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vol. 1, p. 61
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 1 (1874-1876)


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< From Madame H. P. Blavatsky to her Correspondents (continued from page 1-60) >

first abstruse difficulties of the Alpha of Hermetic Philosophy.

To fervent and persevering candidates for the above science, I have to offer but one word of advice, “Try and become.” One single journey to the Orient, made in the proper spirit, and the possible emergencies arising from the meeting of what may seem no more than the chance acquaintances and adventures of any traveller, may quite as likely as not throw wide open to the zealous student, the heretofore closed doors of the final mysteries. I will go farther and say that such a journey, performed with the omnipresent idea of the one object, and with the help of a fervent will, is sure to produce more rapid, better, and far more practical results, than the most diligent study of Occultism in books—even though one were to devote to it dozens of years. In the name of Truth, Yours,

H. P. Blavatsky.

Madame Blavatsky’s open letter to her correspondents is very instructive to those who read carefully and understand intuitionally some of the hidden meaning.

SEPTEMBER 30. 1875

An Important Question

Our contemporary, the Banner of Light, has an editorial article, “The New Departure,” which reviews Col. Olcott’s letter in the Tribune, and a communication wherein Col. Olcott says, “he has had direct conversation with members of the parent Eastern Lodge of the Brotherhood of Luxor,” and then remarks on closing:

Let those who would get at the truth on this subject ask the Colonel two questions:

First: Have you had “direct conversation" with any persons, visible and tangible to your senses, who, not being mediums, could by mere forms and words, communicate to others, and available by them, produce “all the most startling phenomena of Modern Spiritualism?"

Secondly: Have you known materialized forms of spirits to be made to appear simply by the use of cabalistic words or forms of invocation, in the absence of mediums?

We do not think it at all improbable that there are hum bugging spirits who try to fool certain aspirants to occult knowledge with the notion that there is such an art as magic. A spirit may possibly make a medium believe that by the use of certain words and forms the latter may invoke and control spirits. But that there is a science, apart from mediumship and accompanying phenomena, and depending merely on a knowledge of forms and words, by the use of which spirit aid may be had, has never yet proved, and we doubt if it ever will.

“Has never yet been proved" to the writer of that article, nor to many others perhaps. Neither has Spirit ualism or Mesmerism been demonstrated to the masses. The simple declaration of the truth of this or any other science bears little or no weight. The student in Mesmerism knows that an operator, or spirit in the body, can, under certain conditions, control a subject, or spirit in the body. The investigator in Spiritualism, believes, that, under certain conditions, a spirit out of the body can control a spirit in the body. Is it illogical to conceive that there may be another branch to this occult science which teaches how the spirit in the body, may control the spirits out of the body?

Spiritualism, through its teachers, has taught that the medium and sitters should be in a “passive” condition — in other words, the circle negative, and the force controlling positive, in order to secure the best manifestations. And what has been the result? Simply to place the medium and sitters at the mercy of such spirits as might be present. The “mind” of the investigator, its “positive” or “receptive” condition, has been a fruitful subject for discussion. It is known that an exercise of the will, can destroy the power of a control. Can we not see in all this some proof of the possibility of the existence of a science “apart from mediumship and its accompanying phenomena, and depending merely on a knowledge of forms and words, by the use of which spirit aid may be had?”

We think the science of Mesmerism, and what little is known of mediumship, are propositions that will warrant; the inference of the existence of a system by which a spirit out of the body can be controlled by one in the body. Admit that the spirit world is governed by certain laws, and the possessor of a knowledge of those laws is enabled to control the spirits amenable to them. What is the power required? THE WILL. Evidence:

that in Mesmerism, an outside force sometimes attempts to interfere with the operator and take control of the subject. The will of the operator holds the subject, and virtually the former has controlled or conquered, the opposing force, or spirit. Why does the will of an investigator interfere with spiritual manifestations?

That our thoughts will draw our spirit friends, is believed by the majority of Spiritualists. If such a simple exercise of the mind can have this effect, does it require a very fertile imagination to conceive of a circle composed of positive minds having power to command such as are wanted to be present, and then to control them to derise information concerning the unseen world and its hidden truths?

It is not necessary that we should declare our belief in the existence of such a science. Those who study and understand, can form an opinion for themselves. We have presented the above thoughts for the consideration of our readers. By an exercise of reason one can soon understand by intuition. The subject is awakening considerable attention, not only in this country but in Europe: The American Spiritual Magazine has a department where questions are answered by a medium under control, and among other questions asked and answered, we quote the following as appropriate:

Question—From all past time there has come to us through tradition, and through half-suppresed foot-notes, a story, that men who knew the way and the formula, could summon to their aid and counsel, spirits who have certain superhuman mundane powers, but who are supposed not to belong to the best, or even a good order of spirits. There is a belief that men hold communion of the kind at the present day, calling it the “black art”—how far is there truth in the above?

Answer—There is an art known as the black art still in existence. This was what in olden times the Persian Magi exercised. It is the power of spirit over spirit. To this day the knowledge is retained among the Medes, Persians and Arabs. They have introduced it into many countries. It is known to many of France and Germany, and exercised to a considerable extent. This power has sometimes through man- resulted in evil. The same can be said of all knowledge where man has the power. That it attracts bad spirits can only be said when the spirit in man is impure and prone to evil. The art is great, one of the wonderful results of scientific researches, and can only be understood after long and earnest labor. The Magi of Persia were held in high repute; were often called to act as counselors to kings. There is no witchcraft, nothing of voudoo incantation in this ancient art. The Magi invoked the good demons, and with religious ceremonies opened their exercises. With judicious discipline it can be brought to bear upon principles with such force that the will of one man could remodel and change the entire laws of a country, through his will over the masses. It shows itself in an incipient stage to-day. All through the human family you see the workings of the will power; the action of the strong will over the weak. It is a science of wonderful merit, which, in time, will, through some clear, unselfish soul, be revealed to all mankind, giving a new impetus to governments.

September. 30. 1875

The Theosophical Society


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Editor's notes

  1. An Important Question by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 3, No. 4, September 30, 1875, pp. 42-3
  2. The Theosophical Society by unknown author