Theosophical Encyclopedia


The practice of magical rituals to attain communion with the gods or beneficent spirits. Thomas Taylor called it “the art of divine works.” It comes from two Greek words, theoi, gods, and ergein, work, thus implying work of a divine nature or “work of the gods.”

Helena P. Blavatsky states that it was one of the three divisions of Eclectic Theosophy of Ammonius Saccas, the founder of Neoplatonism. The Neo-Platonists Iamblichus wrote of it extensively in his work, On the Mysteries. He states that the theurgist, “through the power of arcane signatures,” is able to command “mundane natures,” no longer as a human being, but like gods (p. 281, Thomas Taylor translation).

Read more: Theurgy


Jews who have consecrated themselves to the service of GOD. Their qualifications are mentioned in the Old Testament (Num 30:1-8; 6:1-21; etc.). Examples of Nazirites are Joseph, Samson and Samuel. They can be either male or female.

Read more: Nazirites

Mystical Union

TE 8 Mystical Union

The state of oneness between the soul and the Absolute or God. The term is used more commonly among Christian mystics such as Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross. It is the highest state of spiritual perfection attainable, and is equivalent to the NIRVANA of Buddhists and FANA among the Muslim Sufis.

In mystical Christianity, mystical union is preceded by three identifiable states in the spiritual life of the aspirant. The first is the awakening where the soul feels a divine discontent that cannot be quenched by material, social or psychological objects. Then follows a period of purification, where the attachments of the soul to objects are gradually cleansed and dissipated. This is the first “dark night” of John of the Cross – the “dark night of the senses.” Among those who successfully overcome the obstacles to spiritual growth, there may come a time when the state of illumination is experienced.

Read more: Mystical Union


TE 6 Anta Old Mysterious Bridges1 880

A Sanskrit word literally meaning “internal instrument,” wrongly spelt as Antaskarana by early theosophical writers. Explanations of this term vary somewhat according to the system of belief involved. In ADVAITA it is comprised of the intellect, the mind, the ego and the consciousness. Using the Sanskrit terms these would be named the buddhi, manas, ahankara, and cit; all these terms are explained in some detail elsewhere.

The Sankhya school teaches that antahkarana comprises only the intellect, mind and ego. In Helena P. BLAVATSKY’s The Voice of the Silence (p. 243) she defines its function as, “Antaskarana is the lower Manas, the Path of communication or communion between the personality and the higher Manas or human Soul. At death it is destroyed as a Path or medium of communication, and its remains survive in a form as the Kamarupa – the ‘shell.’”

Read more: Antaḥkaraṇa


TE 4 yin yang

An ancient Chinese doctrine which teaches that all things in the cosmos are the products of two elements, principles, or forces. Yin is the female principle and a negative energy which includes earth, moon, water and winter; yang is the positive male energy which includes heaven, sun, fire and summer. These should not be likened to the Pythagorean duality of opposites – evil and good, forever in conflict – but are complementary parts of a single cosmic harmony which merge and interact with one another.

Read more: Yin-Yang

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