Part III -- On the Psychic Plane and the Astral Body
Mar 17, 2002 09:44 AM
PART 3 == ASTRAL and PSYCHIC FORCES, PLANES, PHENOMENA
WHAT IS "SPIRITUALISM ?"
Western investigators of accepted schools of psychology have not
advanced very far. The result is that there is no comprehensive,
or inclusive Western Psychology worthy of the name. This lack of
an adequate system, is a natural consequence of the materialistic
bias of science, and the paralyzing influence of dogmatic
religion. Science can be seen ridiculing effort and blocking the
way; while religion forbids investigation. Real psychology is an
Oriental product today.
Traces of the "Oriental Psychological System" can be traced
historically in the Middle East, in Greece and Egypt, and when a
very ancient civilization flourished in America, anterior to the
A cult sprang up in the United States in mid 19th century calling
itself quite wrongly "spiritualism." It began at Rochester, N.
Y., under the mediumship of the Fox sisters, but it was known in
Salem during the witchcraft excitement, and in Europe one hundred
years earlier, the same practices were pursued, similar phenomena
seen, mediums developed, and seances held.
It soon fell into mere wonder-seeking without the slightest
shadow of a philosophy. There are great dangers, and
psychological damage is seen to have been made to the human
instruments involved. These more than offset the good done in
the opinion of the disciples of the Ancient Adept Lodge who would
have mankind progress evenly and without unnecessary pain or ruin
along its path of evolution.
NECROMANCY -- "WORSHIP OF THE DEAD"
For centuries it has been well known in India where it is
properly designated "bhuta worship," meaning the attempt to
communicate with the devilish, evil, or Astral remnants of the
This should be its name here also, for by it the surviving
aspects, on the Astral plane of the gross and devilish, or
earthly, parts of man are excited, appealed to, and communicated
with. But the facts of the long record in America, demands a
brief examination. These facts all studious Theosophists must
The questions most pressing in respect to "Spiritualism" are
those relating to communication with the "Souls" of those who
have left this earth and are now disembodied; and, with
unclassified spirits who have not been embodied here but belong
to other spheres of the Astral matter.
1. Do the mediums communicate with the "Spirits of the dead?"
2. Do our departed friends perceive the state of life they have
left, and, do they sometimes return to speak with us?
The answers that Theosophy has always put forward are clear, and
based on the universal and demonstrable laws of occultism.
Our departed do not see us here. They are relieved from the
terrible pang such a sight would inflict. Once in a while, a
pure-minded, unpaid medium may ascend in trance to the state
[Devachan] in which a deceased soul is, and may remember some
bits of what was there heard; but this is rare.
Now and then in the course of decades some high human Spirit may
for a moment return, and by unmistakable means, communicate with
At the moment of death, the Soul may speak to some friend on
earth before the door is finally shut.
But the mass of communications alleged as made day after day
through mediums, are from the astral unintelligent remains of
men, or in many cases, they are entirely the production of,
invention, compilation, discovery, and collocation by the loosely
attached Astral body of the living medium.
Certain objections arise to the theory that the "Spirits of the
dead" communicate. Some are:
1. At no time have these spirits given the laws governing any of
the phenomena, except in a few instances, not accepted by the
cult, where the theosophical theory was advanced. These
particular spirit communications fell into discredit.
2. The spirits disagree among themselves, one stating the
after-life to be very different from the description by another.
These disagreements vary with the medium and the supposed
theories of the deceased during life. One spirit admits
reincarnation, and others deny it.
3. The spirits have discovered nothing new in respect to
history, anthropology, or other important matters, seeming to
have less ability in that line than living men; and although they
often claim to be men who lived in older civilizations, they show
ignorance thereupon or merely repeat recently published
4. In these past years, no rationale of phenomena nor of
development of mediumship has been obtained from the spirits.
Great philosophers are reported as speaking through mediums, but
utter only drivel and merest commonplaces.
5. The mediums come to physical and moral grief, are accused of
fraud, are shown guilty of trickery, but the "spirit guides and
controls" do not interfere to either prevent or save.
