|Vol. 3||No. 16|
|265||Is Denunciation a Duty?||(HPB & MC)|
|273||Brahma [poem]||Ralph Waldo Emerson|
|274||The Idylls of the King - The Holy Grail||SG|
|279||Orestes [poem]||Evelyn Pyne|
|280||Was he Mad? (2)||Charles E Benham|
|286||Two Christmas Visions (I) - An Allegory||FC|
|288||Two Christmas Visions (II) - A Chela's Dream||X.|
|292||The Talking Image of Urur (1)||Franz Hartmann|
|301||The Dirge for the Dead in Life
(a portion of an Egyptian Chant)
|304||Accursed (III)||Vera Petrovna Jelihovsky|
|317||The Seven Geometrical Vowels (1)||A Chela|
|321||The Elixir of the Devil (1)||ETA Hoffmann (1776-1882)|
|328||Dialogues between the Two Editors||(HPB & MC)|
|334||Hosea's Prophecy about Rotten Rails||Katzenellenbogen|
|335||review - Dreams & Dream Stories by Anna Kingsford||anon|
|337||correspondence - Was St Paul An Initiate?||A Book-worm|
|339||Lodges of Magic (2)||AE|
|341||Children Allowed to Train Themselves for Murder||“Ariadna” & [Ed] (HPB)|
|343||The Devil, Who is He? (3)||TG Headley|
|344||The Editor's Reply||HPB|
|346||Literary Jottings||various (HPB)|
|350||Theosophical & Mystic Publications - various||anon|
“Condemn no man in his absence; and when forced to reprove, do so to his face, but gently, and in words full of charity and compassion. For the human heart is like the Kusûli plant: it opens its cup to the sweet morning dew, and closes it before a heavy shower of rain.”
— BUDDHIST PRECEPT
“Judge not, that ye be not judged”.
— CHRISTIAN APHORISM
Not a few of our most earnest Theosophists feel themselves, we are sorry to hear, between the horns of a dilemma. Small causes will at times produce great results. There are those who would jest under the cruelest operation, and remain cool while having a leg amputated, who would yet raise a storm and renounce their rightful place in the kingdom of Heaven if, to preserve it, they had to keep silent when somebody treads on their corns.
In the 13th number of Lucifer (Vol. III September, page 63), a paper on “ The Meaning of a Pledge ” was published. Out of the seven articles (six only were given out) which constitute the entire Pledge, the 1st, 4th, 5th, and especially the 6th, require great moral strength of character, an iron will added to much unselfishness, quick readiness for renunciation and even self-sacrifice, to carry out such a covenant. Yet scores of Theosophists have cheerfully signed this solemn “Promise” to work for the good of Humanity forgetful of Self, without one word of protest — save on one point. Strange to say, it is rule the third which in almost every case makes the applicant hesitate and show the white feather. Ante tubam trepidat: the best and kindest of them feels alarmed; and he is as overawed before the blast of the trumpet of that third clause, as though he dreaded for himself the fate of the walls of Jericho! [Page 266]
What is then this terrible pledge, to carry out which seems to be above the strength of the average mortal? Simply this:—
“I PLEDGE MYSELF NEVER TO LISTEN WITHOUT PROTEST TO ANY EVIL THING SPOKEN OF A BROTHER THEOSOPHIST, AND TO ABSTAIN FROM CONDEMNING OTHERS.”
To practise this golden rule seems quite easy. To listen without protest to evil said of any one is an action which has been despised ever since the remotest days of Paganism.
“To hear an open slander is a curse,
But not to find an answer is a worse,” . . .
says Ovid. For one thing, perhaps, as pointedly remarked by Juvenal, because:
“Slander, that worst of poisons, ever finds
An easy entrance to ignoble minds . . .”
— and because in antiquity, few liked to pass for such — minds. But now! . . . .
In fact, the duty of defending a fellow-man stung by a poisonous tongue during his absence, and to abstain, in general, “from condemning others” is the very life and soul of practical theosophy, for such action is the handmaiden who conducts one into the narrow Path of the “higher life”, that life which leads to the goal we all crave to attain. Mercy, Charity and Hope are the three goddesses who preside over that “life”. To “abstain” from condemning our fellow beings is the tacit assertion of the presence in us of the three divine Sisters; to condemn on “hearsay” shows their absence. “Listen not to a tale bearer or slanderer,” says Socrates. “For, as he discovereth of the secrets of others, so he will thine in turn.” Nor is it difficult to avoid slander-mongers. Where there is no demand, supply will very soon cease. “When people refrain from evil-hearing, then evil speakers will refrain from evil-talking,” says a proverb. To condemn is to glorify oneself over the man one condemns. Pharisees of every nation have been constantly doing it since the evolution of intolerant religions. Shall we do as they?
We may be told, perhaps, that we ourselves are the first to break the ethical law we are upholding. That our theosophical periodicals are full of “denunciations”, and Lucifer lowers his torch to throw light on every evil, to the best of his ability. We reply — this is quite another thing. We denounce indignantly systems and organisations, evils, social and religious — cant above all: we abstain from denouncing persons. The latter are the children of their century, the victims of their environment and of the Spirit of the Age. To condemn and dishonour a man instead of pitying and trying to help him, because, being born in a community of lepers he is a leper himself, is like cursing a room because it is dark, instead of quietly lighting a candle to disperse the gloom. “Ill deeds are doubled with an evil word”; nor can a general evil be avoided or [Page 267] removed by doing evil oneself and choosing a scape-goat for the atonement of the sins of a whole community. Hence, we denounce these communities, not their units; we point out the rottenness of our boasted civilisation, indicate the pernicious systems of education which lead to it, and show the fatal effects of these on the masses. Nor are we more partial to ourselves. Ready to lay down our life any day for THEOSOPHY — that great cause of the Universal Brotherhood for which we live and breathe — and willing to shield, if need be, every true theosophist with our own body, we yet denounce as openly and as virulently the distortion of the original lines upon which the Theosophical Society was primarily built, and the gradual loosening and undermining of the original system by the sophistry of many of its highest officers. We bear our Karma for our lack of humility during the early days of the Theosophical Society; for our favourite aphorism: “See, how these Christians love each other” has now to be paraphrased daily, and almost hourly, into: “Behold, how our Theosophists love each other.” And we tremble at the thought that, unless many of our ways and customs, in the Theosophical Society at large, are amended or done away with, Lucifer will one day have to expose many a blot on our own escutcheon — e.g., worship of Self, uncharitableness, and sacrificing to one’s personal vanity the welfare of other Theosophists — more “fiercely” than it has ever denounced the various shams and abuses of power in state Churches and Modern Society.
Nevertheless, there are theosophists, who forgetting the beam in their own eye, seriously believe it their duty to denounce every mote they perceive in the eye of their neighbour. Thus, one of our most estimable, hardworking, and noble-minded members writes, with regard to the said 3rd clause: —
The “Pledge” binds the taker never to speak evil of anyone But I believe that there are occasions when severe denunciation is a duty to truth. There are cases of treachery, falsehood, rascality in private life which should be denounced by those who are certain of them; and there are cases in public life of venality and debasement which good citizens are bound to lash unsparingly. Theosophic culture would not be a boon to the world if it enforced unmanliness weakness, flabbiness of moral texture. . . . .
We are sincerely sorry to find a most worthy brother holding such mistaken views. First of all, poor is that theosophic culture which fails to transform simply a “good citizen” of his own native country into a “good citizen” of the world. A true theosophist must be a cosmopolitan in his heart. He must embrace mankind, the whole of humanity in his philanthropic feelings. It is higher and far nobler to be one of those who love their fellow men, without distinction of race, creed, caste or colour, than to be merely a good patriot, or still less, a
partisan. To mete one measure for all, is holier and more divine than to help one's country in its private ambition of aggrandizement, strife or bloody wars in [Page 268] the name of GREEDINESS and SELFISHNESS. Severe denunciation is a duty to truth”. It is; on condition, however, that one should denounce and fight against the root of evil and not expend one’s fury by knocking down the irresponsible blossoms of its plant. The wise horticulturist uproots the parasitic herbs, and will hardly lose time in using his garden shears to cut off the heads of the poisonous weeds. If a theosophist happens to be a public officer, a judge or magistrate, a barrister or even a preacher, it is then, of course his duty to his country, his conscience and those who put their trust in him, to “denounce severely” every case of “treachery, falsehood and rascality” even in private life; but — nota bene — only if he is appealed to and called to exercise his legal authority, not otherwise. This is neither “speaking evil” nor “condemning”, but truly working for humanity; seeking to preserve society, which is a portion of it, from being imposed upon, and protecting the property of the citizens entrusted to their care as public officers, from being recklessly taken away. But even then the theosophist may assert himself in the magistrate, and show his mercy by repeating after Shakespeare's severe judge: “I show it most of all when I show justice”.
But what has a “working” member of the Theosophical Society independent of any public function or office, and who is neither judge, public prosecutor nor preacher, to do with the misdeeds of his neighbours? If a member of the T.S. is found guilty of one of the above enumerated or some still worse crime, and if another member becomes possessed of irrefutable evidence to that effect, it may become his painful duty to bring the same under the notice of the Council of his Branch. Our Society has to be protected, as also its numerous members. This, again, would only be simple justice. A natural and truthful statement of facts cannot be regarded as “evil speaking” or as a condemnation of one's brother. Between this, however, and deliberate backbiting there is a wide chasm. Clause 3 concerns only those who being in no way responsible for their neighbour’s actions or walk in life, will yet judge and condemn them on every opportunity. And in such case it becomes — “slander” and “evil speaking”.
This is how we understand the clause in question; nor do we believe that by enforcing it “theosophic culture” enforces “unmanliness, weakness or flabbiness of moral texture” but the reverse. True courage has naught to do, we trust, with denunciation; and there is little manliness in, criticizing and condemning one’s fellow men behind their backs, whether for wrongs done to others or injury to ourselves. Shall we regard the unparalleled virtues inculcated by Gautama the Buddha, or the Jesus of the Gospels as “unmanliness”? Then the ethics preached by the former, that moral code which Professor Max Muller, Burnouf and even Barthélemy Saint-Hilaire have unanimously pronounced the most perfect which the world has ever known, must be no better than meaningless words, and the Sermon on the Mount had better never have been [Page 269] written at all. Does our correspondent regard the teaching of non-resistance to evil, kindness to all creatures, and the sacrifice of one’s own self for the good of others as weakness or unmanliness? Are the commands, “Judge not that ye be not judged”, and, “Put up again thy sword . . . for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword”, to be viewed as “flabbiness of moral texture” or as the voice of Karma?
But our correspondent is not alone in his way of thinking. Many are the men and women, good, charitable, self-sacrificing and trustworthy in every other respect, and who accept unhesitatingly every other clause of the “Pledge,” who feel uneasy and almost tremble before this special article. But why? The answer is easy: simply because they fear an unconscious (to them), almost unavoidable PERJURY.
The moral of the fable and its conclusion are suggestive. It is a direct blow in the face of Christian education and our civilized modern society in all its circles and in every Christian land. So deep has this moral cancer — the habit of speaking uncharitably of our neighbour and brother at every opportunity — eaten into the heart of all the classes of Society, from the lowest to the very highest, that it has led the best of its members to feel diffident of their tongues! They dare not trust themselves to abstain from condemning others — from mere force of habit. This is quite an ominous “sign of the times”.
Indeed, most of us, of whatever nationality, are born and brought up in a thick atmosphere of gossip, uncharitable criticism and wholesale condemnation. Our education in this direction begins in the nursery, where the head nurse hates the governess, the latter hates the mistress, and the servants, regardless of the presence of “baby” and the children grumble incessantly against the masters, find fault with each other, and pass impudent remarks on every visitor. The same training follows us in the class room, whether at home or at a public school. It reaches its apex of ethical development during the years of our education and practical religious instruction. We are soaked through and through with the conviction that, though ourselves “born in sin and total depravity”, our religion is the only one to save us from eternal damnation, while the rest of mankind is predestined from the depths of eternity to inextinguishable hell-fires. We are taught that slander of every other people’s Gods and religion is a sign of reverence for our own idols, and is a meritorious action. The “Lord God,” himself, the “ personal Absolute”, is impressed upon our young plastic minds as ever backbiting and condemning those he created, as cursing the stiff-necked Jew and tempting the Gentile.
For years the minds of young Protestants are periodically enriched with the choicest curses from the Commination service in their prayer-books, or the “denouncing of God’s anger and judgments against sinners”, besides eternal condemnation for most creatures; and from his birth the young Roman Catholic constantly hears threats of curse and excommunication [Page 270] by his Church. It is in the Bible and Church of England prayer-books that boys and girls of all classes learn of the existence of vices, the mention of which, in the works of Zola, falls under the ban of law as immoral and depraving, but to the enumeration and the cursing of which in the Churches, young and old are made to say “Amen”, after the minister of the meek and humble Jesus. The latter says, swear not, curse not, condemn not, but “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate and persecute you”. But the canon of the church and the clergyman tell them: Not at all. There are crimes and vices “for which ye affirm with your own mouths the curse of God to be due”. (Vide “Commination Service”.) What wonder that later in life, Christians piously try to emulate “God” and the priest, since their ears are still ringing with, “Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour’s landmark”, and “Cursed be he” who does this, that or the other, even “he that putteth his trust in man” (!), and with “God’s” judgment and condemnations. They judge and condemn right and left, indulging in wholesale slander and “comminating” on their own account. Do they forget that in the last curse — the anathema against adulterers and drunkards, idolaters and extortionists — “the UNMERCIFUL and SLANDERERS” are included? And that by having joined in the solemn “amen” after this last Christian thunderbolt, they have affirmed “with their own mouths the curse of God to be due ” on their own sinful heads?
But this seems to trouble our society slanderers very little. For no sooner are the religiously brought up children of church-going people off their school benches, than they are taken in hand by those who preceded them. Coached for their final examination in that school for scandal, called the world, by older and more experienced tongues, to pass Master of Arts in the science of cant and commination, a respectable member of society has but to join a religious congregation: to become a church-warden or lady patroness.
Who shall dare deny that in our age, modern society in its general aspect has become a vast arena for such moral murders, performed between two cups of five o’clock tea and amid merry jests and laughter? Society is now more than ever a kind of international shambles wherein, under the waving banners of drawing-room and church Christianity and the cultured tittle-tattle of the world, each becomes in turn as soon as his back is turned, the sacrificial victim, the sin-offering for atonement, whose singed flesh smells savour in the nostrils of Mrs. Grundy. Let us pray, brethren, and render thanks to the God of Abraham and of Isaac that we no longer live in the days of cruel Nero. And, oh! let us feel grateful that we no longer live in danger of being ushered into the arena of the Colosseum, to die there a comparatively quick death under the claws of the hungry wild beasts! It is the boast of Christianity that our ways and customs have been wonderfully softened under the beneficent shadow of the Cross. Yet we have but to step into a modern [Page 271] drawing-room to find a symbolical representation, true to life, of the same wild beasts feasting on, and gloating over, the mangled carcasses of their best friends. Look at those graceful and as ferocious great cats, who with sweet smiles and an innocent eye sharpen their rose-coloured claws preparatory to playing at mouse and cat. Woe to the poor mouse fastened upon by those proud Society felidae! The mouse will be made to bleed for years before being permitted to bleed to death. The victims will have to undergo unheard-of moral martyrdom, to learn through papers and friends that they have been guilty at one or another time of life of each and all the vices and crimes enumerated in the Commination Service, until, to avoid further persecution, the said mice themselves turn into ferocious society cats, and make other mice tremble in their turn. Which of the two arenas is preferable, my brethren — that of the old pagan or that of Christian lands?
Addison had not words of contempt sufficiently strong to rebuke this Society gossip of the worldly Cains of both sexes.
“How frequently” [he exclaims] ”is the honesty and integrity of a man disposed of by a smile or a shrug? How many good and generous actions have been sunk into oblivion by a distrustful look, or stamped with the imputation of proceeding from bad motives, by a mysterious and seasonable whisper. Look. . . . how large a portion of chastity is sent out of the world by distant hints — nodded away, and cruelly winked into suspicion by the envy of those who are past all temptation of it themselves. How often does the reputation of a helpless creature bleed by a report — which the party who is at the pains to propagate it beholds with much pity and fellow-feeling — that she is heartily sorry for it — hopes in God it is not true!”From Addison we pass to Sterne’s treatment of the same subject. He seems to continue this picture by saying:
So fruitful is slander in variety of expedients to satiate as well as to disguise itself, that if those smoother weapons cut so sore, what shall we say of open and unblushing scandal, subjected to no caution, tied down to no restraints? If the one like an arrow shot in the dark, does, nevertheless, so much secret mischief, this, like pestilence, which rages at noonday, sweeps all before it, levelling without distinction the good and the bad; a thousand fall beside it, and ten thousand on its right hand; they fall, so rent and torn in this tender part of them, so unmercifully butchered, as sometimes never to recover either the wounds or the anguish of heart which they have occasioned.Such are the results of slander, and from the standpoint of Karma, many such cases amount to more than murder in hot blood. Therefore, those who want to lead the “higher life” among the “working Fellows”, of the Theosophical Society, must bind themselves by this solemn pledge, or, remain droning members It is not to the latter that these pages are addressed, nor would they feel interested in that question, nor is it an advice offered to the F.’s T.S. at large. For the “Pledge” under discussion is taken only by those Fellows who begin to be referred in our circles of “Lodges” as the “working” members of the T.S. All [Page 272] others, that is to say those Fellows who prefer to remain ornamental, and belong to the “mutual admiration” groups; or those who, having joined out of mere curiosity, have, without severing their connexion with the Society, quietly dropped off; or those, again, who have preserved only a skin-deep interest (if any), a luke-warm sympathy for the movement — and such constitute the majority in England — need burden themselves with no such pledge. Having been for years the “Greek Chorus” in the busy drama enacted, now known as the Theosophical Society, they prefer remaining as they are. The “chorus”, considering its numbers, has only, as in the past, to look on at what takes place in the action of the dramatis personae and it is only required to express occasionally its sentiments by repeating the closing gems from the monologues of the actors, or remain silent — at their option. “Philosophers of a day”, as Carlyle calls them, they neither desire, nor are they desired “to apply”. Therefore, even were these lines to meet their eye, they are respectfully begged to remember that what is said does not refer to either of the above enumerated classes of Fellows. Most of them have joined the Society as they would have bought a guinea book. Attracted by the novelty of the binding, they opened it; and, after glancing over contents and title, motto and dedication, they have put it away on a back shelf, and thought of it no more. They have a right to the volume, by virtue of their purchase, but would refer to it no more than they would to an antiquated piece of furniture relegated to the lumber-room, because the seat of it is not comfortable enough, or is out of proportion with their moral and intellectual size. A hundred to one these members will not even see Lucifer, for it has now become a matter of theosophical statistics, that more than two thirds of its subscribers are non-theosophists. Nor are the elder brothers of Lucifer — the Madras Theosophist, the New York “Path”, the French “Le Lotus”, nor even the marvellously cheap and international “T. P. S.” (of 7, Duke Street, Adelphi), any luckier than we are. Like all prophets, they are not without honour, save in their own countries, but their voices in the fields of Theosophy are truly “the voice of one crying in the wilderness”. This is no exaggeration. Among the respective subscribers to those various Theosophical periodicals, the members of the T.S., who organs they are, and for whose sole benefit they were started (their editors, managers, and the whole staff of constant contributors working gratis, and paying furthermore out of their own generally meagre pockets, printers, publishers and occasional contributors), are on the varage 15 per cent. This is also a sign of the times, and shows the diffrence between the “working” and the “resting” theosophists.
“He that shall rail against his absent friends,
Or hears them scandalised, and not defends
Tells tales, and brings his friend in disesteem;
That man’s a KNAVE — be sure beware of him.”
IF the red slayer think he slays,
Or if the slain think he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways
I keep, and pass, and turn again.
Far or forgot to me is near;
Shadow and sunlight are the same;
The vanished gods to me appear;
And one to me, are shame and fame.
They reckon ill who leave me out;
When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt,
And I, the hymn the Brahmin sings.
The strong gods pine for my abode,
And pine in vain the sacred SEVEN;
But thou, meek lover of the good !
Find me, and turn thy back on heaven. [Page 274]
RALPH WALDO EMERSON
IN the following attempt such passages only have been selected as bear more directly on the main theme of the Idyll, the initiation of the Grail. An apology, however, is needed to those who will miss the beauty of the original in the piecing together of scattered lines; but, indeed, it is only intended as an underlined copy and to save the labour of referring to the poem itself. As nearly every word is quoted from the text, marks of quotation are omitted, and the selected lines strung together to avoid useless trouble in printing. The sequence of the different events being brought thus prominently forward, little explanation is needed, each reader's intuition being sufficient to translate the trials before the attainment of esoteric knowledge into his own language. Many are those who went upon the “Quest”, longed to find and — lost it. The excellent articles on Parsifal in Nos. 2, 3 and 4 of the “Meister” may be read with advantage by those who are interested in the mysticism of the Grail legend.
And “O, my brother Percivale”, she said,
“Sweet brother, I have seen the Holy Grail”.
By prayer and fasting had the wan sweet maid beheld the Holy Cup, and bade her brother Percivale to
Tell his brother knights to fast and pray,
That so perchance the vision might be seen
By him and them, and all the world be heal'd.
And so they prayed and fasted. But Galahad, who ever moved among them in white armour, when he heard the vision, filled all with amaze, so like his eyes became to the pale nun's. And the maiden plaited broad and long of all her wealth of hair, a sword-belt with a strange device, a crimson Grail within a silver beam; and bound it on the bright boy knight and said:
“ I, maiden, round thee, maiden, bind my belt.
Go forth, for thou shall see what I have seen; ”
And sent the deathless passion in her eyes
Thro' him, and made him hers, and laid her mind
On him, and he believed in her belief.
Now in Arthur's Hall there stood “Siege perilous”, fashioned by Merlin ere he passed away; “for there”, he said, “no man could sit but he should lose himself”. But Galahad cried, “If I lose myself, I save myself ”, and down he sat, and straight the vision of the Holy Cup [Page 275] passed by, and every knight beheld his fellow's face as in a glory, but the very Grail they could not see. And many swore a vow that they would ride a twelvemonth and a day in quest of it; and chief of these was Galahad, and Lancelot, and his cousin, good Sir Bors, and Sir Gawain, and Percivale. King Arthur then was absent from the Hall; but when he came, they told him of their vows. And sorrowfully did Arthur send his knights upon the Quest, with warning that they followed wandering fires lost in the quagmire,
But one hath seen, and all the blind will see,
And one hath sung, and all the dumb will sing.
And Sir Percivale, he who tells the tale, rode on.
And every evil word he had spoken once,
And every evil thought he had thought of old,
And every evil deed he ever did,
Awoke and cried, “This quest is not for thee”.
Then is he shown by four dread tests how vain are human loves. A mighty hunger and a thirst assail him, and he finds deep lawns and then a brook with apple-trees, and apples by the brook fallen and on the lawns.
But even while he drank the brook, and ate
The goodly apples, all these things at once
Fell into dust, and he was left alone,
And thirsting, in a land of sand and thorns.
And then a woman spinning;
But when he touched her, lo ! she, too,
Fell into dust and nothing, and the house
Became no better than a broken shed.
And in it a dead babe; and also this
Fell into dust, and he was left alone.
Then flashed a yellow gleam of gold, and one that moved in golden armour, and he, too, fell into dust, and he was left alone.
And last a city wall'd, and nigh the gate a mighty crowd which cried, “Welcome, Percivale, thou mightiest and thou best of men!” And nearing he could see but one old man, who scarce had voice to answer, and yet gasp'd “Whence and what art thou?” and even as he spoke fell into dust and disappeared, and he was left alone.
And he passed on, on, found a chapel, and thereby a holy hermit in a hermitage, and to him told his phantoms. “Thou has not true Humility”, the old man said,
“For when the Lord of all things made Himself
Naked for glory of his mortal change,
‘Take thou my robe,' she said, ' for all is thine,'
And all her form shone forth with sudden light [Page 276]
So that the angels were amazed, and she
Follow'd Him down, and like a flying star
Led on the gray-haired wisdom of the east.
Thou hast not lost thyself to save thyself”.
And there Sir Percivale met Galahad who, by the spirit of the Holy Grail, had rode, shattering all evil customs everywhere, who bade Percivale come with him (for his time was near at hand and one would crown him king far in the spiritual city), and he should see the vision.
There rose a hill that none but man could climb, and at the base they found a noisome swamp, part black, part whiten'd with the bones of men,
Not to be crost, save that some ancient king
Had built a way, where, link'd with many a bridge,
A thousand piers ran into the great Sea.
And Galahad fled along them bridge by bridge,
And every bridge as quickly as he crost
Sprang into fire and vanished.
And so he passed across the sea and Percivale beheld the Grail above his head, and saw
the least of little stars
Down on the waste, and straight beyond the star
the spiritual city and all her spires
And gateways in a glory like one pearl —
No larger, tho' the goal of all the Saints —
Strike from the sea.
