The Seven Primordial Human Groups

Diagram from “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 172, illustrating how when the Seven Globes of the Moon or Lunar Chain came to the end of their life cycle (the close of their Seventh Round, an extraordinarily long time ago) the “principles” and energies of those globes were projected to another point in space, where formed the Seven Globes of the Earth Chain, the “reincarnation” of the Moon. But although having to be depicted like this for the sake of explanatory diagrams, the Seven Globes of any planetary chain are actually united together in one great mass, even though differing as to their respective substance. As the Masters put it, “they are in CO-ADUNITION but not IN CONSUBTANTIALITY.”

“As regards the evolution of mankind, the Secret Doctrine postulates three new propositions, which stand in direct antagonism to modern science as well as to current religious dogmas: it teaches (a) the simultaneous evolution of seven human groups on seven different portions of our globe; (b) the birth of the astral, before the physical body: the former being a model for the latter; and (c) that man, in this Round, preceded every mammalian – the anthropoids included – in the animal kingdom.” (H. P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 1)

A moment’s thought will show that “the simultaneous evolution of seven human groups on seven different portions of our globe” cannot be referring to what Theosophy calls the Seven Root Races, for these – despite in some cases overlapping for a certain period – do not evolve or exist simultaneously but successively and progressively.

Instead, that first fundamental proposition of Anthropogenesis or human evolution is speaking of something different from the Root Races although still related to them.

As the second volume of “The Secret Doctrine” proceeds, further light is shed on this obscure but apparently important teaching:

“. . . the seven centres, or zones, upon which the seven primitive groups of the first Root-race were born.” (Vol. 2, p. 35)

“The Pitris being divided into seven classes, we have here the mystic number again. Nearly all the Puranas agree that three of these are arupa, formless, while four are corporeal; the former being intellectual and spiritual, the latter material and devoid of intellect. . . . It is the Hosts of the four material classes who create men simultaneously on the seven zones.” (Vol. 2, p. 91)


“THEY (the Moon-gods) WENT EACH ON HIS ALLOTTED LAND: SEVEN OF THEM, EACH ON HIS LOT. . . .” (Stanza III:12, 13, Vol. 2, p. 16, with HPB’s later explanatory words added in brackets)

“THE SEVEN HOSTS, THE “WILL (or Mind)-BORN” LORDS, PROPELLED BY THE SPIRIT OF LIFE-GIVING (Fohat), SEPARATED MEN FROM THEMSELVES, EACH ON HIS ZONE.” (Stanza IV:14, Vol. 2, p. 17, with HPB’s later explanatory words added in brackets)

In the first beginnings of (human) life, the only dry land was on the Right end of the sphere, where it (the globe) is motionless. The whole earth was one vast watery desert, and the waters were tepid . . . . There man was born on the seven zones of the immortal, the indestructible of the Manvantara.” (Esoteric Commentary quoted in Vol. 2, p. 400)

“The two poles are called the right and the left ends of our globe – the right being the North Pole – or the head and feet of the earth. . . . It is averred in Occultism that the land or island, which crowns the North Pole like a skull-cap, is the only one which prevails during the whole Manvantara of our “Round.” All the central continents and lands will emerge from the sea bottom many times in turn, but this land will never change.” (Vol. 2, p. 400)

“. . . seven men, or rather groups of men . . . The Secret Doctrine is not alone in speaking of primeval MEN born simultaneously on the seven divisions of our Globe. In the DivinePymander” of Hermes we find the same Seven primeval men evolving from Nature and “Heavenly Man,” in the collective sense of the word, namely, from the Creative Spirits; and in the fragments (collected by George Smith) of Chaldean tablets on which is inscribed the Babylonian Legend of Creation, in the first column of the Cutha tablet, seven human beings with the faces of ravens (black swarthy complexions), whom “the (Seven) great gods created,” are mentioned. . . . These are the Seven Kings of Edom to whom reference is made in the Kabala [Note: And also in Genesis 36:31-43]; the first race, which was imperfect, i.e., was born before the “balance” (sexes) existed, and which was therefore destroyed. . . . They were “destroyed,” as a race, by being merged in their own progeny (by exudation) . . .” [Note: This is a reference to the process described in “The Secret Doctrine” as to how the First Root Race produced and merged into the Second Root Race.] (Vol. 2, p. 2)

