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Title: Lucifer
       A Theosophical Magazine

Author: Various

Editor: Various

Release Date: December 5, 2019 [EBook #60852]

Language: English

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Transcriber’s Note:

This text is a compilation of the six numbers of the first Volume of Lucifer, spanning September 1887 through February 1888.

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LUCIFER
A Theosophical Magazine,

DESIGNED TO “BRING TO LIGHT THE HIDDEN THINGS OF DARKNESS.”
EDITED BY
H. P. BLAVATSKY AND MABEL COLLINS.

THE LIGHT-BEARER IS THE MORNING STAR OR LUCIFER, AND “LUCIFER IS NO PROFANE OR SATANIC TITLE. IT IS THE LATIN LUCIFERUS. THE LIGHT-BRINGER, THE MORNING STAR, EQUIVALENT TO THE GREEK φωσφορος ... THE NAME OF THE PURE PALE HERALD OF DAYLIGHT.”—Yonge.

VOLUME I.
SEPTEMBER 1887-FEBRUARY 1888.

London:
GEORGE REDWAY, YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN.
KELLY & CO., PRINTERS
1 & 3, GATE STREET, LINCOLNS INN FIELDS, LONDON, W.C.
AND MIDDLE MILL, KINGSTON-ON-THAMES.

CONTENTS.

Astrological Notes 158, 512
Auto-Hypnotic Rhapsody, An 472
Birth of Light, The 52
Blood Covenanting 216
Blossom and the Fruit, The. The True Story of a Magician 23, 123, 193, 258, 347, 443
Brotherhood 212
Buddhism, The Four Noble Truths of 49
Christian Dogma, Esotericism of the 368
Christmas Eve, A Remarkable 274
Correspondence 76, 136, 228, 311, 412, 502
Emerson and Occultism 252
Evil, The Origin of 109
Fear 298
Freedom 185
Ghost’s Revenge, A 63, 102
God Speaks for Law and Order 292
Gospels, The Esoteric Character of the 173, 299, 490
Hand, The “Square” in the 181
Hauntings, A Theory of 486
Healing, The Spirit of 267
Hylo-Idealism and “The Adversary” 507
Infant Genius 296
Interlaced Triangles, The Relation of Colour to the 481
Invisible World, The 186
Lady of Light, The 81
Lama, The Last of a Good 51
Law of Life, A: Karma 39, 97
Let Every Man Prove His Own Work 161
“Light on the Path,” Comments on 8, 90, 170, 379
Literary Jottings 71, 329
Love with an Object 391
Lucifer” To the Archbishop of Canterbury Greeting, 241; To the Readers of 340
Luniolatry 440
Morning Star, To the 339
Mystery of all Time, The 46
Mystic Thought, The 192
Paradox, The Great 120
Planet, History of a 15
Quest, The Great 288, 375
Reviews 143, 232, 395, 497
Science of Life, The 203
Signs of the Times, The 83
Soldier’s Daughter, The 432
Some Words on Daily Life 344
Theosophical and Mystic Publications 77, 156, 335
Theosophist, A True (Count Tolstoi) 55
Theosophy, Thoughts on, 134; and Socialism 282
Three Desires, The 476
Twilight Visions 365, 461
Unpopular Philosopher, From the Note-Book of an 80, 160, 238
What is Truth? 425
What’s in a Name? Why is the Magazine called “Lucifer”? 1
White Monk, The 384, 466
1888 337
1

LUCIFER

Vol. I.     LONDON, SEPTEMBER 15TH, 1887.     No. 1.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?
WHY THE MAGAZINE IS CALLED “LUCIFER.”

What’s in a name? Very often there is more in it than the profane is prepared to understand, or the learned mystic to explain. It is an invisible, secret, but very potential influence that every name carries about with it and “leaveth wherever it goeth.” Carlyle thought that “there is much, nay, almost all, in names.” “Could I unfold the influence of names, which are the most important of all clothings, I were a second great Trismegistus,” he writes.

The name or title of a magazine started with a definite object, is, therefore, all important; for it is, indeed, the invisible seedgrain, which will either grow “to be an all-over-shadowing tree” on the fruits of which must depend the nature of the results brought about by the said object, or the tree will wither and die. These considerations show that the name of the present magazine—rather equivocal to orthodox Christian ears—is due to no careless selection, but arose in consequence of much thinking over its fitness, and was adopted as the best symbol to express that object and the results in view.

Now, the first and most important, if not the sole object of the magazine, is expressed in the line from the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, on its title page. It is to bring light to “the hidden things of darkness,” (iv. 5); to show in their true aspect and their original real meaning things and names, men and their doings and customs; it is finally to fight prejudice, hypocrisy and shams in every nation, in every class of Society, as in every department of life. The task is a laborious one but it is neither impracticable nor useless, if even as an experiment.

Thus, for an attempt of such nature, no better title could ever be found than the one chosen. “Lucifer,” is the pale morning-star, the precursor of the full blaze of the noon-day sun—the “Eosphoros” of the Greeks. It shines timidly at dawn to gather forces and dazzle the eye after sunset as its own brother ‘Hesperos’—the radiant evening star, or 2the planet Venus. No fitter symbol exists for the proposed work—that of throwing a ray of truth on everything hidden by the darkness of prejudice, by social or religious misconceptions; especially by that idiotic routine in life, which, once that a certain action, a thing, a name, has been branded by slanderous inventions, however unjust, makes respectable people, so called, turn away shiveringly, refusing to even look at it from any other aspect than the one sanctioned by public opinion. Such an endeavour then, to force the weak-hearted to look truth straight in the face, is helped most efficaciously by a title belonging to the category of branded names.

Piously inclined readers may argue that “Lucifer” is accepted by all the churches as one of the many names of the Devil. According to Milton’s superb fiction, Lucifer is Satan, the “rebellious” angel, the enemy of God and man. If one analyzes his rebellion, however, it will be found of no worse nature than an assertion of free-will and independent thought, as if Lucifer had been born in the XIXth century. This epithet of “rebellious,” is a theological calumny, on a par with that other slander of God by the Predestinarians, one that makes of deity an “Almighty” fiend worse than the “rebellious” Spirit himself; “an omnipotent Devil desiring to be ‘complimented’ as all merciful when he is exerting the most fiendish cruelty,” as put by J. Cotter Morison. Both the foreordaining and predestining fiend-God, and his subordinate agent are of human invention; they are two of the most morally repulsive and horrible theological dogmas that the nightmares of light-hating monks have ever evolved out of their unclean fancies.

They date from the Mediæval age, the period of mental obscuration, during which most of the present prejudices and superstitions have been forcibly inoculated on the human mind, so as to have become nearly ineradicable in some cases, one of which is the present prejudice now under discussion.

So deeply rooted, indeed, is this preconception and aversion to the name of Lucifer—meaning no worse than “light-bringer” (from lux, lucis, “light,” and ferre “to bring”)[1]—even among the educated classes, that by adopting it for the title of their magazine the editors have the prospect of a long strife with public prejudice before them. So absurd and ridiculous is that prejudice, indeed, that no one has seemed to ever ask himself the question, how came Satan to be called a light-bringer, unless the silvery rays of the morning-star can in any way be made suggestive of the glare of the infernal flames. It is simply, as Henderson showed, “one of those gross perversions of sacred writ which so extensively obtain, and which are to be traced to a proneness to seek for more 3in a given passage than it really contains—a disposition to be influenced by sound rather than sense, and an implicit faith in received interpretation”—which is not quite one of the weaknesses of our present age. Nevertheless, the prejudice is there, to the shame of our century.

This cannot be helped. The two editors would hold themselves as recreants in their own sight, as traitors to the very spirit of the proposed work, were they to yield and cry craven before the danger. If one would fight prejudice, and brush off the ugly cobwebs of superstition and materialism alike from the noblest ideals of our forefathers, one has to prepare for opposition. “The crown of the reformer and the innovator is a crown of thorns” indeed. If one would rescue Truth in all her chaste nudity from the almost bottomless well, into which she has been hurled by cant and hypocritical propriety, one should not hesitate to descend into the dark, gaping pit of that well. No matter how badly the blind bats—the dwellers in darkness, and the haters of light—may treat in their gloomy abode the intruder, unless one is the first to show the spirit and courage he preaches to others, he must be justly held as a hypocrite and a seceder from his own principles.

Hardly had the title been agreed upon, when the first premonitions of what was in store for us, in the matter of the opposition to be encountered owing to the title chosen, appeared on our horizon. One of the editors received and recorded some spicy objections. The scenes that follow are sketches from nature.

I.

A Well-known Novelist. Tell me about your new magazine. What class do you propose to appeal to?

Editor. No class in particular: we intend to appeal to the public.

Novelist. I am very glad of that. For once I shall be one of the public, for I don’t understand your subject in the least, and I want to. But you must remember that if your public is to understand you, it must necessarily be a very small one. People talk about occultism nowadays as they talk about many other things, without the least idea of what it means. We are so ignorant and—so prejudiced.

Editor. Exactly. That is what calls the new magazine into existence. We propose to educate you, and to tear the mask from every prejudice.

Novelist. That really is good news to me, for I want to be educated. What is your magazine to be called?

Editor. Lucifer.

Novelist. What! Are you going to educate us in vice? We know enough about that. Fallen angels are plentiful. You may find popularity, for soiled doves are in fashion just now, while the white-winged angels are voted a bore, because they are not so amusing. But I doubt your being able to teach us much.

II.

A Man of the World (in a careful undertone, for the scene is a dinner-party). I hear you are going to start a magazine, all about occultism. Do you know, I’m very glad. I don’t say anything about such matters as a rule, but some queer things have happened in my life which can’t be explained in any ordinary manner. I hope you will go in for explanations.

4Editor. We shall try, certainly. My impression is, that when occultism is in any measure apprehended, its laws are accepted by everyone as the only intelligible explanation of life.

A M. W. Just so, I want to know all about it, for ’pon my honour, life’s a mystery. There are plenty of other people as curious as myself. This is an age which is afflicted with the Yankee disease of ‘wanting to know.’ I’ll get you lots of subscribers. What’s the magazine called?

Editor. Lucifer—and (warned by former experience) don’t misunderstand the name. It is typical of the divine spirit which sacrificed itself for humanity—it was Milton’s doing that it ever became associated with the devil. We are sworn enemies to popular prejudices, and it is quite appropriate that we should attack such a prejudice as this—Lucifer, you know, is the Morning Star—the Lightbearer,...

A M. W. (interrupting). Oh, I know all that—at least I don’t know, but I take it for granted you’ve got some good reason for taking such a title. But your first object is to have readers; you want the public to buy your magazine, I suppose. That’s in the programme, isn’t it?

Editor. Most decidedly.

A M. W. Well, listen to the advice of a man who knows his way about town. Don’t mark your magazine with the wrong colour at starting. It’s quite evident, when one stays an instant to think of its derivation and meaning, that Lucifer is an excellent word. But the public don’t stay to think of derivations and meanings; and the first impression is the most important. Nobody will buy the magazine if you call it Lucifer.

III.

A Fashionable Lady Interested in Occultism. I want to hear some more about the new magazine, for I have interested a great many people in it, even with the little you have told me. But I find it difficult to express its actual purpose. What is it?

Editor. To try and give a little light to those that want it.

A F. L. Well, that’s a simple way of putting it, and will be very useful to me. What is the magazine to be called?

Editor. Lucifer.

A F. L. (After a pause) You can’t mean it.

Editor. Why not?

A F. L. The associations are so dreadful! What can be the object of calling it that? It sounds like some unfortunate sort of joke, made against it by its enemies.

Editor. Oh, but Lucifer, you know, means Light-bearer; it is typical of the Divine Spirit——

A F. L. Never mind all that—I want to do your magazine good and make it known, and you can’t expect me to enter into explanations of that sort every time I mention the title? Impossible! Life is too short and too busy. Besides, it would produce such a bad effect; people would think me priggish, and then I couldn’t talk at all, for I couldn’t bear them to think that. Don’t call it Lucifer—please don’t. Nobody knows what the word is typical of; what it means now is the devil, nothing more or less.

Editor. But then that is quite a mistake, and one of the first prejudices we propose to do battle with. Lucifer is the pale, pure herald of dawn——

Lady (interrupting). I thought you were going to do something more interesting and more important than to whitewash mythological characters. We shall all have to go to school again, or read up Dr. Smith’s Classical Dictionary. And what is the use of it when it is done? I thought you were going to tell us things about our own lives and how to make them better. I suppose Milton wrote about Lucifer, didn’t he?—but nobody reads Milton now. Do let us have a modern title with some human meaning in it.

5IV.

A Journalist (thoughtfully, while rolling his cigarette). Yes, it is a good idea, this magazine of yours. We shall all laugh at it, as a matter of course: and we shall cut it up in the papers. But we shall all read it, because secretly everybody hungers after the mysterious. What are you going to call it?

Editor. Lucifer.

Journalist (striking a light). Why not The Fusee? Quite as good a title and not so pretentious.

The “Novelist,” the “Man of the World,” the “Fashionable Lady,” and the “Journalist,” should be the first to receive a little instruction. A glimpse into the real and primitive character of Lucifer can do them no harm and may, perchance, cure them of a bit of ridiculous prejudice. They ought to study their Homer and Hesiod’s Theogony if they would do justice to Lucifer, “Eosphoros and Hesperos,” the Morning and the Evening beautiful star. If there are more useful things to do in this life than “to whitewash mythological characters,” to slander and blacken them is, at least, as useless, and shows, moreover, a narrow-mindedness which can do honour to no one.

To object to the title of Lucifer, only because its “associations are so dreadful,” is pardonable—if it can be pardonable in any case—only in an ignorant American missionary of some dissenting sect, in one whose natural laziness and lack of education led him to prefer ploughing the minds of heathens, as ignorant as he is himself, to the more profitable, but rather more arduous, process of ploughing the fields of his own father’s farm. In the English clergy, however, who receive all a more or less classical education, and are, therefore, supposed to be acquainted with the ins and outs of theological sophistry and casuistry, this kind of opposition is absolutely unpardonable. It not only smacks of hypocrisy and deceit, but places them directly on a lower moral level than him they call the apostate angel. By endeavouring to show the theological Lucifer, fallen through the idea that

“To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell;
Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven,”

they are virtually putting into practice the supposed crime they would fain accuse him of. They prefer reigning over the spirit of the masses by means of a pernicious dark LIE, productive of many an evil, than serve heaven by serving TRUTH. Such practices are worthy only of the Jesuits.

But their sacred writ is the first to contradict their interpretations and the association of Lucifer, the Morning Star, with Satan. Chapter XXII. of Revelation, verse 16th, says: “I, Jesus ... am the root ... and the bright and Morning Star” (ὀρθρινὸς “early rising”): hence Eosphoros, or the Latin Lucifer. The opprobrium attached to 6this name is of such a very late date, that the Roman Church found itself forced to screen the theological slander behind a two-sided interpretation—as usual. Christ, we are told, is the “Morning Star,” the divine Lucifer; and Satan the usurpator of the Verbum, the “infernal Lucifer.”[2] “The great Archangel Michael, the conqueror of Satan, is identical in paganism[3] with Mercury-Mithra, to whom, after defending the Sun (symbolical of God) from the attacks of Venus-Lucifer, was given the possession of this planet, et datus est ei locus Luciferi. And since the Archangel Michael is the ‘Angel of the Face,’ and ‘the Vicar of the Verbum’ he is now considered in the Roman Church as the regent of that planet Venus which ‘the vanquished fiend had usurped.’” Angelus faciei Dei sedem superbi humilis obtinuit, says Cornelius à Lapide (in Vol. VI. p. 229).

This gives the reason why one of the early Popes was called Lucifer, as Yonge and ecclesiastical records prove. It thus follows that the title chosen for our magazine is as much associated with divine and pious ideas as with the supposed rebellion of the hero of Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” By choosing it, we throw the first ray of light and truth on a ridiculous prejudice which ought to have no room made for it in this our “age of facts and discovery.” We work for true Religion and Science, in the interest of fact as against fiction and prejudice. It is our duty, as it is that of physical Science—professedly its mission—to throw light on facts in Nature hitherto surrounded by the darkness of ignorance. And since ignorance is justly regarded as the chief promoter of superstition, that work is, therefore, a noble and beneficent work. But natural Sciences are only one aspect of Science and Truth. Psychological and moral Sciences, or theosophy, the knowledge of divine truth, wheresoever found, are still more important in human affairs, and real Science should not be limited simply to the physical aspect of life and nature. Science is an abstract of every fact, a comprehension of every truth within the scope of human research and intelligence. “Shakespeare’s deep and accurate science in mental philosophy” (Coleridge), has proved more beneficent to the true philosopher in the study of the human heart—therefore, in the promotion of truth—than the more accurate, but certainly less deep, science of any Fellow of the Royal Institution.

Those readers, however, who do not find themselves convinced that the Church had no right to throw a slur upon a beautiful star, and that it did so through a mere necessity of accounting for one of its numerous loans from Paganism with all its poetical conceptions of the truths in Nature, are asked to read our article “The History of a Planet.” Perhaps, after its perusal, they will see how far Dupuis was justified in asserting that 7“all the theologies have their origin in astronomy.” With the modern Orientalists every myth is solar. This is one more prejudice, and a preconception in favour of materialism and physical science. It will be one of our duties to combat it with much of the rest.


Occultism is not magic, though magic is one of its tools.

Occultism is not the acquirement of powers, whether psychic or intellectual, though both are its servants. Neither is occultism the pursuit of happiness, as men understand the word; for the first step is sacrifice, the second, renunciation.


Life is built up by the sacrifice of the individual to the whole. Each cell in the living body must sacrifice itself to the perfection of the whole; when it is otherwise, disease and death enforce the lesson.


Occultism is the science of life, the art of living.

8

COMMENTS ON “LIGHT ON THE PATH.”

BY THE AUTHOR.
“Before the eyes can see they must be incapable of tears.”

It should be very clearly remembered by all readers of this volume that it is a book which may appear to have some little philosophy in it, but very little sense, to those who believe it to be written in ordinary English. To the many, who read in this manner it will be—not caviare so much as olives strong of their salt. Be warned and read but a little in this way.

There is another way of reading, which is, indeed, the only one of any use with many authors. It is reading, not between the lines but within the words. In fact, it is deciphering a profound cipher. All alchemical works are written in the cipher of which I speak; it has been used by the great philosophers and poets of all time. It is used systematically by the adepts in life and knowledge, who, seemingly giving out their deepest wisdom, hide in the very words which frame it its actual mystery. They cannot do more. There is a law of nature which insists that a man shall read these mysteries for himself. By no other method can he obtain them. A man who desires to live must eat his food himself: this is the simple law of nature—which applies also to the higher life. A man who would live and act in it cannot be fed like a babe with a spoon; he must eat for himself.

I propose to put into new and sometimes plainer language parts of “Light on the Path”; but whether this effort of mine will really be any interpretation I cannot say. To a deaf and dumb man, a truth is made no more intelligible if, in order to make it so, some misguided linguist translates the words in which it is couched into every living or dead language, and shouts these different phrases in his ear. But for those who are not deaf and dumb one language is generally easier than the rest; and it is to such as these I address myself.

The very first aphorisms of “Light on the Path,” included under Number I. have, I know well, remained sealed as to their inner meaning to many who have otherwise followed the purpose of the book.

There are four proven and certain truths with regard to the entrance to occultism. The Gates of Gold bar that threshold; yet there are some who pass those gates and discover the sublime and illimitable beyond. In the far spaces of Time all will pass those gates. But I am one who wish that Time, the great deluder, were not so over-masterful. To those who know and love him I have no word to say; but to the others—and there are not so very few as some may fancy—to whom the 9passage of Time is as the stroke of a sledge-hammer, and the sense of Space like the bars of an iron cage, I will translate and re-translate until they understand fully.

The four truths written on the first page of “Light on the Path,” refer to the trial initiation of the would-be occultist. Until he has passed it, he cannot even reach to the latch of the gate which admits to knowledge. Knowledge is man’s greatest inheritance; why, then, should he not attempt to reach it by every possible road? The laboratory is not the only ground for experiment; science, we must remember, is derived from sciens, present participle of scire, “to know,”—its origin is similar to that of the word “discern,” “to ken.” Science does not therefore deal only with matter, no, not even its subtlest and obscurest forms. Such an idea is born merely of the idle spirit of the age. Science is a word which covers all forms of knowledge. It is exceedingly interesting to hear what chemists discover, and to see them finding their way through the densities of matter to its finer forms; but there are other kinds of knowledge than this, and it is not every one who restricts his (strictly scientific) desire for knowledge to experiments which are capable of being tested by the physical senses.

Everyone who is not a dullard, or a man stupefied by some predominant vice, has guessed, or even perhaps discovered with some certainty, that there are subtle senses lying within the physical senses. There is nothing at all extraordinary in this; if we took the trouble to call Nature into the witness box we should find that everything which is perceptible to the ordinary sight, has something even more important than itself hidden within it; the microscope has opened a world to us, but within those encasements which the microscope reveals, lies a mystery which no machinery can probe.

The whole world is animated and lit, down to its most material shapes, by a world within it. This inner world is called Astral by some people, and it is as good a word as any other, though it merely means starry; but the stars, as Locke pointed out, are luminous bodies which give light of themselves. This quality is characteristic of the life which lies within matter; for those who see it, need no lamp to see it by. The word star, moreover, is derived from the Anglo-Saxon “stir-an,” to steer, to stir, to move, and undeniably it is the inner life which is master of the outer, just as a man’s brain guides the movements of his lips. So that although Astral is no very excellent word in itself, I am content to use it for my present purpose.

The whole of “Light on the Path” is written in an astral cipher and can therefore only be deciphered by one who reads astrally. And its teaching is chiefly directed towards the cultivation and development of the astral life. Until the first step has been taken in this development, the swift knowledge, which is called intuition with certainty, is impossible to man. And this positive and certain intuition is the only form of 10knowledge which enables a man to work rapidly or reach his true and high estate, within the limit of his conscious effort. To obtain knowledge by experiment is too tedious a method for those who aspire to accomplish real work; he who gets it by certain intuition, lays hands on its various forms with supreme rapidity, by fierce effort of will; as a determined workman grasps his tools, indifferent to their weight or any other difficulty which may stand in his way. He does not stay for each to be tested—he uses such as he sees are fittest.

All the rules contained in “Light on the Path,” are written for all disciples, but only for disciples—those who “take knowledge.” To none else but the student in this school are its laws of any use or interest.

To all who are interested seriously in Occultism, I say first—take knowledge. To him who hath shall be given. It is useless to wait for it. The womb of Time will close before you, and in later days you will remain unborn, without power. I therefore say to those who have any hunger or thirst for knowledge, attend to these rules.

They are none of my handicraft or invention. They are merely the phrasing of laws in super-nature, the putting into words truths as absolute in their own sphere, as those laws which govern the conduct of the earth and its atmosphere.

The senses spoken of in these four statements are the astral, or inner senses.

No man desires to see that light which illumines the spaceless soul until pain and sorrow and despair have driven him away from the life of ordinary humanity. First he wears out pleasure; then he wears out pain—till, at last, his eyes become incapable of tears.

This is a truism, although I know perfectly well that it will meet with a vehement denial from many who are in sympathy with thoughts which spring from the inner life. To see with the astral sense of sight is a form of activity which it is difficult for us to understand immediately. The scientist knows very well what a miracle is achieved by each child that is born into the world, when it first conquers its eye-sight and compels it to obey its brain. An equal miracle is performed with each sense certainly, but this ordering of sight is perhaps the most stupendous effort. Yet the child does it almost unconsciously, by force of the powerful heredity of habit. No one now is aware that he has ever done it at all; just as we cannot recollect the individual movements which enabled us to walk up a hill a year ago. This arises from the fact that we move and live and have our being in matter. Our knowledge of it has become intuitive.

With our astral life it is very much otherwise. For long ages past, man has paid very little attention to it—so little, that he has practically lost the use of his senses. It is true, that in every civilization the star arises, and man confesses, with more or less of folly and confusion, that he knows himself to be. But most often he denies it, and in being a 11materialist becomes that strange thing, a being which cannot see its own light, a thing of life which will not live, an astral animal which has eyes, and ears, and speech, and power, yet will use none of these gifts. This is the case, and the habit of ignorance has become so confirmed, that now none will see with the inner vision till agony has made the physical eyes not only unseeing, but without tears—the moisture of life. To be incapable of tears is to have faced and conquered the simple human nature, and to have attained an equilibrium which cannot be shaken by personal emotions. It does not imply any hardness of heart, or any indifference. It does not imply the exhaustion of sorrow, when the suffering soul seems powerless to suffer acutely any longer; it does not mean the deadness of old age, when emotion is becoming dull because the strings which vibrate to it are wearing out. None of these conditions are fit for a disciple, and if any one of them exist in him, it must be overcome before the path can be entered upon. Hardness of heart belongs to the selfish man, the egotist, to whom the gate is for ever closed. Indifference belongs to the fool and the false philosopher; those whose lukewarmness makes them mere puppets, not strong enough to face the realities of existence. When pain or sorrow has worn out the keenness of suffering, the result is a lethargy not unlike that which accompanies old age, as it is usually experienced by men and women. Such a condition makes the entrance to the path impossible, because the first step is one of difficulty and needs a strong man, full of psychic and physical vigour, to attempt it.

It is a truth, that, as Edgar Allan Poe said, the eyes are the windows for the soul, the windows of that haunted palace in which it dwells. This is the very nearest interpretation into ordinary language of the meaning of the text. If grief, dismay, disappointment or pleasure, can shake the soul so that it loses its fixed hold on the calm spirit which inspires it, and the moisture of life breaks forth, drowning knowledge in sensation, then all is blurred, the windows are darkened, the light is useless. This is as literal a fact as that if a man, at the edge of a precipice, loses his nerve through some sudden emotion he will certainly fall. The poise of the body, the balance, must be preserved, not only in dangerous places, but even on the level ground, and with all the assistance Nature gives us by the law of gravitation. So it is with the soul, it is the link between the outer body and the starry spirit beyond; the divine spark dwells in the still place where no convulsion of Nature can shake the air; this is so always. But the soul may lose its hold on that, its knowledge of it, even though these two are part of one whole; and it is by emotion, by sensation, that this hold is loosed. To suffer either pleasure or pain, causes a vivid vibration which is, to the consciousness of man, life. Now this sensibility does not lessen when the disciple enters upon his training; it increases. It is the first test of his strength; he must suffer, must enjoy or endure, more 12keenly than other men, while yet he has taken on him a duty which does not exist for other men, that of not allowing his suffering to shake him from his fixed purpose. He has, in fact, at the first step to take himself steadily in hand and put the bit into his own mouth; no one else can do it for him.

The first four aphorisms of “Light on the Path,” refer entirely to astral development. This development must be accomplished to a certain extent—that is to say it must be fully entered upon—before the remainder of the book is really intelligible except to the intellect; in fact, before it can be read as a practical, not a metaphysical treatise.

In one of the great mystic Brotherhoods, there are four ceremonies, that take place early in the year, which practically illustrate and elucidate these aphorisms. They are ceremonies in which only novices take part, for they are simply services of the threshold. But it will show how serious a thing it is to become a disciple, when it is understood that these are all ceremonies of sacrifice. The first one is this of which I have been speaking. The keenest enjoyment, the bitterest pain, the anguish of loss and despair, are brought to bear on the trembling soul, which has not yet found light in the darkness, which is helpless as a blind man is, and until these shocks can be endured without loss of equilibrium the astral senses must remain sealed. This is the merciful law. The “medium,” or “spiritualist,” who rushes into the psychic world without preparation, is a law-breaker, a breaker of the laws of super-nature. Those who break Nature’s laws lose their physical health; those who break the laws of the inner life, lose their psychic health. “Mediums” become mad, suicides, miserable creatures devoid of moral sense; and often end as unbelievers, doubters even of that which their own eyes have seen. The disciple is compelled to become his own master before he adventures on this perilous path, and attempts to face those beings who live and work in the astral world, and whom we call masters, because of their great knowledge and their ability to control not only themselves but the forces around them.

The condition of the soul when it lives for the life of sensation as distinguished from that of knowledge, is vibratory or oscillating, as distinguished from fixed. That is the nearest literal representation of the fact; but it is only literal to the intellect, not to the intuition. For this part of man’s consciousness a different vocabulary is needed. The idea of “fixed” might perhaps be transposed into that of “at home.” In sensation no permanent home can be found, because change is the law of this vibratory existence. That fact is the first one which must be learned by the disciple. It is useless to pause and weep for a scene in a kaleidoscope which has passed.

It is a very well-known fact, one with which Bulwer Lytton dealt with great power, that an intolerable sadness is the very first experience 13of the neophyte in Occultism. A sense of blankness falls upon him which makes the world a waste, and life a vain exertion. This follows his first serious contemplation of the abstract. In gazing, or even in attempting to gaze, on the ineffable mystery of his own higher nature, he himself causes the initial trial to fall on him. The oscillation between pleasure and pain ceases for—perhaps an instant of time; but that is enough to have cut him loose from his fast moorings in the world of sensation. He has experienced, however briefly, the greater life; and he goes on with ordinary existence weighted by a sense of unreality, of blank, of horrid negation. This was the nightmare which visited Bulwer Lytton’s neophyte in “Zanoni”; and even Zanoni himself, who had learned great truths, and been entrusted with great powers, had not actually passed the threshold where fear and hope, despair and joy seem at one moment absolute realities, at the next mere forms of fancy.

This initial trial is often brought on us by life itself. For life is after all, the great teacher. We return to study it, after we have acquired power over it, just as the master in chemistry learns more in the laboratory than his pupil does. There are persons so near the door of knowledge that life itself prepares them for it, and no individual hand has to invoke the hideous guardian of the entrance. These must naturally be keen and powerful organizations, capable of the most vivid pleasure; then pain comes and fills its great duty. The most intense forms of suffering fall on such a nature, till at last it arouses from its stupor of consciousness, and by the force of its internal vitality steps over the threshold into a place of peace. Then the vibration of life loses its power of tyranny. The sensitive nature must suffer still; but the soul has freed itself and stands aloof, guiding the life towards its greatness. Those who are the subjects of Time, and go slowly through all his spaces, live on through a long-drawn series of sensations, and suffer a constant mingling of pleasure and of pain. They do not dare to take the snake of self in a steady grasp and conquer it, so becoming divine; but prefer to go on fretting through divers experiences, suffering blows from the opposing forces.

When one of these subjects of Time decides to enter on the path of Occultism, it is this which is his first task. If life has not taught it to him, if he is not strong enough to teach himself, and if he has power enough to demand the help of a master, then this fearful trial, depicted in Zanoni, is put upon him. The oscillation in which he lives, is for an instant stilled; and he has to survive the shock of facing what seems to him at first sight as the abyss of nothingness. Not till he has learned to dwell in this abyss, and has found its peace, is it possible for his eyes to have become incapable of tears.

The difficulty of writing intelligibly on these subjects is so great that 14I beg of those who have found any interest in this article, and are yet left with perplexities and doubts, to address me in the correspondence column of this magazine. I ask this because thoughtful questions are as great an assistance to the general reader as the answers to them.

Δ
(To be continued.)

Harmony is the law of life, discord its shadow, whence springs suffering, the teacher, the awakener of consciousness.


Through joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure, the soul comes to a knowledge of itself; then begins the task of learning the laws of life, that the discords may be resolved, and the harmony be restored.


The eyes of wisdom are like the ocean depths; there is neither joy nor sorrow in them; therefore the soul of the occultist must become stronger than joy, and greater than sorrow.

15

THE HISTORY OF A PLANET.

No star, among the countless myriads that twinkle over the sidereal fields of the night sky, shines so dazzlingly as the planet Venus—not even Sirius-Sothis, the dog-star, beloved by Isis. Venus is the queen among our planets, the crown jewel of our solar system. She is the inspirer of the poet, the guardian and companion of the lonely shepherd, the lovely morning and the evening star. For,

“Stars teach as well as shine.”

although their secrets are still untold and unrevealed to the majority of men, including astronomers. They are “a beauty and a mystery,” verily. But “where there is a mystery, it is generally supposed that there must also be evil,” says Byron. Evil, therefore, was detected by evilly-disposed human fancy, even in those bright luminous eyes peeping at our wicked world through the veil of ether. Thus there came to exist slandered stars and planets as well as slandered men and women. Too often are the reputation and fortune of one man or party sacrificed for the benefit of another man or party. As on earth below, so in the heavens above, and Venus, the sister planet of our Earth,[4] was sacrificed to the ambition of our little globe to show the latter the “chosen” planet of the Lord. She became the scapegoat, the Azaziel of the starry dome, for the sins of the Earth, or rather for those of a certain class in the human family—the clergy—who slandered the bright orb, in order to prove what their ambition suggested to them as the best means to reach power, and exercise it unswervingly over the superstitious and ignorant masses.

This took place during the middle ages. And now the sin lies black at the door of Christians and their scientific inspirers, though the error was successfully raised to the lofty position of a religious dogma, as many other fictions and inventions have been.

Indeed, the whole sidereal world, planets and their regents—the ancient gods of poetical paganism—the sun, the moon, the elements, and the entire host of incalculable worlds—those at least which happened to be known to the Church Fathers—shared in the same fate. They have all been slandered, all bedevilled by the insatiable desire of proving one little system of theology—built on and constructed out of 16old pagan materials—the only right and holy one, and all those which preceded or followed it utterly wrong. Sun and stars, the very air itself, we are asked to believe, became pure and “redeemed” from original sin and the Satanic element of heathenism, only after the year I, A.D. Scholastics and scholiasts, the spirit of whom “spurned laborious investigation and slow induction,” had shown, to the satisfaction of infallible Church, the whole Kosmos in the power of Satan—a poor compliment to God—before the year of the Nativity; and Christians had to believe or be condemned. Never have subtle sophistry and casuistry shown themselves so plainly in their true light, however, as in the questions of the ex-Satanism and later redemption of various heavenly bodies. Poor beautiful Venus got worsted in that war of so-called divine proofs to a greater degree than any of her sidereal colleagues. While the history of the other six planets, and their gradual transformation from Greco-Aryan gods into Semitic devils, and finally into “divine attributes of the seven eyes of the Lord,” is known but to the educated, that of Venus-Lucifer has become a household story among even the most illiterate in Roman Catholic countries.

This story shall now be told for the benefit of those who may have neglected their astral mythology.

Venus, characterised by Pythagoras as the sol alter, a second Sun, on account of her magnificent radiance—equalled by none other—was the first to draw the attention of ancient Theogonists. Before it began to be called Venus, it was known in pre-Hesiodic theogony as Eosphoros (or Phosphoros) and Hesperos, the children of the dawn and twilight. In Hesiod, moreover, the planet is decomposed into two divine beings, two brothers—Eosphoros (the Lucifer of the Latins) the morning, and Hesperos, the evening star. They are the children of Astrœos and Eos, the starry heaven and the dawn, as also of Kephalos and Eos (Theog: 381, Hyg: Poet: Astron: 11, 42). Preller, quoted by Decharme, shows Phaeton identical with Phosphoros or Lucifer (Griech: Mythol: 1. 365). And on the authority of Hesiod he also makes Phaeton the son of the latter two divinities—Kephalos and Eos.

Now Phaeton or Phosphoros, the “luminous morning orb,” is carried away in his early youth by Aphrodite (Venus) who makes of him the night guardian of her sanctuary (Theog: 987-991). He is the “beautiful morning star” (Vide St. John’s Revelation XXII. 16) loved for its radiant light by the Goddess of the Dawn, Aurora, who, while gradually eclipsing the light of her beloved, thus seeming to carry off the star, makes it reappear on the evening horizon where it watches the gates of heaven. In early morning, Phosphoros “issuing from the waters of the Ocean, raises in heaven his sacred head to announce the approach of divine light.” (Iliad, XXIII. 226; Odyss: XIII. 93; Virg: Æneid, VIII. 589; Mythol: de la Grèce Antique. 247). He holds a torch in his hand and flies through space as he precedes the car of Aurora. In the evening he 17becomes Hesperos, “the most splendid of the stars that shine on the celestial vault” (Iliad, XXII. 317). He is the father of the Hesperides, the guardians of the golden apples together with the Dragon; the beautiful genius of the flowing golden curls, sung and glorified in all the ancient epithalami (the bridal songs of the early Christians as of the pagan Greeks); he, who at the fall of the night, leads the nuptial cortège and delivers the bride into the arms of the bridegroom. (Carmen Nuptiale. See Mythol: de la Grèce Antique. Decharme.)

So far, there seems to be no possible rapprochement, no analogy to be discovered between this poetical personification of a star, a purely astronomical myth, and the Satanism of Christian theology. True, the close connection between the planet as Hesperos, the evening star, and the Greek Garden of Eden with its Dragon and the golden apples may, with a certain stretch of imagination, suggest some painful comparisons with the third chapter of Genesis. But this is insufficient to justify the building of a theological wall of defence against paganism made up of slander and misrepresentations.

But of all the Greek euhemerisations, Lucifer-Eosphoros is, perhaps, the most complicated. The planet has become with the Latins, Venus, or Aphrodite-Anadyomene, the foam-born Goddess, the “Divine Mother,” and one with the Phœnician Astarte, or the Jewish Astaroth. They were all called “The Morning Star,” and the Virgins of the Sea, or Mar (whence Mary), the great Deep, titles now given by the Roman Church to their Virgin Mary. They were all connected with the moon and the crescent, with the Dragon and the planet Venus, as the mother of Christ has been made connected with all these attributes. If the Phœnician mariners carried, fixed on the prow of their ships, the image of the goddess Astarte (or Aphrodite, Venus Erycina) and looked upon the evening and the morning star as their guiding star, “the eye of their Goddess mother,” so do the Roman Catholic sailors the same to this day. They fix a Madonna on the prows of their vessels, and the blessed Virgin Mary is called the “Virgin of the Sea.” The accepted patroness of Christian sailors, their star, “Stella Del Mar,” etc., she stands on the crescent moon. Like the old pagan Goddesses, she is the “Queen of Heaven,” and the “Morning Star” just as they were.

Whether this can explain anything, is left to the reader’s sagacity. Meanwhile, Lucifer-Venus has nought to do with darkness, and everything with light. When called Lucifer, it is the “light bringer,” the first radiant beam which destroys the lethal darkness of night. When named Venus, the planet-star becomes the symbol of dawn, the chaste Aurora. Professor Max Müller rightly conjectures that Aphrodite, born of the sea, is a personification of the Dawn of Day, and the most lovely of all the sights in Nature (“Science of Language”) for, before her naturalisation by the Greeks, Aphrodite was Nature personified, the life and light of the Pagan world, as proven in the beautiful invocation to Venus by 18Lucretius, quoted by Decharme. She is divine Nature in her entirety, Aditi-Prakriti before she becomes Lakshmi. She is that Nature before whose majestic and fair face, “the winds fly away, the quieted sky pours torrents of light, and the sea-waves smile,” (Lucretius). When referred to as the Syrian goddess Astarte, the Astaroth of Hieropolis, the radiant planet was personified as a majestic woman, holding in one outstretched hand a torch, in the other, a crooked staff in the form of a cross. (Vide Lucian’s De Dea Syriê, and Cicero’s De Nat: Deorum, 3 c.23). Finally, the planet is represented astronomically, as a globe poised above the cross—a symbol no devil would like to associate with—while the planet Earth is a globe with a cross over it.

But then, these crosses are not the symbols of Christianity, but the Egyptian crux ansata, the attribute of Isis (who is Venus, and Aphrodite, Nature, also) ♀ or ♀ the planet; the fact that the Earth has the crux ansata reversed, ♁ having a great occult significance upon which there is no necessity of entering at present.

Now what says the Church and how does it explain the “dreadful association.” The Church believes in the devil, of course, and could not afford to lose him. “The Devil is the chief pillar of the Church” confesses unblushingly an advocate[5] of the Ecclesia Militans. “All the Alexandrian Gnostics speak to us of the fall of the Æons and their Pleroma, and all attribute that fall to the desire to know,” writes another volunteer in the same army, slandering the Gnostics as usual and identifying the desire to know or occultism, magic, with Satanism.[6] And then, forthwith, he quotes from Schlegel’s Philosophie de l’Histoire to show that the seven rectors (planets) of Pymander, “commissioned by God to contain the phenomenal world in their seven circles, lost in love with their own beauty,[7] came to admire themselves with such intensity that owing to this proud self-adulation they finally fell.”

Perversity having thus found its way amongst the angels, the most beautiful creature of God “revolted against its Maker.” That creature is in theological fancy Venus-Lucifer, or rather the informing Spirit or Regent of that planet. This teaching is based on the following speculation. The three principal heroes of the great sidereal catastrophe mentioned in Revelation are, according to the testimony of the Church fathers—“the Verbum, Lucifer his usurper (see editorial) and the grand Archangel who conquered him,” and whose “palaces” (the “houses” 19astrology calls them) are in the Sun, Venus-Lucifer and Mercury. This is quite evident, since the position of these orbs in the Solar system correspond in their hierarchical order to that of the “heroes” in Chapter xii of Revelation “their names and destinies (?) being closely connected in the theological (exoteric) system with these three great metaphysical names.” (De Mirville’s Memoir to the Academy of France, on the rapping Spirits and the Demons).

The outcome of this was, that theological legend made of Venus-Lucifer the sphere and domain of the fallen Archangel, or Satan before his apostacy. Called upon to reconcile this statement with that other fact, that the metaphor of “the morning star,” is applied to both Jesus, and his Virgin mother, and that the planet Venus-Lucifer is included, moreover, among the “stars” of the seven planetary spirits worshipped by the Roman Catholics[8] under new names, the defenders of the Latin dogmas and beliefs answer as follows:—

“Lucifer, the jealous neighbour of the Sun (Christ) said to himself in his great pride: ‘I will rise as high as he!’ He was thwarted in his design by Mercury, though the brightness of the latter (who is St. Michael) was as much lost in the blazing fires of the great Solar orb as his own was, and though, like Lucifer, Mercury is only the assessor, and the guard of honour to the Sun.”—(Ibid.)

Guards of “dishonour” now rather, if the teachings of theological Christianity were true. But here comes in the cloven foot of the Jesuit. The ardent defender of Roman Catholic Demonolatry and of the worship of the seven planetary spirits, at the same time, pretends great wonder at the coincidences between old Pagan and Christian legends, between the fable about Mercury and Venus, and the historical truths told of St. Michael—the “angel of the face,”—the terrestrial double, or ferouer of Christ. He points them out saying: “like Mercury, the archangel Michael, is the friend of the Sun, his Mitra, perhaps, for Michael is a psychopompic genius, one who leads the separated souls to their appointed abodes, and like Mitra, he is the well-known adversary of the demons.” This is demonstrated by the book of the Nabatheans recently discovered 20(by Chwolson), in which the ZoroastrianZoroastrian Mitra is called the “grand enemy of the planet Venus.”[9] (ibid p. 160.)

There is something in this. A candid confession, for once, of perfect identity of celestial personages and of borrowing from every pagan source. It is curious, if unblushing. While in the oldest Mazdean allegories, Mitra conquers the planet Venus, in Christian tradition Michael defeats Lucifer, and both receive, as war spoils, the planet of the vanquished deity.

“Mitra,” says Dollinger, “possessed, in days of old, the star of Mercury, placed between the sun and the moon, but he was given the planet of the conquered, and ever since his victory he is identified with Venus.” (“Judaisme and Paganisme,” Vol. II., p. 109. French transl.)

“In the Christian tradition,” adds the learned Marquis, “St. Michael is apportioned in Heaven the throne and the palace of the foe he has vanquished. Moreover, like Mercury, during the palmy days of paganism, which made sacred to this demon-god all the promontories of the earth, the Archangel is the patron of the same in our religion.” This means, if it does mean anything, that now, at any rate, Lucifer-Venus is a sacred planet, and no synonym of Satan, since St. Michael has become his legal heir?

The above remarks conclude with this cool reflection:

“It is evident that paganism has utilised beforehand, and most marvellously, all the features and characteristics of the prince of the face of the Lord (Michael) in applying them to that Mercury, to the Egyptian Hermes Anubis, and the Hermes Christos of the Gnostics. Each of these was represented as the first among the divine councillors, and the god nearest to the sun, quis ut Deus.”

Which title, with all its attributes, became that of Michael. The good Fathers, the Master Masons of the temple of Church Christianity, knew indeed how to utilize pagan material for their new dogmas.

The fact is, that it is sufficient to examine certain Egyptian cartouches, pointed out by Rossellini (Egypte, Vol. I., p. 289), to find Mercury (the double of Sirius in our solar system) as Sothis, preceded by the words “sole” and “solis custode, sostegnon dei dominanti, e forte grande dei vigilanti,” “watchman of the sun, sustainer of dominions, and the strongest of all the vigilants.” All these titles and attributes are now those of the Archangel Michael, who has inherited them from the demons of paganism.

Moreover, travellers in Rome may testify to the wonderful presence in the statue of Mitra, at the Vatican, of the best known Christian symbols. Mystics boast of it. They find “in his lion’s head, and the eagle’s wings, those of the courageous Seraph, the master of space (Michael); in his caduceus, the spear, in the two serpents coiled round the body, 21the struggle of the good and bad principles, and especially in the two keys which the said Mitra holds, like St. Peter, the keys with which this Seraph-patron of the latter opens and shuts the gates of Heaven, astra cludit et recludit.” (Mem: p. 162.)

To sum up, the aforesaid shows that the theological romance of Lucifer was built upon the various myths and allegories of the pagan world, and that it is no revealed dogma, but simply one invented to uphold superstition. Mercury being one of the Sun’s assessors, or the cynocephali of the Egyptians and the watch-dogs of the Sun, literally, the other was Eosphoros, the most brilliant of the planets, “qui mane oriebaris,” the early rising, or the Greek ὀρθρινὸς. It was identical with the Amoon-ra, the light-bearer of Egypt, and called by all nations “the second born of light” (the first being Mercury), the beginning of his (the Sun’s) ways of wisdom, the Archangel Michael being also referred to as the principium viarum Domini.

Thus a purely astronomical personification, built upon an occult meaning which no one has hitherto seemed to unriddle outside the Eastern wisdom, has now become a dogma, part and parcel of Christian revelation. A clumsy transference of characters is unequal to the task of making thinking people accept in one and the same trinitarian group, the “Word” or Jesus, God and Michael (with the Virgin occasionally to complete it) on the one hand, and Mitra, Satan and Apollo-Abbadon on the other: the whole at the whim and pleasure of Roman Catholic Scholiasts. If Mercury and Venus (Lucifer) are (astronomically in their revolution around the Sun) the symbols of God the Father, the Son, and of their Vicar, Michael, the “Dragon-Conqueror,” in Christian legend, why should they when called Apollo-Abaddon, the “King of the Abyss,” Lucifer, Satan, or Venus—become forthwith devils and demons? If we are told that the “conqueror,” or “Mercury-Sun,” or again St. Michael of the Revelation, was given the spoils of the conquered angel, namely, his planet, why should opprobrium be any longer attached to a constellation so purified? Lucifer is now the “Angel of the Face of the Lord,”[10] because “that face is mirrored in it.” We think rather, because the Sun is reflecting his beams in Mercury seven times more than it does on our Earth, and twice more in Lucifer-Venus: the Christian symbol proving again its astronomical origin. But whether from the astronomical, mystical or symbological aspect, Lucifer is as good as any other planet. To advance as a proof of its demoniacal character, and identity with Satan, the configuration of Venus, which gives to the crescent of this planet the appearance of a cut-off horn is rank nonsense. But to connect this with the horns of “The Mystic 22Dragon” in Revelation—“one of which was broken”[11]—as the two French Demonologists, the Marquis de Mirville and the Chevalier des Mousseaux, the champions of the Church militant, would have their readers believe in the second half of our present century—is simply an insult to the public.

Besides which, the Devil had no horns before the fourth century of the Christian era. It is a purely Patristic invention arising from their desire to connect the god Pan, and the pagan Fauns and Satyrs, with their Satanic legend. The demons of Heathendom were as hornless and as tailless as the Archangel Michael himself in the imaginations of his worshippers. The “horns” were, in pagan symbolism, an emblem of divine power and creation, and of fertility in nature. Hence the ram’s horns of Ammon, of Bacchus, and of Moses on ancient medals, and the cow’s horns of Isis and Diana, etc., etc., and of the Lord God of the Prophets of Israel himself. For Habakkuk gives the evidence that this symbolism was accepted by the “chosen people” as much as by the Gentiles. In Chapter III. that prophet speaks of the “Holy One from Mount Paran,” of the Lord God who “comes from Teman, and whose brightness was as the light,” and who had “horns coming out of his hand.”

When one reads, moreover, the Hebrew text of Isaiah, and finds that no Lucifer is mentioned at all in Chapter XIV., v. 12, but simply הֵילֵל, Hillel, “a bright star,” one can hardly refrain from wondering that educated people should be still ignorant enough at the close of our century to associate a radiant planet—or anything else in nature for the matter of that—with the Devil![12]

H. P. B.
23

THE BLOSSOM AND THE FRUIT:

A TALE OF LOVE AND MAGIC.

by Mabel Collins,
Author of “The Prettiest Woman in Warsaw,” &c., &c., And Scribe of “The Idyll of the White Lotus,” and “Through the Gates of Gold.”

Only—
One facet of the stone,
One ray of the star,
One petal of the flower of life,
But the one that stands outermost and faces us, who are men and women.

This strange story has come to me from a far country and was brought to me in a mysterious manner; I claim only to be the scribe and the editor. In this capacity, however, it is I who am answerable to the public and the critics. I therefore ask in advance, one favour only of the reader; that he will accept (while reading this story) the theory of the reincarnation of souls as a living fact.

M. C.

INTRODUCTION.

Containing two sad lives on earth,
And two sweet times of sleep in Heaven.
A LIFETIME.

Overhead the boughs of the trees intermingle, hiding the deep blue sky and mellowing the fierce heat of the sun. The boughs are so covered with white blossoms that it is like a canopy of clustered snow-flakes, tinged here and there with a soft pink. It is a natural orchard, a spot favoured by the wild apricot. And among the trees, wandering from shine to shade, flitting to and fro, is a solitary figure. It is that of a young woman, a savage, one of a wild and fierce tribe dwelling in the fastnesses of an inaccessible virgin forest. She is dark but beautiful. Her blue-black hair hangs far down over her naked body; its masses shield the warm, quivering, nervous brown skin from the direct rays of the sun. She wears neither clothing nor any ornament. Her eyes are dark, fierce and tender: her mouth soft and natural as the lips of an opening flower. She is absolutely perfect in her simple savage beauty and in the natural majesty of her womanhood, virgin in herself and virgin in the quality of her race, which is untaught, undegraded. But in her sublimely natural face is the dawn of a great tragedy. Her 24soul, her thought, is struggling to awake. She has done a deed that seemed to her quite simple, quite natural; yet now it is done a dim perplexity is rising within her obscure mind. Wandering to and fro beneath the rich masses of blossom-laden boughs, she for the first time endeavours to question herself. Finding no answer within she goes again to look on that which she has done.

A form lies motionless upon the ground within the thickest shade of the rich fruit trees. A young man, one of her own tribe, beautiful like herself, and with strength and vigour written in every line of his form. But he is dead. He was her lover, and she found his love sweet, yet with one wild treacherous movement of her strong supple arm she had killed him. The blood flowed from his forehead where the sharp stone had made the death wound. The life blood ebbed away from his strong young form; a moment since his lips still trembled, now they were still. Why had she in this moment of fierce passion taken that beautiful life? She loved him as well as her untaught heart knew how to love; but he, exulting in his greater strength, tried to snatch her love before it was ripe. It was but a blossom, like the white flowers overhead: he would have taken it with strong hands as though it were a fruit ripe and ready. And then in a sudden flame of wondrous new emotion the woman became aware that the man was her enemy, that he desired to be her tyrant. Until now she had thought him as herself, a thing to love as she loved herself, with a blind unthinking trust. And she acted passionately upon the guidance of this thing—feeling—which until now she had never known. He, unaccustomed to any treachery or anger, suspected no strange act from her, and thus, unsuspicious, unwarned, he was at her mercy. And now he lay dead at her feet. And still the fierce sun shone through the green leaves and silvern blossoms and gleamed upon her black hair and tender brown skin. She was beautiful as the morning when it rose over the tree tops of that world-old forest. But there is a new wonder in her dark eyes; a question that was not there until this strange and potent hour came to her. What ages must pass over her dull spirit ere it can utter the question; ere it can listen and hear the answer?

The savage woman, nameless, unknown save of her tribe, who regard her as indifferently as any creature of the woods, has none to help her or stay in its commencement the great roll of the wave of energy she has started. Blindly she lives out her own emotions. She is dissatisfied, uneasy, conscious of some error. When she leaves the orchard of wild fruit trees and wanders back to the clearer part of the forest beneath the great trees, where her tribe dwells, when she returns among them her lips are dumb, her voice is silent. None ever heard that he, the one she loved, had died by her hand, for she knew not how to frame or tell this story. It was a mystery to her, this thing which had happened. Yet it made her sad, and her great eyes wore a dumb look of longing. But 25she was very beautiful and soon another young and sturdy lover was always at her side. He did not please her; there was not the glow in his eyes that had gladdened her in those of the dead one whom she had loved. And yet she shrunk not from him nor did she raise her arm in anger, but held it fast at her side lest her passion should break loose unawares. For she felt that she had brought a want, a despair upon herself by her former deed; and now she determined that she would act differently. Blindly she tried to learn the lesson that had come upon her. Blindly she let herself be the agent of her own will. For now she became the willing slave and serf of one whom she did not love, and whose passion for her was full of tyranny. Yet she did not, she dared not, resist this tyranny; not because she feared him, but because she feared herself. She had the feeling that one might have who had come in contact with a new and hitherto unknown natural force. She feared lest resistance or independence should bring upon her a greater wonder, a greater sadness and loss than that which she had already brought upon herself.

And so she submitted to that which in her first youth would no more have been endured by her than the bit by the wild horse.

The apricot blossom has fallen and fruit has followed it; the leaves have fallen and the trees are bare. The sky is grey and wild above, the ground dank and soft with fallen leaves below. The aspect of the place is changed, but it is the same; the face and form of the woman have changed; but she is the same. She is alone again in the wild orchard, finding her way by instinct to the spot where her first lover died. She has found it. What is there? Some white bones that lie together; a skeleton. The woman’s eyes fasten and feed on the sight and grow large and terrible. Horror at last is struck into her soul. This is all that is left of her young love, who died by her hand—white bones that lie in ghastly order! And the long hot days and sultry nights of her life have been given to a tyrant who has reaped no gladness and no satisfaction from her submission; for he has not learned yet even the difference between woman and woman. All alike are mere creatures like the wild things; creatures to hunt and to conquer. Dumbly in her dark heart strange questionings arise. She turns from this graveyard of her unquestioning time and goes back to her slavery. Through the years of her life she waits and wonders, looking blankly at the life around her. Will no answer come to her soul?


AFTER SLEEP, AWAKENING.

Splendid was the veil that shielded her from that other soul, the soul she knew and of which she showed her recognition by swift and sudden love. But the veil separated them; a veil heavy with gold and shining with stars of silver. And as she gazed upon these stars, with 26delighted admiration of their brilliance, they grew larger and larger, till at length they blended together, and the veil became one shining sheen gorgeous with golden broideries. Then it became easier to see through the veil, or rather it seemed easier to these lovers. For before the veil had made the shape appear dim; now it appeared glorious and ideally beautiful and strong. Then the woman put out her hand, hoping to obtain the pressure of another hand through the shining gossamer. And at the same instant he too put out his hand, for in this moment their souls communicated, and they understood each other. Their hands touched; the veil was broken; the moment of joy was ended and again the struggle began.


A LIFETIME.

Sitting, singing, on the steps of an old palace, her feet paddling in the water of a broad canal, was a child who was becoming more than a child; a creature on the threshold of life, of awakening sensation. A girl, with ruddy gold hair, and innocent blue eyes, that had in their vivid depths the strange startled look of a wild creature. She was as simple and isolated in her happiness as any animal of the woods or hills—the sunshine, the sweet air with the faint savour of salt in it, her own pure clear girlish voice, and the gay songs of the people that she sang—these were pleasure enough and to spare for her.

But the space of unconscious happiness or unhappiness which heralds the real events of a life was already at an end. The great wave which she had set in motion was increasing in volume ceaselessly; how long before it shall reach the shore and break upon that far off coast? None can know, save those whose eyesight is more than man’s. None can tell; and she is ignorant, unknowing. But though she knows nothing of it, she is within the sweep of the wave, and is powerless to arrest it until her soul shall awake.

“My blossom, my beautiful wild flower,” said a voice close beside her. A young boatman had brought his small vessel so gently to the steps she had not noticed his approach. He leaned over his boat towards her, and touched her bare white feet with his hand.

“Come away with me, Wild Blossom,” he said. “Leave that wretched home you cling to. What is there to keep you there now your mother is dead? Your father is like a savage, and makes you live like a savage too. Come away with me, and we will live among people who will love you and find you beautiful as I do. Will you come? How often have I asked you, Wild Blossom, and you have never answered. Will you answer now?”

“Yes,” said the girl, looking up with grave, serious eyes, that had beneath their beauty a melancholy meaning, a sad question.

27The man saw this strange look and interpreted it as clearly as he could.

“Trust me,” he said, “I am not a savage like your father. When you are my little wife I will care for you far more dearly than myself. You will be my soul, my guide, my star. And I will shield you as my soul is shielded within my body, follow you as my guide, look up to you as to a star in the blue heavens. Surely you can trust my love, Wild Blossom.”

He had not answered the doubt in her heart, for he had not guessed what it was, nor could she have told him. For she had not yet learned to know what it was, nor to know of it more than that it troubled her. But she put it aside and silenced it now, for the moment had come to do so. Not till she had learned her lesson much more fully could the question ever be expressed even to her own soul, and before this could be, the question must be silenced many times.

“Yes,” she said, “I will come.”

She held out her hand to him as if to seal the compact. He interpreted the gesture by his own desire, and taking her hand in his drew her towards him. She yielded and stepped into the boat. And then he quickly pushed away from the steps, and, dipping his oars in the water, soon had gone far away down the canal. Blossom looking earnestly back, watched the old palace disappear. In some of its old rooms and on its sunny steps her child-life had been spent. Now she knew that was at an end. She understood that all was changed henceforth, though she could not guess into what she was going, and she waited for her future with a strange confidence in the companion she had accepted. This puzzled her dimly. Yet how should she lack confidence, having known him long ago and thrown away his love and his life beneath the wild apricot trees, having seen afterwards the steadfastness of his love when her soul stood beside his in soul life?

A long way they went in the little boat. They left the canals and went out upon the open sea, and still the boatman rowed unwearyingly, his eyes all the while upon the beautiful wild blossom he had plucked and carried away with him to be his own, his dear and adored possession. Far away along the coast lay a small village of fishermen’s cots. It was to this that the young man guided his boat, for it was here he dwelled.

At the door of his cot stood his old mother, a quaint old woman with wrinkled, rosy face, wearing a rough fishwife’s dress and coarse shawl; her brown hand shaded her eyes as she watched her son’s boat approaching. Presently a smile came on her mouth. “He’s gotten the blossom he’s talked of so often in his sleep. Will he be happy now, the good lad?”

He was truly a good lad; for his mother knew him well, and the more she knew him the deeper grew her love. She would do anything for 28his happiness. And now she took to her arms the child, the Blossom, and cherished her for his sake. Before many days had passed the fishing village made a fête day for the wedding of its strongest boatman. And the women’s eyes filled with tears when they looked at the sad, tender, questioning face of the beautiful Wild Blossom.

She had given her love without hesitation, in complete confidence. She had given more; herself, her life, her very soul. The surrender was now complete.

And now, when all seemed done and all accomplished, her question began to be answered. Dimly she knew that, spite of the husband at whose feet she bowed, spite of the babes she carried in her arms till their tiny feet were strong enough to carry them down over the shore to the marge of the blue waters, spite of the cottage home she garnished and cleansed and loved so dearly, spite of all, her heart was hungry and empty. What could it mean, that though she had all she had none? Blossom was grown a woman now, and there were some lines of care and of pain on her forehead. Yet, still, she was beautiful and still she bore her child-name of Blossom; but the beauty of her face grew sadder and more strange as the years went by, the years that bring ease and satisfaction to the stagnant soul. Wild Blossom’s soul was eager and anxious; she could not still the mysterious voices of her heart, and these told her (though perhaps she did not always understand their speech) that her husband was not in reality her king; that he heard no sound from that inner region in which she chiefly existed. For him contentment existed in the outward life that he lived, in sheer physical pleasure, in the excitement of hard work, and the dangers of the sea, in the beauty of his wife, the mirth of his happy children. He asked no more. But Wild Blossom’s eyes had the prophetic light in them. She saw that all this peace must pass, this pleasure end; she recognised that these things did not, could not, absolutely satisfy the spirit; her soul seemed to tremble within her as she began to feel the first dawn of the terrible answer to her sad questioning.


A deeper dream of rest;
A stronger waking.

Many a long year later, a solitary woman dwelled in that fisherman’s cottage on the shore of the blue sea. She was old and bowed with age and trouble. But still her eyes were brighter than any girl’s in the village, and held in them the mysterious beauty of the soul; still her hair, once golden, now grey, waved about her forehead. The people loved her and were kind to her, for she was always gentle and full of generous thought. But they never understood her, for they were long ages behind her in her growth. She was ready now for the great central test of personal existence; the experience of life in civilization. When the old fishwife lay dead within her cottage, and the people came to 29grieve beside her body, they little guessed that she was going on to a great and glorious future; a future full of daring and of danger. When her eyes closed in death, her inner eyes opened on a sight that filled her with absolute joy. She was in a garden of fruit trees, and the blossom of the trees was at its full. When her eyes fell on this white maze of flowers and drank in its beauty, she remembered the name she had borne on earth and dimly understood its meaning. The blossoms hid from her the sky and all else until a soft pressure on her hand drew her eyes downwards; and then she saw beside her that one whom she had loved through the ages, and who, side by side with her, was experiencing the profound mystery, and learning the strange lesson of incarnation in the world where sex is the first great teacher. And with each phase of existence that they passed through, these two forged stronger and stronger links that held them together and compelled them again and again to meet, so that together they were destined to pass through the vital hour; the hour when the life is shaped for greater ends or for vain deeds.

Here within this sheltered place, where blossoms filled the air with sweetness and beauty, it seemed to them, that they had attained to the full of pleasure. They rested in perfect satisfaction, drinking deep draughts of the joy of living. To them existence seemed a final and splendid fact in itself; existence as they then had it. The moment in which they lived was sufficient, they desired none other, nor any other place, nor any other beauty, than those they had. None knows and none can tell what time or age was passed in this deep contentment and fulfilment of pleasure. At last Wild Blossom’s soul woke from its sleep, satiated; the hunger returned to gnaw at her heart; the longing to know reasserted itself. Holding tight the hand she held in hers, she sprang from the soft couch on which she lay. Then, for the first time, she noticed that the ground was so soft and pleasant, because there, where she had lain, had drifted great heaps of the fallen fruit blossoms. The ground was all white with them, though some had begun to lose their delicate beauty, to curl and wrinkle and turn dark. Then she looked overhead and saw that the trees had, with the loss of the delicate petals, lost their first fairness, the splendour of the spring. Now they were covered with small, hard, green fruit, scarce formed, unbeautiful to the eye, hard to the touch, acid to the taste. With a shudder of regret for the sweet spring time that was gone, Wild Blossom hurried away from the trees, still holding fast that other hand in hers. She was going to face new, strange experiences, perhaps terrible dangers: her task was the easier for that tried companionship, for the nearness of that other who was climbing the same steep ladder of life.

END OF INTRODUCTION.
30

CHAPTER I.

In a masked ball there is an element of adventure that appeals to the daring of both sexes, to the bright and witty spirits. Hilary Estanol was just such an one as the hero of a bright revel should be. A beautiful boy, with a lovely face, and eyes that had in them a deep sadness. In repose his face was almost womanish in its softness; but a chill brilliance was in his smile, a certain slight cynicism coloured all his speech. Yet Hilary had no reason to be a cynic, and he was not one who adopted anything from fashion or affectation. The spring of this uncalled-for coldness and indifference lay in himself.

To-night he was the centre of attraction in Madame Estanol’s drawing-rooms. This bal masqué was to celebrate his coming of age, and Hilary had never looked so womanish as when he stood among his friends receiving their congratulations and admiring their gifts. He wore the dress of a troubadour, and it was one which became him well, not only in its picturesqueness as a costume, but in the requirements of the character. He had the faculty of the improvisatore, his voice was rich and soft, his musical and poetic gifts swift and versatile. Hilary was adored by his friends, but disliked, indeed almost hated, by his one near relation, his mother. She was standing near him now, talking to a group who had gathered round her. She was one of the cleverest women of the day, and, still beautiful and full of a charming pride, held a court of her own. Her dislike for Hilary was founded on her estimate of his character. To one of her intimate friends she had said, not long before this night, “Hilary will disgrace his name and family before there is one grey thread in his dark hair. He has the qualities that bring despair and ensure remorse. God will surely forgive me that I say this of my son; but I see it before me, an abyss into which he will drag me with him; and I wait for it every day.”

A guest, just arrived, approached Madame Estanol with a smile, and after greeting her affectionately, said, in a whisper, “I have brought a friend with me. Welcome her in her character as a fortune-teller. She is very witty, and will amuse us presently, if you like.”

She moved aside a little, and Madame Estanol saw standing behind her a stooping figure, an old haggard crone, with palsied head, and hand that trembled as it grasped her stick.

“Ah, Countess! it is impossible to recognise your friend under this disguise,” said Madame Estanol. “Will you not tell me who she is?”

“I am pledged to say nothing but that she is a fortune-teller,” said the Countess Bairoun. “Her name she herself will reveal only to one person; and that person must be born under the star that favoured her own birth.”

The fortune-teller turned her bent head towards Madame Estanol, and fixed a pair of brilliant and fascinating eyes on hers. Immediately Madame Estanol became aware of a strong charm that drew her towards 31this mysterious person. She advanced and held out her hand to assist the old woman in moving across the room.

“Come with me,” she said, “I should like to introduce you to my son. He is the hero of this scene to-night, for the ball is held in honour of his coming of age.”

They went together through the maskers that were now beginning to throng the large drawing-rooms, and everyone turned to look at the strange figure of the tottering old crone. Hilary Estanol was leaning against the high carved oak mantel frame of the inner drawing-room, surrounded by a laughing group of his intimate friends. He held his mask in his hand, and as he stood there smiling, his dark curls falling on his forehead, his mother thought, as she approached him, “My boy grows handsomer every hour of his gay young life.” When Hilary saw his mother’s strange companion he advanced a step, as if to welcome her, but Madame Estanol checked him with a smile. “I cannot introduce our visitor to you,” she said, “for I do not know her name. She will tell it to but one person, who must have been born under the same star as herself. Meantime, we are to greet her in her character as the fortune-teller.”

This announcement was welcomed by a murmur of amusement and interest.

“Then will our kind visitor perhaps exercise her craft for us?” asked Hilary, gazing with curiosity at the trembling head and grey locks before him. The old woman turned her head sideways, and gave him a look from those strange brilliant eyes. He, too, like his mother, felt the charm from them. But he felt more. Something suddenly wakened within him; a rush of inexplicable emotions roused him into amazement; he put his hand to his forehead; he was bewildered, almost faint.

There was a small drawing-room which opened out of the room they were in. It was so tiny that it held but a table covered with flowers, a low couch and an easy-chair. The laughing group that surrounded Hilary went eagerly to convert this room into the sanctum of the prophetess. They lowered and softened the shaded light; drew close the blinds and shut the doors, locking all but one. Here was placed a guardian who was to admit grudgingly and one by one those who were fortunate enough to speak alone with the sybil, for she would only see certain of the guests whom she selected herself from the throng, describing their appearance and dress to the guardian of her improvised temple. These were all ladies of great position. They entered laughing and half defiant. They came out, some pale, some red, some trembling, some in tears. “Who can she be?” they whispered in terrified tones to one another, and in that terror showed how she had penetrated their hearts and touched on their secret thoughts.

At last the guardian of the door said that Hilary himself was to enter.

When Hilary went in, the young man, as he closed the door on the 32fortune teller and her new guest, turned with a laugh to the group behind him.

“Already she has startled him,” he said, “I heard him utter almost a cry as he entered.”

“Could you see in?” asked one, “perhaps she has taken off her disguise for her host!”

“No, I saw nothing,” he answered. “Can none of you who have been in guess who she is?”

“No,” answered a girl who had come out from the ordeal with white and trembling lips. “It is impossible to guess. She knows everything.”

It was as they had supposed. She had taken off her disguise for her host. The staff, the large cloak, the wig and cap lay on the ground. With the swift use of a cosmetiqued kerchief she had removed from her fair skin the dark complexion of the ancient sybil. When Hilary entered she had completed this rapid toilette and sat leaning back in a low chair. She was dressed in a rich evening costume; she held a mask in her hand ready for use. But now her face was uncovered; her strange and brilliant eyes were fixed on Hilary; her beautiful mouth wore a half smile of amusement at his surprise. It was more than surprise that he experienced. Again that rush of inexplicable emotion overpowered him. He felt like one intoxicated. He regarded her very earnestly for a few moments.

“Surely,” he said, “we have met before!”

“We were born under the same star,” she answered in a voice that thrilled him. Until now he had not heard her speak. The sense of some strong link or association that united them, was made doubly strong by the sound of that voice, rich, strong and soft. Suddenly he recognised the meaning of his emotion. He no longer struggled against it, he no longer was bewildered by it.

He approached her and sat down upon the couch at her side. He regarded her with wonder and adoration, but no longer with awe or surprise. For he understood that the event which he had imagined would never come was already here—he was in love.

“You said you would disclose your name to the one who was born under the same star as yourself.”

“Do you not know me?” she said with a slight look of surprise. She fancied everyone knew her at least by sight.

“I do not,” he answered, “though indeed I am perplexed to think I can ever have lived without knowing you.”

Flattery produced no effect upon her, she lived in an atmosphere of it.

“I am the Princess Fleta,” she answered. Hilary started and coloured a little at the words, and could ill control his emotion. The Princess Fleta held a position in the society of the country, which can only belong to one who stands next to a throne that rules an important 33nation. She was a personage among crowned heads, one to whom an emperor might, without stooping, offer his love; and Hilary, the child of an officer of the Austrian army, and of a poor daughter of a decayed aristocratic family, Hilary had in the swift stirring of love at first sight, told his own heart that he loved her! It could never be unsaid, and he knew it. He had whispered the words within himself, the whisper would find a hundred echoes. He must always love her.

The Princess turned her wonderful eyes on him and smiled.

“I have done my work for to-night,” she said. “I have amused some of the people, now I should like to dance.”

Hilary was sufficient of a courtier not to be deaf to this command, though his whole soul was in his eyes and all his thoughts fixed on her beauty. He rose and offered her his arm, she put on her mask and they left the room. When Hilary appeared among the crowd that hung round the door of the fortune teller’s sanctum, accompanied by a slender, graceful woman, whose face was hidden save for the great dark eyes, there was an irrepressible murmur of excitement and wonder. “Who can she be?” was repeated again a hundred times. But no one guessed. None dreamed this could be the Princess Fleta herself; for there were but few houses she would visit at, and no one imagined that there could be any inducement to bring her to Madame Estanol’s. The mystery of her presence she explained to Hilary while they danced together.

“I am a student of magic,” she said, “and I have already learned some useful secrets. I can read the hearts of the courtiers who surround me, and I know where to look for true friends. Last night I dreamed of the friend I should find here. Do you care for these mystic occupations?”

“I know nothing of them,” said Hilary.

“Let me teach you then,” said the Princess, with a light laugh. “You will be a good pupil, that I know. Perhaps I may make a disciple of you! and there are not many with whom that is possible.”

“And why?” asked Hilary. “Surely it is a fascinating study to those who can believe in the secrets.”

“Scepticism is not the great difficulty,” answered the Princess, “but fear. Terror turns the crowd back from the threshold. Only a few dare cross it.”

“And you are one of the few,” said Hilary, gazing on her with eyes of burning admiration.

“I have never felt fear,” she answered.

“And would it be impossible to make you feel it, I wonder,” said Hilary.

“Do you desire to try?” she answered, with a smile at his daring speech. It did not sound so full of impertinence as it looks, for Hilary’s eyes and face were all alight with love and admiration, and his voice trembled with passion.

34“You can make the attempt if you choose,” she said, glancing at him with those strange eyes of hers. “Terrify me if you can.”

“Not here, in my own house, it would not be hospitable.”

“Come and see me, then, some day when you think it will amuse you. Try and frighten me. I will show you my laboratory, where I produce essences and incenses to please the gnomes and ghouls.”

Hilary accepted this invitation with a flush of pleasure.

“Take me to the Countess,” she said at last. “I am going home. But I want her first to introduce me to your mother.”

The Countess was delighted that the Princess had made up her mind to this. She hardly thought Madame Estanol would be pleased to discover that the great lady had been masquerading in her drawing-room, and had not cared to throw off her disguise even for her hostess. And the Countess valued the friendship of Madame Estanol; so she was glad the wilful Princess had decided to treat her with politeness.

Madame Estanol could scarcely conceal her surprise at learning what the dignity was which had been hidden under the disguise of the old fortune-teller. The Princess did not remove her mask, and, with a laugh, she warned Madame Estanol that some of her guests would not be pleased to discover who the sybil was who had read their hearts so shrewdly.

When she had gone, Hilary’s heart and spirits had gone with her. It seemed as if he hardly cared to speak; his laughter had died away altogether. His thoughts, his very self, followed the fascinating personality that had bewitched him.

Madame Estanol saw his abstraction, his flushed eager look, and the new softness of his eyes. But she said no word. She feared the Princess, who was well known to be full of caprice and wilfulness. She feared lest Hilary should be mad enough to yield to the charm of the girl’s beauty and confident manner; the charm of power, peculiar, or rather, possible only to one in a royal place. But she would say no word; knowing Hilary well, she knew that any attempt to influence him against it would only intensify his new passion.

CHAPTER II.

Two days later Hilary nerved himself to pay the visit to the Princess. He thought she could not consider it to be too soon, for it seemed to him two months since he had seen her.

She lived in a garden-house some two or three miles away in the country. Her father’s palace in the city never pleased her; she only came there when festivities or ceremonials made her presence necessary. In the country, with her chaperone and her maids, she was free to do as she chose. For they were one and all afraid of her, and held her “laboratory” in the profoundest respect. None of them would have entered that room except to avoid some dreadful doom.

Hilary was taken to the Princess in the garden, where she was 35walking to and fro in an avenue of trees which were covered with sweet scented blossoms. She welcomed Hilary with a charming manner, and the hour he spent with her here in the sunshine was one of the wildest intoxication. They began openly to play the pretty game of love. Now that no eyes were on them the Princess let him forget that she belonged to a different rank from his own. When she was tired of walking, “Come,” she said, “and I will shew you my laboratory. No one in this house ever enters it. If you should say in the city that you have been in that room you will be besieged with questions. Be careful to say nothing.”

“I would die sooner,” exclaimed Hilary, to whom the idea of talking about the Princess and her secrets seemed like sacrilege.

The room was without windows, perfectly dark but for a softened light shed by a lamp in the centre of the high ceiling. The walls were painted black and on them were drawn strange figures and shapes in red. These had evidently not been painted by any artisan hand; though bold in touch, they were irregular in workmanship. Beside a great vessel which stood upon the ground, was a chair, and in this chair a figure upon which Hilary’s attention immediately became fastened.

He saw at once that it was not human, that it was not a lay figure, that it was not a statue. It resembled most a lay figure, but there was something strange about it which does not exist in the mere form on which draperies are hung. And its detail was elaborated; the skin was tinted, the eyes darkened correctly, the hair appeared to be human. Hilary remained at the doorway unable to advance because of the fascination this form exercised upon him.

The Princess looked back from where she stood in the centre of the room beneath the light; she saw the direction of his gaze and laughed.

“You need not fear it,” she said.

“Is it a lay figure?” asked Hilary, trying to speak easily, for he remembered that she despised those who knew fear.

“Yes,” she answered, “it is my lay figure.”

There was something that puzzled Hilary in her tone.

“Are you an artist?” he asked.

“Yes,” she answered, “in life—in human nature. I do not work with a pencil or a brush; I use an agent that cannot be seen yet can be felt.”

“What do you mean?” asked Hilary.

She turned on him a strange look, that was at first distrustful, and then grew soft and tender.

“I will not tell you yet,” she said.

Hilary roused himself to answer her lightly.

“Have I to pass through some ordeal before you tell me?” he asked.

“Yes,” she answered gaily, “and already an ordeal faces you. Dare you advance into the room or no?”

Hilary made a great effort to break the spell that was on him. He went hastily across the room to where she stood. Then he realised 36that he had actually passed through an ordeal. He had resisted some force, the nature of which he knew not, and he had come out the victor. Realising this brought to him another conviction.

“Princess,” he said, “there is some one else in this room besides you and me. We are not alone.”

He spoke so suddenly, and from so great a sense of startled surprise, that he did not pause to think whether his question were a wise one or not. The Princess laughed as she looked at him.

“You are very sensitive,” she said. “Certainly we were born under the same star, for we are susceptible to the same influences. No, we are not alone. I have servants here whom no eyes have seen but mine. Would you like to see them? Do not say yes hastily. It means a long and tedious apprenticeship, obtaining mastery over these servants. But unless you conquer them you cannot often see me; for if you are much near to me they will hate you, and their hate is greater than your power to resist it.”

She spoke seriously now, and Hilary felt a strange sensation as he looked at this beautiful girl standing beneath the lamp light. He experienced a sudden dread of her as of someone stronger than himself; and also an impassioned desire to serve her, to be her slave, to give his life to her utterly. Perhaps she read the love in his eyes, for she turned away and moved towards the figure in the chair.

“I know this distresses you,” she said. “You shall see it no longer.” She opened a large screen which was formed of some gold coloured material covered with shapes outlined in black. She arranged this so that the figure was altogether hidden from view and also the great vessel which stood beside it.

“Now,” she said, “you will breathe more freely. And I am going to shew you something. We did not come out of the sunshine for no purpose. And we must be quick, for my good aunt will be terrified when she finds I have brought you in here. I believe she will hardly expect to see you alive again.”

She opened a gold vessel, which stood upon a cabinet, while she spoke, and the air immediately became full of a strong sweet perfume. Hilary put his hand to his forehead. Was it possible that he could be so immediately affected, or was it his imagination that the red shapes and figures which were on the black wall moved and ordered and arranged themselves? Yet, so it was; to his eyes the forms mingled and again broke up and re-mingled. A word was formed and then another. It was unconsciously imprinted on Hilary’s memory before it changed and vanished; he noticed only the mysterious occurrence which was happening before his eyes. Suddenly he became aware that a sentence had been completed; that words had been written there which he would never have dared to utter; that on the wall before him had appeared in letters as of fire the secret of his heart. He staggered back and drew his eyes with difficulty from the wall to fix them in amazement and fear 37upon the Princess. Her face was flushed, her eyes were bright and tender.

“Did you see it?” he asked in a trembling voice.

For a moment she hesitated then she answered, “Yes, I saw it.”

There was a brief silence. Hilary looked again at the wall, expecting to see the thought in his mind written there. But the shapes were returning to their original appearance, and the perfume was dying out of the air.

“Come,” said the Princess suddenly, “we have been here long enough. My aunt will be distressed. Let us go to her.”

She led the way from the room, and Hilary followed her. In another moment they were in a large drawing-room, flooded with sunshine and fragrant with flowers; the Princess’ aunt was busied with silks which she had entangled while at her embroidery; the Princess was on her knees beside her, holding a skein of yellow silk upon her hands. Hilary stood a moment utterly bewildered. Had he been dreaming? Was that black room and its terrible atmosphere a phantasy?

He had stayed long enough, and he now took his leave reluctantly. The Princess, who would have no ceremony at the Garden House, rose from her knees and said she would open the gate for him. Hilary flushed with pleasure at this mark of kindness.

The gate she took him to was a narrow one that stood in a thick-set hedge of flowering shrubs. When he had passed through he looked back, and saw the Princess leaning on the gate, framed in gorgeous blossoms. She smiled and held out her hand to him. The richness of her presence intoxicated him, and he lost all sense of the apparently impassable gulf between them.

“You read the words,” he said, “and you give me your hand in mine?”

“I read the words,” she answered, in a soft voice that thrilled him, “and I give you my hand in yours. Good-bye!”

She had touched his hand for an instant, and now she was gone. Hilary turned to walk through the flowering hedges to the city. But his heart, his thought, his soul remained behind. She had read the words, and she was not angry. She knew of his love for her and she was not angry. She had read his heart and had not taken offence. What might he not hope for?

Then came another thought. She had read the words. Then that black room was no phantasy, but a fact as actual as the sunshine. What were the powers of this strange creature that he loved? He knew not; but he knew that he loved her.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

An overpowering desire carried him daily on that road between the flowery hedges to the Garden House. Only sometimes had he the courage to enter. Most often he lingered at that narrow gate, embosomed in flowers and looked longingly over it. The first time that 38he entered after this visit, in which his secret was written before his eyes, he found the Princess standing within the gate. She held out her hand to him saying simply, “I knew you were coming. I have prepared something, and I have persuadedpersuaded my aunt that no terrible thing will happen if you are in my laboratory for a little while. So come with me.”

It was brilliantly lit, this black walled room she called her laboratory. The great vessel stood in the midst of the floor beneath the lamp, and from it rose flame and smoke. A strong and vivid perfume filled the air, and the upper part of the high room was clouded with grey blue smoke, that shone in the light like silver.

In the chair beside it sat a figure: it was that of a beautiful woman. A strange mixture of emotions overpowered Hilary. At the first glance he felt that this figure was the same he had seen the other day; at the second he recognised his mother. He rushed forward to her and became aware that she was lifeless; then he turned passionately upon the Princess with anger and horror in his face.

“What have you done? What have you done?” he cried.

“Nothing,” she said, with a smile. “I have done no harm. Do you not see that is only an image? My lay figure, as I told you.”

He gave a long look at the inanimate shape that was so perfect a representation of his mother, and then he turned upon the Princess a look of more intense horror than before.

“What are you doing?” he asked, in a low voice.

“No harm!” she answered lightly. “Your mother hates and fears me. I cannot endure that. I am making her love me. I am making her desire your presence here with me.”

For a while they stood in silence by the side of the vessel and its flaming contents; then suddenly Hilary cried out: “I cannot bear it! Put an end to this terrible spell!”

“Yes,” said the Princess, “I will, but not to its results.”

She drew the screen before the seated figure, and threw something into the vessel that instantly quenched the flame.

Then she led Hilary from the room, and they walked up and down beneath the trees, talking of things as lovers talk—things that interested themselves but none other.

When Hilary returned home his mother rose from her couch and held out her hand to him. She drew him to sit beside her.

“Hilary,” she said, “something tells me you have been with the Princess Fleta. It is well, and I am glad. She is a good friend for you; ask her if I shall come to see her.”

Hilary rose without replying. The dew stood on his brow. For the first time he was conscious of actual fear, and the fear he felt was of the woman he loved.

(To be continued.)
39

A LAW OF LIFE: KARMA.

There is nothing more common to those who know anything about Theosophy than to be asked:—What is Karma? Karma is a Sanskrit word which has to be used by those who discuss the idea it conveys, simply because there is no English word to correspond to it. That is very easy to answer. Then comes the question:—What is the idea which it conveys? Than this there is nothing more difficult to answer, and the reason why this is the case is not far to seek. Let it once be granted that the constitution of man is complex and complicated, and that the soul has existed for ages that seem like an eternity, and existed, moreover, in a garb of flesh which has been changed thousands of times in the course of those ages. Let this be granted, and, in addition, that no action is without its effect in the physical, moral, and spiritual worlds, then, it will be seen, that the answer to the question: “What is Karma,” is very difficult, if not well-nigh impossible. Still, some endeavour may be made to give a general idea, though the details of any individual case can hardly be calculated.

Granting the principle of reincarnation, Karma is the working of the great law which governs those incarnations; but, taken in its wider sense, Karma may be defined as a manifestation of the One, Universal, Divine Principle in the phenomenal world. Thus, it may be further defined as “the great law of Harmony” which governs the Universe.

But it may be replied that Harmony is not the great law of Nature, but, on the contrary, lack of harmony and discord. And what proof is there that Harmony is the law?

When such proof is required, the answer is at once made:—Too short a view of life and the universe has been taken. The man who denies the existence of harmony in the universe has transgressed the law and is experiencing the punishment. He does this unconsciously to himself, because the law of harmony forms an unconscious impulse to its re-adjustment when it has been broken. No better illustration can be given than in the definition of a fugue, which is:—“A musical composition in contrapuntal style, in which a subject is proposed by one part, and then responded to by the others according to certain rules.” Again, in musical chords, the composing notes, if taken by twos and threes, will be found in discord, but, when taken altogether, produce a harmony. Harmony is then the just adaptation of things to each other, and the universe, the personal element of man being eliminated, is essentially an evidence of harmony; otherwise it could not exist, for it would fall to 40pieces and no longer be a universe. To those who find only discord around them, the note to Rule 5, in the second part of “Light on the Path,” may convey a meaning. No other words can express it better. One reason for the apparent disharmony may be given. The desires of man are, as a rule, devoted to the gain of what may be called his personality. While such is the case in any man, to the exclusion of other interests, that man cannot dive deep into his own heart and perceive the real underlying harmony. He is incapable of understanding or even of perceiving it, because his attention is solely devoted to that which produces discord. Naturally, then, to him all things seem out of joint, the reign of discord is ever present, and he cries out perpetually against the injustice of the world he lives in. But if he will but turn his attention from his personality to the greater span of his life, and endeavour first to see evidence of harmony in those around him and then in himself, he will find that harmony; and his way will be made plain to him.

