Book Club Post

The Cosmic Doctrine: The Influences of the Lords of Flame, Form, and Mind

This week we continue a monthly discussion of The Cosmic Doctrine by Dion Fortune, which I consider the most important work of 20th century occult philosophy. Climb in and fasten your seat belts; it’s turning out to be as wild a ride as I expected. If you’re just joining us now, please go back and read the previous commentaries, which are listed here; the material covered in these earlier posts is essential to making sense of what follows.

As noted in earlier posts, there are two widely available editions of The Cosmic Doctrine, the revised edition first published in 1956 and the Millennium Edition first published in 1995, which reprints the original privately printed edition of 1949. You can use either one for the discussions that follow. The text varies somewhat between the two editions, but the concepts and images are the same, and I’ll be referring to both.

Assigned Reading:

Revised Edition:  Chapter 16, “The Influences of the Lords of Flame, Form, and Mind,” pp. 76-79.

Millennium Edition: Chapter 17, “The Influences of the Regents upon the Globes,” pp. 104-106.

Commentary:

Last month’s commentary discussed the journey of the three primal swarms of Divine Sparks—the Lords of Flame, Form, and Mind—from the Solar Logos through the seven planes of being to the material plane, forming planets and Planetary Spirits as they go. This month we’ll explore the return journey, which is equally important. On the way down, the three swarms had the job of learning how to function on each of the seven planes, building bodies for themselves out of the substance of each plane, and in the process creating the planets and ensouling them with their Planetary Spirits.

On the way back up, they have a new task waiting for them, because there are other swarms of Divine Sparks following them. In place of the raw atomic matter they dealt with on the descent, they now have to cope with swarms of conscious beings, less developed than they are but of the same general type. That begins the moment the Lords of Flame finish their work on the seventh globe and return to the sixth globe, because the sixth globe at that point is still inhabited by the Lords of Form, who are just getting started on their own work on that plane.

They’re just getting started, in turn, because of the distinctive way they descend the planes. As noted in the previous chapter, the Lords of Form don’t go down the planes in a single journey; they return to the Solar Logos between their experiences on each of the worlds, and then have to work their way back down to the next world in order. So they’re still traveling while the Lords of Flame are busy building the pattern of energetic stresses that forms the subtle body of the seventh globe, and they and the Lords of Flame thus end up inhabiting the sixth globe together.

The Lords of Flame, having already experienced the sixth globe, can perceive it as something separate from themselves—in the words of our text, they have objective consciousness, the state of which human waking consciousness is a first very rough draft—and so they can also perceive the Lords of Form at work on it. The Lords of Form don’t yet have that capacity. They perceive only their own internal states—in the words of our text, they have subjective consciousness, like the consciousness human beings have while dreaming. So the Lords of Form don’t perceive the higher evolution inhabiting the same world they do.

That lack of awareness, though, doesn’t equal a lack of effect. Dion Fortune uses an awkward bit of phrasing—“the impactation of a cyclic rhythm inducing a vibration”—for a phenomenon that’s utterly familiar to anyone who’s ever given a push to a child’s swing or set a cradle in motion. That gentle repeated push—the “cyclic rhythm”—sets the pushed object swinging. That’s what the presence of the Lords of Flame does to the Lords of Form; the bodies the Lords of Form are building vibrate to the beat of of the complex rhythm laid down by the Lords of Flame, and as a result the Lords of Form end up with capacities in that body that embody the experiences of the Lords of Flame as well as their own.

As the Lords of Form complete their evolution on the sixth globe, they become indirectly aware of the Lords of Flame; they haven’t yet awakened into objective consciousness, but they can begin to notice that something’s affecting the bodies they’ve just finished forming. Then the two swarms finish their work on the sixth globe; the Lords of Form go through the complex process described in the previous chapter, shedding their bodies to provide matter for the globe they’ve been on, and return to the Solar Logos to begin the journey down the planes one last time. The Lords of Flame, having finished their work on the sixth globe in the returning arc, move to the fifth globe—and the Lords of Mind, who have been waiting on the fifth globe, proceed at once to the now-vacant sixth globe.

Once they’re on the fifth globe, the Lords of Flame busy themselves with the evolutionary work they need to do there. On the way out, they built bodies of the matter of each plane, and absorbed the rhythms and capacities of that plane; now, on the way back, they have achieved objective consciousness, and so they have to learn how to perceive and work with the other things and beings on each plane, using the body of that plane as a vehicle. They also interact with the swarm of divine sparks that’s inhabiting that plane on the descending arc. The nature of that interaction varies from plane to plane and from swarm to swarm, but there’s a generic term for that entire class of interactions, and that term is “initiation.’ We’ll discuss that more a little further on.

It’s important to remember here that the Lords of Flame, Form, and Mind are only the first three swarms—they’re not the only swarms. The same process that set them in motion set other swarms following the same route after them, and each of those following swarms follows the same pattern on the descent as the Lords of Mind: advancing to a new planet once the previous swarm moves on, busying itself with the work of its own evolution, finishing that up, and then waiting until it’s time to move further on. That waiting period is when epigenesis takes place—that’s the process, remember, through which random movements give rise to new capacities in the Divine Sparks, giving each of them their own individual characters and possibilities. The Lords of Flame and Form don’t engage in epigenesis, and so never become individuals. The Lords of Mind and those that come after them are individualized beings.

There’s a crucial difference between the Lords of Mind and the swarms that come after them, though. In the course of their evolutionary journey, the Lords of Mind never encounter another swarm further along than themselves. When they leave the fifth globe for the sixth, the Lords of Flame leave the sixth globe for the fifth, so they miss each other. Similarly, when the Lords of Form vacate the seventh globe on the return arc, heading back up the planes to the sixth, the Lords of Mind go from the sixth globe to the seventh to complete their outward arc. Once the Lords of Mind start back up the planes, they find the globes fully tenanted, and the next chapter will describe the work they do there as initiators of individual beings.

The beings that follow the Lords of Mind down the planes, though, encounter the three primal swarms on the way down, and are transformed by the encounter, receiving capacities for action and perception they would not be able to attain so quickly on their own. Again, this is the basic pattern of all initiation. The initiations that humans confer on other humans in magical lodges have the effects they do, according to Fortune’s metaphor, because they follow the “tracks in space” laid down by elder swarms of Divine Sparks as they interact with younger swarms.

The exact nature of these primal initiations, though, depends on which plane the younger swarm is on when it encounters each of the primal swarms. The process of descending the planes is, among other things, the process of building a body on each plane, and so whatever body your Divine Spark built while it interacted with the Lords of Flame is the body that resonates most closely with the primary forces of nature, because those forces were created and are commanded by the Lords of Flame. Similarly, whatever body your divine spark built while it interacted with the Lords of Form is the body that interacts most closely with the bodies of other Divine Sparks, since the Lords of Form created and command all bodies.

