CONVERSATIONS WITH THE GENII
MEANWHILE Mary had
falsified their predictions by returning to
The parting injunction to me found an application the promptness and directness of which were beyond anything I could have anticipated. I reached home after my last sitting only just in time to join her at the dinner-table, and before I had time to utter a word she said – à propôs of nothing of which I was aware – “I have had a ‘control’ myself this afternoon – quite a new experience. I was taken possession of, and made to utter a whole long string of sentences which I cannot remember, as you were not here to take them down. How did you get on to-day?”
I told her that I had finished my series of sittings with the magnetiser, and was not going again. Upon this she said, “Then I may tell you that I have been told that it has been all mediumship and hardly any magnetism, and that the spirits there are not of a high order, and you are not to go again. But I will try and be controlled again, and you can take down what I say.”
On going up to the drawing-room I seated myself at the table with pencil and paper, and Mary, after looking a few moments at the moon, which was at the full – it was November 17 – became lucid, and spoke as follows while walking up and down the room; not, however, under “control,” but in her own person: –
“I can see and hear all you have
heard and said and done in the past few days. I hardly know whether to tell you
or not. Why have you had those long sittings with Mrs. B.? I see a spirit very
like myself. She says she is your counterpart. It is a horrible lie. She has
told you ever so many times she will never come to me again. I should think
not, indeed! How could you go among those people? You named Hermes to them, and
gave them a clue to let them in. Why should you go among strange people, and
listen to them, instead of letting things come in the right way? She said my
own spirit was a serpent and a dragon, and that without you I should be nothing
at all; that the man is everything and the woman nothing, and that I got it all
through you. Here’s another of her spirits, a dreadfully low creature, which
calls itself ‘Ben.’ [This was the name “
“In one of your remarks to the medium, when speaking of your cultivating a negative disposition, you said that perhaps you were the woman and I the man in our joint spiritual system. To a certain extent you were right. For the woman element is most developed in you, and the man element in me. But you must not regard me as your instrument – as they said you should – any more than I am to regard you as my instrument, which I confess I have been tempted to do. I was told to withhold certain things from
you lest you
should communicate them to the medium and her controls. For all between us must
be kept secret from all others until we have leave to divulge it. You are to go
there no more at all. Her spirits are your enemies. They are of the Astrals, an
order with which you must have nothing to do. ‘
“Only through me can messages come to you from the Gods, unless they speak to you directly themselves. It is the condition of our work. I see my Genius and my spirit. And it is a question with them whether to withdraw me from you, and carry on the work with me alone. Swedenborg was right in what he said to us about my Genius. He is of a very jealous disposition. He is angry with you. Oh! Shall I have to go away altogether and do it by myself? [Here she began to cry.] Why should you care for these things, and why should they affect you, O my Genius? He says that if he lets me stay with you, you must keep to me and listen to no one else. But he wants me to leave you and do the work alone. These controls told you that the ‘Woman’s Age’ is a long way off. That is because they want to keep it so. It will come by the will of God. It cannot be helped or kept off.
“The spirit that calls herself your counterpart is one of the order that controls the American ‘prophet’ Harris, and that Oliphant told us of. And she has tried to put an end to our work. How like me she is! How like me! Whence can come this likeness? I see it all now. It is copied from me. She is made exactly in my likeness, out of the astral fluid; and to do this she has been for a long time drawing the nervous vitality out of you, and has built herself up with it. As I look at her she changes like a flame, and goes in and out. The group is numerous. The air is thick with them. But they are not ‘devils’; not absolutely evil. They have no positive existence, but make themselves entities out of human beings. There was no need to disturb yourself about the work. It was partly because my vitality was required for my intellectual work, and partly because yours was taken by the Astrals, that there has been delay. You are so expansive in feeling if not in action; you give out so freely of your vitality that you help these spirits to create themselves. In me the self is far larger than in you. It fills me up to the very extremities. And that is why I am of so positive a nature, and have red for my colour. The self in you is not so large as in me; and your colour, which is blue, is paler than it used to be, and we do not make so deep a purple as before.
“My Genius charges us not to go to outside spirits. These Astrals are non-moral rather than evil. They care only to sustain and exalt themselves. They have no souls; they are simply Astrals, being made of the ether, and are like flames. They are playful sometimes. Your pretended counterpart is laughing now, as at a joke. They are not real creatures, and have no idea of right and wrong. They are neither light nor darkness; but they catch any prominent quality in a person’s mind and make the most of it by reflecting and magnifying it. Hence they are not to be trusted. We must heed no one but the God. True, they use the holy name; but when they speak of God they little know of the enormous ladder which reaches from the highest to the lowest, and all of which is within ourselves.
“I behold myself in a field covered with grass and flowers. It is early morning, and everything is bespangled with dew; and in each dewdrop everything is reflected, from the sun itself down to the minutest object. All reflect God. All is in every dewdrop. And God is in each individual according to his capacity for reflecting Him. We, all of us, in our degree, reflect God’s image. How exquisite is the scene!
“I see your Genius go past. She has a pale blue colour, and looks wasted and unhappy. I suspect mine is much the stronger of the two. He looks so different. He is of a very jealous and proud disposition, as Swedenborg assured us, and he is proud of his jealousy. He keeps telling me things which he will not let me tell you for fear the Astrals should get them from you.
“What a dreadfully difficult thing it is to steer one’s way amidst such numbers of influences! It was on account of the Astrals chiefly that we were forbidden to use the planchette. I see a fine, bright-shining thread. It is our own path; and it is a pathway of light. But, oh, so narrow, so narrow! And all around are spirits trying to lure us from it.
“Here is Hermes, shining like a silver light. My Genius says that the way to get the utmost vitality on the spiritual plane is to abandon the plane of the body, and keep it quite low, by not indulging it. The time for bodily indulgence is past with us. Abstinence, we have been told, and watchfulness and fasting, are needful. And the time for the first of these has come. Nothing is gained without labour, or won without suffering. Fasting and watching and abstinence, these are beads and rosary. It is a hard way and a long way, and it makes one wishful to turn back.”
Portions of the following extracts from our joint Diary, omitting the personal allusions, have been used in The Perfect Way and Clothed with the Sun. (1) They are here given in their integrity for their biographical value: –
November 18. – “Last night,” wrote Mary on the following day, “I saw my Genius clothed with a red flame, and standing in a dark place. He held in his hand a cup, into which he bade me look. I did so, and a mist gathered like a cloud in the cup; and I saw in the cloud spirits wrestling with each other. Then the cup seemed to widen until it became a great table upon which scenes and words were written. And I saw the vapour filled with astral spirits, ephemeral, flame-like, chimerical; and upon the mist which enveloped and swept around them was written, ‘The Powers of the Air.’
“And I said to my Genius, ‘Are these the spirits which control mediums?’ And he answered, ‘Do not use that word “medium”; for it is misleading. These are the powers which affect and influence Sensitives. They do not control, for they have no force. They are light as vapour. See!’
