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The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2:2-12

While the seven human groups all appeared around the North Pole, they slowly migrated westwards and southwards to different portions of the Earth globe. Over scores of millions of years, the tilt of the Earth's axis changed due to a series of successive global cataclysms. This resulted in new continents rising and old continents sinking. It also resulted in very different temperatures on the different portions of the Earth globe over the ages. As H.P. Blavatsky pointed out in The Secret Doctrine 1:11, Greenland and even Spitsbergen once had "almost a tropical climate." In some previous age, the North Pole was obviously exposed to more sunlight. In a general way, the evolution of a Root-Race can be said to develop on one specific "continent." This statement is not quite true since each Root-Race extends all over the globe, but its kernel of individualized activity at certain periods in its life cycle is focused on one continent. Since humanity is currently in its Fifth Root-Race, H.P. Blavatsky enumerated five continents inhabited by the first five Root-Races.

  1. THE IMPERISHABLE SACRED LAND: Many world mythologies tell of an island rising out of the waters of the ocean at the beginning of mankind's evolution. The island may be under the water or above the water during the seven Root-Races, but it never fundamentally changes geologically. This is because the Earth expands and shrinks throughout its cycles along the equator (like a Pufferfish) and not from the poles. The Paiute Indians in the American West recounted stories of Wolf (the Father-God) and Coyote (the Trickster-God) both appearing on such an island. When Coyote--as a symbol of mankind--left the island, he migrated to the various portions of the Earth globe, awakening the human groups that he encountered. In Paul Radin's The Trickster on pages 11-12, he related a story told by the Winnebago Indians in the Midwest of Wakdjunkaga (Trickster) leaving his village only to find himself lost in an endless ocean. He keeps asking the fishes if they know where the shore is, but none of them do. He is "forced to remain in the water swimming about aimlessly." Over time, he realizes that the "shore" is right there exactly where he has been swimming. The island has stretched itself out above the waters alongside him in a southwestwardly direction over a period of ages, symbolized by Wakdjunkaga's aimless swimming. Therefore, Trickster represents humanity and "what happens to him happens to us." In Giving Birth to Thunder, Sleeping with his Daughter on page xviii, Carl Jung asserted that Trickster (Coyote) represents "God, man, and animal at once." Throughout the seven Root-Races, humanity goes through phases where it sequentially possesses all three of these qualities. The First Root-Race is more "God" than "man" or "animal."

  2. THE HYPERBOREAN: As H.P. Blavatsky observed, the second continent "stretched out its promontories southward and westward from the North Pole" into Northern Asia. When the Winnebago Trickster finds land after his aimless swimming, he now personifies the Second Root-Race. That is, Wakdjunkaga has four children, and in the Hyperborean regions of the Earth he is living through his figurative second "child." Of course, the Second Root-Race did not yet possess speech, so the Winnebago Indians tell a funny story in Paul Radin's account on pages 13-14 about Wakdjunkaga trying and failing to communicate with a tree stump. But he gains speech as the tales continue. Paul Radin noted on page 133 that Trickster was "gradually evolving from an amorphous, instinctual and unintegrated being into one with the lineaments of man and one foreshadowing man's psychic traits." The Second Root-Race is still "God" but quietly emerging into a new phase as "man."

  3. THE LEMURIAN: In the southern hemisphere, the Lemurian continent stretched from Madagascar, Africa across the Indian Ocean to Australia and further into the Pacific Ocean. But it even extended into the northern Atlantic Ocean. In Lemuria, the Third Root-Race experienced a sexual transformation. H.P. Blavatsky traced this transformation in The Secret Doctrine 2:2-3 when the "sexless" races of the Second Root-Race became the "Androgynes" and then the "sexual" races in the "later" Third Root-Race. In Paul Radin's account of Trickster on pages 19-20, the Winnebago Indians provide a hilarious tale of Wakdjunkaga learning to have sex. He ties a rock to his penis and hurls it across an enormous lake in an attempt to penetrate the Chief's daughter on the other side. After multiple attempts, he finally succeeds. But the rock becomes lodged in her and so he cannot withdraw himself. His friends must find the 'Old Woman' because only she knows how to dislodge the rock and set him free. She straddles his penis, hits him with her awl, and forces the "First-born" to "pull it out!" This sounds like a strange tale, but it represents the thinking of early mankind. There must have been a lot of fun and laughter in the teenage years of humanity. This tale worked its way into the cultural milieu of many Native American tribes. When the Spanish explorers initially landed in the New World, they found many such sexual contraptions used by Native Americans that prevented their own soldiers, as well as the indigenous warriors, from voluntarily ending coitus with a woman. Similarly, the Winnebago accounts on page 23 tell of Wakdjunkaga interchangeably shapeshifting from a man to a woman. He even gets pregnant and gives birth. These tales hearken back to earlier Lemurian times and keep alive the Native American memory of their ancestors. The Third Root-Race, a humanity that eats, defecates, and engages in sex, is now more "man" than "God." Finally, it should be mentioned that when H.P. Blavatsky referred to the "Adami or dark Race" sliding into "generation" first and the "Sarku or light Race" remaining "pure for a long while subsequently" in The Secret Doctrine 2:5, it is not a reference to the people of Africa. Africa as a continent did not exist yet. It is an allusion to the fact that human groups who migrate south of the equator become dark-skinned sooner (due to environmental conditions) than human groups who remain north of the equator. This sexual transformation of the Lemurians primarily took place south of the equator after the 4th Sub-Race of the Third Root-Race among the Adami people while the Sarku people as the 7th Sub-Race of the Third Root-Race headed north into Central Asia. On this subject, H.P. Blavatsky made her position clear in The Secret Doctrine 2:425 that any reason "for dividing humanity into superior and inferior races falls to the ground and becomes a fallacy."

