THEOSOPHY, Vol. 62, No. 11, September, 1974
(Pages 334-340; Size: 19K)


[Part 2 of 3]

A magnetic emanation, unconsciously produced, is sure to be overpowered by any stronger one with which it may come into opposition. But when an intelligent and powerful will directs the blind force, and concentrates it upon a given spot, the weaker emanation will often master the stronger. A human will has the same effect upon the Akasa.

With the possibility of a subtile fluid communicated from one individual to another, or to the substances which he touches, it becomes less difficult to understand that by a determined concentration of the will an otherwise inert object may become imbued with protective or destructive power according to the purpose directing.

It is one of the fundamental principles of magic, that if a current of this subtile fluid is not impelled with sufficient force to reach the objective point, it will react upon the individual sending it, as an India rubber ball rebounds to the thrower's hand from the wall against which it strikes without being able to penetrate it. There are many cases instanced where would-be sorcerers fell victims themselves.

Pythagoras taught his disciples that God is the universal mind diffused through all things, and that this mind by the sole virtue of its universal sameness could be communicated from one object to another and be made to create all things by the sole will-power of man. Given a certain intensity of will, and the shapes created by the mind become subjective. Hallucinations, they are called, although to their creator they are real as any visible object is to any one else. Given a more intense and intelligent concentration of this will, and the form becomes concrete, visible, objective; the man has learned the secret of secrets: he is a MAGICIAN.

We know that from the remotest ages there has existed a mysterious awful science, under the name of theopoea. This science, by penetrating the arcana of nature far deeper than our modern philosophy ever dreamed possible, teaches us how to force the invisible to become visible; the existence of elementary spirits; the nature and magical properties of the astral light; the power of living men to bring themselves into communication with the former through the latter.

This science taught the art of endowing the various symbols of gods with temporary life and intelligence. Statues and blocks of inert matter became animated under the potential will of the hierophant. The fire stolen by Prometheus had fallen down in the struggle to earth; it embraced the lower regions of the sky, and settled in the waves of the universal ether as the potential Akasa of the Hindu rites. We breathe and imbibe it into our organic system with every mouthful of fresh air. Our organism is full of it from the instant of our birth. But it becomes potential only under the influx of WILL and SPIRIT.

Left to itself, this life-principle will blindly follow the laws of nature; and, according to conditions, will produce health and an exuberance of life, or cause death and dissolution. But, guided by the will of the adept, it becomes obedient; its currents restore the equilibrium in organic bodies, they fill the waste, and produce physical and psychological miracles, well-known to mesmerizers. Infused in inorganic and inert matter, they create an appearance of life, hence motion. If to that life an individual intelligence, a personality is wanting, then the operator must either send his scin-lecca, his own astral spirit, to animate it; or use his power over the region of nature-spirits to force one of them to infuse his entity into the marble, wood, or metal; or, again, be helped by human spirits. But the latter -- except the vicious, earth-bound class -- will not infuse their essence into inanimate objects. Pure spirits will not and cannot show themselves objectively; those that do are not pure spirits, but elementary and impure. The majority of these spirits have naught to do with the phenomena consciously and deliberately produced by the Eastern magicians. The latter repudiate such an accusation and leave to sorcerers the help even of elemental spirits and the elementary spooks. The adept has an unlimited power over both, but he rarely uses it. For the production of physical phenomena he summons the nature-spirits as obedient powers, not as intelligences. They leave the lower kinds to produce the similitude of life and animation, and only send their influence through the intervening spheres like a ray of divine light, when the so-called "miracle" is required for a good purpose. The condition -- and this is a law in spiritual nature -- is purity of motive, purity of the surrounding magnetic atmosphere, personal purity of the operator. Thus is it, that a Pagan "miracle" may be far holier than a Christian one ... from Pythagoras down to Eliphas Lévi, from highest to humblest, every one teaches that the magical power is never possessed by those addicted to vicious indulgences. Only the pure in heart "see God," or exercise divine gifts -- only such can heal the ills of the body, and allow themselves, with relative security, to be guided by the "invisible powers." But, for all this, "magic has nothing supernal in it"; it is a science and even the power of "casting out devils" was a branch of it, of which the Initiates made a special study. We hold fast to the wisdom of the ages, in preference to any new theories that may have been hatched from the occurrences of our later days, respecting the laws of intermundane intercourse and the occult powers of man. While phenomena of a physical nature may have their value as a means of arousing the interest of materialists, and confirming, if not wholly, at least inferentially, our belief in the survival of our souls and spirits, it is questionable whether, under their present aspect, the modern phenomena are not doing more harm than good. Many minds, hungering after proofs of immortality, are fast falling into fanaticism.