The Lords of Mind can’t be categorized so neatly. The first two primal swarms never individualize, and so they initiate the younger swarms collectively. The third swarm consists of individualized beings, and so its members seek out individuals of the younger swarms who are suited for whatever initiation each individual Lord of Mind has to pass on, and communicate that initiation to those Divine Sparks and to them alone. The younger Divine Sparks are still capable only of subjective consciousness; they become aware of their initiators only indirectly, and only at the point when they and the initiators are both ready to move on; but the initiations stay with the Divine Sparks, and when they awaken into objective consciousness on the seventh globe, those initiations enable the younger Divine Sparks to renew contact with the Lords of Mind in a fully conscious and intentional manner. (How that happens will be discussed at quite some length in later chapters.)

For now, let’s follow the three primal swarms back up the planes. On the way down, the task before them was to enter ever more completely into the planes of manifestation, to build bodies of each plane and to accept the limits of that plane in order to master its conditions and develop a corresponding set of capacities in themselves. They do all this in a state of subjective consciousness similar to the dream-state or, to use an even more appropriate metaphor, the state of consciousness of an unborn child in the womb.

Once they awaken to objective consciousness on the seventh globe, the task before the primal swarms—and every member of every subsequent swarm as well—is to let go of the limitations of each plane while retaining the capacities that those limits have developed. When this has been accomplished, the body corresponding to that plane falls away, but the capacity to form a temporary body of the matter of that plane remains. The Divine Spark then rises further and does the same thing on the next plane up. When the process completes itself on the upper spiritual plane, the plane of the first globe, the divine spark has become a fully individuated being, capable of ranging up and down the planes at will, and becoming embodied on any of them whenever this is convenient.

How that works, again, will be discussed at great length later on. For now, it’s useful to remember that the three primal swarms interact with the planets they dwell on in significantly different ways. The Lords of Flame, again, are the creators and masters of the forces of nature, and they interact with the Divine Sparks of each swarm collectively, giving an entire swarm certain capacities for mastering the forces of nature in their turn. The Lords of Form are the creators and masters of bodies, and they work on the substances of the planets rather than on the Divine Sparks who dwell there. The Lords of Mind, finally, are individuals and work with individual Divine Sparks, choosing those who can best respond to the initiations they have to offer, and thus contributing to the diversity and complexity of each of the later swarms.

Before we finish this chapter, it may be helpful to think about how you and I fit into this grand scheme. As human beings in the present cycle of our evolution, we are on the seventh globe, the globe of the etheric and physical plane, in the process of awakening from subjective to objective consciousness. (We’re still in the middle of that process, which is why we have to spend some time out of every twenty-four hours or so in subjective consciousness—that’s called “going to sleep”—and why so many of us have such a hard time thinking clearly about much of anything.)

All the Divine Sparks currently tenanting this globe belong to the same swarm we do; epigenesis being what it is, some of us are further ahead and some of us are further behind, which is why some souls became saints and masters in the distant past and others are still doing time as blue-green algae. All of us will work our way through the lessons of the etheric/physical plane in due time. Right now on the sixth globe, the globe of the lower astral plane, there are two more swarms, an older one getting ready to rise up to the fifth globe and a younger one waiting to take our place on the seventh once we finish our work here and rise up to the sixth, incalculably long ages from now.

You, dear reader, have received certain capacities for shaping the forces of nature from the Lords of Flame, but you share these capacities with every other member of our swarm of Divine Sparks. Your bodies—you have more than one of those, remember, because each globe has the substances of all the higher globes present in it—have been shaped by patterns impressed on the raw materials of this planet by the Lords of Form; these, too, you have in common with every other member of our swarm. Finally, long before you first entered into a material body, you received certain initiations from one or more of the Lords of Mind, and you do not share these with every other member of our swarm; your individual mind, as it awakens from subjective to objective consciousness, has certain capacities it shares with certain other minds in our swarm but not with all, and the specific set of capacities you have—the specific initiations you have received, and then went on to develop through epigenesis on your own—is unique to you.

That’s where you stand in Fortune’s great metaphor. In the chapters to come, the focus will shift from where we are and how we got here to where we go next, and how.

Notes for Study:

As already noted, The Cosmic Doctrine is heavy going, especially for those who don’t have any previous exposure to occult philosophy. It’s useful to read through the assigned chapter once or twice, trying to get an overview, but after that take it a bit at a time. The best option for most people seems to be to set aside five or ten minutes a day during the month you spend on this chapter. During that daily session, take one short paragraph or half of a long one, read it closely, and think about what you’ve read, while picturing in your mind’s eye the image you’ve been given for that passage of text.

As you proceed through the chapter and its images, you’re likely to find yourself facing questions that the text doesn’t answer. Some of those are questions Fortune wants you to ask yourself, either because they’ll be answered later in the book or because they will encourage you to think in ways that will help you learn what the text has to say. It can be helpful to keep a notebook in which to write down such questions, as well as whatever thoughts and insights might come to you as you study the text.

Questions and comments can also be posted here for discussion. (I’d like to ask that only questions and comments relevant to The Cosmic Doctrine be posted here, to help keep things on topic.) We’ll go on to the next piece of the text on November 13.  Until then, have at it!

50 Comments

  1. This reminds me of a clock.

    Over the course of six hours, the hour hand descends slowly from its pinnacle at twelve to the bottom at six. Since clocks usually hang high on a wall or mantel, six o’clock is when the hand is closest to us and closest to the ground. And over the course of the next six hours, it ascends back through the “planes” to the pinnacle again.

    But, of course, it’s not the same time everywhere in the world. It’s noon in Chicago but 10:00 in Seattle, 1:00 in New York, 6:00 in London, 8:00 in Moscow… the hour hands are all over the place, but all moving on the same conveyor. If you use mean solar time instead of time zones, the minute hands would be too.

    And now that I think about it, with a clock face you have 7 distinct levels, just as with the planes – 12 and 6 alone, then the pair of 11-1, 10-2, 9-3, 8-4, and 7-5. Which also parallels the traditional astrological assignments of the planets – Sun and Moon alone, then a pair of signs for the other five.

    …Maybe it’s not an accident we divided the day into 24 hours and not, say, 10, 20, or 60.

  2. Off topic, but PG&E turned off the power in part of CA because they are admitting they can’t guarantee they can supply power safely when both it’s dry and the wind is blowing. Pretty clear sign of the long descent. They can’t keep the lights on in the wealthiest State in the Union? Will CS out of the cities become a Paid Avoidance Zone like in ‘Shockwave Rider’?

  3. What this says to me is that cycles of reincarnation not only happen on our etheric/material plane, but also on the lower astral (globe 6) and most likely all the planes. When Lords of Flame go to the Solar Logos, they are having a brief visit with the Creator before coming back to complete another spin on the globe, just like when people physically die and reincarnate.

