The doctrine of the Planetary Chain is interwoven with the teachings on the Evolution of Monadic “Life-Waves,” the doctrine of Hierarchies of Beings, the Evolution and Constitution of Man, etc. Ultimately, these must be studied together as a single multi-faceted teaching. Here we simply outline the teachings on the Constitution or Structure of a Planetary Chain.


On “The Earth Chain” from the Ocean of Theosophy by W. Q. Judge

Coming now to our Earth the view put forward by Theosophy regarding its genesis, its evolution and the evolution of the Human, Animal and other Monads, is quite different from modern ideas, and in some things contrary to accepted theories. . . .

The Earth is sevenfold. It is an entity and not a mere lump of gross matter. And being thus an entity of a septenary nature there must be six other globes which roll with it in space. This company of seven globes has been called the “Earth Chain,” the “Planetary Chain.” In Esoteric Buddhism this is clearly stated, but there a rather hard and fast materialistic view of it is given and the reader led to believe that the doctrine speaks of seven distinct globes, all separated from though connected with each other. One is forced to conclude that the author meant to say that the globe Earth is as distinct from the other six as Venus is from Mars.

This is not the doctrine. The earth is one of seven globes, in respect to man’s consciousness only, because when he functions on one of the seven he perceives it as a distinct globe and does not see the other six. This is in perfect correspondence with man himself who has six other constituents of which only the gross body is visible to him because he is now functioning on the Earth—or the fourth globe—and his body represents the Earth. The whole seven “globes” constitute one single mass or great globe and they all interpenetrate each other. But we have to say “globe,” because the ultimate shape is globular or spherical. If one relies too closely on the explanation made by Mr. Sinnett it might be supposed that the globes did not interpenetrate each other but were connected by currents or lines of magnetic force. And if too close attention is paid to the diagrams used in the Secret Doctrine to illustrate the scheme, without paying due regard to the explanations and cautions given by H. P. Blavatsky, the same error may be made. But both she and her Adept teachers say, that the seven globes of our chain are in “coadunation with each other but not in consubstantiality” (Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 166, first edition). This is further enforced by cautions not to rely on statistics or plane surface diagrams, but to look at the metaphysical and spiritual aspect of the theory as stated in English. Thus from the very source of Mr. Sinnett’s book we have the statement, that these globes are united in one mass though differing from each other in substance, and that this difference of substance is due to change of center of consciousness.

The Earth Chain of seven globes as thus defined is the direct reincarnation of a former chain of seven globes, and that former family of seven was the moon chain, the moon itself being the visible representative of the fourth globe of the old chain. When that former vast entity composed of the Moon and six others, all united in one mass, reached its limit of life it died just as any being dies. Each one of the seven sent its energies into space and gave similar life or vibration to cosmic dust—matter,—and the total cohesive force of the whole kept the seven energies together. This resulted in the evolving of the present Earth Chain of seven centers of energy or evolution combined in one mass. As the Moon was the fourth of the old series it is on the same plane of perception as the Earth, and as we are now confined in our consciousness largely to Earth we are able only to see one of the old seven—to wit: our Moon. When we are functioning on any of the other seven we will perceive in our sky the corresponding old corpse which will then be a Moon, and we will not see the present Moon. Venus, Mars, Mercury and other visible planets are all fourth-plane globes of distinct planetary masses and for that reason are visible to us, their companion six centers of energy and consciousness being invisible. All diagrams on plane surfaces will only becloud the theory because a diagram necessitates linear divisions.


On the “Septenary Constitution of our Planet” from the Key to Theosophy by H. P. Blavatsky

Enquirer: I understand that you describe our earth as forming part of a chain of earths?

Theosophist: We do. But the other six “earths” or globes, are not on the same plane of objectivity as our earth is; therefore we cannot see them.

Enquirer: Is that on account of the great distance?

