Sections: General Index   Present Section: Index   Work Index   Previous: Lecture 2nd – The Soul; and the Substance of Existence   Next: Lecture 4th   The Atonement



(p. 64)








1. WE have spoken of the Soul and of Spirit. We come now to speak of Spirits; for the understanding of these also is necessary to a true doctrine concerning Existence. But though speaking especially of Spirits, it will be necessary to refer also to Souls; for though Spirits, properly so called, have not souls, Souls have spirits. In either case, however, we shall treat mainly of the Unembodied, or the Disembodied. And as the region or sphere which is immediately contiguous to the Material, and which we ourselves enter upon quitting the Material, is the Astral, it is this and its occupants, which will first engage our attention.

02. To understand fully the place and value of this sphere, it is necessary to have in the mind a clear conception of the places and values of all the spheres which are comprised in and which constitute that manifestation of Being which is termed Existence. To this end we will commence with the following succinct recapitulation. The Spirit and Soul, which are original life and substance, are Divine and


uncreated. The astral and material bodies are the “created” that is, the manifested – part. The astral – which is called also the sideral, the odic, the magnetic, the fiery – is fluidic, and constitutes the bond between the soul and the material body. It is the original body being that which makes and that which becomes. The original, permanent individual consists of soul and spirit; and when manifested it is by means of the astral or fluidic body, of which the material or fixed body is the outer manifestation – the manifestation, as it is called, in ultimates.

03. Every creation, or complete manifested entity, whether it be macrocosmic or microcosmic, is a compound of two dualisms, which are respectively celestial and terrestrial, or spiritual and material. The celestial, or kingdom of heaven, which consists of soul and spirit, is within. And the terrestrial, or kingdom of this world, which consists of astral body – the seat of the anima bruta – and of phenomenal body, is without. Of these two dualisms, each is to the other the Beyond. And between them, saving only where one and the same Divine Will – the will which has its seat in, and which is, the Spirit – pervades the whole being, is antagonism. They are respectively the spiritual man and the natural man. But in the suffusion of the entire personality thus constituted, by one and the same Divine Will, consists what mystically is termed the At-one-ment, or reconciliation between man and God, but which is commonly called the Atonement.

            04. As the whole is, thus, fourfold, so with the exception of the spirit, are the parts. The external, material body, whether of planet or of man, is fourfold in that it is gaseous, mineral, vegetable, animal. The astral body, or perisoul, is fourfold, being magnetic, purgatorial, limbic, cherubic – terms presently to be explained. The soul is

(p. 66)

fourfold, namely, elemental, instinctive, vital, rational. And the spirit is threefold, or triune, because there is no external to spirit. Being threefold, it is the Essence, the Father, the Word; and is desirous, willing, obedient. And being God, it is one, because God is one. And thus the magical number, mystically called the number of Perfection and of the Woman, the number Thirteen, derives its sanctity from the constitution of the perfected individual.

05. The astral sphere, zone, or circulus – variously called the perisoul, the magnetic, sideral, and odic fluid or body – is the same with the “wheel” of Ezekiel, of which the four living creatures are the four elemental spirits. It contains four orders of entities, which are represented by four magnetic circuli or wheels encircling the earth, and full of lives. The highest and uppermost of these circuli is that of the elemental spirits or “winged creatures”; the second is that of the souls; the third is that of the shades; and the fourth and lowest is that of the magnetic spirits commonly called astrals.

06. These circuli correspond to Air, Water, Earth, and Fire, beginning at the outer and uppermost and going inwards and downwards. The magnetic emanations, or astrals, are under the dominion of the Fire. They are not souls, or divine personalities; they are simply emanations or phantasms, and have no real being.

07. Every event or circumstance which has taken place upon the planet, has an astral counterpart or picture in the magnetic light; so that, as already said there are actually ghosts of events as well as of persons. The magnetic existences of this circle are the shades, or manes, of past times, circumstances, thoughts, and acts of which the planet has been the scene; and they can be evoked and conjured. The appearances on such occasions are but shadows left

(p. 67)

on the protoplasmic mirror. This order, then, corresponds to that of Fire and is the fourth and lowest.

            08. The next circulus, the third, with its spirits, corresponds to Earth, and contains the shades, Lares and Penates, of the dead. These are of many different kinds. Some are mere shades, spiritual corpses, which will soon be absorbed by the fourth circulus just described and become mere magnetic phantoms. Some are “ghosts,” or astral souls not containing the divine particle, but representing merely the “earthly minds” of the departed. These are in Limbo or the “Lower Eden.” Others are really Souls, and of the celestial order, or anima divina, who are in Purgatory, being bound to the astral envelope, and unable to quit it. They are sometimes called “earthbound spirits,” and they often suffer horrible torments in their prison; not because this circulus is itself a place of torment, but because to the anima divina the body, whether material or astral, is a “house of bondage” and chamber of ordeal. The strong wills, love, and charity of those on earth may relieve these souls and lessen the time of their purgatorial penance. Of some of them the retention is due to wilful ignorance, of others to sensuality, and of others to crimes of violence, injustice, and cruelty.

