Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

1831 - 1891






First Published 1892

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O, P.      



0.—The fifteenth letter and fourth vowel in the English alphabet. It has no equivalent in Hebrew, whose alphabet with one exception is vowelless. As a numeral, it signified with the ancients 11; and with a dash on it 11,000. With other ancient people also, it was a very sacred letter. In the Dęvanâgari, or the characters of the gods, its significance is varied, but there is no space to give instances.


Oak, sacred. With the Druids the oak was a most holy tree, and so also with the ancient Greeks, if we can believe Pherecydes and his cosmogony, who tells us of the sacred oak “in whose luxuriant branches a serpent (i.e., wisdom) dwelleth, and cannot be dislodged”. Every nation had its own sacred trees, pre-eminently the Hindus.


Oannes. (Gr.). Musarus Oannes, the Annedotus, known in the Chaldean “legends”, transmitted through Berosus and other ancient writers, as Dag or Dagon, the “man-fish”. Oannes came to the early Babylonians as a reformer and an instructor. Appearing from the Erythrćan Sea, he brought to them civilisation, letters and sciences, law, astronomy and religion, teaching them agriculture, geometry and the arts in general. There were Annedoti who came after him, five in number (our race being the fifth )—“all like Oannes inform and teaching the same”; but Musarus Oannes was the first to appear, and this he did during the reign of Ammenon, the third of the ten antediluvian Kings whose dynasty ended with Xisuthrus, the Chaldean Noah (See “Xisuthrus”). Oannes was “an animal endowed with reason whose body was that of a fish, but who had a human head under the fish’s with feet also below, similar to those of a man, subjoined to the fish’s tail, and whose voice and language too were articulate and human” (Polyhistor and Apollodorus). This gives the key to the allegory. It points out Oannes, as a man and a “priest”, an Initiate. Layard showed long ago (See Nineveh) that the “fish’s head” was simply a head gear, the mitre worn by priests and gods, made in the form of a fish’s head, and which in a very little modified form is what we see even now on the heads of high Lamas and Romish Bishops. Osiris had such a mitre. The fish’s tail is simply the train of a long stiff mantle as depicted on some Assyrian tablets, the form being seen reproduced in the sacerdotal gold cloth garment worn during service by the modern Greek priests. This allegory of Oannes, the Annedotus, reminds us of the “Dragon” and “Snake-Kings “; the Nâgas who in Buddhist legends instruct people in wisdom on lakes and rivers, and end by becoming converts to the good Law and Arhats. The meaning is evident. The “ fish” is an old and very suggestive symbol in the Mystery-language, as is also “water”. Ea or Hea was the god of the sea and Wisdom, and the sea serpent was one of his emblems, his priests being “serpents “ or Initiates. Thus one sees why Occultism places Oannes and the other Annedoti in the group of those ancient “adepts” who were called “marine” or “water dragons”—Nâgas. Water typified their human origin (as it is a symbol of earth and matter and also of purification), in distinction to the “fire Nâgas” or the immaterial, Spiritual Beings, whether celestial Bodhisattvas or Planetary Dhyânis, also regarded as the instructors of mankind. The hidden meaning becomes clear to the Occultist, once he is told that “this being (Oannes) was accustomed to pass the day among men, teaching; and when the Sun had set, he retired again into the sea, passing the night in the deep, “for he was amphibious”, i.e., he belonged to two planes: the spiritual and the physical. For the Greek word amphibios means simply “life on two planes”, from amphi, “on both sides”, and bios, “life”. The word was often applied in antiquity to those men who, though still wearing a human form, had made themselves almost divine through knowledge, and lived as much in the spiritual supersensuous regions as on earth. Oannes is dimly reflected in Jonah, and even in John, the Precursor, both connected with Fish and Water.


Ob (Heb.). The astral light-—or rather, its pernicious evil currents— was personified by the Jews as a Spirit, the Spirit of Ob. With them, any one who dealt with spirits and necromancy was said to be possessed by the Spirit of Ob.


Obeah. Sorcerers and sorceresses of Africa and the West Indies. A sect of black magicians, snake-charmers, enchanters, &c.


Occult Sciences. The science of the secrets of nature—physical and psychic, mental and spiritual; called Hermetic and Esoteric Sciences. In the West, the Kabbalah may be named; in the East, mysticism, magic, and Yoga philosophy, which latter is often referred to by the Chelas in India as the seventh “Darshana” (school of philosophy), there being only six Darshanas in India known to the world of the profane. These sciences are, and have been for ages, hidden from the vulgar for the very good reason that they would never be appreciated by the selfish educated classes, nor understood by the uneducated; whilst the former might misuse them for their own profit, and thus turn the divine science into black magic. It is often brought forward as an accusation against the Esoteric philosophy and the Kabbalah that their literature is full of “a barbarous and meaningless jargon” unintelligible to the ordinary mind. But do not exact Sciences—medicine, physiology, chemistry, and the rest—do the same? Do not official Scientists equally veil their facts and discoveries with a newly coined and most barbarous Grćco-Latin terminology? As justly remarked by our late brother, Kenneth Mackenzie—“To juggle thus with words, when the facts are so simple, is the art of the Scientists of the present time, in striking contrast to those of the XVIIth century, who called spades spades, and not ‘agricultural implements ‘.“ Moreover, whilst their facts would be as simple and as comprehensible if rendered in ordinary language, the facts of Occult Science are of so abstruse a nature, that in most cases no words exist in European languages to express them; in addition to which our “jargon” is a double necessity—(a) for the purpose of describing clearly these facts to him who is versed in the Occult terminology; and (b) to conceal them from the profane.


Occultist. One who studies the various branches of occult science. The term is used by the French Kabbalists (See Eliphas Lévi’s works). Occultism embraces the whole range of psychological, physiological, cosmical, physical, and spiritual phenomena. From the word occultus hidden or secret. It therefore applies to the study of the Kabbalah, astrology, alchemy, and all arcane sciences.


Od (Gr.). From odos, “passage”, or passing of that force which is developed by various minor forces or agencies such as magnets, chemical or vital action, heat, light, &c. It is also called “odic” and “odylic force”, and was regarded by Reichenbach and his followers as an independent entitative force—which it certainly is—stored in man as it is in Nature.


Odacon. The fifth Annedotus, or Dagon (See “Oannes”) who appeared during the reign of Euedoreschus from Pentebiblon, also “from the Erythrćan Sea like the former, having the same complicated form between a fish and a man” (Apollodorus, Cory p. 30).


Odem or Adm (Heb.). A stone (the cornelian) on the breast-plate of the Jewish High Priest. It is of red colour and possesses a great medicinal power.


Odin (Scand.). The god of battles, the old German Sabbaoth, the same as the Scandinavian Wodan. He is the great hero in the Edda and one of the creators of man. Roman antiquity regarded him as one with Hermes or Mercury (Budha), and modern Orientalism (Sir W. Jones) accordingly confused him with Buddha. In the Pantheon of the Norse men, he is the “father of the gods” and divine wisdom, and as such he is of course Hermes or the creative wisdom. Odin or Wodan in creating the first man from trees—the Ask (ash) and Embla (the alder)_ endowed them with life and soul, Honir with intellect, and Lodur with form and colour.


Odur (Scand.). The human husband of the goddess Freya, a scion of divine ancestry in the Northern mythology.


Oeaihu, or Oeaihwu. The manner of pronunciation depends on the accent. This is an esoteric term for the six in one or the mystic seven. The occult name for the “seven vowelled” ever-present manifestation of the Universal Principle.


Ogdoad (Gr.). The tetrad or “quaternary” reflecting itself produced the ogdoad, the “eight”, according to the Marcosian Gnostics. The eight great gods were called the “sacred Ogdoad”.


Ogham (Celtic). A mystery language belonging to the early Celtic races, and used by the Druids. One form of this language consisted in the association of the leaves of certain trees with the letters, this was called Beth-luis-nion Ogham, and to form words and sentences the leaves were strung on a cord in the proper order. Godfrey Higgins suggests that to complete the mystification certain other leaves which meant nothing were interspersed.


Ogir or Hler (Scand). A chief of the giants in the Edda and the ally of the gods. The highest of the Water-gods, and the same as the Greek Okeanos.


Ogmius. The god of wisdom and eloquence of the Druids, hence Hermes in a sense.


Ogygia (Gr.). An ancient submerged island known as the isle of Calypso, and identified by some with Atlantis. This is in a certain sense correct. But then what portion of Atlantis, since the latterwas a continent rather than an “enormous” island!


Oitzoe (Pers.). The invisible goddess whose voice spoke through the rocks, and whom, according to Pliny, the Magi had to consult for the election of their kings.


Okhal (Arab.). The “High”priest of the Druzes, an Initiator into their mysteries.


Okhema (Gr.). A Platonic term meaning “vehicle” or body.


Okuthor (Scand.). The same as Thor, the “thunder god”.


Olympus (Gr.). A mount in Greece, the abode of the gods according to Homer and Hesiod.


Om or Aum (Sk.). A mystic syllable, the most solemn of all words in India. 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 placed at the beginning of sacred Scriptures, and is prefixed to prayers. It is a compound of three letters a,u,m, which, in 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. Occultly, this “triple fire” represents the highest Tetraktys also, as it is typified by the Agni named Abhimânin and his transformation into his three sons, Pâvana, Pavamâna and Suchi, “who drinks up water”, i.e., destroys material desires. This monosyllable is called Udgîtta, and is sacred with both Brahmins and Buddhists.


