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vol. 1, p. 56
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 1 (1874-1876)


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< The Spiritual Scientist (continued from page 1-55) >

the prayer cylinder of the lacustrians. If Professor Buchanan, who has forgotten more about anthropology than any of them ever know, should attempt to crowd upon them the complete study of man in all his relations, he will be coughed down and the floor granted to somebody who has a speech ready upon the reticulated button hole of the Bengalese Rajpoot's coat. And yet they are not happy.

"Have we done any injustice to the American and British Associations-for they are both alike? Consult the printed volumes of Transactions, in which may be found a record of some of the very papers above enumerated, and others about orange peel oil, fat women, hyena's dens, and the blastoderms of birds' eggs.

It is their own affair whether they study this or that science, and prefer to use the few hours they have on earth in discovering the nature of the respiratory organs of the shark or any other ignoble tomfoolery, to studying the spiritual part of Man and his intermundane communications, attractions, and perils."

HS Olcott –

Elementary Spirits

Col. Henry S. Olcott writes to the Tribune that it is his belief, after much study and experimentation, that a majority of the phenomena attributed to agency of disembodied human spirits are, in fact, due to another class of beings, who do not partake of our future existence, who have intelligence and craft, but not yet that immortal breath of God which we call the soul, and the Occultists the Augoeides (Aigoeides)—in short, to the “elementary spirits.’’ What these creatures are may be ascertained, he says, by the diligent and intelligent student who chooses to consult the standard works written upon the Hermetic and other Occult philosophies. In brief, adds Col. Olcott, they bear about the same relation to man as he exists upon this and other inhabited planets as the sketch of the artist to the finished painting. He proceds to describe them, however, and giving a minute account of their depraved and frivolous moral condition, it appears that they are the spirits of future human beings waiting to be born upon this sphere. But besides these “elementary spirits” there is a “large residuum of real apparitions, who give genuine messages through mediums. Col. Olcott comes to support this theory of the Occultist, because the “embryonic men” account for the incongruities, contradictions, puerilities and disgusting features” of the spiritualistic manifestations. The letters of Col. Olcott have brought out from three well-known scientific gentlemen belonging to the Liberal Club of New York City, a card over their own names, in which they say:

Some years ago, the “unspiritual members,” of the club suggested that the undersigned, being one physicist, one physician who made a specialty of nervous diseases, and one lawyer, with such assistants as they might find necessary, should act as a committee to investigate “spiritual facts and phenomena,” within this city or vicinity. This committee have been and still are waiting for more business. This offer is not made to gratify an idle curiosity. It has seemed to us that “the phenomena,” even if they are not “facts of Spiritualism,” may have a scientific value. So far as we have been able to discover, however, we find no “spirit hypothesis” needed to account for them. They all fall quite readily under one or more of the following categories: —I. Fraud; 2. Illusion; 3. Delusion; 4. Disease.

If any man or woman can produce or knows of phenomena that they will assert upon their honor that they believe cannot be so produced, the undersigned will give such phenomena and their conditions a careful, and as far as possible, a scientific investigation.

Occult Philosophy

To the Editor of the “Spiritual Scientist.”

One word at a time is an excellent motto; it is the practical philosophy of my life. I need no spiritual condiments to make this life agreeable and attractive, and I think that there is in the world everything that is requisite for all our wants, yet I find myself speculating on the great problems of every age, cause and effect, origin and destiny; and I presume that while there is a mind to question there will be a mind to answer or attempt the solution of these speculative problems, though utilitarian philosophers should bleed at every pore, in their efforts to frown down the apparently useless task. I am not a Rosicrucian a Brother of Luxor,x nor a member of any occult philosophical society oriental or occidental. Nor do I think that spiritual monopolies are any better than the terrestrial monopolies which obstruct the progress of individual and collective humanity.

If agreeable to all concerned, I wish to present a few of my speculations in philosophy, just for what they are worth. The indestructibility of matter or being is, in the opinion of modern thinkers, the incontrovertable conclusion of scientific logic. Organization is also accepted as being the natural and inevitable result of evolution and development; that from the minty nebulae to the fully developed systems of worlds inhabited by sentient beings, is an unbroken chain of natural development. There is no place for chance, but everywhere the imperative government of Law, Law eternal and immutable as Being itself. While reading the results of the mental activities of our times, I cannot help feeling uplifted, as if I had taken a step higher in the intellectual plane of being, and yet I always feel as if our scientific philosophers had left something unsaid, which renders their theories as mystical, if not as illogical, as the dogmas of their natural enemy, the theologian. Nebula is said to be the mother of worlds. But whence Nebula? Are we to say of it,

From an eternity of idleness,
I, Nebula awoke, revolved and
Threw off systems of suns, worlds and moons,
From which have been evolved all forms of life
Doomed to perish in eternal cold.

