Esoteric System Of Dimensions
The Basics of Dimensional-Systems
Firstly, we need to look at the general esoteric idea of multi dimensionality. What is meant by a 'dimension', 'plane' or 'level of being'?
It involves the concept that there are different degrees of being in the same universe. There is an 'initiation' to the universe - that which begins it, and is responsible for its sustenance. This has often been called 'God' or the 'Godhead', but more recently such things as 'the Source', 'the Source of (all) Being', 'the Creator', etc. According to global esoteric thinking, the universe is 'created' by this initiating point, and that creation varies in nature according to certain laws.
Different esoteric traditions describe it in different ways, but they all agree that there are several different 'levels' of being, which emanate out from the Creator. By and large they see them as 'descending' in some quality of being away from that of the Godhead. Some people don't like to talk in terms of 'levels', 'ascending/descending', etc. because it expresses the situation in terms of hierarchy, implying superiority and inferiority. This reminds them of traditional (e.g. mediaeval Christian) cosmologies which are highly inegalitarian in their attitude to men/women, animals, spirits etc., and this is something they want to get away from. However, I think the hierarchical impression is just the way one particular culture portrays something which is transcendent of any form of description.
Next we need to look at the different systems that different esoteric traditions have come up with to express this understanding. There are many esoteric multidimensionality systems, including Theosophical, Qabalistic, Sufi, Gnostic, Hermetic, Tantric, Daoist, European pagan, Mayan, north Native American, Pacific, and many others, including many from ET channelling. I cannot expound or relate all of these, but I have studied enough to know patterns of generalities and specifics.
Let's Compare The Four Systems:
- The Qabalistic, as expressed through the symbol of the Tree of Life;
- The Theosopical, in the form of the seven planes of energy (seven sub-planes per plane, etc.);
- The chakra system (of Tantric origin) on the body,
- And the number-based dimensional system employed in various ET channellings, most notably the Pleiadians through Barbara Marciniak.
The Qabalistic Tree of Life is a visual diagram involving ten circles/spheres called 'Sephiroth'. The following is not exactly the teaching I received, but each of these Sephiroth can be seen as a level of being in the universe, descending from the 'crown' of Kether, #1, to the 'kingdom' of Malkuth, #10. Traditional Qabalistic teaching not only represents the Sephiroth visually in equal size outside each other, as in the Tree of Life diagram, but also concentrically, with each Sephirah, beginning with the first, Kether, containing within it each next one. This represents the sense in which the 'content' of the higher levels of being includes that of the others, plus some more.
If we look at the Theosophical sevenfold system, we see all of the universe divided into seven 'planes', or ranges of energy frequency. (Late 19th century Theosophy borrowed the concepts of entities being 'energy', and the energy varying in frequency range, from the science of the time.) The range of a plane is not homogeneous in frequency; instead there is a steady and continuous shift from the divine at the top of the first plane to the base material and the bottom of the seventh. Each plane is subdivided into seven sub-planes, and - yes - each sub-plane into seven sub-sub-planes, and so on ad infinitum, in a fractal fashion. Basically Theosophical thinking pictures the universe as a smooth continuum of frequency range, but which can be best understood by humans through a seven-based fractal subdivision. Each plane - and then, within it, each sub-plane, etc. - has its inherent nature, which is the basic nature of whatever things have that frequency.
In the case of the (traditional) chakra system, this is not exactly a system of dimensions but still an esoteric system involving an ordinal series of functions, just like the Sephiroth or planes. The (etheric) chakras begin at the physical top of the person with the 'Crown' (no co-incidence) chakra down to the seventh, the 'Base' or 'Root', at the groin. Usually they are seen as proceeding in the opposite order, but it really depends which direction of pranic energy travel you are talking about. The upwards direction, from the first (Base) to the seventh (Crown), is that of nourishment from Earth energy; the downwards direction from Crown to Base is that of nourishment from spirit and reflects the 'downward' flow of energy in the creation of the planes/dimensions. Like the Theosophical planes, there are seven chakras; and of course the early Theosophists such as Blavatsky saw these systems as parallel in their sevenfoldness. (Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if the sevenfoldness of the planes was derived from that of the chakras.)
There are more chakras than seven, including in the traditional version. There are seven major chakras, the most powerful and obvious, but there are then (according to Patanjali) fourteen minor chakras and twenty-one lesser chakras. These are elsewhere on the body than the the vertical spinal column sequence of the Major seven. However, there are non-traditional systems of the chakras which involve more than the seven in that vertical column. This is particularly the case in ET channelings.
