[In view of the recent attempt of the British Chloroform Commission, under sanction of the Nizam of Hyderabad,
to debauch the people of India by introducing among them the practice of painful experimentation upon animals in
the alleged interests of physiological research, the following address delivered in London, in 1882, by the late
Dr. Anna Kingsford, possesses a peculiar interest.]
Believers in the conclusions of the exponents of physical science, are apt to bring against the students of Spiritual Science, the charge of reviving the old tricks and evil doings of sorcery. Some persons who make this allegation believe that sorcery, whether ancient or modern, never had, nor can have, any other basis, than mere imposture and ignorant credulity; others believe or suspect that it represents a real art of an unlawful and abominable character. I propose to show that sorcery has indeed been revived in modern times to a considerable extent, but that its revival has taken place, not in the domain of Spiritual Science, but in that of physical science itself.
A further object,of my address is to suggest to those who, like myself, hold as a fundamental doctrine of all Spiritual knowledge, the Unity of Substance, and who think it incumbent on them to give the knowledge of that doctrine practical expression in universal sympathy with all forms of sentient being, that it is high time for them to enter the lists actively against the worst manifestation of Materialism and Atheism the world has yet seen, and to declare their recognition of the simple and obvious [Page 6] moral issue of faith in a good God, namely — the duty of Love to all incarnations of the Divine Substance, and horror and reprehension of cruelty as such, whatever plea maybe advanced for its practice.
It would be difficult to find stronger evidence of the banefulness of the influence exerted by the materialistic spirit of the day, than that which is furnished by the apathy and uncertainty of the public generally in regard to the practice know as vivisection. To the vitalized minority of persons, the spectacle thus afforded is as amazing as it is deplorable. That any human being, claiming to be civilized, should, through indifference or doubt, hesitate to condemn an organized system of torture, on whatever plea instituted, is in itself sufficiently surprising. But when all the aggravating circumstances are taken into the account — especially the innocence and helplessness of the victims — the prevalent attitude of the public mind becomes explicable only as the result of some moral epidemic.
From the ordinary point of view, the utilitarian and the moral, this question has already been amply discussed, and with these it is not now my purpose to deal. There is a third aspect of it, especially interesting to the student of psychological and occult science, and one which, for want of a more precise definition may be described as the Spiritualistic Persons to whom the chronicles of the modern vivisector's laboratory and the records of ancient and medieval sorcery are alike familiar, must doubtless have noted the family resemblance between the two, and will need only to be reminded that the practice whose ethics are now so prominently canvassed in medical conclaves, and on popular platforms, represents no new feature in the world's history, but is in every detail a resuscitation of the old and hideous cult us of the black Art, whose ghost was deemed to be for ever laid.
The science of medicine, placed originally under the direct patronage of the Gods, whether Egyptian, Oriental, Grecian, or Teutonic, and subsequently under that of the Christian Church, was among all nations in the days of faith associated with the priestly office. The relation between soundness of soul and soundness of body was then held to be of the closest, and the health-giving man, the therapeut, was one who cured the body by means of knowledge, Divine alike in its source and in its method. In Egypt, where the order of the Theraputae seems to have had its origin, healing was from the earliest times connected with religion, and there is good reason to believe that the practice of medicine was the exclusive and regularly exercised profession of the priesthood, the first hospital of which we have any record being within the consecrated precincts of the temple, and the sick being placed under the immediate care of its ministrants. [Page 7]
More than one deity was associated with medical and therapeutic science. According to Diodorus (lib. i.) the Egyptians held themselves indebted for their proficiency in these respects to Isis. Strabo speaks of the methodical treatment of disease in the Temple of Serapis, and Galen makes similar observations with regard to a temple at Memphis, called Hephaestium. As is well known, the name Paean, the Healer, was one of the most ancient designations of Apollo, in his capacity of Sun-god. This title, and the function it implies, are ascribed to him in the Orphic hymns, in the Odes of Pindar, and in the writings of Hippocrates. Plato, and all the later poets and historians, both Greek and Latin. Ovid attributes to Apollo the declaration: — "Medicine is my invention: throughout the world I am honoured as the Healer, and the power of the herbs is subject to me".
