by H.P. Blavatsky
from Blavatsky Website
Like the finny tribes which swarm in our oceans and familiar bodies of water, each kind having its habitat in some spot to which it is curiously adapted, some friendly, and some inimical to man, some pleasant and some frightful to behold, some seeking the refuge of quiet nooks and land-locked harbors, and some traversing great areas of water.
So the various races of the
Planetary, Elemental, and other Spirits, were believed by them to
inhabit the different portions of the great ethereal ocean, and to
be exactly adapted to their respective conditions.
Light is force, and the latter is produced by the will. As this will proceeds from an intelligence which cannot err, for it is absolute and immutable and has nothing of the material organs of human thought in it, being the superfine pure emanation of the ONE LIFE itself, it proceeds from the beginning of time, according to immutable laws, to evolve the elementary fabric requisite for subsequent generations of what we term human races.
All of the latter, whether belonging to this planet or to some other of the myriads in space, have their earthly bodies evolved in this matrix out of the bodies of a certain class of these elemental beings - the primordial germ of Gods and men - which have passed away into the visible worlds.
In the Ancient Philosophy there was no missing link to be supplied by what Tyndall calls an "educated imagination"; no hiatus to be filled with volumes of materialistic speculations made necessary by the absurd attempt to solve an equation with but one set of quantities; our "ignorant" ancestors traced the law of evolution throughout the whole universe.
As by gradual progression from the star-cloudlet to the development of the physical body of man, the rule holds good, so from the Universal Ęther to the incarnate human spirit, they traced one uninterrupted series of entities.
These evolutions were from the world of Spirit into the world of gross Matter: and through that back again to the source of all things.
The "descent of species" was to them a
descent from the Spirit, primal source of all, to the "degradation
of Matter." In this complete chain of unfoldings the elementary,
spiritual beings had as distinct a place, midway between the
extremes, as Mr. Darwin's missing-link between the ape and man.
Now, himself "a thing not of matter" but an "idea of joy and light," his words sound more like the faithful echo of memory than the exuberant outflow of mere imagination.
He makes the wise Mejnour say to Glyndon:
Such is the insufficient sketch of Elemental Beings void of Divine Spirit, given by one whom many with reason believed to know more than he was prepared to admit in the face of an incredulous public.
We have underlined the few lines than
which nothing can be more graphically descriptive. An Initiate,
having a personal knowledge of these creatures, could do no better.
Ever following in the footsteps of old Pagan Philosophers on the well-trodden highway of their speculations, while, as ever, trying to pass these off as new tracks on virgin soil, and themselves as the first pioneers in a hitherto pathless forest of eternal truths - they repeated the Zoroastrian ruse:
So did the Christian Fathers.
applied the sacred name of Daimonia - the divine Egos of man - to
their devils, a fiction of diseased brains, and thus dishonored the
anthropomorphized symbols of the natural sciences of wise antiquity,
and made them all loathesome in the sight of the ignorant and the
But he states expressly that the
individual or personal Soul is the leading guardian Daimon of every
man, and that no Daimon has more power over us than our own. Thus
the Daimonion of Socrates is the God or Divine Entity which inspired
him all his life. It depends on man either to open or close his
perceptions to the Divine voice.
Of these three classes the first two are
invisible; their bodies are pure ether and fire (Planetary Spirits);
the Daimons of the third class are clothed with vapoury bodies; they
are usually invisible, but sometimes, making themselves concrete,
become visible for a few seconds. These are the earthly spirits, or
our astral souls.
For instance, the "Samothraces" was a designation of the Fane-gods; worshipped at Samothracia in the Mysteries. They are considered as identical with the Cabeiri, Dioscuri, and Corybantes.
Their names were mystical - denoting
Pluto, Ceres or Proserpina, Bacchus, and Ęsculapius or Hermes, and
they were all referred to as Daimons.
Eminent men were also called Gods by the ancients.
Deified during life, even their "shells" were reverenced during a part of the Mysteries. Belief in Gods, in Larvę and Umbrę, was a universal belief then, as it is fast becoming - now. Even the greatest Philosophers, men who have passed to posterity as the hardest Materialists and Atheists - only because they rejected the grotesque idea of a personal extra-cosmic God - such as Epicurus, for instance, believed in Gods and invisible beings.
Going far back into antiquity, out of the great body of Philosophers of the pre-Christian ages, we may mention Cicero, as one who can least be accused of superstition and credulity.