Omito-Fo (Chin.). The name of Amita-Buddha, in China.


Omkâra (Sk.). The same as Aum or Om. It is also the name of one of the twelve lingams, that was represented by a secret and most sacred shrine at Ujjain—no longer existing, since the time of Buddhism.


Omoroka (Chald.). The “sea” and the woman who personifies it according to Berosus, or rather of Apollodorus. As the divine water, however, Omoroka is the reflection of Wisdom from on high.


Onech (Heb.). The Phśnix so named after Enoch or Phenoch. For Enoch (also Khenoch) means literally the initiator and instructor, hence the Hierophant who reveals the last mystery. The bird Phśnix is always associated with a tree, the mystical Ababel of the Koran, the Tree of Initiation or of knowledge.


Onnofre or Oun-nofre (Eg.). The King of the land of the Dead, the Underworld, and in this capacity the same as Osiris, “who resides in Amenti at Oun-nefer, king of eternity, great god manifested in the celestial abyss”. (A hymn of the XIXth dynasty.) (See also “Osiris”.)


Ophanim (Heb.). More correctly written Auphanim. The “wheels” seen by Ezekiel and by John in the Revelation—world.spheres (Secret Doctrine I., 92.) The symbol of the Cherubs or Karoubs (the Assyrian Sphinxes). As these beings are represented in the Zodiac by Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius, or the Bull, the Lion, the Eagle and Man, the occult meaning of these creatures being placed in company of the four Evangelists becomes evident. In the Kabbalah they are a group of beings allotted to the Sephira Chokmah, Wisdom.


Ophis (Gr.). The same as Chnuphis or Kneph, the Logos; the good serpent or Agathodćmon.


Ophiomorphos (Gr.). The same, but in its material aspect, as the Ophis-Christos. With the Gnostics the Serpent represented “Wisdom in Eternity”.


Ophis-Christos (Gr.). The serpent Christ of the Gnostics.


Ophiozenes (Gr.). The name of the Cypriote charmers of venomous serpents and other reptiles and animals.


Ophites (Gr.). A Gnostic Fraternity in Egypt, and one of the earliest sects of Gnosticism, or Gnosis (Wisdom, Knowledge), known as the “Brotherhood of the Serpent”. It flourished early in the second century, and while holding some of the principles of Valentinus had its own occult rites and symbology. A living serpent, representing the Christos-principle (i.e., the divine reincarnating Monad, not Jesus the man), was displayed in their mysteries and reverenced as a symbol of wisdom, Sophia, the type of the all-good and all-wise. The Gnostics were not a Christian sect, in the common acceptation of this term, as the Christos of pre-Christian thought and the Gnosis was not the “god-man” Christ, but the divine EGO, made one with Buddhi. Their Christos was the “Eternal Initiate”, the Pilgrim, typified by hundreds of Ophidian symbols for several thousands of years before the “ Christian” era, so- called. One can see it on the “Belzoni tomb” from Egypt, as a winged serpent with three heads (Atma-Buddhi-Manas), and four human legs, typifying its androgynous character; on the walls of the descent to the sepulchral chambers of Rameses V., it is found as a snake with vulture’s wings—the vulture and hawk being solar symbols. “The heavens are scribbled over with interminable snakes ‘ writes Herschel of the Egyptian chart of stars. “The Meissi (Messiah?) meaning the Sacred Word, was a good serpent”, writes Bonwick in his Egyptian Belief. “This serpent of goodness, with its head crowned, was mounted upon a cross and formed a sacred standard of Egypt.” The Jews borrowed it in their “brazen serpent of Moses”. It is to this “Healer” and “Saviour”, therefore, that the Ophites referred, and not to Jesus or his words, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so it behoves the Son of Man to be lifted up”—when explaining the meaning of their ophis. Tertullian, whether wittingly or unwittingly, mixed up the two. The four-winged serpent is the god Chnuphis. The good serpent bore the cross of life around its neck, or suspended from its mouth. The winged serpents become the Seraphim (Seraph, Saraph) of the Jews. In the 87th chapter of the Ritual
(the Book of the Dead) the human soul transformed into Bata, the omniscient serpents says :—“ I am the serpent Ba-ta, of long years, Soul of the Soul, laid out and born daily; I am the Soul that descends on the earth”, i.e., the Ego.


Orai (Gr.). The name of the angel-ruler of Venus, according to the Egyptian Gnostics.


Orcus (Gr.). The bottomless pit in the Codex of the Nazarenes.


Örgelmir (Scand.). Lit., “seething clay”. The same as Ymir, the giant, the unruly, turbulent, erratic being, the type of primordial matter, out of whose body, after killing him, the sons of Bör created a new earth. He is also the cause of the Deluge in the Scandinavian Lays, for he flung his body into Ginnungagap, the yawning abyss; the latter being filled with it, the blood flowed over and produced a great flood in which all the Hrimthurses, the frost giants, were drowned; one of them only the cunning Bergelmir saves himself and wife in a boat and became the father of a new race of giants. “ And there were giants on the earth in those days.”


Orion (Gr.). The same as Atlas, who supports the world on his shoulders.


Orlog (Scand.). Fate, destiny, whose agents were the three Norns, the Norse Parcć.


Ormazd or Ahura Mazda (Zend). The god of the Zoroastrians or the modern Parsis. He is symbolized by the sun, as being the Light of Lights. Esoterically, he is the synthesis of his six Amshaspends or Elohim, and the creative Logos. In the Mazdean exoteric system, Ahura Mazda is the supreme god, and one with the supreme god of the Vedic age—Varuna, if we read the Vedas literally.


Orpheus (Gr.). Lit., the “tawny one”. Mythology makes him the son of Ćager and the muse Calliope. Esoteric tradition identifies him with Arjuna, the son of Indra and the disciple of Krishna. He went round the world teaching the nations wisdom and sciences, and establishing mysteries. The very story of his losing his Eurydice and finding her in the underworld or Hades, is another point of resemblance with the story of Arjuna, who goes to Pâtŕla (Hades or hell, but in reality the Antipodes or America) and finds there and marries Ulupi, the daughter of the Nâga king. This is as suggestive as the fact that he was considered dark in complexion even by the Greeks, who were never very fair-skinned themselves.


Orphic Mysteries or Orphica (Gr.). These followed, but differed greatly from, the mysteries of Bacchus. The system of Orpheus is one of the purest morality and of severe asceticism. The theology taught by him is again purely Indian. With him the divine Essence is inseparable from whatever is in the infinite universe, all forms being concealed from all eternity in It. At determined periods these forms are manifested from the divine Essence or manifest themselves. Thus through this law of emanation (or evolution) all things participate in this Essence, and are parts and members instinct with divine nature, which is omnipresent. All things having proceeded from, must necessarily return into it; and therefore, innumerable transmigrations or reincarnations and purifications are needed before this final consummation can take place. This is pure Vedânta philosophy. Again, the Orphic Brotherhood ate no animal food and wore white linen garments, and had many ceremonies like those of the Brahmans.


Oshadi Prastha (Sk.). Lit., “the place of medicinal herbs”. A mysterious city in the Himalayas mentioned even from the Vedic period. Tradition shows it as once inhabited by sages, great adepts in the healing art, who used only herbs and plants, as did the ancient Chaldees. The city is mentioned in the Kumâra Sambhava of Kalidasa.


Osiris. (Eg.). The greatest God of Egypt, the Son of Seb (Saturn), celestial fire, and of Neith, primordial matter and infinite space. This shows him as the self-existent and self-created god, the first manifesting deity (our third Logos), identical with Ahura Mazda and other “ First Causes”. For as Ahura Mazda is
one with, or the synthesis of, the Amshaspends, so Osiris, the collective unit, when differentiated and personified, becomes Typhon, his brother, Isis and Nephtys his sisters, Horus his son and his other aspects. He was born at Mount Sinai, the Nyssa of the 0. T. (See- Exodus xvii. 15), and buried at Abydos, after being killed by Typhon at the early age of twenty-eight, according to the allegory. According to Euripides he is the same as Zeus and Dionysos or Dio-Nysos “the god of Nysa”, for Osiris is said by him to have been brought up in Nysa, in Arabia “the Happy”. Query: how much did the latter tradition influence, or have anything in common with, the statement in the Bible, that “Moses built an altar and called the name Jehovah Nissi”, or Kabbalistically—“Dio-Iao-Nyssi”? (See Isis Unveiled Vol. II. p. 165.) The four chief aspects of Osiris were—Osiris-Phtah (Light), the spiritual aspect; Osiris-Horus (Mind), the intellectual manasic aspect; Osiris-Lunus, the “ Lunar” or psychic, astral aspect; Osiris-Typhon, Daїmonic, or physical, material, therefore passional turbulent aspect. In these four aspects he symbolizes the dual Ego— the divine and the human, the cosmico-spiritual and the terrestrial.

