Lesser Occult Or Psychic Forces And Their Dangers
( Originally Published 1902 )
AT this period of our history most people make the word Occultism synonymous with psychism. In reality there is a vast difference between the two. The meaning of the former word you have heretofore seen, and now it remains for us to ex-amine one of its sub-divisions, which is psychism. It is very essential that we should know something about the psychic realm, if for no other reason than that we may be able to avoid it. It is rather a dark side of nature; nevertheless, it seems desirable that you should know the truth, though it may offend and even frighten some of you. The necessity for this lecture is due, first, to the fact that people who take up this line of study are, for this very reason, in a position where they must contact very closely the psychic realm; and second, that humanity as a whole, in its evolutionary career, is now beginning to approach the psychic plane. The psychically advanced members of the human race have contacted it already, much to the detriment of some of them, and for these reasons it is the imperative duty of someone who knows the facts of nature to reveal them, even though the revelation should excite the incredulity and scorn of the ignorant, and possibly the enmity of those who, in their researches, have contacted the psychic side, and have fallen under its deceptive influence.
Those of you who are familiar with Bulwer's writings know that there is a vein of mysticism running through them. "The Coming Race," for example, depicts the sixth race that is now being born in America; and his other mystic novels, such as "The Strange Story," "Haunted House," and that great Occult novel, "Zanoni," all reveal much to those who are interested in Occultism. The novel, "Zanoni," is really the story of one-half of a soul trying to find its other half, and it portrays the dangers of different kinds that beset the student on his evolutionary journey. Zanoni finds the woman—the other half of his soul—but she is engaged to marry a person who is anxious to study Occultism. Zanoni seeks an old Occultist, who agrees to accept the young man as a student, providing he gives up his lady love to Zanoni. The youth has pursued his studies but a short time when he comes in contact with the "dwellers upon the threshold," which in the novel are depicted as being tremendous forces and entities that were turned loose upon the defenceless boy. We read how all the sediment of his nature was brought out, how he was tempted, and how he yielded to temptation, and at last went to moral destruction.
These "dwellers on the threshold" are what we all have to face when we contact the psychic realm, and not only do the students of Occultism have to meet them, but the whole human race, as it develops, must come in contact with this realm. So let us see who and what these "dwellers on the threshold" are. Many of them are detached objective minds. We have seen in another lecture how the objective and subjective minds were united and became men. We also saw that a battle ,has to be waged between these two minds when the subjective awakens, and undertakes the control of its affairs. In the course of time the fight between these two minds of man becomes so tremendous that there sometimes comes a cleavage between the two, and the subjective conquers its lower mind, making of it a tractable vehicle. But sometimes the objective mind is stronger than the subjective, and refuses to be governed. Then it is that a separation comes, and the objective mind, strong in its victory, becomes detached from its subjective. The subjective, being unwilling to remain under the dominion of its objective mind, leaves it to its ultimate destruction, and goes back into the Infinite, to rest until another Cosmic Day shall come, when it can start forth with a new objective mind.
This rebellious objective mind is so strong that it may continue to occupy its physical body for several years after the separation, and goes through the remainder of that life the semblance of a human being, but devoid of moral character. When it excarnates and its body is destroyed, it may or may not be strong enough to reincarnate. If it does, then it will be of an intellectual animal nature, with no conception of morality or spirituality. In case it is not strong enough to reincarnate, it becomes a "dweller upon the threshold," an individualized consciousness upon the subjective side of life, invisible to. the physical eyes of men, but active in its destructive desires and purposes. It becomes one of the many unpleasant forces or entities which we have to come in contact with when we reach the psychic realm.
In your study of mankind you will find many of these objective minds without their subjective or higher principle, and this is especially true among the older races and sub-races. We find them here in our own country, but not in such large numbers as in China, Japan, and in Egypt. These are the persons whom we are pleased to designate as degenerates and perverts, also many of our most hardened criminals. Such entities seem to be maliciously wicked, and persistently destroy and pull down everyone with whom they associate. These are they who excarnate and go to the first plane of the subjective world and become the dwellers upon the threshold.
But there are other denizens of that plane. Every soul that excarnates, if it is not able to pass into the planes beyond, by reason of its undevelopment and strong animal nature, must remain there, and become a dweller on the threshold also. Then there is the third class of dwellers called elementals. These centers of consciousness and force have not developed to the point where incarnation is possible for them. They are the fairies, goblins, brownies and undines. These entities are not fanciful creations of the imagination, as many persons suppose, for they do exist in elemental forms; and when they have been seen and described by persons whose psychic sense made them conscious of them, they were realities. Man cannot imagine that which does not exist, for no one can make a picture of the non-existent.
