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Mar 30, 2002 05:06 AM
by dalval14



ELEMENTALS -- by H P B (Lucifer, Aug. 1893)



These must not be confused with Elementaries, the souls and
shells of departed human beings; and here again we have to
distinguish between what has been called the astral soul, i.e.,
the lower part of the dual Fifth Principle [manas], joined to the
animal [kama], and the true Ego.

For the doctrine of the Initiates is that no astral soul, even
that of a pure, good, and virtuous man, is immortal in the
strictest sense, "from elements it was formed--to elements it
must return." We may stop here and say no more: every learned
Brâhman, every Chelâ and thoughtful Theosophist will understand
why. For he knows that while the soul of the wicked vanishes, and
is absorbed without redemption, that of every other person, even
moderately pure, simply changes its ethereal particles for still
more ethereal ones; and, while there remains in it a spark of the
Divine, the god-like man, or rather, his individual Ego, cannot

Says Proclus:

"After death, the soul (the spirit) continueth to linger in the
aërial body (astral form), till it is entirely purified from all
angry and voluptuous passions . . . then doth it put off by a
second dying the aërial body as it did the earthly one.
Whereupon, the ancients say that there is a celestial body always
joined with the soul, which is immortal, luminous, and

while the purely human soul [kama-manas] or the lower part of the
Fifth Principle is not. The above explanations and the meaning
and the real attributes and mission of the Pitris, may help to
better understand this passage of Plutarch:

"And of these souls the moon is the element, because souls
resolve into her, as the bodies of the deceased do into earth.
Those, indeed, who have been virtuous and honest, living a quiet
and philosophical life, without embroiling themselves in
troublesome affairs, are quickly resolved; being left by the nous
(understanding) and no longer using the corporeal passions, they
incontinently vanish away." 8


The ancient Egyptians, who derived their knowledge from the
Âryans of India, pushed their researches far into the kingdoms of
the "elemental" and "elementary" beings. Modern archæologists
have decided that the figures found depicted on the various
papyri of The Book of the Dead, or other symbols relating to
other subjects painted upon their mummy cases, the walls of their
subterranean temples and sculptured on their buildings, are
merely fanciful representations of their Gods on the one hand,
and on the other, a proof of the worship by the Egyptians of
cats, dogs, and all manner of creeping things. This modern idea
is wholly wrong, and arises from ignorance of the astral world
and its strange denizens.


There are many distinct classes of "Elementaries" and
"E1ementals." The highest of the former in intelligence and
cunning are the so-called "terrestrial spirits." Of these it must
suffice to say, for the present, that they are the Larvæ, or
shadows of those who have lived on earth, alike of the good and
of the bad. They are the lower principles of all disembodied
beings, and may be divided into three general groups.

1.	The first are they who having refused all spiritual light,
have died deeply immersed in the mire of matter, and from whose
sinful Souls the immortal Spirit has gradually separated itself.
These are, properly, the disembodied Souls of the depraved; these
Souls having at some time prior to death separated themselves
from their divine Spirits, and so lost their chance of

Eliphas Levi and some other Kabalists make little, if any,
distinction between Elementary Spirits who have been men, and
those beings which people the elements, and are the blind forces
of nature. Once divorced from their bodies, these Souls (also
called "astral bodies"), especially those of purely materialistic
persons, are irresistibly attracted to the earth, where they live
a temporary and finite life amid elements congenial to their
gross natures. From having never, during their natural lives,
cultivated their spirituality, but subordinated it to the
material and gross, they are now unfitted for the lofty career of
the pure, disembodied being, for whom the atmosphere of earth is
stifling and mephitic. Its attractions are not only away from
earth, but it cannot, even if it would, owing to its Devachanic
condition, have aught to do with earth and its denizens
consciously. Exceptions to this rule will be pointed out later
on. After a more or less prolonged period of time these material
souls will begin to disintegrate, and finally, like a column of
mist, be dissolved, atom by atom, in the surrounding elements.

These are the "shells" which remain the longest period in the
Kâma Loka; all saturated with terrestrial effluvia, their Kâma
Rûpa (body of desire) thick with sensuality and made impenetrable
to the spiritualizing influence of their higher principles,
endures longer and fades out with difficulty. We are taught that
these remain for centuries sometimes, before the final
disintegration into their respective elements.

