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Daily Theosophy Glossary – H

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Daily Theosophy Glossary


List of abbreviations of book names <



Hades or Aides

(Greek) [from aides, Aidoneus the invisible] Son of Kronos and Rhea, brother of Zeus and Poseidon. When the world was shared among the three brothers, Hades obtained the nether regions sometimes equated with Dis, Orcus, and Tartarus. After the time of Homer the name was given to the region he presided over with his consort Persephone. This corresponds to the underworld, those regions of the astral light which extend from the highest kāma-loka to the deepest depths of Avici; although the more restricted usage of Hades applies to kāma-loka. Hades is pictured as a dark realm in the depths of the earth, surrounded by rivers. However, the meaning of underworld shifts according to the viewpoint had at any time, the earth itself sometimes being equated with Hades.

The god Hades is sometimes called Pluto, giver of wealth, because grain grows from the depths of the earth, and in this respect he was worshipped as an agricultural god.


(Sanskrit)  A lower form of yoga practice which uses physical means for purposes of self-development, teaching that it is possible to attain to a certain grade of psychomental abstraction and to develop some of the lower vital-astral powers, by means of a set of physical exercises and postures, by the regulation of the breath, or by certain other psychophysical methods. These methods are to be neither recommended nor followed, for they are exceedingly dangerous except when practiced in minor degree under the supervision of a teacher, and above everything else in full coordination with the higher forms of yoga.

Haṭha yoga practices can be exceedingly dangerous to sanity and health. Being of nonphysical nature on one side, they can adversely affect the mind, and in extreme cases even dislodge the mind from its normal and proper seat, producing insanity. Being of a physical nature also, they interfere with the proper prāṇic circulations in the body; the prāṇas when left alone are usually productive of health, and when disturbed by attempted meddling produce disease.

One phase of haṭha yoga is the prāṇāyāma (suppression of the breath), interference with the normal and healthy respiration of the body; a practice which can readily produce tuberculosis of the lungs. It is breathing deeply, healthfully, and as often as common sense suggests, that brings benefits to the body because bringing about a better oxygenation of the blood and therefore a better physical tone. In very rare circumstances only, where a chela has advanced relatively far mentally and spiritually, but has still an unfortunate and heavy physical karma as yet not worked out, it may possibly be proper, under the guidance of a genuine teacher, to use the hatha yoga methods in a limited degree, but only under the teacher’s own eye. For this reason haṭha yoga books are occasionally mentioned in theosophical literature — the Yoga Aphorisms of Patañjali, for example, is a haṭha yoga scripture, but one of the highest type. But generally, haṭha yoga practices are injurious and therefore unwise, for they distract the attention from things of the spirit and direct it to the lower parts of the constitution.

Unfortunately, however, physical practices of various kinds seem to be particularly attractive to the average person because apparently within the sphere of easy performance. One does not know the dangers lurking there; but actually, to achieve even the minor results that come from perfect performance, greater effort and larger difficulties have to be encountered than in raising one’s eyes to the nobler forms of yoga. It is always safe and indeed requisite for a disciple to practice the higher branches of yoga: jñāna yoga, rāja yoga, bhakti yoga, and karma yoga, which means the yoga of unselfish action in daily life. Consequently, when considered apart from the nobler forms of yoga there is not a particle of spirituality in all these haṭha yoga practices.



Heaven and Hell

Every ancient exoteric religion taught that the so-called heavens are divided into steps or grades of ascending bliss and purity; and the so-called hells into steps or grades of increasing purgation or suffering. Now the esoteric doctrine or occultism teaches that the one is not a punishment, nor is the other strictly speaking a reward. The teaching is, simply, that each entity after physical death is drawn to the appropriate sphere to which the karmic destiny of the entity and the entity’s own character and impulses magnetically attract it. As a man works, as a man sows, in his life, that and that only shall he reap after death. Good seed produces good fruit; bad seed, tares — and perhaps even nothing of value or of spiritual use follows a negative and colorless life.

