The Secret Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky — Vol. 2
Vol. 2, Page 590 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
THE MYSTERIES OF THE HEBDOMAD.
We must not close this Part on the Symbolism of Archaic History, without an attempt to explain the perpetual recurrence of this truly mystic number in every scripture known to the Orientalists. As every religion, from the oldest to the latest, claims its presence, and explains it on its own grounds agreeably with its own special dogmas, this is no easy task. We can, therefore, do no better or more explanatory work than to give a bird’s-eye view of all. These sacred numbers (3, 4, 7) are the sacred numbers of Light, Life, and Union — especially in this present manvantara, our Life-cycle; of which number seven is the special representative, or the Factor number. This has now to be demonstrated.
If one happened to ask a Brahmin learned in the Upanishads — so full of the secret wisdom of old, why “he, of whom seven forefathers have drunk the juice of the moon-plant, is trisuparna,” as Bopaveda is credited with saying; and why the Somapa Pitris should be worshipped by the Brahmin trisuparna — very few could answer the question; or, if they knew, they would still less satisfy one’s curiosity. Let us, then, hold to what the old Esoteric doctrine teaches.
“When the first ‘Seven’ appeared on earth, they threw the seed of everything that grows on the land into the soil. First came three, and four were added to these as soon as stone was transformed into plant. Then came the second ‘Seven,’ who, guiding the Jivas of the plants, produced the middle (intermediate) natures between plant and moving living animal. The third ‘Seven’ evolved their Chhayas. . . . The fifth ‘Seven’imprisoned their Essence. . . . Thus man became a Saptaparna.” (Commentary.)
Such is the name given in Occult phraseology to man. It means as shown elsewhere, a seven-leaved plant, and the name has a great significance in the Buddhist legends. So it had, also, under disguise, in the Greek “myths.” The T, or (tau), formed from the figure 7, and the Greek letter [[G]] (gamma), was (see § “Cross and Circle”) the symbol of life,
Vol. 2, Page 591 THE MEANING OF THE DOUBLE TRIANGLE.
and of life eternal: of earthly life, because [[G]] (gamma) is the symbol of the Earth (gaia)*; and of “life eternal,” because the figure 7 is the symbol of the same life linked with divine life, the double glyph expressed in geometrical figures being: —
a triangle and a quaternary, the symbol of septenary man.
Now, the number six has been regarded in the ancient mysteries as an emblem of physical nature. For six is the representation of the six dimensions of all bodies: the six lines which compose their form, namely, the four lines extending to the four cardinal points, North, South, East, and West, and the two lines of height and thickness that answer to the Zenith and the Nadir. Therefore, while the senary was applied by the sages to physical man, the septenary was for them the symbol of that man plus his immortal soul.
Ragon gives in his Maconnerie Occulte a very good illustration of the “hieroglyphical senary,” as he calls our
double equilateral triangle, . He shows it as the symbol of the commingling of the “philosophical three fires and the three waters, whence results the procreation of the elements of all things.” The same idea is found in the Indian equilateral double triangle. For, though it is called in that country the sign of Vishnu, yet in truth it is the symbol of the Triad (or the Trimurti). For, even in the exoteric rendering, the lower triangle with the apex downward, is the symbol of Vishnu, the god of the moist principle and water (“Nara-yana,” or the moving Principle in Nara, water;†) while the triangle, with its apex upward, is Siva, the Principle of Fire, symbolized by the triple flame in his hand. (See the bronze statue of Tripurantika Siva, “Mahadeva destroying Tripurasura,” at the museum of the India House). It is these two interlaced triangles — wrongly called “Solomon’s seal,” which also form the emblem of our
* Hence the Initiates in Greece called the Tau [[I]], son of gaia, “sprung from earth,” like Tityos in Odyssey 7, 324.
† See the Mahabharata, e.g., III., 189, 3, where Vishnu says, “I called the name of water nara in ancient times, and am hence called Narayana, for that was always the abode I moved in” (Ayana). It is into the water (or chaos, the “moist principle” of the Greeks and Hermes), that the first seed of the Universe is thrown. “The ‘Spirit of God’ moves on the dark waters of Space”; hence Thales makes of it the primordial element and prior to Fire, which was yet latent in that Spirit.
