The ‘Elementary’ (Black Soul or Dark Soul), and the Process of Soul Devolution . by Alice B. Clagett

Written and published on 10 November 2016; revised
Headings and quotations are in black font; comments by Alice B. Clagett are in green font

Dear Ones,


This discussion is background information for an upcoming blog presenting a syncretic theory on the class of beings termed …

  • The Antisocial Personality (ASP) of Psychology;
  • The ‘Elementary’ (aka Black Soul or Dark Soul) of Theosophy;
  • The Reptilians or ‘Hybrids’ of popular folklore, and 
  • The ‘Controllers’ (who are said to have been mind controlling humankind) in the context of the Awakening.

The current blog offers a metaphysical approach to this class of beings. The blog describes the circumstances surrounding the formation of the being known as the  ‘Elementary’ (the ‘Black Soul’ or ‘Dark Soul’) and the rare instance of devolution and loss of the Soul, in the context of the teachings of the School of Theosophy. The quotations below are from “The Seven Principles of Man,” by Annie Besant. (1)

First, some preliminary information on the ‘Quaternary’, that aspect of man which I touch upon in my blogs on the Gut Brain, the Lower Triangle, the Vital Body and the Desire Elemental.


The Quaternary comprises four lower principles. These are prana, which is the spirit of life; desire (or kama); the etheric double (sometimes termed the Linga Sharira); and the beast in us (the Sthula Sharîra). Annie Besant has a cogent description of the quaternary (1) :

The Quaternary, Without Mind, Is a Lower Animal

“The quaternary, regarded alone, ere it is affected by contact with the mind, is merely a lower animal; it awaits the coming of the mind to make it man. Theosophy teaches that through past ages man was thus slowly built up, stage by stage, principle by principle, until he stood as a quaternary, brooded over but not in contact with the Spirit, waiting for that mind which could alone enable him to progress farther, and to come into conscious union with the Spirit, so fulfilling the very object of his being.” (1)

Kama-Manas: Union of Desire with Lower Mind

“United to the lower part of Manas, the mind, as Kвma-Manas, it becomes the normal human brain intelligence, and that aspect of it will be dealt with presently. Considered by itself, it remains the brute in us, the ‘ape and tiger’ of Tennyson, the force which most avails to keep us bound to earth and to stifle in us all higher longings by the illusions of sense…

Kama-Manas Is the Personality, the ‘Shadow’ of the Soul

Kama-Manas is the personal self of man; we have already seen that the quaternary, as a whole, is the personality, ‘the shadow’, and the lower Manas gives the individualising touch that makes the personality recognise itself as ‘I’.” (1)


“We must now consider Manas during a single incarnation, which will serve as the type of all, and we will start when the Ego has been drawn – by causes set a-going in previous earth-lives – to the family in which is to be born the human being who is to serve as its next tabernacle. (I do not deal here with reincarnation, since that great and most essential doctrine of Theosophy must be expounded separately).” (1)

On the Higher Manas or Mind

“The Thinker, then, awaits the building of the ‘house of life’ which he is to occupy; and now arises a difficulty; himself a spiritual entity living on the mental or third plane upwards, a plane far higher than that of the physical universe, he cannot influence the molecules of gross matter of which his dwelling is built by the direct play upon them of his own most subtle particles.” (1)

On the Lower Manas or Mind

“So, he projects part of his own substance, which clothes itself with astral matter, and then with the help of etheric matter permeates the whole nervous system of the yet unborn child, to form, as the physical apparatus matures, the thinking principle in man.

“This projection from Manas, spoken of as its reflection, its shadow, its ray, and by many another descriptive and allegorical [Page 29] name, is the lower Manas, in contradistinction to the higher ManasManas, during every period of incarnation, being dual.

On the Dual Mind 

“On this, H. P. Blavatsky says: ‘Once imprisoned, or incarnate, their (the Manas) essence becomes dual; that is to say the rays of the eternal divine Mind, considered as individual entities, assume a twofold attribute which is …

–“‘(a) their essential, inherent, characteristic, heaven-aspiring mind (higher Manas), and

–“‘(b) the human quality of thinking, or animal cogitation, rationalised owing to the superiority of the human brain, the Kвma-tending or lower Manas” (Key to Theosophy, p. 184).” (1)


The Normal Role of Lower Manas Is to Convey Our Incarnational Experience to Higher Manas  

“We must now turn our attention to this lower Manas alone, and see the part which it plays in the human constitution. It is engulfed in the quaternary, and we may regard it as clasping Kama with one hand, while with the other it retains its hold on its father, the higher Manas. Whether it will be dragged down by Kama altogether and be torn away from the triad to which by its nature it belongs, or whether it will triumphantly carry back to its source the purified experiences of its earth-life – that is the life-problem set and solved in each successive incarnation.” (1)

When Lower Manas is Wrenched Free of Higher Manas, an ‘Elementary’ (i.e., a ‘Black Soul’ or ‘Dark Soul’) Is Formed, and the Soul Devolves Until It Is Lost

Thus we see that the Goal of lower manas is to carry back incarnational to higher manas at death. But if the union of kama-manas, which constituted the earthly personality, is overweighted by desire, then lower manas cannot reunite with higher manas at death.