After the second death, the human monad “goes” to devachan — often called in theosophical literature the heaven-world. There are many degrees in devachan: the highest, the intermediate, and the lowest. What becomes of the entity, on the other hand, the lower human soul, that is so befouled and weighted with earth thought and the lower instincts that it cannot rise? There may be enough in it of the spirit nature to hold it together as an entity and enable it to become a reincarnating being, but it is foul, it is heavy; its tendency is consequently downwards. Can it therefore rise into a heavenly felicity? Can it go even into the lower realms of devachan and there enjoy its modicum of the beatitude, bliss, of everything that is noble and beautiful? No. There is an appropriate sphere for every degree of development of the egosoul, and it gravitates to that sphere and remains there until it is thoroughly purged, until the sin has been washed out, so to say. These are the so-called hells, beneath even the lowest ranges of devachan; whereas the arūpa heavens are the highest parts of the devachan. Nirvāṇa is a very different thing from the heavens. (See also Kāma-Loka, Avici, Devachan, Nirvāṇa)

Hephaistos, Hephaestus

(Greek) A fire god, child of Zeus and Hera, equivalent to the Latin Vulcanus or Vulcan. He is twice cast down from Olympus, to which however he returns; thus he is a messenger of the gods to earth, and appears on various planes as a manifestation of cosmic fire. He is a kabir, a cosmic teacher of men, whom he instructed in the use of fire and the metallurgic arts. Jupiter, or the four-faced or four-sided Brahmā, partakes of all four elements and disputes his fiery function to Hephaistos. The volcanic island of Lemnos, on which Hephaistos is said to have fallen when cast from Olympus, was sacred to him.

Hephaistos has both a cosmic and an earthly significance; and because he is essentially a fire god, his nature and functions are necessarily involved with all the mystical ranges of thought into which fire enters: the fire of spirit, the fire of intellect, the fire of creative activity, etc. He may generally be identified with the fiery or aspiring element in human beings derivative from the higher manas, which links Hephaistos with the mānasaputric activities.

As the smith of the gods, he is related to the kabiri, the instructor of mankind in the metal arts. He made thunderbolts for Zeus, armor, jewelry, and other items for the gods, and is said to have molded the first woman, Pandora, which was sent to Epimetheus.


The Pastor of Hermas or The Shepherd of Hermas is an early Christian book, attributed to Hermas because that name occurs several times in it, though the authorship is doubtful. It was widely known in the East and regarded as inspired, receiving a respect approximating that paid to the canonical New Testament. It had wide vogue as early as the 2nd century. Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen quote it as scripture; and Origen identifies the author with the Hermas mentioned in Romans. Though it is impossible to assign to it a definite date of composition, conjecture points to the time of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius (117-161 AD). Full of legends and allegories, it presents in suggestive forms the gospel of love, but the name of Jesus Christ does not occur. It was thought by some to be Jewish in origin and contains passages from the Zohar. It has come down to us in several Latin translations, but only fragments of the Greek manuscript have yet come to hand.


(Greek) Greek god, son of Zeus and Maia, the third person in a triad of Father-Mother-Son, hence the formative Logos or Word. He is equivalent to the Hindu Budha, the Zoroastrian Mithra, the Babylonian Nebo — son of Zarpa-Nitu (moon) and Merodach (sun) — and the Egyptian Thoth with the ibis for his emblem; also to Enoch and the Roman Mercurius, son of Coelus and Lux (heaven and light). Among his emblems are the cross, the cubical shape, the serpent, and especially his wand, the caduceus, which combines the serpent and cross. The name has been used generically for many adepts. To Hermes were attributed many functions, such as that of inspiring eloquence and healing, and he is the patron of intellectual, artistic, and productively agricultural pursuits. The nature and functions of this divinity express themselves to our mind as light, wisdom, intelligence, and quickness — especially in an intellectual sense. He was the messenger of the gods, and also the psychopomp or conductor of souls to the netherworld. In his lower aspects he is often made to serve as the inspirer of gross misuses of intelligence such as clever theft — thus illustrating that even the noblest qualities have their dark side.

Hermetic Axiom

“As it is above, so it is below; as it is below, so it is above”

This is summarizing the text found on the Tabula Smaragdina or Emerald Tablet allegedly written by the Egyptian God Thoth (the Greek Hermes) states: “That which is above is as that which is below; and that which is below, is as that which is above, for performing the marvels of the Kosmos. As all things are from the One, by the mediation of the One so all things arose out of this One Thing by evolving . . .[etc.]” . See for complete text: Tabula Smaragdina.


