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RE:: A Precipitation Primer

Nov 13, 2002 03:41 PM
by dalval14

Nov 13 2002

On Precipitation of Letters, etc...

The following is the best answer I have so far secured.



In Theosophical, as in spiritualistic or mediumistic circles the
question of the precipitation of messages has received attention.
Curiosity and a desire to learn how to emulate the process has
attracted the attention of many. That some force or being is able to
influence conditions so that a "message" is precipitated -- in one way
or another is an undeniable fact.

The next question is of process and rationale, and the third relates
to the authenticity and value of any such message.

Early in 1997, The Theosophical University Press published a monograph
by Dr. Vernon Harrison. There is described and illustrated from the
originals, the strangest feature of the precipitation of some letters,
said to be from the Mahatmas, which has come to light.

Examination of some letters at high magnification clearly shows that
what appears to the unaided eye as a continuous line, forming several
letters, words, -- a letter; is in fact a close series of very fine
lines each separated from the other by a white space. This series of
small lines have been shaped into an apparently continuous sweep of
what appears to the unaided eye (as we see it) a continuous line.

It is as though the original had been photographed with an apparatus
that used a diffraction grating, and the resulting interference
pattern into which the lines and letters had been transformed, had
been then transferred (precipitated ?) on to the final paper that was
sent to the recipient. In some cases this printing is found lying on
the surface of the paper, in others it appears to be embodied in the
substrate, so as to form a portion of the paper, and is an integral
part of it.

Needless to say that at the time of such precipitation (in the period
between 1880 and 1885) no technology existed in the West that could
produce such an effect. In fact it would be difficult to achieve a
similar effect, using the modern technologies of today.

Since "precipitation" of letters said to be from the Mahatmas, or
other sources, became one of the forms of entertainment by and among
Spiritualists and early Theosophists the Master K.H. found it
necessary to declare that all actual messages from Them would be
preceded by a sentence.

He wrote Mr. Sinnett on 23-11-82:

"PS.--It my so happen that for purposes of our own, mediums and their
spooks will be left undisturbed and free not only to personate the
"Brothers" but even to forge our handwriting. Bear this in mind and
be prepared for it in London. Unless the message or communication or
whatever it may be is preceded by the triple words:
" Kin-t-an, Na-lan-da, Dha-ra-ni."
Know it is not me, nor from me.	KH "
Mahatma Letters p. 419

Mahatma K.H. precipitated a letter to Col. H.S.Olcott on the high
seas, on board the steamer S. S. Shannon, which reads in part:

"Make all these men feel that we have no favourites, nor affections
for persons, but only for their good acts and humanity as a whole.
But we employ agents--the best available. Of these, for the past
thirty years, the chief has been the personality known as H.P.B. to
the world (but otherwise to us). Imperfect and very troublesome, no
doubt, she proves to some; nevertheless, there is no likelihood of
our finding a better one for years to come, and your theosophists
should be made to understand it.

Since 1885 I have not written nor caused to be written save through
her agency, direct or remote, a letter or line to anybody in Europe or
America, nor communicated orally with, or thro' any third party.
Theosophists should learn it. You will understand later the
significance of this declaration, so keep it in mind.

Her fidelity to our work being constant, and her sufferings having
come upon her thro' it, neither I nor either of my Brother Associates
will desert or supplant her.

As I before remarked, ingratitude is not among our vices...But this
you must tell to all:--with occult matters she has everything to do.

We have not abandoned her. She is not given over to chelas. She is
our direct agent. I warn you against permitting your suspicions and
resentment against her "many follies" to bias your intuitive loyalty
to her..."	Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, 1st Series (1919), p.
[see also: ML 368 10 203 35 263 Isis II 92-3 FP 34 150]

"Through the means of the Astral Light and the help of Elementals the
various material elements may be drawn down and precipitated from the
atmosphere upon either a plane surface or in the form of a solid
object; this precipitation may be made permanent, or it may be of
such a light cohesive power as soon to fade away. But this help of
the elementals can only be obtained by a strong will added to a
complete knowledge of the laws which govern the being of the
elementals."	Epitome, p. 20