Granting, then, that it is the Great Law of Harmony or Karma which governs the Universe, and which is the Divine principle under one aspect manifested in Nature, then it is easy to understand that any action in violation of Nature’s laws will produce a deviation from the straight line of harmony; consequently the law of harmony will produce an adjusting effect. Now, who is to produce that effect? Nature, or the man who committed the action? Both, or rather, the latter under the influence of the former. The latter most certainly, unless man is to be regarded simply as a blind puppet. It is possible to compare the situation to that of a man whose progress is contingent upon an exact balance being preserved on a pair of scales in front of him. If his actions disturb the balance of those scales and add weight to one side or the other, it is necessary immediately to add a counter-balancing weight on the opposite side and so restore the balance or harmony. (Of course this is a physical illustration, and can hardly be carried very far on the moral plane.) That is to say that the one Divine principle is divided by man’s actions into two opposing forces of good and evil, and man’s progress depends on the exertion of his will to preserve harmony and prevent deviation to one side or the other. Evil only exists in contradistinction to good, and the preservation of such harmony as we have and the advance towards Universal Harmony—the abstract divinity—is what all right-minded persons theoretically aspire to.

It has been thought that, in consequence of the attention paid to the classics in education, the word Nemesis would replace Karma with advantage. So perhaps it might have done, had the earliest traditions of Greek mythology been preserved. But the fatal tendency towards anthropomorphism set in very strongly even in the palmy days of Greece, and in consequence Nemesis only pourtrayed the personification of a human passion. Originally the balancing power, independent of Zeus and all the Olympian gods, who carried out her decrees, Nemesis 41became simply the avenging deity; so much was this the case that in a general sense she might have been called the tutelary deity of those envious of their neighbour’s happiness. Between these points Nemesis appears as the personification of the moral reverence for law, of the natural fear of committing a wrong action, and hence the personification of conscience. It was after this period that Nemesis was said to direct human affairs, with a view to restore the balance between happiness and unhappiness. But, in earlier times, the idea of Nemesis was divided into those of Nemesis and Adrasteia (or what Orientalists would call good and evil Karma), for even then the idea of evil was beginning to be attached to Nemesis.

But Nemesis was closely linked to both the Moirae (Fates) and the Eumenides (Furies), who were all the children of Zeus and Night. The Moirae appear generally as divinities of fate in a strict sense, and act independently at the helm of necessity. They direct fate, and watch that the fate assigned to every being by eternal laws shall take its course (Aesch: Prometheus Vinctus, 511-515). Zeus, as well as gods and men, submits to them. They assign their proper functions to the Erinnyes who inflict the punishment, and are sometimes called their sisters (Aesch: Eumen: 335, 962; Prometheus 516, 696, 895). These latter were always considered to be more ancient than the Olympian gods, and were therefore not under the rule of Zeus, though they honoured and esteemed him. The crimes which they especially punished were (1), violation of the respect due to old age; (2), perjury; (3), murder; (4), violation of the law of hospitality; (5), improper conduct towards suppliants; and the punishment was inflicted not only after death but during life. (It is somewhat curious that these “crimes” are also those actions which entail the heaviest Karma.) No prayers, sacrifices, or tears could move them or protect the object of their persecution. When they feared that he would escape, they called in Dikè to their assistance, with whom they were closely connected, as justice was said to be their only object.

Now when the meaning of all these “minor” Greek deities is considered, and further, if it is considered in connection with the definition of Karma, it will be seen that all are so many personifications of the main divisions of the law of ancient Nemesis or Karma. But the one word cannot, in popular estimation, replace the other; for, as said above, Nemesis has lost its original meaning, and is almost invariably associated with the idea of vengeance. Karma, however, has never lost its essential connection with the law of Harmony, though even in this case there is some tendency to confine it to the law of cause and effects, and to consider what is called evil Karma solely in relation to human life. This is almost inevitable, while the human personality takes the foremost place in the consideration of each man, and his own welfare, in time and eternity, is the goal of his 42endeavours. As said above, while this is the case man cannot regard the great laws of the Universe, nor recognise himself as part of it, and thus his life is confined to the world of effects, and can never enter that of causes. Thus it is ignorance of the law of Harmony that leads him to struggle in vain, in this world, for the apparent advantage of surpassing his neighbour, and—worse—to instinctively carry the struggle beyond death, and attempt to advance in favour in the so-called heavenly kingdom.

This is the result of the pernicious doctrine of reward and punishment after death, in heaven or in hell. Nothing could have been found more calculated to circumscribe the view of life as a whole, and concentrate man’s attention on temporary matters. It is inevitable that man should regard his soul as something fashioned after his struggling personality, and very similar to it; and this view of his personality was not calculated to agree with the loftiness of the ideas about the soul. From this point of view he either rejected the idea of soul as altogether worthless, or else he transferred his interest to the soul’s welfare in Heaven—in either case concentrating his attention on what is inevitably transient. It is as though a man lost sight of the fact of respiration in its component parts of inspiration and expiration; that is to say, that one respiration is taken as the whole, and the millions of other respirations in the course of a human life are lost sight of and forgotten. Thus the man who adapts his life to the ordinary views, with regard to life on earth and life in Heaven, fixes his thoughts and aspirations on what is transient, and desires to intensify that. No truer words were ever spoken than by Christ when he said:—“What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul.” It is a loss which man will inevitably experience if he pursues this purblind course of endeavour, for he will lose sight of his real soul altogether, and he—as he, that is—will never regain it. He follows a flickering Will-o’-the-Wisp, and finds his way only into a treacherous marsh; the result being that the whole of that incarnation is wasted, and a stumbling block, perhaps, placed in the way of the next. This danger is, as said, due to neglect or ignorance of the idea of Karma, and to the purblind view consequently taken of the great scope of human life.

In the Theosophist, of July, 1887, Mr. Subba Row deals with the doctrine of Karma as contained in the Bhagavadgita. His lecture contains one of the clearest elucidations of the metaphysical side of the question which it is possible to put in language, so far as the Kosmic aspect of Karma is concerned. In it, and the previous lectures, Mr. Subba Row dealt with three main bases or vehicles[13] (states of matter) through which the light of the spirit is reflected into the phenomenal world. These vehicles, when traced to their origin, lead to prakriti, or matter; as opposed to purusha, or spirit.

43

“So Krishna says that all Karma is traceable to Upadhi, and hence to Prakriti. Karma itself depends upon conscious existence. Conscious existence entirely depends upon the constitution of man’s mind.... Upadhi is the cause of individual existence. Existence itself, I mean living existence, is, however, traceable to this light (of the Logos). All conscious existence is traceable to it, and, furthermore, when spiritual intelligence is developed, it directly springs from it.... Now it is through the action of this Karma that individual existence makes its appearance. On account of this Karmae individual existence is maintained, and it is on account of Karma that man suffers all the pains and sorrows of earthly existence. Birth, life, and death, and all the innumerable ills to which human nature is subject, are endured by mankind owing to this Karma.... Thus Karma, being the inevitable result of Prakriti, and Prakriti continuing to exist as long as you are a human being, it is useless to try to get rid of Karma.... When you renounce this desire (desire to do Karma other than from a sense of duty), Karma will become weaker and weaker in its ability to affect you, till at last you arrive at a condition in which you are not affected by Karma at all, and that condition is the condition of Mukti.”[14]

“Those philosophers who want to reject all Karma pretend to renounce it altogether. But that is an impossible task. No man, so long as he is a human being, can ever give up Karma altogether. He is at least bound to do that which the bare existence of his physical body requires, unless, indeed, he means to die of starvation, or otherwise put an untimely end to his life.”

“Supposing you do give up Karma—that is abstain from it in action, how can you keep control over your own minds? It is useless to abstain from an act, and yet be constantly thinking of it. If you come to the resolution that you ought to give up Karma, you must necessarily conclude that you ought not even to think about these things. That being so, let us see in what a condition you will then place yourselves. As almost all our mental states have some connection with the phenomenal world, and are somehow or other connected with Karma in its various phases, it is difficult to understand how it is possible for a man to give up all Karma, unless he can annihilate his mind, or get into an eternal state of Sushupti (dreamless slumber). Moreover, if you have to give up all Karma, you have to give up good Karma as well as bad, for Karma, in its widest sense, is not confined to bad actions. If all the people in the world give up Karma, how is the world to exist? Is it not likely that an end will then be put to all good impulses, to all patriotic and philanthropic deeds, that all the good people, who have been and are exerting themselves in doing unselfish deeds for the good of their fellow men, will be prevented from working? If you call upon everybody to give up Karma, you will simply create a number of lazy drones, and prevent good people from benefiting their fellow beings.”

“And furthermore, it may be argued that this is not a rule of universal applicability. How few are there in the world who can give up their whole Karma, and reduce themselves to a condition of eternal inactivity. And if you ask these people to follow this course, they may, instead of giving up Karma, simply become lazy, idle persons, who have not really given up anything. What is the meaning of the expression, to give up Karma? Krishna says that in abstaining from doing a thing there may be the effects of active Karma, and in active Karma there may be no real Karmic results. If you kill a man, it is murder, and you are held responsible for it; but suppose you refuse to feed your old parents and they die in consequence of your neglect, do you mean to say that you are not responsible for that Karma? You may talk in the most metaphysical manner you please, you cannot get rid of Karma altogether.”

“Taking all these circumstances into consideration, and admitting the many mischievous consequences that will follow as the result of recommending every 44human being to give up Karma, Krishna adds all that is to be found in the teaching that makes the Logos the means of salvation, and recommends man—if he would seek to obtain immortality—a method by following which he is sure to reach it, and not one that may end in his having to go through another incarnation, or being absorbed into another spiritual being whose existence is not immortal.”

“The recommendation to practice and obtain self-mastery, Krishna accepts. But he would add to it more effectual means of obtaining the desired end—means sufficient in themselves to enable you to reach that end. He points out that this practise of self-mastery is not only useful for training in one birth, but is likely to leave permanent impulses on a man’s soul which come to his rescue in future incarnations.”...

“Krishna, in recommending his own method, combines all that is good in the five systems, and adds thereto all those necessary means of obtaining salvation that follow as inferences from the existence of the Logos, and its real relationship to man and to all the principles that operate in the cosmos. His is certainly more comprehensive than any of the theories from which these various schools of philosophy have started, and it is this theory that he is trying, in the second six chapters of the BhagavadgitaBhagavadgita,to inculcate.”

In the above quoted lecture Karma was considered in its Kosmic and universal aspect, but no attempt was made to consider it in its individual aspect as applied to the various great sections of Being on this planet. The first approach to this is seen in the animal kingdom. Doubtless, the mineral and vegetable kingdoms are under the law of Harmony with Nature; it could not possibly be otherwise for they are closer to what is known as nature and much less individualised. But there is so little individualisation in these kingdoms that it is hardly possible to consider them in relation to the law of harmony, or to that of Cause and Effect on the plane of objectivity. But to anyone who has thought about the question it is plain that the animal kingdom, in its individuals, does come at least under the law of cause and effect. This may practically be called the working of Karma on the physical plane and by some has been called the law of Compensation, this being a term expressive of mechanical and physical energy. The word Karma had better be retained to express the working of the law of harmony on that plane where moral responsibility begins, and where “the law of compensation can be modified by will and reason,” and where therefore personal merit and demerit exists. To quote from an article in the Theosophist on the Karma of animals:—

“A piece of iron is attracted to a magnet without having any desire in the matter. If it is exposed to air and water, it may become rusty and cannot prevent it. A plant or a tree may be straight or crooked on account of circumstances over which it has no control. An animal usually follows the instincts of its nature without any merit or demerit for so doing, a child or an idiot may smilingly kick over a lamp which may set a whole city on fire; the cause will have its effect, but the child or the idiot cannot be held responsible for it, because they have not sufficient intelligence to fully control their actions or to judge about the consequences. A person can only be held responsible according to his ability to perceive justice and to distinguish between good and evil. The power to discriminate properly is an attribute of the human mind, and the higher that mind is developed the more it becomes responsible for the effects it 45produces. A cat may kill a mouse or an ox gore a man; and to hold them morally responsible for it would be an act of injustice, cruelty and stupidity. Whether or not a dog may have sufficient reason to incur any moral responsibility is a matter of opinion, and no emphatic affirmation or denial will decide the case: but it is reasonable to suppose that a dog, though he may have sufficient reason to know what is good or bad for himself or for those to whom he is attached, has no moral responsibility.”

Thus, though animals may be under the law of compensation, and under the law of harmony or Karma, they are not under the law of compensation, or the law of harmony or Karma in the same way as it applies to human beings. With humanity, a fresh element has been introduced—the intellectual, reasoning, and discriminating power. Consequently, while the universal law of harmony or Karma governs the whole Universe, the law of Harmony should be applied to the Universe as a whole, and its manifestations, the laws of Karma and Compensation, should be applied to man and animal respectively.

It is more possible, perhaps, to consider the question in relation to the various grades of humanity so far as we can conceive of it and them. It would be better to commence with the highest and proceed downwards.

All Theosophists, and many who are not, have heard of Mahatmas, and many have speculated very wrongly about them. In this magazine, and in this article, it may be possible to write about them without disrespect, because only through these speculations is it possible to understand the law of harmony and its relation to man as Karma, and to divinity as harmony. The word Karma as limited above does not apply to the Mahatma.

“Gazing only upon the eternal the Mahatma feels neither good nor ill, nor does either good or ill come to him. Personally, he cannot either suffer or rejoice, and is incapable of emotion, because he is indifferent to circumstances. But as he developes, his sympathies increase, until at last his sympathies enter into all beings, and with them he rejoices and suffers until they also pass beyond the sense of joy or pain.”

“They do not have good or evil Karma. The glory and good fortune and happiness, these go to the good men who look for temporary joys. Karma produces pleasure or pain by the ordering of circumstances. The Mahatma does not feel pleasure and pain, and is not affected by circumstances, therefore he is Karmaless. The law of cause and effect is only called Karma when it concerns temporary and changing circumstances. The acts of the Mahatma generate spiritual energy which goes to create the power that shall be his when he is no longer man, and consequently form an eternal factor in his future; thus, the Mahatma, being without personal desire, is outside the operation of the law of Karma.”

In his real condition he is in harmony with Nature, and its agent, and hence outside Karma. His physical body is however still within its limits of action. But to him this is a very small matter.

Archibald Keightley, M.B.
(To be continued.)
46

THE MYSTERY OF ALL TIME.

The inner light which guides men to greatness, and makes them noble, is a mystery through all time and must remain so while Time lasts for us; but there come moments, even in the midst of ordinary life, when Time has no hold upon us, and then all the circumstance of outward existence falls away, and we find ourselves face to face with the mystery beyond. In great trouble, in great joy, in keen excitement, in serious illness, these moments come. Afterwards they seem very wonderful, looking back upon them.

What is this mystery, and why is it so veiled, are the burning questions for anyone who has begun to realise its existence. Trouble most often rouses men to the consciousness of it, and forces them to ask these questions when those, whom one has loved better than oneself, are taken away into the formless abyss of the unknown by death, or are changed, by the experiences of life, till they are no longer recognisable as the same; then comes the wild hunger for knowledge. Why is it so? What is it, that surrounds us with a great dim cloud into which all loved things plunge in time and are lost to us, obliterated, utterly taken from us? It is this which makes life so unbearable to the emotional natures, and which developes selfishness in narrow hearts. If there is no certainty and no permanence in life, then it seems to the Egotist, that there is no reasonable course but to attend to one’s own affairs, and be content with the happiness of the first person singular. There are many persons sufficiently generous in temperament to wish others were happy also, and who, if they saw any way to do it, would gladly redress some of the existing ills—the misery of the poor, the social evil, the sufferings of the diseased, the sorrow of those made desolate by death—these things the sentimental philanthropist shudders to think of. He does not act because he can do so little. Shall he take one miserable child and give it comfort when millions will be enduring the same fate when that one is dead? The inexorable cruelty of life continues on its giant course, and those who are born rich and healthy live in pleasant places, afraid to think of the horrors life holds within it. Loss, despair, unutterable pain, comes at last, and the one who has hitherto been fortunate is on a level with those to whom misery has been familiarised by a lifetime of experience. For trouble bites hardest when it springs on a new victim. Of course, there are profoundly selfish natures which do not suffer in this sense, which look only for personal comfort and are content with the small horizon visible to one person’s sight; for these, there is but little trouble in the world, there 47is none of the passionate pain which exists in sensitive and poetic natures. The born artist is aware of pain as soon as he is aware of pleasure; he recognises sadness as a part of human life before it has touched on his own. He has an innate consciousness of the mystery of the ages, that thing stirring within man’s soul and which enables him to outlive pain and become great, which leads him on the road to the divine life. This gives him enthusiasm, a superb heroism indifferent to calamity; if he is a poet he will write his heart out, even for a generation that has no eyes or ears for him; if he desires to help others personally, he is capable of giving his very life to save one wretched child from out a million of miserable ones. For it is not his puny personal effort in the world that he considers—not his little show of labour done; what he is conscious of is the over-mastering desire to work with the beneficent forces of super-nature, to become one with the divine mystery, and when he can forget time and circumstances, he is face to face with that mystery. Many have fancied they must reach it by death; but none have come back to tell us that this is so. We have no proof that man is not as blind beyond the grave as he is on this side of it. Has he entered the eternal thought? If not, the mystery is a mystery still.

To one who is entering occultism in earnest, all the trouble of the world seems suddenly apparent. There is a point of experience when father and mother, wife and child, become indistinguishable, and when they seem no more familiar or friendly than a company of strangers. The one dearest of all may be close at hand and unchanged, and yet is as far as if death had come between. Then all distinction between pleasure and pain, love and hate, have vanished. A melancholy, keener than that felt by a man in his first fierce experience of grief, overshadows the soul. It is the pain of the struggle to break the shell in which man has prisoned himself. Once broken then there is no more pain; all ties are severed, all personal demands are silenced for ever. The man has forced himself to face the great mystery, which is now a mystery no longer, for he has become part of it. It is essentially the mystery of the ages, and these have no longer any meaning for him to whom time and space and all other limitations are but passing experiences. It has become to him a reality, profound, indeed, because it is bottomless, wide, indeed, because it is limitless. He has touched on the greatness of life, which is sublime in its impartiality and effortless generosity. He is friend and lover to all those living beings that come within his consciousness, not to the one or two chosen ones only—which is indeed only an enlarged selfishness. While a man retains his humanity, it is certain that one or two chosen ones will give him more pleasure by contact, than all the rest of the beings in the Universe and all the heavenly host; but he has to remember and recognise what this preference is. It is not a selfish thing which has to be crushed out, if the love is the love that gives; freedom from attachments is not a meritorious condition 48in itself. The freedom needed is not from those who cling to you, but from those to whom you cling. The familiar phrase of the lover “I cannot live without you” must be words which cannot be uttered, to the occultist. If he has but one anchor, the great tides will sweep him away into nothingness. But the natural preference which must exist in every man for a few persons is one form of the lessons of Life. By contact with these other souls he has other channels by which to penetrate to the great mystery. For every soul touches it, even the darkest. Solitude is a great teacher, but society is even greater. It is so hard to find and take the highest part of those we love, that in the very difficulty of the search there is a serious education. We realise when making that effort, far more clearly what it is that creates the mystery in which we live, and makes us so ignorant. It is the swaying, vibrating, never-resting desires of the animal soul in man. The life of this part of man’s nature is so vigorous and strongly developed from the ages during which he has dwelt in it, that it is almost impossible to still it so as to obtain contact with the noble spirit. This constant and confusing life, this ceaseless occupation with the trifles of the hour, this readiness in surface emotion, this quickness to be pleased, amused or distressed, is what baffles our sight and dulls our inner senses. Till we can use these the mystery remains in its Sphinx-like silence.


When the unit thinks only of itself, the whole, which is built of units perishes, and the unit itself is destroyed.


So it is throughout nature on every plane of life. This, therefore, is the first lesson to be learnt.


What the true occultist seeks, is not knowledge, or growth, or happiness, or power, for himself; but having become conscious that the harmony of which he forms part is broken on the outer plane, he seeks the means to resolve that discord into a higher harmony.

This harmony is Theosophy—Divine or Universal Wisdom—the root whence have sprung all “religions,” that is all; “bonds which unite men together,” which is the true meaning of the word religion.

Therefore, Theosophy is not a “religion,” but religion itself, the very “binding of men together” in one Universal Brotherhood.

49

THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS OF BUDDHISM.

When a man immersed in the darkness of modern civilization awakens, however slightly, to the hollowness of his every-day life, he becomes sensible of a feeling of despair, for he is mentally brought face to face with what appears to him to be a meaningless yet cruel destiny. Now to any one so circumstanced, no truer source of consolation and encouragement can be offered than that which is to be found in a proper consideration of the “Four Noble Truths” of Buddhism. But to give this proper consideration to the Truths, or indeed to promote even a preliminary enquiry into their nature is by no means an easy task, because the fundamental ideas which they embody have scarcely any vitality in the present generation; nay more, they involve for the most part a complete inversion of maxims commonly accepted as axiomatic in current thought.

It is, however, in the hopes of doing something towards the elucidation of the matter, that the present exposition is attempted.

The first Noble Truth relates to human suffering. It proclaims that the conscious, separated, life of individual existence necessarily implies pain, sorrow and misery; that so long as a man feels that he is possessed of an isolated self, or so long as he regards himself and his fellow men as detached personalities, having antagonistic or even independent interests, so long must he suffer and be subject to trouble, grief and disappointment.

This first Noble Truth gives utterance to one aspect of an inexorable law of universal application, a law from whose operations no man can, or has, or ever will escape, until he has learnt and in the fullest sense realized the four Noble Truths.

The first Truth may also be thus expressed: individual existence necessitates and involves change of state, whether manifested as birth growth, decay or death, and all changes of state are accompanied by pain in one form or another on some plane of being; while those who seem in their own eyes to have escaped from pain, or those who imagine that others escape from it, are alike deluded, for all men are overtaken by it soon or late.

The second Noble Truth deals with the cause of pain, and partially explains its meaning. According to this Truth, it is the desire or thirst for the continuance of individual life, with its various sensations and experiences, that constitutes the true basis of all suffering, whatever the outward form it may assume, and to whatever plane of consciousness it may belong. This thirst for life, called in the Sanscrit language 50Tanha, gives rise in the mind of man to a delusive belief in the permanence and reality of that separate personality, which, according to Buddhism, is no more than an ephemeral mode of individual existence; it further leads him to suppose that the numerous mental states which in their aggregate make up the personality, are, in themselves real; and hence grows that rooted belief in the absolute reality of the manifold objects of sense, and that longing for their possession, that insatiable longing for the enhancement and for the multiplication of the experiences associated with these objects.

The second Truth, like the first, presents an aspect of the universal law already referred to.

This law, the Sanscrit name for which is Karma, is the governing and controlling power, ordering all individual existence, and by virtue of which Tanha operates.

The third Noble Truth announces the fact that, as the individual man grows strong in spiritual knowledge and charity, so Tanha is gradually dissolved, and there is for him a consequent cessation of sorrow and of pain. The individuality becoming proportionately freed from the bondage of Karma, Tanha is indeed a quite necessary adjunct of man’s incipient growth, for it represents the creative power which forces the individuality through the earlier stages of its development, yet, while performing this most useful function, being in fact indispensable to the lower nature of man, Tanha, at the same time, forges those Karmic fetters from which the spiritual self struggles desperately to get free.

As the man’s spiritual nature is evolved, the unconscious creative energy, in form of Tanha, is gradually replaced by the newly developed powers of the higher self, the will becomes more and more completely associated with the spirit, while the man himself, endowed with true Faith, true Hope, and true Love, becomes a conscious co-worker with the Universal or Macrocosmic Will, the “Great Builder.”

The fourth Noble Truth assures us that there is a way by which all men may, if they only choose, rapidly accomplish this displacement of Tanha by true Love; this way is called the Noble Eight-fold Path leading to enlightenment.

Thus:—1. Right fundamental Belief, i.e., the right basis mentally and spiritually upon which to establish true knowledge. 2. Right Intention, i.e., goodwill towards all that lives, singleness of purpose, correctness and purity of motive. 3. Right Speech, i.e., the use of becoming language, kindly temperate, fair and profitable; patient yet vigorous; thoughtful, courageous, honest and discriminating. 4. Right Behaviour i.e., active philanthropy. 5. Right means of Livelihood, i.e., honest and useful employment of one’s time, paying adequate attention to one’s own material needs and helping others to do the same, yet without care for the morrow. 6. Right Endeavour, i.e., putting one’s heart in one’s 51work. 7. Right Loneliness, i.e., self-contained and harmonious within.within. 8. Right Meditation. This is the Sanskrit Yoga and signifies union with the divine by practising the contemplation of the reality of being. It is the result of a sustained effort to concentrate the mind upon the universal, eternal and immutable law of life; the first stage of such concentration takes the form of an impartial review or survey of all one’s thoughts, actions, desires, sensations and experiences from a thoroughly impersonal standpoint. This Eightfold Path has four stages representing different degrees of advancement towards Buddhahood or the state of perfect enlightenment. The true Buddha or Tathâgata is one who has attained final emancipation from individual existence, whose purified spirit is freed from the last vestige of Tanha, one upon whom Karma has no more hold, for he has reached Para Nirvana, the Eternal, the Absolute Being.

St. George Lane-Fox.

THE LAST OF A GOOD LAMA.—Whatever may be said against godless Buddhism, its influence, wherever it penetrates, is most beneficent. One finds the Spirit of “Lord Buddha ... most pitiful, the Teacher of Nirvâna and the Law,” ennobling even the least philosophical of the dissenting sects of his religion—the Lamäism of the nomadic Kalmucks. The Caspian Steppes witnessed, only a few months ago, the solemn cremation and burial of a Mongolian saint, whose ashes were watered by as many Christian as Lamaic tears. The high priest to the Russian Calmucks of the Volga died December 26th, 1886, near Vétlyanka, once the seat of the most terrible epidemics. The Ghelungs had chosen the day of ceremony in accordance with their sacred books; the hour was fixed astrologically, and at noon on January 4th, 1887, the imposing ceremony took place. More than 80,000 people assembling from all the neighbouring Cossack stanitzas and Calmuck ooloosses, formed a procession surrounding the pillar of cremation. The corpse having been fixed in an iron arm-chair, used on such ceremonies, was introduced into the hollow pillar, the flames being fed with supplies of fresh butter. During the whole burning, the crowd never ceased weeping and lamenting, the Russians being most violent in their expressions of sorrow, and with reason. For long years the defunct Lama had been a kind father to all the poor in the country, whether Christian or Lamaist. Whole villages of proletarians had been fed, clothed, and their poll-taxes paid out of his own private income. His property in pasture lands, cattle, and tithes was very large, yet the Lama was ever in want of money. With his death, the poor wretches, who could hardly keep soul in their bodies, have no prospect but starvation. Thus the tears of the Christians were as abundant, if not quite as unselfish, as those of the poor Pagans. Only the year before, the good Lama received 4,000 roubles from a Calmuck oolooss (camp) and gave the whole to rebuild a burned down Russian village, and thus saved hundreds from death by hunger. He was never known during his long life to refuse any man, woman, or child, in need, whether Pagan or Christian, depriving himself of every comfort to help his poorer fellow-creatures. Thus died the last of the Lamas of the priestly hierarchy sent to the Astrakhan Calmucks from beyond the “Snowy Range” some sixty years ago. A shameful story is told of how a travelling Christian pilgrim imposed on the good Lama. The Lama had entrusted him with 30,000 roubles to be placed in the neighbouring town; but the Christian pilgrim disappeared, and the money with him.

52

THE BIRTH OF LIGHT.

Translated from Eliphas Levis “Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie.”

The “Lucifer” of the Kabalists is not a proscribed and fallen angel, but the spirit which illuminates and regenerates by fire; he is to the angels of peace what the comet is to the peaceful constellations of spring-time.

The fixed star is beautiful, radiant and calm; she drinks in the aromas of Heaven, and looks lovingly on her sisters; clad in her dazzling garments, and her brow adorned with diamonds, she smiles as she sings her morning and her evening hymn; she enjoys an eternal repose which nothing can disturb, and solemnly she treads the path assigned to her among the sentinels of light.

But the wandering comet, all bloodstained, and her tresses unloosed, rushes on from the depths of the sky; she dashes across the track of the peaceful spheres like a chariot of war breaking the ranks of a procession of vestals; she dares to breast the burning sword of the guardians of the sun, and, like a lost spouse who seeks the partner visioned in her lonely night watches, she forces her way even into the tabernacle of the King of Day.

Then she rushes out, breathing forth the fires which consume herself and leaving in her train one long conflagration; the stars pale before her approach, the herded constellations, which browse upon the starry flowers in the vast meadows of the sky, seem to flee from her terrible breath. The grand council of the stars is called, and universal consternation reigns. At last the fairest of the fixed stars is charged to speak in the name of the heavenly concourse, and to propose a truce with the errant messenger.

“My sister,” she says, “why troublest thou the harmony of these spheres? What harm have we done thee, and why, instead of wandering at hazard, dost thou not, like us, take up thy settled rank in the Court of the Sun? Why dost thou not join with us in chanting the evening hymn, attired, like us, in a robe of white clasped above the breast by one pure diamond? Why dost thou allow thy tresses, dripping with the sweat of fire, to float across the vapours of the night? If thou wouldst but take thy due place among the daughters of Heaven, how far more lovely thy mien! Thy face no more would be burnt up by the fatigue of thy unheard-of journeys; thy eyes would shine forth clear, and thy features smile with the tints of lily and of rose, like those of thy happy sisters; all the stars would recognise in thee a friend, and far 53from fearing thy transit, they would rejoice at thy approach. For thou wouldst be united to us by the indissoluble ties of universal harmony, and thy peaceable existence would be but one voice the more in the anthem of Infinite Love.”

But the comet replies:

“Deem not, my sister, that I could stray at chance and disturb the harmony of the spheres. God has traced for me my path, as thine for thee, and if my course appears to thee uncertain and erratic, it is because thy rays cannot reach so far as to embrace the outlines of the great ellipse which has been given me for my career. My burning tresses are the banner of God; I am the messenger of the Suns, and I bathe me in their fires that I may distribute them on my path to those young worlds which have not yet sufficient heat, and to the declining stars that shiver in their solitude. If I court fatigue in my long journeyings, if my beauty is less mild than thine, if my attire less virginal, I am no less than thee a worthy daughter of the sky. Leave in my hands the awful secret of my destiny, leave to me the horror which encompasses me, and slander me not if thou canst not understand me. None the less, shall I fulfil my appointed task. Happy the stars that take their rest and shine like young queens in the stately concourse of the Universe; for me, I am cast out, a wanderer, and claim the Infinite as my only fatherland. They accuse me of setting on fire the planets which I warm, and of terrifying the stars which I illume. I am reproached with disturbing the harmony of the worlds, because I do not revolve round their own fixed points, and because I bind them one to the other, setting my face alone toward the only centre of all the Suns. So rest assured, thou fairest star, I will not deprive thee of one ray of thy so peaceful light; the rather, I will squander on thee my warmth and my own life. Who knows, but I may vanish from the sky when I have consumed myself? My lot will still have been a noble one! For know that in the Temple of God the fires that burn are not all one. Ye are the light of the golden torches, but I, the flame of sacrifice. Let each accomplish her own destiny!”

Her words scarce uttered, the comet shakes her tresses loose, covers herself with her burning shield, and plunges once more into infinite space, where she appears to vanish for evermore.

It is thus that Lucifer appears and disappears in the allegories of the Bible.

One day, so says the book of Job, the sons of God had assembled in the presence of their Lord, and among them came Lucifer.

To him the Lord said: “Whence comest thou?”

And he replied:

“I have journeyed round the world and travelled throughout it.”

This is how a Gnostic gospel, re-discovered in the East by a learned traveller, explains, in treating of the symbolical Lucifer, the genesis of Light.

54“Truth which is conscious of itself is living Thought. Truth is the Thought which is contained within itself; and formulated Thought is Speech. When the Eternal Thought sought for a form it said: ‘Let there be Light.’ Therefore this Thought that speaks is the Word, and this Word says: ‘Let there be Light, because the word itself is the light of the spirit.’”

The uncreated light, which is the divine Word, sends forth its rays because it wishes to be manifest, and when it says, “Let there be light,” it commands the eyes to open; it creates the Intelligences.

And, when God said: “Let there be light,” Intelligence was made and light appeared.

Then, the Intelligence which God had breathed forth, like a planet detached from the Sun, took the form of a splendid Angel and the heavens saluted him with the name of Lucifer.

Intelligence awoke and it fathomed its own depths as it heard this apostrophe of the divine Word, “Let there be Light.” It felt itself to be free, for God had commanded it so to be, and it answered, raising its head and spreading its wings, “I will not be Slavery.”

“Wilt thou be then Sorrow?” said the uncreated voice.

“I will be Liberty,” answered the Light.

“Pride will seduce thee,” replied the supreme voice, “and thou wilt give birth to Death.”

“I must needs combat with Death to conquer Life,” said once again the light created.

God then unloosed from his bosom the thread of splendour which held back the superb spirit, and as he watched him dive into the night, cutting in it a path of glory, he loved the child of his thought, and smiling with a smile ineffable, he murmured to himself: “How fair a thing was this Light!”

And Sorrow was the condition imposed upon the free being. If the chief of the angels had not dared confront the depths of night, the travail of God had not been complete, and the created light could not have separated itself from the light unrevealed.

Perhaps Lucifer, in plunging into the night, drew with him a shower of Stars and Suns by the attraction of his glory? * * * * * * *

55

A TRUE THEOSOPHIST.

A very large majority of people have no idea whatever about Theosophy, and regard Theosophists as more or less crazy members of a new sect. They naturally deny any superiority to one new sect among so many, and aver that, as a considerable number of sects have been “tried in the balances and found wanting,” this one is no better than its predecessors. Theosophists—the real ones—can only reply that they are unsectarian and superior to none. They believe that they have found a good road to the discovery of truth, and wish to share their discovery—if it can be so called—with others.

The very assumption of superiority would be a contradiction in terms to the name itself. But, while giving this emphatic denial with reference to the name “Theosophist,” no attempt is made to assert that all members of the Theosophical Society are also Theosophists. True indeed, that when they enter that society, they subscribe to rules and declare their objects to be such that, were they to carry them out thoroughly, no other name than Theosophists would be applicable. Nor does the name imply that, in the studies which Theosophists make their own, it is necessary that the sole and best place should be given to studies of Oriental philosophy. That again would be a contradiction, for it has most emphatically been stated that “there are those who are ignorant of the Eastern wisdom” who are nearer to divine wisdom, than some who have devoted their entire lives to Oriental studies. It is again the old story that, “the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”

Still while holding to the assertion that the study of Oriental wisdom is only one road out of many, it is necessary to remember the analogy which philology may here present to “religion.” Just as philology traces all languages to a common root—the Sanskrit or rather pre-Sanskrit—so the religions of the world can also be traced to a common root and birth place, identical with the cradle and birth place of the human race, which ethnology locates on the high plateaux of Central Asia.Asia. Therefore it is, that the study of Oriental philosophy has something to be urged in its especial favour, because that philosophy has its home nearer to the source of the wisdom religion than any other.

Still more must it be borne in mind, that members of the Theosophical Society are not necessarily Theosophists, for a very considerable number are attracted merely by the name and through curiosity. They either do not understand what they profess, or if they do, they do not practise it. But this is no attempt to run counter to the proverb, that the tree is known by its fruit, although there is some amount of injustice in it.it. 56All that is asserted is that, if this argument is used against a Society with aims and aspirations such as the Theosophical Society has, it can be used with even more terrible effect against all religions whether Christian, Mohammedan, Buddhist, etc. The real reason why this has come to pass, lies in a few words—the cultivation of the individual; and, as a later result of this, in anthropomorphism. It is only those individuals who can “grasp their whole individuality firmly,” and by the force of their “awakened spiritual will, reach out to the life beyond individuality”—it is only they, who can shake themselves loose from the curse which has gradually spread over the whole world. It is in consequence of this growth of individualism that the “blessings of civilization” have become the curse of mankind, and every religion, originally altruistic, has become inverted, and the reign of anti-Christ and hypocrisy has superseded that of Christ and truth. No sweeping accusation is made against the whole world in this statement. A dim and misty veil has been thrown over the face of Truth, and it is as though we saw everything outside the principal focus of a lens, and consequently, under full faith that we see the real image, perceive the inverted image. In the time of Elizabeth, for instance, men learnt to cultivate the individual within the circle of the race, and to attempt to unite in patriotism for the benefit of that race or empire. But it is a vain attempt, and the dissociating effects of this culture will soon be evident in the impossibility of the attempt. Originally the attempt was to cultivate the individual, but only with a view to the increase of that race and with that object as paramount. That is to say, that an English soldier would cultivate himself to the uttermost in order that the world should see what English soldiers were. But the time came when the egoistic element appeared in overwhelming force, and the cultivation was devoted to the sole aim of making this or that man stronger than any man of his own race, or any other.

And now another aim has been substituted for the paramount one of patriotism. Mammon has superseded the latter, and the strength of the individual is cultivated and devoted to withstanding the pressure of life, and to getting a start in the great race to worship at the feet of the demon of cupidity. But again, while devoting their own lives and worse—the lives of their neighbours—to this worship, they yet professed to be Christians or members of other religions. They tried to worship two gods—Mammon on six days of the week and the other divinity on Sunday, or any day set apart for his service. But still, in most cases, it was not the divine instinct of search for the divine in their hearts, but a fear of wrath to come. It really was a pharisaical idea of “hedging,” to use a term of racing slang, with reference to the race of life. The end of it was that Mammon received the real worship of their hearts, and the other god only lip-service. Thus in the end hypocrisy became almost as paramount as Mammon. Time still passed on, and man almost lost 57sight of any idea of an offended and avenging deity, and any germ of spirituality was very nearly dead from want of cultivation. The material needs held him in complete sway, and the spread of physical science helped him mightily. Losing sight of all the subtler side of nature, he immersed himself in gross matter, and utilitarianism was the watchword and rallying cry. In all this change the age of mechanical inventions took no small part. Man can hardly be blamed as an individual nor as a whole. It is part of the great law of evolution, and the working out of the law of the survival of the fittest.

It may be asked what this has to do with the subject of the article; but in justification it is averred that a picture is most clearly seen by its contrast.

Perhaps the best definition of a Theosophist, is that given by the Alchemist, Thomas Vaughan:

“A Theosophist is one who gives you a theory of the works of God, which has not a revelation, but an inspiration of his own for basis.”

“A man once abandoning the old pathway of routine and entering on the solitary pathway of independent thought—Godward—he is a Theosophist, an original thinker, a seeker after the Eternal Truth, with an inspiration of his own to solve the Eternal problems.”

Such a one as this is the subject of the article. Count Tolstoi, the Russian novelist, is a true Theosophist, and his words and actions in contradiction and illustration of the foregoing, are taken from an interview with him by Mr. George Kennan (Century, June 1887). The interview first describes the surroundings amidst which Count Tolstoi lives, and gives also a description of the Count’s appearance.

Apparently the first thing which impressed Mr. Kennan was the sight of “a wealthy Russian noble, and the greatest of living novelists, shaking hands upon terms of perfect equality with a poor, ragged, and not over clean droshky driver,” who had been engaged in the streets.

Then follows a description of the rooms, the furniture &c., which was observed during the time that Mr. Kennan’s host had retired—not, indeed, to change his coat, but to put one on after a morning’s labour in the fields. Mr. Kennan, it seems, had journeyed through Siberia, and had there promised several of the exiles to visit Count Tolstoi on his return, and to tell him of their condition. In the course of conversation on these matters, Mr. Kennan asked Count Tolstoi whether he did not think that resistance to such oppression as the exiles had experienced was justifiable?

“That depends,” he replied, “upon what you mean by resistance; if you mean persuasion, argument, protest, I answer yes; if you mean violence—no. I do not believe that violent resistance to evil is ever justifiable under any circumstances.”

He then set forth clearly, eloquently, and with more feeling than he had yet shown, the views with regard to man’s duty as a member of society which are contained in his 58book entitled “My Religion,” and which are further explained and illustrated in a number of his recently published tracts for the people. He laid particular stress upon the doctrine of non-resistance to evil, which, he said, is in accordance with both the teachings of Christ and the results of human experience. He declared that violence, as a means of redressing wrongs, is not only futile, but an aggravation of the original evil, since it is the nature of violence to multiply and reproduce itself in all directions. “The Revolutionists,” he said, “whom you have seen in Siberia, undertook to resist evil by violence, and what has been the result? Bitterness, and misery, and hatred, and bloodshed! The evils against which they took up arms still exist, and to them has been added a mass of previously non-existent human suffering. It is not in that way that the kingdom of God is to be realised on earth.”

For a long time I did not suggest any difficulties or raise any objections.... It is one thing to ask a man in a general way whether he would use violence to resist evil, and quite another thing to ask him specifically whether he would knock down a burglar who was about to cut the throat of his mother. Many men would say yes to the first question who would hesitate at the second. Count Tolstoi, however, was consistent. I related to him many cases of cruelty, brutality, and oppression which had come to my knowledge in Siberia, and at the end of every recital I said to him, “Count Tolstoi, if you had been there and had witnessed that transaction, would you not have interfered with violence?” He invariably answered “No.” I asked him the direct question whether he would kill a highwayman who was about to murder an innocent traveller, provided there were no other way to save the traveller’s life. He replied, “If I should see a bear about to kill a peasant in the forest, I would sink an axe in the bear’s head; but I would not kill a man who was about to do the same thing.” There finally came into my mind a case which, although really not worse than many that I had already presented to him, would, I thought, appeal with peculiar force to a brave, sensitive, chivalrous man.

This was a case of most brutal treatment of a young girl who was exiled to Siberia. At a certain town on her journey the governor ordered that she was to put on the clothing of an ordinary convict. This she declined to do on the ground that administrative exiles had the right to wear their own clothing. Furthermore the clothing supplied to convicts is not always new, and it is quite possible that it is of the filthiest description and full of vermin. She argued that she would have been compelled to change at Moscow had it been necessary, and again declined. The local governor persisted and ordered that force should be used to effect the change. Accordingly, in the presence of nine or ten men, the change of clothing was effected—she was stripped naked, forcibly reclothed, and left bleeding and exhausted after ineffectual resistance.

“Now,” I said, “suppose all this had occurred in your presence; suppose that this bleeding, defenceless, half-naked girl had appealed to you for protection, and had thrown herself into your arms; suppose that it had been your daughter, would you still have refused to interfere by an act of violence?”

He was silent. Finally, ignoring my direct question as to what he personally would have done in such a case, Count Tolstoi said, “Even under such circumstances violence would not be justifiable. Let us analyse that situation carefully. I will grant, for the sake of argument, that the local governor who ordered the act of violence was an ignorant man, a cruel man, a brutal man—what you will; but he probably had an idea 59that he was doing his duty; he probably believed that he was enforcing a law of the Government to which he owed obedience and service. You suddenly appear and set yourself up as a judge in the case; you assume that he is not doing his duty—that he is committing an act of unjustifiable violence—and then, with strange inconsistency, you proceed to aggravate and complicate the evil by yourself committing another act of unjustifiable violence. One wrong added to another wrong does not make a right; it merely extends the area of wrong. Furthermore, your resistance, in order to be effective—in order to accomplish anything—must be directed against the soldiers who are committing the assault. But those soldiers are not free agents; they are subject to military discipline and are acting under orders which they dare not disobey. To prevent the execution of the orders you must kill or maim two or three of the soldiers—that is, kill or wound the only parties to the transaction who are certainly innocent, who are manifestly acting without malice and without evil intention. Is that just? Is it rational? But go a step further: suppose that you do kill or wound two or three of the soldiers; you may or may not thus succeed in preventing the completion of the act against which your violence is a protest; but one thing you certainly will do, and that is, extend the area of enmity, injustice, and misery. Every one of the soldiers whom you kill or maim has a family, and upon every such family you bring grief and suffering which would not have come to it but for your act. In the hearts of perhaps a score of people you rouse the anti-Christian and anti-social emotions of hatred and revenge, and thus sow broadcast the seeds of further violence and strife. At the time when you interposed there was only one centre of evil and suffering. By your violent interference you have created half-a-dozen such centres. It does not seem to me, Mr. Kennan, that that is the way to bring about the reign of peace and good-will on earth.”

Mr. Kennan had a manuscript written by one of those prisoners who took part in the desperate “hunger-strike” of 1884, with which he had been entrusted to hand on to Count Tolstoi. He read two or three pages of it, and then, alluding to the Nihilists, condemned their methods most heartily. Mr. Kennan appeared rather to sympathise with their motives. Count Tolstoi appears only to do so partially, and, while he earnestly desires a revolution, declines to have anything to do with one brought about by violence. Mr. Kennan objected that violence might close the mouth of the peaceable revolutionist and prevent his teaching and thoughts from ever becoming public.

“But do you not see,” replied the Count, “that if you claim and exercise the right to resist by an act of violence what you regard as evil, every other man will insist upon his right to resist in the same way what he regards as evil, and the world will continue to be filled with violence? It is your duty to show that there is a better way.”

“But,” I objected, “you cannot show anything if somebody smites you on the mouth every time you open it to speak the truth.”

“You can at least refrain from striking back,” replied the Count; “you can show by your peaceable behaviour that you are not governed by the barbarous law of retaliation, and your adversary will not continue to strike a man who neither resists nor tries to defend himself. It is by those who have suffered, not by those who have inflicted suffering, that the world has been advanced.”

I said it seemed to me that the advancement of the world had been promoted not a little by the protests—and often the violent and bloody protests—of its inhabitants against wrong and outrage, and that all history goes to show that a people which tamely submits to oppression never acquires either liberty or happiness.

“The whole history of the world,” replied the Count, “is a history of violence, and 60you can of course cite violence in support of violence; but do you not see that there is in human society an endless variety of opinions as to what constitutes wrong and oppression, and that if you once concede the right of any man to resort to violence to resist what he regards as wrong, he being the judge, you authorise every other man to enforce his opinions in the same way, and you have a universal reign of violence?”

Count Tolstoi considers it necessarynecessary to labour for and help the poor by whom he is surrounded; but he is keenly alive to the danger of pauperising them. In doing this he runs counter to the ideas of organised society and the existing traits of human character. He declines to regard these as sacred and immutable, and is doing what he can to change them.

“Count Tolstoi then related with great fulness of detail the history of his change of attitude toward the teaching of Christ, and the steps by which he was brought to see that that teaching, rightly understood, furnishes a reasonable solution of some of the darkest problems of human life. He based upon it not only his opposition to resistance as a means of overcoming evil, but his hostility to courts of justice, established churches, class distinctions, private property, and all civil and ecclesiastical organisation in existing forms. His frequent references to the New Testament, and his insistence on the precepts of Christ as furnishing the only rule for the right government of human conduct, might lead one to regard Count Tolstoi as a devout and orthodox Christian, but, judged by a doctrinal standard, he is very far from being so. He rejects the whole doctrinal framework of the Christian scheme of redemption, including original sin, atonement, the triune personality of God, and the divinity of Christ, and has very little faith in the immortality of the soul. His religion is a religion of this world, and it is based almost wholly upon terrestrial considerations. If he refers frequently to the teachings of Christ, and accepts Christ’s precepts as the rules which should govern human conduct, it is not because he believes that Christ was God, but because he regards those precepts as a formal embodiment of the highest and noblest philosophy of life, and as a revelation, in a certain sense, of the Divine will and character. He insists, however, that Christ’s precepts shall be understood—and that they were intended to be understood—literally and in their most obvious sense. He will not recognise nor tolerate any softening or modification of a hard commandment by subtle and plausible interpretation. If Christ said, ‘Resist not evil,’ he meant resist not evil. He did not mean resist not evil if you can help it, nor resist not evil unless it is unbearable; he meant resist not at all. How unflinchingly Count Tolstoi faces the logical results of his system of belief I have tried to show.”

Count Tolstoi’s views as to his own action and practice have been recently published in an authorised interview which appeared in a Russian journal. He said:

“People say to me, ‘Well, Lef Nikolaivitch, as far as preaching goes, you preach; but how about your practice?’ The question is a perfectly natural one; it is always put to me, and it always shuts my mouth. ‘You preach,’ it is said, ‘but how do you live?’ I can only reply that I do not preach—passionately as I desire to do so. I might preach through my actions, but my actions are bad. That which I say is not preaching; it is only an attempt to find out the meaning and the significance of life. People often say to me, ‘If you think that there is no reasonable life outside the teachings of Christ, and if you love a reasonable life, why do you not fulfill the Christian precepts?’ I am guilty and blameworthy and contemptible because I do not fulfill them; but at the same time I say—not in justification, but in explanation, of my inconsistency—Compare my previous life with the life I am now living, and you will see that I am trying to fulfill. I have not, it is true, fulfilled one eighty-thousandth 61part, and I am to blame for it; but it is not because I do not wish to fulfill all, but because I am unable. Teach me how to extricate myself from the meshes of temptation in which I am entangled—help me—and I will fulfill all. I wish and hope to do it even without help. Condemn me if you choose—I do that myself—but condemn me, and not the path which I am following, and which I point out to those who ask me where, in my opinion, the path is. If I know the road home, and if I go along it drunk, and staggering from side to side, does that prove that the road is not the right one? If it is not the right one, show me another. If I stagger and wander, come to my help, and support and guide me in the right path. Do not yourselves confuse and mislead me, and then rejoice over it and cry, ‘Look at him! He says he is going home, and he is floundering into the swamp!’ You are not evil spirits from the swamp; you are also human beings, and you also are going home. You know that I am alone—you know that I cannot wish or intend to go into the swamp—then help me! My heart is breaking with despair because we have all lost the road; and while I struggle with all my strength to find it and keep in it, you, instead of pitying me when I go astray, cry triumphantly, ‘See! He is in the swamp with us!’”

In this report of Count Tolstoi, it is impossible not to recognise the generous, just, and sympathetic man—the true Theosophist. He may be mistaken, but he is endeavouring to carry out the precepts of Christ. Not indeed, doctrinal Christianity, but to put in practice the actual precepts of the Master he follows. He does this as far as he can; and even with this little (as he says) he is accused of quixotism, and is obliged to stay his hand in order to keep up the example he affords. Why is this. For fear of interested relatives and the lunatic asylum. Here we have a man endeavouring to carry out “under an inspiration of his own,” the precepts laid down by the last of the world’s great teachers. What is the result of his endeavours? That he is in danger of the same fate that the author of “Modern Christianity a civilized Heathenism,” threatened Christ with, were he to return in the XIXth century—the lunatic asylum. Nothing is so intolerable to modern minds as an example of what they (unconsciously to themselves) recognise as that which they ought to follow, but do not. Therefore it has to be put out of sight. Since madness has been defined as a mental state which is in contradiction to the average mental state, it is evident that all religious reformers ought to be put away in a lunatic asylum.

It is quite possible to recognise what an extraordinary effect Count Tolstoi’s principle of non-resistance to evil would have. Still it is a strictly Christian one. Christ went further, and ordained that the other cheek should be offered to the man who smites. It might be argued that this would result in a tacit acquiescence in evil. But if it be so, the whole of the Count’s life is a contradiction to this, and a standing protest against the existence of those who create, or rather perpetuate, this evil. Every reform, this included, is a protest against doing at Rome what Romans do, or the laisser aller, which is the indolent curse of human progress. Count Tolstoi desires to see the reign of Christ on Earth, and in this accords well with the Theosophists who desire “Universal Brotherhood.” But neither of these can be effected save by the cultivation of the inner 62and spiritual man, so that it shall shine through and form the guide to the outer and physical man. But unfortunately the welfare of the latter is taken as the standard at present and humanity, without the spiritual man as a guide, is left to flounder in the ditch into which it has fallen.

Those who desire to follow Count Tolstoi, or to become real working Theosophists, may find something to think about in comparing his words with his actions. He endeavours to “go about doing good,” and to help his fellow men on the hard path of life. When it is followed it will be found that to run counter to the spirit of the age, and instead of the indolent laisser aller, to work not for self, but for humanity at large, is the hardest task ever set to men. Mankind as a rule does not want an example or to be worked for; both are rude awakenings from the lotus-eating state they desire to be left in. “Let us alone,” is their cry, and they resist with violence any attempt to rouse them.

But those who desire a greater unity than that which any race or nation can afford—the unity of the human race—the Universal Brotherhood—cannot leave them alone. There is a power which impels Count Tolstoi to protest against the reign of violence, and he truly replies, that the readiest means of continuing this reign is to meet violence by violence. Therefore he, by his writings, and his words and life, endeavours to place before men the noblest philosophy of life that he recognises, in answer to the appeal which is silently uttered from the hearts of many men and women in the world.

It is a cry of despair at the ignorance which surrounds them and to which the Theosophical Society, according to its avowed aims, is an answer. It is best described in the words of Tennyson—

An infant crying in the night,
And with no language but a cry.
A. I. R.
63

A GHOST’S REVENGE

Early in the year 187—, the singular and distressing attacks of mental depression from which Sir Selwyn Fox had long been a sufferer, increased in frequency.

His son Gaston (twenty-four years of age, of medicine by calling and letters by choice), whose devotion to his father was intense, urged him to go to London and procure that skilled medical advice which was not to be had in the neighbourhood of the baronet’s country seat, in Northumberland. But Sir Selwyn was inflexible in his determination to see no doctor. Affectionate as his manner always was with Gaston, he even showed impatience when pressed on this point; and Gaston, forced to abandon it, fell back on his own skill in an endeavour to assign some tangible cause for his father’s malady. But in this he was hopelessly baffled.

Nothing in Sir Selwyn’s present state, no circumstance of his past history which was known to Gaston (who had rarely been apart from him since boyhood), excused or explained in any degree the melancholy which clouded his existence. His great fortune placed him beyond suspicion or suggestion of pecuniary embarrassment. All the surroundings of his home were well calculated to administer to the refined pleasures of a man widely known as an amateur of books and art. No entanglement of the affections could be supposed seriously to trouble the peace of one who had passed his meridian, and who, moreover, cherished still the memory of the wife he had long lost. He had friendships which, while they attested his worth, would have been sufficient in themselves to endear most men to life. Yet for months he had worn the air of a man to whom life was fast becoming an unendurable burden.

His own skill and experience failing to open to Gaston any method of coping with a disease whose hidden source and origin he could not divine, he was on the point of writing to a leading London physician of his acquaintance, when a circumstance occurred which saved him from the necessity of this step.

Sir Selwyn was alone in his room one evening when Gaston, who was reading in a room immediately beneath, heard sounds overhead which at once sent him upstairs to learn the cause. He had fancied that his father was speaking in a tone of troubled remonstrance to some unwelcome visitor, though he felt persuaded that no one, unless a servant of the house, could be with him at that hour. Hastening to his father’s room, his footsteps were arrested on the threshold by the 64spectacle which the half-opened door revealed to him. Sir Selwyn sat motionless and rigid in his chair; his face was colourless, and all the features stiff, while the eyes, dilated and staring, seemed, though they were fixed on space, to hold within their vision some object not perceptible to Gaston. This was the more remarkable that Gaston stood directly in his father’s line of sight, though it was certain that Sir Selwyn neither looked at him nor saw him. In a word, it was the gaze of a man who sees, or believes that he sees, an apparition.

Gaston took a step forward; the sound fell on the baronet’s ear and broke the spell which held him.

His first look was one of inexpressible shame, succeeded immediately by one of indescribable relief. If detection were painful, as it clearly was, it appeared as though the pain were almost lost in the necessity now forced upon him of disclosing the secret of his misery. Gaston was at his father’s side in a moment.

“What is it, father?” he cried. “What is it? You have seen something. Tell me what it is.”

Sir Selwyn, in whose expression exhaustion and pain were mingled, fixed his eyes for a while on his son’s face before he replied:

“If I should tell you, Gaston, you would not believe it. I do not believe it myself. And yet I see it, and know that it is there.”

“I shall believe whatever you tell me, father,” answered Gaston.

“Gaston,” began the baronet, “you are a doctor, and have read, read widely in all branches of science. Tell me, do you believe that we who are in the body may see and know a spirit from the dead?”

“You believe, father, that you have seen such a spirit?”

“The whole force of my reason cannot persuade me otherwise,” answered his father. “All the powers of my mind compel me to deny it, and yet the thing is there before my eyes.”

The baronet had by this time regained his usual calm of manner, and his voice was resolute and quiet.

“Is it here now, father?” asked Gaston.

“Yes,” answered Sir Selwyn.

“Where, father? Point to me the place where it stands.”

“It stands now at my elbow, side by side with you.”

Gaston started involuntarily, the baronet’s tone bespoke such absolute conviction. He moved a step, and placed himself immediately at his father’s elbow.

“Do you see it now, father?” he asked.

“No, for you have taken its place. Yes! I see it again. It is on this side now, exactly opposite to you.”

There was in all this so little of the tone and manner of the mere spectre-ridden visionary, that Gaston could not but be impressed, and his alarm for his father’s state increased proportionately.

He began to question him in the direct matter-of-fact style of a doctor 65with his patient, inquiring into the particular nature of the vision, how often and in what circumstances it presented itself, whether his father were able to connect it with any event of his life, or whether it seemed to be causeless, a mere fabric of the imagination.

His object in this was to bring his father to exert his reason upon the matter, that so, if possible, he might end by convincing himself that he was haunted merely by some spectre of the brain. He was, however, only partially successful, and for this reason, that his father, while denying—and with perfect honesty of convincement—the reality of his vision, remained nevertheless persuaded that his bodily eye beheld it.

“I cannot well remember,” went on Sir Selwyn, “how many years it is since this spectre first began to haunt me. In the beginning I thought little of it; my health was more robust then than it has been in late years, and leading a more active life at that time than I am able to do at present, I had greater strength, both of mind and body, to assist me in banishing it from my thoughts and presence. Indeed, I could then at any time rid myself of the vision by a mere exertion of will; but I can do so no longer. It torments me now as it pleases. I am powerless against it.”

“Does the form resemble that of anyone whom you have ever known?” asked Gaston.

“Yes,” replied Sir Selwyn, after a moment’s pause.

“And the person whose spirit you believe this to be is now dead, father?”

“Dead many years,” answered Sir Selwyn.

“And what is there in the vision that troubles you so greatly, father?” asked his son.

“Its presence is tormenting,” replied Sir Selwyn, “because I feel that there is evil in it; it is malignant, and seems continually to threaten me.”

“Is it here still, father?”

“No, since we have been speaking it has vanished. I shall see it no more to-night; but it will return to-morrow, and in the end it will kill me.”

“No, father, no,” said Gaston affectionately, but gravely. “Let me entreat you not to give way. You see how this vision, whatever it may be, vanishes when you begin to reason upon it. The mere fact of our having discussed it together will enable you to combat it more resolutely. Do this, and the same power will revive by which you dispelled the vision when first it troubled you.”

Indeed, the closing words of Sir Selwyn’s confession, notwithstanding the quiet assurance with which they were spoken, had practically convinced his son that the case was one of hallucination. They continued talking on the subject until, at the baronet’s usual hour of retiring, they separated for the night, when Gaston was so far satisfied that his arguments appeared at last to have given his father a somewhat increased measure of self-confidence.

66At breakfast the next day, Sir Selwyn assured his son that he had slept well, and both in speech and look he was more cheerful than Gaston had seen him during a considerable period. It seemed, in short, as though the effect of their conversation the previous night had already begun to bear out the son’s prediction; nor, at the end of a week, did this good effect appear to have been in any degree dissipated. “I have not seen it once,” said Sir Selwyn, in answer to a question from Gaston. Another week passed, and a third, and the baronet declared that there had been no recurrence of the visions. He became very reticent upon the subject, and it was evident that he now shrank from any allusion to it. Gaston, on his side, was only too willing to avoid its mention.

It was at this time that Sir Selwyn received a letter from an old friend of his college days, now holding a high place in the Indian Government, reminding him of a long-promised visit, and begging him to fulfil his word without further delay.

A better invitation, thought Gaston, could not have arrived at a more opportune moment. Their pleasant English home had become charged for the baronet with associations which were wholly painful; a new scene and fresher interests would assist to push to completion the recovery which could not but be long delayed in his present situation. Sir Selwyn himself was of the same mind, and decided at once to accept his friend’s invitation.

Then arose in Gaston’s mind the question whether, in the circumstances, it were well or advisable that his father should make the journey alone. He thought it not advisable at all, and without plainly telling this to his father, begged that he might accompany him. But Sir Selwyn showed a strong reluctance to accede to this request, which was the more marked that father and son had never yet been separated on any tour of pleasure. Gaston continued to press his point, until he perceived, or thought that he perceived, what was his father’s reason for wishing to take this journey alone.

The thing which Sir Selwyn had striven for years to hide from his son he had just been forced to reveal to him. It was the sorrowful secret of his life, a secret which, to the baronet, had something of shame in it, and the revelation had been beyond measure painful to him. If, in one sense, the confession which had been wrung from him had brought father and son more closely together, it had, in another sense, placed a certain something between them of which the presence of Gaston was a constant reminder. With Gaston at his father’s side, the secret too was there. When Gaston’s delicate intuition had realised this for him, his entreaties to accompany his father were at an end. It was decided that Sir Selwyn should go to India alone, and in a fortnight from the receipt of his friend’s invitation he was on his way.

Gaston was desolate at home, and at the end of ten days or so he went to Paris, intending to stay a week there and return to England; 67but the weather was pleasant, and from Paris he began to wander, in leasurelyleasurely fashion, southwards; and before he had quite made up his mind as to where he wanted to go, he found himself in Rome. Rome was chilly, and he had lighted on a bad hotel, so he remained but a few days, and went on to Naples. He would wait to see Rome, he said, until his father was with him.

After a fortnight in Naples, he was on the point of returning home, when he received a cable message from his father, forwarded with letters from England. Sir Selwyn had reached India safely and in good health, and thought it probable that his stay would be of somewhat longer duration than his arrangements on leaving England had contemplated.

The prospect of five or six solitary months in the castle in Northumberland had no relish for Gaston, so he resolved to extend his tour by an excursion to Sicily. Accordingly, he took steamer one evening from Naples to Palermo: the beautiful old city where the traces yet linger of Saracen and Norman; with the tideless sea in front, and the purple hills behind, and between the hills and the sea the little lovely plain of the Shell of Gold. Naples is beautiful, but brutal; a paradise peopled by savages: an Oriental languor softens the life of Palermo, as it tinges with melancholy the national songs; and the rural element which enters so largely into the character of the whole Sicilian people makes them something of Arcadians in a modern Arcady.

Gaston felt the charm of the place in an hour; the sense of want of companionship which had gone with him in his listless wanderings in Italy, here deserted him; he plucked ripe oranges in the garden of the hotel, and they became his lotos fruit, for he resolved that his wanderings should end in Palermo. He would remain here until his father returned from India.

But it chanced that there were few foreign visitors in Palermo that season, and within a week of Gaston’s arrival the hotel at which he stayed was emptied of all its guests, except himself and an old German baron, and the baron waited only for a steamer to take him to Malta, on his way to Egypt. An empty hotel in a foreign land is as cheerful an abode as a catacomb, and Gaston cast about for a change of quarters.

Strolling one day in a slumbrous corner of the town, where cypress trees stood sentinels at rusty iron gates, and the air smelled of lemon groves and roses, he was struck by the aspect of a tenantless and apparently deserted villa, walled within a garden, which, untended as it was, retained a certain monastic trimness. A weather-stained board over the iron gate, which was of fine workmanship, announced that the villa was to let. Gaston tried the gate, but it was locked. A broad-hatted priest who was passing at the moment, observing Gaston’s interest in the villa, stopped, took a pinch of snuff, and said that if the signor desired to have particulars of the place, he might obtain them from such 68a person in a street close at hand, which he indicated. Gaston thanked the father for his courtesy, and went to inquire if he could see the villa, with a view to hiring it for a short time.

At dinner that evening, the baron said that he expected to sail for Malta on the following day, and expressed his regret at leaving Gaston alone in the hotel. Gaston replied that he should be sorry to lose the companionship of the baron, but that he also was about to leave the hotel, and had taken a villa for the remainder of his stay in Palermo. He described the villa, and the baron, who spoke English well, exclaimed with a laugh:

“So! Is that the place? The Villa Torcello then has found a tenant at last!”

“Has it been long without one?”

“Nearly thirty years.”

“And what is the reason?”

“How! Did they not tell you? The Villa Torcello is the famous haunted house. Yes, I assure you, a real ghost! Are you not delighted? You may be able to make a story about it, you know, you who write novels.”

“And whose is the ghost?” inquired Gaston, whose associations with this subject were by no means pleasant.

“They ought to have told you about it,” answered the baron. “Some people do not like ghosts. I do not like them myself, though to be sure I have never seen a ghost. The house, as you know, is called the Villa Torcello, but that was not its original name. Years ago it was called the Villa Verga, after its first owner, Signor Udalrico Verga, a young Sicilian of good family, who was well known and very popular in Palermo. He lived there all alone, and was much visited by a priest, a very handsome young man, a little older than himself, with whom he was on terms of great affection. One morning, thirty years ago—I believe it was in this very month—the gardener of the Signor Verga found his master lying dead in the garden, with a bullet-hole in the temple. There seemed no reason in the world why he should have killed himself, and as no weapon was found near the body, or in any part of the garden, it was concluded that he had been murdered. Suspicion fell on the priest, though for no cause except that he had been more intimate with the Signor Verga than anybody else. They were never known to have had a quarrel, and as for evidence, not a scrap could be produced against the priest, who, they say, showed the deepest grief for his friend. Indeed he died, in great distress of mind, six months afterwards. Some people, who would always regard him as the murderer, said that remorse for his crime killed him; but though I have heard this story many times since I first visited Palermo, I could never see that there was any reason whatever to suspect the priest.”

“And the murder was never brought home to anyone?”

69“It has remained a mystery from that day to this,” replied the baron. “A year or two after the death of Verga, his brother went to live in the Villa, changing its name to that of a property of his own in Calabria, the name which it still bears. But he could not stay in it, for he said that he saw the spirit of his brother walking in the garden in the evenings, on the path where the body was found. Since he left it, the house has never been occupied. As to the ghost, many stories are told, but the favourite one is that it haunts the place seeking someone to avenge the murder. That is a strange notion, don’t you think, Herr Fox?”

The baron added no more to the story, and as he was busy with his letters during the rest of the evening, Gaston only saw him again to bid him good-bye on the following morning.

A day or two afterwards, Gaston settled himself in the Villa Torcello.Torcello. His coming there created a momentary flutter of excitement in the quarter where the villa was situated; but this was not known to Gaston, who had neither friends nor acquaintances in the town.

He wrote to tell his father of his new residence, and to ask him whether he had visited Palermo in the tour he had made in Italy a few years before Gaston’s birth. One morning, the post from England brought him some flattering notices of a book he had published shortly before leaving, which made him think that it was time to set to work upon a new story. But the idea he was seeking did not come to him, and the indolent charm of his surroundings favoured no severe exertion of the intellect.

He walked in the town until it grew familiar to him; its avenues, and terraces by the sea, its deep shadowy gardens, its groves of orange trees and lemon; its narrow streets and the multiplied variety of the houses, with their odd and glaring contrasts of colour; its churches, where the religion of the west seems out of harmony with the architectural and decorative fashions of the east.

Sometimes he hired a carriage and drove out into the country, and these excursions were usually prolonged throughout the day. On one such occasion, he was returning late in the afternoon, and the vetturino was guiding his horses in lazy fashion in and out amongst a straggling file of mule-carts laden with wine, in a narrow lane on the outskirts of the town.

“What place is this?” called out Gaston presently, pointing to an old, discoloured building of considerable extent, which lay on the left of the road.

Il Convento de’ Cappuccini, signor,” replied the driver, and (never rejecting a chance to rest) pulled up his horses, adding: “The signor no see Il Convento? Ma, è molto curioso, signor (but it’s a queer place).”

Gaston got down from the carriage, and at that moment a sandalled and brown-robed monk appeared at the entrance to the monastery.

70Ecco il padre, signor!” (There’s the father), said the driver, pointing to the Capucin, who bowed to Gaston with a courteous indication of readiness to receive him.

Gaston went across, and was presently following the monk through an outer chamber of the monastery, empty and cold, with bare walls and a dark stone floor.

The monk stopped at a heavy wooden door, and taking a key from his girdle, turned to Gaston and said, in a mixture of Italian and broken English, which is here translated:

“The signor probably wishes to see our subterranean chambers. Many foreigners come here to see them. It is a very curious sight; we keep here the bodies of the wealthy Palermitans, whose relatives and friends assemble every year, on the Feast of All Souls, to visit them.”

While he was speaking he unlocked the door, which led into a vaulted passage with a flight of stairs beyond. A faint, sickly smell pervaded the corridor, which became stronger and more offensive as they began to descend the steps.

They went down to a dusky place, around which Gaston’s eyes wandered for a few moments with no certain gaze, until they grew accustomed to the dimness. The daylight, such feeble daylight as filtered into that dismal magazine of mummies, was fading fast.

The monk took a bit of candle from a ledge and lighted it; at once a strange and weird effect was produced.

Thousands of corpses, and skeletons, and horrible hooded figures which were of neither state, seemed in some manner to be awakened, seemed to rouse themselves, and take cognisance of Gaston and his guide.

Tighe Hopkins.
(To be concluded in our next.)

Note.—The Editors regret that they are unable to publish, as announced, the translation of the “Death of Ivan Ilyitch,” by Count Tolstoi, a complete translation having just been issued by Messrs. Vizetelly.

71

Literary Jottings

“BUDDHISM IN CHRISTENDOM, OR JESUS THE ESSENE,” by Arthur Lillie, etc.—A queer and rather thickish volume, of a presumably scientific character, by an amateur Orientalist. Contents:—Familiar theories, built on two sacred and time-honoured names, which the author enshrines between garlands of modern gossip and libels on his critics, past and present. A true literary sarcophagus inhuming the decayed bodies of very old, if occasionally correct, theories jumbled up together with exploded speculations.

The volume—title and symbology—is pregnant with the atmosphere of the sacred poetry attached to the names of Gautama the Buddha, and “Jesus the Essene.” To find it sprinkled with the heavy drops of personal spite, is like gazing at an unclean fly fallen into the communion-wine of a chalice. One can but wonder and ask oneself, what shall be the next move in literature? Is it a new “Sacred Book of the East,” in which one will find the evidence by Policeman Endacott against Miss Cass welcomed and accepted as an historical fact? Or shall it be the Pentecostal tongues of fire examined in the light of the latest improved kerosene lamp?

But a well-informed chronicler at our elbow reports that the author of Buddhism in Christendom, or Jesus the Essene, is a strong medium who sits daily for spiritual development? This would account for the wonderfully mixed character of the contents of the volume referred to. It must be so, since it reads just as such a joint production would. It is a curious mixture of “spirit” inspiration, passages bodily taken from the reports of the Society “for Spookical Research,” as that misguided body was dubbed—for once wittily—by the Saturday Review, and various other little defamatory trifles besides. The “spirit guides” are proverbially revengeful and not always wise in their generation. A former work by the same medium having been three or four years ago somewhat painfully mangled by a real Sanskrit and Buddhist scholar in India, the “Spirit Angel” falls foul now of his critics. The wandering Spook tries to run amuck among them, without even perceiving the poor, good soul, that he only blots and disfigures with the corrosive venom of his spite the two noble and sacred characters whom his medium-author undertakes to interpret before ever he has learned to understand them....

This places “Lucifer” under the disagreeable necessity of reviewing the pretentious work at length in one of its future numbers. As the same mistakes and blunders occur in “Buddhism in Christendom” as in “Buddha and Early Buddhism,” the magazine must make it its duty, if not altogether its pleasure, to check the volume of 1883 by that of 1887.


It is rumoured that “A CATECHISM ON EVERY-DAY LIFE,” by a Theosophical writer, is ready for press. Let us hope it will contain no special theology or dogmas, but only wise advice for practical life, in its application to the ordinary events in the existence of every theosophist. The time has come when the veil of illusion is to be pulled aside entirely, not merely playfully, as hitherto done. For if mere members of the theosophical body have nothing to risk, except, perhaps, an occasional friendly stare and laugh at those who, without any special necessity, as believed, pollute the immaculate whiteness of their respectable society skirts by joining an unpopular movement, real theosophists ought to look truth and fact right in the face. To become a true theosophist—i.e. one thoroughly imbued with altruistic feelings, with a willingness to forget self, and readiness to help his neighbour to carry the burden of life—is to become instantaneously transformed into a public target. It is to make oneself a ready thing for heavy “Mrs. Grundy” to sit upon: to become the object of ridicule, slander, and vilification, which will not stop even before an occasional criminal charge. For some theosophists, every move in the true theosophical direction, is a forlorn-hope enterprise. All this notwithstanding, the ranks of the “unpopular” 72society are steadily, if slowly increasing.

For what does slander and ridicule really matter? When have fools ever been slandered, or rich and influential men and women ostracised, however black and soiled in their hearts, or in their secret lives? Who ever heard of a Reformer’s or an orator’s course of life running smooth? Who of them escaped from being pelted with dirt by his enemies?

Gautama Buddha, the great Hindu Reformer, was charged by the Brahmins with being a demon, whose form was taken by Vishnu, to encourage men to despise the Vedas, deny the gods, and thus effect their own destruction.

“Say we not well thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” said the Pharisees to Jesus. “He deceiveth the people.... Stone him to death!”

“He who surpasses or subdues mankind,
Must look down on the hate of those below,”

says the great English poet. The latter is echoed in prose by the king of French poets. Writes Victor Hugo:

“You have your enemies; but who has not? Guizot has enemies, Thiers has enemies, Lamartine has enemies. Have I not been myself fighting for twenty years? Have I not been for twenty years past reviled, betrayed, sold, rended, hooted, taunted, insulted, calumniated? Have not my books been parodiedparodied, and my deeds travestied? I also am beset and spied upon, I also have traps laid for me, and I have even been made to fall into them. But what is all that to me? I disdain it. It is one of the most difficult yet necessary things in life to learn to disdain. Disdain protects and crushes. It is a breast plate and a club. You have enemies? Why, it is the story of every man who has done a great deed, created a new idea. It is the cloud which thunders around everything which shines. Do not trouble yourself about it. Do not give your enemies the satisfaction of thinking that they cause you any feeling, be disdainful.” (Choses Vues.)


“THE LATEST ROMANCE OF SCIENCE,” Summarized by a Frenchman.

If the Atomo-mechanical Theory of the Universe has caused considerable embarrassment to our materialists, and brought some of their much beloved scientific speculations to grief (see “Concepts of Modern Physics,” by Stallo), the layman must not be ungrateful to the great men for other boons received at their hands. Through the indefatigable labours of the most famous biologists and anthropologists of the day, the mystery which has hitherto enshrouded the origin of man is no more. It has vanished into thin air; thanks to the activity of the officina (workshop, in Queen’s English), in Haeckel’s brain, or, as a Hylo-Idealist would say, in the vesiculo neurine of his hemispherical ganglia[15]—the origin of mankind has to be sought in that scientific region, and nowhere else.

Religiously read by the “Animalists” in its English translation in Protestant and Monarchical England, the “Pedigree of Man” is now welcomed with shouts of joy in Roman Catholic Republican France. A summary has just been compiled of it by a French savant, who rejoices in the name of Topinard. The summary on that “question of questions” (as Mr. Huxley calls it), is more interesting in reality than the “Pedigree of Man” itself. It is so deliciously fantastic and original, that one comes almost to regret that our numerous and frolicsome ancestors in the Zoological Gardens of Europe and America seem to show no intention of getting up a subscription list among themselves, for the raising of a lasting monument to the great Haeckel. Thus, ingratitude in man must surely be a phenomenon of atavism; another suggestive point being thus gained toward further proof of man’s descent from the ingrate and heartless, as well as tailless, pithecoid baboon.

Saith the learned Topinard:—

“At the commencement of what geologists call the Laurentian period of the Earth, and the fortuitous union of certain elements of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen, under conditions which probably only took place at that epoch, the first albuminoid clots were formed. From them, and by spontaneous generation,[16] the first cellules or cleavage masses took their origin. These cellules were then sub-divided and multiplied, arranging themselves in the form of organs, and after a series of transformations, fixed by Mr. Haeckel at nine in number, originated certain vertebrata of the genus Amphioxus lanceolatus. The division into sexes was marked out, the spinal marrow and chorda dorsalis became visible. At the tenth stage the brain and skull made their appearance, as in the lamprey; at the eleventh, the limbs and jaws were developed ... the earth was then only in the Silurian period. At the sixteenth, the adaptation to terrestrial life ceased. At the seventeenth, which corresponds to the Jurassic phase of the history of the globe, the genealogy of man is raised to the kangaroo among the marsupials. At the eighteenth, he becomes a lemurian; the 73Tertiary period commences. At the nineteenth, he becomes Catarrhinian, that is to say, an ape with a tail, a Pithecian. At the twentieth he becomes an anthropoid, continuing so throughout the whole of the Miocene period. At the twenty-first he becomes a man-ape, he does not possess language, nor in consequence the corresponding brain. Lastly, at the twenty-second, man comes forth ... in his inferior types.”

Happy, privileged man! Hapless evolution-forsaken baboon! We are not told by science the secret why, while man has had plenty of time to become, say a Plato, a Newton, a Napoleon, or even a Haeckel, his poor ancestor should have been arrested in his growth and development. For, as far as is known, the rump of the cynocephalus seems as blue and as callous to-day, as it was during the reign of Psammetichus or Cheops; the macacus must have made as ugly faces at Pliny 18 centuries back, as he does now at a Darwinian. We may be told that in the enormous period of time that must have elapsed since the beginning of evolution, 2,000, or even 10,000, years mean very little. But then, one does not find even the Moneron any better off for the millions of years that have rolled away. Yet, between the gelatinous and thoughtful hermit of the briny deep and man, there must have elapsed quite sufficient time for some trifling transformation. That primordial protoplasmic creature, however, seems to fare no better at the hands of evolution, which has well-nigh forgotten it.

By this time, one would suppose that this ancestor of ours of stage one, ought to have reached, to say the least, a higher development: to have become, for instance, the amphibian “sozura” of the “fourteenth stage,” so minutely and scientifically described by Mr. Haeckel, and of which De Quatrefages so wickedly says in “The Human Species” (p. 108), that “it (the sozura) is equally unknown to science.” But we see quite the reverse. This tender-bodied little one, has remained but a moneron to this very hour: so much so, that Mr. Huxley, fishing him out from the abysmal ocean depths, took pity upon him, and gave him a father. He baptized our archaic ancestor, and named him Bathybius Haeckelii....

But all these are mysteries that will, no doubt, be easily explained to the full satisfaction—of science, by any biologist of Haeckel’s brain power. As all know, no acrobatic feats, from the top of one tree to another top, by the swiftest of chimpanzees, can ever approach, let alone equal, the rapid evolutions of fancy in his cerebral “officina,” whenever Haeckel is called upon to explain the inexplicable....

There is one trifle, however, which seems to have the best of even his capacity for getting out of a scientific dilemma, and this is the eighteenth stage of his genealogy, in the “Pedigree of Man.” Man’s evolution from the Monera, alias Bathybius Haeckelii, up to tailed and then tailless man, passes through the marsupials, the kangaroo, sarrigue, etc. Thus he writes:—

Eighteenth stage. Prosimiæ allied to the Loris (Stenops) and Makis (Lemur), without marsupial bones, but with placenta.” (“Pedig. of Man.” p. 77.)

Now it may be perhaps interesting to the profane and the innocent to learn that no such “prosimiæ,” with placenta, exists in nature. That it is, in short, another creation of the famous German Evolutionist, and a child of his own brain. For De Quatrefages has pointed out several years ago, that:

“The anatomical investigations of MM. Alphonse Milne, Edwards and Grandidier ... place it beyond all doubt that the prosimiæ of Haeckel have no decidua and a diffuse placenta. They are indeciduata. Far from any possibility of their being the ancestors of the apes, according to the principles laid down by Haeckel himself, they cannot even be regarded as the ancestors of the zonoplacential mammals ... and ought to be connected with the pachydermata, the edentata and the cetacea.” (p. 110.)

But, as that great French savant shows, “Haeckel, without the least hesitation, adds his prosimiæ,” to the other groups in the “Pedigree of Man,” and “attributes to them ... a discoidal placenta.” Must the world of the too credulous innocents again accept on faith these two creatures unknown to Science or man, only because “the proof of their existence arises from the necessity of an intermediate type?” This necessity, however being one only for the greater success of their inventor, Haeckel, that Simian Homer must not bear us ill will, if we do not hesitate to call his “genealogy” of man a romance of Science of the wildest type.

One thing is very suggestive in this speculation. The discovery of the absence of the needed placenta in the so-called prosimiæ now dates several years back. Haeckel knows of it, of course. So does Mr. Ed. B. Aveling, D.Sc., his translator. Why is the error allowed to remain uncorrected, and even unnoticed, in the English translation of the “Pedigree of Man,” of 1887? Do the “members of the International Library of Science and Free-thought,” fear to lose some of Haeckel’s admirers were these to learn the truth?

Nevertheless Haeckel’s scientific “Pedigree of Man,” ought to awake and stir up to action the spirit of private enterprise. What a charming Féerie could be made of it on the stage of a theatre! A corps 74de ballet, composed of antediluvian reptiles and giant lizards, gradually, and stage by stage, metamorphosing themselves into kangaroos, lemurs, tailless apes and anthropoid baboons, and finally into a chorus of German biologists!

Such a Féerie would leave “Black Crook,” and “Alice in Wonder-Land,” nowhere. An intelligent manager, alive to his interests, would make his fortune were he but to follow the happy thought.

Nota bene:—The suggestion is copyright.


THE BOOK OF LIFE, by Sidhartha (also) Vonisa; his discoveries from “6215 to 6240, Anno Mundi.”

A cross between an octavo and duodecimo.

This volume, we see, is highly appreciated by the clergy, by whom, at this gloomy day of infidelity, even small favours seem to be thankfully received. The author (profane name unknown) hints, when he does not state plainly, that he is a reincarnation of Gautama Buddha, or Siddartha, as also of a few other no meaner historical personages. The work is a clever steering between the sandbanks of science and theology. Enough is given in careful agreement with the former to make it ignore the more abundant concessions to the gods of the latter—e.g., Biblical chronology. The age of the world is allowed 6240 years from Adam, “seven hundred years after the brown and black races had been created” (p. 53 “Chronology”); the date of the earth’s incrustation and globe being left to the imagination of the reader. A chronological table of the principal historical events of the world is published on pages 53-56. Among them the birth of Moses is placed 1572 B.C. The Vedas are shown compiled in India, and the poems of Homer in Greece, “about 1200 B.C.” Siddartha or Gautama established Buddhism in India “from 808 to 726,” B.C. we are told. Last, but not least, of the world epochs and divine signs of the time, comes the for ever memorable event of March 31st, 1885—namely, the “Book of Life, Vonisa, was completely written,” and it closes the list. The reader is notified, moreover, at the line beginning with A.D. 6240, that the year 1884 C.E. (Christian Era) is the “beginning of Messianic age and close of Christian age,” which might account for the appearance and publication in the year following of the original volume now under review.

The new Messiah declares that “although much of the work consists of discoveries which are original with the author, yet the reader will find in the Analytic Index a few hundred out of the many references which might be given to eminent authorities which were consulted in its preparation.” Among these, it seems, one has to include some theosophic writings, as it is stated in the “Book of Life” that—

(a.) “Seven great forces were concerned in these vast movements of early creation.”

(b.) “Seven Ages of the Earth.”

(c.) “Vayomer Elohim” translated “according to the laws of the Hebrew language,” means that “seven forces were used as three-fold factors,” and

(d.) “That“That the first human beings were incarnated spirits” (pp. 26-27).

The above four declarations have the approval of theosophy. Whether the sentence that follows, namely, that “the work of incarnation (of the spirits) took place according to law,” and is “the clearest hypothesis which science has to offer concerning the origin of man,” will meet with the same approval from Messrs. Huxley, Haeckel, and Fiske, of the “Atomo-mechanical Theory,” is very doubtful.

Nor is it so sure that the Ethnological department in the Anglo-Indian Bureau of Statistics is quite prepared to alter its census returns in accordance with Siddartha’s declaration, on page 29,that—

“One branch of the brown race was the Dravidian, which still holds its place in Northern India.” (?!)


A new book, bearing the title of SPIRIT REVEALED, is nearly ready for press. It is described as an extraordinary work. Its author is Wm. C. Eldon Serjeant, F.T.S., a writer of articles on the “Coming Reformation,” “Sparks from the World of Fire,” &c., &c. The work claims to “explain the Nature of the Deity, and to discuss His manifestations on every plane of existence, and to show forth the form of Christ, whose second coming is expected by Christians, and to proclaim the advent of the Messiah according to the belief of the Jews.” “Many subjects, involving questions of considerable obscurity in reference to the Deity, to the Scriptures, to men, to animals, and to things generally, are comprehensively treated and explained in accordance with the Word of the Spirit declared at various times through the sons of men.”


PROCEEDINGS OF THE SOCIETY FOR PSYCHICAL RESEARCH:

These reports coming out ad libitum, without any definite date, cannot be regarded as 75periodical. Depending for their circulation chiefly on the consummation of what the learned editors offer as bonâ fide psychic and spiritualistic exposés—which the public accepts as most kind advertisements of the people so attacked—this publication occupies a position entirely sui generis. The “Proceedings” offer to the public a very useful manual, something between a text and a guidebook, with practical instructions in diplomatic policy in the domain of the Psychic, in the form of scientific letters and private detective information. Sensitives discern in the “Proceedings” (by telepathic impact) the Machiavelian spirit of aristocratic Bismarck, seasoned with an aura strongly impregnated with the plebeian perfumes of honest mouchards on duty, but then they are, perhaps, prejudiced. On the other hand, some Russian spiritualistically inclined members of the S.P.R. have been heard to say, that the “Proceedings” reminded them of those of the happily defunct Third Section of the St. Petersburg Police. Thus, the tutelary “guides” of the learned association of the British Psychists, may one day turn out to be the departed spirits of Russian gendarmes after all?

Occasionally when the hunting grounds of this erudite body have afforded a specially successful chase—after mares’ nests—a Supplement is added to the “Proceedings,” the magnitude of the added volume being in inverse ratio to the illumination of its contents, which are generally offered as a premium to materialism.

