Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
1831 - 1891
H. P. BLAVATSKY
First Published 1892
N —The 14th letter in both the English and the Hebrew alphabets. In the latter tongue the N is called Nun, and signifies a fish. It is the symbol of the female principle or the womb. Its numerical value is 50 in the Kabalistic system, but the Peripatetics made it equivalent to 900, and with a stroke over it (900) 9,000. With the Hebrews, however, the final Nun was 700.
Naaseni. The Christian Gnostic sect, called Naasenians, or serpent worshippers, who considered the constellation of the Dragon as the symbol of their Logos or Christ.
Nabatheans. A sect almost identical in their beliefs with the Nazarenes and Sabeans, who had more reverence for John the Baptist than for Jesus. Maimonides identifies them with the astrolaters.
“Respecting the beliefs of the Sabeans”, he says, “the most famous is the book, The agriculture of the Nabatheans”. And we know that the Ebionites, the first of whom were the friends and relatives of Jesus, according to tradition, in other words, the earliest and first Christians, “were the direct followers and disciples of the Nazarene sect”, according to Epiphanius and Theodoret (See the Contra Ebionites of Epiphanius, and also “Galileans” and “Nazarenes”).
Nabia (Heb.). Seership, soothsaying. This oldest and most respected of mystic phenomena is the name given to prophecy in the Bible, and is correctly included among the spiritual powers, such as divination, clairvoyant visions, trance-conditions, and oracles. But while enchanters, diviners, and even astrologers are strictly condemned in the Mosaic books, prophecy, seership, and nabia appear as the special gifts of heaven. In early ages they were all termed Epoptai (Seers), the Greek word for Initiates; they were also designated Nebim, “the plural of Nebo, the Babylonian god of wisdom.” The Kabalist distinguishes between the seer and the magician; one is passive, the other active; Nebirah, is one who looks into futurity and a clairvoyant; Nebi-poel, he who possesses magic powers. We notice that Elijah and Apollonius resorted to the same means to isolate themselves from the disturbing influences of the outer world, viz., wrapping their heads entirely in a woollen mantle, from its being an electric non-conductor we must suppose.
(Chald.). Nebu or Nebo, generally; the Chaldean god of
Secret Wisdom, from which name the Biblical, Hebrew term Nabiim
(prophets) was derived. This son of Anu and Ishtar was worshipped chiefly at
Borsippa; but he had also his temple at
(See “ Nazarenes” and “ Nebo”.)
Nagal. The title of the chief Sorcerer or “medicine man” of some tribes of Mexican Indians. These keep always a daimon or god, in the shape of a serpent—and sometimes some other sacred animal—who is said to inspire them.
Nahash (Heb.). “The Deprived”; the Evil one or the Serpent, according to the Western Kabalists.
Nahbkoon (Eg) The god who unites the “doubles”, a mystical term referring to the human disembodied “principles”.
Naїn (Scand.). The “Dwarf of Death”.
Najo (Hind.). Witch; a sorceress.
Nanna (Scand.). The beautiful bride of Baldur, who fought with the blind Hodur (“ he who rules over darkness ”) and received his death from the latter by magic art. Baldur is the personification of Day, Hodur of Night, and the lovely Nanna of Dawn.
Nannak (Chald.), also Nanar and Sin. A name of the moon; said to be the son of Mulil, the older Bel and the Sun, in the later mythology. In the earliest, the Moon is far older than the Sun.
Nargal (Chald.). The Chaldean and Assyrian chiefs of the Magi (Rab Mag).
Narjol (Tib.). A Saint; a glorified Adept.
Naros or Neros (Heb.). A cycle, which the Orientalists describe as consisting of 600 years. But what years? There were three kinds of Neros : the greater, the middle and the less. It is the latter cycle only which was of 600 years. (See “Neros”.)
Nazar (Heb.). One “set apart”; a temporary monastic class of celibates spoken of in the Old Testament, who married not, nor did they use wine during the time of their vow, and who wore their hair long, cutting it only at their initiation. Paul must have belonged to this class of Initiates, for he himself tells the Galatians (i. x5) that he was separated or “set apart” from the moment of his birth ; and that he had his hair cut at Cenchrea, because “he had a vow” (Acts xviii.18), i.e., had been initiated as a Nazar; after which he became a “ master-builder” (i Corinth. iii.10). Joseph is styled a Nazar (Gen. xlix. 26). Samson and Samuel were also Nazars, and many more.
(Heb.). The same as the St.
