Electricity

Great Symbols Series @ Theosophy Trust


ELECTRICITY


Fohat is a generic term and used in many senses. He is the light (Daiviprakriti) of all the
three
logo - the perelectricity-1182.htmelectricity-1182.htmsonified symbols of the three spiritual stages of Evolution. Fohat is the
aggregate of all the spiritual creative ideations above, and of all the electro-dynamic and
creative forces below, in Heaven and on Earth.

Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge

  In the beginning of the cosmos, before consciousness was known, before light had spread itself over darkness, the unseen Spirit which issued from Parabrahm brooded over the primordial waters of Chaos. Through its pristine reflection the Spirit is enlivened, and it suffuses the mother-matrix with Divine Electricity, the noumenal Fire of Life. From this electric bosom of Mulaprakriti the Logoic light gathers as a mighty force and reflects upon its own conscious energy, daughter of the Verbum. All is one and yet an emerging trinity. The One Supreme, in three aspects, pervades the universe and vivifies it, yet remains unmanifest. In its unity, Daiviprakriti is the Light of the unmanifest Logos which ultimately forms the nuclei of all the self-moving orbs of the cosmos. When differentiated, it becomes Fohat which, together with its seven offshoots, is the cause and effect of Cosmic Electricity. Another way of expressing this is to suggest that Fohat, the androgynous energy emanating from Daiviprakriti, manifests in the objective universe as hidden and revealed electricity- As the unified Light of the unmanifest Logos, Daiviprakriti spans the subtle phase between the First and Third Logos wherein the Archetypal 'Builders' impress divine ideation upon the highest plane of Akasha. It is the informing life-principle which contains the six Shaktis, whose individual expression is overseen and guided by Fohat. Thus, the Kundalini shakti is the potency of Logoic force moving along a curved path, bringing about continuous adjustments of internal and external relations throughout nature. Fohat every where electrifies into life and separates primordial matter into atoms, whilst the Shaktis are its own conscious energy.

Fohat is the 'Spirit' of Electricity which is the life of the Universe. It binds all cosmic energies on unseen and manifest planes and thereby impresses upon matter the ideas of the Universal Mind. Fohat is the Intelligence in Cosmic Electricity. All that exists in the universe contains and is electricity; from the nettle that stings to the blood in the body, the hosts of Fohat are at work. Animal magnetism and conscious hypnotism are based upon Fohatic (intra-cosmic) electricity, whilst Fohat is "the synthetic motor power of all the imprisoned life-forces and the medium between the Absolute and Conditioned Force". Thus, Fohat is the Agent of the Law, a link, like Manas, between the divine Monad and the physical body.

 It is in its secondary aspect that Fohat divides into two parts (male and female) to create the manifested universe. This involves the crucial role of Fohat as the active male potency of the female reproductive power in nature. As such, Fohat is at once the propeller and the resultant of Vital Force, and is ceaselessly bound up with the formation and destruction of forms. The complementary forces of Vishnu and Shiva are anticipated in this dual nature, as are their shakti-consorts. The active and passive, positive and negative, are but opposite sides of the androgynous nature of Fohat. Through its seven offshoots Fohat generates the seven forms of cosmic Vital Electric Fluid, which include electricity, magnetism, sound, light and heat. Like the Seven Rays of the Mystic Sun, they in their totality spread throughout the solar system and constitute the upadhis of Ether, in which these forces correlate to produce their manifold terrestrial effects.

  The word 'electricity' comes from the Greek ελεκτρον (elektron), which signifies amber or gold. A closely related word, ελεκτορ (elektor), refers to the beaming sun, which, though appearing gold in colour, retains a more significant relation to amber in its internal fire. Realizing that amber was metamorphosed from the resin of aged pines, the ancient Greeks were fascinated with its powers of electrostatic attraction. Scientists like Thales surmised that there was a fiery soul in amber capable of imparting its 'life' to other material. In arcane tradition this would be viewed as a grosser effect of electricity bound up with the astral fluid operating at the lowest rung of the Ladder of Being. Cosmic Electricity is a free Force which operates on seven levels, and what we normally call electricity is produced by the interruption and obstruction of that Force. Occult science teaches that the vital electricity coursing through the brain or the tree or the sky is under the same law as Cosmic Electricity. The combination of molecules into new forms, and the bringing about of new correlations and disturbances of molecular equilibrium, represent the work of Fohat. On the lower Akashic plane Fohat manifests through the Rudras and Maruts and on the earthly plane as the spark in amber. From above below, the dual nature of Fohat operates in a great downward dialectic, the more etheric level being always positive to the grosser condition below it. Flashing back and forth, it combines and separates, annihilates and regenerates.