  4. THE ATLANTEAN: H.P. Blavatsky did not elaborate on the Atlantean continent in these early pages except to say that Plato's "famous island" was only a "fragment of this great Continent." Suffice to say, the Atlanteans took over the Lemurian lands in the northern Atlantic Ocean. In Atlantis in the Fourth Root-Race, the fall from "God" to "man" to "animal" becomes complete. In many Native American traditions, the number 4 signifies completion. The "God" and the "man" have now become "animal." In the Winnebago tales on page 38, it is at this stage that Wakdjunkaga finally learns where to properly place his genitals. Originally, his penis was "so large" that he had to "carry it on his back," but Chipmunk gnawed enough of it off so that he could carry it "underneath." The Nez Perce Indians of the Pacific Northwest narrate how a group of maidens had to saw off Trickster's enormous penis to use as a dam to create a waterfall for the local village, per Deward E. Walker's account in Nez Perce Coyote Tales on page 179. Here, Trickster masters sacrifice. These stories of sexual transformation also found their way into the cultural milieu of many Native American tribes. They explain why the buttocks and testicles of Trickster are found imprinted in Rock Art as a symbol of his last meal before he ascends into the great "ocean" (Astral light) within the boulder or escarpment (Physical) and into the "heavens" (Ether and Aether), per Paul Radin's account on page 53.

  5. AMERICA: For H.P. Blavatsky, the fifth continent is America. But then she followed up her remark with the cryptic phrase that America is "situated at the Antipodes," thereby making Europe and Asia Minor (almost "coeval" with it) the fifth continent. This means that there are certain portions of America that are antipodal to the geographical Third Root-Race. That is, the Fifth Root-Race and the Third Root-Race mirror each other. In fact, "America" and the floor bed of the Indian Ocean (where the remnants of the Third Root-Race peacefully rest under its sonorous waters) are antipodes. But since America as it exists in the future will also be the home of the Sixth Root-Race, H.P. Blavatsky acknowledged that it was not fair to label it as the main kernel of individualized activity for the Fifth Root-Race. When the new lands rise in "America" facilitating the migration of Sixth Root-Race groups into the Pacific Ocean region, a certain portion of these new lands will be antipodal to Central Asia, the original home of the Second Root-Race (and only appropriated later by the 7th Sub-Race of the Third Root-Race). Therefore, H.P. Blavatsky used "Antipodes" as a plural term for the relationships of the geographical Fifth Root-Race and the Third Root-Race as well as the geographical Sixth Root-Race and the Second Root-Race. As G. de Purucker mentioned in Dialogues 2:158, Root-Races end "in the south below the equator" and the Sixth Root-Race in the Pacific Ocean region will prove no exception. It should be added that these relationships between "Antipodes" can be equally applied psychologically to the Fifth Root-Race and the Third Root-Race or the Sixth Root-Race and the Second Root-Race; the middle point that both sets of opposites cross through is the Fourth Root-Race. With the destruction of the Fourth Root-Race in its "animal" phase many millions of years ago, the Fifth Root-Race has been occupied on an upward arc trying to live through the "man" and "God" aspects of itself once again. H.P. Blavatsky often referred to the Fifth Root-Race as the "Aryan" or the "Indo-Aryan" Root-Race, but the term "Aryan" has become so pejorative due to tragic circumstances in the 20th century that this commentary will sometimes use the term "Adamic" instead. It is a perfectly acceptable term for the Fifth Root-Race, as she explained its usage in The Secret Doctrine 2:3-4. The name "Adam" is used "as a term for mankind." It is a "collective" name. The name "Adamas" relates to the "primitive man from the bosom of the Earth" in the Third Root-Race as the "Archetype of the first males in the order of generation." The Fifth Root-Race comes from the Third Root-Race in a blend of hereditary lines from the Adami and Sarku. When the human mind blossoms into its flowering, the Fifth Root-Race is truly Adamic and representative of all mankind.


H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine (Pasadena: Theosophical University Press, 2019).

G. de Purucker, The Dialogues of G. de Purucker (Pasadena: Theosophical University Press, 1948).

Paul Radin, The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology with commentaries by Karl Kerenyi and C.G. Jung (New York: Schocken Books, 1972).

Deward E. Walker, Jr., Nez Perce Coyote Tales: The Myth Cycle (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998).

(Photo by Guillaume Baudusseau on Unsplash)

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