Ecstasis (Gr.) A psycho-spiritual state; a physical trance which induces clairvoyance, and a beatific state which brings on visions.
Ego (Lat.) "I"; the consciousness in man of the "I am I," or the feeling of I-am-ship. Esoteric philosophy teaches the existence of two Egos in man, the mortal or personal, and the higher, the divine or impersonal, calling the former "personality," and the latter "individuality."
Egoity (from the word "Ego"). Egoity means "individuality" — indifferent — never "personality," as it is the opposite of Egoism or "selfishness," the characteristic par excellence of the latter.
Eidolon (Gr.) The same as that which we term the human phantom, the Astral form.
Elementals, or Spirits of the Elements. The creatures evolved in the Four Kingdoms, or Elements — Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. They are called by the Kabalists, Gnomes (of the Earth), Sylphs (of the Air), Salamanders (of the Fire), and Undines (of the Water), except a few of the higher kinds and their rulers. They are rather the forces of nature than ethereal men and women. These forces, as the servile agents of the occultist, may produce various effects; but if employed by elementaries (Kamarupas)— in which case they enslave the mediums — they will deceive. All the lower invisible beings generated on the fifth, sixth, and seventh Planes of our terrestrial atmosphere are called Elementals — Peris, Devs, Djins, Sylvans, Satyrs, Fauns, Elves, Dwarfs, Trolls, Norns, Kobolds, Brownies, Nixies, Goblins, Pinkies, Banshees, Moss People, White Ladies, Spooks, Fairies, etc., etc.
Eleusinia (Gr.) The Eleusinian Mysteries were the most famous and the most ancient of all the Greek mysteries (save the Samothracian), and were performed near the hamlet of Eleusis, not far from Athens. Epiphanius traces them to the days of Iacchos (1800 B. C.) They were held in honour of Demeter, the great Ceres, and the Egyptian Isis; and the last act of the performance referred to a sacrificial victim of atonement and a resurrection, when the Initiate was admitted to the highest degree of Epopt. The festival of the Mysteries began in the month of Boedromion (September), the time of grape-gathering, and lasted from the 15th to the 22nd — seven days. The Hebrew Feast of Tabernacles — the feast of ingatherings — in the month of Ethanim (the seventh) also began on the 15th and ended on the 22nd of that month. The name of the month (Ethanim) is derived, according to some, from Adonim, Adonia, Attenim, Ethanim, and was in bonour of Adonai, or Adonis (Tham), whose death was lamented by the Hebrews in the groves of Bethlehem. The sacrifice of "Bread and Wine" was performed both in the Eleusinia and during the Feast of Tabernacles.
Emanation (The doctrine of) is in its metaphysical meaning opposed to evolution, yet one with it. Science teaches that, physiologically, evolution is a mode of generation in which the germ that develops the foetus pre-exists already in the parent, the development and final form and characteristics of that germ being accomplished by nature; and that (as in its cosmology) the process takes place blindly, through the correlation of the elements and their various compounds. Occultism teaches that this is only the apparent mode, the real process being Emanation, guided by intelligent forces under an immutable LAW. Therefore, while the Occultists and Theosophists believe thoroughly in the doctrine of Evolution as given out by Kapila and Manu, they are Emanationists rather than Evolutionists. The doctrine of Emanation was at one time universal. It was taught by the Alexandrian, as well as by the Indian philosophers, by the Egyptian, the Chaldean, and Hellenic Hierophants, and also by the Hebrews (in their Kabala, and even in Genesis). For it is only owing to deliberate mistranslation that the Hebrew word asdt was translated "angels" from the Septuagint, while it means Emanations, AEons, just as with the Gnostics. Indeed, in Deuteronomy (xxxiii. 2) the word asdt or ashdt is translated as "fiery law," whilst the correct rendering of the passage should be, "from his right went (not a fiery law, but) a fire according to law," viz., that the fire of one flame is imparted to and caught up by another — like as in a trail of inflammable substance. This is precisely Emanation, as shown in Isis Unveiled. "In Evolution, as it is now beginning to be understood, there is supposed to be in all matter an impulse to take on a higher form — a supposition clearly expressed by Manu and other Hindoo philosophers of the highest antiquity. The philosopher's tree illustrates it in the case of the zinc solution. The controversy between the followers of this school and the Emanationists may be briefly stated thus: The Evolutionist stops all inquiry at the borders of 'the unknowable'; the Emanationist believes that nothing can be evolved — or, as the word means, unwombed or born — except it has first been involved, thus indicating that life is from a spiritual potency above the whole."
Esoteric. Hidden, secret. From the Greek Esotericos — "inner," concealed.
Esoteric Bodhism. Secret wisdom or intelligence, from the Greek Esotericos, "inner," and the Sanskrit Bodhi, "knowledge," in contradistinction to Buddhi, "the faculty of knowledge or intelligence," and Buddhism, the philosophy or Law of Buddha (the Enlightened). Also written "Budhism," from Budha (Intelligence, Wisdom) the Son of Soma.