Speaking of those whom he calls Gods and who are either human or atmospheric spirits, he says:
If, turning from Greece and Egypt to the cradle of universal civilization, India, we interrogate the Brāhmans and their most admirable Philosophies, we find them calling their Gods and their Daimonia by such a number and variety of appellations, that the thirty-three millions of these Deities would require a whole library to contain only their names and attributes.
We will choose for the present time only two names out of the Pantheon.
These groups are the most important as well as the least understood by the Orientalists - their true nature having been all along wrapped in obscurity by the unwillingness of the Brāhmans to divulge their philosophical secrets.
We will speak
of but the Devas and the Pitris.
The term means literally
Shining Ones, the resplendent; and it covers spiritual beings of
various degrees, including entities from previous planetary periods,
who take active part in the formation of new solar systems and the
training of infant humanities, as well as unprogressed Planetary
Spirits, who will, at spiritualistic séances, simulate human deities
and even characters on the stage of human history.
To this class belong the gnomes, sylphs, fairies, djins, etc. They are the Soul of the elements, the capricious forces in Nature, acting under one immutable Law, inherent in these Centers of Force, with undeveloped consciousness and bodies of plastic mould, which can be shaped according to the conscious or unconscious will of the human being who puts himself en rapport with them.
It is by attracting some of the beings
of this class that our modern spiritualistic mediums invest the
fading shells of deceased human beings with a kind of individual
force. These beings have never been, but will, in myriads of ages
hence, be evolved into men. They belong to the three lower kingdoms,
and pertain to the Mysteries on account of their dangerous nature.
It is generally believed by them that the Sanskrit term Pitris means the spirits of our direct ancestors; of disembodied people.
Hence the argument of some Spiritualists that fakirs, and other Eastern wonder-workers, are mediums; that they themselves confess to being unable to produce anything without the help of the Pitris, of whom they are the obedient instruments.
This is in more than one sense erroneous, the error being first started, we believe, by M.L. Jacolliot, in his Spiritisme dans le Monde, and Govinda Swami; or, as he spells it, "the fakir Kovindasami's" phenomena.
The Pitris are not the ancestors of the present living men, but those of the human kind or primitive race; the spirits of human races which, on the great scale of descending evolution, preceded our races of men, and were physically, as well as spiritually, far superior to our modern pigmies.
In Mānava-Dharma-Shāstra they are called the Lunar Ancestors.
The Hindū - least of all the proud Brāhman - has no such great longing to return to this land of exile after he has shaken off his mortal coil, as has the average Spiritualist; nor has death for him any of the great terrors it has for the Christian.
Thus, the most highly developed minds in India will always take care to declare, while in the act of leaving their tenements of clay,
...and by this very declaration is placed beyond the reach of any living man or medium.
But, it may be asked, what then is meant by the Pitris?
They are Devas, lunar and solar, closely connected with human evolution, for the Lunar Pitris are they who gave their Chhāyās as the models of the First Race in the Fourth Round, while the Solar Pitris endowed mankind with intellect.
Not only so, but these Lunar Devas passed through all the kingdoms of the terrestrial Chain in the First Round, and during the Second and Third Rounds,
A brief examination of the part they play will prevent all future confusion in the student's mind between the Pitris and the Elementals.
In the Rig Veda, Vishnu (or the pervading Fire, Ęther) is shown first striding through the seven regions of the World in three steps, being a manifestation of the Central Sun.
Later on, he becomes a manifestation of our solar energy, and is connected with the septenary form and with the Gods, Agni, Indra and other solar deities. Therefore, while the "Sons of Fire," the primeval Seven of our System, emanate from the primordial Flame, the "Seven Builders" of our Planetary Chain are the "Mind-born Sons" of the latter, and - their instructors likewise.
For, though in one sense they are all Gods and are all called Pitris (Pitara, Patres, Fathers), a great though very subtle distinction (quite Occult) is made which must be noticed.
In the Rig Veda they are divided into two classes,
...i.e., as explained exoterically - Pitris who sacrificed to the Gods and those who refused to do so at the "fire-sacrifice."
But the Esoteric and true meaning is the following.
The first or primordial Pitris, the "Seven Sons of Fire" or of the Flame, are distinguished or divided into seven classes (like the Seven Sephiroth, and others, see Vāyu Purāna and Harivamsha, also Rig Veda); three of which classes are Arūpa, formless, "composed of intellectual not elementary substance," and four are corporeal.
