Chains and Rounds
Chains and Rounds are cycles that, in the Theosophical teachings, the monads evolve through the different kingdoms of nature, from elementals to human beings. H. P. Blavatsky described this teachings as follows:
Everything in the metaphysical as in the physical Universe is septenary. Hence every sidereal body, every planet, whether visible or invisible, is credited with six companion globes. The evolution of life proceeds on these seven globes or bodies from the 1st to the 7th in Seven ROUNDS or Seven Cycles.
A "Chain" (also known as "Planetary Chain)" is a group of seven related worlds (also known as "spheres" or "globes") through which an evolutionary cycle takes place. A particular planetary chain lasts for seven rounds or cycles of evolution. When the last round is over, all the globes begin to dissolve and, after a period of rest, the life impulse passes on to a new planetary chain.
A "Round" is a cycle of evolution around the seven globes of a particular planetary chain. Once a round finishes the life impulse goes into pralaya that lasts as long as the whole round did. At the end of this, the life impulse re-awakens and a new round begins.
The life impulse enters a globe after having accomplished its evolutionary cycle in the previous one. A globe remains active during the time that it takes for seven world-periods to take place. Then, the life impulse enters into an state of rest and the globe falls into obscuration.
World-Periods (Rings) and Root-Races
While in a particular globe, the life-impulse goes through seven evolutionary cycles that are called World-Periods or Rings, and Root-Races in the case of the human kingdom. These cycles succeed each other.
- Man: Whence, How and Whither by Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I (London: The Theosohpical Publishing House, 1978), 158-159