Macrocosm and Microcosm

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Macrocosm and Microcosm are Greek compound words of μακρο ("macro", large) and μικρο ("micro", small), and the word κόσμος (cosmos), which means "order" as well as "world" or "ordered world." In the Theosophical literature the macrocosm generally represents the “Great Universe” or Kosmos[1] (frequently spelled with capital "K") while the microcosm refers to the human being: "Man is the microcosm of the macrocosm; the god on earth is built on the pattern of the god in nature".[2] However, the terms Macrocosm and Microcosm may also be applied in other contexts, as referring to the higher and lower planes,[3] to human beings and animals, etc.

General Description

According to H. P. Blavatsky one of the objects of the study of the Esoteric Sciences is that of "proving Man to be identical in spiritual and physical essence with both the Absolute Principle and with God in Nature".[4]

The idea is that man is a reflection of the universe, containing all the essential elements present in the latter. Mme. Blavatsky elaborated on this as follows:

Man is a little world--a microcosm inside the great universe. Like a foetus, he is suspended, by all his three spirits, in the matrix of the macrocosmos; and while his terrestrial body is in constant sympathy with its parent earth, his astral soul lives in unison with the sidereal anima mundi. He is in it, as it is in him, for the world-pervading element fills all space, and is space itself, only shoreless and infinite. As to his third spirit, the divine, what is it but an infinitesimal ray, one of the countless radiations proceeding directly from the Highest Cause -- the Spiritual Light of the World? This is the trinity of organic and inorganic nature -- the spiritual and the physical, which are three in one, and of which Proclus says that "The first monad is the Eternal God; the second, eternity; the third, the paradigm, or pattern of the universe"; the three constituting the Intelligible Triad. Everything in this visible universe is the outflow of this Triad, and a microcosmic triad itself.[5]

This concept also points out the fact that man and cosmos do not only share a similar structure, but also the same source and destination. As Master K.H. wrote in a letter to A. O. Hume:

As man is a seven-fold being so is the universe — the septenary microcosm being to the septenary macrocosm but as the drop of rainwater is to the cloud from whence it dropped and whither in the course of time it will return.[6]

See also

Online resources



  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 195.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 260.
  3. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 44 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 118.
  4. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 519.
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled vol. I (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 212.
  6. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 67 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 182.