Hence, the “Proceedings” may be better described as the fluctuating and occasional records of a society bent upon giving the lie to its own name. For “Psychical” research is surely a misnomer, besides being a delusion and a snare for the unwary. Lucifer would suggest as a truer title, “Society for Hylo-Pseumatical Research.” This would give the S.P.R. the benefit of an open connection with Dr. Lewins’ unparalleled “Hylo-Idealism”[17]—while it would enable it to sail under its true colours.

Whether Lucifer’s advice be accepted or not, the profound philosophy of the phenomenon baptized “telepathy” and telepathic impact can only be studied scientifically, in our spasmodic contemporary. This new Greek stranger is the crowning work of the Psychic Fathers of our century. It is their “first” and “only” offspring, and is a genuine discovery as far as its Hellenic name goes. For, bereft of its Greek appellation, it becomes like America. The genius who discovered the phenomenon, is like Columbus on whom the Northmen, and even the Chinamen, had stolen a march centuries before. This phenomenon can only seem new when thus disguised under a name solemn and scientific—because incomprehensible to the average profane. Its plain description in English—as transference of thought or sensation from a distance—could never hope to have the same ring of classical learning in it.

Nevertheless, the “Proceedings” with the two additional gigantic volumes of the psychic “Leviathan,” called “Phantasms of the Living,” are strongly recommended to invalids. They are priceless in cases of obstinate insomnia, as the best soporific known. Directions: The reader must be careful not to light a match in too close proximity to the said works.

“THE ADVERSARY.”

The following books have been received and will be noticed in early numbers of Lucifer:—

THE HISTORY OF THE ROSICRUCIANS, by Arthur E. Waite, and THE QUABALAH UNVEILED, by S.L. Mac-Gregor Mathers, from Mr. Redway; EARTH’S EARLIEST AGES, by G. H.G. H. Pember, from Messrs. Hodder and Stoughton: THE MYSTERY OF THE AGES, by the Countess of Caithness, from Mr. C. L. H. Wallace; AN ADVENTURE AMONG THE ROSICRUCIANS, by Dr. F. Hartmann, from the Occult Publishing Company, Boston; and NINETEENTH CENTURY COMMON SENSE, from the T. B. Lippincott Company, Boston, U.S.A.

76

Correspondence

INTERESTING TO ASTROLOGERS.
ASTROLOGICAL NOTES—No. 1.
To the Editor of Lucifer.

We are told that, before judging a horary figure, we must ascertain if it is radical, and to decide this point several rules have been given. The first is with regard to the number of degrees on the cusp of the ascendant. Lilly says a figure is rarely radical if the first two or last three degrees of a sign ascend. Morrison fixes the limit at the first or second and last two degrees. Pearse gives the limit as the first and last five degrees, and Raphael as the first and last three.

All the laws of nature are harmonious and rational; but in the rule of the first two authorities, this harmony seems absent. Why should the limit be 1 or 2 degrees at the beginning of the sign and 2 or 3 at the end?

Again, as an exception to the above rule, Lilly says that a figure may be radical even when 27° or more ascend, if the number corresponds to his age; and when 1° or 2° ascend, if the querent be very young, and his appearance agrees with the quality of the signs ascending. And here again there is the same want of harmony. Why should the age of the querent have to correspond accurately in one case and only approximately in the other? Furthermore, no astrologers seem to have given a logical explanation of these rules.

On reflecting on this problem I reasoned thus. In ♍ 29° 59´ 59´´ ♃ is absolutely without dignity; in ♐ 0° 0´ 1´´ he is in his house triplicity, and terms, a threefold dignity. Is it conceivable that this great change of power should be so sudden, as to be accomplished in less than 2 seconds of space? Analogy shows that it is probably otherwise, and that as the planets and cusps of houses have orbs of influence, so also have the signs.

If this be true, it supplies the key to the above problem. If only the first or last few degrees of a sign ascend, then the cusp of the ascendant is within the orbs of the adjacent signs, and the house is not ruled solely by the planet which is its proper lord, but also partly by the planet ruling the adjacent sign; and this must hold good under all circumstances, even when the number of the degrees ascending agree with the age of the querent, or the ascending sign and planets therein describe him.

Furthermore, if this be admitted, it also follows, as a logical conclusion, that if the first and last few degrees of a sign are on the cusp of any house, no conclusion can be drawn with certainty from the aspects of the lord of that house.

The exact limits of the orbs of the signs must be decided by experience; I am induced to fix the limits at 2° 30´ and 27° 30´.

NEMO.

To the Editor of Lucifer.

The belief in the power and efficacy of talismans and amulets was, at one period of the world’s history, universal. Even during the XVth century, the latest among the innumerable revivals of civilisation, the majority of learned and cultured men had a profound conviction of their reality. But such ideas are now scouted by popular opinion, because the philosophy underlying them is not understood. Lucifer, therefore, would certainly confer a boon on many by throwing light on the following points:—

(1). Wherein does the power of a talisman lie? (2). How far does its efficacy depend on the signs traced upon it, and how far on the power and knowledge of the maker? (3). Granting that will-power and knowledge are the main factors in imparting to the talisman its power, how does that power remain attached to it after the death of the man who made it.

β
77

Theosophical
and Mystic Publications

The Theosophist, a magazine of Oriental Philosophy, Art, Literature, and Occultism. Conducted by H. P. Blavatsky, and H. S. Olcott, Permanent President of the T. S. Vol. VIII., Nos. 94 and 95, July and August, 1887. Madras, India. In London, George Redway, 15, York Street, Covent Garden.

This journal is the oldest of the periodicals of the Theosophical Society, and has a distinct feature of its own: a number of Hindoo, Buddhist, and Parsi contributors among the most learned of British India. No journal is thus more reliable in the occasional information given in it upon the sacred tenets and scriptures of the East, since it is derived first hand, and comes from native scholars, well versed in their respective cults. From time to time The Theosophist has respectfully corrected mistakes—sins of omission and commission—by Western Orientalists, and will continue to perform its proposed task by issuing admirable articles.

As a marked instance of this, the four “Lectures on the Bhagavid Gita,” by a native scholar, Mr. T. Subba Rao, may be cited. Begun in the February number, they are now concluded in the July issue. No better, abler, or more complete exposition on that most philosophical, as the least understood, of the sacred books of the East, has ever been given in any work, past or present. In the June and July numbers, the “Ha-Khoshe-Cah, a Vision of the Infinite,” by Dr. Henry Pratt, a erudite Kabalist in England, is published.

Some very interesting articles on the “Norse Mythology,” by the learned Swedish scholar, Mr. C. H. A. Bjerregard (the Astor Library, New York), may also be found in the last numbers.

The Theosophist is the journal of the Theosophical Society par excellence; the Minutes and records of the Society’s work, being given monthly in its “Supplements.”

No evil wisher of the said Society, rushing into publicity with denunciations, and occasionally libellous attacks upon that body, ought—if he is a fair-minded and honest opponent, of course—to publish anything without first making himself well acquainted with the contents of The Theosophist, and especially with the Supplements attached to that journal.

This advice is given in all kindness to our traducers—the learned as the ignorant—for their direct benefit, though at an evident disadvantage to theosophy. For, as so many of our critics have been lately making fools of themselves, in their alleged exposés of our doctrines, it is to the advantage of our Society to let them go on undisturbed, and thus turn the laugh on the enemy. Two graphic instances may be cited. In “Buddhism in Christendom; or, Jesus the Essene,” by an impolite dabbler in Orientalism, the septenary doctrine of the Occultists is disfigured out of recognition, and is met by the unanimous hearty laugh of those who know something of the subject. Its unlucky author has evidently never opened a serious theosophical work, unless, indeed, the doctrine is too much above his head. As a refreshing contrast one finds, in “Earth and Its Earliest Ages,” by G. H. Pember, an author, who has most conscientiously studied and understood the fundamental doctrines of Theosophy.

Thus, notwithstanding his attempt to connect it with the coming Antichrist, and show its numerous writers pledged to the work of Satan, “the Prince of the Powers of the Air,”[18] the volume published by that learned and fair-minded gentleman is a true pearl in the anti-Theosophical literature. The correct enunciation 78of knowledge of the tenets he disapproves, as a sincere orthodox Christian, is remarkable; and his language, dignified, polite, and entirely free from any personality can but call forth as courteous a reply from those he arraigns. He has evidently read, and, what is more, understood, what he found in the Theosophist, and other mystic volumes. It shall, therefore, be the pleasure and duty of Lucifer, who bears no malice for the personal attack, to review this interesting volume in its October issue, hoping to see as kind a notice of “Earth and Its Earliest Ages” in the Theosophist of Madras.


The Path; “a magazine devoted to the Brotherhood of Humanity, Theosophy in America, and the study of Occult Science, Philosophy, and Aryan Literature.” Edited by William Q. Judge. Price ten shillings per annum. New York, U. S. A. P. O. Box, 2659, etc. George Redway, 15 York Street, Covent Garden, London.

A most excellent and theosophical monthly, full of philosophical literature by several well-known mystics and writers. The best publication of its kind in the United States, and one that ever fulfils what it promises, giving more food for thought than many of the larger periodicals. Its August number is very interesting and fully up to its usual mark.

Jasper Niemann continues his excellent reflections in “Letters on the True.” Mr. E. D. Walker, in an article upon “The Poetry of Reincarnation in Western Literature,” cites the verses of Wordsworth, Tennyson, Dean Alford, Addison, H. Vaughan, Browning, etc., in proof of the fact that these poets were tinctured, if not imbued, with the philosophy of reincarnation. B. N. Acle continues Notes on the Astral Light, from Eliphas Levi. He cites the startling and lurid enunciation of that epigrammatical occultist, who says that “He who dies without forgiving his enemy, hurls himself into Eternity armed with a dagger, and devotes himself to the horror of eternal murder.” “The Symbolism of the Equilateral Triangle,” by Miss Lydia Bell, shows how much wisdom can be extracted from a little symbol when you know how to look for it there.

S. B. makes some very pertinent remarks upon Theosophical Fiction, the growth of which is one sign of the times. “A true picture of life, either real or potential, which is found in a work of fiction, makes such reading one of the best sources of learning.” Thanks to the education which it is receiving from the more solid literature of theosophy, the public is becoming more critical, and has already formed a “standard of probability” for marvellous phenomena, which acts as a healthy check upon outside writers of fiction, who are therefore no longer able to trust entirely “to their imagination for their acts, and to their memory for their fancies.” Novel readers now like their supernatural not to be unnaturally supernatural, even if they do have to take it in minute doses, disguised in their favourite draught of love, murder and small talk. The Higher Carelessness (No. 7 of Thoughts in Solitude), by “Pilgrim,” is full of deep and beautiful reflections. This writer, like “American Mystic” whose article on the puzzling question, “Am I my Brothers Keeper,” comes next, has advanced some way upon the path of knowledge, and the thoughts of both of them have a special interest for contemplative and self-examining readers. “American Mystic,” by-the-bye, gives a new and striking turn to a phrase too often misunderstood. “Resist not evil” he quotes and explains that resistance, fierce and personal, to evil befalling oneself, is what is meant. Christianity—Theosophy, by Mr. Wm. H. Kembal, seeks to show that the fundamental aim of both, namely the Brotherhood of Humanity, is the same, and that they can and ought to unite their forces.

Julius, in Tea Table Talk, is as crisp, weird, and slyly-sentimental as ever.


Le Lotus: “Revue des Hautes Etudes Théosophiques. Tendant à favorises le rapprochement entre l’Orient et l’Occident.” Sous l’inspiration de H. P. Blavatsky (nominally; but edited, in reality, by our able brother, F. K. Gaboriau, F.T.S.). Georges Carré, 112 Boulevard St. Germain, Paris. Subscription 15 fr. per annum.

An excellent monthly, presenting yet another aspect of theosophy; inspired by the desire to benefit the struggling masses of humanity, and to diffuse the true spirit of solidarity among men. The August number, besides translations of selected articles from the Theosophist, of special interest to its French readers, contains a capital article on “Freemasons and Theosophists,” the continuation of a series of studies on “Initiation,” and a discussion of the much-vexed question whether the “Will to Live” spoken of in the “Elixir of Life” is selfish or not. In 79the last few pages, the serious character of the journal is relieved by those brilliant sparkles of French wit to which that language lends itself so admirably.

Brief notes on books, articles in the press, pamphlets, &c., give ample scope for caustic raillery, as well as appreciative comment, and the editor ought to be specially congratulated on this department of his review.


L’Aurore: Revue mensuelle sous la direction de Lady Caithness, Duchesse de Pomar. George Carré, 112 Boulevard St. Germain, Paris. Subscription, 15fr. per annum.

The Mystic and Catholic Journal of Aristocratic France, somewhat tinged with humanitarianism, and showing the influence of the higher phases of modern spiritualism. The subject of reincarnation is its principal feature, and a mystical romance, Amour Immortel, gives its various phases. L’Aurore is admirably conducted. Its articles are always in good taste, and perfectly adapted to the special public it appeals to.


The Occult Word: A monthly journal in the interest of Theosophy. Mrs. J. W. Cables, 40, Ambrose Street, Rochester, N. Y., U.S.A. Subscription, 1 dollar per annum.

Brought out more in the style of a newspaper, this journal is another proof of the vitality of the Theosophic movement. It is more Christian in its tone and phraseology, and shows less traces of the influence of Eastern thought, than the publications already mentioned. Some thoughts in it are remarkably good, and its tendency most excellent. A most worthy little periodical.


The Occultist: A monthly journal of Psychological and Mystical Research. Edited by Mr. J. Thomas, F.T.S. London agent, E. W. Allen, 4 Ave Maria Lane, E.C. Subscription, 1 shilling per annum.

As its price indicates, a tiny and unambitious publication of four pages, but one that contains, from time to time, thoughtful and suggestive articles. Its existence testifies to the devotion of its proprietor and editor to the cause of truth.


The Sphinx: “A monthly journal, devoted to the historical and experimental proof of the supersensuous conception of the world on a monistic basis.” Edited by Hübbe Schleiden, Dr. J. U. Th. Griebens Verlag, Leipzig; and George Redway, London. Subscription, 12s. 6d. per annum.

As its title page implies, a learned and philosophical journal, doing its work with true German thoroughness and permeated with a real spirit of earnest investigation. It appeals, mainly, to thinkers and students—a numerous class in Germany, but somewhat sparsely represented in England. Dr. Carl Du Prel, the leader of the new school of transcendental philosophy in that country, is its leading contributor. But it contains from time to time articles of great interest to students of occultism.


TRANSACTIONS OF THE “LONDON LODGE” OF THE T. S., NOS. 12 AND 13.—Two able and interesting papers by Mr. A. P. Sinnett; the first on “Buddha’s Teaching,” the second on “The Relations of the Lower and Higher Self.” Dealing with Buddhism, Mr. Sinnett exposes several of the current misconceptions regarding Buddhist doctrines. Notably among these stand the utterly false ideas, current in the West, that Buddha recognised no conscious existence for the individual after death, and that Nervana is synonymous with annihilation. Mr. Sinnett draws a happy comparison between these misconceptions and the strange blindness shown by European scholars in accepting the allegorical legend that Buddha’s death was occasioned by eating roast boar, as a literal fact.

In his second paper, Mr. Sinnett follows up a line of thought originated by him in an earlier number of the “Transactions.” He explains his views with clearness, and adds considerably to the details of the outline sketched in his previous paper. But, as LuciferLucifer hopes shortly to deal with this subject at length, it is unnecessary to enter into a detailed examination of Mr. Sinnett’s views at present.


The Esoteric: “A Magazine of Advance and Practical Esoteric Thought.” Boston, U.S.A. Subscription 6s. per annum.

Principal feature—the identification of each issue with one of the signs of the Zodiac, which are held to be “important and real divisions of time or states of man’s life.” Contents—eighteen short articles, occupying 62 pages, the substance of which has been mainly gleaned from various mystic authors, and harmonizes well with some Theosophical teachings.

80

From the Note Book of an Unpopular Philosopher

THE ESOTERIC VALUE OF CERTAIN WORDS AND DEEDS IN SOCIAL LIFE.

A definition of Public Opinion. The gathering of a few fogies positively electrified by fanaticism and force of habit, who act on the many noodles negatively electrified by indifference. The acceptation of uncharitable views on “suggestion” by “telepathic impact” (what ever that may mean). The work of unconscious psychology.

Sympathetic grief.—The expression thereof in Society, for one’s sorrow, is like a solemn funeral procession, in which the row of mourning coaches is long, indeed, but the carriages of which are all empty.

Mutual exchange of compliments.—Expressions of delight and other acting in cultured society are the fig-leaves of the civilised Adams and Eves. These “aprons” to conceal truth are fabricated incessantly in social Edens, and their name is—politeness.

Keeping the Sabbath.—Throwing public contumely on, and parading one’s superiority over Christ, “one greater than the temple” and Sabbath, who stood for his disciples’ rights to “break” the Sabbath, for the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for Sabbath (Matt. xii. and Mark ii., etc.).

Attending Divine Service.—Breaking the express commandment of Jesus. Becoming “as the hypocrites are,” who love to pray in Synagogue and Temples, “that they may be seen of men.” (Matt.vi.)

Taking the Oath, on the Bible.—A Christian law, devised and adopted to perpetuate and carry out the unequivocal commandment of the Founder of Christianity, “Swear not at all, neither by heaven nor by the earth” (Matt. v.). As the heaven and the earth are supposed to have been created only by God, a book written by men thus received the prerogative over the former.

Unpopularity.—We hate but those whom we envy or fear. Hatred is a concealed and forced homage rendered to the person hated; a tacit admission of the superiority of the unpopular character.

The true value of back-biting and slander. A proof of the fast coming triumph of the victim chosen. The bite of the fly when the creature feels its end approaching.

A Few Illustrations to the Point from Schopenhauer.

Socrates was repeatedly vilified and thrashed by the opponents of his philosophy, and was as repeatedly urged by his friends to have his honour avenged in the tribunals of Athens. Kicked by a rude citizen, in the presence of his followers, one of these expressed surprise for his not resenting the insult, to which the Sage replied:

“Shall I then feel offended, and ask the magistrate to avenge me, if I also happen to be kicked by an ass?”

To another remark whether a certain man had abused and called him names, he quietly answered:

“No; for none of the epithets he used can possibly apply to me.” (From Plato’s “Georgics”)

TheThe famous cynic, Cratus, having received from the musician Nicodromus a blow which caused his face to swell, coolly fixed a tablet upon his brow, inscribed with the two words, “Nicodromus facit.” The flute player hardly escaped with his life from the hands of the populace, which viewed Cratus as a household god.

Seneca, in his work “De Constanta Sapientis,” treats most elaborately of insults in words and deeds, or contumelia, and then declares that no Sage ever pays the smallest attention to such things.—“Well, yes!” the reader will exclaim, “but these men were all of them Sages!”—“And you, are you then only fools? Agreed!”


1. “It was Gregory the Great who was the first to apply this passage of Isaiah, “How art thou fallenfallen from Heaven, Lucifer, son of the morning,” etc., to Satan, and ever since the bold metaphor of the prophet, which referred, after all, but to an Assyrian king inimical to the Israelites, has been applied to the Devil.”

2. Mirville’s Memoirs to the Academy of France, Vol. IV., quoting Cardinal Ventura.

3. Which paganism has passed long milleniums, it would seem, in copying beforehand Christian dogmas to come.

4. “Venus is a second Earth,” says Reynaud, in Terre et Ciel (p. 74), “so much so that were there any communication possible between the two planets, their inhabitants might take their respective earths for the two hemispheres of the same world.... They seem on the sky, like two sisters. Similar in conformation, these two worlds are also similar in the character assigned to them in the Universe.”

5. Thus saith Des Mousseaux. “Mœurs et Pratiques des Demons.” p. X.—and he is corroborated in this by Cardinal de Ventura. The Devil, he says, “is one of the great personages whose life is closely allied to that of the Church; and without him ... the fall of man could not have taken place. If it were not for him (the Devil), the Saviour, the Redeemer, the Crucified would be but the most ridiculous of supernumeraries and the Cross an insult to good sense.” And if so, then we should feel thankful to the poor Devil.

6. De Mirville. “No Devil, no Christ,” he exclaims.

7. This is only another version of Narcissus, the Greek victim of his own fair looks.

8. The famous temple dedicated to the Seven Angels at Rome, and built by Michael-Angelo in 1561, is still there, now called the “Church of St Mary of the Angels.” In the old Roman Missals printed in 1563—one or two of which may still be seen in Palazzo Barberini—one may find the religious service (officio) of the seven angels, and their old and occult names. That the “angels” are the pagan Rectors, under different names—the Jewish having replaced the Greek and Latin names—of the seven planets is proven by what Pope Pius V. said in his Bull to the Spanish Clergy, permitting and encouraging the worship of the said seven spirits of the stars. “One cannot exalt too much these seven rectors of the world, figured by the seven planets, as it is consoling to our century to witness by the grace of God the cult of these seven ardent lights, and of these seven stars reassuming all its lustre in the Christian republic.” (Les Sept Esprits et l’Histoire de leur Culte; De Mirville’s 2nd memoir addressed to the Academy. Vol. II. p. 358.)

9. Herodotus showing the identity of Mitra and Venus, the sentence in the Nabathean Agriculture is evidently misunderstood.

10. “Both in Biblical and pagan theologies,” says de Mirville, “the Sun has its god, its defender, and its sacrilegious usurper, in other words, its Ormuzd, its planet Mercury (Mitra), and its Lucifer, Venus (or Ahriman), taken away from its ancient master, and now given to its conqueror.” (p. 164.) Therefore, Lucifer-Venus is quite holy now.

11. In Revelation there is no “horn broken,” but it is simply said in Chapter XIII., 3. thatthat John saw “one of his heads, as it were, wounded to death.” John knew naught in his generation of “a horned” devil.

12. The literal words used, and their translation, are: “Aïk Naphelta Mi-Shamayim Hillel Ben-Shachar Negdangta La-Aretz Cholesch El-Goüm,” or, “How art thou fallen from the heavens, Hillel, Son of the Morning, how art thou cast down unto the earth, thou who didst cast down the nations.” Here the word, translated “Lucifer,” is הילל, Hillel, and its meaning is “shining brightly or gloriously.” It is very true also, that by a pun to which Hebrew words lend themselves so easily, the verb hillel may be made to mean “to howl,” hence, by an easy derivation, hillel may be constructed into “howler,” or a devil, a creature, however, one hears rarely, if ever, “howling.” In his Lexicon, Art. הל, Parkhurst says: “The Syriac translation of this passage renders it אילל ‘howl’; and even Jerome observes that it literally means ‘to howl.’”‘to howl.’” Michaelis translates it, ‘Howl, Son of the Morning.’ But at this rate, Hillel, the great Jewish sage and reformer, might also be called a “howler,” and connected with the devil!

13. Sanskrit Upadhi.

14. Liberation or Nirvana.

15. Dr. Lewins, the Hylo-Idealist, in his appendices to “What is Religion?” by C. N.—“On the Brain Theory of Mind and Matter, the Creed of Physics, Physic and Philosophy.” W. Stewart & Co.

16. Mark well: when a theosophist or an occultist speaks of “spontaneous generation,” because for him there exists no inorganic matter in Kosmos—he is forthwith set down as an ignoramus. To prove the descent of man from the animal, however, even spontaneous generation from dead or inorganic matter, becomes an axiomatic and scientific fact.

17. ύλη “matter as opposed to mind”; therefore Material-Idealism—a contradiction in terms exactly parallel to the name “Psychic” and the very “anti-psychic” work of the Society referred to. Pseuma should replace Psyche, as it seeks for frauds and not soul-action.

18. Spiritualists, mystics, and metaphysical Orientalists need not feel jealous, as they are made to share the same fate, and are raised to the same dignity with the Theosophists. The writers of “The Perfect Way,” Mrs. Dr. Kingsford and Mr. E. Maitland, stand arm-in-arm with the humble writer of “Isis Unveiled” before the throne of Satan. Mr. Ed. Arnold, of “The Light of Asia,” and the late Mr. Kenealy, of the “Book of God.” are seen radiating in the same lethal light of brimstone and sulphur. Mr. C. C. Massey is shown stuck deep in Antichristian Metaphysics; our kind Lady Caithness is pointed out in the coils of the “Great Beast” of Romanism, and charged with “Goddess worship:” and even—ye Powers of mystical Perception!—Mr. Arthur Lillie’s Buddhist Monotheism is taken au grand serieux!

81

LUCIFER

Vol. I.     LONDON, OCTOBER 15TH, 1887.     No. 2.

THE LADY OF LIGHT.

(Written for Lucifer.)
Star of the Day and the Night!
Star of the Dark that is dying;
Star of the Dawn that is nighing,
Lucifer, Lady of Light![19]
*        *
Still with the purest in white,
Still art thou Queen of the Seven;
Thou hast not fallen from Heaven
Lucifer, Lady of Light!
*        *
How large in thy lustre, how bright
The beauty of promise thou wearest!
The message of Morning thou bearest,
Lucifer, Lady of Light!
*        *
Aid us in putting to flight
The Shadows that darken about us,
Illumine within, as without, us,
Lucifer, Lady of Light!
82*        *
Shine through the thick of our fight;
Open the eyes of the sleeping;
Dry up the tears of the weeping,
Lucifer, Lady of Light!
*        *
Purge with thy pureness our sight,
Thou light of the lost ones who love us,
Thou lamp of the Leader above us,
Lucifer, Lady of Light!
*        *
Shine with transfiguring might,
Till earth shall reflect back as human
Thy Likeness, Celestial Woman,
Lucifer, Lady of Light!
*        *
With the flame of thy radiance smite
The clouds that are veiling the vision
Of Woman’s millennial mission,
Lucifer, Lady of Light!
*        *
Shine in the Depth and the Height,
And show us the treasuries olden
Of wisdom, the hidden, the golden,
Lucifer, Lady of Light!
Gerald Massey.
83

THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES.

It is intensely interesting to follow season after season the rapid evolution and change of public thought in the direction of the mystical. The educated mind is most undeniably attempting to free itself from the heavy fetters of materialism. The ugly caterpillar is writhing in the agonies of death, under the powerful efforts of the psychic butterfly to escape from its science-built prison, and every day brings some new glad tidings of one or more such mental births to light.

As the New York “Path” truly remarks in its September issue, when “Theosophical and kindred topics ... are made the texts for novels,” and, we may add, scientific essays and brochures, “the implication is that interest in them has become diffused through all social ranks.” That kind of literature is “paradoxically proof that Occultism has passed beyond the region of careless amusement and entered that of serious enquiry.” The reader has but to throw a retrospective glance at the publications of the last few years to find that such topics as Mysticism, Magic, Sorcery, Spiritualism, Theosophy, Mesmerism, or, as it is now called, Hypnotism, all the various branches in short of the Occult side of nature, are becoming predominant in every kind of literature. They visibly increase in proportion to the efforts made to discredit the movements in the cause of truth, and strangle enquiry—whether on the field of theosophy or spiritualism—by trying to besmear their most prominent heralds, pioneers and defenders, with tar and feathers.

The key-note for mystic and theosophic literature was Marion Crawford’s “Mr. Isaacs.” It was followed by his “Zoroaster.” Then followed “The Romance of Two Worlds,” by Marie Corelli; R. Louis Stephenson’s “Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll;” “The Fallen Idol,” by Anstey; “King Solomon’s Mines” and the thrice famous “She,” by Rider Haggard; “Affinities” and “The Brother of the Shadow,” by Mrs. Campbell Praed; Edmund Downey’s “House of Tears,” and many others less noticeable. And now there comes a fresh outburst in Florence Marryat’s “Daughter of the Tropics,” and F. C. Philips’ “Strange Adventures of Lucy Smith.” It is unnecessary to mention in detail the literature produced by avowed theosophists and occultists, some of whose works are very remarkable, while others are positively scientific, such as S. L. Macgregor Mathers’ “Kabbalah Unveiled,” and Dr. F. Hartmann’s “Paracelsus,” “Magic, White and Black,” &c. We have also to note the fact that theosophy has now crossed the Channel, and is making its way into French literature. “La France” publishes a strange 84romance by Ch. Chincholle, pregnant with theosophy, occultism and mesmerism, and called “La Grande Pretresse,” while La Revue politique et litteraire (19 Feb. 1887, et seq.) contained over the signature of Th. Bentzon, a novel called Emancipée, wherein esoteric doctrines and adepts are mentioned in conjunction with the names of well-known theosophists. A sign of the times!

Literature—especially in countries free from government censorship—is the public heart and pulse. Besides the glaring fact that were there no demand there would be no supply, current literature is produced only to please, and is therefore evidently the mirror which faithfully reflects the state of the public mind. True, Conservative editors, and their submissive correspondents and reporters, still go on slashing occasionally in print the fair faces of mystic spiritualism and theosophy, and some of them are still found, from time to time, indulging in a brutal personal attack. But they do no harm on the whole, except perhaps to their own editorial reputations, as such editors can never be suspected of an exuberance of culture and good taste after certain ungentlemanly personal attacks. They do good on the contrary. For, while the theosophists and spiritualists so attacked, may view the Billingsgate poured upon them in a true Socratean spirit, and console themselves with the knowledge that none of the epithets used can possibly apply to them, on the other hand, too much abuse and vilification generally ends by awakening the public sympathy for the victim, in the right-minded and the impartial, at any rate.

In England people seem to like fair play on the whole. It is not bashi-boozook-like actions, the doughty deeds of those who delight in mutilating the slain and the wounded, that can find sympathy for any great length of time with the public. If—as maintained by our lay enemies and repeated by some naïf and too sanguine missionary organs—Spiritualism and Theosophy are “dead as a door-nail” (sic, vide American Christian periodicals),—aye, “dead and buried,” why, in such case, good Christian fathers, not leave the dead at rest till “Judgment Day”? And if they are not, then editors—the profane as well as the clerical—why should you still fear? Do not show yourselves such cowards if you have the truth on your side. Magna est veritas et prevalebit, and “murder will out,” as it always has, sooner or later. Open your columns to free and fearless discussion, and do as the theosophical periodicals have ever done, and as Lucifer is now preparing to do. The “bright Son of the morning” fears no light. He courts it, and is prepared to publish any inimical contributions (couched, of course, in decent language), however much at variance with his theosophicaltheosophical views. He is determined to give a fair hearing in any and every case, to both contending parties and allow things and thoughts to be judged on their respective merits. For why, or what should one dread when fact and truth are one’s only aim? Du choc des opinions jaillit la verité was said by a French philosopher. If Theosophy and 85Spiritualism are no better than “gigantic frauds and will-o’-the-wisps of the age” why such expensive crusades against both? And if they are not, why should Agnostics and searchers after truth in general, help bigoted and narrow-minded materialists, sectarians and dogmatists to hide our light under a bushel by mere brutal force and usurped authority? It is easy to surprise the good faith of the fair-minded. Still easier to discredit that, which by its intrinsic strangeness, is already unpopular and could hardly be credited in its palmiest days. “We welcome no supposition so eagerly as one which accords with and intensifies our own prejudices” says, in “Don Jesualdo,” a popular author. Therefore, facts become often cunningly concocted “frauds;” and self-evident, glaring lies are accepted as gospel truths at the first breeze of Don Basilio’s Calumnia, by those to whose hard-crusted pre-conceptions such slander is like heavenly dew.

But, beloved enemies, “the light of Lucifer” may, after all, dispel some of the surrounding darkness. The mighty roaring voice of denunciation, so welcome to those whose little spites and hates and mental stagnation in the grasp of the social respectabilityrespectability it panders to, may yet be silenced by the voice of truth—“the still small voice”—whose destiny it ever was to first preach in the desert. That cold and artificial light which still seems to shine so dazzlingly over the alleged iniquities of professional mediums and the supposed sins of commission and omission of non-professional experimentalists, of free and independent theosophists, may yet be extinguished at the height of all its glory. For it is not quite the perpetual lamp of the alchemist philosopher. Still less is it that “light which never shone on sea or land,” that ray of divine intuition, the spark which glimmers latent in the spiritual, never-erring perceptions of man and woman, and which is now awakening—for its time is at hand. A few years more, and the Aladdin’s lamp, which called forth the ministering genius thereof, who, making three salutes to the public, proceeded forthwith to devour mediums and theosophists, like a juggler who swallows swords at a village fair, will get out of order. Its light, over which the anti-theosophists are crowing victory to this day, shall get dim. And then, perhaps, it will be discovered that what was claimed as a direct ray from the source of eternal truth was no better than a penny rush-light, in whose deceitful smoke and soot people got hypnotized, and saw everything upside down. It will be found that the hideous monsters of fraud and imposture had no existence outside the murky and dizzied brains of the Aladdins on their journey of discovery. And that, finally, the good people who listened to them, had been all the time seeing sights and hearing things under unconscious and mutual suggestion.

This is a scientific explanation, and requires no black magicians or dugpas at work; for “suggestion” as now practised by the sorcerers of science is—dugpaship itself, pur sang. No Eastern “adept of the left hand” can do more mischief by his infernal art than a grave hypnotiser 86of the Faculty of Medicine, a disciple of Charcot, or of any other scientific light of the first magnitude. In Paris, as in St. Petersburg, crimes have been committed under “suggestion.” Divorces have occurred, and husbands have nearly killed their wives and their supposed co-respondents, owing to tricks played on innocent and respectable women, who have thus had their fair name and all their future life blasted for ever. A son, under such influence, broke open the desk of an avaricious father, who caught him in the act, and nearly shot him in a fit of rage. One of the keys of Occultism is in the hands of science—cold, heartless, materialistic, and crassly ignorant of the other truly psychic side of the phenomenon: hence, powerless to draw a line of demarcation between the physiological and the purely spiritual effects of the disease inoculated, and unable to prevent future results and consequences of which it has no knowledge, and over which it has, therefore, no control.

We find in the “Lotus” of September, 1887, the following:—

A French paper, the Paris, for August 12th, contains a long and excellent article by G. Montorgueil, entitled, The Accursed Sciences, from which we extract the following passage, since we are, unfortunately, unable to quote the whole:—

“Some months ago, already, in I forget what case, the question of ‘suggestion’ was raised and taken account of by the judges. We shall certainly see people in the dock accused of occult malpractices. But how will the prosecution go to work? What arguments will it bring to bear? The crime by ‘suggestion’ is the ideal of a crime without proof. In such a case the gravest charges will never be more than presumptions, and fugitive presumptions. On what fragile scaffolding of suspicions will the charge rest? No examination, but a moral one, will be possible. We shall have to resign ourselves to hearing the Solicitor-general say to the accused: ‘Accused, it appears from a perquisition made into your brain, etc.’

Ah, the poor jurymen! it is they who are to be pitied. Taking their task to heart, they already have the greatest difficulty in separating the true from the false, even in rough and ready cases, the facts of which are obvious, all the details of which are tangible and the responsibilities clear. And we are going to ask them on their soul and conscience to decide questions of black magic! Verily their reason will not hold out through the fortnight; it will give way before that and sink into thaumaturgy.

We move fast. The strange trials for sorcery will blossom anew; somnabules who were merely grotesque will appear in a tragic light; the coffee grounds, which so far only risked the police court, will hear their sentence at the assizes. The evil eye will figure among criminal offences. These last years of the XIXth century will have seen us step from progress to progress, till we reach at last this judicial enormity: a second Laubardemont prosecuting another Urbain Grandier.”

Serious, scientific, and political papers are full of earnest discussions on the subject. A St. Petersburg “Daily” has a long feuilleton on the “Bearing of Hypnotic Suggestions upon Criminal Law.” “Cases of Hypnotism with criminal motives have of late begun to increase in an ever progressing ratio,” it tells its readers. And it is not the only newspaper, nor is Russia the only country where the same tale is told. Careful investigations and researches have been made by distinguished lawyers and medical authorities. Data have been assiduously collected 87and have revealed that the curious phenomenon,—which sceptics have hitherto derided, and young people have included among their evening petits jeux innocents,—is a new and terrible danger to state and society.

Two facts have now become patent to law and science:—

(I.) That, in the perceptions of the hypnotised subject, the visionary representations called forth by “suggestion,” become real existing actualities, the subject being, for the moment, the automatic executor of the will of the hypnotiser; and

(II.) That the great majority of persons experimented upon, is subject to hypnotic suggestion.

Thus Liébeault found only sixty subjects intractable out of the seven hundred he experimented upon; and Bernheim, out of 1,014 subjects, failed with only twenty-six. The field for the natural-born jadoo-wala (sorcery-mongers), is vast indeed! Evil has acquired a play-ground on which it may now exercise its sway upon many a generation of unconscious victims. For crimes undreamt of in the waking state, and felonies of the blackest dye, are now invited and encouraged by the new “accursed science.” The real perpetrators of these deeds of darkness may now remain for ever hidden from the vengeance of human justice. The hand which executes the criminal suggestion is only that of an irresponsible automaton, whose memory preserves no trace of it, and who, moreover, is a witness who can easily be disposed of by compulsory suicide—again under “suggestion.” What better means than these could be offered to the fiends of lust and revenge, to those dark Powers—called human passions—ever on the look out to break the universal commandment: “Thou shalt not steal, nor murder, nor lust after thy neighbour’s wife?” Liébeault suggested to a young girl that she should poison herself with prussic acid, and she swallowed the supposed drug without one moment’s hesitation; Dr. Liégois suggested to a young woman that she owed him 5,000 francs, and the subject forthwith signed a cheque for the amount Bernheim suggested to another hysterical girl a long and complicated vision with regard to a criminal case. Two days after, although the hypnotiser had not exercised any new pressure upon her in the interim, she repeated distinctly the whole suggested story to a lawyer sent to her for the purpose. Had her evidence been seriously accepted, it would have brought the accused to the guillotine.

These cases present two dark and terrible aspects. From the moral stand point, such processes and suggestions leave an indelible stain upon the purity of the subject’s nature. Even the innocent mind of a ten year old child can thus be innoculatedinnoculated with vice, the poison-germ of which will develop in his subsequent life.life.

On the judicial aspect it is needless to enter in great detail. Suffice to say that it is this characteristic feature of the hypnotic state—the absolute surrender of will and self-consciousness to the hypnotiser—which 88possesses such importance, from its bearing upon crime, in the eyes of legal authorities. For if the hypnotiser has the subject entirely at his beck and call, so that he can cause him to commit any crime, acting, so to say, invisibly within him, then what are not the terrible “judicial mistakes” to be expected? What wonder then, that the jurisprudence of one country after the other has taken alarm, and is devising, one after the other, measures for repressing the exercise of hypnotism! In Denmark it has just been forbidden. Scientists have experimented upon sensitives with so much success that a hypnotised victim has been jeered and hooted through the streets on his way to commit a crime, which he would have completed unconsciously, had not the victim been warned beforehand by the hypnotiser.

In Brussels a recent and sad case is well-known to all. A young girl of good family was seduced while in a hypnotised state by a man who had first subjected her to his influence at a social gathering. She only realised her condition a few months later, when her relatives, who divined the criminal, forced her seducer to make the only possible reparation—that of marrying his victim.

The French Academy has just been debating the question:—how far a hypnotised subject, from a mere victim, can become a regular tool of crime. Of course, no jurist or legislator can remain indifferent to this question; and it was averred that the crimes committed under suggestion are so unprecedented that some of them can hardly be brought within the scope of the law. Hence the prudent legal prohibition, just adopted in France, which enacts that no person, save those legally qualified to exercise the medical profession, shall hypnotise any other person. Even the physician who enjoys such legal right is permitted to hypnotise a person only in the presence of another qualified medical man, and with the written permission of the subject. Public séances of hypnotism are forbidden, and they are strictly confined to medical cliniques and laboratories. Those who break this law are liable to a heavy fine and imprisonment.

But the keynote has been struck, and many are the ways in which this black art may be used—laws notwithstanding. That it will be so used, the vile passions inherent in human nature are sufficient guarantee.

Many and strange will be the romances yet enacted; for truth is often stranger than fiction, and what is thought fiction is still more often truth.

No wonder then that occult literature is growing with every day. Occultism and sorcery are in the air, with no true philosophical knowledge to guide the experimenters and thus check evil results. “Works of fiction,” the various novels and romances are called. “Fiction” in the arrangement of their characters and the adventures of their heroes and heroines—admitted. Not so, as to the facts presented. These are no fictions, but true presentiments of what lies in the bosom of the future, and much of which is already born—nay corroborated by scientific 89experiments. Sign of the times! Close of a psychic cycle! The time for phenomena with, or through mediums, whether professional or otherwise, is gone by. It was the early season of the blossoming, of the era mentioned even in the Bible;[20] the tree of Occultism is now preparing for “fruiting,” and the Spirit of the Occult is awakening in the blood of the new generations. If the old men only “dream dreams,” the young ones see already visions,[21] and—record them in novels and works of fiction. Woe to the ignorant and the unprepared, and those who listen to the syrens of materialistic science! For indeed, indeed, many will be the unconscious crimes committed, and many will be the victims who will innocently suffer death by hanging and decapitation at the hands of the righteous judges and the too innocent jurymen, both alike ignorant of the fiendish power of “Suggestion.”

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SELF-KNOWLEDGE.

The first necessity for obtaining self-knowledge is to become profoundly conscious of ignorance; to feel with every fibre of the heart that one is ceaselessly self-deceived.

The second requisite is the still deeper conviction that such knowledge—such intuitive and certain knowledge—can be obtained by effort.

The third and most important is an indomitable determination to obtain and face that knowledge.

Self-knowledge of this kind is unattainable by what men usually call “self-analysis.” It is not reached by reasoning or any brain process; for it is the awakening to consciousness of the Divine nature of man.

To obtain this knowledge is a greater achievement than to command the elements or to know the future.

90

COMMENTS ON “LIGHT ON THE PATH.”

BY THE AUTHOR; (continued).
“Before the ear can hear, it must have lost its sensitiveness.”

The first four rules of Light on the Path are, undoubtedly, curious though the statement may seem, the most important in the whole book, save one only. Why they are so important is that they contain the vital law, the very creative essence of the astral man. And it is only in the astral (or self-illuminated) consciousness that the rules which follow them have any living meaning. Once attain to the use of the astral senses and it becomes a matter of course that one commences to use them; and the later rules are but guidance in their use. When I speak like this I mean, naturally, that the first four rules are the ones which are of importance and interest to those who read them in print upon a page. When they are engraved on the man’s heart and on his life, unmistakably then the other rules become not merely interesting, or extraordinary, metaphysical statements, but actual facts in life which have to be grasped and experienced.

The four rules stand written in the great chamber of every actual lodge of a living Brotherhood. Whether the man is about to sell his soul to the devil, like Faust; whether he is to be worsted in the battle, like Hamlet; or whether he is to pass on within the precincts; in any case these words are for him. The man can choose between virtue and vice, but not until he is a man; a babe or a wild animal cannot so choose. Thus with the disciple, he must first become a disciple before he can even see the paths to choose between. This effort of creating himself as a disciple, the re-birth, he must do for himself without any teacher. Until the four rules are learned no teacher can be of any use to him; and that is why “the Masters” are referred to in the way they are. No real masters, whether adepts in power, in love, or in blackness, can affect a man till these four rules are passed.

Tears, as I have said, may be called the moisture of life. The soul must have laid aside the emotions of humanity, must have secured a balance which cannot be shaken by misfortune, before its eyes can open upon the super-human world.

The voice of the Masters is always in the world; but only those hear it whose ears are no longer receptive of the sounds which affect the personal life. Laughter no longer lightens the heart, anger may no longer enrage it, tender words bring it no balm. For that within, to which the ears are as an outer gateway, is an unshaken place of peace in itself which no person can disturb.

91As the eyes are the windows of the soul, so are the ears its gateways or doors. Through them comes knowledge of the confusion of the world. The great ones who have conquered life, who have become more than disciples, stand at peace and undisturbed amid the vibration and kaleidoscopic movement of humanity. They hold within themselves a certain knowledge, as well as a perfect peace; and thus they are not roused or excited by the partial and erroneous fragments of information which are brought to their ears by the changing voices of those around them. When I speak of knowledge, I mean intuitive knowledge. This certain information can never be obtained by hard work, or by experiment; for these methods are only applicable to matter, and matter is in itself a perfectly uncertain substance, continually affected by change. The most absolute and universal laws of natural and physical life, as understood by the scientist, will pass away when the life of this universe has passed away, and only its soul is left in the silence. What then will be the value of the knowledge of its laws acquired by industry and observation? I pray that no reader or critic will imagine that by what I have said I intend to depreciate or disparage acquired knowledge, or the work of scientists. On the contrary, I hold that scientific men are the pioneers of modern thought. The days of literature and of art, when poets and sculptors saw the divine light, and put it into their own great language—these days lie buried in the long past with the ante-Phidian sculptors and the pre-Homeric poets. The mysteries no longer rule the world of thought and beauty; human life is the governing power, not that which lies beyond it. But the scientific workers are progressing, not so much by their own will as by sheer force of circumstances, towards the far line which divides things interpretable from things uninterpretable. Every fresh discovery drives them a step onward. Therefore do I very highly esteem the knowledge obtained by work and experiment.

But intuitive knowledge is an entirely different thing. It is not acquired in any way, but is, so to speak, a faculty of the soul; not the animal soul, that which becomes a ghost after death, when lust or liking or the memory of ill-deeds holds it to the neighbourhood of human beings, but the divine soul which animates all the external forms of the individualised being.

This is, of course, a faculty which indwells in that soul, which is inherent. The would-be disciple has to arouse himself to the consciousness of it by a fierce and resolute and indomitable effort of will. I use the word indomitable for a special reason. Only he who is untameable, who cannot be dominated, who knows he has to play the lord over men, over facts, over all things save his own divinity, can arouse this faculty. “With faith all things are possible.” The sceptical laugh at faith and pride themselves on its absence from their own minds. The truth is that faith is a great engine, an enormous power, which in fact can accomplish all 92things. For it is the covenant or engagement between man’s divine part and his lesser self.

The use of this engine is quite necessary in order to obtain intuitive knowledge; for unless a man believes such knowledge exists within himself how can he claim and use it?

Without it he is more helpless than any drift-wood or wreckage on the great tides of the ocean. They are cast hither and thither indeed; so may a man be by the chances of fortune. But such adventures are purely external and of very small account. A slave may be dragged through the streets in chains, and yet retain the quiet soul of a philosopher, as was well seen in the person of Epictetus. A man may have every worldly prize in his possession, and stand absolute master of his personal fate, to all appearance, and yet he knows no peace, no certainty, because he is shaken within himself by every tide of thought that he touches on. And these changing tides do not merely sweep the man bodily hither and thither like driftwood on the water; that would be nothing. They enter into the gateways of his soul, and wash over that soul and make it blind and blank and void of all permanent intelligence, so that passing impressions affect it.

To make my meaning plainer I will use an illustration. Take an author at his writing, a painter at his canvas, a composer listening to the melodies that dawn upon his glad imagination; let any one of these workers pass his daily hours by a wide window looking on a busy street. The power of the animating life blinds sight and hearing alike, and the great traffic of the city goes by like nothing but a passing pageant. But a man whose mind is empty, whose day is objectless, sitting at that same window, notes the passers-by and remembers the faces that chance to please or interest him. So it is with the mind in its relation to eternal truth. If it no longer transmits its fluctuations, its partial knowledge, its unreliable information to the soul, then in the inner place of peace already found when the first rule has been learned—in that inner place there leaps into flame the light of actual knowledge. Then the ears begin to hear. Very dimly, very faintly at first. And, indeed, so faint and tender are these first indications of the commencement of true actual life, that they are sometimes pushed aside as mere fancies, mere imaginings.

But before these are capable of becoming more than mere imaginings, the abyss of nothingness has to be faced in another form. The utter silence which can only come by closing the ears to all transitory sounds comes as a more appalling horror than even the formless emptiness of space. Our only mental conception of blank space is, I think, when reduced to its barest element of thought, that of black darkness. This is a great physical terror to most persons, and when regarded as an eternal and unchangeable fact, must mean to the mind the idea of annihilation rather than anything else. But it is the obliteration of one sense only; 93and the sound of a voice may come and bring comfort even in the profoundest darkness. The disciple, having found his way into this blackness, which is the fearful abyss, must then so shut the gates of his soul that no comforter can enter there nor any enemy. And it is in making this second effort that the fact of pain and pleasure being but one sensation becomes recognisable by those who have before been unable to perceive it. For when the solitude of silence is reached the soul hungers so fiercely and passionately for some sensation on which to rest, that a painful one would be as keenly welcomed as a pleasant one. When this consciousness is reached the courageous man by seizing and retaining it, may destroy the “sensitiveness” at once. When the ear no longer discriminates between that which is pleasant or that which is painful, it will no longer be affected by the voices of others. And then it is safe and possible to open the doors of the soul.

“Sight” is the first effort, and the easiest, because it is accomplished partly by an intellectual effort. The intellect can conquer the heart, as is well known in ordinary life. Therefore, this preliminary step still lies within the dominion of matter. But the second step allows of no such assistance, nor of any material aid whatever. Of course, I mean by material aid the action of the brain, or emotions, or human soul. In compelling the ears to listen only to the eternal silence, the being we call man becomes something which is no longer man. A very superficial survey of the thousand and one influences which are brought to bear on us by others will show that this must be so. A disciple will fulfil all the duties of his manhood; but he will fulfil them according to his own sense of right, and not according to that of any person or body of persons. This is a very evident result of following the creed of knowledge instead of any of the blind creeds.

To obtain the pure silence necessary for the disciple, the heart and emotions, the brain and its intellectualisms, have to be put aside. Both are but mechanisms, which will perish with the span of man’s life. It is the essence beyond, that which is the motive power, and makes man live, that is now compelled to rouse itself and act. Now is the greatest hour of danger. In the first trial men go mad with fear; of this first trial Bulwer Lytton wrote. No novelist has followed to the second trial, though some of the poets have. Its subtlety and great danger lies in the fact that in the measure of a man’s strength is the measure of his chance of passing beyond it or coping with it at all. If he has power enough to awaken that unaccustomed part of himself, the supreme essence, then has he power to lift the gates of gold, then is he the true alchemist, in possession of the elixir of life.

It is at this point of experience that the occultist becomes separated from all other men and enters on to a life which is his own; on to the path of individual accomplishment instead of mere obedience to the genii which rule our earth. This raising of himself into an individual 94power does in reality identify him with the nobler forces of life and make him one with them. For they stand beyond the powers of this earth and the laws of this universe. Here lies man’s only hope of success in the great effort; to leap right away from his present standpoint to his next and at once become an intrinsic part of the divine power as he has been an intrinsic part of the intellectual power, of the great nature to which he belongs. He stands always in advance of himself, if such a contradiction can be understood. It is the men who adhere to this position, who believe in their innate power of progress, and that of the whole race, who are the elders brothers, the pioneers. Each man has to accomplish the great leap for himself and without aid; yet it is something of a staff to lean on to know that others have gone on that road. It is possible that they have been lost in the abyss; no matter, they have had the courage to enter it. Why I say that it is possible they have been lost in the abyss is because of this fact, that one who has passed through is unrecognizable until the other and altogether new condition is attained by both. It is unnecessary to enter upon the subject of what that condition is at present. I only say this, that in the early state in which man is entering upon the silence he loses knowledge of his friends, of his lovers, of all who have been near and dear to him; and also loses sight of his teachers and of those who have preceded him on his way. I explain this because scarce one passes through without bitter complaint. Could but the mind grasp beforehand that the silence must be complete, surely this complaint need not arise as a hindrance on the path. Your teacher, or your predecessor may hold your hand in his, and give you the utmost sympathy the human heart is capable of. But when the silence and the darkness comes, you lose all knowledge of him; you are alone and he cannot help you, not because his power is gone, but because you have invoked your great enemy.

By your great enemy, I mean yourself. If you have the power to face your own soul in the darkness and silence, you will have conquered the physical or animal self which dwells in sensation only.

This statement, I feel, will appear involved; but in reality it is quite simple. Man, when he has reached his fruition, and civilization is at its height, stands between two fires. Could he but claim his great inheritance, the encumbrance of the mere animal life would fall away from him without difficulty. But he does not do this, and so the races of men flower and then droop and die and decay off the face of the earth, however splendid the bloom may have been. And it is left to the individual to make this great effort; to refuse to be terrified by his greater nature, to refuse to be drawn back by his lesser or more material self. Every individual who accomplishes this is a redeemer of the race. He may not blazon forth his deeds, he may dwell in secret and silence; but it is a fact that he forms a link between man and his divine part; between the known and the unknown; between the stir of the market-place 95and the stillness of the snow-capped Himalayas. He has not to go about among men in order to form this link; in the astral he is that link, and this fact makes him a being of another order from the rest of mankind. Even so early on the road towards knowledge, when he has but taken the second step, he finds his footing more certain, and becomes conscious that he is a recognised part of a whole.

This is one of the contradictions in life which occur so constantly that they afford fuel to the fiction writer. The occultist finds them become much more marked as he endeavours to live the life he has chosen. As he retreats within himself and becomes self-dependent, he finds himself more definitely becoming part of a great tide of definite thought and feeling. When he has learned the first lesson, conquered the hunger of the heart, and refused to live on the love of others, he finds himself more capable of inspiring love. As he flings life away it comes to him in a new form and with a new meaning. The world has always been a place with many contradictions in it, to the man; when he becomes a disciple he finds life is describable as a series of paradoxes. This is a fact in nature, and the reason for it is intelligible enough. Man’s soul “dwells like a star apart,” even that of the vilest among us; while his consciousness is under the law of vibratory and sensuous life. This alone is enough to cause those complications of character which are the material for the novelist; every man is a mystery, to friend and enemy alike, and to himself. His motives are often undiscoverable, and he cannot probe to them or know why he does this or that. The disciple’s effort is that of awaking consciousness in this starry part of himself, where his power and divinity lie sleeping. As this consciousness becomes awakened, the contradictions in the man himself become more marked than ever; and so do the paradoxes which he lives through. For, of course man creates his own life; and “adventures are to the adventurous” is one of those wise proverbs which are drawn from actual fact, and cover the whole area of human experience.

Pressure on the divine part of man re-acts upon the animal part. As the silent soul awakes it makes the ordinary life of the man more purposeful, more vital, more real, and responsible. To keep to the two instances already mentioned, the occultist who has withdrawn into his own citadel has found his strength; immediately he becomes aware of the demands of duty upon him. He does not obtain his strength by his own right, but because he is a part of the whole; and as soon as he is safe from the vibration of life and can stand unshaken, the outer world cries out to him to come and labour in it. So with the heart. When it no longer wishes to take, it is called upon to give abundantly.

“Light on the Path” has been called a book of paradoxes, and very justly; what else could it be, when it deals with the actual personal experience of the disciple?

To have acquired the astral senses of sight and hearing; or in other 96words to have attained perception and opened the doors of the soul, are gigantic tasks and may take the sacrifice of many successive incarnations. And yet, when the will has reached its strength, the whole miracle may be worked in a second of time. Then is the disciple the servant of Time no longer.

These two first steps are negative; that is to say they imply retreat from a present condition of things rather than advance towards another. The two next are active, implying the advance into another state of being.[22]

Δ
(To be continued.)
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WILL AND DESIRE.

Will is the exclusive possession of man on this our plane of consciousness. It divides him from the brute in whom instinctive desire only is active.

Desire, in its widest application, is the one creative force in the Universe. In this sense it is indistinguishable from Will; but we men never know desire under this form while we remain only men. Therefore Will and Desire are here considered as opposed.

Thus Will is the offspring of the Divine, the God in man; Desire the motive power of the animal life.

Most men live in and by desire, mistaking it for will. But he who would achieve must separate will from desire, and make his will the ruler; for desire is unstable and ever changing, while will is steady and constant.

Both will and desire are absolute creators, forming the man himself and his surroundings. But will creates intelligently—desire blindly and unconsciously. The man, therefore, makes himself in the image of his desires, unless he creates himself in the likeness of the Divine, through his will, the child of the light.

His task is twofold: to awaken the will, to strengthen it by use and conquest, to make it absolute ruler within his body; and, parallel with this, to purify desire.

Knowledge and will are the tools for the accomplishment of this purification.

97

A LAW OF LIFE: KARMA.

(Continued.)

In illustration of the Mahatmic condition, it may be well to quote some extracts from “Five Years of Theosophy,” on pp. 215, et seq.

“The principal object of the Yogi is to realise the oneness of existence, and the practice of morality is the most powerful means to that end. The principal obstacle to this realization is the inborn habit of man of always placing himself at the centre of the Universe. Whatever a man might act, think, or feel, the irrepressible personality is sure to be the central figure. This, as will appear on reflection, is that which prevents every individual from filling his proper sphere in existence, where he only is in place, and no other individual is. The realization of this harmony is the practical objective aspect of the ‘Grand Problem.’.... It availeth nothing to intellectually grasp the notion of your being everything ... if it is not realized in daily life. To confuse ‘meum and tuum’ in the vulgar sense is but to destroy the harmony of existence by a false assertion of ‘I,’ and is as foolish as the attempt to nourish the legs at the expense of the arms. You cannot be one with Nature, unless all your acts, thoughts, and feelings, synchronize with the onward march of Nature. What is meant by a Brahmajnani being beyond the reach of Karma, can be realised only by a man who has found out his exact position in harmony with the one Life in Nature; that man can see how a Brahmajnani can act only in unison with Nature, and never in discord with it.”

“To use the phraseology of old occult writers, the Brahmajnani is a real co-worker with Nature.... Many have fallen into the error of supposing that a human being can escape the operation of the law of Karma by adopting a condition of masterly inactivity, entirely losing sight of the fact that even a rigid abstinence from physical acts does not produce inactivity on the higher astral and spiritual planes.... Such a supposition is nothing short of a delusion.... There is a tendency in every department of Nature for an act to repeat itself. The Karma acquired in the last preceding birth is always trying to forge fresh links in the chain, and thereby lead to continued material existence. This tendency can only be counteracted by unselfishly performing all the duties pertaining to the sphere in which a person is born. Such a course can alone produce purification of the mind, without which the capacity of perceiving spiritual truths can never be acquired.”

Such a moral standard as this may be considered as the main working factor in the existence of a Mahatma. He exists by, through, and in harmony, and, as Mahatma, is harmony itself. It is impossible to carry these speculations further, for beyond the fact that these considerations 98are in analogy with the great law of nature, ordinary human intelligence can gain nothing from them. The Mahatma is a Mahatma, and only those who have reached that supreme condition can describe it, and even then it is doubtful whether words would express it. The word Mahatma has been used with some hesitation, as it might possibly require an article of great length to give the least idea of what it means. But some idea of the true position of these exalted beings (known in India and Tibet by this name) may be gathered from the foregoing pages if any conception of the connection of humanity with the law of Karma, and also of liberated humanity with the law of harmony, can be obtained.

In the preceding pages especial reference has been made to the fact that the Mahatma, as such, has no Karma, but it is by no means intended to convey the idea that all who enter Occultism, and even those who have progressed a very long way on the Path of Life, are Mahatmas. Nay, more! There are many of them who are very holy, and even exalted, beings, but who are still subject to the law of Karma, as applied to ordinary humanity. But they have acquired self-mastery to an extraordinary degree, and their whole attention is “fixed on the eternal.” Thus, so far as they are concerned, they generate no new Karma in the restricted sense, but only progress towards Universal Harmony.

To put it shortly, they exhaust their old Karma of past lives, and devote themselves to the production of Harmony.

It is important to bear this in mind when the attention is turned to the Karmic condition of ordinary humanity. For we are at once brought face to face with the old and much disputed question between free-will and predestination.

At this point, therefore, it will be necessary to enter, at some length, on this question, because it has been supposed that the idea of Karma is identical, or nearly so, with that of predestination. Consequently, it will be necessary to attempt a definition of what Free-will and Will are. Will, to the ordinary man, is known according to his experience as the power to do or not to do an action. So far, he is perfectly right, but, as usual, man limits the action of his will to the physical plane, and takes no account of even the mental plane. Even if he does not commit an action, he cannot help thinking about it, because he has desired to do it—even if he has repressed that desire. Nothing is more common than to hear anyone say, “I can’t help my likes and dislikes,” or, in other words, their attractions and repulsions, desires and the reverse. Consequently, until a man can control his desires, those desires control his will, and, consequently, predestination appears to rule the day. Thus we find that it is desire which impels man onward on his course, and governs that course to a very large extent, and this is the principle which is at its highest development in mankind as a rule. Now if it be granted that the human personality—a transient thing—has been constituted by 99man’s vanity as the centre of the Universe, it is plain that the combination of this principle of desire with the pronounced personality, will only serve to intensify this personality and bind man fast to it. Man thus constituted is a prisoner, and, more often than not, is so attached to his prison that he prefers to flutter his wings against the bars of his cage, instead of endeavouring to escape. But are there any means of escape:—it may be asked? Desire binds man fast to his personality, and intensifies one personality against another. Hence it is productive of strife and discord, and militates strongly against the law of universal harmony, or Karma, in this aspect. Thus desire and Karma would seem to be in complete opposition, and desire cannot be said to be a consequence of Karma. But really this is a confusion of terms, for all this only exists in the world of effects and not in that of causes. Desire is an effect of the accentuated personality, and in its turn produces that personality. This constitutes the prison, and the only means of escape from this prison of discord is the endeavour to produce harmony in its place. Thus, therefore, we have a definition of will as being not only that which represses a desire, but also an emanation of the one divine principle, and proceeding from the divine in man. In one sense, this will, this harmonizer of the discord, is identical with Karma. As a consequence, we can see that Karma produces punishment. That punishment arises from the fact that the assertion of both desire and will in any man makes him the battle-field of two opposing forces—the desire to do anything, and thus gratify the desire, and the will to repress it. Thus man must be a co-worker with nature and the law of harmony. He has to repress the Typhonic principle of desire and dissipate its energy. If he does not, it will bind him more firmly to his “personal centre,” accentuate his punishment, and hang like a millstone round his neck in the shape of Karmic effects, which generate fresh tendencies and desires.

The real function of will is to promote harmony between man and the great law by repressing desire. Liberation from the effects of Karma will come to the man who grasps his whole individuality firmly (not merely his personality), and, by the force of his awakened spiritual will, recognises this individuality as not himself, but as a thing to use in passing beyond the life of the individuality.

Thus the direction of will should be towards realizing one’s aspirations, and so give man “a glimpse into the eternal;” the lower consciousness will mirror these aspirations, even unconsciously to itself, and then itself aspires and is elevated if all is in accord.

But this is not free-will in the ordinary sense of the term; and it does not seem possible that such should exist in view of the ideas of Karmic effects and of reincarnation. It is in these two that lie all the objections to free-will, because too short a view has been taken of human life. In the dim vistas of time, and the countless incarnations which have taken place in them, it will at once be seen that the individual 100being has generated innumerable causes, the effects of which are still to be experienced. Thus it is free-will that man has, but not in the ordinary sense; it is free-will limited by countless other free-wills around him—limited too and circumscribed by his own acts. Man makes himself a prisoner, and believes himself free. He is right in his belief in a measure, for in virtue of the will he is free—to aspire and soar into the sublime heights of his own higher nature. He is a prisoner and predestined when he confines himself to his personality. Karma is at once his gaoler and his liberator, and the decision lies in the intensity of his aspirations, and is therefore in his own hands. Thus from the personal view predestination is true, but not from that of the spirit, which is free. From the latter view, and to a reasoning mind, the Calvinistic doctrine sounds little short of blasphemy. It is most certainly a contradiction in terms to speak of God as an all-wise, all-powerful and entirely just God, and then to speak of predestination as one of his laws, a law which, in face of the above qualities, and with that of mercy in addition, dooms countless millions to an eternity of pain and suffering as punishment, and that too before they are even born. When the apparent injustice of the lives of men is viewed and argued, it is because men forget what they have done in previous lives, in which they have violated the law in a very material direction, which leads them into these positions and from which they have to escape.

Thus the aspirations of man constitute that which sets man free, and which therefore represent his free-will. It is then well to endeavour to trace these aspirations in man with regard to Karma. The second section of the third part of “Light on the Path,” speaks on this point with no uncertain voice. The Occultist must pluck and eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge, and step on either the good or the evil path. And to do this knowingly produces great Karmic results. The mass of men walk waveringly, uncertain as to their goal, their standard of life is indefinite; the Occultist cannot be half-hearted, nor can he return when he has passed the threshold. “The individuality has approached the state of responsibility by reason of growth; it cannot recede from it.” The one means of escape from Karma is for the Occultist to live in the Eternal. But below this—the threshold—many men aspire. On this point, we may quote, “Five Years of Theosophy,” p. 226.

“The unintelligent aspiration towards goodness propagates itself and leads to good lives in the future; the intelligent aspiration propagates itself in the same way, plus the propagation of intelligence; and this distinction shows the gulf of difference which may exist between the growth of a human soul, which merely drifts along the stream of time, and that of one which is consciously steered by an intelligent purpose throughout. The human Ego, which acquires the habit of seeking for knowledge, becomes invested, life after life, with the 101qualifications which ensure the success of such a search, until the final success, achieved at some critical period of its existence, carries it right up into the company of those perfected Egos, which are the fully developed flowers only expected from a few of the thousand seeds.”

“Now it is clear that a slight impulse in a given direction, even on the physical plane, does not produce the same effect as a stronger one; so exactly in this matter of engendering habits which are required to persist in their operation through a succession of lives it is quite obvious that the strong impulse of a very ardent aspiration towards knowledge will be more likely than a weaker one to triumph over the so-called accidents of nature.”

These considerations bring us to the question of those habits of life which are more immediately associated with the pursuit of occult science. It will be quite plain that the generation within his own nature of affinities in the direction of spiritual progress is a matter which has very little to do with the outer circumstances of a man’s daily life. It cannot be dissociated from what may be called the outer circumstances of his moral life, for an occult student, whose moral nature is consciously ignoble, and who combines the pursuit of knowledge with the practice of wrong, becomes by that condition of things a student of sorcery rather than of true Occultism.

Thus so far traced Karma in one of its aspects is, “the ethical law of causation.” This law descends in its action below the moral plane, and is observed as the law of compensation on the physical plane. Thus the physical, intellectual and emotional planes, are all affected by Karma. The key to the situation is the mind; and, as we have seen, the liberation of the mind must be the most difficult task. If the powers of the mind are concentrated on the attainment of the highest ideal, Karma has no basis in which to inhere and consequently the tendency to commit actions from lower motives is annihilated. Even repentance, from this point of view, is a mistake, as it necessarily draws the mind back to the actions and motives repented of. Consequently by the exertion of free will, in the aspiration to realize the ideal, man becomes his own Saviour; and the true way to do this is to look neither for reward nor punishment; to detach the mind from all considerations below that of the spiritual life, and to live only in the Eternal.

Archibald Keightley, M.B.
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“The great watch-word of the True is this:—in last analysis all things are divine.”—(Jasper Niemand in the “Path”).

102

A GHOST’S REVENGE.

(Conclusion.)

Gaston paused at the entrance to the chamber, and even detected himself in taking an involuntary step backwards, for the singular illusion was heightened by the circumstance that many of the figures which were suspended perpendicularly from the walls, and had fallen a little forward, looked as though they were trying to let themselves down. But the monk, nothing concerned, went stolidly on down the long narrow chamber, which had other chambers, or corridors, leading out of it in several directions. To speak more correctly, there was a series of vaults, branching several ways, some of which were shut off from the rest by open-work screens or gates of wool.

The walls on either side were piled high with coffins, the greater number of which had one of their sides of glass, exposing to view the hideous shrouded tenants. By whatever art it had been sought to preserve these bodies from decay, Nature had declared in every instance that it should not be, and no ghastlier assemblage of mummified and mouldering corpses could have mocked the grief of the relatives who should have given their dead to the grave. On the blackened and distorted faces of some, it was not difficult to read a look of supplication which the parted and fleshless lips seemed striving to translate in this way: “Take us away from this dreadful place and hide us in the decent earth.”

They lay there, all of them, in their coffins, in wrappings of linen, silk, and velvet; men, and women, and children, and little infants; priests, nobles, merchants—a world of dead ones; hundreds and thousands of them.

Upon the faces of some, decay seemed working with a kind of fantastic cruelty: punching a hole in the cheek or forehead; pushing one eye from its socket, and leaving the other; stripping the skin from one side of the face, and leaving it like a bit of wrinkled parchment on the other.

Some were made to laugh from ear to ear; some had the corners of the mouth drawn down and the features twisted, as though pain haunted them in death; others looked defiant, derisive, amazed, indignant. The majesty of death had fled from all of them, mockery and shame had come to take its place. The worms were being avenged on these who should have gone to feed them. Silent and rotting, they had no part in either world; and shrinking continually within their coffins, they cried mutely on decay to hasten his work, and give them the boon of nothingness.

103Above the line of coffins, on both sides of the chamber, hundreds of clothed and hooded creatures—skeletons in all except the face, which for the most part retained its covering of dried and tarnished skin—were suspended from the walls. Each had a ticket pinned to its dress, bearing the name and the date of death.

It was these figures on the walls which gave the chamber its most dreadful aspect. Some were suspended by the neck, like suicides left there for an example. Others in various gruesome fashions parodied the attitudes of life. There was a grotesque group composed of three figures which had tumbled together in such a manner that the two on either side appeared to whisper into the ears of the third. Some had the neck awry, the head on one side, in a listening or questioning attitude; of others the head had sunk forward on the narrow breast. The jaw of some had dropped, and protruded a row of teeth, with a savage or jeering air.

Every variety of grimace and grin was shown on those appalling faces; and as Gaston passed down the chamber fingers poked at him from gaping sleeves; he was laughed at, mocked at, scowled at; and when he looked behind him, all these skeletons were laughing, mocking, and scowling at one another. Many of the faces were little else but grinning mouths, and to those whose mouths stood wide open his imagination gave voices, so that the vaults seemed filled with the cries and laughter of the dead.

The monk went steadily on in front of him, waving his candle to and fro; and as the smell was nauseate and oppressed the nostrils, he spat occasionally upon the floor.

His bit of candle burnt itself out before he had taken Gaston completely round, and he returned to fetch another, leaving Gaston in a corner of the vault where the light was a mere glimmer. Right opposite to him in this place was a massive coffin with rich chasings, whose grisly inmate was wrapped from head to foot in a mantle of black velvet. Every particle of flesh had melted from the face, the hair had fallen from the head, the eyeless sockets stared from the depths of the velvet hood. The skeleton was richly dight and finely housed; it was Death himself lying in state.

The monk came up with a fresh candle, and Gaston stooped down and peered into the coffin. Above the figure’s head was affixed a miniature on ivory, which represented a young man in the first prime of life, of a refined and beautiful countenance. In the folds of the mantle a card had tumbled, and stooping lower, Gaston read on it the name of Udalrico Verga. There was a small round hole in the skull, just over the left temple.

Ucciso, signor!” (Murdered!) said the monk, behind him.

The Italian word sounded softly in the lips of the monk; but there was the tell-tale hole in the forehead.

104This then was the hero and the victim of that old tragedy; this was the end of him! But for his punctured skull, he might have changed places with any of the least repulsive of his skeleton companions. But his little bullet-hole marked him out from all of them. Curiously, the hood had slipped off from the left side of the skull, and as this was the side next to the spectator, the bullet-hole compelled attention to itself at once.

The story of the murder which the baron had told to Gaston, and with which his thoughts had many times been occupied in the Villa Torcello, came before him again; and looking at the stark remains of the victim of that forgotten crime, he felt a sudden and irresistible longing to know its secret. If he could win it from the coffin there! But the grim rest within would be disturbed no more. And the young man pictured there beside the skeleton? Murder had no meaning for him; he had not come to know it when he was pictured thus. The face impressed Gaston strangely. He looked at it long, till he began to fancy that behind its delicate beauty he saw the tokens of a latent sensuality. But it was a face of singular sweetness, and if any evil were there, it existed only in the colourless form of a suggestion.

And the priest, who had died a suspect? Was he here, and did death whisper anything against him? No, the monk said; the priest was a native of Syracuse, and after his death his body had been carried there.

Gaston had seen enough; the chamber and its horrid tenants had given him a sense of physical sickness; and, above all, some curious malign influence seemed to issue from the coffin of Udalrico Verga, which was working its way into his brain.

The words of the Baron came into his mind: “They say the spirit haunts the place, seeking some one to avenge the murder.”

Placing a five-franc note in the hand of the monk, he left the chamber and the monastery at once; and entering the carriage, he was driven home.

By morning he had shaken off the morbid effects of his visit to the Capucins’; but his imagination had become the seat of a vague and indefinable oppression. This, at length, when analysed, resolved itself into a certain feeling of injury on account of Udalrico Verga. The wonderful amiableness, joined to an almost womanly beauty, of the face he had seen imaged in the coffin, had touched his sympathies; and now the memory of it began to lay hold on his affections. For what cause, and by whose hand, had the young Udalrico died so brutally?

The tale of the murder stuck in his mind; it possessed him; it would not be dislodged. And the tale, though begun a whole generation since, was still unfinished. It told that Verga had been murdered; but who had murdered him?

This question uttered itself again and again; it grew importunate.importunate. One evening in particular it became a kind of clamour in his ears; 105when, walking by moonlight in the garden of the villa, he was suddenly conscious that a presence other than his own was with him. Turning about, he beheld vividly, at a distance from him of twelve or fifteen paces, the figure of a young and elegant man. The view of this figure which his eyes took in, and the impression which it made upon his mind, were so distinct, that, but for a single circumstance, he would have suspected nothing abnormal in the appearance. The features were those of Udalrico Verga.

His reason still urging him to reject the testimony of his sight, Gaston advanced nearer to the figure. It remained motionless, outlined distinctly in the moonlight, on the path bordered by a row of pepper trees where the body of Verga had been found. Again Gaston went forward; he could now by stretching out his hand almost have touched the figure; his eyes looked straight into the eyes of the man whom he knew to have lain for thirty years in his coffin. While gazing fixedly and with fascination upon this creature from the grave, which, though he knew it to be bodiless, seemed full real to him, Gaston felt his senses being subdued; and, before he could exert will enough to repel an influence which flowed in upon him as it were waves of blinding light, he was rapt out of himself, and held for the space of a minute or so in what is best described as a magnetic sleep or trance. He remained upright and rigid; his brain a whirl of excitement, with an accompanying painful consciousness; the body of the emotion being a confused and very indefinite feeling of fear—whether for himself or for some other person, he did not know. This feeling becoming slightly more definite, he knew that the fear he felt was not for himself, but for another; yet who that other was, he could not tell. It was the same when a voice said plainly in his ear, that what had been begun must be finished; the voice was piercing in its clearness, and he knew that it was the voice of one dear to him; but whose, he could not divine.

This curious sleep lasted, as I have said, for about a minute; and when Gaston awoke he was standing precisely as he had been when seized in the trance. He looked for the apparition; it was not there. He moved to the path, placed himself on the very spot where, but a minute before, the form in the likeness of Udalrico Verga had stood. There was nothing. He looked round him; from this path he could see over the whole garden; it slept motionless in the moonlight, and his was the only figure in it. Gaston returned to the house in a condition of extreme nervous excitement.

In this condition, and almost before he had reached the room in which he usually sat, the story of the murder was flashed in upon his mind; he read it as plainly as if it were traced in English characters on the wall before him. Fancying himself still under some abnormous influence, which when it passed away would carry the story with it, he at once sat down and committed an abstract of it to paper.

106All that night, the story swam in his brain, and rising early next morning, he resolved—or rather was impelled—to commence writing it immediately. He did so, and in the full light of day the wraith of Udalrico Verga stood beside him, and he plainly saw it, during the whole time his pen was at work. But the vision had no longer any weakening or retarding effect upon his brain; rather its effects were quickening and coercive; and these effects increased, till it became a certainty to him that from the visible presence of the spirit of Verga he drew the main strength of his inspiration. The story grew under his pen to an elaborate romance, upon which, sustained throughout by an elation of mind that allowed little repose to the body, he was at work during many weeks.

In all this time, he never passed beyond the grounds of the villa, and when, by-and-bye, his face began to show marks of the mental and bodily stress to which his task subjected him, the peasant people of the town, who saw him walking in the garden sometimes of an evening, used to say:

“There is the English signor who went to live in the Villa Torcello eleven weeks ago; he used to go out every day, but it is nine weeks since he passed the gate. He cannot get out any more. He has seen the ghost of the Signor Verga, and it keeps him there. He grows like a ghost himself.”

But the story was finished at length, and Gaston sent the manuscript to his publishers in London. The ghost of Verga, which had remained visibly before him during the whole period of composition, vanished on the day the work was ended, and was never seen by him again. He went out every day as he had done formerly, and exercise brought back the colour to his face, and restored the tone of his mind. At this time he thought no more about the story than that it was a strange one, which had come to him in a strange manner, and that it ought to bring him the fame in fiction which he coveted.

A letter from Sir Selwyn, in which he said that he was on the point of starting for home, determined Gaston to return thither at once, that he might have everything in readiness for his father’s coming.

On the evening before his departure, while sorting a bundle of papers, he came upon a portion of manuscript of his story which he remembered having set aside as needing to be re-cast. He took it up and began to read it.

The tragedy which formed the climax of the romance, had this feature, that the man who was murdered had (unconsciously, and by a singular operation of fate) planned his own death in planning that of the friend whom he falsely believed to have betrayed him in love. The chapter upon which Gaston had lighted, was devoted to a minute analysis of the character of the man whom blind force of circumstance had driven to an act of murder which his affection for its victim had rendered abhorrent in the highest degree.

107So remote from the ordinary had been the conditions under which the story was composed, and so small (it had seemed to Gaston) was the share of its inspiration which his own brain could claim, that now, within a few weeks of its composition, he read it almost as the work of another.

This exotic notion, that his own was not his own, deepened as he read further into the chapter, for something was there which disquieted him. Some shadowy unembodied likeness, and yet no likeness, but a faint whispering of resemblance; some voiceless hint that was but the failure of an echo. He turned back, and read again. It was not there, he had deceived himself. He shut the page, his mind at ease.

In a week from this time, he was home again, awaiting the coming of his father. Sir Selwyn landed in England a month later, and Gaston, who received him at the vessel’s side, was shocked at his appearance. Sir Selwyn’s handsome face seemed not so much to have aged as to have withered; the body, too, was shrunken, and desiccated, as though the vital fluids were exhausted. The nervous irritation of manner which had characterised an earlier stage of the disease, had given way to a species of torpor, in which even speech seemed an effort. It was the mental and bodily paralysis of melancholia in its acutest form.

The journey home was a sad one. What little Sir Selwyn said, told the story of the renewal of his sufferings, which dated from the day that he had written to Gaston of his intention to return to England. “But I am persuaded,” he said in conclusion, “that it draws near the end.”

Strangely enough, however, as Gaston thought, and quite contrary to his expectations, the sight of his beautiful home revived Sir Selwyn’s spirits. They dined together, and the baronet showed a brighter face over his wine. He sent for his bailiff, and spent an hour or more discussing the affairs of his estate. Afterwards, he walked with Gaston through the gardens and park, and began, for the first time, to talk of his travels. Then he questioned Gaston about his Italian tour, and said:

“What did you do with yourself all those weeks in Palermo? You mentioned no writing; but I am sure your pen was not idle so long.”

“No,” said Gaston. “I wrote a famous story there. I did not mean to tell you of it until it was published. It was to be a surprise, for this is the book that is to make me famous.”

“Come, that sounds well!” said Sir Selwyn. “But you are beginning to be famous already. What could have been better than the reviews of your last book which you sent me?”

“Oh, but this one will do twice as much for me!” laughed Gaston.

“I am glad you feel that. No one could be more delighted than I am to hear it. Have you dedicated it to me, Gaston?”

“Otherwise, my dear father, it would be no book of mine.”

108“Thank you, Gaston. You know how dear your fame is to me.”

In another month, during which Sir Selwyn’s health, with some fluctuations, had shown, on the whole, a disposition towards improvement, Gaston’s romance was published.

On the day on which some copies were forwarded to him from the publishers, he had gone on business to the neighbouring town, and did not return until late in the evening.

Sir Selwyn’s valet, an old and devoted servant who had been with his master for many years, met him at the door, pale, and terrified.

“Sir Selwyn has been taken strangely ill, sir,” he said. “We can none of us tell what is the matter with him. He rang his bell an hour ago, and when I went upstairs he was looking like a ghost, sitting up quite stiff in his arm-chair, with one of your new books in his hand. It seemed like a dead man speaking when he asked how soon you could return, and said that no doctor was to be sent for. He would not let me stay with him either, and, indeed, though I’ve known Sir Selwyn these forty years, I believe I should have been almost afraid to do so sir, he looked so terrible. I remained close outside; but there’s not been a sound in his room ever since, sir.”

Fears which, even in thought, he dared not shape, came like a wave upon Gaston, as he hurried to his father’s room.

Death, or his image, sat there, in Sir Selwyn’s chair; or rather, the baronet’s aspect, as Gaston beheld him, grey and rigid, was like the phantom Life-in-Death; as though a corpse had been galvanised for a moment into a ghastly appearance of life. The jaw had begun to fall and the eyes were large and glassy; but the regular rising and falling of the breast showed that mechanical life was not yet extinct. Open on the ground beside Sir Selwyn lay Gaston’s new romance.

The spirit had all but taken its departure; but when Gaston bent over his father and pleaded for recognition, there was a faint twitching of the brow, and a half-convulsive movement of the whole body, as though the spirit were trying to force an entrance again; and Sir Selwyn, by an effort, fixed his eyes on his son’s face. His voice struggled in his throat, and he said, with a pause between every word:

“When I knelt beside him—for I still loved him—he said: ‘You have killed me, but I will never leave you, and one day I will come back from the grave and kill you’ He has kept his word. This is not your book, Gaston, it-is-Udalrico’s. This is my——”

The voice stopped. Sir Selwyn was dead. The Ghost of Udalrico Verga was avenged.

Tighe Hopkins.
109

THE ORIGIN OF EVIL.

The problem of the origin of evil can be philosophically approached only if the archaic Indian formula is taken as the basis of the argument. Ancient wisdom alone solves the presence of the universal fiend in a satisfactory way. It attributes the birth of Kosmos and the evolution of life to the breaking asunder of primordial, manifested Unity, into plurality, or the great illusion of form. Homogeneity having transformed itself into Heterogeneity, contrasts have naturally been created: hence sprang what we call Evil, which thenceforward reigned supreme in this “Vale of Tears.”

Materialistic Western philosophy (so mis-named) has not failed to profit by this grand metaphysical tenet. Even physical Science, with Chemistry at its head, has turned its attention of late to the first proposition, and directs its efforts toward proving on irrefutable data the homogeneity of primordial matter. But now steps in materialistic Pessimism, a teaching which is neither philosophy nor science, but only a deluge of meaningless words. Pessimism, in its latest development, having ceased to be pantheistic, and having wedded itself to materialism, prepares to make capital out of the old Indian formula. But the atheistic pessimist soars no higher than the terrestrial homogeneous plasm of the Darwinists. For him the ultima thule is earth and matter, and he sees, beyond the prima materia, only an ugly void, an empty nothingness. Some of the pessimists attempt to poetize their idea after the manner of the whitened sepulchres, or the Mexican corpses, whose ghastly cheeks and lips are thickly covered with rouge. The decay of matter pierces through the mask of seeming life, all efforts to the contrary notwithstanding.

Materialism patronises Indian metaphora and imagery now. In a new work upon the subject by Dr. Mainländer, “Pessimism and Progress,” one learns that Indian Pantheism and German Pessimism are identical; and that it is the breaking up of homogeneous matter into heterogeneous material, the transition from uniformity to multiformity, which resulted in so unhappy a universe. Saith Pessimism:—

“This (transition) is precisely the original mistake, the primordial sin, which the whole creation has now to expiate by heavy suffering; it is just that sin, which, having launched into existence all that lives, plunged it thereby into the abysmal depths of evil and misery, to escape from which there is but one means possible, i.e., by putting an end to being itself.”

This interpretation of the Eastern formula, attributing to it the first idea of escaping the misery of life by “putting an end to being”—whether that being is viewed as applicable to the whole Kosmos, or only to individual life—is a gross misconception. The Eastern pantheist, whose 110philosophy teaches him to discriminate between Being or Esse and conditioned existence, would hardly indulge in so absurd an idea as the postulation of such an alternative. He knows he can put an end to form alone, not to being—and that only on this plane of terrestrial illusion. True, he knows that by killing out in himself Tanha (the unsatisfied desire for existence, or the “will to live”)—he will thus gradually escape the curse of re-birth and conditioned existence. But he knows also that he cannot kill or “put an end,” even to his own little life except as a personality, which after all is but a change of dress. And believing but in One Reality, which is eternal Be-ness, the “causeless CAUSE” from which he has exiled himself unto a world of forms, he regards the temporary and progressing manifestations of it in the state of Maya (change or illusion), as the greatest evil, truly; but at the same time as a process in nature, as unavoidable as are the pangs of birth. It is the only means by which he can pass from limited and conditioned lives of sorrow into eternal life, or into that absolute “Be-ness,” which is so graphically expressed in the Sanskrit word sat.

The “Pessimism” of the Hindu or Buddhist Pantheist is metaphysical, abstruse, and philosophical. The idea that matter and its Protean manifestations are the source and origin of universal evil and sorrow is a very old one, though Gautama Buddha was the first to give to it its definite expression. But the great Indian Reformer assuredly never meant to make of it a handle for the modern pessimist to get hold of, or a peg for the materialist to hang his distorted and pernicious tenets upon! The Sage and Philosopher, who sacrificed himself for Humanity by living for it, in order to save it, by teaching men to see in the sensuous existence of matter misery alone, had never in his deep philosophical mind any idea of offering a premium for suicide; his efforts were to release mankind from too strong an attachment to life, which is the chief cause of Selfishness—hence the creator of mutual pain and suffering. In his personal case, Buddha left us an example of fortitude to follow: in living, not in running away from life. His doctrine shows evil immanent, not in matter which is eternal, but in the illusions created by it: through the changes and transformations of matter generating life—because these changes are conditioned and such life is ephemeral. At the same time those evils are shown to be not only unavoidable, but necessary. For if we would discern good from evil, light from darkness, and appreciate the former, we can do so only through the contrasts between the two. While Buddha’s philosophy points, in its dead-letter meaning, only to the dark side of things on this illusive plane; its esotericism, the hidden soul of it, draws the veil aside and reveals to the Arhat all the glories of LIFE ETERNAL in all the Homogeneousness of Consciousness and Being. Another absurdity, no doubt, in the eyes of materialistic science and even modern Idealism, yet a fact to the Sage and esoteric Pantheist.

