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The Spiritual and the Psychic

Sep 23, 2004 12:34 PM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck

Part 1 - The Psychic

Sept 23 2004

Re: The Spiritual and the Psychic


In recent weeks some inquiries and views have been exchanged concerning the
secret powerful forces in Nature and in man.

Here is synopsis of those offered by THEOSOPHY .



The field of psychic forces, phenomena, and dynamics is a vast one. Such
phenomena are seen and the forces exhibited every day in all lands, but
until a few years ago very little attention was given to them by scientific
persons, while a great deal of ridicule was heaped upon those who related
the occurrences or averred belief in the psychic nature. 

A cult sprang up in the United States some years ago calling itself quite
wrongly "spiritualism," but having a great opportunity it neglected it and
fell into mere wonder-seeking without the slightest shadow of a philosophy.
It has accomplished but little in the way of progress except a record of
many undigested. But other Western investigators of the accepted schools
have not done much better, and the result is that there is no Western
Psychology worthy of the name. 

This lack of an adequate system of Psychology is a natural consequence of
the materialistic bias of science and the paralyzing influence of dogmatic
religion; the one ridiculing effort and blocking the way, the other
forbidding investigation. Real psychology is an Oriental product today. Very
true the system was known in the West when an ancient civilization
flourished in America, and in certain parts of Europe anterior to the
Christian era, but for the present day psychology in its true phase belongs
to the ancient Orient. 

For centuries, what is now called "spiritualism," has been well known in
India where it is properly designated "bhuta worship," meaning the attempt
to communicate with the Astral remnants of deceased persons. This should be
its name here also, for by it the gross and devilish, or earthly, parts of
man are excited, appealed to, and communicated with. [The real Man, the
divine Ego, has retired to Devachan, and the astral corpse is disintegrating
on a plane called the "Kama-loka (the plane of desires and passions)."] 

But the facts of the long record in America demand a brief examination.
These facts all studious Theosophists must admit. The theosophical
explanation and deductions, however, are totally different from those of the
average spiritualist. A philosophy has not been evolved in the ranks or
literature of spiritualism; nothing but theosophy will give the true
explanation, point out defects, reveal dangers, and suggest remedies


Are there psychic forces, laws, and powers? If there are, then there must be
the phenomena. And if the philosophy of Theosophy is true, then in man are
the same powers and forces which are to be found anywhere in Nature. He is
held by the Masters of Wisdom to be the highest product of the whole system
of evolution, and mirrors in himself every power, however wonderful or
terrible, of Nature; by the very fact of being such a mirror he is man. 

This has long been recognized in the East, where travellers have seen
exhibitions of such powers which would upset the theories of many a Western
man of science. And in the West the same phenomena have been repeated. The
genuine psychic -- or, as they are often called, magical -- phenomena done
by the Eastern faquir or yogi are all performed by the use of natural forces
and processes not even dreamed of as yet by the West. 


Levitation of the body in apparent defiance of gravitation is a thing to be
done with ease when the process is completely mastered. It contravenes no
law. Gravitation is only half of a law. The Oriental sage admits gravity, if
one wishes to adopt the term; but the real term is attraction, the other
half of the law being expressed by the word repulsion, and both being
governed by the great laws of electrical force. Weight and stability depend
on polarity, and when the polarity of an object is altered in respect to the
earth immediately underneath it, then the object may rise. But as mere
objects are devoid of the consciousness found in man, they cannot rise
without certain other aids. The human body, however, will rise in the air
unsupported, like a bird, when its polarity is thus changed. This change is
brought about consciously by a certain system of breathing known to the
Oriental; it may be induced also by aid from certain natural forces spoken
of later, in the cases of those who without knowing the law perform the
phenomena, as with the saints of the Roman Catholic Church. 


A third great law which enters into many of the phenomena of the East and
West is that of Cohesion. The power of Cohesion is a distinct power of
itself, and not a result as is supposed. This law and its action must be
known if certain phenomena are to be brought about, as, for instance, what
the writer has seen, the passing of one solid iron ring through another, or
a stone through a solid wall. Hence another force is used which can only be
called dispersion. Cohesion is the determinating force, for, the moment the
dispersing force is withdrawn, the cohesive force restores the particles to
their original position. 