Exoteric (Gr.) Outward, public; the opposite of esoteric or hidden.
Extra-Cosmic, i. e., outside of Kosmos or Nature. A nonsensical word invented to assert the existence of a personal god independent of or outside Nature per se; for as Nature, or the Universe, is infinite and limitless there can be nothing outside it. The term is coined in opposition to the Pantheistic idea that the whole Kosmos is animated or informed with the Spirit of Deity, Nature being but the garment, and matter the illusive shadows, of the real unseen Presence.
Eurasians. An abbreviation of "European-Asians." The mixed coloured races; the children of the white fathers, and the dark mothers of India, and vice versa.
Ferho (Gnostic). The highest and greatest creative power with the Nazarene Gnostics (Codex Nazaraeus).
Fire-Philosophers. The name given to the Hermetists and Alchemists of the Middle Ages, and also to the Rosicrucians. The latter, the successors of Theurgists, regarded fire as the symbol of Deity. It was the source, not only of material atoms, but the container of the Spiritual and Psychic Forces energising them. Broadly analysed, Fire is a triple principle; esoterically, a septenary, as are all the rest of the elements. As man is composed of Spirit, Soul, and Body, plus a four-fold aspect; so is Fire. As in the works of Robert Flood (de Fluctibus), one of the famous Rosicrucians, fire contains — Firstly, a visible flame (body); secondly, an invisible, astral fire (soul); and thirdly, spirit. The four aspects are (a) heat (life), (b) light (mind), (c) electricity (Kamic or molecular powers, and (d) the synthetic essences, beyond spirit, or the radical cause of its existence and manifestation. For the Hermetist or Rosicrucian, when a flame is extinct on the objective plane, it has only passed from the seen world into the unseen; from the knowable into the unknowable.
Gautama (Sans.) A name in India. It is that of the Prince of Kapilavastu, son of Sudhodana, the Sakhya King of a small territory on the borders of Nepaul, born in the seventh century B. C., now called the "Saviour of the world." Gautama or Gotama was the sacerdotal name of the Sakya family. Born a simple mortal, he rose to Buddha-ship through his own personal and unaided merit; a man — verily greater than any God!
Gebirol. Salomon Ben Jehudah, called in literature Avicebron. An Israelite by birth, a philosopher, poet and kabalist; a voluminous writer and a mystic. He was born in the eleventh century at Malaga (1021), educated at Saragossa, and died at Valencia in 1070, murdered by a Mahomedan. His fellow-religionists called him Salomon, the Sephardi, or the Spaniard, and the Arabs, Abu Ayyub Suleiman-ben ya'hya Ibn Dgebirol, whilst the Scholastics named him Avicebron (see Myers' Quabbalah). Ibn Gebirol was certainly one of the greatest philosophers and scholars of his age. He wrote much in Arabic, and most of his MSS have been preserved. His greatest work appears to be The Megoy Hayyim, i. e., The Fountain of Life, "one of the earliest exposures of the secrets of the Speculative Kabbalah," as his biographer informs us.
Gnosis (Gr.) Lit. "knowledge." The technical term used by the schools of religious philosophy, both before and during the first centuries of so-called Christianity, to denote the object of their enquiry. This spiritual and sacred knowledge, the Gupta Vidya of the Hindus, could only be obtained by Initiation into Spiritual Mysteries of which the ceremonial "Mysteries" were a type.
Gnostics (Gr.) The philosophers who formulated and taught the "Gnosis" or knowledge. They flourished in the first three centuries of the Christian Era. The following were eminent: Valentinus, Basilides, Marcion, Simon Magus, etc.
Golden Age. The ancients divided the life cycle into the Golden, Silver, Bronze and Iron Ages. The Golden was an age of primeval purity, simplicity and general happiness.
Great Age. There were several "Great Ages" mentioned by the ancients. In India it embraced the whole Maha-Manvantara, the "Age of Brahma," each "Day" of which represents the Life Cycle of a chain, i. e., it embraces a period of Seven Rounds (vide "Esoteric Buddhism," by A. P. Sinnett). Thus while a "Day" and a "Night" represent, as Manvantara and Pralaya, 8,640,000,000 years, an "age" lasts through a period of 311,040,000,000,000; after which the Pralaya or dissolution of the universe becomes universal. With the Egyptian and Greeks the "Great Age" referred only to the Tropical, or Sidereal year, the duration of which is 25,868 solar years. Of the complete age — that of the Gods — they said nothing, as it was a matter to be discussed and divulged only at the Mysteries, and during the Initiation Ceremonies. The "Great Age" of the Chaldees was the same in figures as that of the Hindus.
Guhya Vidya (Sans.) The secret knowledge of mystic-mantras.
Gupta Vidya (Sans.) The same as Guhya Vidya. Esoteric or secret science, knowledge.