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Society — that produce the Septenary and the Triad at one and the same time, and are the Decad, whatever way this sign is examined, as all the ten numbers are contained therein. For with a point in the middle or centre, thus , it is a sevenfold sign; its triangles denote number 3; the two triangles show the presence of the binary; the triangles with the central point common to both yield the quaternary; the six points are the senary; and the central point, the unit; the quinary being traced by combination, as a compound of two triangles, the even number, and of three sides in each triangle, the first odd number. This is the reason why Pythagoras and the ancients made the number six sacred to Venus, since “the union of the two sexes, and the spagyrisation of matter by triads are necessary to develop the generative force, that prolific virtue and tendency to reproduction which is inherent in all bodies.”*
Belief in “Creators,” or the personified Powers of Nature, is in truth no polytheism, but a philosophical necessity. Like all the other planets of our system, the Earth has seven Logoi — the emanating rays of the one “Father-Ray” — the protogonos, or the manifested “Logos” — he who sacrifices his Esse (or flesh, the Universe) that the world may live and every creature therein have conscious being.
Numbers 3 and 4 are respectively male and female, Spirit and Matter, and their union is the emblem of life eternal in spirit on its ascending arc, and in matter as the ever resurrecting element — by procreation and reproduction. The spiritual male line is vertical ; the differentiated matter-line is horizontal; the two forming the cross or . The former (the 3), is invisible; the latter (the 4), is on the plane of objective perception. This is why all the matter of the Universe, when analyzed by science to its ultimates, can be reduced to four elements only — carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen: and why the three primaries, the noumenoi of the four, or graduated Spirit or Force, have remained a terra incognita and mere speculations, names, to exact Science. Her servants must believe in and study first the primary causes, before they can hope to fathom the nature and acquaint themselves with the potentialities of the effects. Thus, while the men of Western learning had, and still have, the four, or matter to toy with, the Eastern Occultists and their disciples, the great alchemists the world over, have the whole septenate to study from.† As those Alche-
* The “Potency of the Pythagorean Triangles” (Ragon).
† There are learned Brahmins who have protested against our septenary division. They are right from their own standpoint, as we are right from ours. Leaving the [[Footnote continued on next page]]
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mists have it: — “When the Three and the Four kiss each other, the Quaternary joins its middle nature with that of the Triangle,” (or Triad, i.e., the face of one of its plane surfaces becoming the middle face of the other), “and becomes a cube; then only does it (the cube unfolded) become the vehicle and the number of Life, the Father-Mother Seven.”
The following diagram will perhaps assist the student to grasp these parallelisms.
Now we are taught that all these earliest forms of organic life also appear in septenary groups of numbers. From minerals or “soft
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] three aspects, or adjunct principles out of calculation, they accept only four Upadhis (bases) including the Ego — the reflected image of the Logos in the “Karana Sarira” — and even “strictly speaking . . . . only three Upadhis.” For purely theoretical metaphysical philosophy, or purposes of meditation, these three may be sufficient, as shown by the Taraka Yoga system; but for practical occult teaching our septenary division is the best and easiest. It is, however, a matter of school and choice.
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stones that hardened” (Stanza) followed by the “hard plants that softened,” which are the product of the mineral, for “it is from the bosom of the stone that vegetation is born” (Commentary, Book IX., F. 19); and then to man — all the primitive models in every kingdom of nature begin by being ethereal, transparent, films. This, of course, takes place only in the first beginning of life. With the next period they consolidate, and at the seventh begin to branch off into species, all except men, the first of the mammalian animals* in the Fourth Round.
Virgil, versed as every ancient poet was, more or less, in esoteric philosophy, sang evolution in the following strains: —
Principio coelum ac terras, camposque liquentes
Lucentemque globum lunae, Titaniaque astra
Spiritus intus alit; totamque infusa per artus
Mens agitat molem, et magno se corpore miscet.
Inde Hominum pecudumque genus, etc.† (AEneid VI.)
“First came three, or the triangle.” This expression has a profound meaning in Occultism, and the fact is corroborated in mineralogy, botany, and even in geology, as was demonstrated in the section on “Ancient Chronology,” by the compound number seven, the three and the four being in it. Salt in solution proves it. For when its molecules, clustering together, begin to deposit themselves as a solid, the first shape they assume is that of triangles, of small pyramids and cones. It is the figure of fire, whence the word “pyramids”; while the second geometrical figure in manifested Nature is a square or a cube, 4 and 6; for, “the particles of earth being cubical, those of fire are pyramidal” truly — (Enfield). The pyramidal shape is that assumed by the pines — the most primitive tree after the fern period. Thus the two opposites in cosmic nature — fire and water, heat and cold — begin their metrographical manifestations, one by a trimetric, the other by a hexagonal system. For the stellate crystals of snow, viewed under a microscope, are all and each of them a double or a treble six-pointed star, with a central nucleus, like a miniature star within the larger one. Says Mr.
