Practical Occultism — William Q. Judge

Letters from 1882, 1884

71 Broadway, N. Y.
Febry. 13, 1882.
Wm. B. Shelley, Esq.

Dear Sir:

Yours of 11th at hand and carefully read. May I ask whether in the little package containing Olcotts address I did not put a copy of the By Laws of the Society? I have a distinct recollection of so doing. My reason for asking is that I have received a request for another copy from Rochester and as at present I have but few, will refer to you instead of sending another. Please let me know.

The facts related in your letter about Mrs. Cables are curious, and cannot be explained fully by me because I have not the necessary knowledge. I am exceedingly glad however that she has been the means of you and your friends being turned from the pernicious views which are held by so many estimable Spiritualists, and it will be a cause for greater rejoicing if through her and you and your friends more converts shall be added in Rochester to what is truth.

Mrs. Cables in teaching you as you say "philosophy afterwards discovered in Isis" etc, without actual knowledge on her part of that book, was simply telling the truth, which being always around us and to be found, was hit upon by her. Why she fell into that current I cannot explain; for it would take a knowledge of causes which I do not possess to give the reasons. The more pure minded any person is, the more free from materiality the more likely is that person to naturally perceive what is the truth.

Many reasons might be adduced for an explanation. First, a natural one that, as I said, she fell so to speak, into the current of truth which ever encircles us, or Second that some adepts had projected those ideas into her mind. But aside from herself 'twould take an adept to determine. Of one thing however I am certain, and that is that the adepts can, if they will, speak through the minds of persons as far away from them even as Rochester. But they do not like to do this except with very pure persons. Perhaps, to touch upon reincarnation, Mrs. Cables's soul may once have made inquiries into this philosophy at an age when it was widely diffused and much cultivated, and now the strong bonds of sympathy assert themselves. I would wish that Rochester and NY were nearer or that some more rapid means of transit were in use so that we might inquire more deeply into the subject. With the natural powers which you say Mrs Cables has she ought to be able to develope herself much more. I do not mean to develope herself as a medium but to develope the powers, and find out the secrets, of her own soul. She may be doing so and I hope if she is that she may have great success.

When I referred above to the pernicious doctrines held by some Spiritualists, I meant the theory that they communicate with the Spirits of the dead, and other theories of like nature, nearly all of which have the effect of belittling the powers of the soul and spirit of the living man, and hardly ever result in anything good. Look for instance at the case of Mrs Cridge-Reynolds who was exposed here the other day. I feel though that you agree with me on these points.

Is it not then my friend the proper time to show the people the path of truth? How much we would be ahead today had the Spiritualists pursued their investigations in the proper manner. Whereas since the Fox rappings in Rochester began nothing at all has been accomplished in the way of real progress.

The Maharajahs of Benares motto is "There is no religion higher than truth," and that is what we seek to find.

Fowler and Wells sell back nos. of Theosophist. I think the numbers you speak of must have been lost. I received mine and so did friends.

Fraternally yours


Mar. 8 1882
Mrs. Cables, Rochester.


Yours recd at same time with Mr. Shelley's has long stared me in the face. Your "pity for the world and desire to serve and save it and affection for those holy people might attract some intelligence permitting you to serve them." This is no doubt the case. But as for the Brothers and what they are doing and wish to do here, I would be unable to tell you for they do not proclaim their intentions. Their greatest virtue I know is love for humanity and their grand object is the amelioration of the condition of the race. Therefore any one with a similar object and thinking on them must eventually attract their attention altho' that person may not become aware of it. In the Occult World by Sinnett now in print by Colby and Rich are letters from one of the brothers and those letters are full of instruction. Excuse brevity.

Truly yours


71 Broadway
Mar. 14, 1882.
E. W. D. Allen
Rochester, N. Y.

Dear Sir or Madame:

Your handwriting is that of a woman, but as yours of 2d has no other clue to your sex, I thus address you.

I take a short opportunity to reply begging to inform you that just now I have not the time at my command to devote to a full and complete reply. As I am about to undertake a long journey I cannot spare many minutes from business.

