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Title: Second Sight - A study of Natural and Induced Clairvoyance
Author: Sepharial, 1864-1929
Language: English
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SECOND SIGHT

A Study of Natural and Induced Clairvoyance

by

SEPHARIAL

Author of "A Manual of Astrology," "Prognostic Astronomy," "A Manual
of Occultism," "Kabalistic Astrology," "The Kabala of Numbers,"
Etc., Etc.



London
William Rider & Son, Limited
1912

Richard Clay & Sons, Limited,
Brunswick Street, Stamford Street, S.E.,
and Bungay, Suffolk.



CONTENTS

Introduction                                 7
Chapter I.     The Scientific Position      10
Chapter II.    Materials and Conditions     21
Chapter III.   The Faculty of Seership      29
Chapter IV.    Preliminaries and Practice   39
Chapter V.     Kinds of Vision              51
Chapter VI.    Obstacles to Clairvoyance    59
Chapter VII.   Symbolism                    67
Chapter VIII.  Allied Psychic Phases        76
Chapter IX.    Experience and Use           84
Conclusion                                  93


INTRODUCTION

Few words will be necessary by way of preface to this book,
which is designed as an introduction to a little understood and
much misrepresented subject.

I have not here written anything which is intended to displace
the observations of other authors on this subject, nor will it be
found that anything has been said subversive of the conclusions
arrived at by experimentalists who have essayed the study
of clairvoyant phenomena in a manner that is altogether
commendable, and who have sought to place the subject on a
demonstrable and scientific basis. I refer to the proceedings of
the Society for Psychical Research.

In the following pages I have endeavoured to indicate the nature
of the faculty of Second Sight or Clairvoyance, the means of its
development, the use of suitable media or agents for this
purpose, and the kind of results that may be expected to follow
a regulated effort in this direction. I have also sought to show
that the development of the psychic faculties may form an
orderly step in the process of human unfoldment and perfectibility.

As far as the nature and scope of this little work will allow, I
have sought to treat the subject on a broad and general basis
rather than pursue more particular and possibly more attractive
scientific lines. What I have here said is the result of a personal
experience of some years in this and other forms of psychic
development and experimentation. My conclusions are given
for what they are worth, and I have no wish to persuade my
readers to my view of the nature and source of these abnormal
phenomena. The reader is at liberty to form his own theory in
regard to them, but such theory should be inclusive of all the
known facts. The theories depending on hypnotic suggestion
may be dismissed as inadequate. There appear to remain only
the inspirational theory of direct revelation and the theory of the
world-soul enunciated by the Occultists. I have elected in
favour of the latter for reasons which, I think, will be
conspicuous to those who read these pages.

I should be the last to allow the study of psychism to usurp the
legitimate place in life of intellectual and spiritual pursuits, and
I look with abhorrence upon the flippant use made of the
psychic faculties by a certain class of pseudo-occultists who
serve up this kind of thing with their five o'clock tea. But I
regard an ordered psychism as a most valuable accessory to
intellectual and spiritual development and as filling a natural
place in the process of unfoldment between that intellectualism
that is grounded in the senses and that higher intelligence which
receives its light from within. From this view-point the
following pages are written, and will, I trust, prove helpful.


CHAPTER I.

THE SCIENTIFIC POSITION

It would perhaps be premature to make any definite pronouncement
as to the scientific position in regard to the psychic phenomenon
known as "scrying," and certainly presumptuous on my part
to cite an authority from among the many who have examined
this subject, since all are not agreed upon the nature and
source of the observed phenomena. Their names are, moreover,
already identified with modern scientific research and theory,
so that to associate them with experimental psychology would
be to lend colour to the idea that modern science has recognized
this branch of knowledge. Nothing, perhaps, is further from
the fact, and while it cannot in any way be regarded as derogatory
to the highest scientist to be associated with others, of less
scientific attainment but of equal integrity, in this comparatively new
field of enquiry, it may lead to popular error to institute a connection.
It is still fresh in the mind how the Darwinian hypothesis was utterly
misconceived by the popular mind, the suggestion that man was descended
from the apes being generally quoted as a correct expression of
Darwin's theory, whereas he never suggested any such thing,
but that man and the apes had a common ancestor, which makes
of the ape rather a degenerate lemur than a human ancestor.
Other and more prevalent errors will occur to the reader, these
being due to the use of what is called "the evidence of the
senses"; and of all criteria the evidence of sensation is perhaps
the most faulty. Logical inference from deductive or inductive
reasoning has often enough been a good monitor to sense-perception,
and has, moreover, pioneered the man of science to correct
knowledge on more than one occasion. But as far as we know
or can learn from the history of human knowledge, our senses
have been the chiefest source of error. It is with considerable
caution that the scientist employs the evidence from sense
alone, and in the study of experimental psychology it is the sense
which has first to be corrected, and which, in fact, forms the great
factor in the equation. A person informs me that he can see a vision in
the crystal ball before him, and although I am in the same relation
with the "field" as he, I cannot see anything except accountable
reflections. This fact does not give any room for contradicting him or
any right to infer that it is all imagination. It is futile to say the
vision does not exist. If he sees it, it does exist so far as he is
concerned. There is no more a universal community of sensation than of
thought. When I am at work my own thought is more real than any
impression received through the sense organs. It is louder than the
babel of voices or the strains of instrumental music, and more
conspicuous than any object upon which the eye may fall. These external
impressions are admitted or shut out at will. I then know that
my thought is as real as my senses, that the images of thought
are as perceptible as those exterior to it and in every way as
objective and real. The thought-form has this advantage,
however, that it can be given a durable or a temporary existence,
and can be taken about with me without being liable to impost
as "excess luggage." In the matter of evidence in psychological
questions, therefore, sense perceptions are only second-rate
criteria and ought to be received with caution.

Almost all persons dream, and while dreaming they see and
hear, touch and taste, without questioning for a moment the
reality of these experiences. The dreaming person loses sight of
the fact that he is in a bedroom of a particular house, that he has
certain relations with others sleeping in the same house. He
loses sight of the fact that his name is, let us say, Henry, and
that he is famous for the manufacture of a particular brand of
soap or cheese. For him, and as long as it lasts, the dream is the
one reality. Now the question of the philosopher has always
been: which is the true dream, the sleeping dream or the waking
dream? The fact that the one is continuous of itself while the
other is not, and that we always fall into a new dream but
always wake to the same reality, has given a permanent value to
the waking or external life, and an equally fictitious one to the
interior or dreaming life. But what if the dream life became
more or less permanent to the exclusion of all other memories
and sensations? We should then get a case of insanity in which
hallucination would be symptomic. (The dream state is more or
less permanent with certain poetical temperaments, and if there
is any insanity attaching to it at all, it consists in the inability
to react.) Imagination, deep thought and grief are as much
anaesthetic as chloroform. But the closing of the external
channels of sensation is usually the signal for the opening of the
psychic, and from all the evidence it would seem that the
psychic sense is more extensive, acuter and in every way more
dependable than the physical. I never yet have met the man or
woman whose impaired eyesight required that he or she should
use glasses in order to see while asleep. That they do see is
common experience, and that they see farther, and therefore
better, with the psychic sense than with the physical has been
often proved. Emanuel Swedenborg saw a fire in Stockholm
when he was resident in England and gave evidence of it before
the vision was confirmed by news from Sweden. A lady of my
acquaintance saw and described a fire taking place at a country
seat about 150 miles away, the incident being true to the
minutest details, many of which were exceptional and in a
single instance tragic. The psychic sense is younger than the
physical, as the soul is younger than the body, and its faculty
continues unimpaired long after old age and disease have made
havoc of the earthly vestment. The soul is younger at a thousand
years than the body is at sixty. Let it be admitted upon evidence
that there are two sorts of sense perception, the physical and the
psychical, and that in some persons the latter is as much in
evidence as the former. We have to enquire then what relations
the crystal or other medium has to the development and exercise
of the clairvoyant faculty. We know comparatively little about
atomic structure in relation to nervous organism. The atomicity
of certain chemical bodies does not inform us as to why one
should be a deadly poison and another perfectly innocuous. We
regard different bodies as congeries of atoms, but it is a singular
fact that of two bodies containing exactly the same elements in
the same proportions the one is poisonous and the other
harmless. The only difference between them is the atomic
arrangement.

The atomic theory refers all bodies to one homogeneous basic
substance, which has been termed protyle (proto-hyle), from
which, by means of a process loosely defined as differentiation,
all the elements are derived. These elements are the result of
atomic arrangement. The atoms have various vibrations, the
extent of which is called the mean free path of vibration;
greatest in hydrogen and least in the densest element. All matter
is indestructible, but at the same time convertible, and these
facts, together with the absolute association of matter and force,
lead to the conclusion that every change of matter implies a
change of force. Matter, therefore, is ever living and active,
and there is no such thing as dead matter anywhere. The hylo-idealists
have therefore regarded all matter as but the ultimate expression
of spirit, and primarily of a spiritual origin.

The somewhat irksome phraseology of Baron Swedenborg has dulled
many minds to a sense of his great acumen and philosophical depth, but
it maybe convenient to summarize his scientific doctrine of
"Correspondences" in this place as it has an important bearing on the
subject in hand. He laid down the principle of the spiritual origin of
force and matter. Matter, he argued, was the ultimate expression of
spirit, as form was that of force. Spirit is to force what matter is to
form--its substratum. Hence for every spiritual force there is a
corresponding material form, and thus the material or natural world
corresponds at all points to the world of spirit, without being
identical. The apparent hiatus between one plane of existence and the
next he called a discrete degree, while the community between different
bodies on the same plane he called a continuous degree. Thus
there is community of sensation between bodies of the same
nature, community of feeling, community of thought, and
community of desire or aspiration, each on its own plane of
existence. But desire is translated into thought, thought into
feeling, and feeling into action. The spirit, soul (rational and
animal in its higher and lower aspects), and the body appear to
have been the principles of the human constitution according to
this authority. All spirits enjoy community, as all souls and all
bodies on their respective planes of existence; but between spirit
and soul, as between soul and body, there is a discrete degree.
In fine, mind is continuous of mind all through the universe, as
matter is continuous of matter; while mind and matter are
separated and need to be translated into terms of one another.

Taking our position from the scientific statement of the atomic
structure of bodies, atomic vibration and molecular arrangement,
we may now consider the action exerted by such bodies upon
the nervous organism of man.