If, from a nebulous state all worlds have progressed, to nebulae must all worlds return, to again resume their eternal march through the same conditions to the same results. Thus during an eternity of activity

"All matter quick and bursting into birth"

has been evolving worlds and men; and when I, in my feeble way, contemplate the infinite magnitute, diversity and unity manifested in the eternal march of worlds, I am startled with the question, —Why this everlasting waste of being? Underlying all this perpetual transition, is there nothing stable and endurable, nothing but the indestructible atoms of matter? I am weary thinking of these things, yet for my thoughts there is no rest, the question is ever dunning me for an answer. Tyndall said, and said well, that he discerned in “matter the promise and potency of every form and quality of life; “but this leaves that importunate question as usual, unanswered as before. All existence is matter of some kind or other; at least, outside of matter we can form no conception. And when I trace the ascending scale of organic life, each lower containing in itself a prophecy of higher, and in each higher, find the fulfilled prophecy as anticipated in what had gone before, I cannot but conclude that, in some germinal or typical form, ante ceding the lowest organism, existed the perfect organism as now seen in man, or yet to be produced in something higher than man; in a similar sense to the perception of the full-grown oak in the acorn. This organizing germ or principle must be as eternal, indestructible and Individual as the atoms of scientific philosophy: and in every organism is something very different from anything that can be revealed by the knife of the anatomist. Why growth, development, the ascension in a graduating scale of organic life towards a perfect ideal, if that ideal had not a persistent existence prior to all organization? Watch this principle through its material progress, crystalizing, vegetating, animalizing, harmonizing, and say, if you can, that through these innumerable diverse manifestations, there is not also manifested the presence of eternal principle which is the same spirit throughout all. And as all organisms are subject, to dissolution, and each atom tends to freedom, to its original individuality, so this primordial germ of organic structure, when it has fulfilled all its prophecies and reached organic perfection, haring graduated through every material formation from the crystal to man, or higher yet, will at length return to its individual sovereignly, master of the elements, and in perfect unity with the universal spirit or unifying principle of the universe. If this idea be correct there can, be no origin to spirit, as there can be no end, though there is a beginning and an end to all organisms. To the spirit itself there is no progress, only in its manifestations, and we are journeying onward to an ultimate glorious and eternal. A glorious prospective I. Our retrospective is none the less so. In the words of Emilio Castellar: —

“I feel my close kinship with all created (?) things; but at the same time I feel it with all uncreated things. We have been light, heat, gas, in the aerolitic or cometary journey of our[3]

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planet during its fluid state, as when it hung like a red tress from the head of the Sun. We have felt our flesh condensing itself in the first condensation of the world. We find the deepest roots of our bodies in the fossils buried everywhere, like letters of rock which declare in immortal carving and indelible epitaphs, the triumphal career of organism. We have grown with the zoophyte and swayed in bottomless seas with the sponge. We dragged ourselves with the reptile over the earth after having passed through the transformations of the insect. We entered full of warm blood and lyric nerves, clothed with variegated feathers, into the wide ether, singing in the sublime chorus of the birds. We have fought over and over with the beasts of the desert and the forest. We have made war with the lion and the tiger. We have run with the horse and the stag. We have been, if you please, the absurd buffoon of the universe with the ape, the chimpanzee and the parrot. But from the moment when we hive come to our organization, we have felt flowing throughout our being something which did not live in time, which was not developed in space; something clearer than light, more rapid than electricity, more vivid than heat and magnetism; the spirit, the human spirit, and within it a never-setting sun which is called thought, an irresistible force which is called liberty.”

San Francisco, Cal.


x I see you aint, my boy.

Editor's notes

  1. Elementary Spirits by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 3, No. 4, September 30, 1875, p. 49
  2. Occult Philosophy by Buddha, Spiritual Scientist. Copy in SB 3:116
  3. The rest of the article was not found in Scrapbooks and was recovered from the newspaper scan.