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Blavatsky Net - Theosophy

This site focuses on Madame Blavatsky and her teaching - Theosophy. It features an introduction to Theosophy, study aids, research tools, original text, supporting evidence, membership, and visitor interaction.

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The Electric and Magnetic Affinities Between Man and Nature


Without going too deeply ito certain vexed questions based upon what the orthodox men of science please to term the "hypothetical" conclusions of the Psychological School, whenever we meet with discoveries made by the former, coinciding perfectly with the teachings of the later, we think ourselves entitled to make them known to the world of skeptics. For instance, this psychological, or spiritual, school holds that "every being and naturally-formed object is in its beginning, a spiritual or monadial entity" which, having its origin in the spiritual or monadial plane of existence, must necessarily have as many relations with the latter as it has with the material or sensuous plane in which it physically develops itself. That "each, according to the species, evolves from its monadial centre an essential aura, which has positive and negative magnetoid relations with the essential aura of every other, and that, mesmeric attention and repulsion exhibiting a strong analogy with magnetic attraction and repulsion, this analogous attraction and repulsion obtains not only between individuals of the same, but of different species, not only in animate but in inanimate nature." (Clairvoyance, Hygienic and Medical, by Jacob Dixon, L.S.A.L.)

Thus, if we give our attention but to the electric and magnetic fluids in men and animals, and the existing mysterious but undoubted interrelation between those two, as well as between both of them and plants and minerals, we will have an inexhaustible field of research, which may lead us to understand more easily the production of certain phenomena. The modification of the peripheral extremities of nerves by which electricity is generated and discharged in certain general of fishes, is of the most wonderful character, and yet, to this very day its nature remains a mystery to exact science. For when it has told us that the electric organs of the fish generate the electricity which is rendered active by nervous influence, it has given us an explanation as hypothetical as that of the psychologists whose theories it rejects in toto. The horse has nerves and muscles as well as a fish, and even more so; the existence of animal electricity is a well-established fact, and the presence of muscular currents has been found in the undivided as well as in the divided muscles of all the animals, and even in those of man. And yet by the simple lashing of its feeble tail a small electrical fish prostrates a strong horse! Whence this electric power, and what is the ultimate nature and essence of the electric fluid? Whether as a cause or effect, a primary agent or a correlation, the reason for each of its manifestations is yet hypothetical. How much, or how little has it to do with vital power? Such are the ever-recurring and always unanswerable queries. One thing we know, though, and that is, that the phenomena of electricity as well as those of heat and phosphorescence, within the animal body, depend on chemical actions; and that these take place in the system just as they would in a chemist's laboratory; ever modified by and subjected to this same mysterious Proteus - the Vital Principle of which science can tell us nothing.

The quarrel between Galvani and Volta is well known. One was backed by no less an authority than Alexander Humboldt, the other by the subsequent discoveries of Matteucci, Dubois Reymond, Brown-Sequard, and others. By their combined efforts, it was positively established that a production of electricity was constantly going on in all the tissues of the living animal economy; that each elementary bundle of fibrils in a muscle was like a couple in a galvanic battery; and that the longitudinal surface of a muscle acts like the positive pole of a pile, or galvanic battery, while the transverse surface acts like the negative pole. The latter was discovered by one of the greatest physiologists of our century - Dubois Reynolds: who, nevertheless, was the greatest opponent of Baron Reichenback, the discoverer of the Od Force, and ever showed himself the most fierce and irreconcilable enemy of transcendental speculation, or what is best known as the study of the occult, i.e., the yet undiscovered forces in nature.