2.	The second group includes all those, who, having had their
common share of spirituality, have yet been more or less attached
to things earthly and terrestrial life, having their aspirations
and affections more centred on earth than in heaven; the stay in
Kâma Loka of the reliquiæ of this class or group of men, who
belonged to the average human being, is of a far shorter
duration, yet long in itself and proportionate to the intensity
of their desire for life.

3.	Remains, as a third class, the disembodied souls of those
whose bodies have perished by violence, and these are men in all
save the physical body, till their life-span is complete.
Among Elementaries are also reckoned by Kabalists what we have
called psychic embryos, the "privation" of the form of the child
that is to be. According to Aristotle's doctrine there are three
principles of natural bodies: privation, matter, and form.


These principles may be applied in this particular case. The
"privation" of the child which is to be, we locate in the
invisible mind of the Universal Soul, in which all types and
forms exist from eternity--privation not being considered in the
Aristotelic philosophy as a principle in the composition of
bodies, but as an external property in their production; for the
production is a change by which the matter passes from the shape
it has not to that which it assumes.

Though the privation of the unborn child's form, as well as of
the future form of the unmade watch, is that which is neither
substance nor extension nor quality as yet, nor any kind of
existence, it is still something which is, though its outlines,
in order to be, must acquire an objective form--the abstract must
become concrete, in short. Thus, as soon as this privation of
matter is transmitted by energy to universal Æther, it becomes a
material form, however sublimated.

If modern Science teaches that human thought "affects the matter
of another universe simultaneously with this," how can he who
believes in a Universal Mind deny that the divine thought is
equally transmitted, by the same law of energy, to our common
mediator, the universal Æther--the lower World-Soul? Very true,
Occult Philosophy denies it intelligence and consciousness in
relation to the finite and conditioned manifestations of this
phenomenal world of matter. But the Vedântin and Buddhist
Philosophies alike, speaking of it as of Absolute Consciousness,
show thereby that the form and progress of every atom of the
conditioned universe must have existed in it throughout the
infinite cycles of Eternity. And, if so, then it must follow that
once there, the Divine Thought manifests itself objectively,
energy faithfully reproducing the outlines of that whose
"privation" is already in the divine mind.

Only it must not be understood that this Thought creates matter,
or even the privations. No; it develops from its latent outline
but the design for the future form; the matter which serves to
make this design having always been in existence, and having been
prepared to form a human body, through a series of progressive
transformations, as the result of evolution.


Forms pass; ideas that created them and the material which gave
them objectiveness, remain. These models, as yet devoid of
immortal spirits, are "Elementals"--better yet, psychic
embryos--which, when their time arrives, die out of the invisible
world, and are born into this visible one as human infants,
receiving in transitu that Divine Breath called Spirit which
completes the perfect man. This class cannot communicate, either
subjectively or objectively, with men.

The essential difference between the body of such an embryo and
an Elemental proper is that the embryo--the future man--contains
in himself a portion of each of the four great kingdoms, to wit:
fire, air, earth and water; while the Elemental has but a portion
of one of such kingdoms. As for instance, the salamander, or the
fire Elemental, which has but a portion of the primordial fire
and none other. Man, being higher than they, the law of evolution
finds its illustration of all four in him. It results therefore,
that the Elementals of the fire are not found in water, nor those
of air in the fire kingdom. And yet, inasmuch as a portion of
water is found not only in man but also in other bodies,
Elementals exist really in and among each other in every
substance just as the spiritual world exists and is in the
material. But the last are the Elementals in their most
primordial and latent state.



Another class are those elemental beings which will never evolve
into human beings in the present Manvantara, but occupy, as it
were, a specific step of the ladder of being, and, by comparison
with the others, may properly be called nature-spirits, or cosmic
agents of nature, each being confined to its own element and
never transgressing the bounds of others. These are what
Tertullian called the "princes of the powers of the air."

