|1||Sunday Devotion to Pleasure||anon (HPB)|
|6||Self-Evident Truths & Logical Deductions (1)||Franz Hartmann (1838-1912)|
|9||Talismanic Magic: Saturn||S Liddell MacGregor Mathers|
|14||The Birth of Space||Charles Johnston|
|19||The Blossom & the Fruit: The True Story of a Magician (7)||Mabel Collins|
|37||The Life Principle||NDK (? ND Khandalewala)|
|41||Editor's Note (re Life Principle)||(Ed.) (HPB)|
|42||Two Sonnets: Darwin; The Bust of Socrates [Fill-in]||Mary W Gale|
|43||Zarina! (A Vision) [Fill-in]||Helen Fagg|
|47||The Soul's Desire [Fill-in]||Dum Spiro Spero|
|48||A Theory of Hauntings (2)||Frank Fernholme (Fairholme ?)|
|52||The White Monk (3)||Percy Ross|
|62||Theosophy & Modern
by a Socialist Student of Theosophy (2)
|J Brailsford Bright|
|67||Occult Phenomena [Fill-in]||W Ashton Ellis|
|68||From "Lucifer" to a few Readers||anon (HPB)|
|72||The Theosophical Publication Society (an announcement)||anon|
|73||review - Mohammed Benani by Sampson Low||anon|
|74||review - A Modern Apostle; The Elixir of Life; the Story of Clarice; & other poems by Constance CW Naden||anon|
|75||review - A Professor of Alchemy - Denis Zachaire by Percy Ross||anon|
|76||review - The Meister - Journal of the Wagner Society, anon||anon|
|77||correspondence - re The Brain Theorem of the Universe||Robert Lewins|
|78||obituary - The late Mrs Anna Kingsford (1846-1888)||anon (HPB)|
|80||Science & Sciolism - Hylo-Idealism, or the Brain Theorem of Mind & Matter + Notes by H.P.B.||Robert Lewins|
|83||From the Note-Book of an Unpopular Philosopher||anon (HPB)|
A Theosophical Magazine
Designed to “Bring To Light the Hidden Things of Darkness”.
H.P. BLAVATSKY and MABEL COLLINS
SUNDAY DEVOTION TO PLEASURE
[Page 1] THE following is an extract from the Daily Telegraph of March 1st, and may speak for itself:—
"At yesterday's sitting of the Upper House of the Convocation of Canterbury, the Archbishop presiding, the Bishop of Exeter laid on the table a petition which sets forth:—' That there has been of late a very marked increase in the employment of the afternoon and evening of the Lord's Day in amusements of various kinds by the upper and fashionable classes of Society. That the Society papers (so-called) in particular, and occasionally the daily papers on Monday, give more or less full accounts of entertainments which have taken place. Those of recent date include formal dinner-parties, smoking concerts, theatrical and semi-theatrical performances comic recitations, and amusing programmes of fun and frolic, exhibitions of jugglery, Sunday parade in Hyde Park, coach drives of clubs, the drags assembling at Hampton Court, Richmond, and other places of resort, the " Sunday up the river," boxing at the Pelican Club, lawn tennis, dances at clubs and private houses, exhibitions (once at least) of the Wild West Show, and Show Sunday in the studios of artists. Some of these are novelties in the way of Lord's Day profanation. That the long lists of those present at these Sunday amusements, which are given in the Society papers, embrace men of eminence in art, science, politics and commerce, as well as mere dilettanti, and of men and women whose prominence is only that of devotion to pleasure. That many of these amusements are public, that their prevalence testifies to very loose Sunday habits on the part of the rich, and great, and noble of the land. Such abuses of the Lord's Day evidence an insatiable desire for distraction and dissipation, a very low regard for the claims of the Word of God, and the determination to put away the restraints of religion'. The petitioners, who numbered 104, asked counsel on the subject, and suggested a protest against Sunday excursion trains, and a remonstrance against Sunday amusements and entertainments. The signatories included members of both Houses of Parliament, clergymen, and others. A discussion which arose on the question was adjourned till tomorrow, it being considered that the Bishop of London, who was absent yesterday, should be present, since it was in his diocese that the alleged Sunday desecration had been committed."
The debate was resumed on the following Friday, when the Bishop of London was present. His Lordship at once addressed the House, and [Page 2] declared his conviction that the state of affairs was not very much exaggerated. But as regards the especial prevalence in his diocese of this “desecration”, he was of opinion that it was a consequence of the gathering together in London, during " the Season", of people who carried similar practices into effect while in the country, and that greater attention was attracted to them by "the so-called Society papers". His Lordship regarded the "pursuit of pleasure" on Sunday as much less excusable in the upper classes than in the lower, "where there is unremitting toil through the week, and where the other aspect of Sunday — namely, that it is a day of rest from toil — must necessarily take up a very much larger space in their thoughts than the character of it as a day of worship. “His Lordship was rather doubtful' as to the efficacy of the protest, wisely considering that "protests of this kind, if they are allowed to be issued and fall flat, are likely to do rather more harm than good".
The Bishop of Exeter — the spokesman of the petitioners — followed with a long extract from the pages of The Bat, a paper which, by the way, is now defunct. He considered that a simple statement that the Upper House had had its attention called to the state of affairs, and that it was of opinion that it "was derogatory to the spiritual and moral health of all ranks of the people of this country,"woul " satisfy those who are anxious for the maintenance of the Lord's Day".
The Bishop of Winchester made remarks on the difference between the Sabbaths of the Jews and Christians, and agreed with the dictum that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Further, he said that the relaxation of the strict Sabbath rule was, to some extent, justified by the New Testament. He also asserted that "the only form of civil government ever distinctly ordained by God was the government of the Jewish people and that in this He ordained "that the labours of the year should not be continuous, but that there should be one day's rest in seven for every man". The Bishop said that the memorial referred almost entirely to the Upper Classes, but that his experience in South London had shown him that a great amount of the neglect was originally caused by colonies of foreigners, and especially Germans, who had gathered in that part of London. Therefore, he thought that the neglect had penetrated every class of Society; and he agreed with his right reverend brother of London in thinking that the day of rest was necessary to the working man, but did not see what other time he had for observances of a religious nature. While he thought that over-strictness in Sabbatarianism had an injurious effect, as in Scotland, he was convinced that any further relaxation in this country would be still more injurious.The House was in committee on the subject for an hour, at which the reporters were not present. Finally, the following resolution was moved, and agreed to unanimously: [Page 3]
"That the attention of the Upper House of Convocation having been attracted to the relaxation of Sunday observance, which appears to have increased of late years, even among those who have the fullest leisure on other days, and to the great increase of Sunday labour, the House deems it to be its duty to appeal to the clergy, to all instructors of the young, and to all who exercise influence over their fellow-men not to suffer this Church and country to lose the priceless benefit of the rest and sanctity of the Lord's Day. [We would refer the reader to “The Land of Cant”, by Sydney Whitman, for a review of the results produced in England by the strict observance of the Lord’s Day — in the letter, and not in the spirit ] Its reasonable and religious observance is for the physical, moral, and spiritual health of all ranks of the population, and to it our national well-being has been largely due."The foregoing is an abstract of the report in the Daily Telegraph of the debate in the Upper House of the Convocation of Canterbury. One cannot help regretting that we do not have laid before us the various motives expressed in the hour of committee. Still, enough remains in the public speeches of their lordships to serve our purpose. We do not propose to criticise, for we wholly agree that the pursuit of pleasure at all times and seasons, and regardless of others, is no good thing, but a selfish one. But we do traverse one thing: the Sabbath was indeed ordained for man, but nothing was said, even in those statutes so especially "ordained by God for the Jews", as to the religious observances on that especial day. It was essentially a day of REST, ordained for man, as it was ordained that the land should lie fallow; that is to say, that there shall be no compulsory work for man, whether religious or secular. But granting that it is essentially a Day of Rest for over-worked man, he is yet told by those who teach him religion that, instead of complete relaxation, he must follow "a religious observance".
We would ask whether this "religious observance" is to be a farce or a reality ? If a reality, it is a labour more fatiguing than any ordinary work; for it is an unaccustomed toil, and one which all except the very pious willingly eschew. Clergymen, whose business in life it is to lead the services, and who should, therefore, get accustomed to the labour, are exhausted by the work they have to do on Sundays, and to "feel Mondayish", has become a recognised expression. As for children, who are taken to church regardless of their age and nature, many of them positively hate "church-going", and so learn a horror of religion itself. Thus there is a forced "education" in religion, instead of religion being the natural growth of the noblest part of the human heart. We thus offer to God not the things which are His, but "the things which are Caesar's" — the lip-service of humanity.
The whole Sunday-question resolves itself into the demand to know whether it is in any degree right, or in accordance with divine law, that man should be so devoted to selfish toil, during the week, as to have virtually no time or strength left for prayer (i.e., meditation) during the [Page 4] six days, and whether, therefore, it is right that the seventh day or Sunday should be set apart for it. All depends upon whether doing one's duty in the state of life to which one is called, is "doing", or not doing, "all to the glory of God". We think that work is prayer ; and if so, the devotion of Sunday to innocent pleasure is really making it a day of rest.
Why should England set forth its observance of Sunday as the only one sanctioned by God ? The present observance of Sunday in England is founded on the practices of the later and degenerate Jews, who were not upheld by Jesus in their observances. Even the prophets (vide Nehemiah viii., 9:—12) plainly show that the earlier usage was one of a day of rest, and that the idea of innocent pleasure, which is now represented as rather gross and sensual, was not then a forbidden thing. Reference to statistics in matters of drunkenness and crime does not show that England is, indeed, in possession of priceless benefits owing to the observance of Sunday, in which other nations, who do not share that observance, do not partake. Indeed it is by no means certain that in all those countries where there is indulgence in the class of pleasures so energetically condemned in the petition, there is not less crime and drunkenness than exists in England; and this, too, not merely during the week, but especially on the Sundays.
Without speaking of Catholic France, Spain, Italy, etc., etc., Greek orthodox Russia and all the Slavonian lands, take for example Protestant Germany, where all places of amusement are, if anything, more freely open than on other days, and Sunday is considered the best day for theatres, balls, and popular festivities. Surely the other nations, especially the Germans, are not less religious than in England.
To many who are cooped up during the week, a day in the country is an education which brings them nearer to God than all the services they could attend in a church. Of course, we may be met with a reference to the "two or three gathered together", but surely if God is omnipresent, He is with those who are truly grateful for the beauties of Nature.
No, my Lords, your protest may not fall flat, but it does not strike at the root of the evil: — the fact that you are unable to cope with the increasingly material conditions of life during the present age. The people are no longer ignorant, you have to meet men as clever as yourselves among those who pursue their pleasure in the way against which you protest. You will not get anyone to follow your religious observances among those who have broken free from them, unless you can convince them that you are right, and that religion must be made the vital factor in their lives. Many of them recognise no "hereafter". and gaily follow the motto: — "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die". They recognise no god save their own pleasure; and we are both agreed that they are endeavouring to execute a "valse à deux temps" to the tune of the "danse Maccabre". Among the ranks of your church are [Page 5] many self-sacrificing men, who, from various motives, are endeavouring to help those of the working classes whose lives are lost in toil. Ask of them their opinion as to the "Lord's Day Observance" of religious duties. They have to deal with the practical difficulties of the situation. You, in your Convocation, are protesting against an evil of which you are conscious, but against which you are powerless to act. Why ? Because the form of religion you rely on has lost its hold upon the hearts of the people, and the " Service of Man", according to the late Mr. Cotter Morrison, has replaced the "Service of God".
The reason of this is not very far
to seek. The Church has lost the key to Wisdom and Truth, and has endeavoured
to bolster itself upon authority. The people have educated themselves to ask "Why
? " And they will
have an answer, or they will reject the Church and its teachings, for they
will not accept authority. Religion and its principles must be demonstrated
as mathematically as a problem of Euclid. But are you able to do so ? Are any
of the Church's dogmas worth any of the tenets of Christ's Sermon on the Mount,
or the similar utterances to be found in all religions ? Do you carry them
out in their entirety in your lives, as the Episcopi of the Church ? Do you,
as such, take care that all your clergy do so ? You may reply with a counter-question: — "Do
you, our critics, do so and set us an example ? " Our answer is, that
we do not claim to be the "elect" or
the "anointed of the Lord". We are unpretending men and women, endeavouring
to carry out the Golden Rules, apart from the ordinances of any form of worship.
But you — you
occupy a position which makes you an example to all men, and in which you have
taken a large responsibility. You stand before the world as exemplifying the
effect of the dogmas of the Church you lead. That Church had and has its work
to do, but that it has lost its power is plain, in that you are only able to
protest, and that doubtfully, against an evil which you feel yourselves unable
to check. In the language of your Scripture, how would it be if, as regards
your trust, this night an account should be required of you ? [Page
ABSOLUTE Truth is self-evident. [ But compare editorial in the February No. of Lucifer: “Self-evident” truth may be considered absolute in relation to this Earth – not casually. It is still relative, not absolute with regard to its Universal Absoluteness — Ed] It is recognised by all who are in possession of a sufficient amount of Reason to see it; but those who are not able to see it require intellectual proofs and logical arguments to persuade themselves that it exists. Everybody knows that one is one, although no one is able to give any intelligible reason for it; but when it comes to making a multiplication of compound numbers, our Reason may not be sufficient to directly perceive the result, and we have to call the intellect and mathematical argumentation to our aid to inform us about it.
Self-knowledge in the Absolute is absolute knowledge; we can actually know only that which we see and know ourselves. A science which teaches the true relations which things bear to each other is relatively true as far as the relations of these things are concerned; but it conveys no real knowledge to man ; it can only be a guide to him how to find the truth in himself. To know and to understand what another person meant to say, is not sufficient to know the truth oneself. To see the truth within oneself by the light of Reason and to understand it intellectually is self-knowledge.
Self-knowledge can only be acquired by self-examination. To develop the truth we must practise it. Only when it begins to exist in us can we become self-conscious of its existence.
Those who will practise the following truths will understand their true meaning.
Those who will not practise them will not understand them.
Those who understand these truths will practise them.
One is a Unity and cannot be divided into two Ones. The One, if divided into two, gives two parts of the One. Each of these parts may assume a form differing from that of the other, according to the conditions by which it is surrounded ; nevertheless the two parts will essentially remain two parts of the original one. [Page 7]
The Universe, i.e., the All, is only one; it is impossible to conceive of two or more All is in the absolute sense, and every part of the Universe is therefore a part of the All, or a manifestation of the original One in a separate form, being an integral part thereof. The various forms of substance and activity in the All cannot be essentially and fundamentally different from each other; they can be nothing else but various aspects and functions of the indivisible aboriginal One. Matter in all its shapes, visible and invisible, and Motion in all its forms, unconscious, conscious and self-conscious, can be only two modes of manifestation of the originally unmanifested One; because One is One and cannot be divided into Two.
The original One or the Cause could not have come into existence out of nothing and without a Cause; and as it exists (as we see by its manifestations in Nature), it must therefore be self-existent, having existed from all eternity by its own power. The One, being self-existent and indivisible, cannot be divided and transformed into anything which does not exist. It cannot be annihilated by anything, because nothing exists but itself, and its existence must therefore be without an end as it is without a beginning.
The reason why the finite intellect of man cannot conceive of an eternal self-existent Cause, God or Law, is because man is not self-existent, and self-existence is, therefore, beyond his experience, and beyond his conception.
The original One, manifesting itself as Substance in all its shapes and Power in all its forms, cannot be essentially and fundamentally different from its own productions, which it must have produced from itself, and within itself, there being nothing else to produce it from. Nor could Matter and Motion continue to exist if the self-existent cause that enables them to continue to exist were to cease to be, or to cease to stand in relation to, and be active within them. [ But can the Absolute have any relation to the conditioned or the finite? Reason and metaphysical philosophy answer alike — No. The “Self-existent” can only be the Absolute, and esoteric philosophy calls it therefore the “Causeless Cause”, the Absolute Root of all, with no attributes, properties or conditions. It is the one UNIVERSAL LAW of which immortal man is a part, and which, therefore he senses under the only possible aspects — those of absolute immutability transformed into absolute activity — on this plane of illusion — or eternal ceaseless motion, the ever Becoming. Spirit, Matter, Motion, are the three attributes, on this our plane. In that of self-existence the three are ONE and indivisible. Hence we say that Spirit, Matter, and Motion are eternal, because one, under three aspects. Our differences, however, in this excellent paper, are simply in terms and expression or FORM — not in ideas or thought.— Editor ] The unmanifested One is, therefore, whenever and wherever it manifests itself, a Trinity of Causation, Substance and Power.
NOTE. — A just consideration of the above will raise us up to a higher conception of Nature, with all its multifarious forms. It will bring us nearer to the truth than the narrow-minded conception which seeks for the origin of power, life and consciousness within the corporeal forms, while, in fact, forms can be nothing else but vehicles or instruments through which the One which is at once Cause, Substance and Motion manifests its presence. — [AUTHOR.] [Page 8]
Looked at from this higher standpoint, the Universe appears to us as one Universal Substance, which, in its various states of density, we may call Matter, Ether, Akasa, Mind-substance, Spirit, and we see it pervaded by one Universal Power, which, according to its mode of action within the universal substance, manifests itself unconsciously, consciously, or self-consciously in various ways, which we may call Motion, Vibration, Gravitation, Cohesion, Affinity, Attraction, Repulsion, Heat, Light, Electricity, Magnetism, Life, Emotion, Love, Will, etc., while the eternal co-existent and self-existent Universal Cause of all these manifestations of its own substance, power and consciousness, remains for ever hidden to all inferior forms of existence, and can be known only to itself by the power of its own self-consciousness and self-knowledge.
To express the above in other words, which may render our conception still clearer: — We may look upon all things in the Universe — not as being essentially different from each other, but as being all merely various modes of manifestation of the eternal One. What we know of " Matter" is not the substance itself, but merely its external appearance; what we know of "Force" is not the energy itself, but merely its mode of manifesting itself on the outward plane. One and the same impulse going forth from the eternal and self-existent centre may cause vibrations in all planes of existence, manifesting itself in the region of Mind as Thought, in the astral plane as Emotion, in the ether of space as Motion in all its forms, active or latent, producing in the sphere of gross matter the phenomena known as heat, light, electricity, etc., etc., while rising up again from Matter to Spirit it may manifest itself as Life, Instinct, Consciousness, Love, Will, Knowledge, and Wisdom.
We should free our minds from the erroneous conception, due to external and, therefore, superficial observation, that forms produce activities, and we should habituate ourselves to look at all things with the eye of Reason, which (if unclouded by the intellectual vagaries of the speculating brain) will be able to see that forms are merely centres, through which already existing powers can manifest themselves, and by means of which these powers may change their modes of action according to the law of Induction.
Thus certain vibrations existing
in the Universal Ether, and manifesting themselves in Matter as "Heat", may,
by coming in contact with other forms of matter, be changed into "Light", in
others into "Electricity", etc.
Thus certain vibrations existing in the Universal Mind as abstract ideas, may,
in the brain of man, take shapes as Thoughts. Thus other certain vibrations
existing in the Universal Spirit may, in the souls of (the ephemeral) living
beings, awaken corresponding vibrations, and manifest themselves according
to the nature of these beings as "Will", " Love", " Faith". etc..
But Ether, Mind, and Spirit, are, like all other things, fundamentally one,
and all may be changed one into the other by correspondingly changing the conditions
under which they are manifesting themselves, provided that we are in possession
of the knowledge necessary to establish the conditions under which such a change
of activity can take place.[ An illustration of the transformation of
will-power into mechanical motion, even without the aid of the physical body,
may be seen if we succeed in dispersing a cloud in the sky by the power of
will; an experiment which may be successfully tried by anyone who is able to
concentrate his thoughts. (See Cahagnet: " Les mystères
de la Magie".)]
F. Hartmann. M.D.
(To be continued) [Page 9]
SATURN is called by Astrologers the Greater Infortune, Mars the Lesser, while Jupiter and Venus are dignified with the titles of the Greater and Lesser Benefics respectively. That is to say that the general nature of the operation of the former is supposed to be evil, and that of the latter to be good. But what superficial students of Astrology are apt to forget is, that if the so-called Infortunes be well placed, and casting good aspects in either Nativity or Horary Figure, their operation is no longer evil ; and that the Benefics if ill-dignified and in evil aspect, will work evil instead of good.
I have usually found myself, that if Saturn or Mars be Lord of the Ascendant at birth, their evil aspects in the Solar revolutionary figure do little harm comparatively, to the Native.
Now Talismanic Magic is to a certain extent based on Astrology, inasmuch as that it is dependent on the position of the Stars in the Heavens and their mutual aspects, but here the similarity ceases. For while Astrology from the resulting combinations gives information regarding future events, Talismanic Magic provides a means of modifying the effect of such events, by crystallising, as it were, in a Talisman the good or evil combinations of the then position.
And as number, weight, and measure ordain the existence of all created things, so will a certain number when united to matter of its own nature, have a magical occult power. Thus, then, if a Talisman be formed not of any, but of a certain matter, so will it have an effect of the nature of that matter, but not otherwise. Again for the perfect production of such effect, the Maker of the Talisman must have the faculty of calling the magical occult power hidden in the Talisman into active existence, otherwise it will remain dormant, and the Talisman, though constructed aright, will fail of its effect. Thus, then, each Talisman requires consecration, for the act of consecration is the [Page 10] Sacrament of Will, and consecration by Sacrament of Will is the Apotheosis of Matter. Let no one rashly think, either, that the Strength of his own Will, however great it may be, can produce the desired effect, unless that Will is sanctified and strengthened by that Highest Will of the Universe from Whom it first derived its existence. For when the natural Strength of the Will of the Maker of the Talisman is exhausted, whence can he derive more, unless he can obtain it from the inexhaustible reservoir of the Will of the Universe ? Therefore, in the formation of every Talisman, it is advisable to employ those Divine Names and Symbols which have a Qabalistic affinity with and rule over the operations of the particular Planet under whose beams it is constructed.
Every Talisman properly constructed under the power of a certain Planet will have either a Good and Fortunate, or an Evil and Unfortunate effect. The effect will be good if the Planet be in a fortunate position in the heavens, well dignified, and well aspected. The evil effect will be produced by the reverse of these. Furthermore, such Talisman should be constructed during the day and hour over which the Planet rules.
Having premised thus much with respect to Talismanic Magic in general, I now come to the consideration of the Planet Saturn in particular.
The Talismans of Saturn should be made on Saturday, during the hours of the day when Saturn bears especial rule, these are the first and eighth hours of the day, and the third and tenth hours of the night. Saturday is supposed to last from sunrise till sunrise on Sunday. To find the length of the hours of the day, take the time between sunrise and sunset, which, divide by 12, this will give the length of each hour of the day; for the hours of the night take the period from sunset till sunrise on the following day, and divide it in the same manner. From this it will be seen that the length of the planetary hours vary according to the time of year. It is possible to make Talismans, etc., of Saturn during any hour on Saturday, but the operation is not quite so strong as on the hours given, and in such case the name and sigil of the Angel governing such other hour should be added.
Saturn rules over the colour Black; over Saturday in the week; over the period from the middle of December to the middle of February in the year; over Capricorn and Aquarius in the Zodiac, which are called his houses, and has power in Libra, wherein he receives his Exaltation; over the dragon, the ass, the lapwing, the cuttlefish, the mole; over the metal lead, the precious stone onyx; he is under the power of the number three in arithmetic, and the geometrical figure of the equilateral triangle. By virtue of his rule over Capricorn, Aquarius, and Libra, he also governs the trees pine, ram-thorn, and box, and the plants dock, dragon-wort, and scorpion-grass, and the precious stones chrysoprasus, crystal, and beryl. [Page 11]
To make a Talismanic Ring of Saturn, a ring of lead should be taken, in the bezel should be placed a fragment of a herb of Saturn with the hair or skin of some animal sacred to him, and above these should be set an onyx or other Saturnine stone. A piece of paper with his seals and square, and the effect desired, should also be placed under the onyx with the fragments of skin and herb.
