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Title: Clairvoyance
Author: Leadbeater, C. W. (Charles Webster), 1854-1934
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Clairvoyance" ***

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                           C. W. LEADBEATER

                            SECOND EDITION




       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER I.                                  PAGE
WHAT CLAIRVOYANCE IS.                         5

SIMPLE CLAIRVOYANCE: FULL                    29







METHODS OF DEVELOPMENT                      163

       *       *       *       *       *




Clairvoyance means literally nothing more than "clear-seeing," and it
is a word which has been sorely misused, and even degraded so far as
to be employed to describe the trickery of a mountebank in a variety
show. Even in its more restricted sense it covers a wide range of
phenomena, differing so greatly in character that it is not easy to
give a definition of the word which shall be at once succinct and
accurate. It has been called "spiritual vision," but no rendering
could well be more misleading than that, for in the vast majority of
cases there is no faculty connected with it which has the slightest
claim to be honoured by so lofty a name.

For the purpose of this treatise we may, perhaps, define it as the
power to see what is hidden from ordinary physical sight. It will be
as well to premise that it is very frequently (though by no means
always) accompanied by what is called clairaudience, or the power to
hear what would be inaudible to the ordinary physical ear; and we will
for the nonce take our title as covering this faculty also, in order
to avoid the clumsiness of perpetually using two long words where one
will suffice.

Let me make two points clear before I begin. First, I am not writing
for those who do not believe that there is such a thing as
clairvoyance, nor am I seeking to convince those who are in doubt
about the matter. In so small a work as this I have no space for that;
such people must study the many books containing lists of cases, or
make experiments for themselves along mesmeric lines. I am addressing
myself to the better-instructed class who know that clairvoyance
exists, and are sufficiently interested in the subject to be glad of
information as to its methods and possibilities; and I would assure
them that what I write is the result of much careful study and
experiment, and that though some of the powers which I shall have to
describe may seem new and wonderful to them, I mention no single one
of which I have not myself seen examples.

Secondly, though I shall endeavour to avoid technicalities as far as
possible, yet as I am writing in the main for students of Theosophy, I
shall feel myself at liberty sometimes to use, for brevity's sake and
without detailed explanation, the ordinary Theosophical terms with
which I may safely assume them to be familiar.

Should this little book fall into the hands of any to whom the
occasional use of such terms constitutes a difficulty, I can only
apologize to them and refer them for these preliminary explanations to
any elementary Theosophical work, such as Mrs. Besant's _Ancient
Wisdom_ or _Man and His Bodies_. The truth is that the whole
Theosophical system hangs together so closely, and its various parts
are so interdependent, that to give a full explanation of every term
used would necessitate an exhaustive treatise on Theosophy as a
preface even to this short account of clairvoyance.

Before a detailed explanation of clairvoyance can usefully be
attempted, however, it will be necessary for us to devote a little
time to some preliminary considerations, in order that we may have
clearly in mind a few broad facts as to the different planes on which
clairvoyant vision may be exercised, and the conditions which render
its exercise possible.

We are constantly assured in Theosophical literature that all these
higher faculties are presently to be the heritage of mankind in
general--that the capacity of clairvoyance, for example, lies latent
in every one, and that those in whom it already manifests itself are
simply in that one particular a little in advance of the rest of us.
Now this statement is a true one, and yet it seems quite vague and
unreal to the majority of people, simply because they regard such a
faculty as something absolutely different from anything they have yet
experienced, and feel fairly confident that they themselves, at any
rate, are not within measurable distance of its development.

It may help to dispel this sense of unreality if we try to understand
that clairvoyance, like so many other things in nature, is mainly a
question of vibrations, and is in fact nothing but an extension of
powers which we are all using every day of our lives. We are living
all the while surrounded by a vast sea of mingled air and ether, the
latter inter-penetrating the former, as it does all physical matter;
and it is chiefly by means of vibrations in that vast sea of matter
that impressions reach us from the outside. This much we all know, but
it may perhaps never have occurred to many of us that the number of
these vibrations to which we are capable of responding is in reality
quite infinitesimal.

Up among the exceedingly rapid vibrations which affect the ether there
is a certain small section--a _very_ small section--to which the
retina of the human eye is capable of responding, and these particular
vibrations produce in us the sensation which we call light. That is to
say, we are capable of seeing only those objects from which light of
that particular kind can either issue or be reflected.

In exactly the same way the tympanum of the human ear is capable of
responding to a certain very small range of comparatively slow
vibrations--slow enough to affect the air which surrounds us; and so
the only sounds which we can hear are those made by objects which are
able to vibrate at some rate within that particular range.

In both cases it is a matter perfectly well known to science that
there are large numbers of vibrations both above and below these two
sections, and that consequently there is much light that we cannot
see, and there are many sounds to which our ears are deaf. In the case
of light the action of these higher and lower vibrations is easily
perceptible in the effects produced by the actinic rays at one end of
the spectrum and the heat rays at the other.

As a matter of fact there exist vibrations of every conceivable degree
of rapidity, filling the whole vast space intervening between the slow
sound waves and the swift light waves; nor is even that all, for there
are undoubtedly vibrations slower than those of sound, and a whole
infinity of them which are swifter than those known to us as light. So
we begin to understand that the vibrations by which we see and hear
are only like two tiny groups of a few strings selected from an
enormous harp of practically infinite extent, and when we think how
much we have been able to learn and infer from the use of those
minute fragments, we see vaguely what possibilities might lie before
us if we were enabled to utilize the vast and wonderful whole.

Another fact which needs to be considered in this connection is that
different human beings vary considerably, though within relatively
narrow limits, in their capacity of response even to the very few
vibrations which are within reach of our physical senses. I am not
referring to the keenness of sight or of hearing that enables one man
to see a fainter object or hear a slighter sound than another; it is
not in the least a question of strength of vision, but of extent of

For example, if anyone will take a good bisulphide of carbon prism,
and by its means throw a clear spectrum on a sheet of white paper, and
then get a number of people to mark upon the paper the extreme limits
of the spectrum as it appears to them, he is fairly certain to find
that their powers of vision differ appreciably. Some will see the
violet extending much farther than the majority do; others will
perhaps see rather less violet than most, while gaining a
corresponding extension of vision at the red end. Some few there will
perhaps be who can see farther than ordinary at both ends, and these
will almost certainly be what we call sensitive people--susceptible in
fact to a greater range of vibrations than are most men of the present

In hearing, the same difference can be tested by taking some sound
which is just not too high to be audible--on the very verge of
audibility as it were--and discovering how many among a given number
of people are able to hear it. The squeak of a bat is a familiar
instance of such a sound, and experiment will show that on a summer
evening, when the whole air is full of the shrill, needle-like cries
of these little animals, quite a large number of men will be
absolutely unconscious of them, and unable to hear anything at all.

Now these examples clearly show that there is no hard-and-fast limit
to man's power of response to either etheric or aerial vibrations, but
that some among us already have that power to a wider extent than
others; and it will even be found that the same man's capacity varies
on different occasions. It is therefore not difficult for us to
imagine that it might be possible for a man to develop this power, and
thus in time to learn to see much that is invisible to his fellow-men,
and hear much that is inaudible to them, since we know perfectly well
that enormous numbers of these additional vibrations do exist, and are
simply, as it were, awaiting recognition.

The experiments with the Röntgen rays give us an example of the
startling results which are produced when even a very few of these
additional vibrations are brought within human ken, and the
transparency to these rays of many substances hitherto considered
opaque at once shows us one way at least in which we may explain such
elementary clairvoyance as is involved in reading a letter inside a
closed box, or describing those present in an adjoining apartment. To
learn to see by means of the Röntgen rays in addition to those
ordinarily employed would be quite sufficient to enable anyone to
perform a feat of magic of this order.

So far we have thought only of an extension of the purely physical
senses of man; and when we remember that a man's etheric body is in
reality merely the finer part of his physical frame, and that
therefore all his sense organs contain a large amount of etheric
matter of various degrees of density, the capacities of which are
still practically latent in most of us, we shall see that even if we
confine ourselves to this line of development alone there are enormous
possibilities of all kinds already opening out before us.

But besides and beyond all this we know that man possesses an astral
and a mental body, each of which can in process of time be aroused
into activity, and will respond in turn to the vibrations of the
matter of its own plane, thus opening up before the Ego, as he learns
to function through these vehicles, two entirely new and far wider
worlds of knowledge and power. Now these new worlds, though they are
all around us and freely inter-penetrate one another, are not to be
thought of as distinct and entirely unconnected in substance, but
rather as melting the one into the other, the lowest astral forming a
direct series with the highest physical, just as the lowest mental in
its turn forms a direct series with the highest astral. We are not
called upon in thinking of them to imagine some new and strange kind
of matter, but simply to think of the ordinary physical kind as
subdivided so very much more finely and vibrating so very much more
rapidly as to introduce us to what are practically entirely new
conditions and qualities.

It is not then difficult for us to grasp the possibility of a steady
and progressive extension of our senses, so that both by sight and by
hearing we may be able to appreciate vibrations far higher and far
lower than those which are ordinarily recognised. A large section of
these additional vibrations will still belong to the physical plane,
and will merely enable us to obtain impressions from the etheric part
of that plane, which is at present as a closed book to us. Such
impressions will still be received through the retina of the eye; of
course they will affect its etheric rather than its solid matter, but
we may nevertheless regard them as still appealing only to an organ
specialized to receive them, and not to the whole surface of the
etheric body.

There are some abnormal cases, however, in which other parts of the
etheric body respond to these additional vibrations as readily as, or
even more readily than, the eye. Such vagaries are explicable in
various ways, but principally as effects of some partial astral
development, for it will be found that the sensitive parts of the body
almost invariably correspond with one or other of the _chakrams_, or
centres of vitality in the astral body. And though, if astral
consciousness be not yet developed, these centres may not be available
on their own plane, they are still strong enough to stimulate into
keener activity the etheric matter which they inter-penetrate.

When we come to deal with the astral senses themselves the methods of
working are very different. The astral body has no specialized
sense-organs--a fact which perhaps needs some explanation, since many
students who are trying to comprehend its physiology seem to find it
difficult to reconcile with the statements that have been made as to
the perfect inter-penetration of the physical body by astral matter,
the exact correspondence between the two vehicles, and the fact that
every physical object has necessarily its astral counterpart.

Now all these statements are true, and yet it is quite possible for
people who do not normally see astrally to misunderstand them. Every
order of physical matter has its corresponding order of astral matter
in constant association with it--not to be separated from it except by
a very considerable exertion of occult force, and even then only to
be held apart from it as long as force is being definitely exerted to
that end. But for all that the relation of the astral particles one to
another is far looser than is the case with their physical

In a bar of iron, for example, we have a mass of physical molecules in
the solid condition--that is to say, capable of comparatively little
change in their relative positions, though each vibrating with immense
rapidity in its own sphere. The astral counterpart of this consists of
what we often call solid astral matter--that is, matter of the lowest
and densest sub-plane of the astral; but nevertheless its particles
are constantly and rapidly changing their relative position, moving
among one another as easily as those of a liquid on the physical plane
might do. So that there is no permanent association between any one
physical particle and that amount of astral matter which happens at
any given moment to be acting as its counterpart.

This is equally true with respect to the astral body of man, which for
our purpose at the moment we may regard as consisting of two
parts--the denser aggregation which occupies the exact position of the
physical body, and the cloud of rarer astral matter which surrounds
that aggregation. In both these parts, and between them both, there is
going on at every moment of time the rapid inter-circulation of the
particles which has been described, so that as one watches the
movement of the molecules in the astral body one is reminded of the
appearance of those in fiercely boiling water.

This being so, it will be readily understood that though any given
organ of the physical body must always have as its counterpart a
certain amount of astral matter, it does not retain the same particles
for more than a few seconds at a time, and consequently there is
nothing corresponding to the specialization of physical nerve-matter
into optic or auditory nerves, and so on. So that though the physical
eye or ear has undoubtedly always its counterpart of astral matter,
that particular fragment of astral matter is no more (and no less)
capable of responding to the vibrations which produce astral sight or
astral hearing than any other part of the vehicle.

It must never be forgotten that though we constantly have to speak of
"astral sight" or "astral hearing" in order to make ourselves
intelligible, all that we mean by those expressions is the faculty of
responding to such vibrations as convey to the man's consciousness,
when he is functioning in his astral body, information of the same
character as that conveyed to him by his eyes and ears while he is in
the physical body. But in the entirely different astral conditions,
specialized organs are not necessary for the attainment of this
result; there is matter in every part of the astral body which is
capable of such response, and consequently the man functioning in that
vehicle sees equally well objects behind him, beneath him, above him,
without needing to turn his head.

There is, however, another point which it would hardly be fair to
leave entirely out of account, and that is the question of the
_chakrams_ referred to above. Theosophical students are familiar with
the idea of the existence in both the astral and the etheric bodies of
man of certain centres of force which have to be vivified in turn by
the sacred serpent-fire as the man advances in evolution. Though these
cannot be described as organs in the ordinary sense of the word, since
it is not through them that the man sees or hears, as he does in
physical life through eyes and ears, yet it is apparently very largely
upon their vivification that the power of exercising these astral
senses depends, each of them as it is developed giving to the whole
astral body the power of response to a new set of vibrations.

Neither have these centres, however, any permanent collection of
astral matter connected with them. They are simply vortices in the
matter of the body--vortices through which all the particles pass in
turn--points, perhaps, at which the higher force from planes above
impinges upon the astral body. Even this description gives but a very
partial idea of their appearance, for they are in reality
four-dimensional vortices, so that the force which comes through them
and is the cause of their existence seems to well up from nowhere. But
at any rate, since all particles in turn pass through each of them, it
will be clear that it is thus possible for each in turn to evoke in
all the particles of the body the power of receptivity to a certain
set of vibrations, so that all the astral senses are equally active in
all parts of the body.

The vision of the mental plane is again totally different, for in this
case we can no longer speak of separate senses such as sight and
hearing, but rather have to postulate one general sense which responds
so fully to the vibrations reaching it that when any object comes
within its cognition it at once comprehends it fully, and as it were
sees it, hears it, feels it, and knows all there is to know about it
by the one instantaneous operation. Yet even this wonderful faculty
differs in degree only and not in kind from those which are at our
command at the present time; on the mental plane, just as on the
physical, impressions are still conveyed by means of vibrations
travelling from the object seen to the seer.

On the buddhic plane we meet for the first time with a quite new
faculty having nothing in common with those of which we have spoken,
for there a man cognizes any object by an entirely different method,
in which external vibrations play no part. The object becomes part of
himself, and he studies it from the inside instead of from the
outside. But with _this_ power ordinary clairvoyance has nothing to

The development, either entire or partial, of any one of these
faculties would come under our definition of clairvoyance--the power
to see what is hidden from ordinary physical sight. But these
faculties may be developed in various ways, and it will be well to say
a few words as to these different lines.

We may presume that if it were possible for a man to be isolated
during his evolution from all but the gentlest outside influences, and
to unfold from the beginning in perfectly regular and normal fashion,
he would probably develop his senses in regular order also. He would
find his physical senses gradually extending their scope until they
responded to all the physical vibrations, of etheric as well as of
denser matter; then in orderly sequence would come sensibility to the
coarser part of the astral plane, and presently the finer part also
would be included, until in due course the faculty of the mental plane
dawned in its turn.

In real life, however, development so regular as this is hardly ever
known, and many a man has occasional flashes of astral consciousness
without any awakening of etheric vision at all. And this irregularity
of development is one of the principal causes of man's extraordinary
liability to error in matters of clairvoyance--a liability from which
there is no escape except by a long course of careful training under a
qualified teacher.

Students of Theosophical literature are well aware that there are such
teachers to be found--that even in this materialistic nineteenth
century the old saying is still true, that "when the pupil is ready,
the Master is ready also," and that "in the hall of learning, when he
is capable of entering there, the disciple will always find his
Master." They are well aware also that only under such guidance can a
man develop his latent powers in safety and with certainty, since they
know how fatally easy it is for the untrained clairvoyant to deceive
himself as to the meaning and value of what he sees, or even
absolutely to distort his vision completely in bringing it down into
his physical consciousness.

It does not follow that even the pupil who is receiving regular
instruction in the use of occult powers will find them unfolding
themselves exactly in the regular order which was suggested above as
probably ideal. His previous progress may not have been such as to
make this for him the easiest or most desirable road; but at any rate
he is in the hands of one who is perfectly competent to be his guide
in spiritual development, and he rests in perfect contentment that the
way along which he is taken will be that which is the best way for

Another great advantage which he gains is that whatever faculties he
may acquire are definitely under his command and can be used fully and
constantly when he needs them for his Theosophical work; whereas in
the case of the untrained man such powers often manifest themselves
only very partially and spasmodically, and appear to come and go, as
it were, at their own sweet will.

It may reasonably be objected that if clairvoyant faculty is, as
stated, a part of the occult development of man, and so a sign of a
certain amount of progress along that line, it seems strange that it
should often be possessed by primitive peoples, or by the ignorant and
uncultured among our own race--persons who are obviously quite
undeveloped, from whatever point of view one regards them. No doubt
this does appear remarkable at first sight but the fact is that the
sensitiveness of the savage or of the coarse and vulgar European
ignoramus is not really at all the same thing as the faculty of his
properly trained brother, nor is it arrived at in the same way.

An exact and detailed explanation of the difference would lead us into
rather recondite technicalities, but perhaps the general idea of the
distinction between the two may be caught from an example taken from
the very lowest plane of clairvoyance, in close contact with the
denser physical. The etheric double in man is in exceedingly close
relation to his nervous system, and any kind of action upon one of
them speedily reacts on the other. Now in the sporadic appearance of
etheric sight in the savage, whether of Central Africa or of Western
Europe, it has been observed that the corresponding nervous
disturbance is almost entirely in the sympathetic system, and that the
whole affair is practically beyond the man's control--is in fact a
sort of massive sensation vaguely belonging to the whole etheric body,
rather than an exact and definite sense-perception communicated
through a specialized organ.

As in later races and amid higher development the strength of the man
is more and more thrown into the evolution of the mental faculties,
this vague sensitiveness usually disappears; but still later, when the
spiritual man begins to unfold, he regains his clairvoyant power. This
time, however, the faculty is a precise and exact one, under the
control of the man's will, and exercised through a definite
sense-organ; and it is noteworthy that any nervous action set up in
sympathy with it is now almost exclusively in the cerebro-spinal

On this subject Mrs. Besant writes:--"The lower forms of psychism are
more frequent in animals and in very unintelligent human beings than
in men and women in whom the intellectual powers are well developed.
They appear to be connected with the sympathetic system, not with the
cerebro-spinal. The large nucleated ganglionic cells in this system
contain a very large proportion of etheric matter, and are hence more
easily affected by the coarser astral vibrations than are the cells in
which the proportion is less. As the cerebro-spinal system develops,
and the brain becomes more highly evolved, the sympathetic system
subsides into a subordinate position, and the sensitiveness to psychic
vibrations is dominated by the stronger and more active vibrations of
the higher nervous system. It is true that at a later stage of
evolution psychic sensitiveness reappears, but it is then developed in
connection with the cerebro-spinal centres, and is brought under the
control of the will. But the hysterical and ill-regulated psychism of
which we see so many lamentable examples is due to the small
development of the brain and the dominance of the sympathetic system."

Occasional flashes of clairvoyance do, however, sometimes come to the
highly cultured and spiritual-minded man, even though he may never
have heard of the possibility of training such a faculty. In his case
such glimpses usually signify that he is approaching that stage in his
evolution when these powers will naturally begin to manifest
themselves, and their appearance should serve as an additional
stimulus to him to strive to maintain that high standard of moral
purity and mental balance without which clairvoyance is a curse and
not a blessing to its possessor.

Between those who are entirely unimpressible and those who are in full
possession of clairvoyant power there are many intermediate stages.
One to which it will be worth while to give a passing glance is the
stage in which a man, though he has no clairvoyant faculty in ordinary
life, yet exhibits it more or less fully under the influence of
mesmerism. This is a case in which the psychic nature is already
sensitive, but the consciousness is not yet capable of functioning in
it amidst the manifold distractions of physical life. It needs to be
set free by the temporary suspension of the outer senses in the
mesmeric trance before it can use the diviner faculties which are but
just beginning to dawn within it. But of course even in the mesmeric
trance there are innumerable degrees of lucidity, from the ordinary
patient who is blankly unintelligent to the man whose power of sight
is fully under the control of the operator, and can be directed
whithersoever he wills, or to the more advanced stage in which, when
the consciousness is once set free, it escapes altogether from the
grasp of the magnetizer, and soars into fields of exalted vision where
it is entirely beyond his reach.

Another step along the same path is that upon which such perfect
suppression of the physical as that which occurs in the hypnotic
trance is not necessary, but the power of supernormal sight, though
still out of reach during waking life, becomes available when the
body is held in the bonds of ordinary sleep. At this stage of
development stood many of the prophets and seers of whom we read, who
were "warned of God in a dream," or communed with beings far higher
than themselves in the silent watches of the night.

Most cultured people of the higher races of the world have this
development to some extent: that is to say, the senses of their astral
bodies are in full working order, and perfectly capable of receiving
impressions from objects and entities of their own plane. But to make
that fact of any use to them down here in the physical body, two
changes are usually necessary; first, that the Ego shall be awakened
to the realities of the astral plane, and induced to emerge from the
chrysalis formed by his own waking thoughts, and look round him to
observe and to learn; and secondly, that the consciousness shall be so
far retained during the return of the Ego into his physical body as to
enable him to impress upon his physical brain the recollection of what
he has seen or learnt.

If the first of these changes has taken place, the second is of little
importance, since the Ego, the true man, will be able to profit by the
information to be obtained upon that plane, even though he may not
have the satisfaction of bringing through any remembrance of it into
his waking life down here.

Students often ask how this clairvoyant faculty will first be
manifested in themselves--how they may know when they have reached
the stage at which its first faint foreshadowings are beginning to be
visible. Cases differ so widely that it is impossible to give to this
question any answer that will be universally applicable.

Some people begin by a plunge, as it were, and under some unusual
stimulus become able just for once to see some striking vision; and
very often in such a case, because the experience does not repeat
itself, the seer comes in time to believe that on that occasion he
must have been the victim of hallucination. Others begin by becoming
intermittently conscious of the brilliant colours and vibrations of
the human aura; yet others find themselves with increasing frequency
seeing and hearing something to which those around them are blind and
deaf; others, again, see faces, landscapes, or coloured clouds
floating before their eyes in the dark before they sink to rest; while
perhaps the commonest experience of all is that of those who begin to
recollect with greater and greater clearness what they have seen and
heard on the other planes during sleep.

Having now to some extent cleared our ground, we may proceed to
consider the various phenomena of clairvoyance.