Gyges. "The ring of Gyges" has become a familiar metaphor in European literature. Gyges was a Lydian, who, after murdering the King Candaules, married his widow. Plato tells us that Gyges descending once into a chasm of the earth, discovered a brazen horse, within whose opened side was the skeleton of a man of gigantic stature, who had a brazen ring on his finger. This ring when placed on his own finger made him invisible.
Hades (Gr.), or Aides, the "invisible," the land of shadows; one of whose regions was Tartarus, a place of complete darkness, as was also the region of profound dreamless sleep in Amenti. Judging by the allegorical description of the punishments inflicted therein, the place was purely Karmic. Neither Hades nor Amenti were the Hell still preached by some retrograde priests and clergymen; and whether represented by the Elysian Fields or by Tartarus, they could only be reached by crossing the river to the "other shore." As well expressed in the "Egyptian Belief," the story of Charon, the ferryman (of the Styx) is to be found not only in Homer, but in the poetry of many lands. The River must be crossed before gaining the Isles of the Blest. The Ritual of Egypt described a Charon and his boat long ages before Homer. He is Khu-en-na, "the hawk-headed steersman." (See Hell.)
Hallucinations. A state produced sometimes by physiological disorders, sometimes by mediumship, and at others by drunkenness. But the cause that produces the visions has to be sought deeper than physiology. All such, particularly when produced through mediumship, are preceded by a relaxation of the nervous system, generating invariably an abnormal magnetic condition which attracts to the sufferer waves of astral light. It is these latter that furnish the various hallucinations, which, however, are not always, as physicians would explain them, mere empty and unreal dreams. No one can see that which does not exist — i. e., which is not impressed — in or on the astral waves. But a seer may perceive objects and scenes (whether past, present or future) which have no relation whatever to himself; and perceive, moreover, several things entirely disconnected with each other at one and the same time, so as to produce the most grotesque and absurd combinations. But drunkard and seer, medium and adept see their respective visions in the astral light; only while the drunkard, the madman, and the untrained medium, or one in a brain fever, see, because they cannot help it, and evoke jumbled visions unconsciously to themselves without being able to control them, the adept and the trained Seer have the choice and the control of such visions. They know where to fix their gaze, how to steady the scenes they wish to observe, and how to see beyond the upper outward layers of the astral light. With the former such glimpses into the waves are hallucinations; with the latter they become the faithful reproduction of what actually has been, is, or will be taking place. The glimpses at random, caught by the medium, and his flickering visions in the deceptive light, are transformed under the guiding will of the adept and seer into steady pictures, the truthful representation of that which he wills to come within the focus of his perception.
Hell. A term which the Anglo-Saxon race has evidently derived from the name of the Scandinavian goddess, Hela, just as the word ad, in Russian and other Slavonian tongues expressing the same conception, is derived from the Greek Hades, the only difference between the Scandinavian cold Hell, and the hot Hell of the Christians, being found in their respective temperatures. But even the idea of these overheated regions is not original with the Europeans, many people having entertained the conception of an under-world climate; as well we may, if we localise our Hell in the centre of the earth. All exoteric religions — the creeds of the Brahmans, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Mahomedans, Jews, and the rest, made their Hells hot and dark, though many were more attractive than frightful. The idea of a hot Hell is an afterthought, the distortion of an astronomical allegory. With the Egyptians Hell became a place of punishment by fire not earlier than the 17th or 18th Dynasty, when Typhon was transformed from a God into a Devil. But at whatever time they implanted this dread superstition in the minds of the poor ignorant masses, the scheme of a burning Hell and souls tormented therein is purely Egyptian. Ra (the Sun) became the Lord of the Furnace, in Karr, the Hell of the Pharaohs, and the sinner was threatened with misery "in the heat of infernal fires." "A lion was there," says Dr. Birch, "and was called the roaring monster." Another describes the place as "the bottomless pit and lake of fire, into which the victims are thrown" (compare Revelation). The Hebrew word gai-hinnom (gehena) had never really the significance given to it in Christian orthodoxy.
Hermas, an ancient Greek writer, of whose works only a few fragments now remain extant.
Hierogrammatists (Gr.) The title given to those Egyptian priests who were entrusted with the writing and reading of the sacred and secret records. The "scribes of the secret records" literally. They were the instructors of the neophytes preparing for initiation.
Hierophant. From the Greek Hierophantes, literally "he who explains sacred things"; a title belonging to the highest adepts in the temples of antiquity, who were the teachers and expounders of the Mysteries, and the Initiators into the final great Mysteries. The Hierophant stood for the Demiurge, and explained to the postulants for Initiation the various phenomena of creation that were produced for their tuition. "He was the sole expounder of the exoteric secrets and doctrines. It was forbidden even to pronounce his name before an uninitiated person. He sat in the East, and wore as symbol of authority, a golden globe, suspended from the neck. He was also called Mystagogus." (Kenneth R. H. Mackenzie, IX., F. T. S., in The Royal Masonic Cyclopoedia.)
