The field of psychic forces, phenomena, and dynamics is a vast one. Such phenomena are seen and the forces exhibited every day in all lands, but until a few years ago very little attention was given to them by scientific persons, while a great deal of ridicule was heaped upon those who related the occurrences or averred belief in the psychic nature. A cult sprang up in the United States some forty years ago calling itself quite wrongly "spiritualism," but having a great opportunity it neglected it and fell into mere wonder-seeking without the slightest shadow of a philosophy. It has accomplished but little in the way of progress except a record of many undigested facts which for four decades failed to attract the serious attention of people in general. While it has had its uses, and includes in its ranks many good minds, the great dangers and damages coming to the human instruments involved and to those who sought them more than offset the good done in the opinion of those disciples of the Lodge who would have man progress evenly and without ruin along his path of evolution. But other Western investigators of the accepted schools have not done much better, and the result is that there is no Western Psychology worthy of the name.
This lack of an adequate system of Psychology is a natural consequence of the materialistic bias of science and the paralyzing influence of dogmatic religion; the one ridiculing effort and blocking the way, the other forbidding investigation. The Roman Catholic branch of the Christian Church is in some respects an exception, however. It has always admitted the existence of the psychic world — for it the realm of devils and angels, but as angels manifest when they choose and devils are to be shunned, no one is permitted by that Church to meddle in such matters except an authorized priest. So far as that Church's prohibiting the pernicious practice of necromancy indulged in by "spiritualists" it was right, but not in its other prohibitions and restrictions. Real psychology is an Oriental product today. Very true the system was known in the West when a very ancient civilization flourished in America, and in certain parts of Europe anterior to the Christian era, but for the present day psychology in its true phase belongs to the Orient.
Are there psychic forces, laws, and powers? If there are, then there must be the phenomena. And if all that has been outlined in preceding chapters is true, then in man are the same powers and forces which are to be found anywhere in Nature. He is held by the Masters of Wisdom to be the highest product of the whole system of evolution, and mirrors in himself every power, however wonderful or terrible, of Nature; by the very fact of being such a mirror he is man.
This has long been recognized in the East, where the writer has seen exhibitions of such powers which would upset the theories of many a Western man of science. And in the West the same phenomena have been repeated for the writer, so that he knows of his own knowledge that every man of every race has the same powers potentially. The genuine psychic — or, as they are often called, magical — phenomena done by the Eastern faqir or yogee are all performed by the use of natural forces and processes not even dreamed of as yet by the West. Levitation of the body in apparent defiance of gravitation is a thing to be done with ease when the process is completely mastered. It contravenes no law. Gravitation is only half of a law. The Oriental sage admits gravity, if one wishes to adopt the term; but the real term is attraction, the other half of the law being expressed by the word repulsion, and both being governed by the great laws of electrical force. Weight and stability depend on polarity, and when the polarity of an object is altered in respect to the earth immediately underneath it, then the object may rise. But as mere objects are devoid of the consciousness found in man, they cannot rise without certain other aids. The human body, however, will rise in the air unsupported, like a bird, when its polarity is thus changed. This change is brought about consciously by a certain system of breathing known to the Oriental; it may be induced also by aid from certain natural forces spoken of later, in the cases of those who without knowing the law perform the phenomena, as with the saints of the Roman Catholic Church.
A third great law which enters into many of the phenomena of the East and West is that of Cohesion. The power of Cohesion is a distinct power of itself, and not a result as is supposed. This law and its action must be known if certain phenomena are to be brought about, as, for instance, what the writer has seen, the passing of one solid iron ring through another, or a stone through a solid wall. Hence another force is used which can only be called dispersion. Cohesion is the dominating force, for, the moment the dispersing force is withdrawn, the cohesive force restores the particles to their original position.
Following this out the Adept in such great dynamics is able to disperse the atoms of an object — excluding always the human body — to such a distance from each other as to render the object invisible, and then can send them along a current formed in the ether to any distance on the earth. At the desired point the dispersing force is withdrawn, when immediately cohesion reasserts itself and the object reappears intact. This may sound like fiction, but being known to the Lodge and its disciples as an actual fact, it is equally certain that Science will sooner or later admit the proposition.
