Orders of Celestial Beings

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Hierarchies

The Esoteric Philosophy does not regard the universe as a vast and empty container. According to it, the cosmos is the result of the manifestation of a hierarchy beings who build and guide it:

The plan [for the Cosmos] was furnished by the Ideation of the Universe, and the constructive labour was left to the Hosts of intelligent Powers and Forces . . . the aggregate of the Dhyan-Chohans and the other forces.[1]
The Secret Doctrine ... teaches that the whole universe is ruled by intelligent and semi-intelligent Forces and Powers.[2]
It is on the Hierarchies and correct numbers of these Beings invisible (to us) except upon very rare occasions, that the mystery of the whole Universe is built.[3]

The Powers are the three great classes or hierarchies known under the generalizing term "Dhyāni-Chohan", who direct and guide the “semi-intelligent Forces” also called by a generalizing term: the three Classes or Kingdoms of the Elementals.[4]

In one of her writings, Mme. Blavatsky talks about the seven Suns as the central bodies of the seven planes of beingand the angels that inhabit them:

They are the Head-group divided into four classes from the incorporeal down to the semi-corporeal, which classes are directly connected—though in very different ways as regards voluntary connection and functions—with our mankind. They are three, synthesized by the fourth (the first and highest), which is called the “Central Sun” in the Kabalistic doctrine just quoted. This is the great difference between the Semitic and the Aryan Cosmogony; one materializing, humanizes the mysteries of nature; the other spiritualizes matter, and its physiology is always made subservient to metaphysics. Thus, though the seventh principle reaches man through all the phases of being, pure as an indiscrete element and an impersonal unity, it passes through (the Kabala teaches from) the Central Spiritual Sun and Group the second (the polar Sun), which two radiate on man his Atma. Group Three (the equatorial Sun) cement the Buddhi to Atman and the higher attributes of Manas, while group Four (the spirit of our visible sun) endows him with his Manas and its vehicle—the Kama rupa, or body of passions and desires, the two elements of Ahamkara which evolve individualized consciousness—the personal ego. Finally, it is the spirit of the Earth in its triple unity that builds the physical body, attracting to it the Spirits of Life and forming his Linga Sarira.[5]

The Dhyāni-Chohan and Man

The whole Kosmos[6] is guided, controlled, and animated by almost endless series of Hierarchies of sentient Beings, each having a mission to perform, and who — whether we give to them one name or another, and call them Dhyāni-Chohan or Angels — are “messengers” in the sense only that they are the agents of Karmic and Cosmic Laws. They vary infinitely in their respective degrees of consciousness and intelligence; and to call them all pure Spirits without any of the earthly alloy “which time is wont to prey upon” is only to indulge in poetical fancy. For each of these Beings either was, or prepares to become, a man, if not in the present, then in a past or a coming cycle (Manvantara). They are perfected, when not incipient men; and differ morally from the terrestrial human beings on their higher (less material) spheres, only in that they are devoid of the feeling of personality and of the human emotional nature — two purely earthly characteristics. [7]

Twelve Orders

The universe is created or, rather, evolved, by a Hierarchy of Beings which are generally referred to as "builders" or "architects":

The Builders are those who build and fashion things into a form. The term is equally applied to the Builders of the Universe and to the small globes like those of our chain.[8]
The “Builders” are a class called . . . Cosmocratores, or the invisible but intelligent Masons, who fashion matter according to the ideal plan ready for them in that which we call Divine and Cosmic ideation. They were called by the early Masons the “Grand Architect of the Universe” collectively: but now the modern Masons make of their G. A. O. T. U. a personal and singular Deity.[9]

This hierarchy of Creative Powers that are in charge of building the universe is said to be composed of twelve Orders, although only seven are connected to our Planetary Chain.

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky wrote:

Occultism divides the "Creators" into twelve classes; of which four have reached liberation to the end of the "Great Age," the fifth is ready to reach it, but still remains active on the intellectual planes, while seven are still under direct Karmic law. These last act on the man-bearing globes of our chain.[10]

These twelve Orders are said to be related to the signs of the Zodiac.[11]

Seven Orders

The seven orders connected to our Planetary Chain are divided into three formless and four corporeal. They are connected to the seven sacred planets:

The hierarchy of Creative Powers is divided into seven (or 4 and 3) esoteric, within the twelve great Orders, recorded in the twelve signs of the Zodiac; the seven of the manifesting scale being connected, moreover, with the Seven Planets. All this is subdivided into numberless groups of divine Spiritual, semi-Spiritual, and ethereal Beings.[12]

At the end of the manvantara these orders will move on to higher spheres:

The Celestial Hierarchy of the present Manvantara will find itself transferred in the next cycle of life into higher, superior worlds, and will make room for a new hierarchy, composed of the elect ones of our mankind. Being is an endless cycle within the one absolute eternity, wherein move numberless inner cycles finite and conditioned.[13]

About the higher four orders of the seven related to our planet, The Secret Doctrine says:

