Chapter 12 – Eastern Magic, Shamanism and Conclusion (Conclusions and Illustrations)
This final chapter serves as a conclusion for both volumes, so there is a return to the more occult and phenomenal topics of the first volume. It ends on a practical note; there is a final presentation of magic as a practical culmination of theoretical esoteric knowledge, and as such it is based on a spiritual and holistic worldview summed up in ten propositions, which are fairly well-known. This chapter is rich in her personal travel accounts and the spiritualism is addressed again; quite a satisfying conclusion for a ground-breaking, revolutionary, erudite two-volume epic journey into the mysteries of life that remains of great interest today.
1- Eastern Magic (p.587)
Ten fundamental propositions of Oriental Philosophy 587 / Two kinds of seership, soul and spirit 590 / Astral Projection 594 / Tibetan Buddhist Talking Baby 598 / Eastern Astral Practices 602 / Tibetan Magic 606 / Buddhist Flower Manifestation 609 / Folk Superstitions and Occult Truth 610 / The Mysterious Todas 613
1st. There is no miracle. Everything that happens is the result of law — eternal, immutable, ever active. Apparent miracle is but the operation of forces antagonistic to what Dr. W. B. Carpenter, F. R. S. — a man of great learning but little knowledge — calls “the well-ascertained laws of nature.” Like many of his class, Dr. Carpenter ignores the fact that there may be laws once “known,” now unknown to science.
2d. Nature is triune: there is a visible, objective nature; an invisible, indwelling, energizing nature, the exact model of the other, and its vital principle; and, above these two, spirit, source of all forces, alone eternal, and indestructible. The lower two constantly change; the higher third does not.
3d. Man is also triune: he has his objective, physical body; his vitalizing astral body (or soul), the real man; and these two are brooded over and illuminated by the third — the sovereign, the immortal spirit. When the real man succeeds in merging himself with the latter, he becomes an immortal entity.
4th. Magic, as a science, is the knowledge of these principles, and of the way by which the omniscience and omnipotence of the spirit and its control over nature’s forces may be acquired by the individual while still in the body. Magic, as an art, is the application of this knowledge in practice.
5th. Arcane knowledge misapplied, is sorcery; beneficently used, true magic or WISDOM.
6th. Mediumship is the opposite of adeptship; the medium is the passive instrument of foreign influences, the adept actively controls himself and all inferior potencies.
7th. All things that ever were, that are, or that will be, having their record upon the astral light, or tablet of the unseen universe, the initiated adept, by using the vision of his own spirit, can know all that has been known or can be known.
8th. Races of men differ in spiritual gifts as in color, stature, or any other external quality; among some peoples seership naturally prevails, among others mediumship. Some are addicted to sorcery, and transmit its secret rules of practice from generation to generation, with a range of psychical phenomena, more or less wide, as the result.
9th. One phase of magical skill is the voluntary and conscious withdrawal of the inner man (astral form) from the outer man (physical body). In the cases of some mediums withdrawal occurs, but it is unconscious and involuntary. With the latter the body is more or less cataleptic at such times; but with the adept the absence of the astral form would not be noticed, for the physical senses are alert, and the individual appears only as though in a fit of abstraction — “a brown study,” as some call it.
10th. The corner-stone of MAGIC is an intimate practical knowledge of magnetism and electricity, their qualities, correlations, and potencies. Especially necessary is a familiarity with their effects in and upon the animal kingdom and man. There are occult properties in many other minerals, equally strange with that in the lodestone, which all practitioners of magic must know, and of which so-called exact science is wholly ignorant. Plants also have like mystical properties in a most wonderful degree, and the secrets of the herbs of dreams and enchantments are only lost to European science, and useless to say, too, are unknown to it, except in a few marked instances, such as opium and hashish. Yet, the psychical effects of even these few upon the human system are regarded as evidences of a temporary mental disorder. The women of Thessaly and Epirus, the female hierophants of the rites of Sabazius, did not carry their secrets away with the downfall of their sanctuaries. They are still preserved, and those who are aware of the nature of Soma, know the properties of other plants as well.
To sum up all in a few words, MAGIC is spiritual WISDOM; nature, the material ally, pupil and servant of the magician. One common vital principle pervades all things, and this is controllable by the perfected human will. The adept can stimulate the movements of the natural forces in plants and animals in a preternatural degree. Such experiments are not obstructions of nature, but quickenings; the conditions of intenser vital action are given.