The first are pure Agni (fire) or Sapta-jiva ("seven lives," now become Sapta-jihva, seven-tongued, as Agni is represented with seven tongues and seven winds as the wheels of his car).
As a formless, purely spiritual essence, in the first degree of evolution, they could not create that, the prototypical form of which was not in their minds, as this is the first requisite. They could only give birth to "mind-born" beings, their "Sons," the second class of Pitris (or Prajāpati, or Rishis, etc.), one degree more material; these, to the third - the last of the Arūpa class.
It is only this last class that was enabled with the help of the Fourth principle of the Universal Soul (Aditi, Ākāsha) to produce beings that became objective and having a form.6
But when these came to existence, they were found to possess such a small proportion of the divine immortal Soul or Fire in them, that they were considered failures.
Then only, could perfect Beings - intellectually and physically - be shaped.
This, though more philosophical, is still an allegory. But its meaning is plain, however absurd may seem the explanation from a scientific standpoint.
The Doctrine teaches the Presence of a Universal Life (or motion) within which all is, and nothing outside of it can be. This is pure Spirit. Its manifested aspect is cosmic primordial Matter coeval with, since it is, itself. Semi-spiritual in comparison to the first, this vehicle of the Spirit-Life is what Science calls Ether, which fills the boundless space, and it is in this substance, the world-stuff, that germinates all the atoms and molecules of what is called matter.
However homogeneous in its eternal origin, this Universal Element, once that its radiations were thrown into the space of the (to be) manifested Universe, the centripetal and centrifugal forces of perpetual motion, of attraction and repulsion, would soon polarize its scattered particles, endowing them with peculiar properties now regarded by Science as various elements distinct from each other.
As a homogeneous whole, the world-stuff in its primordial state is perfect; disintegrated, it loses its property of conditionless creative power; it has to associate with its contraries.
Thus, the first worlds and Cosmic Beings, save the "Self-Existent" - a mystery no one could attempt to touch upon seriously, as it is a mystery perceived by the divine eye of the highest Initiates, but one that no human language could explain to the children of our age - the first worlds and Beings were failures; inasmuch as the former lacked that inherent creative force in them necessary for their further and independent evolution, and that the first orders of Beings lacked the immortal soul.
Part and parcel of Anima Mundi in its Prākritic aspect, the Purusha element in them was too weak to allow of any consciousness in the intervals (entr' actes) between their existences during the evolutionary period and the cycle of Life.
The three orders of,
...had to merge and blend together their three higher principles with the Fourth (the Circle), and the Fifth (the microcosmic) principle before the necessary union could be obtained and result therefrom achieved.
Far removed from the Pitris, then, it will readily be seen are all the various feats of Indian fakirs, jugglers and others, phenomena a hundred times more various and astounding than are ever seen in civilized Europe and America.
The Pitris have naught to do with such public exhibitions, nor are the "spirits of the departed" concerned in them. We have but to consult the lists of the principal Daimons or Elemental Spirits to find that their very names indicate their professions, or, to express it clearly, the tricks for which each variety is best adapted.
So we have the Mādan, a generic name
indicating wicked elemental spirits, half brutes, half monsters, for
Mādan signifies one that looks like a cow. He is the friend of the
malicious sorcerers and helps them to effect their evil purposes of
revenge by striking men and cattle with sudden illness and death.
It is he who blinds people "to see that which they do not see."
Shūla Mādan is another mischievous
spook. He is the furnace-demon, skilled in pottery and baking. If
you keep friends with him, he will not injure you; but woe to him
who incurs his wrath. Shūla likes compliments and flattery, and as
he generally keeps underground it is to him that a juggler must look
to help him raise a tree from a seed in a quarter of an hour and
ripen its fruit.
He is an Elemental Spirit of the water,
and his name means blowing like a bubble. He is a very merry imp,
and will help a friend in anything relative to his department; he
will shower rain and show the future and the present to those who
will resort to hydromancy or divination by water.
Besides these there are in India the
Pisāchas, Daimons of the races of the gnomes, the giants and the
vampires; the Gandharvas, good Daimons, celestial seraphs, singers;
and Asuras and Nāgas, the Titanic spirits and the dragon or
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,
We may stop here and say no more: every learned Brāhman, every Chelā 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 die.
The above explanations and the meaning and the real attributes and mission of the Pitris, may help to better understand this passage of Plutarch:
The ancient Egyptians, who derived their knowledge from the Āryans of India, pushed their researches far into the kingdoms of the "elemental" and "elementary" beings.