  4. Kimberley anticipated my comment it seemed. There seem to be ‘anchor points’ for the swarms, and whilst body shedding, such as at death, seems to be a ready practice, something appears to ensure that one then reincarnates back to that anchor point again, at least up until the point when the entire swarm moves on.

    I am intrigued by the difference between individual spiritual development, such as reaching Gywnnffd, and the entire swarm development moving on. I suspect that Gwynnfdd in this context is more of an individual thing, as one chooses to take on a different body?

  5. I also should have added that this helps, a bit, to reconcile the Dzogchen teachings in Tibetan Buddhism. The Bardo Thodol speaks to the ground luminosity looming up right at the point of death. The ground luminosity is taught to be our true nature, empty and unchanging. However, this correlates more with the unmanifest, perhaps one gets a brief glimpse of it when moving between the planes? Or perhaps it’s a brief glimpse of the Logos? I havent quite got that sorted, it may not matter.

  6. Last comment I promise! One thing I cant quite get my head around is the relationship between the physical planets as we see them, each of which has a planetary spirit, and of which I am assuming each planets spirit correlates roughly to a plane. Earths spirit correlates to the physical plane. How then do the physical bodies of the other planets embody themselves?

  7. Barrigan, fascinating! You’re right about the clock; that makes a great visual image.

    Siliconguy, that’s been fascinating to watch. No question, the Long Descent is picking up speed, in a ponderous sort of way. I hope any of my readers who are still in California are either making plans to leave or are collapsing as fast as possible to avoid the rush.

    Kimberly, good. We’ll be getting to reincarnation a little later in the discussion.

    Peter, yes, the swarm stays on a globe until it’s finished with its work there, and you keep on being reborn on that globe until your swarm moves on, Remember, though, that our globe has all seven planes in it — the Lords of Form carried the raw material here from every one of the higher planes — and you can rise all the way to the upper spiritual plane on this globe. I’m not sure what to say about Dzogchen and the Bardo Thodol, as I haven’t studied the Tibetan tradition at all. As for the planets, though, remember that we’re still deep in metaphor here; each of the physical planets has a physical body, and planets other than earth are according to occult lore homes to evolutions entirely different than ours. The six higher globes in the metaphor aren’t physical planets…

  8. Hi JMG

    “…and you can rise all the way to the upper spiritual plane on this globe. ”

    1. Does this mean that someone who achieves this must still travel back up all the planes?
    2. And I assume this must mean ascending (far) beyond humanity?

  9. I’m still catching up and regret and each time you post it’s a reminder. I know I know I shouldn’t rush it but I do want to get where I can ask questions here. I’ll just say thank you.

  10. 1) “epigenesis being what it is, some of us are further ahead and some of us are further behind, which is why some souls became saints and masters in the distant past and others are still doing time as blue-green algae.”

    I find this part difficult to understand, because it implies that eventually all souls become highly developed. I can’t imagine a world where humans and higher animals exist, but bacteria and green algae don’t, because the former depend on the latter. Or is there some collective leap in consciousness? That sounds like one of those New Age ideas of a world-changing or even world-ending event.

    2) And what is the quickest way to develop objective consciousness? Does it also mean I would never have to sleep again? For now I have to consort with the spirits of coffee beans and tea leaves to achieve that. 🙂

  11. JMG,

    I must say your Cosmic Doctrine essays are some of the most personally exciting for me of your long blogging career. So much of what you explain fills in gaps in my understanding of esoteric teachings I’ve studied over the years.

    Here’s an interesting factoid if one wants to call it that to go with the Cosmic Doctrine teachings. Meher Baba says that in this physical cosmos there are only 3 planets that have humans (or species with all the capabilities that humans on this planet possess). The first has a human (human-ish?) species which is comprised of 100% head. The second is 75% head/25% heart. The third is our planet where humans are equally 50% head/50% heart. Furthermore Baba said incarnating on planet earth is required for anyone to advance to the next level. So I have no idea if he means at one time every human soul on this planet had prior iterations incarnating on those other two planets and ours is the final waystation before moving on to the next plane. But incarnating as a human at all is a rare occurrence for the cosmos.

    Baba’s book is so thick and intricate it will likely take me reading it 3-4 times to get what he meant by humans being split between head and heart. Perhaps it means logic vs. emotion? Or maybe it’s more between the dominant types of chi/prana in our species vs those of the other human(ids) on the other 2 planets. Regardless Baba kept driving the point that incarnating as a human is not optional in order to advance. Now as far as Baba’s use of cosmos I don’t know if he has cosmos equal to the entire universe as we call it today or if he simply uses cosmos where we use galaxy today. It’s possible he means the latter. If so that would mean there are 2 other planets somewhere in Milky Way galaxy that host species of equivalent advancement to earth humans.

    On a second note today’s essay helped me better understand – there is a sub-section of Mahayana Buddhism called Pure Land Buddhism. One of the things it teaches is that throughout the cosmos are various “Pure Lands” that are (as one Buddhist sutra says) “formed from the merits and virtues” of the inhabitants that reside there. One Buddhist teacher (Sheng Yen) says each Pure Land is a galaxy system. Some of these galaxy systems are so far along (Amitabha’s Pure Land trillions of miles to the west of the Milky Way being one of the most famous) that no further significant transformations are necessary for it. Ours however is still very much a work-in-progress.

    Of course Pure Land can and does also reference the state of one’s consciousness in many teachings. Vexations, etc becoming fewer and when they do one has better capability of dealing with them. But I wanted to share with you and other readers one reason why I like your Cosmic Doctrine essays so much.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share them. And here’s my second reminder (vote) for you writing a book on the evolution of Consciousness much as Baba and Fortune have done but with terms, language, mind training that are easier for westerners to understand.

  12. I have been reading Violet’s blog, and in her Sept 3d post “Divine Hierarchies and Human Vocation” she describes people who are devoted to Dieties or Principles, consciously or not, such as the sex worker in the influence of Aphrodite and so on. Is this what you mean by different Lords of Mind initiating different people? So the black smiths are initated by “Vulcan”, the poets by “Orpheus” and so on, or is it something else? It seems like all of life is “spiritual”, every facet is a direction for a soul to work on themselves. This would imply that from life to life souls refine what they have been working on in past lives, but also that influences can change through different initiations. Do you think most souls have one major Intiator or multiple?

  13. Since the door was left ajar for an off topic comment, your observation regarding the Long Descent ponderously picking up the pace leads me to contemplate the impending Saturn/Pluto conjunction which will become exact in early January 2020. The conjunction happens in the US 2nd House (ruled by Saturn) precisely opposite the 8th House Mercury (ruler of the 7th). If it was Saturn alone that would still be quite potent but throw in Pluto and the intensity ramps way up. I’ve been in the midst of a deep dive looking at Pluto historically and it’s pretty significant in the US chart…the nation’s Pluto Return is coming in 2022, then the move into Aquarius in 2024. More and more I find I’m questioning your theory about its waning influence….guess we’ll see!