They differ so widely both in character and in degree that it is not
very easy to decide how they can most satisfactorily be classified. We
might, for example, arrange them according to the kind of sight
employed--whether it were mental, astral, or merely etheric. We might
divide them according to the capacity of the clairvoyant, taking into
consideration whether he was trained or untrained; whether his vision
was regular and under his command, or spasmodic and independent of his
volition; whether he could exercise it only when under mesmeric
influence, or whether that assistance was unnecessary for him; whether
he was able to use his faculty when awake in the physical body, or
whether it was available only when he was temporarily away from that
body in sleep or trance.

All these distinctions are of importance, and we shall have to take
them all into consideration as we go on, but perhaps on the whole the
most useful classification will be one something on the lines of that
adopted by Mr. Sinnett in his _Rationale of Mesmerism_--a book, by the
way, which all students of clairvoyance ought to read. In dealing with
the phenomena, then, we will arrange them rather according to the
capacity of the sight employed than to the plane upon which it is
exercised, so that we may group instances of clairvoyance under some
such headings as these:

1. Simple clairvoyance--that is to say, a mere opening of sight,
enabling its possessor to see whatever astral or etheric entities
happen to be present around him, but not including the power of
observing either distant places or scenes belonging to any other time
than the present.

2. Clairvoyance in space--the capacity to see scenes or events removed
from the seer in space, and either too far distant for ordinary
observation or concealed by intermediate objects.

3. Clairvoyance in time--that is to say, the capacity to see objects
or events which are removed from the seer in time, or, in other words,
the power of looking into the past or the future.



We have defined this as a mere opening of etheric or astral sight,
which enables the possessor to see whatever may be present around him
on corresponding levels, but is not usually accompanied by the power
of seeing anything at a great distance or of reading either the past
or the future. It is hardly possible altogether to exclude these
latter faculties, for astral sight necessarily has considerably
greater extension than physical, and fragmentary pictures of both past
and future are often casually visible even to clairvoyants who do not
know how to seek specially for them; but there is nevertheless a very
real distinction between such incidental glimpses and the definite
power of projection of the sight either in space or time.

We find among sensitive people all degrees of this kind of
clairvoyance, from that of the man who gets a vague impression which
hardly deserves the name of sight at all, up to the full possession of
etheric and astral vision respectively. Perhaps the simplest method
will be for us to begin by describing what would be visible in the
case of this fuller development of the power, as the cases of its
partial possession will then be seen to fall naturally into their

Let us take the etheric vision first. This consists simply, as has
already been said, in susceptibility to a far larger series of
physical vibrations than ordinary, but nevertheless its possession
brings into view a good deal to which the majority of the human race
still remains blind. Let us consider what changes its acquisition
produces in the aspect of familiar objects, animate and inanimate, and
then see to what entirely new factors it introduces us. But it must be
remembered that what I am about to describe is the result of the full
and perfectly-controlled possession of the faculty only, and that most
of the instances met with in real life will be likely to fall far
short of it in one direction or another.

The most striking change produced in the appearance of inanimate
objects by the acquisition of this faculty is that most of them become
almost transparent, owing to the difference in wave-length of some of
the vibrations to which the man has now become susceptible. He finds
himself capable of performing with the utmost ease the proverbial feat
of "seeing through a brick wall," for to his newly-acquired vision the
brick wall seems to have a consistency no greater than that of a
light mist. He therefore sees what is going on in an adjoining room
almost as though no intervening wall existed; he can describe with
accuracy the contents of a locked box, or read a sealed letter; with a
little practice he can find a given passage in a closed book. This
last feat, though perfectly easy to astral vision, presents
considerable difficulty to one using etheric sight, because of the
fact that each page has to be looked at _through_ all those which
happen to be superimposed upon it.

It is often asked whether under these circumstances a man sees always
with this abnormal sight, or only when he wishes to do so. The answer
is that if the faculty is perfectly developed it will be entirely
under his control, and he can use that or his more ordinary vision at
will. He changes from one to the other as readily and naturally as we
now change the focus of our eyes when we look up from our book to
follow the motions of some object a mile away. It is, as it were, a
focussing of consciousness on the one or the other aspect of what is
seen; and though the man would have quite clearly in his view the
aspect upon which his attention was for the moment fixed, he would
always be vaguely conscious of the other aspect too, just as when we
focus our sight upon any object held in our hands we yet vaguely see
the opposite wall of the room as a background.

Another curious change, which comes from the possession of this sight,
is that the solid ground upon which the man walks becomes to a certain
extent transparent to him, so that he is able to see down into it to a
considerable depth, much as we can now see into fairly clear water.
This enables him to watch a creature burrowing underground, to
distinguish a vein of coal or of metal if not too far below the
surface, and so on.

The limit of etheric sight when looking through solid matter appears
to be analogous to that imposed upon us when looking through water or
mist. We cannot see beyond a certain distance, because the medium
through which we are looking is not perfectly transparent.

The appearance of animate objects is also considerably altered for the
man who has increased his visual powers to this extent. The bodies of
men and animals are for him in the main transparent, so that he can
watch the action of the various internal organs, and to some extent
diagnose some of their diseases.

The extended sight also enables him to perceive, more or less clearly,
various classes of creatures, elemental and otherwise, whose bodies
are not capable of reflecting any of the rays within the limit of the
spectrum as ordinarily seen. Among the entities so seen will be some
of the lower orders of nature-spirits--those whose bodies are composed
of the denser etheric matter. To this class belong nearly all the
fairies, gnomes, and brownies, about whom there are still so many
stories remaining among Scotch and Irish mountains and in remote
country places all over the world.

The vast kingdom of nature-spirits is in the main an astral kingdom,
but still there is a large section of it which appertains to the
etheric part of the physical plane, and this section, of course, is
much more likely to come within the ken of ordinary people than the
others. Indeed, in reading the common fairy stories one frequently
comes across distinct indications that it is with this class that we
are dealing. Any student of fairy lore will remember how often mention
is made of some mysterious ointment or drug, which when applied to a
man's eyes enables him to see the members of the fairy commonwealth
whenever he happens to meet them.

The story of such an application and its results occurs so constantly
and comes from so many different parts of the world that there must
certainly be some truth behind it, as there always is behind really
universal popular tradition. Now no such anointing of the eyes alone
could by any possibility open a man's astral vision, though certain
ointments rubbed over the whole body will very greatly assist the
astral body to leave the physical in full consciousness--a fact the
knowledge of which seems to have survived even to mediæval times, as
will be seen from the evidence given at some of the trials for
witchcraft. But the application to the physical eye might very easily
so stimulate its sensitiveness as to make it susceptible to some of
the etheric vibrations.

The story frequently goes on to relate how when the human being who
has used this mystical ointment betrays his extended vision in some
way to a fairy, the latter strikes or stabs him in the eye, thus
depriving him not only of the etheric sight, but of that of the denser
physical plane as well. (See _The Science of Fairy Tales_, by E. S.
Hartland, in the "Contemporary Science" series--or indeed almost any
extensive collection of fairy stories.) If the sight acquired had been
astral, such a proceeding would have been entirely unavailing, for no
injury to the physical apparatus would affect an astral faculty; but
if the vision produced by the ointment were etheric, the destruction
of the physical eye would in most cases at once extinguish it, since
that is the mechanism by means of which it works.

Anyone possessing this sight of which we are speaking would also be
able to perceive the etheric double of man; but since this is so
nearly identical in size with the physical, it would hardly be likely
to attract his attention unless it were partially projected in trance
or under the influence of anæsthetics. After death, when it withdraws
entirely from the dense body, it would be clearly visible to him, and
he would frequently see it hovering over newly made graves as he
passed through a churchyard or cemetery. If he were to attend a
spiritualistic séance he would see the etheric matter oozing out from
the side of the medium, and could observe the various ways in which
the communicating entities make use of it.

Another fact which could hardly fail soon to thrust itself upon his
notice would be the extension of his perception of colour. He would
find himself able to see several entirely new colours, not in the
least resembling any of those included in the spectrum as we at
present know it, and therefore of course quite indescribable in any
terms at our command. And not only would he see new objects that were
wholly of these new colours, but he would also discover that
modifications had been introduced into the colour of many objects with
which he was quite familiar, according to whether they had or had not
some tinge of these new hues intermingled with the old. So that two
surfaces of colour which to ordinary eyes appeared to match perfectly
would often present distinctly different shades to his keener sight.

We have now touched upon some of the principal changes which would be
introduced into a man's world when he gained etheric sight; and it
must always be remembered that in most cases a corresponding change
would at the same time be brought about in his other senses also, so
that he would be capable of hearing, and perhaps even of feeling, more
than most of those around him. Now supposing that in addition to this
he obtained the sight of the astral plane, what further changes would
be observable?

Well, the changes would be many and great; in fact, a whole new world
would open before his eyes. Let us consider its wonders briefly in the
same order as before, and see first what difference there would be in
the appearance of inanimate objects. On this point I may begin by
quoting a recent quaint answer given in _The Vâhan_.

"There is a distinct difference between etheric sight and astral
sight, and it is the latter which seems to correspond to the fourth

"The easiest way to understand the difference is to take an example.
If you looked at a man with both the sights in turn, you would see the
buttons at the back of his coat in both cases; only if you used
etheric sight you would see them _through_ him, and would see the
shank-side as nearest to you, but if you looked astrally, you would
see it not only like that, but just as if you were standing behind the
man as well.

"Or if you were looking etherically at a wooden cube with writing on
all its sides, it would be as though the cube were glass, so that you
could see through it, and you would see the writing on the opposite
side all backwards, while that on the right and left sides would not
be clear to you at all unless you moved, because you would see it
edgewise. But if you looked at it astrally you would see all the sides
at once, and all the right way up, as though the whole cube had been
flattened out before you, and you would see every particle of the
inside as well--not _through_ the others, but all flattened out. You
would be looking at it from another direction, at right angles to all
the directions that we know.

"If you look at the back of a watch etherically you see all the wheels
through it, and the face _through them_, but backwards; if you look at
it astrally, you see the face right way up and all the wheels lying
separately, but nothing on the top of anything else."

Here we have at once the keynote, the principal factor of the change;
the man is looking at everything from an absolutely new point of view,
entirely outside of anything that he has ever imagined before. He has
no longer the slightest difficulty in reading any page in a closed
book, because he is not now looking at it through all the other pages
before it or behind it, but is looking straight down upon it as though
it were the only page to be seen. The depth at which a vein of metal
or of coal may lie is no longer a barrier to his sight of it, because
he is not now looking through the intervening depth of earth at all.
The thickness of a wall, or the number of walls intervening between
the observer and the object, would make a great deal of difference to
the clearness of the etheric sight; they would make no difference
whatever to the astral sight, because on the astral plane they would
_not_ intervene between the observer and the object. Of course that
sounds paradoxical and impossible, and it _is_ quite inexplicable to a
mind not specially trained to grasp the idea; yet it is none the less
absolutely true.

This carries us straight into the middle of the much-vexed question of
the fourth dimension--a question of the deepest interest, though one
that we cannot pretend to discuss in the space at our disposal. Those
who wish to study it as it deserves are recommended to begin with Mr.
C. H. Hinton's _Scientific Romances_ or Dr. A. T. Schofield's _Another
World_, and then follow on with the former author's larger work, _A
New Era of Thought_. Mr. Hinton not only claims to be able himself to
grasp mentally some of the simpler fourth-dimensional figures, but
also states that anyone who will take the trouble to follow out his
directions may with perseverance acquire that mental grasp likewise. I
am not certain that the power to do this is within the reach of
everyone, as he thinks, for it appears to me to require considerable
mathematical ability; but I can at any rate bear witness that the
tesseract or fourth-dimensional cube which he describes is a reality,
for it is quite a familiar figure upon the astral plane. He has now
perfected a new method of representing the several dimensions by
colours instead of by arbitrary written symbols. He states that this
will very much simplify the study, as the reader will be able to
distinguish instantly by sight any part or feature of the tesseract. A
full description of this new method, with plates, is said to be ready
for the press, and is expected to appear within a year, so that
intending students of this fascinating subject might do well to await
its publication.

I know that Madame Blavatsky, in alluding to the theory of the fourth
dimension, has expressed an opinion that it is only a clumsy way of
stating the idea of the entire permeability of matter, and that Mr. W.
T. Stead has followed along the same lines, presenting the conception
to his readers under the name of _throughth_. Careful, oft-repeated
and detailed investigation does, however, seem to show quite
conclusively that this explanation does not cover all the facts. It is
a perfect description of etheric vision, but the further and quite
different idea of the fourth dimension as expounded by Mr. Hinton is
the only one which gives any kind of explanation down here of the
constantly-observed facts of astral vision. I would therefore venture
deferentially to suggest that when Madame Blavatsky wrote as she did,
she had in mind etheric vision and not astral, and that the extreme
applicability of the phrase to this other and higher faculty, of which
she was not at the moment thinking, did not occur to her.

The possession of this extraordinary and scarcely expressible power,
then, must always be borne in mind through all that follows. It lays
every point in the interior of every solid body absolutely open to the
gaze of the seer, just as every point in the interior of a circle lies
open to the gaze of a man looking down upon it.

But even this is by no means all that it gives to its possessor. He
sees not only the inside as well as the outside of every object, but
also its astral counterpart. Every atom and molecule of physical
matter has its corresponding astral atoms and molecules, and the mass
which is built up out of these is clearly visible to our clairvoyant.
Usually the astral of any object projects somewhat beyond the physical
part of it, and thus metals, stones and other things are seen
surrounded by an astral aura.

It will be seen at once that even in the study of inorganic matter a
man gains immensely by the acquisition of this vision. Not only does
he see the astral part of the object at which he looks, which before
was wholly hidden from him; not only does he see much more of its
physical constitution than he did before, but even what was visible
to him before is now seen much more clearly and truly. A moment's
consideration will show that his new vision approximates much more
closely to true perception than does physical sight. For example, if
he looks astrally at a glass cube, its sides will all appear equal, as
we know they really are, whereas on the physical plane he sees the
further side in perspective--that is, it appears smaller than the
nearer side, which is, of course, a mere allusion due to his physical

When we come to consider the additional facilities which it offers in
the observation of animate objects we see still more clearly the
advantages of the astral vision. It exhibits to the clairvoyant the
aura of plants and animals, and thus in the case of the latter their
desires and emotions, and whatever thoughts they may have, are all
plainly shown before his eyes.

But it is in dealing with human beings that he will most appreciate
the value of this faculty, for he will often be able to help them far
more effectually when he guides himself by the information which it
gives him.

He will be able to see the aura as far up as the astral body, and
though that leaves all the higher part of a man still hidden from his
gaze, he will nevertheless find it possible by careful observation to
learn a good deal about the higher part from what is within his
reach. His capacity of examining the etheric double will give him
considerable advantage in locating and classifying any defects or
diseases of the nervous system, while from the appearance of the
astral body he will be at once aware of all the emotions, passions,
desires and tendencies of the man before him, and even of very many of
his thoughts also.

As he looks at a person he will see him surrounded by the luminous
mist of the astral aura, flashing with all sorts of brilliant colours,
and constantly changing in hue and brilliancy with every variation of
the person's thoughts and feelings. He will see this aura flooded with
the beautiful rose-colour of pure affection, the rich blue of
devotional feeling, the hard, dull brown of selfishness, the deep
scarlet of anger, the horrible lurid red of sensuality, the livid grey
of fear, the black clouds of hatred and malice, or any of the other
hundredfold indications so easily to be read in it by a practised eye;
and thus it will be impossible for any persons to conceal from him the
real state of their feelings on any subject.

These varied indications of the aura are of themselves a study of very
deep interest, but I have no space to deal with them in detail here. A
much fuller account of them, together with a large number of coloured
illustrations, will be found in my work on the subject _Man Visible
and Invisible_.

Not only does the astral aura show him the temporary result of the
emotion passing through it at the moment, but it also gives him, by
the arrangement and proportion of its colours when in a condition of
comparative rest, a clue to the general disposition and character of
its owner. For the astral body is the expression of as much of the man
as can be manifested on that plane, so that from what is seen in it
much more which belongs to higher planes may be inferred with
considerable certainty.

In this judgment of character our clairvoyant will be much helped by
so much of the person's thought as expresses itself on the astral
plane, and consequently comes within his purview. The true home of
thought is on the mental plane, and all thought first manifests itself
there as a vibration of the mind-body. But if it be in any way a
selfish thought, or if it be connected in any way with an emotion or a
desire, it immediately descends into the astral plane, and takes to
itself a visible form of astral matter.

In the case of the majority of men almost all thought would fall under
one or other of these heads, so that practically the whole of their
personality would lie clearly before our friend's astral vision, since
their astral bodies and the thought-forms constantly radiating from
them would be to him as an open book in which their characteristics
were writ so largely that he who ran might read. Anyone wishing to
gain some idea as to _how_ the thought-forms present themselves to
clairvoyant vision may satisfy themselves to some extent by examining
the illustrations accompanying Mrs. Besant's valuable article on the
subject in _Lucifer_ for September 1896.

We have seen something of the alteration in the appearance of both
animate and inanimate objects when viewed by one possessed of full
clairvoyant sight as far as the astral plane is concerned; let us now
consider what entirely new objects he will see. He will be conscious
of a far greater fulness in nature in many directions, but chiefly his
attention will be attracted by the living denizens of this new world.
No detailed account of them can be attempted within the space at our
disposal; for that the reader is referred to No. V. of the
_Theosophical Manuals_. Here we can do no more than barely enumerate a
few classes only of the vast hosts of astral inhabitants.

He will be impressed by the protean forms of the ceaseless tide of
elemental essence, ever swirling around him, menacing often, yet
always retiring before a determined effort of the will; he will marvel
at the enormous army of entities temporarily called out of this ocean
into separate existence by the thoughts and wishes of man, whether
good or evil. He will watch the manifold tribes of the nature-spirits
at their work or at their play; he will sometimes be able to study
with ever-increasing delight the magnificent evolution of some of the
lower orders of the glorious kingdom of the devas, which corresponds
approximately to the angelic host of Christian terminology.

But perhaps of even keener interest to him than any of these will be
the human denizens of the astral world, and he will find them
divisible into two great classes--those whom we call the living, and
those others, most of them infinitely more alive, whom we so foolishly
misname the dead. Among the former he will find here and there one
wide awake and fully conscious, perhaps sent to bring him some
message, or examining him keenly to see what progress he is making;
while the majority of his neighbours, when away from their physical
bodies during sleep, will drift idly by, so wrapped up in their own
cogitations as to be practically unconscious of what is going on
around them.

Among the great host of the recently dead he will find all degrees of
consciousness and intelligence, and all shades of character--for
death, which seems to our limited vision so absolute a change, in
reality alters nothing of the man himself. On the day after his death
he is precisely the same man as he was the day before it, with the
same disposition, the same qualities, the same virtues and vices, save
only that he has cast aside his physical body; but the loss of that no
more makes him in any way a different man than would the removal of an
overcoat. So among the dead our student will find men intelligent and
stupid, kind-hearted and morose, serious and frivolous,
spiritually-minded and sensually-minded, just as among the living.

Since he can not only see the dead, but speak with them, he can often
be of very great use to them, and give them information and guidance
which is of the utmost value to them. Many of them are in a condition
of great surprise and perplexity, and sometimes even of acute
distress, because they find the facts of the next world so unlike the
childish legends which are all that popular religion in the West has
to offer with reference to this transcendently important subject; and
therefore a man who understands this new world and can explain matters
is distinctly a friend in need.

In many other ways a man who fully possesses this faculty may be of
use to the living as well as to the dead; but of this side of the
subject I have already written in my little book on _Invisible
Helpers_. In addition to astral entities he will see astral
corpses--shades and shells in all stages of decay; but these need only
be just mentioned here, as the reader desiring a further account of
them will find it in our third and fifth manuals.

Another wonderful result which the full enjoyment of astral
clairvoyance brings to a man is that he has no longer any break in
consciousness. When he lies down at night he leaves his physical body
to the rest which it requires, while he goes about his business in
the far more comfortable astral vehicle. In the morning he returns to
and re-enters his physical body, but without any loss of consciousness
or memory between the two states, and thus he is able to live, as it
were, a double life which yet is one, and to be usefully employed
during the whole of it, instead of losing one-third of his existence
in blank unconsciousness.

Another strange power of which he may find himself in possession
(though its full control belongs rather to the still higher devachanic
faculty), is that of magnifying at will the minutest physical or
astral particle to any desired size, as though by a microscope--though
no microscope ever made or ever likely to be made possesses even a
thousandth part of this psychic magnifying power. By its means the
hypothetical molecule and atom postulated by science become visible
and living realities to the occult student, and on this closer
examination he finds them to be much more complex in their structure
than the scientific man has yet realised them to be. It also enables
him to follow with the closest attention and the most lively interest
all kinds of electrical, magnetic, and other etheric action; and when
some of the specialists in these branches of science are able to
develop the power to see those things whereof they write so facilely,
some very wonderful and beautiful revelations may be expected.

This is one of the _siddhis_ or powers described in Oriental books as
accruing to the man who devotes himself to spiritual development,
though the name under which it is there mentioned might not be
immediately recognizable. It is referred to as "the power of making
oneself large or small at will," and the reason of a description which
appears so oddly to reverse the fact is that in reality the method by
which this feat is performed is precisely that indicated in these
ancient books. It is by the use of temporary visual machinery of
inconceivable minuteness that the world of the infinitely little is so
clearly seen; and in the same way (or rather in the opposite way) it
is by temporarily enormously increasing the size of the machinery used
that it becomes possible to increase the breadth of one's view--in the
physical sense as well as, let us hope, in the moral--far beyond
anything that science has ever dreamt of as possible for man. So that
the alteration in size is really in the vehicle of the student's
consciousness, and not in anything outside of himself; and the old
Oriental book has, after all, put the case more accurately than we.

Psychometry and second-sight _in excelsis_ would also be among the
faculties which our friend would find at his command; but those will
be more fitly dealt with under a later heading, since in almost all
their manifestations they involve clairvoyance either in space or in

I have now indicated, though only in the roughest outlines, what a
trained student, possessed of full astral vision, would see in the
immensely wider world to which that vision introduced him; but I have
said nothing of the stupendous change in his mental attitude which
comes from the experiential certainty as to the existence of the soul,
its survival after death, the action of the law of karma, and other
points of equally paramount importance. The difference between even
the profoundest intellectual conviction and the precise knowledge
gained by direct personal experience must be felt in order to be



The experiences of the untrained clairvoyant--and be it remembered
that that class includes all European clairvoyants except a very
few--will, however, usually fall very far short of what I have
attempted to indicate; they will fall short in many different ways--in
degree, in variety, or in permanence, and above all in precision.

Sometimes, for example, a man's clairvoyance will be permanent, but
very partial, extending only perhaps to one or two classes of the
phenomena observable; he will find himself endowed with some isolated
fragment of higher vision, without apparently possessing other powers
of sight which ought normally to accompany that fragment, or even to
precede it. For example, one of my dearest friends has all his life
had the power to see the atomic ether and atomic astral matter, and to
recognize their structure, alike in darkness or in light, as
inter-penetrating everything else; yet he has only rarely seen
entities whose bodies are composed of the much more obvious lower
ethers or denser astral matter, and at any rate is certainly not
permanently able to see them. He simply finds himself in possession of
this special faculty, without any apparent reason to account for it,
or any recognizable relation to anything else: and beyond proving to
him the existence of these atomic planes and demonstrating their
arrangement, it is difficult to see of what particular use it is to
him at present. Still, there the thing is, and it is an earnest of
greater things to come--of further powers still awaiting development.

