Chapter 11, 12, 13, 14, 15.

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ʺHermes, who is of my ordinances ever the bearer . . .

Then taking his staff, with which he the eyelids of mortals Closes at will, and the sleeper, at will, reawakens.ʺ

— Odyssey, Book V

ʺI saw the Samothracian rings

Leap, and steel‐filings boil in a brass dish So soon as underneath it there was placed

The magnet‐stone; and with wild terror seemed The iron to flee from it in stern hate. . . .ʺ

— Lucretius, Book VI

ʺBut that which especially distinguishes the Brotherhood is their marvellous knowledge of the resources of the medical art. They work not by charms but by simples.ʺ

MS. Account of the Origin and Attributes of the True Rosicrucians


ONE of the truest things ever said by a man of science is the remark made by Professor Cooke in his New Chemistry. ʺThe history of Science shows that the age must be prepared before scientific truths can take root and grow. The barren premonitions of science have been barren because these seeds of truth fell upon unfruitful soil; and, as soon as the fulness of the time has come, the seed has taken root and the fruit has ripened . . . every student is surprised to find how very little

is the share of new truth which even the greatest genius has added to the previous stock.ʺ

The revolution through which chemistry has recently passed, is well calculated to concentrate the attention of chemists upon this fact; and it would not be strange, if, in less time than it has required to effect it, the claims of the alchemists would be examined with impartiality, and studied from a rational point of view. To bridge over the narrow gulf which now separates the new chemistry from old alchemy, is little, if any harder than what they have done in going from dualism to the law of Avogadro.

As Ampère served to introduce Avogadro to our contemporary chemists, so Reichenbach will perhaps one day be found to have paved the way with his OD for the just appreciation of Paracelsus. It was more than fifty years before molecules were accepted as units of chemical calculations; it may require less than half that time to cause the superlative merits of the Swiss mystic to be acknowledged. The warning paragraph about healing mediums,* which will be found elsewhere, might have been written by one who had read his works. ʺYou must understand,ʺ he says, ʺthat the magnet is that spirit of life in man which the infected seeks, as both unite themselves with chaos from without. And thus the healthy are infected by the unhealthy through magnetic attraction.ʺ

* From a London Spiritualist journal.


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The primal causes of the diseases afflicting mankind; the secret relations between physiology and psychology, vainly tortured by men of modern science for some clew to base their speculations upon; the specifics and remedies for every ailment of the human body — all are described and accounted for in his voluminous works. Electro‐magnetism, the so‐called discovery of Professor Oersted, had been used by Paracelsus three centuries before. This may be demonstrated by examining critically his mode of curing disease. Upon his achievements in chemistry there is no need to enlarge, for it is admitted by fair and unprejudiced writers that he was one of the greatest chemists of his time.* Brierre de Boismont terms him a ʺgeniusʺ and agrees with Deleuze that he created a new epoch in the history of medicine. The secret of his successful and, as they were called, magic cures lies in his sovereign contempt for the so‐called learned ʺauthoritiesʺ of his age. ʺSeeking for truth,ʺ says Paracelsus, ʺI considered with myself that if there were no teachers of medicine in this world, how would I set to learn the art? No otherwise than in the great open book of nature, written with the finger of God. . . . I am accused and denounced for not having entered in at the right door of art. But which is the right one? Galen, Avicenna, Mesue, Rhasis, or honest nature? I believe, the last! Through this door I entered, and the light of nature, and no apothecaryʹs lamp directed me on my way.ʺ

This utter scorn for established laws and scientific formulas, this aspiration of mortal clay to commingle with the spirit of nature, and look to it alone for health, and help, and the light of truth, was the cause of the inveterate hatred shown by the contemporary pigmies to the fire‐philosopher and alchemist. No wonder that he was accused of charlatanry and even drunkenness. Of the latter charge, Hemmann boldly and fearlessly exonerates him, and proves that the foul accusation proceeded from ʺOporinus, who lived with him some time in order to learn his secrets, but his object was defeated; hence, the evil reports of his disciples and apothecaries.ʺ He was the founder of the School of Animal Magnetism and the discoverer of the occult properties of the magnet. He was branded by his age as a sorcerer, because the cures he made were marvellous. Three centuries later, Baron Du Potet was also accused of sorcery and demonolatry by the Church of Rome, and of charlatanry by the academicians of Europe. As the fire‐philosophers say, it is not the chemist who will condescend to look upon the ʺliving fireʺ otherwise than his colleagues do. ʺThou hast forgotten what thy fathers taught thee about it — or rather, thou hast never known . . . it is too loud for thee!ʺ†

* Hemmann, ʺMedico‐Surgical Essays,ʺ Berl., 1778. † Robert Fludd, ʺTreatise III.ʺ


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A work upon magico‐spiritual philosophy and occult science would be incomplete without a particular notice of the history of animal magnetism, as it stands since Paracelsus staggered with it the schoolmen of the latter half of the sixteenth century.

We will observe briefly its appearance in Paris when imported from Germany by Anton Mesmer. Let us peruse with care and caution the old papers now mouldering in the Academy of Sciences of that capital, for there we will find that, after having rejected in its turn every discovery that was ever made since Galileo, the Immortals capped the climax by turning their backs upon magnetism and mesmerism. They voluntarily shut the doors before themselves, the doors which led to those greatest mysteries of nature, which lie hid in the dark regions of the psychical as well as the physical world. The great universal solvent, the Alkahest, was within their reach — they passed it by; and now, after nearly a hundred years have elapsed, we read the following confession:

ʺStill it is true that, beyond the limits of direct observation, our science (chemistry) is not infallible, and our theories and systems, although they may all contain a kernel of truth, undergo frequent changes, and are often revolutionized.ʺ*

* Prof. J. P. Cooke, ʺNew Chemistry.ʺ

To assert so dogmatically that mesmerism and animal magnetism are but hallucinations, implies that it can be proved. But where are these proofs, which alone ought to have authority in science? Thousands of times the chance was given to the academicians to assure themselves of its truth; but, they have invariably declined. Vainly do mesmerists and healers invoke the testimony of the deaf, the lame, the diseased, the dying, who were cured or restored to life by simple manipulations and the apostolic ʺlaying on of hands.ʺ ʺCoincidenceʺ is the usual reply, when the fact is too evident to be absolutely denied; ʺwill‐oʹ‐the‐wisp,ʺ ʺexaggeration,ʺ ʺquackery,ʺ are favorite expressions, with our but too numerous Thomases. Newton, the well‐known American healer, has performed more instantaneous cures than many a famous physician of New York City has had patients in all his life; Jacob, the Zouave, has had a like success in France. Must we then consider the accumulated testimony of the last forty years upon this subject to be all illusion, confederacy with clever charlatans, and lunacy? Even to breathe such a stupendous fallacy would be equivalent to a self‐accusation of lunacy.

Notwithstanding the recent sentence of Leymarie, the scoffs of the skeptics and of a vast majority of physicians and scientists, the unpopularity of the subject, and, above all, the indefatigable persecutions of the Roman Catholic clergy, fighting in mesmerism womanʹs traditional enemy, so evident and unconquerable is the truth of its phenomena that even the French magistrature was forced tacitly, though very


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reluctantly, to admit the same. The famous clairvoyante, Madame Roger, was charged with obtaining money under false pretenses, in company with her mesmerist, Dr. Fortin. On May 18th, 1876, she was arraigned before the Tribunal Correctionnel of the Seine. Her witness was Baron Du Potet, the grand master of mesmerism in France for the last fifty years; her advocate, the no less famous Jules Favre. Truth for once triumphed — the accusation was abandoned. Was it the extraordinary eloquence of the orator, or bare facts incontrovertible and unimpeachable that won the day? But Leymarie, the editor of the Revue Spirite, had also facts in his favor; and, moreover, the evidence of over a hundred respectable witnesses, among whom were the first names of Europe. To this there is but one answer — the magistrates dared not question the facts of mesmerism. Spirit‐ photography, spirit‐rapping, writing, moving, talking, and even spirit‐materializations can be simulated; there is hardly a physical phenomenon now in Europe and America but could be imitated — with apparatus — by a clever juggler. The wonders of mesmerism and subjective phenomena alone defy tricksters, skepticism, stern science, and dishonest mediums; the cataleptic state it is impossible to feign. Spiritualists who are anxious to have their truths proclaimed and forced on science, cultivate the mesmeric phenomena. Place on the stage of Egyptian Hall a somnambulist plunged in a deep mesmeric sleep. Let her mesmerist send her freed spirit to all the places the public may suggest; test her clairvoyance and clairaudience; stick pins into any part of her body which the

mesmerist may have made his passes over; thrust needles through the skin below her eyelids; burn her flesh and lacerate it with a sharp instrument. ʺDo not fear!ʺ exclaim Regazzoni and Du Potet, Teste and Pierrard, Puysegur and Dolgorouky — ʺa mesmerized or entranced subject is never hurt!ʺ And when all this is performed, invite any popular wizard of the day who thirsts for puffery, and is, or pretends to be, clever at mimicking every spiritual phenomenon, to submit his body to the same tests!*

The speech of Jules Favre is reported to have lasted an hour and a half, and to have held the judges and the public spellbound by its eloquence. We who have heard Jules Favre believe it most readily; only the statement embodied in the last sentence of his argument was unfortunately premature and erroneous at the same time. ʺWe are in the presence of a phenomenon which science admits without attempting to explain. The public may smile at it, but our most illustrious physicians regard it with gravity. Justice can no longer ignore what science has acknowledged!ʺ

* In the ʺBulletin de lʹAcademie de Medecine,ʺ Paris, 1837, vol. i., p. 343 et seq., may be found the report of Dr. Oudet, who, to ascertain the state of insensibility of a lady in a magnetic sleep, pricked her with pins, introducing a long pin in the flesh up to its head, and held one of her fingers for some seconds in the flame of a candle. A cancer was extracted from the right breast of a Madame Plaintain. The operation lasted twelve minutes; during the whole time the patient talked very quietly with her mesmerizer, and never felt the slightest sensation (ʺBul. de lʹAcad. de Med.,ʺ Tom. ii., p. 370).


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Were this sweeping declaration based upon fact and had mesmerism been impartially investigated by many instead of a few true men of science, more desirous of questioning nature than mere expediency, the public would never smile. The public is a docile and pious child, and readily goes whither the nurse leads it. It chooses its idols and fetishes, and worships them in proportion to the noise they make; and then turns round with a timid look of adulation to see whether the nurse, old Mrs. Public Opinion, is satisfied.

Lactantius, the old Christian father, is said to have remarked that no skeptic in his days would have dared to maintain before a magician that the soul did not survive the body, but died together with it; ʺfor he would refute them on the spot by calling up the souls of the dead, rendering them visible to human eyes, and making them foretell future events.ʺ* So with the magistrates and bench in Madame Rogerʹs case. Baron Du Potet was there, and they were afraid to see him mesmerize the somnambulist, and so force them not only to believe in the phenomenon, but to acknowledge it

— which was far worse.

And now to the doctrine of Paracelsus. His incomprehensible, though lively style must be read like the biblio‐rolls of Ezekiel, ʺwithin and without.ʺ The peril of propounding heterodox theories was great in those days; the Church was powerful, and sorcerers were burnt by the dozens. For this reason, we find Paracelsus, Agrippa, and

Eugenius Philalethes as notable for their pious declarations as they were famous for their achievements in alchemy and magic. The full views of Paracelsus on the occult properties of the magnet are explained partially in his famous book, Archidaxarum, in which he describes the wonderful tincture, a medicine extracted from the magnet and called Magisterium Magnetis, and partially in the De Ente Dei, and De Ente Astrorum, Lib. I. But the explanations are all given in a diction unintelligible to the profane. ʺEvery peasant sees,ʺ said he, ʺthat a magnet will attract iron, but a wise man must inquire for himself. . . . I have discovered that the magnet, besides this visible power, that of attracting iron, possesses another and concealed power.ʺ

He demonstrates further that in man lies hidden a ʺsidereal force,ʺ which is that emanation from the stars and celestial bodies of which the spiritual form of man — the astral spirit

— is composed. This identity of essence, which we may term the spirit of cometary matter, always stands in direct relation with the stars from which it was drawn, and thus there exists a mutual attraction between the two, both being magnets. The identical composition of the earth and all other planetary bodies and manʹs terrestrial body was a fundamental idea in his philosophy. ʺThe body comes from the elements, the [astral] spirit from the stars. . . . Man eats and drinks of the elements, for the sustenance of his blood and flesh; from the stars are the intellect and thoughts sustained in his spirit.ʺ The spectroscope has made good his theory as to the identical

* Prophecy, Ancient and Modern, by A. Wilder, ʺPhrenological Journal.ʺ


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composition of man and stars; the physicists now lecture to their classes upon the magnetic attractions of the sun and planets.*

Of the substances known to compose the body of man, there have been discovered in the stars already, hydrogen, sodium, calcium, magnesium and iron. In all the stars observed, numbering many hundreds, hydrogen was found, except in two. Now, if we recollect how they have deprecated Paracelsus and his theory of man and the stars being composed of like substances; how ridiculed he was by astronomers and physicists, for his ideas of chemical affinity and attraction between the two; and then realize that the spectroscope has vindicated one of his assertions at least, is it so absurd to prophesy that in time all the rest of his theories will be substantiated?

And now, a very natural question is suggested. How did Paracelsus come to learn anything of the composition of the stars, when, till a very recent period — till the discovery of the spectroscope in fact — the constituents of the heavenly bodies were utterly unknown to our learned academies? And even now, notwithstanding tele‐spectroscope and other very

* The theory that the sun is an incandescent globe is — as one of the magazines recently expressed it — ʺgoing out of fashion.ʺ It has been computed that if the sun — whose mass and diameter is known to us — ʺwere a solid block of coal, and sufficient amount of oxygen could be supplied to burn at the rate necessary to produce the effects we see, it would be completely consumed in less than 5,000 years.ʺ And yet, till comparatively a few weeks ago, it was maintained — nay, is still maintained, that the sun is a reservoir of vaporized metals!

important modern improvements, except a few elements and a hypothetical chromosphere, everything is yet a mystery for them in the stars. Could Paracelsus have been so sure of the nature of the starry host, unless he had means of which science knows nothing? Yet knowing nothing she will not even hear pronounced the very names of these means, which are — hermetic philosophy and alchemy.

We must bear in mind, moreover, that Paracelsus was the discoverer of hydrogen, and knew well all its properties and composition long before any of the orthodox academicians ever thought of it; that he had studied astrology and astronomy, as all the fire‐philosophers did; and that, if he did assert that man is in a direct affinity with the stars, he knew well what he asserted.

The next point for the physiologists to verify is his proposition that the nourishment of the body comes not merely through the stomach, ʺbut also imperceptibly through the magnetic force, which resides in all nature and by which every individual member draws its specific nourishment to itself.ʺ Man, he further says, draws not only health from the elements when in equilibrium, but also disease when they are disturbed. Living bodies are subject to the laws of attraction and chemical affinity, as science admits; the most remarkable physical property of organic tissues, according to physiologists, is the property of imbibition. What more natural, then, than this theory of Paracelsus, that this absorbent, attractive, and chemical body of ours gathers into itself the astral or sidereal influences? ʺThe sun and the stars


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attract from us to themselves, and we again from them to us.ʺ What objection can science offer to this? What it is that we give off, is shown in Baron Reichenbachʹs discovery of the odic emanations of man, which are identical with flames from magnets, crystals, and in fact from all vegetable organisms.

The unity of the universe was asserted by Paracelsus, who says that ʺthe human body is possessed of primeval stuffʺ (or cosmic matter); the spectroscope has proved the assertion by showing that the same chemical elements which exist upon earth and in the sun, are also found in all the stars. The spectroscope does more: it shows that all the stars are suns, similar in constitution to our own;* and as we are told by Professor Mayer,† that the magnetic condition of the earth changes with every variation upon the sunʹs surface, and is said to be ʺin subjection to emanations from the sun,ʺ the stars being suns must also give off emanations which affect us in proportionate degrees.

ʺIn our dreams,ʺ says Paracelsus, ʺwe are like the plants, which have also the elementary and vital body, but possess not the spirit. In our sleep the astral body is free and can, by the elasticity of its nature, either hover round in proximity with its sleeping vehicle, or soar higher to hold converse with

* See Youmans, ʺChemistry on the Basis of the New System — Spectrum Analysis.ʺ

† Professor of Physics in the Stevens Institute of Technology. See his ʺThe Earth a Great Magnet,ʺ — a lecture delivered before the Yale Scientific Club, 1872. See, also, Prof. Balfour Stewartʹs lecture on ʺThe Sun and the Earth.ʺ

its starry parents, or even communicate with its brothers at great distances. Dreams of a prophetic character, prescience, and present wants, are the faculties of the astral spirit. To our elementary and grosser body, these gifts are not imparted, for at death it descends into the bosom of the earth and is reunited to the physical elements, while the several spirits return to the stars. The animals,ʺ he adds, ʺhave also their presentiments, for they too have an astral body.ʺ

Van Helmont, who was a disciple of Paracelsus, says much the same, though his theories on magnetism are more largely developed, and still more carefully elaborated. The Magnale Magnum, the means by which the secret magnetic property ʺenables one person to affect another mutually, is attributed by him to that universal sympathy which exists between all things in nature. The cause produces the effect, the effect refers itself back to the cause, and both are reciprocated. ʺMagnetism,ʺ he says, ʺis an unknown property of a heavenly nature; very much resembling the stars, and not at all impeded by any boundaries of space or time. . . . Every created being possesses his own celestial power and is closely allied with heaven. This magic power of man, which thus can operate externally, lies, as it were, hidden in the inner man. This magical wisdom and strength thus sleeps, but, by a mere suggestion is roused into activity, and becomes more living, the more the outer man of flesh and the darkness is repressed

. . . and this, I say, the kabalistic art effects; it brings back to


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the soul that magical yet natural strength which like a startled sleep had left it.ʺ*

Both Van Helmont and Paracelsus agree as to the great potency of the will in the state of ecstasy; they say that ʺthe spirit is everywhere diffused; and the spirit is the medium of magnetismʺ; that pure primeval magic does not consist in superstitious practices and vain ceremonies but in the imperial will of man. ʺIt is not the spirits of heaven and of hell which are the masters over physical nature, but the soul and spirit of man which are concealed in him as the fire is concealed in the flint.ʺ

The theory of the sidereal influence on man was enunciated by all the mediæval philosophers. ʺThe stars consist equally of the elements of earthly bodies,ʺ says Cornelius Agrippa, ʺand therefore the ideas attract each other. . . . Influences only go forth through the help of the spirit; but this spirit is diffused through the whole universe and is in full accord with the human spirits. The magician who would acquire supernatural powers must possess faith, love, and hope. . . . In all things there is a secret power concealed, and thence come the miraculous powers of magic.ʺ

The modern theory of General Pleasonton† singularly coincides with the views of the fire‐philosophers. His view of the positive and negative electricities of man and woman, and the mutual attraction and repulsion of everything in nature

* ʺDe Magnetica Vulner Curatione,ʺ p. 722, 1. c.

† See ʺOn the Influence of the Blue Ray.ʺ

seems to be copied from that of Robert Fludd, the Grand Master of the Rosicrucians of England. ʺWhen two men approach each other,ʺ says the fire‐philosopher, ʺtheir magnetism is either passive or active; that is, positive or negative. If the emanations which they send out are broken or thrown back, there arises antipathy. But when the emanations pass through each other from both sides, then there is positive magnetism, for the rays proceed from the centre to the circumference. In this case they not only affect sicknesses but also moral sentiments. This magnetism or sympathy is found not only among animals but also in plants and in minerals.ʺ‡

And now we will notice how, when Mesmer had imported into France his ʺbaquetʺ and system based entirely on the philosophy and doctrines of the Paracelsites — the great psychological and physiological discovery was treated by the physicians. It will demonstrate how much ignorance, superficiality, and prejudice can be displayed by a scientific body, when the subject clashes with their own cherished theories. It is the more important because, to the neglect of the committee of the French Academy of 1784 is probably due the present materialistic drift of the public mind; and certainly the gaps in the atomic philosophy which we have seen its most devoted teachers confessing to exist. The committee of 1784 comprised men of such eminence as Borie, Sallin, dʹArcet, and the famous Guillotin, to whom were

‡ Ennemoser, ʺHistory of Magic.ʺ


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subsequently added, Franklin, Leroi, Bailly, De Borg and Lavoisier. Borie died shortly afterward and Magault succeeded him. There can be no doubt of two things, viz.: that the committee began their work under strong prejudices and only because peremptorily ordered to do it by the king; and that their manner of observing the delicate facts of mesmerism was injudicious and illiberal. Their report, drawn by Bailly, was intended to be a death‐blow to the new science. It was spread ostentatiously throughout all the schools and ranks of society, arousing the bitterest feelings among a large portion of the aristocracy and rich commercial class, who had patronized Mesmer and had been eye‐witnesses of his cures. Ant. L. de Jussieu, an academician of the highest rank, who had thoroughly investigated the subject with the eminent court‐physician, dʹEslon, published a counter‐report drawn with minute exactness, in which he advocated the careful observation by the medical faculty of the therapeutic effects of the magnetic fluid and insisted upon the immediate publication of their discoveries and observations. His demand was met by the appearance of a great number of memoirs, polemical works, and dogmatical books developing new facts; and Thouretʹs works entitled Recherches et Doutes sur le Magnetisme Animal, displaying a vast erudition, stimulated research into the records of the past, and the magnetic phenomena of successive nations from the remotest antiquity were laid before the public.

The doctrine of Mesmer was simply a restatement of the doctrines of Paracelsus, Van Helmont, Santanelli, and

Maxwell, the Scotchman; and he was even guilty of copying texts from the work of Bertrand, and enunciating them as his own principles.* In Professor Stewartʹs work,† the author regards our universe as composed of atoms with some sort of medium between them as the machine, and the laws of energy as the laws working this machine. Professor Youmans calls this ʺa modern doctrine,ʺ but we find among the twenty‐ seven propositions laid down by Mesmer, in 1775, just one century earlier, in his Letter to a Foreign Physician, the following: 1st. There exists a mutual influence between the heavenly bodies, the earth, and living bodies. 2d. A fluid, universally diffused and continued, so as to admit no vacuum, whose subtility is beyond all comparison, and which, from its nature, is capable of receiving, propagating, and communicating all the impressions of motion, is the medium of this influence. It would appear from this, that the theory is not so modern after all. Professor Balfour Stewart says, ʺWe may regard the universe in the light of a vast physical machine.ʺ And Mesmer: 3d. This reciprocal action is subject to mechanical laws, unknown up to the present time.

Professor Mayer, reaffirming Gilbertʹs doctrine that the earth is a great magnet, remarks that the mysterious variations in the intensity of its force seem to be in subjection to emanations from the sun, ʺchanging with the apparent daily and yearly revolutions of that orb, and pulsating in sympathy with the huge waves of fire which sweep over its

* ʺDu Magnetisme Animal, en France.ʺ Paris, 1826.

† ʺThe Conservation of Energy.ʺ N. Y., 1875.


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surface.ʺ He speaks of ʺthe constant fluctuation, the ebb and flow of the earthʹs directive influence.ʺ And Mesmer:

4th. ʺFrom this action result alternate effects which may be considered a flux and reflux.ʺ

6th. It is by this operation (the most universal of those presented to us by nature) that the relations of activity occur between the heavenly bodies, the earth, and its constituent parts.

There are two more which will be interesting reading to our modern scientists:

7th. The properties of matter, and of organized body, depend on this operation.

8th. The animal body experiences the alternate effects of this agent; and it is by insinuating itself into the substance of the nerves, that it immediately affects them.

Among other important works which appeared between 1798 and 1824, when the French Academy appointed its second commission to investigate mesmerism, the Annales du Magnetisme Animal, by the Baron dʹHenin de Cuvillier, Lieutenant‐General, Chevalier of St. Louis, member of the Academy of Sciences, and correspondent of many of the learned societies of Europe, may be consulted with great advantage. In 1820 the Prussian government instructed the Academy of Berlin to offer a prize of three hundred ducats in gold for the best thesis on mesmerism. The Royal Scientific Society of Paris, under the presidency of His Royal Highness the Duc dʹAngouleme, offered a gold medal for the same purpose. The Marquis de la Place, peer of France, one of the

Forty of the Academy of Sciences, and honorary member of the learned societies of all the principal European governments, issued a work entitled Essai Philosophique sur les Probabilites, in which this eminent scientist says: ʺOf all the instruments that we can employ to know the imperceptible agents of nature, the most sensitive are the nerves, especially when exceptional influences increase their sensibility. . . . The singular phenomena which result from this extreme nervous sensitiveness of certain individuals, have given birth to diverse opinions as to the existence of a new agent, which has been named animal magnetism. . . . We are so far from knowing all the agents of nature and their various modes of action that it would be hardly philosophical to deny the phenomena, simply because they are inexplicable, in the actual state of our information. It is simply our duty to examine them with an attention as much more scrupulous as it seems difficult to admit them.ʺ The experiments of Mesmer were vastly improved upon by the Marquis de Puysegur, who entirely dispensed with apparatus and produced remarkable cures among the tenants of his estate at Busancy. These being given to the public, many other educated men experimented with like success, and in 1825 M. Foissac proposed to the Academy of Medicine to institute a new inquiry. A special committee, consisting of Adelon, Parisey, Marc, Burdin, Sen., with Husson as reporter, united in a recommendation that the suggestion should be adopted. They make the manly avowal that ʺin science no decision whatever is absolute and irrevocable,ʺ and afford us the


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means to estimate the value which should be attached to the conclusions of the Franklin committee of 1784, by saying that ʺthe experiments on which this judgment was founded appeared to have been conducted without the simultaneous and necessary assembling together of all the commissioners, and also with moral predispositions, which, according to the principles of the fact which they were appointed to examine, must cause their complete failure.ʺ

What they say concerning magnetism as a secret remedy, has been said many times by the most respected writers upon modern Spiritualism, namely: ʺIt is the duty of the Academy to study it, to subject it to trials; finally, to take away the use and practice of it from persons quite strangers to the art, who abuse this means, and make it an object of lucre and speculation.ʺ

This report provoked long debates, but in May, 1826, the Academy appointed a commission which comprised the following illustrious names: Leroux, Bourdois de la Motte, Double, Magendie, Guersant, Husson, Thillaye, Marc, Itard, Fouquier, and Guenau de Mussy. They began their labors immediately, and continued them five years, communicating, through Monsieur Husson, to the Academy the results of their observations. The report embraces accounts of phenomena classified under thirty‐four different paragraphs, but as this work is not specially devoted to the science of magnetism, we must be content with a few brief extracts. They assert that neither contact of the hands, frictions, nor passes are invariably needed, since, on several occasions, the

will, fixedness of stare, have sufficed to produce magnetic phenomena, even without the knowledge of the magnetized. ʺWell‐attested and therapeutical phenomenaʺ depend on magnetism alone, and are not reproduced without it. The state of somnambulism exists and ʺoccasions the development of new faculties, which have received the denominations of clairvoyance, intuition, internal prevision.ʺ Sleep (the magnetic) has ʺbeen excited under circumstances where those magnetized could not see, and were entirely ignorant of the means employed to occasion it. The magnetizer, having once controlled his subject, may ʺput him completely into somnambulism, take him out of it without his knowledge, out of his sight, at a certain distance, and through closed doors.ʺ The external senses of the sleeper seem to be completely paralyzed, and a duplicate set to be brought into action. ʺMost of the time they are entirely strangers to the external and unexpected noise made in their ears, such as the sound of copper vessels, forcibly struck, the fall of any heavy substance, and so forth. . . . One may make them respire hydrochloric acid or ammonia without inconveniencing them by it, or without even a suspicion on their part.ʺ The committee could ʺtickle their feet, nostrils, and the angles of the eyes by the approach of a feather, pinch their skin so as to produce ecchymosis, prick it under the nails with pins plunged to a considerable depth, without the evincing of any pain, or by sign of being at all aware of it. In a word, we have seen one person who was insensible to one of the most


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painful operations of surgery, and whose countenance, pulse, or respiration did not manifest the slightest emotion.ʺ

So much for the external senses; now let us see what they have to say about the internal ones, which may fairly be considered as proving a marked difference between man and a mutton‐protoplasm. ʺWhilst they are in this state of somnambulism,ʺ say the committee, ʺthe magnetized persons we have observed, retain the exercise of the faculties which they have whilst awake. Their memory even appears to be more faithful and more extensive. . . . We have seen two somnambulists distinguish, width their eyes shut, the objects placed before them; they have told, without touching them, the color and value of the cards; they have read words traced with the hand, or some lines of books opened by mere chance. This phenomenon took place, even when the opening of the eyelids was accurately closed, by means of the fingers. We met, in two somnambulists, the power of foreseeing acts more or less complicated of the organism. One of them announced several days, nay, several months beforehand, the day, the hour, and the minute when epileptic fits would come on and return; the other declared the time of the cure. Their previsions were realized with remarkable exactness.ʺ

The commission say that ʺit has collected and communicated facts sufficiently important to induce it to think that the Academy should encourage the researches on magnetism as a very curious branch of psychology and natural history.ʺ The committee conclude by saying that the facts are so extraordinary that they scarcely imagine that the

Academy will concede their reality, but protest that they have been throughout animated by motives of a lofty character, ʺthe love of science and by the necessity of justifying the hopes which the Academy had entertained of our zeal and our devotion.ʺ

Their fears were fully justified by the conduct of at least one member of their own number, who had absented himself from the experiments, and, as M. Husson tells us, ʺdid not deem it right to sign the report.ʺ

This was Magendie, the physiologist, who, despite the fact stated by the official report that he had not ʺbeen present at the experiments,ʺ did not hesitate to devote four pages of his famous work on Human Physiology to the subject of mesmerism, and after summarizing its alleged phenomena, without endorsing them as unreservedly as the erudition and scientific acquirements of his fellow committee‐men would seem to have exacted, says: ʺSelf‐respect and the dignity of the profession demand circumspection on these points. He [the well‐informed physician] will remember how readily mystery glides into charlatanry, and how apt the profession is to become degraded even by its semblance when countenanced by respectable practitioners.ʺ No word in the context lets his readers into the secret that he had been duly appointed by the Academy to serve on the commission of 1826; had absented himself from its sittings; had so failed to learn the truth about mesmeric phenomena, and was now pronouncing judgment ex parte. ʺSelf‐respect and the dignity of the professionʺ probably exacted silence!


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Thirty‐eight years later, an English scientist, whose specialty is the investigation of physics, and whose reputation is even greater than that of Magendie, stooped to as unfair a course of conduct. When the opportunity offered to investigate the spiritualistic phenomena, and aid in taking it out of the hands of ignorant or dishonest investigators, Professor John Tyndall avoided the subject; but in his Fragments of Science, he was guilty of the ungentlemanly expressions which we have quoted in another place.

But we are wrong; he made one attempt, and that sufficed. He tells us, in the Fragments, that he once got under a table, to see how the raps were made, and arose with a despair for humanity, such as he never felt before! Israel Putnam, crawling on hand and knee to kill the she‐wolf in her den, partially affords a parallel by which to estimate the chemistʹs courage in groping in the dark after the ugly truth; but Putnam killed his wolf, and Tyndall was devoured by his! ʺSub mensa desperatioʺ should be the motto on his shield.

Speaking of the report of the committee of 1824, Dr. Alphonse Teste, a distinguished contemporaneous scientist, says that it produced a great impression on the Academy, but few convictions: ʺNo one could question the veracity of the commissioners, whose good faith as well as great knowledge were undeniable, but they were suspected of having been dupes. In fact, there are certain unfortunate truths which compromise those who believe in them, and those especially who are so candid as to avow them publicly.ʺ How true this is, let the records of history, from the earliest times to this very day,

attest. When Professor Robert Hare announced the preliminary results of his spiritualistic investigations, he, albeit one of the most eminent chemists and physicists in the world, was, nevertheless, regarded as a dupe. When he proved that he was not, he was charged with having fallen into dotage; the Harvard professors denouncing ʺhis insane adherence to the gigantic humbug.ʺ

When the professor began his investigations in 1853, he announced that he ʺfelt called upon, as an act of duty to his fellow‐creatures, to bring whatever influence he possessed to the attempt to stem the tide of popular madness, which, in defiance of reason and science, was fast setting in favor of the gross delusion called Spiritualism.ʺ Though, according to his declaration, he ʺentirely coincided with Faradayʹs theory of table‐turning,ʺ he had the true greatness which characterizes the princes of science to make his investigation thorough, and then tell the truth. How he was rewarded by his life‐long associates, let his own words tell. In an address delivered in New York, in September, 1854, he says that ʺhe had been engaged in scientific pursuits for upwards of half a century, and his accuracy and precision had never been questioned, until he had become a spiritualist; while his integrity as a man had never in his life been assailed, until the Harvard professors fulminated their report against that which he knew to be true, and which they did not know to be false.ʺ

How much mournful pathos is expressed in these few words! An old man of seventy‐six — a scientist of half a century, deserted for telling the truth! And now Mr. A. R.


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Wallace, who had previously been esteemed among the most illustrious of British scientists, having proclaimed his belief in spiritualism and mesmerism, is spoken of in terms of compassion. Professor Nicholas Wagner, of St. Petersburg, whose reputation as a zoologist is one of the most conspicuous, in his turn pays the penalty of his exceptional candor, in his outrageous treatment by the Russian scientists!

There are scientists and scientists and if the occult sciences suffer in the instance of modern spiritualism from the malice of one class, nevertheless, they have had their defenders at all times among men whose names have shed lustre upon science itself. In the first rank stands Isaac Newton, ʺthe light of science,ʺ who was a thorough believer in magnetism, as taught by Paracelsus, Van Helmont, and by the fire‐ philosophers in general. No one will presume to deny that his doctrine of universal space and attraction is purely a theory of magnetism. If his own words mean anything at all, they mean that he based all his speculations upon the ʺsoul of the world,ʺ the great universal, magnetic agent, which he called the divine sensorium.* ʺHere,ʺ he says, ʺthe question is of a very subtile spirit which penetrates through all, even the hardest bodies, and which is concealed in their substance. Through the strength and activity of this spirit, bodies attract each other, and adhere together when brought into contact. Through it, electrical bodies operate at the remotest distance, as well as near at hand, attracting and repelling; through this

* ʺFundamental Principles of Natural Philosophy.ʺ

spirit the light also flows, and is refracted and reflected, and warms bodies. All senses are excited by this spirit, and through it the animals move their limbs. But these things cannot be explained in few words, and we have not yet sufficient experience to determine fully the laws by which this universal spirit operates.ʺ

There are two kinds of magnetization; the first is purely animal, the other transcendent, and depending on the will and knowledge of the mesmerizer, as well as on the degree of spirituality of the subject, and his capacity to receive the impressions of the astral light. But now it is next to ascertain that clairvoyance depends a great deal more on the former than on the latter. To the power of an adept, like Du Potet, the most positive subject will have to submit. If his sight is ably directed by the mesmerizer, magician, or spirit, the light must yield up its most secret records to our scrutiny; for, if it is a book which is ever closed to those ʺwho see and do not perceive,ʺ on the other hand it is ever opened for one who wills to see it opened. It keeps an unmutilated record of all that was, that is, or ever will be. The minutest acts of our lives are imprinted on it, and even our thoughts rest photographed on its eternal tablets. It is the book which we see opened by the angel in the Revelation, ʺwhich is the Book of life, and out of which the dead are judged according to their works.ʺ It is, in short, the MEMORY of GOD!

ʺThe oracles assert that the impression of thoughts, characters, men, and other divine visions, appear in the


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æther. . . . In this the things without figure are figured,ʺ says an ancient fragment of the Chaldean Oracles of Zoroaster.*

Thus, ancient as well as modern wisdom, vaticination and science, agree in corroborating the claims of the kabalists. It is on the indestructible tablets of the astral light that is stamped the impression of every thought we think, and every act we perform; and that future events — effects of long‐forgotten causes — are already delineated as a vivid picture for the eye of the seer and prophet to follow. Memory — the despair of the materialist, the enigma of the psychologist, the sphinx of science — is to the student of old philosophies merely a name to express that power which man unconsciously exerts, and shares with many of the inferior animals — to look with inner sight into the astral light, and there behold the images of past sensations and incidents. Instead of searching the cerebral ganglia for ʺmicrographs of the living and the dead, of scenes that we have visited, of incidents in which we have borne a part,ʺ† they went to the vast repository where the records of every manʹs life as well as every pulsation of the visible cosmos are stored up for all Eternity!

That flash of memory which is traditionally supposed to show a drowning man every long‐forgotten scene of his mortal life — as the landscape is revealed to the traveller by intermittent flashes of lightning — is simply the sudden

* ʺSimpl. in Phys.,ʺ 143; ʺThe Chaldean Oracles,ʺ Cory.

† Draper, ʺConflict between Religion and Science.ʺ

glimpse which the struggling soul gets into the silent galleries where his history is depicted in imperishable colors.

The well‐known fact — one corroborated by the personal experience of nine persons out of ten — that we often recognize as familiar to us, scenes, and landscapes, and conversations, which we see or hear for the first time, and sometimes in countries never visited before, is a result of the same causes. Believers in reïncarnation adduce this as an additional proof of our antecedent existence in other bodies. This recognition of men, countries, and things that we have never seen, is attributed by them to flashes of soul‐memory of anterior experiences. But the men of old, in common with mediæval philosophers, firmly held to a contrary opinion.

