Chapter 4: Cosmic Doctrine

Chapter IV. The Evolution of the Atom.

I had some confusion in this chapter, as several terms seem to be used interchangeably for several things. I have tried to iron out the terminology for myself below.

  • Rays create Tangents. These tangents appear to be "flavored" with the ray they came from.
  • Two tangents create a "vortex", also known as a "Prime atom", or a "prime vortex". The terms appear to be interchangeable.
  • "Prime Atoms" interact with other tangents, to create "Atoms" with up to 10 "sides" ( the #10 makes sense here, if each tangent to interact with an atom must be of a unique ray flavor, 2 initial tangents for the atom, leaves a maximum of 10 other tangents that can be involved )
  • Atoms can attach to as many other atoms as they have sides, forming "group" or "composites", which I think of as a "molecule"
  • Atoms are sorted, via centrifugal force, through the "Circles" or "Plains" (also once referred to as Rings in a parenthetical) with higher faceted atoms ending away from the central sun.

Some exploration of the bonding traits of atoms is explored, though I have several outstanding questions regarding it, including:
1) Can group become arbitrarily large? Yes if one triangle atom bonds with three other triangle atoms, can those other three triangle atoms also bond with more atoms?
2) Can atoms bond with other atoms of different dimensionality? It seems that this usually doesn't happen because atoms are segregated by dimensionality on different plains. It's not clear that this segregation is absolute though.

Finally, the idea of a complete circuit for an atom is explored with the atom tracing a path that covers all 12 rays, and then finally reaching equilibrium. In turn when all of the atoms have completed this journey, the whole system reaches equilibrium and the evolution of the cosmos ends. That is until there is a new "prime movement"

Line by Line investigation

We will recapitulate the teaching in relation the Rays, the Circles and the Vortices. The Rays and the Circles are part of the primary movement of the Cosmos. These, together with the Rings, remain constant in the Cosmos and are referred to as the Cosmic currents.

The only thing here that leaps out at me is that the "tangents" are now simply being referred to in their paired (or more) form as vortices

The Vortices are of another nature. The primary movements are circular, the Vortices start as straight movements which, encountering opposition, assume a secondary circular movement. There is therefore always a pair of forces concerned in the creation of the primal atom, and this fundamental duality extends into all combinations of which the atom is the base.

I'm not entirely sure here... when she says that Vortices start as a straight movement, I assume she is talking about the tangents. In my mind they become Vortices after they assume their secondary circular movement. That feels like semenatic hairsplitting.

More interestingly, What I am catching here is that there is always a pair of forces... I assume she means tangents that create the prime atom. I'm not if the implication is that these two forces have some aspect of the Ray that spawned them, or just that all atoms are essentially in a tension with themselves.

You will observe that whenever a particular sequence or series of units occur in the rhythmical functioning of a movement, that this series acts as the conditioning frame of whatever subsequent elaborations and combinations may be built up upon that foundation. For instance supposing a prime movement of an atom to be a three-sided tangential, A to B, B to C, and C back to A; whatever secondary movements may arise (and remember this, that movement in a straight line is never maintained after the original impulse dies away) conflicting forces reduce it to a modification of the primal circular, so that the atom, which in its movement originally pursued a triangular course, will finally arrive at a movement consisting of three spirals arranged in a triangle.

It seems that Dion is using the words tangential and vortex interchangeably. I'm assuming that a "three sided tangential" is a vortex formed of two tangentials that has a secondary movement of a triangular nature. ( I'm looking back at chapter 3: "vortices can be induced to assume a secondary movement. It is these secondary movements which I refer to as being of an angular path. So you will get the different types of atom, which is merely a spinning to the spinning atom, which moves in a triangle" )

I understand the vortex with a triangular movement to be a single vortex (the atom) with a path through space.
I'm trying to envision what a movement of "three spirals arranged in a triangle" looks like as a path. Is this a path that spins several times at each point side of the triangle? How many times?

Each spiral movement will be executed under the conditions governing the A _ B segment, then the B - C segment, then the C - A segment. Therefore, if you knew what the influences were, you would know the nature of the primary movement underlying the spiral which appears only to the superficial observer.

As far as I know, we haven't really talked about conditions governing the segments of atoms. I'm going to take a wild guess and say that these are other tangents or forces that were casually interacted with. Perhaps rays?

This is the principle underlying Astrology, and this is the reason why the Science of Numbers plays an important part in all practical applications of Cosmic principles. The prime movement of an atom is a Vortex - nothing else, a mere spinning round a core of motionless vacuum.

So, I keep jumping to the conclusion that the 12 rays are either the 12 zodiac signs or the 12 houses of the sky (or maybe both, as we may be inside more than one nested "universe". So pretty much any reference to astrology makes me think it's invoking the rays. This in turn makes me think that the "conditions governing the A _ B segment" are attached to one of the rays.

