The Astral Body - by A.E.Powell - Part 2 of 2


by Arthur A.Powell

The Theosophical Publishing House, London, England; Wheaton,Ill, U.S.A.; Adyar, Chennai, India

Published in 1927, reprinted in 1954 and 1965

This is Part 2 of 2 -

click on this line to go to Part 1

  Introduction XIII
1 General Description 1
2 Composition and Structure 4
3 Colours 11
4 Functions 23
5 Chakrams 31
6 Kundalini 38
7 Thought Forms 43
8 Physical Life 64
9 Sleep-Life 82
10 Dreams 93
11 Continuity of Consciousness 104
12 Death and the Desire-Elemental 107
13 After-Death Life : Principles 112
14 After-Death Life : Particulars 120

After-Death Life ; Special Cases

16 The Astral Plane 146
17 Miscellaneous Astral Phenomena 157
18 The Fourth Dimension 163
19 Astral Entities : Human 168
20 Astral Entities : Non-Human 176
21 Astral Entities : Artificial 190
22 Spiritualism 194
23 Astral Death 206
24 Re-Birth 209
25 The Mastery of Emotion 215
26 Development of Astral Powers 224
27 Clairvoyance in Space and Time 234
28 Invisible Helpers 238
29 Discipleship 252
30 Conclusion 258
  Index 261






[Page 138]There is practically no difference between the consciousness of a psychic after death and that of an ordinary person, except that the psychic, being probably more familiar with astral matter, will feel more at home in his new environment. To be psychic means to possess a physical body in some ways more sensitive than those of most people: consequently, when the physical body is dropped, this inequality no longer exists.

A sudden death, such as from an accident, need not necessarily affect the astral life in any way for the worse. At the same time, for most people, a more natural death is preferable, because the slow wasting away of the aged or the ravages of a long-continued illness are almost invariably accompanied by a considerable loosening and breaking up of the astral particles, so that when the man recovers consciousness upon the astral plane, he finds some, at any rate, of his principal work there already done for him.

In most cases, when earth life is suddenly cut short by accident or suicide, the link between kâma (desire) and prânâ (vitality) is not easily broken, and the astral body is consequently strongly vivified.

The withdrawal of the principles from their physical encasement, owing to sudden death of any kind, has been aptly compared to the tearing of the stone out of an unripe fruit. A great deal of the grossest kind of astral matter still clings around the personality, which is consequently held in the seventh or lowest astral sub-plane.

The mental terror and disturbance which sometimes accompany accidental death are, of course, a [Page 139] very unfavourable preparation for astral life. In certain rare cases the agitation and terror may persist for some time after death.

The victims of capital punishment, apart from the injury done to them by suddenly wrenching from the physical the astral body, throbbing with feelings of hatred, passion, revenge, and so forth, constitute a peculiarly dangerous element in the astral world. Unpleasant to society as a murderer in his physical body may be, he is clearly far more dangerous when suddenly expelled from the body: and, whilst society may protect itself from murderers in the physical body, it is at present defenceless against murderers suddenly projected on to the astral plane in the full flush of their passions.

Such men may well act as the instigators of other murders. It is well known that murders of a particular kind are sometimes repeated over and over again in the same community.

The position of the suicide is further complicated by the fact that his rash act has enormously diminished the power of the higher ego to withdraw its lower portion into itself, and therefore has exposed him to other and great dangers. Nevertheless it must be remembered, as already said, that the guilt of suicide differs considerably according to circumstances, from the morally blameless act of Socrates through all degrees down to that of a wretch who commits suicide in order to escape the physical results of his own crimes, and, of course, the position after death varies accordingly.

The karmic consequences of suicide are usually momentous: they are certain to affect the next life, and probably more lives than one. It is a crime against Nature to interfere with the prescribed period appointed for living on the physical life. For every man has an appointed life-term, determined by an intricate web of prior causes - i.e..,by karma - and that term must run out its appointed sands, before the dissolution of the personality. [Page 140]

The attitude of mind at the time of death determines the subsequent position of the person. Thus, there is a profound difference between one who lays down his life from altruistic motives and one who deliberately destroys his life from selfish motives, such as fear, etc..

Pure and spiritually-minded men, who are the victims of accident, etc., sleep out happily the term of their natural life. In other cases they remain conscious - often entangled in the final scene of earth-life for a time, held in whatever region they are related to by the outermost layer of their astral body. Their normal kâmalokic life does not begin until the natural web of earth-life is out-spun, and they are vividly conscious of both their astral and physical surroundings.

It must not for a moment, therefore, be supposed that because of the many superiorities of astral over physical life, a man is therefore justified in committing suicide or seeking death. Men are incarnated in physical bodies for a purpose which can be attained only in the physical world. There are lessons to be learnt in the physical world which cannot be learnt anywhere else, and the sooner we learn them the sooner we shall be free from the need to return to the lower and more limited life. The ego has to take much trouble in order to incarnate in a physical body, and also to live through the wearisome period of early childhood, during which he is gradually and with much effort gaining some control over his new vehicles, and therefore his efforts should not be foolishly wasted. In this respect the natural instinct of self-preservation is one which should be obeyed, it being a man's duty to make the most of his earthly life and to retain it as long as circumstances permit.

If a man, who has been killed suddenly, has led a low, brutal, selfish and sensual life, he will be fully conscious on the seven astral sub-plane, and is liable to develop into a terribly evil entity. Inflamed with appetites which he can no longer satisfy, he may endeavour to gratify his passions through a medium or any sensitive person who he can obsess. [Page 141] Such entities take a devilish delight in using all the arts of astral delusion to lead others into the same excesses in which they themselves indulged. From this class and from the vitalised shells (see page 172) are drawn the tempters - the devils of ecclesiastical literature.

The following is a strongly worded account of the victims of sudden death, whether suicides or killed by accident, when such victims are depraved and gross. “Unhappy shades, if sinful and sensual, they wander about... until their death-hour comes. Cut off in the full flush of earthly passions, which bind them to familiar scenes, they are enticed by opportunities which mediums afford to gratify them vicariously. They are the Pishâchas, the Incubi and Succubae of mediaeval times: the demons of thirst, gluttony, lust and avarice: elementaries of intensified craft, wickedness and cruelty: provoking their victims to horrid crimes, and revelling in their commission!”

Soldiers killed in battle do not quite come under this category, because, whether the cause for which they are fighting be in he abstract right or wrong, they think it to be right: to them it is the call of duty, and they sacrifice their lives willingly and unselfishly. In spite of its horrors, therefore, war may nevertheless be a potent factor in evolution at a certain level. This, also, is the grain of truth in the idea of the Mohammedan fanatic that the man who dies fighting for the faith goes straight to a very good life in the next world.

In the case of children dying young, it is unlikely l that they will have developed much affinity for the lowest sub-divisions of the astral world, and as a matter of experience they are seldom found on the lowest astral sub-planes.

Some people cling so desperately to material existence that at death their astral bodies cannot altogether separate from the etheric, and consequently they awaken still surrounded by etheric matter. Such persons are in a very unpleasant condition: they are shut out from the astral world by the etheric shell which surrounds them, and at the same time they are [Page 142] also, of course, shut off from ordinary physical life because they have no physical sense-organs.

The result is that they drift about, lonely, dumb and terrified, unable to communicate with entities on either plane. They cannot realise that if they would only let go their frenzied grasp on matter they would slip, after a few moments of unconsciousness, into the ordinary life of the astral plane. But they cling to their grey world, with their miserable half-consciousness, rather than sink into what they think complete extinction, or even the hell in which they have been taught to believe.

In process of time the etheric shell wears out, and the ordinary course of Nature reasserts itself in spite of their struggles: sometimes in sheer desperation they recklessly let themselves go, preferring even the idea of annihilation to their present existence — with a result overwhelmingly and surprisingly pleasant.

In a few cases, another astral entity may be able to help them by persuading them to let go their hold on what to them is life and sink out of it.

In other cases, they may be so unfortunate as to discover a means of reviving to some extent their touch with physical life through a medium, though as a rule the medium's “spirit-guide” very properly forbids them access.

The “guide” is right in his action, because such entities, in their terror and need, become quite unscrupulous and would obsess and even madden a medium, fighting as a drowning man fights for life. They could succeed only if the ego of the medium had weakened his hold upon his vehicles by allowing the indulgence of undesirable thoughts or passions.

Sometimes an entity may be able to seize upon a baby body, ousting the feeble personality for whom it was intended, or sometimes even to obsess the body of an animal, the fragment of the group-soul which, to an animal, stands in the place of an ego, having a hold on the body less strong than that of an ego. This obsession may be complete or partial. The obsessing [Page 143] entity thus once more gets into touch with the physical plane, sees through the animal's eyes, and feels any pain inflicted upon the animal — in fact, so far as his his own consciousness is concerned, he is the animal for the time being.

A man who thus entangles himself with an animal cannot abandon the animal's body at will, but only gradually and by considerable effort, extending probably over many days. Usually he is set free only at the death of the animal, and even then there remains an astral entanglement to shake off. After the death of the animal such a soul sometimes endeavours to obsess another member of the same herd, or indeed any other creature whom he can seize in his desperation. The animals most commonly seized upon seem to be the less developed ones — cattle, sheep and swine. More intelligent creatures, such as dogs, cats and horses do not appear to be so easily dispossessed, though cases do occasionally occur.

All obsessions, whether of a human or an annual / body, are an evil and a hindrance to the obsessing soul, as they temporarily strengthen his hold upon the material, and so delay his natural progress into the astral life, besides making undesirable karrnic links.

In the case of a man who, by vicious appetite or otherwise, forms a very strong link with any type of animal, his astral body shows animal characteristics, and may resemble in appearance the animal whose qualities had been encouraged during earth life. In extreme cases the man may be linked to the astral body of the animal and thus be chained as a prisoner to the animal's physical body. The man is conscious in the astral world, has his human faculties, but cannot control the animal body nor express himself through that body on the physical plane. The animal organism serves as a jailer, rather than as a vehicle: and, further, the animal soul is not ejected, but remains as the proper tenant of its body.

Cases of this kind explain, at least partially, the belief often found in Oriental countries, that a man [Page 144]
may under certain conditions reincarnate in an animal body.

A similar fate may befall a man as he returns to the astral plane on his way to re-birth, and is described in Chapter 24 on Re-birth.

The class of person who is definitely held down to earth by anxiety is often termed earth-bound: as St. Martin expressed it, such men are “remainers”, not “returners”, being unable thoroughly to tear themselves away from physical matter until some business is settled in which they have a special interest.

We have already seen that after physical death the real man is steadily withdrawing himself from his outer bodies: and that, in particular, manas, or mind, endeavours to disentangle itself from kâma, or desire. In certain rare cases, the personality, or lower man, may be so strongly controlled by kâma that lower manas is completely enslaved and cannot disentangle itself. The link between the lower and the higher mental, the “ silver thread that binds it to the Master”, snaps in two. This is spoken of in occultism as the “ loss of the soul”. It is the loss of the personal self, which has separated from its parent, the higher ego, and has thus doomed itself to perish.

In such a case, even during earth-life, the lower quaternary is wrenched away from the Triad, i.e., the lower principles, headed by lower manas, are severed from the higher principles, Atma, Buddhi and Higher Manas. The man is rent in twain, the brute has broken itself free, and it goes forth unbridled, carrying with it the reflections of that manasic light which should have been its guide through life. Such a creature, owing to its possession of mind, is more dangerous even than an unevolved animal: though human in form, it is brute in nature, without sense of truth, love or justice.

After physical death, such an astral body is an entity of terrible potency, and is unique in this, that under certain rare conditions it can reincarnate in the world of men. With no instincts save those of the [Page 145] animal, driven only by passion, never even by emotion, with a cunning that no brute can rival, a wickedness that is deliberate, it touches ideal vileness, and is the natural foe of all normal human beings. A being of this class — which is known as an Elementary — sinks lower with each successive incarnation, until, as the evil force gradually wears itself out, it perishes, being cut off from the source of life. It disintegrates, and thus as a separate existence is lost.

From the point of view of the ego there has been no harvest of useful experience from that personality: the “ray” has brought nothing back, the lower life has been a total and complete failure.

The word Elementary has been employed by various writers in many different senses, but it is recommended that it be confined to the entity described above. [Page 146]



THIS chapter will be confined, so far as the complexities of the subject permit, to a description of the nature, appearance, properties, etc., of the astral plane or world. A later chapter will be devoted to an enumeration and description of the entities which live in the astral world.

The intelligent student will recognise the extreme difficulty of giving in physical language an adequate description of the astral world. The task has been compared to that of an explorer of some unknown tropical forest being asked to give a full account of the country through which he has passed. The difficulties of describing the astral world are further complicated by two factors: (i) the difficulty of correctly translating from the astral to the physical plane the recollection of what has been seen: and (2) the inadequacy of physical plane language to express much of what has to be reported.

One of the most prominent characteristics of the astral world is that it is full of continually changing shapes: we find there not only thought-forms, composed of elemental essence and animated by a thought, but also vast masses of elemental essence from which continually shapes emerge and into which they again disappear. The elemental essence exists in hundreds of varieties on every sub-plane, as though the air were visible and were in constant undulating motion with changing colours like mother-of-pearl. Currents of thought are continually thrilling through this astral matter, strong thoughts persisting as entities for a long time, weak ones clothing themselves in elemental essence and wavering out again. [Page 147]

We have already seen that astral matter exists in seven orders of fineness, corresponding to the seven physical grades of solid, liquid, gaseous, etc. Each of these seven orders of matter is the basis of one of the seven levels, sub-divisions, or sub-planes (as they are variously called) of the astral plane.

It has become customary to speak of these seven levels as being ranged one above the other, the densest at the bottom and the finest at the top: and in many diagrams they are actually drawn in this manner. There is a basis of truth in this method of representation, but it is not the whole truth.

The matter of each sub-plane interpenetrates that of the sub-plane below it: consequently, at the surface of the earth, all seven sub-planes exist together in the same space. Nevertheless, it is also true that the higher astral sub-planes extend further away from the physical earth than the lower sub-planes.

A very fair analogy of the relation between the astral sub-planes exists in the physical world. To a considerable extent liquids interpenetrate solids, e.g., water is found in soil, gases interpenetrate liquids (water usually contains considerable volumes of air), and so on. Nevertheless it is substantially true that the bulk of the liquid matter of the earth lies in seas, rivers, etc., above the solid earth. Similarly the bulk of gaseous matter rests above the surface of the water, and reaches much further out into space than either solid or liquid.

Similarly with astral matter. By far the densest aggregation of astral matter lies within the limits of the physical sphere. In this connection it should be noted that astral matter obeys the same general laws as physical matter, and gravitates towards the centre of the earth.

The seventh or lowest astral sub-plane penetrates some distance into the interior of the earth, so that the entities living on it may find themselves actually within the crust of the earth.

The sixth sub-plane is partially coincident with the surface of the earth. [Page 148]

The third sub-plane, which the Spiritualists call the “Summerland”, extends many miles up into the atmosphere.

The outer limit of the astral world extends nearly to the mean distance of the moon's orbit, so that at perigee the astral planes of the earth and moon usually touch one another, but not at apogee. (N.B.—The earth and moon are nearly 240,000 miles apart.) Hence the name the Greeks gave to the astral plane— the sub-lunar world. It follows that at certain times of the month astral communication with the moon is possible, but not at certain other times. A case, in fact, is recorded where a man reached the moon, but had to wait till communication was re-established by the approach of the satellite to its primary before he could return.

The seven sub-divisions fall naturally into three groups: (a) the seventh or lowest: (b) the sixth, fifth and fourth: and (c) the third, second and first. The difference between members of one group may be compared to that between two solids, e.g., steel and sand, the difference between the groups may be compared to that between a solid and a liquid.

Sub-plane 7 has the physical world as its background, though only a distorted and partial view of it is visible, since all that is light and good and beautiful seems invisible. Four thousand years ago the Scribe Ani described it in an Egyptian papyrus thus: “ What manner of place is this unto which I have come ? It hath no water, it hath no air; it is deep, unfathomable; it is black as the blackest night, and men wander helplessly about therein; in it a man may not live in quietness of heart.”

For the unfortunate human being on that level it is indeed true that “all the earth is full of darkness and cruel habitation”, but it is darkness which radiates from within himself and causes his existence to be passed in a perpetual night of evil and horror — a very real hell, though, like all other hells, entirely of man's own creation.
[Page 149]

Most students find the investigation of this section an extremely unpleasant task, for there appears to be a sense of density and gross materiality about it which is indescribably loathsome to the liberated astral body, causing it the sense of pushing its way through some black, viscous fluid, while the inhabitants and the influences encountered there are also usually exceedingly undesirable.

The ordinary decent man would probably have little to detain him on the seventh sub-plane, the only persons who would normally awake to consciousness on that sub-plane being those whose desires are gross and brutal — drunkards, sensualists, violent criminals, and the like.

Sub-planes 6, 5 and 4 have for their background the physical world with which we are familiar. Life on No. 6 is like ordinary physical life, minus the physical body and its necessities. Nos. 5 and 4 are less material and more withdrawn from the lower world and its interests.

As in the case of the physical, the densest astral matter is far too dense for the ordinary forms of astral life: but the astral world has other forms of its own which are quite unknown to students of the surface.

On the fifth and fourth sub-planes, merely earthly associations appear to become of less and less importance, and the people there tend more and more to mould their surroundings into agreement with the more persistent of their thoughts.

Sub-planes 3, 2 and 1, though occupying the same space, give the impression of being further removed from the physical world and correspondingly less material. At these levels entities lose sight of the earth and its affairs: they are usually deeply self-absorbed, and to a large extent create their own surroundings, though these are sufficiently objective to be perceptible to other entities.

They are thus little awake to the realities of the plane, but live instead in imaginary cities of their own, partly creating them entirely by their own thoughts, [Page 150] and partly inheriting and adding to the structures created by their predecessors.

Here are found the happy hunting-grounds of the Red Indian, the Valhalla of the Norseman, the houri-filled paradise of the Muslim, the golden and jewelled-gated New Jerusalem of the Christian, the lyceum-filled heaven of the materialistic reformer. Here is also the “Summerland” of the Spiritualists, in which exist houses, schools, cities, etc., which, real enough as they are for a time, to a clearer sight are sometimes pitiably unlike what their delighted creators suppose them to be. Nevertheless, many of the creations are of real though temporary beauty, and a visitor who knew of nothing higher might wander contentedly among the natural scenery provided, which at any rate is much superior to anything in the physical world: or he might, of course, prefer to construct his scenery to suit his own fancies.

The second sub-plane is especially the habitat of the selfish or unspiritual religionist. Here he wears his golden crown and worships his own grossly material representation of the particular deity of his country and time.

The first sub-plane is specially appropriated to those who during earth-life have devoted themselves to materialistic but intellectual pursuits, following them not for the sake of benefiting their fellow-men, but either from motives of selfish ambition or simply for the sake of intellectual exercise. Such persons may remain on this sub-plane for many years, happy in working out their intellectual problems, but doing no good to any one, and making but little progress on their way towards the heaven-world.

On this, the atomic sub-plane, men do not build themselves imaginary conceptions, as they do at lower levels. Thinkers and men of science often utilise for purposes of their study almost all the powers of the entire astral plane, for they are able to descend almost to the physical along certain limited lines. Thus they can swoop down upon the astral counterpart of a [Page 151] physical book and extract from it the information they require. They readily touch the mind of an author, impress their ideas upon him, and receive his in return. Sometimes they seriously delay their departure for the heaven-world by the avidity with which they prosecute lines of study and experiment on the astral plane.

Although we speak of astral matter as solid, it is never really, but only relatively solid. One of the reasons why mediaeval alchemists symbolised astral matter by water was because of its fluidity and penetrability. The particles in the densest astral matter are further apart, relatively to their size, than even gaseous particles. Hence it is easier for two of the densest astral bodies to pass through each other than it would be for the lightest gas to diffuse itself in the air.

People on the astral plane can and do pass through one another constantly, and through fixed astral objects. There can never be anything like what we mean by a collision, and under ordinary circumstances two bodies which interpenetrate are not even appreciably affected. If, however, the interpenetration lasts for some time, as when two persons sit side by side in a church or theatre, a considerable effect may be produced.

If a man thought of a mountain as an obstacle, he could not pass through it. To learn that it is not an obstacle is precisely the object of one part of what is called the “test of earth”.

An explosion on the astral plane might be temporarily as disastrous as an explosion of gunpowder on the physical plane, but the astral fragments would quickly collect themselves again. Thus there cannot be an accident on the astral plane in our sense of the word, because the astral body, being fluidic, cannot be destroyed or permanently injured, as the physical can.

A purely astral object could be moved by means of an astral hand, if one wished, but not the astral counterpart of a physical object. In order to move an astral [Page 152] counterpart it would be necessary to materialise a hand and move the physical object, then the astral counterpart would, of course, accompany it. The astral counterpart is there because the physical object is there, just as the scent of a rose fills a room because the rose is there. One could no more move a physical object by moving its astral counterpart than one could move the rose by moving its perfume.

On the astral plane one never touches the surface of anything, so as to feel it hard or soft, rough or smooth, hot or cold: but on coming into contact with the interpenetrating substance one would be conscious of a different rate of vibration, which might, of course, be pleasant or unpleasant, stimulating or depressing.

Thus if one is standing on the ground, part of one's astral body interpenetrates the ground under one's feet: but the astral body would not be conscious of the fact by anything corresponding to a sense of hardness or by any difference in the power of movement.

On the astral plane one has not the sense of jumping over a precipice, but simply of floating over it.

Although the light of all planes comes from the sun, yet the effect which it produces on the astral plane is entirely different from that on the physical. In the astral world there is a diffused luminosity, not obviously coming from any special direction. All astral matter is in itself luminous, though an astral body is not like a painted sphere, but rather a sphere of living fire. It is never dark in the astral world. The passing of a physical cloud in front of the sun makes no difference whatever to the astral plane, nor, of course, does the shadow of the earth which we call night. As astral bodies are transparent, there are no shadows.

Atmospheric and climatic conditions make practically no difference to work on the astral and mental planes. But being in a big city makes a great difference, on account of the masses of thought-forms.

On the astral plane there are many currents which tend to carry about persons who are lacking in will, [Page 153] and even those who have will but do not know how to use it.

There is no such thing as sleep in the astral world.

It is possible to forget upon the astral plane just as it is on the physical. It is perhaps even easier to forget on the astral plane than on the physical because that world is so busy and so populous.

Knowledge of a person in the astral world does not necessarily mean knowledge of him in the physical world.

The astral plane has often been called the realm of illusion — not that it is itself any more illusory than the physical world, but because of the extreme unreliability of the impressions brought back from it by the untrained seer. This can be accounted for mainly by two remarkable characteristics of the astral world: (1) many of its inhabitants have a marvellous power of changing their forms with protean rapidity, and also of casting practically unlimited glamour over those with whom they choose to sport: and (2) astral sight is very different from and much more extended than physical vision.

Thus with astral vision an object is seen, as it were, from all sides at once, every particle in the interior of a solid being as plainly open to the view as those on the outside, and everything entirely free from the distortion of perspective.

If one looked at a watch astrally, one would see the face and all the wheels lying separately, but nothing on the top of anything else. Looking at a closed book one would see each page, not through all the other pages before or behind it, but looking straight down upon it as though it were the only page to be seen.

It is easy to see that under such conditions even the most familiar objects may at first be totally unrecognizable, and that an inexperienced visitor may well find considerable difficulty in understanding what he really does see, and still more in translating his vision into the very inadequate language of ordinary speech. Yet a moment's consideration will show that astral [Page 154] vision approximates much more closely to true perception than does physical sight, which is subject to the distortions of perspective.

In addition to these possible sources of error, matters are still further complicated by the fact that this astral sight cognizes forms of matter which, while still purely physical, are nevertheless invisible under ordinary conditions. Such, for example, are the particles composing the atmosphere, all the emanations which are continuously being given out by everything that has life, and also the four grades of etheric matter.

Further, astral vision discloses to view other and entirely different colours beyond the limits of the ordinary visible spectrum, the ultra-red and ultraviolet rays known to physical science being plainly visible to astral sight.

Thus, to take a concrete example, a rock, seen with astral sight, is no mere inert mass of stone. With astral vision: (1) the whole of the physical matter is seen, instead of a very small part of it: (2) the vibrations of the physical particles are perceptible: (3) the astral counterpart, composed of various grades of astral matter, all in constant motion, is visible: (4) the universal life (prâna) is seen to be circulating through it and radiating from it: (5) an aura will be seen surrounding it: (6) its appropriate elemental essence is seen permeating it, ever active but ever fluctuating. In the case of the vegetable, animal, and human kingdoms, the complications are naturally much more numerous.