“Then he breathed on the table, and they were dispersed like smoke on all sides. And I said, ‘Whence do these spirits come,
and what is their origin and nature?’ And he answered, ‘They are Reflects. They have no real entity in themselves. They resemble mists which rise from the damp earth of low-lying lands, and which the heat of the sun disperses. Again, they are like vapours in high altitudes, upon which, if a man’s shadow falls, he beholds himself as a giant. For these spirits invariably flatter and magnify a man to himself. And this is a sign whereby you may know them. They tell one that he is a king; another, that he is a Christ; another, that he is the wisest of mortals, and the like. For, being born of the fluids of the body, they are unspiritual and live of the body.’ ‘Do they, then,’ I asked, ‘come from within the man?’ ‘All things,’ he replied, ‘come from within. A man’s foes are they of his own household.’ ‘And how,’ I asked, ‘may we discern the Astrals from the higher spirits?’ ‘I have told you,’ he said, ‘of one sign: they are flattering spirits. Now I will tell you of another. They always depreciate woman. And they do this because their deadliest foe is the Intuition. And these, too, are signs. Is there anything strong? They will make it weak. Is there anything wise? They will make it foolish. Is there anything sublime? They will distort and travesty it. And this they do because they are exhalations of matter and have no spiritual nature. Hence they pursue and persecute the woman continually, sending after her a flood of vituperation like a torrent to sweep her away. But it shall be in vain. For God shall carry her to His throne, and she shall tread on the necks of them. Therefore the High Gods shall give through a woman the Interpretation which alone can save the world. A woman shall open the gates of the Kingdom to mankind, because Intuition only can redeem. Between the woman and the Astrals there is always enmity. For they seek to destroy her and her office, and to put themselves in her place. They are the delusive shapes who tempted the saints of old with exceeding beauty and wiles of love, and great show of affection and flattery. Oh! Beware of them when they flatter, for they spread a net for thy soul.’
“‘Am I, then, in danger from them?’ I asked. ‘Am I, too, a Sensitive?’
“‘No, you are a Poet, and in that is your strength and your salvation. Poets are children of the Sun, and the Sun illumines them. No poet can be vain or self-exalted. For he knows that he speaks only the words of God. “I sing,” he says, “because I must.” Learn a truth which is known only to the Sons of God. The Spirit within you is divine. It is God. When you prophesy and when you sing, it is the Spirit within you which gives you utterance. It is the “new wine of Dionysos.” By this Spirit your body is enlightened as is a lamp by the flame within it. Now, the flame is not the oil; for the oil may be there without the light. Your body, then, is the lamp-case, into which the oil is poured. And this – the oil – is your soul, a fine and combustible fluid. And the flame is the Divine Spirit, which is not born of the oil, but is conveyed to it by the hand of God. You may quench this Spirit utterly, and thenceforth you will have no immortality; but when the lamp-case breaks the oil will be spilt on the earth, and a few fumes will for a time arise from it; and then it will expend itself and leave at last no trace. Some oils are finer and more spontaneous than others. The finest is that
of the soul of the poet, and in such a medium the flame of God’s Spirit burns more clearly and powerfully and brightly, so that sometimes mortal eyes can hardly endure its brightness. Of such an one the soul is filled with holy raptures; he sees as no other man sees, and the atmosphere about him is enkindled. His soul becomes transmuted into flame, and when the lamp of his body is shattered his flame mounts and soars, and is united to the Divine Fire. Can such an one, think you, be vainglorious or self-exalted and lifted up? Oh no; he is one with God, and knows that without God he is nothing. I tell no man that he is a reincarnation of Moses, of Elias, or of Christ. But I tell him that he may have the spirit of these if, like them, he be humble and self-abased, and obedient to the Divine Word.’
“‘Do not, then, seek after controls. Keep your temple for the Lord God of Hosts, and turn out of it the money-changers and the dove-sellers and the dealers in curious arts; yea, with a scourge of cords if need be.’”
We discussed together in the evening the various orders of spirits with which my recent experiences had been the means of making us acquainted. But I kept carefully to myself the sense which I had of not being quite justly dealt with by her Genius, seeing that he had taken account only of the fact of my having held converse with the Astrals, and ignored the innocence both of the motive which had brought me into contact with them and of the motive with which I had pursued the investigation, as well also as the firmness and independence of my attitude towards them. The description now given of his character seemed to me to account for his attitude in regard to myself, but I would make no remark to her which might be construed to his disparagement in her eyes. And, as will be seen, he himself admitted the restriction of knowledge of the Genius respecting persons to his own client. While we were conversing she became lucid, and said: –
“I see my Genius. He has a Cactus in his hand. It is my emblem. He says that the question of the distinctions between different orders of spirits is a long and difficult one to treat. But it can be explained, and he will try to explain it. And first, he says, there are no such things as ‘spirits of the dead.’ There are only shades of the dead. This is the emanation of the dead body, and is rather a ‘peri-soul’ than a soul. For there are, strictly, four elements in man, one of them being an emanation from the body. When a person dies, and a shade of him returns, it is dumb, and always disappears without speech. When speech occurs, it is by Divine interposition, and for a special purpose. On such occasion it is the soul itself that returns, coming from the purgatorial world; but it is not therefore reincarnate. Souls are reincarnated hundreds
and thousands of times, but not the person – which implies the body – for the body perishes. These things were known to the Gnostics, Essenes, Therapeutae, and Jesus. And the doctrine is embodied in the parable of the Talents, as is thus explained: –
“Into the soul of the individual is breathed the Spirit of God, divine, pure, and without blemish. It is God. And the individual has, in his earth-life, to nourish that Spirit and feed it as a flame with oil. When you put oil into a lamp, the essence passes into and becomes flame. So is it with the soul of him who nourishes the Spirit. It grows gradually pure and becomes the Spirit. Doing which, the Spirit becomes the richer. And as in the parable of the Talents, where God has given five talents, man pays back ten. Or, he returns nothing, and perishes.
“When a person dies, a portion of the soul remains unconsumed – untransmuted, that is, into spirit. The soul is fluid, and between it and vapour is this analogy. When there is a large quantity of vapour in a small space it becomes condensed, and is thick and gross. But when a portion is removed the rest becomes refined, and is rarer and purer. So is it with the soul. By losing a portion of its material it becomes finer, rarer, and purer; and it continues to do so more and more until, after many incarnations – made good use of – the whole of the soul is absorbed into the Divine Spirit, and becomes one with God, making God so much the richer for the usury. This is ‘Nirvana.’”
Here I asked, “Is the individuality lost, then?” To which it was replied –
“No; though becoming pure spirit or God, the individual retains his individuality. So that, instead of all becoming merged in the One, the One becomes Many. Thus has God become Millions. We, too, are Legion, and therein resemble God. God is Multitudes and Nations, and Kingdoms, and Tongues. And the sound of God is as the sound of many waters.
“When a great and good person dies, and for any special purpose returns to earth and speaks, it is really the soul of that person who returns. But this rarely occurs long after decease. Because, as a rule, the soul has become reincarnate, or else is engaged in achieving its final purification; so that after a long interval there would be no soul to return, since it would have become pure spirit. Consequently the shades which persistently return are one of these two things. Either they are dumb shades from the bodily exhalations or mortal spirit – for everything has a spirit – or else they are astral spirits personating the dead. A soul may be utterly gross at last and deprived of all spirit of the divine order, and yet may have so strong a vitality, or mortal spirit, of its own that it may last hundreds of years in a low atmosphere. But this occurs only with souls of very strong will, and generally of indomitable wickedness. The strength of their evil will and the determination to be wicked keep them alive. These are the devils. But they are mortal, and must go out at last. Their end is utter darkness. They cease to be.
“The shades of the dead are the Manes, Lares, and Penates of the Latins, and are to be distinguished from the soul. When Samuel appeared at Endor, it was the soul itself that returned. This was possible only because he was so lately dead. According
to circumstances, souls may either become reincarnate at once, or may accomplish their purification in the sphere called the purgatorial world.
