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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.

Understanding Impermanence: Fostering Compassionate Presence through the End-of-Life Journey

Saturday, December 2, 10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Anagarika Jyotipala (Dhananjay Joshi)There is a great spiritual need for those suffering from terminal and long-term illnesses. A deep understanding of basic principles of impermanence can lessen suffering and evoke a compassionate acceptance. Through guided meditations, prayers, and Scripture readings, you will acquire tools for coping, accepting, and offering a helping hand to those in need.

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Integral Mindfulness: A Path to Whole Body Awakening

Saturday, December 9, 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Ravi RavindraIntegral Mindfulness combines the power of mindfulness meditation with Ken Wilber’s integral approach to spirituality. Learn how to practice mindfulness in the great arenas of life: the self, relationships, the body, and mindful engagement with the world.

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Upcoming Online Programs

Mahatma Letters Reading and Discussion Group
Mon Nov 20 @10:30AM - 11:30AM

The Secret Path
Tue Nov 21 @ 7:00PM - 08:00PM

Walking the Theosophical Path Online Group
Wed Nov 22 @10:30AM - 11:30AM

The Dream Circle
Wed Nov 22 @12:30PM - 01:30PM

Practical Teachings of Remarkable Men: Part II
Wed Nov 22 @ 2:00PM - 03:00PM

Friday Online Gurdjieff Study Group
Fri Nov 24 @10:00AM - 11:15AM

Nourishing the Pilgrim Soul: Spiritual Search East and West
Sat Nov 25 @10:00AM - 11:00AM

Meditation Practices and Perspectives
Sun Nov 26 @ 9:30AM - 10:30AM

Theosophical Teachings of Sri Madhava Ashish
Mon Nov 27 @ 9:00AM - 10:00AM

Hidden Wisdom in the Holy Bible Vol II - Chapter 5

CHAPTER FIVE

THE EXPULSION FROM EDEN


The serpent was a crafty animal who set out to deceive the woman about the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve was exhorted by the serpent to take the fruit and eat it, saying, “You shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

The fruit of the tree was pleasing to the eye, and the woman could not resist it. She ate of the fruit and gave some to Adam as well. Having eaten, they beheld their nakedness and made themselves garments of leaves.

In time Adam and Eve heard the Lord God walking through the garden, and they hid themselves. The Lord God called for Adam, but he replied that he was hidden because he was naked. Then God knew that they had eaten of the forbidden tree, and in questioning them learned of the serpent’s deceit. Because of this deceit the Lord God cursed the serpent above all animals, condemning it to crawl from place to place. In sadness God then turned to Adam and Eve: for her sin Eve was to have great pain in childbirth, and was also to be ruled over by Adam. Adam’s sin caused God to curse the ground—no longer were man and woman to live by the fruit of the garden, and Adam was condemned to plow and plant in the barren ground.

As the final penalty for their sin, Adam and Eve were banished from the garden, never to return—for the Lord God placed at the gate angels and a sword of fire “which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”



Note: Many of the ideas presented in this chapter are drawn from The Secret Doctrine of H. P. Blavatsky, which in its turn consists largely of commentaries on an ancient esoteric work entitled The Stanzas of Dzyan. Other similar works have also been consulted. Since these ideas may be strange and new to many Western readers, and are in themselves rather abstruse, pains have been taken to present them from several points of view.

The third chapter of Genesis relates allegorically the inevitable defilement of the Monad-Egos resulting from both their immersion in the matter of the worlds below them and the conscious exercise in their physical bodies of their power to procreate. The final phases of the pathway of forthgoing are described here. The physical plane has been reached by the divine pilgrim, with the densest of the seven bodies of humans having been assumed. (These bodies are constructed of matter of seven successive degrees of density—the physical, the etheric, the astral or emotional, the lower mental, the higher mental or Causal, the intuitional or Buddhi and the most spiritual, the Monad-Atma.) Bone, flesh, blood and the nervous systems constitute the tomb in which spiritual Will, Wisdom and Intelligence respectively are buried. The nerves, dull in the primitive, sensitized in the saint, are the doorways and windows through which intellect, at first confined, eventually achieves freedom.