John Christians; called the Mend or Sabeans. Those Nazarenes who left
Nebban or Neibban (Chin.). The same as
Nirvâna, Nippang in
(Chald.). The same as the
Hindu Budha, son of Soma the Moon, and Mercury the planet.
Necromancy (Gr.). The raising of the images of the dead, considered in antiquity and by modern Occultists as a practice of black magic. Iamblichus, Porphyry and other Theurgists have deprecated the practice, no less than did Moses, who condemned the “witches” of his day to death, the said witches being only Necromancers—as in the case of the Witch of Endor and Samuel.
Nehaschim (Kab.). “The serpent’s works.” It is a name given to the Astral Light, “the great deceiving serpent” (Mâyâ), during certain practical works of magic. (See Sec. Doc. II. 409.)
(Gr.). The river
(Eg.). Neithes. The
Queen of Heaven; the moon-goddess in
Nout, Nepte, Nur. (For symbolism, see “Nout”.)
(Gr.). With the Greeks the
guardian of a
(Gr.). A novice; a postulant or
candidate for the Mysteries. The methods of initiation varied. Neophytes had to
pass in their trials through all the four elements, emerging in the fifth as
glorified Initiates. Thus having passed through Fire (Deity), Water (Divine
Spirit), Air (the Breath of God), and the Earth (Matter), they received a
sacred mark, a tat and a tau, or a + and a ┬. The latter
was the monogram of the Cycle called the Naros, or Neros. As shown by Dr. E. V.
Kenealy, in his Apocalypse, the cross in symbolical language (one of the seven
meanings)“+ exhibits at the same time three primitive letters, of which the
word LVX or Light is compounded. . . . The Initiates were marked with this
sign, when they were admitted into the perfect mysteries. We constantly see the
Tau and the Resh united thus ♀. Those two letters in the old Samaritan,
as found on coins, stand, the first for 400, the second for 200 = 600. This is
the staff of Osiris.” Just so, but this does not prove that the Naros was a
cycle of 600 years; but simply that one more pagan symbol had been appropriated
by the Church.
(See “Naros” and “Neros” and also “I. H. S.”)
Neo-platonism. Lit.,“The new Platonism” or Platonic School.
An eclectic pantheistic school of philosophy founded in
Nephesh Chia (Kab.). Animal or living Soul.
Nephesh (Heb.). Breath of life. Anima, Mens, Vita, Appetites. This term is used very loosely in the Bible. It generally means prana “life”; in the Kabbalah it is the animal passions and the animal Soul. Therefore, as maintained in theosophical teachings, Nephesh is the synonym of the Prâna-Kâmic Principle, or the vital animal Soul in man. [H. P. B.]
Nephilim (Heb.). Giants, Titans, the Fallen Ones.
(Eg.). The sister of Isis,
philosophically only one of her aspects. As Osiris and Typhon are one under two
aspects, so Isis and Nephtys are one and the same symbol of nature under its
dual aspect. Thus, while
designs that which is under the earth, and which one sees not (i.e., its
disintegrating and reproducing power), and
(Chald.). On the Assyrian
tablets he is described as the “giant king of war, lord of the city of
Neros (Heb.). As shown by the late E. V. Kenealy this “Naronic Cycle” was a mystery, a true “secret of god”, to disclose which during the prevalence of the religious mysteries and the authority of the priests, meant death. The learned author seemed to take it for granted that the Neros was of 600 years duration, but he was mistaken. (See “Natos”.) Nor were the establishment of the Mysteries and the rites of Initiation due merely the necessity of perpetuating the knowledge of the true meaning of the Naros and keeping this cycle secret from the profane; for the Mysteries are as old as the present human race, and there were far more important secrets to veil than the figures of any cycle. (See “Neophyte” and “I. H. S.”, also “Naros”.) The mystery of 666, “the number of the great heart” so called, is far better represented by the Tau and the Resh than 600.
Nerthus (Old Sax.). The goddess of the earth, of love and beauty with the old Germans; the same as the Scandinavian Freya or Frigga. Tacitus mentions the great honours paid to Nerthus when her idol was carried on a car in triumph through several districts.
Neshamah (Heb.). Soul, anima, afflatus. In the Kabbalah, as taught in the Rosicrucian order, one of the three highest essences of the Human Soul, corresponding to the Sephira Binah.
Nesku or Nusku (Chald.). Is described in the Assyrian tablets as the “holder of the golden sceptre, the lofty god”.
Netzach (Heb.). “Victory”. The seventh of the Ten Sephiroth, a masculine active potency.
