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Theosophical Manuals. No. 5 






London : 

Theosophical Publishing Society 

7 Duke Street, AdelphI, W.C. 

Benares : Theosophical Publishing Society 
Madras : The Thcosophist Office, Adyar 



/^^5^ PREFACE. 

Few words are needed in sending this little book out 
into the world. It is the fifth of a series of Manuals 
designed to meet the public demand for a simple exposi- 
tion of Theosophical teachings. Some have complained 
that our literature is at once too abstruse^ too technical^ 
and too expensive for the ordinary reader y and it is our 
hope that the present series may succeed in supplying 
what is a very real want, Theosophy is not only for the 
learned ; it is for all. Perhaps atnong those who in these 
little books catch their first glimpse of its teachings^ there 
may be a few who will be led by them to penetrate more 
deeply into its philosophy^ its science and its religion^ 
facing its abstruser problems with the student *s seal and 
the neophyte's ardour. But these Manuals are not 
ivrittenfor the eager student y whom no initial difficulties 
can daunt; they are written for the busy men and 
women of the work-a-day worlds and seek to make plain 
some of the great truths that render life easier to bear 
and death easier to face* Written by servants of the 
Masters who are the Elder Brothers of our race^ they can 
have no other object than to serve our fellow-men. 




Scenery. — The Seven Subdivisions — Degrees of Materiality 
—Characteristics of Astral Vision — The Aura— The Etheric 
Double — Power of Magnifying Minute Objects — The "Sum- 
merland " — Records of the Astral Light. 

Inhabitants. — I. Human, (i) Living : — The Adept or Chela 
in MAyAviriipa — The Psychically Developed Person — The Ordi- 
nary Person in Astral Body — Tlie Black Magician. ^2) Dead : 
— The NirmAnakaya — The Chela awaiting Reincarnation — The 
Ordinary Person after Death— The Shade— The Shell— The 
Vitalized Shell— The Suicide— The Victim of Sudden Death— 
The Vampire — The Werewolf— The Black Magician after 
Death. II. Non-human: — The Elemental Essence — The 
KAmarupas of Animals— Various Classes of Nature- Spirits, 
commonly called Fairies — Kdmadevas — Rupadevas — Arupa- 
devas— The DevarAjahs. III. Artificial :—Elementals formed 
Unconsciously— Guardian Angels — Elementals formed Con- 
sciously — Human Artificials — The True Origin of Spiritual- 

Phenomena— Churchyard Ghosts. — Apparitions of the 
Dying — Haunted Localities — Family Ghosts — Bell-ringing, 
Stone-throwing, etc. — Fairies — Communicating Entities — 
Astral Resources — Clairvoyance — Prevision — Second- Sight — 
Astral Forces — Etheric Currents — Etheric Pressure — Latent 
Energy — Sympathetic Vibration — Mantras — Disintegration — 
Materialization — Why Darkness is required at a Seance — 
Spirit Photographs — Reduplication— Precipitation of Letters 
and Pictures — Slate-writing — Levitation — Spirit Lights — 
Handling Fire — Transmutation — Repercussion, 





Reference to the astral plane, or Kimaloka as it is called 
in Sanskrit, has frequently been made by Theosophical 
writers, and a good deal of information on the subject of 
this realm of nature is to be found scattered here and there 
in our books ; but there is not, so far as I am aware, any 
single volume to which one can turn for a complete 
summary of the facts at present known to us about this 
interesting region. The object of this manual is to collect 
and make some attempt to arrange this scattered information, 
and also to supplement it slightly in cases where new facts 
have come to our knowledge. It must be understood that 
any such additions are only the result of the investigations 
of a few explorers, and must not, therefore, be taken as in 
any way authoritative, but are given simply for what they 
are worth. On the other hand every precaution in our 
power has been taken to ensure accuracy, no fact, old or 
new, being admitted to this manual unless it has been 
confirmed by the testimony of at least two independent 
trained investigators among ourselves, and has also been 
passed as correct by older students whose knowledge on 
these points is necessarily much greater than ours. It is 
hoped, therefore, that this account of the astral plane, 

though it cannot be considered as quite complete, may yet 
be found reliable as far as it goes. 

The first point which it is necessary to make clear in 
describing this astral plane is its absolute reality. Of 
course in using that word I am not speaking from that 
metaphysical standpoint from which all but the One 
Unmanifested is unreal because impermanent ; I am using 
the word in its plain, every-day sense, and I mean by it that 
the objects and inhabitants of the astral plane are real in 
exactly the same way as our own bodies, our furniture, our 
houses or monuments are real — as real as Charing Cross, 
to quote an expressive remark from one of the earliest 
Theosophical works. They will no more endure for ever 
than will objects on the physical plane, but they are never- 
theless realities from our point of view while they last — 
realities which we cannot afford to ignore merely because 
the majority of mankind is as yet unconscious, or but 
vaguely conscious, of their existence. 

There appears to be considerable misunderstanding even 
among Theosophical students upon this question of the 
reality of the various planes of the universe. This may 
perhaps be partly due to the fact that the word " plane " 
has occasionally been very loosely used in our literature — 
writers speaking vaguely of the mental plane, the moral 
plane, and so on ; and this vagueness has led many people 
to suppose that the information on the subject which is to 
be found in Theosophical books is inexact and speculative — 
a mere hypothesis incapable of definite proof. No one can 
get a clear . conception of the teachings of the Wisdom- 
Religion until he has at any rate an intellectual grasp of the 
fact that in our solar system there exist perfectly definite 
planes, each with its own matter of different degrees of 
density, and that some of these planes can be visited and 
observed by persons who have qualified themselves for the 

work, exactly as a foreign country might be visited and 
observed ; and that, by comparison of the observations of 
those who are constantly working on these planes, evidence 
can be obtained of their existence and nature at least as 
satisfactory as that which most of us have for the existence 
of Greenland or Spitzbergen. The names usually given to 
these planes, taking them in order of materiality, rising from 
the denser to the finer, are the physical, the astral, the 
devachanic, the sushuptic, and the nirvanic. Higher than 
this last are two others, but they are so far above our present 
power of conception that for the moment they may be left 
out of consideration. Now it should be understood that 
the matter of each of these planes differs from that of the 
one below it in the same way as, though to a much greater 
degree than, vapour differs from solid matter ; in fact, the 
states of matter which we call solid, liquid, and gaseous are 
merely the three lowest subdivisions of the matter belonging 
to this one physical plane. 

The astral region which I am to attempt to describe is 
the second of these great planes of nature — the next above 
(or within) that physical world with which we are all 
familiar. It has often been called the realm of 
illusion — not that it is itself any more illusory than the 
physical world, but because of the extreme unreliabihty of 
the impressions brought back from it by the untrained seer. 
This is to be accounted for mainly by two remarkable 
characteristics of the astral world— first, that many of its 
inhabitants have a marvellous power of changing their forms 
with Protean rapidity, and also of casting practically 
unlimited glamour over those with whom they choose 
to sport ; and secondly, that sight on that plane is a 
faculty very different from and much more extended than 
physical vision. An object is seen, as it were, from all 
sides at once, the inside of a solid being as plainly open to 

the view as the outside ; it is therefore obvious that an 
inexperienced visitor to this new world may well find 
considerable difficulty in understanding what he really does 
see, and still more in translating his vision into the very 
inadequate language of ordinary speech. A good example 
of the sort of mistake that is likely to occur is the frequent 
reversal of any number which the seer has to read from the 
astral light, so that he would be liable to render, say, 139 
as 931, and so on. In the case of a student of occultism 
trained by a capable Master such a mistake would be 
impossible except through great hurry or carelessness, since 
such a pupil has to go through a long and varied course of 
instruction in this art of seeing correctly, the Master, or 
perhaps some more advanced pupil, bringing before him 
again and again all possible forms of illusion, and asking 
him " What do you see ? " Any errors in his answers are 
then corrected and their reasons explained, until by degrees 
the neophyte acquires a certainty and confidence in dealing 
with the phenomena of the astral plane which far exceeds 
anything possible in physical Hfe. But he has to learn not 
only to see correctly but to translate the memory of what 
he has seen accurately from one plane to the other ; and to 
assist him in this he is trained to carry his consciousness 
without break from the physical plane to the astral or 
devachanic and back again, for until that can be done there 
is always a possibility that his recollections may be partially 
lost or distorted during the blank interval which separates 
his periods of consciousness on the various planes. When 
the power of bringing over the consciousness is perfectly 
acquired the pupil will have the advantage of the use of all 
the astral faculties, not only while out of his body during 
sleep or trance, but also while fully awake in ordinary 
physical life. 

It has been the custom of some Theosophists to speak 


with scorn of the astral plane, and treat it as entirely un- 
worthy of attention ; but that seems to me a somewhat 
mistaken view. Most assuredly that at which we have to 
aim is the purely spiritual plane, and it would be most dis- 
astrous for any student to neglect that higher development 
and rest satisfied with the attainment of astral consciousness. 
There are some whose Karma is such as to enable them to 
develop the purely spiritual faculties first of all — to over- 
leap the astral plane for the time, as it were ; and when 
afterwards they make its acquaintance they have, if their 
spiritual development has been perfect, the immense ad- 
vantage of dipping into it from above, with the aid of a 
spiritual insight which cannot be deceived and a spiritual 
strength which nothing can resist. It is, however, a mis- 
take to suppose, as some writers have done, that this is 
the only, or even the ordinary method adopted by the 
Masters of Wisdom with their pupils. Where it is possible 
it saves much trouble, but for most of us such progress by 
leaps and bounds has been forbidden by our own faults or 
follies in the past : all that we can hope for is to win our 
way slowly step by step, and since this astral plane lies next to 
our world of denser matter, it is usually in connection with it 
that our earliest super-physical experiences take place. It 
is therefore by no means without interest to those of us who 
are but beginners in these studies, and a clear comprehension 
of its mysteries may often be of the greatest importance to 
us, not only l)y enabling us to understand many of the 
phenomena of the seartce-room, of haunted houses, etc., 
which would otherwise be inexplicable, but also to guard 
ourselves and others from possible dangers. 

The first introduction to this remarkable region comes to 
people in various ways. Some only once in their whole 
lives under some unusual influence become sensitive enough 
to recognize the presence of one of its inhabitants, and per- 

haps, because the experience does not repeat itself, come in 
time to believe that on that occasion they must have been 
the victims of hallucination : others find themselves with in- 
creasing frequency seeing and hearing something to which 
those around them are blind and deaf; others again — and 
perhaps this is the commonest experience of all — begin to 
recollect with greater and greater clearness that vvhich they 
have seen or heard on that other plane during sleep. Among 
those who make a study of these subjects, some try to 
develop the astral sight by crystal-gazing or other methods, 
while those who have the inestimable advantage of the direct 
guidance of a qualified teacher will probably be placed upon 
that plane for the first time under his special protection, 
which will be continued until, by the application of various 
tests, he has satisfied himself that the pupil is proof against 
any danger or terror that he is likely to encounter. But, 
however it may occur, the first actual realization that we are 
all the while in the midst of a great world full of active life, of 
which most of us are nevertheless entirely unconscious, can- 
not but be to some extent a memorable epoch in a man's 

So abundant and so manifold is this life of the astral plane 
that at first it is absolutely bewildering to the neophyte ; and 
even for the more practised investigator it is no easy task to 
attempt to classify and to catalogue it. If the explorer of 
some unknown tropical forest were asked not only to give a 
full account of the country through which he had passed, 
with accurate details of its vegetable and mineral productions, 
but also to state the genus and species of every one of the 
myriad insects, birds, beasts, and reptiles which he had seen, 
he might well shrink appalled at the magnitude of the under- 
taking : yet even this affords no parallel to the embarrass- 
ments of the psychic investigator, for in his case matters are 
further complicated, first by the difficulty of correctly 


translating from that plane to this the recollection of what 
he has seen, and secondly by the utter inadequacy of 
ordinary language to express much of what he has to report. 
However, just as the explorer on the physical plane would 
probably commence his account of a country by some sort 
of general description of its scenery and characteristics, so 
it will be well to begin this slight sketch of the astral plane 
by endeavouring to give some idea of the scenery which 
forms the background of its marvellous and ever-changing 
activities. Yet here at the outset an almost insuperable 
difficulty confronts us in the extreme complexity of the 
matter. All who see fully on that plane agree that to attempt 
to call up before those whose eyes are as yet unopened a 
vivid picture of this astral scenery is like speaking to a blind 
man of the exquisite variety of tints in a sunset sky — however 
detailed and elaborate the description may be, there is no 
certainty that the idea presented before the hearer's mind 
will be an adequate representation of the truth. 



First of all, then, it must be understood that the astral 
plane has seven subdivisions, each of which has its corre- 
sponding degree of materiality and its corresponding con- 
dition of matter. Now numbering these from the highest 
and least material downwards, we find that they naturally 
fall into three classes, divisions i, 2 and 3 forming one 
such class, and 4, 5 and 6 another, while the seventh and 
lowest of all stands alone. The difference between the 
matter of one of these classes and the next would be com- 
mensurable with that between a solid and a liquid, while 
the difference between the matter of the subdivisions of a 
class would rather resemble that between two kinds 
of solid, such as, say, steel and sand. Putting aside for the 
moment the seventh, we may say that divisions 4, 5 and 6 of the 
astral plane have for their background the physical world we 
live in and all its familiar accessories. Life on the sixth 
division is simply our ordinary life on this earth, minus the 
physical body and its necessities ; while as it ascends through 
the fifth and fourth divisions it becomes less and less 
material, and is more and more withdrawn from our lower 
world and its interests. 

The scenery of these lower divisions, then, is that of the 
earth as we know it : but it is also very much more ; for when 
looked at from this different standpoint, with the assistance 
of the astral senses, even purely physical objects present a 

very different appearance. As has already been mentioned, 
they are seen by one whose eyes are fully opened, not as 
usual from one point of view, but from all sides at once — an 
idea in itself sufficiently confusing ; and when we add to this 
that every particle in the interior of a solid body is as fully 
and clearly visible as those on the outside, it will be com- 
prehended that under such conditions even the most 
familiar objects may at first be totally unrecognizable. Yet 
a moment's consideration will show that such vision ap- 
proximates much more closely to true perception than does 
physical sight. Looked at on the astral plane, for example, 
the sides of a glass cube would all appear equal, as they 
really are, while on the physical plane we see the further 
side in perspective — that is, it appears smaller than the 
nearer side, which is, of course, a mere illusion. It 
is this characteristic of astral vision which has led to its 
sometimes being spoken of as sight in the fourth dimension 
— a very suggestive and expressive phrase. But in addition 
to these possible sources of error matters are further com- 
plicated by the fact that astral sight cognizes forms of 
matter which, while still purely physical, are nevertheless 
invisible under ordinary conditions. Such, for example, 
are the particles composing the atmosphere, all the various 
emanations which are always being given out by everything 
that has life, and also four grades of a still finer order of 
physical matter which, for want of more distinctive names, 
must all be described as etheric. The latter form a kind 
of system by themselves, freely interpenetrating all other 
physical matter; and the investigation of their vibrations 
and the manner in which various higher forces affect them 
would in itself constitute a vast field of deeply interesting 
study for any man of science who possessed the requisite 
sight for its examination. 

Even when our imagination has fully grasped all that is 


comprehended in what has already been said, we do not 
yet understand half the complexity of the problem ; for 
besides all these new forms of physical matter we have to 
deal with the still more numerous and perplexirig sub- 
divisions of astral matter. We must note first that every 
material object, every particle even, has its astral counter- 
part ; and this counterpart is itself not a simple body, but 
is usually extremely complex, being composed of various 
kinds of astral matter. In addition to this each living 
creature is surrounded with an atmosphere of its own, 
usually called its aura, and in the case of human beings 
this aura forms of itself a very fascinating branch of study. 
It is seen as an oval mass of luminous mist of highly com- 
plex structure, and from its shape has sometimes been 
called the auric egg. Theosophical readers will hear with 
pleasure that even at the early stage of his development at 
which the pupil begins to acquire this astral sight, he is 
able to assure himself by direct observation of the accuracy 
of the teaching given through our great founder, Madame 
Blavatsky, on the subject of some at least of the seven 
principles of man. In regarding his fellow-man he no 
longer sees only his outer appearance ; exactly co-extensive 
with that physical body he clearly distinguishes the etheric 
double, which in Theosophical literature has usually been 
called the Linga Sharira; while the Jiva, as it is absorbed 
and specialized into Prana, as it circulates in rosy light 
throughout the body, as it eventually radiates from the 
healthy person in its altered fonn, is also perfectly obvious. 
Most brilliant and most easily seen of all, perhaps, though 
belonging to quite a different order of matter — the astral — 
is the k^mic aura, which expresses by its vivid and ever- 
changing flashes of colour the different desires which 
sweep across the man's mind from moment to moment. 
This is the true astral body. Behind that, and consisting 


of a finer grade of matter — that of the r^pa levels of 
Devachan — lies the devachanic body or aura of the lower 
Manas, whose colours, changing only by slow degrees as 
the man lives his life, show the disposition and character 
of the personality; while still higher and infinitely more 
beautiful, where at all clearly developed, is the living light 
of the Karana Sharira, the aura or vehicle of the higher 
Manas, which shows the stage of development of the real 
Ego in its passage from birth to birth. But to see these 
the pupil must have developed something more than mere 
astral vision. 

It will save the student much trouble if he learns 
at once to regard these auras not as mere emanations, 
but as the actual manifestation of the Ego on their respec- 
tive planes — if he understands that it is the auric egg which 
is the real man, not the physical body which on this plane 
crystallizes in the middle of it. So long as the reincarnating 
Ego remains upon the plane which is his true home in the 
arQpa levels of Devachan, the body which he inhabits is the 
Karana Sharira, but when he descends into the r^pa levels 
he must, in order to be able to function upon them, clothe 
himself in their matter ; and the matter that he thus attracts 
to himself furnishes his devachanic or mind-body. Similarly, 
descending into the astral plane he forms his astral or kimic 
body out of its matter, though of course still retaining all 
the other bodies, and on his still further descent to this 
lowest plane of all the physical body is formed in the midst 
of the auric egg, which thus contains the entire man. 
Fuller accounts of these auras will be found in Transaction 
No. 1 8 of the London Lodge, and in a recent article of mine 
in The Theosophist, but enough has been said here to show 
that as they all occupy the same space (which by the way 
they share also with the physical health-aura), the finer mter- 
penetrating the grosser, it needs careful study and much 


practice to enable the neophyte to distinguish clearly at a 
glance the one from the other. Nevertheless the human 
aura, or more usually some one part of it only, is not in- 
frequently one of the first purely astral objects seen by the 
untrained, though in such a case its indications are naturally 
very likely to be misunderstood. 

