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The Theosophical Society in America

Our mission is to encourage open-minded inquiry into world religions, philosophy, science, and the arts in order to understand the wisdom of the ages, respect the unity of all life, and help people explore spiritual self-transformation.

Hurricane Irma Relief Fund

IrmaHurricane Irma has had a devastating impact, dumping 11 trillion gallons of water and displacing hundreds of thousands.  In response, the Theosophical Society in America and the Theosophical Order of Service in America are working together on a Hurricane Irma Relief Fund.  100% of funds collected will be used to aid impacted areas. You can make a difference. Show your support today by giving to help our fellow brothers and sisters in need.

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Mindfulness of Breathing: Less Doing, More Being

Saturday, September 23, 1:00 - 4:30 p.m.

with John Cianciosi

John CianciosiThis workshop will offer participants an opportunity to practice Mindfulness of Breathing and walking meditation in a relaxed, quiet, and peaceful environment. Skillful guidance and sharing will be provided to help facilitate participants’ progress toward peace.

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Upcoming Online Programs

Meditation Practices and Perspectives
Sun Sep 24 @ 9:30AM - 10:30AM

Theosophical Teachings of Sri Madhava Ashish
Mon Sep 25 @ 9:00AM - 10:00AM

Mahatma Letters Reading and Discussion Group
Mon Sep 25 @10:30AM - 11:30AM

Nisargadatta Advaita Study Group
Mon Sep 25 @12:30PM - 01:45PM

Four Points, Five Questions: The Emerging Spirituality of the Second Axial Age
Mon Sep 25 @ 7:00PM - 08:15PM

Theosophy Raw and Unfiltered: From the Vedas to the Present
Tue Sep 26 @ 7:00PM - 08:00PM

Walking the Theosophical Path Online Group
Wed Sep 27 @10:30AM - 11:30AM

The Dream Circle
Wed Sep 27 @12:30PM - 01:30PM

The Kabbalah: Key to Hidden Knowledge
Thu Sep 28 @ 2:00PM - 03:00PM

Hidden Wisdom in the Holy Bible Vol II - Chapter 4

CHAPTER FOUR

THE SEVENTH DAY

Genesis 2

Having ended the work of Creation, God rested from labor on the seventh day.

In the beginning, before ever a plant grew or rain fell, God fashioned a man from the soil, giving him life. For this man, Adam, God planted a garden, beautiful and lush with fruit trees and all manner of plants. In the center of this garden in Eden grew a tree whose fruit held the key to the knowledge of good and evil. Watered by four great rivers, the garden thrived, and God gave it into the man’s keeping, providing all of this for Adam’s pleasure. Only the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was withheld from him.

In time God saw that the man was lonely; so for company God created the animals and birds, and while these were all wonderful, the man was lonely still. Thus, while Adam slept, God removed a rib from him and fashioned it into a woman. When Adam saw her, he was happy at last for now he had a true companion— she was part of him and he of her. And in happiness they lived in the garden and walked through it unclothed, in unashamed innocenxe.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
(Gen. 2:1–2)

In esoteric cosmogony the completion of the process of objective manifestation or “creation” is achieved only at the end of the seventh cycle (in Genesis called “day”), whether major or minor. The seventh day, the end of the cycle of manifestation, is therefore by no means a day of rest throughout the cosmos. Rather it is the day of culmination, of highest activity, in which all that was initiated on the first day is brought to its greatest possible development, expression and function within the major time-period, or at the end of the seventh day. The full period occupies seven cycles, not six.

The “day” on which God rested refers to the culmination or exhaustion in the dynamic sense, the completed outworking of the original creative impulse. The perfect manifestation of original ideation within a given period has by then been achieved. Thereafter, the whole impulse to produce dies down, having fulfilled itself, and this dying down and reduction of activity to a minimum, followed by its complete cessation, is thus the true meaning of the words “he rested.”

At the end of the seventh day all nature sleeps—as in the depth of winter—to awaken no more within the duration of the major cycle. Cosmos fades gradually back into Chaos. Substances or elements return to their primordial Source, which is the one maternal root Substance, the eternal Mother from whom all are born. Evening descends upon the vast cosmic field, to be followed by that final “night” into which the whole Creation descends. Finiteness disappears. Infinity once more prevails. The end of the first chapter of Genesis and the first verse of the second chapter might more correctly be regarded as descriptive of this close of the sevenfold period of activity, which begins with the first dawn of the first “day” and ends with the close of the seventh and the oncoming of “night.”

All is then withdrawn into a latent, germinal condition, there to rest in quiescence until the opening of the succeeding epoch or new “day.” Thereafter, the whole process will be repeated but with a greater fullness, since the condition at the beginning of the new cycle will be that which obtained at the end of the preceding one.