But the lay mind infested by the materialism of the day wonders how all these manipulations are possible, seeing that no instruments are spoken of. The instruments are in the body and brain of man. In the view of the Lodge "the human brain is an exhaustless generator of force," and a complete knowledge of the inner chemical and dynamic laws of Nature, together with a trained mind, give the possessor the power to operate the laws to which I have referred. This will be man's possession in the future, and would be his today were it not for blind dogmatism, selfishness, and materialistic unbelief. Not even the Christian lives up to his Master's very true statement that if one had faith he could remove a mountain. A knowledge of the law when added to faith gives power over matter, mind, space, and time.
Using the same powers, the trained Adept can produce before the eye, objective to the touch, material which was not visible before, and in any desired shape. This would be called creation by the vulgar, but it is simply evolution in your very presence. Matter is held suspended in the air about us. Every particle of matter, visible or still unprecipitated, has been through all possible forms, and what the Adept does is to select any desired form, existing, as they all do, in the Astral Light and then by effort of the Will and Imagination to clothe the form with the matter by precipitation. The object so made will fade away unless certain other processes are resorted to which need not be here described, but if these processes are used the object will remain permanently. And if it is desired to make visible a message on paper or other surface, the same laws and powers are used. The distinct — photographically and sharply definite — image of every line of every letter or picture is formed in the mind, and then out of the air is drawn the pigment to fall within the limits laid down by the brain, "the exhaustless generator of force and form." All these things the writer has seen done in the way described, and not by any hired or irresponsible medium, and he knows whereof he speaks.
This, then, naturally leads to the proposition that the human Will is all powerful and the Imagination is a most useful faculty with a dynamic force. The Imagination is the picture-making power of the human mind. In the ordinary average human person it has not enough training or force to be more than a sort of dream, but it may be trained. When trained it is the Constructor in the Human Workshop. Arrived at that stage it makes a matrix in the Astral substance through which effects objectively will flow. It is the greatest power, after Will, in the human assemblage of complicated instruments. The modern Western definition of Imagination is incomplete and wide of the mark. It is chiefly used to designate fancy or misconception and at all times stands for unreality. It is impossible to get another term as good because one of the powers of the trained Imagination is that of making an image. The word is derived from those signifying the formation or reflection of an image. This faculty used, or rather suffered to act, in an unregulated mode has given the West no other idea than that covered by "fancy." So far as that goes it is right but it may be pushed to a greater limit, which, when reached causes the Imagination to evolve in the Astral substance an actual image or form which may be then used in the same way as an iron molder uses a mold of sand for the molten iron. It is therefore the King faculty, inasmuch as the Will cannot do its work if the Imagination be at all weak or untrained. For instance, if the person desiring to precipitate from the air wavers in the least with the image made in the Astral substance, the pigment will fall upon the paper in a correspondingly wavering and diffused manner.
To communicate with another mind at any distance the Adept attunes all the molecules of the brain and all the thoughts of the mind so as to vibrate in unison with the mind to be affected, and that other mind and brain have also to be either voluntarily thrown into the same unison or fall into it voluntarily. So though the Adept be at Bombay and his friend in New York, the distance is no obstacle, as the inner senses are not dependent on an ear, but may feel and see the thoughts and images in the mind of the other person.
And when it is desired to look into the mind and catch the thoughts of another and the pictures all around him of all he has thought and looked at, the Adept's inner sight and hearing are directed to the mind to be seen, when at once all is visible. But, as said before, only a rogue would do this, and the Adepts do not do it except in strictly authorized cases. The modern man sees no misdemeanor in looking into the secrets of another by means of this power, but the Adepts say it is an invasion of the rights of the other person. No man has the right, even when he has the power in his hand, to enter into the mind of another and pick out its secrets. This is the law of the Lodge to all who seek, and if one sees that he is about to discover the secrets of another he must at once withdraw and proceed no further. If he proceeds his power is taken from him in the case of a disciple; in the case of any other person he must take the consequence of this sort of burglary. For Nature has her laws and her policemen, and if we commit felonies in the Astral world the great Law and the guardians of it, for which no bribery is possible, will execute the penalty, no matter how long we wait, even if it be for ten thousand years. Here is another safeguard for ethics and morals. But until men admit the system of philosophy put forward in this book, they will not deem it wrong to commit felonies in fields where their weak human law has no effect, but at the same time by thus refusing the philosophy they will put off the day when all may have these great powers for the use of all.