'rhough tlie k^mic aura from the brilliancy of its flashes of 
colour may often be more conspicuous, the nerve-ether and 
the etheric double are really of a much denser order of matter, 
being strictly speaking within the limits of the physical plane, 
though invisible to ordinary sight. It has been the custom 
in Theosophical literature to describe the Linga Sharira as 
the astral counterpart of the human body, the word ** astral '' 
having been usually applied to everything beyond the 
cognition of our physical senses. As closer investigation 
enables us to be more precise in the use of our terms, how- 
ever, we find ourselves compelled to admit much of this 
invisible matter as purely physical, and therefore to define 
the Linga Sharira no longer as the astral, 'but as the etheric 
double. This seems an appropriate name for it, since it 
consists of various grades of that matter which scientists 
call " ether," though this proves on examination to be not 
a separate substance, as has been generally supposed, but a 
condition of finer subdivision than the gaseous, to which 
any kind of physical matter may be reduced by the applica- 
tion of the appropriate forces. The name "etheric double" 
will therefore for the future be used in Theosophic writings 
instead of " Linga Sharira " : and this change will not only 
give us the advantage of an English name which is clearly 
indicative of the character of the body to which it is 
applied, but will also relieve us from the frequent misunder- 
standings which have arisen from the fact that an entirely 
different signification is attached in all the Oriental books 
to the name we have hitherto been using. It must not 


however be supposed that in making this alteration in 
nomenclature we are in any way putting forward a new 
conception ; we are simply altering, for the sake of greater 
accuracy, the labels previously attached to certain facts in 
nature. If we examine with psychic faculty the body of a 
newly-born child, we shall find it permeated not only by 
astral matter of every degree of density, but also by the 
several grades of etheric matter ; and if we take the trouble 
to trace these inner bodies backwards to their origin, we 
find that it is of the latter that the etheric double — the mould 
upon which the physical body is built up — is formed by the 
agents of the Lords of Karma; while the astral matter has 
been gathered together by the descending Ego — not of 
course consciously, but automatically — as he passes through 
the astral plane. (See Manual No. IV., p. 44.) 

Into the composition of the etheric double must enter 
something of all the different grades of etheric matter ; but 
the proportions may vary greatly, and are determined by 
several factors, such as the race, sub-race, and type of a 
man, as well as by his individual Karma. When it is re- 
membered that these four subdivisions of matter are made 
up of numerous combinations, which, in their turn, form 
aggregations that enter into the composition of the ** atom " 
of the so-called " element " of the chemist, it will be seen 
that this second principle of man is highly complex, and 
the number of its possible variations practically infinite, 
so that, however complicated and unusual a man's Karma 
may be, the Lipika are able to give a mould in accordance 
with which a body exactly suiting it can be formed. 

One other point deserves mention in connection with 
the appearance of physical matter when looked at from the 
astral plane, and that is that the astral vision possesses the 
power of magnifying at will the minutest physical particle to 
any desired size, as though by a microscope, though its 


magnifying power is enormously greater than that of any 
microscope ever made or ever likely to be made. The 
hypothetical molecule and atom postulated by science are 
therefore visible realities to the occult student, though the 
latter recognizes them as much more complex in their 
nature than the scientific man has yet discovered them to 
be. Here again is a vast field of study of absorbing interest 
to which a whole volume might readily be devoted ; and a 
scientific investigator who should acquire this astral sight 
in perfection, would not only find his experiments with 
ordinary and known phenomena immensely facilitated, but 
would also see stretching before him entirely new vistas of 
knowledge needing more than a lifetime for their thorough 
examination. F'or example, one curious and very beautiful 
novelty brought to his notice by the development of this 
vision would be the existence of other and entirely different 
colours beyond the limits of the ordinarily visible spectrum, 
the ultra-red and ultra-violet rays which science has dis- 
covered by other means being plainly perceptible to astral 
sight. We must not, however, allow ourselves to follow these 
fascinating bye-paths, but must resume our endeavour to 
give a general idea of the appearance of the astral plane. 

It will by this time be obvious that though, as above 
stated, the ordinary objects of the physical world form the 
background to life on certain levels of the astral plane, yet 
so much more is seen of their real appearance and char- 
acteristics that the general effect differs widely from that 
with which we are familiar. For the sake of illustration 
take a rock as an example of the simpler class of objects. 
When regarded with trained sight it is no mere inert mass 
of stone. First of all, the whole of the physical matter of 
the rock is seen instead of a very small part of it ; secondly, 
the vibrations of its physical particles are perceptible; 
thirdly, it is seen to possess an astral counterpart composed 


of various grades of astral matter, whose particles are also 
in constant motion ; fourthly, the Jtva or universal life is 
seen to be circulating through it and radiating from it ; 
fifthly, an aura will be seen surrounding it, though this is, of 
course, much less extended and varied than in the case of 
the higher kingdoms ; sixthly, its appropriate elemental 
essence is seen permeating it, ever active but ever fluctuating. 
In the case of the vegetable, animal and human kingdoms, 
the complications are naturally much more numerous. 

It may be objected by some readers that no such com- 
plexities as these are described by most of the psychics who 
occasionally get glimpses of the astral world, nor are they 
reported at seances by the entities that manifest there ; but 
this is readily accounted for. Few untrained persons on 
that plane, whether living or dead, see things as they really 
are until after very long experience ; even those who do see 
fully are often too dazed and confused to understand or 
remember : and among the very small minority who both 
see and remember there are hardly any who can translate 
the recollection into language on our lower plane. Many 
untrained psychics never examine their visions scientifically 
at all : they sim[)ly obtain an impression which may be 
quite correct, but may also be half false, or even wholly 

All the more probable does the latter hypothesis become 
when we take into consideration the frequent tricks played 
by sportive denizens of the other world, against which the 
untrained person is usually absolutely defenceless. It must 
also be remembered that the regular inhabitant of the 
astral plane, whether he be human or elemental, is under 
ordinary circumstances conscious only of the objects of 
that plane, physical matter being to him as entirely in- 
visible as is astral matter to the majority of mankind. 
Since, as before remarked, every physical object has its 


astral counterpart, which would be visible to him, it may 
be thought that the distinction is a trivial one, yet it is an 
essential part of the symmetrical conception of the subject. 
If, however, an astral entity constantly works through a 
medium, these finer astral senses may gradually be so 
coarsened as to become insensible to the higher grades of 
matter on their own plane, and to include in their purview 
the physical world as we see it instead ; but only the trained 
visitor from this life, who is fully conscious on both planes, 
can depend upon seeing both clearly and simultaneously. 
Be it understood, then, that the complexity exists, and that 
only when it is fully perceived and scientifically unravelled 
is there perfect security against deception or mistake. 

For the seventh or lowest subdivision of the astral plane 
also this physical world of ours may be said to be the back- 
ground, though what is seen is only a distorted and partial 
view of it, since all that is light and good and beautiful 
seems invisible. It was thus described four thousand years 
ago in the Egyptian papyrus of the Scribe Ani : " What 
manner of place is this unto which I have come ? It hath 
no water, it hath no air ; it is deep, unfathomable ; it is 
black as the blackest night, and men wander helplessly 
about therein ; in it a man may not live in quietness of 
heart." For the unfortunate entity on that level it is indeed 
true that **all the earth is full of darkness and cruel habita- 
tions," but it is darkness which radiates from within himself 
and causes his existence to be passed in a perpetual night 
of evil and horror — a very real hell, though, like all other 
hells, entirely of man's own creation. 

Most students find the investigation of this section an 
extremely unpleasant task, for there appears to be a sense 
of density and gross materiality about it which is indescrib- 
ably loathsome to the liberated astral body, causing it the 
sense of pushing its way through some black, viscous fluid. 


while the inhabitants and influences encountered there are 
also usually exceedingly undesirable. 

The first, second, and third subdivisions seem much 
further removed from this physical world, and corre- 
spondingly less material. Entities inhabiting these levels 
lose sight of the earth and its belongings ; they are usually 
deeply self-absorbed, and to a large extent create their own 
surroundings, though these are not purely subjective, as in 
Devachan, but on the contrary sufficiently objective to be 
perceptible to other entities and also to clairvoyant vision. 
This region is beyond doubt the "summerland" of which 
we hear so much at spiritualistic skances^ and the entities 
who descend from and describe it are probably often 
speaking the truth as far as their knowledge extends. It is 
on these planes that " spirits " call into temporary existence 
their houses, schools, and cities, for these objects are often 
real enough for the time, though to a clearer sight they 
may sometimes be pitiably unlike what their delighted 
creators supfjose them to be. Nevertheless, many of the 
imaginations that take form there are of real though tem- 
porary beauty, and a visitor who knew of nothing higher 
might wander contentedly enough there among forests and 
mountains, lovely lakes and pleasant flower-gardens, or 
might even construct such surroundings to suit his own 

It may be said in passing that communication is limited 
on the astral plane by the knowledge of the entity, just as 
it is here. While a person able to function freely on that 
plane can communicate with any of the human entities 
there present more readily and rapidly than on earth, by 
means of mental impressions, the inhabitants themselves do 
not usually seem able to exercise this power, but appear to 
be restricted by limitations similar to those that prevail on 
earth, though perhaps less rigid. The result of this is that 



they are found associating, there as here, in groups drawn 
together by common sympathies, beliefs, and language. 

An account of the scenery of the astral plane would be 
incomplete without mention of what are commonly called 
the Records of the Astral Light, the photographic repre- 
sentation of all that has ever happened. These records are 
really and permanently impressed upon that higher medium 
called the Akasha, and are only reflected in a more or less 
spasmodic manner in the astral light, so that one whose 
power of vision does not rise above this plane will be likely 
to obtain only occasional and disconnected pictures of the 
past instead of a coherent narrative. But nevertheless 
pictures of all kinds of past events are constantly being 
reproduced on the astral plane, and form an important part 
of the surroundings of the investigator there. 



Having sketched in, however slightly, the background ot 
our picture, we must now attempt to fill in the figures — to 
describe the inhabitants of the astral plane. The immense 
variety of these entities makes it exceedingly difficult to 
arrange and tabulate them. Perhaps the most convenient 
method will be to divide them into three great classes, the 
human, the non-human, and the artificial. 


The human denizens of Kamaloka fall naturally into two 
groups, the living and the dead, or, to speak more accur- 
ately, those who have still a physical body, and those who 
have not. 

I. Living. 

The entities which manifest on the astral plane during 
physical life may be subdivided into four classes : — 

I. The Adept or Chela in the Mayavirupa. This body 
is the artificial vehicle used on the four lower or rfipa 
divisions of the devachanic plane by those capable of func- 
tioning there during earth-life, and is formed out of the 
substance of the mind-body. The ])upil is at first unable to 
construct this for himself, and has therefore to be content 
with his ordinary astral body composed of the less refined 


matter q{ the k^mic aura ; but at a certain stage of his pro- 
gress the Master Himself forms his Miyiviriipa for him for 
the first time, and afterwards instructs and assists him until 
he can make it for himself easily and expeditiously. When 
this facility is attained this vehicle is habitually used in 
place of the grosser astral body, since it permits of instant 
passage from the astral to the devachanic plane and back 
again at will, and allows of the use at all times of the 
higher powers belonging to its own plane. It must be 
noted, however, that a person travelling in the Miyaviriipa 
is not perceptible to merely astral vision unless he chooses 
to make himself so by gathering around him particles of 
astral matter and so creating for himself a temporary body 
suitable to that plane, though such a temporary creation 
would resemble the ordinary astral body only as a material- 
ization resembles the physical body ; in each case it is a 
manifestation of a higher entity on a lower plane in order 
to make himself, visible to those whose senses cannot yet 
transcend that plane. But whether he be in the May^- 
vir^pa or the astral body, the pupil who is introduced to 
the astral plane under the guidance of a competent teacher 
has always the fullest possible consciousness there, and is 
in fact himself, exactly as his friends know him on earth, 
minus only the four lower principles in the former case and 
the three lower in the latter, and plus the additional powers 
and faculties of this higher condition, which enable him to 
carry on far more easily and far more efficiently on that 
plane during sleep the Theosophical work which occupies 
so much of his thought in his waking hours. Whether he 
will remember fully and accurately on the physical plane 
what he has done or learnt on the other depends largely, 
as before stated, upon whether he is able to carry his con- 
sciousness without intermission from the one state to the 


2. The Psychically-developed Person who is not under the 
guidance of a Master, Such a person may or may not be 
spiritually developed, for the two forms of advancement do 
not necessarily go together, and when a man is born with 
psychic powers it is simply the result of efforts made dur- 
ing a previous incarnation, which may have been of the 
noblest and most unselfish character, or on the other hand 
may have been ignorant and ill-directed or even entirely un- 
wxjrthy. Such an one will usually be perfectly conscious 
when out of the body, but for want of proper training is 
liable to be greatly deceived as to what he sees. He will 
often be able to range through the different subdivisions 
of the astral plane almost as fully as persons belonging to 
the last class ; but sometimes he is especially attracted to 
some one division and rarely travels beyond its influences. 
His recollection of what he has seen may vary according to 
the degree of his development through all the stages from 
perfect clearness to utter distortion or blank oblivion. He 
will appear always in the astral body, since by the hypothesis 
he does not know how to form the Miyavir^pa. 

3. The Ordinary Person — that is, the person without any 
psychic development — floating about in his astral body in a 
more or less unconscious condition. In deep slumber the 
higher principles in their astral vehicle almost invariably 
withdraw from the body, and hover in its immediate neigh- 
bourhood, practically almost as much asleep as the latter. 
In some cases, however, this astral vehicle is less lethargic, 
and floats dreamily about on the various astral currents, oc- 
casionally recognizing other people in a similar condition, 
and meeting with experiences of all sorts, pleasant and un- 
pleasant, the memory of which, hopelessly confused and 
often travestied into a grotesque caricature of what really 
happened, will cause the man to think next morning what 
£i remarkable dream he has hs^c). These extruded s^trs^l 


bodies are almost shapeless and very indefinite in outline in 
the case of the more backward races and individuals, but as 
the man develops in intellect and spirituality his floating 
astral becomes better defined and more closely resembles 
his physical encasement. Since the psychical faculties of 
mankind are in course of evolution, and individuals are at 
all stages of their development, this class naturally melts by 
imperceptible gradations into the former one. 

4. The Black Magician or his pupiL This class corre- 
sponds closely to the first, except that the development has 
been for evil instead of good, and the powers acquired are 
used for purely selfish purposes instead of for the benefit of 
humanity. Among its lower ranks come members of the 
negro race who practise the ghastly rites of the Obeah or 
Voodoo schools, and the medicine-men of many a savage 
tribe ; while higher in intellect, and therefore the more blame- 
worthy, stand the Tibetan black magicians, who are often, 
though incorrectly, called by Europeans Dugpas — ^a title 
properly belonging, as is quite correctly explained by 
Surgeon- Major Waddell in his recent work on The Bud- 
dhism of Tibet ^ only to the Bhotanese subdivision of the 
great Kargyu sect, which is part of what may be called the 
semi-reformed school of Tibetan Buddhism. The DQgpas 
no doubt deal in Tantrik magic to a considerable extent, but 
the real red-hatted entirely unreformed sect is that of the 
Rin-m^-pa, though far beyond them in a still lower depth 
lie the Bon-pa — the votaries of the a.boriginal religion, who 
have never accepted any form of Buddhism at all. It must 
not, however, be supposed that all Tibetan sects except the 
Gelfigpa are necessarily and altogether evil; a truer view 
would be that as the rules of other sects permit considerably 
greater laxity of life and practice, the proportion of self- 
seekers among them is likely to be much larger than among 
the stricter reformers. The investigator will occasionally 


meet on the astral plane students of occultism from all parts 
of the world (belonging to lodges quite unconnected with 
the Masters of whom Theosophists know most) who are in 
many cases most earnest and self-sacrificing seekers after 
truth. It is noteworthy, however, that all such lodges are at 
least aware of the existence of the great Himalayan Brother- 
hood, and acknowledge it as containing among its members 
the highest Adepts now known on earth. 

2. Dead. 

To begin with, of course this very word " dead " is an 
absurd misnomer, as most of the entities classified under 
this heading are as fully alive as we are ourselves ; the term 
must be understood as meaning those who are for the time 
unattached to a physical body. They may be subdivided 
into nine principal classes as follows : — 

1. The Nirmdnakdya. This class is just mentioned in 
order to make the catalogue complete, but it is of course 
very rarely indeed that so exalted a being manifests him- 
self upon so low a plane as this. When for any reason 
connected with his sublime work he found it desirable to 
do so, he would probably create a temporary astral body 
for the purpose, just as the Adept in the MiyHvirflpa would 
do, since the more refined vesture would be invisible to 
astral sight. Further information about the position and 
work of the Nirminakayas may be found in Madame 
Blavatsky's Theosophical Glossary and The Voice of the 

2. The Chela awaiting reincarnation. It has frequently 
been stated in Theosophical literature that when the pupil 
reaches a certain stage he is able with the assistance of his 
Master to escape from the action of what is in ordinary 
cases the law of nature which carries a human being into 


the devachanic condition after death, there to receive his 
due reward in the full working out of all the spiritual forces 
which his highest aspirations have set in motion while on 
earth. As the pupil must by the hypothesis be a man of 
pure life and high thought, it is probable that in his case 
these spiritual forces will be of abnormal strength, and 
therefore if he, to use the technical expression, " takes his 
Devachan," it is likely to be an extremely long one; but if 
instead of taking it he chooses the Path of Renunciation 
(thus even at his low level and in his humble way beginning 
to follow in the footsteps of the Great Master of Renuncia- 
tion, Gautama Buddha Himself), he is able to expend that 
reserve of force in quite another direction — to use it for the 
benefit of mankind, and so, infinitesimal though his offering 
may be, to take his tiny part in the great w^ork of the 
Nirmanakiyas. By taking this course he no doubt sacrifices 
centuries of intense bliss, but on the other hand he gains 
the enormous advantage of being able to continue his life 
of work and progress without a break. When a pupil 
who has decided to do this dies, he simply steps out 
of his body, as he has often done before, and waits upon 
the astral plane until a suitable reincarnation can be 
arranged for him by his Master. This being a marked 
departure from the usual course of procedure, the permis- 
sion of a very high authority has to be obtained before the 
attempt can be made ; yet^ even when this is granted, so 
strong is the force of natural law, that it is said the pupil 
must be careful to confine himself strictly to the Kamaloka 
while the matter is being arranged, lest if he once, even for 
a moment, touched the devachanic plane, he might be swept 
as by an irresistible current into the line of normal evolution 
again. In some cases, though these are rare, he is enabled 
to avoid the trouble of a new birth by being placed directly 
in an adult body whose previous tenant has no further use 


for it, but naturally it is not often that a suitable body is 
available. Far more frequently he has to wait on the astral 
plane, as mentioned before, until the opportunity of a fitting 
birth presents itself. In the meantime, however, he is 
losing no time, for he is just as fully himself as ever he was, 
and is able to go on with the work given him by his Master 
even more quickly and efficiently than when in the physical 
body, since he is no longer hampered by the possibility of 
fatigue. His consciousness is of course quite complete, and 
he roams at will throu2[h all the divisions of the Kamaloka 
with equal facility. The chela awaiting reincarnation is by 
no means one of the common objects of the astral plane, 
but still he may be met with occasionally, and therefore he 
forms one of our classes. No doubt as the evolution of human- 
ity proceeds, and an ever-increasing proportion enter upon 
the Path of Holiness, this class will become more numer- 

3. The Ordinary Person after death. Needless to say, 
this class is millions of times larger than those of which we 
have spoken, and the character and condition of its members 
vary within extremely wide limits. Within similarly wide 
limits may vary also the length of their lives upon the astral 
plane, for while there are those who pass only a few days 
or hours there, others remain upon this level for many years 
and even centuries. A man who has led a good and pure 
life, whose strongest feelings and aspirations have been un- 
selfish and spiritual, will have no attraction to this plane, 
and will, if entirely left alone, find little to keep him upon it, 
or to awaken him into activity even during the comparatively 
short period of his stay. For it must be understood that 
after death the true man is withdrawing into himself, and 
just as at the first step of that process he casts off the physi- 
cal body, and almost directly afterwards the etheric double 
and the Prana, so it is intended that he should as soon as 


possible cast off also the astral or kamic body, and pass 
into the devachanic condition, where alone his spiritual 
aspirations can find their full fruition. The noble and pure- 
minded man will be able to do this, for he has subdued all 
earthly passions during life ; the force of his will has been 
directed into higher channels, and there is therefore but 
little energy of lower desire to be worked out in Kamaloka. 
His stay there will consequently be very short, and most 
probably he will have little more than a dreamy half-con- 
sciousness of existence until he sinks into the sleep during 
which his higher principles finally free themselves from the 
kimic envelope and enter upon the blissful rest of Devachan. 
For the person who has not as yet entered upon the path of 
occult development, what has been described is the ideal 
state of affairs, but naturally it is not attained by all, or 
even by the majority. The average man has by no means 
freed himself from the lower desires before death, and it 
takes a long period of more or less fully conscious life on 
the astral plane to allow the forces he has generated to work 
themselves out, and thus release the higher Ego. The 
body which he occupies during this period is the Kimarupa, 
which may be described as a rearrangement of the matter 
of his astral body ; but it is much more defined in outline, 
and there is also this important difference between the 
two — that while the astral body, if sufficiently awakened 
during life to function at all freely, would probably be able 
to visit all, or at any rate most, of the subdivisions of its 
plane, the Kimarupa has not that liberty, but is strictly 
confined to that level to which its affinities have drawn it. 
It has, however, a certain kind of progress connected with 
it, for it generally happens that the forces a man has set in 
motion during earth-life need for their appropriate working 
out a sojourn on more divisions than one of the KHmaloka, 
and when this is the case a regular sequence is observed, 


commencing with the lowest ; so that when the Kamarupa 
has exhausted its attractions to one level, the greater part 
of its grosser particles fall away, and it finds itself in affinity 
with a somewhat higher state of existence. Its specific 
gravity, as it were, is constantly decreasing, and so it steadily 
rises from the denser to the lighter strata, pausing only when 
it is exactly balanced for a time. This is evidently the 
explanation of a remark frequently made by the entities 
which appear at seances to the effect that they are about to 
rise to a higher sphere, from which it will be impossible, or 
not so easy, to " communicate " through a medium ; and it 
is as a matter of fact true that a person upon the highest 
subdivision of this plane would find it almost impossible to 
deal with any ordinary medium. 

