Cosmogony is a term given to the study of the origin of things, Universe, God and Humankind. A basic knowledge of cosmogony is vital to students of the occult. If neglected it gives rise to blind superstition caused by an inability to relate effects to their prime causes. Understanding enables us to see the so-called "occult arts" for what they are — a means to an end: although that end is Adepthood.
Humankind cannot be considered apart from the physical universe in which we are evolving. Our bodies are made up of the physical matter of the planet and our ideas and imagery are taken from the world around us. Only our essential essences - our spirits - seem to be unlimited by the world we live in. Apart from that we are very much "children of earth”. It is necessary to bear in mind that both humankind and the universe developed together, with several aspects of human consciousness coming into being in tandem with the equivalent aspects of form in the universe.
All valid esoteric work aims at the furtherment of evolution. This is the true "magic" about which so much misunderstanding exists. The Western Esoteric Tradition includes a knowledge of "magical" techniques because they enable power to be invoked and concentrated effectively. Thus, their use - within Cosmic Law - is an economy of effort. However, without a knowledge of the origins and ends of evolution, esoteric operations are nothing more than sorcery - a juggling with forms and forces that must rob Petra to pay Pauline.
It is not always realised just how abstract these subjects are. Knowledge can only exist of that which is present in the mind. The gateways to the mind are the senses; hence the extensive use of analogy, metaphor and simile in trying to convey transcendental concepts in terms of three-dimensional imagery. Nevertheless, as existing senses develop and new ones evolve, more can be known rather than intuited or “sensed”.
It is convenient to consider cosmogony in an historical sense, starting with the evolution of the Cosmos. From this basis, the birth and development of the Solar System, together with the lives within it, follows logically. Finally, a synopsis of the basic laws implied in the study of cosmogony should enable readers of this series of blog articles to grasp - however simply - the root-concepts which underlie occult practice.
The following paragraphs present some critically important concepts and an outline model which permeates the teachings and practices of Dion Fortune, her school and offshoot groups. You will find elements of Kabbalah (spelled variously Cabala and Qabalah), Dion Fortune’s “Cosmic Doctrine” and other aspects of Hermeticism in the worldview presented.
The Origins: Zero
All manifestation proceeded out of unmanifestation. If a thing exists, it can be imagined. If a thing can be imagined, it must exist; it must be manifest. Therefore, the Unmanifest is unimaginable.
However, the Cosmos must have manifested out of a previous condition. As this condition cannot be considered as existence (for it cannot be imagined) it must be a non-existence.
The first point of manifestation, existence without relationship or attribute, may be considered as Unity; therefore, to the Unmanifest is attributed ZERO. It is the Great Nothing. Yet as the Source of EVERYTHING it must be the infinite potency. Being without history, relationships or characteristics it is the one stability, the one true "substance", the One Reality.
An image of interstellar space may evoke a concept of the Great Unmanifest.
The Roots: Unity
Unity may be considered as the basis of consciousness or the root of existence, according to whether the viewpoint is microcosmic or macrocosmic; but this condition is not a manifest one. There is nothing of which to be conscious, or viewed macrocosmically, no “extension”. Unity can be considered as a point, for it has position but no dimension.
The Beginnings: Duality
Manifestation is a condition of duality. If unity can be considered as a "focus" in the Unmanifest, a pre-manifest point in NO-THING, then duality occurs when that point extends itself into a line. Movement, the new dimension, is the second condition. However, the point was a focus in NO-THING: therefore, no-thing moved.
The Roots of Form: Trinity
The Unmanifest, being formless, is frictionless. The original movement proceeds without opposition from its environment. However, every action evokes a reaction from itself and this force, acting at right angles to the original direction of movement, causes the line to become first a curve, and then, aeons later, a circle. The primal form is in existence. Three is the number of form.
To be continued....
PS On the later point, Dion Fortune certainly loved three-fold analyses of things, for example, her writing on the many three fold patterns within the Tree of Life. It is a wonderful number to work with. I remember being particularly impressed with three legged stools when I was working in a Folk Museum as a summer job many decades ago. In that job I was employed to look after ancient crofter's cottages and byre dwellings which had been disassembled and rebuilt on the museum land. Their internal floors where completely uneven. Visitors used to fall on them - particularly the children. In quieter times I got to sit down in these atmospheric houses and read deeply. As I contemplated I often noticed that the only things which were stable and comfortable to sit and read on in these ancient dwellings were three-legged stools. Perfectly balanced no matter how crazily uneven the floor surface was! There is something about the balance and stability of the form of three that translates its usefulness into other less material realms too.