A good instance of the sort of mistake that is likely to occur on the astral plane is the frequent reversal of any number which the seer has to record, so that he is liable to render, say, 139 as 931, and so on. In the case of a student of occultism trained by a capable Master, such a mistake would be impossible, except through great hurry or carelessness, since such a pupil has to go through a long and varied course of instruction in this art of seeing correctly. A trained seer in time acquires a certainty and confidence in dealing with the [Page 155] phenomena of the astral plane far exceeding anything possible in physical life.

It is quite a mistaken view to speak with scorn of the astral plane and to think it unworthy of attention. It would, of course, certainly be disastrous for any student to neglect his higher development, and to rest satisfied with the attainment of astral consciousness. In some cases it is indeed possible to develop the higher mental faculties first, to overleap the astral plane for the time, as it were. But this is not the ordinary method adopted by the Masters of Wisdom with their pupils. For most, progress by leaps and bounds is not practicable: it is necessary therefore to proceed slowly, step by step.

In The Voice of the Silence three halls are spoken of. The first, that of ignorance, is the physical plane: the second, the Hall of Learning, is the astral plane, and is so called because the opening of the astral chakrams reveals so much more than is visible on the physical plane that the man feels he is much nearer the reality of the thing: nevertheless it is still but the place of probationary learning. Still more real and definite knowledge is acquired in the Hall of Wisdom, which is the mental plane.

An important part of the scenery of the astral plane consists of what are often, though mistakenly, called the Records of the Astral Light. These records (which are in truth a sort of materialisation of the Divine memory — a living photographic representation of all that has ever happened) are really and permanently impressed upon a very much higher level, and are only reflected in a more or less spasmodic manner on the astral plane; so that one whose power of vision does not rise above this will be likely to obtain only occasional and disconnected pictures of the past instead of a coherent narrative. But nevertheless these reflected pictures of all kinds of past events are constantly being reproduced in the astral world, and form an important part of the surroundings of the investigator there. [Page 156]

Communication on the astral plane is limited by the knowledge of the entity, just as it is in the physical world. One who is able to use the mind-body can communicate his thoughts to the human entities there more readily and rapidly than on earth, by means of mental impressions:- but the ordinary inhabitants of the astral plane are not usually able to exercise this power; they appear to be restricted by limitations similar to those that prevail on earth, though perhaps less rigid. Consequently (as previously mentioned) they are found associating, there as here, in groups drawn together by common sympathies, beliefs, and language. [Page 157]



THERE is reason to suppose that it may not be long before some applications of one or two super-physical forces may come to be known to the world at large. A common experience at spiritualistic séances is that of the employment of practically resistless force in, for example, the instantaneous movement of enormous weights, and so on. There are several ways in which such results may be brought about. Hints may be given as to four of these.

(1) There are great etheric currents on the surface of the earth flowing from pole to pole in volumes which make this power as irresistible as that of the rising tide, and there are methods by which this stupendous force may be safely utilised, though unskillful attempts to control it would be fraught with the greatest danger.

(2) There is an etheric pressure, somewhat corresponding to, though immensely greater than, the atmospheric pressure. Practical occultism teaches how a given body of ether can be isolated from the rest, so that the tremendous force of etheric pressure can be brought into play.

(3) There is a vast store of potential energy which has become dormant in matter during the involution of the subtle into the gross, and by changing the condition of the matter some of this may be liberated and utilised, somewhat as latent energy in the form of heat may be liberated by a change in the condition of visible matter.

(4) Many results may be produced by what is known as sympathetic vibration. By sounding the keynote of the class of matter it is desired to affect, [Page 158] an immense number of sympathetic vibrations can be called forth. When this is done on the physical plane, e.g., by sounding a note on a harp and inducing other harps tuned in unison to respond sympathetically, no additional energy is developed. But on the astral plane the matter is far less inert, so that when called into action by sympathetic vibrations, it adds its own living force to the original impulse, which may thus be multiplied many-fold. By further rhythmic repetition of the original impulse, the vibrations may be so intensified that the result is out of all apparent proportion to the cause. There seems scarcely any limit to the conceivable achievements of this force in the hands of a great Adept who fully comprehends its possibilities: for the very building of the Universe itself was but the result of the vibrations set up by the Spoken Word.

The class of mantras or spells which produce their result not by controlling some elemental, but merely by the repetition of certain sounds, also depend for their efficacy upon this action of sympathetic vibration.

The phenomenon of disintegration also may be brought about by the action of extremely rapid vibrations, which overcome the cohesion of the molecules of the object operated upon. A still higher vibration of a somewhat different type will separate these molecules into their constituent atoms. A body thus reduced to the etheric condition can be moved from one place to another with very great rapidity; and the moment the force which has been exerted is withdrawn it will be forced by the etheric pressure to resume its original condition.

It is necessary to explain how the shape of an object is preserved, when it is disintegrated and then re-materialised. If a metal key, for example, were raised to the vaporous condition by heat, when the heat is withdrawn the metal will solidify, but instead of being a key it will be merely a lump of metal. The reason of this is that the elemental essence which informs the [Page 159] key would be dissipated by the alteration in its condition: not that the elemental essence can be affected by heat, but that when its temporary body is destroyed as a solid, the elemental essence pours back into the great reservoir of such essence, much as the higher principles of man, though entirely unaffected by heat or cold, are yet forced out of a physical body when the latter is destroyed by fire.

Consequently, when the metal of the key cooled into the solid condition again, the “ earth” elemental essence which poured back into it would not be the same as that which it contained before, and there would therefore be no reason why the key shape should be retained.

But a man who disintegrated a key in order to move it from one place to another, would be careful to hold the elemental essence in exactly the same shape until the transfer was completed, and then when his will-force was removed it would act as a mould into which the solidifying particles would flow, or rather round which they would be re-aggregated. Thus, unless the operator's power of concentration failed, the shape would be accurately preserved.

Apports, or the bringing of objects almost instantaneously from great distances to spiritualistic séances are sometimes produced in this way: for it is obvious that when disintegrated they could be passed with perfect ease through any solid substance, such as the wall of a house or the side of a locked box. The passage of matter through matter is thus, when understood, as simple as the passage of water through a sieve or of a gas through a liquid.

Materialisation or the change of an object from the etheric to the solid state, can be produced by a reversal of the above process. In this case also a continued effort of will is necessary to prevent the materialised matter from relapsing into the etheric condition. The various kinds of materialisation will be described in Chapter 28I on Invisible Helpers.

Electrical disturbances of any sort present [Page 160] difficulties in either materialisation or disintegration, presumably for the same reason that bright light renders them almost impossible — the destructive effect of strong vibration.

Reduplication is produced by forming a perfect mental image of the object to be copied, and then gathering about that mould the necessary astral and physical matter. The phenomenon requires considerable power of concentration to perform, because every particle, interior as well as exterior, of the object to be duplicated must be held accurately in view simultaneously. A person who is unable to extract the matter required directly from the surrounding ether may sometimes borrow it from the material of the original article, which would then be correspondingly reduced in weight.

Precipitation of letters, etc., may be produced in several ways. An Adept might place a sheet of paper before him, form a mental image of the writing he wished to appear upon it, and draw from the ether the matter wherewith to objectivise the image. Or he could with equal ease produce the same result upon a sheet of paper lying before his correspondent, whatever might be the distance between them.

A third method, quicker and therefore more often adopted, is to impress the whole substance of the letter on the mind of some pupil and leave him to do the mechanical work of precipitation. The pupil would then imagine he saw the letter written on the paper in his Master's hand, and objectivise the writing as just described. If he found it difficult to draw the material from the ether and precipitate the writing on the paper simultaneously, he might have ink or coloured powder at hand on which he could draw more readily.

It is just as easy to imitate one man's hand-writing as another's, and it would be impossible to detect by any ordinary means a forgery committed in this manner. A pupil of a Master has an infallible test which he can apply, but for others the proof of origin must lie solely in the contents of the letter and the spirit breathing [Page 161] through it, as the hand-writing, however cleverly imitated, is valueless as evidence.

A pupil new to the work would probably be able to imagine a few words at a time only, but one with more experience could visualise a whole page or even an entire letter at once. In this manner quite long letters are sometimes produced in a few seconds at spiritualistic séances.

Pictures are precipitated in the same manner, except that here it is necessary to visualise the entire scene at once: and if many colours are needed they have to be manufactured, kept separate, and applied correctly. Evidently there is here scope for artistic faculty, and those with experience as artists will be more successful than those without such experience.

Slate-writing is sometimes produced by precipitation, though more frequently tiny points of spirit hands are materialised just sufficiently to grasp the fragment of pencil.

Levitation, that is the floating of a human body in the air, is often performed at séances by “spirit hands” which support the body of the medium. It may also be achieved by the aid of the elementals of air and water. In the East, however, always, and here occasionally, another method is employed. There is known to occult science a method of neutralising or even reversing the force of gravity, which is in fact of a magnetic nature, by means of which levitation may be easily produced. Doubtless this method was used in raising some of the air-ships of ancient India and Atlantis, and it is not improbable that a similar method was employed in constructing the Pyramids and Stonehenge.

Levitation also happens to some ascetics in India, and some of the greatest of Christian Saints have in deep meditation been thus raised from the ground — for example, S. Teresa and S. Joseph of Cupertino.

Since light consists of ether vibrations, it is obvious that any one who understands how to set up these vibrations can produce “spirit lights”, either the [Page 162] mildly phosphorescent or the dazzling electrical variety, or those dancing globules of light into which a certain class of fire elementals so readily transform themselves.

The feat of handling fire without injury may be performed by covering the hand with the thinnest layer of etheric substance, so manipulated as to be impervious to heat. There are also other ways in which it may be done.

The production of fire is also within the resources of the astral plane, as well as to counteract its effect. There seem to be at least three ways in which this could be done: (1) to set up and maintain the requisite rate of vibration, when combustion must ensue: (2) to introduce fourth-dimensionally a tiny fragment of glowing matter and then blow upon it until it bursts into flame: (3) to introduce chemical constituents which would produce combustion.

The transmutation of metals can be achieved by reducing a piece of metal to the atomic condition and rearranging the atoms in another form.

Repercussion, which will be dealt with in the Chapter on Invisible Helpers, is also due to the principle of sympathetic vibration, described above. [Page 163]



There are many characteristics of the astral world which agree with remarkable exactitude with a world of four dimensions, as conceived by geometry and mathematics. So close, in fact, is this agreement, that cases are known where a purely intellectual study of the geometry of the fourth dimension has opened up astral sight in the student.

The classic books on the subject are those of C. H. Hinton: Scientific Romances, Vols. I and II: A New Era of Thought: The Fourth Dimension. These are strongly recommended by C. W. Leadbeater, who states that the study of the fourth dimension is the best method he knows to obtain a conception of the conditions which prevail on the astral plane, and that C. H. Hinton's exposition of the fourth dimension is the only one which gives any kind of explanation down here of the constantly observed facts of astral vision.

Other, and later books are several by Claude Bragdon: The Beautiful Necessity: A Primer of Higher Space: Fourth Dimensional Vistas; etc., Tertium Organum (a most illuminating work) by P. D. Ouspensky, and no doubt many others.

For those who have made no study of this subject we may give here the very barest outline of some of the main features underlying the fourth dimension.

A point, which has “position but no magnitude”, has no dimensions: a line, created by the movement of a point, has one dimension, length: a surface, created by the movement of a line, at right angles to itself, has two dimensions, length and breadth: a solid, created by the movement of a surface at right angles to itself, has three dimensions, length, breadth and thickness. [Page 164]

A tesseract is a hypothetical object, created by the movement of a solid, in a new direction at right angles to itself, having four dimensions, length, breadth, thickness and another, at right angles to these three, but incapable of being represented in our world of three dimensions.

Many of the properties of a tesseract can be deduced, according to the following table:—

properties of a tesseract Points Lines Surfaces Solids
A Point has 1      
A Line has 2 1    
A Four-sided surface has 4 4 1  
A Cube has 8 12 6 1
A Tesseract has 16 32 24 8

The tesseract, as described by C. H. Hinton, is stated by C. W. Leadbeater to be a reality, being quite a familiar figure on the astral plane. In Some Occult Experiences by J. Van Manen, an attempt is made to represent a 4-dimensional globe graphically.

There is a close and suggestive parallel between phenomena which could be produced by means of a three-dimensional object in a hypothetical world of two dimensions inhabited by a being conscious only of two dimensions, and many astral phenomena as they appear to us living in the physical or three-dimensional world. Thus:

(1) Objects, by being lifted through the third dimension, could be made to appear in or disappear from the two-dimensional world at will.

(2) An object completely surrounded by a line could be lifted out of the enclosed space through the third dimension.

(3) By bending a two-dimensional world, represented by a sheet of paper, two distant points could be brought together, or even made to coincide, thus destroying the two-dimensional conception of distance.

(4) A right-handed object could be turned over through the third dimension and made to re-appear as a left-handed object.

(5) By looking down, from the third dimension, on to a two-dimensional object, every point of the [Page 165]
latter could be seen at once, and free from the distortion of perspective.

To a being limited to a conception of two dimensions, the above would appear “ miraculous”, and completely incomprehensible.

It is curious that precisely similar tricks can be and are constantly being played upon us, as is well known to spiritualists: (1) entities and objects appear and disappear: (2) “ apports” of articles from great distances are made: (3) articles are removed from closed boxes: (4) space appears to be practically annihilated; (5) an object can be reversed, i.e., a right hand turned into a left hand: (6) all parts of an object, e.g., of a cube, are seen simultaneously and free from all distortion of perspective: similarly the whole of the matter of a closed book can be seen at once.

The explanation of the welling-up of force, e.g., in Chakrams, apparently from nowhere, is of course that it comes from the fourth dimension.

A liquid, poured on to a surface, tends to spread itself out in two dimensions, becoming very thin in the third dimension. Similarly a gas tends to spread itself in three dimensions, and it may be that in so doing it becomes smaller in the fourth dimension: i.e., the density of a gas may be a measure of its relative thickness in the fourth dimension.

It is clear that there is no need to stop at four dimensions: for all we know, there may be infinite dimensions of space. At any rate, it seems certain that the astral world is four-dimensional, the mental five-dimensional, and the buddhic six-dimensional.

It should be clear that if there are, say, seven dimensions at all, there are seven dimensions always and everywhere: i.e., there is no such thing as a third or fourth-dimensional being. The apparent difference is due to the limited power of perception of the entity concerned, not to any change in the objects perceived. This idea is very well worked out in Tertium Organum by Ouspensky. [Page 166]

Nevertheless a man may develop astral consciousness and still be unable to perceive or appreciate the fourth dimension. In fact it is certain that the average man does not perceive the fourth dimension at all when he enters the astral plane. He realises it only as a certain blurring, and most men go through their astral lives without discovering the reality of the fourth dimension in the matter surrounding them.

Entities, such as nature-spirits, which belong to the astral plane, have by nature the faculty of seeing the four-dimensional aspect of all objects, but even they do not see them perfectly, since they perceive only the astral matter in them and not the physical, just as we perceive the physical and not the astral.

The passage of an object through another does not raise the question of the fourth dimension, but may be brought about by disintegration — a purely three-dimensional method.

Time is not in reality the fourth dimension at all: yet to regard the problem from the point of view of time is some slight, help towards understanding it. The passage of a cone through a sheet of paper would appear to an entity living on the sheet of paper as a circle altering in size: the entity would of course be incapable of perceiving all the stages of the circle as existing together as parts of one cone. Similarly for us the growth of a solid object viewed from the buddhic plane corresponds to the view of the cone as a whole, and thus throws some light on our own delusion of past, present and future, and on the faculty of prevision.

The transcendental view of time is very well treated in C. H. Hinton's story Stella, which is included in Scientific Romances, Vol. II. There are also two interesting references to this conception in The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, page 69, and Vol. II, page 466.

It is an interesting and significant observation that geometry as we have it now is but a fragment, an exoteric preparation for the esoteric reality. Having lost the true sense of space, the first step towards that knowledge is the cognition of the fourth dimension. [Page 167]

We may conceive the Monad at the beginning of its evolution to be able to move and to see in infinite dimensions, one of these being cut off at each downward step, until for the physical brain-consciousness only three are left. Thus by involution into matter we are cut off from the knowledge of all but a minute part of the worlds which surround us, and even what is left is but imperfectly seen.

With four-dimensional sight it may be observed that the planets which are isolated in our three-dimensions are four-dimensionally joined, these globes being in fact the points of petals which are part of one great flower: hence the Hindu conception of the solar system as a lotus.

There is also, viâ a higher dimension, a direct connection between the heart of the sun and the centre of the earth, so that elements appear in the earth without passing through what we call the surface.

A study of the fourth dimension seems to lead the way direct to mysticism. Thus C. H. Hinton constantly uses the phrase “casting out the self”, pointing out that in order to appreciate a solid four-dimensionally it is necessary to regard it not from any one point of view but from all points of view simultaneously: i.e., the “self ” or particular, isolated point of view must be transcended and replaced by the general and unselfish view.

One is also reminded of the famous saying of St. Paul (Ephesians iii, 17-18): “That ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth and height.” [Page 168]



To enumerate and describe every kind of astral entity would be a task as formidable as that of enumerating and describing every kind of physical entity. All we can attempt here is to tabulate the chief classes and give a very brief description of each.

Non-Human  Artificial 
Physically Alive Physically Dead
1- Ordinary Person 1- Ordinary Person 1-Elemental Essence 1- Elementals formed unconsciously
2- Psychic 2-Shade 2-Astral Bodies of Animals 2-Elementals formed consciously
3-Adept or his pupil 3-Shell 3-Nature-Spirits 3-Human Artificials
4- Black Magician or his pupil 4-Vitalised Shell 4-Devas  
  5-Suicide and Victim of Sudden Death    
  6-Vampire and Werewolf    
  7-Black Magician or his pupil    
  8-Pupil awaiting Reincarnation    

[Page 169] I
n order to make the classification quite complete, it is necessary to state that, in addition to the above, very high Adepts from other planets of the solar system, and even more august Visitors from a still greater distance, occasionally appear, but although it is possible, it is almost inconceivable, that such Beings would ever manifest themselves on a plane as low as the astral. If they wished to do so they would create a temporary body of astral matter of this planet.

Secondly, there are also two other great evolutions evolving on this planet, though it appears not to be intended that they or man should ordinarily be conscious of each other. If we did come into contact with them it would probably be physically, their connection with our astral plane being very slight. The only possibility of their appearance depends upon an extremely improbable accident in ceremonial magic, which only a few of the most advanced sorcerers know how to perform: nevertheless this has actually happened at least once.

THE HUMAN CLASS, (a) Physically Alive.

1. The Ordinary Person. — This class consists of persons, whose physical bodies are asleep, and who float about on the astral plane, in various degrees of consciousness, as already fully described in Chapter 9 on Sleep Life.

2. The Psychic. — A psychically-developed person will usually be perfectly conscious when out of the physical body, but, for want of proper training, he is liable to be deceived as to what he sees. Often he may be able to range through all the astral sub-planes, but sometimes he is especially attracted to some one sub-plane, and rarely travels beyond its influences. His recollection of what he has seen may of course vary from perfect clearness to utter distortion or black oblivion. As he is assumed not to be under the guidance of a Master, he will appear always in his astral body, since he does not know how to function in his mental vehicle.

3- The Adept and His pupils. — This class usually [Page 170] employs, not the astral body, but the mind body, which is composed of matter of the four lower levels of the mental plane. The advantage of this vehicle is that it permits of instant passage from the mental to the astral and back, and also allows of the use at all times of the greater power and keener sense of its own plane.

The mind body not being visible to astral sight, the pupil who works in it learns to gather round himself a temporary veil of astral matter, when he wishes to become perceptible to astral entities. Such a vehicle, though an exact reproduction of the man in appearance, contains none of the matter of his own astral body, but corresponds to it in the same way as a materialisation corresponds to a physical body.

At an earlier stage of his development, the pupil may be found functioning in his astral body like any one else: but, whichever vehicle he is employing, a pupil under a competent teacher is always fully conscious and can function easily upon all the sub-planes.

4. The Black Magician and his pupils.—This class corresponds somewhat to that of the Adept and His pupils, except that the development has been for evil instead of good, the powers acquired being used for selfish instead of for altruistic purposes. Among its lower ranks are negroes who practise the rites of the Obeah and Voodoo schools, and the medicine-men of savage tribes. Higher in intellect, and therefore more blameworthy, are the Tibetan black magicians.

THE HUMAN CLASS. (B) Physically Dead.

1. The Ordinary Person after Death.—This class, obviously a very large one, consists of all grades of persons, in varying conditions of consciousness, as already fully described in Chapters 12I to 15 on After-Death Life.

2. The Shade.—In Chapter 23 we shall see that when the astral life of a person is over, he dies on the astral plane and leaves behind him his disintegrating astral body, precisely as when he dies physically he leaves behind him a decaying physical corpse. [Page 171]

In most cases the higher ego is unable to withdraw from his lower principles the whole of his manasic {mental) principle: consequently, a portion of his lower mental matter remains entangled with the astral corpse. The portion of mental matter thus remaining behind consists of the grosser kinds of each sub-plane, which the astral body has succeeded in wrenching from the mental body.

This astral corpse, known as a Shade, is an entity which is not in any sense the real individual at all: nevertheless it bears his exact personal appearance, possesses his memory, and all his little idiosyncrasies. It may therefore very readily be mistaken for him, as indeed it frequently is at séances. It is not conscious of any act of impersonation, for as far as its intellect goes it must necessarily suppose itself to be the individual: it is in reality merely a soulless bundle of all his lowest qualities.

The length of life of a shade varies according to the amount of the lower mental matter which animates it: but as this is steadily fading out, its intellect is a diminishing quantity, though it may possess a great deal of a certain sort of animal cunning, and even quite towards the end of its career it is still able to communicate by borrowing temporary intelligence from the medium. From its very nature it is exceedingly liable to be swayed by all kinds of evil influences, and, being separated from its higher ego, it has nothing in its constitution capable of responding to good ones. It therefore lends itself readily to various minor purposes of some of the baser sort of black magicians. The mental matter it possesses gradually disintegrates and returns to the general matter of its own plane.

3. The Shell.—A shell is a man's astral corpse in the later stages of its disintegration, every particle of mind having left it. It is consequently without any sort of consciousness or intelligence, and drifts passively about upon the astral currents. Even yet it may be galvanised for a few moments into a ghastly burlesque of life if it happens to come within reach of a medium's [Page 172] aura. Under such circumstances it will still exactly resemble its departed personality in appearance and may even reproduce to some extent his familiar expressions or handwriting.

It has also the quality of being still blindly responsive to such vibrations, usually of the lowest order, as were frequently set up in it during its last stage of existence as a shade.

4. The Vitalised Shell.—This entity is not, strictly speaking, human: nevertheless, it is classified here because its outer vesture, the passive, senseless shell, was once an appanage of humanity. Such life, intelligence, desire, and will as it may possess are those of the artificial elemental (see page 45) animating it, this elemental being itself a creation of man's evil thought.

A vitalised shell is always malevolent: it is a true tempting demon, whose evil influence is limited only by the extent of its power. Like the shade, it is frequently used in Voodoo and Obeah forms of magic. It is referred to by some writers as an “elementary”.

5. The Suicide and Victim of Sudden Death.—These have already been described in Chapter 15 on After-Death Life. It may be noted that this class, as well as Shades and Vitalised Shells, are what may be called minor vampires, because when they have an opportunity they prolong their existence by draining away the vitality from human beings whom they are able to influence.

6. The Vampire and Werewolf.—These two classes are today extremely rare; examples are occasionally found, chiefly in countries where there is a considerable strain of Fourth Race blood, such as Russia or Hungary.

It is just possible for a man to live such a degraded, selfish and brutal life that the whole of the lower mind becomes immeshed in his desires and finally separates from the higher ego. This is possible only where every gleam of unselfishness or spirituality has been stifled, and where there is no redeeming feature whatever.

Such a lost entity very soon after death finds himself unable to stay in the astral world, and is irresistibly [Page 173] drawn in full consciousness into “his own place”, the mysterious eighth sphere, there slowly to disintegrate after experiences best left undescribed. If, however, he perishes by suicide or sudden death, he may under certain circumstances, especially if he knows something of black magic, hold himself back from that fate by the ghastly existence of a vampire.

Since the eighth sphere cannot claim him until after the death of the body, he preserves it in a kind of cataleptic trance by transfusing into it blood drawn from other human beings by his semi-materialised astral body, thus postponing his final destiny by the commission of wholesale murder. The most effective remedy in such a case, as popular “superstition” rightly supposes, is to cremate the body, thus depriving the entity of his point d'appui.

When the grave is opened, the body usually appears quite fresh and healthy, and the coffin is not unusually filled with blood. Cremation obviously makes this sort of vampirism impossible.

The Werewolf can first manifest only during a man's physical life, and it invariably implies some knowledge of magical arts — sufficient at any rate to enable him to project the astral body.