6. It is admitted that the "guides and controls" deceive and
incite to fraud.
7. It is plainly to be seen through all that is reported of the
spirits that their assertions and philosophy, if any, vary with
the medium and the most advanced thought of living spiritualists.
>From all this and much more that could be adduced, the man of
materialistic science is fortified in his ridicule, but the
theosophist has to conclude that the entities, if there be any
communicating, are not human spirits, and that the explanations
are to be found in some other theories.
Let us now pass to phenomena.
MAN -- the MICROCOSM
If all the phenomena described are true, then in man are the same
powers and forces which are to be found anywhere in Nature. He is
held by the Masters of Wisdom to be the highest product of the
whole system of evolution, and mirrors in himself every power,
however wonderful or terrible, of Nature. By the very fact of
being such a mirror, he is man -- the "Microcosm" of the
WILL and IMAGINATION
This, naturally leads to the proposition that the human WILL is
all powerful, and the Imagination is a most useful faculty with a
The IMAGINATION is the picture-making power of the human mind. In
the average human it has not enough training or force to be more
than a sort of dream, but it may be trained. When trained it is
the Constructor in the Human Workshop. Arrived at that stage, it
makes a matrix in the Astral substance through which effects will
flow into physical objectivity. It is the greatest power, after
Will, in the human assemblage of complicated instruments.
The modern definition of imagination is incomplete and
inaccurate. It is chiefly used to designate fancy or
misconception, and at all times, stands for unreality. It is
impossible to get another term as good because one of the powers
of the trained Imagination is that of making an image. This
faculty used, or pushed to a greater limit, causes the
Imagination to evolve in the Astral substance an actual form,
which like a sand-mold, can be used to shape cast-iron. It is
therefore the King faculty, inasmuch as the Will cannot do its
work if the Imagination be at all weak or untrained. For
instance, if the person desiring to precipitate from the air
wavers in the least with the image made in the Astral substance,
the pigment will fall upon the paper in a correspondingly
wavering and diffused manner.
MIND IS THE INSTRUMENT OF CONTROL
But the lay mind infected by the materialism of these days,
wonders how all these manipulations are possible, seeing that no
instruments are spoken of. The instruments are in the body and
brain of man. In the view of the Adept Lodge: "the human brain
is an exhaustless generator of force." A complete knowledge of
the inner chemical and dynamic laws of Nature, together with a
trained mind, give the possessor the power to operate these laws.
This will be man's possession in the future, and would be his
today were it not for blind dogmatism, selfishness, and
materialistic unbelief. A knowledge of the law when added to
faith gives power over matter, mind, space, and time.
MAGIC vs. PSYCHISM
The genuine psychic -- or, as they are often called, "magical" --
phenomena done by an Eastern faquir or yogi are all performed by
the use of natural forces and processes not yet known to the
West. [ Reference to ISIS UNVEILED, Vol. 1, will be helpful; and
in Vol. 2 , p. 587 ( 10 Points of Psychology) ]
Some of these are:
LEVITATION -- A Change of POLARITY
Levitation of the body in apparent defiance of gravitation is a
thing to be done with ease when the process is completely
mastered. It contravenes no law. GRAVITATION is only half of a
law. The Oriental sage admits gravity, but the real term is
ATTRACTION, the other half of the law being expressed by the word
REPULSION, and both are governed by the great laws of electrical
and magnetic force.
COHESION AND DISPERSION
A third great law which enters into many of the phenomena is that
of COHESION. This power is a distinct power in itself, and not
only a result as is supposed. This law and its action must be
known if certain phenomena are to be brought about, as, for
instance, the passing of a solid iron ring through another, or a
stone through a solid wall. Hence another force is used which can
be called DISPERSION. Cohesion is the determinating force, for,
the moment the dispersing force is withdrawn, the cohesive force
restores the particles to their original form.