Of the many supreme gods, this Egyptian conception is the most suggestive and the grandest, as it embraces the whole range of physical and metaphysical thought. As a solar deity he had twelve minor gods under him—the twelve signs of the Zodiac. Though his name is the “Ineffable”, his forty-two attributes bore each one of his names, and his seven dual aspects completed the forty-nine, or 7 X 7; the former symbolized by the fourteen members of his body, or twice seven. Thus the god is blended in man, and the man is deified into a god. He was addressed as Osiris-Eloh. Mr. Dunbar T. Heath speaks of a Phśnician inscription which, when read, yielded the following tumular inscription in honour of the mummy: “Blessed be Ta-Bai, daughter of Ta-Hapi, priest of Osiris-Eloh. She did nothing against anyone in anger. She spoke no falsehood against any one. Justified before Osiris, blessed be thou from before Osiris! Peace be to thee.” And then he adds the following remarks: “The author of this inscription ought, I suppose, to be called a heathen, as justification before Osiris is the object of his religious aspirations. We find, however, that he gives to Osiris the appellation Eloh. Eloh is the name used by the Ten Tribes of Israel for the Elohim of Two Tribes. Jehovah-Eloh (Gen. iii. 21.) in the version used by Ephraim corresponds to Jehovah Elohim in that used by Judah and ourselves. This being so, the question is sure to be asked, and ought to be humbly answered—What was the meaning meant to be conveyed by the two phrases respectively, Osiris-Eloh and Jehovah-Eloh? For my part I can imagine but one answer, viz., that Osiris was the national God of Egypt, Jehovah that of Israel, and that Eloh is equivalent to Deus, Gott or Dieu”. As to his human development, he is, as the author of the Egyptian Belief has it . . . “One of the Saviours or Deliverers of Humanity . . . . As such he is born in the world. He came as a benefactor, to relieve man of trouble . . . . In his efforts to do good he encounters evil . . . and he is temporarily overcome. He is killed . . Osiris is buried. His tomb was the object of pilgrimage for thousands of years. But he did not rest in his grave. At the end of three days, or forty, he rose again and ascended to Heaven. This is the story of his Humanity” (Egypt. Belief). And Mariette Bey, speaking of the Sixth Dynasty, tells us that “the name of Osiris . . commences to be more used. The formula of Justified is met with”: and adds that “it proves that this name (of the Justified or Makheru was not given to the dead only”. But it also proves that the legend of Christ was found ready in almost all its details thousands of years before the Christian era, and that the Church fathers had no greater difficulty than to simply apply it to a new personage.


Ossa. (Gr.) A mount, the tomb of the giants (allegorical).


Otz-Chiim. (Heb.). The Tree of Life, or rather of Lives, a name given to the Ten Sephiroth when arranged in a diagram of three columns. [w.w.w.]


Oulam, or Oulom (Heb.). This word does not mean “eternity” or infinite duration, as translated in the texts, but simply an extended time, neither the beginning nor the end of which can be known.


Ouranos (Gr.). The whole expanse of Heaven called the “Waters of Space”, the Celestial Ocean, etc. The name very likely comes from the Vedic Varuna, personified as the water god and regarded as the chief Aditya among the seven planetary deities. In Hesiod’s Theogony, Ouranos (or Uranus) is the same
as Cślus (Heaven) the oldest of all the gods and the father of the divine Titans.




P.—The 16th letter in both the Greek and the English alphabets, and the 17th in the Hebrew, where it is called or pay, and is symbolized by the mouth, corresponding also, as in the Greek alphabet, to number 80. The Pythagoreans also made it equivalent to 100, and with a dash thus ( P) it stood for 400,000. The Kabbalists associated with it the sacred name of Phodeh (Redeemer), though no valid reason is given for it.


P and Cross, called generally the Labarum of Constantine. It was, however, one of the oldest emblems in Etruria before the Roman Empire. It was also the sign of Osiris. Both the long Latin and the Greek pectoral crosses are Egyptian, the former being very often seen in the hand of Horus. “The cross and Calvary so common in Europe, occurs on the breasts of mummies” (Bonwick).


Pachacamac (Peruv.). The name given by the Peruvians to the Creator of the Universe, represented as a host of creators. On his altar only the first-fruits and flowers were laid by the pious.


Pacis Bull. The divine Bull of Hermonthes, sacred to Amoun-Horus, the Bull Netos of Heliopolis being sacred to Amoun-Ra.


Padârthas (Sk.). Predicates of existing things; so-called in the Vaiseshika or “atomic” system of philosophy founded by Kanâda. This school is one of the six Darshanas.


Padmâ (Sk.). The Lotus; a name of Lakshmi, the Hindu Venus, who is the wife or the female aspect, of Vishnu.


Padma Âsana (Sk.). A posture prescribed to and practised by some Yogis for developing concentration.


Padma Kalpa (Sk.). The name of the last Kalpa or the preceding Manvantara, which was a year of Brahmâ.


Padma Yoni (Sk). A title of Brahmâ (also called Abjayoni), or the “lotus-born”.


Pćan (Gr.). A hymn of rejoicing and praise in honour of the sun-god Apollo or Helios.


Pagan (Lat.). Meaning at first no worse than a dweller in the country or the woods; one far removed from the city-temples, and therefore unacquainted with the state religion and ceremonies. The word “heathen” has a similar significance, meaning one who lives on the heaths and in the country. Now, however, both come to mean idolaters.


Pagan Gods. The term is erroneously understood to mean idols. The philosophical idea attached to them was never that of something objective or anthropomorphic, but in each case an abstract potency, a virtue, or quality in nature. There are gods who are divine planetary spirits (Dhyan Chohans) or Devas, among which are also our Egos. With this exception, and especially whenever represented by an idol or in anthropomorphic form, the gods represent symbolically in the Hindu, Egyptian, or Chaldean Pantheons—formless spiritual Potencies of the “Unseen Kosmos”.


Pahans (Prakrit) Village priests.


Paksham (Sk.). An astronomical calculation; one half of the lunar month or 14 days; two paksham (or paccham) making a month of mortals, but only a day of the Pitar devata or the “father-gods”.


Palćolithic A newly-coined term meaning in geology “ancient stone” age, as a contrast to the term neolithic, the “newer” or later stone age.


Palâsa Tree (Sk.) Called also Kanaka (butea frondosa) a tree with red flowers of very occult properties.


Pâli. The ancient language of Magadha, one that preceded the more refined Sanskrit. The Buddhist Scriptures are all written in this language.


Palingenesis (Gr.). Transformation; or new birth.


Pan (Gr.). The nature-god, whence Pantheism; the god of shepherds, huntsmen, peasants, and dwellers on the land. Homer makes him the son of Hermes and Dryope. His name means ALL. He was the inventor of the Pandćan pipes; and no nymph who heard their sound could resist the fascination of the great Pan, his grotesque figure not withstanding. Pan is related to the Mendesian goat, only so far as the latter represents, as a talisman of great occult potency, nature’s creative force. The whole of the Hermetic philosophy is based on nature’s hidden secrets, and as Baphomet was undeniably a Kabbalistic talisman, so was the name of Pan of great magic efficiency in what Eliphas Lévi would call the “ Conjuration of the Elementals”. There is a well-known pious legend which has been current in the Christian world ever since the day of Tiberias, to the effect that the “great Pan is dead”. But people are greatly mistaken in this; neither nature nor any of her Forces can ever die. A few of these may be left unused, and being forgotten lie dormant for long centuries. But no sooner are the proper conditions furnished than they awake, to act again with tenfold power.


Panćnus(Gr.). A Platonic philosopher in the Alexandrian school of Philaletheans.


Pancha Kosha (Sk.). The five “sheaths”. According to Vedantin philosophy, Vijnânamaya Kosha, the fourth sheath, is composed of Buddhi, or is Buddhi. The five sheaths are said to belong to the two higher principles—Jivâtma and Sâkshi, which represent the Upathita and An-upahita, divine spirit respectively. The division in the esoteric teaching differs from this, as it divides man’s physical-metaphysical aspect into seven principles.


Pancha Krishtaya (Sk.). The five races.


Panchakâma (Sk.). Five methods of sensuousness and sensuality.


Panchakritam (Sk.). An element combined with small portions of the other four elements.


Panchama (Sk.). One of the five qualities of musical sound, the fifth, Nishâda and Daivata completing the seven; G of the diatonic scale.


Panchânana (Sk.). “Five-faced”, a title of Siva; an allusion to the five races (since the beginning of the first) which he represents, as the ever reincarnating Kumâra throughout the Manvantara. In the sixth root-race he will be called the “six-faced”.


Panchâsikha (Sk.). One of the seven Kumâras who went to pay worship to Vishnu on the island of Swetadwipa in the allegory.


Panchen Rimboche (Tib.). Lit., “the great Ocean, or Teacher of Wisdom”. The title of the Teshu Lama at Tchigadze; an incarnation of Amitabha the celestial “father” of Chenresi, which means to say that he is an Avatar of Tson-kha-pa (See “Sonkhapa”). De jure the Teshu Lama is second after the Dalaї Lama; de facto, he is higher, since it is Dharma Richen, the successor of Tson-kha-pa at the golden monastery founded by the latter Reformer and established by the Gelukpa sect (yellow caps) who created the Dalaї Lamas at Llhassa, and was the first of the dynasty of the “ Panchen Rimboche”. While the former (Dalaї Lama are addressed as “ Jewel of Majesty”, the latter enjoy a far higher title, namely “Jewel of Wisdom”, as they are high Initiates.


Pândavâranî (Sk.). Lit., the “Pandava Queen”; Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas. (All these are highly important personified symbols in esoteric philosophy.)


Pandavas (Sk.). The descendants of Pandu.


Pandora (Gr.). A beautiful woman created by the gods under the orders of Zeus to be sent to Epimetheus, brother of Prometheus; she had charge of a casket in which all the evils, passions and plagues which torment humanity were locked up. This casket Pandora, led by curiosity, opened, and
thus set free all the ills which prey on mankind.