 As Spirit and Matter, radiation and emanation, are closely linked, so also are electricity and magnetism, which are integral aspects of the One Life. The microcosmic body of man is a magnet in which electricity is stored. Magnetic currents are transformed into positive or negative electricity upon their exit from the body, and it is said that the bodies of Sages are thus highly charged. Even the ordinary person emits electrical force through passions and emotions which are either life-giving or death-dealing. On the gross physical plane of effects a current of electricity creates a magnetic field or force acting at right angles to the direction of the current. As long as the current is in motion through the electric circuit, the magnetic force is exerted. Such force-fields around a current-carrying wire are circular so that a coil of wire can act like a magnet with north and south poles.

 Early experimenters in electricity and magnetism found that with wire coils they could induce electricity by the movement of a nearby permanent magnet. They also discovered that the coil of a motor could be turned by the magnetic force exerted by reversible electromagnets, converting electrical energy into motion through the intercession of magnetic fields. The generator (essentially a motor turned backwards) converts the motion of its rotating coil into electrical energy as magnetic fields are forced across stationary conductors. This is electromagnetic induction at work. In the process of discovering more about such induction, several experiments following the brilliant work of Michael Faraday revealed what may be called induction laws. It was ascertained that if the number of tubes of induction threading a circuit is changed in any way, an electromotive force of a proportional magnitude is created in the circuit. This electromotive force acts to cause currents in the coil whose magnetic effect would counteract the external change. Thus, the system reacts to oppose any change imposed from the outside through induced electromotive force.

 The human eye does not see electricity or magnetism except in terms of the effect upon other materials. And yet they are part of a great electromagnetic spectrum 'which includes light, sound, heat, etc. If the eyes were sensitive to radio waves instead of light waves, the sun would be dimmer, the Milky Way would be like a neon band, and we would see thousands of new stars, clouds of interstellar gas and many other things now unseen. In this great spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, wavelengths vary from miles long to tiny fractions of a millimeter on the upper gamma ray end, but they all travel through space at the speed assigned to light. In the final analysis, they resolve themselves into what becomes a matter of relative vibrations. The intuitive investigator J.W. Keely called electricity "a certain form of atomic vibration". This is true enough on the terrestrial plane, but as one moves from the inter-molecular to inter-etheric planes, vibrations increase enormously. In the harmony of numbers that pertains throughout nature, there are geometric changes in the ratios as one moves from one level to another.

 Electricity is the cause of molecular motion in the physical universe and is generated in every disturbance of equilibrium, thereby becoming a karmic effect of the object in which the disturbance takes place. The electron particles within an electrical current continually exert a force upon other electrons which varies both with the distance between electrons and their states of rest or motion. Static electrons repel each other with a strength which is in inverse proportion to the square of the distance between them, yielding measurable electrostatic forces. If electrons were the only particles of electricity, the repelling forces would be disastrously strong. A cube of copper a tenth of an inch on each edge (having 4 x 1021 electrons) would repel a similar cube an inch away with a force of six hundred trillion tons. The counter-force is provided by particles known as protons, which exactly balance electrons in the sense that a proton attracts an electron precisely as strongly as another electron at the same distance repels it.