But how his feet recrossed the dreadful ridge no memory in him lived, but touched the chapel door at noon and so returned.
And after, when he told the tale to one enquiring, “Came ye on none but phantoms in your quest ? ” he said, “All men, to one so bound by such a vow, and women were as phantoms”; but he came on one, and her the only one, who had ever made his heart leap, then widow'd and she gave herself and all her wealth to him, and the quest faded in his heart,
but one night the vow
Burnt him within, so that he rose and fled,
But wail'd and wept, and hated his own self
And ev’n the Holy Quest, and all but her:
But after he was joined with Galahad
Cared not for her, nor anything ‘pon earth.
But Sir Bors went sadly forth, for he had met his kinsman Lancelot, on whom had come again his madness and
Being so clouded with his grief and love,
Small heart was his after the Holy Quest:
If God would send a vision, well: if not,
The Quest and he were in the hands of Heaven. [Page 277]
Yet in the silence of a prison, where a Paynim crowd, hearing he had a difference with their priests, had bound and plunged him, he saw the vision, beyond all hopes of his who scarce had prayed or ask'd it for himself.
And when the twelvemonth and a day were past, “Was then the quest for thee ? ” asked Arthur of Gawain,
‘Nay, lord', said Gawain, 'not for such as I.
Therefore I communed with a saintly man,
Who made me sure the Quest was not for me;
For I was much awearied of the Quest:
But found a silk pavilion in a field,
And merry maidens in it; and then the gale
Tore my pavilion from the tenting-pin,
And blew my merry maidens all about
With all discomfort; yea, and but for this,
My twelvemonth and a day were pleasant to me.'
‘Thou, too, my Lancelot’, ask'd the King, 'my friend
Our mightiest, has this Quest avail'd for thee ?’
‘O, king, my friend, if friend of thine I be,
Happier are those who welter in their sin,
Swine in the mud, that cannot see for slime,
Slime of the ditch: but in me lived a sin
So strange, of such a kind, that all of pure,
Noble, and knightly in me twined and clung
Round that one sin, until the wholesome flower
And poisonous grew together, each as each,
Not to be pluck'd asunder.
So forth I went, and while I yearn'd and strove
To tear the twain asunder in my heart,
My madness came upon me as a fold.'
To the sea't shore he came, when raged a mighty storm, and found a boat and said:
I will embark, and I will lose myself,
And in the great sea wash away my sin.
Seven days he drave along the weary deep, and felt his bark shock earth beneath the magic bowers of Carbonek, and passed the lions at the portal, and cleared the empty hall, and clomb a thousand steps to reach a sweet voice singing in the topmost tower;
Then in his madness he essayed the door,
It gave; and thro' a stormy glare, a heat
As from a seven times heated furnace, he,
Blasted and burnt, and blinded as he was, [Page 278]
With such a fierceness, that he swoon'd away
Yet thought he saw the Holy Grail,
All pall’d in crimson samite, and around
Great angels, awful shapes, and wings and eyes.
And Gawain, when he heard Lancelot's madness, swore henceforward to be deafer than the blue-eyed cat to holy virgins in their ecstasies.
‘Deafer', said the blameless king,
‘Gawain, and blinder unto holy things
Hope not to make thyself by idle vows,
Being too blind to have desire to see
But if, indeed, there came a sign from heaven,
Blessed are Bors, Lancelot and Percivale,
For these have seen according to their sight.
For every fiery prophet in old times,
And all the sacred madness of the bard,
When God made madness thro' them, could but speak
His music by the framework and the chord;
And as ye saw it, ye have spoken truth'.
What can be more beautiful, more impressive, more ennobling than so grand an allegory of the struggles of our manhood towards the glorious light of wisdom? And what can be more true to life !
Veiled within veils, mysterious in mystery, ever receding from the gaze profane, not to be beheld by sin-stained mortals in her purity, stands Isis, our great mother.
The knowledge of our Being, what 'and whence art thou ? ' divine Gnosis, this it is which the cup symbols.
It was Galahad alone, he who ever moved in Purity's white armour, and who lost himself — his lower self — to save himself, that won the Quest. Young in years was he, but ready, ready, for he was prepared by former times of struggle, and the nun's belief set the same chord of faith vibrating in his soul, and in the strength of this, he rode shattering all evil customs everywhere, and passed the horrors of the “Dweller”, as Lancelot by the lions, with the words, ‘Doubt not, go forward; if thou doubt, the beasts will tear thee piecemeal,' ringing in his ears. But for Percivale the bridges vanished as he crost; he was not ready yet, the way was not for him. But Galahad passed thro' the Astral Ocean, the cup of Wisdom o'er his head; and Percivale, by inner vision and his master's power, saw yet one further veil of knowledge, the city of the Grail, all in a glory like one pearl — no larger. He, doughtiest of knights, next Lancelot, and fitted somewhat for the Quest, being brother to the nun, good man and true, had first to learn the vanity of many things the world still prizes dear, the appetites and love of woman and of child, of wealth and [Page 279] fame, “the last infirmity of noble minds”. All these fell into dust before the awful question: “Whence and what art thou ? ”
As for Sir Bors, had he resigned himself and waited for the vision, nothing more — he then, perhaps had never seen the Grail; but for his deeds were better than his faith, and he opposed a creed then sunk to lifeless superstition with the living faith that he had found, he thus beheld the sacred symbol, and gained entrance to the outer court of Wisdom's Temple.
Gawain portrays those butterflies who dally with the Sacred Science, and fail in ignorant contentment, save for the gale that blows their merry maidens all about in all discomfort; such, having failed, turn round and mock at holy things, being too blind to have desire to see.
Last Lancelot, the flower of bravery, is wrecked upon a secret sin, his love for Guinevere, the pearl of beauty, wife to the faultless king. Long he strove 'twixt loyalty and duty and his guilty love, till he would fain have ended all, and in the great sea washed away his sin. Still, for he loathes his fault and strives to kill it out, is the Holy Vessel shown him, yet veiled and guarded from his touch by awful shapes. And so each saw according to his sight. So let us all make clear the mirror of our souls, and tune our hearts unto the Harmony of Love, if we would see our GRAIL.
Orestes. On anguish of this doom! Alas! Alas !
Chorus. The fierce Erinnys clutch him by the hair,
Orestes. Ye gods, what refuge ? Whither shall I fare ?
Chorus. Blood-tax for kindred slain to pay he has.
Orestes. 'Twas swift obedience brought me to this pass.
Chorus. For slaughtered sire the gods atonement swear;
Orestes. Ye gave me vengeance for my pious care.
Chorus. She slew his father, who her husband was;
Orestes. For sire's shed blood, her blood was shed by me;
Chorus. Birth-bond than nuptial rite less holy is.
Orestes. Pure-eyed Athene cleanse me who am thine !
Chorus. Remains a place of refuge by the sea.
Orestes. Bright-haired Apollo sacredest blood-guilt this !
Chorus. Pallas shall pardon at her holiest shrine. [Page 280]
WAS HE MAD ?
(Concluded from the November Number)
...As he spoke, a heavy book that was lying on the table rose without any apparent cause, turned itself about, stood on end, leaped into the air, glided along backwards and forwards, and after further mysterious evolutions proceeded, as if lifted by an invisible hand, from the table to my lap, where it lay tranquilly. All this time the Professor sat almost motionless — merely exhibiting a slight twitching of the right hand and a convulsive, strained expression of countenance as he watched the movements of the volume. His calmness astounded me, for I never for a moment attributed the uncanny manifestions to him, and expected them to strike him with the same cold horror as I was experiencing. But, for my own part, the unutterable sensation of dread which seized me is beyond all words to express. I cannot, indeed, now that the absurd feeling has passed away, recall my sensations, but I know that my hair stood on end with fear, and I shook and trembled from head to foot. My head whirled, and I fancied it must be all a dream. Gradually, a dawning conviction came over me that the Professor was responsible for this eerie piece of business, and that this was the secret he was going to entrust me with.
“Good heavens! ” I cried. “What on earth is this uncanny power ? Is this a trick to frighten me, or have you been studying witchcraft ? ”
The Professor was calm and unmoved.
“You can believe or disbelieve”, he said. “You have seen with your own eyes. If you believe, we will go further; if you disbelieve, it would be no use to do so and there must be an end of it”.
As he spoke, a fearful sensation of horror was creeping over me. It is impossible, I feel sure, for the reader of this narrative to enter into the feelings which take possession of one when in a moment all one's ideas of the “Isness of things” are uprooted; I fancied — it was the only solution, however terrible — that I must have gone from my mind and that all around me was imagination or phantasy. And yet surely not so — there sat the Professor, unmistakably real, and there lay the book motionless in my lap.
“In the name of all that is good and true”, I began, but I could say no more. My head swam, my eyes closed. I felt myself falling to the ground in a swoon. I remember no more until I came once more to consciousness, and found the Professor standing over me looking anxious and concerned. Gradually, as I “came to myself”, the recollection of what had happened unfolded itself.
“It is only as I feared”, said the Professor, after I had become restored. [Page 281] The sudden disclosing to the mind of laws which subvert our previous notions of the operations of force, as manifested in the environment, is a terrible shock, and is the secret of the terror which inspires children and the vulgar at the apparition, whether real or imaginary, of bogeys and phantoms. The eyes of the intellect are dazzled, the brain is over-powered, the senses are intoxicated. You must rest your thinking faculties as far as possible for a week or two, and you will then find yourself able to return to our experiments, not only without discomfort or fright, but even with keen interest; and now I will leave you to follow out my advice in this respect. Good-night, old fellow; go straight to bed, and think no more about what has happened till I come and see you again”.
With these words, he shook hands and said farewell. I was still too overcome to reply, and could not even see him to the door. I merely muttered a confused farewell, and crept off to bed with a sick and despondent heart.
THE next day my miserable frame of mind had by no means left me. To dismiss the events of the previous evening from my thoughts, as the Professor had advised, was an utter impossibility. On the contrary, these recollections dismissed all other ideas, and I found myself quite unable to give attention to the ordinary affairs of life. Everything seemed unreal; my surroundings appeared to be a mere phantasmagoria, a projection of fantasies on my brain as unsubstantial as the images projected by a magic lantern on a screen to amuse children. A horrid suspicion haunted me that I was going from my mind. I felt no confidence, no reliance in anyone of my senses. I think that no one who has not been through a similar state can have any idea how implicit, and how constant, is the trust which we all of us place in the infallibility of natural effects which experience has tested and never found to fail. When I walked, I ceased to retain any faith in my muscles or organs, or in the earth as a support. If I laid anything on the table, I felt constrained to watch it for some seconds to make sure it would not bound off to the ceiling or glide away to the ground. As for the Professor, I felt towards him one passion only — that of inveterate hatred. Or was it fear? At any rate, it was an indescribable antipathy. I would not go near him at any price; I even took the precaution to keep the latch of my front door
fastened so that it could not be opened from the outside, for he was in the habit of walking in unannounced. Even with this precaution, I was far from feeling safe, for who could tell whether he could not, with his hateful witchcraft of fourth dimensions and spiritual hands, stand on the doorstep and calmly undo the door on the inside. [Page 282]
So things went on for a week, when at length I found relief. It was exactly as the Professor had said. My brain had been overpowered and my senses dazed. Gradually my mind regained its normal strength, and within a fortnight I was able to think with pleasure and even to theorise upon the singular phenomenon which had caused me so much horror and wretchedness. I became deeply interested in it, and so far from disliking the Professor, I began to long for another visit and further experiments.
At my own request he called. I told him all that had happened — my dejection — my uncanny feelings — the revival of the sway of reason in me. He seemed much pleased, and was especially delighted when I went further and gave him the crude theories which I had formed.
“I imagine”, I said, “that we have a magnetic power which we only lack the faculty to exercise. You appear to have discovered and developed that faculty. Is not that so ? ”
“Hardly, I think”, he replied. “I will first show you an experiment, and will then as far as possible explain to you the modus operandi though you must bear in mind that I do not claim to fully understand the matter myself, as I am new to it. However, I will tell you all I can. Fetch down that case with the stuffed bird in up there on the wall”.
It was a pet canary that had died a year before. I had, had it stuffed, for it was a favourite of mine, and I kept it over the mantelshelf, perched on a twig just as it used to perch and sing in its cage.
“I am going to take this bird out”, said the Professor.
“All right”, I said, not very pleased. “Do so if you wish, though I have been at some pains to make the case thoroughly air tight, so as to keep out insects”.
The Professor smiled, and as he did so to my intense astonishment I saw the bird in the case, which he was holding in his hand, vibrate. And then the front of the bird disappeared as far as the legs, leaving the remainder standing as though it had been cut straight down with a keen knife.
“ Watch it closely”, said the Professor.
I did so. I looked at it as nearly as I could front ways, and could see that it was not cut through, for the front appeared yellow as though covered with feathers and not showing the cork with which it was stuffed.
“Watch it still”, said the Professor. As he spoke, the disappearance progressed; in a second all the body had gone, and gradually the vanishing spread to the very tip of the tail. The bird was gone.
The next thing I saw was that it was in the Professor's hand. The case remained sealed, intact. My astonishment, as may be supposed, knew no bounds. In another minute the Professor had replaced the bird on its perch, its reappearance being the exact converse of its disappearance. First of all came the tail, and at the same moment the [Page 283] tail vanished from the bird in the Professor's hand, and the same process extended gradually along the body. When only the head remained outside the case, a sudden thought inspired me. In a moment I grasped the head and endeavoured to snatch it away, in order to make perfectly certain that no trick was being practised.
It seemed to be riveted in the air. I pulled at it in vain. The Professor tried to restrain me, but I was too quick for him. A smart tug, and the head-piece of my poor canary was in my hand and the resistance ceased. At the same moment the body portion inside the case fell from its perch. The two were severed.
I was intensely annoyed when I saw what had happened, for the damage was beyond repair.
“Your own fault”, said the Professor calmly.
I was bound to admit it was, and looked very foolish as I tried to hide my concern by assuring him it was of no consequence.
“Well, now let me proceed to explain”, he said. “Suppose you had a plane surface bounded on all four sides by barriers. To a person who did not know of a third dimension, who knew of length and breadth, but could not imagine thickness because it did not enter into his experience, to such a person, I say ( of course a merely hypothetical and impossible individual), it would seem that it would not be in any way possible to remove that plane surface without taking away the barriers, and yet you know well enough it could be at once done by lifting the plane surface or by lowering it. To anyone gifted with a sense of the fourth dimension, thickness itself is but as it were superficial. There is an aperture still open to that closed case. It is what I call the fourth dimension, or the spiritual aperture. The only reason why you could not put your hand into that aperture is because you cannot see it, and your senses do not direct you. Were the requisite sense unveiled, as it is with me, you would be able easily to do what I have done. Therefore it was that your clumsy effort wrenched the head off the bird”.
I understood very little of his explanation, though now the meaning is slightly clearer, and I seem to have a dim conception of the matter.
“But”, I said, “why do you not show this extraordinary power to everyone ? Why make such a secret of it ? ”
“Your memory is very defective”, he replied. “What was your own answer last time we met, when I asked you what you thought an ordinary business man would think about a fourth dimension ? ”
“Oh yes, I know”, said I; “but that's quite a different matter. People would ridicule the theory, but the facts they could not deny”.
“You are very, very wrong, if you really think that”, said the Professor. “Recollect the parable of Dives. Moses and the Prophets give the theory, the resurrection is the fact. If they will not hear the one they will not believe the other”. [Page 284]
“I cannot see how scientific men can deny facts that are brought before them”, said I.
“No more can I”, said the Professor, “and yet they do. But I'll tell you what I'll do, to set your mind at rest on the point. I am going up to London tomorrow, and shall probably stay a few weeks. I will get introductions to two or three of the most eminent physicians and scientific men (which I can easily manage through my friend, John Rook, the publisher), and you shall just hear the result for yourself”.
“Very good”, I said. “And now let us have some further experiments”.
“No”, said he, firmly, “we have had enough for you to digest until my return. Too much food for the body gives gastric fever; too much for the brain gives brain fever. On my return, I hope to show you some still more astounding experiments, also to make you acquainted with the rather unpleasant operation which I performed on myself in order to lay open the spiritual faculty, and perhaps, if you wish it, to do the same for you. And, as a final idea for you to consider, let me tell you that only human force — that is, mental and spiritual activity — operates in the spiritual dimension, and that, that aperture is only open or accessible to man. Dust cannot get into your bird-case, but I can force dust in. This is because gravitation is of no account in the spiritual dimension, where spiritual, that is human, force alone operates”.
Leaving me this idea to work out, he said farewell until the time he should come back from Town and perform further experiments for my edification.
A WEEK after the Professor left for London, I went for a short holiday, choosing the Scotch lakes for my tour. If there is one thing I dislike when away on a holiday, it is to be worried with a number of letters forwarded on to me on business and every-day matters, which take all the pleasure from a trip away from home. I therefore took the imprudent course of instructing my housekeeper to forward me nothing that came by post, but to place all letters on my study table that I might attend to them when I returned. It was a delightful holiday to me. I forgot all cares amid the mountain scenery of the highlands, and never gave a thought to the Professor or to the fourth dimension as I revelled in solitude by the lakes and streams of old Scotland.
On my return I took up the little pile of letters that lay on the table. After dismissing to the waste-paper basket several circulars relating to gold mine and other schemes for drawing money from sanguine investors, I took up an envelope on which I at once recognised the handwriting of [Page 285] my friend, the Professor. I tore open the seal hastily, and not without a feeling of regret that this one communication had not been sent on to me, especially as it was marked “immediate and important”, on the outside. But what was my dismay when I read its contents: “Come at once to Engleford Asylum, where your unfortunate friend is to be at once confined. I was fool enough to try the experiments, as you suggested, before two scientific men. Result, certificate of lunacy. Lose no time, or I shall verify the certificate and 'twill be too late”.
Within three hours I was at Engleford, and flying to the asylum. It is a missive building of white brick, within a minute's walk from the railway station. At the gate is a bell-handle. I tugged it with remarkable energy, and a great bell clanged as though it would wake the dead. The porter came. I asked to see the superintendent on urgent business.
I was shown into a small office. The superintendent entered, and suddenly it flashed upon me that after all I hardly knew what I had come for. From the post-mark, I judged the Professor had been in the asylum about ten days.
“I have come”, I said, rather bluntly, as the superintendent motioned me to a chair, “ to see you with regard to a rather curious case”, and giving him the Professor's name, I asked whether it could be true that he had been sent to the asylum.
“Yes, poor fellow”, said the superintendent. “Sad case, very sad case. He seemed almost like a sane man when he entered, but his symptoms developed with remarkable rapidity, and in three days had taken a very pitiable form of monomania, under which he is, I fear, likely to remain all his days. He has a fancy that he is a canary, and that someone has beheaded him”.
I sank back in my chair. It was then too late. The shock had been too much, and had unhinged his mind. I felt I could ask no more. I could not wish to see him in his pitiable plight. I merely expressed my thanks to the superintendent for the information, told him how dear a friend of mine the Professor had been and how shocked I was.
It was too late. The Professor was mad.
CHARLES E. BENHAM
By opening so freely their lunatic asylums to their supposed madmen, men only seek to assure each other that they are not themselves mad.
MONTESQUIEU, “Lettres Persanes”. [Page 286]
I THOUGHT I was sitting with a new-born babe in my lap. If I was not the child's mother, it had no other. I was conscious of a peculiar sense of responsibility concerning him — of a link between us of some mysterious nature.
The babe lay calmly sleeping upon my knee, and I sat watchful for his awakening. He was wondrously developed; the naked limbs were not soft and puny, the healthy brown skin covered sinew and muscle such as seemed to promise extraordinary strength; and his face was as the face of a Buddha. Yet he lay helpless, warm, breathing, and as I watched his eyes opened and immediately he began to cry — cry, it was a most piteous wail, which I strove in vain to hush, walking up and down slowly and troubled, for the wailing stopped not, and he was exceedingly heavy. Worn out at length, I laid him down in despair, and turning from him found myself suddenly alone in the open air. A great sandy plain stretched as far as I could see on every side. Before me upon a great smooth white stone sat the colossal figure of an angel; he held a staff in one hand and his eyes looked steadfastly beyond where my gaze could reach. Approaching, I touched him gently. He turned his grand calm face towards me, and the effect was as a sudden peace pervading my soul. I spoke to him about the babe, asking how I could soothe its bitter wailing .
“It is the cry of humanity”, the angel said. “With this child you must use not force but reason; its brain is as instinct with future power as its limbs, but the full strength of this is withheld until a veil is withdrawn. It is yours to draw this aside, yours to develope each and every detail of this soul. On you depends its tendency towards good or evil; each thought of yours will influence — see that you reason wisely and guard your heart from error”.
His gaze returned to the distant horizon. “ What do you watch ?” I asked of him.
“The earth and its inhabitants”.
“But what do you see afar?”
“The souls of men”, he answered, and turned from me.
Again the scene changed, and I stood within the chamber where I had lain the child. He was asleep, but he awoke even as I approached the couch, and once more the piteous wail smote my ears and made my heart ache. I clasped him in my arms, endeavouring to soothe him. I [Page 287] thought not to either clothe or feed him for to me he was less body than soul. As I hushed him, it seemed to me that we were reflected by a large mirror which attracted his gaze, and stretching out his hand he touched his image. The cold solid surface frightened him, and he clung to me with screams, dreadful to hear, clung frantically, madly; his little hands tearing my neck and throat. He had the strength of a wild animal and grew greater and stronger; and as I struggled with him in terror, he bit me with savageness. Suddenly I recollected the angel's warning, and carrying him with difficulty before the mirror again. “See”, I said, “it is but your own image reflected there; it moves only as you move, and is powerless to hurt either of us”.
He touched the mirror, felt it over with his hands and ceased his cries. His expression at once became calm, and the eyes that met mine had in them a look of recognition. He returned my caresses, kissing the wounds upon my throat and neck, upon which they were healed. He became less heavy but his limbs grew and developed, and as I gazed his face assumed a look of clearness and intelligence, his eyes were strangely beautiful. The veil was withdrawn.
After this I saw no more, for there was neither surrounding nor form in my vision. It became mind solely, and the eyes of the child are all my remembrance holds.
The Angel spake. “The veil has vanished. Whatsoever you say now will be understood. Yet there is no thought beyond that which you instil. It is yours to guide and teach until this soul becomes cognisant of every thought within your brain. Then it will continue to develope alone. You will no longer be able to influence for good or evil, save as what you have already given may influence. It will be yours then only to watch the results of what is past”. And the Angel left me.
The soul beside me grew hourly. I spoke to him of science, religion, nature and of the problems and mysteries of life. As in the face of death one's whole life is said to pass with incredible swiftness across the brain, so in my dream it seemed as if each thought of mine that I had ever had passed from me to this child, who now ceased to be a child. As I had learned myself, so had this other to learn. I wished to influence rightly, often conscious that my thoughts were neither wise nor good, yet
was I unable to withhold them from him. They left me as swiftly as they came, and entered into the mind beside me. Then there came a time when we talked together, thought equal with thought. The fearful sense of responsibility which had never left me gave place to sharp pain as I realized that my past was over. He had followed my every thought, so that I knew his mind even as I knew my own. Henceforth he would be swayed by any that came near. Yet, should harm come to him, the blame I felt was mine.
Once again the Angel stood beside me. His voice was kind and gentle; it had been almost stern in its calm serenity before. [Page 288]
“You have done your part”, he said. “You have sown the seed and must rest patiently for the fruit”. He took my hand in his and drew me away.
“Ah!” I cried, “must I leave him now ? He is part of my own soul — it is a link that cannot be severed”.
The Angel replied as he still drew me towards him: “You have solved one of the mysteries of the Universe, yet, though you are one, you must move forward in the distinct paths for a time; and as your influence is good or evil, that time will be short or long”.
- 2 -
A CHELA’S DREAM
A FEELING of swift motion.
Am conscious of traversing a narrow defile on the summit of a range of high hills, the path circuitous and difficult.
The stars sparkle in a clear sky, and the crescent of the moon's last quarter is near the zenith.
It is just before day-dawn.
Two large birds (they seem white), with outstretched necks, long bills, and long legs, with a flight like herons, pass just above me, with a peculiar whizz and singular cry.
A conductor is by my side, but I cannot look up, because of the exceeding brightness of the presence.
A sharp turn in the path brings into sudden view a natural amphitheatre, to which the path just traversed is the only means of access.
The whisper comes “Mark well, and remember”.
The area is a verdant plain completely enclosed by the mountain-tops. Short shrubs grow amongst the surrounding rocks, and now and then a bird darts from one bush to another.
In the middle of the plain is a large building of simple but imposing architecture. It is square with around turret at each corner, and a still higher dome covers the centre.
I approach the building on the north side, in the middle of which is one door.
A dim light burns in the vestibule. The lamp is of ancient Eastern form, suspended from the centre of the roof by a long chain.
A man stands guard at the entrance, dressed in a loose gown of a blue-grey material. On his head a peculiar hat, something like a college cap, with a square flat top. A belt of some metal, like a blue watch-spring, [ The symbolical colour of magnetism and its Force. —H.P.Blavatsky, Editor ] is around his waist, from which hang in front two tassels.