Your remarks submitted with your letter, upon Theosophy, are beyond question the words of a medium under the control of either an outside intelligence; or uttering or writing while in an ecstatic state the ideas of his or her own soul. The name attached was well chosen, and cannot with any show of reason be claimed as the real name of any person, unless it might be that of some friend now dead. It is the name of an ancient Greek Goddess, who "from originally being the personification of the serene bright upper sky, had as early as the time of the epic poets, changed or advanced so as to embody under the divine form a conception of the clear insight of the human mind in its various functions." Therefore the name was well chosen. But do not let names deceive you.

Much of what you sent is very good Theosophy, but much still is so mixed up with various things as to present nothing really tangible.

Theosophy is knowledge of God and love of man, and those are both included in your paper. But there is much that is left for explanation. For instance: "whose concentrate purpose reveals the divine power of mind, with sovereigns enthroned upon enchanted isles in cosmic seas." The last member of this sentence is unintelligible in that connection. What it might mean in certain other connections is not relevant. But have you any idea of its meaning?

There is much of the same sort in the paper; and therefore I cannot subscribe to it as a whole as being the Theosophical teachings which I have learned.

Yet as I first said much of it does in a sort of mystical manner reflect many Theosophical ideas.

I would not, if I were you, publish this paper, because as it now stands you would subject yourself to much, and perhaps some just, criticism.

Now I doubt if to yourself is intelligible one sentence — this: "is knowledge . . . enables each pure desire to be inspired by the psychic force, which at once becomes the charioteer of this human power divine." The question would be "how can the psychic force become the charioteer of the human power divine," and further "how can that psychic force inspire a pure desire; that or draw the pure desire into itself by inspiration of it." Or do you think it should be construed the other way and read to mean that pure desires are inspired into us by the psychic force.

On the whole it seems that Athena's effort is too transcendental in its mere statement for this age and language. It should be in more plain language, and should have many and glaring redundancies pruned off and inconsistencies corrected.

For myself I could never agree that the psychic force should be the charioteer of the human power divine. If the latter is will-power-perfected then it must be the charioteer and psychic force the vehicle. Psychic force must be blind in any case considered by itself and it only acts intelligently when directed by Will or Mind. From this position I could not retreat, so that on that one point I should disagree with Athena.

Again I at present cannot explain "the sacramental marriage of the heart with celestial consciousness and the sympathy Divine."

Theosophy teaches that man's will perfected can emulate the phenomena of nature and know all things. It teaches immortality and a belief in spirit, but it does not teach that the spirits of our departed ones return to this vile atmosphere.

It believes it to be our duty to enquire into these things for the purpose of finding out the laws of spirit and matter so that in the end superstition may be eradicated, knowledge prevail and knowledge of such a character that through it "that great orphan, humanity" — as one of the Theosophical higher Adepts calls it — may be benefited and saved. I must conclude here.

Truly yours


Paris, May 11, 1884

Dear Olcott,

You are very right in saying that but little may be expected from French T. S. It is a great expense to the Society, all of us here, and the French are not either delicate or considerate. About all you need to do is to give them a plan upon which to prosecute their work. They are wasters of time. Last night at de Pomar's, as usual after Mohini had said a few words, they all got entangled in French and no real work was done. Thurman had the inexpressible cheek to listen to H. P. B.'s explanation of a matter, and then after ten minutes comes out with it himself, asking when he had finished if he had not given a good explanation. M. Wagner got them off on materialization and 'existe ou n'existe pas,' and poor Mohini and I at one o'clock home near dead.

There were two broad-breasted women, decollete, three who openly expressed admiration of his eyes. Oh, they are awful. You cannot get a serious hearing. It is in this way well enough to have the Duchess offer her home, but that has drawbacks, as there are many who do not wish to go there, I am told. They ought to have a room hired as Society property and thus be independent. Then they have these interminable jealousies and are so touchy. The night Mohini came they acted very inconsiderately. H. P. B. sent a letter to Mme. de Barreau that Mohini could not be used by outsiders, and she and Mme de Morsier are half insulted. You see de Morsier and Mme. de Barreau have old Le Blois in tow, and he wants to pump all he can out of Mohini, Mme. de M. says, 'Le Blois is very important for France,' but when you ask him if he will join the Society or start one in Strasburg, he 'respectfully declines.'