Hillel. A great Babylonian Rabbi of the century preceding the Christian Era. He was the founder of the sect of the Pharisees, a learned and a saintly man.
Hinayana (Sans.) The "Smaller Vehicle"; a Scripture and a School of the Buddhists, contrasted with the Mahayana, "The Greater Vehicle." Both schools are mystical. (See Mahayana.) Also in exoteric superstition, the lowest form of transmigration.
Homogeneity. From the Greek words homos, "the same"; and genos, "kind." That which is of the same nature throughout, undifferentiated, non-compound, as gold is supposed to be.
Hypnotism (Gr.) A name given by Dr. Braid to the process by which one man of strong will-power plunges another of weaker mind into a kind of trance; once in such a state the latter will do anything suggested to him by the hypnotiser. Unless produced for beneficial purposes, the Occultists would call it black magic or sorcery. It is the most dangerous of practices, morally and physically, as it interferes with the nerve fluids.
Iamblichus. A great Theosophist and an Initiate of the third century. He wrote a great deal about the various kinds of demons who appear through evocation, but spoke severely against such phenomena. His austerities, purity of life and earnestness were great. He is credited with having been levitated ten cubits high from the ground, as are some modern Yogis, and mediums.
Illusion. In Occultism everything finite (such as the Universe and all in it) is called Illusion or Maya.
Individuality. One of the names given in Theosophy and Occultism to the human Higher Ego. We make a distinction between the immortal and divine and the mortal human Ego which perishes. The latter or "Personality" (personal Ego) survives the dead body but for a time in Kama Loka: the Individuality prevails for ever.
Initiate. From the Latin Initiatus. The designation of anyone who was received into and had revealed to him the mysteries and secrets of either Masonry or Occultism. In times of antiquity they were those who had been initiated into the arcane knowledge taught by the Hierophants of the Mysteries; and in our modern days those who have been initiated by the adepts of mystic lore into the mysterious knowledge, which, notwithstanding the lapse of ages, has yet a few real votaries on earth.
Iswara (Sans.) The "Lord" or the personal god, divine spirit in man. Literally Sovereign (independent) existence. A title given to Siva and other gods in India. Siva is also called Iswaradeva, or sovereign deva.
Iu-Kabar Zivo, Gnostic term. The "Lord of the AEons" in the Nazarene system. He is the procreator (Emanator) of the seven holy lives (the seven primal Dhyan Chohans or Archangels, each representing one of the cardinal virtues), and is himself called the third life (third Logos). In the Codex he is addressed as the Helm and Vine of the food of life. Thus he is identical with Christ (Christos) who says: "I am the true vine and my Father is the husbandman." (John xv. 1.) It is well known that Christ is regarded in the Roman Catholic Church as the "Chief of the AEons," as also is Michael, "who is as God." Such also was the belief of the Gnostics.
Javidan Khirad (Pers.) A work on moral precepts.
Jhana (Sans.) or Jnana, Knowledge: Occult Wisdom.
Josephus Flavius. A historian of the first century; a Hellenized Jew who lived in Alexandria and died at Rome. He was credited by Eusebius with having written the 16 famous lines relating to Christ, which were most probably interpolated by Eusebius himself, the greatest forger among the Church Fathers. This passage, in which Josephus, who was an ardent Jew and died in Judaism, is nevertheless made to acknowledge the Messiaship and divine origin of Jesus, is now declared spurious both by most of the Christian Bishops (Lardner among others) and even by Paley (see his Evidence of Christianity). It was for centuries one of the weightiest proofs of the real existence of Jesus, the Christ.
Kabbalah (Heb.), or Kabbala. "The hidden wisdom of the Hebrew Rabbis of the middle ages derived from the older secret doctrines concerning divine things and cosmogony, which were combined into a theology after the time of the captivity of the Jews in Babylon." All the works that fall under the esoteric category are termed Kabalistic.
Kamaloka (Sans.) The semi-material plane, to us subjective and invisible, where the disembodied "personalities," the astral forms called Kama Rupa, remain until they fade out from it by the complete exhaustion of the effects of the mental impulses that created these eidolons of the lower animal passions and desires. (See Kama Rupa.) It is the Hades of the ancient Greeks and the Amenti of the Egyptians — the land of Silent Shadows.
Kama Rupa (Sans.) Metaphysically and in our esoteric philosophy it is the subjective form created through the mental and physical desires and thoughts in connection with things of matter, by all sentient beings: a form which survives the death of its body. After that death, three of the seven "principles" — or, let us say, planes of the senses and consciousness on which the human instincts and ideation act in turn — viz., the body, its astral prototype and physical vitality, being of no further use, remain on earth; the three higher principles, grouped into one, merge into a state of Devachan (q. v.), in which state the Higher Ego will remain until the hour for a new reincarnation arrives, and the eidolon of the ex-personality is left alone in its new abode. Here the pale copy of the man that was, vegetates for a period of time, the duration of which is variable according to the element of materiality which is left in it, and which is determined by the past life of the defunct. Bereft as it is of its higher mind, spirit and physical senses, if left alone to its own senseless devices, it will gradually fade out and disintegrate. But if forcibly drawn back into the terrestrial sphere, whether by the passionate desires and appeals of the surviving friends or by regular necromantic practices — one of the most pernicious of which is mediumship — the "spook" may prevail for a period greatly exceeding the span of the natural life of its body. Once the Kama Rupa has learnt the way back to living human bodies, it becomes a vampire feeding on the vitality of those who are so anxious for its company. In India these Eidolons are called Pisachas, — and are much dreaded.