“. . . the evolution of the First Race (from the bodies of the pitars) took place on seven distinctly separated regions of the (then) only Earth at the arctic pole.” (Vol. 2, p. 329)

Since it is possible for Earth’s poles to shift, some have questioned whether references in the Theosophical teachings to the North Pole (the Arctic Pole) are actually referring to the area where our present North Pole is currently situated or whether they may be speaking of some other undesignated location where the North Pole once was. This is answered by HPB in Vol. 2, p. 324, where she confirms that it is indeed today’s North Pole which is being spoken of, even though – as said above – in the time of the earliest Root Races, it was not the frozen inhospitable mass it is today: “the Occult teaching . . . shows the (now) polar regions as the earliest of the seven cradles of Humanity.”

In “The Ocean of Theosophy” William Q. Judge elaborates upon this subject of seven primordial and simultaneously appearing human groups still further:

“The ultimate origin or beginning of man is not to be discovered, although we may know when and from where the men of this globe came. Man never was not. If not on this globe, then on some other, he ever was, and will ever be in existence somewhere in the Cosmos. Ever perfecting and reaching up to the image of the Heavenly Man, he is always becoming. But as the human mind cannot go back to any beginning, we shall start with this globe. Upon this earth and upon the whole chain of globes of which it is a part seven races of men appeared simultaneously, coming over to it from other globes of an older chain. And in respect to this earth – the fourth of this chain – these seven races came simultaneously from another globe of this chain. This appearance of seven races together happens in the first and in part of the second round of the globes. In the second round the seven masses of beings are amalgamated, and their destiny after that is to slowly differentiate during the succeeding rounds until at the seventh round the seven first great races will be once more distinct, as perfect types of the human race as this period of evolution will allow. At the present time the seven races are mixed together, and representatives of all are in the many so-called races of men as classified by our present science. The object of this amalgamation and subsequent differentiation is to give to every race the benefit of the progress and power of the whole derived from prior progress in other planets and systems. For Nature never does her work in a hasty or undue fashion, but, by the sure method of mixture, precipitation, and separation, brings about the greatest perfection. . . .

“The first postulate of the Lodge on this subject is that seven races of men appeared simultaneously on the earth . . .” (p. 127-128)

We noticed how one fairly prominent Theosophist recently launched into a criticism of this passage from “The Ocean of Theosophy,” saying that Mr Judge had misunderstood and misrepresented HPB’s teachings by stating that in the course of human evolution on our Earth “seven races of men appeared simultaneously” rather than in sequential order. The critic described the above passage as showing a serious lack of comprehension of the subject of the Seven Root Races. But as we have now seen, it was the critic himself who inadvertently demonstrated his own lack of comprehension or at least lack of familiarity with the whole of “The Secret Doctrine” and its many subtle and lesser known teachings, such as this one about the Seven Primordial Human Groups, which Mr Judge had in fact presented entirely faithfully to the numerous assertions of “The Secret Doctrine,” despite calling them “races” rather than “groups.” HPB herself spoke of them as “races” once or twice, however, as will be seen shortly.

The distinction between the Seven Root Races and the Seven Primordial Human Groups is again shown by HPB in “The Secret Doctrine,” when she quotes on p. 29 of the second volume from an Esoteric Commentary and adds some explanatory words in brackets:

The Globe, propelled onward by the Spirit of the Earth and his six assistants, gets all its vital forces, life, and powers through the medium of the seven planetary Dhyanis from the Spirit of the Sun. They are his messengers of Light and Life.

Like each of the seven regions of the Earth, each of the seven First-born (the primordial human groups) receives its light and life from its own especial Dhyani – spiritually, and from the palace (house, the planet) of that Dhyani physically; so with the seven great Races to be born on it. The first is born under the Sun; the second under Brihaspati (Jupiter); the third under Lohitanga (the “fiery-bodied,” Venus, or Sukra); the fourth, under Soma (the Moon, our Globe also, the Fourth Sphere, being born under and from the Moon) and Sani, Saturn, the Krura-lochana (evil-eyed) and the Asita (the dark); the fifth, under Budha (Mercury).”