Instead, lower manas will be carried away by kama, and become a separate entity known as an ‘Elementary’ (aka, a ‘Black Soul’ or ‘Dark Soul’, as will be discussed later). The trauma experienced by Higher Manas by this separation causes Soul devolution, and the loss of the Soul.

Will One’s Incarnational Actions Cause Soul Evolution or Soul Devolution? 

At death, then lower manas has one of two fates, depending on the way the life was lived.

  • If an average or good life was lived, then the role of Lower Manas is to assist in Soul Evolution by ferrying life experiences to Higher Manas, with which it reunites.
  • If an exceedingly depraved life was lived, then the weight of desire (kama) in kama-manas may cause the link between lower and higher manas (mind) to sever; and Soul Devolution will occur. In that rare instance, the severed kama-manas will form a separate being, an ‘Elementary’ (i.e., a ‘Black Soul’ or ‘Dark Soul’). More on this below.


An understanding of the normal process of dissolution of kama-manas after death is important to the understanding of the rare instance where an ‘Elementary’  (i.e., a ‘Black Soul’ or ‘Dark Soul’) is formed, and Soul devolution begins (to be discussed next). These passages describe how Kama-Manas, the union of desire with mind, typically fares after we pass on. There are two normal possibilities, and one unusual and highly undesirable possibility. According to Annie Besant (1)  …

“Soon after the death of the physical body, Kama-Manas is set free, and dwells for a while on the astral plane clothed with a body of astral matter….

“Meanwhile, that portion of the impure garment of the lower Manas which remains entangled with Kama gives to the desire-body a somewhat confused consciousness, a broken memory of the events of the life just closed.” (1)

First Possibility: Ghosts of Those Who Had Strong Animal Tendencies 

“If the emotions and passions were strong and the manasic element weak during the period of incarnation, the desire-body will be strongly energised, and will persist in its activity for a considerable length of time after the death of the physical body. It will also show a considerable amount of consciousness, as much of the [Page 43] manasic ray will have been overpowered by the vigorous kamic elements, and will have remained entangled in them.” (1)

Second Possibility: Ghosts of Those Who Led a High-Minded, Pure Life

“If, on the other hand, the earth-life just closed was characterised my mentality and purity rather than by passion, the desire-body, being but poorly energised, will be a pale simulacrum of the person to whom it belonged, and will fade away, disintegrate and perish before any long period has elapsed.” (1)

On the Intelligence of Ghosts Who Have Animalistic Charisma

“The ‘spook’ already mentioned (ante, p. 20-21) will now be understood. It may show very considerable intelligence, if the manasic element be still largely present, and this will be the case with the desire-body of persons of strong animal nature and forcible though coarse intellect. For intelligence working in a very powerful kamic personality will be exceedingly strong and energetic, though not subtle or delicate, and the spook of such a person, still further vitalised by the magnetic currents of persons yet living in the body, may show much intellectual ability of a low type.” (1)

How Such Ghosts Suck Vitality from the Living

“But such a spook is conscienceless, devoid of good impulses, tending towards disintegration, and communications with it can work for evil only, whether we regard them as prolonging its vitality by the currents which it sucks up from the bodies and kamic elements of the living, or as exhausting the vitality of these living persons and polluting them with astral connections of an altogether undesirable kind…” (1)

How Ghosts Live in Limbo

Kama-loka [limbo] (from loka, a place, and so the place for Kama) is a name often used to designate that plane of the astral world to which these spooks belong, and from this ray forth magnetic currents of poisonous character, as from a pest-house float out germs of disease which may take root and grow in the congenial soil of some poorly vitalised physical body.” (1)


This possibility occurs when lower manas and higher manas (i.e., the lower mind and the higher mind) are ‘rent asunder’.

  • This rending may occur at death, at the ‘weighing in’ of the Soul. In this case, the being that is formed of the kama (the desire matter of the personality) and the lower manas (the lower mind that created a sense of ‘I’-ness, or egoic identity during the incarnation) is called an ‘Elementary’.
  • Or this rending may occur during incarnation, when a personality ‘acts out’ in such a depraved way that the Soul is deeply and irrevocably injured. 