There are many similar cases--similar, I mean, not in the possession
of that particular form of sight (which is unique in my experience),
but in showing the development of some one small part of the full and
clear vision of the astral and etheric planes. In nine cases out of
ten, however, such partial clairvoyance will at the same time lack
precision also--that is to say, there will be a good deal of vague
impression and inference about it, instead of the clear-cut definition
and certainty of the trained man. Examples of this type are constantly
to be found, especially among those who advertise themselves as "test
and business clairvoyants."

Then, again, there are those who are only temporarily clairvoyant
under certain special conditions. Among these there are various
subdivisions, some being able to reproduce the state of clairvoyance
at will by again setting up the same conditions, while with others it
comes sporadically, without any observable reference to their
surroundings, and with yet others the power shows itself only once or
twice in the whole course of their lives.

To the first of these subdivisions belong those who are clairvoyant
only when in the mesmeric trance--who when not so entranced are
incapable of seeing or hearing anything abnormal. These may sometimes
reach great heights of knowledge and be exceedingly precise in their
indications, but when that is so they are usually undergoing a course
of regular training, though for some reason unable as yet to set
themselves free from the leaden weight of earthly life without

In the same class we may put those--chiefly Orientals--who gain some
temporary sight only under the influence of certain drugs, or by means
of the performance of certain ceremonies. The ceremonialist sometimes
hypnotizes himself by his repetitions, and in that condition becomes
to some extent clairvoyant; more often he simply reduces himself to a
passive condition in which some other entity can obsess him and speak
through him. Sometimes, again, his ceremonies are not intended to
affect himself at all, but to invoke some astral entity who will give
him the required information; but of course that is a case of magic,
and not of clairvoyance. Both the drugs and the ceremonies are methods
emphatically to be avoided by any one who wishes to approach
clairvoyance from the higher side, and use it for his own progress and
for the helping of others. The Central African medicine-man or
witch-doctor and some of the Tartar Shamans are good examples of the

Those to whom a certain amount of clairvoyant power has come
occasionally only, and without any reference to their own wish, have
often been hysterical or highly nervous persons, with whom the faculty
was to a large extent one of the symptoms of a disease. Its appearance
showed that the physical vehicle was weakened to such a degree that it
no longer presented any obstacle in the way of a certain modicum of
etheric or astral vision. An extreme example of this class is the man
who drinks himself into delirium tremens, and in the condition of
absolute physical ruin and impure psychic excitation brought about by
the ravages of that fell disease, is able to see for the time some of
the loathsome elemental and other entities which he has drawn round
himself by his long course of degraded and bestial indulgence. There
are, however, other cases where the power of sight has appeared and
disappeared without apparent reference to the state of the physical
health; but it seems probable that even in those, if they could have
been observed closely enough, some alteration in the condition of the
etheric double would have been noticed.

Those who have only one instance of clairvoyance to report in the
whole of their lives are a difficult band to classify at all
exhaustively, because of the great variety of the contributory
circumstances. There are many among them to whom the experience has
come at some supreme moment of their lives, when it is comprehensible
that there might have been a temporary exaltation of faculty which
would be sufficient to account for it.

In the case of another subdivision of them the solitary case has been
the seeing of an apparition, most commonly of some friend or relative
at the point of death. Two possibilities are then offered for our
choice, and in each of them the strong wish of the dying man is the
impelling force. That force may have enabled him to materialize
himself for a moment, in which case of course no clairvoyance was
needed or more probably it may have acted mesmerically upon the
percipient, and momentarily dulled his physical and stimulated his
higher sensitiveness. In either case the vision is the product of the
emergency, and is not repeated simply because the necessary conditions
are not repeated.

There remains, however, an irresolvable residuum of cases in which a
solitary instance occurs of the exercise of undoubted clairvoyance,
while yet the occasion seems to us wholly trivial and unimportant.
About these we can only frame hypotheses; the governing conditions are
evidently not on the physical plane, and a separate investigation of
each case would be necessary before we could speak with any certainty
as to its causes. In some such it has appeared that an astral entity
was endeavouring to make some communication, and was able to impress
only some unimportant detail on its subject--all the useful or
significant part of what it had to say failing to get through into the
subject's consciousness.

In the investigation of the phenomena of clairvoyance all these varied
types and many others will be encountered, and a certain number of
cases of mere hallucination will be almost sure to appear also, and
will have to be carefully weeded out from the list of examples. The
student of such a subject needs an inexhaustible fund of patience and
steady perseverance, but if he goes on long enough he will begin dimly
to discern order behind the chaos, and will gradually get some idea of
the great laws under which the whole evolution is working.

It will help him greatly in his efforts if he will adopt the order
which we have just followed--that is, if he will first take the
trouble to familiarize himself as thoroughly as may be with the actual
facts concerning the planes with which ordinary clairvoyance deals.
If he will learn what there really is to be seen with astral and
etheric sight, and what their respective limitations are, he will then
have, as it were, a standard by which to measure the cases which he
observes. Since all instances of partial sight must of necessity fit
into some niche in this whole, if he has the outline of the entire
scheme in his head he will find it comparatively easy with a little
practice to classify the instances with which he is called upon to

We have said nothing as yet as to the still more wonderful
possibilities of clairvoyance upon the mental plane, nor indeed is it
necessary that much should be said, as it is exceedingly improbable
that the investigator will ever meet with any examples of it except
among pupils properly trained in some of the very highest schools of
occultism. For them it opens up yet another new world, vaster far than
all those beneath it--a world in which all that we can imagine of
utmost glory and splendour is the commonplace of existence. Some
account of its marvellous faculty, its eneffable bliss, its
magnificent opportunities for learning and for work, is given in the
sixth of our Theosophical manuals, and to that the student may be

All that it has to give--all of it at least that he can assimilate--is
within the reach of the trained pupil, but for the untrained
clairvoyant to touch it is hardly more than a bare possibility. It
has been done in mesmeric trance, but the occurrence is of exceeding
rarity, for it needs almost superhuman qualifications in the way of
lofty spiritual aspiration and absolute purity of thought and
intention upon the part both of the subject and the operator.

To a type of clairvoyance such as this, and still more fully to that
which belongs to the plane next above it, the name of spiritual sight
may reasonably be applied; and since the celestial world to which it
opens our eyes lies all round us here and now, it is fit that our
passing reference to it should be made under the heading of simple
clairvoyance, though it may be necessary to allude to it again when
dealing with clairvoyance in space, to which we will now pass on.



We have defined this as the capacity to see events or scenes removed
from the seer in space and too far distant for ordinary observation.
The instances of this are so numerous and so various that we shall
find it desirable to attempt a somewhat more detailed classification
of them. It does not much matter what particular arrangement we adopt,
so long as it is comprehensive enough to include all our cases;
perhaps a convenient one will be to group them under the broad
divisions of intentional and unintentional clairvoyance in space, with
an intermediate class that might be described as semi-intentional--a
curious title, but I will explain it later.

As before, I will begin by stating what is possible along this line
for the fully-trained seer, and endeavouring to explain how his
faculty works and under what limitations it acts. After that we shall
find ourselves in a better position to try to understand the manifold
examples of partial and untrained sight. Let us then in the first
place discuss intentional clairvoyance.

It will be obvious from what has previously been said as to the power
of astral vision that any one possessing it in its fulness will be
able to see by its means practically anything in this world that he
wishes to see. The most secret places are open to his gaze, and
intervening obstacles have no existence for him, because of the change
in his point of view; so that if we grant him the power of moving
about in the astral body he can without difficulty go anywhere and see
anything within the limits of the planet. Indeed this is to a large
extent possible to him even without the necessity of moving the astral
body at all, as we shall presently see.

Let us consider a little more closely the methods by which this
super-physical sight may be used to observe events taking place at a
distance. When, for example, a man here in England sees in minutest
detail something which is happening at the same moment in India or
America, how is it done?

A very ingenious hypothesis has been offered to account for the
phenomenon. It has been suggested that every object is perpetually
throwing off radiations in all directions, similar in some respects
to, though infinitely finer than, rays of light, and that clairvoyance
is nothing but the power to see by means of these finer radiations.
Distance would in that case be no bar to the sight, all intervening
objects would be penetrable by these rays, and they would be able to
cross one another to infinity in all directions without entanglement,
precisely as the vibrations of ordinary light do.

Now though this is not exactly the way in which clairvoyance works,
the theory is nevertheless quite true in most of its premises. Every
object undoubtedly is throwing off radiations in all directions, and
it is precisely in this way, though on a higher plane, that the
âkâshic records seem to be formed. Of them it will be necessary to say
something under our next heading, so we will do no more than mention
them for the moment. The phenomena of psychometry are also dependent
upon these radiations, as will presently be explained.

There are, however, certain practical difficulties in the way of using
these etheric vibrations (for that is, of course, what they are) as
the medium by means of which one may see anything taking place at a
distance. Intervening objects are not entirely transparent, and as the
actors in the scene which the experimenter tried to observe would
probably be at least equally transparent, it is obvious that serious
confusion would be quite likely to result.

The additional dimension which would come into play if astral
radiations were sensed instead of etheric would obviate some of the
difficulties, but would on the other hand introduce some fresh
complications of its own; so that for practical purposes, in
endeavouring to understand clairvoyance, we may dismiss this
hypothesis of radiations from our minds, and turn to the methods of
seeing at a distance which are actually at the disposal of the
student. It will be found that there are five, four of them being
really varieties of clairvoyance, while the fifth does not properly
come under that head at all, but belongs to the domain of magic. Let
us take this last one first, and get it out of our way.

1. _By the assistance of a nature-spirit._--This method does not
necessarily involve the possession of any psychic faculty at all on
the part of the experimenter; he need only know how to induce some
denizen of the astral world to undertake the investigation for him.
This may be done either by invocation or by evocation; that is to say,
the operator may either persuade his astral coadjutor by prayers and
offerings to give him the help he desires, or he may compel his aid by
the determined exercise of a highly-developed will.

This method has been largely practised in the East (where the entity
employed is usually a nature-spirit) and in old Atlantis, where "the
lords of the dark face" used a highly-specialized and peculiarly
venomous variety of artificial elemental for this purpose. Information
is sometimes obtained in the same sort of way at the spiritualistic
_séance_ of modern days, but in that case the messenger employed is
more likely to be a recently-deceased human being functioning more or
less freely on the astral plane--though even here also it is sometimes
an obliging nature-spirit, who is amusing himself by posing as
somebody's departed relative. In any case, as I have said, this method
is not clairvoyant at all, but magical; and it is mentioned here only
in order that the reader may not become confused in the endeavour to
classify cases of its use under some of the following headings.

2. _By means of an astral current._--This is a phrase frequently and
rather loosely employed in some of our Theosophical literature to
cover a considerable variety of phenomena, and among others that which
I wish to explain. What is really done by the student who adopts this
method is not so much the setting in motion of a current in astral
matter, as the erection of a kind of temporary telephone through it.

It is impossible here to give an exhaustive disquisition on astral
physics, even had I the requisite knowledge to write it; all I need
say is that it is possible to make in astral matter a definite
connecting-line that shall act as a telegraph-wire to convey
vibrations by means of which all that is going on at the other end of
it may be seen. Such a line is established, be it understood, not by a
direct projection through space of astral matter, but by such action
upon a line (or rather many lines) of particles of that matter as
will render them capable of forming a conductor for vibrations of the
character required.

This preliminary action can be set up in two ways--either by the
transmission of energy from particle to particle, until the line is
formed, or by the use of a force from a higher plane which is capable
of acting upon the whole line simultaneously. Of course this latter
method implies far greater development, since it involves the
knowledge of (and the power to use) forces of a considerably higher
level; so that the man who could make his line in this way would not,
for his own use, need a line at all, since he could see far more
easily and completely by means of an altogether higher faculty.

Even the simpler and purely astral operation is a difficult one to
describe, though quite an easy one to perform. It may be said to
partake somewhat of the nature of the magnetization of a bar of steel;
for it consists in what we might call the polarization, by an effort
of the human will, of a number of parallel lines of astral atoms
reaching from the operator to the scene which he wishes to observe.
All the atoms thus affected are held for the time with their axes
rigidly parallel to one another, so that they form a kind of temporary
tube along which the clairvoyant may look. This method has the
disadvantage that the telegraph line is liable to disarrangement or
even destruction by any sufficiently strong astral current which
happens to cross its path; but if the original effort of will were
fairly definite, this would be a contingency of only infrequent

The view of a distant scene obtained by means of this "astral current"
is in many ways not unlike that seen through a telescope. Human
figures usually appear very small, like those on a distant stage, but
in spite of their diminutive size they are as clear as though they
were close by. Sometimes it is possible by this means to hear what is
said as well as to see what is done; but as in the majority of cases
this does not happen, we must consider it rather as the manifestation
of an additional power than as a necessary corollary of the faculty of

It will be observed that in this case the seer does not usually leave
his physical body at all; there is no sort of projection of his astral
vehicle or of any part of himself towards that at which he is looking,
but he simply manufactures for himself a temporary astral telescope.
Consequently he has, to a certain extent, the use of his physical
powers even while he is examining the distant scene; for example, his
voice would usually still be under his control, so that he could
describe what he saw even while he was in the act of making his
observations. The consciousness of the man is, in fact, distinctly
still at this end of the line.

This fact, however, has its limitations as well as its advantages,
and these again largely resemble the limitations of the man using a
telescope on the physical plane. The experimenter, for example, has no
power to shift this point of view; his telescope, so to speak, has a
particular field of view which cannot be enlarged or altered; he is
looking at his scene from a certain direction, and he cannot suddenly
turn it all round and see how it looks from the other side. If he has
sufficient psychic energy to spare, he may drop altogether the
telescope that he is using and manufacture an entirely new one for
himself which will approach his objective somewhat differently; but
this is not a course at all likely to be adopted in practice.

But, it may be said, the mere fact that he is using astral sight ought
to enable him to see it from all sides at once. So it would if he were
using that sight in the normal way upon an object which was fairly
near him--within his astral reach, as it were; but at a distance of
hundreds or thousands of miles the case is very different. Astral
sight gives us the advantage of an additional dimension, but there is
still such a thing as position in that dimension, and it is naturally
a potent factor in limiting the use of the powers of its plane. Our
ordinary three-dimensional sight enables us to see at once every point
of the interior of a two-dimensional figure, such as a square, but in
order to do that the square must be within a reasonable distance from
our eyes; the mere additional dimension will avail a man in London
but little in his endeavour to examine a square in Calcutta.

Astral sight, when it is cramped by being directed along what is
practically a tube, is limited very much as physical sight would be
under similar circumstances; though if possessed in perfection it will
still continue to show, even at that distance, the auras, and
therefore all the emotions and most of the thoughts of the people
under observation.

There are many people for whom this type of clairvoyance is very much
facilitated if they have at hand some physical object which can be
used as a starting-point for their astral tube--a convenient focus for
their will-power. A ball of crystal is the commonest and most
effectual of such foci, since it has the additional advantage of
possessing within itself qualities which stimulate psychic faculty;
but other objects are also employed, to which we shall find it
necessary to refer more particularly when we come to consider
semi-intentional clairvoyance.

In connection with this astral-current form of clairvoyance, as with
others, we find that there are some psychics who are unable to use it
except when under the influence of mesmerism. The peculiarity in this
case is that among such psychics there are two varieties--one in which
by being thus set free the man is enabled to make a telescope for
himself, and another in which the magnetizer himself makes the
telescope and the subject is simply enabled to see through it. In this
latter case obviously the subject has not enough will to form a tube
for himself, and the operator, though possessed of the necessary
will-power, is not clairvoyant, or he could see through his own tube
without needing help.

Occasionally, though rarely, the tube which is formed possesses
another of the attributes of a telescope--that of magnifying the
objects at which it is directed until they seem of life-size. Of
course the objects must always be magnified to some extent, or they
would be absolutely invisible, but usually the extent is determined by
the size of the astral tube, and the whole thing is simply a tiny
moving picture. In the few cases where the figures are seen as of
life-size by this method, it is probable that an altogether new power
is beginning to dawn; but when this happens, careful observation is
needed in order to distinguish them from examples of our next class.

3. _By the projection of a thought-form._--The ability to use this
method of clairvoyance implies a development somewhat more advanced
than the last, since it necessitates a certain amount of control upon
the mental plane. All students of Theosophy are aware that thought
takes form, at any rate upon its own plane, and in the vast majority
of cases upon the astral plane also; but it may not be quite so
generally known that if a man thinks strongly of himself as present
at any given place, the form assumed by that particular thought will
be a likeness of the thinker himself, which will appear at the place
in question.

Essentially this form must be composed of the matter of the mental
plane, but in very many cases it would draw round itself matter of the
astral plane also, and so would approach much nearer to visibility.
There are, in fact, many instances in which it has been seen by the
person thought of--most probably by means of the unconscious mesmeric
influence emanating from the original thinker. None of the
consciousness of the thinker would, however, be included within this
thought-form. When once sent out from him, it would normally be a
quite separate entity--not indeed absolutely unconnected with its
maker, but practically so as far as the possibility of receiving any
impression through it is concerned.

This third type of clairvoyance consists, then, in the power to retain
so much connection with and so much hold over a newly-erected
thought-form as will render it possible to receive impressions by
means of it. Such impressions as were made upon the form would in this
case be transmitted to the thinker--not along an astral telegraph
line, as before, but by sympathetic vibration. In a perfect case of
this kind of clairvoyance it is almost as though the seer projected a
part of his consciousness into the thought-form, and used it as a kind
of outpost, from which observation was possible. He sees almost as
well as he would if he himself stood in the place of his thought-form.

The figures at which he is looking will appear to him as of life-size
and close at hand, instead of tiny and at a distance, as in the
previous case; and he will find it possible to shift his point of view
if he wishes to do so. Clairaudience is perhaps less frequently
associated with this type of clairvoyance than with the last, but its
place is to some extent taken by a kind of mental perception of the
thoughts and intentions of those who are seen.

Since the man's consciousness is still in the physical body, he will
be able (even while exercising the faculty) to hear and to speak, in
so far as he can do this without any distraction of his attention. The
moment that the intentness of his thought fails the whole vision is
gone, and he will have to construct a fresh thought-form before he can
resume it. Instances in which this kind of sight is possessed with any
degree of perfection by untrained people are naturally rarer than in
the case of the previous type, because of the capacity for mental
control required, and the generally finer nature of the forces

4. _By travelling in the astral body._--We enter here upon an entirely
new variety of clairvoyance, in which the consciousness of the seer no
longer remains in or closely connected with his physical body, but is
definitely transferred to the scene which he is examining. Though it
has no doubt greater dangers for the untrained seer than either of the
methods previously described, it is yet quite the most satisfactory
form of clairvoyance open to him, for the immensely superior variety
which we shall consider under our fifth head is not available except
for specially trained students.

In this case the man's body is either asleep or in trance, and its
organs are consequently not available for use while the vision is
going on, so that all description of what is seen, and all questioning
as to further particulars, must be postponed until the wanderer
returns to this plane. On the other hand the sight is much fuller and
more perfect; the man hears as well as sees everything which passes
before him, and can move about freely at will within the very wide
limits of the astral plane. He can see and study at leisure all the
other inhabitants of that plane, so that the great world of the
nature-spirits (of which the traditional fairy-land is but a very
small part) lies open before him, and even that of some of the lower

He has also the immense advantage of being able to take part, as it
were, in the scenes which come before his eyes--of conversing at will
with these various astral entities, from whom so much information that
is curious and interesting may be obtained. If in addition he can
learn how to materialize himself (a matter of no great difficulty for
him when once the knack is acquired), he will be able to take part in
physical events or conversations at a distance, and to show himself to
an absent friend at will.

Again, he has the additional power of being able to hunt about for
what he wants. By means of the varieties of clairvoyance previously
described, for all practical purposes he could find a person or a
place only when he was already acquainted with it, or when he was put
_en rapport_ with it by touching something physically connected with
it, as in psychometry. It is true that by the third method a certain
amount of motion is possible, but the process is a tedious one except
for quite short distances.

By the use of the astral body, however, a man can move about quite
freely and rapidly in any direction, and can (for example) find
without difficulty any place pointed out upon a map, without either
any previous knowledge of the spot or any object to establish a
connection with it. He can also readily rise high into the air so as
to gain a bird's-eye view of the country which he is examining, so as
to observe its extent, the contour of its coast-line, or its general
character. Indeed, in every way his power and freedom are far greater
when he uses this method than they have been in any of the previous

A good example of the full possession of this power is given, on the
authority of the German writer Jung Stilling, by Mrs. Crowe in _The
Night Side of Nature_ (p. 127). The story is related of a seer who is
stated to have resided in the neighbourhood of Philadelphia, in
America. His habits were retired, and he spoke little; he was grave,
benevolent and pious, and nothing was known against his character
except that he had the reputation of possessing some secrets that were
considered not altogether _lawful_. Many extraordinary stories were
told of him, and amongst the rest the following:--

"The wife of a ship captain (whose husband was on a voyage to Europe
and Africa, and from whom she had been long without tidings), being
overwhelmed with anxiety for his safety, was induced to address
herself to this person. Having listened to her story he begged her to
excuse him for a while, when he would bring her the intelligence she
required. He then passed into an inner room and she sat herself down
to wait; but his absence continuing longer than she expected, she
became impatient, thinking he had forgotten her, and softly
approaching the door she peeped through some aperture, and to her
surprise beheld him lying on a sofa as motionless as if he were dead.
She of course did not think it advisable to disturb him, but waited
his return, when he told her that her husband had not been able to
write to her for such and such reasons, but that he was then in a
coffee-house in London and would very shortly be home again.

"Accordingly he arrived, and as the lady learnt from him that the
causes of his unusual silence had been precisely those alleged by the
man, she felt extremely desirous of ascertaining the truth of the rest
of the information. In this she was gratified, for he no sooner set
his eyes on the magician than he said that he had seen him before on a
certain day in a coffee-house in London, and that he told him that his
wife was extremely uneasy about him, and that he, the captain, had
thereon mentioned how he had been prevented writing, adding that he
was on the eve of embarking for America. He had then lost sight of the
stranger amongst the throng, and knew nothing more about him."

We have of course no means now of knowing what evidence Jung Stilling
had of the truth of this story, though he declares himself to have
been quite satisfied with the authority on which he relates it; but so
many similar things have happened that there is no reason to doubt its
accuracy. The seer, however, must either have developed his faculty
for himself or learnt it in some school other than that from which
most of our Theosophical information is derived; for in our case there
is a well-understood regulation expressly forbidding the pupils from
giving any manifestation of such power which can be definitely proved
at both ends in that way, and so constitute what is called "a
phenomenon." That this regulation is emphatically a wise one is
proved to all who know anything of the history of our Society by the
disastrous results which followed from a very slight temporary
relaxation of it.