" able to precipitate out of the viewless air the
carbon which we know is in it, forming the carbon into sentences upon
the paper, it is through this knowledge of the occult higher
chemistry, and the use of a trained and powerful image-making faculty
which every man possesses..."	Ocean, p. 12

"Power over mind, matter, space, and time depends on several things
and positions. Needed for this are: Imagination raised to its
highest limit, desire combined with will that wavers not, and a
knowledge of the occult chemistry of nature. All must be present or
there is no result."
WQJ Articles I. 453

"The instruments are in the body and brain of man. In the view of the
Lodge, "the human brain is an exhaustless generator of force," and a
complete knowledge of the inner chemical and dynamic laws of nature,
together with a trained mind, give the possessor the power to operate
the laws to which I have referred. This will be man's possession in
the future...A knowledge of the law when added to faith gives power
over matter, mind, space, and time...the trained Adept can produce
before the eye, objective to the touch, material which was not visible
before, and in any desired is simply evolution in your very
presence. Matter is held suspended in the air about us. Every
particle of matter, visible or still unprecipitated, has been through
all possible forms, existing, as they all do, in the Astral Light and
then by effort of the Will and Imagination to clothe the form with the
matter by precipitation. The object so made will fade away unless
certain other processes are resorted to which need not be here
described, but if these processes are used the object will remain
permanently. And if it is desired to make visible a message on paper
or other surface, the same laws and power 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."

This, then, naturally leads to the proposition that the human Will is
all powerful and the Imagination is a most useful faculty with a
dynamic force. The Imagination is the picture-making power of the
human mind. In the ordinary average human person it has not enough
training or force to be more than a sort of dream, but it may be
trained. When it is trained it is the Constructor in the Human
Workshop. Arrived at that stage it makes a matrix in the Astral
substance through which effects objectively will flow. It is the
greatest power, after Will, in the assemblage of complicated
instruments. The modern definition of Imagination is incomplete and
wide of the mark. 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. The word is derived from
those signifying the formation or reflection of an image. This
faculty used, or rather suffered to act, in an unregulated mode has
given the West no other idea than that covered by "fancy." may be
pushed to a greater limit, which, when reached, causes the Imagination
to evolve in the Astral substance an actual image or form which may
then be used in the same way as an iron molder uses a mold or sand for
the molten 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."	Ocean pp. 138-9


"What criterion has any one to decide between one "precipitated"
letter, or another...Who except their authors, or those whom they
employ as their amanuenses (the chelas and disciples), can tell ? [
see M L p. 460 ] For it is hardly one out of a hundred "occult"
letters that is ever written by the hand of the Master, in whose name
and on whose behalf they are sent, as the Masters have neither need
nor leisure to write them; and that when a Master says, "I wrote that
letter," it means only that every word in it was dictated by him and
impressed under his direct supervision. Generally they make their
chela, whether near or far away, write (or precipitate) them, by
impressing upon his mind the ideas they wish expressed, and if
necessary aiding him in the picture-making process of precipitation.
It depends entirely upon the chela's state of development, how
accurately the ideas may be transmitted and the writing-model
initiated. Thus the non-adept recipient is left in the dilemma of
uncertainty, whether, if one letter is false, all may not be; for, as
far as intrinsic evidence goes, all come from the same source, and all
are brought by the same mysterious means.

But there is another, and a far worse condition implied. For all that
the recipient of "occult" letters can possibly know, and on the simple
grounds of probability and common honesty, the unseen correspondent
who would tolerate one single fraudulent line in his name, would wink
at an unlimited repetition of the deception. And this leads directly
to the following. All the so-called occult letters being supported by
identical proofs, they have all to stand of fall together. If one is
to be doubted, then all have, and the series of letters in the "Occult
World," "Esoteric Buddhism," etc., etc., may be, and there is no
reason why they should not be in such case--frauds, "clever
impostures," and "forgeries," [ see M L, pp. 307, 410, 414, 419-424,
431 ] such as the ingenuous though stupid agent of the "S.P.R." has
made them out to be, in order to raise in the public estimation the
"scientific" acumen and standard of his "Principals."
HPB--"Lodges of Magic" HPB Art. I. p. 291-2

