The Theosophical Forum – May 1944

THE ASTRAL LIGHT — Major J. T. Arneson

In all the fields of metaphysical research and study there is no subject more fascinating than the Astral Light, or as the Orientals call it, the Akasa. Before having given any particular thought to this matter I had my own pet theory about it. I reasoned that the light which shines on the earth carries out into space the events it mirrors. It is common knowledge that light travels through space at the rate of 186,000 miles per second. Therefore if one could project his vision out into space far enough he could reproduce any given event in history. According to this theory the picture of Washington crossing the Delaware still lives in space and could be visioned again if we could but catch up to the fleeting light rays.

But the matter is not quite as simple as that. My theory was all right as far as it went but it didn't go far enough, for the Astral Light not only reflects events but thoughts as well. To call it "light" is misleading; it is not light at all as we know it. It is a tenuous, imponderable medium which interpenetrates every atom of the earth, making impressions of the deeds and thoughts of men in indelible record.

In the Orient there is wide knowledge and acceptance of this doctrine. It is the earth's picture gallery in which the Masters of life, the Adepts, read the events of the past and of the future. It was by using its properties that many of the miracles of Jesus were performed. The great astronomer, Camille Flammarion, speaking of the Astral Light says:

The light emanating from all these suns that people immensity, the light reflected through space by all these worlds lighted by these suns, photographs throughout boundless heaven the centuries, the days, the moments as they pass. . . . From this it results that the histories of all the worlds are travelling through space without dispersing altogether, and that all the events of the past are present and live evermore in the bosom of the infinite.

It is difficult to explain the workings of this "light." Students of the occult do not fully understand it, and it is wholly unrecognised by science. No doubt it originates in the stars and permeates every molecule of the globe. Its properties might be likened to the photographer's film. To the ancient Egyptians it was known as the "Recorder," and it is the Recording Angel of the Christian.

"As ye sow that also shall ye reap." So it comes about that our deeds as impressed into the Astral Light will return to us, to help us or to confound us according to what we have sown. This explains why "history always repeats itself." It frequently happens that pictures are projected out of the Astral into the minds of living men, and this accounts for much of our "inspired" literature.

Shakespeare said: "The evil that men do lives after them," and it is through the pictures of an evil past that the world of today is being influenced, for surely we are influenced by these pictures. And, by the same token, deeds of kindness done today, will, when reflected into the Astral Light, result in a better world for the future.

Some of the material used in this article is taken from the writings of W. Q. Judge, celebrated occultist. — J. T. A.

Theosophical University Press Online Edition