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Daily Theosophy Glossary – F

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Daily Theosophy Glossary


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The four kingdoms of elementals, existing in the four elements, are also known under the general designation of fairies and fays in the myths, fables, traditions, and poetry of all nations, ancient and modern. Their names are legion: peris, devs, jinn, sylvans, satyrs, fauns, elves, dwarfs, trolls, nixies, kobolds, brownies, banshees, leprechauns, pixies, moss-people, good people, good neighbors, wild women, men of peace, white ladies, and many more. They have been seen, feared, blessed, banned, and invoked in every quarter of the globe in every age. See also Elementals.

Fakir (Arabic) [from faqir poor] An Islamic religious mendicant, synonymous with dervish; the term is loosely applied to any mendicant devotee or yogi in India. According to T. P. Hughes, there are five principal orders of fakirs in North India and Pakistan: the Naqshbandia, Qadiria, Chishtia, Jalalia, and Sarwardia — all being ba-shara (with the law) fakirs — those who govern their conduct according to the principles of Islam. Fakirs should not be confounded with sannyāsins or Hindu yogis.


[from Latin fatum that which is divinely decreed from fari to speak] The regents of the kosmos, acting as karmic agents of past destiny, are said to be the establishers of fate or destiny for the world or universe then beginning its manvantaric evolution. They establish in the noumenal worlds the roots, and in the phenomenal worlds the fruits, of the essential laws of being. Fatalism is the belief that human beings have no free will; however, in actual fact, though perhaps we cannot maintain our own personal will against the laws of the universe except in very moderate degree, yet we have considerable latitude to make experiments and learn from our mistakes. The Latin fatum means the laws of nature or the will of the gods, personified as the Parcae or three Fates, the Greek Moirai. In the best sense therefore it means our lot, appointed by the destiny born of our own past thoughts, feelings, and acts.



Fire has been venerated in all ages as the symbol of spirit as opposed to matter. Its essence or substance is spirit; with essential or substantial air or water — considered as primordial elements — it becomes soul; with the further addition of the element earth, it becomes animated bodies because ensouled and enlivened with the attributes and qualities of the preceding more ethereal elements. Great importance was attached in ancient times to keeping alive the sacred fires of hearth and altar. In all this it was recognized that terrestrial fire is the representative of celestial fire, a phase of cosmic consciousness. Deity is often spoken of as the cosmic fire of consciousness.

The ancient conception of fire thus embraced far more than the ordinary view of fire as chemical combustion or one of its phenomena. Among all the older peoples fire was multitudinous in both characteristics and attributes, ranging from divine-spiritual intellectuality through all intermediate stages of its manifestations to the physical heat arising from the burning of material such as wood, or the natural heat of the body. It is for this reason that certain ancient philosophers, such as Heracleitos, spoke of fire as the primordial element of the universe, in close accord with the archaic outlook.

Fire is the active, energic, vitalizing, quickening principle on all planes. It is often paired with water as spirit and form; contrasted with earth, as celestial and terrestrial; air is spoken of as its vehicle, as is also aether, because the root of cosmic aether is the celestial fire. The order of the elements varies, from different points of view and on different planes of manifestation. The Secret Doctrine states that from primordial chaos came forth a fire that was cold, formless, and luminous — essential consciousness-substance. The first manifested hot fires and flames issued at a much later stage in manifestation. Concealed within the central sun is the triple formless invisible fire, which precedes the septenary manifested fire of cosmos. Fire, whether heavenly or terrestrial, is the most perfect and pure reflection of the one universal flame; it is life and death, creator and recreator; the origin and end of every material thing — divine consciousness-substance. From one flame all lamps can be kindled: fire imparts infinitely without loss. Fire alone is One, on the plane of the one reality; and on the plane of illusion, its particles are fiery lives.

Like most other things, fire has its nether pole and hence its infernal aspect; but the fires of hell are purificatory. By his power of self-conscious choice an individual may set himself at variance with nature’s processes, thus creating his own devils. Fire was the great agent of purification in medieval alchemy, for it removes the dross from the gold. The same is true on the moral plane, for spiritual aspiration calls down an inner fire that purifies the gold from the dross in the aspirant’s heart. The two births or baptisms relate to water and fire; the former being carnal, the latter being the spiritual birth or baptism that comes to the aspirant. See also AGNI; ELEMENT; FLAMES; TAIJASA-TATTVA



An extremely mystical term used in the occultism of Tibet for what in Sanskrit is called daiviprakriti, which means “divine nature” or “primordial nature,” and which also can be called “primordial light.” In one sense of the word fohat may be considered as almost identical with the old mystical Greek eros, but fohat as a technical term contains within itself a far wider range of ideas than does the Greek term.