When a perfectly cruel and brutal man does this, under certain circumstances the astral body may be seized upon by other astral entities and materialised, not into the human form, but into that of some wild animal, usually the wolf. In that condition it will range the surrounding country, killing other animals, and even human beings, thus satisfying not only its own craving for blood, but also that of the fiends who drive it on.

In this case, as so often with ordinary materialisations, a wound inflicted upon the astral form will be reproduced upon the human physical body by the curious phenomenon of repercussion (see page 242). But after the death of the physical body, the astral body, which will probably continue to appear in the same form, will be less vulnerable. [Page 174]

It will then, however, be also less dangerous, as unless it can find a suitable medium, it will be unable to materialise fully. In such manifestations, there is probably a great deal of the matter of the etheric double, and perhaps even some of liquid and gaseous constituents of the physical body, as in the case of some materialisations. In both cases this fluidic body seems able to pass to much greater distances from the physical than is otherwise possible, so far as is known, for a vehicle containing etheric matter.

The manifestations of both vampires and werewolves are usually restricted to the immediate neighbourhood of their physical bodies.

7. The Black Magician and his Pupil.—This class corresponds, mutatis mutandis, to the pupil awaiting reincarnation, but in this case the man is defying the natural process of evolution by maintaining himself in astral life by magical arts—sometimes of the most horrible nature.

It is considered undesirable to enumerate or describe the various sub-divisions of this class, as an occult student wishes only to avoid them. All these entities, who prolong their life thus on the astral plane beyond its natural limit, do so at the expense of others and by the absorption of their life in some form or another.

8. The Pupil awaiting Reincarnation.—This is also at present a rare class. A pupil who has decided not to “take his devachan”, i.e., not to pass into the heaven-world, but to continue to work on the physical plane, is sometimes, by permission only of a very high authority, allowed to do so, a suitable reincarnation being arranged for him by his Master. Even when permission is granted, it is said that the pupil must confine himself strictly to the astral plane while the matter is being arranged, because if he touched the mental plane even for a moment he might be swept as by an irresistible current into the line of normal evolution again and so pass into the heaven-world.

Occasionally, though rarely, the pupil may be placed directly in an adult body whose previous tenant [Page 175] has no further use for it: but it is seldom that a suitable body is available.

Meanwhile the pupil is of course fully conscious on the astral plane and able to go on with the work given to him by his Master, even more effectively than when hampered by a physical body.

9. The Nirmânakaya.—It is very rarely indeed that a being so exalted as a Nirmânakaya manifests himself on the astral plane. A Nirmânakaya is one who, having won the right to untold ages of rest in bliss unspeakable, yet has chosen to remain within touch of earth, suspended as it were between this world and Nirvana, in order to generate streams of spiritual force which may be employed for the helping of evolution. If He wished to appear on the astral plane he would probably create for himself a temporary astral body from the atomic matter of the plane. This is possible because a Nirmânakaya retains His causal body, and also the permanent atoms which He has carried all through His evolution, so that at any moment He can materialise round them mental, astral or physical bodies, if He so desires. [Page 176]



I. Elemental Essence.—The word “elemental” has been used by various writers to mean many different kinds of entities. It is here employed to denote, during certain stages of its existence, monadic essence, which in its turn may be denned as the outpouring of spirit or divine force into matter.

It is most important that the student should realise that the evolution of this elemental essence is taking place on the downward curve of the arc, as it is often called: i.e., it is progressing towards the complete entanglement in matter which we see in the mineral kingdom, instead of away from it; consequently for it progress means descent into matter instead of ascent towards higher planes.

Before the “outpouring” arrives at the stage of individualisation at which it ensouls man, it has already passed through and ensouled six earlier phases of evolution, viz., the first elemental kingdom (on the higher mental plane), the second elemental kingdom (on the lower mental plane), the third elemental kingdom (on the astral plane), the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms. It has sometimes been called the animal, vegetable or mineral monad, though this is distinctly misleading, as long before it arrives at any of these kingdoms it has become not one but many monads.

We are here dealing, of course, only with the astral elemental essence. This essence consists of the divine outpouring which has already veiled itself in matter down to the atomic level of the mental plane, and then plunged down directly into the astral plane, aggregating round itself a body of atomic astral matter [Page 177]
Such a combination is the elemental essence of the astral plane, belonging to the third elemental kingdom, the one immediately preceding the mineral.

In the course of its 2,401 differentiations on the astral plane, it draws to itself many and various combinations of the matter of the various sub-planes. Nevertheless these are only temporary, and it still remains essentially one kingdom.

Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as an elemental in connection with the group we are considering. What we find is a vast store of elemental essence, wonderfully sensitive to the most fleeting human thought, responding with inconceivable delicacy, in an infinitesimal fraction of a second, to a vibration set up in it by an entirely unconscious exercise of human will or desire.

But the moment that by the influence of such thought or will it is moulded into a living force, it becomes an elemental, and belongs to the “ artificial” class, to which we shall come in our next chapter. Even then its separate existence is usually evanescent, for as soon as its impulse has worked itself out, it sinks back into the undifferentiated mass of elemental essence from which it came.

A visitor to the astral world will inevitably be impressed by the protean forms of the ceaseless tide of elemental essence, ever swirling around him, menacing often, yet always retiring before a determined effort of the will; and he will marvel at the enormous army of entities temporarily called out of this ocean into separate existence by the thoughts and feelings of man, whether good or evil.

Broadly, the elemental essence may be classified according to the kind of matter it inhabits: i.e., solid, liquid, gaseous, etc. These are the “elementals” of the mediaeval alchemists. They held, correctly, that an “elemental”, i.e., a portion of the appropriate living elemental essence, inhered in each “element”, or constituent part, of every physical substance.

Each of these seven main classes of elemental [Page 178] essence may also be sub-divided into seven sub-divisions, making 49 sub-divisions.

In addition to, and quite separate from, these horizontal divisions, there are also seven perfectly distinct types of elemental essence, the difference between them having nothing to do with degree of materiality, but rather with character and affinities. The student will be familiar with this classification as the “ perpendicular” one, having to do with the seven “rays”.

There are also seven sub-divisions in each ray-type, making 49 perpendicular sub-divisions: The total number of kinds of elemental essence is thus 49x49 or 2,401.

The perpendicular division is clearly far more permanent and fundamental than the horizontal division: for the elemental essence in the slow course of evolution passes through the various horizontal classes in succession, but remains in its own perpendicular sub-division all the way through.

When any portion of the elemental essence remains for a few moments entirely unaffected by any outside influence — a condition hardly ever realised — it has no definite form of its own: but on the slightest disturbance it flashes into a bewildering confusion of restless, ever-changing shapes, which form, rush about, and disappear with the rapidity of the bubbles on the surface of boiling water.

These evanescent shapes, though generally those of living creatures of some sort, human or otherwise, no more express the existence of separate entities in the essence than do the equally changeful and multiform waves raised in a few moments on a previously smooth lake by a sudden squall. They seem to be mere reflections from the vast storehouse of the astral light, yet they have usually a certain appropriateness to the character of the thought-stream which calls them into existence, though nearly always with some grotesque distortion, some terrifying or unpleasant aspect about them. [Page 179]

When the elemental essence is thrown into shapes appropriate to the stream of half-conscious, involuntary thoughts which the majority of men allow to flow idly through their brains, the intelligence which selects the appropriate shape is clearly not derived from the mind of the thinker: neither can it derive from the elemental essence itself, for this belongs to a kingdom further from individualisation even than the mineral, entirely devoid of awakened mental power.

Nevertheless, the essence possesses a marvellous adaptability which often seems to come very near to intelligence: it is no doubt this property that caused elementals to be spoken of in early books as “the semi-intelligent creatures of the astral light”.

The elemental kingdoms proper do not admit of such conceptions as good or evil. Nevertheless there is a sort of bias or tendency permeating nearly all their sub-divisions which renders them hostile rather than friendly towards man. Hence the usual experience of the neophyte on the astral plane, where vast hosts of protean spectres advance threateningly upon him, but always retire or dissipate harmlessly when boldly faced. As stated by mediaeval writers, this bias or tendency is due entirely to man's own fault, and is caused by his . indifference to, and want of sympathy with, other living beings. In the “golden age” of the past it was not so, any more than it will be so in the future when, owing to the changed attitude of man, both the elemental essence and also the animal kingdom will once again become docile and helpful to man instead of the reverse.

It is thus clear that the elemental kingdom as a whole is very much what the collective thought of humanity makes it.

There are many uses to which the forces inherent. in the manifold varieties of the elemental essence can be put by one trained in their management. The vast majority of magical ceremonies depend almost entirely upon its manipulation, either directly by the will of the magician, or by some more definite astral entity evoked by him for the purpose. [Page 180]

By its means nearly all the physical phenomena of the séance room are produced, and it is also the agent in most cases of stone-throwing or bell-ringing in haunted houses, these latter being the results of blundering efforts to attract attention made by some earth-bound human entity, or by the mere mischievous pranks of some of the minor nature-spirits belonging to our third class (see p. 181). But the “elemental” must never be thought of as a prime mover: it is simply a latent force, which needs an external power to set it in motion.

2. The Astral Bodies of Animals.—This is an extremely large class, yet it does not occupy a particularly important position on the astral plane, since its members usually stay there but a very short time. The vast majority of animals have not as yet permanently individualised, and when one of them dies, the monadic essence which has been manifesting through it flows back again into the group-soul whence it came, bearing with it such advancement or experience as has been attained during earth life. It is not, however, able to do this immediately; the astral body of the animal rearranges itself just as in man's case, and the animal has a real existence on the astral plane, the length of which, though never great, varies according to the intelligence which it has developed. In most cases it does not seem to be more than dreamily conscious, but appears perfectly happy.

The comparatively few domestic animals who have already attained individuality, and will therefore be re-born no more as animals in this world, have a much longer and more vivid life on the astral plane than their less advanced fellows.

Such an individualised animal usually remains near his earthly home and in close touch with his especial friend and protector. This period will be followed by a still happier period of what has been called dozing consciousness, which will last until in some future world the human form is assumed. During all that time he is in a condition analogous to that of a human [Page 181] being in the heaven-world, though at a somewhat lower level.

One interesting sub-division of this class consists of the astral bodies of those anthropoid apes mentioned in The Secret Doctrine (Vol. I, p. 184) who are already individualised, and will be ready to take human incarnation in the next round, or perhaps some of them even sooner.

In “civilised” countries these animal astral bodies add much to the general feeling of hostility on the astral plane, for the organised butchery of animals in slaughter-houses and for “ sport ” sends millions into the astral world, full of horror, terror and shrinking from man. Of late years these feelings have been much intensified by the practice of vivisection.

3. Nature-Spirits of all Kinds.—This class is so large and so varied that it is possible here to give only some idea of the characteristics common to all of them.

The nature-spirits belong to an evolution quite distinct from our own: they neither have been nor ever will be members of a humanity such as ours. Their only connection with us is that we temporarily occupy the same planet. They appear to correspond to the animals of a higher evolution. They are divided into seven great classes, inhabiting the same seven states of matter permeated by the corresponding varieties of elemental essence. Thus, there are nature- spirits of the earth, water, air, fire (or ether) — definite, intelligent astral entities residing and functioning in each of those media.

Only the members of the air class normally reside in the astral world, but their numbers are so prodigious that they are everywhere present in it.

In mediaeval literature earth-spirits are often called gnomes, water-spirits undines, air-spirits sylphs, and ether-spirits salamanders. In popular language they have been variously called fairies, pixies, elves, brownies, peris, djinns, trolls, satyrs, fauns, kobolds, imps, goblins, good people, etc.

Their forms are many and various, but most [Page 182] frequently human in shape and somewhat diminutive in size. Like almost all astral entities they are able to assume any appearance at will, though they undoubtedly have favourite forms which they wear when they have no special object in taking any other. Usually they are invisible to physical sight, but they have the power of making themselves visible by materialisation when they wish to be seen.

At the head of each of these classes is a great Being, the directing and guiding intelligence of the whole department of nature which is administered and energised by the class of entities under his control. These are known by the Hindus as (1) Indra, lord of the Akâsha, or ether: (2) Agni, lord of fire: (3) Pavana, lord of air: (4) Varuna, lord of water: (5) Kshiti, lord of earth.

The vast kingdom of nature-spirits, as stated above, is in the main an astral kingdom, though a large section of it appertains to the etheric levels of the physical plane.

There is an immense number of sub-divisions or races among them, individuals varying in intelligence and disposition just as human beings do. Most of them avoid man altogether: his habits and emanations are distasteful to them, and the constant rush of astral currents set up by his restless, ill-regulated desires disturbs and annoys them. Occasionally, however, they will make friends with human beings and even help them.

The helpful attitude is rare: in most cases they exhibit either indifference or dislike, or take an impish delight in deceiving and tricking men. Many instances of this may be found in lonely mountainous districts and in the séance room.

They are greatly assisted in their tricks by the wonderful power of glamour they possess, so that their victims see and hear only what these fairies impress upon them, exactly as with mesmerised subjects. The nature-spirits, however, cannot dominate the human will, except in the case of very weak-minded people, or of those who allow terror to paralyse [Page 183] their will. They can deceive the senses only, and they have been known to cast their glamour over a considerable number of people at the same time. Some of the most wonderful feats of Indian jugglers are performed by invoking their aid in producing collective hallucination.

They seem usually to have little sense of responsibility, and the will is generally less developed than in the average man. They can, therefore, readily be dominated mesmerically and employed to carry out the will of the magician. They may be utilised for many purposes, and will carry out tasks within their power faithfully and surely.

They are also responsible, in certain mountainous regions, for throwing a glamour over a belated traveller, so that he sees, for example, houses and people where he knows none really exist. These delusions are frequently not merely momentary, but may be maintained for quite a considerable time, the man going through -quite a long series of imaginary but striking adventures and then suddenly finding that all his brilliant surroundings have vanished, and that he is left standing in a lonely valley or on a wind-swept plain.

In order to cultivate their acquaintance and friendship, a man must be free from physical emanations which they detest, such as those of meat, alcohol, tobacco, and general uncleanliness, as well as from lust, anger, envy, jealousy, avarice and depression, i.e., he must be clean and unobjectionable both physically and astrally. High and pure feelings which burn steadily and without wild surgings create an atmosphere in which nature-spirits delight to bathe. Almost all nature-spirits delight also in music: they may even enter a house in order to enjoy it, bathing in the sound-waves, pulsating and swaying in harmony with them.

To nature-spirits must also be attributed a large portion of what are called physical phenomena at spiritualistic séances: indeed, many a séance has been [Page 184] given entirely by these mischievous creatures. They are capable of answering questions, delivering pretended messages by raps or tilts, exhibiting “spirit” lights, the apport of objects from a distance, the reading of thoughts in the mind of any person present, the precipitation of writing or drawings, and even materialisations. They could, of course, also employ their power of glamour to supplement their other tricks.

They may not in the least mean to harm or deceive, but naively rejoice in their success in playing their part, and in the awe-stricken devotion and affection lavished upon them as “dear spirits” and “angel-helpers”. They share the delight of the sitters and feel themselves to be doing a good work in thus comforting the afflicted.

They will also sometimes masquerade in thought-forms that men have made, and think it a great joke to flourish horns, to lash a forked tail, and to breathe out flame as they rush about. Occasionally an impressionable child may be terrified by such appearances, but in fairness to the nature-spirit it must be remembered that he himself is incapable of fear and so does not understand the gravity of the result, probably thinking that the child's terror is simulated and a part of the game.

None of the nature-spirits possess a permanent reincarnating individuality. It seems, therefore, that in their evolution a much greater proportion of intelligence is developed before individualisation takes place.

The life periods of the various classes vary greatly, some being quite short, others much longer than our human lifetime. Their existence on the whole appears to be simple, joyous, irresponsible, such as a party of happy children might lead among exceptionally favourable physical surroundings.

There is no sex among nature-spirits, there is no disease, and there is no struggle for existence. They have keen affections and can form close and lasting friendships. Jealousy and anger are possible to them, but seem quickly to fade away before the overwhelming [Page 185] delight in all the operations of nature which is their most prominent characteristic.

Their bodies have no internal structure, so that they cannot be torn asunder or injured, neither has heat or cold any effect upon them. They appear to be entirely free from fear.

Though tricky and mischievous, they are rarely malicious, unless definitely provoked. As a body they distrust man, and generally resent the appearance of a newcomer on the astral plane, so that he usually meets them in an unpleasant or terrifying form. If, however, he declines to be frightened by them they soon accept him as a necessary evil and take no further notice of him, while some may even become friendly.

One of their keenest delights is to play with and to entertain in a hundred different ways children on the astral plane who are what we call “dead”.

Some of the less childlike and more dignified have sometimes been reverenced as wood-gods or local village gods. These would appreciate the flattery paid them, and would no doubt be willing to do any small service they could in return.

The Adept knows how to use the services of the nature-spirits, and frequently entrusts them with pieces of work, but the ordinary magician can do .so only by invocation, that is, by attracting their attention as a suppliant and making some kind of a bargain with them, or by evocation, that is, by compelling their obedience. Both methods are extremely undesirable: evocation is also exceedingly dangerous, as the operator would arouse a hostility which might prove fatal to him. No pupil of a Master would ever be permitted to attempt anything of the kind.

The highest type of nature-spirits consists of the sylphs or the spirits of the air, which have the astral body as their lowest vehicle. They have intelligence equal to that of the average man. The normal method for them to attain to individualisation is to associate with and love the members of the next stage above them — the astral angels. [Page 186]

A nature-spirit who desires experience of human life may obsess a person living in the physical world.

There have been times when a certain class of nature-spirits have physically materialised themselves and so entered into undesirable relationships with men and women. Perhaps from this fact have come the stories of fauns and satyrs, though these sometimes also refer to quite a different sub-human evolution.

In passing, it is worth noting that although the kingdom of the nature-spirits is radically dissimilar from the human — being without sex, fear, or the struggle for existence — yet the eventual result of its unfoldment is in every respect equal to that attained by humanity.

4. The Devas.—The beings called by the Hindus devas are elsewhere spoken of as angels, sons of God, etc. They belong to an evolution distinct from that of humanity, an evolution in which they may be regarded as a kingdom next above humanity.

In Oriental literature the word deva is also used vaguely to mean any kind of non-hun\an entity. It is used here in the restricted sense stated above.

5. They will never be human, because most of them are already beyond that stage, but there are some of them who have been human beings in the past.

The bodies of devas are more fluidic than those of men, the texture of the aura being, so to speak, looser; they are capable of far greater expansion and contraction, and have a certain fiery quality which is clearly distinguishable from that of an ordinary human being. The form inside the aura of a deva, which is nearly always a human form, is much less defined than in a man: the deva lives more in the circumference, more all over his aura than a man does. Devas usually appear as human beings of gigantic size. They have a colour language, which is probably not as definite as our speech, though in certain ways it may express more.

Devas are often near at hand and willing to expound and exemplify subjects along their own line to any human being sufficiently developed to appreciate them.[Page 187]

Though connected with the earth, the devas evolve through a grand system of seven chains, the whole of our seven worlds being as one world to them. Very few of our humanity have reached the level at which it is possible to join the deva evolution. Most of the recruits of the deva kingdom have been derived from other humanities in the solar system, some lower and some higher than ours.

The object of the deva evolution is to raise their foremost rank to a much higher level than that intended for humanity in the corresponding period.

The three lower great divisions of the devas are: (1) Kâmadevas, whose lowest body is the astral:
(2) Rûpadevas, whose lowest body is the lower mental: (3) Arûpadevas, whose lowest body is the higher mental or causal.

For Rûpadevas and Arûpadevas to manifest on the astral plane is at least as rare as for an astral entity to materialise on the physical plane.

Above these classes are four other great divisions, and above and beyond the deva kingdom are the great hosts of the Planetary Spirits.

We are concerned here principally with the Kâmadevas. The general average among them is much higher than among us, for all that is definitely evil has long ago been eliminated from them. They differ widely in disposition, and a really spiritual man may well stand higher in evolution than some of them.

Their attention can be attracted by certain magical evocations, but the only human will which can dominate theirs is that of a certain high class of Adepts.

As a rule they seem scarcely conscious of our physical world, though occasionally one of them may render assistance, much as any of us would help an animal in trouble. They understand, however, that at the present stage, any interference with human affairs is likely to do far more harm than good.

It is desirable to mention here the four Devarâjas, though they do not strictly belong to any of our classes.
These four have passed through an evolution which [Page 188] is certainly not anything corresponding to our humanity.

They are spoken of as the Regents of the Earth, the Angels of the four Cardinal Points, or the Chatur Mahârâjas. They rule, not over devas, but over the four “ elements” of earth, water, air and fire, with their indwelling nature-spirits and essences. Other items of information concerning them are for convenience tabulated below:—

Name Appropriate Point of Compass Elemental Hosts Symbolical Colour
Dhritarâshtra East Gandharvas White
Virûdhaka South Kumbhandas Blue
Virûpaksha West Nagas Red
Vaishrâvana North Yakshas Gold

The Secret Doctrine mentions them as “winged globes and fiery wheels”, and in the Christian Bible Ezekiel attempts to describe them in very similar words. References to them are made in the symbology of every religion, and they are always held in the highest reverence as the protectors of mankind.

They are the agents of man's Karma during his earth life, and they thus play an extremely important part in human destiny. The great Karmic deities of the Kosmos, the Lipika, weigh the deeds of each personality when the final separation of the principles takes place at the end of its astral life, and give as it were the mould of an etheric double exactly suitable to its Karma for the man's next birth. But it is the Devarâjas, who, having command of the “elements” of which that etheric double must be composed, arrange their proportion so as to fulfil accurately the intention of the Lipika.

All through life they constantly counterbalance the changes introduced into man's condition by his own [Page 189] free will and that of those around him, so that Karma may be accurately and justly worked out. A learned dissertation on these beings will be found in The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, pp. 122-126. They are able to take human material forms at will, and cases are recorded where they have done so.

All the higher nature-spirits and hosts of artificial elementals act as their agents in their stupendous work: but all the threads are in their own hands and they assume the whole responsibility. They seldom manifest on the astral plane, but when they do they are certainly the most remarkable of its non-human inhabitants.

There must really be seven, not four, Devarâjas, but outside the circle of Initiation little is known and less may be said concerning the higher three. [Page 190]



THE artificial entities form the largest class and are also much the most important to man. They consist of an enormous inchoate mass of semi-intelligent entities, differing among themselves as human thoughts differ, and practically incapable of detailed classification and arrangement. Being entirely man's own creation, they are related to him by close karmic bonds, and their action upon him is direct and incessant.

1. Elementals formed Unconsciously. — The way in which these desire - and thought-forms are called into being has already been described in Chapter 7. The desire and thought of a man seize upon the plastic elemental essence and mould it instantly into a living being of appropriate form. The form is in no way under the control of its creator, but lives out a life of its own, the length of which is proportional to the intensity of the thought which created it, and which may be anything from a few minutes to many days. For further particulars the student is referred back to Chapter 7.

2. Elementals formed Consciously.—It is clear that elementals formed, consciously, by those who are acting deliberately and know precisely what they are doing, may be enormously more powerful than those formed unconsciously. Occultists of both white and dark schools frequently use artificial elementals in their work, and few tasks are beyond the powers of such creatures when scientifically prepared and directed with knowledge and skill. One who knows how to do so can maintain a connection with his elemental and guide it, so that it will act practically as though endowed with the full intelligence of its master. [Page 191]

It is unnecessary to repeat here descriptions of this class of elemental, which have already been given in Chapter 7.

3. Human Artificials.—This is a very peculiar class, containing but few individuals, but possessing an importance quite out of proportion to its numbers, owing to its intimate connection with the spiritualistic movement.

In order to explain its genesis it is necessary to go back to ancient Atlantis. Among the lodges for occult study, preliminary to Initiation, formed by Adepts of the Good Law, there is one which still observes the same old-world ritual, and teaches the same Atlantean tongue as a sacred and hidden language, as in the days of Atlantis.

The teachers in this lodge do not stand at the Adept level, and the lodge is not directly a part of the Brotherhood of the Himalayas, though there are some of the Himâlayan Adepts who were connected with it in former incarnations.

About the middle of the nineteenth century, the chiefs of this lodge, in despair at the rampant materialism of Europe and America, determined to combat it by novel methods, and to offer opportunities by which any reasonable man could acquire proof of a life apart from the physical body.

The movement thus set on foot grew into the vast fabric of modern spiritualism, numbering its adherents by millions. Whatever other results may have followed, it is unquestionable that by means of spiritualism vast numbers of people have acquired a belief in at any rate some kind of future life. This is a magnificent achievement, though some think that it has been attained at too great a cost.

The method adopted was to take some ordinary person after death, arouse him thoroughly upon the astral plane, instruct him to a certain extent in the powers and possibilities belonging to it, and then put him in charge of a spiritualistic circle. He in his turn “developed” other departed personalities along [Page 192] the same lines, they all acted upon those who sat at their séances, and “developed” them as mediums. The leaders of the movement no doubt occasionally manifested themselves in astral form at the circles, but in most cases they merely directed and guided as they considered necessary. There is little doubt that the movement increased so much that it soon got quite beyond their control; for many of the later developments, therefore, they can be held only indirectly responsible.