The adept can control the sensations and alter the conditions of the physical and astral bodies of other persons not adepts; he can also govern and employ, as he chooses, the spirits of the elements. He cannot control the immortal spirit of any human being, living or dead, for all such spirits are alike sparks of the Divine Essence, and not subject to any foreign domination. 589
There are two kinds of seership — that of the soul and that of the spirit. The seership of the ancient Pythoness, or of the modern mesmerized subject, vary but in the artificial modes adopted to induce the state of clairvoyance. But, as the visions of both depend upon the greater or less acuteness of the senses of the astral body, they differ very widely from the perfect, omniscient spiritual state; for, at best, the subject can get but glimpses of truth, through the veil which physical nature interposes. The astral principle, or mind, called by the Hindu Yogin fav-atma, is the sentient soul, inseparable from our physical brain, which it holds in subjection, and is in its turn equally trammelled by it. This is the ego, the intellectual life-principle of man, his conscious entity. While it is yet within the material body, the clearness and correctness of its spiritual visions depend on its more or less intimate relation with its higher Principle. When this relation is such as to allow the most ethereal portions of the soul-essence to act independently of its grosser particles and of the brain, it can unerringly comprehend what it sees; then only is it the pure, rational, supersentient soul. That state is known in India as the Samaddi; it is the highest condition of spirituality possible to man on earth. Fakirs try to obtain such a condition by holding their breath for hours together during their religious exercises, and call this practice dam-sadhna. The Hindu terms Pranayama, Pratyahara, and Dharana, all relate to different psychological states, and show how much more the Sanscrit, and even the modern Hindu language are adapted to the clear elucidation of the phenomena that are encountered by those who study this branch of psychological science, than the tongues of modern peoples, whose experiences have not yet necessitated the invention of such descriptive terms. 590
But, while it is our firm belief that most of the physical manifestations, i.e., those which neither need nor show intelligence nor great discrimination, are produced mechanically by the scin-lecca (double) of the medium, as a person in sound sleep will when apparently awake do things of which he will retain no remembrance. The purely subjective phenomena are but in a very small proportion of cases due to the action of the personal astral body. They are mostly, and according to the moral, intellectual, and physical purity of the medium, the work of either the elementary, or sometimes very pure human spirits. Elementals have naught to do with subjective manifestations. In rare cases it is the divine spirit of the medium himself that guides and produces them. 597
In Japan and Siam there are two orders of priests, of which one are public, and deal with the people, the other strictly private. The latter are never seen; their existence is known but to very few natives, never to foreigners. Their powers are never displayed in public, nor ever at all except on rare occasions of the utmost importance, at which times the ceremonies are performed in subterranean or otherwise inaccessible temples, and in the presence of a chosen few whose heads answer for their secrecy. Among such occasions are deaths in the Royal family, or those of high dignitaries affiliated with the Order. One of the most weird and impressive exhibitions of the power of these magicians is that of the withdrawal of the astral soul from the cremated remains of human beings, a ceremony practiced likewise in some of the most important lamaseries of Thibet and Mongolia.
Both in Western and Eastern Thibet, as in every other place where Buddhism predominates, there are two distinct religions, the same as it is in Brahmanism — the secret philosophy and the popular religion. The former is that of the followers of the doctrine of the sect of the Sutrantika.* They closely adhere to the spirit of Buddha’s original teachings which show the necessity of intuitional perception, and all deductions therefrom. These do not proclaim their views, nor allow them to be made public. 607
Shamanism 615 / Life extending powers 620 / Animal Tamers 622 / Siberian Shaman Rescue 624 / The Koordistan 629 / The Power of Breathing 632
What is now generally known of Shamanism is very little; and that has been perverted, like the rest of the non-Christian religions. It is called the “heathenism” of Mongolia, and wholly without reason, for it is one of the oldest religions of India. It is spirit-worship, or belief in the immortality of the souls, and that the latter are still the same men they were on earth, though their bodies have lost their objective form, and man has exchanged his physical for a spiritual nature. In its present shape, it is an offshoot of primitive theurgy, and a practical blending of the visible with the invisible world. Whenever a denizen of earth desires to enter into communication with his invisible brethren, he has to assimilate himself to their nature, i.e., he meets these beings half-way, and, furnished by them with a supply of spiritual essence, endows them, in his turn, with a portion of his physical nature, thus enabling them sometimes to appear in a semi-objective form. It is a temporary exchange of natures, called theurgy. Shamans are called sorcerers, because they are said to evoke the “spirits” of the dead for purposes of necromancy. The true Shamanism — striking features of which prevailed in India in the days of Megasthenes (300 B.C.) — can no more be judged by its degenerated scions among the Shamans of Siberia, than the religion of Gautama-Buddha can be interpreted by the fetishism of some of his followers in Siam and Burmah. It is in the chief lamaseries of Mongolia and Thibet that it has taken refuge; and there Shamanism, if so we must call it, is practiced to the utmost limits of intercourse allowed between man and “spirit.” The religion of the lamas has faithfully preserved the primitive science of magic, and produces as great feats now as it did in the days of Kublai-Khan and his barons. 615