In his right hand he holds a black rod surmounted by a golden crown, and the other end finished off with a golden ball. [Page 289]
In his left hand he swings a censer, from which escape the most over-powering fumes. I am conscious that no other guard than those fumes is necessary to bar my progress.
Alone I could not advance a step further.
My conductor enables me to pass. I am hurried along a winding gallery.
On the right hand a solid wall. At regular intervals are pilasters corresponding to high massive pillars on the left. Each pillar has a very simple moulding near the base, and thence ascends without ornament. In the space beyond the pillars sit cross-legged, Eastern fashion, a certain number of men, one man occupying the space between each pillar and the next.
The first man wears a black gown and black turban, with a black star upon it. Following him sit a certain number similarly attired, but without a star. And so on through nine groups, each group being distinguished by a different dress and turban, the last number being clothed in yellow, and the first man having a golden star in his yellow turban.
Between the pillars and in front of each priest, the light towards him, hangs a lamp, in shape something like a shallow sauce-boat. [ The Yoni-shaped Argua, the lamp of the phallic and exoteric, or dead-letter creeds. This is typical. — H.P.Blavatsky, Editor ] The lights
opposite the black group are miserable and dim. The flames grow larger and the lights brighter, as the colour of the dresses becomes brighter, until the lights opposite the yellows are very large and bright.
At first it seemed as though the gallery returned to the entrance after making a complete circle, but presently it was evident that it took a spiral course, and by the time it had reached the door of the central chamber it had made seven volves.
The entrance to this Holy of Holies is also on the North side.
It is a large circular room under the dome of the Temple.
A flood of bright light pours down from the centre of the dome. A light too dazzling to look at.
In the centre of this sacred chamber is a square altar of blue-grey marble, a few veins of white are in the stone, but it is a rare specimen of the purest colour.
A snow white cloth covers the altar, and on each side an equally white wool mat to kneel or stand upon. The necessary items for their communion celebration are set in order.
All along the gallery leading to this chamber the men were sitting down and had sandals, but here around the altar stand, bare-footed, the same number as in the previous groups, venerable looking men, in snow white gowns and turbans; their long beards and hair also white. A golden star with golden rays upon each turban. In their hands golden [Page 290] dishes, upon which is broken bread. [The broken fragments of the One TRUTH, which underly each and every religion. —H.P.Blavatsky, Editor ] Similar dishes, but of baser mettle were in the hands of all the men in the gallery.
I am led to the East side of the altar.
On the wall in front of me is a large golden 7 (seven). Also on the right; likewise on the left. Looking behind upon the east wall is again another 7 [ The four septenaries of the moon, the Occult meaning of the division or the lunar month, which division contains the mystery of generation and birth. This “dream” shows that the “Chela” has entered the phase of practical instruction given so often in symbolical dreams. —H.P.Blavatsky, Editor ] In all four sevens.
The priests look down upon their sacramental bread as if in contemplation or prayer. Now they turn all with their faces to the wall. This moment my conductor touches some particular point in front of the altar and discloses a secret opening from which taking a large scroll, very yellow with age, and rolled upon two staves or cylinders, whispers:
“These contain the knowledge you covet!”
“Oh! let me look!”
The next moment the secret place is closed. It is impossible to distinguish the spot, the stone seems as solid in that part as any other.
“Return to the door — stand a moment” — I hear a whisper. “They have lost the secret, and think all the knowledge of their Temple is in the book upon the altar”. It is a dark red book, superbly bound and plated with gold. A crucifixion is represented on its richly embossed cover. A large golden clasp holds the book closed.
The priests now turn towards the altar, which they encircle. Their appearance and mien are enough to inspire respect, and the solemnity of the whole scene fills my soul with reverence.
“They are met for their Communion and await the first ray of the rising sun, which is just about to strike the hill top. We must hasten away!”
The men in the long gallery are sitting in the same attitude of contemplation as when passed before.
The door is reached.
I awake! Has it only been a dream?
Bright presence let me dream again!
This “dream” would perhaps be more accurately described as a “vision” conveying truth under a symbolical form. The general interpretation is indicated with sufficient clearness in the account of the dream itself; but a few remarks on some points of detail may be of service.
The dreamer is in search of that hidden knowledge which lies at the inmost heart of all religions. This can be only gained through initiation. [Page 291]
The guardian of the gate is clad in a grey-blue garb, the apparent colour of the visible “heavens”; the square flat top of his headgear symbolizing the four elements, or, rather, the number “four”, which is so important a factor in symbolism.
He bars the progress of the seeker with the paralyzing fumes of exoteric ritualism and ceremonial, under which the fire of truth does burn indeed, but invisibly.
Furthermore, the “four Sevens” show this vision connected with occult (which is not to be confused with its modern imitation) masonry — e.g., with the rites of the “Grand Elect” the knight of “the White and the Black Eagle” (30th deg. ) For, in this grade there are four apartments, and it is in the fourth that the initiation is accomplished. They further symbolize the four seasons; so also the year culminates in the fourth.
The Seven mean an endless series of things. Thus the seven rungs of the ladder in a certain ancient Masonic rite remind one of the seven pyraea, or altars, whereon the ancient Persians burnt incense in honour of the seven planets. The passage of the Soul to the highest empyrean was symbolized by seven spheres in the Mithraic mysteries — just as in Revelation (an account, in fact, of one form of the Solar rite of Initiation, borrowed from the Egyptians) — the soul ascends through seven spheres typified by the Seven Churches, to its sea of crystal. To symbolize this tenet the primitive Gnostic Christians erected, in the “Hall of Initiation”, a ladder with seven ascending doors; the first door was of lead, the second of tin, the third of bronze, the fourth of iron, the fifth of copper, the sixth of silver, and the seventh of gold. These are the seven stages of preliminary initiation, after passing which the neophyte becomes a full adept, and enters upon a new cycle of still more awful initiations.
The nine groups of men or students in the seven coils of the outer gallery are, of course, typical of the nine degrees of increasing knowledge, as also of initiation, the tenth and highest being the central hall under the lighted dome.
But the number ten, though it is that of the Sephiroth and the perfect number on the physical plane, is, itself, but a blind. For no Kabalist or Occultist can appreciate its full significance unless he analyses and takes it to pieces, studying all its factors and component numbers separately and in combination, e.g. 2 X 5 = 10, 3 + 4 = 7, 7 + 3 = 10, etc., etc.. Ten is the number of Jehovah, the typical personal God. Therefore the dreamer rightly hears it said that even the priests of the inner shrine have “lost the secret”.
Finally, it may be weIl to remark that it would be wrong to take the red book with golden clasp which lies on the altar, and in which the priests erroneously fancy all the knowledge of the temple is contained, to represent inclusively the Christian gospels because of the crucifixion embossed upon it.
The “crucifixion” is a symbolical rite long antecedent to Christianity, and as it veils the secret of the final initiation is rightly seen upon the closed book of the innermost mysteries.
Some most suggestive hints at the meaning and true nature of this ceremony will be found in the “Secret Doctrine”, to which the reader must be referred for further details. [Page 292]
by DR. FRANZ HARTMANN
Author of “Magic, White and Black”, “Paracelsus”, “Jehoshua”, etc., etc.
CHAPTER - 1 -
HIGH upon the rocks that guard the western coast of the United States against the aggressive waves of the Pacific Ocean, as they roll in through the “Golden Gate”, stands the “Cliff-house”, a place known to all who have lived in California. There the inhabitants of San Francisco go on hot summer days to enjoy the cool breeze that comes over the watery waste, and strangers from all parts of the globe may be found upon the verandah of the hotel, looking with delight upon the tranquil bay dotted with charming islands, and watching the fishing-boats with their white sails glittering in the sun. Below the railing of the porch, the breakers dash against giant masses of granite that raise from the inky deep their heads, crowned with wreaths of snow-white foam as the spray of the surging waves rises high in the air. At a short distance from the shore, in the midst of the never ceasing turmoil of the infuriated waters, appear two cliffs that have withstood for many centuries the onslaught of the ocean. Upon these cliffs may be seen at all times a great number of seals at play, their bellowing being heard even above the thunder and roaring of the surf.
It was amid these surroundings that one evening, as the sinking sun was colouring the clouds overhead with purple and gold, two persons stood upon the balcony looking over the pandemonium below. One of these was a man about forty years of age; the other a young and graceful lady, evidently of Spanish descent. Pancho — for that was the favourite name by which he was called by the little lady — had the air of a man who had travelled much; he was indeed a cosmopolitan in character. Having lived in many parts of the world, and among different nationalities, he had become acquainted with their habits and learned their various tongues. He had studied the popular sciences, and read a great many books; but he did not believe much in the assertions made by modern authorities. He always wanted to convince himself of the truth of a theory before he was willing to accept it. His master passion was a desire for knowledge, or to express it perhaps more correctly, a desire to gratify his curiosity in regard to the hidden mysteries of nature. He had entered deeply into the study of chemistry [Page 293] and read a great many alchemical books, without, however, discovering the way to prepare the Philosopher's Stone. In the course of time he had accidentally become acquainted with the young and lovely Conchita. Finding her so attractive that he imagined he could not be happy without her, he deliberately proposed, and in due course of time submitted to the irksome ceremony, by means of which two persons of the opposite sex are legally made husband and wife.
Beauty of external form and of character are not always found hand-in-hand; but Conchita possessed both. Her figure was small but exquisitely beautiful, and the raven black colour of her hair formed a strong contrast to the delicate pallor of her skin. Her form was faultless, and her manners exceedingly graceful. She was a beauty of such a rare kind that when she was passing through the streets of the city with her black mantilla thrown carelessly over her head and shoulders, men would stand still and stare, and ladies would cast shy glances at her as if afraid that she would outshine them all in beauty. She was proud, yet not vain; she knew that she was beautiful, yet was modest and unassuming; a most bewitching creature. It is, therefore, not to be wondered at that Pancho was proud of his wife.
Conchita was born in Guatemala. She had been brought up in one of those Roman Catholic convents where girls vampirize each other because they are never permitted to see a man except their old Father-confessor. Under such circumstances the mind creates phantasies, for there is a longing for the unknown in every human nature, and that which is hidden or far away grows in imaginary value in proportion as it seems to be unattainable. The story of the forbidden fruit being the most palatable is not a fiction, and it was, perhaps, a desire to know the true nature of that mysterious and dangerous animal called “man”, which led to Conchita's acquaintance with Pancho soon after she left the convent, and to her subsequent marriage.
Taking the above into consideration, the philosophers have not yet fully agreed whether this marriage was, or was not, the outcome of selfishness; but our historian thinks that all human actions are due to selfishness, in some shape or other, and that an entirely unselfish person, one who has no desire whatever to incite him to action, would be about the most useless thing in the world.
However that may be, it is certain and beyond the possibility of any scientific doubt that Pancho and Conchita lived very happily together. To Pancho it seemed that his wife had no other desire but to please him, and he almost felt his phrenological bump of veneration growing in her presence. She seemed to be fully absorbed in her husband; but he was not absorbed by her, for man's love is multifarious and vacillating; it comes from the imagination, while there is nothing more simple, and therefore more firm than the love of a woman. Her love springs from [Page 294] the heart and goes to the heart, while man's love seldom penetrates below the surface.
Conchita loved her husband above all other things; but Pancho had many loves besides his wife. He loved to take aerial flights into the realm of occultism and mysticism; his greatest desire was to lift the veil of Isis and uncover the mysteries of Nature. The planet upon which he lived was not large enough to gratify his curiosity. He desired to know other worlds and other beings than those of this earth; he wished to know the whole of the universe, not that prison-house alone in which he was doomed to live.
Conchita cared nothing for Occultism, but loved to enjoy that Light which she saw with her physical eyes. She knew nothing about what is called “the supernatural”, except that which she had been told by her religious teachers; she imagined that if anything more could be known about it, her Father-confessor, who was a very smart person, would surely have found it out. She believed in God, although she had not the least conception of the meaning of that term, nor of what kind of being this God might be; but Pancho wanted scientific proof of the existence of God before he would make up his mind to believe in his existence. Conchita had an unbounded faith in divine providence and was willing to trust her destiny in the hands of God; Pancho imagined that each person was himself the master of his own destiny, and he required to know all the attributes of God before he would willingly trust himself into his power.
He had in vain studied natural sciences and theology, and consulted the most eminent professors and clergymen, in his search for reasonable proof of the survival of the soul after the death of the body. Doctrines which were positively asserted to be true by the luminaries of the church, were peremptorily denied and ridiculed by luminaries of science; while both parties based their opposite opinions upon equally plausible and logical grounds. Despairing in his attempts to find any human authority
which could be implicitly trusted, he began to investigate Spiritualism, hoping to find in this new science the solution of such difficult problems. For once fortune seemed to smile upon him. He found opportunities to witness the most astounding phenomena, from common table-tippings up to the levitation of living persons, and from direct writings produced in locked slates up to the full materialization of corporeal forms, seemingly solid human beings, with whom one could talk, who could be touched, and who, nevertheless, dissolved a moment after into thin air, or disappeared through solid walls.
Pancho was in the hey-day of his glory. His longed-for goal was at last attained: he had obtained proof palpable of the immortality of the soul. The spirits of his departed friends and acquaintances had come to him, and spoken about things of the past known to no mortal person, save himself. He received indisputable proof of their identity, not only [Page 295] through professional mediums, but through persons who themselves were disbelievers in Spiritualism. Moreover, he “sat for development” in the solitude of his room and obtained clairvoyant glimpses of various kinds. Once, a beautiful spirit, an angelic being of wondrous loveliness, appeared and told him that she was his spirit-bride, his true affinity, who awaited him with out-stretched arms in the bright hereafter, to lead him to her celestial palace, far, far away among the stars.
After a while, however, it turned out that some of his spiritualistic experiences were of an unsatisfactory character. Not that he had been cheated by fraudulent mediums; but that he saw that some of his cherished spirit communications were not in accordance with truth. He began to doubt whether even his spirit-bride was not the outcome of his own imagination. And thus he became sceptical in regard to the origin of the letters received from those that “were gone before”.
The proofs of the unreliability of these “spirit-communications” became more and more abundant as time went on, till at last he became thoroughly dissatisfied with the results of his researches.
It was just at this time that he made the acquaintance of Conchita, and resolved to bid adieu to the inhabitants of the “Summerland”, and to learn to know this present life, leaving the hereafter to take care of itself. He married his bride, and, for once in his life, was happy.
But if the craving for the unknown and the mysterious has once awakened within the heart, it is not so easily repressed. Even in his most happy hours, Pancho could not help making silent comparisons between his love in the spirit-world and his terrestrial wife. These were not quite favourable to the latter, as she was, after all, only a woman of flesh and blood, while the former was clothed in an ethereal form. It need hardly be said that he told Conchita nothing about it, for she was of Castilian blood, and would not have suffered any woman, material or spiritual, to come between her and her husband.
As the couple stood upon the balcony, looking down into the surging waters and the bellowing herd of seals that scrambled over the rocks, Pancho mockingly remarked:
“If I were convinced of the truth of the doctrine which teaches the transmigration of souls, I would be ready to believe that these beasts are the reincarnated egos of men coming fresh from the stock exchange. How they push and elbow each other down there, as if buying and selling shares. Now they have exchanged their human for animal forms, but their characters are the same. Formerly all their energies were bent to outwit each other for the purpose of obtaining money; now each one attempts to push the others down, in order to obtain a standing-place upon the sunny rock. It is the same selfishness acting in them now that was at work before; it but differs in the form of its manifestation. Formerly it was a desire for wealth; now it manifests itself in a more brutal form”. [Page 296]
“I should be very unwilling to believe”, replied Conchita, “that human souls could desire to return again to this earth once they have departed from it. If I were to go, I should have no desire to return. I would rise above this planet into the region of starlight, and listen to the music of the spheres”.
“Intrastellar space”, sneered our Pancho, “is said to be as dark as pitch, and as there is no air to transmit sound, the music of the spheres, even if there were such, could not be heard”.
“Perhaps there may be another kinds of light, and another kind of music than that which we know”, she said dreamily. “Perhaps the senses of the soul become there more refined and need no material air for the transmission of sound. Heaven is said to be a beautiful place, filled by angels crowned with diamonds, and its streets paved with gold”.
“If there were such a super-terrestrial world”, answered Pancho, “I should wish to go there and gather some of the rubies and pearls that are said to be so abundant in heaven. I would then bring them back to you. They would look well in your beautiful hair”.
“ Who knows whether you would return”, said Conchita. “You might meet some angel more pretty than I am on your way, and forget all about me”.
“No angel or devil”, exclaimed Pancho, “will ever break the bonds by which our souls are united. Even if I were as far away from you as the earth from the moon, I would not forget you. Love acts independently of distance”.
Conchita seemed to reflect, and then asked: “Tell me, dear, what is your opinion about the nature of love? ”
“Why! ” hesitated Pancho, somewhat perplexed what to answer. “The books say that it is a peculiar state of the imagination which causes one to think of a certain object”.
“That would probably be imaginary love”, replied Conchita; “but I wish to know how you define the real thing”.
“The real thing!” repeated Pancho surprised. “I cannot see how love could be a real thing; it is merely a state of something which is called the mind; it is a sentiment by which two beings are attracted towards each other”.
Conchita did not seem to be quite satisfied with that reply, for after a pause, during which Pancho reflected about the nature of that thing called the mind, she suddenly asked:
“Do the stars love each other? ”
“What a question”, answered Pancho. “Stars are inanimate bodies like our earth. They are composed of chemical substances, the same as we find upon our globe. How can they love each other if they have no consciousness? ”
“It seems to me”, she went on, “that they must be conscious, for they are attracted towards each other, and if they, were unconscious of [Page 297] everything, how could they respond to an attraction from afar? How could that which they are incapable of feeling have any effect upon them? ”
“Some German philosophers say that there is no such thing as attraction, but that it is all due to some etheric force which propels from behind, while repulsion is said to be a wedging in of ether particles between two objects. At all events, the interaction seems to be due to some universal substance, and some philosophers say that this substance, or spirit, is an indivisible Unity, but I cannot see how that could be”.
A new idea seemed to have been intuitively grasped by Conchita; for she clapped her hands, and joyfully exclaimed: “Ah! I know. This spirit is a unity, and it is the same in me as in you. I always feel as if we both were really only one. When I am going away from you it seems to me as if I were going away from myself, and I often imagine that in loving you, I am only loving myself. Yes, I am sure we are one. You are Conchita, and I am Pancho ! ”
Highly rejoicing over her discovery, Conchita broke out into joyous laughter.
“It may be so”, seriously answered Pancho, “but in this case all human beings would be one, and you would have to love everybody just as much as you love me, we could then have no individual preferences. But there is something in your individuality which causes me to love you more than any other being. Will that individuality be for ever preserved, or will it, as the Buddhists say, be dissolved in the universal ocean of spirit ? This is the great problem which I would wish to have solved”.
“Why should you worry about such a problem ? ” asked his wife. “I believe that, when the time comes that we should know it, the mystery will be solved”.
Pancho remained silent.
While carrying on this conversation, the lovers had left the verandah and descended to the beach. The sun had disappeared below the horizon. Dark clouds had gathered, threatening a storm, but the last rays of the sinking orb were fringing the dark masses with silver and gold, with yellow and purple and countless hues, which gradually faded away before the shadows of night.
“How beautiful is the sunset! ” exclaimed Conchita, “and how sorry we should be to see its close, did we not know that the sun will rise again tomorrow”.
“Thus it is with life”, was the answer. “When the day dream of life comes to an end, then follows the night. It is said that there will be another sun rise for us, when we return to the earth in a new incarnation, but what will be our condition during the night ? What shall we do between sunset and sunrise ? ” [Page 298]
“Why, sleep, of course”, retorted Conchita. “Sleep, and dream happy dreams”.
“This idea of sleeping and dreaming does not at all please me”, he said. “A man who sleeps and dreams is not his own master; he neither reasons nor thinks. He is like a boat on the water without a helm, helplessly driven hither and thither by the winds and the waves; they may land him in a beautiful harbour, or dash him against a rock. Who knows where his dreams will take him? They may raise him up to heaven or throw him down into the abyss of hell. What I desire is not to dream, but to retain my own reasoning power, and the mastery over my imagination. I have read of Adepts who have accomplished this; if I knew where to find such men, I would go to them and ask them to teach me their secret. I would discover them, even if I had to go to the end of the world !
“There can be no doubt that such Adepts have once lived, and that they were in the possession of the secret of the Philosopher's Stone and the true Elixir of Life; I believe that such men exist even today. I have read about the Rosicrucians, who were in the possession of such powers. They had a temple called the Universal Temple of the Holy Ghost where they used to meet, and it is said to have stood in some part of Southern Germany. I have hunted all over that country, but I could not find it. They had an ever-burning lamp that must have been constructed according to principles entirely unknown to modern chemistry, and they could call up the Elemental Spirits of nature”.
“There are undoubtedly people who can do very wonderful things”, interrupted Conchita. “There is, for instance, Juana, who can make spirits appear, but she is a very bad girl”.
“Who is Juana?” asked Pancho.
“A girl from my own country, a very strange girl. She is an Indian, and was captured, when a child, from a tribe of savages in the forests of Guatemala during an attack which the soldiers made upon the Indian camp. She was given into the charge of a sea captain, who afterwards gave her to me because I understood a little of her language. I have attempted to give her an education, but while she is full of tricks she does not seem capable of learning anything useful. She can foretell events by looking into a glass of water, and her prophecies usually come true; but she can also do a great deal of mischief. The neighbours are afraid of her and believe her to be a witch. I once caught her sticking needles into an image of wax representing a person who was then very sick. That person died, and people said that Juana had killed her by her malefice. However, this could not be proved. She caused so much trouble that I had to send her away, and she is now with a woman that used to be a servant in our family”.
“ I have read a great deal about witches”, said Pancho, “and I have [Page 299] always wished to find an opportunity to investigate such phenomena. I hope you will introduce me without delay to your precious Juana”.
“Take my advice”, answered his wife, “and do not seek to become acquainted with her. I am sure that nothing good will result from such experiments”.
“I am not afraid of her spells”, he proudly replied. “I am strong enough to resist them. I dare even the devil, and why should I fear Juana 's powers if I can, thereby, learn something new? Let us go to her! ”
“Your wish is a command to me”, answered Conchita. “The place where she lives is not far out of our way; we will visit her as we return”.
To this proposal Pancho readily consented. They returned to the city by carriage, and neither spoke much during the trip, for Pancho's thoughts were occupied with the stories which he had read of the Rosicrucians, and Conchita felt that she had committed an imprudence in speaking about Juana. It seemed as if already, a foreboding cloud had settled upon the two lovers.
It was already dark when they entered the city. Alighting, they dismissed the carriage and walked the rest of the way, which led up one of the steep hills upon which San Francisco is built. Turning a corner, they saw an old Catholic cathedral, whose door stood ajar, and whose interior was dimly illuminated. Conchita asked her husband to enter with her the church.
For a moment Pancho hesitated. He was no friend of churches, priestcraft or pious mummeries. He had not visited a church for years, and did not desire to enter one now. Nevertheless, he followed Conchita as she went into the building. Was it, perhaps, that he did not wish to displease his young wife by refusing to submit to her whim, or was it because even our most fanatical rationalists prefer to see their wives
pious than over sceptical ? For an arguing and incredulous woman loses much of the charm that characterizes her sex, and a wife who knows too much to believe in religion is likely also to be alert enough to mistrust her husband.
Thus he consented at last to enter the church, which at that hour was deserted. Arm in arm they walked down the aisle towards the altar, and it seemed to Pancho as if the wooden images of the saints posted along the walls were scowling at him reproachfully, as if surprised to see a heretic in their midst. Having arrived at the foot of the altar, Conchita sank down upon her knees and prayed silently, while Pancho stood in the background contemplating the picture.
It was a grand old cathedral, built in magnificent style. If Pancho had understood the symbolical meaning contained in stones, the architecture of that church might have told him more truths than all the sermons that had ever been preached in its pulpit; for the high pillars, massive and solid at their base, spoke of firmness and solidity of [Page 300] character, while the soft lines in which the arches curved upwards to the roof spoke of the aspiration of the soul towards the Unattainable and the Infinite.
The church was nearly dark, but through the stained glass of the high-arched window to the right, a ray of light from a lamp in the vicinity of the building crept in, and falling upon Conchita's veil surrounded her head with a halo like that of a saint.
As the husband watched his wife, she appeared to him a glorified being, and her presence seemed to fill the whole of the building with some invisible but living and substantial power, perhaps of the same kind as that which must have existed in the Rosicrucian temple in the South of Germany. It seemed to him as if a supernatural golden and rosy light radiated from her form, and entering his being sought to kindle within his heart an inextinguishable flame of a nature unknown to modern chemistry. He felt the ennobling influence of Conchita's soul, which seemed to lift him up on the wings of her own aspirations, and he wondered that such a spiritual being should have united her fate to his own. Perhaps it was the exalted state of Conchita's imagination that caused him to feel a corresponding vibration within himself, and he began to think that love was more than a mere emotion; that it was a real power. He felt some inexplicable influence penetrating him, and it took the whole strength of his rationalistic reasoning to resist the impulse to kneel down by the side of his wife and worship with her: a thing which would evidently have been very preposterous, an unpardonable weakness of which he certainly would have been very much ashamed hereafter.