  14. Hopefully not too out of topic. This remainded me of a prayer my Great Grandmother was really enthusiastic about: the Trisagion.

    At some point in the middle it… I dont want to say evoke because I ignore if that is the actual term, but… add your own voice to the voices of the angels, and it speaks of Three angelic hierarchies, each composed of Three Choirs.

    Of the 3rd Choir, there are proper Angels,Archangels and Principalities. The first two do interact with individual people, but the Principalities only deal with collectives, – with Nations traditionally, but I suspect any organization with a well formed group identity does qualify. Lady Liberty, under this framework, would answer to all Americans, or to all Newyorkers, but probably not to all Yankees fans. Those seem to mirror the distinction between Lords of Mind and Lords of Form.

    As for the Lords of Flame, the 2nd Choir do not interact with humans at all. Dominions, Powers and Virtues, they govern the Laws of Nature and keep the Universe and orderly place. Powers (Potestas) are granted special mention because they are the guides of the Planets in the sky (not of individual inhabitants of such planets), they also do battle and imprison demons, specially those capable of affecting physical matter.

  15. I’m finally caught up and reading the current chapter.

    One thing that caught my attention from the comments on the previous chapter was when you inferred that there had been at least fifteen swarms before the one that we are part of. If I’m understanding it right, that means our swarm is at least another eight swarms past the seven swarms we are currently discussing. Is that what you meant? That implies that the process of creating swarms can go on for a very much longer time past our swarm. I’m curious if it’s possible to guess about how many years it takes for a swarm to go down and then up the planes – though maybe I’m pushing the metaphor too far.

    When I meditated on the Lords of Flame and Lords of Form occupying the sixth globe together for awhile, I thought of what happened when I was away from home for a couple of months to help my mom a couple years ago. When I came back home, I had to get used to the routine again, plus the seasonal change from winter to spring, which meant a re-tuning into the land and what it needed from me at that point plus a re-tuning into my usual set of responsibilities.

  16. So given that our swarm, at some point, will experience some sort of collective ascension, could it be argued that all of the people betting on that ascension happening NOW to solve our current predicaments are a bit like Malthus?

    The prediction is RIGHT but it is very EARLY.

  17. Shadow_rider, yes, a soul like that would proceed back up the planes with the rest of its swarm, but remember the role of epigenesis — that soul would have the opportunity to become something really astonishing in the process. As for ascending beyond humanity, all of us are going to do that; humanity is a way station, not an endpoint. (Or, in Nietzsche’s phrasing, humanity is a bridge to the Overman.)

    Nothing Special, you’re welcome and thank you. Remember that you can ask questions about earlier chapters if that would help!

    Legal Alien, 1) Fortune doesn’t cover the details of the transition that happens when one swarm leaves a globe and another swarm arrives. If the process extends over a few million years, say — an eyeblink in planetary time — the incoming swarm could fill the ecological niches that the outgoing swarm vacates. 2) The quickest way to achieve objective consciousness is the one you’re engaged in right now — being an incarnate being on a globe on the densest of the planes. It’s not a quick process.

    Happypandatao, thanks for this! I’ve been mulling over the prospect of writing at least one (and probably several) serious books on occult philosophy, covering the evolution of souls and the rest of it; the support I’m getting now from subscribers and patrons of my mundane astrology project is substantial enough that I can seriously consider a project like that, which is well worth doing but won’t pay the bills.

  18. Is it the contact with Unmanifest (the Limitation?) that forces Lords of Flame to turn back and gain objective conciousness?

  19. Isaac, yes, I think that that’s what Fortune is talking about. As for whether most people have one initiator or several on the descending arc, good question — I don’t know.

    Jim, we will indeed see. Keep in mind that December 2020 also sees one of the really big conjunctions in traditional mundane astrology — a Grand Mutation, the passage of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction cycle from one element to another. That ends a cycle that began in 1842 and begins one that will continue until 2219, with major changes to be expected — for the US among others, as the Grand Mutation is in the 10th house, thus angular and in the house that rules government, in its Washington DC chart. That’s the conjunction I have my eyes on!

    CR, interesting. If I understand Fortune correctly, all nine angelic choirs belong to the class of beings she calls Lords of Flame, and are differentiated according to function — angels to guard and guide individual souls, archangels to work with the church and its sacraments, Principalities to guard and guide nations and other large groups, and so on up to Thrones, Seraphim, and Cherubim, who contemplate God and, like prisms, refract the divine power down the planes, stepping it down so that the lower choirs can work with it — but of course your tradition is different and your angelic mileage may vary. 😉

    SLClaire, I have no idea how much time we’re talking about, other than that it’s probably measured in geological epochs at least. The reason I speculated that we’re swarm 16 or later is that, as we’ll discuss in the next couple of chapters, the first three swarms have all already completed the trip down and back up to the Solar Logos, and so their relationship with later swarms and the Logos has changed in ways Fortune covers in some detail. Yes, that means there are probably lots more swarms still to come; it also means that we’re nothing special in the great scheme of things — just one more bunch of Divine Sparks waking up into objective consciousness, making a mess of it as usual, and slowly straightening things out.

    Versling, it’s not really a collective ascension in the sense the people talking about that nowadays have in mind. It’s not going to solve all our problems and take us to a happy place where we get everything we want — wheee! Quite the contrary, it will take us from a world where we’ve finally sorted things out and have things more or less moving the way they should, to a world where we have absolutely no idea what we’re doing and have to start from scratch to figure things out — not to mention figure ourselves out. So they’re not just early — they’ve gotten things entirely bass ackward.

    Oleg, Fortune doesn’t say, but that seems plausible enough given the structure of ideas she’s set up.

  20. Jim, we will indeed see. Keep in mind that December 2020 also sees one of the really big conjunctions in traditional mundane astrology — a Grand Mutation, the passage of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction cycle from one element to another. That ends a cycle that began in 1842 and begins one that will continue until 2219, with major changes to be expected — for the US among others, as the Grand Mutation is in the 10th house, thus angular and in the house that rules government, in its Washington DC chart. That’s the conjunction I have my eyes on!

    Oh yes, I’m all over the Grand Mutation as well…there’s no question that will mark a major shift. So you’ve cast basically an ingress chart using Washington DC and the exact time of the conjunction?
    I’m still finding my way around the mundane sphere but I sense the Jupiter/Saturn cycle is of paramount importance in the affairs of nations. In the US natal chart the meet up will occur in the 2nd house. These are, of course, the classic visible boundary planets of antiquity. Also of interest for these times, the US had a progressed lunar return this past year and is moving now toward a new moon conjunction with the Sun in 2021…all in the 3rd house. So many layers…no matter how you slice it, there’s a whole lotta shaking’ goin’ on in the US!

