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vol. 1, p. 76
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 1 (1874-1876)


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< Col. Olcott Explains (continued from page 1-75) >

“Yes, this knowledge can be communicated, and better still, can be obtained without communication by any person who will take the trouble to dig after the buried crock. The door to the final mysteries swings wide open to every human being who by patient assiduity has won the right to lift the knocker. The charge of ‘secrecy’ lies against every science and art as well as this, for there is a ‘secret’ behind every chemical experiment, every microscopic adjustment, the setting of every type, the making of every article of use or ornament. — nay, even the polishing of a boot, without the discovery of which the result is not attainable. This being so, if your Tom Noddies of correspondents or my numerous other critics fancy that they can absorb Occultism as a blotting-pad does a drop of ink, they are—to put it in the mildest form—asses!

The student of Occultism must realize at the outset that there are two sides to magic—the dark and light, the good and evil, magic and sorcery. The one deals with high and pure spirits, and is employed for beneficent purposes; the other brings its votaries into relations with and ultimately under subjection to the Elementary, and is a curse to its practicers and victims.

Says Eliphas Levi, that splendid writer, who really does come within Dr. Bloede’s category, and cunningly conceals his Jesuitical proclivities beneath the mask of perfect devotion to magic: “There is a true and a false science, a divine magic and an infernal magic. The magician must be distinguished from the sorcerer, the adept from the charlatan. The magician disposes of a force that he knows, the sorcerer endeavors to abuse that of which he is ignorant. The ‘devil’ submits to the magician; the sorcerer gives himself up to the devil. The magician is the sovereign pontiff of Nature; the sorcerer only its profaner. Magic is the traditional science of the secrets of Nature, which came to us from the Magi.”

Occultism does not rob Spiritualism of one of the comforting features, nor abate one jot of its importance as an argument for immortaliiy. It denies the identity of no real human spirit that ever has or ever will approach an inquirer. It simply shows that we are liable to the visits, often the influence, and sometimes the absolute control of a class of invisible but very powerful spirits, whose existence I am the first of American spiritualistic Investigators to warn the sect against. Its philosophy clashes in no sense against the bask discoveries of modern science: but on the contrary, rounds out and completes what without It is a crude magma of the Known and the Unknowable. It completes the demonstration of the law of evolution, and supplies the link that has hitherto been missing from the chain that our philosophical contemporaries have, with so much patience, constructed. Its mission as regards Spiritualism, is to filter, purge, classify and explain, not to play the part of the iconoclast or the Vandal. Through my unworthy mouth, it, for the moment, asks recognition, but soon it will compel the attention of every man capable of thinking for himself, and be taught in every corner of the world by a host of apostles and propagandists. Now it speaks like the whisper of a summer zephyr, soon it will rage about the sectarian temples like the wrathful hurricane, and that creed must be built upon the rocks indeed, if it withstand its furious force. Its friends and adepts abide their time.

except belief in “Spirits” – Mr Editor

“Art Magic”

Emma Hardinge Britten replies to the important caution issued by Dr. Bloede, against the proposed work on “art magic, advertised in another column of this paper. His insinuations, concerning the unknown author, and also the other objections urged by him, are ably answered. She says: —

If the Spiritualists think they know everything that is to be known, of course they need to hear or to read nothing more — not even at the simple gatherings they indulge in in convention, and at lectures or conferences. For the few who think will think with me that we need “light, more light”; that the ancients and sages of old were not all fools or imposters, and might have had some truth veiled in mystery, now lost except to patient scholars; to those who deem that world-wide travelers and indefatigable students may eliminate some few truths which busy, work-a-day folks have not time to spell out; to those who can discover beacon-lights of knowledge in the assemblage even of old and new truths brought together by patient research—not danger-signals, warning timid conservatives back to well satisfied ignorance and apathetic rest in the mere fact that spirits communicate; to those who are not satisfied that twenty-five years of communion with our beloved ones gone before has explained all of the twenty-five thousand years of life that has gone behind, nor yet exhausted the fountains of revelation on all spiritualistic subjects that may unfold themselves in the future, I say, press on! search on! and take the very Kingdom of Heaven by violence, sooner than sit down in the apathetic rust of “I know enough!” “I don’t want to know anything more.”

She still further reflects upon those who would smother any investigation that may frunish enlightenment, and closes by saying: —

To that section of the five hundred whose letters already echo my demand of “light, more light.” I emphatically promise, in the name of the gentleman whom I represent, that his BOOK SHALL COME OUT. To the remainder of the number whose names will come, I simply address the emphatic words, Make haste! To all whom it may concern, but in strict justice to Col. Olcott, Madame Blavatsky, and any of the “Luxorites” who may unwittingly be confounded with this matter, I emphatically protest that they have nothing whatever to do with it. That the two movements, namely, the publication of my friend’s advertisement and the formation of the Theosophic Society, most strangely took place at or about the same time, in fact, within twenty-four hours of each other, is a fact which I admit, but cannot account tor.

About twelve hours after I had posted the advertisement to the Banner of Light, announcing that a book on “Art Magic,” &c., was to be published. Col. Olcott and I met for the first time in several years. An old acquaintance was renewed, an introduction to Madame Blavatsky took place, and then, but not till then, did I learn the views of these friends, respecting a concerted effort to study faithfully the science which underlies the principles of spirit-communion So amazed and struck was I with the coincidence of purposes (not ideas) expressed in the inauguration of the “Theosophic Society,” at which I was present, with some of the purposes, though not the ideas, put forth in my friend’s work, that I felt it to be my duty to write to the President of that Society, enclose a copy of the still unpublished advertisement, and explain to him that the publication of the book in question anticipated, without concert of action or even personal acquaintance with the parties concerned, whatever of Cabalistic lore or revelation, the said “Theosophic Society” might hereafter evolve. Whilst my Theosophic friends and myself have both been greatly struck with the remarkable coincidence of the two movements, chiming in at precisely the same stroke of the dial from points of action removed from and at the same time almost unknown to each other, we neither desire to damage the work of the other by being mistaken for or confounded together. The author of “Art Magic” prepared the material for his work many years ago in Europe, and up to this time is a total stranger to Col. Olcott or Madame Blavatsky. Praise or blame us all act for each other’s sake, but for our own.

Soothsayers and Necromancers

Written by the Rev. Dr. Bellows himself – in his great wrath
Oct-ber 25, 1875


Editor's notes

  1. “Art Magic” by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 3, No. 8, October 28, 1875, p. 89
  2. Soothsayers and Necromancers by Bellows