Among phenomena useful to notice are those consisting of the moving of objects without physical contact. This may be done, and in more than one way. The first is to extrude from the physical body the Astral hand and arm, and with those grasp the object to be moved. This may be accomplished at a distance of as much as ten feet from the person. I do not go into argument on this, only referring to the properties of the Astral substance and members. This will serve to some extent to explain several of the phenomena of mediums. In nearly all cases of such apportation the feat is accomplished by thus using the unseen but material Astral hand. The second method is to use the elementals of which I have spoken. They have the power when directed by the inner man to carry objects by changing the polarity, and then we see, as with the fakirs of India and some mediums in America, small objects moving apparently unsupported. These elemental entities are used when things are brought from longer distances than the length to which the Astral members may be stretched. It is no argument against this that mediums do not know they do so. They rarely if ever know anything about how they accomplish any feat, and their ignorance of the law is no proof of its non-existence. Those students who have seen the forces work from the inside will need no argument on this.
Clairvoyance, clairaudience, and second-sight are all related very closely. Every exercise of any one of them draws in at the same time both of the others. They are but variations of one power. Sound is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Astral sphere, and as light goes with sound, sight obtains simultaneously with hearing. To see an image with the Astral senses means that at the same time there is a sound, and to hear the latter infers the presence of a related image in Astral substance. It is perfectly well known to the true student of occultism that every sound produces instantaneously an image, and this, so long known in the Orient, has lately been demonstrated in the West in the production to the eye of sound pictures on a stretched tympanum. This part of the subject can be gone into very much further with the aid of occultism, but as it is a dangerous one in the present state of society I refrain at this point. In the Astral Light are pictures of all things whatsoever that happened to any person, and as well also pictures of those events to come the causes for which are sufficiently well marked and made. If the causes are yet indefinite, so will be the images of the future. But for the mass of events for several years to come all the producing and efficient causes are always laid down with enough definiteness to permit the seer to see them in advance as if present. By means of these pictures, seen with the inner senses, all clairvoyants exercise their strange faculty. Yet it is a faculty common to all men, though in the majority but slightly developed; but occultism asserts that were it not for the germ of this power slightly active in every one no man could convey to another any idea whatsoever.
In clairvoyance the pictures in the Astral Light pass before the inner vision and are reflected into the physical eye from within. They then appear objectively to the seer. If they are of past events or those to come, the picture only is seen; if of events actually then occurring, the scene is perceived through the Astral Light by the inner sense. The distinguishing difference between ordinary and clairvoyant vision is, then, that in clairvoyance with waking sight the vibration is communicated to the brain first, from which it is transmitted to the physical eye, where it sets up an image upon the retina, just as the revolving cylinder of the phonograph causes the mouthpiece to vibrate exactly as the voice had vibrated when thrown into the receiver. In ordinary eye vision the vibrations are given to the eye first and then transmitted to the brain. Images and sounds are both caused by vibrations, and hence any sound once made is preserved in the Astral Light from whence the inner sense can take it and from within transmit it to the brain, from which it reaches the physical ear. So in clairaudience at a distance the hearer does not hear with the ear, but with the center of hearing in the Astral body. Second-sight is a combination of clairaudience and clairvoyance or not, just as the particular case is, and the frequency with which future events are seen by the second-sight seer adds an element of prophecy.