I have given some quite modern cases almost exactly parallel to the
above in my little book on _Invisible Helpers_. An instance of a lady
well-known to myself, who frequently thus appears to friends at a
distance, is given by Mr. Stead in _Real Ghost Stories_ (p. 27); and
Mr. Andrew Lang gives, in his _Dreams and Ghosts_ (p. 89), an account
of how Mr. Cleave, then at Portsmouth, appeared intentionally on two
occasions to a young lady in London, and alarmed her considerably.
There is any amount of evidence to be had on the subject by any one
who cares to study it seriously.

This paying of intentional astral visits seems very often to become
possible when the principles are loosened at the approach of death for
people who were unable to perform such a feat at any other time. There
are even more examples of this class than of the other; I epitomize a
good one given by Mr. Andrew Lang on p. 100 of the book last
cited--one of which he himself says, "Not many stories have such good
evidence in their favour."

"Mary, the wife of John Goffe of Rochester, being afflicted with a
long illness, removed to her father's house at West Malling, about
nine miles from her own.

"The day before her death she grew very impatiently desirous to see
her two children, whom she had left at home to the care of a nurse.
She was too ill to be moved, and between one and two o'clock in the
morning she fell into a trance. One widow Turner, who watched with her
that night, says that her eyes were open and fixed, and her jaw
fallen. Mrs. Turner put her hand upon her mouth, but could perceive no
breath. She thought her to be in a fit, and doubted whether she were
dead or alive.

"The next morning the dying woman told her mother that she had been at
home with her children, saying, I was with them last night when I was

"The nurse at Rochester, widow Alexander by name, affirms that a
little before two o'clock that morning she saw the likeness of the
said Mary Goffe come out of the next chamber (where the elder child
lay in a bed by itself), the door being left open, and stood by her
bedside for about a quarter of an hour; the younger child was there
lying by her. Her eyes moved and her mouth went, but she said nothing.
The nurse, moreover, says that she was perfectly awake; it was then
daylight, being one of the longest days in the year. She sat up in bed
and looked steadfastly on the apparition. In that time she heard the
bridge clock strike two, and a while after said: 'In the name of the
Father, Son and Holy Ghost, what art thou?' Thereupon the apparition
removed and went away; she slipped on her clothes and followed, but
what became on't, she cannot tell."

The nurse apparently was more frightened by its disappearance than its
presence, for after this she was afraid to stay in the house, and so
spent the rest of the time until six o'clock in walking up and down
outside. When the neighbours were awake she told her tale to them, and
they of course said she had dreamt it all; she naturally enough warmly
repudiated that idea, but could obtain no credence until the news of
the other side of the story arrived from West Malling, when people had
to admit that there might have been something in it.

A noteworthy circumstance in this story is that the mother found it
necessary to pass from ordinary sleep into the profounder trance
condition before she could consciously visit her children; it can,
however, be paralleled here and there among the large number of
similar accounts which may be found in the literature of the subject.

Two other stories of precisely the same type--in which a dying mother,
earnestly desiring to see her children, falls into a deep sleep,
visits them and returns to say that she has done so--are given by Dr.
F. G. Lee. In one of them the mother, when dying in Egypt, appears to
her children at Torquay, and is clearly seen in broad daylight by all
five of the children and also by the nursemaid. (_Glimpses of the
Supernatural_, vol. ii., p. 64.) In the other a Quaker lady dying at
Cockermouth is clearly seen and recognized in daylight by her three
children at Settle, the remainder of the story being practically
identical with the one given above. (_Glimpses in the Twilight_, p.
94.) Though these cases appear to be less widely known than that of
Mary Goffe, the evidence of their authenticity seems to be quite as
good, as will be seen by the attestations obtained by the reverend
author of the works from which they are quoted.

The man who fully possesses this fourth type of clairvoyance has many
and great advantages at his disposal, even in addition to those already
mentioned. Not only can he visit without trouble or expense all the
beautiful and famous places of the earth, but if he happens to be a
scholar, think what it must mean to him that he has access to all the
libraries of the world! What must it be for the scientifically-minded
man to see taking place before his eyes so many of the processes of the
secret chemistry of nature, or for the philosopher to have revealed to
him so much more than ever before of the working of the great mysteries
of life and death? To him those who are gone from this plane are dead no
longer, but living and within reach for a long time to come; for him
many of the conceptions of religion are no longer matters of faith, but
of knowledge. Above all, he can join the army of invisible helpers, and
really be of use on a large scale. Undoubtedly clairvoyance, even when
confined to the astral plane, is a great boon to the student.

Certainly it has its dangers also, especially for the untrained;
danger from evil entities of various kinds, which may terrify or
injure those who allow themselves to lose the courage to face them
boldly; danger of deception of all sorts, of misconceiving and
mis-interpreting what is seen; greatest of all, the danger of becoming
conceited about the thing and of thinking it impossible to make a
mistake. But a little common-sense and a little experience should
easily guard a man against these.

5. _By travelling in the mental body._--This is simply a higher and,
as it were, glorified form of the last type. The vehicle employed is
no longer the astral body, but the mind-body--a vehicle, therefore,
belonging to the mental plane, and having within it all the
potentialities of the wonderful sense of that plane, so transcendent
in its action yet so impossible to describe. A man functioning in this
leaves his astral body behind him along with the physical, and if he
wishes to show himself upon the astral plane for any reason, he does
not send for his own astral vehicle, but just by a single action of
his will materializes one for his temporary need. Such an astral
materialization is sometimes called the mâyâvirûpa, and to form it
for the first time usually needs the assistance of a qualified Master.

The enormous advantages given by the possession of this power are the
capacity of entering upon all the glory and the beauty of the higher
land of bliss, and the possession, even when working on the astral
plane, of the far more comprehensive mental sense which opens up to
the student such marvellous vistas of knowledge, and practically
renders error all but impossible. This higher flight, however, is
possible for the trained man only, since only under definite training
can a man at this stage of evolution learn to employ his mental body
as a vehicle.

Before leaving the subject of full and intentional clairvoyance, it
may be well to devote a few words to answering one or two questions as
to its limitations, which constantly occur to students. Is it
possible, we are often asked, for the seer to find any person with
whom he wishes to communicate, anywhere in the world, whether he be
living or dead?

To this reply must be a conditional affirmative. Yes, it is possible
to find any person if the experimenter can, in some way or other, put
himself _en rapport_ with that person. It would be hopeless to plunge
vaguely into space to find a total stranger among all the millions
around us without any kind of clue; but, on the other hand, a very
slight clue would usually be sufficient.

If the clairvoyant knows anything of the man whom he seeks, he will
have no difficulty in finding him, for every man has what may be
called a kind of musical chord of his own--a chord which is the
expression of him as a whole, produced perhaps by a sort of average of
the rates of vibration of all his different vehicles on their
respective planes. If the operator knows how to discern that chord and
to strike it, it will by sympathetic vibration attract the attention
of the man instantly wherever he may be, and will evoke an immediate
response from him.

Whether the man were living or recently dead would make no difference
at all, and clairvoyance of the fifth class could at once find him
even among the countless millions in the heaven-world, though in that
case the man himself would be unconscious that he was under
observation. Naturally a seer whose consciousness did not range higher
than the astral plane--who employed therefore one of the earlier
methods of seeing--would not be able to find a person upon the mental
plane at all; yet even he would at least be able to tell that the man
sought for was upon that plane, from the mere fact that the striking
of the chord as far up as the astral level produced no response.

If the man sought be a stranger to the seeker, the latter will need
something connected with him to act as a clue--a photograph, a letter
written by him, an article which has belonged to him, and is
impregnated with his personal magnetism; any of these would do in the
hands of a practised seer.

Again I say, it must not therefore be supposed that pupils who have
been taught how to use this art are at liberty to set up a kind of
intelligence office through which communication can be had with
missing or dead relatives. A message given from this side to such an
one might or might not be handed on, according to circumstances, but
even if it were, no reply might be brought, lest the transaction
should partake of the nature of a phenomenon--something which could be
proved on the physical plane to have been an act of magic.

Another question often raised is as to whether, in the action of
psychic vision, there is any limitation as to distance. The reply
would seem to be that there should be no limit but that of the
respective planes. It must be remembered that the astral and mental
planes of our earth are as definitely its own as its atmosphere,
though they extend considerably further from it even in our
three-dimensional space than does the physical air. Consequently the
passage to, or the detailed sight of, other planets would not be
possible for any system of clairvoyance connected with these planes.
It _is_ quite possible and easy for the man who can raise his
consciousness to the buddhic plane to pass to any other globe
belonging to our chain of worlds, but that is outside our present

Still a good deal of additional information about other planets can be
obtained by the use of such clairvoyant faculties as we have been
describing. It is possible to make sight enormously clearer by passing
outside of the constant disturbances of the earth's atmosphere, and it
is also not difficult to learn how to put on an exceedingly high
magnifying power, so that even by ordinary clairvoyance a good deal of
very interesting astronomical knowledge may be gained. But as far as
this earth and its immediate surroundings are concerned, there is
practically no limitation.



Under this rather curious title I am grouping together the cases of
all those people who definitely set themselves to see something, but
have no idea what the something will be, and no control over the sight
after the visions have begun--psychic Micawbers, who put themselves
into a receptive condition, and then simply wait for something to turn
up. Many trance-mediums would come under this heading; they either in
some way hypnotize themselves or are hypnotized by some
"spirit-guide," and then they describe the scenes or persons that
happen to float before their vision. Sometimes, however, when in this
condition they see what is taking place at a distance, and so they
come to have a place among our "clairvoyants in space."

But the largest and most widely-spread band of these semi-intentional
clairvoyants are the various kinds of crystal-gazers--those who, as
Mr. Andrew Lang puts it, "stare into a crystal ball, a cup, a mirror,
a blob of ink (Egypt and India), a drop of blood (among the Maories of
New Zealand), a bowl of water (Red Indian), a pond (Roman and
African), water in a glass bowl (in Fez), or almost any polished
surface" (_Dreams and Ghosts_, p. 57).

Two pages later Mr. Lang gives us a very good example of the kind of
vision most frequently seen in this way. "I had given a glass ball,"
he says, "to a young lady, Miss Baillie, who had scarcely any success
with it. She lent it to Miss Leslie, who saw a large square,
old-fashioned red sofa covered with muslin, which she found in the
next country-house she visited. Miss Baillie's brother, a young
athlete, laughed at these experiments, took the ball into the study,
and came back looking 'gey gash.' He admitted that he had seen a
vision--somebody he knew under a lamp. He would discover during the
week whether he saw right or not. This was at 5.30 on a Sunday

"On Tuesday, Mr. Baillie was at a dance in a town some forty miles
from his home, and met a Miss Preston. 'On Sunday,' he said, 'about
half-past five you were sitting under a standard lamp in a dress I
never saw you wear, a blue blouse with lace over the shoulders,
pouring out tea for a man in blue serge, whose back was towards me, so
that I only saw the tip of his moustache.'

"'Why, the blinds must have been up,' said Miss Preston.

"'I was at Dulby,' said Mr. Baillie, and he undeniably was."

This is quite a typical case of crystal-gazing--the picture correct in
every detail, you see, and yet absolutely unimportant and bearing no
apparent signification of any sort to either party, except that it
served to prove to Mr. Baillie that there was something in
crystal-gazing. Perhaps more frequently the visions tend to be of a
romantic character--men in foreign dress, or beautiful though
generally unknown landscapes.

Now what is the rationale of this kind of clairvoyance? As I have
indicated above, it belongs usually to the "astral-current" type, and
the crystal or other object simply acts as a focus for the will-power
of the seer, and a convenient starting-point for his astral tube.
There are some who can influence what they will see by their will,
that is to say they have the power of pointing their telescope as they
wish; but the great majority just form a fortuitous tube and see
whatever happens to present itself at the end of it.

Sometimes it may be a scene comparatively near at hand, as in the case
just quoted; at other times it will be a far-away Oriental landscape;
at others yet it may be a reflection of some fragment of an âkâshic
record, and then the picture will contain figures in some antique
dress, and the phenomenon belongs to our third large division of
"clairvoyance in time." It is said that visions of the future are
sometimes seen in crystals also--a further development to which we
must refer later.

I have seen a clairvoyant use instead of the ordinary shining surface
a dead black one, produced by a handful of powdered charcoal in a
saucer. Indeed it does not seem to matter much what is used as a
focus, except that pure crystal has an undoubted advantage over other
substances in that its peculiar arrangement of elemental essence
renders it specially stimulating to the psychic faculties.

It seems probable, however, that in cases where a tiny brilliant
object is employed--such as a point of light, or the drop of blood
used by the Maories--the instance is in reality merely one of
self-hypnotization. Among non-European nations the experiment is very
frequently preceded or accompanied by magical ceremonies and
invocations, so that it is quite likely that such sight as is gained
may sometimes be really that of some foreign entity, and so the
phenomenon may in fact be merely a case of temporary possession, and
not of clairvoyance at all.



Under this heading we may group together all those cases in which
visions of some event which is taking place at a distance are seen
quite unexpectedly and without any kind of preparation. There are
people who are subject to such visions, while there are many others to
whom such a thing will happen only once in a life-time. The visions
are of all kinds and of all degrees of completeness, and apparently
may be produced by various causes. Sometimes the reason of the vision
is obvious, and the subject matter of the gravest importance; at other
times no reason at all is discoverable, and the events shown seem of
the most trivial nature.

Sometimes these glimpses of the super-physical faculty come as waking
visions, and sometimes they manifest during sleep as vivid or
oft-repeated dreams. In this latter case the sight employed is perhaps
usually of the kind assigned to our fourth subdivision of clairvoyance
in space, for the sleeping man often travels in his astral body to
some spot with which his affections or interests are closely
connected, and simply watches what takes place there; in the former it
seems probable that the second type of clairvoyance, by means of the
astral current, is called into requisition. But in this case the
current or tube is formed quite unconsciously, and is often the
automatic result of a strong thought or emotion projected from one end
or the other--either from the seer or the person who is seen.

The simplest plan will be to give a few instances of the different
kinds, and to intersperse among them such further explanations as may
seem necessary. Mr. Stead has collected a large and varied assortment
of recent and well-authenticated cases in his _Real Ghost Stories_,
and I will select some of my examples from them, occasionally
condensing slightly to save space.

There are cases in which it is at once obvious to any Theosophical
student that the exceptional instance of clairvoyance was specially
brought about by one of the band whom we have called "Invisible
Helpers" in order that aid might be rendered to some one in sore need.
To this class, undoubtedly, belongs the story told by Captain Yonnt,
of the Napa Valley in California, to Dr. Bushnell, who repeats it in
his _Nature and the Supernatural_ (p. 14).

"About six or seven years previous, in a mid-winter's night, he had a
dream in which he saw what appeared to be a company of emigrants
arrested by the snows of the mountains, and perishing rapidly by cold
and hunger. He noted the very cast of the scenery, marked by a huge,
perpendicular front of white rock cliff; he saw the men cutting off
what appeared to be tree-tops rising out of deep gulfs of snow; he
distinguished the very features of the persons and the look of their
particular distress.

"He awoke profoundly impressed by the distinctness and apparent
reality of the dream. He at length fell asleep, and dreamed exactly
the same dream over again. In the morning he could not expel it from
his mind. Falling in shortly after with an old hunter comrade, he told
his story, and was only the more deeply impressed by his recognizing
without hesitation the scenery of the dream. This comrade came over
the Sierra by the Carson Valley Pass, and declared that a spot in the
Pass exactly answered his description.

"By this the unsophistical patriarch was decided. He immediately
collected a company of men, with mules and blankets and all necessary
provisions. The neighbours were laughing meantime at his credulity.
'No matter,' he said, 'I am able to do this, and I will, for I verily
believe that the fact is according to my dream.' The men were sent
into the mountains one hundred and fifty miles distant direct to the
Carson Valley Pass. And there they found the company exactly in the
condition of the dream, and brought in the remnant alive."

Since it is not stated that Captain Yonnt was in the habit of seeing
visions, it seems clear that some helper, observing the forlorn
condition of the emigrant party, took the nearest impressionable and
otherwise suitable person (who happened to be the Captain) to the spot
in the astral body, and aroused him sufficiently to fix the scene
firmly in his memory. The helper may possibly have arranged an "astral
current" for the Captain instead, but the former suggestion is more
probable. At any rate the motive, and broadly the method, of the work
are obvious enough in this case.

Sometimes the "astral current" may be set going by a strong emotional
thought at the other end of the line, and this may happen even though
the thinker has no such intention in his mind. In the rather striking
story which I am about to quote, it is evident that the link was
formed by the doctor's frequent thought about Mrs. Broughton, yet he
had clearly no especial wish that she should see what he was doing at
the time. That it was this kind of clairvoyance that was employed is
shown by the fixity of her point of view--which, be it observed, is
not the doctor's point of view sympathetically transferred (as it
might have been) since she sees his back without recognizing him. The
story is to be found in the _Proceedings of the Psychical Research
Society_ (vol. ii., p. 160).

"Mrs. Broughton awoke one night in 1844, and roused her husband,
telling him that something dreadful had happened in France. He begged
her to go to sleep again, and not trouble him. She assured him that
she was not asleep when she saw what she insisted on telling him--what
she saw in fact.

"First a carriage accident--which she did not actually see, but what
she saw was the result--a broken carriage, a crowd collected, a figure
gently raised and carried into the nearest house, then a figure lying
on a bed which she then recognized as the Duke of Orleans. Gradually
friends collecting round the bed--among them several members of the
French royal family--the queen, then the king, all silently,
tearfully, watching the evidently dying duke. One man (she could see
his back, but did not know who he was) was a doctor. He stood bending
over the duke, feeling his pulse, with his watch in the other hand.
And then all passed away, and she saw no more.

"As soon as it was daylight she wrote down in her journal all that she
had seen. It was before the days of electric telegraph, and two or
more days passed before the _Times_ announced 'The Death of the Duke
of Orleans.' Visiting Paris a short time afterwards she saw and
recognized the place of the accident and received the explanation of
her impression. The doctor who attended the dying duke was an old
friend of hers, and as he watched by the bed his mind had been
constantly occupied with her and her family."

A commoner instance is that in which strong affection sets up the
necessary current; probably a fairly steady stream of mutual thought
is constantly flowing between the two parties in the case, and some
sudden need or dire extremity on the part of one of them endues this
stream temporarily with the polarizing power which is needful to
create the astral telescope. An illustrative example is quoted from
the same _Proceedings_ (vol. i., p. 30).

"On September 9th, 1848, at the siege of Mooltan, Major-General R----,
C.B., then adjutant of his regiment, was most severely and dangerously
wounded; and, supposing himself to be dying, asked one of the officers
with him to take the ring off his finger and send it to his wife, who
at the time was fully one hundred and fifty miles distant at

"'On the night of September 9th, 1848,' writes his wife, 'I was lying
on my bed, between sleeping and waking, when I distinctly saw my
husband being carried off the field seriously wounded, and heard his
voice saying, "Take this ring off my finger and send it to my wife."
All the next day I could not get the sight or the voice out of my

"'In due time I heard of General R---- having been severely wounded in
the assault of Mooltan. He survived, however, and is still living. It
was not for some time after the siege that I heard from General
L----, the officer who helped to carry my husband off the field, that
the request as to the ring was actually made by him, just as I heard
it at Ferozepore at that very time."

Then there is the very large class of casual clairvoyant visions which
have no traceable cause--which are apparently quite meaningless, and
have no recognizable relation to any events known to the seer. To this
class belong many of the landscapes seen by some people just before
they fall asleep. I quote a capital and very realistic account of an
experience of this sort from Mr. W. T. Stead's _Real Ghost Stories_
(p. 65).

"I got into bed but was not able to go to sleep. I shut my eyes and
waited for sleep to come; instead of sleep, however, there came to me
a succession of curiously vivid clairvoyant pictures. There was no
light in the room, and it was perfectly dark; I had my eyes shut also.
But notwithstanding the darkness I suddenly was conscious of looking
at a scene of singular beauty. It was as if I saw a living miniature
about the size of a magic-lantern slide. At this moment I can recall
the scene as if I saw it again. It was a seaside piece. The moon was
shining upon the water, which rippled slowly on to the beach. Right
before me a long mole ran into the water.

"On either side of the mole irregular rocks stood up above the
sea-level. On the shore stood several houses, square and rude, which
resembled nothing that I had ever seen in house architecture. No one
was stirring, but the moon was there and the sea and the gleam of the
moonlight on the rippling waters, just as if I had been looking on the
actual scene.

"It was so beautiful that I remember thinking that if it continued I
should be so interested in looking at it that I should never go to
sleep. I was wide awake, and at the same time that I saw the scene I
distinctly heard the dripping of the rain outside the window. Then
suddenly, without any apparent object or reason, the scene changed.

"The moonlit sea vanished, and in its place I was looking right into
the interior of a reading-room. It seemed as if it had been used as a
schoolroom in the daytime, and was employed as a reading-room in the
evening. I remember seeing one reader who had a curious resemblance to
Tim Harrington, although it was not he, hold up a magazine or book in
his hand and laugh. It was not a picture--it was there.

"The scene was just as if you were looking through an opera-glass; you
saw the play of the muscles, the gleaming of the eye, every movement
of the unknown persons in the unnamed place into which you were
gazing. I saw all that without opening my eyes, nor did my eyes have
anything to do with it. You see such things as these as it were with
another sense which is more inside your head than in your eyes.

"This was a very poor and paltry experience, but it enabled me to
understand better how it is that clairvoyants see than any amount of

"The pictures were _apropos_ of nothing; they had been suggested by
nothing I had been reading or talking of; they simply came as if I had
been able to look through a glass at what was occurring somewhere else
in the world. I had my peep, and then it passed, nor have I had a
recurrence of a similar experience."

Mr. Stead regards that as a "poor and paltry experience," and it may
perhaps be considered so when compared with the greater possibilities,
yet I know many students who would be very thankful to have even so
much of direct personal experience to tell. Small though it may be in
itself, it at once gives the seer a clue to the whole thing, and
clairvoyance would be a living actuality to a man who had seen even
that much in a way that it could never have been without that little
touch with the unseen world.

These pictures were much too clear to have been mere reflections of
the thought of others, and besides, the description unmistakably shows
that they were views seen through an astral telescope; so either Mr.
Stead must quite unconsciously have set a current going for himself,
or (which is much more probable) some kindly astral entity set it in
motion for him, and gave him, to while away a tedious delay, any
pictures that happened to come handy at the end of the tube.



