Notes on the Planes and Evolution
This paper, dated 1923, is assumed to have mediated by Dion Fortune from one of the Inner Plane 'Masters' who communicated The Cosmic Doctrine. Its subject matter and terminology are very much of a kind with The Cosmic Doctrine.
It provides an interesting development of some of the concepts in that text, and introduces one or two new ideas.
The subject of the Planes is very intricate and abstruse. We must keep in mind first that there is the One Absolute from Whom emanated all things and there is the God of your solar system, who is not the one Absolute and Unmanifest.
Let us first consider the emanations of the One Absolute. The Absolute flows forth in a series of impulses. The first impulse can be conceived of as giving rise to the first of the Cosmic Planes and, having exhausted itself, becoming static. The second impulse grows from the phases of the first, advances to the second plane and becomes static, forming thereby the second plane. Similarly with the succeeding impulses - each passes through the phases of its predecessors and continues one step further thereby evolving the ‘phase’ or ‘plane’ characteristic of itself.
Each of the Cosmic Planes correlates with a plane of manifestation - and the planes of manifestation are developed in successive phases of evolution, so that the Cosmic Planes also correspond with phases of evolution. There is, therefore, a dual correspondence. There is, in fact, a ‘single correspondence’ of pairs of corresponding ‘entities’ and there is also a multiple correspondence whose study forms a matter to be considered only after much training.
On each of those Cosmic Planes there are universes in function. Some universes, therefore, have but two aspects in which evolution can be carried on and some have seven aspects, with all gradations between. The only universe of which you have any knowledge is one that has seven aspects because the Logos from which it is derived dwells upon the seven-fold (seventh) Plane of the Cosmos and, therefore, this universe is a seven-fold universe. We shall not now deal with the Cosmic side of things; they have been mentioned in order to clarify what follows.
You must conceive of a Being Which, in the course of Its evolution has passed through all the Cosmic phases. There are other Beings of a similar type Which not having achieved so advanced an evolution, have passed through only three, four, or even fewer phases - these will be responsible for universes in which only an elementary development is attained. There are other Beings Which, having passed beyond the seven-fold manifestation dispense with certain of its phases - these are responsible for universes in which the life which has advanced beyond the need of certain phases carries out its evolution. The one with which we are concerned, however, is working the full chord.
A Solar Logos is concerned with the evolution of a solar system from a nebula, through its evolution and its devolution. You must bear in mind when considering such a Being that It has behind It all the Cosmic phases and therefore is seven-bodied. There are implied in the consideration of a Solar Logos the three ‘steps of (1) Great Unmanifest, (2) First Manifest, (3) Solar Logos.
The First Manifest is to the Solar Logos as the Solar Logos is to you, and a cell in your body bears the same relation to you as you do to the Solar Logos.
Think now of the First Manifest incarnating in a Day of Manifestation and discarnating in a Night of Meditation - equally the Solar Logos incarnates in an evolution and discarnates in the night between evolutions.
Bear in mind how a child, coming into re-incarnation, has in its nature a germ of each body - the seed-atom as it is often called - brought over from a previous incarnation which acts as a nucleus to gather matter for the building of that body. This seed-atom is drawn from the matter of the corresponding plane and is therefore dependent upon a previous evolution for that matter. These bodies come into function in successive stages of the growth of that child to full stature.
Now let us refer back to our Solar Logos at the beginning of an evolution - which is to It as an incarnation is to a man. It has within it seven Cosmic nuclei, each of which is derived from one the seven Cosmic Planes. The Cosmic phases, as you have been told, come into manifestation as ‘impulses’ - a Plane might be described as a ‘stranded or stabilised impulse.
Our Solar Logos came into manifestation body by body just as did the First Manifest. A wave of Force flowed out from it (the Solar Logos) and made our seventh plane - a second wave flowed out, recapitulated the seventh plane and passed on to make our sixth plane, and so on down to the making of our first plane. But, it will be recalled, the Solar Logos had within it the nuclei derived from the Cosmic Planes each of which Planes derived from a Cosmic ‘flowing.’ So you get the great Cosmic Plane-influences which have a certain correspondence with the Signs of the Zodiac for they proceed from circumambient space and they focus upon the Solar Logos, and the Solar Logos within Which are the nuclei derived from these Planes gives rise to Planes in a similar way, and these correlate with the planets of Its solar system.
It should be noted that we are not now dealing with the Twelve Rays of the Cosmos, though these too have all been experienced by the Logos. The Primal Atom of ‘man,’ however, has experienced only one of the Rays in his Cosmic beginnings, though in that Ray he has experienced all the Seven Cosmic Planes. We are not, now, however treating of Cosmic Manifestation in detail.