“My Genius is not an Astral. The very suggestion displeases him. Nor was he ever embodied. He is of the order sometimes called ‘Angels,’ but he does not care for the term because it is misinterpreted. He prefers the Christian nomenclature, and to be called ‘minister,’ as their office is to guide, admonish, and illumine.
“The origin of souls, he says, has already been explained to us in the beginning of our Alphabetical Chapters. Souls consist of substance, or original protoplasm, separated into individuated portions precisely as Spirit is separated from God. Spirit is the male, and Substance the female, principle of existence. Wherefore the soul is feminine. But my Genius dislikes the terms male and female, and prefers Father and Mother. The whole subject is very intricate; for even gross bodies have spirits. These, however, are not divine, but vital, or else animal only, and are different from that of God. Every molecule of matter, however minute, has a vital spirit. But this is not one with the Divine Spirit of man, which is God.
“The Astrals exist in numbers round certain persons. About some there are none. There are very many about you of late, and they are the cause of the paleness of your colour. Your Genius is devitalised by them. My flame, being red, burns straight up, and they shun it. Yours, which is blue, spreads out circularly, and the Astrals flock round it like moths. For some time past a stream of magnetism has been flowing out of you to form them, and you are de-energised by it; for they feed on the vital spirits. I am shown an old book on chemistry with much about the spirits of the blood. The arteries carry the vital spirits; the molecules of your blood have been depleted of vitality by them. They act like vampires, and feed on the vital spirits.
“The way to dispossess the Astrals
is by inhaling a strong, clear, bright atmosphere, such as that of
misfortunes and mistakes. We have to take what comes, and do the best we can. The greatest of saints have been most persecuted and torn asunder by them; for the Genii are not fighting spirits, and cannot prevent evils. Even Jesus was allowed to be ministered to by them only after exhaustion in combat with the Astrals. If we were not worth attacking we should not be attacked.
“My Genius says that knowledge is withheld from you at present on account of the Astrals. For they would suck it from you, and it must be kept secret. A general cannot hope to carry out his plan of campaign if his intentions are betrayed to the enemy. The same secrecy is necessary in our case. My Genius deplores the mischief they have already done. The Astral which calls herself your counterpart erected the barrier which has impeded our work. The nearness of our association enabled her to pass from you to me. She has exactly misrepresented the truth to you. For my own original spirit was always one with you. The trouble began immediately she had passed from you to me; and my spirit, I am told, was vaguely and dimly aware of this, and for that reason I have regarded you as the cause. And so you were, but unconsciously. The best way to dispossess these creatures is by prayer.
“I wish we could go to
“As regards the continuation of your work, that, I am told, is an affair for the blue Genius. It must rest at present.”
November 19. – Mary, being lucid, said: –
“My Genius is here. He looks like Dante, but changes from time to time. Like Dante, he is always in red. Speaking of Dante, I see that Beatrice represents the soul. She is to him what the woman should be to the man. My Genius tells me to say that of course you understand that the best weapon against the Astrals is Prayer. Prayer means the intense direction of the will and desire towards the Highest; an unchanging intent to know nothing but the Highest. So long as Moses held up his hands towards heaven the Israelites prevailed. When he dropped them, then the Amalekites.
“I am to inform you that the Genius never ‘controls’ his client; never suffers the soul to step aside from the body to allow the entrance of another spirit. The person controlled by an Astral or an Elemental, on the contrary, speaks not in his own person, but in that of the spirit controlling him. And the gestures, expression, intonation and pitch of voice, change with the obsessing spirit. A person prophesying speaks always in the first person, and says either, ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ or, ‘So says someone else,’ never losing the personality. This is another sign of difference whereby to distinguish the orders of spirits.
“My Genius fears lest you may not
have quite understood what was said last night about the Astrals, and he wishes
to explain that they are not necessarily evil. A distinction is to be made also
between Astral and Elemental spirits and ‘genii loci.’ These last are the
spirits of forests, mountains, cataracts, rivers, and all unfrequented places,
and were known to all early nations, the Scandinavians, Teutons, and Greeks.
These are the Dryads, Kelpis, Fairies, and Elves. Most of these spirits now
remain only in the
blood-spirits inhabit chiefly cities; and between them and the former classes there is antipathy and mutual avoidance. Nevertheless some of the forest spirits, and others who live on the exhalations of trees, spray, and organic essences, have become attached to certain individuals, and have followed them even to cities. But these do not prey on the vital spirits of the blood, but on the magnetism of the nervous system. ‘Winona,’ whom we know, is one of these, and never had a body of her own. Most of these give themselves Indian names from their first associations. Then there is an intermediate class, the Elementals. These are dangerous, mysterious, and terrifying spirits, the spirits of the Rosicrucians and medieval magicians, and of some of these days, who draw symbols and pentagrams for them; and it is dangerous to name them at certain times and places. These spirits are more material than any of the others, and have an independent existence. The most dangerous of their order are the Salamanders or Fire-spirits.
“I am going to tell you what will surprise you. Some time ago these spirits came to us and deceived us both. They took advantage of our use of the planchette, which they are especially able to control, and one of them burnt my finger. They then persuaded us to have a planchette made which was divided into twelve squares, with four corners, dedicated each to one of their own class. They would have used us for their own ends had not a higher power prevented them. And this is the danger of all physical means of communication. My Genius wishes us to abstain entirely from that. He and his order, he says, are not sufficiently material to cause any physical injury; and no physical demonstration, save in appearance, is possible to them.
“You asked yesterday whether you, too, would have the power of seeing. He has spoken to your Genius about it, and the answer is No. And for this reason: the faculty of sight is the last which is perfected, and my Genius’s client – that is, myself – is older than you.
“The use of this term ‘client’ reminds me of our conversations with the spirit of Swedenborg, and I wish to ask about it. In reply, my Genius tells me that the real Swedenborg is no longer in this sphere, but that a portion of his spirit is occasionally attracted by affinities in corresponding minds, producing the phenomena attributed to him. These phenomena are not astral in their nature, though it requires strong power of inward illumination and discernment to distinguish them. My Genius says that he wishes all that relates to the Gods to be kept for the present a profound secret; and he deprecates the communication of it even to you. And for this reason: that the Astrals carry the reflects of whatever they get from the vital organism of the person to whom they have access, and convey the knowledge elsewhere. The Scripture of the Hebrews alludes to this in the saying, ‘A winged creature of the air shall carry the matter.’ He says the word used in the Hebrew, and translated ‘bird,’ signifies a winged creature, and means an Astral.
“My Genius says that all the prophecies respecting my impending death which from time to time have been given us – such as, ‘Mary will soon be with us,’ ‘She will not live long,’ and the like – are from the Astrals, their object being to win you from the idea of continued association with me, to that of your pretended counterpart.
He says that he sees no prospect of an early death for me, but, on the contrary, a very long-continued youth, and an age beyond the ordinary span; and the reason is the extraordinary amount of the power of repair in my organism. Nothing remains. There is a constant weeding out of old tissue, and an extraordinary growth of new. In his view, the real danger for me is death by violence, as in a railway accident, or a sudden, unresisted impulse to self-murder, or any means by which the Astrals can get at me from without. And it is advisable, he says, to have in your keeping a duplicate copy of the communications received by us, lest I be tempted to destroy them. But not in the immediate present.
