I'm terrible at personal introductions, and so I think I'll procrastinate just a little bit longer. In the mean time, I'd like to get your thoughts about a "trinity" passage I've been brooding over for several months now, from which I have received no light.  It's the last paragraph on page 2 of the Proem. I'm curious about the meaning of "Light, Heat and Moisture". All ideas will be appreciated. The entire paragraph is included below for your convenience:

"From the beginning of man’s inheritance, from the first appearance of the architects of the globe he lives in, the unrevealed Deity was recognised and considered under its only philosophical aspect — universal motion, the thrill of the creative Breath in Nature. Occultism sums up the “One Existence” thus: “Deity is an arcane, living (or moving) fire, and the eternal witnesses to this unseen Presence are Light, Heat, Moisture,” — this trinity including, and being the cause of, every phenomenon in Nature.* Intra-Cosmic motion is eternal and ceaseless; cosmic motion (the visible, or that which is subject to perception) is finite and periodical. As an eternal abstraction it is the ever-present; as a manifestation, it is finite both in the coming direction and the opposite, the two being the alpha and omega of successive reconstructions. Kosmos — the noumenon — has nought to do with the causal relations of the phenomenal World. It is only with reference to the intra-cosmic soul, the ideal Kosmos in the immutable Divine Thought, that we may say: “It never had a beginning nor will it have an end.” With regard to its body or Cosmic organization, though it cannot be said that it had a first, or will ever have a last construction, yet at each new Manvantara, its organization may be regarded as the first and the last of its kind, as it evolutes every time on a higher plane . . . ."

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It reminds me a bit of alchemy and its connection with the Qabbalistic Tree of Life.

Perhaps Light corresponds to alchemical Mercury, Heat corresponds to alchemical Sulphur, and Moisture corresponds to alchemical Salt?

These would then also correspond with the three gunas:

Light -> Mercury -> Sattva

Heat -> Sulphur -> Rajas

Moisture -> Salt -> Tamas

The only problem I can see with this correlation is that alchemical Salt is usually considered to be earthy, not watery. But between Light, Heat and Moisture, Moisture is certainly the most dense. The other two fit pretty well into the scheme.

The founder of the Builders of the Adytum (Paul Foster Case) wrote a book, really a series of alchemical lessons, in which he makes the unusual connection between Salt and Moisture. And I think you may have something here. Light, Heat Moisture may be Alchemical symbols. If I remember right, Mr. Case Lists the correspondances exactly as you have with the addition that mercury/sulpher/salt correspond also with superconsciousness/self-consciousness/subconsciousness. It would be a fun exercise to work up a table of correspondances between the Theosophical and Alchemical systems. Maybe I'll do that someday.

I've actually been studying Case's work, including the lesson to which you refer. That's what gave me the idea, though I had forgotten that he had positively correlated Salt with Moisture. Glad to see the correspondence holds.

I really enjoy Case's work. He did a very good job linking the Western tradition up with the Eastern tradition. Nowhere else have I seen a writer leaning towards the Western traditions who quoted Blavatsky so much, either. I find that a refreshing a reassuring aspect of Case's work. He was a gem.


Hi Jimmy,

I have been thinking about your message for the last few days.  This passage also stood out for me when I first read the SD.  There are different types of triads mentioned throughout the treatise and the way I categorize them is into the “Ever-existent” and the periodical.  A trinity to describe the former is Parabrahman, Mulaprakriti, and Fohat.  This is in a state of Ever “IS” in contrast to the evanescent -light, heat, and moisture.  Hopefully,  approaching it using analogy - as Above, so Below - ftom the abstract to the less abstract can it easier to understand. 

Assuming the animating Spirit in manifestation is Light in this discussion, Fohat related to Motion, could represent Heat.   Fohat is one thing in the unmanifested but something different in the manifested.  It links Mind to Matter and vivifies every atom into activity, guiding the primary differentiations on all Seven Planes.  It is the personified electric vital power. 