The intensification of the astral life of the “controls” who were put in charge of circles distinctly delayed their natural progress, and although it was thought that full compensation for such loss would result from the good karma of leading others to truth, it was soon found that it was impossible to make use of a “spirit-guide” for any length of time without doing him serious and permanent injury.

In some cases such “guides” were withdrawn, and others substituted for them. In others, however, it was considered undesirable to make such a change, and then a remarkable expedient was adopted which gave rise to the curious class of creatures we have called “human artificials”.

The higher principles of the original “guide” were allowed to pass on to their long-delayed evolution into the heaven-world, but the shade (see p. 170) which he left behind was taken possession of, sustained, and operated upon so that it might appear to the circle practically just as before.

At first this seems to have been done by members of the lodge, but eventually it was decided that the departed person who would have been appointed to succeed the late “spirit-guide” should still do so, but should take possession of the latter's shade or shell, and, in fact, simply wear his appearance. This is what is termed a “human artificial” entity.

In some cases more than one change seems to have been made without arousing suspicion, but, on the other hand, some investigators of spiritualism have [Page 193] observed that after a considerable time differences suddenly appeared in the manner and disposition of a “spirit”.

None of the members of the Himâlayan Brotherhood have ever undertaken the formation of an artificial entity of this sort, though they could not interfere with any one who thought it right to take such a course.

Apart from the deception involved, a weak point in the arrangement is that others besides the original lodge may adopt the plan, and there is nothing to prevent black magicians from supplying communicating spirits, as, indeed, they have been known to do. [Page 194]



THE term “spiritualism” is used nowadays to denote communication of many different kinds with the astral world by means of a medium.

The origin and history of the spiritualistic movement have already been described in Chapter 21.

The etheric mechanism which makes spiritualistic phenomena possible has been fully described in The Etheric Double, to which work the student is referred.

There remains now for us to consider the value, if any, of this method of communicating with the unseen world, and the nature of the sources from which the communications may come.

In the early days of the Theosophical Society, H. P. Blavatsky wrote with considerable vehemence on the subject of spiritualism, and laid great stress on the uncertainty of the whole thing, and the preponderance of personations over real appearances. There seems little doubt that these views have largely coloured and determined the unfavourable attitude which most members of the Theosophical Society take towards spiritualism as a whole.

C.W. Leadbeater, on the other hand, affirms that his own personal experience has been more favourable. He spent some years experimenting with spiritualism, and believes that he has himself repeatedly seen practically all the phenomena which may be read about in the literature of the subject.

In his experience, he found that a distinct majority of the apparitions were genuine. The messages they give are often uninteresting, and their religious teaching he describes as being usually “Christianity and water” : nevertheless, as far as [Page 195] it goes, it is liberal, and in advance of the bigoted orthodox position.

C.W. Leadbeater points out that Spiritualists and Theosophists have much important ground in common, e.g., (1) that life after death is an actual, vivid, ever-present certainty; and (2) that eternal progress and ultimate happiness, for every one, good and bad alike, is also a certainty. These two items are of such tremendous and paramount importance, constituting as they do so enormous an advance from the ordinary orthodox position, that it seems somewhat regrettable that Spiritualists and Theosophists cannot join hands on these broad issues and agree, for the present, to differ upon minor points, until at least the world at large is converted to that much of the truth. In this work there is ample room for the two bodies of seekers after truth.

Those who wish to see phenomena, and those who cannot believe anything without ocular demonstration, will naturally gravitate towards spiritualism. On the other hand, those who want more philosophy than spiritualism usually provides, will naturally turn to Theosophy. Both movements thus cater for the liberal and open-minded, but for quite different types of them. Meanwhile, harmony and agreement between the two movements seems desirable, in view of the great ends at stake.

It must be said to the credit of spiritualism that it has achieved its purpose to the extent of converting vast numbers of people from a belief in nothing in particular to a firm faith in at any rate some kind of future life. This, as we said in the last chapter, is undoubtedly a magnificent result, though there are those who think that it has been attained at too great a cost.

There is undoubtedly danger in spiritualism for emotional, nervous and easily influenced natures, and it is advisable not to carry the investigations too far, for reasons which by now must be apparent to the student. But there is no readier way of breaking [Page 196] down the unbelief in anything outside the physical plane than trying a few experiments, and it is perhaps worth while to run some risk in order to effect this.

C.W. Leadbeater fearlessly asserts that, in spite of the fraud and deception which undoubtedly have occurred in some instances, there are great truths behind spiritualism which may be discovered by anyone willing to devote the necessary time and patience to their investigation. There is, of course, a vast and growing literature on the subject.

Furthermore, good work, similar to that done by Invisible Helpers (see Chapter 28), has sometimes been done through the agency of a medium, or of some one present at a séance. Thus, though spiritualism has too often detained souls, who but for it would have attained speedy liberation, yet it has also furnished the means of escape to others, and thus opened up the path of advancement for them. There have been instances in which the deceased person has been able to appear, without the assistance of a medium, to his relatives and friends, and explain his wishes to them. But such cases are rare, and in most cases earth-bound souls can relieve themselves of their anxieties only by means of the services of a medium, or of a conscious “Invisible Helper”.

It is thus an error to look only at the dark side of spiritualism: it must not be forgotten that it has done an enormous amount of good in this kind of work, by giving to the dead an opportunity to arrange their affairs after a sudden and unexpected departure.

The student of these pages should not be surprised that amongst spiritualists are some who are bigoted and narrow, who know nothing, for example, of reincarnation: it is probable, in fact, that the majority of English and American spiritualists do not yet know of that fact, though there are schools of spiritualism which do teach it. We have already seen that when a man dies, he usually resorts to the company of those [Page 197] whom he has known on earth: he moves among exactly the same kind of people as during physical life. Hence such a man is little more likely to know or recognise the fact of reincarnation after death than before it. Most men are shut in from all new ideas by a host of prejudices: they carry those prejudices into the astral world with them, and are no more amenable to reason and common-sense there than in the physical world.

Of course a man who is really open-minded can learn a great deal on the astral plane: he may speedily acquaint himself with the whole of the Theosophical teaching, and there are dead men who do this. Hence it often happens that portions of that teaching are found among spirit-communications.

It must also be borne in mind that there is a higher spiritualism of which the public knows nothing, and which never publishes any account of its results. The best circles of all are strictly private, restricted to a small number of sitters. In such circles the same people meet over and over again, and no outsider is ever admitted to make any change in the magnetism. The conditions set up are thus singularly perfect, and the results obtained are often of the most surprising character. Often the so-called dead are just as much part of the daily life of the family as the living. The hidden side of such séances is magnificent: the thought-forms surrounding them are good, and calculated to raise the mental and spiritual level of the district.

At public séances an altogether lower class of dead people appear, because of the promiscuous jumble of magnetism.

One of the most serious objections to the general practice of spiritualism, is that in the ordinary man after death the consciousness is steadily rising from the lower part of the nature towards the higher: the ego, as we have repeatedly said, is steadily withdrawing himself away from the lower worlds: obviously, therefore, it cannot be helpful to his evolution that the lower part should be re-awakened from the natural and [Page 198] desirable unconsciousness into which it is passing, and dragged back into touch with earth in order to communicate through a medium.

It is thus a cruel kindness to draw back to the earth-sphere one whose lower manas still yearns after kâmic gratifications, because it delays his forward evolution and interrupts what should be an orderly progression. The period in kâmaloka is thus lengthened, the astral body is fed, and its hold on the ego is maintained; thus the freedom of the soul is deferred, “the immortal Swallow being still held by the birdlime of earth”.

Especially in cases of suicide or sudden death is it most undesirable to re-awaken Trishnâ, or the desire for sentient existence.

The peculiar danger of this will appear when it is recollected that since the ego is withdrawing into himself, he becomes less and less able to influence or guide the lower portion of his consciousness, which, nevertheless, until the separation is complete, has the power to generate karma, and under the circumstances is far more likely to add evil than good to its record.

Furthermore, people who have led an evil life and !' are filled with yearnings for the earth life they have left, and for the animal delights they can no longer directly taste, tend to gather round mediums or sensitives, endeavouring to utilise them for their own gratification. These are among the more dangerous of the forces so rashly confronted in their ignorance by the thoughtless and the curious.

A desperate astral entity may seize upon a sensitive sitter and obsess him, or he may even follow him home
and seize upon his wife or daughter. There have been many such cases, and usually it is almost impossible
to get rid of such an obsessing entity.

We have already seen that passionate sorrow and desires of friends on earth also tend to draw departed entities down to the earth-sphere again, thus often causing acute suffering to the deceased as well as interfering with the normal course of evolution.

Turning now to the kinds of entities who may [Page 199] communicate through a medium, we may classify them as follows:—
Deceased human beings on the astral plane.
Deceased human beings in devachan.
Vitalised shells.
The medium's ego.

As most of these have already been described in Chapter 14 on Astral Entities, little more need be said about them here.

It is theoretically possible for any deceased person on the astral plane to communicate through a medium, though this is far easier from the lower levels, becoming more and more difficult as the entity rises to the higher-sub-planes. Hence, other things being equal, it is natural to expect that a majority of the communications received at séances will be from the lower levels and therefore from relatively undeveloped entities.

The student will recollect (see page 138) that suicides, and other victims of sudden death, including executed criminals, having been cut off in the full flush of physical life, are especially likely to be drawn to a medium, in the hope of satisfying their Trishna, or thirst for life.

Consequently, the medium is the cause of developing in them a new set of Skandhas (see page 209), a new body with far worse tendencies and passions than the one they lost. This would be productive of untold evils for the ego, and cause him to be re-born into a far worse existence than before.

Communication with an entity in devachan, i.e., in the heaven-world, needs a little further explanation. Where a sensitive, or medium, is of a pure and lofty nature, his freed ego may rise to the devachanic plane and there contact the entity in devachan. The [Page 200] impression is often given that the entity from devachan has come to the medium, but the truth is the reverse of this: it is the ego of the medium who has risen to the level of the entity in devachan.

Owing to the peculiar conditions of the consciousness of entities in devachan (into which we cannot enter in this book), messages thus obtained cannot altogether be relied upon: at best the medium or sensitive can know, see and feel only what the particular entity in devachan knows, sees and feels. Hence, if generalisations are indulged in, there is much possibility of error, since each entity in devachan lives in his own particular department of the heaven-world.

In addition to this source of error, whilst the thoughts, knowledge and sentiments of the devachanic entity form the substance, it is likely that the medium's own personality and pre-existing ideas will govern the form of the communication.

A shade (see page 170) may frequently appear and communicate at séances; bearing the exact appearance of the departed entity, possessing his memory, idiosyncrasies, etc., it is often mistaken for the entity himself, though it is not itself conscious of any impersonation. It is in reality a “soulless bundle of the lowest qualities” of the entity.

A shell (see page 171) also exactly resembles the departed entity, though it is nothing more than the astral corpse of the entity, every particle of mind having left it. By coming within reach of a medium's aura it may be galvanised for a few moments into a burlesque of the real entity.

Such “spooks” are conscienceless, devoid of good impulses, tending towards disintegration, and consequently can work for evil only, whether we regard them as prolonging their vitality by vampirising at séances, or polluting the medium and sitters with astral connections of an altogether undesirable kind.

A vitalised shell (see page 172) may also communicate through a medium. As we have seen, it consists of an astral corpse animated by an artificial elemental, and [Page 201] is always malevolent. Obviously it constitutes a source of great danger at spiritualistic séances.

Suicides, shades and vitalised shells, being minor vampires, drain away vitality from human beings whom they can influence. Hence both medium and sitters are often weak and exhausted after a physical séance. A student of occultism is taught how to guard himself from their attempts, but without that knowledge it is difficult for one who puts himself in their way to avoid being laid more or less under contribution by them.

It is the use of shades and shells at séances which brands so many of spiritualistic communications with intellectual sterility. Their apparent intellectuality will give out only reproductions: the mark of non-originality will be present, there being no sign of new and independent thought.

Nature-Spirits. The part which these creatures so often play at séances has already been described on pages 182 et seq.

Many of the phenomena of the séance-room are clearly more rationally accounted for as the tricky vagaries of sub-human forces, than as the act of “spirits” who, while in the body, were certainly incapable of such inanities.

The medium's ego. If the medium be pure and earnest and striving after the light, such upward striving is met by a down-reaching of the higher nature, light from the higher streaming down and illuminating the lower consciousness. Then the lower mind is, for the time, united with its parent the higher mind, and transmits as much of the knowledge of the higher mind as it is able to retain. Thus some communications through a medium may come from the medium's own higher ego.

The class of entity drawn to séances depends of course very much on the type of medium. Mediums of low type inevitably attract eminently undesirable visitors, whose fading vitality is reinforced in the séance-room. Nor is this all: if at such séances there be present a man or woman of correspondingly low [Page 202] development, the spook will be attracted to that person and may attach itself to him or her, thus setting up currents between the astral body of the living person and the dying astral body of the dead person, and generating results of a deplorable kind.

An Adept or Master often communicates with His disciples, without using the ordinary methods of communication. If a medium were a pupil of a Master, it is possible that a message from the Master might “come through”, and be mistaken for a message from a more ordinary “spirit”.

A Nirmânakâya is a perfected man, who has cast aside his physical body but retains his other lower principles, remaining in touch with the earth for the sake of helping the evolution of mankind. These great entities can and do on rare occasions communicate through a medium, but only through one of a very pure and lofty nature. (See also page 175)

Unless a man has had very wide experience with mediumship, he would find it difficult to believe how many quite ordinary people on the astral plane are burning with the desire to pose as great world-teachers. Usually they are honest in their intentions, and really think they have teaching to give which will save the world. Having realised the worthlessness of merely worldly objects, they feel, quite rightly, that if they could impress upon mankind their own ideas the whole world would immediately become a very different place.

Having flattered the medium into believing that he or she is the sole channel for some exclusive and transcendent teaching, and having modestly disclaimed any special greatness for himself, one of these communicating entities is often imagined by the sitters to be at least an archangel, or even some more direct manifestation of the Deity. Unfortunately, however, it is usually forgotten by such an entity that when he was alive in the physical world, other people were making similar communications through various mediums, and that he paid not the slightest attention [Page 203] to them. He does not realise that others also, still immersed in the affairs of the world, will pay no more attention to him and will decline to be moved by his communications.

Sometimes such entities will assume distinguished names, such as George Washington, Julius Caesar, or the Archangel Michael, from the questionably pardonable motive that the teachings they give will so be more likely to be accepted than if they emanate from plain John Smith or Thomas Brown.

Sometimes also, such entities, seeing the minds of others full of reverence for the Masters, will personate these very Masters in order to command more ready acceptance for the ideas they wish to promulgate.

Also there are some who attempt to injure the work of the Master by assuming His form and so influencing His pupil. Although they might be able to produce an almost perfect physical appearance, it is quite impossible for them to imitate a Master's causal body, and consequently one with causal sight could not possibly be deceived by such an impersonation.

In a few instances the members of the lodge of occultists who originated the spiritualistic movement (see page 191) have themselves given valuable teachings on deeply interesting subjects, through a medium. But this has invariably been at strictly private family séances, never at public performances for which money has been paid.

The Voice of the Silence wisely enjoins: “Seek not thy Guru in these mayavic regions.” No teaching from a self-appointed preceptor on the astral plane should be blindly accepted: all communications and advice which comes thence should be received precisely as one would receive similar advice on the physical plane. Teaching should be taken for what it is worth, after examination by conscience and intellect.

A man is no more infallible because he happens to be dead than when he was physically alive. A man may spend many years on the astral plane and yet know no more than when he left the physical world.[Page 204]

Accordingly we should attach no more importance to communications from the astral world, or from any higher plane, than we should to a suggestion made on the physical plane.

A manifesting “spirit” is often exactly what it professes to be: but often also it is nothing of the kind. For the ordinary sitter there is no means of distinguishing the true from the false, since the resources of the astral plane can be used to delude persons on the physical plane to such an extent that no reliance can be placed even on what seems the most convincing proof. It is not for a moment denied that important communications have been made at séances by genuine entities: but it is claimed that it is practically impossible for an ordinary sitter to be quite certain that he is not being deceived in half a dozen different ways.

From, the above it will be seen how varied may be the sources from which communications from the astral world may be received. As said by H. P. Blavatsky: “The variety of the causes of phenomena is great, and we need to be an Adept, and actually look into and examine what transpires, in order to be able to explain in each case what really underlies it”.

To complete the statement, it may be said that what the average person can do on the astral plane after death he can do in physical life: communications may be as readily obtained by writing, in trance, or by utilising the developed and trained powers of the astral body, from embodied as from disembodied persons. It would therefore seem to be more prudent to develop within oneself the powers of one's own soul, instead of ignorantly plunging into dangerous experiments. In this manner knowledge may be safely accumulated and evolution accelerated. Man must learn that death has no real power over him: the key of the prison-house of the body is in his own hands, and he may learn how to use it if he wills.

From a careful weighing of all the evidence available, both for and against spiritualism, it would [Page 205] seem that, if employed with care and discretion, it may be justifiable, purely in order to break down materialism. Once this purpose is achieved, its use seems too beset with dangers, both to the living and the dead, to make it advisable, as a general rule, though in exceptional cases it may be practised with safety and benefit. [Page 206]



WE have now reached the end of the life-history of the astral body, and little remains to be said regarding its death and final dissolution.

The steady withdrawal of the ego, as we have seen, causes, in a time which varies within very wide limits, the particles of the astral body gradually to cease to function, this process taking place, in most cases, in layers arranged according to degree of density, the densest being on the outside.

The astral body thus slowly wears away and disintegrates as the consciousness is gradually withdrawn from it by the half-unconscious effort of the ego, and thus the man by degrees gets rid of whatever holds him back from the heaven-world.

During the stay on the astral plane, in kâmaloka, the mind, woven with the passions, emotions and desires, has purified them, and assimilated their pure part, and has absorbed into itself all that is fit for the higher ego, so that the remaining portion of kâma is a mere residue, from which the ego, the Immortal Triad of Atmâ-Buddhi-Manas (as it is often called), can readily free itself. Slowly the Triad or ego draws into itself the memories of the earth-life just ended, its loves, hopes, aspirations, etc., and prepares to pass out of kâmaloka into the blissful state of devachan, the “abode of the gods”, the “heaven-world”.

Into the history of the man when he has reached the heaven-world we cannot enter here, as it lies beyond the scope of this treatise: it is hoped, however, to deal with it in the third volume of this series.

For the moment, however, it may be said, in brief, that the period spent in devachan is the time for the [Page 207] assimilation of life experiences, the regaining of equilibrium, ere a new descent into incarnation is undertaken. It is thus the day that succeeds the night of earth-life, the subjective as contrasted with the objective period of manifestation.

When the man passes out of kâmaloka into devachan, he cannot carry thither with him thought-forms of an evil type; astral matter cannot exist on the devachanic level, and devachanic matter cannot answer to the coarse vibrations of evil passions and desires. Consequently all that the man can carry with him when he finally shakes off the remnants of his astral body will be the latent germs or tendencies which, when they can find nutriment or outlet, manifest as evil desires and passions in the astral world. But these he does take with him, and they lie latent throughout his devachanic life, in the astral permanent atom. At the end of the kâmalokic life, the golden life-web (see A Study in Consciousness, pages 91-93) withdraws from the astral body, leaving it to disintegrate, and enwraps the astral permanent atom, which then retreats within the causal body.

The final struggle with the desire-elemental (see pp. 6 & 108) takes place at the conclusion of the astral life, for the ego is then endeavouring to draw back into himself all that he put down into incarnation at the beginning of the life which has just ended. When he attempts to do this he is met with determined opposition from the desire-elemental, which he himself has created and fed.

In the case of all ordinary people, some of their mental matter has become so entangled with their astral matter that it is impossible for it to be entirely freed. The result of the struggle is therefore that some portion of the mental matter, and even of causal (higher mental) matter is retained in the astral body after the ego has completely broken away from it. If, on the other hand, a man has during life completely conquered his lower desires and succeeded in absolutely freeing the lower mind from desire, there is practically [Page 208]
no struggle, and the ego is able to withdraw not only all that he “invested” in that particular incarnation, but also all the “interest”, i.e., the experiences, faculties, etc., that have been acquired. There are also extreme cases where the ego loses both the “capital” invested and the “interest”, these being known as “lost-souls” or elementaries (see page 145).

The full treatment of the method in which the ego puts a portion of himself down into incarnation and then endeavours to withdraw it again, must clearly be reserved for the third and fourth volumes of this series, which will deal with the mental and causal bodies.

The exit from the astral body and the astral plane is thus a second death, the man leaving behind him an astral corpse which, in its turn, disintegrates, its materials being restored to the astral world, just as the materials of the physical body are returned to the physical world.

This astral corpse, and the various possibilities which may happen to it, have already been dealt with in Chapter 19 on Astral Entities, under the headings Shades (page 170), Shells (page 171), Vitalised Shells (page 172), etc. [Page 209]



AFTER the causes that carried the ego into devachan are exhausted, the experiences gathered having been wholly assimilated, the ego begins to feel again the thirst for sentient material life, that can be gratified only on the physical plane. That thirst is known by the Hindus as trishnâ.

It may be considered, first, as a desire to express himself: and second, as a desire to receive those impressions from without which alone enable him to feel himself alive. For this is the law of evolution.

Trishnâ appears to operate through kâma, which, for the individual as for the Cosmos, is the primary cause of reincarnation.

During the devachanic rest the ego has been free from all pain and sorrow, but the evil he did in his past life has been in a state, not of death, but of suspended animation. The seeds of past evil tendencies commence to germinate as soon as the new personality begins to form itself for the new incarnation. The ego has to take up the burden of the past, the germs or seeds coming over as the harvest of the past life being called by the Buddhists skandhas.

Kâma, with its army of skandhas, thus waits at the threshold of devachan, whence the ego re-emerges to assume a new incarnation. The skandhas consist of material qualities, sensations, abstract ideas, tendencies of mind, mental powers.

The process is brought about by the ego turning his attention, first to the mental unit, which immediately resumes its activity, and then to the astral permanent atom, into which he puts his will.

The tendencies, which we have seen are in a condition [Page 210] of suspended animation, are thrown outwards by the ego as he returns to re-birth, and draw around themselves, first, matter of the mental plane, and also elemental essence of the second great kingdom, these expressing exactly the mental development which the man had gained at the end of his last heaven-life. He thus begins in this respect exactly where he left off.

Next, he draws round himself matter from the astral world, and elemental essence of the third kingdom, thus obtaining the materials out of which his new astral body will be built, and causing to re-appear the appetites, emotions, and passions which he brought over from his past lives.

The astral matter is gathered by the ego descending to re-birth, not of course consciously, but automatically.

This material is, moreover, an exact reproduction of the matter in the man's astral body at the end of his
'' last astral life. The man thus resumes his life in each world just where he left it last time.

The student will recognise in the above a part of the workings of karmic law, into which we need not enter in this present volume. Each incarnation is inevitably, automatically, and justly linked with the preceding lives, so that the whole series forms a continuous, unbroken chain.

The astral matter thus drawn round the man is not yet formed into a definite astral body. It takes, in the first place, the shape of that ovoid which is the nearest expression that we can realise of the true shape of the causal body. As soon as the baby physical body is formed, the physical matter exerts a violent attraction for the astral matter, which previously was fairly evenly distributed over the ovoid, and so concentrates the great bulk of it within the periphery of the physical body.

As the physical body grows, the astral matter follows its every change, 99 per cent, of it being concentrated within the periphery of the physical body, and only about I per cent, filling the rest of the ovoid and constituting the aura, as we saw in an earlier chapter (see page 7). [Page 211]

The process of gathering matter round the astral nucleus sometimes takes place rapidly, and sometimes causes long delay; when it is completed the ego stands in the karmic vesture he has prepared for himself, ready to receive from the agents of the Lords of Karma the etheric double, into which, as into a mould, the new physical body will be built (see The Etheric Double, page 67).

The man's qualities are thus not at first in action: they are simply the germs of qualities, which have secured for themselves a possible field of manifestation in the matter of the new bodies. Whether they develop in this life into the same tendencies as in the last one will depend largely upon the encouragement, or otherwise, given to them by the surroundings of the child during his early years. Any one of them, good or bad, may be readily stimulated into activity by encouragement, or, on the other hand, may be starved out for lack of that encouragement. If stimulated, it becomes a more powerful factor in the man's life this time than it was in his previous existence; if starved out, it remains merely as an unfructified germ, which presently atrophies and dies out, and does not make its appearance in the succeeding incarnation at all.

The child cannot thus be said to have as yet a definite mind-body or a definite astral body, but he has around and within him the matter out of which these are to be built.

