Abbreviations for
Books by Alice A. Bailey
& Books by Helen P. Blavatsky
Abbreviations for
Books by Helen P. Blavatsky

SD1 The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1. Cosmogenesis
London: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1893-1921.
SD2 The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 2. Anthropogenesis
London: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1893-1921
SD3 The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 3.
London: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1897-1921
Also: The Secret Doctrine, Index to Vols. 1, 2, & 3
London: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1895-1921

Abbreviations for
Books by Alice A. Bailey

IHS Initiation, Human and Solar
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1922
LOM Letters on Occult Meditation
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1922
CF A Treatise on Cosmic Fire
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1925
WM A Treatise on White Magic
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1934
DNA1 Discipleship in the New Age - Volume I
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1944
DNA2 Discipleship in the New Age - Volume II
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1955
PH Problems of Humanity
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1947
RC The Reappearance of the Christ
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1948
DN The Destiny of the Nations
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1949
GWP Glamour - A World Problem
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1950
TEV Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1950
ENA Education in the New Age
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1954
ExH The Externalization of the Hierarchy
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1957
EP1 Esoteric Psychology I
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1936
EP2 Esoteric Psychology II
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1942
EA Esoteric Astrology
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1951
EsH Esoteric Healing
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1953
R&I The Rays and the Initiations
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1960
LS The Light of the Soul: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1927
LH The Labors of Hercules
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1974
CA The Consciousness of the Atom
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1922
SM The Soul and its Mechanism
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1930
II From Intellect to Intuition
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1932
BC From Bethlehem to Calvary
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1937
UA The Unfinished Autobiography
New York: Lucis Publishing Co., 1951
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Dynamic Symbols II
The Vortex and the Path to Liberation

Part 1

The Torus, the Vortex, and the Vacuum

Spindle Torus
This image represents a "spindle torus". If we form a torus of revolution by rotating a circle around an axis, we obtain a spindle torus if the axis of rotation intersects the circle. See: Beyond the Third Dimension Geometry, Computer Graphics, and Higher Dimensions by Thomas Banchoff.   See also Tom Banchoff's Mathematical Artwork. We superimposed the animation on one of his images.

"The symbol of an egg also expresses the fact taught in Occultism that the primordial form of everything manifested, from atom to globe, from man to angel, is spheroidal, the sphere being with all nations the emblem of eternity and infinity—a serpent swallowing its tail. To realize the meaning, however, the sphere must be thought of as seen from its centre."
Helen P. Blavatsky. Secret Doctrine Vol. 1, p. 94

Some students may resist the idea of the vortex and the torus, claiming it overly complicates an already abstruse area of research into the hidden laws of spiritual energy and force. To the contrary, these ideas and symbols that we are outlining can, if used properly in meditation, help the student to go beyond the limitations of the lower mind, and explain in practical occult terms a large number of paradoxes and apparent inconsistencies about spiritual energy and force.

Types of Torus/Toroid

Types of Torus/Toroid

Click to see larger image.

Topological form: 4th dimensional sphere composed of infinite spheres within spheres connected by a torus axis. Image (©1981 Laidlaw/Kodak) on

The question that cannot be easily answered by the lower mind is: Where does one type of energy begin and another end? Where is the mysterious crossover point between what appears to be two entirely different forces or entities? The dual vortex and toroid are two of the key designs that energy and force will take on the inner planes that prevent resistance or inertia from slowing down or impeding progress.

We will show how motion in its different types, speeds and intensities is the key to the growth and survival of all organisms, be they large or small, that are found on the inner dimensions of spiritual life. Motion is the means through which any organism can adapt, grow, or when its usefulness expires, dissipate back into its primary and inert state.