Conchita arose, and smiled sweetly as she looked into the eyes of her husband.
A heavenly peace seemed to rest upon her soul, while Pancho's mind was a battle-ground of contradictory thoughts and opposite emotions, whose nature and origin he could not well explain.
( To be continued. )
“Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders generally discover everybody's face but their own”.
“If evil be said of thee, and if it be true, correct thyself; if it be a lie, laugh at it”. [Page 301]
The fragments that we publish below form one of the most remarkable instances of so-called automatic writing when the medium, without any previous knowledge of the subject, is impelled to set down upon the paper that which is not in the brain. The medium here is a young lady who knows nothing about this dirge, but we know that it is a portion of the chant which was sung over the entranced body of the neophyte who was about to become an initiate. The original was found in Egypt among the wrappings of a mummy by the grandfather of a gentleman, a Mason, from whom we got it. Although Egyptologists may have seen the fragment, we are certain that the young lady who wrote down the verses had never heard of it before and was much puzzled by the verses, if not by the signature of “Sepher” given to her. Spiritualists may say it is something from the “spirits”, but we hold the view that it is a reminiscence from past incarnations of the one who wrote. These recollections are not so rare as is supposed, and while frequently they are not recognised as such, they nevertheless account for many strange things heard at séances with mediums and psychographic writers, as we were told it was only in the days of Ptolemy that this dirge began to be chanted over the really dead or the mummy.— H.P.Blavatsky, Editor
Bind up thy head and numb thy limbs, for hence cometh wondrous tidings for him who hath the ear open in the sepulchre.
Drink in of the honied words, and mix them with precision to mingle the bitter with the sweet.
Turn thine heart from all outer knowledge and hold thyself open for the knowledge of the spheres.
Now take quickly the pegs from the tents and let them fall in, for the mighty simoom is nigh at hand.
Art thou ready, pale mortal? Is thy head bandaged and thy blood inert, and hast thou parted with thy blood?
Art thou laid down eastward, and is thy inner ear listening for the music of the voice of the spheres?
Listen, pale mortal.
The voice is commencing to emit sound, and the turn of the tide is swiftly ebbing away.
Pale mortal, lying so like an image of Phineus, wherefore art thou disquieted?
[ Phineus, the King of Thrace, who became blind for attempting to see into futurity without being duly initiated, and who was killed by Hercules. An allusion to the closed eyes of the entranced seer, or the mummy. —H.P.Blavatsky, Editor ]
The glitter of chariots will not reach those dazed eyes.
The sound of the battle-axe will not penetrate thy skull. [Page 302]
Now listen to the voice; thou art gone from hence, pale mortal, and the earth knows thee no more.
Thy bandaged head lies on the death stretcher and thy bloodless body is full of sweet-smelling myrrh.
Thou art a shade, blessed soul!
Thou art a shadowy vapour, pale face!
Thou art a bird of paradise, free soul!
Listen! dost thou hear the freedom of the wind? Thou art no longer on thine earth.
Those groans, pale face, they proceed from the land thou hast quitted.
That burning heat, poor wanderer, that is the desert thou hast passed through.
Now quickly proceed. No more time, poor dove, mayst thou linger, the burning ring is thy resting step.
See thou the circle, it burns with the seared light of a captive fire god!
Quickly step, pale face, and place thyself in the ring of fire.
Now in the ring, does not the past stand out like a sheeted fury?
Dost thou behold the list of evil committed?
Listen! those echoes are the battle shouts, and those shrieking, harsh voices are thine own saved against thee.
Writhe now, poor soul; alas! thou must suffer.
See now the time has passed, and thou art lifted from thy ring of suffering.
Whence comes this change? Thy shadow has gained intensity, and thy form person.
Now take this key, terror stricken dove, and unlock that vast chest.
Why tremble? Those bodies are but the victims which thou hast sacrificed to thy evil lusts.
Those ghastly white, staring skulls thou hast slain with thine own hand.
Oh! those terrible bruised hearts are only those upon whom thou hast trodden.
Blench not, those maimed bodies are thy handiwork.
Oh! pale face, take brave hold. Thou hast gloried over these deeds — why shudder now? Life taken is life left.
Slain souls wait in Paradise. (In the field of Aanroo in the original.)
Long lost hearts burn in the oil of the lamp of the king.
Hopeless maimed ones rest in the water queen’s bosom.
Remember not to forget, but forget to remember.
There now, poor tired one, one more ordeal, one more flame-searching trial. [Page 303]
Jump quickly into the water, mark you its cool, delicate waving; why dost thou shrink? Art thou not hot and weary? It will refresh thee.
Now the time is past. Thou must jump. Days are passing, moments fleeting; jump thou, believe, jump.
There, come up now, and rest in this green grass.
Was it very terrible? Did the water burn thy very life?
Ah! so burned thou the life of others.
Pass, pass, pass !
Thou art free, see thou how beautiful are thy limbs.
Feel now how perfect is thy health.
Come away to the fire king, thy sufferings are passed.
Thou hast been tormented for a thousand and one years.
Hasten thou, no longer sorrowful wanderer, but bird of Paradise.
Fight no more, thou hast won Elysia.
Weep! Ah! thou canst not, thou hast no fount of tears.
Still thee now, still thee!
See, I bring thee onwards.
Seest thou not that thou art glorified!
See far, far agone, behind time, thy poor body.
See the bandaged head and the bloodless body, see the stuffed carcass. Oh, laugh, laugh, laugh.
That was once thy dwelling-place.
Now come quickly, for we pass to the absorption; wait not, tarry not, linger not.
Oh! beautiful, moon-faced angel!
Oh! brilliant and happy soul!
Hark thou to the tinkle of those silver bells, they are the fire king’s thoughts.
Listen to the convulsions of the atoms; the demons tremble.
Listen to the beautiful songs; they are the Gunlas.
Oh, happy soul, soon must we part, for I must return to the ferry, for I must ferry souls across.
I cannot enter where thou canst enter, beautiful Bird of Paradise; tell the Fire King when thou see’st him in his beauty that I languish to join him.
Now, good-bye, Brilliant-Bird, soar above, thou art free as air.
Thou art as a snowflake carried on the rosy pinions of the morn.
Thou art as the lovely wind that cooleth the hot earth.
Fare thee well, free dove, fare thee well; enter that golden glory and pass for ever into the Fire King.
Gunla, Gunla, Gunla. . . . . [Page 304]
THE sun was slowly but visibly going down on the horizon, and the lower it descended toward the sea, the more transparent became the far-off scenery. The waters looked of a sombre blue, and the golden ripples that moved over the azure surface were becoming with every moment of a more glowing crimson. Everything around us was gradually tinted with purple hues; the town, the cottages, the bowers and the white terrace of our hotel. All was in a blaze. The sunbeams shot like straight arrows heavenward from beyond a cluster of red and golden clouds which had slightly veiled the face of the dazzling disc. And now they have melted away and disappeared. ...The enormous red, fiery globe is almost touching the sea, which it has set all ablaze. And now it has touched it. ...sinking with its lower edge into the billowy depths. The purple hues are gradually fading out to assume an orange tint. But suddenly, as though breaking off, and as the gigantic globe of light sinks and falls into the watery abyss and disappears in the liquid bed, the whole surrounding scenery, the air, and the sea itself are entirely transformed in colour — the heavens and the earth become of a transparent lilac hue. No twilight, but the dark mantle of night suddenly descends upon us. ...The deep sounds of the convent bell, tolling the Angelus and calling the believers to their evening prayer, reach us across the gulf in solemn and measured rhythm, while high over our heads, on the dark blue ethereal canopy, one twinkling silvery star after the other is lit in sidereal space, and beams its tremulous reflection on the hardly rippled surface of the somnolent waters.
“Here's an evening for you, and here's a night! ” merrily exclaimed Korzanof, thus putting to flight my thoughts. “No match to this, our colourless northern twilights. There — we have pigmy prose; here, a gorgeous, gigantic poetry, as my wife and daughter Sashoorka say. ..”
“Begging your pardon — even your wife and daughter may err in their enthusiasm ...” I remarked smilingly. “Poems and dramas and all sorts of majestic events, as well as very practical episodes, occur just as often in our cold fatherland. This has been just demonstrated by yourself. What can be more romantic than the mysterious horrors in Rujano-Lyass, that you have just been narrating ? ”
“That's so. You are right, but there is no need to chuckle in your sleeve while speaking of them. ...”
“I, chuckle ? I can assure you I do not. On the contrary, for I am highly interested. ...But you must tell me, old chum, whether all [Page 305] this. ..well, this Satanic obsession, suddenly ceased after your aunt's death ? ”
Michael Petrovitch, who was then slowly walking up and down the terrace, stopped and stood before me, trying to scrutinize my face, as I spoke. Then, putting his hands in his pockets, he balanced himself on his heels and toes for a few seconds, and gazed very hard at me for a little while. At last, though it was getting quite dark, he seemed to come to the conclusion that my question was offered in dead earnest.
“My dear friend”, he began slowly and even hesitatingly, “I can tell you only one thing, whether you understand me or not. This obsession, as you call it, has, and has not ceased! It has become better, and. ..it has become worse. ...It depends, you see....”
“Depends on what ? I understand you still less now. ...I was never famous for unriddling rebuses. Do speak plainly for once! ...”
“I will try to, though. ..it is more difficult than you may think. I had told you that poor Acsenia Cuprianovna Sedminska had a long and terrible agony. Terrible, because of physical sufferings, but chiefly on account of the moral tortures to which she was ceaselessly subjected by her chronic visions: the horror they inspired her with, and, most of all, her great terror of death. I have never witnessed in my life such a fear and such an agony! She was conscious to her last moment; she knew she was dying and that no one could save her life; and, nevertheless, she struggled with death, fighting most desperately, to her last breath; she screamed, implored everyone to save her, to prolong her life if it were for one more day, or even an hour! ...I have never known a more dreadful feeling than during the last moments of her life. I had, of course, sent away my wife; but the poor wretch clung desperately to me and would not let me go, nor would she let Father Wassiliy leave her. She held our hands, she fastened to our clothes, adjuring us to save her, to ‘pray her off, and not to give her up to torture.' To give her up — to whom? We put her no questions, but we understood her well; she feared the post-mortem tortures, the reprisals from those whom she had tortured to death during her own sinful life. It was horrible! ... My nerves were so unstrung that I was fairly knocked off my feet, and feared a brain fever myself. Father Wassiliy, accustomed as he was to death-scenes of agony, cannot, to this day, think of this particular case without a shudder. He becomes pale at the slightest mention of it.........It seems to me that at her last confession, she must have revealed something too dreadful, as, while reading over her the absolution, and the last prayer, he looked more like a ghost than a living man himself! And after she had died he used to groan loudly when mentioning her name, declaring more than once in my presence that although he prayed daily for her soul, he could not. ..he felt it impossible. ..to preserve his usual calm or feel at peace during those prayers for her rest. ' It is awe and dread I feel, not the reverential [Page 306] and hopeful feeling I ought to! ' he often complained to me. Methinks, the late widow of Count Sedminska must have sinned too terribly during her life. ...may God forgive her and rest her soul! ”
My friend Korzanof suddenly interrupted his narrative, and making a reverential sign of the cross, relapsed into silence, picking up the thread of his narrative once more a few minutes later.
“Well ! ” he sighed, “however it may be, finally and at last she died, the poor, miserable woman. We buried her, at her express and solemn bidding, not in the family vault in the cemetery — she dreaded the latter so terribly that she could not even bear to hear its name mentioned — but in the park, not far from the great alley, near the largest flower-bed. ...The deceased had chosen the spot herself. ' Here,' she used to say, ' it looks more inhabited. I do not want to remain alone; I want living people to be always with me . ..on the spot where on great festivals I used to distribute bread to poor people. ...Perchance, some one of them may remember, and say a prayer for me!
“Thus was her last will carried out. However, although the uncanny noises and the rest ceased in the castle after her death, still, when a few months later I returned again to Rujano-Lyass on business, I found once more that all was not as right in the house as it should be. ...So much so, indeed, that when I was obliged to bring my wife there with me to be legally recognized as the heir thereof, I was but too glad to have Father Wassiliy offer us his house for a few days”.
“Indeed! ...But what was it that happened?” I enquired.. unable to restrain an exclamation of sincere surprise. “What have you seen then or heard during your first visit to the. ..disturbed castle ?”
“What have I seen, or heard? ” almost howled Korzanof, stopping suddenly and bending his face to mine. And then, bringing himself so near me that I could discern his frowning brow and eyes glaring with wild excitement at the recollection, he whispered hoarsely into my ear: “I saw her, herself. ..yes! Herself, Acsenia Cuprianovna. I saw her and heard her! ...”
“Heard her ? ...What did you hear ? ...What did she tell you ? ”
“Not much. ..only these words: 'No rest for me! ...No rest, no pardon, no salvation! ' Yes!” shouted once more Korzanof, as though the bare recollection of it made him furious, “I heard that voice again at night. ..and it awoke me. ...' No salvation! ' it shrieked, ' no rest! ...No annihilation! ...I want it, I demand annihilation! ' ... And with this last word the voice died away in the distance and the silence of the night. When I am on my death-bed I will confess it to the priest as I confess it now to you. I saw her! ...I heard her screaming: 'Annihilation! oh, for annihilation!' the scream passing into a most despairing wail which sounded over the whole house, and then. ..”
Becoming calmer, Korzanof lowered his voice and said: [Page 307]
“And then, just about dawn, I saw her herself, just as she was on that day. ...”
“Herself? ...impossible! ...When or how ? ”
“No, no, this will do my good fellow! Basta ! ...” and Michael Petrovitch sank into his armchair breathing hard and quickly as if after a long run. “Enough”, said he, “I must end here, lest I should pass another sleepless night. It is no nursery tale, my dear friend, which you may repeat over and over again, and no harm done, but a devilish queer reality. ...May heaven send rest to her sinful soul, but I shall talk no more of her. ...It is only for your sake that I have made an exception during these long years. ..and I begin to repent of it. But here are my wife and daughter back, I believe. ...So much the better. ..Let us go to meet them”.
Korzanof descended the marble steps of the terrace into the garden, and hastened toward the little landing place, where a boat had just arrived. He had sensed the presence of his idolized child in the darkness of that moonless night, before even her merry laugh and sweet childish voice had reached his ear. Then I heard her crying out:
“Oh papa, the lovely things we have bought for you! a whole basket full of curiosities. ...Come, come, quick follow me! ”
And the tall graceful figure of the young girl, jumping out of the boat, appeared among the flowers and shrubs. Dragging her father by the hand, she ran up the marble steps, and thence into the lighted hall. She almost upset me in her haste to get into the house.
“Ah! ..... is it you ? Beg your pardon! ” ....... she exclaimed laughing. “Well, has papa entertained you ? has he been edifying you on the progress of our oats and future harvests ? ” .....
And the “papa” feeling quite happy, laughed merrily with her at his own expense. He seemed to have entirely forgotten the heavy feeling that had just agitated him. ...
On the next day we parted, and since that day fate has brought us no more together. On the other hand, my destiny led me back quite unexpectedly to Rujano-Lyass. I had some regimental business to settle in the same borough where we had been quartered in 1854. Very naturally my first visit was for Father Wassiliy. I found him as active and as energetic as he had been in his younger days. He looked far younger than his little delicate and shrivelled-up wife, who no sooner had she recognised in me her old acquaintance than she began to fuss about tea and refreshments. While she was going about with her keys, Father Wassiliy kept me company in the little porch near the entrance door. Very naturally, almost from the first words, I led our conversation upon the topics that interested me the most. The priest remained silent, thoughtfully stroking his picturesque beard while listening to questions and the narrative of my meeting with the Korzanofs. But, though he [Page 308] denied nothing, he evidently declined to talk about that matter. Thus, to my direct question:
“And how about now ? Is it all quiet on the domain, or is it still subject to visitations? “
“No; one hears nothing more, nowadays, thank God. Besides, it is so full of people; there are such crowds of Jews and workmen that there can be no time, nor opportunity for manifestation of power, there, good or evil — except perhaps the power of steam and wheels”.......
He smiled while speaking, but there was no merry twinkle in his serious and thoughtful eye. His reserve goaded my curiosity the more, and I openly showed my surprise at his unwillingness to satisfy it. Why was he so reticent ?
“I am not reticent, Ivan Nikolaevitch”, he at last answered, forced into this subject by my persistency, “and why should I be reticent, or try to conceal that which is known to the whole district, nay to the entire province? We had hard and uncanny things happening there, this no one can deny! Every kind of evil doings took place. ...But is it necessary or becoming to be always talking of them ? ..Thanks be to God. Almighty that they have now ceased. Human life is a heavy burden and full of dangers and suffering anyhow; but when to its natural course be added such like ...evil and unnatural occurrences, then it really becomes too heavy and quite unbearable. Such visitations are more dreadful than any human evil can ever be, because man is so absolutely helpless in the face of them. ...I cannot recall without a shudder those terrible days. Then why talk of them ? .. ..Vain words are things of little use, and sinful, according to my humble understanding”.
“But why should you regard them as vain words, Father Wassiliy? In my opinion such phenomena out of the ordinary run are, on the contrary, very useful, as they can only serve as a corroboration and an affirmation of a life to come and of a retributive law, as. ..”
I did not finish my sentence, for at that moment I caught the priest fixing his eyes on me with an expression in them which quite puzzled me. There was such surprise and irony in his serious gaze, that for several instants I felt very uncomfortable.
“I cannot agree with you”, he calmly remarked. “In Scripture, as in the very lives of men, proofs far more effective in convincing us of our soul's immortality and an unavoidable punishment for our sins may be found than any such abnormal occurrences can ever afford. On the contrary, the latter so-called supernatural manifestations have a very maleficent effect. To begin with, of whatever religion or views, and however trustworthy the person may be who gives an account of them as an eye-witness, the majority of those who have not put their fingers into the print of the nails and thrust their hand into the side will never believe him. And those who, perchance, may believe are. ..as likely [Page 309] as not to attribute these manifestations to quite another power than that of God. ...”
“You think, then, that such phenomena do not occur by the will of God? ”
“Not at all; I believe that nothing can happen without the permission of the Almighty; but I still bear in mind that which the wisdom of our common people has very suggestively termed 'allowances.' [This is an untranslatable term, popooshtyenïyé meaning something allowed to occur passively and without either opposing or permitting it ] I feel convinced that the Supreme Will allows such things to happen because it chooses to remain passive; but I am as sure, that there is not in them what we would call the finger of God, or the direct participation of holy Providence. Of course I may be mistaken in this”, modestly added Father Wassiliy, “but such is my conviction, and this is why I try to obliterate from my memory those terrible days!
...“One word more, Father! Do not enter into the details if you will not, but only answer me yes or no. Have you ever seen or heard anything yourself ? ”
The priest did not immediately answer, but after a moment of hesitation, clearly denoting his unwillingness to speak on the subject, said very slowly:
“That to which Mr. Korzanof was an eye and an ear-witness, that have I seen and heard too. Did he not inform you that, that he and I were the only living persons who remained with the dying Countess to her last moment ? Well, I do not deny it; terrible, weird and utterly incomprehensible were the manifestations going on around us. ...We did not see all that she saw, of course — God be thanked for this — but we sensed very strongly the presence of something quite abnormal and extraordinary. That which appeared the most terrible of all, however, was that state of ceaseless and never-changing horror in which the dying old woman remained during her last days....”
“Could not the hallucinations of a death-bed account for them ? Delirium, perhaps ? ...”
The priest remained silent once more, and then answered with still greater hesitation:
“Perhaps; though with respect to everything else she remained certainly fully conscious. ...In any case such a delirium is worse than the most terrible reality. And now let me ask you not to return any more to this subject. ...indeed, indeed, I can hardly bear to speak of it. ..It is too horrible!....”
Of course I had to give it up. But, notwithstanding the impropriety of going against a desire so firmly stated, I could not help exclaiming:
“Unhappy woman! Could her previsions be indeed verified beyond the grave ? Michael Petrovitch assured me that he saw, and heard her voice after her death. ...Did he tell you that ? ...” [Page 310]
“He did; and according to his desire, I said the mass and the prayers for the dead on her tomb on the very next morning, and sprinkled her grave with holy water. ...”
“Let us hope that after that she. ...or her spirit, has found the needed rest”, I remarked. “Admitting all her cruelty and selfishness, she was not, after all, a predetermined sinner or criminal! There must be people worse than she was, most undeniably. ...why then, should she alone be so chastised, and made to suffer so terribly and so exclusively ? Why ? ”
In the uncertain twilight of the evening it seemed to me that Father Wassiliy had become very pale; at any rate, he was strangely agitated, as he answered in low and impressive tones:
“It is not for us to judge. ...to mete the retribution and the measure. ...no, it is not for us!”
“Would you doubt? ” I again exclaimed. “We must hope that she is forgiven. Don't you think so?”
“Let us hope so”, he repeated, with still more pronounced hesitation. “The mercy of God is greater than any transgression”.
But there was no ring of conviction in his voice. I felt sure that he knew more about the deceased than any of us did, and I would have given much to draw him out. But under such circumstances, all I could do was to remain silent or to change the subject of our conversation. I preferred the latter, and began talking about the business which had brought me to Rujano-Lyass, or rather to its new foundry. This necessitated my going to the factory that had replaced the rich old mansion, and I would have gone there even on that same day, had not our discussion and the late tea made me forget the time; and so I had to postpone the visit until the next morning, the more so as threatening clouds had appeared over our heads, and a storm was brewing. The spring was sultry that year, and rainless. The population was expecting and praying for rain, and in consequence I had to show pleasure at the coming storm, and welcome the black and threatening thunder-cloud which was rapidly spreading like a funeral pall over the whole sky.
We had hardly finished our first glasses of tea, when a dazzling flash of lightning cut through the blackness of the sky, and a rolling peal of thunder, such as we hardly expected, vibrated through hill and vale. I had prepared to return to the post-house, where I had stopped, but my hospitable hosts would not hear of it. They would not allow me to leave them during such a tempest. Besides, what should I do there alone the whole evening ? they said. “Remain with us”, they begged, “have a bit of supper, sleep in the room you occupied years ago, and then go about your business in the morning”.
“I will send my man at once for your luggage”, said the priest resolutely. “You shall have it here in less than half an hour, and tomorrow morning I will go with you to the Park Foundry. I will [Page 311] say a mass for the dead on the grave of. ...the Countess; this will be more useful than to pry into her past. In truth, it is a long while since I have visited her tomb myself, for I pray for her generally in the church, during the early mass, and. ..”
A terrific clap of thunder drowned the last sentence. The priest hastened to give orders to his messenger, with regard to my luggage. Meanwhile, his kind little wife accompanied me into my oId room, “the guest's chamber” of their small cottage. I had entirely forgotten that the Countess Sedminska was buried near her family mansion, in the park, and said so to the “Mother”.
“Oh yes”, confirmed the talkative old lady, handing me another glass of tea. “Of course she lies there. Oh dear, yes. She could not bear, you see, to be laid in the neighbourhood of her friend and assistant in all her good works, Pan Matzevitch! Oh no, certainly not. And then, there was also that other fellow. ...the Ksiondz, with whom, people say, her ladyship had little differences after his death. As rumour has it, all her nocturnal squabbles, her disputes and battles, were mostly due to the visits of these two worthies. Of course, you must have heard of the uncanny performances which took place in her castle? Heaven preserve us from more such ....... Every night there were battles fought in the family palazzo, between the dead and the living one!
“ Is the Ksiondz dead also?” I asked, much pleased, and hoping that in the absence of the husband the talkative spouse of Father Wassiliy would have time to give me some more information.
“Oh, yes, indeed. He is dead and buried long ago. ...It was very soon after your regiment left our place that he was taken ill with cholera. Oh, yes. And so amazingly quick too. ...it left him no time even to repent, I fear. He overfed himself we hear; for the Father was dainty-mouthed and rather gluttonous; no mistake about it, may Heaven forgive him. ...And very few mourners he had indeed, as there never was much love lost between his parish and himself Quite so; yes. He lies buried in his own Kostiol (R. C. Church), and the land agent — or what people could collect together of the body, which was chopped into the smallest pieces — is buried under
the wall of the Kostiol...... Just so! .........and thus you see; milady, Acsenia Cuprianovna declined to rest in the company of these two. Her remains lie at the very entrance of her park; under a magnificent monument sent here by Mr. Korzanof from Italy”.
“And how about the mansion when it was burnt down? Did not the fire damage the tomb?”
“No; for it was not placed yet. ...Only the wooden railing and the cross that were provisionally put there were both, of course, reduced to ashes! ......entirely pulverized through the heat...... The marble monument was brought quite recently, only about two years ago..... ..But [Page 312] no. .....not even so much! .....It will be two years next autumn only, on the day of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin.' ...Just so”.