09. This sphere is also inhabited by a terrible class, that of the “devils,” some of whom are of great power and malice. Of these the souls are never set free; they are in what is called “Hell.” But they are not immortal. For, after a period corresponding to their personal vitality and the strength of their rebellious wills, they are consumed, and perish for ever. For a soul may be utterly gross at last, and deprived of all spirit of the Divine order, and yet may have so strong a vitality or mortal spirit of its own, that it may last hundreds of years in low atmospheres.

(p. 68)

But this occurs only with souls of very strong will, and generally of indomitable wickedness. The strength of their evil will, and the determination to be wicked, keep them alive. But, though devils, they are mortal, and must go out at last. Their end is utter darkness. They cease to exist. Meanwhile they can be evoked by incantation. But the practice is of the most dangerous and wicked kind; for the endeavour of these lost spirits is to ruin every soul to which they have access.

10. In the sense ordinarily understood, there is no personal Devil. That which, mystically, is called the Devil, is the negation and opposite of God. And whereas God is I AM, or positive Being, the Devil is NOT. He is not positive, not self-subsistent, not formulate. God is all these; and the Devil, in being the opposite of these, is none of them. God, as has been said, is Light, Truth, Order, Harmony, Reason; and God’s works are illumination, knowledge, understanding, love, and sanity. The Devil, therefore, is darkness, falsehood, discord, and ignorance; and his works are confusion, folly, division, hatred, and delirium. He has no individuality and no being. For he represents the Not-being. Whatever God is, that the Devil is NOT. Wherever God’s kingdom is not, the Devil reigns.

11. It is the principle of Not-being which, taking personality in man, becomes to him the Devil. For by divesting him of his divine qualities, actual or potential, it makes him in the image of God’s opposite, that is, a devil. And of such an one the end is destruction, or, as the Scriptures call it, eternal death. And this of necessity from the nature of the case. For evil has not in itself the element of self-perpetuation. God alone is Life, or the principle of eternal generation. And, as Life, God comprises all things necessary

(p. 69)

to life, to its production, that is, to its perfection, and to its perpetuation. And God is Spirit, whereof the antithetical ultimate is Matter. The Devil is that which gives to Matter the pre-eminence over Spirit. That is, since there is nothing but God’s creation to be set in opposition to God, the Devil exalts the mere material of creation in the place of God. Of such preference for Matter over Spirit, for appearance over reality, for Seeming over Being, the end is the forfeiture of reality, and therein, of Being. In representing, therefore, the contest between good and evil – a contest corresponding to that between light and darkness – creation represents the contest between Being and Not-being. To “give place to the Devil,” is thus, in its ultimate result, to renounce Being. And, as a free agent, man is able to do this. God, while giving to all the opportunity and choice, compels no one to remain in Being. God accepts only willing service, and there is no such thing as compulsory salvation. God – that is Good – must be loved and followed for the sake of God and Good, not through fear of possible penalties, or hope of possible rewards.

12. Now the sign, above all others, whereby to distinguish the Devil, is this: God is, first and foremost, Love. The Devil, therefore, is, before all else, Hate. He is to be known, then, first by the limitation, and next by the negation, of Love.

13. The Devil is not to be confounded with “Satan,” though they are sometimes spoken of in Scriptures as if they were identical. The truth concerning “Satan” belongs to those greater mysteries which have always been reserved from general cognition. (1)

14. Notwithstanding that the Devil is the Non-entity

(p. 70)

above described, he is the most potent, and, indeed, sole power of evil. And no one is in so great danger from him, as he who does not believe in him. The whole function of the Christ is to oppose, and rescue men from him. And therefore it is written, “For this cause is Christ manifest, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”

15. But, be it remembered, though there is no self-subsistent, positive evil being – such as the Devil is ordinarily presented – but only the negation of God – which is to God what darkness is to light, and the outermost void to the solar system – there are evil spirits, the souls of bad man on their downward way to final extinction. And these are wont to associate themselves with persons in the flesh for whom they have affinity. And they do this partly in order to gratify their own evil propensities by inciting to wickedness and mischief, and partly to obtain from them the vitality necessary to prolong their own existence. For, as their career approaches its end, they become so low in vitality that a sentence of expulsion from the person in whom they have taken refuge may involve their immediate extinction, unless they can find other location – a contingency obviously contemplated in the case of the Gadarene demoniacs. The ailments, physical or mental, of men are sometimes caused or aggravated by extraneous malignant entities of this order. And occultists hold that they even share with the elementals the power of inducing the conditions under which sudden storms and other elemental disturbances occur. Evil spirits have no chief, no organisation or solidarity; nothing that corresponds to God. The worse they are; the lower and nearer to extinction. The conditions which attract them are due to men themselves, and may be result of prenatal misconduct.

