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vol. 1, p. 71
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 1 (1874-1876)


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< The Science of Magic (continued from page 1-70) >

Raymond Lully, Cornelius Agrippa, Paracelsus, Robert Fludd, Eugenius Philalethes, Khunrath, Roger Bacon and others of similar character, in our skeptical century, are generally taken for visionaries; but so, too, are Modern Spiritualists and mediums—nay worse, for charlatans and poltroons; but never were the Hermetic Philosophers taken by anyone for fools and idiots, as, unfortunately for ourselves and the Cause, every unbeliever takes ALL of us believers in Spiritualism to be. Those Hermeticists and philosophers may be disbelieved and doubted now, as everything else is doubted, but very few doubted their knowledge and power during their lifetime, for they always could prove what they claimed, having command over those forces which now command helpless mediums. They had their science and demonstrated philosophy to help them to throw down ridiculous negations, while we sentimental Spiritualists, rocking ourselves to sleep with our “Sweet By-and-By,” are unable to recognize a spurious phenomenon from a genuine one, and are daily deceived by vile charlatans. Even though doubted then, as Spiritualism is in our day, still these philosophers were held in awe and reverence, even by those who did not implicitly believe in their Occult potency, for they were giants of intellect. Profound knowledge, as well as cultured intellectual powers, will always be respected and revered; but our mediums and their adherents are laughed and scorned at, and we are all made to suffer, because the phenomena are left to the whims and pranks of self-willed and other mischievous spirits, and we are utterly powerless in controlling them.

To doubt Magic is to reject History itself as well as the testimony of ocular witnesses thereof, during a period embracing over 4,000 years. Beginning with Homer, Moses, Hermes, Herodotus, Cicero, Plutarch, Pythagoras, Apollonius of Tyana, Simon the Magician, Plato, Pausanias, Iamblichus, and following this endless string of great men, historians and philosophers, who all of them either believed in magic or were magicians themselves, and ending with our modern authors, such as W. Howitt, Ennemoser, H. R. Gougenot des Mousseaux, Marquis de Mirville and the late Éliphas Lévi, who was a magician himself—among all these great names and authors, we find but the solitary Mr. Colby, Editor of the Banner of Light, who ignores that there ever was such a science as Magic. He innocently believes the whole of the sacred army of Bible prophets, commencing with Father Abraham, including Christ, to be merely mediums; in the eyes of Mr. Colby they were all of them acting under control! Fancy Christ, Moses, or an Apollonius of Tyana, controlled by an Indian guide!! The venerable editor ignores, perhaps, that spiritual mediums were better known in those days to the ancients, than they are now to us, and he seems to be equally unaware of the fact that the inspired Sibyls, Pythonesses, and other mediums, were entirely guided by their High Priest and those who were initiated into the Esoteric Theurgy and mysteries of the Temples. Theurgy was magic; as in modern times, the Sibyls and Pythonesses WERE MEDIUMS; but their High Priests were magicians. All the secrets of their theology, which included magic, or the art of invoking ministering spirits, were in their hands. They possessed the science of DISCERNING SPIRITS; a science which Mr. Colby does not possess at all—to his great regret no doubt. By this power they controlled the spirits at will, allowing but the good ones to absorb their mediums. Such is the explanation of magic—the real, existing, White or sacred magic, which ought to be in the hands of science now, and would be, if science had profited by the lessons which Spiritualism has inductively taught for these last twenty-seven years.

That is the reason why no trash was allowed to be given by unprogressed spirits in the days of old. The oracles of the sibyls and inspired priestesses could never have affirmed Athens to be a town in India, or jumped Mount Ararat from its native place down to Egypt.

If the skeptical writer of the editorial had, moreover, devoted less time to little prattling Indian spirits and more to profitable lectures, he might have learned perhaps at the same time, that the ancients had their illegal mediums—I mean those who belonged to no special Temple, and thus the spirits controlling them, unchecked by the expert hand of the magician, were left to themselves, and had all the opportunity possible to perform their capers on their helpless tools; that such mediums were generally considered obsessed and possessed, which they were in fact; in other words, and according to the Bible phraseology, “they had the seven devils in them.” Furthermore, these mediums were ordered to be put to death, for the intolerant Moses, the magician, who was learned in the wisdom of Egypt, had said, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” Alone, the Egyptians and Greeks, even more humane and just than Moses, took such into their Temples, and when found unfit for sacred duties of prophecy [they] were cured, in the same way as Jesus Christ cured Mary of Magdala and many others, by “casting out the seven devils.” Either Mr. Colby and Co. must completely deny the miracles of Christ , the Apostles, Prophets, Thaumaturgists, and Magicians, and so deny point-blank every bit of the sacred and profane histories, or he must confess that there is a POWER in this world which can command spirits, at least the bad and unprogressed ones, the elementary and Diakka. The pure ones, the disembodied, will never descend to our sphere, unless attracted by a current of powerful sympathy and love, or on some useful mission.