The phrase “the Lord God” used in this chapter of Genesis here must be interpreted to include nature herself, the involutionary pressure and all the hosts of Intelligences (Elohim) associated with the forthgoing life-wave bearing its Monadic seeds towards physical incarnation. Actually it is these very agencies which bring about the purported Fall of humanity. Spiritually regarded, these Intelligences are indeed divine and so are correctly referred to as “the Lord God.” Looked at from below, as forces bringing about the encasement of the human Monad in limiting forms subject to separateness and sensuality, these self-same agencies can appear devilish, and have therefore been branded as satanic.

The Doctrine of Original Sin

The orthodox doctrine of the “Fall” of humanity as a result of the “sinning” of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil) is not in accord with the teachings of the Ageless Wisdom. The Fall simply refers to the descent of human Monads into physical bodies and the consequent exercise of the natural procreative power in those bodies. As will be more fully expounded later, in principle not the slightest sin was committed by early humanity—nor has it ever been since then—when the process designed by nature for the preservation and development of the human species was exercised. Admittedly, sexuality can be abused, and this can lead to despiritualization, degradation and disease, but this fault cannot justly be attributed to the first humans on Earth nor can it be charged against nature’s processes, which are neither pure nor impure, but impersonal and natural. When transmuted to spiritual and intellectual creativity, procreative power can inspire genius, and with further development can endow an esoteric sage with superhuman capacities.

The Temptation by the Devil

The Devil in Eden, by whose machinations Eve and then Adam partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, plays so significant a role in the great human drama which the Bible unfolds that a digression from the main theme of this chapter of Genesis is useful here.

Who and what then is meant by the Devil? In esoteric philosophy Satan is regarded as a personification of a synthesis of a number of formative forces, processes and Intelligences. The Devil is also a personification of differentiated matter, its inherent life-force, and their combined influence upon human personality. If Spirit and matter are regarded as the positive and negative poles respectively of one energy imbued with intelligence, then their mutual approach will tend to generate electromagnetic attraction, thus awakening into activity the creative fire in both. Matter leads in this awakening and so may be said to lure Spirit into material self-expression. Allegorically, Eve, symbol of universal substance, both answers to the play of the life-force within her substance (the Devil) and tempts and seduces Adam (Spirit).

The Devil—Personification of the Influence of Matter upon Spirit

In this chapter of Genesis the serpent, na-hash in Hebrew, stands for “the activity of the basic element of the human personality, namely selfhood.” It is a symbol of an inward life principle inherent in every human being, the amoral activity of the self-consciousness of which Adam now becomes aware. Made prominent, the serpent represents more especially the intellectual principle. This is nascent in primitive humanity, but fully awake in those members of the Elohim who, as we have seen, undertake to bring the Monad into a mental vehicle and introduce it to individualized, self-conscious mental life. Resistance to the command of God, and personal action at variance with that command, refer to the attainment of individualized self-thought and self-will.

The actual tempting power, also symbolized by both the serpent itself and its influence, is threefold. It consists first of the felicity experienced by the mind at the temporary union of opposite polarities in man and woman; for this produces in each of the pair an impression of return to the unipolarized condition characteristic of Monadic consciousness. Second, emotional happiness is felt in the expression of love and the fulfillment of desire. Third, the exercise physically of the procreative power induces pleasurable sensation. This threefold experience—mental, emotional and physical—of the action of the creative fire in nature and in humans is the triple lure which, as said, the Satanic Hierarchy of ministers of the solar Logos or “Word” (see John 1:1) employs to induce human Monad-Egos to enter upon the human phase of existence.

Even though thus assisted, the whole process of descent is a perfectly natural one. For a period it does bring suffering, degradation and shame, but it cannot be truthfully described as a tragic Fall. This dogma of original sin appears to have arisen from texts in both the Old and the New Testaments— Gen. 3:6 , Ps. 51:5 , Isa. 43:27 , Rom. 3:9,10,23 and 5:12 and Gal. 3:22 . The thirty-nine Articles of Religion of the Anglican Communion state the dogma in the following words:

IX. OF ORIGINAL OR BIRTH-SIN


Original Sin . . . is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God’s wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek, phronema sarkos (which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire, of the flesh), is not subject to the Law of God. . . .