"I must give you some explanation of this mode of precipitation...The
image of the geometrical or other figure which the active brain has
impressed upon it, is gradually imprinted upon the recipient
brain...Two factors are needed to produce a perfect and instantaneous
mental telegraphy--close concentration of the operator, and complete
receptive passivity in the "reader" subject...The "reader" does not
see the image as in the "telegrapher's" brain, but as arising in his

In a case such as mine, the chela pick up what he could from
the current I was sending him, and...patch the broken bits together as
best he might...if the mental picture received be feeble his visible
reproduction of it must correspond. And the more so in proportion to
the closeness of attention he gives. He employed by his
"Master" as a sort of psychic printing machine producing lithographed
or psyhographed impressions of what the operator had in mind; his
nervous-system, the machine, his nerve-aura the printing fluid, the
colours drawn from that exhaustless store-house of pigments...the
Akasa. But the medium and the chela are diametrically dissimilar and
the latter acts consciously, except under exceptional circumstances
during development..."	Mahatma Letters p. 423-4

Can the Personal Self decide on Authenticity ?

"You and the Theosophists have come to the conclusion that in every
case where a message was found couched in words or sentiments unworthy
of Mahatmas it was produced either by elementals or my own
falsification. [ see M L p. 307, 419, 422, 431, 460 ] Believing the
latter, no honest man or woman ought for one moment to permit me, such
a fraud, to remain any longer in the kick me out--if you
really think so. [do you] credit the idea that They [the Masters]
should permit or even know of it and still use me ! Why, if They are
the exalted beings you rightly suppose Them to be, how could They
permit or tolerate for one moment such a deception and fraud?...little
you do know the occult laws I see...Before you volunteer to serve the
Masters you should learn Their philosophy, for otherwise you shall
always sin grievously, though unconsciously and involuntarily, against
Them and those who serve Them, soul and body and spirit."
HPB ART II 509-510 [ see also: HPB Art II 509-513.]

"The outer senses cannot give a safe final judgment upon a
precipitated message, they can only settle such physical questions as
how it came, through whom, the credibility of the person, and whether
any deception on the objective plane has been practiced. The inner
senses, including the great combining faculty or power of intuition,
are the final judges...if one hitherto supposed to be in communication
with the White Adepts comes to us and says "Here is a message from one
of Those," then if we have not independent power in ourselves of
deciding the question on inner knowledge, the next step is either to
believe the report or disbelieve it...[HPB] put it tersely in this
way" "If you think no Mahatma wrote the theories I have given of man
and nature and if you do not believe my report, then you have to
conclude that I did it all." The latter conclusion would lead to the
position that her acts, phenomena, and writings put her in the
position usually accorded by us to a Mahatma. As to the letters or
messages of a personal nature, each one had and has to decide for
himself whether or not to follow the advice given..."	WQJ ARTICLES I
pp. 450-1

Process described by Master

Mr. Sinnett sought for an explanation of the process and elicited from
the revered Mahatma:

"....Bear in mind these letters are not written but impressed, or
precipitated, and then all mistakes corrected...[ M L p. 19 ] I have
to think it over, to photograph every word and sentence carefully in
my brain before it can be repeated by precipitation. As the fixing
upon chemically prepared surfaces of the images formed by the camera
requires a previous arrangement within the focus of the object to be
represented, for, otherwise--as often found in bad photographs--the
legs of the sitter might appear out of all proportion with the head,
and so on--some have to first arrange our sentences and impress every
letter to appear on paper in our minds before it becomes fit to be
read..."	M L p. 22

"Those having a superficial knowledge of the science of mesmerism know
how the thoughts of the mesmerizer, though silently formulated in his
mind are instantly transferred to that of the subject. It is not
necessary for the be present near the subject to produce
the above result...The work of writing the letters in question is
carried on by a sort of psychological telegraphy; the Mahatmas very
rarely write their letters in the ordinary way. [see M L p. 460 ] An
electromagnetic connection, so to say, exists on the psychological
plane between a Mahatma and his chelas, one of whom acts as his
amanuensis. [ see M L p. 480 ] When a Master wants a letter to be
written in this way, he draws the attention of the chela, whom he
selects for the task...The thoughts arising in the mind of the Mahatma
are then clothed in word, pronounced mentally, and forced along the
astral currents he sends towards the pupil to impinge on the brain of
the latter. Thence they are borne by the nerve-currents to the palms
of his hands and the tips of his fingers, which rest on a piece of
magnetically prepared paper. As the thought-waves are thus impressed
on the tissue, materials are drawn to it from the ocean of akas,
(permeating every atom of the sensuous universe) by an occult
process...and permanent marks are left....the success of such
writing...depends chiefly upon these things:

