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.3
Eleven years before The Secret Doctrine was first published, HP Blavatsky had already summarised the fundamentals of Oriental Philosophy in Isis Unveiled, 4 so that “the principles of natural law involved in the several phenomena hereinafter described” 5 could be understood. These are not as central as the three propositions in the Proem of The Secret Doctrine. But because they are instructive as well as enlightening, they are reproduced here for the sake of completeness:
1st. There is no miracle. Everything that happens is the result of law — eternal, immutable, ever active. . . .
2nd. Nature is triune: there is a visible, objective nature; an invisible, indwelling, energizing nature, the exact model of the other, and its vital principle; and, above these two, spirit, source of all forces, alone eternal and indestructible. The lower two constantly change; the higher third does not.
3rd. Man is also triune: he has his objective, physical body; his vitalizing astral body (or soul), the real man; and these two are brooded over and illuminated by the third — the sovereign, the immortal spirit. When the real man succeeds in merging himself with the latter, he becomes an immortal entity.
4th. Magic, as a science, is the knowledge of these principles, and of the way by which the omniscience and omnipotence of the spirit and its control over nature’s forces may be acquired by the individual while still in the body. Magic, as an art, is the application of this knowledge in practice.
5th. Arcane knowledge misapplied, is sorcery; beneficently used, true magic or WISDOM.
6th. Mediumship is the opposite of adeptship; the medium is the passive instrument of foreign influences, the adept actively controls himself and all inferior potencies.1
7th. All things that ever were, that are, or that will be, having their record upon the astral light, or tablet of the unseen universe, the initiated adept, by using the vision of his own spirit, can know all that has been known or can be known.
8th. Races of men differ in spiritual gifts as in colour, stature, or any other external quality; among some peoples seership naturally prevails, among others mediumship. Some are addicted to sorcery, and transmit its secret rules of practice from generation to generation, with a range of psychical phenomena, more or less wide, as the result.
9th. One phase of magical skill is the voluntary and conscious withdrawal of the inner man (astral form) from the outer man (physical body). In the cases of some mediums withdrawal occurs, but it is unconscious and involuntary. With the latter the body is more or less cataleptic at such times; but with the Adept the absence of the astral form would not be noticed, for the physical senses are alert, and the individual appears only as though in a fit of abstraction — “a brown study,” as some call it.
10th. The cornerstone of MAGIC is an intimate practical knowledge of magnetism and electricity, their qualities, correlations, and potencies. Especially necessary is a familiarity with their effects in and upon the animal kingdom and man. . . . In a few words, MAGIC is spiritual WISDOM; nature, the material ally, pupil and servant of the magician.
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