Clairvoyance in time--that is to say, the power of reading the past
and the future--is, like all the other varieties, possessed by
different people in very varying degrees, ranging from the man who has
both faculties fully at his command, down to one who only occasionally
gets involuntary and very imperfect glimpses or reflections of these
scenes of other days. A person of the latter type might have, let us
say, a vision of some event in the past; but it would be liable to the
most serious distortion, and even if it happened to be fairly accurate
it would almost certainly be a mere isolated picture, and he would
probably be quite unable to relate it to what had occurred before or
after it, or to account for anything unusual which might appear in it.
The trained man, on the other hand, could follow the drama connected
with his picture backwards or forwards to any extent that might seem
desirable, and trace out with equal ease the causes which had led up
to it or the results which it in turn would produce.

We shall probably find it easier to grasp this somewhat difficult
section of our subject if we consider it in the subdivisions which
naturally suggest themselves, and deal first with the vision which
looks backwards into the past, leaving for later examination that
which pierces the veil of the future. In each case it will be well for
us to try to understand what we can of the _modus operandi_, even
though our success can at best be only a very modified one, owing
first to the imperfect information on some parts of the subject at
present possessed by our investigators, and secondly to the
ever-recurring failure of physical words to express a hundredth part
even of the little we do know about higher planes and faculties.

In the case then of a detailed vision of the remote past, how is it
obtained, and to what plane of nature does it really belong? The
answer to both these questions is contained in the reply that it is
read from the âkâshic records; but that statement in return will
require a certain amount of explanation for many readers. The word is
in truth somewhat of a misnomer, for though the records are
undoubtedly read from the âkâsha, or matter of the mental plane, yet
it is not to it that they really belong. Still worse is the
alternative title, "records of the astral light," which has sometimes
been employed, for these records lie far beyond the astral plane, and
all that can be obtained on it are only broken glimpses of a kind of
double reflection of them, as will presently be explained.

Like so many others of our Theosophical terms, the word âkâsha has
been very loosely used. In some of our earlier books it was considered
as synonymous with astral light, and in others it was employed to
signify any kind of invisible matter, from mûlaprakriti down to the
physical ether. In later books its use has been restricted to the
matter of the mental plane, and it is in that sense that the records
may be spoken of as âkâshic, for although they are not originally made
on that plane any more than on the astral, yet it is there that we
first come definitely into contact with them and find it possible to
do reliable work with them.

This subject of the records is by no means an easy one to deal with,
for it is one of that numerous class which requires for its perfect
comprehension faculties of a far higher order than any which humanity
has yet evolved. The real solution of its problems lies on planes far
beyond any that we can possibly know at present, and any view that we
take of it must necessarily be of the most imperfect character, since
we cannot but look at it from below instead of from above. The idea
which we form of it must therefore be only partial, yet it need not
mislead us unless we allow ourselves to think of the tiny fragment
which is all that we can see as though it were the perfect whole. If
we are careful that such conceptions as we may form shall be accurate
as far as they go, we shall have nothing to unlearn, though much to
add, when in the course of our further progress we gradually acquire
the higher wisdom. Be it understood then at the commencement that a
thorough grasp of our subject is an impossibility at the present stage
of our evolution, and that many points will arise as to which no exact
explanation is yet obtainable, though it may often be possible to
suggest analogies and to indicate the lines along which an explanation
must lie.

Let us then try to carry back our thoughts to the beginning of this
solar system to which we belong. We are all familiar with the ordinary
astronomical theory of its origin--that which is commonly called the
nebular hypothesis--according to which it first came into existence as
a gigantic glowing nebula, of a diameter far exceeding that of the
orbit of even the outermost of the planets, and then, as in the course
of countless ages that enormous sphere gradually cooled and
contracted, the system as we know it was formed.

Occult science accepts that theory, in its broad outline, as correctly
representing the purely physical side of the evolution of our system,
but it would add that if we confine our attention to this physical
side only we shall have a very incomplete and incoherent idea of what
really happened. It would postulate, to begin with, that the exalted
Being who undertakes the formation of a system (whom we sometimes
call the Logos of the system) first of all forms in His mind a
complete conception of the whole of it with all its successive chains
of worlds. By the very act of forming that conception He calls the
whole into simultaneous objective existence on the plane of His
thought--a plane of course far above all those of which we know
anything--from which the various globes descend when required into
whatever state of further objectivity may be respectively destined for
them. Unless we constantly bear in mind this fact of the real
existence of the whole system from the very beginning on a higher
plane, we shall be perpetually misunderstanding the physical evolution
which we see taking place down here.

But occultism has more than this to teach us on the subject. It tells
us not only that all this wonderful system to which we belong is
called into existence by the Logos, both on lower and on higher
planes, but also that its relation to Him is closer even than that,
for it is absolutely a part of Him--a partial expression of Him upon
the physical plane--and that the movement and energy of the whole
system is _His_ energy, and is all carried on within the limits of His
aura. Stupendous as this conception is, it will yet not be wholly
unthinkable to those of us who have made any study of the subject of
the aura.

We are familiar with the idea that as a person progresses on the
upward path his causal body, which is the determining limit of his
aura, distinctly increases in size as well as in luminosity and purity
of colour. Many of us know from experience that the aura of a pupil
who has already made considerable advance on the Path is very much
larger than that of one who is but just setting his foot upon its
first step, while in the case of an Adept the proportional increase is
far greater still. We read in quite exoteric Oriental scriptures of
the immense extension of the aura of the Buddha; I think that three
miles is mentioned on one occasion as its limit, but whatever the
exact measurement may be, it is obvious that we have here another
record of this fact of the extremely rapid growth of the causal body
as man passes on his upward way. There can be little doubt that the
rate of this growth would itself increase in geometrical progression,
so that it need not surprise us to hear of an Adept on a still higher
level whose aura is capable of including the entire world at once; and
from this we may gradually lead our minds up to the conception that
there is a Being so exalted as to comprehend within Himself the whole
of our solar system. And we should remember that, enormous as this
seems to us, it is but as the tiniest drop in the vast ocean of space.

So of the Logos (who has in Him all the capacities and qualities with
which we can possibly endow the highest God we can imagine) it is
literally true, as was said of old, that "of Him and through Him, and
to Him are all things," and "in Him we live and move and have our

Now if this be so, it is clear that whatever happens within our system
happens absolutely within the consciousness of its Logos, and so we at
once see that the true record must be His memory; and furthermore, it
is obvious that on whatever plane that wondrous memory exists, it
cannot but be far above anything that we know, and consequently
whatever records we may find ourselves able to read must be only a
reflection of that great dominant fact, mirrored in the denser media
of the lower planes.

On the astral plane it is at once evident that this is so--that what
we are dealing with is only a reflection of a reflection, and an
exceedingly imperfect one, for such records as can be reached there
are fragmentary in the extreme, and often seriously distorted. We know
how universally water is used as a symbol of the astral light, and in
this particular case it is a remarkably apt one. From the surface of
still water we may get a clear reflection of the surrounding objects,
just as from a mirror; but at the best it is only a reflection--a
representation in two dimensions of three-dimensional objects, and
therefore differing in all its qualities, except colour, from that
which it represents; and in addition to this, it is always reversed.

But let the surface of the water be ruffled by the wind and what do we
find then? A reflection still, certainly, but so broken up and
distorted as to be quite useless or even misleading as a guide to the
shape and real appearance of the objects reflected. Here and there for
a moment we might happen to get a clear reflection of some minute part
of the scene--of a single leaf from a tree, for example; but it would
need long labour and considerable knowledge of natural laws to build
up anything like a true conception of the object reflected by putting
together even a large number of such isolated fragments of an image of

Now in the astral plane we can never have anything approaching to what
we have imaged as a still surface, but on the contrary we have always
to deal with one in rapid and bewildering motion; judge, therefore,
how little we can depend upon getting a clear and definite reflection.
Thus a clairvoyant who possesses only the faculty of astral sight can
never rely upon any picture of the past that comes before him as being
accurate and perfect; here and there some part of it _may_ be so, but
he has no means of knowing which it is. If he is under the care of a
competent teacher he may, by long and careful training, be shown how
to distinguish between reliable and unreliable impressions, and to
construct from the broken reflections some kind of image of the
object reflected; but usually long before he has mastered those
difficulties he will have developed the mental sight, which renders
such labour unnecessary.

On the next plane, which we call the mental, conditions are very
different. There the record is full and accurate, and it would be
impossible to make any mistake in the reading. That is to say, if
three clairvoyants possessing the powers of the mental plane agreed to
examine a certain record there, what would be presented to their
vision would be absolutely the same reflection in each case, and each
would acquire a correct impression from it in reading it. It does not
however follow that when they all compared notes later on the physical
plane their reports would agree exactly. It is well known that if
three people who witness an occurrence down here in the physical world
set to work to describe it afterwards, their accounts will differ
considerably, for each will have noticed especially those items which
most appeal to him, and will insensibly have made them the prominent
features of the event, sometimes ignoring other points which were in
reality much more important.

Now in the case of an observation on the mental plane this personal
equation would not appreciably affect the impressions received, for
since each would thoroughly grasp the entire subject it would be
impossible for him to see its parts out of due proportion; but,
except in the case of carefully trained and experienced persons, this
factor does come into play in transferring the impressions to the
lower planes. It is in the nature of things impossible that any
account given down here of a vision or experience on the mental plane
can be complete, since nine-tenths of what is seen and felt there
could not be expressed by physical words at all; and, since all
expression must therefore be partial, there is obviously some
possibility of selection as to the part expressed. It is for this
reason that in all our Theosophical investigations of recent years so
much stress has been laid upon the constant checking and verifying of
clairvoyant testimony, nothing which rests upon the vision of one
person only having been allowed to appear in our later books.

But even when the possibility of error from this factor of personal
equation has been reduced to a minimum by a careful system of
counter-checking, there still remains the very serious difficulty which
is inherent in the operation of bringing down impressions from a higher
plane to a lower one. This is something analogous to the difficulty
experienced by a painter in his endeavour to reproduce a
three-dimensional landscape on a flat surface--that is, practically in
two dimensions. Just as the artist needs long and careful training of
eye and hand before he can produce a satisfactory representation of
nature, so does the clairvoyant need long and careful training before he
can describe accurately on a lower plane what he sees on a higher one;
and the probability of getting an exact description from an untrained
person is about equal to that of getting a perfectly-finished landscape
from one who has never learnt how to draw.

It must be remembered, too, that the most perfect picture is in
reality infinitely far from being a reproduction of the scene which it
represents, for hardly a single line or angle in it can ever be the
same as those in the object copied. It is simply a very ingenious
attempt to make upon one only of our five senses, by means of lines
and colours on a flat surface, an impression similar to that which
would have been made if we had actually had before us the scene
depicted. Except by a suggestion dependent entirely on our own
previous experience, it can convey to us nothing of the roar of the
sea, of the scent of the flowers, of the taste of the fruit, or of the
softness or hardness of the surface drawn.

Of exactly similar nature, though far greater in degree, are the
difficulties experienced by a clairvoyant in his attempt to describe
upon the physical plane what he has seen upon the astral; and they are
furthermore greatly enhanced by the fact that, instead of having
merely to recall to the minds of his hearers conceptions with which
they are already familiar, as the artist does when he paints men or
animals, fields or trees, he has to endeavour by the very imperfect
means at his disposal to suggest to them conceptions which in most
cases are absolutely new to them.

Small wonder then that, however vivid and striking his descriptions
may seem to his audience, he himself should constantly be impressed
with their total inadequacy, and should feel that his best efforts
have entirely failed to convey any idea of what he really sees. And we
must remember that in the case of the report given down here of a
record read on the mental plane, this difficult operation of
transference from the higher to the lower has taken place not once but
twice, since the memory has been brought through the intervening
astral plane. Even in a case where the investigator has the advantage
of having developed his mental faculties so that he has the use of
them while awake in the physical body, he is still hampered by the
absolute incapacity of physical language to express what he sees.

Try for a moment to realize fully what is called the fourth dimension,
of which we said something in an earlier chapter. It is easy enough to
think of our own three dimensions--to image in our minds the length,
breadth and height of any object; and we see that each of these three
dimensions is expressed by a line at right angles to both of the
others. The idea of the fourth dimension is that it might be possible
to draw a fourth line which shall be at right angles to all three of
those already existing.

Now the ordinary mind cannot grasp this idea in the least, though some
few who have made a special study of the subject have gradually come
to be able to realize one or two very simple four-dimensional figures.
Still, no words that they can use on this plane can bring any image of
these figures before the minds of others, and if any reader who has
not specially trained himself along that line will make the effort to
visualize such a shape he will find it quite impossible. Now to
express such a form clearly in physical words would be, in effect, to
describe accurately a single object on the astral plane; but in
examining the records on the mental plane we should have to face the
additional difficulties of a fifth dimension! So that the
impossibility of fully explaining these records will be obvious to
even the most superficial observation.

We have spoken of the records as the memory of the Logos, yet they are
very much more than a memory in an ordinary sense of the word.
Hopeless as it may be to imagine how these images appear from His
point of view, we yet know that as we rise higher and higher we must
be drawing nearer to the true memory--must be seeing more nearly as He
sees; so that great interest attaches to the experience of the
clairvoyant with reference to these records when he stands upon the
buddhic plane--the highest which his consciousness can reach even
when away from the physical body until he attains the level of the

Here time and space no longer limit him; he no longer needs, as on the
mental plane, to pass a series of events in review, for past, present
and future are all alike simultaneously present to him, meaningless as
that sounds down here. Indeed, infinitely below the consciousness of
the Logos as even that exalted plane is, it is yet abundantly clear
from what we see there that to Him the record must be far more than
what we call a memory, for all that has happened in the past and all
that will happen in the future is _happening now_ before His eyes just
as are the events of what we call the present time. Utterly
incredible, wildly incomprehensible, of course, to our limited
understanding; yet absolutely true for all that.

Naturally we could not expect to understand at our present stage of
knowledge how so marvellous a result is produced, and to attempt an
explanation would only be to involve ourselves in a mist of words from
which we should gain no real information. Yet a line of thought recurs
to my mind which perhaps suggests the direction in which it is
possible that that explanation may lie: and whatever helps us to
realize that so astounding a statement may after all not be wholly
impossible will be of assistance in broadening our minds.

Some thirty years ago I remember reading a very curious little book,
called, I think, _The Stars and the Earth_, the object of which was to
endeavour to show how it was scientifically possible that to the mind
of God the past and the present might be absolutely simultaneous. Its
arguments struck me at the time as decidedly ingenious, and I will
proceed to summarize them, as I think they will be found somewhat
suggestive in connection with the subject which we have been

When we see anything, whether it be the book which we hold in our
hands or a star millions of miles away, we do so by means of a
vibration in the ether, commonly called a ray of light, which passes
from the object seen to our eyes. Now the speed with which this
vibration passes is so great--about 186,000 miles in a second--that
when we are considering any object in our own world we may regard it
as practically instantaneous. When, however, we come to deal with
interplanetary distances we have to take the speed of light into
consideration, for an appreciable period is occupied in traversing
these vast spaces. For example it takes eight minutes and a quarter
for light to travel to us from the sun, so that when we look at the
solar orb we see it by means of a ray of light which left it more than
eight minutes ago.

From this follows a very curious result. The ray of light by which we
see the sun can obviously report to us only the state of affairs
which existed in that luminary when it started on its journey, and
would not be in the least affected by anything that happened there
after it left; so that we really see the sun not as he _is_, but as he
was eight minutes ago. That is to say that if anything important took
place in the sun--the formation of a new sun-spot, for instance--an
astronomer who was watching the orb through his telescope at the time
would be quite unaware of the incident while it was happening, since
the ray of light bearing the news would not reach him until more than
eight minutes later.

The difference is more striking when we consider the fixed stars,
because in their case the distances are so enormously greater. The
pole star, for example, is so far off that light, travelling at the
inconceivable speed above mentioned, takes a little more than fifty
years to reach our eyes; and from that follows the strange but
inevitable inference that we see the pole star not as and where it is
at this moment, but as and where it was fifty years ago. Nay, if
to-morrow some cosmic catastrophe were to shatter the pole star into
fragments, we should still see it peacefully shining in the sky all
the rest of our lives; our children would grow up to middle age and
gather their children about them in turn before the news of that
tremendous accident reached any terrestrial eye. In the same way there
are other stars so far distant that light takes thousands of years to
travel from them to us, and with reference to their condition our
information is therefore thousands of years behind time.

Now carry the argument a step farther. Suppose that we were able to
place a man at the distance of 186,000 miles from the earth, and yet
to endow him with the wonderful faculty of being able from that
distance to see what was happening here as clearly as though he were
still close beside us. It is evident that a man so placed would see
everything a second after the time when it really happened, and so at
the present moment he would be seeing what happened a second ago.
Double the distance, and he would be two seconds behind time, and so
on; remove him to the distance of the sun (still allowing him to
preserve the same mysterious power of sight) and he would look down
and watch you doing not what you _are_ doing now, but what you _were_
doing eight minutes and a quarter ago. Carry him away to the pole
star, and he would see passing before his eyes the events of fifty
years ago; he would be watching the childish gambols of those who at
the very same moment were really middle-aged men. Marvellous as this
may sound, it is literally and scientifically true, and cannot be

The little book went on to argue logically enough that God, being
almighty, must possess the wonderful power of sight which we have
been postulating for our observer; and further, that being
omnipresent, He must be at each of the stations which we mentioned,
and also at every intermediate point, not successively but
simultaneously. Granting these premises, the inevitable deduction
follows that everything which has ever happened from the very
beginning of the world _must_ be at this very moment taking place
before the eye of God--not a mere memory of it, but the actual
occurrence itself being now under His observation.

All this is materialistic enough, and on the plane of purely physical
science, and we may therefore be assured that it is _not_ the way in
which the memory of the Logos acts; yet it is neatly worked out and
absolutely incontrovertible, and as I have said before, it is not
without its use, since it gives us a glimpse of some possibilities
which otherwise might not occur to us.

But, it may be asked, how is it possible, amid the bewildering
confusion of these records of the past, to find any particular picture
when it is wanted? As a matter of fact, the untrained clairvoyant
usually cannot do so without some special link to put him _en rapport_
with the subject required. Psychometry is an instance in point, and it
is quite probable that our ordinary memory is really only another
presentment of the same idea. It seems as though there were a sort of
magnetic attachment or affinity between any particle of matter and the
record which contains its history--an affinity which enables it to act
as a kind of conductor between that record and the faculties of anyone
who can read it.

For example, I once brought from Stonehenge a tiny fragment of stone,
not larger than a pin's head, and on putting this into an envelope and
handing it to a psychometer who had no idea what it was, she at once
began to describe that wonderful ruin and the desolate country
surrounding it, and then went on to picture vividly what were
evidently scenes from its early history, showing that that
infinitesimal fragment had been sufficient to put her into
communication with the records connected with the spot from which it
came. The scenes through which we pass in the course of our life seem
to act in the same manner upon the cells of our brain as did the
history of Stonehenge upon that particle of stone: they establish a
connection with those cells by means of which our mind is put _en
rapport_ with that particular portion of the records, and so we
"remember" what we have seen.

Even a trained clairvoyant needs some link to enable him to find the
record of an event of which he has no previous knowledge. If, for
example, he wished to observe the landing of Julius Cæsar on the
shores of England, there are several ways in which he might approach
the subject. If he happened to have visited the scene of the
occurrence, the simplest way would probably be to call up the image of
that spot, and then run back through its records until he reached the
period desired. If he had not seen the place, he might run back in
time to the date of the event, and then search the Channel for a fleet
of Roman galleys; or he might examine the records of Roman life at
about that period, where he would have no difficulty in identifying so
prominent a figure as Cæsar, or in tracing him when found through all
his Gallic wars until he set his foot upon British land.

People often enquire as to the aspect of these records--whether they
appear near or far away from the eye, whether the figures in them are
large or small, whether the pictures follow one another as in a
panorama or melt into one another like dissolving views, and so on.
One can only reply that their appearance varies to a certain extent
according to the conditions under which they are seen. Upon the astral
plane the reflection is most often a simple picture, though
occasionally the figures seen would be endowed with motion; in this
latter case, instead of a mere snapshot a rather longer and more
perfect reflection has taken place.

On the mental plane they have two widely different aspects. When the
visitor to that plane is not thinking specially of them in any way,
the records simply form a background to whatever is going on, just as
the reflections in a pier-glass at the end of a room might form a
background to the life of the people in it. It must always be borne in
mind that under these conditions they are really merely reflections
from the ceaseless activity of a great Consciousness upon a far higher
plane, and have very much the appearance of an endless succession of
the recently invented _cinematographe_, or living photographs. They do
not melt into one another like dissolving views, nor do a series of
ordinary pictures follow one another; but the action of the reflected
figures constantly goes on, as though one were watching the actors on
a distant stage.

But if the trained investigator turns his attention specially to any
one scene, or wishes to call it up before him, an extraordinary change
at once takes place, for this is the plane of thought, and to think of
anything is to bring it instantaneously before you. For example, if a
man wills to see the record of that event to which we before
referred--the landing of Julius Cæsar--he finds himself in a moment
not looking at any picture, but standing on the shore among the
legionaries, with the whole scene being enacted around him, precisely
in every respect as he would have seen it if he had stood there in the
flesh on that autumn morning in the year 55 B.C. Since what he sees is
but a reflection, the actors are of course entirely unconscious of
him, nor can any effort of his change the course of their action in
the smallest degree, except only that he can control the rate at which
the drama shall pass before him--can have the events of a whole year
rehearsed before his eyes in a single hour, or can at any moment stop
the movement altogether, and hold any particular scene in view as a
picture as long as he chooses.

In truth he observes not only what he would have seen if he had been
there at the time in the flesh, but much more. He hears and
understands all that the people say, and he is conscious of all their
thoughts and motives; and one of the most interesting of the many
possibilities which open up before one who has learnt to read the
records is the study of the thought of ages long past--the thought of
the cave-men and the lake-dwellers as well as that which ruled the
mighty civilisations of Atlantis, of Egypt or Chaldæa. What splendid
possibilities open up before the man who is in full possession of this
power may easily be imagined. He has before him a field of historical
research of most entrancing interest. Not only can he review at his
leisure all history with which we are acquainted, correcting as he
examines it the many errors and misconceptions which have crept into
the accounts handed down to us; he can also range at will over the
whole story of the world from its very beginning, watching the slow
development of intellect in man, the descent of the Lords of the
Flame, and the growth of the mighty civilisations which they founded.

Nor is his study confined to the progress of humanity alone; he has
before him, as in a museum, all the strange animal and vegetable forms
which occupied the stage in days when the world was young; he can
follow all the wonderful geological changes which have taken place,
and watch the course of the great cataclysms which have altered the
whole face of the earth again and again.

In one especial case an even closer sympathy with the past is possible
to the reader of the records. If in the course of his enquiries he has
to look upon some scene in which he himself has in a former birth
taken part, he may deal with it in two ways; he can either regard it
in the usual manner as a spectator (though always, be it remembered,
as a spectator whose insight and sympathy are perfect) or he may once
more identify himself with that long-dead personality of his--may
throw himself back for the time into that life of long ago, and
absolutely experience over again the thoughts and the emotions, the
pleasures and the pains of a prehistoric past. No wilder and more
vivid adventures can be conceived than some of those through which he
thus may pass; yet through it all he must never lose hold of the
consciousness of his own individuality--must retain the power to
return at will to his present personality.