(1) The force and the clearness with which the thoughts are
propelled, and

(2) the freedom of the receiving brain from disturbance of every
description...To turn to the sources of error in the precipitation.
Remembering the circumstances under which blunders arise in telegrams,
we see that if a Mahatma somehow becomes exhausted [ see M L p. 422 ]
or allows his thoughts to wander off during the process, or fails to
command the requisite intensity in the astral currents along which his
thoughts are projected, or the distracted attention of the pupil
produces disturbances [see M L p. 423 ] in his brain and
nerve-centers, the success of the process is very much interfered
with."	H.P.Blavatsky -- "Precipitation" H P B Articles II 505-7
[ see also: ML pp. 420-427 - on composition, and precipitation ]

Master often orders His Chelas to Precipitate His Ideas

"If you think Master is going to be always precipitating things, you
mistake. He can do it. But most of the precipitations are by
chelas...I see His orders, and the thoughts and words He wishes used,
and I precipitate them in that form; so does--- and one or two more."

"...Anything you write is in your handwriting, but it is not your
personal handwriting, generally used and first learned if you adopt
some form...Masters' handwritings, peculiar to Themselves, are foreign
both as to sound and form--Indian sorts, in fact. So They adopted a
form in English, and in that form I precipitate Their messages at
Their dictation...The message has to be seen in the astral light in
facsimile, and through that astral matrix, I precipitate the whole of
it. It's different, though, if Master sends me the paper and the
message already done. That's why I call these things 'psychological
tricks.' The sign of an objective wonder seemed to be required,
although a moment's thought will show it is not proof of anything but
occult ability...But blessed is the one who wants no sign...Can't you
use your brain and intuition? ...with the known facts and the theories
given..."	WQJ ART I p, 418-9

"While precipitations phenomenally by the use of occult power and in a
way unknown to science are possible and have occurred, that is not the
means employed by the White Adepts in communicating with those thus
favored. They have disciples with whom communication is already
established and carried on, most generally through the inner ear and
eye, but sometimes through the prosaic mail. In these cases no one
else is involved and no one else has the right to put questions. The
disciple reserves his communications for the guidance of his own
action, unless he or she is directed to tell another. To spread
broadcast a mass of written communications among those who are willing
to accept them without knowing how to judge would be the sheerest
folly, only productive of superstition and blind credulity. This is
not the aim of the Adepts nor the method they pursue."	WQJ ARTICLES I
p. 452

Considerations on Types of Precipitation

"Is it possible to precipitate by will-power and use of occult laws
upon a surface of wood, paper, metal, stone, or glass a mass of
substance in lines or letters or other combinations so as to produce
an intelligible picture or a legible message ?...for the Adept it is
possible, has been done, and will be still performed...The
Adept...knows how such a precipitation can be done, what materials may
be used, where those materials are obtainable, how they can be drawn
out of the air, and what general and specific laws must be taken into
account...The following is laid down by some masters of this art as
proper to be kept in mind.

(a)	A precipitated picture or message may be on any sort of paper.

(b)	It may be in black or any other pigment.

(c)	It may be in carbon, chalk, ink, paint, or other fluid or

(d)	It may be on any sort of surface or any kind of material.

(e)	It may be incorporated in the fiber of the paper and thus be
ineffaceable, or lie upon the surface and be easily eradicated.

(f)	It may come through the air as a finished message on paper or
otherwise, or it may be precipitated at once at the place of reception
on any kind of substance and in any sort of place.