Modern archęologists 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.
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 immortality.
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.
According to Aristotle's doctrine there are three principles of natural bodies:
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 Ęther, it becomes a material form, however sublimated.
If modern Science teaches that human thought,
...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 Ęther - 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 Vedāntin 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.
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.
These are what Tertullian called
the "princes of the powers of the air."
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
Their names are legion,
...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?
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.
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
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 Hylź 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,
...there must be a substantial form, which
called in the horse, the horse's soul; Proclus, the daimon of every
mineral, plant, or animal, and the medięval philosophers, the
elementary spirits of the four kingdoms.
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,
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.
In the Jewish Kabalah, the nature-spirits were known under the general name of Shedim, and divided into four classes.
The ancient Mexicans, says Kaiser, believed in numerous spirit-abodes,
...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 Kāma 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 Brāhmans, 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 skeptic 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 favorably 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
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 Kāma 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 - Avichī.
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
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 Būtan 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 spheres.
Henry Kunrath, the great German Kabalist, in his rare work, Amphitheatrum Sapientę Ęternę 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 danger.
They objected to it for several good reasons.
Therefore, the true theurgist will avoid causing any more suffering to this pure denizen of the higher sphere than is absolutely required by the interests of humanity.
It is only the practitioners of black
magic - such as
the Dugpas of Bhūtan and Sikkhim - who compel the
presence, by the powerful incantations of necromancy, of the tainted
souls of such as have lived bad lives, and are ready to aid their
Certain volatile salts are particularly obnoxious to them; Zoroaster is corroborated in this by Mr. C.F. Varley, and ancient science is justified by modern.
The effect of some chemicals used in a
saucer and placed under the bed, by Mr. Varley, of London,12 for the
purpose of keeping away some disagreeable physical phenomena at
night, are corroborative of this great truth. Pure or even simply
inoffensive human spirits fear nothing, for having rid themselves of
terrestrial matter, terrestrial compounds can affect them in no
wise; such spirits are like a breath. Not so with the earth-bound
souls and the nature-spirits.
But when, or how?
At a fitting moment, and if helped by a sincere desire for his amendment and repentance by some strong, sympathizing person, or the will of an adept, or even a desire emanating from the erring spirit himself, provided it is powerful enough to make him throw off the burden of sinful matter.
Losing all consciousness, the once
bright monad is caught once more into the vortex of our terrestrial
evolution, and repasses the subordinate kingdoms, and again breathes
as a living child. To compute the time necessary for the completion
of this process would be impossible. Since there is no perception of
time in eternity, the attempt would be a mere waste of labour.
Homer describes them in the following terms:
The latter proves that these Gods were
kind and beneficent Daimons, and that, whether they were disembodied
spirits or elemental beings, they were no "devils."
Further, he says:
Iamblichus, the great theurgist of the Neoplatonic school, a man skilled in sacred magic, teaches that:
Further, he corroborates Porphyry, and tells how that:
Even the most practiced theurgists sometimes found danger in their dealings with certain elementaries, and we have Iamblichus stating that:
The ancients, who named but four elements, made of ether a fifth.
On account of its essence being made divine by the unseen presence, it was considered as a medium between this world and the next. They held that when the directing intelligences retired from any portion of ether, one of the four kingdoms which they are bound to superintend, the space was left in possession of evil.
An adept who prepared to converse with the "invisibles," had to know his ritual well, and be perfectly acquainted with the conditions required for the perfect equilibrium of the four elements in the astral light. First of all, he must purify the essence, and within the circle in which he sought to attract the pure spirits, equilibrize the elements, so as to prevent the ingress of the Elementals into their respective spheres.
But woe to the imprudent enquirer who ignorantly trespasses upon forbidden ground; danger will beset him at every step. He evokes powers that he cannot control; he arouses sentries which allow only their masters to pass.
For, in the words of the immortal Rosicrucian:
The spirit of harmony and union will depart from the elements, disturbed by the imprudent hand; and the currents of blind forces will become immediately infested by numberless creatures of matter and instinct - the bad demons of the theurgists, the devils of theology; the gnomes, salamanders, sylphs, and undines will assail he rash performer under multifarious aėrial forms.
Unable to invent anything, they will search your memory to its very depths; hence the nervous exhaustion and mental oppression of certain sensitive natures at spiritual circles.
