The whole of antiquity was imbued with that philosophy which teaches the involution of spirit into matter, the progressive, downward cyclic descent, or active, self-conscious evolution. . . . One and all, they allegorized and explained the FALL as the desire to learn and acquire knowledge — to KNOW. This is the natural sequence of mental evolution, the spiritual becoming transmuted into the material or physical. The same law of descent into materiality and re-ascent into spirituality asserted itself during the Christian era, the reaction having stopped only just now, in our own special sub-race.

— H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol I, pp. 416-7

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Definitions from the Glossary

Emanation, the Doctrine of. In its metaphysical meaning, it is opposed to Evolution, yet one with it. Science teaches that evolution is physiologically a mode of generation in which the germ that develops the foetus pre-exists already in the parent, the development and final form and characteristics of that germ being accomplished in nature; and that in cosmology the process takes place blindly through the correlation of the elements, and their various compounds. Occultism answers that this is only the apparent mode, the real process being Emanation, guided by intelligent Forces under an immutable Law. Therefore, while the Occultists and Theosophists believe thoroughly in the doctrine of Evolution as given out by Kapila and Manu, they are Emanationists rather than Evolutionists. The doctrine of Emanation was at one time universal. It was taught by the Alexandrian as well as by the Indian philosophers, by the Egyptian, the Chaldean and Hellenic Hierophants, and also by the Hebrews (in their Kabbala, and even in Genesis). For it is only owing to deliberate mistranslation that the Hebrew word asdt has been translated “angels” from the Septuagint, when it means Emanations, Æons, precisely as with the Gnostics. Indeed, in Deuteronomy (xxxiii., 2) the word asdt or ashdt is translated as” fiery law”, whilst the correct rendering of the passage should be “from his right hand went [not a fiery law, but] a fire according to law”; viz., that the fire of one flame is imparted to, and caught up by another like as in a trail of inflammable substance. This is precisely emanation. As shown in Isis Unveiled: “In Evolution, as it is now beginning to he understood, there is supposed to be in all matter an impulse to take on a higher form—a supposition clearly expressed by Manu and other Hindu philosophers of the highest antiquity. The philosopher’s tree illustrates it in the case of the zinc solution. The controversy between the followers of this school and the Emanationists may he briefly stated thus The Evolutionist stops all inquiry at the borders of “the Unknowable”; the Emanationist believes that nothing can be evolved—or, as the word means, unwombed or born—except it has first been involved, thus indicating that life is from a spiritual potency above the whole.”

Evolution. The development of higher orders of animals from lower. As said in Isis Unveiled: “Modern Science holds but to a one-sided physical evolution, prudently avoiding and ignoring the higher or spiritual evolution, which would force our contemporaries to confess the superiority of the ancient philosophers and psychologists over themselves. The ancient sages, ascending to the unknowable, made their starting-point from the first manifestation of the unseen, the unavoidable, and, from a strictly logical reasoning, the absolutely necessary creative Being, the Demiurgos of the universe. Evolution began with them from pure spirit, which descending lower and lower down, assumed at last a visible and comprehensible form, and became matter. Arrived at this point, they speculated in the Darwinian method, but on a far more large and comprehensive basis.” (See “Emanation”.)

Rings and Rounds. Terms employed by Theosophists in explanation of Eastern cosmogony. They are used to denote the various evolutionary cycles in the Elemental, Mineral, &c., Kingdoms, through which the Monad passes on any one globe, the term Round being used only to denote the cyclic passage of the Monad round the complete chain of seven globes. Generally speaking, Theosophists use the term ring as a synonym of cycles, whether cosmic, geological, metaphysical or any other.

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In reading HPB's quote above I am struck, once again, by how mankind has lost it's way and twisted ideas into religious dogma.  HPB states that the Fall is really the desire toward Knowledge, where as Christianity views it as the rebellion against God, and of course all mankind as sinful by its very nature.  We limit ourselves when we confine our beliefs to dogma and stop trying to learn and Know.  We limit ourselves when we label ourselves as sinful or evil.  I think that HPB, by spreading Theosophical ideas around the world and planting the seeds for the New Age movement, is a real hero. 

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I much agree Jeffrey.  The old dogmas are a cloud obscuring the horizon for mankind.  Thankfully we have great teachers who come and point the way.  Involution and Evolution is represented in the turn of the seasons and all the natural patterns of Nature.  Nature contains the esoteric truth of this teaching of inbreathing and outbreathing.

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From Mr. Judge

A correspondent of PATH says:

I am unable to get a comprehensive view of evolution theosophically. Does a “round” mean once around the 7 planets which belong to the earth chain? If so, how is the moon our parent?

A round means a going once around the seven globes of the earth-chain. It was also called a “ring.” Some have confused it with incarnating in the seven races on any one planet. The seven races have to go seven times around the seven globes of this chain, developing in each the characteristics of each, which cannot be obtained in any other way.

There are seven globes in the chain, of which the earth is one. The other six are not visible to us, as they are made of matter in a different state, and on a different plane from matter as we know it and see it. The first race began on Globe No. 1 and carried on evolution there, and then went to Globe No. 2, and so on all around the seven. This it did seven times. Race No. 2 proceeded similarly, having in its possession all that was gained by No.1. We are now the Fifth Race engaged in going round the whole chain; hence we are called those of the Fourth Round, but are the Fifth Race. We must go round the whole chain of 7 planets 3 times more before as a race we are perfected.

When the Seventh Round is finished, as well as the halt for rest that follows, we begin again as a Sixth Race and go through Seven Rounds as such. When that is concluded we begin as the Seventh Race and repeat the process of Seven Rounds through the chain, thus bringing the grand evolution for this chain to a perfect end. After that we pass on upon a higher plane, the possessors of all the knowledge and development acquired during that sevenfold progress. This is the outline of the grand scheme, and, as you see, includes the whole series of seven planets.
But in every round of planets, on each one, and in each race as it begins and proceeds, there are many sub-races, root races, and offshoots, all necessary in the process of development for each race. For a race cannot spring up in a moment, out of nothing; it must grow forth from something. Therefore a new race is made by offshoots making sub-roots that finally grow slowly in the main race which will be. This is occurring in America, and hence here is afforded a present and perfect illustration. For here many examples of various root and sub-and offshoot races coming together, by generation of children among themselves, are producing the sub-root for the new race. This process will go on for a long period, during which old, decayed branchlets and offshoot families and races will be absorbed into the new growing stem, and when the time is ready-a long way off-for the new race, all will have to migrate to the next planet.