The Faculty Of Seership

Until quite recently the faculty of seership has been associated

in occult literature with various magical formulae. There are in

existence works by Tristemius, Francis Barrett, Ebenezer Sibley

and others in which the use of the crystal is made by means of

magical invocations and a variety of ceremonial observances. It

is not within the scope of this treatise to determine the

value of such rites or the desirability of
nvoking extraneous

intelligences and powers by the use of magical practices; but I

think we may conclude that communion of this order is not

unattended by grave dangers. When the Israelites were ill-content

with the farinaceous manna they invoked Heaven to send them meat. They

got what they wanted, but also the dire penalty which it incurred; and

it is quite likely that in invoking occult forces beyond one's power

to control great evils may ensue. All action and reaction are equal

and opposite. A child can pull a trigger but cannot withstand the

recoil of a gun, or by moving a lever may set machinery in motion

which it can by no means control. Therefore without strength and

knowledge of the right sort it is foolish to meddle with occult

forces; and in the education of the development of the psychic and

spiritual faculties native in us, it is better to encourage their

natural development by legitimate exercise than to invoke the action

of a stimulus which cannot afterwards be controlled. Water will

wear away a rock by continual fretting, though nobody doubts

that water is softer than a rock, and if the barrier between this

and the soul-world be like granite, yet the patient and persistent

action of the determined mind will sooner or later wear it away,

the last thin layer will break and the light of another world will

stream through, dazzling our unaccustomed eyes with its bright


It is my object here to indicate by what means and by what

persons the natural development of the clairvoyant faculty may

be achieved. In regard then to the subject, medium or seer, there

are two distinct temperaments in which the faculty is likely to

be dominant and capable of high and rapid development. The

first is the nervous temperament, characterized by extreme

activity of body and mind, nervous excitability, dark complexion,

prominent features, and wiry frame. Types of this temperament are

to be seen in the descriptions of Dante, Swedenborg, Melancthon,

Edgar A. Poe and others. This type represents the positive seers.

The other temperament is of the passive type and is characterized

by a full lymphatic habit, pale or delicate complexion, blue eyes,

straight fine hair, small hands, tapering fingers, cold and fleshy to

the touch; usually a thin or high voice and languid manner.

These two types of seers--of which there are many varieties--

achieve their development by quite opposite means. The positive

seer projects the mental images by a psychic process impossible

of description, but by a certain psychic metabolism by which the

apperceptions of the soul are transformed into mental images of a

purely symbolical nature. The psychic process of picture-production

is involuntary and unconscious, but the perception of the

mental pictures is a perfectly conscious process and involves

the exercise of an introspective faculty. The passive seer, on the

contrary, is effortless, and receives impressions by reflection, the

visions coming imperceptibly and having a literal interpretation.

The vision is not in this case of an allegorical or symbolic nature,

as is the case with the positive seer, but is an actual vision of a

fact or event which has already happened or as it will transpire in

the future. Thus the positive vision consists in the projection of

the mind towards the things of the soul-world, while the passive

vision in the result of a propulsion of the soul-world upon the

passive sense. Of the two kinds of vision, the passive is the more

serviceable as being the more perspicuous and literal, but it has

the disadvantage of being largely under the control of external

influences and consequently of greater variability than the

positive vision. It is, indeed, quite the common experience that

the passive medium requires "conditions" for the proper exercise

of the faculty and where these are lacking no vision can be


The positive type of seer exercises an introspective vision,

searching inwardly towards the soul-world whence revelation

proceeds. The passive seer, on the other hand, remains in a static

condition, open to impressions coming inwards upon the mind's

eye, but making no conscious effort towards inward searching.

Those who have experienced both involuntary and voluntary

visions will readily appreciate the difference of attitude, which is

difficult to convey to others in so many words.

Now the exercise of this faculty does not exist apart from some

definite use, and it may be of advantage to consider what that use

may be. Primarily, I should be disposed to regard the mere

opening up of a channel of communication between the material

and psychic worlds as adequate reason for the exercise of the

faculty. The Gates of Heaven have to be kept open by human

endeavour and the exercise of the spiritual and psychic faculties,

otherwise a complete lesion and cutting off of our source of

inspiration would follow. Except we aspire to the higher world

that world will come no nearer to us. Action and reaction are

equal and opposite. It was never said that the door would be

opened to others than those who knocked. The law of spiritual

compensation involves the fact that we receive what we ask for.

If we get it otherwise, there is no guarantee of its continuance or

that its possession will be a blessing. But if we ask according to

our needs and strive according to our strength there is no law

which can prevent a commensurate response. The ignorance of

our asking and the imperfection of our striving will modify the

nature of the response, but they cannot be negative of results. We

can trust nature and there is a spiritual law in the natural world as

well as a natural law in the spiritual world, for they are


But even our daily life affords numerous instances wherein the

use of the clairvoyant faculty is attended by beneficial results.