In Marciniak's Pleiadian channeling there is the idea of a twelvefold sequence of chakras extending the seven out up from the Crown with another five. But there is actually a Sirian channelled theory of twelve chakras purely within the extent of the body, from the Base at the groin to the Crown on the top of the head. This system interposes five 'new' ones within the chain of seven, filling in the gaps. I have used this system for a few years and am speaking from extensive experience when I say that these chakras are there and have natures between those of the traditional Majors, forming an authentic ordinal sequence.
Now these ET-inspired twelvefold chakra systems are in line with number-based dimensional schemata as used in ET channelings. An interesting point is that these channelings often don't declare the highest-numbered dimension. In Barbara Hand Clow's 'The Pleiadian Agenda', the communicating entity, 'Satya', says the Pleiadians know of ten - but didn't say they know there are only ten. However they are pretty clear about the lower ones:
- Dimension One: to do with force and ultimate reality; the strong atomic force
- Dimension Two: physical, sensory, the body, the mass of the Earth. 'Elementals' (or 'chemical beings'?) live here
- Dimension Three: the concrete mind, where the ego is, the surface of the earth, the usual awareness level for human beings
- Dimension Four: the psyche, archetypes, attitudes, feelings; reptilians (or at least lizards), the Greys, and vampiric entities live here
- Dimension Five: the 'self' or centre aspect of personality; creativity, joy, centredness & integrity. The Pleiadians' dimension; snakes and lions
Beyond level 5 it gets more difficult to establish details, but some are given in various texts. There are the same explanations of a hierarchy of levels of existence and energy; in fact these benevolent aliens describe it better than anybody else I know, with a lot less obfuscation, for instance, than the Theosophists or Qabalists.
In each of these cases there is a sense of each of the levels of being in the system relating to a different level of the person. In other words the various parts of ourselves that we recognise from traditional categories ('body', 'mind', 'feelings', 'psyche', 'self', 'soul', 'spirit') can be located as distinct entities on different dimensions. They are still all just parts of the one person, of course, extending over the full energy range from Godhead to materiality.
Materialism is a highly delusional reductionist belief-system which makes out that there is only a material plane in the universe, and nothing else. This implies, in fact, that not only is there no such thing as the soul or spirit, but that there is no such thing as the mind, psyche or self. Thus, according to literal materialism we have no thoughts or feelings, or other forms of inner experience. In fact, come to think of it, how do we have any experience at all, even sensory? How do we have consciousness? There is a great more in existence than our bodies and physical lumps of things.
We are aware of ourselves having thoughts, feelings, self-awareness, even psychic experience. How do we explain all of these different kinds of existing thing? Materialism doesn't satisfy it at all; but even the pre-theoretic 'folk' conception is confused and undefined. We need a metaphysical schema that includes them all, explains their existence and nature, and locates them relative to one another in an order. This is what the various esoteric dimension-systems of the world attempt to do. This is the justification for their enterprise.
But how do we choose between them? Looking over these four (plus) esoteric systems, we can see that they do not see or talk about things the same way, and do not even have the same number of dimensions! How can they be portraying the same thing? The answer is that the essence of the dimensional range is a continuum, not a sequence of separated items. Instead, the planes or dimensions as discrete entities of finite size, with boundaries, is something created by the human mind for the purpose of understanding this continuum with a dualistic, polarization logic. (They aren't really there!)
It is possible, of course, to impose any scheme of division on the continuum of frequency range (or whatever you want to call it). The number of planes the universe is divided into has to be above uselessly low figures like two or three, which aren't much advance on unity, but below complicatedly high numbers like 546. So they end up as, e.g., the seven Theosophical planes or Tantric chakras, the ten Sephiroth, the twelve ET-inspired numbered dimensions... or indeed signs of the zodiac...
But these different schemata still involve different numbers of dimensions. Another way of putting this is that they are differently calibrated. How do you match up the seven planes of Theosophy with the ten Sephiroth of Qabalah, or either with the twelve of the Sirian chakras and Pleiadian numbered dimensions? Well, it's a complicated job, involving a lot of squeezing, imagination and arithmetic, and I will get round to it eventually. However, I want to end this piece with the introduction of the astrological dimension system.
As far as I know there are no previous authorings of a clearly formulated zodiac-based hierarchy of cosmic dimensions (there are some hints at the idea from some people I've read, but not clearly formulated). Astrology, and its contributory concepts such as the signs of the zodiac, are tools to interpret human behaviour and character (amongst other things); this is a different sort of esoteric system from a dimension-system; its job is divinatory not cosdmological. It is not astrology's job to propose a cosmology or theory of how the universe works (this is one of the biggest misunderstandings of ignorant sceptical detractors who assume that astrology necessarily involves a metaphysical belief in a process of causation of human nature by planets).
