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The Physical, Epipsychic, Mesopsychic, Endopsychic, and Numinocosmic states

Psychologically, reality - both individual and cosmic - is polarised: on the one hand there is the inner, intuitive, subjective, psychic, one the other the outer, sensory, rational,  objective, physical.  The former can be allegorically labelled "Night", the latter "Day".  Or to give a more precise terminology, psychic reality can be  referred to as the "Numinocosm", because it is the abode of "numen" or gods, while the physical reality can be termed the "Physicocosm."

Thus reality, and emanation, has both a "vertical" hierarchical (Atzilut to Brahmanda) and a "horizontal" dimension.

So we have the following psycho-cosmological scheme.  On the one hand (here represented on the right, as this is the side of the body traditionally associated with the "Day" polarity) there is external physical reality, the physical plane, "Day reality".  On the other hand there is the inner  psychic or "Night" reality (diagramatically repre-sented on the left), which unlike the "Day" reality is hierarchical.  It extends both vertically, as the  various planes of theosophical cosmology, and horizontally, as increasing levels of depth of psychic "Un"-consciousness.

In more detail, the horizontal dimension can be represented as a series of concentric circles.

In drawing a map of the visible and in-visible cosmos, we need to begin, by putting consciousness - ourself - in the middle.  So we have successive rings or layers, with the Ego, the central awareness, the point of maximum con-sciousness, in the centre.  And this is reasonable  enough.  For we only perceive reality through our  own consciousness, through our own individual  perspective.  Einstein's theory of relativity has to be extended to the metaphysical sphere as well!

So we begin with the immediate observing Witness-consciousness at the centre of the Ego.

After the Witness-consciousness is the Ego-consciousness.  This contains the faculties of Thinking, Feeling and Willing on the Psychic side, and Sensation on the Physical side.  It has already been suggested that Thinking is the attribute of the Mental body, Feeling of the Emotional body, and Willing of the Etheric body.  So the Thinking faculty of the Ego-consciousness is the individualised or central part of the Mental body, and so on.  This aspect of consciousness exists of course in objective PHYSICAL reality.  Level one.

The next circle constitutes the rest of the conscious psyche or the Ego-personality (thoughts, emotions, and desires), with the conscious physical experiences (hunger, thirst, etc) on the other side.  These phenomena of consciousness are more diffuse, less central, to the I-consciousness than thinking, feeling, sensation, etc.  In other words, here we have the etheric, emaotional and mental auras.

This region constitutes the EPIPSYCHIC reality, the macrocosmic equivalent of the Ego-consciousness and Ego-personality.  It constitutes not the in-dividual Ego, but the level of reality in which the Ego exists.  Now, the Ego comes about through the result of the juxtoposition of Physical and Psychic reality, in that psychic reality (the psyche) is projected into physical reality (the physical body).  In that way it is physicalised and becomes the Ego or physical consciousness.  So this level constitutes the level of the psyche in physical reality, experiencing that reality.  But the psyche, even when physicalised, is still not itself physical.  It may have taken on the na-ture and attributes, the imprint, of the physical, but it is still a psyche, although a psyche which is now far removed from the original pure non-physical psyche.

So I would use the term "Epipsychic" to designate this level; the Greek prefix epi- meaning "on" or "upon" (e.g. "epidermis", "epiphyte").

It is important to recognise however that all these divisions are just an arbitrary convention, to  help us understand these things.  It is easier for  the human mind to grasp things if they are cut up  into segments, or placed in boxes.  But there are no hard and fast dividing lines in the cosmos, just as there are no map-lines drawn in nature.  There is only a sort of continuum or spectrum; as for example in a rainbow.  You cannot give an exact point where  one colour ends and another begins, so Western cul-ture speaks of the seven colours of the rainbow, or  notes of the octave, and the Chinese only five colours and five notes.  It's all arbitrary.  In the same way, you can divide the various planes of ex-istence any way you wish.

Now we move to the next zone out, the MESOPSYCHIC reality.  In order to explain this zone, we need to go back to psychology for a moment.

In terms of the structure of the psyche, around or beneath the Ego, is the Personal Preconscious and Personal Unconscious.  These latter two constitute the part of the psyche that is  "unconscious."  And this Unconscious has its own distinct mode of mentation; a mentation that is symbolic, visual, and "magically" orientated.  This is the locus of dreams and word association.  Freud calls this mentation "primary process" thinking, in  order to distinguish it from the rational, abstract,  "secondary process" thinking of the conscious mind.

The fourth circle then includes the rest of the psyche: the Personal Preconscious, with the Personal Unconscious (shaded) attached to that.  This is made up of the outer aspect of the Etheric, Emotional, and Mental bodies and their respective auras.  Meanwhile, on the physical side, this circle includes the physical body.  This represents the boundary of the totality of the individual.  Beyond that are the various extra-individual planes of existence; the physical, psychic, and spiritual planes; reality "out there".