Hermetic Chain

Among the ancient Greeks there existed a mystical tradition of a chain of living beings, one end of which included the divinities in their various grades or stages of divine authority and activities, and the other end of which ran downwards through inferior gods and heroes and sages to ordinary men, and to the beings below man. Each link of this living chain of beings inspired and instructed the chain below itself, thus transmitting and communicating from link to link to the end of the marvelous living chain, love and wisdom and knowledge concerning the secrets of the universe, eventuating in mankind as the arts and the sciences necessary for human life and civilization. This was mystically called the Hermetic Chain or the Golden Chain.

In the ancient Mysteries the teaching of the existence and nature of the Hermetic Chain was fully explained; it is a true teaching because it represents distinctly and clearly and faithfully true and actual operations of nature. More or less faint and distorted copies of the teaching of this Hermetic Chain or Golden Chain or succession of teachers were taken over by various later formal and exoteric sects, such as the Christian Church, wherein the doctrine was called the Apostolic Succession. In all the great Mystery schools of antiquity there was this succession of teacher following teacher, each one passing on the light to his successor as he himself had received it from his predecessor; and as long as this transmission of light was a reality, it worked enormous spiritual benefit among men. Therefore all such movements lived, flourished, and did great good in the world. These teachers were the messengers to men from the Great Lodge of the Masters of Wisdom and Compassion. (See also Guru-parampara)



[from Greek hieros sacred + archein to rule] The word hierarchy merely means that a scheme or system or state of delegated directive power and authority exists in a self-contained body, directed, guided, and taught by one having supreme authority, called the hierarch. The name is used by theosophists, by extension of meaning, as signifying the innumerable degrees, grades, and steps of evolving entities in the kosmos, and as applying to all parts of the universe; and rightly so, because every different part of the universe — and their number is simply countless — is under the vital governance of a divine being, of a god, of a spiritual essence; and all material manifestations are simply the appearances on our plane of the workings and actions of these spiritual beings behind it.

The series of hierarchies extends infinitely in both directions. If he so choose for purposes of thought, man may consider himself at the middle point, from which extends above him an unending series of steps upon steps of higher beings of all grades — growing constantly less material and more spiritual, and greater in all senses — towards an ineffable point. And there the imagination stops, not because the series itself stops, but because our thought can reach no farther out nor in. And similar to this series, an infinitely great series of beings and states of beings descends downwards (to use human terms) — downwards and downwards, until there again the imagination stops, merely because our thought can go no farther.

The summit, the acme, the flower, the highest point (or the hyparxis) of any series of animate and “inanimate” beings, whether we enumerate the stages or degrees of the series as seven or ten or twelve (according to whichever system we follow), is the divine unity for that series or hierarchy, and this hyparxis or highest being is again in its turn the lowest being of the hierarchy above it, and so extending onwards forever — each hierarchy manifesting one facet of the divine kosmic life, each hierarchy showing forth one thought, as it were, of the divine thinkers.

Various names were given to these hierarchies considered as series of beings. The generalized Greek hierarchy as shown by writers in periods preceding the rise of Christianity may be collected and enumerated as follows: (1) Divine; (2) Gods, or the divine-spiritual; (3) Demigods, sometimes called divine heroes, involving a very mystical doctrine; (4) Heroes proper; (5) Men; (6) Beasts or animals; (7) Vegetable world; (8) Mineral world; (9) Elemental world, or what was called the realm of Hades. The Divinity (or aggregate divine lives) itself is the hyparxis of this series of hierarchies, because each of these nine stages is itself a subordinate hierarchy. This (or any other) hierarchy of nine, hangs like a pendant jewel from the lowest hierarchy above it, which makes the tenth counting upwards, which tenth we can call the superdivine, the hyperheavenly, this tenth being the lowest stage (or the ninth, counting downwards) of still another hierarchy extending upwards; and so on, indefinitely.