“Two ways are open to a man to rid himself of the Astrals. The surest and most efficacious (of physical means), and the one pursued exclusively in olden times, is now impossible to you. This is the method of starving the body. Not mere abstinence, but fasts of twenty or forty days, with absolute loneliness and life in the open air day and night. It was to the efficacy of such method that Jesus alluded when He said, in reference to the obsessed child, ‘This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.’ The object is to deprive the Astrals of their means of subsistence by depriving the vital fluids of their spirits. Sometimes the person himself dies in the process, as did one recently whom we knew. [This was a certain Scottish lady who had believed the Astrals when they told her she was the reincarnation of Christ in the feminine, and must accomplish a like period of fasting.]
“The other plan is the one suggested to you, and it is the exact reverse. This is to pour in an excess of vitality, and so to replace what the Astrals take, faster than you lose it. But prayer will do more than either fasting or feeding.
“I have asked my Genius about the person alluded to who died of fasting, He says that he knows well only the things relating to the person to whom he ministers. About other things he has opinions only. The position of the ministering spirit to his client is very well represented by that of the Catholic confessor to his penitent. He is bound to keep towards all his penitents profound secrecy as regards the affairs of other souls. If this were not the case there would be no order, and no secret would be safe. Even my Genius knows only so much of you as yours chooses to tell him.
“Another sign,” he says, “by which to distinguish extraneous spirits from one’s Genius is this; – the Genius is never absent. Provided the mind is in a condition to see, he is always present. Other spirits need times to be appointed, and engagements to be made for certain hours, because they may be elsewhere at any moment. The astral spirits, moreover, know nothing of the Gods. Their very names are secrets from them; and if they have heard them, they are but as names to them. They are unable to grasp or conceive of anything beyond the atmosphere of their own circle. It is true that they speak of God, but it is without understanding the meaning of the word. The more negative the mind of the individual, the more ready and apt he is to receive these spirits. And, on the contrary, the more positive and pronounced the will of the individual, the more open he is to divine communication. The command always is, ‘To labour is to pray’; ‘To ask is to receive’;
‘To knock is to have the door open.’ ‘I have often said,’ says my Genius, ‘Think for yourself. When you think inwardly, pray intensely and imagine centrally; then you converse with God.’
“To our questions respecting our immediate future, he says that he knows, but will not tell. All he will say is this – ‘Be sure there is trouble. No man ever got to the land of promise without going through the desert.’ Again he holds up to me the Cactus, and he says, ‘Do not fret yourself about trying to get into the lucid state. In a short time it will be unnecessary to become somnolent at all.’ He tells me that to-night I shall remember a great part of what has been said, and the next time more, and so on until my mind is quite clear on the subject. It is a weakness and an imperfection when the mind does not retain what has been said. At night, when my brain is free from disturbing influences, I recollect more perfectly all I have seen and heard. And this, he says, should always be the case, because my place is not taken by any other entity. No other spirit steps in to dispossess me. But it is I myself who see and hear and speak – my spiritual self, that is.”
The statement about
Another difficulty which this
utterance solved for me was that of the apparent contradiction between
November 21. – Speaking this evening under direction of her Genius, Mary said, “My Genius is discontented with the word ‘God’ as the expression for the Supreme, because it represents the male principle only, and is not dual. For this reason he would
prefer the word ‘Jehovah,’ were it not that it is in common use with the Astrals themselves, though they have but a secondary adaptation of its mystic meaning, and have applied it, as is their nature, to the reflect instead of to the true thing. There is a word which expresses God. It is the word ‘IO.’ (1)
“The Astrals cannot rise to be partakers of the divine life, because they are mere reflections of the living soul, or traces or footprints of a soul which has passed through the astral light and has gone beyond. In no case are they in themselves entities, though they are in some cases existences.
“Had you” – this to me – “been of a thoroughly positive nature, which you are not, you would, in your recent experiences, have entirely controlled their expression; and when in your most positive mood you do more or less control them. (2) But the more negative your mood, and therefore the weaker your will, the more confused and uncertain, and even contradictory, their utterances would be. The mind of the medium and the influences of the persons recently associated with would disturb the planetary waves; for this medium, or latent light, is eminently fluidic. It is the ‘water beneath the firmament’ of the Book of Genesis. Consequently its waves, like those of the air or the water, are disquieted and broken up by the forces projected into it, and the reverberations or modulations caused are in direct ratio to the body projected into them – the term ‘body’ being here understood as synonymous with mental force.
“My Genius thinks it may be interesting here to point out the relation occupied by the elemental demons or spirits in regard to the four departments of the planet. To the highest individuated element – to the ‘Father,’ that is, of Jesus – corresponds the department of the kingdom of the Air; to the next, the soul or ‘Mother, corresponds the department of the Water; to the astral interspace, that of the Fire; and to the phenomenal, that of the Earth. Consequently the Salamanders are the most dangerous and insidious, the most mischievous, and the most perilous to evoke; and the Spirits of the Air – which are not to be confounded with the ‘Powers of the Air’ – are the purest and most powerful.”
The following are the chief products of the illuminations of the next fortnight: –
“The astral existences, although they are not intelligent personalities, are often the media of intelligent ideas, and operate as means of communication between intelligent personalities. Ideas, words, sentences, whole systems of philosophy, may be borne in on the consciousness of a sensitive by means of the currents of magnetic force, as solid bodies are conveyed on a stream, though Water be no intelligent agent. The minutest cell is an entity, for it has the power of self-propagation. The Astral is not an entity, for it cannot
reproduce itself. It is an imprint only, a shadow, a reflect, an echo. All they whose bodies have decomposed leave, or have left, their shadow in the astral space. But the shadow or phantom of Jesus is not there; for His body left no sidereal corpse. The body itself was indrawn or transmuted.”
This statement was suggestive of an important train of thought respecting the experiences in which we had seemed to recover actual recollections of Jesus, the question being as to whether the forms we had beheld of Him subsisted in the earth’s astral atmosphere or in our own memories only. Not that the subsequent withdrawal of His external part would operate to efface the imprints left by Him during His lifetime. The matter subsequently assumed yet greater importance in view of the denial of His existence made by certain occultists on the strength of their own inability to see His reflect in the astral light.
“The atmosphere with which a man surrounds himself, his soul’s respiration, affects the astral fluid. Reverberations of his own ideas come back to him; his soul’s breath colours and savours what a somnambulist – now generally called a ‘psychic’ – conveys to him. But he may also meet with contradiction, with a systematic presentation of doctrine, or of counsels, at variance with his own personal views. This is because his mind is not sufficiently positive to control all the manifestations of the electric agent; the influence of the medium through which the words come interposes; or, as is often the case, a magnetic battery of thought has overcharged the element, and imparted to it a certain current. Thus new doctrines are in the air, and spread like wildfire. One or two strongly positive minds give the initiative; and the impulse flies through the whole mass of latent light, correspondingly influencing all who are in relation with it.”
This, in due time we were made sensible, was an important element in the spread of our work. The more positive and vivid our ideas, the greater their power to propagate themselves through the astral atmosphere, and to find reception in other minds prepared for them. So that, while we were sitting quietly in our study, engaged in thought, altogether abstracted from the outer world, and even regretting our inability to get at that world to teach it, we might be taking the most effectual means of propagating our knowledge.
“In man the astral fluid becomes transformed into human life at the moment of conception. It is the envelope of the soul, and constitutes the sidereal body, which in its turn is the generator of the physical body. The internal man, he who ultimately is immortal, consists of soul and spirit. The sidereal phantom and the outer
body are perishable, save when they undergo transmutation during the tenancy of the soul and spirit. Hence the sidereal body, being the generator of Sense, is the Tempter, which, inclining to matter, gives to matter the precedence over spirit. Being of Time and of Sense, it beguiles the intuitive part of man. In that way spirit and matter represent, respectively, good and evil. For in the day that thou givest thyself over to matter thou becomest liable to extinction.