Aesculapius, reputed the son of Apollo, gave his name to medical science; and his temples, the principal of which were at Titana in Sicily, at Epidaurus in Peloponnesus, and at Pergamus in Asia Minor, were recognised schools of medicine, to whose hierophants belonged the double function of priest and physician. These medical temples were always built in localities noted for healthiness, and usually in the vicinity of mineral springs, that at Epidaurus, the most celebrated of them all, being situated on an eminence near the sea, its site having been determined doubtless rather by the beauty of the scenery and the purity of the air, than by the tradition that Epidaurus was the birthplace of Aesculapius himself.
The course of treatment adopted comprised hydropathy, shampooing, dieting, magnetism, fumigations, gymnastics, and herbal remedies, internally and externally administered, these remedies being in all cases accompanied with prayers, music, and songs called νομοι. In the hospitals of Pergamus and Epidaurus the use of wine was forbidden, and fasting was frequently enjoined. It was also held indispensable that the professors of so divine an art as that of medicine should be persons of profound piety, and learning, of sound moral and spiritual integrity, and therefore of blameless lives. It was, as Ennemoser observes in his "History of Magic", deemed necessary that the aspirant after medical honours should be "a priest-physician. Through his own health, especially of the soul, he is truly capable, as soon as he himself is pure and learned, to help the sick. But first lie must make whole the inner man, the soul, for without inward health no bodily cure can be radical. It is therefore absolutely necessary for a true physician to be a priest".
This was also the idea of the early Hebrew and Christian Churches, whose physicians always belonged to the sacred order. Many of the [Page 8] primitive Christian religion communities were schools of medicine; and the visitation of the sick, not only in the priestly, but in the medical capacity was held to be a special function of the clergy. The custom still survives under a modified form in Catholic countries, where "religious" of both sexes are employed in hospitals as nurses and dressers, the higher duties of the calling having been wrested from them by the laity — often too justly designated the "profane".
Such, universally, was the early character of medical science, and such the position of its professors. "Priest" and "Healer" were religious titles, belonging of right only to initiates in Divinity. For the initiate only could practice the true magic, which originally, was neither more nor les" than the science of religion or the Mysteries, that Divine knowledge, won by reverent and loving study of Nature, which made the Magian free of her secrets and gave him his distinctive power.
Side by side with this true magic, sanctioned by the Gods, taught by the Church, hallowed by prayer, there grew up, like the poisonous weed in the cornfield, the unholy art of the black magician or sorcerer, whose endeavour was to rival, by the aid of sub-human or "infernal" means, the results obtained legitimate by the adept in white or celestial magic.
And, as on the one hand, in order to attain the grace and power necessary to perform Divine works or "miracles”, the true Magian cultivated purity in act and thought, denying the appetites, and abounding in love and prayer; so, on the other hand, in order to achieve success in witchcraft, it was necessary to adopt all the opposite practices. The sorcerer was distinguished by obscene actions, malevolence, and renunciation of all human sentiments and hopes of Heaven. His only virtues — if virtues they can be called — were hardihood and perseverance. No deed was foul enough, no cruelty atrocious enough, to deter him. As the supremacy of the Magian was obtained at the price of self-sacrifice and unwearying love and labour for others, so the sorcerer, reversing the means to suit the opposite end, sacrificed others to himself, and cultivated a spirit of indiscriminate malignity. For the patient and reverent study by means of which the Magian sought to win the secrets of Nature, the sorcerer substituted violence, and endeavoured to wrest from her by force the treasures she gives only to love. In order to attract and bind to his service the powers he invoked, he offered in secluded places living oblations of victims the most innocent he could procure, putting them to deaths of hideous torture in the belief that the results obtained would be favourable to his wishes in proportion to the inhumanity and monstrosity of the means employed. Thus as Ennemoser observes, "the sorcerers inverted nature itself, abused the innocent animal [Page 9] world with horrible Ingenuity, and trod every human feeling under font. Endeavouring by force to obtain benefits from hell, they had recourse to the most terrible of infernal devices. For, where men know not God, or having known, have turned away from Him to wickedness, they are wont to address themselves in worship to the kingdom of hell and to the powers of darkness".