16. The next and second circulus of the planet – that

(p. 71)

which corresponds to the Water – is the kingdom of the souls which are mystically described as being in “Brahma’s bosom.” These are the purified who are at rest before seeking reincarnation. This circulus is not confined to human souls. Therein are all creatures both great and small, but without “fiery” envelope. Between these and the kingdom of the earthbound souls in prison to their own astral bodies, a great gulf is fixed; and they cannot pass from one to the other save on accomplishing their purgation. “Thou comest not out thence until thou hast paid the last mite.” The souls in the second circulus, however, though purified, are still “under the elements.” For purification is not regeneration, though a necessary step towards it. And not being ready for transmutation into spirit, they must, sooner or later, seek fresh incarnations. They are, therefore, still in the sphere of the planet. Whereas the regenerated or transmuted souls have passed beyond the astral zone altogether and it contains no trace of them. This second circulus was placed under the dominion of the sea-god Poseidon, because, first, being protoplasmic and devoid of any limiting principle, water corresponds to the substance of the Soul. Next, it is the baptismal symbol of purification from materiality. And, thirdly, it is the source of life and the contrary of fire. “Let Lazarus dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue,” cries the soul in the prison of the “fiery” body to the soul in the zone of the water.

17. To the first and highest circulus belong the spirits of the elements, which pervade all things, not only of the Macrocosmic planet, but of the Microcosm man. Of these elementals, the air-spirits preside over the function of respiration, and the organs which accomplish it. The water-spirits preside over the humors and secretions of the body,

(p. 72)

and in particular the blood. The earth-spirits have for their domain the various tissues of the body. And animal heat, assimilation, and nutrition are dependent on the fire-spirits.

18. An initiate of the highest grade, on who has power to hush the storm and still the waves, can, through the same agency, heal the disorders and regenerate the functions of the body. And he does this by an impulsion of will acting on the magnetic atmosphere, every particle of which has a spirit capable of responding to the human will.

19. The common phrase, “Spirits of the dead,” is incorrect. There are only shades of the dead souls of the dead. But these last are of two kinds, the earthly, or anima bruta, and the heavenly, or anima divina. The shade, larva, or spectre – which is the outer element of the ghost – is always dumb. The true “ghost” consists of the exterior and earthly portion of the soul, that portion which, being weighted with cares attachments and memories merely mundane, is detached by the soul and remains in the astral sphere, an existence more or less definite and personal, and capable of holding, through a Sensitive, converse with the living. It is, however, but as a cast-off vestment of the soul, and is incapable of endurance as ghost. The true soul and real person, the anima divina, parts at death with all those lower affections which would have retained it near its earthly haunts, and either passes on at once to higher conditions, attaining its perfection by post-mortem evolution, or continues its peregrinations in a new body. This, the true soul, may, by Divine permission, and on special occasions, communicate with the living, returning for that purpose from the purgatorial world; but such an event is of the rarest and most solemn kind. Reincarnation pertains only to the true soul. The astral soul, or fluidic envelope, does not again become incarnate; so

(p. 73)

that they are not in error who assert that a person is never twice incarnate. That which transmigrates is the essential germ of the individual, the seat of all his divine potencies. In some this exists as a mere dim spark, and in others as a luminous sun.

20. Metempsychosis, in its strict sense, consists in the overshadowing of a soul already incarnate, by one which has completed its transmigrations, and become freed from Matter and all planetary bonds. This divine overshadowing differs both in kind and in degree from those astral visitations which are familiar to so many under the names of “guides,” and “controls,” and which as will presently be shown, are often not even “ghosts,” but mere astral mirages of the seer or the invoker. When not of this kind, the control is either of the spirits known as Elementals, or of the shades or larvæ of the recently dead, the Manes, Lares, and Penates of the Latins. The river Lethe, of which the dead are said to drink in order to attain oblivion of their past before returning to new earth-bodies, represents the process of separation between the anima divina and anima bruta, whereby the former doffs for a time the garment of its memory. Souls may, according to circumstances, either become reincarnate immediately after such divestment of their astral part, or proceed to accomplish their purification in the purgatorial world. (1)

21. It is as penance or expiation that souls re-descend from the human into the animal form. This return occurs through the forfeiture of the divine-human spirit, so that the spirit itself does not incur dishonour. True, the penance involves disgrace; but the disgrace is not in the penance, but in the sin through which the need for the penance is incurred. The man who sullies his humanity