X. OF FREE-WILL


The condition of Man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God: Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have that good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.

The views of this body stated here and similar views in other denominations are hardly acceptable to the student of esoteric philosophy; for the supposed original sin is instead regarded as an inevitable concomitant of the involutionary process, and not as a deliberately committed wickedness for which every human being has ever since been condemned to be born in sin. The stain will be left behind and the fruitage will be preserved in the form of full knowledge of, and capacity to wield, the mightiest of all the powers in nature and in humans—the divine power to create universes and all that they contain. The pains of apprenticeship must be endured by the Monad-Ego in the personality before the state of the master builder can be attained.

Eliphas Levi writes in The History of Magic (p. 192):

According to the Kabbalists, the true name of Satan is that of Jehovah reversed, for Satan is not a black god but the negation of the Deity. He is the personification of atheism and idolatry. The Devil is not a personality for initiates, but a force created with a good object, though it can be applied to evil: it is really the instrument of liberty.
The Satanic Hierarchy

On the completion of its involutionary and evolutionary passage through the subhuman kingdoms, the Monad attains one of its primary objectives, which is to become a member of the human kingdom of nature. This process is referred to in esoteric philosophy as individualization. It results in the incarnation of a ray of the Monad within a vesture constructed of matter of that realm of nature and level of consciousness at which humans are able to conceive of abstractions and to comprehend underlying principles and laws. This new-formed individuality is referred to as the human Ego. Such Egohood implies the development of the faculty of self-conscious thought, and self-realization as a separate entity. As this phase is entered upon, the function of the Elohim consists of the encasement of the Monad in a mental body. As has already been observed, the resultant acutely separative sense of individuality, or I-am-ness, with its inevitable concomitants of acquisitiveness, pride, egoism and selfishness, is also personified by the Devil.

The work of another order of the purported Satanic Hierarchy is to induct the human Monad-Ego into a vehicle of emotion in which sexual desire can be experienced. The process of descent thereafter culminates in incarnation in physical, “dust-formed” bodies through which the sex impulse can achieve self-conscious expression. The universal life-force, the fire of creation, then finds individual manifestation as human love, desire and procreative activity. Satan is thus seen as a composite personification of matter and of its resistance to Spirit, a hierarchy of Intelligences, and certain creative impulses active within humankind.

The serpentine form of the symbol of the Devil is also deeply significant; for the characteristic mode of manifestation and manner of expression of the generative power in both nature and in humans is undulatory or serpentine. This allurement of the Spirit of humans from primal innocence to sexual experience, and this undulatory current in which the life-force is expressed, are aptly described in the allegory of the temptation of Eve and Adam by the serpent in the Garden of Eden and their subsequent Fall. This deeply esoteric knowledge could be both incomprehensible and potentially dangerous: hence, doubtless, its heavy enveiling in such intricate symbology encompassed by the esoteric concept of kundalini.

The Universal Tree of Life

The Garden of Eden, Adam, Eve, the serpent, the tree, its fruit and the eating of it can be variously interpreted. The tree of knowledge of good and evil (leaving aside its ten Sephirothal implications—see The Kingdom of the Gods, Part Three, Chapter 4) growing in the midst of the Garden, with its fruit—proscribed as food—unlike that of the fruit of all the other trees, is the age-old and universal symbol for the intelligence-imbued life-force of the universe. The roots of this divine tree arise from within the substance of precosmic space and draw their sustenance from it. Within every atom of matter of every grade of density, and within every molecular combination, both inorganic and organic, the life-force is present as a component energy. This is symbolized as the sap absorbed by the far-spreading, source-tapping roots of the tree of life. It is the atom-forming, universally manifest, creative energy known in esoteric science as cosmic electricity—primordial Fohat or divine energy and vital force, the primary atomic product of which is the Mahatattva or the first differentiation of precosmic space.