Thus, for example, suppose a man was a drunkard in his past life: in kâmaloka he would have burnt out the desire for drink and be definitely freed from it. But although the desire itself is dead, there still remains the same weakness of character which made it possible for him to be subjugated by it. In his next life his astral body will contain matter capable of giving expression to the same desire; but he is in no way bound to employ such matter in the same way as before. In the hands of careful and capable parents, in fact, being trained to regard such desires as evil, he would gain control over them, repress them as they [Page 212] appear, and thus the astral matter will remain unvivified and become atrophied from want of use. It will be recollected that the matter of the astral body is slowly but constantly wearing away and being replaced, precisely as is that of the physical body, and as atrophied matter disappears it will be replaced by matter of a more refined order. Thus are vices finally conquered and made virtually impossible for the future, the opposite virtue of self-control having been established.

During the first few years of the man's life the ego has but little hold over his vehicles, and he therefore looks to his parents to help him to obtain a firmer grasp and to provide him with suitable conditions.

It is impossible to exaggerate the plasticity of these unformed vehicles. Much as can be done with the physical body in its early years, as in the case of children trained as acrobats, for example, far more can be done with the astral and mental vehicles. They thrill in response to every vibration which they encounter, and are eagerly receptive of all influences, good or evil, emanating from those around them. Moreover, though in early youth they are so susceptible and so easily moulded, they soon set and stiffen and acquire habits which, once firmly established, can be altered only with great difficulty. Thus to a far larger extent than is realised by even the fondest parents, the child's future is under their control.

It is only the clairvoyant who knows how enormously and how rapidly child-characters would improve if only adult characters were better.

A very striking instance is recorded where the brutality of a teacher irreparably injured the bodies of a child so as to make it impossible for the child in this life to make the full progress that was hoped for it.

So vitally important is the early environment of a child that the life in which Adeptship is attained must have absolutely perfect surroundings in childhood.

In the case of lower-class monads with unusually strong astral bodies, who reincarnate after a very [Page 213]
short interval, it sometimes happens that the shade or shell left over from the last astral life still persists, and in that case it is likely to be attracted to the new personality. When that happens it brings with it strongly the old habits and modes of thought, and sometimes even the actual memory of that past life.

In the case of a man who has led such an evil life i that his astral and mental bodies are torn away from the ego after death, the ego, having no bodies in which to live in the astral and mental worlds, must quickly form new ones. When the new astral and mental bodies are formed, the affinity between them and the old ones, not yet disintegrated, asserts itself, and the old mental and astral bodies become the most terrible form of what is known as the “dweller on the threshold”.

In the extreme case of a man, returning to re-birth, who by vicious appetite or otherwise, has formed a very strong link with any type of animal, he may be linked by magnetic affinity to the astral body of the animal whose qualities he has encouraged, and be chained as a prisoner to the animal's physical body. Thus chained he cannot go onward to re-birth: he is conscious in the astral world, has his human faculties, but cannot control the brute body with which he is connected, nor express himself through that body on the physical plane. The animal organism is thus a jailor, rather than a vehicle. The animal soul is not ejected, but remains as the proper tenant and controller of its own body.

Such an imprisonment is not reincarnation, though it is easy to see that cases of this nature explain at least partially the belief often found in Oriental countries that man may under certain circumstances reincarnate in an animal body.

In cases where the ego is not degraded enough for absolute imprisonment, but in which the astral body is strongly animalised, it may pass on normally to human re-birth, but the animal characteristics will be largely reproduced in the physical body — as witness the [Page 214] “monsters” who in appearance are sometimes repulsively animal, pig-faced, dog-faced, etc. The suffering entailed on the conscious human entity, thus temporarily cut off from progress and from self-expression, is very great, though, of course, reformatory in its action. It is somewhat similar to that endured by other egos, who are linked to human bodies with unhealthy brains, i.e., idiots, lunatics, etc., though idiocy and lunacy are the results of other vices.

Insanity is often the result of cruelty, more especially when the cruelty is of a refined and intentional character.[Page 215]



THIS book will have been compiled in vain if the student has not become impressed with the necessity, first, of controlling the astral body: secondly, of gradually training it into a vehicle of consciousness, completely subservient to the will of the real man, the ego: and thirdly, in due time, of steadily developing and perfecting its various powers.

The average worldly person knows little and cares less about such matters: but to the student of occultism it is clearly of fundamental importance that he should attain full mastery over all his vehicles — physical, astral and mental. And although for purposes of analysis and study it is necessary to separate these three bodies and study them individually, yet, in practical life, it will be found that to a great extent the training of all of them can be carried on simultaneously, any power gained in one helping to some extent in the training of the other two.

We have already seen (page 64) the desirability of purifying the physical body, by means of food, drink, hygiene, etc., in order to make slightly less difficult the control of the astral body. The same principle applies with even greater force to the mental body, for it is in the last analysis only by the use of mind and will that the desires, emotions and passions of the astral body can be brought into perfect subjection.

For many temperaments, at least, a careful study of the psychology of emotion is of very great assistance, as it is clearly much easier to bring under control a force the genesis and nature of which is thoroughly understood.

For this purpose, the present writer very strongly recommends a thorough study of the principles laid [Page 216] down in that masterly treatise The Science of the Emotions, by Bhagavan Das. (An admirable epitome of this work has been written by Miss K. Browning, M.A., under the title An Epitome of the Science of the Emotions.) The main thesis may be very briefly set out as follows.

All manifested existence may be analysed into the Self, the Not-Self, and the Relationship between these two.
That Relationship may be divided into (1) Cognition (Gnyânam): (2) Desire (Ichchâ): (3) Action (Kriyâ). To know, to desire, and to endeavour or act — those three comprise the whole of conscious life.

Feeling or emotion is of two kinds — pleasurable or painful. Pleasure, fundamentally a sense of moreness, produces attraction, love (ragâ): pain, fundamentally a sense of lessness, produces repulsion, hate (dvesha).

From attraction proceed all love-emotions: from repulsion proceed all hate-emotions. All emotions arise from love or hate, or from both, in varying degrees of intensity.

The precise nature of a particular emotion is also determined by the relationship between the one who experiences the emotion and the object which is the occasion of the emotion. The one who experiences the emotion may be, so far as the circumstances connected with the particular emotion are concerned, (1) Greater than: (2) Equal to: or (3) Less than the object.

Pursuing this analysis, we arrive at the six possible types of emotion-elements given in column three of the table appended. Column four gives sub-divisions of the primary elements in varying degrees of intensity, the strongest being at the head and the weakest at the foot of each group.

All human emotions consist of one of these six emotion-elements, or, more frequently, of two or more of them combined together. The student must now be referred to the treatise mentioned above for a detailed elaboration of the fundamental principles set forth above. His labour will be amply rewarded.[Page 217]

Relation towards the object
Degrees of the Emotion
Love (for) Superior Reverence Worship
Equal Affection Affection
Inferior Benevolence Compassion
Hate (for) Superior Fear Horror
Equal Anger Hostility
Inferior Pride or Tyranny (a) Scorn
(a) The English language appears to possess no one word which accurately describes this emotion-element.

Another valuable line of study, for the student who is aiming at self-knowledge in order to attain self-mastery, is that of collective or crowd-consciousness. By far the best book, with which the present writer is acquainted, on this interesting subject is The Crowd in Peace and War, by Sir Martin Conway. [Page 218]

With wonderful lucidity and richness of illustration - Sir Martin demonstrates the following fundamental facts.

(1) The great majority of men are brought up in, and all their lives belong to, certain psychological “crowds”, i.e., groups of people who think, and above all, feel similarly. Such crowds are those of the home, friends and associates, schools and universities, professions, religious sects, political parties, schools of thought, nations, races, and so on. Even those who read the same newspapers or belong to the same club form a psychological “crowd”.

(2) Such crowds are in the main formed by, nourished on, and dominated by feeling or emotion — not by thought. A crowd has all the emotions, but no intellect: it can feel, but it cannot think. The opinions of crowds are seldom or never reached by reason, but are merely infectious passions which sweep through the whole body like an electric current, these frequently originating from a single brain. Once caught up in the crowd, the individual rapidly loses his power of individual thought and feeling, and becomes one with the crowd, sharing its life, its opinions, its attitudes, prejudices, and the like.

(3) Very few ever have the courage or the strength to break away from the various crowds to which they belong; the vast majority remain all their lives under the sway of the crowds which have absorbed them.

Our author then proceeds to enumerate and describe the various crowd virtues and to show that they differ from the virtues of the individual, being on the whole at a much lower and more primitive level.

Every crowd, being unable to lead itself, needs and finds a leader. Of such leaders there are three main types.

(a) The Crowd-Compeller. He is one who dominates and leads the crowd by imposing upon it his own ideas by the sheer force of his own personality. Examples of this type are Napoleon, Disraeli, Caesar, Charlemagne. [Page 219]

(6) The Crowd-Exponent. This type, totally distinct from the Crowd-Compeller, is one which feels by natural sensitiveness what the crowd feels, or is going to feel, and which expresses in clear and usually graphic language the emotions of the crowd, which on its own account is inarticulate. Such men seldom think out problems for themselves and then proclaim their gospel. Rather they wait for the emotions of the crowd to take form: then they plunge into the thick of the fray and say with eloquence, power and enthusiasm that which people about them are dimly and vaguely feeling. Examples of this type are very common, especially in the field of politics,

(c) The Crowd-Representative. Crowd leaders of this type are picturesque figureheads rather than individual forces. Typical examples are a constitutional king, a consul, an ambassador, a judge (at any rate in England). These men are merely the people, “public opinion”, personified: they speak with the voice of the people, act for them, and stand for them in the sight of the world. They must suppress or conceal their own individual opinions, and appear to feel as the public feels, to act in conformity with the public wishes and sentiments.

The above is the merest sketch of the leading principles enunciated in the extremely able book mentioned, and the student is urged to make a careful study of that work for himself. It will help him not only to appreciate more justly the forces by which “the public” is swayed, but also to assess at their true value many of his own beliefs, opinions and attitudes towards many questions of the day.

It is clearly of the utmost importance that, in all his feelings and thoughts, the student of occultism should act deliberately and consciously. The Greek saying Gnothi seauton, Know Thyself, is a fine piece of advice, for self-knowledge is absolutely necessary to any candidate for progress. The student should not allow himself to be swept off his feet by becoming; submerged in a collective emotion — or thought-form, [Page 220] which forms a kind of atmosphere through which every thing is seen and by which everything is coloured, and which so manifestly dominates and sways the many crowds amongst which he moves. It is no easy matter to stand against a strong popular bias, owing to the ceaseless beating upon us of the thought-forms and currents of thought which fill the atmosphere: yet the student of occultism must learn to do so.

He should, moreover, be able to recognise the various types of crowd-leaders and to refuse to allow himself to be dominated, persuaded or cajoled into accepting ideas or following lines of action unless he does so quite deliberately, and with all his own faculties alert.

The influence of psychological crowds and crowd-leaders in the world today, as well probably as in every age, is very great indeed, and the forces they wield subtle and far-reaching, so that the student who aims at self-mastery and who wishes to lead his own emotional and intellectual life, must be continuously on his guard against these insidious influences.

The present writer is of opinion that a study of The Science of the Emotions and The Crowd in Peace and War is an invaluable preliminary to the task of training and developing the astral body till it becomes a useful and obedient servant of the sovereign will of the ego.

One other line of study is also strongly urged upon the student, viz., that of the sub-conscious mind, today often called the “unconscious” For this purpose, as an introduction to the subject, The Law of Psychic Phenomena by T. J. Hudson, is recommended.

In studying this book, the student should recollect that it was written in 1892. In the light of present day knowledge it is not necessary to subscribe wholly to Hudson's analysis, classification, or terminology. Moreover, in the opinion of the present writer, Hudson builds a great deal too much on his premises, straining his theories far beyond breaking-point. Nevertheless, the book is still of great value, first as encouraging a healthy scientific scepticism towards accepting too readily plausible and glib explanations of many psychic [Page 221] phenomena, and secondly, in bringing home with great force the tremendous potentialities latent in the subconscious part of man's nature, which may be utilised by the careful and discreet student to considerable effect in bringing his own astral nature under control and, in general, purifying and building up his own character. There are, of course, hosts of other and more modern books which will also help towards this end. Briefly, Hudson states:—

(1) That the mentality of man is clearly divisible into two parts, each with its own separate powers and functions. These he calls the objective and the subjective minds.

(2) That the objective mind is that which takes cognisance of the objective world, using as its medium of observation the physical senses, and having as its highest function the reason.

(3) That the subjective mind takes cognisance of its environment by means independent of the physical senses. It is the seat of the emotions and the storehouse of memory. It performs its highest functions when the objective senses are in abeyance, e.g., in a state of hypnotism or somnambulism. Many of the other faculties attributed by Hudson to the subjective mind are clearly those of the astral body, e.g., the ability to travel to distant places, to read thoughts, etc.

Furthermore, whilst the objective mind is not controllable by “suggestion”. against reason, positive knowledge, or the evidence of the senses, the subjective mind is constantly amenable to the power of suggestion, whether from other people, or from the objective mind of its owner.

With the help of modern knowledge regarding our astral and mental bodies, and the nature and use of thought and emotion forms, the student will recognise here many interesting and independent confirmations of what he has learnt from Theosophical authorities, and, as already said, he will be better able to realise that virtually limitless powers latent in his own psychological [Page 222] make-up, which he may proceed to use along lines laid down by occultists of repute: such as that of meditation, for example. He will also, perhaps, realise rather more vividly than before the way in which kâma, or desire, and manas, or mind, are entangled, and how they may be disentangled, to the great benefit and strengthening of both.

It must ever be remembered that it is by thought that desire can be changed, and finally mastered. As mind learns to assert control, desire becomes transmuted into will, the governance then not being by external objects that attract or repel, but by the spirit of the man, the ego, the inner ruler.

We shall now return to our more specific “Theosophical” authorities, and proceed to consider certain other factors in the development and training of the astral body.

It is obvious that the student should aim at mastering and eliminating certain minor defects, such as emotional weaknesses or vices. In this task it is important to recollect that such a vice as irritability, for example, which has become a habit through repeated indulgence, is stored up, not in the ego as an inherent quality, but in the astral permanent atom (see page 207). However great the force that is there piled up, it is a scientific certainty that perseverance will in due time lead to victory. On the side of the ego, there is the force of his own will, and behind that the infinite force of the Logos Himself, because progress by means of evolution is His will. A grasp of the idea of unity thus gives the man an adequate motive for the undoubtedly hard, and at times distasteful, work of character-building. However great the struggle, the forces of infinity being on his side, he is bound ultimately to overcome the finite forces for evil which he has stored up in his past lives.

A man who seeks to kill out desire, in order to balance his karma perfectly and so obtain liberation for himself, may achieve his object. He cannot, however, escape from the law of evolution, and sooner or [Page 223] later he will be swept forward again into the stream by its resistless pressure, and so be forced into re-birth. Killing out desire is not the path of the true occultist.

Personal loves are not to be killed out, but are to be expanded till they become universal: loves are to be levelled up, not down. The failure to realise this, and the tremendous difficulty of the task, when realised, have led in some cases to the stifling of love instead of its growth. But overflowing love, not lovelessness, will save the world. The Mahâtmâ is the Ocean of Compassion: not an iceberg. To try to kill out love is the way of the left-hand path.

It is, however, necessary to kill out completely the lower and coarser desires; the remainder must be purified and transmuted into aspirations, and resolution. It is waste of force to desire or wish: the occultist wills instead. Will is a higher aspect of desire.

It has also been said that we should slay the “lunar form”, i.e., the astral body. This does not mean that all feelings and emotions should be destroyed, but rather that the astral body should be completely under control, that we should be able to slay the lunar form at will. As the man develops, he makes his will one with the will of the Logos, and the Logos wills evolution. Needless to say, such an at-one-ment ipso facto eliminates such desires as ambition, desire for progress, and the like.

The Voice of the Silence warns us that beneath each flower in the astral world, however beautiful it may be, lies coiled the serpent of desire. In the case of affection, for example, everything of a grasping nature must be altogether transcended: but high, pure and unselfish affection can never be transcended, since it is a characteristic of the Logos Himself, and is a necessary qualification for progress upon the Path which leads to the Masters and to Initiation. [Page 224]



THE possession of psychic powers does not necessarily involve high moral character, any more than does the possession of physical strength, neither are psychic powers in themselves a sign of great development in any other direction, e.g., that of intellect.

While, therefore, it is not true that the great psychic is necessarily a spiritual person, it is true, on the other hand, that a great spiritual person is inevitably psychic.

Psychic powers can be developed by anyone who will take the trouble, and a man may learn clairvoyance or mesmerism just as he may learn the piano, if he is willing to go through the necessary hard work.

Astral senses exist in all men, but are latent in most, and generally need to be artificially forced if they are to be used in the present stage of evolution. In a few they become active without any artificial impulse; in very many they can be artificially awakened and developed. The condition, in all cases, of the activity of the astral senses is the passivity of the physical, and the more complete the physical passivity the greater the possibility of astral activity.

Clairvoyance is often possessed by primitive peoples, or by ignorant and uncultured individuals of more advanced races. This is sometimes called the lower psychism, and is by no means the same thing as the faculty possessed by a properly trained and more advanced man, nor is it arrived at in the same way.

The occasional appearance of psychism in an undeveloped person is a kind of massive sensation vaguely belonging to the whole vehicle rather than an exact and definite perception coming through specialised organs. This was especially characteristic of the Atlantean [Page 225] (Fourth) Root Race. It works not through the astral Chakrams, but through the astral centres connected with the physical senses. These are not distinctively astral, although they are aggregations of astral matter in the astral body. They are of the nature of connecting bridges between the astral and physical planes, and are not developed astral senses in the proper sense of the term. “Second sight” belongs to this type of sensitiveness, and is often symbolical, the perceiver transmitting his knowledge in this curious symbolical way. To stimulate the centres which are bridges, instead of evolving the Chakrams, which are the astral organs, is a complete blunder. This lower psychism is also associated with the sympathetic nervous system, whereas the higher psychism is associated with the cerebro-spinal system. To revive control of the sympathetic system is a retrograde and not a forward step.

In course of time the lower psychism disappears, to re-open at a later stage when it will be brought under the control of the will.

Hysterical and highly nervous people may occasionally become clairvoyant, the fact being a symptom of their disease, and due to the weakening of the physical vehicle to such a degree that it no longer presents any obstacle to a measure of etheric or astral vision. Delirium tremens is an extreme example of this class of psychism, victims of the disease often being able temporarily to perceive certain loathsome elemental and etheric entities.

For those who have not yet developed astral vision, it is desirable to appreciate intellectually the reality of the astral world, and to realise that its phenomena are open to competent observation just as are those of the physical world.

There exist definite methods of Yoga by which the astral senses may be developed in a rational and healthy way. But it is not only useless, it may be dangerous, to attempt these until the preparatory stage of purification has first been passed. Both the physical and the astral body must first be purified, [Page 226] by breaking the bonds of evil habits in eating, drinking, giving way to hate-emotions of all kinds, etc.

Speaking generally, it is not desirable to force the development of the astral body by artificial means, for until spiritual strength is attained the intrusion of astral sights, sounds, and other phenomena is apt to be disturbing and even alarming.

Sooner or later, according to the karma of the past, one who follows the “ancient and royal” path will find knowledge of astral phenomena gradually coming to him: his keener vision will awaken, and new vistas of a wider universe will be unfolded to him on every side. It is an illustration of the saying: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

The attainment of astral powers as an end in itself inevitably leads to what is called in the East the laukika method of development: the powers obtained are only for the present personality and, there being no safeguards, the student is extremely likely to misuse them. To this class belong the practices of Hatha Yoga, prânayama or breath-control, invocation of elementals, and all systems which involve deadening the physical senses in some way, actively by drugs (e.g., bhang, haschish, etc.), by self-hypnotisation, or, as among the dervishes, by whirling in a mad dance of religious fervour until vertigo and insensibility supervene: or passively by being mesmerised — so that the astral senses may come to the surface. Other methods are crystal-gazing (which leads to nothing but the lowest type of clairvoyance), the repetition of invocations, or the use of charms or ceremonies.

A man who entrances himself by the repetition of words or charms may probably return in his next life as a medium or at any rate be mediumistic. Mediumship should not be regarded as a psychic power at all: for a medium, so far from exercising power, on the contrary abdicates control over his own bodies in favour of another entity. Mediumship is thus not a power but a condition.[Page 227]

There are many stories of some mysterious ointment or drug which, when applied to the eyes, enables a man to see fairies, etc. Anointing of the eyes might stimulate etheric sight but could not by any possibility open astral vision, though certain ointments rubbed over the whole body will greatly assist the astral body to leave the physical in full consciousness — a fact, the knowledge of which seems to have survived to mediaeval times, as can be seen from the evidence given at some of the trials for witchcraft.

The lokottara method consists of Râja Yoga or spiritual progress, and this is unquestionably the best method. Though slower, the powers gained by it belong to the permanent individuality, and are never again lost, while the guiding of a Master ensures perfect safety so long as His orders are scrupulously obeyed.

Another great advantage of being trained by a Master is that whatever faculties the pupil may achieve are definitely under his command and can be used fully and constantly when needed: whereas in the case of the untrained man such powers often manifest themselves only very partially and spasmodically, and appear to come and go, as it were, of their own sweet will.

The temporary method is like learning to ride by stupefying the horse: the permanent method is like learning to ride properly, so that any horse can be ridden. The permanent method means real evolution, the other does not necessarily involve anything of the sort, as the powers gained by it may perish with the death of the body.

The wider sight of the astral plane is not an unmixed blessing, as it reveals the sorrow and misery, the evil and greed of the world. The words of Schiller spring to mind: “Why hast thou cast me thus into the town of the ever-blind, to proclaim thine oracle with the opened sense ? Take back this sad clear-sightedness; take from mine eyes this cruel light! Give me back my blindness — the happy darkness of my senses; take back thy dreadful gift! ” [Page 228]

Clairvoyant power, if properly and sensibly used, may be a blessing and a help: misused, it may be a hindrance and a curse. The principal dangers attendant upon it arise from pride, ignorance, and impurity. It is obviously foolish for a clairvoyant to imagine that he or she is the only one thus endowed, and the one person specially selected under angelic guidance to found a new dispensation: and so on. Moreover, there are always plenty of sportive and mischievous astral entities ready and anxious to foster such delusions and to fulfil any rôle that may be assigned to them.

It is useful for a clairvoyant to know something of the history of the subject and to understand something of the conditions of the higher planes, as well, if possible, as to possess some knowledge of scientific subjects.

Further, a man of impure life or motive inevitably attracts to himself the worst elements in the invisible world. A man who is pure in thought and life, on the other hand, is by that very fact guarded from the influence of undesirable entities from other planes.

In many cases a man may have occasional flashes of astral consciousness without any awakening of etheric vision at all. This irregularity of development is one of the principal causes of the extreme liability of error in matters of clairvoyance in at any rate its earlier stages.

In the normal course of things people awake to the realities of the astral plane very slowly, just as a baby awakes to the realities of the physical plane. Those who are deliberately and, as it were, prematurely entering upon the Path, are developing such knowledge abnormally, and are consequently more liable to err at first.

Danger and injury might easily come were it not that all pupils under proper training are assisted and guided by competent teachers who are already accustomed to the astral plane. That is the reason why all sorts of horrible sights, etc., are shown to the neophyte, as tests, so that he may understand them and [Page 229] become accustomed to them. Unless this were done, he might receive a shock which might not only prevent his doing useful work but might also be positively dangerous to his physical body.

The first introduction to the astral world may come in various ways. Some people only once in their whole lives become sensitive enough to experience the presence of an astral entity or some astral phenomenon. Others find themselves with increasing frequency seeing and hearing things to which others are blind and deaf : others again begin to recollect their sleep-experiences.

When a person is beginning to become sensitive to astral influences, he will occasionally find himself suddenly overpowered by inexplicable dread. This arises partly from the natural hostility of the elemental world against the human, on account of man's many destructive agencies on the physical plane, which react upon the astral, and partly to the many unfriendly artificial elementals, bred by human minds. This has been especially noted in and near such a city as Chicago.

Some people begin by becoming intermittently conscious of the brilliant colours of the human aura: others may see faces, landscapes, or coloured clouds floating before their eyes in the dark before they sink to rest. Perhaps the most common experience is to begin to recollect with increasing clearness experiences of the other planes acquired during sleep.

Sometimes a person once in his whole life will perceive, for example, the apparition of a friend at the point of death. This may be due to two causes, in each the strong wish of the dying man being the impelling force. That force may have enabled the dying man to materialise himself for a moment, in which case, of course, no clairvoyance is needed: more probably it may have acted mesmerically upon the percipient and momentarily dulled his physical and stimulated his higher sensitiveness.