One of the noblest of the theosophical teachings, and one of the most far-reaching in its import, is that of the hierarchical constitution of universal nature. This hierarchical structure of nature is so fundamental, so basic, that it may be truly called the structural framework of being. (See also Planes)

Hierarchies are primarily the field of influence of a ruler or hierarch of a body of beings — divine, human, or otherwise — organically disposed in serial grades or ranks; and secondarily, the power or post of a hierarch or ruler in sacred rites, copied after the cosmic pattern. In theosophy both meanings blend. Hierarchies, or the interpenetrating of beings, is a key teaching regarding the structure and operation of the universe. This applies not only to the entities comprising a universe but to all its planes and spheres, for these, as well as the entities therein, interblend and interlock in an endless series, one group linking to its superior or inferior in evolutionary grade, in its turn being the link to the ascending or descending group: thus everything exists in and because of everything else. The essential nature or hyparxis of the hierarchy flows forth from the hierarch, and is delegated in proportionate lower degrees to inferior members of the hierarchy, so that all is vitally and organically connected. The hierarchical system is inherent potentially in the cosmic germ or seed from which the entire manifested universe springs; and thus the hierarchical system pervades the manifested universe throughout in all its parts from the highest to the lowest.

Scales of seven, ten, or twelve may be used to define this hierarchical structure. Using the denary scale as an example, we see that the hierarch of any given hierarchy is the lowest member of the immediately superior decad; while the lowest member of the same hierarchy is the hierarch of the immediately inferior decad, so that the scale is a scale of nine. This may explain the use of nine as a sacred number, the difference between ancient inclusive methods of counting and our present methods, and the principle of overlapping cycles. The generalized Greek pre-Christian hierarchy is: 1) divine hierarchies; 2) gods, or divine-spiritual; 3) demigods; 4) heroes; 5) men; 6) animals; 7) plants; 8) minerals; 9) elementals, to which may be added the supreme source as hyparxis of this hierarchy, which is itself the lowest member of the immediately preceding superdivine hierarchy.

Hierarchy of Compassion, Spiritual-psychological Hierarchy is the hierarchy of spiritual beings extending from the highest solar or galactic monad, to the least element forming its vehicles or being. “It is built of divinities, demigods, buddhas, bodhisattvas, and great and noble men, who serve as a living channel for the spiritual currents coming to this and every other planet of our system from the heart of the solar divinity, and who themselves shed glory and light and peace upon that pathway from the compassionate deeps of their own being. . . .

“On our earth there is a minor hierarchy of light. Working in this sphere there are lofty intelligences, human souls, having their respective places in the hierarchical degrees. These masters or mahātmas are living forces in the spiritual life of the world; and awakened minds and intuitive hearts sense their presence, at least at times” (FSO 467-8). The head of the terrestrial spiritual-psychological hierarchy is a being sometimes called the Silent Watcher, who acts as a channel for all the spiritual forces flowing to and from the earth, and who is connected inwardly with all the beings on earth.

In theosophical literature, the Hierarchy of Compassion of our solar system is sometimes given as: 1) ādi-buddhi (primal wisdom), the mystic universally diffused essence; 2) mahābuddhi (universal buddhi), the Logos; 3) daiviprakṛti (universal divine light), universal life, the Second Logos; 4) Sons of Light, the seven cosmic logoi, the logoi of cosmic life, the Third Logos; 5) dhyāni-buddhas (buddhas of contemplation); 6) dhyāni-bodhisattvas (bodhisattvas of contemplation); 7) manuya-buddhas (human buddhas), racial buddhas; 8) bodhisattvas; and 9) men. Here, the Sons of Light or the seven cosmic logoi emanating from the sun and working in its kingdom are the parents of the rectors or planetary spirits of the seven sacred planets. The seven dhyāni-buddhas, also called the celestial buddhas or causal buddhas, through their emanated representatives each govern one round of the septenary cycles of evolution on a planetary chain. The seven dhyāni-bodhisattvas, or bodhisattvas of the celestial realms, similarly through their emanated representatives each govern one of the seven globes comprising a planetary chain. The manuya-buddhas are the buddhas which watch over the root-races in a round, two appearing in every race, one near the commencement and one near the midpoint of each root-race. Gautama Buddha was the second racial buddha of the fifth root-race. The bodhisattvas of earth are those spiritual and intellectually advanced human beings who leave the nirvāṇa of buddhahood in order to remain on earth for their sublime work of aiding, stimulating, and guiding those hosts of entities, including humanity, trailing behind them.