Far from me the thought of casting odium and ridicule on our all medium. I am not myself a Spiritualist, if, as says Colonel Olcott, a firm belief in our souls spirits immortality and the knowledge of a constant possibility for us to communicate with the spirits of our departed and loved ones, either through honest, pure mediums, or by means of the Secret Science, constitutes a Spiritualist. But And I am not of those fanatical Spiritualists, to be found in every country, who blindly accept the claims of every spirit, for I have seen too much of various phenomena, undreamed of in America. I know that MAGIC does exist, and 10,000 editors of Spiritual papers cannot change my belief in what I know. There is a white and a black magic; and no one who has ever travelled in the East, can doubt it, if he has taken the trouble to investigate. My faith being firm I am, therefore, ever ready to support and protect any honest medium—aye, and even occasionally one who appears dishonest; for I know but too well, what helpless tools and victims such mediums are in the hands of unprogressed, invisible beings. I am furthermore aware of the malice and wickedness of the elementary, and how far they can inspire not only a sensitive medium, but any other person as well. Though I may be an “irresponsible woman” in the eyes of those who are but “too responsible” for the harm they do to EARNEST Spiritualists by their unfairness, one-sidedness, and spiritual sentimentalism, I feel safe to say, that generally I am quick enough to detect whenever a medium is cheating under control, or cheating consciously.

Thus magic exists and has existed ever since prehistoric ages. Begun in history with the Samathracian mysteries, it followed its course uninterruptedly, and ended for a time with the expiring theurgic rites and ceremonies of christianized Greece; then reappeared for a time again with the Neo-Platonic, Alexandrian school, and passing, by initiation, to sundry solitary students and philosophers, safely crossed the mediaeval ages, and notwithstanding the furious persecutions of the Church, resumed its fame in the hands of such adepts as Paracelsus and several others, and finally died out in Europe with the Count de St.-Germain and Cagliostro, to seek refuge from the frozen-hearted skepticism in its native country of the East.

In India, magic has never died out, and blossoms there as well as ever. Practised, as in ancient Egypt, only within the secret enclosure of the Temples, it was, and still is, called the “sacred science.” For it is a science, based on natural occult forces of Nature; and not merely a blind belief in the poll-parrot talking of crafty, elementary ones, ready to forcibly prevent real, disembodied spirits from communicating with their loved ones whenever they can do so.

Some time since, a Mr. Mendenhall devoted several columns in the Religio-Philosophical Journal, to questioning, cross-examining, and criticizing the mysterious Brotherhood of Luxor. He made a fruitless attempt at forcing the said Brotherhood to answer him, and thus unveil the sphinx. I can satisfy Mr. Mendenhall. The BROTHERHOOD OF LUXOR is one of the sections of the Grand Lodge of which I am a member. If this gentleman entertains any doubt as to my statement—which I have no doubt he will—he can, if he chooses, write to Lahore for information. If perchance, the Seven of the Committee were so rude as not to answer him, and would refuse to give him the desired information, I can then offer him a little business transaction. Mr. Mendenhall, as far as I remember, has two wives in the spirit world. Both of these ladies materialize at M. Mott’s, and often hold very long conversations with their husband, as the latter told us of several times, and over his own signature; adding, moreover, that he had no doubt whatever of the identity of the said spirits. If so, let one of the departed ladies tell Mr. Mendenhall the name of that section of the Grand Lodge I belong to. For real, genuine, disembodied spirits, if both are what they claim to be, the matter is more than easy; they have but to enquire of other spirits, look into my thoughts, and so on; for a disembodied entity, an immortal spirit, it is the easiest thing in the world to do. Then, if the gentleman I challenge, though I am deprived of the pleasure of his acquaintance, tells me the true name of the section—which name three gentlemen in New York, who are accepted neophytes of our Lodge, know well—I pledge myself to give to Mr. Mendenhall the true statement concerning the Brotherhood, which is not composed of spirits, as he may think, but of living mortals, and I will, moreover, if he desires to, put him in direct communication with the Lodge as I have done for others. Methinks, Mr. Mendenhall will answer that no such name can be given correctly by the spirits, for no such Lodge or either Section exists at all, and thus close the discussion.

And so he did and—abused me in a vile way in the papers for my offer. The spirits proved to be ignoramuses!!

(†) if he ever lived—which is more than doubtful.