It can now begin to be perceived how the lesser is an epitome of the greater and what multiplex patterns can be woven by the frequent super-imposing of the two. There are the vast Cosmic phases marked by the Precession of the Equinoxes, and the lesser solar phases correlating with the Life-wave round the planets - a dual influence.
Let us now return to our solar system. The Solar Logos, as nucleus after nucleus comes into function, sends out impulse after impulse and these are called ‘Life-waves’: each impulse brings a plane into function and the impulses are correlated with the planes, the planets, and phases of evolution. We get, therefore, certain phases of evolution carried out not so much on each planet as first on each planet. The evolution - the type or stage of evolving life - gives rise to the ‘name’ or description and each following Life-wave when it attains the phase of evolution that the planet was at when it took the Life-wave first, is spoken of by that name. Certain phases of activity were worked out on the different planets and remain in their (the planets’) characteristic emanations - the planets possess a ‘type.’
The correlations can be seen. The ‘emanations’ or ‘impulses’ give rise each to a phase of existence or ‘activity.’ The phase was worked out on what one might liken to a layer along a plane. You might conceive of the seven planets arranged along the edge of this layer. You can conceive of six planets around it and one remaining above, and so on down the planes, till on the last layer you get only one. This, of course, covers vast ages of time.
For instance, upon your Earth you have life in seven synthesised states: upon one of the other planes you may have life in only, say, four synthesised states.
Let us come down to a single planet and deal with the incarnation of life upon Earth. The Life-wave flows into this aspect and results in a seven-fold ‘whirlpool’ which gives rise to the seven-bodies Earth. In the case of the first outpouring when the wave of individualising life came round it worked in the matter ready evolved for it.
The Wave that comes round is itself the product of a particular Logoidal phase: the phases correlate to the Rounds, yet each phase has within it the nuclei of the synthesis of all the phases.
In the phases of evolution as conducted upon the Earth there are seven Races each with a certain number of sub-Races. Remember that each Round recapitulates what has gone before and then starts new work; the Races each recapitulate the Round up to the point where the characteristic work of the planet begins - so the Races, again, correlate with the phases. The sub-Races recapitulate the work of the previous Races until the Sub-Race is reached which does the characteristic work of its Race: the sub-Races, too, correlate with the Races. The individual in the course of his evolution recapitulates the history of his species and the ‘seven ages of man’ correlate with the Logoidal phases.
A man is composed of seven bodies. Each body is evolved in the course of evolution - each is derived from a plane of manifested matter: a dual correlation.
We can now itemise the following correspondences. The ‘seven ages of man’ correspond with the seven sub-Races. The seven sub-Races correspond with the seven Races. The seven Races correspond with the seven Rounds. The seven Rounds correspond with the seven Planets. The seven Planets correspond with the seven Cosmic Planes.
You can thus glimpse the seven-fold ‘mystery’ of the phases - how there is a huge number of correlations.
A ‘phase’ as used in this context is simply an ‘outpouring’ or ‘impulse’ which gives rise to a phase of manifestation: when a Life-wave goes round it recapitulates the phases before it starts a new work each time and as it recapitulates a phase it is said to be under the influence of the plane which originally gave rise to the phase.
In theory all the foregoing is quite simple: a recapitulation of various phases of manifestation, each phase working out a special aspect or quality after recapitulating all that had gone before, the nucleus of each phase being brought through from a previous evolution and worked up into new combinations in the new phase. It practice it is exceedingly complex.
The phases are commonly called by colour which correlate with them in their activities; there are, too, many other possible correlations, with the musical scale, different geometrical solids, and so forth.
There are, too, certain phases unknown to you called the Rays of Destruction because they concern devolution or disintegration. They are sometimes called the ‘Dark Rays’ because they do not lead on to the light. They are not an emanation but an indrawing. They must not be considered as evil in any way. They are also called the ‘Rays of Freedom’ and they correlate with the ‘Three Deaths’ - the death of the physical body, the death of the emotional soul, the death of the concrete mind. They have their ‘personification’ in the three planets which concern this solar system but are unknown to Astrology. They are Forces not in use at the present phase of evolution because we have yet hardly swung clear of the nadir; but they are the ruling Forces of the later phases of devolution.
We have mentioned that a particular type of activity characterises each planet and that souls at the stage of evolution to be engaged in that activity are said ‘to be upon that planet.’ Now, the planets that circle in space are merely the dense vehicles evolved each by a particular Life-wave. The plane of Mars, or the plane of Venus, for instance, is a phase of consciousness and is co-extensive with the solar system - Mars or Venus is but a name.