Regarding the third element, Akasa, which is related to matter, has various meanings.  The literal meaning is the shining substance or the primordial light in manifestation.  It also means the Root of All, the ethereal body of the manifested cosmic space which pervades everything.  As such, moisture in the aforementioned trinity may be applicable in this case.  Also, waters stands as the symbol for Akasa, the primordial ocean of space. According to the Kabbalists, the visible universe is built by Water.   

Thanks for the provoking thoughts. 

Thanks Barbara! Between you and Daniel, I have alot to go on. I think you are correct in categorizing Light, Heat, Moisture as "periodical". As the text says, they include and are "the cause of every phenomenon in Nature", and every phenomenon is periodical and transient. The more I think about this text the the more I am inclined to inject the concept of a perceiver into its consideration, and possibly as a member of the Trinity itself (as Light). A phenomenon is a phenomenon by virtue of the fact that there is a perceiver to perceive the phenomenon. Likewise Light, Heat, and Moisture are nonexistent without a perciever to make these qualitative judgements. That of course is a psychological interpretation, but as you pointed out, there are more than likely many applications that can be discovered by using the law of analogy, by reasoning from universals to particulars. And your Akasa/Water also mirrors the alchemical Salt/Water mentioned in Daniel's post. Perhaps all these disjointed elements will one day join together into a comprehensible whole for me. Until then I can only think, think, think.....

Page 283, Vol I, in SD may have parts of the answer to your question.


“When Evolution took place the Yliaster divided itself…melted and dissolved, developing from within itself the Ideos of Chaos, called respectively Mysterium magnum, Illiados, Limbus Major, or Primordial Matter. This Primordial essence is of a moisture nature, and manifest itself not only as vital activity, a spiritual force, an invisible, incomprehensible, and indescribable power, but also as vital matter of which the substance of living beings consists.”   In this Ideos of primordial matter, or the proto-ilos – which is the matrix of all created things – is contained the substance from which everything is formed.  ………….

 The Magnus Limbus, then, or Ylaster of Paracelsus, is simply our old friend “Father-Mother,” within, before it appeared in Space of the second and other Stanzas.  It is the universal matrix of Komos, personified in the dual character of Macro- and Microcosm (or the Universe and our Globe) by Aditi-Prakriti, the Spiritual and the physical nature. 


Just another thought suggested by Barbara's mentioning of Macro-Micro cosmic correspondance and connnecting up with discussions going on elsewhere at Theosophy Nexus:

The highest, divine triads of nature, the first principles of manifestation spoken of in the S.D. are ubiquitous, ever-present realities and correspond to the higher, divine triad in man: Atma, Buddhi, Manas. This higher triad is said to be "incarnate in those who are enlightened." There is also a correspondance with the tri-lateral A-U-M of the ancient Gayatri mantram, which Patanjali calls the name of Ishvara and recommends as the quintessential theme of meditation practice.   


Hello Kirk,

Your post provides much food for thought.  The Gayatri is beautiful.  This is one translation by Judge -

"Unveil, O Thou who givest sustenance to the Universe,

from whom all proceed, to whom all must return,

that face of the True Sun now hidden by a vase of golden light,

that we may see the truth and do our whole duty on our journey to thy sacred seat.

Can you elaborate on the "tri-lateral A-U-M in this mantram?  Is this more obvious in Sanskrit? 

Also,  I thought the the divine triad, Atma, Buddhi, Manas, is in all and not just 'incarnate in those who are enlightened."



Thank you, Barbara, for sharing a translation of the Gayatri.

      Can you elaborate on the "tri-literal A-U-M in this mantram?  Is this more obvious in Sanskrit?

In one of his articles, Judge quotes Ramohun Roy, a celebrated Hindoo Raja:

    "OM when considered as one letter, uttered by the help of one articulation, is the symbol of the Supreme Spirit. 'One letter (OM) is the emblem of the Most High, Manu II.83' but when considered as a triliteral word consisting of a, u, m, it implies the three Vedas, the three states of human nature, the threee divisions of the universe, and the three dieties - Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, agents in thecreation, preservation and destruction of this world: or, properly speaking, the three principal attributes of the Supreme Being personified in those three deities. In this sense it implies, in fact, the universe controlled by the Supreme Spirit."

