THEOSOPHY, Vol. 67, No. 8, June, 1979
(Pages 238-241; Size: 11K)

THE ELEMENTS(1)

METAPHYSICALLY and esoterically there is but One ELEMENT in nature, and at the root of it is the Deity; and the so-called seven elements are the garment, the veil, of that deity; direct from the essence whereof comes MAN, whether physically, psychically, mentally or spiritually considered. Four elements only are generally spoken of in later antiquity, five admitted only in philosophy. For the body of ether is not fully manifested yet, and its noumenon is still "the Omnipotent Father -- Æther, the synthesis of the rest." But what are these "ELEMENTS" whose compound bodies have now been discovered by Chemistry and Physics to contain numberless sub-elements, even the sixty or seventy of which no longer embrace the whole number suspected.

The four Elements were fully characterized by Plato when he said that they were that "which composes and decomposes the compound bodies." Fire, Air, Water, Earth, were but the visible garb, the symbols of the informing, invisible Souls or Spirits -- the Cosmic gods to whom worship was offered by the ignorant, and simple, respectful recognition by the wiser. In their turn the phenomenal subdivisions of the noumenal Elements were informed by the Elements, so called, the "Nature Spirits" of lower grades. The ancients knew and could distinguish the corporeal from the spiritual elements, in the forces of nature. The Dhyanis of the Seven Heavens (the seven planes of Being) are the NUMENOI of the actual and the future Elements, just as the Angels of the Seven Powers of nature -- the grosser effects of which are perceived by us in what Science is pleased to call the "modes of motion" -- the imponderable forces and what not -- are the still higher noumenoi of still higher Hierarchies.

Primordial matter, before it emerges from the plane of the never-manifesting, is but "a cool Radiance, colourless, formless, tasteless, and devoid of every quality and aspect." Even such are her first-born, the "four sons," who "are One, and become Seven," .... Imagine the dawn of a new manvantara. The pure "silver" of the absorbed material will once more separate into substance, which will generate "Divine Essences" whose "principles" are the primary elements, the sub-elements, the physical energies and subjective and objective matter; -- the entities, by whose qualifications and names the ancient Eastern Occultists called the four of the seven primal "centers of Forces," or atoms, that develop later into the great Cosmic "Elements," now divided into the seventy or so sub-elements, known to science.

Every Cosmical Element such as Fire, Air, Water, Earth, partaking of the qualities and defects of their Primaries, are in their nature Good and Evil, Force (or Spirit) and Matter, etc., etc.; and each, therefore, is at one and the same time Life and Death, Health and Disease, Action and Reaction. They are ever and constantly forming matter under the never-ceasing impulse of the ONE Element (the incognizable), represented in the world of phenomena by Æther, or "the immortal gods who give birth and life to all."

The succession of primary aspects of Nature with which the succession of Rounds is concerned, has to do with the development of the "Elements" (in the Occult sense) -- Fire, Air, Water, Earth. We are only in the fourth Round, and our catalogue so far stops short. The centres of consciousness (destined to develop into humanity as we know it) of the third Round arrived at a perception of the third Element Water. Those of the fourth Round have added earth as a state of matter to their stock as well as the three other elements in their present transformation. In short, none of the so-called elements were, in the three preceding Rounds, as they are now. For all we know FIRE may have been pure AKASA, the first Matter ... AIR, simply Nitrogen, "the breath of the Supporters of the Heavenly Dome," as the Mahometan mystics call it; WATER, that primordial fluid which was required, according to Moses to make a living soul with.

Every new Round develops one of the Compound Elements, as now known to Science, -- which rejects the primitive nomenclature, preferring to subdivide them into constituents. If Nature is the "Ever-becoming" on the manifested plane, then those Elements are to be regarded in the same light: they have to evolve, progress, and increase to the Manvantaric end.

For clearer understanding, it must be stated that Occult Science recognizes Seven Cosmical Elements -- four entirely physical, and the fifth (Ether) semi-material, as it will become visible in the air towards the end of our Fourth Round, to reign supreme over the others during the whole of the Fifth. The remaining two are as yet absolutely beyond the range of human perception. These latter will, however, appear as presentments during the 6th and 7th races of this Round, and will become known in the 6th and 7th Rounds respectively. These seven elements with their numberless Sub-Elements (far more numerous than those known to Science) are simply conditional modifications and aspects of the ONE and only Element.

Let it be remembered that Fire, Water, and Air, or the "Elements of primary Creation" so-called, are not the compound Elements they are on Earth, but noumenal homogeneous Elements -- the Spirits thereof. Then follow the septenary groups or hosts. Placed on parallel lines in a diagram with Atoms, the Natures of those Beings would be seen to correspond in their downward scale of progression to composite elements in a mathematically identical manner, as to analogy. This refers, of course, only to diagrams made by the Occultists; for were the scale of Angelic Beings to be placed on a parallel line with the scale of the chemical atoms of Science -- from the hypothetical Helium down to Uranium -- they would of course be found to differ. In Esoteric Philosophy, every physical particle corresponds to and depends on its higher noumenon --the Being to whose essence it belongs; and above as below, the Spiritual evolves from the Divine, the psycho-mental from the Spiritual -- tainted from its lower plane by the astral -- the whole animate and (seemingly) inanimate Nature evolving on parallel lines, and drawing its attributes from above as well as from below.

Of all the Elements known to physical science, Fire is the one that has ever eluded definite analysis. It is confidently asserted that Air is a mixture containing the gases Oxygen and Nitrogen. We view the Universe and the Earth as matter composed of definite chemical molecules. We speak of the primitive ten Earths, endowing each with a Greek or Latin name. We say that water, is chemically, a compound of Oxygen and Hydrogen. But what is FIRE? It is the effect of combustion, we are gravely answered. It is heat and light and motion, and a correlation of physical and chemical forces in general.

What says the esoteric teaching with regard to fire? "Fire," it says, "is the most perfect and unadulterated reflection, in Heaven as on Earth, of the ONE FLAME. It is divine 'SUBSTANCE'."

It is in strict analogy with ITS attributes in both the spiritual and material worlds, that the evolution of the Dhyan Chohanic Essences takes place; the characteristics of the latter being reflected, in their turn, in Man, collectively, and in each of his principles; every one of which contains in itself, in the same progressive order, a portion of their various "fires" and elements.

Man is composed of all the Great Elements; Fire, Air, Water, Earth and Ether -- the ELEMENTALS which belong respectively to these Elements feel attracted to man by reason of their co-essence. That element which predominates in a certain constitution will be the ruling element throughout life.


COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:

HELPING HUMANITY

The Path of theosophical movement is to be entered for all, not for self. To do so places the student in the position to use his knowledge -- whether his stock seems great or small -- for the benefit of humanity. Nor does this imply a vague, sentimental desire; it is a matter for will-action. Humanity must be actively helped, not once or twice, in some extraordinary and grandiloquent way, but daily and hourly, immediately, everywhere, now. Humanity is not a vast multitude which, in some incomprehensible fashion, is presented for us to "save"; humanity is our fellowman, whom we are meeting from moment to moment in our days and years. Humanity is every single individual in the reach and range of our thought, will, and feeling. How can we not serve humanity? For if we serve not "the least of these," we must perforce have disserved.


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THE ELEMENTS OF PRAYER

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