Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

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Re: Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

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Silvaeon wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:19 pm
Blavatsky jumps around a bit in the commentary up to this point talking about how "the first is now the second" has reference to evolution and emanation, still referencing the uniting of Buddhi and Atma. This combined with the remainder of the stanza, "then the “ Divine Arupa” (the formless Universe of Thought) reflects itself in Chhayaloka (the shadowy world of primal form, or the intellectual ) the first garment of (the) Anupadaka" makes me think of Manas reflecting itself as Kama-Manas in "the shadowy world of primal form" and of course brings to mind the threefold key of Atma-Buddhi-Manas.
Smaragd wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 12:06 am
Do you think the Divine Arupa to be corresponding to Manas? I find the idea of Lucifer-Venus from the Divine Arupa, while reflected to the shadowy world of primal form it would be Lucifer after or ”inside” the fall which I believe are the Saturnian spheres.
I guess in our system this is a connection that is quite clear since we both made it. Still I'm not thoroughly convinced as that would make kama-manas the first garment of the Anupadaka. This sounds a out of place. Maybe here is one reason some of the Theosophical septenary formulas prefer to present manas and kama-manas as one two-fold principle meaning the first garment is Divine Arupa (supposedly manas) actively reflecting itself in Chhayaloka creating shadows and thus forms.
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Re: Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

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First of all, let us take a step back and cut up the Stanza V.4. and put it to the perspective of the baffling numbers in the Stanza IV.3. spelling the divine hierarchy or rather the sequence according to which Fohat operates. I assume we can use the stanzas as maps to each other:
Secret Doctrine - map.png
A bit dangerous to make such a hypothetic chart in to as rigid form as an image, but I can fix it if we find something off with it. The Stanza V.4. columns should not be seen as identical as the numbers in every case, but more as the spirals traced around them by Fohat. Brackets ending with question mark are stressedly wavery hypotheses. In the ”Stanza V.4. Worlds” -columns I’ve added quotes in brackets that might connect to the names of three planar models in this chart: https://theosophy.wiki/w/images/7/70/Planes_-_HPB.jpg (or two and a human matrix one) from some theosophical source (I saw similar one in Blavatskys Esoteric Instructions pointed in here https://azazel.fi/forum/viewtopic.php?p=30684#p30684).

The aetheric quintessence mentioned as below Akasha (The 1st Five) could be seen as the Five of the Pi sequence, the Force or ”Divine Man” composed of the four (aetheric) elements plus the quintessence. The aetheric elements continue onwards to conrete elements as fra Nefastos again showed in this post. https://azazel.fi/forum/viewtopic.php?p=30708#p30708

As we are tracing the peculiar ways of the Fohat, I hope this map/chart, although not quite thorough at this point, could help a bit going back to previous Stanzas and their commentaries and actually understanding where we were at back then. A lot of the trouble for myself has been sort of loosing my sight of what are we talking about, using such a strange language in typical blavatskian layers, and imagery not quite connected to my living experience. Maybe this will help. Also I feel I’ve lately again penetrated further to the Secret Doctrine lingo and can read it with more aliveness and perspective.

I’d be happy to hear notions and corrections to these thoughts and the chart. I’m already having some second thoughts about the place of Akasha and the elements in the chart, but I can’t seem to find the answers all by my self.

Stanza V.5.
Fohat takes five strides (having already taken the first three) (a),
and builds a winged wheel at each corner of the square for the
four holy ones . . . . . and their armies (hosts) (b)
(a) section thoughts I already included on the chart above.

(b) section of the commentary

This sloka with the commentary was perhaps one of the most coherent ones and put many of the previously presented pieces together in a nice and simple way. Or maybe I’m just in a good place right now and allowed to understand. Things are clicking and I am not put off or tired at all, only left in awe especially by the last footnote.

For the sake of exercise, and possibly at the expense of accuracy of information, I’ll try to write things out of my head as I understood them without looking in the book (please, do correct me or discuss if you have differing views), excepting couple key points I want to quote for the sake of clarity.

Most of the commentary revolved around the four Maharajahs ie. the four Kings of the Dhyan-Chohans. This was very interesting because the idea of four and the square has always confused me. They are the informing ”powers” behind the four elements. They are the retributive powers behind karma – the laws of nature or the executors of them, thus guardians. When an occultist steps on the ascending, path he tries to see the laws and the traps to avoid, allowing him to proceed in to further oneness integrating in to the vaster and more universal powers. These four are the wheels that enables anything to move – nothing could move or manifest if the karmic laws wouldn’t constantly face and surround the magician. They are the four winds bringing the world to us as we call it by our actions. Approaching them you see their intense ember countenance, fierce and merciless and impossible to sneak by, yet they understanding ”the perfect cunning” of the snake.