A number of lamas in Sikkin produce meipo — “miracle” — by magical powers. The late Patriarch of Mongolia, Gegen Chutuktu, who resided at Urga, a veritable paradise, was the sixteenth incarnation of Gautama, therefore a Boddhisattva. He had the reputation of possessing powers that were phenomenal, even among the thaumaturgists of the land of miracles par excellence. Let no one suppose that these powers are developed without cost. The lives of most of these holy men, miscalled idle vagrants, cheating beggars, who are supposed to pass their existence in preying upon the easy credulity of their victims, are miracles in themselves. Miracles, because they show what a determined will and perfect purity of life and purpose are able to accomplish, and to what degree of preternatural ascetism a human body can be subjected and yet live and reach a ripe old age. No Christian hermit has ever dreamed of such refinement of monastic discipline; and the aerial habitation of a Simon Stylite would appear child’s play before the fakir’s and the Buddhist’s inventions of will-tests. But the theoretical study of magic is one thing; the possibility of practicing it quite another. At Bras-ss-Pungs, the Mongolian college where over three hundred magicians (sorciers, as the French missionaries call them) teach about twice as many pupils from twelve to twenty, the latter have many years to wait for their final initiation. Not one in a hundred reaches the highest goal; and out of the many thousand lamas occupying nearly an entire city of detached buildings clustering around it, not more than two per cent. become wonder-workers. One may learn by heart every line of the 108 volumes of Kadjur,* and still make but a poor practical magician. There is but one thing which leads surely to it, and this particular study is hinted at by more than one Hermetic writer. One, the Arabian alchemist Abipili, speaks thus: “I admonish thee, whosoever thou art that desirest to dive into the inmost parts of nature; if that thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee. If thou knowest not the excellency of thine own house, why dost thou seek after the ex cellency of other things? . . . O MAN, KNOW THYSELF! IN THEE IS HID THE TREASURE OF TREASURES.” 617
The Purpose of this work 634 / Spiritualism 636 / Perennialism 638
By those who have followed us thus far, it will naturally be asked, to what practical issue this book tends; much has been said about magic and its potentiality, much of the immense antiquity of its practice. Do we wish to affirm that the occult sciences ought to be studied and practiced throughout the world? Would we replace modern spiritualism with the ancient magic? Neither; the substitution could not be made, nor the study universally prosecuted, without incurring the risk of enormous public dangers. At this moment, a well-known spiritualist and lecturer on mesmerism is imprisoned on the charge of raping a subject whom he had hypnotized. A sorcerer is a public enemy, and mesmerism may most readily be turned into the worst of sorceries.
We would have neither scientists, theologians, nor spiritualists turn practical magicians, but all to realize that there was true science, profound religion, and genuine phenomena before this modern era. We would that all who have a voice in the education of the masses should first know and then teach that the safest guides to human happiness and enlightenment are those writings which have descended to us from the remotest antiquity; and that nobler spiritual aspirations and a higher average morality prevail in the countries where the people take their precepts as the rule of their lives. We would have all to realize that magical, i.e., spiritual powers exist in every man, and those few to practice them who feel called to teach, and are ready to pay the price of discipline and self-conquest which their development exacts.
Many men have arisen who had glimpses of the truth, and fancied they had it all. Such have failed to achieve the good they might have done and sought to do, because vanity has made them thrust their personality into such undue prominence as to interpose it between their believers and the whole truth that lay behind. The world needs no sectarian church, whether of Buddha, Jesus, Mahomet, Swedenborg, Calvin, or any other. There being but ONE Truth, man requires but one church — the Temple of God within us, walled in by matter but penetrable by any one who can find the way; the pure in heart see God.
The trinity of nature is the lock of magic, the trinity of man the key that fits it. Within the solemn precincts of the sanctuary the SUPREME had and has no name. It is unthinkable and unpronounceable; and yet every man finds in himself his god. “Who art thou, O fair being?” inquires the disembodied soul, in the Khordah-Avesta, at the gates of Paradise. “I am, O Soul, thy good and pure thoughts, thy works and thy good law . . . thy angel . . . and thy god.” Then man, or the soul, is reunited with ITSELF, for this “Son of God” is one with him; it is his own mediator, the god of his human soul and his “Justifier.” “God not revealing himself immediately to man, the spirit is his interpreter,” says Plato in the Banquet.