They affirmed that though this psychological phenomenon was one of the greatest arguments in favor of immortality and the soulʹs preëxistence, yet the latter being endowed with an individual memory apart from that of our physical brain, it is no proof of reïncarnation. As Eliphas Levi beautifully expresses it, ʺnature shuts the door after everything that passes, and pushes life onwardʺ in more perfected forms. The chrysalis becomes a butterfly; the latter can never become again a grub. In the stillness of the night‐hours, when our bodily senses are fast locked in the fetters of sleep, and our elementary body rests, the astral form becomes free. It then oozes out of its earthly prison, and as Paracelsus has it — ʺconfabulates with the outward world,ʺ and travels round the visible as well as the invisible worlds. ʺIn sleep,ʺ he says, ʺthe astral body (soul) is in freer motion; then it soars to its


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parents, and holds converse with the stars.ʺ Dreams, forebodings, prescience, prognostications and presentiments are impressions left by our astral spirit on our brain, which receives them more or less distinctly, according to the proportion of blood with which it is supplied during the hours of sleep. The more the body is exhausted, the freer is the spiritual man, and the more vivid the impressions of our soulʹs memory. In heavy and robust sleep, dreamless and uninterrupted, upon awakening to outward consciousness, men may sometimes remember nothing. But the impressions of scenes and landscapes which the astral body saw in its peregrinations are still there, though lying latent under the pressure of matter. They may be awakened at any moment, and then, during such flashes of manʹs inner memory, there is an instantaneous interchange of energies between the visible and the invisible universes. Between the ʺmicrographsʺ of the cerebral ganglia and the photo‐scenographic galleries of the astral light, a current is established. And a man who knows that he has never visited in body, nor seen the landscape and person that he recognizes may well assert that still has he seen and knows them, for the acquaintance was formed while travelling in ʺspirit.ʺ To this the physiologists can have but one objection. They will answer that in natural sleep — perfect and deep, ʺhalf of our nature which is volitional is in the condition of inertiaʺ; hence unable to travel; the more so as the existence of any such individual astral body or soul is considered by them little else than a poetical myth. Blumenbach assures us that in the state of sleep, all

intercourse between mind and body is suspended; an assertion which is denied by Dr. Richardson, F. R. S., who honestly reminds the German scientist that ʺthe precise limits and connections of mind and body being unknownʺ it is more than should be said. This confession, added to those of the French physiologist, Fournie, and the still more recent one of Dr. Allchin, an eminent London physician, who frankly avowed, in an address to students, that ʺof all scientific pursuits which practically concern the community, there is none perhaps which rests upon so uncertain and insecure a basis as medicine,ʺ gives us a certain right to offset the hypotheses of ancient scientists against those of the modern ones.

No man, however gross and material he may be, can avoid leading a double existence; one in the visible universe, the other in the invisible. The life‐principle which animates his physical frame is chiefly in the astral body; and while the more animal portions of him rest, the more spiritual ones know neither limits nor obstacles. We are perfectly aware that many learned, as well as the unlearned, will object to such a novel theory of the distribution of the life‐principle. They would prefer remaining in blissful ignorance and go on confessing that no one knows or can pretend to tell whence and whither this mysterious agent appears and disappears, than to give one momentʹs attention to what they consider old and exploded theories. Some might object on the ground taken by theology, that dumb brutes have no immortal souls, and hence, can have no astral spirits; for theologians as well as


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laymen labor under the erroneous impression that soul and spirit are one and the same thing.

But if we study Plato and other philosophers of old, we may readily perceive that while the ʺirrational soul,ʺ by which Plato meant our astral body, or the more ethereal representation of ourselves, can have at best only a more or less prolonged continuity of existence beyond the grave; the divine spirit — wrongly termed soul, by the Church — is immortal by its very essence. (Any Hebrew scholar will readily appreciate the distinction who comprehends the difference between the two words xww ruah and Xpn nephesh.) If the life‐principle is something apart from the astral spirit and in no way connected with it, why is it that the intensity of the clairvoyant powers depends so much on the bodily prostration of the subject? The deeper the trance, the less signs of life the body shows, the clearer become the spiritual perceptions, and the more powerful are the soulʹs visions. The soul, disburdened of the bodily senses, shows activity of power in a far greater degree of intensity than it can in a strong, healthy body. Brierre de Boismont gives repeated instances of this fact. The organs of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing are proved to become far acuter in a mesmerized subject deprived of the possibility of exercising them bodily, than while he uses them in his normal state.

Such facts alone, once proved, ought to stand as invincible demonstrations of the continuity of individual life, at least for a certain period after the body has been left by us, either by reason of its being worn out or by accident. But though

during its brief sojourn on earth our soul may be assimilated to a light hidden under a bushel, it still shines more or less bright and attracts to itself the influences of kindred spirits; and when a thought of good or evil import is begotten in our brain, it draws to it impulses of like nature as irresistibly as the magnet attracts iron filings. This attraction is also proportionate to the intensity with which the thought‐ impulse makes itself felt in the ether; and so it will be understood how one man may impress himself upon his own epoch so forcibly, that the influence may be carried — through the ever‐interchanging currents of energy between the two worlds, the visible and the invisible — from one succeeding age to another, until it affects a large portion of mankind.

How much the authors of the famous work entitled the Unseen Universe may have allowed themselves to think in this direction, it would be difficult to say; but that they have not told all they might will be inferred from the following language:

ʺRegard it as you please, there can be no doubt that the properties of the ether are of a much higher order in the arcana of nature than those of tangible matter. And, as even the high priests of science still find the latter far beyond their comprehension, except in numerous but minute and often isolated particulars, it would not become us to speculate further. It is sufficient for our purpose to know from what the ether certainly does, that it is capable of vastly more than any has yet ventured to say.ʺ


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One of the most interesting discoveries of modern times, is that of the faculty which enables a certain class of sensitive persons to receive from any object held in the hand or against the forehead impressions of the character or appearance of the individual, or any other object with which it has previously been in contact. Thus a manuscript, painting, article of clothing, or jewelry — no matter how ancient — conveys to the sensitive, a vivid picture of the writer, painter, or wearer; even though he lived in the days of Ptolemy or Enoch. Nay, more; a fragment of an ancient building will recall its history and even the scenes which transpired within or about it. A bit of ore will carry the soul‐vision back to the time when it was in process of formation. This faculty is called by its discoverer — Professor J. R. Buchanan, of Louisville, Kentucky — psychometry. To him, the world is indebted for this most important addition to Psychological Sciences; and to him, perhaps, when skepticism is found felled to the ground by such accumulation of facts, posterity will have to elevate a statue. In announcing to the public his great discovery, Professor Buchanan, confining himself to the power of psychometry to delineate human character, says: ʺThe mental and physiological influence imparted to writing appears to be imperishable, as the oldest specimens I have investigated gave their impressions with a distinctness and force, little impaired by time. Old manuscripts, requiring an antiquary to decipher their strange old penmanship, were easily interpreted by the psychometric power. . . . The property of retaining the impress of mind is not limited to

writing. Drawings, paintings, everything upon which human contact, thought, and volition have been expended, may become linked with that thought and life, so as to recall them to the mind of another when in contact.ʺ

Without, perhaps, really knowing, at the early time of the grand discovery, the significance of his own prophetic words, the Professor adds: ʺThis discovery, in its application to the arts and to history, will open a mine of interesting knowledge.ʺ*

The existence of this faculty was first experimentally demonstrated in 1841. It has since been verified by a thousand psychometers in different parts of the world. It proves that every occurrence in nature — no matter how minute or unimportant — leaves its indelible impress upon physical nature; and, as there has been no appreciable molecular disturbance, the only inference possible is, that these images have been produced by that invisible, universal force — Ether, or astral light.


In his charming work, entitled The Soul of Things, Professor Denton, the geologist,† enters at great length into a discussion of this subject. He gives a multitude of examples of

* J. R. Buchanan, M.D., ʺOutlines of Lectures on the Neurological System of Anthropology.ʺ

† W. and Elizabeth M. F. Denton, ʺThe Soul of Things; or Psychometric Researches and Discoveries,ʺ Boston, 1873.


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the psychometrical power, which Mrs. Denton possesses in a marked degree. A fragment of Ciceroʹs house, at Tusculum, enabled her to describe, without the slightest intimation as to the nature of the object placed on her forehead, not only the great oratorʹs surroundings, but also the previous owner of the building, Cornelius Sulla Felix, or, as he is usually called, Sulla the Dictator. A fragment of marble from the ancient Christian Church of Smyrna, brought before her its congregation and officiating priests. Specimens from Nineveh, China, Jerusalem, Greece, Ararat, and other places all over the world brought up scenes in the life of various personages, whose ashes had been scattered thousands of years ago. In many cases Professor Denton verified the statements by reference to historical records. More than this, a bit of the skeleton, or a fragment of the tooth of some antediluvian animal, caused the seeress to perceive the creature as it was when alive, and even live for a few brief moments its life, and experience its sensations. Before the eager quest of the psychometer, the most hidden recesses of the domain of nature yield up their secrets; and the events of the most remote epochs rival in vividness of impression the flitting circumstances of yesterday.

Says the author, in the same work: ʺNot a leaf waves, not an insect crawls, not a ripple moves, but each motion is recorded by a thousand faithful scribes in infallible and indelible scripture. This is just as true of all past time. From the dawn of light upon this infant globe, when round its cradle the steamy curtains hung, to this moment, nature has

been busy photographing everything. What a picture‐gallery is hers!ʺ

It appears to us the height of impossibility to imagine that scenes in ancient Thebes, or in some temple of prehistoric times should be photographed only upon the substance of certain atoms. The images of the events are imbedded in that all‐permeating, universal, and ever‐retaining medium, which the philosophers call the ʺSoul of the World,ʺ and Mr. Denton ʺthe Soul of Things.ʺ The psychometer, by applying the fragment of a substance to his forehead, brings his inner‐self into relations with the inner soul of the object he handles. It is now admitted that the universal æther pervades all things in nature, even the most solid. It is beginning to be admitted, also, that this preserves the images of all things which transpire. When the psychometer examines his specimen, he is brought in contact with the current of the astral light, connected with that specimen, and which retains pictures of the events associated with its history. These, according to Denton, pass before his vision with the swiftness of light; scene after scene crowding upon each other so rapidly, that it is only by the supreme exercise of the will that he is able to hold any one in the field of vision long enough to describe it.


The psychometer is clairvoyant; that is, he sees with the inner eye. Unless his will‐power is very strong, unless he has thoroughly trained himself to that particular phenomenon, and his knowledge of the capabilities of his sight are


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profound, his perceptions of places, persons, and events, must necessarily be very confused. But in the case of mesmerization, in which this same clairvoyant faculty is developed, the operator, whose will holds that of the subject under control, can force him to concentrate his attention upon a given picture long enough to observe all its minute details. Moreover, under the guidance of an experienced mesmerizer, the seer would excel the natural psychometer in having a prevision of future events, more distinct and clear than the latter. And to those who might object to the possibility of perceiving that which ʺyet is not,ʺ we may put the question: Why is it more impossible to see that which will be, than to bring back to sight that which is gone, and is no more? According to the kabalistic doctrine, the future exists in the astral light in embryo, as the present existed in embryo in the past. While man is free to act as he pleases, the manner in which he will act was foreknown from all time; not on the ground of fatalism or destiny, but simply on the principle of universal, unchangeable harmony; and, as it may be foreknown that, when a musical note is struck, its vibrations will not, and cannot change into those of another note. Besides, eternity can have neither past nor future, but only the present; as boundless space, in its strictly literal sense, can have neither distant nor proximate places. Our conceptions, limited to the narrow area of our experience, attempt to fit if not an end, at least a beginning of time and space; but neither of these exist in reality; for in such case time would not be eternal, nor space boundless. The past no more exists than the

future, as we have said, only our memories survive; and our memories are but the glimpses that we catch of the reflections of this past in the currents of the astral light, as the psychometer catches them from the astral emanations of the object held by him.

Says Professor E. Hitchcock, when speaking of the influences of light upon bodies, and of the formation of pictures upon them by means of it: ʺIt seems, then, that this photographic influence pervades all nature; nor can we say where it stops. We do not know but it may imprint upon the world around us our features, as they are modified by various passions, and thus fill nature with daguerreotype impressions of all our actions; . . . it may be, too, that there are tests by which nature, more skilful than any photographist, can bring out and fix these portraits, so that acuter senses than ours shall see them as on a great canvas, spread over the material universe. Perhaps, too, they may never fade from that canvas, but become specimens in the great picture‐gallery of eternity.ʺ*

The ʺperhapsʺ of Professor Hitchcock is henceforth changed by the demonstration of psychometry into a triumphant certitude. Those who understand these psychological and clairvoyant faculties will take exception to Professor Hitchcockʹs idea, that acuter senses than ours are needed to see these pictures upon his supposed cosmic canvas, and maintain that he should have confined his

* ʺReligion of Geology.ʺ


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limitations to the external senses of the body. The human spirit, being of the Divine, immortal Spirit, appreciates neither past nor future, but sees all things as in the present. These daguerreotypes referred to in the above quotation are imprinted upon the astral light, where, as we said before — and, according to the Hermetic teaching, the first portion of which is already accepted and demonstrated by science — is kept the record of all that was, is, or ever will be.

Of late, some of our learned men have given a particular attention to a subject hitherto branded with the mark of ʺsuperstition.ʺ They begin speculating on hypothetical and invisible worlds. The authors of the Unseen Universe were the first to boldly take the lead, and already they find a follower in Professor Fiske, whose speculations are given in the Unseen World. Evidently the scientists are probing the insecure ground of materialism, and, feeling it trembling under their feet, are preparing for a less dishonorable surrender of arms in case of defeat. Jevons confirms Babbage, and both firmly believe that every thought, displacing the particles of the brain and setting them in motion, scatters them throughout the universe, and think that ʺeach particle of the existing matter must be a register of all that has happened.ʺ* On the other hand, Dr. Thomas Young, in his lectures on natural philosophy, most positively invites us to ʺspeculate with freedom on the possibility of independent worlds; some existing in different parts, others pervading each other, unseen

and unknown, in the same space, and others again to which space may not be a necessary mode of existence.ʺ

If scientists, proceeding from a strictly scientific point of view, such as the possibility of energy being transferred into the invisible universe — and on the principle of continuity, indulge in such speculations, why should occultists and spiritualists be refused the same privilege? Ganglionic impressions on the surface of polished metal, are registered and may be preserved for an indefinite space of time, according to science; and Professor Draper illustrates the fact most poetically. ʺA shadow,ʺ says he, ʺnever falls upon a wall without leaving thereupon a permanent trace, a trace which might be made visible by resorting to proper processes. . . .

The portraits of our friends, or landscape‐views, may be hidden on the sensitive surface from the eye, but they are ready to make their appearance, as soon as proper developers are resorted to. A spectre is concealed on a silver or glassy surface, until, by our necromancy, we make it come forth into the visible world. Upon the walls of our most private apartments, where we think the eye of intrusion is altogether shut out, and our retirement can never be profaned, there exist the vestiges of all our acts, silhouettes of whatever we have done.ʺ†

* ʺPrinciples of Science,ʺ vol. ii., p. 455. † J. W. Draper, ʺConflict between Religion and Science,ʺ pp. 132, 133.


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If an indelible impression may be thus obtained on inorganic matter, and if nothing is lost or passes completely out of existence in the universe, why such a scientific levee of arms against the authors of the Unseen Universe? And on what ground can they reject the hypothesis that ʺThought, conceived to affect the matter of another universe simultaneously with this, may explain a future state?ʺ*

In our opinion, if psychometry is one of the grandest proofs of the indestructibility of matter, retaining eternally the impressions of the outward world, the possession of that faculty by our inner sight is a still greater one in favor of the immortality of manʹs individual spirit. Capable of discerning events which took place hundreds of thousands of years ago, why would it not apply the same faculty to a future lost in the eternity, in which there can be neither past nor future, but only one boundless present?

Notwithstanding the confessions of stupendous ignorance in some things, made by the scientists themselves, they still deny the existence of that mysterious spiritual force, lying beyond the grasp of the ordinary physical laws. They still hope to be able to apply to living beings the same laws which they have found to answer in reference to dead matter. And, having discovered what the kabalists term ʺthe gross

purgationsʺ of Ether — light, heat, electricity, and motion — they have rejoiced over their good fortune, counted its vibrations in producing the colors of the spectrum; and, proud of their achievements, refuse to see any further. Several men of science have pondered more or less over its protean essence, and unable to measure it with their photometers, called it ʺan hypothetical medium of great elasticity and extreme tenuity, supposed to pervade all space, the interior of solid bodies not exceptedʺ; and, ʺto be the medium of transmission of light and heatʺ (Dictionary). Others, whom we will name ʺthe will‐oʹ‐the‐wispsʺ of science

— her pseudo‐sons — examined it also, and even went to the trouble of scrutinizing it ʺthrough powerful glasses,ʺ they tell us. But perceiving neither spirits nor ghosts in it, and failing equally to discover in its treacherous waves anything of a more scientific character, they turned round and called all believers in immortality in general, and spiritualists in particular, ʺinsane foolsʺ and ʺvisionary lunaticsʺ ;† the whole, in doleful accents, perfectly appropriate to the circumstance of such a sad failure.

Say the authors of the Unseen Universe:

ʺWe have driven the operation of that mystery called Life out of the objective universe. The mistake made, lies in imagining that by this process they completely get rid of a thing so driven before them, and that it disappears from the universe altogether. It does no such thing. It only disappears

* ʺUnseen Universe,ʺ p. 159. † F. R. Marvin, ʺLecture on Mediomania.ʺ


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from that small circle of light which we may call the universe of scientific perception. Call it the trinity of mystery: mystery of matter, the mystery of life and — the mystery of God — and these three are One.ʺ *

Taking the ground that ʺthe visible universe must certainly, in transformable energy, and probably in matter, come to an end,ʺ and ʺthe principle of continuity . . . still demanding a continuance of the universe. . .ʺ the authors of this remarkable work find themselves forced to believe ʺthat there is something beyond that which is visible†. . . and that the visible system is not the whole universe but only, it may be, a very small part of it.ʺ Furthermore, looking back as well as forward to the origin of this visible universe, the authors urge that ʺif the visible universe is all that exists then the first abrupt manifestation of it is as truly a break of continuity as its final overthrowʺ (Art. 85). Therefore, as such a break is against the accepted law of continuity, the authors come to the following conclusion: ʺNow, is it not natural to imagine, that a universe of this nature, which we have reason to think exists, and is connected by bonds of energy with the visible universe, is also capable of receiving energy from it? . . . May we not regard Ether, or the medium, as not merely a bridge‡

* ʺUnseen Universe,ʺ p. 84, et seq.
† Ibid., p. 89.

‡ Behold! great scientists of the nineteenth century, corroborating the wisdom of the Scandinavian fable, cited in the preceding chapter. Several thousand years ago, the idea of a bridge between the visible and the invisible universes was allegorized by ignorant ʺheathen,ʺ in the

between one order of things and another, forming as it were a species of cement, in virtue of which the various orders of the universe are welded together and made into one? In fine, what we generally called Ether, may be not a mere medium, but a medium plus the invisible order of things, so that when the motions of the visible universe are transferred into Ether, part of them are conveyed as by a bridge into the invisible universe, and are there made use of and stored up. Nay, is it even necessary to retain the conception of a bridge? May we not at once say that when energy is carried from matter into Ether, it is carried from the visible into the invisible; and that when it is carried from Ether to matter it is carried from the invisible into the visible?ʺ — (Art. 198, Unseen Universe.)

Precisely; and were Science to take a few more steps in that direction and fathom more seriously the ʺhypothetical mediumʺ who knows but Tyndallʹs impassable chasm between the physical processes of the brain and consciousness, might be — at least intellectually — passed with surprising ease and safety.

So far back as 1856, a man considered a savant in his days

— Dr. Jobard of Paris, — had certainly the same ideas as the authors of the Unseen Universe, on ether, when he startled the press and the world of science by the following declaration: ʺI

ʺEdda‐Song of Voluspa,ʺ ʺThe Vision of Vala, the Seeress.ʺ For what is this bridge of Bifrost, the radiant rainbow, which leads the gods to their rendezvous, near the Urdar‐fountain, but the same idea as that which is offered to the thoughtful student by the authors of the ʺUnseen Universeʺ?


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hold a discovery which frightens me. There are two kinds of electricity; one, brute and blind, is produced by the contact of metals and acidsʺ; (the gross purgation) . . . ʺthe other is intelligent and CLAIRVOYANT! . . . Electricity has bifurcated itself in the hands of Galvani, Nobili, and Matteuci. The brute force of the current has followed Jacobi, Bonelli, and Moncal, while the intellectual one was following Bois‐Robert, Thilorier, and the Chevalier Duplanty. The electric ball or globular electricity contains a thought which disobeys Newton and Mariotte to follow its own freaks. . . . We have, in the annals of the Academy, thousands of proofs of the INTELLIGENCE of the electric bolt . . . But I remark that I am permitting myself to become indiscreet. A little more and I should have disclosed to you the key which is about to discover to us the universal spirit.ʺ*

The foregoing, added to the wonderful confessions of science and what we have just quoted from the Unseen Universe, throw an additional lustre on the wisdom of the long departed ages. In one of the preceding chapters we have alluded to a quotation from Coryʹs translation of Ancient Fragments, in which it appears that one of the Chaldean Oracles expresses this self‐same idea about ether, and in language singularly like that of the authors of the Unseen Universe. It states that from æther have come all things, and to it all will return; that the images of all things are indelibly impressed upon it; and that it is the store‐house of the germs or of the

* ʺLʹAmi des Sciences,ʺ March 2, 1856, p. 67.

remains of all visible forms, and even ideas. It appears as if this case strangely corroborates our assertion that whatever discoveries may be made in our days will be found to have been anticipated by many thousand years by our ʺsimple‐ minded ancestors.ʺ

At the point at which we are now arrived, the attitude assumed by the materialists toward psychical phenomena being perfectly defined, we may assert with safety that were this key lying loose on the threshold of the ʺchasmʺ not one of our Tyndalls would stoop to pick it up.

How timid would appear to some kabalists these tentative efforts to solve the GREAT MYSTERY of the universal ether! although so far in advance of anything propounded by cotemporary philosophers, what the intelligent explorers of the Unseen Universe speculate upon, was to the masters of hermetic philosophy familiar science. To them ether was not merely a bridge connecting the seen and unseen sides of the universe, but across its span their daring feet followed the road that led through the mysterious gates which modern speculators either will not or cannot unlock.

The deeper the research of the modern explorer, the more often he comes face to face with the discoveries of the ancients. Does Elie de Beaumont, the great French geologist, venture a hint upon the terrestrial circulation, in relation to some elements in the earthʹs crust, he finds himself anticipated by the old philosophers. Do we demand of distinguished technologists, what are the most recent discoveries in regard to the origin of the metalliferous


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deposits? We hear one of them, Professor Sterry Hunt, in showing us how water is a universal solvent, enunciating the doctrine held and taught by the old Thales, more than two dozen centuries ago, that water was the principle of all things. We listen to the same professor, with de Beaumont as authority, expounding the terrestrial circulation, and the chemical and physical phenomena of the material world. While we read with pleasure that he is ʺnot prepared to concede that we have in chemical and physical processes the whole secret of organic life,ʺ we note with a still greater delight the following honest confession on his part: ʺStill we are, in many respects, approximating the phenomena of the organic world to those of the mineral kingdom; and we at the same time learn that these so far interest and depend upon each other that we begin to see a certain truth underlying the notion of those old philosophers, who extended to the mineral world the notion of a vital force, which led them to speak of the earth as a great living organism, and to look upon the various changes of its air, its waters, and its rocky depths, as processes belonging to the life of our planet.ʺ

Everything in this world must have a beginning. Things have latterly gone so far with scientists in the matter of prejudice, that it is quite a wonder that even so much as this should be conceded to ancient philosophy. The poor, honest primordial elements have long been exiled, and our ambitious men of science run races to determine who shall add one more to the fledgling brood of the sixty‐three or more elementary substances. Meanwhile there rages a war in

modern chemistry about terms. We are denied the right to call these substances ʺchemical elements,ʺ for they are not ʺprimordial principles or self‐existing essences out of which the universe was fashioned.ʺ* Such ideas associated with the word element were good enough for the ʺold Greek philosophy,ʺ but modern science rejects them; for, as Professor Cooke says, ʺthey are unfortunate terms,ʺ and experimental science will have ʺnothing to do with any kind of essences except those which it can see, smell, or taste.ʺ It must have those that can be put in the eye, the nose, or the mouth! It leaves others to the metaphysicians.

Therefore, when Van Helmont tells us that, ʺthough a homogeneal part of elementary earth may be artfully (artificially) converted into water,ʺ though he still denies ʺthat the same can be done by nature alone; for no natural agent is able to transmute one element into another,ʺ offering as a reason that the elements always remain the same, we must believe him, if not quite an ignoramus, at least an unprogressed disciple of the mouldy ʺold Greek philosophy.ʺ Living and dying in blissful ignorance of the future sixty‐ three substances, what could either he or his old master, Paracelsus, achieve? Nothing, of course, but metaphysical and crazy speculations, clothed in a meaningless jargon common to all mediæval and ancient alchemists. Nevertheless, in comparing notes, we find in the latest of all works upon modern chemistry, the following: ʺThe study of chemistry has

* Cooke, ʺNew Chemistry,ʺ p. 113.


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revealed a remarkable class of substances, from no one of which a second substance has ever been produced by any chemical process which weighs less than the original substance . . . by no chemical process whatever can we obtain from iron a substance weighing less than the metal used in its production. In a word, we can extract from iron nothing but iron.ʺ* Moreover, it appears, according to Professor Cooke, that ʺseventy‐five years ago men did not know there was any differenceʺ between elementary and compound substances, for in old times alchemists had never conceived ʺthat weight is the measure of material, and that, as thus measured, no material is ever lost; but, on the contrary, they imagined that in such experiments† as these the substances involved underwent a mysterious transformation. . . Centuries,ʺ in short ʺwere wasted in vain attempts to transform the baser metals into gold.ʺ

Is Professor Cooke, so eminent in modern chemistry, equally proficient in the knowledge of what the alchemists did or did not know? Is he quite sure that he understands the meaning of the alchemical diction? We are not. But let us compare his views as above expressed with but sentences written in plain and good, albeit old English, from the translations of Van Helmont and Paracelsus. We learn from their own admissions that the alkahest induces the following changes:

* Ibid., pp. 110‐111.

† Ibid., p. 106.

ʺ(1.) The alkahest never destroys the seminal virtues of the bodies thereby dissolved: for instance, gold, by its action, is reduced to a salt of gold, antimony to a salt of antimony, etc., of the same seminal virtues, or characters with the original concrete. (2.) The subject exposed to its operation is converted into its three principles, salt, sulphur, and mercury, and afterwards into salt alone, which then becomes volatile, and at length is wholly turned into clear water. (3.) Whatever it dissolves may be rendered volatile by a sand‐heat; and if, after volatilizing the solvent, it be distilled therefrom, the body is left pure, insipid water, but always equal in quantity to its original self.ʺ Further, we find Van Helmont, the elder, saying of this salt that it will dissolve the most untractable bodies into substances of the same seminal virtues, ʺequal in weight to the matter dissolvedʺ; and he adds, ʺThis salt, by being several times cohobated with Paracelsusʹ sal circulatum, loses all its fixedness, and at length becomes an insipid water, equal in quantity to the salt it was made from.ʺ‡

The objection that might be made by Professor Cooke, in behalf of modern science, to the hermetic expressions, would equally apply to the Egyptian hieratic writings — they hide that which was meant to be concealed. If he would profit by the labors of the past, he must employ the cryptographer, and not the satirist. Paracelsus, like the rest, exhausted his ingenuity in transpositions of letters and abbreviations of words and sentences. For example, when he wrote sutratur he

‡ ʺDe Secretis Adeptorum,ʺ Werdenfelt; Philalethes; Van Helmont;



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meant tartar, and mutrin meant nitrum, and so on. There was no end to the pretended explanations of the meaning of the alkahest. Some imagined that it was an alkaline of salt of tartar salatilized; others that it meant algeist, a German word which means all‐spirit, or spirituous. Paracelsus usually termed salt ʺthe centre of water wherein metals ought to die.ʺ This gave rise to the most absurd suppositions, and some persons — such as Glauber — thought that the alkahest was the spirit of salt. It requires no little hardihood to assert that Paracelsus and his colleagues were ignorant of the natures of elementary and compound substances; they may not be called by the same names as are now in fashion, but that they were known is proved by the results attained. What matters it by what name the gas given off when iron is dissolved in sulphuric acid was called by Paracelsus, since he is recognized, even by our standard authorities, as the discoverer of hydrogen?* His merit is the same; and though Van Helmont may have concealed, under the name ʺseminal virtues,ʺ his knowledge of the fact that elementary substances have their original properties, which the entering into compounds only temporarily modifies — never destroys — he was none the less the greatest chemist of his age, and the peer of modern scientists. He affirmed that the aurum potabile could be obtained with the alkahest, by converting the whole body of gold into salt, retaining its seminal virtues, and being soluble in water. When chemists learn what he meant by

* Youmans, ʺChemistry,ʺ p. 169; and W. B. Kemshead, F. R. A. S.,

ʺInorganic Chemistry.ʺ

aurum potabile, alkahest, salt, and seminal virtues — what he really meant, not what he said he meant, nor what was thought he meant — then, and not before, can our chemists safely assume such airs toward the fire‐philosophers and those ancient masters whose mystic teachings they reverently studied. One thing is clear, at any rate. Taken merely in its exoteric form, this language of Van Helmont shows that he understood the solubility of metallic substances in water, which Sterry Hunt makes the basis of his theory of metalliferous deposits. We would like to see what sort of terms would be invented by our scientific contemporaries to conceal and yet half‐reveal their audacious proposition that manʹs ʺonly God is the cineritious matter of his brain,ʺ if in the basement of the new Court House or the cathedral on Fifth Avenue there were a torture‐chamber, to which judge or cardinal could send them at will.

Professor Sterry Hunt says in one of his lectures:† ʺThe alchemists sought in vain for a universal solvent; but we now know that water, aided in some cases by heat, pressure, and the presence of certain widely‐distributed substances, such as carbonic acid and alkaline carbonates and sulphides, will dissolve the most insoluble bodies; so that it may, after all, be looked upon as the long‐sought for alkahest or universal menstruum.ʺ

This reads almost like a paraphrase of Van Helmont, or Paracelsus himself! They knew the properties of water as a

† ʺOrigin of Metalliferous Deposits.ʺ


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solvent as well as modern chemists, and what is more, made no concealment of the fact; which shows that this was not their universal solvent. Many commentaries and criticisms of their works are still extant, and one can hardly take up a book on the subject without finding at least one of their speculations of which they never thought of making a mystery. This is what we find in an old work on alchemists — a satire, moreover — of 1820, written at the beginning of our century when the new theories on the chemical potency of water were hardly in their embryonic state. ʺIt may throw some light to observe, that Van Helmont, as well as Paracelsus, took water for the universal instrument (agent?) of chymistry and natural philosophy; and earth for the unchangeable basis of all things — that fire was assigned as the sufficient cause of all things — that Seminal impressions were lodged in the mechanism of the earth — that water, by dissolving and fermenting with this earth, as it does by means of fire, brings forth everything; whence originally proceeded animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms.ʺ* The alchemists understand well this universal potency of water. In the works of Paracelsus, Van Helmont, Philalethes, Pantatem, Tachenius, and even Boyle, ʺthe great characteristic of the alkahest,ʺ ʺto dissolve and change all sublunary bodies

— water alone excepted,ʺ is explicitly stated. And is it possible to believe that Van Helmont, whose private character was unimpeachable, and whose great learning was universally recognized, should most solemnly declare himself possessed

of the secret, were it but a vain boast!† In a recent address at Nashville, Tennessee, Professor Huxley laid down a certain rule with respect to the validity of human testimony as a basis of history and science, which we are quite ready to apply to the present case. ʺIt is impossible,ʺ he says, ʺthat oneʹs practical life should not be more or less influenced by the views which we may hold as to what has been the past history of things. One of them is human testimony in its various shapes — all testimony of eye‐witnesses, traditional testimony from the lips of those who have been eye‐witnesses, and the testimony of those who have put their impressions into writing and into print. . . . If you read Cæsarʹs Commentaries, wherever he gives an account of his battles with the Gauls, you place a certain amount of confidence in his statements. You take his testimony upon this. You feel that Cæsar would not have made these statements unless he had believed them to be true.ʺ Now, we cannot in logic permit Mr. Huxleyʹs philosophical rule to be applied in a one‐sided manner to Cæsar. Either that personage was naturally truthful or a natural liar; and since Mr. Huxley has settled that point to his own satisfaction as regards the facts of military history in his favor, we insist that Cæsar is also a competent witness as to augurs, diviners, and psychological facts. So with Herodotus, and all other ancient authorities, unless they were by nature men of truth, they should not be believed even about civil or military affairs. Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus. And equally, if they are credible as to physical things, they must be regarded

* John Bumpus, ʺAlchemy and the Alkahest,ʺ 85, J. S. F., edition of 1820. † See Boyleʹs works.


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as equally so as to spiritual things; for as Professor Huxley tells us, human nature was of old just as it is now. Men of intellect and conscience did not lie for the pleasure of bewildering or disgusting posterity.

The probabilities of falsification by such men having been defined so clearly by a man of science, we feel free from the necessity of discussing the question in connection with the names of Van Helmont and his illustrious but unfortunate master, the much‐slandered Paracelsus. Deleuze, though finding in the works of the former many ʺmythic, illusory ideasʺ — perhaps only because he could not understand them

— credits him nevertheless with a vast knowledge, ʺan acute judgment,ʺ and at the same time with having given to the world ʺgreat truths.ʺ ʺHe was the first,ʺ he adds, ʺto give the name of gas to aerial fluids. Without him it is probable that steel would have given no new impulse to science.ʺ* By what application of the doctrine of chances could we discover the likelihood that experimentalists, capable of resolving and recombining chemical substances, as they are admitted to have done, were ignorant of the nature of elementary substances, their combining energies, and the solvent or solvents, that would disintegrate them when wanted? If they had the reputation only of theorists the case would stand differently and our argument would lose its force, but the chemical discoveries grudgingly accorded to them, by their worst enemies, form the basis for much stronger language

* Deleuze, ʺDe lʹOpinion de Van Helmont sur la Cause, la Nature et les Effets du Magnetisme,ʺ Anim. Vol. i., p. 45, and vol. ii., p. 198.

than we have permitted ourselves, from a fear of being deemed over partial. And, as this work, moreover, is based on the idea that there is a higher nature of man, that his moral and intellectual faculties should be judged psychologically, we do not hesitate to reaffirm that since Van Helmont asserted, ʺmost solemnly,ʺ that he was possessed of the secret of the alkahest, no modern critic has a right to set him down as either a liar or a visionary, until something more certain is known about the nature of this alleged universal menstruum.

ʺFacts are stubborn things,ʺ remarks Mr. A. R. Wallace, in his preface to Miracles and Modern Spiritualism. Therefore,† as facts must be our strongest allies, we will bring as many of these forward as the ʺmiraclesʺ of antiquity and those of our modern times will furnish us with. The authors of the Unseen Universe have scientifically demonstrated the possibility of certain alleged psychological phenomena through the medium of the universal ether. Mr. Wallace has as scientifically proved that the whole catalogue of assumptions to the contrary, including the sophisms of Hume, are untenable if brought face to face with strict logic. Mr. Crookes has given to the world of skepticism his own experiments, which lasted above three years before he was conquered by the most undeniable of evidence — that of his own senses. A whole list could be made up of men of science who have recorded their testimony to that effect; and Camille Flammarion, the well‐known French astronomer, and author

† A. R. Wallace, ʺAn Answer to the Arguments of Hume, Lecky, etc., against Miracles.ʺ


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of many works which, in the eyes of the skeptical, should send him to the ranks of the ʺdeluded,ʺ in company with Wallace, Crookes, and Hare, corroborates our words in the following lines:


ʺI do not hesitate to affirm my conviction, based on a personal examination of the subject, that any scientific man who declares the phenomena denominated ʹmagnetic,ʹ ʹsomnambulic,ʹ ʹmediumic,ʹ and others not yet explained by science, to be impossible, is one who speaks without knowing what he is talking about, and also any man accustomed, by his professional avocations, to scientific observations — provided that his mind be not biassed by pre‐conceived opinions, nor his mental vision blinded by that opposite kind of illusion, unhappily too common in the learned world, which consists in imagining that the laws of Nature are already known to us, and that everything which appears to overstep the limit of our present formulas is impossible, may require a radical and absolute certainty of the reality of the facts alluded to.ʺ

In Mr. Crookesʹ Notes of an Enquiry into the Phenomena called Spiritual, on p. 101, this gentleman quotes Mr. Sergeant Cox, who having named this unknown force, psychic, explains it thus: ʺAs the organism is itself moved and directed within the structure by a force — which either is, or is not controlled by — the soul, spirit, or mind . . . which constitutes the individual being we term ʹthe man,ʹ it is an equally

reasonable conclusion that the force which causes the motions beyond the limits of the body is the same force that produces motion within the limits of the body. And, as the external force is often directed by intelligence, it is an equally reasonable conclusion that the directing intelligence of the external force is the same intelligence that directs the force internally.ʺ In order to comprehend this theory the better, we may as well divide it in four propositions and show that Mr. Sergeant Cox believes:

1. That the force which produces physical phenomena proceeds from (consequently is generated in) the medium.

2. That the intelligence directing the force for the production of the phenomena (a) may sometimes be other than the intelligence of the medium; but of this the ʺproofʺ is ʺinsufficientʺ; therefore, (b) the directing intelligence is probably that of the medium himself. This Mr. Cox calls ʺa reasonable conclusion.ʺ

3. He assumes that the force which moves the table is identical with the force which moves the mediumʹs body itself.

4. He strongly disputes the spiritualistic theory, or rather assertion, that ʺspirits of the dead are the sole agents in the production of all the phenomena.ʺ

Before we fairly proceed on our analysis of such views we must remind the reader that we find ourselves placed between two extreme opposites represented by two parties — the believers and unbelievers in this agency of human spirits.