The atom you have seen described is not a prime atom but an elaborate and complex structure. It is only when the prime atoms combine together that such secondary movements are set up.

Whoa! rewind! So now this triangle is, to my understanding, actually made of 3 prime atoms. This makes a lot more sense when trying to understand how a triangle path turns into three spirals.

Now an atom which is of a triangular structure, can form units with as many other atoms as it has facets. When each facet has become attached to an atom the group is complete and has attained a state of equilibrium of stress within itself. It can no longer grow by accretion but must act as an unit, and can only enter into association with other units of like type whose angles of stress are similar.

I'm a bit unclear on this. I feel like the "group" of atoms could be described as a "molecule". I don't understand if the group can grow indefinitely, as long as it has any open facets on any of its member atoms. This seems like a critical thing for to understand, as it tells us if we can end up with mega-sized groups/molecules, or if they cap out at size 10.
It is also somewhat unclear if an atom can bond with an atom of a different number. For instance, can a 3-sided triangle atom group with a 5-sided pentagon atom?

The prime atom, as I have said, is a simple vortex, and the composite atoms of different types arise according to the number of tangential angles into which the circumstances of counter influences may draw the vortices.
Ok, this is a helpful clarification, and caused me to go backwards and clarify several ambiguous things up.

The vortices, be it noted, first arise in the angles where the Rays converge upon the central stillness. It is the close juxtaposition of forces which set up the secondary currents. Therefore in the sphere which surrounds the central stillness are to be found the primal atoms.
I'm pretty sure "central stillness" == "sun" and Sphere == Circle.

These however soon take on the secondary tangential movement and thus form alliances among themselves, as before described. As you have already been told, in addition to the movement of the Rays there is the movement of the Circles about the Central Sun. This movement gives rise to centrifugal action, and the atoms tend to swing out towards the periphery.

Centrifugal action would make sense for the same reason that it does in normal physics. Basically, the motion wants to maintain something like a straight line, which carries it outward on the spinning disk.

The more complex the atom the more strongly will it feel the centrifugal action, so that you will find that the Circles contain atoms of gradually increasing complexity as they succeed one another.
Ok, I'm not entirely sure why this would be. From a newtonian physics standpoint it would imply that more complex atoms are harder to change in direction. This may be an implied statement.

These atoms, arising in the angles of the Rays, when they feel the influence of the centrifugal force, go out along the line of a Ray. Each atom then, has in itself forces of two Rays which set up the primal vortex and then goes out along the path of one of these Rays.
Ah ha! verification that the two tangents that set up a vortex/ primal atom do retain a flavor of the rays they are made of.

I am reading this as saying that the atoms, primal or otherwise, will initially travel out along the path of one of the rays that makes up their two core tangents.

Evolution upon the Cosmic planes may first be observed as the gradual filling of the circle of space with atoms; infinite aeons passing in the process. Thus the prime atoms occupy circle One. The first form of composites - circle Two; combinations of these composites - circle Three and so on. Now these types of matter, which we may call them, are thus spread in concentric spheres throughout the Cosmos, out to the limit of the Ring-Pass-Not, going out along the lines of the Rays, so that while the first circle contains only atoms of its own type, each succeeding circle has in its atom, interatomic movements representative of each of the inner circles.
So the circles, mostly via centrifugal action, are filled with progressively more complicated atoms. I'm not positive, but I'm assuming that "Composites" are the same as "groups" or what I am calling "molecules"

The construction of the outermost atoms being very elaborate. When the atoms reach the outermost sphere a fresh force sets in; they have encountered the opposition of the Ring-Pass- Not. I may say in parenthesis, that the atoms of each plane form units among themselves by aggregation, thus an atom, shall we say, of the 3rd plane or circle ( they are the same thing in other words, `circle’ is usually reserved for the Cosmic) forms union by means of its facets. Anything from a triangular figure upwards of its aggregate atoms, in exactly the same way as previously described in regard to the primal atoms.
So, what I'm hearing here is that because the centrifugal force sorts the atoms onto planes by their number of facets, they end up grouping with other atoms that have the same number of facets when they form larger groups/molecules/composites simply because of availability. So you will generally only see a 5 sided atom bonded with other five sided atoms.

Therefore the atoms in the outermost circle are an exceedingly complex system of movements within movements. Having gone out from the central stillness with a centrifugal force, they are now rebuffed by the Ring-Pass-Not, and, owing to the rebuff, return with a spiral movement. This it is which lends its peculiar formation to the Rays. Having reached the centre they then speed outwards with a straight centrifugal motion along the line of the opposite Ray to the one by which they entered the centre, to return again in the same way, but at a slightly different angle, which will cause them, upon the next outgoing path, to follow the next Ray to the preceding one, and so they work their way round the circle. When repulsed by the Ring-Pass-Not, they make a circular movement upon the plane of the outermost circle, thus feeling its forces from all angles. They repeat this movement upon each plane as they return.

