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Re: Occultism -- a WHITE ART

Sep 08, 2004 01:39 PM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck

Sept 8 2004
Some people are daunted by the use of the word “occultism”.  This is because
in the past it has been associated with the “black arts.”
Occultism is a word that means secret.  It is not and does not imply any
Here is a part of an essay on “Occultism” that explains.
Best wishes:


Student. - Are there any rules, binding on all, in white magic or good
occultism? I mean rules similar to the ten commandments of the Christians,
or the rules for the protection of life, liberty, and property recognized by
human law. 

Sage. - There are such rules of the most stringent character, the breaking
of which is never wiped out save by expiation. Those rules are not made up
by some brain or mind, but flow from the laws of nature, of mind, and of
soul. Hence they are impossible of nullification. One may break them and
seem to escape for a whole life or for more than a life; but the very
breaking of them sets in motion at once other causes which begin to make
effects, and most unerringly those effects at last react on the violator.
Karma here acts as it does elsewhere, and becomes a Nemesis who, though
sometimes slow, is fate itself in its certainty. 

Student. - It is not, then, the case that when an occultist violates a rule
some other adept or agent starts out like a detective or policeman and
brings the culprit to justice at a bar or tribunal such as we sometimes read
of in the imaginative works of mystical writers or novelists? 

Sage. - No, there is no such pursuit. 

On the contrary, all the fellow-adepts or students are but too willing to
aid the offender, not in escaping punishment, but in sincerely trying to set
counteracting causes in motion for the good of all. 

For the sin of one reacts on the whole human family. 

If, however, the culprit does not wish to do the amount of counteracting
good, he is merely left alone to the law of nature, which is in fact that of
his own inner life from which there can be no escape. 

In Lytton's novel, Zanoni, you will notice the grave Master, Mejnour, trying
to aid Zanoni, even at the time when the latter was falling slowly but
surely into the meshes twisted by himself that ended in his destruction.
Mejnour knew the law and so did Zanoni. The latter was suffering from some
former error which he had to work out; the former, if himself too stern and
unkind, would later on come to the appropriate grief for such a mistake. But
meanwhile he was bound to help his friend, as are all those who really
believe in brotherhood. 


Student. - What one of those rules in any way corresponds to "Thou shalt not

Sage. - That one which was long ago expressed by the ancient sage in the
words, "Do not covet the wealth of any creature." This is better than "Thou
shalt not steal," for you cannot steal unless you covet. If you steal for
hunger you may be forgiven, but you coveted the food for a purpose, just as
another covets merely for the sake of possession. The wealth of others
includes all their possessions, and does not mean mere money alone. Their
ideas, their private thoughts, their mental forces, powers, and faculties,
their psychic powers - all, indeed, on all planes that they own or have.
While they in that realm are willing to give it all away, it must not be
coveted by another. 

You have no right, therefore, to enter into the mind of another who has not
given the permission and take from him what is not yours. You become a
burglar on the mental and psychic plane when you break this rule. 

You are forbidden taking anything for personal gain, profit, advantage, or

But you may take what is for general good, if you are far enough advanced
and good enough to be able to extricate the personal element from it. 


This rule would, you can see, cut off all those who are well known to every
observer, who want psychic powers for themselves and their own uses. If such
persons had those powers of inner sight and hearing that they so much want,
no power could prevent them from committing theft on the unseen planes
wherever they met a nature that was not protected. And as most of us are
very far from perfect, so far, indeed, that we must work for many lives, yet
the Masters of Wisdom do not aid our defective natures in the getting of
weapons that would cut our own hands. 

For the law acts implacably, and the breaches made would find their end and
result in long after years. 

The Black Lodge, however, is very willing to let any poor, weak, or sinful
mortal get such power, because that would swell the number of victims they
so much require. 


Student. - Is there any rule corresponding to "Thou shalt not bear false

Sage. - Yes; the one which requires you never to inject into the brain of
another a false or untrue thought. As we can project our thoughts to
another's mind, we must not throw untrue ones to another. It comes before
him, and he, overcome by its strength perhaps, finds it echoing in him, and
it is a false witness speaking falsely within, confusing and confounding the
inner spectator who lives on thought. 


Student. - How can one prevent the natural action of the mind when pictures
of the private lives of others rise before one? 

Sage. - That is difficult for the run of men. Hence the mass have not the
power in general; it is kept back as much as possible. But when the trained
soul looks about in the realm of soul it is also able to direct its sight,
and when it finds rising up a picture of what it should not voluntarily
take, it turns its face away. 

A warning comes with all such pictures which must be obeyed. This is not a
rare rule or piece of information, for there are many natural clairvoyants
who know it very well, though many of them do not think that others have the
same knowledge. 

Student. - What do you mean by a warning coming with the picture? 

Sage. - In this realm the slightest thought becomes a voice or a picture.
All thoughts make pictures. Every person has his private thoughts and
desires. Around these he makes also a picture of his wish for privacy, and
that to the clairvoyant becomes a voice or picture of warning which seems to
say it must be let alone. With some it may assume the form of a person who
says not to approach, with others it will be a voice, with still others a
simple but certain knowledge that the matter is sacred. All these varieties
depend on the psychological idiosyncrasies of the seer. 

