The Esoteric Explanation of Fossils

Fish Fossil

We have all seen fossils. Some of us have found them for ourselves and it is not particularly uncommon to do so.

Even for the materialist, a fossil is a source of wonder. But if one accepts what the teachings of Theosophy have to say on this subject, they become even more wondrous. This and related matters, however, can only be understood in the light of the fundamental Theosophical teaching of planetary chains, globes, rounds, and root races. This can only be mastered by one’s own study and mental effort. Other articles on this site such as Chains, Globes, Rounds and Root Races and Human Evolution in The Secret Doctrine may be found useful in this regard.

For now it may suffice to simply explain that according to Theosophy – i.e. the Esoteric Philosophy presented to the world by certain Eastern Mahatmas or Masters of Wisdom through the agency of H.P. Blavatsky and her colleague William Q. Judge – each planet undergoes seven major life cycles, of extremely vast duration. Another way of expressing it would be to say that the evolutionary life wave passes round our Earth – which is actually sevenfold, its six companion globes existing on immaterial planes – seven times, each of these being termed a “Round.”

It is currently the Fourth Round which is underway and this planet we are on is the fourth globe of the “Earth Chain” of globes. Three rounds have already been completed, in the truly unimaginably far distant past; the fourth is just past its middle stage; and the fifth, sixth, and seventh, are yet to occur.

Keeping this in mind, let us take a look at what the leading Theosophists of our time have to say on this intriguing subject of fossils…

There are two volumes of H.P. Blavatsky’s main work “The Secret Doctrine,” which the Masters M. and K.H. described as a “triple production,” it being the production of Themselves and HPB, who They spoke of as Their “Direct Agent.” (See Who Wrote “The Secret Doctrine”? and A Beginner’s Guide To Studying “The Secret Doctrine”) The first is titled “Cosmogenesis” and deals with the origins, birth, and evolution of the Universe, the Cosmos, the Solar System, and our planet. The second, “Anthropogenesis,” is about the origins, birth, and evolution of humanity, specifically the human race here on this planet.

In a footnote on p. 68 of this second volume, we find HPB – speaking for these Adept Teachers – saying:

“The fossils found in strata, to which an antiquity, not of eighteen, but of many hundreds of millions of years, must be ascribed, belong in reality to forms of the preceding Round, which, while living, were far more ethereal than physical, as we know the physical. That we perceive and disinter them as tangible forms, is due to the process of materialization or crystallization referred to, which took place subsequently, at the beginning of the Fourth Round, and reached its maximum after the appearance of man, proceeding parallel with his physical evolution. This alone illustrates the fact that the degree of materiality of the Earth changes pari passu with that of its inhabitants. And thus man now finds, as tangible fossils, what were once the (to his present senses) ethereal forms of the lower kingdoms.”

And further:

“The amphibia, birds, reptiles, fishes, etc., are the resultants of the Third Round, astral fossil forms stored up in the auric envelope of the Earth and projected into physical objectivity subsequent to the deposition of the first Laurentian rocks.” (Vol. 2, p. 684)

“. . . the zoological relics now found in the Laurentian, Cambrian, and Silurian systems, so called, are the relics of the Third Round. At first astral like the rest, they consolidated and materialized pari passu with the NEW vegetation. . . . Once, however, the prototypes are projected out of the astral envelope of the earth, an indefinite amount of modification ensues.” (Vol. 2, p. 712)

Chapter 15 of Mr Judge’s most well known book “The Ocean of Theosophy” is titled “Differentiation of Species – Missing Links.” This is how he summarises this teaching:

“A vast period of time, about 300,000,000 years, was passed by earth and man and all the kingdoms of nature in an astral stage. Then there was no gross matter such as we now know. This was in the early rounds when Nature was proceeding slowly with the work of perfecting the types on the astral plane, which is matter, though very fine in its texture. At the end of that stretch of years the process of hardening began, the form of man being the first to become solid, and then some of the astral prototypes of the preceding rounds were involved in the solidification, though really belonging to a former period when everything was astral. When those fossils are discovered it is argued that they must be those of creatures which coexisted with the gross physical body of man. While that argument is proper enough under the other theories of Science, it becomes only an assumption if the existence of the astral period be admitted. It would be beyond the scope of this work to go further into particulars. But it may incidentally be said that neither the bee nor the wheat could have had their original differentiation in this chain of globes, but must have been produced and finished in some other from which they were brought over into this. Why this should be so I am willing to leave for the present to conjecture.” (p. 132-133)

Here we see bees and wheat mentioned, alongside the indication that they were brought to our Earth in an already complete form, rather than needing to evolve on this planet up to that state and condition.