(g)	It is not necessarily in the handwriting of the Adept, and may be
in the hand comprehended by the recipient and a language foreign to
the Adept, or it may be in the actual hand of the Adept, or lastly in
a cipher known to a few and not decipherable by any one without its

(h)	As matter of act the majority of the messages precipitated or sent
by Adepts in the history of the T S have been in certain forms of
English writing not the usual writing of those Adepts, but adopted for
use in the Theosophical movement because of a fore-knowledge that the
principal language of that movement would for some time be the

Some messages have been written and precipitated in Hindi or Urdu,
some in Hindustani, and some in a cipher perfectly unintelligible to
all but a few persons...the adepts referred to--and not including
silent ones of European birth--are Asiatics whose languages are two
different Indian ones; hence their usual handwriting is not English
and not Roman in the letters. Secondly, it is a fact long suspected
and to many well known both in and out of the T S that the Fraternity
of Adepts has a cipher [ see The Vahan, Vol. II, p. 1, Col. 1, Sec.
1891 on codes used in Hindu scriptures ] which they employ for many of
their communications; that, being universal, is not their handwriting.
Thirdly, in order to send any one a precipitated message in English it
is not necessary for the Adept to know the language; if you know it,
that is enough; for, putting the thought in your brain, he sees it
there as your language in your brain, and using that model causes the
message to appear. But if he is acquainted with the language you use,
it is all the easier for the Adept (448) to give you the message
exactly as he forms it in his brain at first...

How is it all done, what is the process, what are the standards of
judgment, of criticism, and of proof to the outer sense, is imposition
possible, and, if so, how may it be prevented ?

As to the last, the element of faith or confidence can never be
omitted until one has gotten to a stage where within oneself the true
standard and power of judging are developed. Just as forgery may be
done on this physical plane, so also may it be done on the other and
unseen planes and its results shown on this. Ill-disposed souls may
work spiritual wickedness, and ignorant living persons may furnish
idle, insincere, and lying models for not only ill-disposed souls that
are out of the body, but also for mere sprites that are forces in
nature of considerable power but devoid of conscience and mind. But
this furnishes some protection...In those cases some good things have
come, but they are never beyond the best thoughts of the persons...

Any form of writing once written on earth is imprinted in the astral
light and remains there as model. And if it has been used much, it is
all the more deeply imprinted. Hence the fact that H.P.Blavatsky, who
once was the means for messages coming from the living Adepts, is dead
and gone is not a reason why the same writing should not be used
again. It was so used in letters to Mr. Sinnett from which Esoteric
Buddhism was written and in many other letters from the same (449)
source that its model or matrix is deeply cut in the astral light.
For it would be folly and waste of time for the Adepts to make new
models every time any one died. They would naturally use the old

There is no special sanctity in the particular model used by them, and
any good clairvoyant can find that matrix in the astral light. Hence
from this, if true, two things follow: (a) that new communications
need not be in a new style of writing, and (b) there is a danger
that persons who seek either clairvoyants or mesmerized lucides may be
imposed on and made to think they have messages from the Adepts, when
in fact they have only imitations. The safeguard therein is that, if
these new messages are not in accordance with old ones known to be
from their first appointed channel, they are not genuine in their
source, however phenomenally made. Of course for the person who has
the power inside to see for himself, the safeguard is different and
more certain. This position accords with occult philosophy , it has
been stated by the Adepts themselves, it is supported by the facts of
psychic investigation inside Spiritualism, of Theosophy, of human
life."	WQJ "Occult Arts--Precipitation", Articles I, pp. 445-9

Law Rules all Precipitations

"There is no exemption from law in favor of the Adepts, and the images
they make or cause to be made in astral ether remain as the property
of the race; indeed in their case, as they have a sharp and vivid
power of engraving, so to say, in the astral light, all the images
made there by them are deeper (450) and more long lasting than those
cut by the ordinary and weak thoughts and acts of our undeveloped

The best rule for those who happen to think that they are in
communication with Adepts through written messages is to avoid those
that contradict what the Adepts have said before; that give the lie
to their system of philosophy; that, as has happened, pretend that
H.P.B. was mistaken in her life for what she said and is now sorry.
All such, whether done with intention or without it, are merely
bombians in vacuo, sound that has no significance, a confusion of
between words and knowledge delusive and vain altogether...This leads
to the proposition that :