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Neither seem capable of deciding the point raised by Mr. Cox; for while the spiritualists are so omnivorous in their credulity as to believe every sound and movement in a circle to be produced by disembodied human beings, their antagonists dogmatically deny that anything can be produced by ʺspirits,ʺ for there are none. Hence, neither class is in a position to examine the subject without bias.

If they consider that force which ʺproduces motion within the bodyʺ and the one ʺwhich causes the motion beyond the limits of the bodyʺ to be of the same essence, they may be right. But the identity of these two forces stops here. The life‐ principle which animates Mr. Coxʹs body is of the same nature as that of his medium; nevertheless he is not the medium, nor is the latter Mr. Cox.

This force, which, to please Mr. Cox and Mr. Crookes we may just as well call psychic as anything else, proceeds through not from the individual medium. In the latter case this force would be generated in the medium and we are ready to show that it cannot be so; neither in the instances of levitation of human bodies, the moving of furniture and other objects without contact, nor in such cases in which the force shows reason and intelligence. It is a well‐known fact to both mediums and spiritualists, that the more the former is passive, the better the manifestations; and every one of the above‐mentioned phenomena requires a conscious predetermined will. In cases of levitation, we should have to believe that this self‐generated force would raise the inert mass off the ground, direct it through the air, and lower it

down again, avoiding obstacles and thereby showing intelligence, and still act automatically, the medium remaining all the while passive. If such were the fact, the medium would be a conscious magician, and all pretense for being a passive instrument in the hands of invisible intelligences would become useless. As well plead that a quantity of steam sufficient to fill, without bursting, a boiler, will raise the boiler; or a Leyden jar, full of electricity, overcome the inertia of the jar, as such a mechanical absurdity. All analogy would seem to indicate that the force which operates in the presence of a medium upon external objects comes from a source back of the medium himself. We may rather compare it with the hydrogen which overcomes the inertia of the balloon. The gas, under the control of an intelligence, is accumulated in the receiver in sufficient volume to overcome the attraction of its combined mass. On the same principle this force moves articles of furniture, and performs other manifestations; and though identical in its essence with the astral spirit of the medium, it cannot be his spirit only, for the latter remains all the while in a kind of cataleptic torpor, when the mediumship is genuine. Mr. Coxʹs first point seems, therefore, not well taken; it is based upon an hypothesis mechanically untenable. Of course our argument proceeds upon the supposition that levitation is an observed fact. The theory of psychic force, to be perfect, must account for all ʺvisible motions . . . in solid substances,ʺ and among these is levitation.


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As to his second point, we deny that ʺthe proof is insufficientʺ that the force which produces the phenomena is sometimes directed by other intelligences than the mind of the ʺpsychic.ʺ On the contrary there is such an abundance of testimony to show that the mind of the medium, in a majority of cases, has nothing to do with the phenomena, that we cannot be content to let Mr. Coxʹs bold assertion go unchallenged.

Equally illogical do we conceive to be his third proposition; for if the mediumʹs body be not the generator but simply the channel of the force which produces the phenomena — a question upon which Mr. Coxʹs researches throw no light whatever — then it does not follow that because the mediumʹs ʺsoul, spirit, or mindʺ directs the mediumʹs organism, therefore this ʺsoul, spirit, or mind,ʺ lifts a chair or raps at the call of the alphabet.

As to the fourth proposition, namely, that ʺspirits of the dead are the sole agents in the production of all the phenomena,ʺ we need not join issue at the present moment, inasmuch as the nature of the spirits producing mediumistic manifestations is treated at length in other chapters.

The philosophers, and especially those who were initiated into the Mysteries, held that the astral soul is the impalpable duplicate of the gross external form which we call body. It is the perisprit of the Kardecists and the spirit‐form of the spiritualists. Above this internal duplicate, and illuminating it as the warm ray of the sun illuminates the earth, fructifying the germ and calling out to spiritual vivification the latent

qualities dormant in it, hovers the divine spirit. The astral perisprit is contained and confined within the physical body as ether in a bottle, or magnetism in magnetized iron. It is a centre and engine of force, fed from the universal supply of force, and moved by the same general laws which pervade all nature and produce all cosmical phenomena. Its inherent activity causes the incessant physical operations of the animal organism and ultimately results in the destruction of the latter by overuse and its own escape. It is the prisoner, not the voluntary tenant, of the body. It has an attraction so powerful to the external universal force, that after wearing out its casing it finally escapes to it. The stronger, grosser, more material its encasing body, the longer is the term of its imprisonment. Some persons are born with organizations so exceptional, that the door which shuts other people in from communication with the world of the astral light, can be easily unbarred and opened, and their souls can look into, or even pass into that world, and return again. Those who do this consciously, and at will, are termed magicians, hierophants, seers, adepts; those who are made to do it, either through the fluid of the mesmerizer or of ʺspirits,ʺ are ʺmediums.ʺ The astral soul, when the barriers are once opened, is so powerfully attracted by the universal, astral magnet, that it sometimes lifts its encasement with it and keeps it suspended in mid‐air, until the gravity of matter reasserts its supremacy, and the body redescends again to earth.


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Every objective manifestation, whether it be the motion of a living limb, or the movement of some inorganic body, requires two conditions: will and force — plus matter, or that which makes the object so moved visible to our eye; and these three are all convertible forces, or the force‐correlation of the scientists. In their turn they are directed or rather overshadowed by the Divine intelligence which these men so studiously leave out of the account, but without which not even the crawling of the smallest earth‐worm could ever take place. The simplest as the most common of all natural phenomena, — the rustling of the leaves which tremble under the gentle contact of the breeze — requires a constant exercise of these faculties. Scientists may well call them cosmic laws, immutable and unchangeable. Behind these laws we must search for the intelligent cause, which once having created and set these laws in motion, has infused into them the essence of its own consciousness. Whether we call this the first cause, the universal will, or God, it must always bear intelligence.

And now we may ask, how can a will manifest itself intelligently and unconsciously at the same time? It is difficult, if not impossible, to conceive of intellection apart from consciousness. By consciousness we do not necessarily imply physical or corporeal consciousness. Consciousness is a quality of the sentient principle, or, in other words, the soul; and the latter often displays activity even while the body is asleep or paralyzed. When we lift our arm mechanically, we may imagine that we do it unconsciously because our superficial

senses cannot appreciate the interval between the formulation of the purpose and its execution. Latent as it seemed to us, our vigilant will evolved force, and set our matter in motion. There is nothing in the nature of the most trivial of mediumistic phenomena to make Mr. Coxʹs theory plausible. If the intelligence manifested by this force is no proof that it belongs to a disembodied spirit, still less is it evidence that it is unconsciously given out by the medium; Mr. Crookes himself tells us of cases where the intelligence could not have emanated from any one in the room; as in the instance where the word ʺhowever,ʺ covered by his finger and unknown even to himself, was correctly written by planchette.* No explanation whatever can account for this case; the only hypothesis tenable — if we exclude the agency of a spirit‐ power — is that the clairvoyant faculties were brought into play. But scientists deny clairvoyance; and if, to escape the unwelcome alternative of accrediting the phenomena to a spiritual source, they concede to us the fact of clairvoyance, it then devolves upon them to either accept the kabalistic explanation of what this faculty is, or achieve the task hitherto impracticable of making a new theory to fit the facts.

Again, if for the sake of argument it should be admitted that Mr. Crookesʹ word ʺhoweverʺ might have been clairvoyantly read, what shall we say of mediumistic communications having a prophetic character? Does any theory of mediumistic impulse account for the ability to

* Crookes, ʺResearches, etc.,ʺ p. 96.


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foretell events beyond the possible knowledge of both speaker and listener? Mr. Cox will have to try again.

As we have said before, the modern psychic force, and the ancient oracular fluids, whether terrestrial or sidereal, are identical in essence — simply a blind force. So is air. And while in a dialogue the sound‐waves produced by a conversation of the speakers affect the same body of air, that does not imply any doubt of the fact that there are two persons talking with each other. Is it any more reasonable to say that when a common agent is employed by medium and ʺspiritʺ to intercommunicate, there must necessarily be but one intelligence displaying itself? As the air is necessary for the mutual exchange of audible sounds, so are certain currents of astral light, or ether directed by an Intelligence, necessary for the production of the phenomena called spiritual. Place two interlocutors in the exhausted receiver of an air‐pump, and, if they could live, their words would remain inarticulate thoughts, for there would be no air to vibrate, and hence no ripple of sound would reach their ears. Place the strongest medium in such isolating atmosphere as a powerful mesmerizer, familiar with the properties of the magical agent, can create around him, and no manifestations will take place until some opposing intelligence, more potential than the will‐power of the mesmerizer, overcomes the latter and terminates the astral inertia.

The ancients were at no loss to discriminate between a blind force acting spontaneously and the same force when directed by an intelligence.

Plutarch, the priest of Apollo, when speaking of the oracular vapors which were but a subterranean gas, imbued with intoxicating magnetic properties, shows its nature to be dual, when he addresses it in these words: ʺAnd who art thou? without a God who creates and ripens thee; without a dæmon [spirit] who, acting under the orders of God, directs and governs thee; thou canst do nothing, thou art nothing but a vain breath.ʺ* Thus without the indwelling soul or intelligence, ʺPsychic Forceʺ would be also but a ʺvain breath.ʺ

Aristotle maintains that this gas, or astral emanation, escaping from inside the earth, is the sole sufficient cause, acting from within outwardly for the vivification of every living being and plant upon the external crust. In answer to the skeptical negators of his century, Cicero, moved by a just wrath, exclaims: ʺAnd what can be more divine than the exhalations of the earth, which affect the human soul so as to enable her to predict the future? And could the hand of time evaporate such a virtue? Do you suppose you are talking of some kind of wine or salted meat?ʺ† Do modern experimentalists claim to be wiser than Cicero, and say that this eternal force has evaporated, and that the springs of prophecy are dry?

All the prophets of old — inspired sensitives — were said to be uttering their prophecies under the same conditions,

* Lucian, ʺPharsalia,ʺ Book v.

† ʺDe Divinatio,ʺ Book i., chap. 3.


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either by the direct outward efflux of the astral emanation, or a sort of damp fluxion, rising from the earth. It is this astral matter which serves as a temporary clothing of the souls who form themselves in this light. Cornelius Agrippa expresses the same views as to the nature of these phantoms by describing it as moist or humid: ʺIn spirito turbido


Prophecies are delivered in two ways — consciously, by magicians who are able to look into the astral light; and unconsciously, by those who act under what is called inspiration. To the latter class belonged and belong the Biblical prophets and the modern trance‐speakers. So familiar with this fact was Plato, that of such prophets he says: ʺNo man, when in his senses, attains prophetic truth and inspiration. . . but only when demented by some distemper or possession . . .ʺ (by a daimonion or spirit).† ʺSome persons call them prophets; they do not know that they are only repeaters . . . and are not to be called prophets at all, but only transmitters of vision and prophecy,ʺ — he adds.

In continuation of his argument, Mr. Cox says: ʺThe most ardent spiritualists practically admit the existence of psychic force, under the very inappropriate name of magnetism (to which it has no affinity whatever), for they assert that the spirits of the dead can only do the acts attributed to them by

* ʺDe Occulta Philosoph.,ʺ p. 355.

† Plato, ʺTimæus,ʺ vol. ii., p. 563.

using the magnetism (that is, the psychic force) of the mediums.ʺ‡

Here, again, a misunderstanding arises in consequence of different names being applied to what may prove to be one and the same imponderable compound. Because electricity did not become a science till the eighteenth century, no one will presume to say that this force has not existed since the creation; moreover, we are prepared to prove that even the ancient Hebrews were acquainted with it. But, merely because exact science did not happen before 1819 to stumble over the discovery which showed the intimate connection existing between magnetism and electricity, it does not at all prevent these two agents being identical. If a bar of iron can be endowed with magnetic properties, by passing a current of voltaic electricity over some conductor placed in a certain way close to the bar, why not accept, as a provisional theory, that a medium may also be a conductor, and nothing more, at a seance? Is it unscientific to say that the intelligence of ʺpsychic force,ʺ drawing currents of electricity from the waves of the ether, and employing the medium as a conductor, develops and calls into action the latent magnetism with which the atmosphere of the seance‐room is saturated, so as to produce the desired effects? The word magnetism is as appropriate as any other, until science gives us something more than a merely hypothetical agent endowed with conjectural properties.

‡ Crookes, ʺResearches, etc.,ʺ p. 101.


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ʺThe difference between the advocates of psychic force and the spiritualists consists in this,ʺ says Sergeant Cox, ʺthat we contend that there is as yet insufficient proof of any other directing agent than the intelligence of the medium, and no proof whatever of the agency of the ʹspiritsʹ of the dead.ʺ*

We fully agree with Mr. Cox as to the lack of proof that the agency is that of the spirits of the dead; as for the rest, it is a very extraordinary deduction from ʺa wealth of facts,ʺ according to the expression of Mr. Crookes, who remarks further, ʺOn going over my notes, I find . . . such a superabundance of evidence, so overwhelming a mass of testimony . . .that I could fill several numbers of the


Now some of these facts of an ʺoverwhelming evidenceʺ are as follows: 1st. The movement of heavy bodies with contact, but without mechanical exertion. 2d. The phenomena of percussive and other sounds. 3d. The alteration of weight of bodies. 4th. Movements of heavy substances when at a distance from the medium. 5th. The rising of tables and chairs off the ground, without contact with any person. 6th. THE


* Ibid., p. 101.

† Crookes, ʺResearches, etc.,ʺ p. 83.

‡ In 1854, M. Foucault, an eminent physician and a member of the French Institute, one of the opponents of de Gasparin, rejecting the mere possibility of any such manifestations, wrote the following memorable words, ʺThat day, when I should succeed in moving a straw under the action of my will only, I would feel terrified!ʺ The word is ominous.

apparitions.ʺ Says Mr. Crookes, ʺUnder the strictest conditions, I have seen a solid self‐luminous body, the size and nearly the shape of a turkeyʹs egg, float noiselessly about the room, at one time higher than any one could reach on tiptoe, and then gently descend to the floor. It was visible for more than ten minutes, and before it faded away it struck the table three times with a sound like that of a hard, solid body.ʺ§ (We must infer that the egg was of the same nature as M. Babinetʹs meteor‐cat, which is classified with other natural phenomena in Aragoʹs works.) 8th. The appearance of hands, either self‐luminous or visible by ordinary light. 9th. ʺDirect writingʺ by these same luminous hands, detached, and evidently endowed with intelligence. (Psychic force?) 10th. ʺPhantom‐forms and faces.ʺ In this instance, the psychic force comes ʺfrom a corner of the roomʺ as a ʺphantom form,ʺ takes an accordeon in its hand, and then glides about the room, playing the instrument; Home, the medium, being in full view at the time. § The whole of the preceding Mr. Crookes witnessed and tested at his own house, and, having assured himself scientifically of the genuineness of the phenomenon, reported it to the Royal Society. Was he welcomed as the

About the same year, Babinet, the astronomer, repeated in his article in the ʺRevue des Deux Mondes,ʺ the following sentence to exhaustion: ʺThe levitation of a body without contact is as impossible as the perpetual motion, because on the day it would be done, the world would crumble down.ʺ Luckily, we see no sign as yet of such a cataclysm; yet bodies are levitated.

§ ʺResearches, etc.,ʺ p. 91. § Ibid., pp. 86‐97.


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discoverer of natural phenomena of a new and important character? Let the reader consult his work for the answer.

In addition to these freaks played on human credulity by ʺpsychic force,ʺ Mr. Crookes gives another class of phenomena, which he terms ʺspecial instances,ʺ which seem

(?) to point to the agency of an exterior intelligence .*

ʺI have been,ʺ says Mr. Crookes, ʺwith Miss Fox when she has been writing a message automatically to one person present, whilst a message to another person, on another subject, was being given alphabetically by means of ʹraps,ʹ and the whole time she was conversing freely with a third person, on a subject totally different from either. . . . During a seance with Mr. Home, a small lath moved across the table to me, in the light, and delivered a message to me by tapping my hand; I repeating the alphabet, and the lath tapping me at the right letters . . . being at a distance from Mr. Homeʹs hands.ʺ The same lath, upon request of Mr. Crookes, gave him ʺa telegraphic message through the Morse alphabet, by taps on my handʺ (the Morse code being quite unknown to any other person present, and but imperfectly to himself), ʺand,ʺ adds Mr. Crookes, ʺit convinced me that there was a good Morse operator at the other end of the line, WHEREVER THAT MIGHT BE.ʺ† Would it be undignified in the present case to suggest that Mr. Cox should search for the operator in his private principality — Psychic Land? But the same lath does more

* Ibid., p. 94.

† Ibid., p. 95.

and better. In full light in Mr. Crookesʹ room it is asked to give a message, ʺ . . . a pencil and some sheets of paper had been lying on the centre of the table; presently the pencil rose on its point, and after advancing by hesitating jerks to the paper, fell down. It then rose, and again fell. . . . After three unsuccessful attempts, a small wooden lathʺ (the Morse operator) ʺwhich was lying near upon the table, slid towards the pencil, and rose a few inches from the table; the pencil rose again, and propping itself against the lath, the two together made an effort to mark the paper. It fell, and then a joint effort was made again. After a third trial the lath gave it up, and moved back to its place; the pencil lay as it fell across the paper, and an alphabetic message told us: ʺWe have tried to do as you asked, but our power is exhausted.ʺ‡ The word our, as the joint intelligent efforts of the friendly lath and pencil, would make us think that there were two psychic forces present.

In all this, is there any proof that the directing agent was ʺthe intelligence of the mediumʺ? Is there not, on the contrary, every indication that the movements of the lath and pencil were directed by spirits ʺof the dead,ʺ or at least of those of some other unseen intelligent entities?

Most certainly the word magnetism explains in this case as little as the term psychic force; howbeit, there is more reason to use the former than the latter, if it were but for the simple fact that the transcendent magnetism or mesmerism produces phenomena identical in effects with those of spiritualism. The

‡ Ibid., p. 94.


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phenomenon of the enchanted circle of Baron Du Potet and Regazzoni, is as contrary to the accepted laws of physiology as the rising of a table without contact is to the laws of natural philosophy. As strong men have often found it impossible to raise a small table weighing a few pounds, and broken it to pieces in the effort, so a dozen of experimenters, among them sometimes, academicians, were utterly unable to step across a chalk‐line drawn on the floor by Du Potet. On one occasion a Russian general, well known for his skepticism, persisted until he fell on the ground in violent convulsions. In this case, the magnetic fluid which opposed such a resistance was Mr. Coxʹs psychic force, which endows the tables with an extraordinary and supernatural weight. If they produce the same psychological and physiological effects, there is good reason to believe them more or less identical. We do not think the deduction could be very reasonably objected to. Besides, were the fact even denied, this is no reason why it should not be so. Once upon a time, all the Academies in Christendom had agreed to deny that there were any mountains in the moon; and there was a certain time when, if any one had been so bold as to affirm that there was life in the superior regions of the atmosphere as well as in the fathomless depths of the ocean, he would have been set down as a fool or an ignoramus.

ʺThe Devil affirms — it must be a lie!ʺ the pious Abbé Almiguana used to say, in a discussion with a ʺspiritualized table.ʺ We will soon be warranted in paraphrasing the

sentence and making it read — ʺScientists deny — then it must be true.ʺ


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ʺThou great First Cause, least understood.ʺ


ʺWhence this pleasing hope, this fond desire, This longing after immortality?

Or whence this secret dread, and inward horror Of falling into naught? Why shrinks the soul Back on herself, and startles at destruction? ʹTis the divinity that stirs within us;

ʹTis heaven itself that points out our hereafter And intimates eternity to man.

ETERNITY! Thou pleasing, dreadful thought!ʺ


ʺThere is another and a better world.ʺ KOTZEBUE, The Stranger

AFTER according so much space to the conflicting opinions of our men of science about certain occult phenomena of our modern period, it is but just that we give attention to the speculations of mediæval alchemists and certain other illustrious men. Almost without exception, ancient and mediæval scholars believed in the arcane doctrines of wisdom. These included Alchemy, the Chaldeo‐Jewish Kabala, the esoteric systems of Pythagoras and the old Magi, and those of the later Platonic philosophers and theurgists.

We also propose in subsequent pages to treat of the Indian gymnosophists and the Chaldean astrologers. We must not neglect to show the grand truths underlying the misunderstood religions of the past. The four elements of our fathers, earth, air, water, and fire, contain for the student of alchemy and ancient psychology — or as it is now termed, magic — many things of which our philosophy has never dreamed. We must not forget that what is now called Necromancy by the Church, and Spiritualism by modern believers, and that includes the evoking of departed spirits, is a science which has, from remote antiquity, been almost universally diffused over the face of the globe.


Although neither an alchemist, magician, nor astrologer, but simply a great philosopher, Henry More, of Cambridge University — a man universally esteemed, may be named as a shrewd logician, scientist, and metaphysician. His belief in witchcraft was firm throughout his life. His faith in immortality and able arguments in demonstration of the survival of manʹs spirit after death are all based on the Pythagorean system, adopted by Cardan, Van Helmont, and other mystics. The infinite and uncreated spirit that we usually call GOD, a substance of the highest virtue and excellency, produced everything else by emanative causality. God thus is the primary substance, the rest, the secondary; if the former created matter with a power of moving itself, he,


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the primary substance, is still the cause of that motion as well as of the matter, and yet we rightly say that it is matter which moves itself. ʺWe may define this kind of spirit we speak of to be a substance indiscernible, that can move itself, that can penetrate, contract, and dilate itself, and can also penetrate, move, and alter matter,ʺ* which is the third emanation. He firmly believed in apparitions, and stoutly defended the theory of the individuality of every soul in which ʺpersonality, memory, and conscience will surely continue in the future state.ʺ He divided the astral spirit of man after its exit from the body into two distinct entities: the ʺaërialʺ and the ʺæthereal vehicle.ʺ During the time that a disembodied man moves in its aërial clothing, he is subject to Fate — i.e., evil and temptation, attached to its earthly interests, and therefore is not utterly pure; it is only when he casts off this garb of the first spheres and becomes ethereal that he becomes sure of his immortality. ʺFor what shadow can that body cast that is a pure and transparent light, such as the ethereal vehicle is? And therefore that oracle is then fulfilled, when the soul has ascended into that condition we have already described, in which alone it is out of the reach of fate and mortality.ʺ He concludes his work by stating that this transcendent and divinely‐pure condition was the only aim of the Pythagoreans.

As to the skeptics of his age, his language is contemptuous and severe. Speaking of Scot, Adie, and Webster, he terms

* ʺAntidote,ʺ lib. i., cap. 4.

them ʺour new inspired saints . . . sworn advocates of the witches, who thus madly and boldly, against all sense and reason, against all antiquity, all interpreters, and against the Scripture itself, will have even no Samuel in the scene, but a confederate knave! Whether the Scripture, or these inblown buffoons, puffed up with nothing but ignorance, vanity, and stupid infidelity, are to be believed, let any one judge,ʺ he adds.†

What kind of language would this eminent divine have used against our skeptics of the nineteenth century?

Descartes, although a worshipper of matter, was one of the most devoted teachers of the magnetic doctrine and, in a certain sense, even of Alchemy. His system of physics was very much like that of other great philosophers. Space, which is infinite, is composed, or rather filled up with a fluid and elementary matter, and is the sole fountain of all life, enclosing all the celestial globes and keeping them in perpetual motion. The magnet‐streams of Mesmer are disguised by him into the Cartesian vortices, and both rest on the same principle. Ennemoser does not hesitate to say that both have more in common ʺthan people suppose, who have not carefully examined the subject.ʺ‡

The esteemed philosopher, Pierre Poiret Naude, was the warmest defender of the doctrines of occult magnetism and

† ʺLetter to Glanvil, the author of ʹSadducismus Triumphatus,ʹ May, 25, 1678.ʺ

‡ ʺHistory of Magic,ʺ vol. ii., p. 272.


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its first propounders,* in 1679. The magico‐theosophical philosophy is fully vindicated in his works.

The well‐known Dr. Hufeland has written a work on magic† in which he propounds the theory of the universal magnetic sympathy between men, animals, plants, and even minerals. The testimony of Campanella, Van Helmont, and Servius, is confirmed by him in relation to the sympathy existing between the different parts of the body as well as between the parts of all organic and even inorganic bodies.

Such also was the doctrine of Tenzel Wirdig. It may even be found expounded in his works, with far more clearness, logic, and vigor, than in those of other mystical authors who have treated of the same subject. In his famous treatise, The New Spiritual Medicine, he demonstrates, on the ground of the later‐accepted fact of universal attraction and repulsion — now called ʺgravitationʺ — that the whole nature is ensouled. Wirdig calls this magnetic sympathy ʺthe accordance of spirits.ʺ Everything is drawn to its like, and converges with natures congenial to itself. Out of this sympathy and antipathy arises a constant movement in the whole world, and in all its parts, and uninterrupted communion between heaven and earth, which produces universal harmony. Everything lives and perishes through magnetism; one thing affects another one, even at great distances, and its

* ʺApologie pour tous les grands personnages faussement accuses de magie.ʺ
† Berlin, 1817. § ʺNova Medicina Spirituum,ʺ 1675.

ʺcongenitalsʺ may be influenced to health and disease by the power of this sympathy, at any time, and notwithstanding the intervening space.§ ʺHufeland,ʺ says Ennemoser, ʺgives the account of a nose which had been cut from the back of a porter, but which, when the porter died, died too and fell off from its artificial position. A piece of skin,ʺ adds Hufeland, ʺtaken from a living head, had its hair turn gray at the same time as that on the head from which it was taken.ʺ‡

Kepler, the forerunner of Newton in many great truths, even in that of the universal ʺgravitationʺ which he very justly attributed to magnetic attraction, notwithstanding that he terms astrology ʺthe insane daughter of a most wise motherʺ — Astronomy, shares the kabalistic belief that the spirits of the stars are so many ʺintelligences.ʺ He firmly believes that each planet is the seat of an intelligent principle, and that they are all inhabited by spiritual beings, who exercise influences over other beings inhabiting more gross and material spheres than their own and especially our earth.§ As Keplerʹs spiritual starry influences were superseded by the vortices of the more materialistic Descartes, whose atheistical tendencies did not prevent him from believing that he had found out a

‡ ʺHistory of Magic.ʺ

§ It would be a useless and too long labor to enter here upon the defence of Keplerʹs theory of relation between the five regular solids of geometry and the magnitudes of the orbits of five principal planets, rather derided by Prof. Draper in his ʺConflict.ʺ Many are the theories of the ancients that have been avenged by modern discovery. For the rest, we must bide our time.


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diet that would prolong his life five hundred years and more, so the vortices of the latter and his astronomical doctrines may some day give place to the intelligent magnetic streams which are directed by the Anima Mundi.

Baptista Porta, the learned Italian philosopher, notwithstanding his endeavors to show to the world the groundlessness of their accusations of magic being a superstition and sorcery, was treated by later critics with the same unfairness as his colleagues. This celebrated alchemist left a work on Natural Magic,* in which he bases all of the occult phenomena possible to man upon the world‐soul which binds all with all. He shows that the astral light acts in harmony and sympathy with all nature; that it is the essence out of which our spirits are formed; and that by acting in unison with their parent‐source, our sidereal bodies are rendered capable of producing magic wonders. The whole secret depends on our knowledge of kindred elements. He believed in the philosopherʹs stone, ʺof which the world hath so great an opinion of, which hath been bragged of in so many ages and happily attained unto by some.ʺ Finally, he throws out many valuable hints as to its ʺspiritual meaning.ʺ In 1643, there appeared among the mystics a monk, Father Kircher, who taught a complete philosophy of universal magnetism. His numerous works† embrace many of the subjects merely hinted at by Paracelsus. His definition of

* ʺMagia Naturalis,ʺ Lugduni, 1569.
† Athanasius Kircher, ʺMagnes sive de arte magnetici, opus tripartitum,ʺ

Coloniae, 1654.

magnetism is very original, for he contradicted Gilbertʹs theory that the earth was a great magnet. He asserted that although every particle of matter, and even the intangible invisible ʺpowersʺ were magnetic, they did not themselves constitute a magnet. There is but one MAGNET in the universe, and from it proceeds the magnetization of everything existing. This magnet is of course what the kabalists term the central Spiritual Sun, or God. The sun, moon, planets, and stars he affirmed are highly magnetic; but they have become so by induction from living in the universal magnetic fluid — the Spiritual light. He proves the mysterious sympathy existing between the bodies of the three principal kingdoms of nature, and strengthens his argument by a stupendous catalogue of instances. Many of these were verified by naturalists, but still more have remained unauthenticated; therefore, according to the traditional policy and very equivocal logic of our scientists, they are denied. For instance, he shows a difference between mineral magnetism and zoömagnetism, or animal magnetism. He demonstrates it in the fact that except in the case of the lodestone all the minerals are magnetized by the higher potency, the animal magnetism, while the latter enjoys it as the direct emanation from the first cause — the Creator. A needle can be magnetized by simply being held in the hand of a strong‐willed man, and amber develops its powers more by the friction of the human hand than by any other object; therefore man can impart his own life, and, to a certain degree, animate inorganic objects. This, ʺin the eyes of the foolish, is sorcery.ʺ ʺThe sun is the most magnetic of all


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bodies,ʺ he says; thus anticipating the theory of General Pleasonton by more than two centuries. ʺThe ancient philosophers never denied the fact,ʺ he adds; ʺbut have at all times perceived that the sunʹs emanations were binding all things to itself, and that it imparts this binding power to everything falling under its direct rays.ʺ

As a proof of it he brings the instance of a number of plants being especially attracted to the sun, and others to the moon, and showing their irresistible sympathy to the former by following its course in the heavens. The plant known as the Githymal,* faithfully follows its sovereign, even when it is invisible on account of the fog. The acacia uncloses its petals at its rising, and closes them at its setting. So does the Egyptian lotos and the common sunflower. The nightshade exhibits the same predilection for the moon.

As examples of antipathies or sympathies among plants, he instances the aversion which the vine feels for the cabbage, and its fondness toward the olive‐tree; the love of the ranunculus for the water‐lily, and of the rue for the fig. The antipathy which sometimes exists even among kindred substances is clearly demonstrated in the case of the Mexican pomegranate, whose shoots, when cut to pieces, repel each other with the ʺmost extraordinary ferocity.ʺ

Kircher accounts for every feeling in human nature as results of changes in our magnetic condition. Anger, jealousy, friendship, love, and hatred, are all modifications of the

* Lib. iii., p. 643.

magnetic atmosphere which is developed in us and constantly emanates from us. Love is one of the most variable, and therefore the aspects of it are numberless. Spiritual love, that of a mother for her child, of an artist for some particular art, love as pure friendship, are purely magnetic manifestations of sympathy in congenial natures.

The magnetism of pure love is the originator of every created thing.

In its ordinary sense love between the sexes is electricity, and he calls it amor febris species, the fever of species. There are two kinds of magnetic attraction: sympathy and fascination; the one holy and natural, the other evil and unnatural. To the latter, fascination, we must attribute the power of the poisonous toad, which upon merely opening its mouth, forces the passing reptile or insect to run into it to its destruction. The deer, as well as smaller animals, are attracted by the breath of the boa, and are made irresistibly to come within its reach. The electric fish, the torpedo, repels the arm with a shock that for a time benumbs it. To exercise such a power for beneficent purposes, man requires three conditions: 1, nobility of soul; 2, strong will and imaginative faculty; 3, a subject weaker than the magnetizer; otherwise he will resist. A man free from worldly incentives and sensuality, may cure in such a way the most ʺincurableʺ diseases, and his vision may become clear and prophetic.

A curious instance of the above‐mentioned universal attraction between all the bodies of the planetary system and everything organic as well as inorganic pertaining to them, is found in a quaint old volume of the seventeenth century. It


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contains notes of travel and an official report to the King of France, by his Ambassador, de la Loubere, upon what he has seen in the kingdom of Siam. ʺAt Siam,ʺ he says, ʺthere are two species of fresh‐water fish, which they respectively call pal‐out and pla‐cadi fish. Once salted and placed uncut (whole) in the pot, they are found to exactly follow the flux and reflux of the sea, growing higher and lower in the pot as the sea ebbs or flows.ʺ* De la Loubere experimented with this fish for a long time, together with a government engineer, named Vincent, and, therefore, vouches for the truth of this assertion, which at first had been dismissed as an idle fable. So powerful is this mysterious attraction that it affected the fishes even when their bodies became totally rotten and fell to pieces.


It is especially in the countries unblessed with civilization that we should seek for an explanation of the nature, and observe the effects of that subtile power, which ancient philosophers called the ʺworldʹs soul.ʺ

In the East only, and on the boundless tracts of unexplored Africa, will the student of psychology find abundant food for his truth‐hungering soul. The reason is obvious. The atmosphere in populous neighborhoods is badly vitiated by

* ʺNotes from a New Historical Relation of the Kingdom of Siam,ʺ by de la Louere, French Ambassador to Siam in the years 1687‐8. Edition of 1692.

the smoke and fumes of manufactories, steam‐engines, railroads, and steamboats, and especially by the miasmatic exhalations of the living and the dead. Nature is as dependent as a human being upon conditions before she can work, and her mighty breathing, so to say, can be as easily interfered with, impeded, and arrested, and the correlation of her forces destroyed in a given spot, as though she were a man. Not only climate, but also occult influences daily felt not only modify the physio‐psychological nature of man, but even alter the constitution of so‐called inorganic matter in a degree not fairly realized by European science. Thus the London Medical and Surgical Journal advises surgeons not to carry lancets to Calcutta, because it has been found by personal experience ʺthat English steel could not bear the atmosphere of Indiaʺ; so a bunch of English or American keys will be completely covered with rust twenty‐four hours after having been brought to Egypt; while objects made of native steel in those countries remain unoxidized. So, too, it has been found that a Siberian Shaman who has given stupendous proofs of his occult powers among his native Tschuktschen, is gradually and often completely deprived of such powers when coming into smoky and foggy London. Is the inner organism of man less sensitive to climatic influences than a bit of steel? If not, then why should we cast doubt upon the testimony of travellers who may have seen the Shaman, day after day, exhibit phenomena of the most astounding character in his native country, and deny the possibility of such powers and such phenomena, only


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because he cannot do as much in London or Paris? In his lecture on the Lost Arts, Wendell Phillips proves that besides the psychological nature of man being affected by a change of climate, Oriental people have physical senses far more acute than the Europeans. The French dyers of Lyons, whom no one can surpass in skill, he says, ʺhave a theory that there is a certain delicate shade of blue that Europeans cannot see. . . .

And in Cashmere, where the girls make shawls worth $30,000, they will show him (the dyer of Lyons) three hundred distinct colors, which he not only cannot make, but cannot even distinguish.ʺ If there is such a vast difference between the acuteness of the external senses of two races, why should there not be the same in their psychological powers? Moreover, the eye of a Cashmere girl is able to see objectively a color which does exist, but which being inappreciable by the European, is therefore non‐existent for him. Why then not concede, that some peculiarly‐endowed organisms, which are thought to be possessed of that mysterious faculty called second sight, see their pictures as objectively as the girl sees the colors; and that therefore the former, instead of mere objective hallucinations called forth by imagination are, on the contrary, reflections of real things and persons impressed upon the astral ether, as explained by the old philosophy of the Chaldean Oracles, and surmised by those modern discoverers, Babbage, Jevons, and the authors of the Unseen Universe?

ʺThree spirits live and actuate man,ʺ teaches Paracelsus; ʺthree worlds pour their beams upon him; but all three only

as the image and echo of one and the same all‐constructing and uniting principle of production. The first is the spirit of the elements (terrestrial body and vital force in its brute condition); the second, the spirit of the stars (sidereal or astral body — the soul); the third is the Divine spirit (Augoeidés ).ʺ Our human body, being possessed of ʺprimeval earth‐stuff,ʺ as Paracelsus calls it, we may readily accept the tendency of modern scientific research ʺto regard the processes of both animal and vegetable life as simply physical and chemical.ʺ This theory only the more corroborates the assertions of old philosophers and the Mosaic Bible, that from the dust of the ground our bodies were made, and to dust they will return. But we must remember that

ʺ ʹDust thou art, to dust returnest,ʹ Was not spoken of the soul.ʺ

Man is a little world — a microcosm inside the great universe. Like a fœtus, he is suspended, by all his three spirits, in the matrix of the macrocosmos; and while his terrestrial body is in constant sympathy with its parent earth, his astral soul lives in unison with the sidereal anima mundi. He is in it, as it is in him, for the world‐pervading element fills all space, and is space itself, only shoreless and infinite. As to his third spirit, the divine, what is it but an infinitesimal ray, one of the countless radiations proceeding directly from the Highest Cause — the Spiritual Light of the World? This is the trinity of organic and inorganic nature — the spiritual and the physical, which are three in one, and of which Proclus says that ʺThe first monad is the Eternal God; the second, eternity;


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the third, the paradigm, or pattern of the universeʺ; the three constituting the Intelligible Triad. Everything in this visible universe is the outflow of this Triad, and a microcosmic triad itself. And thus they move in majestic procession in the fields of eternity, around the spiritual sun, as in the heliocentric system the celestial bodies move round the visible suns. The Pythagorean Monad, which lives ʺin solitude and darkness,ʺ may remain on this earth forever invisible, impalpable, and undemonstrated by experimental science. Still the whole universe will be gravitating around it, as it did from the ʺbeginning of time,ʺ and with every second, man and atom approach nearer to that solemn moment in the eternity, when the Invisible Presence will become clear to their spiritual sight. When every particle of matter, even the most sublimated, has been cast off from the last shape that forms the ultimate link of that chain of double evolution which, throughout millions of ages and successive transformations, has pushed the entity onward; and when it shall find itself reclothed in that primordial essence, identical with that of its Creator, then this once impalpable organic atom will have run its race, and the sons of God will once more ʺshout for joyʺ at the return of the pilgrim.