Following this out the Adept in such great dynamics is able to disperse the
atoms of an object -- excluding always the human body -- to such a distance
from each other as to render the object invisible, and then can send them
along a current formed in the ether to any distance on the earth. At the
desired point the dispersing force is withdrawn, when immediately cohesion
reasserts itself and the object reappears intact. This may sound like
fiction, but being known to the Lodge and its disciples as an actual fact,
it is equally certain that Science will sooner or later admit the


But the lay mind infested by the materialism of the day wonders how all
these manipulations are possible, seeing that no instruments are spoken of.
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, and would be his today were it
not for blind dogmatism, selfishness, and materialistic unbelief. Not even
the Christian lives up to his Master's very true statement that if one had
faith he could remove a mountain. A knowledge of the law when added to faith
gives power over matter, mind, space, and time. 


Using the same powers, the trained Adept can produce before the eye,
objective to the touch, material which was not visible before, and in any
desired shape. This would be called creation by the vulgar, but it is simply
evolution in your very presence. Matter is held suspended in the air about

Every particle of matter, visible or still unprecipitated, has been through
all possible forms, and what the Adept does is to select any desired form,
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 powers 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." All these things the writer has seen done in the way described, and
not by any hired or irresponsible medium, and he knows whereof he speaks. 


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 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 human assemblage of complicated

The modern Western 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." So far
as that goes it is right but it 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 be then used in the same way as an iron
molder uses a mold of 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. 


To communicate with another mind at any distance the Adept attunes all the
molecules of the brain and all the thoughts of the mind so as to vibrate in
unison with the mind to be affected, and that other mind and brain have also
to be either voluntarily thrown into the same unison or fall into it
voluntarily. So though the Adept be at Bombay and his friend in New York,
the distance is no obstacle, as the inner senses are not dependent on an
ear, but may feel and see the thoughts and images in the mind of the other

And when it is desired to look into the mind and catch the thoughts of
another and the pictures all around him of all he has thought and looked at,
the Adept's inner sight and hearing are directed to the mind to be seen,
when at once all is visible. But, as said before, only a rogue would do
this, and the Adepts do not do it except in strictly authorized cases. The
modern man sees no misdemeanor in looking into the secrets of another by
means of this power, but the Adepts say it is an invasion of the rights of
the other person. No man has the right, even when he has the power in his
hand, to enter into the mind of another and pick out its secrets. This is
the law of the Lodge to all who seek, and if one sees that he is about to
discover the secrets of another he must at once withdraw and proceed no
further. If he proceeds his power is taken from him in the case of a
disciple; in the case of any other person he must take the consequence of
this sort of burglary. For Nature has her laws and her policemen, and if we
commit felonies in the Astral world the great Law and the guardians of it,
for which no bribery is possible, will execute the penalty, no matter how
long we wait, even if it be for ten thousand years.

Here is another safeguard for ethics and morals. But until men admit the
system of philosophy put forward in this book, they will not deem it wrong
to commit felonies in fields where their weak human law has no effect, but
at the same time by thus refusing the philosophy they will put off the day
when all may have these great powers for the use of all. .


The Astral substance being the register of all thoughts, sounds, pictures,
and other vibrations, and the inner man being a complete person able to act
with or without co-ordination with the physical, all the phenomena of
hypnotism, clairvoyance, clairaudience, mediumship, and the rest of those
which are not consciously performed may be explained. 

In the Astral substance are all sounds and pictures, and in the Astral man
remain impressions of every event, however remote or insignificant; these
acting together produce the phenomena which seem so strange to those who
deny or are unaware of the postulates of occultism.

In the Astral Light are pictures of all things whatsoever that happened to
any person, and as well also pictures of those events to come the causes for
which are sufficiently well marked and made. If the causes are yet
indefinite, so will be the images of the future. But for the mass of events
for several years to come all the producing and efficient causes are always
laid down with enough definiteness to permit the seer to see them in advance
as if present. By means of these pictures, seen with the inner senses, all
clairvoyants exercise their strange faculty. Yet it is a faculty common to
all men, though in the majority but slightly developed; but occultism
asserts that were it not for the germ of this power slightly active in every
one no man could convey to another any idea whatsoever. 

In clairvoyance the pictures in the Astral Light pass before the inner
vision and are reflected into the physical eye from within. They then appear
objectively to the seer. If they are of past events or those to come, the
picture only is seen; if of events actually then occurring, the scene is
perceived through the Astral Light by the inner sense. 

The distinguishing difference between ordinary and clairvoyant vision is,
then, that in clairvoyance with waking sight the vibration is communicated
to the brain first, from which it is transmitted to the physical eye, where
it sets up an image upon the retina, just as the revolving cylinder [disc,
tape, etc.] of the phonograph causes the mouthpiece [speaker] to vibrate
exactly as the voice had vibrated when thrown into the receiver. 

In ordinary eye vision the vibrations are given to the eye first and then
transmitted to the brain. Images and sounds are both caused by vibrations,
and hence any sound once made is preserved in the Astral Light from whence
the inner sense can take it and from within transmit it to the brain, from
which it reaches the physical ear. So in clairaudience at a distance the
hearer does not hear with the ear, but with the center of hearing in the
Astral body. Second-sight is a combination of clairaudience and clairvoyance
or not, just as the particular case is, and the frequency with which future
events are seen by the second-sight seer adds an element of prophecy. 


The highest order of clairvoyance -- that of spiritual vision -- is very
rare. The usual clairvoyant deals only with the ordinary aspects and strata
of the Astral matter. Spiritual sight comes only to those who are pure,
devoted, and firm. It may be attained by special development of the
particular organ in the body through which alone such sight is possible, and
only after discipline, long training, and the highest altruism.

The pure-minded and the brave can deal with the future and the present far
better than any clairvoyant. But as the existence of these two powers proves
the presence in us of the inner senses and of the necessary medium -- the
Astral Light, they have, as such human faculties, an important bearing upon
the claims made by the so-called "spirits" of the seance room. 


Dreams are sometimes the result of brain action automatically proceeding,
and are also produced by the transmission into the brain by the real inner
person of those scenes or ideas high or low which that real person has seen
while the body slept. They are then strained into the brain as if floating
on the soul as it sinks into the body. These dreams may be of use, but
generally the resumption of bodily activity destroys the meaning, perverts
the image, and reduces all to confusion. But the great fact of all dreaming
is that some one perceives and feels therein, and this is one of the
arguments for the inner person's existence. 

In sleep the Inner Man communes with higher intelligences, and sometimes
succeeds in impressing the brain with what is gained, either a high idea or
a prophetic vision, or else fails in consequence of the resistance of brain
fiber. The karma of the person also determines the meaning of a dream, for a
king may dream that which relates to his kingdom, while the same thing
dreamed by a citizen relates to nothing of temporal consequence. But, as
said by Job: "In dreams and visions of the night man is instructed." 


Apparitions and doubles are of two general classes. The one, astral shells
or images from the astral world, either actually visible to the eye or the
result of vibration within thrown out to the eye and thus making the person
think he sees an objective form without. 

The other, the astral body of living persons and carrying full consciousness
or only partially so endowed. Laborious attempts by Psychical Research
Societies to prove apparitions without knowing these laws really prove
nothing, for out of twenty admitted cases nineteen may be the
objectivization of the image impressed on the brain. But that apparitions
have been seen there is no doubt.

The Adept may send out his apparition, which, however, is called by another
name [Mayavi rupa], as it consists of his conscious and trained astral body
endowed with all his intelligence and not wholly detached from his physical


Theosophy does not deny nor ignore the physical laws discovered by science.
It admits all such as are proven, but it asserts the existence of others
which modify the action of those we ordinarily know. Behind all the visible
phenomena is the occult cosmos with its ideal machinery; that occult cosmos
can only be fully understood by means of the inner senses which pertain to
it; those senses will not be easily developed if their existence is denied.
Brain and mind acting together have the power to evolve forms, first as
astral ones in astral substance, and later as visible ones by accretions of
the matter on this plane. 