Diagrammatically this tree grows downwards with its roots in the heavens or precosmic and cosmic space, Mulaprakriti (undifferentiated substance) or Parabrahman (the impersonal, nameless, universal and eternal Principle). The trunk of the tree represents the same divine generative power focused into an individualized current. In nature, the macrocosm, it is the specialized life-force of any unit or sub-unit, such as Solar Systems, Planetary Scheme, Chains, Rounds, Globes (in esoteric philosophy a Solar System is said to consist of ten Planetary Schemes, each Scheme is composed of seven Chains of Globes, a Round is one passage of the life-wave around the Globes, and a Chain is seven such passages), and the kingdoms of nature with their species. To each of these there is apportioned an appropriate current of creative life.

In The Secret Wisdom of the Qabalah (pp. 72–73), Fuller writes—and I fully concur:

To the student of the occult it will be apparent that these two trees [the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life] closely resemble the letter Shin, also the caduceus of Hermes with its central rod and its two entwined serpents, and also the Ida, Pingala, and central Sushumna of Hindu Yoga. The whole scheme is symbolized in the Temple of Solomon, the temple itself being the central pillar, whilst its two pylons, Yakhin and Boaz, the white and the black, the right and the left, represent the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil—the eternal complementary forces in life without which nothing can be. This symbolism is an excessively ancient one; thus, in the Norse Mythology we find the mystic tree Yggdrasil, the roots of which are in the material world and the branches of which reach up to Asgard, the happy dwelling of the gods. Again, amongst the Akkadians, Chaldeans, and Babylonians we find the World Tree, or Tree of Life, which “stood midway between the Deep and Zikum”—the primordial heaven above. In Hindu mythology there is also a World Tree—the Lingam—and in Buddhist the Bodhi Tree, or Tree of Wisdom under which Buddha sat in meditation.

When the symbol of the tree is used by the allegorists who composed the scriptures and mythologies of the world, the serpent is frequently associated with it. The glyph then consists of the tree of life with a serpent or dragon as guardian, as the Argonauts found at Colchis when searching for the Golden Fleece and Hercules in the garden of the Hesperides, where he sought the golden apples.

In Eden the man and the woman complete the representation of the opposite polarities of the electric, fohatic energy. The tree is also a symbol of esoteric wisdom, the assimilation of which (allegorically described as eating the fruit) indeed makes humanity even as a God. Inversely, the misuse of the resultant power can lead to degradation, and as stated above, this may be one reason for God’s command to the first pair that they should not eat of the fruit of the tree of life. In Kabbalism the tree of life is a composite symbol of the entire macrocosm and microcosm. When interpreted, this symbol reveals the whole cosmogonical process and also the relationship between the universe and humanity. The ten Sephiroth, or emanations concerned with phases of involution and evolution, are represented by circles arranged in a geometric design upon the kabbalistic tree of life. The Garden of Eden with all of its contents thus has many interpretations.

In the cosmic sense the Garden of Eden describes the condition of potential fruitfulness and productiveness of the combined primordial Spirit-matter. Eve represents original cosmic substance and Adam primordial creative Spirit, while the tree of life symbolizes the generative current which passes between this pair. The Fall describes the involutionary process, while the Deity and the Devil represent Spirit and matter respectively—the converse and obverse sides of nature.

The Human Tree of Life

The trunk of the tree, in the microcosmic sense, is represented by the spinal column and cord. The spreading branches are the afferent and efferent nerves in the body; the flowers represent the force centers or chakras in the etheric and superphysical bodies, together with their associated nerve centers and glands in the physical body.

In humans the fruits of the tree of knowledge of good and evil are at least twofold. As previously suggested, they consist of the natural products of the evolutionary process, and also of the capacity of an esotericist to use and express the primeval and manifested life principle at any level of consciousness and through any chakra or organ. In nature the fruit represents the varied life-imbued forms which she, with such prodigality, ever continues to produce.