Such, precisely, is the part enacted by the vivisector of today. He is, in fact, a practitioner of black magic, the characteristic cultus of which has been described by a well-known writer on occult subjects as that of vicarious death. "To sacrifice others to oneself, to kill others in order to get life, — this was the great principle of sorcery". (Eliphas Levi.) The witches of Thessaly practised horrible cruelties; some, like Canidia, of whom Horace speaks, buried infants alive, leaving their heads above ground, so that they died of hunger; others cut them into pieces and mixed their flesh and blood with the juice of belladonna, black poppies, and herbs, in order to compose ointments deemed to have special properties. The well-known history of Gilles de Laval, Seigneur of Retz and Marshal of Brittany in the fifteenth century, may serve as an illustration of the atrocities perpetrated in secret by professors of sorcery. This man distinguished for the military services he rendered to Charles VII., and occupying an honoured and brilliant position in the society of the day (as also do most of our modern sorcerers), was yet, like the latter, guilty of the most infamous practices conceivable. More than 200 children of tender years died in torture at the hands of the Marshal and his accomplices, who, on the faith of the doctrines of sorcery, believed that the universal agent of life could, by certain processes conducted under approved conditions, be instantaneously fixed and coagulated in the pellicule of healthy blood. This pellicule, immediately after transfusion was collected and subjected to the action of diverse fermentations, and mingled with salt, sulphur, mercury and other elements. [These formulae, prescribed by the ancient science of alchemy, have reference, of course. lo truths of which the terms used are symbols only. But the sorcerer, not being an initiate, understood these terms in their ordinary sense, and acted accordingly. ] (Eliphas Levi)
An almost exact parallel to the modern vivisector in motive, in method, and in character is presented by the portrait thus preserved to us of the mediaeval devil-conjurer. In it we recognise the delusion, whose enunciation in medical language is so unhappily familiar to us, that by means of vicarious sacrifices, divinations in living bodies, and rites consisting of torture scientifically inflicted and prolonged, the secrets of life and of power over nature are obtainable. But the spiritual malady [Page 10] which rages in the soul of the man who can be guilty of the deeds of the vivisector, is in itself sufficient to render him incapable of acquiring the highest and best knowledge. Like the sorcerer, he finds it easier to propagate and multiply disease than to discover the secret of health. Seeking for the germs of life he invents only new methods of death, and pays with his soul the price of these poor gains. Like the sorcerer, lie misunderstands alike the terms and the method of knowledge, and voluntarily sacrifices his humanity in order to acquire the eminence of a fiend. But perhaps the most significant of all points of resemblance between the sorcerer and the vivisector, as contrasted with the Magian, is in the distinctive and exclusive solicitude for the mere body manifested by the two former. To secure advantages of a physical and material nature merely, to discover some effectual method of self-preservation in the flesh, to increase its pleasures, to assuage its self-induced diseases, to minister to its sensual comforts, no matter at what cost of vicarious pain and misery to innocent men and animals, these are the objects, exclusively, of the mere sorcerer, — of the mere vivisector. His aims are bounded by the earthly and the sensual; he neither cares nor seeks for any knowledge unconnected with these. But the aspiration of the Magian, the adept in true magic, is entirely towards the region of the Divine. He seeks primarily health for the soul, knowing that health for the body will follow; therefore he works through and by means of the soul, and his art is truly sympathetic, magnetic, and radical. He holds that the soul is the true person, that her interests are paramount, and that no knowledge of value to man can be bought by the vicarious tears and pain of any creature soever. He remembers above all things, that man is the son of God, and it for a moment the interests of Knowledge and of Love should seem to be at variance, he will say with equal courage and wisdom: "I would rather that I and my beloved should suffer and die in the body, than that to buy relief