    If you prefer not to put this comment through I’ll understand…this conversation belongs on the new subscription blog, which I’m very enthused about. I’ve recently been imagining you as a 21st century Manly Palmer Hall, which I trust you will take as a high praise. Thanks for all you do.

  21. Two questions for this month:

    1: Up until this point I’ve been thinking of the Lords of Flame and the Lords of Form as being much more advanced versions of the divine sparks in other swarms that had already undergone a full cycle of evolution and become fully individuated in a previous solar system’s cycle. However, in saying that they never undergo Epigenesis and thus never become individualized, that wouldn’t be the case. Since a more advanced form of being would have already undergone Epigenesis in a distant past and would have become fully individualized on a previous journey up and down the planes. Are these first two swarms then “unfallen” in the sense that they have never undergone the process that leads to individuation? If so, do they have the capacity to do so?

    2: Something about this week’s passage makes me think a lot about some of the traditional occult lore surrounding elementals, I.E. that they have not, as yet begun the process of individuation and belong to a younger point in spiritual evolution than us, under the guidance of the elemental kings who belong to a more advanced ones. Is this one potential way of thinking of the two swarms on the sixth plane, one preparing for manifestation on the seventh, and one preparing for ascension to the fifth and acting as initiators to the younger swarm?

  22. Jim, I’m still trying to figure out how to use all the features on the subscription services, and if there’s a comments forum attached to either of them I haven’t found it yet. (Tech is not my strong suit.) So here is as good as anywhere. Yes, conjunction charts are cast just like ingress charts for the purposes of political astrology — that way you know which houses the planets are in, and so can figure out which aspects of political life the conjunction and the other planets will affect. I think, btw, that the importance of the Jupier-Saturn cycle is more than just that they were the outermost planets known to the ancients; Uranus and Neptune, hugely important as they are, represent (as I see it) primal forces almost too abstract to enter fully into time; on the Tree of Life, they represent Chokmah and Kether respectively — while Saturn as Binah is the lord of time, the first power to fully enter into temporality, as Jupiter/Chesed is the lord of place (as distinct from boundless space, which is Chokmah/Uranus). So the role of Saturn and Jupiter as the Chronocrators, the Lords of Time, isn’t misplaced.

    Eric, 1) “advanced” is a tricky word, as it presupposes that you know which way is forward! The Lords of Flame and Form are perfect as they are; they represent the complete fulfillment of two modes of existence of Divine Sparks, neither of which involves individualization as we know it. As for “fallen” and “unfallen,” that depends very much what you mean by those terms; they have descended all the way into physical matter and experienced its limitations and burdens, awakening into objective consciousness through that experience — but neither swarm has experienced positive evil except as an outside force to be striven against. It’s when you get epigenesis that you have the capacity for positive evil.

    2) Excellent! Yes, exactly.

  23. “The beings that follow the Lords of Mind down the planes, though, encounter the three primal swarms on the way down, and are transformed by the encounter, receiving capacities for action and perception they would not be able to attain so quickly on their own. Again, this is the basic pattern of all initiation. The initiations that humans confer on other humans in magical lodges have the effects they do, according to Fortune’s metaphor, because they follow the “tracks in space” laid down by elder swarms of Divine Sparks as they interact with younger swarms.”

    How do you think the above relates to what Rupert Sheldrake has written about animals learning new knowledge quicker after an initial group has learned something for the first time?

    “Similarly, whatever body your divine spark built while it interacted with the Lords of Form is the body that interacts most closely with the bodies of other Divine Sparks, since the Lords of Form created and command all bodies.”

    Well! I guess that solves the evolutionary question of who designed the life forms.

  24. 1) “advanced” is a tricky word, as it presupposes that you know which way is forward! The Lords of Flame and Form are perfect as they are; they represent the complete fulfillment of two modes of existence of Divine Sparks, neither of which involves individualization as we know it. As for “fallen” and “unfallen,” that depends very much what you mean by those terms; they have descended all the way into physical matter and experienced its limitations and burdens, awakening into objective consciousness through that experience — but neither swarm has experienced positive evil except as an outside force to be striven against. It’s when you get epigenesis that you have the capacity for positive evil.

    I suppose to state the question more precisely, do the atoms contained within those swarms, having never undergone Epigenesis, have the capacity to become disentangled from their swarms or fall behind, get caught up in a subsequent swarm and undergo the process that leads to epigenesis, thus losing their state of perfection but opening up the other possibilities? Or do those atoms stay in that same swarm eternally, always filling the same role in every newborn solar system?

  25. JMG

    I seem to have missed where you announced joining a pay page to use to join the astrological blog. Did you way Patreon monitors and censors its authors? If so, I’ll use the other one!

  26. I am wondering how the concepts of the last two chapters apply to our own bodies, since we are the microcosm. Many traditions have a correspondence between the planets and our various organs. One such system can be found here. If each of the planetary spheres are at a different phase of evolution as described in this chapter, that would imply that each of our organs may also be at a different state of evolution corresponding to the planetary sphere that they belong to.

    Another possibility is that rather than our organs being at different phases of evolution, they each have a specific planet that is their initiator. The days of the weeks and the planetary hours that correspond to each planet/organ would be the times that each would be especially susceptible to the influence of a planetary orb. Disease could also be described as the process of epigenesis run wild in an organ.

    Since our heart is the solar organ, it is the Central Stillness. The circulating blood, then, is a swarm of Divine Sparks that leave the heart and pass through each planet as they flow from organ to organ. This rhythm of blood flow may be the shortest evolutionary cycle we experience. I think that taking time to meditate on the wisdom of the heart then truly does influence our whole body; because such moments, through their influence on the blood passing through the heart, brings our whole being into harmony, and epigenesis does not run wild.

  27. Oh, so you are saying that the Lords of Flame and Form do eventually arrive at objective consciousness?

  28. JMG & all
    I am still toddling along with words.
    As you say ‘deep in metaphor’.
    I keep pondering on this.
    Initially I asked (myself?) ‘Metaphor of/for what’?
    Perhaps this kind of metaphor is indefinable and more like ‘suggestion’ than ‘explanation’?
    Which seems a way to sidle up to the realities of ‘being’?

    I have had my doubts for over 40 years about ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’. I kind of reject ‘objective’ as a category, except perhaps where it involves ‘recognition’. I guess humans and a lot of others need subjective recognition in order, among other things, to communicate. It is curious how framing ‘recognition’ can make all kinds of realities, and others, talk back. Or so it seems.

    best
    Phil H

  29. I think, btw, that the importance of the Jupier-Saturn cycle is more than just that they were the outermost planets known to the ancients; Uranus and Neptune, hugely important as they are, represent (as I see it) primal forces almost too abstract to enter fully into time; on the Tree of Life, they represent Chokmah and Kether respectively — while Saturn as Binah is the lord of time, the first power to fully enter into temporality, as Jupiter/Chesed is the lord of place (as distinct from boundless space, which is Chokmah/Uranus). So the role of Saturn and Jupiter as the Chronocrators, the Lords of Time, isn’t misplaced.