The Elementals will bring to light
long-forgotten remembrances of the past; forms, images, sweet
mementoes, and familiar sentences, long since faded from our own
remembrance, but vividly preserved in the inscrutable depths of our
memory and on the astral tablets of the imperishable "Book of Life."
In common with the Hindūs who had
Ākāsha, and made of it a deific entity, the Greeks
and Latins had deified Ęther. Virgil calls Zeus, Pater Omnipotens
Ęther,21 Magnus, the Great God, Ether.
The fish lives and breathes in the water; the plant consumes carbonic acid, which for animals and men produces death; some beings are fitted for rarefied strata of air, others exist only in the densest. Life to some is dependent on sunlight, to others, upon darkness; and so the wise economy of nature adapts to each existing condition some living form.
These analogies warrant the conclusion that, not only is there no unoccupied portion of universal nature, but also that for each thing that has life, special conditions are furnished, and, being furnished, they are necessary.
Now, assuming that there is an invisible side to the universe, the fixed habit of nature warrants the conclusion that this half is occupied, like the other half; and that each group of its occupants is supplied with the indispensable conditions of existence.
It is as illogical to imagine that
identical conditions are furnished to all, as it would be to
maintain such a theory respecting the inhabitants of the domain of
visible nature. That there are "spirits" implies that there is a
diversity of "spirits"; for men differ, and human "spirits" are but
It accords with reason to suppose that the grossest natures among them will sink to the lowest depths of the spiritual atmosphere - in other words, be found nearest to the earth.
Inversely, the purest will be farthest
away. In what, were we to coin a word, we should call the "psychomatics"
of Occultism, it is as unwarrantable to assume that either of these
grades of ethereal beings can occupy the place, or subsist in the
conditions, of the other, as it would be in hydraulics to expect
that two liquids of different densities could exchange their
markings on the scale of Beaume's hydrometer.
Porphyry presents to us some hideous facts whose verity is substantiated in the experience of every student of magic.
Though spiritualists discredit them ever so much, these nature-spirits - as much as the "elementaries," the "empty shells," as the Hindus call them - are realities.
If the gnomes, sylphs, salamanders and undines of the Rosicrucians existed in their days, they must exist now.
Bulwer Lytton's "Dweller on the Threshold" is a modern
conception, modeled on the ancient type of the Sulanuth of the
Hebrews and Egyptians, which is mentioned in
Book of Jasher.26
It is very extraordinary to hear devout Catholics abuse and misrepresent the nature-spirits, when one of their greatest authorities, Clement the Alexandrian, has described these creatures as they really are.
Clement, who perhaps had been a theurgist as well as an Neoplatonist, and thus argued upon good authority, remarks, that it is absurd to call them devils,27 for they are only inferior angels,
Origen, who before he became a Christian also belonged to the Platonic school, is of the same opinion.
Porphyry, as we have seen, describes these daimons more carefully
than any one else.
This begins developing from the moment of death, and becomes perfected when the astral body of the earthly form finally separates from it.
This process, they say, is repeated at every new transition from sphere to sphere of life. But the immortal soul, the "silvery spark," observed by Dr. Fenwick in Margrave's brain (in Bulwer Lytton's Strange Story), and not found by him in the animals, never changes, but remains indestructible "by aught that shatters its tabernacle."
The descriptions by Porphyry and Iamblichus and others, of the spirits of animals, which inhabit the astral light, are corroborated by those of many of the most trustworthy and intelligent clairvoyants.
Sometimes the animal forms are even made visible to every person at a spiritual circle, by being materialized. In his People from the Other World, Colonel H.S. Olcott describes a materialized squirrel which followed a spirit-woman into the view of the spectators, disappeared and reappeared before their eyes several times, and finally followed the spirit into the cabinet.
The facts given in modern spiritualistic
literature are numerous and many of them are trustworthy.
While the ancient Neoplatonists held that the Augides never descends hypostatically into the living man, but only more or less sheds its radiance on the inner man - the astral soul - the Kabalists of the middle ages maintained that the spirit, detaching itself from the ocean of light and spirit, entered into man's soul, where it remained through life imprisoned in the astral capsule.
This difference was the result of the belief of Christian Kabalists, more or less, in the dead letter of the allegory of the fall of man. The soul, they said, became, through the "fall of Adam," contaminated with the world of matter, or Satan.
Before it could appear with its enclosed divine spirit in the presence of the Eternal, it had to purify itself of the impurities of darkness.
On the other hand, the philosophers who explained the "fall into generation" in their own way, viewed spirit as something wholly distinct from the soul.