Theosophist: Not at all, for we see with our naked eye planets and even stars at immeasurably greater distances; but it is owing to those six globes being outside our physical means of perception, or plane of being. It is not only that their material density, weight, or fabric are entirely different from those of our earth and the other known planets; but they are (to us) on an entirely different layer of space, so to speak; a layer not to be perceived or felt by our physical senses. And when I say “layer,” please do not allow your fancy to suggest to you layers like strata or beds laid one over the other, for this would only lead to another absurd misconception. What I mean by “layer” is that plane of infinite space which by its nature cannot fall under our ordinary waking perceptions, whether mental or physical; but which exists in nature outside of our normal mentality or consciousness, outside of our three dimensional space, and outside of our division of time. Each of the seven fundamental planes (or layers) in space—of course as a whole, as the pure space of Locke’s definition, not as our finite space—has its own objectivity and subjectivity, its own space and time, its own consciousness and set of senses. But all this will be hardly comprehensible to one trained in the modern ways of thought.

Enquirer: What do you mean by a different set of senses? Is there anything on our human plane that you could bring as an illustration of what you say, just to give a clearer idea of what you may mean by this variety of senses, spaces, and respective perceptions?

Theosophist: None; except, perhaps, that which for Science would be rather a handy peg on which to hang a counter-argument. We have a different set of senses in dream-life, have we not? We feel, talk, hear, see, taste and function in general on a different plane; the change of state of our consciousness being evidenced by the fact that a series of acts and events embracing years, as we think, pass ideally through our mind in one instant. Well, that extreme rapidity of our mental operations in dreams, and the perfect naturalness, for the time being, of all the other functions, show us that we are on quite another plane. Our philosophy teaches us that, as there are seven fundamental forces in nature, and seven planes of being, so there are seven states of consciousness in which man can live, think, remember and have his being. To enumerate these here is impossible, and for this one has to turn to the study of Eastern metaphysics. But in these two states—the waking and the dreaming—every ordinary mortal, from a learned philosopher down to a poor untutored savage, has a good proof that such states differ.

Enquirer: You do not accept, then, the well-known explanations of biology and physiology to account for the dream state?

Theosophist: We do not. We reject even the hypotheses of your psychologists, preferring the teachings of Eastern Wisdom. Believing in seven planes of Kosmic being and states of Consciousness, with regard to the Universe or the Macrocosm, we stop at the fourth plane, finding it impossible to go with any degree of certainty beyond. But with respect to the Microcosm, or man, we speculate freely on his seven states and principles.

Enquirer: How do you explain these?

Theosophist: We find, first of all, two distinct beings in man; the spiritual and the physical, the man who thinks, and the man who records as much of these thoughts as he is able to assimilate. Therefore we divide him into two distinct natures; the upper or the spiritual being, composed of three “principles” or aspects; and the lower or the physical quaternary, composed of four—in all seven.


On the “Planetary Chain” from The Secret Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky

The one eternal Law unfolds everything in the (to be) manifested Nature on a sevenfold principle; among the rest, the countless circular chains of worlds, composed of seven globes, graduated on the four lower planes of the world of formation (the three others belonging to the Archetypal Universe). Out of these seven only one, the lowest and the most material of those globes, is within our plane or means of perception, the six others lying outside of it and being therefore invisible to the terrestrial eye. Every such chain of worlds is the progeny and creation of another, lower, and dead chain—its reincarnation, so to say. To make it clearer: we are told of the planets—of which seven only were held as sacred, as being ruled by the highest regents or gods, and not at all because the ancients knew nothing of the others—that each of these, whether known or unknown, is a septenary, as is the chain to which the Earth belongs. For instance, all such planets as Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, etc., etc., or our Earth, are as visible to us as our globe, probably, is to the inhabitants of the other planets, if any, because they are all on the same plane; while the superior fellow-globes of these planets are on other planes quite outside that of our terrestrial senses. . . .

These invisible companions correspond curiously to that which we call “the principles in Man.” The seven are on three material planes and one spiritual plane, answering to the three Upadhis (material bases) and one spiritual vehicle (Vahan) of our seven principles in the human division. If, for the sake of a clearer mental conception, we imagine the human principles to be arranged as in the following scheme, we shall obtain the annexed diagram of correspondences:

 HUMAN PRINCIPLES.

 PLANETARY DIVISION.