Student. - What kind of thought or knowledge is excepted from these rules? 

Sage. - General, and philosophical, religious, and moral. 

That is to say, there is no law of copyright or patent which is purely human
in invention and belongs to the competitive system. 

Sage. - This is our duty. All truths discovered must be parts of the one
Absolute Truth, and so much added to the sum of our outer knowledge. There
will always be a large number of men who seek for these parts of truth, and
others who try to alleviate present human misery. They each do a great and
appointed work that no true Theosophist should ignore. And it is also the
duty of the latter to make similar efforts when possible, for Theosophy is a
dead thing if it is not turned into the life. At the same time, no one of us
may be the judge of just how much or how little our brother is doing in that
direction. If he does all that he can and knows how to do, he does his whole
present duty. 

Occultism teaches therefore of the secret laws and forces of the universe
and man, those forces playing in the outer world and known in part only by
the men of the day who admit no invisible real nature, behind which is the
model of the visible. 

Student. - What does Occultism teach in regard to man, broadly speaking? 

Sage. - That he is the highest product of evolution, and hence has in him a
centre or focus corresponding to each centre of force or power in the
universe. He therefore has as many centres or foci for force, power, and
knowledge as there are such in the greater world about and within. 

Sage. - Nature ever works to turn the inorganic or the lifeless or the
non-intelligent and non-conscious into the organic, the intelligent, the
conscious; and this should be the aim of man also. In her great movements
Nature seems to cause destruction, but that is only for the purpose of
construction. The rocks are dissolved into earth, elements combine to bring
on change, but there is the ever onward march of progress in evolution.
Nature is not destructive of either thing or time, she is constructive. 

Man should be the same. And as a free moral agent he should work to that
end, and not to procuring gratification merely nor for waste in any

Sage. - Occultism is colorless, and only when used by man for the one side
or the other is it good or bad. Bad Occultism, or that which is used for
selfish ends, is not false, for it is the same as that which is for good

Student. - Are there any causes, other than the spread of Theosophy, which
may operate to reverse the present drift towards materialism? 


The cycle must, however, run its course, and until that is ended all
beneficial causes will of necessity act slowly and not to the extent they
would in a brighter age. As each student lives a better life and by his
example imprints upon the astral light the picture of a higher aspiration
acted in the world, he thus aids souls of advanced development to descend
from other spheres where the cycles are so dark that they can no longer stay

             MIND & THE ASTRAL LIGHT
Sage. - Seeing in the astral light is not done through Manas, but through
the senses, and hence has to do entirely with sense-perception removed to a
plane different from this, but more illusionary. 
The final perceiver or judge of perception is in Manas, in the Self; and
therefore the final tribunal is clouded by the astral perception if one is
not so far trained or initiated as to know the difference and able to tell
the true from the false. 
Sage. - Intuition must be developed and the matter judged from the true
philosophical basis, for if it is contrary to true general rules it is
wrong. It has to be known from a deep and profound analysis by which we find
out what is from egotism alone and what is not; if it is due to egotism,
then it is not from the Spirit and is untrue. The power to know does not
come from book-study nor from mere philosophy, but mostly from the actual
practice of altruism in deed, word, and thought; for that practice purifies
the covers of the soul and permits that light to shine down into the
brain-mind. As the brain-mind is the receiver in the waking state, it has to
be purified from sense-perception, and the truest way to do this is by
combining philosophy with the highest outward and inward virtue. 
Sage. - Such attitude of mind must be attained as will enable one to look
into the realities of things. The mind must escape from the mere formalities
and conventions of life, even though outwardly one seems to obey all of
them, and should be firmly established on the truth that Man is a copy of
the Universe and has in himself a portion of the Supreme Being. 
To the extent this is realized will be the clearness of perception of truth.