or life for it our souls should he smitten with disease and death". For the Magian is priest and king as well as physician; but the sorcerer, whose miserable craft, divorced from religion, deals only with the lower nature, that is, with the powers of darkness, clings with passionate despair to the flesh, and, by the very character of his pursuits, makes himself incapable of real science. For, to be an adept in this, it is indispensable to be pure of heart, clear of conscience, and just in action. It is not enough that the aim be noble it is necessary that the means should be noble likewise. A Divine intention presupposes a Divine method. As it is forbidden to man to enrich himself by theft, or to free himself by murder, so also is it forbidden him to acquire knowledge by unlawful means, — to fight even [Page 11] the battles of humanity with the weapons of hell. It is impossible to serve humanity by the sacrifice of that which alone constitutes humanity — justice and its eternal principles. Whenever the world has followed the axioms of the vivisector, whenever it has put sword and flame and rack to work in the interests of truth or of progress, it has but reaped a harvest of lies, and started an epidemic of madness and delusion. All the triumphs of civilisation had been gained by civilised methods: it is the Divine law that so it should be, and whoever affirms the contrary is either an imbecile or a hypocrite. The vivisector's plea that he sins in the interests of humanity is, therefore, the product of a mind incapable of reason, or wilfully concealing its true object with a lie. That, in the majority of cases, the latter explanation is the correct one is proved beyond doubt by the nature of the operations performed, and by not a few incautious admissions on the part of some of the school itself. To multiply pamphlets, "observations", and "scientific"discussions; to gain notoriety among followers of the cultus, to be distinguished as the inventor of such a "method" or the chronicler of such a series of experiments, and thereby to earn wealth and position, these constitute the ambitions of the average vivisector. And, if he go beyond these, if some vague hope of a "great discovery" delude and blind his moral nature as it did that of the miserable Seigneur de Retz, we must in such case, relegate him to the category of madmen, who, for the poor gains of the body, are willing to assassinate the soul. Madness such as this was rife in those mediaeval times which we are wont to speak of as the "dark ages", and the following examples, selected for the striking resemblance they present to the "scientific" crimes of the nineteenth century, may, with the instances already given, suffice as specimens of the abominations which the delusions of sorcery are able to suggest.
"The Taigheirm was an infernal magical sacrifice of cats, prevalent until the close of the sixteenth century, and of which the origin lies in 'the remotest times. The rites of the Taigheirm were indispensable to the worship or incantation of the subterranean or diabolic gods. The midnight hour, between Friday and Saturday, was the authentic time for these horrible practices; and the sacrifice was continued four whole days and nights. After the cats had been put into magico-sympathetic (sur-excited) condition by a variety of tortures, one of them was put alive upon a spit, and, amid terrific howlings, roasted before a slow fire. The moment that the howls of one agonized creature ceased in death, another was put on the spit — for a minute of interval must not take place if the operators would control hell — and this sacrifice was continued for four entire days and nights. When the Taigheirm was complete, the [Page 12] operators demanded of the demons the reward of their offering, which reward consisted of various things, such as riches, knowledge, fame, the gift of second sight, etc."— Horst's " Deuteroscopy " and Ennemostr's " History of Magic" [Among the practices of Japanese sorcerers in the present century, the following is cited in Mr. Pfoundes' book “Fu-so Mimi Bukuro": — "A dog is buried alive, the head only being left above ground, and food is then put almost within his reach, thus exposing it to the cruel fate of Tantalus. When in the greatest agony and near death, its head is chopped off and put in a box" ]
Let the following extracts from publications circulated among the vivisectors of today be compared with the foregoing, and the reader will himself be enabled to judge of the exactness of the parallel between the black art of the past and of the present.
