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A Treatise on Cosmic Fire - Section Two - Division D - Thought Elementals and Fire Elementals
Finally, the student should very carefully study here the significance of the numbers three, four and five in the evolution of consciousness. Numerology has hitherto been studied primarily, and rightly, from the substance aspect, but not so much from the standpoint of conscious energy. The Triad, for instance, is usually looked upon by our students as the triangle formed by the manasic-buddhic and atmic permanent atoms; the cube stands for the lower material man, and the five-pointed star has frequently a very material interpretation. All these angles of vision are necessary, and must precede the study of the subjective aspect, but they lay the emphasis upon the material rather than upon the subjective; the subject nevertheless should be studied psychologically. In this solar system, the above numbers are the most important from the angle of the evolution of consciousness. [696] In the earlier system, the numbers six and seven held the mystery hid. In the next system, it will be two and one. This refers only to the psychical development. Let me illustrate: The five-pointed star on the mental plane signifies (among other things) the evolution, by means of the five senses in the three worlds (which are also capable of a fivefold differentiation) of the fifth principle, the attainment of self-consciousness, and the development of the fifth spirilla.

On the buddhic plane, when flashing forth at initiation, this number signifies the full development of the fifth principle or quality, the completed cycle of the Ego upon the five Rays under the Mahachohan, and the assimilation of all that is to be learned upon them, and the attainment - not only of full self-consciousness, but also of the consciousness of the group wherein a man is found. It infers the full unfoldment of five of the egoic petals, leaving four to open before the final initiation.

The five-pointed star at the initiations on the mental plane flashes out above the head of the initiate. This concerns the first three initiations which are undergone in the causal vehicle. It has been said that the first two initiations take place upon the astral plane and this is correct, but has given rise to a misunderstanding. They are felt profoundly in connection with the astral and physical bodies and with the lower mental, and effect their control. The chief effect being felt in those bodies, the initiate may interpret them as having taken place on the planes concerned, for the vividness of the effect, and the stimulation works out largely in the astral body. But it must ever be remembered that the major initiations are taken in the causal body or - dissociated from that body - on the buddhic plane. At the final two initiations, which set a man free from the three worlds and enable him to function in the logoic body of vitality and to wield the force which animates that logoic [697] vehicle, the initiate becomes the five-pointed star, and it descends upon him, merges in him, and he is seen at its very center. This descent is brought about through the action of the Initiator, wielding the Rod of Power, and puts a man in touch with the center in the Body of the planetary Logos of which he is a part; this is consciously effected. The two initiations, called the sixth and seventh, take place on the atmic plane; the five-pointed star "blazes forth from within itself" as the esoteric phrase has it, and becomes the seven-pointed star; it descends upon the man and he enters into the Flame.

Initiation and the mystery of numbers primarily concern consciousness, and not fundamentally "ability to function on a plane," nor the energy of matter, as might be gathered from so many occult books. They deal with the subjective life, life as part of the consciousness and self-realization of a planetary Logos, or Lord of a Ray, and not life in matter as we understand it. A Heavenly Man functions in His pranic vehicle, and there His consciousness is to be found as far as we are concerned in this system; He works consciously through His centers.

To sum up: There is a stage in the evolution of consciousness where the three, the four and the five blend and merge perfectly. Confusion on this point arises from two causes which are the point of individual achievement of the student. We interpret and color statements according to the state of our own inner consciousness. H. P. B. hints at this (See S. D., III, 456.) when dealing with the principles; also the interpretation of these figures varies according to the key employed. The fifth or spiritual kingdom is entered when the units of the fourth kingdom have succeeded in vitalizing the fifth spirilla in all the atoms of the threefold lower man; when they [698] have unfolded three of the egoic petals and are in process of unfolding the fourth and fifth and when they are becoming conscious of the pranic force of the Heavenly Man.

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