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vol. 3, p. 182
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)


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Spiritual Divination

A series of articles, revised for the Spiritual Scientist, from the S. F. Banner of Progress, 1867.
By J. W. M.

Cardan relates of his father, Facius Cardan, “that, after the accustomed solemnities, An. 1491, 13 August, he conjured up seven devils, in Greek apparel, about forty years of age, some ruddy of complexion, and some pale, as he thought; ho asked them many questions, and they made ready answer that they were aerial devils, that they lived and died as men did, save that they were longer lived (seven or eight hundred years); they did as much excel men in dignity as we do juments, and were as far excelled again of those that were above them. They rule themselves as well as us, and the spirits of the meaner had commonly such offices as we make horse-keepers, neat-herds, overseers of our cattle, of the basest of us; and that we can no more apprehend their nature and functions than a horse a man’s.

He further says, that “it was anciently held that they lived on men's souls, and so belike that we have so many battles fought in all ages and countries is to make them a feast and their sole delight" Sacrifices were offered to them, that spiritual carnivorous food might be furnished them.

Speaking of the fairies, elves, and sprites, which our fathers imagined occupied the space around them, Bulwer remarks:—

And, oh, is there not a truth also in our fictions of the unseen world? Are there not yet bright lingerers by the forest and the stream? Do the moon and the soft stars look out on no delicate and winged forms bathing in their light? Are the fairies and the invisible hosts but the children of our dreams, and not their inspiration? Is that all a delusion which speaks from the golden page? And is the world only given to harsh and anxious travelers, that walk to and for in pursuit of no gentle shadows? Are chimeras of the passions the sole spirits of the universe? No! while my remembrance treasures in its deepest cell the image of one no more, one who was not of the earth, earthy, one in whom love was the essence of thoughts divine, one whose shape and mould, whose heart and genius would, had poesy never before have dreamed it, have called forth the first notion of spirits resembling mortals, but not of them. No, Gertrude, while I remember you, the faith—the trust in brighter shapes and fairer than the world knows of—comes clinging to my heart; and still will I think that fairies might have watched over your sleep, and spirits have ministered to your dreams!

The sentiment herein contained has found, and will find, an echo in many hearts. In spite of our philosophy—our most clear-sighted philosophy—we cannot contemplate unmoved the idea of the annihilation of “the dear departed,” be they husband er wife, father or mother, brother or sister, or, perhaps,—

“A dearer one,
Still, and a nearer one
Yet, than all other,”—

a dear Gertrude, our love of whom is wedded to our most sacred memories Tin then our finer feelings receive the severest shock, when we attempt to realize, that

“All that remains of her”

is only so much matter undergoing a chemical transformation in the great laboratory of nature,— that she la no more to us than

“The sluggish clod, which the rude swain
Turns with his share and treads upon.”

Ah, no! the hallowed passion of the heart can never admit that the object of its love is dead!

Is a love like this, there is something ineffably beautiful— it Is essentially the poetry of passion. Desire grows hallowed by fear, and, scarce permitted to indulge its vent in the common channel of the senses, breaks forth into those vague yearnings, those lofty aspirations, which pine for the bright, the far, the unattained. It is “the desire oi the moth for the star”—it is the love of the soul!

The ancients held that between the spirits of the elementary spheres and mankind there existed a certain sympathy, the nature of which corresponded with the temperament of the individual and the sphere of the spirit; the bilious, lymphatic, sanguine and nervous temperaments, agreeing, reservedly, with the elements,—earth, water, sir and fire.

Dr. Redfield, in his very interesting and comprehensive system of physiognomy, accepts this division of the temperaments as natural, and agreeing with the physical construction of man, and also with that of all nature. Messrs. Fowler sod Wells, of New York, object to it, and adopt three, as being more agreeable to nature. And A. J. Davis, in the fourth volume of hit “Great Harmonia,” also objects. He says,—

But the nervous, bilious, sanguine and lymphatic programme of temperaments has an odor about it irresistibly reminding one of the age of astrology—of the days when “Humors” and “Vapors” wore suggested by Aristotle—when the doctrine of demoniac influence was accepted as gospel truth by the greatest intellects.