You would not have been pleased with last night's meeting, but the French character is such that I presume no more can be expected. One of the numerous interesting points in the character is the intensity of their ignorance, their 'newness' so to say. Last night Mme. de Morsier came out with a query about Crookes' psychic notes, which I think is five years old, asking about it as his last book, and old Thurman rolled off some lengthy phrases on the subject. All of them called it Crookes' last book and were about to ask Mohini about it, when T. Child, the correspondent of the Sun, said it was about six years old but that Figaro had only just heard of it that morning.

Today Mohini has gone to Mme de Barreau's to see Le Blois et al. He is a poor hand at finding his way. I could not go with him, and he is obliged to wear his overcoat in the hot street or be the cause of an enormous crowd. Yet they did not even suggest a cab for him.

You ought to suggest when you come:

(a) a method of carrying on their meetings that shall result in good progress,

(b) that they shall hire a room somewhere to be used for the purpose,

(c) that they take in honorary members who shall each pay some good sum, etc., etc.

I have received some letters from America from inquirers and others who wish to start Branches. One of the letters was to Damodar, who sends it to me. This is a matter needing attention, because there will be several persons in various parts of the U. S. desiring to start Branches, and the question is how to get over the rule that requires each member to be vouched for. Men in Sacramento, for instance, cannot be at this time vouched for.

You do not reply about Marbel and Mrs. Cables. She and Shelley would do as Councillors for the east and Atlantic side, to whom all applications could be sent, and to have power to initiate persons desiring to form Branches.

I do not know what your rule is about this, as I have never got a reply from you or Damodar about it. It would be a good thing to get up a little circular of instructions about forming Branches in distant places of this Third Section, as for some time there will be many chances to form uninitiated Branches. I would suggest that in cases where we do not know any of the applicants, a certificate from the Town Clerk or other officer be requested to be forwarded with the obligation, request for charter, and fees. I would like to see you about this, and hope you will not let it slip. Of course, if we had a little money we could send around Deputies to start Branches. But new Branches ought to be able to send at least one man for initiation to such places as N. Y., Rochester, St Louis, etc.

Another idea. If we could get hold of a sufficient number of the American colony in Paris to start a Society with some of the proper metal in it, I think a little more might be done. Many foreigners would join it. One difficulty here is that the police supervise these affairs and claim the right to say whether or not a Society shall or shall not exist.

Several Russians have called on Madame, and are proposing to join. Among them is Prince Ourossof who lives here, and I believe last night a Russian Countess joined. I did not get her name, although I did receive the fee. What shall I do with this fee?

Now answer all my queries, do.

I think it is time to start a section of the Society which adopts all the doctrine of the Masters and shall propagate it: all members of the § [Section] to subscribe to the doctrine. You and H. P. B. to stay out of it.

As ever,


Bombay, July 15, 1884.

Dear Olcott,

I arrived at the Bar this morning at 8.30 after a very fine passage. We were long getting in, and it was 1 o'clock before we entered the dock. I saw no one at first, but after a while Mr. Tookaram came aboard, and it appeared that he had been waiting for me all the time, although it was mail day and office hours. He was accompanied by a Mr.---- I forget. Several brothers had been waiting, but went away. They gave me garlands and bouquets, with which I paraded through the streets. It is a pretty custom. We went at once to his office, and I am just writing this to catch the mail which goes in half an hour.

He says there has been no trouble at all about the Coulomb affair, that no one minds her or it, and no one has left in consequence of it. There has not been one word said about it in any of the papers, and if I can stop further progress of pamphlets and exposes, it will be all fixed. This I will do at once.

Many branches have expressed a desire that I should stop on my way and address them. I am to stop here some few days to receive visitors and enquirers. Tookaram says that our prospects are rosy, and I hope with Father's help to give them a rousing up on the subject and get them in in numbers. . . .

You will hear by next mail, as by this I can do no more at present. Tookaram sends you his best love and also to Madame Blavatsky and Mohini.

Give my love to them also and to the Arundales, and excuse me to Madame for not writing. Tell her for Jesus' sake not to give Coulomb the slightest encouragement until we get them out of India. Remember me also to Baboola.

Affectionately yours,


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