It ought perhaps to be explained here that the definite- 
ness of outline which distinguishes the Kamariipa from the 
astral body is of an entirely different character from that 
definiteness which was described as a sign of progress in 
the astral of the man before death. There can never be 
any possibility of confusion between the two entities, for 
while in the case of the man attached to a physical body 
the different orders of astral particles are all inextricably 
mingled and ceaselessly changing their position, after death 
their activity is much more circumscribed, since they then 
sort themselves according to their degree of materiality, and 
become, as it were, a series of sheaths or shells surround- 
ing him, the grossest being always outside and so dissipating 
before the others. This dissipation is not necessarily com- 
plete, the extent to which it is carried being governed by 
the power of Manas to free itself from its connection with 
any given level ; and on this also, as will be seen later, the 
nature of the ** shade" depends. 

The poetic idea of death as a universal leveller is a mere 
absurdity born of ignorance, for, as a matter of fact, in the 


vast majority of cases the loss of the physical body makes 
no difference whatever in the character or intellect of the 
person, and there are therefore as many different varieties 
of intelligence among those whom we usually call the dead 
as among the living. The popular religious teaching of the 
West as to man's post-mortem adventures has long been so 
wildly inaccurate that even intelligent people are often 
terribly puzzled when they recover consciousness in Kima- 
loka after death. The condition in which the new arrival 
finds himself differs so radically from what he has been led 
to expect that it is no uncommon case for him to refuse at 
first to believe that he has passed through the portals of 
death at all ; indeed, of so little practical value is our much- 
vaunted belief in the immortality of the soul that most 
people consider the very fact that they are still conscious an 
absolute proof that they have not died. The horrible 
doctrine of eternal punishment, too, is responsible for a vast 
amount of most pitiable and entirely groundless terror 
among those newly arrived in K^maloka, who in many 
cases spend long periods of acute mental suffering before 
they can free themselves from the fatal influence of that 
hideous blasphemy, and realize that the world is governed 
not according to the caprice of some demon who gloats 
over human anguish, but according to a benevolent and 
wonderfully patient law of evolution. Many members of the 
class we are considering do not really attain an intelligent 
appreciation of this fact at all, but drift through their astral 
interlude in the same aimless manner in which they have 
spent the physical portion of their lives. Thus in Kama- 
loka, exactly as on earth, there are the few who comprehend 
something of their position and know how to make the best 
of it, and the many who have not yet acquired that know- 
ledge ; and there, just as here, the ignorant are rarely ready 
to profit by the advice or example of the wise. 


But of whatever grade the entity's intellect may be, it is 
always a fluctuating and on the whole a gradually diminish- 
ing quantity, for the lower Manas is being drawn in opposite 
directions by the higher Triad which acts on it from above 
its level and the Kama which operates from below ; and 
therefore it oscillates between the two attractions, with an 
ever-increasing tendency towards the former as the kamic 
forces wear themselves out. And here comes in the evil of 
what is called at stances the ** development " of a spirit 
through a medium — ^a process the object of which is to 
intensify the downward pull of the Kama, to awaken the 
lower portion of the entity (that being all that can be 
reached) from the natural and desirable unconsciousness 
into which it is passing, and thus to prolong unnaturally its 
existence in the Kamaloka. The peculiar danger of this 
will be seen when it is recollected that the real man is all the 
while steadily withdrawing into himself, and is therefore as 
time goes on less and less able to influence or guide this 
lower portion, which nevertheless, until the separation is 
complete, has the power to generate Karma, and. under the 
circumstances is obviously far more likely to add evil than 
good to its record. Thus the harm done is threefold : first, 
the retardation of the separation between Manas and Kama, 
and the consequent waste of time and prolongation of the 
interval between two incarnations ; secondly, the extreme 
probability (almost amounting to certainty) that a large 
addition will be made to the individual's evil Karma, which 
will have to be worked out in future births ; thirdly, the 
terrible danger that this abnormal intensification of the force 
of Kama may eventually enable the latter to entangle the 
whole of the lower Manas inextricably, and so cause the 
entire loss of an incarnation. Though such a result as this 
last-mentioned is happily uncommon, it is a thing that has 
happened more than once ; and in very many cases where 


the evil has fallen short of this ultimate possibility, the 
individual has nevertheless lost much more of his lower 
Manas by this additional entanglement with Kama than 
he would have done if left to withdraw into himself quietly 
as nature intended. It is not denied that a certain amount 
of good may occasionally be done to very degraded entities 
at spiritualistic circles ; but the intention of nature obviously 
is that such assistance should be given, as it frequently is, 
by occult students who are able to visit the astral plane 
during earth-life, and have been trained by competent 
teachers to deal by whatever methods may be most helpful 
with the various cases which they encounter. It will be 
readily seen that such a scheme of help, carrying with it as 
it does the possibility of instant reference to higher 
autliorities in any doubtful case, is infinitely safer than any 
casual assistance obtained through a medium who may be 
(and indeed generally is) entirely ignorant of the laws" 
governing spiritual evolution, and who is as liable to the 
domination of evil or mischievous influences as of good 

Apart altogether from any question of development 
through a medium, there is another and much more fre- 
quently exercised influence which may seriously retard a 
disembodied entity on his way to Devachan, and that is 
the intense and uncontrolled grief of his surviving friends 
or relatives. It is one among many melancholy results of 
the terribly inaccurate and even irreligious view that we in 
the West have for centuries been taking of death, that we 
not only cause ourselves an immense amount of wholly 
unnecessary pain over this temporary parting from our 
loved ones, but we often also do serious injury to those 
for whom we bear so deep an affection by means of this 
very regret which we feel so acutely. As one of our ablest 
writers has recently told us, when our departed brother is 




sinking peacefully and naturally into pre-devachanic uncon- 
sciousness **an awakening may be caused by the passionate 
sorrow and desires of friends left on earth, and these, vio- 
lently vibrating the kHmic elements in the embodied 
persons, may set up vibrations in the KimarQpa of the 
disembodied, and so reach and rouse the lower Manas not 
yet withdrawn to and reunited with its parent, the spiritual 
intelligence. Thus it may be roused from its dreamy state 
to vivid remembrance of the earth-Hfe so lately left. This 
awakening is often accompanied by acute suffering, and 
even if this be avoided the natural process of the Triad 
freeing itself is rudely disturbed, and the completion of its 
freedom is delayed." {Death and After ^ P- 32-) It would 
be well if those whose loved ones have passed on before 
them would learn from these undoubted facts the duty of 
restraining for the sake of those dear ones a grief which, 
however natural it may be, is yet in its essence selfish. 
Not that occult teaching counsels forgetfulness of the dead 
— far from it ; but it does suggest that a man's affectionate 
remembrance of his departed friend is a force which, if 
properly directed into the channel of earnest good wishes 
for his progress towards Devachan and his quiet passage 
through Kimaloka, might be of real value to him, whereas 
when wasted in mourning for him and longing to have him 
back again it is not only useless but harmful. It is with a 
true instinct that the Hindu religion prescribes its Shraddha 
ceremonies and the Catholic Church its prayers for the 

It sometimes happens, however, that the desire for 
communication is from the other side, and that an entity 
of the class we are considering has something which it 
specially desires to say to those whom it has left behind. 
Occasionally this message is an important one, such as, for 
example, an indication of the place where a missing will is 


concealed; but more often it seems to us quite trivial. 
Still, whatever it may be, if it is firmly impressed upon the 
mind of the dead person, it is undoubtedly desirable that 
he should be enabled to deliver it, as otherwise the anxiety 
to do so would perpetually draw his consciousness back into 
the earth-life, and prevent him from passing to higher 
spheres. In such a case a psychic who can understand 
him, or a medium through whom he can write or speak, is 
of real service to him. It should be observed that the 
reason why he cannot usually write or speak without a 
medium is that one state of matter can ordinarily act only 
upon the state next below it, and, as he has now no denser 
matter in his organism than that of which the Kamardpa 
is composed, he finds it impossible to set up vibrations in 
the physical substance of the air or to move the physical 
pencil without borrowing living matter of the intermediate 
order contained in the etheric double, by means of which an 
impulse can readily be transferred from the one plane to 
the other. Now he would be unable to borrow this material 
from an ordinary person, because such a man's principles 
would be too closely linked together to be separated by any 
means likely to be at his command, but the very essence of 
mediumship is the ready separability of the principles, so 
from a medium he can draw without difficulty the matter he 
needs for his manifestation, whatever it may be. When he 
cannot find a medium or does not understand how to use 
one he sometimes makes clumsy and blundering endeavours 
to communicate on his own account, and by the strength 
of his will he sets elemental forces blindly working, perhaps 
producing such apparently aimless manifestations as stone- 
throwing, bell-ringing, etc. It consequently frequently 
happens that a psychic or medium going to a house where 
such manifestations are taking place may be able to discover 
what the entity who produces them is attempting to say or 


do, and may thus put an end to the disturbance. This 
would not, however, invariably be the case, as these ele- 
mental forces are occasionally set in motion by entirely 
different causes. 

But for one entity who is earth-bound by the desire to 
communicate with his surviving friends, there are thousands 
who, if left alone, would never think of doing so, although 
when the idea is suggested to them through a medium they 
will respond to it readily enough, for since during earth-life 
their interests were probably centred less in spiritual than in 
worldly affairs, it is not difficult to re-awaken in them vibra- 
tions sympathetic to matters connected with the existence 
they have so lately left ; and this undesirable intensification 
of earthly thoughts is frequently brought about by the inter- 
ference of well-meaning but ignorant friends, who endeav- 
our to get communications from the departed through 
a medium, with the result that just in proportion to their 
success he is subjected to the various dangers mentioned 
above. It should also be remembered that the possible injury 
to the entity itself is by no means all the harm that may 
accrue from such a practice, for those who habitually attend 
stances during life are almost certain to develop a tendency 
to haunt them after death, and so themselves in turn run 
the risks into which they have so often brought their pre- 
decessors. Besides, it is well known that the vital energy 
necessary to produce physical manifestations is frequently 
drawn from the sitters as well as from the medium, and the 
eventual effect on the latter is invariably evil, as is evinced 
by the large number of such sensitives who have gone either 
morally or psychically to the bad — some becoming epileptic, 
some taking to drink, others falling under influences 
which induced them to stoop to fraud and trickery of all 

4. The Shade, When the separation of the principles is 



complete, the Kamaloka life of the person is over, and, as 
before stated, he passes into the devachanic condition. But 
just as when he dies to this plane he leaves his physical body 
behind him, so when he dies to the astral plane he leaves 
his Kamariipa behind him. If he has purged himself from 
all earthly desires during life, and directed all his energies 
into the channels of unselfish spiritual aspiration, his higher 
Ego will be able to draw hack into itself the whole of the 
lower Manas which it put forth into incarnation ; in that 
case the Kamarfipa left behind on the astral plane will be 
a mere corpse like the abandoned physical body, and it will 
then come not into this class but into the next Even in 
the case of a man of somewhat less perfect life almost the 
same result may be attained if the forces of lower desire 
are allowed to work themselves out undisturbed in Kamaloka, 
but the majority of mankind make but very trifling and 
perfunctory efforts while on earth to rid themselves of the less 
elevated impulses of their nature, and consequently doom 
themselves not only to a greatly prolonged sojourn on the astral 
plane, but also to what cannot be described otherwise than as 
a loss of a portion of the lower Manas. This is, no doubt, a 
very material method of expressing the great mystery of the 
reflection of the higher Manas in the lower, but since only 
those who have passed the portals of initiation can fully com- 
prehend this, we must content ourselves with the nearest 
approximation to exactitude which is possible to us; and as a 
matter of fact, a very fairly accurate idea of what actually takes 
place will be obtained by adopting the hypothesis that the 
manasic principle sends down a portion of itself into the lower 
world of physical life at each incarnation, and expects to be able 
to withdraw it again at the end of the life, enriched by all 
its varied experiences. The ordinary man, however, usually 
allows himself to be so pitiably enslaved by all sorts of base 
desires that a certain portion of this lower Manas becomes 


very closely interwoven with Kama, and when the separation 
takes place, his life in Kamaloka being over, the manasic 
principle has, as it were, to be torn apart, the degraded 
portion remaining within the Kamariipa. 

This Kamariipa then consists of the particles of astral 
matter from which the lower Manas has not been able to 
disengage itself, and which therefore retain it captive; for 
when Manas passes into Devachan these clinging fragments 
adhere to a portion of it and as it were wrench it away. 
The proportion of the matter of each level present in the 
Kamarfipa will therefore depend on the extent to which 
Manas has become inextricably entangled with the lower 
passions. It will be obvious that as Manas in passing from 
level to level is unable to free itself completely from the 
matter of each, the Kimarupa will show the presence of 
each grosser kind which has succeeded in retaining its 
connection with it. 

Thus comes into existence the class of entity which has 
been called ** The Shade " — an entity, be it observed, which 
is not in any sense the real individual at all (for he has passed 
away into Devachan), but nevertheless, not only bears his 
exact personal appearance, but possesses his memory and all 
his little idiosyncrasies, and may, therefore, very readily* 
personate him, as indeed it frequently does at seances. It 
is not, of course, conscious of any act of impersonation, for 
as far as its intellect goes it must necessarily suppose itself 
to be the individual, but one can imagine the horror and 
disgust of the friends of the departed, if they could only 
realize that they had been deceived into accepting as their 
loved one a mere soulless bundle of all his worst qualities. 
Its length of life varies according to the amount of the lower 
Manas which animates it, but as this is all the while in 
process of fading out, its intellect is a steadily diminishing 
quantity, though it may possess a great deal of a certain 


Sort of animal cunning ; and even quite towards the end of 
its career it is still able to communicate by borrowing 
temporary intelligence from the medium. From its very 
nature it is exceedingly liable to be swayed by all kinds of 
evil influences, and, having separated from its higher Ego, 
it has nothing in its constitution capable of responding to 
good ones. It therefore lends itself readily to various minor 
purposes of some of the baser sort of black magicians. So 
much of the matter of the manasic nature as it possesses 
gradually disintegrates and returns to its own plane, though 
not to any individual mind, and thus the shade fades by 
almost imperceptible gradations into a member of our next 

5. The Shell. This is absolutely the mere astral corpse 
in process of disintegration, every particle of the lower 
Manas having left it. It is entirely without any kind of 
consciousness or intelligence, and is drifted passively about 
upon the astral currents just as a cloud might be swept in 
any direction by a passing breeze ; but even yet it may be 
galvanized for a few moments into a ghastly burlesque of 
life if it happens to come within reach of a medium's aura. 
Under such circumstances it will still exactly resemble its 
departed personality in appearance, and may even reproduce 
to some extent his familiar expressions or handwriting, but 
it does so merely by the automatic action of the cells of 
which it is composed, which tend under stimulation to 
repeat the form of action to which they are most accustomed, 
and whatever amount of intelligence may lie behind any 
such manifestation has most assuredly no connection with 
the original entity, but is lent by the medium or his "guides " 
for the occasion. It is, however, more frequently tem- 
porarily vitalized in quite another manner, which will be 
described under the next head. It has also the quality of 
being still blindly responsive to such vibrations — usually of 


the lowest order — as were frequently set up in it during its 
last stage of existence as a shade, and consequently persons 
in whom evil desires or passions are predominant will be 
very likely, when they attend physical seances, to find these 
intensified and as it were thrown back upon them by the 
unconscious shells. 

There is also another variety of corpse which it is 
necessary to mention under this head, though it belongs to 
a much earlier stage of m^n^ post-mortem history. It has 
been stated above that after the death of the physical body 
the Kamariipa is comparatively quickly formed, and the 
etheric double cast off — this latter body being destined to 
slow disintegration, precisely as is the k^marupic shell at a 
later stage of the proceedings. This etheric shell, however, 
is not to be met with drifting aimlessly about, as is the 
variety with which we have hitherto been dealing ; on the 
contrary, it remains within a few yards of the decaying 
physical body, and since it is readily visible to any one 
even slightly sensitive, it is accountable for many of the 
commonly current stories of churchyard ghosts. A psychically 
developed person passing one of our great cemeteries will 
.see hundreds of these bluish- white, misty forms hovering 
over the graves where are laid the physical vestures which 
they have recently left; and as they, like their lower 
counterparts, are in various stages of disintegration, the 
sight is by no means a pleasant one. This also, like the 
other kind of shell, is entirely devoid of consciousness and 
intelligence ; and though it may under certain circumstances 
be galvanized into a very horrible form of temporary life, 
this is possible only by means of some of the most loathsome 
rites of one of the worst forms of black magic, about which 
the less said the better. It will thus be seen that in the 
successive stages of his progress from earth-life to Devachan, 
man casts off and leaves to slow disintegration no less than 


three corpses — the physical body, the etheric double and the 
Kamariipa — all of which are by degrees resolved into their 
constituent elements and utilized anew on their respective 
planes by the wonderful chemistry of nature. 