However astrological concepts and understanding can be transferred to other contexts than divination, and one such is the idea of a sequence of dimensions with natures parallel to those of the twelve zodiac signs. The more you look at it, the more you can see that there is an underlying unity to the two schemata. In fact I now think that the zodiac is encapsulating in a circle and a 'horizontal' schema a sequence of twelve natures derived from an equivalent linear hierarchy or 'vertical' schema of twelve planes of being in the universe, from divine to material, rather than the other way round.
I will go into details in the next post, but firstly, here are some things to think about. How did I come by this idea? I started with the ET-inspired dimension-systems, and chakra-systems, and the fact that they were numbered twelve, a fraction I was highly familiar with from years of astrology. What made me think the series of zodiac signs could be equivalent to an order of dimensions? The fact that there is a harmonic, ordinal structure to the sign-sequence as there is with the traditional esoteric dimension-systems (the zodiac is not, as the astrologically non-knowledgeable might suppose, a mere jumble of meanings, but a progression).
In the next piece I shall flesh out the astro-dimension-system, and correspond it to the other dimension-systems outlined above. Later on I shall show how to use the astro system to chart your way around the different levels of the universe, and, therein, the different levels on your own being.
Then we can get onto the really juicy stuff, like why the reptilians are fourth-dimensional
The Zodiac and the New Age of Dimensions
I left off last time with the introduction of the idea of using the zodiac of 12 signs as the basis of a dimension-system. To summarise:
We have traditional concepts of having a 'body', 'mind', 'feelings' and so on, and at least some of us would also talk about 'soul' and 'spirit'. The predominant metaphysic is materialism, which states that there is only one form of existence: physical; but this would mean that there would be nothing more of us than our bodies, so we need to find a more encompassing cosmology.
There are many esoteric schemata of multiple dimensions, wherein the different parts of our beings are distributed across various planes or dimensions, but they all differ in their explanation and calibration, so we need to find a way to combine them to get nearer to the single truth behind them all. Having studied a few of these, I think I've worked out such an 'underlying' dimension-system, which can now be used in preference to the traditional ones; and its basis is astrology and the zodiac.
Let's start with the ET-inspired numeral dimension-system. Many of the qualities ascribed to the dimensions that are explored in the relevant ET channelings correspond in great measure with the meanings of the zodiac signs of equivalent number.
Thus, for instance, the 2nd dimension is described as to do with mass and solidity, physical constituency, sensation and sensory information, and the mass of the Earth. And Taurus, the 2nd sign, has to do with these things too.
Gemini (sign 3) covers language, communication, thought, surfaces, speed. The 3rd dimension apparently is where the human race is located in some sense of essence (I suspect in consciousness), and thus we are basically a mental and communication-oriented social species. 3D is for us the surface of our planet, and that is where we live.
Fourth Dimension - so much the subject of controversy since Icke fingered it as the abode of humanity's oppressors - is equivalent to the 4th sign, Cancer. Cancer has to do with caring, nurturing, bringing up kids and looking after them; the parental sign. It is associated with the Moon, which is the planet of the mother, of memories, the past, ancestry, habit, instinct, the unconscious; and Cancer by extension covers the same since they are two representatives of the same force in different contexts.
The fourth dimension is basically the dimension of our psyches. It is the part of us that has motivations, that considers things important or unimportant. It contains desires, beliefs, attachments, emotional responses... basically the stuff of Cancer and the Moon. The 4th is where Carl Jung's archetypes reside.
To complete the foursome, what is the 5th dimension like? Barbara Marciniak's Pleiadians describe themselves as living on 5D; they describe their nature and MO as being to do with joy and creativity, and they stress the importance of every person being themselves as an individual, and enjoying what they do... strangely enough these are some of the central qualities of the 5th sign, Leo. Just consider the following collection of true statements:
- The 9th Hebrew letter, Teth, literally means 'snake'
- Its figurative meanings include 'coiling' - like a snake coiling round something - a helical shape, a form of spiral.
- Its Qabalistic meaning is therefore partly to do with helical structures such as springs - or DNA
- The 5th zodiac sign of Leo is 'attributed' to Teth. 'Leo' is a lion
- The Tarot card 'Strength' is also attributed to Teth
- 'Strength' is rationalised as inner strength, such as springs have: tensile strength The 'inner strength' also means inner steel or preparedness to face any situation Preparedness to face any situation is a classic Leo quality
- There is a lion on the traditional 'Strength' card
- The Pleiadians claim to be on the 5th dimension
- The Pleiadians describe a nature for themselves highly reminiscent of Leo
- The Pleiadians claim part of their heritage and make-up is reptilian, and in fact snake
- The Pleiadians stress the importance of kundalini
- The Pleiadians constantly mention helical spirals, and in fact declare that our solar system is orbiting the Pleiades helically
- Kundalini is an energy that runs up the spine and involves pleasure Leo rules the spine as a part of the body and is concerned with pleasure.