The function of the brain, which may be regarded as the
bulbous root of a plant whose branches grow downwards, is
twofold: to affect, and to be affected. In its active and positive
condition it affects the whole of the vital and muscular
processes in the body, finding expression in vital action. In its
passive and negative state it is affected by impressions coming
to it in different ways through the sense organs, resulting
in nervous and mental action. These two functions are interdependent.
It is the latter or afferent function with which we are now concerned.
The range of our sense-perceptions puts us momentarily in relations
with the material world, or rather, with a certain portion of it. For
we by no means sense all that is sensible, and, as I have already
indicated, our sense impressions are often delusive. The gamut of our
senses is very limited, and also very imperfect both as to extent and
quality. Science is continually bringing new instruments into our
service, some to aid the senses, others to correct them. The
microscope, the microphone, the refracting lens are instances. It used
to be said with great certainty that you cannot see through a brick
wall, but by means of X-rays and a fluorescent screen it is now
possible to do so. I have seen my own heart beating as its image
was thrown on the screen by the Rontgen rays. Many insects,
birds and animals have keener perceptions in some respects than
man. Animalculae and microbic life, themselves microscopic,
have their own order of sense-organs related to a world of life
beyond our ken. These observations serve to emphasise the
great limitation of our senses, and also to enforce the fact that
Nature does not cease to exist where we cease to perceive her.
The recognition of this fact has been so thoroughly appreciated
by thoughtful people as to have opened up the question as to
what these human limitations may mean and to what degree
they may extend.

We know what they mean well enough: the history of human
development is the sequel to natural evolution, and this
development could never have had place apart from the hunger
of the mind and the consequent breaking down of sense limitations by
human invention. As to the extent of our limitations it has been
suggested that just as there are states of matter so fine as to be
beyond the range of vision, so there may be others so coarse as to be
below the sense of touch. We cannot, however, assert anything with
certainty, seeing that proof must always require that a thing must
be brought within our range of perception before we can admit it as
fact. The future has many more wonderful revelations in store for us,
no doubt. But there is really nothing more wonderful than human
faculty which discovers these things in Nature, things that have
always been in existence but until now have been outside our
range of perception. The ultra-solid world may exist.

The relations of our sense-organs to the various degrees of
matter, to solids, fluids, gases, atmosphere and ether, vary in
different individuals to such a wide extent as to create the
greatest diversity of normal faculty. The average wool-sorter
will outvie an artist in his perception of colour shades. An odour
that is distinctly recognizable by one person will not be
perceptible to others. In the matter of sound also the same
differences of perception will be noted. On a very still night one
can hear the sugar canes growing. Most people find the cry of a
bat to be beyond their range. The eye cannot discern intervals of
less than one-fiftieth of a second. Atmospheric vibration does
not become sound until a considerable frequency is attained.
Every movement we make displaces air but our sense of touch
does not inform us of it, but if we stand in a sunbeam the dust
particles will show that it is so. Our sense of feeling will not
register above certain degrees of heat or below certain degrees
of cold. Sensation, moreover, is not indefinitely sustained, as
anyone may learn who will follow the ticking of a watch for
five minutes continuously.

But quite apart from the sense and range of our perceptions, the
equality of a sense-impression is found to vary with different
persons, affecting them each in a different way. We find that
people have "tastes" in regard to form, colour, flavour, scent,
sound, fabric and texture. The experience is too general to need
illustration, but we may gather thence that, in relation to the
nervous system of man, every material body and state of matter
has a variable effect. These remarks will clear the ground for a
statement of my views upon the probable effect a crystal may
have upon a sensitive person.


CHAPTER II.

MATERIALS AND CONDITIONS

The crystal is a clear pellucid piece of quartz or beryl,
sometimes oval in shape but more generally spherical. It is
accredited by Reichenbach and other researchers with highly
magnetic qualities, capable of producing in a suitable subject
a state analogous to the ordinary "waking trance" of the
hypnotists. It is believed that all bodies convey, or are the
vehicles of certain universal property called od or odyle
(od-hyle), which is not regarded as a force but as an inert and
passive substance underlying the more active forces familiar to
us in kinetic, calorific and electrical phenomena. In this respect
it holds a position analogous to the argon of the atmosphere,
and is capable of taking up the vibrations of those bodies to
which it is related and which it invests. It would perhaps not be
amiss to regard it as static ether. Of itself it has no active
properties, but in its still, well-like depths, it holds the
potentiality of all magnetic forces.

This odyle is particularly potent in certain bodies and one of
these is the beryl or quartz. It produces and retains more readily
in the beryl than in most other bodies the images communicated
to it by the subconscious activity of the seer. It is in the nature
of a sensitized film which is capable of recording thought forms
and mental images as the photographic film records objective
things. The occultist will probably recognize in it many of the
properties of the "astral light," which is often spoken of in this
connection. Readers of my _Manual of Occultism_ will already
be informed concerning the nature of subconscious activity. The
mind or soul of man has two aspects: the attentive or waking
consciousness, directed to the things of the external world; and
the subconscious, which is concerned with the things of the
interior world. Each of these spheres of the mind has its
voluntary and automatic phases, a fact which is usually lost
sight of, inasmuch as the automatism of the mind is frequently
confounded with the subconscious. All purposive action tends
to become automatic, whether it be physical or mental, sensory
or psychic.

The soul in this connection is to be regarded as the repository of
all that complex of emotions, thoughts, aspirations, impressions,
perceptions, feelings, etc., which constitute the inner life of man.
The soul is none the less a fact because there are those who
bandy words about its origin and nature.

Reichenbach has shown by a series of experiments upon sensitive and
hypnotized subjects, that metals and other materials produce very marked
effects in contact with the human body. The experiments further showed
that the same substance affected different patients in diverse manners.

The hypnotic experiments of the late Dr. Charcot, the well-known
French biologist, also demonstrate the rapport existing between the
sensitive subject and foreign bodies in proximity. A bottle containing
a poison is taken at random from a number of others of similar appearance
and is applied to the back of the patient's neck. The hypnotic subject
at once begins to develop all the symptoms of arsenical, strychnine or
prussic acid poisoning; it being afterwards found that the bottle
contains the toxine whose effects have been portrayed by the subject.
But not all hypnotic subjects are capable of the same degree of
sensibility.

Community of sensation is as common a phenomenon as community of
thought between a hypnotizer and his subject, and what are called
sympathetic pains are included in common experience. Sensitive persons
will simulate all the symptoms of a virulent disease, _e.g._ mock
measles. The phenomena of psychometry reveal the fact of bodies being
able to retain records and of the human possibility of reviving these
records as sensations and thought images, although there is no direct
community of sensation between an inanimate object and the
nervous organism of a sensitive. It need not, therefore, be a
matter of surprise that the crystal can exert a very definite and
sensible effect upon the nervous organism of a certain order of
subjects. It does not affect all alike nor act in a uniform
and constant manner on those whom it does so affect. The
modifications of sensibility taking place in the subject or
sensitive render the action of the agent a variable quantity.
Where its action is more or less rapid and remarkable, however,
the quartz or beryl crystal may be regarded as the most effective
agent for producing clairvoyance.

In other cases the concave mirror, either of polished copper or
black japan, will be found serviceable. In certain cases where
the faculty is already developed but lying in latency, any
shining surface will suffice to bring it into activity. Ecstatic
vision was first induced in Jacob Boehme by the sun's rays
falling upon a bowl of water which caught and dazzled his eyes
while he was engaged in the humble task of cobbling a pair of
shoes. In consequence of this exaltation of the visual sense we
have those remarkable works, _The Aurora, The Four Complexions,
Signatura Rerum_, and many others, with letters and commentaries which,
in addition to being of a spiritual nature, are also to be regarded
as scholarly when referred to their source. In Boehme's case, as in
that of Swedenborg, whose faculty did not appear until he was
fifty-four years of age, it would appear that the faculty was
constitutional and already developed, waiting only the conditions
which should bring it into active operation.

The agent most suitable for developing clairvoyance cannot
therefore be definitely prescribed. It must remain a matter of
experiment with the subject himself. That there are some
persons in whom the psychic faculties are more prone to
activity than in others is certain, and it would appear also that
these faculties are native in some by spiritual or hereditary
succession, which fact is evident from their genitures as
interpreted by astrology. Many planets in flexed signs and a
satellitium in the nadir or lower angle of the horoscope is
a certain indication of extreme nervous sensibility and
predisposition to telaesthenic impressions, though this
observation does not cover all the instances before me. It is true,
however, where it applies. The dominant influence of the planet
Neptune in a horoscope is also to be regarded as a special
indication of some form of psychic activity, as I have frequently
observed.

In cases where the subject is not prepared by evolutional
process for the exercise of the psychic faculties, it will be found
that the same or similar indications will tend to the simulation
of such faculties, as by mediumism, conjuring, etc., while they
may even result in chicanery and fraud.

But among those who are gifted in the direction spoken of,
all are not clairvoyant. The most common form of psychic
disturbance is involuntary clairaudience, and telaesthesia is not
perhaps less general. St. Paul indicates a variety of such
psychic "gifts," _e.g._ the gifts of prophecy, of healing, of
understanding, etc.; but these may also be regarded in quite a
mundane sense. The development among the early Christians of
spiritual gifts, visions, hearing, speaking in foreign tongues,
psychic healing, etc., appears to have given rise to a variety of
exceptional experiences by which they were induced to say "we
cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard." "One star
differs from another in glory," says St. Paul, and this diversity
of spiritual gifts proceeds from the celestial world, and is so
ordered that each may fulfil the part required of him in the
economy of life.

Psychic tradition is as important a fact as is physical heredity.
The latter is a factor of immense importance as affecting the
constitution and quality of the organism in and through which
the soul is required to function. But psychic tradition is that
which determines the power and faculty brought to bear upon
the physical organism. Past evolution is not a negligible
quantity, and its effects are never wasted or lost to the
individual. We are what we are by reason of what we have
already been, as well individually as racially. "The future is, the
past unfolded" or "entered upon by a new door," as it has been
well said. We do not suddenly acquire faculties, we evolve them
by effort and successive selection. In our upward striving for
liberty we specialize along certain lines which appear to us to be
those offering either the least resistance or the most ready
means of self-preservation, liberty and well-being. Hence some
evolve a special faculty for money-making and, as schoolboys,
will be expert traders of alley-taws, jack-knives, toffee and all
sorts of kickshaws. Others of another bent or list will traffic in
knowledge to the abounding satisfaction of their masters and the
jealous pride of their form.

So that psychic tradition while disposing some to the speedy
revelation of an already acquired faculty, disposes others to the
more arduous but not less interesting work of acquiring such
faculty. And because the spiritual needs of mankind are ever of
primary importance, there are always to be found those in
whom the power of spiritual interpretation is the dominant
faculty, such persons being the natural channels of intercourse
between the superior and inferior worlds. The physical body of
man is equipped with a corresponding order of microbic life
which acts as an organic interpreter, translating the elements of
food into blood, nerve, fibre, tissue and bone agreeably to the
laws of their being. What I have to say in this place is addressed
especially to those who would aspire to the faculty of clear
vision and in whom the psychic powers are striving towards
expression. Every person whose life is not wholly sunk in
material and selfish pleasures but in whom the aspiration to a
higher and better life is a hunger the world cannot satisfy, has
within himself the power to see and know that which he seeks
behind the veil of the senses. Nature has never produced a
desire she cannot satisfy. There is no hope, however vague, that
the soul cannot define, and no aspiration, however high, that the
wings of the spirit cannot reach. Therefore be patient and strive.
To others I would say: Be content. All birds cannot be eagles.
The nightingale has a song and the humming bird a plumage the
eagle can never possess. The nightingale may sing to the stars,
the humming bird to the flowers, but the eagle, whose tireless
eyes gaze into the heart of day, is uncompanioned in its lofty
loneliness amid the mountain tops.