ʺMan,ʺ says Van Helmont, ʺis the mirror of the universe, and his triple nature stands in relationship to all things.ʺ The will of the Creator, through which all things were made and received their first impulse, is the property of every living being. Man, endowed with an additional spirituality, has the largest share of it on this planet. It depends on the proportion

of matter in him whether he will exercise its magical faculty with more or less success. Sharing this divine potency in common with every inorganic atom, he exercises it through the course of his whole life, whether consciously or otherwise. In the former case, when in the full possession of his powers, he will be the master, and the magnale magnum (the universal soul) will be controlled and guided by him. In the cases of animals, plants, minerals, and even of the average of humanity, this ethereal fluid which pervades all things, finding no resistance, and being left to itself, moves them as its impulse directs. Every created being in this sublunary sphere, is formed out of the magnale magnum, and is related to it. Man possesses a double celestial power, and is allied to heaven. This power is ʺnot only in the outer man, but to a degree also in the animals, and perhaps in all other things, as all things in the universe stand in a relation to each other; or, at least, God is in all things, as the ancients have observed it with a worthy correctness. It is necessary that the magic strength should be awakened in the outer as well as in the inner man. . . . And if we call this a magic power, the uninstructed only can be terrified by the expression. But, if you prefer it, you can call it a spiritual power — spirituale robur vocitaveris. There is, therefore, such magic power in the inner man. But, as there exists a certain relationship between the inner and the outer man, this strength must be diffused through the whole man.ʺ*

* Baptist Van Helmont, ʺOpera Omnia,ʺ 1682, p. 720, and others.


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In an extended description of the religious rites, monastic life, and ʺsuperstitionsʺ of the Siamese, de la Loubere cites among other things the wonderful power possessed by the Talapoin (the monks, or the holy men of Buddha) over the wild beasts. ʺThe Talapoin of Siam,ʺ he says, ʺwill pass whole weeks in the dense woods under a small awning of branches and palm leaves, and never make a fire in the night to scare away the wild beasts, as all other people do who travel through the woods of this country.ʺ The people consider it a miracle that no Talapoin is ever devoured. The tigers, elephants, and rhinoceroses — with which the neighborhood abounds — respect him; and travellers placed in secure ambuscade have often seen these wild beasts lick the hands and feet of the sleeping Talapoin. ʺThey all use magic,ʺ adds the French gentleman, ʺand think all nature animated (ensouled);* they believe in tutelar geniuses.ʺ But that which seems to shock the author most is the idea which prevails among the Siamese, ʺthat all that man was in his bodily life, he will be after death.ʺ ʺWhen the Tartar, which now reigns at China,ʺ remarks de la Loubere, ʺwould force the Chinese to shave their hair after the Tartarian fashion, several of them chose rather to suffer death than to go, they said, into the other world and appear before their ancestors without hair; imagining that they shaved the head of the soul also!ʺ† ʺNow,

* De la Loubere, ʺNotes,ʺ etc. (see ante), p. 115.

† Ibid., p. 120.

what is altogether impertinent,ʺ adds the Ambassador, ʺin this absurd opinion is, that the Orientals attribute the human figure rather than any other to the soul.ʺ Without enlightening his reader as to the particular shape these benighted Orientals ought to select for their disembodied souls, de la Loubere proceeds to pour out his wrath on these ʺsavages.ʺ Finally, he attacks the memory of the old king of Siam, the father of the one to whose court he was sent, by accusing him of having foolishly spent over two million livres in search of the philosopherʹs stone. ʺThe Chinese,ʺ he says, ʺreputed so wise, have for three or four thousand years had the folly of believing in the existence, and of seeking out a universal remedy by which they hope to exempt themselves from the necessity of dying. They base themselves on some foolish traditions, concerning some rare persons that are reported to have made gold, and to have lived some ages; there are some very strongly established facts among the Chinese, the Siamese, and other Orientals, concerning those that know how to render themselves immortal, either absolutely, or in such a manner that they can die no otherwise than by violent death.‡ Wherefore, they name some persons who have withdrawn themselves from the sight of men to enjoy free and peaceable life. They relate wonders concerning the knowledge of these pretended immortals.ʺ

If Descartes, a Frenchman and a scientist, could, in the midst of civilization, firmly believe that such a universal

‡ Ibid., p. 63.


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remedy had been found, and that if possessed of it he could live at least five hundred years, why are not the Orientals entitled to the same belief? The master‐problems of both life and death are still unsolved by occidental physiologists. Even sleep is a phenomenon about whose cause there is a great divergence of opinion among them. How, then, can they pretend to set limits to the possible, and define the impossible?


From the remotest ages the philosophers have maintained the singular power of music over certain diseases, especially of the nervous class. Kircher recommends it, having experienced its good effects in himself, and he gives an elaborate description of the instrument he employed. It was a harmonica composed of five tumblers of a very thin glass, placed in a row. In two of them were two different varieties of wine; in the third, brandy; in the fourth, oil; in the fifth, water. He extracted five melodious sounds from them in the usual way, by merely rubbing his finger on the edges of the tumblers. The sound has an attractive property; it draws out disease, which streams out to encounter the musical wave, and the two, blending together, disappear in space. Asclepiades employed music for the same purpose, some twenty centuries ago; he blew a trumpet to cure sciatica, and its prolonged sound making the fibres of the nerves to palpitate, the pain invariably subsided. Democritus in like manner affirmed that many diseases could be cured by the

melodious sounds of a flute. Mesmer used this very harmonica described by Kircher for his magnetic cures. The celebrated Scotchman, Maxwell, offered to prove to various medical faculties that with certain magnetic means at his disposal, he would cure any of the diseases abandoned by them as incurable; such as epilepsy, impotence, insanity, lameness, dropsy, and the most obstinate fevers.*

The familiar story of the exorcism of the ʺevil spirit from Godʺ that obsessed Saul, will recur to every one in this connection. It is thus related: ʺAnd it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.ʺ†

Maxwell, in his Medicina Magnetica, expounds the following propositions, all which are the very doctrines of the alchemists and kabalists.

ʺThat which men call the world‐soul, is a life, as fire, spiritual, fleet, light, and ethereal as light itself. It is a life‐ spirit everywhere; and everywhere the same. . . All matter is destitute of action, except as it is ensouled by this spirit. This spirit maintains all things in their peculiar condition. It is found in nature free from all fetters; and he who understands how to unite it with a harmonizing body, possesses a treasure which exceeds all riches.ʺ

* See his ʺConf.,ʺ xiii., 1. c. in præfatione.

† I Samuel, xvi., 14‐23.


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ʺThis spirit is the common bond of all quarters of the earth, and lives through and in all — adest in mundo quid commune omnibus mextis, in quo ipsa permanent.ʺ ʺHe who knows this universal life‐spirit and its application can prevent all injuries.ʺ* ʺIf thou canst avail thyself of this spirit and fix it on some particular body thou wilt perform the mystery of magic.ʺ ʺHe who knows how to operate on men by this universal spirit, can heal, and this at any distance that he pleases.ʺ† ʺHe who can invigorate the particular spirit through the universal one, might continue his life to eternity.ʺ‡

ʺThere is a blending together of spirits, or of emanations, even when they are far separated from each other. And what is this blending together? It is an eternal and incessant outpouring of the rays of one body into another.ʺ

ʺIn the meantime,ʺ says Maxwell, ʺit is not without danger to treat of this. Many abominable abuses of this may take place.ʺ

And now let us see what are these abuses of mesmeric and magnetic powers in some healing mediums.

Healing, to deserve the name, requires either faith in the patient, or robust health united with a strong will, in the operator. With expectancy supplemented by faith, one can cure

* ʺAphorisms,ʺ 22.
† Ibid., p. 69.

‡ Ibid., p. 70.

himself of almost any morbific condition. The tomb of a saint; a holy relic; a talisman; a bit of paper or a garment that has been handled by the supposed healer; a nostrum; a penance, or a ceremonial; the laying on of hands, or a few words impressively pronounced — either will do. It is a question of temperament, imagination, self‐cure. In thousands of instances, the doctor, the priest, or the relic has had credit for healings that were solely and simply due to the patientʹs unconscious will. The woman with the bloody issue who pressed through the throng to touch the robe of Jesus, was told that her ʺfaithʺ had made her whole. The influence of mind over the body is so powerful that it has effected miracles at all ages. ʺHow many unhoped‐for, sudden, and prodigious cures have been effected by imagination,ʺ says Salverte. ʺOur medical books are filled with facts of this nature which would easily pass for miracles.ʺ§


But, if the patient has no faith, what then? If he is physically negative and receptive, and the healer strong, healthy, positive, determined, the disease may be extirpated by the imperative will of the operator, which, consciously or unconsciously, draws to and reinforces itself with the universal spirit of nature, and restores the disturbed equilibrium of the patientʹs aura. He may employ as an auxiliary, a crucifix — as Gassner did; or impose the hands

§ ʺPhilosophie des Sciences Occultes.ʺ


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and ʺwill,ʺ like the French Zouave Jacob, like our celebrated American, Newton, the healer of many thousands of sufferers, and like many others; or like Jesus, and some apostles, he may cure by the word of command. The process in each case is the same.

In all these instances, the cure is radical and real, and without secondary ill‐effects. But, when one who is himself physically diseased, attempts healing, he not only fails of that, but often imparts his illness to his patient, and robs him of what strength he may have. The decrepit King David reinforced his failing vigor with the healthy magnetism of the young Abishag;* and the medical works tell us of an aged lady of Bath, England, who broke down the constitutions of two maids in succession, in the same way. The old sages, and Paracelsus also, removed disease by applying a healthy organism to the afflicted part, and in the works of the above‐ said fire‐philosopher, their theory is boldly and categorically set forth. If a diseased person — medium or not — attempts to heal, his force may be sufficiently robust to displace the disease, to disturb it in the present place, and cause it to shift to another, where shortly it will appear; the patient, meanwhile, thinking himself cured.

But, what if the healer be morally diseased? The consequences may be infinitely more mischievous; for it is easier to cure a bodily disease than cleanse a constitution infected with moral turpitude. The mystery of Morzine,

* I Kings, i. 1‐4, 15.

Cevennes, and that of the Jansenists, is still as great a mystery for physiologists as for psychologists. If the gift of prophecy, as well as hysteria and convulsions, can be imparted by ʺinfection,ʺ why not every vice? The healer, in such a case, conveys to his patient — who is now his victim — the moral poison that infects his own mind and heart. His magnetic touch is defilement; his glance, profanation. Against this insidious taint, there is no protection for the passively‐ receptive subject. The healer holds him under his power, spell‐bound and powerless, as the serpent holds a poor, weak bird. The evil that one such ʺhealing mediumʺ can effect is incalculably great; and such healers there are by the hundred.

But, as we have said before, there are real and God‐like healers, who, notwithstanding all the malice and skepticism of their bigoted opponents, have become famous in the worldʹs history. Such are the Cure dʹArs, of Lyons, Jacob, and Newton. Such, also, were Gassner, the clergyman of Klorstele, and the well‐known Valentine Greatrakes, the ignorant and poor Irishman, who was endorsed by the celebrated Robert Boyle, President of the Royal Society of London, in 1670. In 1870, he would have been sent to Bedlam, in company with other healers, if another president of the same society had had the disposal of the case, or Professor Lankester would have ʺsummonedʺ him under the Vagrant Act for practicing upon Her Majestyʹs subjects ʺby palmistry or otherwise.ʺ

But, to close a list of witnesses which might be extended indefinitely, it will suffice to say that, from first to last, from Pythagoras down to Eliphas Levi, from highest to humblest,


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every one teaches that the magical power is never possessed by those addicted to vicious indulgences. Only the pure in heart ʺsee God,ʺ or exercise divine gifts — only such can heal the ills of the body, and allow themselves, with relative security, to be guided by the ʺinvisible powers.ʺ Such only can give peace to the disturbed spirits of their brothers and sisters, for the healing waters come from no poisonous source; grapes do not grow on thorns, and thistles bear no figs. But, for all this, ʺmagic has nothing supernal in itʺ; it is a science, and even the power of ʺcasting out devilsʺ was a branch of it, of which the Initiates made a special study. ʺThat skill which expels demons out of human bodies, is a science useful and sanative to men,ʺ says Josephus.*

The foregoing sketches are sufficient to show why we hold fast to the wisdom of the ages, in preference to any new theories that may have been hatched from the occurrences of our later days, respecting the laws of intermundane intercourse and the occult powers of man. While phenomena of a physical nature may have their value as a means of arousing the interest of materialists, and confirming, if not wholly, at least inferentially, our belief in the survival of our souls and spirits, it is questionable whether, under their present aspect, the modern phenomena are not doing more harm than good. Many minds, hungering after proofs of immortality, are fast falling into fanaticism; and, as Stow

* Josephus, ʺAntiquities,ʺ viii., 2.

remarks, ʺfanatics are governed rather by imagination than judgment.ʺ


Undoubtedly, believers in the modern phenomena can claim for themselves a diversity of endowments, but the ʺdiscerning of spiritsʺ is evidently absent from this catalogue of ʺspiritualʺ gifts. Speaking of the ʺDiakka,ʺ whom he one fine morning had discovered in a shady corner of the ʺSummer Land,ʺ A. J. Davis, the great American seer, remarks: ʺA Diakka is one who takes insane delight in playing parts, in juggling tricks, in personating opposite characters; to whom prayer and profane utterances are of equi‐value; surcharged with a passion for lyrical narrations; . . . morally deficient, he is without the active feelings of justice, philanthropy, or tender affection. He knows nothing of what men call the sentiment of gratitude; the ends of hate and love are the same to him; his motto is often fearful and terrible to others — SELF is the whole of private living, and exalted annihilation the end of all private life.† Only yesterday, one said to a lady medium, signing himself Swedenborg, this: ʹWhatsoever is, has been, will be, or may be, that I AM ; and private life is but the aggregative phantasms of thinking throblets, rushing in their rising onward to the central heart

† ʺThe Diakka and their Victims; an Explanation of the False and Repulsive in Spiritualism.ʺ


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of eternal death!ʹ ʺ* Porphyry, whose works — to borrow the expression of an irritated phenomenalist — ʺare mouldering like every other antiquated trash in the closets of oblivion,ʺ speaks thus of these Diakka — if such be their name — rediscovered in the nineteenth century: ʺIt is with the direct help of these bad demons, that every kind of sorcery is accomplished . . . it is the result of their operations, and men who injure their fellow‐creatures by enchantments, usually pay great honors to these bad demons, and especially to their chief. These spirits pass their time in deceiving us, with a great display of cheap prodigies and illusions; their ambition is to be taken for gods, and their leader demands to be recognized as the supreme god.ʺ†

The spirit signing himself Swedenborg — just quoted from Davisʹs Diakka, and hinting that he is the I AM, singularly resembles this chief leader of Porphyryʹs bad demons. What more natural than this vilification of the ancient and experienced theurgists by certain mediums, when we find Iamblichus, the expositor of spiritualistic theurgy, strictly forbidding all endeavors to procure such phenomenal manifestations; unless, after a long preparation of moral and physical purification, and under the guidance of experienced theurgists. When, furthermore, he declares that, with very few exceptions, for a person ʺto appear elongated or thicker, or be

* See Chapter on the human spirits becoming the denizens of the eighth sphere, whose end is generally the annihilation of personal individuality.

† Porphyry, ʺOn the Good and Bad Demons.ʺ

borne aloft in the air,ʺ is a sure mark of obsession by bad demons.‡

Everything in this world has its time, and truth, however based upon unimpeachable evidence, will not root or grow, unless, like a plant, it is thrown into soil in its proper season. ʺThe age must be prepared,ʺ says Professor Cooke; and some thirty years ago this humble work would have been doomed to self‐destruction by its own contents. But the modern phenomenon, notwithstanding the daily exposes, the ridicule with which it is crowned at the hand of every materialist, and its own numerous errors, grows and waxes strong in facts, if not in wisdom and spirit. What would have appeared twenty years ago simply preposterous, may well be listened to now that the phenomena are endorsed by great scientists. Unfortunately, if the manifestations increase in power daily, there is no corresponding improvement in philosophy. The discernment of spirits is still as wanting as ever.

Perhaps, among the whole body of spiritualist writers of our day, not one is held in higher esteem for character, education, sincerity, and ability, than Epes Sargent, of Boston, Massachusetts. His monograph entitled The Proof Palpable of Immortality, deservedly occupies a high rank among works upon the subject. With every disposition to be charitable and apologetic for mediums and their phenomena, Mr. Sargent is still compelled to use the following language: ʺThe power of spirits to reproduce simulacra of persons who have passed

‡ ʺDe Mysteriis Egyptorum,ʺ lib. iii., c. 5.


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from the earth‐life, suggests the question — How far can we be assured of the identity of any spirit, let the tests be what they may? We have not yet arrived at that stage of enlightenment that would enable us to reply confidently to this inquiry. . . . There is much that is yet a puzzle in the language and action of this class of materialized spirits.ʺ As to the intellectual calibre of most of the spirits which lurk behind the physical phenomena, Mr. Sargent will unquestionably be accepted as a most competent judge, and he says, ʺthe great majority, as in this world, are of the unintellectual sort.ʺ If it is a fair question, we would like to ask why they should be so lacking in intelligence, if they are human spirits? Either intelligent human spirits cannot materialize, or, the spirits that do materialize have not human intelligence, and, therefore, by Mr. Sargentʹs own showing, they may just as well be ʺelementaryʺ spirits, who have ceased to be human altogether, or those demons, which, according to the Persian Magi and Plato, hold a middle rank between gods and disembodied men.

There is good evidence, that of Mr. Crookes for one, to show that many ʺmaterializedʺ spirits talk in an audible voice. Now, we have shown, on the testimony of ancients, that the voice of human spirits is not and cannot be articulated; being, as Emanuel Swedenborg declares, ʺa deep suspiration.ʺ Who of the two classes of witnesses may be trusted more safely? Is it the ancients who had the experience of so many ages in theurgical practices, or modern spiritualists, who have had none at all, and who have no facts

upon which to base an opinion, except such as have been communicated by ʺspirits,ʺ whose identity they have no means of proving? There are mediums whose organisms have called out sometimes hundreds of these would‐be ʺhumanʺ forms. And yet we do not recollect to have seen or heard of one expressing anything but the most commonplace ideas. This fact ought surely to arrest the attention of even the most uncritical spiritualist. If a spirit can speak at all, and if the way is opened to intelligent as well as to unintellectual beings, why should they not sometimes give us addresses in some remote degree approximating in quality to the communications we receive through the ʺdirect writingʺ? Mr. Sargent puts forward a very suggestive and important idea in this sentence. ʺHow far they are limited in their mental operations and in their recollections by the act of materialization, or how far by the intellectual horizon of the medium is still a question.ʺ* If the same kind of ʺspiritsʺ materialize that produce the direct writing, and both manifest through mediums, and the one talk nonsense, while the other often give us sublime philosophical teachings, why should their mental operations be limited ʺby the intellectual horizon of the mediumʺ in the one instance more than in the other? The materializing mediums — at least so far as our observation extends — are no more uneducated than many peasants and mechanics who at different times have, under supernal influences, given profound and sublime ideas to the world. The history of psychology teems with examples in

* Epes Sargent, ʺProof Palpable of Immortality,ʺ p. 45.


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illustration of this point, among which that of Boehme, the inspired but ignorant shoemaker, and our own Davis, are conspicuous. As to the matter of unintellectuality we presume that no more striking cases need be sought than those of the child‐prophets of Cevennes, poets and seers, such as have been mentioned in previous chapters. When spirits have once furnished themselves with vocal organs to speak at all, it surely ought to be no more difficult for them to talk as persons of their assumed respective education, intelligence, and social rank would in life, instead of falling invariably into one monotonous tone of commonplace and, but too often, platitude. As to Mr. Sargentʹs hopeful remark, that ʺthe science of Spiritualism being still in its infancy, we may hope for more light on this question,ʺ we fear we must reply, that it is not through ʺdark cabinetsʺ that this light will ever break.*

It is simply ridiculous and absurd to require from every investigator who comes forward as a witness to the marvels of the day and psychological phenomena the diploma of a master of arts and sciences. The experience of the past forty years is an evidence that it is not always the minds which are the most ʺscientifically trainedʺ that are the best in matters of simple common sense and honest truth. Nothing blinds like fanaticism, or a one‐sided view of a question. We may take as an illustration Oriental magic or ancient spiritualism, as well as the modern phenomena. Hundreds, nay thousands of perfectly trustworthy witnesses, returning from residence

* See Matthew xxiv. 26.

and travels in the East, have testified to the fact that uneducated fakirs, sheiks, dervishes, and lamas have, in their presence, without confederates or mechanical appliances, produced wonders.

They have affirmed that the phenomena exhibited by them were in contravention of all the known laws of science, and thus tended to prove the existence of many yet unknown occult potencies in nature, seemingly directed by preterhuman intelligences. What has been the attitude assumed by our scientists toward this subject? How far did the testimony of the most ʺscientificallyʺ trained minds make impression on their own? Did the investigations of Professors Hare and de Morgan, of Crookes and Wallace, de Gasparin and Thury, Wagner and Butlerof, etc., shake for one moment their skepticism? How were the personal experiences of Jacolliot with the fakirs of India received, or the psychological elucidations of Professor Perty, of Geneva, viewed? How far does the loud cry of mankind, craving for palpable and demonstrated signs of a God, an individual soul, and of eternity, affect them; and what is their response? They pull down and destroy every vestige of spiritual things, but they erect nothing. ʺWe cannot get such signs with either retorts or crucibles,ʺ they say; ʺhence, itʹs all but a delusion!ʺ

In this age of cold reason and prejudice, even the Church has to look to science for help. Creeds built on sand, and high‐towering but rootless dogmas, crumble down under the cold breath of research, and pull down true religion in their fall. But the longing for some outward sign of a God and a life


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hereafter, remains as tenaciously as ever in the human heart. In vain is all sophistry of science; it can never stifle the voice of nature. Only her representatives have poisoned the pure waters of simple faith, and now humanity mirrors itself in waters made turbid with all the mud stirred up from the bottom of the once pure spring. The anthropomorphic God of our fathers is replaced by anthropomorphic monsters; and what is still worse, by the reflection of humanity itself in these waters, whose ripples send it back the distorted images of truth and facts as evoked by its misguided imagination.

ʺIt is not a miracle that we want,ʺ writes the Reverend Brooke Herford, ʺbut to find palpable evidence of the spiritual and the divine. It is not to the prophets that men cry for such a ʹsign,ʹ but rather to the scientists. Men feel as if all that groping about in the foremost verge or innermost recesses of creation should bring the investigator at length close to the deep, underlying facts of all things, to some unmistakable signs of God.ʺ The signs are there, and the scientists too; what can we expect more of them, now that they have done so well their duty? Have they not, these Titans of thought, dragged down God from His hiding‐place, and given us instead a protoplasm?

At the Edinburgh meeting of the British Association, in 1871, Sir William Thomson said: ʺScience is bound by the everlasting law of honor to face fearlessly every problem which can fairly be presented to it.ʺ In his turn, Professor Huxley remarks: ʺWith regard to the miracle‐question, I can only say that the word ʹimpossibleʹ is not, to my mind,

applicable to matters of philosophy.ʺ The great Humboldt remarks that ʺa presumptuous skepticism that rejects facts without examination of their truth is, in some respects, more injurious than unquestioning credulity.ʺ

These men have proved untrue to their own teachings. The opportunity afforded them by the opening of the Orient, to investigate for themselves the phenomena alleged by every traveller to take place in those countries, has been rejected. Did our physiologists and pathologists ever so much as think of availing themselves of it to settle this most momentous subject of human thought? Oh, no; for they would never dare. It is not to be expected that the principal Academicians of Europe and America should undertake a joint journey to Thibet and India, and investigate the fakir marvel on the spot! And were one of them to go as a solitary pilgrim and witness all the miracles of creation, in that land of wonders, who, of his colleagues, could be expected to believe his testimony?

It would be as tedious as superfluous to begin a restatement of facts, so forcibly put by others, Mr. Wallace and W. Howitt,* have repeatedly and cleverly described the thousand and one absurd errors into which the learned societies of France and England have fallen, through their blind skepticism. If Cuvier could throw aside the fossil excavated in 1828 by Boue, the French geologist, only because the anatomist thought himself wiser than his colleague, and

* See Wallace, ʺMiracles and Modern Spiritualism,ʺ and W. Howitt, ʺHistory of the Supernatural,ʺ vol. ii.


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would not believe that human skeletons could be found eighty feet deep in the mud of the Rhine; and if the French Academy could discredit the assertions of Boucher de Perthes, in 1846, only to be criticised in its turn in 1860, when the truth of de Perthesʹ discoveries and observations was fully confirmed by the whole body of geologists finding flint weapons in the drift‐gravels of northern France; and if McEneryʹs testimony, in 1825, to the fact that he had discovered worked flints, together with the remains of extinct animals, in Kentʹs Hole Cavern* was laughed at; and that of Godwin Austen to the same effect, in 1840, ridiculed still more, if that were possible; and all that excess of scientific skepticism and merriment could, in 1865, finally come to grief, and be shown to have been entirely uncalled for; when

— says Mr. Wallace ʺall the previous reports for forty years were confirmed and shown to be even less wonderful than the reality;ʺ — who can be so credulous as to believe in the infallibility of our science? And why wonder at the exhibition of such a lack of moral courage in individual members of this great and stubborn body known as modern science?

* See Wallaceʹs paper read before the Dialectical Society, in 1871,

ʺAnswer to Hume, etc.ʺ


Thus fact after fact has been discredited. From all sides we hear constant complaints. ʺVery little is known of psychology!ʺ sighs one F. R. S. ʺWe must confess that we know little, if anything, in physiology,ʺ says another. ʺOf all sciences, there is none which rests upon so uncertain a basis as medicine,ʺ reluctantly testifies a third. ʺWhat do we know about the presumed nervous fluids? . . . Nothing, as yet,ʺ puts in a fourth one; and so on in every branch of science. And, meanwhile, phenomena, surpassing in interest all others of nature, and to be solved only by physiology, psychology, and the ʺas yet unknownʺ fluids, are either rejected as delusions, or, if even true, ʺdo not interestʺ scientists. Or, what is still worse, when a subject, whose organism exhibits in itself the most important features of such occult though natural potencies, offers his person for an investigation, instead of an honest experiment being attempted with him he finds himself entrapped by a scientist (?) and paid for his trouble with a sentence of three monthsʹ imprisonment! This is indeed promising.

It is easy to comprehend that a fact given in 1731, testifying to another fact which happened during the papacy of Paul III., for instance, is disbelieved in 1876. And when scientists are told that the Romans preserved lights in their sepulchres for countless years by the oiliness of gold; and that one of such ever‐burning lamps was found brightly burning in the tomb of Tullia, the daughter of Cicero, notwithstanding


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that the tomb had been shut up fifteen hundred and fifty years,* — they have a certain right to doubt, and even disbelieve the statement, until they assure themselves, on the evidence of their own senses, that such a thing is possible. In such a case they can reject the testimony of all the ancient and mediæval philosophers. The burial of living fakirs and their subsequent resuscitation, after thirty days of inhumation, may have a suspicious look to them. So also with the self‐ infliction of mortal wounds, and the exhibition of their own bowels to the persons present by various lamas, who heal such wounds almost instantaneously.

For certain men who deny the evidence of their own senses as to phenomena produced in their own country, and before numerous witnesses, the narratives to be found in classical books, and in the notes of travellers, must of course seem absurd. But what we will never be able to understand is the collective stubbornness of the Academies, in the face of such bitter lessons in the past, to these institutions which have so often ʺdarkened counsel by words without knowledge.ʺ Like the Lord answering Job ʺout of the whirlwind,ʺ magic can say to modern science: ʺWhere wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding!ʺ And, who art thou who dare say to nature, ʺHitherto shalt thou come, but no further; and here shall thy proud waves be stayedʺ?

* ʺFilologoʺ (Baileyʹs), second edition.

But what matters it if they do deny? Can they prevent phenomena taking place in the four corners of the world, if their skepticism were a thousand times more bitter? Fakirs will still be buried and resuscitated, gratifying the curiosity of European travellers; and lamas and Hindu ascetics will wound, mutilate, and even disembowel themselves, and find themselves all the better for it; and the denials of the whole world will not blow sufficiently to extinguish the perpetually‐ burning lamps in certain of the subterranean crypts of India, Thibet, and Japan. One of such lamps is mentioned by the Rev. S. Mateer, of the London Mission. In the temple of Trevandrum, in the kingdom of Travancore, South India, ʺthere is a deep well inside the temple, into which immense riches are thrown year by year, and in another place, in a hollow covered by a stone, a great golden lamp, which was lit over 120 years ago, still continues burning,ʺ says this missionary in his description of the place. Catholic missionaries attribute these lamps, as a matter of course, to the obliging services of the devil. The more prudent Protestant divine mentions the fact, and makes no commentary. The Abbé Huc has seen and examined one of such lamps, and so have other people whose good luck it has been to win the confidence and friendship of Eastern lamas and divines. No more can be denied the wonders seen by Captain Lane in Egypt; the Benares experiences of Jacolliot and those of Sir Charles Napier; the levitations of human beings in broad daylight, and which can be accounted for only on the explanation given in the Introductory chapter of


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the present work.* Such levitations are testified to — besides Mr. Crookes — by Professor Perty, who shows them produced in open air, and lasting sometimes twenty minutes; all these phenomena and many more have happened, do, and will happen in every country of this globe, and that in spite of all the skeptics and scientists that ever were evolved out of the Silurian mud.

Among the ridiculed claims of alchemy is that of the perpetual lamps. If we tell the reader that we have seen such, we may be asked — in case that the sincerity of our personal belief is not questioned — how we can tell that the lamps we have observed are perpetual, as the period of our observation was but limited? Simply that, as we know the ingredients employed, and the manner of their construction, and the natural law applicable to the case, we are confident that our statement can be corroborated upon investigation in the proper quarter. What that quarter is, and from whom that knowledge can be learned, our critics must discover, by taking the pains we did. Meanwhile, however, we will quote a few of the 173 authorities who have written upon the subject. None of these, as we recollect, have asserted that these sepulchral lamps would burn perpetually, but only for an indefinite number of years, and instances are recorded of their continuing alight for many centuries. It will not be denied that, if there is a natural law by which a lamp can be made without replenishment to burn ten years, there is no

* See Art. on ʺÆthrobacy.ʺ

reason why the same law could not cause the combustion to continue one hundred or one thousand years.

Among the many well‐known personages who firmly believed and strenuously asserted that such sepulchral lamps burned for several hundreds of years, and would have continued to burn may be forever, had they not been extinguished, or the vessels broken by some accident, we may reckon the following names: Clemens Alexandrinus, Hermolaus Barbarus, Appian, Burattinus, Citesius, Cœlius, Foxius, Costæus, Casalius, Cedrenus, Delrius, Ericius, Gesnerus, Jacobonus, Leander, Libavius, Lazius, P. della Mirandola, Philalethes, Licetus, Maiolus, Maturantius, Baptista Porta, Pancirollus, Ruscellius, Scardeonius, Ludovicus Vives, Volateranus, Paracelsus, several Arabian alchemists, and finally, Pliny, Solinus, Kircher, and Albertus Magnus.

The discovery is claimed by the ancient Egyptians, those sons of the Land of Chemistry.† At least, they were a people who used these lamps far more than any other nation, on account of their religious doctrines. The astral soul of the mummy was believed to be lingering about the body for the whole space of the three thousand years of the circle of necessity. Attached to it by a magnetic thread, which could be broken but by its own exertion, the Egyptians hoped that the ever‐burning lamp, symbol of their incorruptible and

† Psalm cv. 23. ʺThe Land of Ham,ʺ or chem, Greek chemi , whence the

terms alchemy and chemistry.


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immortal spirit, would at last decide the more material soul to part with its earthly dwelling, and unite forever with its divine SELF. Therefore lamps were hung in the sepulchres of the rich. Such lamps are often found in the subterranean caves of the dead, and Licetus has written a large folio to prove that in his time, whenever a sepulchre was opened, a burning lamp was found within the tomb, but was instantaneously extinguished on account of the desecration. T. Livius, Burattinus, and Michael Schatta, in their letters to Kircher,* affirm that they found many lamps in the subterranean caves of old Memphis. Pausanias speaks of the golden lamp in the temple of Minerva at Athens, which he says was the workmanship of Callimachus, and burnt a whole year. Plutarch† affirms that he saw one in the temple of Jupiter Amun, and that the priests assured him that it had burnt continually for years, and though it stood in the open air, neither wind nor water could extinguish it. St. Augustine, the Catholic authority, also describes a lamp in the fane of Venus, of the same nature as the others, unextinguishable either by the strongest wind or by water. A lamp was found at Edessa, says Kedrenus, ʺwhich, being hidden at the top of a certain gate, burned 500 years.ʺ But of all such lamps, the one mentioned by Olybius Maximus of Padua is by far the more wonderful. It was found near Atteste, and Scardeonius‡ gives a glowing description of it: ʺIn a large earthen urn was

* ʺŒdipi Ægyptiaci Theatrum Hieroglyphicum,ʺ p. 544.
† ʺLib. de Defectu Oraculorum.ʺ

‡ Lib. i., Class 3, Cap. ult.

contained a lesser, and in that a burning lamp, which had continued so for 1500 years, by means of a most pure liquor contained in two bottles, one of gold and the other of silver. These are in the custody of Franciscus Maturantius, and are by him valued at an exceeding rate.ʺ

Taking no account of exaggerations, and putting aside as mere unsupported negation the affirmation by modern science of the impossibility of such lamps, we would ask whether, in case these inextinguishable fires are found to have really existed in the ages of ʺmiracles,ʺ the lamps burning at Christian shrines and those of Jupiter, Minerva, and other Pagan deities, ought to be differently regarded. According to certain theologians, it would appear that the former (for Christianity also claims such lamps) have burned by a divine, miraculous power, and that the light of the latter, made by ʺheathenʺ art, was supported by the wiles of the devil. Kircher and Licetus show that they were ordered in these two diverse ways. The lamp at Antioch, which burned 1500 years, in an open and public place, over the door of a church, was preserved by the ʺpower of God,ʺ who ʺhath made so infinite a number of stars to burn with perpetual light.ʺ As to the Pagan lamps, St. Augustine assures us they were the work of the devil, ʺwho deceives us in a thousand ways.ʺ What more easy for Satan to do than represent a flash of light, or a bright flame to them who first enter into such a subterranean cave? This was asserted by all good Christians during the Papacy of Paul III., when upon opening a tomb in the Appian Way, at Rome, there was found the entire body of


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a young girl swimming in a bright liquor which had so well preserved it, that the face was beautiful and like life itself. At her feet burned a lamp, whose flame vanished upon opening the sepulchre. From some engraved signs it was found to have been buried for over 1500 years, and supposed to have been the body of Tulliola, or Tullia, Ciceroʹs daughter.*

Chemists and physicists deny that perpetual lamps are possible, alleging that whatever is resolved into vapor or smoke cannot be permanent, but must consume; and as the oily nutriment of a lighted lamp is exhaled into a vapor, hence the fire cannot be perpetual for want of food. Alchemists, on the other hand, deny that all the nourishment of kindled fire must of necessity be converted into vapor. They say that there are things in nature which will not only resist the force of fire and remain inconsumable, but will also prove inextinguishable by either wind or water. In an old chemical work of the year 1700, called NEKPOKHDEIA , the author gives a number of refutations of the claims of various alchemists. But though he denies that a fire can be made to burn perpetually, he is half‐inclined to believe it possible that a lamp should burn several hundred years. Besides, we have a mass of testimony from alchemists who devoted years to these experiments and came to the conclusion that it was possible.

* The details of this story may be found in the work of Erasmus Franciscus, who quotes from Pflaumerus, Pancirollus, and many others.

There are some peculiar preparations of gold, silver, and mercury; also of naphtha, petroleum, and other bituminous oils. Alchemists also name the oil of camphor and amber, the

Lapis asbestos seu Amianthus, the Lapis Carystius, Cyprius, and

Linum vivum seu Creteum, as employed for such lamps. They affirm that such matter can be prepared either of gold or silver, reduced to fluid, and indicate that gold is the fittest pabulum for their wondrous flame, as, of all metals, gold wastes the least when either heated or melted, and, moreover, can be made to reabsorb its oily humidity as soon as exhaled, so continuously feeding its own flame when it is once lighted. The Kabalists assert that the secret was known to Moses, who had learned it from the Egyptians; and that the lamp ordered by the ʺLordʺ to burn on the tabernacle, was an inextinguishable lamp. ʺAnd thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil‐olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn alwaysʺ (Exod. xxvii. 20).