    Thanks for this. I’m not conversant in the Tree of Life system, but I think your sense about the abstraction factor with the outer planets (Pluto too!😉) is very relevant . What were the planetary signifiers of Chokmah and Kether before 1781 and 1846? Do you own Liz Greene’s book Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil? It’s a very fine work and my edition (from the 80s) has a wonderful old etching depicting of Saturn Lord of Time on the cover. I do hope you’ll be able to field comments once the new blog is up, seems kind of essential.

  30. I think Nisaba (pronounced KNEE-sah-bah) would qualify as an anthropomorphized Lord of Mind / initiator. (I have been somewhat obsessed with her for a while now.)  Here is a good article on this ancient Sumerian goddess:
    https://www.ancient.eu/Nisaba/

    “Nisaba became the goddess of literacy and patroness of the craft of writing. Scribal school tablets often end with the phrase, ‘Praise be to Nisaba!’ and Meador notes how “a young student wrote on one ancient tablet, ‘I am the creation of Nisaba.'”

    “When she had been goddess of grains, she was represented in cuneiform as a grain stalk, which meant she was the grain itself. Each early pictogram represented the thing itself, not concepts about an object or person, and so when the stalk of grain appears in early cuneiform the writer is saying Nisaba is present in that grain. In the same way, when she became goddess of writing, she was the written word; she was language; she was literacy; she was communication, learning; she was the writer and the written word.”

    “The Lady – in the place where she approaches there is writing”

    Imagine a ritual similar to a Catholic mass, in which the deity addressed is Nisaba, the priestess a writer embodying her, the congregation readers lending their energy to the priestess engaged in the ritual act of writing some sacred text and sometimes participating by writing also, the altar boys representing publishers, bookstore owners and librarians. The goddess comes down not in the transmutation of the bread and wine, but in the act of writing, which the congregants consume, taking into themselves the sacred words as though it were the communion host, feeding their minds and spirits.  All the artifacts of physical books and writing are religious objects in the service of the goddess.

    To read is to participate in a ritual.

  31. This seems like a really exciting chapter when I think of the implications:

    1) Does our place here on the seventh plane mean we have had initiations from one or more of the Lords of Mind on the other planes or even in a different incarnation on this plane? If so, those of drawn to study the Cosmic Doctrine with you may have had an initiation at some point that helped us to end up here. And the Lords of Mind that resonate with us can help us reach our potential sooner than we may have otherwise. It also seems to imply that there are many different ways to reach potential depending on which Lords of Mind have given us initiations. I’m still brooding on what this means of the Christian spiritual path I followed early in life versus the one I am on now that is influenced by Druidry and ritual magic. It seems as if the might be part of the same path that has pushed me to where I am now.

    2) Just because we may be at different places in our development does not make us better than others around us in our same swarm. But it does seem to imply that those who are further along than we are can help us and we in our turn can help those who are coming along around us.

    3) Because our swarm has been influenced together by the Lords of Flame and the Lords of Form gives us a touchstone with each other despite our differing influences by the Lords of Mind.

    I still have a lot to unpack from these last two chapters. Glad to have the time to meditate more on this over the next month.

  32. I just have a couple of thoughts so far from this month’s chapter. There are beings of other swarms of which we are not normally aware, but who are aware of us and influencing us by their particular type of vibration – their thought patterns or state of consciousness. We don’t have to ‘go it alone’; there are many other beings present in the universe with us, and some of them are even trying to guide us along the way. Of course it’s not all rainbows and unicorns – some of the other entities are likely not concerned with us or even malicious towards us, but there would seem to be some that are interested in our evolution.

    Since we haven’t quite built up the necessary bodies/states of consciousness to be able to be objectively aware of the rest of the universe, the entities from the further advanced swarms can initially only carry out their work of initiation by communicating with us through our dreams, and by occasional glimmers into the mind of our waking consciousness. I bet many people have had those dreams that are more than a dream, where it seems an entity is clearly trying to communicate something specific and personally significant, or had the experience of thoughts that come into one’s mind that seem to originate from somewhere else.

    Traces and trails that point us in the direction of evolution can also be found in particular books, paintings and other works of art created by humans further along in the process of evolution.

  33. Onething, I’m pretty sure that Sheldrake has studied Fortune’s material and simply hasn’t made that public, knowing how the scientists would flip. His concepts are basically identical to hers — and his books make good companions to The Cosmic Doctrine.

    Eric, er, I think you’ve misunderstood the entire thrust of Fortune’s scheme, No Divine Spark remains anywhere eternally, and the Divine Sparks that shape one solar system don’t go on to another solar system in the same role — where did you get the idea that they did? I’d encourage you to reread Chapter 14, where all of this is covered in detail.

    Onething, I announced it over on my Dreamwidth journal — you can find a link here to the latest update. By all means use SubscribeStar if you prefer it; I have both so that people can choose for themselves.

    Dan, fascinating. That sort of anatomical symbolism used to be very popular in the early 20th century but I haven’t seen any recent occult literature that uses it; still, it would be worth exploring.

    Onething, that was covered in detail in last month’s post, which is worth a second read. Yes, the Lords of Flame and Form achieve objective consciousness — you can do that without becoming individualized.

    Your Kittenship, no, probably not.

    Phil H, you can use “waking” and “dreaming” if you prefer. The difference is simply that in what Fortune calls “objective consciousness,” you’ve got the subject-object dichotomy in place, and perceive yourself and the objects of your awareness as different, while in what she calls “subjective consciousness,” you’re only aware of your own mental states, not of yourself as a being or of objects as separate from you.

    Jim, Chokmah and Kether didn’t have planetary equivalents before those two planets were discovered; they were assigned awkwardly to the fixed stars and the primum mobile, the hypothetical source of movement out beyond the stars. The discovery of the planets really helped with the symbolism. As for Greene’s book, I’ve read it but it’s been a long time; no, I don’t own a copy.

    Miriam, if Fortune’s metaphor is correct, all of those powers we call gods are Lords of Flame, Form, or Mind: the Lords of Flame are the celestial gods, the Lords of Form the chthonic gods, and the Lords of Mind the culture-bearing gods. Thus you may well be correct!

    Cat, excellent! Yes, exactly. My take, certainly, is that every Divine Spark receives at least one initiation from at least one Lord of Mind on the way down the planes, and probably all of us got various initiations en route — as we’ll see in next month’s chapter, all of the three primal swarms range up and down the planes at this stage of the solar system’s history, doing their work. Yes, if occult tradition is to be given any credence, there have been a lot of initiations being passed on to a lot of people in past ages of humanity, so your chance of having received one or more of those in previous lives on this globe is pretty good. And your other two points are of course spot on as well.