To make an ordinary Talisman of Saturn, a small tablet of lead should be taken, on either side of which a double or treble circle should be engraved, then on the obverse trace his square in Hebrew characters, and within the double circle write the Divine names which rule over Saturn, or the square may be omitted and an equilateral triangle substituted for it, with the Name and Sigil of the Angel of Saturn traced within it. On the reverse, inscribe his Seal and that of his Intelligence (if for a bad effect the seal and name of his Spirit should be added), and in the double circle write the names which are bound unto the Numbers of Saturn.
Then consecrate the Talisman with any convenient form of consecration, and fumigate it with a perfume of the nature of Saturn, such as pepperwort, or any odoriferous root for a good effect, or sulphur if for an evil effect. When completed the Talisman should be kept wrapped in Black silk.
The Good Talisman of Saturn should be made when Saturn is in either Capricorn, Aquarius, or Libra, and well-aspected; its operation is to help the birth of children, to render a man powerful and safe, and to cause success of petitions with the great.
The Evil Talisman, when Saturn is in Cancer, Leo, or Aries, and evilly-aspected; it hinders buildings, causes discord, and brings evil, misfortune, and death. And I cannot too emphatically warn my readers against the fabrication of any talisman or pentacle for an evil purpose, for, besides the evil it may work on others, it is certain to bring evil and misfortune to its maker sooner or later.
The Divine Names which rule over
Saturn are :—
Tetragrammaton Elohim, IHVH ALHIM, ־֜הלא הךה ֜
The Third Sephira, Understanding, Binah, BINH, הביפ
The Archangel Tzaphqiel, TzPQIAL, לאיקפ
The Angelic Order of Thrones, Arelim, ARLIM, ־ ֨לדא
The Sphere of Saturn, Rest, Shabthai, SnBTHAI, ׳אתבש
The particular Angel of Saturn is
and his Sigil is
His Assistants are the Angels Machatan and Uriel.
I now come to the Occult signification of his Square, Seal, and Sigils, [Page 12] first premising that I know of no work in which their Qabalistical meaning is given.
I mentioned before that the number Three was the Occult number of Saturn, therefore from this number his Magical Table or Square is formed, which contains nine compartments, in which the numbers from one to nine are so arranged as to count fifteen every way in column, line, and diagonal. And the whole sum of his numbers is forty-five.
The Occult meaning of the Square is to be found by the use of the Qabalistical Keys, by taking the reading of each column, line, and diagonal; thus we obtain : —
B, T, D,=Science governed by Prudence thus obtains its Realization.
Z, H, G,=Action is the Victory of Inspiration.
V, A, CH,=Antagonism is reconciled by the Unity of Will through Equilibrium of Contraries.
B, Z, V,=The Science of Victory is in Equilibrium.
T, H, A,=Prudence should inspire Will.
D, G, CH,=The Realization of Action should only be in Justice.
B, H, CH,=The Science of Inspiration produces Equilibrium.
D, H, V,=For the Realization of Inspiration Antagonism is necessary, or, in the words of the Zohar, "Forces which produce themselves without being counterbalanced perish in space."
The Magical Seal of Saturn is drawn
from the Square, and its meaning will be found by describing it upon the
Its meaning is : — Realization can be only obtained through Antagonism; Prudence and Justice yield Victory; and Action is the result of the Knowledge of Will-Power. [Page 13]
The Magical Sigil of Agiel, the Intelligence or Good Spirit of Saturn, is this, it is a formula of
Prudence in Action.
The Magical Sigil of Zazel, the Spirit or Evil Genius of Saturn, is this, it is a formula of Hatred and Antagonism acting through unbalanced force.
These are the Names which are bound
to the Numbers of Saturn :—
3, Ab, AB, בא, Father.
9, Hed, HD, דח.
15, Jah, IH, חי, the Name of Creation.
15, Hõd, HVD, דךח Splendour.
45, Jehovah, as written in the World of Yetzirah or Formation, IVD, HA, VAV, HA, אח ךאך , אח, דץ
45, Agiel, the Intelligence or Good Spirit of Saturn, AGIAL, לאבא
45, Zazel, the Spirit or Evil Genius of Saturn, ZAZL, ל׀א׀
In conclusion I may observe that the ordinary Astrological Symbol of Saturn
represents the Cross above the Lunar
Crescent, and Alchemically shows that Lead is of the nature of Silver internally,
but corrosive externally. [Page 14]
WAVES of credulity and of mental analysis alternately sweep across the face of the world. To the period of blind belief, which made possible the prospect of mediaeval Christendom, enveloped by a black cloud of false science and theological dogma, has succeeded an epoch of expansion of the mind's forces, a wave of all-dissolving analysis, prompting us to lift the veil of seeming from the face of Truth, to pierce through the shell of appearances to the central reality.
The physical scientists long led the van of the new era. Theirs were the triumphs over the dark places of nature and the falsehoods of tradition. But they have failed to gauge the force of the wave that carried them forward, and unless their whole front is changed, they will become in their turn the credulous; the reactionists against a new party of advance. Their error is that they believe too much — that their enquiring analysis does not go deep enough. For the wave of thought which is permeating us, will finally obliterate and render unrecognisable many of our present idols and unquestioned verities — ideas now undoubted even by doubting science.
The last of the old-world ideas to perish—and that after the lapse of ages, perhaps — will be the most familiar and commonplace.
Perhaps last of all will fade our present conceptions of what Carlyle calls the deepest of all illusory appearances — Space and Time.
But as the sunrise first gilds the mountain-tops, and then floods the plain with light, so the approaching inspiration of knowledge appears first in a few of the best minds, and then spreads to the multitude. Thus we find already Descartes doubting the reality of the external world; and Wordsworth, striking the walls of his room to assure himself that they were objective, and not mere phantoms projected into the void of nothingness by the mind's formative power; for this idea, he thought, must be shunned as maddening; forgetting that two senses may concur to deceive.
Space, whether treated by the physicist or the psychologist of the modern world, remains an unquestioned reality, whether objectively in nature or subjectively in the mind.
All the conceptions of science are three-dimensional, endowed with length, breadth, and height, whether we take the starry depths as pictured by the author of " First Principles " ; or the human brain, in the conception of the last would-be scientific chool
But are not the properties of Space indeed mere appearances, and is [Page 15] not Wordsworth's fear a shadowy premonition of the truth, that Space is but a creature of the mind — an unreality ?
This suspicion of the illusiveness of Space is one of the nascent perceptions of that most new and yet most ancient school of thought, whose wide generalisation will soon render obsolete and insignificant the daring doubts of sceptical science. In dealing with space and its dimensions, it is incumbent on us to show how our present conceptions of these could have been generated, on a purely idealistic hypothesis. If unreal, can we trace the growth of our notions of space and its dimensions? A theory readily presents itself; but to approach its consideration we must waive that larger question of the apparent separation of the One into innumerable units of consciousness, and, beginning by considering the condition of one such unit, trace the growth of the conceptions of space, as related to that unit.
Let us first picture such an individualised unit of consciousness — to use, perhaps, the best available phrase — at the very beginning of its evolutionary course, in quiescence, absolutely sensationless; let us endow it with the power of sensation, though in a latent form. To understand this, we must use a simple simile. Suppose yourself alone in a dark room in silence; suppose the temperature and your position to be such that you have become oblivious to your body; none of the senses are exercised; the pictorial power of the imagination is also at rest; while the mind's attitude is one of expectation directed towards the sense of hearing. This is the best available illustration of the condition of a unit of consciousness with the latent power of sensation, before sensation has set in. Suppose a musical note to sound close to the ear, and gradually die away; let the sound be again gradually excited, and again die away. The ear — the seat of sensation — is for our purposes practically a point. The sense of hearing experiences a sensation, at first vivid, then gradually ceasing; then again increasing to vivid activity, and again sinking to rest. As far as physical knowledge shows, this changing sensation is represented by greater or less intensity of vibration of the tympanum.
Now instead of a note dying away naturally, suppose some sustained note sounded near the ear, then withdrawn in a straight line until out of hearing; then again brought near the ear, and again withdrawn. If the experiment be properly carried out, the experience of the sense of hearing will be exactly the same as before; their physical counterpart again being a greater or less intensity of tympanal vibration. The ear is absolutely powerless to distinguish between the two sets of sensations: and the only conception of nearness and distance that can be formed, having regard to the sense of hearing alone, is a greater or less intensity of sensation.
This is equally true of other senses taken separately; the sense of light, for example, or the sense of heat. Hence, as far as the sense of [Page 16] sight is concerned, the nearest stars are distinguished from the more remote chiefly by the greater intensity of their light, and, therefore, of the vibrations they excite on the retina. In fact, to speak physically, all our perceptions of varying sensation actually have their origin in a more or less intense vibration of the sensory surfaces, and their sources are subsequently projected into space by the imagination. To express the same thing from the idealist standpoint; all we experience is more or less intense sensation; our further conceptions are due to the separation and arrangement of these, by the imagination.
Taste is an example of a sense not yet translated into terms of nearness and distance, and it is worth mention that this is supposed by some Theosophists to be the sense at present undergoing development, and consequently incomplete.
But to return to our unit of consciousness: let us suppose a sensory point to be formed in it; let a simple sensation excite this sensory centre, with increasing and diminishing intensity. The effect will be exactly the same as if the exciting source were to approach and recede from the sensory point. From this experience, the conception of nearness and distance would arise; in other words, the conception of space of one dimension.
The conception of the point is derived from a sustained sensation: that of the line, from a sensation of decreasing and increasing intensity. So long as the consciousness remained absorbed in sensation no advance would be made on this conception of space of one dimension: but since all degrees of intensity from the very highest to complete absence of sensation may be experienced, this line, this space of one dimension, will be conceived as of infinite extension.
Let the consciousness of the unit
now be supposed to reflect on this simple sensation, to stand aside from
the point of sensation, and to regard objectively both that point and the
varying intensity of the sensation; in other words, the sensory point, and
the line of sensation, along which the exciting cause is conceived as advancing
and receding. Suppose the sensation to diminish in intensity: that is to say,
let the exciting source recede to a point some distance along the imaginary
line. The new point of consciousness arrived at by the act of reflexion,
or contemplative standing aside, is outside the line from the sensory point
to the exciting source. It is clear that these three points not in the same
straight line imply a plane triangle — which may be formed by joining
them — hence the present attitude of the unit of consciousness implies
space of two dimensions. But since the base of the triangle may be infinite — the
sensation having all ranges from the highest intensity to absolute cessation — and
since the point assumed by the consciousness through the act of reflexion can
have no definite position, the present attitude of the unit implies two-dimensional
space of infinite extension. [Page 17]
If the unit be conceived as having germs of two senses instead of one the results are identical, since in the first phase of consciousness, though we have two independent straight lines radiating from the unit of consciousness, they do not imply two-dimensional space, since they have no relation whatever to each other: and in the second phase of consciousness, instead of one plane triangle we should have two, both in the same plane. This holds good for any number of senses. The triangle formed with the line of sensation as base, and the point of reflexion assumed by the consciousness, as apex, is a sensory area every point of which is an objective source of perception to the unit of consciousness.
The perception of the unit of consciousness is now of two kinds; the first, exercised at the sensory centre, is one of varying intensity merely, corresponding in space to the line. That at the point of reflexion, the apex of the triangle of perception is one of observation, corresponding to surface extension.
Let the consciousness of the unit now be supposed to stand back from the point of reflexion, and to contemplate objectively the area of perception. Standing apart from the area of perception, it now corresponds to a point outside the plane of a surface, and this implies space of three dimensions. Since the position of the new point of consciousness, the point of contemplation, let us term it, is not rigidly determined, and since the surface of perception is of unlimited, this third attitude of the unit of consciousness implies three-dimensional space of unlimited extension.
As the last phase of perception was represented by a triangle, so this third phase may be represented by a triangular pyramid, or tetrahedron — every point in which is an object of perception; the whole forming a sensory solid — and having four corners; the top being now the seat of consciousness; one of the base corners, the point of reflexion, or perception of the sensory area — the base; another base corner being the point of sensation of variations in intensity; and the third base corner being the position to which the imagination projects the source of sensation.
Let us now translate these successive experiences into terms of Consciousness.
The first attitude of the unit of consciousness may be expressed by the unreflecting, and, so to speak, unconscious perception — in the sense of being without self-consciousness — "sensation is, or sensation is not".
When the stage of reflexion is reached, the consciousness may be thus expressed: "I experience sensation".
The third, the contemplative phase, is, "It is I who experience sensation"; or, "I am conscious that I experience sensation"; the second " I " here being personality, lower self, or false ego — an object [Page 18] of consciousness to the first " I", the true ego, the unknowable Knower.
We are debarred from discussing fully the ethical aspects of these phases of consciousness by the nature of the subject; for — while we were compelled to begin by considering the condition of an individualised unit of consciousness, waiving the consideration of the apparent separation of the One into innumerable units — the subject of ethics deals almost entirely with the relation of the unit to the One, for " the separation of the divine-human spirit into the multitudes of men on the earth " is only an illusion, and is in reality nonexistent.
Let us now consider a few resultant truths.
The consciousness, whether in its first phase of absorbing sensation, or in its later phases of reflexion and contemplation, is itself subject to no dimensions of space; it stands detached from space, whether of one, two, or three dimensions. Hence the self is neither finite, in the sense of being small, nor infinite, in the sense of being great, it is superior to space, as to time, or, in the language of the Upanishads, " the self is smaller than small, and greater than grea.." The self, the knower, is something apart from space and time, and independent of them; hence nothing that takes place in space or time can affect it, except as being an object of its perception.
"He who knows the self as the slayer, and also he who knows it as the slain, they both know not rightly. It kills not, nor is killed", says the Bhagavad Gîtã.
In comparison with the realness of the self, time and space are mãyãs, "illusory appearances", as Carlyle says.
And what we call the dimensions of space are only expressions by which the imagination distinguishes and separates various phases of perception.
As the previous advances in development which we have been able to trace, were made by the real self detaching itself entirely from the world it was experiencing, and standing apart as "a disinterested spectator" to view this world, recognising the organ of sensation, and afterwards the personality, as not the self: so, we learn, the next advance in development is made when a man, "by his awakened spiritual will, recognises the individuality as not himself", and detaches himself from his present world, of which the individuality is lord.
The step must be taken by detachment
from the things of space, as we know them, by detachment from the things
of time, as we know them — by standing apart from these, and, in consequence,
by standing apart from that unreal centre of this life, the personality,
the abandonment of which leads to a condition we can only describe negatively
as selflessness, and by plunging fearlessly into the unknown abyss.
CHARLES JOHNSTON, F.T.S. [Page 19]
FLETA threw aside her travelling dress and put on a white silk wrap her maid had got out for her; she loosed her hair and let it fall about her slender figure. The wrap was made with wide sleeves, that fell away from the shoulder and left her arms bare. She raised them over her head and clasped her hands; and as she did so laughed like a child. How beautiful she looked ! The large soft bed with its silken sheets all bordered with foamings of lace, and its coverlet of golden embroidery, was close beside her. She threw herself into it, and the white lids fell heavily over her eyes, the long black lashes lying like pencil marks on her cheek. In a moment she was buried in a slumber more profound than even drugs can produce; for a magician knows how to take the soul away from earth on the instant, and leave the body without dreams or any uneasiness, free to rest and recover like a babe. And Otto standing there looking on this lovely sight felt his brain turn to fire and his heart to ice within him. He loved her so desperately and yet so hopelessly, this woman who was at this moment actually his wife. No effort of his will enabled him to approach an inch nearer to her. She was absolutely protected, perfectly isolated from him. And it seems strange indeed that she could rest there like an innocent child while within only a few paces of her stood a man — and that man her husband — within whom burned all that fiery passion is, who suffered the fulness of longing and hunger insatiable. At last — for the dawn was creeping in at the window as he did so — Otto turned and left the room, and went softly down the stairway and along more corridors and down more stairs, till he reached a little doorway which he opened with his own key. It was a side entrance from the great garden and the park beyond. In the breathing of the soft, keen, morning air, in the roomy freshness of the early sky, his maddened spirit seemed to find some hope of bathing and recovering itself. He strode away through the park, and climbed a hill which rose beyond it. From its summit he could see all over the city, and some extent of the surrounding country. The sight sobered and strengthened him. He knew himself to be no petty prince playing at state. True, his was [Page 20] a small kingdom, and his capital could be seen from end to end from this hill top. Yet the great powers of Europe watched him with interest.
Fleta was out in the morning light not long after him, dressed in white; she wandered alone through the gardens and plucked some rich roses to wear at her waist. The bloom of supreme youth and beauty was on her face when she came back from among the flowers; she had gathered dew from the grass, and wetted her soft cheeks and lips with it. Some dewdrops from a rosebush she had shaken gleamed in her dark hair, beautiful as any diamonds. She sent messages of inquiry for the Duchess and Hilary by the first servants she encountered; and she stood waiting for the answers, leaning against the side of the sunny window by which she had entered — a brilliant figure that shone the more brilliantly for the strong light, as a jewel might. And, indeed, this Fleta was a jewel of the world — whether her light be baleful or beneficent, yet a jewel.
The answers were brought to her presently. The Duchess had been very ill all night, and the doctor was even now with her, and would not allow her to be disturbed. Hilary was still wrapped in the profound slumber which had already lasted many hours.
" Wake him", said the young queen, " and tell him I shall be waiting for him in the magnolia arbour in about an hour".
She wandered out into the garden again, moving to and fro in the sunlight. It was an entirely secluded garden this, which had been highly walled and sheltered by trees, so that here Royalty might have sunshine and fresh air in freedom. And all this sheltering, it being a very sunny spot, had made it a perfect golden land of flowers. Fleta was very happy for the moment here; she became like a child when her mind was quiet, and when the beauty of nature appealed to her senses. She gathered here and there yet another beautiful rose that specially caught her fancy, and fastened it on her dress; so that at last, when it was time to go to the magnolia bower, she looked like a queen of roses, so fantastically was she dressed and decked in them.
The magnolia bower was the great beauty of the palace garden. It stood right opposite to the windows, though at some little distance across a smooth belt of turf. Originally, an arbour had been built, and at the side of it a quoits-alley was arranged, filling one half of the wall of the garden. It was all open to the house and lawn, and roofed so that it was protected from rain and wind. Otto's grandfather had built this, and had planted many different kinds of rare trees and creeping plants to grow over it. But the place had in some way suited the magnolias best of all; they had grown so richly that at last they had claimed the whole as their own; and all the winter the roof and pillars of it were beautiful with great green leaves in climbing masses; when the magnolias began to flower, it was lovely beyond belief. And now the arbour and alley were all, by common consent, called the [Page 21] magnolia bower. Fleta had been fascinated by the beauty of this place when she first came out, and had questioned a passing gardener about it. She felt curiously happy and at home within its shelter; and here Hilary found her pacing slowly to and fro. He paused as his eyes fell on her. She seemed to him the realisation of all possible beauty. She was younger, fairer, yet stronger in expression than he had ever seen her. And the pure richness of the flowers about her dressed her as no diamonds, no rich gowns, could do. For this strange creature was essentially natural — at home among the flowers or on a mountain-top, strange and haughty among courtiers and in the ordinary life of men and women.
"Sit down here", said Fleta, taking her place on a deep, well-cushioned couch in a shadowy corner. Ah ! how still and sweet the air was !
" You are better", she went on, " I can see that. You have slept like one dead, and have found a new life this morning. It is well; it is what I expected; but what might yet not have been. Now, I want to talk to you. Our work is close at hand. By noon I have to be dressed, ready to go to the great Cathedral and be crowned. From that time I shall be in public all day till late in the evening. But I have learned how to live alone in a crowd, and to play a part unknown by any one. And you must do the same. For our work begins today. And we have gained the necessary strength for it."
Hilary shuddered, even here in the sunshine and amid the flowers. He knew she referred to that awful scene in the dark yesterday when he had killed — what ?
" Fleta", he said, with tolerable quietude, " do you remember what I was saying to you last night when I was told to leave you? Did I not demand an explanation before I did any more work for you ? "
" Yes ; you did. And that is why I sent for you here that I might explain all that you can understand". She paused just a moment; and then went on speaking rapidly yet clearly.
" We have spoken of the lives of long ago, when we were together before, Hilary; when we loved, and lost, and parted, only to meet again and love and lose again. Like the flowers that yearly bloom and then die away till another season gives them another life, so once in an aeon have we flowered upon the earth, brought forth the supreme blossom which earth can produce, the flower of human love. You do not realise this, Hilary, because you will not claim your knowledge and experience; you are weak, and easily content, lacking in faith, and still filled with love of life. That is why you are my servant. The power I took when first our souls met on this earth you have never wrested from me. I have remained your ruler. Now I urge you to use all the will that is in you and step nearer to my side in knowledge [Page 22] and in power; for I no longer have need of you as a servant. I want a companion. You know that a little while ago I essayed the initiation of the White Brotherhood, that stately order which governs the world and holds the reins of the starry universe in its hands. You know that I failed. I do not regret having had the courage to try; I should have been a coward indeed to draw back when Ivan himself was ready to lead me to the place of trial. But I was a fool to overvalue my efforts and my work as I have done. I had served so sore and so long an apprenticeship, had grown so weary, through many lives, of lovers and of children, that I thought all human love, all love that clings to one person in the world, had been for ever plucked out by its very roots. I thought it was gone from me for ever ; that, though I would work for humanity, that though I would gladly give all that was in me to any who desired help or knowledge, yet that I myself could stand alone, leaning on none, looking for none. It seemed to me it was so — that the mystery was solved for me — that the problem of human love, of the life of sex, of the mystic duality of existence, was all set at rest for ever. Oh, if that had been so! Then, Hilary, I should have blossomed on earth for the last time; I should have found in myself the fruit, the divine fruit that gives new life, another life, a divine knowledge, an unshaken power. But I failed. I entered among them, Hilary — I saw them. No other woman has seen these strange, austere, glorious beings. But the chill of death, the uttermost anguish of fear and of longing, fell on me as I looked upon the unfamiliar, unhuman, god-like faces; and I hungered for the dear face that had so long been my star. I cried aloud for Ivan.
" You saw me next. You found me. You know how I was crushed and broken. But before you came to me I had heard words, spoken, as it were, by the stars, echoing in the heavens, that told me my fate, and showed me my work; and bade me be strong to rise up and do it. Afterwards, I desired to see one of the White Brotherhood, and obtain a confirmation of my order. But I could not. And then I understood that I alone was to be judge and compeller of myself".
She rose now and began to pace up and down in front of him. She began to speak more slowly, her eyes fixed upon the ground.
" Sweetheart, wife, mother, these things I can never be again, for the love of any man. I am alone in the world; I can lean on no man, I can love no man in that way any more throughout the ages that I may wander on this earth. That life has gone away from me once and for all. I stand above it. Are you still ready to devote yourself to me, to stand at my side, to be my companion ? "
A great sigh burst from Hilary. It seemed to him that he was bidding farewell to his dear, dear love, to his one hope in life, to all that was fair in woman, to all that he had ever desired or could ever desire. And then he saw before him the shining white face of a priestess. Fleta [Page 23] for the moment was transformed as she gazed upon him. A great light gleamed from her eyes. He saw that a finer thing, one infinitely more desirable and satisfying, must take the place of the fair blossom of love in his heart. All this came to him in an instant; and as the sigh burst from him he uttered a " Yes " that seemed to shake his being. And then on a sudden — on the instant — the white blinding face of the priestess of life had gone from before his eyes, and he saw instead the young, fresh, lovely face of the woman he loved. A groan as of physical anguish passed his lips.
" Fleta, I cannot do it", he said; " I cannot resign you".
" You have done it!'" she said, and laughed.
It was a strange laugh, not womanly, and yet with a ring of gladness in it.
" You cannot go back from the pledges given by your spirit because your heart protests ! " she said. " Your heart will protest a thousand times; it will seem to dissolve your very body with its suffering. Do I not know ? I have lived through it; I have died from it. But the pledge once taken, has to be fulfilled. I am satisfied; for I know now that you will work with me".
She walked to and fro a few moments in silence; then came and sat beside him, talking in her first manner, rapidly and clearly.