CHAPTER III.

THE FACULTY OF SEERSHIP

Until quite recently the faculty of seership has been associated
in occult literature with various magical formulae. There are in
existence works by Tristemius, Francis Barrett, Ebenezer Sibley
and others in which the use of the crystal is made by means of
magical invocations and a variety of ceremonial observances. It
is not within the scope of this treatise to determine the
value of such rites or the desirability of invoking extraneous
intelligences and powers by the use of magical practices; but I
think we may conclude that communion of this order is not
unattended by grave dangers. When the Israelites were ill-content
with the farinaceous manna they invoked Heaven to send them meat. They
got what they wanted, but also the dire penalty which it incurred; and
it is quite likely that in invoking occult forces beyond one's power
to control great evils may ensue. All action and reaction are equal
and opposite. A child can pull a trigger but cannot withstand the
recoil of a gun, or by moving a lever may set machinery in motion
which it can by no means control. Therefore without strength and
knowledge of the right sort it is foolish to meddle with occult
forces; and in the education of the development of the psychic and
spiritual faculties native in us, it is better to encourage their
natural development by legitimate exercise than to invoke the action
of a stimulus which cannot afterwards be controlled. Water will
wear away a rock by continual fretting, though nobody doubts
that water is softer than a rock, and if the barrier between this
and the soul-world be like granite, yet the patient and persistent
action of the determined mind will sooner or later wear it away,
the last thin layer will break and the light of another world will
stream through, dazzling our unaccustomed eyes with its bright
effulgence.

It is my object here to indicate by what means and by what
persons the natural development of the clairvoyant faculty may
be achieved. In regard then to the subject, medium or seer, there
are two distinct temperaments in which the faculty is likely to
be dominant and capable of high and rapid development. The
first is the nervous temperament, characterized by extreme
activity of body and mind, nervous excitability, dark complexion,
prominent features, and wiry frame. Types of this temperament are
to be seen in the descriptions of Dante, Swedenborg, Melancthon,
Edgar A. Poe and others. This type represents the positive seers.

The other temperament is of the passive type and is characterized
by a full lymphatic habit, pale or delicate complexion, blue eyes,
straight fine hair, small hands, tapering fingers, cold and fleshy to
the touch; usually a thin or high voice and languid manner.

These two types of seers--of which there are many varieties--
achieve their development by quite opposite means. The positive
seer projects the mental images by a psychic process impossible
of description, but by a certain psychic metabolism by which the
apperceptions of the soul are transformed into mental images of a
purely symbolical nature. The psychic process of picture-production
is involuntary and unconscious, but the perception of the
mental pictures is a perfectly conscious process and involves
the exercise of an introspective faculty. The passive seer, on the
contrary, is effortless, and receives impressions by reflection, the
visions coming imperceptibly and having a literal interpretation.
The vision is not in this case of an allegorical or symbolic nature,
as is the case with the positive seer, but is an actual vision of a
fact or event which has already happened or as it will transpire in
the future. Thus the positive vision consists in the projection of
the mind towards the things of the soul-world, while the passive
vision in the result of a propulsion of the soul-world upon the
passive sense. Of the two kinds of vision, the passive is the more
serviceable as being the more perspicuous and literal, but it has
the disadvantage of being largely under the control of external
influences and consequently of greater variability than the
positive vision. It is, indeed, quite the common experience that
the passive medium requires "conditions" for the proper exercise
of the faculty and where these are lacking no vision can be
obtained.

The positive type of seer exercises an introspective vision,
searching inwardly towards the soul-world whence revelation
proceeds. The passive seer, on the other hand, remains in a static
condition, open to impressions coming inwards upon the mind's
eye, but making no conscious effort towards inward searching.
Those who have experienced both involuntary and voluntary
visions will readily appreciate the difference of attitude, which is
difficult to convey to others in so many words.

Now the exercise of this faculty does not exist apart from some
definite use, and it may be of advantage to consider what that use
may be. Primarily, I should be disposed to regard the mere
opening up of a channel of communication between the material
and psychic worlds as adequate reason for the exercise of the
faculty. The Gates of Heaven have to be kept open by human
endeavour and the exercise of the spiritual and psychic faculties,
otherwise a complete lesion and cutting off of our source of
inspiration would follow. Except we aspire to the higher world
that world will come no nearer to us. Action and reaction are
equal and opposite. It was never said that the door would be
opened to others than those who knocked. The law of spiritual
compensation involves the fact that we receive what we ask for.
If we get it otherwise, there is no guarantee of its continuance or
that its possession will be a blessing. But if we ask according to
our needs and strive according to our strength there is no law
which can prevent a commensurate response. The ignorance of
our asking and the imperfection of our striving will modify the
nature of the response, but they cannot be negative of results. We
can trust nature and there is a spiritual law in the natural world as
well as a natural law in the spiritual world, for they are
interdependent.

But even our daily life affords numerous instances wherein the
use of the clairvoyant faculty is attended by beneficial results.
How many people there are who have been warned in dreams--
wherein all people are naturally clairvoyant--of some impending
danger to themselves or those around them, must have struck any
casual reader of the daily press; for during recent years much
greater interest has been taken in psychological matters and we
are continually in hearing of new facts which give us knowledge
of the power of the soul to foresee danger, and to know what is
determined upon the world for the greater ends of human
evolution. Some experiences of this nature will no doubt form a
fit subject for a subsequent chapter. The qualifications which
should supplement and sustain the natural aptitude of the seer or
seeress demand consideration in this place, and the following
remarks may not be without value in this respect.

Mental stability, self-possession and confidence in one's own
soul-faculties must be the firm rock on which all revelation
should rest. The element of doubt either negatives results or
opens the door to the ingress of all manner of deceptive
impressions.

Integrity of purpose is imperative. The purer the intention and
motive of the seer the more lucid will be the vision accorded. No
reliable vision can be obtained by one whose nature is not
inherently truthful.

Any selfish desire dominating the mind, in regard to any thing or
person will distort the vision and render it misleading, while a
persistent self-seeking spirit will effectually shut the door to all
revelation whatsoever.

Therefore above all things it is essential for the investigator of
psychic phenomena to have an unflinching love of truth, to be
resigned to the will of Heaven, to accept the revelations accorded
in a spirit of grateful confidence, and to dispel all doubt and
controversy by an appeal to the eyes of one's own immortal soul.

These are qualifications with which the seer or seeress should be
invested, and if with these the quest of the vision is unsuccessful
after a period of earnest trial, it must be taken as sufficient
warrant that the faculty of clairvoyance is not in the category of
one's individual powers. Haply the same qualifications brought to
bear on some other psychic faculty will result in a rich recompense.

As for those triflers who at odd moments sit for the production of
what they call "phenomena," with no other object than the
gratification of an inquisitive vanity, I would drive them with
whips from the field of psychical research. They are people
whose presence in this area of serious enquiry does no good
either to the cause of truth or the service of the race, and this
loose traffic of sorts in the hope of finding a new sensation would,
were it transferred to another sphere of activity, deservedly
receive a very ugly name.

The suggestion that the clairvoyant faculty is latent in all of us
has no doubt been responsible for much misunderstanding, and
not a little disappointment; but I doubt if it is so far removed
from the truth as that which makes the possession of the faculty a
certain sign of a superior degree of evolution. Although the
faculty of clear vision brings us into more intimate conscious
relations with a new order of existence, where the past and future,
the distant and the near, would seem to be brought into
immediate perception, it does not therefore confer upon us a
higher degree of spirituality. It may undoubtedly offer us a
truer perspective than that we may derive from the ordinary
circumstance of our lives, and may suggest good grounds for a
more comprehensive ethical system, but it cannot compel one to
do the right thing or to lead the virtuous life. Clairvoyance,
indeed, is a faculty which has no direct moral relations. It is no
more the gift or property of the wise or the good man than
extraordinary muscular power is an adjunct of high intelligence.
And yet it is a curious fact that in all the sacred writings of the
world there is a suggestion that holy men, or "Men of God," have
this and other transcendent faculties, such as clairaudience
and the power of healing. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures
clairaudience seems to constitute the peculiar authority of the
teacher or prophet. Thus we have expressions such as: "The
Word of the Lord came to me saying," etc., and "I heard a voice
which said," etc., which is sometimes but not always associated
with direct vision. But because holy men of old were distinguished
by this power of direct vision it is not to be supposed that all who
have it are equally sanctified. By natural gift or by such means we
are here discussing, the faculty may be brought into active function,
but we should not lose sight of the fact that the attainment of
righteousness implies that "all these things shall be added unto you."

I think it right, therefore, to regard the quest of clairvoyance as a
legitimate occupation, providing that it is purposeful and carried
out with a right spirit, while not being allowed to interfere with
the proper performance of one's ordinary duties in life. For it is
possible to become over-zealous and even morbid over these
mysteries of human life, and to become so obsessed by the idea
of their importance as practically to render oneself unfitted for
any ordinary pursuits, thereby producing an isolation that is in the
best sense unprofitable. Moreover, there are mental dangers as
well as spiritual and social to be feared, and it is unfortunately
not uncommon to observe that neuraesthenia, nervous corrosion,
and even insanity attends upon the tireless efforts of the
enthusiast in this direction.

If we regard clairvoyance as a normal faculty we are more likely
to treat it normally than if we give it a paramount and exceptional
value and seek to beatify those in whom it appears. I am
convinced from experience that it is both normal and educable
though not usually active in the large majority of people. I am
also of the opinion that it is not peculiar, except in its higher
functions, to human beings. I have known animals to possess this
faculty; in a higher degree I have seen humans in the exercise of
it. Perhaps even the archangels are yet seeking their vision of
God.

But to us as normal beings clairvoyance should appear a
potentially normal faculty, to be studied and pursued by methods
that are efficient while yet harmless; and this is the purport of the
present treatise. I will therefore ask the reader to follow me in
these pages with a mind divested of all disposition to the
supernatural.


CHAPTER IV.

PRELIMINARIES AND PRACTICE

The first consideration by those who would develop clairvoyance
by artificial aids is the choice of a suitable agent. It has been the
practice for many years to substitute the original beryl or "rock
crystal" by a glass ball. I admit that many specimens I have seen
are very creditable productions, but they are nevertheless quite
worthless from the point of view of those who consider material
agents to be important factors in the production of clairvoyance.
The glass ball may, however, very well serve the preliminary
essential of concentration, and, if the faculty of clairvoyance is at
all active, will be entirely effective as an agent.