How many people there are who have been warned in dreams--

wherein all people are naturally clairvoyant--of some impending

danger to themselves or those around them, must have struck any

casual reader of the daily press; for during recent years much

greater interest has been taken in psychological matters and we

are continually in hearing of new facts which give us knowledge

of the power of the soul to foresee danger, and to know what is

determined upon the world for the greater ends of human

evolution. Some experiences of this nature will no doubt form a

fit subject for a subsequent chapter. The qualifications which

should supplement and sustain the natural aptitude of the seer or

seeress demand consideration in this place, and the following

remarks may not be without value in this respect.

Mental stability, self-possession and confidence in one's own

soul-faculties must be the firm rock on which all revelation

should rest. The element of doubt either negatives results or

opens the door to the ingress of all manner of deceptive


Integrity of purpose is imperative. The purer the intention and

motive of the seer the more lucid will be the vision accorded. No

reliable vision can be obtained by one whose nature is not

inherently truthful.

Any selfish desire dominating the mind, in regard to any thing or

person will distort the vision and render it misleading, while a

persistent self-seeking spirit will effectually shut the door to all

revelation whatsoever.

Therefore above all things it is essential for the investigator of

psychic phenomena to have an unflinching love of truth, to be

resigned to the will of Heaven, to accept the revelations accorded

in a spirit of grateful confidence, and to dispel all doubt and

controversy by an appeal to the eyes of one's own immortal soul.

These are qualifications with which the seer or seeress should be

invested, and if with these the quest of the vision is unsuccessful

after a period of earnest trial, it must be taken as sufficient

warrant that the faculty of clairvoyance is not in the category of

one's individual powers. Haply the same qualifications brought to

bear on some other psychic faculty will result in a rich recompense.

As for those triflers who at odd moments sit for the production of

what they call "phenomena," with no other object than the

gratification of an inquisitive vanity, I would drive them with

whips from the field of psychical research. They are people

whose presence in this area of serious enquiry does no good

either to the cause of truth or the service of the race, and this

loose traffic of sorts in the hope of finding a new sensation would,

were it transferred to another sphere of activity, deservedly

receive a very ugly name.

The suggestion that the clairvoyant faculty is latent in all of us

has no doubt been responsible for much misunderstanding, and

not a little disappointment; but I doubt if it is so far removed

from the truth as that which makes the possession of the faculty a

certain sign of a superior degree of evolution. Although the

faculty of clear vision brings us into more intimate conscious

relations with a new order of existence, where the past and future,

the distant and the near, would seem to be brought into

immediate perception, it does not therefore confer upon us a

higher degree of spirituality. It may undoubtedly offer us a

truer perspective than that we may derive from the ordinary

circumstance of our lives, and may suggest good grounds for a

more comprehensive ethical system, but it cannot compel one to

do the right thing or to lead the virtuous life. Clairvoyance,

indeed, is a faculty which has no direct moral relations. It is no

more the gift or property of the wise or the good man than

extraordinary muscular power is an adjunct of high intelligence.

And yet it is a curious fact that in all the sacred writings of the

world there is a suggestion that holy men, or "Men of God," have

this and other transcendent faculties, such as clairaudience

and the power of healing. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures

clairaudience seems to constitute the peculiar authority of the

teacher or prophet. Thus we have expressions such as: "The

Word of the Lord came to me saying," etc., and "I heard a voice

which said," etc., which is sometimes but not always associated

with direct vision. But because holy men of old were distinguished

by this power of direct vision it is not to be supposed that all who

have it are equally sanctified. By natural gift or by such means we

are here discussing, the faculty may be brought into active function,

but we should not lose sight of the fact that the attainment of

righteousness implies that "all these things shall be added unto you."

I think it right, therefore, to regard the quest of clairvoyance as a

legitimate occupation, providing that it is purposeful and carried

out with a right spirit, while not being allowed to interfere with

the proper performance of one's ordinary duties in life. For it is

possible to become over-zealous and even morbid over these

mysteries of human life, and to become so obsessed by the idea

of their importance as practically to render oneself unfitted for

any ordinary pursuits, thereby producing an isolation that is in the

best sense unprofitable. Moreover, there are mental dangers as

well as spiritual and social to be feared, and it is unfortunately

not uncommon to observe that neuraesthenia, nervous corrosion,

and even insanity attends upon the tireless efforts of the

enthusiast in this direction.

If we regard clairvoyance as a normal faculty we are more likely

to treat it normally than if we give it a paramount and exceptional

value and seek to beatify those in whom it appears. I am

convinced from experience that it is both normal and educable

though not usually active in the large majority of people. I am

also of the opinion that it is not peculiar, except in its higher

functions, to human beings. I have known animals to possess this

faculty; in a higher degree I have seen humans in the exercise of

it. Perhaps even the archangels are yet seeking their vision of


But to us as normal beings clairvoyance should appear a

potentially normal faculty, to be studied and pursued by methods

that are efficient while yet harmless; and this is the purport of the

present treatise. I will therefore ask the reader to follow me in

these pages with a mind divested of all disposition to the