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Astral Plane -- "Obsession"

Mar 28, 2002 03:52 PM
by dalval14

Thursday, March 28, 2002

Re: Psychology and the Astral Body of Man.
Elementaries (Part II, below)

Dear Friends:

Continuing studies in the nature of the Astral Realm and the
Astral Body of Man, the following article by H P B will be found

Part I


[Extracts from an Article by H. P. Blavatsky.]

[ U L T -- H P B Articles II 486; THEOSOPHIST, May 1880 ]

THE particulars of the case of "obsession," alluded to in the
April number of this magazine, are given in the following letter
from a respectable English medical man who is in attendance upon
the victim:--

"I take the liberty of addressing you in the cause of humanity,
with the intention of exciting your sympathies and obtaining all
the aid in your power to afford, in a case of "control." You will
understand that the gentleman is being made a medium against his
wish, through having attended a few séances for the purpose of
witnessing "materialization."

Ever since, he has been more or less subject to a series of
persecutions by the "controlling" spirit and, in spite of every
effort of his to throw off the influence, he has been made to
suffer most shamefully and painfully in very many ways and under
most trying and aggravating circumstances, especially by his
thoughts being forced into forbidden channels without external
causes being present--the bodily functions overruled, even being
caused to bite his tongue and cheeks severely whilst eating, &c.,
and subjected to every species of petty annoyances which will
serve as a means for the "control" (unknown) to sustain and
establish the connection. The details are in their most painful
features not such as I can write to you; but if there be any
means known to you whereby the influence can be diverted, and it
is thought necessary to be more particular in my description of
this case, I will send you all the information I possess. "

So little is known in India of the latest and most startling
phase of Western mediumistic phenomena--"materialization,"--that
a few words of explanation are needed to make this case

Briefly, then, for several years, in the presence of certain
mediums in America and Europe, there have been seen, often under
good test conditions, apparitions of the dead, which in every
respect seem like living human beings. They walk about, write
messages to present and absent friends, speak audibly in the
languages familiar to them in life, even though the medium may be
unacquainted with them, and are dressed in the garb they wore
when alive.

Many cases of fraudulent personation of the dead have been
detected, pretended mediums have sometimes gone on for years
deceiving the credulous, and real ones, whose psychical powers
have been apparently proved beyond doubt, have been caught
playing tricks in some evil hour when they have yielded to either
the love of money or notoriety. Still, making every allowance for
all these, there is a residuum of veritable cases of the
materialization, or the making visible, tangible and audible of
portrait figures of dead people.

These wonderful phenomena have been variously regarded by

Most Spiritualists have looked upon them as the most precious
proofs of the soul-survival; while Theosophists, acquainted with
the views of the ancient Theurgists, and the still more ancient
Aryan philosophers, have viewed them as at best misleading
deceptions of the senses, fraught with danger to the physical and
moral natures of both medium and spectator--if the latter chances
to be susceptible to certain psychical influences.

These students of Occultism have noticed that the mediums for
materializations have too often been ruined in health by the
drain upon their systems, and wrecked in morals. They have over
and again warned the Spiritualistic public that mediumship was a
most dangerous gift, one only to be tolerated under great
precautions. And for this they have received much abuse and few
thanks. Still one's duty must be done at every cost, and the case
now before us affords a valuable text for one more bit of
friendly counsel.

We need not stop to discuss the question whether the so-called
materialized forms above described are or are not those of the
deceased they look like. That may be held in reserve until the
bottom facts of Oriental psychical science are better understood.
Nor need we argue as to whether there has ever been an authentic

The London experiences of Mr. William Crookes, F.R.S., and the
American ones of Colonel Olcott, both so widely known and of so
convincing a character, give us a sufficient basis of fact to
argue upon. We assume the reality of materializations, and shall
take the instance cited by the English physician as a subject for

The patient then is described as having been "controlled" since
attending "circles" where there were materializations, and as
having become the bond-slave of some evil powers which force him
to say and do painful and even disgusting things, despite his


Why is this? How can a man be compelled to so act against his
will? What is Obsession?