111Nevertheless, the root idea that evil is born and generated by the ever increasing complications of the homogeneous material, which enters into form and differentiates more and more as that form becomes physically more perfect, has an esoteric side to it which seems to have never occurred to the modern pessimist. Its dead-letter aspect, however, became the subject of speculation with every ancient thinking nation. Even in India the primitive thought, underlying the formula already cited, has been disfigured by Sectarianism, and has led to the ritualistic, purely dogmatic observances of the Hatha Yogis, in contradistinction to the philosophical Vedantic Raja Yoga. Pagan and Christian exoteric speculation, and even mediæval monastic asceticism, have extracted all they could from the originally noble idea, and made it subservient to their narrow-minded sectarian views. Their false conceptions of matter have led the Christians from the earliest day to identify woman with Evil and matter—notwithstanding the worship paid by the Roman Catholic Church to the Virgin.

But the latest application of the misunderstood Indian formula by the Pessimists in Germany is quite original, and rather unexpected, as we shall see. To draw any analogy between a highly metaphysical teaching, and Darwin’s theory of physical evolution would, in itself, seem rather a hopeless task. The more so as the theory of natural selection does not preach any conceivable extermination of being, but, on the contrary, a continuous and ever increasing development of life. Nevertheless, German ingenuity has contrived, by means of scientific paradoxes and much sophistry, to give it a semblance of philosophical truth. The old Indian tenet itself has not escaped litigation at the hands of modern pessimism. The happy discoverer of the theory, that the origin of evil dates from the protoplasmic Amœba, which divided itself for procreation, and thus lost its immaculate homogeneity, has laid claim to the Aryan archaic formula in his new volume. While extolling its philosophy and the depth of ancient conceptions, he declares that it ought to be viewed “as the most profound truth precogitated and robbed by the ancient sages from modern thought”!!

It thus follows that the deeply religious Pantheism of the Hindu and Buddhist philosopher, and the occasional vagaries of the pessimistic materialist, are placed on the same level and identified by “modern thought.” The impassable chasm between the two is ignored. It matters little, it seems, that the Pantheist, recognising no reality in the manifested Kosmos, and regarding it as a simple illusion of his senses, has to view his own existence also as only a bundle of illusions. When, therefore, he speaks of the means of escaping from the sufferings of objective life, his view of those sufferings, and his motive for putting an end to existence are entirely different from those of the pessimistic materialist. For him, pain as well as sorrow are illusions, due to attachment to this life, and ignorance. Therefore he strives after eternal, changeless life, and absolute 112consciousness in the state of Nirvana; whereas the European pessimist, taking the “evils” of life as realities, aspires when he has the time to aspire after anything except those said mundane realities, to annihilation of “being,” as he expresses it. For the philosopher there is but one real life, Nirvanic bliss, which is a state differing in kind, not in degree only, from that of any of the planes of consciousness in the manifested universe. The Pessimist calls “Nirvana” superstition, and explains it as “cessation of life,” life for him beginning and ending on earth. The former ignores in his spiritual aspirations even the integral homogeneous unit, of which the German Pessimist now makes such capital. He knows of, and believes in only the direct cause of that unit, eternal and ever living, because the ONE uncreated, or rather not evoluted. Hence all his efforts are directed toward the speediest reunion possible with, and return to his pre-primordial condition, after his pilgrimage through this illusive series of visionary lives, with their unreal phantasmagoria of sensuous perceptions.

Such pantheism can be qualified as “pessimistic” only by a believer in a personal Providence; by one who contrasts its negation of the reality of anything “created”—i.e. conditioned and limited—with his own blind and unphilosophical faith. The Oriental mind does not busy itself with extracting evil from every radical law and manifestation of life, and multiplying every phenomenal quantity by the units of very often imaginary evils: the Eastern Pantheist simply submits to the inevitable, and tries to blot out from his path in life as many “descents into rebirth” as he can, by avoiding the creation of new Karmic causes. The Buddhist philosopher knows that the duration of the series of lives of every human being—unless he reaches Nirvana “artificially” (“takes the kingdom of God by violence,” in Kabalistic parlance), is given, allegorically, in the forty-nine days passed by Gautama the Buddha under the Bo-tree. And the Hindu sage is aware, in his turn, that he has to light the first, and extinguish the forty-ninth fire[23] before he reaches his final deliverance. Knowing this, both sage and philosopher wait patiently for the natural hour of deliverance; whereas their unlucky copyist, the European Pessimist, is ever ready to commit, as to preach, suicide. Ignorant of the numberless heads of the hydra of existences he is incapable of feeling the same philosophical scorn for life as he does for death, and of, thereby, following the wise example given him by his Oriental brother.

Thus, philosophical pantheism is very different from modern pessimism. 113The first is based upon the correct understanding of the mysteries of being; the latter is in reality only one more system of evil added by unhealthy fancy to the already large sum of real social evils. In sober truth it is no philosophy, but simply a systematic slander of life and being; the bilious utterances of a dyspeptic or an incurable hypochondriac. No parallel can ever be attempted between the two systems of thought.

The seeds of evil and sorrow were indeed the earliest result and consequence of the heterogeneity of the manifested universe. Still they are but an illusion produced by the law of contrasts, which, as described, is a fundamental law in nature. Neither good nor evil would exist were it not for the light they mutually throw on each other. Being, under whatever form, having been observed from the World’s creation to offer these contrasts, and evil predominating in the universe owing to Ego-ship or selfishness, the rich Oriental metaphor has pointed to existence as expiating the mistake of nature; and the human soul (psüche), was henceforth regarded as the scapegoat and victim of unconscious Over-Soul. But it is not to Pessimism, but to Wisdom that it gave birth. Ignorance alone is the willing martyr, but knowledge is the master of natural Pessimism. Gradually, and by the process of heredity or atavism, the latter became innate in man. It is always present in us, howsoever latent and silent its voice in the beginning. Amid the early joys of existence, when we are still full of the vital energies of youth, we are yet apt, each of us, at the first pang of sorrow, after a failure, or at the sudden appearance of a black cloud, to accuse life of it; to feel life a burden, and often to curse our being. This shows pessimism in our blood, but at the same time the presence of the fruits of ignorance. As mankind multiplies, and with it suffering—which is the natural result of an increasing number of units that generate it—sorrow and pain are intensified. We live in an atmosphere of gloom and despair, but this is because our eyes are downcast and rivetted to the earth, with all its physical and grossly material manifestations. If, instead of that, man proceeding on his life-journey looked—not heavenward, which is but a figure of speech—but within himself and centred his point of observation on the inner man, he would soon escape from the coils of the great serpent of illusion. From the cradle to the grave, his life would then become supportable and worth living, even in its worst phases.

Pessimism—that chronic suspicion of lurking evil everywhere—is thus of a two-fold nature, and brings fruits of two kinds. It is a natural characteristic in physical man, and becomes a curse only to the ignorant. It is a boon to the spiritual; inasmuch as it makes the latter turn into the right path, and brings him to the discovery of another as fundamental a truth; namely, that all in this world is only preparatory because transitory. It is like a chink in the dark prison walls of earth-life, through which breaks in a ray of light from the eternal home, which, illuminating 114the inner senses, whispers to the prisoner in his shell of clay of the origin and the dual mystery of our being. At the same time, it is a tacit proof of the presence in man of that which knows, without being told, viz:—that there is another and a better life, once that the curse of earth-lives is lived through.

This explanation of the problem and origin of evil being, as already said, of an entirely metaphysical character, has nothing to do with physical laws. Belonging as it does altogether to the spiritual part of man, to dabble with it superficially is, therefore, far more dangerous than to remain ignorant of it. For, as it lies at the very root of Gautama Buddha’s ethics, and since it has now fallen into the hands of the modern Philistines of materialism, to confuse the two systems of “pessimistic” thought can lead but to mental suicide, if it does not lead to worse.

Eastern wisdom teaches that spirit has to pass through the ordeal of incarnation and life, and be baptised with matter before it can reach experience and knowledge. After which only it receives the baptism of soul, or self-consciousness, and may return to its original condition of a god, plus experience, ending with omniscience. In other words, it can return to the original state of the homogeneity of primordial essence only through the addition of the fruitage of Karma, which alone is able to create an absolute conscious deity, removed but one degree from the absolute All.

Even according to the letter of the Bible, evil must have existed before Adam and Eve, who, therefore, are innocent of the slander of the original sin. For, had there been no evil or sin before them, there could exist neither tempting Serpent nor a Tree of Knowledge of good and evil in Eden. The characteristics of that apple-tree are shown in the verse when the couple had tasted of its fruit: “The eyes of them both were opened, and they knew” many things besides knowing they were naked. Too much knowledge about things of matter is thus rightly shown an evil.

But so it is, and it is our duty to examine and combat the new pernicious theory. Hitherto, pessimism was kept in the regions of philosophy and metaphysics, and showed no pretensions to intrude into the domain of purely physical science, such as Darwinism. The theory of evolution has become almost universal now, and there is no school (save the Sunday and missionary schools) where it is not taught, with more or less modifications from the original programme. On the other hand, there is no other teaching more abused and taken advantage of than evolution, especially by the application of its fundamental laws to the solution of the most compound and abstract problems of man’s many sided existence. There, where psychology and even philosophy “fear to tread,” materialistic biology applies its sledge-hammer of superficial analogies, and prejudged conclusions. Worse than all, claiming man to be only a higher animal, it maintains this right as undeniably pertaining to 115the domain of the science of evolution. Paradoxes in those “domains” do not rain now, they pour. As “man is the measure of all things,” therefore is man measured and analyzed by the animal. One German materialist claims spiritual and psychic evolution as the lawful property of physiology and biology; the mysteries of embryology and zoology alone, it is said, being capable of solving those of consciousness in man and the origin of his soul.[24] Another finds justification for suicide in the example of animals, who, when tired of living, put an end to existence by starvation.[25]

Hitherto pessimism, notwithstanding the abundance and brilliancy of its paradoxes, had a weak point—namely, the absence of any real and evident basis for it to rest upon. Its followers had no living, guiding thought to serve them as a beacon and help them to steer clear of the sandbanks of life—real and imaginary—so profusely sown by themselves in the shape of denunciations against life and being. All they could do was to rely upon their representatives, who occupied their time very ingeniously if not profitably, in tacking the many and various evils of life to the metaphysical propositions of great German thinkers, like Schopenhauer and Hartmann, as small boys tack on coloured tails to the kites of their elders and rejoice at seeing them launched in the air. But now the programme will be changed. The Pessimists have found something more solid and authoritative, if less philosophical, to tack their jeremiads and dirges to, than the metaphysical kites of Schopenhauer. The day when they agreed with the views of this philosopher, which pointed at the Universal Will as the perpetrator of all the World-evil, is gone to return no more. Nor will they be any better satisfied with the hazy “Unconscious” of von Hartmann. They have been seeking diligently for a more congenial and less metaphysical soil to build their pessimistic philosophy upon, and they have been rewarded with success, now that the cause of Universal Suffering has been discovered by them in the fundamental laws of physical development. Evil will no longer be allied with the misty and uncertain Phantom called “Will,” but with an actual and obvious fact: the Pessimists will henceforth be towed by the Evolutionists.

The basic argument of their representative has been given in the opening sentence of this article. The Universe and all on it appeared in consequence of the “breaking asunder of Unity into Plurality.” This rather dim rendering of the Indian formula is not made to refer, as I have shown, in the mind of the Pessimist, to the one Unity, to the Vedantin abstraction—Parabrahm: otherwise, I should not certainly have used the words “breaking up.” Nor does it concern itself much with Mulaprakriti, or the “Veil” of Parabrahm; nor even with the first manifested primordial matter, except inferentially, as follows from Dr. Mainländer’s exposition, but chiefly with terrestrial protoplasm. Spirit 116or deity is entirely ignored in this case; evidently because of the necessity for showing the whole as “the lawful domain of physical Science.”

In short, the time-honoured formula is claimed to have its basis and to find its justification in the theory that from “a few, perhaps one, single form of the very simplest nature” (Darwin), “all the different animals and plants living to-day, and all the organisms that have ever lived on the earth,” have gradually developed. It is this axiom of Science, we are told, which justifies and demonstrates the Hindu philosophical tenet.tenet. What is this axiom? Why, it is this: Science teaches that the series of transformations through which the seed is made to pass—the seed that grows into a tree, or becomes an ovum, or that which develops into an animal—consists in every case in nothing but the passage of the fabric of that seed, from the homogeneous into the heterogeneous or compound form. This is then the scientific verity which checks the Indian formula by that of the Evolutionists, identifies both, and thus exalts ancient wisdom by recognizing it worthy of modern materialistic thought.

This philosophical formula is not simply corroborated by the individual growth and development of isolated species, explains our Pessimist; but it is demonstrated in general as in detail. It is shown justified in the evolution and growth of the Universe as well as in that of our planet. In short, the birth, growth and development of the whole organic world in its integral totality, are there to demonstrate ancient wisdom. From the universals down to the particulars, the organic world is discovered to be subject to the same law of ever increasing elaboration, of the transition from unity to plurality as “the fundamental formula of the evolution of life.” Even the growth of nations, of social life, public institutions, the development of the languages, arts and sciences, all this follows inevitably and fatally the all-embracing law of “the breaking asunder of unity into plurality, and the passage of the homogeneous into multiformity.”

But while following Indian wisdom, our author exaggerates this fundamental law in his own way, and distorts it. He brings this law to bear even on the historical destinies of mankind. He makes these destinies subservient to, and a proof of, the correctness of the Indian conception. He maintains that humanity as an integral whole, in proportion as it develops and progresses in its evolution, and separates in its parts—each becoming a distinct and independent branch of the unit—drifts more and more away from its original healthy, harmonious unity. The complications of social establishment, social relations, as those of individuality, all lead to the weakening of the vital power, the relaxation of the energy of feeling, and to the destruction of that integral unity, without which no inner harmony is possible. The absence of that harmony generates an inner discord which becomes the cause of the greatest mental misery. Evil has its roots in the very nature of the evolution of life and its complications. Every one of its steps forward is at the same time a step taken toward the dissolution of its energy, and 117leads to passive apathy. Such is the inevitable result, he says, of every progressive complication of life; because evolution or development is a transition from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous, a scattering of the whole into the many, etc. etc. This terrible law is universal and applies to all creation, from the infinitesimally small up to man for, as he says, it is a fundamental law of nature.

Now, it is just in this one-sided view of physical nature, which the German author accepts without one single thought as to its spiritual and psychic aspect, that his school is doomed to certain failure. It is not a question whether the said law of differentiation and its fatal consequences may or may not apply, in certain cases, to the growth and development of the animal species, and even of man; but simply, since it is the basis and main support of the whole new theory of the Pessimistic school, whether it is really a universal and fundamental law? We want to know whether this basic formula of evolution embraces the whole process of development and growth in its entirety; and whether, indeed, it is within the domain of physical science or not. If it is “nothing else than the transition from the homogeneous state to the heterogeneous,” as says Mainländer, then it remains to be proved that the given process “produces that complicated combination of tissues and organs which forms and completes the perfect animal and plant.”

As remarked already by some critics on “Pessimism and Progress,” the German Pessimist does not doubt it for one moment. His supposed discovery and teaching “rest wholly on his certitude that development and the fundamental law of the complicated process of organization represent but one thing: the transformation of unity into plurality.” Hence the identification of the process with dissolution and decay, and the weakening of all the forces and energies. Mainländer would be right in his analogies were this law of the differentiation of the homogeneous into the heterogeneous to really represent the fundamental law of the evolution of life. But the idea is quite erroneous—metaphysically as well as physically. Evolution does not proceed in a straight line; no more than any other process in nature, but journeys on cyclically, as does all the rest. The cyclic serpents swallow their tails like the Serpent of Eternity. And it is in this that the Indian formula, which is a Secret Doctrine teaching, is indeed corroborated by the natural Sciences, and especially by biology.

This is what we read in the “Scientific Letters” by an anonymous Russian author and critic.

“In the evolution of isolated individuals, in the evolution of the organic world, in that of the Universe, as in the growth and development of our planet—in short wherever any of the processes of progressive complexity take place, there we find, apart from the transition from unity to plurality, and homogeneity to heterogeneity a converse transformation—the transition from plurality to unity, from the heterogeneous to the homogeneous.... Minute observation of the given process of progressive complexity has shown, that what takes place in it is not alone the separation of parts, but also their mutual absorption.... While one portion of the cells merge into each 118other and unite into one uniform whole, forming muscular fibres, muscular tissue, others are absorbed in the bone and nerve tissues, etc. etc. The same takes place in the formation of plants....”

In this case material nature repeats the law that acts in the evolution of the psychic and the spiritual: both descend but to re-ascend and merge at the starting-point. The homogeneous formative mass or element differentiated in its parts, is gradually transformed into the heterogeneous; then, merging those parts into a harmonious whole, it recommences a converse process, or reinvolution, and returns as gradually into its primitive or primordial state.

Nor does Pessimism find any better support in pure Materialism, as hitherto the latter has been tinged with a decidedly optimistic bias. Its leading advocates have, indeed, never hesitated to sneer at the theological adoration of the “glory of God and all his works.” Büchner flings a taunt at the pantheist who sees in so “mad and bad” a world the manifestation of the Absolute. But, on the whole, the materialists admit a balance of good over evil, perhaps as a buffer against any “superstitious” tendency to look out and hope for a better one. Narrow as is their outlook, and limited as is their spiritual horizon, they yet see no cause to despair of the drift of things in general. The pantheistic pessimists, however, have never ceased to urge that a despair of conscious being is the only legitimate outcome of atheistic negation. This opinion is, of course, axiomatic, or ought to be so. If “in this life only is there hope,” the tragedy of life is absolutely without any raison d’être and a perpetuation of the drama is as foolish as it is futile.

The fact that the conclusions of pessimism have been at last assimilated by a certain class of atheistic writers, is a striking feature of the day, and another sign of the times. It illustrates the truism that the void created by modern scientific negation cannot and can never be filled by the cold prospects offered as a solatium to optimists. The Comtean “enthusiasm of Humanity” is a poor thing enough with annihilation of the Race to ensue “as the solar fires die slowly out”—if, indeed, they do die at all—to please physical science at the computed time. If all present sorrow and suffering, the fierce struggle for existence and all its attendant horrors, go for nothing in the long run, if Man is a mere ephemeron, the sport of blind forces, why assist in the perpetuation of the farce. The “ceaseless grind of matter, force and law,” will but hurry the swarming human millions into eternal oblivion, and ultimately leave no trace or memory of the past, when things return to the nebulosity of the fire-mist, whence they emerged. Terrestrial life is no object in itself. It is overcast with gloom and misery. It does not seem strange, then, that the Soul-blind negationist should prefer the pessimism of Schopenhauer to the baseless optimism of Strauss and his followers, which, in the face of their teachings, reminds one of the animal spirits of a young donkey, after a good meal of thistles.

119One thing is, however, clear: the absolute necessity for some solution, which embraces the facts of existence on an optimistic basis. Modern Society is permeated with an increasing cynicism and honeycombed with disgust of life. This is the result of an utter ignorance of the operations of Karma and the nature of Soul-evolution. It is from a mistaken allegiance to the dogmas of a mechanical and largely spurious theory of Evolution, that Pessimism has risen to such undue importance. Once the basis of the Great Law is grasped—and what philosophy can furnish better means for such a grasp and final solution, than the esoteric doctrine of the great Indian Sages—there remains no possible locus standi for the recent amendments to the Schopenhauerian system of thought or the metaphysical subtleties, woven by the “philosopher of the Unconscious.” The reasonableness of Conscious Existence can be proved only by the study of the primeval—now esoteric—philosophy. And it says “there is neither death nor life, for both are illusions; being (or be-ness) is the only reality.” This paradox was repeated thousands of ages later by one of the greatest physiologists that ever lived. “Life is Death” said Claude Bernard. The organism lives because its parts are ever dying. The survival of the fittest is surely based on this truism. The life of the superior whole requires the death of the inferior, the death of the parts depending on and being subservient to it And, as life is death, so death is life, and the whole great cycle of lives form but one Existencethe worst day of which is on our planet.

He who KNOWS will make the best of it For there is a dawn for every being, when once freed from illusion and ignorance by Knowledge; and he will at last proclaim in truth and all Consciousness to Mahamaya:—

Broken Thy house is, and the Ridge-pole Split!
Delusion fashioned it!
Safe pass I thence—deliverance to obtain.”...
H. P. B.
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“Man will regain his lost Eden on that day when he can look at every desire in the broad, quiet light of this question:—How can I give desire such vent as shall conduce to the benefit of other men?”—(Jasper Niemand in the “Path”).

120

THE GREAT PARADOX.

Paradox would seem to be the natural language of occultism. Nay more, it would seem to penetrate deep into the heart of things, and thus to be inseparable from any attempt to put into words the truth, the reality which underlies the outward shows of life.

And the paradox is one not in words only, but in action, in the very conduct of life. The paradoxes of occultism must be lived, not uttered only. Herein lies a great danger, for it is only too easy to become lost in the intellectual contemplation of the path, and so to forget that the road can only be known by treading it.

One startling paradox meets the student at the very outset, and confronts him in ever new and strange shapes at each turn of the road. Such an one, perchance, has sought the path desiring a guide, a rule of right for the conduct of his life. He learns that the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end of life is selflessness; and he feels the truth of the saying that only in the profound unconsciousness of self-forgetfulness can the truth and reality of being reveal itself to his eager heart.

The student learns that this is the one law of occultism, at once the science and the art of living, the guide to the goal he desires to attain. He is fired with enthusiasm and enters bravely on the mountain track. He then finds that his teachers do not encourage his ardent flights of sentiment; his all-forgetting yearning for the Infinite—on the outer plane of his actual life and consciousness. At least, if they do not actually damp his enthusiasm, they set him, as the first and indispensable task, to conquer and control his body. The student finds that far from being encouraged to live in the soaring thoughts of his brain, and to fancy he has reached that ether where is true freedom—to the forgetting of his body, and his external actions and personality—he is set down to tasks much nearer earth. All his attention and watchfulness are required on the outer plane; he must never forget himself, never lose hold over his body, his mind, his brain. He must even learn to control the expression of every feature, to check the action of each muscle, to be master of every slightest involuntary movement. The daily life around and within him is pointed out as the object of his study and observation. Instead of forgetting what are usually called the petty trifles, the little forgetfulnesses, the accidental slips of tongue or memory, he is forced to become each day more conscious of these lapses, till at last they seem to poison the air he breathes and stifle him, till he seems to lose sight and touch of the great world of freedom towards 121which he is struggling, till every hour of every day seems full of the bitter taste of self, and his heart grows sick with pain and the struggle of despair. And the darkness is rendered yet deeper by the voice within him, crying ceaselessly, “forget thyself. Beware, lest thou becomest self-concentrated—and the giant weed of spiritual selfishness take firm root in thy heart; beware, beware, beware!”

The voice stirs his heart to its depths, for he feels that the words are true. His daily and hourly battle is teaching him that self-centredness is the root of misery, the cause of pain, and his soul is full of longing to be free.

Thus the disciple is torn by doubt. He trusts his teachers, for he knows that through them speaks the same voice he hears in the silence of his own heart. But now they utter contradictory words; the one, the inner voice, bidding him forget himself utterly in the service of humanity; the other, the spoken word of those from whom he seeks guidance in his service, bidding him first to conquer his body, his outer self. And he knows better with every hour how badly he acquits himself in that battle with the Hydra, and he sees seven heads grow afresh in place of each one that he has lopped off.

At first he oscillates between the two, now obeying the one, now the other. But soon he learns that this is fruitless. For the sense of freedom and lightness, which comes at first when he leaves his outer self unwatched, that he may seek the inner air, soon loses its keenness, and some sudden shock reveals to him that he has slipped and fallen on the uphill path. Then, in desperation, he flings himself upon the treacherous snake of self, and strives to choke it into death; but its ever-moving coils elude his grasp, the insidious temptations of its glittering scales blind his vision, and again he becomes involved in the turmoil of the battle, which gains on him from day to day, and which at last seems to fill the whole world, and blot out all else beside from his consciousness. He is face to face with a crushing paradox, the solution of which must be lived before it can be really understood.

In his hours of silent meditation the student will find that there is one space of silence within him where he can find refuge from thoughts and desires, from the turmoil of the senses and the delusions of the mind. By sinking his consciousness deep into his heart he can reach this place—at first only when he is alone in silence and darkness. But when the need for the silence has grown great enough, he will turn to seek it even in the midst of the struggle with self, and he will find it. Only he must not let go of his outer self, or his body; he must learn to retire into this citadel when the battle grows fierce, but to do so without losing sight of the battle; without allowing himself to fancy that by so doing he has won the victory. That victory is won only when all is silence without as within the inner citadel. Fighting thus, from within that silence, the student will find that he has solved the first great paradox.

122But paradox still follows him. When first he thus succeeds in thus retreating into himself, he seeks there only for refuge from the storm in his heart. And as he struggles to control the gusts of passion and desire, he realises more fully what mighty powers he has vowed himself to conquer. He still feels himself, apart from the silence, nearer akin to the forces of the storm. How can his puny strength cope with these tyrants of animal nature?

This question is hard to answer in direct words; if, indeed, such an answer can be given. But analogy may point the way where the solution may be sought.

In breathing we take a certain quantity of air into the lungs, and with this we can imitate in miniature the mighty wind of heaven. We can produce a feeble semblance of nature: a tempest in a tea-cup, a gale to blow and even swamp a paper boat. And we can say: “I do this; it is my breath.” But we cannot blow our breath against a hurricane, still less hold the trade winds in our lungs. Yet the powers of heaven are within us; the nature of the intelligences which guide the world-forces is blended with our own, and could we realise this and forget our outer selves, the very winds would be our instruments.

So it is in life. While a man clings to his outer self—aye, and even to any one of the forms he assumes when this “mortal coil” is cast aside—so long is he trying to blow aside a hurricane with the breath of his lungs. It is useless and idle such an endeavour; for the great winds of life must, sooner or later, sweep him away. But if he changes his attitudeattitude in himself, if he acts on the faith that his body, his desires, his passions, his brain, are not himself, though he has charge of them, and is responsible for them; if he tries to deal with them as parts of nature, then he may hope to become one with the great tides of being, and reach the peaceful place of safe self-forgetfulness at last.

Faust.
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“Fear is the slave of pain and Rebellion her captive; Endurance her free companion and Patience her master. And the husband of Pain is Rapture. But the souls are few in whom that marriage is consummated.”consummated.” (L. S. C.).

123

THE BLOSSOM AND THE FRUIT:

THE TRUE STORY OF A MAGICIAN.[26]
(Continued.)

By Mabel Collins,
Author of “The Prettiest Woman in Warsaw,” &c., &c.,
And Scribe of “The Idyll of the White Lotus,” and “Through the Gates
of Gold.”

CHAPTER III.

In a chapel of the great Cathedral in the city there was at certain hours always a priest who held there his confessional.

To him went Hilary some days later. In the interim he had not seen the Princess. His soul had been torn hither and thither, to and fro. His passion for the beautiful girl held him fast, while his horror of the magician repelled him from her. He went to the Cathedral in the afternoon determined that he would reveal all his distress to the priest. Father Amyot was in his confessional, but some one was with him, for the curtain was drawn. Hilary knelt down at the small altar of the chapel there to wait. Presently there was a slight sound; he turned his head to see if the confessional was now free. The Princess Fleta stood beside him, her eyes fixed on him; it was she who at this instant only had risen from her knees in the confessional. Hilary, amazed and dumb with wonder, could only gaze upon her. She kept her strange and fascinating eyes fixed on his for a moment and then turned and with swift, soft steps left the chapel. Hilary remained kneeling motionless before the altar, his mind absorbed in what was hardly so much thought as amazement. Fleta was not then what he thought her. If she were sensitive to religious impressions she could not be the cold magician which she had appeared to him to be when he recollected the last scene in the laboratory. Perhaps after all she used her power generously and for good. He began to see her in another light. He began to worship her for her goodness as well as for her strong attractions. His heart leaped with joy at the thought that her soul was as beautiful as her body. He rose from his knees and turned instinctively and without thought to follow her. As he did so he passed Father Amyot, who seeing that no one else came immediately to the confessional, had left it and flung himself at full 124length upon the ground before the altar. He wore a long robe of coarse white cloth, tied at the waist with a black cord; a hood of the same cloth covered his shaven head. He was like a skeleton, perfectly fleshless and emaciated. His face lay sideways on the stone; he seemed unconscious, so profound was his abstraction. The eyes were open but had no sight in them. They were large grey blue eyes, full of a profound melancholy which gave them an appearance as if tears stood in them. This melancholy affected Hilary strangely; it touched his heart, made thrill and vibrate some deeply sensitive cord in his nature. He stood gazing a moment at the prostrate figure, and then with a profound obeisance left the chapel.

The Princess Fleta had her horse waiting for her. She was a constant and daring rider, and seldom entered the city except on horseback, to the amazement of the court ladies, who in the city rode in carriages that they might dress beautifully. But Fleta had no vanity of this kind. Probably no other girl of her age would have willingly adopted the hideous dress of the witch and worn it before so many curious eyes. Her own beauty and her own appearance was a subject of but the slightest thought to her. She would walk down the fashionable promenade in her riding habit among the magnificent toilettes of the Court ladies. This she was doing now while a servant led her horse up and down. Hilary watched her from a distance, unable to summon courage to approach her in the midst of such a throng of personages. But presently Fleta saw him and came with her swift light step towards him. “Will you walk with me?” she asked. “There is no one here to be my companion but you.”

“And why is that?” asked Hilary, as with flushed face and eager steps he accompanied her.

“Because there are none that sympathise with me. You alone have entered my laboratory.”

“But would not any of these be glad to come if you would admit them?”

“Not“Not one would have the courage, except perhaps some few wild spirits who would dare anything for mere excitement. And they would not please me.”

Hilary was silent. Her words showed him very plainly that he pleased her. But there was a chill in his nature which now asserted itself. Here in the midst of so many people her hold on him was lessened, and he doubted her more than ever. Was she merely playing with him for her own amusement? Her high position gave her this power and he could not resent it, for even to be her favourite for a day would be accounted by any man an honour and a thing to boast of. And Hilary was being signalled out for public honour. He felt the envious glances of the men whom he met, and immediately a cold veil fell on his heart. He desired no such envy. To his mind love was a thing sacred. His scorn of life and doubt of human nature awakened 125at this moment of triumph. He did not speak, but the Princess answered his thought.

“We will go away from here,” she said. “In the country you are a creature of passion. Here you become a cynic.”

“How do you know my heart?” he asked.

“We were born under the same star,” she answered quietly.

“That is no sufficient answer,” he replied. “It conveys no meaning to me, for I know nothing of the mysterious sciences you study.”

“Come then with me,” she answered, “and I will teach you.”

She signed to her servant, who brought her horse; she mounted and rode away with merely a smile to Hilary. She knew that in spite of the chill that was on him he would hunger for her in her absence and soon follow. And so he did. The pavements appeared empty though crowds moved over them; the city seemed lifeless and dull, though it was one of the gayest in the world. He turned from the streets, and walking into the country, found himself very soon at the narrow wicket gate of the Princess Fleta’s Garden House.

She was wandering up and down the avenue between the trees. Her dress was white now, and very long and soft, falling in great folds from her shoulders. As she moved slowly to and fro, the dancing sunlight playing on her splendid form, it seemed to Hilary that he saw before him not a mere woman, but a priestess. Her late visit to the Cathedral recurred to him; if the religious soul was in her, might she not, indeed, spite of her strange acts, be no magician, but a priestess? He returned to his former humour and was ready to worship at her feet. She greeted him with a smile that thrilled him; her eyes read his very soul, and her smile brought to it an unutterable joy. She turned and led the way to the house and Hilary followed her.

She opened her laboratory door, and immediately Hilary became aware of the strong odour of some powerful incense. The dim smoke was still in the room but the flame had all died away in the vessel. By the side of the vessel lay a prostrate figure. Hilary uttered a cry of amazement and of horror as he recognised Father Amyot. He turned such a look of dismay upon the Princess that she answered his thought in a haughty tone which she had never before used in addressing him.

“It is not time yet to ask me the meaning of what you may see here. Some day, perhaps, when you know more, you may have the right to question me: but not now. See, I can change this appearance that distresses you, in a moment.”

She raised the prostrate figure, and flung off from it the white robe that resembled Father Amyot’s. Beneath, it was clothed in a dull red garment such as Hilary had first seen it in. With a few swift touches of her hand the Princess changed the expression of the face. Father Amyot was gone, and Hilary saw sitting in the chair before him that unindividualised form and face which at his visit to the laboratory had 126affected him with so much horror. The Princess saw the repugnance still in his face, and with a laugh opened the screen with which she had hidden the figure before.

“Now,” she said, “come and sit beside me on this couch.”

But before she left the great vessel she threw in more incense and lit it. Already Hilary was aware that the fumes of that which had been already burned had affected his brain. The red figures moved upon the black wall, and he watched them with fascinated eyes.

They shaped themselves together not, this time, into words, but into forms. And the wall instead of black became bright and luminous. It was as though Hilary and Fleta sat alone before an immense stage. They heard the spoken words and saw the gestures and the movements of these phantasmal actors as clearly and with as much reality as though they were creatures of flesh and blood before them. It was a drama of the passions; the chief actors were Hilary and Fleta themselves. Hilary almost forgot that the real Fleta was at his side, so absorbed was he in the action of the phantasmal Fleta.

He was bewildered, and he could not understand the meaning of what he saw, clearly though the drama was enacted in front of him. He saw the orchard full of blossoming trees; he saw the splendid savage woman. He knew that he himself and this Fleta at his side, were in some strange way playing a part under this savage guise; but how or what it was he could not tell. Fleta laughed as she watched his face. “You do not know who you are,” she cried. “That is a great loss and makes life much more difficult. But you will know by and bye if you are willing to learn. Come, let us look at another and a very different page of life.”

The stage grew dark and moving shadows passed to and fro upon it, great shadows that filled Hilary’s soul with dread. At last they drew back and left a luminous space where Fleta herself was visible. Fleta, in this same human shape that she wore now, yet strangely changed. She was much older and yet more beautiful; there was a wonderful fire in her brilliant eyes. On her head was a crown, and Hilary saw that she had great powers to use or abuse—it was written on her face. Then something drew his eyes down and he saw a figure lying helpless at her feet—why was it so still?—it was alive!—yes, but it was bound and fettered, bound hand and foot.

“Are you afraid?” broke out Fleta’s voice with a ring of mocking laughter in it. “Surely you are not afraid—why should I not reign? why should you not suffer? You are a cynic; is there anything good to be expected?”

“Perhaps not,” said Hilary. “It may be that you are heartless and false. And yet, as I stand here now, I feel that though you may betray me by and bye, and take my life and liberty from me, yet I love your very treachery.”

127Fleta laughed aloud, and Hilary stood silent, confused by the words he had spoken hastily without pausing to think whether they were fit to speak or not. Well, it was done now. He had spoken of his love. She could refuse ever to see him again and he would go into the outer darkness.

“No,” she said, “I shall not send you away. Do you not know, Hilary Estanol, that you are my chosen companion? Otherwise would you be here with me now? The word love does not alarm me; I have heard it too often. Only I think it very meaningless. Let us put it aside for the present. If you let yourself love me you must suffer; and I do not want you to suffer yet. When pain comes to you the youth will go from your face; you do not know how to preserve it, and I like your youth.”

Hilary made no answer. It was not easy to answer such a speech, and Hilary was not in the humour for accomplishing any thing difficult. His brain was confused by the fumes of the incense and by the strange scenes so mysteriously enacted before his eyes. He scarcely knew what Fleta this was that stood beside him. And yet he knew he loved her though he distrusted her! With each moment that he passed by her side he worshipped her more completely, and the disbelief interfered less and less with his proud joy in being admitted to her intimacy.

“Now,” said Fleta, “I want you to do a new thing. I want you to exercise your will and compel my servants who have been pleasing us with phantasies, to show us a phantasy of your own creation. You can do this very well, if you will. It only needs that you shall not doubt you can do it. Ah! how quickly does the act follow the thought!” She uttered the last words with a little cry of amused pleasure. For the dim shadows had rapidly masked the stage and then again withdrawn, leaving the figure of Fleta very clearly visible, beautiful and passionate, her face alight with love, held clasped in Hilary’s arms, her lips pressed close to his.

The real Fleta who sat beside him rose now with a shake of her head, and a laugh which was not all gay. The shadows closed instantly over the stage, and a moment later the illusion was all destroyed and the solid wall was there before Hilary’s eyes. He had become so accustomed to witness the marvellous inside this room that he did not pause to wonder; he followed Fleta as she crossed to the door, and tried to attract her attention.

“Forgive me, my Princess,” he murmured over and over again.

“Oh, you are forgiven,” she said at last lightly. “You have not offended, so it is easy for me to forgive. I do not think a man can help what is in his heart; at all events, no ordinary man can. And you, Hilary, have consented to be like the rest. Are you content?”

“No!” he answered, instantly. And as he spoke he understood for the first time the fever that had stirred him all through his short bright 128life. “Content! How should I be? Moreover, is not our star the star of restlessness and action?”

For the first time, Fleta turned on him a glance of real tenderness and emotion. When he said the words “our star,” it seemed as if he had touched her heart.

“Ah!” she said, “How sorely I long for a companion!”

Then she turned from him very abruptly, and almost before he knew she had moved she had opened the door, and was standing outside waiting for him. “Come!” she said impatiently. He followed her immediately, for he had no choice but to do so; yet he was disappointed. He was more deeply disappointed when he found that she led the way with swift steps into the room where her aunt sat. Arrived there, Fleta threw herself into a chair, took up a great golden fan and began to fan herself, while she talked about the gossip of the Court. The change was so sudden that for some moments Hilary could not follow her. He stood bewildered, till the aunt pushed a low chair towards him; and he felt then that the old lady was not surprised at his manner, but only sorry for him. And then suddenly the cynic re-asserted itself in his heart. A thought that bit like flame suddenly started into life. Had the bewildered emotion that had been, as he knew, visible on his face, been seen on others before; was Fleta not only playing with him, but playing with him as she had played with many another lover? The thought was more hateful than any he had ever suffered from; it wounded his vanity, which was more tender and delicate than his heart.

Fleta gave him no opportunity of anything but talk such as seemed in her stately presence too trivial to be endured, and so at last he rose and went his way. Fleta did not accompany him to the gate this time. She left him to go alone, and he felt as if she had withdrawn her favour in some degree; and yet perhaps that was foolish, he told himself, for after all, both he and she had said too much to-day.

Fleta was betrothed. She had been betrothed at her christening. Before long her marriage would take place; and then that crown seen in the vision would be placed on her head. Had it needed the vision to bring that fact to his mind, asked Hilary of himself? If so, ’twas time, he bitterly added, for Fleta was not a woman who was likely to give up a crown for the sake of love! His heart rose fiercely within him as he thought of all this. Why had she tempted him to speak of love? For surely he never would have dared to so address her had she not tempted him; so he thought.

If he could have seen Fleta now! As soon as he left the room she had risen and slowly moved back to her laboratory. Entered there, she drew away a curtain which concealed a large mirror let deep into the wall. She did this resolutely, yet as if reluctantly. Immediately her gaze became fixed on the glass. She saw Hilary’s figure within it moving on his way towards the city. She read his thoughts and his heart. At 129last she dropped the curtain with a heavy sigh, and let her arms fall at her side with a gesture that seemed to mean despair; certainly it meant deep dejection. And presently some great tears dropped upon the floor at her feet

None, since Fleta was born, had seen her shed tears.

CHAPTER IV.

Father Amyot on the next morning sent a message to Hilary praying him to come and see him. This Hilary did at once, and in much perplexity as to what the reason of such a summons could be. He went straight to the Cathedral, for there he knew the ascetic priest passed all his time. He found him, as he expected, prostrate before the altar, and almost in the same attitude he had seen him in yesterday. Horribly too it reminded him of the attitude of that figure lying on the floor of Fleta’s laboratory when he had entered it. He had to touch Father Amyot to attract his attention; then at once the priest rose and led the way out of the Cathedral into the cloisters, which joined it to the monastery close at hand. He went on, without speaking, his head drooped. Hilary could but follow. At last they reached a bare cell in which was no furniture but a crucifix and a perpetual lamp burning before it, and against the wall a bench.

Here Father Amyot sat down, and he motioned with his hand to Hilary to sit beside him.

Then he fell into a profound reverie; and Hilary watching him, wondered much what was in his mind. Was Fleta even now working her spells upon him and moulding his thoughts according to her will?

It almost seemed like it, for her name was the first word he uttered “The Princess Fleta,” he commenced, “is about to go upon a long and dangerous journey.”

Hilary started and turned his face away, for he knew that he had turned pale. Was she really going to leave the city! How unexpected! how terrible!

“In a very short time,” went on Father Amyot, “the Princess will be married and she has a mission which she desires to accomplish before her wedding, and she says that you can assist her in this. It is for the fulfilment of this mission that she is undertaking the journey I speak of; supposing you should agree to help her you would have to accompany her.”

Hilary made no answer. He had no answer ready. His breath was taken away and he could not recover it all in an instant. The whole thing seemed incredible; he felt it to be impossible; and yet a conviction was already falling on him that it would take place.

“Of course,” resumed Father Amyot, seeing that Hilary was not disposed to speak, “you will want to know your errand, you will want to 130know why you are going on this journey. This it will be impossible for you to know. The Princess does not choose to inform any one of what her errand is.”

“Not even the person whom she says can help her?” exclaimed Hilary in amazement

“Not even you.”

“Well,” said Hilary rising with a gesture of indignation, “let her find some one else to go blindly in her wake. I am not the man.”

So saying he walked across the cell to the doorway, forgetting even to say good-bye to Father Amyot.

But the priest’s voice arrested him.

“You would travel alone, save for one attendant.”

Hilary turned and faced the priest in amazement.

“Oh, impossible!” he exclaimed, “——yet it is true.”

To Hilary the cynic, the thing suddenly assumed an intelligible form. Fleta wanted to take a journey in which she would prefer a companion because of its danger; yet she could not give her confidence to any one. She proposed to herself to use his love for her; she offered him her society as a bribe to take care of her, to ask no questions and tell no tales. The idea did not please him.

“I have heard of princesses risking anything, relying on the power of their position; I have heard that the royal caprice is not to be measured by the reason of other men and women. Perhaps it is so. But Fleta! I thought her different even from her own family.”

These were the first thoughts that came into his mind. His ready conclusion was that Fleta was willing that he should be her lover if he would be her servant also. But immediately afterwards came the fair vision of Fleta herself in her white robes, and with the face of a priestess. Her purpose was inscrutable, like herself. He confessed this as he stood there, surging doubts in his mind. And then suddenly a fragrance came across his sense—a strong perfume, that he associated with Fleta’s dress—and next a breath of incense. His brain grew dizzy; he staggered back and leaned against the wall. He no longer appeared to himself to be in Father Amyot’s cell—he was in Fleta’s laboratory, and her hand touched his face, her breath was on his brow. Ah, what madness of joy to be with her! To travel with her, to be her associate and companion to pass all the hours of the day by her side. Suddenly he roused himself, and, starting forward, approached Father Amyot.

“I will go,” he said.

“It will cost you dear,” said the priest. “Think again before you decide.”

“It is useless to think,” cried Hilary. “Why should I think? I feel—and to feel is to live.”

Father Amyot seemed not to hear his words. He was apparently already buried in prayer. Evidently he had said all that he intended to 131say; and Hilary, after a glance at him, turned and left the cell. He knew the priest’s moods too well to speak again, when once that deep cloud of profound abstraction had descended on his face.

He went away, passing back as he had come, through the Cathedral. At the high altar he paused an instant, and then knelt and murmured a prayer. It was one he had learned, and he scarce attached any meaning to the familiar words. But it comforted him to feel that he had prayed, be it never so meaningless a prayer. For Hilary had been reared in all the habits of the devout Catholic.

Then he went out and took his way towards the Garden House, walking with long strides. He was determined to know the truth, and that at once. Amid all the brilliant men who crowded her father’s Court was he indeed the only one who could touch her heart? An hour ago he would have laughed at any one who had told him he had touched it; yet now he believed he had. And what intoxication that belief was! For the first time he began to feel the absolute infatuation of love. And looking back it seemed to him that an hour ago he had not loved Fleta—that he had never loved her till this minute.

He found her standing at the gate, among the flowers. She was dressed in white, and some crimson roses were fastened at her neck. Her face was like a child’s, full of gaiety and gladness. Hilary’s heart bounded with the delight it gave him to see her like this. She opened the gate for him, and together they walked towards the house.

“I have been to see Father Amyot,” said Hilary. “He sent for me this morning.”

“Yes,” answered Fleta, quietly. “He had a message to you from me. Are you willing to undertake a tiresome task for one you know so little?”

“My Princess,” murmured Hilary, bending his head as he spoke.

“But not your Queen,” said Fleta, with a laugh full of the glorious insolence only possible to one who had the royal blood in her veins, and knew that a crown was waiting for her.

“Yes, my Queen,” said Hilary.

“If you call me that,” said Fleta, quickly, and in a different tone, “you recognise a royalty not recognised by courtiers.”

“Yes,” replied Hilary simply.

“The royalty of power,” added Fleta, significantly, and with a penetrating look into his eyes.

“Call it what you will,” answered Hilary, “you are my Queen. From this hour I give allegiance.”

“Be it so,” said Fleta, with a light girlish laugh, “Be ready then, tomorrow at noon. I will tell you where to meet me. I will send a message in the morning.”

Suddenly a recollection crossed Hilary’s mind which had hitherto been blotted out from it. “My mother,” he said.

132“Oh,” said Fleta, “I have been to see Madame Estanol. My father goes into the country to-day and she believes you go with him. She is glad you should join the Court.”

“Strange,” said Hilary, unthinkingly, “for she has always set her face against it.” Then the smile on Fleta’s face made him think his words foolish.

“It is as my Queen orders. Seemingly, men and women obey her even in their inmost hearts.”

“No,” said Fleta, with a sigh, “that is just what they do not! It is that power which I have yet to obtain. They obey me, yes, but against the dictates of their inmost hearts. If you really loved me, we could obtain that power; but you are like the others. You do not love me with your inmost heart!”

“I do not!” exclaimed Hilary, in amazement, stunned by her words.

“No,” she answered, mournfully, “you do not. If you really loved me you would not calculate chances and risks, you would not consider whether I am profligate or virtuous, whether I am my father’s daughter or a child of the stars! I tell you, Hilary Estanol, if you were capable of loving me truly, you might find your way to the gods with me and even sit among them. But it is not so with you. You vacillate even in your love. You cannot give yourself utterly. That means grief to you, for you cannot find perfect pleasure in a thing which you take doubtingly and give but by halves. Still you shall travel with me; and you shall be my companion and friend. There is none other to whom I would give this chance. How do you think you will reward me? Oh, I know too well. Go now, but be ready when I send for you.”

So saying she turned and went into the house, leaving him in the garden. For a few moments he stood there embarrassed, not knowing which way to turn or what to do. But he was not annoyed or disturbed, as his vanity might have led him to be at another time, by such cavalier treatment.treatment. He was aghast, horrified. Was this the girl he loved! this tyrant, this proud spirit, this strange woman, who before he had wooed her reproached him with not loving her enough! Within him lurked a conventional spirit, strong under all circumstances, even those of the most profound emotion, and Fleta’s whole conduct shocked and distressed that spirit so that it groaned, and more, upbraided him with his mad love. But the fierce growth of that love could not be checked. He might suffer because it lived, but he was not strong enough to kill it.

He turned and walked away from the house and slowly returned to the city. He was ashamed and disheartened. His love seemed to disgrace him. He had entertained lofty ideas which now were discarded for ever. For he knew that to-morrow he would start upon a long journey, the end of which was to him unknown, by the side of a girl whom 133he could never marry, yet of whom he was the avowed lover. Well, be it so. Hilary began to look at these things from a fatalistic point of view; his weakness led him to shrug his shoulders and say that his fate was stronger than himself. So he went home gloomily yet with a burning and feverish heart. He immediately set to work making ready for his departure for an indefinite period. His mother he found was prepared for this, as Fleta had told him; and more—seemed to regard Fleta as a kind of gentle goddess who had brought good fortune into his path.

“I have always resisted the idea of your hanging about the Court,” she said, “but it is different if indeed the King wishes to have you with him. That must lead to your obtaining some honourable post. What I dreaded was your becoming a mere useless idler. And I am glad you are going into the country, dear, for you are looking very pale and quite ill.”

Hilary assented tacitly and without comment to the deceit with which Fleta had paved the way for him.

(To be continued.)
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“Spirituality is not what we understand by the words ‘virtue’ or ‘goodness.’ It is the power of perceiving formless, spiritual essences.”—(Jasper Niemand in the “Path.”)

“The discovery and right use of the true essence of Being—this is the whole secret of life.”—(Jasper Niemand in the “Path.”)


Desire Made Pure.

When desire is for the purely abstract—when it has lost all trace or tinge of “self”—then it has become pure.

The first step towards this purity is to kill out the desire for the things of matter, since these can only be enjoyed by the separated personality.

The second is to cease from desiring for oneself even such abstractions as power, knowledge, love, happiness, or fame; for they are but selfishness after all.

Life itself teaches these lessons; for all such objects of desire are found Dead Sea fruit in the moment of attainment. This much we learn from experience. Intuitive perception seizes on the positive truth that satisfaction is attainable only in the infinite; the will makes that conviction an actual fact of consciousness, till at last all desire is centred on the Eternal.

134

THOUGHTS ON THEOSOPHY.

“The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life,” this is the keynote of all true reform. Theosophy is the vehicle of the spirit that gives life, consequently nothing dogmatic can be truly theosophical.

It is incorrect, therefore, to describe a mere unearthing of dead letter dogmas as “Theosophic work.”

When a word, phrase, or symbol, having been once used for the purpose of suggesting an idea new to the mind or minds being operated on, is insisted upon irrespective of the said idea, it becomes a dead letter dogma and loses its vitalising power, and serves rather as an obstruction to, than as vehicle of the spirit; but, alas, this insistanceinsistance upon the letter is too often carried on under the honoured name of “Theosophy.”

A man cannot acquire an idea new to him unless it grows in his mind.

The mere familiarity with the sound of a word, or a phrase, or the mere familiarity with the appearance of a symbol, does not, of necessity, involve the possession of the idea properly associated with the said word, phrase or symbol. To insist, therefore, on the contrary cannot be theosophical; but would be better described as untheosophical.

It would certainly be theosophical work to point out kindly and temperately how certain words, phrases and symbols appear to have been misunderstood or misapplied, how various claims and professions may be excessive or confused as a consequence of ignorance or vanity, or both. But it is quite another thing to condemn a man or a body of men outright, for certain errors in judgment or action; even though they were the result of vanity, greed or hypocrisy; indeed such wholesale condemnation would, on the contrary, be untheosophical.

The one eternal, immutable law of life alone can judge and condemn a man absolutely. “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.”

Were I asked how I would dare attempt “to dethrone the gods, overthrow the temple, destroy the law which feeds the priests and props the realm; I should answer as the Buddha is made to answer in the Light of Asia: ‘What thou bidst me keep is form which passes while the free truth stands; get thee to thy darkness.’”

“What good gift hath my brother but it comes from search and strife (inward) and loving sacrifice.”

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135

Correspondence


ARE THE TEACHINGS ASCRIBED TO JESUS CONTRADICTORY?

There are none so blind as those who won’t see, excepting those who can’t!

In Light, for September 10th, there is a letter from Dr. Wyld, who writes as follows: “In the last number of Light there is a quotation from the Spiritual Reformer in which the writer shows the absurdity of the idea that Jesus was not an historic being. But while thanking the writer for this contribution, I would take the strongest objection to his assertion that many of Christ’s teachings are contradictory and mistaken. This is an assertion occasionally made by Spiritualists, and whenever I have met with it I have asked for evidence of the assertion, but hitherto I have received none.”

But that might surely have been easily supplied. Here, for example, are a few very direct contradictions in the speaker’s own words. Every one knows how secret were the teachings in their nature; how secretly they were conveyed in private places apart; how secretly his secrets were to be kept; and yet in presence of the High Priest Jesus makes the astounding declaration: “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues; and in secret spake I nothing.”—John xviii. 20.

Jesus, in keeping with the mythical character, is made to claim equality and identity with the Father. He says (John x. 30), “I and my Father are one;” but in the same book (John xiv. 28), he says, “The Father is greater than I”—(Cf. Matthew xxiv. 36.) Again, he claims superiority over his Father. “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son. As I hear I judge” (John v. 22, 30). And then in the same gospel he says, “I judge no man,” (John viii. 15.) “If any man hear my words and believe not, I judge him not; for I came not to judge the world,” (John xii. 47). Again, “I am one that bear witness of myself. Though I bear witness of myself, yet my record is true,” (John viii. 14, 18); which is contradicted by (John v. 31) “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.” He says (John v. 33, 34) that “John bare witness unto the truth, but I receive not testimony from man,” and then tells the disciples, who are supposed to have been men, that “they also shall bear witness” to or of him (John xv. 27). Again he says, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works,” (Matthew v. 16). But “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men to be seen of them.” (Matthew vi. 1).

Resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also,” (Matthew v. 39); for “all that take the sword, shall perish with the sword,” (Matthew xxvi. 52). Nevertheless, “He that hath no sword let him sell his garment and buy one,” (Luke xxii. 36). “I came not to send Peace but a Sword,” (Matthew x. 34). “Be not afraid of them that kill the body,” (Luke xii. 4). Nevertheless “Jesus would not walk in Jewry because the Jews sought to kill him,” (John vii. 1).

136I merely ask, for the sake of information, are these statements contradictory or are they not?

I will but offer one or two specimens of the more serious and fundamental contradictions in the olla podrida of teaching assigned to Jesus. The teaching of the alleged founder of Christianity in the Gospel according to Matthew (ch. xix. 12), is that of the Saboi, the self-mutilators, who are still extant as the Russian Skoptsi[27] and who emasculate themselves to save their spermatic souls, as Origen is reputed to have done. Jesus is made to say, “There are Eunuchs which made themselves Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” And then in the opening verses of the very next chapter, the same teacher says, “Suffer little children and forbid them not, to come unto me; for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” But those who became Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven’s sake could not be suffering the little children to come unto him or to them. They would be forbidding them to come at all. If the Kingdom of Heaven be such as the children of Eunuchs it must be non-extant. As Hood’s deaf shopman said of the crackers going off, there were so many reports he did not know which to believe.

And where is the sense of talking so much nonsense about the “Golden Rule” or the Divine humanity on behalf of one who carried on the blindest warfare against human nature itself? Who declared that “If any man come to me and hate not his father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke xiv. 26). And who promised that every follower of his who “left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the Kingdom of God’s sake should receive manifold more in the present and in the world to come life everlasting.” Well may the grateful Musselman cry in his adorations, “Thank God OUR Father has no Son!

But, I do not charge these contradictory sayings and teachings to any personal character. The collectors are but making use of the Kurios, the Lord of the pre-Christian Mythos, the mystical Christ of the Gnostics, as a puppet to represent them and their divers doctrines. They make the human image of a God of Love to be the preacher of everlasting punishment, and the bearer of a fan with which he fans the fires of hell; a false foreteller of that which never came to pass, and the forerunner of a fulfilment which did not follow. In short, they make this Marionette Messiah dance to any particular tune they play.

Jesus is posed as the original revealer of a father in Heaven, whereas the doctrine of the Divine Fatherhood was taught in three different Egyptian Cults during some four thousand years previously.

Dr. Wyld implies that I deny the existence of a personal Jesus. That is the misrepresentation of ignorance. But the sole historical Jesus acknowledged by me is the only one who was ever known to the Jews, to Celsus, to Epiphanius, as the descendant of Joseph Pandira, he, who according to Irenæus, lived to be over fifty years of age.

This, I admit, was not the kind of Jesus whom the Christians find in the Gospels and honour as a God.

The Gospel histories do not contain the biography of Ben-Pandira, the son 137of Joseph. Nor was it intended that they should. Their Jesus is the mythical Christ, the Horus of 12 years, and the adult Horus of 30 years; the Lord of the age, Æon or Cycle, who came and went, and was to come again for those who possessed the Gnosis.

Another writer in Light, a week earlier, could not understand how any one can deny the personal existence of the “Historical Christ!”

The Historical Christ! You might as well demand our belief in the historical Chronos—Time, in person—or the historical Ghost, in man or out of him. If the writer knew anything of the pre-Christian Spiritualism—anything of the true nature or even the meaning of the name—he would perceive the Historic Impossibility of the personal Christ. An “Historical Christ” is as much a nonentity as the historical Mrs. Harris. But, cui bono? I have no hope in these matters of any orthodox Christian Spiritualists. They have to learn the primary lesson, at last, that Historic Christianity was not founded on our facts until it had buried them! That it was the negation of Gnosticism, the antithesis of phenomenal Spiritualism. That it substituted faith for facts; a physical resurrection for a spiritual continuity, and a corporeal Christ for the trans-corporeal man.

The Christian Revelation leaves no room for modern Spiritualism, and they are logically, truly Christians who reject it! It recognises no other rising again except at the last day, and then only for the few who believed in Jesus (John vi. 40). The Christians have no other world but one at the end of this; no other spirits extant excepting their physical Christ and the devil.

People who will see nothing contradictory in direct opposites, no difference betwixt black and white, but rather the necessary duality of antiphonal truth, who can accept a misinterpretation of mythology for the Word of God, are of little account as witnesses for Spiritualism. They who tell a story about the whale swallowing Jonah are not likely to be credited when they come with another that looks very like Jonah swallowing the whale. Professed believers in the literal truth of the Gospel fables are of necessity “Suspects” as witnesses for abnormal and extraordinary facts.

Pointing to his antagonist on the platform, O’Connel once enquired of his audience, “Can ye believe a single word that a gentleman says who wears a waistcoat of that colour?” It was yellow, and they couldn’t.

What is the use of taking your “Bible oath” that this thing is true, if the Book you are sworn upon is a magazine of falsehoods already exploded or just going off?

Moreover, the Christian Priesthood has been preaching through all these centuries that the dead do not return; and the living have believed them.

Dr. Sprenger has calculated that nine million persons have been put to death as Witches, Wizards, or Mediums, since 1484, when Pope Innocent VIII. issued his Bull against Spiritualism and all its practices, which were considered to be the works of the devil.

Besides, if the Christian scheme of damnation be true, as assigned to the teaching of Jesus, no humane person should want to know that there is any hereafter.

Spiritualism can make no headway where it has to draw after it this dead weight of a tail.

138Christian Spiritualism also ostentatiously proclaims that it has nothing in the world to do with “Woman’s Rights,” “Vaccination,” or any such merely human interests. It would seek to create an interest in another life, whilst ignoring the vital interests of this. But that is to sign its own death-warrant and to seal its own speedy doom. This is to repeat the mistake and follow the failure of the Christian system of saving souls for another life whilst allowing them to be damned in this. At the same time, it would drag Spiritualism into the bankrupt business of Historic Christianity and bind up a third testament to save the other two, as a sort of Trinity in Unity. But as a system of thought, of religion, or morals and a mode of interpreting nature, Historic Christianity is moribund and cannot be saved, or resuscitated by transfusion of new blood into it; not if you bled Spiritualism to death in trying to give it a little new life. They try in vain to make our phenomena guarantee the miracles of mythology as spiritual realities. They try in vain to tether the other world in this and make it draw for the fraudulent old faith. They keep on jumping up and down to persuade themselves and others that they are free. But it is only a question of length of chain, for those who are still fettered fast at foot upon the ancient standing-ground.

I have not answered the writer in the paper quoted by Light, and approved by Dr. Wyld, for the reason that his acquaintance with my data was too limited to make discussion profitable or useful. Those data are already presented in accessible books and pamphlets, and there is no need for me to repeat them in reply to him. Those who undertake to write on so perplexing a subject ought to be able to illuminate it and enlighten their opponents. The problems are not to be solved by any amount of personal simplicity. I am always ready to meet any competent and well-informed defender of the faith upon the platform or in the press. I should prefer it to be a bishop, who is also an Egyptologist. But beggars are not allowed to be choosers. I am prepared at any time to demonstrate the entirely mythical and mystical origin of the Christ, and the non-spiritual, non-historical beginnings of the vast complex called Christianity.

Gerald Massey.

[Any “Bishop Egyptologist,” or even Assyriologist, of whom we have heard there are not a few in England, is cordially invited to defend his position in the pages of Lucifer. The “Son of the Morning” is the Light-Bearer, and welcomes light from every quarter of the globe.—Ed.]


[Note.—As Lucifer cannot concur in the exclusively exoteric view, taken by Mr. Massey, of this allegorical, though none the less philosophical, scripture, the next number will contain an article dealing with the esoteric meaning of the New Testament.—Ed.]

TO THE AUTHOR OF “LIGHT ON THE PATH.”

There is a sentence in your “Comments” which has haunted me with a sense of irritation: “To obtain knowledge by experiment is too tedious a method for those who aspire to do real work,” &c. Have we any knowledge, of whatever sort, that has been of use in the world, which has been obtained otherwise than experimentally? By patient and persistent toil of sifting and testing, we have obtained the little knowledge that is of service to us. Is there such a 139thing as “certain intuition”? Has intuitive knowledge, if such there be, been accepted as positive knowledge until it has been submitted to the test of experiment? Would it be right that it should be? Your illustration of the “determined workman” brings the question down (as I think the question should be brought) to the plane of practice. Is there any workman who can know his tools until he has tried them? Is not the history of knowledge the history of intuitions put to the test of practice? Intuitions, or what we call such, seem to me quite as apt and likely to deceive us as anything in the world; we only know them for good when we have tried them.

Interrogator.

It seems to me there is some confusion in this letter between obtaining knowledge by experiment, and testing it by experiment. Edison knew that his discoveries were only things to look for, and he tested his knowledge by experiment. The actual work of great inventors is the bringing of intuitive knowledge on to the plane of practice by applying the test of experiment. But all inventors are seers; and some of them having died without being able to put into practice the powers which they knew existed in Nature were considered madmen. Later on, other men are more fortunate, and re-discover the laughed-at knowledge. This is an old and familiar story, but we need constantly to be reminded of it. How often have great musicians or great artists been regarded as “infant prodigies” in their childhood? They have intuitive knowledge of that power of which they are chosen interpreters, and experiment is only necessary in order to find out how to give that which they know to others.

Intuitive knowledge in reference to the subjects with which I have been dealing must indeed be tested by experiment; and it is the whole purpose of “Light on the Path” itself, and the “Comments” to urge men to test their knowledge in this way. But the vital difference between this and material forms of knowledge is that for all occult purposes a man must obtain his own knowledge before he can use it. There are many subjects of time content to linger on through æons of slow development, and pass the threshold of eternity at last by sheer force of the great wheel of life with which they move; possibly during their interminable noviciate, they may obtain knowledge by experiment and with well-tested tools. Not so the pioneer, the one who claims his divine inheritance now. He must work as the great artists, the great inventors have done; obtain knowledge by intuition, and have such sublime faith in his own knowledge that his life is readily devoted to testing it.

But for this purpose the testing has to be actually done in the astral life. In a new world, where the use of the senses is a pain, how can the workman stay to test his tools? The old proverb about the good workman who never quarrels with them, however bad they are, though of course had he the choice he would use the best, applies here.

As to whether intuitive knowledge exists or no, I can only ask how came philosophies, metaphysics, mathematics into existence? All these represent a portion of abstract truth.

Before I received this letter the “Comments” for this month were written, in which, as it happens, I have spoken a great deal about intuitive knowledge. 140Therefore, I will now only quote the definition of a philosopher from Plato, which is given near the end of Book V.,—

“I mean by philosopher, the man who is devoted to the acquisition of knowledge, real knowledge, and not merely inquisitive. The more our citizens approach this temperament, the better the state will be. True knowledge in its perfection and its entirety, man cannot attain. But he can attain to a kind of knowledge of realities, if he has any knowledge at all, because he cannot know nonentities. Hence his knowledge is half-way between real knowledge and ignorance, and we must call it opinion.”

Note.—Several questions which have been received are held over to be answered next month.


To the Editors of Lucifer.

In the interesting and lucid article on “Karma” in your number of September 15th, everything seems to hinge on the theory of re-incarnation. “Very well,” says the author of that paper, “let us take the principle of re-incarnation for granted.” But is not this a rather unphilosophical way of handling a subject of such gravity? Take this or that principle for granted, and you may go about to prove anything under the sun. It is the old weakness of begging the question. Is it not this taking for granted what cannot be proved, and is not attempted to be proved, that has led astray speculators—both scientific and religious—everywhere and in every age, and is it not upon similar assumptions that the whole monstrous fabric of theology rests? Of course, in every kind of speculation one is compelled to set out with an assumption of some sort; but then the first thing the reader demands is, that the grounds shall be shown upon which the assumption rests; the assumption, whatever it be, must be made good before one can be asked to accept that which is to be raised upon it. And here comes in my question: What is the warrant or sanction for the principle of re-incarnation? What is the principle grounded upon? Do we undergo re-incarnation, and how do you know it?

Having set out with the assumption, the author does not return to it again, and at the end of the article I am as uninstructed as at the outset respecting the pivotal principle upon which all that follows seems to turn.

Interrogator.

The author of “Karma” will go into this question fully in a paper devoted entirely to the subject of re-incarnation. The two subjects are inextricably interwoven, but it was decided that to treat the two at the same time would produce too great a confusion, and offer too wide an area of speculation for the mind to grapple with. Therefore this course was adopted of taking the principle of re-incarnation for granted. It is possible that the second paper should have come first, but the two theories stand side by side, not one before the other, so that the question of precedence was a difficult one. But it is necessary, in view of this blending of the ideas, that the reader shall have the complete presentation of both before him, and then draw his conclusions. Therefore indulgence is asked until the papers dealing with each subject are completed. As many readers may have felt the same difficulty as our correspondent, we are glad to insert this letter and reply.—Ed.

141

Reviews.

THE KABBALAH UNVEILED.

Translated by S. L. Macgregor Mathers.[28]

The author of this welcome volume has supplied the present generation of students of theosophy and occultism with a text-book which has been long wanted and waited for. The “Zohar” is the great storehouse of the ancient Hebrew theosophy, supplemented by the philosophical doctrines of the mediæval Jewish Rabbis. It consists of several distinct yet allied tracts, each discussing some special branch of the subject; each tract again consists of several portions, a kernel of most ancient dogma, to which are added comments and explanations, in some cases by several hands and at very different epochs. There is sufficient proof that these kernels of dogma are remnants of one of the oldest systems of philosophy that have come down to us, and they show also intrinsic evidence that they are associated at least with the return from the Babylonish captivity. On the other hand, it is pretty certain that the Zohar, in its present form, was put together and first printed about 1558, at Mantua, and a little later in other editions at Cremona and Lublin. This Mantuan edition was a revision of the collection of tracts collected and edited in MS. form by Moses de Leon, of Guadalaxara, in Spain, about 1300; even the most hostile views of the antiquity of the Zohar grant this much, and although direct historical evidence is not forthcoming of the several steps in the course of transmission of these doctrines from ante-Roman times, yet, as aforesaid, the internal evidence is ample to show the essential origination of the specially Hebrew ideas found in the Zohar from Rabbis, more or less tinged with a Babylonish cast, who must have flourished antecedent to the building of the second Temple. The tradition of the mediæval Rabbis definitely assigned the authorship to Rabbi Schimeon ben Jochai, who lived in the reign of the Roman Emperor Titus, A.D. 70-80; and it is the claim of authorship made on his behalf that the modern critic is so fond of contesting.

The “Zohar,” or “Splendour,” or “Book of Illumination,” and the “Sepher Yetzirah” are almost the only extant books of the Kabbalah, Qbalah or Cabbala. The “Kabbalah Denudata” of Knorr von Rosenroth, is a Latin version of the former, with commentaries by himself and by certain learned Rabbis. No French and no German translation of the Zohar has ever been published, nor until the present time has any English version been printed. Eliphaz Levi has, however, paraphrased a few chapters of the “Book of Concealed Mystery,” and these have been printed in the Theosophist.

Some parts of the Zohar are written in pure Hebrew, but a large portion is in Aramaic Chaldee, and there are passages in other dialects; this variation of language adds immensely to the difficulties of an accurate translation.

Knorr von Rosenroth was a most able and compendious Hebrew savant, and 142his translation of much of the Zohar into Latin is a work of established reputation, and has been, indeed, almost the only means by which the students of our era have been able to consult Hebraic philosophy. The present revival of theosophical studies by the English speaking races has created a demand for the Kabbalah in an English dress, and hence the appearance of the present work is well timed, and will form an epoch in the history of occultism; and much good fruit will no doubt be borne by a more intimate acquaintance with Jewish lore, which will tinge the present tendency to supremacy of the Sanscrit and Hermetic forms of mysticism. There is much reason to suppose that an attentive study of each of these forms of knowledge may lead one to the Hidden Wisdom; but a skilful analogy, and an investigation into the three forms of dogma on parallel lines will give a breadth of grasp and a cosmopolitan view of the matter which should lead to a happy solution of the great problems of life in a speedy and satisfactory manner. The Kabbalah may, in concise terms, be said to teach the ancient Rabbinical doctrines of the nature and attributes of the Divinity, the cosmogony of our universe, the creation of angels and the human soul, the destiny of angels and men, the dogma of equilibrium, and the transcendental symbolism of the Hebrew letters and numerals.

Mr. Mathers, who is a most patient and persevering student, if not professor, of mystic lore, is at the same time a first-rate classical scholar, and a skilful interpreter of the Hebrew tongue, and his translation from the Latin, varied and improved by his own study of the original Chaldee, has produced an English version of the Kabbalah Denudata which is eloquent in its construction, true to its text, and lucid in its abstruseness. For the matter is abstruse, much of it, and some is practically incomprehensible to the beginner, to the world in general for certain, and perhaps to every one at the first glance. But it will be certainly perceived that those very portions which seem most extravagant at a first reading are just the passages from which later a light will arise and lead one on to a firm grasp of the subject. To take up this volume and read at odd moments is a useless and hopeless task; no progress will be made, at any rate at first, except by thoroughly abstracting one’s individuality from the things of common life; disappointment can only accompany superficial reading.

Great credit is due to the enterprise of Mr. Redway in publishing this volume, for which no very extensive sale could have been anticipated; that he has already distributed a considerable number is matter for congratulation to himself and to the public. It is hoped that his success will induce him to publish other volumes of antique lore, of which many yet remain more or less completely ignored by the present generation.

The “Siphra Dtzenioutha,” the “Idra Rabba,” and the “Idra Zuta,” included in this volume are doubtless three of the most valuable of the tracts of the Zohar, yet there are others of equal interest. The “Book of the Revolutions of Souls” is a most curious and mysterious work, and the “Asch Metzareph” is a treatise on the relations between Theosophy and the oldest alchemical ideas which are known to exist; it is a work on the Asiatic plane, on the lowest of the four kabbalistic worlds of Emanation.

143Beyond the limits of the Zohar proper, the “Sepher Yetzirah,” is a treatise which for interest and instruction cannot be surpassed.

Mr. Mathers supplies us with an introduction to the Qabalah, which stamps him as a master of the science, and although he refers us on some pages to Ginsburg (a recognised authority), yet his remarks and explanation are more deep and thorough than those published in Ginsburg’s little English pamphlet, and are more discursive and complete. My remarks on the difficulty of our subject hardly render it necessary for me to insist on the absolute necessity of a painstaking study of this introduction, which will supply in a great measure the want of a de novo education in Hebrew, and Hebrew modes of thought and expression.

Mr. Mathers justly insists on the literal rendering of the Hebrew title by the spelling Qabalah, which is no doubt correct, but lays him open to a charge of pedantry, which perhaps does not much affect him, since it would only come from superficial and possibly scoffing critics. The use of the letter Q without its usual English companion the u is sanctioned and advised, in this connection, by the learned Max Müller and other Orientalists of repute. To avoid the printing of Hebrew letters, the publisher has adopted a scheme of printing Hebrew words in English capital letters (in addition to the mode of pronunciation), after a method given by the author in tabular form. To the Hebrew scholar this gives an idea of barbarism, which is painful to the eye and sadly mars the volume, whilst it only saves the student the task of learning an alphabet of 22 letters. I differ from the author in representing the Hebrew Teth by T, while depicting the Tau by Th., the reverse would have been a closer imitation of the sounds. The Introduction includes a learned excursus upon the idea of “Negative Existence,” in which considerable light is thrown on that difficult subject; skilful definitions are added concerning the Ain, the Ain Soph, and Ain Soph Aur, answering in English to Negativity, The Limitless, and Limitless Light, the first essences of Deity. Several pages are devoted to a clear description of the Ten Sephiroth, the Numerical Conceptions of Godhead, and their explanatory titles; the Four Worlds of Emanation, and the component elements of a Human Soul; the Mysteries of the Hexagram as a type of Macroprosopus, the Most Holy Ancient One, or God the Father—and the succeeding mystery of Microprosopus, the Lesser Countenance, typified in the Pentagram and corresponding to the Christian Personality of the “Son of God,” are all explained at length. The series of references to the Ihvh the Tetragrammaton, the Concealed Name of unknown pronunciation, form a valuable dissertation. The book is supplied with nine well executed diagrams, explanatory of the Sephiroth, the sacred names, essences of the soul, and a very perfect and complete scheme of the Sephiroth in the four worlds of emanation associated with the Vision of Ezekiel. Mr. Mathers desires to call special attention to the differentiation of the Deity in the Emanations, into the female type in addition to masculine characteristics: note the idealism of the Superior HE, Binah, the Mother, and the Inferior HE, Malkuth, the Bride of Microprosopus, the Kingdom of God (the Son of God and his Bride the Church), note that Genesis i. 26, says “let Us make man in our image,” “male and female created he them;” the “us” is “Elohim,” a noun in the plural.

144The “Siphra Dtzenioutha,” or “Book of Concealed Mystery,” is the most difficult of comprehension. Mr. Mathers adds a running commentary of his own, which proves to be very valuable. It consists of five chapters; in the first are found references to the Mystical Equilibrium, the worlds of unbalanced force characterised as the Edomite kings, the Vast Countenance, Theli the Dragon, the powers of IHVH, and the essence of the female power—the Mother. The second chapter mentions the Beard of Truth, and passes on to define Microprosopus. The third chapter treats of the Beard of Microprosopus in an allegorical manner, and of the formation of the Supernal Man. An annotation follows concerning Prayer, and a curious note on the word AMEN! as composed of IHVH, and ADNI Adonai or Lord. Chapter IV. treats of the male and female essences, and has a curious note on the Hebrew letter Hé, speaking of it as female, and composed of D, Daleth, and I, Jod—a great mystery worthy of study. Chapter V. speaks of the Supernal Eden, the Heavens, the Earth, the Waters, the Giants-Nephilim in the earth, wars of the kings, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the serpent, and the houses of judgment; so that this treatise is no less discursive than abstruse.

The “Idra Rabba,” or “Greater Holy Assembly,” consisted of ten Rabbis, of whom Rabbi Schimeon was chief, and the book contains their several speeches and comments upon the doctrines laid down by Rabbi Schimeon, on a similar plan to the conversations narrated in the Book of Job. Twenty-five chapters are occupied with an allegory of the several parts of Macroprosopus, the type of God the Father; the twenty-sixth concerns the Edomite kings, the vanished creations; Chapters XXVII. to XLII. are an allegorical description of Microprosopus, the Son Deity, the V or Vau of the Tetragrammaton; Chapter XLIII. concerns the Judgments; XLIV., the Supernal Man; and XLV. is a Conclusion, in narrative form, of the passing away of three of the ten Rabbis, and the acknowledgment of R. Schimeon as chief of them all.

Very much of this descriptive volume referring to Deity is not only abstruse, but is, to the modern European, verbiage run wild; yet in this characteristic it is truly Oriental and Hebrew; some passages remind me very much of the “Song of Solomon,” there are the same exuberant and flowery outbursts of poetic imagery.

The “Idra Zuta,” or “Lesser Holy Assembly,” is a similar treatise, explanatory of the Holy powers of the Deity, ascribing honour and power to Macroprosopus, Microprosopus, AIMA the God Mother, and the Bride of God; with instructive allusions to the Prior Worlds of the so-called Edomite Kings, and the sexual aspects of Godhead. The work concludes with a narrative of the death of R. Schimeon and his burial, the whole “Idra” being his last dying declaration of doctrine.

It is noteworthy that the words of the “Smaragdime Tablet of Hermes”—“that which is below is like that which is above” occur in paragraph 388 of the Idra Rabba, and are thus introduced, “We have learned through Barietha, the tradition given forth without the Holy City.” I note also that the Mischna is mentioned in the Idra Zuta. Want of space compels me to omit all extracts from this volume, which is a matter of regret, as many passages are very eloquently written.

145A flaw in this book is the construction of the Index, which should have contained sub-headings, as well as main headings. Of what value is the entry “Microprosopus,” followed by eleven lines each of fourteen page-numbers? A score of references, sub-divided between his characteristics, his relationships, and his titles would have been of more practical use. With this exception, and when the abomination of Hebrew in English letters has been tolerated, we must acknowledge the production of a most valuable theosophical and philosophical storehouse of ancient Hebrew doctrine, on which Mr. MacGregor Mathers may be heartily congratulated.

W. Wynn Westcott, M.B.

“AN ADVENTURE AMONG THE ROSICRUCIANS.”

By a Student of Occultism.[29]

A strange and original little story, charmingly fantastic, but full of poetic feeling and, what is more, of deep philosophical and occult truths, for those who can perceive the ground-work it is built upon. A fresh Eclogue of Virgil in its first part, descriptive of Alpine scenery in the Tyrol, where the author “dreamt” his adventure, with “shining glaciers glistening like vast mirrors in the light of the rising sun,” deep ravines with rushing streams dancing between the cliffs, blue lakes slumbering among the meadows, and daisy-sprinkled valleys resting in the shadow of old pine forests.

Gradually as the hero of the “Adventure” ascended higher and higher, he began losing the sense of the world of the real, to pass unconsciously into the land of waking dreams.

“In these solitudes there is nothing to remind one of the existence of man, except occasionally the sawed-off trunk of a tree, showing the destructive influence of human activity. In some old, rotten, and hollow trunks rain-water has collected, sparkling in the sun like little mirrors, such as may be used by water-nymphs, and around their edges mushrooms are growing, which our imagination transforms into chairs, tables, and baldachinos for elves and fairies.... No sound could now be heard, except occasionally the note of a titmouse and the cry of a hawk who rose in long-drawn spiral motion high up into the air....”

Throwing himself upon the moss, he begins watching the play of the water until it becomes “alive with forms of the most singular shape,” with super-mundane beings dancing in the spray, “shaking their heads in the sunshine and throwing off showers of liquid silver from their waving locks.”...

“Their laughter sounded like that of the Falls of Minnehaha, and from the crevices of the rocks peeped the ugly faces of gnomes and kobolds, watching slyly the fairies.”

Then the dreamer asks himself a variety of questions of the most perplexing nature, except, perhaps, to the materialist, who cuts every psychological problem as Alexander cleft the Gordian knot....

“What is the reason that we imagine such things?” he inquires.

“Why do we endow ‘dead’ things with human consciousness and with sensation?... Is our consciousness merely a product of the organic activity of our physical body, or is it a function 146of the universal life ... within the body? Is our personal consciousness dependent for its existence on the existence of the physical body, and does it die with it; or is there a spiritual consciousness, belonging to a higher, immortal, and invisible self of man, temporarily connected with the organism, but which may exist independently of the latter? If such is the case, if our physical organism is merely an instrument through which our consciousness acts, then this instrument is not our real self. If this is true, then our real self is there where our consciousness exists, and may exist independently of the latter.... Can there be any dead matter in the Universe? Is not even a stone held together by the ‘cohesion’ of its particles, and attracted to the earth by ‘gravitation’? But what else is this ‘cohesion’ and ‘gravitation’ but energy, and what is ‘energy’ but the soul, an interior principle called force, which produces an outward manifestation called matter?... All things possess life, all things possess soul, and there may be soul-beings ... invisible to our physical senses, but which may be perceived by our soul.” (p. 19.)

The arch-druid of modern Hylo-Idealism, Dr. Lewins, failing to appear to rudely shake our philosopher out of his unscientific thoughts, a dwarf appears in his stead. The creature, however, does not warn the dreamer, as that too-learned Idealist would. He does not tell him that he transcends “the limits of the anatomy of his conscious Ego,” since “psychosis is now diagnosed by medico-psychological symptomatology as vesiculo-neurosis in activity,”[30] and—as quoth the raven—“merely this, and nothing more.” But being a cretin, he laughingly invites him to his “Master.”

The hero follows, and finds he is brought to a “theosophical monastery,” in a hidden valley of the most gorgeous description. Therein he meets, to his surprise, with adepts of both sexes; for, as he learns later:—

“What has intelligence to do with the sex of the body? Where the sexual instincts end, there ends the influence of the sex.”

Meanwhile, he is brought into the presence of a male adept of majestic appearance, who welcomes and informs him that he is among “The Brothers of the Golden and Rosy Cross.” He is invited to remain with them for some time, and see how they live. His permanent residence with them is, however, objected to. The reasons given for it are as follow:—

“There are still too many of the lower and animal elements adhering to your constitution.... They could not resist long the destructive influence of the pure and spiritual air of this place; and, as you have not yet a sufficient amount of truly spiritual elements in your organism to render it firm and strong, you would, by remaining here, soon become weak and waste away, like a person in consumption; you would become miserable instead of being happy, and you would die.”

Then follows a philosophical conversation on Will, in which the latter, in individual man, is said to become the stronger if it only uses the universal Will-Power in Nature, itself remaining passive in the Law. This sentence has to be well understood, lest it should lead the reader into the error of accepting pure mediumistic passivity as the best thing for spiritual and occult development. A phenomenon is produced on a passing cloud, into which apparent life is infused by the Master’s hand, stretched towards it; this is again explained by showing that Life is universal and identical with Will. Other phenomena still more wonderful follow; and they are all explained as being produced through natural laws, in which science will not believe. The thoughts of the student are read and answered as though his mind were an opened book. A lovely garden, full of exotic plants and luxurious palm-trees, into which he is taken, striking him as something unnatural in the Tyrolean Alps; so much 147luxury, moreover, seeming to him to disagree with the ascetic views just expressed by the adept, he is told forthwith, in answer to his unexpressed thoughts, that the garden had been erected to make his visit an agreeable one; and that it was an illusion. “All these trees and plants ... require no gardeners, ... they cost us nothing but an effort of our imagination”—he learns.

“Surely,” he said, “this rose cannot be an illusion ... or an effect of my imagination?”

“No,” answered the adept ... “but it is a product of the imagination of Nature, whose processes can be guided by the will of the adept. The whole world ... is nothing else but a world of the imagination of the Universal Mind, which is the Creator of forms....”

To exemplify the teaching, a Magnolia Tree in full blossom sixty feet high, standing at a distance, is made to look less and less dense. The green foliage fades into gray, becomes “more and more shadowy and transparent,” until “it seemed to be merely the ghost of a tree, and finally disappeared entirely from view.”

“Thus” continued the adept, “you see that tree stood in the sphere of my mind as it stood in yours. We are all living within the sphere of each other’s mind.... The Adept creates his own images; the ordinary mortal lives in the products of the imagination of others, or the imagination of nature. We live in the paradise of our own soul ... but the spheres of our souls are not narrow. They have expanded far beyond the limits of the visible bodies, and will continue to expand until they become one with the universal Soul....”

“The power of the imagination is yet too little known to mankind, else they would better beware of what they think. If a man thinks a good or an evil thought, that thought calls into existence a corresponding form or power ... which may assume density and become living ... and live long after the physical body of the man who created it has died. It will accompany his soul after death, because the creations are attracted to their creator.” (p. 83.)

Scattered hither and thither, through this little volume are pearls of wisdom.wisdom. For that which is rendered in the shape of dialogue and monologue is the fruit gathered by the author during a long research in old forgotten and mouldy, MSS. of the RosicruciansRosicrucians, or mediæval alchemists, and in the worm-eaten infoglios of unrecognized, yet great adepts of every age.

Thus when the author approaches the subject of theosophical retreats or communities—a dream cherished by many a theosophist—he is answered by the “Adept” that “the true ascetic is he who lives in the world, surrounded by its temptations; he in whose soul the animal elements are still active, craving for, the gratification of their desires and possessing the means for such gratification, but who by the superior power of his will conquers his animal self. Having attained that state he may retire from the world.... He expects no future reward in heaven; for what could heaven offer him except happiness which he already possesses? He desires no other good, but to create good for the world.”... Saith the Adept.

“If you could establish theosophical monasteries, where intellectual and spiritual development would go hand-in-hand, where a new science could be taught, based upon a true knowledge of the fundamental laws of the universe, and when, at the same time man would be taught how to obtain a mastery over himself, you would confer the greatest possible benefit upon the world. Such a convent would afford immense advantage for the advancement of intellectual research.... These convents would become centres of intelligence....”

148Then, reading the student’s thoughts:

“You mistake,” he added; “it is not the want of money which prevents us to execute the idea. It is the impossibility to find the proper kind of people to inhabit the convent after it is established. Indeed, we would be poor Alchemists if we could not produce gold in any desirable quantity ... but gold is a curse to mankind, and we do not wish to increase the curse.... Distribute gold among men, and you will only create craving for more; give them gold, and you will transform them into devils. No, it is not gold that we need; it is men who thirst after wisdom. There are thousands who desire knowledge, but few who desire wisdom.... Even many of your would-be Occultists ... have taken up their investigations merely for the purpose of gratifying idle curiosity, while others desire to pry into the secrets of nature, to obtain knowledge which they desire to employ for the attainment of selfish ends. Give us men or women who desire nothing else but the truth, and we will take care of their needs....”