* Protista are not animals. The reader is asked to bear in mind that when we speak of “animals,” the mammalians alone are meant. Crustacea, fishes, and reptiles are contemporary with, and most have preceded physical man in this Round. All were bi-sexual, however, before the age of mammalia in the closing portion of the secondary or Mesozoic ages, yet nearer to the Palaeozoic than the Caenozoic ages. Smaller marsupial mammalia are contemporary with the huge reptilian monsters of the Secondary.
† “First Divine Spirit within sustains the Heavens, the earth and watery plains, the moon’s orb and shining stars and the Eternal Mind diffused through all the parts of nature, actuates the whole stupendous frame and mingles with the vast body of the universe. Thence proceed the race of men and beasts, the vital principles of the flying kind and the monsters which the Ocean breeds under its smooth crystal plane.” “All proceeds from Ether and from its seven natures” — said the alchemists. Science knows these only in their superficial effects.
Vol. 2, Page 595 NOAH, AN ASPECT OF THE CREATOR.
Darwin, in his “Descent of Man,” p. 164. showing that the inhabitants of the sea-shore are greatly affected by the tides: —
“The most ancient progenitors in the Kingdom of the Vertebrata . . . apparently consisted of a group of marine animals. . . . Animals living either about the mean high-water mark, or about the mean low-water mark, pass through a complete cycle of tidal changes in a fortnight. . . . Now it is a mysterious fact that in the higher and now terrestrial Vertebrata . . . many normal and abnormal processes have one or more weeks (septenates) as their periods . . . such as gestation of mammals, the duration of fevers,” etc. . . “The eggs of the pigeon are hatched in two weeks (or 14 days); those of the fowl in three; those of the duck in four: those of the goose in five; and those of the ostrich in seven.” (Bartlett’s “Land and Water.”)
This number is closely connected with the moon, whose occult influence is ever manifesting itself in septenary periods. It is the moon which is the guide of the occult side of terrestrial nature, while the Sun is the regulator and factor of manifested life; (See also Vol. I., Part II.), and this truth was ever evident to the Seers and the adepts. Jacob Boehme, by insisting on the fundamental doctrine of the seven properties of everlasting mother Nature, proved himself thereby a great Occultist.
But to return to the consideration of the septenary in ancient religious symbolism. To the metrological key to the symbolism of the Hebrews, which reveals numerically the geometrical relations of the Circle (All-Deity) to the Square, Cube, Triangle, and all the integral emanations of the divine area, may be added the theogonic Key. This Key explains that Noah, the deluge-Patriarch, is in one aspect the permutation of the Deity (the Universal Creative Law), for the purpose of the formation of our Earth, its population, and the propagation of life on it, in general.
Now bearing in mind the Septenary division in divine Hierarchies, as in Cosmic and human constitutions, the student will readily understand that Jah-Noah is at the head of, and is the synthesis of the lower Cosmic Quaternary. The upper Sephirothal, , triad — of which Jehovah-Binah (Intelligence) is the left, female, angle — emanates the Quaternary. The latter symbolizing by itself the “Heavenly Man,” the sexless Adam-Kadmon viewed as Nature in the abstract, becomes a septenate again by emanating from itself the additional three principles, the lower terrestrial or manifested physical Nature, Matter and our Earth (the seventh being Malkuth, the “Bride of the Heavenly Man”), thus forming, with the higher triad, or Kether, the Crown, the full number of the Sephirothal Tree — the 10, the Total in Unity, or the Universe. Apart from the higher Triad, the lower creative Sephiroth are seven.
The above is not directly to our point, though it is a necessary
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reminder to facilitate the comprehension of what follows. The question at issue is to show that Jah-Noah, or the Jehovah of the Hebrew Bible, the alleged Creator of our Earth, of man and all upon it, is: —
(a) The lowest Septenary, the Creative Elohim — in his Cosmic aspect.
(b) The Tetragrammaton or the Adam-Kadmon, “the Heavenly Man” of the Four letters — in his theogonic and Kabalistic aspects.
(c) Noah — identical with the Hindu Sishta, the human seed, left for the peopling of the Earth from a previous creation or Manvantara, as expressed in the Puranas, or the pre-diluvian period as rendered allegorically in the Bible — in his Cosmic character.