Those who have any experience at all in this matter will allow
that the rock crystal exerts an influence of an entirely different
nature to that observable in the use of glass. Indeed, so far as
experiment serves us, it may be said that glass only produces
negative results and never at any time induced clairvoyance. If
this state followed upon the use of a glass ball I am sure that the
patient must have been naturally clairvoyant, in which case a
bowl of water, a spot upon a wall, a piece of polished brass or
copper, or a spot of ink would have been equally efficacious in
inducing the degree of hypnosis required. That glass spheres are
equally efficient as those of crystal is true only in two cases,
namely, when clairvoyance is natural, in which case neither need
be used; and when no results are observable after due experiment,
from which we may conclude either that the agent is unsuitable
or that the faculty is entirely submerged in that individual.

In hypnotic clairvoyance the glass ball will be found as useful a
"field" as the best rock crystal. Yet it does not follow that because
the crystal is highly odylic and glass altogether negative the
former will induce clairvoyance. My own first experience with
the crystal was entirely disappointing, while very striking results
followed immediately upon the use of a black concave mirror.

The mirror is usually circular in shape and about one-quarter-inch
curve to a six-inch diameter. This gives a long focus, so that the
mirror may be hung upon a wall at about two yards distance from
the subject. A greater degree of concavity proportionate to the
diameter will produce a focus which allows the mirror to be held
in the hand while resting in the lap.

This disposes to a very easy and passive attitude and helps
towards results. The base of the mirror may be of tin, wood or
other material, and it is usually filled with a composition of a
bituminous nature, the glass covering being painted with a
preparation of coal-tar on its nether or convex side. The exact
focus and consequent size of the mirror employed as most
suitable to the individual is a matter of experiment. It is also to be
observed that the distance of the mirror, as also the angle of
vision, are matters of experiment. Beyond a certain distance it
will be found that the mirror has no "draw" on the subject. If
brought closer its pull is immediately felt.

It is perhaps too early to theorize upon the _modus operandi_ of
the "magic mirror," as it has been called. It appears to induce
hypnosis and consequent elevation of nervous activity by
refracting and throwing back the rays of magnetic energy which
emanate from the subject.

[Illustration of magic mirror]

In the foregoing illustration let A-B be the mirror with F for its
focus. Let the subject be stationed at S. Then the rays directed
towards the surface of the mirror will be represented by RR-RR.
These rays impinge upon a diamagnetic surface which is concave.
The rays are therefore bent inwards and thrown back upon the
person at S in the form of a cone of energy which has the effect
of producing auto-hypnosis. There are other forms of agency,
such as the zinc disc with the copper centre as used by Braid to
induce the hypnotic sleep, but these appear to depend upon tiring
the optic nerves and thus, through their action upon the thalami to
produce temporary inhibition of the whole basilar tract of the
brain.

The mesmerist who throws streams of energy upon the patient
would appear to be working on the same principle as that by
which the person using the concave mirror induces self-hypnosis.
Possibly the latter method may be found to be conducive to the
phenomena arising from auto-suggestion, while the conditions
induced by the action of the hypnotist may be less liable to the
effects of auto-suggestion and more responsive to hypnotic
suggestion, _i.e._ the mental action of the hypnotist.

These, however, are considerations which need not trouble us
overmuch, since by whatever agent the subject is made clairvoyant,
the results are equally curious and informing. Auto-suggestion,
at least, can hardly be regarded in the category of objections,
since we cannot auto-suggest that which does not first of
all arise as an image in the mind. It is in the spontaneous and
automatic production of auto-suggested impressions that the
phenomena of clairvoyance very largely consist; only we have to
remember that the suggesting self is a more considerable quantity
than the personality to which these suggestions are made, and is
in touch with a world immeasurably greater and in every sense
less limited than that to which the person is externally related.
Looked at from whatever point of view we may choose, the
phenomena of clairvoyance cannot be adequately explained
without recourse to psychology on the one hand and occultism on
the other. Psychology is needed in order to explain the nature and
faculty of the human soul, and occultism to define for us the
nature of that universal mirror in which the whole category of
human events, both past and future, are reflected. Having decided
upon a course of experiments with a crystal or mirror, the best of
the kind should be obtained. A black velvet covering should be
made in which to envelop the crystal when not in use. Mirrors are
usually made with a suitable lid or covering. Care should be
taken not to scratch the surface, and all cleaning should be done
with a dry silk handkerchief kept for the purpose. Exposure to the
sun's rays not only scores the surface of a crystal or mirror, but
also puts the odylic substance into activity, distributing and
dissipating the magnetic power stored up therein.

And now a word or two about the disposition and attitude of the
subject. The visions do not occur in the crystal itself. They may
appear to do so, but this is due, when it occurs, to the projection
and visualization of the mental images. The visions are in the
mind or soul of the seer and nowhere else. It is a matter of
constitutional psychism as to where the sense of clear vision will
be located. Personally I find the sense to be located in the frontal
coronal region of the brain about 150 to the right of the normal
axis of vision, which may be regarded as the meridian of sight.
Other instances are before me in which the sense is variously
located in the back of the head, the nape of the neck, the pit of the
stomach, the summit of the head, above and between the eyes,
and in one case near the right shoulder but beyond the periphery
of the body. The explanation appears to be that the nervo-vital
emanations from the body of the seer act upon the static odyle in
the agent, which in turn reacts upon the brain centres by means of
the optic nerves. And this appears to be sufficient reason why the
crystal or mirror should be kept as free as possible from
disturbing elements. Water is extremely odylic and should never
come in contact with the agent employed as it effectually carries
off all latent or stored imports. I am forced to use a crude
terminology in order to convey the idea in my mind, but I
recognize that the whole explanation may appear vague and
inadequate. It is of course at all times easier to observe effects
than to offer a clear explanation of them. Yet some sort of
working hypothesis is constructed when we collate our observations,
and it is this that I have sought to communicate.

For similar reasons, when in use the crystal or mirror should be
shaded and so placed that no direct rays from sun or artificial
light may fall upon it. The odyle, as Reichenbach so conclusively
proved by his experiments, rapidly responds to surrounding
magnetic conditions and to the vibrations of surrounding bodies,
and to none more rapidly than the etheric vibrations caused by
combustion or light of any kind. There should be no direct rays of
light between the agent and the seer.

The room in which the sitting takes place should be moderately
warm, shady, and lit by a diffused light, such as may be obtained
by a light holland blind or casement cloth, in the daytime. The
subject should sit with his back to the source of light, and the
illumination will be adequate if ordinary print can be read by it.

It is important that all persons sitting in the same room with the
seer should be at least at arm's length from him.

Silence should be uniformly observed by those present, until the
vision is attained.

It will then be found convenient to have two persons present to
act as Interrogator and Recorder respectively.

The Interrogator should be the only person whose voice is heard,
and it should be reduced to a soft but distinct monotone. The
Recorder will be occupied in setting down in writing all questions
asked by the Interrogator and the exact answers made by the
seer. These should be dated and signed by those present when
completed. It is perhaps hardly necessary to remark that
precautions should be taken to prevent sudden intrusions, and as
far as possible to secure general quiet without.

I may here interject an observation which appears to me
suggestive and may prove valuable. It has been observed that the
inhabitants of basaltic localities are more generally natural
clairvoyants than others. Basalt is an igneous rock composed
largely of augite and felspar, which are silicate crystals of
calcium, potassium, alumina, etc., of which the Moonstone is a
variety. The connecting link is that clairvoyance is found to be
unusually active during and by means of moonlight. What
psycho-physical effect either basalt or moonlight has upon the
nervous system of impressible subjects appears to be somewhat
obscure, but there is little difference between calcium light and
moonlight, except that the latter is moderated by the greater
atmosphere through which it comes to us. It is only when we
come to know the psychological values of various chemical
bodies that we can hope for a solution of many strange phenomena
connected with the clairvoyant faculty. I recollect that the
seeress of Prevorst experienced positive pain from the near
presence of water during her abnormal phases. Reichenbach
found certain psycho-pathological conditions to be excited by
various metals and foreign bodies when brought into contact with
the sensitive. These observations are extremely useful if only in
producing an awareness of possible reasons for such disturbance
as may occur in the conditions already cited.

At the outset the sittings should not last longer than at most
half-an-hour, but it is important that they should be regular,
both as to time and place. We are already informed from a number of
observations that every action tends to repeat itself under similar
conditions. Habits of life and mind are thus formed so that in
time they become quite involuntary and automatic. A cumulative
effect is obtained by attention to this matter of periodicity, while
the use of the same place for the same purpose tends to dispose
the mind to the performance of particular functions. In striving
for psychic development of any sort we shall do well not to
disregard these facts. For since all actions tend to repeat
themselves and to become automatic, to pass from the domain of
the purposive into the habitual, the psychic faculties will
similarly, if actuated at any set time and place, tend to bestir
themselves to the same effects as those to which they were first
moved by the conscious will and intention of the seer. Until the
clairvoyant faculty is fully assured and satisfactory results
obtained without any inconvenience to the seer, not more than
two persons should be present at the sittings. These should be in
close sympathy with the seer and with each other.

When the sitting is over it will be found useful to repair to
another place and fully discuss the results obtained, the
impressions and feelings of the seer during the seance, and
matters which appear to have a bearing on the facts observed.

A person should not be disheartened if at the first few sittings
nothing of any moment takes place, but should persevere with
patience and self-control. Indeed, if we consider the fact that for
hundreds of generations the psychic faculties latent in man have
lain in absolute neglect, that perhaps the faculty of clear vision
has not been brought into activity by any of our ancestors since
remote ages, it should not be thought remarkable that so few find
the faculty in them to be practically dormant. It should rather be a
matter of surprise that the faculty is still with us, that it is not
wholly irresponsive to the behests of the soul. While in the course
of physical evolution many important functions have undergone
remarkable changes, and organs, once active and useful, have
become stunted, impotent, and in some cases extinct, yet on the
other hand we see that seeds which have lain dormant in arid soil
for hundreds of years can spring into leaf and flower under the
influence of a suitable climate.

The vermiform appendix, so necessary to the bone eaters of a
carnivorous age, has no part in the physical economy of a later
and more highly-evolved generation. The pineal gland and the
pituitary body are adjuncts of the brain whose functions have
long been in latency. The _Anastatica hierochuntica_, commonly
called the Rose of Jericho, is a wonderful example of functional
latency. The plant will remain for ages rolled up like a ball of
sun-dried heather, but if placed in water it will immediately open
out and spread forth its nest of mossy green fronds, the transition
from seeming death to life taking place in a few minutes. The
hygrometric properties of the plant are certainly exceptional.
They illustrate the responsiveness of certain natures to a
particular order of stimulus, and in a sense they illustrate the
functions of the human soul. The faculty of direct vision is like
the latent life of the vegetable world. It waits only the conditions
which favour its activity and development, and though for
generations it may have lain dormant, yet in a few days or weeks
it may attain the proportions of a beautiful flower, a thing of
wonder and delight, gracing the Garden of the Soul.


CHAPTER V.

KINDS OF VISION

There are two kinds of vision, and each of these may be
perceived in two different ways. The two sorts of vision are
called the Direct Vision and the Symbolic Vision.

The first of these is an exact representation of some scene or
incident which has taken place in the past or will subsequently be
experienced in the future. It may have relation to the experience
of the seer, or of those who are present at the sitting, or yet may
have a general or public application.