And then having given a startlingly true picture of modern civilisation, and explained the occult side of certain things pertaining to knowledge, the Adept led on the student to his laboratory, where he left him for a few minutes alone. Then another adept, looking like a monk, joined him, and drew his attention to some powders, by the fumigations of which the Elementals, or “Spirits of Nature” could be made to appear. This provoked the student’s curiosity. Sure of his invulnerability in the matter of tests and temptations, he begged to be allowed to see these creatures....

Suddenly the room looked dim, and the walls of the laboratory disappeared. He felt he was in the water, light as a feather, dancing on the waves, with the full moon pouring torrents of light upon the ocean, and the beautiful Isle of Ceylon appearing in the distance. The melodious sound of female voices made him espy near to where he was three beautiful female beings. The Queen of the Undines, the most lovely of the three—for these were the longed-for Elementals—entices the unwary student to her submarine palace. He follows her, and, forgetting theosophical convents, Adepts and Occultism, succumbs to the temptation....

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Was it but a dream? It would so appear. For he awakes on the mossy plot where he had lain to rest in the morning, and from whence he had followed the dwarf. But how comes it that he finds in his button-hole the exotic lily given to him by the adept lady, and in his pocket the piece of gold transmuted in his presence by the “Master”? He rushes home, and finds on the table of his hotel-room a promised work on “The Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians,” and on its fly-leaf a few words in pencil. They ran thus:—

Friend, I regret ... I cannot invite you to visit us again for the present. He who desires to remain in the peaceful valley must know how to resist all sensual attractions, even those of the Water Queen. Study ... bring the circle into the square, mortify the metals.... When you have succeeded we shall meet again.... I shall be with you when you need me.

The work ends with the quotation from Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians, where the man caught up into Paradise (whether in the body or out of the body ... God knoweth) “heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter....”

The “adventure” is more than worth perusal.


149

TABULA BEMBINA SIVE MENSA ISIACA. THE ISIAC TABLET OF CARDINAL BEMBO. ITS HISTORY AND OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE.

By W. Wynn Westcott, M.B. Bath. R. H. Fryar, 1887.

This work is a monograph of 20 foolscap folio pages, on the celebrated Isiac Tablet. It is well and clearly printed in good-sized type on good paper, and has for frontispiece a well-executed photogravure of the Tablet itself, from a drawing made by the author some years previously. It is written in the clear style which distinguishes Dr. Westcott’s writings, and in all quotations chapter and verse are scrupulously given. Three centuries ago this Tablet greatly exercised the minds of the learned, and continued to do so till the researches of modern Egyptologists began to throw some doubt upon its authenticity as a reliable specimen of ancient Egyptian art; since which time the interest in it has gradually declined. Undoubtedly occult, as its meaning and symbolism alike are, we feel that this monograph will be of service to all lovers and students of the mystical ideas of ancient Egypt. The first thing which strikes the eye of even the most careless observer is the careful and systematic arrangement of the figures and emblems in triads, or groups of three, which system of classification prevailed in the religious symbolism of the Egyptians. The Tablet, again, is divided by transverse horizontal lines into three principal portions, Upper, Lower, and Middle, the latter being sub-divided by vertical lines into three parts, the centre of which is occupied by a throned female figure, flanked on each side by a triad, of which the central figure in each instance is seated. Thus the Upper and Lower portions of the Tablet give each a Dodecad sub-divided into Triads, while the central portion forms a Heptad. This at once corresponds to the symbolism of the ספר יצירה, Sepher Yetzirah, Chapter VI., § 3. “The Triad, the Unity which standeth one and alone, the Heptad divided into Three as opposed to Three and the Centre Mediating between them, the Twelve which stand in war ... the Unity above the Triad, the Triad above the Heptad, the Heptad above the Dodecad and they are all bound together each with each.”

Commencing with a description of the Tablet, Dr. Westcott gives as much as is known of its history, quoting from Kircher, Keysler, Murray, and others. It appears that it was first discovered in Rome, at a spot where a Temple of Isis had once stood. After the sack of Rome by the Constable De Bourbon, it fell into the hands of a smith, who sold it to Cardinal Bembo for a large sum. At his death it came into the possession of the Dukes of Mantua, at the taking of which city in 1630, it passed into the hands of Cardinal Pava. It is now in the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities at Turin. The dimensions are 4 ft. 2 in., by 2 ft. 5½ in. Thus its experiences during the last few centuries have been rather stormy.

After mentioning Æneas De Vico and Pignorius, Dr. Westcott gives us an extensive digest of the views of Athanasius Kircher, from whose plate in the 150“Œdipus Ægyptiacus” the photogravure at the commencement is taken. Kircher undoubtedly more nearly grasped the esoteric design of the tablet than any one except Eliphas Levi, and his attempted explanation marks him alike as a profound scholar and an advanced mystic, notwithstanding the great disadvantages with which he had to contend in the utter ignorance of Egyptology as it is now understood, which prevailed at the date at which he wrote.

Quotations and notes from Montfauçon, Shuckford, Warburton, Jablonski, Caylus, Banier, Mackenzie, Kenealy, and Winckelman follow the excerpts from Kircher, and we then come to the views of modern Egyptologists on the subject, notably those of Professor Le Page Renouf as expressed to Dr Westcott in person. The reasons they assign for doubting the authenticity of the Tablet are briefly these:—that they consider the execution of the work stamps it as a Roman production; that the hieroglyphics will not read so as to make sense; that the running pattern with the masks would never have been employed by an Egyptian; and that some of the best known Egyptian deities are conspicuous by their absence. In answer to these attacks Dr. Westcott wisely remarks that “it is a gross absurdity to suppose that any man capable of designing such a tablet, over which immense energy, research, and knowledge must have been expended, to say nothing of the skill displayed in its execution, should have wasted his abilities in perpetrating a gigantic hoax; for that is, I suppose, what some modern writers mean who call it a ‘forgery’; but a forgery is a deceitful imitation. How it can be called an imitation considering that its special character is that of being different to any other Stelé or Tablet known is not clear; and how it can be a deceit is also incomprehensible, since it bears no name or date purporting to refer it to a definite author or period.”

On page 16 Dr. Westcott observes that the Four Genii of the Dead are conspicuous by their absence, but he seems to overlook their representation in figure 41 of the Limbus, where the sepulchral vases beneath the couch have, as usual, the heads of the Genii of the Dead.

A quotation, together with a plate from Levi’s “Histoire de la Magie,” follows this, together with a disquisition on the Taro, which has so much exercised occult students of late. Altogether the book is an extremely interesting production, and Dr. Westcott puts forward his own views on the subject with much clearness.


151

EARTH’S EARLIEST AGES
AND THEIR CONNECTION WITH MODERN SPIRITUALISM AND THEOSOPHY.

By G. H.G. H. Pember, M.A. (Hodder & Stoughton).

To meet with a book like this in the last quarter of the nineteenth century is like meeting a Pterodactyl strolling along the Row in the height of the season. But more careful perusal, while augmenting the reader’s wonder, mingles with it a certain respect for the writer’s courage and unflinching logic.

Granting his fundamental premiss—the verbal inspiration of the Bible—and accepting his first principle of interpretation, his argument is at least consistent, and is weakened by no half-hearted pandering to the facts of experience or the discoveries of science.

To quote Mr. Pember’s primary canon, he assumes—

I. “That the first chapter of Genesis, equally with those which follow it, is, in its primary meaning, neither vision nor allegory, but plain history, and must, therefore, be accepted as a literal statement of facts.”

On this basis he gives an interpretation of Genesis, the main idea of which is the interposition of “The Interval” between the creation and the “Six Days” described in the text. During this period the earth was wholly given over to Satan and his host, and the “Six Days” creation was, according to Mr. Pember, the restoration and reformation of the world from this chaos of confusion.

But space forbids to follow the author into details, since one-half of his volume is devoted to the subject indicated in its sub-title, and this portion is of greater interest to readers of Lucifer.

As an accurate and thorough student of the work of those he condemns, Mr. Pember stands unrivalled. He has both read and understood a very large part of the literature of Theosophy and Spiritualism. His quotations are fair and well chosen, his comments strictly moderate in tone and entirely free from any personal animus. And these traits are the more surprising since the author has certainly got the “Powers of the Air” very much on the brain. It is hardly even a rhetorical expression to say that it is his firm and unshakeable conviction, that all persons who do not hold the same views of Biblical criticism and Scriptural exegesis as Mr. Pember, are, to the extent of their difference from him, serving the Powers of Evil, the Personal Devil, the Antichrist, whose coming he expects in the very near future.

On this point only Mr. Pember does not seem to have the courage of his opinions; perhaps he does not see, or seeing does not realise, the inevitable conclusion to which his arguments point. But then he may, after all, take refuge in the famous credo quia absurdum.

The author, moreover, is sure to meet with scant sympathy even from the materialists to whom he is most nearly allied in thought. For he accepts, en bloc, the phenomena and wonders of spiritualism as of occultism, and never attempts even to question their reality. Meanwhile, he believes in the 152resurrection of the physical body after death, in a physical kingdom of Christ upon earth, and so on. Indeed, his views are the most remarkable compound of pure materialism and wholesale acceptance of the psychic and so-called supernatural that have ever appeared in print.

To sum up, a few passages may be quoted to give an idea of the spirit of Mr. Pember’s treatment of this part of the subject, which at the same time will be the most telling criticism of his book to the minds of those who have grasped the ideas of which he speaks.

“... the existence, in all times of the world’s history, of persons with abnormal faculties, initiates of the great mysteries and depositors of the secrets of antiquity, has been affirmed by a testimony far too universal and persistent to admit of denial.... He who would be an adept must conform to the teaching of those demons, predicted leaders of the last apostasy, who forbid to marry, and command to abstain from meat.”

“We have never met with a single reported instance of a spirit entering the lower spheres with the glad tidings, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” On the contrary, among Spiritualists, as with Theosophists and Buddhists, sin can be expiated only by personal suffering.... “Sin,” shrieks the familiar of “M. A. Oxon,” “is remediable by repentance and atonement and reparation personally wrought out in pain and shame, not by coward cries for mercy, and by feigned assent to statements which ought to create a shudder.”

Mr. Pember, therefore, believes in vicarious atonement in its crudest form? He teaches that “repentance and faith” save man from the consequences of his actions!

After describing the “Perfect Way” as “an ecclesiastical compound of Heathenism” (with a capital H), the author proceeds to expound the doctrine of reincarnation as therein set forth. Nothing can be fairer or more correct than this exposition, at the conclusion of which we read:

“Jews, Christians, Buddhists and Mahommedans ... will become able to unite in a universal belief that sin is expiated by transmigrations and in the worship of ‘the Great Goddess’Goddess’. The conception of a second league of Babel has been formed in the minds of Theosophists.”Theosophists.”

And even then, would not such a league be better than the sectarian wars, the religious persecutions, the tests and disabilities which still disfigure Christendom in the name of religion?

Further on the author refers to the occult axiom that “whereas God is I AM, or positive being, the Devil is NOT, and remarks:

“There is little doubt that the culminations of the Mysteries was the worship of Satan himself... It would appear, then, that from remote ages, probably from the time when the Nephilim [the fallen angels of Satan’s Host] were upon earth, there has existed a league with the Prince of Darkness, a Society of men consciously on the side of Satan, and against the Most High.

“The spells by which spirits may be summoned from the unseen are now known to all; and those unearthly forms which in past times were projected from the void only in the labyrinths, caverns, and subterranean chambers of the initiated, are now manifesting themselves in many a private drawing-room and parlour. Men have become enamoured of demons, and ere long will receive the Prince of the Demons as their God.”

Theosophy, says Mr. Pember, will become the creed of the intellectual and the educated, while Spiritualism influences the masses of mankind. And he traces the influences of Theosophy and Buddhism in “Broad-Churchism, Universalism, Comtism, Secularism, and Quietism.” Nay, even under the Temperance movement he spies the lurking serpent of esoteric teaching and guidance, and he cites letters from Christian friends complaining that these and other 153philanthropic movements are being swamped, and their periodicals occupied by Theosophists, who work on Buddhist principles.

In his concluding chapter, the author sums up a truly formidable array of evidences to prove that “the advocates of modern thought array themselves against every principle of the early revelations of the Divine Will,” apparently since they deny and repudiate the following “cosmic or universal laws”:—

I. The law of the Sabbath.

II. The headship of the man over the woman.

III. The institution of marriage [i.e., they practise celibacy].

IV. The law of substitution, that life must atone for life, and that without shedding of blood there is no remission, as taught in type by animal sacrifices. Latter-day philosophers affect the utmost horror of such a salvation, and will have none of Christ.

V. The command to use the flesh of animals as food.

VI. The decree that “whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.”

VII. The direction to multiply and replenish the earth.

The charge of disobedience to such laws as these every mystic will joyfully admit, with the cry, “Happy will it be for all things living when such laws shall no longer be obeyed by any living creature.”

These laws, the disobedience to which Mr. Pember so much regrets in the later schools, date from the dark past when man had to form his physical existence and root it upon the earth. If they are some of the early revelations of the “Divine Will,” that is no reason why they should rule mankind when its condition is changed and it is emerging from the darkness of Materialism, and losing, from its natural growth towards that Divine will, the desire for physical existence. The Mosaic laws were made by the Jehovah, the God of anger and cruelty. In spite of the strange inconsistency by which the followers of Jesus Christ, the teacher of a gentle and sublime faith, read in their churches these Mosaic laws, yet they are empty words from a past of bloodshed to the humane or religious man. The occultist professes even more than religion—he dares to avow himself a follower of the light, an aspirant towards knowledge, and one who is determined to live the noblest life knowledge can indicate. What to him are the laws of murder, of the shedding of blood, of marriage and giving in marriage? It is not his aim to help people the earth, for he desires to lift himself and others above the craving for earth-life. He commits no murder, for all men are his brethren, and he no longer recognises the brutal law of the criminal, by which, when blood is shed, blood must be again shed to wash it away. He can have no interest either in the straightforward laws of the past, or the complicated modern law of the present—which permits of many things the Jews would have been ashamed of. The only law he recognises is that of charity and justice.

There is a charming page in the Introduction, a ring of genuine sorrow for the failure of certain missionaries in their cowardly attack upon the theosophical leaders, as refreshing as it is ludicrous. The Jeremiad runs in this wise:—

“It would seem that the attack of the Madras Christian College upon Madame Blavatsky has by no means checked the movement in which she has been so conspicuous an actor, and, apparently, the failure is nowhere more manifest than in Madras itself. It was confidently predicted that the High Priestess of Theosophy and Buddhism would not dare to show her face again in that city. Nevertheless she did so, and ... received a warm welcome, not merely from the members of the Theosophical societies, but also from the members of the various colleges and from many other 154persons. She was conducted in procession from the shore to the Pancheappa Hall, and was there presented by the students with an address of sympathy and admiration, to which, among other signatures, were appended those of more than three hundred members of the very Christian College whose professors had assailed her.”

And he adds, “Satan is now setting in motion intellectual forces which will be more than a match for the missionaries, if they persist in carrying on the warfare in the old way.”

Too much praise cannot be rendered to Mr. Pember for his fairness and impersonality. He writes as becomes a scholar and a gentleman, and though one may smile at his intellectual blindness and stand amazed at the mental capacity which can digest the views which he maintains, one cannot but respect his earnestness, his thoroughness, and his mastery of the subject.

B. K.

ISAURE AND OTHER POEMS.

By W. Stewart Ross.

The poem which gives its name to this volume of ringing verse is, as may easily be conjectured, the lament of a poet over his love torn from him by inexorable death.

A true instinct has taught the author that it is such hours of agony as this, such piercing of the heart, such fierce and burning torture, which reveal to the noble soul capable of intense suffering the inner truths and realities of life.

To quote:

“I stand on the cis-mortal,
And I gaze with ’wildered eye,
To the mists of the trans-mortal,
And the signs called Live and Die.
  .   .   .   .   .   .   .
Let me dream in this cis-mortal,
And the noblest dream I can.
  .   .   .   .   .   .   .
Let me dream far from the formulæ,
And I may dream more nigh
To the sable shore of mystery,
And the signs of Live and Die.”

Some passages in this opening poem are instinct with the breath of mysticism, and rouse a keen desire that Mr. Stewart Ross had become acquainted, in that period of his life when this book was written, with the wider and grander view of life as a whole, of its purpose and meaning, of its laws and its realities, which occultism affords to a mind capable of grasping them.

Surely the man who could write:

“For death and life are really one.”

And again:

“For the mystic Part is gathered
Unto the mystic Whole.
And the vague lines of non-Being
Are scribbled o’er thy soul.”

155must have the power to sense the keener air of the subtle life and grasp its glorious promise.

What pilgrim of the path has not felt:

“Hard-paced the iron years have gone
Over my head since then;
I’ve haunted in a waking dream
The paths of living men;
But of this world my kingdom’s not,
Like him of Galilee,
For I grasp hands they cannot feel,
See forms they cannot see.”

In “Leonore: A Lay of Dipsomania,” one of the most terrible sides of human life is depicted with a vividness which tortures the reader, and flings a gloom on the inexorable sweep of life, fitly in keeping with the vision pictured in “A Nightmare.” A mystic, struggling with the negations of modern science, battling to assert the intuitive knowledge of his true self against its captious intellectualisms, speaks through this picture of desolation and decay, protesting against the disappearance of all that is great and valuable in life under the waves of oblivion.

But no man in whom the spark of true poetic inspiration burns can ever in the depths of his own heart accept the lifeless, empty, unreal phantom which materialism offers as the aim, the purpose, the fulfilment of life. We hope, therefore, that Mr. Stewart Ross will some day give us a volume of poetry in which his true power and insight will find expression, and which will enroll his name on the list of those who have given new life to men.

decorative separator

One cannot fill a vacuum from within itself.—L.S.C.

Many a man will follow a misleader.—L.S.C.

It is not necessary for truth to put on boxing-gloves.—L.S.C.

You cannot build a temple of truth by hammering dead stones. Its foundations must precipitate themselves like crystals from the solution of life.—L.S.C.

When a certain point is reached pain becomes its own anodyne.—L.S.C.

Some pluck the fruits of the tree (of knowledge) to crown themselves therewith, instead of plucking them to eat.—L.S.C.

156

Theosophical
and Mystic Publications

THE THEOSOPHIST; a magazine of Oriental Philosophy, Art, Literature, and Occultism, conducted by H. P. Blavatsky, and H. S. Olcott, Permanent President of the T. S. Vol. VIII., 1887. Madras, India. In London, George Redway, 15, York Street, Covent Garden.

The September number contains several articles of great interest. For lovers of the wonderful, as for the more scientifically inclined students of the laws of psycho-physics, the account given by Sreenath Chatterjee, of a self-levitating lama who stayed for some days in his house, is both interesting and instructive. It is endorsed by Colonel Olcott and another independent witness, and bears evident marks of genuine and careful observation. Curious and wonderful as such feats are, however, they have little to do with Theosophy.

To many readers such articles as Mr. Khandalwala’s “The Bhagavat-Gita and the Microcosmic Principles” will be far more attractive. The questions propounded in this paper have a very important bearing upon a question which has recently been a good deal under discussion, and it is to be hoped that it will elicit from Mr. Subba Row the further explanation of his views which is so much needed.

Visconde Figanière continues his “Esoteric Studies” with some abstruse but very interesting calculations as to the composition of the alchemical elements during various cycles. A page of moral maxims from the Mahabharata and a thoughtful paper on the “Kabbalah and the Microcosm” contribute to make this number full of valuable matter.


THE PATH; “a magazine devoted to the Brotherhood of Humanity, Theosophy in America, and the Study of Occult Science, Philosophy, and Aryan Literature.” Edited by W. Q. Judge, New York, P. O. Box 2,659, and in London from George Redway.

In the September issue, the opening paper is the fourth of “Jasper Niemand’s” admirable “Letters on the True.” Its subject is the “Mind” (Manas) or Heart in its relation to the Soul. Both analysis and synthesis are employed by the writer, with the intuition of a true mystic, and many suggestive gleams of light are thrown on an exceedingly difficult subject in the course of a few pages.

The idea of re-incarnation is traced by Mr. Walker in the writings of various poets: Mr. Johnston contributes an interesting paper on “Gospels and Upanishads,” and “Rameses” gives us a charming allegory under the archaic title of “Papyrus,” and the number concludes with “Tea-Table Talk,” which is, as usual, quaint, yet instructive. Finally, thanks are due to Mr. Judge for the kind and cordial welcome he has extended to Lucifer; the first number of which has, it is to be hoped, fulfilled the flattering expectations he expresses.


LE LOTUS: “Revue des Hautes Etudes Théosophiques. Tendant à favoriser le rapprochement entre l’Orient et l’Occident.” Sous l’inspiration de H. P. Blavatsky (nominally, but edited in reality, by our able brother, F. K. Gaborian, F. T. S.). Georges Carré, 112 Boulevard St. Germain, Paris.

This journal—the French Theosophist—contains in its September number an article by Madame Blavatsky on “Misconceptions,” in which various doctrines and ideas erroneously connected with Theosophy are dealt with. M. Barlet continues his series of articles on “Initiation,” and the reprint of the Abbé de Villars’ clever and humorous “Comte de Gabalis,” is continued. Some verses by Amaravella, and several pages of sparkling “Notes,” conclude the table of contents.

Lucifer owes thanks also to the Lotus for inserting an admirably translated extract from its prospectus.


L’AURORE: Revue mensuelle sous la direction de Lady Caithness, Duchesse de Pomar, Georges Carré, 112 Boulevard St. Germain, Paris.

157The articles in the September number are neither so numerous nor so varied as those of the other Theosophical periodicals already referred to. Lady Caithness advocates, in the current issue, the theory that the English nation is descended from the lost ten tribes of Israel. As the very existence of these ten tribes is more than questionable, students must judge for themselves of the weight of the arguments advanced; the subject being too extensive even for comment here.


THE SPHINX: “A monthly journal devoted to proving historically and experimentally the supersensuous conception of the world on a monistic basis.” Edited by Hübbe Schleiden. Dr. J. U. Th. Griebens Verlag, Leipzig.

The October number is a full and highly instructive one. Dr. Carl du Prel’s handling of the “Demon of Socrates” contrasts brilliantly with the lame and obscure treatment which the same subject received a while ago at the hands of a body, which professes to investigate matters pertaining to the soul and its activity. Herr Niemann’s proof of the existence of an esoteric or secret teaching in the Platonic dialogues is able and convincing; Mr. Finch contributes a most interesting article on his observations among the “Faith-Healers” in America, and Herr Carl zu Leiningen pursues his able exposition of the Kabbalistic doctrine of Souls.


Three new works on mystic subjects are shortly to appear from the pen of Dr. Franz Hartmann, whose valuable book on Paracelsus is certainly in the hands of many of our readers.

Of these the first, and probably the most important, is entitled: “THE SECRET SYMBOLS OF THE ROSICRUCIANS,” and is to be published in Boston, U.S.A., by the Occult Publishing Company. It will contain numerous plates coloured by hand, giving accurate transcriptions of symbols and figures which have hitherto lain buried in rare, and in some cases, unattainable manuscripts. The value of the work as a text-book for students will be much enhanced by the copious vocabulary which Dr. Hartmann promises shall accompany it.

The other two will probably be issued by Mr. Redway; the one being called: “IN THE PRONAOS OF THE TEMPLE OF THE R.C.,” and the other: “THE LIFE OF JEHOSHUA, THE ADEPT OF NAZARETH: AN OCCULT STUDY.”

This is an attempt to dispel the mists which for many centuries have been gathering around the person of the supposed founder of Christianity, and which have prevented mankind from obtaining a clear view of the “Redeemer.” It claims to give an approximately correct account of his life, his initiation into the Egyptian mysteries and of his ignominious death caused by an infuriated mob, excited by the Pharisees of the temple, who were bound to destroy his mortal form, because he had taught the religion of universal fraternal love and freedom of thought in opposition to priestcraft and superstition.

While the book deals to a certain extent with the external life of Jehoshua, as far as its details have become known by historical researches into sources not generally known, it especially deals with his inner life—i.e. his method of thought.

The author says: “If we wish to give a correct picture of the character of a person, we must try to describe his thoughts as well as his acts, for the thought-life of a man constitutes his real life, while his outward life is merely a pictorial representation, a shadow of the actions that are taking place upon the interior stage of his mind.”

“To describe this inner life, a dramatical representation of the processes going on in the soul of man will be better adapted to bring it to our understanding, than a merely verbal description of character. This maxim seems to have influenced those who wrote the accounts contained in the bible, and who describe interior processes in allegorical pictures of events, which may or may not have taken place on the outward plane. I have adhered to this plan in describing the thought-life of Jehoshua Ben-Pandira, but I have attempted to shape the allegories contained in this book in such a manner that the intelligent reader may easily perceive their true meaning, for I have made the forms sufficiently transparent, so that the truths which they are intended to represent may be easily seen through the external shell.”

“Nevertheless, these descriptions are not mere fancies, but they are based upon historical facts, and upon information received from sources whose nature will be plain to every occultist. The events described have all actually taken place; but whether they have wholly or in part taken place on the external or internal plane, each intelligent reader is left to decide for himself.”

158

Correspondence

INTERESTING TO ASTROLOGERS.
ASTROLOGICAL NOTES—No. 2.
To the Editor of Lucifer.

The ancients assigned to the planets certain signs and degrees, in which they were essentially dignified, being there more powerful for good, and less powerful for evil; these were called their House, Exaltation, Triplicity, Term, and Face. Opposite to the first two were the places where they were essentially debilitated, being there less powerful for good and more powerful for evil; these were called their Detriment and Fall. Whether the latter three dignities have three corresponding debilities has not been stated.

To the seven known planets, the ancients apportioned the twelve zodiacal signs as their respective houses or chief dignity, thus: ☉ ruled ♌, and ☽ ruled ♋, both by day and night; while the remaining ten signs were divided between the remaining five planets, each planet ruling two signs, one by day and the other by night. But when ♅ and ♆ were discovered, the question arose where to place them.

A. J. Pearce, the present editor of Zadkiel’s Almanac, has suggested that, as they were more remote from ☉ than was ♄, they should have the same houses and exaltations as ♄. Raphael dethrones ♄ from ♒, and proclaims that ♅ reigns in his stead. Both these suggestions involve serious difficulties, nor do they settle the question once and for all with regard to any planets which may yet be discovered. It seems unlikely that planets of such diverse natures as ♄, ♅, and ♆ (not to mention any still more distant planets) should all bear equal rule in the same two signs, and to depose ♄ from his throne, pre-supposes a grave error on the part of the ancients, whose teaching on this point has been handed down with complete unanimity from the dim past: necessitating, also, a further process of dethronement, and a further ignoring of the teachings of antiquity, as further planetary discoveries are made.

The first Raphael (the late R. C. Smith) rejected the ancient nocturnal and diurnal division of the Houses and Triplicities, in which he is followed by his successor. It appears to me that it is here that the error, with its consequent difficulties, first arose; and that by observing this distinction, ♅ and ♆ easily find their homes, with room to spare for their yet undiscovered brethren.

It is obvious that Astrology can never become an even approximately perfect science, unless we are able in our calculations to take fully into account the influence of ♅ and ♆. With this end in view, I have been endeavouring, in my leisure moments, to solve the problem. To a certain extent I have been successful; and though I have not yet been able to substantiate all my conclusions as fully as I could wish, yet I deem it is the best interests of the Science to make them now public, that their truth or falsity may be as speedily as possible established by the investigations of astrologers generally.

My conclusions are the following: that the ancient Diurnal and Nocturnal divisions are quite correct, so that if a figure is drawn for any time between sunrise and sunset, the planets which rule by day the signs on the cusps of the houses of the significators must be chiefly, and sometimes exclusively, considered; and vice versâ.

The Houses of the new planets are, I believe, these:

♒, which is the day-house of ♄, is the night-house of ♅.

♊, which is the day-house of ☿, is the night-house of ♆.

♍, which is the night-house of ☿, is the day-houseday-house of ♅.

♓, which is the night-house of ♃, is the day-house of ♆.

The first two I have verified by horary figures drawn for the time of an event; the latter two I consider as highly probable, but have not yet been able to thoroughly substantiate them.

159There is an old tradition (Esoteric Science in Human History, p. 180) that there are 12 principal planets in our solar system; this leaves 4 more to be discovered. It will be seen at a glance that these 4 will fill up the vacant signs, two planets ruling each sign, one by night and the other by day. The only alteration which will then have to be made will be to consider ☉ to rule ♌ by day only, and ☽ to rule ♋ by night only; this, however, will be only in accordance with nature: moreover, the fact that the ancients assigned only one house each to ☉ and ☽, and two to each of the other planets, denotes some essential astrological difference between them.

With regard to the other essential dignities, Raphael considers ♏ to be the exaltation of ♅; I am inclined to believe ♒ to be the exaltation of ♆. In the Triplicities there is a curious want of harmony; each, according to the ancients, being ruled by two planets, one by day and the other by night, except the watery triplicity, which is ruled by ♂ only. There seems to be no reason for this discrepancy, except the all-powerful one that there was no other known planet to share his dominion. I have ascertained that ♆ has strong dignity in ♏, and conclude that he rules the watery triplicity, probably by night. Furthermore, I believe ♅ rules the airy triplicity. As for the Terms and Faces of the planets, they also, like the Planetary Hours, require re-arrangement so as to bring in ♅ and ♆ but in what way this is to be done, I have not yet been able to discover.

I will take this opportunity of saying, in reply to inquiries, that the best books for beginners are Raphael’s Horary Astrology for that branch of the Science; A. J. Pearce’s Science of the Stars for Mundane and Atmospheric Astrology; A. J. Pearce’s Text Book of Astrology for Nativities, to be worked out by Primary Directions; and Raphael’s Guide to Astrology for the same, worked out by Secondary Directions excited by Transits. Raphael’s works are published by Foulsham and Co., 4, Pilgrim Street, E.C.; and Pearce’s works may be procured from the author, 54, East Hill, Wandsworth, S.W.

Nemo.

To the Editors of Lucifer.

For the purpose of correcting any prejudicial suspicion or erroneous misrepresentation of myself, arising from the insertion of the note at the end of the “Bath Occult Reprint Edition” of the “Divine Pymander” or as associated with the Society of the “H. B. of L.,” known to me only through the names of Peter Davidson and T. H. Burgoyne, alias D’Alton, Dalton, &c., and whose secretary is announced to be “A convicted felon, and the supposed adept to be a Hindu of questionable antecedents,” I wish it to be understood I have now no confidence, sympathy, or connection therewith, direct or indirect, since or even prior to the date hereof, viz., May, 1886.

Yours truly,
Robt. H. Fryar.

8, Northumberland Place, Bath.

160

From the Note Book of an Unpopular Philosopher

THE ESOTERIC VALUE OF CERTAIN WORDS AND DEEDS IN SOCIAL LIFE.

To Show Anger.—No “cultured” man or woman will ever show anger in Society. To check and restrain every sign of annoyance shows good manners, certainly, but also considerable achievement in hypocrisy and dissimulation. There is an occult side to this rule of good breeding expressed in an Eastern proverb: “Trust not the face which never shows signs of anger, nor the dog that never barks.” Cold-blooded animals are the most venomous.

Non-resistance to Evil.—To brag of it is to invite all evil-doers to sit upon you. To practice it openly is to lead people into the temptation of regarding you as a coward. Not to resist the evil you have never created nor merited, to eschew it yourself, and help others quietly to get out of its way, is the only wise course open to the lover of wisdom.

Love Thy Neighbour.”—When a parson has preached upon this subject, his pious congregation accepts it as tacit permission to slander and vilify their friends and acquaintances in neighbouring pews.

International Brotherhood.—When a Mussulman and a Christian swear mutual friendship, and pledge themselves to be brothers, their two formulas differ somewhat. The Moslem says: “Thy mother shall be my mother, my father thy father, my sister thy hand maid, and thou shalt be my brother.” To which the Christian answers: “Thy mother and sister shall be my hand-maidens, thy wife shall be my wife, and my wife shall be thy dear sister.”—Amen.

Brave as a Lion.—The highest compliment—in appearance—paid to one’s courage; a comparison with a bad-smelling wild-beast—in reality. The recognition, also, of the superiority of animal over human bravery, considered as a virtue.

A Sheep.—A weak, silly fellow, figuratively, an insulting, contemptuous epithet among laymen; but one quite flattering among churchmen, who apply it to “the people of God” and the members of their congregations, comparing them to sheep under the guidance of the lamb.

The Code of Honour.—In France—to seduce a wife and kill her husband. There, offended honour can feel satisfied only with blood; here, a wound inflicted upon the offender’s pocket suffices.

The Duel as a Point of Honour.—The duel being an institution of Christendom and civilization, neither the old Spartans, nor yet the Greeks or Romans knew of it, as they were only uncivilized heathens.—(See Schopenhauer.)

Forgive and Forget.—“We should freely forgive, but forget rarely,” says Colton. “I will not be revenged, and this I owe to my enemy; but I will remember, and this I owe to myself.” This is real practical wisdom. It stands between the ferocious “Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth” of the Mosaic Law, and the command to turn the left cheek to the enemy when he has smitten you on the right. Is not the latter a direct encouraging of sin?

Practical Wisdom.—On the tree of silence hangs the fruit of peace. The secret thou wouldst not tell to thine enemy, tell it not to thy friend.—(Arabic.)

Civilised Life.—Crowded, noisy and full of vital power, is modern Society to the eye of matter; but there is no more still and silent, empty and dreary desert than that same Society to the spiritual eye of the Seer. Its right hand freely and lavishly bestows ephemeral but costly pleasures, while the left grasps greedily the leavings and often grudges the necessities of show. All our social life is the result and consequence of that unseen, yet ever present autocrat and despot, called Selfishness and Egotism. The strongest will becomes impotent before the voice and authority of Self.


19. The reader well versed in symbology and theogony is, of course, aware that every god and goddess of the ancient pantheons is androgynous in his or her genealogy. Thus our Lucifer, the “Morning Star,” being identical with Venus, is, therefore, the same as the Chaldean Istar, or the Jewish Astoreth, to whom the Hebrews offered cakes and buns, addressing her as the Lady of Light and the Queen of Heaven. She is the “great star,” Wormwood, whom the misanthropical St. John sees falling down to the earth in Revelation (Chapter viii.), as her great rival is Aima, the fruitful mother, or the third Sephiroth Binah (IHVH ALHIM, or the female Jah-hovah), the “woman with child,” in Chapter xii. of the same.

20. “It shall come to pass that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams; your young men shall see visions” (Joel ii. 28).

21. It is curious to note that Mr. Louis Stevenson, one of the most powerful of our imaginative writers, stated recently to a reporter that he is in the habit of constructing the plots of his tales in dreams, and among others that of Dr. Jekyll. “I dreamed,” he continued, “the story of ‘Olalla’ ... and I have at the present moment two unwritten stories which I have likewise dreamed.... Even when fast asleep I know that it is I who am inventing.”... But who knows whether the idea of “invention” is not also “a dream”!

22. The correspondence with reference to these “Comments” will be found in the Correspondence columns.

23. This is an esoteric tenet, and the general reader will not make much out of it. But the Theosophist who has read “Esoteric Buddhism” may compute the 7 by 7 of the forty-nine “days,” and the forty-nine “fires,” and understand that the allegory refers esoterically to the seven human consecutive root-races with their seven subdivisions. Every monad is born in the first and obtains deliverance in the last seventh race. Only a “Buddha” is shown reaching it during the course of one life.

24. Haeckel.

25. Leo Bach.

26. The sub-title, “a tale of love and magic,” having been simultaneously used by myself, Mr. Joseph Hutton, and another author, I think it best to change mine for one certainly less pretty, but equally descriptive. Is not this simultaneous use also a “sign of the times”?

27. Of whom there are large colonies along the Black Sea and the coast of Imeretia and Poti.

28. George Redway, 15, York Street, Covent Garden.

29. Copyrighted by Franz Hartmann, Boston Occult Publishing Co., 1887.

30. “What is Religion: A Vindication of Free Thought.” By C. N., annotated by Robert Lewins, M. D. See his Appendices, p. 35, et seq.

161

LUCIFER

Vol. 1.     LONDON, NOVEMBER 15TH, 1887.     No. 3.
“LET EVERY MAN PROVE HIS OWN WORK.”

Such is the title of a letter received by the Editors of Lucifer. It is of so serious a nature that it seems well to make it the subject of this month’s editorial. Considering the truths uttered in its few lines, its importance and the bearing it has upon the much obscured subject of Theosophy, and its visible agent or vehicle—the Society of that name—the letter is certainly worthy of the most considerate answer.

Fiat justitia, ruat cœlum!

Justice will be done to both sides in the dispute; namely, Theosophists and the members of the Theosophical Society[31] on the one hand, and the followers of the Divine Word (or Christos), and the so-called Christians, on the other.

We reproduce the letter:

To the Editors of Lucifer.

“What a grand chance is now open in this country, to the exponents of a noble and advanced religion (if such this Theosophy be[32]) for proving its strength, righteousness and verity to the Western world, by 162throwing a penetrating and illuminating ray of its declared light upon the terribly harrowing and perplexing practical problems of our age.

“Surely one of the purest and least self-incrusted duties of man, is to alleviate the sufferings of his fellow man?

“From what I read, and from what I daily come into immediate contact with, I can hardly think it would be possible to over-rate in contemplation, the intense privation and agonizing suffering that is—aye, say it—at this moment being endured by a vast proportion of our brothers and sisters, arising in a large measure from their not absolutely having the means for procuring the bare necessaries of existence?

“Surely a high and Heaven-born religion—a religion professing to receive its advanced knowledge and Light from ‘those more learned in the Science of Life,’ should be able to tell us something of how to deal with such life, in its primitive condition of helpless submission to the surrounding circumstances of—civilization!

“If one of our main duties is that of exercising disinterested love towards the Brotherhood, surely ‘those more learned’ ones, whether in the flesh, or out of it, can and will, if appealed to by their votaries, aid them in discovering ways and means for such an end, and in organising some great fraternal scheme for dealing rightly with questions which are so appalling in their complexity, and which must and do press with such irresistible force upon all those who are earnest in their endeavours to carry out the will of Christ in a Christian Land?

L. F. Ff.

“October 25, 1887.”

This honest-spoken and sincere letter contains two statements; an implied accusation against “Theosophy” (i.e. the Society of that name), and a virtual admission that Christianity—or, again, rather its ritualistic and dogmatic religions—deserve the same and even a sterner rebuke. For if “Theosophy,” represented by its professors, merits on external appearance the reproach that so far it has failed to transfer divine wisdom from the region of the metaphysical into that of practical work, “Christianity,” that is, merely professing Christians, churchmen and laymen lie under a like accusation, evidently. “Theosophy” has, certainly, failed to discover infallible ways and means of bringing all its votaries to exercise “disinterested love” in their Brotherhood; it has not yet been able to relieve suffering in mankind at large; but neither has Christianity. And not even the writer of the above letter, nor any one else, can show sufficient excuse for the Christians in this respect. Thus the admission that “those who are earnest in their endeavour to carry out the will of Christ in a Christian land” need the help of “‘those more learned,’ whether (pagan adepts) in flesh, or (spirits?) out of it” is very suggestive, for it contains the defence and the raison d’être of the Theosophical Society. Tacit though it is, once that it comes from the 163pen of a sincere Christian, one who longs to learn some practical means to relieve the sufferings of the starving multitudes—this admission becomes the greatest and most complete justification for the existence of the Theosophical Brotherhood; a full confession of the absolute necessity for such a body independent of, and untrammelled by, any enchaining dogmas, and it points out at the same time the signal failure of Christianity to accomplish the desired results.

Truly said Coleridge that “good works may exist without saving (?) principles, therefore cannot contain in themselves the principles of salvation; but saving principles never did, never can exist without good works.” Theosophists admit the definition, and disagree with the Christians only as to the nature of these “saving principles.” The Church (or churches) maintain that the only saving principle is belief in Jesus, or the carnalized Christ of the soul-killing dogma; theosophy, undogmatic and unsectarian, answers, it is not so. The only saving principle dwells in man himself, and has never dwelt outside of his immortal divine self; i.e. it is the true Christos, as it is the true Buddha, the divine inward light which proceeds from the eternal unmanifesting unknown ALL. And this light can only be made known by its worksfaith in it having to remain ever blind in all, save in the man himself who feels that light within his soul.

Therefore, the tacit admission of the author of the above letter covers another point of great importance. The writer seems to have felt that which many, among those who strive to help the suffering, have felt and expressed. The creeds of the churches fail to supply the intellectual light, and the true wisdom which are needed to make the practical philanthropy carried out, by the true and earnest followers of Christ, a reality. The “practical” people either go on “doing good” unintelligently, and thus often do harm instead; or, appalled by the awful problem before them, and failing to find in their “churches” any clue, or a hope of solution, they retire from the battlefield and let themselves be drifted blindly by the current in which they happen to be born.

Of late it has become the fashion for friends, as well as for foes, to reproach the Theosophical Society with doing no practical work, but losing itself in the clouds of metaphysics. Metaphysicians, we are told, by those who like to repeat stale arguments, have been learning their lesson for the last few thousand years; and it is now high time that they should begin to do some practical work. Agreed; but considering that the Christian churches count nearly nineteen centuries of existence, and that the Theosophical Society and Brotherhood is a body hardly twelve years old; considering again that the Christian churches roll in fabulous wealth, and number their adherents by hundreds of millions, whereas the Theosophical Brotherhood is but a few thousand strong, and that it has no fund, or funds, at its disposal, but that 98 per cent. of its members are as poor and as uninfluential as the aristocracy 164of the Christian church is rich and powerful; taking all this into consideration, there would be much to say if the theosophists would only choose to press the matter upon the public notice. Meanwhile, as the bitterest critics of the “leaders” of the Theosophical Society are by no means only outsiders, but as there are members of that society whowho always find a pretext to be dissatisfied, we ask: Can works of charity that will be known among men be accomplished without money? Certainly not. And yet, notwithstanding all this, none of its (European) members, except a few devoted officers in charge of societies, will do practical work; but some of them, those especially who have never lifted a finger to relieve suffering, and help their outside, poorer brothers, are those who talk the most loudly, and are the bitterest in their denunciations of the unspirituality and the unfitness of the “leaders of theosophy.” By this they remove themselves into the outer ring of critics, like those spectators at the play who laugh at an actor passably representing Hamlet, while they themselves could not walk on to the stage with a letter on a salver. While in India, comparatively poor theosophists have opened gratuitous dispensaries for the sick, hospitals, schools, and everything they could think of, asking no returns from the poor, as the missionaries do, no abandonment of one’s forefathers’ religion, as a heavy price for favours received, have the English theosophists, as a rule, done a single thing for those suffering multitudes, whose pitiful cry rings throughout the whole Heavens as a protest against the actual state of things in Christendom?

We take this opportunity of saying, in reply to others as much as to our correspondent, that, up till now, the energies of the Society have been chiefly occupied in organising, extending, and solidifying the Society itself, which work has taxed its time, energies, and resources to such an extent as to leave it far less powerful for practical charity than we would have wished. But, even so, compared with the influence and the funds at the disposal of the Society, its work in practical charity, if less widely known, will certainly bear favourable comparison with that of professing Christians, with their enormous resources in money, workers, and opportunities of all kinds. It must not be forgotten that practical charity is not one of the declared objects of the Society. It goes without saying, and needs no “declaration,” that every member of the Society must be practically philanthropic if he be a theosophist at all; and our declared work is, in reality, more important and more efficacious than work in the every-day plane which bears more evident and immediate fruit, for the direct effect of an appreciation of theosophy is to make those charitable who were not so before. Theosophy creates the charity which afterwards, and of its own accord, makes itself manifest in works.

Theosophy is correctly—though in this particular case, it is rather ironically—termed “a High, Heaven-born Religion.” It is argued that 165since it professes to receive its advanced knowledge and light from “those more learned in the Science of Life,” the latter ought and must, if appealed to by their votaries (the theosophists), aid them in discovering ways and means, in organising some great fraternal scheme,” etc.

The scheme was planned, and the rules and laws to guide such a practical brotherhood, have been given by those “more learned in the Science of (practical, daily, altruistic) life;” aye, verily “more learned” in it than any other men since the days of Gautama Buddha and the Gnostic Essenes. The “scheme” dates back to the year when the Theosophical Society was founded. Let anyone read its wise and noble laws embodied to this day in the Statutes of the Fraternity, and judge for himself whether, if carried out rigorously and applied to practical life, the “scheme” would not have proved the most beneficent to mankind in general, and especially to our poorer brethren, of “the starving multitudes.” Theosophy teaches the spirit of “non-separateness,” the evanescence and illusion of human creeds and dogma, hence, inculcates universal love and charity for all mankind “without distinction of race, colour, caste or creed;” is it not therefore the fittest to alleviate the sufferings of mankind? No true theosophist would refuse admission into a hospital, or any charitable establishment, to any man, woman or child, under the pretext that he is not a theosophist, as a Roman Catholic would when dealing with a Protestant, and vice versa. No true theosophist of the original rules would fail to put into practice the parable of the “Good Samaritan,” or proffer help only to entice the unwary who, he hopes, will become a pervert from his god and the gods of his forefathers. None would slander his brother, none let a needy man go unhelped, none offer fine talk instead of practical love and charity.

Is it then the fault of Theosophy, any more than it is the fault of the Christ-teachings, if the majority of the members of the Theosophical Society, often changing their philosophical and religious views upon entering our Body, have yet remained practically the same as they were when professing lip Christianity? Our laws and rules are the same as given to us from the beginning; it is the general members of the Society who have allowed them to become virtually obsolete. Those few who are ever ready to sacrifice their time and labour to work for the poor, and who do, unrecognised and unthanked for it, good work wherever they can, are often too poor themselves to put their larger schemes of charity into objective practical form, however willing they may be.

“The fault I find with the Theosophical Society,” said one of the most eminent surgeons in London to one of the editors, quite recently, “is that I cannot discover that any of its members really lead the Christ-life.” This seemed a very serious accusation from a man who is not only in the front rank of his profession, and valued for his kindly nature, by his patients, and by society, and well-known as a quiet doer of many good deeds. The only possible answer to be made was that the 166Christ-life is undeniably the ideal of every one worthy in any sense of the name of a Theosophist, and that if it is not lived it is because there are none strong enough to carry it out. Only a few days later the same complaint was put in a more graphic form by a celebrated lady-artist.

“You Theosophists don’t do enough good for me,” she said pithily. And in her case also there is the right to speak, given by the fact that she leads two lives—one, a butterfly existence in society, and the other a serious one, which makes little noise, but has much purpose. Those who regard life as a great vocation, like the two critics of the Theosophical movement whom we have just quoted, have a right to demand of such a movement more than mere words. They themselves endeavour very quietly to lead the “Christ-life,” and they cannot understand a number of people uniting in the effort towards this life without practical results being apparent. Another critic of the same character who has the best possible right to criticise, being a thoroughly practical philanthropist and charitable to the last degree, has said of the Theosophists that their much talking and writing seems to resolve itself into mere intellectual luxury, productive of no direct good to the world.

The point of difference between the Theosophists (when we use this term we mean, not members of the Society, but people who are really using the organization as a method of learning more of the true wisdom-religion which exists as a vital and eternal fact behind all such efforts) and the practical philanthropists, religious or secular, is a very serious one, and the answer, that probably none of them are strong enough yet to lead the “Christ-life,” is only a portion of the truth. The situation can be put very plainly, in so many words. The religious philanthropist holds a position of his own, which cannot in any way concern or affect the Theosophist. He does not do good merely for the sake of doing good, but also as a means towards his own salvation. This is the outcome of the selfish and personal side of man’s nature, which has so coloured and affected a grand religion that its devotees are little better than the idol-worshippers who ask their deity of clay to bring them luck in business, and the payment of debts. The religious philanthropist who hopes to gain salvation by good works has simply, to quote a well-worn yet ever fresh witticism, exchanged worldliness for other-worldliness.

The secular philanthropist is really at heart a socialist, and nothing else; he hopes to make men happy and good by bettering their physical position. No serious student of human nature can believe in this theory for a moment. There is no doubt that it is a very agreeable one, because if it is accepted there is immediate, straightforward work to undertake. “The poor ye have always with you.” The causation which produced human nature itself produced poverty, misery, pain, degradation, at the same time that it produced wealth, and comfort, and joy and glory. Lifelong philanthropists, who have started on their work with a joyous 167youthful conviction that it is possible to “do good,” have, though never relaxing the habit of charity, confessed to the present writer that, as a matter of fact, misery cannot be relieved. It is a vital element in human nature, and is as necessary to some lives as pleasure is to others.

It is a strange thing to observe how practical philanthropists will eventually, after long and bitter experience, arrive at a conclusion which, to an occultist, is from the first a working hypothesis. This is, that misery is not only endurable, but agreeable to many who endure it. A noble woman, whose life has been given to the rescue of the lowest class of wretched girls, those who seem to be driven to vice by want, said, only a few days since, that with many of these outcasts it is not possible to raise them to any apparently happier lot. And this she distinctly stated (and she can speak with authority, having spent her life literally among them, and studied them thoroughly), is not so much from any love of vice, but from love of that very state which the wealthy classes call misery. They prefer the savage life of a bare-foot, half-clad creature, with no roof at night and no food by day, to any comforts which can be offered them. By comforts, we do not mean the workhouse or the reformatory, but the comforts of a quiet home; and we can give chapter and verse, so to speak, to show that this is the case, not merely with the children of outcasts, who might be supposed to have a savage heredity, but with the children of gentle, cultivated, and Christian people.

Our great towns hide in their slums thousands of beings whose history would form an inexplicable enigma, a perfectly baffling moral picture, could they be written out clearly, so as to be intelligible. But they are only known to the devoted workers among the outcast classes, to whom they become a sad and terrible puzzle, not to be solved, and therefore, better not discussed. Those who have no clue to the science of life are compelled to dismiss such difficulties in this manner, otherwise they would fall, crushed beneath the thought of them. The social question as it is called, the great deep waters of misery, the deadly apathy of those who have power and possessions—these things are hardly to be faced by a generous soul who has not reached to the great idea of evolution, and who has not guessed at the marvellous mystery of human development.

The Theosophist is placed in a different position from any of these persons, because he has heard of the vast scope of life with which all mystic and occult writers and teachers deal, and he has been brought very near to the great mystery. Indeed, none, though they may have enrolled themselves as Fellows of the Society, can be called in any serious sense Theosophists, until they have begun to consciously taste in their own persons, this same mystery; which is, indeed, a law inexorable, by which man lifts himself by degrees from the state of a beast to the glory of a God. The rapidity with which this is done is different with every living soul; and the wretches who hug the primitive task-master, 168misery, choose to go slowly through a tread-mill course which may give them innumerable lives of physical sensation—whether pleasant or painful, well-beloved because tangible to the very lowest senses. The Theosophist who desires to enter upon occultism takes some of Nature’s privileges into his own hands by that very wish, and soon discovers that experiences come to him with double-quick rapidity. His business is then to recognise that he is under a—to him—new and swifter law of development, and to snatch at the lessons that come to him.

But, in recognising this, he also makes another discovery. He sees that it takes a very wise man to do good works without danger of doing incalculable harm. A highly developed adept in life may grasp the nettle, and by his great intuitive powers, know whom to relieve from pain and whom to leave in the mire that is their best teacher. The poor and wretched themselves will tell anyone who is able to win their confidence what disastrous mistakes are made by those who come from a different class and endeavour to help them. Kindness and gentle treatment will sometimes bring out the worst qualities of a man or woman who has led a fairly presentable life when kept down by pain and despair. May the Master of Mercy forgive us for saying such words of any human creatures, all of whom are a part of ourselves, according to the law of human brotherhood which no disowning of it can destroy. But the words are true. None of us know the darkness which lurks in the depths of our own natures until some strange and unfamiliar experience rouses the whole being into action. So with these others who seem more miserable than ourselves.

As soon as he begins to understand what a friend and teacher pain can be, the Theosophist stands appalled before the mysterious problem of human life, and though he may long to do good works, equally dreads to do them wrongly until he has himself acquired greater power and knowledge. The ignorant doing of good works may be vitally injurious, as all but those who are blind in their love of benevolence are compelled to acknowledge. In this sense the answer made as to lack of Christ-like lives among Theosophists, that there are probably none strong enough to live such, is perfectly correct and covers the whole question. For it is not the spirit of self-sacrifice, or of devotion, or of desire to help that is lacking, but the strength to acquire knowledge and power and intuition, so that the deeds done shall really be worthy of the “Buddha-Christ” spirit. Therefore it is that Theosophists cannot pose as a body of philanthropists, though secretly they may adventure on the path of good works. They profess to be a body of learners merely, pledged to help each other and all the rest of humanity, so far as in them lies, to a better understanding of the mystery of life, and to a better knowledge of the peace which lies beyond it.

But as it is an inexorable law, that the ground must be tilled if the harvest is to be reaped, so Theosophists are obliged to work in the world 169unceasingly, and very often in doing this to make serious mistakes, as do all workers who are not embodied Redeemers. Their efforts may not come under the title of good works, and they may be condemned as a school of idle talkers, yet they are an outcome and fruition of this particular moment of time, when the ideas which they hold are greeted by the crowd with interest; and therefore their work is good, as the lotus-flower is good when it opens in the mid-day sun.

None know more keenly and definitely than they that good works are necessary; only these cannot be rightly accomplished without knowledge. Schemes for Universal Brotherhood, and the redemption of mankind, might be given out plentifully by the great adepts of life, and would be mere dead-letter utterances while individuals remain ignorant, and unable to grasp the great meaning of their teachers. To Theosophists we say, let us carry out the rules given us for our society before we ask for any further schemes or laws. To the public and our critics we say, try to understand the value of good works before you demand them of others, or enter upon them rashly yourselves. Yet it is an absolute fact that without good works the spirit of brotherhood would die in the world; and this can never be. Therefore is the double activity of learning and doing most necessary; we have to do good, and we have to do it rightly, with knowledge.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

It is well known that the first rule of the society is to carry out the object of forming the nucleus of a universal brotherhood. The practical working of this rule was explained by those who laid it down, to the following effect:—

“HE WHO DOES NOT PRACTISE ALTRUISM; HE WHO IS NOT PREPARED TO SHARE HIS LAST MORSEL WITH A WEAKER OR POORER THAN HIMSELF; HE WHO NEGLECTS TO HELP HIS BROTHER MAN, OF WHATEVER RACE, NATION, OR CREED, WHENEVER AND WHEREVER HE MEETS SUFFERING, AND WHO TURNS A DEAF EAR TO THE CRY OF HUMAN MISERY; HE WHO HEARS AN INNOCENT PERSON SLANDERED, WHETHER A BROTHER THEOSOPHIST OR NOT, AND DOES NOT UNDERTAKE HIS DEFENCE AS HE WOULD UNDERTAKE HIS OWN—IS NO THEOSOPHIST.”

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170

THE DEMAND OF THE NEOPHYTE.

[Continuation of Comments on Light on the Path: By the Author.]

“Before the voice can speak in the presence of the Masters.”

Speech is the power of communication; the moment of entrance into active life is marked by its attainment.

And now, before I go any further, let me explain a little the way in which the rules written down in “Light on the Path” are arranged. The first seven of those which are numbered are sub-divisions of the two first unnumbered rules, those with which I have dealt in the two preceding papers. The numbered rules were simply an effort of mine to make the unnumbered ones more intelligible. “Eight” to “fifteen” of these numbered rules belong to this unnumbered rule which is now my text.

As I have said, these rules are written for all disciples, but for none else; they are not of interest to any other persons. Therefore I trust no one else will trouble to read these papers any further. The first two rules, which include the whole of that part of the effort which necessitates the use of the surgeon’s knife, I will enlarge upon further if I am asked to do so. But the disciple is expected to deal with the snake, his lower self, unaided; to suppress his human passions and emotions by the force of his own will. He can only demand assistance of a master when this is accomplished, or at all events, partially so. Otherwise the gates and windows of his soul are blurred, and blinded, and darkened, and no knowledge can come to him. I am not, in these papers, purposing to tell a man how to deal with his own soul; I am simply giving, to the disciple, knowledge. That I am not writing, even now, so that all who run may read, is owing to the fact that super-nature prevents this by its own immutable laws.

The four rules which I have written down for those in the West who wish to study them, are as I have said, written in the ante-chamber of every living Brotherhood; I may add more, in the ante-chamber of every living or dead Brotherhood, or Order yet to be formed. When I speak of a Brotherhood or an Order, I do not mean an arbitrary constitution made by scholiasts and intellectualists; I mean an actual fact in supernature, a stage of development towards the absolute God or Good. During this development the disciple encounters harmony, pure knowledge, pure truth, in different degrees, and, as he enters these degrees, he finds himself becoming part of what might be roughly described as a layer of human consciousness. He encounters his equals, men of his own self-less character, and with them his association becomes 171permanent and indissoluble, because founded on a vital likeness of nature. To them he becomes pledged by such vows as need no utterance or framework in ordinary words. This is one aspect of what I mean by a Brotherhood.

If the first rules are conquered the disciple finds himself standing at the threshold. Then if his will is sufficiently resolute his power of speech comes; a two-fold power. For, as he advances now, he finds himself entering into a state of blossoming, where every bud that opens throws out its several rays or petals. If he is to exercise his new gift, he must use it in its two-fold character. He finds in himself the power to speak in the presence of the masters; in other words, he has the right to demand contact with the divinest element of that state of consciousness into which he has entered. But he finds himself compelled, by the nature of his position, to act in two ways at the same time. He cannot send his voice up to the heights where sit the gods till he has penetrated to the deep places where their light shines not at all. He has come within the grip of an iron law. If he demands to become a neophyte, he at once becomes a servant. Yet his service is sublime, if only from the character of those who share it. For the masters are also servants; they serve and claim their reward afterwards. Part of their service is to let their knowledge touch him; his first act of service is to give some of that knowledge to those who are not yet fit to stand where he stands. This is no arbitrary decision, made by any master or teacher or any such person, however divine. It is a law of that life which the disciple has entered upon.

Therefore was it written in the inner doorway of the lodges of the old Egyptian Brotherhood, “The labourer is worthy of his hire.”

“Ask and ye shall have,” sounds like something too easy and simple to be credible. But the disciple cannot “ask” in the mystic sense in which the word is used in this scripture until he has attained the power of helping others.

Why is this? Has the statement too dogmatic a sound?

Is it too dogmatic to say that a man must have foothold before he can spring? The position is the same. If help is given, if work is done, then there is an actual claim—not what we call a personal claim of payment, but the claim of co-nature. The divine give, they demand that you also shall give before you can be of their kin.

This law is discovered as soon as the disciple endeavours to speak. For speech is a gift which comes only to the disciple of power and knowledge. The spiritualist enters the psychic-astral world, but he does not find there any certain speech, unless he at once claims it and continues to do so. If he is interested in “phenomena,” or the mere circumstance and accident of astral life, then he enters no direct ray of thought or purpose, he merely exists and amuses himself in the astral life as he has existed and amused himself in the physical life. Certainly 172there are one or two simple lessons which the psychic-astral can teach him, just as there are simple lessons which material and intellectual life teach him. And these lessons have to be learned; the man who proposes to enter upon the life of the disciple without having learned the early and simple lessons must always suffer from his ignorance. They are vital, and have to be studied in a vital manner; experienced through and through, over and over again, so that each part of the nature has been penetrated by them.

To return. In claiming the power of speech, as it is called, the Neophyte cries out to the Great One who stands foremost in the ray of knowledge on which he has entered, to give him guidance. When he does this, his voice is hurled back by the power he has approached, and echoes down to the deep recesses of human ignorance. In some confused and blurred manner the news that there is knowledge and a beneficentbeneficent power which teaches is carried to as many men as will listen to it. No disciple can cross the threshold without communicating this news, and placing it on record in some fashion or other.

He stands horror-struck at the imperfect and unprepared manner in which he has done this; and then comes the desire to do it well, and with the desire thus to help others comes the power. For it is a pure desire, this which comes upon him; he can gain no credit, no glory, no personal reward by fulfilling it. And therefore he obtains the power to fulfil it.

The history of the whole past, so far as we can trace it, shows very plainly that there is neither credit, glory, or reward to be gained by this first task which is given to the Neophyte. Mystics have always been sneered at, and seers disbelieved; those who have had the added power of intellect have left for posterity their written record, which to most men appears unmeaning and visionary, even when the authors have the advantage of speaking from a far-off past. The disciple who undertakes the task, secretly hoping for fame or success, to appear as a teacher and apostle before the world, fails even before his task is attempted, and his hidden hypocrisy poisons his own soul, and the souls of those he touches. He is secretly worshipping himself, and this idolatrous practice must bring its own reward.

The disciple who has the power of entrance, and is strong enough to pass each barrier, will, when the divine message comes to his spirit, forget himself utterly in the new consciousness which falls on him. If this lofty contact can really rouse him, he becomes as one of the divine in his desire to give rather than to take, in his wish to help rather than be helped, in his resolution to feed the hungry rather than take manna from Heaven himself. His nature is transformed, and the selfishness which prompts men’s actions in ordinary life suddenly deserts him.

(To be continued.)
173

THE ESOTERIC CHARACTER OF THE GOSPELS.

“.... Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy presence, and of the consummation of the age?”[33] asked the Disciples of the Master, on the Mount of Olives.

The reply given by the “Man of Sorrow,” the Chréstos, on his trial, but also on his way to triumph, as Christos, or Christ,[34] is prophetic, and very suggestive. It is a warning indeed. The answer must be quoted in full. Jesus ... said unto them:—

“Take heed that no man lead you astray. For many shall come in my name saying, I am the Christ; and shall lead many astray. And ye shall hear of wars ... but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places. But all these things are the beginning of travail.... Many false prophets shall arise, and shall lead many, astray ... then shall the end come ... when ye see the abomination of desolation which was spoken through Daniel.... Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is the Christ, or There; believe him not.... If they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the wilderness, go not forth; behold, he is in the inner chambers, believe them not. For as the lightning cometh forth from the East, and is seen even in the West, so shall be the presence of the Son of Man,” etc., etc.

Two things become evident to all in the above passages, now that their false rendering is corrected in the revision text: (a) “the coming of Christ,” means the presence of Christos in a regenerated world, and not at all the actual coming in body of “Christ” Jesus; (b) this Christ is to be sought neither in the wilderness nor “in the inner chambers,” nor in the sanctuary of any temple or church built by man; for Christ—the true esoteric Saviouris no man, but the Divine Principle in every human being. He who strives to resurrect the Spirit crucified in him by his own terrestrial passions, and buried deep in the “sepulchre” of his sinful flesh; he who has the strength to roll back the stone of matter from the door of his own inner sanctuary, he has the risen Christ in him.[35] The “Son of Man” is no child of the bond-woman—flesh, but verily of the free-woman—Spirit,[36] 174the child of man’s own deeds, and the fruit of his own spiritual labour.

On the other hand, at no time since the Christian era, have the precursor signs described in Matthew applied so graphically and forcibly to any epoch as they do to our own times. When has nation arisen against nation more than at this time? When have “famines”—another name for destitute pauperism, and the famished multitudes of the proletariat—been more cruel, earthquakes more frequent, or covered such an area simultaneously, as for the last few years? Millenarians and Adventists of robust faith, may go on saying that “the coming of (the carnalised) Christ” is near at hand, and prepare themselves for “the end of the world.” Theosophists—at any rate, some of them—who understand the hidden meaning of the universally-expected Avatars, Messiahs, Sosioshes and Christs—know that it is no “end of the world,” but “the consummation of the age,” i.e., the close of a cycle, which is now fast approaching.[37] If our readers have forgotten the concluding passages of the article, “The Signs of the Times,” in Lucifer for October last, let them read them over, and they will plainly see the meaning of this particular cycle.

Many and many a time the warning about the “false Christs” and prophets who shall lead people astray has been interpreted by charitable Christians, the worshippers of the dead-letter of their scripture, as applying to mystics generally, and Theosophists most especially. The recent work by Mr. Pember, “Earth’s Earliest Ages,” is a proof of it. Nevertheless, it seems very evident that the words in Matthew’s Gospel and others can hardly apply to Theosophists. For these were never found saying that Christ is “Here” or “There,” in wilderness or city, and least of all in the “inner chamber” behind the altar of any modern church. Whether Heathen or Christian by birth, they refuse to materialise and thus degrade that which is the purest and grandest ideal—the symbol of symbols—namely, the immortal Divine Spirit in man, whether it be called Horus, Krishna, Buddha, or Christ. None of them has ever yet said: “I am the Christ”; for those born in the West feel 175themselves, so far, only Chréstians,[38] however much they may strive to become Christians in Spirit. It is to those, who in their great conceit and pride refuse to win the right of such appellation by first leading the life of Chrestos;[39] to those who haughtily proclaim themselves Christians (the glorified, the anointed) by sole virtue of baptism when but a few days old—that the above-quoted words of Jesus apply most forcibly. Can the prophetic insight of him who uttered this remarkable warning be doubted by any one who sees the numerous “false prophets” and pseudo-apostles (of Christ), now roaming over the world? These have split the one divine Truth into fragments, and broken, in the camp of the Protestants alone, the rock of the Eternal Verity into three hundred and fifty odd pieces, which now represent the bulk of their Dissenting sects. Accepting the number in round figures as 350, and admitting, for argument’s sake, that, at least, one of these may have the approximate truth, still 349 must be necessarily false.[40] Each of these claims to have Christ exclusively in its “inner chamber,” and denies him to all others, while, in truth, the great majority of their respective followers daily put Christ to death on the cruciform tree of matter—the “tree of infamy” of the old Romans—indeed!

The worship of the dead-letter in the Bible is but one more form of idolatry, nothing better. A fundamental dogma of faith cannot exist under a double-faced Janus form. “Justification” by Christ cannot be achieved at one’s choice and fancy, either by “faith” or by “works” and James, therefore (ii., 25), contradicting Paul (Heb. xi., 31), and vice versa,[41] one of them must be wrong. Hence, the Bible is not the “Word of God” but contains at best the words of fallible men and imperfect teachers. Yet read esoterically, it does contain, if not the whole truth, still, “nothing but the truth,” under whatever allegorical garb. Only: Quot homines tot sententiæ.

176The “Christ principle,” the awakened and glorified Spirit of Truth, being universal and eternal, the true Christos cannot be monopolized by any one person, even though that person has chosen to arrogate to himself the title of the “Vicar of Christ,” or of the “Head” of that or another State-religion. The spirits of “Chrest” and “Christ” cannot be confined to any creed or sect, only because that sect chooses to exalt itself above the heads of all other religions or sects. The name has been used in a manner so intolerant and dogmatic, especially in our day, that Christianity is now the religion of arrogance par excellence, a stepping-stone for ambition, a sinecure for wealth, sham and power; a convenient screen for hypocrisy. The noble epithet of old, the one that made Justin Martyr say that “from the mere name, which is imputed to us as a crime, we are the most excellent,”[42] is now degraded. The missionary prides himself with the so-called conversion of a heathen, who makes of Christianity ever a profession, but rarely a religion, a source of income from the missionary fund, and a pretext, since the blood of Jesus has washed them all by anticipation, for every petty crime, from drunkenness and lying up to theft. That same missionary, however, would not hesitate to publicly condemn the greatest saint to eternal perdition and hell fires if that holy man has only neglected to pass through the fruitless and meaningless form of baptism by water with accompaniment of lip prayers and vain ritualism.

We say “lip prayer” and “vain ritualism” knowingly. Few Christians among the laymen are aware even of the true meaning of the word Christ; and those of the clergy who happen to know it (for they are brought up in the idea that to study such subjects is sinful) keep the information secret from their parishioners. They demand blind, implicit faith, and forbid inquiry as the one unpardonable sin, though nothing of that which leads to the knowledge of the truth can be aught else than holy. For what is “Divine Wisdom,” or Gnosis, but the essential reality behind the evanescent appearances of objects in nature—the very soul of the manifested Logos? Why should men who strive to accomplish union with the one eternal and absolute Deity shudder at the idea of prying into its mysteries—however awful? Why, above all, should they use names and words the very meaning of which is a sealed mystery to them—a mere sound? Is it because an unscrupulous, power-seeking Establishment called a Church has cried “wolf” at every such attempt, and, denouncing it as “blasphemous,” has ever tried to kill the spirit of inquiry? But Theosophy, the “divine Wisdom,” has never heeded that cry, and has the courage of its opinions. The world of sceptics and fanatics may call it, one—an empty “ism”—the other “Satanism”: they can never crush it. Theosophists have been called Atheists, haters of Christianity, the enemies of God and the gods. They are none of these. Therefore, they have agreed this day to publish a clear statement of their 177ideas, and a profession of their faith—with regard to monotheism and Christianity, at any rate—and to place it before the impartial reader to judge them and their detractors on the merits of their respective faiths. No truth-loving mind would object to such honest and sincere dealing, nor will it be dazzled by any amount of new light thrown upon the subject, howsoever much startled otherwise. On the contrary, such minds will thank Lucifer, perhaps, while those of whom it was said “qui vult decipi decipiatur”—let them be deceived by all means!

The editors of this magazine propose to give a series of essays upon the hidden meaning or esotericism of the “New Testament.” No more than any other scripture of the great world-religions can the Bible be excluded from that class of allegorical and symbolical writings which have been, from the pre-historic ages, the receptacle of the secret teachings of the Mysteries of Initiation, under a more or less veiled form. The primitive writers of the Logia (now the Gospels) knew certainly the truth, and the whole truth; but their successors had, as certainly, only dogma and form, which lead to hierarchical power at heart, rather than the spirit of the so-called Christ’s teachings. Hence the gradual perversion. As Higgins truly said, in the Christologia of St. Paul and Justin Martyr, we have the esoteric religion of the Vatican, a refined Gnosticism for the cardinals, a more gross one for the people. It is the latter, only still more materialized and disfigured, which has reached us in our age.

The idea of writing this series was suggested to us by a certain letter published in our October issue, under the heading of “Are the Teachings ascribed to Jesus contradictory?” Nevertheless, this is no attempt to contradict or weaken, in any one instance, that which is said by Mr. Gerald Massey in his criticism. The contradictions pointed out by the learned lecturer and author are too patent to be explained away by any “Preacher” or Bible champion; for what he has said—only in more terse and vigorous language—is what was said of the descendant of Joseph Pandira (or Panthera) in “Isis Unveiled” (vol. ii., p. 201), from the Talmudic Sepher Toldos Jeshu. His belief with regard to the spurious character of Bible and New Testament, as now edited, is therefore, also the belief of the present writer. In view of the recent revision of the Bible, and its many thousands of mistakes, mistranslations, and interpolations (some confessed to, and others withheld), it would ill become an opponent to take any one to task for refusing to believe in the authorised texts.

But the editors would object to one short sentence in the criticism under notice. Mr. Gerald Massey writes:—

“What is the use of taking your ‘Bible oath’ that the thing is true, if the book you are sworn upon is a magazine of falsehoods already exploded, or just going off?”

Surely it is not a symbologist of Mr. G. Massey’s powers and learning who would call the “Book of the Dead,” or the Vedas, or any other 178ancient Scripture, “a magazine of falsehoods.”[43] Why not regard in the same light as all the others, the Old, and, in a still greater measure, the New Testament?

All of these are “magazines of falsehoods,” if accepted in the exoteric dead-letter interpretations of their ancient, and especially their modern, theological glossarists. Each of these records has served in its turn as a means for securing power and of supporting the ambitious policy of an unscrupulous priesthood. All have promoted superstition, all made of their gods bloodthirsty and ever-damning Molochs and fiends, as all have made nations to serve the latter more than the God of Truth. But while cunningly-devised dogmas and intentional misinterpretations by scholiasts are beyond any doubt, “falsehoods already exploded,” the texts themselves are mines of universal truths. But for the world of the profane and sinners, at any rate—they were and still are like the mysterious characters traced by “the fingers of a man’s hand” on the wall of the Palace of Belshazzar: they need a Daniel to read and understand them.

Nevertheless, Truth has not allowed herself to remain without witnesses. There are, besides great Initiates into scriptural symbology, a number of quiet students of the mysteries of archaic esotericism, of scholars proficient in Hebrew and other dead tongues, who have devoted their lives to unriddle the speeches of the Sphinx of the world-religions. And these students, though none of them has yet mastered all the “seven keys” that open the great problem, have discovered enough to be able to say: There was a universal mystery-language, in which all the World Scriptures were written, from Vedas to “Revelation,” from the “Book of the Dead” to the Acts. One of the keys, at any rate—the numerical and geometrical key[44] to the Mystery Speech is now rescued; an ancient language, truly, which up to this time remained hidden, but the evidences of which abundantly exist, as may be proven by undeniable mathematical demonstrations. If, indeed, the Bible is forced on the acceptance of the world in its dead-letter meaning, in the 179face of the modern discoveries by Orientalists and the efforts of independent students and kabalists, it is easy to prophesy that even the present new generations of Europe and America will repudiate it, as all the materialists and logicians have done. For, the more one studies ancient religious texts, the more one finds that the ground-work of the New Testament is the same as the ground-work of the Vedas, of the Egyptian theogony, and the Mazdean allegories. The atonements by blood—blood-covenants and blood-transferences from gods to men, and by men, as sacrifices to the gods—are the first key-note struck in every cosmogony and theogony; soul, life and blood were synonymous words in every language, pre-eminently with the Jews; and that blood-giving was life-giving. “Many a legend among (geographically) alien nations ascribes soul and consciousness in newly-created mankind to the blood of the god-creators. Berosus records a Chaldean legend ascribing the creation of a new race of mankind to the admixture of dust with the blood that flowed from the severed head of the god Belus. “On this account it is that men are rational and partake of divine knowledge,” explains Berosus.[45] And Lenormant has shown (Beginnings of History, p. 52, note) that “the Orphics ... said that the immaterial part of man, his soul (his life) sprang from the blood of Dionysius Zagreus, whom ... Titans tore to pieces.” Blood “revivifies the dead”—i.e., interpreted metaphysically, it gives conscious life and a soul to the man of matter or clay—such as the modern materialist is now. The mystic meaning of the injunction, “Verily I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have not life in yourselves,” &c., can never be understood or appreciated at its true occult value, except by those who hold some of the seven keys, and yet care little for St Peter.[46] These words, whether said by Jesus of Nazareth, or Jeshua Ben-Panthera, are the words of an Initiate. They have to be interpreted with the help of three keys—one opening the psychic door, the second that of physiology, and the third that which unlocks the mystery of terrestrial being, by unveiling 180the inseparable blending of theogony with anthropology. It is for revealing a few of these truths, with the sole view of saving intellectual mankind from the insanities of materialism and pessimism, that mystics have often been denounced as the servants of Antichrist, even by those Christians who are most worthy, sincerely pious and respectable men.

The first key that one has to use to unravel the dark secrets involved in the mystic name of Christ, is the key which unlocked the door to the ancient mysteries of the primitive Aryans, Sabeans and Egyptians. The Gnosis supplanted by the Christian scheme was universal. It was the echo of the primordial wisdom-religion which had once been the heirloom of the whole of mankind; and, therefore, one may truly say that, in its purely metaphysical aspect, the Spirit of Christ (the divine logos) was present in humanity from the beginning of it. The author of the Clementine Homilies is right; the mystery of Christos—now supposed to have been taught by Jesus of Nazareth—“was identical” with that which from the first had been communicated “to those who were worthy,” as quoted in another lecture.[47] We may learn from the Gospel according to Luke, that the “worthy” were those who had been initiated into the mysteries of the Gnosis, and who were “accounted worthy” to attain that “resurrection from the dead” in this life ... “those who knew that they could die no more, being equal to the angels as sons of God and sons of the Resurrection.” In other words, they were the great adepts of whatever religion; and the words apply to all those who, without being Initiates, strive and succeed, through personal efforts to live the life and to attain the naturally ensuing spiritual illumination in blending their personality—the (“Son”) with (the “Father,”) their individual divine Spirit, the God within them. This “resurrection” can never be monopolized by the Christians, but is the spiritual birth-right of every human being endowed with soul and spirit, whatever his religion may be. Such individual is a Christ-man. On the other hand, those who choose to ignore the Christ (principle) within themselves, must die unregenerate heathens—baptism, sacraments, lip-prayers, and belief in dogmas notwithstanding.

In order to follow this explanation, the reader must bear in mind the real archaic meaning of the paronomasia involved in the two terms Chréstos and Christos. The former means certainly more than merely “a good,” an “excellent man,” while the latter was never applied to any one living man, but to every Initiate at the moment of his second birth and resurrection.[48] He who finds Christos within himself and recognises the latter as his only “way,” becomes a follower and an Apostle of Christ, though he may have never been baptised, nor even have met a “Christian,” still less call himself one.

H. P. B.
(To be continued.)
181

THE “SQUARE” IN THE HAND.

I am unable to say where or when the events related in the following pages took place. Neither can I give any details concerning the personal circumstances of the narrator. All I know is that she was a young woman of French nationality, and that the “uncle” of whom she speaks—her senior by some thirty years—was more distinguished as a philosopher than as an enthusiast. Whether the conspiracy against the reigning authorities in which our heroine and her friends were implicated, happened to be of any historical importance or not, is also more than I can say. As my object in reproducing the narrative is merely to illustrate the curious operation through natural channels of laws, which are usually regarded as “occult,” and the activity of which on the material plane has given rise to the common notion of “miracle,” I do not propose to trouble the reader or myself with any preamble of merely local interest. So, without more introduction, I leave the diary of the writer to recount the adventure set down therein by her own hand.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

“I was concerned in a very prominent way in a political struggle for liberty and the people’s rights. My part in this struggle was, indeed, the leading one, but my uncle had been drawn into it at my instance, and was implicated in a secondary manner only. The government sought our arrest, and, for a time, we evaded all attempts to take us, but at last we were surprised and driven under escort in a private carriage to a military station, where we were to be detained for examination. With us was arrested a man popularly known as ‘Fou,’ a poor weakling whom I much pitied. When we arrived at the station which was our destination, ‘Fou’ gave some trouble to the officials. I think he fainted, but at all events his conveyance from the carriage to the caserne needed the conjoined efforts of our escort, and some commotion was caused by his appearance among the crowd assembled to see us. Clearly the crowd was sympathetic with us and hostile to the military. I particularly noticed one woman who pressed forward as ‘Fou’ was being carried into the station, and who loudly called on all present to note his feeble condition and the barbarity of arresting a witless creature such as he. At that moment my uncle laid his hand on my arm and whispered: ‘Now is our time; the guards are all occupied with ‘Fou;’‘Fou;’ we are left alone for a minute; let us jump out of the carriage and run!’ As he said this he opened the carriage door on the side opposite to the caserne and alighted in the street. I instantly followed, and the people 182favouring us, we pressed through them and fled at the top of our speed down the road. As we ran I espied a pathway winding up a hill-side away from the town, and cried: ‘Let us go up there; let us get away from the streets!’ My uncle answered: ‘No, no; they would see us there immediately at that height, the path is too conspicuous. Our best safety is to lose ourselves in the town. We may throw them off our track by winding in and out of the streets.’ Just then a little child, playing in the road, got in our way, and nearly threw us down as we ran. We had to pause a moment to recover ourselves. ‘That child may have cost us our lives,’ whispered my uncle breathlessly. A second afterwards we reached the bottom of the street which branched off right and left. I hesitated a moment; then we both turned to the right. As we did so—in the twinkling of an eye—we found ourselves in the midst of a group of soldiers coming round the corner. I ran straight into the arms of one of them, who the same instant knew me and seized me by throat and waist with a grip of iron. This was a horrible moment! The iron grasp was sudden and solid as the grip of a vice; the man’s arm held my waist like a bar of steel. ‘I arrest you!’ he cried, and the soldiers immediately closed round us. At once I realised the hopelessness of the situation; the utter futility of resistance. Vous n’avez pas besoin de me tenir ainsi,’ I said to the officer; j’irai tranquillement.’ He loosened his hold and we were then marched off to another military station, in a different part of the town from that whence we had escaped. The man who had arrested me was a sergeant or some officer in petty command. He took me alone with him into the guard-room, and placed before me on a wooden table some papers which he told me to fill in and sign. Then he sat down opposite to me and I looked through the papers. They were forms, with blanks left for descriptions specifying the name, occupation, age, address and so forth of arrested persons. I signed these, and pushing them across the table to the man, asked him what was to be done with us. ‘You will be shot,’ he replied, quickly and decisively. ‘Both of us?’ I asked. ‘Both,’ he replied. ‘But,’ said I, ‘my companion has done nothing to deserve death. He was drawn into this struggle entirely by me. Consider, too, his advanced age. His hair is white; he stoops, and, had it not been for the difficulty with which he moves his limbs, both of us would probably be at this moment in a place of safety. What can you gain by shooting an old man such as he?’ The officer was silent. He neither favoured nor discouraged me by his manner. While I sat awaiting his reply, I glanced at the hand with which I had just signed the papers, and a sudden idea flashed into my mind. ‘At least,’ I said, ‘grant me one request. If my uncle must die, let me die first.’ Now I made this request for the following reason. In my right hand, the line of life broke abruptly halfway in its length; indicating a sudden and violent death. But the point at which it broke was terminated by a 183perfectly marked square, extraordinarily clear-cut and distinct. Such a square, occurring at the end of a broken line means rescue, salvation. I had long been aware of this strange figuration in my hand, and had often wondered what it presaged. But now, as once more I looked at it, it came upon me with sudden conviction that in some way I was destined to be delivered from death at the last moment, and I thought that if this be so it would be horrible should my uncle have been killed first. If I were to be saved I should certainly save him also, for my pardon would involve the pardon of both, or my rescue the rescue of both. Therefore it was important to provide for his safety until after my fate was decided. The officer seemed to take this last request into more serious consideration than the first. He said shortly: ‘I may be able to manage that for you,’ and then at once rose and took up the papers I had signed. ‘When are we to be shot?’ I asked him. ‘To-morrow morning,’ he replied, as promptly as before. Then he went out, turning the key of the guard-room upon me.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

“The dawn of the next day broke darkly. It was a terribly stormy day; great black lurid thunderclouds lay piled along the horizon, and came up slowly and awfully against the wind. I looked upon them with terror; they seemed so near the earth, and so like living, watching things. They hung out of the sky, extending long ghostly arms downwards, and their gloom and density seemed supernatural. The soldiers took us out, our hands bound behind us, into a quadrangle at the back of their barracks. The scene is sharply impressed on my mind. A palisade of two sides of a square, made of wooden planks, ran round the quadrangle. Behind this palisade, and pressed up close against it was a mob of men and women—the people of the town—come to see the execution. But their faces were sympathetic; an unmistakable look of mingled grief and rage, not unmixed with desperation—for they were a down-trodden folk—shone in the hundreds of eyes turned towards us. I was the only woman among the condemned. My uncle was there, and poor ‘Fou,’ looking bewildered, and one or two other prisoners. On the third and fourth sides of the quadrangle was a high wall, and in a certain place was a niche partly enclosing the trunk of a tree, cut off at the top. An iron ring was driven into the trunk midway, evidently for the purpose of securing condemned persons for execution. I guessed it would be used for that now. In the centre of the square piece of ground stood a file of soldiers, armed with carbines, and an officer with a drawn sabre. The palisade was guarded by a row of soldiers somewhat sparsely distributed, certainly not more than a dozen in all. A Catholic priest in black cassock walked beside me, and as we were conducted into the enclosure, he turned to me and offered religious consolation. I declined his ministrations, but asked him anxiously if he knew which of us was to die first. ‘You,’ he replied; ‘the officer in 184charge of you said you wished it, and he has been able to accede to your request.’ Even then I felt a singular joy at hearing this, though I had no longer any expectation of release. Death was, I thought, far too near at hand for that. Just then a soldier approached us, and led me, bare-headed, to the tree trunk, where he placed me with my back against it, and made fast my hands behind me with a rope to the iron ring. No bandage was put over my eyes. I stood thus, facing the file of soldiers in the middle of the quadrangle, and noticed that the officer with the drawn sabre placed himself at the extremity of the line, composed of six men. In that supreme moment I also noticed that their uniform was bright with steel accoutrements. Their helmets were of steel and their carbines, as they raised them and pointed them at me, ready cocked, glittered in a fitful gleam of sunlight with the same burnished metal. There was an instant’s stillness and hush while the men took aim; then I saw the officer raise his bared sabre as the signal to fire. It flashed in the air; then, with a suddenness impossible to convey, the whole quadrangle blazed with an awful light—a light so vivid, so intense, so blinding, so indescribable that everything was blotted out and devoured by it. It crossed my brain with instantaneous conviction that this amazing glare was the physical effect of being shot, and that the bullets had pierced my brain or heart, and caused this frightful sense of all-pervading flame. Vaguely I remembered having read or having been told that such was the result produced on the nervous system of a victim to death from fire-arms. ‘It is over,’ I said, ‘that was the bullets.’ But presently there forced itself on my dazed senses a sound—a confusion of sounds—darkness succeeding the white flash—then steadying itself into gloomy daylight; a tumult; a heap of stricken, tumbled men lying stone-still before me; a fearful horror upon every living face; and then ... it all burst on me with distinct conviction. The storm which had been gathering all the morning had culminated in its blackest and most electric point immediately over-head. The file of soldiers appointed to shoot me stood exactly under it. Sparkling with bright steel on head and breast and carbines, they stood shoulder to shoulder, a complete lightning conductor, and at the end of the chain they formed, their officer, at the critical moment, raised his shining, naked blade towards the sky. Instantaneously heaven opened, and the lightning fell, attracted by the burnished steel. From blade to carbine, from helmet to breastplate it ran, smiting every man dead as he stood. They fell like a row of nine-pins, blackened in face and hand in an instant—in the twinkling of an eye. Dead. The electric flame licked the life out of seven men in that second; not one moved a muscle or a finger again. Then followed a wild scene. The crowd, stupefied for a minute by the thunderbolt and the horror of the devastation it had wrought, recovered sense, and with a mighty shout hurled itself against the palisade, burst it, leapt over it 185and swarmed into the quadrangle, easily overpowering the unnerved guards. I was surrounded, eager hands unbound mine, arms were thrown about me; the people roared, and wept, and triumphed, and fell about me on their knees praising Heaven. I think rain fell, my face was wet with drops, and my hair—but I knew no more, for I swooned and lay unconscious in the arms of the crowd. My rescue had indeed come, and from the very Heavens!”