“The ‘wheel’ of Ezekiel is the astral
The four seraphs are the Elemental spirits. This astral element was personified
by the Greeks as Hestia, and by the Romans as Vesta. The Genius is the moon to
the planet man, reflecting to him the Sun or God within him. For the Divine
Spirit which animates and eternises the man is the God of the man, the Sun that
enlivens and enlightens him. And this Sun it is, and not the outer and
planetary man, that his Genius, as a satellite, reflects to him. Thus attached
to the ‘planet,’ the Genius is the complement of the man, and its sex ‘is
always the converse of the ‘planets.’ And because it reflects, not the planet
but the Sun, not the man but the God, its light is always to be trusted, and as
the Moon, or
“The astral body of a man is not necessarily similar in form to his outward body; but while appearing outwardly a human being, the individual may be, inwardly and really, a wolf, a bird, or a dog. And they who possess spiritual perception can discern the true nature of the man beheld.”
It would be impossible to exaggerate the eagerness with which we received and pondered these utterances, as evening after evening Mary dictated them to me after the vision seen or voice heard within, only to find instant recognition as long-lost memories of indubitable truths. Her utterance was always slow, calm, continuous, without faltering or ever being at a loss for a word, and such as more than ever to make us feel that we had indeed been permitted to tap a reservoir of boundless wisdom and knowledge. We made no attempt to control the line or direction of the instruction imparted, but kept our minds open to receive whatever might come, trusting to our illuminators to give what would be most useful, but never failing to exercise the keenest scrutiny over it. And we were pleased to notice that points which had been mentioned between us, but without thought of receiving light upon them, were often made the subject of the very next communication. Such was the occasion of the receipt of the following exposition of the doctrine of Grace, a subject which had never before engaged my attention, until reference was made to it in a conversation between us on “mortal” and “venial” sin, which was taken
advantage of to interrupt the course of the instructions in progress: –
“One of the most dangerous mysteries
to place in the hands of the vulgar is that of the Doctrine of Grace. When once
The regular course of instruction was then resumed as follows: –
“Everything is fourfold. God and Nature may be represented by two mirrors placed face to face, when an endless vista of mirrors results. As man is fourfold, so is Nature and every existing thing.
“The astral fluid contains four orders of entities, which are represented by four magnetic wheels encircling the earth, and which are full of lives. The highest and uppermost of these circuli is that of the elemental spirits or ‘winged creatures’; the second is that of the souls; the third is that of the shades; and the fourth and lowest is that of the magnetic spirits.
“These circuli correspond to Air, Water, Earth, and Fire, beginning at the outer and uppermost, and going inwards and downwards. The magnetic emanations, or Astrals, are under the dominion of the Fire. They are not souls or divine personalities. They are simply emanations or phantasms, having no real existence. Every event or circumstance which has taken place upon the planet has an astral counterpart, or picture, in the magnetic light. So that there actually are ghosts of events as well as of persons. The magnetic existences of the fourth order are the ‘shades,’ or ‘manes,’ of past times, of past circumstances, thoughts, and acts of which this planet has been the scene, and they can be evoked and conjured. The appearances on such occasions are but the shadows left on the protoplasmic mirror. This order corresponds to that of Fire.
“The third circulus with its spirits corresponds to Earth. Wherefore Demeter was said to be the mother of Persephone, queen of the Shades. The Shades are the manes of the dead, but are of many different kinds. Some are mere shades, spiritual corpses from which the soul has departed, and which will soon be absorbed by the fourth circulus and become mere magnetic phantoms. In others the soul still lingers. These are souls in Purgatory, being bound to the astral envelope and unable to quit it. They are sometimes
called Earth-bound spirits, and they often suffer horrible torments in their prison. The strong wills, love, and charity of those on earth may relieve them, and lessen the time of their purgatorial penance. Of some of these the retention is due to ignorance, of others to concupiscence and sensuality, and of others to crimes of violence.
“This sphere is inhabited by a yet more terrible class, that of the ‘devils,’ some of whom are of great power and malice. Of these the souls are never set free. They are in ‘Hell.’ But they are not immortal. For, after a period corresponding to their personal vitality and the strength of their rebellious wills, they are consumed and perish for ever. These may be evoked by incantation, but the practice is of the most dangerous and wicked kind. For the endeavour of these lost spirits is to ruin every soul to which they have access.
“To the highest circulus belong the
spirits of the Elements, which pervade all things, not only of the macrocosmic
Planet, but of the microcosm
“An Initiate of the highest grade, one who has power to command the Elemental spirits, and thereby to hush the storm and still the waves, can, through the same agency, heal the disorders of the body; and this he does by an exercise of his will which sets in motion the magnetic fluid.
“Such a person, an Adept or Hierarch of Magnetic Science, is necessarily a person of many incarnations. And it is principally in the East that these are to be found. For it is there that the oldest Souls are wont to aggregate. It is in the East that Human Science first arose; and the soil and astral fluid there are charged with power as a vast battery of many piles. So that the Hierarch of the Orient both is himself an older soul and has the magnetic support of a chain of older souls, and the earth beneath his feet and the medium around him are charged with electric force in a degree not to be found elsewhere.
“The greatest Hierarch – he, that is, who has the most perfect control over Nature – not only is a man of many incarnations, but has obtained from God the greatest of gifts and the rarest, that of being a Medium for the Highest, the Planet-God himself. Such an one is the Æon, and has what is called the ‘Double Portion.’ Elisha craved and received this grace.
“‘Where now is the God of Elijah?’ He cried when endeavouring to work his first miracle; and he besought Elijah that a portion of his Double might rest upon him. For Elijah had so transmuted his soul into spirit that it was doubled; and a portion of this he bestowed upon Elisha. Such an Æon it was that descended upon Jesus, to quit Him at the moment of His death.
“The second circulus of the planet is under the dominion of the Water, and is the kingdom of the souls in ‘Abraham’s bosom,’ namely, the purified who are at rest before seeking reincarnation. This circulus is not confined to human souls. Therein are all
creatures, both small and great, but without astral envelope. Between these and the kingdom of the earth-bound souls ‘in prison’ a ‘great gulf’ is fixed, and they cannot pass from one to another, save on accomplishing their purgation. ‘Thou comest not out thence until thou hast paid the last mite.’ The souls in the second circulus are, however, still ‘under the elements.’ That is, they are not transmuted into spirit, and sooner or later must seek fresh incarnations. They are, therefore, still in the sphere of the planet; whereas the regenerated or transmuted souls have passed beyond the astral fluid altogether, and it contains no trace of them. This second circulus is placed under the dominion of Poseidon, or the Sea, first, because the water represents the substance of the soul, being protoplasmic and without boundary-line of matter; secondly, because it is the symbol of purification from matter, as in Baptism; and, thirdly, because it is the source of life. ‘Let Lazarus dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,’ cries the soul in prison to the soul in the circulus of the water.”
These marvellous expositions were a perpetual surprise and delight for the manner in which they explained many of our own experiences and interpreted some of the obscure passages in Scripture, at the same time proving the Bible to be the most mystical and occult of books, and as containing a revelation which requires a revelation to explain. Continuing to speak under inspiration of her Genius, she said: –
“I have said that everything is fourfold. As the man is, then, so is the planet. Now the external material constitution is fourfold in that it consists of gaseous, mineral, vegetable, and animal. The astral peri-soul is fourfold, being magnetic, purgatorial, limbic, cherubic. The soul is fourfold – namely, elemental, instinctive, vital, rational. But its Spirit is threefold or triune, because there is no external to Spirit.