But whether a Quaternary (Tetragrammaton) or a Triad, the Bible Creative God is not the Universal 10, unless blended with Ain-Soph (as Brahma with Parabrahm), but a septenary, one of the many Septenaries of the Universal Septenate. In the explanation of the question now in hand, his position and status as Noah may best be shown by placing the 3, image_il, and 4, image_il, on parallel lines with the “Cosmic” and “Human” principles. For the latter, the old familiar classification is made use of. Thus: —
As an additional demonstration of the statement, let the reader turn to scientific works. “Ararat = the mount of descent = , Hor-Jared. Hatho mentions it out of composition by Areth = Editor
Note. — For footnotes, see next page.
Vol. 2, Page 597 NOAH IN A NEW DRESS.
of Moses Cherenensis says: ‘By this, they say, is signified the first place of descent (of the ark).’ (Bryant’s Anal., Vol. IV., pages 5, 6, 15.) Under “Berge” mountain, Nork says of Ararat: ‘ , for (i.e., Ararat for Arath) Earth, Aramaic reduplication.’ Here it is seen that Nork and Hatho make use of the same equivalent in Arath, with the meaning of Earth.”||
Noah thus symbolizing both the Root-Manu and the Seed-Manu, or the Power which developed the planetary chain, and our earth, and the Seed Race (the Fifth) which was saved while the last sub-races of the Fourth perished — Vaivasvata Manu — the number Seven will be seen to recur at every step. It is he (Noah), who represents, as Jehovah’s permutation, the septenary Host of the Elohim, and is thus the Father or Creator (the Preserver) of all animal life. Hence verses 2 and 3 of
* The Adwaitee Vedantic philosophy classifies this as the highest trinity, or rather the Trinitarian aspect of Chinmatra (Parabrahmam), explained by them as the “bare potentiality of Pragna” — the power or the capacity that gives rise to perception; Chidakasam, the infinite field or plane of Universal Consciousness; and Asath (Mulaprakriti), or undifferentiated matter. (See “Personal and Impersonal God” in “Five Years of Theosophy.”)
† Differentiated matter existing in the Solar System (let us not touch the whole Kosmos) in seven different conditions, and Pragna, or the capacity of perception, existing likewise in seven different aspects corresponding to the seven conditions of matter, there must necessarily be seven states of consciousness in man; and according to the greater or smaller development of these states, the systems of religions and philosophies were schemed out.
‡ Represented as the jealous, angry, turbulent and ever active-god, revengeful, and kind only to his chosen people when propitiated by them.
§ Noah and his three Sons are the collective symbol of this Quaternary in many and various applications, Ham being the Chaotic principle.
|| “Source of Measures,” p. 65. The author explains, “Note that in Hebrew, Jared, the father of Enoch, is construed to be ‘the mount of descent,’ and it is said to be the same with Ararat on which the cubical structure of Noah, or foundation measure rested. Jared, in Hebrew, is . The root derivations are the same with those of Ararat, of acre, of earth.” As by Hebrew metrology “Jared, is, literally in British Y R D; hence in Jared is to be found literally our English word yard (and also , for Jah, or Jehovah, is rod). It is noteworthy that the son of Jared, viz., Enoch, lived 365 years, and it is said of him by rabbinical commentators, that the year period of 365 days was discovered by him, thus bringing, again, time and distance values together, i.e., year time descended by co-ordination, through the yard, or jared, who thus was its father, in or through Enoch; and truly enough, 1296 = yard (or jared) x 4 = 5184, the characteristic value of the solar day, in thirds, which as stated may be styled the parent numerically, of the solar year” (ibid. p. 65). This, however, by the astronomical and numerical Kabalistic methods. Esoterically, Jared is the Third race and Enoch the Fourth — but as he is taken away alive he symbolizes also the Elect saved in the Fourth, while Noah is the Fifth from the beginning — the family saved from the waters, eternally and physically.
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chapter vii. of Genesis, “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male (3), and the female (4); of fowls also of the air by sevens,” etc., etc., followed by all the sevening of days and the rest.
The Tetraktis in Relation to the Heptagon.
Thus Number Seven, as a compound of 3 and 4, is the factor element in every ancient religion, because it is the factor element in nature. Its adoption must be justified, and it must be shown to be the number par excellence, for, since the appearance of “Esoteric Buddhism,” frequent objections have been made, and doubts expressed as to the correctness of these assertions.