When humans consciously express the generative power in procreation, they symbolically partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The statement that Adam was forbidden to do so by the Deity on pain of death on the same day ( Gen. 2:17 )—a false prophecy, since this did not occur—may be regarded as a cover or blind concealing from the profane a deep esoteric wisdom. This concerns the existence, the source, the nature and the uses—lowest and highest—of the creative life-force by humankind.

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. ( Gen. 3:3 )

The terms “death” and “to die” have a particular significance in the symbolic language. Death can refer to spiritual deadness, a state of becoming cut off from or dead to spiritual awareness and power. In this sense the words “death” and “die” do not connote the finality ordinarily attributed to physical death, but refer only to a temporary loss of the illumination and the wisdom of the higher Self. Such a reading is somewhat supported by the fact that sexual excess can produce this mental loss, which will remain as long as the error is continued. If, therefore, the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is in part the power to procreate, and the danger of death in the above sense exists because of the despiritualizing effect of excess, then the word “die” in Genesis 3:3 may also be regarded as a veiled reference to the fact that excesses can produce such a deadening result.

The Transmutation of the Procreative Power

Adam alone in the Garden of Eden personifies, as we have seen, the passion-free state of the first physical humans on Earth who were androgynous. This innocent condition of the early humans exists in all humanity from the time of birth to the dawn of puberty. The Garden of Eden itself with its totality of created things—plant, animal and human—together with the indwelling Divine Presence, in one interpretation may also be regarded as a symbol of the physical body of humans. Adam and Eve would then represent the oppositely polarized, creative energies, while the tree of life symbolizes the spinal cord and brain.

In terms of outpoured, formative energy, the tree in the midst of the Garden of Eden is thus emblematic of the triple current of the ever-present electrical energy which plays along the center of the spinal cord, symbolized by the trunk. In procreation that force plays downwards into the generative organs. When sublimated and consciously directed by spiritually awakened humans, it flows upwards into the brain and from there onwards to the solar Source. When by the action of the will this transmutation is successfully achieved, the brain cells and organs become highly sensitized to superphysical forces and states of awareness. This makes possible, in full waking consciousness, realization of unity with the Source of all life, the solar Deity.

One of the secrets of initiation (every initiate being symbolically “raised” from a figurative death) concerns the process of this redirection and sublimation of the life-force in humans, success in which makes the initiate immortal and even “as a God.” Since that mighty power thus transmuted can be used constructively or destructively, the secret of its nature, control and use is closely guarded within the sanctuaries of the greater Mysteries. Whenever referred to in literature which will become available to the general public, the knowledge is invariably revealed—and thereby concealed—in an allegorical and symbolical manner, as in the myth of the Garden of Eden. The supposed command of the Lord, “Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die” (quite obviously impossible to be fulfilled with regard to the human race), in one of its meanings may be regarded as an example of the method by which the secrecy has been preserved.

The puberty of humankind, like individual puberty, causes allegorical expulsion from Eden, which is regained when the pure innocence of childhood becomes the conscious purity of spiritualized humanity. Between the innocence of Eden and full redemption or ascension into Adeptship, humanity passes through a period of bondage in captivity—subservience to materialism, selfishness and sensuality—the phase with which the Old Testament is partly concerned. Additional examples can be found in the bondage of the Israelites in Egypt, the descent of Joseph into the pit and the imprisonment of Samson.

Serpent and Tree as Symbols of Creative Power

The tree of life also symbolizes both the creative and inventive capacity of the human intellect and a responsive condition of matter, these being characteristic of an advanced phase of evolution. The life-force active in the human mind, which thus enfired becomes imbued with the generative impulse, is symbolized by the sap of the tree of life. In this interpretation the serpent is the fohatic force itself, and the tree of life is human consciousness and its vehicles in which that force is active. Together they constitute creative power, macrocosmic and microcosmic. The serpent by itself is emblematic of the undulatory, fohatic, triply polarized formative force in the cosmos, in a universe, in all nature and in every vehicle of human beings. The tree of life is Spirit-impregnated substance, fructified matter, forming the vehicles of any being at any level from a Logos to an amoeba, charged as that matter is with the universal, propellant, vital force.