This is a little jumbled up and maybe eventually I'll entangle, but if you just read it through and connect it all together, you'll see that there is a little too much co-incidence here to dismiss the correspondences as meaningless. The 5th dimension concerns issues of the 5th sign, Leo, that partly includes the spine and kundalini and helical processes, as well as creativity, enjoyment and pleasure; and a particular race that claims to be on that dimension have those as their primary concerns. To top it all, they reveal a partial descent from snake energies, and these are also associated with 5D by association with helicality and the letter Teth.
To cut it short, the more I have looked at the numeralised dimension-system prevalent in a lot of New Age writing, of which a lot is channelled, the more I can see astrological associations behind them. There is of course the possibility that these new dimension-systems have been created artificially as part of an attempt to mislead. However later on I shall connect them fairly closely to older D-systems that are not astrology-based.
The Qabalistic Tree of Life is an esoteric explanatory tool, in the form of a diagram with ten Sephiroth or 'spheres' located on it, each denoting a particular order of being in a scale. The way the Tree was explained to me, it is like a super-diagram that can be used to map out the way any functioning system works. Anything that has been created with a purpose can be 'put onto' the tree. This is the case with the whole universe, God, a human being, a human action, a country, a business or organisation... etc.
Its main usage however is the mapping of the universe, which is 'God's body'. It is simply that since "as above, so below", the microcosm of the human corresponds exactly with the macrocosm of the universe. So effectively the Qabalistic explanation allows an understanding of our human existence as something ranging across all levels of cosmic being.
The tree begins with the "Crown", Kether. This, Sephirah One, stands at the top of the Tree and represents the initiation of the rest of the system. In the macrocosmic Tree of Life, that is the ultimate Godhead, the absolute original divine creative spark behind all other aspects of the universe, including anything else that can be called 'God'.
The creative force of Kether flashes down the tree-structure like lightning, in the Qabalistic description. Each new Sephirah is a step down in the system from the last. The 2nd, Chokhmah ("Wisdom"), is equivalent to the force of principle in the universe, and yang in the Daoist system. No. 3, Binah ("Understanding") is the force of limitation, and yin; it resists and thereby structures and shapes the pushing force of Chokhmah.
And so on down the Tree, until we get to more familiar territory for us human beings. The 6th Sephirah, Tiphereth ("Beauty") is the locus of identity; it is the aspect of a system that makes the thing in question what it is. As such it is for us our identity; it is the part of us that has been called 'the self'. When our consciousnes is located in Tiphereth, that we means we are aware of ourselves; and since joy and fulfilment are qualities associated with Tiphereth, that is what we feel in that state. But ordinarily our consciousness is not there, so we don't feel that.
A quick tour of the lower Sephiroth:
7. Netzach - "Victory"/"Endurance". The aspect of our personality which attempts to maintain the equilibrium of Tiphereth, by applying acquired tried-and-tested approaches to the world. Therefore, the affective, attitudinal part of us: the psyche.
8. Hod - "Glory"/"Reverberation". The aspect of our personality which breaks down the personality into different parts - subpersonalities - which each do different jobs. Hod interprets the take on things that Netzach provides it with: produces definition and specificness and makes practical decisions. The concrete mind.
9. Yesod - "Foundation". So called because it is where our consciousness is - it is what we are usually aware of - so it is what the rest of our knowledge and spiritual development is built on. Yesod is the repository of image and impression; all sensory experience is here, also experience of oneself thinking (from Hod), feeling (from Netzach), and even being (from Tiphereth). Yesod is sometimes nicknamed 'Kol', meaning all - because it sometimes appears to be all there is. (But this is an illusion! By 90%.) It was part of my teaching that most human beings hardly ever rise out of Yesodic consciousness and functioning, and that it is the Qabalist's job to do exactly that.
10. Malkuth - "Kingdom". The sensory (physical) experience of Yesod can be said to come from here. Malkuth is a part of ourselves that we are never aware of; it is Ultimate Reality, pure materiality, the 'fruition' or fulfilment of the rest of the Tree which has preceded it. In its nature it is pure fractality; it is structure endlessly turning in on itself. There is no smallest particle; it has a composition that breaks down infinitesimally.