They allowed its presence in the astral capsule only so far as the spiritual emanations or rays of the "shining one" were concerned. Man and his spiritual soul or the monad - i.e., spirit and its vehicle - had to conquer their immortality by ascending toward the unity with which, if successful, they were finally linked, and into which they were absorbed, so to say.
The individualization of man after death depended on the spirit, not on his astral or human soul - Manas and its vehicle Kāma Rūpa - and body.
Although the word "personality," in the sense in which it is usually understood, is an absurdity, if applied literally to our immortal essence, still the latter is a distinct entity, immortal and eternal, per se; and when (as in the case of criminals beyond redemption) the shining thread which links the spirit to the soul, from the moment of the birth of a child, is violently snapped, and the disembodied personal entity is left to share the fate of the lower animals, to gradually dissolve into ether, fall into the terrible state of Āvīchi, or disappear entirely in the eighth sphere and have its complete personality annihilated - even then the spirit remains a distinct being.
It becomes a planetary spirit, an angel;
for the gods of the Pagan or the archangels of the Christian, the
direct emanations of the One Cause, notwithstanding the hazardous
statement of Swedenborg, never were nor will they be men, on our
planet, at least.
Even metaphysicians are too inclined to confound the effect with the cause. A person may have won his immortal life, and remain the same inner self he was on earth, throughout eternity; but this does not imply necessarily that he must either remain the Mr. Smith or Brown he was on earth, or lose his individuality.
Therefore, the astral soul, i.e., the
personality, like the terrestrial body and the lower portion of the
human soul of man, may, in the dark hereafter, be absorbed into the
cosmical ocean of sublimated elements, and cease to feel its
personal individuality, if it did not deserve to soar higher, and
the divine spirit, or spiritual individuality, still remain an
unchanged entity, though this terrestrial experience of his
emanations may be totally obliterated at the instant of separation
from the unworthy vehicle.
And what matters it in such a case, whether man leads an animal or a pure life, if, do what he may, he can never lose his personality?
This doctrine is as pernicious in its consequences as that of vicarious atonement. Had the latter dogma, in company with the false idea that we are all personally immortal, been demonstrated to the world in its true light, humanity would have been bettered by its propagation.
Crime and sin would be avoided, not for
fear of earthly punishment, or of a ridiculous hell, but for the
sake of that which lies the most deeply rooted in our nature - the
desire of a personal and distinct life in the hereafter, the
positive assurance that we cannot win it unless we "take the kingdom
of heaven by violence," and the conviction that neither human
prayers nor the blood of another man will save us from personal
destruction after death, unless we firmly link ourselves during our
terrestrial life with our own immortal spirit - our only personal
Therefore, it cannot be the essence of the Monas, or Cause,29 because the Anima Mundi is but the effect, the objective emanation of the former. Both the divine spiritual soul and the human soul are preexistent. But, while the former exists as a distinct entity, an individualization, the soul (the vehicle of the former) exists only as preexisting matter, an unscient portion of an intelligent whole.
Both were originally formed from the Eternal Ocean of Light; but as the Theosophists expressed it, there is a visible as well as invisible spirit in fire.
They made a difference between the Anima Bruta and the Anima Divina. Empedocles firmly believed all men and animals to possess two souls; and in Aristotle we find that he calls one the reasoning soul, Nous, and the other, the animal soul, Psuche.
According to these philosophers, the reasoning soul comes from without the Universal Soul (i.e., from a source higher than the Universal Soul - in its cosmic sense; it is the Universal Spirit, the seventh principle of the Universe in its totality), and the other from within.
This divine and superior region, in which they located the invisible and supreme deity, was considered by them (by Aristotle himself, who was not an initiate) as a fifth element - whereas it is the seventh in the Esoteric Philosophy, or Mūlaprakriti - purely spiritual and divine, whereas the Anima Mundi proper was considered as composed of a fine, igneous, and ethereal nature spread throughout the Universe, in short - Ether.30
The Stoics, the greatest materialists of ancient days, excepted the Divine Principle and Divine Soul from any such a corporeal nature.
Their modern commentators and admirers, greedily seizing the opportunity, built on this ground the supposition that the Stoics believed in neither God nor soul, the essence of matter.
Most certainly Epicurus did not believe in God or soul as understood by either ancient or modern theists. But Epicurus, whose doctrine (militating directly against the agency of a Supreme Being and Gods, in the formation or government of the world) placed him far above the Stoics in atheism and materialism, nevertheless taught that the soul is of a fine, tender essence formed from the smoothest, roundest, and finest atoms - which description still brings us to the same sublimated ether. He further believed in the Gods.