The dark horizontal lines of the lower planes are the Upadhis in one case, and the planes in the case of the planetary chain. Of course, as regards the human principles, the diagram does not place them quite in order, yet it shows the correspondence and analogy to which attention is now drawn. As the reader will see, it is a case of descent into matter, the adjustment—in both the mystic and the physical senses—of the two, and their interblending for the great coming “struggle of life” that awaits both the entities. “Entity” may be thought a strange term to use in the case of a globe; but the ancient philosophers, who saw in the earth a huge “animal,” were wiser in their generation than our modern geologists are in theirs. . . .

. . .

It is said that the planetary chains having their “Days” and their “Nights”—i.e., periods of activity or life, and of inertia or death—and behave in heaven as do men on Earth: they generate their likes, get old, and become personally extinct, their spiritual principles only living in their progeny as a survival of themselves.

Without attempting the very difficult task of giving out the whole process in all its cosmic details, enough may be said to give an approximate idea of it. When a planetary chain is in its last Round, its Globe 1 or A, before finally dying out, sends all its energy and “principles” into a neutral centre of latent force, a “laya centre,” and thereby informs a new nucleus of undifferentiated substance or matter, i.e., calls it into activity or gives it life. Suppose such a process to have taken place in the lunar “planetary” chain; suppose again, for argument’s sake . . . that the moon is far older than the Earth. Imagine the six fellow-globes of the moon—æons before the first globe of our seven was evolved—just in the same position in relation to each other as the fellow-globes of our chain occupy in regard to our Earth now. And now it will be easy to imagine further Globe A of the lunar chain informing Globe A of the terrestrial chain, and—dying; Globe B of the former sending after that its energy into Globe B of the new chain; then Globe C of the lunar, creating its progeny sphere C of the terrene chain; then the Moon (our Satellite) pouring forth into the lowest globe of our planetary ring—Globe D, our Earth—all its life, energy and powers; and, having transferred them to a new centre becoming virtually a dead planet, in which rotation has almost ceased since the birth of our globe. The Moon is now the cold residual quantity, the shadow dragged after the new body, into which her living powers and “principles” are transfused. She now is doomed for long ages to be ever pursuing the Earth, to be attracted by and to attract her progeny. . . .

. . .

For the benefit of those who may not have read, or, if they have, may not have clearly understood, in Theosophical writings, the doctrine of the septenary chains of worlds in the Solar Kosmos, the teaching is briefly thus:

1. Everything in the metaphysical as in the physical Universe is septenary. Hence every sidereal body, every planet, whether visible or invisible, is credited with six companion globes. The evolution of life proceeds on these seven globes or bodies from the 1st to the 7th in Seven Rounds or Seven Cycles.

2. These globes are formed by a process which the Occultists call the “rebirth of planetary chains (or rings).” When the seventh and last Round of one of such rings has been entered upon, the highest or first globe “A,” followed by all the others down to the last, instead of entering upon a certain time of rest—or “obscuration,” as in their previous Rounds—begins to die out. The “planetary” dissolution (pralaya) is at hand, and its hour has struck; each globe has to transfer its life and energy to another planet.

3. Our Earth, as the visible representative of its invisible superior fellow globes, its “lords” or “principles,” has to live, as have the others, through seven Rounds. During the first three, it forms and consolidates; during the fourth it settles and hardens; during the last three it gradually returns to its first ethereal form: it is spiritualised, so to say.

. . .

The general outline of the process by which the successive planetary chains are formed has just been given.

In the [following] diagram, Fig. 1 represents the “lunar-chain” of seven planets at the outset of its seventh or last Round; while Fig. 2 represents the “earth-chain” which will be, but is not yet in existence. The seven Globes of each chain are distinguished in their cyclic order by the letters A to G, the Globes of the Earth-chain being further marked by a cross— —the symbol of the Earth. . . .

 EARTH CHAIN.

 LUNAR CHAIN.

. . .

The following comparative diagram shows the identity between the two systems, the Kabalistic and the Eastern. . . .


Selected Writings on the Doctrine of Planetary Chains