That is a brief description of these forces in their own right, in a Qabalistic context. Now let us look at comparing these last 5 Sephiroth with the first 5 signs of the zodiac (#. = Sephirah; (#) = zodiac sign):
10. Malkuth: absolute reality, action, fruition of divine will
(1) Aries: action, will, absolute motion/momentum, force
9. Yesod: image, impression, appearance, experience, foundation
(2) Taurus: physical, senses, perception, basicness, values
8. Hod: subpersonality, interpreter, critical, decision, mind
(3) Gemini: mental, linguistic, communication, connection
7. Netzach: personality, affect, attitude, approach, habit
(4) Cancer: caring, habit, past, memory, response, emotion, nurture
8. Tiphereth: self, centre, joy, creative, equilibrium
(5) Leo: individual, self-promote, pleasure, creative, brave, centred
I don't know about you, but I can see it. This is with extremely concise and hastily-conceived descriptions, but I think you can still see the parallelity. And if you have an original knowledge of astrology and Qabalah, I think you can see it even more easily. This is the same sequence, but interpreted differently in two different contexts. The Qabalistic and astrological terms are referring to the same qualities.
However we have only covered 5/12 signs and 5/10 Sephiroth. We need to deal with the others.
If we look at the first five Sephiroth and the last five signs we see a similar situation.
1. Kether: initiation, divinity, all-inclusion, promise
(12) Pisces: spirituality, acceptance, faith, trust, imagination
2. Chokhmah: yang, activeness, principle, evolution, synchronicity
(11) Aquarius: collective, truth, friendship, freedom, knowledge
3. Binah: yin, structure, understanding, limitation, time, fate
(10) Capricorn: process, mechanism, productive, finitude, establishment
4. Chesed: expansion, allowing, guidance, chance
(9) Sagittarius: learning, exploring, ethics, giving, way of life
5. Geburah: selectivity, severity, power, cut-off point (8) Scorpio: power, desire, transformation, probing, daring
Once again we see the broad similarities between the Qabalistic and zodiacal figures.
Well so far we have begun at either end of the Tree and zodiac and found a lot of compelling evidence towards parallelity. There is one rather large problem though. There are 12 zodiac signs but only 10 Sephiroth. We have exhausted all 10 Sephiroth in the above two tables, yet left two signs over: the middle ones, nos. (6) Virgo, and (7) Libra. Where do they fit in? Because if we can't fit them in we have a major deficit and flaw in the theory that needs to be explained.
Well it's like this
Looking at the traditional meanings for Sephirah 6, Tiphereth, I noticed that only some of them corresponded to Leo. There was also the important attribute of 'equilibrium', or balance-state, which was definitely Libran. And when I thought about it, it occurred to me that Tiphereth was placed just right at no. 6 to correspond to Libra; it would follow Scorpio at no. 5 (Geburah).
Then I looked from the bottom of the Tree upwards, followed the correspondence up to Tiphereth/Leo, and saw that that still held good... then went one step further and realised that there were some Geburah aspects that corresponded to Virgo: Geburah was not entirely Scorpionic; Virgo has to do with cutting things off and the 'severity' of selecting what is acceptable and what has to go, which is precisely Geburatic.
So I realised that there was an overlapping. This is the best way of putting it:
A. The first six Sephiroth correspond to the last six zodiac signs (in reverse order of signs):
- Kether = Pisces (12)
- Chokhmah = Aquarius (11)
- Binah = Capricorn (10)
- Chesed = Sagittarius (9)
- Geburah = Scorpio (8)
- Tiphereth = Libra (7)
B. The last six Sephiroth correspond to the first six zodiac signs (in reverse order of signs):
- Geburah = Virgo (6)
- Tiphereth = Leo (5)
- Netzach = Cancer (4)
- Hod = Gemini (3)
- Yesod = Taurus (2)
- Malkuth = Aries (1)
C. Since there are only ten Sephiroth, and these two sixes of signs are counted from either end of the Tree, the middle two Sephiroth, Geburah and Tiphereth, are counted twice:
- Pisces = Kether 1.
- Aquarius = Chokhmah 2.
- Capricorn = Binah 3.
- Sagittarius = Chesed 4.
- Scorpio = Geburah 5. (version 1)
- Libra = Tiphereth 6. (version 1)
- Virgo = Geburah 5. (version 2)
- Leo = Tiphereth 6. (version 2)
- Cancer = Netzach 7.
- Gemini = Hod 8.
- Taurus = Yesod 9.
- Aries = Malkuth 10.
Now this works. I've used it mentally for a couple of years now, and I can't see the Sephiroth any other way any more. The pure traditional Qabalistic sense of the Sephiroth now seems less meaningful and well-connected. By contrast this new version involving this particular non-traditional astrological corespondence feels like my sense of the astrological functions in themselves - that they cover all possible extension, that they are of equal extension as units, that they succeed one another perfectly, and that they progress in a steady sequence of graduated change.