Kapilavastu (Sans.) The birthplace of the Lord Buddha, called the "yellow dwelling," the capital of the monarch who was the father of Gautama Buddha.
Kardec, Allan. The adopted name of the Founder of the French Spiritists, whose real name was Rivaille. It was he who gathered and published the trance utterances of certain mediums and afterwards made a "philosophy" of them between the years 1855 and 1870.
Karma (Sans.) Physically, action; Metaphysically, the LAW of RETRIBUTION; the Law of Cause and Effect or Ethical Causation. It is Nemesis only in the sense of bad Karma. It is the eleventh Nidana in the concatenation of causes and effects in orthodox Buddhism; yet it is the power that controls all things, the resultant of moral action, the metaphysical Samskara, or the moral effect of an act committed for the attainment of something which gratifies a personal desire. There is the Karma of merit and the Karma of demerit. Karma neither punishes nor rewards; it is simply the one Universal LAW which guides unerringly and, so to say, blindly, all other laws productive of certain effects along the grooves of their respective causations. When Buddhism teaches that "Karma is that moral Kernel (of any being) which alone survives death and continues in transmigration" or reincarnation, it simply means that there remains nought after each personality, but the causes produced by it, causes which are undying, i. e., which cannot be eliminated from the Universe until replaced by their legitimate effects, and so to speak, wiped out by them. And such causes, unless compensated during the life of the person who produced them with adequate effects, will follow the reincarnated Ego and reach it in its subsequent incarnations until a full harmony between effects and causes is fully re-established. No "personality" — a mere bundle of material atoms and instinctual and mental characteristics — can, of course, continue as such in the world of pure spirit. Only that which is immortal in its very nature and divine in its essence, namely, the Ego, can exist for ever. And as it is that Ego which chooses the personality it will inform after each Devachan, and which receives through these personalities the effects of the Karmic causes produced, it is, therefore, the Ego, that Self, which is the "moral Kernel" referred to, and embodied Karma itself, that "which alone survives death."
Kether (Heb.) "The Crown, the highest of the ten Sephiroth; the first of the supernal Triad. It corresponds to the Macroprosopus, Vast Countenance, or Arikh Anpin, which differentiates into Chokmah and Binah."
Krishna (Sans.) The most celebrated Avatar of Vishnu, the "Saviour" of the Hindus and the most popular god. He is the eighth Avatar, the son of Devaki, and the nephew of Kansa, the Indian Herod, who while seeking for him among the shepherds and cowherds who concealed him slew thousands of their newly-born babes. The story of Krishna's conception, birth and childhood are the exact prototype of the New Testament story. The missionaries, of course, try to show that the Hindus stole the story of the Nativity from the early Christians who came to India.
Kshetragna, or Kshetragneswara (Sans.)Embodied Spirit in Occultism, the conscious Ego in its highest manifestations; the reincarnating Principle, or the "Lord" in us.
Kumara (Sans.) A virgin boy or young celibate. The first Kumaras are the seven sons of Brahma, born out of the limbs of the god in the so-called Ninth Creation. It is stated that the name was given to them owing to their formal refusal to "procreate" their species, and thus they "remained Yogis" according to the legend.
Labro, St. A Roman Saint solemnly beatified a few years ago. His great holiness consisted in sitting at one of the gates of Rome night and day for forty years, and remaining unwashed through the whole of that time, the result of which was that he was eaten by vermin to his bones.
Lao-Tze (Chin.) A great Sage, Saint, and Philosopher, who preceded Confucius.
Law of Retribution (vide Karma).
Linga Sharira (Sans.) "Astral body," i. e., the aerial symbol of the body. This term designates the doppelganger, or the "astral body" of man or animal. It is the eidolon of the Greeks, the vital and prototypal body, the reflection of the man of flesh. It is born before man and dies or fades out with the disappearance of the last atom of the body.
Logos (Gr.) The manifested deity with every nation and people; the outward expression or the effect of the Cause which is ever concealed. Thus, speech is the logos of thought; hence, in its metaphysical sense, it is aptly translated by the terms "Verbum," and the "Word."
Long Face. A Kabalistic term, Areekh Anpeen in Hebrew; or "Long Face"; in Greek, Macroprosopos, as contrasted with "Short Face," or Zeir Anpeen, the Microprosopos. One relates to Deity, the other to man, the "little image of the great form."
