The title given for Chapter 6, ‘’ Psycho-Physical Phenomena’’ more or less indicates what this is about. However, it’s possible that there is more than just the grab-bag nature that this would imply. This chapter can be seen as a practical complementary development to chapter five’s theories of spirit, force and matter. Moreover, there seems to be a sub-text that links all of these theories to the ideas of Paracelsus. She would rarely revisit such occult and supernatural topics in such a practical way, hence this chapter remains one of her more explicit texts on the theory of practical occultism/magic and is possibly the key chapter of volume one.
1- Paracelsus as Scientific Pioneer (p. 163)
(Preparation for scientific truths 163/revolution in chemistry 163/Paracelsus rehabilitation 164/defence of Mesmerism 166/occult properties of magnet 168/astral force 168/Paracelsus discovers hydrogen 169/astral nutrition 170/dreams170/sleep 170/sympathy magnetic attraction 171)
He demonstrates further that in man lies hidden a “sidereal force,” which is that emanation from the stars and celestial bodies of which the spiritual form of man — the astral spirit — is composed. This identity of essence, which we may term the spirit of cometary matter, always stands in direct relation with the stars from which it was drawn, and thus there exists a mutual attraction between the two, both being magnets. The identical composition of the earth and all other planetary bodies and man’s terrestrial body was a fundamental idea in his philosophy. “The body comes from the elements, the [astral] spirit from the stars. . . . Man eats and drinks of the elements, for the sustenance of his blood and flesh; from the stars are the intellect and thoughts sustained in his spirit.” The spectroscope has made good his theory as to the identical composition of man and stars; the physicists now lecture to their classes upon the magnetic attractions of the sun and planets.*
Of the substances known to compose the body of man, there have been discovered in the stars already, hydrogen, sodium, calcium, magnesium and iron. In all the stars observed, numbering many hundreds, hydrogen was found, except in two. Now, if we recollect how they have deprecated Paracelsus and his theory of man and the stars being composed of like substances; how ridiculed he was by astronomers and physicists, for his ideas of chemical affinity and attraction between the two; and then realize that the spectroscope has vindicated one of his assertions at least, is it so absurd to prophesy that in time all the rest of his theories will be substantiated? 168
2- Mesmer as follower of Paracelsus (173)
(Mesmer restates Paracelsus 173)
The doctrine of Mesmer was simply a restatement of the doctrines of Paracelsus, Van Helmont, Santanelli, and Maxwell, the Scotchman; and he was even guilty of copying texts from the work of Bertrand, and enunciating them as his own principles.* In Professor Stewart’s work,** the author regards our universe as composed of atoms with some sort of medium between them as the machine, and the laws of energy as the laws working this machine. Professor Youmans calls this “a modern doctrine,” but we find among the twenty-seven propositions laid down by Mesmer, in 1775, just one century earlier, in his Letter to a Foreign Physician, the following:
1st. There exists a mutual influence between the heavenly bodies, the earth, and living bodies.
2d. A fluid, universally diffused and continued, so as to admit no vacuum, whose subtility is beyond all comparison, and which, from its nature, is capable of receiving, propagating, and communicating all the impressions of motion, is the medium of this influence.
It would appear from this, that the theory is not so modern after all. Professor Balfour Stewart says, “We may regard the universe in the light of a vast physical machine.” And Mesmer:
3d. This reciprocal action is subject to mechanical laws, unknown up to the present time.
Professor Mayer, reaffirming Gilbert’s doctrine that the earth is a great magnet, remarks that the mysterious variations in the intensity of its force seem to be in subjection to emanations from the sun, “changing with the apparent daily and yearly revolutions of that orb, and pulsating
* “Du Magnetisme Animal, en France.” Paris, 1826.
** “The Conservation of Energy.” N. Y., 1875.
in sympathy with the huge waves of fire which sweep over its surface.” He speaks of “the constant fluctuation, the ebb and flow of the earth’s directive influence.” And Mesmer:
4th. “From this action result alternate effects which may be considered a flux and reflux.”
6th. It is by this operation (the most universal of those presented to us by nature) that the relations of activity occur between the heavenly bodies, the earth, and its constituent parts.