The second order of vision is a representation by ideograph,
symbol or other indirect means, of events similar to those
conveyed by direct vision. The visions of Ezekiel and John of
Patmos are of the symbolic order, and although to the seers
themselves there probably was a very clear apperception of their
import, yet for others they require interpretation. In most cases it
will be found that the nature of the vision has relation to that
sphere of life and interest in which the seer or those for whom he
is serving are concerned. But this is not always the case, for there
are some peculiarly sensitive seers whose visions have a wider
range and a more general application. In the first case it would
seem that the impressions latent in the individual sphere of
subconscious activity are brought into evidence, and in the other
case the seer comes into relations with the world-soul or
earth-sphere, so that political, social and cosmic events
are brought out of latency into conscious perception. In most
cases it will be found that answers to questions are conveyed
by symbols, though this is not an invariable rule, as will
appear from the following remarks.

The vision, when it occurs, may be conveyed in one of two ways:
first, as a vivid picture affecting the focus and retina of the eye,
perfect in its outline and colouring, and giving the sense of
nearness or distance; secondly, as a vivid mental impression
accompanied by a hazy or dim formation in the "field" of vision.
In this latter form it becomes an apperception rather than a
perception, the mind receiving the impression of the vision to be
conveyed before it has had time to form and define itself in the
field.

As already intimated, there appears to be a connection between
the temperamental peculiarities of the two classes of clairvoyants
and the kind of vision developed in them. Thus the direct
vision is more generally found in association with the passive
temperament. The direct vision is neither so regular nor so
constant as the symbolic vision owing to the peculiarities of the
negative or passive subject. When it does develop, however, the
direct vision is both lucid and actual, and has literal fulfilment in
the world of experience and fact. It is an actual representation of
what has actually happened or will have place in the future, or yet
may be presently happening at some place more or less distant.

The symbolic vision, on the other hand, is more generally
developed in the positive or active type of seer. It has the
advantage of being more regular and constant in its occurrence
than the direct vision, while at the same time being open to the
objection that it is frequently misinterpreted. Nothing shows this
better perhaps than the various interpretations which have been
made of the Apocalypse.

The positive temperament appears to throw off the mental images
as speedily as they are developed in the subconscious area, and
goes out to meet them in a mood of speculative enquiry. But the
passive temperament most frequently feels first and sees
afterwards, the visionary process being entirely devoid of
speculation and mental activity. In a word, the distinction
between them is that the one sees and thinks while the other feels
and sees.

The manner in which the visions appear to develop in the field
requires some description, and for reasons which will presently
appear it is essential that the earliest experiments should be made
in the light of a duly informed expectancy.

At first the crystal or mirror will appear to be overclouded by a
dull, smoky vapour which presently condenses into milky clouds
among which are seen innumerable little gold specks of light,
dancing in all directions, like gold-dust in a sunlit air. The focus
of the eye at this stage is inconstant, the pupil rapidly expanding
and contracting, while the crystal or mirror alternately disappears
in a haze and reappears again. Then suddenly the haze disappears
and the crystal looms up into full view, accompanied by a
complete lapse of the seer into full consciousness of his
surroundings.

This may be the only experience during the first few sittings. It
may be that of many. But if it occurs it is an entirely satisfactory
and hopeful symptom. For sooner or later, according to the
degree of susceptibility or responsiveness in the subject, there
will come a moment when the milky-looking clouds and dancing
starlights will suddenly vanish and a bright azure expanse like an
open summer sky will fill the field of vision. The brain will now
be felt to palpitate spasmodically, as if opening and closing again
in the coronal region; there will be a tightening of the scalp about
the base of brain, as if the floor of the cerebrum were contracting;
the seer will catch his breath with a spasmodic sigh and the first
vision will stand out clear and life-like against the azure screen of
space.

Now the danger at this supreme moment is that the seer will be
surprised into full waking consciousness. During the process of
abstraction which precedes every vision or series of visions, the
consciousness of the seer is gradually but imperceptibly
withdrawn from physical surroundings. He forgets that he is
seated in a particular place or room, that he is in the company of
another or others. He forgets that he is gazing into a crystal or
mirror. He knows nothing, sees nothing, hears nothing, save that
which is being enacted before the senses of his soul. He loses
sight for the time even of his own identity and becomes as it were
merged in the vision itself.

When, therefore, his attention is suddenly arrested by an
apparition, startling in its reality and instantaneous production,
the reaction is likely to be both rapid and violent, so that the seer
is frequently carried back into full waking consciousness. When,
however, the mind is previously instructed and warned of this
stage of the process, a steady and self-possessed attitude is
ensured and a subconscious feeling of expectancy manifests at
the critical moment. I have known so many cases of people being
surprised out of clairvoyance and so to have lost what has often
been an isolated experience, that this treatise will be wholly
justified if by the inclusion of this warning the novice comes
successfully through his first experience of second sight.

We come now to the point where it becomes necessary to consider
other important reactions which the development of any psychic
sense involves. To some favoured few these supernormal faculties
appear to be given without any cost to themselves. Perhaps they
are direct evolutional products, possibly psychic inheritances;
but to such as have them no price is asked or penalty imposed.

Others there are who are impelled by their own evolutional
process to seek the development in themselves of these psychic
powers; and to these a word of warning seems necessary, so that
at the risk of appearing didactic I must essay the task. To some it
may seem unwelcome, to others redundant and supererogatory.
But we are dealing with a new stage in evolutional progress--the
waking up of new forces in ourselves and the prospective use of a
new set of faculties. It is of course open to anybody to
experiment blindly, and none will seek to deter them save those
who have some knowledge of the attendant dangers, and which
knowledge alone can help us to avoid. I should consider the man
more fool than hero who, in entire ignorance of mechanics and
aeronautics, stepped on board an aeroplane and started the
engines running. Even the most skilful in any new field of
experiment or research consciously faces certain but unknown
dangers. The victims of the aeroplane--brave pioneers of human
enterprise and endeavour that they were--fell by lack of
knowledge. By lack of knowledge also have the humane efforts
of many physicians been cut short at the outset of what might
have been a successful career. It was this very lack of knowledge
they knew to be the greatest of all dangers, and it was this they
had set out to remedy.

It is not less dangerous when we begin to pursue a course of
psychic development. The ordinary functions of the mind are
well within our knowledge and control. There is always the will
by which we may police the territory under our jurisdiction and
government. It is another matter when we seek to govern a
territory whose peculiar features and native laws and customs are
entirely unknown to us. It is obvious that here the will-power, if
directed at all, is as likely to be effectual for evil as for good.
The psychic faculties may indeed be opened up and the unknown
region explored, but at fatal cost, it may be, to all that constitutes
normal sanity and physical well-being; in which case one may
say with Hamlet it be better to "bear those ills we have, than fly
to others that we know not of."

Some of the conditions imposed upon those who, not being
naturally gifted in this direction, would wish to experiment in
clairvoyant development, may conveniently be stated and
examined in another chapter.


CHAPTER VI.

OBSTACLES TO CLAIRVOYANCE

Various impediments stand in the way of inducing second sight,
and certain others may be expected to arise in connection with
the faculty when induced. Putting aside the greatest of all
obstacles, that of constitutional unfitness, as having already been
discussed in the preceding pages, the first obstacle to be
encountered is that of ill health. It can hardly be expected that
new areas can be opened up in the mind without considerable
change and adjustment taking place by reflection in the physical
economy. The reaction is likely to be attended by physical
distress. But Nature is adaptable and soon accommodates herself
to changed conditions, so that any results directly attributable to
the development of the psychic centres of activity is not likely to
be more than transient, providing that due regard has been given
to the normal requirements of health.

The importance of a moderate and nourishing diet cannot be too
strongly urged upon those who seek for psychic development. All
overloading of the stomach with indigestible food and addiction
to alcoholic drinks tend to cloud the higher faculties. The brain
centres are thereby depleted, the heart suffers strain, and the
equilibrium of the whole system is disturbed. Ill health follows,
the mind is centred upon the suffering body, spiritual aspiration
ceases, and the neglected soul folds its wings and falls into the
sleep of oblivion.

But, on the other hand, one must not suppose that the adoption of
a fruit and cereal diet will of itself induce to the development
of the psychic powers. It will aid by removing the chief
impediments of congestion and disease. Many good people who
adopt this dietetic reform have a tendency to scratch one another's
shoulder blades and expect to find their wings already sprouting.
If it were as easy as this the complacent cow would be high up in
the scale of spiritual aspirants.

The consciousness of man works from a centre which co-ordinates
and includes the phenomena of thought, feeling, and volition.
This centre is capable of rapid displacement, alternating
between the most external of physical functions and the most
internal of spiritual operations. It cannot be active in all parts of
our complex constitutions at one and the same moment. When
one part of our nature is active another is dormant, as is seen in
the waking and sleeping stages, the dream-life being in the
middle ground between the psychic and physical. It will therefore
be obvious that a condition in which the consciousness is held in
bondage by the infirmities of the body is not one likely to be
conducive to psychic development. For this reason alone many
aspirants have been turned back from initiation. The constitution
need not be robust, but it should at all events be free from
disorder and pain. Some of the most ethereal and spiritual natures
are found in association with a delicate organism. So long as the
balance is maintained the soul is free to develop its latent powers.
A certain delicacy of organization, together with a tendency to
hyperaesthesia, is most frequently noted in the passive or direct
seer; but a more robust and forceful constitution may well be
allied to the positive type of seership.

As a chronic state of physical congestion is altogether adverse to
the development of the second sight or any other psychic faculty,
so the temporary congestion following naturally upon a meal
indicates that it is not advisable to sit for psychic exercise
immediately after eating. Neither should a seance be begun when
food is due, for the automatism of the body will naturally demand
satisfaction at times when food is usually taken and the
preliminary processes of digestion will be active. The best time is
between meals and especially between tea and supper, or an hour
after the last meal of the day, supposing it to be of a light nature.
The body should be at rest, and duly fortified, and the mind
should be contented and tranquil.

The attitude of the would-be seer should not be too expectant or
over-anxious about results. All will come in good time, and the
more speedily if the conditions are carefully observed. It is
useless to force the young plant in its growth. Take time, as
Nature does. It is a great work and much patience may be needed.
Nature is never in a hurry, and therefore she brings everything to
perfection. The acorn becomes the sturdy oak only because
Nature is content with small results, because she has the virtue of
endurance. She is patient and careful in her beginnings, she
nurses the young life with infinite care, and her works are
wonderfully great and complete in their issues. Moreover, they
endure. Whoever breathes slowest lives the longest.

