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vol. 3, p. 116
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)


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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 every thing 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, nor a member of any occult philosophical society oriental or occidental. Not 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 nebula must all worlds return, to again resume their eternal march through the tame 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. It 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 fit 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. Our retrospective is none the loss an. 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 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 have 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.

A Japanese Notion

A Japanese Notion.—A correspondent says:—“I have accidentally come across such curious information concerning a form of Spiritualism in Japan, that I mention it to you, in case you may not have chanced to have heard of it. It is that spirits of a low class in that country enter animals, and such creatures as are thus possessed are called ‘Fox spirits.’ My informant learnt this orally from several Japanese with whom he has had the opportunity of conversing, and has not seen the fact in any book, or beard of it from any other source.”

Sortilegy. – Dr. Doddridge

Sortilegy is conducted by throwing open privileged books at random, leaving to chance the page and the particular line on which the oracular functions are thrown. The books have varied with the caprice of ages. Virgil, in later times, became the favorite.

Dr. Doddridge, in his earlier days, was in a dilemma, both of conscience and of taste, as to the election he should make between two situations, one in possession, both at his command. He was settled at Harborough, in Leicestershire, and was “pleasing himself with the view of a continuance” in that situation. True, he had received an invitation to Northampton; but the reasons against complying seemed so strong, that nothing was wanting but the civility of going over to Northampton, and making an apologetical farewell. On the last Sunday in November of the year 1729 the doctor went and preached a sermon in conformity with those purposes. “But,” says he, “On the morning of that day an incident happened, which affected me greatly.” On the night previous, It seems, he had been urged very importunately by his Northampton friends to undertake the vacant office. Much personal kindness had concurred with this public Importunity: the good doctor was affected; he had prayed fervently, alleging <... continues on page 3-118 >

Editor's notes

  1. Occult Philosophy by Buddha, Spiritual Scientist, v. 3, No. 1, September 9, 1875, p. 8. Copy in SB 1:56.
  2. A Japanese Notion by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 4, No. 13, June 1, 1876, p. 154
  3. Sortilegy. – Dr. Doddridge by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 1, No. 20, January 21, 1875, pp. 236-37