There are two more which will be interesting reading to our modern scientists:
7th. The properties of matter, and of organized body, depend on this operation.
8th. The animal body experiences the alternate effects of this agent; and it is by insinuating itself into the substance of the nerves, that it immediately affects them. 173
3-Further History of Animal Magnetism (173)
(research on animal magnetism 173/mesmeric phenomena 175/trance powers 176)
This report provoked long debates, but in May, 1826, the Academy appointed a commission which comprised the following illustrious names: Leroux, Bourdois de la Motte, Double, Magendie, Guersant, Husson, Thillaye, Marc, Itard, Fouquier, and Guenau de Mussy. They began their labors immediately, and continued them five years, communicating, through Monsieur Husson, to the Academy the results of their observations. The report embraces accounts of phenomena classified under thirty-four different paragraphs, but as this work is not specially devoted to the science of magnetism, we must be content with a few brief extracts. They assert that neither contact of the hands, frictions, nor passes are invariably needed, since, on several occasions, the will, fixedness of stare, have sufficed to produce magnetic phenomena, even without the knowledge of the magnetized. “Well-attested and therapeutical phenomena” depend on magnetism alone, and are not reproduced without it. The state of somnambulism exists and “occasions the development of new faculties, which have received the denominations of clairvoyance, intuition, internal prevision.” 175
4- Ancient and Modern Explanations of Animal Magnetism (178)
(Newton on universal magnetic substance 178/two kinds of magnetizations 178/astral light 179/astral light – astral plane 180/Astral body 181)
“The oracles assert that the impression of thoughts, characters, men, and other divine visions, appear in the aether. . . . In this the things without figure are figured,” says an ancient fragment of the Chaldean Oracles of Zoroaster.*
Thus, ancient as well as modern wisdom, vaticination and science, agree in corroborating the claims of the kabalists. It is on the indestructible tablets of the astral light that is stamped the impression of every thought we think, and every act we perform; and that future events — effects of long-forgotten causes — are already delineated as a vivid picture for the eye of the seer and prophet to follow. Memory — the despair of the materialist, the enigma of the psychologist, the sphinx of science — is to the student of old philosophies merely a name to express that power which man unconsciously exerts, and shares with many of the inferior animals — to look with inner sight into the astral light, and there behold the images of past sensations and incidents. Instead of searching the cerebral ganglia for “micrographs of the living and the dead, of scenes that we have visited, of incidents in which we have borne a part,”* they went to the vast repository where the records of every man’s life as well as every pulsation of the visible cosmos are stored up for all Eternity! 179
* “Simpl. in Phys.,” 143; “The Chaldean Oracles,” Cory.
No man, however gross and material he may be, can avoid leading a double existence; one in the visible universe, the other in the invisible. The life-principle which animates his physical frame is chiefly in the astral body; and while the more animal portions of him rest, the more spiritual ones know neither limits nor obstacles. We are perfectly aware that many learned, as well as the unlearned, will object to such a novel theory of the distribution of the life-principle. They would prefer remaining in blissful ignorance and go on confessing that no one knows or can pretend to tell whence and whither this mysterious agent appears and disappears, than to give one moment’s attention to what they consider old and exploded theories. Some might object on the ground taken by theology, that dumb brutes have no immortal souls, and hence, can have no astral spirits; for theologians as well as laymen labor under the erroneous impression that soul and spirit are one and the same thing.180
5- Psychometry (182)
The psychometer is clairvoyant; that is, he sees with the inner eye. Unless his will-power is very strong, unless he has thoroughly trained himself to that particular phenomenon, and his knowledge of the capabilities of his sight are profound, his perceptions of places, persons, and events, must necessarily be very confused. But in the case of mesmerization, in which this same clairvoyant faculty is developed, the operator, whose will holds that of the subject under control, can force him to concentrate his attention upon a given picture long enough to observe all its minute details. Moreover, under the guidance of an experienced mesmerizer, the seer would excel the natural psychometer in having a prevision of future events, more distinct and clear than the latter. And to those who might object to the possibility of perceiving that which “yet is not,” we may put the question: Why is it more impossible to see that which will be, than to bring back to sight that which is gone, and is no more?