Longinus, Dionysius Cassius. A famous critic and philosopher, born in the very beginning of the third century (about 213). He was a great traveller, and attended at Alexandria the lectures of Ammonius Saccas, the founder of Neoplatonism, but was rather a critic than a follower. Porphyry (the Jew Malek or Malchus) was his pupil before he became the disciple of Plotinus. It is said of him that he was a living library and a walking museum. Towards the end of his life he became the instructor in Greek literature of Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra. She repaid his services by accusing him before the Emperor Aurelius of having advised her to rebel against the latter, a crime for which Longinus, with several others, was put to death by the Emperor in 273.
Macrocosm (Gr.) The "Great Universe" or Kosmos, literally.
Magic. The "great" Science. According to Deveria and other Orientalists, "Magic was considered as a sacred science inseparable from religion" by the oldest and most civilised and learned nations. The Egyptians, for instance, were a most sincerely religious nation, as were, and are still, the Hindus. "Magic consists of, and is acquired by, the worship of the gods," says Plato. Could, then, a nation which, owing to the irrefragable evidence of inscriptions and papyri, is proved to have firmly believed in magic for thousands of years, have been deceived for so long a time? And is it likely that generations upon generations of a learned and pious hierarchy, many among whom led lives of self-martyrdom, holiness and asceticism, would have gone on deceiving themselves and the people (or even only the latter) for the pleasure of perpetuating belief in "miracles"? Fanatics, we are told, will do anything to enforce belief in their god or idols. To this we reply: — In such cases Brahmans and Egyptian Rekhget-amens or Hierophants, would not have popularised the belief in the power of man by magic practices, to command the services of the gods: which gods are in truth but the occult powers or potencies of Nature, personified by the learned priests themselves, who reverenced only in them the attributes of the one unknown and nameless Principle. As Proclus, the Platonist, ably puts it: "Ancient priests, when they considered that there is a certain alliance and sympathy in natural things to each other, and of things manifest to occult powers, and discovered that all things subsist in all, fabricated a sacred science from this mutual sympathy and similarity. . . . and applied for occult purposes both celestial and terrene natures, by means of which, through a certain similitude, they deduced divine natures into this inferior abode." Magic is the science of communicating with, and directing supernal supramundane potencies, as well as commanding those of lower spheres; a practical knowledge of the hidden mysteries of nature which are known only to the few, because they are so difficult to acquire without falling into sin against the law. Ancient and mediaeval mystics divided magic into three classes — Theurgia, Goetia and Natural Magic. "Theurgia has long since been appropriated as the peculiar sphere of the Theosophists and metaphysicians," says Kenneth Mackenzie. "Goetia is black magic, and 'natural' or white magic has risen with healing in its wings to the proud position of an exact and progressive study." The remarks added by our late learned brother are remarkable: "The realistic desires of modern times have contributed to bring magic into disrepute and ridicule. . . . Faith (in one's own self) is an essential element in magic, and existed long before other ideas which presume its pre-existence. It is said that it takes a wise man to make a fool; and a man's idea must be exalted almost to madness, i. e., his brain susceptibilities must be increased far beyond the low miserable status of modern civilisation, before he can become a true magician, for a pursuit of this science implies a certain amount of isolation and an abnegation of self." A very great isolation certainly, the achievement of which constitutes a wonderful phenomenon, a miracle in itself. Withal, magic is not something supernatural. As explained by Iamblichus, "they, through the sacerdotal theurgy, announce that they are able to ascend to more elevated and universal essences, and to those that are established above fate, viz., to god and the demiurgos: neither employing matter, nor assuming any other things besides, except the observation of a sensible time." Already some are beginning to recognise the existence of subtle powers and influences in nature, in which they have hitherto known nought. But, as Dr. Carter Blake truly remarks, "the nineteenth century is not that which has observed the genesis of new, nor the completion of old, methods of thought"; to which Mr. Bonwick adds, that "if the Ancients knew but little of our mode of investigation into the secrets of Nature, we know still less of their mode of research."
Magic, Black (vide supra). Sorcery, abuse of powers.
Magic, Ceremonial. Magic, according to Kabalistic rites worked out, as alleged by the Rosicrucians and other mystics, by invoking Powers higher spiritually than Man, and commanding Elementals who are far lower than himself on the scale of being.
Magic, White, or "Beneficent Magic," so called, is divine magic, devoid of selfishness, love of power, of ambition or lucre, and bent only on doing good to the world in general and one's neighbour in particular. The smallest attempt to use one's abnormal powers for the gratification of self makes of these powers sorcery or Black Magic.
Mahamanvantara (Sans.) Lit., the great interludes between the Manus — the period of universal activity. Manvantara here implies simply a period of activity as opposed to Pralaya or rest — without reference to the length of the cycle.
Mahat (Sans.) Lit. "The Great One." The first principle of Universal Intelligence and consciousness. In the Puranic philosophy, the first product of root-nature or Pradhana (the same as Mulaprakriti); the producer of Manas the thinking principle, and of Ahankara, Egotism or the feeling of "I am I" in the lower Manas.