" I CANNOT go in alone. I cannot go in for myself. I have to learn the supreme lesson of selflessness. I must take a soul in each hand to the door, ready, purified, prepared for offering on the altar, so that they shall even become members of the Great Brotherhood; while I must be content to turn back and sit on the outer steps. I have thought it out; I understand it; but whether I can live it out, whether I can do it, is another thing — a very different thing. Ah, Hilary, where shall I find those two hearts, those two souls, strong enough to pass the first initiation ? "
" When it comes to that doorway", said Hilary, in a strange dull tone of misery, " must those two be ready to go on without you, leaving you outside ? "
" Yes", said Fleta. " Certainly yes".
" Then I will not be one of them", he said passionately. " I love you, and I do not want to lose you, even for Heaven itself. I will serve you, if you choose; but I must be with you".
He rose and went away across the lawn, as if he could not endure any more of the conversation; in a moment or two he had disappeared among the trees. Fleta sank back with a weary dejected air; a pallor took the place of the brilliant fairness, which but a moment since had made her face so beautiful. Her eyes, wide open, yet apparently seeing [Page 24] nothing, remained fixed on the grass straight in front of her. She seemed scarcely to breathe. A kind of sad paralysis had fallen on this beautiful vivid form.
" What am I to do ?", she exclaimed at last, bringing the words out by a great effort; " how can I live through the struggle and the suffering? I will live through it. I have invoked the law of pain. Pleasure is no longer mine, even if I desired it".
She was silent for a little while after this, and very quiet. Then she rose and began to walk up and down slowly, evidently in deep thought. Her mind was working rapidly.
" I cannot do it alone", she said at last desperately. " Who is to help me ? I cannot yet even guess who is to be my second companion, the other soul that I am to take to the door of the temple. O, mighty Brotherhood, it is no easy task you have set me".
She drooped her head while she was talking thus to herself. When she raised it again, she saw Otto standing on the grass, in the sunlight, watching her. His face was softer than it had been for a long while as he gazed at her. She stretched out her hands to him with the same sweet subtle smile with which she had greeted him before. He immediately approached her.
" I have been thinking", he said, " up there on the mountain, ever since I left you last night. I have been thinking earnestly. Fleta, I do not consider myself pledged to that Brotherhood to which you profess allegiance".
Fleta's look became amazed, and then almost stern.
" How is it possible you can so deceive yourself", she said, "when you have so recently felt the bondage which is placed on the novice”.
" What — in my inability to approach you ? You are a magician, I know well; it is quite useless to try and hide that from myself, because I have seen you use your power. Those brothers taught you some of their unholy secrets. No doubt you could make a circle round yourself now into which I could not enter. In fact, I believe you have done so. But what of that ? I have read, I have thought, a great deal on these subjects. The supernatural is no more extraordinary than the natural when once one is used to its existence. That it does not exist, that all nature stops at a given point, could only be maintained by a blind, foolish materialist. And I am not that. But I am not awed by the supernatural. I have always been used to believe in it, having been educated by Catholics. But your Brotherhood is a very different matter. This claims to be so positive a thing as to be a force in Nature, a power which every man has to be with or against at some period of his development. Is not that what you would say — what Father Ivan would say ? "
" Yes," answered Fleta. [Page 25]
" Well, there I cannot follow. I do not see that the Brotherhood has any right to set up such a claim".
" It does not set it up", said Fleta. " There is no need to parade a fact. Wait and see. You will find it is a fact. I would rather not discuss the matter with you. It is like talking with a man as to whether the earth is flat or round".
For a moment a red flush of anger came into Otto's face; for there is no doubt that this speech was delivered with an indifference which savoured of royal insolence, and should only be used by a queen to her subjects, not to her king. But he conquered himself after a moment's thought.
" After all", he said, " I can just fancy that it may seem like this to you. It is useless to argue such a point. But to me the existence of such a Brotherhood is a purely arbitrary statement. I know that Ivan is extraordinarily superior to most priests. What makes him so — Intellect, I should say, for the first thing".
" No", said Fleta, " it is the White Star on his forehead which marks him out from among men and makes him divine. He lives for the world, not for himself; like all the Brotherhood he is passionless and desires no pleasure. Otto, I have to win that star. Will you help me ? "
" How ? "
" A great piece of work has to be done. I have to form a school of philosophy and turn the thoughts of men towards the subtler truths of life. It is a mark given me, and I need aid. But that aid can only be given me by one who makes no claim on my love, who no longer looks on me as a woman, but as an instrument of the White Brotherhood; who is ready to serve and to suffer without any wages or compensation; one who in fact desires to reach the door of the great Brotherhood".
She spoke quickly, enthusiastically, a great hope in her eyes; for his face had been full of gentleness all this while.
" I came to you", he answered slowly, " with an offer, a request. I will make it. I am prepared to be your true lover till death, your friend, and even servant, in all that is human and natural, if you, Fleta, will put aside these unnatural aspirations and be my wife and helpmeet".
It was a manly speech and said well. The tears gathered in Fleta's eyes as she looked at him.
" I have never loved you, Otto", she answered. " Nor ever can as you mean it ; yet you can move my being to its depths, and stir my soul. For you are very honest. But you might as well try to change the courses of the stars as alter the shape and pathway of my life. It is written irrevocably; I myself have inscribed it in the book of fate by my steady desire through long past ages. But that I underrated the difficulty I would now be beyond your knowledge, within the great [Page 26] gateway. But I had no real comprehension of the deep unselfishness needed for that great effort. I see now that I may never live for myself again, not even in the inner soul of love. I have to work — I ask you to help me."
Otto looked at her gloomily.
" I ask for a helpmeet", he said. " And so it seems do you. This is not as it should be between husband and wife. One must give way to the other".
Fleta looked at him and her eyes glittered; she seemed to be measuring her strength. Suddenly she turned away with a sigh. At the moment the Palace clock struck. She remembered that it was time to go in and prepare for the ceremonies of the day. She paused and looked again at Otto. She was looking very pale now, so that the roses seemed more bright by contrast.
" Do you wish me to be crowned your queen ? " she said. " Or would you rather it were not done now that you know me better ? "
" I have no choice", said Otto, rather bitterly. " You are in fact my queen already. But you have your own conscience to deal with in treating me as you are doing".
" My own conscience ! " The words repeated themselves in Fleta's mind, as she went slowly across the grass to the open window, without making any answer to Otto. " Have I what he would call a conscience? Do I reproach myself for misdeeds, or regret past follies ? No ; for how could I live did I do so? I, that have the mystic memory, the memory denied to ordinary men, and can see myself travelling through lives and see how I lived them and what my deeds were ! Otto will suffer. He is not strong enough to claim his memory, he loves the world of healthy, human nature, where the inevitable is not recognised and Destiny is a force despised even while it works steadily to its ends. Ah, my poor Otto! 'husband, lover, friend', would that I could save you the suffering!"
She had reached her own rooms now and was surrounded at once by maids, who were preparing for her toilette, and by great ladies who were selected as her companions. She was gracious to all alike, but so deeply buried in thought that she scarcely distinguished one from the other, and spoke as gently to the maid who dressed her hair as to the court beauty who paid dutiful respects to her. This seemed to them all very strange, and coupled with the sad look on Fleta's face, filled them with wonder. Had she already quarrelled with her husband? — or had she been married to him against her will ?
The ceremony of dressing was made on this occasion much more formidable than was Fleta's usual toilette; and she grew pale and weary before the end of it. But she looked almost unnaturally beautiful when she stood up in her sweeping robes; there was an expression of such stern resolution and power upon her delicate features. She conquered [Page 27] her weariness by an effort of will; and when she entered the great cathedral and became the chief feature of the pageant within it, she was once more the brilliant young queen, dazzling the eyes of those who looked upon her, and conscious of her great beauty and her royal power.
And yet, within, her heart was dull with sadness.
For the gateway seemed fast closed ! The two who loved her would only love like other men. She could not give them any gleam or momentary vision of the great love which does not desire gratification, but which is divine, and gives itself. Where was she to look for other souls ? Not in this Court, where the men seemed to her more empty-headed and self-seeking than those she had left behind. Nor could she ever hope to begin her larger work, to create any school of philosophy here. Was every door shut to her ? It seemed so. And with that conviction came the strengthened and more profound resolve to conquer.
EVERYTHING was closed, the world was dark to her; there was no turning, either to the right or to the left. We have all experienced this; even to young children this bitterness comes, when the darkness falls on their souls. In the grown man it is so great a thing that it blinds him and blackens his life sometimes for years. In one who is treading so dangerous, so difficult a path as was Fleta, it comes as a horror, a shame, a despair. For she had more knowledge, more intelligence, than ordinary human creatures, who have not yet raised their eyes or their hopes beyond the simple joys of earth. She had a knowledge so great that it weighed on her like a terrible load and crushed her very spirit when, as now, she could not tell how to use it.
She knew perfectly what it was she had to do; but in what way was she to do it ? She, the supreme, the peerless, the unconquerable one, who rose up again unaided after every disaster, and who could not be held back by any kind of personal difficulty or danger, was now paralysed. Paralysed because she had to influence, to guide, to lead, some other human being. Alone she could go no further; another soul must stand beside her, and yet another. And as yet none were ready ! None !
She hardly noticed what passed around her, though she mechanically fulfilled her part; and she gave no thought to the events of the day until she found herself at last in her own room again — once more at peace, once more undisturbed except by those who waited on her. Even these she sent away, and sat still in her chair, alone, yet so full of wild and passionate thoughts that the very air seemed full of their vibration, and to be quivering with life. [Page 28]
The queen was alone. How utterly alone none but herself could tell. One of her maids looked into the room and saw the beautiful young queen sitting there so completely motionless that she supposed she had fallen asleep in the great easy chair, and would not disturb her. Fleta's face was turned aside, and laid on the silken cushions, and it was so still and expressionless that one might fancy it a thing carved in ivory rather than of flesh and blood. For all colour had died out of it, and there was no faintest fleeting shadow of changing expression.
Fleta was alone with a terrible reality, a fearful problem, and one which she well knew she must solve, or else die of despair. And this offered her no thought of escape as it does to most, for she knew well that if she died it would only be to live again, and find herself again face to face with this problem.
For all nature follows laws; and as the plants grow, so does man. Life must progress and none can stay it. And Fleta had entered into the great rush of intelligent and vivid life which lies above the animal existence with which most men are content. No natural triumph, no power of her beauty, no magic of her personal charms, no accomplishment of her brilliant intellect could please or satisfy her any longer, for she had come into a keener consciousness, a knowledge of things undying. And she knew herself to be undying, incapable of death; and that she must suffer and suffer till this terrible point was passed.
It seemed to her impossible to pass it.
She might not ever hope to near the gate she longed to reach, unless she brought with her other souls, souls
purified and ready. Her strength, her power must be used to save them, not herself.
But there were none who would be saved.
These two men who stood on either side of her, and who through many lives had stood on either side of her, even now, even yet, after so long, they were blinded by their love for her. And as she fully realised this a deep sigh passed all through her frame and made it quiver faintly like a dying thing in pain.
That love ! with which she had held them and led them so long — the love of her, which had guided them so near the gate. Was it possible that now they must fall away, and because of that very love ! Was it possible ?
Suddenly Fleta rose and began to pace the room to and fro impatiently. "Shall I use my power ? " she said to herself half aloud. "Shall I make myself hideous, old, a withered and faded hag ? Would that kill this passionate love in them ? Would that make me their guide and not a thing which is beautiful, and which each desires for himself? I must think — I must think ! "
Moving to and fro in her room she thought silently for a long while. But there was no ray of gladness or light of conscious strength on her face. [Page 29]
" I must try it, I suppose", she said aloud, at last. " I must throw aside my youth and my beauty, and see if they can either of them discover the soul within. But it is a great risk — a terrible risk."
This she said quietly and as one in deep thought. But suddenly something seemed to touch, and rouse, and sting her, as if a knife had entered her flesh.
" Great Powers ! " she exclaimed in a voice of agony. " What do I see in myself? Risk ? — risk
of what? Of their souls being lost because I am not able to help them. Folly ! If they are to be saved some aid
will be given even if it is not mine. Risk ! — risk of what. Of my losing
their love. There is no longer any disguising it. I have been fooling myself.
Hilary! Otto ! forgive me, that I should ever have spoken as if I were wiser
or more unselfish than you. The mask is torn away. I am deceived no longer.
I never dreamed that I must serve or save any but these two who have been to
me friends and companions through ages. And this is Fleta, who fancied herself
free, able to enter the hall of truth, able to stand before the great masters
and learn from them ! Is my soul never to be purified ? Can my heart never
be burnt out ? Oh, fire of agony, come and kill this weakness ! "
She staggered to her chair and sat there, staring fixedly at the floor before her with wild eyes.
" How am I to burn these last ashes out of myself? How ? And to think of it! — to know, as I see now, that for lifetime after lifetime I have fancied myself a saviour, free in myself, only helping these others ! And all this sad while I have but been leaning on their love, clinging to them as any frail thing might. If these did not love I should fancy love was not; if these did not fallow and aid me I should fancy the world empty. And love, true love, the love that gives utterly and asks not, is not yet born in me! Well, I am punished — I have punished myself before I knew my fault! The world is not empty, indeed, but I am alone in it. Yes, utterly alone. My master has left me — my friends have left me. I have done wrong to each and all, and they are gone. Can I wonder that this is so ? No, for I deserved it — and I deserve it."
Fleta drew a cloak round her that hung on the back of her chair. She drew it over her face and head and her whole form, so that she lay back like a mummy in its wrappings. For hours she sat like this, and quite motionless. Several times persons came into the room and looked at her, but she lay so still, and had so evidently arranged herself in this way, that no one liked to disturb her, thinking she must be asleep. For there was nothing ceremonial at which it was necessary for her to appear ; the king and the queen were to have dined alone quietly. But when Fleta did not come, the king did not ask for her. And so the evening passed and the night came.
Then Fleta rose, and hastily putting on a dark robe and cloak hurried out of the room when there chanced to be no one to observe her [Page 30] movements. She stole down the stairs quickly, like a passing shadow, and succeeded in reaching the garden unseen. The strong fragrance of the magnolia flowers attracted her, and for a moment she stood still seeing in her mind's eye the scenes of that morning re-enacted. But at last she broke away, and hurried across the dim lawn till she reached the boundary of the garden. Then she passed along swiftly and silently, keeping by the wall. Her object was evidently to find a gate, or some way out of the enclosure. It was not to meditate under trees, or to smell the sweetness of the flowers that she had come here. It was only that she did not know how else to get to the city — she had not liked to try the great front entrance to the palace, for she did not want to be noticed or followed. At last she came to an iron gate, high and well spiked. She looked at it for a moment, and then suddenly sprang on it and climbed it quickly, passing over it in some swift adroit way that was rather an effort of will than any skill of body. Just as she descended she heard the sentry on his beat approaching her. Like a serpent she glided away into the shadow of some opposite trees. But, for all her swiftness the sentry had seen her. He knew it was a woman, this fleet shadow; he had a single glimpse of the pallid face and its wild, strange expression; and he was afraid to follow. For he did not think it a creature of flesh and blood like himself. And yet poor Fleta's heart was beating so hurriedly when she reached the shade that she had to stand still a little while to stay it.
But at last she recovered her nerve, and went steadily onwards towards the lights of the city. Either instinct or some mysterious knowledge seemed to guide her, for she went direct to the part of the city she wanted — its worst quarter, where all night long there was a glare of light and a crying of strange and discordant voices. For the gipsies were constantly here, in the heart of this city; nomads though they must be always, yet here they most frequently returned as to some place resembling home. And they so inflamed the passions and the love of excitement which was in the people, that round the shanties and hovels in which they dwelled, an orgy was held perpetually.
Fleta walked on through the narrow and crooked streets of the poor district, and walked so quickly and steadily that no one spoke to her or delayed her, though many paused and looked after her for a long while. She could not altogether hide her star-like beauty. At last she reached the place she wanted. Here there was a three-cornered open space, paved, with a fountain in its centre. When this part of the city was built, it had been intended for better purposes than those it served; workpeople were the class the houses had been planned for. But the whole quarter was now taken possession of by the race of ruffians, thieves, and murderers; a race which lives alone in every city because none dare be in its midst. This three-cornered square was their centre, a meeting point of many ways; and in it was held at night an [Page 31] open market. It should have had trees around the pathway, and shrubs beside the fountain in its midst, but all traces of such civilisation had long disappeared from it. It was given over to squalor and dirt. When Fleta entered it the market was just becoming lively. It was a strange mart indeed; at one stall rags were sold and old cooking vessels; at another jewels of some considerable value. But anything of beauty which might be for sale here, was well hidden under the dingy covering of squalor which overshadowed the whole.
Fleta walked straight across the square to the fountain. Beside it, at the point which she approached, was placed a ricketty, dirty old tent. On the ground inside it was a sort of bed of rags, on which sat an old woman. The tent was but just big enough to shelter her; she sat facing its opening. By her side was a wooden stool, on which she told fortunes with a filthy old pack of cards. A woman was leaning over her now, watching the cards with breathless anxiety as she dealt them out.
Fleta drew quite close and then paused, leaning against the side of the dry fountain, and regarding this sordid scene with her beautiful eyes.
The old woman looked up after a moment. "Ah, it's you ? " she said.
" Yes", answered Fleta; and that was all. The old woman told her cards and pocketed her silver with elaborate care. Then, her customer leaving her and no other appearing for the moment, she looked again at Fleta.
" Want your fortune told ?" she said abruptly. She always spoke with a rough abruptness and many abbreviations; but it is almost impossible to give any adequate idea of her peculiar terseness of style, if since she spoke (at all events, to Fleta) the true Romany tongue. To the woman whose fortune she had told she spoke in a rough dialect of the country.
" Yes", said Fleta.
The old woman laughed aloud, a queer, cackling laugh, and then got out a little black pipe and began to fill it. Suddenly she put this aside again, and looked up.
" I begin to feel as if you mean it. That can't be possible".
"Yes," said Fleta for the third time. And her face grew whiter every time she spoke. The old witch peered at her out of her small eyes.
" Then it's come to hard times with you, my dear! But you're queen here, aren't you ? "
Fleta only nodded.
" Then how do you manage to be in a place like this alone ? Oh, well, I know you're clever enough for the devil himself. But what has happened that you come to me? " [Page 32]
"I have lost my footing", said Fleta, very calmly. " I do not know which way to turn; and you must help me to find out."
" I must, must I ? " growled the old woman, her unpleasant amiability suddenly turning to a virulent ill-humour. " So you keep your airs ? How did you find out I was here? "
Fleta did not answer.
" You're clever enough for that still, are you, my dear ? Then why can't you look into tomorrow and next year for yourself?"
Fleta clasped her hands and held her peace.
" I insist upon knowing", said the old woman, with a flare of fury, " or I'll not do your bidding, not even if you fill me with pains from top to toe. I know what you are; I know you'd rack me with torments, as you've done before now, to get knowledge out of me. Go on, do it if you like. I've got a new trick that'll help me bear it. I'll not do a thing for you unless you tell me why you come to me for help. I thought you were white as a lily, sitting on a throne, talking with angels. What's the reason you're here ? "
Such a speech would have made most people smile. But Fleta knew with whom she had to deal, and regarded it very seriously, weighing her words as she slowly answered.
" I tried to pass the Initiation of the White Star, and I failed. My powers are gone, and I am blind and alone".
The old woman uttered an extraordinary ejaculation, something between an oath and a cry.
" You tried for that, did you ? Why, no woman has ever passed it. You deserve to be blind and dumb too, for your insolence".
And then the old wretch burst out laughing, Fleta standing by quietly watching her.
" I know quite well what you're set to do now", the witch said at last. "You're set to save souls, just as I'm set to send them to hell. Well, you won't find it easy. Nobody wants you now you've started into that business".
" I've found that out already", said Fleta.
" And they do want me", cried the witch. " Only think of that, and remember how pretty you are, and how ugly I am ! People like their souls lost for them; they hate having them saved. That's the common herd that I'm talking of. But there's somebody wanting to be saved now — somebody wanting help".
Fleta remained standing quite still, her eyes fixed on the old woman.
"Shall I tell you who it is?"
" Tell me the truth, Etrenella; I command it."
After a moment the old woman spoke in a low voice, less harsh than before.
" It is your master, Ivan.
If you must go saving souls, save his. He needs somebody to help him". [Page 33]
Fleta involuntarily started, and retreated a step; the fixed gaze she had kept on Etrenella relaxed.
" Do you mean this ? " she exclaimed.
Etrenella laughed, and dropped into her original manner.
" You needn't pretend you don't know when I'm telling the truth", she said, "you're not gone back to be a baby, I'm sure of that. Now look you here, my queen; I can give you something much better than your throne, or your king, or your kingdom, or anything else on this earth for you; I can make Ivan love you more dearly than the White Star itself; he's half way to it already, and does but want a touch. I can do it if you give me the word — ah ! I see your face, my white queen; I see your hands trembling — so that's why you failed, is it ? "
And this terrible Etrenella took up her little black pipe and proceeded to fill and light it ; while Fleta leaned against the fountain sick and faint, as if unto death, with the tide of emotions which rushed over her.
After one shrewd, cruel glance at this quivering figure, Etrenella went on speaking.
" You needn't hesitate. You've got crimes enough on your conscience. I can see them in the very air round you. What was that you made Hilary Estanol kill for you, you vampire ? You made him commit murder, and you know it. The thing was nearly human ! "
" You sent it!" cried Fleta, suddenly finding strength to speak.
" Yes, I did. And why not ? I'd heard you were married, and I sent to hear about you. It was quick and clever of you to kill him and take his life for yourself. You'd be in a fever now if you hadn't done it, and very near death. That little Duchess will die after a while; you scared her so that she can't get over it And how about Hilary Estanol ? Isn't his soul very near lost through this beauty of yours ? And so you can't have your laboratory now ? Ah ! "
" Speak to me as you should speak", cried Fleta, recovering herself and quickly taking the command again. "Tell me where to look for Father Ivan".
" I can't tell you that", said Etrenella. " You've got to get much more hungry than you are yet before you find him; so much I know. And I'll tell you this, for it's quite plain, and you might read it yourself; everything will crumble away from you — not only your friends, but your throne, and your kingdom. You will be just as much neglected as if you were as ugly as the old father of devils. My trade's a better one. Come, now, isn't it so?"
Fleta turned and walked straight
away without once pausing or looking back or hesitating. It was evident she
did not look upon Etrenella as a person towards whom it was necessary to use
politeness. When Etrenella saw that she was really going she half rose off
her rags and flung a screech after her. [Page 34]
" You'll have to go to hell's door to find him, I can tell you that!"
Fleta walked on, seemingly unmoved. But the words repeated themselves again and again in her ears, and seemed to echo along the streets. The whole city appeared to Fleta to be full of her own woe — there was none else, and nothing else in it — or, indeed, in the world.
ON the very morrow — or, rather, indeed, on the same day, for the dawn came as Fleta walked through the city — Etrenella's predictions began to be fulfilled. Fleta had entered the palace safely, though how this had been accomplished she could not even recollect. And at an hour when she was usually out among the flowers, she lay on her bed in a stupor of exhaustion and despair. A message came that the King particularly wished to see her. It sounded so urgent a message that Fleta thought it best not to deny herself to him, weary though she was. She rose, put on a loose white lace robe, and went into a little sitting-room that looked on the garden, to wait his coming. The singing of the birds worried her, and she retreated from the window — to which she had gone from habit — to the back of the room. She was standing there when Otto entered, and he paused a moment, startled by her appearance. The morning freshness, which no midnight labour had ever taken from her face before, was not on it now; she was as white as the dress she wore, and, with her black hair falling unbound upon her shoulders, she looked like a spectre rather than a living woman.
" You are ill, frightfully ill!" exclaimed Otto.
Fleta deliberately walked to a mirror, and looked into it. And then she smiled — such a bitter smile.
The thought in her heart was this. " I am fading already — the human mechanism goes always the same weary old round, and he will very soon tire of me now. It is over".
And with this dull sadness in her heart she turned away without any answer, and sat down on a couch in the dimmest corner of the room. The appearance of this action was as of indifference which actually amounted to insolence. Otto was a little nettled by it, and said no more, for the moment, as to Fleta's illness.