” “ the angles of the pedestals had equally the four figures of the Zodiac ””

” “ I looked, and behold, a whirlwind, a cloud and fire infolding it . . . also out of the midst thereof
came the likeness of four living creatures . . . they had the likeness
of a man. And every one had four faces and four wings . . . the face
of a man, and the face of a lion, the face of an ox, and the face of an eagle. . . ””

” In the Egyptian temples, according to Clemens Alexandrinus, an
immense curtain separated the tabernacle from the place for the
congregation. The Jews had the same. In both, the curtain was
drawn over five pillars (the Pentacle) symbolising our five senses and
five Root-races esoterically, while the four colours of the curtain
represented the four cardinal points and the four terrestrial elements”


The five root-races come back to the idea of evolution. The second wave theosophy at the start of the 20th century did alot of explaining and bringing the ideas Blavatsky wrote about in to more accessible form, and often times making them sound like quasi-mythical description applied to a fantastic comic book form. This is only the surface though, and diving behind the words one may reveal something that makes sense in actual ”substantial” levels also. Anyway, I don’t know how this sounds to you, but if I remember correctly, Ervast spoke about how the root-races made instruments of their area of speciality during the manvantaras appointed under their rule - when their mysteries were in the forefront of evolution, making way for the coming phase/root-race. Next I will paraphrase Ervast (Christosophian peruskysymyksiä III: Ihmisen synty) on the four manvantaras to see the connection between the root-races and evolution, the four elements and maybe connecting to the four Maharajahs.

The first manvantara was that of Saturn, where the oldest of our instruments – the physical body’ – seed was given. This can be looked at the level of the whole planet (or the solar system, depending what miltiplication of the seven we are inspecting), of whom body our bodies – the consciousness our physicality – consists of. From the impulse of atma, the whole planet was starting to manifest in a certain point in the ”emptiness” of space (thinking again the Fohatic spirals) as areas of heat and warmth. If someone would have had a physical eyesight as we do now, there would not have been nothing to see. This seed as warmth sounds to me like the 3rd and a half element of fire on the side of aether (fire is the elements that can be splitted to the side of the aether and the visible, barely a crude physical phenomena of combustion on the side of the crude elements), and the last aether before cruder elements seems like a logical ”seed” to be given to form crudely physical worlds. Aether is considered to carry potential and thus could be compared (is corresponding) to the seeds we se in the physical worlds of nature.

Then the Sun manvantara; during which the aetheric double of the physical body received its seed. The Sun represents the solar system as a whole and the celestial influences which the body of aether is capable to receive. Like the vegetative life forms follow the light of the sun, so does our aetheric body follow the celestial bodies in their motions. During this manvantara humans were like plants following (due to the impulse of buddhi) the mysteries of attraction and repulsion on a very elemental level (literally). Thus the name magnetic aether. It corresponds to the nonsubtle element of air. Now, it should be remembered that aether was already present in my interpretation on the previous manvantara, but I guess we are talking about forming our bodies ie. instruments of these ”masses” in to a sound whole in the human – the five pointed start ”crowned” with the circle in the pentagram. The world has already fallen and we’re on the last few planes starting to form instruments of ascension. Aether is higher than the crude physical spheres, but as an istrument of the whole, it is integrated after the low point of creation. I’ll come back to the crowning later.

During the manvantara of the Moon the humanity slumbered in astral fluids and their incoherency. The instrument we were learning was that of feelings. Physical matter had started to appear as liquid bodies. Here humans have been like animals, not able to stay in one form of consciousness for long, not yet able to form clear thoughts but running aimlessly after the lower instincts, learning the astral bodys language and behaviour in the process. The element we are talking about is ofcourse water and the higher impulse has been that of manas, which connects to the idea of ”sense of the self” ie. Ego/ego. The fluid bodies are sort of a first step from absraction towards form, similarly as abstract painters may take first steps from form towards abstraction by making the forms more liquid (not being able to escape form entirely in the material medium). These forms are something ones lower ego can start to sense oneself in them (those following them blindly), and we in the world of today build identities around certain sorts of forms that attract us. Auras are the primal forms of abstraction that also music as ”aural artform” happens in (the divine arupa descending to the shadowy Chhayaloka), and is almost in a straight way connected to feelings ie. the astral.
Inspecting the manvantara of the Moon, we can see quite clearly why the theosophists spoke about manvantaras overlapping and how in our fourth root-race there are people from the previous root-races still working on to get to the fourth (and onwards), as well as people already in the fifth root-race. One can regress and loose connection to these abilities by traumas, life-choices etc. and in that way stay behind in the evolution (the fourth root-race especially remind me of people fallen for serious addictions, but also more subtle trappings of the astral). No one can be left behind, and we have to wait and help everyone to proceed, if we are to evolve ourselves. Leaving some part of the whole behind would mean leaving some part of ourselves behind (could be compared to dismissing ones own shadow in the individuals psychological levels), and thus evolving would be only seeming in its unbalanced blindness. ”Exceptions” would be the beings written of in Discordamelior.