“The first after the ‘One’ is divine Fire; the second, Fire and Æther; the third is composed of Fire, Æther and Water; the fourth of Fire, Æther, Water, and Air.”* The One is not concerned with Man-bearing globes, but with the inner invisible Spheres. “The ‘First-Born’ are the Life, the heart and pulse of the Universe; the Second are its Mind or Consciousness.”† († This “Consciousness” has no relation to our consciousness. The consciousness of the “One manifested,” if not absolute, is still unconditioned). . .[14]

First Order

The highest group is composed of the divine Flames, so-called, also spoken of as the “Fiery Lions” and the “Lions of Life,” whose esotericism is securely hidden in the Zodiacal sign of Leo. It is the nucleole of the superior divine World. They are the formless Fiery Breaths, identical in one aspect with the upper Sephirothal Triad.[15]

Second Order

The second Order of Celestial Beings, those of Fire and Æther (corresponding to Spirit and Soul, or the Atma-Buddhi) whose names are legion, are still formless, but more definitely “substantial.” They are the first differentiation in the Secondary Evolution or “Creation” — a misleading word. As the name shows, they are the prototypes of the incarnating Jivas or Monads, and are composed of the Fiery Spirit of Life. It is through these that passes, like a pure solar beam, the ray which is furnished by them with its future vehicle, the Divine Soul, Buddhi. These are directly concerned with the Hosts of the higher world of our system. From these twofold Units emanate the threefold.[16]

Third Order

The Third order corresponds to the Atma-Buddhi-Manas: Spirit, Soul and Intellect, and is called the “Triads.”[17]

Fourth Order

The Fourth are substantial Entities. This is the highest group among the Rupas (Atomic Forms). It is the nursery of the human, conscious, spiritual Souls. They are called the “Imperishable Jivas,” and constitute, through the order below their own, the first group of the first septenary host—the great mystery of human conscious and intellectual Being.[18]

Fifth Order

The Fifth group is a very mysterious one, as it is connected with the Microcosmic Pentagon, the five-pointed star representing man. In India and Egypt these Dhyanis were connected with the Crocodile, and their abode is in Capricornus. These are convertible terms in Indian astrology, as this (tenth) sign of the Zodiac is called Makara, loosely translated “crocodile”. . . . He is the “Dragon of Wisdom” or Manas, the “Human Soul”, Mind, the Intelligent principle, called in our esoteric philosophy the “Fifth” principle.[19]

Sixth and Seventh Orders

The sixth and seventh groups partake of the lower qualities of the Quaternary. They are conscious, ethereal Entities, as invisible as Ether, which are shot out like the boughs of a tree from the first central group of the four, and shoot out in their turn numberless side groups, the lower of which are the Nature-Spirits, or Elementals of countless kinds and varieties; from the formless and unsubstantial — the ideal thoughts of their creators — down to the Atomic, though, to human perception, invisible organisms. The latter are considered as the “Spirits of Atoms” for they are the first remove (backwards) from the physical Atom — sentient, if not intelligent creatures. They are all subject to Karma, and have to work it out through every cycle. . . . This sixth group, moreover, remains almost inseparable from man, who draws from it all but his highest and lowest principles, or his spirit and body, the five middle human principles being the very essence of those Dhyanis.*(* the Occultist [calls them] the “Ancestors, the Pitris;” they are the sixfold Dhyan Chohans, having the six spiritual Elements in the composition of their bodies—in fact, men, minus the physical body.) Alone, the Divine Ray (the Atman) proceeds directly from the One.[20]

Annie Besant's teachings

In her book The Pedigree of Man, Annie Besant describes the three formless orders as being the ones that awaken the aspects of self, wisdom, and activity in the "descending" human Monads:

First comes the Order that is only describable by words connected with fire . . . for they, it is written, are the Life and the Heart of the universe, the Self, the kosmic Will, and through Them comes the divine ray of Supreme Self, that awakens self in the Monad of Man.

Below them comes the second great Hierarchy, two-fold in its nature, the "two-fold units," Fire and Ether, manifested Reason, the wisdom of the system, that we speak of as Kosmic Soul, that arouses Soul in the Monad of man.
Below Them again, the third, the Great, or Kosmic Mind, "the triads," Fire, Ether, Water, the Kosmic Activity, that will also bestow part of its essence on the Monad of man as he descends.

These are the Formless Creative Orders, dwelling in matter too subtle to assume a limiting form, matter in which all forms intermingle and interpenetrate.[21]

See also

Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 279-280.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 287.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 89.
  4. Geoffrey A. Barborka, The Divine Plan , (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 2002), 45
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 241.
  6. Since H. P. Blavatsky's time it has been customary among careful theosophical writers to draw a distinction of fact between cosmos and kosmos. The solar universe or solar system is frequently referred to as cosmos or solar cosmos; and the galactic universe or our own home-universe it has been customary to refer to as the kosmos.
  7. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 274.
  8. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 348.
  9. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 342.
  10. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 77.
  11. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 213.
  12. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 213.
  13. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 221.
  14. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 213.
  15. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 213.
  16. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 216.
  17. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 218.
  18. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 218-219.
  19. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 219.
  20. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 221-222.
  21. Annie Besant, The Pedigree of Man (Adyar, Madras: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1943), 28-30.