This statement opens up a very important matter connected with
all psychic phenomena, and one that deserves more than casual
notice. It has been long known to the people of the East that there
is an intimate connection between brain and lung action, and
modern experiment has shown by means of the spirometer that
the systole and diastole motion of the hemispheres of the brain
coincide exactly with the respiration of the lungs. The brain
as the organ of the mind registers every emotion with unerring
precision. But so also do the lungs, as a few common observations
will prove. Thus if a person is in deep thought the breathing
will be found to be long and regular, but if the mind is
agitated the breathing will be short and stertorous, while if fear
affects the mind the breathing is momentarily suspended. A
person never breathes from the base of the lung unless his mind
is engrossed. Hard exercise demands deep breathing and is
therefore helpful in producing good mental reactions. It is said
that the great preacher De Witt Talmage used to shovel gravel
from one side of his cellar to the other as a preliminary to his fine
elocutional efforts. It is this obvious connection between
respiration and mental processes which is at the base of the
system of psycho-physical culture known as _Hatha Yoga_ in
distinction from _Râj Yoga_, which is concerned solely with
mental and spiritual development. The two systems, which have
of late years found frequent exposition in the New Thought
school, are to be found in Patanjali's _Yoga sutrâ_. Some
reference to the synchronous action of lung and brain will also be
found in Dr. Tafel's translation and exposition of Swedenborg's
luminous work on _The Brain_. In this work the Swedish seer
frankly refers his illumination regarding the functions of the brain
to his faculty of introspective vision or second sight, and it is of
interest to observe that all the more important discoveries in this
department of physiology during the last two centuries are clearly
anticipated by him. The scientific works of this great thinker are
far too little known by the majority, who are apt to regard him
only as a visionary and a religious teacher.

_Ad rem_. The vision is produced. The faculty of clairvoyance is
an established fact of experience and has become more or less
under the control of the mind. There will yet remain one or two
difficulties connected with the visions. One is that of time
measure, and another that of interpretation. The former is
common to both orders of vision, the direct and the symbolic.
The difficulty of interpretation is, of course, peculiar to the latter
order of vision.

The sensing of time is perhaps the greatest difficulty encountered
by the seer, and this factor is often the one that vitiates an
otherwise perfect revelation. I have known cartomantes and
diviners of all sorts to express their doubt as to the possibility of a
correct measure of time. Yet it is a question that follows naturally
upon a clear prediction--When?

It is sometimes impossible to determine whether a vision relates
to the past, the present, or the future. In most cases, however, the
seer has an intuitive sense of the time-relations of a vision which
is borne in upon him with the vision itself. It will generally be
observed that in ordinary mental operations the time sense is
subject to localization, and a distinct throw of the mind will be
experienced when speaking of the past and the future. Personally
I find the past to be located on my left and the future on my right
hand, but others inform me that the habit of mind, places the past
behind and the future in front of them, while others again have
the past beneath their feet and the future over their heads. It is
obviously a habit of mind, and this usually inheres in the
visionary state so that a sense of time is found to attach to all
visions, though it cannot be relied upon to register on every
occasion. But also it is frequently found that there is an automatic
allocation of the visions, those that are near of fulfilment being in
the foreground of the field, the approximate in the middle ground,
and the distant in the background; position answering to time
interval. In such case the vision has a certain definition or focus
according to the degree of its proximity. These points are,
however, best decided by empiricism, and rarely does it happen
that the intuitive sense of the seer is at fault when allowed to have
play.

The other difficulty to which I have referred, that of interpretation
of symbols when forming the substance of the vision, may
be dealt with somewhat more fully. Symbolism is a universal
language and revelation most frequently is conveyed by means
of it. As a preliminary to the study of symbolism the student
should read Swedenborg's _Hieroglyphical Key to Natural and
Spiritual Mysteries_, one of the earliest of his works and
in a great measure the foundation of his thought and teaching.
The Golden Book of Hermes containing the twenty-two Tarots is
open to a universal interpretation as may be seen from the works
of the Kabalists, and in regard to their individual application may
be regarded in a fourfold light, having reference to the spiritual,
rational, psychic and physical planes of existence. It is by means
of symbols that the spiritual intelligences signal themselves to
our minds, and the most exalted vision is, as an expression of
intelligence, only intelligible by reason of its symbolism.
Something more may be said in regard to the interpretation of
symbols which may possibly be of use to those who have made
no special study of the subject, and this may conveniently form
the material of another chapter.


CHAPTER VII.

SYMBOLISM

Symbols formed the primitive language of the human race, they
spoke and wrote in symbols. The hieroglyphic writings of the
aborigines of Central America, of the ancient Peruvians, of the
Mongolians, and of the ancient Copts and Hebrews all point to
the universal use of the ideograph for the purpose of recording
and conveying ideas.

If we study the alphabets of the various peoples, we shall find in
them clear indications of the physical and social conditions under
which they evolved. Thus the Hebrew alphabet carries with it
unmistakable evidence of the nomadic and simple life of those
"dwellers in tents." The forms of the letters are derived from the
shapes of the constellations, of which twelve are zodiacal, six
northern and six southern. This implies a superficial intimacy
with the heavens such as would result from a life spent in hot
countries with little or no superstructure to shut out the view. The
wise among them would sit beneath the stars in the cool night air
and figure out the language of the heavens.

It was God's message to mankind, and they sought not only to
understand it but to make imitation of it. So they built an alphabet
of forms after the pattern of things in the heavens. But when we
come to the names of these forms or letters we come at once into
touch with the life of the people. Thus _aleph_, an ox; _beth_, a
tent; _daleth_, a tent-door; _lamed_, an ox-goad; _mem_, water;
_tzadde_, a fish-hook; _quoph_, a coil of rope; _gimel_, a camel;
_yod_, a hand; _oin_, an eye; _vau_, a hook or link; _heth_, a
basket; _caph_, a head; _nun_, a fish; _phe_, a mouth; _shin_,
a tooth; _resh_, a head; etc., all speaking to us of the
ordinary things of a simple, wandering life. These symbols were
compounded to form ideographs, as _aleph_ = a, and _lamed_ = l,
being the first and last of the zodiacal circle, were employed for
the name of the Creator, the reverse of these, _la_, signifying
non-existence, negation, privation. In course of time a language
and a literature would be evolved, but from the simple elements
of a nomadic life. Knowledge came to them by action and the use
of the physical sense. They had no other or more appropriate
confession of this than is seen in the root [Hebrew letters] yedo--
knowledge, compounded of the three symbols _yod_, _daleth_, _oin_--
a hand, a door, an eye. The hand is a symbol of action, power,
ability; the door, of entering, initiation; the eye, of seeing, vision,
evidence, illumination.

Hence the ideograph formed by the collation of these symbols
signifies, opening the door to see, _i.e._ enquiry.

The Chinese alphabet of forms is entirely hieroglyphic and
symbolical in its origin, though it has long assumed a typal
regularity. What were once curved and crude figures have
become squared and uniform letterpress. But the names of these
forms bring us into touch at once with the early life of the
Mongolian race. We have, however, indications of a wider scope
than was enjoyed by the primitive Semites, for whereas we
find practically all the symbols of the Hebrews employed as
alphabetical forms, we also have others which indicate artifice,
such as _hsi_, box; _chieh_, a seal or stamp; _mien_, a roof;
_chin_, a napkin; _kung_, a bow; _mi_, silk; _lei_, a plough, and
many others, such as the names of metals, wine, vehicles, leather
in distinction from hides, etc. But further, we have a mythology
as part of the furniture of the primitive mind, the dragon and the
spirit or demon being employed as radical symbols.

Considered in regard to their origin, symbols may be defined as
thought-forms which embody, by the association of ideas,
definite meanings in the mind that generates them. They wholly
depend for their significance upon the laws of thought and the
correspondence that exists between the spiritual and material
worlds, between the subject and object of our consciousness, the
noumenon and phenomenon.

All symbols therefore may be translated by reference to the
known nature, quality, properties and uses of the objects they
represent. A few interpretations of symbols actually seen in the
mirror may serve to illustrate the method of interpretation.

A foot signifies a journey, and also understanding. A mouth
denotes speech, revelation, a message. An ear signifies news,
information; if ugly and distorted, scandal and abuse.

The sun, if shining brightly, denotes prosperity, honours, good
health, favours.

The moon when crescent denotes success, public recognition,
increase and improvement; when gibbous, sickness, decadence,
loss and trouble.

The sun being rayless or seen through a haze denotes sickness to
a man, some misfortune, danger of discredit. When eclipsed
it denotes the ruin or death of a man. The moon similarly
affected denotes equal danger to a woman. These are all natural
interpretations and probably would be immediately appreciated.

But every symbol has a threefold or fourfold interpretation and
the nature of the enquiry or purpose for which the vision is
sought will indicate the particular meaning conveyed. For if the
enquiry be concerning things of the spiritual world the
interpretation of the answering vision must be in terms of that
world, and similarly if the question has relation to the intellectual
or the physical worlds. Thus a pain of scales would denote in the
spiritual sense, absolute justice; in the intellectual, judgment,
proportion, comparison, reason; in the social, debt or obligation,
levy, rate, or tax; and in the material, balance of forces,
equilibrium, action and reaction. If the scales are evenly balanced
the augury will be good and favourable to the purport of the quest,
but if weighted unevenly it is a case of _mene, tekel, upharsin_;
for it shows an erring judgment, an unbalanced mind, failure in
one's obligations, injustice. A sword seen in connection with the
scales denotes speedy judgment and retribution. This is an
illustration of an artificial symbol.

A ship is a symbol of trading, of voyaging, and is frequently used
in the symbolical vision. If in full sail it indicates that
communication with the spiritual world is about to be facilitated,
that news from distant lands will come to hand, that trade will
increase, that a voyage will be taken. If writing should appear on
the sails it will be an additional means of enlightenment. If flying
the pirate flag it denotes translation to another land, death. The
land indicated may be the spiritual world itself, in which case the
death will be natural; but if it should be a foreign country, then
death will take place there by some unlooked-for disaster. The
ship's sails being slack denotes a falling off of afflatus or spiritual
influx, loss of trade, misfortune, delays and bad news, or if news
is expected it will not come to hand.

Black bread denotes a famine; spotted or mottled bread, a plague.
This symbol was seen in June 1896, with other symbols which
connected it with India, and there followed a great outbreak of
bubonic plague in that country. This symbol, however, was not
properly understood until the event came to throw light upon it.
The following note is from a seance which took place in India in
the spring of 1893: "A leaf of shamrock is seen. It denotes the
United Kingdom or the Triple Alliance. It is seen to split down
the centre with a black line. It symbolizes the breaking of a treaty.
Also that Ireland, whose symbol is the shamrock, will be
separated by an autonomous government from the existing
United Kingdom and will be divided into two factions."

In this way all symbols seen in the crystal or mirror may be
interpreted by reference to their known properties and uses, as
well as by the associations existing between them and other
things, persons and places, in the mind of the seer. Nor is it
always required that the scryer should understand symbology, for
as already said, the meanings of most of the symbols will be
conveyed to the consciousness of the seer at the time of their
appearance in the field. Experience will continually throw new
light upon the screen of thought, and a symbol once known will
assume a constant signification with each seer, so that in course
of time a language will be instituted by means of which constant
revelations will be made.