Mahatma (Sans.) Lit., "Great Soul." An adept of the highest order. An exalted being, who having attained to the mastery over his lower principles, is therefore living unimpeded by the "man of flesh." Mahatmas are in possession of knowledge and power commensurate with the stage they have reached in their spiritual evolution. Called in Pali Rahats and Arthas.
Mahayana (Sans.) A school of Buddhistic philosophy; lit., the "Great Vehicle." A mystical system founded by Nagarjuna. Its books were written in the second century B. C.
Manas (Sans.) Lit., the "Mind." The mental faculty which makes of a man an intelligent and moral being, and distinguishes him from the mere animal; a synonym of Mahat. Esoterically, however, it means, when unqualified, the Higher Ego or the sentient reincarnating Principle in man. When qualified it is called by Theosophists Buddhi-Manas, or the spiritual soul, in contradistinction to its human reflection — Kama-Manas.
Manasaputra (Sans.) Lit., the "Sons of Mind" or mind-born Sons; a name given to our Higher Egos before they incarnated in mankind. In the exoteric though allegorical and symbolical Puranas (the sacred and ancient writings of Hindus), it is the title given to the mind-born Sons of Brahma, the Kumara.
Manas Sutratma (Sans.) Two words meaning "mind" (Manas) and "Thread Soul" (Sutratma). It is, as said, the synonym of our Ego, or that which reincarnates. It is a technical term of Vedantic philosophy.
Manas Taijasi(Sans.) Lit., the "radiant" Manas; a state of the Higher Ego which only high metaphysicians are able to realize and comprehend. The same as "Buddhi Taijasi," which see.
Mantras (Sans.) Verses from the Vedic works, used as incantations and charms. By Mantras are meant all those portions of the Vedas which are distinct from the Brahmanas, or their interpretation.
Manu (Sans.) The great Indian legislator. The name comes from the Sanskrit root man to think, MAN really standing only for Swayambhuva, the first of the Manus, who started from Swayambhu, the Self-Existent, who is hence the Logos and the progenitor of mankind. Manu is the first legislator — almost a divine being.
Manvantara (Sans.) A period of manifestation, as opposed to Pralaya (dissolution or rest); the term is applied to various cycles, especially to a Day of Brahma — 4,320,000,000 Solar years — and to the reign of one Manu — 308,448,000. Lit., Manuantara — "between Manus." (See Secret Doctrine, Vol. 11, p. 68, et seq.)
Master. A translation from the Sanskrit Guru, "Spiritual teacher," and adopted by the Theosophists to designate the Adepts, from whom they hold their teachings.
Materialisations. In Spiritualism the word signifies the objective appearance of the so-called "spirits of the dead," who re-clothe themselves occasionally in matter; i. e., they form for themselves out of the materials at hand found in the atmosphere and the emanations of those present, a temporary body bearing the human likeness of the defunct, as he appeared when alive. Theosophists accept the phenomenon of "materialisation," but they reject the theory that it is produced by "Spirits," i. e., the immortal principles of disembodied persons. Theosophists hold that when the phenomena are genuine — which is a fact of rarer occurrence than is generally believed — they are produced by the larvae, the eidolons, or Kamalokic "ghosts" of the dead personalities. (See "Kamaloka" and "Kamarupa.") As Kamaloka is on the earth-plane and differs from its degree of materiality only in the degree of its plane of consciousness, for which reason it is concealed from our normal sight, the occasional apparition of such shells is as natural as that of electric balls and other atmospheric phenomena. Electricity as a fluid, or atomic matter (for Occultists hold with Maxwell that it is atomic), is ever, though invisibly, present in the air and manifests under various shapes, but only when certain conditions are present to "materialise" the fluid, when it passes from its own on to our plane and makes itself objective. Similarly with the eidolons of the dead. They are present around us, but being on another plane do not see us any more than we see them. But whenever the strong desires of living men and the conditions furnished by the abnormal constitutions of mediums are combined together, these eidolons are drawn — nay pulled down from their plane on to ours and made objective. This is necromancy; it does no good to the dead, and great harm to the living, in addition to the fact that it interferes with a law of nature. The occasional materialisation of the "astral bodies" or doubles of living persons is quite another matter. These "astrals" are often mistaken for the apparitions of the dead, since, chameleon-like, our own "elementaries" along with those of the disembodied and cosmic Elementals, will often assume the appearance of those images which are strongest in our thoughts. In short, at the so-called "materialisation seances," it is those present and the medium who create the peculiar apparition. Independent "apparitions" belong to another kind of psychic phenomena.
Materialist. Not necessarily only one who believes in neither God nor soul, nor the survival of the latter, but also any person who materializes the purely spiritual; such as believe in an anthropomorphic deity, in a soul capable of burning in hell fire, and a hell and paradise as localities instead of states of consciousness. American "Substantialists," a Christian sect, are materialists, as also the so-called Spiritualists.