On the physical plane the vortex, hurricane, or tornado is formed when a low pressure of cool dry air interfaces with hot air, which will make the air twist. Tornadoes form in thunderclouds where strong updrafts of air come close to an unusually strong downdraft. This tends to happen during violent storms, often at cold fronts, where warm air is forced to rise quickly. Tornado, the word itself, comes from the Spanish for thunderstorm, tronada. The strong updrafts leave a low pressure area in the cloud. Air rushes into replace the updrafts and evens out the pressure. Because the updrafts are so strong, the incoming air is all warmer air from below, which strengthens the updrafts even more. As it streams in and up, the air twists the already soaring air into a spinning spiral. Tornadoes form mostly in dry, cold air traveling from the north or west and meeting warm, moist air traveling from the south. As the vortex narrows, it rotates faster and extends higher into the storm.

The Cycle of a Tornado
Online source.

There is a dynamic in the physical sciences called "conservation of angular momentum" in which any rotating organism will increase speed as its periphery contracts in upon its axis, much like a figure skater who pulls his arms into the torso to increase rotating speed. As this contraction occurs and speed increases there is a dynamo effect in which the rotating life begins to generate and discharge increasingly potent forms of heat, light, sound and electrical magnetism, which by law will affect all organisms within its vicinity.

Technically this is what happens when fohat/will of the monad breathes forth creating the causal sheath which quickly becomes grounded in a fast moving rotating mass of mental substance imbued with love, will, and ahamkara. The egoic bodies glow partially because they are composed of fiery devic life that has been impulsed from the higher monadic levels, and partially because the will aspect meets resistance from the lower grades of devic and elemental substance. Light emerges out of occult friction. This is why the fourth ray when viewed macrocosmically can be considered for the short term the most luminous of all the rays from humanity's standpoint. For it is here at this place of meeting, where the upper triad or formless levels meet the lower triad or the more concrete levels that the fourth ray is fanned into luminous brilliance.

In our description of the tornado previously outlined two different linear forces on the material plane meet and interact. In the inner spiritual dimensions they gain their speed or momentum from an interaction with other similar forces as well as stimulation that is felt to "well up from within themselves," from another higher dimension. The idea of multiple concentric spheres welling up literally from within themselves is a curious idea we shall explore through this commentary in greater detail. The creation of the spiritual vortex or toroid may be the result of (a) different types of energies and forces interacting and seeking equilibrium from the tension of opposites, or (b) is the result of the application of the will by some spiritual life upon another organism, or (c) the response of a greater organism invoked by a lesser life, coming to its aid.

Each group of devas and elemental lives on the inner planes has its own unique signature — its own unique rotation, speed, color, and sound. All motion on the inner planes in its wide variety is often the result of some type of devic life that is following out the will of some entity greater than itself. When the lower grades of devic and elemental life meet the fiery devas of the higher planes, because of their incompatibility it causes great disturbances in the ethers and within the different sheaths of the human constitution, since this is the raw material of which they are fashioned and through which they are energized.

Animation of the Karman vortex street, a term in fluid dynamics for a repeating pattern of swirling vortices.   See the Wikipedia Article.

If two or more different types of energy cross or meet, and they are not compatible or sympathetic with each other, they will begin to turn upon each other in a rotating and spiral motion. This toroidal form or rolling will continue until one absorbs and cancels the other out, or they become so equally balanced the rotating can go on indefinitely for a long cycle of time.

The vortex motion is like a fast moving generator, and when the current between the two opposite poles becomes too great, the walls of the vortex are spanned by great and powerful electrical discharges that whirl into the spherical shape.

The toroidal form is caused by some initiating energy meeting resistance from another force that causes it to curl back upon itself into concentric circular sheaths or waves. What can be visually seen in simple flows of air or water can equally be applied on magnetic, atomic, and subatomic levels.

Click to see larger image.

From studying the fluid dynamics of water flows in nature we can see that as a toroid is formed it begins rotating in a certain direction, and when the drag or inertia is sufficient it will begin rotating back in the opposite direction. This alternating curling or whirl-pooling from the right to left and then back again from left to right reciprocally is one of the key ways energy dissipates or slows down.