It is often asked how it is possible for an investigator accurately to
determine the date of any picture from the far-distant past which he
disinters from the records. The fact is that it is sometimes rather
tedious work to find an exact date, but the thing can usually be done
if it is worth while to spend the time and trouble over it. If we are
dealing with Greek or Roman times the simplest method is usually to
look into the mind of the most intelligent person present in the
picture, and see what date he supposes it to be; or the investigator
might watch him writing a letter or other document and observe what
date, if any, was included in what was written. When once the Roman or
Greek date is thus obtained, to reduce it to our own system of
chronology is merely a matter of calculation.

Another way which is frequently adopted is to turn from the scene
under examination to a contemporary picture in some great and
well-known city such as Rome, and note what monarch is reigning there,
or who are the consuls for the year; and when such data are discovered
a glance at any good history will give the rest. Sometimes a date can
be obtained by examining some public proclamation or some legal
document; in fact in the times of which we are speaking the difficulty
is easily surmounted.

The matter is by no means so simple, however, when we come to deal
with periods much earlier than this--with a scene from early Egypt,
Chaldæa, or China, or to go further back still, from Atlantis itself
or any of its numerous colonies. A date can still be obtained easily
enough from the mind of any educated man, but there is no longer any
means of relating it to our own system of dates, since the man will be
reckoning by eras of which we know nothing, or by the reigns of kings
whose history is lost in the night of time.

Our methods, nevertheless, are not yet exhausted. It must be
remembered that it is possible for the investigator to pass the
records before him at any speed that he may desire--at the rate of a
year in a second if he will, or even very much faster still. Now there
are one or two events in ancient history whose dates have already been
accurately fixed--as, for example, the sinking of Poseidonis in the
year 9564 B.C. It is therefore obvious that if from the general
appearance of the surroundings it seems probable that a picture seen
is within measurable distance of one of these events, it can be
related to that event by the simple process of running through the
record rapidly, and counting the years between the two as they pass.

Still, if those years ran into thousands, as they might sometimes do,
this plan would be insufferably tedious. In that case we are driven
back upon the astronomical method. In consequence of the movement
which is commonly called the precession of the equinoxes, though it
might more accurately be described as a kind of second rotation of
the earth, the angle between the equator and the ecliptic steadily but
very slowly varies. Thus, after long intervals of time we find the
pole of the earth no longer pointing towards the same spot in the
apparent sphere of the heavens, or in other words, our pole-star is
not, as at present, [Greek: a] Ursæ Minoris, but some other celestial
body; and from this position of the pole of the earth, which can
easily be ascertained by careful observation of the night-sky of the
picture under consideration, an approximate date can be calculated
without difficulty.

In estimating the date of occurrences which took place millions of
years ago in earlier races, the period of a secondary rotation (or the
precession of the equinoxes) is frequently used as a unit, but of
course absolute accuracy is not usually required in such cases, round
numbers being sufficient for all practical purposes in dealing with
epochs so remote.

The accurate reading of the records, whether of one's own past lives
or those of others, must not, however, be thought of as an achievement
possible to anyone without careful previous training. As has been
already remarked, though occasional reflections may be had upon the
astral plane, the power to use the mental sense is necessary before
any reliable reading can be done. Indeed, to minimize the possibility
of error, that sense ought to be fully at the command of the
investigator while awake in the physical body; and to acquire that
faculty needs years of ceaseless labour and rigid self-discipline.

Many people seem to expect that as soon as they have signed their
application and joined the Theosophical Society they will at once
remember at least three or four of their past births; indeed, some of
them promptly begin to imagine recollections and declare that in their
last incarnation they were Mary Queen of Scots, Cleopatra, or Julius
Cæsar! Of course such extravagant claims simply bring discredit upon
those who are so foolish as to make them but unfortunately some of
that discredit is liable to be reflected, however unjustly, upon the
Society to which they belong, so that a man who feels seething within
him the conviction that he was Homer or Shakespeare would do well to
pause and apply common-sense tests on the physical plane before
publishing the news to the world.

It is quite true that some people have had glimpses of scenes from
their past lives in dreams, but naturally these are usually
fragmentary and unreliable. I had myself in earlier life an experience
of this nature. Among my dreams I found that one was constantly
recurring--a dream of a house with a portico over-looking a beautiful
bay, not far from a hill on the top of which rose a graceful building.
I knew that house perfectly, and was as familiar with the position of
its rooms and the view from its door as I was with those of my home,
in this present life. In those days I knew nothing about
reincarnation, so that it seemed to me simply a curious coincidence
that this dream should repeat itself so often; and it was not until
some time after I had joined the Society that, when one who knew was
showing me some pictures of my last incarnation, I discovered that
this persistent dream had been in reality a partial recollection, and
that the house which I knew so well was the one in which I was born
more than two thousand years ago.

But although there are several cases on record in which some
well-remembered scene has thus come through from one life to another,
a considerable development of occult faculty is necessary before an
investigator can definitely trace a line of incarnations, whether they
be his own or another man's. This will be obvious if we remember the
conditions of the problem which has to be worked out. To follow a
person from this life to the one preceding it, it is necessary first
of all to trace his present life backwards to his birth and then to
follow up in reverse order the stages by which the Ego descended into

This will obviously take us back eventually to the condition of the
Ego upon the higher levels of the mental plane; so it will be seen
that to perform this task effectually the investigator must be able to
use the sense corresponding to that exalted level while awake in his
physical body--in other words, his consciousness must be centred in
the reincarnating Ego itself, and no longer in the lower personality.
In that case, the memory of the Ego being aroused, his own past
incarnations will be spread out before him like an open book, and he
would be able, if he wished, to examine the conditions of another Ego
upon that level and trace him backwards through the lower mental and
astral lives which led up to it, until he came to the last physical
death of that Ego, and through it to his previous life.

There is no way but this in which the chain of lives can be followed
through with absolute certainty: and consequently we may at once put
aside as conscious or unconscious impostors those people who advertise
that they are able to trace out anyone's past incarnations for so many
shillings a head. Needless to say, the true occultist does not
advertise, and never under any circumstances accepts money for any
exhibition of his powers.

Assuredly the student who wishes to acquire the power of following up
a line of incarnations can do so only by learning from a qualified
teacher how the work is to be done. There have been those who
persistently asserted that it was only necessary for a man to feel
good and devotional and "brotherly," and all the wisdom of the ages
would immediately flow in upon him; but a little common-sense will at
once expose the absurdity of such a position. However good a child
may be, if he wants to know the multiplication table he must set to
work and learn it; and the case is precisely similar with the capacity
to use spiritual faculties. The faculties themselves will no doubt
manifest as the man evolves, but he can learn how to use them reliably
and to the best advantage only by steady hard work and persevering

Take the case of those who wish to help others while on the astral
plane during sleep; it is obvious that the more knowledge they possess
here, the more valuable will their services be on that higher plane.
For example, the knowledge of languages would be useful to them, for
though on the mental plane men can communicate directly by
thought-transference, whatever their languages may be, on the astral
plane this is not so, and a thought must be definitely formulated in
words before it is comprehensible. If, therefore, you wish to help a
man on that plane, you must have some language in common by means of
which you can communicate with him, and consequently the more
languages you know the more widely useful you will be. In fact there
is perhaps no kind of knowledge for which a use cannot be found in the
work of the occultist.

It would be well for all students to bear in mind that occultism is
the apotheosis of common-sense, and that every vision which comes to
them is not necessarily a picture from the âkâshic records, nor every
experience a revelation from on high. It is better far to err on the
side of healthy scepticism than of over-credulity; and it is an
admirable rule never to hunt about for an occult explanation of
anything when a plain and obvious physical one is available. Our duty
is to endeavour to keep our balance always, and never to lose our
self-control, but to take a reasonable, common-sense view of whatever
may happen to us; so shall we be better Theosophists, wiser
occultists, and more useful helpers than we have ever been before.

As usual, we find examples of all degrees of the power to see into
this memory of nature, from the trained man who can consult the record
for himself at will, down to the person who gets nothing but
occasional vague glimpses, or has even perhaps had only one such
glimpse. But even the man who possesses this faculty only partially
and occasionally still finds it of the deepest interest. The
psychometer, who needs an object physically connected with the past in
order to bring it all into life again around him, and the
crystal-gazer who can sometimes direct his less certain astral
telescope to some historic scene of long ago, may both derive the
greatest enjoyment from the exercise of their respective gifts, even
though they may not always understand exactly how their results are
produced, and may not have them fully under control under all

In many cases of the lower manifestations of these powers we find that
they are exercised unconsciously; many a crystal-gazer watches scenes
from the past without being able to distinguish them from visions of
the present, and many a vaguely-psychic person finds pictures
constantly arising before his eyes without ever realizing that he is
in effect psychometrizing the various objects around him as he happens
to touch them or stand near them.

An interesting variant of this class of psychics is the man who is
able to psychometrize persons only, and not inanimate objects as is
more usual. In most cases this faculty shows itself erratically, so
that such a psychic will, when introduced to a stranger, often see in
a flash some prominent event in that stranger's earlier life, but on
other similar occasions will receive no special impression. More
rarely we meet with someone who gets detailed visions of the past life
of everyone whom he encounters. Perhaps one of the best examples of
this class was the German writer Zschokke, who describes in his
autobiography this extraordinary power of which he found himself
possessed. He says:--

"It has happened to me occasionally at the first meeting with a total
stranger, when I have been listening in silence to his conversation,
that his past life up to the present moment, with many minute
circumstances belonging to one or other particular scene in it, has
come across me like a dream, but distinctly, entirely involuntarily
and unsought, occupying in duration a few minutes.

"For a long time I was disposed to consider these fleeting visions as
a trick of the fancy--the more so as my dream-vision displayed to me
the dress and movements of the actors, the appearance of the room, the
furniture, and other accidents of the scene; till on one occasion, in
a gamesome mood, I narrated to my family the secret history of a
sempstress who had just before quitted the room. I had never seen the
person before. Nevertheless the hearers were astonished, and laughed
and would not be persuaded but that I had a previous acquaintance with
the former life of the person, inasmuch as what I had stated was
perfectly true.

"I was not less astonished to find that my dream-vision agreed with
reality. I then gave more attention to the subject, and as often as
propriety allowed of it, I related to those whose lives had so passed
before me the substance of my dream-vision, to obtain from them its
contradiction or confirmation. On every occasion its confirmation
followed, not without amazement on the part of those who gave it.

"On a certain fair-day I went into the town of Waldshut accompanied by
two young foresters, who are still alive. It was evening, and, tired
with our walk, we went into an inn called the 'Vine.' We took our
supper with a numerous company at the public table, when it happened
that they made themselves merry over the peculiarities and simplicity
of the Swiss in connection with the belief in mesmerism, Lavater's
physiognomical system and the like. One of my companions, whose
national pride was touched by their raillery, begged me to make some
reply, particularly in answer to a young man of superior appearance
who sat opposite, and had indulged in unrestrained ridicule.

"It happened that the events of this person's life had just previously
passed before my mind. I turned to him with the question whether he
would reply to me with truth and candour if I narrated to him the most
secret passages of his history, he being as little known to me as I to
him? That would, I suggested, go something beyond Lavater's
physiognomical skill. He promised if I told the truth to admit it
openly. Then I narrated the events with which my dream-vision had
furnished me, and the table learnt the history of the young
tradesman's life, of his school years, his peccadilloes, and, finally,
of a little act of roguery committed by him on the strong-box of his
employer. I described the uninhabited room with its white walls, where
to the right of the brown door there had stood upon the table the
small black money-chest, etc. The man, much struck, admitted the
correctness of each circumstance--even, which I could not expect, of
the last."

And after narrating this incident, the worthy Zschokke calmly goes on
to wonder whether perhaps after all this remarkable power, which he
had so often displayed, might not really have been always the result
of mere chance coincidence!

Comparatively few accounts of persons possessing this faculty of
looking back into the past are to be found in the literature of the
subject, and it might therefore be supposed to be much less common
than prevision. I suspect, however, that the truth is rather that it
is much less commonly recognized. As I said before, it may very easily
happen that a person may see a picture of the past without recognizing
it as such, unless there happens to be in it something which attracts
special attention, such as a figure in armour or in antique costume. A
prevision also might not always be recognized as such at the time; but
the occurrence of the event foreseen recalls it vividly at the same
time that it manifests its nature, so that it is unlikely to be
overlooked. It is probable, therefore, that occasional glimpses of
these astral reflections of the âkâshic records are commoner than the
published accounts would lead us to believe.



Even if, in a dim sort of way, we feel ourselves able to grasp the
idea that the whole of the past may be simultaneously and actively
present in a sufficiently exalted consciousness, we are confronted by
a far greater difficulty when we endeavour to realize how all the
future may also be comprehended in that consciousness. If we could
believe in the Mohammedan doctrine of kismet, or the Calvinistic
theory of predestination, the conception would be easy enough, but
knowing as we do that both these are grotesque distortions of the
truth, we must look round for a more acceptable hypothesis.

There may still be some people who deny the possibility of prevision,
but such denial simply shows their ignorance of the evidence on the
subject. The large number of authenticated cases leaves no room for
doubt as to the fact, but many of them are of such a nature as to
render a reasonable explanation by no means easy to find. It is
evident that the Ego possesses a certain amount of previsional
faculty, and if the events foreseen were always of great importance,
one might suppose that an extraordinary stimulus had enabled him for
that occasion only to make a clear impression of what he saw upon his
lower personality. No doubt that is the explanation of many of the
cases in which death or grave disaster is foreseen, but there are a
large number of instances on record to which it does not seem to
apply, since the events foretold are frequently exceedingly trivial
and unimportant.

A well-known story of second-sight in Scotland will illustrate what I
mean. A man who had no belief in the occult was forewarned by a
Highland seer of the approaching death of a neighbour. The prophecy
was given with considerable wealth of detail, including a full
description of the funeral, with the names of the four pall-bearers
and others who would be present. The auditor seems to have laughed at
the whole story and promptly forgotten it, but the death of his
neighbour at the time foretold recalled the warning to his mind, and
he determined to falsify part of the prediction at any rate by being
one of the pall-bearers himself. He succeeded in getting matters
arranged as he wished, but just as the funeral was about to start he
was called away from his post by some small matter which detained him
only a minute or two. As he came hurrying back he saw with surprise
that the procession had started without him, and that the prediction
had been exactly fulfilled, for the four pall-bearers were those who
had been indicated in the vision.

Now here is a very trifling matter, which could have been of no
possible importance to anybody, definitely foreseen months beforehand;
and although a man makes a determined effort to alter the arrangement
indicated he fails entirely to affect it in the least. Certainly this
looks very much like predestination, even down to the smallest detail,
and it is only when we examine this question from higher planes that
we are able to see our way to escape that theory. Of course, as I said
before about another branch of the subject, a full explanation eludes
us as yet, and obviously must do so until our knowledge is infinitely
greater than it is now; the most that we can hope to do for the
present is to indicate the line along which an explanation may be

There is no doubt whatever that, just as what is happening now is the
result of causes set in motion in the past, so what will happen in the
future will be the result of causes already in operation. Even down
here we can calculate that if certain actions are performed certain
results will follow, but our reckoning is constantly liable to be
disturbed by the interference of factors which we have not been able
to take into account. But if we raise our consciousness to the mental
plane we can see very much farther into the results of our actions.

We can trace, for example, the effect of a casual word, not only upon
the person to whom it was addressed, but through him on many others as
it is passed on in widening circles, until it seems to have affected
the whole country; and one glimpse of such a vision is far more
efficient than any number of moral precepts in impressing upon us the
necessity of extreme circumspection in thought, word, and deed. Not
only can we from that plane see thus fully the result of every action,
but we can also see where and in what way the results of other actions
apparently quite unconnected with it will interfere with and modify
it. In fact, it may be said that the results of all causes at present
in action are clearly visible--that the future, as it would be if no
entirely new causes should arise, lies open before our gaze.

New causes of course do arise, because man's will is free; but in the
case of all ordinary people the use which they will make of their
freedom can be calculated beforehand with considerable accuracy. The
average man has so little real will that he is very much the creature
of circumstances; his action in previous lives places him amid certain
surroundings, and their influence upon him is so very much the most
important factor in his life-story that his future course may be
predicted with almost mathematical certainty. With the developed man
the case is different; for him also the main events of life are
arranged by his past actions, but the way in which he will allow them
to affect him, the methods by which he will deal with them and perhaps
triumph over them--these are all his own, and they cannot be foreseen
even on the mental plane except as probabilities.

Looking down on man's life in this way from above, it seems as though
his free will could be exercised only at certain crises in his career.
He arrives at a point in his life where there are obviously two or
three alternative courses open before him; he is absolutely free to
choose which of them he pleases, and although some one who knew his
nature thoroughly well might feel almost certain what his choice would
be, such knowledge on his friend's part is in no sense a compelling

But when he _has_ chosen, he has to go through with it and take the
consequences; having entered upon a particular path he may, in many
cases, be forced to go on for a very long way before he has any
opportunity to turn aside. His position is somewhat like that of the
driver of a train; when he comes to a junction he may have the points
set either this way or that, and so can pass on to whichever line he
pleases, but when he _has_ passed on to one of them he is compelled to
run on along the line which he has selected until he reaches another
set of points, where again an opportunity of choice is offered to him.

Now, in looking down from the mental plane, these points of new
departure would be clearly visible, and all the results of each choice
would lie open before us, certain to be worked out even to the
smallest detail. The only point which would remain uncertain would be
the all-important one as to which choice the man would make. We
should, in fact, have not one but several futures mapped out before
our eyes, without necessarily being able to determine which of them
would materialize itself into accomplished fact. In most instances we
should see so strong a probability that we should not hesitate to come
to a decision, but the case which I have described is certainly
theoretically possible. Still, even this much knowledge would enable
us to do with safety a good deal of prediction; and it is not
difficult for us to imagine that a far higher power than ours might
always be able to foresee which way every choice would go, and
consequently to prophesy with absolute certainty.

On the buddhic plane, however, no such elaborate process of conscious
calculation is necessary, for, as I said before, in some manner which
down here is totally inexplicable, the past, the present, and the
future, are there all existing simultaneously. One can only accept
this fact, for its cause lies in the faculty of the plane, and the
way in which this higher faculty works is naturally quite
incomprehensible to the physical brain. Yet now and then one may meet
with a hint that seems to bring us a trifle nearer to a dim
possibility of comprehension. One such hint was given by Dr. Oliver
Lodge in his address to the British Association at Cardiff. He said:

"A luminous and helpful idea is that time is but a relative mode of
regarding things; we progress through phenomena at a certain definite
pace, and this subjective advance we interpret in an objective manner,
as if events moved necessarily in this order and at this precise rate.
But that may be only one mode of regarding them. The events may be in
some sense in existence always, both past and future, and it may be we
who are arriving at them, not they which are happening. The analogy of a
traveller in a railway train is useful; if he could never leave the
train nor alter its pace he would probably consider the landscapes as
necessarily successive and be unable to conceive their co-existence....
We perceive, therefore, a possible fourth dimensional aspect about time,
the inexorableness of whose flow may be a natural part or our present
limitations. And if we once grasp the idea that past and future may be
actually existing, we can recognize that they may have a controlling
influence on all present action, and the two together may constitute the
'higher plane' or totality of things after which, as it seems to me, we
are impelled to seek, in connection with the directing of form or
determinism, and the action of living beings consciously directed to a
definite and preconceived end."

Time is not in reality the fourth dimension at all; yet to look at it
for the moment from that point of view is some slight help towards
grasping the ungraspable. Suppose that we hold a wooden cone at right
angles to a sheet of paper, and slowly push it through it point first.
A microbe living on the surface of that sheet of paper, and having no
power of conceiving anything outside of that surface, could not only
never see the cone as a whole, but he could form no sort of conception
of such a body at all. All that he would see would be the sudden
appearance of a tiny circle, which would gradually and mysteriously
grow larger and larger until it vanished from his world as suddenly
and incomprehensibly as it had come into it.

Thus, what were in reality a series of sections of the cone would
appear to him to be successive stages in the life of a circle, and it
would be impossible for him to grasp the idea that these successive
stages could be seen simultaneously. Yet it is, of course, easy enough
for us, looking down upon the transaction from another dimension, to
see that the microbe is simply under a delusion arising from its own
limitations, and that the cone exists as a whole all the while. Our
own delusion as to past, present, and future is possibly not
dissimilar, and the view that is gained of any sequence of events from
the buddhic plane corresponds to the view of the cone as a whole.
Naturally, any attempt to work out this suggestion lands us in a
series of startling paradoxes; but the fact remains a fact,
nevertheless, and the time will come when it will be clear as noonday
to our comprehension.

When the pupil's consciousness is fully developed upon the buddhic
plane, therefore, perfect prevision is possible to him, though he may
not--nay, he certainly will not--be able to bring the whole result of
his sight through fully and in order into this light. Still, a great
deal of clear foresight is obviously within his power whenever he
likes to exercise it; and even when he is not exercising it, frequent
flashes of fore-knowledge come through into his ordinary life, so that
he often has an instantaneous intuition as to how things will turn out
even before their inception.

Short of this perfect prevision we find, as in the previous cases,
that all degrees of this type of clairvoyance exist, from the
occasional vague premonitions which cannot in any true sense be called
sight at all, up to frequent and fairly complete second-sight. The
faculty to which this latter somewhat misleading name has been given
is an extremely interesting one, and would well repay more careful
and systematic study than has ever hitherto been given to it.

It is best known to us as a not infrequent possession of the Scottish
Highlanders, though it is by no means confined to them. Occasional
instances of it have appeared in almost every nation, but it has
always been commonest among mountaineers and men of lonely life. With
us in England it is often spoken of as though it were the exclusive
appanage of the Celtic race, but in reality it has appeared among
similarly situated peoples the world over. It is stated, for example,
to be very common among the Westphalian peasantry.

Sometimes the second-sight consists of a picture clearly foreshowing
some coming event; more frequently, perhaps, the glimpse of the future
is given by some symbolical appearance. It is noteworthy that the
events foreseen are invariably unpleasant ones--death being the
commonest of all; I do not recollect a single instance in which the
second-sight has shown anything which was not of the most gloomy
nature. It has a ghastly symbolism which is all its own--a symbolism
of shrouds and corpse-candles, and other funereal horrors. In some
cases it appears to be to a certain extent dependent on locality, for
it is stated that inhabitants of the Isle of Skye who possess the
faculty often lose it when they leave the island, even though it be
only to cross to the mainland. The gift of such sight is sometimes
hereditary in a family for generations, but this is not an invariable
rule, for it often appears sporadically in one member of a family
otherwise free from its lugubrious influence.