A man with developed astral vision is of course no longer limited by physical matter: he sees through all [Page 230] physical bodies, physically opaque substances being to him as transparent as glass. At a concert, he sees glorious symphonies of colours: at a lecture, he sees the speaker's thoughts in colour and form, and is therefore in a position to understand him more fully than one without astral vision.

A little examination will reveal that many people gain from a speaker more than the mere words convey: many will find in their memory more than the speaker uttered. Such experiences indicate that the astral body is developing and becoming more sensitive, responding to the thought-forms created by the speaker.

Some places afford greater facilities for occult work than others: thus California has a very dry climate with much electricity in the air, which is favourable for the development of clairvoyance.

Some psychics require a temperature of 80 degrees in order to do their best work: others do not work well except at a lower temperature.

A trained clairvoyant being able to see a man's astral body, it follows that on the astral plane no man can hide or disguise himself: what he truly is, that he is seen to be by any unprejudiced observer. It is necessary to say unprejudiced, because a man sees another through the medium of his own vehicles, which is somewhat like seeing a landscape through coloured glass. Until he has learnt to allow for this influence, a man is liable to consider as most prominent in another man those characteristics to which he himself most readily responds. Practice is needed to free oneself from the distortion produced by this personal equation so as to be able to observe clearly and accurately.

Most of the psychics who occasionally get glimpses of the astral world, as well as most of the communicating entities at spiritualistic séances, fail to report many of the complexities of the astral plane which are described in this book. The reason is that few people see things as they really are on the astral plane until after very long experience. Even those who do see fully are often [Page 231] too dazed and confused to understand or to remember, and hardly any one can translate the recollection into physical plane language. Many untrained psychics never examine their visions scientifically: they simply obtain an impression, which may be quite correct, but may also be half false, or even wholly misleading.

Also, as we have seen, frequent tricks are played by sportive denizens of the astral world, against which the untrained person is usually defenceless.

In the case of an astral entity who constantly works through a medium, his finer astral senses may even become so coarsened as to become insensitive to the higher grades of astral matter.

Only the trained visitor from the physical plane, who is fully conscious on both planes, can depend upon seeing both astral and physical planes clearly and simultaneously.

True, trained, and absolutely reliable clairvoyance demands faculties belonging to a plane higher than the astral. The faculty of accurate prevision also belongs to that higher plane: yet flashes or reflections of it frequently show themselves to purely astral sight, more especially among simple-minded people who live under suitable conditions — what is called second-sight among the Highlanders of Scotland being a well-known example.

There are astrally, as well as physically, blind persons, so that many astral phenomena escape ordinary astral vision. At first, in fact, many mistakes may be made in using astral vision, just as a child makes mistakes when it first begins to use its physical senses, though after a time it becomes possible to see and hear as accurately on the astral as on the physical plane.

Another method of developing clairvoyance, which is advised by all the religions alike, and which if adopted carefully and reverently can do no harm to any human being, is that of meditation, by means of which a very pure type of clairvoyance may sometimes be developed. A succinct account of the processes [Page 232] involved in meditation is given in The Other Side of Death, by C. W. Leadbeater, pages 469-476, as well of course as in many other books.

By means of meditation extreme sensitiveness can be developed, and at the same time perfect balance, sanity and health.

The student will readily recognise that the practice of determined meditation builds higher types of matter into the bodies. Grand emotions may be felt, which come from the buddhic level, i.e., from the plane next above the higher mental, and are reflected in the astral body. It is, however, necessary also to develop the mental and causal bodies in order to give balance. A man cannot leap from the astral consciousness to the buddhic without developing the intervening vehicles. With feeling alone we can never obtain perfect balance or steadiness: grand emotions that have swayed us in the right direction may very readily become a little twisted and sway us along less desirable lines. Emotions provide motive force, but directing power comes from wisdom and steadiness.

There is a close connection between the astral and the buddhic planes, the astral body being in some ways a reflection of the buddhic.

An example of the close relationship between the astral and buddhic planes is found in the Christian Mass. At the moment of Consecration of the Host a force rays out which is strongest in the buddhic world, though also powerful in the higher mental world: in addition, its activity is marked in the first, second and third astral sub-planes, though this may be a reflection of the mental or an effect of sympathetic vibration. The effect may be felt by people even far away from the church, a great wave of spiritual peace and strength passing over the whole countryside, though many would never connect it with the Mass being celebrated.

In addition to the above, another effect is produced as a result of and in proportion to the intensity of the conscious feeling of devotion of each individual during the celebration. A ray, as of fire, darts from the [Page 233] uplifted Host and sets the higher part of the astral body glowing intensely. Through the astral body, by reason of its close relation with it, the buddhic vehicle also strongly affected. Thus both buddhic and astral vehicles act and react on one another.

A similar effect occurs when the Benediction given with the blessed Sacrament. [Page 234]



THERE are four methods by which it is possible to observe events taking place at a distance.

I. By means of an astral current. This method is somewhat analogous to the magnetisation of a bar of steel, and consists of what may be called polarisation, by an effort of the will, of a number of parallel lines of astral atoms from the observer to the scene he wishes to observe. All the atoms are held with their axes rigidly parallel to one another, forming a kind of temporary tube, along which the clairvoyant may look. The line is liable to be disarranged or even destroyed by any sufficiently strong astral current which happens to cross its path: this, however, seldom happens.

The line is formed either by the transmission of energy from particle to particle, or by the use of force from a higher plane, which acts upon the whole line simultaneously: the latter method implies far greater development, involving the knowledge of, and power to use, forces of a considerably higher level. A man who could make a line in this way would not, for his own use, need such a line at all, because he could see far more easily and completely by means of a higher faculty.

The current or tube may be formed even quite unconsciously and unintentionally, and is often the result of a strong thought or emotion projected from one end or the other — either from the seer or from the person who is seen. If two persons are united by strong affection, it is probable that a fairly steady stream of mutual thought is constantly flowing between them, and some sudden need or dire extremity on the part of one of them may endue this stream temporarily [Page 235] with the |polarising power which is needful to create the astral telescope.

The view obtained by this means is not unlike that seen through a telescope. Human figures, for example, would usually appear very small, but perfectly clear: sometimes, but not usually, it is possible to hear as well as to see by this method.

The method has distinct limitations, as by it the astral telescope reveals the scene from one direction only, and has a limited and particular field of view. In fact, astral sight directed along such a tube is limited much as physical sight would be under similar circumstances.

This type of clairvoyance may be greatly facilitated by using a physical object as a starting point — a focus for the will power. A ball of crystal is the most common and effective of such foci, as, owing to its peculiar arrangement of elemental essence, it also possesses within itself qualities which stimulate psychic faculty. Other objects are also used for the same purpose, such as a cup, a mirror, a pool of ink (Egypt and India), a drop of blood (among the Maories of New Zealand), a bowl of water (Red Indian), a pond (Roman and African), water in a glass bowl (in Fez), or almost any polished surface, or, on the other hand, a dead black one, produced by a handful of powdered charcoal in a saucer.

There are some who can determine what they see by their will, that is to say they can point their telescope as they wish: but the great majority form a fortuitous tube and see whatever happens to present itself at the end of it.

Some psychics are able to use the tube method only when under the influence of mesmerism. There are two varieties of such psychics: (1) those who are able to make the tube for themselves: (2) those who look through a tube made by the mesmeriser.

Occasionally, though rarely, magnification is also possible by means of the tube, though in these cases it is probable that an altogether new power is beginning to dawn. [Page 236]

2. By the projection of a thought-form. This method consists of the projection of a mental image of oneself, round which astral matter is also drawn, such connection with the image being retained as will render it possible to receive impressions by means of it: the form thus acts as a kind of outpost of the consciousness of the seer. Such impressions would be transmitted to the thinker by sympathetic vibration. In a perfect case, the seer is able to see almost as well as he would if he himself stood in the place of the thought-form. In this method it is possible also to shift the point of view, if desired. Clairaudience is perhaps less frequently associated with this type of clairvoyance than with the first type. The moment that the intentness of the thought fails the whole vision is gone, and it will be necessary to construct a fresh thought-form before it can be resumed. This type of clairvoyance is rarer than the first type because of the mental control required and the finer nature of the forces employed. It is tedious except for quite short distances.

3. By travelling in the astral body, either in sleep or trance. This process has already been described in previous chapters.

4. By travelling in the mental body. In this case, the astral body is left behind with the physical, and, if it is desired to show oneself on the astral plane, a temporary astral body, or mâyâvirûpa is formed, as described on p. 255.

It is possible also to obtain information regarding events at a distance by invoking or evoking an astral entity, such as a nature-spirit, and inducing or compelling him to undertake the investigation. This, of course, is not clairvoyance, but magic.

In order to find a person on the astral plane, it is necessary to put oneself en rapport with him, a very slight clue being usually sufficient, such as a photograph, a letter written by him, an object which belonged to him, etc. The operator then sounds out the man's keynote when, if the man sought is on the astral plane, an immediate response will be forthcoming. [Page 237]

This keynote of the man on the astral plane is a sort of average tone which emerges from all the different vibrations which are habitual to his astral body. There is also a similar average tone for each man's mental and other bodies, all the keynotes together forming the man's chord — or mystic chord as it is often called.

The trained seer attunes his own vehicles for the moment exactly to the man's note, and then by an effort of will sends forth its sound. Wherever in the three worlds the man sought may be, an instant response is evoked from him; this response is at once visible to the seer, so that he is able to form a magnetic line of connection with the man.

Another form of clairvoyance enables the seer to perceive events that have happened in the past. There are many degrees of this power, from the trained man who can consult the Akâshic Records for himself at will, down to the person who gets occasional glimpses only. The ordinary psychometer needs an object physically connected with the scene in the past that he wishes to see, or, of course, he may use a crystal or other object as his focus.

The Akâshic Records represent the Divine memory, which is briefly mentioned on p. 155. The records seen on the astral plane, being but a reflection of a reflection from a much higher plane, are exceedingly imperfect, fragmentary in the extreme, and often seriously distorted. They have been compared to the reflections in the surface of water ruffled by wind. On the mental plane the records are full and accurate and can be read with exactitude: but this, of course, demands faculties pertaining to the mental plane. [Page 238]



THE student of the preceding pages will by now have perceived that the instances of “intervention” in human affairs by invisible agents, which occur from time to time, and which are, of course, quite inexplicable from the materialistic standpoint, may readily be explained, rationally and simply, by one who understands something of the astral plane and its possibilities.

In the East the existence of “invisible helpers” has always been recognised; even in Europe we have had the old Greek stories of the interference of gods in human affairs, and the Roman legend that Castor and Pollux led the legions of the infant republic in the Battle of Lake Regillus. In mediaeval times there were many stories of saints who appeared at critical moments and turned the fortune of war in favour of the Christian hosts — such as that of St. James having led the Spanish troops — and of guardian angels who sometimes saved a traveller from serious danger or even death.

Help may be given to men by several of the classes of inhabitants of the astral plane. It may come from nature-spirits, from devas, from those who are physically dead, or from those who, whilst still alive physically, are able to function freely on the astral plane.

The cases in which help is given to men by nature-spirits are few. Nature-spirits (see Chapter 20) mostly shun the haunts of man, disliking his emanations, his bustle and his unrest. Also, excepting some of their higher orders, they are generally inconsequent and thoughtless, more like happy children at play than like grave and responsible entities. As a rule they cannot be relied upon for anything like steady co-operation in
[Page 239] this class of work, though occasionally one of them will become attached to a human being and do him many a good turn.

The work of the Adept, or Master, lies chiefly upon the arûpa levels of the mental plane, where He may influence the true individualities of men, and not the mere personality, which is all that can be reached in the astral or physical world. It is seldom, therefore, that He finds it necessary or desirable to work on a plane so low as the astral.

The same consideration applies to devas, those of this class of entity, who sometimes respond to man's higher yearnings or appeals, working on the mental plane rather than on the astral or physical, and more frequently in the periods between incarnations than during physical existence.

Help is sometimes given by those who have recently died physically and who remain still in close touch with earthly affairs. The student will readily perceive, however, that the amount of such help must in the nature of things be exceedingly limited, because the more unselfish and helpful a person is, the less likely is he to be found after death lingering in full consciousness on the lower levels of the astral plane, from which the earth is most readily accessible.

Furthermore, in order that a dead person may be able to influence one still living physically, either the latter must be unusually sensitive, or the would-be helper must possess a certain amount of knowledge and skill. These conditions are of course fulfilled only very rarely.

It follows, then, that at present the work of helping on the astral and lower mental planes is chiefly in the hands of pupils of the Masters, and any others who are sufficiently evolved to function consciously upon these two planes.

Varied as is this class of work on the astral plane, it is all, of course, directed to the one great end of furthering evolution. Occasionally it is connected with the development of the lower kingdoms, elemental as well as vegetable and animal, which it is possible
[Page 240] to accelerate under certain conditions. It is, in fact, in some cases only through connection with or use by man that the progress of these lower kingdoms takes place. Thus, for example, an animal can individualise only through certain classes of animals which have been domesticated by man.

By far the largest and most important part of the work is connected with humanity in some way or other, chiefly with his spiritual development, though very rarely even purely physical assistance may be given.

In the classic book on the subject, Invisible Helpers, by C. W. Leadbeater, a number of typical examples of physical intervention are given. Sometimes an invisible helper, with his wider vision, is able to perceive a danger which is threatening some one, and to impress the idea upon the person threatened, or upon a friend who will go to his assistance. In this way, shipwrecks have sometimes been prevented. At other times the helper may materialise himself, or be materialised by a more experienced helper, sufficiently to lead some one out of danger, e.g., to take a child out of a burning building, to save some one from falling over a precipice, to bring home children who have lost their way, and so on. One instance is given where a helper, finding a boy who had fallen over a cliff and cut an artery, was materialised in order that he might tie a bandage and so stop the bleeding, which otherwise would have proved fatal, another helper meanwhile impressing the idea of danger upon the boy's mother and leading her to the spot.

It may be asked how it is that an astral entity becomes aware of a physical cry, or an accident. The answer is that any cry which has in it a strong feeling or emotion would produce an effect upon the astral plane, and would convey exactly the same idea there as on the physical plane. In the case of an accident the rush of emotion caused by pain or fright would flame out like a great light, and could not fail to attract the attention of an astral entity if he were anywhere near. [Page 241]

In order to bring about the necessary materialisation of an astral body, so that a means of performing purely physical acts may be obtained, a knowledge of the method of doing this is clearly essential.

There are three well-defined varieties of materialisation: (2) that which is tangible, though not visible to ordinary physical sight; at séances, this is the commonest kind; it is used for moving small objects and for the “direct voice”. An order of matter is used which can neither reflect nor obstruct light, but which under certain conditions can be used to produce sound. A variety of this class is one which is able to affect some of the ultra-violet rays, thus enabling “spirit-photographs” to be taken. (2) That which is visible, but not tangible. (3) The perfect materialisation, which is both visible and tangible. Many spiritualists are familiar with all these three types.

Such materialisations as we are here considering are brought about by an effort of will. This effort, directed towards changing matter from its natural state into another, is temporarily opposing the cosmic will, as it were. The effort must be maintained the whole time, for if the mind be taken off it for one half-second, the matter flies back to its original condition like a flash of lightning.

At spiritualistic séances, a full materialisation is usually brought about by utilising matter from the etheric and the physical bodies of the medium, and also from those of the sitters. In such cases, it is clear that the very closest connection is thus set up between the medium and the materialised body. The significance of this we shall consider in a moment.

In the case of a trained helper, who finds it necessary to produce a temporary materialisation, quite another method is employed. No pupil of a master would ever be permitted to put such a strain on anyone else's body as would occur were matter from that body to be used for the materialisation: nor, indeed, would such a plan be necessary. A far less dangerous method is to condense from the circumambient ether, or even from
[Page 242] the physical air, such amount of matter as may be required. This feat, though no doubt beyond the power of the average entity manifesting at a séance, presents no difficulty to a student of occult chemistry.

In a case of this kind, whilst we have an exact reproduction of the physical body, it is created by a mental effort, out of matter entirely foreign to that body. Consequently, the phenomenon known as repercussion could not possibly take place, as it could happen where a form is materialised with matter drawn from a medium's body.

Repercussion occurs where an injury inflicted upon a materialised form is reproduced, with faithful accuracy, upon the corresponding part of the medium's body. Or it may occur, as is very common at spiritualistic séances, where chalk is rubbed, say, on a materialised hand; after the materialised hand has vanished, the chalk is found upon the hand of the medium.

An injury to a form materialised by a helper from the ether or air could no more affect the helper's physical body by repercussion than a man could be affected by an injury to a marble statue of himself.

But if on the astral plane one is unwise enough to think that a danger which belongs to the physical, e.g., a falling object, can injure one, an injury to the physical body through repercussion is possible.

The subject of repercussion is abstruse and difficult, and as yet by no means fully understood. In order to understand it perfectly, it would probably be necessary to comprehend the laws of sympathetic vibration on more planes than one.

There is no doubt whatever as to the stupendous power of will over matter of all planes, so that if only the power be strong enough, practically any result may be produced by its direct action, without any knowledge or even thought on the part of the man exercising the will as to how it is to do its work.

There is no limit to the degree to which will may be developed.
[Page 243]

This power holds good in the case of materialisation, . although ordinarily it is an art which must be learnt just like any other. An average man on the astral plane would no more be able to materialise himself without having previously learnt how to do it, than an average man on this plane would be able to play the violin without having previously learnt to do so.

There are, however, exceptional cases where intense sympathy and firm deliberation enable a person to effect a temporary materialisation even though he does not consciously know how to do it.

It is worth noting that these rare cases of physical intervention by an astral helper are often made possible by the existence of a karmic tie between the helper and the one to be helped. In this way, old services are acknowledged and a kindness rendered in one life is repaid in a future life, even by such unusual methods as those described.

Or, in great catastrophes, where many people are killed, it is sometimes permitted for one or two persons to be “miraculously” saved, because it so happens that it is not their “karma” to die just then, i.e., they owe to the Divine law no debt that can be paid in that particular fashion.

Very occasionally, physical assistance is given to human beings even by a Master.

C.W. Leadbeater describes a case which happened to himself. Walking along a road, he suddenly heard in his ear the voice of his Indian teacher, who at the tune was physically 7,000 miles away, cry “Spring back! ” He started violently back just as a heavy metal chimney pot crashed upon the pavement less than a yard in front of his face.

Another remarkable case is recorded where a lady, who found herself in serious physical peril in the middle of a dangerous street fracas, was suddenly whirled out of the crowd and placed quite uninjured in an adjoining and empty by-street. Her body must have been lifted right over the intervening houses, and set down in the next street, a veil, probably of etheric
[Page 244] matter, being thrown round her whilst in transit so that she should not be visible as she passed through the air.

From a perusal of the chapters on After-Death Life, it will be evident that there is ample scope for the work of invisible helpers among people who have died. Most of these being in a condition of complete ignorance regarding life after death, and many, in western countries at least, being also terrified at the prospect of “hell”, and “eternal damnation”, there is much to be done in enlightening people as to their true state and the nature of the astral world in which they find themselves.

The main work done by the invisible helper is that of soothing and comforting the newly dead, of delivering them, where possible, from the terrible though unnecessary fear which but too often seizes them, and not only causes them much suffering, but retards their progress to higher spheres, and of enabling them, so far as may be, to comprehend the future that lies before them.

It is stated that this work was in earlier periods attended to exclusively by a high class of non-human entities; but for some time past those human beings who are able to function consciously upon the astral plane have been privileged to render assistance in this labour of love.

In cases where the rearrangement by the desire-elemental of the astral body has taken place, an astral helper may break up that arrangement and restore the astral body to its previous condition, so that the dead man can perceive the whole of the astral plane instead of only one sub-plane of it.

Others who have been longer on the astral plane may also receive help from explanations and advice as to their course through its different stages. Thus they may be warned of the danger and delay caused by attempting to communicate with the living through a medium, and sometimes, though rarely, an entity already drawn into a spiritualistic circle may be guided into higher and healthier life. The memory of such
[Page 245]
teaching cannot, of course, be directly carried over to the next incarnation, but there always remains the real inner knowledge, and therefore the strong predisposition to accept it immediately when heard again in the new life.

Some of the newly-dead see themselves on the astral plane as they really are, and are therefore filled with remorse. Here the helper is able to explain that the past is past, that the only repentance worth while is the resolve to do better in future, that each man must take himself as he is and steadily work to improve himself and lead a truer life in the future.

Others, again, are troubled by their desire to make reparation for some injury they did whilst on earth, to ease their conscience by disclosing a discreditable secret they have jealously guarded, to reveal the hiding place of important papers or money, and so forth. In some cases it is possible for the helper to intervene in some way on the physical plane and so satisfy the dead man; but in most cases the best he can do is to explain that it is now too late to make reparation and therefore useless to grieve over the trouble, and to persuade the man to abandon his thoughts of earth which hold him down in close touch with earth-life, and to make the best of his new life.

An immense amount of work is also done for the
living by putting good thoughts into the minds of those who are ready to receive them.

It would be perfectly easy — easy to a degree quite incredible to those who do not understand the subject practically — for a helper to dominate the mind of an average man and make him think just as the helper pleased, without arousing any suspicion of outside influence in the mind of the subject. Such a proceeding, however, would be entirely inadmissible. All that may be done is to throw the good thought into the person's mind among the thousands that are constantly surging through it, and hope that the person will take it up, make it his own, and act upon it.

Very varied assistance can be given in this manner,
[Page 246] Consolation is often given to those in sorrow or sickness; reconciliations are attempted between those who have been separated by conflict of opinions or interests; earnest truth-seekers are guided towards the truth; it is often possible to put the solution of some spiritual or metaphysical problem into the mind of one who is - spending anxious thought upon it. Lecturers may be helped by suggestions or illustrations either materialised in subtler matter before the speaker or impressed upon his brain.

A regular invisible helper soon acquires a number of “patients”, whom he visits every night, just as a doctor upon earth makes a regular round among his patients. Each worker thus usually becomes the centre of a small group, the leader of a band of helpers for whom he is always able to find constant employment. Work can be found in the astral world for any number of workers, and every one who wishes — man, woman or child — may be one of them.

A pupil may often be employed as an agent in what practically amounts to the answering of prayer. Although it is true that any earnest spiritual desire, such as may be expressed in prayer, is a force which automatically brings about certain results, it is also a fact that such a spiritual effort offers an opportunity of influence to the Powers of Good. A willing helper may thus be made the channel through which energy is poured forth. This is true of meditation to an even greater extent.

In some cases such a helper is taken to be the saint, etc., to whom the petitioner prayed, and there are many stories to illustrate this.

Pupils who are fitted for the work are also employed to suggest true and beautiful thoughts to authors, poets, artists and musicians.

Sometimes, though more rarely, it is possible to warn people of the danger to their moral development of some course that they are pursuing, to clear away evil influence from about some person or place, or to counteract the machinations of black magicians.
[Page 247]

There is so much work for invisible helpers on the astral plane that it is clearly emphatically the duty of the student to fit himself by every means in his power to assist in its performance. The work of the invisible helpers would not be done unless there were pupils at the stage where it is the best work that they can do. As soon as they pass beyond that stage and can do higher work, the higher work will certainly be given to them.

It should be borne in mind that when power and training are given to a helper, they are given to him under restrictions. He must never use them selfishly, never display them to gratify curiosity, never employ them to pry into the business of others, never give what at spiritualistic séances are called tests, i.e., he must never do anything which can be proved as a phenomenon on the physical plane. He might take a message to a dead man, but not, unless under direct instructions from his Master, bring back a reply from the dead to the living. Thus the band of invisible helpers is neither a detective office nor an astral information bureau, but is intended simply and quietly to do such work as is given to it to do or as comes in its way.

As an occult student progresses, instead of assisting individuals only, he learns to deal with classes, nations, and races. As he acquires the requisite powers and knowledge, he begins to wield the greater forces of the âkâsha and the astral light, and is shown how to make the utmost possible use of each favourable cyclic influence. He is brought into relationship with the great Nirmânakâyas, and becomes one of their almoners, learning how to dispense the forces which are the fruit of their sublime self-sacrifice.

There is no mystery as to the qualifications needed by one who aspires to be a helper: to some extent fl these have already been incidentally described, but it may be useful also to set them out fully and categorically.

(i) Single-mindedness, sometimes called one-pointedness; the would-be helper must make the work of [Page 248] helping others his first and highest duty: the work which the Master would have him do must be the one great interest of his life.

Furthermore, intelligent discrimination is needed not only between useful and useless work, but also between the different kinds of useful work. Economy of effort is a prime law of occultism, and every student should devote himself to the very highest work of which he is capable. It is also essential that the student should on the physical plane do the utmost that lies in his power to further the same great ends of helping his fellows.