(p. 74)

by cruelty or impurity, is already below the grade of humanity; and the form which his soul assumes is the mere natural consequence of that degradation. Form is the expression of qualities. These are dependent upon the condition of substance, so that the soul takes necessarily its form according to its condition. And this is dependent upon the will or affections of the individual. Wherefore it is an error to hold “Nature” responsible for fierce and horrible creatures. All that “Nature” does is to enable creatures to take form according to the image in which they have made themselves by the tendencies they have voluntarily encouraged. She allows that which is interior to the individual to manifest itself exteriorly. Were this not so, no character of any creature could be known by its appearance. The “mark set upon Cain” has its counterpart in the stripe of the tiger; and the crustacea denote selfish spirits, who are hard exteriorly to all the world, and soft only interiorly to themselves. The adept in Psychology can tell whether the soul of an animal is on its upward or its downward path. He can discern also the animal beneath the human form, when the progressing soul has not yet wholly shed the animal nature; for the exterior form of humanity is reached in full while its interior reality is reached in part only. Thus, for the adept there are more animals than men to be seen in the streets of a city, despite the humanity of their forms. The individual is already partly human before it has ceased to wear the form of a rudimentary man, that is, of an animal. The matrix can bring forth only its own kind, in the semblance of the generators; and as soon as the human is attained, even in the least degree, the soul has power to put on the body of humanity. Thus, too, the adept can see the human shape in creatures under torture in the physiological laboratory.

(p. 75)

He can discern the potential form of a man with limbs and lineaments resembling those of his tormentors, hidden within the outward form as a child in its mother’s womb, and writhing and moaning under the lacerations of the knife. And he sees also the tiger and the devil rapidly developing within the still human forms of the torturers, and knows certainly that to such grades they will descend on quitting the human. For he knows, having learned it by the long experiences of his own soul, that God, who is before all else Love, is also before all else Justice, and this because God is Love; for Justice is Sympathy.

Wherefore, by the inexorable law of Justice, he who makes existence a hell for others, prepares, inevitably, a hell for himself, wherein he will be his own devil, the inflictor of his own torments. His victims will, indeed, find compensation at the Divine hands; but for him will be no escape, no alleviation, until “he has paid the last mite.” For the pitiless, and for the pitiless alone, there is no pity. Such, the adept of spiritual science knows absolutely, is the doom that awaits both the tormentor himself, and, in their degree, those who by accepting the results of his practice, consent to his method.

22. That which leads to the loss of the soul, is not isolated crime, however heinous, or even a repetition of this; but a continued condition of the heart, in which the will of the individual is in persistent opposition to the Divine Will; for this is a state in which repentance is impossible. The condition most favourable to salvation, and speedy emancipation from successive incarnations, is the attitude of willing obedience – freedom and submission. The great object to be attained is emancipation from the body – the redemption, that is, of Spirit from Matter.


(p. 76)



23. We will now speak particularly of that order of spirits by which, ordinarily, “mediums” are “controlled”; or, more correctly, sensitives are influenced, since these spirits which are called astrals, have no force, and cannot exercise the least control. Born of the emanations of the body, they occupy the perisoul, or fluidic astral and magnetic bond which unites the soul to the body.

24. In this fluid, which is the magnetism of the earth – the lowest circulus of the Fire – and which may be more clearly denoted by the term latent light – analogous to latent heat – take place those changes, currents, and modifications which result and are expressed in the phenomena – of late days familiar to numbers – produced by astral spirits. Through this fluidic element are passed two currents, one refracted from above, and the other reflected from below – one being celestial, as coming direct from the spirit, and the other terrestrial, as coming from the earth or body; and the adept must know how to distinguish the ray from reflection. When a medium, or sensitive, passes into the negative, and thence into the somnambulic state, the mind of such sensitive is controlled by the will of the magnetiser. The will of this second person directs and controls the procession and expression of the image perceived. But the magnetiser, unless an adept, will not be able to discern the true origin of the images evoked.

25. Now, in this magnetic sphere are two orders of existences. Of these orders, one is that – already mentioned – of the shades of the dead; the other consists of reflects of the living; and the difficulty of distinguishing between these two orders is, to the uninitiated, a source of error. Error of a more serious kind arises through the complex

(p. 77)

character of the astral region itself, and the variety of the grades of spirits by which every division is tenanted. Spirits of the subhuman order, moreover, are wont under control of the wish of their invokers, to personate spirits of a higher grade.

26. It will thus be seen that the elements of deception are broadly, twofold. In the first place, to enter the astral region, is not to enter the celestial; and the ray reflected from below, and which bears the imprint of the body, may easily be mistaken for the ray refracted from above, and which alone is pure and divine. In the second place, the astral region itself contains various orders of spirits, of which some only bear relation to actual souls, and the others consist of phantasmal and illusory reflects. These latter – the astral spirits properly so called – are in no cases entities, or intelligent personalities; but reflections, traces, echoes, or footprints of a soul which is passing, or which has passed, through the astral medium; or else they are reflections of the individual himself who beholds or who evokes them, and may thus represent an equal compound of both sensitive and magnetiser.