Besides, there are many good reasons why the study of magic, except in its broad philosophy, is nearly impracticable in Europe and America. Magic being what it is, the most difficult of all sciences to learn experimentally — its acquisition is practically beyond the reach of the majority of white-skinned people; and that, whether their effort is made at home or in the East. Probably not more than one man in a million of European blood is fitted — either physically, morally, or psychologically — to become a practical magician, and not one in ten millions would be found endowed with all these three qualifications as required for the work. Civilized nations lack the phenomenal powers of endurance, both mental and physical, of the Easterns; the favoring temperamental idiosyncrasies of the Orientals are utterly wanting in them. In the Hindu, the Arabian, the Thibetan, an intuitive perception of the possibilities of occult natural forces in subjection to human will, comes by inheritance; and in them, the physical senses as well as the spiritual are far more finely developed than in the Western races. Notwithstanding the notable difference of thickness between the skulls of a European and a Southern Hindu, this difference, being a purely climatic result, due to the intensity of the sun’s rays, involves no psychological principles. Furthermore, there would be tremendous difficulties in the way of training, if we can so express it. Contaminated by centuries of dogmatic superstition, by an ineradicable — though quite unwarranted — sense of superiority over those whom the English term so contemptuously “niggers,” the white European would hardly submit himself to the practical tuition of either Kopt, Brahman, or Lama. To become a neophyte, one must be ready to devote himself heart and soul to the study of mystic sciences. Magic — most imperative of mistresses — brooks no rival. Unlike other sciences, a theoretical knowledge of formulai without mental capacities or soul powers, is utterly useless in magic. The spirit must hold in complete subjection the combativeness of what is loosely termed educated reason, until facts have vanquished cold human sophistry. 635-36
Those best prepared to appreciate occultism are the spiritualists, although, through prejudice, until now they have been the bitterest opponents to its introduction to public notice. Despite all foolish negations and denunciations, their phenomena are real. Despite, also, their own assertions they are wholly misunderstood by themselves. The totally insufficient theory of the constant agency of disembodied human spirits in their production has been the bane of the Cause. A thousand mortifying rebuffs have failed to open their reason or intuition to the truth. Ignoring the teachings of the past, they have discovered no substitute. We offer them philosophical deduction instead of unverifiable hypothesis, scientific analysis and demonstration instead of undiscriminating faith. Occult philosophy gives them the means of meeting the reasonable requirements of science, and frees them from the humiliating necessity to accept the oracular teachings of “intelligences,” which as a rule have less intelligence than a child at school. So based and so strengthened, modern phenomena would be in a position to command the attention and enforce the respect of those who carry with them public opinion. Without invoking such help, spiritualism must continue to vegetate, equally repulsed — not without cause — both by scientists and theologians. In its modern aspect, it is neither a science, a religion, nor a philosophy. 636
Our examination of the multitudinous religious faiths that mankind, early and late, have professed, most assuredly indicates that they have all been derived from one primitive source. It would seem as if they were all but different modes of expressing the yearning of the imprisoned human soul for intercourse with supernal spheres. As the white ray of light is decomposed by the prism into the various colors of the solar spectrum, so the beam of divine truth, in passing through the three-sided prism of man’s nature, has been broken up into vari-colored fragments called RELIGIONS. And, as the rays of the spectrum, by imperceptible shadings, merge into each other, so the great theologies that have appeared at different degrees of divergence from the original source, have been connected by minor schisms, schools, and off-shoots from the one side or the other. Combined, their aggregate represents one eternal truth; separate, they are but shades of human error and the signs of imperfection. The worship of the Vedic pitris is fast becoming the worship of the spiritual portion of mankind. It but needs the right perception of things objective to finally discover that the only world of reality is the subjective.
What has been contemptuously termed Paganism, was ancient wisdom replete with Deity; and Judaism and its offspring, Christianity and Islamism, derived whatever of inspiration they contained from this ethnic parent. Pre-Vedic Brahmanism and Buddhism are the double source from which all religions sprung; Nirvana is the ocean to which all tend. For the purposes of a philosophical analysis, we need not take account of the enormities which have blackened the record of many of the world’s religions. True faith is the embodiment of divine charity; those who minister at its altars, are but human. As we turn the blood-stained pages of ecclesiastical history, we find that, whoever may have been the hero, and whatever costumes the actors may have worn, the plot of the tragedy has ever been the same. But the Eternal Night was in and behind all, and we pass from what we see to that which is invisible to the eye of sense. Our fervent wish has been to show true souls how they may lift aside the curtain, and, in the brightness of that Night made Day, look with undazzled gaze upon the UNVEILED TRUTH. 639-40