When inactive the neutral current by itself—the trunk of the tree—represents the latent Divine Presence. When active the positive and negative serpentine currents of the serpent fire (kundalini) are present and in operation. As previously stated, the symbols for this energized condition are the serpent and the tree. Sometimes a single serpent is coiled round the trunk of the tree, while at other times two are present, one on either side of the tree.

The expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden as punishment for their supposed “sin” of marital union has other possible meanings. After the exercise of the procreative function, not only is innocence or the Edenic condition lost or closed to Adam and Eve (representing humankind), but the life-force itself becomes temporarily inactive. In this sense the first parents are away from Eden as a state of consciousness, while for the time being their vehicles are no longer empowered by the fiery force. Symbolically and allegorically they are expelled by God, who in this case partly represents natural law. The term “God” may also be taken to refer to the solar Deity, who is the source of the promethean fire which endows nature and humanity with generative potency. It is this divine power that sends humankind forth from the presence of God in Eden, meaning only from the condition of pristine purity, into the evolutionary field for purposes of self-unfoldment and the physical population of a universe.

In the fourth and successive chapters of Genesis the children, the grandchildren and subsequent descendants of Adam and Eve may be regarded as personifying successive sub-races of the Lemurian or Third Root Race, which was the first group of physical, embodied humans on Earth.

The members of the order of angels known as the Cherubim, which were placed at the east of the garden of Eden “to keep the way of the tree of life,” represent a hierarchy of the Elohim associated with the positive currents of the life-force. Kabbalistically the Cherubim are pictured as sphinxes and regarded as governors of the four elements in their highest sublimation. They appear to correspond to the Lipika, the celestial recorders or scribes, the agents of karma of Hinduism. The hierarchy is concerned with the initiation of the whirling motions by means of which primordial atoms or “holes in space” are formed, presumably using the force which is Fohat in Tibetan. This is the essence of cosmic electricity, the ever-present electrical energy and ceaseless formative and destructive power in the universe, the propelling, vital force whose symbol is the svastika [an ancient eastern or Native American glyph, with arms that rotate counterclockwise—the arms of the Nazi symbol rotate clockwise]. In Kether (“The Crown,” the first Sephira or emanation of Deity of the kabbalistic sephirothal tree which gives birth to the nine others) are thus said to be the beginnings of the whirls, the first stirrings of the divine creative essence. One of the chief duties of the members of this angelic hierarchy is to receive this essence in Kether and carry it to the succeeding hierarchy, the Auphanim or “Wheels,” associated with the second Sephira.

At the beginning of creation—according to esoteric philosophy—Fohat, which arises within the central source of life, is directed outward into space upon the involutionary arc, the path of forthgoing of Spirit-light into matter. The consciousness of the Monads follows this fohatic path of forthgoing, being carried by a form of electrical induction outward from the plane of Adi (the primeval, the subtlest of the seven planes of nature; Kether) towards the physical world. On arrival there God, allegorically speaking, “made coats of skins” ( Gen. 3:21 ) for Adam and Eve, which means that nature and certain orders of the Elohim produced the physical bodies of humans. Those orders that direct the process of forthgoing, and control the activity of Fohat, are symbolized by the Cherubim with flaming sword “which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” In this sense Eden is the first plane of the manifested cosmos, Adi. There the seeds and potentialities of the whole of the subsequent creation exist from the beginning, and indeed throughout all time. Adi is the plane of the seeds (Monads) in their most sublimated state.

The Monad Descends into Matter

As mentioned in Chapter 4, there are hosts of Intelligences, Elohim, that function to join human Monads to mortal bodies. They are referred to in esoteric philosophy as the Satanic Hierarchy and are also personified by the Devil or serpent in the Garden of Eden.