27. Now, the atmosphere with which a man surrounds himself – his soul’s respiration – affects the astral fluid. Reverberations of his own ideas come back to him. His soul’s breath colours and savors what a sensitive conveys to him. But he may also meet with contradictions, with a systematic presentation of doctrine or of counsels at variance with his own personal views, through his mind not being sufficiently positive to control all the manifestations of the electric agent. The influence of the medium, moreover, through which the words come, interposes. Or, as is often the case, a magnetic battery of thought has overcharged the elements and imparted to it a certain current.

(p. 78)

Thus, new doctrines are “in the air,” and spread like wildfire. One or two strongly positive minds give the initiative, and the impulse flies through the whole mass of latent light, correspondingly influencing all who are in relation with it.

28. The merely magnetic spirits are like mists which rise from the damp earth of low-lying lands, or vapours in high altitudes upon which if a man’s shadow falls he beholds himself as a giant. For these spirits invariably flatter and magnify a man to himself, telling one that he is, or shall be, a king, a Christ, or the wisest and most famous of mortals; and that if he will be wholly negative, and give himself up entirely to them, suppressing his own intelligence and moral sense, they will enable him to realise his utmost ambition. Being born of the fluids of the body, they are unspiritual and live of the body. And not only have they no aspirations beyond the body, but they ignore, and even deny, the existence of any sphere above their own. They speak, indeed, of God, especially under the name of Jehovah, but with complete ignorance of its meaning; and they insist on material renderings and applications of any doctrine of which they may catch the terms. They are profuse alike of promises and of menaces, and indulge freely in prophecies. But when informed of their failures they declare that even God cannot surely foresee the future, but can judge only according to apparent probabilities. Of contradictions in their own statements they are altogether unconscious; and be these gross and palpable as they may, they remain wholly unabashed by the disclosure of them. Especially are they bitter against the “Woman.” For, in her intuition of Spirit, they recognise their chief enemy. And whenever they attach themselves either to a man or to a woman, they make it their endeavour to exalt the masculine

(p. 79)

or force element, of mind or body, at the expense of the feminine element. And these, generally, are their signs. Is there anything strong? They make it weak. Is there anything wise? They make it foolish. Is there anything sublime? They distort and travesty it. And where suffered to expatiate unchecked, they descend to blasphemy and obscenity without measure, and incite to courses in turn sensuous, vicious, malicious, or cruel, encouraging to gross and luxurious living – the flesh of animals, and stimulants being especially favourable to their production and nurture. They are the forms beheld in delirium, and are frequent agents in producing the phenomena of hysteria. They are the authors, too, of those hasty impulses by yielding to which people do in a moment mischief which a lifetime cannot efface or repair. And, as they live upon the vital spirits of the blood, they deplete the vital energy, and are as vampires to those upon whom they fasten. They are able, moreover, to carry elsewhere the knowledge they get from any one; – being the “powers of the air” spoken of in Scripture, and the “bird that carries the voice and tells the matter.” For the term rendered “bird” signifies a winged creature, and implies an astral. Hence one of the reasons for observing secrecy concerning Sacred Mysteries. For, by seeming to have knowledge of these, the astrals are able to persuade and mislead people, mixing up a little truth with dangerous error, and getting the error accepted on the strength of the truth, or of some Divine name or phrase with which they associate it, themselves being ignorant of its import. Being impersonal, they have no organon of knowledge, for this is of Soul, and the astrals have no positive existence, but subsist subjectively in human beings. Having no souls, they are not individuals, and have no idea of right and wrong, true and false, but, like a mirror, reflect what comes

(p. 80)

before them, and, in reflecting, reverse it. Catching any prominent quality in a person’s mind they make the most of it by reflecting and magnifying it. Hence they are not to be heeded. We must heed only the God within. Of the enormous ladder within us, at the apex of which is the Absolute, these magnetic phantasmagoria are at the base.

29. Unable to grasp or conceive of anything beyond the atmosphere of their own circle, the astral phantoms – unless under the influence of a strongly positive mind – deny altogether the existence of the upper dualism, which, with the lower, constitutes man a fourfold being. They assert, indeed, that man consists of body and soul; but they mean thereby the material body and earthly mind, and represent these as constituting the man. The soul and spirit, which are really the man, have for them no existence; and they usually refuse, in consequence, to admit the doctrine of Transmigration or Reincarnation. For, as they are aware, the body and perisoul perish, and the anima bruta cannot transmigrate or become reincarnate. Their inability to recognise the soul and spirit, leads them to deny the existence of any source of knowledge superior to themselves, and to assert that they themselves are man’s true and only inspiring spirits and guardian angels. And one of their favourite devices consists in building up, out of the magnetic emanations of the individual, a form which they present as his own “counterpartal angel” and divine spirit, from whom, say they, he was separated in what – affecting Scripture phraseology – they call the Adamic period of his being, and by reunion with which he attains his final perfection. In this they travesty at once the doctrine of that divine marriage between soul and spirit, which, occurring in the individual, constitutes his final perfection, or Nirvana; and the relations of the genius, or

(p. 81)

true guardian angel, with his client. For, being unintelligent, they fail to perceive that perfection is to be attained, not by accretion or addition from without, but only by development or unfoldment from within. Thus the process itself of regeneration, becomes altogether an absurdity in their hands. And in this, as in all other matters, the object of the astrals is to obtain all credit and support for their own order, by substituting for the Spirit a spirit, and this one of themselves.