In the teachings of Eastern Kabalists, and of the Western
Rosicrucians and Alchemists, they are spoken of as the creatures
evolved in and from the four kingdoms of earth, air, fire and
water, and are respectively called gnomes, sylphs, salamanders
and undines. Forces of nature, they will either operate effects
as the servile agents of general law, or may be employed, as
shown above, by the disembodied spirits--whether pure or
impure--and by living adepts of magic and sorcery, to produce
desired phenomenal results. Such beings never become men. 9

Under the general designation of fairies, and fays, these spirits
of the elements appear in the myths, fables, traditions, or
poetry of all nations, ancient and modern. Their names are
legion--peris, devs, djins, sylvans, satyrs, fauns, elves,
dwarfs, trolls, norns, nisses, kobolds, brownies, necks,
stromkarls, undines, nixies, goblins, ponkes, banshees, kelpies,
pixies, moss people, good people, good neighbours, wild women,
men of peace, white ladies--and many more. They have been seen,
feared, blessed, banned, and invoked in every quarter of the
globe and in every age. Shall we then concede that all who have
met them were hallucinated?
These Elementals are the principal agents of disembodied but
never visible "shells" taken for spirits at séances, and are, as
shown above, the producers of all the phenomena except the

In the course of this article we will adopt the term "Elemental"
to designate only these nature-spirits, attaching it to no other
spirit or monad that has been embodied in human form.

Elementals, as said already, have no form, and in trying to
describe what they are, it is better to say that they are
"centres of force" having instinctive desires, but no
consciousness, as we understand it. Hence their acts may be good
or bad indifferently.

This class is believed to possess but one of the three chief
attributes of man. They have neither immortal spirits nor
tangible bodies; only astral forms, which partake, to a
distinguishing degree, of the element to which they belong and
also of the ether. They are a combination of sublimated matter
and a rudimental mind. Some remain throughout several cycles
changeless, but still have no separate individuality, acting
collectively, so to say.

Others, of certain elements and species, change form under a
fixed law which Kabalists explain. The most solid of their bodies
is ordinarily just immaterial enough to escape perception by our
physical eyesight, but not so unsubstantial but that they can be
perfectly recognized by the inner or clairvoyant vision. They not
only exist and can all live in ether, but can handle and direct
it for the production of physical effects, as readily as we can
compress air or water for the same purpose by pneumatic and
hydraulic apparatus; in which occupation they are readily helped
by the "human elementaries," or the "shells."

More than this; they can so condense it as to make for themselves
tangible bodies, which by their Protean powers they can cause to
assume such likeness as they choose, by taking as their models
the portraits they find stamped in the memory of the persons
present. It is not necessary that the sitter should be thinking
at the moment of the one represented. His image may have faded
many years before. The mind receives indelible impression even
from chance acquaintances or persons encountered but once. As a
few seconds' exposure of the sensitized photograph plate is all
that is requisite to preserve indefinitely the image of the
sitter, so is it with the mind.

According to the doctrine of Proclus, the uppermost regions from
the Zenith of the Universe to the Moon belonged to the Gods or
Planetary Spirits, according to their hierarchies and classes.
The highest among them were the twelve Huper-ouranioi, or
Super-celestial Gods, with whole legions of subordinate Daimons
at their command. They are followed next in rank and power by the
Egkosmioi, the Inter-cosmic Gods, each of these presiding over a
great number of Daimons, to whom they impart their power and
change it from one to another at will. These are evidently the
personified forces of nature in their mutual correlation, the
latter being represented by the third class, or the Elementals we
have just described.

Further on he shows, on the principle of the Hermetic axiom--of
types, and prototypes--that the lower spheres have their
subdivisions and classes of beings as well as the upper celestial
ones, the former being always subordinate to the higher ones. He
held that the four elements are all filled with Daimons,
maintaining with Aristotle that the universe is full, and that
there is no void in nature. [S D I 289]

The Daimons of the earth, air, fire, and water are of an elastic,
ethereal, semi-corporeal essence. It is these classes which
officiate as intermediate agents between the Gods and men.