6. The Vitalized Shell, This entity ought not, strictly 
speaking, to be classified under the head ** human " at all, 
since it is only its outer vesture, the passive, senseless shell, 
that was once an appanage of humanity ; such life, in- 
telligence, desire and will as it may possess are those of the 
artificial elemental animating it, and that, though in terrible 
truth a creation of man's evil thought, is not itself human. 
It will therefore perhaps be better to deal with it more fully 
under its appropriate class among the artificial entities, as 
its nature and genesis will be more readily comprehensible 
by the time that part of our subject is reached. Let it 
suffice here to mention that it is always a malevolent being 
— a true tempting demon, whose evil influence is limited 
only by the extent of its power. Like the shade, it is fre- 
quently used to further the horrible purposes of the Voodoo 
and Obeah forms of magic. Some writers have spoken of 
it under the name "elementary," but as that title has at 
one time or other been used for almost every variety of 
post-mortem entity, it has become so vague and meaningless 
that it is perhaps better to avoid it. 

7. The Suicide^ or victim of sudden death. It will be 
readily understood that a man who is torn from physical 
life hurriedly while in full health and strength, whether by 
accident or suicide, finds himself upon the astral plane 
under conditions differing considerably from those which 
surround one who dies either from old age or from disease. 
In the latter case the hold of earthly desires upon the entity 
is more or less weakened, and probably the very grossest 
particles are already got rid of, so that the K^marSpa will 
most likely form itself on the sixth or fifth subdivision of 


the K^maloka, or perhaps even higher ; the principles have 
been gradually prepared for separation, and the shock is 
therefore not so great. In the case of the accidental death 
or suicide none of these preparations have taken place, and 
the withdrawal of the principles from their physical encase- 
ment has been very aptly compared to the tearing of the 
stone out of an unripe fruit ; a great deal of the grossest 
kind of astral matter still clings around ihe personality, 
which is consequently held in the seventh or lowest sub- 
division of the Kimaloka. This has already been described 
as anything but a pleasant abiding-place, yet it is by no 
means the same for all those who are compelled for a time 
to inhabit it. Those victims of sudden death whose earth- 
lives have been pure and noble have no affinity for this 
plane, and the time of their sojourn upon it is passed, to 
quote from an early letter on this subject, either " in happy 
ignorance and full oblivion, or in a state of quiet slumber, 
a sleep full of rosy dreams ", But on the other hand, if 
their earth-lives have been low and brutal, selfish and sen- 
sual, they will, like the suicides, be conscious to the fullest 
extent in this undesirable region ; and they are liable to 
develop into terribly evil entities. Inflamed with all kinds 
of horrible appetites which they can no longer satisfy 
directly now they are without a physical body, they gratify 
their loathsome passions vicariously through a medium or 
any sensitive person whom they can obsess ; and they take 
a devilish delight in using all the arts of delusion which the 
astral plane puts in their power in order to lead others into 
the same excesses which have proved so fatal to themselves. 
Quoting again from the same letter: — "These are the 
Pisichas, the incubi and succubcB of mediaeval writers — 
demons of thirst and gluttony, of lust and avarice, of 
intensified craft, wickedness and cruelty, provoking their 
victims to horrible crimes, and revelling in their commis- 


sion ". From this class and the last are drawn the tempters 
— the devils of ecclesiastical literature; but their power 
fails utterly before purity of mind and purpose ; they can 
do nothing with a man unless he has first encouraged in 
himself the vices into which they seek to draw him. 

One whose psychic sight has been opened will often see 
crowds of these unfortunate creatures hanging round 
butchers' shops, public-houses, or other even more disre- 
putable places — wherever the gross influences in which they 
delight are to be found, and where they encounter men and 
women still in the flesh who are like-minded with themselves. 
For such an entity as one of these to meet with a medium 
with whom he is in affinity is indeed a terrible misfortune ; 
not only does it enable him to prolong enormously his 
dreadful life in Kamaloka, but it renews for perhaps an in- 
definite period his power to generate evil Karma, and so 
prepare for himself a future incarnation of the most degraded 
character, besides running the risk of losing a large portion 
or even the whole of the lower Manas. On this lowest level 
of the astral plane he must stay at least as long as his earthly 
life would have lasted if it had not been prematurely cut 
short; and if he is fortunate enough not to meet with a 
sensitive through whom his passions can be vicariously 
gratified, the unfulfilled desires will gradually burn them- 
selves out, and the suffering caused in the process will pro- 
bably go far towards working off" the evil Karma of the 
past life. 

The position of the suicide is further complicated by the 
fact that his rash act has enormously diminished the power 
of the higher Ego to withdraw its lower portion into itself, 
and therefore has exposed him to manifold and great 
additional dangers : but it must be remembered that the 
guilt of suicide differs considerably according to its circum- 
stances, from the morally blameless act of Seneca or Socrates 


through all degrees down to the heinous crime of the 
wretch who takes his own life in order to escape from the 
entanglements into which his villainy has brought him, and 
of course the position after death varies accordingly. 

It should be noted that this class, as well as the shades 
and the vitalized shells, are all what may be called minor 
vampires ; that is to say, whenever they have the opportunity 
they prolong their existence by draining away the vitality 
from human beings whom they find themselves able to 
influence. This is why both medium and sitters are often 
so weak and exhausted after a physical seance. A student 
of occultism is taught how to guard himself from their 
attempts, but without that knowledge it is difficult for one 
who puts himself in their way to avoid being more or less 
laid under contribution by them. 

8. T/ie Vampire and Werewolf, There remain two even 
more awful but happily very rare possibilities to be men- 
tioned before this part of our subject is completed, and 
though they differ very widely in many ways we may yet 
perhaps group them together, since they have in common 
the qualities of unearthly horror and of extreme rarity — the 
latter arising from the fact that they are really relics of 
earlier races. We of the fifth root race ought to have 
evolved beyond the possibility of meeting such a ghastly 
fate as is indicated by either of the two headings of this sub- 
section, and we have so nearly done it that these creatures 
are commonly regarded as mere mediaeval fables ; yet there 
are examples to be found occasionally even now, though 
chiefly in countries where there is a considerable strain of 
fourth-race blood, such as Russia or Hungary. The 
popular legends about them are probably often considerably 
exaggerated, but there is nevertheless a terribly serious sub- 
stratum of truth beneath the eerie stories which pass from 
mouth to mouth among the peasantry of Central Europe. 


The general characteristics of such tales are too well known 
to need more than a passing reference; a fairly typical 
specimen of the vampire story, though it does not profess 
to be more than the merest fiction, is Sheridan le Fanu's 
Carmilla, while a very remarkable account of an unusual 
form of this creature is to be found in Isis Unveiled^ vol. i., 
p. 454. All readers of Theosophical literature are familiar 
with the idea that it is possible for a man to live a life so 
absolutely degraded and selfish, so utterly wicked and 
brutal, that the whole of his lower Manas may become 
entirely immeshed in Kima, and finally separated from its 
spiritual source in the higher Ego. Some students even seem 
to think that such an occurrence is quite a common one, 
and that we may meet scores of such " soulless men," as 
they have been called, in the street every day of our lives, 
but this, happily, is untrue. To attain the appalling pre- 
eminence in evil which thus involves the entire loss of a 
personality and the weakening of the developing individuality 
behind, a man must stifle every gleam of unselfishness or 
spirituality, and must have absolutely no redeeming point 
whatever ; and when we remember how often, even in the 
worst of villains, there is to be found something not wholly 
bad, we shall realize that the abandoned personalities must 
always be a very small minority. Still, comparatively few 
though they be, they do exist, and it is from their ranks 
that the still rarer vampire is drawn. The lost entity would 
very soon after death find himself unable to stay in K^ma- 
loka, and would he irresistibly drawn in full consciousness 
into ** his own place," the mysterious eighth sphere, there 
slowly to disintegrate after experiences best left undescribed. 
If, however, he perishes by suicide or sudden death, he may 
under certain circumstances, especially if he knows some- 
thing of black magic, hold himself back from that awful fate 
by a death in life scarcely less awful — the ghastly existence 


of the vampire. Since the eighth sphere cannot claim him 
until after the death of the body, he preserves it in a kind 
of cataleptic trance by the horrible expedient of the trans- 
fusion into it of blood drawn from other human beings by 
his semi- materialized K^mardpa, and thus postpones his 
final destiny by the commission of wholesale murder. As 
popular " superstition " again quite rightly supposes, the 
easiest and most effectual remedy in such a case is to 
exhume and bum the body, thus depriving the creature of 
his point d'appui. When the grave is opened the body 
usually appears quite fresh and healthy, and the coffin is not 
infrequently filled with blood. Of course in countries where 
cremation is the custom vampirism of this sort is impos- 

The Werewolf, though equally horrible, is the product of 
a somewhat different Karma, and indeed ought perhaps to 
have found a place under the first instead of the second 
division of the human inhabitants of Kimaloka, since it is 
always during a man's lifetime that he first manifests under 
this form. It invariably implies some knowledge of magical 
arts — sufficient at any rate to be able to project the astral 
body. When a perfectly cruel and brutal man does this, 
there are certain circumstances under which the body may 
be seized upon by other astral entities and materialized, not 
into the human form, but into that of some wild animal — 
usually the wolf; and in that condition it will range the 
surrounding country killing other animals, and even human 
beings, thus satisfying not only its own craving for blood, 
but that of the fiends who drive it on. In this case, as so 
often with the ordinary astral body, any wound inflicted 
upon the animal materialization will be reproduced upon 
the human physical body by the extiaordinary phenomenon 
of repercussion; though after the death of that physical 
body the Kimari^pa, which will probably continue to 


appear in the same form, will be less vulnerable. It will 
then, however, be also less dangerous, as unless it can find 
a suitable medium it will be unable to materialize fully. 

It has been the fashion of this century to scoff at what are. 
called the foolish superstitions of the ignorant peasantry ; 
but, as in the above cases, so in many others the occult 
student finds on careful examination that obscure or for- 
gotten truths of nature lie behind what at first sight appears 
mere nonsense, and he learns to be cautious in rejecting as 
well as cautious in accepting. Intending explorers of the 
astral plane need have little fear of encountering the very 
unpleasant creatures described under this head, for, as before 
stated, they are even now extremely rare, and as time goes 
on their number will happily steadily diminish. In any 
case their manifestations are usually restricted to the 
immediate neighbourhood of their physical bodies, as 
might be supposed from their extremely material nature. 

9. The Black Magician or his pupil This person corre- 
sponds at the other extremity of the scale to our second 
class of departed entities, the chela awaiting reincarnation, 
but in this case, instead of obtaining permission to adopt an 
unusual method of progress, the man is defying the natural 
process of evolution by maintaining himself in K^maloka by 
magical arts — sometimes of the most horrible nature. It 
would be easy to make various subdivisions of this class, 
according to their objects, their methods, and the possible 
duration of their existence on this plane, but as they are 
by no means fascinating objects of study, and all that an 
occult student wishes to know about them is how to avoid 
them, it will probably be more interesting to pass on to the 
examination of another part of our subject. It may, how- 
ever, be just mentioned that every such human entity 
which prolongs its life thus on the astral plane beyond its 
natural limit invariably does so at the expense of others. 


and by the absorption of their life in some form or 


Though it might have been thought fairly obvious even 
to the most casual glance that many of the terrestrial arrange- 
ments of nature which affect us most nearly have not been 
designed exclusively with a view to our comfort or even our 
ultimate advantage, it was yet probably unavoidable that 
the human race, at least in its childhood, should imagine 
that this world and everything it contains existed solely for 
its own use and benefit. Undoubtedly we ought by this 
time to have grown out of that infantile delusion and 
realized our proper position and the duties that attach to it; 
that most of us have not yet done so is shown in a dozen 
ways in our daily life — notably by the atrocious cruelty 
habitually displayed towards the animal kingdom under the 
name of sport by many who probably consider themselves 
highly civilized people. Of course the veriest tyro in the 
holy science of occultism knows that all life is sacred, and 
that without universal compassion there is no true progress ; 
but it is only as he advances in his studies that he dis- 
covers how manifold evolution is, and how comparatively 
small a place humanity really fills in the economy of nature. 
It becomes clear to him that just as earth, air and water 
support myriads of forms of life which, though invisible to 
the ordinary eye, are revealed to us by the microscope, so 
the higher planes connected with our earth have an equally 
dense population of whose existence we are ordinarily com- 
pletely unconscious. As his knowledge increases he becomes 
more and more certain that in one way or another the utmost 
use is being made of every possibility of evolution, and that 
wherever it seems to us that in nature force or opportunity 


is being wasted or neglected, it is not the scheme of the 
universe that is in fault, but our ignorance of its method and 

For the purposes of our present consideration of the non- 
human inhabitants of the astral plane it will be best to leave 
out of consideration those very early forms of the universal 
life which are evolving, in a manner of which we can have 
little comprehension, through the successive encasement 
of atoms, molecules and cells : for if we commence at the 
lowest of what are usually called the elemental kingdoms, 
we shall even then have to group together under this general 
heading an enormous number of inhabitants of the astral 
plane upon whom it will be possible to touch only very 
slightly, as anything like a detailed account of them would 
swell this manual to the dimensions of an encyclopaedia. 

The most convenient method of arranging the non-human 
entities will perhaps be in four classes — it being understood 
that in this case the class is not, as previously, a comparatively 
small subdivision, but usually a great kingdom of nature at 
least as large and varied as, say, the animal or vegetable king- 
dom. Some of these rank considerably below humanity, some 
are our equals, and others again rise far above us in goodness 
and power. Some belong to our scheme of evolution — that is 
to say, they either have been or will be men like ourselves ; 
others are evolving on entirely distinct lines of their own. 
Before proceeding to consider them it is necessary, in order 
to avoid the charge of incompleteness, to mention that in 
this branch of the subject two reservations have been made. 
First, no reference is made to the occasional appearances of 
very high Adepts from other planets of the solar system and 
of even more august Visitors from a still greater distance, 
since such matters cannot fitly be described in an essay for 
general reading ; and besides it is practically inconceivable, 
though of course theoretically possible, that such glorified 


Beings should ever need to manifest Themselves on a plane 
so low as the astral. If for any reason They should wish to 
do so, the body appropriate to the plane would be tempo- 
rarily created out of astral matter belonging to this planet, 
just as in the case of th'e Nirmanak^ya. Secondly, quite 
outside of and entirely unconnected with the four classes 
into which we are dividing this section, there are two other 
great evolutions which at present share the use of this planet 
with humanity ; but about them it is forbidden to give any 
particulars at this stage of the proceedings, as it is not 
apparently intended under ordinary circumstances either that 
they should be conscious of man's existence or man of theirs. 
If we ever do come into contact with them it will most 
probably be on the purely physical plane, for in any case 
their connection with our astral plane is of the slightest, 
since the only possibility of their appearance there depends 
upon an extremely improbable accident in an act of cere- 
monial magic, which fortunately only a few of the most 
advanced sorcerers know how to perform. Nevertheless, 
that improbable accident has happened at least once, and 
may happen again, so that but for the prohibition above 
mentioned it would have been necessary to include them in 
our list. 

I . The Elemental Essence belonging to our own evolution. 
Just as the name " elementary " has been given indis- 
criminately by various writers to any or all of man's possible 
post-mortem conditions, so this word ** elemental " has been 
used at different times to mean any or all non-human spirits, 
from the most godlike of the Devas down through every 
variety of nature-spirit to the formless essence which per- 
vades the kingdoms lying behind the mineral, until after 
reading several books the student becomes absolutely be- 
wildered by the contradictory statements made on the 
subject. For the purposes of this treatise it- will perhaps 


Simplify matters to restrict its meaning to the last-mentioned 
class only, and use it to denote the three great kingdoms 
which precede the mineral in the order of our evolution. 
It may be remembered that in one of the earlier letters 
from an Adept teacher these elemental kingdoms are 
referred to, and the statement is made that the first and 
second cannot readily be comprehended except by an 
Initiate. Fortunately this, the most incomprehensible part 
of the vast subject, does not come within the province of 
this manual, as those first and second elemental kingdoms 
exist and function respectively upon the arupa and riipa 
levels of the devachanic plane. We have consequently to 
deal for the moment only with kingdom No. 3 — the one 
next before the mineral ; though even that will be found 
quite sufficiently complicated, as will be understood when 
it is stated that it contains just over two thousand four 
hundred perfectly distinct varieties of elemental essence, 
each of which the pupil who wishes to attain perfect control 
of the astral forces must learn not only to distinguish 
instantly at sight, but to deal with in its own special method 
and no other. Of course phenomena of various sorts may 
be, and constantly are, produced by those who are able to 
wield only one or two of these forces, but the Adept prefers 
to take the additional trouble requisite to understand all of 
them thoroughly, and uses in every case precisely the most 
appropriate force or combination of forces, so that his object 
may be attained with scientific accuracy and with the least 
possible expenditure of energy. 

To speak, as we so often do, o(an elemental in connection 
with the group we are now considering is somewhat mis- 
leading, for strictly speaking there is no such thing. What 
we find is a vast store of elemental essence, wonderfully sen- 
sitive to the most fleeting human thought, responding with 
inconceivable delicacy in an infinitesimal fraction of a 


second to a vibration set up in it even by an entirely uncon- 
scious exercise of human will or desire. But the moment 
that by the influence of such thought or exercise of will it 
is moulded into a living force — into something that may 
correctly be described as an elemental — it at once ceases to 
belong to the category we are discussing, and becomes a 
member of the artificial class. Even then its separate exist- 
ence is usually of the most evanescent character, and as 
soon as its impulse has worked itself out it sinks back into 
the undifferentiated mass of that particular subdivision of 
elemental essence from which it came. It would be tedious 
to attempt to catalogue these subdivisions, and indeed even 
if a list of them were made it would be unintelligible except 
to the practical student who can call them up before him and 
compare them. Some idea of the leading lines of classifica- 
tion can, however, be grasped without much trouble, and 
may prove of interest. First comes the broad division which 
has given the elementals their name — the classification ac- 
cording to the kind of matter which they inhabit. Here, as 
usual, the septenary character of our* evolution shows itself, 
for there are seven such chief groups, related respectively 
to the seven states of physical matter — to " earth, water, air 
and fire," or to translate from mediaeval symbolism to 
modern accuracy of expression, to the solid, liquid, gaseous 
and etheric conditions. It has long been the custom to 
pity and despise the ignorance of the alchemists of the 
middle ages, because they gave the title of ** elements " to 
substances which modern chemistry has discovered to be 
compounds ; but in speaking of them thus slightingly we 
have done them great injustice, for their knowledge on this 
subject was really wider, not narrower, than ours. They 
may or may not have catalogued all the sixty or seventy sub- 
stances which we now call elements ; but they certainly did 
not apply that name to them, for their occult studies had 



taught them that in that sense of the word there was but one 
element, Akasha itself, of which these and all other forms of 
matter were but modifications — a truth which some of the 
greatest chemists of the present day are just beginning to 

The fact is that in this particular case our despised fore- 
fathers' analysis went several steps deeper than our own. 
They understood and were able to observe the ether, which 
modern science can only' postulate as a necessity for its 
theories ; they were aware that it consists of physical matter 
in four entirely distinct states above the gaseous — a fact 
which has not yet been re-discovered. They knew that all 
physical objects consisted of matter in one or other of these 
seven states, and that into the composition of every organic 
body all seven entered in a greater or lesser degree ; hence 
all their talk of fiery and watery humours, or " elements," 
which seems so grotesque to us. It is obvious that they 
used the latter word simply as a synonym for ** constituent 
parts," without in the least degree intending it to connote 
the idea of substances which could not be further reduced. 
They knew also that each of these orders of matter served 
as an Upadhi or basis of manifestation for a great class 
of evolving monadic essence, and so they christened the 
essence " elemental ". 