And here let the student be told at once, that in all such numerical divisions the One universal Principle, — although referred to as (the) one, because the Only One — never enters into the calculations. It stands, in its character of the Absolute, the Infinite, and the universal abstraction, entirely by Itself and independent of every other Power whether noumenal or phenomenal. It “is neither matter nor spirit; It is neither Ego nor non-Ego; and It is neither object nor subject,” says the author of “Personal and Impersonal God,” and adds: —
“In the language of Hindu philosophers it is the original and eternal combination of Purusha (Spirit) and Prakriti (matter). As the Adwaitees hold that an external object is merely the product of our mental states, Prakriti is nothing more than an illusion, and Purusha is the only reality; it is the One existence which remains in the universe of Ideas. This . . . then, is the Parabrahm of the Adwaitees. . . . .”
“Even if there were to be a personal God with anything like a material upadhi (physical basis of whatever form), from the standpoint of an Adwaitee there will be as much reason to doubt his noumenal existence, as there would be in the case of any other object. In their opinion, a conscious God cannot be the origin of the Universe, as his Ego would be the effect of a previous cause, if the word conscious conveys but its ordinary meaning. They cannot admit that the grand total of all the states of consciousness in the Universe is their deity, as these states are constantly changing, and as cosmic ideation ceases during Pralaya. There is only one permanent condition in the Universe, which is the state of perfect unconsciousness, bare Chidakasam (the field of consciousness) in fact. When my readers once realize the fact that this grand universe is in reality but a huge aggregation of various states of consciousness, they will not be surprised to find that the ultimate state of unconsciousness is considered as Parabrahmam by the Adwaitees.”*
Being itself entirely out of human reckoning or calculation, yet this “huge aggregation of various states of consciousness” is a Septenate,
* “Five Years of Theosophy,” Art. “Personal and Impersonal God.”
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in its totality entirely composed of Septenary groups; simply because “the capacity of perception exists in seven different aspects corresponding to the seven conditions of matter” (ibid), or the seven properties, or states, or conditions of matter. And, therefore, number 1 down to number 7 begins in the esoteric calculations with the first manifested principle, which is number one if we commence from above, and the seventh when reckoning from below, or from the lowest Principle.
The Tetrad is esteemed in the Kabala, as it was by Pythagoras, the most perfect, or rather sacred number, because it emanated from the one, the first manifested Unit, or rather the three in one. Yet the latter has been ever impersonal, sexless, incomprehensible, though within the possibility of the higher mental perceptions.
The first manifestation of the eternal monad was never meant to stand as the symbol of another symbol, the Unborn for the Element-born, or the one Logos for the Heavenly man. Tetragrammaton, or the Tetractys of the Greeks, is the Second logos, the Demiurgos. The Tetrad, as Thomas Taylor thought (vide the “Pythagorean Triangle”), “is the animal itself of Plato, who, as Syrianus justly observes, was the best of the Pythagoreans; it subsists at the extremity of the intelligible triad, as is most satisfactorily shown by Proclus in the third book of his treatise on the theology of Plato. And between these two triads (the double triangle), the one intelligible, and the other intellectual, another order of gods exists which partakes of both extremes.” “The Pythagorean world,” Plutarch tells us (in De anim. procr., 1027) “consisted of a double quaternary.” This statement corroborates what is said about the choice, by the exoteric theologies, of the lower Tetraktis. For: — “The quaternary of the intellectual world (the world of Mahat) is T’Agathon, Nous, Psyche, Hyle; while that of the sensible world (of matter), which is properly what Pythagoras meant by the word Kosmos — is Fire, Air, Water, and Earth. The four elements are called by the name of rizomata, the roots or principles of all mixed bodies,” i.e., the lower Tetraktis is the root of illusion of the world of matter; and this is the tetragrammaton of the Jews, and the “mysterious deity,” over which the modern Kabalists make such a fuss!
“Thus number four forms the arithmetical mean between the monad and the heptad, as this contains all powers, both of the productive and produced numbers; for this of all numbers under ten, is made of a certain number; the duad doubled makes a tetrad, and the tetrad doubled or unfolded makes the hebdomad (the septenary). Two multiplied into itself produces four; and retorted into itself makes the first cube. This first cube is a fertile number, the ground of multitude and variety, constituted of two and four (depending on the monad, the seventh). Thus the two principles of temporal things, the pyramis and
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cube, form and matter, flow from one fountain, the tetragon (on earth) the monad (in heaven) . . . . ” (See Reuchlin, “Cabala” 1, ii.).