Three brief questions these are, but most difficult to explain to
an uninitiated public. The laws of Obsession can only be well
understood by him who has sounded the depths of Indian

The only clue to the secret, which the West possesses, is
contained in that most beneficent science, Magnetism or
Mesmerism. That does teach the existence of a vital fluid within
and about the human being; the fact of different human
polarities; and the possibility of one person projecting this
fluid or force at will, to and upon another person differently

Baron Reichenbach's theory of Odyle or Odic force shows us the
existence of this same fluid in the mineral and vegetable as well
as the animal kingdoms. To complete the chain of evidence,
Buchanan's discovery of the psychometrical faculty in man enables
us to prove, by the help of this faculty, that a subtle influence
is exerted by people upon the houses and even the localities they
live in, the paper they write upon, the clothing they wear, the
portion of the Universal Ether (the Aryan Akása) they exist
in--and that this is a permanent influence, perceptible even at
the most distant epochs from the time when the individual lived
and exerted this influence. In one word, we may say that the
discoveries of Western science corroborate most fully the hints
thrown out by Greek sages and the more defined theories of
certain Indian philosophers.

Indians and Buddhists believe alike that thought and deed are
both material, that they survive, that the evil desires and the
good ones of a man environ him in a world of his own making, that
these desires and thoughts take on shapes that become real to him
after death, and that Moksha [Liberation] in the one case, and
Nirvana, in the other, cannot be attained until the disembodied
soul has passed quite through this shadow-world of the haunting
thoughts, and become divested of the last spot of its earthly

The progress of Western discovery in this direction has been and
must ever be very gradual. From the phenomena of gross to those
of more sublimated matter, and thence on towards the mysteries of
spirit is the hard road made necessary by the precepts of
Aristotle. Western Science first ascertained that [ 1. ] our
outcoming breath is charged with carbonic acid and, in excess,
becomes fatal to human life; then, [ 2. ] that certain dangerous
diseases are passed from person to person in the sporules thrown
off into the air from the sick body; then, [ 3. ] that man
projects upon every body and every thing he encounters a magnetic
aura, peculiar to himself; and, finally, [ 4. ] the physical
disturbance set up in the Ether in the process of
thought-evolution is now postulated.

Another step in advance will be [ 5. ] to realize the magical
creative power of the human mind, and the fact that [ 6. ] moral
taint is just as transmissible as physical. The "influence" of
bad companions will then be understood to imply a degrading
personal magnetism, more subtle than the impressions conveyed to
the eye or the ear by the sights and sounds of a vicious company.
The latter may be repelled by resolutely avoiding to see or hear
what is bad; but the former enwraps the sensitive and penetrates
his very being if he but stop where the moral poison is floating
in the air.

Gregory's "Animal Magnetism," Reichenbach's "Researches," and
Denton's "Soul of Things" will make much of this plain to the
Western inquirer, though neither of those authors traces the
connection of his favourite branch of science with the
parent-stock--Indian Psychology.


Keeping the present case in view, we see a man highly susceptible
to magnetic impressions, ignorant of the nature of the
"materializations" and, therefore, unable to protect himself
against bad influences, brought in contact with promiscuous
circles where the impressionable medium has long been the
unwitting nucleus of evil magnetisms, his system, saturated with
the emanations of the surviving thoughts and desires of those who
are living and those who are dead.

The reader is referred to an interesting paper by Judge Gadgil of
Baroda (see our December number), on "Hindu Ideas about Communion
with the Dead," for a plain exposition of this question of
earth-tied souls, or Pisachas. "It is considered," says that
writer, "that in this state, the soul, being deprived of the
means of enjoyment of sensual pleasures through its own physical
body, is perpetually tormented by hunger, appetite and other
bodily desires, and can have only vicarious enjoyment by entering
into the living physical bodies of others, or by absorbing the
subtlest essences of libations and oblations offered for their
own sake." [Shraddha and Pinda -- see Thst, Vol. III, p. 119-20]

What is there to surprise us in the fact that a negatively
polarized man, a man of a susceptible temperament, being suddenly
brought into a current of foul emanations from some vicious
person, perhaps still living or perhaps dead, absorbs the
insidious poison as rapidly as quicklime does moisture, until he
is saturated with it? Thus, a susceptible body will absorb the
virus of small-pox, or cholera, or typhus, and we need only
recall this to draw the analogy which Occult Science affirms to
be warranted.

Near the Earth's surface there hangs over us--to use a convenient
simile--a steamy moral fog, composed of the undispersed
exhalations of human vice and passion. This fog penetrates the
sensitive to the very soul's core; his psychic self absorbs it as
the sponge does water, or as fresh milk effluvia. It benumbs his
moral sense, spurs his baser instincts into activity, overpowers
his good resolutions. As the fumes of a wine-vault make the
brain reel, or as the choke-damp stifles one's breath in a mine,
so this heavy cloud of immoral influences carries away the
sensitive beyond the limits of self-control, and he becomes
"obsessed," like our English patient.