The impression one might form from just the Sephiroth on their own, from traditional Qabalistic teaching, might be a little different, since it would be subject to the vagaries of the Tree of Life diagram, and the peculiarities produced by a couple of thousand years of accreted dogma.
That's about all there is to it, except to point out that as far as I know no-one has come up with this idea before - it's an original of mine, and I yet hope to publish it in some form, possibly with these other correspondence-systems. There is, of course, a traditional astrological attribution to the Sephiroth, which any budding Qabalists should know; it involves planets rather than signs and only the pre-telescope 'Ptolemaic' ones at that.
I'm sure most deep Qabalists - particularly the likes of my one-time teacher - would dismiss this system of mine out of hand; but I would say that that would be because they are set in their ways and prefer tradition to innovation. That is not the way these systems were first created; for there to be precedents to follow, they first need to be set, and setting precedents is not following the previous ones. Somebody innovated sometime with various aspects of the Tree of Life and the Sephiroth, and the zodiac and the signs. I'm doing it again now. Besides, if the Qabalists in question are anything like my old teacher, they don't know their astrology from their elbow.
How can you use this? Each of these two systems has a utility in its own right, and any correspondence-system allows you to transfer understanding from one system to another. Qabalah is the system par excellence for mapping out purportive processes and showing how they work and how you can improve them. You can thus map yourself out, your own life and inner being, on the tree of Life and use it to teach you how you might transform yourself.
Astrology maps out your character, and gives a meaningful guide to the workings of your psyche and events and phases in your life as they come up. There is no more trenchant tool that I know of in occultism; astrology is blinding.
Put these two together and you have a highly efficient way of mapping out the dimensions, and the different parts of ourselves that exist and operate on them. This understanding is partly theoretical, but also greatly practical, and will work towards giving you an intuitive grasp of what you are sensing and what is going on in the world from an esoteric point of view.
...Especially when you combine it with yet other dimension-systems... Tomorrow I shall elucidate the correspondences between the astro-dimension-system and the Theosophical sevenfold plane system.
Astrology and the Theosophical Plane System
The next esoteric system to correspond with the nascent astrological system I am sketching here is that expounded in the writings and teachings of the system known as 'Theosophy'. This is an esoteric path that has grown out of the activities of the late 19th century Theosophical Society, and particularly its founder and leader, Helena Blavatsky, and one of its 20th-century luminaries, Alice Bailey.
This system is claimed to be 'Ancient Wisdom', derived from the teachings of 'Mahatmas' or Masters from India and Tibet (or else Blavatsky's Masonic friends, if you want the more cynical / conspiracy version). As such it is supposed to be at one with an ancient global spiritual understanding that underlies all esoteric systems. In fact, the system outlined by Blavatsky and filled in by her successors is a specific one in its own right.
It is characterised by the number 7. The universal continuum of being is divided into seven planes, which are then subdivided each into seven sub-planes; these sub-planes are then divisible down to seven sub-sub-planes within each sub-plane and so on. The structure is basically fractal: the pattern endlessly repeats itself within its own constitution.
The seven planes and their content are (Key: nos. = planes, letters a-g = sub-planes):
1. Adi/Logoic: absolutely divine
a-g. blank, but presumably God
2. Monadic: realm of the Monad, a oneness, through which the divine creates
a. a force: Will
b-f. apparently blank
g. two forces: Love-Wisdom; Active Intelligence
3. Atmic/Spiritual: highest level of the spirit
a. Spiriual Will, or Atmic Permanent Atom
b-g. apparently blank
4. Buddhic/Intuitional: middle level of spirit
a. Spiriual Love, or Buddhic Permanent Atom
b-g. apparently blank
5. Mental/Manasic: base of spirit; soul; apex of personality (abstract mind)
a. Spiritual Mind, or Mental Permanent Atom
b. what I call a 'hiatus' between the spiritual triad and the causal body
c. the causal body, 'egoic lotus' or soul
d-g. the mental body, and the beginning of the personality and incarnation
6. Astral/Emotional: middle of personality - the psyche
a-g. the astral/emotional body
7. Physical: base of personality - what we know as 'the body'
a-d. light physical, or etheric: containing the etheric body
e-g. dense physical, or material: containing 'the body'
"Adi" means "I am" in Sanskrit; the Adi plane is the realm of pure being, in which there is no differentiation. It is debatable whether the Monadic is 'divine' or 'of the spirit'. The spirit proper, and therefore the person as an individual, begins at the top of the Atmic (plane 3), with the Spiritual Will. The 'spiritual triad' extends from the top of the Atmic to the top of the Mental, combining the three Spiritual Forces named, or Permanent Atoms. To all intents and purposes this range of being can be seen as 'the spirit' as that term is used in common parlance (e.g. religious).