A realization of this leads inevitably to the conclusion that all other men
and beings are united with us, and this removes the egotism which is the
result of the notion of separateness. When the truth of Unity is understood,
then distinctions due to comparisons made like the Pharisee's, that one is
better than his neighbor, disappear from the mind, leaving it more pure and
free to act. 
Student. - What would you point out as a principal foe to the mind's
grasping of truth? 
Sage. - The principal foe of a secondary nature is what was once called
phantasy; that is, the reappearance of thoughts and images due to
recollection or memory. 
Memory is an important power, but mind in itself is not memory. 
Mind is restless and wandering in its nature, and must be controlled. Its
wandering disposition is necessary or stagnation would result. But it can be
controlled and fixed upon an object or idea. Now as we are constantly
looking at and hearing of new things, the natural restlessness of the mind
becomes prominent when we set about pinning it down.
Then memory of many objects, things, subjects, duties, persons,
circumstances, and affairs brings up before it the various pictures and
thoughts belonging to them. After these the mind at once tries to go, and we
find ourselves wandering from the point. It must hence follow that the
storing of a multiplicity of useless and surely-recurring thoughts is an
obstacle to the acquirement of truth. And this obstacle is the very one
peculiar to our present style of life. 
Student. - Can you mention some of the relations in which the sun stands to
us and nature in respect to Occultism? 
Sage. - It has many such, and all important. But I would draw your attention
first to the greater and more comprehensive. The sun is the center of our
solar system. 
The life-energies of that system come to it through the sun, which is a
focus or reflector for the spot in space where the real center is. And not
only comes mere life through that focus, but also much more that is
spiritual in its essence. 
The sun should therefore not only be looked at with the eye but thought of
by the mind. It represents to the world what the Higher Self is to the man. 
It is the soul-center of the world with its six companions, as the Higher
Self is the center for the six principles of man. So it supplies to those
six principles of the man many spiritual essences and powers. He should for
that reason think of it and not confine himself to gazing at it. So far as
it acts materially in light, heat, and gravity, it will go on of itself, but
man as a free agent must think upon it in order to gain what benefit can
come only from his voluntary action in thought. 
Student. - Will you refer to some minor one? 
Sage. - Well, we sit in the sun for heat and possible chemical effects. But
if at the same time that we do this we also think on it as the sun in the
sky and of its possible essential nature, we thereby draw from it some of
its energy not otherwise touched. This can also be done on a dark day when
clouds obscure the sky, and some of the benefit thus be obtained. Natural
mystics, learned and ignorant, have discovered this for themselves here and
there, and have often adopted the practice. But it depends, as you see, upon
the mind. 
Student. - Does the mind actually do anything when it takes up a thought and
seeks for more light? 
Sage. - It actually does. A thread, or a finger, or a long darting current
flies out from the brain to seek for knowledge. It goes in all directions
and touches all other minds it can reach so as to receive the information if
possible. This is telepathically, so to say, accomplished. There are no
patents on true knowledge of philosophy nor copyrights in that realm. 
Personal rights of personal life are fully respected, save by potential
black magicians who would take anyone's property. 
But general truth belongs to all, and when the unseen messenger from one
mind arrives and touches the real mind of another, that other gives up to it
what it may have of truth about general subjects. So the mind's finger or
wire flies until it gets the thought or seed-thought from the other and
makes it its own. But our modern competitive system and selfish desire for
gain and fame is constantly building a wall around people's minds to
everyone's detriment. 
Student. - Do you mean that the action you describe is natural, usual, and
universal, or only done by those who know how and are conscious of it? 
Sage. - It is universal and whether the person is aware or not of what is
going on. Very few are able to perceive it in themselves, but that makes no
difference. It is done always. When you sit down to earnestly think on a
philosophical or ethical matter, for instance, your mind flies off, touching
other minds, and from them you get varieties of thought. 
If you are not well-balanced and psychically purified, you will often get
thoughts that are not correct. Such is your Karma and the Karma of the race.

But if you are sincere and try to base yourself on right philosophy, your
mind will naturally reject wrong notions. You can see in this how it is that
systems of thought are made and kept going, even though foolish, incorrect,
or pernicious. 
Student. - What mental attitude and aspiration are the best safeguards in
this, as likely to aid the mind in these searches to reject error and not
let it fly into the brain? 
Sage. - Unselfishness, Altruism in theory and practice, desire to do the
will of the Higher Self which is the "Father in Heaven," devotion to the
human race. Subsidiary to these are discipline, correct thinking, and good
Student. - Is the uneducated man, then, in a worse condition? 
Sage. - Not necessarily so. 
The very learned are so immersed in one system that they reject nearly all
thoughts not in accord with preconceived notions. 
The sincere ignorant one is often able to get the truth but not able to
express it. The ignorant masses generally hold in their minds the general
truths of Nature, but are limited as to expression. 
And most of the best discoveries of scientific men have been obtained in
this sub-conscious telepathic mode. Indeed, they often arrive in the learned
brain from some obscure and so-called ignorant person, and then the
scientific discoverer makes himself famous because of his power of
expression and means for giving it out. 
            ADEPT WORK
Student. - Does this bear at all upon the work of the Adepts of all good
Sage. - It does. They have all the truths that could be desired, but at the
same time are able to guard them from the seeking minds of those who are not
yet ready to use them properly. 
But they often find the hour ripe and a scientific man ready, and then touch
his cogitating mind with a picture of what he seeks. He then has a "flash"
of thought in the line of his deliberations, as many of them have admitted.
He gives it out to the world, becomes famous, and the world wiser. 
This is constantly done by the Adepts, but now and then they give out larger
expositions of Nature's truths, as in the case of H.P.B. This is not at
first generally accepted, as personal gain and fame are not advanced by any
admission of benefit from the writings of another, but as it is done with a
purpose, for the use of a succeeding century, it will do its work at the
proper time. 
Student. - How about the Adepts knowing what is going on in the world of
thought, in the West, for instance? 
Sage. - They have only to voluntarily and consciously connect their minds
with those of the dominant thinkers of the day to at once discover what has
been or is being worked out in thought and to review it all. This they
constantly do, and as constantly incite to further elaborations or changes
by throwing out the suggestion in the mental plane so that seeking and
receptive minds may use it. 
Path, December, 1894 

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