Students of “The Secret Doctrine” will remember that the Masters and H. P. Blavatsky tell us in that book that there are seven hierarchies, groups, or orders, within the twelve great Orders of Celestial Beings. These are sometimes described as “The Celestial Hierarchy,” “Hierarchies of Dhyan Chohans,” and “The Seven Orders of Dhyanis.”
What is written about them is almost entirely incomprehensible to everyone except serious students of “The Secret Doctrine,” whose familiarity with that book enables them to make sense out of what would seem sheer non-sense to anyone else. “The Secret Doctrine” has to be studied as a whole in order to gain any degree of real understanding of it and it has to be viewed as an integral part of the entire Message of HPB, which includes the vitally important “Isis Unveiled,” “The Key to Theosophy,” “The Voice of the Silence,” and more.
Between p. 213-233 of the first volume (“Cosmogenesis”) of “The Secret Doctrine,” we are granted a glimpse into this deeply esoteric subject and informed, first of all, that “The hierarchy of Creative Powers is divided into seven (or 4 and 3) esoteric, within the twelve great Orders, recorded in the twelve signs of the Zodiac; the seven of the manifesting scale being connected, moreover, with the Seven Planets. All this is subdivided into numberless groups of divine Spiritual, semi-Spiritual, and ethereal beings.”
So, there are 12 Great Orders of Spiritual Beings or Entities and these are in some way connected with and represented by the 12 Signs of the Zodiac, namely Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces.
And within the 12 Great Orders is the 7-fold “Hierarchy of Creative Powers” and these seven are connected in some way with the Seven Sacred Planets, which are Venus, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and two others, which are exoterically said to be the Sun and the Moon, but which are in fact the mysterious planet Vulcan and another planet which has not been specifically named in the Theosophical teachings but which is described by HPB in “Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge” as “a planet with a retrograde motion, sometimes visible at a certain hour of night and apparently near the moon. The occult influence of this planet is transmitted by the moon.”
This is what is said about the Seven Hierarchies . . .
#1 – “The highest group is composed of the divine Flames, so-called, also spoken of as the “Fiery Lions” and the “Lions of Life,” whose esotericism is securely hidden in the Zodiacal sign of Leo. It is the nucleole of the superior divine World. They are the formless Fiery Breaths, identical in one aspect with the upper Sephirothal TRIAD, which is placed by the Kabalists in the “Archetypal World.””
#2 – “The second Order of Celestial Beings, those of Fire and AEther (corresponding to Spirit and Soul, or the Atma-Buddhi) whose names are legion, are still formless, but more definitely “substantial.” . . . As the name shows, they are the prototypes of the incarnating Jivas or Monads, and are composed of the Fiery Spirit of Life. It is through these that passes like a pure solar beam, the ray which is furnished by them with its future vehicle, the Divine Soul, Buddhi. These are directly concerned with the Hosts of the higher world of our system. From these twofold Units emanate the threefold.”
#3 – “The Third order corresponds to the Atma-Buddhi-Manas: Spirit, Soul and Intellect, and is called the “Triads.””
#4 – “The Fourth are substantial Entities. This is the highest group among the Rupas (Atomic Forms). It is the nursery of the human, conscious, spiritual Souls. They are called the “Imperishable Jivas,” and constitute, through the order below their own, the first group of the first septenary host – the great mystery of human conscious and intellectual Being.”