Precipitation of a message is not per se evidence that it is from one
of our White Adepts of the Great Lodge."	WQJ ART. I p. 449-50

Masters' Letters -- Genuineness

In The Path for July 1895, Mr. Judge published an article: "H.P.B. on
Messages from Masters." [Reprinted in WQJ Articles, Vol. I, p. 55]

"Some years ago H.P.B. was charged [ by A.P.Sinnett ] with misuse of
Mahatmas' names and handwritings, with forgery of messages from the
Mahatmas, and with humbugging the public and the T.S. therewith.
Those charges had floated vaguely about for sometime...afterwards,
writing on the subject in "Lodges of Magic" [ HPB Articles 1, p.
291 ] in Lucifer [ Vol. 3, p. 92-3 ] the question of genuineness or
the opposite of such messages was dealt with, and what she wrote is
here presented for reconsideration. It covers two matters.

First, it proves out of her own mouth what the Path not long ago said
that "if one letter has to be doubted then all have" to be doubted.
Hence if the Letter to some Brahmins ["Prayag Letter" -- Mahatma
Letters, p. 461-3 --] is a fraud, as Col. Olcott and another say, then
all the rest are, also.

Second, it applies precisely to the present state of affairs in
respect to messages from Masters, just as if she had so long ago
foreseen the present and left the article so that tyros in occultism,
such as the present agitators are, might have something to show them
how to use their judgment. The portion selected from her article

We have been asked by a correspondent why he should not "be free to
suspect some of the so-called 'precipitated' letters as being
forgeries," giving as his reason for it that while some of them bear
the stamp of (to him) undeniable genuineness, others seem from their
contents and style, to be imitations. This is equivalent of saying
that he had such an unerring spiritual insight as to be able to detect
the false from the true, though he has never met a Master, nor been
given any key by which to test his alleged communications. The
inevitable consequence of applying his untrained judgment in such
cases, would be to make his as likely as not to declare false what was
genuine and genuine what was false. Thus what criterion has any one
to decide between one "precipitated" letter, or another such letter?
Who except their authors, or those whom they employ as their
amanuenses (the chelas and disciples) can tell? For if hardly one out
of a hundred "occult" letters that is ever written in the hand of the
Master, in whose name and on whose behalf they are sent, as the
Masters have neither need nor leisure to write them; and when a
Master says: "I wrote that letter" it means only that every word in
it was dictated by him and impressed under his direct supervision.
Generally they make their chela, whether near or far away, write (or
precipitate) them, by impressing upon his mind the ideas they wish
expressed, and if necessary aiding him in the picture printing process
of precipitation. It depends entirely upon the chela's state of
development, how accurately the ideas may be transmitted and the
writing-model imitated. Thus the non-adept recipient is left in the
dilemma of uncertainty, whether if one letter is false all may not be,
for as far as intrinsic evidence goes, all come from the same source,
and all are brought by the same mysterious means. But there is
another and far worse condition implied. All the so-called occult
letters being supported by identical proofs, they have all to stand or
fall together. If one is to be doubted, then all have, and the series
of letters in the Occult World, Esoteric Buddhism, etc., etc., may be,
and there is no reason why they should not be in such a case,--frauds,
"clever impostures," and "forgeries" such as the ingenuous though
stupid agent of the "S.P.R." has made them out to be, in order to
raise in the public estimation the scientific acumen and standard of
his "Principals"... [H.P.B.]	WQJ Articles I 55


-----Original Message-----
From: Steve S
Sent: Wednesday, November 13, 2002 10:44 AM
Subject:: A Precipitation Primer

Since there has been so much comment about "precipitation" lately, it
occurs to me it might amuse someone to say something about it.

Suppose someone writes a "mahatma" letter. The stationery and the
ink which is used to write on it are both composed of atoms, which
are held together by a force called in the SD "cohesion." (Modern
chemists might use different terminology, but everyone agrees that
this force exists.) This is listed as one of the seven "occult
forces" which is to say that it is one of seven ways the One Force is
perceived by our sevenfold consciousness. There is only one force,
in other words, but it manifests to our consciousness in seven
different ways.


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