In the case of human Monads, although they are imbued with the formative fire and impulse, the process of the entry of Spirit into matter is far from being purely automatic. Since Monads are primarily pure, stainless, spiritual beings existing within the life of the Logos, incarnation in matter inevitably involves severe limitations and a loss of complete purity. A deeply esoteric teaching states that Monads shrink from the resultant self-limitation, since from the Monadic point of view the descent involves enslavement and degradation. The adoption of individual mentality, incarnation in a physical body with cerebrospinal system and the dual experience of the delusion of self-separateness and sexual impulses are repellant to the Monad to the extent that it is able to conceive of them. For these and doubtless other reasons, Monads are said to hesitate on the threshold of the individuality which would most adversely affect purely spiritual beings whose innate consciousness is entirely universalized. Admittedly these are all intellectual and purely human reactions which could hardly be expected to reach dwellers in the innermost, sparks within the One Flame. Nevertheless the suggestion is made that in some highly sublimated form the Monads embarking on the pathway of forthgoing are aware of such implications inseparable from that procedure. At the same time, however, Monadic life is drawn towards matter by the operation of the law of polarity, or attraction and repulsion.

The Ageless Wisdom, source of these concepts, also advances the teaching that certain of the hosts of human Monads, thus hesitating to embark upon the great pilgrimage through matter, attempted to resist the universal creative and expansive impulse. This shrinking and this resistance together are said to constitute one of the esoteric and spiritually historical realities behind the allegory of the “war in heaven” ( Rev. 12:7 ). It may also be regarded in more general terms as the conflict between Spirit and matter, whether cosmic or microcosmic, universal or human. In humans, this struggle only ends when the outer terrestrial nature has been brought into complete conformity with the Spirit within. Every candidate for the higher initiations must win—and so end—this war by slaying every unspiritual attribute still remaining in the lower nature. Thus St. George slew the dragon—as did so many other heroines and heroes of world mythologies. The labors of Hercules doubtless possess the same mystical significance.

In summary, the rebellious angels were none other than the Monads of humans who hesitated to surrender their universality and their unstained ascetic purity in obedience to the cosmic evolutionary impulse, process and purpose. Eventually the rebels were obliged by that impulse to descend into generation. Karmic disability is said to have followed, influencing some of them to become servants of the dark face, rebels against society and scourges of the rest of humankind on this Earth in its Fourth Round. Furthermore, an actual war was waged on Earth in the days of Atlantis when these servants, the black magicians and sorcerers, attacked their Adept guardians.

While all human Monads felt aversion, all did not rebel. Assistance was required, however, in embarking upon the path of forthgoing (see Volume I, Chapter 11) and in accomplishing descent into the deeper densities of matter. The necessary allurement or temptation to participate in the vast involutionary and evolutionary activity initiated at creative dawn is described in allegory in the account of the temptation of Eve by Satan. Members of the Elohim, full-formed because evolved from preceding cycles of manifestation, undertook this work (and may still be undertaking it in this or other Solar Systems) of induction into mental, emotional and physical bodies. The Devil is a personification of this order of Intelligences, as also of their functions.

Thus the tree of life within Eden, in a limited interpretation, is the life-force in nature in a state of balance or equipoise. The serpent associated with it represents the twin currents, positive and negative, with the tree trunk as third, by which the triple creative fire is manifest. The fruit of the tree is the subsequent development, the harvest accruing from the activity of the Divine Life within the matter of the universe, and particularly the fruits of the great Monadic pilgrimage of forthgoing and return.

Adam represents both humanity, the Monad, and the first physical humans on Earth, who were androgynous. Adam and Eve as separated entities represent the later stage of humanity as Monad-Ego clothed in male and female physical personalities. They are personifications of the human race after its division into men and women. Before this takes place, complete innocence or creative inactivity exists. After the separation, procreation begins. Knowledge is gradually gained from this. Evolution and experience bring that knowledge and its resultant power to the highest fruition, so that humankind ultimately becomes a god. Therefore the serpent truthfully said: “. . . in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” ( Gen. 3:5 )

The price to be paid for the development of this deific power is heavy indeed. The Souls of humans are encased in matter and they temporarily become prey to the delusion of self-separated individuality, to sex, and to the dangers resulting from sexual abuse. Self-degraded as a result, humanity (Adam and Eve) is allegorically described as being condemned by God and driven out of Eden.