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The Septenary Nature of Man
INQUIRER. Is it what we call Spirit and Soul, and the man of flesh?
THEOSOPHIST. It is not. That is the old Platonic division. Plato was an Initiate, and therefore could not go into forbidden details; but he who is acquainted with the archaic doctrine finds the seven in Plato's various combinations of Soul and Spirit. He regarded man as constituted of two parts-one eternal, formed of the same essence as the Absoluteness; the other mortal and corruptible, deriving its constituent parts from the minor "created" Gods. Man is composed, he shows, of (1) A mortal body, (2) An immortal principle, and (3) A "separate mortal kind of Soul." It is that which we respectively call the physical man, the Spiritual Soul or Spirit (nous), and the animal Soul (psuche). This is the division adopted by Paul, another Initiate, who maintains that there is a psychical body which is sown in the corruptible (astral soul or physical body), and a spiritual body that is raised in incorruptible substance. Even James corroborates the same by saying that the "wisdom" (of our lower soul) descendeth not from the above, but is terrestrial "psychical," "demoniacal," (vide Greek text), while the other is heavenly wisdom. Now, so plain is it that Plato and even Pythagoras, while speaking but of three principles, give them seven separate functions in their various combinations, that if we contrast our teachings this will become quite plain.
Now what does Plato teach? He speaks of the interior man as constituted of two parts -- one immutable and always the same, formed of the same substance as Deity, and the other mortal and corruptible. These two parts are found in the upper Triad and the lower Quaternary of our table. He explains that when the Soul, (psuche) "allies herself to the nous (divine spirit or substance), she does everything aright and felicitously;" but the case is otherwise when she attaches herself to anoia (folly, or the irrational animal Soul). Here, then, we have Manas, or the Soul in general, in its two aspects: when attaching itself to anoia (our Kama Rupa, or the "animal soul," as sometimes described) it runs towards entire annihilation, as far as the personal Ego is concerned; when allying itself to the nous ( Atma-Buddhi) it merges into the immortal, imperishable Ego, and then its spiritual consciousness of the personal that was, becomes immortal.
- H.P.B., "The Key to Theosophy", Pages 89-92