It will thus be obvious, I think, that symbolism is to a large extent
subject to a personal colouring, so that the same symbol may, by
different associations, convey a different meaning to various
seers. This may arise in part from the diversities of individual
experience, of temperament, and the order to which the soul
belongs in the spiritual world. These dissimilarities between
individuals may be noted from their highest intellectual
convictions down to the lowest of their sensations, and it is
difficult to account for it. We all have the same laws of thought
and the same general constitution. Humanity comprehends us all
within the bonds of a single nature. Yet despite these facts we are
divided by differences of opinion, of emotion, of sympathy, of
taste and faculty. It is probable that these differences obtain in
spheres immeasurably higher than our own, the sole element of
consent being the recognition of dependence upon a Higher
Power. God is the co-ordinating centre in a universe of infinite
diversity.

Therefore, despite the fact that symbolism is capable of a
universal interpretation, it would appear that the images
projected by the magical power of the soul must have different
significations with each of us, the meanings being in some
mysterious way in agreement with the nature of the person who
sees them. Hence we may come to the conclusion that every
person must be his own interpreter, there being no universal code
for what are peculiarly individualized messages. For although
every symbol has a general signification in agreement with its
natural properties and uses, it yet obtains a particular signification
with the individual.

It is within common experience with those who have regard to
the import of dreams, wherein the faculty of seership is acting on
its normal plane, that a dream constantly recurring is found to
have a particular meaning, which however is not applicable to
others who have a similar dream. Every person is a seer in dream
life, but few pay that attention to dreams which their origin and
nature warrant. The crystal or mirror is an artificial means of
bringing this normal faculty of dreaming into activity in waking
life. Those who are capable of making the dream life normal to
the working consciousness, rise to a higher plane when they sleep.

But, as stated above, the differences of import or meaning, even
in dream life, of any particular symbol is a common experience.
One person will dream of wading in water whenever there is
trouble ahead. Another will dream of a naked child, and yet
another of coal, when similar trouble is in store. Butchers' meat
will signify financial trouble to one person, to another the same
will denote a fortunate speculation.

The controlling factor in this matter would appear to be founded
in the mental and psychic constitution conferred by physical
heredity and psychic tradition, converging at the conception of
the individual and expressed in the birth. Probably an argument
could thence be made in regard to the influence of the planets and
the general cosmic disposition attending upon birth: I have
frequently found that dreams may be interpreted by reference to
the individual horoscope of birth, and if dreams, possibly also
visions, which are but dreams brought into the field of conscious
reality. But any such argument, however tempting, would be
beyond the scope of this work.


CHAPTER VIII.

ALLIED PSYCHIC PHASES

The faculty of second sight is not by any means the most
common of the psychic powers. Psychometric impressions which
proceed by the sense of touch into that of a superior order of
feeling are far more general. We are affected much more than is
generally recognized by the impressions gathered from the things
we have contact with, and it is quite a common experience that
very delicate and sensitive people take the "atmosphere" of places
into which they go. I have in mind an instance of an extremely
high-keyed person who invariably takes on the atmosphere of
new localities, houses and even rooms. Going to view a house
with the object of taking it on rental, she will as likely as not
pronounce against the moment she enters on the ground that it is
a "house of death" or a "quarrelsome house," full of sickness,
intemperance or what not, and wherever enquiry has been
possible it has invariably confirmed her impressions. On one
occasion she had telegraphed to engage a room at an hotel in a
seaside town, and on being shown to it by the maid found that it
was locked. While the maid went to fetch the key the young
lady tried the door and immediately received a psychometric
impression. "Oh, M--," she said to her companion, "we cannot
possibly have this room, there's a corpse in it!" This was
confirmed, almost as soon as said, by the appearance of the
proprietor, who explained that the maid had made a mistake in
the number of the room, and then, feeling that there was a state of
tension, confidentially informed his visitors that the locked room
had really been booked to them but the old lady who was to have
vacated it that morning had unfortunately died, and in order not
to distress the other visitors the door had been locked pending the
removal of the body, and even the servants had not been
informed of it.

The experiments of Denton recorded in his _Soul of Things_ are
full of interest for those who would learn something more about
the phenomena of psychometry.

The suggestion is that every particle of matter has its own aura or
"atmosphere" in which are stored up the experiences of that
particle. What is said of the particle applies also to the mass of
any body, and in effect we get the aura of a room, of a house, of a
town, of a city; and so successively until we come to that of the
planet itself. These stored-up impressions are not caused by the
mental action of human beings in association with the material
psychometrized, they appertain entirely to the associations of the
material itself, and the psychometric sense consists in recovering
these associations and bringing them into terms of human sense
and consciousness. The experience seems to suggest a nexus
between the individualized human soul and the world-soul in
which the generic life is included; also that the human soul is a
specialized evolution from the world-soul, and hence inclusive of
all stages of experience beneath the human. I think it was Draper
who suggested in his _Conflict_ that a man's shadow falling upon
a wall produced an indelible impression which was capable of
being revived. The cinematograph film is that brick wall raised to
the nth power of impressibility. The occultist will point you to a
universal medium as much above the cinema film as that is above
the brick or stone, and in which are stored up the _memoria
mundi_. It is this sensitized envelope of the planetary atom that
your sensitive taps by means of his clairvoyant, psychometric and
clairaudient senses.

Clairaudience is far more general than second sight, but there is
the same variability in the range of perception as is seen in
clairvoyance and psychometry. Thus while one hears only the
evil suggestions of "obsessing spirits" or discarnate souls being
dinned into his ears, another will be lifted to the third heaven and
hear "things unutterable." Brain-cell discharges will hardly
account for the phenomena of clairaudience. A brain-cell
discharge never goes beyond the repetition of one's own name in
some familiar voice, or at most the revival of a phrase or the
monotonous clang of a neighbouring church bell. These are not
clairaudiences at all. Clairaudience consists in receiving auditory
impressions of intelligible phrases not previously associated with
the name of person or place involved in the statement. These
impressions may be sporadic or may be continuous. In the case of
a genuine development where the interior sense is fully opened
up, the communication will be continuous and normal, as much
so as ordinary conversation, and the translation of consciousness
into terms of sense will be so rapid and unimpeded as to give the
impression to an Englishman that he is listening to his native
language and to a Frenchman that he is listening to French,
though the communication may proceed from a source which
renders this impossible. The universal language of humanity is
neither Volapuk, nor Esperanto, nor Ido. It is Thought, and when
thought proceeds from a point beyond the plane of differentiation
it can be determined along the line which makes for English as
readily as that which makes for French, or any other tongue. It is
they of the soul-world who convey the thought, it is we of the
sublunary world who translate that thought into our own
language. The Hebrew prophets were almost uniformly instructed
by means of clairaudience. But as I have already said there are
degrees of clairaudience, as of any other psychic faculty. The
danger is that a false value may be set upon the experiences,
especially during the early stages of development when everything
is very new and very wonderful.

Telepathy is another and yet more general phrase of psychic
activity. It may consist in the transmission from one person to
another of a feeling or impression merely, which results in a
certain degree of awareness to the state of mind in which the
transmitter may be at the time, as when a mother has a "feeling"
that all is not well with her absent child. Or it may yet take a
more definite and perspicuous form, even to the transmission of
details such as the names of persons and places, of numbers,
forms and incidents. Telepathy commonly exists between persons
in close sympathy; and when two persons are working along
separate lines toward the same result, it is quite usual that they
unconsciously "telepath" with one another, their brains being for
the time in synchronous vibration. Spiritual communication in
any degree is nothing more or less than sympathy--those who feel
together, think together. The modern development of the aerial
post is a step towards the universal federation of thought, but it is
not comparable with the astral post which carries a thousand
miles an hour. In this sort of correspondence the communication
is written like any ordinary letter designed for transmission, but
instead of stamping and posting it, a lighted match is applied to
the finished work. The material part is destroyed, but the
intangible and only real and lasting part remains behind. This is
attached, by the direction of the will, to a particular person and
set in a certain direction. If all the conditions have been properly
observed it will not fail to reach its destination. I have fortunately
been able to demonstrate this fact in public on more than one
occasion. The phenomenon is repeated in a less striking
form in every case of what is called "crossing," as when one
correspondent feels suddenly called upon to write urgently to
another and receives a reply to his enquiries while his letter is
still in course of delivery.

Nature is full of a subtle magic of this sort for which we have no
organized science. It is said that if you put snails together and
afterwards separate them, placing each upon a copper ground to
which electric wires are attached, a shock given to one snail will
be registered by the other at the same moment. I have not tried
this theory, but the idea is fundamental to a mass of telepathic
observations which have found practical expression in wireless
telegraphy. Some thirty years ago, however, I made trial of the
twin magnet theory and was entirely successful in getting
wireless messages from one room to another. The performance
was, however, clumsy and tedious, and I did not then know
enough to see how it could be perfected. The idea is now in the
very safe custody of the Patents Office.

Community of taste can be demonstrated under hypnosis. It is not
otherwise usually active in sensitives, and Swedenborg was
hence of opinion that the sense of taste could not be obsessed.
This, however, is incorrect. I have illustrated community of all
the senses under hypnosis in circumstances which entirely
precluded the possibility of feint or imposition on the part of the
subject.

Another phase of psychic activity is that illustrated in "dowsing"
or water-finding by means of the hazel fork. It may be accounted
a form of hyperaesthesia and no doubt has a nervous expression,
but it is not the less psychic in its origin. I have already referred
to the action of water upon psychic sensitives, and there seems
little room for doubt that it is the psychometric sense which, by
means of the self-extensive faculty inhering in consciousness,
registers the presence of the great diamagnetic agent. Professor
Barrett has written a most interesting monograph on this subject,
and there are many books extant which make reference to and
give examples of this curious phenomenon. The late British
Consul at Trieste and famous explorer and linguist, Sir Richard
Burton, could detect the presence of a cat at a considerable
distance, and I have heard that Lord Roberts experiences the
same paralyzing influence by the proximity of the harmless feline.
If, therefore, one can register the presence of a cat, and another
that of a dead body, I see no difficulty in others registering water
or any other antipathetic. All we have to remember is that these
things are psychic in their origin, and not ignorantly confound
sensation with consciousness, or hyperaesthesia with the various
psychopathic faculties we have been discussing. But it is
necessary to return to our main subject and consider where our
developed clairvoyant or second-sight faculty will lead us, and
what sort of experience we may expect to gain by its use. These
points may now be dealt with.


CHAPTER IX.

EXPERIENCE AND USE

First let us have the facts, we can then best see what use we can
make of them. This I think is the correct position in regard to any
abnormal claim that is made upon our attention. Everybody has
heard of the prophecies of the Brahmin seer, most people
have some acquaintance with the phenomena attending the
clairvoyance of the seeress of Prevorst, while the experiences of
Emanuel Swedenborg have been set forth in many biographies,
but in none more lucidly and dispassionately than that by William
White. Traditions have come to us concerning the clairvoyance of
the Greek exponent of the Pythagorean teachings, Apollonius of
Tyana, and the case of Cavotte, who predicted his own death and
that of Robespierre and others by the guillotine, is on record. The
illumination of Andrew Jackson Davis, the Poughkeepsie seer,
and that of Thomas Lake Harris of Fountain Grove, are modern
examples of abnormal faculty of a nature which places them
outside the field of direct evidence. A prophecy made from the
use of the super-sense which is followed by exact fulfilment
appears to be the best criterion, though it is a very imperfect
illustration of the scope of clairvoyance.