#5 – “The Fifth group is a very mysterious one, as it is connected with the Microcosmic Pentagon, the five-pointed star representing man. In India and Egypt these Dhyanis were connected with the Crocodile, and their abode is in Capricornus. These are convertible terms in Indian astrology, as this (tenth) sign of the Zodiac is called Makara, loosely translated “crocodile.” … The fifth group of the celestial Beings is supposed to contain it itself the dual attributes of both the spiritual and physical aspects of the Universe; the two poles, so to say, of Mahat the Universal Intelligence, and the dual nature of man, the spiritual and the physical. Hence its number Five, multiplied and made into ten, connecting it with Makara, the 10th sign of Zodiac. . . . It becomes the task of the fifth Hierarchy – the mysterious beings that preside over the constellation Capricornus, Makara, or “Crocodile” in India as in Egypt – to inform the empty and ethereal animal form [i.e. in the early period of humanity’s evolution on this globe in this Fourth Round] and make of it the Rational Man. This is one of those subjects upon which very little may be said to the general public. It is a MYSTERY, truly but only to him who is prepared to reject the existence of intellectual and conscious spiritual Beings in the Universe, limiting full Consciousness to man alone, and that only as a “function of the Brain.” Many are those among the Spiritual Entities, who have incarnated bodily in man, since the beginning of his appearance, and who, for all that, still exist as independently as they did before, in the infinitudes of Space. . . . To put it more clearly: the invisible Entity may be bodily present on earth without abandoning, however, its status and functions in the supersensuous regions.”
#6 & #7 – “The sixth and seventh groups partake of the lower qualities of the Quaternary. They are conscious, ethereal Entities, as invisible as Ether . . . as it is the Sixth – on the downward scale of Spirituality – the last and seventh being the terrestrial Spirits (elementals) which gradually form, build, and condense his physical body – this Sixth group evolves no more than the future man’s shadowy form, a filmy, hardly visible transparent copy of themselves. . . . This sixth group, moreover, remains almost inseparable from man, who draws from it all but his highest and lowest principles, or his spirit and body, the five middle human principles being the very essence of those Dhyanis. Alone, the Divine Ray (the Atman) proceeds directly from the One.”
This is important to remember: “As the doctrine teaches, there are no such privileged beings in the universe, whether in our or in other systems, in the outer or the inner worlds, as the angels of the Western Religion and the Judean. A Dhyan Chohan has to become one; he cannot be born or appear suddenly on the plane of life as a full-blown angel. The Celestial Hierarchy of the present Manvantara will find itself transferred in the next cycle of life into higher, superior worlds, and will make room for a new hierarchy, composed of the elect ones of our mankind. Being is an endless cycle within the one absolute eternity, wherein move numberless inner cycles finite and conditioned.” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 221)
Pages 292-293 of the first volume of “The Secret Doctrine” give the names and brief descriptions from T. Subba Row’s article “The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac” of the Six Universal Forces, which are synthesised and collectively represented by the Seventh, which is “the light of the Logos” – “the Daiviprakriti.”
The total of the Seven Principal Powers or Seven Forces of the Universe is also described as the Seven Rays. They are (1) Para-Shakti, (2) Jnana-Shakti, (3) Itcha-Shakti, (4) Kriya-Shakti, (5) Kundalini-Shakti, and (6) Mantrika-Shakti. We then learn from HPB that this “is all esoteric, though not covering the tenth part of what might be said. For one, the six names of the Six Forces mentioned are those of the six Hierarchies of Dhyan Chohans synthesized by their Primary, the seventh, who personify the Fifth Principle of Cosmic Nature, or of the “Mother” in its Mystical Sense. The enumeration alone of the yogi Powers would require ten volumes. Each of these Forces has a living Conscious Entity at its head, of which entity it is an emanation.”
HPB and the Masters have repeated many times that the law of correspondence and analogy rules in all things and that it is one of the most important and essential keys to gaining a clear and accurate comprehension of esoteric teachings.
Much of what we have quoted above may begin to make greater sense and become appreciated in its true light if re-read very carefully after reading a few of the other articles on this site, such as The Sevenfold Nature of Man, Understanding Our Seven Principles, Manas – The Mystery of Mind, The Seven Planes, An Invitation to The Secret Doctrine, Human Evolution in The Secret Doctrine, Golden Keys to The Secret Doctrine, We do not have Guardian Angels, Our Seven Divine Parents: A Study in Monads, Rays, and Planets, 12 Things Theosophy Teaches, The Zodiac and Ourselves, Are There Parallel Lines of Evolution or A Single Evolutionary Chain? and How to successfully study the Teachings of H. P. Blavatsky.