“The Spirit answers to the ‘Essence,’ the ‘Father,’ and the ‘Word.’ Of these the first is one of the ‘Seven Spirits’ or divine flames of original Deity or universal Divinity; the second is the ‘Angel’ or ‘God’ of the planet, the ‘Æon’ of the Christ; the third is the Christ. These are respectively the ‘Spirit,’ the ‘Water,’ and the ‘Blood.’ The ‘Father’ and the ‘Word’ may therefore be said to be one; for by the Word the Father is manifest.
“‘Mercury’ fecundated by ‘
“‘Salt’ is fixed. ‘Mercury’ is volatile. The fixation of the volatile is the synthesis; the volatilisation of the fixed is the analysis. On applying to the fixed the ‘sulphuretted Mercury,’ or the Astral fluid rendered powerful by the secret operation of the soul, the mastery over Nature is obtained. The two terms of the process are Materialisation and Transmutation. These two terms are those of the ‘Great Work’ [the redemption of spirit from (the condition of) Matter].
“Miracles are natural effects of exceptional causes. The man who has arrived at wishing for nothing is master of all.”
Some of these utterances were spoken by Mary in her own person as of things seen and known by her. Others were repeated by her after a voice heard interiorly. This was the case with the foregoing alchemical expositions. They set us to study the old treatises on this art, when we found everything we had received confirmed by the ancients, excepting in such cases as these had fallen into error and required correction. So that the uniform result of our researches was to show that what had before been in the world in a measure was now being redelivered in its integrity.
“The ‘Day’ and the ‘Night’ of the microcosm are its positive and passive states. In the positive state we seek actively outwards; we aspire and will forcibly; we hold active communion with the God without.
“In the passive state we look inwards; we commune with our own heart; we indraw and concentrate ourselves secretly and interiorly. During this condition the ‘Moon’ enlightens our secret chamber with his torch, and shows us ourselves in our interior recess.
“Who or what, then, is this ‘Moon’? It is part of ourselves, and revolves with us. It is our celestial affinity. ‘Their Angels do always behold the face of my Father.’
“The Genius of a man is his satellite. Man is a planet. God – the God of the man – is his Sun; and the Moon of this planet is Isis, its Initiator, or its Genius. The Genius is made to administer to the man, and to give him light. But the light he gives is from God, and not of himself. He is not a planet but a moon, and his function is to light up the dark places of his planet.
“Every human soul has a celestial affinity, which is part of his system and a type of his spiritual nature. This angelic counterpart is the bond of union between the man and God; and it is in virtue of his spiritual nature that this Angel is attached to him. Rudimentary creatures have no celestial affinity; but from the moment that the soul quickens, the cord of union is established.
“It is in virtue of man’s being a planet that he has a moon. If he were not fourfold, as is the planet, he could not have one. Rudimentary men are not fourfold; they have not the Spirit.
“The perfect man has a fourfold outer body – gaseous, mineral,
animal; a fourfold sidereal (or astral) body – magnetic, odic, sympathetic,
elemental; a fourfold soul, partaking of the soulic elements of all the grades
through which he has passed; and a triune Spirit – desirous, willing, obedient.
There is nothing in the universe save
“The odic or sidereal body is the real body of the man. The phenomenal body is secondary. The odic body is not necessarily of the same shape or appearance as the outward body, but is of the nature of the soul. The creation of man ‘in the image of God’ ‘before the Transgression’ is the picture of the man ‘having power’; that is, having an odic body in which the elements were not fixed, a body such as that of the risen Christ. What I have said concerning the ‘volatilisation of Salt’ will help to the understanding of this. But when the sin of idolatry had been committed, then man ceased to have power over his own body, and thus became a ‘Pillar of Salt,’ fixed and material. He was ‘naked.’
“The man thus referred to attained
power over his body by evolution from rudimentary being; and at last, becoming
polarised, received the divine flame of Deity, and thereby the power over
‘Salt.’ But by reason of perverse will to the outer, he depolarised, and
thereby ‘fixed the volatile.’ Then he ‘knew that he was naked,’ and so ‘lost
“You have said to me, ‘If the odic body be the maker of the physical body, how can this be of a different form from it? How can a man be outwardly human, and really a wolf, a hare, or a dog?’
“When you become an Adept you will know that such fact involves no contradiction. The transitions of the sidereal body are not sudden. It becomes gradually, and does not undergo changes by cataclysm. It is already partly human before it has ceased to wear the form of a rudimentary man; that is, of an animal. You have seen this in visions, when you beheld the human shape in creatures under torture in the laboratory. And it is still partly rudimentary when it puts on the human. Indulgence in lower propensities may strengthen it in its old likeness and accentuate former propensities. On the other hand, aspiration towards the divine will accelerate the change, and cause it to lose altogether its lower attributes. That which is born of Flesh is in the image of the Flesh; but that which cometh from the Beyond is of the Beyond. The womb can bring forth only its own kind, in the semblance of the generators. And as soon as the human is attained, even in the least degree, the soul has power to put on the body of humanity. Hence the odic body always possesses some attribute of humanity. But it may lose this by ‘Sin’; and in such case it returns, by a fresh incarnation,
to the form of
the beast. Of such returns to the lower form, some are purely penitential, but
most are retributory. The Adept can see the human in the beast, and can tell
whether the soul therein is an ascending or a descending soul. He can also see
the soul in a man, and all men are not to him of the same shape or appearance.
If your eyes were opened, you would be astonished at the number of animals you
meet in the streets and the scarcity of men. The parable of the
The following was received by her in sleep: –
“You have asked me if the ‘work of Power’ is a difficult one, and if it is open to all.
“It is open to all potentially and eventually, but not actually and in the present. In order to ‘regain Power and the Resurrection,’ a man must be a Hierarch; that is to say, he must have attained the ‘magical’ age of thirty-three. This age is attained by having accomplished the ‘Twelve Labours,’ passed the ‘Twelve Gates,’ overcome the ‘Five Senses,’ and obtained dominion over the Four Spirits of the elements. He must have been ‘born immaculate,’ baptised with ‘Water and with Fire,’ ‘tempted in the Wilderness,’ ‘crucified,’ and ‘buried.’ He must have borne ‘Five Wounds on the Cross,’ and he must have ‘answered the Riddle of the Sphinx.’ When this is accomplished he is free of matter, and will never again have a phenomenal body.
“Who shall attain to this perfection? The man who is without fear and without concupiscence, who has courage to be absolutely poor and absolutely chaste. When it is all one whether you have gold or have none; whether you have a house and lands or have none; whether you have worldly reputation, or whether you are an outcast, – then you are voluntarily poor. It is not necessary to have nothing, but it is necessary to care for nothing. When it is all one to you whether you have a wife or husband, or whether you are celibate, – then you are free from concupiscence. It is not necessary to be a virgin; it is necessary to set no value on the flesh. There is nothing so difficult to attain as this equilibrium. Who is he who can part with his goods without regret? Who is he who is never consumed by the fires of the flesh? But when you have ceased both to wish to retain and to burn, then you have the remedy in your hands. And the remedy is a hard and a sharp one, and a terrible ordeal.