Arnobius, Tertullian, Irenęus, and Origen, notwithstanding their Christianity, believed, with the more modern Spinoza and Hobbes, that the soul was corporeal, though of a very fine nature - an anthropomorphic and personal something, i.e., corporeal, finite and conditioned.
Can it under such conditions become
immortal? Can the mutable become the immutable?
They will never accept the kabalistic
doctrine which teaches that it is only through observing the law of
harmony that individual life hereafter can be obtained; and that the
farther the inner and outer man deviate from this fount of harmony,
whose source lies in our divine spirit, the more difficult it is to
regain the ground.
One of the most respected ministers of the New Church, the Rev. Chauncey Giles, D.D., of New York, recently elucidated the subject in a public discourse as follows.
Physical death, or the death of the body, was a provision of the divine economy for the benefit of man, a provision by means of which he attained the higher ends of his being. But there is another death which is the interruption of the divine order and the destruction of every human element in man's nature, and every possibility of human happiness.
This is the spiritual death which takes place before the dissolution of the body.
When one falls into a love of self and love of the world, with its pleasures, losing the divine love of God and of the neighbor, he falls from life to death.
The higher principles which constitute the essential elements of his humanity perish, and he lives only on the natural plane of his faculties. Physically he exists, spiritually he is dead. To all that pertains to the higher and the only enduring phase of existence he is as much dead as his body becomes dead to all the activities, delights, and sensations of the world when the spirit has left it.
This spiritual death results from disobedience of the laws of spiritual life, which is followed by the same penalty as the disobedience of the laws of the natural life. But the spiritually dead have still their delights; they have their intellectual endowments, and power, and intense activities.
All the animal delights are theirs, and to multitudes of men and women these constitute the highest ideal of human happiness.
The tireless pursuit of riches, of the amusements and entertainments of social life; the cultivation of graces of manner, of taste in dress, of social preferment, of scientific distinction, intoxicate and enrapture these dead-alive; but, the eloquent preacher remarks,
Although we do not believe in "the Lord
and the angels" - not, at any rate, in the sense given to these
terms by Swedenborg and his followers, we nevertheless admire these
feelings and fully agree with the reverend gentleman's opinions.
The presence in one of a highly developed human, intellectual soul (the fifth principle, or Manas), is quite compatible with the absence of Buddhi, or the spiritual soul.
Unless the former evolves from and develops under the beneficent and vivifying rays of the latter, it will remain for ever but a direct progeny of the terrestrial, lower principles, sterile in spiritual perceptions; a magnificent, luxurious sepulchre, full of the dry bones of decaying matter within. Many of our greatest scientists are but animate corpses - they have no spiritual sight because their spirits have left them, or, rather, cannot reach them.
So we might go through all ages, examine
all occupations, weigh all human attainments, and investigate all
forms of society, and we would find these spiritually dead
He laughed at Strabo for believing that any particles of matter, per se, could have life and intellect in themselves sufficient to fashion by degrees such a multiform world as ours.31
Aristotle is indebted for the sublime morality of his Nichomachean Ethics to a thorough study of the Pythagorean Ethical Fragments; for the latter can be easily shown to have been the source at which he gathered his ideas, though he might not have sworn "by him who the Tetraktys found."32
But indeed our men of science know nothing certain about Aristotle. His philosophy is so abstruse that he constantly leaves his reader to supply by the imagination the missing links of his logical deductions. Moreover, we know that before his works ever reached our scholars, who delight in his seemingly atheistical arguments in support of his doctrine of fate, they passed through too many hands to have remained immaculate.
From Theophrastus, his legator, they passed to Neleus, whose heirs kept them mouldering in subterranean caves for nearly 150 years; after which, we learn that his manuscripts were copied and much augmented by Appelicon of Theos, who supplied such paragraphs as had become illegible, by conjectures of his own, probably many of these drawn from the depths of his inner consciousness.
Our scholars of the nineteenth as
anxious to imitate him practically as they are to throw his
inductive method and materialistic theories at the heads of the
Platonists. We invite them to collect facts as carefully as he did,
instead of denying those they know nothing about.
There is scarcely one phase of mediumship, of either kind, that we have not seen exemplified during the past thirty-five years, in various countries.