 Electricity and magnetism are, in essence, the differentiated aspects of Universal Motion, and light and heat are but shadows of matter in motion on grosser planes. When one state of motion ceases and another equivalent to it takes its place, the result of such transformation can be called a force. Occultism teaches that Force is a substance of some kind within and between atoms. In this sense electricity is matter, but not as we know it. Einstein showed that mass and energy are but forms of the same thing. Could we then think of electricity as an attribute of matter and energy? H.P. Blavatsky stated that it is not a solid, nor a fluid, but that it is an effect produced on the physical plane by friction which disturbs its laya state: "Electricity exists no more on earth per se than heat or light or any other force." Its cause must be sought on a far subtler plane wherein particle and wave expressions of its potential have their numerically proportioned source. Just as the shape of a condenser on the physical plane will limit and determine its electrical properties, so too the permeable vastitudes of the Akashic realm contain all its potentials in a resting state that involves such high levels of vibration as to defy normal concepts of particularized radiation. A helpful analogue to this on the physical plane of effects is conveyed by the instantaneous beam of the laser, whose light amplification is produced by the simultaneous emission of radiation.

 The pulsing of Vital Matter in the Central Spiritual Sun provides the source of motion which is communicated to the ethereal matrix in stellar space. This invisible parent of the physical sun is the storehouse of the noumenal Force of Electricity. It is also the 'brain' hidden behind the visible sun from which "sensation is radiated into every nerve-centre of the great body, and the waves of the life-essence flow into each artery and vein". The 'willow leaves' have been identified as reservoirs of solar vital energy, the vital electricity which feeds the whole system. Thus, they give out and receive in a regular circulation of fluid through the system of which the sun is the heart. This is an eleven-year cycle of circulation analogous to the circulation of blood in the human body. Always the movement has to do with the interaction of positively and negatively charged fields within each system, acting as a cycle within a cycle. In this way the electrosphere around the earth acts, relatively speaking, as an electrostatic screen tending to concentrate the phenomena of atmospheric electricity as it interacts between itself and the earth. Thunderstorms occurring continually and maintaining the negative charge on the earth are analogues of great interstellar storms which ceaselessly charge the dynamically interacting fields of attraction and repulsion in space. On every plane the alternating functions of the same Force have their effect.

 Just as the vital electromagnetic current circulates through universes, so too it flows through the arteries of the earth and the human body and is stored in the navel, midway between the positive north pole and negative south pole. Its movement is a process of interaction between these opposites, a process well exemplified by the coursing of electrical impulses through the nervous system of the brain. The neurons are polarized so that the insides are negative with respect to the outside, achieving a 'resting potential'. They are chemically stimulated to produce short-distance signals and polarize to permit a flow of chemicals through the membrane for signals of longer distance. Each time this happens there is a reversal of the membrane potential, segment by segment. This produces a rapid spread of the transient reversal in polarity along the nerve-fibre. When the impulse arrives at the axon terminal, the neuron next in line is affected so that its generating influence is modified to excite or inhibit and determine whether the next step will 'fire'. Back-up of electrical impulses that fail to complete the crossing of the synaptic juncture can cause 'explosions', an increased sense of nervousness often accompanied by headaches. This involves an imbalance in the alternating functions which, in the case of man, can be affected by introducing strong currents of harmonious thought.

 Electrical phenomena on the physical plane are produced by the interruption of the force of electricity. In the eighteenth century, when its effects began to be explored, people indulged in playing with its potential as much as experimenting with it. There was the delicious jolt produced in party games and the example of the entire company of the French king's ward who were made to jump with one accord whilst holding hands. Not to be left in the shade, a three-kilometre-long line of monks did the same thing, proving to everyone's amazement that no matter how long the chain of people, all were shocked at the same moment. Eventually, after the harnessing of electrical energy had been more carefully experimented with, the possibility of electrifying towns and cities became a politically desirable goal. In a famous utterance, Nikolai Lenin once defined Communism as "Soviet government plus the electrification of the whole country".