    Stefania, yes, exactly. All very much the case.

  34. JMG
    Re objective v/v subjective:
    You wrote: “Phil H, you can use “waking” and “dreaming” if you prefer. …”

    Thanks for that. Yes, I have tried that for a good while now and it works up to a point. The dream / awake dichotomy is useful enough in a metaphorical account / narrative. And in life, ‘waking’ brings all its useful correctives to inner being. But ‘thoughts’ even in the light of day are by no means necessarily ‘awake’. hmm ….

    If I may … Sheldrake …. He seems to observe that in some indefinable way, a palimpsest of autonomously-made decisions communicates and becomes a collective ‘objective’ experience – and leaves a sustained track for a dynamic we call learning. Not just in ‘animals’ it seems. I have wondered for example about fairly obvious British driving improvement this last 60 years as successive generations took to the novelty of the increasingly affordable car. I daresay, however, in much ‘development’ a lot is lost as well as gained of previous ‘learning tracks’, or veers off into the badlands.

    best
    Phil H

  35. Jim, Chokmah and Kether didn’t have planetary equivalents before those two planets were discovered; they were assigned awkwardly to the fixed stars and the primum mobile, the hypothetical source of movement out beyond the stars. The discovery of the planets really helped with the symbolism. As for Greene’s book, I’ve read it but it’s been a long time; no, I don’t own a copy.

    I was curious about Pluto’s association and found this at kabbalahsociety.org: “Pluto, with an orbital inclination of seventeen degrees to the ecliptic, hardly belongs to the solar system, according to Halevi, and therefore corresponds to Da’at, which forms an access point to the next highest world.” Fascinating…so much to learn and so little time!

  36. Hi John Michael,

    I do sometimes wonder if the Lords of Flame or Mind, or even the Divine Sparks themselves sometimes feel (or express) as if in the past intellectual and/or spiritual giants had once trod upon the Earth?

    Which leads me to my question: I’m curious as to how entropy fits into this metaphor? The inverted bell shaped curve is represented in an inordinate number of natural cycles, but perhaps this is purely a manifestation of the physical plane? Dunno, but something is tickling away at my mind about that subject and I am curious to learn your thoughts.

    Hope it is not too cold up your way? At the moment the climate in this little corner of the continent is quite pleasant – elsewhere things are not so good. I’m preparing the farm for the rapidly approaching growing season. Thanks for the Monday reply too, and clearly the story is large and the telling is important. I’m cogitating upon the matter.

    Cheers

    Chris

  37. I went back and re-read all the relevant chapters to this point to try to trace where my line’s getting tangled:

    Dion Fortune earlier says that “It is the goal of every reflected atom in the universe to develop a divine spark, to complete the evolution from the human to the Divine in a reflected universe, and to unite with its Cosmic Creator, thus enabling the Cosmic atom to evolve through the phase of a traveling atom into a Great Entity.”

    Both the use of the word “human,” with all its muddy connotations and her description of the Great Entity which must be able to “function independently of the Cosmic impulse of its own momentum” imply that this process requires both individuation and free will.

    Up to this point I’d imagined the lords of Flame and Form as having already gone through epigenesis long before the solar system came into being which is why they don’t go through it this time. However, if the Lords of Flame and the Lords of Form never undergo epigenesis at all, and thus never develop individuality or free will, doesn’t that also mean that they can never become Great Entities (which was previously stated as the goal of every atom in the universe)?

    Does that make a bit more sense of where I’m hitting a snag?

  38. @JMG
    I leave it up to you to post the following or not. Not sure if its overly long but I read some other reader’s posts and I thought some folks might find the following interesting.

    @Cosmic Doctrine Readers

    Here’s what Meher Baba has to say about the Swarms which I think is in agreement with Ms. Fortune.

    Meher Baba God Speaks – p. 221 – 222

    On gaining the human form, the second process begins; this process is that of reincarnation. At this point, the process of the winding up of sanskaras comes to an end. The drop-soul takes numerous human forms one by one; and these forms are exactly 84 lakhs in number. [my note: according to wikipedia 1 lakh equals 100,000.So 84 lakhs = 8,400,000 reincarnations].

    These human forms are sometimes those of man and sometimes those of woman; and they change nationalities, appearance, colour and creed. The drop-soul through human incarnations experiences itself sometimes as a beggar and sometimes as a king, and thus gathers experiences of the opposites of happiness or misery according to its good or bad sanskaras. In reincarnation (i.e., in its successive and several human forms) the drop-soul retains its full consciousness but continues to have alternating experiences of opposite sanskaras, till the process of Realization begins. And during this process of realization the sanskaras get unwound. In reincarnations, there is a spending of sanskaras; but this spending up is quite different from the unwinding of sanskaras, which takes place during the process of Realization.

    The spending up of sanskaras itself creates new sanskaras, which bind the soul; but the unwinding does not itself create fresh sanskaras, in which the drop-soul is caught.
    Up to the human form, the winding up of sanskaras becomes stronger and stronger during the process of evolution. In the human forms of reincarnation, the winding continues to operate as a limiting factor; but with every change of the human bubble or form, the tight twists, gained during the process of winding, get loosened through 84 lakhs of shakings, before they are ready to unwind in the process of realization.
    Now begins the third process of realization, which is the process of ascent. Here, the drop-soul undergoes the gradual unwinding of the sanskaras. During this process of unwinding, the sanskaras become fainter and fainter; and at the same time, the consciousness of the drop-soul gets directed more and more towards itself; and thus, the drop-soul passes through the subtle and mental planes till all the sanskaras disappear completely, enabling it to become conscious of itself as the ocean.

    [end book quote]

    *******
    As I understand it Meher Baba is saying humanity (the current Swarm) undergoes the following process – evolution (winding up to consciousness) > reincarnation (unwinding the limitations accumulated to get consciousness) > realization (process to discover who and what one truly is) > true freedom/nirvana/moksha/liberation (i.e. outside the limitations of time/space and causality) = sat-chit-ananda or in English, Infinite Power, Infinite Knowledge, Infinite Bliss.

    I also find it interesting that Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev says when he “looks within” himself (presumably he’s talking about samadhi) he sees evidence of 84 prior, sequential big bangs. Of those 84 the first 20 have become completely beyond the physical. When asked by a Physicist how he knows these prior Big Bangs happened if they’re non-physical now Sadhguru compared it to seeing the yearly growth rings on cut trees. He gave the example of a tree ring showing the effect of an ancient raging forest fire the tree endured. The forest fire is long gone but the evidence that it happened remains in the tree ring. Each universe (big bang) leaves behind evidence that it happened. Those earliest 20 are no longer physically manifest but because he sees the traces of their effects within himself he knows that once long ago they were still physical.