" I intruded on you," he said stiffly, " merely because it was my business to do so. Last night war was declared between England and Russia. My position and that of my kingdom is simply that of a gnat between one's forefinger and thumb; the allied powers are so strong, and so situated, that I must be crushed. Of course, I must fight it out, though the end is a foregone one, and inevitable. But you must not stay here. You must go at once. I cannot guarantee your safety after another twenty-four hours are passed. And I owe that much to your father. Go, now, and get ready and leave, this place. Do not [Page 35] delay an hour or a minute. You have been my queen for a day — no doubt that has been long enough for you."
"Quite long enough", answered Fleta quietly, "and yet the fall of the curtain seems a little hurried. I knew your position, of course; but I thought you expected to save it, and hoped for my assistance in so doing. That, in fact, it was still a matter of diplomacy".
" So it was till last night", answered Otto. " I had no idea that any such sudden action was meditated. I had intended that we should both visit London and St. Petersburg within the next two months, and I fully admit that I expected great help from you in dealing with these powers. But everything has been taken out of my hands and it has all been finished without my knowledge".
He walked to the window, and then, standing with his back to her, said, in a tone of deep feeling:
"Is it any of your cursed witchcraft, Fleta? Did you stir these men in their dreams, so that they should combine to crush me ? "
For a moment Fleta seemed about to answer fiercely; but she controlled herself by an effort, and then said, in a very low voice:
"As your queen I am loyal to you".
There was something extraordinarily
impressive in the way she said this. It convinced Otto instantly. He turned
on her with a sudden swift flash of interest and vivacity in his face. It was
the first gleam through the cloud that had been on him all the time he had
been with her.
" Will you show yourself to the army before you go?" he exclaimed. "It would make all the difference. The men have no heart in them".
" Not! " cried Fleta, rising instantly. A spot of colour was on each cheek, her eyes glittered.
" When shall I come ? " she said.
" Now” , answered Otto, responding to her spirit. " On the great plain outside the city they
are holding parade. Will you come ? ".
" One moment! " cried Fleta.
She swept past him, and shut the door of her own room. No one was there, and quite alone she made her toilette. It was so much the better, for it made her task easier. For three minutes she stood perfectly motionless inside the shut door. Her face was as set as that of a statue; every line was marked and rigid, and her eyes were like the eyes of a tiger. Her fierce will, roused into action, passed through all her frame and powers, and called out all the latent vigour in them. And so she worked a miracle, as many a clever conjuror does. It seemed like a conjuring trick to herself, when, the three minutes over, she advanced to the mirror and saw her face all alight with life, her cheeks flushed, her eyes vivid and sparkling, and youth returned more dewy than before. She hastily coiled up her hair and fastened it by jewelled pins; she passed her hand over her face, with the same sort of result that women produce with crême, and rouge, and powder, and half-an-hour's labour — the [Page 36] whole sparkling effect was blended, softened, made more beautiful. She threw aside her white robe, and hurriedly found in a wardrobe a dress of cloth of gold, over which she drew a long cloak all of white and gold, and lined with crimson.
Then she went to the door, opened it, and said, " I am ready".
" My God!" exclaimed Otto, " you are indeed a witch. You are well, you are brilliant, you are twenty times more beautiful than ever. Oh, Fleta ! listen to me. I will never leave your side, I will serve you like a slave if you will only let me love you".
" Love me " exclaimed Fleta, with the most burning scorn. "No — don't deceive yourself. You only love my beauty — a thing of the moment only. If instead of making myself beautiful I chose to make another woman so, you would transfer your love to her. Come, take me to your soldiers. They, at least, are honest. They like a woman while she is young and pretty, and weary her with their love; and when she is old, they let her cook for them and carry the loads like an ass. You kings are the same only you have not the courage to say so. Come — I am ready — lead the way".
Her manner was so imperious, Otto had no choice but to obey without further words.
And now came the one brief hour in which Fleta ever felt herself a queen; for yesterday's pageant had not touched her. As she moved among the soldiers it was like a torch carried along that lit fire where ever it went.
Seeing the young queen in her triumphant beauty among them the men rose to the wildest enthusiasm. Now and again, when it was possible, she spoke a few words to the men round her, who stood devouring her with their eyes and listening as though her voice was heaven-sent. The old General who rode by her carriage looked twenty years younger when he saw his men's faces all aflame.
"I wish your Majesty would go into the field of action with us” he exclaimed suddenly.
" So do I", answered Otto from the other side.
" Well, I will", said Fleta quietly.
"What do you mean?" exclaimed Otto in a different tone. He had no idea of her taking his words seriously, he had simply expressed the enthusiasm which the sight of her influence excited in him.
" Tell the men, General", said Fleta, '"that I am going to the battle field with them. I shall return to the palace at once and make my preparations. It is of no use for either of you to remonstrate now my mind is made up. I am going".
She ordered her coachman to turn back to the palace, and to drive quickly; so that no one had time to consider
or to hesitate. She was gone; but not her influence. And when it spread about among the men that she was going
with them the excitement was something extraordinary.
(To be continued.) [Page 37]
A FEW years back a very interesting controversy raged between several scientists of reputation. Some of these held that spontaneous generation was a fact in nature, whilst others proved the contrary; to the effect that, as far as experiments went, there was found to be biogenesis, or generation of life from previously existing life, and never the production of any form of life from non-living matter.
An erroneous assumption was made in the first instance that heat, equal to the boiling point of water, destroyed all life organisms; but by taking hermetically sealed vessels containing infusions, and subjecting them to such or a greater degree of heat, it was shown that living organisms did appear even after the application of so much heat. By more careful experiments, the following fact was brought to light, that spores of Bacteria, and other animalcule, which generally float in the air, can, when dry, withstand a greater degree of heat, and that when the experiments are made in optically pure air, no life ever appears, and the infusions never putrefy.
Along with the fact of biogenesis, we must note, however, Mr. Huxley's caution, when he says, " that with organic chemistry, molecular physics, and physiology yet in their infancy, and every day making prodigious strides, it would be the height of presumption for any man to say that the conditions under which matter assumes the qualities called vital, may not some day be artificially brought together " ; and, again, " that as a matter not of proof, but of probability, if it were given me to look beyond the abyss of geologically recorded time, to the still more remote period, when the earth was passing through chemical and physical conditions which it can never see again, I should expect to be a witness of the evolution of living protoplasms from non-living matter".
Tracing inorganic matter upwards to the form which approaches most nearly to vital organisms, "we come to those complex substances called "colloids", which are something like the white of an egg, and form the last stage of the ascending line from inorganic matter to organic life.
Tracing life downwards we ultimately
reach " protoplasm", called by Huxley " the physical basis
of life," a colourless, jelly-like substance, absolutely homogeneous without
parts or structure. Protoplasm is evidently the nearest approach of life to
matter; and if life ever originated from atomic and molecular combinations,
it was in this form.
Protoplasm in its substance is a nitrogenous carbon compound, differing only from other similar compounds of the albuminous family of colloid by the extremely complex composition of its atoms. Its peculiar qualities, including life, are not the result of any new and peculiar atom added to the known chemical compounds of the same family, but of the manner of grouping and motions of these elements. [Vide Mr. Samuel Laing’s new book “A Modern Zoroastrian”. The whole of the work is well worth study, as it is as interesting as it is scientific. Several quotations have been made in this article from that excellent volume — N.D.K.] [ Notwithstanding its excellency, it is a very materialistic work. — Editor] Life in its essence is manifested by the faculties of nutrition, sensation, movement, and reproduction, and every speck of protoplasm developes organisms which possess these faculties. The question has been asked whether this primitive speck of protoplasm can be artificially manufactured by chemical processes. Science has answered in the negative, as it knows as yet of no process by which any combination of inorganic matter could be vivified.
The law of evolution has now been satisfactorily proved to pervade the whole of the Universe, but there are several missing links, and, doubtless, the discoveries of modern science will in course of time bring many new facts to light on these obscure points which at present defy all search. Far more important than the question of the origin of species is the great problem of the development of life from what is looked upon as the inanimate mineral kingdom.
Every discovery of science, however limited it may be, affords food for thought, and enables us to understand how far we are to believe on the ground of observation and experiment, and how far we theorize in the right direction.
Science has not been able to prove the fact of "spontaneous generation" by experiment, but the best of scientists think it safe to believe that there must have been spontaneous generation [Esoteric Science, holding that nothing in nature is inorganic, but that every atom is a “life”, does not agree with “Modern Science” as to the meaning attached to “Spontaneous Generation”. We may deal with this later.— Editor.] at one time. Thus far, scientific thought is in accord with esoteric teachings.
Occult philosophy has it, that motion, cosmic matter, duration, space, are everywhere. Motion is the imperishable life, and is conscious or unconscious, as the case may be. It exists as much during the active period of the Universe, as during Pralaya, or dissolution, when the unconscious life still maintains the matter [ Esoteric Science does not admit of the “existence” of “matter” as such, in Pralaya. In its noumenal state, dissolved in the “Great Breath” or its “laya” condition, it can exist only potentially. Occult philosophy, on the contrary, teaches that, during Pralaya, “Naught is. All is ceaseless eternal Breath — Editor ] it animates in sleepless and unceasing motion.
'Life is ever present in the atom or matter, whether organic or inorganic — a difference that occultists do not accept. When the life energy is active in the atom, that atom is organic; when dormant or latent, the atom is inorganic. The Jiva, or [Page 39] life principle, which animates man, beast, plant, and even a mineral, is a form of force indestructible since this force is the one life, or anima mundi, the universal living soul, and since the various modes in which objective things appear to us in nature in their atomic aggregations, such as minerals, plants, animals, etc., are all the different forms or states in which this force manifests itself. Were it to become for one single instant inactive, say in a stone, the particles of the latter would lose instantly their cohesive property, and disintegrate as suddenly, though the force would still remain in each of its particles, but in a dormant state. [“Five Years of Theosophy,” page 535.] When the life force is disconnected with one set of atoms it becomes immediately attracted by others; but in doing so, it does not abandon entirely the first set, but only transfers its vis viva, or living power — the energy of motion — to another set. But because it manifests itself in the next set as what is called Kinetic energy, it does not follow that the first set is deprived of it altogether; for it is still in it, as potential energy, or life latent".
More than any other, the life principle in man is one with which we are most familiar, and yet are so hopelessly ignorant as to its nature. Matter and force are ever found allied. Matter without force, and force without matter, are inconceivable. In the mineral kingdom the universal life energy is one and unindividualized; it begins imperceptibly to differentiate in the vegetable kingdom, and from the lower animals to the higher animals, and man, the differentiation increases at every step in complex progression.
When once the life-principle has
commenced to differentiate, and has become sufficiently individualized, does
it keep to organisms of the same kind, or does it after the death of one organism
go and vivify an organism of another kind ? For instance, after the death
of a man, does the Kinetic energy which kept him alive up to a certain time
go after death and attach itself to a protoplasmic speck of the human kind,
or does it go and vivify some animal or vegetable germ ? [As far as the writer knows, Occultism does not teach that the LIFE-PRINCIPLE — which
is per se immutable, eternal, and as indestructible as the one causeless cause, for it is THAT in one of its
aspects — can ever differentiate individually. The expression in Five Years of Theosophy must be misleading,
if it led to such an inference. It is only each body — whether man, beast, plant, insect, bird, or mineral — which,
in assimilating more or less the life principle, differentiates it in its own special atoms, and adapts it to
this or another combination of particles, which combination determines the differentiation. The monad partaking
in its universal aspect of the Parabrahmic nature, unites with its monas on the plane of differentiation to constitute
an individual. This individual, being in its essence inseparable from Parabrahm, also partakes of the Life-Principle
in its Parabrahmic or Universal Aspect. Therefore, at the death of a man or an animal, the manifestation of life
or the evidences of Kinetic energy are only withdrawn to one of those subjective planes of existence which are
not ordinarily objective to us. The amount of Kinetic energy to be expended during life by one particular set
of physiological cells is allotted by Karma — another aspect of the Universal Principle — consequently
when this is expended the conscious activity of man or animal is no longer manifested on the plane of those cells,
and the chemical forces which they represent are disengaged and left free to act in the physical plane of their manifestation. Jiva — in its universal aspect — has, like Prakriti, its seven forms, or what we have
agreed to call "principles". Its action begins on the plane of the Universal Mind (Mahat] and ends
in the grossest of the Tanmatric five planes — the last one, which is ours. Thus though we may, repeating
after Sankhya philosophy, speak of the seven prakritis (or " productive productions") or after the
phraseology of the Occultists of the seven jivas — yet, both Prakriti and Jiva are indivisible abstractions,
to be divided only out of condescension for the weakness of our human intellect. Therefore, also, whether we
divide it into four, five or seven principles matters in reality very little. — Editor ] [Page 40]
After the death of a man, the energy of motion which vitalized his frame is said to be partly left in the particles of the dead body in a dormant state, while the main energy goes and unites itself with another set of atoms. Here a distinction is drawn between the dormant life left in the particles of the dead body and the remaining Kinetic energy, which passes off elsewhere to vivify another set of atoms. Is not the energy that becomes dormant [ A dormant energy is no energy.] life in the particles of the dead body a lower form of energy than the Kinetic energy, which passes off elsewhere; and although during the life of a man they appear mixed up together, are they not two distinct forms of energy, united only for the time being ?
A student of occultism writes as follows: [ “Five Years of Theosophy”, page 512]
" Jiva, or the life-principle, is subtle super-sensuous matter, permeating the entire physical structure of the living being, and when it is separated from such structure life is said to be extinct. A particular set of conditions is necessary for its connection with an animal structure, and when those conditions are disturbed it is attracted by other bodies presenting suitable conditions".
Every atom has contained within it its own life, or force, and the various atoms which make up the physical frame always carry with them their own life wherever they travel. The human or animal life-principle, however, which vitalizes the whole being, appears to be a progressed, differentiated, and individualized energy of motion, which seems to travel from organism to organism at each successive death. Is it really, as quoted above, " subtle super-sensuous matter", which is something distinct from the atoms that form the physical body ? (I)
If so, it becomes a sort of a monad, and would be something akin to the higher human soul which transmigrates from body to body.
Another and more important question is: — Is the life-principle, or Jiva, something different from the higher or spiritual soul? Some Hindoo Philosophers hold that these two principles are not distinct, but one and the same. (2)
To make the question plainer, it may be enquired whether occultism knows of cases in which human beings have been known to live quite separated from their spiritual soul? (3)
A correct comprehension of the nature,
qualities, and mode of action of the principle, called "Jiva", is
very essential for a proper understanding of the very first principles of Esoteric
Science, and it is with a view to elicit further information from those who
have kindly promised to give help to the Editors of LUCIFER on deep questions
of the science, that this feeble attempt has been made to formulate a few
questions which have been puzzling almost every student of Theosophy.
N. D. K.
Ahmedabad [Page 41]
(1) Modern Science, tracing all vital phenomena to the molecular forces of the original protoplasm, disbelieves in a Vital Principle, and in its materialistic negation laughs, of course, at the idea. Ancient Science, or Occultism, disregarding the laugh of ignorance, asserts it as a fact. THE ONE LIFE — is deity itself, immutable, omnipresent, eternal. It is " subtle, super-sensuous matter" on this lower plane of ours, whether we call it one thing or the other; whether we trace it to the "Sun-force" — a theory by B. W. Richardson, F.R.S. — or call it this, that, or the other. The learned Dr. Richardson — an eminent authority —goes further than words, for he speaks of the life-principle as of " a form of MATTER " (!!) Says the great man of science: " I speak only of a veritable material agent, refined, but actual and substantial; an agent having quality of weight and of volume; an agent susceptible of chemical combination, and thereby of change of physical state and condition ; an agent passive in its action, moved always, i.e., by influences apart from itself, obeying other influences; an agent possessing no initiative power, no vis or energia naturae, but still playing a most important, if not a primary part in the production of the phenomena resulting from the action of the energia upon visible matter''' (p. 379). As one sees, the Doctor plays at blind man's buff with occultism, and describes admirably the passive, " life elementals" used — say — by great sorcerers to animate their homunculi. Still the F.R.S. describes one of the countless aspects of our "subtle, super-sensuous-matter-life-principle".
(2) And the Hindu philosophers are right. It is here that we have real need of the divisions of everything — Prakriti, Jiva, etc. — into principles to enable us to explain the action of Jiva on our low planes without degrading it. Thence, while the Vedantin philosopher may be content with four principles in his universal Kosmogony, we occultists need at least seven to enable ourselves to understand the difference of the Protean nature of the life-principle once it acts on the five lower spheres or planes.
Our readers, enamoured with Modern Science, at the same time as with the occult doctrines — have to choose between the two views of the nature of the Life Principle, which are the most accepted now, and — the third view — that of the occult doctrines. The three may be described as follows: —
I. That of the scientific " molecularists " who
assert that life is the resultant of the interplay of ordinary molecular
II. That which regards " living organisms" as animated by an independent "vital principle", and declares "inorganic" matter to be lacking this.
III. The Occultist or Esoteric standpoint, which looks upon the distinction between organic and inorganic matter as fallacious and nonexistent in nature. For it says that matter in all its phases being merely a vehicle for the manifestation through it of LIFE — the Parabrahmic Breath — in its physically pantheistic aspect (as Dr. Richardson would say, we suppose) it is a super-sensuous state of matter itself the vehicle of the ONE LIFE, the unconscious purposiveness of Parabrahm.
(3) It is just this. A human being can " live" quite separated from his [Page 42] Spiritual Soul — the 7th and 6th principles of the ONE LIFE or "Atma-Buddhi"; but no being — whether human or animal — can live separated from its physical Soul, Nephesh or the Breath of Life (in genesis). These "seven souls" or lives(that which we call Principles), are admirably described in the Egyptian Ritual and the oldest papyri. Chabas has unearthed curious papyri and Mr. Gerald Massey has collected priceless information upon this doctrine; and though his conclusions are not ours, we may yet in a future number quote the facts he gives, and thus show how the oldest philosophy known to Europe — the Egyptian — corroborates our esoteric teachings.
A grand upheaval of humanity !
Whose shoulders Atlas-like moved all the world ?
On Darwin's grave Science her flag unfurled
And waved in triumph. Patient and god-like, he
Tunnelled hard rocks to light He could not see,
And found it too, a golden spark that showed
To future seekers, where lies endless road
To dark creation's Protean mystery.
Yet was he blind to that Instinctive Soul
Which compasses and lights the lamp-like whole;
We name it God, and know His voice is nigh
To listening ears, — but this one's reason bent
Toward earth, descried no spirit firmament —
A giant Cyclops with a single eye.
The Bust of Socrates
Time-honored head of Socrates ! to learn
What were thy lineaments through sculptor's hand
Is sweet delight! Though on that classic land
I may not look, whose myrtled groves once shook
Harmonious to thy breath, e'en here each brook
Where hemlock grows keeps green thy memory,
Since 'twas her potent root which set thee free
From vulgar rage, safe wafting to return
To some bright planet 'mid the jewel spheres.
Thou martyred sage, how many chanticleers
Would I in meek obedience immolate
To Aesculapius, if some kindly Fate
Thereby propitious, 'mong the wise below,
Thy living, wrinkled, rugged, face would show. [Page 43]
FLOATING in the astral light of our own planet, ages and ages ago, hovered a beautiful Spirit. She, from worlds beyond our knowledge, drew near, and kept aeons after aeons watching the human races as they swept from the unseen into the seen, from spirit into matter, and from matter into spirit.
Whether she, in the ages past had been as they, I cannot tell. But after watching human life and human woe for centuries I thought I saw her resolved to become as the sons and daughters of men, to share their sorrow, for what is shared is divided and thereby lessened. She resolved to begin at the first round of the ladder, and gradually to ascend. In short, to throw herself into the whirlpool of human existence.
Ages rolled on but what were they to her? She had enrolled among the children of men, like they, she was clothed in a decaying garment, and like them she cast it off when worn out, only to assume another.
Up the eternal, spiral column of life she travelled step by step, until one morning a beautiful babe was born on the earth and the mother whispered: " The Gods have smiled on thee ! "
What was the cloud of melancholy which deepened on the fair young face as girlhood stole on and deepened as girlhood faded ? Alas, the consciousness of earth was beginning to return, the succession of lives to which she had bound herself must be passed. Earth began to fetter her, as she gradually realised the sad tragic truth, that although thousands pressed around her, yet was she alone! " I will be a poet", she said, " and feel for others ! " And Spirits from other worlds inspired her so that man wept when they read her sonnets. For each man stands like a mournful spectre, and is alone, finding little love and little sympathy in those around. But the poet reaches every heart in its loneliness, shattering the stern walls around, to let the sunlight stream into it. She touched the hearts of men and made them better. She, clad in mortal flesh, revealed the folded page of nature and spelt out for men its mystic symbolism.
Once more she folded her earthly garment and laid it aside for a new one. And now she was born on the earth a beggar's child ! the Spirits of the earth formed her robe of flesh into perfect beauty. The poet's soul was there, and she looked through it into other souls. What was there but sorrow and loneliness again in store for herself and the crowds of weeping humanity around her? If thou wouldst see the real man [Page 44] thou must look within. That which is within is the real, the outer is its shadow, still oftener its mask.
From childhood she grew into womanhood, and consciousness began to dawn fuller than before. Now she dimly saw forms around her, which were clothed in subtler garments than those of the flesh. Knowledge came into her heart, and she remembered what she had been before. Remembrance returned gradually, steadily, as womanhood advanced. The lives she had lived in the past ages grew like a great light of memory, and overwhelmed her. ...
" Look", said the people, pointing at her, " look, that is Zarina, the beggar's child! "
" A beggar's child !" exclaimed a young man one day, when he heard these words. " A beggar's daughter !" he repeated to himself as in a dream, feeling a sudden wave of love for her overspread all his being.
" Ah", was the answer given by an old, white-bearded man to the youth, as he stood and gazed at the beautiful girl dressed in rags. " Only a beggar's child ! "
Zarina caught the words, caught the tone. The hot blood rushed to her temples, and she fled in sorrow down the narrow street. The youth, brushing back his long dark hair with one hand, and with the other clasping tight his violin, for he was a musician, tried to overtake her. But the footsteps of wounded vanity and shame are swift, and she was gone. So he returned to the old man, and questioned him easily concerning her whom he already loved so madly.
" What would you with the beggar's daughter ? " he was sternly asked. " Would you gain admittance into her humble home, and flaunt before her eyes the golden toys which turn a maiden's brain ? Nay, nay, thy face is that of an honest man. . . . Know that I am a philosopher, and that heaven and earth are unveiled at my bidding ? Come then, with me".
Calitzo followed the speaker silently down the narrow street and entered with him a low, arched doorway. Beyond this was a long, narrow passage, at the end of which the old man opened a door, and ushered the youth into a small, barely furnished room, where a lamp was burning, although it was still daylight,
Calitzo asked no questions. He had a strange sense of being entirely at this stranger's bidding; that he could not speak or move, or do anything, except the old man willed it.
" I know you, O poet-musician", said the old man. " Do not you recognise me ? Ah, well, heaven and earth are closed books to most; the past is obliterated to you, the future unknown; and yet, poor fool, you do thirst for knowledge! Knowledge shall come, your fate is written on your brow, and your past is as yesterday to me. Your future? Youth, it is for you to make it. So is mine. Would you [Page 45] know the beggar's daughter ? I will tell you of her. Ages ago, she was born as a child unto me — she was a poet. She touched all men's hearts but mine, for it was hardened; and with a poet's love, she gave her life for mine, and entered into her rest. You were then a noble boy, and she loved you. But she gave you up, while giving up, her life for me, and left you alone on earth. Her father, he who is now her parent, in a hot, unguarded moment, seeing your despair, killed me; yes, he took away the life she had saved by sacrificing her own."
Oblivion wrapped all in darkness, until the sea of time washed us all to the shore once more, and we were again clothed in flesh. And now am I a philosopher and an alchemist. The keys of the past are mine; but before I can attain to the perfection of knowledge I must return four-fold into her heart that which I withheld from her, for I loved her not in the bygone ages, and made her life sad. I must also before I can help thee, accord unto him who was thy father, Calitzo, full reward for the rash deed, which caused my disembodied spirit to suffer ages in being so suddenly severed from the body. I will give her back to thee; for which purpose I must make use of powers forbidden, and thus bring on just retribution to all of us. Zarina does not know me and I dread her. Knowledge is dawning upon her, as it must upon all one day, and she begins to converse with and discern the unseen. Time must not be lost, and first of all the memory of the past must be imparted to thee. Come !