Nidhi (Sk) A treasure. Nine treasures belonging to the god Kuvera—the Vedic Satan—each treasure being under the guardianship of a demon; these are personified, and are the objects of worship of the Tantrikas.
Nidhogg (Scand.). The “Mundane” Serpent.
Nidra (Sk.). Sleep. Also the female form of Brahmâ.
Nifiheim (Scand.). The cold Hell, in the Edda. A place of eternal non-consciousness and inactivity. (See Secret Doctrine, Vol. II., p. 245).
Night of Brahmâ. The period between the dissolution and the active life of the Universe which is called in contrast the “Day of Brahmâ”.
Nilakantha (Sk.). A name of Siva meaning “ blue throated”. This is said to have been the result of some poison administered to the god.
Nile-God (Eg.). Represented by a wooden image of the river god receiving honours in gratitude for the bounties its waters afford the country. There was a “celestial” Nile, called in the Ritual Nen-naou or “primordial waters”; and a terrestrial Nile, worshipped at Nilopolis and Hapimoo. The latter was represented as an androgynous being with a beard and breasts, and a fat blue face ; green limbs and reddish body. At the approach of the yearly inundation, the image was carried from one place to another in solemn procession.
Nimbus (Lat.). The aureole around the heads of the Christ and Saints in Greek and Romish Churches is of Eastern origin. As every Orientalist knows, Buddha is described as having his head surrounded with shining glory six cubits in width; and, as shown by Hardy (Eastern Monachism), “his principal disciples are represented by the native painters as having a similar mark of eminence”. In China, Tibet and Japan, the heads of the saints are always surrounded with a nimbus.
Nimitta (Sk.). 1. An interior illumination developed by the practice of meditation. 2. The efficient spiritual cause, as contrasted with Upadana, the material cause, in Vedânta philosophy. See also Pradhâna in Sankhya philosophy.
Nine. The “Kabbalah of the Nine Chambers” is a form of secret writing in cipher, which originated with the Hebrew Rabbis, and has been used by several societies for purposes of concealment notably some grades of the Freemasons have adopted it. A figure is drawn of two horizontal parallel lines and two vertical parallel lines across them, this process forms nine chambers, the centre one a simple square, the others being either two or three sided figures, these are allotted to the several letters in any order that is agreed upon. There is also a Kabbalstic attribution of the ten Sephiroth to these nine chambers, but this is not published. [w.w.w.]
(Sk.). Negative attribute;
unbound, or without Gunas (attributes), i.e., that which is devoid of
all qualities, the opposite of Saguna, that which has attributes (Secret
Doctrine, II. 95), e.g.,
Parabrahmam is Nirguna; Brahmâ, Saguna. Nirguna is a term which shows the impersonality of the thing spoken of.
Nirmânakâya (Sk.). Something entirely different in esoteric philosophy from the popular meaning attached to it, and from the fancies of the Orientalists. Some call the Nirmânakâya body “Nirvana with remains” (Schlagintweit, etc.) on the supposition, probably, that it is a kind of Nirvânic condition during which consciousness and form are retained. Others say that it is one of the Trikâya (three bodies), with the “power of assuming any form of appearance in order to propagate Buddhism” (Eitel’s idea); again, that “it is the incarnate avatâra of a deity” (ibid.), and so on. Occultism, on the other hand, says:that Nirmânakâya, although meaning literally a transformed “body”, is a state. The form is that of the adept or yogi who enters, or chooses, that post mortem condition in preference to the Dharmakâya or absolute Nirvânic state. He does this because the latter kâya separates him for ever from the world of form, conferring upon him a state of selfish bliss, in which no other living being can participate, the adept being thus precluded from the possibility of helping humanity, or even devas. As a Nirmânakâya, however, the man leaves behind him only his physical body, and retains every other “principle” save the Kamic—for he has crushed this out for ever from his nature, during life, and it can never resurrect in his post mortem state. Thus, instead of going into selfish bliss, he chooses a life of self-sacrifice, an existence which ends only with the life-cycle, in order to be enabled to help mankind in an invisible yet most effective manner. (See The Voice of the Silence, third treatise, “The Seven Portals”.) Thus a Nirmânakâya is not, as popularly believed, the body “in which a Buddha or a Bodhisattva appears on earth”, but verily one, who whether a Chutuktu or a Khubilkhan, an adept or a yogi during life, has since become a member of that invisible Host which ever protects and watches over Humanity within Karmic limits. Mistaken often for a “Spirit”, a Deva, God himself, &c., a Nirmânakâya is ever a protecting, compassionate, verily a guardian angel, to him who becomes worthy of his help. Whatever objection may be brought forward against this doctrine; however much it is denied, because, forsooth, it has never been hitherto made public in Europe and therefore since it is unknown to Orientalists, it must needs be “a myth of modern invention”—no one will be bold enough to say that this idea of helping suffering mankind at the price of one’s own almost interminable self-sacrifice, is not one of the grandest and noblest that was ever evolved from human brain.