Here Reuchlin, the great authority on the Kabala, shows the cube to be matter, whereas the pyramid or the triad is “form.” With the Hermesians the number four becomes the symbol of truth only when amplified into a cube, which, unfolded, makes seven, as symbolizing the male and female elements and the element of Life.*
Some students have been puzzled to account for the vertical line, which is male, becoming (vide infra) in the cross a four-partitioned line — four being a female number, while the horizontal (the line of matter) becomes three-divisioned. But this is easy of explanation. Since the middle face of the cube unfolded is common to both the vertical and the horizontal bar, or double-line, it becomes neutral ground so to say, and belongs to neither. The spirit line remains triadic, and the matter line two-fold — two being an even and therefore a female number also. Moreover, according to Theon, the Pythagoreans who gave the name of Harmony to the Tetraktis, “because it is a diatessaron in sesquitertia” — were of opinion that “the division of the canon of the monochord was made by the tetraktis in the duad, triad, and tetrad; for it comprehends a sesquitertia, a sesquialtera, a double, a triple, and a quadruple proportion, the section of which is 27.” “In the ancient musical notation, the tetrachord consisted of three degrees or intervals, and four terms of sounds called by the Greeks diatessaron, and by us a fourth.” Moreover, the quaternary though an even, therefore a female (“infernal”) number, varied according to its form. This is shown by Stanley (in Pythag. p. 61). The 4 was called by the
* In the “Hebrew Egyptian Mystery, the Source of Measures,” the Author shows (on p. 50) that the figure of the cube unfolded in connection with the circle . . . . “becomes . . a cross proper, or of the tau form, and the attachment of the circle to this last gives the ansated cross of the Egyptians . . . . while there are but 6 faces to a cube, the representation of the cross as the cube unfolded, as to the cross-bars, displays one face of the cube as common to two bars, counted as belonging to either . . . (i.e., once counted horizontally, and once vertically) . . .
4 for the upright, and 3 for the cross bar making seven in all,” adding — “Here we have the famous 4, and 3, and 7.” Esoteric philosophy explains that four is the symbol of the Universe in its potential state, or chaotic matter, and that it requires Spirit to permeate it actively, i.e., the primordial abstract triangle has to quit its one dimensional quality and spread across that matter, thus forming a manifested basis on the three dimensional space, in order that the Universe should manifest intelligibly. This is achieved by the cube unfolded. Hence the ansated cross as the symbol of man, generation and life. In Egypt ank signified soul, life and blood. It is the ensouled, living man, the Septenary.
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Pythagoreans the Key-Keeper of Nature; but in union with the 3, which made it seven, it became the most perfect and harmonious number — nature herself. The four was “the Masculine of Feminine Form,” when forming the Cross; and Seven is “the Master of the Moon,” for this planet is forced to alter her appearance every seven days. It is on number seven that Pythagoras composed his doctrine on the Harmony and Music of the Spheres, calling “a tone” the distance of the Moon from the Earth; from the Moon to Mercury half a tone, from thence to Venus the same; from Venus to the Sun l 1/2 tones; from the Sun to Mars a tone; from thence to Jupiter 1/2 a tone; from Jupiter to Saturn 1/2 a tone; and thence to the Zodiac a tone; thus making seven tones — the diapason harmony. All the melody of nature is in those seven tones, and therefore is called “the Voice of Nature.”
Plutarch explains (de Plac. Phil., p. 878) that the Achaean Greeks regarded the tetrad as the root and principle of all things, since it was the number of the elements which gave birth to all visible and invisible created things. With the brothers of the Rosy Cross, the figure of the Cross, or Cube unfolded, formed the subject of a disquisition in one of the theosophic degrees of Peuret, and was treated according to the fundamental principles of light and darkness, or good and evil.
“The intelligible world proceeds out of the divine mind (or unit) after this manner. The Tetraktis reflecting upon its own essence, the first unit, productrix of all things, and on its own beginning, saith thus: Once one, twice two, immediately ariseth a tetrad, having on its top the highest unit, and becomes a Pyramis, whose base is a plain tetrad, answerable to a superficies, upon which the radiant light of the divine unity produceth the form of incorporeal fire, by reason of the descent of Juno (matter) to inferior things. Hence ariseth essential light, not burning but illuminating. This is the creation of the middle world, which the Hebrews call the Supreme, the world of the (their) deity. It is termed Olympus, entirely light, and replete with separate forms, where is the seat of the immortal gods, ‘deum domus alta,’ whose top is unity, its wall trinity, and its superficies quaternity.” (Reuchlin, Cabala, p. 689).