Maya (Sans.) Illusion; the cosmic power which renders phenomenal existence and the perceptions thereof possible. In Hindu philosophy that alone which is changeless and eternal is called reality: all that which is subject to change through decay and differentiation, and which has, therefore, a beginning and an end, is regarded as MAYA — illusion.
Mediumship. A word now accepted to indicate that abnormal psycho-physiological state which leads a person to take the fancies of his imagination, his hallucinations, real or artificial, for realities. No entirely healthy person on the physiological and psychic planes can ever be a medium. That which mediums see, hear, and sense, is "real" but untrue; it is either gathered from the astral plane, so deceptive in its vibrations and suggestions, or from pure hallucinations, which have no actual existence, but for him who perceives them. "Mediumship" is a kind of vulgarised mediatorship in which one afflicted with this faculty is supposed to become an agent of communication between a living man and a departed "Spirit." There exist regular methods of training for the development of this undesirable acquirement.
Mercavah, or Mercabah (Heb.) "A chariot. The Kabbalists say that the Supreme, after he had established the ten Sephiroth — which, in their totality, are Adam Kadmon, the Archetypal Man, used them as a chariot or throne of glory in which to descend upon the souls of men."
Mesmerism. The term comes from Mesmer, who rediscovered this magnetic force and its practical application toward the year 1775, at Vienna. It is a vital current that one person may transfer to another; and through which he induces an abnormal state of the nervous system that permits him to have a direct influence upon the mind and will of the subject or mesmerized person.
Metaphysics. From the Greek meta, beyond, and physica, the things of the external material world. It is to forget the spirit and hold to the dead letter, to translate it beyond nature or supernatural, as it is rather beyond the natural, visible, or concrete. Metaphysics, in ontology and philosophy is the term to designate that science which treats of the real and permanent being as contrasted with the unreal, illusionary or phenomenal being.
Microcosm. The "little" Universe meaning man, made in the image of his creator, the Macrocosm, or "great" Universe, and containing all that the latter contains. These terms are used in Occultism and Theosophy.
Mishnah (Heb.) Lit., "a repetition" from the word Shanah, "to repeat" something said orally. A summary of written explanations from the oral traditions of the Jews and a digest of the Scriptures on which the later Talmud was based.
Moksha (Sans.) The same as Nirvana; a post-mortem state of rest and bliss of the "Soul-pilgrim."
Monad. It is the Unity, the ONE; but in occultism it often means the unified duad, Atma-Buddhi, — or that immortal part of man which incarnating in the lower kingdoms and gradually progressing through them to Man, finds thence way to the final goal — Nirvana.
Monas (Gr.) The same as the Latin Monad; "the only," a Unit. In the Pythagorean system the Duad emanates from the higher and solitary Monas, which is thus the First Cause.
Monogenes (Gr.) Literally, the "only-begotten"; a name of Proserpine and other gods and goddesses, as also of Jesus.
Mundakya Upanishad (Sans.) Lit., the "Mundaka esoteric doctrine." A work of high antiquity; it has been translated by Raja Ram Mohun Roy.
Mysteries (Sacred). They were enacted in the ancient temples by the initiated Hierophants for the benefit and instruction of candidates. The most solemn and occult were certainly those which were performed in Egypt by "the band of secret-keepers," as Mr. Bonwick calls the Hierophants. Maurice describes their nature very graphically in a few lines. Speaking of the Mysteries performed in Philae (the Nile-island), he says: — "It was in these gloomy caverns that the grand mystic arcana of the goddess (Isis) were unfolded to the adoring aspirant, while the solemn hymn of initiation resounded through the long extent of these stony recesses." The word "mystery" is derived from the Greek muo, "to close the mouth," and every symbol connected with them had a hidden meaning. As Plato and many of the other sages of antiquity affirm, these mysteries were highly religious, moral, and beneficent as a school of ethics. The Grecian Mysteries, those of Ceres and Bacchus, were only imitations of the Egyptian, and the author of "Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought" informs us that our own word "chapel or capella is said to be the caph-el or college of El, the solar divinity." The well-known Kabeiri are associated with the mysteries.
In short, the Mysteries were in every country a series of dramatic performances, in which the mysteries of Cosmogony and nature in general were personified by the priests and neophytes, who enacted the parts of various gods and goddesses, repeating supposed scenes (allegories) from their respective lives. These were explained in their hidden meaning to the candidates for initiation and incorporated into philosophical doctrines.
Mystery Language. The sacerdotal secret "jargon" used by the initiated priests, and employed only when discussing sacred things. Every nation had its own "mystery" tongue, unknown to all save those admitted to the Mysteries.
Mystic, from the Greek word mysticos. In antiquity, one belonging to those admitted to the ancient mysteries; in our own times, one who practises mysticism, holds mystic, transcendental views, etc.
Mysticism. Any doctrine involved in mystery and metaphysics, and dealing more with the ideal worlds than with our matter-of-fact, actual universe.