The following is a short meditation on a concept which, like many others, hasn’t been illuminated very well.
In the Jewish tradition of Kabbalah, a common epithet of IHVH, the One God, is “Tzabaoth”, or “IHVH Tzabaoth” in full. Roughly translated, it means “Lord of Hosts”.
Interestingly, we also find a similar concept in Hinduism: Lord Ganesh is the king of all spirits, and thus also called “King of Hosts”.
But what does it mean to rule over hosts, in a spiritual context?
Quite simply, it refers to a property of the perfect self, which is its ability to have absolute dominion over all its thoughts and emotions, and thus, ultimately, the material world. Every self contains the sum of all spirits, which are highly subtle manifestations that cause everything in existence in the lower worlds. If a fiery spirit of anger controls me, I will have bouts of temper. As king over it, it is an integrated part of myself which I intimately know and effortlessly deal with in exactly the way which I want to. Achieving this, through repeated and increasingly deeper applications of self-knowledge and self-control, is one of the ultimate goals of the enlightened self.
This concept is also related to the concept of Hosts and Choirs of Angels. Angels are what we would term, from a human perspective, “good” spirits. They are usually associated with ideals of morality and harmony and blessed aid. We can imagine our spirits “singing” their particular astral (emotional) and mental vibrations. In a being, a well-trained choir of angels is like a human choir, singing in harmony. The greater that harmony and the more numerous the spirits involved, the greater the glory of God and Heaven that the individual expresses.