In the Initiatic and Traditional Instruction of the West we are taught that the human being is made up of a total of 12 bodies which in turn manifest in 12 planes of expression; but that it is enough to study and analyze three of it to understand how these twelve bodies and its corresponding planes function.

We are also taught that there is a universal principle or law which is responsible for establishing a hierarchical order among these bodies and planes, and which determines that each higher or less dense body governs and shapes the lower or denser body and plane.

The existence of these planes and the way it influence and interact with each other is one of the great secrets that have been preserved by the initiates of The Line of Saint James, and although its detailed analysis is of great interest to lovers of metaphysical philosophy, at the level of basic instruction only three of these planes are studied and worked on.

But why is it customary to study only three and not all twelve planes and bodies?

This answer is found in one of the most important texts of occult and initiatory Kabalístic knowledge; it is the book popularly known as the "Book of Creation" but which we initiates call the "Book of Formation".

The Sepher Yezirah

Its authorship is traditionally attributed to the patriarch Abraham -father of the three great religions of the West-, although modern scholars have not been able to reach a consensus on its origin.

The initiates call it the book of formation, because it does not deal with how the universe and the human being were created, but with how both are formed and permanently maintained in time and space.

This treatise contains the fundamental bases of the Kábala, Astrology and Alchemy, the occult and initiatory disciplines destined to support the conscious development of the initiates; and it shows us in a small sentence what constitutes the secret of the order in which the universe and the human being are hierarchically constituted.

This sentence reads as follows:

"They is one above three, three are above seven, seven above twelve, and all are joined together."

Sepher Yezirah, chapter VI, section 8

In short, in unveiling the meaning of this brief text, it reveals to us that the number 12 represents perfection; it is the Unity or the Divine acting and manifesting in unison in materiality. But it also teaches us that in order to understand the functioning of this manifested and materialized Unity, it is only possible to do so by knowing the nature and interrelation that exists between its parts, and that this knowledge can be attained by studying indistinctly 3, 7 or 12 of its elements and planes of expression.

Sepher Yezirah

Cover of the book Sepher Yezirah, published by the Rosicrucian Association Alden Lodge of the Ancient and Mystic Rosicrucian Order (AMORC), Caracas Venezuela, 3rd edition 1982. English translation by Rev. Dr. Isidor Kalish, 1877 and translation from English to Spanish by Dr. Luis M. Bello Caballero (LUBECA).

Thus, the Whole, the Unity, is composed of twelve parts that together symbolize material perfection in the sense of something that has been completed correctly. And everything that manifests on the material plane has its basis in the hierarchical structure 1-3-7 and 12.

For example, Aramaic, the sacred language of the West, consists of 1 germinal letter, 3 mother letters, 7 double letters and twelve single letters, and is therefore considered sacred because its structure obeys the universal natural structure.

The human being is also formed by a total of 12 bodies that allow the manifestation of the spirit in matter. These 12 bodies develop and act at the same time on 12 planes of expression or manifestation that can be classified into 3 basic, 7 functional (3 basic and 4 secondary) and 12 bodies in total (3 basic, 4 secondary and 5 elementary).

It is by this universal Kabalístic principle that the initiates can easily understand the behavior of any natural structure, and it is important for them to know that in order to know these structures, it makes no difference to analyze it by 3, 7 or 12 of its components.

We in The Line of Saint James know that the secret of life is in the simplest things, and that is why we do not entangle ourselves with complicated calculations or analysis, and when we analyze the planes of the evolution of human consciousness, we choose to do so by studying the 3 basic planes and bodies; the dense or material, the astral or psychic and the causal or spiritual.

This is how we can affirm that everything material is united and interconnected with the psychic and spiritual, and this interconnection is popularly known as holism.

Holistic conception of the human being and their natural environment

Holism is a word that comes from the Greek root (holos = all) plus the suffix (ismo = doctrine, thought) and means "to consider everything". In occult and initiatory teaching it refers to the fact that every natural system, whatever its nature, must be analyzed both in its individual properties, characteristics and functions and in its relationship with the rest of the whole, if we really want to understand its true functioning and the reason for its existence.

Thus, the holistic conception assures that we cannot understand the human being if we do not know at least the basic parts that integrate them (body, soul and spirit) as well as the universal laws that govern their existence, both from their individual composition and functioning as well as from the way in which they interact collectively.

Let us understand, then, that every animated material body (with individual or collective soul) is built from an astral matrix formed and sustained by a spiritual energy.

The great error of reductionist materialistic science (philosophy contrary to holism) is to ignore, in the first place, this indivisible unity of these bodies and planes; in the second place, to ignore and deny that all material existence is built, sustained and renewed from the superior and intangible bodies, such as the astral and spiritual bodies.

Of these three basic bodies of the human being, the astral or psychic body is the least understood and the most important for the individual development of consciousness, for the uninitiated are unaware that this body is nourished, modified and renewed by human emotions and feelings, and that the quality and quantity of these human emotions and feelings can result in health and bliss or disease and misfortune.

In occult and esoteric circles, disciples are called "men of desire", but it is rarely explained to them that this term means that it is their desires, emotions and feelings that determine not only their happiness or misfortune, but also their Karma and conscious evolution.

In modern times the science of knowing the psychic origin of illnesses has been called biodescodification, but the defenders of this term ignore that not only the psychic body sends signals of its state, but that each body has a different way of communicating with us to warn us of how well or badly we are conducting our lives, thus the mental body does it through symbols and synchromancy signals; the psychic body does it through vivid dreams and nightmares; and the material body does it through the somatization of psychic problems that manifest as illnesses and in extreme cases as accidents.

An initiate learns to recognise the signals sent to them by their three bodies and that serves as a basis for healing physically, psychically and spiritually because they knows and recognises that: "They is one above three, three are above seven, seven above twelve, and they are all connected to each other".

In our next article I will address the topic: The importance of an initiate knowing himself.

Prof. Publio S. Colmenares B.