Annie Besant describes this eloquently:

Snapping of the Silver Thread (or ‘Silver Cord’) That Binds Lower Manas to Higher Manas

“There remains the third possibility for Kama-Manas, to which we must now turn our attention, the fate spoken of earlier as ‘terrible in its consequences, which may befall the kamic principle’. It may break away from its source made one with Kama instead of with the higher Manas. [This separate being forged of desire and lower mind is sometimes called an ‘Elementary’, a ‘Black Soul’, or a ‘Dark Soul’.]

“This is fortunately, a rare event, as rare at one pole of human life as the complete re-union with the higher Manas is rare at the other. But still the possibility remains and must be stated. The personality may be so strongly controlled by Kama that, in the struggle between the kamic and manasic elements, the victory may remain wholly with the former.

“The lower Manas may become so enslaved that its essence may be frayed and thinner and thinner by the constant rub and strain, until at last persistent yielding to the promptings of desire bears its inevitable fruit, and the slender link which unites the higher to [Page 46] the lower Manas, the ‘silver thread that binds it to the Master’ (aka the ‘silver cord’), snaps in two.

“Then, during earth-life, the lower quaternary is wrenched away from the Triad to which it was linked, and the higher nature is severed wholly from the lower. The human being is rent in twain, the brute has broken itself free, and it goes forth unbridled, carrying with it the reflections of that manasic light which should have been its guide through the desert of life.

The ‘Elementary’ (i.e., ‘Black Soul’ or ‘Dark Soul’): Brute Animal in Human Form 

“A more dangerous brute it is than its fellows of the unevolved animal world, just because of these fragments in it of the higher mentality of man. Such a being, human in form but brute in nature, human in appearance but without human truth, or love or justice – such a one may now and then be met with in the haunts of men, putrescent while still living, a thing to shudder at with deepest, if hopeless compassion. What is its fate after the funeral knell has tolled?

“Ultimately, there is the perishing of the personality that has thus broken away from the principles that can alone give it immortality. But a period of persistence lies before it.

Reincarnations of the ‘Elementary’ (i.e., a ‘Black Soul’ or a ‘Dark Soul’)

“The desire-body of such a one is an entity of terrible potency, and it has this unique peculiarity, that it is able under certain rare circumstances to reincarnate in the world of men. It is not a mere ‘spook’ on the way to disintegration; it has retained, entangled in its coils, too much of the manasic element to permit of such natural dissipation in space.

“It is sufficiently an independent entity, lurid instead of radiant, with manasic flame rendered foul instead of purifying, as to be able to take to itself a garment of flesh once more and dwell as man with men. Such a man – if the word [Page 47] may indeed be applied to the mere human shell with brute interior – passes through a period of earth-life the natural foe of all who are still normal in their humanity.

“With no instincts save those of the animal, driven only by passion, never even by emotion, with a cunning that no brute can rival, a deliberate wickedness that plans evil in fashion unknown to the mere frankly natural impulses of the animal world, the reincarnated entity touches ideal vileness. Such soil the page of human history as the monsters of iniquity that startle us now and again into a wondering cry, ‘Is this a human being?’

Devolution and Loss of the Soul Described 

“Sinking lower with each successive incarnation, the evil force gradually wears itself out, and such a personality perishes separated from the source of life. It finally disintegrates, to be worked up into other forms of living things, but as a separate existence, it is lost.

“It is a bead broken off the thread of life, and the immortal Ego that incarnated in that personality has lost the experience of that incarnation, has reaped no harvest from that life-sowing. Its ray has brought nothing back, its lifework for that birth has been a total and complete failure, whereof nothing remains to weave into the fabric of its own eternal Self. [Page 48]”

In love, light and joy,
I Am of the Stars

[Paragraphing and subheads in the quoted text above are mine. –Alice]


Link: “Compendium: Ensoulment, Soullessness, and Soul Evolution,” by Alice B. Clagett, published on 28 August 2018; revised on 4 October 2018 … ..

See also this blog on the topic of Ensoulment and Soullessness …

Link: “Ensoulment, Soullessness, and Soul Evolution,” by Alice B. Clagett, published on 28 August 2018; revised on 4 October 2018 … ..


(1) from “The Seven Principles of Man,” by Annie Besant, 1909 … “This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.” … from ..

Copies of this work can be found online, here and elsewhere …


Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


lower quaternary, manas, kama, kama-loka, limbo, kama-manas, personality, Elementary, soul devolution, soul evolution, loss of the soul, black soul, dark soul, Theosophy, Annie Besant,  gut brain, lower triangle, vital body, desire elemental, ghosts, spooks, four lower principles, shadow, incarnation, death, judgment, afterlife, higher mind, lower mind, higher manas, lower manas, soul wounding, anti-social personality, antisocial personality, controller, reptilians, silver cord, silver thread, reptilians,

Do you have comments?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.