The alchemist led the way into an inner room, where Calitzo almost fainted with the suffocating fumes. The place looked like a cave, lit with a curious, fairy-like vapour hanging as cobwebs drawn hither and thither. The various odours of chemicals making him feel quite ill, he dropped down on a rude bench, while the alchemist kept moving round and round him, until he saw that Calitzo was fast asleep. Then the old man proceeded to make some mixture, muttering all the while weird sentences, and drawing diagrams upon the floor, until the neighbouring clock struck the midnight hour. . . . "It shall be", he murmured. "Thou, Calitzo, art one to whom I shall owe a great debt of gratitude, but thou knowest it not. Zarina cannot be thine unless her father dies, and the hour that brings her here, shall bring death to him. Then will she turn to thee as her only friend, and thus fate will be accomplished". He awoke Calitzo, and made him tell him what he had seen. The youth described Zarina's home, her beggar father, and then, as one in a dream, spoke of a life, ages ago, when he and she loved each other ! of her sad tragic death, and of his own rash act. " In three days", said the alchemist, under his breath, "she shall be thine, and I shall be delivered unto the evil powers, to whose aid I resort. Come to me", he added aloud, "at midnight, the third night from this. Everything shall be prepared, and she shall be thine".
Zarina sat in her father's room alone. It was the third day after the [Page 46] alchemist's interview with Calitzo, and she knew of the awful powers which were to be used that night, powers which she might not be able to withstand. Better than the alchemist, she knew also that her father, and even Calitzo, her beloved of old, might fall a victim to them. For two nights the mystic spells had been at work, and now on this last and fatal night she alone must counteract them. She sat thinking until half past eleven, and then, drawing a black shawl around her, silently left the house, taking her way to the abode of the alchemist. Her inspired face was rigid and sad. "This night the powers of Light and Darkness shall meet, and the alchemist must not be allowed to give himself up to powers of Evil" .... it is she alone, who shall pronounce the fatal words, and she alone, who shall be delivered unto the dark destiny, if anyone must be. The supernal love and power which inspire one at the thought of saving others at one's own sacrifice, pervaded her whole being. . . .
She opened the door of the alchemist's house and crept silently along the narrow curving passage; and although she had never been there before, nothing seemed unfamiliar to her in it; she passed through the first room. Absolute silence reigned around, and she heard only the beatings of her own heart. Thud ! thud ! thud ! like a great mallet, beat that heart which was so soon to stop for ever. She placed her hand on the latch of the alchemist's sanctum and softly stepped in. The old man stood beside a table covered with vessels, and outside the circle with the curious characters in it which was drawn upon the floor, sat Calitzo on a bench. His breath came short and fast as she appeared, and the alchemist fixed his gloomy eyes upon her. But Zarina, keeping her gaze fixed upon him whom she had loved so well in her previous life, never looked after the first glance at the old man again. Evidently her visit was expected, for the old man betrayed not the least surprise and only waited in breathless, silence. But now, she slowly approached the magic circle, and the alchemist began to look uneasy. Suddenly, a great cry of horror escaped from his breast, as, with the first stroke of the town-clock tolling midnight she was within the circle, and as the mists and vapour from the chemicals he had prepared arose into the damp air enveloping her as in a shroud.
Her action had been so quick and unexpected that while he was yet speaking, the phosphorescent smoke filled with filmy living creatures had entirely closed around her, and she sank within the magic circle a helpless heap. . . .
" Lost, she is lost! " cried the alchemist. " Nay, Calitzo, approach her not. Zarina is lost, lost. She has taken the curse upon herself, and her father, my enemy, still lives. ..."
Lost ! Lost ! the cry that escaped the old man's lips was caught up and re-echoed like a deep sigh by Calitzo's violin. It sang an old melody, a familiar dirge: — [Page 47]
"Saved — ah, saved ! Hell
Over him, who for another
Gives his life. . . .
Not lost — but saved !"
The melody grew fainter, as the mists thickened around Calitzo. Then a faintness came over him and he lost consciousness. When he awoke he found the alchemist kneeling with his head on Zarina's prostrate form and as dead and cold as his victim was. The violin was silent and daylight was stealing in, struggling with the dark shadows of the cave. With a heartrending cry Calitzo knelt down beside her and softly breathed her name. . . .
But Zarina answered not. The glorious spirit had thrown off for the last time, and now for ever, the dusty garment
of flesh. It was hovering again in the resplendent light of All-consciousness.
To pray ! To utter forth our deepest yearning
Into the great Unknown, with no vain sighs
Toward this world's outer semblance, and to rise
In spirit to those planes of higher learning,
Where finer senses, outward visions spurning,
Wrap us in holy mystery and surprise;
Where no dull shades bedim our weary eyes
But all is clear in Heavenly discerning. [Page 48]
IN ancient and mediaeval times occult mysteries, such as are considered superstition and superstitious practices by the esprits forts of our day, received more credit, were allowed to influence human life.
In olden times, when people dabbled in black magic to an awful extent—as revealed in the life of Catherine de Medicis — a man or woman quite realised the efficacy of a curse, and that it could be handed down from generation to generation — a grim inheritance, scarcely so desirable as the family jewels. In such cases, why should mysterious apparitions not be merely fixed images in the family aura ? Following a certain law, they are seen only at appointed times; when such changes take place in the lives of individuals of the family as to bring them more particularly within the line of psychic vision. If they appear as a warning unexpectedly, whilst the individuals warned may be in perfect health, or whilst only happiness and security reign in the family, yet the " house-spirits", the "elementals", of whatsoever grade or power they may be, for whom Time does not exist, are already cognisant of events which impend, and with mechanical precision exhibit the habitual signal. Obedient to an impression received perhaps centuries before, they faithfully reproduce the same warning when the soul-conditions of individuals reveal that death or misfortune is impending. Or, it may have become the inherited psychic idiosyncrasy of the family for this inner self, the "double", of an individual to give the warning by means of the elemental wraith, or the astral sound — the "cry of the banshee", etc.. "Doubles", in rare cases, have been known to give warnings of danger.
Our theory seeks to exclude the idea that a human soul can be destined to become after death an earth-haunter for a period of centuries. It is true that the lower and the more wicked a soul has been in earth-life, the more does it cling after death to the earth; despairingly seeking to re-embody itself, if possible, to escape from the torments attending the gradual disintegration of its sidereal body, and to experience again the pleasures of the passions which were the source of animal gratification in the body. But even in the case of the most wicked, this condition would hardly endure longer than a hundred years, or the usual limit of a man's life in these days. Such beings may, of course, become haunting ghosts for a certain length of time, and doubtless often do; but they are not of the genus of "hereditary ghosts". A "hereditary ghost" must, it appears to us, be of the nature of an elemental, or merely a reflection in the astral light. These reflections are [Page 49] seen by persons momentarily gifted with the open sight, and as reflections nearly always wear the same appearance. As elementals, who possess more or less consciousness, their appearance would vary. Only an enlightened seer can discriminate between mere reflections in the sidereal light, and real appearances, objects, or beings in the adjacent region of more ethereal matter.
The sidereal bodies of pure and innocent human beings soon disintegrate; in some instances, when there has been high spiritual evolution, they evaporate as a kind of incense, and the pure soul is immediately wafted into its heavenly condition. For this reason, where a "hereditary ghost" assumes a benevolent aspect, and returns for objects of beneficence, it would be a great mistake to imagine it to be the "spirit" of a pure and sainted ancestor, or ancestress, inasmuch as the only thing which could really be seen, would be simply the astral body which is, sooner or later, disintegrated after death.
There are some apparitions which have a world-wide celebrity, having been repeatedly seen during centuries, their appearances having become matters of local or family history. Two of the most notable instances are those of the White Lady of Berlin, and the Flying Dutchman.
The story of the Flying Dutchman is that the captain of a Dutch ship, baffled by contrary winds in attempting to round the Cape of Good Hope, became enraged, and swore that he would accomplish his purpose in spite of storms, or winds — the opposing forces of Nature — if it took him an eternity to do it. The ship was lost, and the captain's soul, or wraith, still continues to navigate the stormy seas, appearing as a warning to mariners of approaching calamity. It is probable that some of the sailors, who were cognisant of the captain's oath, survived the loss of the ship, and originated the idea of his retributive doom; which idea has continued to exist as a reflection in the astral light, and is disclosed to view as an actual scene during some sudden rift in the veil of matter. It is impossible to account for or explain the intimate interblending of the two conditions of existence lying side by side — the material, and ethereal; and those transitory conditions caused by disturbance of the elements which would produce a momentary rift in the veil of dense matter. But at the same time it is possible that the intense emotions of rage, and determination to have his own way in spite of God and Nature, may have caused the curses of the Dutchman to exhaust their energy upon himself, and kept him, the victim of a violent and sudden death, chained to the scene of his sin for a certain period. The miserable entity, wearing out its sidereal body, may have appeared again and again, until the appearance has become a fixed idea pictured in the astral light, and becoming visible, like a Fata Morgana, under the disturbed elemental conditions above described.
The White Lady appears just before a death, not only in the Hohenzollern family, but is believed to haunt also the palaces of [Page 50] Baireuth, Anspach, and Cleves, which are residences of families allied to the imperial family of Prussia The house of Rosenburg in Bohemia, also allied to that of Hohenzollern, is honoured by the apparition of the White Lady. She appears also to the Hapsburgs.
The White Lady is said to have been seen before the death of the Elector John George in 1598. Her last recorded appearances were in 1840, before the death of Frederick William III. ; and 1861, previous to the demise of Frederick William IV.
Many stories of a conflicting character have been handed down, becoming more or less mutilated and confused in the process of transmission, to account for this apparition. These have a foundation of crimes and cruelties which are supposed to chain the human soul, as a species of retribution, to the scenes of its old sins. In one instance only, does the tradition point to a life of goodness and benevolence, in the case of Bertha von Rosenburg. After the death of her husband, a Styrian Baron who treated her cruelly, she returned to Bohemia, and devoted her life to the care of orphans. She always wore a dress of white mourning, which was then customary for widows. The White Lady of Rosenburg is represented as loving children, and appearing to rebuke careless and inattentive nurses.
In the traditions of this apparition every incident stated goes to strengthen our theory that this ghost is the product of une idée fixe in the mental aura of these several families, all allied by marriage, and who have transmitted from century to century the impression of a mysterious visitant who comes as a warning of death.
There is, however, another way of accounting for the apparition of the White Lady. In ancient times it was customary to inhume a living body in the foundations of buildings, castles, palaces, bridges, even gateways, and walls. It was a sacrifice of blood to propitiate the "gods", "principalities and powers”, i.e., the "elemental spirits" who watch over men. It was supposed that no building would remain firm and secure unless the foundations were cemented with blood, which was usually that of some criminal sentenced to death. This superstitious custom was handed down even unto Christian times, when an animal, a dog, goat, wolf, perchance a cock, or hen, was often substituted for the human victim.
Henrich Heine mentions this custom. " In the Middle Ages", he says, " the opinion prevailed that when any building was to be erected, something living must be killed, in the blood of which the foundation had to be laid, by which process the building would be secured from falling; and in ballads and traditions the remembrance is still preserved, how children and animals were slaughtered for the purpose of strengthening large buildings with their blood.
In the "Swedish Folk-tales" Afzelius says:” Heathen superstition did not fail to show itself in the construction of Christian churches. In [Page 51] laying the foundations , the people retained something of their former religion, and sacrificed to their old deities, whom they could not forget, some animal, which they buried alive, either under the foundation or without the wall. The spectre of this animal is said to wander about the churchyard by night, and is called the Kirk-Grim. A tradition has also been preserved that under the altar in the first Christian churches a lamb was usually buried, which imparted security and duration to the edifice. This is an emblem of the true Church Lamb — the Saviour, who is the corner-stone of His church. When anyone enters a church when there is no service, he may see a little lamb spring across the quire and vanish. That is, the reflection in the astral light would be seen by those who expected to see a lamb, and whose psychic vision was temporarily opened. Many persons are born with a tendency to open vision or clairvoyance, which frequently displays itself during their lives; others, again, have it rarely, when they are more open to those psychological effects termed a species of inebriation. The Fakirs of India are adepts at producing this effect upon whose witness their wonderful performances.
It is related that the workmen were engaged for three years upon the fortifications of Scutari, without succeeding in getting the walls to stand. At length they declared that the only possible way for them to succeed was to bury a living victim under the walls. A young woman, who daily brought their dinner, was seized upon and buried, after which, the walls stood firm.
It is possible that the White Lady of Berlin is the apparition of some girl or woman (perhaps a criminal already sentenced to death) who was buried under the foundations of an ancient castle, and that the original true cause for the haunting appearance has been forgotten, and twisted into tradition more nearly relating to the personal histories of remote ancestors of the royal houses to which the memory of the ghost has attached itself.
Thus the phantom, or the picture
of a former scene, or scenes, still lingers upon that illustrated page of
human life, to which men’s eyes are usually sealed with a blindness that ends only with death, as one of the
myriad proofs that this “insubstantial pageant”, these earthly scenes in which we bury all our senses,
will continually fade, like the lives of men, leaving “not a rack behind”, while
those invisible substantial scenes of soul-life will endure so long as the
earth endures, and men still live upon it, passing through stages of evolution.
For that is the real side of life, and this is its outcome. [Page 52]
We dwelt in a quiet cathedral town, famous for naught, save its tranquillity and rose-bushes, and the gorgeous workmanship of the holy edifice itself. All took its tone from the ecclesiastical gravity that reigned in and around the close, with its whispering, fragrant limes, and the solemn black-robed men who dwelt beneath their shade, ay, and had their small jealousies and hatreds and earthly passions too, thinly veiled by the enforced and sometimes ill-fitting mask of piety.
Near by was Castle Troyes, our home, and there now dwelt, my father, Sir Richard, my mother, myself, and the flower and extreme ruler of our house, sweet Marguerite, a little perfect nymph, with the cool depth of liquid blue child eyes.
I was a grievous source of dudgeon to my honoured father. He was a noted warrior; his father and his brothers had been such, and so, he meant, should be his son. As with all parents, the bent of his son's mind to learning rather than to action much discomfited him. I have ever thought my noble father did me less than justice in this matter. I could shoot as well as he with the bow; I was no novice with a horse, and I fenced, I know, with elegance and strength. But he would have had me a champion in these arts, and in sooth I had a mind more framed towards solitary musing and deciphering old tomes. I know right well, though he strove to hide it from me, that I was a stone of stumbling to my father, and from time to time, as the ireful side of his tongue came up to breathe itself at the surface, he showed it me.
The main difference betwixt me and my foregoers was this. They had gone forth, confident and firm and ardent, to the world as it actually was, and cared no whit that it should be better than it was. It was good enough for them, they deemed, or they would not have been brought thither. They met the world as a friend, with open eyes truly, but also with open hands and hearts.
I looked at the world a little, casually, from my position as a bystander, and felt that I cared not greatly for it. Therefore to my friends I was tedious, to my enemies despicable.
And thus I became a brooding boy, timid also by habit, for the very fervour of mine imaginations, but full of high fancies that made a man of me despite myself. For that I spoke little and from the purpose, and kept my eyes to look upon the ground, I was held dull, until my thirteenth year. Then it was that my sire chanced to lay hand on some [Page 53] poor verses I had lately left on paper, and, not content to judge of them by the light of his own plentiful reason, committed them to the reading of a certain Canon, who, approving them, brought me into great respect of the same parents as, the day before, had thought me dull. Not that the good Canon — I say it wittingly — knew the half that I did of the laws of Rhyme — but there, so be it ! By his censure I was to stand or fall. I remember I laughed sadly as I became aware of the change in my parents' judgment of their son. They were so glad when they found somewhat for which I might be praised. And yet, what skilled the manual labour ? What if I had not hitherto laid my verses upon paper? The thoughts had long been there — the poetry had welled up from my heart like life-blood since my birth. I was the same boy who, years before, had his brain thronged with far prettier fancies than those they chanced to see. Howbeit, from henceforth I was " the Poet that shall be !" and the guests gazed upon me as on some poor changeling with whom they had scant sympathy, feeling dimly, even while they despised me, that I bore in my brain the power to punish them.
Let me not be bitter. A cathedral town holds as many kind hearts as any desolate city which hath no God to worship. I had friends even in my birth-place; though as yet I knew them not. Until now, I loved my Marguerite, my young, my fairy sister — her only, as yet, I sang, I loved, I worshipped; and through her, the Ideal of beauty, and of pure thoughts, and of a God who constructs holy things and to whom we vaguely but incessantly aspire.
Well, but to my purpose.
I meditated often by myself upon such thoughts as come to those who dwell under the shadow of a great cathedral, fenced about with the gloomy security of cloisters, far from the city, and near, as it should seem, to the worship of God. We were at variance with the creed established in the town and illustrated in the splendid services of the cathedral. The De Troyes were of Norman blood, good Catholics to this day, having their private chapel for the old worship, and knowing little or nothing of the new Protestant form, save that it was favoured by the reigning monarch, and that it had ousted us from the public confession of our belief within the walls of our own cherished cathedral, which we were now fain to look upon as a fair space desecrated, filled with apostates. I brooded often, as I sat searching with my eyes the intricacies of delicate workmanship on the lofty spires. I mused on the quaint shows and apparently necessary symbols by which men strive to harmonize their souls with a tone of thought which is to most of them incongruous, unreal. How they seem only fit to reach and grasp Ideas by the help of something tangible. Whether can men, in truth, lift the soul by the senses ? In my own sober abstraction — boy that I was ! as yet untempted — I despised them and their struggles [Page 54] after what seemed to me to be the natural state of a rational being.
I knew nought as yet of the great weariness and disgust of brain that besets the human creature who has striven, like a god, to stay in the region where things appear not, but are. Else, had I looked upon all rites as the soul's earnest confession of weakness, showing the purpose better than the power, the heart uplifted, but intelligence despairing — ciphers which only ask to perish at a sign from Heaven !
It was natural, owing to the suggestions given by the place of a new world and a life of the spirit, that my meditations led me often, by devious paths to think of the old bodiless enemy of our house — the fabled phantom who could yet work ill — "The White Monk", whom I pictured, now that I was older, as some homeless spirit, stored with fearful wisdom and with capacity still to kill men by a magic terror, and withal, in constant relation to another universe, of which I thought much, but knew less than nothing. In the sunlight I would pace the cloisters and yearn to see and speak with him. I would — alas for my folly! — construct a dialogue which I should hold with him, bearing myself manly and bold the while. But in the soft shimmer of the moon — I know not how — I never felt the same. Then it was that I perceived, and bowed to, the essential difference between the life of mortal and of spirit.
How shall I tell it, the first meeting I had with the enemy of our house ?
As I remember, it was somewhat on this wise; but think not that I can in words describe the physical terror and the soul's subjection to unthought-of creeds !
I stepped out one evening in the summer gloom to listen to the muffled whizzing of bats' wings, and the cooing of wild doves, and the hum of thousands of insects. (I loved all Nature, all, that cannot argue and sneer.) I went in my musing out of the house by a side way, and stood in the old court-yard. Idly I noted the flight of a starling to its nest under the eaves of that part of the castle which was now but a fair ruin, left standing yet until my sire should have wealth to build a new wing in its stead.
All suddenly my eyes were rivetted to a certain arched window-moulding at a great height from the ground. I saw nothing, but I drew in my breath and crossed myself, and then forgot myself and all the world in an intolerable waiting. I know not if this endured long; this I know — had anyone held a sword unsheathed beside me, and I had been able, I would with gladness have turned and fallen upon it, even to still the horrid dread.
It came — the vacant dark space flashed — a whiteness, first dim, then vivid, then dim again; then more shapely, and then the revelation. To my unspeakable horror, I vow the clear semblance of our [Page 55] long-dead enemy leant out at that ruined casement and looked down.
I tried to shriek. I hid my face; through my hands I could feel the whiteness striking on my eyes. I could only utter a faint murmur, and at last, in desperation, I looked up again. I could not see the spectre's features, for they were concealed by the white cowl, all but a motionless white line of mouth and chin. And just then I heard a shriek. Not mine, no, but Marguerite's.
I forgot the terror, and ran to my sister. The child had come running in pursuit of me, with a cabbage-leaf full of cherries which she would have shared with me. And she had slipped on the rough pavement and fallen, and cried out, more for the sake of the pity she wanted than because it hurt her. There she lay, half-laughing and half-crying, with the red cherries scattered round her flaxen head. I was but a poor support at first, I ween, for I trembled so that I scarce could raise her. Having her safe in the house again, I returned, as one must who hopes to rid himself of a cheat of the brain. The Monk was gone; the arch was growing black in the gathering dusk — and I believed, in spite of all, more firmly than ever, that face to face I and our enemy had been.
Our creed countenances the idea of returned souls, spared from Purgatory awhile for ends which we mortals may not fathom. Moreover, there is a certain feeling — but I will not argue. Suffice it that what I had seen threw me into a shrewd fever. It was so horrible; to fear that arched window so, for what I might see there again. To fear the court-yard, the disused part of the castle, the lonely stairs, the very cloisters of the cathedral. At last I came to have the delusion that, wherever I walked, suddenly I would come facing that window, in which would slowly shape the white form, until I could not bear it, and holding out my arms stiffly, would walk right through the dismal picture. This unnerved me entirely at length, though I distinguished the nature of the vision from its original. I fell into a fever, still (for yet was the child in me) refusing to tell what ailed me.
I was very ill, and when the recoil came, I awoke to a deeper life. I was more manly; I confessed my fears, entitling them "delusions". I bade the servants search the ruin for any sign of an inhabitant; myself went with them and bore the light, and I know that the work was thoroughly done. So I professed myself satisfied. But the knowledge gained upon me that what I had seen was for me alone.
After a time of wavering between the body's repulsion for any life not of its own nature, and the spirit's need to find out the utmost meaning of any sign presented to it, I grew to familiarity with the recollection of the Monk's appearance, and my whole soul being given to metaphysical studies and questionings at that time, I longed to behold the spectre [Page 56] again. Next time, I vowed, I would learn somewhat of our ancient enemy. I feared not much the traditions of his hurtfulness to our hearth even after death; he had appeared to me, and behold ! I lived, and desired the sight of him again.
And I did see him.
One night, as it grew dusk, I sat copying a bit of the exquisite tracery on the interior of a cloister wall by the cathedral. I loved drawing, and exercised myself often upon it, as upon music also of different sorts; for it mattered little to me how I caught the Ideal, so that I was privileged to see it rendered up to me in part. It was not so much the butterfly love for divers beauties, but rather adoration for the Unity of Thought which manifested itself to me under Protean forms.
Well, I sat there drawing, in meditative watchfulness, at the end of one long, shaded cloister walk. The yew-trees sighed and fluttered without, and the trailing rose-tendrils beat softly against the grey stone, which scattered in revenge rosy petals even into the dim seclusion where I was intent upon forestalling the darkness with my sketch.
At the instant when my eyes were most searchingly occupied with a divine curve which the stone-work took into the dimness of the corner, something attracted them to the extremity of the cloister. Into the entrance had just flashed that weird white glimmer for which I had been waiting all these weeks.
I rose up, moistening my lips.
He had come; now must I speak ? I strove to step towards him and fell back silently upon the ground. The figure slowly advanced, stopping at each arch as if to gaze out over the quiet lawn beyond. I sat up, with my brain confused, but my will fixed to meet and confront the vision. Blessed Saints ! was I not honest at heart ? What should I fear ?
And still the slow, white, sweeping figure ever advanced, nearer and nearer towards me, and it seemed the darkness gathered before him — or was it in mine eyes ? For a horrible, cold quailing was about my heart, and a singing in mine ears. I thought of old tales I had heard, and I could not distinctly see the shrouded mystery. Further from me he had shown clear — at every step he took he became more intense a secret. Ah, I cannot picture him to you! You must gather all from what I can tell of my own intolerable emotion. In Nature there is very little white, except the snow. In summer, mark how the sudden flash of white surprises. My sweet sister came in white once hastily round a dark oak tree, and I remember how the harmony of the landscape was shattered and she alone stood out, the rest subordinate. A white thorn flowering on a Spring star-light night will bring you into strange surmises.