30. It is to astral instigation, generally, that are due the various communities and sects which have for their basis some peculiar relation between the sexes. That modern form of the cultus of what is called “Free Love,” which sets forth, not the human, but the female body as the temple of God, and with this couples the doctrine of “counterpartal angels,” is entirely of astral contrivance. And so also is the notion, far from uncommon, that by abjuring the ordinary marriage relation, and devoting herself wholly to her astral associate, a woman may in the most literal sense, become an immaculate mother of Christs. It is to their materialisation of this and other doctrines, which properly are spiritual only – and, notably, as will by and by be shown of the doctrine of Vicarious Atonement – that is due the degradation of Christianity from a spiritual to a materialistic, and therein to an idolatrous religion, and its consequent failure, thus far, to accomplish its intended end. But of this more on a future occasion. It is sufficient to add here in this connection, that, not in doctrine only, but also in practice – as in the formation of habits of life – astral influence is always exerted in the direction of the gross, the selfish and the cruel. It is always the influence under which men, whether they be conscious of it or not, lower the standard of their conduct, and seek their own

(p. 82)

gratification at the cost of others. Of those hideous blots upon modern life, the frequent sins of violence, greed, and intemperance, the astrals are active promoters. And to them is due in no small degree that extension of the doctrine of vicarious sacrifice – originally their own invention – from the sacerdotal to the social and scientific planes, which has made of Christendom little else than a vast slaughterhouse and chamber of torture. No less than the priest of a sacrificial religion, are the butcher, the sportsman, and the vivisector, ministers to the astral in man. Nevertheless, though thus indictable, these spirits are not in themselves evil. They do but reflect and magnify the evil which men harbour and encourage in themselves.

31. It is characteristic of the astrals, that always strenuously insist on the most absolute passivity on the part of those whom they influence or address. This condition of unintelligent passivity must be carefully distinguished from the reasonable reflective state favourable to divine communion, and called the “Night-time of the Soul.” Such is the unsubstantiality of the astrals, that the smallest exercise of an adverse will throws them into confusion and deprives them of the power of utterance. They shun a person in whom the flame of the spirit burns up straightly and ardently; but where it spreads out and is diffused, they flock round him like moths. The more negative the mind and weak the will of the person, the more apt and ready he is to receive them. And the more positive his mind and pronounced his will – in the right direction – the more open he is to Divine communication. The kingdom of the Within yields, not to indifference and inaction, but to enthusiasm and concentration. Wherefore it is said, “To labour is to pray; to ask is to receive; to

(p. 83)

knock is to have the door open.” When we think inwardly, pray intensely, and imagine centrally, then we converse with God. When we allow ourselves to be inert and mechanically reflective, then we are at the mercy of the astrals, and ready to accept any absurdity as divine truth.

            32. The astrals, it will be useful to many to be assured, not only cannot confer the Divine life, they cannot rise to be partakers of it themselves. In describing them, the exigencies of language compel the use of terms implying personality. But it must be clearly understood that these “spirits” are mere vehicles, and are no more possessed of independent volition or motive than is the electric current by which telegraphic messages are conveyed, and which, like them, is a medium of thought; or than the air, which, according to circumstances, transmits the germs of health or of disease. Thus, although they are not intelligent personalities, they are often the media of intelligent ideas, and operate as means of communication between intelligent personalities. Ideas, words, sentences, whole systems of philosophy, may be borne in on the consciousness by means of the currents of magnetic force, as solid bodies are conveyed on a stream, though water is no intelligent agent. The minutest cell is an entity, for it has the power of self-propagation, which the astral has not.

33. Few are they, even of the highest orders of mind, who have not at times fallen under astral influence, and with disastrous results. And herein we have the key, not only to the anomalies of various systems, otherwise admirable, of philosophy and religion, but also to those discordant utterances of the most pious mystics, which have so sorely perplexed and distressed their followers. When we have named a Plato, a Philo, a Paul, a Milton, and a Bœhme, as conspicuous instances in point, enough will have been

(p. 84)

said to indicate the vastness of the field to which the suggestion applies. Few, indeed, are they who can always find the force to penetrate through the astral and dwell solely in the celestial. Hence, for the true ray refracted from above, men mistake and substitute the false ray reflected from below, foul with the taint of earth, and savouring of the limitations of the lower nature, and, like the image in the glass, exactly reversing the truth. Wherever we find a systematic depreciation of woman, advocacy of bloodshed, and materialisation of things spiritual, there, we may be confident, does astral influence prevail. The profound Bœhme frankly admits his own liability in this respect.