On the inner planes this principle may be modified by certain differences, one of the key differences being that when a torus or helical circulating ring is formed it can maintain its integrity and power, because it is stimulated from within and rolls back upon itself like a continuous smoke ring. This rotating circular motion can keep even the most tenuous and ethereal torus alive and vital for a number of important reasons. One of the reasons for its continuous motion is that this unit of life is being stimulated by the impact of interior sound and light.

Buckminster Fuller demonstrated another important reason back in the 1960s when he discovered that the sphere or geodesic dome is the strongest known structure of design for any form, because it has no surface that can cause drag or inertia. Occultly we see that there are no sides or planes to a toroid or sphere that are vulnerable to entry by any foreign or negative forces. The sphere design is clearly a powerful shape that has a 360-degree shield. On the lower subplanes where rotation is slower and light and radiatory capacity diminished these occult forms are strengthened by an interconnecting grid of triangles of lighted substance.

Click on image:
↑ Up Arrow: Increase Triangles
↓ Down Arrow: Decrease Triangles
Mouse: Rotate

This circular motion goes on alternately back and forth until either the original impulse has been neutralized by the secondary energy (inertia) or the primary force is sufficiently strong enough to impose a new and greater rhythm on a lesser force or energy.

Applying this concept to the inner worlds of energy and force we see that the forces of maya cannot neutralize or diminish those higher occult forms that are spherical or toroidal in nature and have all of their numerous points of light or triangles tightly connected.

If there is strength in size and numbers to every mundane living organism on the physical plane, this can equally be seen in the inner dimensions where strength is also derived by uniformity of shape and the speed of motion at which these inner lives circulate or travel. Like a gyroscope or top, the faster an organism spins on its axis on the inner planes, the more dynamic and stable its path of projection.

This will become an important consideration when we compare the three types of motion — rotary, spiral-cyclical, and progressive — that characterize all spiritual lives. It is here in the comprehension of the sphere or toroid, and how these rotating forms are built or stabilized through the science of triangles, that we find their most esoteric application. The sphere and the toroid are the most perfect dynamic forms esoterically because they can nest or fuse with all other rotating and cylindrical lives on the inner planes with the least resistance and least expenditure of energy. The forces of maya cannot violate the integrity of a tightly knit web or toroid of lighted substance that is rotating at high speed.

Let us give a practical example of these truths in the words of the "Old Commentary" that DK quotes in reference to the Fifth Cosmic Path.

"The quality which the adept develops as he treads this Path can only be given in the words of the Old Commentary: 'The depression at the northern point permits entrance of that which stabilizes, and acts as the factor of resistance to that which seeketh to deter or to distract.' Perhaps cosmic stability and magnetic equilibrium serve best to convey the necessary idea."   (CF:1264)

The "depression at the northern point" is the result of the descent of fohat. It is the impact of this powerful force of spiritual Will that causes the different grades of devic life to rotate and fan out into a spherical shape.

Path V. The Ray Path
Click to read more.
Cosmic Path V. The Ray Path
(CF: 1261-1264)


This Path is one of the great distributing paths of the system, and is trodden by the adept who has a clear understanding of the laws of vibration. It leads to the next cosmic plane with great facility and is therefore called "the outer door of entry." As we know, the seven Rays which manifest throughout our solar system, are but the seven subrays of one great ray, that of Love-Wisdom. This ray Path is the one upon which the majority of the "Masters of the Wisdom" pass. In the same way many of the "Lords of Compassion" pass onto Path IV. Five-eighths of the former pass on to this path just as four-fifths of the adepts of suffering pass on to Path IV. In considering these numbers it must be borne in mind that the figures are of very great magnitude. One-fifth of the Compassionate Lords is a vast number, whilst three-eighths is a stupendous number of monads. We must remember in this connection also that we are only dealing with the adepts of the fifth Initiation, and are not taking into consideration initiates of lower degrees nor disciples of many grades. It is useless for average man to ponder upon these figures. They are too difficult to compute and involve calculations most abstruse and intricate. This can be demonstrated by pointing out that from these figures must be subtracted that two-fifths which (in the next round) pass before the Judgment Throne and are rejected. Out of the remaining three-fifths only a percentage which may not be revealed reach final adeptship, though all pass upon the Path. The five-eighths above referred to and the four-fifths, have reference only to the two great groups of asekha initiates.