I dally in the telling. The Monk came very slowly; his hands, I know, were clasped before him, palms downwards, inertly, as if in [Page 57] despair or pain. His face was hidden — how I yearned for some sign of life in his unnatural stillness ! Still, the concealing cowl; would it ever be lifted ? And now it was very dark, and he came near, quite near, and there was no sound of breathing or of footsteps, but he was vague before my dazzled eyes, only very white, and of great stateliness. The whiteness blinded me — he was about to pass me — somewhat I must do to prevent the next moment, or lightning from that whiteness would strike me and I die.
I fainted dead and still, into an intense swoon that saved my good fame from the death of a coward.
As you may think, this disaster threw me into so great dudgeon and contempt for my weakness that I loved not overmuch to recall it. But I seemed haunted by my enemy at every turn.
I was playing with Marguerite in the picture-gallery one day, and she, sweet elf, was making merry over the quaint costumes of our ancestors, and striving to mock their frowning looks, when the fancy took her to wander into a little dim side passage, where, in no very glorious case, hung an old portrait of the White Monk himself, our house's foe.
I never liked its being there, and I hated to see the child looking at it. She had never heard word of his foul history, but it seemed to me, with my secret loathing for him, that she could not choose but read it in the murderer's face. So I called her away, first coaxingly, then urgently. But she would not come. Nay, she had found an older picture still, all dusty; she must look once searchingly upon it and see what manner of priest this was. And I must hold her up to look at him.
" No, no, Marguerite ! " quoth I. " Come, look at Marshal Ambrose. He was twice the man that this fellow was; besides, your namesake loved him".
But she would none of my biddings. She persisting and I again refusing, at the last she stamped her tiny foot and made as she would weep.
If our loved Marguerite had ever
a fault in her snowy life, she was a trifle wilful. And what blame, since
her will was ever for the right ? But if she ever showed a will to weep,
what consternation did it cause ! My father, whose name was still a terror
to the Spaniards, was a reed in Marguerite's royal hands. Our house-chaplain,
a surly man, whose intellects were fettered by his breviary — my governor, a timid man, a slave to Aristotle's
influence, like most scholars of the time — these two were just the same. Nay, it is fabled that these twain,
at two separate seasons, were discovered in the act of treading a measure with Mistress Marguerite; but to this
rumour I will never give the sanction of my [Page 58] credence. As for the younger men — (but
this was ever a sore point between me and Marguerite.)
So when the smallest tear gathered in our despot's eyes, I was fain hastily to catch her up and lift the butterfly weight to a proper level with the picture. Whereon she gazed till methought she would never cease, so the countenance moved her.
She traced the features with her tiny delicate finger, and brushed the dust off daintily; then turning to me for sympathy:
" The poor wight looks sad !" she said.
And this was assuredly the first word of pity that Pietro Rinucci had ever won. "The poor wight looks sad" in sooth ?
I was about to reply, something tartly, that the wight had need, when the desire to speak forsook me. My whole body trembled at the presence of an intelligence alien to us two children, and my heart stood still when I looked and saw no one. Was it possible that there could yet emanate from that old disgraced portrait so keen a breath of life ? Or was it that the unwonted sound of a mortal's word of kindness for him, had indeed drawn the soul of our enemy to earth again, and that — but I could not bear to wait for the answer to my bewilderment. I fled before my fear, grasping the child in my arms convulsively, until she laughed and sought to know what ailed me.
One day, not long after this, had Marguerite drawn me with her in her playing half through the quiet town and into a little solemn space she loved — for the maid was pensive even as myself, though as yet the sports of childhood claimed her.
We had run and bounded till the fancy took her to be weary and to make me carry her (for she was but a minute creature, and I used to rally her in saying that the only heavy part of her was the two great plaits of flaxen hair). Once on my shoulder, she fell asleep, so I carried her, stepping delicately off the stones, into her favourite haunt, that she might sleep quiet a while and then wake there.
It was a smooth-shaven grass plot, enclosed by the walls of an old grey church, the ruddy stained windows of which shone like fires just now in the afternoon sun. There was a sombre yew-tree, many years old, in the midst of this sward, and a still older sun-dial stood in ruins near the tree, whose spreading, dusky arms had long obscured the light too much to let the sun-dial do its work. Therefore the two rivals stood together; Nature's structure triumphing over man's; each one a testimony to the antiquity of the other, and the most ancient sun treating them both to his half-vivifying, half-destructive power.
Softly I seated myself against the dial under the yew-tree's shade, and caused the fair head of my most beauteous sister to rest upon my arm. She just stirred and murmured my name as if to herself as I placed her so, on the grass by my side, leaning across me. I stroked her hair and she slept more peacefully than before, whilst I mused, and numberless [Page 59] small heads of birds looked out in amaze from the ivied church wall, and twittered interrogatively, with a cool, far-away, sleepy rustle of tiny wings.
I was following the movements of a translucent fellow of a dragonfly, which was taking pleasure in a pink rose that trailed about the dial. Only one pink rose there was; the rest were over, or perchance in this solemn spot there had never been more. One bright bit of colour amongst all the dark grey and green. It belonged to the same order of loveliness as my Marguerite, ay, and she should have it too. I cautiously stretched out my hand, possessed myself of the fair blossom and made it a nest in the flaxen hair. It just matched the flush on the child's sleeping face.
I think my spirit must have strayed near to Heaven, so great inspiration had filled me from the sight of the
exquisite, innocent countenance.
I was intently looking upon her, when the old sensation came upon me again; there, in that lonely spot! I knew that our enemy was near us. We two were alone. No shout could bring us help, and this time I might not swoon. I groaned; here was my Marguerite, my mother's Marguerite! in my sole care, to be protected against unknown evils. Oh, and should she awake — how horrible !
He came. Through the thick dark boughs of the yew I saw a dazzling white glimmer. The next instant he was on our side of the tree, and striding hastily towards us. This time I fancied there was something distinctly more human in the apparition, and placed as I now was, it made him more terrible. It recalled the deadly enmity he had ever borne — so the chronicles said — to our house.
What could I do against him ? How fright him from the side of this delicate rose ? I had no power; only the resolve to act as a man should do, and be brave for the sake of the only daughter of our house.
The White Monk came, and paused in front of us. I clasped the child closer to me — come what might, whatever a human arm could do that should be done. Then I raised my eyes to the stony, sphinx-like mystery, and looked defiantly upon it. Wonder of wonders ! he moved his slight white hand and drew the cowl from off his face. I knew nothing but the eyes. Such eyes, dark as an enigma, piercing to the soul, and sad enough to dream of. I never saw the like of them even in mortals, who have their death before them.
But this I remembered afterward; for the moment, I knew only that those deep, dark, motionless eyes, over which the lids never closed, were piercing Marguerite, and that she knew not of it. If she should wake — oh, God, let her not wake! — I swayed to and fro in my anguish. I looked only on the child. I gathered her to me; I whispered a soothing word to her, though my head felt like to break with the strain I was forced to put on my own terror. For her was this terror now; I [Page 60] felt none for myself any more. I would have challenged the fearful Monk, and conjured him to leave the innocent child — but that I dared not speak aloud and wake her.
And she slept calmly on, breathing so light and balmily. Until in an instant the oppression on my spirit was lifted; I looked away from my darling in astonishment — the Monk was gone,
Only, as my eye fell on the rose in Marguerite's hair, it dropped suddenly and covered the flaxen head with delicate petals. This woke the child; she put her two hands up to her hair, and drew them down full of rose-leaves, and laughed wonderingly, and blushed and dimpled to find how sound asleep she had been. And then she asked me why I was so pale, and why I trembled so in every limb; but I made no answer, for I was keenly noting her, to see if there was change in her spirits or features. But there was none; she was rosy and full of laughter, and plaited again her tumbled hair with a gay stamp of her tiny foot. And I, laughing with her, thought, " Ah, I might have had more faith in the security of Innocence ! "
(But is that a true faith to hold ? As the deep bell of the church clock tolled out the hour, and we started
homewards at a goodly pace, I was secretly thinking on these matters. Full many times is innocence abused by
mortals, if not by gods. Who shall tell us that the evil spirits do not still carry on their hateful trade of
striving to crush out good ? Howsoever that be, fate rules these things. The most a man can do is to be ready
when there is a use for him. The god of Opportunity will take care he shall be out of the way when a ghastly
deed has to be done.)
(To be continued.)
THERE is a time in every life
When ebbing into days, we seem,
Long past but yet familiar still,
Like some confused, forgotten dream —
We feel all this has been before,
Yet still we wonder more and more. [Page 61]
For every effort of the will,
And every inward thought that springs
‘Ere the mind's threshold it has crossed,
A memory of something brings —
A vague idea — and nothing more —
But still we feel this was before.
Just as the gentle breeze at eve
Soft ripples ocean's placid face
So memory calls up within
A wavelet from the realms of space;
A passing touch from times before,
The spray from waves that are no more.
The scent of violets nestling low,
The rustling of the forest leaves;
The bubbling of the fretful stream,
The swallow's twitter 'neath the eaves,
Bring thoughts of something known before,
And make us wonder more and more.
A strain of music from the spheres,
A simple chord, a ray of light,
The trembling of a single star,
A voice that whispers in the night;
A hope fulfilled and nothing more,
Bring thoughts we must have lived before.
The roaring of the tempest fierce,
A magic word, a whispered sigh,
Stand out upon the road of time
As landmarks of an age gone by;
And speak with tongues we know once more —
Words that we've heard long years before.
So every tune that wake the soul,
And every thought that thrills the sense,
Bring knowledge of Eternity,
And make our faith the more intense —
We know our souls have lived before,
We know they'll live for evermore. [Page 62]
THEOSOPHY AND MODERN SOCIALISM
BY A SOCIALIST STUDENT OF THEOSOPHY (2)
by J. Brailsford Bright
IN a former article on this subject (LUCIFER, No. 4), which was written in reply to some points in Mr. T. B. Harbottle's interesting article on " Brotherhood", in the preceding number, I indicated what appears to me to be the true relationship of Socialism, in its economic or material aspects, with Theosophy. I wish in this and the concluding article both to add to, or explain and comment upon, what I then had to say on this point, and also to treat of certain higher aspects of Socialism and the modern Socialist movement, which I did little more than hint at in that article.
I am partly guided in this task by Mr. Harbottle's letter in the January number, which indicates some points of variance or misunderstanding still existing between us. I trust that even if these articles fail, as they may well do, to effect a complete reconciliation on all points of disagreement between Socialists and those Theosophists who are at present opposed to Socialism, it may at least elicit a few sparks of truth in the mere process of " clearing the issues". I shall not attempt to treat the two parts of my subject, that which refers to the economic and that which refers to the higher aspects of Socialism, separately, as they are too intimately connected with each other in their relationship to the Theosophic movement to permit of their being conveniently separated.
In the course of my former article I endeavoured to show that Mr. Harbottle, and any who think like him, are wrong in supposing that Socialism or its adherents advocate "a direct (or for that matter, any kind of) interference with the results of the law of Karma". I admitted that if I were mistaken, Socialism was foredoomed to failure. I feel inclined now to rejoice in having gained Mr. Harbottle to my side; for he proclaims in his January letter, and very justly, that "the Socialist movement is itself a part of the cyclic Karma". But I hardly find him consistent with himself when he goes on to add that " in its endeavour to rectify what seem, from its limited point of view, injustices, it cannot fail to be unjust to those, the justice of whose position in life it declines to recognise." What does this mean ? Can a part, or as I shall prefer to express it, an agent, of Karma, be accused of injustice ? If so, QUIS CUSTODIET IPSOS CUSTODES ? Surely not either Mr. Harbottle or myself, or any other contributor to LUCIFER.
When I suggested that Socialists might be regarded as "the instruments [Page 63] of a greater equalisation, distribution, and acceleration of Karmic growth", and that this would come about " by transferring a great deal of the responsibility for Karmic results which now lies with each individual in his personal capacity upon the collective entities composed of individuals acting in public capacities", I implied much the same as I understand Mr. Harbottle to mean when he speaks of the Socialist movement as a part of the cyclic Karma. But I implied rather more than he does. Many other much less important movements than the Socialist may be equally regarded as forming part of the great cyclic Karma. Even reactionary movements (that is to say, movements contrary to the now prevailing tendencies of human and social evolution) may claim, inasmuch as they form part of the inevitable back current, to be described in the same language; and those who take part in them may claim to be the inferior agents of Nature — although, of course, if they do so in obedience to their own lower instincts and prejudices, and not "according to their lights", they will individually suffer for it. The same, for that matter, applies to those who are helping the main or forward currents, but from selfish motives.
The real question, then, for Theosophists to consider is not merely whether Socialism forms part of the cyclic Karma, for that is not worth their while disputing, but whether it forms part of the progressive and main evolutionary current, or of the retrogressive back current ? If the former, as I firmly believe, then those who at present oppose it may not indeed all be constrained to turn back, like Saul of Tarsus, and fight on its side : some may conceive they have higher work to perform in Nature's service, or work more adapted to their powers and opportunities. But let them at least examine and ascertain for themselves, according to their lights, the true answer to this question, before they continue to oppose Socialism, lest haply they be found fighting against the gods.
Let my suggestions on the subject stand for what they are worth. I may state my own position rather more elaborately and " scientifically", by saying that I believe we have reached a stage in human evolution on this planet in which a great many of the activities, and corresponding responsibilities, formerly attaching to individuals as such, are about to be, or are actually in the course of being, transferred to collective entities or aggregations of individuals acting in a collective capacity, such as municipalities, unions or communes, provinces, nations, and confederations. I do not, of course, mean to imply that individual activities, individual progress in this life, will become merged and lost in collective progress, but simply that in the action and reaction of the individual and social entities, the importance of the influence of the latter will increase, while that of the former relatively decreases. Physiology teaches us that in the lower forms of animal organisms, the life of the constituent organs — nay, even of the constituent protoplasmic [Page 64] cells — is much less dependent upon that of the entire body, than in the higher forms. So also in the case of social organisms, as I read evolution. Since the break-up of the primitive European civilisations (primitive, at least, so far as extant history, comparative politics and archaeology enable us to see), which seem to have developed communistic social organisms on the tribal scale, the current of social evolution was set, until quite recently, in the direction of Individualism. [ It is to be remarked that ancient pantheism decayed about the same time as ancient communism, making place for the various exoteric sects of classical times, and (save for a few lucid intervals in which great teachers stepped forward to redeem as much of humanity as possible from the materialistic superstitions in which it was steeped) for the newer systems known as Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Protestantism, Mussulmanism, Modern Buddhism, etc.. In pure philosophy it gave way to various materialistic and spiritualistic school of thought; Spiritualism and Materialism representing simply the face and obverse of the coin of inividualistic philosophy.]
This individualism may be said to have culminated in the material, plane in Modern Industrialism, or individual and class monopoly, in the means of production; in the intellectual plane in the supremacy or the Baconian method of experiment; in the moral plane in Utilitarianism, and in the spiritual (where that retains any substance) in Calvinism. But even while at the height of its power — say 1850-1870 — Individualism carried within it the seeds of its final destruction. The principles of a new society had already been formulated by reformers and " Utopians" of various schools, while the growth of discontent among the uncomfortable classes more than kept pace with that of sympathy among the comfortable. The evolutionary current has now distinctly changed its course and is running at a daily-accelerating speed in the direction of a more perfect Communism — a Communism no longer on the tribal scale, but on the national, or possibly in some departments of the social activities, a still larger scale, and founded on a more complex yet more solid basis. In this higher form of social life, the interests and destinies of each member or component cell of the social organism will be more closely bound up than in the past with the organic whole. Mr. E. Belfort Bax, of the Socialist League, has recently expressed the final possibilities or communistic solidarity in a sentence which I shall do well to quote. It comes at the end of a series of articles entitled " The New Ethic " (The Commonweal, February 4th to February 25th) written from a materialist's rather than pantheist's standpoint, which contain, nevertheless, a great deal of interest for Theosophists. Speaking of "the inadequacy of the individual as an end to himself" — the basis of the new Ethic — he suggests that we may regard this growing sense as " the indication that the final purpose of society, as such, is not to be merely for the consciousness of its component personalities, but that they are in the end destined to be absorbed in a corporate social consciousness; just as the separate sentiency of the organic components or an animal or human body are absorbed in the unified sentiency and intelligence of that body". [Page 65]
But just as in the evolution of animal life, of man himself, form has preceded substance in its manifestations, so in the social evolution also. Just as in the physical body rudimentary organs appear, and develop almost to perfection before their complete uses are discovered or revealed, so in the social body, parts, if not the whole of the frame-work of the harmonious organisms of the future, will be evolved (if some of them have not been already) before the perfect harmony can be attained. There can be very little doubt that Economic Collectivism, based partly upon existing political forms, and upon existing national aggregations, is the next stage of social evolution, the preliminary or provisional form in which the new society will manifest itself. Few Socialists are so sanguine as to suppose that the present generation will see the realisation of the higher ideal, perfect Communism; but most believe in the possibility — at any rate in those countries like England, France, Belgium, and America, where Individualism has most completely run its course — of realising economic Socialism, or Collectivism, within a decade or two. The triumphs of State and Municipal Socialism on the one side, and of Co-operative Capitalism on the other, are continually preparing the way for the democracy to follow as soon as it gets the chance, while the increasing number of persons engaged in them form the leaven of administrative ability which will secure the success of the Collectivist Commonwealths when once established.
The first evident advances effected by the Social Revolution will certainly be in the material domain, and this is the only sense in which I am ready to admit that the Socialist movement is materialistic. So, of course, are all other movements having in view the material welfare of those who suffer under the present social order, or, rather, disorder. The abolition of chattel slavery in the British possessions and subsequently in those American States which had previously recognised it, was the result of a humanitarian movement strictly analogous to and comparable with the modern socialist movement, so far as its advocacy by the middle and " comfortable " classes are concerned; but not nearly so unselfish, since many of those who advocated it had everything to gain by the abolition of the competition of slave-labour with that of "free", or wage-labour. The present middle-class advocates of Socialism, that is to say of the abolition of the wage-labour system itself — a system entailing in many places a much worse and more degrading form of slavery than that of the plantations [ It was to the advantage of the owners of chattel-slaves to take care of them, if only in order to preserve valuable property in a condition of efficiency, whereas the capitalist employer of “free” labour (labour free to accept his conditions or else starve) has no such sense of interest in the health and well-being of his “hands” whom he can replace when worn out without any fresh outlay ] may fairly claim that there is no element of self-interest in their advocacy, for the material benefits which would result to them by the immediate establishment of socialism, in any of its forms, are very [Page 66] doubtful. They would be saved the risks of bankruptcy and ruin, it is true, but in other respects many of them would have to give up their existing advantages, and betake themselves to industries and services, for which the former lives had ill-fitted them.
As to working-class socialists, of course they are fighting for the material redemption and emancipation of their own class; but I think it ill-becomes their opponents among the privileged classes, those who under the present system of society live on their labour, to accuse them of selfishness and "materialism" because they wish to relieve themselves and children of their present almost intolerable burdens. Of course, I do not claim for the victims of the present system that they are as a class one whit less selfish by nature than their masters and conscious or unconscious oppressors. Many of them may even be suffering as Mr. Harbottle seems to suggest from the evil Karmic growths which they have accumulated during past existences. But that is not for their fellow-men to judge of. Nor would it, if true, justify those who become aware of the material causes of their suffering in this life, and who are able to help them in destroying these causes, in raising the old cry, " Am I my brother's keeper ? " What Socialists are now endeavouring to make plain to all, is that everyone is, in his political or collective capacity, his brother's keeper. He is shirking his duty as a conscious agent of evolution, that is of Nature if he refuses to recognise this.
Even Economic Socialism, therefore,
has its higher aspect. The cultivation of solidarity or fraternal co-operation
among the wage-slaves and their friends for the emancipation of labour all
the world over, the cultivation of the sense of collective or corporate responsibility
among all, for the victims of the present Social Juggernaut of capital and
privilege, is the very essence of the movement, even in this its most "moderate" but
most "materialistic" form. The spirit of solidarity and collective
responsibility must, of course, precede as well as accompany, and result from,
the progress of the economic movement. It stands to the latter in the relations
of cause, accessory, and consequence. Modern civilization, with all its rottenness,
has proved a blessing in this respect, that it has developed within it this
motive force for its final regeneration. Capitalist production has necessitated
the massing together of the workers in large towns, under miserable conditions
compared with those of the independent artisans of the towns and villages of
olden times; but these very conditions have taught them the necessary lesson
of their material inter-dependence, and enabled them better to grasp the higher
notion of the inter-dependence of Society and the world at large. Socialism
has, then, come to take hold of and develop this germ of the spirit of solidarity,
guiding the people in their vague aspirations towards social co-operation,
and giving them a definite ideal. Thus the motive power, generated by past
economic conditions, [Page 67] is developed by Socialists and utilised for
the destruction of old and production of new economic forms, which in their
turn shall generate new and higher motive forces. This, I think, must be recognized
as Nature's own course of evolution, so far, at least, as our free-thinking
intellect and ordinary means of observation can ascertain. Thus the Form (Economic
Socialism in practice) will be found to precede the substance (complete Human
Solidarity, or the Spirit of Socialism), but depends for its own evolution
upon a less-perfected Substance (the Spirit of Solidarity), which is itself
the product of pre-existing Forms. But both the form and the substance, which
will eventually carry us much further than Economic Collectivism, are evolving
simultaneously; and from the higher standpoint of Theosophic Pantheism I can
see no good in attempting to dogmatize as to which precedes, or ought to precede,
the other. Let us merely admit that they are so mutually dependent, that the
one cannot be good and the other evil.
J. BRAILSFORD BRIGHT
(To be concluded.)
" OCCULT Phenomena"; the
Goes forth today just as it went of old.
The hard harsh sounds that, tune them as we may,
Will never soften down to Poetry.
" An evil generation seeketh
A sign "; adulterous, in that 'twould mate
Things of the Spirit with the things of Sense,
And bastardize the seed of living Truth.
What sign, howe'er convincing to the brain,
Will long outlive the wonder of the hour ?
For Doubt will thirst again, where
Doubt it was That sought its slaking in the moment's proof.
What sign will turn the wicked from his ways,
When he can watch the rising of the Sun
Unmov'd, the order'd march of Night and Day,
The mystery of Life and Death and Sleep ?
An evil generation seeketh for
A sign, but unto it there shall be sent
No Sign but that of Jonah when he cried
To Nineveh to cleanse its heart — and see.
W. ASHTON ELLIS. [Page 68]
AFTER waiting vainly for three months for a reply to the article " LUCIFER TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY," during which time the Editors have been flooded with letters of congratulation from all parts of the world, an epistle from which we print extracts has been received. The letters which approved of our " Christmas letter " to his Grace — every intelligent man who read it finding only words of praise for it —were all signed. Two or three abusive and villainous little notes were anonymous. The "epistle" referred to is signed with a name picked out of a novel, though the writer is known to us, of course, nor does he conceal his identity. But the latter is not sufficient guarantee for his ill-considered interference. For all that can be said of his letter, is that: —
" He knew not what to say, and so he swore". — BYRON
We must now be permitted to explain why we do not print it. There is more than one reason for this.
First of all, our readers can feel but little interest in the matter; and the majority (an enormous one) having approved of LUCIFER'S " LETTER", one solitary opponent who dissents from that majority must be an authority indeed, to claim the right to be heard. Now, as he is by no means an authority, especially in the question raised, since he is not even an orthodox Christian, " sincere, if not over-wise", and since he only expresses his personal opinion, we do not see why we should inflict upon our subscribers that opinion — however honest it may be — when the majority of other personal opinions is unanimous in holding quite an opposite view ? Again, although the principle on which our magazine is and has always been conducted, is to admit to its columns every criticism when just and impartial, on our teachings, doctrines, and even on the policy and doings of the theosophical body, yet we can hardly be required to sacrifice the limited space in our Monthly to the expression of every opinion, whether good, bad, or indifferent. Then, it so happens that the two chief characteristics of our critic's letter are: (a) a weakness in argument which makes it almost painful to read; and (b) personal rudeness, not to say abuse, which cannot in any way be material to the argument. Abusus non tollit usum. The "argument", if it can be so dignified, is based on quite a false conception of the "Letter to the Archbishop", and we could really deal only with a Reply to that "Letter", raising one point after the other, and answering the facts which have been brought forward. But this letter contains nothing of the kind. So we shall deal with the subject in general, and notice but a few sentences from it.
