“The Great Entity gathered about itself atoms of each Cosmic plane, out of which it formed its body. These atoms themselves are entities, though of a lesser degree of development than the Great Entity of which they form a part. … Each atom, having realized itself, has created a concept of itself. …
“Now the consciousness of a Great Entity is not aware of the individual reactions of its atoms, any more than the consciousness of the cells composing its body. Therefore, when it seeks to conceive an image of itself, it has to take the reactions of the different types of atoms in their respective aggregates. … The first act of creation proceeds from the body of God and is but a mass of unorganized units. … These units, having no organization, and therefore no relations among themselves, could not attain to objective consciousness, but as soon as the concept of the Great Entity, based upon its Cosmic experiences, became projected, it organized them into relationships, and they then became conscious of each other—became affected by each other.” ~Dion Fortune
Some of the details of the quoted section are hard to follow, but I think the primary concept of it is that the total universe, from the highest level of pure spirit to the lowest level of pure matter, is a hierarchical construct. The top level is, of course, God. It is unclear to me when I read this section of Fortune’s book if she is using “the Great Entity” as another name for God, or if this is instead His first creation which we call Christ, but it really doesn’t matter that much.
When Fortune says that the Great Entity formed its body from cosmic atoms we need to realize that she is not talking about what we call atoms. These “atoms” are of a much higher level and are spiritual, not material. You could think of them as more like forces, powers, or bundles of energy than like the atoms of matter.
She then tells us that each “atom” is an entity unto itself, even though it remains a part of God or the Great Entity. This idea is foreign to the thinking of most of us because we forget, or never knew, that there are many living beings that are a part of our own physical bodies, yet have an independent “self” as well. It is much the same as the sense that we are all individuals, yet, in a very real sense that few of us truly recognize, we are also cells in the body of a single entity called humanity.
Ms. Fortune tells us that these “atoms” God created are unorganized so cannot have objective consciousness. She then quickly add that they do have consciousness because the Great Entity projects it onto them organizing them and giving them relationships and consciousness. We should get two important ideas from this (if not more). First, since the consciousness of these “atoms” is that projected downward from God, the consciousness they have is that of God, although possibly a limited, watered down version of it. We may have somewhat independent brain/minds, though I would argue that they are not as independent as we think they are because they communicate with each other on a psychic level that we are generally unaware of, but when it come to true, universal Consciousness, also called Gnosis, there is but one that is centered in God and shared with those who are truly awakened spiritually. The second thing we should get from this is that the unorganized cannot be conscious, at least not on the high level of Cosmic Consciousness or Christ Consciousness. An organization must be organized to function in a conscious and sensible way. When every person, or other type of being, doing “his own thing,” and emphasizing his individuality, that group, whether it be a club, a country, or the occupants of a planet, are doomed to fall apart from this lack of structured, organized behavior. There is nothing wrong with being an individual, but if you emphasize it too much, any groups you belong to must reject you and other who want to emphasize individuality and place little value on being part of the group. Many people who don’t have a background in computers like I do are unaware of how modern super computers work. They solve the most difficult problems by using Massively Parallel Processing. This is a techniques of processing where the problem is solved by many processors working on the problem together. Consciousness works in much the same way.