(2) Self-Control.—This comprises complete control of temper, so that nothing seen or heard can cause real irritation, for the consequences of such irritation would be far more serious on the astral than on the physical plane. If a man with fully awakened faculty on the astral plane were to feel anger against a person on that plane, be would do him serious and perhaps fatal injury. Any manifestation of irritability, excitement or impatience in the astral world would at once make a helper a fearsome object, so that those whom he wished to help would fly from him in terror.

A case is recorded where an invisible helper keyed herself up to such a state of excitement that her astral body greatly increased in size, vibrating violently and flashing forth fiery colours. The newly-dead person she was hoping to help was horrified to see the huge, flaming, flashing sphere rushing at him, took it for the theological devil in propriâ persona, and fled in terror, his terror being increased by the would-be helper persistently following him.

In addition, control of nerve is essential, so that none of the fantastic or terrible sights that may be encountered may be able to shake the student's dauntless courage. As previously stated, it is to make sure of this control of nerve, and to fit him for the work that has to be done, that candidates are always made, now as in days of old, to pass what are called the tests of earth, water, air and fire
[Page 249]

The student has to realise that in the astral body the densest rock offers no impediment to his freedom of movement, that he may leap with impunity from the highest cliffs, and plunge with absolute confidence into the heart of a raging volcano or the deepest abyss of the fathomless ocean. These things have to be sufficiently realised for the student to act upon them instinctively and confidently.

Further, control of mind and desire are needed: of mind, because without the power of concentration it would be impossible to do good work amid all the distracting currents of the astral plane; of desire, because in the astral world to desire is very often to have, and, unless desire were well controlled, the student might find himself faced with creations of his. own of which he should be heartily ashamed.

(3) Calmness.—This means the absence of worry , and depression. Much of the work consisting of soothing those who are disturbed and cheering those in sorrow, it is clear that a helper could not do such work if his own aura were vibrating with continual fuss and worry, or grey with the gloom of depression. Nothing is more fatal to occult progress or usefulness than worrying over trifles. The optimistic view of everything is always nearest to the divine view, and therefore to the truth, because only the good and beautiful can be permanent, while evil by its very nature is temporary; unruffled calm leads to a serenity which is joyous, making depression impossible.

As stated previously, depression is exceedingly contagious, and must be entirely eliminated by one who aims at becoming an invisible helper. Such an one would be characterised by his absolute serenity under all possible difficulties, and by his radiant joy in helping others.

(4) Knowledge.—The more knowledge a man has in any and every direction, the more useful he will be. He should fit himself by careful study of every thing that has been written about the astral plane and astral work in occult literature, for he cannot
[Page 250] expect others, whose time is already fully occupied, to expend some of it in explaining to him what he might have learnt for himself in the physical world by taking the trouble to read books.

There is perhaps no kind of knowledge of which a use cannot be found in the work of the occultist.

(5) Love. — This, the last and greatest of the qualifications, is also the most misunderstood. Emphatically it is not backboneless sentimentalism, overflowing with vague and gushing generalities, which fears to stand firm for the right lest it should be stigmatised by the ignorant as “unbrotherly”. What is wanted is love strong enough to act without talking about it; the intense desire for service which is ever on the watch for an opportunity to render it, even though it prefers to do so anonymously; the feeling which springs up in the heart of him who has realised the great work of the Logos, and, having once seen it, knows that for him there can be in the three worlds no other course but to identify himself with it to the utmost limit of his power — to become, in however humble a way, and at however great a distance, a tiny channel of that wondrous love of God which, like the peace of God, passeth man's understanding.

It will be recollected that for two persons on the astral plane to communicate with one another astrally, it is necessary that they should have a language in common; therefore the more languages an astral plane helper knows, the more useful he is.

The standard set for an Invisible Helper is not an impossible one; on the contrary it is attainable by every man, though it may take him time to reach it. Every one knows of some case of sorrow or distress, whether among the living or the dead does not matter. On going to sleep a resolution should be made to do what is possible, whilst asleep and in the astral body, to help that person. Whether the memory of what has been done penetrates into the waking consciousness or not is of no consequence; it may be taken as a certainty that something has been achieved, and some day,
[Page 251] sooner or later, evidence will be forthcoming that success has been attained.

With a person who is fully awakened to the astral plane the last thought before going to sleep would matter less, because he would have the power of turning readily from one thought to another in the astral world. In his case, the general trend of his thought would be the important factor, for equally during day and night his mind would be likely to move in its accustomed fashion.
[Page 252]



Reference has already been made to the possibility of receiving training, with special reference to the astral body, from a Master of the Wisdom. It is possible to add a little further information on this subject, which is one of very great moment to the occult student.

The necessary qualifications of character have already been described in detail in the preceding chapter.

When a man is approaching the stage at which he will be fit to be accepted as a pupil of a Master, the Master may place him upon “probation”, which means that for some time he will remain under very close observation. The Master makes what is called a “living image” of the probationary pupil, i.e., an exact duplicate of the man's causal, mental, astral and etheric bodies. This image He keeps in a place where He can easily reach it, and He places it in magnetic rapport with the man, so that every modification of thought or feeling in the man's own vehicles is faithfully reproduced in the image. These images are examined daily by the Master, who in this way obtains with the least possible trouble a perfectly accurate record of His prospective pupil's thoughts and feelings, and from this He is able to decide when He can take him into the far closer relationship of the next stage — that of the accepted pupil.

When a pupil is “accepted”, the living image is dissolved, and the pupil is taken into his Master's consciousness to so great an extent that whatever the pupil feels or thinks is within the astral and mental bodies of his Master.

Should, unfortunately, a thought come into the [Page 253] mind of the pupil which is not fit to be harboured by the Master, He at once erects a barrier and shuts off from Himself that vibration.

The effect produced by this wonderfully close association is the harmonising and attuning of the pupil's vehicles. The pupil thus becomes a kind of outpost of the Master's consciousness, so that the strength of the Great Ones may be poured out through him, and the world may be definitely the better for his presence in it. When the pupil sends a thought of devotion to his Master, it is as though a valve were opened: there is a tremendous downflow of love and power from the Master, the Master's power flowing ever outwards and in all directions like the sunlight.

The pupil is so closely in touch with the Master's thought that he can at any time see what that thought is upon any given subject, and in that way he is often saved from error. The Master can, moreover, at any moment send a thought through the pupil either in the form of a suggestion or a message.

An accepted pupil has the right and the duty to bless in the Master's name.

The use by a Master of His pupil's body must on no account be confused with ordinary spiritualistic mediumship, as the condition is a totally different one. The highest form of spiritualistic control may possibly more or less approximate to the relation between a Master and His pupil, but probably this is very rarely reached, and hardly ever completely.

The difference between the two phenomena is fundamental, the two conditions being as wide as the poles asunder. In mediumship a person is passive, and lays himself open to the influence of any astral entity who happens to be in the neighbourhood. When under the influence he is usually unconscious and he remembers nothing when he awakes from his trance. His state is really one of temporary obsession. Even the spirit-guide, who is generally present, is sometimes unable to protect the medium from undesirable or even disastrous influences. [Page 254]

When, on the other hand, a Master chooses to speak through one of His pupils, the pupil is fully conscious of what is being done, and knows perfectly to Whom he is for the moment lending his vocal organs. He stands aside from his vehicle, but remains keenly alert and watchful. He hears every word that is uttered through him, and remembers everything clearly. There is nothing in common between the two cases except that in both of them the body of one man is temporarily used by another.

The third stage is one of even more intimate union, when the pupil becomes a “son” of the Master, the ego of the pupil in the causal body being enfolded within that of the Master.

This union is so close and so sacred that even the power of the Master cannot undo what has been done, to the extent of separating the two consciousnesses even for a moment. Naturally before this stage is reached, the Master must have been quite certain that nothing can arise in the mind or astral body of the pupil which will ever need to be shut off.

These relationships — Probation, Acceptance and Sonship — have of course nothing whatever to do with Initiations or steps on the Path. These latter are tokens of the man's relation, not to his Master, but to the Great White Brotherhood and its august Head. All these matters are dealt with far more fully than is possible or desirable here in The Masters and the Path, by C. W. Leadbeater, a book of immeasurable value to the serious student of White Occultism.

Before, however, leaving the subject, it may be mentioned that at Initiation, the Monad identifies himself with the ego, this act having an interesting effect on the astral body: a great rhythmical swing is given to it, without disturbing the stability of its equilibrium, so that it is able thenceforth to feel with far greater keenness than before, without being shaken from its base, or escaping from its owner's control.

Pupils will be employed by their Masters in many different ways. Some are set to take up the lines of [Page 255] work which were indicated in the preceding chapter on Invisible Helpers: others are employed specifically in assisting the Masters personally in some piece of work which They may have undertaken. Some are set astrally to deliver lectures to less developed entities, or to help and teach others who are free temporarily during sleep, or who are living their after-death life.

When a pupil falls asleep he usually reports himself to his Master. If there happens to be nothing special for him to do, he will pursue his usual nocturnal work, whatever that may be. There is always plenty of astral work to be done: sudden catastrophes, for example, throw out a large number of people into the astral plane in a condition of terror, and in need of help. Most of the training in astral work is usually given by one of the older pupils of the Master.

The student must not confuse an ordinary astral body with a Mâyâvi Rûpa, or “body of illusion”. A pupil of the Masters habitually leaves his astral body with the physical when he goes to sleep, and travels in his mental body. When he needs a temporary astral body for astral work he materialises one from the surrounding matter. Such a body may or may not resemble the physical body, the form given to it being adapted to the purpose in hand. It may also be made physically visible or invisible at will: it may be made indistinguishable from a physical body, warm and firm to the touch, as well as visible and able to carry on a conversation like an ordinary human being. Only Masters and Their pupils have the power to form true Mayavi Rupas, this power being acquired at or near the Second Initiation. An advantage of using the Mayavi Rupa is that it is not subject to deception and glamour on the astral plane, as is the astral body.

When a man functions in the mental vehicle and leaves his astral body behind him in a condition of suspended animation, along with the physical, he can, if necessary, easily surround the torpid astral body with a shell, or he can set up vibrations which render it impervious to all evil influences. [Page 256]

In the lesser mysteries of Ancient Greece, celebrated at Agrar, the principal teaching concerned the astral plane and the astral life after death. The official dress of the initiates was the skin of a fawn, the spotted appearance of which was thought to be emblematical of the colours of an ordinary astral body. Originally the teacher produced out of astral and etheric matter images representing what, in the astral world, would be the results of certain modes of physical life. Later, the teachings were represented in other ways, by a kind of play or drama, the parts being taken by the priests, or even by puppets mechanically moved.

The initiates had a number of proverbs or aphorisms peculiar to themselves, some of which were very characteristic: thus: “Death is life, and life is death“ was one: another was: “ Whosoever pursues realities during life will pursue them after death: whosoever pursues unrealities during this life will pursue them also after death.”

The Greater Mysteries, celebrated at Eleusis, dealt with the mind-body and the mental plane, the golden fleece of Jason being the symbol of the mental body.

Another of the symbols used in the mysteries was the Thyrsus, a staff with a pine cone on its top: frequently it was said to be filled with fire. In India a bamboo with seven knots is used. The Thyrsus was magnetised by the priest and laid against the spinal column of the candidate, thus giving him some of the priest's magnetism and helping the candidate to pass in full consciousness to the astral plane. The fire symbolised kundalini.

The Southern Buddhists enumerate five psychic powers which may be gained by the man who is making progress on the Path, (1) The ability to pass through the air and through solid objects, and to visit the heaven-world while still physically alive. This may perhaps mean nothing more than ability to function freely in the astral body, the heaven-world mentioned being perhaps merely the higher levels of the astral plane. (2) Divinely clear hearing, this is evidently [Page 257] the astral faculty of clairaudience. (2) The ability to comprehend and sympathise with all that is in the minds of others: this appears to be thought-reading, or telepathy. (4) The power to remember former births. This is clearly a faculty of the higher mental or causal body. (5) Divinely clear vision, i.e., clairvoyance. In some lists there is added also the deliverance by wisdom, which means the attainment of freedom from re-birth. This-is clearly a very high attainment and scarcely seems to belong to the same category as the other powers enumerated. [Page 258]



Although there are at present relatively few who possess direct, personal knowledge of the astral world, its life and its phenomena, yet there are many reasons for believing that this small group, of those who know these things from their own experience, is rapidly growing and is likely to be very largely increased in the near future.

Psychic faculty, especially among children, is becoming less and less rare: as it gradually becomes accepted, and ceases to be regarded as unhealthy or “tabu”, it is likely to increase both in extent and in intensity. Thus, for example, books have recently been published, and widely read, dealing with nature-spirits, better known as fairies, and showing even photographs of these dainty creatures and their work in the economy of nature: whilst any open-minded enquirer will experience little difficulty in finding people, young and old, who frequently see fairies, at work and at play, as well as many other entities and phenomena of the astral world.

Again, the enormous vogue of spiritualism has made the astral world and many of its phenomena objectively real and thoroughly familiar to many millions of persons in every part of the globe.

Physical science, with its ions and electrons, is on the threshold of the astral world, while the researches of Einstein and others are rapidly making acceptable the conception of the fourth dimension, which for so long has been familiar to students of the astral world.

In the realm of psychology, modern analytical methods give promise of being able to reveal the true nature of, at any rate, the lower fraction of man's [Page 259] psychic mechanism, confirming, incidentally some of the statements and teachings put forward by ancient Eastern books and by Theosophists and occultists of today. Thus, for example, a well-known author of books on psychology and psycho-analysis, recently informed the present writer that in his view the “complex” was identical with the “skandhâra” of the Buddhist system, while another psychologist of worldwide repute told a friend of the present writer that his psychological — not psychic — researches had led him irresistibly to the fact of re-incarnation.

These are some of the indications that the methods of orthodox Western science are leading to results identical with those which have for ages been common knowledge in certain parts of the East, and which have, during approximately the last half-century, been rediscovered by a small group of individuals who, guided by Eastern teachings, have developed within themselves the faculties necessary for the direct observation and investigation of the astral (as well as higher) worlds.

It would be a platitude to remark that the acceptance by the world in general of the existence of the astral plane and its phenomena — which cannot be much longer deferred — will inevitably and immeasurably enlarge and deepen man's conception of himself and his own destiny, as well as revolutionise his attitude towards the outer world, including the other kingdoms of nature, physically visible and invisible. Once a man succeeds in establishing to his own satisfaction the reality of the astral world, he is compelled to re-orient himself, and to make for himself a new set of values for the factors which affect his life and determine his activities.

Sooner or later, but inevitably, the broad conception that merely physical things play a very small part in the life of the human soul and spirit, and that man is essentially a spiritual being, unfolding his latent powers with the help of the various vehicles, physical, astral, and other, which from time to time he assumes — will [Page 260] displace all other viewpoints and lead men to a complete re-alignment of their lives.

A realisation of his own true nature, of the fact that through life after life on earth, with interludes in other and subtler worlds, he is steadily evolving and becoming more and more spiritual, logically and inevitably leads man to see that, if and when he chooses, he may cease from dallying with life and with drifting on the broad current of the evolutionary stream, and may instead assume the helm of his own life-voyage. From this point in the growth of his “awareness” of things, and of his own inherent possibilities, he will pass to the next stage, where he approaches the “ancient and narrow” Path, upon which he will find Those Who, outstripping Their fellows, have achieved the maximum possible in purely human development. These are They Who, eagerly, yet with limitless patience, wait for Their younger brothers to come out of the nursery of ordinary worldly life into Their higher life where, with Their guidance and assisted by Their compassion and power, man may rise to the stupendous heights of spirituality to which They have attained, and become in his turn a saviour and helper of mankind, thus speeding the mighty plan of evolution towards its goal.[Page 261]


A Bewitched Life, 89
Accepted pupil, 252
Accident, death from, 138, 140
Accidents caused by thought, 55
Accident on astral plane, 151
Adaptability, colour of, 12
Adept on astral plane, 169
Adeptship and childhood, 212
Affection, colour of, 12
Agni, 182
Agrar, 256
Airships, 161
Air-spirits, 181, 185
Akâsha, forces of, 247
Akâshic records, 237
Alchemists, 7, 151, 177
- and nature-spirits, 183
- and injury to web, 35
- and man's bodies, 65, 66
Alcoholics on astral plane, 128, 129
- colour of, 12
- intensification of, 39
- after death, 129
Amputation, 8
Amulets, 69
Anandamayakosha, 27
Angels, 186
- guardian, 50, 135
- of the Cardinal Points, 188
-colour of, 11
- effect on web, 35
- flash of, 19
- thought-forms of, 58, 61
Anglican chants, 60
- characteristics in man, 213
- link with, 143, 213
- obsession of, 142
- reincarnating as, 143
- soul, the, 24
- association with men, 76
- astral bodies of, 180
- clairvoyance of, 61
- feelings of, 25
- individualisation of, 76, 240
Annamayakosha, 27
Anthropoid apes, 181
Apogee of moon, 148
Apparitions, 50, 51, 106, 229
Appearance of man after death, 108
Apple-green in aura, 12
Apports, 159, 184
Arhat, bodies of, 16
Arpeggios, form of, 60
Artificial elementals, 45,177,190
Artist on astral plane, 131
Arûpadevas, 187
Aspiration, colour of, 12
Assimilation of experiences, 207
- and buddhic planes, 232
- centres, 225
- current, 234
- currents, 84
- death, 206
- dreams, 99
- entities,
--- artificial, 190
--- human, 168
--- non-human, 176
- light, 155
- Light, the, 51, 247
- matter, grades of, 4
- origin of word, 7
- world, size of, 131
Astrology, rationale of, 9
- airships of, 161
- and spiritualism, 191
-black magicians of, 53
-language of, 191
Âtma, a principle in man, 29
Atmâ-buddhi-manas, 28, 29, 206
Atmosphere on astral plane, 152
- astral matter, 14, 176
- matter, 36
- short-cut, 105
- sub-plane of astral, 150
- sub-planes, 36, 105
- web, 93
Atoms, 5
- line of, 234
- male and female, 5

[Page 262]

-spirillae in, 103
Atrophy of qualities, 211
Attitude of mind after death, 125
Aura, 7, 210
-forming shell round, 102
-of deva, 186
-of metal, stone, etc., 8
-regularity in, 22
Author, reaching thought of, 54
Authors and mental images, 53
Automatism, physical, 91
-colour in aura, 11
-effect on aura, 21
-length of astral life, 131
-man after death, 121
-man's astral body, 15
Awakening on astral plane, 89

-body, obsession of, 142
-physical body, 210
Bach, 59
Bamboo, 7 knotted, 41, 256
Bars in astral body, 11, 21
Base of spine chakram, 31, 38
Beer-houses, 66
Bell-ringing, 180
Benediction (Church service), 233
Between eyebrows chakram, 31
Bhagavan Das, 216
Bhang, 226
Bhûtâtman, 27
Black in aura, 11
Black magic and lower chakrams 31. 39
-and shade, 171
- vampires and werewolves,173
-and Spiritualism, 193
Black magicians of Atlantis, 53
-on astral plane, 170, 174
Blavatsky and spiritualism, 194, 204
Blindness, astral, 231
Bliss sheath, 27
Blood and vampires, 173
Blood, scent of, 66
Bloodhound, baying of, 61
Blue in aura, 12
Blue-green in aura, 12
Body of illusion, 255
Boils, 17
Book seen astrally, 153
Books, word of dead, 135
Bragdon, Claude, 163
Brain dreams, 97
Brain intelligence, 26
Break in consciousness, 93
Breath-control, 226
Bridge, astral body a, 23, 25, 26
Bridge, etheric, 93, 95
Brown-grey in aura, 11
Brownies, 181
Browning, Miss K., 216
Brown-red in aura, 11
Brutality of teacher, 212
Bubbles in koilon, 5
Buddha, aura of, 7
-and thought-forms, 43
-principle in man, 29
-sheath of, 27
Buddhic plane, 232
-vehicle, 103
-and skandhas, 209
-and psychic powers, 256
Butchers' shops, 66
Butchery of animals, 181

Cage of thoughts, 47
California, 230
Calmness, 249
Capital punishment, 139
Captain Kettle, 64
Carnivorous diet, 65
Casting out the Self, 167
Castor and Pollux, 238
Catalepsy, 173
Catastrophes, 243
Cat's purring, 61
Causal body,
-and lower vibrations, 72
-effect of astral on, 14
-entangled with astral, 207
-gaps in, 14
-luminosity, 14
-of Master, 203
-other bodies resemble, 16
-power of magnification, 33
Cells, consciousness of, 97
Centre of consciousness, 79
Centres, astral, 225
Cerebro-spinal system, 225
Ceremonial magic, 169
Chakrams, 31, 79
-and fourth dimension, 165
-and memory of astral life, 93
Chamber of horrors, 51
Change of particles in astral body, 129
Charlemagne, 218
Charms, 226
Chatter, silly, 61
Chatur Maharajas, 188
Cheerfulness, 13
Chemical affinity, 25
Chicago, 229
Child, aura of, 17
-and city life, 62
-dead, 185
-dying young, 141
-mental body of, 211
-on astral plane, 90
-terror of, 74
Chinese, 63
Chladni's sound plate, 60
Chord, mystic plate, 237
Cities, life in, 17, 62, 67
Clairaudience, 236
-danger of, 228
-in space and time, 234
-not unmixed blessing, 227
-reliable, 230
-untrained, 230
Cleanliness, 67
-and astral plane, 152
-and occult work, 230
Clinging to physical life, 126,141
Closed curves, 56
Coarse astral body, 120
Coarse bodies, 64
Cocaine, 66
Coffee, 35, 67
Coils in astral body, 18
Coins, 70
Collective emotion, 219
Collision on astral plane, 151
Colour-language, 22, 186
Colourless man after death, 126
-meaning of, 11
-of thought and emotion, 43, 46
-position of, 13
-quality of, 7
Communicating entities, 199
Communication on astral plane, 34, 156
Composition of astral body, 6
Concrete thoughts, 45
Consciousness, physical, in dreams, 97
Consciousness, unbroken, 87
Continuity of consciousness, 87, 95. 104
Control of astral body, 78
Control of thought, 102
Controls, spiritualistic, 192
Conversion, religious, 74
Convaulions, 55
Conway. Sir Martin, 217
-astral, 171, 208
-physical, 126
Correspondence of sub-planes, 72
Cosmic planes, 105
-after death, 107
-composition of, 7
-during sleep, 83
-quality, 64
-of books, 150
-of child, 210
-of developed man, 85
-of objects, 8
-of objects, moving, 152
-of physical world, 118
-of rock, 153
-of undeveloped man, 152
-re-arrangement of, 109
-seeing, 114
Cow, lowing of, 61
Cravings after death, 127
Cremation, 126, 173
Criminals, 149
Crimson in aura, 12
Critical state of matter, 122
Crowd-compeller, 218
Crowd-consciousness, 55, 218
Crowd-exponent, 219
Crowd in Peace and War, 217
Crowd-leaders, 220
Crowd, psychological, 218
Crowd psychology, 217
Crowd-representative, 219
Crowds, living amongst, 17
Crystal-gazing, 226
Crystal, nature of, 235
Cruelty, karma of, 214
Cunning, colour of, 12
Curiosity, colour of, 58
Currents, astral, 84, 152
Curses come home to roost, 49
Cycle of life and death, 117

DEATH, 107
-appearance after, 108
-astral, 206
-usually painless, 107
Death-warnings, 52
Decaying food, 65
Deceit, colour of, 12
Delirium tremens, 36, 66, 225
Demons, 141
Densest astral matter, 149
Density of gas, 165
-barrier to progress, 74
-causes of, 73
-colour of, 12, 21
-must be eliminated, 249

[Page 264]

Dervishes, 226
Desire and will, 24
Desire-elemental, 6, 10, 77, 107
-dominance by, 73
-final struggle with, 207
Desire, killing out, 222
Destruction of thought-forms, 63
Devachan, 206
-communicating with, 199
-giving up, 174
Devarâjas, 187
Devas, 186
-link with, 27
-number of, 60
-work of, 239
Developed man, astral body of, 15
Devotion, colour of, 12
Devotional thought-form, 57
Dhritarâshtra, 188
Dhruvam, 109
Diet, 65
Direct voice, 241
Dirt, 67
Discipleship, 252
Discriminating sheath, 27
Discrimination, 248
Disintegration, 158, 166
-of astral body, 109, 126, 136
-of key, 158
Disraeli, 218
Distance thoughts travel, 44, 50
Divine memory, 155, 237
Djinns, 181
Doctor after death, 135
Dog barking, 61
Dog-faced man, 214
Dominating mind of another, 245
Doves, cooing of, 61
Dozing consciousness, 180
Dramatisation by ego, 97, 101
Dread, inexplicable, 229
Dream consciousness, 103
Dreams, 93
-and astral work, 96
-astral, 99
-brain, 97
-changing, 96
-confused, 97
-controlling, 96
-ego, 100
-etheric brain, 97
-how produced, 96
-modification of, 95
-symbols in 102
-vague, 93
-vivid, 94
-warning, 101
Drink craving, 100
Drugs, 66, 226
-after death, 127, 129, 149
-and rebirth, 211
Drunkenness, dreams of, 100
Dvesha, 216
Dweller on threshold, 213
Dying young, 125