“Two years for what?” interrupted Father Wassiliy, who, to my great disappointment, had finished business with his messenger a great deal sooner than was desirable for me, and had re-entered the room. When told to what the sentence referred.
“Still about the Countess!” he mildly remarked, while shaking his head at us reproachfully.“She does seem to interest you. Better dismiss her from your thoughts, sir, believe me; and the sooner she is forgotten by men, the better it will be for all parties concerned. May God forgive her, her heavy sins, and send rest to her wearied soul. ..Oh, God!...” added the priest, attempting a fervent sign of the cross, “Almighty. ..”
“God help us. ..what's this! ...” exclaimed his wife, rapidly crossing herself. “How dreadful!”
The exclamation was wrung from her by the loudest and the most terrific thunderclap I had ever heard in my life, and which blinded and deafened us for a few seconds. In one instant all became incandescent around. Gates and doors were flung open, every window and glass in the house vibrated and cracked, and the very building itself was shaken to its foundations by that fearful commotion of the air.
“The thunderbolt must have fallen somewhere in the neighbourhood”, I remarked. “Let us hope no one was hit, nor any building set on fire by it? ...And with all this no rain. How unfortunate! ...”
“Yes, it's just beginning though, thank goodness”, declared my hostess. Who was peeping out into the yard through the violently-opened door, which she now carefully closed and fastened. “But what a rain, the drops so large and so few! .....Heaven help us, for we are threatened with a most violent storm! ...”
And so it turned out to be. One deafening peal of thunder followed almost without interruption the other. Dazzling lightning rent asunder every few seconds, the heavy, ink-black clouds which were slowly drawing nearer and nearer the hushed and silent earth. Every leaf on the trees and shrubs shook without a breath in the air, and wide sheets of ominous, greenish light kept on, almost without an interval, lighting up the Egyptian darkness that had fallen upon the country. Suddenly the clouds burst and a torrential rain — great sheets of water rather — poured upon the parched earth, flooding instantaneously the streets of the village and the surrounding fields as though preparing for a second deluge.
And so it raged, and it was only toward midnight that the thunder ceased, and that the sound of the roaring waters weakened by degrees; when a most terrible hurricane arose, with a wind such as I hardly remember. The violence of the tempest prevented our closing our eyes till after dawn. What with the howling wind, the noise of the creaking doors, gates and windows, and the crash of shutters torn off their hinges, I could [Page 313] not go to sleep on that memorable night. My hosts were likewise up till dawn, preparing for possible emergencies, and lamenting loudly and
beforehand the too probable damages and mischief which such an unusual hurricane was sure to cause.
Towards early morning, when quite exhausted, I at last fell asleep.
I was awakened by the kind and merry voice of my host, who was trying to arouse me. With an effort I opened my eyes, still much confused and unable to fix my thoughts or remember where I was.
“Get up, Ivan Nikolaevitch; it is high time! ..Noon will be striking very soon. There are people who came to see you on business. I have directed them to the Castle park to wait for you, telling them you would be there in a few minutes. So you have to get up”.
I collected my thoughts in a moment, and jumped out of bed. “And last night's storm?” I asked. “Has it done you any harm?”
“Thanks to the Lord, it has not; and everything is right so far. Just a few trifles here and there. ..two or three hedges and railings broken, and some straw thatching blown and carried off from the roofs. But this is nothing. We are in summer, and there's plenty of time to get fresh straw to repair the damage done. No great mischief done anywhere. ..I have been driving across the whole village and found no one to complain, thanks to the Almighty God. I felt quite astounded, to tell you the truth ...”
He looked surprised, but quite happy, did the good Father Wassiliy.
I was soon ready, and we started out. The wind had dried the traces of the rain, and dry footpaths already crossed the muddy roads in every direction. The morning was glorious. The fields and meadows looked emerald green, the forests were refreshed, and the whole of nature seemed brighter, merrier, and more blooming. All was full of new life and new hopes and new songs. We could hardly hear each other speak while crossing along the outskirts of the forest, in our short cut to the park and the site of the old castle. Such a merry ring and ding in the bright green bowers and grass as made by the birds, such a buzzing of insect life, of songs, of clicking, whistling and joyous chirruping, I have rarely heard in my life.
“What a splendid country, yours”, I said to the priest. “I feel twenty years younger, here, as though I had never left the place”.
“Verily so, it is a fine country. Occasional droughts, however, and loss of crops sometimes on account of the sandy soil. Otherwise the scenery is very beautiful. The forests are splendid here”.
“It is fortunate no one cuts them down”.
“No one can do so, we have too many foresters. All this, you know, belongs to the park, and is the Korzanof property now. That which was actually sold was only the land under the buildings, the out-houses, and what remained of the burned domain: iron work and walls. [Page 314] Almost the whole of the factory has been built out of its bricks and stones and broken plaster ”.
“What's this ? ” I interrupted him. “Is this the tomb of the Countess Sedminska?” We were approaching the park enclosures. Behind an opened gate appeared a white wall, and beyond, surrounded by a wealth of green shrubbery and foliage, arose a tall crucifix.
“Oh, no”, said the priest. “Did you forget the wretched woman who was picked up here with a knife?”
“The wet nurse? ......Oh, yes; of course, I remember her well. May heaven have her soul, the poor wretch! ....How well her tomb is kept up.....”
Still conversing, we crossed the park to the factory office, where I soon settled my very simple business. Leaving the building, we found ourselves in a spacious court from where, standing in the warm summer sun, we watched the animation and activity that went on inside. From the main building of a heavy, ugly edifice which had replaced the mediaeval architecture of the palace of Rujano Lyass, we were greeted by the usual factory noises, the rumbling of the wheels and the whistling of steam engines. Clouds of black smoke issued from tall chimneys, ascending toward the pure blue sky, and disappearing in the atmosphere. I was invited to inspect the works, but declined with thanks.
“Let us hurry on, Father Wassiliy”, I said. “Kindly show me the tomb of the late proprietress, and thence — home, to you, and then for my return journey”.
“Come on. But.......do you know, I believe I had better not have the regular prayers said over...... her. Every time I have done so, there was something uncanny going on, very unpleasant things ..... The last time there was such whistling and hissing going on in the trees! .....Somebody laughed, in the park, loud peals of laughter....very, very bad and disagreeable it was.....quite blasphemous. I really think it better to simply mention her name in the Church. ...”
“So, so”, I muttered, pretending to mistake his meaning. “Your population seems to forgive and forget with difficulty .......”
“Father! ” called a voice behind us.
We turned back, and saw a workman running.
The priest stopped, “What do you want, Ivan?” he asked.
“I. ... Do you mean to say mass ...... there?” asked the peasant hesitatingly, in his queer local dialect.
“No; but why do you ask ? ”
“Too great a crowd of people there, now. They are all coming to see ..... I warn you, father, lest something again should happen this time, something wrong. ...”
The priest heaved a sigh, and shook his head reproachfully.....
“Just so; ‘something wrong’”, he repeated .....“People have no shame nowadays. And yet they ought to. Oh, Ivan, Ivan. Only [Page 315] think of it; that owing to your revengeful feelings, even a simple prayer for the rest of a soul should have become impossible! ....... ”
“But surely it is not we, father?” was the astonished reply. “Surely it is not. ...
The workman looked terribly embarrassed, and perhaps frightened. He stood silent and irresolute. His face seemed familiar to me.
“Ivan, the brother of Marianka?” I asked, as a sudden recollection struck me. “And your mother — is she alive?”
The peasant gave me one quick glance, and turned aside immediately answering but three short words:
“Alive, but sickly”.
“Do you really remember her?” asked the priest, quite surprised. “Yes, she is still alive, and now gets a living for herself ......bakes the unleavened breads for communion in our church. Her son works at the factory. He is a good and honest fellow ......Takes care of his old mother..... But what does this gathering mean?” he suddenly exclaimed, as he noticed the thick crowds of people emerging from the opposite side. “They seem to be coming from the tomb?”....
I looked and saw a great multitude pressing from behind the trees, where something white and gold shone in the sun.
“Just what I was saying to you”, spoke Ivan, fixing the priest; “all the village is there, on account of the tombstone struck and broken during the hurricane last night”.
“What are you talking about? Struck! How and where?”
And without waiting for an answer, the priest almost ran toward the tomb of the Countess.
“The monument broken?” I asked Ivan. “Is it lightning?”
I remembered last night's terrible thunder clap, and my conviction that the lightning had fallen somewhere in the neighbourhood.
“It is”, answered Ivan, with his brows sternly knit together. “The thunderbolt fell on it and broke it into chips. ...... Pan Boog (the Lord God) knows that such a tomb is no fit place for a cross on it. It is the second time that the cross is destroyed by God's fire on that grave !”
He turned away and went back toward the factory, and I hastened to follow Father Wassiliy, while reflecting on this popular survival of bad feelings toward the Countess Sedminska, and the strange coincidence which had brought me back to this village just on the day when the storm had finally destroyed the Christian symbol over that poor grave. “It does seem strange”, I thought, “that the lightning should precisely choose her tomb? It is very, very strange! ”
I hurried on. Behind the tender green foliage of early summer, I perceived a bronze enclosure with golden ornamentation, and a majestic white marble monument – a column. A massive bronze cross had crowned the upper pillar, but the thunderbolt, in striking, had melted and twisted it into one formless mass. It was dislodged and hanging down [Page 316] one side of the column, along a wide gaping crack. ...Yes, Ivan had spoken the truth: the heavenly fire had burnt and annihilated the cross on this hapless tomb. This fact was still stranger!
Greatly perplexed, I approached the railing, near which stood the priest in ghastly amazement. But when I looked at him, I felt still more surprised. Father Wassiliy was as pale as death, and his dark eyes, so calm and serious at all times, were positively staring with a look of the wildest terror in them......
Slowly, without turning his head, as though his gaze was nailed for ever to the tombstone, he put down heavily his left hand upon mine, while indicating with the forefinger of the right the tumular inscription on the tombstone column.
It was almost destroyed by the zigzag progress of the electric fluid. The larger bronze-cast letters were nearly all knocked off their places and melted. A very few had remained uninjured.
“Look attentively, read, spell ...” whispered the priest, his lips white with horror.
I followed his advice, and spelt out the remaining letters ...... Suddenly a terrible light dawned upon me.
“The shadow of the Holy Cross be upon us !” exclaimed, as my hand raised itself to make the saving symbol.
The tumular inscription had consisted of the following words: –
The first two words, the title, had melted into one unrecognisable mass of bronze; but out of the three names, the baptismal and the family name, eight letters had remained. This is how they now stood: —
AC..... CU. R.........
This coincidence was STRANGER than all!
And now, ladies and gentlemen, was I right in prefacing my narrative by saying that strange events do happen in one's life?
– VERA JELIHOVSKY
[Editor's Note. – This story is based upon an absolutely true fact, and the biography of a once living person. It was repeatedly narrated by the late Princess W........... an eye-witness, to the family of the writer. Only the names and locality have been changed.] [Page 317]
A CIRCLE simply represents a limit. There is no point within its circumference.
Rotate the sphere; then looking at it from above, along the line of its axis, and it exhibits a point in the centre.
This is the point around which the whole sphere revolves, and the quicker the revolutions the more defined the point. Looking at this same sphere from the plane of its equator; its axis, which before was a dot, shows itself as a line.
The straight line is, therefore, the same as the point, only upon a given plane of observation.
If the dot be the point of consciousness of the globe, then the vertical line shows the direction of that same consciousness.
The extent of a line can only be defined from a plane at right
angles to the point. That plane is, therefore, represented by the horizontal line.
For these two lines to have an actual manifested existence the sphere must rotate in two opposite directions at the same time, upon poles at right angles to each other.
In such a case the line of consciousness, or the line of manifestation, according to which axis remains stationary, will appear to contract and expand.
Supposing the line of consciousness to extend as a force beyond the circle, and set up a rotation from itself, and being without any attraction, or retarding influence along the line of its existence, its vibration would gradually assume a circular form.
Therefore the soul or consciousness in order to create or surround itself by a perfect circle, must have no attractions along its line of existence.
An attraction or weight upon the plane of its manifestation would cause it to assume the form of two Triangles.
The quicker the revolutions and the more powerful the plane of manifestation would become, until the line of consciousness were almost absorbed in the plane of its manifestation.
Therefore the Triangle must imply a base of attraction, or plane of existence, upon which the manifestation is exhibited,
And must be the opposite of the circle which implies no plane of existence or attraction.
The Triangle defines the two extremes of consciousness upon the plane of manifestation.
As the plane of manifestation is at right angles to the point, the attraction of that plane must be midway between the extremes of consciousness, therefore the existence of
implies the existence of also.
We have therefore the incomprehensible
upon the plane of existence
in concrete form
These forms correspond to the Elements in nature. And to the Vowels in our Language, which are the Soul of the words, as the elements are the soul of Nature. Thus: —
Akas — the vowel O Air — the vowel I
This line divides the circle into two parts; the upper hemisphere representing Light — thus
Space, the plane of Divine consciousness corresponding to the vowel W
Darkness — Void = U
Fire to the vowel A
Earth to the vowel
Water to the vowel Y
As these several forms are evolved from the activity of the central consciousness; i ;
it is manifest that from Akas are evolved Air, Fire and Water, which, in combined and concrete form, produce Earth; that Heat and Moisture are but reversed conditions of the same cause.
The vowels are the soul of language, without them a word cannot be spoken. The consonants simply indicate the manner in which the vowel is to be expelled from the mouth, which by correspondence, is equivalent to saying that the consonants indicate the form in which the elements are [Page 319] set in motion and combined to produce a natural manifestion. The correspondence might be carried to an extent not wise to write down.
If these forms correspond to our vowels they ought to contain all the letters of the alphabet to which they belong, just as the Elements, of which all manifestations in nature are composed, are expressed by the same forms.
And so we find to be the case, thus –
This monogram contains all the forms
also the vowels a, e, i, o, u, w, y.
This is the true Masonic Gavel, the symbol of power, combining in the signification of its lines and form, all the forces of Creation, within nature.
The handle is formed of the tail of the vowel Y, which is a continuation of Divine intelligence, extending, from above, through fire and water, and earth and even beyond manifested nature. He who can wield this gavel by the handle of conscious intelligence has a right to sit in the Chair of King Solomon.
Man is a combination of all the elements of creation. Therefore his form ought to be an outline of the elements of Form.
Akas , [ Ether would express better the idea than Akasa. The latter has but one characteristic: it is the cause and creator of Sound, i.e. the LOGOS. — H.P.Blavatsky, Editor ] the centre of consciousness being on the place of Individuality, the point can only be seen from the highest position of observation; so Individuality is the point of consciousness from the highest or mental aspect. This consciousness extends down the backbone, and evolves by its development the circle of the body, having its material plane, or horizontal line, across the stomach.
The lower half including the viscera or “Void” (U). The upper half the light or vital power Ω takes in above the diaphragm.
E or earth, the stomach, etc., to the navel, and U or void, the bowels below the navel, and including the hinder parts.
It will be observed that the womb and other organs are in the Void. The Void is the Light reversed.
The handle of the Mallet, or Extended Consciousness, shows the direction which the Intelligence, evolved by the revolution of Akas, may take, and going downward through Void may be lost to the intelligent Consciousness of the Circle at the top of the figure (the head) by which it is created.
We have the legs evolved from “Void”, and yet we place the vowel W to “Space” or light ?
The opposite to “Space” is certainly the legs by which we are, as it were, bound to the plane upon which we live, so long as the “Void” exists to which we are attached.
But suppose we double up the figure from the central line which divides it in two, the line of natural manifestation; the result would be
.The body has disappeared. There is not any of it left but the vital functions above the diaphragm — Fire and Air. Wings have replaced the legs, enabling the Intelligent Consciousness to go where it pleases, W “Space” alone being the plane by which it is limited, Individuality being the centre of the circle of Existence.
It is to be noted that Venus is the planet giving great refinement to the mind ( “Light” W ), Love of Art and Science, Music and Poetry, but, at the same time delight in Venus pleasures and waste of Vril.
Prominent in the seal of the planet Venus is the sign or the vowel which is vital force or consciousness in fluid form ( , water).
We have implied that consciousness expressed by symbol upon a plane, may extend not only from above to below, but also along the horizontal line of manifestation.
The Masonic gavel has, therefore, four positions, which represented complete would be this sign –
THE ELIXIR OF THE DEVIL
(Translated from the German of E. T. A. Hoffmann by William Ashton Ellis.)
WILLINGLY would I lead thee, gentle reader, under the shadow of the plane-trees beneath whose leafage I read for the first time the marvellous story of Brother Medardus. Thou wouldst then sit with me upon the same bench of stone half-buried in the wealth of sweet-smelling shrubs and many-coloured flowers; thou wouldst, like me, look forth in longing to the blue mountains in the distance, as they tower up in wondrous forms beyond the sunny vale, spread out where ends our leafy avenue. But turn thy face and thou shouldst see, scarce twenty steps behind us, a Gothic building whose porch is richly decked with marble statues. Through the dark mass of the plantains' boughs pictures of saints look down upon us, with life within their eyes; these are the frescoes with which the broad expanse of wall is mantled. The sun rests blood-red on the mountain-tops, the evening breeze is stirring, and everywhere is life and motion. In rushing whispers, mysterious voices sound among the shrubs and trees, re-echoing everywhere like the ever rising sound of chant and organ. Solemn men, in broadly-flowing garments, their pious gaze directed towards an unknown world, pace in silence through the boscage of the garden. Have the saintly pictures stepped down to life from their lofty settings? Thou art entwined in the mystic web of the legendary stories there portrayed; it seems to thee as though each incident were passing before thy very eyes, and thou lendest gladly thy belief.
In these surroundings read thou the story of Medardus, and thou wilt hold the wondrous visions of the monk for more than the unruly antics of an over-heated fantasy.
Since thou now hast seen, my gentle reader, the holy pictures, the cloister and the monks, I need scarcely tell thee that it is the princely garden of the Capucins at B — into which I have led thee.
It was after I had spent a few days in this cloister that the reverend Prior showed to me, after much importunacy on my part, the papers which Brother Medardus had left as a legacy to the monastery. Indeed, the old man said that the papers rightly should have been destroyed. It is not without some fear that thou shouldst share in his opinion that I now give to thee, my gentle reader, these papers in the following volume. Yet if thou shouldst decide to journey with Medardus, as his trusty companion, through the hidden by-ways of the party-coloured world, and with him to bear the awe and terror, the madness and the mockery of his life, then shalt thou find, perchance, among the varied pictures of this camera obscura, somewhat for thine own entertainment. It may even be that what seems at first to thee as void of form shall take on clearness and a rounded shape when once the penetration of thine eye grows sharper. Thou seest now the hidden seed, born once of darkest destiny, shoot up to a luxuriant plant, spreading its rank tendrils around in thousands, until one [Page 322] bloom, ripening to fruit, draws to itself the life-sap of the plant and kills the seed itself.
After I had diligently perused the papers of the Capucin Medardus – no light task, mark thou, for the holy brother's characters were small and monkish, scarcely legible – it seemed to me as though that which we commonly call dream and fancy might well be the symbolism of the secret thread that runs throughout our lives, knitting each incident in intimate relation, yet that he must be accounted as one lost who should think that the knowledge of this symbolism can win for him the might to break with violent hand that thread, and try conclusions with the mysterious power that rules our footsteps.
Perchance, my reader, thou art of like mind with me; and this, for many a cogent reason, I wish right heartily!
I HAVE never heard from my mother what was the station in life of my father; but when I call to mind all that she has told me of him, even from my earliest childhood, I am forced to believe that he was a man weIl versed both in the science of life and more recondite knowledge. From these narrations, and from occasional utterances of my mother, bearing upon former circumstances that have only at this distance of time become comprehensible to me, I recognize that my parents fell from a condition of comfort, and even luxury, to the direst stress of poverty, and that my father, once tempted by Satan to most heinous crime, had committed a mortal sin, the which, when in later years the grace of God had illuminated his soul, he endeavoured to expiate by a pilgrimage to the holy Linden-Tree that rears its boughs in cold and distant Prussia.
It was on this tedious journey that, after many years of marriage, my mother felt for the first time that it would not, as my father feared, prove barren. Despite his penury, my father's heart was filled with joy, for now he saw the approaching fulfilment of a vision in which St. Bernard had promised him atonement of his sin through the birth of a son. In the precincts of the holy Linden my father fell sick, and the less he would consent to diminish the severity of his penance for reason of his weakness, the more his malady gained the upper hand, so that at last he died, absolved and comforted, at the same moment in which myself was born.
The very earliest of my conscious recollections group themselves around the well-loved cloisters and the church of the holy Linden. I hear e'en now the whispers of the shady forest — still lingers around me the scent of the luxuriant grasses and many-coloured flowers that formed my cradle. No savage beasts, no poisonous insects find their home within the sanctuary of the saintly men; no buzz of fly or chirp of cricket breaks the sacred hush in which alone the pious hymns of the priests resound, as the long procession winds its way, [Page 323] accompanied by pilgrims swinging golden thuribles from which mounts up the scent of consecrated incense. I can see still in the midst of the church the silver-encrusted stem of the Linden on which the angels set the wonder-working image of the Holy Virgin. Still smile on me the brilliant forms of angels and of saints, looking down from wall and roof of the church !
The tales my mother told me of the wonderful cloister, where her piercing agony found grace and consolation, have sunk so deep into my soul that I seem, myself, to have seen and passed through it all, although it is impossible that my memory should reach so far back, seeing that my mother left the holy place when but one year and a half had elapsed. Thus, too, I fancy that I myself once saw in the deserted church the wondrous figure of a man of solemn mien, the stranger painter who, countless years ago, appeared when first the church was built, whose speech no man could understand, whose practised hand it was that decked it with its noble pictures in the briefest span of time, and who vanished out of sight when once his work was done. I remember also an old pilgrim clad in foreign garb, with long grey beard, who often bore me in his arms to the woods, and sought for me many a delicate moss and bright-hued stone; yet again I am convinced that it is only by my mother's description that his living picture was stamped upon my inner vision.
Once he brought with him a strange and lovely child, of like age with myself. Clasping and kissing one another we sat among the grass; I gave him all my pretty stones and he cunningly arranged them on the ground in countless figures, yet ever did they frame at last — the cross. My mother sat beside us on a bench of stone, the old man, standing beside her, watched our childish play with a look of earnest mildness.
Some young men broke in upon our quiet, their appearance and their clothing indicating that curiosity alone had brought them to the holy Linden. One of them, on seeing us, cried out in sport: “See! a Holy Family. A subject for my sketch-book!” He brought forth paper and pencil and set to work to draw the picture, when the old pilgrim raised his head and said in bitter scorn:
“Wretched scoffer! Thou wouldst fain be an artist, and yet hast never felt within thee the flame of Faith and Love. Thy works shall remain dead and feelingless as thyself, and thou shalt despair in lonely solitude, and perish in thine own mind-waste!”
The youths rushed in terror from the spot.
The old pilgrim then addressed my mother: “I have brought you today a wondrous child, that he might kindle in your son the spark of Love; yet must I take him once more from you, and you will see neither him nor me again. Your son is richly gifted, but the sin of his father festers and ferments within his blood. He may, however, raise himself [Page 324] to the rank of a mighty champion of Belief; therefore let him enter the service of God!”
My mother could never find words sufficient to express the deep and lasting impression which this address of the pilgrim produced upon her. However, she determined to put no violence upon my inclination and to await in silent expectation the destiny that might direct my path; for she could not hope for any higher education for me than that which she herself could give me.
My recollections of clearer, personal experience date from the time when my mother, on her homeward journey, had reached the Cistercian Nunnery, whose Princess-Abbess received her with all friendliness, having known my father. The space of time from the encounter with the old pilgrim — which indeed I remember from my own eye-witness, saving only the words of the painter and the pilgrim with which my mother rounded off the incident – until the moment when my mother took me for the first time to the Abbess, is a complete void; not the slightest glimmering of it remains to me. I only recall myself from the time when my mother prepared my clothing, as best she could, for the purpose of this visit. She bought new ribands in the town and trimmed my unruly locks; she decked me out with loving care, and cautioned me to be on my best behaviour with the Lady Abbess.
At last, my hand within my mother's, I mounted the broad stone steps and entered the lofty, domed apartment, adorned with saintly pictures, in which we found the Princess, a fine, majestic, lovely woman, to whom the garment of her order lent a dignity that inspired respect. She gazed on me with a look that pierced my inmost mind, and asked: “Is this your son?”
Her voice, her whole appearance — even the novelty of the surroundings, the lofty chamber and the pictures — all worked so much upon my feelings that, seized with an inner awe, I commenced to weep bitterly. Looking kindly upon me, the Princess said: “ What is it, child ? Art thou afraid of me ? How call you your son, dear Madam? ”, “ Franz”, answered my mother. In deep distress the Princess cried, “Franciscus ! ” and took me up and clasped me to her breast; but at the same moment a sharp pain that I felt in my neck forced from me a cry of anguish, so that the Princess, shuddering, set me free, and my mother, completely disconcerted by my behaviour, rushed to me to bear me forthwith from the room. This the Princess would not allow; it appeared that the diamond cross which she bore upon her breast had pressed so sharply on my neck, in her embrace, that the spot was stained with red from suffusion of blood. “Poor Franz”, said the Princess, “I have pained thee; yet will we still be best of friends”.