Licetus also denies that these lamps were prepared of metal, but on page 44 of his work mentions a preparation of quicksilver filtrated seven times through white sand by fire, of which, he says, lamps were made that would burn perpetually. Both Maturantius and Citesius firmly believe that such a work can be done by a purely chemical process. This liquor of quicksilver was known among alchemists as

Aqua Mercurialis, Materia Metallorum, Perpetua Dispositio, and Materia prima Artis, also Oleum Vitri. Tritenheim and Bartolomeo Korndorf both made preparations for the


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inextinguishable fire, and left their recipes for it.* Asbestos,

* ʺSulphur. Alum ust. a iv.; sublime them into flowers to ij., of

which add of crystalline Venetian borax (powdered) j.; upon these affuse high rectified spirit of wine and digest it, then abstract it and pour on fresh; repeat this so often till the sulphur melts like wax without any smoke, upon a hot plate of brass: this is for the pabulum, but the wick is to be prepared after this manner: gather the threads or thrums of the Lapis asbestos, to the thickness of your middle and the length of your little finger, then put them into a Venetian glass, and covering them over with the aforesaid depurated sulphur or aliment, set the glass in sand for the space of twenty‐four hours, so hot that the sulphur may bubble all the while. The wick being thus besmeared and anointed, is to be put into a glass like a scallop‐shell, in such manner that some part of it may lie above the mass of prepared sulphur; then setting this glass upon hot sand, you must melt the sulphur, so that it may lay hold of the wick, and when it is lighted, it will burn with a perpetual flame and you may set this lamp in any place where you

please.ʺ The other is as follows: ʺ . Solis tosti, lb. j.; affuse over it strong wine vinegar, and abstract it to the consistency of oil; then put on fresh vinegar and macerate and distill it as before. Repeat this four times successively, then put into this vinegar vitr. antimonii subtilis loevigat, lb. j.; set it on ashes in a close vessel for the space of six hours, to extract its tincture, decant the liquor, and put on fresh, and then extract it again; this repeat so often till you have got out all the redness. Coagulate your extractions to the consistency of oil, and then rectify them in Balneo Mariae (bain Marie). Then take the antimony, from which the tincture was extracted, and reduce it to a very fine meal, and so put it into a glass bolthead; pour upon it the rectified oil, which abstract and cohobate seven times, till such time as the powder has imbibed all the oil, and is quite dry. This extract again with spirit of wine, so often, till all the essence be got out of it, which put into a

which was known to the Greeks under the name of Asbestoʺ , or inextinguishable, is a kind of stone, which once set on fire cannot be quenched, as Pliny and Solinus tell us. Albertus Magnus describes it as a stone of an iron color, found mostly in Arabia. It is generally found covered with a hardly‐ perceptible oleaginous moisture, which upon being approached with a lighted candle will immediately catch fire. Many were the experiments made by chemists to extract from it this indissoluble oil, but they are alleged to have all failed. But, are our chemists prepared to say that the above operation is utterly impracticable? If this oil could once be extracted there can be no question but it would afford a perpetual fuel. The ancients might well boast of having had the secret of it, for, we repeat, there are experimenters living at this day who have done so successfully. Chemists who

Venice matrass, well luted with paper five‐fold, and then distill it so that the spirit being drawn off, there may remain at the bottom an inconsumable oil, to be used with a wick after the same manner with the sulphur we have described before.ʺ ʺThese are the eternal lights of Tritenheimus,ʺ says Libavius, his commentator, ʺwhich indeed, though they do not agree with the pertinacy of naphtha, yet these things can illustrate one another. Naphtha is not so durable as not to be burned, for it exhales and deflagrates, but if it be fixed by adding the juice of the Lapis asbestinos it can afford perpetual fuel,ʺ says this learned person. We may add that we have ourselves seen a lamp so prepared, and we are told that since it was first lighted on May 2, 1871, it has not gone out. As we know the person who is making the experiment incapable to deceive any one, being himself an ardent experimenter in hermetic secrets, we have no reason to doubt his assertion.


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have vainly tried it, have asserted that the fluid or liquor chemically extracted from that stone was more of a watery than oily nature, and so impure and feculent that it could not burn; others affirmed, on the contrary, that the oil, as soon as exposed to the air, became so thick and solid that it would hardly flow, and when lighted emitted no flame, but escaped in dark smoke; whereas the lamps of the ancients are alleged to have burned with the purest and brightest flame, without emitting the slightest smoke. Kircher, who shows the practicability of purifying it, thinks it so difficult as to be accessible only to the highest adepts of alchemy.

St. Augustine, who attributes the whole of these arts to the Christian scapegoat, the devil, is flatly contradicted by Ludovicus Vives,* who shows that all such would‐be magical operations are the work of manʹs industry and deep study of the hidden secrets of nature, wonderful and miraculous as they may seem. Podocattarus, a Cypriote knight,† had both flax and linen made out of another asbestos, which Porcacchius says‡ he saw at the house of this knight. Pliny calls this flax linum vinum, and Indian flax, and says it is done out of asbeston sive asbestinum, a kind of flax of which they made cloth that was to be cleaned by throwing it in the fire. He adds that it was as precious as pearls and diamonds, for not only was it very rarely found but exceedingly difficult to be woven, on account of the shortness of the threads. Being

* ʺCommentary upon St. Augustineʹs ʹTreatise de Civitate Dei.ʹ ʺ
† The author of ʺDe Rebus Cypriis,ʺ 1566 A. D.

‡ ʺBook of Ancient Funerals.ʺ

beaten flat with a hammer, it is soaked in warm water, and when dried its filaments can be easily divided into threads like flax and woven into cloth. Pliny asserts he has seen some towels made of it, and assisted in an experiment of purifying them by fire. Baptista Porta also states that he found the same, at Venice, in the hands of a Cyprian lady; he calls this discovery of Alchemy a secretum optimum.

Dr. Grew, in his description of the curiosities in Gresham College (seventeenth century), believes the art, as well as the use of such linen, altogether lost, but it appears that it was not quite so, for we find the Museum Septalius boasting of the possession of thread, ropes, paper, and net‐work done of this material as late as 1726; some of these articles made, moreover, by the own hand of Septalius, as we learn in Greenhillʹs Art of Embalming, p. 361. ʺGrew,ʺ says the author, ʺseems to make Asbestinus Lapis and Amianthus all one, and calls them in English the thrum‐stoneʺ; he says it grows in short threads or thrums, from about a quarter of an inch to an inch in length, parallel and glossy, as fine as those small, single threads the silk‐worms spin, and very flexible like to flax or tow. That the secret is not altogether lost is proved by the fact that some Buddhist convents in China and Thibet are in possession of it. Whether made of the fibre of one or the other of such stones, we cannot say, but we have seen in a monastery of female Talapoins, a yellow gown, such as the Buddhist monks wear, thrown into a large pit, full of glowing coals, and taken out two hours afterward as clear as if it had been washed with soap and water.


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Similar severe trials of asbestos having occurred in Europe and America in our own times, the substance is being applied to various industrial purposes, such as roofing‐cloth, incombustible dresses and fireproof safes. A very valuable deposit on Staten Island, in New York harbor, yields the mineral in bundles, like dry wood, with fibres of several feet in length. The finer variety of asbestos, called amiantoʺ (undefiled) by the ancients, took its name from its white, satin‐like lustre.

The ancients made the wick of their perpetual lamps from another stone also, which they called Lapis Carystius. The inhabitants of the city of Carystos seemed to have made no secret of it, as Matthaeus Raderus says in his work* that they ʺkembʹd, spun, and wove this downy stone into mantles, table‐linen, and the like, which when foul they purified again with fire instead of water.ʺ Pausanias, in Atticus, and Plutarch† also assert that the wicks of lamps were made from this stone; but Plutarch adds that it was no more to be found in his time. Licetus is inclined to believe that the perpetual lamps used by the ancients in their sepulchres had no wicks at all, as very few have been found; but Ludovicus Vives is of a contrary opinion and affirms that he has seen quite a number of them.

Licetus, moreover, is firmly persuaded that a ʺpabulum for fire may be given with such an equal temperament as cannot

* ʺComment. on the 77th Epigram of the IXth Book of Martial.ʺ

† ʺDe Defectu Oraculorum.ʺ

be consumed but after a long series of ages, and so that neither the matter shall exhale but strongly resist the fire, nor the fire consume the matter, but be restrained by it, as it were with a chain, from flying upward.ʺ To this, Sir Thomas Browne,‡ speaking of lamps which have burned many hundred years, included in small bodies, observes that ʺthis proceeds from the purity of the oil, which yields no fuliginous exhalations to suffocate the fire; for if air had nourished the flame, then it had not continued many minutes, for it would certainly in that case have been spent and wasted by the fire.ʺ But he adds, ʺthe art of preparing this inconsumable oil is lost.ʺ

Not quite; and time will prove it, though all that we now write should be doomed to fail, like so many other truths.

We are told, in behalf of science, that she accepts no other mode of investigation than observation and experiment. Agreed; and have we not the records of say three thousand years of observation of facts going to prove the occult powers of man? As to experiment, what better opportunity could have been asked than the so‐called modern phenomena have afforded? In 1869, various scientific Englishmen were invited by the London Dialectical Society to assist in an investigation of these phenomena. Let us see what our philosophers replied. Professor Huxley wrote: ʺI have no time for such an inquiry, which would involve much trouble and (unless it were unlike all inquiries of that kind I have known) much

‡ ʺVulgar Errors,ʺ p. 124.


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annoyance. . . . I take no interest in the subject . . . but supposing the phenomena to be genuine — they do not interest me.ʺ* Mr. George H. Lewes expresses a wise thing in the following sentence: ʺWhen any man says that phenomena are produced by no known physical laws, he declares he knows the laws by which they are produced.ʺ† Professor Tyndall expresses doubt as to the possibility of good results at any seance which he might attend. His presence, according to the opinion of Mr. Varley, throws everything in confusion.‡ Professor Carpenter writes, ʺI have satisfied myself by personal investigation, that, whilst a great number of what pass as such (i.e., spiritual manifestations) are the results of intentional imposture, and many others of self‐ deception, there are certain phenomena which are quite genuine, and must be considered as fair subjects of scientific study . . . the source of these phenomena does not lie in any communication ab‐extra, but depends upon the subjective condition of the individual which operates according to certain recognized physiological laws . . .the process to which I have given the name ʹunconscious cerebrationʹ. . . performs a large part in the production of the phenomena known as spiritualistic.ʺ§

And it is thus that the world is apprised through the organ of exact science, that unconscious cerebration has acquired the

* ʺLondon Dialectical Societyʹs Report on Spiritualism,ʺ p. 229.
† Ibid., p. 230.
‡ Ibid., p. 265.

§ Ibid., p. 266.

faculty of making the guitars fly in the air and forcing furniture to perform various clownish tricks!

So much for the opinions of the English scientists. The Americans have not done much better. In 1857, a committee of Harvard University warned the public against investigating this subject, which ʺcorrupts the morals and degrades the intellect.ʺ They called it, furthermore, ʺa contaminating influence, which surely tends to lessen the truth of man and the purity of woman.ʺ Later, when Professor Robert Hare, the great chemist, defying the opinions of his contemporaries, investigated spiritualism, and became a believer, he was immediately declared non compos mentis; and in 1874, when one of the New York daily papers addressed a circular letter to the principal scientists of this country, asking them to investigate, and offering to pay the expenses, they, like the guests bidden to the supper, ʺwith one consent, began to make excuses.ʺ

Yet, despite the indifference of Huxley, the jocularity of Tyndall, and the ʺunconscious cerebrationʺ of Carpenter, many a scientist as noted as either of them, has investigated the unwelcome subject, and, overwhelmed with the evidence, become converted. And another scientist, and a great author

— although not a spiritualist — bears this honorable testimony: ʺThat the spirits of the dead occasionally revisit the living, or haunt their former abodes, has been in all ages, in all European countries, a fixed belief, not confined to rustics, but participated in by the intelligent. . . . If human testimony on such subjects can be of any value, there is a


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body of evidence reaching from the remotest ages to the present time, as extensive and unimpeachable as is to be found in support of anything whatever.ʺ*

Unfortunately, human skepticism is a stronghold capable of defying any amount of testimony. And to begin with Mr. Huxley, our men of science accept of but so much as suits them, and no more.

ʺOh shame to men! devil with devil damnʹd Firm concord holds, — men only disagree Of creatures rational. . . .ʺ†

How can we account for such divergence of views among men taught out of the same text‐books and deriving their knowledge from the same source? Clearly, this is but one more corroboration of the truism that no two men see the same thing exactly alike. This idea is admirably formulated by Dr. J. J. Garth Wilkinson, in a letter to the Dialectical Society.

ʺI have long,ʺ says he, ʺbeen convinced, by the experience of my life as a pioneer in several heterodoxies which are rapidly becoming orthodoxies, that nearly all truth is temperamental to us, or given in the affections and intuitions, and that discussion and inquiry do little more than feed temperament.ʺ

This profound observer might have added to his experience that of Bacon, who remarks that ʺ. . . a little

* Draper, ʺConflict between Religion and Science,ʺ p. 121.

† Milton, ʺParadise Lost.ʺ

philosophy inclineth a manʹs mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth manʹs mind about to religion.ʺ

Professor Carpenter vaunts the advanced philosophy of the present day which ʺignores no fact however strange that can be attested by valid evidenceʺ; and yet he would be the first to reject the claims of the ancients to philosophical and scientific knowledge, although based upon evidence quite ʺas validʺ as that which supports the pretensions of men of our times to philosophical or scientific distinction. In the department of science, let us take for example the subjects of electricity and electro‐magnetism, which have exalted the names of Franklin and Morse to so high a place upon our roll of fame.

Six centuries before the Christian era, Thales is said to have discovered the electric properties of amber; and yet the later researches of Schweigger, as given in his extensive works on Symbolism, have thoroughly demonstrated that all the ancient mythologies were based on the science of natural philosophy, and show that the most occult properties of electricity and magnetism were known to the theurgists of the earliest Mysteries recorded in history, those of Samothrace. Diodorus, of Sicily, Herodotus, and Sanchoniathon, the Phœnician — the oldest of historians — tell us that these Mysteries originated in the night of time, centuries and probably thousands of years prior to the historical period. One of the best proofs of it we find in a most remarkable picture, in Raoul‐Rochetteʹs Monuments dʹAntiquité Figurés, in which, like the ʺerect‐haired Pan,ʺ all the figures have their


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hair streaming out in every direction — except the central figure of the Kabeirian Demeter, from whom the power issues, and one other, a kneeling man.* The picture, according to Schweigger, evidently represents a part of the ceremony of initiation. And yet it is not so long since the elementary works on natural philosophy began to be ornamented with cuts of electrified heads, with hair standing out in all directions, under the influence of the electric fluid. Schweigger shows that a lost natural philosophy of antiquity was connected with the most important religious ceremonies. He demonstrates in the amplest manner, that magic in the prehistoric periods had a part in the mysteries and that the greatest phenomena, the so‐ called miracles — whether Pagan, Jewish, or Christian — rested in fact on the arcane knowledge of the ancient priests of physics and all the branches of chemistry, or rather alchemy.

In chapter xi., which is entirely devoted to the wonderful achievements of the ancients, we propose to demonstrate our assertions more fully. We will show, on the evidence of the most trustworthy classics, that at a period far anterior to the siege of Troy, the learned priests of the sanctuaries were thoroughly acquainted with electricity and even lightning‐ conductors. We will now add but a few more words before closing the subject.

* See Ennemoser, ʺHistory of Magic,ʺ vol. ii., and Schweigger,

ʺIntroduction to Mythology through Natural History.ʺ

The theurgists so well understood the minutest properties of magnetism, that, without possessing the lost key to their arcana, but depending wholly upon what was known in their modern days of electro‐magnetism, Schweigger and Ennemoser have been able to trace the identity of the ʺtwin brothers,ʺ the Dioskuri, with the polarity of electricity and magnetism. Symbolical myths, previously supposed to be meaningless fictions, are now found to be ʺthe cleverest and at the same time most profound expressions of a strictly scientifically defined truth of nature,ʺ according to Ennemoser.†

Our physicists pride themselves on the achievements of our century and exchange antiphonal hymns of praise. The eloquent diction of their class‐lectures, their flowery phraseology, require but a slight modification to change these lectures into melodious sonnets. Our modern Petrarchs, Dantes, and Torquato Tassos rival with the troubadours of old in poetical effusion. In their unbounded glorification of matter, they sing the amorous commingling of the wandering atoms, and the loving interchange of protoplasms, and lament the coquettish fickleness of ʺforcesʺ which play so provokingly at hide‐and‐seek with our grave professors in the great drama of life, called by them ʺforce‐correlation.ʺ Proclaiming matter sole and autocratic sovereign of the Boundless Universe, they would forcibly divorce her from her consort, and place the widowed queen on the great

† ʺHistory of Magic,ʺ vol. ii.


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throne of nature made vacant by the exiled spirit. And now, they try to make her appear as attractive as they can by incensing and worshipping at the shrine of their own building. Do they forget, or are they utterly unaware of the fact, that in the absence of its legitimate sovereign, this throne is but a whitened sepulchre, inside of which all is rottenness and corruption! That matter without the spirit which vivifies it, and of which it is but the ʺgross purgation,ʺ to use a hermetic expression, is nothing but a soulless corpse, whose limbs, in order to be moved in predetermined directions, require an intelligent operator at the great galvanic battery called LIFE!

In what particular is the knowledge of the present century so superior to that of the ancients? When we say knowledge we do not mean that brilliant and clear definition of our modern scholars of particulars to the most trifling detail in every branch of exact science; of that tuition which finds an appropriate term for every detail insignificant and microscopic as it may be; a name for every nerve and artery in human and animal organisms, an appellation for every cell, filament, and rib in a plant; but the philosophical and ultimate expression of every truth in nature.

The greatest ancient philosophers are accused of shallowness and a superficiality of knowledge of those details in exact sciences of which the moderns boast so much. Plato is declared by his various commentators to have been utterly ignorant of the anatomy and functions of the human body; to have known nothing of the uses of the nerves to convey

sensations; and to have had nothing better to offer than vain speculations concerning physiological questions. He has simply generalized the divisions of the human body, they say, and given nothing reminding us of anatomical facts. As to his own views on the human frame, the microcosmos being in his ideas the image in miniature of the macrocosmos, they are much too transcendental to be given the least attention by our exact and materialistic skeptics. The idea of this frame being, as well as the universe, formed out of triangles, seems preposterously ridiculous to several of his translators. Alone of the latter, Professor Jowett, in his introduction to the Timæus, honestly remarks that the modern physical philosopher ʺhardly allows to his notions the merit of being ʹthe dead menʹs bonesʹ out of which he has himself risen to a higher knowledgeʺ;* forgetting how much the metaphysics of olden times has helped the ʺphysicalʺ sciences of the present day. If, instead of quarrelling with the insufficiency and at times absence of terms and definitions strictly scientific in Platoʹs works, we analyze them carefully, the Timæus, alone, will be found to contain within its limited space the germs of every new discovery. The circulation of the blood and the law of gravitation are clearly mentioned, though the former fact, it may be, is not so clearly defined as to withstand the reiterated attacks of modern science; for according to Prof. Jowett, the specific discovery that the blood flows out at one side of the heart through the arteries, and returns through the

* B. Jowett, M.A., ʺThe Dialogues of Plato,ʺ vol. ii., p. 508.


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veins at the other, was unknown to him, though Plato was perfectly aware ʺthat blood is a fluid in constant motion.ʺ


Platoʹs method, like that of geometry, was to descend from universals to particulars. Modern science vainly seeks a first cause among the permutations of molecules; the former sought and found it amid the majestic sweep of worlds. For him it was enough to know the great scheme of creation and to be able to trace the mightiest movements of the universe through their changes to their ultimates. The petty details, whose observation and classification have so taxed and demonstrated the patience of modern scientists, occupied but little of the attention of the old philosophers. Hence, while a fifth‐form boy of an English school can prate more learnedly about the little things of physical science than Plato himself, yet, on the other hand, the dullest of Platoʹs disciples could tell more about great cosmic laws and their mutual relations, and demonstrate a familiarity with and control over the occult forces which lie behind them, than the most learned professor in the most distinguished academy of our day.

This fact, so little appreciated and never dwelt upon by Platoʹs translators, accounts for the self‐laudation in which we moderns indulge at the expense of that philosopher and his compeers. Their alleged mistakes in anatomy and physiology are magnified to an inordinate extent to gratify our self‐love, until, in acquiring the idea of our own superior learning, we lose sight of the intellectual splendor which adorns the ages

of the past; it is as if one should, in fancy, magnify the solar spots until he should believe the bright luminary to be totally eclipsed.

The unprofitableness of modern scientific research is evinced in the fact that while we have a name for the most trivial particle of mineral, plant, animal, and man, the wisest of our teachers are unable to tell us anything definite about the vital force which produces the changes in these several kingdoms. It is necessary to seek further for corroboration of this statement than the works of our highest scientific authorities themselves.

It requires no little moral courage in a man of eminent professional position to do justice to the acquirements of the ancients, in the face of a public sentiment which is content with nothing else than their abasement. When we meet with a case of the kind we gladly lay a laurel at the feet of the bold and honest scholar. Such is Professor Jowett, Master of Balliol College, and Regius Professor of Greek in the University of Oxford, who, in his translation of Platoʹs works, speaking of ʺthe physical philosophy of the ancients as a whole,ʺ gives them the following credit: 1. ʺThat the nebular theory was the received belief of the early physicists.ʺ Therefore it could not have rested, as Draper asserts,* upon the telescopic discovery made by Herschel I. 2. ʺThat the development of animals out of frogs who came to land, and of man out of the animals, was held by Anaximenes in the sixth century before Christ.ʺ

* ʺConflict between Religion and Science,ʺ p. 240.


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The professor might have added that this theory antedated Anaximenes by some thousands of years, perhaps; that it was an accepted doctrine among Chaldeans, and that Darwinʹs evolution of species and monkey theory are of an antediluvian origin. 3. ʺ . . . that, even by Philolaus and the early Pythagoreans, the earth was held to be a body like the other stars revolving in space.ʺ* Thus Galileo, studying some Pythagorean fragments, which are shown by Reuchlin to have yet existed in the days of the Florentine mathematician;† being, moreover, familiar with the doctrines of the old philosophers, but reasserted an astronomical doctrine which prevailed in India at the remotest antiquity. 4. The ancients ʺ .

. . thought that there was a sex in plants as well as in animals.ʺ Thus our modern naturalists had but to follow in the steps of their predecessors. 5. ʺThat musical notes depended on the relative length or tension of the strings from

* ʺPlutarch,ʺ translated by Langhorne.

† Some kabalistic scholars assert that the Greek original Pythagoric sentences of Sextus, which are now said to be lost, existed still, in a convent at Florence, at that time, and that Galileo was acquainted with these writings. They add, moreover, that a treatise on astronomy, a manuscript by Archytas, a direct disciple of Pythagoras, in which were noted all the most important doctrines of their school, was in the possession of Galileo. Had some Ruffinas got hold of it, he would no doubt have perverted it, as Presbyter Ruffinas has perverted the above‐ mentioned sentences of Sextus, replacing them with a fraudulent version, the authorship of which he sought to ascribe to a certain Bishop Sextus. See Taylorʹs Introduction to Iamblichusʹ ʺLife of Pythagoras,ʺ p. xvii.

which they were emitted, and were measured by ratios of number.ʺ 6. ʺThat mathematical laws pervaded the world and even qualitative differences were supposed to have their origin in numberʺ; and 7. ʺThe annihilation of matter was denied by them, and held to be a transformation only.ʺ‡ ʺAlthough one of these discoveries might have been supposed to be a happy guess,ʺ adds Mr. Jowett, ʺwe can hardly attribute them all to mere coincidences.ʺ§

In short, the Platonic philosophy was one of order, system, and proportion; it embraced the evolution of worlds and species, the correlation and conservation of energy, the transmutation of material form, the indestructibility of matter and of spirit. Their position in the latter respect being far in advance of modern science, and binding, the arch of their philosophical system with a keystone at once perfect and immovable. If science has made such colossal strides during these latter days — if we have such clearer ideas of natural law than the ancients — why are our inquiries as to the nature and source of life unanswered? If the modern laboratory is so much richer in the fruits of experimental research than those of the olden time, how comes it that we make no step except on paths that were trodden long before the Christian era? How does it happen that the most advanced standpoint that has been reached in our times only enables us to see in the dim distance up the Alpine path of

‡ Jowett, Introduction to the ʺTimæus,ʺ vol. ii., p. 508.

§ Ibid.


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knowledge the monumental proofs that earlier explorers have left to mark the plateaux they had reached and occupied?

If modern masters are so much in advance of the old ones, why do they not restore to us the lost arts of our postdiluvian forefathers? Why do they not give us the unfading colors of Luxor — the Tyrian purple; the bright vermilion and dazzling blue which decorate the walls of this place, and are as bright as on the first day of their application? The indestructible cement of the pyramids and of ancient aqueducts; the Damascus blade, which can be turned like a corkscrew in its scabbard without breaking; the gorgeous, unparalleled tints of the stained glass that is found amid the dust of old ruins and beams in the windows of ancient cathedrals; and the secret of the true malleable glass? And if chemistry is so little able to rival even with the early mediæval ages in some arts, why boast of achievements which, according to strong probability, were perfectly known thousands of years ago? The more archæology and philology advance, the more humiliating to our pride are the discoveries which are daily made, the more glorious testimony do they bear in behalf of those who, perhaps on account of the distance of their remote antiquity, have been until now considered ignorant flounderers in the deepest mire of superstition.

Why should we forget that, ages before the prow of the adventurous Genoese clove the Western waters, the Phœnician vessels had circumnavigated the globe, and spread civilization in regions now silent and deserted? What archæologist will dare assert that the same hand which

planned the Pyramids of Egypt, Karnak, and the thousand ruins now crumbling to oblivion on the sandy banks of the Nile, did not erect the monumental Nagkon‐Wat of Cambodia? or trace the hieroglyphics on the obelisks and doors of the deserted Indian village, newly discovered in British Columbia by Lord Dufferin? or those on the ruins of Palenque and Uxmal, of Central America? Do not the relics we treasure in our museums — last mementos of the long ʺlost artsʺ — speak loudly in favor of ancient civilization? And do they not prove, over and over again, that nations and continents that have passed away have buried along with them arts and sciences, which neither the first crucible ever heated in a mediæval cloister, nor the last cracked by a modern chemist have revived, nor will — at least, in the present century.

ʺThey were not without some knowledge of optics,ʺ Professor Draper magnanimously concedes to the ancients; others positively deny to them even that little. ʺThe convex lens found at Nimroud shows that they were not unacquainted with magnifying instruments.ʺ* Indeed? If they were not, all the classical authors must have lied. For, when Cicero tells us that he had seen the entire Iliad written on skin of such a miniature size, that it could easily be rolled up inside a nut‐shell, and Pliny asserts that Nero had a ring with a small glass in it, through which he watched the performance of the gladiators at a distance — could audacity

* ʺConflict between Religion and Science,ʺ p. 14.


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go farther? Truly, when we are told that Mauritius could see from the promontory of Sicily over the entire sea to the coast of Africa, with an instrument called nauscopite, we must either think that all these witnesses lied, or that the ancients were more than slightly acquainted with optics and magnifying glasses. Wendell Phillips states that he has a friend who possesses an extraordinary ring ʺperhaps three‐quarters of an inch in diameter, and on it is the naked figure of the god Hercules. By the aid of glasses, you can distinguish the interlacing muscles, and count every separate hair on the eyebrows.. . . Rawlinson brought home a stone about twenty inches long and ten wide, containing an entire treatise on mathematics. It would be perfectly illegible without glasses. .

.In Dr. Abbottʹs Museum, there is a ring of Cheops, to which Bunsen assigns 500 B.C. The signet of the ring is about the size of a quarter of a dollar, and the engraving is invisible without the aid of glasses. . . At Parma, they will show you a gem once worn on the finger of Michael Angelo, of which the engraving is 2,000 years old, and on which there are the figures of seven women. You must have the aid of powerful glasses in order to distinguish the forms at all. . . So the microscope,ʺ adds the learned lecturer, ʺinstead of dating from our time, finds its brothers in the Books of Moses — and these are infant brothers.ʺ

The foregoing facts do not seem to show that the ancients had merely ʺsome knowledge of optics.ʺ Therefore, totally disagreeing in this particular with Professor Fiske and his criticism of Professor Draperʹs Conflict in his Unseen World,

the only fault we find with the admirable book of Draper is that, as an historical critic, he sometimes uses his own optical instruments in the wrong place. While, in order to magnify the atheism of the Pythagorean Bruno, he looks through convex lenses; whenever talking of the knowledge of the ancients, he evidently sees things through concave ones.


It is simply worthy of admiration to follow in various modern works the cautious attempts of both pious Christians and skeptical, albeit very learned men, to draw a line of demarcation between what we are and what we are not to believe, in ancient authors. No credit is ever allowed them without being followed by a qualifying caution. If Strabo tells us that ancient Nineveh was forty‐seven miles in circumference, and his testimony is accepted, why should it be otherwise the moment he testifies to the accomplishment of Sibylline prophecies? Where is the common sense in calling Herodotus the ʺFather of History,ʺ and then accusing him, in the same breath, of silly gibberish, whenever he recounts marvellous manifestations, of which he was an eye‐witness? Perhaps, after all, such a caution is more than ever necessary, now that our epoch has been christened the Century of Discovery. The disenchantment may prove too cruel for Europe. Gunpowder, which has long been thought an invention of Bacon and Schwartz, is now shown in the school‐ books to have been used by the Chinese for levelling hills and blasting rocks, centuries before our era. ʺIn the Museum of


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Alexandria,ʺ says Draper, ʺthere was a machine invented by Hero, the mathematician, a little more than 100 years B.C. It revolved by the agency of steam, and was of the form that we should now call a reaction‐engine. . . . Chance had nothing to do with the invention of the modern steam‐engine.ʺ* Europe prides herself upon the discoveries of Copernicus and Galileo, and now we are told that the astronomical observations of the Chaldeans extend back to within a hundred years of the flood; and Bunsen fixes the flood at not less than 10,000 years before our era.† Moreover, a Chinese emperor, more than 2,000 years before the birth of Christ (i.e., before Moses) put to death his two chief astronomers for not predicting an eclipse of the sun.

It may be noted, as an example of the inaccuracy of current notions as to the scientific claims of the present century, that the discoveries of the indestructibility of matter and force‐correlation, especially the latter, are heralded as among our crowning triumphs. It is ʺthe most important discovery of the present century,ʺ as Sir William Armstrong expressed it in his famous address as president of the British Association. But, this ʺimportant discoveryʺ is no discovery after all. Its origin, apart from the undeniable traces of it to be found among the old philosophers, is lost in the dense shadows of prehistoric days. Its first vestiges are discovered in the dreamy speculations of Vedic theology, in the doctrine of emanation and absorption, the nirvana in short. John

* ʺConflict between Religion and Science,ʺ p. 311.

† ʺEgyptʹs Place in Universal History,ʺ vol. v., p. 88.

Erigena outlined it in his bold philosophy in the eighth century, and we invite any one to read his De Divisione Naturæ, who would convince himself of this truth. Science tells that when the theory of the indestructibility of matter (also a very, very old idea of Demokritus, by the way) was demonstrated, it became necessary to extend it to force. No material particle can ever be lost; no part of the force existing in nature can vanish; hence, force was likewise proved indestructible, and its various manifestations or forces, under divers aspects, were shown to be mutually convertible, and but different modes of motion of the material particles. And thus was rediscovered the force‐correlation. Mr. Grove, so far back as 1842, gave to each of these forces, such as heat, electricity, magnetism, and light, the character of convertibility; making them capable of being at one moment a cause, and at the next an effect.‡ But whence come these forces, and whither do they go, when we lose sight of them? On this point science is silent.

The theory of ʺforce‐correlation,ʺ though it may be in the minds of our contemporaries ʺthe greatest discovery of the age,ʺ can account for neither the beginning nor the end of one of such forces; neither can the theory point out the cause of it. Forces may be convertible, and one may produce the other, still, no exact science is able to explain the alpha and omega of the phenomenon. In what particular are we then in advance of Plato who, discussing in the Timæus the primary

‡ W. R. Grove, ʺPreface to the Correlation of Physical Forces.ʺ


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and secondary qualities of matter* and the feebleness of human intellect, makes Timæus say: ʺGod knows the original qualities of things; man can only hope to attain to probability.ʺ We have but to open one of the several pamphlets of Huxley and Tyndall to find precisely the same confession; but they improve upon Plato by not allowing even God to know more than themselves; and perhaps it may be upon this that they base their claims of superiority? The ancient Hindus founded their doctrine of emanation and absorption on precisely that law. The Tá On̒ , the primordial point in the boundless circle, ʺwhose circumference is nowhere, and the centre everywhere,ʺ emanating from itself all things, and manifesting them in the visible universe under multifarious forms; the forms interchanging, commingling, and, after a gradual transformation from the pure spirit (or the Buddhistic ʺnothingʺ), into the grossest matter, beginning to recede and as gradually re‐emerge into their primitive state, which is the absorption into Nirvana†— what else is this but correlation of forces?

* ʺTimæus,ʺ p. 22.

† Beginning with Godfrey Higgins and ending with Max Müller, every archæologist and philologist who has fairly and seriously studied the old religions, has perceived that taken literally they could only lead them on a false track. Dr. Lardner disfigured and misrepresented the old doctrines — whether unwittingly or otherwise — in the grossest manner. The pravritti, or the existence of nature when alive, in activity, and the nirvritti, or the rest, the state of non‐living, is the Buddhistic esoteric doctrine. The ʺpure nothing,ʺ or non‐existence, if translated according to the esoteric sense, would mean the ʺpure spirit,ʺ the

Science tells us that heat may be shown to develop electricity, electricity produce heat; and magnetism to evolve electricity, and vice versa. Motion, they tell us, results from motion itself, and so on, ad infinitum. This is the A B C of occultism and of the earliest alchemists. The indestructibility of matter and force being discovered and proved, the great problem of eternity is solved. What need have we more of spirit? its uselessness is henceforth scientifically demonstrated!

Thus modern philosophers may be said not to have gone one step beyond what the priests of Samothrace, the Hindus, and even the Christian Gnostics well knew. The former have shown it in that wonderfully ingenious mythos of the Dioskuri, or ʺthe sons of heavenʺ; the twin brothers, spoken of by Schweigger, ʺwho constantly die and return to life together, while it is absolutely necessary that one should die that the other may live.ʺ They knew as well as our physicists, that when a force has disappeared it has simply been converted into another force. Though archæology may not have discovered any ancient apparatus for such special conversions, it may nevertheless be affirmed with perfect reason and upon analogical deductions that nearly all the ancient religions were based on such indestructibility of matter and force — plus the emanation of the whole from an ethereal, spiritual fire — or the central sun, which is God or

NAMELESS or something our intellect is unable to grasp, hence nothing. But we will speak of it further.


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spirit, on the knowledge of whose potentiality is based ancient theurgic magic.

In the manuscript commentary of Proclus on magic he gives the following account: ʺIn the same manner as lovers gradually advance from that beauty which is apparent in sensible forms, to that which is divine; so the ancient priests, when they considered that there is a certain alliance and sympathy in natural things to each other, and of things manifest to occult powers, and discovered that all things subsist in all, they fabricated a sacred science from this mutual sympathy and similarity. Thus they recognized things supreme in such as are subordinate, and the subordinate in the supreme; in the celestial regions, terrene properties subsisting in a causal and celestial manner; and in earth celestial properties, but according to a terrene condition.ʺ

Proclus then proceeds to point to certain mysterious peculiarities of plants, minerals, and animals, all of which are well known to our naturalists, but none of which are explained. Such are the rotatory motion of the sunflower, of the heliotrope, of the lotos — which, before the rising of the sun, folds its leaves, drawing the petals within itself, so to say, then expands them gradually, as the sun rises, and draws them in again as it descends to the west — of the sun and lunar stones and the helioselenus, of the cock and lion, and other animals. ʺNow the ancients,ʺ he says, ʺhaving contemplated this mutual sympathy of things (celestial and terrestrial) applied them for occult purposes, both celestial and terrene natures, by means of which, through a certain

similitude, they deduced divine virtues into this inferior abode. . . . All things are full of divine natures; terrestrial natures receiving the plenitude of such as are celestial, but celestial of supercelestial essences, while every order of things proceeds gradually in a beautiful descent from the highest to the lowest.* For whatever particulars are collected into one above the order of things, are afterwards dilated in descending, various souls being distributed under their various ruling divinities.ʺ†

Evidently Proclus does not advocate here simply a superstition, but science; for notwithstanding that it is occult, and unknown to our scholars, who deny its possibilities, magic is still a science. It is firmly and solely based on the mysterious affinities existing between organic and inorganic bodies, the visible productions of the four kingdoms, and the invisible powers of the universe. That which science calls gravitation, the ancients and the mediæval hermetists called magnetism, attraction, affinity. It is the universal law, which is understood by Plato and explained in Timæus as the attraction of lesser bodies to larger ones, and of similar bodies to similar, the latter exhibiting a magnetic power rather than following the law of gravitation. The anti‐Aristotelean formula that gravity causes all bodies to descend with equal rapidity, without reference to their weight, the difference being caused by some other unknown agency, would seem to point a

* This is the exact opposite of the modern theory of evolution.

† Ficinus, See ʺExcerptaʺ and ʺDissertation on Magicʺ; Taylor, ʺPlato,ʺ vol. i., p. 63.