Using this Law, the Adept is able to disperse, or alter a shape
by changing the molecular relations or the atoms of an object --
excluding always the human body -- to such a distance from each
other as to render the object invisible, and then can send them
along a current formed in the astral light, to any distance on
the earth. At the desired point the dispersing force is
withdrawn, when immediately cohesion reasserts itself and the
object reappears intact.
Using the same powers, the trained Adept can produce before the
eye, objective to the touch, material in any desired shape, which
was not visible before. This would be called creation by the
vulgar, but it is simply evolution in your presence. Matter is
held suspended in the air about us. Every particle of matter,
visible or still unprecipitated, has been through all possible
forms. What the Adept does, is to select any desired form,
existing, as they all do, in the Astral Light, and then by effort
of the Will and Imagination, clothe the form with the matter by
The object so made will fade away unless certain other processes
are used to make it permanent.
For the process of letter precipitation, on paper or other
surface, the same laws and powers are used. The distinct --
photographically and sharply definite -- image of every line of
every letter or picture is formed in the mind, and then out of
the air is drawn the pigment to fall within the limits laid down
by the brain, "the exhaustless generator of force and form."
Materialization of a form out of the air, independent of the
medium's physical body, is a fact. But it is not a spirit.
As was very well said by one of the "spirits" not favored by
spiritualism, one way to produce this phenomenon is by the
accretion of electrical and magnetic particles into one mass upon
which matter is aggregated and an image reflected out of the
Some so-called materializations are hollow mockeries, as they are
but flat plates of electrical and magnetic substance on which
pictures from the Astral Light are reflected. These seem to be
the faces of the dead, but they are simply pictured illusions.
This is the whole of it; as much a fraud as a collection of
muslin and masks.
The second method is by the use of the Astral body of the living
medium. In this case the Astral form exudes from the side of the
medium, gradually collects upon itself particles extracted from
the air and the bodies of the sitters present, until at last it
becomes visible. Sometimes it will resemble the medium; at others
it bears a different appearance.
Laborious attempts by Psychical Research Societies to prove
apparitions without knowing the occult laws really prove nothing,
for out of twenty admitted cases, nineteen may be the
objectivization of the image impressed on the brain. But that
"apparitions" have been seen, there is no doubt.
Apparitions and doubles are of two general classes.
The one, consist of astral shells or images from the astral
world, and are either actually visible to the eye or the result
of vibration within the Astral and thrown out to the eye, and
thus making the person think he sees an objective form without.
The other, the Astral body of living persons and carrying full
consciousness or only partially so endowed.
Apparitions of those just dead may be either pictures made
objective as described, or the Astral Body -- called Kama-Rupa at
this stage -- of the deceased. And as the dying thoughts and
forces released from the body are very strong, we have more
accounts of such apparitions than of any other class.
APPORTATION -- MOTION WITHOUT PHYSICAL CONTACT
Among phenomena are those of the moving of objects without
physical contact. This may be done, and in more than one way.
1. The first is to extrude from the physical body the Astral hand
and arm, and with those grasp the object to be moved. This may be
accomplished at a distance of as much as ten feet from the
person, we are only referring to the properties of the Astral
substance and members. This will serve to some extent to explain
several of the phenomena of mediums. In nearly all cases of such
apportation the feat is accomplished by thus using the unseen,
but material Astral hand.
2. The second method is to use the "elementals" [Nature sprites].
They have the power when directed by the Inner Man to carry
objects by changing the polarity, and then we see small objects
moving apparently unsupported. These elemental entities are used
when things are brought from longer distances than the length to
which the Astral members may be stretched. It is no argument
against this that mediums do not know they do so. They rarely if
ever know anything about the laws whereby they accomplish any
feat, and their ignorance of the law is no proof of its
To communicate with another mind at any distance the Adept
attunes all the molecules of the brain and all the thoughts of
the mind so as to vibrate in unison with the mind to be affected,
and that other mind and brain have also to be either voluntarily
thrown into the same unison or fall into it voluntarily. So
though the Adept be at Bombay and his friend in New York, the
distance is no obstacle, as the inner senses are not dependent on
an ear, but may feel and see the thoughts and images in the mind
of the other person.