Anna Kingsford, M.D.
decorative separator

FREEDOM.

Know, striving soul, on truth intent,
That not with words by mortal sent—
Faint shimmerings of earthly light—
Shall ever-living truth be taught,
Or light to gild the path be bought,
That leads us upward from the night.
But govern mind with ordered will,
Subduing this with knowledge still,
Fanning the spark within that glows,
The essence of that power divine,
The pledge to man from mystic time,
The light from thrones above that flows.
Then may the spirit, bathed in light,
Soar upward from the realms of night,
No more a fettered earth-bound thing,
But freed from clay, and doubt, and slime,
Triumphant over death and time!
To the eternal ever cling!
P. H. D.
186

THE INVISIBLE WORLD.

In many of the tasks of life the first step costs the great effort, and the investigation of truth in the higher regions of Nature justifies the familiar maxim. The first step for the modern inquirer is that which carries his consciousness across the threshold of matter into the invisible world. Never mind for the moment whether occult progress be attempted by a direct onslaught on the defences of the invisible world, or by purely internal combats with the desires of the lower self. The unseen must first become a reality for anyone who seriously desires to enter into relations with it, whether he sets his will to work to vanquish his own frailties, or the forces of Nature on the astral plane. An internal struggle with material desire undertaken for a spiritual purpose, just as much as the other kind of contest, is a recognition of the superior realm; and it is not a struggle of the kind we are contemplating at all, if it is merely undertaken for a worldly purpose, as thrifty habits may be cultivated, for instance, at the bidding of the grossest material selfishness. But though a recognition of the invisible world must in this way have been forced, at an early stage of his inquiry, on the mind of everyone who becomes an earnest explorer of Nature’s higher laws, its invisibility is a terrible barrier in the way of the progress that would otherwise be made by the throngs of intelligent materialists who people civilised countries at this epoch of our history. From the point of view of conventional thinkers—of those alike who sacrifice their Sunday mornings to provide for the contingency that there may be something in religion after all, and of those who are frankly incredulous of any Nature lying beyond the reach of instrumental research—a tremendous revolution in all their views of life is accomplished if they are somehow brought face to face with the reality of super-material phenomena, if they ever discover the invisible world and come to know it, or any part of it, as an unequivocal fact.

Long experienced explorers of the unseen often forget how profoundly clouded the whole region seems from the shore of materialistic thought. Indeed, from the shore of other systems where habits of metaphysical speculation would lead men to repudiate the charge of materialism, the unseen appears to be equally impenetrable to all human faculties. It is as though we lived beside an ocean always shrouded from view by a belt of mist. A few persons are in the constant habit of pushing out beyond in boats, but these, when they come back, are told, “Nonsense! there is no ocean; you have been dreaming!” For the vast majority, the mist is an infinite void. Only by a minority have the few who have passed through it, been even 187encountered. Will anyone who knows his generation pretend to say that even among ordinary religious people the next world is a certain fact in Nature, like the next street? How many are there who do more than rest on the hypothesis that there may be somewhere a heaven to “go to” when the dreadful moment comes at which mortal man must perforce bid adieu to the warm precincts of the cheerful day. “God forbid!” a bishop is said to have piously remarked when warned, during danger at sea, that he would be in Heaven that night. The next world of commonplace orthodoxy is but too often regarded as a desperate resource for ruined men, whose fortune of life has been wrung from them to the last drop. For those who are bankrupt of breath, “let us trust” (as a frequent phrase expresses the idea) that some compensation may be provided by Providence hereafter, though it does all remain so hopelessly obscure.

“Ah, if you could only show me that there really is a life beyond this—a perpetuation of this real individual Me after I am what my friends will call dead—you would be giving me a blessing that no words could over-estimate.” That is a passionate cry from many hearts to those who talk of other lives for the soul—of spiritual rewards, or the fruit of Karma in future states of existence.

It is a cry which few people indeed, even among those who have been in contact with the invisible world, are in a position to satisfy. Most of us are obliged to reply: “This satisfaction can only be acquired by a resolute effort; it is impossible for us to bring you proof of what we know, to save you trouble. If you would know whether Africa exists, we cannot bring you Africa to prove it; we can only give you directions how to get there if you are willing to undertake the journey.” “But why,” we might ask, “cannot you believe the testimony of those who have had proof of the sort you require.” The answer always is in effect: C’est le premier pas qui coute. It would be worth worlds to know, but to believe without personal knowledge—that would be an act of faith. I might as easily believe at once in the Roman Catholic Church.”

There is a great difference, really, between the surrender of that reason claimed by ecclesiastical tyranny and the faith required to enable a seeker after truth to gain personal cognisance of the invisible world. The priest and the occultist both claim faith from the neophyte; but the first bids him develop this by strangling his reason, the second by satisfying it. Sensible faith is that which recognises the logic of facts appealing to human intelligence. It is stupid to believe that which you have no reason for believing; it is no less stupid to disbelieve that which there is reason to believe. The majority of modern men and women, indeed—fed exclusively on the husks of knowledge—are too profoundly ignorant of the records accumulated by those who have penetrated the unseen to be called stupid for undervaluing them. But on one or the other horn of the dilemma they must take their place. They are unconscious of the existence of the records left, or of the work done by students of 188occultism in its various phases; or they must be held responsible for defects of understanding. Does anyone say: “What are the records you refer to?” The answer would be analogous to one that might be given to a person brought up in American backwoods, on modern practicalities exclusively, and who in mature life should hear someone refer to classical literature as important. “What book do you want me to read?” he might ask. What would an accomplished University devotee of Greek poetry think in reply, even if he tried to disguise his answer in polite terms?

Any fairly considerable acquaintance with the literature of occult research—including in that broad designation records of any supermaterial phenomena—will put any man in a position in which he must either believe in the existence of the invisible world, or discover that he is an irrational being, whose “convictions” are merely acts of submission to the decrees of the multitude. And then, for most of those who perceive that they must believe, or who find that they cannot continue to disbelieve, some personal contact with some phases of the invisible world will probably follow in the sequence of events; because, once believing—once saturated with a complete conviction that there are other planes of Nature—these will present themselves to the mind as so interesting, that it becomes worth while to take trouble in order to get the gratification of beholding their phenomena in some way or other; and then success will sooner or later be attained. While people merely think “there may be an invisible world, let us try if we can find it out,” they are easily baffled by failure. They draw one or two covers “blank” and retire from the effort declaring “there is nothing to be discovered; it is all a delusion.” The man who has read and assimilated what he has read is, as we have said above, saturated with a conviction on the subject. His state of mind remains unaffected by personal failure; and still impelled by the fascination of the idea, he will try again and again till he succeeds. When anyone says, “I wish I could see something out of the common way, but I never have any luck in such things,” the answer is: “Then you certainly do not wish much.” Probably such people do not wish enough to take the trouble merely to study. What they wish is that conclusive phenomena demonstrating the existence of the invisible world should always be on view at some London theatre, where inquirers might go without liability to disappointment, when other engagements permitted.

And yet, though it is so easy to blame and ridicule that attitude of mind, no one who has the influence of the higher occultism in his heart, and at the same time a capacity for sympathising with the best attributes of modern culture, can be otherwise than indefatigably anxious to waken up the present generation more fully to an appreciation of the sublime knowledge accessible to those who get across the outer barriers and come to realise the existence of the world beyond, once for all. 189Occultists will often fail to understand the situation aright. There are some who would do nothing but draw from their own knowledge of the invisible world a store of moral maxims, and serve these out to their brethren, fearing to suggest further inquiries lest danger should be incurred, for, of course, people are put in danger the higher they climb, falls being then more disastrous. But maxims to have any value must be in circuit with knowledge. “Be good!” is a sound maxim. “Be good children!” is often an efficient exhortation, but it will not survive the period when the persons addressed say “Why?” And all the educated world is saying “Why?” now in regard to injunctions which rest upon incredible assertions. Why is Society so tolerant of some misdoing which the Church has always specially condemned, though it lies outside the catalogue of offences like robbery and murder, proscribed by common convenience? Because maxims which merely rest upon religion have no longer any binding force; in other words, because religion is the science, or the sum total of the sciences of the invisible world, and men now claim to have cut and dried maxims overhauled on principles to which this age of science has accustomed them. It is quite possible to get this done. The fact that this is a scientific age is a declaration, in other words, that a time has come for putting a scientific complexion on religious thought; in other words again, for beginning to lead the public, in flocks, where hitherto rare pioneers only have penetrated in secret—across the threshold unto the limitless realms of the invisible world. By flocks we need not be supposed to mean crude masses of humanity selected on no system, but large numbers compared to the rare explorers of former times, considerable groups of the most intelligent and advanced minds of the age. A man of the present day, who has obtained the beautiful culture of modern civilisation, who may be an accomplished classic, a finely-trained man of science, a poet, an artist, and yet a person so ignorant or stupid (as to certain facets of his mind) as not to know anything about the invisible world, is a creature who provokes in the more enlightened observer a feeling analogous to that with which one might look at a lady of fashion, beautiful in the face, but whose winning draperies you know to hide ugly deformities or repulsive disease. Or treating the subject more abstractedly, this lovely culture of modern civilisation is like the soulless statue—the Galatea without life. Surely it is time that the gods informed the marble with the breath of the spirit; and have they not shown themselves ready to do this if the sculptor does but appeal to them?

The man who penetrates, or gets into relations of some sort or other with the invisible world, will not necessarily be illuminated at once with a flood of exhilarating knowledge. The new realm may open out before the explorer in many different ways; and there is much going astray amidst its innumerable mazes for new comers, as a rule. But to discuss these perils in detail would be to attempt an essay on all branches 190of occultism. For the present we are arguing merely that to make no journeys there at all is to give up progress, to move no longer with the onward stream of evolution, to fall out of the line of march.

It is deplorable that men of intelligence, in the present day, should neglect to pick up the threads which might guide them to some knowledge of the invisible world, for two reasons, or rather, the reasons why this is deplorable may be divided into two great classes, those which have reference to knowledge, as such, and those which have reference to the spiritual interests of mankind. To people who appreciate spiritual interests, nothing else is relatively worth a thought; but for men of modern civilisation at large knowledge is worth everything for its own sake; it is the end they are pursuing, and this being so, it is astounding that they neglect the most subtle, fascinating and intricate phenomena of all nature, those which have to do with supermaterial planes of existence and natural force. And from that point of view, any passage across the threshold of the invisible world will do as well as any other. The tables that move without hands, the pencils that write without fingers, are surely linked with mysteries of Nature not yet understood, and, therefore, worth examination. Investigations concerning them bring one face to face with the forces of the invisible world.

Are we told that science cannot grasp these phenomena to investigate them? The statement is not true. They cannot be grasped at any time by anybody, but no more can the depths of stellar space be fathomed by whoever chooses whenever it suits his leisure. Great telescopes are scarce; nights perfectly fitted for observation must be waited for with patience. But when they come, the men who have got the telescopes take observations and make reports, and their records are studied by other astronomers, and used as the foundation of theories, as the raw material of current knowledge. If similar methods were adopted with even the crudest spiritualistic, not to speak of scientific, research in occult mystery, the world at large would not be blundering about as it is, with absurd denials of facts known to thousands. Clairvoyance again, by flights of perception through the invisible world, bridges gulfs that are materially impassable. But what does modern culture know of it? As a scientific fact, it is enormously more certain than the existence, for example, of the satellites of Mars; but who disputes the latter fact? They have been seen, those satellites, if they are not seen easily or often, and therefore their existence has been established. But five newspapers out of six in the present day—barometers of prevailing belief—would profess to disbelieve in clairvoyance if the subject had to be mentioned; to disbelieve in that which is an elementary truth having to do with the most easily accessible region of supermaterial knowledge!

To gain touch with this is not to be put at once in possession of that 191certainty concerning the survival after death of the real “Me” in each case, which is the great point to be established for most European doubters, but it is the first step. Students of the laws which govern existence in the higher realms of Nature can gain no hearing from those to whom that great point remains unsatisfied. Once the higher realm is felt to be a reality, the possibility of gaining a knowledge of the laws which prevail there presents itself to the mind with an altogether new significance. And finally, closer attention shows that this knowledge certainly has been gained; that the path leading to spiritual wisdom is defined; that with some of the powers which reign in the invisible world we may enter into more or less definite relations beforehand here; that of all practical pursuits which men of clear heads and resolute purpose can set themselves to, during the space of incarnate earthly life, immeasurably the most practical, in so far as it has to do with objects which dwarf all others in their importance, are those which have to do with the culture and development of that Higher Self within them which has its natural home in the invisible world, and is but a passing guest in the midst of material occupations. To use and apply the knowledge of supermaterial laws which occult studies disclose is a life’s task, but of that for the moment we need not speak. It is with the heedless and frivolous generation at large that we are concerned in this appeal—with those who waste great gifts of intelligence and splendid energies and courage and indomitable industry on transitory pursuits, on money-making (in excess), on discovery and research that merely subserve passing material wants, on the struggle for flattering distinctions which cast a meteoric gleam on the brief journey to personal oblivion, on the “solid realities” of the visible world, which, like the ice drops of a hailstorm, are as hard as bullets one minute and dissolved in new forms the next. It is all for want of taking the first step that they are squandering their lives. Their immediate predecessors knew no more than they perhaps of the hidden mysteries, but they were less critical of the distorted shape in which pious tradition told them of the future and of the powers above. The heirs of modern thought have grown in knowledge of molecules and of the transmutation of energy but as they look back upon the beliefs which contented their forefathers, they perceive that their fuller science of the physical plane has entirely shut out the wide, vague prospect that used to gleam on the earlier horizon.

Rational human creatures cannot afford to leave that prospect in a permanent eclipse. The neglect of all facts concerned with the durabilities of existence; the concentration of effort and interest on the hastily dissolving view of its physically manifested phases, is the crying folly of the period. To spring at once into complete conscious spiritual relationship with the higher planes of Nature is not an easy achievement. The great Realities lie within a domain which makes no direct appeal to the five senses of the earthly body, and the only way of approaching their comprehension 192is to press on through the darkness, beyond which other men before us declare that they have reached illuminated altitudes.

But meanwhile, the torpor of the educated world at large in regard to the promptings which ought now to stir its activity in this direction is little less than idiotic. Idiotic relatively, that is to say, to spiritual culture. There are men of illustrious fame in the various provinces of intellectual culture, who are behaving relatively to their own higher potentialities, as the luckless victim of a shallow skull may behave towards the teachings of science and art. But there is always one thing to be remembered about them; they are curable. Their cure can be undertaken with sure certainty of success at any moment, but for each sufferer from that inner cataract which shuts out from his consciousness the prospect of the invisible world, there is only one surgeon who can successfully perform the necessary operation—the man himself. What we can do who have accomplished the feat for ourselves, is to encourage others—not to go, but to come and do likewise.

A. P. Sinnett.
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THE MYSTIC THOUGHT.

When will come rest? Is it alone the silent grave
That can bring true peace to the restless soul
That striving, yearns to reach some distant goal,
Toss’d like a boat on the crest of a mighty wave?
Is there oblivion in the cold, dark tomb
To dull the heart and kill the abject fear
Which loads the sense, when unknown dangers loom
From regions that our sense perceives not here?
When from the soul goes forth the mystic thought
That we have higher purpose than we know,
And each must reap the fruit he cares to sow,
Or learn the duties he himself has taught:
Can this be killed?—no, surely!—but that lamp can save
That burns within us here—and burns beyond the grave.
P. H. Dalbiac.
193

THE BLOSSOM AND THE FRUIT:

THE TRUE STORY OF A MAGICIAN.
(Continued.)

By Mabel Collins,
Author of “The Prettiest Woman in Warsaw,” &c., &c.,
And Scribe of “The Idyll of the White Lotus,” and “Through the Gates
of Gold.”

CHAPTER V.

Adventure is said to be sweet to the young; if it was so to Hilary, he must soon have found abundant pleasure in the possession of enough sweets. For the next few days scarcely an hour passed without an event large enough in his eyes to be an adventure.

He was ready at the hour Fleta had named; and had provided against all probable contingencies by taking with him the smallest possible amount of luggage. For aught he knew they might have to climb mountains in the course of this journey. And moreover he knew Fleta’s unprincess-like distaste for superfluities; he would not have been surprised to see her start in her riding habit and take no luggage at all. The difficulty he dreaded was his mother’s surprise at this scant provision of his. But good luck—or was it something else?—took her away. She was summoned to visit a sick friend at a little distance out of the city, and said good-bye to Hilary before her departure. So Hilary made his preparations without being troubled by criticism.

At noon a lad presented himself at the door of the Estanol’s house, with a note which he said he was to give into Hilary’s own hand. Hilary immediately went to him and took it, as he guessed it was from Fleta. A single line!—and no signature!—

“I am waiting for you outside the north gate.”

Hilary took his valise in his hand, afraid to hire a carriage lest it should not please her that he brought any eyes to note their meeting. He walked out of the city by the quietest side streets he could select, hoping not to meet any of his friends. He met no one he knew, and with a sigh of relief passed out through the gate and walked on to the broad country road beyond it. Drawn up under some trees was a handsome travelling carriage, with four horses and postilions. Hilary was surprised. He had not expected so much luxury. When he reached the carriage he was even more surprised. Fleta was hardly dressed as for a journey; she wore a much richer robe than usual, and 194her head and shoulders were covered with beautiful black lace. She leaned back in a corner of the roomy carriage, with a voluptuous dreamy expression on her face which was new to Hilary. Opposite her sat Father Amyot. Hilary could not but regard the priest with amazement. Was the town to lose its favourite confessor? How then could all the gossips in it be prevented from hearing of the Princess Fleta’s journey? But Hilary resolved not to harass himself with conjecture. He entered the carriage and Fleta motioned to him to seat himself at her side.

At her side! Yes, that was his place. And Father Amyot, the father confessor, beloved and almost worshipped by the people, in whose breast reposed the secrets and the sorrows of the city; Father Amyot, who was the model of piety to all who knew him, sat opposite in the carriage. Did he watch the lovers? Seemingly not. His eyes were lowered and his gaze was apparently fixed on his clasped hands. He sat there like a statue. Once or twice when Hilary glanced at his face, he fancied he must be there unwillingly. Was it so? Was he Fleta’s tool and servant held by her domineering temper to do her bidding? Surely not. Father Amyot was too well known as a man of power for the idea to be credible. Hilary checked himself for the hundredth time in these hopeless speculations and determined to enjoy the moment he was in possession of and not trouble about the next one till it came; nor yet endeavour to read others’ hearts. And so this young philosopher went open eyed, as he believed, to his destruction.

The carriage rolled away at a great speed; it was drawn by four beautiful Russian horses, and the postilions were Fleta’s own, and accustomed to her likings. She was a most daring and intrepid rider and nothing pleased her in the way of motion except great speed. She was a lover of animals and her horses were the finest kept in the city. It was strange to Hilary to try and realise her singular independence of position, as to-day he felt impelled to. For himself he was still to a great extent in leading strings; he had made no position for himself, nor even planned any career; he was dependent on his mother’s fortune, and consequently, to a certain extent, could act only according to her approval. He was still so young that all this seemed natural enough. But Fleta was younger than himself, though it was difficult always to remember it, so dominant was her temper. A glance at her fresh face still so soft in its outlines as to have something childish about it when her expression permitted; at her figure, so slender in spite of its stateliness, recalled the fact that the Princess was indeed only a girl. Did the man who was about to marry her suppose that his young Queen was a creature unformed, fresh from the schoolroom, altogether malleable to his hand?

During the whole of the afternoon they drove on with scarcely a pause, and with very little conversation to pass the time. Yet for Hilary it flew with swift wings. The mere sensation of his novel 195position was enough for him as yet. To be beside Fleta and to watch her mysterious face for so long together satisfied for the moment his longing soul. Fleta herself seemed buried in profound thought. She sat silent, her eyes on the country they passed through, but her mind, as far as Hilary could judge, wandering in some remote region. As for Father Amyot, his regard remained fixed upon a small crucifix which he held hidden within his clasped hands, and now and then his lips moved in prayer, while, on that austere face, no expression seemed to have room but that of adoration or contemplation of the divine.

At sundown they stopped at a very small way-side inn. Hilary could not believe they were going to stay here, for it looked little more than a place where men drink and horses are fed. Yet so it was. The carriage was driven round to the side of the small house, the horses taken out of it, and Fleta led the way in at a side door, followed by her two companions.

Within they found a motherly, plain and kindly woman, who evidently knew Fleta well; Hilary learned afterwards that this landlady had been a kitchen maid in the royal household. And now he saw strange things indeed. For this inn was in reality nothing but a drinking shop for the drivers who passed along the road. It had no parlour, nor any accommodation for travellers of a better sort. And Fleta knew this, as was evident at once. She drew a hard chair forward, closeclose to the great fire which flamed up the wide open chimney, and sat down seemingly quite at her ease.

“We must have some supper,” she said to the landlady. “Get us what you can. Can you find room for these gentlemen to-night?”

The landlady came near to Fleta and spoke in a low voice; the Princess laughed.

“There are no bedrooms in this house, it seems,” she said, aloud, “in fact, it is not an hotel. Shall we drive on or shall we sit here through the night?”

“The horses are tired,” said Father Amyot, speaking for the first time since they had left the city.

“True,” said Fleta, absently—for already she appeared to be thinking of something else. “I suppose, then, we must stay here.”

Hilary had never passed, nor ever contemplated passing, a night in such rough fashion. He was fond of comfort, or rather of luxury. But what could he do when his Princess, the greatest lady in the land, set him the example. Any protest would have appeared effeminate, and his pride held him silent. Still, when after a very indifferent supper, they all returned to the hard wooden chairs beside the fire, Hilary for the moment very sincerely wished himself at home in his own comfortable rooms. As he wished this, suddenly he became aware that Fleta’s dark eyes had turned upon him, and he would not look up, for he believed she had read his thought. He wished he could have hidden it from her, for he had no mind to be held as more effeminate than herself.

196There was a sort of second kitchen even rougher and more cheerless than the one in which they sat; and there the postilions and other men, the ordinary customers of the house, were crowded together, drinking and talking and singing. Their presence was horrid to Hilary, who was conscious of refined susceptibilities, but Fleta seemed quite indifferent to the noise they made and the odour of their coarse tobacco; or rather it might be that she was unaware of anything outside her own thoughts. She sat, her chin on her hand, looking into the fire; and so graceful and perfect was her attitude that she had the air of being a masterpiece of art placed amid the commonest surroundings. She looked more lovely than ever from the contrast, but yet the incongruity was painful to Hilary.

The silence in the room in which they sat became the more marked from contrast with the increasing noise in the crowded room without. At last, however, the hour came for the house to be closed and the landlady politely showed her customers the door; all except those who were travellers on the road. These, including the postilions, gathered into the chimney corner and became quiet, at last falling sound asleep. To Hilary it seemed now that he was living through a painful dream, and he longed for the awakening—willing to awake, even if that meant that he would be at home and away from Fleta.

At last sleep came to him, and his head drooped forward; he sat there, upright in the wooden chair, fast asleep. When he awoke it was with a sense of pain in every limb, from the posture which he had maintained; and he could scarcely refrain from crying out when he attempted to move. But he instantly remembered that if the others were sleeping he must not wake them. Then he quickly looked round. Father Amyot sat near, looking just as he had looked since they entered the house; he might have been a statue. Fleta’s chair was empty.

Hilary roused himself, sat up and stared at her empty place; then looked all round the kitchen. An idea occurred to him; possibly the landlady had found some resting place for the young Princess. A sense of oppression came over him; the kitchen seemed stifling. He rose with difficulty and stretched himself, then found his way out into the air. It was a glorious morning; the sun had just risen, the world seemed like a beautiful woman seen in her sleep. How sharp the sweet fresh air was! Hilary drew a deep breath of it. The country in which this lonely little inn stood was exceedingly lovely, and at this moment it wore its most fascinating appearance. A sense of great delight came upon Hilary; the uneasiness of the past night was at an end, and he was glad now and full of youth and strength. He turned and walked away from the house, soon leaving the road and plunging into the dewy grass. There was a stream in the valley, and here he determined to bathe. He soon reached it, and in another moment had hastily undressed, and was plunged in the ice-cold water. An intoxicating sense of vigour came over him as he 197experienced the keen contact. Never had he felt so full of life as now! It was not possible to remain long in the water, it was so intensely cold; he sprang out again and stood for a moment on the bank in the brilliant morning sunshine, looking like a magnificent figure carved by the god of the day, his flesh gleaming in the light. Slowly he began at last to put on his dress, feeling as if in some way this meant a partial return and submission to civilization. Something of the savage which lay deep hidden in him had been roused and touched. A fire burned that hitherto he had never felt, and which made him long for pure freedom and uncriticised life. And this was Hilary Estanol! It seemed incredible that a draught of fresh morning air, a plunge into ice-cold water beneath the open sky, should have been enough to unloose the savage in him, which was held fast beneath his conventional and languid self, as it is in all of us, and all those whom we meet in ordinary life. He moved hastily, striding on as though he were hurrying to some end, but it was merely a new pleasure in motion. There was a grove of old yew trees near the stream; a grove which with the superstitious was held to be sacred. That it should be revered was no wonder, so stately were the ancient trees, so deep the shadow they cast. Hilary went towards this grove, attracted by its splendid appearance; as he approached its margin a dim sense of familiarity came over him. Never had he left the city by this road, yet it seemed to him that he had entered the grove of yews by the early morning light already many a time. We are all accustomed to meet with this curious sensation; Hilary laughed at it and put it away. What if he had visited this spot in a dream? Now it was broad daylight, and he felt himself young and a giant. He plunged into the deep shadow, pleased by the contrast it made to the brilliant light without.

Suddenly his heart leaped within him and his brain reeled. For there before him, stood Fleta; and the brilliant Princess looked like a spirit of the night, so pale and grave and proud was her face and so much a part did she seem of the deep shadow of the wood.

“Is it you?” she said with a smile, a smile of mystery and deep unfathomable knowledge.

“Yes it is!” he answered, and felt, as he spoke, that he said something in those words which he did not himself understand. They stood side by side for a moment in silence; and then Hilary remembered himself to be alone with this woman, alone with her in the midst of the world. They were separated by the hour from other men and women, for the world still lay asleep; they were separated by the deep shadow of the wood from all moving life that answered to the sun. They were alone—and overwhelmed by this sudden sense of solitude Hilary spoke out his soul.

“Princess,” he said, “I am ready to be your blind servant, your dumb slave, speaking and seeing only when you tell me. You know well why I am willing to be the tool in your hands. It is because I love you. But 198you must pay a price for your tool if you would have it! I cannot only worship at your feet. Fleta, you must give yourself to me, absolutely, utterly. Marry that man to whom you are betrothed if you desire to be a queen, but to me you must give your love, yourself. Ah! Fleta, you cannot refuse me!”

Fleta stood still a long moment, her eyes upon his face.

“No,” she said, “I cannot refuse you.”

And to Hilary, for an instant of horror, it seemed to him that in her eyes was a glance of ineffable scorn. Yet there was love in the smile on her lips and in the touch of her hand as she laid it in his.

“The bond is made,” she said, “all that you can take of me is yours. And I will pay you for your love with my love. Only do not forget that you and I are different—that we are after all, two persons—that we cannot love in exactly the same way. Do not forget this!”

Hilary knew not what to answer. As she spoke the last words he recognised his princess, he saw the queen before him. What did she mean? Well, he was so unhappy that his love had gone from him to a lady of royal birth. It could not be undone, this folly. He must be content to take that part which a subject may take in the life of a queen, even though he be her lover. The thought brought a pang, a swift stab to his heart and a sigh burst from his lips. Fleta put her hand on his arm.

“Do not be sad so soon,” she said, “let us wait for trouble. Come, let us go out into the sunshine.”

They went out, hand in hand; they wandered down beside the stream and looked into the gleaming waters.

CHAPTER VI.

That day the journey began early, and was very protracted. Twice during it they halted at little inns to rest the horses and to obtain what food they could. By the evening they had entered upon the most deserted region of the great forest which was one of the prides of the country. The King’s hunting seat, where he now was, stood in a part of this forest, but in quite another region, a long distance from this wild place where Hilary and his companions now were. Hilary had never been within the forest, as few from the city ever penetrated it except as part of the King’s retinue, and then they only saw such tracts of it as were preserved and in order. Of this wilder region practically little was known, and the spirit of adventure within Hilary made him rejoice to find that their journey led them through this unpopulated district. His curiosity as to their destination was not now very acute, for the experiences of the passing moments were all sufficient. It is true that he was conscious of the great gulf fixed between himself and Fleta. He knew her to be his superior in every respect. He knew not only that he must always be separated from her by their difference in station but that he was more vitally separated from her by their difference in 199thought—and that even now. But he was made happy by a look of love that plunged deep from her eyes into his own now and again, and he was thrilled to the heart when her hand touched his with a light and delicate pressure that he alone could understand. Ah! that secret understanding which separates lovers from all the rest of the world. How sweet it is! How strange it is, too, for they are overpowered by a mutual sense of sympathy which appears to be a supreme intelligence, giving each the power to look into the other’s heart. Dear moments are they when this is realised, when all life outside the sacred circle in which the two dwell is obscure and dim, while that within is rich, and strong, and sweet. Hilary lived supremely content only in the consciousness of being near this woman whom he loved; for now that he had actually asked her love, and been granted it, nothing else existed for him save that sweet fact. He was indifferent to the hardships, and, indeed, probable dangers, of the journey they were upon, which might have made a more intrepid spirit uneasy; for now he was content to suffer, or even to die, if all conditions were shared with Fleta. All her life could not be shared with him, but all his could be shared with her. When a man reaches this point, and is content to face such a state of things between himself and the woman he loves, he may be reckoned as being in love indeed.

Quite late at night it was when this day’s journey ended, and the splendid horses were really tired out. But a certain point evidently had to be reached, and the postilions pushed on. Fleta at last seemed to grow a little anxious, and several times rose in the carriage to look on ahead; once or twice she inquired of the postilions if they were certain of their way. They answered yes; though how that could be was to Hilary a mystery, for they had been for a long while travelling over mere grass tracts, of which there were many, to his eyes undistinguishable one from the other. But the postilions either had landmarks which he could not detect, or else knew their way very well. At last they stopped; and in the dim light Hilary saw that there was a gate at the side of the track, a gate wide enough to drive through, but of the very simplest construction. It might have defended merely a spot where young trees were planted, or some kind of preserving done; and it was set in a fence of the same character, almost entirely hidden by thick growth of wild shrubs. The Princess Fleta produced from her dress a whistle on which she sounded a clear ringing note, and then everybody sat still and waited. It seemed to Hilary that it was quite a long while that they waited; perhaps it was not really long, but the night was so still, the silence so profound, the feeling of expectancy so strong. He was, for the first time since they started, really very curious as to what would happen next. What did happen at last was this. There was a sound of laughter and footsteps, and presently two figures appeared at the gate; one that of a tall man, the other that of a young, slight girl. The gate was unlocked and thrown 200wide open, and a moment later the young girl was in the carriage, embracing Fleta with the greatest enthusiasm and delight. Hilary hardly knew how everything happened, but presently the whole party was standing together inside the gate, the carriage had driven in and was out of sight. Then the tall man shut and locked the gate, after which he turned back, and walked on ahead with the young girl at his side, while Hilary followed with Fleta. The moon had risen now, and Hilary could see her beautiful face plainly, wearing on it an unusually gay and happy expression; her lips seemed to smile at her own thoughts. The sweet gladness in her face made Hilary’s heart spring with joy. It could not be rejoining her friends that made her so glad, for they had gone on and left her alone with him.

“Fleta—my princess—no, my Fleta,” he said, “are you happy to be with me? I think you are!”

“Yes, I am happy to be with you—but I am not Fleta.”

“Not Fleta!” echoed Hilary, in utter incredulity.

He stopped, and catching his companion’s hand, looked into her face. She glanced up, and her eyes were full of shy coquetry and ready gaiety.

“I might be her twin sister, might I not, if I am not Fleta herself? Ah! no, Fleta’s fate is to live in a court—mine to live in a forest Live!—no, it is not life!”

What was it in that voice that made his heart grow hot with passion? Fiercely he exclaimed to himself that it was, it must, be Fleta’s voice. No other woman could speak in such tones—no other woman’s words give him such a sense of maddening joy.

“Oh! yes,” he said, “it is life—when one loves, one lives anywhere.”

“Yes, perhaps, when one loves!” was the answer.

“You told me this morning that you loved me, Fleta!” cried Hilary in despair.

“Ah! but I am not Fleta,” was the mocking answer. It sounded like mockery indeed as she spoke. And yet the voice was Fleta’s. There was no doubt of that. He looked, he listened, he watched. The voice, the face, the glorious eyes, were Fleta’s. It was Fleta who was beside him, say she what she might.

They had been following the others all this while, and had now reached a clearing in the wood, where was a garden full of sweet flowers, as Hilary could tell at once by the rich scents that came to him on the night air.

“I am glad we have reached the house,” said his companion, “for I am very tired and hungry. Are not you? I wonder what we shall have for supper. You know this is an enchanted place which we call the palace of surprises. We never know what will happen next. That is why one can enjoy a holiday here as one can enjoy it no where else. At home there is a frightful monotony about the eating and drinking 201Everything is perfect, of course, but it is always the same. Now here one is fed like a Russian one day, and a Hungarian the next. There is a perpetual novelty about the menus, and yet they are always good. Is not that extraordinary. And oh! the wines, great heavens! what a cellar our sainted father keeps. I can only bless, with all my heart, the long dead founders of his order, who instituted such a system.”

Hilary had regarded his companion with increasing amazement during this speech. Certainly it was unlike Fleta. Was she acting for his benefit? But at the words “sainted father” another idea thrust that one out of his head. What had become of Father Amyot? He had not seen him leave the carriage, or approach the house.

“Oh, your holy companion has gone to his brethren,” said the girl, with a laugh. “They have a place of their own where they torture themselves and mortify the flesh. But they entertain us well, and that is what I care for. We will have a dance to-night. Oh! Hilary, the music here! It is better than that of any band in the world!”

“If you are not, Fleta, how do you know my name?”

“Simple creature! What a question! Why, Fleta has told me all about you. Did you never hear that the princess had a foster-sister, and that none could ever tell which was which, so like were we—and are we! Did you never hear that Fleta’s mother was blonde, and dull, and plain, and that Fleta is like none of her own family? Oh, Hilary, you, fresh from the city, you know nothing!”

A sudden remembrance crossed Hilary’s mind.

“I have heard,” he said, “that no one could tell where Fleta had drawn her beauty from. But I believe you draw it from youryour own beautiful soul!”

“Ah, you still think me Fleta? I have had some happy hours in the city before now when Fleta has let me play at being a princess. Ah, but the men all thought the princess in a strange, charming, delightful humour on these days. And when next they saw her, that humour was gone, and they were afraid to speak to her. Come in. I am starving!”

They had entered a wide, low doorway, and stood now within the great hall. What a strange hall it was! The floor was covered with the skins of animals, many of them very handsome skins; and great jars held flowering plants, the scent from which made the air rich and heavy. A wood fire burned on the wide hearth, and before it, still in the dress she had travelled in, stood—Fleta.

Yes, Fleta.

The girl who stood at Hilary’s side laughed and clapped her hands as he uttered a cry of amazement, even of horror.

“This is some of your magic, Fleta!” he exclaimed involuntarily.

The Princess turned at his words. She was looking singularly grave and stern; her glance gave Hilary a sense of almost fear.

“No,” she answered in a low, quiet voice that had a tone, as Hilary 202fancied, of pain, “it is not magic. It is all very natural. This is Adine, my little sister; so like me that I do not know her from myself.”

She drew Adine to her with a gesture which had a protecting tenderness in it. This was the Princess who spoke, queen-like in her kindness. Hilary stood, unable to speak, unable to think, unable to understand. Before him stood two girls—each Fleta. Only by the difference of expression could he detect any difference between them. One threw him back the most coquettish and charming glance, as she went towards her grave sister. He could feel keenly how vitally different the two were. Yet they stood side by side, and though Fleta said “my little sister” there was no outward difference between them. Adine was as tall, as beautiful—and the same in everything!

“Do not be startled,” said Fleta quietly, “you will soon grow used to the likeness.”

“Though I doubt,” added Adine, with a wicked glance from her brilliant eyes, “whether you will ever tell us apart except when we are not together.”

“Come,” said Fleta, “let us go and wash the travel stains off. It is just supper time.”

Fleta talked of travel stains, but as Hilary looked at her queenly beauty, he thought she seemed as fresh as though she had but from this moment come from the hands of her maid. However, the two went away arm in arm, Adine turning at the door to have one last glance of amusement at Hilary’s utterly perplexed face. He was left alone, and he remained standing where he was, without power of thought or motion.

Presently some one came and touched him on the shoulder; this was necessary in order to attract his attention. It was the tall man who had come to the gate to meet them. He was very handsome, and with the most cheerful and good-natured expression; his blue eyes were full of laughter.

“Come,” he said, “come and see your room. I am master of the ceremonies here; apply to me for anything you want—even information! I may, or may not give it, according to the decision of the powers that be. Call me Mark. I have a much longer name, in fact, half-a-dozen much longer ones, and a few titles to boot; but they would not interest you, and in the midst of a forest where nobody has any dignity, a name of one syllable is by far the best.” While he talked on like this, apparently indifferent as to whether Hilary listened or no, he led the way out of the hall and down a wide, carpeted corridor. He opened the last door in this, and ushered Hilary in.

(To be continued.)

203

THE SCIENCE OF LIFE.

What is Life? Hundreds of the most philosophical minds, scores of learned well-skilled physicians, have asked themselves the question, but to little purpose. The veil thrown over primordial Kosmos and the mysterious beginnings of life upon it, has never been withdrawn to the satisfaction of earnest, honest science. The more the men of official learning try to penetrate through its dark folds, the more intense becomes that darkness, and the less they see, for they are like the treasure-hunter, who went across the wide seas to look for that which lay buried in his own garden.

What is then this Science? Is it biology, or the study of life in its general aspect? No. Is it physiology, or the science of organic function? Neither; for the former leaves the problem as much the riddle of the Sphinx as ever; and the latter is the science of death far more than that of life. Physiology is based upon the study of the different organic functions and the organs necessary to the manifestations of life, but that which science calls living matter, is, in sober truth, dead matter. Every molecule of the living organs contains the germ of death in itself, and begins dying as soon as born, in order that its successor-molecule should live only to die in its turn. An organ, a natural part of every living being, is but the medium for some special function in life, and is a combination of such molecules. The vital organ, the whole, puts the mask of life on, and thus conceals the constant decay and death of its parts. Thus, neither biology nor physiology are the science, nor even branches of the Science of Life, but only that of the appearances of life. While true philosophy stands Œdipus-like before the Sphinx of life, hardly daring to utter the paradox contained in the answer to the riddle propounded, materialistic science, as arrogant as ever, never doubting its own wisdom for one moment, biologises itself and many others into the belief that it has solved the awful problem of existence. In truth, however, has it even so much as approached its threshold? It is not, surely, by attempting to deceive itself and the unwary in saying that life is but the result of molecular complexity, that it can ever hope to promote the truth. Is vital force, indeed, only a “phantom,” as Du-Bois Reymond calls it? For his taunt that “life,” as something independent, is but the asylum ignorantiæ of those who seek refuge in abstractions, when direct explanation is impossible, applies with far more force and justice to those materialists who would blind people to the reality of facts, by substituting bombast and jaw-breaking words in their place. Have any of the five divisions of the functions of life, so pretentiously 204named—Archebiosis, Biocrosis, Biodiæresis, Biocænosis and Bioparodosis[49], ever helped a Huxley or a Hæckel to probe more fully the mystery of the generations of the humblest ant—let alone of man? Most certainly not. For life, and everything pertaining to it, belongs to the lawful domain of the metaphysician and psychologist, and physical science has no claim upon it. “That which hath been, is that which shall be; and that which hath been is named already—and it is known that it is MAN”—is the answer to the riddle of the Sphinx. But “man” here, does not refer to physical man—not in its esoteric meaning, at any rate. Scalpels and microscopes may solve the mystery of the material parts of the shell of man: they can never cut a window into his soul to open the smallest vista on any of the wider horizons of being.

It is those thinkers alone, who, following the Delphic injunction, have cognized life in their inner selves, those who have studied it thoroughly in themselves, before attempting to trace and analyze its reflection in their outer shells, who are the only ones rewarded with some measure of success. Like the fire-philosophers of the Middle Ages, they have skipped over the appearances of light and fire in the world of effects, and centred their whole attention upon the producing arcane agencies. Thence, tracing these to the one abstract cause, they have attempted to fathom the Mystery, each as far as his intellectual capacities permitted him. Thus they have ascertained that (1) the seemingly living mechanism called physical man, is but the fuel, the material, upon which life feeds, in order to manifest itself; and (2) that thereby the inner man receives as his wage and reward the possibility of accumulating additional experiences of the terrestrial illusions called lives.

One of such philosophers is now undeniably the great Russian novelist and reformer, Count Lef N. Tolstoi. How near his views are to the esoteric and philosophical teachings of higher Theosophy, will be found on the perusal of a few fragments from a lecture delivered by him at Moscow before the local Psychological Society.

Discussing the problem of life, the Count asks his audience to admit, for the sake of argument, an impossibility. Says the lecturer:—

Let us grant for a moment that all that which modern science longs to learn of life, it has learnt, and now knows; that the problem has become as clear as day; that it is clear how organic matter has, by simple adaptation, come to be originated from inorganic material; that it is as clear how natural forces may be transformed into feelings, will, thought, and that finally, all this is known, not only to the city student, but to every village schoolboy, as well.

I am aware, then, that such and such thoughts and feelings originate from such and such motions. Well, and what then? Can I, or cannot I, produce and guide such motions, in order to excite within my brain corresponding thoughts? The question—what are the thoughts and 205feelings I ought to generate in myself and others, remains still, not only unsolved, but even untouched.

Yet it is precisely this question which is the one fundamental question of the central idea of life.

Science has chosen as its object a few manifestations that accompany life; and mistaking[50] the part for the whole, called these manifestations the integral total of life....”

The question inseparable from the idea of life is not whence life, but how one should live that life: and it is only by first starting with this question that one can hope to approach some solution in the problem of existence.

The answer to the query “How are we to live?” appears so simple to man that he esteems it hardly worth his while to touch upon it.

... One must live the best way one can—that’s all. This seems at first sight very simple and well known to all, but it is by far neither as simple nor as well known as one may imagine....

The idea of life appears to man in the beginning as a most simple and self-evident business. First of all, it seems to him that life is in himself, in his own body. No sooner, however, does one commence his search after that life, in any one given spot of the said body, than one meets with difficulties. Life is not in the hair, nor in the nails; neither is it in the foot nor the arm, which may both be amputated; it is not in the blood, it is not in the heart, and it is not in the brain. It is everywhere and it is nowhere. It comes to this: life cannot be found in any of its dwelling-places. Then man begins to look for life in Time; and that, too, appears at first a very easy matter.... Yet again, no sooner has he started on his chase than he perceives that here also the business is more complicated than he had thought. Now, I have lived fifty-eight years, so says my baptismal church record. But I know that out of these fifty-eight years I slept over twenty. How then? have I lived all these years, or have I not? Deduct the months of my gestation, and those I passed in the arms of my nurse, and shall we call this life, also? Again, out of the remaining thirty-eight years, I know that a good half of that time I slept while moving about; and thus, I could no more say in this case, whether I lived during that time or not. I may have lived a little, and vegetated a little. Here again, one finds that in time, as in the body, life is everywhere, yet nowhere. And now the question naturally arises, whence, then, that life which I can trace to nowhere? Now—will I learn.... But it so happens that in this direction also, what seemed to me so easy at first, now seems impossible. I must have been searching for something 206else, not for my life, assuredly.assuredly. Therefore, once we have to go in search of the whereabouts of life—if search we have to—then it should be neither in space nor in time, neither as cause nor effect, but as a something which I cognize within myself as quite independent from Space, time and causality.

That which remains to do now is to study self. But how do I cognize life in myself?

This is how I cognize it. I know, to begin with, that I live; and that I live wishing for myself everything that is good, wishing this since I can remember myself, to this day, and from morn till night. All that lives outside of myself is important in my eyes, but only in so far as it co-operates with the creation of that which is productive of my welfare. The Universe is important in my sight only because it can give meme, pleasure.

Meanwhile, something else is bound up with this knowledge in me of my existence. Inseparable from the life I feel, is another cognition allied to it; namely, that besides myself, I am surroundedsurrounded with a whole world of living creatures, possessed, as I am myself, of the same instinctive realization of their exclusive lives; that all these creatures live for their own objects, which objects are foreign to me; that those creatures do not know, nor do they care to know, anything of my pretensions to an exclusive life, and that all these creatures, in order to achieve success in their objects, are ready to annihilate me at any moment. But this is not all. While watching the destruction of creatures similar in all to myself, I also know that for me too, for that precious ME in whom alone life is represented, a very speedy and inevitable destruction is lying in wait.

It is as if there were two “I’s” in man; it is as if they could never live in peace together; it is as if they were eternally struggling, and ever trying to expel each other.

One “I” says, “I alone am living as one should live, all the rest only seems to live. Therefore, the whole raison d’être for the universe is in that I may be made comfortable.”comfortable.”

The other “I” replies, “The universe is not for thee at all, but for its own aims and purposes, and it cares little to know whether thou art happy or unhappy.”

Life becomes a dreadful thing after this!

One “I” says, “I only want the gratification of all my wants and desires, and that is why I need the universe.”

The other “I” replies, “All animal life lives only for the gratification of its wants and desires. It is the wants and desires of animals alone that are gratified at the expense and detriment of other animals; hence the ceaseless struggle between the animal species. Thou art an animal, and therefore thou hast to struggle. Yet, however successful in thy struggle, the rest of the struggling creatures must sooner or later crush thee.”

207Still worse! life becomes still more dreadful....

But the most terrible of all, that which includes in itself the whole of the foregoing, is that:—

One “I” says, “I want to live, to live for ever.”

And that the other “I” replies, “Thou shalt surely, perhaps in a few minutes, die; as also shall die all those thou lovest, for thou and they are destroying with every motion your lives, and thus approaching ever nearer suffering, death, all that which thou so hatest, and which thou fearest above anything else.”

This is the worst of all....

To change this condition is impossible.... One can avoid moving, sleeping, eating, even breathing, but one cannot escape from thinking. One thinks, and that thought, my thought, is poisoning every step in my life, as a personality.

No sooner has man commenced a conscious life than that consciousness repeats to him incessantly without respite, over and over the same thing again. “To live such life as you feel and see in your past, the life lived by animals and many men too, lived in that way, which made you become what you are now—is no longer possible. Were you to attempt doing so, you could never escape thereby the struggle with all the world of creatures which live as you do—for their personal objects; and then those creatures will inevitably destroy you.”...

To change this situation is impossible. There remains but one thing to do, and that is always done by him who, beginning to live, transfers his objects in life outside of himself, and aims to reach them.... But, however far he places them outside his personality, as his mind gets clearer, none of these objects will satisfy him.

Bismarck, having united Germany, and now ruling Europe—if his reason has only thrown any light upon the results of his activity—must perceive, as much as his own cook does who prepares a dinner that will be devoured in an hour’s time, the same unsolved contradiction between the vanity and foolishness of all he has done, and the eternity and reasonableness of that which exists for ever. If they only think of it, each will see as clearly as the other; firstly, that the preservation of the integrity of Prince Bismarck’s dinner, as well as that of powerful Germany, is solely due: the preservation of the former—to the police, and the preservation of the latter—to the army; and that, so long only as both keep a good watch. Because there are famished people who would willingly eat the dinner, and nations which would fain be as powerful as Germany. Secondly, that neither Prince Bismarck’s dinner, nor the might of the German Empire, coincide with the aims and purposes of universal life, but that they are in flagrant contradiction with them. And thirdly, that as he who cooked the dinner, so also the might of Germany, will both very soon die, and that so shall perish, and as soon, both the dinner and Germany. That which shall survive alone is 208the Universe, which will never give one thought to either dinner or Germany, least of all to those who have cooked them.

As the intellectual condition of man increases, he comes to the idea that no happiness connected with his personality is an achievement, but only a necessity. Personality is only that incipient state from which begins life, and the ultimate limit of life....

Where, then, does life begin, and where does it end, I may be asked? Where ends the night, and where does day commence? Where, on the shore, ends the domain of the sea, and where does the domain of land begin?

There is day and there is night; there is land and there is sea; there is life and there is no life.

Our life, ever since we became conscious of it, is a pendulum-like motion between two limits.

One limit is, an absolute unconcern for the life of the infinite Universe an energy directed only toward the gratification of one’s own personality.

The other limit is a complete renunciation of that personality, the greatest concern with the life of the infinite Universe, in full accord with it, the transfer of all our desires and good will from one’s self, to that infinite Universe and all the creatures outside of us.[51]

The nearer to the first limit, the less life and bliss, the closer to the second, the more life and bliss. Therefore, man is ever moving from one end to the other; i.e. he lives. This motion is life itself.

And when I speak of life, know that the idea of it is indissolubly connected in my conceptions with that of conscious life. No other life is known to me except conscious life, nor can it be known to anyone else.

We call life, the life of animals, organic life. But this is no life at all, only a certain state or condition of life manifesting to us.

But what is this consciousness or mind, the exigencies of which exclude personality and transfer the energy of man outside of him and into that state which is conceived by us as the blissful state of love?

What is conscious mind? Whatsoever we may be defining, we have to define it with our conscious mind. Therefore, with what shall we define mind?...

If we have to define all with our mind, it follows that conscious mind cannot be defined. Yet all of us, we not only know it, but it is the only thing which is given to us to know undeniably....

It is the same law as the law of life, of everything organic, animal or vegetable, with that one difference that we see the consummation of an intelligent law in the life of a plant. But the law of conscious mind, to which we are subjected as the tree, is subjected to its law, we see it not, but fulfil it....

209We have settled that life is that which is not our life. It is herein that lies hidden the root of error. Instead of studying that life of which we are conscious within ourselves, absolutely and exclusively—since we can know of nothing else—in order to study it, we observe that which is devoid of the most important factor and faculty of our life, namely, intelligent consciousness. By so doing, we act as a man who attempts to study an object by its shadow or reflection does.

If we know that substantial particles are subjected during their transformations to the activity of the organism; we know it not because we have observed or studied it, but simply because we possess a certain familiar organism united to us, namely the organism of our animal, which is but too well known to us as the material of our life; i.e. that upon which we are called to work and to rule by subjecting it to the law of reason.... No sooner has man lost faith in life, no sooner has he transferred that life into that which is no life, than he becomes wretched, and sees death.... A man who conceives life such as he finds it in his consciousness, knows neither misery, nor death: for all the good in life for him is in the subjection of his animal to the law of reason, to do which is not only in his power, but takes place unavoidably in him. The death of particles in the animal being, we know. The death of animals and of man, as an animal, we know; but we know nought about the death of conscious mind, nor can we know anything of it, just because that conscious mind is the very life itself. And Life can never be Death....

The animal lives an existence of bliss, neither seeing nor knowing death, and dies without cognizing it. Why then should man have received the gift of seeing and knowing it, and why should death be so terrible to him that it actually tortures his soul, often forcing him to kill himself out of sheer fear of death? Why should it be so? Because the man who sees death is a sick man, one who has broken the law of his life, and lives no longer a conscious existence. He has become an animal himself, an animal which also has broken the law of life.

The life of man is an aspiration to bliss, and that which he aspires to is given to him. The light lit in the soul of man is bliss and life, and that light can never be darkness, as there exists—verily there exists for man—only this solitary light which burns within his soul.soul.


We have translated this rather lengthy fragment from the Report of Count Tolstoi’s superb lecture, because it reads like the echo of the finest teachings of the universal ethics of true theosophy. His definition of life in its abstract sense, and of the life every earnest theosophist ought to follow, each according to, and in the measure of, his natural capacities—is the summary and the Alpha and the Omega of practical psychic, if not spiritual life. There are sentences in the lecture which, 210to the average theosophist will seem too hazy, and perhaps incomplete. Not one will he find, however, which could be objected to by the most exacting, practical occultist. It may be called a treatise on the Alchemy of Soul. For that “solitary” light in man, which burns for ever, and can never be darkness in its intrinsic nature, though the “animal” outside us may remains blind to it—is that “Light” upon which the Neo Platonists of the Alexandrian school, and after them the Rosecroix and especially the Alchemists, have written volumes, though to the present day their true meaning is a dark mystery to most men.

True, Count Tolstoi is neither an Alexandrian nor a modern theosophist; still less is he a Rosecroix or an Alchemist. But that which the latter have concealed under the peculiar phraseology of the Fire-philosophers, purposely confusing cosmic transmutations with Spiritual Alchemy, all that is transferred by the great Russian thinker from the realm of the metaphysical unto the field of practical life. That which Schelling would define as a realisation of the identity of subject and object in the man’s inner Ego, that which unites and blends the latter with the universal Soul—which is but the identity of subject and object on a higher plane, or the unknown Deity—all that Count Tolstoi has blended together without quitting the terrestrial plane. He is one of those few elect who begin with intuition and end with quasi-omniscience. It is the transmutations of the baser metals—the animal mass—into gold and silver, or the philosopher’s stone, the development and manifestation of man’s higher, Self which the Count has achieved. The alcahest of the inferior Alchemist is the All-geist, the all-pervading Divine Spirit of the higher Initiate; for Alchemy was, and is, as very few know to this day, as much a spiritual philosophy as it is a physical science. He who knows nought of one, will never know much of the other. Aristotle told it in so many words to his pupil, Alexander: “It is not a stone,” he said, of the philosopher’s stone. “It is in every man and in every place, and at all seasons, and is called the end of all philosophers,” as the Vedanta is the end of all philosophies.

To wind up this essay on the Science of Life, a few words may be said of the eternal riddle propounded to mortals by the Sphinx. To fail to solve the problem contained in it, was to be doomed to sure death, as the Sphinx of life devoured the unintuitional, who would live only in their “animal.” He who lives for Self, and only for Self, will surely die, as the higher “I” tells the lower “animal” in the Lecture. The riddle has seven keys to it, and the Count opens the mystery with one of the highest. For, as the author on “Hermetic Philosophy” beautifully expressed it: “The real mystery most familiar and, at the same time, most unfamiliar to every man, into which he must be initiated or perish as an atheist, is himself. For him is the elixir of life, to quaff which, before the discovery of the philosopher’s stone, is to drink the 211beverage of death, while it confers on the adept and the epopt, the true immortality. He may know truth as it really is—Aletheia, the breath of God, or Life, the conscious mind in man.”

This is “the Alcahest which dissolves all things,” and Count Tolstoi has well understood the riddle.

H. P. B.
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SIN AGAINST LIFE.

A newspaper paragraph lately declared that a certain American lady of great wealth, residing in London, had conceived the strange desire to possess a cloak made of the soft warm down on the breasts of birds of Paradise. Five hundred breasts, it was said, were required for this purpose, and two skilful marksmen, the story went on to aver, had been sent to New Guinea to shoot the poor little victims whose wholesale slaughter must be accomplished to gratify this savage whim. We rejoice to observe that the whole statement has been flatly contradicted by the World, apparently on the best possible authority; but, however little the lady concerned may deserve the reproach which the authors of the calumny endeavoured to evoke against her, the feeling it may have excited is worth analysis in a world where, if bird of Paradise cloaks are rare, most women who dress luxuriously adorn themselves in one way or another at the expense of the feathered kingdom. The principle involved in a bonnet which is decorated with the plumage of a single bird, slaughtered for its sake, is the same as that which would be more grotesquely manifest in a garment that would require the slaughter of five hundred. Too many rich people in this greedy age forget that the grandest privilege of those who possess the means is that they have the power of alleviating suffering. Too many, again, forget that the sympathies of those who rule the animate world should extend beyond the limits of their own kind; and thus we have the painful spectacle of human “sport” associated in civilised countries still, with pursuits which should no longer afford pleasure to men who have emerged from the primitive life of hunters and fishers. But how is it possible, let us consider, to stoop lowest from the proud estate of humanity in search of ignoble gratification? It is bad to kill any sentient creature for the sake of the savage pleasures of the chase. It is bad, perhaps worse, to cause their destruction for the sake of coldly profiting by their slaughter, and it is bad to squander money in this hard world of want and wide-spread privation on costly personal indulgence. But the acme of all that is reprehensible in these various departments of ill-doing is surely reached when women—who should, by virtue of their sex, be helping to soften the ferocities of life—contrive to collect the cream of evil from each of these varieties, and to sin against a whole catalogue of human duties by cruel acquiescence in an unworthy fashion.

212

BROTHERHOOD.

The Theosophical Society has always placed in the forefront of its programme, as its first and most important object, the formation of the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood, without distinction of race, creed, caste or sex. It would doubtless be incorrect to say that this object of the Society has been entirely overlooked in the West, but it is to be feared that not a few members of the Society have accepted it as an amiable formula, to which no objection could be raised, and have turned their attention almost exclusively to the two remaining objects. And yet, without some attempt to understand the true meaning of this Universal Brotherhood, it is idle to expect that any great services can be rendered to the cause of Theosophy. It may be useful to see whether any explanation can be given of the reason for the neglect of this first object, and whether such light may be thrown on its meaning, as may render the idea a living reality to many who now but faintly grasp its significance.

In the first place it may be said, that in many enlightened Western minds, there was already a familiarity with the idea thus enunciated. Christianity has always taught the “theoretical” equality in the sight of God, of all true believers, and politically the dogma of “equal rights” is practically beyond the reach of attack. The abolition of slavery, the extension of representative government, the spread of education, and perhaps also, in some degree, the influence of the scientific as opposed to the religious theories of the origin and destiny of man, have all combined to render this idea by no means difficult of apprehension, at least intellectually. Further its acceptance in this sense has not necessarily entailed any different view of the duties and responsibilities of life. In the East it cannot be said that this is the case. In India, the stringency of caste regulations causes class distinctions to assume a very definite form, while religious hatreds, if not more bitter than with us, enter more directly into the life of the people, and interpose stronger barriers between man and man than in Europe or America. Hence an Indian theosophist must, before he can accept the first object, even in its outward form, modify to some extent his intellectual conception of the relations in which he stands to the rest of mankind, and he will in his life give practical proof of the change. In his case the acceptance of the outward form can only follow on the appreciation of the inner meaning; that which results is that his theosophy is firmly founded on the principle of the Universal Brotherhood.

On the other hand, in the West, a familiarity with the external side 213seems, in many cases, to have prevented any attempt to go below the surface, and to have caused men to be satisfied with vague philanthropic sentimentality, effecting nothing, and leading nowhere.

What then is this Universal Brotherhood, which is the main spring of Theosophy? and what are its results?

Socialism as preached in this 19th century it certainly is not. Indeed, there would be little difficulty in shewing that modern materialistic Socialism is directly at variance with all the teachings of theosophy. Socialism advocates a direct interference with the results of the law of Karma, and would attempt to alter the dénouement of the parable of the talents, by giving to the man who hid his talent in a napkin, a portion of the ten talents acquired by the labour of his more industrious fellow.

Neither is it true that in practical benevolence is the whole idea of universal brotherhood exemplified, though doubtless that unselfish and unceasing work for the good of mankind, which is true philanthropy must of necessity be one result of it. The philanthropist may be, and no doubt often is, a true theosophist in all but name, though there is still much of what may be called unintelligent benevolence, the result of a mere emotional impulse; and again there is much that is the result of very decided and very narrow sectarian views, to which it would be absolutely impossible to apply the epithet universal. The devotion and self-sacrifice shown in many individual instances by Christian missionaries of various denominations, may be taken as fairly exemplifying philanthropy both of the unintelligent and the narrow type. They are prepared to make any sacrifice for what they believe to be the ultimate good of humanity, and in that sense are practising what some others only preach, namely true unselfishness, but they are often hampered by an intellectual inability to view both sides of the question, and fail thereby to acquire that understanding of, and sympathy with the difficulties and the wants of those whom they are endeavouring to aid, which are necessary preliminaries to any work of lasting usefulness. In a word, they too often fail to realise that unity in mankind which truly underlies all individualism. But having said so much, it must be added that an understanding of the real meaning of “Brotherhood” must entail active benevolence, that is to say work for others in some form or other, upon every one who does not wilfully thrust aside the obligation.

Where then are we to look for the explanation, and how are we to understand the spirit which must animate all true theosophists, if they are to realise and follow out the first rule of the Society? Not surely on the physical plane. Not by an attempt to force on the intellect as a fact to be accepted, or more truly a pill to be swallowed, a belief in similarities, equalities or identities, which have no existence. Only a realisation of what truly constitutes man can help us to form a conception of what brotherhood means.

Man is a complex organism as he exists on our earth to-day. He is 214partly transitory, partly eternal; in one sense the creature of circumstances, in another the creator of his own environment. But the true man, the underlying individuality is a reflection of the Divine. We are able to discern physical beauty, even when clad in rags. Is it impossible that we should also recognise the beauty of the soul, though it be for a time veiled beneath a gross material body? The physical body is indeed nothing but the garment of the ego, the true man; that momentarily suited to his needs and his deserts, the livery of his servitude, which must be worn, in ever changing forms, till the moment of his final emancipation. It is then beyond the physical, beyond the intellectual man, that we must look for that fraternity, arising out of unity and equality, which cannot be found on the purely material plane of existence. The divine soul of man, in which is posited his true individuality, is the real man, the immortal ego, which, through the accumulated experience of many earth lives is marching onward through the ages to its goal, reunion with the Infinite. What matters then the outward semblance, which our senses know as man? Our æsthetic perception may shrink from the rags, the dirt, the ugliness which belong to the physical environment. Our moral nature may revolt at association with vice, with low selfish courses of life, but within and behind all this we must endeavour to realise the continual presence of the immortal ego, one with us, as with all humanity, as sharing the divine nature, and ever struggling, as we are struggling, on the upward path that leads to the realisation of the Absolute. As Carlyle says in Sartor Resartus. “Mystical, more than magical, is that communing of Soul with Soul, both looking heavenward; here properly Soul first speaks with Soul; for only in looking heavenward, take it in what sense you may, not in looking earthward does what we can call Union, Mutual Love, Society, begin to be possible.”

It may be objected that in some cases it is impossible to recognise even the glimmerings of those higher aspirations, which are the tokens of the presence of the soul, the immortal ego. Such cases, however, must be comparatively rare. Still there are beings—it is almost impossible to call them human—who have so persistently concentrated all their efforts on the gratification of their lower consciousness, as to sever the frail link which binds them to their higher selves. Then the true man is no longer present in the human form, and brotherhood becomes an impossibility. But we may in truth almost ignore the existence of this type of mankind, for even when an intellectual materialism seems to be the sole ruling principle, we dare not deny the presence of that capacity for higher things which must exist in all who can still truly be called men.

Surely then it is in this view of our relations to our fellow men, that we shall find that guiding influence which may enable us to rise above the sordid considerations of our ordinary earthly existence. It is no 215sectarian belief that is here advanced; it is the essence of the teaching of Jesus, as it was of Gautama; nor is it a mere formula, to be accepted as an article of faith, and then laid on the shelf. Once understood, it must influence all who have sufficient strength of purpose to fight their own lower selfish personalities, and must lead them to the practical realisation of their aspirations towards true unselfishness and active benevolence.

But there lurks a danger even in the use of the word unselfishness. It has been the text of sermons from every pulpit in Christendom for centuries, and with what small results? No doubt the duty nearest at hand must not be neglected, and it is the duty of every one to do what he can to render those about him happier. But many stop there and consider that all their work consists in the practice of self-abnegation in their own small circle. Does not the broader view of human life here set forth suggest a new sphere of usefulness, and therefore of duty? It is for every man to determine what he can do for the good of humanity; all are not equally gifted, but all can do something. Some theosophists appear to be satisfied with intellectual study, or the development of their own spiritual nature, and neither of these two courses is to be neglected; but something more must be done. “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” and the acquirement of knowledge brings with it the obligation of spreading it. This is work from which none need shrink, and all who truly desire to work for Theosophy, which is in the highest sense “the religion of humanity,” will find the work ready to their hand, and be able to assist in bringing the Light “to them that sit in darkness.”

T. B. H.
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PYTHAGORIC SENTENCES OF DEMOPHILUS.

Esteem that to be eminently good, which, when communicated to another, will be increased to yourself.

Be persuaded that those things are not your riches which you do not possess in the penetralia of the reasoning power.

As many passions of the soul, so many fierce and savage despots.

No one is free who has not obtained the empire of himself.

216

BLOOD-COVENANTING.[52]

Particular attention has been recently directed to this subject of Blood-Covenant by the experiences of explorers in Africa, who appear to have discovered in that Dark Land some of the primitive facts the gory ghost of which has long haunted our European mind in the Eschatological phase.

Stanley, an especial sufferer from the practice, denounces the blood-brotherhood as a beastly cannibalistic ceremony. “For the fiftieth time my poor arm was scarified and my blood shed for the cause of civilization.” As the writer of this book observes: “The blood of a fair proportion of all the first families of equatorial Africa now courses in Stanley’s veins; and if ever there was an American citizen who could pre-eminently appropriate to himself the national motto ‘E pluribus unum,’ Stanley is the man.”

In his book, Dr. Trumbull has collected a mass of data from a wide range of sources to illustrate what he terms the “Primitive rite of covenanting by the inter-transfusion of blood.”

Dr. Trumbull is anxious to make the efficacy of the rite depend upon the recognition of a vivifying virtue in the blood itself, as the essence of life. But such recognition appears to have been remote enough from the Primitive thought. The Aborigines were not Jews or Christians. They gave of their life without always thinking of the exact equivalent or superior value received. They gave it as the witness to the troth they plighted and the covenant which they intended to keep. His theory of interpretation is that there was a dominating and universal conviction that the “blood is the life; that blood-transfer is soul-transfer, and that blood-sharing, human or divine-human, secures an inter-union of natures; and that a union of the human nature with the divine is the highest ultimate attainment reached out after by the most primitive, as well as the most enlightened, mind of humanity.”

His collection of facts may serve a most useful purpose as eye-openers to other people (and for other facts to follow), just as they appear to have been to himself. The book is interesting, if not profound; and nothing that follows in this article is intended to decry it, or to prevent the readers of Lucifer from looking into it if they do not feel too great a “scunner” at sight of the gilded-gory illustration on the cover. But the work is written by one who talks to us out of a window of Noah’s Ark, and who still seems to think the Hebrew Bible is the rim of the universe. 217We value and recommend the book solely for its facts, not for its theories, nor for its bibliolatry.

In all studies of this kind which make use of the word “Primitive,” it is the fundamental facts that we first need; and next a first-hand acquaintanceship with all the facts, so that we may do our own thinking for ourselves and strike our light within by which we can read the facts without, as the primary and essential procedure in the endeavour to attain the truth.

Also the facts may be genuine and honestly presented, yet the interpretation may be according to an inadequate or a “bogus” theory. The truth is that no bibliolator can be trusted to interpret the past of our race now being unveiled by evolution. He is born and begotten with the blinkers on. His mode of interpretation is to get behind us, to lay the hands upon our eyes in front, and ask us to listen whilst he gives us his views of the past! But the non-evolutionist cannot interpret the past from lack of a true standpoint with regard to the beginnings or rather the processes of becoming. He can begin anywhere and at any time short of the starting-point. There is nothing for it but to break away, and turn round to see for ourselves whether the traditionary vision of the Blinkerists be true or false. The facts alone are the final determinatives of the Truth. But we must have the whole of them and not a few, whether judiciously or Jesuitically selected to support a Christian theory. Whereas, the object and aim of this work,work, the bias of the writer, and the trend of his arguments, are all on the line of showing or suggesting that the blood-covenant was the result of some innate instinct or divine revelation which prefigured and foreshadowed, and may be taken to indicate and authorize, the Christian scheme of atonement, and the remission of sin by the shedding of innocent blood. The writer asserts that this primitive symbolism was “made a reality in Jesus Christ” in whom “God was to give of his blood in the blood of his Son for the revivifying of the sons of Abraham in the Blood of the Eternal Covenant.” But it can be demonstrated that the covenant by blood did not commence where Dr. Trumbull begins—with a religious yearning God-ward for the establishing of a brotherhood between the human nature and the Divine. The root-idea was not that of an “inter-union of the spiritual natures by the inter-commingling of blood for the sake of an inter-communion with deity.” That, at least, was by no means the “primitive rite,” which the blood-covenant is here called. The many forms of the blood-covenant can only be unified at the root, i.e., in the beginning, not at the end. They are not to be understood apart from the primitive language of signs, as in Tattoo, the very primitive biology of the early observers, and the most primitive sociology of the Totemic times.

Time was, and may be still, when the blood-covenant would often serve as the one protection against being killed and eaten. Even the 218cannibals will not partake of their own Totemic brothers. Also the covenant was extended to certain animals which were made of kin and held to be sacred as brothers of the blood.

The Blood-covenant takes many forms besides that of the blood-brotherhood, which are not to be explained by this writer’s theory of exchange.

When the blood of an African woman accidentally spurted into the eye of Dr. Livingstone, she claimed him for her blood relation, without there being any exchange of blood for blood.

Dr. Trumbull claims the Egyptians as witnesses to the truth of his interpretation. But so far from their highest conception of “a union with the Divine nature” being an inter-flowing and interfusion of blood, the soul of blood was the very lowest, that is the first, in a series of seven souls!

Their highest type of the soul was the sun that vivified for ever called Atmu, the Father Soul.[53] The bases of natural fact which lie at the foundation of the Blood-covenant, preceded any and all such ideas as those postulated by the writer as being extant from the first, such as “a longing for oneness of life with God;” an “out-reaching after inter-union and inter-communion with God.” There was no conception of a one God extant in the category of human consciousness when the rites of a blood-covenant were first founded. There could be no atonement where there was no sense of sin or a breaking of the law. All through, the writer is apt to confuse the past with the present, and eager to read the present into the past.[54]

The real roots of matters like these are to be found only in certain facts of nature which were self-revealing, and not in the sphere of concepts and causation! And it is only when we can reach the natural genesis of primitive customs and fetishtic beliefs, and trace their lines of descent, that we can understand and interpret their meaning in the latest symbolical and superstitious phase of religious rites. Nothing can be more fatally false than to interpret the physics of the past by means of modern 219metaphysic, with the view of proving that certain extant doctrines of delusion are the lineal descendants of an original Divine revelation, which has been bound up in two Testaments for the favoured few.

The blood-covenant is undoubtedly a primitive rite; but the author of this work does not penetrate to its most primitive or significant phases. These are not to be read by the light of Hebrew revelation, but by the light of nature if at all. Many primitive customs and rites survived amongst the Semites, but they themselves were not amongst the aboriginal races of the world. We have to get far beyond their stage to understand the meaning of the myths, legends, rites, and customs, that were preserved by them as sacred survivals from the remoter past. The symbolical and superstitious phases of custom cannot be directly explained on the spot where we may first meet with them in going back. In becoming symbolical they had already passed out of their primary phase, and only indirectly represent the natural genesis of the truly primitive rite. I have spent the best part of my life in tracking these rites and customs to their natural origin, and in expounding the typology and symbols by which the earliest meaning was expressed.

What then was the root-origin of a blood-covenant? The primary perceptions of primitive or archaic men included the observation that they came from the mother, and first found themselves at her breast.

Next they saw that the child was fleshed by the mother, and formed from her blood, the flow of which was arrested to be solidified, and take form in their own persons. Thus the red amulet which was worn by the Egyptian dead, was representative of the blood of Isis, who came from herself, and made her own child without the fatherhood, when men could only derive their blood and descent from the mother. This amulet was put on by her, says Plutarch, when she found herself enceinte with Horus, her child, who was derived from the mother alone, or was traced solely to the blood of Isis. Primitive men could perceive that the children of one mother were of the same blood. This, the first form of a blood-brotherhood, was the first to be recognised as the natural fact. Uterine brothers were blood-brothers. The next stage of the brotherhood was Totemic; and the mode of extending the brotherhood to the children of several mothers implies, as it necessitated, some form of symbolic rite which represented them as brothers, or as typically becoming of the one blood. Here we can track the very first step in sociology which was made when the typical blood-brotherhood of the Totem was formed in imitation of the natural brotherhood of the mother-blood. The modes and forms of the Covenant can be identified by the Totemic mysteries, some of which yet survive in the crudest condition. The brotherhood was entered at the time of puberty; that is, at the time of re-birth, when the boy was re-born as a man, and the child of the mother attained the soul of the fatherhood, and was permitted 220to join the ranks of the begetters. The mystery is one with that of Horus, child of the mother alone, who comes to receive the soul of the father in Tattu, the region of establishing the son as the father, which is still extant in the mysteries, and the symbolism of Tattoo.

This re-birth was enacted in various ways by typically re-entering the womb. One of these was by burial in the earth, the tomb or place of re-birth being the image of the maternal birth-place all the world over. Thus when the Norsemen or other races prepared a hole under the turf, and buried their cut and bleeding arms to let the blood flow, and commingle in one as the token of a covenant, they were returning typically to the condition of uterine twins, and the act of burial for the purpose of a re-birth was a symbolical mode of establishing the social brotherhood upon the original grounds of the natural brotherhood of blood. Thus the blood-covenant did not originate in the set transfusion or inter-fusion of blood. In the Totemic mysteries the pubescent lad was admitted by the shedding of his blood, with or without any interchange. The blood itself was the symbol of brotherhood, and the shedding of it was the seal of a covenant.

Nor was this merely because flesh was formed of blood, or the first men were made of the mystical red soil, as with the aarea of the Tahitians, or the red earth of the Adamic man. Most of these primitive rites, the Blood-Covenant included, had their starting-point from the period of puberty. It was at this time the lads who were not brothers uterine were made brothers of the Totem at what was termed the festival of young-man-making. The proper period for circumcision, or cutting and sealing, as still practised by the oldest aborigines, is the time of puberty, the natural coming of age. It is then they enter the Totemic Brotherhood. Now in Egyptian, the word khet or khut = cut, means to cut and to seal. Khetem is to enclose, bind, seal, and is applied to sealing. The same root passes into Assyrian and Hebrew as Khatan, Katam or Chatan, with the same meaning. In Arabic, Khatana is to circumcise. Cutting and sealing are identical as the mode of entering into a Blood-Covenant. Circumcision was one form of the sealing, but there were various kinds of cuts employed, and different parts of the body were scarified and tattooed. In the primary phase, then, the blood-brotherhood was established by the shedding of blood; the register was written in blood, and instead of the covenant being witnessed by the seal of red wax, it was stamped in blood.

The reason for phallic localization is to be sought in the fact that the young men not only entered the Brotherhood by the baptism of blood, they were also received into the higher ranks of the fathers, and sworn in to live an orderly, legal and cleanly life, henceforth, as the pro-creators and loyal preservers of the race.

But this was not the only clue directly derived from nature. There is another reason why blood should have become the sacred sign of a 221covenant. Amongst many primitive races blood, or the colour red, is the symbol of Tapu, the sign of sanctity. The bones of the dead were covered with red ochre as a means of protection by the most widely scattered races in the world. The stamp of a red hand on the building, or a crimson daub upon the gravestone will render them sacred. The Kaffirs will wash their bodies with blood as a protection against being wounded in battle. The colour of robin-redbreast still renders him tapu or sacred to English children.

Blood having become a sign of that which is true and sacred, on account of the Covenant, it is then made the symbol of all that is sacred. It can be used for the purpose of anointing the living or the dead, can be the seal of the marriage or other ceremonies and rites of covenanting. It is the primæval token of tapu.

As I have elsewhere shown, blood was sworn by as the type of that which was true, the primary one of the typical Two Truths of Egypt. It was so in all the mysteries, and is so to-day, including the mysteries of Masonry. I have suggested the derivation of the masonic name from the Egyptian Sen = son, for blood and brotherhood. The working Mason in Egyptian is the makh (makht) by name. Makh means to work, inlay by rule and measure. We see that makh modifies into for measure, and for that which is just and true.

Mâ-sen = Mason, would denote the true brotherhood; and as sen is also blood, the true brotherhood as the blood-brotherhood would be the masons in the mystical or occult sense. Red is the colour of or Truth personified, and sen is blood. Blood is sworn by because it is the colour of truth, or the true colour. Now in old English the word seng means both “blood” and “true.” Here, then, we find the origin of the oath, which constitutes the supreme expression in the vocabulary of our English roughs, when they use the oath of the blood-covenant, and swear by the word “bloody!” When they wax emphatic, everything they say becomes “bloody true.” This is the exact equivalent of “seng it is” for “it is true.” According to the primitive mysteries, this mode of swearing, or establishing the covenant, was sacred whilst kept piously secret, and it becomes impious when made public or profane. Such mysteries were very simply natural at first, and it was this primitive simplicity and nearness to nature which demanded the veil to protect them from the gaze of the later consciousness. Time was when the English felon would carry a red handkerchief with him to the scaffold, and hold it in his hand as a signal that he had betrayed no secrets, but died “bloody true,” or true blood.

These customs were symbolical, but there is a hint of the blood-covenant beyond them—a hint received direct from Nature herself—call it revelation if you please. In the first rude ethics we find that the time for the sexes to come together was recognised by the intimation of nature, made in her own sign-language at the period of feminine 222pubescence. Nature gave the hint, and a covenant was established. Henceforth, the child that could not enter that covenant would be protected from brutal assault, and was allowed, or rather compelled, to run about unclothed in token of her exemption. It is here in the swearing-in and covenanting of the sexes at the time of pubescence that we discover another real and most secret, i.e., sacred root of the rite.

The self-revelation made by nature to primitive man was very primitive in its kind. She not only demonstrated that the blood was the life, or that the life passed away with the letting out of the blood, but in another domain, which our author has not entered, she showed that blood was, and how it was, the future life. Blood was the primary witness to the future life which the child received from the mother. It was the token of the time when the female could become the bearer of that future life which took flesh and form in her blood.

The blood-covenanting of the primitive races is still a part of the most elaborate system of making presents, which are the express witnesses of proffered troth and intended fealty. The most precious or sacred things are parted from in proof. The best is given on either side. And in the offering of blood, they were giving their very life, that in which the best attains supremacy. But these primitive rites can never be truly read except by those who are deeply grounded in the fact, and well acquainted with the evidence, that sign-language was primordial, that gestures preceded verbal speech, and acting was an earlier mode of representing than talking. Primitive men could only do that which we can say. In Egyptian that which is said is done. And in these primitive customs and religious rites we see the early races of men performing in pantomime the early drama of dumb or inarticulate humanity. And it seems as if this primitive language could produce an impression and reach a reality that are unapproachable by means of words. The significance of the teaching went all the deeper when it was incised in the flesh and branded into the blood. For example, what a terrific glimpse of reality is revealed by the fact that the Malagasy make their sign of a blood-covenant by an incision in the skin that covers the bosom, and this opening with its utterance of blood is called ambavfo, the “mouth of the heart.” Thus the covenant is made in the blood, which is the very life, uttering itself with the mouth of the heart. In Egyptian the covenant, the oath, and the life, have the same name of Ankhu; and the greatest oath was to swear by the life or the blood of the Pharaoh. The primitive mode was to slash the flesh and let the hot blood spout and speak for itself with the “mouth of the heart,” the utterance of the living letter and red seal of the wound, as true witness.

No verbal covenant or written record of the modern races has ever had the full force and effect of these modes of covenanting amongst the primitive people of the past. The moderns do not keep their word 223with anything like the inviolable sanctity of the aborigines; when once they are sworn to fealty, the covenant is almost never broken. Few things in poetry are more pathetic than the story related of Tolo, a chief of the Shastika Indians on the Pacific Coast. In the year 1852 he entered into a tribal treaty with Colonel McKee and was desirous of making a covenant for life in some way that could not possibly be violated. Instead of exchanging blood he proposed a transfer of their own two personal names. Henceforth he was to be known as McKee, and the Colonel as Tolo. But the treaty was discarded, the covenant was not kept by the American Government. In reply, the Indian cast off the title of McKee and refused to resume his own tarnished and degraded name of Tolo! He considered that his very identity was lost by this mode of losing his good name! I doubt whether 1,800 years of Christianity have evolved in the later races of men a consciousness of truth, probity, and loyalty, so quick and profound as that!

The writer of this book remains stone-blind to its own teachings with regard to the doctrine of survivals, and of the past persisting as a pattern for the present.

To quote his own words, he rejoices in the “blessed benefits of the covenant of blood,” and is still a fervent supporter of the great delusion inculcated by the gospel of ruddy gore.

The doctrine is fundamentally the same whether the Greek murderer was cleansed from his guilt by the filthy purification of pig’s blood or the modern sinner is supposed to be washed white in the Blood of the Lamb.

As I had already written in my “Natural Genesis,” “the religious ritual of the moderns is crowded like a kitchen-midden with the refuse relics of customs that were natural once, and are now clung to as if they were supernatural in their efficacy because their origin has been unknown. Indeed, the current masquerade in these appurtenances of the past is as sorry a sight to the archaic student as are the straw crowns and faded finery of the kings and queens whose domain is limited to the lunatic asylum.” Dr. Trumbull endorses the doctrine that “Mortals gave the blood of their first-born sons in sacrifice to the Supreme Being, then the Supreme Being gave the blood of his first-born male in sacrifice” for men; and there you have the covenant of blood in its final form!

It is true that first-born children were offered in sacrifice just as the first take of fish was returned to the waters with a lively sense of future favours from the Typhonian power thus propitiated, but where is the sense of talking about the thought of an intercommunion with the divine nature through a blood-union with God as a concept in the mind of primitive man? It is true the recognized nature-powers, or devils of physical force, were invoked with blood, but what was the status of these powers when the beasts of blood were their representatives on earth, and the blood, which is the life, was given to the Serpent, for instance, as the 224likeness of life itself because it sloughed its own skin and manifested the enviable power of self-renewal? The profounder and more fundamental our researches, the more clearly does it become apparent that we have been victimised by the unsuspected survival of the past in the present, and that the veriest leavings of primitive man have been palmed off upon us by the ignorant as sacred mysteries and revelations guaranteed to be original and divine. Continually we find that our errors of belief are based upon very simple truths that have been misunderstood through a misinterpretation of primitive matters and modes of representation by means of modern ignorance. The blood-covenant of the aboriginal races has undoubtedly survived and culminated as Christian in the frightful formula, “Without blood there is no remission of sin.” Not merely the blood of beasts or human creatures this time, but the ruddy life and ichor of a supposed Divine Being, who was made flesh on purpose to pour out the blood for Almighty vengeance to lap in the person of a gory ghost of God. One of the seven primal powers in Egypt was represented by the hawk, because it drank blood. One of the Seven in Akkad was the vampire. And this type of blood-drinking has been divinised at last as the Christian God.

Pindar says: “It is impossible for me to call one of the blessed gods a cannibal.” But the Christian scheme makes the Only God a cannibal, who offers the flesh and blood of his own Son and Very Self as sacrificial food made sacred for his followers. Such a god is, in two senses, chimerical. How natural an accompaniment is the picture of the Crucified Christ to the Zuni saying, “My Father, this day shalt thou refresh thyself with blood!” Such a doctrine is but an awful shadow of the primitive past—the shadow, so to say, of our old earth in the very far-off past—that remains to eclipse the light of Heaven to-day, and darken the souls of men in the present through the survival of savage spiritualism in its final Christian phase, where the extant doctrines are little more than an ignorant perversion of the most primitive knowledge.

It is in this final and not in the primitive phase that we shall identify the irrationalityirrationality, the impiety, the disgusting grossness of Mythology under the surface of theological varnish and veneer. The only senselessness is in the survival of Myths without their sense.

Lastly, it is observable that in the genuine rite the covenant-makers always bled directly and suffered each for themselves. Later on we find that other victims were substituted by purchase, by fraud, or by force; hence the blood-covenant by proxy. Now the Christian scheme is that which culminated in the blood-covenant and atonement by proxy. “His offspring for his life he gave,” is said of an Akkadian ruler who sacrificed his own son as an expiatory offering to save himself from the consequences of his own sin. And this doctrine of the despicable, this type of the fatherhood, is elevated to the status of divinity by Dr. Trumbull. To quote his own words, the inspired author of the narrative 225found in the Hebrew Genesis shows “Abel lovingly and trustfully reaching out toward God with substitute blood!”

And there began for the Historic Christians that vast perversion of a primitive custom which culminated at last in the Christian doctrine of vicarious sacrifice, based upon the mythology of the Old Testament being literalized in the New. Now we have the ludicrous spectacle of salvation by means of a rite which has lost all the manhood, all the morality, all the meaning, that was put into it by the despised races of uncivilized men.

The eucharistic rite is incredibly primitive when really understood. The bread and wine of the Christian sacrament still represent the male spirit and the female source of life. The “Blood of Jesus,” which was to be “drink indeed,” is identical with the “Blood of Bacchus,” which preceded historic Christianity, and has been substituted for the human or animal blood of the earlier mysteries. Imbibing the blood of the Christ did not originate in any historic or personal transaction. Also the blood of Christ, or Mithras, or Horus, employed in drinking the covenant, was preceded by the blood of Charis. In some of the Gnostic mysteries we have the proof that the first form of the saving blood was feminine, not masculine at all. Irenæus presents us with a picture of profound interest from the anthropological point of view.

He tells us how Marcus performed the eucharistic rite with the blood of Charis, instead of the blood of Christ. He handed cups to the women and bade them consecrate these in his presence. Then, by the use of magical incantation, “Charis was thought to drop her own blood into the cup” thus consecrated. (B. I. 13, 2.)