“Nevertheless, be not afraid. Deny the body. Deny the five senses, and, above all, the Taste and the Touch. The power is within you if you will to attain it. The ‘Two Seats’ are vacant at the Celestial Table, if you will put on Christ. Eat no dead thing. Drink no fermented drink. Make living elements of all the elements of your body. Mortify the members of Earth. Take your food full of life, and let not the touch of death pass upon it. You understand me, but you shrink. Remember that without self-immolation there is no power over death. Deny the Touch. Seek no bodily pleasure in sexual communion, but let Desire be magnetic and soulic. If you indulge the body you perpetuate the body, and the end of the body is
understand me again, but you shrink. Remember that without self-denial and
restraint there is no power over death. Deny the Taste first, and it will
become easier to deny the Touch. For to be a Virgin is the crown of discipline.
I have shown you the
“When a man has attained power over his body, the process of Ordeal is no longer necessary. The Initiate is under a vow; the Hierarch is free. Jesus, therefore, ‘came eating and drinking’; for all things were lawful to Him. He had undergone, and had freed His Will. For the object of the Trial and the Vow is Polarisation. When the fixed is volatilised the Magian is free. But before Christ was Christ, He was subject, and His initiation lasted thirty years. All things are lawful to the Hierarch, for He knows the nature and value of all.
“When the elements of the body are endowed with power, they are masters of the Elemental spirits and can overcome them. But while they are yet under bondage, they are the slaves of the Elementals, and the Elementals have power over them. Now Hephaistos, ‘the Fire-Spirit’ is a destroyer, and the breath of Fire is a touch of death. The fire that passes on the elements of your food deprives them of their vital spirit, and gives you a corpse instead of living substance. And not only so; but the spirit of the fire enters into the elements of your body, and sets up in all its molecules a consuming and a burning, impelling it to concupiscence and to the desire of the flesh. The spirit of the fire is a subtle spirit, a penetrative and diffusive spirit; and it enters into the substance of all matter upon which it acts. When, therefore, you take such substance into your organism, you take with it the spirit of the fire, and you assimilate this spirit with the matter of which it has become a part.
“I speak to you of excellent things.
If you would become a Man of Power, you must be master of the Fire. The man who
seeks to be a Hierophant must not dwell in cities. He may begin his initiation
in a city; but he cannot complete it there. For he must not breathe the dead
and burnt air. In a city you respire air upon which the flame has passed; you
breathe fire and it consumes your blood. The man who seeks all power must be a
wanderer, a dweller in the plain and the garden and in the mountains. He must
seek the sun and the breath of night. He must commune with the moon, and
maintain direct contact with the great electric currents of the unburnt air,
and with the unpaved grass and earth of the planet. It is in unfrequented
places – in lands such as that of the East, where the abominations of
“The ‘number’ of the human microcosm is Thirteen: four for the outward body, four for the sidereal body, four for the soul, and one for the Divine Spirit. For although the Spirit is triune, yet it is one, and can be but one, because it is God, and God is One. At the
Last Supper, therefore, in which the Magians symbolise the Banquet of the Microcosm, there are twelve apostolic elements and one Christ. But if one of the elements be disobedient and a traitor, the Spirit is quenched and death ensues.”
We discussed these latter illuminations together during the day following the receipt of them, and Mary found certain points which perplexed her by their seeming to be at variance with their predecessors. She therefore formulated the following questions, and in the evening received, in trance, the answers, which I took down at her dictation: –
Question. “You have previously told us that Humanity is threefold, consisting of the Spirit, which is the Life; the Astral Fluid, which is the Soul; and the Body, which is the outer envelope. Now you say that it is fourfold, and that the soul is not the astral fluid, but is contained in it, and may be consumed by it. How are these statements to be reconciled?”
Answer. “The outer envelope of the macrocosm and microcosm alike, which is represented by Demeter, is in reality not elemental at all, but is a compound of the other three elements. Her fertility is due to the ‘Water,’ and her transmutory or chemical power to the ‘Fire.’ The ‘Water’ is the soul or protoplasma, which is put forth by Deity and constitutes the individual. Nor are you to look on Fire as a true element, for Fire is to the body what Spirit is to the Soul. As the soul is without the divine life until vivified by the Spirit, so the body, earth, or matter is without physical life in the absence of ‘Fire.’ No matter is really dead matter, for the fire-element is in all matter; but matter would be ‘dead’ – that is, would cease to exist as matter – if motion were suspended, which is, if there were no fire. For as wherever there is motion there is heat, and consequently fire, and motion is the condition of matter, so without fire would be no matter.
“In describing soul as astral fluid, I meant to imply that the soul is manifest by the astral fluid; for the Soul itself is, like the Idea, invisible and intangible. You will see the meaning by following out the genesis of any particular action. The stroke of the pen on paper is the phenomenon; that is, the outer body. The action which produces the stroke is the astral body, and, though physical, is not a thing, but is a transition or medium between the result (the stroke) and its cause (the idea). The idea manifested in the act is not physical but mental, and is the soul of the act. But even this is not the first cause; for the idea is put forth by the will, and this is the spirit. Thus, you will an idea as God wills the microcosm. The real body, or immediate result, is the astral body; while the phenomenal body, or ultimate form, is the effect of motion and heat. If you could arrest motion, you would have as the result Fire, and thereby would convert Demeter into Hephaistos. But fire itself also is material, since it is visible to the outer sense, as is the earth-body. But it has many degrees of subtlety. The astral or odic substance, therefore, is not the soul itself, but is the medium or
manifestor of the soul, as the Act is of the Idea. If, however, the phrase misleads you, it is better to modify it as thus: –
“The Act is the condition of the Idea, in the same way as fire, or incandescence, is the condition of any given object. Light is of Spirit; Heat is of Matter. Water is the result of the operation of Wisdom, the mother, or oxygen, and Justice, the father, or hydrogen. Air is the result of the mixture, not combination, of Wisdom and Force. These two are properly elements. They are Soul and Spirit. But Earth is not, properly speaking, an element at all. She is the result of the water and the fire, and her rocks and strata are either watery or igneous. She is water and air fused and crystallised. Fire also – the real maker of the body – is a mode and a condition, and not a true element. See, then, that the only real and true and permanent elements are Air and Water, Spirit and Soul, Will and Idea, Divine and Substantial Father and Mother. And out of these all the elements of earth are made by the condition of matter, which is – interchangeably – Heat and Motion.
“Wisdom, Justice, and Force, or Oxygen, Hydrogen, and Azoth, are the Three out of which the two true elements are produced. But Water is a combination; Air is a mixture. Wherefore the only two real entities, Water and Air, are unreal to the phenomenal, while the untrue elements, Earth and Fire, or Body and Electric Fluid, are real in the phenomenal.”
The following is an instruction received by Mary in pursuance of some conversation we had held together on certain aspects of heredity: –
“As the Water of the
Mary was much exercised at this time on the question of Justice, as relating to such “visiting of the sins of the parents upon the children.” For Justice was her especial passion, a circumstance which she connected with her being born under the influence of the constellation Libra. No problems harassed her so much as those which turned on this attribute. She felt that Justice must be the law of the universe, otherwise it could not hold together for a moment. But she craved the intellectual confirmation of the intuitional conviction. And at present she was unable to reconcile such a statement as the above with
justice, and eagerly sought for light on the most vital question. As the event proved, the above instruction was designed rather to whet than to satisfy her desire, in view of an early revelation which should do the latter.