"Dr. Legg's experiments on cats at St. Bartholomew's Hospital included a great variety of tortures. Among others, their stomachs were opened, while the cats were pinned alive on a table, their livers were pricked with needles, the stomachs were then sewn up, and the cats left in that condition until death ensued from prolapse of the bowels; some of the animals surviving the torture as long as twenty-six days".— St. Bartholomew Hospital Reports.
"Burns were produced by sponging the chests and bellies of dogs with turpentine five or ten times in quick succession, setting fire to it each time; and scalds, by pouring over the dogs eight ounces of boiling water nine times in quick succession. All the dogs died, either in a few hours, or at the latest, after five days".— Edinburgh Medical Journal, 1869.
"Delaroche and Berger baked hundreds of animals to death in ovens, the heat being gradually increased until death ensued. Claude Bernard invented a furnace for roasting or baking animals to death, the details and diagram of which apparatus are given in his 'Lessons on Animal Heat'. Magendie has also shown by numerous experiments that dogs perish at the end of about eighteen minutes in a furnace heated to120 degrees (centigrade), and at the end of twenty-four minutes in one heated to 90 degrees; or in one at 80 degrees at the end of thirty minutes". — Beclard's "Treatise on Physiology", and Gavarret's "Animal Heat”.
"Professor Mantegazza has recently investigated the effects of pain on the respiratory organs. The best methods for the production of pain he finds to consist in planting nails, sharp and numerous, through the feet of an animal in such a manner as to render the creature almost motionless, because in every movement it would feel its torment more acutely. To produce still more intense pain, it was found useful to employ injuries followed by inflammation. An ingenious machine, [Page 13] constructed expressly for the purpose, enabled the professor to grip any part of an animal with pincers with iron teeth, and to crush or tear or lacerate the victim so as to produce pain in every possible way. One little guinea-pig far advanced in pregnancy, endured such frightful tortures that it fell into convulsions, and no observations could be made on it. In a second series of experiments, twenty-eight animals were sacrificed, some of them taken from nursing their young, exposed to torture for an hour or two, then allowed to rest an hour, and then replaced on the machine to be crushed or torn for periods varying from two to six hours. Tables are appended by the Professor in which the cases of 'great pain' are distinguished from those of 'excessive pain' the victims of the last being 'larded with nails in every part of the body'. All these experiment were performed with much patience and delight”. “Of the Action of Pain,etc” ., by Prof. Mantegazsa of Milan, 1880.
The two following experiments are cited from Baron Erst de Weber's "Torture-chamber of Science", and also from the Courier de Lyon, June 8th, 1880:—
"The body of a pregnant bitch at the point of delivery was cut open to observe whether in her dying and mutilated condition she would not attempt to caress and lick her little ones."
"The forehead of a dog was pierced in two places with a large gimlet, and a red-hot iron introduced through the wounds. He was then thrown into a river, to observe whether in that state he would be able to swim."
Professor Goltz, of Strasburg, writes:—
" A very lively young dog which had learnt to shake hands with both fore-paws had the left side of the brain extracted through two holes on the ist December, 1875. This operation caused lameness in the right paw. On being asked for the left paw the dog immediately laid it in my hand. I now demand the right, but the creature only looks at me sorrowfully, for he cannot move it. On my continuing to press for it, the dog crosses the left paw over, and offers it to me on the right side, as if to make amends for not being able to give the right. On the 13th January, 1876, a second portion of the brain was destroyed; on February 15th, a third; and on March 6th, a fourth, this last operation causing death."
M. Brachet writes: —
" I inspired a dog with a great aversion for me, tormenting him and inflicting on him some pain or other as often as I saw him. When this feeling was carried to its height, so that the animal became furious every time he saw and heard me, I put out his eyes. I could then appear before him without his manifesting any aversion; but if I spoke, his [Page 14] barkings and furious movements proved the indignation which animated him, I then destroyed the drums of his ears, and disorganized the internal ear as much as I could. When an intense inflammation had rendered him completely deaf, I filled up his ears with wax. He could now no longer hear or see. This series of operations was afterwards performed on another dog."
The prize for physiology was, by the French Institute, awarded to the perpetrator of the above "experiments".
