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vol. 1, p. 87
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 1 (1874-1876)


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November 4, 1875

A Letter from Madame Blavatsky

To the Editor of the Spiritual Scientist:

Sir,—In my country, and in every other recognized as civilized, except America, a man who defames and slanders a woman innocent of crime, however humble she may be, is condemned as a coward. What should European gentlemen think of American manhood, when they read in the Spiritualist journals of the United States, such false, cowardly and unmannerly assaults upon a foreign-born lady, a life-long Spiritualist Theogenist, and NOT A PROFESSIONAL MEDIUM, as those against myself, which have recently appeared? My great offences are, that I have told the truth, but not all the truth, about certain dishonourable persons, who taint the name of American Spiritualism, by association with it; and given a very imperfect glimpse of the wonders of Magic, which, in common with a hundred other travellers, I have been made acquainted with in the course of extended travels through the East. These malicious assaults upon my reputation, harm only those who have attacked me; for my antecedents are too well known to require a formal defence at my hands. But I blush as a Spiritualist for the impression which they must inevitably produce, as to the ribaldry and licence permissible in American journalism towards a woman. If it can bear the opprobrium I have nothing to say.

Meanwhile, as answer to numerous questions and criticisms, I send you the following translation of a chapter from one of Lévi’s books.

H. P. Blavatsky.

The Magical Evocation of Appollonius of Tyana

A chapter from Éliphas Lévi
Translated by Mdme. H. P. Blavatsky[3]

We have already said that in the Astral Light the images of persons and things are preserved. It is also in this light that can be evoked the forms of those who are no longer in our world, and it is by its means that are effected the mysteries of necromancy which are as real as they are denied.

The Cabalists, who have spoken of the spirit-world, have simply related what they have seen in their evocations.

Eliphas Lévi Zahed (these Hebrew names translated are: Alphonse-Louis Constant), who writes this book, has evoked and he has seen.

Let us first tell what the masters have written of their visions or intuitions in what they call the light of glory.

We read in the Hebrew book, “The Revolution of the Souls”, that there are souls of three kinds: the daughters of Adam, the daughters of the angels, and the daughters of sin. There are also, according to the same book, three kinds of spirits: captive spirits, wandering spirits, and free spirits. Souls are sent in couples. There are, however, souls of men which are born single, and whose mates are held captive by Lilith and Naemah, the queens of Strygis*; these are the souls which have to make future expiations for their rashness, in assuming a vow of celibacy. For example, when a man renounces from childhood the love of woman, he makes the spouse who was destined for him the slave of the demons of lust. Souls grow and multiply in heaven as well as bodies upon earth. The immaculate souls are the offspring of the union of the angels.

Nothing can enter into Heaven, except that which is of Heaven. After death, then, the divine spirit which animated the man, returns alone to Heaven, and leaves upon earth and in the atmosphere two corpses. One, terrestrial and elementary; the other, aerial and sidereal; the one lifeless already, the other still animated by the universal movement of the soul of the world (Astral light), but destined to die gradually, absorbed by the astral powers which produced it. The earthly corpse is visible: the other is invisible to the eyes of the terrestrial and living body, and cannot be perceived except by the influences of the astral or translucid light, which communicates its impressions to the nervous system, and thus affects the organ of sight, so as to make it see the forms which are preserved, and the words which are written in the book of vital life.

When a man has lived well, the astral corpse or spirit evaporates like a pure incense, as it mounts towards the higher regions; but if a man has lived in crime, his astral body, which holds him prisoner, seeks again the objects of passions, and desires to resume its course of life. It torments the dreams of young girls, bathes in the steam of spilt blood, and hovers about the places where the pleasures of its life flitted by; it watches continually over the treasures which it possessed and concealed; it exhausts itself in unhappy efforts to make for itself material organs and live evermore. But the stars attract and absorb it; it feels its intelligence weakening, its memory is gradually lost, all its being dissolves . . . its old vices appear to it as incarnations, and pursue it under monstrous shapes; they attack and devour. . . . The unhappy wretch thus loses successively all the members which served its sinful appetites; then it dies a second time and for ever, because it then loses its personality and its memory. Souls, which are destined to live, but which are not yet entirely purified, remain for a longer or shorter time captives in the Astral body, where they are refined by the odic light which seeks to assimilate them to itself and dissolve. It is to rid themselves of this body that suffering souls sometimes enter the bodies of living persons, and remain there for a while in a state which the Cabalists call Embryonic.