Elementals are created by the thoughts of men. As man develops he thinks more and more force-fully; and as he thinks, he creates little centers of consciousness within Divine Mind. These centers of consciousness assume different forms according to the quality of the thoughts which created them. The elemental grows very much in the same manner that the embryo grows while living off its mother. These centers which man creates draw strength and vitality from him, and remain within the photosphere of their creator. But since what-ever is created upon the mental plane must, in course of time, objectivize, or embody itself in a physical form, some time these elementals must take on material bodies of some kind. There are the so-called good and bad elementals and when they become embodied in animal or insect form, that form will be assumed which corresponds to the nature of the consciousness seeking embodiment. If the elemental be of a mischievous, destructive nature, then it was the result of mischievous, destructive thoughts of man, and will take upon itself the form of animal or insect that will annoy man and destroy his property. Because it is a law that whatsoever man sends forth men-tally must and will return to him.
Then there is still another kind of thought creations of men which become embodied soon after they are born. These are the licentious, obscene thoughts of both sexes, that become the creeping, crawling bugs and vermin which infest untidy homes, second- and third-class hotels and public houses. Then there are the biting, stinging thoughts which embody themselves as flies, wasps, bees and mosquitoes ; and the poisonous thoughts which become spiders and reptiles. These miserable creatures, born of man's lower mind, cannot use the atoms of a higher rate of vibration for their bodies, but must use those atoms with which they vibrate harmoniously. They gather up the diseased atoms, the dirty atoms, those atoms which can no longer be used by men or beasts, and through forms composed of these, express themselves upon the material plane. And thus man himself creates the destructive things of earth which turn and wage war against him; for "God saw everything that He had made, and behold it was very good."
When an entity has attained a sufficient density within the subjective realm to be ready for embodiment, it has come to a point where it can have a direct influence upon human life, and it then reacts upon its creator according to the nature that was given it. When these elementals separate from the photosphere in which they were created, they often leave their creator, and impinge upon the auras of other persons. Some-times they are utilized in magic, particularly in that form known as ceremonial magic, and students of Occultism sometimes use them for the purpose of producing psychic phenomena. The transference of material substances from one room to another through closed doors and solid walls, or the disintegration and reintegration of so-called solid things are performed through utilizing these elemental forces of nature.
Then there are the minds of animals, or animal souls, if you choose to so designate those centers of consciousness, which have beer embodied, have excarnated and have passed on to the subjective side of nature to await another opportunity to become re-embodied. These subjective entities still possess all their animal propensities, but have no physical means of expressing them and they belong to the vast multitude of dwellers upon the threshold.
Where is this threshold? In Catholicism it is known as Purgatory; in Protestantism it is Hades. You remember the words of the Creed: "He descended into Hades." Hades is the place for de-parted spirits. It is the sidereal realm of the medieval mystic; it is the astral or psychic plane of the modern mystic and theosophist; it is the first plane of the spiritualist, the plane for earth-bound souls. It is here interpenetrating this physical world of ours. We have seen in another lecture that this earth is surrounded by five belts or zones which extend out into space, according to , their color and vibration. This threshold is the first of the subjective planes, and is called the threshold because it is the crossing over point from objective life into subjective life, and is the doorway through which egos re-enter earth life. All souls must pass through it, but the higher developed ones stay there but a very short time and never a moment after they are liberated from their physical bodies. This is one of the reasons why Occultists advocate cremation of the physical body, because by this process the man in a few moments is free to go to the plane where he belongs instead of being chained to his body on the threshold for weeks, months, or years, as the case may be. Souls are magnetically bound to their bodies, and until "the silver cord is loosened" they cannot be free. Catholics say masses for the souls of the dead that these souls may be released from the threshold, or purgatory. Years ago, when many of the priests were Occultists, a mass was written or chanted in the musical key which corresponded to the color of the deceased. The sound of the chanted mass disrupted the "silver cord," as a prolonged sound upon the physical plane will disrupt a material mass, if its keynote be sounded long enough.
As man's vibrations are raised he necessarily contacts with this first subjective realm; and the influence of the four classes of entities, previously mentioned and popularly known as the psychic forces of nature, are exerted upon him. The unconscious sensitive is always susceptible to influences which produce moods that other persons do not have. At times he feels great depression, fears impending calamities and is influenced in various ways by the denizens of the next plane.