In "Cyon's Methodik", a " Handbook for Vivisectors", we read the following: —
“The true vivisector should approach a difficult experiment with joyous eagerness and delight. He, who shrinking from the dissection of a living creature, approaches experimentation as a disagreeable necessity may, indeed, repeat various vivisections, but can never become an artist in vivisection. The chief delight of the vivisector is that experienced when from an ugly-looking incision, filled with bloody humours and injured tissues, he draws out the delicate nerve-fibre, and by means of irritants revives its apparently extinct sensation."
Have we in this nineteenth century indeed expunged from among us the foul and hideous practice of sorcery, or rather, if comparison be fairly made between the witchcraft of the "dark ages" and the "science" of the present, does it not appear that the latter, alike for number of professors, ingenuity of cruelty, effrontery and folly, bears away the palm? No need in this "year of grace" to seek in the depths of remote forests, or in the recesses of mountain caves and ruined castles, the midnight haunts of the sorcerer. All day he and his assistants are at their work unmolested in the underground laboratories of all the medical schools throughout the length and breadth of Europe. Underground indeed, they needs must work, for the nature of their labours is such that, were they carried on elsewhere, the peace of the surrounding neighbourhood would be endangered. For when from time to time a door swings open below the gloomy stone staircase leading down into the darkness, there may be heard a burst of shrieks and moans, such as those which arose from the subterranean vaults of the mediaeval sorcerer. There still, as of old, the Wizard is at his work, the votary of "Satan" is pursuing his researches at the price of the torture of the innocent, and of the loss of his own humanity.
But between the positions of sorcery in the past and in the present is one notable and all important difference. In the past it was held a damnable offence to practise the devil's craft; and once proved guilty, the sorcerer, no matter what his worldly rank or public services, could [Page 15] not hope to escape from death by fire. But now the professors of the Black Art hold their Sabbat in public, and their enunciations and the recitals of their hideous "experiments" are reported in the journals of the day. They are decorated by princes, feted by great ladies, and honoured with the special protection of State legislation. It is held superstition to believe that in former ages wizards were enabled by the practice of secret abominations and cruelties to wrest knowledge from nature, but now the self-same crimes are openly and universally perpetrated, and men everywhere trust their efficacy".
And in the last invention of this horrible cultus of Death and Suffering, the modern sorcerer shows us his "devils casting out devils", and urges us to look to the parasites of contagion — foul germs of disease — as the regenerators of the future. Thus, if the sorcerer be permitted to have his way, the malignant spirits of fever, sickness, and corruption will be let loose and multiplied upon earth, and as in Egypt of old, every living creature, from the cattle in the field to the firstborn son of the king, will be smitten with plague and death. By his evil art he will keep alive from generation to generation the multitudinous broods of foul living, of vice, and uncleanness, none of them be suffered to fail for need of culture, ingrafting them afresh day by day and year by year in the bodies of new victims; paralysing the efforts of the hygienist, and rendering vain the work of the true Magian, the Healer up, and the teacher of pure life.
Go to Top of this page
Back to our On Line Documents
Back to our Main Page
A free sample copy of our bilingual magazine can be sent to you. This
offer is only good for a mailing to a Canadian address. You have to supply a mailing address.
The Canadian membership of $25.00 includes the receipt of four seasonal issues of our magazine "The Light Bearer" . If you are a resident of Canada send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org requesting a packet of information and your free copy of our magazine
For membership outside of Canada send a message to the International Secretary in Adyar, India email@example.com
For a problem viewing one of our documents - or to report an error in a document - send a note
to the webmaster at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will try to answer any other query -if you would send a note to email@example.com
This document is a publication of the
Canadian Theosophical Association (a regional association of the Theosophical Society in Adyar)
89 Promenade Riverside,
St-Lambert, QC J4R 1A3
To reach the President - Pierre Laflamme dial 450-672-8577
or Toll Free - from all of Canada 866-277-0074
or you can telephone the national secretary at 905-455-7325