There is but one known fact in natural phenomena which will fitly account as Vera Causa for a monthly Sacrament, celebrated every twenty-eight days, or thirteen times to the year; which fact was commemorated by the Blood-Covenant of Charis ( Vide “Nat. Gen.” V. ii. section 12, for proofs). This kind of blood-covenant can be paralleled in the Yain or Yonian mysteries of India.

When rightly understood, the eucharist is a survival of the “beastly cannibalistic ceremony,” whether considered as the blood of Charis or the blood of Christ, or partaken of as the red Tent wine or the “bloody wafer” of Rome.

We welcome Dr. Trumbull’s contribution on the subject, although he has but “breathed a vein” of it, because these rites and customs have to be unveiled, and when they are at last exposed in all the simplicity of naked nature the erroneous ideas read into them, the delusive inferences drawn from them, the false illusions painted upon the veil that concealed the truth about them, will be doomed to pass away. To explain the true is the only effectual mode of exploding the false.

Gerald Massey.
226

Correspondence.

CORRESPONDENCE ADDRESSED TO THE AUTHOR OF “LIGHT ON THE PATH.”

I.

“What are the senses called astral, in reality? Are they not really spiritual, seizing on the inner essence of things and interpreting it. The ordinary psychic or clairvoyant surely does not use the astral senses? Yet he sees things which we do not see. It would be well to explain this.”

B. K.

A. The senses called astral in the comments on “Light on the Path” are the senses which perceive the inner essence, certainly; which are cognisant of the life underlying every form of matter. The ordinary psychic or clairvoyant only perceives other forms of matter than those we ordinarily see, and perceives them as a child perceives the forms in this world at first, without understanding their meaning. The astral senses carry beyond matter, and enlighten man with regard to any form of life which especially interests him. They show the poet painter, and composer the things they express to other men, who regard these great ones as beings of another order—beings with the gift of genius. So they are, and the vigour of that genius carries them on into the inner life where meaning, and harmony, and the indefinable all-desired are to be perceived. Wordsworth saw it in nature, he recognised the “spirit in the woods”—not the wood-nymphs but the divine spirit of peace which teaches a lesson in life. Richard Jeffries saw it in nature, too, as perhaps no other man ever has seen it; through the finite visible world he perceived the infinite invisible one, and before he died he had begun to know that the visible world does not exist. Turner, perhaps, is the only parallel. By the invisible world I must repeat again that I do not mean what the spiritualists call by that name—a new world of other forms. I mean the formless world. It is the farthest limit man’s consciousness can reach to; and only the pure and star-like soul can become even aware of its existence. It is not man’s divine nature, but the man who enters it with any reverence for the great miracle of life can only do so by the aid of his divine nature, whether as a poet, a painter, or an occultist. The soul which enters it without reverence is unable to endure its extreme rarity of atmosphere and turns to the psychic-astral in which to live; such men become madmen and suicides, more or less pronounced, as men do who refuse to dwell in any form of physical life but the grossest and simplest. There is some law of life which impels men onward—call it evolution or developement or what you will; and a man can no more go downwards without suffering than a tree can be placed with its branches in the ground, instead of its roots, without discomfort, and in the end, death.

I propose to use two phrases which have been suggested to me; the psychicpsychic-astral and the divine-astral. This seems the only way to make my meaning clear, 227for the word astral has two meanings, its own proper derivative one, from the Sanskrit stri to strew light, and that given it by the use of all occultists. Paracelsus appropriated the word for all things sidereal, subject to the moon and stars, part and parcel of this material universe, even though formed as Dryden says of “purest atoms of the air.” In this sense the spiritualists and psychics have the right of custom to use it as they do, to describe their world of finer forms. In this meaning an astral shape is the form of the human soul, still in possession of the passions which make it human; and the astral senses perceive not the subtle and supreme glory which Shelley seized on in Prometheus, but a region full of shapes and forms differing but little from those we now wear, and still distinctly material.

The “astral man” in the “Comments on Light on the Path” should have been written the divine-astral man, according to this evident difference of meaning between the present writer and all other writers on occultism.

II.

“Are not the astral senses used by every great poet or inventor though he does not see clairvoyantly at all? i.e. does not see elementals, astral pictures, forms, &c.”

Faust.

The answer to the former question seems to contain the answer to this, which is clearly prompted by a conception of the word “astral” in its divine sense.

III.

1. “There is a law of nature which insists that a man shall read these mysteries for himself. Will all men seeking the occult path read these mysteries alike, or will each man find the interpretation peculiarly adapted to his own phrase of development. No two men read the mysteries contained in the Bhagavat Gita quite alike, each gains the glimpses of light which he is able to assimilate and no more.”

A. This seems to be rather a statement of a truth than a question which can be answered in any way other than putting it into different words, perhaps not so good.

2. “Is the outer world the reflection of the world within? like a shadowed reproduction in clumsy form, the inner being reality?”

A. This is what should be. But materialists have brought their sense of reality into the shadowed life.

3. “How is the intuition to be developed which enables one to grasp swift knowledge?”

A. To me no way is known but that of living the life of a disciple.

4. “Can the laws in super-nature only act on their own plane, or can their reflection be brought down intact in their own purity to govern physical life.”

A. Surely this must be so; yet rarely, for when it is accomplished the man would be divine, a Buddha!

5. “To be incapable of tears”—does not that mean that the physical emotions, being merged into the inner physical, that tears are impossible as being an outward phase of the physical nature—whereas the psychical emotions, to use a physical term are vibratory.

A. “The whole of ‘Light on the Path,’ is written in an astral cipher” is stated 228at the outset of the “comments;” the word “tears” does not refer to physical tears in any way.

It is the only word which will convey any idea whatever of the moisture of life, that which bursts from the human soul in its experience of sensation and emotion, and in the passion of its hunger for them.

6. “How is one to take the snake of self in a steady grasp and conquer it?”

W.

A. This is the great mystery which each man must solve for himself.

IV.
Wallasey, Oct. 1st

Referring to the comments on “Light on the Path,” in the first number of Lucifer, may I ask whether the full paradox “Before the eyes can see they must be incapable of tears, and yet no eyes incapable of tears can see,” i.e., see good or God, is not truer and stronger than its part?

“Therefore the soul of the occultist must become stronger than joy and greater than sorrow” I presume means that he must not seek joy or fear sorrow, not that he may not enjoy nor sorrow?

The phrase by itself may read “Before the eyes can see they must be incapable of tears,” tearless, dry, in fact dead! which is obviously not the author’s intention in “Light on the Path.”

Yours truly,
A. E. I.

A. Once more I must refer to the preliminary statement in the comments that “Light on the Path,” is written in an astral cipher, and that tears do not mean the tears of the physical body, but the rain drops that come from the passion-life of the human soul. These being stayed for ever, the astral sight is no longer blinded or blurred. Divine love and charity then find room, when personal desire is gone. Joy and sorrow, for oneself, then drop naturally into another place than that which they filled before.

V.

(1.) I desire very strongly to obtain conquest over “self;” would my using the occult means for so doing, which apparently to me lie without the ordinary experience of Christians, necessitate my sacrificing any iota of my belief in the power of Christ?

(2.) If I submit myself to the occult conditions under which the four first rules in “Light on the Path” may be “engraved on my heart and life;” will these conditions permit me to pray throughout for the Divine help and strength of the Eternal Christ, who has passed the portal, opened the “way,” and whom I believe to be the “Master of Masters,” the “Lord of Angels”?

(3.) Do the words—“the disciple” ... “must then so shut the gates of his soul that no comforter can enter there nor any enemy”—mean, that we are wilfully to exclude ourselves from any desire for the sympathy, strength, and support of the spirit of One who said “No man cometh unto the Father but by Me,” and who drank the cup of agony to the very dregs for love of the Brotherhood?

L. H. Ff.

229A. (1.) Not any iota of your belief in the power of the Christ-spirit would or should be sacrificed; it would rather increase, for that spirit is the same Divine overshadowing which has inspired every Redeemer.

(2.) It matters very little by what name you call the Master of Masters, so that you do appeal to “Its” power throughout.

(3.) Man can find no comforter save in the Divine Spirit within himself. Does not the tale of the life of Jesus illustrate this, looking at it from one point of view? In what dread isolation he lived and died; His disciples, even those who were most beloved by Him, could not reach His spirit in its sublime moments, or in the hours of its keenest suffering. So with every one who raises himself by effort above the common life of man, in however small a degree. Solitude becomes a familiar state, for nothing personal, not even a personal God, can comfort or cheer any longer.

VI.

“Is there any chance of self-deception? May one enter the path so gradually as to be conscious of no radical change, representing a change of life or stage of progression? How is it with one who has never experienced a great and lasting sorrow, or an all-absorbing joy, but who in the midst of both joy and sorrow strives to remember others, and to feel that he hardly deserves the joy, and that his sorrow is meagre in the presence of the great all-pain? How is such a one to enter through the gates? By what sign shall he know them?”

Y. H.

A. It is difficult for such a one to know anything of what lies beneath the surface of his nature until it has been probed by the fiercer experiences of life. But, of course, the theory of re-incarnation makes it possible that such experiences are left behind in the past. The entrance to the gates is marked by one immutable sign; the sense that personal joy or sorrow no longer exist. The disciple lives for humanity, not for himself; works for all creatures that suffer instead of knowing that he himself has pain.


“ESOTERIC BUDDHISM.”

“As the Editors of Lucifer kindly invite questions concerning Theosophy and kindred subjects, an honest enquirer into these matters would welcome an answer to the following difficulty:

“In his book on ‘Esoteric Buddhism,’ Mr. Sinnett states that souls or spirits pass the long interval between the one incarnation and another in a sort of quiescent, and at least half-unconscious, state, losing enough of their identity to preclude their carrying any recollection of one incarnation on to the next. In his novel, “Karma,” Mr. Sinnett represents one character, Mrs. Lakesby, gifted with more than usual powers, as being very fond, when she has the chance, of allowing her spirit to escape from the trammels of the body and 230meeting the spirits of departed—that is, dead friends—“and others” on the Astral plane where she holds agreeable converse with them.

“How are these two statements reconcilable?

“October 22nd, 1887.

N. D.”

Mr. Sinnett would probably reply that the answer could only be given fully by reprinting all that he has written in various published works, on the conditions of existence in Kama-Loca, and Devachan, and on the higher and lower aspects of Self. The normal course of events will conduct a human being who quits the material body through Kama-Loca to the Devachanic state, in which Mrs. Lakesby would not be able to interview him. But while in Kama-Loca she might at least imagine she did this, and, perhaps not too wisely, indulgeindulge in the practice of so doing. If we remember rightly the Baron, in “Karma,” who is represented as knowing a good deal more than Mrs. Lakesby, gifted as she is, throws some discredit upon her view concerning the Astral plane and its inhabitants. At the best when a clairvoyant can gain touch with a soul in Kama-Loca, it is the lower self remaining there, though it has left the body, that she deals with. And though that lower self may be very recognisable for people who have known it in the earthly manifestation, it will be lower than the lower self of earth and not higher because ethereal. That is to say on earth the living man is more or less under the guidance of his higher self. But the higher has no longer any business to transact with the lower self of Kama-Loca, and does not manifest there at all.

Finally it must always be remembered that a romance, even though written by an Occultist, is a romance still, designed to suggest broad conceptions rather than to expound scientific and doctrinal details.


“Being courteously invited to address any questions bearing on the matter contained in Lucifer to the Editors, Madame la Marechale Canrobert would gladly know:—First, What is the distinction made (page 11) between the soul and the starry spirit? Is it that soul which is again alluded to (page 91) as the animal soul, in opposition to the Divine soul? Second, What are the external forms of the individualised being spoken of also on page 91?”

A. The human soul, that which is subject to human passions, but which can also yearn towards the nobility of the Divine soul, is that which is spoken of on page 11. The starry spirit is the Divine-astral. The animal soul is that which animates the mere physical life, the unintelligent existence of the body. The “external forms” referred to on page 91 are the successive human shapes which the starry spirit inspires during its long pilgrimage.

M. C.
231

Reviews.


THE REAL HISTORY OF THE ROSICRUCIANS.[55]

Mr. Waite’s new book will be welcomed by that large class of readers who regard occultism, alchemy, and all like studies with antagonism and suspicion. Secret societies supposed to deal with such subjects are, from their point of view, better exposed and ridiculed than treated with respect or taken seriously. The author of the present volume does not, however, cast disrespect on occult science, nor does he discuss the Rosicrucians in a spirit of levity or disdain. He recognises that there may be, and probably is, a grand spiritual and moral philosophy in the higher aspects of true alchemy, but in these pages he treats the subject of the society from the historical, and not at all from the mystical side, and confines himself to tracing its recorded history, its rise, fall, and raison d’etre. The conscientious study of these records relating to the Brotherhood has brought Mr. Waite to the conclusion that they do not support the traditions which up to the present have surrounded the society with a veil of unknown antiquity and have endowed its members with a halo of marvellous wisdom. It is these conclusions that will charm the incredulous, and may probably blind them to the indications of an undercurrent of belief in the reality of occult science, per se, which the author has evidently not desired to suppress. To investigate and disentangle the network of facts, theories, and traditions which must necessarily envelope a society that up to the commencement of the seventeenth century had not been heard of by the general public is no easy task, and Mr. Waite may be congratulated upon the calm and judicial spirit with which he has treated his subject, as well as upon the moderation with which he advances his own views. To be able to gather from these open records how far the members of such a society may have held in their keeping some of the inner secrets of Nature is of course impossible to ordinary humanity. The real character and aims of such an association can be known only to passed Initiates. In his preface Mr. Waite says: “I claim to have performed my task in a sympathetic but impartial manner, purged from the bias of any theory, and above all uncontaminated by the pretension to superior knowledge, which claimants have never been able to substantiate.” This statement is fully justified in the pages of the book under review. Its value does not lie so much in any new presentation of the facts or theories pertaining to the Rosicrucians, and which are so frequently distorted by ignorant commentators, as in the compact and systematic arrangement of some of the principal writings available. He has brought together not only the leading works of the various writers known, or supposed to be Rosicrucians, but he has also collected the criticisms and conjectures on these current at the time of their 232appearance in Germany, together with others of a much more recent date. Consequently the reader has before him almost all the information of this description he could require, and which he could not obtain for himself except by the expenditure of time and trouble that very few are either able or willing to give.

It is not surprising that Mr. Waite should have satisfied himself that the Rosicrucians have no sort of claim to the reverence and admiration in which scholars and mystics have held them up to the present time. But these conclusions will form only one more of other proofs to students of esotericism, that the task of writing a true and real history of a secret occult society from its records, where such exist, is an impossibility. For even when such societies left reliable information of their pursuits, aspirations, and beliefs, the language employed has always been of such a character as to baffle entirely the ordinary exoteric reader, whether he were historian, literateur, or scientist. Such literature can be interesting only to the student on the track of esoteric knowledge, or to one who has in a great measure acquired the meaning conveyed, for himself in other ways. This method of giving to the world, as it were, the proceeds, of life-long research in the realms of unseen Nature, has been adopted by alchemists, magicians, priests, and hierophants from all ages. None but those who were sufficiently steadfast in the cause of truth could read and understand what was thus written. The numerous and minute directions for the working of spells and cures, etc., left by Paracelsus, and which are apparently as straight forward and practicable as the receipts in a modern cookery book, would turn out probably much less successful in the hands of an amateur, no matter how highly educated on the physical plane, than the more delicate dishes taken from such receipts manipulated by an entirely inexperienced servant. For these elaborate instructions are given in terms that appeal simply to the material senses of those who are in search of power rather than of wisdom, whereas the real effort to produce the result has to take place on the Astral plane of nature. The spiritual or soul side of man, must be awakened and utilised, before the Philosopher’s stone, or the elixir of life, can be discovered.

The comprehension of the potentialities of the human body, their nurture and eventual utilisation for purely unselfish ends and spiritual, i.e., real wisdom, is, or ought to be, the work of all secret occult societies. But to return to Mr. Waite’s book. The popular notion that this Brotherhood is of great, almost incredible antiquity, is utterly condemned by him. He fails to find any documentary evidence to show that it existed before the early part of the seventeenth century, and argues that the well-known antiquity of the Rose and Cross in symbolism is no proof of the antiquity of a society using them “at a period subsequent to the Renaissance.” Granting that the device of the Rose and Cross, as emblems of a particular order or brotherhood, does not guarantee its equal antiquity with them, still it must be admitted that these symbols bearing as they do a profoundly esoteric interpretation, and being adopted by a society of a distinctly occult character, is an argument in support of the theory that the founder or originator of this order had some reason other than fancy for thus labelling his fraternity. Elsewhere he says, “I have shown indisputably that there was no novelty in the Rosicrucian pretensions, and no originality in their views. They appear before us as Lutheran disciples of Paracelsus.”

233The author here seems to be not entirely logical in his deductions. When he states that he has not met in his search with either letters, records, or papers that mention or suggest the existence of such a society before the seventeenthseventeenth century, he is of course, as a historian, safely ensconced from attack. In this capacity as an impartial seeker after facts, it is outside the area of his work in the absence of data to theorise on probabilities. When, however, in dealing with the manifestoes of the seventeenth century, he finds therein evidence that shows him the Brotherhood had no back history or ancestry, his conclusions are open to criticism. The very fact of the want of originality and novelty in the views, aims and aspirations set forth in the “Fama,” and “Confessio” surely gives strength to the theory that holds to the antiquity of the society, rather than to its being the outcome of a spontaneous effort. All true students of mysticism have good reason to believe, even when they do not absolutely know, that the various schools of occultism considered from their highest or most spiritual and abstract teaching, lead to the same goal. They may be called by different names, and their methods in minor details may not be the same, but the wisdom au fond is identical. Therefore when Mr. Waite casts discredit upon the Rosicrucians for not advertising novelties in their manifesto, in the mystical line of thought, he reminds us of a man who in making up his mind on the value of a violin, decides that it cannot be of great age, because it emits only the same set of sounds that such musical instruments have been accustomed to give forth from time immemorial.

As far as can be ascertained by studying the state of thought and society at the period when the Rosicrucians were first heard of in Europe, this particular order manifested itself as an antidote to the general tendency towards the material side of alchemy, which honey-combed the educated classes of Germany. Wonder-seekers then, as now, did not apprehend that ethics, both social and spiritual, are the fundamental basis of real wisdom, consequentlyconsequently the great cry was for power, no matter of what description, for the accumulation of wealth. The craving for arcane knowledge, so widely diffused, and which alchemists were truly known to possess, had gradually degenerated into a purely selfish desire for the secret of transmuting metals. To supply this eager demand charlatans of every description rushed to the front professing to teach all who joined their standards, i.e., who could pay the necessary fee, how to turn common metal into pure gold. The craze for this power was so universal, the motive of it so unspiritual, that in order to stem the tide of the folly, and to checkmate the impostors who were bringing discredit on the Sacred Art, the “Fama” was issued by a body of people who took as their symbols the Rose and Cross. From this point of view the Rosicrucians historically come before the world in the light of a group of Reformers.

Different people interpret in different ways the two manifestoes—the “Fama” and “Confessio.” Mr. Waite appears to place great importance on the adherence to Christian dogmas observable in the wording of these papers. But in taking the documents literally, he seems to overlook the necessity that all writers were under, in those troubled times, of pandering to the narrow and prejudiced minds of the leaders of the so called Christian Church, by apparently adhering to the Ritual. Naturally, the author of the “Fama” worded it in such a manner as to avoid persecution or suspicion of heresy. Those to whom it 234was really addressed would not be misled by its tone of orthodoxy, and the general public and the church would pass it by as harmless. Moreover, as Mr. Waite remarks further on, “the philosophical and scientific opinions and pretentions of the Rosicrucian Society have more claim on our notice” than their theology. Speaking again of the school of thought current at the time this organization was floated, and which he tells us the Rosicrucians followed, he says.... “Mystics in an age of scientific and religious materialism, they were connected by an unbroken chain with the theurgists of the first Christian centuries, they were alchemists in the spiritual sense, and the professors of a Divine Magic. Their disciples, the Rosicrucians, followed closely in their footsteps, and the claims of the “Fama” and “Confessio” must be reviewed in the light of the great elder claims of alchemy and magic.” In spite of this, Mr. Waite judges the Society, it would appear, by what he admits to be the minor and less important side of its object, for he speaks of it eventually, as a body of “pre-eminently learned men and a Christian Sect.” We will not stop to consider the probability or possibility of a body of “pre-eminently learned men,” being at the same time a “Christian Sect.”

Having thus deprived the Rosicrucians of the dignity, reverence and romance, that cling round great antiquity; having saddled them with the tenets and dogmas of conventional mediæval christianity, Mr. Waite next proceeds to demolish their emblems, or at all events, to deny that they attached any esoteric interpretation to them. He says ... “The whole question of the Crucified Rose, in its connection with the Society is one of pure conjecture, that no Rosicrucian manifestoes, and no acknowledged Brother have ever given any explanation concerning it, and that no presumption is afforded by the fact of its adoption, for the antiquity of the Society, or for its connection with Universal Symbolism.” Allowing for the necessity in writing a history of a mystical society of taking the documents as they stand, Mr. Waite rather ignores the fact that the evidence for the statement above is of a negative character. That in their manifestoes and records there appears no explanation of their emblems, hardly justifies the conclusion that they were incapable of giving any. It would indeed have been a new departure in the annals of Secret Societies if the founders of this particular order had left behind the explanation of their signs and symbols. The study and interpretation of symbology forms a most important element in the education of occult disciples, and therefore to assume that the projectors of this organisation should be unaware of the mystic reading of the Rose and Cross, is a hypothesis that no student of mysticism could accept.

It is, on the whole, generally assumed by those who have taken any pains to investigate the evidence, that Johann Valentin Andreas was the author of the “Fama,” the Confessio Fraternitatis, and also of the “Chymical Marriage” of Christian Rosencreutz, and to that extent he must be looked upon exoterically as the founder of the Rosicrucian Society, as first known to history. He was deeply versed in mystic studies and alchemy, and had besides a widespread reputation as a scholar and learned man. His “Chymical Marriage,” to anyone with even a slight acquaintance with alchemical literature, reveals him as one who had penetrated deeply into some of the mysteries of nature. Consequently, he must have been well aware that the Rose and Cross bore a profoundly occult signification. 235Considering the man himself, the character of his studies, and his well known devotion to alchemy and mysticism, it is certainly more reasonable to suppose that he took those emblems (presuming he had any choice in the matter) for his society, not as some suggest, because they happened to form a part of his own armorial bearings, or that the Rose and Cross on a Heart was used by Martin Luther, but because he recognised their full value and importance as symbols of cosmic evolution.

Mr. Waite seems, on the whole, to agree with the idea that Andreas was the author of the “Fama” and “Confessio,” and regards the “Chymical Marriage” as undoubtedly his production. He also allows that the latter pamphlet can only have been the work of a man deeply embued with alchemical speculations, a mystic and follower of Paracelsus. How then can he ask us to believe that the Society formed under such auspices was au fond, nothing but a Christian sect based on the teachings of Martin Luther! To the public at large these theories may perhaps appear sufficiently plausible in face of the wording of those parts of the manifestoes that touch on theology. To students of esotericism, however, such conclusions will be absolutely unacceptable, and we can not allow to pass without comment Mr. Waite’s hypothesis that the Rosicrucian Society, as it first came before the world, was simply a society for the propagation of the deteriorated Christianity of the middle ages. No mystic, whether calling himself Rosicrucian, Cabbalist, Theosophist, Christian, or Buddhist, would either, intellectually or spiritually, accept the narrow dogmas and intolerant views of the Christian church, even when to some extent cleansed of many of its grosser abuses by the energy of Martin Luther’s Reform.

The two lines of thought are essentially different. In the case of the Christian, no matter of what denomination, his thoughts are bound down and paralysed within the rigid circle drawn by the materialistic reading of Christ’s birth, life, and death. The true occultist takes those episodes spiritually or allegorically, finding their correspondences within himself as well as in the universe. To say that a human being can at one and the same time be an occultist, and a sectarian Christian, is as impossible as to speak of a Christian Jew. A true Christian, i.e., one who understood and followed absolutely the teachings of Jesus, would be also a true Rosicrucian. Membership of particular churches or societies does not unfortunately endow the individual immediately with the virtue, knowledge or power, that is the theoretical goal of his initial action. Such membership is, or may be a step in the direction of Divine Wisdom, but one step does not carry him to the summit of the path. Men do not become either Rosicrucians, Christians, or Theosophists merely by joining the Societies working under those particular names. But certain tendencies in their temperaments urge them into the special Society where the mode of thought seems best fitted to help them, to realise the magnitude and glory of the possibilities inherent in their own souls.

Between the humanity of to-day, and the development of a sixth sense, which will enable it to perceive what now is imperceptible, there is but a thin veil of obstructing matter, metaphorically speaking. This veil is even now being continually pierced by psychics, first in one direction then in another, letting in through these tiny openings glimpses of the invisible world around. In a little while the veil will be worn away entirely, and the humanity of that future time 236will doubtless wonder how the humanity of this age, which we find so enlightened, could have been so unintuitive and blind to the most important side of their natures. Until the race however has by soul evolution attained to this sixth sense, real histories of Mystical Societies can hardly be hoped for. Members of such Societies, who by study and training have attained some degree of knowledge may not disclose the secrets, non-members cannot get at them. The reading-classes of to-day may, after reading Mr. Waite’s book, think they have learnt something of the body of people called Rosicrucians, and until now supposed to have some claim to arcane knowledge. The students of occultism will know that the vital part of the subject is and must remain ever impregnable, excepting from its esoteric side.


“NINETEENTH CENTURY SENSE.”

Sense! What is ”sense”? A word meaning either little or much; simple and clear to the understanding, or various and carrying with it many connotations. It is one or other according as we measure the depth, the thoroughness, or the reality of the knowledge acquired. From a purely physical “sensation” we may trace the word through endless shades of signification; through “good” sense, “sound” sense, through the artistic and finer sensibilities, the “moral” sense, till it loses itself in the vague hint of a dim, unformed consciousness, pointing the way to the new world of the “inner senses.”

All these meanings and more are connoted by the phrase “Nineteenth Century Sense;” [56] for, by a daring metaphor, the tools which modern science places at our disposal are considered as “senses,” and even the faculty and power of analysis is sometimes included under the word.

Beginning with the simplest, the reader is led on to the most astounding phenomenaphenomena of modern spiritualism in the first thirty-seven pages of this strange work. The author depicts in vivid language his own experiences, and the triumphs of phenomena produced by one of his personal friends, in a style which is often quaint and striking, though at times the writer’s disregard of many of the accepted rules of composition becomes—to say the least—irritating. But the matter of his book earns forgiveness for the manner in which it is formulated.

After carrying his reader to a pitch of interest and expectation as to the phenomena he describes, Mr. Darby suddenly plunges him into the frozen sea of scepticism by stating that all the phenomena produced under what seemed the strictest test conditions, were produced by conjuring and legerdemain, and by explaining the physical causes of some of the visions he has so graphically described. It will suffice to cite a single instance in illustration. “The President of the American Branch of the Indian Society of Theosophists (Professor Coues) ... spent an evening with me some time back in conversation on the subject of psychical phenomena. We parted at midnight. 237At seven o’clock the next morning I suddenly awoke, beholding the astral of the professor standing at my bed-side.”

This vision Mr. Darby explains by reference to the fact of the persistence of retinal images and the super-excitability of the nerves and brain. “Astral projections,” he concludes, “are of precisely similar significance.” We would feel obliged to the eminent American professor of physiology referred to if he would give his written opinion on the question thus raised. For Theosophists have heard of persons whose brains were in complete repose and fully occupied otherwise who have also seen the astral form of Professor Coues. How’s this?

He concludes, nevertheless, that materialistic agnosticism is the only “creed”? Far from it. This portion of the book is purely introductory; it forms the five door-steps leading to the Spiritus Sanctus—the laboratory of the Divine Spirit.

From this black depth of doubt and confusion, the reader is lifted suddenly into the clear ether, and his feet are placed on the “Rosicrucian Way.”

Whether called “Rosicrucian,” or by whatever other name, the “Way” is the “Way of Life,” the path which leads to freedom, to wisdom, to true living. Whole pages might well be quoted; a few aphorisms must suffice.

“A thing is to the sense that uses it what to the sense
It seems to be; it is never anything else.”

Many passages recall “Light on the Path,” though Mr. Darby probably never saw that book; but life is one, and true occultism is one.

Speaking of mankind as divided into two classes, men in whom is the Holy Ghost, the Divine Spirit or the Logos, he says:

“With people self-wise or over-sufficient, with the proud and the uncharitable, with all who are without understanding as to the common good being the only good, with him who fails to see that gifts are in men as almoners only—with all these the Holy Ghost is absent, otherwise so lacking in measure as to be incapable of making itself felt.”

The italicised passages give the key-note of the true science and art of living. To quote again:

“Settled into tranquillity by entirely satisfactory recognition of noumenon through phenomenon an end is reached where instrument is prepared and ready for use. Analysis has shown the Rosicrucian what he is; more than this—what he can become as to his Ego. If out of his understanding, he puts office [the service of others.—Ed.] before self, he learns directly of the God, as the God comes to live in and to make use of him.”

“Proving to one’s self that one’s self is God”; and again, “God ... the One is in all; the All is in one.”

The next chapter contrasts strangely with the one just quoted from—strangely, that is, to the outer sense. The one full of deep philosophy, of questionings of God, the Self, the World, clothed in the profound and significant paradoxes in which wisdom finds expression; the other an idyll, a sketch of nature, deeply coloured by the influence of Walt Whitman, whose style, perhaps, has had too great an influence on Mr. Darby, who has caught its jerky and unpleasant strings of detached sentences.

238This is Chapter V.; Chapter VI. deals with Matter in its relation to the Ego, the spirit of the treatment being indicated by the following conclusion:

“That there shows itself, out of a process of exclusion, conducted even only so far as the analysis of matter, a something which is not matter. The analysis demonstrates the something to be of individual signification; further, that it is to it what a flute or other instrument is to harmony.”

The final words express a purely occult doctrine, which is worked out at length in the succeeding chapter on the Ego.

This is the fundamental thought of the book, the last fifty pages of which describe the author’s individual experiences in nascent psychic development.

They are not of a very striking character, but exhibit with sufficient clearness the early forms of this new growth. Unfortunately, the author seems to have lacked the desire to pursue the road thus opened to him, and the final pages of his work are but a lame and halting conclusion to a remarkable production.

The book is well adapted for those who stand halting on the verge of mysticism, while for the student who has advanced further, its pages may serve as a means for helping others.

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The Editors of Lucifer beg to acknowledge the following books, which will be noticed in future numbers:—

From Messrs. Ward and Downey: “A Modern Magician,” by Fitzgerald Molloy. “Twin Souls.”

From Messrs. David Nutt & Co.: “The Gnostics and their Remains,” by C. H. King.

From the Authors: “Natural Genesis,” by Gerald Massey. “Sepher Yezirah,” by Dr. Wynn Westcott. “Palingenesia,” by “Theosopho and Ellora.” “Mohammed Benani,” by Ion Perdicaris. “Lays of Romance,” by W. Stewart Ross.

From George Redway: “Posthumous Humanity,” translated by Col. H. S. Olcott.


⁂ The Editors regret that the pressure on their space prevents their noticing in detail the various Theosophical Magazines:—The Theosophist, The Path, Le Lotus, and L’Aurore. A full summary of their contents for November and December will appear next month. The same remark applies to a letter on “Karma,” received from Mr. Beatty, which will be published and fully answered next month.

239

From the Note Book of an Unpopular Philosopher

I am Sternly Rebuked for some remarks made in the last number. My reflections with regard to the respective value of Mussulman and Christian pledges exchanged, as also on the doubtful propriety of zoological symbolism in the Churches—are pronounced wantonly wicked and calculated to hurt the tender feelings of Christian readers—if any. Protestant England—it is solemnly urged—is full of truly good men and women, of sincere church-goers, who “walk in the ways of the Lord.” No doubt there are such, and no doubt they do, or try to, which is a step in advance of those who do not. But then none of the “righteous” need recognize their faces in the mirror presented by the “Unpopular Philosopher” only to the unrighteous. And again—-

The Ways of the Lord....” The ways of which Lord? Is the jealous Lord of Moses meant, the God who thundered amidst the lightnings of Sinai, or the meek “Lord” of the Mount of Olives and Calvary? Is it the stern God that saith “vengeance is mine,” and who must be “worshipped in fear,” or the “man-God” who commanded to love one’s neighbours as oneself, to forgive one’s enemies and bless those who revile us? For the ways of the two Lords are wide apart, and can never meet.

No one who has studied the Bible can deny for one single moment that a large proportion (if happily not all) of modern Christians walk indeed “in the ways of the Lord”—Number I. This one is the “Lord” who had respect unto Abel, because the meat of his sacrifice smelt sweet in his nostrils; the “Lord” who commanded the Israelites to spoil the Egyptians of their jewels of silver and gold;[57] also to “kill every male among the little ones,” as “every woman ... but all the women children (virgins) to keep alive for themselves” (Numb. XXXI., 17, et seq.); and to commit other actions too coarse to be repeated in any respectable publication.

Hence the modern warriors who achieve such feats (with the modern improvement occasionally, of shooting their enemies out of the mouths of big guns) walk, most undeniably, “in the ways” of the Lord of the Jews, but never in the ways of Christ. So does the modern trader who keeps the Sabbath most rigorously, attending Divine Service thrice on that day, after treating during the whole week his hired clerks as the brood of Ham “who shall be their (Shem and Japhet’s) servants.”

So does, likewise, he who helps himself, David-like, to a Bath-Sheba, the wife of Uriah, without the least concern whether he simply robs or kills the Hittite husband. For he has every right to take for his sampler “a friend of God”—the God of the old covenant.

But will either of these pretend they walk in the ways of their Lord of the new Dispensation? Yet, he who raises his voice in a protest against the “ways” of the Mosaic God, therefore, in favour of those preached by the very antithesis of Jehovah—the meek and gentle “Man of Sorrow”—he is forthwith set up on the pillory and denounced to public opprobrium as an anti-Christian and an Atheist! This, in the face of the words: “Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven.... And every one that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand.... and great was the fall thereof!

The “Will of My Father?” Is this “Father” identical with the God of Mount Sinai and of the Commandments? Then what is the meaning of the whole Chapter V. of Matthew, of the Sermon on the Mount, in which every one of these Commandments is virtually criticised and destroyed by the new amendments?

Ye have heard that it hath been said ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth’; but I say unto you that you resist not evil,” etc.

240Glance at the big centres of our Christian civilisations. Look at the jails, the court and the prison-houses, the tribunals, and the police; see the distress, with starvation and prostitution as its results. Look at the host of the men of law and of judges; and then see how far the words of Christ, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, Judge not that ye be not judged,” apply to the whole structure of our modern civilised life, and how far we may be called Christians.

How well the commandment—“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone”—is now obeyed, may be seen by following day after day, the law reports for slander, calumny and defamation. Obedience to the injunction, and warning against the sin of offending children, “these little ones,” of whom is the Kingdom of Heaven, is found in the brutal treatment of fatherless children on the streets by the Christian police, of other children by their parents, and finally, in the merciless flogging of wee bits of culprits driven to crime by their own parents and starvation. And is it those who denounce such an anti-Christian spirit in legislation, the Pharisaical church and society, who shall be branded for speaking the truth? The magistrate, who has sworn on the Bible—contrary to Christ’s express injunction—to administer justice; the pious defaulter, who swears falsely on it, but cannot be convicted; the sanctimonious millionaire who fattens on the blood and sweat of the poor; and the aristocratic “Jezebel” who casts mud from her carriage wheels on her “fallen” sister, on the street, a victim perchance, of one of the men of her own high caste—all these call themselves Christians. The anti-Christians are those who dare to look behind that veil of respectability.

The best answer to such paradoxical denunciation may be found in one of “Saladin’s” admirable editorials. The reader must turn to The Secular Review for October 22nd, 1887, and read some pertinent reflections on “The Bitter Cry of Outcast London,” and the “Child-thieves” flogging. Well may a “heathen Chinee” or a “mild Hindu” shudder in horror at the picture in it of that “drawing of blood” out of the baby-bodies of infant thieves. The process is executed by a Christian policeman acting under the orders and in the presence of a righteous Christian magistrate. Has either of the two ever given a thought during the “child-torture” to the words of their Christ: “Whosoever shall offend one of these little ones, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were cast into the sea”?

Yes, they are walking “in the ways of the God of Israel”! For, as “it repented the Lord that he had made man” so wicked and so imperfect, that “Lord” drowned and destroyed him “from the face of the Earth,” without more ado. Verily so, “both man and beast, and the creeping thing and the fowls,” though the latter had neither sinned, nor were they “wicked.” And why shouldn’t the righteous men on Earth do likewise? It repents the Christian citizens of pious Lugdunum perchance also, that they create the starving little wretches, the foundlings abandoned to vice from the day of their birth? And the truly good Christian men, who would believe themselves damned to hell-fire were they to miss their Sabbath Service, forbidden by law to drown their creatures, resort to the next best thing they can; they “draw blood” from those little ones whom their “Saviour” and Master took under his special protection.

May the shadow of “Saladin” never grow less, for the fearless honest words of truth he writes:—

“And whose blood was in the veins of these two boys? Whose blood reddened the twigs of the birch? Peradventure that of the magistrate himself, or of the chaplain of the prison. For mystical are the grinding of the wheels of the mill of misery. And God looks on and tolerates. And I am accounted a heretic, and my anti-Christian writings are produced against me in a Court of Justice to prevent my getting justice, because I fail to see in all this how Christianity “elevates” woman and casts a “halo of sacred innocence round the tender years of the child.” So be it. I have flung down my gage of battle, and the force of bigotry may break me to death; but it shall never bend me to submission. Unsalaried and ill-supported, I fight as stubbornly as if the world flung at my feet its gold and laurels and huzzas; for the weak need a champion and the wronged an avenger. It is necessary that Sham find an opponent and Hypocrisy a foe: these they will find in me, be the consequences what they may.

Saladin.

This is the epitomized history of the “Unpopular Philosopher”; aye, the story of all those who, in the words of “Lara,” know that “Christianity will never save humanity, but humanity may save Christianity,” i.e., the ideal spirit of the Christos-Buddha—of Theosophy.


31. Not all the members of the Theosophical Society are Theosophists; nor are the members of the so-called Christian Churches all Christians, by any means. True Theosophists, as true Christians, are very, very few; and there are practical Theosophists in the fold of Christianity, as there are practical Christians in the Theosophical Society, outside all ritualistic Christianity. “Not every one that saith unto me ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father.” (Matthew, vii. 21.) “Believe not in Me, but in the truths I utter.” (Buddha’s Aphorisms.)

32. “This” Theosophy is not a religion, but rather the RELIGION—if one. So far, we prefer to call it a philosophy; one, moreover, which contains every religion, as it is the essence and the foundation of all. Rule III. of the Theos. Body says: “The Society represents no particular religious creed, is entirely unsectarian, and includes professors of all faiths.”

33. St. Matthew xxiv., 3, et seq. The sentences italicised are those which stand corrected in the New Testament after the recent revision in 1881 of the version of 1611; which version is full of errors, voluntary and involuntary. The word “presence,” for “coming,” and “the consummation of the age,” now standing for “the end of the world,” have altered, of late, the whole meaning, even for the most sincere Christians, if we exempt the Adventists.

34. He who will not ponder over and master the great difference between the meaning of the two Greek words—χρηστος and χριστος must remain blind for ever to the true esoteric meaning of the Gospels; that is to say, to the living Spirit entombed in the sterile dead-letter of the texts, the very Dead Sea fruit of lip-Christianity.

35. For ye are the temple (“sanctuary” in the revised N. T.) of the living God. (II. Cor. vi., 16.)

36. Spirit, or the Holy Ghost, was feminine with the Jews, as with most ancient peoples, and it was so with the early Christians. Sophia of the Gnostics, and the third Sephiroth Binah (the female Jehovah of the Kabalists), are feminine principles—“Divine Spirit,” or Ruach. “Achath Ruach Elohim Chiim.” “One is She, the Spirit of the Elohim of Life,” is said in “Sepher Yezirah.”

37. There are several remarkable cycles that come to a close at the end of this century. First, the 5,000 years of the Kaliyug cycle; again the Messianic cycle of the Samaritan (also Kabalistic) Jews of the man connected with Pisces (Ichthys or “Fish-man” Dag). It is a cycle, historic and not very long, but very occult, lasting about 2,155 solar years, but having a true significance only when computed by lunar months. It occurred 2410 and 255 B.C., or when the equinox entered into the sign of the Ram, and again into that of Pisces. When it enters, in a few years, the sign of Aquarius, psychologists will have some extra work to do, and the psychic idiosyncrasies of humanity will enter on a great change.

38. The earliest Christian author, Justin Martyr, calls, in his first Apology, his co-religionists Chrestians, χρηστιανοι—not Christians.

39. “Clemens Alexandrinus, in the second century, founds a serious argument on this paranomasia (lib. iii., cap. xvii., p. 53 et circa), that all who believed in Chrest (i.e., “a good man”) both are, and are called Chrestians, that is, good men,” (Strommata, lib. ii. “Higgins’ Anacalypsis.”) And Lactantius (lib. iv., cap. vii.) says that it is only through ignorance that people call themselves Christians, instead of Chrestians: qui proper ignorantium errorem cum immutata litera Chrestum solent dicere.”

40. In England alone, there are over 239 various sects. (See Whitaker’s Almanac.) In 1883, there were 186 denominations only, and now they steadily increase with every year, an additional 53 sects having sprung up in only four years!

41. It is but fair to St. Paul to remark that this contradiction is surely due to later tampering with his Epistles. Paul was a Gnostic himself, i.e., A “Son of Wisdom,” and an Initiate into the true mysteries of Christos, though he may have thundered (or was made to appear to do so) against some Gnostic sects, of which, in his day, there were many. But his Christos was not Jesus of Nazareth, nor any living man, as shown so ably in Mr. Gerald Massey’s lecture, “Paul, the Gnostic Opponent of Peter.” He was an Initiate, a true “Master-Builder” or adept, as described in “Isis Unveiled,” Vol II., pp. 90-91.

42. ὁσοντε ὲκ τοῦ κατηγορουμένου ἡμῶν ὀνομάτος χρησότατοι ὑπάρχομεν (First Apology).

43. The extraordinary amount of information collated by that able Egyptologist shows that he has thoroughly mastered the secret of the production of the New Testament. Mr. Massey knows the difference between the spiritual, divine and purely metaphysical Christos, and the made-up “lay figure” of the carnalized Jesus. He knows also that the Christian canon, especially the Gospels, Acts and Epistles, are made up of fragments of gnostic wisdom, the ground-work of which is pre-Christian and built on the MYSTERIES of Initiation. It is the mode of theological presentation and the interpolated passages—such as in Mark xvi. from verse 9 to the end—which make of the Gospels a “magazine of (wicked) falsehoods,” and throw a slur on Christos. But the Occultist who discerns between the two currents (the true gnostic and the pseudo Christian) knows that the passages free from theological tampering belong to archaic wisdom, and so does Mr. Gerald Massey, though his views differ from ours.

44. “The key to the recovery of the language, so far as the writer’s efforts have been concerned, was found in the use, strange to say, of the discovered integral ratio in numbers of diameter to circumference of a circle,” by a geometrician. “This ratio is 6,561 for diameter and 20,612 for circumference.” (Cabalistic MSS.) In one of the future numbers of “Lucifer” more details will be given, with the permission of the discoverer.—Ed.

45. Cory’s Anc. Frag., p. 59, f. So do Sanchoniaton and Hesiod, who both ascribe the vivifying of mankind to the spilt blood of the gods. But blood and soul are one (nephesh), and the blood of the gods means here the informing soul.

46. The existence of these seven keys is virtually admitted, owing to deep research in the Egyptological lore, by Mr. G. Massey again. While opposing the teachings of “Esoteric Buddhism”—unfortunately misunderstood by him in almost every respect—in his Lecture on “The Seven Souls of Man,” he writes (p. 21):—

“This system of thought, this mode of representation, this septenary of powers, in various aspects, had been established in Egypt, at least, seven thousand years ago, as we learn from certain allusions to Atum (the god ‘in whom the fatherhood was individualised as the begetter of an eternal soul,’ the seventh principle of the Theosophists,)Theosophists,) found in the inscriptions lately discovered at Sakkarah. I say in various aspects, because the gnosis of the Mysteries was, at least, sevenfold in its nature—it was Elemental, Biological, Elementary (human), Stellar, Lunar, Solar and Spiritual—and nothing short of a grasp of the whole system can possibly enable us to discriminate the various parts, distinguish one from the other, and determinate the which and the what, as we try to follow the symbolical Seven through their several phases of character.”

47. “Gnostic and Historic Christianity.”

48. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John iii. 4.) Here the birth from above, the spiritual birth, is meant, achieved at the supreme and last initiation.

49. Or Life-origination, Life-fusion, Life-division, Life-renewal and Life-transmissionLife-transmission.

50. “Mistaking” is an erroneous term to use. The men of science know but too well that what they teach concerning life is a materialistic fiction contradicted at every step by logic and fact. In this particular question science is abused, and made to serve personal hobbies and a determined policy of crushing in humanity every spiritual aspiration and thought. “Pretending to mistake” would be more correct.—H. P. B.

51. This is what the Theosophists call “living the life”—in a nut-shell.—H. P. B.

52. “The Blood-Covenant, a Primitive Rite, and its bearings on Scripture.” By H. Clay Trumbull, D.D. London: Redway.

53. The Theosophists are reminded that the “seven souls” are what we call the “seven principles” in man. “Blood” is the principle of the Body, the lowest in our septenary, as the highest is “Atma,” which may well be symbolized by the Sun; Atma being the light and life in man, as the physical sun is the light and life of our solar system.—Ed.

54. The arcane doctrine teaches that the “blood” rites are as old as the Third-Root race, being established in their final form by the Fourth Parent race in commemoration of the separation of androgynous mankind, their forefathers, into males and females. Mr. G. Massey is a strict scholar, who holds only to that which is made evident to him, and ignores the Occultistic division of mankind into Races, and the fact that we are in our Fifth-Root race, and would, of course, refuse to carry mankind back into pre-Tertiary times. Yet his researches and the fruit of his life-labour, corroborate, by their numberless new facts revealed by him, most wonderfullywonderfully, the teachings of the “Secret Doctrines.” (Ed.)

55. A. E. Waite. Published by G. Redway.

56. NINETEENTH CENTURY SENSE: The Paradox of Spiritualism. By John Darby. J. B. Lippincott, Philadelphia, and 10, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London.

57. And no doubt also the Anglo-Indians to spoil the King of Burmah of his?

241

LUCIFER

Vol. I.     LONDON, DECEMBER 15TH, 1887.     No. 4.

“LUCIFER” TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY,
GREETING!

My Lord Primate of all England,—

We make use of an open letter to your Grace as a vehicle to convey to you, and through you, to the clergy, to their flocks, and to Christians generally—who regard us as the enemies of Christ—a brief statement of the position which Theosophy occupies in regard to Christianity, as we believe that the time for making that statement has arrived.

Your Grace is no doubt aware that Theosophy is not a religion, but a philosophy at once religious and scientific; and that the chief work, so far, of the Theosophical Society has been to revive in each religion its own animating spirit, by encouraging and helping enquiry into the true significance of its doctrines and observances. Theosophists know that the deeper one penetrates into the meaning of the dogmas and ceremonies of all religions, the greater becomes their apparent underlying similarity, until finally a perception of their fundamental unity is reached. This common ground is no other than Theosophy—the Secret Doctrine of the ages; which, diluted and disguised to suit the capacity of the multitude, and the requirements of the time, has formed the living kernel of all religions. The Theosophical Society has branches respectively composed of Buddhists, Hindoos, Mahomedans, Parsees, Christians, and Freethinkers, who work together as brethren on the common ground of Theosophy; and it is precisely because Theosophy is not a religion, nor can for the multitude supply the place of a religion, that the success of the Society has been so great, not merely as regards its growing membership and extending influence, but also in respect to the performance of the work it has undertaken—the revival of spirituality in religion, and the cultivation of the sentiment of BROTHERHOOD among men.

We Theosophists believe that a religion is a natural incident in the 242life of man in his present stage of development; and that although, in rare cases, individuals may be born without the religious sentiment, a community must have a religion, that is to say, a uniting bond—under penalty of social decay and material annihilation. We believe that no religious doctrine can be more than an attempt to picture to our present limited understandings, in the terms of our terrestrial experiences, great cosmical and spiritual truths, which in our normal state of consciousness we vaguely sense, rather than actually perceive and comprehend; and a revelation, if it is to reveal anything, must necessarily conform to the same earth-bound requirements of the human intellect. In our estimation, therefore, no religion can be absolutely true, and none can be absolutely false. A religion is true in proportion as it supplies the spiritual, moral and intellectual needs of the time, and helps the development of mankind in these respects. It is false in proportion as it hinders that development, and offends the spiritual, moral and intellectual portion of man’s nature. And the transcendentally spiritual ideas of the ruling powers of the Universe entertained by an Oriental sage would be as false a religion for the African savage as the grovelling fetishism of the latter would be for the sage, although both views must necessarily be true in degree, for both represent the highest ideas attainable by the respective individuals of the same cosmico-spiritual facts, which can never be known in their reality by man while he remains but man.

Theosophists, therefore, are respecters of all the religions, and for the religious ethics of Jesus they have profound admiration. It could not be otherwise, for these teachings which have come down to us are the same as those of Theosophy. So far, therefore, as modern Christianity makes good its claim to be the practical religion taught by Jesus, Theosophists are with it heart and hand. So far as it goes contrary to those ethics, pure and simple, Theosophists are its opponents. Any Christian can, if he will, compare the Sermon on the Mount with the dogmas of his church, and the spirit that breathes in it, with the principles that animate this Christian civilisation and govern his own life; and then he will be able to judge for himself how far the religion of Jesus enters into his Christianity, and how far, therefore, he and Theosophists are agreed. But professing Christians, especially the clergy, shrink from making this comparison. Like merchants who fear to find themselves bankrupt, they seem to dread the discovery of a discrepancy in their accounts which could not be made good by placing material assets as a set-off to spiritual liabilities. The comparison between the teachings of Jesus and the doctrines of the churches has, however, frequently been made—and often with great learning and critical acumen—both by those who would abolish Christianity and those who would reform it; and the aggregate result of these comparisons, as your Grace must be well aware, goes to prove that in almost every point the doctrines of the churches and the practices of Christians are in direct opposition to the teachings of Jesus.

243We are accustomed to say to the Buddhist, the Mahomedan, the Hindoo, or the Parsee: “The road to Theosophy lies, for you, through your own religion.” We say this because those creeds possess a deeply philosophical and esoteric meaning, explanatory of the allegories under which they are presented to the people; but we cannot say the same thing to Christians. The successors of the Apostles never recorded the secret doctrine of Jesus—the “mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven”—which it was given to them (his apostles) alone to know.[58] These have been suppressed, made away with, destroyed. What have come down upon the stream of time are the maxims, the parables, the allegories and the fables which Jesus expressly intended for the spiritually deaf and blind to be revealed later to the world, and which modern Christianity either takes all literally, or interprets according to the fancies of the Fathers of the secular church. In both cases they are like cut flowers: they are severed from the plant on which they grew, and from the root whence that plant drew its life. Were we, therefore, to encourage Christians, as we do the votaries of other creeds, to study their own religion for themselves, the consequence would be, not a knowledge of the meaning of its mysteries, but either the revival of mediæval superstition and intolerance, accompanied by a formidable outbreak of mere lip-prayer and preaching—such as resulted in the formation of the 239 Protestant sects of England alone—or else a great increase of scepticism, for Christianity has no esoteric foundation known to those who profess it. For even you, my Lord Primate of England, must be painfully aware that you know absolutely no more of those “mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven” which Jesus taught his disciples, than does the humblest and most illiterate member of your church.

It is easily understood, therefore, that Theosophists have nothing to say against the policy of the Roman Catholic Church in forbidding, or of the Protestant churches in discouraging, any such private enquiry into the meaning of the “Christian” dogmas as would correspond to the esoteric study of other religions. With their present ideas and knowledge, professing Christians are not prepared to undertake a critical examination of their faith, with a promise of good results. Its inevitable effect would be to paralyze rather than stimulate their dormant religious sentiments; for biblical criticism and comparative mythology have proved conclusively—to those, at least, who have no vested interests, spiritual or temporal, in the maintenance of orthodoxy—that the Christian religion, as it now exists, is composed of the husks of Judaism, the shreds of paganism, and the ill-digested remains of gnosticism and neo-platonism. This curious conglomerate which gradually formed itself round the recorded sayings (λογια) of Jesus, has, after the lapse of ages, now begun to disintegrate, and to crumble away from the pure and precious gems of Theosophic truth which it has so long overlain 244and hidden, but could neither disfigure nor destroy. Theosophy not only rescues these precious gems from the fate that threatens the rubbish in which they have been so long embedded, but saves that rubbish itself from utter condemnation; for it shows that the result of biblical criticism is far from being the ultimate analysis of Christianity, as each of the pieces which compose the curious mosaics of the Churches once belonged to a religion which had an esoteric meaning. It is only when these pieces are restored to the places they originally occupied that their hidden significance can be perceived, and the real meaning of the dogmas of Christianity understood. To do all this, however, requires a knowledge of the Secret Doctrine as it exists in the esoteric foundation of other religions; and this knowledge is not in the hands of the Clergy, for the Church has hidden, and since lost, the keys.

Your Grace will now understand why it is that the Theosophical Society has taken for one of its three “objects” the study of those Eastern religions and philosophies, which shed such a flood of light upon the inner meaning of Christianity; and you will, we hope, also perceive that in so doing, we are acting not as the enemies, but as the friends of the religion taught by Jesus—of true Christianity, in fact. For it is only through the study of those religions and philosophies that Christians can ever arrive at an understanding of their own beliefs, or see the hidden meaning of the parables and allegories which the Nazarene told to the spiritual cripples of Judea, and by taking which, either as matters of fact or as matters of fancy, the Churches have brought the teachings themselves into ridicule and contempt, and Christianity into serious danger of complete collapse, undermined as it is by historical criticism and mythological research, besides being broken by the sledge-hammer of modern science.

Ought Theosophists themselves, then, to be regarded by Christians as their enemies, because they believe that orthodox Christianity is, on the whole, opposed to the religion of Jesus; and because they have the courage to tell the Churches that they are traitors to the Master they profess to revere and serve? Far from it, indeed. Theosophists know that the same spirit that animated the words of Jesus lies latent in the hearts of Christians, as it does naturally in all men’s hearts. Their fundamental tenet is the Brotherhood of Man, the ultimate realisation of which is alone made possible by that which was known long before the days of Jesus as “the Christ spirit.” This spirit is even now potentially present in all men, and it will be developed into activity when human beings are no longer prevented from understanding, appreciating and sympathising with one another by the barriers of strife and hatred erected by priests and princes. We know that Christians in their lives frequently rise above the level of their Christianity. All Churches contain many noble, self-sacrificing, and virtuous men and women, eager to do good in their generation according to their lights and opportunities, 245and full of aspirations to higher things than those of earth—followers of Jesus in spite of their Christianity. For such as these, Theosophists feel the deepest sympathy; for only a Theosophist, or else a person of your Grace’s delicate sensibility and great theological learning, can justly appreciate the tremendous difficulties with which the tender plant of natural piety has to contend, as it forces its root into the uncongenial soil of our Christian civilization, and tries to blossom in the cold and arid atmosphere of theology. How hard, for instance, must it not be to “love” such a God as that depicted in a well-known passage by Herbert Spencer:

“The cruelty of a Fijian God, who, represented as devouring the souls of the dead, may be supposed to inflict torture during the process, is small, compared to the cruelty of a God who condemns men to tortures which are eternal.... The visiting on Adam’s descendants through hundreds of generations, of dreadful penalties for a small transgression which they did not commit, the damning of all men who do not avail themselves of an alleged mode of obtaining forgiveness, which most men have never heard of, and the effecting of reconciliation by sacrificing a son who was perfectly innocent, to satisfy the assumed necessity for a propitiatory victim, are modes of action which, ascribed to a human ruler, would call forth expressions of abhorrence.”

(“Religion: a Retrospect and a Prospect.”)

Your Grace will say, no doubt, that Jesus never taught the worship of such a god as that. Even so say we Theosophists. Yet that is the very god whose worship is officially conducted in Canterbury Cathedral, by you, my Lord Primate of England; and your Grace will surely agree with us that there must indeed be a divine spark of religious intuition in the hearts of men, that enables them to resist so well as they do, the deadly action of such poisonous theology.

If your Grace, from your high pinnacle, will cast your eyes around, you will behold a Christian civilisation in which a frantic and merciless battle of man against man is not only the distinguishing feature, but the acknowledged principle. It is an accepted scientific and economic axiom to-day, that all progress is achieved through the struggle for existence and the survival of the fittest; and the fittest to survive in this Christian civilization are not those who are possessed of the qualities that are recognised by the morality of every age to be the best—not the generous, the pious, the noble-hearted, the forgiving, the humble, the truthful, the honest, and the kind—but those who are strongest in selfishness, in craft, in hypocrisy, in brute force, in false pretence, in unscrupulousness, in cruelty, and in avarice. The spiritual and the altruistic are “the weak,” whom the “laws” that govern the universe give as food to the egoistic and material—“the strong.” That “might is right” is the only legitimate conclusion, the last word of the 19th century ethics, for, as the world has become one huge battlefield, on which “the fittest” descend like vultures to tear out the eyes and the hearts of those who have fallen 246in the fight. Does religion put a stop to the battle? Do the churches drive away the vultures, or comfort the wounded and the dying? Religion does not weigh a feather in the world at large to-day, when worldly advantage and selfish pleasures are put in the other scale; and the churches are powerless to revivify the religious sentiment among men, because their ideas, their knowledge, their methods, and their arguments are those of the Dark Ages. My Lord Primate, your Christianity is five hundred years behind the times.

So long as men disputed whether this god or that god was the true one, or whether the soul went to this place or that one after death, you, the clergy, understood the question, and had arguments at hand to influence opinion—by syllogism or torture, as the case might require; but now it is the existence of any such being as God, at all, or of any kind of immortal spirit, that is questioned or denied. Science invents new theories of the Universe which contemptuously ignore the existence of any god; moralists establish theories of ethics and social life in which the non-existence of a future life is taken for granted; in physics, in psychology, in law, in medicine, the one thing needful in order to entitle any teacher to a hearing is that no reference whatever should be contained in his ideas either to a Providence, or to a soul. The world is being rapidly brought to the conviction that god is a mythical conception, which has no foundation in fact, or place in Nature; and that the immortal part of man is the silly dream of ignorant savages, perpetuated by the lies and tricks of priests, who reap a harvest by cultivating the fears of men that their mythical God will torture their imaginary souls to all eternity, in a fabulous Hell. In the face of all these things the clergy stand in this age dumb and powerless. The only answer which the Church knew how to make to such “objections” as these, were the rack and the faggot; and she cannot use that system of logic now.

It is plain that if the God and the soul taught by the churches be imaginary entities, then the Christian salvation and damnation are mere delusions of the mind, produced by the hypnotic process of assertion and suggestion on a magnificent scale, acting cumulatively on generations of mild “hysteriacs.” What answer have you to such a theory of the Christian religion, except a repetition of assertions and suggestions? What ways have you of bringing men back to their old beliefs but by reviving their old habits? “Build more churches, say more prayers, establish more missions, and your faith in damnation and salvation will be revived, and a renewed belief in God and the soul will be the necessary result.” That is the policy of the churches, and their only answer to agnosticism and materialism. But your Grace must know that to meet the attacks of modern science and criticism with such weapons as assertion and habit, is like going forth against magazine guns, armed with boomerangs and leather shields. While, however, the progress of ideas and the increase of knowledge are undermining the popular theology, every 247discovery of science, every new conception of European advanced thought, brings the 19th century mind nearer to the ideas of the Divine and the Spiritual, known to all esoteric religions and to Theosophy.

The Church claims that Christianity is the only true religion, and this claim involves two distinct propositions, namely, that Christianity is true religion, and that there is no true religion except Christianity. It never seems to strike Christians that God and Spirit could possibly exist in any other form than that under which they are presented in the doctrines of their church. The savage calls the missionary an Atheist, because he does not carry an idol in his trunk; and the missionary, in his turn, calls everyone an Atheist who does not carry about a fetish in his mind; and neither savage nor Christian ever seem to suspect that there may be a higher idea than their own of the great hidden power that governs the Universe, to which the name of “God” is much more applicable. It is doubtful whether the churches take more pains to prove Christianity “true,” or to prove that any other kind of religion is necessarily “false;” and the evil consequences of this, their teaching, are terrible. When people discard dogma they fancy that they have discarded the religious sentiment also, and they conclude that religion is a superfluity in human life—a rendering to the clouds of things that belong to earth, a waste of energy which could be more profitably expended in the struggle for existence. The materialism of this age is, therefore, the direct consequence of the Christian doctrine that there is no ruling power in the Universe, and no immortal Spirit in man except those made known in Christian dogmas. The Atheist, my Lord Primate, is the bastard son of the Church.

But this is not all. The churches have never taught men any other or higher reason why they should be just and kind and true than the hope of reward and the fear of punishment, and when they let go their belief in Divine caprice and Divine injustice the foundations of their morality are sapped. They have not even natural morality to consciously fall back upon, for Christianity has taught them to regard it as worthless on account of the natural depravity of man. Therefore self-interest becomes the only motive for conduct, and the fear of being found out, the only deterrent from vice. And so, with regard to morality as well as to God and the soul, Christianity pushes men off the path that leads to knowledge, and precipitates them into the abyss of incredulity, pessimism and vice. The last place where men would now look for help from the evils and miseries of life is the Church, because they know that the building of churches and the repeating of litanies influence neither the powers of Nature nor the councils of nations; because they instinctively feel that when the churches accepted the principle of expediency they lost their power to move the hearts of men, and can now only act on the external plane, as the supporters of the policeman and the politician.

248The function of religion is to comfort and encourage humanity in its life-long struggle with sin and sorrow. This it can do only by presenting mankind with noble ideals of a happier existence after death, and of a worthier life on earth, to be won in both cases by conscious effort. What the world now wants is a Church that will tell it of Deity, or the immortal principle in man, which will be at least on a level with the ideas and knowledge of the times. Dogmatic Christianity is not suited for a world that reasons and thinks, and only those who can throw themselves into a mediæval state of mind, can appreciate a Church whose religious (as distinguished from its social and political) function is to keep God in good humour while the laity are doing what they believe he does not approve; to pray for changes of weather; and occasionally, to thank the Almighty for helping to slaughter the enemy. It is not “medicine men,” but spiritual guides that the world looks for to-day—a “clergy” that will give it ideals as suited to the intellect of this century, as the Christian Heaven and Hell, God and the Devil, were to the ages of dark ignorance and superstition. Do, or can, the Christian clergy fulfil this requirement? The misery, the crime, the vice, the selfishness, the brutality, the lack of self-respect and self-control, that mark our modern civilization, unite their voices in one tremendous cry, and answer—NO!

What is the meaning of the reaction against materialism, the signs of which fill the air to-day? It means that the world has become mortally sick of the dogmatism, the arrogance, the self-sufficiency, and the spiritual blindness of modern science—of that same Modern Science which men but yesterday hailed as their deliverer from religious bigotry and Christian superstition, but which, like the Devil of the monkish legends, requires, as the price of its services, the sacrifice of man’s immortal soul. And meanwhile, what are the Churches doing? The Churches are sleeping the sweet sleep of endowments, of social and political influence, while the world, the flesh, and the devil, are appropriating their watchwords, their miracles, their arguments, and their blind faith. The Spiritualists—oh! Churches of Christ—have stolen the fire from your altars to illumine their séance rooms; the Salvationists have taken your sacramental wine, and make themselves spiritually drunk in the streets; the Infidel has stolen the weapons with which you vanquished him once, and triumphantly tells you that “What you advance, has been frequently said before.” Had ever clergy so splendid an opportunity? The grapes in the vineyard are ripe, needing only the right labourers to gather them. Were you to give to the world some proof, on the level of the present intellectual standard of probability, that Deity—the immortal Spirit in man—have a real existence as facts in Nature, would not men hail you as their saviour from pessimism and despair, from the maddening and brutalizing thought that there is no other destiny for man but an eternal blank, after a few short years of bitter toil and sorrow?—aye; 249as their saviours from the panic-stricken fight for material enjoyment and worldly advancement, which is the direct consequence of believing this mortal life to be the be-all and end-all of existence?

But the Churches have neither the knowledge nor the faith needed to save the world, and perhaps your Church, my Lord Primate, least of all, with the mill-stone of £8,000,000 a year hung round its neck. In vain you try to lighten the ship by casting overboard the ballast of doctrines which your forefathers deemed vital to Christianity. What more can your Church do now, than run before the gale with bare poles, while the clergy feebly endeavour to putty up the gaping leaks with the “revised version,” and by their social and political deadweight try to prevent the ship from capsizing, and its cargo of dogmas and endowments from going to the bottom?

Who built Canterbury Cathedral, my Lord Primate? Who invented and gave life to the great ecclesiastical organisation which makes an Archbishop of Canterbury possible? Who laid the foundation of the vast system of religious taxation which gives you £15,000 a year and a palace? Who instituted the forms and ceremonies, the prayers and litanies, which, slightly altered and stripped of art and ornament, make the liturgy of the Church of England? Who wrested from the people the proud titles of “reverend divine” and “Man of God” which the clergy of your Church so confidently assume? Who, indeed, but the Church of Rome! We speak in no spirit of enmity. Theosophy has seen the rise and fall of many faiths, and will be present at the birth and death of many more. We know that the lives of religions are subject to law. Whether you inherited legitimately from the Church of Rome, or obtained by violence, we leave you to settle with your enemies and with your conscience; for our mental attitude towards your Church is determined by its intrinsic worthiness. We know that if it be unable to fulfil the true spiritual function of a religion, it will surely be swept away, even though the fault lie rather in its hereditary tendencies, or in its environments, than in itself.

The Church of England, to use a homely simile, is like a train running by the momentum it acquired before steam was shut off. When it left the main track, it got upon a siding that leads nowhere. The train has nearly come to a standstill, and many of the passengers have left it for other conveyances. Those that remain are for the most part aware that they have been depending all along upon what little steam was left in the boiler when the fires of Rome were withdrawn from under it. They suspect that they may be only playing at train now; but the engineer keeps blowing his whistle and the guard goes round to examine the tickets, and the breaksmen rattle their breaks, and it is not such bad fun after all. For the carriages are warm and comfortable and the day is cold, and so long as they are tipped all the company’s servants are very obliging. But those who know where they want to go, are not so contented.

250For several centuries the Church of England has performed the difficult feat of blowing hot and cold in two directions at once—saying to the Roman Catholics “Reason!” and to the Sceptics “Believe!” It was by adjusting the force of its two-faced blowing, that it has managed to keep itself so long from falling off the fence. But now the fence itself is giving way. Disendowment and disestablishment are in the air. And what does your Church urge in its own behalf? Its usefulness. It is useful to have a number of educated, moral, unworldly men, scattered all over the country, who prevent the world from utterly forgetting the name of religion, and who act as centres of benevolent work. But the question now is no longer one of repeating prayers, and giving alms to the poor, as it was five hundred years ago. The people have come of age, and have taken their thinking and the direction of their social, private and even spiritual affairs into their own hands, for they have found out that their clergy know no more about “things of Heaven” than they do themselves.

But the Church of England, it is said, has become so liberal that all ought to support it. Truly, one can go to an excellent imitation of the mass, or sit under a virtual Unitarian, and still be within its fold. This beautiful tolerance, however, only means that the Church has found it necessary to make itself an open common, where every one can put up his own booth, and give his special performance if he will only join in the defence of the endowments. Tolerance and liberality are contrary to the laws of the existence of any church that believes in divine damnation, and their appearance in the Church of England is not a sign of renewed life, but of approaching disintegration. No less deceptive is the energy evinced by the Church in the building of churches. If this were a measure of religion what a pious age this would be! Never was dogma so well housed before, though human beings may have to sleep by thousands in the streets, and to literally starve in the shadow of our majestic cathedrals, built in the name of Him who had not where to lay His head. But did Jesus tell you, your Grace, that religion lay not in the hearts of men, but in temples made with hands? You cannot convert your piety into stone and use it in your lives; and history shows that petrifaction of the religious sentiment is as deadly a disease as ossification of the heart. Were churches, however, multiplied a hundred fold, and were every clergyman to become a centre of philanthropy, it would only be substituting the work that the poor require from their fellow men but not from their spiritual teachers, for that which they ask and cannot obtain. It would but bring into greater relief the spiritual barrenness of the doctrines of the Church.

The time is approaching when the clergy will be called upon to render an account of their stewardship. Are you prepared, my Lord Primate, to explain to YOUR MASTER why you have given His children stones, when they cried to you for bread? You smile in your 251fancied security. The servants have kept high carnival so long in the inner chambers of the Lord’s house, that they think He will surely never return. But He told you He would come as a thief in the night; and lo! He is coming already in the hearts of men. He is coming to take possession of His Father’s kingdom there, where alone His kingdom is. But you know Him not! Were the Churches themselves not carried away in the flood of negation and materialism which has engulfed Society, they would recognise the quickly growing germ of the Christ-spirit in the hearts of thousands, whom they now brand as infidels and madmen. They would recognise there the same spirit of love, of self-sacrifice, of immense pity for the ignorance, the folly, and the sufferings of the world, which appeared in its purity in the heart of Jesus, as it had appeared in the hearts of other Holy Reformers in other ages; and which is the light of all true religion, and the lamp by which the Theosophists of all times have endeavoured to guide their steps along the narrow path that leads to salvation—the path which is trodden by every incarnation of Christos or the Spirit of Truth.

And now, my Lord Primate, we have very respectfully laid before you the principal points of difference and disagreement between Theosophy and the Christian Churches, and told you of the oneness of Theosophy and the teachings of Jesus. You have heard our profession of faith, and learned the grievances and plaints which we lay at the door of dogmatic Christianity. We, a handful of humble individuals, possessed of neither riches nor worldly influence, but strong in our knowledge, have united in the hope of doing the work which you say that your Master has allotted to you, but which is so sadly neglected by that wealthy and domineering colossus—the Christian Church. Will you call this presumption, we wonder? Will you, in this land of free opinion, free speech, and free effort, venture to accord us no other recognition than the usual anathema, which the Church keeps in store for the reformer? Or may we hope that the bitter lessons of experience, which that policy has afforded the Churches in the past, will have altered the hearts and cleared the understandings of her rulers; and that the coming year, 1888, will witness the stretching out to us of the hand of Christians in fellowship and goodwill? This would only be a just recognition that the comparatively small body called the Theosophical Society is no pioneer of the Anti-Christ, no brood of the Evil one, but the practical helper, perchance the saviour, of Christianity, and that it is only endeavouring to do the work that Jesus, like Buddha, and the other “sons of God” who preceded him, has commanded all his followers to undertake, but which the Churches, having become dogmatic, are entirely unable to accomplish.

And now, if your Grace can prove that we do injustice to the Church of which you are the Head, or to popular Theology, we promise to acknowledge our error publicly. But—“Silence gives Consent.

252

“EMERSON AND OCCULTISM.”

“’Tis thus at the roaring Loom of Time I ply,
And weave for God the garment thou seest Him by.”
Erd. Geist, Faust.

The sunset, to the boor a mere mass of evening vapours, presaging rain for his fields or heat for his harvest, expands for the poet, standing beside him and beholding the self-same firmament, into a splendid picture, rich in crimson and purple, in golden light and gleaming colour, mingled in harmonious purity.

Whence so great a difference?

The poet has finer eyes; and within the mere material forms perceives a subtle essence, which flows everywhere through nature, adding to all it touches a new wealth of joy and power. The poet’s eyes have opened to a new reality; he no longer values things for themselves; but in proportion as they contain this quality, they become dear to him.

But beyond the poet, there is yet a third rank. The poet, it is true, rejoices in nature, and perceives its beauty and symbolic character. But he rests in the beauty of the symbol, and does not pass to the reality symbolised. Rapt in adoration of the beauty of the garment, he does not pierce through to Him who wears the garment. This remains for the philosopher—the sage. Yet the boor has his place in Nature. He has tilled and subdued the soil, has brought its latent powers into action; in command of nature, he is far in advance of the mere nomad savage, for whom nature is a maze of uncertain and unconquered forces.

The savage, the boor, the poet; these types have their parallels in mental life.

When the crude conceptions of nature, which mark dawning civilisation, give place to those fair and truer, because more harmonious, views which bear the name of Science; when the principle of Continuity, the reign of Universal Law, have displaced the first notions of Chance and Discord, the work of the physical scientist is done; he must stand aside, and make way for the philosopher, the transcendentalist. Modern Science has replaced the crudities of mediæval theology by the idea of an orderly universe permeated by Law, binding alike the galaxy and the atom, as the tillage of the farmer has replaced the nomadism of the savage.

But within the world of the boor nestles the poet’s world, and within the world of the physical scientist lies an ethereal, spiritual universe, with its own powers, its own prophets. The great trilogy of friends at the beginning of this century, who rose like three mountain peaks above 253their contemporaries, Goethe, Carlyle, and Emerson, were chosen by Destiny as prophets of this nature within nature.

Their gleanings have been rich enough to tempt many to enter the same field, though they have no more exhausted its wealth than Homer and Shakespeare have exhausted poetry.

The new world they have explored, is the land of hope of the future, for which we must leave the impoverished soil of theology, and the arid deserts of materialism.

What these three masters taught, Occultism teaches; and we propose to show them as great natural masters in the mystic knowledge.

To do this with any completeness in the space at our disposal is necessarily impossible; for the present, we must content ourselves with shewing from the writings of one of the masters, Emerson, that he recognised some of the chief laws announced by Occultism.

The first truth to be insisted on, concerning this nature within nature, the spiritual universe, is that it exists for its own ends, and not as an adjunct to the material world; in other words, the end of morals is to make archangels rather than good citizens.

Spirit is the reality; matter, the secondary; or, as Goethe says, the Garment of God.

No occultist could insist on the subordinate character of matter more vehemently than Emerson—he writes:

“Nature is a mutable cloud, which is always and never the same. Through the bruteness and toughness of matter, a subtle spirit bends all things to its own will. The world proceeds from the same spirit as the body of man. It is a remoter and inferior incarnation of God, a projection of God into the unconscious.”

The Occultist sees in this world of spirit the home of that true joy of which all earthly happiness is the shadow, and whispered intimation. There all ideals find their realization, all highest hopes their fulfilment; there flow abundant fountains of celestial bliss, whose least presence makes earthly things radiant.

Of spirit, Emerson writes:

“But when following the invisible steps of thought, we come to enquire, Whence is matter? and where to? Many truths arise to us out of the recesses of consciousness. We learn that the highest is present to the soul of man, that the dread universal essence which is not wisdom, or love, or beauty, or power; but all in one, and each entirely, is that for which all things exist, and that by which they are; that spirit creates; that behind nature, throughout nature spirit is present. As a plant upon the earth, so a man rests upon the bosom of God; he is nourished by unfailing fountains, and draws, at his need, inexhaustible power.”

But to obtain a footing in this world of essential being, is to be emancipated from the domination of Time and Space, to enter a universe where they do not exist; for Space and Time are no realities, but, as Carlyle says, the “deepest of all illusory appearances.” Emancipation from Space and Time; how much more this implies than is at first sight 254apparent. The first fruit of this freedom is a feeling of eternalness, the real basis of the doctrine of immortality. It is an attainable reality, this sense of eternalness; let the sceptic and materialist say what they will.

Of this truth, also, we may bring Emerson as witness. He writes:

“To truth, justice, love, the attributes of the soul, the idea of immutableness is essentially associated. In the flowing of love, in the adoration of humility, there is no question of continuance.”

Once recognise the truth that we can gain a footing in a world free from the tyranny of time, that the soul exists in such a world, and a new philosophy is at once required. Freedom from Time implies the eternity of the soul, and the facts of life and death take a new position and significance. If the soul be eternal, death must be an illusion, a garment in which Nature wraps some hidden law.

In the following words of Emerson, on this subject:

“It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die, but only retire a little from sight, and afterwards return again. Whatever does not concern us, is concealed from us. As soon as a person is no longer related to our present well-being, he is concealed or dies, as we say. When the man has exhausted for the time the nourishment to be drawn from any one person or thing, that object is withdrawn from his observation, and though still in his immediate neighbourhood, he does not suspect its presence. Nothing is dead; men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals and mournful obituaries, and there they stand looking out of the window, sound and well, in some new disguise. Jesus is not dead; he is very well alive; nor John, nor Paul, nor Mahomet, nor Aristotle.”

we have an accurate exposition of the occult doctrine of Reincarnation—the progressive discipline of the soul through many lives—which has been parodied in the popular fable of metemphsychosis.

The true occult doctrine does not picture a series of bodies in each of which the soul makes a temporary sojourn. In this, as in all else, it begins with spirit and then descends to matter. It depicts that vital energy which we call a soul, alternately exuding from itself and re-absorbing into its own nature an environment or physical encasement, whose character varies with the increasing stature of the soul. According to the teaching of occultism, the successive formations of this objective shell—whose purpose is to provide for the development of the animal nature—alternate with periods of subjective life, which give expansion to the powers of the soul.

As corollary to this doctrine, occultism postulates a second—that the incidents of each objective environment or physical life—are not fortuitous and isolated, but that they are bound to all that precede and follow them, and moreover that “the future is not arbitrarily formed by any separate acts of the present, but that the whole future is in unbroken continuity with the present, as the present is with the past.”

To the various developments of this law, eastern philosophy has given the name of Karma; the west has as yet no name for it. But though 255unnamed, its leading ideas have not been unperceived by those western minds which have penetrated into the world of supernature.

Thus we find Emerson writing:

“Every secret is told, every crime is punished, every virtue rewarded, every wrong redressed, in silence and certainty. Crime and punishment grow on one stem; punishment is a fruit that unsuspected ripens within the flower of pleasure which concealed it. You cannot do wrong without suffering wrong. The thief steals from himself; the swindler swindles himself. Everything in nature, even motes and feathers, goes by law and not by luck. What a man sows, he reaps.

The picture of an orderly universe, where matter is the garment of spirit—spirit visualised—where souls march onward in orderly procession to boundless perfection; where the life of each permeates and flows through the life of all; where the wrong of each is turned to the benefit of all by the firm hand of an invisible and ever active law, incessantly disciplining and correcting, till the last dross of self and sin is purged away, and instead of man there remains God only, working through the powers that were man’s; such is the conception Occultism holds.

“I know not,” says Emerson—

“I know not whether there be, as is alleged, in the upper region of our atmosphere a permanent westerly current, which carries with it all atoms which rise to that height, but I see that when souls reach a certain clearness of perfection, they accept a knowledge and motive above selfishness. A breath of Will blows eternally through the universe of souls in the direction of the Right and Necessary. It is the air which all intellects inhale and exhale, and it is the wind which blows the world into order and orbit.

“Let us build altars to the Beautiful Necessity which rudely or softly educates men to the perception that there are no contingencies, that Law rules through existence, a Law which is not intelligent but intelligence, not personal nor impersonal—it disdains words, and passes understanding; it dissolves persons; it vivifies nature, yet solicits the pure in heart to draw on its all, its omnipotence.”

Discipline always and everywhere throughout the universe; to discipline, development, all other facts are subordinate; for their sake, all laws are enunciated, all spiritual facts are insisted on; all truths which tend not to the melioration of human life—if any such there be—are worthless. Discipline, development. What development does Occultism predict for man? Man’s future destiny, in the view of Occultism, is so stupendous, that we prefer merely to erect a finger-post pointing out the direction of the path, using the words of Emerson:

“The youth puts off the illusions of the child, the man puts off the ignorance and tumultuous passions of the youth; proceeding thence, puts off the egotism of manhood, and becomes at last a public and universal soul. He is rising to greater height, but also to realities; the outer relations and circumstances dying out, he is entering deeper into God, God into him, until the last garment of egotism falls, and he is with God, shares the will and the immensity of the First Cause.”

From first to last, Occultism has preached no doctrine more emphatically than the necessity of dependence on the intuitions, and 256the reality of interior illumination. “Seek out the way by making the profound obeisance of the soul to the dim star that burns within; within you is the light of the world,” writes the Occultist.

And this doctrine is repeated again and again in the writings of the philosopher we have been quoting from. He writes:

“A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmamentfirmament of bards and sages. From within or from behind, a light shines through us upon things, and makes us aware that we are nothing, but that the light is all. The consciousness in each man is a sliding scale, which identifies him now with the First Cause, and now with the flesh of his body; life above life, in infinite degrees. There is for each a Best Counsel, which enjoins the fit word and the fit act for every moment. There is no bar or wall in the soul where man, the effect, ceases, and God, the cause, begins. The walls are taken away, we lie open on one side to the deeps of spiritual nature, to the attributes of God. The simplest person who, in his integrity, worships God, becomes God; yet for ever and ever the influx of this better and universal self is new and unsearchable.”

The life of one is the life of all. The good of one re-acts on all. The walls by which selfishness conceives itself enclosed and isolated, are unreal, have no existence. Spirit is fluid and all-pervading; its beneficent power flows unchecked from soul to soul, energising, harmonising, purifying. To resist all discordant tendencies which check this salutary flow, this all-permeating love, is to come under the reign of Universal Brotherhood; and to the honour of Occultism be it said, that Universal Brotherhood is blazoned highest on its standard.

“Thus,” writes Emerson—

—“Are we put in training for a love which knows not sex nor person, nor partiality, but which seeks virtue and wisdom everywhere. One day all men will be lovers, and every calamity will be dissolved in universal sunshine. An acceptance of the sentiment of love throughout Christendom for a season would bring the felon and the outcast to our side in tears, with the devotion of his faculties to our service.”

But to the axiom “Kill out the sense of separateness” Occultism adds another, “Yet stand alone.” Before the lesson of life can be learnt, the soul must in some sort detach itself from its environment, and view all things impersonally, in solitude and stillness. There is an oracle in the lonely recess of the soul to which all things must be brought for trial. Here all laws are tested, all appearances weighed.

About this truth always hangs a certain solemnity, and Emerson has given it a fitting expression in the following words:

“The soul gives itself alone, original, and pure, to the Lonely, Original, and Pure, who, on that condition, gladly inhabits, leads, and speaks through it. Then it is glad, young, and nimble. Behold, it saith, I am born into the great, the universal mind. I, the imperfect, adore my own Perfect. I am somehow receptive of the great soul, and thereby I do overlook the sun and the stars, and feel them to be the fair accidents and effects which change and pass. More and more the surges of everlasting nature enter into me, and I become public and human in my regards and actions. So I come to live in thoughts, and act with energies, which are immortal.”

257The last words of this sentence lead us to the occult idea of Mahatma-hood, which conceives a perfected soul as “living in thoughts, and acting with energies which are immortal.”

The Mahatma is a soul of higher rank in the realms of life, conceived to drink in the wealth of spiritual power closer to the fountain-head, and to distil its essence into the interior of receptive souls.

In harmony with this idea, Emerson writes:

“Truth is the summit of being; justice is the application of it to affairs. All individual natures stand in a scale, according to the purity of this element in them. The will of the pure runs down from them into other natures, as water runs down from a higher into a lower vessel; this natural force is no more to be withstood than any other natural force. A healthy soul stands united with the Just and the True, as the magnet arranges itself with the pole, so that he stands to all beholders like a transparent object betwixt them and the sun, and whoso journeys towards the sun, journeys towards that person.”

Occultism conceives the outer world and all its accidents to be so many veils, shrouding the splendour of essential nature, and tempering the fiery purity of spirit to the imperfect powers of the understanding soul. This illusory power Occultism considers to be the “active will of God,” a means to the ends of eternal spirit.

In the view of Occultism, life is a drama of thinly veiled souls; as Shakespeare writes:

“We are such stuff
As dreams are made of, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep!”

We shall conclude with two passages from Emerson’s essays, on the subject of illusions:

“Do you see that kitten chasing so prettily her own tail? If you could look with her eyes, you might see her surrounded with hundreds of figures performing complex dramas, with tragic and comic issues, long conversations, many characters, many ups and downs of fate; and meantime it is only puss and her tail. How long before our masquerade will end its noise of tambourines, laughter, and shouting, and we shall find it was a solitary performance?”

We must supplement this rather playful passage with one in a higher strain:

“There is no chance, and no anarchy, in the universe. All is system and gradation. Every god is there sitting in his sphere. The young mortal enters the hall of the firmament; there is he alone with them alone, they pouring on him benedictions and gifts, and beckoning him up to their thrones. On an instant, and incessantly, fall snowstorms and illusions. He fancies himself in a vast crowd which sways this way and that, and whose movement and doings he must obey: he fancies himself poor, orphaned, insignificant. The mad crowd drives hither and thither, now furiously commanding this thing to be done, now that. What is he that he should resist their will, and think or act for himself? Every moment new changes and new showers of deceptions to baffle and distract him. And when, by-and-bye, for an instant, the air clears, and the cloud lifts a little, there are the gods still sitting around him on their thrones—they alone with him alone.”

Charles Johnston, F.T.S.
258

THE BLOSSOM AND THE FRUIT:

THE TRUE STORY OF A MAGICIAN.
(Continued.)

By Mabel Collins,
Scribe of “The Idyll of the White Lotus,” and “Through the Gates of Gold.”

[Some of the readers of Lucifer have taken great exception to the love passages between Fleta and Hilary, saying that they are not up to the standard of Theosophic thought, and are out of place in the magazine. The author can only beg that time may be given for the story to develope. None of us that is born dies without experiencing human passion; it is the base on which an edifice must rise at last, after many incarnations have purified it; “it is the blossom which has in it the fruit.” Hilary is still only a man, he has not yet learned to the full the lesson of human life and human passion. Fleta promises him all that he can take and that plainly is only what she can give—the deep love of the disciple. But she cannot instantly free his eyes from the illusions caused by his own passionate heart; till he has suffered and conquered, he cannot recognise her for what she is, the pledged servant of a great master, of necessity more white-souled than any nun need be.