Objectivity depends largely on perception, and perception may be affected by
inner stimuli. Hence a witness may either see an object which actually
exists as such without, or may be made to see one by internal stimulus. 

This gives us three modes of sight: (a) with the eye by means of light from
an object, (b) with the inner senses by means of the Astral Light, and (c)
by stimulus from within which causes the eye to report to the brain, thus
throwing the inner image without. The phenomena of the other senses may be
tabulated in the same manner. 


The question of materialization of forms at seances deserves some attention.
Communication includes trance-speaking, slate and other writing, independent
voices in the air, speaking through the physical vocal organs of the medium,
and precipitation of written messages out of the air. Do the mediums
communicate with the spirits of the dead? Do our departed friends perceive
the state of life they have left, and do they sometimes return to speak to
and with us? 

Our departed do not see us here. They are relieved from the terrible pang
such a sight would inflict. Once in a while a pure-minded, unpaid medium may
ascend in trance to the state in which a deceased soul is, and may remember
some bits of what was there heard; but this is rare. 

Now and then in the course of decades some high human spirit may for a
moment return and by unmistakable means communicate with mortals. At the
moment of death the soul may speak to some friend on earth before the door
is finally shut. But the mass of communications alleged as made day after
day through mediums are from the astral unintelligent remains of men, or in
many cases entirely the production of, invention, compilation, discovery,
and collocation by the loosely attached Astral body of the living medium. .

Materialization of a form out of the air, independent of the medium's
physical body, is a fact. But it is not a spirit. 

As was very well said by one of the "spirits" not favored by spiritualism,
one way to produce this phenomenon is by the accretion of electrical and
magnetic particles into one mass upon which matter is aggregated and an
image reflected out of the Astral sphere.

This is the whole of it; as much a fraud as a collection of muslin and
masks. How this is accomplished is another matter. The spirits are not able
to tell, but an attempt has been made to indicate the methods and
instruments in former chapters. 

The second method is by the use of the Astral body of the living medium. In
this case the Astral form exudes from the side of the medium, gradually
collects upon itself particles extracted from the air and the bodies of the
sitters present, until at last it becomes visible. Sometimes it will
resemble the medium; at others it bears a different appearance. 

In almost every instance dimness of light is requisite because a high light
would disturb the Astral substance in a violent manner and render the
projection difficult. Some so-called materializations are hollow mockeries,
as they are but flat plates of electrical and magnetic substance on which
pictures from the Astral Light are reflected. These seem to be the faces of
the dead, but they are simply pictured illusions. 


If one is to understand the psychic phenomena found in the history of
"spiritualism" it is necessary to know and admit the following: 

I. The complete heredity of man astrally, spiritually, and psychically, as a
being who knows, reasons, feels, and acts through the body, the Astral body,
and the soul. 

II. The nature of the mind, its operation, its powers; the nature and power
of imagination; the duration and effect of impressions. Most important in
this is the persistence of the slightest impression as well as the deepest;
that every impression produces a picture in the individual aura; and that by
means of this a connection is established between the auras of friends and
relatives old, new, near, distant, and remote in degree: this would give a
wide range of possible sight to a clairvoyant. 

III. The nature, extent, function, and power of man's inner Astral organs
and faculties included in the terms Astral body and Kama. That these are not
hindered from action by trance or sleep, but are increased in the medium
when entranced; at the same time their action is not free, but governed by
the mass chord of thought among the sitters, or by a predominating will, or
by the presiding devil behind the scenes; if a sceptical scientific
investigator be present, his mental attitude may totally inhibit the action
of the medium's powers by what we might call a freezing process which no
English terms will adequately describe. 

IV. The fate of the Real Man after death, his state, power, activity there,
and his relation, if any, to those left behind him here. 