    And according to Meher Baba the greatest gift any Perfect Master ever gives to a disciple is to make another being like himself (ie..one endowed with infinite power, infinite knowledge and infinite bliss). This is the true aim of the spiritual process all of humanity is currently on according to Baba.

  39. As I was going about the end of season canning chores with my garden buddy today, I was struck by the way the the late afternoon sun was reflecting off of our shade cloth covering the summer kitchen and how pretty it was. Also I was struck by the way the shade cloth participated in connecting the sun to my eye in a safe and interesting manner.

    Would I be right in supposing that the Lords of Form and Flame have a hand in how our sense of wonder, beauty and connection to the natural world grows and develops? Would this qualify as something of an initiation every time we make these kinds of connections?

  40. Phil, I sometimes wonder how much of the improvement in driving is a function of natural selection — those who drive really badly are, after all, rather less likely to leave as many descendants…

    Jim W, yes, though Pluto doesn’t really fit Daath’s symbolism well – – and then where do you put Ceres and Sedna?

    Chris, that’s a fascinating question to which I’m far from sure I know the answer. I’m not at all sure Fortune’s metaphor incluces that.

    Eric, individualization and free will aren’t required in order to become a traveling atom in the Cosmos and eventually to become the Logos of a solar system; all that’s required is that the atom in question has achieved a level of complexity high enough not to settle out into one of the seven Cosmic planes. Fortune doesn’t show the Solar Logos of our system individualizing or having free will, for example. This is one of the ways in which the Cos. Doc. is very reminiscent, to me, of Stephen Wolfram’s A New Kind of Science — at various stages in the process of creation, genuine novelty comes into being out of the interaction of existing forces or factors. Epigenesis — which Fortune presents as the reality behind the concept of free will — is one of those genuinely new things; important as it is to us, it’s not common to all atoms.

    Happypandatao, fascinating. If I understand what Meher Baba is saying, the period of winding up the sanskaras is the descent down the seven planes and globes; the process of reincarnation is what happens here on this globe, and the ascent and unwinding of the sanskaras follows. This is also very reminiscent of the discussion of the descent and ascent of the soul in the Poimandres.

    Kay, yes and yes. Those experiences involve states of awareness that were given to us collectively by the Lords of Flame, resonating with the forms impressed in the material cosmos by the Lords of Form — and the sudden glimpses of wisdom and insight we get from them are part of the initiatory process by which we awaken into objective consciousness and superphysical awareness.

  41. Jim W, yes, though Pluto doesn’t really fit Daath’s symbolism well – – and then where do you put Ceres and Sedna?

    And what of Chiron (now a fixture in the astrodienst ephemeris and charts)? And Eris, have you looked into that yet? C’mon, JMG, get busy!😉

  42. I heartily support the earlier comment suggesting you write a book dealing with occult philosophy directed toward Readers with a Western mindset. Actually, I think such a treatise would serve especially well as a sort of post graduate study for DA graduates, among Others, working to improve our understanding of Nature and how we fit into it on all levels of existence.

  43. I’ve been reading ahead in CosDoc; I wanted to find some passages to which Gareth Knight referred in one of his books. The Chapter titled “The Attraction of Outer Space” reminded me of what we’ve been referring to as “Faustian Culture” or is it “Faustian Civilization”? I never cared for “Star Trek” at all and don’t think I’ve ever watched a complete episode. Theirs is a sort of quasi-military, sterile existence, not at all “free” as we might imagine freedom. The chapter also reminded me of Milton’s Satan. Care to comment in advance of when we reach that chapter in a year or so?

  44. JMG
    Late in the week but I am encouraged by Chis’s query about entropy and your reply. That seemed to open a door for me. Lords of Flame have the energy; complexity will emerge as ‘form’ or ‘structure’ despite entropy increasing. But this observational ‘knowledge’ could be beside the real point for us. The ‘reality’ of the ‘macrocosm’ can be approached in many different ways. The dynamic conveyed by these ‘Lords’ emerges in humans as wisdom and insight (your response to Kay). That could be ‘form’ or retained as ‘memory’, perhaps not degraded in increased entropy.. That is the macrocosm for us. Whatever.

    Anyway, I’m working on it. Smile. There is stuff needs doing in the garden that we have had to neglect this year. .
    best
    Phil H

  45. JMG, who are the White Chiefs? Dion Fortune mentions them but assumes readers know who they are, which was probably so at the time she was writing.

  46. Jim, I’ve got that in my life planner — two incarnations from now I’ll get right on it. 😉

    Disciple, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for some time, and if pledges via the mundane astrology project stay at their present level or increase, I should have the freedom to do something that non-commercial. It may be a couple of years, though, as it’s going to take a lot of reading, study, meditation, and visionary work!

    Phutatorius, excellent. Yes, exactly. Exactly. More on this when we get to that chapter…

    Phil, yes, I think so. Working in the garden while mulling over the Cos. Doc. somehow seems just too British for words. 😉

    Your Kittenship, back when she was writing, everybody in the occult scene knew the basic jargon of Theosophy and so she could drop phrases like that and assume that everyone would get them. The Secret Chiefs of the Great White Lodge, to give them their full and ornate title, in Theosophical legend are spiritual beings who have ascended far beyond the human level, having been at our level long ages ago, and who now concern themselves with helping human beings ascend in turn. Do they exist outside of metaphor? There are certainly beings, or forces that act like beings, that fill the role old-fashioned occultists described. I find Fortune’s own taxonomy of the Lords of Flame, Form, and Mind a little less burdened with assumptions, but your cognitive mileage may vary!

  47. So the White Chiefs were people who, in effect, got promoted to guardian angels? Were there also Black Chiefs?

  48. Disciple & JMG
    This could hang over till another time …
    Writing the book could be a visionary experience in its own way.
    Intrigued by ‘post-graduate study for DA graduates’ I found this wonderful picture https://www.uwtsd.ac.uk/ma-chinese-daoist-textual-studies/
    In Lampeter: “Students will have the opportunity to learn from the best in the subject and to study using the unique pedagogic approach derived from the ‘Royal Great Learning’ (皇家太学) educational model, which relies upon intensive textual study and reflection.”

    re Star Trek: the later stories can be seen perhaps as satire? Smile.

    best
    Phil H

Courteous, concise comments relevant to the topic of the current post are welcome, whether or not they agree with the views expressed here, and I try to respond to each comment as time permits. Long screeds proclaiming the infallibility of some ideology or other, however, will be deleted; so will repeated attempts to hammer on a point already addressed; so will comments containing profanity, abusive language, flamebaiting and the like -- I filled up my supply of Troll Bingo cards years ago and have no interest in adding any more to my collection; and so will sales spam and offers of "guest posts" pitching products. I'm quite aware that the concept of polite discourse is hopelessly dowdy and out of date, but then some people would say the same thing about the traditions this blog is meant to discuss. Thank you for reading Ecosophia! -- JMG

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