Although lower in intelligence than the sixth order of the higher
Daimons, these beings preside directly over the elements and
organic life. They direct the growth, the inflorescence, the
properties, and various changes of plants. They are the
personified ideas or virtues shed from the heavenly Hylê into the
inorganic matter; and, as the vegetable kingdom is one remove
higher than the mineral, these emanations from the celestial Gods
take form and being in the plant, they become its soul. It is
that which Aristotle's doctrine terms the form in the three
principles of natural bodies, classified by him as privation,
matter, and form.

His philosophy teaches that besides the original matter, another
principle is necessary to complete the triune nature of every
particle, and this is form; an invisible, but still, in an
ontological sense of the word, a substantial being, really
distinct from matter proper. Thus, in an animal or a
plant--besides the bones, the flesh, the nerves, the brains, and
the blood, in the former; and besides the pulpy matter, tissues,
fibres, and juice in the latter, which blood and juice, by
circulating' through the veins and fibres, nourishes all parts of
both animal and plant; and besides the animal spirits, which are
the principles of motion, and the chemical energy which is
transformed into vital force in the green leaf--there must be a
substantial form, which Aristotle called in the horse, the
horse's soul; Proclus, the daimon of every mineral, plant, or
animal, and the mediæval philosophers, the elementary spirits of
the four kingdoms.

All this is held in our century as "poetical metaphysics" and
gross superstition. Still on strictly ontological principles,
there is, in these old hypotheses, some shadow of probability,
some clue to the perplexing missing links of exact science. The
latter has become so dogmatic of late, that all that lies beyond
the ken of inductive science is termed imaginary; and we find
Professor Joseph Le Conte stating that some of the best
scientists "ridicule the use of the term 'vital force,' or
vitality, as a remnant of superstition.'' 10 De Candolle suggests
the term "vital movement," instead of vital force; 11 thus
preparing for a final scientific leap which will transform the
immortal, thinking man, into an automaton with clock-work inside
him. "But," objects Le Conte, "can we conceive of movement
without force? And if the movement is peculiar, so also is the
form of force."

In the Jewish Kabalah, the nature-spirits were known under the
general name of Shedim, and divided into four classes. The Hindûs
call them Bhûtas and Devas, and the Persians called them all
Devs; the Greeks indistinctly designated them as Daimons; the
Egyptians knew them as Afrites. The ancient Mexicans, says
Kaiser, believed in numerous spirit-abodes, into one of which the
shades of innocent children were placed until final disposal;
into another, situated in the sun, ascended the valiant souls of
heroes; while the hideous spectres of incorrigible sinner were
sentenced to wander and despair in subterranean caves, held in
the bonds of the earth-atmosphere, unwilling and unable to
liberate themselves. This proves pretty clearly that the
"ancient" Mexicans knew something of the doctrines of Kâma Loka.
These passed their time in communicating with mortals, and
frightening those who could see them. Some of the African tribes
know them as Yowahoos. In the Indian Pantheon, as we have often
remarked, there are no less than 330,000,000 of various kinds of
spirits, including Elementals, some of which were termed by the
Brâhmans, Daityas.


These beings are known by the adepts to be attracted toward
certain quarters of the heavens by something of the same
mysterious property which makes the magnetic needle turn toward
the north, and certain plants to obey the same attraction If we
will only bear in mind the fact that the rushing of planets
through space must create as absolute a disturbance in the
plastic and attenuated medium of the ether, as the passage of a
cannon shot does in the air, or that of a steamer in the water,
and on a cosmic scale, we can understand that certain planetary
aspects, admitting our premises to be true, may produce much more
violent agitation and cause much stronger currents to flow in a
given direction than others.

We can also see why, by such various aspects of the stars, shoals
of friendly or hostile Elementals might be poured in upon our
atmosphere, or some particular portion of it, and make the fact
appreciable by the effects which ensue. If our royal astronomers
are able, at times, to predict cataclysms, such as earthquakes
and inundations, the Indian astrologers and mathematicians can do
so, and have so done, with far more precision and correctness,
though they act on lines which to the modern sceptic appear
ridiculously absurd.