Every newly-discovered power, each hitherto unknown correlation of that great and unknown Force of the Primal Cause of all, which is no less hypothetical to skeptical science than to the common credulous mortals, was, previous to its discovery, an occult power of nature. Once on the track of a new phenomenon science gives an exposition of the facts - first independent of any hypothesis as to the causes of this manifestation; then - finding their account incomplete and unsatisfactory to the public, its votaries begin to invent generalizations, to present hypotheses based upon a certain knowledge of principles alleged to be at work by reasserting the laws of their mutual connection and dependence. They have not explained the phenomenon; they have but suggested how it might be produced, and offered more or less valid reasons to show how it could not be produced, and yet a hypothesis from their opponents' camp, that of the Transcendentalists, the Spiritualists and Psychologists, is generally laughed down by them before almost these latter have opened their mouths. We will notice a few of the newly-discovered electro-magnetic phenomena which are still awaiting an explanation.

In the systems of certain people the accumulation and secretion of electricity, reach under certain conditions, to a very high degree. This phenomenon is especially observed in cold and dry climates, like Canada, for instance; as well as in hot, but at the same time, dry countries. Thus - on the authority of that well-known medical journal, the Lancet - one can frequently meet with people who have but to approach their index fingers to a gas-beak from which a stream of gas is issuing, to light the gas as if a burning match had been applied to it. The noted American physiologist, Dr. J. H. Hammond, possesses this abnormal faculty upon which he discourses at length in his scientific articles. The African explorer and traveller Mitchison informs us of a still more marvelous fact. While in the western part of Central Africa, he happened at various times in a fit of passion and exasperation at the natives, to deal with his whip a heavy blow to a negro. To his intense astonishment the blow brought out a shower of sparks from the body of the victim; the traveller's amazement being intensified by his remarking that the phenomenon provoked no comments, nor seemed to excite any surprise among the other native who witnessed the fact. They appeared to look upon it as something quite usual and in the ordinary run of things. It was by a series of experiments that the ascertained at last, that under certain atmospheric conditions and especially during the slightest mental excitement it was possible to extract from the ebony-black body of nearly every negro of these regions a mass of electric sparks; in order to achieve the phenomenon it sufficed to gently stroke his skin, or even touch it with the hand. When the negroes remained calm and quiet no sparks could be obtained from their bodies.

In the American Journal of Science, Professor Loomis shows that "persons, especially children, wearing dry slippers with thin soles, and a silk or woolen dress, in a warm room heated to at least 70°, and covered with a thick velvet carpet, often become so electrically excited by skipping across the room with a shuffling motion, and rubbing the shoes across the carpet, that sparks are produced on their coming in contact with other bodies, and on their presenting a finger to a gas-burner, the gas may be ignited. Sulphuric ether has been thus inflamed, and in dry, cold weather sparks, half an inch in length, have been given forth by young ladies who had been dancing, and pulverized resin has been thus inflamed." So much for electricity generated by human beings. But this force is ever at work throughout the all nature; and we are told by Livingstone in his Travels in South Africa, that the hot wind which blows during the dry seasons over the desert from north to south "is in such an electric state that a bunch of ostrich feathers, held a few seconds against it, becomes as strongly charged as if attached to a powerful electric machine, and clasps the advancing hand with a sharp crackling sound... By a little friction the fur of the mantles worn by the natives gives out a luminous appearance. It is produced even by the motion communicated in riding; and a rubbing with the hand causes sparks and distinct crepitations to be emitted."

From some facts elicited by M. J. Jones, of Peckham, we find them analogous to the experiments of Dr. Reichenbach. We observe that "a magnetoid relation subsists between subjects of a nervous temperament and shells - the outgrowth of living entities, and which, of course, determined the dynamical qualities of their natural coverings." The experimenter verified the results upon four different sensitive subjects. He says that he "was first drawn to the enquiry by the fact of a lady looking at a collection of shells, complaining of pain while holding one of them. His method of experimenting was simply to place a shell in the subject's hand; the purpura chocolatum, in about four minutes, produced contraction of the fingers, and painful rigidity of the arm, which effects were removed by quick passes, without contact, from the shoulders off at the fingers."

Again, he experimented with about thirty shells, of which he tried twelve, on May 9, 1853; one of these causing acute pain in the arm and head followed by insensibility.