A Sister brought in cakes and sweet wine, and, soon recovering from my shyness, I forgot my smart and fell to valiantly upon the dainties which the Princess herself placed in my mouth, taking me upon her lap. [Page 325] As soon as I had tasted a few drops of the sweet drink, to me an unknown luxury, my courage returned, and with it the liveliness which my mother always told me was my peculiar characteristic from earliest childhood. I laughed and prattled, to the delight of the Abbess and of
the Sister who had remained in the chamber. For some inexplicable reason, my mother bade me tell the Princess of the marvels of my birth-place. As though inspired by a higher Power, I described the pictures, painted by the unknown artist as vividly as if their impress had sunk into my deepest soul. I then related the glorious legends of the Saints, as though I were already well versed in all the archives of the church.
The Princess and my mother gazed on me in astonishment, but the longer I talked the higher rose my inspiration, and when, at last, the Princess asked: “Tell me, dear child, how dost thou know all this?” without a moment's thought I answered that the miraculous child whom once a strange pilgrim had brought to me had explained to me all the pictures in the church, and had itself set forth many a picture in coloured stones, not only telling me its meaning, but relating countless other legends of the Saints.
The vesper-bell rang forth, and the Sister pressed on me a packet of sweet cakes, which I received with delight. The Abbess rose and said to my mother: “I look upon your son as my own pupil, dear Madam, and will from henceforth see to his welfare”. My mother, deeply moved, could not reply, and covered the Princess's hands with tears and kisses. We were almost at the door when the Princess followed us, lifted me once more and, carefully thrusting on one side the cross, pressed me to her bosom, weeping hot tears that fell upon my forehead. “Franciscus !” she cried, “Be good and pious”. I was filled with inward emotion and compelled to weep, though knowing not for why.
Through the assistance of the Abbess my mother's frugal household a little farm lying close to the monastery, soon gained a better appearance of comfort. Our need was at an end; I was better clothed, and enjoyed the instruction of the parish priest, at the same time serving him as chorister whenever he performed the offices of the cloister-church.
The memory of that happy time of childhood surrounds me now as with a dream of bliss! Like a far distant land, the abode of joy and unsullied childish mirth, my home lies far behind me now, and when I look back there yawns beneath my feet the gulf which separates me from it for ever. Seized with a fierce longing, I strive to gaze once more upon the loved ones there beyond, moving in the purple heaven of spring-tide dawn, while I fancy yet I hear their cherished voices. Ah! is there indeed a gulf whose chasm Love's strong wings cannot overpass? What deems Love of Time and Space! Does it not live in fancy, and knows that any bounds? But darksome forms rise up and crowd thick and thicker around me, drawing ever closer their hideous confine; they shut [Page 326] out the prospect and fetter my senses with the handcuffs of the present, so that e'en desire itself — which had filled me with a nameless joy, half grief — is turned to helpless, mortal anguish!
The parish priest was goodness itself; he knew how to fascinate my restless spirit, and understood so to mould his teachings to my comprehension that I found delight in study, and made quick progress.
My mother I loved above all else; but I revered the Princess as a Saint, and the day when I might see her was, to me, a feast-day. Each time I strove to shine in her estimation – with my last-won piece of knowledge; yet when she came and questioned me in friendly tones, I scarcely found a word to utter and could but gaze upon and listen to her. Each word of hers remained deep in my soul; the whole day, after I had spoken with her, I experienced a wonderful exaltation of spirit, and her figure it was that accompanied me on my lonely excursions.
What an inexpressible emotion filled me when, swinging the incense burner, I stood beside the High Altar, and, while the sound of the organ streamed down from the choir, swelling to a rushing river that bore me with it, I recognised her voice in the hymn, beating down upon me like a ray of light and filling my inmost soul with foretastes of the Highest and the Holiest.
But the happiest day, looked forward to by me for weeks, and remembered always with the keenest delight, was the festival of St. Bernard, the patron saint of the Cistercians, and therefore celebrated with the greatest ceremony. Even the day before, a vast multitude streamed from the neighbouring city and the whole surrounding neighbourhood, and encamped on the wide, flowering meadows that girt the cloister round, so that the joyous hubbub ceased not day nor night. I cannot recollect that in this favourable season of the year (St. Bernard’s feast falling in August) the weather was ever unpropitious to the festival.
In picturesque confusion one saw, here devout pilgrims, singing hymns upon their march, there peasant lads sporting with their gaily-dressed lasses, monks gazing into the clouds, their hands devoutly folded in religious meditation, burgher families seated on the sward, unpacking their well-filled baskets and partaking of their meal. Joyful songs, pious hymns, the fervent sighs of penitents, the laughter of the mirthful, cries, shouts, joke and prayer filled the air with their well-nigh deafening concert.
But as soon as the bell of the cloister rings, the tumult suddenly ceases — as far as the eye can reach, all have thronged in thickset rows and sunk upon their knees, while the low murmur of prayer alone is heard amid the sacred hush.
The last stroke of the bell dies away, and once more resounds the gleeful noise, but a moment interrupted. [Page 327]
The Bishop from the neighbouring city, assisted by the minor spiritual members of the chapter, officiated in the cloister-church on St. Bernard's day, and it was his own choir that led the music, marshalled on a tribune which was erected by the side of the High Altar and decked with costly hangings.
The impressions that surged within my breast at that time are even now not dead; they come back to the fresh life of youth, whenever I turn my thoughts to those happy days too quickly passed away. I vividly remember a Gloria, which was many times repeated, since the Princess loved this composition above all others. When the Bishop had intoned the Gloria and the mighty chant of the choir burst forth: Gloria in Excelsis Deo! was it not as though the glory of Heaven opened above the altar; as though, by a divine miracle, the painted Cherubim and Seraphim came to glowing life, raised and swayed their strong wings and floated in the air, praising God with song and play of wonderful stringed instruments?
I sank into the rapt awe of the ecstasy of devotion, which bore me through the brilliant clouds into the far-off land of my birth-place, and in the scented forest there sounded the soft voices of angels, while the marvellous child came to me from the midst of high lily bushes and asked me, smiling, “Where wast thou then so long, Franciscus? Many lovely flowers have I, which I will give to thee if thou wilt stay with me and love me evermore”.
After the ceremony the nuns, preceded by the Abbess, who was ornamented with the Insula and bore the silver shepherd's staff, made solemn procession throughout the whole compass of the cloister and the church. What holiness, what dignity, what superhuman grandeur shone from every glance of the noble lady and guided her every movement ! It was the very Church triumphant, promising grace and blessing to the believing people. I could have cast myself to the dust before her, whene'er by chance her glance fell on me.
When the service of God was finished, the ecclesiastics and the musicians of the Bishop were entertained in a great hall forming part of the cloister. Many friends of the cloister, official folk and merchants of the city, took part in the repast, and I also was permitted to be present, by favour of the Bishop's Concert-meister, who was much attached to me. While, lit up by pious devotion, my whole soul had been turned to the super terrestrial, so now this joyous life o'ermastered me and surrounded me with its varied pictures. All kinds of entertaining tales and jests were interchanged, amid the loud laughter of the guests, while the glasses were diligently emptied, until eve broke upon us and the wagons stood ready for the homeward journey. [Page 328]
(To be continued)
M.C. Great confusion exists in the minds of people about the various kinds of apparitions, wraiths, ghosts or spirits. Ought we not to explain once for all the meaning of these terms? You say there are various kinds of “doubles”—what are they?
H.P.B. Our occult philosophy teaches us that there are three kinds of “doubles”, to use the word in its widest sense. (1) Man has his “double” or shadow, properly so called, around which the physical body of the foetus — the future man — is built. The imagination of the mother, or an accident which affects the child, will affect also the astral body. The astral and the physical both exist before the mind is developed into action, and before the Atma awakes. This occurs when the child is seven years old, and with it comes the responsibility attaching to a conscious sentient being. This “double” is born with man, dies with him and can never separate itself far from the body during life, and though surviving him, it disintegrates, pari passu, with the corpse. It is this, which is sometimes seen over the graves like a luminous figure of the man that was, during certain atmospheric conditions. From its physical aspect it is, during life, man’s vital double and after death, only the gases given off from the decaying body. But, as regards its origin and essence, it is something more. This “double” is what we have agreed to call lingaśarira, but which I would propose to call, for greater convenience, “Protean” or “Plastic Body.”
M.C. Why Protean or Plastic?
H.P.B. Protean, because it can assume all forms; e.g., the “shepherd magicians” whom popular rumour accuses, perhaps not without some reason, of being “were-wolves”, and “mediums in cabinets”, whose own “Plastic Bodies” play the part of materialized grandmothers and “John Kings”. Otherwise, why the invariable custom of the “dear departed angels” to come out but little further than arm’s length from the medium whether entranced or not? Mind, I do not at all deny foreign influences in this kind of phenomena. But I do affirm that foreign interference is rare, and that the materialized form is always that of the medium’s “Astral” or Protean body.
M.C. But how is this astral body created?
H.P.B. It is not created; it grows, as I told you, with the man and exists in the rudimentary condition even before the child is born.
M.C. And what about the second?
H.P.B. The second is the “Thought” body, or Dream body, rather; known among Occultists as the Mayavi-rupa, or “Illusion-body”. During life this image is the vehicle both of thought and of the animal passions [Page 329] and desires, drawing at one and the same time from the lowest terrestrial manas (mind) and Kama, the element of desire. It is dual in its potentiality, and after death forms, what is called in the East Bhoot, or Kama-rupa, but which is better known to theosophists as the “Spook”.
M.C. And the third?
H.P.B. The third is the true Ego, called in the East, by a name meaning “causal body” but which in the trans-Himalayan schools is always called the “Karmic body,” which is the same. For Karma or action is the cause which produces incessant rebirths or “reincarnations”. It is not the Monad, nor is it Manas proper; but is, in a way, indissolubly connected with, and a compound of the Monad and Manas in Devachan.
M.C. Then there are three doubles?
H.P.B. If you can call the Christian and other Trinities “three Gods,” then there are three doubles. But in truth there is only one under three aspects or phases: the most material portion disappearing with the body; the middle one, surviving both as an independent, but temporary entity in the land of shadows; the third, immortal, throughout the manvantara unless Nirvana puts an end to it before.
M.C. But shall not we be asked what difference there is between the Mayavi and Kama rupa, or as you propose to call them the “Dream body” and the “Spook”?
H.P.B. Most likely, and we shall answer, in addition to what has been said, that the “thought power” or aspect of the Mayavi or “Illusion body”, merges after death entirely into the causal body or the conscious thinking EGO. The animal elements, or power of desire of the “Dream body”, absorbing after death that which it has collected (through its insatiable desire to live) during life; i.e., all the astral vitality as well as all the impressions of its material acts and thoughts while it lived in possession of the body, forms the “Spook” or Kama rupa. Our Theosophists know well enough that after death the higher Manas unites with the Monad and passes into Devachan, while the dregs of the lower manas or animal mind go to form this Spook. This has life in it, but hardly any consciousness, except, as it were by proxy; when it is drawn into the current of a medium.
M.C. Is it all that can be said upon the subject?
H.P.B. For the present this is enough metaphysics, I guess. Let us hold to the “Double” in its earthly phase. What would you know?
M.C. Every country in the world believes more or less in the “double” or doppelganger. The simplest form of this is the appearance of a man’s phantom, the moment after his death, or at the instant of death, to his dearest friend. Is this appearance the mayavi rupa?
H.P.B. It is; because produced by the thought of the dying man.
M.C. Is it unconscious?
H.P.B. It is unconscious to the extent that the dying man does not [Page 330] generally do it knowingly; nor is he aware that he so appears. What happens is this. If he thinks very intently at the moment of death of the person he either is very anxious to see, or loves best, he may appear to that person. The thought becomes objective; the double, or shadow of a man, being nothing but the faithful reproduction of him, like a reflection in a mirror, that which the man does, even in thought, that the double repeats. This is why the phantoms are often seen in such cases in the clothes they wear at the particular moment, and the image reproduces even the expression on the dying man’s face. If the double of a man bathing were seen it would seem to be immersed in water; so when a man who has been drowned appears to his friend, the image will be seen to be dripping with water. The cause for the apparition may be also reversed; i.e., the dying man may or may not be thinking at all of the particular person his image appears to, but it is that person who is sensitive. Or perhaps his sympathy or his hatred for the individual whose wraith is thus evoked is very intense physically or psychically; and in this case the apparition is created by, and depends upon, the intensity of the thought. What then happens is this. Let us call the dying man A, and him who sees the double B. The latter, owing to love, hate, or fear, has the image of A so deeply impressed on his psychic memory, that actual magnetic attraction and repulsion are established between the two, whether one knows of it and feels it, or not. When A dies, the sixth sense or psychic spiritual intelligence of the inner man in B becomes cognisant of the change in A, and forthwith apprizes the physical senses of the man, by projecting before his eye the form of A, as it is at the instant of the great change. The same when the dying man longs to see some one; his thought telegraphs to his friend, consciously or unconsciously along the wire of sympathy, and becomes objective. This is what the “Spookical” Research Society would pompously, but none the less muddily, call telepathic impact.
M.C. This applies to the simplest form of the appearance of the double. What about cases in which the double does that which is contrary to the feeling and wish of the man?
H.P.B. This is impossible. The “Double” cannot act, unless the key-note of this action was struck in the brain of the man to whom the “Double” belongs, be that man just dead, or alive, in good or in bad health. If he paused on the thought a second, long enough to give it form, before he passed on to other mental pictures, this one second is as sufficient for the objectivizations of his personality on the astral waves, as for your face to impress itself on the sensitized plate of a photographic apparatus. Nothing prevents your form then, being seized upon by the surrounding Forces — as a dry leaf fallen from a tree is taken up and carried away by the wind — [to] be made to caricature or distort your thought.
M.C. Supposing the double expresses in actual words a thought uncongenial to the man, and expresses it — let us say to a friend far away, perhaps on another continent? I have known instances of this occurring . [Page 331]
H.P.B. Because it then so happens that the created image is taken up and used by a “Shell.” Just as in séance-rooms when “images” of the dead — which may perhaps be lingering unconsciously in the memory or even the auras of those present — are seized upon by the Elementals or Elementary Shadows and made objective to the audience, and even caused to act at the bidding of the strongest of the many different wills in the room. In your case, moreover, there must exist a connecting link — a telegraph wire — between the two persons, a point of psychic sympathy, and on this the thought travels instantly. Of course there must be, in every case, some strong reason why that particular thought takes that direction; it must be connected in some way with the other person. Otherwise such apparitions would be of common and daily occurrence.
M.C. This seems very simple; why then does it only occur with exceptional persons?
H.P.B. Because the plastic power of the imagination is much stronger in some persons than in others. The mind is dual in its potentiality: it is physical and metaphysical. The higher part of the mind is connected with the spiritual soul or Buddhi, the lower with the animal soul, the Kama principle. There are persons who never think with the higher faculties of their mind at all; those who do so are the minority and are thus, in a way, beyond, if not above, the average of human kind. These will think even upon ordinary matters on that higher plane. The idiosyncrasy of the person determines in which “principle” of the mind the thinking is done, as also the faculties of a preceding life, and sometimes the heredity of the physical. This is why it is so very difficult for a materialist — the metaphysical portion of whose brain is almost atrophied — to raise himself, or for one who is naturally spiritually minded, to descend to the level of the matter-of-fact vulgar thought. Optimism and pessimism depend on it also in a large measure.
M.C. But the habit of thinking in the higher mind can be developed — else there would be no hope for persons who wish to alter their lives and raise themselves? And that this is possible must be true, or there would be no hope for the world.
H.P.B. Certainly it can be developed, but only with great difficulty, a firm determination, and through much self-sacrifice. But it is comparatively easy for those who are born with the gift. Why is it that one person sees poetry in a cabbage or a pig with her little ones, while another will perceive in the loftiest things only their lowest and most material aspect, will laugh at the “music of the spheres”, and ridicule the most sublime conceptions and philosophies? This difference depends simply on the innate power of the mind to think on the higher or on the lower plane, with the astral (in the sense given to the word by de Saint-Martin), or with the physical brain. Great intellectual powers are often no proof of, but are impediments to spiritual and right conceptions; witness most of the great men of science. We must rather pity than blame them. [Page 332]
M.C. But how is it that the person who thinks on the higher plane produces more perfect and more potential images and objective forms by his thought?
H.P.B. Not necessarily that “person” alone, but all those who arc generally sensitives. The person who is endowed with this faculty of thinking about even the most trifling things from the higher plane of thought has, by virtue of that gift which he possesses, a plastic power of formation, so to say, in his very imagination. Whatever such a person may think about, his thought will be so far more intense than the thought of an ordinary person, that by this very intensity it obtains the power of creation. Science has established the fact that thought is an energy. This energy in its action disturbs the atoms of the astral atmosphere around us. I already told you; the rays of thought have the same potentiality for producing forms in the astral atmosphere as the sunrays have with regard to a lens. Every thought so evolved with energy from the brain, creates nolens volens a shape.
M.C. Is that shape absolutely unconscious?
H.P.B. Perfectly unconscious unless it is the creation of an adept, who has a pre-conceived object in giving it consciousness, or rather in sending along with it enough of his will and intelligence to cause it to appear conscious. This ought to make us more cautious about our thoughts.
But the wide distinction that obtains between the adept in this matter and the ordinary man must be borne in mind. The adept may at his will use his Mayavi-rupa, but the ordinary man does not, except in very rare cases. It is called Mayavi-rupa because it is a form of illusion created for use in the particular instance, and it has quite enough of the adept’s mind in it to accomplish its purpose. The ordinary man merely creates a thought-image, whose properties and powers are at the time wholly unknown to him.
M.C. Then one may say that the form of an adept appearing at a distance from his body, as for instance Ram Lal in Mr. Isaacs, is simply an image?
H.P.B. Exactly. It is a walking thought.
M.C. In which case an adept can appear in several places almost simultaneously.
H.P.B. He can. Just as Apollonius of Tyana, who was seen in two places at once, while his body was at Rome. But it must be understood that not all of even the astral adept is present in each appearance.
M.C. Then it is very necessary for a person of any amount of imagination and psychic powers to attend to their thoughts?
H.P.B. Certainly, for each thought has a shape which borrows the appearance of the man engaged in the action of which he thought. Otherwise how can clairvoyants see in your aura your past and present? What they see is a passing panorama of yourself represented in successive actions by your thoughts. You asked me if we are punished for our thoughts. Not for all, for some are still-born; but for the others, those [Page 333] which we call “silent” but potential thoughts — yes. Take an extreme case, such as that of a person who is so wicked as to wish the death of another. Unless the evil-wisher is a Dugpa, a high adept in black magic, in which case Karma is delayed, such a wish only comes back to roost.
M.C. But supposing the evil-wisher to have a very strong will, without being a dugpa, could the death of the other be accomplished?
H.P.B. Only if the malicious person has the evil eye, which simply means possessing enormous plastic power of imagination working involuntarily, and thus turned unconsciously to bad uses. For what is the power of the “evil eye”? Simply a great plastic power of thought, so great as to produce a current impregnated with the potentiality of every kind of misfortune and accident, which inoculates, or attaches itself to any person who comes within it. A jettatore (one with the evil eye) need not be even imaginative, or have evil intentions or wishes. He may be simply a person who is naturally fond of witnessing or reading about sensational scenes, such as murder, executions, accidents, etc., etc.. He may be not even thinking of any of these at the moment his eye meets his future victim. But the currents have been produced and exist in his visual ray ready to spring into activity the instant they find suitable soil, like a seed fallen by the way and ready to sprout at the first opportunity.
M.C. But how about the thoughts you call “silent”? Do such wishes or thoughts come home to roost?
H.P.B. They do; just as a ball which fails to penetrate an object rebounds upon the thrower. This happens even to some dugpas or sorcerers who are not strong enough, or do not comply with the rules — for even they have rules they have to abide by — but not with those who are regular, fully developed “black magicians”; for such have the power to accomplish what they wish.
M.C. When you speak of rules it makes me want to wind up this talk by asking you what everybody wants to know who takes any interest in occultism. What is a principal or important suggestion for those who have these powers and wish to control them rightly — in fact to enter occultism?
H.P.B. The first and most important step in occultism is to learn how to adapt your thoughts and ideas to your plastic potency.
M.C. Why is this so important?
H.P.B. Because otherwise you are creating things by which you may be making bad Karma. No one should go into occultism or even touch it before he is perfectly acquainted with his own powers, and that he knows how to commensurate it with his actions. And this he can do only by deeply studying the philosophy of Occultism before entering upon the practical training. Otherwise, as sure as fate — HE WILL FALL INTO BLACK MAGIC. [Page 334]
[To be continued]
SOMETIME ago in an article, the “Tetragrammaton” (Theosophist), we remarked that by the Notarikon method of Kabalistic reading one could make Biblical sentences read almost anything. Here is an instance. A Kabalist, of the Abracadabric name of Katzenellenbogen, sent to the St. Petersburg Svyet a Kabalistic calculation made subservient by him for the occasion. It is verse 14 in chapter XIII of Hosea, read by the Notarikon, and thus shown to foretell the catastrophe which happened to the Imperial train on October 17th (29th) and the miraculous escape of the Czar of Russia and his family. The Kabalistic combination struck the profane herds with amazement, and the ancient “prophecy” ran the round of all the Russian papers. We quote from the author's article.
“If you add together the figures of every letter of the said Hebrew verse to the sum of the figures yielded by the words” Emperor Alexander, Empress Maria, their son, Heir to the Throne, Nicolas, etc., etc., the sum total will make 5649, i.e., the present year from the world's creation — according to Hebrew chronology, of course – [ Which chronology ? The latter differs in every Hebrew scroll almost and the Masters of Israel; agree but to disagree. So according to the Septuagint 7240 years have passed since the world's, creation; the Samaritan text gives 6065; the Asiatic Jews count 6000; Josephus gives 7508 years; and the received chronology shows 5892.– H.P.Blavatsky, Editor ] or, in other words, St. (?) Hosea is proved to have prophesied the salvation of Russia in the present year 1888. For those acquainted with the original text, I (Katzenellenbogen) transliterate the ancient Hebrew characters into Russian (and we, into English.– ED.) letters, with their Kabalistic numerals added: – Gameleh=95, Alexander=365, Vehamalka=l06, Maria=252, Ubnom=98, Toresch=516, Etzer=360, Nicolas=211, Vek-hol=56, Scheol=337, Efdom=125, Mimovijess=486, Æg-Olem=75, Ægi=16, Dvorekha=236, Movess=446, Ægi=16, Kotovho=131, Scheol=337, Nokham=98, Tisokher=670, Meynoy=180; [The Hebrew is Katzenellenbogen's. – H.P.Blavatsky, Editor ] in all 5694, when translated it means:–
“The Emperor Alexander, the Empress Maria and their Son Nicolas, heir to the throne, and all the august family, I will ransom from the jaws of hell ( “death” in the Christian Bible) [ We have in the Hebrew text “the jaws of Hell” instead of the words “the power of death” as translated in the English Protestant Bible] in the year 1888 or 5649, and I will redeem them from death; “O, death, where is thy sting ? Oh Hell, where is thy victory ?” ( Novoyé Vremya).
The reader is reminded that the above sentence reads only in the Russian language and would hardly yield the same in any other. On the other hand, if tried by an English Kabalist, it might perhaps be discovered that Hosea prophesied for Whitechapel in 1888 “Jack Ripper”, as an atonement for the sins of Scotland Yard; and if resorted to by a French Kabalist, it is not at all unlikely that the said verse should be found threatening Zola with the stings of Scheol (hell) for plagiarizing in such flagrant manner Hosea's epistolary style, ( vide Ch. i., ii., iii., et seq.), and thus illegally appropriating the Biblical monopoly of free and unparliamentary speech. Great are the possibilities of Kabala ! [Page 335]
DREAMS and ghost-stories have always, for some unexplained reason, been considered appropriate to the holy Christmas season. At that “witching time”, the most sober amongst us are wont to sit around the fire, in an enchanted circle, and to beguile the evening hours outvying one another with tales of wonder and dread until “each particular hair doth stand on end”, and we dare scarcely look behind us into the distant gloom of the apartment, still less mount unaccompanied to the attic chamber.