Pandu (Sk.). “The Pale”, literally; the father of the Pandavas Princes, the foes of the Kurava in the Mahâbhârata.


Pânini (Sk.). A celebrated grammarian, author of the famous work called Pâninîyama; a Rishi, supposed to have received his work from the god Siva. Ignorant of the epoch at which he lived, the Orientalists place his date between 600 B.C. and 300 A.D.


Pantacle (Gr.). The same as Pentalpha; the triple triangle of Pythagoras or the five-pointed star. It was given the name because it reproduces the letter A (alpha) on the five sides of it or in five different positions—its number, moreover, being composed of the first odd ( and the first even (2) numbers. It is very occult. In Occultism and the Kabala it stands for man or the Microcosm, the “Heavenly Man”, and as such it was a powerful talisman for keeping at bay evil spirits or the Elementals. In Christian theology it refers to the five wounds of Christ; its interpreters failing, however, to add that these “five wounds” were themselves symbolical of the Microcosm, or the “Little Universe”, or again, Humanity, this symbol pointing out the fall of pure Spirit (Christos) into matter (Iassous, “life”, or man). In esoteric philosophy the Pentalpha, or five-pointed star, is the symbol of the EGO or the Higher Manas. Masons use it, referring to it as the five-pointed star, and connecting it with their own fanciful interpretation.
(See the word “Pentacle” for its difference in meaning from “Pantacle”.)


Pantheist. One who identifies God with Nature and vice versa. Pantheism is often objected to by people and regarded as reprehensible. But how can a philosopher regard Deity as infinite, omnipresent and eternal unless Nature is an aspect of IT, and IT informs every atom in Nature?


Panther (Heb.). According to the Sepher Toldosh Jeshu, one of the so-called Apocryphal Jewish Gospels, Jesus was the son of Joseph Panther and Mary, hence Ben Panther. Tradition makes of Panther a Roman soldier.


Pâpa-purusha (Sk.). Lit., “Man of Sin”: the personification in a human form of every wickedness and sin. Esoterically, one who is reborn, or reincarnated from the state of Avitchi—hence, “Soulless”.


Para (Sk.). “Infinite” and “supreme” in philosophy—the final limit. Param is the end and goal of existence; Parâpara is the boundary of boundaries.


Parabrahm (Sk.). “Beyond Brahmâ”, literally. The Supreme Infinite Brahma, “Absolute”—the attributeless, the secondless reality. The impersonal and nameless universal Principle.


Paracelsus. The symbolical name adopted by the greatest Occultist of the middle ages—Philip Bombastes Aureolus Theophrastus von Hohenheim—born in the canton of Zurich in 1493. He was the cleverest physician of his age, and the most renowned for curing almost any illness by the power of talismans prepared by himself. He never had a friend, but was surrounded by enemies, the most bitter of whom were the Churchmen and their party. That he was accused of being in league with the devil stands to reason, nor is it to be wondered at that finally he was murdered by some unknown foe, at the early age of forty-eight. He died at Salzburg, leaving a number of works behind him, which are to this day greatly valued by the Kabbalists and Occultists. Many of his utterances have proved prophetic. He was a clairvoyant of great powers, one of the most learned and erudite philosophers and mystics, and a distinguished Alchemist. Physics is indebted to him for the discovery of nitrogen gas, or Azote.


Paradha (Sk.). The period of one-half the Age of Brahmâ.


Parama (Sk.). The “one Supreme”.


Paramapadâtmava (Sk.). Beyond the condition of Spirit, “supremer” than Spirit, bordering on the Absolute.


Paramapadha (Sk.). The place where—according to Visishtadwaita Vedantins—bliss is enjoyed by those who reach Moksha (Bliss). This “place” is not material but made, says the Catechism of that sect,
“of Suddhasatwa, the essence of which the body of Iswara”, the lord, “is made”.


Paramapaha (Sk) A state which is already a conditioned existence.


Paramartha (Sk) Absolute existence.


Pâramârthika (Sk.). The one true state of existence according to Vedânta.


Paramarshis (Sk.). Composed of two words: parama, “supreme”, and Rishis,
or supreme Rishis—Saints.


Paramâtman (Sk.). The Supreme Soul of the Universe.


Paranellatons. In ancient Astronomy the name was applied to certain stars and constellations which are extra Zodiacal, lying above and below the constellations of the Zodiac; they were 36 in number: allotted to the Decans, or one-third parts of each sign. The paranellatons ascend or descend with the Decans alternately, thus when Scorpio rises, Orion in its paranellaton sets, also Auriga; this gave rise to the fable that the horses of Phaeton, the Sun, were frightened by a Scorpion, and the Charioteer fell into the River Po; that is the constellation of the River Eridanus which lies below Auriga the star.


Paranirvâna (Sk.). Absolute Non-Being, which is equivalent to absolute Being or “Be-ness”, the state reached by the human Monad at the end of the great cycle (See Secret Doctrine I, 135). The same as Paraniskpanna.


Parasakti (Sk.). “The great Force”—one of the six Forces of Nature; that of light and heat.


Parâsara (Sk.). A Vedic Rishi, the narrator of Vishnu Purâna.


Paratantra (Sk.). That which has no existence of, or by itself, but only through a dependent or causal connection.


Paroksha (Sk.). Intellectual apprehension of a truth.


Parsees. Written also Parsis. The followers of Zoroaster. This is the name given to the remnant of the once-powerful Iranian nation, which remained true to the religion ‘of its forefathers—the fire-worship. This remnant now dwells in India, some 50,000 strong, mostly in Bombay and Guzerat.


Pâsa (Sk.). The crucifixion noose of Siva, the noose held in his right hand in some of his representations.


Paschalis, Martinez. A very learned man, a mystic and occultist. Born about 1700, in Portugal. He travelled extensively, acquiring knowledge wherever he could in the East, in Turkey, Palestine, Arabia, and Central Asia. He was a great Kabbalist. He was the teacher of the Initiator of the Marquis de St. Martin, who founded the mystical Martinistic School and Lodges. Paschalis is reported to have died in St. Domingo about 1779, leaving several excellent works behind him.


Pasht (Eg.). The cat-headed goddess, the Moon, called also Sekhet. Her statues and representations are seen in great numbers at the British Museum. She is the wife or female aspect of Ptah (the son of Kneph), the creative principle, or the Egyptian Demiurgus. She is also called Beset or Bubastis, being then both the re-uniting and the separating principle. Her motto is: “punish the guilty and remove defilement”, and one of her emblems is the cat. According to Viscount Rouge, her worship is extremely ancient (B.c. 3000), and she is the mother of the Asiatic race, the race that settled in Northern Egypt. As such she is called Ouato.


Pashut (Heb.). “Literal interpretation.” One of the four modes of interpreting the Bible used by the Jews.


Pashyantî (Sk.). The second of the four degrees (Parâ, Pashyantî, Madhyamâ and Vaikharî), in which sound is divided according to its differentiation.


Pass not, The Ring. The circle within which are confined all those who still labour under the delusion of separateness.


Passing of the River (Kab.). This phrase may be met with in works referring to medićval magic: it is the name given to a cypher alphabet used by Kabbalistic Rabbis at an early date ; the river alluded to is the Chebar—the name will also be found in Latin authors as Literć Transitus.


Pastophori (Gr.). A certain class of candidates for initiation, those who bore in public processions (and also in the temples) the sacred coffin or funeral couch of the Sun-gods—killed and resurrected, of Osiris, Tammuz (or Adonis), of Atys and others. The Christians adopted their coffin from the pagans of antiquity.


Pâtâla (Sk). The nether world, the antipodes; hence in popular superstition the infernal regions, and philosophically the two Americas, which are antipodal to India. Also, the South Pole as standing opposite to Meru, the North Pole.


Pâtaliputra (Sk.). The ancient capital of Magadha, a kingdom of Eastern India, now identified with Patna.


Pâtanjala (Sk.). The Yoga philosophy; one of the six Darshanas or Schools of India.


Patanjali (Sk.). The founder of the Yoga philosophy. The date assigned to him by the Orientalists is 200 B.C.; and by the Occultists nearer to 700 than 600 B.C. At any rate he was a contemporary of Pânini.


Pâvaka (Sk.). One of the three personified fires eldest sons of Abhimânim or Agni, who had forty-five sons ; these with the original son of Brahmâ, their father Agni, and his three descendants, constitute the mystic 49 fires. Pâvaka is the electric fire.


Pavamâna (Sk.). Another of the three fires (vide supra)—the fire produced by friction.


Pavana (Sk) God of the wind; the alleged father of the monkey-god Hanuman (See “Râmâyana”).


Peling (Tib.). The name given to all foreigners in Tibet, to Europeans especially.


Pentacle (Gr.). Any geometrical figure, especially that known as the double equilateral triangle, the six-pointed star (like the theosophical pentacle) ; called also Solomon’s seal, and still earlier “the sign of Vishnu” ; used by all the mystics, astrologers, etc.


Pentagon (Gr.), from pente “five”, and gonia “angle” ; in geometry a plane figure with five angles.


Per-M-Rhu (Eg.). This name is the recognised pronunciation of the ancient title of the collection of mystical lectures, called in English The Book of the Dead. Several almost complete papyri have been found, and there are numberless extant copies of portions of the work.