He then removed the patient to the sofa, and the shells to a sideboard. "In a short time," says Mr. Dixon, from whose book we quote the experiment, "to his astonishment the patient, while still insensible, gradually raised her clasped hands, turning them towards the shells on the sideboard, stretching the arms out at full length, and pointing to them. He put down her hands; she raised them again, her head and body gradually following. He had her removed to another room, separated from that containing the shells by a nine-inch wall, a passage, and a lath and plaster wall; the phenomenon, strange to say, was repeated. He then had the shells removed into a back room, and subsequently into other places, one of which was out of the house. At each removal the position of the hands altered to each new position of the shells. The patient continued insensible..for four days. On the third of these days the arm of the hand that had held the shells was swollen, spotted, and dark-coloured. On the morning of the fourth day, these appearances has gone, and a yellow tinge only remained on the hand. The effluence which had acted most potently, in this experiment, proceeded from the cinder murex and the chama macrophylla, which was most wonderful; the others of the twelve were the purpurata cookia, cerethinum orth., pyrula ficordis, sea urchin (Australia), voluta castena, voluta musica, purpura chocolatum, purpura hypocas tanum, melanatria fluminea and monodonta declives."

In a volume entitled "The Natural and the Supernatural" M. Jones reports having tested the magnetoid action of various stones and wood with analogous results; but, as we have not seen the work we can say nothing of the experiment. In the next number we will endeavour to give some more facts and the proceed to compare the "hypotheses" of both the exact and psychological sciences as to the cause of this inter-action between man and nature, the Microcosm and the Macrocosm.

