions – Mars
Reason – Saturn
Life-force – Sun
Understanding – Venus
Love – Mercury
Will – Jupiter
The first three above mentioned principles, body-emotions-intellect –triangle always manifests definition. These lower aspects base themselves to separatism, detachment, microcosmical essence, and are therefore unavoidably illusory: a part that is separated from the whole can not attain fulfilment, for its foundation rests on disequilibrium. This is still necessary for the manifestation of dynamics, viz. creativity and development, and such a detachment should not be identified with poor or evil. That its pressure makes possible errors and even those forms of acute error which could be named evil, is a separate question. The possibilty of a problem, but not the actual manifestation of the problem, can not be avoided.
The latter mentioned three principles, understanding-love-will –triangle always manifests fulfilment. Unification with this divine, spiritual, formless is always unification with the whole and macrocosmic. It is indestructible, changeless and true. As much as one can come to contact with this “higher Self” of his, he attains de facto immortality. (Man has de jure immortality in himself, but if he learns not how to make himself one with the absolute and play his part in it that immortality can not be actualized, and as the Voice of Silence puts it: “Alas, alas, that all men should possess Alaya, be one with the great Soul, and that possessing it, Alaya should so little avail them!” – The true occultism is indeed learning how to apply the lower triangle to conscious unison with the higher one.)
The middle principle is related to Sun, which is not a planet but the center of the solar system. (Moon, in a way, reflects Earth’s own influence, and can therefore seen to be as a planet in this context.) The vital force is not a principle like the others either; it has not form and yet it is not a part of the immortal three, and like Sun it represents the possibility for the other principles to manifest, their source of energy, the pure potential. Here we must rememeber that this fourth element – Sun, Fire, force of life – is the way of expression of the higher trinity to the lower. For common men who do not have a foothold in the spiritual world, the life-force is the most high element they can understand, and of this commitment to the quaternary of the lower elements is born the cross- and cube-symbolism in its many associations. The great danger of the heliolatry expressed by exoteric religions is here: this principle can be understood either as a GATE (to the formless three) or then as the most high in itself, and the latter is beginning for a huge mistake that spoils all true spirituality. As it was shown to rabbi Elisha, there is no duality in the heavens and not even the most perfect picture can present that which is formless, even if relative mind could not find a difference between the absolute and its logosic paragon, the simulacrum.
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It might be useful to give some kind of an indicative representation of the meanings of some divine names used by us:
God – The Absolute. The whole, seen by its spiritual side.
Nature – The Absolute. The whole, seen by its material side.
Satan – Will, and its manifestation through body.
Christ (Christos) – Love, and its manifestation through emotions.
Lucifer – Understanding, and its manifestation through reason.
Azazel – Self-consciousness, manifesting in man mostly through intellect (self).
Magna Mater – Life-force, manifesting in man mostly through emotions (not-self).
This tabulation is not comprehensive but indicative, as above said. The high archetypes live in each other, and within any one of them do exist all other archetypes, for the whole is the great unity. Because of that we, while using above mentioned (or other) names with archetypal powers, refer not so much to human principles but more to “gods,” which in every case can and do manifest their energies through the human principles, although they are not bound to these energies like our personal conceptual thinking is. Therefore every presentation must be read with care in its context, searching the meaning like behind the veil of poetry. Like this works the world of manifestation, the physical life itself as well.