EARTH-BOUND persons, 144
Earth elemental essence, 159
Earthquakes, 55
Economy of effort, 248
Egg shape of aura, 13
Eidophone, 60
Eighth sphere, 173
Einstein, 258
-affected by thoughts, 14
-and desires, 29
-and kundalini, 41
-and personality, 28
-asleep, 100
-consciousness of, 101
-direct action of, 91
-dramatisation by, 97, 101
-dreams, 100
-hold on vehicles, 212
-measure of time and space, 101
of medium, 200
prevision of, 101
symbols used by, 102
withdrawal of, 117, 118, 126, 136, 198, 206, 208
Electrical disturbances, 159
Electrons, 5
Elemental essence, 176
- and heat, 159
- and re-birth, 210
- and talismans, 69
- appearance of, 146
- earth, 159
- evolution of, 108
- in astral body, 6, 76
- in thought-forms, 44
- responsiveness of,
Elemental kingdom, third, 6
Elemental kingdoms, 176
Elemental self, 27
Elementals, 190
- artificial, 45
- from astral body, 71
- like a storage battery, 51
- of air and water, 161
- of alchemists, 177
- of fire, 162
Elementary, 66, 145
Eleusis, 256
Elizabeth, Queen, 123

[Page 265]

Elves, 181
Emerald green in aura, 12
Emotion, 24
-collective, 219
Emotion-elements, 216
-genesis of, 217
-intensity of, 86
-mastery of, 215
Entanglement of kâma and manas, 144
Entities, astral, 168, 176, 190
-brain, 97
-brain-dreams, 98
-bridge, 93
-currents, 157
--- and karma, 188
--- and materialisations, 174
--- and re-birth, 211
--- principle in man, 29
---pressure, 157, 158
---shell after death, 141
Evocation, 185, 187, 236
-dangers of, 74
on astral plane, 248
Explosion on astral plane, 151
Ezekiel. 188

-astral, 79
-latent, 80
Fairies, 181
Falling in love, 20
-nervous, 67
-not in astral body, 82, 114
-not in mental body, 82
Fauns, 181, 186
Fawn, skin of, 256
-colour of, 12
-on astral plane, 89
Feet, emanations of, 67
Fidgetiness, 62
Fiery Power, 38
-Root race, 80
-round, 80
-sub-plane, 134, 149
Film on astral body, 19
-elementals, 162
-handling, 162
-production of, 162
First sub-plane, 149, 150
Five dimensions, 165
Flash of anger, 19
Fleece of Jason, 256
Flesh food, 65, 66, 183
Floating thought-forms, 55
Flower-like forms, 57
Flowers in worship, 57
Flush in astral body, 19
Flute, 58
F note, 63
Focus of consciousness, 79, 81,110
Fohat, 38
Food, 64, 65
Food, not for astral body, 10,129
Food-sheath, 27
Force-centres, 31
Forcing development, 226
Forests, influence of, 67
Four dimensions, 31, 59
Four-dimensional globe, 164
Fourth dimension, 163
Fourth Dimension, The, 163
-root race, 80, 172, 225
-round, 80
-spirillae, 103
-sub-plane, 134, 149
Freedom on astral plane, 130
Freewill, 29
Functions of astral body, 23
Fussiness, 62

GAMBOGE in aura, 12
Gandharvas, 188
Genesis of emotions, 217
Genius, flashes of, 105
Geometrical thought-forms, 58
Geometry, 166
Ghosts, 51
Giggles, nervous, 62
-on astral plane, 153
-of nature-spirits, 182
Glutton after death, 129
Gnomes, 181
Gnyânam, 216
Goblins, 181
Going to sleep, thought before, 85, 88, 96, 103, 250
Gold in aura, 12
Golden age, 179
Golden crowns, 150
Good and evil,
-effect of, 71
-how stored, 72
” Good People,” 181
Gorilla-like thought-form, 63
Gravitation and astral matter, 147
Gravity, neutralising, 161
Great Tone, the, 63

[Page 266]

Green in aura, 12
Greenish-brown in aura, 11
Gregorian tone, 60
-in aura, 12
-livid, 12, 19
Grey-green in aura, 12
Grief for the dead, 135, 198
Growth of objects, 166
Guardian angels, 50, 135
Guffaw thought-form, 61
Guide, spirit, 142, 192, 253
Gums in incense, 69
Gun-fire, 62
Guru, 203
Gyroscope, 68

-how formed, 47
-of astral body, 71
-of Ignorance, 153
-of Learning, 155
-of Wisdom, 155
Handling fire, 162
Hands, emanations of, 67
Hand-writing, imitating, 160
Happy hunting-grounds, 150
Hardening web, 36
Harmonograph, 60
Haschish, 226
Hate-emotions, 216
Hatha Yoga, 226
Hatred, colour of, 11
Haunted houses, 114, 180
Haunted places, 51
Health, physical, 67
Hearing, astral, 32
Heart chakram, 31
Heaven-world, 118, 206
-apparent, 109
-a figment, 130
Helping by thought, 63
Hermit, 75
Higher manas, 29
Highlands, 51
Himâlayan Brotherhood, 191
Hinton, C. H., 163
Historical events, 54
Hooked thought-forms, 56
Horizontal divisions, 178
Host, The, 232
Hostility of elementals, 229
House, building on astral plane, 115
Hudson, T. J., 220
Human artificials, 191
Hungary, 172
Hypnotism, 48, 221
Hysteria, 74
- and clairvoyance, 225

Idiots, 214
Illusion and astral plane, 153
Images in mental body, 45
Images of pupils, 252
Imaginary cities, etc., 149, 150
Impersonal thought, 43
Incense, 69
Incubi, 141
Indian jugglers, 183
Indigo in aura, 12
-helped by man, 76, 240
-mode of, 123, 124
Individualised animals, 180
Indra, 182
Inflammation, centres of, 17
-qualifications for, 7
-Second, 255
Initiations, 254
Injury to astral body, 151
Insanity, 36, 75, 214
Instigation to crime, 139
Intellect, colour of, 12
Interpenetration, 4, 151
Intervals between lives, 123
Investment of ego, 118, 208
Invisible helpers, 238
Invocation, 185, 226, 236
Iridescence, 16
Irritability in aura, 11, 58
Irritable man, 21
-causes of, 67
-on astral plane, 248

-colour of, 11
-thought-form of, 58
Jewels, 51, 69
Jîva, 27
Joy in aura, 12
Joy of life on astral plane, 94
Jumping on astral plane, 152

KALI, 53
Kâma, 23, 28, 79
- and lower manas, 119
- cause of reincarnation, 209
- reflection of Atma, 24
- transcended, 81
Kâmadevas, 187
Kâmaloka, 116

[Page 267]

Kâma-manas, 26, 27, 28, 29, 45, 78
-freeing from 119
Kâma-rupa, 24
-and re-birth, 210
-on astral plane, 133
Karmic deities, 188
Key, disintegration of, 158
Keynote of man, 236
Killing out
-desire, 222
-love, 223
Knowledge, qualification of, 249
Kobolds, 181
Koilon, bubbles in, 5
Kriyâ, 216
Kshetragna, 27
Kshiti, 182
Kumbhandas, 188
Kundalini, 32, 38, 104, 256
Kung, 63

LAKE Regillus, Battle of, 238
-on astral plane, 34, 134, 156, 250
-on mental plane, 34
Latent faculties, 80
Laughter, thought-forms of, 61, 62
Laukika method, 226
Law of Psychic Phenomena, 220
Layers of consciousness, 91
Leadbeater and Spiritualism, 194
Length of astral life, 124
-average, 131
Levitation, 161
Leyden jar, thought-forms like, 45, 63
Life-term, appointed, 139, 140
Light, destructive effects of, 160
-on astral plane, 152
Lilac-blue in aura, 12
Limbus, 116
Lines in astral body, 12, 18, 21
Links between bodies, 104
Lipika, 188
Liver, 25
Logos, astral body of, 9
Lokottara method, 227
Loosening of principles, 106
- of Karma, 211
-of the dark face, 53
-of Venus, 80
Loss of the soul, 144
Lost souls, 208
Lotus and solar system, 167
-killing out, 223
-qualification of, 250
-selfish, colour of, 12
-unselfish, colour of, 12
Love-emotions, 216
-chakrams, 31, 39
-manas, 28, 29
--- and Kâma, 119
-part of aura, 13
-psychism, 225
-self, 26
-quaternary, 23
Luminosity of astral matter, 152
Lunar form, slaying, 223
Lunatics, 214

MAGICAL ceremonies, 89, 179
Magnetised objects, 68
Magnification, 33, 235
Mahat, 29
Malice, colour of, 11
Manas, 29
Manas and Kâma, 78, 119
Manas, projection from, 28, 29
Manomayakosha, 27
Mantrams, 158
Manu, 27
Mass, Christian, 232
Mass effect of thoughts, 54
Masses for the dead, 136
-causal body of, 203
-communication from, 202
-consciousness of, 253
-impersonation of, 203
-meditation on, 57
-work of, 239
Masters and the Path, 254
Mastery of emotion, 215
Materialisation, 159
-by drunkard, 128
-of astral body, 106
-of thought-form, 50
-varieties of, 241
Materialism, breaking down, 196
Materialists on astral plane, 150
Mâyâvirûpa, 236, 255
Meals on astral plane, 115
-and psychic development, 231
-and shell to protect, 76
-on Master, 57
-opens up channel, 246
-thought-forms of, 58

[Page 268]

Medium's ego, 201
-and trance, 92, 106
-communication through, 134, 136
-passing into astral body, 91
Mediumship, 226
-not a power, 227
-of astral life, 35, 37, 92, 93,104
-of past lives, 105
-on astral plane, 90, 153
Mendelssohn, 59
Mental body,
-affected by emotion, 20
-astral body resembles, 16
-consciousness, 103
-of child, 211
-used by pupils, etc., 170
Mental matter, entanglement of, 108
-unit, 209
Mesmeric action of thought, 50, 229
-akin to glamour, 182
-to stimulate psychism, 226, 235
-to waken man on astral plane, 90
Metals, transmutation of, 162
Metaphysical thought, 58
Military music, 60
Mineral monad, 108
Minerals, kâma in, 25
Minification, 33
Minor vampires, 172, 201
Miser, 21
Mohammedan fanatic, 141
Moment of death, 107
Monad, 41
-and ego, 254
-powers of, 167
Monadic essence, 6, 176
Monads, animal, vegetable, etc., 176
Money, 70
Monsters, 214
Moods, 73
Moon-men, 124
Moon's orbit, 148
Morality of thought, 63
Mountains, influence of, 67
Mourning, injurious, 135, 198
-of astral particles, 8,15,34,113
- of astral objects, 151
Murderer after death, 130, 139
-and nature-spirits, 183
- forms, 58
learning on astral plane, 132
on astral plane, 131
Musk, 70
Mysteries, Ancient, 65, 256
Mystic chord, 237
Mysticism and fourth dimension, 167
Myths, ancient, 129

NAGAS, 188
Napoleon, 218
Narcotics, 35
National thoughts, 54
Nature-spirits, 181
- and coarse vibrations, 73
- and dirt, 67
- and music, 59
- and spiritualism, 180, 201
- as invisible helpers, 238
- ensouling thought-forms, 53, 55
-faculties of, 166
-glamour of, 182
-higher types, 189
-irresponsible, 184
-playing with children, 185
-seeking sensation, 74
Navel chakram, 31, 32
Nervous diseases, 17, 66
New Jerusalem, 150
Nimbus, 17
Nirmânakâyas, 57, 175, 202, 247
Nirvâna, 175
Noises, 62, 67
Novelist after death, 135

OBEAH, 170, 172
Objective mind, 221
-and mediumship, 253
-and religious revivals, 74
-and sleep, 91
-and web, 35, 36
-by desperate entity, 198
-by drunkard, 128
-by nature-spirit, 186
-by sensualist, 128
-of drunkards, 66
-of mediums, 142
-resisting, 128
-through loss of control, 73
Obstacles on astral plane, 151
Ocean influences, 67
Odours, 127
Ointments, 227
One-pointedness, 247
Open curves, 56
Opium, 66, 67
Optimism, 249

[Page 269]

Orange in aura, 12
Orchestra, music-form mode by, 53
Ordinary man after death, 123
Organ, church, 58'
Ossification of web, 36
Ouspensky, P. D., 163, 165
-of astral body, 6, 7, 13
-of thought-form, 46
Outpourings, 176

-control of, 87
-on astral plane, 87
-produces repulsion, 216
Painters, 53
Paradise, 150
Paralysis of astral body, 128
Parents and children, 212
Parrot scream, 61
Particles, rapid movement of, 8, 15, 34, 113
Passage through matter, 159
Passions and kâma, 23
Passivity of physical body, 224
Pavana, 182
Pearls, a dream symbol, 102
Perigee of moon, 148
Peris, 181
Permanent atoms, 222
-and lower thoughts, 14
-and re-birth, 209
-at end of astral life, 207
-evil stored in, 72, 100
-of Nirmânakâyas, 175
Peroulums, 60
Personality, the, 26, 29
Perspective and astral sight, 154
Philanthropist on astral plane, 132
-consciousness, 97
-elemental, 82
-life, 64
Physician in sleep-life, 86
Piano music-forms, 58
Pictures, precipitation of, 161
Pig-faced man, 214
Pineal gland, 33
Pishachas, 141
Pituitary body
-and alcohol, 66
-and astral consciousness, 105
-and memory of astral life, 93
-and top of head chakram, 33
-link with astral body, 41
Pixies, 181
-influences, 9
-spirits, 187
-astral, 9
-joined four-dimensionally, 167
Plants, feeling in, 25
Plasticity of vehicles, 212
Pleasure and genesis of emotions, 216
Pleasures of astral life, 132
Poet, thought-forms of, 59
Pole to pole currents, 157
Politics and crowd-psychology 219
Population of astral world, 131
Potential energy, 157
-a force from Logos, 38
-a principle of man, 23, 29
-and kâma, 24
-and spleen chakram, 32
-sheath of, 27
-special type in web, 36
Prânâmâyakosba, 27
Prânayama, 226
-answers to, 57, 246
-for the dead, 136
Precious stones, 69
Precipitation, 160
Pressure of thoughts, 7
Preta, 116
Pretaloka, 116
Prevision, 101
-colour of, 12
-satanic, 39
Primrose yellow in aura, 12
Principles in man, 23, 29
-fitting tightly, 91
-loosening of, 106
Probationary pupil, 252
Problem-solving in sleep, 94
Production of fire, 162
-of astral body, 106
-of thought-form, 50, 236
Protective thought, 49, 56
Protection against thoughts, 4
Protestantism, 117
-after death, 138
-faculties, 12
--- developing, 224
--- on astral plane, 169
-and spirituality, 224
-lower and higher, 225
- spasmodic, 227

[Page 270]

Psychology, modern, 259
Psychometer, 237
Public opinion, 219
-awaiting incarnation, 171
-awaking on astral plane, 88
-on astral plane, 169, 170
-work of, 254
Purgatory, 117, 127
Purification of bodies, 215
Pyramids, how built, 161

-for initiation, 7
-for the Path, 247
Quality of astral body, 120
Quaternary, 28, 29, 144
Queen Elizabeth, 123
Queen Victoria, 123

Radiating thought-vibrations, 43,56
Râga, 216
Railway engine screech, 62
Râjasic foods, 65
Râja Yoga, 227
-Yogi, 65
Rates of vibration in astral body, 14, 16
Ray of manas, 28, 29
Rays, 10, 178
Rearrangement of astral body, 108
-breaking up, in, 244
Re-birth, 209
Rebounding thought-form, 49
Records of astral light, 155
Red in aura, 11
Reduplication, 160
Refinement of bodies, 64
Regents of the Earth, 188
Regularity of aura, 22
-and kâma-manas, 26
-and spiritualism, 196
-in animal, 213
-excitement, 74
-man, 21
” Remainers,” 144
Remorse after death, 129, 245
Repentance, 52
Repercussion, 242
-and sympathetic vibration, 162
-injuries through, 173
-on physical brain, 94
Replica of physical world, 113
Reproduction of thoughts, 50
Reservoir of spiritual force, 57
Responsibility of thought, 63
Restfulness of astral life, 117
Reversal on astral plane, 154
Review of life at death, 107
Revival, religious, 74
Rhythmic foods, 65
Rifle-fire, 62
Rippling of astral body, 13
Rising through sub-planes, 109
Robinson Crusoe, 54
Rock seen astrally, 154
Roman Catholic Church, 117
Rose-colour in aura, 12
Rudraksha berry, 69
Rûpadevas, 187
Rush of feeling, 18
Russia, 172

SACHET powder, 70
St. James, 238
St. Joseph of Cupertino, 161
St. Martin, 144
St. Paul, 77, 167
St. Teresa, 161
Salamanders, 181
Satvic foods, 65
Satyrs, 39, 181, 186
-astral body of, 15
-while asleep, 84
Scales, musical, 60
Scarlet in aura, 11
-imaginary, 149, 150
-on astral plane, 134
Scents, 69
Schiller, 227
Science of the Emotions, 216
Scientific man, astral body of, 21
Scientific Romances, 163
Scientist on astral plane, 131,150
Scribe Ani, 148
Sea-waves, 61
-sight, 225
-sub-plane, 134, 149, 150
-Outpouring, 6
Self-centred thoughts, 47
Self-control, 248
Self-hypnotism, 226
-religionist, 150
-thoughts, 56
Selfishness, colour of, 11
-and astral matter, 6
-and kâma, 23, 24
-and prâna, 24
Sense centres, 25
Senses, astral, 34

[Page 271]

Sensualist after death, 127, 149
Sensuality, colour of, 11
Separateness, heresy of, 26
Serpent fire, 32, 38
Serpent of desire, 223
Seven Rays, The, 24
Seventh sub-plane
-and sudden death, 138, 140
- description of, 148
- locality of, 147
- type of inhabitant, 133, 149
Sex and nature spirits, 184
Shade, 170
-and re-birth, 213
-and spiritualism, 200
Shadows on astral plane, 152
Shakespeare's characters, 54
Shape of objects, disintegrated, 158
Sheaths of man, 27
Sheep, baaing of, 61
Shell, 171
-and re-birth, 213
-and spiritualism, 200
-during meditation, 76
-during sleep, 102, 255
-of thought, 80
-vitalised, 141
Sherlock Holmes, 54
Shield, atomic, 35
Shipwrecks, prevention of, 240
Shock, effect of, 35
Short-cut, atomic, 105
Shrâddha, 136
Siddhis, 33
Sight, astral, 153
Single-mindedness, 247
Sisyphus, 129
Sitting for development, 37
Six-dimensional world, 165
Sixth sub-plane, 133, 134, 147, 149
Size of astral body, 7
-of thought-forms, 45, 50
Skandhas, 199, 209
Slate writing, 161
-cause of, 82
-going to, 83
-of astral body, 84
-of average man, 85
-of developed man, 85
-of undeveloped man, 85
-on astral plane, 153
-surroundings in, 83
-thought before going to, 85, 88, 96, 103, 250
-work during, 88
Sleeping through astral life, 122
Sleep-life, 82
Sleep-walking, 91
Smell on astral plane, 128
Socrates, death of, 139
Solar plexus, 13
Soldiers killed in battle, 141
Some Occult Experiences, 164
Somnambulism, 91, 221
Song of birds, 61
Sons of God, 186
Sonship, 254
Sorcerers, 169
Specific gravity of astral matter, 14,19
Spells, 158
Spine, 40, 41
Spiral course of kundalini, 38, 40
-guide, 142, 192, 253
-hands, 161
-lights, 161, 184
-photographs, 241
Spiritualism, 194
-achievements of, 195
-and reincarnation, 196
-dangers of, 195, 198, 204
-history of, 191
-objections to, 197
Spiritualistic phenomena, 183
Spirituality, colour of, 12
Spleen, 25
-chakram, 31
Spooks, 200
Sport, 181
Stars in aura, 12
Stella, 166
Sthûla Sharira, 24
Stonehenge, how built, 161
Stone throwing, 115, 180
Storms, cause of, 55
” Strong Body,” 109
Study in Consciousness, 207
Study on astral plane, 132, 151
Sub-conscious mind, 221
Sub-divisions of astral plane, 147
Sub-lunar world, 148
Sub-planes, correspondence of, 72
Sub-types, 10
Subjective mind, 221
Succubae, 141
Sudden death, 138, 141, 172
-rush of feeling, 18
Suffering on astral plane, 87
” Suffering Body,” 109
Suggestion, 221
Suicide, 138, 139, 141, 172
-not justifiable, 140
Suicides and spiritualism, 198
Summerland, 134, 148, 150
Super-physical forces, 157

[Page 272]

Surprise in aura, 13
Sushupti, 103
Svapna, 103
Symbols, used by ego, 102
Symmetry of aura, 13
- system, 225
- vibration, 232
--- and astral phenomena, 157
--- and projected thought-form, 236
---and repercussion, 162, 242
Sympathy, colour of, 12

-linked, 69
Tamasic foods, 65
Tantalus, 129
Tea, 35, 67
Teacher, association with, 74
Telescope, astral, 235
Temperature and occult work, 230
Tempters on astral plane, 141
Tempting ” devils,” 47
Tendencies in permanent atoms, 207
-after death, 116, 138
-colour of, 19
Tertium Organum, 163, 165
Tesseract, 164
Test of earth, etc., 151, 228, 247
Test phenomena, 247
Theatre, counterpart of, 133
Theine, 67
Third sub-plane, 134, 148, 149
Thought-control, 102
-currents, 99
-forms, 43
-transference, 34
Throat chakram, 31
Thunderstorm, 61
Thyrsus, 41, 256
Tightness of principles, 91
-and space, for ego, 101
-not fourth dimension, 166
-on astral plane, 125
-spent on sub-planes, 120
Tityus, 129
-and nature-spirits, 183
-and undesirable entities, 66
-deadening effect, 36
-detrimental effects, 65
-effect on astral body, 128
-effect on web, 35
Tongue, meditation in, 33
Top of head chakram, 31, 33
Touching astral objects, 152
Trail of thoughts, 48
-akin to sleep-life, 91
-and Turiya, 103
-of mediums, 106
Transmutation of metals, 162
Travel, benefit of, 67
-in astral body, 32, 86, 236
-in mental body, 236
-higher, 144
-immortal, 206
Trishnâ, 198, 199, 209
Trolls, 181
Tube, astral, 234
Tulsi plant, 69
Turiya, 103
Two-dimensional world, 164
Tyburn, 51
-of essence, 178
-of matter, 9
-men, animals, etc., 10

-in aura, 12
-on astral plane, 154
-in aura, 12
-on astral plane, 154
Unconsciousness after death, 107
Undines, 181
Unit, mental, 209
United thought, 58
Universal mind, 29
Upper part of aura, 13

VAGUE thoughts, 56
Vâishrâvana, 188
Valhalla, 150
Vampires, 52, 172
- minor, 172, 201
Van Manen, J., 164
Varuna, 182
Vegetables and kâma, 25
Vegetarianism, 65
Venus, Lords of, 80,
Versatility, colour of, 12
Vertical divisions, 178
Vertigo, 226
Vices, overcoming, 222
Victoria, Queen, 123
Vignânamayakosha, 27
Village gods, 185
Violet in aura, 12
Violin music forms, 58
Virudhaka, 188

[Page 273]

Virûpaksha, 188
Vision, astral, 153
Visitors from other planets, 169
Vitalised shells, 141, 172, 200
Vitality, 12, 23, 29, 32, 36, 38, 67
-sheath, 27
Vivisection, 181
Vivisector on astral plane, 130
Voice of the Silence, 153, 203, 223
Voodoo, 170, 172
Vortices in astral body, 18

Waking another on astral plane, 89
Waking consciousness, 103
Wandering demons, 51
-causes of, 55
-killed in, 141
Warning dreams, 101
Watch seen astrally, 153
Water, a dream symbol, 102
Waterfalls, influence of, 67
Water-sprites, 181
Web, atomic, 35, 93
-injury to, 35, 37
Werewolf, 172
Whirlpools in astral body, 16
Whistling, 62
White auras, 17
-and desire, 24
-directing thought-forms, 44
-on astral plane, 125
-power of, 242
Willing and wishing, 223
Wind, 61
Wine, detrimental effect of, 66
Witchcraft, 227
Withdrawal of ego, 117, 118, 126. 198, 206, 208
-delayed, 136
Wood-gods, 185
World's Mother, 38
Worries in astral body, 17
Worry, to be avoided, 74
Wound in astral body, 62

Yatâna, 108
- in aura, 12
-and nimbus, 17
-ochre in aura, 12
Yoga, 104, 225

Zanoni, 89

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