The Pathways of Forthgoing and Return

As, when once begun, the swing of a pendulum continues, so the succession of cycles and subcycles, once initiated by an impulse arising from within the One Alone, continues according to law as long as that impulse is maintained. When this is no longer given, the swing continues through a decreasing arc until at last the pendulum returns to its preceding motionless state. So also does the cycle-governed cosmos emerge from and return to quiescence, to Chaos, which means rootsubstance in an equipolarized state, unchanged and therefore at rest. This is the abyss, the great deep—upon which, at the dawn of Manvantara, the great breath is again breathed forth to initiate a new period of creative activity.

And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (Gen. 2:3 )

The third verse may be more literally, if less clearly, translated: “And Elohim blessed the seventh day and hallowed it (blessed in Heb., ikaddesh, also means hallowed, consecrated, set apart, dedicated to God), because in it He returned from all His work, which He, the Elohim, had created in order to make.” The word “Sabbath” here can literally mean “the returning,” and the “seventh day,” “the day of full realization.” Thus Genesis states that Elohim came forth from the unknown eternal One in order to make the One manifest, knowable through the process of Creation. Having finished the creative work of the eternal One, Elohim returned to the divine unity, the universal Sabbath.

These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,

And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.

But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
( Gen. 2:4–6 )

The second chapter of Genesis at this point recapitulates the description of certain of the processes of Creation. The first chapter, as I have said, describes the emergence of cosmos from Chaos, form from the eternal formless, and reveals creative principles which apply not only to the Earth and its Solar System, but to all cosmoi; for the basic laws of manifestation and the ordered emergence and development of the successive phases and their evolutionary products do not change. Even though those products ascend to ever higher, more spiritual and more powerful manifestations, the underlying laws are the same. The second chapter, however, deals with a single unit such as a Solar System, a Planetary Scheme, a Chain, a Round or a Globe within the larger universe.

In the main, though not entirely, the processes of condensation, solidification to the mineral level, and the successive emergence of plant, animal and humans upon this planet are described. The presence of the seeds of living things in a latent condition is indicated in the fifth verse, and this may be taken to refer to their primary existence in both divine thought and universal precosmic substance.

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. ( Gen. 2: 7 )

“Man” in Hebrew is Adam. Esoterically, the first letter, a, denotes anything primal, the first cause, potential power, Deity. The letter d is the sign of multiplication and abundance, and the final m is one of unlimited plurality. “Man” is “the spiritual One becoming the material Many, the human principle, the essence of humanity.” Dust may be regarded as “the refinement of matter, light, airy.” “Breath” in Hebrew can be translated as nishemath, “to elevate, to ennoble, being raised to a higher state, becoming an individual human soul.”

Verse seven in its literal reading is deceptive, for it somewhat suggests the theory of special creation, which runs counter to that of the cyclic emanation, involution and evolution of all beings and all things, both material and spiritual. Esoterically, however, the order of evolution is not incorrect. The first chapter of Genesis gives the history of the first three Rounds of the present Fourth Chain of Globes, and of the first three Races (types of evolving beings) on Earth in the Fourth Round (see Volume I for an explanation of the meaning of Rounds and Globes), when humanity had already attained conscious life. In the first chapter of Genesis—which deals with the earlier Rounds—animals, fishes and birds are correctly placed before humans, while in the second chapter, which continues the story, humanity is correctly introduced first.

Since evolution is a fact, this verse, in both its exoteric and esoteric readings, may be taken to describe the passage of the human Monad through the mineral (dust), the plant and the animal kingdoms (life), to the attainment of self-conscious individuality or Soulship (humanity). The word “dust” as shown above is somewhat misleading, since the original aphar (Heb.) is the present participle of a verb meaning “the process of refining.” The threefold nature of humanity—material, psychical and spiritual—is thus described, and especially the fact of humanity’s distinguishing characteristic of self-conscious individuality. The breath of life breathed into Adam, the “man of dust,” is the nascent, reasoning Soul which in the animal is instinctual only.

And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
( Gen. 2:8–10 )

The two trees planted in Eden can hardly have been material objects growing in material earth. Rather the words refer to spiritual trees with spiritual qualities—a tree of life and a tree of knowledge of good and evil. More properly they are to be regarded as archetypes or models according to which the material universe emanated and is evolving.

River is nahar in Hebrew, “a stream-like movement or current of the life force,” and water is hishekah, “to make fertile, productive and capable of sustaining life.” Thus the original, outflowing life-force is divided into four individual streams, each with its own characteristics. These are less branches or tributaries than starting points for creative activity occurring in their quarter or region of the universe. In verse eight the garden is made to be not the garden of Eden, but in Eden—apparently a contradiction. Eden, however, is less a location in the physical world than a sphere of activity, an enclosed state of existence within the realm of universal time and space. In this sense, therefore, no contradiction occurs.