Personality. In Occultism—which divides man into seven principles, considering him under the three aspects of the divine, the thinking or the rational, and the animal man—the lower quaternary or the purely astrophysical being; while by Individuality is meant the Higher Triad, considered as a Unity. Thus the Personality embraces all the characteristics and memories of one physical life, while the Individuality is the imperishable Ego which re-incarnates and clothes itself in one personality after another.


Pesh-Hun (Tib.). From the Sanskrit pesuna “spy”; an epithet given to Nârada, the meddlesome and troublesome Rishi.


Phala (Sk.). Retribution; the fruit or result of causes.


Phâlguna (Sk.). A name of Arjuna; also of a month.


Phallic (Gr.). Anything belonging to sexual worship; or of a sexual character externally, such as the Hindu lingham and yoni—the emblems of the male and female generative power—which have none of the unclean significance attributed to it by the Western mind.


Phanes (Gr.). One of the Orphic triad—Phanes, Chaos and Chronos. It was also the trinity of the Western people in the pre-Christian period.


Phenomenon (Gr.). In reality “an appearance”, something previously unseen, and puzzling when the cause of it is unknown. Leaving aside various kinds of phenomena, such as cosmic, electrical, chemical, etc., and holding merely to the phenomena of spiritism, let it be remembered that theosophically and esoterically every “miracle”—from the biblical to the theumaturgic—is simply a phenomenon, but that no phenomenon is ever a miracle, i.e., something supernatural or outside of the laws of nature, as all such are impossibilities in nature.


Philaletheans (Gr.). Lit., “the lovers of truth”; the name is given to the Alexandrian Neo-Platonists, also called Analogeticists and Theosophists. (See Key to Theosophy, p. 1, et seq.) The school was founded by Ammonius Saccas early in the third century, and lasted until the fifth. The greatest philosophers and sages of the day belonged to it.


Philalethes, Eugenius. The Rosicrucian name assumed by one Thomas Vaughan, a medićval English Occultist and Fire Philosopher. He was a great Alchemist. [w.w.w.]


Philć (Gr.). An island in Upper Egypt where a famous temple of that name was situated, the ruins of which may be seen to this day by travellers.


Philo Judćus. A Hellenized Jew of Alexandria, and a very famous historian and writer; born about 30 B.C, died about 45 A.D. He ought thus to have been well acquainted with the greatest event of the 1st century of our era, and the facts about Jesus, his life, and the drama of the Crucifixion. And yet he is absolutely silent upon the subject, both in his careful enumeration of the then existing Sects and Brotherhoods in Palestine and in his accounts of the Jerusalem of his day. He was a great mystic and his works abound with metaphysics and noble ideas, while in esoteric knowledge he had no rival for several ages among the best writers.
[ under “Philo Judćus” in the Glossary of the Key to Theosophy.]

Philo-Judaeus. A Hellenized Jew of Alexandria, a famous historian and philosopher of the first century, born about the year 30 B. C., and died between the years 45 and 50 A. D. Philo's symbolism of the Bible is very remarkable. The animals, birds, reptiles, trees, and places mentioned in it are all, it is said, "allegories of conditions of the soul, of faculties, dispositions, or passions; the useful plants were allegories of virtues, the noxious of the affections of the unwise and so on through the mineral kingdom; through heaven, earth and stars; through fountains and rivers, fields and dwellings; through metals, substances, arms, clothes, ornaments, furniture, the body and its parts, the sexes, and our outward condition."
(Dict. Christ. Biog.) All of which would strongly corroborate the idea that Philo was acquainted with the ancient Kabbala.


Philosopher’s Stone. Called also the “Powder of Projection”. It is the Magnum Opus of the Alchemists, an object to be attained by them at all costs, a substance possessing the power of transmuting the baser metals into pure gold. Mystically, however, the Philosopher’s Stone symbolises the transmutation of the lower animal nature of man into the highest and divine.


Philostratus (Gr.). A biographer of Apollonius of Tyana, who described the life, travels and adventures of this sage and philosopher.


Phla (Gr.). A small island in the lake Tritonia, in the days of Herodotus.


Phlegić (Gr.). A submerged ancient island in prehistoric days and identified by some writers with Atlantis; also a people in Thessaly.


Pho (Chin.). The animal Soul.


Phśbe (Gr.). A name given to Diana, or the moon.


Phśbus-Apollo (Gr.). Apollo as the Sun, “the light of life and of the world”.


Phoreg (Gr.).  The name of the seventh Titan not mentioned in the cosmogony of Hesiod.
The “mystery” Titan.


Phorminx (Gr.). The seven-stringed lyre of Orpheus.


Phoronede (Gr.). A poem of which Phoroneus is the hero; this work is no longer extant.


Phoroneus (Gr.). A Titan; an ancestor and generator of mankind. According to a legend of Argolis, like Prometheus he was credited with bringing fire to this earth (Pausanias). The god of a river in Peloponnesus.


Phren (Gr.). A Pythagorean term denoting what we call the Kâma-Manas still overshadowed by the Buddhi-Manas.


Phtah (Eg.). The God of death; similar to Siva, the destroyer. In later Egyptian mythology a sun-god. It is the seat or locality of the Sun and its occult Genius or Regent in esoteric philosophy.


Phta-Ra (Eg.). One of the 49 mystic (occult) Fires.


Picus, John, Count of Mirandola. A celebrated Kabbalist and Alchemist, author of a treatise “on gold” and other Kabbalistic works. He defied Rome and Europe in his attempt to prove divine Christian truth in the Zohar. Born in 1463, died 1494.


Pillaloo Codi (Tamil). A nickname in popular astronomy given to the Pleiades, meaning “hen and chickens”. The French also, curiously enough call this constellation, “Poussiničre”.


Pillars, The Two. Jachin and Boaz were placed at the entrance to the Temple of Solomon, the first on the right, the second on the left. Their symbolism is developed in the rituals of the Freemasons.


Pillars, The Three. When the ten Sephiroth are arranged in the Tree of Life, two vertical lines
separate them into 3 Pillars, namely the Pillar of Severity, the Pillar of Mercy, and the central
Pillar of Mildness. Binah, Geburah, and Hod form the first, that of Severity; Kether, Tiphereth,
Jesod and Malkuth the central pillar; Chokmah, Chesed and Netzach the Pillar of Mercy. [w.w.w.]


Pillars of Hermes. Like the “pillars of Seth” (with which they are identified) they served for commemorating occult events, and various esoteric secrets symbolically engraved on them. It was a universal practice. Enoch is also said to have constructed pillars.


Pingala (Sk.). The great Vedic authority on the Prosody and chhandas of the Vedas. Lived several centuries B.C.


Pippala (Sk.). The tree of knowledge : the mystic fruit of that tree “upon which came Spirits who love Science”. This is allegorical and occult.


Pippalâda (Sk.). A magic school wherein Atharva Veda is explained founded by an Adept of that name.


Pisâchas (Sk.). In the Purânas, goblins or demons created by Brahmâ. In the southern Indian folk-lore, ghosts, demons, larvć and vampires—generally female—who haunt men. Fading remnants of human beings in Kâmaloka, as shells and Elementaries.


Pistis Sophia (Sk.). “Knowledge-Wisdom.” A sacred book of the early Gnostics or the primitive Christians.


Pitar Devata (Sk.). The “Father-Gods”, the lunar ancestors of mankind.


Pitaras (Sk.). Fathers, Ancestors. The fathers of the human races.


Pitris (Sk.). The ancestors, or creators of mankind. They are of seven classes, three of which are incorporeal, arupa, and four corporeal. In popular theology they are said to be created from Brahmâ’s side. They are variously genealogized, but in esoteric philosophy they are as given in the Secret Doctrine. In Isis Unveiled it is said of them “It is generally believed that the Hindu term means the spirits of our ancestors, of disembodied people, hence the argument of some Spiritualists that fakirs (and yogis) and other Eastern wonder-workers, are mediums. This is in more than one sense erroneous. The Pitris are not the ancestors of the present living men, but those of the human kind, or Adamic races; the spirits of human races, which on the great scale of descending evolution preceded our races of men, and they were physically, as well as spiritually, far superior to our modern pigmies. In Mânava Dharma Shâstra they are called the Lunar Ancestors.” The Secret Doctrine has now explained that which was cautiously put forward in the earlier Theosophical volumes.


Pîyadasi (Pali). “The beautiful”, a title of King Chandragupta (the “Sandracottus” of the Greeks) and of Asoka the Buddhist king, his grandson. They both reigned in Central India between the fourth and third centuries B.C., called also Devânâmpiya, “the beloved of the gods”.


Plaksha (Sk.). One of the seven Dwipas (continents or islands) in the Indian Pantheon and the Purânas.


Plane. From the Latin planus (level, flat) an extension of space or of something in it, whether physical or metaphysical, e.g., a “plane of consciousness”. As used in Occultism, the term denotes the range or extent of some state of consciousness, or of the perceptive power of a particular set of senses, or the action of a particular force, or the state of matter corresponding to any of the above.


Planetary Spirits. Primarily the rulers or governors of the planets. As our earth has its hierarchy of terrestrial planetary spirits, from the highest to the lowest plane, so has every other heavenly body. In Occultism, however, the term “Planetary Spirit” is generally applied only to the seven highest hierarchies corresponding to the Christian archangels. These have all passed through a stage of evolution corresponding to the humanity of earth on other worlds, in long past cycles. Our earth, being as yet only in its fourth round, is far too young to have produced high planetary spirits. The highest planetary spirit ruling over any globe is in reality the “Personal God” of that planet and far more truly its “over-ruling providence” than the self-contradictory Infinite Personal Deity of modern Churchianity.


