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Relgion And Ceremonies
Of ceremonies proper, the most distinctive on this portion of the Coast is the annual rite in commemoration of the dead, known as the burning or the cry or the dance of the dead. This is an autumnal and chiefly nocturnal ceremony in which, to the dancing and wailing of the participants, various kinds of property are burned to supply the ghosts.
The Creator
Tribes of the southerly stocks very generally believed in primordial waters, the waters of the chaos before Earth or of the flood enveloping it. Above this certain beings dwell — the Coyote and the birds. In some versions they occupy a mountain peak that pierces the waves, and on this height they abide until the flood subsides.
Cataclysms
The notion of cataclysmic destructions of the world by flood or fire, often with a concomitant falling of the sky, is frequent in West-Coast myth. Indeed, many of the creation-stories seem to be, in fact, traditions of the reforming of the earth after the great annihilation, although in some myths both the creation and the re-creation are described.
The First People
A little reflection upon the operations of animistic imagination will go far to explain the conception of a First People, manlike in form, but animal or plant or stone or element in nature, which is nowhere in America more clearly defined than on the West Coast.
Fire And Light
In the beginning the First World was without light or heat; blackness and cold were everywhere, or if there were light and warmth, they were distant and inaccessible: the world was dark and there was no fire; the only light was the Morning, and it was so far away in the high mountains of the east that the people could not see it; they lived in total darkness — with this suggestive image of valley life begins a Miwok tale of the theft of Morning.
Death And The Ghost World
The source of death, no less than the origin of life, is a riddle which the mind of man early endeavours to solve; and in the New World, as sometimes in the Old, the event is made to turn upon a primal choice. In the New-World tales, however, it is not the creature's disobedience, but deliberate selection by one of the primal beings that establishes the law.
Peoples Of The Northwest Coast
While no less than six linguistic divisions are found on the North-West Coast, accompanied by a corresponding diversity of physical types, the general culture of the region is one, and of a cast unlike anything else on the continent. Its foundation is maritime, the Indians of this region building large and shapely canoes, and some tribes, such as the Nootka and Quileute, even attacking the whale in the open sea.
Totemism And Totemic Spirits
The ceremonies of the tribes of the North-West fall into two classes, following their social and ceremonial organization. The social division into clans, which are matrilinear and exogamic in the north, while patrilinear or mixed systems prevail in the south, finds outward expression in totemic insignia and in ceremonial representations of the myths narrating the beginnings of the septs.
Secret Societies And Their Tutelaries
Of even greater ceremonial significance than the possession of crests is membership in the secret societies of the North-West. Everywhere in North America, as the clan system loosens in rigidity, the Medicine Lodge or the Esoteric Fraternity grows in importance.
The World And Its Rulers
The usual primitive conception of the world's form prevails in the North-West. It is flat and round below and surmounted above by a solid firmament in the shape of an inverted bowl. As the people of this region are Coast-Dwellers, Earth is regarded as an island or group of islands floating in the cosmic waters.
The Sun And The Moon
The place of sunrise, according to the Bella Coola, is guarded by the Bear of Heaven, a fierce warrior, inspirer of martial zeal in man; and the place of sunset is marked by an enormous pillar which supports the sky. The trail of the Sun is a bridge as wide as the distance between the winter and summer solstices; in summer he walks on the right-hand side of the bridge, in winter on the left.
The Raven Cycle
The most characteristic feature of the mythology of the North-West is the cycle of legends of which the hero is the Raven — the Yetl of the Northern tribes. Like Coyote in the tales of the interior, Raven is a transformer and a trickster — half demiurge, half clown; and very many of the stories that are told of Coyote reappear almost unchanged with Raven as their hero; he is in fact a littoral and insular substitute for Coyote.
Souls And Their Powers
In no section of America is the belief in possession by spirits and spiritistic powers more deeply seated than in the North-West; shamanism is the key to the whole conception of life which animates myth and rite. Scarcely any idea connected with spiritualism is absent: stories of soul-journeys are frequent, while telepathic communication, prophetic forewarnings of death and disaster, and magic cures through spirit aid are a part of the scheme of nature.
The First Three Principles
It is with no ordinary feelings that we address ourselves to our students of the Yogi class of 1904. We see, as they perhaps do not, that to many of them this series of lessons will be as seed planted in fertile soil, which will in due time put forth sprouts which will force their way gradually into the sun-light of consciousness, where they will put forth leaves, blossom, and fruit.
The Mental Principles
Instinctive mind manifests varying degrees of consciousness, varying from almost absolute subconsciousness to the simple consciousness of the highest of the lower animals and the lower forms of man. Self-consciousness comes to man with the unfoldment of the intellect, and will be spoken of in its proper place.