The “superficies” has thus to remain a meaningless surface, if left by itself. Unity only “illuminating” quaternity; the famous lower four has to build for itself also a wall from trinity, if it would be manifested. Moreover, the tetragrammaton, or Microprosopus, is “Jehovah” arrogating to himself very improperly the “Was, Is, Will be,” now translated into the “I am that I am,” and interpreted as referring to the highest abstract Deity, while esoterically and in plain truth, it means only periodically chaotic, turbulent, and eternal matter with all its potentialities. For the Tetragrammaton is one with Nature or Isis, and is the exoteric series of androgyne gods such as Osiris-Isis, Jove-Juno, Brahma-Vach, or the Kabalistic Jah-hovah; all male-females. Every anthropomorphic god, in old nations, as Marcelinus Vicinus well observed,
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has his name written with four letters. Thus with the Egyptians, he was Teut; the Arabs, Alla; the Persians, Sire; the Magi, Orsi; the Mahometans, Abdi; the Greeks, Theos; the ancient Turks, Esar; the Latins, Deus; to which J. Lorenzo Anania adds the German Gott; the Sarmatian, Bouh, etc., etc.
The Monad being one, and an odd number, the ancients therefore called the odd, the only perfect numbers; and — selfishly, perhaps, yet as a fact — considered them all as masculine and perfect, being applicable to the celestial gods, while even numbers, such as two, four, six, and especially eight, as being female, were regarded as imperfect, and given only to the terrestrial and infernal deities. In his eighth eclogue, Virgil records the fact by saying, “Numero deus impare gaudet,” “Unequal numbers please the gods.”
But number seven, or the heptagon, the Pythagoreans considered to be a religious and perfect number. It was called “Telesphoros,” because by it all in the Universe and mankind is led to its end, i.e., its culmination (Philo. de Mund. opif.). Being under the rule of seven sacred planets,* the doctrine of the Spheres shows, from Lemuria to Pythagoras, the seven powers of terrestrial and sublunary nature, as well as the seven great Forces of the Universe, proceeding and evolving in seven tones, which are the seven notes of the musical scale. The heptad (our Septenary) was regarded “as the number of a virgin, because it is unborn” (like the Logos or the “Aja” of the Vedantins); “without a father or a mother, but proceeding directly from the Monad, which is the origin and crown of all things.” (Pythag. Triangle, p. 174.) And if the heptad is made to proceed from the Monad directly, then it is, as taught in the Secret Doctrine of the oldest schools, the perfect and sacred number of this Maha-Manvantara of ours.
The septenary, or heptad, was sacred indeed to several gods and goddesses; to Mars, with his seven attendants, to Osiris, whose body was divided into seven and twice seven parts; to Apollo (the Sun), between his seven planets, and playing the hymn to the seven-rayed on his seven-stringed harp; to Minerva, the fatherless and the motherless, and others.
Cis-Himalayan Occultism with its sevening, and because of such sevening, must be regarded as the most ancient, the original of all. It is opposed by some fragments left by Neo-Platonists; and the admirers of the latter, who hardly understand what they defend, say to us: “See, your forerunners believed only in triple man, composed of
* The seven planets are not limited to this number because the ancients knew of no others, but simply because they were the primitive or primordial houses of the seven Logoi. There may be nine and ninety-nine other planets discovered — this does not alter the fact of these seven alone being sacred.
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Spirit, Soul, and body. Behold, the Taraka Raja Yoga of India limits that division to 3, we, to 4, and the Vedantins to 5 (koshas).” To this, we of the Archaic school, ask: —
Why then does the Greek poet say that “it is not four but seven who sing the praise of the Spiritual Sun,” [[HEPTAME]]? He says—
“Seven sounding letters sing the praise of me,
The immortal God, the Almighty deity.” . . .
Why again is the triune Iao (the Mystery God) called the “fourfold,” and yet the triad and tetradic symbols come under one unified name with the Christians — the Jehovah of the seven letters? Why again in the Hebrew Sheba is the Oath (the Pythagorean Tetraktis) identical with number 7; or, as Mr. G. Massey has it, “taking an oath was synonymous with ‘to seven,’ and the 10 expressed by the letter Yod, was the full number of Iao-Sabaoth, the ten-lettered God”? In Lucian’s Auction, Pythagoras asks, “How do you reckon?” The reply is, “One, Two, Three, Four.” “Then, do you see,” says Pythagoras, “in what you conceive Four there are Ten; then, a perfect triangle and our Oath (tetraktis, four!),” or Seven. Why does Proclus say in Timaeus, c. iii. — “The Father of the golden verses celebrates the Tetractys as the fountain of perennial nature”?