Plastic Soul. Used in Occultism in reference to the linga sharira or the astral body of the lower Quaternary. It is called “plastic” and also “Protean” Soul from its power of assuming any shape or form and moulding or modelling itself into or upon any image impressed in the astral light around it, or in the minds of the medium or of those present at séances for materialization. The linga sharira must not be confused with the mayavi rupa or “thought body”—the image created by the thought and will of an adept or sorcerer ; for while the “astral form” or linga sharira is a real entity, the “thought body” is a temporary illusion created by the mind.


Plato. An Initiate into the Mysteries and the greatest Greek philosopher, whose writings are known the world over. He was the pupil of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle. He flourished over 400 years before our era.


Platonic School, or the “Old Akadéme”, in contrast with the later or Neo-Platonic School of Alexandria (See “Philalethean”).


Pleroma (Gr.). “Fulness”, a Gnostic term adopted to signify the divine world or Universal Soul. Space, developed and divided into a series of ćons. The abode of the invisible gods. It has three degrees.


Plotinus. The noblest, highest and grandest of all the Neo-Platonists after the founder of the school, Ammonius Saccas. He was the most enthusiastic of the Philaletheans or “lovers of truth”, whose aim was to found a religion on a system of intellectual abstraction, which is true Theosophy, or the whole substance of Neo-Platonism. If we are to believe Porphyry, Plotinus has never disclosed either his birth-place or connexions, his native land or his race. Till the age of twenty-eight he had never found teacher or teaching which would suit him or answer his aspirations. Then he happened to hear Ammonius Saccas, from which day he continued to attend his school. At thirty-nine he accompanied the Emperor Gordian to Persia and India with the object of learning their philosophy. He died at the age of sixty-six after writing fifty-four books on philosophy. So modest was he that it is said he “blushed to think he had a body”. He reached Samâdhi (highest ecstasy or “re-union with God” the divine Ego) several times during his life. As said by a biographer, “so far did his contempt for his bodily organs go, that he refused to use a remedy, regarding it as unworthy of a man to use means of this kind”. Again we read, “as he died, a dragon (or serpent) that had been under his bed, glided through a hole in the wall and disappeared”—a fact suggestive for the student of symbolism. He taught a doctrine identical with that of the Vedantins, namely, that the Spirit-Soul emanating from the One deific principle was, after its pilgrimage, re-united to It.


Point within a Circle. In its esoteric meaning the first unmanifested logos appearing on the infinite and shoreless expanse of Space, represented by the Circle. It is the plane of Infinity and Absoluteness. This is only one of the numberless and hidden meanings of this symbol, which is the most important of all the geometrical figures used in metaphysical emblematology. As to the Masons, they have made of the point “an individual brother” whose duty to God and man is bounded by the circle, and have added John the Baptist and John the Evangelist to keep company with the “brother”, representing them under two perpendicular parallel lines.


Popes-Magicians. There are several such in history; e.g., Pope Sylvester II., the artist who made an “oracular head”, like the one fabricated by Albertus Magnus, the learned Bishop of  Ratisbon. Pope Sylvester was considered a great “enchanter and sorcerer” by Cardinal Benno, and the “head” was smashed to pieces by Thomas Aquinas, because it talked too much. Then there were Popes Benedict IX., John XX., and the VIth and VIIth Gregory, all regarded by their contemporaries as magicians. The latter Gregory was the famous Hildebrand. As to Bishops and lesser Priests who studied Occultism and became expert in magic arts, they are numberless.


Popol Vuh. The Sacred Books of the Guatemalians. Quiché MSS., discovered by Brasseur de Bourbourg.


Porphyry, or Porphyrius. A Neo-Platonist and a most distinguished writer, only second to Plotinus as a teacher and philosopher. He was born before the middle of the third century A.D., at Tyre, since he called himself a Tyrian and is supposed to have belonged to a Jewish family. Though himself thoroughly Hellenized and a Pagan, his name Melek (a king) does seem to indicate that he had Semitic blood in his veins. Modern critics very justly consider him the most practically philosophical, and the soberest, of all the Neo-Platonists. A distinguished writer, he was specially famous for his controversy with Iamblichus regarding the evils attendant upon the practice of Theurgy. He was, however, finally converted to the views of his opponent. A natural-born mystic, he followed, as did his master Plotinus, the pure Indian Râj-Yoga training, which leads to the union of the Soul with the Over-Soul or Higher Self (Buddhi-Manas). He complains, however, that, all his efforts notwithstanding, he did not reach this state of ecstacy before he was sixty, while Plotinus was a proficient in it. This was so, probably because while his teacher held physical life and body in the greatest contempt, limiting philosophical research to those regions where life and thought become eternal and divine, Porphyry devoted his whole time to considerations of the hearing of philosophy on practical life. “The end of philosophy is with him morality”, says a biographer, “we might almost say, holiness—the healing of man’s infirmities, the imparting to him a purer and more vigorous life. Mere knowledge, however true, is not of itself sufficient ; knowledge has for its object life in accordance with Nous”—“reason”, translates the biographer. As we interpret Nous, however, not as Reason, but mind (Manas) or the divine eternal Ego in man, we would translate the idea esoterically, and make it read “the occult or secret knowledge has for its object terrestrial life in accordance with Nous, or our everlasting reincarnating Ego”, which would be more consonant with Porphyry’s idea, as it is with esoteric philosophy. (See Porphyry’s De Abstinentia ., 29.) Of all the Neo-Platonists, Porphyry approached the nearest to real Theosophy as now taught by the Eastern secret school. This is shown by all our modern critics and writers on the Alexandrian school, for “he held that the Soul should be as far as possible freed from the bonds of matter, . . . be ready . . . to cut off the whole body”. (Ad Marcellam, 34.) He recommends the practice of abstinence, saying that “we should be like the gods if we could abstain from vegetable as well as animal food”. He accepts with reluctance theurgy and mystic incantation as those are “powerless to purify the noëtic (manasic) principle of the soul”: theurgy can “but cleanse the lower or psychic portion, and make it capable of perceiving lower beings, such as spirits, angels and gods” (Aug. De Civ. Dei. X., 9), just as Theosophy teaches. “Do not defile the divinity”, he adds, with the vain imaginings of men you will not injure that which is for ever blessed (Buddhi-Manas) but you will blind yourself to the perception of the greatest and most vital truths”. (Ad Marcellam,18.) “If we would he free from the assaults of evil spirits, we must keep ourselves clear of those things over which evil spirits have power, for they attack not the pure soul which has no affinity with them”. (De Abstin. ii., 43.) This is again our teaching. The Church Fathers held Porphyry as the bitterest enemy, the most irreconcilable to Christianity. Finally, and once more as in modern Theosophy, Porphyry—as all the Neo-Platonists, according to St. Augustine—“praised Christ while they disparaged Christianity”; Jesus, they contended, as we contend, “said nothing himself against the pagan deities, but wrought wonders by their help”. “They could not call him as his disciples did, God, but they honoured him as one of the best and wisest of men”. (De Civ. Dei., X1X., 23.) Yet, “even in the storm of controversy, scarcely a word seems to have been uttered against the private life of Porphyry. His system prescribed purity and . . . he practised it”.
(See A Dict. of Christian Biography, Vol. IV., “Porphyry”.)


Poseidonis (Gr.). The last remnant of the great Atlantean Continent. Plato’s island Atlantis is referred to as an equivalent term in Esoteric Philosophy.


Postel, Guillaume. A French adept, born in Normandy in 1510. His learning brought him to the notice of Francis I., who sent him to the Levant in search of occult MSS., where he was received into and initiated by an Eastern Fraternity. On his return to France he became famous. He was persecuted by the clergy and finally imprisoned by the Inquisition, but was released by his Eastern brothers from his dungeon. His Clavis Absconditorum, a key to things hidden and forgotten, is very celebrated.


Pot-Amun. Said to be a Coptic term. The name of an Egyptian priest and hierophant who lived under the earlier Ptolemies. Diogenes Laertius tells us that it signifies one consecrated to the “Amun”, the god of wisdom and secret learning, such as were Hermes, Thoth, and Nebo of the Chaldees. This must be so, since in Chaldea the priests consecrated to Nebo also bore his name, being called the Neboїm, or in some old Hebrew Kabbalistic works, “Abba Nebu”. The priests generally took the names of their gods. Pot-Amun is credited with having been the first to teach Theosophy, or the outlines of the Secret Wisdom-Religion, to the uninitiated.


Prabhavâpyaya (Sk.). That whence all originates and into which all things resolve at the end of the life-cycle.


Prachetâs (Sk.). A name of Varuna, the god of water, or esoterically—its principle.


Prâchetasas (Sk.). See Secret Doctrine, II., 176 et seq. Daksha is the son of the Prâchetasas, the ten sons of Prachinavahis. Men endowed with magic powers in the Purânas who, while practising religious austerities, remained immersed at the bottom of the sea for 10,000 years.
The name also of Daksha, called Prâchetasa.


Pradhâna (Sk.). Undifferentiated substance, called elsewhere and in other schools—Akâsa; and Mulaprakriti or Root of Matter by the Vedantins. In short, Primeval Matter.


Pragna (Sk.) or Prajna. A synonym of Mahat the Universal Mind. The capacity for perception.
(S. D., I. 139) Consciousness.


