The Cosmic Doctrine Part 2

Posted on 16th October, 2017
  1. The Law of Action and Reaction

In one sense, this is not dissimilar to Newton's third law, the law of action-reaction, which explains the nature of the forces between two interacting objects. According to Newton’s law, the force exerted by one object upon a second object is equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to the force exerted by the second object upon the first one.

In The Cosmic Doctrine this Law goes beyond that and postulates that action and reaction are both equal and opposite on the Plane of their operation. But as an action on one Plane causes a reaction on another Plane, then the active and reactive forces are related by a definable ratio. This ratio can be determined by the number of Planes separating the levels of inception and reception of the forces in question.

The related potency can be seen as rising by the square law. So, as an illustrative example, if a person’s particular action on the physical or 1st Plane gives rise to a reaction on the next Plane, then the potency of the original action would be squared, and the equivalent amount of energy would be released on this 2nd Plane. Understanding this is essential for practical magical purposes, in particular, in relation to working with elemental forces which can readily be rendered available on the 2nd Plane.

Needless to say, the converse is also true. So, if an action on a Plane reacts on a lower Plane, the originating energy will also be reduced to its square root. If we extrapolate this thinking, it doesn’t take much to figure out that the effects of raising a force in the human being from, for example, the instinctive level of the 2nd Plane to the abstract mental level of the 5th Plane, have a significant and far reaching consequence.

Using this line of thinking, and continuing with the mathematical analogy, it can be suggested that normal Involution, the journey into manifestation, takes place by repeated addition. From this we can also surmise that on the Evolutionary journey, progress is made by repeated multiplication. This is why you will sometimes hear it said that successful initiation leads to condensed personal evolution. Conversion of energy from one Plane directly to the next higher Plane is marked by the squaring of the original force. It is doubtful if the body of the lower level would carry this force. Hence what Dion Fortune says in The Mystical Qabalah, “.......and God (Jehovah) said to Moses, 'Thou canst not look upon My face and live.'”

In terms of practical use, if an Inner Plane communication takes place to a contacted physical Western Mysteries group, the communicator essentially brings force “down” the Planes. For this to happen successfully, the physical terminal must be thoroughly well prepared to raise a similar quantity of energy and consciousness to the same level if satisfactory contact is to be made. Aristotle was close to the mark when he said, “horror vacui” - nature abhors a vacuum - even a partial one.


  1. The Law of Limitation

At its most basic level, this is perhaps the most easily deducible Law to see in use or indeed to personally use for simply getting things done in day-to-day work and play.

Limitation is essentially “a restricting rule or circumstance”, and, as such, the mastering of this Law is a key enabler of all matters to do with the workings of force and form. To some degree there is something of the magical symbol of the Cord in this.

Limitation can be seen as the primary law of manifestation and the first law of power. For example, in The Cosmic Doctrine, even the Logos circumscribed (or limited) Itself when manifesting.


This second Law implies a concentration of power by the rejection of all that is superfluous to that which is to hand. To invoke a force without directing it is to disperse it. In order to bring energy into manifestation it is necessary to provide it with a limited form to act as a vehicle.


Magic can be defined as the science and art of building forms for the reception, direction and utilisation of spiritual forces. If the operation furthers the ends of Evolution and serves the betterment of Humankind, its magic in the past would have been called "white"; if not, it was called "black". While life has mostly moved on from this two dimensional monochrome version of magic, these labels are very worthy of further pondering from time to time as the occultist struggles with the ethics of their art.

By the development and expansion of consciousness, the basis of limitation is achieved. Limitation implies discrimination and the careful selection of experience. But a limited, undeveloped consciousness implies only the exclusion of experience. That sort of limitation is an altogether different matter.


Essentially, this second Law governs the processes of Involution, the "descent into matter". This always reminds me of Dion Fortune's words, “Until the descent into matter is complete, the ascent into spirit cannot begin.” This leads us nicely into the third law.


  1. The Law of Death

Death comes to all living things. For many people it is a thing to be feared. Ultimately some change how they live their lives out of this fear. The Cosmic Doctrine presents a detailed and compelling commentary on death which can ultimately help individuals to take the sting out of death.

After the death of a particularly close relative, I was profoundly affected by the words of John Spencer Muirhead shared by the relative’s church minister. Muirhead wrote:-


“I know no birth, I know no death that chills;

I fear no fate nor fashion, cause nor creed,

I shall outdream the slumber of the hills.

I am the bud, the flower, I the seed:

For I do know that in whate’er I see

I am the part and it the soul of me.”

For the first time in days since the death, I felt a wave of light flow through me; I felt invigorated and truly alive. My deep-seated fears of death departed like the morning fog. The Cosmic Doctrine does something similar. Anything which takes the sting or fear out of death has huge practical import. A huge amount of energy tied up with worrying about death of self or others around you can be realised for far more productive use.

