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Volume 2:675-689

In Chapter III, H.P. Blavatsky reprised the evolution of the five Root-Races in relation to embryonic recapitulation.

  1. (Chapter III). THE FOSSIL RELICS OF MAN AND THE ANTHROPOID APE: In The Secret Doctrine 2:684-686, H.P. Blavatsky reiterated the stages of the first three Root-Races: "the Spiritual, the semi-astral, and the semi-human." These three stages correlate with the three transitional stages of the germ plasm from the life-principle of Prana to the Astral mold within the physical Sthula-Sarira. Then the stages of the Fourth and Fifth Root-Races follow, which are loosely assigned to "Palaeolithic and Neolithic man" due to the scientific division of her time. Thus, there are five Root-Races throughout the world's religious traditions. In Works and Days in Verses 92-194, Hesiod outlined the sequence: 1) a "golden race of mortal men" 2) a "lesser, silver race of men" 3) a "race of bronze, sprung from the ash tree, worse than the silver race" 4) a "godlike race of heroes" 5) a "race of iron," the "fifth" who "live now on the fertile earth." Then Hesiod wept over the actions of the Fifth Root-Race, " I wish I were not of this race, that I had died before, or had not yet been born." In the Navajo tradition in Sweet Salt on pages 51-52, the same sequence occurs. Raymond Friday Locke plotted its development, "When the people had been expelled from the First World for their transgressions; then from the Second World for the same reason, and, yet again from the Third World, because they still hadn't learned to behave themselves, they entered the Fourth World, which was very much like this Fifth (and present) World." He enumerated their order: 1) a race of Insect People consisting of twelve divisions around a central pole who gradually took on human form 2) a race of winged Swallow People 3) a race of Grasshopper People who lived in holes along the banks of the great rivers 4) the early Human People, such as the Pueblos and Anasazi 5) the modern Human People, under the leadership of the cunning Coyote who continually caused trouble. Raymond Friday Locke admitted on page 69 that there is also a "sixth world" and even more worlds (Root-Races) beyond. In theosophy, the First and Second Root-Races were the fish-people whose existence is recapitulated in modern human embryonic development with "gill clefts" in their necks. Depending on the tilt of the Earth's axis, the basins around the North Pole either drained or filled with water. Therefore, the earliest Root-Races swam in the waters of those basins as the human-fishes. By the Third Root-Race, humanity had migrated (perhaps swimming like Coyote) south of the equator, the cradle of modern mankind or Lemuria. As the form of mankind assumed a consistent shape (unlike the very inconsistent shapes of the Second Root-Race), it settled into a bipedal ape-like appearance by the close of the Third Root-Race. But the animal and mammalian kingdoms continued to specialize in appearance and function. The apes, for example, were a later specialized alteration from biped to quadruped--a reversion back to the type of their original animal "mother" earlier in the Third Root-Race. H.P. Blavatsky noted that the "mammals, whose first races are discovered in the marsupials of the Triassic rocks of the Secondary period, were evolved from purely astral progenitors contemporary with the Second Race." Further, "They are thus post-Human, and, consequently, it is easy to account for the general resemblance between their embryonic stages and those of Man, who necessarily embraces in himself and epitomizes in his development the features of the group he orginated."


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

Hesiod and Theognis, Theogony, Works and Days, Elegies, trans. Dorothea Wonder (London: Penguin Books, 1973).

Raymond Friday Locke, Sweet Salt: Discovering the Sacred World of the Navajo (Los Angeles: Mankind Publishing Company, 2001).

(Photo by David Clode on Unsplash)

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