Prahlâda (Sk.). The son of Hiranyakashipu, the King of the Asuras. As Prahlâda was devoted to Vishnu, of whom his father was the greatest enemy, he became subjected in consequence to a variety of tortures and punishments. In order to save his devotee from these, Vishnu assumed the form of Nri-Sinha (man-lion, his fourth avatar) and killed the father.


Prajâpatis (Sk.). Progenitors; the givers of life to all on this Earth. They are seven and then ten—corresponding to the seven and ten Kabbalistic Sephiroth; to the Mazdean Amesha-Spentas, &c. Brahmâ the creator, is called Prajâpati as the synthesis of the Lords of Being.


Prâkrita (Sk.). One of the provincial dialects of Sanskrit—“the language of the gods”, and therefore, its materialisation.


Prâkritika Pralaya (Sk.). The Pralaya succeeding to the Age of Brahmâ, when everything that exists is resolved into its primordial essence (or Prakriti).


Prakriti (Sk.). Nature in general, nature as opposed to Purusha— spiritual nature and Spirit, which together are the “two primeval aspects of the One Unknown Deity”. (Secret Doctrine, I. 51.)


Pralaya (Sk.). A period of obscuration or repose—planetary, cosmic or universal—the opposite of Manvantara (S. D., I. 370.).


Pramantha (Sk.). An accessory to producing the sacred fire by friction. The sticks used by Brahmins to kindle fire by friction.


Prameyas (Sk.). Things to be proved; objects of Pramâna or proof.


Pram-Gimas (Lithuanian). Lit., “Master of all”, a deity-title.


Pramlochâ (Sk.). A female Apsaras—a water-nymph who beguiled Kandu. (See “Kandu”.)


Prâna (Sk.). Life-Principle ; the breath of Life.


Prânamâya Kosha (Sk.). The vehicle of Prâna, life, or the Linga Sarîra a Vedantic term.


Pranâtman (Sk.). The same as Sutrâtmâ, the eternal germ-thread on which are strung, like beads, the personal lives of the EGO.


Pranava (Sk.). A sacred word, equivalent to Aum.


Prânâyâma (Sk.). The suppression and regulation of the breath in Yoga practice.


Pranidhâna (Sk.). The fifth observance of the Yogis; ceaseless devotion. (See Yoga Shâstras, ii. 32.)


Prâpti (Sk.). From Prâp, to reach. One of the eight Siddhis (powers) of Râj-Yoga. The power of transporting oneself from one place to another, instantaneously, by the mere force of will ; the faculty of divination, of healing and of prophesying, also a Yoga power.


Prasanga Madhyamika (Sk.). A Buddhist school of philosophy in Tibet. it follows, like the Yogâchârya system, the Mahâyâna or “Great Vehicle” of precepts; but, having been founded far later than the Yogâchârya, it is not half so rigid and severe. It is a semi-exoteric and very popular system among the literati and laymen.


Prashraya, or Vinaya (Sk.). “The progenetrix of affection.” A title bestowed upon the Vedic Aditi, the
“Mother of the Gods”.


Pratibhâsika (Sk.). The apparent or illusory life.


Pratisamvid (Sk.). The four “unlimited forms of wisdom” attained by an Arhat; the last of which is the absolute knowledge of and power over the twelve Nidânas.
(See “Nidâna”.)


Pratyâbhâva (Sk.). The state of the Ego under the necessity of repeated births.


Pratyagâtmâ (Sk.). The same as Jivâtmâ, or the one living Universal Soul—Alaya.


Pratyâhâra (Sk.). The same as “Mahâpralaya”.


Pratyâharana (Sk.). The preliminary training in practical Râj -Yoga.


Pratyaksha (Sk). Spiritual perception by means of senses.


Pratyasarga (Sk.). In Sankhya philosophy the “intellectual evolution of the Universe” ; in the Purânas the 8th creation.


Pratyęka Buddha (S.k). The same as “Pasi-Buddha”. The Pratyęka Buddha is a degree which belongs exclusively to the Yogâchârya school, yet it is only one of high intellectual development with no true spirituality. It is the dead-letter of the Yoga laws, in which intellect and comprehension play the greatest part, added to the strict carrying out of the rules of the inner development. It is one of the three paths to Nirvâna, and the lowest, in which a Yogi—“without teacher and without saving others”—by the mere force of will and technical observances, attains to a kind of nominal Buddhaship individually; doing no good to anyone, but working selfishly for his own salvation and himself alone. The Pratyękas are respected outwardly but are despised inwardly by those of keen or spiritual appreciation. A Pratyęka is generally compared to a “Khadga” or solitary rhinoceros and called Ekashringa Rishi, a selfish solitary Rishi (or saint). “As crossing Sansâra (‘the ocean of birth and death’ or the series of incarnations), suppressing errors, and yet not attaining to absolute perfection, the Pratyęka Buddha is compared with a horse which crosses a river swimming, without touching the ground.” (Sanskrit-Chinese Dict.) He is far below a true “Buddha of Compassion”. He strives only for the reaching of Nirvâna.


Pre-existence. The term used to denote that we have lived before. The same as reincarnation in the past. The idea is derided by some, rejected by others, called absurd and inconsistent by the third yet it is the oldest and the most universally accepted belief from an immemorial antiquity. And if this belief was universally accepted by the most subtle philosophical minds of the pre-Christian world, surely it is not amiss that some of our modern intellectual men should also believe in it, or at least give the doctrine the benefit of the doubt. Even the Bible hints at it more than once, St. John the Baptist being regarded as the reincarnation of Elijah, and the Disciples asking whether the blind man was born blind because of his sins, which is equal to saying that he had lived and sinned before being born blind. As Mr. Bonwick well says: it was “the work of spiritual progression and soul discipline. The pampered sensualist returned a beggar; the proud oppressor, a slave ; the selfish woman of fashion, a seamstress. A turn of the wheel gave a chance for the development of neglected or abused intelligence and feeling, hence the popularity of reincarnation in all climes and times. . . . thus the expurgation of evil was . . . gradually but certainly accomplished.” Verily “an evil act follows a man, passing through one hundred thousand transmigrations” (Panchatantra). “All souls have a subtle vehicle, image of the body, which carries the passive soul from one material dwelling to another” says Kapila; while Basnage explains of the Jews: “By this second death is not considered hell, but that which happens when a soul has a second time animated a body”. Herodotus tells his readers, that the Egyptians “are the earliest who have spoken of this doctrine, according to which the soul of man is immortal, and after the destruction of the body, enters into a newly born being. When, say they, it has passed through all the animals of the earth and sea, and all the birds, it will re-enter the body of a new born man.” This is Pre-existence. Deveria showed that the funeral books of the Egyptians say plainly “that resurrection was, in reality, but a renovation, leading to a new infancy, and a new youth. (See “Reincarnation”.)


Prętas (Sk.). “Hungry demons in popular folk-lore. “ Shells”, of the avaricious and selfish man after death; “ Elementaries” reborn as Prętas, in Kâma-loka, according to the esoteric teachings;


Priestesses. Every ancient religion had its priestesses in the temples. In Egypt they were called the and served the altar of Isis and in the temples of other goddesses. Canephorś was the name given by the Greeks to those consecrated priestesses who bore the baskets of the gods during the public festivals of the Eleusinian Mysteries. There were female prophets in Israel as in Egypt, diviners of dreams and oracles; and Herodotus mentions the Hierodules, the virgins or nuns dedicated to the Theban Jove, who were generally the Pharaohs’ daughters and other Princesses of the Royal House. Orientalists speak of the wife of Cephrenes, the builder of the so-called second Pyramid, who was a priestess of Thoth.
(See “Nuns”.)


Primordial Light. In Occultism, the light which is born in, and through the preternatural darkness of chaos, which contains “the all in all”, the seven rays that become later the seven Principles in Nature.


Principles. The Elements or original essences, the basic differentiations upon and of which all things are built up. We use the term to denote the seven individual and fundamental aspects of the One Universal Reality in Kosmos and in man. Hence also the seven aspects in the manifestation in the human being—divine, spiritual, psychic, astral, physiological and simply physical.


Priyavrata (Sk.). The name of the son of Swâyambhűva Manu in exoteric Hinduism. The occult designation of one of the primeval races in Occultism.


Proclus (Gr.). A Greek writer and mystic philosopher, known as a Commentator of Plato, and surnamed the Diadochus. He lived in the fifth century, and died, aged 75, at Athens A.D. 485. His last ardent disciple and follower and the translator of his works was Thomas Taylor of Norwich, who, says Brother Kenneth Mackenzie, “was a modern mystic who adopted the pagan faith as being the only veritable faith, and actually sacrificed doves to Venus, a goat to Bacchus and designed to immolate a bull to Jupiter” but was prevented by his landlady.


Prometheus (Gr.). The Greek logos; he, who by bringing on earth divine fire (intelligence and consciousness) endowed men with reason and mind. Prometheus is the Hellenic type of our Kumâras or Egos, those who, by incarnating in men, made of them latent gods instead of animals. The gods (or Elohim) were averse to men becoming “as one of us (Genesis iii., 22), and knowing “good and evil”. Hence we see these gods in every religious legend punishing man for his desire to know. As the Greek myth has it, for stealing the fire he brought to men from Heaven, Prometheus was chained by the order of Zeus to a crag of the Caucasian Mountains.


Propator (Gr) Gnostic term. The “Depth” of Bythos, or En-Aiôr, the unfathomable light. The latter is alone the Self-Existent and the Eternal—Propator is only periodical.