Now, it would naturally be supposed, that, alter expressing such abhorrence of astrological odors, Mr. Davis would have adopted a theory redolent of that better suited to his olfactory nerves; but he had either forgotten, or was ignorant of, the fact that the ground he was exploring had been surveyed and laid out by the astrologers ages ago. He shows this in adopting the number seven—a number much more suggestive of astrological odor than the one he had rejected on that account. For astrologers recognized a higher order of temperaments than that of the elementary four, corresponding to the seven planetary or angelic spheres—the very order which Mr. Davis accepts. He says, —

By virtue of careful interior searchings, I have just discovered the existence, among men, of seven radical temperaments.

The astrologers had discovered the same thousands of years ago; the elementary being physiological, the seven planetary psychological. Mr. Davis also sees a corresponding relationship existing between the temperaments and certain metals; but he ought also to have known that, in the astrological system, each planetary temperament had its representative metal, with which it sympathized. Then, when speaking of the changes of which those seven temperaments are susceptible, and in order to increase the permutations so as to correspond with the great variety of human characters, he adds “the negative, passive and positive conditions,” corresponding to the “masculine, feminine and neuter” of astrology; each planet being called masculine or feminine, except Mercury—which was either, or neither, according to circumstances. That his arrangement should be complete, he tells us of “twelve grand societies,” which have an odor about them irresistibly reminding one of the age of astrology, of the twelve signs of the zodiac—another modifying chain of temperaments, in which astrology had, in its odorous ingenuity, anticipated Mr. Davis.

These four temperaments being in natural sympathy with the four lower spheres, each individual attracted around him those spirits in harmony with his predominant temperament, and the higher or lower order of spirits of that sphere by his mental cultivation and moral development, who ministered to his wants or thwarted him, as they were pleased or displeased with him. From this arose the idea of sacrificing, and doing what they supposed propitiated the gods; for when enraged, and a choice, like that given to David, presented— famine, slaughter or pestilence—it became a serious matter, and it behooved them to be on the right side.

The four elementary spheres were also considered as bells, or purgatories, for those who, on their departure from this life, had not so improved their spiritual condition as to be able to return to the ethereal spheres—their primeval home. The sphere allotted to them was the one nest adapted to their condition and character. In it they entered upon a probationary life, which, when well spent, upon their next demise, enabled them to rise into a more progressed condition of existence; but, if not improved, they returned to earth to pass through a series of transmigrations, till purified enough to be given another trial.

This theory, whether admired for the ingenuity displayed in its construction, or accepted as an article in our creed, presents a beautiful consistency—a system of distributive justice far exceeding in completeness the spiritual economy of Christianity. In it, no sentence of eternal damnation is passed; and, whether falling or rising, on the earth or in the spheres, the ultimate in view is the perfecting of the man till he reaches the state oi the gods.

Whether the inhabitants of the spheres were the departed spirits of men, or that some were independent spirits—genii or demons—were open questions. Such demons as manifested themselves, declaring no knowledge of a previous life, were, in the opinion of some, only in the condition we are, who have no recollection of any pre-natal existence; that universal memory of all past pre-organic existence belongs only to the godhood, and the nearer we approach the deity the mere extended it our memory.

Buddhism and Spiritualism


Buddha declared that, although other teachers might have the nth partially, he alone saw it in all its clearness. In him the perception of truth was an intuitive, underived power, a self-generated effulgence; and yet Buddha has nowhere been held, evener by himself, his immediate disciples, or his numerous followers hi any portion of the East, to have been anything but an ordinary man. Buddha and his priests never either deny or affirm the existence of God. Buddhists do not pray to God or to Buddha. They adore Buddha, his law, and the assembly of the saints. They pray at times to dewas, or guardian angels. Yet Buddhism is not atheistic. This is a paradox. Buddhism is full of paradoxes.

If, as most Spiritualists think, God has never revealed himself to man clearly and undoubtedly, then — if he exist — he has not done so because there was no object to be effected by such revelation.

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Editor's notes

  1. Spiritual Divination by unknown author (signed as J.W.M.), Spiritual Scientist, v. 4, No. 26, August 31, 1876, p. 302
  2. Buddhism and Spiritualism by Don Fulano, Spiritual Scientist, v. 4, No. 26, August 31, 1876, pp. 304-5