The original text goes to great lengths describing the full spectrum of deaths, indeed, the chapter in the original edition is entitled “The Seven Deaths”. However, the essence of what it says is as follows:-

Action and reaction are equal and opposite upon the Plane of their inception. However, when transmuted from one Plane to another, they stop manifesting upon the first Plane and come into being in a different form on the next Plane.

If this transmutation is viewed from the Plane of the inception of these forces, it is called "death". If viewed from the Plane of reception, it is called "birth". Both are interdependent and it is impossible for one to happen without the other.


  1. The Law of Impactation

In the original text this section has the uncatchy subtitle “The transmission of action from one Plane to another.”


The Oxford English Dictionary rather unhelpfully defines impactation as “the condition of being or process of becoming impacted.” We are perhaps more used to the term being used to describe the situation of one tooth growing underneath another. However, in the esoteric sense, impactation can be regarded as the act of bringing a force of a subtler Plane through to a denser plane during the process of Involution. Two tangential forces are locked into a functional unit on the lower level. This was the method of creation of the original Cosmic Atoms described in The Cosmic Doctrine.

Thus, impactation is the act of advancing the development of a force by developing it upon the "form" aspect. The next section on the Law of Polarity, will further help those readers who are not familiar with this concept.

This process must be most carefully distinguished from the same process performed during Evolution. This is called "degradation".


  1. The Law of Polarity

 In the text this section is fully entitled, “The Law of the aspects of force or polarity.” The interaction of positive and negative etheric bodies has a great revitalising force. Ultimately, all polarity is rooted in the Rings Cosmos and Chaos, both of which are well described in the text. These are the primal Pillars of the Temple of the Mysteries, and from them stem all true complementaries. Illustrative examples of these include:-


Negative - Positive

Action - Reaction

Male - Female

Attraction - Repulsion

Anabolism - Catabolism

Light - Darkness

Evolution – Involution

Spirit – Matter

Manifest – Unmanifest

Day - Night

It can be helpful to spend time making your own further complementaries and keeping a record of them, for they will be useful in your later esoteric endeavours. From two forces, one positive, the other negative, a form is built. This process is universal. Force is a unity and form is a duality. Magic is about form building. Indeed, it is the prime human activity!


  1. The Law of the Attraction of Outer Space

This particular law can be particularly hard-going. My old teacher rightly called it “abstruse”, a term also used recently by Gareth Knight to describe The Cosmic Doctrine generally. Essentially its relevance is often not apparent until later, more advance stages of practical work. However, it may be useful to summarise its key elements now to seed later work.


It is the aim of "will" to function unconfined, just as it is the tendency of "form" to centre on conditioning and limitation. The text suggests that when a unit of consciousness is released from a manifested System by transcending Law, it becomes a Great Entity in its own right. However, when a unit of consciousness that has not mastered the Law escapes from the System, it functions as an unconditioned will. This is the mystery of evil, often personified as the devil.


This penultimate Law teaches that Godhood is not attained by running away from the limitations and conditions of form, but by adjusting the balance to a dynamic and dancing equilibrium. The image of a whirling dervish comes to mind. In some respects, this is the “Great Work” or “Summum Bonum”.


  1. The Law of the Attraction of the Centre

This last Law contains the secret of Evolution within this System. It refers to the mystery of Cohesion, which can be seen as the mystery of Love.

In grappling with this it can be a useful starting point to consider that that which is a multiplicity in its manifestation, by the perfection of its development, arrives at Unity. The approach to what The Cosmic Doctrine calls “the Centre” is not simply a movement in space, but a unification.

The difference between unification and simplification should be carefully considered. Unification can be seen as the final synthesis; simplification as the ultimate analysis, or alternatively as a return to type. The former is an advancement to completion, whereas the latter can be seen as a failure in purpose or regression to the commencement.

The essence of Evolution as put forward in The Cosmic Doctrine and many other Western Mysteries frameworks is unification. The manifestation of the unificatory principle upon the planes of form is Love. Love, in all its aspects, is the symbol of the Logos as One. Whoever loves, no matter how dim may be their understanding of Love, is manifesting a unification. Deity is One; Love makes one; therefore it is truly said "God is Love".

We often confuse Love with sentiment, but this can be unhelpful at the best of times. Taking this last Law into consideration, it is possible to review Love and see it in an altogether new light, where it can be seen as being the functional cohesion of the Cosmos. This has practical applications for how we view and carry out relationships with both our fellow humans and the wider environment.



It is hoped that this initial introduction to the Seven Laws within The Cosmic Doctrine provides some inspiration for future explorations. To conclude the article, I thought it would be apposite in the current political environment to include a quote from the final page of the original text:-

Whosoever expresses Love brings Spirit, which is One, into manifestation.

To be loving is to be good.

Whosoever expresses hate brings separateness into manifestation.

To be separate is to be dead.

Therefore, choose Love and live.”

Some sources:


The Cosmic Doctrine, Dion Fortune (1949, 1966 and 1995 editions)

The Story of Dion Fortune, as told to Charles Fielding and Carr Collins, Weiser, 1985

The Cosmic Doctrine – How it all began, Gareth Knight, 2013


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