An example in which an accurate vision of a coming event was seen some
months beforehand by second-sight has already been given. Here is
another and perhaps a more striking one, which I give exactly as it
was related to me by one of the actors in the scene.

"We plunged into the jungle, and had walked on for about an hour
without much success, when Cameron, who happened to be next to me,
stopped suddenly, turned pale as death, and, pointing straight before
him, cried in accents of horror:

"'See! see! merciful heaven, look there!'

"'Where? what? what is it?' we all shouted confusedly, as we rushed up
to him and looked round in expectation of encountering a tiger--a
cobra--we hardly knew what, but assuredly something terrible, since it
had been sufficient to cause such evident emotion in our usually
self-contained comrade. But neither tiger nor cobra was
visible--nothing but Cameron pointing with ghastly, haggard face and
starting eyeballs at something we could not see.

"'Cameron! Cameron' cried I, seizing his arm, "'for heaven's sake,
speak! What is the matter?'

"Scarcely were the words out of my mouth when a low, but very peculiar
sound struck on my ear, and Cameron, dropping his pointing hand, said
in a hoarse, strained voice, 'There! you heard it? Thank God it's
over' and fell to the ground insensible.

"There was a momentary confusion while we unfastened his collar, and I
dashed in his face some water which I fortunately had in my flask,
while another tried to pour brandy between his clenched teeth; and
under cover of it I whispered to the man next to me (one of our
greatest sceptics, by the way), 'Beauchamp, did _you_ hear anything?'

"'Why, yes,' he replied, a curious sound, very; a sort of crash or
rattle far away in the distance, yet very distinct; if the thing were
not utterly impossible, I could have sworn it was the rattle of

"'Just my impression,' murmured I; 'but hush! he is recovering.'

"In a minute or two he was able to speak feebly, and began to thank us
and apologize for giving trouble; and soon he sat up, leaning against
a tree, and in a firm, though still low voice said:

"'My dear friends, I feel I owe you an explanation of my extraordinary
behaviour. It is an explanation that I would fain avoid giving; but it
must come some time, and so may as well be given now. You may perhaps
have noticed that when during our voyage you all joined in scoffing at
dreams, portents and visions, I invariably avoided giving any opinion
on the subject. I did so because, while I had no desire to court
ridicule or provoke discussion, I was unable to agree with you,
knowing only too well from my own dread experience that the world
which men agree to call that of the supernatural is just as real
as--nay, perhaps, even far more real than--this world we see about us.
In other words, I, like many of my countrymen, am cursed with the gift
of second-sight--that awful faculty which foretells in vision
calamities that are shortly to occur.

"'Such a vision I had just now, and its exceptional horror moved me as
you have seen. I saw before me a corpse--not that of one who has died
a peaceful natural death, but that of the victim of some terrible
accident; a ghastly, shapeless mass, with a face swollen, crushed,
unrecognizable. I saw this dreadful object placed in a coffin, and the
funeral service performed over it. I saw the burial-ground, I saw the
clergyman: and though I had never seen either before, I can picture
both perfectly in my mind's eye now; I saw you, myself, Beauchamp, all
of us and many more, standing round as mourners; I saw the soldiers
raise their muskets after the service was over; I heard the volley
they fired--and then I knew no more.'

"As he spoke of that volley of musketry I glanced across with a
shudder at Beauchamp, and the look of stony horror on that handsome
sceptic's face was not to be forgotten."

This is only one incident (and by no means the principal one) in a
very remarkable story of psychic experience, but as for the moment we
are concerned merely with the example of second-sight which it gives
us, I need only say that later in the day the party of young soldiers
discovered the body of their commanding officer in the terrible
condition so graphically described by Mr. Cameron. The narrative

"When, on the following evening, we arrived at our destination, and
our melancholy deposition had been taken down by the proper
authorities, Cameron and I went out for a quiet walk, to endeavour
with the assistance of the soothing influence of nature to shake off
something of the gloom which paralyzed our spirits. Suddenly he
clutched my arm, and, pointing through some rude railings, said in a
trembling voice, 'Yes, there it is! that is the burial-ground I saw
yesterday.' And when later on we were introduced to the chaplain of
the post, I noticed, though my friends did not, the irrepressible
shudder with which Cameron took his hand, and I knew that he had
recognized the clergyman of his vision."

As for the occult rationale of all this, I presume Mr. Cameron's
vision was a pure case of second-sight, and if so the fact that the
two men who were evidently nearest to him (certainly one--probably
both--actually touching him) participated in it to the limited extent
of hearing the concluding volley, while the others who were not so
close did not, would show that the intensity with which the vision
impressed itself upon the seer occasioned vibrations in his mind-body
which were communicated to those of the persons in contact with him,
as in ordinary thought-transference. Anyone who wishes to read the
rest of the story will find it in the pages of _Lucifer_, vol. xx., p.

Scores of examples of similar nature to these might easily be
collected. With regard to the symbolical variety of this sight, it is
commonly stated among those who possess it that if on meeting a living
person they see a phantom shroud wrapped around him, it is a sure
prognostication of his death. The date of the approaching decease is
indicated either by the extent to which the shroud covers the body, or
by the time of day at which the vision is seen; for if it be in the
early morning they say that the man will die during the same day, but
if it be in the evening, then it will be only some time within a year.

Another variant (and a remarkable one) of the symbolic form of
second-sight is that in which the headless apparition of the person
whose death is foretold manifests itself to the seer. An example of
that class is given in _Signs before Death_ as having happened in the
family of Dr. Ferrier, though in that case, if I recollect rightly,
the vision did not occur until the time of the death, or very near it.

Turning from seers who are regularly in possession of a certain
faculty, although its manifestations are only occasionally fully under
their control, we are confronted by a large number of isolated
instances of prevision in the case of people with whom it is not in
any way a regular faculty. Perhaps the majority of these occur in
dreams, although examples of the waking vision are by no means
wanting. Sometimes the prevision refers to an event of distinct
importance to the seer, and so justifies the action of the Ego in
taking the trouble to impress it. In other cases, the event is one
which is of no apparent importance, or is not in any way connected
with the man to whom the vision comes. Sometimes it is clear that the
intention of the Ego (or the communicating entity, whatever it may be)
is to warn the lower self of the approach of some calamity, either in
order that it may be prevented or, if that be not possible, that the
shock may be minimized by preparation.

The event most frequently thus foreshadowed is, perhaps not
unnaturally, death--sometimes the death of the seer himself, sometimes
that of one dear to him. This type of prevision is so common in the
literature of the subject, and its object is so obvious, that we need
hardly cite examples of it; but one or two instances in which the
prophetic sight, though clearly useful, was yet of a less sombre
character, will prove not uninteresting to the reader. The following
is culled from that storehouse of the student of the uncanny, Mrs.
Crowe's _Night Side of Nature_, p. 72.

"A few years ago Dr. Watson, now residing at Glasgow, dreamt that he
received a summons to attend a patient at a place some miles from
where he was living; that he started on horseback, and that as he was
crossing a moor he saw a bull making furiously at him, whose horns he
only escaped by taking refuge on a spot inaccessible to the animal,
where he waited a long time till some people, observing his situation,
came to his assistance and released him.

"Whilst at breakfast on the following morning the summons came, and
smiling at the odd coincidence (as he thought it), he started on
horseback. He was quite ignorant of the road he had to go, but by and
by he arrived at the moor, which he recognised, and presently the bull
appeared, coming full tilt towards him. But his dream had shown him
the place of refuge, for which he instantly made, and there he spent
three or four hours, besieged by the animal, till the country people
set him free. Dr. Watson declares that but for the dream he should not
have known in what direction to run for safety."

Another case, in which a much longer interval separated the warning
and its fulfilment, is given by Dr. F. G. Lee, in _Glimpses of the
Supernatural_, vol. i., p. 240.

"Mrs. Hannah Green, the housekeeper of a country family in
Oxfordshire, dreamt one night that she had been left alone in the
house upon a Sunday evening, and that hearing a knock at the door of
the chief entrance she went to it and there found an ill-looking tramp
armed with a bludgeon, who insisted on forcing himself into the house.
She thought that she struggled for some time to prevent him so doing,
but quite ineffectually, and that, being struck down by him and
rendered insensible, he thereupon gained ingress to the mansion. On
this she awoke.

"As nothing happened for a considerable period the circumstance of the
dream was soon forgotten, and, as she herself asserts, had altogether
passed away from her mind. However, seven years afterwards this same
housekeeper was left with two other servants to take charge of an
isolated mansion at Kensington (subsequently the town residence of the
family), when on a certain Sunday evening, her fellow-servants having
gone out and left her alone, she was suddenly startled by a loud knock
at the front door.

"All of a sudden the remembrance of her former dream returned to her
with singular vividness and remarkable force, and she felt her lonely
isolation greatly. Accordingly, having at once lighted a lamp on the
hall table--during which act the loud knock was repeated with
vigour--she took the precaution to go up to a landing on the stair and
throw up the window; and there to her intense terror she saw in the
flesh the very man whom years previously she had seen in her dream,
armed with the bludgeon and demanding an entrance.

"With great presence of mind she went down to the chief entrance, made
that and other doors and windows more secure, and then rang the
various bells of the house violently, and placed lights in the upper
rooms. It was concluded that by these acts the intruder was scared

Evidently in this case also the dream was of practical use, as without
it the worthy housekeeper would without doubt from sheer force of
habit have opened the door in the ordinary way in answer to the knock.

It is not, however, only in dream that the Ego impresses his lower
self with what he thinks it well for it to know. Many instances
showing this might be taken from the books, but instead of quoting
from them I will give a case related only a few weeks ago by a lady of
my acquaintance--a case which, although not surrounded with any
romantic incident, has at least the merit of being new.

My friend, then, has two quite young children, and a little while ago
the elder of them caught (as was supposed) a bad cold, and suffered
for some days from a complete stoppage in the upper part of the nose.
The mother thought little of this, expecting it to pass off, until one
day she suddenly saw before her in the air what she describes as a
picture of a room, in the centre of which was a table on which her
child was lying insensible or dead, with some people bending over her.
The minutest details of the scene were clear to her, and she
particularly noticed that the child wore a white night-dress, whereas
she knew that all garments of that description possessed by her little
daughter happened to be pink.

This vision impressed her considerably, and suggested to her for the
first time that the child might be suffering from something more
serious than a cold, so she carried her off to a hospital for
examination. The surgeon who attended to her discovered the presence
of a dangerous growth in the nose, which he pronounced must be
removed. A few days later the child was taken to the hospital for the
operation, and was put to bed. When the mother arrived at the hospital
she found she had forgotten to bring one of the child's night-dresses,
and so the nurses had to supply one, which was _white_. In this white
dress the operation was performed on the girl the next day, in the
room that her mother saw in her vision, every circumstance being
exactly reproduced.

In all these cases the prevision achieved its result, but the books
are full of stories of warnings neglected or scouted, and of the
disaster that consequently followed. In some cases the information is
given to someone who has practically no power to interfere in the
matter, as in the historic instance when John Williams, a Cornish
mine-manager, foresaw in the minutest detail, eight or nine days
before it took place, the assassination of Mr. Spencer Perceval, the
then Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the lobby of the House of
Commons. Even in this case, however, it is just possible that
something might have been done, for we read that Mr. Williams was so
much impressed that he consulted his friends as to whether he ought
not to go up to London to warn Mr. Perceval. Unfortunately they
dissuaded him, and the assassination took place. It does not seem very
probable that, even if he had gone up to town and related his story,
much attention would have been paid to him, still there is just the
possibility that some precautions might have been taken which would
have prevented the murder.

There is little to show us what particular action on higher planes led
to this curious prophetic vision. The parties were entirely unknown to
one another, so that it was not caused by any close sympathy between
them. If it was an attempt made by some helper to avert the threatened
doom, it seems strange that no one who was sufficiently impressible
could be found nearer than Cornwall. Perhaps Mr. Williams, when on the
astral plane during sleep, somehow came across this reflection of the
future, and being naturally horrified thereby, passed it on to his
lower mind in the hope that somehow something might be done to
prevent it; but it is impossible to diagnose the case with certainty
without examining the âkâshic records to see what actually took place.

A typical instance of the absolutely purposeless foresight is that
related by Mr. Stead, in his _Real Ghost Stories_ (p. 83), of his
friend Miss Freer, commonly known as Miss X. When staying at a country
house this lady, being wide awake and fully conscious, once saw a
dogcart drawn by a white horse standing at the hall door, with two
strangers in it, one of whom got out of the cart and stood playing
with a terrier. She noticed that he was wearing an ulster, and also
particularly observed the fresh wheel-marks made by the cart on the
gravel. Nevertheless there was no cart there at the time; but half an
hour later two strangers _did_ drive up in such an equipage, and every
detail of the lady's vision was accurately fulfilled. Mr. Stead goes
on to cite another instance of equally purposeless prevision where
seven years separated the dream (for in this case it was a dream) and
its fulfilment.

All these instances (and they are merely random selections from many
hundreds) show that a certain amount of prevision is undoubtedly
possible to the Ego, and such cases would evidently be much more
frequent if it were not for the exceeding density and lack of response
in the lower vehicles of the majority of what we call civilized
mankind--qualities chiefly attributable to the gross practical
materialism of the present age. I am not thinking of any profession of
materialistic belief as common, but of the fact that in all practical
affairs of daily life nearly everyone is guided solely by
considerations of worldly interest in some shape or other.

In many cases the Ego himself may be an undeveloped one, and his
prevision consequently very vague; in others he himself may see
clearly, but may find his lower vehicles so unimpressible that all he
can succeed in getting through into his physical brain may be an
indefinite presage of coming disaster. Again, there are cases in which
a premonition is not the work of the Ego at all, but of some outside
entity, who for some reason takes a friendly interest in the person to
whom the feeling comes. In the work which I quoted above, Mr. Stead
tells us of the certainty which he felt many months beforehand that be
would be left in charge of the _Pall Mall Gazette_ though from an
ordinary point of view nothing seemed less probable. Whether that
fore-knowledge was the result of an impression made by his own Ego or
of a friendly hint from someone else it is impossible to say without
definite investigation, but his confidence in it was fully justified.

There is one more variety of clairvoyance in time which ought not to
be left without mention. It is a comparatively rare one, but there
are enough examples on record to claim our attention, though
unfortunately the particulars given do not usually include those which
we should require in order to be able to diagnose it with certainty. I
refer to the cases in which spectral armies or phantom flocks of
animals have been seen. In _The Night Side of Nature_ (p. 462 _et
seq._) we have accounts of several such visions. We are there told how
at Havarah Park, near Ripley, a body of soldiers in white uniform,
amounting to several hundreds, was seen by reputable people to go
through various evolutions and then vanish; and how some years earlier
a similar visionary army was seen in the neighbourhood of Inverness by
a respectable farmer and his son.

In this case also the number of troops was very great, and the
spectators had not the slightest doubt at first that they were
substantial forms of flesh and blood. They counted at least sixteen
pairs of columns, and had abundance of time to observe every
particular. The front ranks marched seven abreast, and were
accompanied by a good many women and children, who were carrying tin
cans and other implements of cookery. The men were clothed in red, and
their arms shone brightly in the sun. In the midst of them was an
animal, a deer or a horse, they could not distinguish which, that they
were driving furiously forward with their bayonets.

The younger of the two men observed to the other that every now and
then the rear ranks were obliged to run to overtake the van; and the
elder one, who had been a soldier, remarked that that was always the
case, and recommended him if he ever served to try to march in the
front. There was only one mounted officer; he rode a grey dragoon
horse, and wore a gold-laced hat and blue Hussar cloak, with wide open
sleeves lined with red. The two spectators observed him so
particularly that they said afterwards they should recognize him
anywhere. They were, however, afraid of being ill-treated or forced to
go along with the troops, whom they concluded to have come from
Ireland, and landed at Kyntyre; and whilst they were climbing over a
dyke to get out of their way, the whole thing vanished.

A phenomenon of the same sort was observed in the earlier part of this
century at Paderborn in Westphalia, and seen by at least thirty
people; but as, some years later, a review of twenty thousand men was
held on the very same spot, it was concluded that the vision must have
been some sort of second-sight--a faculty not uncommon in the

Such spectral hosts, however, are sometimes seen where an army of
ordinary men could by no possibility have marched, either before or
after. One of the most remarkable accounts of such apparitions is
given by Miss Harriet Martineau, in her description of _The English
Lakes_. She writes as follows:--

"This Souter or Soutra Fell is the mountain on which ghosts appeared
in myriads, at intervals during ten years of the last century,
presenting the same appearances to twenty-six chosen witnesses, and to
all the inhabitants of all the cottages within view of the mountain,
and for a space of two hours and a half at one time--the spectral show
being closed by darkness! The mountain, be it remembered, is full of
precipices, which defy all marching of bodies of men; and the north
and west sides present a sheer perpendicular of 900 feet.

"On Midsummer Eve, 1735, a farm servant of Mr. Lancaster, half a mile
from the mountain, saw the eastern side of its summit covered with
troops, which pursued their onward march for an hour. They came, in
distinct bodies, from an eminence on the north end, and disappeared in
a niche in the summit. When the poor fellow told his tale, he was
insulted on all hands, as original observers usually are when they see
anything wonderful. Two years after, also on a Midsummer Eve, Mr.
Lancaster saw some men there, apparently following their horses, as if
they had returned from hunting. He thought nothing of this; but he
happened to look up again ten minutes after, and saw the figures, now
mounted, and followed by an interminable array of troops, five
abreast, marching from the eminence and over the cleft as before. All
the family saw this, and the manoeuvres of the force, as each
company was kept in order by a mounted officer, who galloped this way
and that. As the shades of twilight came on, the discipline appeared
to relax, and the troops intermingled, and rode at unequal paces, till
all was lost in darkness. Now of course all the Lancasters were
insulted, as their servant had been; but their justification was not
long delayed.

"On the Midsummer Eve of the fearful 1745, twenty-six persons,
expressly summoned by the family, saw all that had been seen before,
and more. Carriages were now interspersed with the troops; and
everybody knew that no carriages had been, or could be, on the summit
of Souter Fell. The multitude was beyond imagination; for the troops
filled a space of half a mile, and marched quickly till night hid
them--still marching. There was nothing vaporous or indistinct about
the appearance of these spectres. So real did they seem, that some of
the people went up, the next morning, to look for the hoof-marks of
the horses; and awful it was to them to find not one foot-print on
heather or grass. The witnesses attested the whole story on oath
before a magistrate; and fearful were the expectations held by the
whole country-side about the coming events of the Scotch rebellion.

"It now comes out that two other persons had seen something of the
sort in the interval--_viz._, in 1743--but had concealed it, to escape
the insults to which their neighbours were subjected. Mr. Wren, of
Wilton Hall, and his farm servant, saw, one summer evening, a man and
a dog on the mountain, pursuing some horses along a place so steep
that a horse could hardly by any possibility keep a footing on it.
Their speed was prodigious, and their disappearance at the south end
of the fell so rapid, that Mr. Wren and the servant went up, the next
morning, to find the body of the man who must have been killed. Of
man, horse, or dog, they found not a trace and they came down and held
their tongues. When they did speak, they fared not much better for
having twenty-six sworn comrades in their disgrace.

"As for the explanation, the editor of the _Lonsdale Magazine_
declared (vol. ii., p. 313) that it was discovered that on the
Midsummer Eve of 1745 the rebels were 'exercising on the western coast
of Scotland, whose movements had been reflected by some transparent
vapour, similar to the Fata Morgana.' This is not much in the way of
explanation; but it is, as far as we know, all that can be had at
present. These facts, however, brought out a good many more; as the
spectral march of the same kind seen in Leicestershire in 1707, and
the tradition of the tramp of armies over Helvellyn, on the eve of the
battle of Marston Moor."

Other cases are cited in which flocks of spectral sheep have been seen
on certain roads, and there are of course various German stories of
phantom cavalcades of hunters and robbers.

Now in these cases, as so often happens in the investigation of occult
phenomena, there are several possible causes, any one of which would
be quite adequate to the production of the observed occurrences, but
in the absence of fuller information it is hardly feasible to do more
than guess as to which of these possible causes were in operation in
any particular instance.

The explanation usually suggested (whenever the whole story is not
ridiculed as a falsehood) is that what is seen is a reflection by
mirage of the movements of a real body of troops, taking place at a
considerable distance. I have myself seen the ordinary mirage on
several occasions, and know something therefore of its wonderful
powers of deception; but it seems to me that we should need some
entirely new variety of mirage, quite different from that at present
known to science, to account for these tales of phantom armies, some
of which pass the spectator within a few yards.

First of all, they may be, as apparently in the Westphalian case above
mentioned, simply instances of prevision on a gigantic scale--by whom
arranged, and for what purpose, it is not easy to divine. Again, they
may often belong to the past instead of the future, and be in fact the
reflection of scenes from the âkâshic records--though here again the
reason and method of such reflection is not obvious.

There are plenty of tribes of nature-spirits perfectly capable, if for
any reason they wished to do so, of producing such appearances by
their wonderful power of glamour (see _Theosophical Manual, No. V._,
p. 60), and such action would be quite in keeping with their delight
in mystifying and impressing human beings. Or it may even sometimes be
kindly intended by them as a warning to their friends of events that
they know to be about to take place. It seems as though some
explanation along these lines would be the most reasonable method of
accounting for the extraordinary series of phenomena described by Miss
Martineau--that is, if the stories told to her can be relied upon.

Another possibility is that in some cases what have been taken for
soldiers were simply the nature-spirits themselves going through some
of the ordered evolutions in which they take so much delight, though
it must be admitted that these are rarely of a character which could
be mistaken for military manoeuvres except by the most ignorant.

The flocks of animals are probably in most instances mere records, but
there are cases where they, like the "wild huntsmen" of German story,
belong to an entirely different class of phenomena, which is
altogether outside of our present subject. Students of the occult
will be familiar with the fact that the circumstances surrounding any
scene of intense terror or passion, such as an exceptionally horrible
murder, are liable to be occasionally reproduced in a form which it
needs a very slight development of psychic faculty to be able to see
and it has sometimes happened that various animals formed part of such
surroundings, and consequently they also are periodically reproduced
by the action of the guilty conscience of the murderer (see _Manual
V._, p. 83).

Probably whatever foundation of fact underlies the various stories of
spectral horsemen and hunting-troops may generally be referred to this
category. This is also the explanation, evidently, of some of the
visions of ghostly armies, such as that remarkable re-enactment of the
battle of Edgehill which seems to have taken place at intervals for
some months after the date of the real struggle, as testified by a
justice of the peace, a clergyman, and other eye-witnesses, in a
curious contemporary pamphlet entitled _Prodigious Noises of War and
Battle, at Edgehill, near Keinton, in Northamptonshire_. According to
the pamphlet this case was investigated at the time by some officers
of the army, who clearly recognized many of the phantom figures that
they saw. This looks decidedly like an instance of the terrible power
of man's unrestrained passions to reproduce themselves, and to cause
in some strange way a kind of materialization of their record.