 As more began to be discovered about electrical activity, its dual nature became increasingly apparent. It could enliven and kill with equal rapidity, and it was also seen to be intimately involved in processes of cohesion as well as decomposition. Scientists learnt that they could use it to decompose water into separated hydrogen and oxygen elements. By forcing an electrical current into other compounds (electrolysis), potassium was liberated from potash, sodium from soda, and later calcium, strontium, barium, magnesium and others were separated out of their naturally formed compounds by this method. Such chemical transformations involve the rearrangement of molecular structure, which brings one back to the definition of electricity as the cause of molecular motion in the physical universe. The 'reality' of the stuff (chemical elements and compounds) which we call matter is revealed to be extremely unstable at best when one reflects upon the continual work of electricity. They are minute 'knots' of Fohat, possessing tenuous life-cycles individually but participating in a much broader scheme of disintegration and reformation.

 The flow of electricity is so penetrating and instantaneous that the analogy with water suggested by terms like 'flow' and 'current' soon becomes inadequate. The simple example of a lamp provides a ready illustration. Electrical power is transmitted through a wire by electrostatic forces of repulsion and attraction. When a lamp filament glows, the power to keep it hot is delivered to it by the electrostatic forces acting on its electrons. This results from repulsion on them by one end of the filament which has an excess of electrons, or attraction by the other which has a deficiency of them, or both. If, however, the charges on the ends of the filament were not maintained by continual pumping of electrons against electrostatic forces at the source of power, the current flowing through the lamp would draw off the excess electrons and fill up the deficiency in less than a millionth of a second. This ubiquitous and instantaneous force expresses itself in and is part of a coherent and intelligent pattern within a vast etheric field, which itself swells with the electric potential source of electrical phenomena.

 The concept of some sort of etheric matrix is intrinsically logical and also necessary to the notion of potential energy, to an explanation of elasticity, and for any conception of the complex forces which unite and hold together the discrete-seeming particles of matter in the physical universe. Einstein himself came to think that "space without ether is unthinkable", here using the word which, in theosophical terminology, would refer to the lower level of the Astral Light. This would be the upadhi of Ether referred to, in which electricity, light and heat, etc., correlate to produce their terrestrial effects. The omnipresence of such a matrix is necessary to understand the instantaneous transmission of communication over a wire or, later, a wireless transmitter and receiver. The near elimination of the time factor renders inadequate the usual mechanical explanations. It is only through the interruptions of the current (produced by dots and dashes or by voice modulations) that the element of time is made apparent. Without any interruption, the current continuously flows, but in the phenomenal world constant interference results in the manifestation of electrical effects. The recognition of this fact provided the basis for inventions like the telephone, where sound-waves are translated into a varying electric current and then back again into sound-waves. It all has to do with electrical resistance to a current flow. In a varying current the magnetic force continually changes, enabling it to induce a complementary image of itself. This is the basis of the alternating-current power distribution widespread in the world.

  The ideal sort of alternation in terms of which all alternating-current machines are designed is sinusoidal variation with time. This variation involves the alternation of very high voltages and correspondingly low currents and low losses of power in resistance. These are made practicable by transformers which operate according to the laws of induced electromotive forces. If one hundred and ten thousand volts are needed on a long transmission line, a transformer at a generating station may have to take the power from a generator designed to supply only five thousand volts. Transformers can step up the voltage to the required one hundred and ten thousand volts and step it down gradually at the other end of the line. A transformer in a distributing station steps it down to something of the order of ten thousand volts for local distribution. Others step it down further for industrial and household uses. In transforming power to a higher voltage one must expect a lower current. The law of conservation of energy demands this, and it is realized through a serpentine movement in relation to the magnetic field in an iron core.

 The suggestion of a serpentine movement invokes the image of the caduceus, especially when this is viewed in relation to the fact that an alternating-current of, say, sixty cycles involves a current which changes from maximum strength one way, through zero, to maximum strength the other way and back, through zero, to maximum strength the first way. The flux density changes in similar cycles so that the time in which it alters from maximum to zero, or vice versa, is a quarter of a cycle. The curved path of the Kundalini shakti, which brings about continuous adjustments of internal and external relations, is also suggested by such dynamic electrical patterns. One can see in them the complex activity of all the six Shaktis even as they are ever directed by Fohat.