And when an excarnated objective mind who has lost its higher mind finds a sensitive person whom it can control in mind and body, it immediately commences to manage his affairs. It enjoys by proxy, as it were, the intoxicating liquors that it forces its victim to drink. It gratifies its lusts by controlling its victim, and compelling him to sin. It revenges itself, through its ignorant victim, upon persons whom it hates. Fearful crimes are many times committed by persons who are almost or quite unconscious of what they are doing, and who waken to consciousness inside prison walls to be told of their terrible deeds. In cases of emotional insanity, where a man temporarily loses self-control and murders another, could the matter be investigated from the psychic side of life, it would be seen that the murderer was often but an unconscious victim of a disembodied fiend, who desired to commit the murder, and used the unfortunate sensitive as an instrument.
The denizens of the next plane, and especially the excarnated minds of depraved men and women and the detached objective minds, utilize mankind for the purpose of vicarious enjoyment. A drunkard does not lose his love for liquor when he leaves his physical body. There is nothing in the process of the change called death which changes character. "In the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be." It is natural that a drunkard should wish to enjoy what he considers the pleasure of drinking, and so he selects a subject that he can influence. This sensitive, whose will is not strong enough to resist this strange influence which is thrown upon him, yields to the temptation, and is overpowered. He indulges what he believes to be his own appetite for rum and the more he drinks the more he wants. When he is overcome with the fumes of liquor he is crowded out of his body by the controlling entity, who takes possession of it, and enjoys a vicarious drunk at the expense of his sensitive victim. A. love for gambling, intense sex desire, civic wrongs and all kinds of crime are often traceable for their cause to what many persons call at this time "spirit control." When we read of a horrible murder or crime being committed by some man who declares "God spoke" and told him to do it, you may know the cause was just behind the scenes, and the crime was instigated by a dweller on the threshold.
There are semi-conscious sensitives who are influenced by the denizens of the next plane. By semi-conscious sensitives I mean persons who have reached a point in their development where they are conscious of the existence of a psychic plane, but do not know the nature of it. They are conscious of psychic forces, but do not know the nature of those forces. Most persons, when they reach this point in their development, begin to investigate psychic phenomena immediately. A student of Occultism who is a conscious sensitive, is required to develop upon the mental plane be-fore he is permitted to study the psychic realm. He must first attain the proper poise and development by learning to think clearly. Then he is taught how to use Cosmic Forces, and to surround himself with protecting currents, before he is taught how to function upon the psychic plane. After this has been accomplished he can look down upon the psychic realm and can penetrate into it without fear of attracting to himself unpleasant companions, or getting into unfortunate or compromising situations.
It is impossible for ignorant or semi-ignorant persons to investigate the psychic realm without being more or less influenced by it, and perhaps it will be well for us to examine the various classes of investigators, and see something of the dangers to which they are subjected. I think we may safely group the investigators of spiritualistic phenomena or spiritualism in the first class, and this class should also include the members of the Society for Psychical Research, and kindred organizations, because these are nothing more nor less than investigators of Spiritualism under the guise of science. Spiritualism is necromancy re-vamped, and is a practice that has been inveighed against by those who knew the dangers attending it, and by those who wrote the sacred books, since mankind came upon this earth. Its six chief aspects are automatic writing, inspirational writing, inspirational speaking, trance mediumship, independent slate writing, and materializing medium-ship. In all of these, passivity is the sine qua non of success, because mediumship is the end in view, and passivity is the means by which it is to be attained.
And after mediumship is attained, what does it mean? Simply that this person has become an instrument through whom these excarnated, unattached objective minds and other denizens of the psychic plane, may speak or write, or perform like clowns in a circus. And what good comes from it? These entities, many of them, have become detached from their own higher principle, and must live on someone in order that their existence may be prolonged. Because without its subjective, the objective mind slowly deteriorates, and after a time fades out. These ignorant or malicious lower minds personate our departed friends, and glibly give us instructions about our domestic and business matters. They advise us when and where to buy and sell stocks; they give us long lectures on religion, and advise us about the training of our children. Think of such a creature as Jack the Ripper giving us a lecture on morality ! Sometimes these "angel guides "—for so they insist upon being called—aspire to fame, and pose as Lincoln, Shakespeare, or Napoleon, forgetting that at that moment, at a dozen places in different cities of the world, alleged Lincolns, Shakespeares and Napoleons are doing the same thing. They urge us to become mediums and organize developing circles in order that they may teach us political reforms or all about the eternal progression of the soul. And all the time we are studying under them and are worshiping at their séances, they are absorbing our magnetism and are ruining, mentally, morally, physically, and often financially, those persons who become their mediums. For mediumship soon becomes either possession or obsession, and both these conditions lead to insanity. In discussing this question hereafter, the term obsession will be used to designate all classes of cases where a human body is wholly or in part controlled by a disembodied entity.