The fourth – the Mars-Mercury manvantara. I’m going to keep this one short because I’ve written this post for the past 4-5 days (largest portions of time have gone in contemplation) and have to move on to other things. The liquid forms of the astral needed a complement in the concrete to be able to carry memory and thoughts (also: reason) in the inertia of the static earth element. In this sense identities and larger contexts can be formed and understood instead of purely aimless animal movements. Here the material and divine worlds can meet in exceptional ways and the instrument we are preparing, sometimes more unwillingly and sometimes overly emphasising, relates to the thorougly fallen angels pride – the lower manas.


Now coming back to the Secret Doctrine, the four first manvantaras could thus be seen as the ”times” or places when/where the four Maharajahs became kings on their own turns and forged the instruments of a human as they are now. The five senses we’ve developed come from them as well as the inner faculties connected to the physical senses. I guess every manvantara crowns a Dhyan-Chohan as a king and this crowning grants the passed mysteries in to the whole of the world (solar system, planet, individual humans) that has been worked on – the crown as the integrity of the instruments in a world that has been allowed (by the work of these worlds) to proceed in the initiations. Wearing rings corresponding to the week days symbolises this process in a smaller scale.

While the four Maharajahs are the falling (and perhaps initiation granting or forming?) powers of karma called upon oneself by a humanbeing with their every action, the Lipikas are the scribes taking every action into account and writing the world to become. When an occultist approaces the Lipikas he is approacing wisdom of all the ages that has come and gone and are to become. In their handwriting one can discern the nuances of action and how the world relates to them in different settings.

Ervast connected the four manvantaras to the four animals (which Blavatsky also briefly mentioned relating to the Ezekiels visions, if I remember correctly) in the zodiac cardinal directions starting from saturn: Ox, Eagle (symbolically interchangable with Scorpio), Lion and Aquarius (Human.) Together they form the sphinx – the merciless guardian and presenter of the riddles (of initiation).

Anticlimatic, yet interesting notion to the end: Blavatsky mentioned Lipikas and builders and other groups of spirits have different groups in higher and lower places, so they are hard to name and place in the hierarchies.
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Re: Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

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Smaragd wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 6:17 pm
A bit dangerous to make such a hypothetic chart in to as rigid form as an image, but I can fix it if we find something off with it. The Stanza V.4. columns should not be seen as identical as the numbers in every case, but more as the spirals traced around them by Fohat.
You're incredible!!! How thorough! Thank you for doing this! I should be able to tackle this within the next few days and see if I can add any valuable input. I think we've all settled into the idea of nothing being concrete, so I think something like this is safe.
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Re: Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

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Smaragd wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 6:17 pm

Now coming back to the Secret Doctrine, the four first manvantaras could thus be seen as the ”times” or places when/where the four Maharajahs became kings on their own turns and forged the instruments of a human as they are now. The five senses we’ve developed come from them as well as the inner faculties connected to the physical senses. I guess every manvantara crowns a Dhyan-Chohan as a king and this crowning grants the passed mysteries in to the whole of the world (solar system, planet, individual humans) that has been worked on – the crown as the integrity of the instruments in a world that has been allowed (by the work of these worlds) to proceed in the initiations. Wearing rings corresponding to the week days symbolises this process in a smaller scale.
Very in depth, and a very interesting view. I really like the idea presented here of the four Maharajahs becoming kings and forging the instruments, evolving into the senses, all guided by a crowning Dhyan-Chohan. I'd like to add the element of the sacred four (area-il) also acting as something like a projection of the Maharajahs on their paths to kingdom, perhaps representing the different necessary energies contributing to the whole (father, son, holy spirit, mother/earth, air, fire, water/etc) which also become the five elements encased within the fifth element of ether (as per IV.4).)