Unlike the Epipsychic, the Mesopsychic is an independent psychic reality, which retains its own  specific characteristics.  Those characteristics correspond to the characteristics and attributes of the personal unconscious (I am excluding here the  more conscious thought-forms of the Mental planes).  So the "primary process" way of thinking of the per-sonal unconscious is not something the personal unconscious invented by itself.  Rather, it is something the personal unconscious aquired from the  psychic reality.  Likewise, "secondary process" or  rational thinking is something the Ego aquired from  the physical reality, because physical reality is  "rational" in nature (witness the logical laws of science).

So it is not the case that man came first, and all  the psychic phenomena are ultimately derivable from man.  This reductionist attitude of modern psychology is akin to the opinion of the medieval philosophers, who said man is at the centre of the  universe.  This may be phenomenologically and symbolically true of course, for the observing consciousness is at the centre of its universe.  But it is not objectively true.  Objectively, then, we would have:

"Primary process"
(e.g. dreams) 
"Secondary process"
(e.g. reason)

The inner and outer psychic reality

The Mesosphychic, then, is not "physicalised".  It is closer to the nature of the Numinocosmos.  But on the other hand it is still close enough to the physical to have been infused with the entities of the physical.  Hence this is the region of numerous  spirits, thought-forms, and so on.  All these entities and psychic formations form a kind of belt or zone surrounding the Earth; a sort of peri-physical ("around the physical" - from the Greek prefix peri- meaning "around", e.g. "perimeter").  This corresponds to the "astral plane" of popular occultism (as in the various "astral projection" books).  Or, to be more precise, it includes, as segments, the Astral-Subphysical plane, the Lower-Astral plane, the Mid-Astral plane, the Emotional plane, and the Mental planes.   So we have first the Physical reality; behind that the physicalised Epipsychic zone; and behind that again the Mesopsychic.

Level four is even more removed from ordinary reality, and stands in the same relation to the Mesopsychic as the Mesopsychic stands to the Epipsychic.   This is the ENDOPSYCHIC.  ("Endo" - within).  It could also be termed the Apophysical.  The prefix apo- means "away from" (e.g. apogee, apostate), as this is the psychic reality which is as far away from the Physical as it is possible to be while still containing influences from it.  It is at the very border of the Physicocosm and the Numinocosm.  This is the zone of the more distant astral planes; the various religious heaven-worlds and built-up thought-forms.  It contains entities from the physical universe, for  example "souls" who have made there way there, but also entities from the Numinocosm.  These entities can be described as gods (with a small "g").

The true home and locus of these gods is in the Numinocosmos.  But in some cases they may establish an empire in the Apophysical, in order to attract and ensnare human personalities.

It is important to distinguish between the Mental, Emotional, and Higher Astral planes of the Physicocosm - that is, the Mesopsychic and Endopsychic/Apophysical planes - which are the lesser planes,  and the greater Mental, Emotional, and Higher Astral  planes of the Psychocosmos or Numinocosmos.

The Mental, Emotional, and Higher Astral bodies are built up from the lesser Mental, Emotional, and Higher Astral planes.  But the actual  Numinocosmos itself, and the various experiences and  phenomena that flow from it, originate in the greater Mental, Emotional, and Higher Astral planes.

Thus, the Astral Plane as is usually understood in popular occultism is not the Greater, but the Lesser, Astral Plane.  This is the region of human personalities after physical death, and also of experiences such as "astral travelling".  It is  less frequently that humans intrude upon the Greater Astral Plane and the other Numinocosmic regions, but it does happen, whether consciously, as for example in Qabalistic Ritual  Magic, where the magician deliberately invokes in-telligences of these realms, or accidentally, as with the yogi who when he or she reaches a certain level of psycho-spiritual development becomes side-tracked into or trapped by these realms (Sri Aurobindo's definition of the "intermediate zone").

The NUMINOCOSM includes the Greater Astral, Greater Emotional, and Greater Mental planes.  For this great realm is itself graded, and consists of a number of different levels or zones of reality, each with its own specific characteristics and gods.

These gods, although not themselves Divine, and although playing no actual part in the creation of the cosmos (as the gods and spirits of the etheric planes do), are nevertheless very attractive and alluring to humans, especially to those people  who do not have the sufficent intellectual discrimination and emotional maturity to realise the Divine in themself.  These people, looking for some greater Meaning or Purpose in their lives, and not  realising this can only be found Within, may open themselves psychically to these forces and beings, and thus become ensnared by them, worshipping them as God-almighty.  It seems therefore that these beings and forces are the source of many psuedo-spiritual experiences.

And it is the Numinocosmos, the "collective unconscious" or "intermediate zone", that is responsible for the various psychic experiences that characterise many so-called religious states

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content by M.Alan Kazlev
this page uploaded 5 October 1999, last modified 15 June 2005
includes material originally uploaded 11 October 2000