 The mind of man, lit up by this essentially Divine Light, has perceived in the world of phenomena many subtle effects that have spawned a whole realm of electronic progeny. One of these is the cathode ray, which carries a negative charge, is virtually massless and moves at an enormous speed. In 1879 the English scientist Sir William Crookes first recognized that its cause was due to the impact of negatively charged particles (later called electrons) which were repelled electrostatically by the cathode. Eventually it was discovered that the ray could be directed through a grid whose complex patterns, made up of tiny negative points (which will repel the ray) and positive points (which will permit the ray to pass through), can result in the images seen on television screens as well as the millions of electrical decisions within the capacity of the electronic computer. When one thinks of the sorts of images and messages that are so frequently communicated, there seems to be little connection between them and the Fohatic intelligence which lies at their ultimate source. And yet, at every level, electricity is both life-giving and death-dealing. The coded messages, the endless words and pictures, either act to open up the higher centres in the human heart where the sushumna ray lies slumbering, or they do the opposite, contributing to the obscuration of the primordial Light of Daiviprakriti.

 Electricity and magnetism are but the agents of this Divine Force marshalled under the intelligent guiding hand of Fohat and its offshoots. Man experiences the impact of this Force at all levels of his being and in every dimension of the natural and artificial world around him. He can see in every form of nature the force of opposition to outside change operating in line with the laws of electromagnetic induction. In reaction to external forces, every structure and complex organism is vitalized by the electric force arising within it. Even the most unconscious reaction faithfully generates this spark which can produce increase, change and transformation. A thoughtful person can identify this effect in his or her own mental process. Even as the mind reacts to outside stimuli, it becomes charged with new potentials. One may smilingly recall the comic book illustration of the dawning of an idea. It is often depicted as an instantly radiating light bulb hovering over the head of the hero. The light goes on, so to speak, when the spark of intuitive awareness charges the filament of the conscious mind. It is now known that gradations of concentrated thought can be measured electrically. The 'light bulb' effect remains even after some individuals have left a room, whilst others barely emit a spark. Those who have developed the potency of strong meditation can generate an electromagnetic force which persists long after the instrument which acted as its channel has gone. This is surely a form of induction involving 'transformers' capable of handling very high voltage over long distances.

 The 'transformers' in a man of meditation have a tenacious core fabricated of the solid strength of spiritual will. Around these cores the alternating lines of current are coiled so as to enable the stepping up of receptive energy from the lower to the higher lotus centres and the stepping down of higher energy as it flows to its various points of distribution. The true Yogin knows how this can be done in both directions, and he possesses an intimate knowledge of these transformer-chakras and their capabilities. When the transformation of power to a higher voltage has taken place, there is indeed a lowering of the currents within the vestures. A deep calmness ensues, which is attended by a slowness in metabolic rates and an effortlessness in breathing. A perfect conservation of energy is realized whilst the caduceus-like movement of the alternating currents merge the above with the below and the below with the above. The flow becomes ubiquitous and instantaneous, as if the whole sevenfold nature had been lifted to the realm of the Akashic matrix in which "the Sons of Fohat" combine to produce the noumenal effects of electricity, light and heat. Suffused with this Divine Current, the fortunate disciple experiences a subtle rearrangement of the astral molecular structure making up the vestures, and an effortless balance between the positive and negative forces within and around is attained.

 This is the potential condition of all human beings. It points to the eventual realization of the vital spark of individual existence which connects us with the Unmanifest, Eternal, Deathless, the One Source of all Life, Parabrahm. The Yogin of Compassion extends out his own electrical essence to us so that, bathed in its fluid, we might glimpse within us the light of the sushumna ray. Sages act like Fohat, tirelessly working to bring together and disperse endlessly changing and evolving modes and structures which can further the process of soul evolution. Through their selfless vestures the pure androgynous Light of Daiviprakriti shines forth as if they were themselves the nuclei of all the self-moving orbs of the cosmos. To this exalted end, all of the vast electromagnetic potential within us is consecrated. It is the bequest of the Divine Logos, whose beam shines in the cave of our heart and whose light showers forth its benediction, like a deathless flame of faith in the best which is yet to be.

Into two parts the Logos divided:
Male and female, positive and negative.
And the alternating-current of Serpent Fire
Coursed downward in the Caduceus Dance.