Fohat may be considered as the essence of kosmic electricity, provided, however, that in this definition we endow the term electricity with the attribute of consciousness; or, to put it more accurately, provided that we understand that the essence of electricity is indeed consciousness. It is ever-present and active from the primordial beginnings of a manvantara to its last end, nor does it then actually pass out of existence, but becomes quiescent or latent as it were, sleeping or dormant during the kosmic pralaya. In one sense of the word it may be called kosmic will, for the analogy with the conscious will in human beings is exceedingly close. It is the incessantly active, ever-moving, impelling or urging force in nature, from the beginning of the evolution of a universe or of a solar system to its end.

H. P. Blavatsky, quoting one of the ancient mystically occult works, says in substance: “Fohat is the steed and thought is the rider.” If, however, we liken fohat to what the conscious will is in the human being, we must then think only of the lower or substantial parts — the prāṇic activities — of the human will, for behind the substantial parts stands always the directing and guiding consciousness. Fohat being incessantly active is therefore both formative and destructive, because it is through the ceaseless working of fohat that unending change continues — the passing of one phase of manifested existence to another phase, whether this manifested existence be a solar system or a planetary chain or a globe or human being or, indeed, any entity.

Fohat is as active among the electrons of an atom and among the atoms themselves as it is among the suns. In one sense it may be called the vital force of the universe, corresponding from this viewpoint to the prāṇic activity on all the seven planes of the human constitution.


Freemasonry or Masonry

Operative masonry, the art of building in stone; speculative and emblematic Freemasonry, called such since 1717 when four English Lodges of operative masons established the Grand Lodge of England of Speculative and Emblematic Freemasonry, so called because building materials, tools, and instruments are symbolically and analogically used in the building of the universe and of man as a temple enshrining a god. Originally, however, among the ancient Masons, and today throughout the Orient “wherever magic and the wisdom-religion are studied, its practitioners and students are known among their craft as Builders — for they build the temple of knowledge, of secret science. Those of the adepts who are active, are styled practical or operative Builders, while the students, or neophytes are classed as speculative or theoretical. The former exemplify in works their control over the forces of inanimate as well as animate nature; the latter are but perfecting themselves in the rudiments of the sacred science” (Isis Unveiled 2:392).

Modern Freemasonry includes many Rites and Degrees, all the so-called higher degrees being based upon the three fundamental craft degrees — 1) Entered Apprentice; 2) Fellow Craft; and 3) Master Mason — which degrees alone comprise true Masonic secrets and have any valid claim to descent from ancient Masonry. The lessons or keynotes of these three degrees are respectively 1) ethical, to subdue the passions; 2) intellectual, the training of the mind, the seven liberal arts and sciences, and the mounting of the stairway of wisdom; and 3) spiritual, the conquest of death. The lessons in each degree are enforced and illustrated by appropriate symbols and allegories. The central theme of modern Masonry is the building of King Solomon’s Temple; the death of Hiram Abif and the consequent loss of the Word; the raising of Hiram Abif, and the communication of a Substitute Word.

“Modern Masonry is undeniably the dim and hazy reflection of primeval Occult Masonry, of the teaching of those divine Masons who established the Mysteries of the prehistoric and prediluvian Temples and Initiation, raised by truly superhuman Builders” (SD III 165).

“The Temple was the last European secret organization which, as a body, had in its possession some of the mysteries of the East. True, there were in the past century (and perhaps still are) isolated ‘Brothers’ faithfully and secretly working under the direction of Eastern Brotherhoods. But these, when they did belong to European societies, invariably joined them for objects unknown to the Fraternity, though at the same time for the benefit of the latter. It is through them that modern Masons have all they know of importance; and the similarity now found between the Speculative Rites of antiquity, the mysteries of the Essenes, Gnostics, and the Hindus, and the highest and oldest of the Masonic degrees well prove the fact. . . .

“Freedom of intellectual thought and the restoration of one and universal religion was their secret object” (Isis Unveiled 2:380, 382).

“The simple truth is that modern Masonry is a sadly different thing from what the once universal secret fraternity was . . .” and “the time has come to remodel Masonry and restore those ancient landmarks, borrowed from the early sodalities, which the eighteenth century founders of speculative Freemasonry meant to have incorporated in the fraternity” (Isis Unveiled 2:387, 377).

Freemasonry in fact was started as a minor theosophical movement as also were the original Order of the Temple, and the Rosicrucian Order, each of which was designed with the purpose of keeping alive in the outer world as far as the times permitted a knowledge of the ancient wisdom-teachings.