In some cases it is clear that the flocks of animals seen have been
simply hordes of unclean artificial elementals taking that form in
order to feed upon the loathsome emanations of peculiarly horrible
places, such as would be the site of a gallows. An instance of this
kind is furnished by the celebrated "Gyb Ghosts," or ghosts of the
gibbet, described in _More Glimpses of the World Unseen_, p. 109, as
being repeatedly seen in the form of herds of mis-shapen swine-like
creatures, rushing, rooting and fighting night after night on the site
of that foul monument of crime. But these belong to the subject of
apparitions rather than to that of clairvoyance.



When a man becomes convinced of the reality of the valuable power of
clairvoyance, his first question usually is, "How can I develop in my
own case this faculty which is said to be latent in everyone?"

Now the fact is that there are many methods by which it may be
developed, but only one which can be at all safely recommended for
general use--that of which we shall speak last of all. Among the less
advanced nations of the world the clairvoyant state has been produced
in various objectionable ways; among some of the non-Aryan tribes of
India, by the use of intoxicating drugs or the inhaling of stupefying
fumes; among the dervishes, by whirling in a mad dance of religious
fervour until vertigo and insensibility supervene; among the followers
of the abominable practices of the Voodoo cult, by frightful
sacrifices and loathsome rites of black magic. Methods such as these
are happily not in vogue in our own race, yet even among us large
numbers of dabblers in this ancient art adopt some plan of
self-hypnotization, such as the gazing at a bright spot or the
repetition of some formula until a condition of semi-stupefaction is
produced; while yet another school among them would endeavour to
arrive at similar results by the use of some of the Indian systems of
regulation of the breath.

All these methods are unequivocally to be condemned as quite unsafe
for the practice of the ordinary man who has no idea of what he is
doing--who is simply making vague experiments in an unknown world.
Even the method of obtaining clairvoyance by allowing oneself to be
mesmerized by another person is one from which I should myself shrink
with the most decided distaste; and assuredly it should never be
attempted except under conditions of absolute trust and affection
between the magnetizer and the magnetized, and a perfection of purity
in heart and soul, in mind and intention, such as is rarely to be seen
among any but the greatest of saints.

Experiments in connection with the mesmeric trance are of the deepest
interest, as offering (among other things) a possibility of proof of
the fact of clairvoyance to the sceptic, yet except under such
conditions as I have just mentioned--conditions, I quite admit, almost
impossible to realize--I should never counsel anyone to submit himself
as a subject for them.

Curative mesmerism (in which, without putting the patient into the
trance state at all, an effort is made to relieve his pain, to remove
his disease, or to pour vitality into him by magnetic passes) stands
on an entirely different footing; and if the mesmerizer, even though
quite untrained, is himself in good health and animated by pure
intentions, no harm is likely to be done to the subject. In so extreme
a case as that of a surgical operation, a man might reasonably submit
himself even to the mesmeric trance, but it is certainly not a
condition with which one ought lightly to experiment. Indeed, I should
most strongly advise any one who did me the honour to ask for my
opinion on the subject, not to attempt any kind of experimental
investigation into what are still to him the abnormal forces of
nature, until he has first of all read carefully everything that has
been written on the subject, or--which is by far the best of
all--until he is under the guidance of a qualified teacher.

But where, it will be said, is the qualified teacher to be found? Not,
most assuredly, among any who advertise themselves as teachers, who
offer to impart for so many guineas or dollars the sacred mysteries of
the ages, or hold "developing circles" to which casual applicants are
admitted at so much per head.

Much has been said in this treatise of the necessity for careful
training--of the immense advantages of the trained over the untrained
clairvoyant; but that again brings us back to the same question--where
is this definite training to be had?

The answer is, that the training may be had precisely where it has
always been to be found since the world's history began--at the hands
of the Great White Brotherhood of Adepts, which stands now, as it has
always stood, at the back of human evolution, guiding and helping it
under the sway of the great cosmic laws which represent to us the Will
of the Eternal.

But how, it may be asked, is access to be gained to them? How is the
aspirant thirsting for knowledge to signify to them his wish for

Once more, by the time-honoured methods only. There is no new patent
whereby a man can qualify himself without trouble to become a pupil in
that School--no royal road to the learning which has to be acquired in
it. At the present day, just as in the mists of antiquity, the man who
wishes to attract their notice must enter upon the slow and toilsome
path of self-development--must learn first of all to take himself in
hand and make himself all that he ought to be. The steps of that path
are no secret; I have given them in full detail in _Invisible
Helpers_, so I need not repeat them here. But it is no easy road to
follow, and yet sooner or later all must follow it, for the great law
of evolution sweeps mankind slowly but resistlessly towards its goal.

From those who are pressing into this path the great Masters select
their pupils, and it is only by qualifying himself to be taught that a
man can put himself in the way of getting the teaching. Without that
qualification, membership in any Lodge or Society, whether secret or
otherwise, will not advance his object in the slightest degree. It is
true, as we all know, that it was at the instance of some of these
Masters that our Theosophical Society was founded, and that from its
ranks some have been chosen to pass into closer relations with them.
But that choice depends upon the earnestness of the candidate, not
upon his mere membership of the Society or of any body within it.

That, then, is the only absolutely safe way of developing
clairvoyance--to enter with all one's energy upon the path of moral
and mental evolution, at one stage of which this and other of the
higher faculties will spontaneously begin to show themselves. Yet
there is one practice which is advised by all the religions
alike--which if adopted carefully and reverently can do no harm to any
human being, yet from which a very pure type of clairvoyance has
sometimes been developed; and that is the practice of meditation.

Let a man choose a certain time every day--a time when he can rely
upon being quiet and undisturbed, though preferably in the daytime
rather than at night--and set himself at that time to keep his mind
for a few minutes entirely free from all earthly thoughts of any kind
whatever and, when that is achieved, to direct the whole force of his
being towards the highest spiritual ideal that he happens to know. He
will find that to gain such perfect control of thought is enormously
more difficult than he supposes, but when he attains it it cannot but
be in every way most beneficial to him, and as he grows more and more
able to elevate and concentrate his thought, he may gradually find
that new worlds are opening before his sight.

As a preliminary training towards the satisfactory achievement of such
meditation, he will find it desirable to make a practice of
concentration in the affairs of daily life--even in the smallest of
them. If he writes a letter, let him think of nothing else but that
letter until it is finished if he reads a book, let him see to it that
his thought is never allowed to wander from his author's meaning. He
must learn to hold his mind in check, and to be master of that also,
as well as of his lower passions he must patiently labour to acquire
absolute control of his thoughts, so that he will always know exactly
what he is thinking about, and why--so that he can use his mind, and
turn it or hold it still, as a practised swordsman turns his weapon
where he will.

Yet after all, if those who so earnestly desire clairvoyance could
possess it temporarily for a day or even an hour, it is far from
certain that they would choose to retain the gift. True, it opens
before them new worlds of study, new powers of usefulness, and for
this latter reason most of us feel it worth while; but it should be
remembered that for one whose duty still calls him to live in the
world it is by no means an unmixed blessing. Upon one in whom that
vision is opened the sorrow and the misery, the evil and the greed of
the world press as an ever-present burden, until in the earlier days
of his knowledge he often feels inclined to echo the passionate
adjuration contained in those rolling lines of Schiller's:

    Dien Orakel zu verkünden, warum warfest du mich hin
    In die Stadt der ewig Blinden, mit dem aufgeschloss'nen Sinn?
    Frommt's, den Schleier aufzuheben, wo das nahe Schreckniss droht?
    Nur der Irrthum ist das Leben; dieses Wissen ist der Tod.
    Nimm, O nimm die traur'ge Klarheit mir vom Aug' den blut'gen Schein!
    Schrecklich ist es deiner Wahrheit sterbliches Gefäss zu seyn!

which may perhaps be translated "Why hast thou cast me thus into the
town of the ever-blind, to proclaim thine oracle by the opened sense?
What profits it to lift the veil where the near darkness threatens?
Only ignorance is life; this knowledge is death. Take back this sad
clear-sightedness; take from mine eyes this cruel light! It is
horrible to be the mortal channel of thy truth." And again later he
cries, "Give me back my blindness, the happy darkness of my senses;
take back thy dreadful gift!"

But this of course is a feeling which passes, for the higher sight
soon shows the pupil something beyond the sorrow--soon bears in upon
his soul the overwhelming certainty that, whatever appearances down
here may seem to indicate, all things are without shadow of doubt
working together for the eventual good of all. He reflects that the
sin and the suffering are there, whether he is able to perceive them
or not, and that when he can see them he is after all better able to
give efficient help than he would be if he were working in the dark;
and so by degrees he learns to bear his share of the heavy karma of
the world.

Some misguided mortals there are who, having the good fortune to
possess some slight touch of this higher power, are nevertheless so
absolutely destitute of all right feeling in connection with it as to
use it for the most sordid ends--actually even to advertise themselves
as "test and business clairvoyants!" Needless to say, such use of the
faculty is a mere prostitution and degradation of it, showing that its
unfortunate possessor has somehow got hold of it before the moral side
of his nature has been sufficiently developed to stand the strain
which it imposes. A perception of the amount of evil karma that may be
generated by such action in a very short time changes one's disgust
into pity for the unhappy perpetrator of that sacrilegious folly.

It is sometimes objected that the possession of clairvoyance destroys
all privacy, and confers a limit-less ability to explore the secrets
of others. No doubt it does confer such an _ability_, but nevertheless
the suggestion is an amusing one to anyone who knows anything
practically about the matter. Such an objection may possibly be
well-founded as regards the very limited powers of the "test and
business clairvoyant," but the man who brings it forward against those
who have had the faculty opened for them in the course of their
instruction, and consequently possess it fully, is forgetting three
fundamental facts: first, that it is quite inconceivable that anyone,
having before him the splendid fields for investigation which true
clairvoyance opens up, could ever have the slightest wish to pry into
the trumpery little secrets of any individual man; secondly, that even
if by some impossible chance our clairvoyant _had_ such indecent
curiosity about matters of petty gossip, there is, after all, such a
thing as the honour of a gentleman, which, on that plane as on this,
would of course prevent him from contemplating for an instant the idea
of gratifying it; and thirdly, in case, by any unheard-of possibility,
one might encounter some variety of low-class pitri with whom the
above considerations would have no weight, full instructions are
always given to every pupil, as soon as he develops any sign of
faculty, as to the limitations which are placed upon its use.

Put briefly, these restrictions are that there shall be no prying, no
selfish use of the power, and no displaying of phenomena. That is to
say, that the same considerations which would govern the actions of a
man of right feeling upon the physical plane are expected to apply
upon the astral and mental planes also; that the pupil is never under
any circumstances to use the power which his additional knowledge
gives to him in order to promote his own worldly advantage, or indeed
in connection with gain in any way; and that he is never to give what
is called in spiritualistic circles "a test"--that is, to do anything
which will incontestably prove to sceptics on the physical plane that
he possesses what to them would appear to be an abnormal power.

With regard to this latter proviso people often say, "But why should
he not? it would be so easy to confute and convince your sceptic, and
it would do him good!" Such critics lose sight of the fact that, in
the first place, none of those who know anything _want_ to confute or
convince sceptics, or trouble themselves in the slightest degree about
the sceptic's attitude one way or the other; and in the second, they
fail to understand how much better it is for that sceptic that he
should gradually grow into an intellectual appreciation of the facts
of nature, instead of being suddenly introduced to them by a
knock-down blow, as it were. But the subject was fully considered
many years ago in Mr. Sinnet's _Occult World_, and it is needless to
repeat again the arguments there adduced.

It is very hard for some of our friends to realize that the silly
gossip and idle curiosity which so entirely fill the lives of the
brainless majority on earth can have no place in the more real life of
the disciple; and so they sometimes enquire whether, even without any
special wish to see, a clairvoyant might not casually observe some
secret which another person was trying to keep, in the same way as
one's glance might casually fall upon a sentence in someone else's
letter which happened to be lying open upon the table. Of course he
might, but what if he did? The man of honour would at once avert his
eyes, in one case as in the other, and it would be as though he had
not seen. If objectors could but grasp the idea that no pupil _cares_
about other people's business, except when it comes within his
province to try to help them, and that he has always a world of work
of his own to attend to, they would not be so hopelessly far from
understanding the facts of the wider life of the trained clairvoyant.

Even from the little that I have said with regard to the restrictions
laid upon the pupil, it will be obvious that in very many cases he
will know much more than he is at liberty to say. That is of course
true in a far wider sense of the great Masters of Wisdom themselves,
and that is why those who have the privilege of occasionally entering
their presence pay so much respect to their lightest word even on
subjects quite apart from the direct teaching. For the opinion of a
Master, or even of one of his higher pupils, upon any subject is that
of a man whose opportunity of judging accurately is out of all
proportion to ours.

His position and his extended faculties are in reality the heritage of
all mankind, and, far though we may now be from those grand powers,
they will none the less certainly be ours one day. Yet how different a
place will this old world be when humanity as a whole possesses the
higher clairvoyance! Think what the difference will be to history when
all can read the records; to science, when all the processes about
which now men theorize can be watched through all their course; to
medicine, when doctor and patient alike can see clearly and exactly
all that is being done; to philosophy, when there is no longer any
possibility of discussion as to its basis, because all alike can see a
wider aspect of the truth; to labour, when all work will be joy,
because every man will be put only to that which he can do best; to
education, when the minds and hearts of the children are open to the
teacher who is trying to form their character; to religion, when there
is no longer any possibility of dispute as to its broad dogmas, since
the truth about the states after death, and the Great Law that
governs the world, will be patent to all eyes.

Above all, how far easier it will be then for the evolved men to help
one another under those so much freer conditions! The possibilities
that open before the mind are as glorious vistas stretching in all
directions, so that our seventh round should indeed be a veritable
golden age. Well for us that these grand faculties will not be
possessed by all humanity until it has evolved to a far higher level
in morality as well as in wisdom, else should we but repeat once more
under still worse conditions the terrible downfall of the great
Atlantean civilization, whose members failed to realize that increased
power meant increased responsibility. Yet we ourselves were most of us
among those very men let us hope that we have learnt wisdom by that
failure, and that when the possibilities of the wider life open before
us once more, this time we shall bear the trial better.



Advantages of astral vision, 41, 65, 71
  mental vision, 79
  training, 20, 56, 70, 103, 116, 121

Âkâshic records, 85, 97 _et seq._, 160

Apparitions, 54

Armies, phantom, 154

Assassination of Mr. Perceval, 151

Aspect of the records, 115

Astral body, 69
  counterpart  16
  current, 62 _et seq._, 88, 95
  matter, polarization of, 63
  senses, 17
  sight, 37 _et seq._, 59 _et seq._, 66
  telescope, 65, 85, 103
  world, 81, 103

Aura, the, 42 _et seq._, 101

Balance, 126

Bat's cry, experiment with, 11

Battle of Edgehill, 161

Body, the astral, 69
  the causal, 101

Brownies, 33

Buddhic faculty, 18, 108, 136, 139

Bull and the doctor, the story of, 147

Causal body, 101

Centres of vitality, 14, 17

Cerebro-spinal system, 22

Ceremonies used to gain clairvoyance, 52, 163

Certainty of eventual good, 174

Character, judgment of, 42

Chakrams, 14-17

Chord of a man, the, 80

Clairaudience, 6, 69 _et seq._

Clairvoyance by drugs or ceremonies, 52 _et seq._, 163
  casual, 93
  does it destroy privacy?, 171

Clairvoyance during sleep, 26
  how first manifested, 26
  hysterical, 53
  limitations of, 79, 81, 171
  meaning of word, 5
  occasional flashes of, 23
  of the uncultured, 21
  on mental plane, 56
  on trivial subjects, 55, 95, 152
  partial and temporary, 54
  restrictions upon, 81, 171
  sadness of, 169
  under mesmerism, 24, 52, 164

Clairvoyants, "test and business", 51, 170

Classification of phenomena, 27

Colours, new, 35

Common-sense in occultism, necessity of, 125

Consciousness, continuous, 46
  the focus of, 31

Considerations, preliminary, 7

Contemplation, 167

Continuous consciousness, 46

Control of thought, 168

Counterpart, astral, 16

Crystal-gazing, 66, 84 _et seq._, 127

Curative mesmerism, 165

Curiosity not permitted, 173

Current, astral, 62 _et seq._, 88, 95

Dangers, 78

Date, how to find a, 119 _et seq._

Dead, the, 45, 62

Death, visits at, 74 _et seq._

Delirium tremens, 53

Dervishes, the, 163

Devas, the, 44

Development, methods of, 163
  the path of, 167
  regular, 19

Difference between etheric and astral sight, 36

Difficulties, 103 _et seq._

Dimension, the fourth, 38 _et seq._, 65, 107, 137

Distance, sight at a, 59, 81

Double, the etheric, 34

Drugs used to gain clairvoyance, 52, 163

Duke of Orleans, the story of the, 90

_Earth, the Stars and the_, 110

Edgehill, battle of, 161

Elementals, 32, 44, 162

Equation, the personal, 104 _et seq._

Eternal now, the, 109, 137

Etheric double, the, 34
  vision, 30 _et seq._

Experiments in crystal-gazing, 66, 84 _et seq._
  with bat's cry, 11
  with spectrum, 10

Extension of senses, 12

Faculties, latent, 7
  buddhic, 18, 108, 136, 139

Fairy ointment, 34

Finding a stranger, 80

First manifestations of clairvoyance, 25 _et seq._

Flocks, phantom, 154, 160, 162

Focus of consciousness, the, 31

Fourth dimension, the, 38 _et seq._, 65, 107, 137

Freewill limited, 132 _et seq._

Future prospects, 175

Ghosts of the gibbet, 162

Glamour, 160

Goffe, the story of Mary, 75

Helpers, invisible, 46, 74, 88, 166

Historical study, possibilities of, 114 _et seq._

Hinton's works, 38

Housekeeper's dream, the story of the, 147 _et seq._

How a picture is found, 116 _et seq._
  to find a date, 119 _et seq._
  to investigate, 55

Huntsman, the wild, 160

Hypnotization, self, 86

Hysterical clairvoyance, 53

Incarnations, past, 118, 123 _et seq._

Investigate, how to, 55

Invisible helpers, 46, 74, 88, 166

Judgment of character, 42

Jung Stilling's story, 71 _et seq._

Knowledge, the value of, 125

Latent faculties, 7

Limitations of clairvoyance, the, 79, 81, 171

Limited freewill, 132 _et seq._

Links needed, 114

Lodge, address by Dr. Oliver, 137

Logos of the system, the, 99 _et seq._

Magic, 53

Magnifying, the power of, 47-67

Manifestations of clairvoyance, the first, 26

Masters of Wisdom, the, 20, 167, 174

Materialization, 70

Mâyâvirûpa, the, 78

Meaning of word clairvoyance, 5

Meditation, 167

Mediums, trance, 83

Mental plane clairvoyance, 56
  plane sense, 18
  world, 80, 104, 115

Mesmerism, clairvoyance under, 24, 62, 164
  curative, 165

Methods of development, 163

Micawbers, psychic, 83

Mooltan, story of the siege of, 92

Murder, reproduction of, 161

Nature spirits, 33, 44, 61, 160

Necessity of common-sense in occultism, 125

New colours, 35

Now, the eternal, 109, 137

Occasional clairvoyance, 23

Ointment, fairy and witch, 34

Orleans, the story of the Duke of, 90

Other planets, 81

Partial and temporary clairvoyance, 54

Past incarnations, 118, 123 _et seq._

Path of development, the, 167

Perceval, assassination of Mr., 151

Personal equation, the, 104 _et seq._

Phantom flocks, 154, 160, 162

Phenomena, classification of, 27
  séance room, 35, 62

Philadelphian seer, the story of a, 72 _et seq._

Physical objects, the transparency of, 32

Pictures before going to sleep, 93

Planets, other, 81

Polarization of astral matter, 63

Poseidonis, the sinking of, 120

Possibilities of historical study, 114 _et seq._

Power of magnifying, the, 47, 67

Power of response to vibrations, 9, 11

Preliminary considerations, 7

Premonition, Mr. Stead's, 153

Prevision, 132, 139

Prospects for the future, 175

Psychic Micawbers, 83

Psychometry, 114, 127

Qualifications of the student, 166

Qualified teachers, 165

Radiations, 59

Records, âkâshic, 85, 97 _et seq._, 160
  aspect of the, 115

Regular development, 19

Reproduction of a murder, 161

Restrictions upon clairvoyance, 81, 171

Röntgen rays, the, 11

Sadness of clairvoyance, the, 169

Schiller's lines, 169

Séance-room phenomena, 35, 62

Second-sight, 140 _et seq._
  the symbolism of, 145

Seer, a Philadelphian, 72 _et seq._

Self-hypnotization, 86

Sense, extension of, 12

Senses, astral, 17

Sight, astral, 37 _et seq._, 59 _et seq._, 66
  at a distance, 59, 81
  spiritual, 57

Sleep, clairvoyance during, 26

Society, the Theosophical, 167

Solar system, the, 99

Spectral armies, 154

Spectrum, experiment with the, 10

Spiritualistic phenomena, 35, 62

_Stars and the Earth, The_, 110

Stories of crystal-gazing, 84 _et seq._
  second sight, 132, 140 _et seq._

Story by Jung Stilling, 72
  Mr. Stead's, 93
  of Captain Yonnt, 89
  Mary Goffe, 75
  Miss X.'s dogcart, 152
  Mr. Stead's premonition, 153

Story of Souter Fell, 156-7
  the bull and the doctor, 147
  the Duke of Orleans, 90
  the housekeeper's dream, 147 _et seq._

Story of the siege of Mooltan, 92
  the white night-dress, 149
  Zschokke, 127 _et seq._

Stranger, finding a, 80

Sympathetic system, the, 22 _et seq._

System, the Logos of the, 99 _et seq._

Teachers, qualified, 165

Telescope, the astral, 65, 85, 103

Temporary and partial clairvoyance, 54

Tests not given, 172

Theosophical Society, The, 167
  terms, 7

Thought-control, 168

Thought-forms, 43, 67

Throughth, 39

Time only relative, 138

Training, the advantages of, 165
  where to be had, 167

Trance mediums, 83

Transparency of physical objects, 32

Trivial subjects, clairvoyance on, 55, 95, 152

Uncultured, clairvoyance in the, 21

Value of knowledge, the, 125

Variable capacity of response, 10 _et seq._

Vibrations, 9
  power of response to, 11

Vision, astral, 37 _et seq._, 59 _et seq._, 66
  etheric, 30 _et seq._

Visions, casual, 141

Visits at death, 74 _et seq._

Voodoo or Obeah, 163

White night-dress, the story of the, 149

Wild huntsman, the, 160

Wisdom, the Masters of, 20, 167, 174

World, the astral, 81, 103
  mental, 80, 104, 115

X.'s story, Miss, 152

X Rays, 11

Yonnt's story, Captain, 89

Zschokke's story, 127 _et seq._


       *       *       *       *       *






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