Nirmathya (Sk.). The sacred fire produced by the friction of two pieces of wood—the “fire” called Pavamâna in the Purânas. The allegory contained therein is an occult teaching.
Nirriti (Sk.). A goddess of Death and Decay.
Nirukta (Sk.). An anga or limb, a division of the Vedas; a glossarial comment.
Nirupadhi (Sk.). Attributeless; the negation of attributes.
Nirvâna (Sk.). According to the Orientalists, the entire “blowing out”, like the flame of a candle, the utter extinction of existence. But in the esoteric explanations it is the state of absolute existence and absolute consciousness, into which the Ego of a man who has reached the highest degree of perfection and holiness during life goes, after the body dies, and occasionally, as in the case of Gautama Buddha and others, during life. (See “Nirvânî”.)
Nirvânî (Sk.). One who has attained Nirvana—an emancipated soul. That Nirvâna means nothing of the kind asserted by Orientalists every scholar who has visited China, India and Japan is well aware. It is “escape from misery” but only from that of matter, freedom from Klęsha, or Kâma, and the complete extinction of animal desires. If we are told that Abidharma defines Nirvâna “as a state of absolute annihilation”, we concur, adding to the last word the qualification “of everything connected with matter or the physical world”, and this simply because the latter (as also all in it) is illusion, mâyâ. Sâkya-műni Buddha said in the last moments of his life that “the spiritual body is immortal” (See Sans. Chin. Dict.). As Mr. Eitel, the scholarly Sinologist, explains it: “The popular exoteric systems agree in defining Nirvâna negatively as a state of absolute exemption from the circle of transmigration; as a state of entire freedom from all forms of existence; to begin with, freedom from all passion and exertion; a state of indifference to all sensibility” and he might have added “death of all compassion for the world of suffering”. And this is why the Bodhisattvas who prefer the Nirmânakâya to the Dharmakâya vesture, stand higher in the popular estimation than the Nirvânîs. But the same scholar adds that: “Positively (and esoterically) they define Nirvâna as the highest state of spiritual bliss, as absolute immortality through absorption of the soul (spirit rather) into itself, but preserving individuality so that, e.g., Buddhas, after entering Nirvâna, may reappear on earth”—i.e., in the future Manvantara.
(Sk.). (1) One of the seven
qualities of sound—the one and sole attribute of Akâsa; (2) the seventh
note of the Hindu musical scale; (3) an outcast offspring of a Brahman and a
(4) a range of mountains south of Meru—north of the Himalayas.
Nissi (Chald.) One of the seven Chaldean gods.
Nîti (Sk.). Lit., Prudence, ethics.
Nitya Parivrita. (Sk.). Lit., continuous extinction.
Nitya Pralaya (Sk.). Lit., “perpetual” Pralaya or dissolution. It is the constant and imperceptible changes undergone by the atoms which last as long as a Mahâmanvantara, a whole age of Brahmâ, which takes fifteen figures to sum up. A stage of chronic change and dissolution, the stages of growth and decay. It is the duration of “Seven Eternities”. (See Secret Doctrine I. 371, II. 69, 310.) There are four kinds of Pralayas, or states of changelessness. The Naimittika, when Brahmâ slumbers; the Prakritika, a partial Pralaya of anything during Manvantara; Atyantika, when man has identified himself with the One Absolute synonym of Nirvâna; and Nitya, for physical things especially, as a state of profound and dreamless sleep.
Nitya Sarga (Sk.). The state of constant creation or evolution, as opposed to Nitya Pralaya—the state of perpetual incessant dissolution (or change of atoms) disintegration of molecules, hence change of forms.
Nizir (Chald.). The “Deluge Mountain”; the Ararat of the Babylonians with “Xisuthrus” as Noah.
Nixies. The water-sprites; Undines.
Niyashes (Mazd.). Parsi prayers.
Nofir-hotpoo (Eg.). The same as the god Khonsoo, the lunar god of Thebes. Lit., “he who is in absolute rest”. Nofir-hotpoo is one of the three persons of the Egyptian trinity, composed of Ammon, Mooth, and their son Khonsoo or Nofir-hotpoo.