On the evening of December 20 I took down the following as she repeated it while under illumination. It had no relation to anything then in our minds, but was most valuable: –
“A true Idea is the reflect of a true Substance. Religious Ideas are true ideas, and, being such, they are common to all ages of history and to all peoples, the difference being one of expression merely, and due to the variation of density and character of the magnetic atmosphere through which the image passes. The fact that every nation in every age has conceived in some shape of the Gods constitutes of itself a proof that the Gods really are. For Nothing projects no image upon the magnetic light; and where an image is universally perceived, there is as certainly an object which projects it. An Idea, inborn, ineradicable, constant, which sophism, or ridicule, or false science has power to break only, but not to dispel; an image which, however disturbed, invariably returns on itself and re-forms, as does the image of the sky or the stars in a lake, however the reflecting water may be momentarily shaken by a stone or by a passing vessel, – such an image as this must be, and we know it necessarily is, the reflection of a real and true thing, and no illusion begotten of the water itself.
“In the same manner the constant idea of the Gods, persistent in all minds in all ages, is a true image; for it is verily, and in no metaphoric sense, the projection upon the human perception of the Eidola of the Divine Persons. The Eidolon is the reflection of a true object in the magnetic atmosphere; and the magnetic atmosphere is a transparent medium through which the Soul receives sensations. For Sensation is the only means of Knowledge, whether for the Body or the Reason. The Body perceives by means of the five avenues of Touch. The Soul perceives, in like manner, by the same sense, but of a finer sort, and put into action by subtler agents. The Soul can know nothing not perceptible; and nothing not perceptible is real. For that which is Not can give no Image. Only that which Is can be reflected.”
Same date as the foregoing: –
Mary, still speaking in the lucid
state, said to me: – “I have a strong recommendation to you to continue your
novel, and am shown a book, on an easel, of which the title is ‘Alethaea.’ It
is the heroine’s name, and occurs frequently in the book. The father, who is a
Frenchman [as I had actually made him], is a Greek scholar, and therefore not
unlikely to give her such a name. She represents the Intuition. The phrase
given you formerly (Usque ad
“My Genius says that nothing of much importance can be done by us before the Spring, on account of the state of the Earth’s magnetic currents. So that we must work on without being disappointed at the smallness of the results. They repeat several times that we must wait till the Spring. But in the meantime we should seek publicity, but must depend on ourselves and make ourselves known in our own way. I am shown a large room having silver walls, and all over them is written the words, ‘Be bold; be brave.’ And I see your Genius holding the end of a long golden chain of which a link is broken. She says it will be mended in the Spring.
“I see a truth which I find difficult to put into words. It is that all matter is, in its nature, a mode of being of heat. For matter is apparent by motion, and motion arrested is convertible into heat. Consequently the electric fire, of which all things are made, is the begetter of material substance, and in an inner sense is kabalistically spoken of as Mammon. Gold is an electrically formed substance. And Gold is the master of material things, and the symbol and measure of them.”
The renewed advice to finish my novel found no responsive echo in me, eager as Mary was that I should consent. I never could write anything to my satisfaction unless I felt it to be the supreme thing to be done at the moment. And the supreme thing for me then was our spiritual work. I was intent on fathoming all the mysteries of the soul and of existence at large, and nothing could compare with that in importance. Mary was differently constituted. Her system was larger than mine, and less compacted into a unity. This gave her a versatility which I did not possess. Besides, it was evident to me that she herself was the character indicated as that of my heroine, and I neither sufficiently understood that character yet to draw it – my analysis was not far enough advanced for me to make a synthesis – nor was I possessed of a sufficiently realistic knowledge of life. I had, moreover, a strong impression that the advice tendered came, not from our true Genii, but from the kindly Elementals whom they occasionally employed to communicate with us. Finding me averse to the idea, they dropped the matter, not again to moot it. And our next illuminations were evidently given in response to our respective needs. The following was given through Mary in commencement of a long succession of instructions, continued at intervals over some months, concerning the genesis and nature of the soul, in satisfaction of my craving for light on that subject. As they are given in full in Clothed with the Sun, I will not reproduce them here, saving only the commencement, which was given through Mary on the
evening of Christmas Day 1880, when, in reply to my questions, she spoke under illumination as follows: –
“The soul in its first beginning is not something added to the body, but is generated in the body by the polarisation of the astral elements. Once generated, it enters and passes through many bodies until finally perfected.
“As there are two of the outer, so also of the inner. The two of the inner are Spirit and Soul. In the translation of the Scriptures the word Spirit is often used where Soul is meant; for only the man created in God’s own image is a ‘living soul’ – that is, a soul which has the spirit superadded to it.
“The soul, being in its nature eternal, passes from one form to another until, in its highest stage, it polarises sufficiently to receive the Spirit. It is in all organised things. Nothing of an organic nature exists without a soul. It is the individual, and perishes utterly if abandoned of the Spirit.
“But do not ask me such deep questions just now; for I cannot see clearly, and it hurts me to look. The atmosphere is thick with the blood shed for the season’s festivities. The astral belt is everywhere dense with blood. My Genius says that if we were in some country where the conditions of life were purer, we could live in continued communication with the spiritual world. For the earth here whirls round as in a cloud of blood like red fire. He says distinctly and emphatically that the salvation of the world is impossible while people nourish themselves on blood. The whole globe is like one vast charnel-house. The magnetism is intercepted. The blood strengthens the bonds between the Astrals and the Earth. I see my Genius a long way off, as if at the top of a ladder. We shall have to wait until the magnetic condition has cleared. This time, which ought to be the best for spiritual communion, is the worst, on account of the horrid mode of living. Pray wake me up. I cannot bear looking. For I see the blood and hear the cries of the poor slaughtered creatures.”
Here her distress became so extreme that she wept bitterly, though I lost no time in recalling her, and some days passed before she fully recovered her composure.
Among the characteristics which made the conditions of life so hard for her was the loathing excited by the sight and odours of a butcher’s shop. Rather than pass near one when going through the streets, she would make a detour into the road at imminent risk of being run over, to escape the view of its contents and the emanations coming from it, which to her sensitive system were as poison.
Before the year closed it brought for me the following curious experience, which was shortly followed by a remarkable sequel: –
I found myself at night, between
waking and sleeping, in a cave like a chamber or gallery which had evidently been
cut out of the rock, and was roofed with wooden beams, and seemed otherwise
made for a dwelling-place, though of a primitive and rough kind. Wondering
where I was, I made an examination of the rock in order to ascertain by its
structure what part of the world I was in, and at what period of my existence I
had lived where there was such a geological formation; and in order the better
to see, I went to the end of the chamber where it opened upon the light,
thinking to myself that, if it was a quartz sandstone, it must be in Australia,
where I had lived in that formation; if granite or gold-bearing rock,
California, where I had lived in that formation. But as it was neither of
these, I sought farther back in my history for the time when I had lived among
a rock of this kind. What this was I presently discovered, for as my eyes got
used to the light, I recognised it as limestone; and then, casting about in my
memory as to when and where I had ever lived among limestone and in a cavern,
my recollection went back as with a sudden leap to Egypt. Whereupon I rushed
into the open to survey the neighbourhood, and found myself standing on an
elevated plateau of limestone, exclaiming, “
(391:1) Part I, Chapter XV, “Concerning the ‘Powers of the Air.’” – S.H.H.
(400:1) For explanation see The Perfect Way, Lecture II, Part V, and Clothed with the Sun, II, VIII.
(400:2) As has already been stated, it was my special endeavour to give them free play, that they might disclose themselves for what they really were.