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great deal more forcibly to magnetism than to gravitation, the former attracting rather in virtue of the substance than of the weight. A thorough familiarity with the occult faculties of everything existing in nature, visible as well as invisible; their mutual relations, attractions, and repulsions; the cause of these, traced to the spiritual principle which pervades and animates all things; the ability to furnish the best conditions for this principle to manifest itself, in other words a profound and exhaustive knowledge of natural law — this was and is the basis of magic.

In his notes on Ghosts and Goblins, when reviewing some facts adduced by certain illustrious defenders of the spiritual phenomena, such as Professor de Morgan, Mr. Robert Dale Owen, and Mr. Wallace, among others — Mr. Richard A. Proctor says that he ʺcannot see any force in the following remarks by Professor Wallace: ʹHow is such evidence as this,ʹ he (Wallace) says, speaking of one of Owenʹs stories, ʹrefuted or explained away? Scores, and even hundreds, of equally‐ attested facts are on record, but no attempt is made to explain them. They are simply ignored, and in many cases admitted to be inexplicable.ʹ ʺ To this Mr. Proctor jocularly replies that as ʺour philosophers declare that they have long ago decided these ghost stories to be all delusions; therefore they need only be ignored; and they feel much ʹworrittedʹ that fresh evidence should be adduced, and fresh converts made, some of whom are so unreasonable as to ask for a new trial on the ground that the former verdict was contrary to the evidence.ʺ

ʺAll this,ʺ he goes on to say, ʺaffords excellent reason why the ʹconvertsʹ should not be ridiculed for their belief; but something more to the purpose must be urged before ʹthe philosophersʹ can be expected to devote much of their time to the inquiry suggested. It ought to be shown that the well‐being of the human race is to some important degree concerned in the matter, whereas the trivial nature of all ghostly conduct hitherto recorded is admitted even by converts!ʺ

Mrs. Emma Hardinge Britten has collected a great number of authenticated facts from secular and scientific journals, which show with what serious questions our scientists sometimes replace the vexed subject of ʺGhosts and Goblins.ʺ She quotes from a Washington paper a report of one of these solemn conclaves, held on the evening of April 29th, 1854. Professor Hare, of Philadelphia, the venerable chemist, who was so universally respected for his individual character, as well as for his life‐long labors for science, ʺwas bullied into silenceʺ by Professor Henry, as soon as he had touched the subject of spiritualism. ʺThe impertinent action of one of the members of the ʹAmerican Scientific Association,ʹ ʺ says the authoress, ʺwas sanctioned by the majority of that distinguished body and subsequently endorsed by all of them in their proceedings.ʺ* On the following morning, in the report of the session, the Spiritual Telegraph thus commented upon the events:

* ʺModern American Spiritualism,ʺ p. 119.


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ʺIt would seem that a subject like thisʺ — (presented by Professor Hare) ʺwas one which would lie peculiarly within the domain of ʹscience.ʹ But the ʹAmerican Association for the Promotion of Scienceʹ* decided that it was either unworthy of their attention or dangerous for them to meddle with, and so they voted to put the invitation on the table. . . We cannot omit in this connection to mention that the ʹAmerican Association for the Promotion of Scienceʹ held a very learned, extended, grave, and profound discussion at the same session, upon the cause why ʹroosters crow between twelve and one oʹclock at night!ʹ ʺ A subject worthy of philosophers; and one, moreover, which must have been shown to effect ʺthe well‐ being of the human raceʺ in a very ʺimportant degree.ʺ

It is sufficient for one to express belief in the existence of a mysterious sympathy between the life of certain plants and that of human beings, to assure being made the subject of ridicule. Nevertheless, there are many well‐authenticated cases going to show the reality of such an affinity. Persons have been known to fall sick simultaneously with the uprooting of a tree planted upon their natal day, and dying when the tree died. Reversing affairs, it has been known that a tree planted under the same circumstances withered and died simultaneously with the person whose twin brother, so to speak, it was. The former would be called by Mr. Proctor

* The full and correct name of this learned Society is — ʺThe American Association for the Advancement of Science.ʺ It is, however, often called for brevityʹs sake, ʺThe American Scientific Association.ʺ

an ʺeffect of the imaginationʺ; the latter a ʺcurious coincidence.ʺ

Max Müller gives a number of such cases in his essay On Manners and Customs. He shows this popular tradition existing in Central America, in India, and Germany. He traces it over nearly all Europe; finds it among the Maori Warriors, in British Guiana, and in Asia. Reviewing Tylerʹs Researches into the Early History of Mankind, a work in which are brought together quite a number of such traditions, the great philologist very justly remarks the following: ʺIf it occurred in Indian and German tales only, we might consider it as ancient Aryan property; but when we find it again in Central America, nothing remains but either to admit a later communication between European settlers and native American story‐tellers. . . or to inquire whether there is not some intelligible and truly human element in this supposed sympathy between the life of flowers and the life of man.ʺ

The present generation of men, who believe in nothing beyond the superficial evidence of their senses, will doubtless reject the very idea of such a sympathetic power existing in plants, animals, and even stones. The caul covering their inner sight allows them to see but that which they cannot well deny. The author of the Asclepian Dialogue furnishes us with a reason for it, that might perhaps fit the present period and account for this epidemic of unbelief. In our century, as then, ʺthere is a lamentable departure of divinity from man, when nothing worthy of heaven or celestial concerns is heard or believed, and when every divine voice is by a necessary


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silence dumb.ʺ* Or, as the Emperor Julian has it, ʺthe little soulʺ of the skeptic ʺis indeed acute, but sees nothing with a vision healthy and sound.ʺ


We are at the bottom of a cycle and evidently in a transitory state. Plato divides the intellectual progress of the universe during every cycle into fertile and barren periods. In the sublunary regions, the spheres of the various elements remain eternally in perfect harmony with the divine nature, he says; ʺbut their parts,ʺ owing to a too close proximity to earth, and their commingling with the earthly (which is matter, and therefore the realm of evil), ʺare sometimes according, and sometimes contrary to (divine) nature.ʺ When those circulations — which Eliphas Levi calls ʺcurrents of the astral lightʺ — in the universal ether which contains in itself every element, take place in harmony with the divine spirit, our earth and everything pertaining to it enjoys a fertile period. The occult powers of plants, animals, and minerals magically sympathize with the ʺsuperior natures,ʺ and the divine soul of man is in perfect intelligence with these ʺinferiorʺ ones. But during the barren periods, the latter lose their magic sympathy, and the spiritual sight of the majority of mankind is so blinded as to lose every notion of the superior powers of its own divine spirit. We are in a barren period: the eighteenth century, during which the malignant

* See Taylorʹs translation of ʺSelect Works of Plotinus,ʺ p. 553, etc.

fever of skepticism broke out so irrepressibly, has entailed unbelief as an hereditary disease upon the nineteenth. The divine intellect is veiled in man; his animal brain alone philosophizes.

Formerly, magic was a universal science, entirely in the hands of the sacerdotal savant. Though the focus was jealously guarded in the sanctuaries, its rays illuminated the whole of mankind. Otherwise, how are we to account for the extraordinary identity of ʺsuperstitions,ʺ customs, traditions, and even sentences, repeated in popular proverbs so widely scattered from one pole to the other that we find exactly the same ideas among the Tartars and Laplanders as among the southern nations of Europe, the inhabitants of the steppes of Russia, and the aborigines of North and South America? For instance, Tyler shows one of the ancient Pythagorean maxims, ʺDo not stir the fire with a sword,ʺ as popular among a number of nations which have not the slightest connection with each other. He quotes De Plano Carpini, who found this tradition prevailing among the Tartars so far back as in 1246. A Tartar will not consent for any amount of money to stick a knife into the fire, or touch it with any sharp or pointed instrument, for fear of cutting the ʺhead of the fire.ʺ

The Kamtchadal of North‐eastern Asia consider it a great sin so to do. The Sioux Indians of North America dare not touch the fire with either needle, knife, or any sharp instrument. The Kalmucks entertain the same dread; and an Abyssinian would rather bury his bare arms to the elbows in blazing coals than use a knife or axe near them. All these facts


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Tyler also calls ʺsimply curious coincidences.ʺ Max Müller, however, thinks that they lose much of their force by the fact ʺof the Pythagorean doctrine being at the bottom of it.ʺ

Every sentence of Pythagoras, like most of the ancient maxims, has a dual signification; and, while it had an occult physical meaning, expressed literally in its words, it embodied a moral precept, which is explained by Iamblichus in his Life of Pythagoras. This ʺDig not fire with a sword,ʺ is the ninth symbol in the Protreptics of this Neo‐platonist. ʺThis symbol,ʺ he says, ʺexhorts to prudence.ʺ It shows ʺthe propriety of not opposing sharp words to a man full of fire and wrath — not contending with him. For frequently by uncivil words you will agitate and disturb an ignorant man, and you will suffer yourself. . . Herakleitus also testifies to the truth of this symbol. For, he says, ʹIt is difficult to fight with anger, for whatever is necessary to be done redeems the soul.ʹ And this he says truly. For many, by gratifying anger, have changed the condition of their soul, and have made death preferable to life. But by governing the tongue and being quiet, friendship is produced from strife, the fire of anger being extinguished, and you yourself will not appear to be destitute of intellect.ʺ*

We have had misgivings sometimes; we have questioned the impartiality of our own judgment, our ability to offer a respectful criticism upon the labors of such giants as some of our modern philosophers — Tyndall, Huxley, Spencer,

* Iamblichus, ʺDe Vita Pythag.,ʺ additional notes (Taylor).

Carpenter, and a few others. In our immoderate love for the ʺmen of oldʺ — the primitive sages — we were always afraid to trespass the boundaries of justice and refuse their dues to those who deserve them. Gradually this natural fear gave way before an unexpected reinforcement. We found out that we were but the feeble echo of public opinion, which, though suppressed, has sometimes found relief in able articles scattered throughout the periodicals of the country. One of such can be found in the National Quarterly Review of December, 1875, entitled ʺOur Sensational Present‐Day Philosophers.ʺ It is a very able article, discussing fearlessly the claims of several of our scientists to new discoveries in regard to the nature of matter, the human soul, the mind, the universe; how the universe came into existence, etc. ʺThe religious world has been much startled,ʺ the author proceeds to say, ʺand not a little excited by the utterances of men like Spencer, Tyndall, Huxley, Proctor, and a few others of the same school.ʺ Admitting very cheerfully how much science owes to each of those gentlemen, nevertheless the author ʺmost emphaticallyʺ denies that they have made any discoveries at all. There is nothing new in the speculations, even of the most advanced of them; nothing which was not known and taught, in one form or another, thousands of years ago. He does not say that these scientists ʺput forward their theories as their own discoveries, but they leave the fact to be implied, and the newspapers do the rest. . . . The public, which has neither time nor the inclination to examine the facts, adopts the faith of the newspapers . . . and wonders


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what will come next! . . . The supposed originators of such startling theories are assailed in the newspapers. Sometimes the obnoxious scientists undertake to defend themselves, but we cannot recall a single instance in which they have candidly said, ʹGentlemen, be not angry with us; we are merely revamping stories which are nearly as old as the mountains.ʹ ʺ This would have been the simple truth; ʺbut even scientists or philosophers,ʺ adds the author, ʺare not always proof against the weakness of encouraging any notion which they think may secure niches for them among the immortal Ones.ʺ*

Huxley, Tyndall, and even Spencer have become lately the great oracles, the ʺinfallible popesʺ on the dogmas of protoplasm, molecules, primordial forms, and atoms. They have reaped more palms and laurels for their great discoveries than Lucretius, Cicero, Plutarch, and Seneca had hairs on their heads. Nevertheless, the works of the latter teem with ideas on the protoplasm, primordial forms, etc., let alone the atoms, which caused Demokritus to be called the atomic philosopher. In the same Review we find this very startling denunciation:

ʺWho, among the innocent, has not been astonished, even within the last year, at the wonderful results accomplished by oxygen? What an excitement Tyndall and Huxley have created by proclaiming, in their own ingenious, oracular way, just the very doctrines which we have just quoted from

* ʺThe National Quarterly Review,ʺ Dec., 1875.

Liebig; yet, as early as 1840, Professor Lyon Playfair translated into English the most ʹadvancedʹ of Baron Liebigʹs works.ʺ†

ʺAnother recent utterance,ʺ he says, ʺwhich startled a large number of innocent and pious persons, is, that every thought we express, or attempt to express, produces a certain wonderful change in the substance of the brain. But, for this and a good deal more of its kind, our philosophers had only to turn to the pages of Baron Liebig. Thus, for instance, that scientist proclaims: ʹPhysiology has sufficiently decisive grounds for the opinions, that every thought, every sensation is accompanied by a change in the composition of the substance of the brain; that every motion, every manifestation of force is the result of a transformation of the structure or of its substance.ʹ ʺ‡

Thus, throughout the sensational lectures of Tyndall, we can trace, almost to a page, the whole of Liebigʹs speculations, interlined now and then with the still earlier views of Demokritus and other Pagan philosophers. A potpourri of old hypotheses elevated by the great authority of the day into quasi‐demonstrated formulas, and delivered in that pathetic, picturesque, mellow, and thrillingly‐eloquent phraseology so preeminently his own.

Further, the same reviewer shows us many of the identical ideas and all the material requisite to demonstrate the great

† Ibid., p. 94.

‡ ʺForce and Matter,ʺ p. 151.


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discoveries of Tyndall and Huxley, in the works of Dr. Joseph Priestley, author of Disquisitions on Matter and Spirit, and even in Herderʹs Philosophy of History.

ʺPriestley,ʺ adds the author, ʺwas not molested by government, simply because he had no ambition to obtain fame by proclaiming his atheistic views from the house‐top. This philosopher . . . was the author of from seventy to eighty volumes, and the discoverer of oxygen.ʺ It is in these works that ʺhe puts forward those identical ideas which have been declared so ʹstartling,ʹ ʹbold,ʹ etc., as the utterances of our present‐day philosophers.ʺ

ʺOur readers,ʺ he proceeds to say, ʺremember what an excitement has been created by the utterances of some of our modern philosophers as to the origin and nature of ideas, but those utterances, like others that preceded and followed them, contain nothing new.ʺ ʺAn idea,ʺ says Plutarch, ʺis a being incorporeal, which has no subsistence by itself, but gives figure and form unto shapeless matter, and becomes the cause of its manifestationʺ (De Placitio Philosophorum). Verily, no modern atheist, Mr. Huxley included, can outvie Epicurus in materialism; he can but mimic him. And what is his ʺprotoplasm,ʺ but a rechauffé of the speculations of the Hindu Swâbhâvikas or Pantheists, who assert that all things, the gods as well as men and animals, are born from Swâbhâva or their own nature?* As to Epicurus, this is what Lucretius makes him say: ʺThe soul, thus produced, must be material,

because we trace it issuing from a material source; because it exists, and exists alone in a material system; is nourished by material food; grows with the growth of the body; becomes matured with its maturity; declines with its decay; and hence, whether belonging to man or brute, must die with its death.ʺ Nevertheless, we would remind the reader that Epicurus is here speaking of the Astral Soul, not of Divine Spirit. Still, if we rightly understand the above, Mr. Huxleyʹs ʺmutton‐ protoplasmʺ is of a very ancient origin, and can claim for its birthplace, Athens, and for its cradle, the brain of old Epicurus.

Further, still, anxious not to be misunderstood or found guilty of depreciating the labor of any of our scientists, the author closes his essay by remarking, ʺWe merely want to show that, at least, that portion of the public which considers itself intelligent and enlightened should cultivate its memory, or remember the ʹadvancedʹ thinkers of the past much better than it does. Especially should those do so who, whether from the desk, the rostrum, or the pulpit, undertake to instruct all willing to be instructed by them. There would then be much less groundless apprehension, much less charlatanism, and above all, much less plagiarism, than there is.ʺ†

Truly says Cudworth that the greatest ignorance of which our modern wiseacres accuse the ancients is their belief in the soulʹs immortality. Like the old skeptic of Greece, our

* Burnouf, ʺIntroduction,ʺ p. 118. † ʺThe National Quarterly Review,ʺ Dec., 1875, p. 96.


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scientists — to use an expression of the same Dr. Cudworth

— are afraid that if they admit spirits and apparitions they must admit a God too; and there is nothing too absurd, he adds, for them to suppose, in order to keep out the existence of God. The great body of ancient materialists, skeptical as they now seem to us, thought otherwise, and Epicurus, who rejected the soulʹs immortality, believed still in a God, and Demokritus fully conceded the reality of apparitions. The preëxistence and God‐like powers of the human spirit were believed in by most all the sages of ancient days. The magic of Babylon and Persia based upon it the doctrine of their machagistia. The Chaldean Oracles, on which Pletho and Psellus have so much commented, constantly expounded and amplified their testimony. Zoroaster, Pythagoras, Epicharmus, Empedocles, Kebes, Euripides, Plato, Euclid, Philo, Boehius, Virgil, Marcus Cicero, Plotinus, Iamblichus, Proclus, Psellus, Synesius, Origen, and, finally, Aristotle himself, far from denying our immortality, support it most emphatically. Like Cardon and Pompanatius, ʺwho were no friends to the soulʹs immortality,ʺ as says Henry More, ʺAristotle expressly concludes that the rational soul is both a distinct being from the soul of the world, though of the same essence,ʺ and that ʺit does preëxist before it comes into the body.ʺ*

Years have rolled away since the Count Joseph De Maistre wrote a sentence which, if appropriate to the Voltairean

epoch in which he lived, applies with still more justice to our period of utter skepticism. ʺI have heard,ʺ writes this eminent man, ʺI have heard and read of myriads of good jokes on the ignorance of the ancients, who were always seeing spirits everywhere; methinks that we are a great deal more imbecile than our forefathers, in never perceiving any such now, anywhere.ʺ†

* ʺDe Anima,ʺ lib. i., cap. 3. † De Maistre, ʺSoirées de St. Petersburg.ʺ


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ʺThink not my magic wonders wrought by aid Of Stygian angels summoned up from Hell; Scorned and accursed by those who have essayʹd Her gloomy Divs and Afrites to compel.

But by perception of the secret powers Of mineral springs, in natureʹs inmost cell, Of herbs in curtain of her greenest bowers,
And of the moving stars oʹer mountain tops and towers.ʺ

TASSO, Canto XIV, xliii

ʺWho dares think one thing and another tell My heart detests him as the gates of Hell!ʺ


ʺIf man ceases to exist when he disappears in the grave, you must be compelled to affirm that he is the only creature in existence whom nature or providence has condescended to deceive and cheat by capacities for which there are no available objects.ʺ

BULWER‐LYTTON, Strange Story


THE preface of Richard A. Proctorʹs latest work on astronomy, entitled Our Place among Infinities, contains the following extraordinary words: ʺIt was their ignorance of the earthʹs place among infinities, which led the ancients to regard the heavenly bodies as ruling favorably or adversely the fates of men and nations, and to dedicate the days in sets of seven to the seven planets of their astrological system.ʺ

Mr. Proctor makes two distinct assertions in this sentence: 1. That the ancients were ignorant of the earthʹs place among infinities; and 2. That they regarded the heavenly bodies as ruling, favorably or adversely, the fates of men and nations.* We are very confident that there is at least good reason to suspect that the ancients were familiar with the movements, emplacement, and mutual relations of the heavenly bodies. The testimony of Plutarch, Professor Draper, and Jowett, are sufficiently explicit. But we would ask Mr. Proctor how it happens, if the ancient astronomers were so ignorant of the law of the birth and death of worlds that, in the fragmentary bits which the hand of time has spared us of ancient lore there should be — albeit couched in obscure language — so much information which the most recent discoveries of science have verified? Beginning with the tenth page of the

* We need not go so far back as that to assure ourselves that many great men believed the same. Kepler, the eminent astronomer, fully credited the idea that the stars and all heavenly bodies, even our earth, are endowed with living and thinking souls.


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work under notice, Mr. Proctor sketches for us the theory of the formation of our earth, and the successive changes through which it passed until it became habitable for man. In vivid colors he depicts the gradual accretion of cosmic matter into gaseous spheres surrounded with ʺa liquid non‐ permanent shellʺ; the condensation of both; the ultimate solidification of the external crust; the slow cooling of the mass; the chemical results following the action of intense heat upon the primitive earthy matter; the formation of soils and their distribution; the change in the constitution of the atmosphere; the appearance of vegetation and animal life; and, finally, the advent of man.


Now, let us turn to the oldest written records left us by the Chaldeans, the Hermetic Book of Numbers,* and see what we shall find in the allegorical language of Hermes, Kadmus, or Thuti, the thrice great Trismegistus. ʺIn the beginning of time the great invisible one had his holy hands full of celestial

* We are not aware that a copy of this ancient work is embraced in the catalogue of any European library; but it is one of the ʺBooks of Hermes,ʺ and it is referred to and quotations are made from it in the works of a number of ancient and mediæval philosophical authors. Among these authorities are Arnoldo di Villanovaʹs ʺRosarium philosoph.ʺ; Francesco Arnolphimʹs ʺLucensis opus de Iapide.ʺ Hermes Trismegistusʹ ʺTractatus de transmutatione metallorum,ʺ ʺTabula smaragdina,ʺ and above all in the treatise of Raymond Lulli, ʺAb angelis opus divinum de quinta essentia.ʺ

matter which he scattered throughout the infinity; and lo, behold! it became balls of fire and balls of clay; and they scattered like the moving metal† into many smaller balls, and began their ceaseless turning; and some of them which were balls of fire became balls of clay; and the balls of clay became balls of fire; and the balls of fire were waiting their time to become balls of clay; and the others envied them and bided their time to become balls of pure divine fire.ʺ

Could any one ask a clearer definition of the cosmic changes which Mr. Proctor so elegantly expounds?

Here we have the distribution of matter throughout space; then its concentration into the spherical form; the separation of smaller spheres from the greater ones; axial rotation; the gradual change of orbs from the incandescent to the earthy consistence; and, finally, the total loss of heat which marks their entrance into the stage of planetary death. The change of the balls of clay into balls of fire would be understood by materialists to indicate some such phenomenon as the sudden ignition of the star in Cassiopeia, A.D. 1572, and the one in Serpentarius, in 1604, which was noted by Kepler. But, do the Chaldeans evince in this expression a profounder philosophy than of our day? Does this change into balls of ʺpure divine fireʺ signify a continuous planetary existence, correspondent with the spirit‐life of man, beyond the awful mystery of death? If worlds have, as the astronomers tell us, their periods of embryo, infancy, adolescence, maturity,

† Quicksilver.


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decadence, and death, may they not, like man, have their continued existence in a sublimated, ethereal, or spiritual form? The magians so affirm. They tell us that the fecund mother Earth is subject to the same laws as every one of her children. At her appointed time she brings forth all created things; in the fulness of her days she is gathered to the tomb of worlds. Her gross, material body slowly parts with its atoms under the inexorable law which demands their new arrangement in other combinations. Her own perfected vivifying spirit obeys the eternal attraction which draws it toward that central spiritual sun from which it was originally evolved, and which we vaguely know under the name of GOD.

ʺAnd the heaven was visible in seven circles, and the planets appeared with all their signs, in star‐form, and the stars were divided and numbered with the rulers that were in them, and their revolving course was bounded with the air, and borne with a circular course, through the agency of the divine SPIRIT.ʺ*

We challenge any one to indicate a single passage in the works of Hermes which proves him guilty of that crowning absurdity of the Church of Rome which assumed, upon the geocentric theory of astronomy, that the heavenly bodies were made for our use and pleasure, and that it was worth while for the only son of God to descend upon this cosmic mote and die in expiation for our sins! Mr. Proctor tells us of

* ʺHermes,ʺ iv. 6. Spirit here denotes the Deity — Pneuma, d qevoʺ .

a liquid non‐permanent shell of uncongealed matter enclosing a ʺviscous plastic ocean,ʺ within which ʺthere is another interior solid globe rotating.ʺ We, on our part, turn to the Magia Adamica of Eugenius Philalethes, published in 1650, and at page 12, we find him quoting from Trismegistus in the following terms: ʺHermes affirmeth that in the Beginning the earth was a quackmire or quivering kind of jelly, it being nothing else but water congealed by the incubation and heat of the divine spirit; cum adhuc (sayeth he) Terra tremula esset, Lucente sole compacta est.ʺ

In the same work Philalethes, speaking in his quaint, symbolical way, says, ʺThe earth is invisible . . . on my soul it is so, and which is more, the eye of man never saw the earth, nor can it be seen without art. To make this element invisible, is the greatest secret in magic . . . as for this fæculent, gross body upon which we walk, it is a compost, and no earth but it hath earth in it, . . . in a word all the elements are visible but one, namely the earth, and when thou hast attained to so much pefection as to know why God hath placed the earth in abscondito,† thou hast an excellent figure whereby to know

God Himself, and how He is visible, how invisible.ʺ‡

† ʺMagia Adamica,ʺ p. 11.

‡ The ignorance of the ancients of the earthʹs sphericity is assumed without warrant. What proof have we of the fact? It was only the literati who exhibited such an ignorance. Even so early as the time of Pythagoras, the Pagans taught it, Plutarch testifies to it, and Socrates died for it. Besides, as we have stated repeatedly, all knowledge was concentrated in the sanctuaries of the temples from whence it very rarely spread itself


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among the uninitiated. If the sages and priests of the remotest antiquity were not aware of this astronomical truth, how is it that they represented Kneph, the spirit of the first hour, with an egg placed on his lips, the egg signifying our globe, to which he imparts life by his breath. Moreover, if, owing to the difficulty of consulting the Chaldean ʺBook of Numbers,ʺ our critics should demand the citation of other authorities, we can refer them to Diogenes Laertius, who credits Manetho with having taught that the earth was in the shape of a ball. Besides, the same author, quoting most probably from the ʺCompendium of Natural Philosophy,ʺ gives the following statements of the Egyptian doctrine: ʺThe beginning is matter Archʹn reuʹ eiʹnai uʹlen , and from it the four elements separated. . . . The true form of God is unknown; but the world had a beginning and is therefore perishable. . . . The moon is eclipsed when it crosses the shadow of the earthʺ (Diogenes Laertius, ʺProœin,ʺ §§ 10, 11). Besides, Pythagoras is credited with having taught that the earth was round, that it rotated, and was but a planet like any other of these celestial bodies. (See Fenelonʹs ʺLives of the Philosophers.ʺ) In the latest of Platoʹs translations (ʺThe Dialogues of Plato,ʺ by Professor Jowett), the author, in his introduction to ʺTimæus,ʺ notwithstanding ʺan unfortunate doubtʺ which arises in consequence of the word i[llesqai capable of being translated either ʺcirclingʺ or ʺcompacted,ʺ feels inclined to credit Plato with having been familiar with the rotation of the earth. Platoʹs doctrine is expressed in the following words: ʺThe earth which is our nurse (compacted or) circling around the pole which is extended through the universe.ʺ But if we are to believe Proclus and Simplicius, Aristotle understood this word in ʺTimæusʺ ʺto mean circling or revolvingʺ (De Cœlo), and Mr. Jowett himself further admits that ʺAristotle attributed to Plato the doctrine of the rotation of the earth.ʺ (See vol. ii. of ʺDial. of Plato.ʺ Introduction to ʺTimæus,ʺ pp. 501‐ 2.) It would have been extraordinary, to say the least, that Plato, who was such an admirer of Pythagoras and who certainly must have had,

Ages before our savants of the nineteenth century came into existence, a wise man of the Orient thus expressed himself, in addressing the invisible Deity: ʺFor thy Almighty Hand, that made the world of formless matter.ʺ*

There is much more contained in this language than we are willing to explain, but we will say that the secret is worth the seeking; perhaps in this formless matter, the pre‐Adamite earth, is contained a ʺpotencyʺ with which Messrs. Tyndall and Huxley would be glad to acquaint themselves.


But to descend from universals to particulars, from the ancient theory of planetary evolution to the evolution of plant and animal life, as opposed to the theory of special creation, what does Mr. Proctor call the following language of Hermes but an anticipation of the modern theory of evolution of species? ʺWhen God had filled his powerful hands with those things which are in nature, and in that which compasseth nature, then shutting them close again, he said: ʹReceive from me, O holy earth! that art ordained to be the mother of all, lest thou shouldst want anythingʹ; when presently opening such hands as it becomes a God to have, he poured down all that was necessary to the constitution of things.ʺ Here we have primeval matter imbued with ʺthe promise and potency of

as an initiate, access to the most secret doctrines of the great Samian, should be ignorant of such an elementary astronomical truth.

* ʺWisdom of Solomon,ʺ xi. 17.


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every future form of life,ʺ and the earth declared to be the predestined mother of everything that should thenceforth spring from her bosom.

More definite is the language of Marcus Antoninus in his discourse to himself. ʺThe nature of the universe delights not in anything so much as to alter all things, and present them under another form. This is her conceit to play one game and begin another. Matter is placed before her like a piece of wax and she shapes it to all forms and figures. Now she makes a bird, then out of the bird a beast — now a flower, then a frog, and she is pleased with her own magical performances as men are with their own fancies.ʺ*

Before any of our modern teachers thought of evolution, the ancients taught us, through Hermes, that nothing can be abrupt in nature; that she never proceeds by jumps and starts, that everything in her works is slow harmony, and that there is nothing sudden — not even violent death.

The slow development from preëxisting forms was a doctrine with the Rosicrucian Illuminati. The Tres Matres showed Hermes the mysterious progress of their work, before they condescended to reveal themselves to mediæval alchemists. Now, in the Hermetic dialect, these three mothers are the symbol of light, heat, and electricity, or magnetism, the two latter being as convertible as the whole of the forces or agents which have a place assigned them in the modern ʺForce‐correlation.ʺ Synesius mentions books of stone which

* Eugenius Philalethes, ʺMagia Adamica.ʺ

he found in the temple of Memphis, on which was engraved the following sentence: ʺOne nature delights in another, one nature overcomes another, one nature overrules another, and the whole of them are one.ʺ

The inherent restlessness of matter is embodied in the saying of Hermes: ʺAction is the life of Phtaʺ; and Orpheus calls nature Polumhvca;noʺ ma>thr , ʺthe mother that makes many things,ʺ or the ingenious, the contriving, the inventive mother.

Mr. Proctor says: ʺAll that that is upon and within the earth, all vegetable forms and all animal forms, our bodies, our brains, are formed of materials which have been drawn in from those depths of space surrounding us on all sides.ʺ The Hermetists and the later Rosicrucians held that all things visible and invisible were produced by the contention of light with darkness, and that every particle of matter contains within itself a spark of the divine essence — or light, spirit — which, through its tendency to free itself from its entanglement and return to the central source, produced motion in the particles, and from motion forms were born. Says Hargrave Jennings, quoting Robertus di Fluctibus: ʺThus all minerals in this spark of life have the rudimentary possibility of plants and growing organisms; thus all plants have rudimentary sensations which might (in the ages) enable them to perfect and transmute into locomotive new creatures, lesser or higher in their grade, or nobler or meaner in their functions; thus all plants, and all vegetation might pass off (by side roads) into more distinguished highways as it were, of independent,


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completer advance, allowing their original spark of light to expand and thrill with higher and more vivid force, and to urge forward with more abounding, informed purpose, all wrought by planetary influence directed by the unseen spirits (or workers) of the great original architect.ʺ*

Light — the first mentioned in Genesis, is termed by the kabalists, Sephira, or the Divine Intelligence, the mother of all the Sephiroth, while the Concealed Wisdom is the father. Light is the first begotten, and the first emanation of the Supreme, and Light is Life, says the evangelist. Both are electricity — the life‐principle, the anima mundi, pervading the universe, the electric vivifier of all things. Light is the great Protean magician, and under the Divine Will of the architect, its multifarious, omnipotent waves gave birth to every form as well as to every living being. From its swelling, electric bosom, springs matter and spirit. Within its beams lie the beginnings of all physical and chemical action, and of all cosmic and spiritual phenomena; it vitalizes and disorganizes; it gives life and produces death, and from its primordial point gradually emerged into existence the myriads of worlds, visible and invisible celestial bodies. It was at the ray of this First mother, one in three, that God, according to Plato, ʺlighted a fire, which we now call the sun,ʺ† and, which is not the cause of either light or heat, but merely the focus, or, as we might say, the lens, by which the rays of the primordial light become materialized, are

* Hargrave Jennings, ʺThe Rosicrucians.ʺ

† ʺTimæus.ʺ

concentrated upon our solar system, and produce all the correlations of forces.

So much for the first of Mr. Proctorʹs two propositions; now for the second.

The work which we have been noticing, comprises a series of twelve essays, of which the last is entitled Thoughts on Astrology. The author treats the subject with so much more consideration than is the custom of men of his class, that it is evident he has given it thoughtful attention. In fact, he goes so far as to say that, ʺIf we consider the matter aright, we must concede . . . that of all the errors into which men have fallen in their desire to penetrate into futurity, astrology is the most respectable, we may even say the most reasonable.ʺ‡

He admits that ʺThe heavenly bodies do rule the fates of men and nations in the most unmistakable manner, seeing that without the controlling and beneficent influences of the chief among those orbs — the sun — every living creature on the earth must perish.ʺ§ He admits, also, the influence of the moon, and sees nothing strange in the ancients reasoning by analogy, that if two among these heavenly bodies were thus potent in terrestrial influences, it was ʺ . . . natural that the other moving bodies known to the ancients, should be thought to possess also their special powers.ʺ** Indeed, the professor sees nothing unreasonable in their supposition that

‡ ʺOur Place among Infinities,ʺ p. 313.
§ Ibid.

** Ibid., p. 314.


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the influences exerted by the slower moving planets ʺmight be even more potent that those of the sun himself.ʺ Mr. Proctor thinks that the system of astrology ʺwas formed gradually and perhaps tentatively.ʺ Some influences may have been inferred from observed events, the fate of this or that king or chief, guiding astrologers in assigning particular influences to such planetary aspects as were presented at the time of his nativity. Others may have been invented, and afterward have found general acceptance, because confirmed by some curious coincidences.

A witty joke may sound very prettily, even in a learned treatise, and the word ʺcoincidenceʺ may be applied to anything we are unwilling to accept. But a sophism is not a truism; still less is it a mathematical demonstration, which alone ought to serve as a beacon — to astronomers, at least. Astrology is a science as infallible as astronomy itself, with the condition, however, that its interpreters must be equally infallible; and it is this condition, sine qua non, so very difficult of realization, that has always proved a stumbling‐block to both. Astrology is to exact astronomy what psychology is to exact physiology. In astrology and psychology one has to step beyond the visible world of matter, and enter into the domain of transcendent spirit. It is the old struggle between the Platonic and Aristotelean schools, and it is not in our century of Sadducean skepticism that the former will prevail over the latter. Mr. Proctor, in his professional capacity, is like the uncharitable person of the Sermon on the Mount, who is ever ready to attract public attention to the mote in his despised

neighborʹs eye, and overlook the beam in his own. Were we to record the failures and ridiculous blunders of astronomers, we are afraid they would outnumber by far those of the astrologers. Present events fully vindicate Nostradamus, who has been so much ridiculed by our skeptics. In an old book of prophecies, published in the fifteenth century (an edition of 1453), we read the following, among other astrological predictions:*


ʺIn twice two hundred years, the Bear The Crescent will assail;

But if the Cock and Bull unite, The Bear will not prevail. In twice ten years again — Let Islam know and fear —

The Cross shall stand, the Crescent wane, Dissolve, and disappear.ʺ

In just twice two hundred years from the date of that prophecy, we had the Crimean war, during which the alliance of the Gallic Cock and English Bull interfered with the political designs of the Russian Bear. In 1856 the war was

* The library of a relative of the writer contains a copy of a French edition of this unique work. The prophecies are given in the old French language, and are very difficult for the student of modern French to decipher. We give, therefore, an English version, which is said to be taken from a book in the possession of a gentleman in Somersetshire, England.


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ended, and Turkey, or the Crescent, closely escaped destruction. In the present year (1876) the most unexpected events of a political character have just taken place, and twice ten years have elapsed since peace was proclaimed. Everything seems to bid fair for a fulfilment of the old prophecy; the future will tell whether the Moslem Crescent, which seems, indeed, to be waning, will irrevocably ʺwane, dissolve, and disappear,ʺ as the outcome of the present troubles.

In explaining away the heterodox facts which he appears to have encountered in his pursuit of knowledge, Mr. Proctor is obliged more than once in his work, to fall back upon these ʺcurious coincidences.ʺ One of the most curious of these is stated by him in a foot‐note (page 301) as follows: ʺI do not here dwell on the curious coincidence — if, indeed, Chaldean astrologers had not discovered the ring of Saturn — that they showed the god corresponding within a ring and triple. . . .

Very moderate optical knowledge — such, indeed, as we may fairly infer from the presence of optical instruments among Assyrian remains — might have led to the discovery of Saturnal rings and Jupiterʹs moons. . . . Bel, the Assyrian Jupiter,ʺ he adds, ʺwas represented sometimes with four star‐ tipped wings. But it is possible that these are mere coincidences.ʺ

In short, Mr. Proctorʹs theory of coincidence becomes finally more suggestive of miracle than the facts themselves. For coincidences our friends the skeptics appear to have an unappeasable appetite. We have brought sufficient testimony in the preceding chapter to show that the ancients must have

used as good optical instruments as we have now. Were the instruments in possession of Nebuchadnezzar of such moderate power, and the knowledge of his astronomers so very contemptible, when, according to Rawlinsonʹs reading of the tiles, the Birs‐Nimrud, or temple of Borsippa, had seven stages, symbolical of the concentric circles of the seven spheres, each built of tiles and metals to correspond with the color of the ruling planet of the sphere typified? Is it a coincidence again, that they should have appropriated to each planet the color which our latest telescopic discoveries show to be the real one?* Or is it again a coincidence, that Plato should have indicated in the Timæus his knowledge of the indestructibility of matter, of conservation of energy, and correlation of forces? ʺThe latest word of modern philosophy,ʺ says Jowett, ʺis continuity and development, but to Plato this is the beginning and foundation of science.ʺ†

The radical element of the oldest religions was essentially sabaistic; and we maintain that their myths and allegories — if once correctly and thoroughly interpreted, will dovetail with the most exact astronomical notions of our day. We will say more; there is hardly a scientific law — whether pertaining to physical astronomy or physical geography — that could not be easily pointed out in the ingenious combinations of their fables. They allegorized the most important as well as the most trifling causes of the celestial motions; the nature of every phenomenon was personified; and in the mythical

* See Rawlinson, vol. xvii., pp. 30‐32, Revised edition.