Smaragd wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 6:17 pm
Ervast connected the four manvantaras to the four animals (which Blavatsky also briefly mentioned relating to the Ezekiels visions, if I remember correctly) in the zodiac cardinal directions starting from saturn: Ox, Eagle (symbolically interchangable with Scorpio), Lion and Aquarius (Human.) Together they form the sphinx – the merciless guardian and presenter of the riddles (of initiation).
Ah!! This is a great visual.

Smaragd wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 6:17 pm
Anticlimatic, yet interesting notion to the end: Blavatsky mentioned Lipikas and builders and other groups of spirits have different groups in higher and lower places, so they are hard to name and place in the hierarchies.
Which may be one of the largest sources of frustration for me, since it's basically saying, "don't even try to make logical sense of this". Hahahaha but I guess that's why we're all on this current journey of letting go of our rigidity.
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Re: Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

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Polyhymnia wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 9:58 pm
Which may be one of the largest sources of frustration for me, since it's basically saying, "don't even try to make logical sense of this". Hahahaha but I guess that's why we're all on this current journey of letting go of our rigidity.

I have often thought of this frustration felt in your Secret Doctrine group, when I am now making my first reading through the Zohar. Zohar, like SD, uses a veiled language of its own, intertextual and multilayered. For a beginner, it is impossible to know which terms are used in a wide sense and which ones in a strict sense, &c. Because of this I know that first I must go through the whole text, in order to even begin to understand its outlines. Until then, I can only pick some minor details; understanding the big picture is still impossible. After three months of daily reading, I am coming towards the end of book 1 of 22. 21 more hefty tomes await, so this will take about four years of time. Then I can start the whole process again, with the possibility to actually understand something of what I am reading.

Occultism really is great for one's patience. But I also like to think it as a prayer practice for one's reason. Going through the texts that are not yet fully understandable are just what the brain needs in order to expand its paradigm of thinking. Not understanding something, but yet vigorously trying to understand, is what really makes the manasic part of intellect to gain depth.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

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Nefastos wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 1:42 pm
I have often thought of this frustration felt in your Secret Doctrine group, when I am now making my first reading through the Zohar. Zohar, like SD, uses a veiled language of its own, intertextual and multilayered. For a beginner, it is impossible to know which terms are used in a wide sense and which ones in a strict sense, &c. Because of this I know that first I must go through the whole text, in order to even begin to understand its outlines. Until then, I can only pick some minor details; understanding the big picture is still impossible. After three months of daily reading, I am coming towards the end of book 1 of 22. 21 more hefty tomes await, so this will take about four years of time. Then I can start the whole process again, with the possibility to actually understand something of what I am reading.

Occultism really is great for one's patience. But I also like to think it as a prayer practice for one's reason. Going through the texts that are not yet fully understandable are just what the brain needs in order to expand its paradigm of thinking. Not understanding something, but yet vigorously trying to understand, is what really makes the manasic part of intellect to gain depth.[/color]
I can't even begin to tell you how much this meant to me. It's so easy to feel as though I'll never grasp anything ever, and sometimes a reminder is needed that yes, in fact, that very much is one of the occultist's plights :lol: But slowly but surely things unfold, and it's best to just continue with an open heart, open mind, and open spirit, and remember that I'm not alone in these feelings. There is no time line except that of my spirit. Maybe one day we'll be able to discuss the Zohar when I get there in about 50 years.
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Re: Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

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Dear All,

I apologize my manner of sort of re-emerging from the bushes like this, but taking a look at the forum after a few years of absence this reading group was the first to gather my attention. SD has always been a dear book to me and, being HPB's magnum opus, deserves all the attention it can possibly get.

I'm not sure exactly how you have solved the pragmatic side of this reading group? Do you have a schedule with member X to start on a new page/chapter/topic from SD? However this has been solved, I would very much like to participate.
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Re: Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

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We have decided to follow an open concept within this reading group.
We comment on one Stanza, discuss it and move to the next Stanza after we are finished.
It is a very time-demanding book and the idea is, that we can help each other to understand it or to get new ideas and inspiration. It is on the writer how much s/he wants to write about each Stanza. Sometimes we are busy or not in the right mood and that's fine. Participants either write a summary or add their own thoughts and associations.