Surprised to find that our now famous "Letter" has called forth no comment in our pages the writer remarks:
"Containing, as it did, such an unwarrantable attack on the institution of which he (the Archbishop) is the head, perhaps had the matter been allowed to rest, and the article allowed to die a natural death, no comment would have appeared necessary; but as Theosophists have thought it [Page 69] necessary to republish their folly, and fling it before the world, like a ' Red rag' to a Bull, it is I consider high time that some one, at least, should endeavour to dissuade them from the foolishly suicidal policy they are pursuing".
The "folly" is the reprinting of the "Letter" in 15,000 copies, sent all over the world. Now this "folly" and "foolishly suicidal policy" were resorted to just in consequence of the masses of letters received by us, all thanking LUCIFER for showing a courage no one else was prepared to show; and for stating publicly and openly that which is repeated and complained of ad nauseam in secret and privacy by the whole world, save by blind bigots. With an inconsistency worthy of regret the writer himself admits it. For he says:
''No one can deny, of course, that the article in question contained in its underlying spirit much that was true, especially in some of the remarks relative to a narrow and dogmatic Christianity, which we know to exist, and which has been realized by, and lamented often within the pale of the Church itself; and which all good and wide-minded Christians themselves deplore and fight against — so that Theosophy is not a discoverer here of any new truth !
Thus, after admitting virtually the truth and justice of what we said in our " LETTER", the writer can take us to task only for not being the " DISCOVERERS " of that truth ! Was the pointing out of slavery in the United States as an infamous institution, supported and defended by the Church, Bishops and Clergy — any discovery of a new truth ? And are the Northern States which broke it by waving that infamy as a "Red rag" before the Southern Bull to be accused of folly ? More than one misguided, though probably sincere critic, has accused them of "foolishly suicidal policy". Time and success have avenged the noble States, that fought for human freedom, against a Church, which supported on the strength of a few idiotic words placed in Noah's mouth against Ham, the most fiendish law that has ever been enacted; and their detractors and critics must have looked — very silly, after the war.
Our critic tries to frighten us in no measured language. Speaking of the "LETTER" as an article : —
— " whose writer seems to have steeped his pen in the gall of a scurrility worthy of the correspondence of a tenth-rate society journal",
— he asks us to believe: —
''That such an article is only calculated to bring what should be a great and noble work into the contempt of the entire thinking community — a contempt from which it will never rise again ! "
No truth spoken in earnest sincerity can ever bring the speaker of it into contempt, except, perhaps, with one class of men: those who selfishly prefer their personal reputation, the benefits they may reap with the majority which profits by and lives on crying social evils, rather than openly fight the latter. Those again, who will uphold every retrograde notion, however injurious, only because it has become part and parcel of national custom; and who will defend cant — that which Webster and other dictionaries define as '"whining, hypocritical pretensions to goodness" — even while despising it — rather than risk their dear selves against the above mentioned howling majority. The Theosophical Society, or rather the few working members of it in the West, court such "contempt", and feel proud of it.
We are told further: —
''Should his Grace have deigned to answer your article, I presume he would have replied somewhat in this wise. ' I have to provide spiritual food for upwards of 22,000,000 souls, of whom [Page 70] probably upwards of 20,000,000 are ignorant people without the power of thought, and certainly without the smallest capacity for grasping an abstract idea; can you proride me with any better form of Esoteric machinery for feeding and supplying them ?' Theosophy answers, ' No '" ! ! !
Three answers are given to the above:
(a.) Somebody higher than even his "Grace",— his Master, in fact, " deigned" to answer even those who sought to crucify Him, and is said to have made his best friends of publicans and sinners. Why should not the Bishop of Canterbury answer our article ? Because, we say, it is unanswerable.
(b.) We maintain that the majority
of the 20,000,000 receives a stone instead of the bread of life (the " spiritual
food "). Otherwise, whence the ever-growing materialism, atheism and disgust
for the dead-letter of the purely ritualistic Church and its Theology ?
(c.) Give theosophy half the means at the command of the Primates of all England and their Church, and then see whether it would not find a " better form" and means to relieve the starving and console the bereaved.
Therefore, our critics have no right, so far, having no knowledge what theosophy would do, had it only the means — to answer for it — " No". Theosophy is able, at any rate, to furnish "His Grace" if he but asks the question suggested by our critics — " Yes, theosophy can provide you with a better form .... for feeding the multitudes, both physically and spiritually". To do this is easy. It only requires that the Primates and Bishops, Popes and Cardinals, throughout the world should become the Apostles of Christ practically, instead of remaining priests of Christ, nominally. Let them each and all, the Lord Primate of England starting the noble example, give up their gigantic salaries and palaces, their useless paraphernalia and personal as well as Church luxury. The Son of Man " had not where to lay his head" and like the modern priests of Buddha, the highest as the lowest, had but one raiment over his body for all property; whereas again — God "dwelleth not in temples made with hands", says Paul. Let the Church, we say, become really the Church of Christ, and not merely the State-Church. Let Archbishops and Bishops live henceforth, if not as poor, homeless, and penniless, as Jesus was, at least, as thousands of their starving curates do. Let them turn every cathedral and church into hospitals, refuges, homes for the homeless, and secular schools; preach as Christ and the Apostles are said to have preached: in the open air, under the sunny and starry vault of heaven, or in portable tents, and teach people daily morality instead of incomprehensible dogmas. Are we to be told that if all the gigantic Church revenues, now used to embellish and build churches, to provide Bishops with palaces, carriages, horses, and flunkies, their wives with diamonds and their tables with rich viands and wines; are we to be told that if all those moneys were put together, there could be found in England one starving man, woman, or child ? NEVER !
To conclude :—
Our opponents seem to have entirely missed the point of our article, and to have, in consequence, wandered very far afield. As a further result, our latest critic seems to give vent to his criticism from a point of view very much more hostile than that he complains of. As his criticism is in general terms, and does not deal with any mistakes and inaccuracies, we content ourselves with [Page 71] pointing out, to him and all other assailants, what we hoped was plain — the real purport of our letter to the Archbishop.
His Grace was not "attacked " in any personal sense whatever; he was addressed solely in consequence of his position as the clerical head of the Church of England.
The clergy were spoken of and addressed throughout as "stewards of the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven". They were addressed as the "spiritual teachers" of men, not as " the doers of good works". It was asserted that the vast majority of the clergy, owing to their ignorance of esoteric truth and their own growing materiality, are unable to act as "spiritual teachers". Consequently, they cannot give to those who regard them in that light that which is required. Many persons are now in doubt whether religion is a human institution or a divine one; this because the Church has lost the "keys" to the "mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven", and is unable to help people to enter therein. Moreover " the Doctrine of Atonement", and the denunciatory Athanasian tenet, " he that believeth not shall be damned," are, to many, so absolutely repulsive that they will not listen at all. Witness the Rev. T. G. Headley and his recent articles in LUCIFER.
Finally, our assailants' ill-veiled personal attacks on the leaders of the Theosophical movement are beside the mark. To demand that those leaders should, as evidence of their faith, take part in "good works," or philanthropy, when with all the sincere good-will, they lack the means, is equivalent to taunting them with their poverty. All honour to the clergy, in spite of the " black sheep " amongst them, for their self-sacrificing efforts. But the Church, as such, fails to do the duty which is required of it. To do this duty adequately, exoteric religion must have esoteric Knowledge behind it. Hence the clergy must study Theosophy and become, though not necessarily members of the Society, practical Theosophists.
WE have in type an excellent letter on " Ultimate Philosophy", from Mr. H. L. Courtney, which we intended to include in this number, reserving Dr. Lewins' long letter for our next issue. But an unfortunate mistake on the part of our printers obliges us to hold it over for next month, and to insert Dr. Lewins' letter instead.
We therefore tender our sincere apologies to Mr. Courtney. [Page 72]
THE Editors of LUCIFER have been requested to call the attention of its readers to the following announcement; and they have the more pleasure in doing so, since the work in question seems to deserve the hearty and cordial support of all those who attach any importance to the spread of Theosophical ideas by means of literature : —
(I.) The Theosophical Publication Society is international in character. It is so, for Theosophy is not limited by any considerations of race, nationality, or creed. Its endeavour is to further the cause of Universal Brotherhood by uniting all those who are interested in the growth of intellectual and psychic spirituality in an attempt to assist others less favoured by circumstances than themselves.
(2.) In pursuance of this object it proposes to place within the reach of the subscribers the most valuable contributions which have appeared dealing with the inner Soul-life of man, and providing guidance for its cultivation and development. Its publications will comprise (a) Reprints of valuable magazine articles which have appeared in past years in " The Theosophist", " The Path", " Le Lotus", and LUCIFER ; (b) Original papers which shall contain practical instruction for students of the Occult; (c) Selections from rare MSS. and works; and (d) Reprints in cheap form, and translations of books not otherwise obtainable.
(3.) In addition to providing its subscribers with literature as indicated above, the Society proposes to circulate large numbers of elementary pamphlets explaining the principles of Theosophy and the nature and aims of the Theosophical Society.
The subscription to the Society is five shillings per annum, which entitles subscribers to the receipt, post free, of all the Society's publications the selling price of which is below sixpence.
In addition to this they have the right to receive at cost price, all its other publications. Address, the Secretary, R. Harte, 78, Clarendon Road, Netting Hill, London W.
N.B. — As the work undertaken by the Society is an extremely wide and important one, and as the amount of good which it can do is largely dependant on the funds at its disposal, it is earnestly requested that all friends of the movement will support its work by liberal donations. [Page 73]
Mohammed Benani is a very strange book, one of the strangest examples yet given to us of that essentially modern product, the novel of thought. This is, indeed, more than a modern book; it is in advance of nineteenth-centuryism. It is a novel of thought, and yet more, it is a novel of speculation. And yet it remains fiction. The new school has discovered the secret of the art, and thought and speculation are part of the lives of the characters, instead of being in any sense overlaid or added as the reflections of the author. The peculiar atmosphere of exaltation in which all the events take place, and, indeed, by which they are induced, is the result of the characters being all of the most complex order. What would a novelist of the old school have done with such a heroine as Eftomah, such a hero as Paulovitch ? Fielding or Richardson would have been unable to create situations with them. All the rough and simple passions are smoothed away to give place to emotions finer and wider, and even more exhausting. In Paulovitch lies all the force, and power, and meaning of the book; and the peculiar flavour of his atmosphere clings to one long after the book has been read. He has not a trouble in the world; and yet he would have succumbed to the trouble of the world, but for the society of his bright and charming wife. He is a Don Quixote of the most pronounced type, yet with a great longing to evade the profession of tilting at windmills. He makes a desperate effort to escape from the sight of misery which he is powerless to relieve by leaving civilization and making a delightful home in Morocco. But the destiny which compels him to be conscious of the misery of others, and to sacrifice himself in the attempt to alleviate it, pitilessly pursues him. The history of how he gradually becomes the champion of the unhappy natives, struggle as he may against the promptings of his noble nature, is in reality, the story of the book. Mohammed Benani is a persecuted native hero, whom Paulovitch protects, and through whom the complicated situations are produced. Benani is a very clever and subtle study of a typical Oriental; he passes through the book as he passed through life — devoted, heroic, wrapped in gloom, silent, so reticent as to be almost characterless to a Western observer, who is yet always conscious that at the bottom of this heroic temperament lies treachery. The same profound reticence exists also in Eftomah; but her life-long contact with her European benefactors has eradicated the treachery from her nature. In her is depicted the seer, the clairvoyant, and indeed in one remarkable scene the sybil of the highest order. The occult and " supernatural" is largely dealt with in the book, and in the most thoroughly modern spirit. Nothing is received with disbelief or incredulity, but everything is questioned, tested and [Page 74] doubted. Eftomah's sister is also a seer and clairvoyant, and there are two powerful scenes in which these abnormal powers are exercised, first by one sister and then by the other. Paulovitch, who induces the trance condition by his will, and his companions on the two occasions are alike profoundly impressed at the time; but the next morning the impression has faded. It is found that the seer saw nothing which could be used for practical purposes, and moreover said nothing which was not already in the mesmerizer's mind. This is wonderfully true to life. Horror was the first trial of the neophyte in the more credulous age when Lytton wrote, but now it is doubt. The whole book is essentially a life picture, and is fresh and brilliant as only a life picture can be.
It is quite a new idea to literally sprinkle telegrams over the pages of a novel. It adds a certain zest to the reading, as one awaits the next " wire " with the same curiosity with which one awaits it in life at any stirring crisis.
Another new idea, though one hardly so commendable, is to introduce such living names as the Czar of Russia and M. de Giers, into a drama avowedly based on fact, though taking place in northern Africa, where, as the author is careful to state in a foot-note, Russia has never had even a legation. True, this device effectually disguises the nationality aimed at. But could not this object have been equally well attained without the use of names, the presence of which will almost certainly cause the book to be prohibited in Russia, where it might otherwise do good and useful work ?
Where the phenomena of mesmerism plays so prominent a part, Theosophy could not escape mention; and, though only referred to casually, it is spoken of in a tone which proves the author better informed on that much misunderstood subject than most of the writers who use the "occult" to give colour to their novels.
One very striking feature in a book such as this, written confessedly "with a purpose”, is the great skill developed in attaining that "purpose". The reader's attention and interest are rivetted by the unfoldment of the plot itself as much as by the keen and incisive style of the writing. Thus led on, the reader never realises that he is being led to form definite opinions on political questions, and to espouse a cause for which, one day, his active sympathy may be demanded. Such a result is rarely achieved by books "with a purpose"; and high praise is due to the author for its successful accomplishment.
A Modern Apostle; The Elixir of Life;
The Story of Clarice;
and other Poems, by Constance C. W. Naden
Review by Anon
(Kegan Paul, Trench and Co.)
Miss Constance Naden is, we believe, a Hylo-Idealist; but she is certainly one to whom the ideal side of life appeals with more force than does its materiality. Her volume of poems shows this clearly; and unlike most modern poetry, penetrates below the surface of things.
"A Modern Apostle", sketches the picture of one of those enthusiasts in [Page 75] whom spiritual intuition burns too brightly to be quenched by the fogs of materialism.After battling with an agony of doubt, his inner vision is opened, he "senses"
" The Eternal Power which makes the Many, One,Therefore, forsaking all, he follows the light; even though disowned by his father, a narrow teacher of a bigoted sect.
Shining through all; the Law made visible."
In sharp contest to this seer of visions stands his beloved, who mistakes the false light of mere brain reasoning for the pure light of intellectual truth.
Both are perfectly honest and sincere. Hence, deeply as they love each other, Ella feels that she would be a fetter on her lover's soul and sends him from her.
In the end the seer dies, worn out with labour and pain, as die all those who truly serve the truth; but dying he bequeaths to Ella his unfinished task, for the light which shines through his death, pierces her heart and awakens the intuition which lay dormant there.
Thus the story; the form it is clothed in, is the stanza so inimitably wielded by Byron in "Childe Harold". In Miss Naden's hands it is effective, although its two last lines, the epigram of each stanza, too often fall dull and heavy on the ear.
The same metre is used in the "Elixir of Life", a brief but pregnant study of the human heart. Its burden, drawn from that deeper source of inspiration which occultists know, is summed up in the following lines :
" Oh, Life, stern Life
. . . . .
Surely the end and meaning is not loss,
Surely thou workest to some joy untold;
Some Book of Life there is, not writ across
With runes of woe and dirges manifold;
Some fire thou hast to purge away the dross
Of death, deep grained in thy purest gold;
From all things save the quintessence of Thee,
From Hate, from Love — Oh Life, deliver me ! "
Or, as more tersely expressed in "Light on the Path", — "Life's utterance is not, as you that are deaf may suppose, a cry: it is a song".
A PROFESSOR OF ALCHEMY — DENIS
by Percy Ross
Review by Anon
(London, George Redway)
This is a romance carved in the full and glowing life of the century of the Renaissance. A truism it is that human life and its passions are ever the same; but in this tale Percy Ross shows an exceptional power of entering into the forms of life and feeling in which the men of three centuries ago breathed and moved. In Denis Zachaire, the reader is made to feel the throb, the intense ardent aspiration of an age in which nature, art and civilisation were bursting in all their magnificence upon the delighted senses of a, newly awakened race, [Page 76] All things seemed possible to these men rejoicing in their youthful strength, for their's was still the instinctive consciousness of a life, a life fuller, more glorious, more satisfying than the life of matter.
Denis Zachaire, the Alchemist, his wife Berengaria, a noble type of loving womanhood, his teacher, Wencelas, a striking figure though barely outlined; his enemy Raoul de Foncé, are living beings and in them all there is the same burning intensity of life, but in each differently expressed.
The climax is strong and dramatic, the plot, though simple, is well-conceived, and its interest maintained throughout; but the device of making the spirit of Berengaria appear to Denis to soften his heart, is far too common-place for use in a tale, wherein the pursuit and achievement of the "Philosopher's Stone" plays so important a part. Indeed, the element of occultism contained in the book is much too slight for such a canvas, but this, perhaps, will be a recommendation in the eyes of many who look rather for amusement than truth. In any case "A Professor of Alchemy" is well worth reading and deserves to be a success, but this rather in the character of a romance than as a work affording any information on the subject of Alchemy and the "Philosopher's Stone".
THE MEISTER - JOURNAL OF THE WAGNER SOCIETY
Review by Anon
OF this, our new contemporary, in its special aspect of a magazine devoted to Music, it is not our province to speak. But besides this, its special mission, it has another which calls for a few words from us.
Richard Wagner was a mystic as well as a musician. He penetrated deeply into the inner realms of life through his intellect as well as through his art. His prose writings are full of the most profound mysticism, and the number cf the new journal before us gives evidence that this element will receive due recognition. Moreover, its Editor has already shown that he is equally qualified by his natural mysticism to appreciate the writings, as he is by his musical talents to interpret the compositions, of that great genius.
The Meister is got up in a style, in keeping with its subject matter; and, in the short compass of 32 pages, it contains a well-chosen selection of articles both philosophic and literary, which will amply repay perusal. [Page 77]
Re The Brain Theorem of the Universe
by Robert Lewins
To the Editors of LUCIFER with notes in brackets
KINDLY permit me to direct attention to the ADVERSARY'S garbled quotation of a sentence which quite distorts my meaning. At page 510, 2nd column, of LUCIFER for February, is the following passage: " In the teeth of all scientific luminaries from Faraday to Huxley, who all confess to knowing NOTHING [which is surely rather too much of a negation] [ Many passages from the most eminent physicists of the day could be quoted to prove that there can never be '' too much of a negation" in such confessions of ignorance upon this subject. No one knows to this hour the ultimate structure or essence of matter. Hitherto, Science has never yet succeeded in decomposing a single one of the many simple bodies, miscalled "elementary substances". So far do our materialists stray, nolen volens, into metaphysics, that they are not even sure if molecules are realities, or a simple fancy based on false perceptions ! "There may be no such things as molecules ..." writes Prof. ]. P. Cooke, in his New Chemistry, "... the new chemistry assumes as its fundamental postulate, that the magnitudes we call molecules are realities; but this is only a postulate". Can any critic assume, after this, " too much of a negation" ? - Editor's Note ] of matter, Dr. Lewins declares that ' Matter, organic and inorganic, is now fully known' " (Auto-Centricism, page 40). On turning to this reference, I find my declaration runs thus, and consequently gives quite a different complexion to my position than that implied by my critic.
" Matter, organic and inorganic, between which no real veil of partition exists, [Chemistry, as I have elsewhere stated, since Wöhler’s laboratory manufacture of the organic compound Urea has quite unified organic and inorganic “Nature”. What used to figure in chemical text books as “Organic Chemistry,” is now treated of as “Carbon Compounds”. The solution of continuity if formal and apparent only, not real. “Things” are indeed not as they seem” ] is now fully known by Medicine to perform, unaided by ‘Spiritual' agency, all material operations.[ How, then, does Medicine, or any other Science, fully know that matter performs unaided by " Spiritual" agency, all material operations? All they know is, that they are ignorant even of the reality of their molecules, let alone invisible primordial matter. And it is just with regard to the natural functions of the grey matter in the brain, and the action of the mind or consciousness, that Tyndall has declared that were we even enabled to see and feel the very molecules of the brain, still the chasm between the two classes of phenomena would be " intellectually impassable". How, then, can Dr. Lewins say of that which all naturalists, biologists, psychologists (with the exception, perhaps, of Haeckel, who is undeniably mad on the question of his own omniscience) have proclaimed unknowable to human intellect, that it is "fully known to Medicine", of all Sciences (with the exception of Surgery) the most tentative, hypothetical and uncertain? - Editor's Note ] That fact, though ignored by Newton, was the real outcome of his mechanical theory of the Universe. As soon as he demonstrated innate activity or attractive energy, the push and pull of every atom of matter, the intrusion of a ' spiritual' agency was at once abrogated".
Indeed, it really is quite unthinkable
to predicate the interaction of such incompatible elements (concepts) as
corporeity and incorporeity. Cui bono nerves or other somatic structures,
for the conduction of an unsubstantial substance (Archaeus) ? The idea is
as inconceivable as inexpressible. The contradiction is quite a Reductio
ad impossibile. It runs on all fours with Descartes' Pineal Gland hypothesis
of the " Soul". [ Descartes showed some consistency at least, while putting forth his hypothesis
about the pineal gland. He would not talk upon a subject and predicate of an
organ that which it is not when entirely ignorant of what it may be. In this
he was wiser in his generation than the philosophers and physicists who came
after him. Now-a-days, the Science of Physiology knows no more than Descartes
did of the pineal gland, and the spleen, and a few more mysterious organs in
the human body. Yet, even in their great ignorance they will deny point-blank
any spiritual agency there, where they are unable to perceive and follow even
the material operations. VANITY AND CONCEIT are thy names. Oh, young Physiology
! and a peacock's feather in the tail of the XlXth century crow, is the fittest
emblem that LUCIFER can offer the present generation of "Subtle Doctors". - Editor's Note ] [Page 78]
WE have this month to record with the deepest regret the passing away from this physical world of one who, more than any other has been instrumental in demonstrating to her fellow-creatures the great fact of the conscious existence — hence of the immortality — of the inner Ego.
We speak of the death of Mrs. Anna Kingsford, M.D., which occurred on Tuesday, the 28th of February, after a somewhat painful and prolonged illness. Few women have worked harder than she has, or in more noble causes; none with more success in the cause of humanitarianism. Hers was a short but a most useful life. Her intellectual fight with the vivisectionists of Europe, at a time when the educated and scientific world was more strongly fixed in the grasp of materialism than at any other period in the history of civilisation, alone proclaims her as one of those who, regardless of conventional thought, have placed themselves at the very focus of the controversy, prepared to dare and brave all the consequences of their temerity. Pity and Justice to animals were among Mrs. Kingsford's favourite texts when dealing with this part of her life's work; and by reason of her general culture, her special training in the science of medicine, and her magnificent intellectual power, she was enabled to influence and work in the way she desired upon a very large proportion of those people who listened to her words or who read her writings. Few women wrote more graphically, more takingly, or possessed a more fascinating style.
Mrs. Kingsford's field of activity, however, was not limited to the purely physical, mundane plane of life. She was a Theosophist and a true one at heart; a leader of spiritual and philosophical thought, gifted with most exceptional psychic attributes. In connection with Mr. Edward Maitland, her truest friend — one whose incessant, watchful care has undeniably prolonged her delicate ever-threatened life for several years, and who received her last breath — she wrote several books dealing with metaphysical and mystical subjects. The first and most important was " The Perfect Way, or the Finding of Christ," which gives the esoteric meaning of Christianity. It sweeps away many of the difficulties that thoughtful readers of the Bible must contend with in their endeavours to either understand or accept literally the story of Jesus Christ as it is presented in the Gospels.