“The Secret Doctrine” doesn’t shed any light on the bees but, interestingly, it does on wheat. In Vol. 2, p. 373, the words “WHEAT BROUGHT DOWN BY THE GODS.” can be found at the very top of the page. Then we read this:

“”Fruits and grain, unknown to Earth to that day, were brought by the ‘Lords of Wisdom’ for the benefit of those they ruled – from other lokas (spheres). . .” say the Commentaries.

“. . . But if it is asserted that there are no grains and fruits unknown to earth, then we may remind the reader that wheat has never been found in the wild state: it is not a product of the earth. All the other cereals have been traced to their primogenital forms in various species of wild grasses, but wheat has hitherto defied the efforts of botanists to trace it to its origin. And let us bear in mind, in this connection, how sacred was that cereal with the Egyptian priests; wheat being placed even with their mummies, and found thousands of years later in their coffins. . . . The Egyptians had the same esoteric philosophy which is now taught by the cis-Himalayan adepts, who, when buried, have corn and wheat placed over them.” (p. 373-374)

It must have been in the latter part of the Third Root Race, generally called the Lemurian, that “fruits and grain, unknown to Earth to that day, were brought by the ‘Lords of Wisdom’ for the benefit of those they ruled,” seeing as “The Secret Doctrine” states that the Lords of Wisdom did not incarnate until Lemurian times and also that until then man was not really man and had no need to eat anything that we would recognise as food.

But we digress. To go back to the fossils: “Always, then, Science will be without the instruments for discovering the astral links left on the astral plane in the long course of differentiation. The fossils spoken of above, which were, so to say, solidified out of date, form an exception to the impossibility of finding any missing links, but they are blind alleys to Science because she admits none of the necessary facts.” (“The Ocean of Theosophy” p. 133)

One might reasonably ask why any of this should be considered as even remotely plausible or legitimate.

One answer is that the Esoteric Philosophy is such a vast, self-consistent, harmonious, logical, reasonable, philosophical, scientific (in the proper sense of the word), all-inclusive and all-explanatory system or Body of Knowledge, that the more one studies it the more one becomes incapable of doubting it. Also, the more one learns and discovers, through continual in depth research and reading, about the nature, knowledge, insight, abilities, powers, and aims, of HPB, WQJ, and the living human men who they spoke of as the Masters, the nearer one approaches the conclusion that it is simply impossible that They could have not known exactly what They were talking about.

But no-one is asked or expected to accept this. Each must study, think, reflect, and decide for themselves…not only about the subjects of fossils and wheat but about everything that can be found in the original teachings of Theosophy.

~ Blavatsky Theosophy Group UK ~


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  1. Bradley Adams says:

    Good article as always, they are always of great service for people such as my self who wish to grasp theosophical concepts in lamens terms as we ease ourselves into the depths of the secret doctrine. I am confused with one line of this article. ‘The fossils found in strata, to which an antiquity, not of eighteen, but of many hundreds of millions of years, must be ascribed, belong in reality to forms of the preceding Round, which, while living, were far more ethereal than physical, as we know the physical’. I remember reading an article on this site that said that the etheric plane and by extention the etheric body were fictions invented by the alice bailey/leadbeater psedo-theosophy mob, what then is it meant by ethereal in this context?

    • Thank you for your comments and feedback Bradley.

      “Ethereal” is not synonymous with “Etheric” nor does it necessarily have the same meaning.

      “Ethereal” means “light, fine, subtle, seemingly not of this world.”

      Whenever HPB and William Q. Judge speak of an “ethereal body,” for example, it can be seen from the context that they are speaking of what they generally call the ASTRAL body and not something which is a separate Principle distinct from this.

      So one can also take “ethereal” when used in regard to fossils to be equivalent to “astral.”

      In case other readers are interested to see the article you were referring to, it can be found at

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