There is a topic where we discuss when to move to the next Stanza in the Lodge Phanes members forum. But we could as well discuss it here. (If the others are okay with this)

The group is open for everybody and I'm always happy about new participant and new ideas, so welcome aboard.
As you can see, we are at Stanza 5 right now.
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Re: Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

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Dear All,

Alrighty then, let us dive into the deep end straight away and start dissecting this onion that some also DO call the Secret Doctrine! Now, we have a good starting point after Fra Smaragd already told us about everything there is to know about this Stanza :D (and maybe a bit more), BUT, good thing about a HPB text is that there is always another layer hidden beneath the sand.

So, as some of you may know I have been a bit off from the theosophist circles for a few years now. During my adventures I have stumbled across different kinds of sources, but it seems that there just isn't any hiding from the Truth and it will always reveal itself, just sometimes with different masks covering its face.

I have a few things to say, actually, about all this, but first let me open with a memory I had from Fra Nefastos' text, which, to my knowledge, has not been translated to English yet (or maybe it has?). Anyway, in this text (titled Fohat, to be exact) I'd recall there to be a nice analysis on the whole Pi business, including Fohat and many other things mentioned in this Stanza. Should we discuss the matter here or leave it for another time?

Another matter, which is a property of mine (some might call it a character flaw) is that I like to summarize things. HPB is often quite cryptic in her writings, but sometimes the simplest of numbers (for example) can be the most mysterious ones. I have been studying quite a lot of hermetic Qabalah and the whole Enochian magic shenanigans for the past years, so possibly from that stand point I could say a few words.

I'll leave HPB to her mystic riddles and comment instead on Fra Smaragd's comment, because there can never be too many overlapping commentaries, can there?
Smaragd wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 6:17 pm
Most of the commentary revolved around the four Maharajahs ie. the four Kings of the Dhyan-Chohans. This was very interesting because the idea of four and the square has always confused me. They are the informing ”powers” behind the four elements. They are the retributive powers behind karma – the laws of nature or the executors of them, thus guardians. When an occultist steps on the ascending, path he tries to see the laws and the traps to avoid, allowing him to proceed in to further oneness integrating in to the vaster and more universal powers. These four are the wheels that enables anything to move – nothing could move or manifest if the karmic laws wouldn’t constantly face and surround the magician. They are the four winds bringing the world to us as we call it by our actions. Approaching them you see their intense ember countenance, fierce and merciless and impossible to sneak by, yet they understanding ”the perfect cunning” of the snake.
4 is a very interesting number in esoteric connections. Of course we always have the Tetragrammaton, which is four letters, but still only three different ones, since He is doubled. It is interesting to note also that 1+2+3+4=10, which is also a "holy" number, being the "first ten" and also the gematric value of the letter Yod, which means a hand (with some amount of fingers on it).

Now Fohat, as mentioned by HPB, is a whirwind shaped essence. She also mentions Hegel in the text, who wrote of this "world spirit", which develops through world history and thus, uniting with its opposite, becomes something "new" in this process, but at the same time looses a part of itself and sort of starts the process a new. Now, this could be seen as a spiral types of ascensions where the motion is at the same time both circular but also ascending. The spirit comes back to its original starting point, but doing this also raises to another level of consciousness. This could be seen parallel to the development of an individual mind or an aspirant on the occult path. An interesting idea, I think.

The mention of the "four wheels" is interesting also, I think. As the idealists say, existence is Becoming, being the synthesis of Being and Not-Being. Thus all existence is motion. Without motion there could be no energy or creation.
die Eule der Minerva beginnt erst mit der einbrechenden Dämmerung ihren Flug.
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Re: Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

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RaktaZoci wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 10:57 pm
I have a few things to say, actually, about all this, but first let me open with a memory I had from Fra Nefastos' text, which, to my knowledge, has not been translated to English yet (or maybe it has?). Anyway, in this text (titled Fohat, to be exact) I'd recall there to be a nice analysis on the whole Pi business, including Fohat and many other things mentioned in this Stanza. Should we discuss the matter here or leave it for another time?

Another matter, which is a property of mine (some might call it a character flaw) is that I like to summarize things. HPB is often quite cryptic in her writings, but sometimes the simplest of numbers (for example) can be the most mysterious ones. I have been studying quite a lot of hermetic Qabalah and the whole Enochian magic shenanigans for the past years, so possibly from that stand point I could say a few words.
Always lovely to have more people to dig into this book with, so welcome! Or I suppose welcome back is probably more appropriate :)
I'm a huge fan of summarization, so I look forward to your input. I'm happy to discuss the Pi matter here, if that works for everyone else. Truth be told, this is my first time going through the SD so I'm hanging on by a thread and doing my best :lol:
"Limited love asks for possession of the beloved, but the unlimited asks only for itself." -Kahlil Gibran
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