MENTAL BURGLARY FORBIDDEN
The modern man sees no misdemeanor in looking into the secrets of
another by means of this power, but the Adepts say it is an
invasion of the rights of the other person. No man has the right,
even when he has the power, to enter into the mind of another and
pick out its secrets. This is the law of the Lodge to all who
seek, and if one sees that he is about to discover the secrets of
another he must at once withdraw and proceed no further.
If he proceeds his power is taken from him in the case of a
disciple; in the case of any other person he must take the
consequence of this sort of burglary. For Nature has her laws and
her policemen, and if we commit felonies in the Astral world the
great Law and the guardians of it, for which no bribery is
possible, will execute the penalty, no matter how long we wait,
even if it be for ten thousand years. Here is another safeguard
for ethics and morals.
But until men admit the system of ethical and moral philosophy
put forward by Theosophy, they will not deem it wrong to commit
felonies in fields where their weak human law has no effect, but
at the same time, by refusing the philosophy, they will put off
the day when all may have these great powers for the use of all.
Clairvoyance, clairaudience, and second-sight are all closely
related. Every exercise of any one of them draws in at the same
time both of the others. They are but variations of one power.
Sound is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Astral
sphere, and as light goes with sound, sight obtains
simultaneously with hearing.
To see an image with the Astral senses means that at the same
time there is a sound. It is well known to the true student of
occultism that every sound produces instantaneously an image, and
this, so long known in the Orient, has lately been demonstrated
in the West in the production to the eye of sound pictures on a
In clairvoyance, the pictures in the Astral Light pass before the
inner vision and are reflected into the physical eye from within.
They then appear objectively to the seer. In clairaudience, the
hearer hears with the center of hearing in the Astral body
activating the physical equivalent sense.
In clairvoyance with waking sight, the vibration is communicated
to the brain first. From the brain it is transmitted to the
physical eye, where it sets up an image upon the retina. In
ordinary vision the vibrations on the retina of the are
transmitted to the brain. Sound, also a vibration, is preserved
in the Astral Light and, from thence the inner sense can take it
and transmit it to the brain, from which it is retransmitted to
the physical ear.
THE ASTRAL PICTURE GALLERY OF EVERYTHING
By means of these pictures, seen with the inner senses, all
clairvoyants exercise their strange faculty. Yet it is a faculty
common to all men, though in the majority but slightly developed.
Occultism asserts that were it not for the germ of this power
slightly active in every one no man could convey to another any
SPIRITUAL VISION and CLAIRVOYANCE
The highest order of clairvoyance -- that of Spiritual Vision --
is very rare. The usual clairvoyant deals only with the ordinary
aspects and strata of the Astral matter. SPIRITUAL SIGHT comes
only to those who are pure, devoted, and firm. It may be attained
by special development of the particular organ in the body
through which alone such sight is possible, and only after
discipline, long training, and the highest altruism.
All other clairvoyance is transitory, inadequate, and
fragmentary, dealing, as it does, only with matter and illusion.
AN ADEPT MAY PROJECT HIS "DOUBLE."
The Adept may send out his apparition, which, however, is called
by another name [mayavi-rupa], as it consists of his conscious
and trained astral body endowed with all his intelligence and not
wholly detached from his physical frame.
SECOND-SIGHT is a combination of clairaudience and clairvoyance,
and the frequency with which future events are seen by the
second-sight seer adds an element of prophecy. If they are of
past events or those to come, the picture only is seen; if of
events actually then occurring, the scene is perceived through
the Astral Light by the inner sense. This part of the subject is
a dangerous one, but can be gone into much further with the aid
of occultism. The pure-minded and the brave can deal with the
future and the present far better than any clairvoyant.
In the Astral Light are pictures of all things whatsoever that
happened to any person, and as well also pictures of those events
to come, the causes for which are sufficiently well marked and
made. If the causes are yet indefinite, so will be the images of
the future. But for the mass of events for several years to come
all the producing and efficient causes are always laid down with
enough definiteness to permit the seer to see them in advance.