What we have to try to realize, then, is that in every 
particle of solid matter, so long as it remains in that con- 
dition, there resides, to use the picturesque phraseology of 
mediaeval students, an earth elemental— that is, a certain 
amount of the living elemental essence appropriate to it, 
while equally in every particle of matter in the liquid, 
gaseous, or etheric states, the water, air, and fire **ele- 
mentals " respectively inhere. It will be observed that this 
first broad division of the third of the elemental kingdoms 
is, so to speak, a horizontal one — that is to say, its respec- 


tive classes stand in the relation of steps, each somewhat 
less material than the one below it, which ascends into 
it by almost imperceptible degrees ; and it is easy to 
understand how each of these classes may again be 
divided horizontally into seven, since there are obviously 
many degrees of density among solids, liquids and gases. 
There is, however, what may be described as a perpen- 
dicular division also, and this is somewhat more difficult to 
comprehend, especially as great reserve is always maintained 
by occultists as to some of the facts which would be in- 
volved in a fuller explanation of it. Perhaps the clearest 
way to put what it is permissible to say on the subject will 
be to state that in each of the horizontal classes and sub- 
classes will be found seven perfectly distinct types of ele- 
mental, the difference between them being no longer a 
question of degree of materiality, but rather of character and 
affinities. Each of these types so reacts upon the others 
that, though it is impossible for them ever to interchange 
their essence, in each of them seven sub-types will be found 
to exist, distinguished by the colouring given to their 
original peculiarity by the influence which sways them most 
readily. It will at once be seen that this perpendicular 
division and subdivision differs entirely in its character 
from the horizontal, in that it is far more permanent and 
fundamental ; for while it is the evolution of the elemental 
kingdom to pass with almost infinite slowness through its 
various horizontal classes and subclasses in succession, and 
thus to belong to them all in turn, this is not so with regard 
to the types and sub-types, which remain unchangeable all 
the way through. A point which must never be lost sight 
of in endeavouring to understand this elemental evolution 
is that it is taking place on what is sometimes called the 
downward curve of the arc ; that is to say, it is progressing 
towards the complete entanglement in matter which we 


witness in the mineral kingdom, instead of away from it, 
as is most other evolution of which we know anything ; and 
this fact sometimes gives it a curiously inverted appearance 
in our eyes until we thoroughly grasp its object. 

In spite of these manifold subdivisions, there are certain 
properties which are possessed in common by all varieties 
of this strange living essence ; but even these are so entirely 
different from any with which we are familiar on the physi- 
cal plane that it is exceedingly difficult to explain them to 
those who cannot themselves see it in action. Let it be 
premised, then, that when any portion of this essence re- 
mains for a few moments entirely unaffected by any outside 
influence (a condition, by the way, which is hardly ever 
realized) it is absolutely without any definite form of its 
own, though even then its motion is rapid and ceaseless ; 
but on the slightest disturbance, set up perhaps by some 
passing thought-current, it flashes into a bewildering con- 
fusion of restless, ever-changing shapes, which form, rush 
about, and disappear with the rapidity of the bubbles on the 
surface of boiling water. These evanescent shapes, though 
generally those of living creatures of some sort, human or 
otherwise, no more express the existence of separate entities 
in the essence than do the equally changeful and multiform 
waves raised in a few moments on a previously smooth lake 
by a sudden squall. They seem to be mere reflections from 
the vast storehouse of the astral light, yet they have usually 
a certain appropriateness to the character of the thought- 
stream which calls them into existence, though nearly always 
with some grotesque distortion, some terrifying or un- 
pleasant aspect about them. A question naturally arises 
in the mind here as to what intelligence it is that is exerted 
in the selection of an appropriate shape or its distortion 
when selected. We are not dealing with the more powerful 
and longer-lived artificial elemental created by a strong 


definite thought, but simply with the result produced by 
the stream of half-conscious, involuntary thoughts which 
the majority of mankind allow to flow idly through their 
brains, so that the intelligence is obviously not derived 
from the mind of the thinker ; and we certainly cannot 
credit the elemental essence itself, which belongs to a 
kingdom further from individualization even than the 
mineral, with any sort of awakening of the minasic quality. 
Yet it does possess a marvellous adaptability which often 
seems to come very near it, and it is no doubt this property 
that caused elementals to be described in one of our early 
books as " the semi-intelligent creatures of the astral light". 
We shall find further evidence of this power when we come 
to consider the case of the artificial class. When we read 
of a good or evil elemental, it must always be either an 
artificial entity or one of the many varieties of nature-spirits 
that is meant, for the elemental kingdoms proper do not 
admit of any such conceptions as good and evil, though 
there is undoubtedly a sort of bias or tendency permeating 
nearly all their subdivisions which operates to render them 
rather hostile than friendly towards man, as every neophyte 
knows, for in most cases his very first impression of the 
astral plane is of the presence all around him of vast hosts 
of Protean spectres who advance upon him in threatening 
guise, but always retire or dissipate harmlessly if boldly 
faced. It is to this curious tendency that the distorted or 
unpleasant aspect above mentioned must be referred, and 
mediaeval writers tell us that man has only himself to thank 
for its existence. In the golden age before this KaHyuga 
men were on the whole less selfish and more spiritual, and 
then the " elementals " were friendly, though now they are 
no longer so because of man's indifference to, and want of 
sympathy with, other living beings. From the wonderful 
delicacy with which the essence responds to the faintest 


action of our minds or desires it seems clear that this 
elemental kingdom as a whole is very much what the collec- 
tive thought of humanity makes it. Any one who will 
think for a moment how far from elevating the action of 
that collective thought is likely to be at the present time 
will see little reason to wonder that we reap as we have 
sown, and that this essence, which has no power of per- 
ception, but only blindly receives and reflects what is pro- 
jected upon it, should usually exhibit unfriendly character- 
istics. There can be no doubt that in later races or rounds, 
when mankind as a whole has evolved to a much higher 
level, the elemental kingdoms will be influenced by the 
changed thought which continually impinges upon them, 
and we shall find them no longer hostile, but docile and 
helpful, as we are told that the animal kingdom will also 
be. Whatever may have happened in the past, it is evident 
that we may look forward to a very passable "golden age'' 
in the future, if we can arrive at a time when the majority 
of men will be noble and unselfish, and the forces of nature 
will co-operate willingly with them. 

The fact that we are so readily able to influence the 
elemental kingdoms at once shows us that we have a 
responsibility towards them for the manner in which we use 
that influence; indeed, when we consider the conditions 
under which they exist, it is obvious that the effect produced 
upon them by the thoughts and desires of all intelligent 
creatures inhabiting the same world With them must have 
been calculated upon in the scheme of our system as a 
factor in their evolution. In spite of the consistent teaching 
of all the great religions, the mass of mankind is still utterly 
regardless of its responsibility on the thought-plane ; if a 
man can flatter himself that his words and deeds have been 
harmless to others, he believes that he has done all that can 
be required of him, quite oblivious of the fact that he may 


for years have been exercising a narrowing and debasing 
influence on the minds of those about him, and filling 
surrounding space with the unlovely creations of a sordid 
mind. A still more serious aspect of this question will 
come before us when we discuss the artificial elemental ; 
but in regard to the essence it will be sufficient to 
state that we undoubtedly have the power to accelerate 
or delay its evolution according to the use which con- 
sciously or unconsciously we are continually making 
of it. 

It would be hopeless within the limits of such a treatise 
as this to attempt to explain the different uses to which the 
forces inherent in the manifold varieties of this elemental 
essence can be put by one who has been trained in their 
management. The vast majority of magical ceremonies 
depend almost entirely upon its manipulation, either 
directly by the will of the magician, or by some more 
definite astral entity evoked by him for that purpose. By 
its means nearly all the physical phenomena of the seance- 
room are produced, and it is also the agent in most cases 
of stone-throwing or bell-ringing in haunted houses, such 
results as these latter being brought about either by 
blundering efforts to attract attention made by some earth- 
bound human entity, or by the mere mischievous pranks of 
some of the minor nature-spirits belonging to our third 
class. But the " elemental " must never be thought of as 
itself a prime mover; it is simply a latent force, which 
needs an external power to set it in motion. It may be 
noted that although all classes of the essence have the 
power of reflecting images from the astral light as described 
above, there are varieties which receive certain impressions 
much more readily than others — which have, as it were, 
favourite forms of their own into which upon disturbance 
they would naturally flow unless absolutely forced into 


some other, and such shapes tend to be a trifle less 
evanescent than usual. 

Before leaving this branch of the subject it may be well 
to warn the student against the confusion of thought into 
which some have fallen through failing to distinguish this 
elemental essence which we have been considering from the 
monadic essence manifesting through the mineral kingdom. 
It must be borne in mind that monadic essence at one 
stage of its evolution towards humanity manifests through 
the elemental kingdom, while at a later stage it manifests 
through the mineral kingdom : but the fact that two bodies 
of monadic essence at these different stages are in manifesta- 
tion at the same moment, and that one of these manifesta- 
tions (the earth elemental) occupies the same space as and 
inhabits the other (say a rock), in no way interferes with 
the evolution either of one or the other, nor does it imply 
any relation between the bodies of monadic essence lying 
within both. The rock will also be permeated by its 
appropriate variety of the omnipresent Jiva or life principle, 
but that of course is again totally distinct from either of the 
essences above mentioned. 

2. T?u Kdmarfipas of Animals, This is an extremely 
large class, yet it does not occupy a particularly important 
position on the astral plane, since its members usually stay 
there but a very short time. The vast majority of animals 
have not as yet acquired permanent individualization, and 
when one of them dies the monadic essence which has been 
manifesting through it flows back a<;ain into the particular 
stratum whence it came, bearing with it such advance- 
ment or experience as has been attained during that life. 
It is not, however, able to do this quite immediately ; the 
kamic aura of the animal forms itself into a KamarCipa, 
just as in man's case, and the animal has a real existence 
on the astral plane, the length of which, though never great. 


varies according to the intelligence which it has developed. 
In most cases it does not seem to be more than dreamily 
conscious, but appears perfectly happy. The comparatively 
few domestic animals who have already attained individu- 
ality, and will therefore be reborn no more as animals in 
this world, have a much longer and much more vivid life 
in Kimaloka than their less advanced fellows, and at the 
end of it sink gradually into a subjective condition, which 
is likely to last for a very considerable period. One 
interesting subdivision of this class consists of the Kama- 
r<ipas of those anthropoid apes mentioned in The Secret 
Doctrine (vol. i., p. 184) who are already individualized, and 
will he ready to take human incarnation in the next round, 
or perhaps some of them even sooner. 

3. Nature- Spirits of all Kinds. So many and so varied 
are the subdivisions of this class that to do them anything 
like justice one would need to devote a separate treatise 
to this subject alone. Some characteristics, however, they 
all have in common, and it will be sufficient here to try to 
give some idea of those. To begin with, we have to realize 
that we are here dealing with entities which differ radically 
from all that we have hitherto considered. Though we 
may rightly classify the elemental essence and the animal 
Kamarfipa as non-human, the monadic essence which 
manifests itself through them will, nevertheless, in the ful- 
ness of time, evolve to the level of manifesting itself through 
some future humanity comparable to our own, and if we 
were able to look back through countless ages on our own 
evolution in previous manvantaras, we should find that 
that which is now ourselves has passed on its upward path 
through similar stages. That, however, is not the case 
with the vast kingdom of nature-spirits ; they neither have 
been, nor ever will be, members of a humanity such as 
ours ; their line of evolution is entirely different, and their 


only connection with us consists in our temporary occupancy 
of the same planet. Of course since we are neighbours 
for the time being we owe neighbourly kindness to one 
another when we happen to meet, but our lines of develop- 
ment differ so widely that each can do but little for the 

Many writers have included these spirits among the 
elementals, and indeed they are the elementals (or per- 
haps, to speak more accurately, the animals) of a higher 
evolution. Though much more highly developed than 
our elemental essence, they have yet certain characteristics 
in common with it ; for example, they also are divided into 
seven great classes, inhabiting respectively the same seven 
states of matter already mentioned as permeated by the 
corresponding varieties of the essence. Thus, to take 
those which are most readily comprehensible to us, there 
are spirits of the earth, water, air, and fire (or ether) — 
definite intelligent astral entities residing and functioning 
in each of those media. It may be asked how it is 
possible for any kind of creature to inhabit the solid 
substance of a rock, or of the crust of the earth. The 
answer is that since the nature-spirits are formed of astral 
matter, the substance of the rock is no hindrance to their 
motion or their vision, and furthermore physical matter 
in its solid state is their natural element — the only one 
to which they are accustomed and in which they feel at 
home. The same is of course true of those who live in water, 
air or ether. In mediaeval literature, these earth-spirits are 
often called gnomes, while the water-spirits are spoken of 
as Qndin^s, the air-spirits as sylphs, and the ether-spirits as 
salamanders. In popular language they are known by 
many names — fairies, pixies, elves, brownies, peris, djinns, 
trolls, satyrs, fauns, kobolds, imps, goblins, good people, 
etc. — some of these titles being applied only to one variety, 


and others indiscriminately to all. Their forms are many 
and various, but most frequently human in shape and 
somewhat diminutive in size. Like almost all inhabitants 
of the astral plane, they are able to assume any appearance 
at will, but they undoubtedly have definite forms of their 
own, or perhaps we should rather say favourite forms, 
which they wear when they have no special object in 
taking any other. Of course under ordinary conditions 
they are not visible to physical sight at all, but they have 
the power of making themselves so by materialization when 
they wish to be seen. 

There are an immense number of subdivisions or races 
among them, and individuals of thesq subdivisions differ 
in intelligence and disposition precisely as human beings 
do. The great majority of them apparently prefer to avoid 
man altogether ; his habits and emanations are distasteful 
to them, and the constant rush of astral currents set up by 
his restless, ill-regulated desires disturbs and annoys them. 
On the other hand instances are not wanting in which 
nature-spirits have as it were made friends with human 
beings and offered them such assistance as lay in their 
power, as in the well-known stories lold of the Scotch 
Ijrownies or of the fire-lighting fairies mentioned in 
spiritualistic literature. This helpful attitude, however, 
is comparatively rare, and in most cases when they come 
in contact with man they either show indifference or dis- 
like, or else take an impish delight in deceiving him and 
playing childish tricks upon him. Many a story illustrative 
of this curious characteristic may be found among the 
village gossip of the peasantry in almost any lonely 
mountainous district, and any one who has been in the habit 
of attending stances for physical phenomena will recollect 
instances of practical joking and silly though usually good- 
natured horseplay, which always indicate the presence of 


some of the lower orders of the nature-spirits. They are 
greatly assisted in their tricks by the wonderful power 
which ihey possess of casting a glamour over those who 
yield themselves to their influence, so that such victims 
for the time see and hear only what these fairies impress 
upon them, exactly as the mesmerized subject sees, hears, 
feels and believes whatever the magnetizer wishes. The 
nature spirits, however, have not the mesmerizer's power of 
dominating the human will, except in the case of quite 
unusually weak-minded people, or of those who allow 
themselves to fall into such a condition of helpless terror 
that their will is temporarily in abeyance ; they cannot go 
beyond deception of the senses, but of that art they are un- 
doubted masters, arid cases are not wanting in which they 
have cast their glamour over a considerable number of 
people at once. It is by invoking their aid in the exercise 
of this peculiar power that some of the most wonderful 
feats of the Indian jugglers are performed — the entire 
audience being in fact hallucinated and made to imagine 
that they see and hear a whole series of events which have 
not really taken place at all. 

We might almost look upon the nature-spirits as a kind of 
astral humanity, but for the fact that none of them — not even 
the highest — possess a permanent reincarnating individu- 
ality. Apparently therefore one point in which their line 
of evolution differs from ours is that a much greater pro- 
portion of intelligence is developed before permanent in- 
dividualization takes place ; but of the stages through which 
they have passed, and those through which they have yet to 
pass, we can know little. The life-periods of the different 
subdivisions vary greatly, some being quite short, others 
much longer than our human lifetime. We stand so en- 
tirely outside such a life as theirs that it is impossible for us 
to understand much about its conditions ; but it appears on 


the whole to be a simple, joyous, irresponsible kind of 
existence, much such as a party of happy children might 
lead among exceptionally favourable physical surroundings. 
Though tricky and mischievous, they are rarely malicious 
unless provoked by some unwarrantable intrusion or annoy- 
ance ; but as a body they also partake to some extent of 
the universal feeling of distrust for man, and they generally 
seem inclined to resent somewhat the first appearance of a 
neophyte on the astral plane, so that he usually makes their 
acquaintance ;under some unpleasant or terrifying form. 
If, however, he declines to be frightened by any of their 
freaks, they soon accept him as a necessary evil and take 
no further notice of him, while some among them may even 
after a time become friendly and manifest pleasure on meet- 
ing him. 

Some among the many subdivisions of this class are much 
less childlike and more dignified than those we have been 
describing, and it is from these sections that the entities who 
have sometimes been reverenced under the name of wood- 
gods, or local village-gods, have been drawn. Such entities 
would be (juite sensible of the flattery involved in the rever- 
ence shown to them, would enjoy it, and would no doubt be 
quite ready to do any small service they could in return. 
(The village-god is also often an artificial entity, but that 
variety will be considered in its appropriate place.) The 
Adept knows how to make use of the services of the nature- 
spirits when he requires them, but the ordinary magician 
can obtain their assistance only by processes either of in- 
vocation or evocation — that is, either by attracting their 
attention as a suppliant and making some kind of bargain 
with them, or by endeavouring to set in motion influences 
which would compel their obedience. Both methods are 
extremely undesirable, and the latter is also excessively 
dangerous, as the operator would arouse a determined hojj- 


tility which might prove fatal to him. Needless to say, no 
one studying occultism under a qualified Master would ever 
be permitted to attempt anything of the kind at all. 