[from Greek hierophantes from hieros sacred + phainein to show] A revealer of sacred mysteries; title given to the highest adepts in the temples of antiquity, who taught and expounded the Mysteries. The attributes of a hierophant were those of Hermes or Mercury, being both expounder and mystagog or conductor of souls. In Hebrew an equivalent is found in the hierarchy of the ’elohim. Many names of man-gods refer to archaic hierophants, such as Orpheus, Enoch, etc. The hierophants of ancient Egypt handed down the sacred teachings, some of which were, however, lost by the deaths of hierophants before they had completed their message because, due to the degeneration which had come upon the West, they were unable to find appropriate pupils to receive the wisdom.

During the celebration of the ancient Mysteries, the hierophant in the drama of the Mysteries represented the demiurge, the Third Logos, opening or revealing the mysteries of the universe and, in consequence, of human nature to the neophytes. He was thus the sacred teacher.

Higher Triad

The imperishable spiritual ego considered as a unity. It is the reincarnating part of man’s constitution which clothes itself in each earth-life in a new personality or lower quaternary. The higher triad, speaking in the simplest fashion, is the unity of ātman, buddhi, and the higher manas; and the lower quaternary consists of the lower manas or kāmamanas, the prāṇa or vitality, the liṅga śarīra or astral model-body, and the physical vehicle.

Another manner of considering the human constitution in its spiritual aspects is that viewed from the standpoint of consciousness, and in this latter manner the higher triad consists of the divine monad, the spiritual monad, and the higher human monad. The higher triad is often spoken of in a collective sense, and ignoring details of division, as simply the reincarnating monad, or more commonly the reincarnating ego, because this latter is rooted in the higher triad.

Many theosophists experience quite unnecessary difficulty in understanding why the human constitution should be at one time divided in one way and at another time divided in another way. The difficulty lies in considering these divisions as being absolute instead of relative, in other words, as representing watertight compartments instead of merely indefinite and convenient divisions. The simplest psychological division is probably that which divides the septenary constitution of man in three parts: an uppermost duad which is immortal, an intermediate duad which is conditionally immortal, and a lower triad which is unconditionally mortal. (See Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, 1st ed., pp. 167, 525; 2nd rev. ed., pp. 199, 601).

Hiram Abif, Huram Abif

(Hebrew) Ḥīrām ’Ābīv, Ḥūrām ’Ābīv [from ḥāwar to become white or pale; or from ḥārāh to burn (as with ardor), be noble or free-born; or ḥāram to devote, consecrate as to religion or destruction, be killed or destroyed] The last derivation is descriptive of the character and fate (according to Masonic tradition) of Hiram Abif; while the second derivation befits the character of Hiram King of Tyre. Hiram Abif is described as a widow’s son of the tribe of Naphtali (1 Kings 7:14), and a skillful, knowledgeable man, a worker in gold, silver, brass, and iron, as was his father (2 Chron 2:12). Hiram Abif was sent by Hiram King of Tyre to King Solomon to aid in the building of his Temple.

In Freemasonry Hiram Abif is the central figure in the drama of the Third or Master Mason’s degree, and one of the Three Ancient Grand Masters of the Craft (the other two being King Solomon and Hiram King of Tyre). Before the completion of the building of the Temple he was slain by three ruffians because he refused to communicate to them the Master Mason’s Word, which on account of his death was said to be lost, for it can be communicated only when all the Three Ancient Grand Masters are present. Hiram Abif was hastily buried in a shallow grave marked by a sprig of acacia or myrtle, which led to its discovery and the subsequent raising of Hiram Abif by the power of a Substitute Word which, it was decreed, should be used until the Lost Word be again found.