The Spiritual Principles
A tendency toward the occult—the hunger of the soul for more light—are indications that the Sixth Principle, Spiritual Mind, is beginning to shade into our consciousness, and, although it may be ages before we awaken into full Spiritual Consciousness, we are still being influenced and helped by it. This spiritual unrest often causes us great discomfort, until we find ourselves on the right road to knowledge.
The Human Aura
In our previous three lessons we called your attention briefly, in turn, to the Seven Principles of Man. The subject of the Constitution of Man, however, is incomplete without a reference to what occultists know as the Human Aura. This forms a most interesting part of the occult teachings, and reference to it is to be found in the occult writings and traditions of all races.
Thought Dynamics
The mind is continually throwing off emanations, which may be seen as the Aura extending a few feet from the person, and which usually becomes thinner and less easily perceived as it extends away from the sender. We are constantly sending forth thought-waves (to use a favorite term), and these waves, after the initial force of projection is expended, float along like clouds, mixing with other thought-waves of the same character, and extending often to far distant parts of the earth.
Telepathy and Clairvoyance
Telepathy may be roughly defined as the communication of mind with mind, other than by means of the five senses to which material science limits man, viz: sight; hearing; smell; taste and touch—sight, hearing and touch being the senses most commonly used. According to material science, it would follow that if two minds were placed beyond the possibility of ordinary sense communication, there could be no communication.
Human Magnetism
At the risk of being charged with needless repetition, we wish to impress upon your minds that this Pranic Energy, or Human Magnetism, is a very different thing from thought-force or any exhibition of the power of thought, except that it may be used in connection with thought-waves as above stated. It is merely a blind force of nature.
Occult Theraputics
The student of the history of Man will find in the legends, folk-lore and history of all peoples evidences of the fact that healing by some form of Occult practice has been followed by all races at all times. These various forms of occult therapeutics have varied from the revolting practices accompanying the grossest form of barbaric superstition, to the most refined form of procedure accompanying some of the fashionable metaphysical cults of today.
Psychic Influence, Etc.
We need scarcely tell our students that the Orientals have known and practiced, for centuries past, all known forms of occultism, and, in fact, have possessed the secrets which the investigators of the West have been striving so laboriously to uncover. Scraps of the knowledge have filtered through, and have been eagerly seized upon by Western writers, and used as the basis for startling claims and theories.
The Astral World
You have gone into the silence, and suddenly become aware of having passed out of your body, and to be now occupying only your astral body. You stand beside your physical body, and see it sleeping on the couch, but you realize that you are connected with it by a bright silvery thread, looking something like a large bit of bright spider-web.
Beyond the Border
When the Ego leaves the body, at the moment of death, it carries with it the Astral Body as well as the higher principles. This astral body, you will remember, is the exact counterpart of the physical body, but is composed of a finer quality of matter, and is invisible to the ordinary vision, but may be plainly seen by clairvoyant or astral sight, and may therefore be sometimes seen by persons under certain psychic conditions.
Spiritual Evolution
The beautiful doctrine of Spiritual Evolution—that gem in the diadem of the Yogi Philosophy—is sadly misunderstood and misinterpreted, even by many who are its friends. The mass of uninformed people confuse it with the crudest ideas of the ignorant races of Asia and Africa believe that it teaches that the souls of men descend into the bodies of the lower animals after death.
Spiritual Cause and Effect
Life is the constant accumulation of knowledge-the storing up of the result of experiences. The law of cause and effect is in constant operation, and we reap what we sow—not as a matter of punishment, but as the effect following the cause. Theology teaches us that we are punished for our sins, but the higher knowledge shows us that we are punished by our mistakes instead of for them.
The Yogi Path of Attainment
The student who has carefully acquainted himself with the fundamental principles of the Yogi Philosophy, as set forth in these lessons, will readily see that anyone who grasps and accepts these teachings, and makes them a part of his everyday life, will naturally live a very different life from one to whom this present earth-life is all, and who believes that death extinguishes individuality, and that there is no future life or lives.
First Lesson - Mantram
A mantram is a word, phrase, or verse used by the Eastern people in order to concentrate upon an idea and to let it sink deep into the mind. It is similar to the statements, or affirmations, used by the Mental Scientists and others of the Western world.
On Trusting Our Faculties
My whole argument in this book then will be a reference to various intellectual, moral, and spiritual experiences of yours and mine, and an appeal to you to trust in the faculties through which they come and believe the truths they seem to teach.
On God Revealed As Power
In this chapter I propose to deal with certain faculties which though they belong to what we call our intellectual nature, yet lead us in the direction of spiritual truths. They do not actually carry us into the palace of religion ; but they take us to the porch and lead us to knock at the door.
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