4. The Dfuas. The highest system of evolution connected 
with this earth, so far as we know, is that of the beings 
whom Hindus call the Devas, and who have elsewhere been 
spoken of as angels, sons of God, etc. They may, in fact, 
be regarded as a kingdom lying next al)ove humanity, in the 
same way as humanity in turn lies next above the animal 
kingdom, but with this important difference, that while for 
an animal there is no possibility of evolution through any 
kingdom but the human, man, when he attains a certain 
high level, finds various paths of advancement opening 
before him, of which this great Deva evolution is only one. 
In comparison with the sublime renunciation of the Nir- 
manakaya, the acceptance of this line of evolution is some- 
times spoken of in the books as ** yielding to the temptation 
to become a god," but it must not be inferred from this ex- 
pression that any shadow of blame attaches to the man who 
makes this choice. The path he selects is not the shortest, 
but it is nevertheless a very Jioble one, and if his developed 
intuition impels him to^vards it, it is probably the one best 
suited for his capacities. We must never forget that in 
spiritual as in physical climbing it is not every one who can 
bear the strain of the steeper path ; there may be many for 
whom what seems the slower way is the only one possible, 
and we should indeed be unworthy followers of the great 
Teachers if we allowed our ignorance to betray us into the 
slightest thought of despisal towards those whose choice 
differs from our own. However confident that ignorance of 
the difficulties of the future may allow us to feel now, it is 
impossible for us to tell at this stage what we shall find our- 
selves able to do when, after many lives of patient striving, 
we have earned the right to choose our own future ; and 


indeed, even those who ** yield to the temptation to become 
gods," have a sufficiently glorious career before them, as will 
presently be seen. To avoid possible misunderstanding it 
may be mentioned par parenthkse that there is another and 
entirely evil sense sometimes attached in the books to this 
phrase of " becoming a god,*' but in that form it certainly 
could never be any kind of ** temptation *' to the developed 
man, and in any case it is altogether foreign to our present 

In oriental literature this word ** Deva " is frequently used 
vaguely to mean almost any kind of non-human entity, so 
that it would often include Dhy.^n Chohans on the one 
hand and nature-spirits and artificial elementals on the 
other. Here, however, its use will be restricted to the 
magnificent evolution which we are now considering. 
Though connected with this earth, the Devas are by no 
means confined to it, for the whole of our present chain of 
seven worlds is as one world to them, their evolution being 
through a grand system of seven chains. Their hosts have 
hitherto been recruited chiefly from other humanities in the 
solar system, some lower and some higher than ours, since 
but a very small portion of our own has as yet reached the 
level at which for us it is possible to join them \ but it 
seems certain that some of their very numerous classes have 
not passed in their upward progress through any humanity 
at all comparable to ours. It is not possible for us at 
present to understand very much about them, but it is clear 
that what may be described as the aim of their evolution 
is considerably higher than ours ; that is to say, while 
the object of our human evolution is to raise the successful 
portion of humanity to a certain degree of occult develop- 
ment by the end of the seventh round, the object of the 
Deva evolution is to raise their foremost rank to a very much 
higher level in the corresponding period. For them, as for 


US, a steeper but shorter path to still more sublime heights 
lies open to earnest endeavour ; but what those heights may 
be in their case we can only conjecture. 

It is of course only the lower fringe of this august body 
that need be mentioned in connection with our subject of 
the astral plane. Their three lower great divisions (be- 
ginning from the bottom) are generally called Kamadevas, 
Rupadevas, and ArQpadevas respectively. Just as our 
ordinary body here — the lowest body possible for us — is the 
physical, so the ordinary body of a^^Js^imadeva is the astral; 
so that he stands in somewhat the same position as humanity 
will do when it reaches planet F, and he, living ordinarily in 
an astral body, would go out of it to higher spheres in a 
Mayavirfipa just as we might in an astral body, while to 
enter the Karana Sharira would be to him (when sufficiently 
developed) no greater effort than to form a MsLy^virOpa is to 
us. In the same way the Rfipadeva's ordinary body would 
be the Mayavirupa, since his habitat is on the four lower or 
rupa levels of that spiritual state which we usually call 
Devachan: while the Arupadeva belongs to the three higher 
levels of that plane, and owns no nearer approach to a body 
than the Karana Sharira. But for Rfipa- and Arilpadevas to 
manifest on the astral plane is an occurrence at least as rare 
as it is for astral entities to materialize on this physical plane, 
so we need do no more than mention them now. As regards 
the lowest division — the Kamadevas — it would be quite a 
mistake to think of all of them as immeasurably superior to 
ourselves, since some have entered their ranks from a 
humanity in some respects less advanced than our own ; 
of course the general average among them is much higher 
than among us, for all that is actively or wilfully evil has 
long been weeded out from their ranks ; but they differ 
widely in disposition, and a really noble, unselfish, spiritually- 
minded man may well stand higher in the scale of evolution 


than some of them. Their attention can be attracted by 
certain magical evocations, but the only human will which 
can dominate theirs is that of a certain high class of Adepts. 
As a rule they seem scarcely conscious of us on our physical 
plane, but it does now and then happen that one of them 
becomes aware of some human difficulty which excites his 
pity, and he perhaps renders some assistance, just as any 
of us would try to help an animal that we saw in trouble. 
But it is well understood among them that any interference 
in human affairs at the present stage is likely to do far more 
harm than good. Above the Ariipadevas there are four 
other great divisions, and again, above and beyond the 
Deva kingdom altogether, stand the great hosts of the 
Dhyan Chohans, but the consideration of such glorified 
Beings would be out of place in an essay on the astral 

Though we cannot claim them as belonging exactly to any 
of our classes, this is perhaps the best place in which to 
mention those wonderful and important Beings, the four 
Devarijahs. In this name the word Deva must not, how- 
ever, be taken in the sense in which we have been using it, 
for it is not over the Deva kingdom but over the four 
** elements " of earth, water, air, and fire, with their indwell- 
ing nature-spirits and essences, that these four Kings rule. 
What the evolution has been through which they rose to 
their present height of power and wisdom we cannot tell, 
save only that it has certainly not passed through anything 
corresponding to our own humanity. They are often 
spoken of as the Regents of the Earth, or Angels of the four 
cardinal points, and the Hindu books call them the 
Chatur Mahir^jahs, giving their names as Dhritarashtra, 
Virudhaka, Virupaksha, and VaishrSvana. In the same 
books their hosts are called Gandharvas, Kumbhandas, 
Nagas, and Yakshas respectively, the points of the compass 



appropriated to each being in corresponding order east, 
south, west, and north, and their symbolical colours white, 
blue, red, and gold. They are mentioned in The Secret 
Doctrine as " winged globes and fiery wheels " ; and in the 
Christian bible Ezekiel makes a very remarkable attempt 
at a description of them in which very similar words are 
used. References to them are to be found in the sym- 
bology of every religion, and they have always been held in 
the highest reverence as the protectors of mankind. It is 
they who are the agents of man's Karma during his life on 
earth, and tiiey thus play an extremely important part in 
human destiny. The Lipika, the great karmic deities of 
the Kosmos, weigh the deeds of each personality when the 
final separation of its principles takes place in Kamaloka, and 
give as it were the mould of an etheric double exactly 
suitable to its Karma for the man's next birth ; but it is the 
Devarijahs who, having command of the " elements " of 
which that etheric double must be composed, arrange their 
proportion so as to fulfil accurately the intention of the 
Lipika. It is they also who constantly watch all through 
life to counterbalance the changes perpetually being intro- 
duced into man's condition by his own free will and that of 
those around him, so that no injustice may be done, and 
Karma may be accurately worked out, if not in one way 
then in another. A learned dissertation upon these marvel- 
lous beings will be found in The Secret Doctrine^ vol. i., pp. 
122-126. They are able to take human material forms at 
will, and several cases are recorded when they have done so. 
All the higher nature-spirits and hosts of artificial elementals 
act as their agents in the stupendous work they carry out, 
yet all the threads are in their hands, and the whole responsi- 
bility rests upon them alone. It is not often that they 
manifest upon the astral plane, but when they do they are 
certainly the most remarkable of its non-human inhabitants. 


A student of occultism will not need to be told that as there 
are seven great classes both of nature-spirits and elemental 
essence there must really be seven and not four Devarijahs, 
but outside the circle of initiation little is known and less 
may be said of the higher three. 


This, the largest class of astral entities, is also much the 
most important to man. Being entirely his own creation, 
it is inter-related with him by the closest karmic bonds, and 
its action upon him is direct and incessant. It is an enor- 
mous inchoate mass of semi-intelligent entities, differing 
among themselves as human thoughts differ, and practically 
incapable of anything like classification or arrangement. 
The only division which can be usefully made is that which 
distinguishes between the artificial elementals made by the 
majority of mankind unconsciously, and those made by 
magicians with definite intent ; while we may relegate to a 
third class the very small number of artificially arranged 
entities which are not elementals at all. 

I. Elementals formed unconsciously. It has already been 
explained that the elemental essence which surrounds us on 
every side is in all its numberless varieties singularly sus- 
ceptible to the influence of human thought. The action of 
the mere casual wandering thought upon it, causing it to 
burst into a cloud of rapidly-moving, evanescent forms, has 
already been described; we have now to note how it is 
affected when the human mind formulates a definite, pur- 
poseful thought or wish. The effect produced is of the most 
striking nature. 'I'he thought seizes upon the plastic essence, 
and moulds it instantly into a living being of appropriate 
form — a being which when once thus created is in no way 
under the control of its creator, but lives out a life of its own, 


the length of which is proportionate to the intensity of the 
thought or wish which called it into existence. It lasts, in 
fact, just as long as the thought-force holds it together. 
Most people's thoughts are so fleeting and indecisive that 
the elementals created by them last only a few minutes or a 
few hours, but an often-repeated thought or an earnest wish 
will form an elemental whose existence may extend to many 
days. Since the ordinary man's thoughts refer very largely 
to himself, the elementals they form remain hovering about 
him, and constantly tend to provoke a repetition of the idea 
they represent, since such repetitions, instead of forming 
new elementals, would strengthen the old one, and give it 
a fresh lease of life. A man, therefore, who frequently dwells 
upon one wish often forms for himself an astral attendant 
which, constantly fed by fresh thought, may haunt him for 
years, ever gaining more and more strength and influence 
over him ; and it will easily be seen that if the desire be an 
evil one the effect upon his moral nature may be of the most 
disastrous character. 

Still more pregnant of result for good or evil are a man's 
thoughts about other people, for in that case they hover not 
about the thinker, but about the object of the thought. A 
kindly thought about any person or an earnest wish for his 
good will form and project towards him a friendly artificial 
elemental ; if the wish be a definite one, as, for example, 
that he may recover from some sickness, then the elemental 
will be a force ever hovering over him to promote his re- 
covery, or to ward off" any influence that might tend to 
hinder it, and in doing this it will display what appears like 
a very considerable amount of intelligence and adaptability, 
though really it is simply a force acting along the line of least 
resistance — pressing steadily in one direction all the time, 
and taking advantage of any channel that it can find, just 
as the water in a cistern w^ould in a moment find the one 


open pipe among a dozen closed ones, and proceed to empty 
itself through that. If the wish be merely an indefinite one 
for his general good, the elemental essence in its wonderful 
plasticity will respond exactly to that less distinct idea also, 
and the creature formed will expend its force in the direction 
of whatever action for the man's advantage comes most 
readily to hand. Of course in all cases the amount of such 
force it has to expend, and the length of time that it will 
live to expend it, depend entirely upon the strength of the 
original wish or thought which gave it birth ; though it must 
be remembered that it can be, as it were, fed and 
strengthened, and its life-period protracted by other good 
wishes or friendly thoughts projected in the same direction. 

Furthermore, it appears to be actuated, like most other 
beings, by an instinctive desire to prolong its life, and thus 
reacts on its creator as a force constantly tending to provoke 
the renewal of the feeling which called it into existence. It 
also influencejs in a similar manner others with whom it 
comes into contact, though its rapport with them is naturally 
not so perfect. 

All that has been said as to the effect of good wishes and 
friendly thoughts is also true in the opposite direction of evil 
wishes and angry thoughts ; and considering the amount of 
envy, hatred, malice and all uncharitableness that exists in 
the world, it will be readily understood that among the 
artificial elementals many terrible creatures are to be seen. 
A man whose thoughts or desires are spiteful, brutal, 
sensual, avaricious, moves through the world carrying with 
him everywhere a pestiferous atmosphere of his own, peopled 
with the loathsome beings he has created to be his com- 
panions, and thus is not only in sadly evil case himself, but 
is a dangerous nuisance to his fellow-men, subjecting ^all 
who have the misfortune to come into contact with him to 
the risk of moral contagion from the influence of the 


abominations with which he chooses to surround himself. 
A feeling of envious or jealous hatred towards another 
person will send an evil elemental to hover over him and 
seek for a weak point through which it can operate ; and if 
the feeling be a persistent one, such a creature may be 
continually nourished by it and thereby enabled to protract 
its undesirable activity for a very long period. It can, 
however, produce no effect upon the person towards whom 
it is directed unless he has himself some tendency which it 
can foster — some fulcrum for its lever, as it were ; from the 
aura of a man of pure thought and good life all such in- 
fluences at once rebound, finding nothing upon which they 
can fasten, and in that case, by a very curious law, they re- 
act in all their force upon their original creator. In him by 
the hypothesis they find a very congenial sphere of action, 
and thus the Karma of his evil wish works itself out. at once 
by means of the very entity which he himself has called 
into existence. It occasionally happens, however, that an 
artificial elemental of this description is for various reasons 
unable to expend its force either upon its object or its 
creator, and in such cases it becomes a kind of wandering 
demon, readily attracted by any person who indulges 
feelings similar to that which gave it birth, and equally 
prepared either to stimulate such feelings in him for the 
sake of the strength it may gain from them, or to pour out 
its store of evil influence upon him through any opening 
which he may offer it. If it is suflficiently powerful to seize 
upon and inhabit some passing shell it frequently does so, 
as the possession of such a temporary home enables it to 
husband its dreadful resources more carefully. In this form 
it may manifest through a medium, and by masquerading 
as some well-known friend may sometimes obtain an influ- 
ence over people upon whom it would otherwise have little 


What has been written above will serve to enforce the 
statement already made as to the importance of maintaining 
a strict control over our thoughts. Many a well-meaning 
man, who is scrupulously careful to do his duty towards his 
neighbour in word and deed, is apt to consider that his 
thoughts at least are nobody's business but his own, and so 
lets them run riot in various directions, utterly unconscious 
of the swarms of baleful creatures he is launching upon the 
world. To such a man an accurate comprehension of the 
effect of thought and desire in producing artificial elementals 
would come as a horrifying revelation ; on the other hand, 
it would be the greatest consolation to many devoted and 
grateful souls who are oppressed with the feeling that they 
are unable to do anything in return for the kindness lavished 
upon them by their benefactoi's. For friendly thoughts and 
earnest good wishes are as easily and as effectually formu- 
lated by the poorest as by the richest, and it is within the 
power of almost any man, if he will take the trouble, to 
maintain what is practically a good angel always at the side 
of the brother or sister, the friend or the child whom he 
loves best, no matter in what part of the world he may be. 
Many a time a mother's loving thoughts and prayers have 
formed themselves into an angel guardian for the child, and 
except in the almost impossible case that the child had in 
him no instinct responsive to a good influence, have un- 
doubtedly given him assistance and protection. Such 
guardians may often be seen by clairvoyant vision, and there 
have even been cases where one of them has had sufficient 
strength to materialize and become for the moment visible 
to physical sight. A curious fact which deserves mention 
here is that even after the passage of the mother into the 
devachanic condition the love which she pours out upon the 
children she thinks of as surrounding her will react upon the 
real children still living in this world, and will often support 


the guardian elemental which she created while on earth, 
until her dear ones themselves pass away in turn. As 
Madame Blavatsky remarks, ** her love will always be felt 
by the children in the flesh ; it will manifest in their dreams 
and often in various events, in providential protections and 
escapes — for love is a strong shield, and is not limited by 
space or time" {Key to Theosophy^ p. 150). All the stories 
of the intervention of guardian angels must not, however, be 
attributed to the action of artificial elementals, for in many 
cases such "angels" have been the souls of either living 
or recently departed human beings, and they have also 
occasionally, though rarely, been Devas. 

This power of an earnest desire, especially if frequently 
repeated, to create an active elemental which ever presses 
forcefully in the direction of its own fulfilment, is the scien- 
tific explanation of what devout but unphilosophical people 
describe as answers to prayer. There are occasions, though 
at present these are rare, when the Karma of the person so 
praying is such as to permit of assistance being directly 
rendered to him by an Adept or his pupil, and there is also 
the still rarer possibility of the intervention of a Deva or 
some friendly nature-spirit ; but in all these cases the 
easiest and most obvious form for such assistance to take 
would be the strengthening and the intelligent direction of 
the elemental already formed by the wish. 

A very curious and instructive instance of the extreme 
persistence of these artificial elementals under favourable 
circumstances came under the notice of one of our investi- 
gators quite recently. All readers of the literature of such 
subjects are aware that many of our ancient families are 
supposed to have associated with them a traditional death- 
warning — z. phenomenon of one kind or another which fore- 
tells, usually some days beforehand, the approaching decease 
of the head of the house. A picturesque example of this is 


the well-known story of the white bird of the Oxenhams, 
whose appearance has ever since the time of Queen 
Elizabeth been recognized as a sure presage of the death of 
some member of the family ; while another is the spectral 
coach which is reported to drive up to the door of a certain 
castle in the north when a similar calamity is impending. 
A phenomenon of this order occurs in connection with the 
family of one of our members, but it is of a much commoner 
and less striking type than either of the above, consisting 
only of a solemn and impressive strain of dirge-like music, 
which is heard apparently floating in the air three days be- 
fore the death takes place. Our member, having himself 
twice heard this mystic sound, finding its warning in both 
cases quite accurate, and knowing also that according to family 
tradition the same thing had been happening for several 
centuries, set himself to seek by occult methods for the 
cause underlying so strange a phenomenon. The result 
was unexpected but interesting. It appeared that some- 
where in the twelfth century the head of the family went to 
the crusades, like many another valiant man, and took with 
him to win his spurs in the sacred cause his youngest and 
favourite son, a promising youth whose success in life was 
the dearest wish of his father's heart. Unhappily, however, 
the young man was killed in battle, and the father was 
plunged into the depths of despair, lamenting not only the 
loss of his son, but still more the fact that he was cut off so 
suddenly in the full flush of careless and not altogether 
blameless youth. So poignant, indeed, were the old man's 
feelings that he cast off" his knightly armour and joined one 
of the great monastic orders, vowing to devote all the re- 
mainder of his life to prayer, first for the soul of his son, and 
secondly that henceforward no descendant of his might ever 
again encounter what seemed to his simple and pious mind 
the terrible danger of meeting death unprepared. Day after 


day for many a year he poured all the energy of his soul 
into the channel of that one intense wish, firmly believing 
that somehow or other the result he so earnestly desired 
would be brought about. A student of occultism will have 
little difficulty in deciding what would be the effect of such 
a definite and long-continued stream of thought ; our knightly 
monk created an artificial elemental of immense power and 
resourcefulness for its own particular object, and accumu- 
lated within it a store of force which would enable it to carry 
out his wishes for an indefinite period. An elemental is a 
perfect storage-battery — one from which there is practically 
no leakage; and when we remember what its original 
strength must have been, and how comparatively rarely it 
would be called upon to put it forth, we shall scarcely 
wonder that even now it exhibits unimpaired vitality, and 
still warns the direct descendants of the old crusader of 
their approaching doom by repeating in their ears the strange 
wailing music which was the dirge of a young and valiant 
soldier seven hundred years ago in Palestine. 

2. Ele mentals formed consciously. Since such results as 
have been described above have been achieved by the 
thought-force of men who were entirely in the dark as to 
what they were doing, it will readily be imagined that a 
magician who understands the subject, and can see exactly 
what effect he is producing, may wield immense power along 
these lines. As a matter of fact occultists of both the white 
and dark schools frequently use artificial elementals in their 
work, and few tasks are beyond the powers of such creatures 
when scientifically prepared and directed with knowledge 
and skill ; for one who knows how to do so can maintain a 
connection with his elemental and guide it, no matter at 
what distance it may be working, so that it will practically 
act as though endowed with the full intelligence of its master. 
Very definite and very efficient guardian angels have some- 


times been supplied in this way, though it is probably very 
rarely that Karma permits such a decided interference in a 
person's life as that would be. In such a case, however, as 
that of a pupil of the Adepts, who might have in the course 
of his work for them to run the risk of attack from forces 
with which his unaided strength would be entirely insufficient 
to cope, guardians of this description have been given, and 
have fully proved their sleepless vigilance and their tremen- 
dous power. By some of the more advanced processes of 
black magic, also, artificial elementals of great power may be 
called into existence, and much evil has been worked in 
various ways by such entities. But it is true of them, as 
of the previous class, that if they are aimed at a person whom 
by reason of his purity of character they are unable to 
influence they react with terrible force upon their creator; 
so that the mediaeval story of the magician being torn to 
pieces by the fiends he himself had raised is no mere 
fable, but may well have an awful foundation in fact. 

Such creatures occasionally, for various reasons, escape 
from the control of those who are trying to make use of them, 
and become wandering and aimless demons, as do some of 
those mentioned under the previous heading under similar 
circumstances ; but those that we are considering, having 
much more intelligence and power, and a much longer ex- 
istence, are proportionately more dangerous. They in- 
variably seek for means of prolonging their life either by 
feeding like vampires upon the vitality of human beings, or 
by influencing them to make offerings to them ; and among 
simple half-savage tribes they have frequently succeeded 
by judicious management in getting themselves recognized 
as village or family gods. Any deity which demands sacri- 
fices involving the shedding of blood may always be set 
down as belonging to the lowest and most loathsome class 
of this order ; other less objectionable types are sometimes 


content with offerings of rice and cooked food of various 
kinds. There are parts of India where both these varieties 
may be found flourishing even at the present day, and in 
Africa they are probably comparatively numerous. By 
means of whatever nourishment they can obtain from the 
offerings, and still more by the vitality they draw from their 
devotees, they may continue to prolong their existence for 
many years, or even centuries, retaining sufficient strength 
to perform occasional phenomena of a mild type in order to 
stimulate the faith and zeal of their followers, and invariably 
making themselves unpleasant in some way or other if the 
accustomed sacrifices are neglected. For example, it was 
asserted recently that in one Indian village the inhabitants 
had found that whenever for any reason the local deity did 
not get his or her regular meals, spontaneous fires began to 
break out with alarming frequency among the cottages, 
sometimes three or four simultaneously, in cases where 
they declared it was impossible to suspect human agency ; 
and other stories of a more or less similar nature will no 
doubt recur to the memory of any reader who knows some- 
thing of the out-of-the-way corners of that most wonderful of 
all countries. 

The art of manufacturing artificial elementals of extreme 
virulence and power seems to have been one of the speci- 
alities of the magicians of Atlantis — " the lords of the dark 
face ". One example of their capabilities in this line is given 
in The Secret Doctrine (vol. ii., p. 427), where we read of 
the wonderful speaking animals who had to be quieted by 
an offering of blood, lest they should awaken their masters 
and warn them of the impending destruction. But apart 
from these strange beasts they created other artificial entities 
of power and energy so tremendous, that it is darkly hinted 
that some of them have kept themselves in existence even 
to this day, though it is more than eleven thousand years 


since the cataclysm which overwhelmed their original masters. 
The terrible Indian goddess whose devotees were impelled 
to commit in her name the awful crimes of Thuggee — the 
ghastly Kali, worshipped even to this day with rites too 
abominable to be described — might well be a relic of a system 
which had to be swept away even at the cost of the sub- 
mergence of a continent, and the loss of sixty-five million 
human lives. 

3. Human Artificials. We have now to consider a class 
of entities which, though it contains but very few individuals, 
has acquired from its intimate connection with one of the 
great movements of modern times an importance entirely 
out of proportion to its numbers. It seems doubtful 
whether it should appear under the first or third of our main 
divisions ; but, though certainly human, it is so far removed 
from the course of ordinary evolution, so entirely the pro- 
duct of a will outside of its own, that it perhaps falls most 
naturally into place among the artificial beings. The easiest 
way of describing it will be to commence with its history, 
and to do that we must once more look back to the great 
Atlantean race. In thinking of the Adepts and schools of 
occultism of that remarkable people our minds instinctively 
revert to the evil practices of which we hear so much in 
connection with their latter days ; but we must not forget 
that before that age of selfishness and degradation the mighty 
civilization of Atlantis had brought forth much that was 
noble and worthy of admiration, and that among its leaders 
were some who now stand upon the loftiest pinnacles as yet 
attained by man. Among the lodges for occult study pre- 
liminary to initiation formed by the Adepts of the good Law 
was one in a certain part of America which was then tribu- 
tary to one of the great Atlantean monarchs — ** the Divine 
Rulers of the (iolden Gate '' ; and though it has passed 
through many and strange vicissitudes, though it has had 


to move its headquarters from country to country as each 
in turn was invaded by the jarring elements of a latec civiliza- 
tion, that lodge still exists even at the present day, observing 
still the same old-world ritual — even teaching as a sacred and 
hidden language the same Atlantean tongue which was used 
at its foundation so many thousands of years ago. It still 
remains what it was from the first — a lodge of occultists of 
pure and philanthropic aims, which can lead those students 
whom it finds worthy no inconsiderable distance on the road 
to knowledge, and confers such psychic powers as are in its 
gift only after the most searching tests as to the fitness of 
the candidate. Its teachers do not stand upon the Adept 
level, yet hundreds have learnt through it how to set their 
feet upon the Path which has led them to Adeptship in 
later lives; and though it is not in direct communication 
with the Brotherhood of the Himalayas, there are some 
among the latter who have themselves been connected with 
it in former incarnations, and therefore retain a more than 
ordinarily friendly interest in its proceedings. 

The chiefs of this lodge, though they have always kept 
themselves and their society strictly in the background, have 
nevertheless done what they could from time to time to assist 
the progress of truth in the world, and some half-century ago, 
in despair at the rampant materialism which seemed to be 
stifling all spirituality in Europe and America, they deter- 
mined to make an attempt to combat it by somewhat novel 
methods — in point of fact to offer opportunities by which 
any reasonable man could acquire absolute proof of that life 
apart from the physical body which it was the tendency of J 

science to deny. The phenomena exhibited were not in 
themselves absolutely new, since in some form or other we 
may hear of them all through history ; but their definite 
organization — their production as it were to order — these 
were features distinctly new to the modern world. The 



movement they thus set on foot gradually grew into the 
vast fabric of modern spiritualism, and though it would per- 
haps be unfair to hold the originators of the scheme directly 
responsible for many of the results which have followed, we 
must admit that they have achieved their purpose to the ex- 
tent of converting vast numbers of people from a belief in 
nothing in particular to a firm faith in at any rate some kind 
of future life. This is undoubtedly a magnificent result, 
though, in the opinion of many of those whose power and 
knowledge enable tlxem to take a wider view of such matters 
than we can, it has been attained at too great a cost, since it 
seems to them that on the whole the harm done outweighs 
the good. The method adopted was to take some ordinary 
person after death, arouse him thoroughly upon the astral 
plane, instruct him to a certain extent in the powers and 
possibilities belonging to it, and then put him in charge of 
a spiritualistic circle. He in his turn " developed " other 
departed personalities along the same line, they all acted 
upon those who sat at their seances, and " developed " them 
as mediums ; and so spiritualism grew and flourished. No 
doubt living members of the original lodge occasionally 
manifested themselves in astral form at some of the circles 
— perhaps they may do so even now; but in most cases 
they simply gave such direction and guidance as they con- 
sidered necessary to the persons they had put in. charge. 
There is little doubt that the movement increased so much 
more rapidly than they had expected that it soon got quite 
beyond their control, so that, as has been said, for many 
of the later developments they can only be held indirectly 

Of course the intensification of the astral-plane life in those 
persons who were thus put in charge of circles distinctly de- 
layed their natural progress ; and though the idea had been 
that anything lost in this way would be fully atoned for by 


the good Karma gained by helping to lead others to the truth, 
it was soon found that it was impossible to make use of a 
"spirit-guide" for any length of time without doing him 
serious and permanent injury. In some cases such " guides " 
were therefore withdrawn, and others substituted for them ; 
in others it was considered for various reasons undesirable 
to make such a change, and then a very remarkable expedi- 
ent was adopted which gave rise to the curious class of 
creatures we have called " human artificials ". The higher 
principles of the original " guide " were allowed to pass on 
their long delayed evolution into the devachanic condition, 
but the shade he left behind him was taken possession of, 
sustained, and operated upon so that it might appear to its 
admiring circle practically just as before. This seems at 
first to have been done by members of the lodge themselves, 
but apparently that arrangement was found irksome or un- 
suitable, or perhaps was considered a waste of force, and the 
same objection applied to the use for this purpose of an arti- 
ficial elemental ; so it was eventually decided that the de- 
parted person who would have been appointed to succeed 
the late ** spirit-guide" should still do so, but should take 
possession of the latter's shade or shell, and in fact simply 
wear his appearance. It is said that some members of 
the lodge objected to this on the ground that though 
the purpose might be entirely good a certain amount of de- 
ception was involved ; but the general opinion seems to 
have been that as the shade really was the same, and 
contained something at any rate of the original lower Manas, 
there was nothing that could be called deception in the 
matter. This, then, was the genesis of the human artificial 
entity, and it is understood that in some cases more than 
one such change has been made without arousing suspicion, 
though on the other hand some investigators of spiritualism 
have remarked on the fact that after a considerable lapse of 


time certain differences suddenly became observable in the 
manner and disposition of a ** spirit ". It is needless to say 
that none of the Adept Brotherhood has ever approved of 
the formation of an artificial entity of this sort, though they 
could not interfere with any one who thought it right to take 
such a course. A weak point in the arrangement is that 
many others besides the original lodge may adopt this plan, 
and there is nothing whatever to prevent black magicians 
from supplying communicating ** spirits" — as, indeed, they 
have been known to do. 

With this class we conclude our survey of the inhabitants 
of the astral plane. With the reservations specially made 
some few pages back, the catalogue may be taken as a fairly 
complete one ; but it must once more be emphasized that 
this treatise claims only to sketch the merest outline of a 
very vast subject, the detailed elaboration of which would 
need a lifetime of study and hard work. 



Though in the course of this paper various superphysical 
phenomena have been mentioned and to some extent ex- 
plained, it will perhaps before concluding be desirable so 
far to recapitulate as to give a list of those which are most fre- 
quently met with by the student of these subjects, and to show 
by which of the agencies we have attempted to describe they 
are usually caused. The resources of the astral world, how- 
ever, are so varied that almost any phenomenon with which 
we are acquainted can be produced in several different ways, 
so that it is only possible to lay down general rules in the 

Apparitions or ghosts furnish a very good instance of the 
remark just made, for in the loose manner in which the 
words are ordinarily used they may stand for almost any 
inhabitant of the astral plane. Of course psychically devel- 
oped people are constantly seeing such things, but for an 
ordinary person to " see a ghost," as the common expression 
runs, one of two things must happen : either that ghost must 
materialize, or that person must have a temporary flash of 
psychic perception. But for the fact that neither of these 
events is a common one, ghosts would be met with in our 
streets as frequently as living people. 

If the ghost is seen hovering about a grave it is probably 

the etheric shell of a newly-buried person, 

^^Gho^tT^^ though it may be the astral body of a living man 

haunting in sleep the tomb of a friend ; or again, 


it may be a materialized thought-form — that is, an artificial 
elemental created by the energy with which a man thinks 
of himself as present at that particular spot. These varieties 
would be easily distinguishable one from the other by any one 
accustomed to use astral vision, but an unpractised person 
would be quite likely to call them all vaguely "ghosts". 

Apparitions at the time of death are by no means un- 
common, and are very often really visits paid 
by the astral form of the dying man just before Apparitions 
what we elect to call the moment of dissolution ; Dying, 
though here again they are quite likely to be 
thought-forms called into being by his earnest wish to see 
some friend once more before he passes into an unfamiliar 

Apparitions at the spot where some crime was committed 
are usually thought-forms projected by the 
criminal, who, whether living or dead, but most LocalitS 
especially when dead, is perpetually thinking over 
again and again the circumstances of his action ; and since 
these thoughts are naturally specially vivid in his mind on 
the anniversary of the original crime, it is often only on that 
occasion that the artificial elementals he creates are strong 
enough to materialize themselves to ordinary sight — a fact 
which accounts for the periodicity of some manifestations 
of this class. Another point in reference to such phenomena 
is, that wherever any tremendous mental disturbance has 
taken place, wherever overwhelming terror, pain, sorrow, 
hatred, or indeed any kind of intense passion has been felt, 
an impression of so very marked a character has been made 
upon the astral light that a person with even the faintest 
glimmer of psychic faculty cannot but be deeply impressed 
by it, and it would need but a slight temporary increase of 
sensibility to enable him to visualize the entire scene — to 
see the event in all its detail apparently taking place before 


his eyes — and in such a case he would of course report that 
the place was haunted, and that he had seen a ghost. In- 
deed, people who are as yet unable to see psychically under 
any circumstances are frequently very unpleasantly im- 
pressed when visiting such places as we have mentioned ; 
there are many, for example, who feel uncomfortable when 
passing the site of Tyburn Tree, or cannot stay in the Cham- 
ber of Horrors at Madame Tussaud's, though they may not 
be in the least aware that their discomfort is due lo the 
dreadful impressions in the astral light which surround places 
and objects redolent of horror and crime, and to the presence 
of the loathsome astral entities which always swarm about 
such centres. 

The family ghost, whom we generally find in the stock 

stories of the supernatural as an appanage of 

Ghc«ts^ the feudal castle, may be either a thought-form 

or an unusually vivid impression in the astral 

light, or again he may really be an earth-bound ancestor 

still haunting the scenes in which his thoughts and hopes 

centred during life. 

Another class of hauntings which take the form of bell- 
ringing, stone- throwing, or the breaking of 
Bell-ringing, crockery, has already been referred to, and is 
^^ing^Qtc^ almost invariably the work of elemental forces, 
either set blindly in motion by the clumsy 
efforts of an ignorant person trying to attract the attention 
of his surviving friends, or intentionally employed by some 
childishly mischievous nature-spirit. 

The nature-spirits are also responsible for whatever of 

truth there may be in all the strange fairy stories 

which are so common in certain parts of the 

country. Sometimes a temporary accession of clairvoyance, 

which, is by no means uncommon among the inhabitants of 

lonely mountainous regions, enables some belated wayfarer to 


watch their joyous gambols; sometimes strange tricks are 
played upon some terrified victim, and a glamour is cast 
over him, making him, for example, see houses and people 
where he knows none really exist. And this is frequently 
no mere momentary delusion, for a man will sometimes go 
through quite a long series of imaginary but most striking 
adventures, and then suddenly find that all his brilliant sur- 
roundings have vanished in a moment, leaving him standing 
in some lonely valley or on some wind-swept plain. On the 
other hand, it is by no means safe to accept as founded on 
fact all the popular legends on the subject, for the grossest 
superstition is often mingled with the theories of the 
peasantry about these beings, as was shown by a recent 
terrible murder case in Ireland. 

To the same entities must be attributed a large portion of 
what are called physical phenomena at spiritualistic seances 
— indeed, many a stance has been given entirely by these 
mischievous creatures ; and such a performance might easily 
include many very striking items, such as the answering of 
questions and delivery of pretended messages by raps or 
tilts, the exhibition oP* spirit lights,*' the apport of objects 
from a distance, the reading of thoughts which were in the 
mind of any person present, the precipitation of writings or 
drawings, and even materializations. In fact, the nature- 
spirits alone, if any of them happened to be disposed to take 
the trouble, could give a stance equal to the most wonderful 
of which we read ; for though there may be certain pheno- 
mena which they would not find it easy to reproduce, their 
marvellous power of glamour would enable them without 
difficulty to persuade the entire circle that these phenomena 
also had duly occurred, unless, indeed, there were present a 
trained observer who understood their arts and knew how 
to defeat them. As a general rule, whenever silly tricks or 
practical jokes are played at a stance^ we may infer the pres- 


ence either of low-class nature-spirits, or of human beings 
who were of a sufficiently degraded type to find pleasure in 
such idiotic performances during life. 

As to the entities who may "communicate" at a seance^ 
or may obsess and speak through an entranced 
Communi- medium, their name is simply legion ; there is 
EntidS. hardly a single class among all the varied in- 
habitants of the astral plane from whose ranks 
they may not be drawn, though after the explanations given 
it will be readily understood that the chances are very much 
against their coming from a high one. A manifesting " spirit " 
may be exactly what it professes to be, but on the whole the 
probabilities are that it is nothing of the kind ; and for the 
ordinary sitter there is absolutely no means of distinguishing 
the true from the false, since the extent to which a being 
having all the resources of the astral plane at his command 
can delude a person on the physical plane is so great that 
no reliance can be placed even on what seems the most 
convincing proof. If something manifests which announces 
itself as a man's long-lost brother, he can have no certainty 
that its claim is a just one ; if it tells him of some fact known 
only to that brother and to himself, he remains unconvinced, 
for he knows that it might easily have read the information 
from his own mind, or from his surroundings in the astral 
light ; even if it goes still further and tells him something 
connected with his brother, of which he himself is unaware, 
but which he afterwards verifies, he still realizes that even 
this may have been read from the astral record, or that 
what he sees before him may be only the shade of his 
brother, and so possess his memory without in any way 
being himself. It is not for one moment denied that im- 
portant communications have sometimes been made at 
stances by entities who in such cases have been precisely 
what they said they were ; all that is claimed is that it is 


quite impossible for the ordinary person who visits a seance 
ever to be certain that he is not being cruelly deceived in 
one or other of half a dozen different ways. 

There have been a few cases in which members of the 
lodge of occultists referred to above as originating the spirit- 
ualistic movement have themselves given, through a medium, 
a series of valuable teachings on deeply interesting subjects, 
but this has invariably been at strictly private family skances^ 
not at public performances for which money has been 

To understand the methods by which a large class of 
physical phenomena are produced, it is necessary 
to have some comprehension of the various re- Resom-ces. 
sources mentioned above, which a person func- 
tioning on the astral plane finds at his command ; and this 
is a branch of the subject which it is by no means easy to 
make clear, especially as it is hedged about with certain 
obviously necessary restrictions. It may perhaps help us 
if we remember that the astral plane may be regarded as in 
many ways only an extension of the physical, and the idea 
that matter may assume the etheric state (in which, though 
intangible to us, it is yet purely physical) may serve to show 
us how the one melts into the other. In fact, in the Hindu 
conception of Jagrat, or " the waking state," the physical and 
astral planes are combined, its seven subdivisions correspond- 
ing to the four conditions of physical matter, and the three 
broad divisions of astral matter explained above. With this 
thought in our minds it is easy to move a step further, and 
grasp the idea that astral vision, or rather astral perception, 
may from one point of view be defined as the capability 
of receiving an enormously increased number of different 
sets of vibrations. In our physical bodies one small set of 
slow vibrations is perceptible to us as sound ; another small 
set of much more rapid vibrations affects us as light ; and 


again another set as electric action : but there are immense 
numbers of intermediate vibrations which produce no 
result which our physical senses can cognize at all. Now 
it will readily be seen that if all, or even some only, of 
these intermediates, with all the complications producible 
by differences of wave-length, are perceptible on the astral 
plane, our comprehension of nature might be very greatly 
increased on that level, and we might be able to acquire 
much information which is now hidden from us. 

It is admitted that some of these pass through solid matter 
with perfect ease, so that this enables us to account scien- 
tifically for some of the peculiarities of astral vision, though 
those minds to which the theory of the fourth dimension 
commends itself find in it a neater and more complete ex- 
planation. It is clear that the mere possession of this astral 
vision by a being would at once account for his capability 

to produce many results that seem very wonder- 
Clairvoyance, ful to us — such, for example, as the reading of a 

passage from a closed book ; and when we re- 
member, furthermore, that this faculty includes the power of 
thought-reading to the fullest extent, and also, when com- 
bined with the knowledge of the projection of currents in the 
astral light, that of observing a desired object in almost any 
part of the world, we see that a good many of the phenomena 
of clairvoyance are explicable even without rising above this 
level. Of course true, trained, and absolutely reliable clair- 
voyance calls into operation an entirely different set of facul- 
ties, but as these belong to a higher plane than the astral, 
they form no part of our present subject. The faculty of 

accurate prevision, again, appertains altogether 

Prevision to that higher plane, yet flashes or reflections of 

Second-sight. ^^ frequently show themselves to purely astral 

sight, more especially among simple-minded 
people who live under suitable conditions — what is called 


" second-sight " among the Highlanders of Scotland being a 
well-known example. 

Another fact which must not be forgotten is that any in- 
telligent inhabitant of the astral plane is not only able to 
perceive these etheric vibrations, but can also — if he has 
learnt how it is done — adapt them to his own ends or him- 
self set them in motion. 

It will be readily understood that superphysical forces and 
the methods of managing them are not subjects about which 
much can be written for publication at present, 
though there is reason to suppose that it may Forc«. 
not be very long before at any rate some appli- 
cations of one or two of them come to be known to the 
world at large : but it may perhaps be possible, without trans- 
gressing the limits of the permissible, to give so much of an 
idea of them as shall be sufficient to show in outline how 
certain phenomena are performed. All who have much 
experience of spiritualistic stances at which physical results 
are produced must at one time or another have seen evi- 
dence of the employment of practically resistless force in, for 
example, the instantaneous movement of enormous weights, 
and so on ; and if of a scientific turn of mind, they may 
perhaps have wondered whence this force was obtained, and 
what was the leverage employed. As usual in connection 
with astral phenomena, there are several ways in which such 
work may have been done, but it will be enough for the 
moment to hint at four. First, there are great 
etheric currents constantly sweeping over the currenu 
surface of the earth from pole to pole in volume 
which makes their power as irresistible as that of the rising 
tide, and there are methods by which this stupendous 
force may be safely utilized, though unskilful attempts to 
control it would be fraught with frightful danger. 
Secondly, there is what can best be described as p^^s^^ 
an etheric pressure, somewhat corresponding to, 


though immensely greater than, the atmospheric pressure. 
In ordinary life we are as little conscious of one of these 
pressures as we are of the other, but nevertheless they both 
exist, and if science were able to exhaust the ether from a 
given space, as it can exhaust the air, the one could be 
proved as readily as the other. The difficulty of doing that 
lies in the fact that matter in the etheric condition freely inter- 
penetrates matter in all states below it, so that there is as 
yet no means within the knowledge of our physicists by 
which any given body of ether can be isolated from the rest. 
Practical Occultism, however, teaches how this can be done, 
and thus the tremendous force of etheric pressure can be 

brought into play. Thirdly, there is a vast 
EneSy. Store of potential energy which has become 

dormant in matter during the involution of the 
subtle into the gross, and by changing the condition of 
the matter some of this may be liberated and utilized, some- 
what as latent energy in the form of heat may be liberated 
by a change in the condition of visible matter. Fourthly, 

many striking results, both great and small, may 
^v^ration'^ ^^ produced by an extension of a principle 

which may be described as that of sympathetic 
vibration. Illustrations taken from the physical plane seem 
generally to misrepresent rather than elucidate astral pheno- 
mena, because they can never be more than partially applic- 
able ; but the recollection of two simple facts of ordinary 
life may help to make this important branch of our subject 
clearer, if we are careful not to push the analogy further than 
it will hold good. It is well known that if one of the wires 
of a harp be made to vibrate vigorously, its movement will 
call forth sympathetic vibrations in the corresponding strings 
of any number of harps placed round it, if they are tuned to 
exactly the same pitch. It is also well known that when a 
large body of soldiers crosses a suspension bridge it is 


necessary for them to break step, since the perfect regularity 
of their ordinary march would set up a vibration in the bridge 
which would be intensified by every step they took, until the 
point of resistance of the iron was passed, when the whole 
structure would fly to pieces. With these two analogies in 
our minds (never forgetting that they are only partial ones) 
it may seem more comprehensible that one who knows 
exactly at what rate to start his vibrations — knows, so to 
speak, the keynote of the class of matter he wishes to affect 
— should be able by sounding that keynote to call forth 
an immense number of sympathetic vibrations. When this 
is done on the physical plane no additional energy is de- 
veloped; but on the astral plane there is this difference, 
that the matter with which we are dealing is far less inert, 
and so when called into action by these sympathetic vibra- 
tions it adds its own living force to the original impulse, which 
may thus be multiplied many-fold ; and then by further 
rhythmic repetition of the original impulse, as in the case 
of the soldiers marching over the bridge, the vibrations 
may be so intensified that the result is out of all apparent 
proportion to the cause. Indeed, it may be said that there 
is scarcely any limit to the conceivable achievements of this 
force in the hands of a great Adept Who fully comprehends 
its possibilities ; for the very building of the Universe itself 
was but the result of the vibrations set up by the Spoken 

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

The phenomenon of disintegration also may be brought 
about by the action of extremely rapid vibra- 
tions, which overcome the cohesion of the mole- CTadon 
cules of the object operated upon. A still higher 


rate of vibrations of a somewhat different type will separate 
these molecules into their constituent atoms. A body re- 
duced by these means to the etheric condition can be 
moved by an astral current from one place to another with 
very great rapidity ; and the moment that the force which 
has been exerted to put it into that condition is withdrawn 
it will be forced by the etheric pressure to resume its origi- 
nal form. It is in this way that objects are sometimes 
brought almost instantaneously from great distances at 
spiritualistic stances^ and it is obvious that when disinte- 
grated they could be passed with perfect ease through any 
solid substance, such, for example, as the wall of a house 
or the side of a locked box, so that what is commonly called 
"the passage of matter through matter" is seen, when 
properly understood, to be as simple as the passage of water 
through a sieve, or of a gas through a liquid in some chemi- 
cal experiment. 

Since it is possible by an alteration of vibrations to change 
matter from the solid to the etheric condition, it will be com- 
prehended that it is also possible to reverse the process 
and to bring etheric matter into the solid state. As the one 
process explains the phenomenon of disintegration, so does 
the other that of materialization ; and just as in 

^StSn ^^ former case a continued effort of will is 
necessary to prevent the object from resuming 
its original form, so in exactly the same way in the latter 
phenomenon a continued effort is necessary to prevent the 
materialized matter from relapsing into the etheric condition. 
In the materializations seen at an ordinary seance^ such 
matter as may be required is borrowed as far as possible 
from the medium's etheric double — an operation which is 
prejudicial to his health, and also undesirable in various 
other ways ; and this explains the fact that the materialized 
form is usually strictly confined to the immediate neighbour- 


hood of the medium, and is subject to an attraction which 
is constantly drawing it back to the body from which it 
came, so that if kept away from the medium too long the 
figure collapses, and the matter which composed it, return- 
ing to the etheric condition, rushes back instantly to its 

The reason why the beings directing a stance find it easier 
to operate in darkness or in very subdued light 
will now be manifest, since their power would ^^X Dark- 
usually be insufficient to hold together a materi- required, 
alized form or even a " spirit hand " for more 
than a very few seconds amidst the intense vibrations set up 
by brilliant light. The habituks of stances will no doubt 
have noticed that materializations are of three kinds : — First, 
those which are tangible but not visible ; second, those 
which are visible but not tangible ; and third, those which 
are both visible and tangible. To the first kind, which 
is much the most common, belong the invisible spirit hands 
which so frequently stroke the faces of the sitters or carry 
small objects about the room, and the vocal organs fi*om 
which the " direct voice " proceeds. In this case, an order 
of matter is being used which can neither reflect nor obstruct 
light, but which is capable under certain conditions of set- 
ting up vibrations in the atmosphere which affect us as sound. 
A variation of this class is that kind of partial materializa- 
tion which, though incapable of reflecting any light that 
we can see, is yet able to aflect some of the 
ultra-violet rays, and can therefore make a more phouSraphs 
or less definite impression upon the camera, and 
so provide us with what are known as "spirit photographs". 
When there is not sufficient power available to produce a 
perfect materialization we sometimes get the vaporous-look- 
ing form which constitutes our second class, and in such a 
case the " spirits " usually warn their sitters that the forms 


which appear must not be touched. In the rarer case of a 
full materialization there is sufficient power to hold together, 
at least for a few moments, a form which can be both seen 
and touched. 

When an Adept or pupil finds it necessary for any pur- 
pose to materialize his MHyavirQpa or his astral body, he does 
not draw upon either his own etheric double or any one 
else's, since he has been taught how to extract the matter 
which he requires directly from the astral light or even from 
the Akasha. 

Another phenomenon closely connected with this part of 

the subject is that of reduplication, which is pro- 
^^^icm^^^ duced by simply forming in the astral light a 

perfect mental image of the object to be copied, 
and then gathering about that mould the necessary physical 
matter. Of course for this purpose it is necessary that every 
particle, interior as well as exterior, of the object to be 
duplicated should be held accurately in view simultaneously, 
and consequently the phenomenon is one which requires 
considerable power of concentration to perform. Persons 
unable to reduce the matter required directly from the astral 
light have sometimes borrowed it from the material of the 
original article, which in this case would be correspondingly 
reduced in weight. 

We read a good deal in Theosophical literature about the 

precipitation of letters or pictures. This result, 
^^tSn^^^ like everything else, may be obtained in several 

ways. An Adept wishing to communicate with 
some one might place a sheet of paper before him, form an 
image of the writing which he wished to appear upon it, and 
draw from the astral light the matter wherewith to objectify 
that image ; or -if he preferred to do so it would be equally 
easy for him to produce the same result upon a sheet of 
paper lying before his correspondent, whatever might be the 


distance between them. A third method which, since it 
saves time, is much more frequently adopted, is to impress 
lae whole substance of the letter on the mind of some pupil, 
and leave him to do the mechanical work of precipitation. 
That pupil would then- take his sheet of paper, and, imagin- 
ing he saw the letter written thereon in his Master's hand, 
would proceed to objectify the writing as before described. 
If he found it difficult to perform simultaneously the two 
operations of drawing his material from the astral light and 
precipitating the writing on the paper, he might have either 
ordinary ink or a small quantity of coloured powder on the 
table beside him, which, being already physical matter, could 
ue drawn upon more readily. 

It is of course obvious that the possession of this power 
would be a very dangerous weapon in the hands of an un- 
scrupulous person, since it is just as easy to imitate one 
man's handwriting as another's, and it would be impossible 
to detect by any ordinary means a forgery committed in 
this manner. A pupil definitely connected with any Master 
has always an infallible test by which he knows whether any 
message really emanates from that Master or not, but for 
others the proof of its origin must always lie solely in the 
contents of the letter and the spirit breathing through it, as 
the handwriting, however cleverly imitated, is of absolutely 
no value as evidence. 

As to speed, a pupil new to the work of precipitation 
would probably be able lo image only a few words at a time, 
and would, therefore, get on hardly more rapidly than if he 
wrote his letter in the ordinary way, but a more experienced 
individual who could visualize a whole page or perhaps the 
entire letter at once would get through his work with greater 
facility. It is in this manner that quite long letters are 
sometimes produced in a few seconds at a stance. 

When a picture has to be precipitated the method is pre- 


cisely the same, except that here it is absolutely necessary 
that the entire scene should be visualized at once, and if 
many colours are required there is of course the additional 
comphcation of manufacturing them, keeping them separate, 
and reproducing accurately the exact tints of the scene to 
be represented. Evidently there is scope here for the 
exercise of the artistic faculty, and it must not be supposed 
that every inhabitant of the astral plane could by this 
method produce an equally good picture ; a man who had 
been a great artist in life, and had therefore learnt how to 
see and what to look for, would certainly be very much 
more successful than the ordinary person if he attempted 
precipitation when on the astral plane after death. 
The slate-writing, for the production of which under test 
conditions some of the greatest mediums have 
wit^ng ^^^^ so famous, is sometimes produced by pre- 
cipitation, though more frequently the fragment 
of pencil enclosed between the slates is guided by a spirit 
hand, of which only just the tiny points sufficient to grasp it 
are materialized. 

An occurrence which occasionally takes place at seances, 
. . and more frequently among eastern Y6gis, is 
what is called levitation — that is, the floating of 
a human body in the air. No doubt when this takes place 
in the case of a medium, he is often simply upborne by 
** spirit hands," but there is another and more scientific 
method of accomplishing this feat which is always used in 
the East, and occasionally here also. Occult science is ac- 
quainted with a means of neutralizing or even entirely re- 
versing the attraction of gravity, and it is obvious that by 
the judicious use of this power all the phenomena of levi- 
tation may be easily produced. It was no doubt by a 
knowledge of this secret that some of the air-ships of ancient 
India and Atlantis were raised from the earth and made light 


enough to be readily moved and directed ; and not impro- 
bably the same acquaintance with nature's finer forces 
greatly facilitated the labours of those who raised the 
enormous blocks of stone sometimes used in cyclopean 
architecture, or in the building of the Pyramids and Stone- 

With the knowledge of the forces of nature which the 
resources of the astral plane place at the com- 
mand of its inhabitants the production of what Lirfite 
are called " spirit lights " is a very easy matter, 
whether they be of the mildly phosphorescent or the 
dazzling electrical variety, or those curious dancing globules 
of light into which a certain class of fire elementals so readily 
transform themselves. Since all light consists simply of 
vibrations of the ether, it is obvious that any one who knows, 
how to set up these vibrations can readily produce any kind 
of light that he wishes. 

It is by the aid of the etheric elemental essence also that 
the remarkable feat of handling fire unharmed 
is generally performed, though there are as Firel"^ 
usual other ways in which it can be done. The 
thinnest layer of etheric substance can be so manipulated as 
to be absolutely impervious to heat, and when the hand of 
a medium or sitter is covered with this he may pick up 
burning coal or red-hot iron with perfect safety. 

Most of the occurrences of the skance-xoova have now been 
referred to, but there are one or two of the rarer phenomena 
of the outer world which must not be left quite 
without mention in our list. The transmutation ^^^n"' 
of metals is commonly supposed to be a mere 
dream of the mediaeval alchemists, and no doubt in most 
cases the description of the. phenomenon was merely a 
symbol of the purification of the soul ; yet there seems to 
be some evidence that it was really accomplished by them 


on seyera) occasion^, an4 there ar/e petty magicians in the 
Easi wbp profess to dp it under te?t conditions even r^oy. 
Be that as it may, it is evjdent t)iat since the ultimate atom 
is one 4iid ^he samp in ^f\ substances, and it is only tl^e 
methods of hi corolDination that (Jiffer, any one who pos- 
sessed the power of reducing a piece of metal to the atomic 
cpnditipR ai^d of rp-arrapging i^s atojps in some other form 
would have no difficulty ip effeptin^g transmutation tp any 
extent that he wished. 


The principle of sympathetic vibration mentioned above 
alsQ prpyides the e^^planation of that strange an4 
laonT^ little-kpowft phenpmenpn pallpd reperctjssipn, 
by means of whiph any injury done to, or any 
Tx^ar^ H^^de upon, the astral body in the cpur3e of its 
W,*n4pripgs will be reprocjuced in the physical body. We 
find tracer of this in some of the evidence given at trials for 
witchcraft in the middle ages, in which it is not infrequently 
sj^ed that some wound given to the witph when in the 
form of a dog or a yrolf was foupd to have appeared in thp 
corresponding part of her hum^n body. Thp same strange 
law has sometimes led to an pntirely unjpst accusation of 
fraud ^ain^t ^ mpdjum, because* for example, some colour- 
ing matter rjubbec) upon the h^pd of a i^^ateriali^id *•* spirit " 
was afterwards ^und upon his hand^the explanation being 
that in that ca^e, a? $o often happens, the ''spirit" W93 
siqaply tl>p medium's astral bojdy or perhaps even his etl>eric 
doublp, ijorce^ by the guiding in^uence? t,o take some form 
other than his own. In f^ct the astral and physical bodies 
are so intimately connected that it is impossibl/e to touch the 
keynote of one without inii]9e;(jU^ely ^ptt^g up exactly 
cprresppndipg vibrations in the other. 



It is hoped that any reader who has been sufficiently in- 
terested to follow this treatise thiis far, may by this time have 
a general idea of the astral plane and its possitilities, such 
as will enable him to understand and fit into their propier 
places in its scheme any facts in connection with it which lie 
may pick up in his reading. Though only the roughest 
sketch has been given of a very great subject, enough has 
perhaps been said to show the extreme importance of astral 
perception in the study of biology, physics, chemistry, 
astronomy, medicine and history, and the great impulse 
which might be given by its development to all these 
sciences. Yet its attainment should never be regarded as 
an end in it3elf, since any means adopted with that object 
in view would inevitably lead to what is called in the East 
the laukika method of development — a system by which 
certain psychic powers are indeed acquired, but only for the 
present personality ; and since their acquiisitjon is sur- 
rounded by no safeguards, the student is extremely likely 
to misuse them. To this class belong all systems which 
involve the use of drugs, invocation of elementals, or the 
practices of Hatha Yoga. The Qther method, which is 
called the lokottara^ consists of Raj Yoga or spiritual progress, 
and though it may be somewhat slower than the other, what- 
ever is acquired along this line is gained for the permanent 
individuality, and never lost again, while the guiding care 
of a Master ensures perfect safety from misuse of power as 


long as his orders are scrupulously obeyed. The opening 
of astral vision must be regarded then only as a stage in the 
development of something infinitely nobler — merely as a step, 
and a very small step, on that great Upward Path which 
leads men to the sublime heights of Adeptship, and beyond 
even that through glorious vistas of wisdom and power such 
as our finite minds cannot now conceive. 

Yet let no one think it an unmixed blessing to have the 
wider sight of the astral plane, for upon one in whom that 
vision is opened the sorrow and misery, the evil and the 
greed of the world press as an ever-present burden, until he 
often feels inclined to echo the passionate adjuration of 
Schiller : ** Why hast thou cast me thus into the town of the 
ever- blind, to proclaim thine oracle with the opened sense ? 
Take back this sad clear-sightedness ; take from mine eyes 
this cruel light ! Give me back my blindness — the happy 
darkness of my senses ; take back thy dreadful gift ! " This 
feeling is perhaps not an unnatural one in the earlier stages 
of the Path, yet higher sight and deeper knowledge soon 
bring to the student the perfect certainty that all things are 
working together for the eventual good of all — that 

Hour after hour, like an opening flower, 

Shall truth after truth expand ; 
For the sun may pale, and the stars may fail, 

But the Law of Good shall stand. 
Its splendour glows and its influence g^ows 

As Nature's slow work appears, 
From the zoophyte small to the Lords of all. 

Through k^pas and crores of years.