The causal body is otherwise known as the soul; I also see this as 'the self'. It is the item which directly incarnates, via a personality which it creates below it in the lower planes. As such it represents the higher functions, those of the divine, monad and spirit, and allow them to indirectly experience and influence existence on the lower planes. It changes and acquires inner nature according to the karmic lessons learnt through 'lives'. It is particularly the locus of identity of a person.
The 'personality' is the name given to the whole incarnation, which actually includes the physical body, whereas in common parlance 'personality' means the qualities an individual has which are not physical. Still, the 'dense physical' or material body that we know so well is only one-fifth of the whole incarnation. The other parts are: the 'mental body', at the top, interfacing with the soul; the astral or emotional body in the middle, aka the 'psyche', and the etheric body interfacing the psyche and material body. The etheric body is where the 'chakras' are; it is the one that holds 'chi' or 'orgone' energy, the medium through which healers heal and our material bodies are kept vitalised. In my opinion also it is where we have what we can call the concrete mind.
The Theosophical system is confusing, even more so than the Qabalistic. It contains a lot of parts, using a lot of technical terms, and involving peculiarities of structure that seem arbitrary. The situation is not helped by the fact that Theosophy, its practitioners and the Society tend to be ridiculously dogmatic. However the system can be rescued from its unfortunate opacity by the application of an external system of comparison, such as my astrological dimension-system can supply.
Now 12 into 7 doesn't go, so as in the case of the Tree of Life we need to jiggle the numbers a bit. In effect we need to lop off the top plane, the Adi, and consider it transcendentally above the dimension-range we are looking at. Then we have 6 planes, and these can be neatly divided into two, to produce 12 half-planes, which can then be corresponded one-to-one with the zodiac signs.
Only it's not quite so simple as that, because as I see it the meanings of the half-planes and signs don't match up neatly if you just lay them out in the usual order, in either direction. Instead it's necessary to take Aries off the beginning and put it on the end after Pisces. Thus the order of signs is now Taurus, #2, through 3, 4 etc. to Pisces, #12, then #1 Aries.
As with the Qabalistic Tree of Life it is the later signs in the series that correspond with the higher planes, and the earllier signs with the lower ones. To put it another way, the order of signs runs in the opposite direction from that of the Theosophical planes.
You end up with the following parallelity
Plane 1. Adi/Logoic no correspondence
Plane 2. Monadic upper Aries (1)
lower Pisces (12)
Plane 3. Atmic upper Aquarius (11)
lower Capricorn (10)
Plane 4. Buddhic upper Sagittarius (9)
lower Scorpio (8)
Plane 5. Mental upper Libra (7)
lower Virgo (6)
Plane 6. Astral upper Leo (5)
lower Cancer (4)
Plane 7. Physical upper (light/etheric) Gemini (3)
lower (dense/material) Taurus (2)
Once again, this works. Let's have a look at some of the rationale, starting at the bottom and working up.
The dense physical is the densest from of energy possible. It is where energy slows down and stops, forming what we call 'solidity', which is actually an illusion. But Taurus has to do with physicality anyway; it has to do with the sensory, which is the part of our experience which records the nature oif the physical world, and it has to do with mass, density and slowness and solidity.
The etheric level is, according to the Theoeophical authorities, the zone in which light travels, sound operates, the electromagnetic spectrum and effects take place, in which there is temperature, electricity and conventional thought. Even everyday low-level telepathy works on the first ether, aka the first subplane of the physical. This is the level of the etheric body, the ghostly electromagnetic field within and around the person which keeps a person full of active physical energy and allows them to use their mind and nervous system properly. It is thus the half-plane of vitality and thought, and Gemini is the sign of the concrete mind, the sign of bubblyness, mental activity and an active nervous system.
The astral plane is herein divided into two parts. The lower astral, aka the 4th or Cancerian dimension is that section fingered by writers such as David Icke and many channelers as the realm of many negatively-inclined beings which feed off our psyches. The reason why they are able to do so is that human consciousness focusses on the third or Geminian dimension, the etheric body including the concrete mind; the level just above, where these beings are, is the one most closely in a position to affect that 3rd-dimensional level. The astral is described as being that part of our personalities which gives a sense of 'pleasurable' or 'not pleasurable' to our experiences. One aspect of that is Water-element and Cancerian: the sense of 'likes and dislikes'. The other, the aspect of the importance of pleasure and joy, is absolutely Leonine, and this will be the upper astral, or 5th dimension.