            34. Though inhabiting the astral region, the spirits called elemental or nature-spirits, and presiding spirits or genii loci, are of very different orders from those just described. Of this last class are the spirits known to all early nations as haunting forests, mountains, cataracts, rivers, and all unfrequented places. They are the dryads, naiads, kelpis, elves, fairies, and so forth. The elementals are often mysterious, terrifying, and dangerous. They are the spirits invoked by the Rosicrucians and mediaeval magicians, and also by some in the present day. They respond to pentagrams and other symbols, and it is dangerous even to name them at certain times and places. The most powerful of them are the salamanders, or fire-spirits. The ability of the elementals to produce physical phenomena, and their lack of moral sense, render them dangerous. In this they differ from the celestial spirits, for to these no physical demonstration is possible, as they do not come into contact with Matter.

35. The marvels of the adept are performed chiefly through the agency of the elementals. And it was the knowledge of and belief in them, on the part of the centurion

(p. 85)

in the gospels, that elicited from Jesus his expression of surprise, “I have not found such faith even in Israel.” For the centurion’s reply had indicated his recognition of the fact that, just as he himself had soldiers under him to do his bidding, so Jesus had spirits under him. Others than adepts may be, and are, thus associated with the elementals; but only for one who, like an adept, has first purified and perfected himself in mind and spirit, is the association free from danger to himself or to others. Where not mastered, they become masters, and exact absolute subservience, showing themselves pitiless in the infliction of vengeance for disobedience to their behests.

36. To this order and sphere belong the class called by the Hebrews cherubim. They inhabit the “upper astral” immediately outside and below the celestial; and are the “covering angels,” who encompass and guard the sanctuary of the innermost of man’s system, the “holy of holies” of his own soul and spirit. Passing, by their permission, within the sacred precincts, we enter the presence of the celestials, of whom now we will speak.




37. But first, in order to comprehend the procession of Spirit, it should be explained that Life may be represented by a triangle, at the apex of which is God. Of this triangle the two sides are formed by two streams, the one flowing outwards, the other upwards. The base may be taken to represent the material plane. Thus, from God proceed the Gods, the Elohim, or divine powers, who are the active agents of creation. From the Gods proceed all the hierarchy of heaven, with the various orders from the highest to the lowest. And the lowest are the orders of

(p. 86)

the genii, or guardian angels. These rest on the astral plane, but do not enter it. The other side of the triangle is a continuation of the base. And herein is the significance alike of the pyramid and of the obelisk. The pyramid represents the triangle of Life, fourfold, and resting on the earth. The obelisk, the summit only of which is pyramidal, represents a continuation of the base, and is covered with sculptured forms of animal life. For, of this base of the triangle of life, the continuation contains the lowest expressions of life, the first expressions of incarnation, and of the stream which, unlike the first, flows inwards and upwards. The side of the triangle represented by this stream, culminates in the Christ, and empties itself into pure Spirit, which is God. There are, consequently, spirits which by their natures never have been and never can be incarnate; and there are others which reach their perfection through incarnation. And the genii, dæmons, or guardian angels, have nothing in common with the astrals, but are altogether different and superior in kind. Standing, as they do, within the celestial sphere, their function is to lift man from below to their own high region, which, properly, is also his.

38. The day and night of the Microcosm, man, are its projective and reflective states. In the projective state we seek actively outwards; we aspire and will forcibly; we hold active communion with the God without.

39. In the reflective state we look inwards, we commune with our own heart; we indraw and concentrate ourselves secretly and interiorly. During this condition the “Moon” enlightens our hidden chamber with her torch, and shows us ourselves in our interior recess.

            40. Who or what, then, is this Moon? It is part of ourselves, and revolves with us. It is our celestial affinity – of

(p. 87)

whose order it is said, “Their angels do always behold the face of My Father.”

            41. Every human soul has a celestial affinity, which is part of his system and a type of his spiritual nature. This angelic counterpart is the bond of union between the man and God; and it is in virtue of his spiritual nature that this angel is attached to him. Rudimentary creatures have no celestial affinity; but from the moment that the soul quickens, the cord of union is established.

            42. The Genius of a man is this satellite. Man is a planet. God – the God of the man – is its sun. And the moon of this planet is Isis, its initiator, angel or genius. The genius ministers to the man, and gives him light. But the light he gives is from God, and not of himself. He is not a planet but a moon; and his function is to light up the dark places of his planet.