Dreams are sometimes the result of brain action automatically
proceeding, but, Theosophy also says they can be produced by the
transmission into the brain by the real inner person of those
scenes or ideas, high or low, which that real person has seen
while the body slept.
But the great fact of all dreaming is that some one perceives and
feels therein, and this is one of the arguments for the inner
person's existence. The karma of the person also determines the
meaning of a dream, for a king may dream that which relates to
his kingdom, while the same thing dreamed by a citizen relates to
nothing of temporal consequence. But, as said by Job: "In dreams
and visions of the night man is instructed."
SCIENTIFIC LAWS AND THEOSOPHY
But to explain the phenomena performed by Adepts, Fakirs, Yogees,
and all trained occultists, one has to understand the occult laws
of chemistry, of mind, of force, and of matter.
Theosophy does not deny nor ignore the physical laws discovered
by science. It admits all such as are proven, but it asserts the
existence of others which modify the action of those we
Behind all the visible phenomena is the occult cosmos with its
ideal machinery. That occult cosmos can only be fully understood
by means of the inner senses which pertain to it. Those senses
will not be easily developed if their existence is denied. Brain
and mind, acting together, have the power to evolve forms, first
as astral ones in astral substance, and later as visible ones by
accretions of the matter on this plane.
Objectivity depends largely on perception, and perception may be
affected by inner stimuli. Hence a witness may either see an
object which actually exists as such without, or, he may be made
to see one by internal stimulus.
This gives us three modes of sight:
(1) with the eye by means of light from an object,
(2) with the inner senses by means of the Astral Light, and
(3) by stimulus from within which causes the eye to report to the
brain, thus throwing the inner image without.
The phenomena of the other senses may be tabulated in the same
The Astral substance being the register of all thoughts, sounds,
pictures, and other vibrations, and the inner man being a
complete person able to act with or without co-ordination with
the physical, all the phenomena of hypnotism, clairvoyance,
clairaudience, mediumship, and the rest of those which are not
consciously performed may be explained.
In the Astral substance are all sounds and pictures, and in the
Astral Man, remain impressions of every event, however remote or
insignificant; these acting together produce the phenomena which
seem so strange to those who deny or are unaware of the
postulates of occultism.
LAWS AFFECTING PSYCHIC PHENOMENA
If one is to understand the psychic phenomena found in the
history of "spiritualism" it is necessary to know and admit the
1. The complete heredity of man astrally, spiritually, and
psychically, as a being who knows, reasons, feels, and acts
through the body, the Astral body, and the soul. [Man is an
2. he nature of the mind, its operation, its powers; the nature
and power of imagination; the duration and effect of impressions.
Most important in this is the persistence of the slightest
impression as well as the deepest; that every impression produces
a picture in the individual aura; and that by means of this a
connection is established between the auras of friends and
relatives old, new, near, distant, and remote in degree: this
would give a wide range of possible sight to a clairvoyant.
3. The nature, extent, function, and power of man's inner Astral
organs and faculties included in the terms Astral body and Kama
[Desire & Passion]. That these are not hindered from action by
trance or sleep, but are increased in the medium when entranced.
At the same time their action is not free, but governed by the
mass chord of thought among the sitters. This may also be
governed by the predominating will of one of the sitters, or by
the presiding "devilish Kama-rupa" behind the scenes. If a
sceptical scientific investigator be present, his mental attitude
may totally inhibit the action of the medium's powers by what we
might call a freezing process which no English terms will
4. The fate of the Real Man after death, his state, power,
activity there, and his relation, if any, to those left behind
5. That the intermediary between mind and body -- the Astral
body -- is thrown off at death and left in the Astral light to
fade away; and that the real man goes to Devachan.
