Studies in the Astral Plane and nature of Man: "Elementals and Elementaries"
Apr 02, 2002 05:27 AM
Thursday, March 28, 2002
Re: Denizens of the astral Plane: ELEMENTALS
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]
By H. P. Blavatsky
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
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
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
H. P. BLAVATSKY,
Corresponding Secretary of the Theosophical Society.
>From The Religio-Philosophical Journal, Nov. 17th, 1877.
[Reprinted in: MODERN PANARION p. 146, 152.]
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