Protogonos (Gr.). The “first-born”; used of all the manifested gods and of the Sun in our system.


Proto-îlos (Gr.). The first primordial matter.


Protologoi (Gr.). The primordial seven creative Forces when anthropomorphized into Archangels or Logoi.


Protyle (Gr.). A newly-coined word in chemistry to designate the first homogeneous, primordial substance.


Pschent (Eg.). A symbol in the form of a double crown, meaning the presence of Deity in death as in life, on earth as in heaven. This Pschent is only worn by certain gods.


Psyche (Gr.). The animal, terrestrial Soul; the lower Manas.


Psychism, from the Greek psyche. A term now used to denote very loosely every kind of mental phenomena, e.g., mediumship, and the higher sensitiveness, hypnotic receptivity, and inspired prophecy, simple clairvoyance in the astral light, and real divine seership; in short, the word covers every phase and manifestation of the powers and potencies of the human and the divine Souls.


Psychography. A word first used by theosophists; it means writing under the dictation or the influence of one’s “soul-power”, though Spiritualists have now adopted the term to denote writing produced by their mediums under the guidance of returning “Spirits”.


Psychology. The Science of Soul, in days of old: a Science which served as the unavoidable basis for physiology. Whereas in our modern day, it is psychology that is being based (by our great scientists) upon physiology.


Psychometry. Lit., “Soul-measuring”; reading or seeing, not with the physical eyes, but with the soul or inner Sight.


Psychophobia. Lit., “Soul-fear,” applied to materialists and certain atheists, who become struck with madness at the very mention of Soul or Spirit.


Psylli (Gr.). Serpent-charmers of Africa and Egypt.


Ptah, or Pthah (Eg.). The son of Kneph in the Egyptian Pantheon. He is the Principle of Light and Life through which “creation” or rather evolution took place. The Egyptian logos and creator, the Demiurgos. A very old deity, as, according to Herodotus, he had a temple erected to him by Menes, the first king of Egypt. He is “giver of life” and the self-born, and the father of Apis, the sacred bull, conceived through a ray from the Sun. Ptah is thus the prototype of Osiris, a later deity. Herodotus makes him the father of the Kabiri, the mystery-gods; and the Targum of Jerusalem says: “Egyptians called the wisdom of the First Intellect Ptah”; hence he is Mahat the “divine wisdom”; though from another aspect he is Swabhâvat, the self-created substance, as a prayer addressed to him in the Ritual of the Dead says, after calling Ptah “father of fathers and of all gods, generator of all men produced from his substance”: “Thou art without father, being. engendered by thy own will; thou art without mother, being born by the renewal of thine own substance from whom proceeds substance”.


Pâjâ (Sk.). An offering; worship and divine honours offered to an idol or something sacred.


Pulastya (Sk.). One of the seven “mind-born sons” of Brahmâ; the reputed father of the Nâgas (serpents, also Initiates) and other symbolical creatures.


Pums (Sk.). Spirit, supreme Purusha, Man.


Punarjanma (Sk.). The power of evolving objective manifestations; motion of forms ; also, re-birth.


Pundarîk-aksha (Sk.). Lit., “lotus-eyed”, a title of Vishnu. “Supreme and imperishable glory”, as translated by some Orientalists.


Pűraka (Sk.). Inbreathing process; a way of breathing as regulated according to the prescribed rules of Hatha ‘yoga.


Purânas (Sk.). Lit., “ancient”. A collection of symbolical and allegorical writings—eighteen in number now—supposed to have been composed by Vyâsa, the author of Mahâbhârata.


Purohitas (Sk.). Family priests; Brahmans.


Pururavas (Sk.). The son of Budha the son of Soma (the moon), and of Ila famous for being the first to produce fire by the friction of two pieces of wood, and make it (the fire) triple. An occult character.


Purusha (Sk.). “Man”, heavenly man. Spirit, the same as Nârâyana in another aspect.
“The Spiritual Self.”


Purusha Nârâyana (Sk.). Primordial male—Brahmâ.


Purushottama (Sk.). Lit., “best of men”; metaphysically, however, it is spirit, the Supreme Soul of the universe; a title of Vishnu.


Pűrvaja (Sk.). “ Pregenetic”, the same as the Orphic Protologos; a title of Vishnu.


Purvashadha (Sk.). An asterism.


Pűshan (Sk.). A Vedic deity, the real meaning of which remains unknown to Orientalists. It is qualified as the “Nourisher”, the feeder of all (helpless) beings. Esoteric philosophy explains the meaning. Speaking of it the Taittirîya Brâhmana says that, “When Prajâpati formed living beings, Pűshan nourished them”. This then is the same mysterious force that nourishes the fśtus and unborn babe, by Osmosis, and which is called the“atmospheric (or akâsic) nurse”, and the “father nourisher”. When the lunar Pitris had evolved men, these remained senseless and helpless, and it is “Pűshan who fed primeval man”. Also a name of the Sun.


Pushkala (Sk) or Puskola. A palm leaf prepared for writing on, used in Ceylon. All the native books are written on such palm leaves, and last for centuries.


Pushkara (Sk.). A blue lotus; the seventh Dwîpa or zone of Bhâratavarsha (India). A famous lake near Ajmere; also the proper name of several persons.


Pűto (Sk.). An island in China where Kwan-Shai-Yin and Kwan-Yin have a number of temples and monasteries.


Putra (Sk.). A son.


Pu-tsi K’iun-ling (Chin.). Lit., “the Universal Saviour of all beings”. A title of Avalokiteswara, and also of Buddha.


Pygmalion (Gr.). A celebrated sculptor and statuary in the island of Cyprus, who became enamoured of a statue he had made. So the Goddess of beauty, taking pity on him, changed it into a living woman (Ovid, Met.). The above is an allegory of the soul.


Pymander (Gr.). The “Thought divine”. The Egyptian Prometheus and the personified Nous or divine light, which appears to and instructs Hermes Trismegistus, in a hermetic work called “Pymander”.


Pyrrha (Gr.). A daughter of Epimatheos and Pandora, who was married to Deucalion. After a deluge when mankind was almost annihilated, Pyrrha and Deucalion made men and women out of stones which they threw behind them.


Pyrrhonism (Gr). The doctrine of Scepticism as first taught by Pyrrho, though his system was far more philosophical than the blank denial of our modern Pyrrhonists.


Pythagoras (Gr.). The most famous of mystic philosophers, born at Samos, about 586 B.C. He seems to have travelled all over the world, and to have culled his philosophy from the various systems to which he had access. Thus, he studied the esoteric sciences with the Brachmanes of India, and astronomy and astrology in Chaldea and Egypt. He is known to this day in the former country under the name of Yavanâchârya (“Ionian teacher”). After returning he settled in Crotona, in Magna Grecia, where he established a college to which very soon resorted all the best intellects of the civilised centres. His father was one Mnesarchus of Samos, and was a man of noble birth and learning. It was Pythagoras. who was the first to teach the heliocentric system, and who was the greatest proficient in geometry of his century. It was he also who created the word “philosopher”, composed of two words meaning a “lover of wisdom”—philo-sophos. As the greatest mathematician, geometer and astronomer of historical antiquity, and also the highest of the metaphysicians and scholars, Pythagoras has won imperishable fame. He taught reincarnation as it is professed in India and much else of the Secret Wisdom.


Pythagorean Pentacle (Gr.). A Kabbalistic six-pointed star with an eagle at the apex and a bull and a lion under the face of a man; a mystic symbol adopted by the Eastern and Roman Christians, who place these animals beside the four Evangelists.


Pythia or Pythoness (Gr.). Modern dictionaries inform us that the term means one who delivered the oracles at the temple of Delphi, and “any female supposed to have the spirit of divination in her—a witch” (Webster). This is neither true, just nor correct. On the authority of Iamblichus, Plutarch and others, a Pythia was a priestess chosen among the sensitives of the poorer classes, and placed in a temple where oracular powers were exercised. There she had a room secluded from all but the chief Hierophant and Seer, and once admitted, was, like a nun, lost to the world. Sitting on a tripod of brass placed over a fissure in the ground, through which arose intoxicating vapours, these subterranean exhalations, penetrating her whole system, produced the prophetic mania, in which abnormal state she delivered oracles. Aristophanes in Vćstas “ I., reg. 28, calls the Pythia ventriloqua vates or the “ventriloquial prophetess”, on account of her stomach-voice. The ancients placed the soul of man (the lower Manas) or his personal self-consciousness, in the pit of his stomach. We find in the fourth verse of the second Nâbhânedishta hymn of the Brahmans: “Hear, 0 sons of the gods, one who speaks through his name (nâbhâ), for he hails you in your dwellings!” This is a modern somnambulic phenomenon. The navel was regarded in antiquity as “the circle of the sun”, the seat of divine internal light. Therefore was the oracle of Apollo at Delphi, the city of Delphus, the womb or abdomen—while the seat of the temple was called the omphalos, navel. As well-known, a number of mesmerized subjects can read letters, hear, smell and see through that part of their body. In India there exists to this day a belief (also among the Parsis) that adepts have flames in their navels, which enlighten for them all darkness and unveil the spiritual world. It is called with the Zoroastrians the lamp of Deshtur or the “High Priest”; and the light or radiance of the Dikshita (the initiate) with the Hindus.


Pytho (Gr.). The same as Ob—a fiendish, devilish influence; the ob through which the sorcerers are said to work.








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