According to the kabalistic doctrine, the future exists in the astral light in embryo, as the present existed in embryo in the past. While man is free to act as he pleases, the manner in which he will act was foreknown from all time; not on the ground of fatalism or destiny, but simply on the principle of universal, unchangeable harmony; and, as it may be foreknown that, when a musical note is struck, its vibrations will not, and cannot change into those of another note. Besides, eternity can have neither past nor future, but only the present; as boundless space, in its strictly literal sense, can have neither distant nor proximate places. Our conceptions, limited to the narrow area of our experience, attempt to fit if not an end, at least a beginning of time and space; but neither of these exist in reality; for in such case time would not be eternal, nor space boundless. The past no more exists than the future, as we have said, only our memories survive; and our memories are but the glimpses that we catch of the reflections of this past in the currents of the astral light, as the psychometer catches them from the astral emanations of the object held by him. 184
6- Universal Ether and Astral Light (186)
(bridge between matter and ether 188)
The foregoing, added to the wonderful confessions of science and what we have just quoted from the Unseen Universe, throw an additional lustre on the wisdom of the long departed ages. In one of the preceding chapters we have alluded to a quotation from Cory’s translation of Ancient Fragments, in which it appears that one of the Chaldean Oracles expresses this self-same idea about ether, and in language singularly like that of the authors of the Unseen Universe. It states that from aether have come all things, and to it all will return; that the images of all things are indelibly impressed upon it; and that it is the store-house of the germs or of the remains of all visible forms, and even ideas. It appears as if this case strangely corroborates our assertion that whatever discoveries may be made in our days will be found to have been anticipated by many thousand years by our “simple-minded ancestors.” 189
7- Primordial Substances and Universal Solvent (189)
(alchemy universal solvent alkahest 189-92/water 193)
Is Professor Cooke, so eminent in modern chemistry, equally proficient in the knowledge of what the alchemists did or did not know? Is he quite sure that he understands the meaning of the alchemical diction? We are not. But let us compare his views as above expressed with but sentences written in plain and good, albeit old English, from the translations of Van Helmont and Paracelsus. We learn from their own admissions that the alkahest induces the following changes:
“(1.) The alkahest never destroys the seminal virtues of the bodies thereby dissolved: for instance, gold, by its action, is reduced to a salt of gold, antimony to a salt of antimony, etc., of the same seminal virtues, or characters with the original concrete. (2.) The subject exposed to its operation is converted into its three principles, salt, sulphur, and mercury, and afterwards into salt alone, which then becomes volatile, and at length is wholly turned into clear water. (3.) Whatever it dissolves may be rendered volatile by a sand-heat; and if, after volatilizing the solvent, it be distilled therefrom, the body is left pure, insipid water, but always equal in quantity to its original self.” Further, we find Van Helmont, the elder, saying of this salt that it will dissolve the most untractable bodies into substances of the same seminal virtues, “equal in weight to the matter dissolved“; and he adds, “This salt, by being several times cohobated with Paracelsus’ sal circulatum, loses all its fixedness, and at length becomes an insipid water, equal in quantity to the salt it was made from.”*
8-Universal Ether and Psychic Phenomena (195)
(Flammarion testifies on spiritualism 196/astral soul 198/explanation of psychic phenomena 199/psychic force is blind needs direction by will 200/astral vapors and prophecy 201/medium conductor of psychic force 201/crookes testimony 203/psychic force, spiritualism and mesmerism 204)
Most certainly the word magnetism explains in this case as little as the term psychic force; howbeit, there is more reason to use the former than the latter, if it were but for the simple fact that the transcendent magnetism or mesmerism produces phenomena identical in effects with those of spiritualism. The phenomenon of the enchanted circle of Baron Du Potet and Regazzoni, is as contrary to the accepted laws of physiology as the rising of a table without contact is to the laws of natural philosophy. As strong men have often found it impossible to raise a small table weighing a few pounds, and broken it to pieces in the effort, so a dozen of experimenters, among them sometimes, academicians, were utterly unable to step across a chalk-line drawn on the floor by Du Potet. 204
Some of the authors cited in this chapter, ones she would go on to quote extensively, are: