The following is extracted from H.P.B.'s first book (1), and
is printed in this series with the belief that it will be useful
as well as interesting. She gives some fundamental oriental propositions
relating to occult arts, thus:
1. 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.
2. 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 is
spirit, the source of all forces, alone eternal and indestructible.
The lower two constantly change; the higher third does not.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Arcane knowledge misapplied is sorcery; beneficently used,
true magic or WISDOM.
6. Mediumship is the opposite of Adeptship; the medium is
the passive instrument of foreign influences, the Adept actively
controls himself and all inferior potencies.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
To the movements of the wandering astral form neither time
nor space offers obstacles. The thaumaturgist thoroughly skilled
in occult science can cause himself (that is, his physical body)
to seem to disappear or to apparently take on any shape
that he may choose. He may make his astral form visible, or he
may give it protean appearances. In both cases these results
will be achieved by a mesmeric hallucination of the senses of
all witnesses, simultaneously brought on. This hallucination
is so perfect that the subject of it would stake his life that
he saw a reality, when it is but a picture in his own mind, impressed
upon his consciousness by the irresistible will of the mesmerizer.
But while the astral form can go anywhere, penetrate any obstacle,
and be seen at any distance from the physical body, the latter
is dependent upon ordinary methods of transportation. It may
be levitated under prescribed magnetic conditions, but not pass
from one locality to another except in the usual way...Inert
matter may be in certain cases and under certain conditions disintegrated,
passed through walls and recombined, but living animal organisms
...Arcane science teaches that the abandonment of the living
body by the soul frequently occurs, and that we encounter every
day in every condition of life such living corpses. Various causes,
among them overpowering fright, grief, despair, a violent attack
of sickness, or excessive sensuality, may bring this about. The
vacant carcass may be entered and inhabited by the astral form
of an Adept, sorcerer, or an elementary (an earth-bound disembodied
human soul), or, very rarely, an elemental. Of course an Adept
of white magic has the same power, but unless some very exceptional
and great object is to be accomplished he will never consent
to pollute himself by occupying the body of an impure person.
In insanity the patient's astral being is either semi-paralyzed,
bewildered, and subject to the influence of every passing spirit
of any sort, or it has departed, forever, and the body is taken
possession of by some vampirish entity, near its own disintegration
and clinging desperately to earth, whose sensual pleasures it
may enjoy for a brief season longer by this expedient.
10. 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 within 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
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.
Propositions 2 and 3 contain and include the seven-fold classification.
In 1877 H.P.B. was writing for those who had known but the three-fold
scheme. In number two the vital principle (prana or jiva)
is given; the body with vitality makes two; the real man inside
called the soul, being composed of astral body, desires,
and mind, makes five; the spirit, including the connecting
link of Buddhi, completes the seven. The will is one of
the forces directly from spirit, and is guided, with ordinary
men, by desire; in the Adept's case the will is guided by Buddhi,
Manas, and Atma, including in its operation the force of a pure
spiritual desire acting solely under law and duty.
William Q. Judge