Nogah (Chald.). Venus, the planet; glittering splendour.
Noo (Eg.). Primordial waters of space called “Father-Mother”; the “face of the deep” of the Bible; for above Noo hovers the Breath of Kneph, who is represented with the Mundane Egg in his mouth.
Noom (Eg.). A celestial sculptor, in the Egyptian legends, who creates a beautiful girl whom he sends like another Pandora to Batoo (or “man”), whose happiness is thereafter destroyed. The “sculptor” or artist is the same as Jehovah, the architect of the world, and the girl is “Eve”.
Noon (Eg.). The celestial river which flows in Noot, the cosmic abyss or Noo. As all the gods have been generated in the river (the Gnostic Pleroma), it is called “the Father-Mother of the gods”.
Noor Ilahee (Arab.). “The light of the Elohim”, literally. This light is believed by some Mussulmen to be transmitted to mortals “through a hundred prophet-leaders”. Divine knowledge; the Light of the Secret Wisdom.
Noot (Eg.). The heavenly abyss in the Ritual or the Book of the Dead. It is infinite space personified in the Vedas by Aditi, the goddess who, like Noon (q.v.) is the “mother of all the gods”.
Norns (Scand.). The three sister goddesses in the Edda, who make known to men the decrees of Orlog or Fate. They are shown as coming out of the unknown distances enveloped in a dark veil to the Ash Yggdrasil (q.v.), and “sprinkle it daily with water from the Fountain of Urd, that it may not wither but remain green and fresh and strong” (Asgard and the Gods). Their names are “Urd”, the Past; “Werdandi”, the Present; and “Skuld”, the Future, “which is either rich in hope or dark with tears”. Thus they reveal the decrees of Fate “for out of the past and present the events and actions of the future are born” (loc. cit.).
Notaricon (Kab.). A division of the practical Kabbalah; treats of the formation of words from the initials or finals of the words in every sentence; or conversely it forms a sentence of words whose initials or finals are those of some word [w.w.w.].
Noumenon (Gr.). The true essential nature of being as distinguished from the illusive objects of sense.
Nous. (Gr.). A Platonic term for the Higher Mind or Soul. It means Spirit as distinct from animal Soul—psyche; divine consciousness or mind in man: Nous was the designation given to the Supreme deity (third logos) by Anaxagoras. Taken from Egypt where it was called Nout, it was adopted by the Gnostics for their first conscious Ćon which, with the Occultists, is the third logos, cosmically, and the third “principle” (from above) or manas, in man. (See “Nout”.)
Nout. (Gr.). In the Pantheon of the Egyptians it
meant the “One- only-One”, because they did not proceed in their popular or
exoteric religion higher than the third manifestation which radiates from the Unknown
and the Unknowable, the first unmanifested and the second logoi
in the esoteric philosophy of every nation. The Nous of Anaxagoras was the Mahat
of the Hindu Brahmâ, the first manifested Deity—
“the Mind or Spirit self-potent”; this creative Principle being of course the primum mobile of everything in the Universe—its Soul and Ideation. (See “Seven Principles” in man.)
Number Nip. An Elf, the mighty King of the Riesengebirge, the most powerful of the genii in Scandinavian and German folk-lore.
Nuns. There were nuns in ancient Egypt as well as in Peru and old Pagan Rome. They were the “virgin brides” of their respective (Solar) gods. Says Herodotus, “The brides of Ammon are excluded from all intercourse with men”, they are “the brides of Heaven”; and virtually they became dead to the world, just as they are now. In Peru they were “Pure Virgins of the Sun”, and the Pallakists of Ammon-Ra are referred to in some inscriptions as the “divine spouses”. “The sister of Oun-nefer, the chief prophet of Osiris, during the reign of Rameses II.,” is described as “Taia, Lady Abbess of Nuns” (Mariett e Bey).
(Lat.). The “Sun-Wolf”, a name
of the planet Mercury. He is the Sun’s attendant,
Solaris luminis particeps. (See Secret Doct. II. 28.)
Nyâya (Sk.). One of the six Darshanas or schools of Philosophy in India; a system of Hindu logic founded by the Rishi Gautama.
Nyima (Tib.). The Sun—astrologically.
Nyingpo (Tib.). The same as Alaya, “the World Soul”; also called Tsang.
Find out more about
Theosophy with these links
and there’s always a cup of tea afterwards
One liners and quick explanations
About aspects of Theosophy
Classic Introductory Theosophy Text
A Text Book of Theosophy By
Try these if you are looking for a
Local Theosophy Group or Centre