Adepts who pass upon the Ray Path have to possess attributes which make them exceedingly responsive to vibration. In their group work (regarding all the units upon this Path as forming a unified Whole) the results achieved might be compared to that of a compass upon a ship. They respond primarily to a basic vibration, not through sensation but through that which is the outgrowth of sensation. It is a form of realization which is the cosmic correspondence to the reaction which comes when the skin is touched. It is not consciousness but knowledge through vibration. They are themselves identified with a certain vibration and they respond to that vibration alone which is the higher correspondence upon the cosmic planes. Other vibrations they ignore.

They are taught how to insulate themselves so that no vibration save the one which reaches them from the cosmic source of the synthetic ray can touch them. Students can get some idea of the lower correspondence to this as they study the compass, its responsiveness to a certain magnetic current, and the tendency which it demonstrates to point ever towards the north. These adepts of the fifth Path are the constituent factor which occultly holds our solar system steadily equilibrized in one specific direction. Their main characteristic or attribute may be described as a sense of cosmic direction.

The source of energy to which they respond may be regarded as the Pole Star. It should nevertheless be pointed out that this star serves only as a blind for a constellation which lies behind, - a constellation which exists only in etheric matter. It is consequently ignored by astronomers, though its influence is exceedingly potent within our system. It should be borne in mind also that upon another planet within our solar ring-pass-not this fifth Path is the one that the majority of their adepts follow. Adepts who are on this Path, therefore, will pass to this other planetary scheme prior to finding their way to the Sun and from thence to cosmic spheres. Adepts from other schemes are not transferred to our Earth scheme as a school of training as it is not a sacred planet and therefore lacks such a specific school.

The influence which emanates from the Pole Star and which is such a potent factor in our solar system reaches our planet via the sign Aquarius. The reasons will be noted if the student bears in mind the significance of water as a symbol of the emotions, which are but a lower manifestation of love-desire. Aquarius is a force center from which the adept draws the "water of life" and carries it to the multitude. This force from the Pole Star, via Aquarius, is of special power at this time and the day of opportunity is therefore great. It is one of the agencies which make the coming of the Great Lord a possibility. He is Himself upon the fifth Path just as the Manu is upon the third. Hence the close link between the two paths, for those on the fifth path can pass to the third and vice versa. The first and the seventh, the second and the fourth, and the third and the fifth are but the two sides of one whole, or the two aspects of the one Path. These three paths (with the fourth Path) constitute two Paths and the two Paths are but one. This great mystery may not further be enlarged upon.

The Hierarchies which play a great part in the introduction of polar influence are the first and the second. It was this occult truth which had such a bearing upon the nature of the first two races of mankind and upon their habitat.

The method whereby the adept develops the needed powers for this Path have been hinted at above. They might be expressed as a process of electrical insulation and the imprisonment of polar magnetism. It is not permitted to say more.

The symbol of this path is five balls of fire (blue fire) confined within a sphere. This sphere is formed by a serpent biting its tail, and the entire body of the serpent is closely covered with written Sensa characters; these characters embody the mantram, whereby the adept insulates himself from the magnetic flow of all currents save that for which he is responsible.

The quality which the adept develops as he treads this Path can only be given in the words of the old Commentary:

"The depression at the northern point permits entrance of that which stabilizes, and acts as the factor of resistance to that which seeketh to deter or to distract."