The Masonic initiation was modeled on that of the Lesser Mysteries of Egypt, also used in India from time immemorial with Loka-chaksu (eye of the world) and Dinkara (day-maker or the sun). “In Egypt the third degree was called Porte de la Mort (the gate of death) . . . in the modern rite, one finds the reproduction of this Egyptian myth, except that in place of Osiris, inventor of the arts, or the Sun, one finds the name of Hiram, which signifies raisedeleve, (the epithet which belongs to the Sun) and who is skillful in the arts” (Ragon, Orthodoxie Maçonnique 101-2). The slaying of Hiram signifies the annual slaying of the sun by the last three months of the year, the sun being reborn or raised at the winter solstice, one of the four great initiation periods celebrated in antiquity.

Hiram Abif is a type-figure of all the saviors of humanity who sacrificed themselves for the salvation of mankind, a direct human representative of its prototype among the divinities, such as Odin and Visvakarman, the builder and artificer of the gods. Hiram Abif is also the type-figure of the individual’s inner god, crucified upon the cross of material existence.

The legend and drama of the Master Mason’s degree constitutes an indisputable link between Freemasonry and the ancient Mysteries, and few have fathomed the esoteric significance of this degree and of the legend of Hiram Abif: 1) the relation of the upper triad to the lower quaternary of the sevenfold human nature; 2) the incarnation or sacrifice of the mānasaputras; 3) the symbolism of Solomon’s Temple; 4) the instruments with which the death of Hiram Abif was accomplished; and 5) the reference to Hiram as a potter (2 Chron 4:16), which connects him with Kneph in the Egyptian Mysteries as creator of the Mundane Egg. A variant of the Hiramic legend is given in the parable of the householder and the vineyard, whose servants and finally son whom he sent to receive the fruits of the harvest were slain (Matt 21:33).


Horus (Latin) Heru (Egyptian) [from heru above] Egyptian deity associated with the sun god Ra, equivalent in certain respects to Apollo of the Greeks and, similarly, a slayer of a serpent. Originally two distinct deities were recognized: Heru-ur (Aroeris or Haroiri, Horus the Elder) and Heru-pa-khart (Harpocrates, Horus the Younger or Horus the Child). The older Horus was represented as the winged globe or solar disk, while the younger Horus represented the sun reborn each morning from the waters, carried on the lotus flower. But in later times the characteristics of the two were merged into one, and a further change was made from an original self-born deity to the mythological aspect of a holy child found in the triad OsirisIsis-Horus — Father-Mother-Son. Thus the representations of Isis suckling the babe Horus are numerous. Each aspect of this god was represented in a different manner, yet all portrayed the deity as hawk-headed: the hieroglyph for Horus is a hawk.

Horus is helper to the dead in the Book of the Dead, where he is shown as presenting the justified pilgrim to Osiris, pleading in his behalf, so that the former may enter the regions of the glorified. In the Pyramid Texts, Horus and Set are portrayed as setting the ladder so that the deceased may proceed on his journey, Horus helping the pilgrim to mount the ladder into the other regions.

“If we bear in mind the definition of the chief Egyptian gods by Plutarch, these myths will become more comprehensible; as he well says: ‘Osiris represents the beginning and principle; Isis, that which receives; and Horus, the compound of both. Horus engendered between them, is not eternal nor incorruptible, but, being always in generation, he endeavours by vicissitudes of imitations, and by periodical passion [suffering] (yearly re-awakening to life) to continue always young, as if he should never die.’ Thus, since Horus is the personified physical world, Aroueris, or the ‘elder Horus’ is the ideal Universe; and this accounts for the saying that ‘he was begotten by Osiris and Isis when these were still in the bosom of their mother’ — Space” (TG 31).

And further: “the older Horus was the Idea of the world remaining in the demiurgic mind ‘born in Darkness before the creation of the world’; the second Horus was the same Idea going forth from the Logos, becoming clothed with matter and assuming an actual existence” (SD 1:366).


Human Ego

The human ego is seated in that part of the human constitution which theosophists call the intermediate duad, manaskāma. The part which is attracted below and is mortal is the lower human ego. The part which aspires upwards towards the buddhi and ultimately joins it is the higher human ego or reincarnating ego. The dregs of the human ego after the death of the human being and after the second death in the kāma-loka, remain in the astral spheres as the disintegrating kāma-rūpa or spook.

Human Monad

In theosophical terminology the human monad is that part of man’s constitution which is the root of the human ego. After death it allies itself with the upper duad, ātmabuddhi, and its inclusion within the bosom of the upper duad produces the source whence issues the Reincarnating Ego at its next rebirth. The monad per se is an upper duad alone, but the attributive adjective “human” is given to it on account of the reincarnating ego which it contains within itself after death. This last usage is rather popular and convenient than strictly accurate.

Human Soul

The human soul, speaking generally, is the intermediate nature of man’s constitution, and being an imperfect thing it is drawn back into incarnation on earth where it learns needed lessons in this sphere of the universal life.

Another term for the human soul is the ego — a usage more popular than accurate, because the human ego is the soul of the human soul so to speak, the human soul being its vehicle. The ego is that which says in each one of us, “I am I, not you!” It is the child of the immanent Self; and through its imprisonment in matter as a ray of the overruling immanent Self, it learns to reflect its consciousness back upon itself, thus obtaining cognition of itself as self-conscious and hetero-conscious, i.e., knowing itself, and knowing “non-self” or other selves.

Just as our higher and highest nature work through this human soul or intermediate nature of us, so does this last in its turn work and function through bodies or vehicles or sheaths of more or less etherealized matters which surround and enclose it, which are of course still lower than itself, and which therefore give it the means of contacting our own lower and lowest planes of matter; and these lower planes provide us with the vital-astral-physical parts of us. This human soul or intermediate nature manifests therefore as best it can through and by the astral-physical vehicle, the latter our body of human flesh.

In the theosophical classification, the human soul is divided into the higher human soul, composed of the lower buddhi and the higher manas — and the self corresponding to it is the bhūtātman, meaning the “self of that which has been” or the reincarnating ego — and the lower human soul, the lower manas and kāma, and the self corresponding to it is prāṇātman or astral personal ego, which is mortal.



(Greek) Wood, material; primordial matter as first manifested in and from Chaos, but as yet undifferentiated; the Mother, paired with spirit as Father. A Pythagorean word and, according to Plutarch, one of a lower tetraktys consisting of to agathon (the good), nous (intelligence), psyche (soul), and hyle (matter). Equivalent to ilus.

Also, in Greek legend, the son of Tros and the mythical founder of Ilium (Troy).


Derived from a Greek word hypnos, which means “sleep,” and strictly speaking the word hypnotism should be used only for those psychological-physiological phenomena in which the subject manifesting them is in a condition closely resembling sleep. The trouble is that in any attempt to study these various psychological powers of the human constitution it is found that they are many and of divers kinds; but the public, and even the technical experimenters, usually group all these psychological phenomena under the one word hypnotism, and therefore it is a misnomer. One of such powers, for instance, which is well known, is called fascination. Another shows a more or less complete suspension of the individual will and of the individual activities of him who is the sufferer from such psychological power, although in other respects he may show no signs of physical sleep. Another again — and this perhaps is the most important of all so far as actual dangers lie — passes under the name of suggestion, an exceedingly good name, because it describes the field of action of perhaps the most subtle and dangerous side-branch of the exercise of the general power or force emanating from the mind of the operator.

The whole foundation upon which this power rests lies in the human psychological constitution; and it can be easily and neatly expressed in a few words. It is the power emanating from one mind, which can affect another mind and direct or misdirect the latter’s course of action. This is in nine hundred and ninety-nine times out of a thousand a wrong thing to do; and this fact would readily be understood by everybody did men know, as they should, the difference between the higher and the lower nature of man, the difference between his incorruptible, death-defying individuality, his spiritual nature, on the one hand; and, on the other hand, the brain-mind and all its train of weak and fugitive thoughts.

Anyone who has seen men and women in the state of hypnosis must realize not only how dangerous, how baleful and wrong it is, but also that it exemplifies the trance state perfectly. The reason is that the intermediate nature, or the psychomental apparatus, of the human being in this state has been displaced from its seat, in other words, is disjoined or dislocated; and there remains but the vitalized human body, with its more or less imperfect functioning of the brain cells and nervous apparatus. H. P. Blavatsky in her Theosophical Glossary writes: “It is the most dangerous of practices, morally and physically, as it interferes with the nerve-fluid and the nerves controlling the circulation in the capillary blood-vessels.” (See also Mesmerism)