The various races of spirits are also believed to have a special
sympathy with certain human temperaments, and to more readily
exert power over such than others. Thus, a bilious, lymphatic,
nervous, or sanguine person would be affected favourably or
otherwise by conditions of the astral light, resulting from the
different aspects of the planetary bodies. Having reached this
general principle, after recorded observations extending over an
indefinite series of years, or ages, the adept astrologer would
require only to know what the planetary aspects were at a given
anterior date, and to apply his knowledge of the succeeding
changes in the heavenly bodies, to be able to trace, with
approximate accuracy, the varying fortunes of the personage whose
horoscope was required, and even to predict the future. The
accuracy of the horoscope would depend, of course, no less upon
the astrologer's astronomical erudition than upon his knowledge
of the occult forces and races of nature.


Pythagoras taught that the entire universe is one vast series of
mathematically correct combinations. Plato shows the Deity
geometrizing. The world is sustained by the same law of
equilibrium and harmony upon which it was built. The centripetal
force could not manifest itself without the centrifugal in the
harmonious revolutions of the spheres; all forms are the product
of this dual force in nature. Thus, to illustrate our case, we
may designate the spirit as the centrifugal, and the soul as the
centripetal, spiritual energies. When in perfect harmony, both
forces produce one result; break or damage the centripetal motion
of the earthly soul tending toward the center which attracts it;
arrest its progress by clogging it with a heavier weight of
matter than it can bear, and the harmony of the whole, which was
its life, is destroyed. Individual life can only be continued if
sustained by this two-fold force. The least deviation from
harmony damages it; when it is destroyed beyond redemption, the
forces separate and the form is gradually annihilated.


After the death of the depraved and the wicked, arrives the
critical moment. If during life the ultimate and desperate effort
of the inner self to reunite itself with the faintly-glimmering
ray of its divine monad is neglected; if this ray is allowed to
be more and more shut out by the thickening crust of matter, the
soul, once freed from the body, follows its earthly attractions,
and is magnetically drawn into and held within the dense fogs of
the material atmosphere of the Kâma Loka. Then it begins to sink
lower and lower, until it finds itself, when returned to
consciousness, in what the ancients termed Hades, and we--Avichî.
The annihilation of such a soul is never instantaneous; it may
last centuries, perhaps; for nature never proceeds by jumps and
starts, and the astral soul of the personality being formed of
elements, the law of evolution must bide its time. Then begins
the fearful law of compensation, the Yin-youan of the Buddhist


This class of spirits are called the "terrestrial," or "earthly
elementaries," in contradistinction to the other classes, as we
have shown in the beginning. But there is another and still more
dangerous class. In the East, they are known as the "Brothers of
the Shadow," living men possessed by the earth-bound
elementaries; at times--their masters, but ever in the long run
falling victims to these terrible beings.

In Sikkhim and Tibet they are called Dugpas (red-caps), in
contradistinction to the Geluk-pas (yellow-caps), to which latter
most of the adepts belong. And here we must beg the reader not to
misunderstand us. For though the whole of Bûtan and Sikkhim
belongs to the old religion of the Bhons, now known generally as
the Dug-pas, we do not mean to have it understood that the whole
of the population is possessed, en masse, or that they are all
sorcerers. Among them are found as good men as anywhere else, and
we speak above only of the élite of their Lamaseries, of a
nucleus of priests, "devil-dancers," and fetish worshippers,
whose dreadful and mysterious rites are utterly unknown to the
greater part of the population.

Thus there are two classes of these terrible "Brothers of the
Shadow"--the living and the dead. Both cunning, low, vindictive,
and seeking to retaliate their sufferings upon humanity, they
become, until final annihilation, vampires, ghouls, and prominent
actors at séances.

These are the leading "stars," on the great spiritual stage of
"materialization," which phenomenon they perform with the help of
the more intelligent of the genuine-born "elemental" creatures,
which hover around and welcome them with delight in their own

Henry Kunrath, the great German Kabalist, in his rare work,
Amphitheatrum Sapientæ Æternæ has a plate with representations of
the four classes of these human "elementary spirits." Once past
the threshold of the sanctuary of initiation, once that an adept
has lifted the "Veil of Isis," the mysterious and jealous
Goddess, he has nothing to fear; but till then he is in constant


Continued in Part III

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