Materials And Conditions

The crystal is a clear pellucid piece of quartz or beryl,

sometimes oval in shape but more generally spherical. It is

accredited by Reichenbach and other researchers with highly

magnetic qualities, capable of producing in a suitable subject

a state analogous to the ordinary "waking trance" of the

hypnotists. It is believed that all bodies convey, or are the

vehicles of certain universal property called od or odyle

(od-hyle), which is not regarded as a force but as an inert and

passive substance underlying the more active forces familiar to

us in kinetic, calorific and electrical phenomena. In this respect

it holds a position analogous to the argon of the atmosphere,

and is capable of taking up the vibrations of those bodies to

which it is related and which it invests. It would perhaps not be

amiss to regard it as static ether. Of itself it has no active

properties, but in its still, well-like depths, it holds the

potentiality of all magnetic forces.

This odyle is particularly potent in certain bodies and one of

these is the beryl or quartz. It produces and retains more readily

in the beryl than in most other bodies the images communicated

to it by the subconscious activity of the seer. It is in the nature

of a sensitized film which is capable of recording thought forms

and mental images as the photographic film records objective

things. The occultist will probably recognize in it many of the

properties of the "astral light," which is often spoken of in this

connection. Readers of my Manual of Occultism will already

be informed concerning the nature of subconscious activity. The

mind or soul of man has two aspects: the attentive or waking

consciousness, directed to the things of the external world; and

the subconscious, which is concerned with the things of the

interior world. Each of these spheres of the mind has its

voluntary and automatic phases, a fact which is usually lost

sight of, inasmuch as the automatism of the mind is frequently

confounded with the subconscious. All purposive action tends

to become automatic, whether it be physical or mental, sensory

or psychic.

The soul in this connection is to be regarded as the repository of

all that complex of emotions, thoughts, aspirations, impressions,

perceptions, feelings, etc., which constitute the inner life of man.

The soul is none the less a fact because there are those who

bandy words about its origin and nature.

Reichenbach has shown by a series of experiments upon sensitive and

hypnotized subjects, that metals and other materials produce very marked

effects in contact with the human body. The experiments further showed

that the same substance affected different patients in diverse manners.

The hypnotic experiments of the late Dr. Charcot, the well-known

French biologist, also demonstrate the rapport existing between the

sensitive subject and foreign bodies in proximity. A bottle containing

a poison is taken at random from a number of others of similar appearance

and is applied to the back of the patient's neck. The hypnotic subject

at once begins to develop all the symptoms of arsenical, strychnine or

prussic acid poisoning; it being afterwards found that the bottle

contains the toxine whose effects have been portrayed by the subject.

But not all hypnotic subjects are capable of the same degree of


Community of sensation is as common a phenomenon as community of

thought between a hypnotizer and his subject, and what are called

sympathetic pains are included in common experience. Sensitive persons

will simulate all the symptoms of a virulent disease, e.g. mock

measles. The phenomena of psychometry reveal the fact of bodies being

able to retain records and of the human possibility of reviving these

records as sensations and thought images, although there is no direct

community of sensation between an inanimate object and the

nervous organism of a sensitive. It need not, therefore, be a

matter of surprise that the crystal can exert a very definite and

sensible effect upon the nervous organism of a certain order of

subjects. It does not affect all alike nor act in a uniform

and constant manner on those whom it does so affect. The

modifications of sensibility taking place in the subject or

sensitive render the action of the agent a variable quantity.

Where its action is more or less rapid and remarkable, however,

the quartz or beryl crystal may be regarded as the most effective

agent for producing clairvoyance.

In other cases the concave mirror, either of polished copper or

black japan, will be found serviceable. In certain cases where

the faculty is already developed but lying in latency, any

shining surface will suffice to bring it into activity. Ecstatic

vision was first induced in Jacob Boehme by the sun's rays

falling upon a bowl of water which caught and dazzled his eyes

while he was engaged in the humble task of cobbling a pair of

shoes. In consequence of this exaltation of the visual sense we

have those remarkable works, The Aurora, The Four Complexions,

Signatura Rerum, and many others, with letters and commentaries which,

in addition to being of a spiritual nature, are also to be regarded

as scholarly when referred to their source. In Boehme's case, as in

that of Swedenborg, whose faculty did not appear until he was

fifty-four years of age, it would appear that the faculty was

constitutional and already developed, waiting only the conditions

which should bring it into active operation.