We may then hail as specially opportune this volume of Dreams and Dream Stories, by the late gifted and lamented seeress and writer, Mrs. Anna Kingsford. And just as truth is stranger than fiction, and real life more pathetic than that imagined by the novelist or playwright, so are these real dreams (for such are those in Part I. of the book, as we learn from Mrs. Kingsford's own preface) more strange and weird, and more striking to the imagination than any with which sensational writers try to “freeze the young blood and harrow up the soul”. More than this, these dreams are coherent, significant, poetical in their often beauteous imagery, challenging study and reflection as to their genesis and interpretation. For they are not to be attributed to states artificially induced, as in the case of Coleridge's Kubla Khan; the writer tells us that she had “never taken opium, hashish, or other dream-producing agent”. Nevertheless, she had observed that climate, altitude and atmospheric conditions were not without their influence; that in Paris and Switzerland the dreams were frequent, and on the low-lying banks of the Severn they ceased altogether. Also the greater number occurred towards dawn, sometimes after sunrise, during a second sleep, at a time when, according to the ancient dream-interpreters, the soul is free from the clouds or fumes of undigested food or drink, and when its nobler part is united to a higher nature, and fitted to receive the “wisdom of the Gods”. And so it is that some of these dreams convey, through an allegory, some special lesson, the interpretation of which is obvious, as in The City of Blood and The Banquet of the Gods. Others contain a well-sustained tragedy, such as The Doomed Train and The Square in the Hand.
The Dream Stories which constitute the second part of the book are merely based, we are told, upon dreams which serve as their framework, and it is here that the remarkable literary power of the authoress is chiefly manifested. Two of these were published some years ago in a London magazine, but the greater number are now presented for the first time.
To my own thinking their style is somewhat akin to that of the shorter tales of Nathaniel Hawthorne. They have his peculiar weirdness and force of expression, together with his marvellous insight into the soul of things. They thrill us by their realism, while they leave us in doubt as to the exact line [Page 336] between fact and fiction, and a certain delicacy of touch, indicative rather than descriptive of character, recalls at times the hand of that inimitable master. But the sentiments are strikingly Mrs. Kingsford's own. A Village of Seers relates a marvellous adventure which befell a father who went to seek for his boy, lost some months previously among the Swiss mountains. He had heard that in a certain village lived a family of seers, gifted on one night in the year only with second sight, by means of which they were permitted to see whatever they most desired. The gift was originally bestowed on a blind ancestor of the family, who had, at great risk and peril, guided a priest, struggling with the storm and carrying the viaticum, to the death bed of a reputed sorcerer. In the words of the tale, “to the blind man, deprived in early childhood of physical sight, this miraculous power was an inestimable consolation, and Christmas Eve became to him a festival of illumination, whose annual reminiscences and anticipations brightened the whole round of the year. And when, at length, he died the faculty remained a family heritage, of which all his descendants partook in some degree, his two grandsons, as his nearest kin, possessing the gift in its completest development. And, most strange of all, the two hounds which lay couched before us by the hearth appeared to enjoy a share of the sorcerer's benison”.
The part played by the two dogs, Fritz and Bruna, may be the embroidery — the Story — on the garment of fact woven by the Dream; at all events it is thoroughly characteristic of Mrs. Kingsford's well-known love of animals.
In the dawn of Christmas morning the younger guide comes to rouse the father and his companion, that they may all start on their expedition.
“We have seen him!” he cried, throwing up his hands triumphantly above his head. “Both of us have seen your son, monsieur! Not half an hour ago we saw him in a vision, alive and well, in a mountain cave, separated from the valley by a broad torrent. An angel of the good Lord has ministered to him; it is a miracle! Courage; he will be restored to you. Dress quickly and come down to breakfast. Everything is ready for the expedition, and there is no time to lose !”
How, after some hours of mountain climbing over snow and ice, the guides find themselves at fault, and becoming entranced, declare that they can see no more, that the vision has passed from them; how the faithful dogs suddenly discover the clue, and lead the party along a narrow track till the father recognises the spot where the accident had taken place; how the peasants bade him shout for his child, though he had told them the boy was both deaf and dumb, and how the one word “Father” came up from a great depth, tremulous, uncertain, yet intensely earnest; all this, with the description of the final issue of the expedition I leave to those who may see this notice to read and enjoy for themselves. I can at least promise that they shall not be disappointed in their search after the marvellous, the beautiful, and the — VRAISEMBLABLE.
To the initiated, the interest lies outside and beyond the stories. [Page 337]
A LIGHT is thrown on the question by the Alexandrian manuscript of the New Testament in the British Museum. The well-known passage I.Timothy iii., 16, has exercised the attention of students for a few hundred years. The importance of the extrinsic interpretation of the text has led many to permit their sight of the words written to be obscured by their predilections. It is necessary, however, for the student to look at the subject with the “drylight” of Goethe, and to see how far Theosophy will help us in the investigation. Those who say “it is not true, and it does not matter”, may leave the question to those who care to work it out.
A) Θεὀς i.e.,ΘC Deus, is advocated by the vast majority of the Fathers, who accepted what was said, though it may not have been written. θε ὀϛ, was directly implied, and the whole passage, to the eyes of an Initiate, means to ascribe Divinity. The context throws light on the subject. This reading is directly supported by Chrysostom, Theodorus, Euthalius, Macedonius (who was charged with introducing the reading), and others.
The Vulgate has always stood on θε ὀς. The authorised version adopted it. It is the traditional reading, and the oldest and commonest version. Another reading may have been the original, but if so, evidence for it has been effectually destroyed. Now, at least, θε ὀς must be read, however the manuscript has been blurred.
B) Many versions give ὂς written OC. This has been justified by the Alexandrian manuscript, and it was the theory of Dean Alford, whose pretentious, though not always accurate, Greek Testament has helped one to understand the words —
“So commentators each dark passage shun,
And hold their farthing candle to the sun”, —
that the black line at present visible in the θ is a modern retouching of an older, but not original fainter one, due apparently to the darkening of the stroke of an ε, seen through from the other side. The Ephrem Codex, edited by Tischendorf, is in favour of this reading, and for a number of years, until the Revised Bible –
Ein neues Stück, das letzte Stück von sieben –
shall have become stale, the probability is strong in favour of its [Page 338] popularity, as its employment will be in favour with those who, with “sweetness, light, and culture”, expound the translations of the Bible.
ὂ (quod which) is given in the Codex of Beza. This reading finds no support from the Alexandrian manuscript, inasmuch as the sigma before “manifested”, is perfectly conspicuous therein.
The revised version accepts ὂς, and considers that the version “God” in place of “He who” rests on no sufficient evidence.
Mr. Basil Cowper (Codex Alexandrinus, 8vo., London, 1860, p. xvii), sensibly enough says,
“probably no human eye will ever be able to determine whether the transverse line was originally there, that is, whether the scribe wrote omicron or theta. It can never be sufficiently regretted that some comparatively modern pen has been rashly employed upon the manuscript, and that modern fingers have been applied to it here with equal discredit to the owner, and the almost entire obliteration of the letters. We hope that henceforth there will be no more endeavours to demonstrare digito the true rendering of the passage, and indeed that the Museum authorities will studiously resist all who wish to have the clause at their fingers' ends”. As the Alexandrian MSS. stand, the word is verily θεὀς.
Unfortunately the Codex Vaticanus does not contain the epistles to Timothy. This is to be regretted, as the argument of Canon Cook and others, especially of an able writer in the Dublin Review (Vol. II. page 194) brings forward a strong case to prove that these MSS. were among the fifty copies which Eusebius of Cæsarea procured for the Emperor Constantine the Great. There exist reasons which infer that the Codex Vaticanus (on which too much has probably been said) is of posterior date to the Alexandrian Codex. It is true that Alford, resting on the authority of Tischendorf, places it in the fourth century, whilst he relegates the Alexandrian manuscript to the fifth. But perhaps it was necessary for Dean Alford to say something occasionally which someone else had not said before him.
The value of Eusebius' testimony to the authority of the Vatican MS. may be estimated in the words of Cardinal Newman. “His acts are his confession. He openly sides with those whose blasphemies a true Christian would have abhorred, and he sanctioned and shared their deeds of violence and injustice perpetrated on the Catholics”. Rohrbacher has described him as “a man of equivocal reputation, more “erudite than profound, more a rhetorician than a theologian, more courtier “than bishop, more Arian than orthodox”. What can we say of the literary sincerity of the man who was a party to suborning false witness against St. Eustathius at Antioch, and against St. Athanasius at Tyre? These spurious codices were written at the very time when Arianism was in the ascendant, and thought to keep there. I will not attempt to wade through the miserable history of Eusebius, as you have bestowed, perhaps, sufficiently, poudre insecticide on him in the “Secret Doctrine”. I must, [Page 339] however, remind your readers that, as if Josephus was not bad enough, Eusebius has made him worse. The owl which Josephus says that Herod Agrippa saw before his death, Eusebius, by dexterous textual manipulation, turns into an angel. Even his defenders have been forced to admit a sinceritatis via deflexit noster. Men like St. Chrysostom, however, show that Eusebius' renderings were not always regarded with respect.
When, however, a Theosophist looks over the MS., a new light is thrown on the subject. Whether the writer used the word θc or 0c does not matter, and if he is distinctly shown to have used a symbol, the fixed point in the centre of unity is equivalent to the idea of God. For several reasons, I content myself at this moment with asking the Editors of LUCIFER to inform an ignorant outsider like myself. What is the occult meaning of the ⊙ ; and in what sense did St. Paul and his copyists, a few centuries later, use the symbol as an equivalent to the Ineffable God? “Great is the mystery of Godliness”.
[ In the Occult meaning it is the primordial Ideation, the plane for the double-sexed logos, the first differentiation of the ever unknowable PRINCIPLE or abstract nature, sexless and infinite. The point represents the first formation of the root of all things growing out of the rootless ROOT, or what the Vedantins call “Parabrahm”. It is the periodical and ever-recurring primordial manifestation after every “Night of Brahmâ”, or of potential space within abstract space: not Jehovah, assuredly not; but the “ Unknown God” of the Athenians, the IT which St. Paul the master Mason and the INITlATE declared unto them. It is the unmanifested LOGOS . – H.P.Blavatsky, Editor ]
NOTHING that has yet appeared in your magazine has been so much in concord
with my own humble views as your Editorial in the October Number on “Lodges of Magic”.
“I am not a proclaimed Theosophist. I do not belong to the Society. For some reasons I am sorry; for many reasons I am glad. And one of the most cogent of the latter is the almost certain degeneracy of any Society or Sect formed by mortal hands. I mean no disrespect to the founders of the T. S. They were animated by the purest motives; inspired by the noblest resolves.
But, being human, they cannot control the admission of members. They cannot read the heart, nor know the mind. And, consequently, the T. S. is not representative of Theosophy, but only of itself – a gathering of many earnest seekers after truth, many powerful intellects, many saints, and many sinners and lovers of curiosity.
If I have learned aright the lesson you have endeavoured to teach, it is this. That development must be harmonious, and must be unconscious.
The danger which attends the desire to know is that the knowledge to be gained too often becomes the goal of our endeavours, instead of being the [Page 340] means whereby to become perfect. And by “perfect” I mean Union with the Absolute.
A young man, whose intellect is of the keenest, and with great power of assimilating and applying knowledge, is devoured by a desire to attain a lofty ideal. He feels there may be something beyond the facts of material science, beyond the anthropomorphic religions of the day.
Drifting into that mysterious current which is now flowing through the Century, he becomes attracted by Theosophy. For a while he studies it with avidity, strives to live “the life”, to permeate himself with its teaching.
His intellect is satisfied for the time.
But, alas! he commits the fatal fault of forgetting that he has a soul. He does not, indeed, forget that he is immortal, but he neglects to feed his soul on Spiritual things.
His science becomes wider, he grasps the idea of universality — and generally becomes a rank pessimist.
But, through the above mentioned fault, Mystic Union with the Higher Self becomes more and more phantasmal. He recognises its necessity, but postpones the ordeal.
“First let me prove the lower realms of Nature”, he cries, and plunges into the phenomena of spiritualism, table rapping, and the evocation of spooks. He declares that Knowledge is Power, and carries his assertion to no further issue. He is remonstrated with. He replies that it is necessary to test all experience, and construes that axiom into a law that Karma is to be moulded and shaped by the conscious Ego. Carried to a logical conclusion, his rendering of the axiom would lead him into the lowest depths of vice to the hurt of his higher nature. He would seek in this transient incarnation to gratify every lust, passion and ideal of his personality. Whereas, surely the true meaning of the Law is that the Ego must of necessity taste of every experience in its progression up the Scale; must pass through every grade, ascend every step of the ladder.
It does not mean that when we know the good we must follow evil, nor that our higher must sometimes be actively degraded to the level of our lower self.
And so, step by step, it seems to me our neophyte wanders towards the broad path that leadeth to destruction. Confident that he is able to use the little knowledge he has gained, assured of his own powers, and disdainful of the terrors that lie in lurk for him, he goes on his way. His weapon is Self-Confidence and his armour Ignorance.
There is no turning back when once the path is trod, and the only hope is in his being vanquished in the first trial. Should he conquer his earliest foe, he will only meet a direr fate.
Now, is this Theosophy ? If so, I will have none of it. I own I should like to see phenomena, to “call spirits from the vasty deep with success”. [ It is not in the Theosophical Society that our correspondent can ever hope to evoke spooks or see any physical phenomena. –H.P.Blavatsky, Editor ] But I do not flatter myself that this longing is of a pure nature. If I did not sometimes wish to take a short cut to knowledge, I should not be a man as we know him. But I believe this desire after manifestation to be of the earth, earthy. [Page 341] With faith we can do all things, yet we should not desire to do all things, but simply to have the faith.
I recognise the essentiality of establishing the scientific basis of Theosophy, of studying it from all sides. I do not wish to be merely a metaphysical mystic. I am sadly afraid, however, that most of us followers of Theosophy are but just out of our swaddling clothes. We must have our toys and picture books.
My ideal is to worship the One God in spirit and in truth. Is that the aim of the T.S.?...........[ There is no Religion higher than Truth” is the motto of our Society. – H.P.Blavatsky, Editor ]
I have expressed myself to you, not with any wish to see my feeble endeavour in print, nor from any presumptuous thought that I have written anything new or authoritative. Much less have I written in any carping or judging spirit. I have no right or desire to criticise people better than myself, but I feel it on me to ask for an assurance that the T. S. as a whole is doing the work it is meant to do — not merely expanding the Intellect of the World, but also drawing the Soul of Humanity towards its Higher Self.
P.S. – Is not the “Esoteric Section” of the T. S. likely to run counter to the views of your Editorial on Lodges of Magic ? Who is to ensure that the Esoteric Members are not only willing to, but will “abide by its rules” ?
6th November, 1888.
[ Our correspondent's question is a natural one — coming from a European. No, it does not run counter, because it is not a lodge of magic, but of training. For however often the true nature of the occult training has been stated and explained, few Western students seem to realize how searching and inexorable are the tests which a candidate must pass before power is entrusted to his hands. Esoteric philosophy, the occult hygiene of mind and body, the unlearning of false beliefs and the acquisition of true habits of thought, are more than sufficient for a student during his period of probation, and those who rashly pledge themselves in the expectation of acquiring forthwith “magic powers” will meet only with disappointment and certain failure. – H.P.Blavatsky, Editor ]
English folk are fond of maintaining the superiority of their national morals as contrasted with those of our Continental neighbours across the seas. Yet had one of the latter been strolling down a thoroughfare of one of our large seaside resorts but a few days ago he might have been inclined to doubt it. In a large shop an alluring tray of boys’ knives was exhibited, ticketed “Jack Ripper’s knives”! In an adjacent street, a merry gang of children, aged respectively from six to eleven years, were playing at “Ripper,” jumping one over the other and knocking them down — a true rehearsal of the felonious act.
Of course the natural question would be, “Why did not their parents stop them and prohibit the ghastly play?” . . . .
“What wilt thou be hereafter?”
Yet, how many of these little boys and girls now openly sporting with knives and playing at “Jack Ripper” shall, directly in consequence of such “play” become candidates for gallows and swing in that “hereafter”. Yea, LAW in all her majesty may claim, through her righteous judges, ten or twenty years hence, any of these light-hearted “little ones” as her lawful prey. “May God have mercy on your soul” will be the pompous but awful verdict of a black-capped Judge as the logical result of such play for one of those now innocent, then guilty, “Jack Rippers”. Will any of the future judges or jurymen, we wonder, remember during such a possible trial that, when himself a boy, he may have longed to take the part, nay, perhaps actually has had a hand in the fun during a vacation in one of those fashionable seaside resorts?
The child is father to the man. It is the first impressions, visual or mental, which the young senses take in the quickest, to store them indelibly in the virgin memory. It is the imagery and scenes which happen to us during our childhood, and the spirit in which they are viewed by our elders and received by us, that determine the manner in which we accept such like scenes or look upon good or evil in subsequent years. For, it is most of that early intellectual capital so accumulated day by day during our boyhood and girlhood that we trade with and speculate upon throughout later life.
The capacity of children for the storing away of early impressions is great indeed. And, if an innocent child playing at “Jack Ripper”, remarks that his sport produces merriment and amusement instead of horror in the lookers-on, why should a child be expected to connect the same act with sin and crime later on? It is by riding wooden horses in childhood that a boy loses all fear of a living horse in subsequent years. Hence, the urchin who now pretends to murder will look on murder and kill de facto, with as much unconcern when he becomes a man as he does now. There is much sophistry in Mrs. Stowe’s remark that “children will grow up substantially what they are by nature”, for this can only apply to those exceptional children who are left to take care of themselves; and these do not buy toys at fashionable shops. A child brought up by parents, and having a home instead of a gutter to live and sleep in, if left to self-education will draw from his own observations and conclusions for evil as for good, and these conclusions are sure to colour all his after life. Playing at “Jack Ripper”, he will think unconsciously of Jack Ripper, and what he may have heard of that now fashionable Mr. Hyde of Whitechapel. And —
“. . . . he who but conceives a crime in thought
Contracts the danger of an actual fault.” [Page 343]
As I consider the criticism upon my letter in your issue of October altogether unjustified, I trust you will allow me space for a few lines in reply thereto.
There is one thing absolutely necessary to be observed in discussion in order for it to be of any profit, either to the parties themselves or to any one else who may either hear or read of it. And the one thing necessary in discussion is that the parties to the discussion should first understand and accept the premises upon which the argument is intended to be built, or the conclusion is intended to be drawn.
For if, in a written discussion, the critic assumes the writer to have taken certain dogmas or premises as the basis of his argument which he never dreamt of taking, and upon this erroneous assumption the critic then proceeds to ridicule the argument of the writer as though the writer’s argument had been based on the critic’s erroneous conception of his premises, such discussion and criticism is profitable to no one, and amuses no one but the superficial reader who is unable to see the delusion.
And that there may, at least, be no excuse in future for misapprehending my views, I may say that I know of and believe in, no such person as the Devil, in the commonly reputed Orthodox sense.
But surely those who speak evil of God or their neighbours would be justly entitled to the name.
And, with respect to Jesus, I know nothing of Jesus, excepting that as a Man (whether historical or allegorical) he is the most Christ-like I can conceive, and therefore to me he is the Christ, and likewise therefore “the Son of God according to the spirit of holiness”, whom to know and love is to know and love God, and whom, therefore, to revile and reject, is to reject and hate God. And as I understood that Theosophists (in December No. of Lucifer) accepted this view of Jesus being the Christ, and his practical religion, therefore I am surprised that things should be thrown in my face as accepted by me which I have nowhere in any wise professed to accept. And I should think it as foolish to be offended with what is good in the Scriptures because of there being something hard to accept, as it would be to be offended with the nut and milk of the cocoanut only because the shell and the husk could not be eaten also. And if Theosophists are obliged to admit that philosophical postulates are absolutely necessary to be accepted as a basis of argument, I only ask the same; but I cannot see the need of taking offence at my having spoken of the Son of Man having been crucified as a devil. Surely, if he was condemned to be a deceiver, a blasphemer and a devil, and to be therefore slain, it cannot be incorrect to say he was crucified as a blasphemer, or a devil, just as we speak, of the martyrs having been burnt as heretics. I have been a friend to Lucifer, both in word and deed, but with such hostile criticism as there is in the October number, one would suppose I had fallen into the midst of enemies. [Page 344]
REV. T. G. HEADLEY.
THE EDITOR’S REPLY
We feel sorry for having unintentionally given offence to our reverend friend and contributor; but we would have been still more sorry to publish in our magazine an unjust fling at another contributor’s ideas and to have facts denied — without entering a protest. Our magazine is essentially controversial, and was founded for the purpose of throwing light upon “the hidden things of darkness” — of religious superstition pre-eminently. And what superstition can be compared to that which accepts a “personal” God, or a “personal” devil? He who objects to having his views controverted and criticized must not write for Lucifer. Neither Mr. May’s nor the editor’s remarks were personal, and were concerned with the peculiar views about God and Devil made by Mr. Headley, and not at all with the reverend gentleman himself.
Moreover, we have given good proofs of our impartiality. We published articles and letters criticizing not alone our personal theosophical and philosophical views, but discussing on subjects directly concerned with our personal honour and reputation; reviving the infamous calumnies in which not simple doubts, but distinctly formulated charges of dishonesty were cast into our teeth and our private character was torn to shreds (Vide “A Glance at Theosophy from the Outside”, Lucifer for October, 1888). And if the editor will never shrink from what she considers her duty to her readers, and that she is prepared to throw every possible light upon mooted questions in order that truth should shine bright and hideous lies and superstitions be shown under their true colours — why should our contributors prove themselves so thin-skinned? Magna est veritas et prevalebit. Every hitherto far-hidden truth, whether concealed out of sight by Nature’s secretiveness or human craft, must and shall be unveiled some day or other. Meanwhile, we do our best to help poor, shivering, naked Truth in her arduous progress, by cutting paths for her through the inextricable jungle of theological and social shams and lies. The best means of doing it is to open the pages of our magazine to free controversy and discussion, regardless of personalities or prejudices — though some of our friends may object to such modes of excavating far hidden truths. They are wrong, evidently. It is by this means alone that he who holds correct views has a chance of proving them, hence of seeing them accepted and firmly established; and he who is mistaken, of being benefited by having his better senses awakened and directed to the other side of the question he sees but in one of its aspects. Logic, Milton says to us, teaches us “that contraries laid together more evidently appear; it follows, then, that all controversy being permitted, falsehood will appear more false, and truth the more true; which must needs conduce much to the general confirmation of an implicit truth”. Again, “if it (controversy) be profitable for one man to read, why should it not at least be tolerable and free for his adversary to write?”
Why then should Mr. Headley address his opponent, while saying: “it is not true, as Mr. May asserts, that good and evil, or Jesus and the Devil, are one and the same”, instead of taking to task for it Lactantius, the Church father, who was the first to say so more than a millennium ago, by stating that the Logos or Christ was “the first-born brother of Satan ”? Or why again, should [Page 345] not our reverend friend explain to us the real meaning of that verse in Revelation (xxii, 16) which makes Jesus say: “I , Jesus am the bright and morning Star”, i.e., Phosphoros and Lucifer respectively in the Greek and Latin texts — and thus give the lie to the editor of Revelation, instead of giving it to Mr. May? Nor does this gentleman say anywhere, as Mr. Headley accuses him of saying, that he regards God “the Supreme Being or Person” — as a person. Finally, to our humble mind, there is more truth and philosophy in Mr. May’s closing sentence, namely: “the divine ESSE or God is but One Supreme and All, even as the seven colours of the Sun’s rays appear but as one” — than in all the ecclesiastical theology put together, modern reformations included.
To close: we deny that our criticism of Mr. Headley’s letter was in any way “hostile”, and we can but regret that the reverend gentleman should labour under the very erroneous impression that he has “fallen in the midst of enemies”. We repeat again: Lucifer has a settled and plainly outlined policy of its own, and those who write for it have either to accept it, or — turn their backs on our magazine. No discourteous epithets or vulgar abuse of personalities shall ever be allowed in our Monthly. We should be very sorry to follow in the usual track of the English dailies, which — even those claiming to be considered as leading organs of the press, high-principled and high-toned — are ever indulging in personal attacks, not only on their political opponents, but, pandering to the public, even upon unpopular characters. No individual — friend or foe — risks being called in our journal “adventurer”, “hallucinated lunatic”, “impostor and free lover”, “charlatan” or “credulous fool”, as the leading theosophists of England and America are repeatedly referred to by the highly-cultured and learned editors of not only political but even drawing-room, “Society” papers on both sides of the Atlantic — save a few honourable exceptions.
But, on the other hand, no one — of whatever rank or influence — as nothing however “time-honoured”, shall ever be pandered to or propitiated in our magazine. Never shall any error, sham or superstition be daubed with the whitewash of propriety, or passed over in prudent silence. As our journal was not established for a moneymaking enterprise, but verily as a champion for every fact and truth, however tabooed and unpopular — it need pander to no lie or absurd superstition. For this policy the Theosophical Publishing Co. is, already, several hundred pounds out of pocket. The editor invites free criticism upon everything that is said in Lucifer; and while protecting every contributor from direct personalities, is quite willing to accept any amount of such against herself, and promises to answer each and all to the best of her ability. Fas est et ab hoste doceri.