On the one side the world had its Enochs, Moseses, Gautama-Buddhas, its numerous "Saviors," and great hierophants; on the other hand, its "natural-magicians," who, through lack of the restraining power of proper spiritual enlightenment, and because of weakness of physical and mental organizations, unintentionally perverted their gifts to evil purposes.

Were these God-like men "mediums"? By no means, if by the term we understand those "sick-sensitives" who are born with a peculiar organization. Unquestionably so, if we consider every individual a medium in whose magnetic atmosphere the denizens of higher invisible spheres can move, and act, and live. In such a sense every person is a medium. Mediumship may be either 1st, self-developed; 2nd, by extraneous influences; or 3rd, may remain latent throughout life. The reader must bear in mind the definition of the term, for, unless this is clearly understood, confusion will be inevitable. Mediumship of this kind may be either active or passive, repellent or receptive, positive or negative. Mediumship is measured by the quality of the aura with which the individual is surrounded. This may be dense, cloudy, noisome, mephitic, nauseating to the pure spirit, and attract only those foul beings who delight in it, as the eel does in turbid waters, or, it may be pure, crystalline, limpid, opalescent as the morning dew. All depends upon the moral character of the medium.

About such men as Apollonius, Iamblichus, Plotinus, and Porphyry, there gathered this heavenly nimbus. It was evolved by the power of their own soul in close unison with their spirits; by the superhuman morality and sanctity of their lives, and aided by frequent interior ecstatic contemplation. Such holy men pure spiritual influences could approach. Radiating around an atmosphere of divine beneficence, they caused evil spirits to flee before them. Not only is it not possible for such to exist in their aura, but they cannot even remain in that of obsessed persons, if the thaumaturgist exercises his will, or even approaches them. This is MEDIATORSHIP, not mediumship. Such persons are temples in which dwells the spirit of the living God; but if the temple is defiled by the admission of an evil passion, thought or desire, the mediator falls into the sphere of sorcery. The door is opened; the pure spirits retire and the evil ones rush in. This is still mediatorship, evil as it is; the sorcerer, like the pure magician, forms his own aura and subjects to his will congenial inferior spirits.

But mediumship, as now understood and manifested, is a different thing. Circumstances, independent of his own volition, may, either at birth or subsequently, modify a person's aura, so that strange manifestations, physical or mental, diabolical or angelic, may take place. Such mediumship, as well as the above-mentioned mediatorship, has existed on earth since the first appearance of living man. The former is the yielding of weak, mortal flesh to the control and suggestions of spirits and intelligences other than one's own immortal demon. It is literally obsession and possession; and mediums who pride themselves on being the faithful slaves of their "guides," and who repudiate with indignation the idea of "controlling" the manifestations, could not very well deny the fact without inconsistency. This mediumship, whether beneficent or maleficent, is always passive. Happy are the pure in heart, who repel unconsciously, by that very cleanness of their inner nature, the dark spirits of evil. For verily they have no other weapons of defense but that inborn goodness and purity. Mediumism, as practiced in our days, is a more undesirable gift than the robe of Nessus.

It is erroneous to speak of a medium having powers developed. A passive medium has no power. He has a certain moral and physical condition which induces emanations, or an aura, in which his controlling intelligences can live, and by which they manifest themselves. He is only the vehicle through which they display their power. This aura varies from day to day. It is an external effect resulting from interior causes. The medium's moral state determines the kind of spirits that come; and the spirits that come reciprocally influence the medium, intellectually, physically, and morally. The perfection of his mediumship depending upon passivity, its antidote suggests itself naturally; let the medium cease being passive. Spirits never control persons of positive character who are determined to resist all extraneous influences.

None of our bigots has ever looked with more scorn on the abuses of magic than did the true initiate of old. No modern or even mediaeval law could be more severe than that of the hierophant. True, he had more discrimination, charity and justice, than the Christian clergy; for while banishing the "unconscious" sorcerer, the person troubled with a demon, from within the sacred precincts of the adyta, the priests, instead of mercilessly burning him took care of the unfortunate "possessed one." Having hospitals expressly for that purpose in the neighborhood of temples, the ancient "medium," if obsessed, was taken care of and restored to health. But with one who had, by conscious witchcraft, acquired powers dangerous to his fellow creatures, the priests of old were as severe as justice herself.

