Theosophy Northwest View

The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
October 1998 Vol. 1 Issue 8

Monthly Discussion Group

This month our subject is "What Is Humanity's Role on Earth?" We will be discussing such questions as: How is humanity related to the other kingdoms of nature and the planet as a whole? What are our purpose and responsibilities as human beings? What does -- and should -- our species contribute to the earth community? How do our mental, emotional, and spiritual activities impact the planet? What should our relationship with nature be, and how can we best bring it about? Come and share your ideas!

Open to the public, unsectarian, non-political, no charge.

Upcoming Topics

November 5: What Is Theosophy?
December: Can We Reach Perfection?

New on TUP Online

This month two publications from the Theosophical University Press catalog have been added to the TUP website ( pasadena/tup-onl.htm):

Sunrise Magazine Begins 48th Year

Sunrise: Theosophic Perspectives magazine was started in October 1951 to promote better understanding among all people. As James A. Long explained in its first editorial:

"We are masters of our own fate and completely so. We can control every circumstance and our reaction to it by the proper use of our inherent basic spiritual faculties. We individually can bring about by our own efforts a glorious sunrise in our own lives through a process of character building self-consciously conducted from day to day that will contribute a great deal, a very great deal, to the progress of humanity as a whole.
". . . this magazine is being published, so that we can be consciously taking part in this process of helping our fellow-men to realize that each one has an opportunity to bring about a sunrise in his life and in doing so he will participate actively and consciously in forming the nucleus of a brother-hood that will reach far beyond the lip-service given to the word in past generations."

Today Sunrise continues to forward this effort by presenting philosophic, religious, and scientific themes in the light of ancient and modern theosophy, as well as its application to daily experience. It is published six times a year, with one of these issues addressing a particular theme. For more information or a sample copy, contact the editor, Grace F. Knoche, at P. O. Box C, Pasadena, CA 91109-7107, or visit the online edition at

Workshops to Be Held in Vancouver

Two free workshops exploring karma and reincarnation and their practical application to our daily lives will be held in Vancouver, B.C., in October. This event is sponsored by the Canadian FTS and The Theosophical Society, Pasadena -- American Section.

Information: Paul Moes 604-272-9227

Theosophical Views

The Earth-Chain and Its Kingdoms

by Gertrude W. van Pelt

We cannot understand the true origin of man unless we know something about the earth on which he dwells, for the life of the two is intermingled. Man does not merely live on the earth; his life forms a part of the life of the planet, and even of its consciousness. The earth is a living being. It is born, lives, and dies, only to be born again after a period of rest.

Furthermore, this earth is more than this visible rocky sphere. It is a group of seven globes, called a planetary chain. We see only the globe we are living on because the other six are composed of degrees of finer substance too rarefied for our present sense perceptions. These different degrees of substance correspond to, and imply the existence of, different states of consciousness, forming planes.

Thus the universe divides itself naturally into such states of consciousness; and each entity in the universe, such as a planetary chain, does likewise. The seven globes of our earth's planetary chain group themselves naturally into four cosmic planes, as in the diagram below.

On the plane marked I are globes A and G (so lettered merely for convenience). This means that there is a certain similarity between these two globes -- a similarity of vibrational rate. This is likewise true of the pairs B and F, and C and E; while globe D stands alone on the lowest or fourth cosmic plane.

This entire chain of globes is the arena for the majestic pilgrimage of seven great classes of beings, or life-waves. This figure of speech suggests the undulatory motion of these rivers of lives pressing forward, with alternating periods of activity and rest, round the planetary circle.

These life-waves are made up of spiritual beings, sparks of the divine flame at the heart of the universe. These seven classes may be enumerated as: three elemental kingdoms; the mineral; plant; beast; and human kingdoms.

Turning again to our diagram, let us notice the circular manner in which the globes are placed. This is a symbolic representation of the way in which the life-wave passes through the seven globes. Starting with globe A at the left, it circles down the left-hand arc through globes B and C and D. This is called the shadowy arc or arc of descent, not indicating that there is a fall through space -- which would be absurd -- but that the life-wave is plunging farther and farther into matter. It is building for itself bodies of increasingly grosser physical substance. Matter draws it like a lodestone, and the purity of its early state on globe A becomes a dimmer and dimmer memory.

With the attainment of globe D the lowest point is reached, where matter balances spirit and a definite effort has to be made to generate the spiritual force to continue on the evolutionary journey upwards through globes E, F, and G.

When globe G is attained, the life-wave has again reached cosmic plane I of our diagram, from which it started -- but with a difference. The high spirituality of the beings on globe A might be compared to the purity and innocence of a child. On globe G their purity is caused by the fact that the dross of matter has been burned away by the pure flame of spirituality. It is purity plus wisdom and strength.

Our human life-wave must pass round this earth-chain seven times, each such passage being called a round. When seven rounds are completed, we shall, with our earth, have our 'Sabbath' or day of rest; and then reimbody with it again to seek grander and nobler adventures in our universe of inexhaustible opportunities.

Our human family has at present completed three circlings of the planetary chain. We are now on our fourth round, and on globe D of that round; but we have passed the critical turning point on this lowest of the globes. This is of tremendous significance. We begin to see that our attachment to matter has become a habit with us, but is no longer a necessity; and that if we linger fondly among the sensations, excitements, and fascinations of the lower earthly life, we are throwing away precious opportunities now before us, and failing to recognize that the obstacles we find in our path are actually the means -- when overcome -- by which we may move toward our divine destiny.

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