She was for some time President of the " London Lodge " of the Theosophical Society, and, after resigning that office, she founded "The Hermetic Society" for the special study of Christian mysticism. She herself, though her religious ideas differed widely on some points from Eastern philosophy, remained a faithful member of the Theosophical Society and a loyal friend to its leaders. [ Both Mr. Maitland and Mrs Kingsford has resigned from the “London Lodge of the Theosophical Society,” but not from the Parent Society] She was one, the aspirations of whose whole life were ever turned toward the eternal and the true. A mystic by nature — the most ardent one to those who [Page 79] knew her well — she was still a very remarkable woman even in the opinion of the materialists and the unbelievers. For, besides her remarkably fine and intellectual face, there was that in her which arrested the attention of the most unobserving and foreign to any metaphysical speculation. For, as Mrs. Fenwick Miller writes, though Mrs. Kingsford's mysticism was "simply unintelligible" to her, yet we find that this did not prevent the writer from perceiving the truth. As she describes her late friend, " I have never known a woman so exquisitely beautiful as she who cultivated her brain so assiduously. I have never known a woman in whom the dual nature that is more or less perceptible in every human creature was so strongly marked. [ The statement made by some papers that Mrs Kingsford did not find her resting place in psychic force for “she died a Roman Catholic”, is utterly false. The boasts made by the R.C. Weekly Register (March 3 and March 10, 1888) to the effect that she died in the bosom of the Church, having abjured her views, psychism, theosophy, and even her “Perfect Way” and writings in general, have been vigorously refuted in the same paper by her husband, Rev A. Kingsford, and Mr Maitland. We are sorry to hear that her last days were embittered by the mental agony inflicted upon her by an unscrupulous nun, who as Mr Maitland declared to us, was smuggled in as a nurse —and who did nothing but bother her patient, “importune her, and pray”. That Mrs. Kingsford was entirely against the theology of the Church of Rome, though believing in Catholic doctrines, may be proved by one of her last letters to us, on “poor slandered St. Satan”, in connection with certain attacks on the name of our journal, LUCIFER. We have preserved this and several other letters, as they were all written between September, 1887 and January, 1888. They thus remain eloquent witnesses against the pretensions of the Weekly Register. For they prove that Mrs Kingsford had not abjured her views, not that she died “in fidelity to the Catholic Church” ] So sensuous, so feminine on the one hand, so spiritual, so imaginative on the other hand".
The spiritual and psychic nature had always the upper hand over the sensuous and feminine; and the circle of her mystically-inclined friends will miss her greatly, for such women as she are not numerous in the same century. The world in general has lost in Mrs. Kingsford one who can be very ill-spared in this era of materialism. The whole of her adult life was passed in working unselfishly for others, for the elevation of the spiritual side of humanity. We can, however, in regretting her death take comfort in the thought that good work cannot be lost nor die, though the worker is no longer among us to watch for the fruit. And Anna Kingsford's work will be still bearing fruit even when her memory has been obliterated with the generations of those who knew her well, and new generations will have approached the psychic mysteries still nearer. [Page 80]
SCIENCE AND SCIOLISM
HYLO-IDEALISM, OR THE BRAIN THEOREM OF MIND AND MATTER
by Robert Lewins
" We receive but what we give,
And in our Life alone does Nature live;
Ours is her wedding garment, ours her shroud".
To the Editors of LUCIFER.
LET me again strive, with reference to the elaborate minutes on this synthesis and the ingenious speculations of the " Adversary", contained in the February No. of LUCIFER, to show, as imperfectly as words can interpret Abstract Ideals, what the real meaning and drift of this contention practically is. I shall endeavour to be as luminous, without being voluminous, as possible. My heresy purports to predicate that truth is neither an Orthodoxy or Heterodoxy, but a Paradoxy with two sides — not to mention subordinate facets. Anything short of this, whether on the Physical Science, or Transcendental aspect, can only be a half truth, i.e., a whole falsehood. It is a case not only of Facing-both-ways, as Bunyan has it, but of Janus Quadrifrons. It holds with the hare and hunts with the hounds. It covers all phenomena whatsoever. It turns upside down all current concepts and percepts of good and evil, as the eye from inversion of light rays on the retina reverses all objects visible. And thus it brands civilization, and especially British Pseudo-civilization, the most stereotyped and conventional form in Europe — as a pyramid on its apex — always, as indeed the history of all modern nations proves, unstable, but never more tottering and ready to topple over than when its blinded votaries — as in the Boeotian Britain of today — most jubilantly cackle about its progress, prosperity and stability. My object in promulgating this Cosmology and Biology, a superstructure founded upon all extant concrete Science, from the formal Physics of Newton to Anatomy, which only in this century, on the lines of French Materialism, has developed into a true Science — is to ventilate scientific formula as the basis of somatic Monism or Unitarianism, as Occultists label it. So as to bring completely within the limits of Reason, occult data hitherto falsely held to be outside its pale, such as "Divine" mysteries, like the Descent of the Holy Ghost and similar ones, which the Brain Theory reduces to symptoms of exalted innervation and cerebration. [ I might include the Bacchic phrensy, with which the "coming of the Holy Ghost" was confounded by outsiders, as in Acts, 2nd Chap., I3th verse.] The Rev. Edward Irving's epidemic orgasm of unknown tongues, inter alia multa, is clearly such a nerve-erethism — the 9th pair of cerebral nerves or Linguals, which innervates the motor muscles of the tongue participating in the hyper-assthesia of the adjacent ganglia — I identify thus completely the Stoic Palingenesia with the Pentecostal outpouring of the Paraclete and other prophetic visions, thus denuding the latter, as I more fully explain in my tract of " Life and Mind on the basis of Modern Medicine (Materialism)", of all pretensions to be an exceptional, novel or miraculous Influx. Hippocrates, indeed, the father of Medicine, who first broke away — so far as our own records extend — from the hereditary caste of Aesculapian priesthood, really implied all I do when — no doubt to the horror of the orthodox hierarchy — he hazarded the aphorism that Epilepsy, which, according to ancient Church tradition, was St. Paul's " thorn or stake [This neurosis, it may be profitably added, breaks down the mind more than the body ] in the flesh", was no more a Divine disease than any other, all diseases being alike the result of impaired bodily tissue; the healthy function of which being thus à fortiori, necessarily, implied to be a natural hylic one, and in no degree dependent on indwelling "spirit" or "divinity" in any shape or hue. It is indeed significant that no terminology has ever been coined to express what Transcendentalism vainly seeks to express by words when, in its Utopia, it aims at formulating a dual substance — a substance super-added to and " animating" the sole cognizable entity Matter. We may hence alone assume that no second substance is intelligible or logically thinkable, but that what savage medicine men, in whose steps Ontologists are still straying, have mistaken for this Animistic Fetich is nothing else than the function, exhibit, or symptom — to use a medical term — of this one material or somatic to Pan. "Where three physicians are, two are Atheists", says the immemorial proverb, coined before Physic had conquered a scientific status. Now the proverb, if up to date, must be amplified so as to include all three. When we eliminate "anima", which really means vitality, [Of which “vitality” biologists know no more than of the man in the moon — ADVERSARY.] or Soul, which is Anglo-Saxon for life, from the universe inorganic and organic, which indeed since Wohler's artificial preparation of an organic compound, 60 years [Page 81] ago, are proved to be solidaire, and only formally, not really distinct, we get rid of Deity, as the active agent in function either of " brute", or living matter, which seeming duality the above chemical experiment shows to be but one compact, indivisible Monad. God, as a Maker of Spirit, Soul, and caco-demonic Anima, is clean out of court and eliminated from what is falsely labelled " Creation". Indeed, the definition of this Eidolon in the 39 Articles of the English Church — now 300 years old — tells the same atheistic tale. A god ''without parts and passions" is exactly what I term the still wider conception of "Spirit", a non-entity, and no actual Ens at all. Sir I. Newton was quite mystified when he inserted, in his PRINCIPIA, the scholium about the Supreme Being. Just as much as the mystagogical theo-philanthropist Robespierre was, when he instituted the fête of that nonentity during the French terror.
Coleridge, indeed — though himself a fervid "Spiritualist", especially when under Narcosis from opium — distinctly states in his "Table Talk", that Newton's, divinity doctrines were "pure raving". Luther himself is virtually all Materialism indicates as Atheist, when he says: "God is a blank sheet, on which nothing is written but by ourselves". And again, " We learn by experience that God takes no interest in the present world". He died despairing of Humanity, comforting himself in the prospect of its speedy annihilation as hopelessly and miserably derelict. Mr. Carlyle was one of my most inveterate libellers — yet he too was practically an Atheist when he exclaimed, with a howl Mr. Froude avers he can never forget, that "God never acts or shows himself". —Indeed, his biographer infers that Carlyle seemed to rage so ante-diluvianly against Materialism from a secret dread and anticipation that it would turn out to be true. I think the case of Cudworth's "Intellectual System of the Universe", very significant. No doubt he was a sincere Christian, his work being written shortly before Newton turned the world upside down. Yet, as a candid and sincere soul, and a far-reaching and profound thinker in estimating the conflicting claims of Deism and Atheism his arguments for the latter Faith or Unfaith so preponderated over the theistic ones, that, to his great distress, he was reviled as an Atheist in disguise, which so discouraged and depressed him that much of his opus magnum still remains — in the British Museum, I believe — in manuscript. Sir A. Grant, late principal of the Edinburgh University, in his monograph of Aristotle, credits the Stagyrite withholding the same virtually Atheistic creed as Buddha. To me it is, or ought to be, strange how Atheism looms before the strabismic eyes of our gross, semi-bestial generation — as a coarse and vulgar creed, if for no other reason than for its enthusiastic advocacy by Lucretius — the most sublime and most truly original poet and thinker of antiquity, and by Shelley in modern times, who, though no solid thinker, had probably the most ethereal soul of whom we have any literary record.
The Brain theory I launch on the world chaos — like Noah's dove on the diluvial waste of waters — as an Eirenicon between mystics and scientists, is simply this, that all the knowledge we are capable of reaching must be an asselfment, prior to which there can be no Gnosis at all — not even its chaotic adumbration —that the mind, an organic function and nothing separate from the bodily Ego — as seal and conditioner of percepts and concepts — is both Agonist and Agony, Spectacle and Spectator — out of which egress is impossible. So that the Universe — abstract and concrete — of thought and thing, subject and object, is, in the last resort, a subjective, egoistic, cerebral or intercranial one, an organic function in short, generating all space and immensity, time and eternity, so that capping Louis XIV. in his vaunt of being the state, each unit of sentient creation must say,”l’Univers c'est moi [Just what every Brahmin and every Vedantin says when repeating: Aham ava parabrahma, “I am myself Brahma or the Universe” — ADVERSARY] Remembering that, as concept and percept, everything can only be a " think" and that thought is a process of cerebration, it is clear Solipsism is established — no sane mind ever dreaming of vicarious performance of any natural function, which each monad must perform for itself alone.
Let me illustrate my axiom by an example I have often elsewhere used. But crambe repetita I find, like John Wesley, the most convincing form of Rhetoric. Napoleon, on his Egyptian expedition, fuming at the Atheism of his accompanying savans, Monge, Berthollet, etc., raised his conquering arm to the hosts of Heaven and reproved their Hylism thus: " You are fine talkers, Messieurs, but who made all these?" The ordinary sensationalist response was then and now is, and no doubt it was theirs: "No one — they were never made at all, Matter is eternal, without beginning as without end". But our Brain theory, as so luminously expounded in C. N.'s (who is Miss Constance Naden, author of the volume of poems lately sent by me to LUCIFER, "The Modern Apostle, Elixir of Life, etc.," now travelling in the land of Brahma and Buddh) Prologue to my recent tract " Humanism [Page 82] v. Theism", carries the solution of the crux one momentous and fateful step further. Our answer would have been, "YOURSELF. Colour and Light, and all they reveal, are only imagery manufactured in the posterior chambers of your own optics, and in the cells (vesiculo-neurine) of your own Cortex cerebri".
Again I compare our relation to the external world to Sir Christopher Wren's in St. Paul's Cathedral, which is practically that of Para Brahm, who, looking round, can see nothing but Self and the operations of Self, which fully justifies Miss Naden when she characterizes our Schema as Apotheosis not Iconoclasm. We level up and destroy nothing. We only transfigure all things by immersion in the Self. We thus verify Schiller's couplet in his " Ideale".
"Take the Godhead into your
And He abdicates his Cosmic throne".
So that, as G. M. McC. finely puts it in the Appendix to Mr. Courtney's "Auto-Centricism," our brain, and no central Sun, is the cynosure, as creator of all the constellations — Nature's giant frame itself being but an abstract figment of Egoity. Shakspeare's dictum: " There is nothing good or ill but thinking makes it so", should hylo-ideally run: "There is nothing good, ill, indifferent, or at all, other than thinking". I trust the above synopsis has served materially to clear up the outs and ins of this heresy, which is at once common sense, synthetic science, and Christology rationalized and adapted to the present standpoint of the human — at least European — understanding.
It will be found on verification — Fact being grander than all Fiction—to be sublimer than all Religious or Poetic or mystic Oriental inspiration or clairvoyance. Byron sings in "Don Juan" of Berkeley's "sublime discovery of making the Universe universal Egotism", and Hylo-Phenomenalism — as a later birth of time — necessarily overtops absolute Idealism. It quite sets Mankind up for Himself and for the first time in Civil History — makes, in vulgar parlance, a Man of a beast So long as our race is the thrall of its own "lawless and uncertain thoughts", the human animal — individually and collectively — remains the semi-bestial hybrid Goethe, and other sages, ticket the "little World God " as being.
Before closing, let me shortly allude to the criticism of The Adversary, arraigning, on verbal grounds, the consistency of this heresy. The antinomy is apparent only — not vital. It inevitably arises from the amphibology of language — no single word in which is capable of covering the doubles ententes in a Paradoxy which stands four square to all the points of the compass. I need not here dwell on this objection. It has been effectually anticipated and dealt with by Mr. Courtney, in his most lucid and luminiferous Appendix to "The New Gospel of Hylo-Idealism”, as also most fully in his Preface to "Auto-Centricism".
As to the argumentum ad hominem the LUCIFER censor adduces of the improbability of this simple theorem being reserved for Dr. Lewins to solve, let it stand for the little it is worth. Some one must be the Innovator in every Reformation. Why not Dr. Lewins, as well as another ? No one can know like himself how anxiously and conscientiously he has laid the substructure and constructed the superstructure of his " Palace of Truth". But let the thing, or nothing (for it is both), stand on its own merits, independent of extraneous non-essentials. I have always insisted on its only being an adaptation, up to date, of former Cosmogonies — pre-historic, classic and modern. Among the latest and most noteworthy of these is Kant's negation of "Thing in itself". Only my formula is better suited to our age, and inevitably so. For Kant formulated his "all shattering" one at an epoch, when not one of the modern sciences I have utilized as the concrete substrata of mine — with the doubtful exception of Astronomy — had been evolved from the doedal Brain of Aryan Man — and he never really was at home in his own palace, which was too spacious for his use.
I may here appropriately add that
all the Physical Sciences — not even excepting Astronomy, both in its
present day eschatological bearings and analytic technic — are French. Chemistry, Geology Paleontology and
Anatomy (Histology.) The hide-bound, unspeculative British intellect has contributed essential data (facts) to
the fabric. But its defective generalizing and abstract capacity — as notably in Priestley's Oxygen discovery — has
quite failed in constructing out of "disjecta membra" a symmetric syntaxis. When not narrow and contracted
the English mind, at least since the Puritan Revolt and Revolution — with which the hard and fast Philosophy
of Locke well dovetails — has been quite eccentric. Its real province has been in the vulgar realistic details of Physical Science, and in the still lower planes of Industrialism. Scotland preserved, for more than a century
longer, the ideal "spiritual" and philosophic afflatus.
ROBERT LEWINS, M.D. [Page 83]
De Profundis !
THE world of science has just sustained a heavy loss, an irreparable one, it is feared. The blow falls especially heavy on two men of science. For the great calamity which deprives at once humanity of a new and lovely, albeit gelatinous forefather, and the German Darwin of the very topmost leaf from his crown of scientific laurels, strikes simultaneously Messrs. Haeckel and Huxley. One, as all the world — except ignoramuses, of course — knows, was the fond parent of the late lamented Bathybius Haeckelii — just passed away — or shall we say transfigured? — the other, the godfather of that tender sea-flower, the jelly-speck of the oceans. . . . [Vide first number of LUCIFER, page 73, “Literary Jottings.”]
" Woe is me, for I am undone ! " cried Isaiah, upon seeing the "Lord of Hosts" appear as smoke. " Woe are we !" exclaim both Messrs. Huxley and Haeckel upon finding their occult progeny— the Moneron — Bathybius that was — turning under pitiless chemical analysis into a vulgar pinch of precipitate of sulphate of lime! And, as with a great cry, they fall into each other's arms:
" They weep each other's woe.
. . .
O woeful day ! O day of woe ! . . .'
repeat, Greek-chorus-like, all the learned bodies of the two continents, of the Old and of the New World.
Alas, alas, young Bathybius exists no more ! . . . Nay, worse, for it is now being ascertained that he has never had any existence at all — except, perhaps, in the too credulous scientific brains of a few naturalists.
Requiescat in pace, sweet, dream-like myth, whose gelatinous appearance befooled even two great Darwinists and led them right into the meshes of crafty Maya! But — " De mortuis nil nisi bonum " — we know, we know. Still it is not saying evil of the poor ex-Bathybius, I hope, to remember he is now but a pinch of lime. Horribile dictu : in whom shall, or can we, place henceforth our trust? Whither shall we turn for a primordial ancestor, now that even that jelly-like stranger has been taken away from us ? Verily, we are stranded; and humanity, an orphan once more, is again as it was before — a parish-babe in Kosmos, without father, mother, or even a second-hand god in the shape of a Bathybius as a foundation-stone to stand upon ! Woe ! Woe !
But there may be still some balm
left in Gilead. If our ever to be lamented ancestor, breaking under
a too severe analysis, has ceased to be a protoplasmic entity, it is still
a salt. And are we not assured that we "are the salt of the earth?" Besides
which we are salt-generating animals anyhow, and therefore may still hope
to be related with the late Bathybius. Decidedly, mankind has little to lament
for. Haeckeland Mr. Huxley are thus the chief and only sufferers.
No wonder, then, that the Royal
Society is said to go into deep mourning for a whole lunar month. Moreover,
the "F.R.S.'s" should not fail to send Dr. Aveling to Berlin to carry the expression of their deep collective
sympathy to poor Dr. Haeckel for the bereavement they have caused to him. For, firstly — who fitter than
the eminent translator of the " Pedigree of Man " to offer consolation to the eminent German naturalist,
the author of Anthropogenesis and other inspired volumes ? And secondly — it is a case of "Science
versus Science”. It is the right hand of Science which has robbed her left hand of her promising progeny — the
Bathybius Haeckelii. We have but one more instance like this one in history — namely, the sad case of Count
Ugolino. Walled-in, in the famous tower, in company with his family to starve, the generous and self-sacrificing
nobleman fearing to leave his children orphans — devoured them one after the other — " lest they
should remain fatherless", explains the legend.
But I perceive — too late, I am afraid — that the case as above cited has little, if any, analogy with
the case in hand. Ugolino ate his sons, and Haeckel—did not eat his son, Bathybius . . . ? Yet .... Well — I
give it up !
MEMO. — Apply to the pellucid Solipsism of the Hylo-Idealists to get me out of this bog of the two sets of "sons" — the sons of Ugolino and the "first-born "of Haeckel. . . .
HERE would be the right place for another MEMO. — "To ask the Bishop of Canterbury ” etc., etc. But his Grace, I fear, will refuse to enlighten me.
I have just finished reading the excellent article in LUCIFER'S French contemporary, L'AURORE, on the ten lost tribes of Israel. It would appear from the weighty proofs in the context that it is the English, the Anglo-Saxon nation, after all, which are those lost tribes. Well, [Page 84] may they prosper better in the bosom of Abraham than they are likely to in that of Christ. But there is a little difficulty in the way.
Ecclesiastical History teaches, and profane science does not deny, that since the days of Tiglath-Pileser, who carried three tribes and one-half a tribe beyond the Euphrates (2 Kings xv., 29 ; I Chron. v., 26) ; and Shalmanaser, King of Assyria, who carried also beyond the Euphrates the rest of the tribes, there was " the end of the Kingdom of the ten tribes of Israel." In other words, no one heard of them any longer. " The tribes never did return", the good old Crudens tells us. Nor were they ever heard of. This was in 758 and 678 B.C.
But — and here comes the rub. If this is so, then the Septuagint — the ark of salvation of all the Protestant Churches and its hundreds of bastard sects — is a living lie, name and all. For what is the history of the famous Septuagint? Ptolemy Philadelphus, who lived some 250 years B.C., curious to read the Hebrew law in Greek, "wrote to Eleazar, [Or is it Ariamnes II? For Historical chronology is muddled up....] the high priest of the Jews, to send him six men from each of the twelve tribes of Israel to translate the law for him into Greek." Thus say Philo Judaeus and Josephus, and add that six men of each tribe were sent, and the Septuagint written.
Query: Considering that ten tribes out of twelve had been lost nearly 400 years before the day of Ptolemy, and had "never returned" — whom did Eleazar send to Alexandria ? Spooks may have been rife in those days as they are in ours?
I have seen mediums (for " fire and flame phenomena" as they are called in America) take burning live coals in their hands and closing their fingers upon them never even get a burn. I have seen others handle red-hot and white-hot lamp-glasses, pokers, and have heard from several trustworthy eye-witnesses that the medium D. D. Home used to cool his countenance, when entranced, by burying his face in a bed of live coals in the grate of the fire-place, not a hair of his head being singed; and he took up handfuls of burning coals with naked hands and even gave them to other persons to hold — without any injury.
And having seen all this, and heard all this, what am I to think, when I find Isaiah saying (vi. 6),;"Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal which he had taken with the TONGS from off the altar".
Query : Why such precautions ?
Why should a seraph need tongs ? A seraph is higher than a common angel — for he is an angel of the highest order in the celestial hierarchy. Moreover, the plural of the word seraph means "burning, fiery", hence of the same nature as the fire. Shall we infer from this that spiritual mediums are of a still higher hierarchy than even seraphs ?
A Heathen Brother, a high graduate, writes: " This week a zealous padri pestered us with questions I could not answer. He clamoured to be told why, if we write after our names, ' M. A.'s ' and ' B. A.'s,' we persist in believing various doctrines taught in the Puranas. 'How can you, O foolish Gentiles', he exclaimed; ' Why should you, O godforsaken, unregenerate idolaters', he cried, ' believe that not only did your Brahmâ form birds from his vital vigour, sheep from his breast, goats from his mouth, kine from his belly, horses, deer and elephants from his sides, whilst from the hairs of his body sprang herbs, roots, plants, etc.; but even that sun and moon, fishes in the seas and fowls in the air, stones and trees, rivers and mountains, that all the animate and inanimate nature, in short, talks with your false god and praises, making puja (obeisance) to him !' What could I answer to this irate father, who called our sacred scriptures silly fairy tales, and proclaimed the supremacy of his religion over ours ? Already visions of Jordan and baptism have begun to haunt my restless dreams. I cannot bear to be laughed at by one, the doctrines of whose religion seem so infinitely superior in matter of Science to ours. Advise and help me. . . ."
I sent him in answer "the Book of Common Prayer", according to the use of the Church of England. I marked the " Morning Prayer," No. 8, the Benedicite, Omnia Opera, for him with a red cross, to read to his padri at the first opportunity. For there, filling over three columns, we find: " Oh, ye Sun and Moon, bless ye the Lord: praise him. and magnify him for ever". " Oh, ye Whales and Wells, Seas and Floods, Fowls of the Air, and all ye Beasts and Cattle, Mountains and Green things upon the Earth, Ice and Snow, Frost and Cold. Fire and Heat, etc., etc., bless ye the Lord: praise him, and magnify him for ever".
This, I believe, will moderate the zeal of the good missionary. The difference between the fish and fowls, cereals, plants and whales, and other marketable product of sea and land of the Heathen, and those of' the Christian, seems quite imperceptible to an unbiassed mind.
Decidedly, the promise of the Jewish God, " I shall give you the heathen for your inheritance", seems premature.
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