Even at the time of Christ, the poor oppressed mediums were driven to the tombs and waste places without the city walls. Why this apparent gross injustice? Why should banishment, persecution, and death be the portion of the physical mediums of those days, and whole communities of thaumaturgists -- like the Essenes -- be not merely tolerated but revered? It is because the ancients, unlike ourselves, could "try" the spirits and discern the difference between the good and the evil ones, the human and the elemental. They also knew that unregulated spirit intercourse brought ruin upon the individual and disaster to the community.

How dangerous may often become untrained mediumship, and how thoroughly it was understood and provided against by the ancient sages, is perfectly exemplified in the case of Socrates. The old Grecian philosopher was a "medium"; hence, he had never been initiated into the Mysteries; for such was the rigorous law. But he had his "familiar spirit" as they call it, his daimonion; and this invisible counsellor became the cause of his death. It is generally believed that if he was not initiated into the Mysteries it was because he himself neglected to become so. But the Secret Records teach us that it was because he could not be admitted to participate in the sacred rites, and precisely, as we state, on account of his mediumship. There was a law against the admission not only of such as were convicted of deliberate witchcraft but even of those who were known to have "a familiar spirit." The law was just and logical, because a genuine medium is more or less irresponsible; and the eccentricities of Socrates are thus accounted for in some degree. A medium must be passive; and if a firm believer in his "spirit-guide" he will allow himself to be ruled by the latter, not by the rules of the sanctuary. A medium of olden times, like the modern "medium" was subject to be entranced at the will and pleasure of the "power" which controlled him; therefore, he could not well have been entrusted with the awful secrets of the final initiation, "never to be revealed under the penalty of death." The old sage, in unguarded moments of "spiritual inspiration," revealed that which he had never learned; and was therefore put to death as an atheist.

How then, with such an instance as that of Socrates, in relation to the visions and spiritual wonders at the epoptai, of the Inner Temple, can any one assert that these seers, theurgists, and thaumaturgists were all "spirit-mediums"? Neither Pythagoras, Plato, nor any of the later more important Neo-platonists; neither Iamblichus, Longinus, Proclus nor Apollonius of Tyana were ever mediums; for in such case they would not have been admitted to the Mysteries at all.

It may be said that the medium is but an ordinary person who is magnetized by influx from the astral light; and as the permanence of the magnetic property in the metal is measured by its more or less steel-like character, so may we not say that the intensity and permanency of mediumistic power is in proportion to the saturation of the medium with the magnetic or astral force?

This condition of saturation may be congenital, or brought about in any one of these ways: by the mesmeric process; by spirit-agency; or by self-will. Moreover, the condition seems hereditable, like any other physical or mental peculiarity; many, and we may even say most great mediums having had mediumship exhibited in some form by one or more progenitors. Mesmeric subjects easily pass into the higher forms of clairvoyance and mediumship (now so-called) ... As to the process of self-saturation, we have only to turn to the account of the priestly devotees of Japan, Siam, China, India, Thibet, and Egypt, as well as of European countries, to be satisfied of its reality. Long persistence in a fixed determination to subjugate matter, brings about a condition in which not only is one insensible to external impressions, but even death itself may be simulated. The ecstatic so enormously reinforces his will-power, as to draw into himself, as into a vortex, the potencies resident in the astral light to supplement his own natural store.

The phenomena of mesmerism are explicable upon no other hypothesis than the projection of a current of force from the operator into the subject. If a man can project this force by an exercise of the will, what prevents his attracting it toward himself by reversing the current?

Paracelsus teaches that "determined will is the beginning of all magical operations. It is because men do not perfectly imagine and believe the result, that the (occult) arts are so uncertain, while they might be perfectly certain." We believe WILL-POWER the most powerful of magnets. The existence of such magical power in certain persons is proved, but the existence of the Devil is a fiction, which no theology is able to demonstrate.

Magnetism ... is the alphabet of magic. It is idle for any one to attempt to understand either the theory or the practice of the latter until the fundamental principle of magnetic attractions and repulsions throughout nature is recognized.

.... Apart from natural "mediumship" there has existed, from the beginning of time, a mysterious science, discussed by many, but known only to a few. The use of it is a longing toward our only true and real home -- the after-life, and a desire to cling more closely to our parent spirit; abuse of it is sorcery, witchcraft, black magic. Between the two is placed natural "mediumship"; a soul clothed with imperfect matter, a ready agent for either one or the other, and utterly dependent on its surroundings of life, constitutional heredity -- physical as well as mental -- and on the nature of the "spirits" it attracts around itself. A blessing or a curse, as fate will have it unless the medium is purified of earthly dross.

(To be continued)

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(1) NOTE.--A student's collation from Isis Unveiled.
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