So, I imagine this looking something like a spirograph with twelve points .

Now as you have already been told, each movement in space continues as a movement, therefore every influence that plays upon these atoms is registered in the reaction of stresses within their structure, so that each atom returns to the central stillness infinitely more complex after each journey; each Ray, intersecting the circles at a different angle, causes the atom travelling upon its path, to experience different influences on its journey, therefore the final complexity of these atoms, when the complete circuit has been described, though it is capable of mathematical expression cannot be conveyed by the finite intellect. But could you grasp the geometry of these planes, could you know their numerical calculus, you would hold the key to the universe.
So, each trip down a ray permanently stamps each atom. If my theory that the extra facets are _also_ associated with the 12 rays holds I'm not sure how the "mark of traveling down a ray" interacts with, or is similar or different from the "influence of another tangent, created by a ray"

These structures are still referred to as atoms, not, as in the case of chemistry, on the hypothesis that they cannot be resolved into any simpler structure, being homogeneous, but on the basis that, though composite, when once formed they cannot be resolved at all, but are permanent units. It will thus be seen that the flowing out of the atoms to the circumference and their return to the circle marks a phase of evolution of the Cosmos.
Atom in that they are indivisible. Makes good enough sense to me. Also is good to note that this implies no two atoms are identical.

And the completion of the circuit of the Rays by an atom marks a phase of evolution of that atom. When it has completed this circuit it has experienced all the forces that the Cosmos can offer it, and when all the atoms evolved have completed the circuit (and the evolution of atoms upon such tide is limited, because after a certain proportion of force has taken up a tangential form a state of equilibrium is reached within the Cosmos) evolution proceeds from the first movement to a state of uncompensated force until equilibrium is reached - this is the completion of an evolution - a state of equilibrium, and therefore a relative stillness.
It sounds like an atom gets 12 passes around the universe, one for each ray, and then it hits a point of stability. Though Dion didn't say anything like this, it's also tempting to think that this might apply as a transmigration of souls as well. 12 "incarnations" where you learn, and then you reach a final stable state. I'm wandering off into my own thoughts though.

You will observe that we have now described three phases of Cosmic evolution. The development of the Rings was the first phase. They gave rise to each other, and acted and reacted on each other till a state of equilibrium was reached. Then, though they were static in relation to each other, that is to say though in constant movement within themselves, they maintained their relationship constant towards each other and must continue ever so to do since there is nothing to disturb them. The Vortices, set up by the movements, however, give rise to secondary movements - the Rays and the Circles - and these, starting upon their respective courses developed them until they also became static in relation to each other, and a second stage of evolution was passed through. These likewise in their turn, gave rise to the tertial movements which built the atoms. It will thus be seen that a phase of development is succeeded by a phase of equilibrium during which that which has been developed is maintained, but nothing becomes, its status is unchanged.

So a quick review:
1) Formation of the Rings
2) Formation of Rays & Circles
3) Formation of The Tangents and Atoms
4) Equilibrium is reached.

These stages may be known to you under the names of the Days and Nights of Brahma - the Day of evolution - the Night of static balance - and then the overcoming of one set of forces by another, which causes the balance slowly to dip into manifestation again. Days and nights of Brahma

The equilibrium is then over, and new forces are set going. These forces are based upon the relationships of the units previously built up and are influenced by these prime determinants - the Rings, the Rays and the Circles. Within these limits, and subject to the nature of the units upon which they act, they form fresh combinations, permutations, and rhythms of action and reaction, until the new forces have found their equilibrium; and in their utmost completion and development when the final combination has been achieved, they again become static in the Cosmic balance until such period as the balance may again be overset.
Once the universe reaches a point of equilibrium, it stays there until something external to it pulls it out of balance.

The oversetting of the balance is due to the same forces as set up the primal Rings - the fact that movement generated movement and sets up a sphere of swirl outside its own path.
The force that set up the primal rings was of the unmanifest. For me, at least, that is the divine spark. Basically, I read this as saying that once equilibrium is reached, the divine spark is needed to create another universe inside the universe.

That is why, though every fresh set of forces set in movement must attain to a final equilibrium determined by the factors of their natures, such an equilibrium being only a maintaining of position of movements relative one to another being therefore a relative stillness, must always overbalance and fly out into a new phase of evolution because it is a Cosmos and built of movement - movement generates movement.

Oh my, This reads as almost the exact opposite of what the last lines read as to me... I think. "Equilibrium... must always overbalance". The best way I can understand this is that equilibrium is the same as the unmanifest. This actually makes a lot of sense, that which is complete equilibrium with everything doesn't have any detectable interactions with it. This also leads into an interesting feeling pattern, the cosmic force leads to unmanifestation of everything as a whole, while the chaos force leads to unmanifestation of things individually. In general I feel like I need to grapple with these last few lines more.