Most of the insanity of the present day is due to obsession; and insanity increases as humanity becomes more sensitive to the influence of these dwellers upon the threshold. There are cases of hallucination when an insane person believes he has exchanged his personality for that of another; or who fancies he is a distinguished personage, and insists upon being treated with great homage. Epilepsy is nearly always attributable to obsession, and the best treatment for all these cases is mental treatment. Making the patient positive will restore self-control and health where medicine and confinement will utterly fail.
An investigator of the psychic plane, of the first class, must either become a medium himself, or use a medium for the purpose of studying that plane. In either case he is subjected to imposition relative to the cause of the phenomena obtained. It is a well-known fact that a large percentage of the communications received from so-called spirits are untrue, or are of a nature one would not expect from the inhabitants of that plane. Mediumship usually leads eventually to insanity or to the premature death of the medium. Even when there seems to be a controlling entity of a comparatively higher order than is usually found on that plane, there is necessarily a constant diminution of the medium's forces. And as the vital force of the medium diminishes, he becomes unreliable, and frequently has to resort to fraud and pretence in order to continue his exhibitions. Everyone who knows anything about this subject cannot deny that there are sometimes genuine phenomena, but more often they are simulated. But one result can come from such fraudulent practices, and that is degeneracy of the moral character of the medium and of all who associate with him in his dishonorable business. Many mediums become habitual drunkards as a consequence of having to take intoxicating liquor to stimulate their failing strength after being vampirized into a weakened condition by the entities that control them and absorb their magnetism.
It is admitted by unprejudiced investigators of psychism that the majority of "Spirit Controls" are of a "low order." But this is explained by their statement that "like attracts like," and that mediums and investigators attract "spirits" of a nature kindred to themselves. It is also admitted by all investigators that a positive, strong character is incapable of becoming a medium, and frequently prevents phenomena from taking place at a séance when he is present. Taking these two statements into consideration, it is logical to conclude that there are no positive, strong characters who attempt to control men, as the Occultists who have a knowledge of the subjective planes of being have always maintained.
And after all, what has been gained from all the phenomena from any one of the five sources mentioned? Has any new philosophy been presented, or any great discovery been made, through these "spirit guides"? "By their fruits ye shall know them," and the result of the investigations of the Society for Psychical Research along these lines have merely verified the phenomena given by the Spiritualists since 1849, and not one of the investigators has as yet discovered the true cause of the phenomena, or formulated the law under which they occur. One of the greatest tests given by these mediums is this. Some entity speaks or writes through them to someone concerning matters that were known only to the departed and to the investigator. But this is no proof that the controlling entity is the soul of the dear departed, because any disembodied entity can read the mind of the investigator, and can see the thought pictures that are in his aura. In this manner the past of any person may be read, because it is written around him in his photosphere, and goes with him wherever he goes.
A local preacher says he receives communications from his dead son and cites facts only known to himself and that son. These communications he declares are proofs of the identity of his de-ceased son. He says his son revealed to him where certain articles and papers were after he, the son, had passed from this life, and that he himself did not even know of the existence of them. This is no proof that the information came from the man's son, because any disembodied entity could have done the same; and it is just as likely that the information was given by the objective mind of Captain Kidd as it is that it came from the preacher's son.
The second class of investigators may be known as passive clairvoyants, or those persons who cultivate passive mediumship for the purpose of functioning upon the subjective plane. Such a clairvoyant permits an entity to enfold or envelop his body while it impresses a mental picture upon his mind and then the medium describes the picture he sees. This is not true clairvoyance, because the entity that impresses the medium is responsible for the picture, and it may be nothing but a fanciful creation of its own. The medium has not seen a reality, but has looked at the mental creations of another; and when we consider the character of most controlling entities, we feel safe in saying that possibly their pictures may not be altogether reliable.
The third class of investigators may be called artificial clairvoyants and is composed largely of crystal gazers, magic-mirror gazers, etc., who, by these practices, throw themselves into a self-induced semi-hypnosis. In this state or condition they become susceptible to psychical influences, and mentally impressed pictures are the' result. Vanity, or the desire for money-making, is usually the cause for this kind of practice, rather than a desire for growth or development, and the dangers from psychic influences are fully as great as in the classes before mentioned.