I have trouble pinning down how the mental body is Virgoan, since I don't know it very well, even theoretically. The Mental plane as a whole concerns the refinement of knowledge from basic understanding to wisdom and insight, and I can only presume that the lower part concerns more practical, focussed knowledge, as this is the nature of Virgo. Also, the Virgoan level here begins the personality, and there is a way in which a soul incarnating is taking on a 'job'; doing jobs or tasks is a Virgoan trait. The soul has to choose the specific nature of incarnation; specificness and selection are Virgoan aspects.
It is the Libran upper Mental plane that contains the soul, 'hiatus' and base of the spirit. I choose to focus on the soul or causal body to represent the whole of this section. With the Qabalistic correspondence we saw how the soul or self, the identifying locus, was represented by Tiphereth, to which was corresponded both Leo and Libra. Traditionally selfhood has been seen as ruled by Leo and its planetary ruler, the Sun. But here we see the connection made with Libra. Souls are Libran inasmuch as they are entities created within the cosmic order to relate to one another through incarnation. (This may be the Meaning of Life!) Through this most Libran interrelation, with all of the negotiating, tit-for-tatting, rationalisation and whatnot, the universe is constantly aiming to create balance. Also Libra is an Air sign and therefore associated with the mental anyway; therefore also the 'Spiritual Mind'.
Above this point it gets tricky, because it is so far removed from the zones familiar to our consciousness (including mine), and because the Theosophical description of what is there is so sparse. But we can use the astrological correspondence to predict what should be there.
The lower Buddhic, Scorpionic 8th level should be to do with power - a power not of the psyche, but transcending one's individuality. This is what the sense of sexual union is about. This spiritual level has an agenda of transforming through first separating energy into individuals, in the dimensions below it, and then having them remerge through drastic and meaningful processes. The upper Buddhic would be Sagittarian, and thus to do with a guidance level of the spirit. This level of being is like a force of Providence, allowing opportunities and inputting chance and hazard into the creative process.
Above this, in the Atmic, we have the 10th, Capricornian and 11th, Aquarian half-planes. These are the apex of the spirit, and they are best exemplified by two conceptions of spiritual beings. 'Angels' are often called 'ministering' - 'God's ministering angels'. They administer a system created by higher levels, ultimately the divine. They operate a Capricornian structure, a set of laws, time and fate, within which the 9D Sagittarian laxity of chance and luck can manifest. Their immediate superiors are 'archangels' who design the system on the basis of first principles. These Aquarian beings are above and beyond the laws they design; they contribute the forces of freedom, evolution and innovation to the universe, whereby they attempt ever better ways of manifesting God's will and intention for the universe. Ultimately, since this 11D Aquarian level of the upper Atmic is the beginning of the spirit, this is what the spirit is about overall.
Finally we get to the Monad. The lower Monadic half-plane is Piscean; Pisces is the sign of infinity of possibility, things in potency rather than actuality. Its nature is compassion and sympathy, boundarylessness and all-inclusion. At the bottom of the lower Monadic are the second and third forces within the Monadic triangle, Love-Wisdom and Active Intelligence. In particular, the Love aspect of Love-Wisdom is relevant here. As regards Aries, it is the sign of will and initiative; it is the very 'divine will' and 'intention' mentioned several times in this piece. This is above and beyond the Piscean level just below; it informs 'infinite possibility' and below it 'evolutionary principle' with an intention and purpose to be made manifest through the process of creation. It is the ultimate force of creativity; above it, the Logos of the Adi plane is pure being.
That is the rationale for the correspondence between the zodiac and the Theosophical seven plane system. There are some holes and flaws in this schema, but this is the best I've been able to come up with and all things considered it's pretty good. It enables the Theosophical system to connect not only to an astrology-based understanding of dimensions but also, via it, to the Tree of Life and other systems, including the more recent New Age teachings such as those resulting from the channelings of higher beings like ETs and 'angels'. In many ways these New Age esoteric paths are the continuation particularly of the Theosophical tradition, rather than any other old occult path. This makes it all the more interesting to me that they tend to use a new, number-based dimension system which follows my astrological model. I would very much like to work out where in the history of 20th-century esoterica the change has occurred.
As regards the necessity of moving Aries to make this schema work, there is a precedent for that in the Theosophical tradition. In Alice Bailey's "Esoteric Astrology" there is an examination of the signs in the same order, from Aries through Pisces to Taurus:
p. 90 "We will attempt to consider... the general effect upon a soul... from the orthodox angle as he travels from Aries to Taurus, via Pisces..."
p. 112 "The anima mundi on the involutionary arc proceeds this way and passes to Pisces at the close of every great cycle, and not to Taurus."
So the tradition in question already recognises this order as meaningful for some cosmic sequence, and my correspoondence system follows this same route.
For my next trick, I would like to compare the astrological dimension-system with a twelvefold chakra-system, thereby marking out this cosmic twelvefoldness even on the human body (or rather etheric body).