The highest order of clairvoyance — that of spiritual vision — is very rare. The usual clairvoyant deals only with the ordinary aspects and strata of the Astral matter. Spiritual sight comes only to those who are pure, devoted, and firm. It may be attained by special development of the particular organ in the body through which alone such sight is possible, and only after discipline, long training, and the highest altruism. All other clairvoyance is transitory, inadequate, and fragmentary, dealing, as it does, only with matter and illusion. Its fragmentary and inadequate character results from the fact that hardly any clairvoyant has the power to see into more than one of the lower grades of Astral substance at any one time. The pure-minded and the brave can deal with the future and the present far better than any clairvoyant. But as the existence of these two powers proves the presence in us of the inner senses and of the necessary medium — the Astral Light, they have, as such human faculties, an important bearing upon the claims made by the so-called "spirits" of the seance room.
Dreams are sometimes the result of brain action automatically proceeding, and are also produced by the transmission into the brain by the real inner person of those scenes or ideas high or low which that real person has seen while the body slept. They are then strained into the brain as if floating on the soul as it sinks into the body. These dreams may be of use, but generally the resumption of bodily activity destroys the meaning, perverts the image, and reduces all to confusion. But the great fact of all dreaming is that some one perceives and feels therein, and this is one of the arguments for the inner person's existence. In sleep the inner man communes with higher intelligences, and sometimes succeeds in impressing the brain with what is gained, either a high idea or a prophetic vision, or else fails in consequence of the resistance of brain fiber. The karma of the person also determines the meaning of a dream, for a king may dream that which relates to his kingdom, while the same thing dreamed by a citizen relates to nothing of temporal consequence. But, as said by Job: In dreams and visions of the night man is instructed.
Apparitions and doubles are of two general classes. The one, astral shells or images from the astral world, either actually visible to the eye or the result of vibration within thrown out to the eye and thus making the person think he sees an objective form without. The other, the astral body of living persons and carrying full consciousness or only partially so endowed. Laborious attempts by Psychical Research Societies to prove apparitions without knowing these laws really prove nothing, for out of twenty admitted cases nineteen may be the objectivization of the image impressed on the brain. But that apparitions have been seen there is no doubt. Apparitions of those just dead may be either pictures made objective as described, or the Astral Body — called Kama Rupa at this stage — of the deceased. And as the dying thoughts and forces released from the body are very strong, we have more accounts of such apparitions than of any other class.
The Adept may send out his apparition, which, however, is called by another name, as it consists of his conscious and trained astral body endowed with all his intelligence and not wholly detached from his physical frame.
Theosophy does not deny nor ignore the physical laws discovered by science. It admits all such as are proven, but it asserts the existence of others which modify the action of those we ordinarily know. Behind all the visible phenomena is the occult cosmos with its ideal machinery; that occult cosmos can only be fully understood by means of the inner senses which pertain to it; those senses will not be easily developed if their existence is denied. Brain and mind acting together have the power to evolve forms, first as astral ones in astral substance, and later as visible ones by accretions of the matter on this plane. Objectivity depends largely on perception, and perception may be affected by inner stimuli. Hence a witness may either see an object which actually exists as such without, or may be made to see one by internal stimulus. This gives us three modes of sight: (a) with the eye by means of light from an object, (b) with the inner senses by means of the Astral Light, and (c) by stimulus from within which causes the eye to report to the brain, thus throwing the inner image without. The phenomena of the other senses may be tabulated in the same manner.
The Astral substance being the register of all thoughts, sounds, pictures, and other vibrations, and the inner man being a complete person able to act with or without co-ordination with the physical, all the phenomena of hypnotism, clairvoyance, clairaudience, mediumship, and the rest of those which are not consciously performed may be explained. In the Astral substance are all sounds and pictures, and in the Astral man remain impressions of every event, however remote or insignificant; these acting together produce the phenomena which seem so strange to those who deny or are unaware of the postulates of occultism.
But to explain the phenomena performed by Adepts, Fakirs, Yogees, and all trained occultists, one has to understand the occult laws of chemistry, of mind, of force, and of matter. These it is obviously not the province of such a work as this to treat in detail.