“FAIS QUE DOIS, ADVIENNE QUE POURRA.” [Page 346]
ECHOES OF THEOSOPHY
The following paragraph in a Boston weekly, Wade’s Fibre and Fabric, October 27, 1888, No. 191, speaks for itself:
As the farmer winnows his wheat when threshed, to separate the grain from the chaff, so should we examine all things and hold fast to that which is good. In this way only can the individual elevate his mental and improve his physical condition, and perhaps retain, or secure and hold positions he would otherwise be incapable of filling. The tendency of most people is to slight or shun what we least understand. The editor of` Fibre and Fabric some time ago, in “Facts Whittled Down”, in a very brief item mentioned theosophy in a way that he will always be ashamed to see when turning to that particular page; and this shows the necessity of all using the greatest care in what we say, as well as what we do. For an unkind act or unjust word, once spoken, can never be recalled. For some time we have been looking into theosophy, and we find there is nothing bad or incomprehensible about it. The following being a fair explanation of what it is: “The word theosophy is derived from two Greek words, Theos, meaning God, and Sophia, meaning wisdom. Theosophia, or theosophy, is the wisdom of God, or divine wisdom. Theosophy is at once a science and a religion.” The science of truth and the religion of justice. Self-reliance, self-control, self-respect, willingness to draw knowledge from all sources, and a firm and heartfelt desire to be just and kind and forbearing towards others are believed by theosophists to be essential to any progress in theosophy. Those who support free inquiry and free discussion are their natural allies. Those who are in possession of authority unjustly acquired, or unworthily employed, are their natural enemies. “No person’s religious opinions are asked upon his joining, nor is interference with them permitted; but every one is required, before admission, to promise to show towards his fellow-members the same toleration in this respect as he claims for himself”. The idea is to form a nucleus of a universal brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex or colour. Theosophy is, in fact, the natural religion of the human race, and has existed since the creation of the planetary system, waiting the advent of man to grasp and comprehend it.
If only every second editor of the papers and magazines which for years went on steadily abusing theosophy and slandering theosophists, were to show himself half as gentlemanly and fair as Jas. M. Wade, Theosophy and its society would very soon occupy their rightful place in the world.
As Pope said: “A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong”. But, oh! for fair-minded and just editors in this century of fierce selfishness, competition and sensational, if even slanderous, news! Where are they, such paragons of virtue, ready to give even the devil his due at the risk of treading on the corns of their subscribers? All honour, long life and 10,000 more subscriptions to this Boston rara avis among editors.
The London Star, from which sundry other papers copied verbatim the remark wrote some time ago:
The first edition of Madame Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine has been already bought up, and a second edition is being printed as fast as possible to meet the continued demand. This is curious considering that the book is of a more occult and difficult character than any that has preceded it.
Though “curious”, indeed, the fact has nevertheless an easy explanation. The twenty millions of Englishmen so rudely ticketed by Carlyle as being “mostly fools”, have become a wee bit wiser. There is time enough in twenty odd years to show an increase — even of brains.
As a correspondent remarks with regard to the archaic teachings given in Volume I of The Secret Doctrine, each of them infuses “ a raison d’être and intelligibility into a universe whose drift has been utterly unperceived by Western Thought”, and he adds very suggestively:
”The essence of the greatness of Western thought seems to me to lie in the [Page 347] splendid mastery of detail and method in dealing with the physical aspects of Nature. Eastern Occultism, on the contrary, supplies us with “generals” and troubles little about particulars; e.g., it would, I gather, be absurd to look for any detailed physical sciences in India or elsewhere, with their accurate classifications and punctilious researches. Even in the realm of psychology, the volumes of Spencer, Bain, Dewey and others seem to be so complete in detail as to render much of Eastern teaching superficial in the extreme at first sight. But after all is said and done, one has to face the fact that the psychology favoured in Europe deals simply with brain-correlated states of consciousness, i.e., with a reflection of a ray of the Manas (mind) conditioned by organism. It blunders even in this little domain so far as its general theory of the relations of mind and body go, but its data are superb. Eastern psychology is more sketchy, but its generalisations are certain, and cover an area in comparison with which that of Mills & Co. sinks into insignificance. It seems to cover Goëthe’s notion that the real value of the Sciences may be condensed onto a sheet of note-paper. It loves results more than the minute detail which props up the varying inductions of the West.
Thus, Europe is slowly returning to an appreciation of old wisdom, and as it gradually casts off the dead letter that killeth, of the Jewish Bible and Churchianism, it turns back, by a natural reversion of the evolution of the human brain — to the spirit through which all liveth of the old philosophies. Thus the same paper says: —
Miss Mabel Collins’ Light on the Path has been translated into Sanskrit, and will be placed by the Hindoo Pundits as one of the Sanskrit classics. Translation into Sanskrit is a thing which has not been done for at least 100 years past; but the book is sufficiently Buddhistic and occult to satisfy even the learned Hindoos.
This little book — a true jewel — belongs to, and emanates from the same school of Indo-Aryan and Buddhist thought and learning as the teachings in The Secret Doctrine.
How deep indeed, real theosophy has impressed itself even on our matter-of-fact journalism, is evidenced in this other bit of appreciative reference to it in the “Lady’s Pictorial”, in which, on October 13th last, it is so pointedly remarked: —
LUCIFER. (Office, 7, Duke Street, Adelphi.) Let me recommend those who take their ideas of LUCIFER from ‘Milton’ to read the article in the September number, called ‘The Meaning of a Pledge’. Let them substitute the name of their own particular sect for the name ‘Theosophy’; let them take a pledge and live up to it, and all ‘sects’ will soon be merged in a universal brotherhood of love and service.
“LUCIFER”, the “offspring of Heaven, first-born, and of the eternal co-eternal beam”, divine light, mistaken for and stubbornly maintained by the majority of the so-called cultured Christians to represent SATAN, the devil! Oh, Milton, poor, great man. What harm hast thou done to weak human brains! . . .
“CULTURE, which renders man less like an ape, has also licked the devil into shape”, seem to be prophetic words in Goëthe’s Faust.
HELADIW RUWANA or “the Ceylon Gem” is a new periodical brought out by the Buddhist Publication Society of Ceylon; and, as it states under its sub-title, the paper is established in the year of our Lord Buddha, 2432.
This is also one of the direct boughs which have grown out of the tree of Theosophy. In the Department of “Correspondence” (art. “The Rise and Progress of Buddhism in Ceylon ”) are some curious passages very interesting to the Theosophists of Europe and America, for whose benefit we cull a few of its rhetorical flowers: —
Since European scholars have begun to study Buddhism, there is a great deal spoken of it, and its secret doctrine, as prevailing among the Lamas of Tibet. There are, it seems, two schools of Buddhist Philosophy there: one devoted to esoteric doctrine, and the other to the exoteric phase of` Gautama Buddha’s Philosophy. Among the first sect, there are said to exist Mahatmas of wonderful psychical powers, similar to those possessed by the Dhyanis and
Arahats of old. In Ceylon these adepts counted over thousands in the reign of Dutugamunu. They have gradually ceased to exist, as the keys of those mysteries were lost by the degeneracy of the Buddhist monks of subsequent times, who sought more after worldly renown and glory, than the higher spiritual developments. Any one carefully reading . . . the Mahawansa, will not, I trust, fail to observe that distinct and particular reference is made to the Arahats of the different periods. And I may, by way of attestation to the truth of the facts stated in the Mahawansa, draw the kind attention of our readers to the travels of “Fa-Hian”, the Chinese pilgrim. . . . [Page 348]
Since the discovery of the true Law by the most enlightened Gautama, men have become wild and wretched by the awful lusts of the flesh, and have consequently lost the secrets of that Law. But those immortal and divine gems of truth, were not destined to disappear altogether from the habitation of man, as it was decreed by the departing Arahats to be safely and sacredly kept by the Adepts of the trans-Himalayan depths, until man’s condition be adapted to receive it. That time is now drawing nigh; and the custodians of the secret doctrine have thought it fit to send Missionaries among mankind to divulge it to them. One of those, is Madame Blavatsky, who travelled over to America and converted Colonel Olcott who was then earnestly searching for the truth and investigating the phenomena of Spiritualism . . . . To institute a happy comparison between this conversion . . . . and the planting of a branch of the sacred Bo-tree by Sangamitta, who came over into Ceylon in the reign of Dewanam Piya Tissa, I take the liberty to say that Madame Blavatsky like the princess Sangamitta carried the secret doctrine to America, and there she implanted it in the mind of Col. Olcott, who received it with as great readiness as the virgin soil of Anuradhapura received the shoot of the Bo-tree. As the sacred Bo-tree was the incentive to the yearly visits of Buddhist pilgrims from the most remote corners of Ceylon, so was the true Law when disclosed to Col. Olcott by Madame Blavatsky the stimulus for him to leave bright prospects and friends behind him in America, and to launch out in a mission round the world to promulgate the true Law to all mankind.
In the year 1880, Madame Blavatsky and Col. Olcott paid their first visit to Ceylon, and honestly and publicly declared themselves Buddhists, and in furtherance of the dear wish of their heart they established branches of the Theosophical Society in various parts of the Island. By their united endeavours, I must admit that a new impulse has been given to Buddhism; so much so, that the many thousands of natives of the Island, who had hitherto remained ignorant of Buddhism in its pure form, and those who were ashamed to declare themselves Buddhists in public, have all begun to learn, teach and profess Buddhism most openly and vigorously. The most enthusiastic and lavish manner in which the Buddhists of Ceylon celebrated the Wesak days of the past two years, cannot but fail to testify to their honest belief in Buddhism, and to the substantial work done by Madame Blavatsky and Col. Olcott in the cause of Buddhism. . . . .
This is all correct, and the two above named personages feel proud to see their feeble services so well appreciated and remembered. But they would certainly feel still happier had the actual state of the moral standard in Ceylon — once the pearl of the Indian Ocean — been such as not to have necessitated the letter published in the same paper by a “Chela.” This shows the reverse of the medal and mars somewhat the delight of those who have devoted their life to the noble work of spreading the philosophy of the great “Light of Asia”. For, it is not the modern temple-Buddhism with all the excrescences that have crept into it, but verily the esoteric Budhism, [ Vide Introduction to the 1st Volume of the Secret Doctrine (pp.1 and 2) ] of the Lord Gautama, the BUDDHA, that the Founders had in view, when working for the REVIVAL OF BUDDHISM.
Such seems to be also the inner thought of “Chela”, who, while greeting the appearance of Heladiw Ruwana and informing the editor that many Buddhists have looked forward to it, “as a banner of light destined to throw much light on the hidden and true meanings of the Buddhist Scriptures and the ceremonials observed in the Buddhist temples in Ceylon”, adds the following ominous words: “Since the introduction of Buddhism by Mahinda Thero in the reign of the blessed Monarch Dewanam Piatissa, the errors that have crept into the pure and admirable doctrines of Buddha have led to many misapprehensions on the part of those who study Buddhism for the sake of spiritual development or curiosity. Very few indeed amongst those who profess Buddhism have been able to understand, and much less to explain, the noble precepts and spiritual truths which Buddha discovered and taught his disciples. Time, the most irreconcilable enemy of things of antiquity has, as its wonted custom, laid mighty empires and cities in ruins, and the greatest and noblest thoughts and doctrines in hopeless confusion. Buddhism whose pure form is a mere byword now, has not been able to avoid the scathing hand of Time, any more than were the admirable teachings of many a noble mind of antiquity. As the gold is found mixed up with much dross and rust, so have the superstitions and the frauds of the ignorant and designing priesthood, enveloped and corrupted the sterling and pure teachings of the enlightened Gautama. It will, at present, therefore, be an Augean task to sift His notable doctrines from the superstitions of the Hindus [Page 349] and other nations, who from time to time attempted to trample them down and establish their own, instead. That influence has been such as to saturate our priesthood with those grovelling superstitions and forget and forego the secret keys to the blissful and mysterious state of Sowan, Sakridagamin, Anagami and Arahat. The methods and the discipline to be observed by the chelas in those high Spiritual developments, have been the life long study, and the fundamental truths which our Blessed Lord Buddha discovered from the mysterious volumes of nature. Those discoveries are, to speak analogically with things of comparatively a lesser value and difficulty, like the Binomial Theorem and the law of gravitation, discovered by Sir Isaac Newton, eternal and inviolable laws of nature. We may, therefore, justly and pertinently say, that our Lord Buddha, unlike the supposed uncreated and formless creator of the universe . . . . discovering the laws of animal existence, and the cause of such existence, taught the certain and the only way to escape the curse of painful and unhappy rebirths. This way is the only one to attain that inexplicable and blissful state, the Nirvana.
Having briefly summarized the meaning and scope of Buddhism proper and pure, I express my sincerest congratulations to the promoters of the Buddhist Publication Society; and promising them all help and endeavour which lie in my power in the cause of truth. Hoping that by the benign influence of your society, erring Buddhists and reviling Christians will find all their errors righted, and their hatred of Buddhism turned into admiration and adoration of the Lord Buddha, the only true Teacher of the Law,
I am, yours truly,
AMEN, we say, if Buddhism will make Christians more tolerant and charitable, less slanderous, or “reviling,” as “Chela” characterizes them — and as full of love and compassion for the animal and for the human kind instead of slaughtering both for sport and war.
But — we are almost afraid to enquire whether this bravely expressed hope of “Chela”, has not had some dire results in Colombo? Was not that truly good man and deep-water Baptist, the editor of the “Ceylon Observer”, found drowned in a sea of his own home-made gall? Let us trust no such calamity befell the pearl of the Ocean! Ceylon can as ill-afford to lose her Fergusson, as the Kingdom of God its shadow and pillar — the DEVIL.
A THEOSOPHICAL SCULPTOR
Our friend, Mr. Gerald Massey, the poet and Egyptologist, sends to us from New York the photograph of a medallion, made by Mrs. Josepha North (F. T. S., Aryan Branch of New York). — The woman’s head on it, called “Futurity,” is very beautiful and suggestive in its symbolism and idea. To our mind, the crescent moon which encircles the neck of the head, and the six-pointed star in front of its brow, point to the coming sixth Race which, as the Secret Doctrine teaches us, will originate in America. (Vide Volume II of “The Secret Doctrine”, the closing pages of Part I.) Mr. G. Massey refers to Mrs. J. North as a “beginner”. If so, she may turn out the finest sculptor of her country, for, as far as one can judge from the photograph of that “beginner’s” work it is very promising. We also hear that Mrs. North is engaged upon a bust of Gautama Buddha, showing him as the young Prince Siddhartha. This, when finished, is to be placed in the Aryan T.S. Headquarters in New York, and will form an interesting addition to the many Eastern objects and pictures already there. We welcome Mrs. North, our sister in Theosophy, and wish her every success in life, as much as in her art. As beautifully
expressed by some writer, the chiselled marble can be made as eloquent in its beauty as spoken poetry. The genius of the artist may force it to become as easily the infallible prophet of “Futurity” as the faithful echo of the Past. But of course, those who see in the sculptured block only the forms of material beauty, are unable to follow in the path of soul tuition, trodden only by those who are truly awakened to theosophical life. [Page 350]
“THE THEOSOPHIST” (Madras)
AMONG the regular theosophical magazines, the first place naturally belongs to the one bearing the name which serves as the standard around which are slowly but surely gathering all those of the present and rising generations, who feel that man is more than a thinking animal, and has a destiny greater and more noble than to eat and drink, to breed and die. The THEOSOPHIST was the first among the four magazines now existing, although not now under the direction of its original editor, yet her place is ably filled by her colleague Col. H. .S. Olcott. Since his assumption of the direct responsibility, the magazine has steadily increased in interest and is gradually regaining the reputation which it enjoyed down to 1884, when ill-health deprived it of the services of its original editor.
The September number, besides the continuations of several articles already noticed in a past number of LUCIFER, notably The Angel Peacock and Travestied Teachings, contains much varied and interesting matter. An admirable translation is given of the first sermon preached by Gautama after his attainment of Buddhahood, or enlightenment, which should receive much careful study and meditation.
A short but very telling article on Personality and Principle repeats a warning often given but too readily and easily overlooked and forgotten against the dependence on or worship of any one particular person. The warning is salutary and cannot too often be repeated; but the opposite error is equally misleading. For when a man fancies himself infallible, and refuses to yield his own opinion and judgment to that of those wiser than himself, he needs to be much on his guard lest, instead of worshipping “Personality” in others, he should become a slave to his own.
An article by Dewan Bahadoor Ragoonath Rao, however, is calculated to cause a good deal of astonishment among old readers of the Theosophist. The Dewan is a Dwaita, a believer in a personal God, who like the Jewish Jehovah appears amid thunder under the form of a man-lion. Every Theosophist is entitled to his own belief, and no member has the right to criticize it, but the article in the pages of the magazine must cause surprise. The editorial note wisely hints that it is inserted as being of interest to Western readers in showing that the same influences have operated in India as produced the exoteric Christian systems.
Olla Podrida and Facts Stranger than Fiction are both of great interest, and contain quite as much food for serious thought as other more apparently serious articles.
The October Theosophist is remarkable for several exceptionally good articles. We begin with Professor Dvivedi's able article on the Advaita Philosophy of Sankara. It will be of great value to all who are interested in metaphysical and philosophical studies, while the article on Nature’s Finer Forces is of great practical value. Besides these more than one of the lighter articles deserves careful attention, notably The Experiences of a Student of Occultism. These speak for themselves, but two other papers call for special mention. Of these The Influence of the Moon on Vegetation is not only a most suggestive study, but it contains data and hints of much value to the practical mystic, as is also that of the Jaina Ramayana.
The November number opens with the Proem and Stanzas of Vol. I. of the Secret Doctrine, a work which we trust is by this time in the hands of all regular readers of LUCIFER who aim at obtaining true knowledge of themselves and of the world around them. Rama Prasad continues his valuable series on Nature's Finer Forces
to which reference has already been made, and there is an [Page 351] excellent paper on the Dhammapada Jataha. The account of the Jaina Ramayana is continued, as also The Experiences of a Student of Occultism.
An article on Pranava, also calls for special mention, while the article on the Gipsies is a very interesting contribution to our knowledge of this curious and little understood people.
“THE PATH” (New York).
The second in point of seniority among the Theosophical Magazines is THE PATH, of New York. In glancing back over the two and a half years of its issue, one cannot fail to be struck by the great value of its contents, both for students and for beginners. It certainly contains more hints and instructions for practical development and self-evolution than one would have thought possible; but these hints, though sufficiently emphasised, are given with such an entire absence of self assertion and with such absolute frankness that they may have passed unperceived by many. One hears a great deal in the T. S. about the need of “practical” instruction, and not a few complaints that enough is not given; but one has only to read with care the back numbers of the PATH to see how little foundation there is for this complaint. But this brings into prominence another point, the carelessness and apathy of those who thus complain. The fact is that of such, the vast majority are too indifferent even to read the magazines published for their special use, or at least seem to imagine that they have done their duty when they take in one only out of the four which now exist.
They forget that each of the four has its own speciality, and that each completes and supplements the others.
This is well illustrated in the three numbers of the PATH before us.
The September number opens with a continuation of Mr. Brehon's series of articles on the Bhagavatgita, which are an invaluable contribution to our understanding of that most instructive of all the Sanskrit books. Mr. Subba Row in his Lectures dealt with the philosophical aspect of the poem; Mr. Brehon considers and explains its bearing upon practical life and conduct.
Following the Bhagavatgita comes fittingly the conclusion of the account of the Teachings of a German Mystic. The accounts given of the various phases through which the medium passes who is being trained to self-conquest, and taught to recover her own inner equilibrium are most instructive, so much so that we sincerely hope to read in the next or at any rate an early number, a further article on this series from the pen of the Editor, Mr. Judge, in addition to the all too brief comment given in the October number. The papers are well worth it, and such an article would add enormously to their value to students.
The Conversations on Occultism in this and the October number are most suggestive, and call for careful study and the use of the principle of meditation, so
well explained by Julius in the Tea-Table Talk of the September number.
Dr. Buck’s article Who are Theosophists? also deserves special mention, as also does the paper on the Theosophical aspect of current Iiterature.
In the October number, in addition to a further instalment of the Bhagavatgita series, which has already been mentioned Mr. Fullerton’s excellent article on Karma and Providence claims special notice, as does Mr. Waldersee’s Plea for the Children, which opens up a topic to which sufficient attention has hitherto not been paid.
The Conversation on Occultism and Tea Table Talk are both very instructive, and the Editor is to be congratulated on the sustained interest which they excite.
Mr. Fullerton’s article on Analogies in the November number is suggestive, and Harij’s article on the Practical Side of Theosophy is both well timed and has the ring of true devotion to altruistic work, the need of which in the society is now so great. Answers to Questioners are of much value to Theosophists, while the paper on Heredity which follows touches, on a question which will be interesting to all.
Tea Table Talk is as interesting as usual, the subject this month being symbolic dreams, some very curious instances of which are cited and interpreted.
“LE LOTUS” (Paris)
This is the third of the Theosophical magazines, but we have only the September number before us. The publication of the October and November numbers has been delayed or prevented by a variety of circumstances, among others the fact that the whole burden and work of its publication falls on the shoulders of its Editor M. Gaboriau. Hence, however great his devotion, it is a physical impossibility for him to cope with all that is demanded of him. Thus even a small hitch produces great delay and loss of time, because there are only one or two pair of hands to do everything; but we note that the November [Page 352] number though not yet to hand will be a double number of 128 pages.
In the September number we note especially the article on Buddhism in the extreme East and the first instalment of a most valuable article by Amaravella The Three Emanations.
The remainder of this number, a most interesting one for French Theosophists, consists of various able translations from Theosophical publications hitherto in accessible to our colleagues across the channel. These transactions form no small part of the value of Le Lotus to all students unacquainted with English.
The October-November Number of the LOTUS just received. We are sorry to find in it an apotheosis of drunkenness, and hashish. The French were the first to establish regular Sociétés Spirites, on the model of Chinese “ancestor worship”. Will they also try to emulate the Celestials by putting “an enemy in their mouth to steal away their brains”? If “a drunkard is not profitable for any kind of good service”, as Plato said, the hashish and opium-eater will soon find that this fiendish plant “biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder”. Is it under the influence of this reason-stealing gum that the uncalled-for and untheosophical attack upon, and criticism of, one of whom even many an enemy speaks with respect was made in the “Petit Bulletin Theosophique”? The latter has now become a misnomer; Bulletin Sarcastique would be more to the point.
A new monthly, described as “Revue Philosophique indépendante des Hautes Etudes, HYPNOTISME, THEOSOPHIE, FRANC-MACONNERIE, SCIENCES OCCULTES”. Directeur, Papus. Office, 14, Rue de Strasbourg. This magazine, edited by the Secretary (M. Encausse) of the Theosophical Society of Paris, “Hermes”, (President A. Arnould), promises well. Its staff of theosophical writers and list of lay contributors, whose names are all more less known to the Parisian world, is long and well-chosen. In our next Review we shall have more to say of it. Its Second Number is just out. (Price 8s.).
“THE MEISTER” (London).
We congratulate our brother theosophist, the editor of THE MEISTER, on the completion of the first year of that journal. No. IV. (the issue is quarterly) is weIl up to the standard of its predecessors, and contains the conclusion of a careful analysis of the deeper meaning of “Parsifal”, in which though unsigned, we detect the hand of the Editor, Mr. W. Ashton Ellis. In some respects the lines of Mr. Ellis' contribution to the Transactions of the London Lodge of the T. S. have been followed, but the author has evidently pondered the subject more deeply in his mind with the lapse of time, and has matured his treatment of the mystic philosophy of this greatest of modern dramas.
This number also contains the conclusion of an extremely readable translation of Richard Wagner's early treatise “Art and Revolution”, a work most daring in its conception of the relation of art to social life, and one which shows how great was the genius of the musician-poet who could prove himself as much at home, and as original, in literature as in art. We may select from the translation the following powerful passage, remarkable for its epigrammatic force: —
Only the strong know Love; Love alone can grasp the ideal of Beauty; only Beauty can give birth to Art. The love of weaklings can only express itself as the incitement to lust; the love of the weak for the strong is abasement and fear; the love of the strong for the weak is compassion and forbearance; but the love of the strong for the strong is Love, for it is the free surrender to one who cannot conquer us. Under every fold of heaven’s canopy, in every race, shall men by absolute freedom grow up in equal strength, by strength to truest love, and by true love to beauty; but Art is Beauty in action.
An interesting account of the Bayrenth Festspiel, and two studies of the overture to “The Flying Dutchman”, make up the complement of this issue.
The annual subscription, payable to Mr. J. Cyriax, 33, Douglas Road, London, N., is 4s. post-free, and the journal is well worth this price and more, for as our contemporary, The Musical World, says, “the paper and type alone should secure it a home on the shelves of every book-lover”.
MRS. SUSIE E. H. (2nd deg.), 941, Penn. Ave. —Thanks, sincerely.
Will answer at the first moment of leisure. An article from your pen would be most welcome.
J. S.– P. N. to hand. LUCIFER renders thanks.
“DISSATISFIED CLERGYMAN”. – Your article is too violent for our columns. We have nothing to do with politics. Cannot be published.
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