6. The existence, nature, power, and function of the Astral
light and its place as a register in Nature. That it contains,
retains, and reflects pictures of each and every thing that
happened to anyone, and also every thought; that it permeates the
globe and the atmosphere around it; that the transmission of
vibration through it is practically instantaneous, since the rate
is much quicker than that of electricity as now known.
7. The existence in the Astral light of beings not using bodies
like ours, but not human in their nature, having powers,
faculties, and a sort of consciousness of their own. These
include the elemental forces or nature sprites divided into many
degrees, and which have to do with every operation of Nature and
every motion of the mind of man. That these elementals act at
seances automatically in their various departments, one class
presenting pictures, another producing sounds, and others
depolarizing objects for the purposes of apportation. Acting with
them in this Astral sphere are the "soulless men" [Elementaries,
"shells"] who live in it. To these are to be ascribed the
phenomenon, among others, of the "independent voice," always
sounding like a voice in a barrel just because it is made in a
vacuum which is absolutely necessary for an entity so far removed
from spirit. The peculiar timbre of this sort of voice has not
been noticed by the spiritualists as important, but it is
extremely significant in the view of occultism.
8. The existence and operation of occult laws and forces in
nature which may be used to produce phenomenal results on this
plane; that these laws and forces may be put into operation by
the subconscious man and by the elementals either consciously or
unconsciously, and that many of these occult operations are
automatic in the same way as is the freezing of water under
intense cold or the melting of ice under heat.
9. That the Astral body of the medium, partaking of the nature
of the Astral substance, may be extended from the physical body,
may act outside of the latter, and may also extrude at times any
portion of itself such as hand, arm, or leg and thereby move
objects, indite letters, produce touches on the body, and so on
ad infinitum. And that the Astral body of any person may be made
to feel sensation, which, being transmitted to the brain, causes
the person to think he is touched on the outside or has heard a
DANGERS TO MEDIUMS
Mediumship is full of dangers because the Astral part of the man
is now only normal in action when joined to the body; in distant
years, it will normally act without a body as it has in the far
To become a medium means that you have to become disorganized
physiologically and in the nervous system, because through the
latter is the connection between the two worlds. The moment the
door is opened all the unknown forces rush in, and as the grosser
part of nature is nearest to us it is that part which affects us
most; the lower nature is also first affected and inflamed
because the forces used are from that part of us. We are then at
the mercy of the vile thoughts of all men, and subject to the
influence of the shells in Kama Loka.
CURIOSITY AND SELFISH ACQUIREMENT OF "POWER"
To attempt to acquire the use of the psychic powers for mere
curiosity or for selfish ends is also dangerous for the same
reasons as in the case of mediumship. As the civilization of the
present day is selfish to the last degree and built on the
personal, element, the rules for the development of these powers
in the right way, have not been given out. But the Masters of
Wisdom have said that philosophy and ethics must first be learned
and practiced before any development of the other department is
to be indulged in; and their condemnation of the wholesale
development of mediums is supported by the history of
spiritualism, which is one long story of the ruin of mediums in
SCIENCE and THE ASTRAL & PSYCHIC PLANE
Equally improper is the manner of the scientific schools which
without a thought for the true nature of man indulge in
experiments in hypnotism in which the subjects are injured for
life, put into disgraceful attitudes, and made to do things for
the satisfaction of the investigators which would never be done
by men and women in their normal state.
The Lodge of the Masters does not care for Science unless it aims
to better man's state morally as well as physically, and no aid
will be given to Science until she looks at man and life from the
moral and spiritual side.
For this reason those who know all about the psychical world, its
denizens and laws, are proceeding with a reform in morals and
philosophy before any great attention will be accorded to the
strange and seductive phenomena possible for the inner powers of
And at the present time the cycle has almost run its course for
this century. Now, as a century ago, the forces are slackening;
the Adept Lodge hopes by the time the next tide begins to rise
that the West will have gained some right knowledge of the true
philosophy of Man and Nature, and be then ready to bear the
lifting of the veil a little more. To help on the progress of the
race in this direction is the object of Theosophy and that is
offered to all.
[Extracts from the OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY ]
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