The following instances are within my personal experience, and
being already on record and well attested, will serve equally to
illustrate the fact of clairvoyance as would numerous others
within my knowledge.

In June, 1896, a lady visited me in Manchester Square and, being
anxious on several points, asked that I would scry for her. A blue
beryl was used as agent. She was told that she would have news
from a tropical country concerning the birth of a child, a boy,
who would arrive in the following year in the month of February.
That on a certain date while travelling she would meet with an
accident to the right leg. Previous to this, in October she would
have a welcome surprise connected with papers and a contest in
which her son was engaged.

Now here was a network of disaster for any would-be prophet
who relied upon what is called the "lucky shot." If we enumerate
the items of prediction, on any of which a fatal error could have
been made, we shall find a very formidable list:--

    A tropical country.
    A birth.
    A boy then unborn.
    February, 1897.
    A journey on a particular date.
    The right leg.
    The son.
    October.
    Papers.

At least nine points on which the faculty could have been wholly
at fault. The fulfilment, however, came in due course. The lady
heard that her sister, then vicereine of India, was about to have a
child, and in February, 1897, a son was born to Lord Elgin. In
October the lady referred to was agreeably surprised to learn that
her son had passed his examination for the military college with
honours. Further, while boarding a train at Victoria station she
had the misfortune to slip between the platform and the footboard,
so that the shin of the right leg was badly damaged and severe
muscular strain was also suffered, in consequence of which she
was laid up for several days.

Mrs. H. was consulted by an authoress, her profession being
unknown to the scryer. She was told that she would go up a dingy
staircase with a roll of papers under her arm; that she would see a
dark man, thickset and of quiet demeanour. He would take the
roll of papers and it would be a source of good fortune to her.
The prediction was literally fulfilled.

The first case cited is an example of the positive and symbolic
type of vision; the second being of the passive and direct type.

Mrs. A. was consulted by a lady of the writer's acquaintance and
was told that she would not marry the man to whom she was then
engaged as there was a certain other person, described, coming
across the seas to claim her. She would meet him three years later
in the month of January.

The event transpired exactly as stated, though nothing at that time
appeared less probable, and indeed the lady was not a little irate
at the allusion to the breaking off of the engagement and of
marrying a man whom she had never seen and for whom she
could have no sort of regard. In fact, the whole revelation was
very revolting to one so wholly absorbed as was she at the time.
It cannot be argued that this was a case of suggestion working
itself out, for one cannot auto-suggest the arrival of a person
of a particular description from a distant land to one's own
drawing-room at any time, and there is here a prediction as
to the date which was duly fulfilled. This was a case of direct
vision.

Mrs. G. consulted a seer on September 27, 1894. She was told
she would have sickness affecting the loins and knees; that she
would be the owner of a house in the month of December; that a
removal would be made when the trees were leafless; that there
would be a dispute about a sum of money.

This is positive or symbolical clairvoyance. The symbols seen
were as follow: a figure with a black cloth about the loins, the
figure stooping and resting the hands upon its knees. A house
covered with snow, bare trees around it. A bird on a leafless
branch; the bird flies away. Several hands seen grabbing at a pile
of money.

All the predictions were fulfilled.

Interpretations of symbols when made during the vision are
frequently far removed from what one would be led to expect.
But we have to remember that the seer is then in a psychologized
state, and there is reason to believe that interpretations made from
the inner plane of consciousness are due to the fact that the
symbols appear in a different light. Our ordinary dreams
follow the same change. While asleep we are impressed by the
importance and logical consistency of the dream incident, which
assumes, possibly, the proportions of a revelation, but which
dissolves into ridiculous triviality and nonsense as soon as we
awake. The reason is that there is a complete hiatus between the
visionary and the waking state of consciousness, and even the
laws of thought appear to undergo a change as the centre of
consciousness slides down from the inner to the outer world of
thought and feeling.

In the Eastern conception the three states of _jagrata_, waking,
_swapna_, dreaming, and _sushupti_, sleeping, are penetrated by
the thread of consciousness, the _sutrâtma_, a node of complete
unconsciousness separating one state from the next. The centre of
consciousness, like a bead on the thread, alternates between the
three states as it is impelled by desire or will.

[Illustration of the three states of jagrata]

I have known sickness predicted, both as to time and nature of
the malady; the receipt of unexpected letters and telegrams with
indications of their contents and resulting incident; changes,
voyages, business transactions, deaths, and even changes in the
religious views of individuals, all by means of the crystal vision.

It sometimes happens that the visionary state is induced by
excessive emotion during which the prophetic faculty is
considerably heightened. Some temperaments on the other hand
will fall into the clairvoyant condition when engaged in deep
thought. The thread of thought seems suddenly to be broken, and
there appears a vision wholly unconnected with the subject but a
moment ago absorbing the mind. It is as if the soul, while probing
the depths of its inner consciousness, comes into contact with the
thin partition which may be said to divide the outer world of
reason and doubt from the inner world of intuition and direct
perception, and breaking through, emerges into the light beyond.
In trance there is generally a development of other super-senses,
such as clairaudience and psychic touch, as well as clairvoyance.
Examples might be multiplied and would but serve to show that
the rapport existing between the human soul and the world soul,
the individual consciousness and the collective consciousness, is
capable of being actively induced by recourse to appropriate
means and developed where it exists in latency by means of the
crystal, the black concave mirror or other suitable agent. As yet,
however, the majority are wholly ignorant of the existence of
such psychic faculties, and even those who possess them are
conscious of having but an imperfect control of them.

As in the case of genius where nature is opening up new centres
of activity in the mind, the casual observer notes an eccentricity
hardly distinguishable from some incipient forms of insanity; so
the development of new psychic faculties is frequently attended
by temporary loss of control over the normal brain functions.
Loss of memory, hysteria, absent-mindedness, unconscious
utterance of thought, illusions, irritability, indifference,
misanthropy and similar perversions are not infrequent products
of the preliminary stages of psychic development. These,
however, will pass away as the new faculty pushes through into
full existence. Nature is jealous of her offspring and concentrates
the whole of her forces when in the act of generation, and that is
the reason of her apparent neglect of powers and functions,
normally under her control, while the evolution of a new faculty
is in process. Let it be understood therefore that the faculty of
clairvoyance or any other super-sense is not to be artificially
developed without some cost to those who seek it. "The universe
is thine; take what thou wilt, but pay the price," says Emerson.
This is the divine mandate. It is not merely a question of the price
of a crystal or a mirror, the sacrifice of time, the exercise of
patience: it may mean something much more than this. It is a
question of the price of a new faculty. What is it worth to you?
That is the price you will be required to pay. And with this
equation in mind the reader must consider the use to which, when
obtained, he will apply his faculty; for the virtue of everything is
in its use. It is reasonable to presume that one's daily life can
supply the true answer. To what use are we employing the
faculties we already have, all of them acquired with as much pain
and suffering, it may be, as any new ones we are ever likely to
evolve? If we are using these faculties for the benefit of the race
we shall employ others that are higher to even greater effect. In
other case it is not worth the effort of acquiring, nor is it likely
that anybody of a radically selfish nature will take the trouble to
acquire it. Natural selection is the fine sieve which the gods use
in their prospecting. The gross material does not go through.


CONCLUSION.

The foregoing short treatise will gain some practical value by a
statement of the conditions most suitable for scrying.

A diffused natural light, preferably from the north, is always
better than an artificial light.

The subject should sit with his back to the source of light, at a
distance from the mirror determined by its focus; or if the agent
be a crystal it should be held in the hands, one supporting the
other.

Steady gazing in complete silence should be maintained for a
quarter of an hour, which may be afterwards gradually extended
to half or even a full hour. Success depends largely upon
idiosyncrasy and temperamental aptitude. Seers are often to be
found among men and women of imperfect education owing to
fitness of temperament; seers of this order are born with the
faculty. Others, seemingly non-sensitive at first, may develop the
faculty after a few short sittings.

The eyes should not be strained, but the gaze should be allowed
to rest casually yet steadily on the agent as if one were reading a
book.

It will be found that the sight is presently drawn inwards to a
focus beyond the surface of the agent. This opening up of the
field of vision is the symptom of success. The next step is
indicated by a change in the atmosphere of the field. Instead of
reflecting or remaining translucent, the agent will appear to cloud
over. This will appear to become milky, then to be diffused with
colour which changes to black or murky brown, and finally the
screen appears to be drawn away, revealing a picture, a scene,
figures in action, symbolical forms, sentences, etc.

The physiological symptoms are: first, a slight chill along the
spine like cold water trickling from the neck downwards;
secondly, a returning flush of heat from the base of the spine
upwards to the crown of the head; thirdly, a gaping or spasmodic
action of the brain; and lastly, a deep inward drawing of the
breath, as if sobbing. When these symptoms follow closely upon
one another, vision will be assured. It generally happens,
however, that the various symptoms are separately developed by
repeated sittings, only appearing in proper sequence when the
experiment is finally successful.

One of the most interesting phases of this development of second
sight is the opening up of lost impressions, the revival of lapsed
memories; "looking for one thing, you find another" is an
experience in daily life which has a psychological application.
The things which pass into the limbo of forgetfulness are never
lost to us. They remain stored up in latency and are ready to
spring into activity as soon as the depths of the mind are probed.
Necessarily this experience is more generally interesting than
pleasant, but it serves to give one a sense of the connectedness of
life's incident and to show a certain sequential necessity in the
course of events. The "whyness" of our various experiences is
revealed when they are displayed in their true relations and given
their true value in the scheme of individual evolution. As
detached experiences they appear without reason or purpose,
apparently futile, often painful and even cruel; but as a
consecutive scheme, completed by the revival of all the
connecting links, the wisdom, justice, kindness and beneficence
of the Great Arbiter of our destinies are fully and conspicuously
revealed. My own first suspicions of a former embodied existence
were derived from psychic experiences, and later on were
confirmed by the course of events. I saw myself reaping that
which I had sown, and I observed that what was sown in ignorance
might be reaped in the light of a fuller knowledge; only
we must henceforth be wise in the sowing. I would say in
conclusion that it is the duty of man to himself and humanity not
only to hold himself in readiness, but also to fit himself for the
reception of new light. Since evolution is the law of life and the
glory of going on man's highest guerdon, and since we are all
candidates for responsibility, asking as reward for work well
done to-day a task of greater magnitude on the morrow, it appears
that the development of the psychic faculties may well form an
orderly step in the process of human perfectibility, and help to
bring us nearer to the source of all good. If it serves only to keep
open the door between the two worlds it will have filled a good
purpose, and if in the writing of this little exposition, I may have
contributed to the confidence and security of any who may
adventure these obscure paths, I shall be well content.





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