Perhaps cosmic stability and magnetic equilibrium serve best to convey the necessary idea.


  • Attributes - A sense of cosmic direction.
  • Source - The Pole Star via Aquarius.
  • Hierarchies - The first and the second.
  • Method - A process of electrical insulation and the imprisonment of polar magnetism.
  • Symbol - Five balls of fire enclosed within a sphere. Sphere is formed of a serpent inscribed with the mantram of insulation.
  • Quality - Cosmic stability and magnetic equilibrium.

This rotary motion spinning at high speed creates the centrifugal force that counteracts the opposite centripetal heavier forces that seek to enter any organism that is unprotected. The impact of fohat creates a rotating sphere or shell that brings "stability and magnetic equilibrium" and simultaneously creates resistance to any inimical forces "which seeketh to deter or to distract".

Continuing with our clarification of the toroid and the 5th Cosmic Path, DK further states:

"The symbol of this path is five balls of fire (blue fire) confined within a sphere. This sphere is formed by a serpent biting its tail, and the entire body of the serpent is closely covered with written Sensa characters; these characters embody the mantram, whereby the adept insulates himself from the magnetic flow of all currents save that for which he is responsible."  (CF:1263-64)
For more information on the Cosmic Paths see: Seven Cosmic Paths: Summaries

The serpent biting its own tail referred to here by DK is another example of the toroid or conical design that characterizes inner spiritual lives.

The Sensa characters referred to here can take a number of different forms, some being of geometric or ideographic design composed of various polyhedra that reflect the indwelling purpose of the entity's greater will. All polyhedra and geometric shapes are configurations of energy and force originally impelled from higher fiery levels, which eventually cool, slow down in rotation and begin to crystallize as they reach the outermost limit of their respective rings-pass-not. Geometric and symbolic shapes as well as different emanating sounds are the primary medium in which formless levels of energy can begin to communicate with the form side of manifestation. They are the great intermediaries and why it is said that "God geometrizes".

All energy can be seen to follow this progressive descent from first monadic sound as original cause, to soul-light in the world of meaning, and finally light that begins to take on geometric shapes, which in their many and varied forms begin to condense into 3rd aspect of deity. The value of sacred geometry found on the inner planes lies in the fact that it is composed of two different components: (a) different degrees of soul-light from the world of meaning, and (b) the archetypal structures they form on the high mental plane as they slowly become more material.

The Third Cosmic Path also offers some esoteric insights into why the energy bodies must be sufficiently organized, tightly connected, or fused.

Cosmic PATH III. Training for Planetary Logoi. "One group is called the "Lotus Lords of deep unseeing sleep." They dream, and as Their dreams take form, the worlds speed on. The great and cruel maya of the planes of sweet illusion comes into being, draws into its snare the points of unconnected light, and dims their luster." (CF:1272)

The key words in the quote above which are worthy of reflection are: "Maya...draws into its snare the points of unconnected light and dims their luster."

If the student's etheric body or etheric centers have not reached a place of sufficient purity and radiatory power they are open and vulnerable to the entry of a host of lower elemental and devic forces. Because rotating centers create a vacuum, by law they draw within their sphere of influence any currents that come their way. If the etheric body of any organism is damaged or not uniformly connected by numerous points of light or a tightly knit grid of triangles they can be vulnerable to the entry of lower forces of maya.

This quote also gives validity to the idea that all seven levels of the cosmic physical plane and perhaps even above express some type of lighted substance that can only be considered by humanity as formless since human perception is not yet trained or aligned to work on such exalted levels.

In the next interactive animation we can see how a rotating sphere or toroid can take a number of different morphing shapes. When mouse activated, the dual vortex spherical bell shape can be drawn into a tightly knit center or dispersed and thrown out into a more amorphous rotating mass. The two great forces of centripetal and centrifugal motion create the tension that gives form to the formless.

View an evocative vortex image at