† Jowett, Introduction to ʺTimæus,ʺ ʺDial. of Plato,ʺ vol. i., p. 509.


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biographies of the Olympic gods and goddesses, one well acquainted with the latest principles of physics and chemistry can find their causes, inter‐agencies, and mutual relations embodied in the deportment and course of action of the fickle deities. The atmospheric electricity in its neutral and latent states is embodied usually in demi‐gods and goddesses, whose scene of action is more limited to earth and who, in their occasional flights to the higher deific regions, display their electric tempers always in strict proportion with the increase of distance from the earthʹs surface: the weapons of Hercules and Thor were never more mortal than when the gods soared into the clouds. We must bear in mind that before the time when the Olympian Jupiter was anthropomorphized by the genius of Pheidias into the Omnipotent God, the Maximus, the God of gods, and thus abandoned to the adoration of the multitudes, in the earliest and abstruse science of symbology he embodied in his person and attributes the whole of the cosmic forces. The Myth was less metaphysical and complicated, but more truly eloquent as an expression of natural philosophy. Zeus, the male element of the creation with Chthonia — Vesta (the earth), and Metis (the water) the first of the Oceanides (the feminine principles) — was viewed according to Porphyry and Proclus as the zoon‐ek‐zoon, the chief of living beings. In the Orphic theology, the oldest of all, metaphysically speaking, he represented both the potentia and actus, the unrevealed cause and the Demiurge, or the active creator as an emanation from the invisible potency. In the latter demiurgic capacity, in

conjunction with his consorts, we find in him all the mightiest agents of cosmic evolution — chemical affinity, atmospheric electricity, attraction, and repulsion.

It is in following his representations in this physical qualification that we discover how well acquainted were the ancients with all the doctrines of physical science in their modern development. Later, in the Pythagorean speculations, Zeus became the metaphysical trinity; the monad evolving from its invisible SELF the active cause, effect, and intelligent will, the whole forming the Tetractis. Still later we find the earlier Neoplatonists leaving the primal monad aside, on the ground of its utter incomprehensibleness to human intellect, speculating merely on the demiurgic triad of this deity as visible and intelligible in its effects; and thus the metaphysical continuation by Plotinus, Porphyry, Proclus, and other philosophers of this view of Zeus the father, Zeus Poseidon, or dunamis, the son and power, and the spirit or nous. This triad was also accepted as a whole by the Irenæic school of the second century; the more substantial difference between the doctrines of the Neo‐platonists and the Christians being merely the forcible amalgamation by the latter of the incomprehensible monad with its actualized creative trinity.

In his astronomical aspect Zeus‐Dionysus has his origin in the zodiac, the ancient solar year. In Libya he assumed the form of a ram, and is identical with the Egyptian Amun, who begat Osiris, the taurian god. Osiris is also a personified emanation of the Father‐Sun, and himself the Sun in Taurus.


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The Parent‐Sun being the Sun in Aries. As the latter, Jupiter, is in the guise of a ram, and as Jupiter‐Dionysus or Jupiter‐ Osiris, he is the bull. This animal is, as it is well known, the symbol of the creative power; moreover the Kabala explains, through the medium of one of its chief expounders, Simon‐ Ben‐Iochai,* the origin of this strange worship of the bulls and cows. It is neither Darwin nor Huxley — the founders of the doctrine of evolution and its necessary complement, the transformation of species — that can find anything against the rationality of this symbol, except, perhaps, a natural feeling of uneasiness upon finding that they were preceded by the ancients even in this particular modern discovery. Elsewhere, we will give the doctrine of the kabalists as taught by Simon‐Ben‐Iochai.

It may be easily proved that from time immemorial Saturn or Kronos, whose ring, most positively, was discovered by the Chaldean astrologers, and whose symbolism is no ʺcoincidence,ʺ was considered the father of Zeus, before the latter became himself the father of all the gods, and was the highest deity. He was the Bel or Baal of the Chaldeans, and originally imported among them by the Akkadians. Rawlinson insists that the latter came from Armenia; but if so, how can we account for the fact that Bel is but a Babylonian personification of the Hindu Siva, or Bala, the fire‐god, the omnipotent creative, and at the same time, destroying Deity, in many senses higher than Brahma himself?

ʺZeus,ʺ says an Orphic hymn, ʺis the first and the last, the head, and the extremities; from him have proceeded all things. He is a man and an immortal nymph (male and female element); the soul of all things; and the principal motor in fire; he is the sun and the moon; the fountain of the ocean; the demiurgus of the universe; one power, one God; the mighty creator and governor of the cosmos. Everything, fire, water, earth, ether, night, the heavens, Metis, the primeval architecturess (the Sophia of the Gnostics, and the Sephira of the Kabalists), the beautiful Eros, Cupid, all is included within the vast dimensions of his glorious body!ʺ†

This short hymn of laudation contains within itself the groundwork of every mythopoeic conception. The imagination of the ancients proved as boundless as the visible manifestations of the Deity itself which afforded them the themes for their allegories. Still the latter, exuberant as they seem, never departed from the two principal ideas which may be ever found running parallel in their sacred imagery; a strict adherence to the physical as well as moral or spiritual aspect of natural law. Their metaphysical researches never clashed with scientific truths, and their religions may be truly termed the psycho‐physiological creeds of the priests and scientists, who built them on the traditions of the infant‐ world, such as the unsophisticated minds of the primitive races received them, and on their own experimental

* N. B. — He lived in the first century B. C. † Stobæus, ʺEclogues.ʺ


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knowledge, hoary with all the wisdom of the intervening ages.


As the sun, what better image could be found for Jupiter emitting his golden rays than to personify this emanation in Diana, the all‐illuminating virgin Artemis, whose oldest name was Diktynna, literally the emitted ray, from the word dikein. The moon is non‐luminous, and it shines only by the reflected light of the sun; hence, the imagery of his daughter, the goddess of the moon, and herself, Luna, Astartè, or Diana. As the Cretan Diktynna, she wears a wreath made of the magic plant diktamnon, or dictamnus, the evergreen shrub whose contact is said, at the same time, to develop somnambulism and cure finally of it; and, as Eilithyia and Juno Pronuba, she is the goddess who presides over births; she is an Æsculapian deity, and the use of the dictamnus‐wreath, in association with the moon, shows once more the profound observation of the ancients. This plant is known in botany as possessing strongly sedative properties; it grows on Mount Dicte, a Cretan mountain, in great abundance; on the other hand, the moon, according to the best authorities on animal magnetism, acts upon the juices and ganglionic system, or nerve‐cells, the seat from whence proceed all the nerve‐fibres which play such a prominent part in mesmerization. During childbirth the Cretan women were covered with this plant, and its roots were administered as best calculated to soothe acute pain, and allay the irritability so dangerous at this period. They

were placed, moreover, within the precincts of the temple sacred to the goddess, and, if possible, under the direct rays of the resplendent daughter of Jupiter — the bright and warm Eastern moon.

The Hindu Brahmans and Buddhists have complicated theories on the influence of the sun and moon (the male and female elements), as containing the negative and positive principles, the opposites of the magnetic polarity. ʺThe influence of the moon on women is well known,ʺ write all the old authors on magnetism; and Ennemoser, as well as Du Potet, confirm the theories of the Hindu seers in every particular.


The marked respect paid by the Buddhists to the sapphire‐ stone — which was also sacred to Luna, in every other country — may be found based on something more scientifically exact than a mere groundless superstition. They ascribed to it a sacred magical power, which every student of psychological mesmerism will readily understand, for its polished and deep‐blue surface produces extraordinary somnambulic phenomena. The varied influence of the prismatic colors on the growth of vegetation, and especially that of the ʺblue ray,ʺ has been recognized but recently. The Academicians quarrelled over the unequal heating power of the prismatic rays until a series of experimental demonstrations by General Pleasonton, proved that under the blue ray, the most electric of all, animal and vegetable growth


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was increased to a magical proportion. Thus Amorettiʹs investigations of the electric polarity of precious stones show that the diamond, the garnet, the amethyst, are –E., while the sapphire is +E.* Thus, we are enabled to show that the latest experiments of science only corroborate that which was known to the Hindu sages before any of the modern academies were founded. An old Hindu legend says that Brahma‐Prajapâti, having fallen in love with his own daughter, Ushâs (Heaven, sometimes the Dawn also), assumed the form of a buck (risʹya) and Ushas that of a female deer (rohit) and thus committed the first sin.† Upon seeing such a desecration, the gods felt so terrified, that uniting their most fearful‐looking bodies — each god possessing as many bodies as he desires — they produced Bhûtavan (the spirit of evil), who was created by them on purpose to destroy the incarnation of the first sin committed by the Brahma himself. Upon seeing this, Brahma‐ Hiranyagarbha‡ repented bitterly and began repeating the Mantras, or prayers of purification, and, in his grief, dropped on earth a tear, the hottest that ever fell from an eye; and from it was formed the first sapphire.

* Kieser, ʺArchiv.,ʺ vol. iv., p. 62. In fact, many of the old symbols were mere puns on names.

† See ʺRig‐Vedas,ʺ the Aitareya‐Brahmanan.

‡ Brahma is also called by the Hindu Brahmans Hiranyagarbha or the unit soul, while Amrita is the supreme soul, the first cause which emanated from itself the creative Brahma.

This half‐sacred, half‐popular legend shows that the Hindus knew which was the most electric of all the prismatic colors; moreover, the particular influence of the sapphire‐ stone was as well defined as that of all the other minerals. Orpheus teaches how it is possible to affect a whole audience by means of a lodestone; Pythagoras pays a particular attention to the color and nature of precious stones; while Apollonius of Tyana imparts to his disciples the secret virtues of each, and changes his jewelled rings daily, using a particular stone for every day of the month and according to the laws of judicial astrology. The Buddhists assert that the sapphire produces peace of mind, equanimity, and chases all evil thoughts by establishing a healthy circulation in man. So does an electric battery, with its well‐directed fluid, say our electricians. ʺThe sapphire,ʺ say the Buddhists, ʺwill open barred doors and dwellings (for the spirit of man); it produces a desire for prayer, and brings with it more peace than any other gem; but he who would wear it must lead a pure and holy life.ʺ§

Diana‐Luna is the daughter of Zeus by Proserpina, who represents the Earth in her active labor, and, according to Hesiod, as Diana Eilythia‐Lucina she is Junoʹs daughter. But Juno, devoured by Kronos or Saturn, and restored back to life by the Oceanid Metis, is also known as the Earth. Saturn, as the evolution of Time, swallows the earth in one of the ante‐ historical cataclysms, and it is only when Metis (the waters)

§ Marbod, ʺLiber lapid. ed Beekmann.ʺ


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by retreating in her many beds, frees the continent, that Juno is said to be restored to her first shape. The idea is expressed in the 9th and 10th verses of the first chapter of Genesis. In the frequent matrimonial quarrels between Juno and Jupiter, Diana is always represented as turning her back on her mother and smiling upon her father, though she chides him for his numerous frolics. The Thessalian magicians are said to have been obliged, during such eclipses, to draw her attention to the earth by the power of their spells and incantations, and the Babylonian astrologers and magi never desisted in their spells until they brought about a reconciliation between the irritated couple, after which Juno ʺradiantly smiled on the bright goddessʺ Diana, who, encircling her brow with her crescent, returned to her hunting‐place in the mountains.

It seems to us that the fable illustrates the different phases of the moon. We, the inhabitants of the earth, never see but one‐half of our bright satellite, who thus turns her back to her mother Juno. The sun, the moon, and the earth are constantly changing positions with relation to each other. With the new moon there is constantly a change of weather; and sometimes the wind and storms may well suggest a quarrel between the sun and earth, especially when the former is concealed by grumbling thunder‐clouds. Furthermore, the new moon, when her dark side is turned toward us, is invisible; and it is only after a reconciliation between the sun and the earth, that a bright crescent becomes visible on the side nearest to the sun, though this time Luna is not illuminated by sunlight directly

received, but by sunlight reflected from the earth to the moon, and by her reflected back to us. Hence, the Chaldean astrologers and the magicians of Thessaly, who probably watched and determined as accurately as a Babinet the course of the celestial bodies, were said by their enchantments to force the moon to descend on earth, i.e., to show her crescent, which she could do but after receiving the ʺradiant smileʺ from her mother‐earth, who put it on after the conjugal reconciliation. Diana‐Luna, having adorned her head with her crescent, returns back to hunt in her mountains.

As to calling in question the intrinsic knowledge of the ancients on the ground of their ʺsuperstitious deductions from natural phenomena,ʺ it is as appropriate as it would be if, five hundred years hence, our descendants should regard the pupils of Professor Balfour Stewart as ancient ignoramuses, and himself a shallow philosopher. If modern science, in the person of this gentleman, can condescend to make experiments to determine whether the appearance of the spots on the sunʹs surface is in any way connected with the potato disease, and finds it is; and that, moreover, ʺthe earth is very seriously affected by what takes place in the sun,ʺ* why should the ancient astrologers be held up as either fools or arrant knaves? There is the same relation between natural and judicial or judiciary astrology, as between physiology and psychology, the physical and the moral. If in later centuries these sciences were degraded into charlatanry by

* ʺThe Sun and the Earth,ʺ Lecture by Prof. Balfour Stewart.


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some money‐making impostors, is it just to extend the accusation to those mighty men of old who, by their persevering studies and holy lives, bestowed an immortal name upon Chaldea and Babylonia? Surely those who are now found to have made correct astronomical observations ranging back to ʺwithin 100 years from the flood,ʺ from the top observatory of the ʺcloud‐encompassed Bel,ʺ as Prof. Draper has it, can hardly be considered impostors. If their mode of impressing upon the popular minds the great astronomical truths differed from the ʺsystem of educationʺ of our present century and appears ridiculous to some, the question still remains unanswered: which of the two systems was the best? With them science went hand in hand with religion, and the idea of God was inseparable from that of his works. And while in the present century there is not one person out of ten thousand who knows, if he ever knew the fact at all, that the planet Uranus is next to Saturn, and revolves about the sun in eighty‐four years; and that Saturn is next to Jupiter, and takes twenty‐nine and a half years to make one complete revolution in its orbit; while Jupiter performs his revolution in twelve years; the uneducated masses of Babylon and Greece, having impressed on their minds that Uranus was the father of Saturn, and Saturn that of Jupiter, considering them furthermore deities as well as all their satellites and attendants, we may perhaps infer from it, that while Europeans only discovered Uranus in 1781, a curious coincidence is to be noticed in the above myths.

We have but to open the most common book on astrology, and compare the descriptions embraced in the Fable of the Twelve Houses with the most modern discoveries of science as to the nature of the planets and the elements in each star, to see that without any spectroscope the ancients were perfectly well acquainted with the same. Unless the fact is again regarded as ʺa coincidence,ʺ we can learn, to a certain extent, of the degree of the solar heat, light, and nature of the planets by simply studying their symbolic representations in the Olympic gods, and the twelve signs of the zodiac, to each of which in astrology is attributed a particular quality. If the goddesses of our own planet vary in no particular from other gods and goddesses, but all have a like physical nature, does not this imply that the sentinels who watched from the top of Belʹs tower, by day as well as by night, holding communion with the euhemerized deities, had remarked, before ourselves, the physical unity of the universe and the fact that the planets above are made of precisely the same chemical elements as our own? The sun in Aries, Jupiter, is shown in astrology as a masculine, diurnal, cardinal, equinoctial, easterly sign, hot and dry, and answers perfectly to the character attributed to the fickle ʺFather of the gods.ʺ When angry Zeus‐Akrios snatches from his fiery belt the thunderbolts which he hurls forth from heaven, he rends the clouds and descends as Jupiter Pluvius in torrents of rain. He is the greatest and highest of gods, and his movements are as rapid as lightning itself. The planet Jupiter is known to revolve on its axis so rapidly that the point of its equator


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turns at the rate of 450 miles a minute. An immense excess of centrifugal force at the equator is believed to have caused the planet to become extremely flattened at the poles; and in Crete the personified god Jupiter was represented without ears. The planet Jupiterʹs disk is crossed by dark belts; varying in breadth, they appear to be connected with its rotation on its axis, and are produced by disturbances in its atmosphere. The face of Father Zeus, says Hesiod, became spotted with rage when he beheld the Titans ready to rebel.


In Mr. Proctorʹs book, astronomers seem especially doomed by Providence to encounter all kinds of curious ʺcoincidences,ʺ for he gives us many cases out of the ʺmultitude,ʺ and even of the ʺthousands of facts [sic].ʺ To this list we may add the army of Egyptologists and archæologists who of late have been the chosen pets of the capricious Dame Chance, who, moreover, generally selects ʺwell‐to‐do Arabsʺ and other Eastern gentlemen, to play the part of benevolent genii to Oriental scholars in difficulties. Professor Ebers is one of the latest favored ones. It is a well‐known fact, that whenever Champollion needed important links, he fell in with them in the most various and unexpected ways.

Voltaire, the greatest of ʺinfidelsʺ of the eighteenth century, used to say, that if there were no God, people would have to invent one. Volney, another ʺmaterialist,ʺ nowhere throughout his numerous writings denies the existence of God. On the contrary, he plainly asserts several times that the

universe is the work of the ʺAll‐wise,ʺ and is convinced that there is a Supreme Agent, a universal and identical Artificer, designated by the name of God.* Voltaire becomes, toward the end of his life, Pythagorical, and concludes by saying: ʺI have consumed forty years of my pilgrimage . . . seeking the philosopherʹs stone called truth. I have consulted all the adepts of antiquity, Epicurus and Augustine, Plato and Malebranche, and I still remain in ignorance. . . . All that I have been able to obtain by comparing and combining the system of Plato, of the tutor of Alexander, Pythagoras, and the Oriental, is this: Chance is a word void of sense. The world is arranged according to mathematical laws.ʺ†

It is pertinent for us to suggest that Mr. Proctorʹs stumbling‐block is that which trips the feet of all materialistic scientists, whose views he but repeats; he confounds the physical and spiritual operations of nature. His very theory of the probable inductive reasoning of the ancients as to the subtile influences of the more remote planets, by comparison with the familiar and potent effects of the sun and moon upon our earth, shows the drift of his mind. Because science affirms that the sun imparts physical heat and light to us, and the moon affects the tides, he thinks that the ancients must have regarded the other heavenly bodies as exerting the same

* ʺLa Loi Naturelle,ʺ par Volney.

† ʺDiction. Philosophique,ʺ Art. ʺPhilosophie.ʺ


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kind of influence upon us physically, and indirectly upon our fortunes.* And here we must permit ourselves a digression.

How the ancients regarded the heavenly bodies is very hard to determine, for one unacquainted with the esoteric explanation of their doctrines. While philology and comparative theology have begun the arduous work of analysis, they have as yet arrived at meagre results. The allegorical form of speech has often led our commentators so far astray, that they have confounded causes with effects, and vice versa. In the baffling phenomenon of force‐correlation, even our greatest scientists would find it very hard to explain which of these forces is the cause, and which the effect, since each may be both by turns, and convertible. Thus, if we should inquire of the physicists, ʺIs it light which generates heat, or the latter which produces light?ʺ we would in all probability be answered that it is certainly light which creates heat. Very well; but how? did the great Artificer first produce light, or did He first construct the sun, which is said to be the sole dispenser of light, and, consequently, heat? These questions may appear at first glance indicative of ignorance; but, perhaps, if we ponder them deeply, they will assume another appearance. In Genesis, the ʺLordʺ first creates light, and three days and three nights are alleged to pass away before He creates the sun, the moon, and the stars. This gross blunder against exact science has created much merriment among materialists. And they certainly would be warranted

* ʺBoston Lecture,ʺ December, 1875.

in laughing, if their doctrine that our light and heat are derived from the sun were unassailable. Until recently, nothing has happened to upset this theory, which, for lack of a better one, according to the expression of a preacher, ʺreigns sovereign in the Empire of Hypothesis.ʺ The ancient sun‐ worshippers regarded the Great Spirit as a nature‐god, identical with nature, and the sun as the deity, ʺin whom the Lord of life dwells.ʺ Gama is the sun, according to the Hindu theology, and ʺThe sun is the source of the souls and of all life.ʺ† Agni, the ʺDivine Fire,ʺ the deity of the Hindu, is the sun,‡ for the fire and sun are the same. Ormazd is light, the Sun‐God, or the Life‐giver. In the Hindu philosophy, ʺThe souls issue from the soul of the world, and return to it as sparks to the fire.ʺ§ But, in another place, it is said that ʺThe Sun is the soul of all things; all has proceeded out of it, and will return to it,ʺ** which shows that the sun is meant allegorically here, and refers to the central, invisible sun, GOD, whose first manifestation was Sephira, the emanation of En‐ Soph — Light, in short.

ʺAnd I looked, and behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it,ʺ says Ezekiel (i., 4, 22, etc.), ʺ. . . and the likeness of a throne . . . and as the appearance of a man above upon it . . . and I saw as it were the appearance of fire

† Weber, ʺInd. Stud.,ʺ i. 290.

‡ Wilson, ʺRig‐Veda Sanhita,ʺ ii. 143. § ʺDuncker,ʺ vol. ii., p. 162

** ʺWultke,ʺ ii. 262.


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and it had brightness round about it.ʺ And Daniel speaks of the ʺancient of days,ʺ the kabalistic En‐Soph, whose throne was ʺthe fiery flame, his wheels burning fire. . . . A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him.ʺ* Like the Pagan Saturn, who had his castle of flame in the seventh heaven, the Jewish Jehovah had his ʺcastle of fire over the seventh heavens.ʺ†

If the limited space of the present work would permit we might easily show that none of the ancients, the sun‐ worshippers included, regarded our visible sun otherwise than as an emblem of their metaphysical invisible central sun‐ god. Moreover, they did not believe what our modern science teaches us, namely, that light and heat proceed from our sun, and that it is this planet which imparts all life to our visible nature. ʺHis radiance is undecaying,ʺ says the Rig‐Veda, ʺthe intensely‐shining, all‐pervading, unceasing, undecaying rays of Agni desist not, neither night nor day.ʺ This evidently related to the spiritual, central sun, whose rays are all‐ pervading and unceasing, the eternal and boundless life‐ giver. HE the Point; the centre (which is everywhere) of the circle (which is nowhere), the ethereal, spiritual fire, the soul and spirit of the all‐pervading, mysterious ether; the despair and puzzle of the materialist, who will some day find that that which causes the numberless cosmic forces to manifest themselves in eternal correlation is but a divine electricity, or rather galvanism, and that the sun is but one of the myriad

* Daniel vii. 9, 10.

† Book of Enoch, xiv. 7, ff.

magnets disseminated through space — a reflector — as General Pleasonton has it. That the sun has no more heat in it than the moon or the space‐crowding host of sparkling stars. That there is no gravitation in the Newtonian sense,‡ but only magnetic attraction and repulsion; and that it is by their magnetism that the planets of the solar system have their motions regulated in their respective orbits by the still more powerful magnetism of the sun, not by their weight or gravitation. This and much more they may learn; but, until then we must be content with being merely laughed at, instead of being burned alive for impiety, or shut up in an insane asylum.

The laws of Manu are the doctrines of Plato, Philo, Zoroaster, Pythagoras, and of the Kabala. The esoterism of every religion may be solved by the latter. The kabalistic

‡ This proposition, which will be branded as preposterous, but which we are ready to show, on the authority of Plato (see Jowettʹs Introd. to the ʺTimæusʺ, last page), as a Pythagorean doctrine, together with that other of the sun being but the lens through which the light passes, is strangely corroborated at the present day, by the observations of General Pleasonton of Philadelphia. This experimentalist boldly comes out as a revolutionist of modern science, and calls Newtonʹs centripetal and centrifugal forces, and the law of gravitation, ʺfallacies.ʺ He fearlessly maintains his ground against the Tyndalls and Huxleys of the day. We are glad to find such a learned defender of one of the oldest (and hitherto treated as the most absurd) of hermetic hallucinations (?) (See General Pleasontonʹs book, ʺThe Influence of the Blue Ray of the Sunlight, and of the Blue Color of the Sky, in developing Animal and Vegetable Life,ʺ addressed to the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture.)


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doctrine of the allegorical Father and Son, or Pathr and Logoʺ is identical with the groundwork of Buddhism. Moses could not reveal to the multitude the sublime secrets of religious speculation, nor the cosmogony of the universe; the whole resting upon the Hindu Illusion, a clever mask veiling the Sanctum Sanctorum, and which has misled so many theological commentators.*

The kabalistic heresies receive an unexpected support in the heterodox theories of General Pleasonton. According to his opinions (which he supports on far more unimpeachable facts than orthodox scientists theirs) the space between the sun and the earth must be filled with a material medium,

* In no country were the true esoteric doctrines trusted to writing. The Hindu Brahma Maia, was passed from one generation to another by oral tradition. The Kabala was never written; and Moses intrusted it orally but to his elect. The primitive pure Oriental gnosticism was completely corrupted and degraded by the different subsequent sects. Philo, in the ʺde Sacrificiis Abeli et Caini,ʺ states that there is a mystery not to be revealed to the uninitiated. Plato is silent on many things, and his disciples refer to this fact constantly. Any one who has studied, even superficially, these philosophers, on reading the institutes of Manu, will clearly perceive that they all drew from the same source. ʺThis universe,ʺ says Manu, ʺexisted only in the first divine idea, yet unexpanded, as if involved in darkness, imperceptible, indefinable, undiscoverable by reason, and undiscovered by revelation, as if it were wholly immersed in sleep; then the sole self‐existing Power himself undiscerned, appeared with undiminished glory, expanding his idea, or dispelling the gloom.ʺ Thus speaks the first code of Buddhism. Platoʹs idea is the Will, or Logos, the deity which manifests itself. It is the Eternal Light from which proceeds, as an emanation, the visible and material light.

which, so far as we can judge from his description, answers to our kabalistic astral light. The passage of light through this must produce enormous friction. Friction generates electricity, and it is this electricity and its correlative magnetism which forms those tremendous forces of nature that produce in, on, and about our planet the various changes which we everywhere encounter. He proves that terrestrial heat cannot be directly derived from the sun, for heat ascends. The force by which heat is effected is a repellent one, he says, and as it is associated with positive electricity, it is attracted to the upper atmosphere by its negative electricity, always associated with cold, which is opposed to positive electricity. He strengthens his position by showing that the earth, which when covered with snow cannot be affected by the sunʹs rays, is warmest where the snow is deepest. This he explains upon the theory that the radiation of heat from the interior of the earth, positively electrified, meeting at the surface of the earth with the snow in contact with it, negatively electrified, produces the heat.

Thus he shows that it is not at all to the sun that we are indebted for light and heat; that light is a creation sui generis, which sprung into existence at the instant when the Deity willed, and uttered the fiat: ʺLet there be lightʺ; and that it is this independent material agent which produces heat by friction, on account of its enormous and incessant velocity. In short, it is the first kabalistic emanation to which General Pleasonton introduces us, that Sephira or divine Intelligence (the female principle), which, in unity with En‐Soph, or


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divine wisdom (male principle) produced every thing visible and invisible. He laughs at the current theory of the incandescence of the sun and its gaseous substance. The reflection from the photosphere of the sun, he says, passing through planetary and stellar spaces, must have thus created a vast amount of electricity and magnetism. Electricity, by the union of its opposite polarities, evolves heat and imparts magnetism to all substances capable of receiving it. The sun, planets, stars, and nebulæ are all magnets, etc.

If this courageous gentleman should prove his case, future generations will have but little disposition to laugh at Paracelsus and his sidereal or astral light, and at his doctrine of the magnetic influence exercised by the stars and planets upon every living creature, plant, or mineral of our globe. Moreover, if the Pleasonton hypothesis is established, the transcendent glory of Professor Tyndall will be rather obscured. According to public opinion, the General makes a terrible onslaught on the learned physicist, for attributing to the sun calorific effects experienced by him in an Alpine ramble, that were simply due to his own vital electricity.*

* It appears that in descending from Mont Blanc, Tyndall suffered severely from the heat, though he was knee‐deep in the snow at the time. The Professor attributed this to the burning rays of the sun, but Pleasonton maintains that if the rays of the sun had been so intense as described, they would have melted the snow, which they did not; he concludes that the heat from which the Professor suffered came from his own body, and was due to the electrical action of sunlight upon his dark woolen clothes, which had become electrified positively by the


The prevalence of such revolutionary ideas in science, embolden us to ask the representatives of science whether they can explain why the tides follow the moon in her circling motion? The fact is, they cannot demonstrate even so familiar a phenomenon as this, one that has no mystery for even the neophytes in alchemy and magic. We would also like to learn whether they are equally incapable of telling us why the moonʹs rays are so poisonous, even fatal, to some organisms; why in some parts of Africa and India a person sleeping in the moonlight is often made insane; why the crises of certain diseases correspond with lunar changes; why somnambulists are more affected at her full; and why gardeners, farmers, and woodmen cling so tenaciously to the idea that vegetation is affected by lunar influences? Several of the mimosæ alternately open and close their petals as the full moon emerges from or is obscured by clouds. And the Hindus of Travancore have a popular but extremely suggestive proverb which says: ʺSoft words are better than harsh; the sea is attracted by the cool moon and not by the hot sun.ʺ Perhaps the one man or the many men who launched this proverb on the world knew more about the cause of such attraction of the waters by the moon than we do. Thus if science cannot explain the cause of this physical influence, what can she

heat of his body. The cold, dry ether of planetary space and the upper atmosphere of the earth became negatively electrified, and falling upon his warm body and clothes, positively electrified, evolved an increased heat (see ʺThe Influence of the Blue Ray,ʺ etc., pp. 39, 40, 41, etc.).


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know of the moral and occult influences that may be exercised by the celestial bodies on men and their destiny; and why contradict that which it is impossible for her to prove false? If certain aspects of the moon effect tangible results so familiar in the experience of men throughout all time, what violence are we doing to logic in assuming the possibility that a certain combination of sidereal influences may also be more or less potential?


If the reader will recall what is said by the learned authors of the Unseen Universe, as to the positive effect produced upon the universal ether by so small a cause as the evolution of thought in a single human brain, how reasonable will it not appear that the terrific impulses imparted to this common medium by the sweep of the myriad blazing orbs that are rushing through ʺthe interstellar depths,ʺ should affect us and the earth upon which we live, in a powerful degree? If astronomers cannot explain to us the occult law by which the drifting particles of cosmic matter aggregate into worlds, and then take their places in the majestic procession which is ceaselessly moving around some central point of attraction, how can anyone assume to say what mystic influences may or may not be darting through space and affecting the issues of life upon this and other planets? Almost nothing is known of the laws of magnetism and the other imponderable agents; almost nothing of their effects upon our bodies and minds; even that which is known and moreover perfectly

demonstrated, is attributed to chance, and curious coincidences. But we do know, by these coincidences,* that ʺthere are periods when certain diseases, propensities, fortunes, and misfortunes of humanity are more rife than at others.ʺ There are times of epidemic in moral and physical affairs. In one epoch ʺthe spirit of religious controversy will arouse the most ferocious passions of which human nature is susceptible, provoking mutual persecution, bloodshed, and wars; at another, an epidemic of resistance to constituted authority will spread over half the world (as in the year 1848), rapid and simultaneous as the most virulent bodily disorder.ʺ

Again, the collective character of mental phenomena is illustrated by an anomalous psychological condition invading and dominating over thousands upon thousands, depriving them of everything but automatic action, and giving rise to the popular opinion of demoniacal possession, an opinion in some sense justified by the satanic passions, emotions, and acts which accompany the condition. At one period, the aggregate tendency is to retirement and contemplation; hence, the countless votaries of monachism and anchoretism; at another the mania is directed toward action, having for its proposed end some utopian scheme, equally impracticable and useless; hence, the myriads who have forsaken their kindred, their homes, and their country, to seek a land whose

* The most curious of all ʺcurious coincidences,ʺ to our mind is, that our men of science should put aside facts, striking enough to cause them to use such an expression when speaking of them, instead of setting to work to give us a philosophical explanation of the same.


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stones were gold, or to wage exterminating war for the possession of worthless cities and trackless deserts.*

The author from whom the above is quoted says that ʺthe seeds of vice and crime appear to be sown under the surface of society, and to spring up and bring forth fruit with appalling rapidity and paralyzing succession.ʺ

In the presence of these striking phenomena science stands speechless; she does not even attempt to conjecture as to their cause, and naturally, for she has not yet learned to look outside of this ball of dirt upon which we live, and its heavy atmosphere, for the hidden influences which are affecting us day by day, and even minute by minute. But the ancients, whose ʺignoranceʺ is assumed by Mr. Proctor, fully realized the fact that the reciprocal relations between the planetary bodies is as perfect as those between the corpuscles of the blood, which float in a common fluid; and that each one is affected by the combined influences of all the rest, as each in its turn affects each of the others. As the planets differ in size, distance, and activity, so differ in intensity their impulses upon the ether or astral light, and the magnetic and other subtile forces radiated by them in certain aspects of the heavens. Music is the combination and modulation of sounds, and sound is the effect produced by the vibration of the ether. Now, if the impulses communicated to the ether by the different planets may be likened to the tones produced by the different notes of a musical instrument, it is not difficult to

conceive that the Pythagorean ʺmusic of the spheresʺ is something more than a mere fancy, and that certain planetary aspects may imply disturbances in the ether of our planet, and certain others rest and harmony. Certain kinds of music throw us into frenzy; some exalt the soul to religious aspirations. In fine, there is scarcely a human creation which does not respond to certain vibrations of the atmosphere. It is the same with colors; some excite us, some soothe and please. The nun clothes herself in black to typify the despondency of a faith crushed under the sense of original sin; the bride robes herself in white; red inflames the anger of certain animals. If we and the animals are affected by vibrations acting upon a very minute scale, why may we not be influenced in the mass by vibrations acting upon a grand scale as the effect of combined stellar influences?

ʺWe know,ʺ says Dr. Elam, ʺthat certain pathological conditions have a tendency to become epidemic, influenced by causes not yet investigated. . . . We see how strong is the tendency of opinion once promulgated to run into an epidemic form — no opinion, no delusion, is too absurd to assume this collective character. We observe, also, how remarkably the same ideas reproduce themselves and reappear in successive ages; . . . no crime is too horrible to become popular, homicide, infanticide, suicide, poisoning, or any other diabolical human conception.

. . . In epidemics, the cause of the rapid spread at that particular period remains a mystery!ʺ

* See Charles Elam, M. D., ʺA Physicianʹs Problems,ʺ London, 1869, p. 159.


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These few lines contain an undeniable psychological fact, sketched with a masterly pen, and at the same time a half‐ confession of utter ignorance — ʺCauses not yet investigated.ʺ Why not be honest and add at once, ʺimpossible to investigate with present scientific methodsʺ?

Noticing an epidemic of incendiarism, Dr. Elam quotes from the Annales dʹHygiene Publique the following cases: ʺA girl about seventeen years of age was arrested on suspicion . .

. she confessed that twice she had set fire to dwellings by instinct, by irresistible necessity. . . . A boy about eighteen committed many acts of this nature. He was not moved by any passion, but the bursting‐out of the flames excited a profoundly pleasing emotion.ʺ

Who but has noticed in the columns of the daily press similar incidents? They meet the eye constantly. In cases of murder, of every description, and of other crimes of a diabolical character, the act is attributed, in nine cases out of ten, by the offenders themselves, to irresistible obsessions. ʺSomething whispered constantly in my ear. . . . Somebody was incessantly pushing and leading me on.ʺ Such are the too‐ frequent confessions of the criminals. Physicians attribute them to hallucinations of disordered brains, and call the homicidal impulse temporary lunacy. But is lunacy itself well understood by any psychologist? Has its cause ever been brought under a hypothesis capable of withstanding the challenge of an uncompromising investigator? Let the controversial works of our contemporary alienists answer for themselves.

Plato acknowledges man to be the toy of the element of necessity, which he enters upon in appearing in this world of matter; he is influenced by external causes, and these causes are daimonia, like that of Socrates. Happy is the man physically pure, for if his external soul (body) is pure, it will strengthen the second one (astral body), or the soul which is termed by him the higher mortal soul, which though liable to err from its own motives, will always side with reason against the animal proclivities of the body. The lusts of man arise in consequence of his perishable material body, so do other diseases; but though he regards crimes as involuntary sometimes, for they result like bodily disease from external causes, Plato clearly makes a wide distinction between these causes. The fatalism which he concedes to humanity, does not preclude the possibility of avoiding them, for though pain, fear, anger, and other feelings are given to men by necessity, ʺif they conquered these they would live righteously, and if they were conquered by them, unrighteously.ʺ* The dual man, i.e., one from whom the divine immortal spirit has departed, leaving but the animal form and astral body (Platoʹs higher mortal soul), is left merely to his instincts, for he was conquered by all the evils entailed on matter; hence, he becomes a docile tool in the hands of the invisibles — beings of sublimated matter, hovering in our atmosphere, and ever ready to inspire those who are deservedly deserted by their immortal counsellor, the Divine Spirit, called by Plato

* Jowett, ʺTimæus.ʺ


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ʺgenius.ʺ* According to this great philosopher and initiate, one ʺwho lived well during his appointed time would return to the habitation of his star, and there have a blessed and suitable existence. But if he failed in attaining this in the second generation he would pass into a woman — become helpless and weak as a woman;† and should he not cease from evil in that condition, he would be changed into some brute, which resembled him in his evil ways, and would not cease from his toils and transformations until he followed the original principle of sameness and likeness within him, and overcame, by the help of reason, the latter secretions of

* Ibid.