V. That the intermediary between mind and body -- the Astral body -- is
thrown off at death and left in the Astral light to fade away; and that the
real man goes to Devachan. 

VI. The existence, nature, power, and function of the Astral light and its
place as a register in Nature. That it contains, retains, and reflects
pictures of each and every thing that happened to anyone, and also every
thought; that it permeates the globe and the atmosphere around it; that the
transmission of vibration through it is practically instantaneous, since the
rate is much quicker than that of electricity as now known. 

VII. The existence in the Astral light of beings not using bodies like ours,
but not human in their nature, having powers, faculties, and a sort of
consciousness of their own; these include the elemental forces or nature
sprites divided into many degrees, and which have to do with every operation
of Nature and every motion of the mind of man. 

That these elementals act at seances automatically in their various
departments, one class presenting pictures, another producing sounds, and
others depolarizing objects for the purposes of apportation. Acting with
them in this Astral sphere are the soulless men who live in it. To these are
to be ascribed the phenomenon, among others, of the "independent voice,"
always sounding like a voice in a barrel just because it is made in a vacuum
which is absolutely necessary for an entity so far removed from spirit. The
peculiar timbre of this sort of voice has not been noticed by the
spiritualists as important, but it is extremely significant in the view of

VIII. The existence and operation of occult laws and forces in nature which
may be used to produce phenomenal results on this plane; that these laws and
forces may be put into operation by the subconscious man and by the
elementals either consciously or unconsciously, and that many of these
occult operations are automatic in the same way as is the freezing of water
under intense cold or the melting of ice under heat. 

IX. That the Astral body of the medium, partaking of the nature of the
Astral substance, may be extended from the physical body, may act outside of
the latter, and may also extrude at times any portion of itself such as
hand, arm, or leg and thereby move objects, indite letters, produce touches
on the body, and so on ad infinitum. And that the Astral body of any person
may be made to feel sensation, which, being transmitted to the brain, causes
the person to think he is touched on the outside or has heard a sound. 

Mediumship is full of dangers because the Astral part of the man is now only
normal in action when joined to the body; in distant years it will normally
act without a body as it has in the far past. To become a medium means that
you have to become disorganized physiologically and in the nervous system,
because through the latter is the connection between the two worlds. The
moment the door is opened all the unknown forces rush in, and as the grosser
part of nature is nearest to us it is that part which affects us most; the
lower nature is also first affected and inflamed because the forces used are
from that part of us. 

We are then at the mercy of the vile thoughts of all men, and subject to the
influence of the shells in Kama Loka. If to this be added the taking of
money for the practice of mediumship, an additional danger is at hand, for
the things of the spirit and those relating to the Astral world must not be
sold. This is the great disease of American spiritualism which has debased
and degraded its whole history; until it is eliminated no good will come
from the practice; those who wish to hear truth from the other world must
devote themselves to truth and leave all considerations of money out of

To attempt to acquire the use of the psychic powers for mere curiosity or
for selfish ends is also dangerous for the same reasons as in the case of
mediumship. As the civilization of the present day is selfish to the last
degree and built on the personal element, the rules for the development of
these powers in the right way have not been given out, but the Masters of
Wisdom have said that philosophy and ethics must first be learned and
practiced before any development of the other department is to be indulged
in; and their condemnation of the wholesale development of mediums is
supported by the history of spiritualism, which is one long story of the
ruin of mediums in every direction. 


Equally improper is the manner of the scientific schools which without a
thought for the true nature of man indulge in experiments in hypnotism in
which the subjects are injured for life, put into disgraceful attitudes, and
made to do things for the satisfaction of the investigators which would
never be done by men and women in their normal state. 

The Lodge of the Masters does not care for Science unless it aims to better
man's state morally as well as physically, and no aid will be given to
Science until she looks at man and life from the moral and spiritual side.
For this reason those who know all about the psychical world, its denizens
and laws, are proceeding with a reform in morals and philosophy before any
great attention will be accorded to the strange and seductive phenomena
possible for the inner powers of man. .

Extracts from the OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY -- W Q JUDGE 



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