What remedy is there to suggest? Does not our very diagnosis
indicate that? The sensitive must have his sensitiveness
destroyed; the negative polarity must be changed to a positive;
he must become active instead of passive. He can be helped by a
magnetizer who understands the nature of the obsession, and who
is morally pure and physically healthy; it must be a powerful
magnetizer, a man of commanding will-force.
But the fight for freedom will, after all, have to be fought by
the patient himself. His will-power must be aroused. He must
expel the poison from his system. Inch by inch he must win back
the lost ground. He must realise that it is a question of life
or death, salvation or ruin, and strive for victory, like one who
makes a last and heroic effort to save his life. His diet must be
of the simplest, he must neither eat animal food, nor touch any
stimulant, nor put himself in any company where there is the
smallest chance for unclean thoughts to be provoked. He should
be alone as little as possible, but his companions should be care
fully chosen. He should take exercise and be much in the open
air; use wood-fire, instead of coals. Every indication that the
bad influence was still working within him should be taken as a
challenge to control his thoughts and compel them to dwell upon
pure, elevating, spiritual things, at every hazard and with a
determination to suffer anything rather than give way. If this
man can have such a spirit infused into him, and his physician
can secure the benevolent help of a strong healthy magnetizer of
pure character, he may be saved. A case almost exactly like this
one, except that the patient was a lady, came under our notice in
America; the same advice as the above was given and followed,
and the obsessing "devil" was driven out and has been kept out
ever since.	-- H. P. Blavatsky


Some References:

See also:	THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY p. 378-9 -- "Anganta Yene";
ISIS UNVEILED I 487-8, 355,
I U	I 276, 351-6, 363-5, 374, 459-60, 490; II 16, 589
LUCIFER, III, p. 131-3
THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT Vol. 15, p. 55; 24 p. 94;
MODERN PANARION p. 60, 79-80, 146, 150 (top)
MADAN	I U I p. 495-6
Succubi / Incubi	H. P. Blavatsky Articles, Vol. II, p. 167
MAHATMA LETTERS p. 103, 109 (suicides), 110;
THEOSOPHY, Vol. I 425-6; II 425;
RAJA-YOGA	pp 78-9, 82
H P B Articles, Vol. II p., 486, 242 [THEOSOPHIST May


Thursday, March 28, 2002

Re: Denizens of the astral Plane: ELEMENTALS

Dear Friends:

In our studies in the nature of the astral plane and the effect
they may have interactively on the human "astral body" let us
review together an article written y H P B on the "Elementals,"


[Note: The text below has been extracted from a letter by H P B
. D T B]

Part II


By H. P. Blavatsky

>From The Religio-Philosophical Journal, Nov. 17th, 1877.

I PERCEIVE that of late the ostracized subject of the Kabalistic
"Elementaries" is beginning to appear in the orthodox
spiritualistic papers pretty often.

No wonder; Spiritualism and its Philosophy are progressing, and
they will progress despite the opposition of some very learned
ignoramuses, who imagine the Cosmos rotates within the academic

But if a new term is once admitted for discussion, the least we
can do is to first clearly ascertain what that term means. We
students of the Oriental Philosophy count it a clear gain that
spiritualistic journals on both sides of the Atlantic are
beginning to discuss the subject of sub-human and earth-bound
beings, even though they ridicule the idea. But do those who
ridicule know what they are talking about, having never studied
the Kabalistic writers?

It is evident to me that they are confounding the
"Elementaries"-disembodied, vicious, and earth-bound, yet human
Spirits-with the "Elementals," or Nature Spirits.

With your permission, then, I will answer an article by Dr.
Woldrich which appeared in your Journal of the 27th inst., and to
which the author gives the title of "Elementaries." I freely
admit that, owing to my imperfect knowledge of English at the
time I first wrote upon the Elementaries, I may have myself
contributed to the present confusion, and thus brought upon my
doomed head the wrath of Spiritualists, mediums, and their
"guides" into the bargain. But now I will attempt to make my
meaning clear.

Éliphas Lévi applies the term " Elementary" equally to
earth-bound human Spirits and to the creatures of the elements.
This carelessness on his part is due to the fact that as the
human Elementaries are considered by the Kabalists as having
irretrievably lost every chance of immortality, they therefore,
after a certain period of time, become no better than the
"Elementals," who never had any souls at all. To disentangle the
subject, I have, in my Isis Unveiled, shown that the former
should, alone, be called "Elementaries" and the latter
"Elementals" (vol. i. p. xxx. "Before the Veil").