Another strange criticism is made, condemning portions of the story as though expressive of the author’s feelings and sentiments; whereas they are simply descriptive of the states through which Hilary is passing. They no more express the author’s feelings than do those later parts which refer to the ordeals of Fleta, the accepted disciple, express the author’s feelings. The two characters of the struggling aspirant and the advanced disciple, are studies from life. The stumbling-block of human passion which stands in Hilary’s way, is the same which lost Zanoni his high estate; in the coming chapters of “The Blossom and the Fruit,” we shall see Fleta flung back from the high estate she aims at, by this same stumbling-block, in an idealised and subtle form. She has not yet learned the bitter truth that the Occultist must stand absolutely alone, without even companionship of thought, or sympathy of feeling, at the times of the Initiations and the trials which precede them.—M. C.]


CHAPTER VI.—(Continued.)

Hilary found himself in a room which no longer permitted him to regret his own rooms at home, for it was more luxurious. A great bath stood ready filled with perfumed water, and he hastened to bathe himself therein, with a sort of idea that he was perhaps suffering from hallucinations, some of which he might wash away. His scanty luggage had been brought into the room, and when the bath was over Hilary got out a velvet suit which he thought would do well for evening-dress in this palace of surprises. He was but just ready when a knock came at his door, and without further ceremony, Mark opened it and looked in.

259“Come,” he said, “we don’t wait for anybody here. The cook won’t stand it. He is a very holy father indeed, and nobody dare say him nay, unless it were the Princess herself. She always does as she likes. Are you ready?”

“Quite,” replied Hilary.

Opening out of the entrance was a great oak door, double, and very richly carved. This had been shut when Hilary passed through before; now it stood open, and Mark led the way through it. They entered an immense room, of which the floor was polished so that it shone like a mirror. Two figures were standing in the midst of this room, dressed alike in clouds of white lace; they were the two Fletas, as to Hilary’s eyes they still seemed.

His heart was torn as he gazed on them, waiting for a glance of love, a gleam of love-light, to tell him which was his own, his Fleta, his princess, the Fleta whom he served. There was none; they had been talking together very earnestly and both looked sad and a little weary.

As Hilary’s eyes wandered from one face to the other his mind grew confused. And then suddenly a flash of bewitchingly beautiful laughter came on one of the faces; and immediately he decided that must be Adine. And yet, had he not seen just such laughter flash across Fleta’s face? But all this passed in a moment, and no more time was given him for thought. A table stood at one end of the hall, set as a king’s table might be; covered with the finest linen, edged with deep lace, and with gold dishes of fruit upon it; it was decorated with lovely flowers. Hilary opened his eyes a little even in the midst of his other much greater perplexities, to see this luxury here in the midst of the forest. And was it prepared in honour of Fleta, who ate a crust of dry bread in an ale-house with perfect cheerfulness, or rather, indifference? Fleta took her place at the end of the table; at least, one sister did so, and the other took her place beside Hilary—he could not yet determine which was which, and his whole soul was absorbed in the attempted solution of that problem. Mark sat at the other end of the table, evidently prepared to do such labours of carving as might be necessary. Two places were set at the other side of the table, but no one came to fill them. A very elaborate dinner was served, and a very good one; and Hilary thought he was satisfied now that it was Adine who sat next him, for she showed herself an unmistakable little gourmand. He had just come to this conclusion when his attention was distracted by the great doors being thrown open again for two persons to enter. Everyone rose, even Fleta, who advanced with a smile to meet these new comers. Hilary rose also and turned from the table. Two men stood there; one a man but little older than himself, and of extremely fine appearance. Little more than a boy, yet he had a dignity which made him something much more, and Hilary felt immediately a kind of jealousy, undefined, vague, 260but still jealousy. For Fleta had put both her hands into those of this handsome young man and greeted him with great warmth. At his side stood a small shrivelled old man, in the same dress that Father Amyot always wore. This circumstance again made Hilary wonder what had become of Father Amyot; but he concluded Adine’s account had been the correct one.

There was something familiar in the face of the young man, so Hilary thought; while he was thinking this, Fleta turned and introduced them to each other.

He was the young king to whom Fleta was betrothed.

This is a history of those things which lie behind the scenes, not a history of that which is known to all the world. We will give this young King the name of Alan. Let those who like fix upon his kingdom and assign to him his true name.

He sat down opposite Hilary; and the old priest took his place beside him. Hilary returned to his chair, feeling that all strength, and hope, and power, and life had gone from him. By a fierce and terrible revulsion of his whole nature and all his recent feelings, he returned to his cynical estimate of mankind and most of all of Fleta. She had brought him to this place simply to taunt and harass him and show him his madness and folly in aspiring to her love in the face of such a rival. It cut Hilary’s heart like a knife to find the young King so magnificent a creature. And Fleta, why had she come here to meet him? Why had she brought her unhappy lover with her? Hilary tore himself with doubts, and fears, and questions; and sat silent, not even noticing the plates that were placed before him and taken away untouched. The others talked and laughed gaily, Alan being apparently possessed of a hundred things to say. Hilary did not hear what they were, but it annoyed him to find his rival speaking so much in that rich, musical voice of his, while he himself sat dumb, silenced by a bitter pain that tore his heart.

“You are sad,” said a soft voice at his side, “it is hard, if you love Fleta, to see her monopolised by some one else. How often have I had to suffer it? Well, it must be so, I suppose. Why am I sorry for you. I wonder? For if Alan were not here you would monopolise Fleta, and have no eyes for anyone else. Ah me!”

The sigh was very tender, the voice very low and soft; and that voice was Fleta’s voice, those lovely eyes uplifted to his were Fleta’s eyes.eyes. Yes, it was so! He thought as he looked back. Did he not know Fleta well enough by now?

“Ah, you are playing with me,” he exclaimed eagerly, “it is Fleta now, not Adine! Is it not so? Oh, my love, my love, be honest and tell me!”

He spoke like this under cover of the others’ voices, but Fleta looked round alarmed.

261“Hush!” she said, “take care. Your life would be lost if you revealed our secret here. After dinner is over, come with me.”

This appointment made Hilary happy again; his heart leaped up, his pulses throbbed; all the world changed. He found some fruit was before him, he began to eat it, and to drink the wine in his glass. Fleta was watching him.

“You have just begun to dine!” said Fleta with a soft laugh. “Well, never mind; you are young and strong. Do you think you could live through a great many hardships?”

Hilary made the lover’s answer, which is so evident that it need not be recorded. He did not know how he said it, but he desired to tell her that for her he would endure anything. She laughed again.

“It may be so!” she said thoughtfully; and then he caught her eyes fixed upon him with a searching glance that for an instant seemed to turn the blood cold in his veins. His terrible thoughts and doubts of her returned again the more fiercely for their momentary repulsion. He emptied his glass, but eateat nothing more, and was very glad when they all rose from the table together, a few moments later. He followed the figure of the girl who had sat next him since Alan’s entrance, believing that Fleta had then changed her place. She went across the great room and led the way into a greenhouse which opened out of it. A very wonderful greenhouse it was, full of the strangest plants. They were extremely beautiful, and yet in some way they inspired in him a great repugnance. They were of many colours, and the blossoms were variously shaped, but evidently they were all of one species.

“These are very precious,” said Fleta, looking at the flowers near her tenderly. “I obtain a rare and valuable substance from them. You have seen me use it,” she added, after a moment’s pause. Hilary longed to leave the greenhouse and sit elsewhere; but that was so evidently not Fleta’s wish that he could not suggest it. There were seats here and there among the flowers, and she placed herself upon one of them, motioning Hilary to sit beside her.

“Now,” she said, “I am going to tell you a great many things which you have earned the right to know. To begin with, you are now in a monastery, belonging to the most rigid of the religious orders.”

“Are you a Catholic?” asked Hilary suddenly. And then laughed at himself for such a question. How could Fleta be catalogued like this? He knew her to be a creature whose thought could not be limited.

“No,” she answered simply. “I am not a Catholic. But I belong to this order. I fear such an answer will be so unintelligible as to be like an impertinence. Forgive me, Hilary.”

Ah, what a tone she spoke in, gentle, sweet—the voice of the woman he loved. Hilary lost all control over himself. He sprang to his feet and stood before her.

“I do not want to know your religion,” he exclaimed passionately, “I 262do not want to know where we are, or why we are here. I ask you only this—Are you indeed my love given to me, as you said this morning?—or is your love given to the king, and are you only laughing at me. It is enough to make me think so, to bring me here to meet him! Oh, it is a cruel insult, a cruel mockery! For, Fleta, you have made me love you with all my heart and soul. My whole life is yours. Be honest and tell me the truth.”

“You have a powerful rival,” said Fleta deliberately. “Is he not handsome, courtly, all that a king should be? And I am pledged to him. Yes, Hilary, I am pledged to him. Would you have the woman you love live a lie for your sake, and hourly betray the man she marries?”

“I would have her give me her love,” said Hilary despairingly, “at all costs, at all hazards. Oh, Fleta, do not keep me in agony. You said this morning that you loved me, that you would give yourself to me. Are you going to take those words back?”

“No,” said Fleta, “I am not. For I do love you, Hilary. Did I not see you first in my sleep? Did I not dream of you? Did I not come to your house in search of you? Unwomanly, was it not? No one but Fleta would have done it. And Fleta would only have done it for love. You do not know what she risked—what she risks now—for you! Oh, Hilary, if you could guess what I have at stake. Never mind. None can know my own danger but myself.”

“Escape from it!” said Hilary in a sort of madness. A passionate desire to help her came over him and swept all reasonable thoughts away. “You are so powerful, so free, there is no need for you to encounter danger. Does it lie in these people, in this strange place? Come back then to the city, to your home. What is there to induce you to run risks, you that have all that the world can offer? Is there anything you need that you cannot have?”

“Yes,” said Fleta, “there is. I need something which no power of royalty can give me. I need something which I may have to sacrifice my life to obtain. Yet I am ready to sacrifice it—oh, how ready! What is my life to me! What is my life to me! Nothing!”

She had risen and was impatiently walking to and fro, moving her hands with a strange eager gesture as she did so; and her eyes were all aflame. This was the woman he loved. This, who said her life was nothing to her. Hilary forgot all else that was strange in her words and manner in the thought of this. Could she then return his love—no, it was impossible, if she meant these strange and terrible words that she uttered!

“Ah, this it is that keeps me back,” she said, before he had time to speak. Her voice had altered, and her face had grown pale, so pale that he forgot everything else in watching her.

“This it is that keeps me from my strength, this longing for it!” And 263with a heavy sigh she moved back to her seat and fell into it with a weariness he had never seen in her before. Her head drooped on her breast, she fell into profound thought. Presently she spoke again, disjointedly, and in such words as seemed unintelligible.

“I have always been too impatient, too eager,” she said sadly, “I have always tried to take what I longed for without waiting to earn it. So it was long ago, Hilary, when you and I stood beneath those blossoming trees, long ages ago. I broke the peace that kept us strong and simple. I caused the torment of pain and peril to arise in our lives. We have to live it out—alas, Hilary, we have to live it out!—and live beyond it. How long will it take us—how long will it take!”

There was a despair, an agony in her voice and manner, that were so new, he was bewildered, he hardly recognised her. Her moods changed so strangely that he could not follow them, for he had not the key; he could not read her thought. He sat dumb, looking in her sad drawn face.

“My love, my love,” he murmured at last, hardly knowing that he spoke, hardly knowing what his thought was that he spoke, only full of longing. “Would that I could help you! Would that I understood you!”

“Do you indeed wish to?” asked Fleta, her voice melting into a sort of tender eagerness.

“Do you not know it?” exclaimed Hilary. “My soul is burning to meet yours and to recognise it, to stand with you and help you. Why are you so far off, so like a star, so removed and unintelligible to me, who love you so! Oh, help me to change this, to come nearer to you!”

Fleta rose slowly, her eyes fixed upon his face.

“Come,” she said. And she held out her hand to him. He put his into it, and together, hand in hand, they left the conservatory. They did not enter the great dining hall, where now there was music and dancing as Hilary could see and hear. They left the house of the strange flowers by a different doorway, which admitted them to a long dim corridor. Fleta opened the door by a key that was attached to a chain hanging from her waist; and she closed it behind her. Hilary asked no questions, for she seemed buried in thought so profound that he did not care to rouse her.

At the end of the corridor was a small and very low doorway. Fleta stooped and knocked, and without waiting for any answer pushed the door open.open.

“May I come in, Master?” she said.

“Come, child,” was the answer, in a very gentle voice.

“I am bringing some one with me.”

“Come,” was repeated.

They entered. The room was small, and was dimly lit by a shaded lamp. Beside the table, on which this stood, sat a man, reading. He 264put a large book which he had been holding, on to the table, and turned towards his visitors. Hilary saw before him the handsomest man he had ever seen in his life. He was still young, though Hilary felt himself to be a boy beside him; he rose from his chair and stood before them very tall and very slight, and yet there was that in his build which suggested great strength. He looked attentively at Hilary for a moment, and then turned to Fleta.

“Leave him here.” Fleta bowed and immediately went out of the room without another word. Hilary gazed upon her in amazement. Was this the proud, imperious princess who yielded such instant and ready obedience? It seemed incredible. But he forgot the extraordinary sight immediately afterwards in the interest excited by his new companion, who at once addressed him:

“The Princess has often spoken to me of you,” he said, “and I know she has much wished that this moment should arrive. She will be satisfied if she thinks you appreciate with your inner senses the step you are about to take if you accord with her wishes. But I think it right you should know it in every aspect as far as that is possible. If you really desire to know Fleta, to approach her, to understand her, you must give up all that men ordinarily value in the world.”

“I have it not to surrender,” said Hilary rather bitterly, “my life is nothing splendid.”

“No, but you are only at the beginning of it. To you the future is full of promise. If you desire to be the Princess Fleta’s companion, your life is no longer your own.”

“No—it is hers—and it is hers now!”

“Not so. It is not hers now, nor will it be hers then. Not even your love does she claim for her own. She has nothing.”

“I don’t understand,” said Hilary simply. “She is the Princess of this country; she will soon be the Queen of another. She has all that the world has to give a woman.”

“Do you not know the woman you love better than to suppose that she cares for her position in the world?” demanded this man whom Fleta called her master. “At a word from me, at any hour, at any time she will leave her throne and never return to it. That she will do this certainly some day I know very well; and her sister will take her place, the world being no wiser than it now is. Fleta looks forward to this change eagerly.”

“Well, perhaps,” admitted Hilary.

“Neither has she your love nor your life as her own. In loving her you love the Great Order to which she belongs, and she will gladly give your love to its right owner. She has done this already in bringing you to me.”

Hilary started to his feet, stung beyond endurance.

“This is mere nonsense, mere insult,” he said angrily, “Fleta has accepted my love with her own lips.”

265“That is so,” was the answer, “and she is betrothed to King Alan.”

“I know that,” said Hilary in a low voice.

“And what did you hold Fleta to be then? A mere pleasure seeker, playing with life like the rest, devoid of honour and principle? Was this your estimate of the woman you loved? What else indeed could it be, when you said, let her give her hand to King Alan while you know her love is yours! And you could love such a woman! Hilary Estanol, you have been reared in a different school than this. Does not your own conscience shame you?”

Hilary stood silent. Every word struck home. He knew not what to say. He had been wilfully blinding himself; the bandages were rudely drawn aside. After a long pause he spoke, hesitatingly:

“The Princess cannot be judged as other women would be; she is unlike all others.”

“Not so, if she is what you seem to think her; then she is just like the rest, one of the common herd.”

“How can you speak of her in that way?”

“How can you think of her as you do, dishonouring her by your thoughts?”

The two stood opposite each other now, and their eyes met. A strange light seemed to struggle into Hilary’s soul as these bitter words rang sharply on his ear. Dishonouring her? Was it possible? He staggered back and leaned against the wall, still gazing on the magnificent face before him.

“Who are you?” he said at last.

“I am Father Ivan, the superior of the order to which the Princess Fleta belongs,” was the reply. But another voice spoke when his ceased, and Hilary saw that Fleta had entered, and was standing behind him.

“And he is the master of knowledge, the master in life, the master in thought, of whom the Princess Fleta is but a poor and impatient disciple. Master, forgive me! I cannot endure to hear you speak as if you were a monk, the mere tool of a religion, the mere professor of a miserable creed.”

She sank on her knees before Father Ivan, in an attitude strangely full of humility. The priest bent down and lifted her to her feet. They stood a moment in silence, side by side, Fleta’s eyes upon his face devouring his expression with a passionate and adoring eagerness.eagerness. How splendid they looked! Suddenly Hilary saw it, and a wild, fierce, all-devouring flame of jealousy awoke in his heart—a jealousy such as King Alan, no, nor a hundred King Alans, could not have roused in him.

For he saw that this Ivan, who wore a priest’s dress, yet was evidently no priest, who spoke as if this world had no longer any meaning for him, yet who was magnificent in his personal presence and power—he saw 266that this man was Fleta’s equal. And more, he saw that Fleta’s whole face melted and softened, and grew strangely sweet, as she looked on him. Never had Hilary seen it like that. Never had Hilary dreamed it could look like that. Stumbling like a blind man he felt for the door, which he knew was near, and escaped from the room—how he knew not. Hurriedly he went on, through places he did not see, and at last found himself in the open air. He went with great strides away through the tall ferns and undergrowth until he found himself in so quiet a spot that it appeared as if he were alone in the great forest. Then he flung himself upon the ground and yielded to an agony of despair which blotted out sky and trees and everything from his gaze, like a great cloud covering the earth.

(To be continued.)

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TWILIGHT.

I sit alone in the twilight,
Dreaming—but not as of old;
Blind to the flickering fire-light,
Mystic visions my spirit enfold.
What means this struggle within me,
This new hope of a far-off goal?
This fighting against superstition,
That would fetter my awakening soul?
Why cannot I pray as I once did,
For self before all the world?
Whence came the flash of lightning
That self from its pedestal hurled?
But what if I’m struggling blindly,
What if this new hope is vain,
Can I go back to my old faith?
A voice whispers—“Never again.”
So I will press forward—believing
Hands unseen will guide to the goal,
And tho’ dim yet the light on my pathway,
Nirväna breathes peace to my soul.
K. D. K.
267

THE SPIRIT OF HEALING.

It is somewhat difficult to say what real or theosophical work is when exactly defined, and, in consequence, it becomes very easy to speak of an effort as untheosophical—that is not sufficiently unselfish in motive. The fact is that the word Theosophy has such a very wide meaning, embracing, as it does, the true spirit of all creeds and religions, and confining itself to none in particular, that no work done in the spirit of truth and wisdom is really untheosophical. Hence, unless the speaker is possessed of more knowledge than ordinary men concerning the causes which underlie our actions, the application of the word untheosophical is incorrect. In fact, if it is once granted that it is possible to work from an impersonal standpoint in favour of a particular creed or religion, that work becomes theosophical in character. Thus it is only work (in the widest sense of the word and on all planes) from the personal standpoint, and which, therefore, militates against Universal Brotherhood, which can really be described as untheosophical. But this by no means presupposes that work which has outwardly the appearance of theosophical genuineness is not really selfish. It is, of course, the old story of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. We do but need one example—the truly-called profession of Medicine. We constantly hear of the wonderful self-sacrifice of medical men; of men who die at their posts rather than desert a possible case in times of epidemic and cholera; of men who suck tracheotomy tubes with almost certain death by diphtheria staring them in the face; finally we hear, though but seldom, of the honest, earnest devotion of a lifetime in places and districts where the fees are so small that it is barely possible for the doctor to live on his earnings. These are the heroes of the profession. Their work, for the most part, consists of an unselfish devotion to the alleviation of suffering, culminating in a final sacrifice of their personal selves—for death is nothing less than this. But we must turn to the less favourable side of the picture—the struggle not for a living, but for wealth, and work, fired by ambition and the search for fame. Of course, apart from the personal, selfish element in it, the ambitious struggle in other professions than those of the Church or Medicine is of no great or unnatural harm; but in these two cases it is more than harmful, it is a degrading betrayal of trust. It is Simonism with a vengeance; yes, kind friends, it approaches very nearly to the case of Judas, who held the bag, and betrayed his Master with a kiss. It may be asked why this sweeping denunciation is made of the two noblest professions; of those two which, considered from the ethical standpoint, consist of devotion to the service of man? The reason 268is not very far to seek. The power which true healers possess—healers alike of body and soul, is not one which can be sold for money or bartered for wealth and fame. At least, if the possibility does exist, it bears a suspicious resemblance to the old idea of selling one’s soul to the devil in exchange for power and prosperity. It may be replied to this that there is no harm in bartering knowledge of drugs, of pathology, diagnosis of disease, surgical skill, etc.—in short, all the knowledge acquired by education—for money. I answer No! for it is material given for material, and nothing more. But these are not the sole properties of the true healer, and those who do not possess these other properties I speak of are not healers, and while they may profess medicine[59] and may be in it, are yet not of it.

As regards the Church and its professors of religion, the case is even worse; they have no material products of education to barter, and for the most part are contented with telling their flock to “do as I bid you, and not as I do.” But among them there are noble examples of unswerving unselfishness and devotion, although for the most part those who enter the Church are too young to understand fully the nature of their high calling. Unfortunately the call in too many cases is not a call to minister and heal souls, but to make a living and heal the souls in the process. But again, it may be asked, what are these wonderful powers which constitute the true healer, and which are not to be bought or sold? The first one which occurs naturally to the mind is the power of sympathy. The old joke in Punch about “the good bedside manner” has a considerable substratum of truth when divested of its unpleasing folly. The substratum of that manner is that which is given by sympathy; and this is one of the first elements which constitute the power of healing. It gives the power of suffering with the patient and therefore of understanding what the sufferer is enduring. It is beyond diagnosis, although it assists it by being much surer—at least, as to the reality of the suffering. But this power of sympathy only expresses a part of the meaning of the power to heal. Sympathy tends to annihilate the personal distinctions between the healer and the sufferer; it tends to exalt the consciousness of the healer not only to know the remedy for the disease, but to be himself the power of cure, and also it is a vast occult power in virtue of which all the “elder brethren” of the Universal Brotherhood live their lives; in virtue of which the world’s great enlighteners have not only lived their lives but lived their death, in order that they might benefit the sufferers who despised and rejected them. But this power of sympathy and the kindred powers which constitute the true healer, are really secret powers and secret remedies. Therefore they are openly tabooed by the medical profession, although the said professors cannot avoid using them. But secret remedies are to some degree justly avoided. For it is but 269natural to regard secret remedies with suspicion. At best their use seems like working in the dark and blindly, and, consequently, any results obtained must be empirical. Again, the medical profession seems to plume and feather itself upon possessing a slight leaven of its ideal condition, and, by constituting itself into a kind of trades’ union, declines as a body to have anything to do with any remedy of which the composition is not made fully known. This, at least, is the more charitable view, for, on the other hand, the doctors know only too well how eagerly the public rushes after any new “quack” medicine, and seeks to cure itself without calling in their aid. The doctors reply to this that they will have nothing to do with a medicine whose composition is a secret, and which is therefore devoted, to a great extent, to replenishing the purse of its discoverer, and not to the cure of diseases from a love of man and a hatred of suffering. This is a very high-sounding idea, and a noble one, when it is not what the Americans would call only “high-falutin.” But even when a remedy is made public property, it is not necessarily pro bono publico; in fact, as a rule, it serves only the good of the dispensing chemist. He sees the prescription and notes it, the public does not; and, as a rule, the chemist obtains the drugs cheaply, and compounds them at the same rate as this medicine was originally sold under the patent of its discoverer. Still, with all the dislike of the profession for secret remedies, there is no doubt at all that in the case of the heads of the profession some of the best results are obtained by the use of prescriptions, which practically constitute a secret formula. The especial combination which the particular man has discovered to be of use is his property, and his only until he writes a book, for the various chemists who make it up, and the various patients who drink it, are not to the full aware of its value and use. The difference between this and quack medicine lies merely in the peculiar names and large advertisements, but very often these are balanced by the fame of the particular surgeon or physician. But, in all honour to physicians and surgeons, who do in many cases have and show a large-hearted sympathy for suffering, it must be remembered that many of the greatest and busiest of them give hours of their valuable time to those who are too poor to pay in any other form than that of grateful thanks. There are, again, others who disregard all the rules which govern trades’ union society, and boldly take their stand upon Christ’s dictum, that “the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.” In other words, they say that any medicine which they personally find valuable in the alleviation of pain and disease must be used even at the risk of themselves being called “unprofessional.” Again, others will use these so-called secret remedies, and say nothing about it, preferring to pin their faith to the wittily termed eleventh commandment, “Thou shalt not be found out.” At this point it is possible to draw a parallel between the use of the terms “untheosophical” and “unprofessional.” It would seem that both are used 270in very much the same trades’ union sense. In the case of the word “unprofessional,” it is to be regretted that it is due very largely to a lack of charity and of the spirit of enquiry. In the case of the word “untheosophical” it is often used in consequence of a lack of charity, and further in the spirit of scandal and gossip. Unless a man or woman is a theosophist pure and simple, who carries out in their entirety, the objects of the Theosophical Society, the use of the word untheosophical betrays them to be untheosophical and to fail in carrying out those objects which they have promised to further to the best of their power.

In the light of the foregoing it is now possible to examine the manner in which Count Mattei’s remedies have been received. The Count himself is a member of a noble family of Bologna, he has travelled much, but returned there in 1847, and took part in the movement which led to the liberation of Italy. In early life he much wished to study medicine, but was prevented from doing so by his father’s wish. Still his desire for knowledge was not quenched, and he attempted to follow the bent of his own mind. He rightly concluded that the instincts of the lower animals would lead them to search for herbs and plants which would cure their ailments, and that careful observation of these instincts might disclose medicines of the greatest value to human sufferers. Thus he adopted the habit of taking walks in the company of a number of dogs which were suffering from various diseases, and carefully watched their proceedings. Gradually the new pharmacopœia assumed shape, and the instinct of the dogs showed that particular diseases were met by particular remedies. These observations were made more than sixty years ago, and were not forgotten amid the occupations of a busy life. Indeed, when those occupations became less, Count Mattei returned with ardour to his earlier studies. He became a deputy in the Roman Parliament, but retired into private life after finding that his political views were not those of the men by whom he was surrounded. After this retirement the Count devoted himself to the study of medicine, in order that he might fit himself to apply certain principles which he believed he had discovered to be valuable for sick and suffering humanity. By his own account and the testimony of his patients he was not deceived, and the present remedies which bear his name are the result of twenty-five years’ unceasing labour and experiment. He rapidly acquired an enormous practice, and during the early years of it his advice and his medicines were entirely gratis. But an unfortunate combination of circumstances, as well as the expense entailed by the preparation of the remedies, rendered it necessary for the Count to demand some small remuneration for his services. Then he learned that his bounty was abused, and that certain doctors, who had asked and obtained the remedies from him, departed from Bologna and retailed the remedies at extravagantly exorbitant prices. To such an extent was this carried that there exist authentic cases where a thaler was demanded for a single globule, and for the 271globules (20-30) necessary to give a bath, 1,000 francs were asked in New York. Some idea of the extortion may be given when Count Mattei refers to the thaler price as being 1,350 times the price at Bologna. This would be enough to justify any amount of secrecy on Count Mattei’s part, more especially as that secrecy entirely prevents the adulteration of the medicines which would inevitably follow, were they to become commercial property.

We have only too familiar an example in the ranks of the medical profession. Many of his confrères have been appealed to for the support of a physician, named Warburg. At this date it seems hardly possible to believe that this gentleman was the happy discoverer of Warburg’s Fever Tincture. Perhaps in this country the value of the compound was not so highly appreciated as in India. But it is impossible to open any treatise on either surgery or medicine which is about twenty years old and not find the use of Warburg’s tincture specially urged in all cases of high fever, and especially in cases of malarial fever and pyæmia. The compound had an enormous sale, and yielded a very substantial income to its discoverer, but as soon as he yielded to the pressure of professional opinion, and consented to publish his formula so that it might obtain an extended use, he obtained the reward of such philanthropy. Every chemist now prepares the prescription and sells it at very nearly the original price, and what is more, never refunds a fraction of a farthing in the shape of a royalty to the discoverer. Consequently, we have before us the edifying spectacle of the learned discoverer compelled to exist on the charity of his professional confrères. Count Mattei has, at all events, protected himself against this, for although he states that in the event of his death he has provided against the loss of his secret to the world, and intends to leave it carefully as a legacy to suffering humanity, there is not the slightest doubt that he alone is the possessor of his own secret. That it is possible to obtain wealth from using this system is very evident. Certain among the chief of his followers are in the habit of visiting London at intervals, and the number of those who consult them is really wonderful. I am assured by an eye-witness that the crowd is far beyond that which besieges the door of the most fashionable physician of the day. When one reads the literature of the subject, one becomes more and more astonished at its simplicity. All diseases resolve themselves into three main forms, and constitutions vary accordingly. There are sanguine and lymphatic constitutions, and the various combinations of these two; there are also febrile disturbances and diseases of the liver and spleen. Consequently there are three chief medicines, which are used in an extraordinary state of dilution. It is no use, here at least, to discuss the value of these infinitesimal doses, so that may be left for future discussion. To a professional mind the most extraordinary claim on Count Mattei’s part will be that of curing cancer by 272internal and external medicines, and wholly without the use of the knife. He claims positively to cure every case in which the cancer has not ulcerated, and to cure a large proportion even of those which have already done so. Even of those which have been neglected, and have remained long in the ulcerated state, he claims to restore a certain proportion (though not a large one) to health. Of course, to any man who has seen the difficulty which attends the early diagnosis of cancer, these claims are very high-sounding indeed—almost to absurdity. The difficulties which attend diagnosis, even almost to the time when the knife has been used, and the tissue submitted to the microscope, are very great. But in Count Mattei’s second division there is no such difficulty. It is then possible by certain indications, as well as by the use of the microscope, to be sure of the nature of the disease. Here Mattei steps in and claims that, by the use of one of his medicines, which exerts an electric influence on cancer, and by one of what he terms his vegetable electricities, he can restore the sufferer to health. Surely conservative surgery, if it be worthy of the name, will investigate such a claim. Of the vegetable electricities there is no doubt whatever. Cases of neuralgia and sciatica and articular rheumatic pain have been seen to yield to them as to magic; consequently, even in the last stages of cancer, when there is no refuge save the grave left to the sufferer, I have reason to believe Count Mattei, to some extent, when he claims to enable the said sufferer to sink gently away in full consciousness, and without the use of morphia.

To those who know anything of the occult uses and powers of plants, the fact that Count Mattei gathers his herbs at particular phases of the moon, will convey a good deal of meaning. Further, they will feel an additional assurance as to their value, and will no longer wonder, on one side at least, that Count Mattei chooses to keep his secret. It would seem probable to some extent that Count Mattei is one of the “elder brethren” of the race, although how far he is consciously so may be a matter for speculation, which could only be set at rest by Mattei himself and his compeers and superiors. What is definitely certain is that his system of medicine in its theories, if not in its practice, is a distinct step in advance in the healing art. Mattei is one of those pioneers of advance who spend the greater part of their lives in introducing for public use a secret of which they have become possessed. Mr. Keeley, of Philadelphia,[60] appears to be another of those pioneers who are in advance of their times. But Mr. Keeley, in his work, resembles Friar Bacon, who blessed (?) the world with gunpowder. No doubt civilization has been enormously extended by its aid; but however much use it may have been to man in adapting the face of nature to his service, it has at any rate subserved the gratification of his passions. Count Mattei appears 273to have none of these “defects of his qualities,” and to have endeavoured to bless the world without giving to it attendant curses. Still it is always possible that when his secret shall become known it will draw attention to plants which have just as destructive and poisonous an influence as the plants and herbs he uses have of healing power. At all events, at present his secret is of use to the world, and so far as may be seen he makes a just and “brotherly” use of it. Has enough been said above to show that the fact that his medicines are “secret” compounds should be no barrier to their use? What is still more important is that true theosophists should recognise that Count Mattei has done what they endeavour to do, and devoted his life to Real Work.

A. I. R.

THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY’S CONVENTION OF 1887.


Safely returned from my long tour of ten months, my first duty upon reaching home is to remind the Branches that the time approaches for the Annual Meeting of the Convention of the General Council—27th to 30th of December. It appears that the attendance this year will be much larger than ever before; some thinking that we shall register between 200 and 300 Delegates: besides the old, there will be some twenty new Branches entitled to representation and votes. The yearly extension of our Society is thus steadily augmenting the strength of the General Council, and the importance of its Annual Convention. As the Society settles gradually upon its constitutional basis, the volume of committee and parliamentary work lessens and more time becomes available for theosophical lectures, the formation of friendships, and the cultivation of a good mutual understanding as to the work before us.

The Adyar Library, to which considerable gifts of old MSS. and books have been made since last December, is already being put to use. The Dwaita Catechism was issued at the last Convention, and at this year’s the Vishistadvaita and Advaita Catechisms will be ready; as will also a compilation of Buddhistic Morals from the sacred literature of Ceylon. It is hoped that members of our many Branches will kindly bring forward as many ancient works upon every Department of Aryan knowledge as they can procure for this best of national monuments, the Adyar Library.

Every effort will be made to promote the comfort of Delegates, as heretofore. Lectures are being arranged for, but learned Mofussil members who are willing to read discourses upon special topics interesting to Delegates, are requested to at once correspond with the Secretary, and if the MSS. are ready, to send them in for approval.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

In conclusion let me assure our colleagues of all races, creeds and colors, that a hearty and brotherly welcome awaits them at their Theosophical home at Adyar.

Adyar, 17th October, 1887.
H. S. Olcott, p.t.s.
274

A REMARKABLE CHRISTMAS EVE.

It was a dark and solitary path, a narrow, hardly perceptible, footway in a dense forest, hemmed in by two walls of impenetrable thorns and wild creepers, covering, as with a net-work, the trunks of the tall, bare, moss-covered trees. The path led through the woods down to a deep valley in which a few country-houses were nestled. Night was fast approaching, and the hurricane, that blew across the country, boded evil to many a traveller, by land and sea. The wind, which had hitherto been only moaning through the trees, in low sad tones reminding one of a funereal dirge, was now beginning to roar with fury, filling the forest as with the howling of a hundred hungry wolves. Very soon a drizzling, ice-cold rain veiled the whole forest in a damp shroud of fog.

One solitary traveller was wearily wending his way along this deserted path. The hour was late, and the darkening shadows were creeping on steadily, making the gloom in the thicket still more depressing. The young man looked worn and tired, as he again and again brushed aside the entangled briars which impeded his progress forward. He was well-dressed, and wore a marine officer’s cap. But his coat was now in rags, torn by the hard, frozen, cruel thorns, and his hands were bleeding in the struggle he had had with the briars for a whole long night and a day since he had lost his way in the huge forest. Panting, he stopped at last; and, as he heaved a deep sigh, he fell down half-insensible at the foot of an old shaggy oak. Then, half-opening his weary eyes, he murmured in despair, as he placed his hand on his heart:—“I wonder how long this will yet beat.... I feel as if it were gradually stopping.”

He closed his eyes once more, and very soon the feeble palpitations he was watching within himself, turned his half-paralysed thought into a new groove of ideas. Now the hardly audible beatings of his heart seemed to transform themselves into the ticking of an old clock quite near to him. He imagined the old Nüremberg timepiece in his mother’s room. He was dripping wet, chilled to the marrow of his bones, and was fast losing consciousness. But, forgetting for one moment his situation, and where he was, he caught himself soliloquising as was his custom, when alone.

“This clock,” he thought, “has to be wound up ... else it will stop. So shall this heart. A man has to eat and drink to renew the fuel which feeds life, the clock too ... no; the clock is different to man. Let it rest for a week, for two, three months, even for a year.... Still, if wound up again, it will tick on as merrily as ever. But once the supply of the body is stopped—well, what then? Shall the working power cease for ever, or the ticking of the heart be resumed as that of the clock? No, 275no!... You may feed the dead body of man as much as you please! it shall awaken to life no more.... A queer problem to solve,—What becomes of that something which made the body move? The food is not the cause, is it?... No; the food is only the fuel.... There must be some inward fire ever burning, as long as it is supplied.... But when the supply of the fuel ceases? Ah!... that is it ... where does it go?... Does anything really die?... What form shall my inner fire take?... Shall it return to its primordial light ... and be no more?... Oh, how I suffer!... No, no; I must not allow this, my fire, to go out. No, not before I see once more my loved ones ... my mother and Alice....”

Arising with great effort he pursued his way with tottering steps, feeling his way in the darkness. But instantly a wild gust of wind, tearing along the narrow pathway, caused the great trees to sway and rock as if in very agony. Catching in its icy clasp the weakened form of the young man, the hurricane nearly upset him. Being already wet through and through with rain and cold, he shivered and groaned aloud, as he felt a sharp pain penetrating his limbs from the brain downwards. One more short struggle and he heavily fell on the cold hard ground. Clasping his hands over his brow, he could only whisper again: “Mother, I can do no more.... Farewell, mother, for ever! Alice—fare thee well!”...

His strength was gone. For over thirty hours he had tasted no food. He had travelled night and day in the hope of being with his family on Christmas Eve, that blessed day of joy and peace. Never yet had he spent a Christmas Eve away from home; but that year had been an unusually unfortunate one for him. His vessel had been wrecked and he had lost all. It was only by the greatest of chances that he had been enabled to find his way back to his country, in time to take the train that brought him from a large seaport to the small town some twenty miles’ distance from his home. Once there, he had to travel that distance by coach. But just as he was preparing to start on his last journey, he met a poor sailor, a companion of his shipwreck. With tears in his eyes the man told him that having lost all, he had no more money left to take him to his wife and children, who were yet two days’ journey by rail from where he was; and that thus, he could not be with them to make merry Christmas together. So the good-hearted young officer, thinking he could easily walk the short distance that separated him from home, had emptied his purse into the sailor’s hands and started on his way on foot, hoping to arrive on that same evening.

He set out early in the morning and bethought himself of a short cut through the vast forests of his native place. But on that afternoon he hurt his foot badly, and being able to move only at a very slow pace, the night had overtaken him in the forest in which he had finally lost his way during that terrible night. He had wandered since the morning during the whole long day, until pain, exhaustion, and 276the hurricane had overpowered him. And now, he was lying helpless on the bare frozen ground, and would surely die before the dawn.

How long he lay there he never remembered; but, when he came back to himself, he thought he could move, and resolved to make a last supreme effort after the short rest. The wind had suddenly fallen. He felt warmer and calmer now, as he sat leaning against a tree. Old habit brought him back to his previous train of thought.

“Never, mother dear, never,” he addressed her in thought, “never have I spent a Christmas away from your dear selves.... Never, since my boyhood, when father died twelve years ago! I made a vow then that, come what would, I should spend each Christmas Eve at home; and now, though life seems slowly ebbing out of my body, I want to keep my promise. They must be waiting for me even now, they, and Alice, my sweet fair cousin, who tells me she never loved but me! Reginald and Lionel, my brothers, who are earnestly waiting for me; my shy pretty May, and little Fanny.... They are all longing to see me, my dear ones, all expecting their old brother Hugo to return and decorate their Christmas-tree.... Oh, mother, mother, see you I must! I will be with you on this Christmas Eve, come what may!”

This passionate longing appeal seemed to give him a ten-fold strength. He made a desperate effort to rise from his place, and found he could do so quite easily. Then, overcome with joy, he flew rather than walked through the dense black forest. He must have surely mistaken the distance, as a minute later he found himself in the brushwood, and saw the well-known valley so familiar to him, and even discerned in the bright moonlight the home that contained all his dear ones. He ran still faster, more and more rapidly, and even forgot in his excitement to wonder whence he had found the power of using his lame foot so easily.... At last he reached the lawn, and approached the cosy old house, all wrapped in its snowy winter garments, and sparkling in moonlight like a palace of King Frost. From a large bay-window poured out torrents of light, and as he drew still nearer, trying to see through it, he caught a glimpse of the loved faces, which he stopped to look at, before knocking at the door....

“Oh, my mother! I see her there,” he exclaimed. “There she is, seated in her arm-chair, with her knitting by her side, her beautiful silvery hair as soft and glossy as ever under her snow-white cap. I see her kind eyes and placid features still unmarked by the furrows of age.... She looks troubled.... She listens to the fierce gusts of wind which cause the windows to shake and rattle. How that wind does try to get into the house, and, finding itself no welcome guest, hark, how it rolls away.... How strange!... I hear, but I do not feel the wind.... Oh!... Kneeling at my mother’s feet, there’s Alice. Her arms are clasped around mother’s knees; her golden curls fall on her back.... But—but, why are her large violet eyes filled with tears as she looks 277with up-turned face into mother’s sad eyes?... Hush! What is she saying?... I hear it, even through that wall....

“‘Don’t be uneasy, mother, dear, Hugo will come back. You know he told us so in his last letter. He said that after their shipwreck he was kindly cared for by those who saved the crew. He wrote also that he had borrowed money for the journey, and that he would be with us at the latest on Christmas Eve!... Bad roads and the stormy night will have detained him.... The coach, you say? Well, and though the coach has long since passed by, he may have taken a carriage. He will soon be here, mother.’

“Ah, dear Alice, I see—she looks at her finger, with its little ruby ring I placed on it. She puts it to her lips, and I hear her murmuring my name....

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

(From Hugo’s diary, where he recorded that night’s experience.)

... I rushed into the house at that appeal, and, as I now remember, without knocking at the door, as if I had passed through the stone walls. I tried to speak, but no sound appeared to reach their ears. Nor did anyone seem to see or greet me.... I drew Alice by the arm, but she never turned round, only continued to murmur sweet words of consolation into my mother’s ear. Good God, what agony! Why do they not hear, or even see me.... Am I really here? I look round the room. The old home is just as I had left it nine months since. There is my father’s picture hanging over the mantel-piece, looking at me with his kind smile; the old piano open, with my favourite song on it.... The cat sleeping as usual, on the hearthrug, and purring, as she stretches out her lazy paws. Albums on the table, my photograph, with its bright and happy look! How different to my present self! Here am I, standing in an agony of doubt, before my loved ones, seeing them, feeling them, touching them ... and yet unseen by them, unnoticed, as one who is not there.... Not even my shadow on the wall over their own. But who then, am I?... Why have they grown so blind to my presence? Why do their hearts and senses remain so dense? I try again and again. I call them piteously by their names, but they heed me not. My heart, my love, all is here, but my physical body seems far away. Yes, it is far, far away, and now I see it, as it lies cold and lifeless in that forest, where I must have left it. It is surely for me, not for that body, that they care! And is it because I am no longer clothed with flesh that I must be as only a breath, an empty naught, to them?...

Full of despair, I turned away, and passing through the folding doors, arrived in the adjoining room, where my young brothers and sisters were busily occupied decorating the Christmas tree. There it stands, the old friend of my youth. I see it, and even discern its resinous perfume.... Towering up towards the ceiling, its lower branches are bending to the ground, laden with golden fruits, with toys and wax 278tapers. My brothers and sisters are gathered around it. But Reginald looks grave. I see him turning to May, and hear him saying:

“Are you not anxious about Hugo? I wonder what can have become of him!”

“I did not like to tell mother,” May replies with a little shiver, “but I had a dreadful dream last night. I saw Hugo white and cold. He looked sorrowfully at me, but when he tried to speak he could not. His look haunts me still!” she softly sobbed, with tears rolling down her cheeks.

But now little Fanny gives a scream of delight. The child has discovered among the Christmas presents a real pipe, a pipe with silver bells.

“Oh, this shall be for Hugo, and then he will have music whenever he smokes!” exclaims the little one, merrily laughing, and holding out the toy in the direction where I am standing.

For a moment I hope she sees me. I try to take the pipe, but my hand cannot clasp it, and the toy seems to slip away from me as if it were a shadow.... I try to speak again, but it is of no use ... they see me not, neither do they hear me!...

Grieved beyond words, I left them, and returning into the next room, went up straight to Alice, who was still at mother’s side, murmuring to her loving words. I spoke again, I entreated, I besought them to look at me, and my suffering was so great that I felt that death would be preferable to this!

Then came a last and supreme effort. Concentrating all my will, I bent over Alice, and gasped out with my whole soul:

“If ever you loved me, Alice, know and hear me now!” I exclaimed, as I pressed my lips to hers.

She gave a shudder, a start, and then, opening her eyes wider and wider, she shrieked in terror:

“Hugo! Hugo! Mother, do you see? Hugo is here!”

She tried to clasp me in her arms, but her hands met together, and only joined as if in prayer.

“Hugo, Hugo, stay, why can I not touch you? Mother, look! look! Here is Hugo!”

She was growing wilder and more excited with every moment.

My mother looked faint and frightened, as she said:

“Alice, what is the matter, child? What do you see? Hugo is not here!”

The children, hearing Alice’s cry, flew into the room, all eager with expectation.

“Where is Hugo? Where is he?” they prattled.

I felt that I was invisible to all but Alice. She was the only one to see me.me. Therefore, realizing that the body had to be saved from its danger in the woods without loss of time, I drew her after myself with 279all my will. I slowly moved towards the door, never taking my look off her eyes. She followed me, as one in a state of somnambulism.

My mother looked stunned and bewildered.

Rising with difficulty from her place, she would have made for the door also, but sank back into her arm-chair powerless and covered her face with her hands.

“Boys, follow Alice,” said May. “Wait ... the carriage is there ready to go after the doctor’s children. Take it. Call the gardener and John to go with you. I will stay with mother.” And whispering to Reginald, she added, “Tell John to take rugs and blankets ... but I am afraid poor Hugo is dead!”

She then turned to mother, who had fainted. I would see no more, but willing Alice to follow me, I left the house.

She came slowly after me, her face all white, her large eyes full of a look of terror, but also of resolution in them. On she would have gone on foot, in the drizzling rain, her golden hair all flying about her head, had she been allowed to do so by my brothers and servants. The strange cortege was ushered into the open carriage, the coachman being ordered to follow her directions. On it went, as speedily as the horse could go. I found myself floating now before them, and, to my own amazement, sliding backwards, with my face turned towards Alice, strongly willing that she should not lose sight of me. Two hours afterwards, the carriage entered the brushwood, and they were obliged to alight.

The night was now very dark and stormy, and notwithstanding the lanterns, the group made way with great difficulty into the thicket. The wind had begun to blow and howl with the same fury as when I had left the wood, and seemed to have caught them all in its chilly embrace. The boys and servants panted and shivered, but Alice heeded nothing. What cared she for that! The only thought of my beloved was I, Hugo.... On, on we went, her tender feet wounded with the brambles, and the wet sprays of branches brushing against her white face. On, on she ran, till, with a sudden and loud cry of joy and terror mixed, she fell down....

At the same instant I collapsed, and fell also on the ground, as it seemed to me; and then all became a blank.... As I learned later, at that moment the boys drew near, and lowering their lanterns found Alice with her arms clasped around a form, and when the lanterns were placed close to it they saw before them the body of their brother Hugo, a corpse!

“Sure enough he is dead, the poor young master!” cried John, our old servant, who was close behind.

“No, no!” Alice answered. “No, he is not dead.... His body is cold, but his heart still beats. Let us carry him home.... Quick, quick!”

280Lifting up the body gently and placing it in the carriage they covered it with rugs and shawls, and drove at a furious speed back to our home. It was near midnight when the carriage stopped at the gate.

“Reginald, run on quickly and give the good news to mother!” cried Alice. “Tell May to have hot bottles and blankets ready, on the sofa in the drawing-room. It is warm there near the fire.... Tell them all that Hugo lives, for I know he does,” she went on repeating.

More lights were brought out, and the servants carried carefully their burden into the house, where they placed it on the sofa, hot flannels and restoratives being immediately applied. Noiselessly and breathlessly went on the work of love around the apparently dead body, and was at last rewarded. A sigh was heard, a deeper breath was drawn, and then the eyes slowly opened and I looked round in vague surprise at all those loved and anxious faces crowding eagerly around me.

“Don’t speak yet, Hugo,” whispered Alice anxiously. “Don’t, till you feel stronger.”

But I could not control my impatience.

“How am I here?” I asked. “Ah, I remember. I lost my way in the old forest.... Ah, yes; I recollect now all.... The cold biting wind, my lame foot, after I stumbled and fell, knocking my head against a stone, and all became a blank to me!”

“Hush, Hugo, hush my boy,” said my mother wiping tears of joy from her still pale and suffering face. “You will tell us all that presently.... Now rest.”

But I could not refrain from speaking, as thoughts crowded into my head, and recollections came vividly back. “No, no, I am better,” I went on. “I am strong again, and I must let you know all that I dreamed. I was here, and I saw you all.... Oh, the torture I suffered when you knew me not!... Mother, darling, did you not see me, your son? But she, my Alice, saw and followed me, and it is she who saved me from death! Ah, yes! I remember now, you found my body, and then all was darkness again. Kiss me, mother! Kiss me all, let me feel that I am really with you in body, and am no longer an invisible shadow.... Mother I kept my promise; I am here on Christmas Eve! Light the tree, my little Fan, and give me the pipe with the bells I saw you holding, and heard you say it was for old brother Hugo.”

The child ran into the other room and returned with the pipe I had seen her playing with a few hours before. This was the greatest and final proof for me, as for my family. The event was no vision then, no hallucination, but true to its merest details! As my mother often said afterwards, referring to that wonderful night, it was a weird and strange experience, but one which had happened to others before, and will go on happening from time to time. Of late years, when I had been happily married to my Alice (who will not let me travel far away 281without her, any longer) I have dived a good deal into such psychic mysteries, and I think I can explain my experience. I think that by privation, cold, and mental agony, I had been thrown into such abnormal conditions, that my astral body, as it is now generally called, my “conscious self,” was able to escape from the physical tenement and take itself to the home I so passionately desired to reach. All my thoughts, and longings being intensely directed towards it, I found myself there where I wished to be, in spirit. Then the agony of mind from the consciousness that I was invisible to all, added to the fear of death unless I could impress them with my presence, became finally productive of the supreme effort of will, the success of which alone could save me. This joined to Alice’s sensitiveness and her love for me, enabled her to sense my presence, and even to see my form, whereas others saw nothing. Man is a wonderful and marvellous enigma; but it is one which has to, and will, be completely unriddled some day, the scepticism of the age notwithstanding.

Such is the simple story told to the writer by an old naval officer, about the most “memorable Christmas Eve” that came within his own experience.

Constance Wachtmeister.
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A HALF CONVERT.

Buddha! my earthly memory is so dimmed
By this poor passing life which travels a hem
Across my soul, and thought I cannot stem
Pours like a flood to wash all traces limned
Of former selves, that I shall ne’er recall
The steps I came, nor know the fleshly tents
In which I sojourned;—yet the fraying rents
Of time-worn garments I have seen, and all
The dust upon my feet, and I the sin
Of tiger and of cobra passions striven
To crush. These were strait gates, and through them driven
My chariot wheels, so prithee set me free
From other births, lest I seek Peter’s key,
O! Sakya Muni, let me trembling in.
Mary N. Gale.
282

THEOSOPHY AND MODERN SOCIALISM.

BY A SOCIALIST STUDENT OF THEOSOPHY.

The writer of the article on “Brotherhood” in your last issue has given an erroneous impression of Socialism, which, as a student of Theosophy (I do not know if I can yet call myself a disciple), who has been, in a large measure, drawn to this great study through Socialism, I may, perhaps, be allowed to correct. Indeed, I should feel that I was shirking a task clearly indicated to me at the present moment, were I to leave such errors, so far as all readers of Lucifer are concerned, uncorrected.

“T.B.H.,” the writer of the article in question—an interesting and, I believe, useful article in many respects—has, I venture to conjecture, confused the general system or class of systems known as Socialism, with certain methods of propagating its principles. Let me commence by quoting the paragraph in his article to which I take exception. He says (Lucifer No. 3, p. 213):—

(1). “Socialism, as preached in this nineteenth century, it [the Universal Brotherhood, which is the mainspring of Theosophy.—J.B.B.] certainly is not. (2). Indeed, there would be little difficulty in showing that modern materialistic Socialism is directly at variance with all the teachings of Theosophy. (3). Socialism advocates a direct interference with the results of the law of Karma, and would attempt to alter the dénouement of the parable of the talents by giving to the man, who hid his talent in a napkin, a portion of the ten talents acquired by the labour of his more industrious fellow.”

I will first take the three statements contained in this paragraph separately, and, for convenience’s sake, in inverted order. The allegation against Socialism contained in the third is the most specific, and that which, in the eyes of Theosophists, must appear the most serious. This statement, namely, that “Socialism advocates a direct interference with the results of the law of Karma, and would attempt &c.,” constitutes, in fact, the only definite premise in his argument. Of course, if Socialists do advocate, consciously or unconsciously, anything of the sort, they advocate a physical and psychical impossibility, and their movement is fore-doomed to failure. More than this, if they do so consciously, they are sinning against the light, and are impious as well as childish in their efforts. Of such, clearly, the Universal Brotherhood is not.

But neither Socialists nor Socialism, “as preached in this nineteenth century,” do anything of the kind. By “Materialistic” Socialism, I presume “T.B.H.” implies (if he has really studied Socialism at all, which I venture to doubt) so much of it as can be urged upon purely worldly grounds, such as the better feeding, housing, &c., of those who do the active work of society, technical instruction, such general education as fits a man for the domestic and secular duties of life, and the reorganisation of society with these objects upon a 283“co-operative” basis,[61] in which public salaried officers, elected by their fellows, will take the place of capitalists and landlords, and in which the production and distribution of wealth will be more systematically regulated. This system, of course, takes no account of the law of Karma.

In a rough sort of way, however, all Socialists recognise the law, so far as its effects are visible in this world on the physical, intellectual, and moral planes. The fact that “the evil that men do,” and classes and nations of men also, “lives after them,” none are more ready to own and act upon. The action and reaction of individual will and individual and social circumstance, both upon each other and upon individual and social conditions, forms part of the foundations of Socialism. Quâ Socialists we do not, of course, take any more account of the law of Karma than do non-Socialist Christians and Agnostics, but I maintain there is nothing whatever in Socialism repugnant to a beliefbelief in this law. If anything, it is the other way. All Socialists, whether they call themselves Collectionists or Anarchists, Christian Socialists,[62] Communists, or purely economic Socialists, are anxious to give freer play to human abilities and social impulses, by creating leisure and educational opportunities for all. We may thus, if it is permitted to me to speculate while criticising, become the instruments of a greater equalisation, distribution, and acceleration of Karmic growth, “good” or “evil,” upon and among individual souls, during their incarnation on this planet. This would come to pass by the transferring of a great deal of the responsibility for Karmic results which now lies with each individual in his personal capacity, upon the collective entities composed of individuals acting in public capacities; e.g., as nations, provinces, communes, or trade corporations.

It is surely true, even now, to speak of a collective, e.g., a national or municipal Karma, as we do of a national conscience. We speak of reward or retribution to nations and cities as if they had distinct personalities—are these mere “figures of speech”? But what is more important is that Socialists may prepare the way for a revelation of the noble truths of Theosophy to the multitude; they may help to raise the intellectual and instinctive moral standard of the whole community to such an extent that all will, in the next generation following after the Social Revolution,[63] be amenable to those truths. In this way Socialism would not, indeed, interfere with the results of the law of Karma, but 284would, as the precursor of Theosophy, be the indirect means of enabling multitudes to rise and free themselves from its bonds.

As to the parable of the talents, well, Socialists would be only too glad to see its moral better enforced in this and other “civilised” countries. To them it seems impossible that it could be less enforced or taken to heart than it is now. They see that under the present system of Society—that vast engine of usury by which whole classes are held in economic servitude to other classes—many are encouraged to live in sloth and hide their talents, even if they put them to no worse uses than that. This could hardly happen under a régime of economic Socialism (such a régime, for instance, as Laurence Grönlund contemplates in his “Co-operative Commonwealth”); for these able-bodied or talented citizens who declined to work would simply be left to starve or sponge upon their relatives. Under a purely communist régime,[64] no doubt there would be a few who would shirk their proper share in the social work, but at least none would be brought up from infancy, as now, to “eat the bread of idleness.”

Finally on this point, if to advocate such changes as Socialists advocate, the substitution of social co-operation for competition; of production with a view to use, for production with view to profit; of peace between nations, classes, and individuals, for war; of harmonious organisation to the advantage of all, for laissez faire, and chaos for the advantage (or supposed advantage) of a few. If I say, to advocate such changes be to advocate interference with the results of the law of Karma, so is every proposal for the amelioration of the physical or intellectual welfare of our fellows. And if participation in this and other movements, which may with equal justice be called “materialistic,” be prohibited to Theosophists, they may as well, for all good their Universal Brotherhood will do to the mass of those at present outside it, stay at home and content themselves with communing with the select few who alone will ever be in a position to appreciateappreciate them. If, for one reason or other, they do not care to co-operate with Socialists, let them, at least, recognise that the latter are preparing their way for them, doing the dirty (?) and laborious work, without which Theosophy can never descend from the serene heights in which it now dwells, to replenish, spiritually, this sadly benighted world. For, apart from a healthier physical and psychical atmosphere than “civilised” life engenders in either rich or poor (collective Karmic effects), a fair amount of leisure and freedom from sordid care are indispensable in most human beings for the higher development of the perceptive or gnostic faculties. At present this minimum of leisure and economic independence is probably unattainable by nineteen-twentieths of the population. Yet this self-same society, with its scientific learning and experience, its machinery, and its business organisation, contains within it all the germs of such a reconstruction of the physical environment as shall very 285shortly place the means of spiritual and psychical regeneration within the reach of all.

“T. B. H.’s” second statement is that “Indeed there would be very little difficulty in showing that modern materialistic Socialism is directly at variance with all the teachings of Theosophy.” Such an expression as “materialistic Socialism” is, as I have already hinted, erroneous. All Socialism is materialistic in the sense that it concerns itself primarily with the material or physical conditions of mankind. So do chemistry and mechanics, pure or applied; so, in ordinary politics, do Liberalism and Conservatism. No Socialism is materialistic in the sense that it is based upon any materialistic, as distinct from spiritualistic or pantheistic conceptions of the universe. It has hardly any more to do with such questions than have cotton-spinning or boot-making. I do not, however, pretend to mistake “T. B. H’s” meaning. Taking Socialism in its essentially economic aspect (which I admit is the foremost for the present, and must remain so until it has been disposed of), he asserts that “there would be very little difficulty in proving &c.” This is a mere general charge against it, although, I think, a less plausible, and therefore—from the point of view of harmony between Socialists and Theosophists—a less serious one, than the particular charge which follows it, and with which I have already endeavoured to deal. For my own enlightenment, I should be glad to have some samples, taken at random, of his skill in showing this variance; but I doubt if such a demonstration could effect any good. Meanwhile it is impossible to answer the charge on account of its vague, albeit sweeping and all-comprehensive character. “All the teachings of Theosophy” are quite too much for a student like myself to attempt to compare with Economic Socialism, as a system; nor do I think one with ten times the learning and discernment that I can claim, would readily attempt it. I merely record, therefore, my sincere conviction that on this general point “T. B. H.” is also mistaken, and that it is not Socialism, economic, or otherwise, which he has really been scrutinising and balancing, but the sayings or doings of some particular “Socialist,” whom he has seen or read of.

Individual Socialists have, of course, many faults which cannot fairly be charged to the social and economic tenets they profess. Thus one besetting fault of militant advocates of the cause is the use of violent language against individual capitalists, police officials and landlords. It, is so easy, even for men of a calibre superior to the average, to be drawn on from righteous indignation at a corrupt system, to abuse of the creatures and instruments thereof—or even, on occasion, to personal violence against them. Every good cause has its Peters, no less than its Judases. Socialism unfortunately has a rich crop of the former. Another still worse fault on the part of certain agitators, but one which might easily be predicted from the character of the struggle and the condition of the classes who must form the backbone of the Socialist Party, is the frequent appeal to lower motives, such as revenge and love of luxury.

286But such faults, although by all human prevision necessary incidents in the movement, are by no means inherent in Socialism. Even the purely “materialistic” socialism of Karl Marx, to which “T. B. H.” seems (although I think not with any clear picture of it in his mind) to refer, aims simply at securing the decencies and ordinary comforts of life to all, as a recompense for more evenly distributed social labour. The very conditions of life under a co-operative commonwealth such as Hyndman, Grönlund, and other followers of the late Karl Marx’s economic ideal, have in view—above all the obligation (virtual, at any rate) under which every able-bodied member of the community would find himself or herself, to do a few hours of useful work of one kind or another every day, and the elimination of the commercial and speculative element, with the wretched insecurity and dangerous temptations which it involves,—would preclude inordinate luxury. A healthy simplicity of life would become, first, “fashionable,” then usual.[65] Communism, of course, goes further than economic socialism, as it implies not only the claim of the individual upon the community for the means of labour and the enjoyment of its fruits or their equivalent, but his claim for subsistence, irrespective of the amount and social value of the labour which he is able to perform. It would abolish, therefore, not only individual property in the means of production, but in the products themselves. The practicability of Communism, the motto of which is, “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs,” obviously depends upon the prevalence of more generous motives, of a higher sense of duty both to work and to give—a more perfect development, in fact, of the sense of human solidarity. It is for this very reason more commendable than mere economic socialism, as an ideal, to the attention of Theosophists; although its application, on the national or universal scale, cannot yet be said to have entered “the sphere of practical politics.”

Communism, which may be either Collectivist or Anarchist, leads me to add a few words about Anarchism. I refer, of course, to the social ideal philosophically denoted by this name, and not to the means advocated by some of its supporters for putting an end to the present society. Anarchism involves Communism, as well as extreme decentralisation; more than this, it involves the abolition of all permanent machinery of law and order, such as “the State” is supposed to provide, and the abolition of physical force as a method of suasion, even for criminals and lunatics. As a protest against political domination of all kinds, and an antidote to the excessive centralisation advocated by some state-Socialists, Anarchism may be of some use, but it is obviously further even than Communism (of the Collectivist variety) from becoming a school of “practical” politics. It could only become so after society at large, all the world over, had grown sufficiently homogeneous and solidaire for its 287members to co-operate spontaneously and automatically for all necessary purposes, grouping themselves into large or small organizations (limbs and organs) as required, and forming a complete body-social, or Mesocosm, if I may be allowed to coin a word for the purpose.

The erroneous conceptions of Socialism which I believe “T. B. H.” to have formed, do not necessarily invalidate the first statement in the paragraph of his article upon which I have been commenting, to wit, that the Universal Brotherhood which he has in view (and which, I understand from him, forms the first part of the programme of the Theosophical Society) is not “Socialism as preached in this 19th century,”—or at any other time, past or future, for that matter. Still, I am inclined to hope that a more intimate study of Socialism will lead him to see that, whether identical or not, they are at any rate not antagonistic. My own belief is that Theosophy and “materialistic” Socialism will be found to be working along different planes in the same direction.

Any Universal Brotherhood of Theosophists must be based upon Socialist principles, inter alia: its foundations may extend further and deeper than those of Socialism, but cannot be less extensive. Greed and War (political or industrial) Social Caste and Privilege, Political Domination of Man over Man, are as out of place in a true Brotherhood as wolves in a flock of sheep. Yet the exclusion of these anti-social demons and the enthronement in their place of Universal Love and Peace, if effected by such a Brotherhood, would simply leave Socialists nothing to do but to organize the material framework of their co-operative commonwealths. To preach economic or “materialistic” Socialism to a world already converted to the highest and completest form of Socialism, would be to advocate the plating of gold with tin or copper.

Modern Socialism, if the noble aspirations of some of its apostles may be taken as an earnest of its future, is already developing (incidentally, of course, to its main economic and ethical doctrines) strong æsthetic and spiritual tendencies. No reader of William Morris or Edward Carpenter, to speak of English Socialists only, will fail to notice this. At present the mass of Socialists content themselves with basing their social and economic faith upon the ethical principles of Justice, Freedom and Brotherhood. But the highest, because most mystical of these principles, that of Brotherhood, or better, Human Solidarity—the ancient conception of “Charity”—forms the unconscious link between modern Socialism on the one hand, and Esoteric Buddhism, Esoteric Christianity, and Theosophy generally, on the other. I say unconscious link, but I mean to imply that it may soon be rendered conscious and visible. As the various “orthodox” varieties, first of Christianity, then of Mohammedanism, perish with the destruction or collapse of the Social systems that have grown up along with them, this simple religion of Human Solidarity will take possession of the deserted shrines of Christ and Allah, and will begin to seek out its own fount of inspiration. Then will be the time for the Universal Brotherhood of Theosophists to step into the breach.

J. Brailsford Bright (M.A. Oxon.).
288

THE GREAT QUEST.

“In many mortal forms I rashly sought
The shadow of that idol of my thought.”
Shelley.
“Après l’amour éteint si je vécus encore
C’est pour la vérité, soif aussi qui dévore!”
Lamartine.

The loss of youth and love is the perpetual wail of the poets. A never-changing spring-time of life, where the sweet dreams of youth would be realised in the fruition of reciprocal love, such would be a heaven to them, and such is a heaven while it lasts. If we add to this the refined æsthetic taste that can delicately balance and appreciate to a nicety every joy of the senses, and the highly-developed intellect which can roam at will over the accumulated store of past ages of culture, what would there be left for poets to dream of? With heart, senses and mind worthily employed, and with the well-balanced nature that knows moderation alone can give continued bliss, could not man rest satisfied at last? What more could he desire?

It is useless to deny that life has very sweet gifts to give, though the number is limited of those who are capable of receiving them in their fulness. But even while these gifts are being enjoyed, it is felt that the horizon is bounded. With what questioning uncertainty—albeit with fascination—does youth open its eyes upon the glamour of the dazzling world! The love of the Springtide, even in fruition, is continually building fairy bowers in the future—it never for long rests content in the present, while to the intellect the bounded scope of utmost learning is a still more definite goad towards a knowledge that shall transcend all past experience.

And even were man content to continue to drink of the one cup of bliss, he is never allowed to do so. The lessons of life, the great teacher, are continually being altered, and the tempest of the heart takes the place of the calm that was never expected to end.

If, then, we must look in vain to find permanent bliss in any of these things—if, beyond the highest intellectual culture of an intellectual age there gleams the vision of a higher knowledge—if behind the artistic refinement of this, as of all past flowers of civilization, the fount of all sweetness lies hid—if even the heart-binding communion of earthly love is but a faint reflex of the deep peace realized by him who has torn aside the veil that hides the Eternal, surely all man’s energies should be devoted to the quest which will yield him such results.

The whole philosophy of life may be summed up in the Four great Truths that Buddha taught, and no more convincing description of them 289can be read than that given in the lovely lines of the eighth book of the “Light of Asia.”

He who has once been deeply imbued with these great truths—who has realised the transitory nature of all earthly bliss, and the pains and sorrows that more than counterbalance the joys of life—will never in his truest moments desire to be again blessed, either in the present or in any future incarnation, with an uniformly happy life, for there is no such soporific for the soul as the feeling of satisfaction, as there is no such powerful goad as the feeling of dissatisfaction. He is bound to pass through periods of joy, but they will be looked forward to with fear and doubting, for then it is that the sense-world again fastens its fangs on the soul, to be followed by the pain of another struggle for freedom.

When first setting out on the great quest, it seems as if many lifetimes would fail to appease the dominant passion of the soul, but nature works quickly in the hottest climates, and from the very intensity of the desire may spring the strength and will to conquer it. Though it is probably the same key-note that is struck throughout, the dominant desire will appear to take a different tone through the ascending scale of life. It is a speculation, but one which would seem to receive endorsement from the analogies of nature; for as the human embryo in its antenatal development, exhibits in rapid succession, but with longer pauses as it approaches the period of birth, the characteristics of the lower races of animal life from which man has evolved, so does the human soul realise in its passage through life the dominant desires and attractions which have affected it through countless past incarnations. The lower desires which in past lives may have been more or less completely conquered, will be experienced in rapid succession and left behind without much difficulty, till the great struggle of the life is reached, from which man must come out more or less victorious if he is to continue the progress at all.

If right intention were the only thing needed, if it were a guarantee against being led astray, or if straying did not necessitate retardation on the road, there would be no such supreme necessity that belief should be in accordance with facts; but even in worldly affairs we see every day that purity of intention is no guard against the failures that come from lack of knowledge. In the great spiritual science therefore, which deals with the problem of life as a whole—not the mere fragment which this earthly existence represents—it will be seen how vitally necessary it is that facts should be conceived correctly.

To us whose eyes are blinded to the heights above, by the mists of our own desires, the only rays of light which can illumine the darkness of our journey on the great quest, are the words (whether or not in the form of recognised revelation) left by the masters who have preceded us on the road, and the counsel of our comrades who are bound for the 290same goal. But words are capable of many interpretations, and the opinions of our comrades are coloured by their own personality—the ultimate touch-stone of truth must therefore be looked for in the disciple’s own breast.

Having stated the necessity for correct belief, let us now consider the question of the great achievement—the annihilation of Karma—the attainment of Nirvana. It must be acknowledged as a logical proposition that Karma can never annihilate Karma, i.e., that no thoughts words, or acts of the man in his present state of consciousness, can, ever free him from the circle of re-births. This view would seem to necessitate some power external to the man to free him—a power which has touch of him, and which would have to be allied to him.

Now the teachings which have been put before the world in “Light on the Path” state the other side of the question. “Each man is to himself absolutely the way, the truth, and the life.” And again, “For within you is the light of the world, the only light that can be shed on the Path. If you are unable to perceive it within you, it is useless to look for it elsewhere.” It would seem that the solution of this great paradox must be sought for in the constitution of man, as described in theosophic writings. Indeed, it is the scientific statement of deep spiritual truths which gives to the Theosophic teachings their remarkable value, and which seems likely to carry conviction of their truth to the Western peoples, who have for too long been accustomed to the mere emotional sentimentality of the orthodox religions, and to the pessimistic negation of science.

The higher principles, as they have been called, in the constitution of man, particularly the divine Atma, through which he is allied to the all-pervading Deity, must ever remain deep mysteries. But at least they are cognisable by the intellect, as providing logical stepping-stones for spanning the great gulf between Humanity and Divinity,—the Power—the correct cognition of which provides the very link between both systems of thought—which is at the same time external to man, and has touch of him by its own divine light which enlightens him, and which is also the very man himself—his highest and truest Self.

For most of us it is the “God hidden in the Sanctuary,” of whose very existence we are unaware, is known under the name of Iswara or the Logos—the primal ray from the Great Unknown. It is the Chrestos of the Christians, but, save, perhaps, to a few mystics in the Roman or Greek churches, it has been degraded past recognition by their materialistic anthropomorphism. A help to its better understanding may be obtained by a reference to Sanscrit philosophy, which describes man’s nature as consisting of the three gunas or qualities—Satwa, goodness, Rajas, passion and Tamas, darkness, or delusion—and the nature of most men is made up almost entirely of the two last named—while the Logos is pure Satwa.

291The vexed question, therefore, as to whether man is freed by his own dominant will, or by the power of the Logos, will be seen to be very much a distinction without a difference. For the attainment of final liberation the God within and the God without must co-operate.

Desire being, as Buddha taught, the great obstacle in the way, its conquest by the dominant will is the thing that has to be done, but the Divine will cannot arise in its power, till the conviction of the Supreme desirability of attaining the eternal condition is rendered permanent; and it is this that necessitates the goad which the Logos is continually applying by its light on the soul.

We are now face to face with a very difficult problem—it is, in fact the gulf which separates the Occultist from the Religionist, and it is here that it is so necessary to get hold of the correct idea.

“Strong limbs may dare the rugged road which storms,
Soaring and perilous, the mountain’s breast;
The weak must wind from slower ledge to ledge,
With many a place of rest.”

The short cut to perfection referred to in the first two lines has been called in Theosophic writings “the perilous ladder which leads to the path of life.” To have faced the fearful abyss of darkness of the first trial, without starting back in terror at the apparent annihilation which the casting aside of the sense-life implies, and out of the still more awful silence of the second trial; to have had the strength to evoke the greater Self—the God that has hitherto been hidden in the sanctuary—such is the language used with reference to the very first—nay, the preliminary—steps on this path, while the further steps are represented by the ascending scale of the occult Hierarchy, where the neophyte or chela, through a series of trials and initiations, may attain the highest Adeptship, and the man may gradually leave behind him his human desires and limitations, and realise instead the attributes of Deity.

Pilgrim.

(To be continued.)

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292

GOD SPEAKS FOR LAW AND ORDER.

Introduction.

The readers of the curious article which follows are requested to remember that the writers of signed papers in Lucifer, and not the editors, are responsible for their contents. Captain Serjeant’s views excite much interest among a large number of earnest people, who use Biblical forms and phraseology to picture to themselves the hidden things of nature and of spirit—things which we, the editors, and also the large majority of Theosophists, believe to be more clearly conveyed under the symbolism of the ancient Wisdom-Religion of the East, and better expressed in its terminology. The article is an attempt to explain the significance of a very curious cloud formation observed by many persons in Scotland, on the 16th of September last, a sketch of which appeared in the St. Stephens Review on the 24th of the same month. In the centre of the sketch appears a side view of the British Lion rampant, with his paw on the head of a bearded man, who bears a considerable likeness to Mr. Parnell; to the right of the Lion is an excellent likeness of Her Majesty, crowned, as in the JubileeJubilee coinage, and smiling very naturally; and to the left of the picture is an Irish harp. The appearance, by the testimony of many witnesses, must have been remarkably perfect and striking. Cloud-forms of a similar kind have been recorded many times in history, and they are usually connected in the public mind with some important political event. The Cross of Constantine will, no doubt, recur to the readers’ mind, but the sword and reversed crescent, which everyone saw in the sky when the Turks were driven out of Vienna, may be less generally known; as also the reversed thistles, with the outline of a Scotchman, armed with claymore and targe, and falling backward, which was observed in the clouds by the King and Court at Windsor on the night before the battle of Culloden.

The question of what interpretationinterpretation is to be put upon remarkable cloud appearances, is of little interest to anyone who believes that such phenomena are merely accidental arrangements of the watery vapours of the atmosphere driven by currents of air. Apart, however, from the obvious consideration that this way of regarding the phenomenon only raises the further question of what causes the currents of air to run in these particular ways, it may be safely said that the chances are millions of millions of millions to one, against the appearance in the clouds of any such perfect and complete picture of well-known persons and emblems, as were seen in Scotland on the 16th of September. Of course it may be argued, on the other hand, that the clouds are for ever forming and re-forming in millions of millions of millions different ways, and that the mathematical chances are that one of these ways will occasionally represent an earth scene. But even if the infinite number of continual permutations and transformations of cloud substance be held to account for the occasional appearance of some graphic picture of human things, it does not in any way explain why these rare pictures, when they do occur, should be perfect and appropriate symbols; neither does it account for their appearance at the particular moment when the extraordinary events, to which they are appropriate, are occurring, or about to occur.

The phenomenon of vapours and fumes taking the shape of persons and things, is one of the oldest and best accredited facts in magic, and these cloud appearances, if they be viewed as having any significance, are merely instances of a similar action on a large scale produced by some conscious or unconscious force in nature.

If it be allowed, however, that the occasional assumption by vapours of the shapes and likenesses of terrestrial things is not a “fortuitous concourse of atoms,” but occurs in accordance with some obscure law of Nature that in itself is the 293result of the mutual interaction and interdependence of everything in the Universe, the important question still remains—whether these appearances, when they do occur, are “intended” as warnings or omens? Should the lion, the harp, her Majesty, and Mr. Parnell, of the Scottish cloud-picture, be taken as having any more significance in the affairs of the nation, or of the world at large, than chemical phenomena can be supposed to presage disturbances or rejoicings in the world of nature? To answer this question would involve considerations which only an advanced Occultist would be able to comprehend; so we shall merely say, that although there are natural symbols which carry in them a definite meaning for those who can read that secret language, still symbols are generally significant in proportion as people themselves put a significance into them.

A triangle or a cube is nothing but a triangle or a cube to a yokel, but to an Occultist they contain the philosophy of the Universe. Even so, Captain Serjeant, “the New Dispensationist,” and Theosophist, can put the meaning he likes into this or any other symbolical representation. We do not quite agree with either his methods or his results in the case before us, but the conclusions he draws are the same that are now being reached by many minds pursuing very different paths; and these conclusions may be summed up by saying that great changes are approaching, both in the temporal and in the spiritual life of humanity, and that these changes will eventuate in better things and nobler ideas.


An Interpretation of the Vision, by Serjeant.

(The New Dispensationist.)

Thus may be interpreted the symbolical appearance represented and described in the St. Stephen’s Review of 24th September 1887. The lion[66] of the house of Judah[67] arises with Victoria[68] the female principle of the victor[69] of this world of ignorance, error, sin, crime and misery. The lion represents that wisdom which is the only true and lasting power on earth. He shall crush out the anarchy and confusion now so manifest in the world which is the state of ignorance existing on this earth. Without a miracle shall all this be accomplished?

As insidious doubt has crept into the hearts of the children of men, so shall insidious truth creep in to dispel all doubt; ignorance developed into wisdom shall be the destruction of the world.[70] Ignorance is the former or lower expression of knowledge, and knowledge is the former or lower expression of wisdom—ignorance[71] is the cross—wisdom is the crown. Ignorance regarded in a 294true light is really an incentive to knowledge, for no man would try to attain to knowledge were he not ignorant. And no man would strive to attain to wisdom, did he not possess the knowledge which ever silently proclaims to him its crowning happiness. Wisdom is not only the celestial crown which every embodied soul is ultimately destined to possess, but it is also that particular state of Heaven called the “New Jerusalem” which shall descend from the Spirit (i.e. God, see John iv., 24.) to earth in these latter days (see Revelation xxi.)

Man was created[72] an ignorant being for a great purpose, which he will ultimately realise and know. Were there no ignorance, there could be no error, without error there could be no sin. Were there no ignorance, no sin, there could be no crime, no unhappiness, no misery existing on the earth. When, therefore, general ignorance shall succumb to the disintegrating power of universal intelligence so rapidly developing in these latter days[73] (see Daniel xii., 4), and which is the quickening of the Spirit of God in man; then the very conditions responsible for evolving error, sin, crime, unhappiness, and misery will be entirely done away with, and thus the consummation of the age—or, as the old translation of the Bible has it, the end of the world—will be brought about as a necessary consequence of purification by the Fire of the Spirit, Truth, which is the Divine Son of the Supreme Spirit, or God. “When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He shall guide you into all the Truth”; then shall the princes of the House of David[74] arise from amongst the people to rule the nations in equity and justice, in prosperity and peace, and the reign of the One Almighty Spirit of Wisdom, Love, and Truth shall begin on earth—for the Lion (or wisdom) shall lie down with the Lamb (or innocence), and a little child (or truth, see Rev. xii., the coming man-child) shall lead them.

The soul-stirring and elevating harp of the sweet and trusting daughters of Judah[75] is hushed—no crown surmounts it; and angels weep and mourn over the discord now prevailing in the world. Where are the harmonious chords which, through their inherent, soft, loving and sympathetic notes once rendered powerless that enemy of man—the serpent? Lost, through the ignorance and sin of the puny earth-worms of this world! Yet Ireland, in common with the whole earth, shall be freed ere long from the yoke of ignorance which is so sorely oppressing all God’s creatures, for the crowned female head symbolically represents the “Sign in Heaven” which has appeared, of the Victoria or the woman[76] clothed with the Sun, the Divine Mother from whom will proceed the 295Child of Wisdom, Love and Truth, who shall rule all nations with a rod of iron,[77] and who shall be caught up unto God and unto His Throne.[78]

The following quotation from one of the replies to two leading articles, which appeared in the Manchester Courier of May 4th and 13th, may also tend to throw some light on the vision of the crowned female head: “The present year heralds the jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, on whose glorious Empire the sun never sets. It shall also proclaim the jubilee of another Queen Victoria, well known to the ancients as the Bride of God who awaits the arrival of the Bridegroom. This Queen is She of Sheba[79]—the female principle of the one who is the Victor[80] of this world of ignorance and darkness, sin and crime; and He is the Solomon,[81] or Man of Light, Truth and Life Eternal. On her glorious empire the golden rays of Love and Peace shall shine forth from the Living Sun which nevermore shall set. She is the woman clothed with the Sun, and from her will proceed the promised man-child who shall rule all nations with a rod of iron, and shall be caught up unto God and unto His Throne. Were the English nation but to realise the mighty import of the grand and everlasting truths which I now proclaim, it would, to a man, support us in that work in which we, the New Dispensationists, daily and hourly labour in the interests of a suffering humanity now being slowly ground to powder in the stern mill of social ignorance and degradation. The time has come for the promise to be made known of the fulfilment of the “Saving health of all nations”; the prophecies of the ancients relating to the ultimatum of the written Word of Truth clearly point to the present age; and the Eternal Fiat has gone forth from the Universal King: “Write, for these words are faithful and true”—“Behold, I make all things new.” (Revelation xxi, 5.)

It is fashionable in the world to covertly sneer at the things of the Spirit, and to regard the Living God in Heaven as a Being either unable or unwilling to manifest His Almighty Power and Presence to the world in this orthodox nineteenth century. To all who may be inclined to ignorantly hold what I have here written to be the outcome of a disordered imagination I would say, in the words of Paul, an apostle: “not of men, neither by men.”—“We speak wisdom among the full-grown, yet a wisdom, not of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, which are coming to nought: but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, even the wisdom that hath been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds unto our glory, which none of the Rulers of this world knoweth.”[82] “Now the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them because they are spiritually examined. But he that is spiritual examineth all things and is himself examined of no man.”man.” (See 1 Corinthians, ii.)

The year 1887 heralds the spiritual activity which will eventually culminate in the glorious consummation of the age.

W. Eldon Serjeant.
296

AN INFANT GENIUS.

The idea of re-incarnation, that is to say of a succession of earth-lives passed through by each individual monad, seems so new and so daring to the Western World, that we are always being asked, “Where are your proofs? Are we to take such a startling hypothesis as this simply on your ipse dixit, or on the authority of some ancient Oriental book or ‘problematical’‘problematical’ Mahatma?”

To such a question the reply cannot be given in two or three words; for, while maintaining that there is at least as much reliance to be placed upon the Sacred Books of the East as on those of any other religion, and while holding firm to the belief that there are beings of a higher order of intelligence living upon this earth, and mixing even in its great life-currents, we cannot expect that merely because we say “Man does not leave this earth for good and all at Death,” we therefore shall gain credence. Before the world of Science our position would have to be that of a Young with his undulatory hypothesis of light, or a Dalton with his atomic theory. We cannot bring proof positive to those who desire an Euclidic demonstration; we can only offer to them a hypothesis, and bid them treat it calmly and dispassionately, not flying straightway into a fury of abuse at our great impudence in daring to suggest a heresy, but weighing it with care, and trying whether or no it will explain some of the dark riddles of existence.

To ourselves, merely as a working hypothesis, the doctrine of reincarnation seems to throw so much long-sought-for light upon the bewildering enigmas of life, and the strange vagaries of a fickle fortune, that we could not, even if we would, lay aside so fluent an interpreter of the utterances of the Sphinx—Existence. The seeming injustices in the lot of man fall into line as units of the great battalion of cause and effect; “What a man sows that must he also reap.” How else account for all the misery that cries aloud on every hand, the starving multitudes, the good man persecuted, the charlatan triumphant? In the small purview of a life summed up in three-score years and ten, where is the indication of a Divine intelligence that metes to each his due?

But if this brief existence be not the only one that man incarnate must pass through, if it be, as we are assured, but one short link in a chain that spans a fathomless expanse of myriad years, then does the eternity of justice proclaim itself, handed on from birth to birth in the dark fuel of the torch of life.

Our purpose now, however, is not to strive to catalogue the countless instances where destiny appears to cry aloud, into the deaf ears of man, that life is fraught with dire responsibility for future life, but to point to 297a case where she, in kindlier mood, has shown the gracious aspect of her face.

For the last few months London has been taken by storm by the marvellous musical talent of a child whose life, in this incarnation at least, is barely ten years old. We allude, of course, to Josef Hofmann. None of our readers who have heard this boy but must have wondered whence this phenomenal skill could have been derived. Other children have come before the public, and roused its listlessness a little with exhibitions of infantile precocity. But this young Josef has taken at once front rank among the stars of the musical world, and won a place only to be compared to that of the fairy-child Mozart.

Whence comes this breadth of feeling, this grasp of musical expression? It is certain that it comes not from his teacher; for his father alone has filled that capacity, and it does not show itself in his performance; and again, the only unsatisfactory part of the boy’s playing is clearly the result of mannerisms such as the second-rate conductor of a provincial orchestra would, without fail, extol and inculcate. No; it is clear that the swing of rhythm, the determination of attack, the delicacy of sentiment, must come from a man’s heart beating within that boyish frame, and a man’s mind shining through that childish head. Could one forget the name of the performer for one instant, and shut from one’s eyes his physical presence, it were a man that was revealing to us the secrets of the notes. The rife experience of years must needs precede such rendering of musical thought; an experience earned in many a fight with varying fortune, in sympathy with many a tale of woe, in rejoicing over many a glimpse of Love and Brotherhood.

Yet ten short years are all his tale! What magician could crowd into that tiny space the parti-coloured pictures of a fevered life of energy? No, it must be that the child has lived upon this earth before, has borne his lance in the thickest of the fray, has achieved distinction in some great branch of art and garnered up a store of thought and feeling, into the inheritance of which his heir, himself, has entered. He may squander it again; alas, so many have before; but there it is, for him to use aright or wrongly, and serious is the charge imposed upon his guardians that they shall lay the lesson to heart that to whom much is given, from him shall much be expected. But with that aspect of the case it is not for us here to deal. We have only adduced this boy’s genius as one of the indications that life is in its succession a far more complex problem than the materialists or the orthodox religionists would lead us to believe. There are countless other suggestive little facts of early talent that must have come within the circle of the daily life of each of us; but without the thread of Karma whereon to string them, we pass them by; and it is only when some remarkable phenomenon, such as that of Josef Hofmann, bursts upon the world, that men fall to wondering. Yet it is by the accumulation of small 298details that a philosopher like Darwin worked out his scheme of natural evolution; and it is by the testing of such a theory as that of re-incarnation by many a little hitherto unexplained incide