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The Dweller on the Threshold, painting by Theosophist Reginald W. Machell (c. 1895). Machell explained that it shows a man “confronted with the shadow of self outside the path.” Yet, eventually, the initiate reaches “the vision of his own higher self—the knowledge of true occultism.”

Dweller-on-the-threhold is a term sometimes used to designate the anti-self, the not-self, the synthetic self, the antithesis of the Real Self, the conglomerate of the self-created ego, ill-conceived through the inordinate use of the gift of free will, consisting of the carnal mind and a constellation of misqualified energies, forcefields, focuses, animal magnetism comprising the subconscious mind. Man’s contact with the reptilian anti-magnetic self—that is the enemy of God and his Christ and the soul’s reunion with that Christ—is through the desire body, or astral body, and through the solar-plexus chakra.

The dweller-on-the-threshold is therefore the nucleus of a vortex of energy that forms the “electronic belt,” shaped like a kettledrum and surrounding the four lower bodies from the waist down. The serpent head of the dweller is sometimes seen emerging from the black pool of the unconscious. This electronic belt does contain the cause, effect, record, and memory of human karma in its negative aspect. Positive karma, as deeds done through the divine consciousness, registers in the causal body and is sealed in the electronic fire-rings surrounding each one’s own I AM Presence.

The planetary dweller-on-the-threshold is personified in the forces of Antichrist.

The encounter with the dweller

When the sleeping serpent of the dweller is awakened by the presence of Christ, the soul must make the freewill decision to slay, by the power of the I AM Presence, this self-willed personal anti-Christ and become the defender of the Real Self until the soul is fully reunited with Him who is the righteous Lord, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, the true Self of every lifestream on the path of initiation.

The dweller appears to the soul on the threshold of conscious awareness where it knocks to gain entrance into the ‘legitimate’ realm of self-acknowledged selfhood. The dweller would enter to become the master of the house. But it is Christ and only Christ whose knock you must answer—him only must you bid enter. The most serious initiation on the path of the disciple of Christ is the confrontation with the not-self. For if it is not slain by the soul who is one in the Christ Mind, it will emerge to devour that soul in the full-vented rage of its hatred for the Light.

The necessity for the Teacher on the Path and for the Guru Sanat Kumara with us, physically manifest in the messenger of Maitreya, is to hold the balance both spiritually and in the physical octave for each individual initiate on the Path as he approaches the initiation of the encounter—face-to-face with the dweller-on-the-threshold.

In Theosophy

In The Theosophical Glossary, H. P. Blavatsky defines dweller on the threshold as “a term invented by Bulwer Lytton in Zanoni;... ‘Dweller’ is an occult term used by students for long ages past, and refers to certain maleficent astral Doubles of defunct persons.” Astral Double refers to “the ethereal counterpart or shadow of man or animal.”

For more information

Mark L. Prophet and Elizabeth Clare Prophet, The Enemy Within.


Mark L. Prophet and Elizabeth Clare Prophet, Saint Germain On Alchemy: Formulas for Self-Transformation.

Pearls of Wisdom, vol. 26, no. 6, February 6, 1983.