† According to General Pleasontonʹs theory of positive and negative electricity underlying every psychological, physiological, and cosmic phenomena, the abuse of alcoholic stimulants transforms a man into a woman and vice versa, by changing their electricities. ʺWhen this change in the condition of his electricity has occurred,ʺ says the author, ʺhis attributes (those of a drunkard) become feminine; he is irritable, irrational, excitable . . . becomes violent, and if he meets his wife, whose normal condition of electricity is like his present condition, positive, they repel each other, become mutually abusive, engage in conflict and deadly strife, and the newspapers of the next day announce the verdict of the coronerʹs jury on the case. . . . Who would expect to find the discovery of the moving cause of all these terrible crimes in the perspiration of the criminal? and yet science has shown that the metamorphoses of a man into a woman, by changing the negative condition of his electricity into the positive electricity of the woman, with all its attributes, is disclosed by the character of his perspiration, superinduced by the use of alcoholic stimulantsʺ (ʺThe Influence of the Blue Ray,ʺ p. 119).

turbulent and irrational elements (elementary dæmons) composed of fire and air, and water and earth, and returned to the form of his first and better nature.ʺ‡

But Dr. Elam thinks otherwise. On page 194 of his book, A Physicianʹs Problems, he says that the cause of the rapid spread of certain epidemics of disease which he is noticing ʺremains a mysteryʺ; but as regards the incendiarism he remarks that ʺin all this we find nothing mysterious,ʺ though the epidemic is strongly developed. Strange contradiction! De Quincey, in his paper, entitled Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts, treats of the epidemic of assassination, between 1588 and 1635, by which seven of the most distinguished characters of the time lost their lives at the hands of assassins, and neither he, nor any other commentator has been able to explain the mysterious cause of this homicidal mania.

If we press these gentlemen for an explanation, which as pretended philosophers they are bound to give us, we are answered that it is a great deal more scientific to assign for such epidemics ʺagitation of the mind,ʺ ʺ . . . a time of political excitement (1830)ʺ ʺ . . . imitation and impulse,ʺ ʺ . . . excitable and idle boys,ʺ and ʺhysterical girls,ʺ than to be absurdly seeking for the verification of superstitious traditions in a hypothetical astral light. It seems to us that if, by some providential fatality, hysteria were to disappear entirely from the human system, the medical fraternity would be entirely at a loss for explanations of a large class of phenomena now

‡ Plato, ʺTimæus.ʺ


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conveniently classified under the head of ʺnormal symptoms of certain pathological conditions of the nervous centres.ʺ Hysteria has been hitherto the sheet‐anchor of skeptical pathologists. Does a dirty peasant‐girl begin suddenly to speak with fluency different foreign languages hitherto unfamiliar to her, and to write poetry — ʺhysterics!ʺ Is a medium levitated, in full view of a dozen of witnesses, and carried out of one third‐story window and brought back through another — ʺdisturbance of the nervous centres, followed by a collective hysterical delusion.ʺ* A Scotch terrier, caught in the room during a manifestation, is hurled by an invisible hand across the room, breaks to pieces, in his salto mortali, a chandelier, under a ceiling eighteen feet high, to fall down killed†— ʺcanine hallucination!ʺ

ʺTrue science has no belief,ʺ says Dr. Fenwick, in Bulwer‐ Lyttonʹs Strange Story; ʺtrue science knows but three states of mind: denial, conviction, and the vast interval between the two, which is not belief, but the suspension of judgment.ʺ Such, perhaps, was true science in Dr. Fenwickʹs days. But the true science of our modern times proceeds otherwise; it either denies point‐blank, without any preliminary investigation, or sits in the interim, between denial and conviction, and, dictionary in hand, invents new Græco‐Latin appellations for non‐existing kinds of hysteria!

* Littre, ʺRevue des Deux Mondes.ʺ

† See des Mousseauxʹs ʺŒuvres des Demons.ʺ

How often have powerful clairvoyants and adepts in mesmerism described the epidemics and physical (though to others invisible) manifestations which science attributes to epilepsy, hæmato‐nervous disorders, and what not, of somatic origin, as their lucid vision saw them in the astral light. They affirm that the ʺelectric wavesʺ were in violent perturbation, and that they discerned a direct relation between this ethereal disturbance and the mental or physical epidemic then raging. But science has heeded them not, but gone on with her encyclopædic labor of devising new names for old things.

ʺHistory,ʺ says Du Potet, the prince of French mesmerists, ʺkeeps but too well the sad records of sorcery. These facts were but too real, and lent themselves but too readily to dreadful malpractices of the art, to monstrous abuse! . . . But how did I come to find out that art? Where did I learn it? In my thoughts? no; it is nature herself which discovered to me the secret. And how? By producing before my own eyes, without waiting for me to search for it, indisputable facts of sorcery and magic. . . . What is, after all, somnambulistic sleep? A result of the potency of magic. And what is it which determines these attractions, these sudden impulses, these raving epidemics, rages, antipathies, crises; — these convulsions which you can make durable? . . . what is it which determines them, if not the very principle we employ, the agent so decidedly well known to the ancients? What you call nervous fluid or magnetism, the men of old called occult power, or the potency of the soul, subjection, MAGIC!ʺ


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ʺMagic is based on the existence of a mixed world placed without, not within us; and with which we can enter in communication by the use of certain arts and practices. . . . An element existing in nature, unknown to most men, gets hold of a person and withers and breaks him down, as the fearful hurricane does a bulrush; it scatters men far away, it strikes them in a thousand places at the same time, without their perceiving the invisible foe, or being able to protect themselves . . . all this is demonstrated; but that this element could choose friends and select favorites, obey their thoughts, answer to the human voice, and understand the meaning of traced signs, that is what people cannot realize, and what their reason rejects, and that is what I saw; and I say it here most emphatically, that for me it is a fact and a truth demonstrated for ever.ʺ*

ʺIf I entered into greater details, one could readily understand that there do exist around us, as in ourselves, mysterious beings who have power and shape, who enter and go out at will, notwithstanding the well‐closed doors.ʺ† Further, the great mesmerizer teaches us that the faculty of directing this fluid is a ʺphysical property, resulting from our organization . . . it passes through all bodies . . . everything can be used as a conductor for magical operations, and it will retain the power of producing effects in its turn.ʺ This is the theory common to all hermetic philosophers. Such is the power of the fluid, ʺthat no chemical or physical forces are able to

* Du Potet, ʺMagie Devoilée,ʺ pp. 51‐147.

† Ibid., p. 201.

destroy it. . . . There is very little analogy between the imponderable fluids known to physicists and this animal magnetic fluid.ʺ‡


If we now refer to mediæval ages, we find, among others, Cornelius Agrippa telling us precisely the same: ʺThe ever‐ changing universal force, the ʹsoul of the world,ʹ can fecundate anything by infusing in it its own celestial properties. Arranged according to the formula taught by science, these objects receive the gift of communicating to us their virtue. It is sufficient to wear them, to feel them immediately operating on the soul as on the body. . . . Human soul possesses, from the fact of its being of the same essence as all creation, a marvellous power. One who possesses the secret is enabled to rise in science and knowledge as high as his imagination will carry him; but he does that only on the condition of becoming closely united to this universal force . .

. Truth, even the future, can be then made ever present to the eyes of the soul; and this fact has been many times demonstrated by things coming to pass as they were seen and described beforehand . . . time and space vanish before the eagle eye of the immortal soul . . . her power becomes boundless . . . she can shoot through space and envelop with her presence a man, no matter at what distance; she can plunge

‡ Baron Du Potet, ʺCours de Magnetisme,ʺ pp. 17‐108.


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and penetrate him through, and make him hear the voice of the person she belongs to, as if that person were in the room.ʺ*

If unwilling to seek for proof or receive information from mediæval, hermetic philosophy, we may go still further back into antiquity, and select, out of the great body of philosophers of the pre‐Christian ages, one who can least be accused of superstition and credulity — Cicero. Speaking of those whom he calls gods, and who are either human or atmospheric spirits, ʺWe know,ʺ says the old orator, ʺthat of all living beings man is the best formed, and, as the gods belong to this number, they must have a human form. . . . I do not mean to say that the gods have body and blood in them; but I say that they seem as if they had bodies with blood in them. . . . Epicurus, for whom hidden things were as tangible as if he had touched them with his finger, teaches us that gods are not generally visible, but that they are intelligible; that they are not bodies having a certain solidity . . . but that we can recognize them by their passing images; that as there are atoms enough in the infinite space to produce such images, these are produced before us . . . and make us realize what are these happy, immortal beings.ʺ†

ʺWhen the initiate,ʺ says Levi, in his turn, ʺhas become quite lucide, he communicates and directs at will the magnetic vibrations in the mass of astral light. . . . Transformed in

* ʺDe Occulto Philosophiâ,ʺ pp. 332‐358.

† Cicero, ʺDe Natura Deorum,ʺ lib. i., cap. xviii.

human light at the moment of the conception, it (the light) becomes the first envelope of the soul; by combination with the subtlest fluids it forms an ethereal body, or the sidereal phantom, which is entirely disengaged only at the moment of death.ʺ‡ To project this ethereal body, at no matter what distance; to render it more objective and tangible by condensing over its fluidic form the waves of the parent essence, is the great secret of the adept‐magician.

Theurgical magic is the last expression of occult psychological science. The Academicians reject it as the hallucination of diseased brains, or brand it with the opprobrium of charlatanry. We deny to them most emphatically the right of expressing their opinion on a subject which they have never investigated. They have no more right, in their present state of knowledge, to judge of magic and Spiritualism than a Fiji islander to venture his opinion about the labors of Faraday or Agassiz. About all they can do on any one day is to correct the errors of the preceding day. Nearly three thousand years ago, earlier than the days of Pythagoras, the ancient philosophers claimed that light was ponderable — hence matter, and that light was force. The corpuscular theory, owing to certain Newtonian failures to account for it, was laughed down, and the undulatory theory, which proclaimed light imponderable, accepted. And now the world is startled by Mr.Crookes weighing light with his radiometer! The Pythagoreans held that neither the sun nor

‡ Eliphas Levi.


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the stars were the sources of light and heat, and that the former was but an agent; but the modern schools teach the contrary.

The same may be said respecting the Newtonian law of gravitation. Following strictly the Pythagorean doctrine, Plato held that gravitation was not merely a law of the magnetic attraction of lesser bodies to larger ones, but a magnetic repulsion of similars and attraction of dissimilars. ʺThings brought together,ʺ says he, ʺcontrary to nature, are naturally at war, and repel one another.ʺ* This cannot be taken to mean that repulsion occurs of necessity between bodies of dissimilar properties, but simply that when naturally antagonistic bodies are brought together they repel one another. The researches of Bart and Schweigger leave us in little or no doubt that the ancients were well acquainted with the mutual attractions of iron and the lodestone, as well as with the positive and negative properties of electricity, by whatever name they may have called it. The reciprocal magnetic relations of the planetary orbs, which are all magnets, was with them an accepted fact, and aërolites were not only called by them magnetic stones, but used in the Mysteries for purposes to which we now apply the magnet. When, therefore, Professor A. M. Mayer, of the Stevens Institute of Technology, in 1872, told the Yale Scientific Club

* ʺTimæus.ʺ Such like expressions made Professor Jowett state in his Introduction that Plato taught the attraction of similar bodies to similar. But such an assertion would amount to denying the great philosopher even a rudimentary knowledge of the laws of magnetic poles.

that the earth is a great magnet, and that ʺon any sudden agitation of the sunʹs surface the magnetism of the earth receives a profound disturbance in its equilibrium, causing fitful tremors in the magnets of our observatories, and producing those grand outbursts of the polar lights, whose lambent flames dance in rhythm to the quivering needle,ʺ† he only restated, in good English, what was taught in good Doric untold centuries before the first Christian philosopher saw the light.

The prodigies accomplished by the priests of theurgical magic are so well authenticated, and the evidence — if human testimony is worth anything at all — is so overwhelming, that, rather than confess that the Pagan theurgists far outrivalled the Christians in miracles, Sir David Brewster piously concedes to the former the greatest proficiency in physics, and everything that pertains to natural philosophy. Science finds herself in a very disagreeable dilemma. She must either confess that the ancient physicists were superior in knowledge to her modern representatives, or that there exists something in nature beyond physical science, and that spirit possesses powers of which our philosophers never dreamed.

ʺThe mistake we make in some science we have specially cultivated,ʺ says Bulwer‐Lytton, ʺis often only to be seen by

† Alfred Marshall Mayer, Ph.D., ʺThe Earth a Great Magnet,ʺ a lecture delivered before the Yale Scientific Club, Feb. 14, 1872.


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the light of a separate science as especially cultivated by another.ʺ*

Nothing can be easier accounted for than the highest possibilities of magic. By the radiant light of the universal magnetic ocean, whose electric waves bind the cosmos together, and in their ceaseless motion penetrate every atom and molecule of the boundless creation, the disciples of mesmerism — howbeit insufficient their various experiments

— intuitionally perceive the alpha and omega of the great mystery. Alone, the study of this agent, which is the divine breath, can unlock the secrets of psychology and physiology, of cosmical and spiritual phenomena.

ʺMagic,ʺ says Psellus, ʺformed the last part of the sacerdotal science. It investigated the nature, power, and quality of everything sublunary; of the elements and their parts, of animals, all various plants and their fruits, of stones and herbs. In short, it explored the essence and power of everything. From hence, therefore, it produced its effects.

And it formed statues (magnetized) which procure health, and made all various figures and things (talismans) which could equally become the instruments of disease as well as of health. Often, too, celestial fire is made to appear through magic, and then statues laugh and lamps are spontaneously enkindled.ʺ†

* ʺStrange Story.ʺ
† See Taylorʹs ʺPausaniasʺ, MS. ʺTreatise on Dæmons,ʺ by Psellus, and the

ʺTreatise on the Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries.ʺ


If Galvaniʹs modern discovery can set in motion the limbs of a dead frog, and force a dead manʹs face to express, by the distortion of its features, the most varied emotions, from joy to diabolical rage, despair, and horror, the Pagan priests, unless the combined evidence of the most trustworthy men of antiquity is not to be relied upon, accomplished the still greater wonders of making their stone and metal statues to sweat and laugh. The celestial, pure fire of the Pagan altar was electricity drawn from the astral light. Statues, therefore, if properly prepared, might, without any accusation of superstition, be allowed to have the property of imparting health and disease by contact, as well as any modern galvanic belt, or overcharged battery.

Scholastic skeptics, as well as ignorant materialists, have greatly amused themselves for the last two centuries over the absurdities attributed to Pythagoras by his biographer, Iamblichus. The Samian philosopher is said to have persuaded a she‐bear to give up eating human flesh; to have forced a white eagle to descend to him from the clouds, and to have subdued him by stroking him gently with the hand, and by talking to him. On another occasion, Pythagoras actually persuaded an ox to renounce eating beans, by merely whispering in the animalʹs ear!‡ Oh, ignorance and superstition of our forefathers, how ridiculous they appear in the eyes of our enlightened generations! Let us, however,

‡ Iamblichus, ʺDe Vita Pythag.ʺ


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analyze this absurdity. Every day we see unlettered men, proprietors of strolling menageries, taming and completely subduing the most ferocious animals, merely by the power of their irresistible will. Nay, we have at the present moment in Europe several young and physically‐weak girls, under twenty years of age, fearlessly doing the same thing. Every one has either witnessed or heard of the seemingly magical power of some mesmerizers and psychologists. They are able to subjugate their patients for any length of time. Regazzoni, the mesmerist who excited such wonder in France and London, has achieved far more extraordinary feats than what is above attributed to Pythagoras. Why, then, accuse the ancient biographers of such men as Pythagoras and Apollonius of Tyana of either wilful misrepresentation or absurd superstition? When we realize that the majority of those who are so skeptical as to the magical powers possessed by the ancient philosophers, who laugh at the old theogonies and the fallacies of mythology, nevertheless have an implicit faith in the records and inspiration of their Bible, hardly daring to doubt even that monstrous absurdity that Joshua arrested the course of the sun, we may well say Amen to Godfrey Higginsʹ just rebuke: ʺWhen I find,ʺ he says, ʺlearned men believing Genesis literally, which the ancients, with all their failings, had too much sense to receive except allegorically, I am tempted to doubt the reality of the improvement of the human mind.ʺ*


One of the very few commentators on old Greek and Latin authors, who have given their just dues to the ancients for their mental development, is Thomas Taylor. In his translation of Iamblichusʹ Life of Pythagoras, we find him remarking as follows: ʺSince Pythagoras, as Iamblichus informs us, was initiated in all the Mysteries of Byblus and Tyre, in the sacred operations of the Syrians, and in the Mysteries of the Phœnicians, and also that he spent two and twenty years in the adyta of temples in Egypt, associated with the magians in Babylon, and was instructed by them in their venerable knowledge, it is not at all wonderful that he was skilled in magic, or theurgy, and was therefore able to perform things which surpass merely human power, and which appear to be perfectly incredible to the vulgar.ʺ†

The universal ether was not, in their eyes, simply a something stretching, tenantless, throughout the expanse of heaven; it was a boundless ocean peopled like our familiar seas with monstrous and minor creatures, and having in its every molecule the germs of life. Like the finny tribes which swarm in our oceans and smaller bodies of water, each kind having its habitat in some spot to which it is curiously adapted, some friendly and some inimical to man, some pleasant and some frightful to behold, some seeking the refuge of quiet nooks and land‐locked harbors, and some traversing great areas of water, the various races of the

* ʺAnacalypsis,ʺ vol. i., p. 807. † Iamblichus, ʺLife of Pythagoras,ʺ p. 297.


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elemental spirits were believed by them to inhabit the different portions of the great ethereal ocean, and to be exactly adapted to their respective conditions. If we will only bear in mind the fact that the rushing of planets through space must create as absolute a disturbance in this plastic and attenuated medium, as the passage of a cannon shot does in the air or that of a steamer in the water, and on a cosmic scale, we can understand that certain planetary aspects, admitting our premises to be true, may produce much more violent agitation and cause much stronger currents to flow in a given direction, than others. With the same premises conceded, we may also see why, by such various aspects of the stars, shoals of friendly or hostile ʺelementalsʺ might be poured in upon our atmosphere, or some particular portion of it, and make the fact appreciable by the effects which ensue.

According to the ancient doctrines, the soulless elemental spirits were evolved by the ceaseless motion inherent in the astral light. Light is force, and the latter is produced by the will. As this will proceeds from an intelligence which cannot err, for it has nothing of the material organs of human thought in it, being the superfine pure emanation of the highest divinity itself — (Platoʹs ʺFatherʺ) it proceeds from the beginning of time, according to immutable laws, to evolve the elementary fabric requisite for subsequent generations of what we term human races. All of the latter, whether belonging to this planet or to some other of the myriads in space, have their earthly bodies evolved in the matrix out of the bodies of a certain class of these elemental beings which

have passed away in the invisible worlds. In the ancient philosophy there was no missing link to be supplied by what Tyndall calls an ʺeducated imaginationʺ; no hiatus to be filled with volumes of materialistic speculations made necessary by the absurd attempt to solve an equation with but one set of quantities; our ʺignorantʺ ancestors traced the law of evolution throughout the whole universe. As by gradual progression from the star‐cloudlet to the development of the physical body of man, the rule holds good, so from the universal ether to the incarnate human spirit, they traced one uninterrupted series of entities. These evolutions were from the world of spirit into the world of gross matter; and through that back again to the source of all things. The ʺdescent of speciesʺ was to them a descent from the spirit, primal source of all, to the ʺdegradation of matter.ʺ In this complete chain of unfoldings the elementary, spiritual beings had as distinct a place, midway between the extremes, as Mr. Darwinʹs missing‐link between the ape and man.

No author in the world of literature ever gave a more truthful or more poetical description of these beings than Sir E. Bulwer‐Lytton, the author of Zanoni. Now, himself ʺa thing not of matterʺ but an ʺIdea of joy and light,ʺ his words sound more like the faithful echo of memory than the exuberant outflow of mere imagination.

ʺMan is arrogant in proportion of his ignorance,ʺ he makes the wise Mejnour say to Glyndon. ʺFor several ages he saw in the countless worlds that sparkle through space like the bubbles of a shoreless ocean, only the petty candles . . . that


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Providence has been pleased to light for no other purpose but to make the night more agreeable to man. . . . Astronomy has corrected this delusion of human vanity, and man now reluctantly confesses that the stars are worlds, larger and more glorious than his own. . . . Everywhere, then, in this immense design, science brings new life to light. . . .

Reasoning, then, by evident analogy, if not a leaf, if not a drop of water, but is, no less than yonder star, a habitable and breathing world — nay, if even man himself, is a world to other lives, and millions and myriads dwell in the rivers of his blood, and inhabit manʹs frame, as man inhabits earth — common sense (if our schoolmen had it) would suffice to teach that the circumfluent infinite which you call space — the boundless impalpable which divides earth from the moon and stars — is filled also with its correspondent and appropriate life. Is it not a visible absurdity to suppose that being is crowded upon every leaf, and yet absent from the immensities of space! The law of the great system forbids the waste even of an atom; it knows no spot where something of life does not breathe. . . . Well, then, can you conceive that space, which is the infinite itself, is alone a waste, is alone lifeless, is less useful to the one design of universal being . . .

than the peopled leaf, than the swarming globule? The microscope shows you the creatures on the leaf; no mechanical tube is yet invented to discover the nobler and more gifted things that hover in the illimitable air. Yet between these last and man is a mysterious and terrible affinity. . . . But first, to penetrate this barrier, the soul with which you listen must be sharpened

by intense enthusiasm, purified from all earthly desires. . . .

When thus prepared, science can be brought to aid it; the sight itself may be rendered more subtile, the nerves more acute, the spirit more alive and outward, and the element itself — the air, the space — may be made, by certain secrets of the higher chemistry, more palpable and clear. And this, too, is not magic as the credulous call it; as I have so often said before, magic (a science that violates nature) exists not; it is but the science by which nature can be controlled. Now, in space there are millions of beings, not literally spiritual, for they have all, like the animalcula unseen by the naked eye, certain forms of matter, though matter so delicate, air‐drawn, and subtile, that it is, as it were, but a film, a gossamer, that clothes the spirit. . . . Yet, in truth, these races differ most widely . . . some of surpassing wisdom, some of horrible malignity; some hostile as fiends to men, others gentle as messengers between earth and heaven. . . . Amid the dwellers of the threshold is one, too, surpassing in malignity and hatred all her tribe; one whose eyes have paralyzed the bravest, and whose power increases over the spirit precisely in proportion to its fear.ʺ*

Such is the insufficient sketch of elemental beings void of divine spirit, given by one whom many with reason believed to know more than he was prepared to admit in the face of an incredulous public.

* Bulwer‐Lytton, ʺZanoni.ʺ


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In the following chapter we will contrive to explain some of the esoteric speculations of the initiates of the sanctuary, as to what man was, is, and may yet be. The doctrines they taught in the Mysteries — the source from which sprang the Old and partially the New Testament, belonged to the most advanced notions of morality, and religious revelations. While the literal meaning was abandoned to the fanaticism of the unreasoning lower classes of society, the higher ones, the majority of which consisted of Initiates, pursued their studies in the solemn silence of the temples, and their worship of the one God of Heaven.

The speculations of Plato, in the Banquet, on the creation of the primordial men, and the essay on Cosmogony in the Timæus, must be taken allegorically, if we accept them at all. It is this hidden Pythagorean meaning in Timæus, Cratylus, and Parmenides, and a few other trilogies and dialogues, that the Neo‐platonists ventured to expound, as far as the theurgical vow of secrecy would allow them. The Pythagorean doctrine that God is the universal mind diffused through all things, and the dogma of the soulʹs immortality, are the leading features in these apparently incongruous teachings. His piety and the great veneration Plato felt for the MYSTERIES, are sufficient warrant that he would not allow his indiscretion to get the better of that deep sense of responsibility which is felt by every adept. ʺConstantly

perfecting himself in perfect MYSTERIES, a man in them alone becomes truly perfect,ʺ says he in the Phædrus.*

He took no pains to conceal his displeasure that the Mysteries had become less secret than formerly. Instead of profaning them by putting them within the reach of the multitude, he would have guarded them with jealous care against all but the most earnest and worthy of his disciples.† While mentioning the gods, on every page, his monotheism is unquestionable, for the whole thread of his discourse indicates that by the term gods he means a class of beings far lower in the scale than deities, and but one grade higher than men. Even Josephus perceived and acknowledged this fact, despite the natural prejudice of his race. In his famous onslaught upon Apion, this historian says:‡ ʺThose, however, among the Greeks who philosophized in accordance with truth, were not ignorant of anything . . . nor did they fail to perceive the chilling superficialities of the mythical allegories, on which account they justly despised them. . . . By which thing Plato, being moved, says it is not necessary to admit any one of the other poets into ʹthe Commonwealth,ʹ and he dismisses

* Cory, ʺPhædrus,ʺ i. 328.

† This assertion is clearly corroborated by Plato himself, who says: ʺYou say that, in my former discourse, I have not sufficiently explained to you the nature of the First. I purposely spoke enigmatically, that in case the tablet should have happened with any accident, either by land or sea, a person, without some previous knowledge of the subject, might not be able to understand its contentsʺ (ʺPlato,ʺ Ep. ii., p. 312; Cory, ʺAncient Fragmentsʺ).

‡ ʺJosephus against Apion,ʺ ii., p. 1079.


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Homer blandly, after having crowned him and pouring unguent upon him, in order that indeed he should not destroy, by his myths, the orthodox belief respecting one God.ʺ

Those who can discern the true spirit of Platoʹs philosophy, will hardly be satisfied with the estimate of the same which Jowett lays before his readers. He tells us that the influence exercised upon posterity by the Timæus is partly due to a misunderstanding of the doctrine of its author by the Neo‐platonists. He would have us believe that the hidden meanings which they found in this Dialogue, are ʺquite at variance with the spirit of Plato.ʺ This is equivalent to the assumption that Jowett understands what this spirit really was; whereas his criticism upon this particular topic rather indicates that he did not penetrate it at all. If, as he tells us, the Christians seem to find in his work their trinity, the word, the church, and the creation of the world, in a Jewish sense, it is because all this is there, and therefore it is but natural that they should have found it. The outward building is the same; but the spirit which animated the dead letter of the philosopherʹs teaching has fled, and we would seek for it in vain through the arid dogmas of Christian theology. The Sphinx is the same now, as it was four centuries before the Christian era; but the Œdipus is no more. He is slain because he has given to the world that which the world was not ripe enough to receive. He was the embodiment of truth, and he had to die, as every grand truth has to, before, like the Phœnix of old, it revives from its own ashes. Every translator of Platoʹs works remarked the strange similarity between the

philosophy of the esoterists and the Christian doctrines, and each of them has tried to interpret it in accordance with his own religious feelings. So Cory, in his Ancient Fragments, tries to prove that it is but an outward resemblance; and does his best to lower the Pythagorean Monad in the public estimation and exalt upon its ruins the later anthropomorphic deity. Taylor, advocating the former, acts as unceremoniously with the Mosaic God. Zeller boldly laughs at the pretensions of the Fathers of the Church, who, notwithstanding history and its chronology, and whether people will have it or not, insist that Plato and his school have robbed Christianity of its leading features. It is as fortunate for us as it is unfortunate for the Roman Church that such clever sleight‐of‐hand as that resorted to by Eusebius is rather difficult in our century. It was easier to pervert chronology ʺfor the sake of making synchronisms,ʺ in the days of the Bishop of Cæsarea, than it is now, and while history exists, no one can help people knowing that Plato lived 600 years before Irenæus took it into his head to establish a new doctrine from the ruins of Platoʹs older Academy.

This doctrine of God being the universal mind diffused through all things, underlies all ancient philosophies. The Buddhistic tenets which can never be better comprehended than when studying the Pythagorean philosophy — its faithful reflection — are derived from this source as well as the Brahmanical religion and early Christianity. The purifying process of transmigrations — the metempsychoses

— however grossly anthropomorphized at a later period,


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must only be regarded as a supplementary doctrine, disfigured by theological sophistry with the object of getting a firmer hold upon believers through a popular superstition. Neither Gautama Buddha nor Pythagoras intended to teach this purely‐metaphysical allegory literally. Esoterically, it is explained in the ʺMysteryʺ of the Kounboum,* and relates to the purely spiritual peregrinations of the human soul. It is not in the dead letter of Buddhistical sacred literature that scholars may hope to find the true solution of its metaphysical subtilties. The latter weary the power of thought by the inconceivable profundity of its ratiocination; and the student is never farther from truth than when he believes himself nearest its discovery. The mastery of every doctrine of the perplexing Buddhist system can be attained only by proceeding strictly according to the Pythagorean and Platonic method; from universals down to particulars. The key to it lies in the refined and mystical tenets of the spiritual influx of divine life. ʺWhoever is unacquainted with my law,ʺ says Buddha, ʺand dies in that state, must return to the earth till he becomes a perfect Samanean. To achieve this object, he must destroy within himself the trinity of Maya.† He must extinguish his passions, unite and identify himself with the law (the teaching of the secret doctrine), and comprehend the religion of annihilation.ʺ

* See chapter ix., p. 302.

† ʺIllusion; matter in its triple manifestation in the earthly, and the astral or fontal soul, or the body, and the Platonian dual soul, the rational and the irrational one,ʺ see next chapter.

Here, annihilation refers but to matter, that of the visible as well as of the invisible body; for the astral soul (perisprit) is still matter, however sublimated. The same book says that what Fo (Buddha) meant to say was, that ʺthe primitive substance is eternal and unchangeable. Its highest revelation is the pure, luminous ether, the boundless infinite space, not a void resulting from the absence of forms, but, on the contrary, the foundation of all forms, and anterior to them. But the very presence of forms denotes it to be the creation of Maya, and all her works are as nothing before the uncreated being, SPIRIT, in whose profound and sacred repose all motion must cease forever.ʺ

Thus annihilation means, with the Buddhistical philosophy, only a dispersion of matter, in whatever form or semblance of form it may be; for everything that bears a shape was created, and thus must sooner or later perish, i.e., change that shape; therefore, as something temporary, though seeming to be permanent, it is but an illusion, Maya; for, as eternity has neither beginning nor end, the more or less prolonged duration of some particular form passes, as it were, like an instantaneous flash of lightning. Before we have the time to realize that we have seen it, it is gone and passed away for ever; hence, even our astral bodies, pure ether, are but illusions of matter, so long as they retain their terrestrial outline. The latter changes, says the Buddhist, according to the merits or demerits of the person during his lifetime, and this is metempsychosis. When the spiritual entity breaks loose for ever from every particle of matter, then only it enters


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upon the eternal and unchangeable Nirvana. He exists in spirit, in nothing; as a form, a shape, a semblance, he is completely annihilated, and thus will die no more, for spirit alone is no Maya, but the only REALITY in an illusionary universe of ever‐passing forms.

It is upon this Buddhist doctrine that the Pythagoreans grounded the principal tenets of their philosophy. ʺCan that spirit, which gives life and motion, and partakes of the nature of light, be reduced to non‐entity?ʺ they ask. ʺCan that sensitive spirit in brutes which exercises memory, one of the rational faculties, die, and become nothing?ʺ And Whitelock Bulstrode, in his able defence of Pythagoras, expounds this doctrine by adding: ʺIf you say, they (the brutes) breathe their spirits into the air, and there vanish, that is all I contend for. The air, indeed, is the proper place to receive them, being, according to Laertius, full of souls; and, according to Epicurus, full of atoms, the principles of all things; for even this place wherein we walk and birds fly has so much of a spiritual nature, that it is invisible, and, therefore, may well be the receiver of forms, since the forms of all bodies are so; we can only see and hear its effects; the air itself is too fine, and above the capacity of the age. What then is the ether in the region above, and what are the influences or forms that descend from thence?ʺ

The spirits of creatures, the Pythagoreans hold, who are emanations of the most sublimated portions of ether, emanations, BREATHS, but not forms. Ether is incorruptible, all philosophers agree in that; and what is incorruptible is so far

from being annihilated when it gets rid of the form, that it lays a good claim to IMMORTALITY. ʺBut what is that which has no body, no form; which is imponderable, invisible and indivisible; that which exists and yet is not?ʺ ask the Buddhists. ʺIt is Nirvana,ʺ is the answer. It is NOTHING, not a region, but rather a state. When once Nirvana is reached, man is exempt from the effects of the ʺfour truthsʺ; for an effect can only be produced through a certain cause, and every cause is annihilated in this state.


These ʺfour truthsʺ are the foundation of the whole Buddhist doctrine of Nirvana. They are, says the book of Pradjuâ Pâramitâ* 1. The existence of pain. 2. The production of pain. 3. The annihilation of pain. 4. The way to the annihilation of pain. What is the source of pain? — Existence. Birth existing, decrepitude and death ensue; for wherever there is a form, there is a cause for pain and suffering. Spirit alone has no form, and therefore cannot be said to exist. Whenever man (the ethereal, inner man) reaches that point when he becomes utterly spiritual, hence, formless, he has reached a state of perfect bliss. MAN as an objective being becomes annihilated, but the spiritual entity with its subjective life, will live for ever, for spirit is incorruptible and immortal.

* ʺPerfection of Wisdom.ʺ


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It is by the spirit of the teachings of both Buddha and Pythagoras, that we can so easily recognize the identity of their doctrines. The all‐pervading, universal soul, the Anima Mundi, is Nirvana; and Buddha, as a generic name, is the anthropomorphized monad of Pythagoras. When resting in Nirvana, the final bliss, Buddha is the silent monad, dwelling in darkness and silence; he is also the formless Brahm, the sublime but unknowable Deity, which pervades invisibly the whole universe. Whenever it is manifested, desiring to impress itself upon humanity in a shape intelligent to our intellect, whether we call it an avatar, or a King Messiah, or a permutation of Divine Spirit, Logos, Christos, it is all one and the same thing. In each case it is ʺthe Father,ʺ who is in the Son, and the Son in ʺthe Father.ʺ The immortal spirit overshadows the mortal man. It enters into him, and pervading his whole being, makes of him a god, who descends into his earthly tabernacle. Every man may become a Buddha, says the doctrine. And so throughout the interminable series of ages we find now and then men who more or less succeed in uniting themselves ʺwith God,ʺ as the expression goes, with their own spirit, as we ought to translate. The Buddhists call such men Arhat. An Arhat is next to a Buddha, and none is equal to him either in infused science, or miraculous powers. Certain fakirs demonstrate the theory well in practice, as Jacolliot has proved.

Even the so‐called fabulous narratives of certain Buddhistical books, when stripped of their allegorical meaning, are found to be the secret doctrines taught by

Pythagoras. In the Pali Books called the Jutakâs, are given the 550 incarnations or metempsychoses of Buddha. They narrate how he has appeared in every form of animal life, and animated every sentient being on earth, from infinitesimal insect to the bird, the beast, and finally man, the microcosmic image of God on earth. Must this be taken literally; is it intended as a description of the actual transformations and existence of one and the same individual immortal, divine spirit, which by turns has animated every kind of sentient being? Ought we not rather to understand, with Buddhist metaphysicians, that though the individual human spirits are numberless, collectively they are one, as every drop of water drawn out of the ocean, metaphorically speaking, may have an individual existence and still be one with the rest of the drops going to form that ocean; for each human spirit is a scintilla of the one all‐pervading light? That this divine spirit animates the flower, the particle of granite on the mountain side, the lion, the man? Egyptian Hierophants, like the Brahmans, and the Buddhists of the East, and some Greek philosophers, maintained originally that the same spirit that animates the particle of dust, lurking latent in it, animates man, manifesting itself in him in its highest state of activity. The doctrine, also, of a gradual refusion of the human soul into the essence of the primeval parent spirit, was universal at one time. But this doctrine never implied annihilation of the higher spiritual ego — only the dispersion of the external forms of man, after his terrestrial death, as well as during his abode on earth. Who is better fitted to impart to us the mysteries of


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after‐death, so erroneously thought impenetrable, than those men who having, through self‐discipline and purity of life and purpose, succeeded in uniting themselves with their ʺGod,ʺ were afforded some glimpses, however imperfect, of the great truth.* And these seers tell us strange stories about the variety of forms assumed by disembodied astral souls; forms of which each one is a spiritual though concrete reflection of the abstract state of the mind, and thoughts of the once living man.

To accuse Buddhistical philosophy of rejecting a Supreme Being — God, and the soulʹs immortality, of atheism, in short, on the ground that according to their doctrines, Nirvana means annihilation, and Svabhâvât is NOT a person, but nothing, is simply absurd. The En (or Ayîn) of the Jewish En‐Soph, also means nihil or nothing, that which is not (quo ad nos); but no one has ever ventured to twit the Jews with atheism. In both cases the real meaning of the term nothing carries with it the idea that God is not a thing, not a concrete or visible Being to which a name expressive of any object known to us on earth may be applied with propriety.

* Porphyry gives the credit to Plotinus his master, of having been united with ʺGodʺ six times during his life, and complains of having attained to it but twice, himself.