Dr. Woldrich, in imitation of Herbert Spencer, attempts to
explain the existence of a popular belief in Nature Spirits,
demons and mythological deities, as the effect of an imagination
untutored by Science, and wrought upon by misunderstood natural
phenomena. He attributes the legendary Sylphs, Undines,
Salamanders and Gnomes-four great families, which include
numberless sub-divisions-to mere fancy; going however to the
extreme of affirming that by long practice one can acquire.

That power which disembodied spirits have of materializing
apparitions by the will.
Granted that "disembodied Spirits" have sometimes that power; but
if disembodied why not embodied Spirits also, i.e., a yet living
person who has become an Adept in Occultism through study?
According to Dr. Woldrich's theory, an embodied Spirit or
Magician can create only subjectively, or to quote his words:

"He is in the habit of summoning, that is, bringing up to his
imagination, his familiar spirits, which, having responded to his
will, he considers as real existences."

I will not stop to enquire for the proofs of this assertion, for
it would only lead to an endless discussion.

If many thousands of Spiritualists in Europe and America have
seen materialized objective forms which assure them they were the
Spirits of once living persons, millions of Eastern people
throughout the past ages have seen the Hierophants of the
Temples, and even now see them in India, without being in the
least mediums, also evoking objective and tangible forms, which
display no pretensions to being the souls of disembodied men. But
I will only remark that, though subjective and invisible to
others, as Dr. Woldrich tells us, these forms are palpable, hence
objective to the clairvoyant; no scientist has yet mastered the
mysteries of even the physical sciences sufficiently to enable
him to contradict, with anything like plausible or
incontrovertible proofs, the assumption that because the
clairvoyant sees a form remaining subjective to others, this form
is nevertheless neither a "hallucination" nor a fiction of the

Were the persons present endowed with the same clairvoyant
faculty, they would every one of them see this creature of
"hallucination" as well; hence there would be sufficient proof
that it had an objective existence.

And this is how the experiments are conducted in certain
psychological training schools, as I call such establishments in
the East. One clairvoyant is never trusted. The person may be
honest, truthful, and have the greatest desire to learn only that
which is real, and yet mix the truth unconsciously and accept an
Elemental for a disembodied Spirit, and vice versâ.

For instance, what guarantee can Dr. Woldrich give us that "Hoki"
and "Thalla," the guides of Miss May Shaw, were not simply
creatures produced by the power of the imagination? This
gentleman may have the word of his clairvoyant for this; he may
implicitly and very deservedly trust her honesty when in her
normal state; but the fact alone that a medium is a passive and
docile instrument in the hands of some invisible and mysterious
powers, ought to make her irresponsible in the eyes of every
serious investigator.

It is the Spirit, or these invisible powers, he has to test, not
the clairvoyant; and what proof has he of their trustworthiness
that he should think himself warranted in coming out as the
opponent of a Philosophy based on thousands of years of practical
experience, the iconoclast of experiments performed by whole
generations of learned Egyptians, Hierophants, Gurus, Brâhmans,
Adepts of the Sanctuaries, and a whole host of more or less
learned Kabalists, who were all trained Seers?

Such an accusation, moreover, is dangerous ground for the
Spiritualists themselves. Admit once that a Magician creates his
forms only in fancy, and as a result of hallucination, and what
becomes of all the guides, spirit friends and the tutti quanti
from the sweet "Summer Land," crowding around the trance mediums
and Seers? Why these would-be disembodied entities are to be
considered more identified with humanity than the Elementals, or
as Dr. Woldrich terms them, "Elementaries," of the Magician, is
something which would scarcely bear investigation.

>From the standpoint of certain Buddhist Schools, your
correspondent may be right. Their Philosophy teaches that even
our visible Universe assumed an objective form as a result of the
fancy followed by the volition or the will of the Unknown and
Supreme Adept, differing, however, from Christian theology,
inasmuch as they teach that instead of calling out our Universe
from nothingness, He had to exercise His will upon preëxisting
Matter, eternal and indestructible as to invisible Substance,
though temporary and ever-changing as to forms.

Some higher and still more subtle metaphysical Schools of Nepaul
even go so far as to affirm-on very reasonable grounds, too-that
this preexisting and self-existent Substance or Matter
(Svabhâvat) is itself without any other creator or ruler; when in
the state of activity it is Pravritti, a universal creating
principle; when latent and passive they call this force

As for something eternal and infinite, for that which had neither
beginning nor end there can be neither past nor future, but
everything that was and will be, IS; therefore there never was an
action or even thought, however simple, that is not impressed in
imperishable records on this Substance, called by the Buddhists
Svabhâvat, by the Kabalists Astral Light.