Theosophist, February, 1881

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List of Articles
African Magic
Ahkoond of Swat
An Astral Prophet
An Unsolved Mystery
Ancient Doctrines Vindicated
Ancient Magic in Modern Science
Animated Statues
Answers to Queries
Antiquity of the Vedas
Apollonius Tyaneus and Simon Magus
Are Chelas "Mediums"?
Are Dreams but Idle Visions?
Arya Samaj
The Babel of Modern Thought
Black Magic in Science
Blessings of Publicity
Bright Spot of Light
Buddhism, Christianity and Phallicism
Buddhism in America
Can the Double Murder?
Can the Mahatmas Be Selfish?
Case of Obsession
Chelas and Lay Chelas
Chinese Spirits
Christmas Then and Christmas Now
Civilization, the Death of Art and Beauty
Claims of Occultism
Classification of "Principles"
Count St. Germain
Cross and Fire
Cycle Moveth
Denials and the Mistakes of the Nineteenth Century
Devil's Own-Thoughts on Ormuzd and Ahriman
Diagnoses and Palliatives
Dialogue on the Mysteries of the After Life
Dialogues between the Two Editors
Do the Rishis Exist?
Does Vaccination Prevent Smallpox?
Dr. Beard Criticized
Dreamland and Somnambulism
Drift of Western Spiritualism
Dual Aspect of Wisdomhe
Echoes from India. What is Hindu Spiritualism?
Eddy Manifestations
Editorial Comment
Editorial Appendix
Eighth Wonder
Electric and Magnetic Affinities between Man and Nature
Esoteric Axioms and Spiritual Speculations
"Esoteric Buddhism" and its Critic
"Esoteric Buddhism" and the "Secret Doctrine"
Esoteric Character of the Gospels
Fakirs and Tables
Fall of Ideals
Fate of the Occultist
Few Thoughts on Some Wise Words from a Wise Man
Force of Prejudice
French View of Women's Rights
Grand Inquisitor
"H. M." and the Todas
H. P. Blavatsky on Precipitation and Other Matters
H. P. Blavatsky's Masonic Patent
Have Animals Souls?
Hindu Widow-Marriage
History of a "Book"
History of a Planet
Holmes Controversy
Holmes Controversy(continued)
Huxley and Slade
Hypnotism, and Its Relations to Other Modes of Fascination
Imperfections of Science
Indian Metaphysics
Intro-Version of Mental Vision
Is Creation Possible for Man?
Is Denunciation a Duty?
Is Foeticide a Crime?
"Is it Idle to Argue Further?"
Is Suicide a Crime?
Is the Desire to "Live" Selfish?
Is Theosophy a Religion?
"Isis Unveiled" and the "Theosophist" on Reincarnation
Isis Unveiled and the Vishishtadwaita
"It's the Cat!"
Jews in Russia
Kabalah and the Kabalists
Kabalistic Views of "Spirits"
Karmic Visions
Knout, The. As Wielded by the Great Russian Theosophist
Kosmic Mind
Lack of Unity among Spiritualists
Lamas and Druses
Land of Mystery
Last Song of the Swan
Le Phare de L'Inconnu
Leaven of Theosophy
Leo Tolstoi and His Unecclesiastical Christianity
"Let Every Man Prove His Own Work"
Life and Death
Life Principle
Literary Jottings on Criticism, Authorities, and Other Matters
Lodges of Magic
Logic versus Peripatetic
Madame Blavatsky on "The Himalayan Brothers"
Mahatmas and Chelas
Memory in the Dying
Mind in Nature
Missing Link
Missionaries Militant
Mistaken Notions on "The Secret Doctrine"
Modern Apostles and Pseudo-Messiahs
Mote and the Beam
Mr. A. Lillie's Delusions
My Books
Mysterious Race
Nature's Human Magnets
Negations of Science
New Cycle
(New) York against Lankester. A new War of the Roses
"Not a Christian"!
Note on Eliphas Levi
Note on "Memory"
Notes on some Aryan-Arhat Esoteric Tenets
Notice to Mediums
Number Seven
Number Seven and Our Society
Occult or Exact Science?
Occult Phenomena
Occultism or Magic
Occultism versus the Occult Arts
Old Hindu Ships
Old Philosophers and Modern Critics
On Pseudo-Theosophy
On The New Year's Morrow
"Oppressed Widowhood" in America
Organisation of the Theosophical Society
Origin of Evil
Our Cycle and the Next
Our Three Objects
Paradoxical World
Parting Words
Persian Zoroastrianism and Russian Vandalism
Pertinent Queries
Pertinent Questions
Philosophers and Philosophicules
Popular Idea of Soul-Survival
Posthumous Publication
Practical Occultism
Pralaya of Modern Science
Premature and Phenomenal Growths
Progress and Culture
Psychic and Noetic Action
Psychic Warning
Psychology - The Science of the Soul
Puzzle from Adyar
Puzzle in "Esoteric Buddhism"
Queries and Answers
Questions Answered about Yoga Vidya
Re-Classification of Principles
Recent Progress in Theosophy
Reincarnations in Tibet
Reply to Our Critics, A.
Republican Citizen
Retort Courteous
Roots of Ritualism in Church and Masonry
Russian Atrocities
Sacred Tree of Kum Bum
Science of Life
Science of Magic
"Scrutator Again"
Search after Occultism
Seeming "Discrepancies"
Seventeen-Rayed Sun-Disc
She Being Dead Yet Speaketh
Signal of Danger
Signs of the Times
Six-Pointed and Five-Pointed Stars
Society Without a Dogma
Some Scientific Questions Answered
Spiritual Progress
Spiritualism and Occult Truth
Spiritualism and Spiritualists
Spiritualism in Russia
Spiritualistic Tricksters
Star-Angel-Worship in the Roman Catholic Church
Stars and Numbers
Stray Thoughts on Death and Satan
Substantial Nature of Magnetism
Theories about Reincarnation and Spirits
Theory of Cycles
"Theosophical Mahatmas"
Theosophical Society: Its Mission and Its Future
Theosophists and their Opponents
Theosophy and Spiritualism
Theosophy or Jesuitism?
Thoughts of the Dead
Thoughts on the Elementals
Tibetan Teachings
Tidal Wave
"To the Readers of 'Lucifer'"
Transmigration of the Life Atoms
Trickery or Magic?
Universe in a Nut-Shell
Views of the Theosophists
War in Olympus
Warning to Mediums
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Washing the Disciples' Feet
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Yoga Philosophy