So just as the Seven Root Races – only five of which have so far come into existence: the Polarian (not a term used by HPB but nonetheless a very useful one to aid comprehension), Hyperborean, Lemurian, Atlantean, and Aryan (meaning Indo-Caucasian and having no connection or similarity with 20th century race ideology) – are each born under the occult influence and energies of one of the Seven Hierarchies of Dhyan Chohans (celestial beings), transmitted through one of the seven sacred planets, so were “the seven primitive groups of the first Root-race,” which seven groups have continued to exist on this Earth throughout all the other Root Races, national races, ethnicities, and so forth. “At the present time the seven races are mixed together, and representatives of all are in the many so-called races of men.”

“. . . though entirely allegorical, the Rig-Vedic hymns are none the less suggestive. The seven rays of Surya (the Sun) are made therein parallel to the Seven Worlds (of every planetary chain), to the seven rivers of heaven and earth, the former being the seven creative Hosts, and the latter the Seven men, or primitive human groups. . . . the seven primeval groups of mankind.” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 605, 607)

On p. 161 of Vol. 2 of “The Secret Doctrine,” these Human Groups are termed “THE SEVEN (primitive human species)” and there is a hint about the event known in esoteric phraseology as “the sin of the mindless” (which resulted in the production of the apes, who, according to Theosophy, are evolved from man rather than the other way round) having been committed, during Lemurian times, by one in particular of those Seven Primordial Human Groups or, as they are peculiarly called on that page, “species.” This is further touched upon thirty pages later, where we read: “Yet, like the other six primitive brother or fellow races, even so this seventh, henceforth degenerated race, which will have to bide its time for its final development on account of the sin committed, – even this race will find itself on the last day on one of the seven paths.” (Vol. 2, p. 191) In the footnote on that page are a few further yet necessarily vague hints about this general subject, which is seemingly considered too esoteric or sacred to clearly or directly divulge at this point in time:

“This verse in the Veda (X. 5-6), “The seven wise ones (rays of wisdom, Dhyanis) fashion seven paths (or lines as also Races in another sense). To one of these may the distressed mortal come” . . . is one of the most pregnant in occult meaning. The “paths” may mean lines (maryadah), but they are primarily beams of light falling on the paths leading to wisdom. (See Rig Veda IV. 5-13.) It means “ways” or paths. They are, in short, the seven Rays which fall free from the macrocosmic centre, the seven principles in the metaphysical, the seven Races in the physical sense. All depends upon the key used.”

All of this naturally raises the question of what exactly are these Seven Primordial Human Groups.

The passage just quoted would seem to suggest that this relates to the subject of the Seven Rays.

The Theosophy presented by H. P. Blavatsky and her Adept-Teachers differs enormously from that promulgated by the most well known Theosophical writers of later times, including in many aspects of the doctrine of the Seven Rays. On this website we present and promote only the original teachings, and what those original teachings have to say about the Seven Rays can be found in the article Our Seven Divine Parents, subtitled “A Study in Monads, Rays, and Planets.”

Amongst many other things, that article explains:

“Each human Monad is “born” – or rather, begins “the whole cycle of its incarnations in one Manvantara” – “under” one of the Seven Sons of Light. It is literally part of the essence of one of those Seven Sons or Seven Dhyani Buddhas or Seven Primordial Rays or, if one really prefers the term, Seven Angels. That particular One of the Seven “will remain for ever its [i.e. the Monad’s] star, throughout the whole cycle.” . . . The human Monads on our Earth exist in seven distinct groups, corresponding to these Seven Hierarchies or Seven Rays or Seven Dhyani Buddhas. Each of the seven human groups also consists of its own sub-divisions. . . . Souls “derive their life and sustenance” from one of the Divine Rays or Primeval Monads or Primordial Seven Elements, “the seven forms or manifestations of the divine Wisdom.” Because all human beings “are divisible into seven classes” corresponding to these, so are “all adepts and Dhyan Chohans” since they too are human beings or have been human beings. . . . What then is the Human Monad? It is a Ray, it is a Spark, an individualisation of or from the Universal Monad. But it does not get here directly, by taking a gigantic leap from the First Logos down to the cycles of human incarnation on planet Earth. There are Seven Primeval Monads, the Seven Sons of Light, and each Human Monad is a spark, a radiation, of the essence of one of these Seven Rays. Whichever one of the Seven it is for us, is our divine, celestial, heavenly Prototype, our Star, our Father, our Monadic Parent, our Dhyani Buddha, our own Logos. We are linked with it via whichever one of the Seven Sacred Planets specifically corresponds to it.”