The agent most suitable for developing clairvoyance cannot

therefore be definitely prescribed. It must remain a matter of

experiment with the subject himself. That there are some

persons in whom the psychic faculties are more prone to

activity than in others is certain, and it would appear also that

these faculties are native in some by spiritual or hereditary

succession, which fact is evident from their genitures as

interpreted by astrology. Many planets in flexed signs and a

satellitium in the nadir or lower angle of the horoscope is

a certain indication of extreme nervous sensibility and

predisposition to telaesthenic impressions, though this

observation does not cover all the instances before me. It is true,

however, where it applies. The dominant influence of the planet

Neptune in a horoscope is also to be regarded as a special

indication of some form of psychic activity, as I have frequently


In cases where the subject is not prepared by evolutional

process for the exercise of the psychic faculties, it will be found

that the same or similar indications will tend to the simulation

of such faculties, as by mediumism, conjuring, etc., while they

may even result in chicanery and fraud.

But among those who are gifted in the direction spoken of,

all are not clairvoyant. The most common form of psychic

disturbance is involuntary clairaudience, and telaesthesia is not

perhaps less general. St. Paul indicates a variety of such

psychic "gifts," e.g. the gifts of prophecy, of healing, of

understanding, etc.; but these may also be regarded in quite a

mundane sense. The development among the early Christians of

spiritual gifts, visions, hearing, speaking in foreign tongues,

psychic healing, etc., appears to have given rise to a variety of

exceptional experiences by which they were induced to say "we

cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard." "One star

differs from another in glory," says St. Paul, and this diversity

of spiritual gifts proceeds from the celestial world, and is so

ordered that each may fulfil the part required of him in the

economy of life.

Psychic tradition is as important a fact as is physical heredity.

The latter is a factor of immense importance as affecting the

constitution and quality of the organism in and through which

the soul is required to function. But psychic tradition is that

which determines the power and faculty brought to bear upon

the physical organism. Past evolution is not a negligible

quantity, and its effects are never wasted or lost to the

individual. We are what we are by reason of what we have

already been, as well individually as racially. "The future is, the

past unfolded" or "entered upon by a new door," as it has been

well said. We do not suddenly acquire faculties, we evolve them

by effort and successive selection. In our upward striving for

liberty we specialize along certain lines which appear to us to be

those offering either the least resistance or the most ready

means of self-preservation, liberty and well-being. Hence some

evolve a special faculty for money-making and, as schoolboys,

will be expert traders of alley-taws, jack-knives, toffee and all

sorts of kickshaws. Others of another bent or list will traffic in

knowledge to the abounding satisfaction of their masters and the

jealous pride of their form.

So that psychic tradition while disposing some to the speedy

revelation of an already acquired faculty, disposes others to the

more arduous but not less interesting work of acquiring such

faculty. And because the spiritual needs of mankind are ever of

primary importance, there are always to be found those in

whom the power of spiritual interpretation is the dominant

faculty, such persons being the natural channels of intercourse

between the superior and inferior worlds. The physical body of

man is equipped with a corresponding order of microbic life

which acts as an organic interpreter, translating the elements of

food into blood, nerve, fibre, tissue and bone agreeably to the

laws of their being. What I have to say in this place is addressed

especially to those who would aspire to the faculty of clear

vision and in whom the psychic powers are striving towards

expression. Every person whose life is not wholly sunk in

material and selfish pleasures but in whom the aspiration to a

higher and better life is a hunger the world cannot satisfy, has

within himself the power to see and know that which he seeks

behind the veil of the senses. Nature has never produced a

desire she cannot satisfy. There is no hope, however vague, that

the soul cannot define, and no aspiration, however high, that the

wings of the spirit cannot reach. Therefore be patient and strive.

To others I would say: Be content. All birds cannot be eagles.

The nightingale has a song and the humming bird a plumage the

eagle can never possess. The nightingale may sing to the stars,

the humming bird to the flowers, but the eagle, whose tireless

eyes gaze into the heart of day, is uncompanioned in its lofty

loneliness amid the mountain tops.