Judge goes on to say:

"Now we may consider that there is pervading the whole universe a single homogeneous resonance, sound or tone, which acts. so to speak, as the awakener, or vivifying power, stirring all the molecules into action. This is what is represented in all languages by the vowel a, which takes precedence over all the others. This is the word, the verbum, the Logos of St John...this is creation, for without this resonance or motion among the quiescent particles, there would be no visible universe. That is to say, upon sound, or as the Aryans called it Nada Brahma (divine resonance), depends the evolution of the visible from the invisible."

and from the Prasna Upanishad:

   "...if he meditates upon the Highest Being through the word AUM, consisting of three letters, he will be united with the effulgent sun...Thus it is written: "The three letters of AUM are separately mortal; when joined together in meditation on Reality as a whole and use rightly in the external, internal and intermediate states, the Knower trembles not.""

  Judge also says that AUM represents the undercurrent of meditation that aught to be carried on by every man even while engaged in the necessary duties of life. It should only be pronounced, whether in the mind or audibly, on behalf of others and for the sake of the whole. Otherwise it's effects will reverse.

               I thought the the divine triad, Atma, Buddhi, Manas, is in all and not just 'incarnate in those who are enlightened."

       Yes, the higher triad is in all, but "in all it does not shine forth." H.P.B says that for most of us in waking life, the higher Self in effect "hovers" without descending, it remains mostly inaccessible to the conscious, waking mind. We are told that in deep sleep, however, each of us does merge with our true, infinite nature. We re-become the boundless Spirit, fountain source of all wisdom. The truly enlightened ones, on the other hand, retain complete awareness of their unity with the All, the true Self, even in waking consciousness.

May all share in the golden blessings and beneficent peace that such a teaching represents.



Hi Kirk:

Thank you for the wonderful, inspiring quotes.

Interesting, how Om represents the ONE and AUM the three. Sometimes I hear people enunciate it as one syllable and sometime three and question the proper way of uttering the word. I am still wondering about the correspondence between the Gayatric and this triliteral word.  Is it in terms of the phrase structure, or in meaning, or in sounds?  Both the Mantram and the Word are so sacred

Similar to your quote by judge, in the TS Glossary, definition for Om or Aum (sk) is as follows –

A mystic syllable, the most solemn of all words in Indian. It is “an invocation, a benediction, an affirmation and a promise”; and it is so sacred, as to be indeed the word at low breath of occult, primitive masonry. No one must be near when the syllable is pronounced for a purpose. This word is usually paced at the beginning of sacred Scriptures, and is prefixed to prayers. It is a compound of three letter a.u.m. which is the popular belief, are typical of the three Vedas, also of three gods – A (Agni) V (Varuna) and M (Maruts) or Fire, Water and Air. In esoteric philosophy these are the three sacred fires, or the “triple fire” in the Universe and Man, besides many other things. Occulty, this “triple fire” represents the highest Tetaktys also, as it is typied by the Agni name Abhimanin and his transformation inot his three sons, Pavana, Pavamana and suchi, “who drinks up water”, ie., destroys material desires. This monosyllable is called Udgitta, and is sacred with both Brahmins and Buddhists.

It is interesting to notice so many correspondences in the teachings.


Sometimes I hear people enunciate it as one syllable and sometime three and question the proper way of uttering the word.

The rest of the article Kirk quoted from touches on this subject. Here's a link to the full article:



Probably the reason that it is sometimes written as AUM is to show that it is ultimately made up of three letters. But in Sanskrit the "a" and the "u" cannot remain as separate letters when they are side by side. They must merge together and become "o". So one never sees "aum" in Sanskrit texts, but only "om". Nor does one hear from Sanskrit pandits anything but "om".

This is further complicated for us working in English by the fact that there is a single letter in Sanskrit that is transliterated as "au". It is not the two letters "a" and "u". It is a single vowel, a diphthong. Again, one does not see "aum" using this single letter in Sanskrit texts. The actual word in use is only "om".

Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on August 17, 2012 at 9:58am

In addition to the quote provided above, another student reminded me of this statement within the SD:

"(1.) PARASAKTI. Literally the great or Supreme Force or power. It means and includes the powers of light and heat." - SD, Volume 1, Page 292

Seems to me, that combining this with the quote on moisture from Barabara may help unlock some of the meaning included in the terms light, heat and moisture. Parasakti, as we know is the totality or sum-total of the other saktis.

Perhaps combining all this with transposing these terms into the trinity concept, and looking into how the trinity can be applied to various stages of "manifestation" the ideas may come together.

Also, it might be valuable to look into related terms and how they're used in the SD - fire, radiation, substance, water(s), flame, etc.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 6, 2012 at 10:05am

"Light, Heat, Moisture."  It is interesting to note that all three words are capitalized.  This immediately means that they mean more than there ordinary, material conception. We could start with the principle of analogy and correspondence and the notion "As Above, so below"  We then might ponder what are the corollaries to Light, Heat and Moisture at higher levels of being.  What is it about Light for example that would have extended meaning and subtle references as a higher level of homogeneous substance.   Likewise for Heat and Moisture.

Light and Heat are easier to associate.  Moisture is the more mysterious to me. Moisture has a cooling capacity which might be equated with a calming capacity.  Mind  can become overheated, rajasic and needs cooling to function at a higher level.  Computers can become overheated and need cooling as an analogy..  Something like that.

It is a wonderful question and a worthwhile exercise in metaphysical imagination.

Permalink Reply by Kirk Marzulo on August 7, 2012 at 12:57pm

Light, Heat and Moisture.

We appreciate the question and the comments. I am no expert but can offer a few thoughts.

There is a great deal of discussion in the S.D. regarding the trinitarian nature of Diety and it's appearance in all ancient cosmologies, symbolized and referred to in many different ways. We are most familiar with the Hindu Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu Shiva), or Father, Son and Holy Ghost in the Christian tradition. H.P.B. also speaks of the "unmanifest," or "pre-genetic" triad as distinct from the "manifested" triad--both as aspects of the Word, or Logos which periodically emmanates from the Unknown to give birth to the cosmos. All of this is, of course, shrouded. H.P.B. herself says that outside of initiation, we will not have a proper conception of what is meant. Our wings will be clipped. 

In outer space, though there is light, there is very little heat. This is because there is very little physical matter or atmosphere. Without matter there is no heat, even though there is light. Likewise, in order for the Light (Fire, Spirit, Consciousness, Father) which emanates from the unknown Darkness to become manifest, there must Moisture (Water, Matter, Form, Mother). When the two arise, so arises the third: Heat (Fohat, Law, Mahat, the Son, the Cosmos). If Diety is One, apparent duality must ever
retain its original and inherent unity, forming the archetypal triad of Father, Mother and Son. 

Permalink Reply by David Reigle on August 9, 2012 at 8:59am

This is a very deep question, Jimmy. Any time we get a statement beginning with something like, "Occultism sums up," we know we have one of those occult axioms that are scattered through The Secret Doctrine. My impression is that they encapsulate some law of nature under their symbolism, so there is no limit to their depth.

“Deity is an arcane, living (or moving) fire, and the eternal witnesses to this unseen Presence are Light, Heat, Moisture,” — this trinity including, and being the cause of, every phenomenon in Nature."

The replies given here so far have seemed to me to be very helpful and insightful. On "moisture," this was correlated with the guna, "tamas," meaning "darkness," and with "Primordial Matter," and with a "cooling capacity," and with "Water, Matter, Form, Mother." In agreement with all these, I recently came across something that equates Varuna, the ancient Vedic god of the waters, with prakriti, the principle of matter or substance in later Indian philosophy. It is the chapter, "Myth and Philosophy Case Study: Vedic Varuna and Prakriti," in the 1983 book, Vedic Mythopoeia: An Approach to Religion, Myth and Poetry, by Usha Choudhuri. In it, she shows that how Varuna is described in the old Vedic writings (the myth), is how prakriti is described in the later Samkhya writings (the philosophy). Probably "moisture" in this statement from The Secret Doctrine employs some of this old symbolism.