The Creation of Man and Woman
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
( Gen. 2:21–23 )

Adam was first “formed” as a spiritual unity, not physically incarnated (see Gen. 2:7 —formed is iitzer in Heb.; “[God] gave permanent and homogeneous form to Adam as an individual spiritual entity”). Genesis now proceeds to describe the creation and the evolution of humanity, the second chapter being partly concerned with the change produced in the physical body by evolutionary processes. The first human form, typified by Adam, was androgynous. Gradually, however, as the cycle progressed in which the human form was developed and the masculine-feminine spiritual Soul entered into closer association with that form, a change began to occur. Out of the androgynous organism the single-sexed, separate man and woman of today developed. Adam (“man”) alone in the Garden of Eden personifies the first sexually innocent humanity, while Adam and Eve together typify the first separated men and women. The production of Eve from the side and out of a rib of Adam while he slept is an allegorical description of this process.

These verses of Genesis embody the description of both the psychical condition and the bodily development of primitive humanity. Androgynous, Adam was pure—unconscious of sex and innocent of passion. This condition of human purity and innocence is symbolized by the Garden of Eden itself, the state of the soul before the awakening and activity of consciously exercised procreative power. Eden therefore describes the childhood of humanity, and also of every human being up to the stage of puberty.

The expulsion from Eden portrayed in the third chapter of Genesis [see Chapter 5] is an allegory of the passage of every human being through adolescence into adult life. The process, being perfectly natural, involves no sin of either Soul or body, whether for the whole human race or for the individual. In terms of consciousness the story describes the precreative and the procreative stages of human development. Related to physical development the account refers to the evolutionary change from androgyny to reproduction between male and female, with the consequent experience of sexual desire and the expression of procreative power.

Eve Produced from Adam’s Rib

As previously mentioned, the formation of Eve from a rib of Adam while he slept in the Garden of Eden is also entirely allegorical. His deep sleep refers to both the nascent mentality and the unawakened, inactive procreative power. Supine and unconscious upon the ground, Adam aptly represents the human race at the first period of the encasement of the Monad in human form. Newly enclosed in dense matter, the first human was “of the earth, earthy.” The task was to become accustomed to imprisonment within relatively inert physical substance and gradually to overcome its existence. These first human bodies were gigantic (“there were giants in the earth in those days”— Gen. 6:4 ; this is also supported by both anthropology and esoteric tradition), with a minimum of nervous organization and activity. Sluggishly and clumsily they moved through tropical vegetation, impelled only by the desire for food and the instinct for self-preservation. The mental torpor of primitive humanity is typified by Adam in deep sleep in the Garden of Eden.

The life-force was present, however, and active within the first physical humans, even though unrecognized. Very gradually a change, both physical and psychical, began to occur. Physically, one sexual faculty began to predominate over the other. Psychically, awareness of opposite polarity was experienced, as either the positive or the negative currents in the life-force became predominant in individuals. These two processes brought an end to the androgynous era and culminated in the establishment upon this planet of separate male and female forms. Since these evolved out of progenitors who up to now had contained the attributes of both sexes, the description of the formation of Eve from the side (rib) of Adam is appropriate as an allegory. The biological fact that as an embryo both sexes contain tissues that could develop into either sex lends support to this theory of human evolution.

The reference to the rib of Adam may also be interpreted as an indication that the procedure of the descent of the Monadic ray into denser and denser forms had culminated in incarnation in solid material bodies. This involved the production by nature of a supporting bony structure, of which the rib of Adam may be taken as a representation. In esoteric anthropology this is said to have occurred in the third sub-race of the Third Root Race (the Lemurian) of the Seven Root Race of humanity (SD). The reference to Adam’s rib as the basic substance from which Eve was formed is deeply esoteric. One possible interpretation, tentively advanced, is that the spinal column adn a projecting rib together form a right angle or square. This equalarmed cross has ever been the symbol of the union of descending, positive, fructying Spirit (the vertical) entering negative, receptive, gestatory and all-producing matter (the horizontal). All creation occurs as a result of this process is symbolized by both the cross and the square. In the human skeleton the spinal column and each rib form a right angle. Eve, being feminine, is appropriately formed out of the horizontal arm of this cross.

Thus interpreted, the allegory reveals that as a result of universal processes, the previously combined dual polarity of the life-force was separated into two distinct manifestations. These produced in both the psychical and physical worlds oppositely polarized man and woman. God, as the triune Creator of both Adam and Eve, may therefore be regarded as universal Law and Life acting under the direction of universal Intelligence. As we have seen, this last becomes manifest as—and active in—the hosts of Intelligences, the Elohim, ceaselessly at work throughout the whole of cosmos as builders of forms, directors of consciousness into them, and quickeners of evolutionary development. These builders and their function of inducting the Monads of humans into mortal, material bodies are also personified by the “old serpent” ( Rev. 12:9 and 20:2 ), the Devil in the Garden of Eden. In esoteric philosophy they are referred to as “the Satanic Hierarchy” (see Hodson, The Kingdom of the Gods, Part Three, Chapter 5). [See also Hodson Devas and Men, Chapter 9, and scattered references in The Secret Doctrine for more information about this concept.] Satan’s copartnership with God is suggested by the fact that apart from God, Satan as the Devil is the only recorded visitant to the Garden of Eden before the Fall. The serpent, the Devil and the Satanic Hierarchy are discussed further in Chapter 5.