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Imaginal Evolution

By "Imaginal Evolution" I mean evolution in the subtle physical or imaginal realm. This has been described in great detail by Theosophy and Anthroposophy, and is also found in Theosophically-inspired elements of the New Age, Channeled communications, and so on.

According to H. P. Blavatsky, the human race passes through a number of Root Races, beginning with the huge ethereal and mindless Polarian or First Root Race, through the Lemurian (3rd), Atlantean (4th) and our present "Aryan" 5th Race. This will give rise to a future, Post-Aryan 6th Root Race of highly spiritual and enlightened beings, and an even more sublime 7th Root Race, before ascending to totally superhuman and cosmic states of existence.

This process occurs both collectively and through the succession of individual reincarnation and spiritual evolution

Blavatsky's ideas were further developed by her successors, such as C.W. Leadbeater, Rudolph Steiner, and Alice Bailey, each of whom went into great detail in constructing baroque cycles of rounds, races, and sub-races.

Although including elements of the science of her day as well as both eastern and western esoteric thought, Blavatsky rejected the Darwinian idea that man evolved from apes, and most subsequent esotericists followed this lead. Darwinism, with its explanation of evolution through material factors like natural selection and random mutation, does not sit well with many spiritual evolutionists, for whom evolution is initiated or guided by metaphysical principles or is tending towards a final spiritual or divine state.

Despite this, Theosophists and Anthroposophists have tried to incorporate the facts of geology and paleontology into their cosmology and spiritual evolution (in Anthroposophy Hermann Poppelbaum is a particularly creative thinker in this regard). Some have attempted to equate Lemuria with Gondwana, for example. Today all these ideas have little influence outside their specialised followings, but for a time Theosophical concepts were immensely influential.

My thesis is that the Theosophists are describinga real phenomenon, but it does not correspond to teh gross physical. it is pointless looking to continental drift or archeology to find evidence of Lemuria and Atlantis. These things have to be understood from an Imaginal perspective. They are real processes, events, and eras (albeit distorted through the clairvoyant's own subconscious), but not objectively physical. What I find intriguing are parallels between Rudolf Steiner and Ken Wilber; both tapping in in different ways to the same phenomenon. From this perspective, Jenny Gidley's essay on Integral Evolution is also of great interest.

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
this page contains elements of material I wrote for the Wikipedia link Wikipedia page on Spiritual evolution
page uploaded 16 May 2008