Therefore this most likely explains the subject of the Seven Primordial Human Groups. The various “Secret Doctrine” passages on which the above is based can be found in the article just linked to.

It should be kept in mind, however, that what we have just mentioned is referring to the Monad rather than the Ego, as the Reincarnating Ego – our Higher Mind-Entity, the human soul, our inner spiritual “I” – does not come on the scene and enter human beings until the latter half of the Third Root-Race. The Monad and the Ego are of course connected in some way but they are not one and the same thing, nor are they technically synonymous in the Theosophical teachings. The subject of an individual’s Monad and Ego belonging to one and the same ray of the Seven Rays is briefly touched upon towards the end of the article The Lunar Pitris and Solar Pitris.

All of this undeniably sounds very complex, abstruse, and highly metaphysical, and so it is worth being aware that this is by no means the central and most important of the teachings of Theosophy. Yet it is nonetheless important for anyone who wishes to go deeply into a sound and solid comprehension of Esoteric Science and who does not feel content with a mere surface-level understanding. The very first sentence in “The Ocean of Theosophy” says:

“Theosophy is that ocean of knowledge which spreads from shore to shore of the evolution of sentient beings; unfathomable in its deepest parts, it gives the greatest minds their fullest scope, yet, shallow enough at its shores, it will not overwhelm the understanding of a child.”

Like any other Theosophical teaching, one cannot hope to gain clear understanding and perception of the Seven Primordial Human Groups by simply reading quotes from a computer screen. Theosophy necessitates careful, reflective, deep study, contemplation, and – where possible – practical application. The seven Hosts or Hierarchies of Dhyan Chohans being “the seven rivers of heaven” and the seven primordial human groups being “the seven rivers of earth” – the allegorical expressions of the Rig Veda explained by HPB in one of the above “Secret Doctrine” quotes – could itself be a potent image to reflect upon meditatively.

Perhaps the only Theosophical book which explores this subject in any depth is “The Peopling of the Earth” by Geoffrey Barborka, first published in 1975.

Although the book is good in many respects, Barborka unfortunately takes the same approach in “The Peopling of the Earth” as in his best known book “The Divine Plan,” namely that while purporting to explain H. P. Blavatsky’s teachings he mixes them with the teachings of G. de Purucker – albeit without informing the reader that this is what he is doing – and gives those of Purucker the supremacy. This applies to what “The Peopling of the Earth” says about the Seven Primordial Human Groups and many other subjects besides.

Our article “The Divine Plan” by Geoffrey Barborka – A Review shows how Barborka’s efforts can ultimately only mislead and misinform people and how necessary it is to study Theosophy directly at the source, i.e. the original unaltered books and writings recorded by H. P. Blavatsky and her closest co-worker, friend, and fellow teacher William Q. Judge, rather than getting one’s Theosophy through interpreters and intermediaries.

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“. . . as the ethereal forms of the first Men are first projected on seven zones by seven Dhyan-Chohanic centres of Force, so there are centres of creative power for every ROOT or parent species of the host of forms of vegetable and animal life. This is, again, no “special creation,” nor is there any “Design,” except in the general “ground-plan” worked out by the universal law. But there are certainly “designers,” though these are neither omnipotent nor omniscient in the absolute sense of the term. They are simply Builders, or Masons, working under the impulse given them by the ever-to-be-unknown (on our plane) Master Mason – the ONE LIFE and Law.”
(HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 732)