Concerning the ‘Dark Rays’ I shall say but a few words. If an Individuality becomes evil, retrogressive - reverses is axis, to speak technically - and has to die the ‘Cosmic Death’ it will go one of the ‘Dark Planets’ and then will disintegrate as far as the appointed phase, namely the point at which it went wrong, and will be cut off from its evolution. It will remain on that Planet undergoing disintegration until it has passed the point where it went wrong. Then it will go across the great circle of the solar system and pick up a planet of manifestation of the same phase as that upon which it now is, and start again there.
That is what happens to the Individuality of a great evil one; the same thing on a smaller scale happens often to the Personalities of each one at death. They pass through such phases, and these phases are called the ‘Hells.’
The colours are used as terminologies by different schools of thought and at times are used very loosely. They vary according to the scale of notation being used. The slower vibrations characterise the earlier phases of evolution, the higher the later, but many different notations are in use. The simplest method is to use the spectrum, and remember the ultra-violet and infra-red correspond to distinct phases of evolution.
The average phase of mankind at present is blue - the green lies behind, the purple lies ahead. These are the three with which you are at present mostly concerned.
Blue is the colour of the normal average concrete intellect; purple lies ahead (though advanced souls are already upon it.) It is the phase of the abstract intellect; green lies behind - it is the phase of the Nature Forces and of passional and Elemental forces, and under its influence the Lemurian Race was formed. There are other colours used in other systems but the qualities or phases are the same.
Astrologers can tell you the influences that will be brought to bear upon you by the planets: a knowledge of ‘Karma’ will indicate to you the forces of the past that will play upon you at the same time; character and temperament will show you the forces of the present. To all these add the factors from the Precession of the Equinoxes. Your ‘Fate’ is the sum of these conflicting forces. It will require considerable calculating! The calculation is a mathematical possibility provided that your data are complete, but such completeness is rare, to say the least of it. It is possible, however, to discover general tendencies; particular actions are hard to uncover, nevertheless they are logically caused.
To sum up: - there are seven Phases or Divine Emanations, plus the Three ‘Dark Rays.’ Some of these phases do not concern you at present and of them I say very little: the ‘Dark Rays’ are really ‘Dark Phases.’
The phases, the Divine Emanations, came into manifestation in sequence. (Strictly speaking, of course, the phases were always there but were energised in sequence.)
Each Phase was energised by a Great Being who typified the qualities of the phase. These are the Star Logoi - seven in number (plus the three Logoi of the other phases with which we are now dealing.)
You may think of the Divine Nature as having all the qualities in perfect synthesis and of human nature as developing these qualities one by one. Each new quality to be brought into manifestation had to be conceived in the minds of men through the work of a Being from an earlier evolution who had perfected that quality among others in his nature.
This Great Being is used as a seed to start a fresh type of manifestation; he is the nucleus of concretion. This idea is expressed in the story of Noah’s Ark when male and female of every species were taken into the Ark in order to re-populate the Earth. Thus the great two-sided Being, evolved in a previous evolution, is used to give manifestation of his qualities among men.
These subjects are very esoteric and not yet to be expounded in their entirety, but you can see, further, that the phases correlate with the Sephiroth of the Qabalistic Tree of Life.
Each soul contains all the phases but one special phase is its key-note on which the others are built. The mystic, for example, and the occultist are two different combinations of phase proportions in an individual.
Each phase corresponds to a race and is the determining influence under which the race was formed.
The two first phases had to do with the concretion of form: they would ‘appear’ to you as dark, as emanations of dark heat. The first has passed out of your phases of manifestation but the memory it if is preserved in such legends as that of the Gorgon’s head whose emanations turned to stone those who received them.
The first three phases form a little group apart, so to speak: -
The First is the phases of Solidification
The Second is the phase of Galvanising - infusing life
The Third is the phase of the Instincts
These three phases or Divine Emanations are so far developed that they are, or should be, completely concreted by the humanity of today. They have reached their full evolution and their devolution has set in. So far has this process advanced that trafficking in the First and Second is entirely retrogressive. The Third still has its uses but has to be approached with great caution.
The First concerns the dense physical body; the Second concerns the etheric double; the Third concerns the lower astral or body of instincts and passions. They correspond to the first three phases of the development of man. The other phases can be placed according to the same formula.
It is common to refer to these ‘phases’ or Divine Emanations as Rays; but the word is not used here as it is too liable to lead to confusion with the Twelve Cosmic Rays which, with the Seven Cosmic Planes and the Three Rings of the Primal Trinity (Ring-Cosmos, Ring Chaos, and Ring-Pass-Not) concern the First Manifest and will be dealt with on another occasion.