As in a faithful mirror, this Light reflects every image, and no
human imagination could see anything outside that which exists
impressed somewhere on the eternal Substance. To imagine that a
human brain can conceive of anything that was never conceived of
before by the "universal brain," is a fallacy and a conceited
presumption. At best, the former can catch now and then stray
glimpses of the "Eternal Thought" after this has assumed some
objective form, either in the world of the invisible, or visible,

Hence the unanimous testimony of trained Seers goes to prove that
there are such creatures as the Elementals; and that though the
Elementaries have been at some time human Spirits, they, having
lost every connection with the purer immortal world, must be
recognized by some special term which would draw a distinct line
of demarcation between them and the true and genuine disembodied
souls, which have henceforth to remain immortal. To the Kabalists
and the Adepts, especially in India, the difference between the
two is all-important, and their tutored minds will never allow
them to mistake the one for the other; to the untutored medium
they are all one.

Spiritualists have never accepted the suggestion and sound advice
of certain of their seers and mediums. They have regarded Dr.
Peebles' "Gadarenes" with indifference; they have shrugged their
shoulders at the "Rosicrucian" fantasies of P. B. Randolph, and
his Ravalette has made none of them the wiser; they have frowned
and grumbled at A. Jackson Davis' "Diakka"; and finally, lifting
high the banner, have declared a murderous war of extermination
against the Theosophists and Kabalists. What are now the results?


A series of exposures of fraudulent mediums that have brought
mortification to their endorsers and dishonour upon the cause;
identification by genuine seers and mediums of pretended
Spirit-forms that were afterwards found to be mere personations
by lying cheats, go to prove that in such instances at least,
outside of clear cases of confederacy, the identifications were
due to illusion on the part of the said seers; spirit-babes
discovered to be battered masks and bundles of rags; obsessed
mediums driven by their guides to drunkenness and immortality of
conduct; the practices of free-love endorsed and even prompted by
alleged immortal Spirits; sensitive believers forced to the
commission of murder, suicide, forgery, embezzlement and other
crimes; the over-credulous led to waste their substance in
foolish investments and the search after hidden treasures;
mediums fostering ruinous speculations in stocks; free-loveites
parted from their wives in search of other female affinities;
two continents flooded with the vilest slanders, spoken and
sometimes printed by mediums against other mediums; incubi and
succubi entertained as returning angel-husbands or wives;
mountebanks and jugglers protected by scientists and the clergy,
and gathering large audiences to witness imitations of the
phenomena of cabinets, the reality of which genuine mediums
themselves -- and Spirits are powerless to vindicate by giving
the necessary test conditions; séances still held in Stygian
darkness, where even genuine phenomena can readily be mistaken
for the false, and false for the real; mediums left helpless by
their angel guides, tried, convicted, and sent to prison, and no
attempt made to save them from their fate by those who, if they
are Spirits having the power of controlling mortal affairs, ought
to have enlisted the sympathy of the heavenly hosts on behalf of
their mediums in the face of such crying injustice; other
faithful spiritualistic lecturers and mediums broken down in
health and left unsupported by those calling themselves their
patrons and protectors-such are some of the features of the
present situation; the black spots of what ought to become the
grandest and noblest of all religious Philosophies freely thrown
by the unbelievers and Materialists into the teeth of every
Spiritualist. No intelligent person of the latter class need go
outside of his own personal experience to find examples like the
above. Spiritualism has not progressed and is not progressing
and will not progress, until its facts are viewed in the light of
the Oriental Philosophy.

Thus, Mr. Editor, your esteemed correspondent, Dr. Woldrich, may
be found guilty of an erroneous proposition. In the concluding
sentence of his article he says:

"I know not whether I have succeeded in proving the Elementary a
myth, but at least I hope that I have thrown some more light upon
the subject to some of the readers of the journal."

To this I would answer: (1) He has not proved at all the
"Elementary a myth," since the Elementaries are, with a few
exceptions, the earth-bound guides and Spirits in which he
believes, together with every other Spiritualist. (2) Instead
of throwing light upon the subject, the Doctor has but darkened
it the more. (3) Such explanations and careless exposures do
the greatest harm to the future of Spiritualism, and greatly
serve to retard its progress by teaching its adherents that they
have nothing more to learn.

Sincerely hoping that I have not trespassed too much on the
columns of your esteemed journal, allow me to sign myself, dear

Yours respectfully,

Corresponding Secretary of the Theosophical Society.
New York.

[Reprinted in: MODERN PANARION p. 146, 152.]


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