India, Tibet, Borneo, Siam, Egypt, Asia Minor, America (North and South), and other parts of the world, have each displayed to us its peculiar phase of mediumistic phenomena and magical power.
Our varied experience has fully
corroborated the teachings of our Masters and of The Secret
Doctrine, and has taught us two important truths, viz., that for the
exercise of "mediumship" personal purity and the exercise of a
trained and indomitable will-power are indispensable; and that
spiritualists can never assure themselves of the genuineness of
mediumistic manifestations unless they occur in the light and under
such reasonable test conditions as would make an attempted fraud
Direct writing may be produced in the genuine handwriting of the "spirit," the medium being influenced by a process unknown as much to himself as to the modern spiritualists, we fear.
But what we maintain and shall maintain to the last is, that no genuine human spirit can materialize, i.e., clothe his monad with an objective form.
Even for the rest it must be a mighty
attraction indeed to draw a pure, disembodied spirit from its
radiant, Devachanic state - its home - into the foul atmosphere from
which it escaped upon leaving its earthly body.
They may in their indomitable pride,
that becomes so often stubbornness and arrogance, do as Dr. Charcot,
of the Salpźtričre of Paris, has done: deny for years the existence
of Mesmerism and its phenomena, to accept and finally preach it in
public lectures - only under the assumed name, Hypnotism.
Notwithstanding every proof and probability the spiritualists will, nevertheless, maintain that it is the "spirits" of the departed human beings that are at work even in the "materialization" of animals. We will now examine with their permission the pro and con of the mooted question.
Let us for a moment imagine an intelligent orang-outang or some African anthropoid ape disembodied, i.e., deprived of its physical and in possession of an astral, if not an immortal body.
Once open the door of communication between the terrestrial and the spiritual world, what prevents the ape from producing physical phenomena such as he sees human spirits produce? And why may not these excel in cleverness and ingenuity many of those which have been witnessed in spiritualistic circles? Let spiritualists answer.
The orang-outang of Borneo is little, if any, inferior to the savage man in intelligence. Mr. Wallace and other great naturalists give instances of its wonderful acuteness, although its brains are inferior in cubic capacity to the most undeveloped of savages. These apes lack but speech to be men of low grade.
The sentinels placed by monkeys; the sleeping chambers selected and built by orang-outangs; their prevision of danger and calculations, which show more than instinct; their choice of leaders whom they obey; and the exercise of many of their faculties, certainly entitle them to a place at least on a level with many a flat-headed Australian.
Says Mr. Wallace,
Now, people assume that there can be no apes in the other world, because apes have no "souls."
But apes have as much intelligence, it appears, as some men; why, then, should these men, in no way superior to the apes, have immortal spirits, and the apes none? The materialists will answer that neither the one nor the other has a spirit, but that annihilation overtakes each at physical death.
But the spiritual philosophers of all times have agreed that man occupies a step one degree higher than the animal, and is possessed of that something which it lacks, be he the most untutored of savages or the wisest of philosophers.
The ancients, as we have seen, taught that while man is a septenary trinity of body, astral spirit, and immortal soul, the animal is but a duality - i.e., having but five instead of seven principles in him, a being having a physical body with its astral body and life-principle, and its animal soul and vehicle animating it.
Scientists can distinguish no difference in the elements composing the bodies of men and brutes; and the Kabalists agree with them so far as to say that the astral bodies (or, as the physicists would call it, the "life-principle") of animals and men are identical in essence.
Physical man is but the highest development of animal life. If, as the scientists tell us, even thought is matter, and every sensation of pain or pleasure, every transient desire is accompanied by a disturbance of ether; and those bold speculators, the authors of the Unseen Universe believe that thought is conceived "to affect the matter of another universe simultaneously with this".
Why, then, should not the gross, brutish
thought of an orang-outang, or a dog, impressing itself on the
ethereal waves of the astral light, as well as that of man, assure
the animal a continuity of life after death, or a "future state"?
That which survives as an individuality
after the death of the body is the astral soul, which Plato, in the
Timęus and Gorgias, calls the mortal soul, for, according to the
Hermetic doctrine, it throws off its more material particles at
every progressive change into a higher sphere.
And if it follows him, why not everything else in nature? Why not animals and plants, which have all a life-principle, and whose gross forms decay like his, when that life-principle leaves them?
If his astral body becomes more ethereal upon attaining the other sphere, why not theirs? *
* The article ends abruptly
here and you can not tell if it's never been done or if a portion of
manuscript has been lost - The publishers.