But there is a true clairvoyance or seership which depends upon two things—a well-developed subjective mind that rules its objective mind, and a peculiar physiological condition. Nearly in the center of the brain of every human being is situated a tiny organ called the pineal gland, and this is the chief center through which the mind must function, in order that man may possess the X-ray vision that enables him to look beyond the material plane, upon the inner or subjective planes of consciousness. This gland can be attuned to finer vibrations than register in any of our other senses, and these vibrations relate us to the inner worlds or planes. The student of Occultism, at a certain point in his progress, is taught how to direct special cosmic currents of force into this gland to enlarge and raise its vibrations. When this has been accomplished, the student can function upon the subjective plane by an effort of his will as easily and well as he can see on the objective plane by opening his physical eyes. With this class of clairvoyants there is no passivity or trance condition, but there is a conscious shifting of the consciousness from one plane to another; and it is according to the development of the man whether or not he is able to function upon many or few of the subjective planes of being.
The unattached student of Occultism is one without a Master or Teacher. He is one who knows of Occult powers and forces, and longs to possess them, and he courageously faces the dangers without assistance. This great desire for growth leads him to seek quick development, which is natural. The great majority of people, when they first hear of Occultism, and Occult teachers, immediately want a teacher, and their cry goes up : "Give us a teacher." Then they begin to think they are developing rapidly in Occultism and when certain subjective influences come about and they feel their peculiar vibrations, they immediately conclude that a Master has come to teach and help them. These subjective entities, wishing to gain control of ambitious students, impress them with the thought they love to entertain, and soon these students of Occultism are under the influence, and perhaps under the absolute control of the dwellers upon the threshold.
Let me tell you now and let it always remain with you, that no teacher of Occultism will ever try to control you in mind or body. You are divine because you are a part of Deity and there-fore your body and your life are yours. A teacher has no more right to control your mind than he has to violate your body and no student, teacher, or Master of Occultism will ever attempt it. So when you feel peculiar influences around you, or if you hear voices saying, "We have come to help you, you are progressing rapidly," you may know it is the dwellers on the threshold who are talking to you. All students of Occultism, whether attached or unattached, are helped by the Great Ones, but only when they are earnestly trying to help themselves. They are never touched or coerced, or worked upon subjectively.
If you are trying to work out a problem, you may suddenly receive an idea which will male everything plain to you. If you are ill, you may suddenly receive a suggestion to go somewhere, or do something which will help you to recover your health. If you are out of a position and need money, something or someone may be brought for-ward to help you. The student who is studying along these deeper lines is always watched and will be helped when he deserves help. The student who declares that he is going to work out his own salvation, that he is going to develop, and uses the knowledge he has gained to live according to his ideal, is a probationer, and if he persists in this course for a period of seven years he will draw to himself a teacher in physical form. That teacher may be a Master, an Adept, or an advanced student, but a teacher who is best suited to him in his development at that time. And during the seven years of probation, help will be given to him in various ways.
It does not follow that everyone who thinks he is ready for the higher Occult teachings is really prepared for them. For example, during the last century a number of persons heard of the Masters and Adepts, and seventy-two curious individuals started out to become students. An Adept whom I know promised to give them one year of probation on the condition that those who success-fully stood all the tests given during that year should be accepted students. The first thing he did was to tell each aspirant after Occult teachings what kind of life he had lived, and was living at that time. He told them about their faults, and how those faults should be corrected. He took away their wines and all kinds of intoxicating liquors and also their pipes and tobacco; he for-bade gambling and immoral associates and ordered certain hours set apart for meditation and concentration.. In less than one week one-half the number of aspirants for Occult knowledge turned their backs on Occultism in indignation. The others struggled on for a while, but were so badly beset by their old habits and by the subjective entities that were aroused by the new order of things and who immediately set about trying to drag these students back into their old habits of living, that one after another fell out of line, till at the end of the year only one person out of the seventy-two had succeeded in living up to his promises. This man was given permission to withdraw from the world and go into a lodge, where he was taught Occultism.
Let those who desire to push on in their evolulion take the attitude that they will not study psychic forces at all; that they will not look for a Master in that realm of being; that they will begin work by building up character and by practicing what has been taught ; for I tell you truly, the psychic realm can offer you absolutely nothing of value at this time. It is the higher and better knowledge that you can utilize, that you should desire; the true Occultism which teaches the laws of being.