SOME PROPOSITIONS BY H. P. BLAVATSKY. (1)
The following is extracted from H.P.B.'s first book, and is printed in this series with the belief that it will be useful as well as interesting. She gives some fundamental oriental propositions relating to occult arts, thus:
1. There is no miracle. Everything that happens is the result of law — eternal, immutable, ever-active. Apparent miracle is but the operation of forces antagonistic to what Dr. W. B. Carpenter, F. R.S. — a man of great learning but little knowledge — calls "the well ascertained laws of nature". Like many of his class, Dr. Carpenter ignores the fact that there may be laws once "known", now unknown, to science.
2. Nature is triune: there is a visible objective nature; an invisible, indwelling, energizing nature, the exact model of the other and its vital principle; and above these two is spirit, the source of all forces, alone eternal and indestructible. The lower two constantly change; the higher third does not.
3. Man is also triune: he has his objective physical body; his vitalizing astral hotly (or soul), the real man; and these two are brooded over and illuminated by the third — the sovereign, the immortal spirit. When the real man succeeds in merging himself with the latter, he becomes an immortal entity.
4. Magic, as a science, is the knowledge of these principles, and the way by which the omniscience and omnipotence of the spirit and its control over nature's forces may be acquired by the individual while still in the body. Magic, as an art, is the application of this knowledge in practice.
5. Arcane knowledge misapplied is sorcery; beneficently used, true magic or wisdom.
6. Mediumship is the opposite of Adeptship; the medium is the passive instrument of foreign influences, the Adept actively controls himself and all inferior potencies.
7. All things that ever were, that are, or that will be, having their record upon the astral light, or tablet of the unseen universe, the initiated Adept, by using the vision of his own spirit, can know all that has been known or can be known.
8. Races of men differ in spiritual gifts as in color, stature, or any other external quality; among some people seership naturally prevails, among others mediumship. Some are addicted to sorcery, and transmit its secret rules of practice from generation to generation, with a range of psychical phenomena, more or less wide, as the result.
9. One phase of magical skill is the voluntary and conscious withdrawal of the inner man (astral form) from the outer man (physical body). In the cases of some mediums withdrawal occurs, but it is unconscious and involuntary. With the latter the body is more or less cataleptic at such times; but with the Adept the absence of the astral form would not be noticed, for the physical senses are alert and the individual appears only as though in a fit of abstraction — "a brown study", as some call it. To the movements of the wandering astral form neither time nor space offers any obstacle. The thaumaturgist thoroughly skilled in occult science can cause himself (that is, his physical body) to seem to disappear or to apparently take on any shape that he may choose. He may make his astral form visible, or he may give it protean appearances. In both eases these results will be achieved by a mesmeric hallucination simultaneously brought on. This hallucination is so perfect that the subject of it would stake his life that he saw a reality, when it is but a picture in his own mind impressed upon his consciousness by the irresistible will of the mesmeriser.
But while the astral form can go anywhere, penetrate any obstacle, and be seen at any distance from the physical body, the latter is dependent upon ordinary methods of transportation. It may be levitated under prescribed magnetic conditions, but not pass from one locality to another except in the usual way. Inert matter may be in certain cases and under certain conditions disintegrated, passed through walls and recombined, but living animal organisms cannot.
Arcane science teaches that the abandonment of the living body by the soul frequently occurs, and that we encounter every day in every condition of live such living corpses. Various causes, among them overpowering fright, grief, despair, a violent attack of sickness, or excessive sensuality, may bring this about. The vacant carcass may be entered and inhabited by the astral form of an Adept, sorcerer, or an elementary (an earth-bound disembodied human soul), or, very rarely, an elemental. Of course an Adept of white magic has the same power, but unless some very exceptional and great object is to be accomplished he will never consent to pollute himself by occupying the body of an impure person. In insanity the patient's astral being is either semi-paralyzed, bewildered, and subject to the influence of every passing spirit of any sort, or it has departed forever and the body is taken possession of by some vampirish entity near its own disintegration and clinging desperately to earth whose sensual pleasures it may enjoy for a brief season longer by this expedient.
10. The corner stone of magic is an intimate practical knowledge of magnetism and electricity, their qualities, correlations, and potencies. Especially necessary is a familiarity with their effects within and upon the animal kingdom and man. There are occult properties in many other minerals equally strange with that in the loadstone, which all practitioners of magic must know and of which so-called exact science is wholly ignorant. Plants also have like mystical properties in a most wonderful degree, and the secrets of the herbs of dreams and enchantments are only lost to European science, and, useless to say too, are unknown to it except in a few marked instances such as opium and hashish. Yet the psychical effects of even these few upon the human system are regarded as evidences of a temporary mental disorder.
To sum up all in a few words; Magic is spiritual wisdom; nature the material ally, pupil, and servant of the magician. One common vital principle pervades all things, and this is controllable by the perfected human will. The Adept can stimulate the movements of the natural forces in plants and animals in a preternatural degree. Such experiments are not obstructions of nature but quickenings; the conditions of intenser vital action are given.
The Adept can control the sensations and alter the conditions of the physical and astral bodies of other persons not Adepts; he can also govern and employ as he chooses the spirits of the elements. He cannot control the immortal spirit of any human being living or dead, for all such spirits are alike sparks of the Divine Essence and not subject to any foreign domination.
Propositions 2 and 3 contain and include the seven-fold classification. In 1877 H. P. B. was writing for those who had known but the three-fold scheme. In number two the vital principle (prana or jiva) is given; the body with vitality makes two; the real man inside called the soul, being composed of astral body, desires, and mind, makes five; the spirit, including the connecting link of Buddhi, completes the seven. The will is one of the forces directly from spirit, and is guided, with ordinary men, by desire; in the Adepts' case the will is guided by Buddhi, Manas, and Atma, including in its operation the force of a pure spiritual desire acting solely under law and duty.
1. Isis Unveiled, Vol. II, page 587, et seq. (return to text)
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