Simply because those Western Kabalists who quote the exoteric proofs against us have no idea of the real esoteric meaning. Because all the ancient Cosmologies — the oldest Cosmographies of the two most ancient people of the Fifth Root Race, the Hindu Aryans and the Egyptians, adding to them the early Chinese races (the remnants of the Fourth or Atlantean Race) — based the whole of their mysteries on number 10: the higher triangle standing for the invisible and metaphysical world, the lower three and four, or the Septenate, for the physical realm. It is not the Jewish Bible that brought number seven into prominence. Hesiod used the words “The seventh is the sacred day,” before the Sabbath of “Moses” was ever heard of. The use of number seven was never confined to any one nation. This is well testified by the seven vases in the temple of the Sun, near the ruins of Babion in Upper Egypt; the seven fires burning continually for ages before the altars of Mithra; the seven holy fanes of the Arabians; the seven peninsulas, the seven islands, seven seas, mountains, and rivers of India; and of the Zohar (See Ibn Gebirol); the Jewish Sephiroth of the Seven splendours; the seven Gothic deities, the seven worlds of the Chaldeans and their seven Spirits; the seven constellations mentioned by Hesiod and Homer; and all the interminable sevens which the Orientalists find in every MS. they discover.
What we have to say finally is this: Enough has been brought forward to show why the human principles were and are divided in the
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esoteric schools into seven. Make it four and it will either leave man minus his lower terrestrial elements, or, if viewed from a physical stand-point, make of him a soulless animal. The Quaternary must be the higher or the lower — the celestial or terrestrial Tetraktis: to become comprehensible, according to the teachings of the esoteric ancient school, man must be regarded as a Septenary. This was so well understood, that even the so-called Christian Gnostics had adopted this time-honoured system (Vide § on “The Seven Souls”). This remained for a long time secret as, though suspected, no MSS. of that time spoke of it clearly enough to satisfy the sceptic. But there comes to our rescue the literary curiosity of our age — the oldest and best preserved gospel of the Gnostics, Pistis Sophia [[Pictic Cophia]]. To make the proof absolutely complete, we shall quote from an authority (C. W. King) — the only archaeologist who had a faint glimmer of this elaborate doctrine, and the best writer of the day on the Gnostics and their gems.
According to this extraordinary piece of religious literature — a true Gnostic fossil — the human Entity is the Septenary ray from the One,* just as our school teaches. It is composed of seven elements, four of which are borrowed from the four Kabalistical manifested worlds. Thus “from Asia it gets the Nephesh or seat of the physical appetites (vital breath, also); from Jezirah, the Ruach, or seat of the passions (? !); from Briah, the Neshamah, and from Aziluth it obtains the Chaiah, or principle of spiritual life;” (King). “This looks like an adaptation of the Platonic theory of the Soul’s obtaining its respective faculties from the Planets in its downward progress through their Spheres. But the Pistis-Sophia, with its accustomed boldness, puts this theory into a much more poetical shape (§ 282).” The Inner Man is similarly made up of four constituents, but these are supplied by the rebellious AEons of the Spheres, being the Power — a particle of the Divine light (“Divinae particula aurae”) yet left in themselves; the Soul (the fifth) “formed out of the tears of their eyes, and the sweat of their torments; the [[Antimimon Prieumatos]], Counterfeit of the Spirit (seemingly answering to our Conscience), (the sixth); and lastly the [[Moira]], Fate† (Karmic Ego), whose
* The Seven Centres of Energy evolved, or rendered objective by the action of Fohat upon the one element; or, in fact, the “Seventh Principle” of the Seven Elements which exist throughout manifested Kosmos. We may here point out that they are in truth the Sephiroth of the Kabalists; the “Seven gifts of the Holy Ghost” in the Christian system; and in a mystical sense, the seven children or sons of Devaki killed before the birth of Krishna by Kamsa. Our seven principles symbolize all of these. We have to part or separate from them before we reach the Krishna or Christ-state, that of a Jivanmukta, and centre ourselves entirely in the highest, the Seventh or the One.
† [[Moira]] is destiny, not “Fate,” in this case, as it is an appellation, not a proper noun. (See Wolf’s transl. in Odyssey 22, 413). But Moira, the Goddess of Fate, is a deity [[Footnote continued on next page in next section]]
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whose business it is to lead the man to the end appointed for him; if he hath to die by the fire, to lead him into the fire, if he hath to die by a wild beast, to lead him unto the wild beast, etc.”* — the seventh!