These are the aerial phantoms evoked by necromancy. These are the larvae, substances dead or dying, with which one places himself en rapport; ordinarily they cannot speak except by the ringing in our ears, produced by the nervous quivering of which I have spoken, and usually reasoning only as they reflect upon our thoughts or dreams.

But to see these strange forms one must put himself in an exceptional condition, partaking at once of sleep and death; that is to say, one must magnetize himself and reach a kind of lucid and wakeful somnambulism. Necromancy, then, obtains real results, and the evocations of magic are capable of producing veritable apparitions. We have said that in the great magical agent, which is the Astral light, are preserved all the impressions of things, all the images formed, either by their rays or by their reflections; it is in this light that our dreams appear to us, it is this light which intoxicates the insane and sweeps away their enfeebled judgment into the pursuit of the most fantastic phantoms. To see without illusions in this light it is necessary to push aside the reflections by a powerful effort of the will, and draw to oneself only the rays. To dream waking is to see in the Astral light; and the orgies of the witches’ Sabbath, described by so many sorcerers upon their criminal trials, do not present themselves to them in any other manner. Often the preparations and the substances employed to arrive at this result were horrible, as we have seen in the chapters devoted to the ritual; but the results were never doubtful. Things of the most abominable, fantastic, and impossible description were seen, heard, and touched. . . .

In the Spring of the year 1854, I went to London to escape from certain family troubles and give myself up, without interruption, to science. I had introductory letters to eminent persons interested in supernatural manifestations. I saw several, and found in them, combined with much politeness, a great deal of indifference or frivolity. Immediately they demanded of me miracles, as they would of a charlatan. I was a little discouraged, for to tell the truth, far from being disposed to initiate others into the mysteries of ceremonial magic, I had always dreaded for myself the illusions and fatigues thereof; besides, these ceremonies demand materials at once expensive and hard to collect together. I, therefore, buried myself in the study of the High Cabala, and thought no more of the English adepts until one day, upon entering my lodging, I found a note with my address. This note contained the half of a card, cut in two, and upon which I recognized, at once, the character of Solomon’s Seal and a very small bit of paper upon which was written in pencil: “Tomorrow, at three o’clock, before Westminster Abbey, the other half of this card will be presented you.” I went to this singular rendezvous. A carriage was standing at the place. I held in my hand, with seeming indifference, my half of the card; a servant approached, and opening the carriage door, made me a sign. In the carriage was a lady in black whose bonnet was covered with a very thick veil; she beckoned to me to take a seat beside her, at the same time showing me the other half of the card which I had received. The footman closed the door, the carriage rolled away; and the lady having raised her veil I perceived a person whose eyes were sparkling and extremely piercing in expression. “Sir,” said she to me, with a very strong English accent, “I know that the law of secrecy is very rigorous among adepts; a friend of Sir Bulwer Lytton, who has seen you, knows that experiments have been requested of you, and that you have refused to satisfy their curiosity. Perhaps you have not the necessary things: I wish to show you a complete magic cabinet; but I demand of you in advance the most inviolable secrecy. If you do not give this promise upon your honor I shall order the coachman to reconduct you to your house.” I promised what was required, and I show my fidelity in men- <... continues on page 1-88 >

* A word applied by the Valaginians and Orientals to a certain kind of unprogressed elementary spirits.—Ed.

Editor's notes

  1. A Letter from Madame Blavatsky by Blavatsky, H.P., Spiritual Scientist. See also SB 3:104
  2. The Magical Evocation of Appollonius of Tyana by Lévi, Éliphas, Spiritual Scientist, vol. III, pp. 104-5
    Published in Theosophist of December, 1882 [Vol. IV, No. 3, pp. 58-60].. – Archivist
  3. From Éliphas Lévi, Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, Ch. XIII.