            43. It is in virtue of man’s being a planet that he has a moon. If he were not fourfold, as is the planet, he could not have one. Rudimentary men are not fourfold. They have not the Spirit.

44. Every human spirit-soul has attached to him a genius, variously called, by Socrates, a dæmon; by Jesus an angel; by the apostles, a ministering spirit. All these are but different names for the same thing.

45. The genius is linked to his client by a bond of soul-substance. Persistent ill-living weakens this bond; and after several incarnations – even to the mystical seventy times seven – thus ill-spent, the genius is freed, and the soul definitively lost.

            46. The genius knows well only the things relating to the person to whom he ministers. About other things he has opinions only. The relation of the ministering spirit to his client, is very well represented by that of the Catholic

(p. 88)

confessor to his penitent. He is bound to keep towards every penitent profound secrecy as regards the affairs of other souls. If this were not the case, there would be no order, and no secret would be safe. The genius of each one knows about another person only so much as that other’s genius chooses to reveal.

47. The genius is the moon to the planet man, reflecting to him the sun, or God, within him. For the divine Spirit which animates and eternises the man, is the God of the man, the sun that enlightens him. And this sun it is, and not the outer and planetary man, that his genius, as satellite, reflects to him. Thus attached to the planet, the genius is the complement of the man; and his “sex” is always the converse of the planet’s. And because he reflects, not the planet, but the sun, not the man (as do the astrals), but the God, his light is always to be trusted.

48. The genius never “controls” his client, never suffers the soul to step aside from the body, to allow the entrance of another spirit. The person “controlled” by an astral or elementary, on the contrary, speaks not in his own person, but in that of the spirit operating. And the gestures, expression, intonation, and pitch of voice, change with the obsessing spirit. A person prophesying speaks always in the first person, and says, either, “Thus saith the Lord,” or, “So says some one else,” never losing his own personality.

49. The genii are not fighting spirits, and cannot prevent evils. They were allowed to minister to Jesus only after his exhaustion in combat with the lower spirits. Only they are attacked by these, who are worth attacking. No man ever got to the promised land without going through the desert. The best weapon against them is prayer. Prayer means the intense direction of the will and desire towards

(p. 89)

the Highest, an unchanging intent to know nothing but the Highest. So long as Moses held his hands up towards heaven, the Israelites prevailed; when he dropped them, then the Amalekites.

50. Now, there are two kinds of memory, the memory of the organism and the memory of the soul. The first is possessed by all creatures. The second, which is obtained by Recovery, belongs to the fully regenerate man. For the Divine Spirit of a man is not one with his soul until regeneration, which is the intimate union constituting what, mystically, is called the “marriage” of the hierophant, an event in the life of the initiate, one of the stages of which is set forth in the parable of the Marriage in Cana of Galilee.

            51. When this union takes place, there is no longer need of an initiator; for then the office of the genius is ended. For, as the moon, or Isis, of the planet man, the genius reflects to the Soul the Divine Spirit, with which she is not yet fully united. In all things is order. Wherefore, as with the planets, so with the Microcosm. They who are nearest Divinity, need no moon. But so long as they have night – so long, that is, as any part of the soul remains unilluminated, and her memory or perception obscure – so long, the mirror of the angel continues to reflect the sun to the soul.

            52. (1) For the memory of the soul is recovered by a threefold operation – that of the soul herself, of the moon, and of the sun. The genius is not an informing spirit. He can tell nothing to the soul. All that she receives is already hers. But in the darkness of the night, it would remain

(p. 90)

undiscovered, but for the torch of the angel who enlightens. “Yea,” says the angel genius to his client, “I illuminate thee, but I instruct thee not. I warn thee, but I fight not. I attend, but I lead not. Thy treasure is within thyself. My light showeth where it lieth.” (1)

            53. When regeneration is fully attained, the divine Spirit alone instructs the hierophant. “For the gates of his city shall never be shut; there shall be no night there, the night shall be no more. And they shall not need the light of the lamp, because the Lord God shall enlighten them.” The prophet is a man illumined by his angel. The Christ is a man married to his Spirit. And he returns out of pure love to redeem, needing no more to return to the flesh for his own sake. Wherefore he baptises with the holy Ghost, and with the Divine Fire itself. He is always “in heaven.” And in that he ascends, it is because the Spirit uplifts him, even the Spirit who descends upon him. “And in that he descends, it is because he has first ascended beyond all spheres into the highest Presence. For he that ascends, ascends because he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth. He that descended is the same also who ascended above all the heavens, to fill all things.” Such an one returns, therefore, from a higher world; he belongs no more to the domain of Earth. But he comes from the sun itself, or from some nearer sphere to the sun than ours; having passed from the lowest upwards.

            54. And what, it will be asked, of the genius himself? Is he sorry when his client attains Perfection, and needs him no more?

(p. 91)

“He that hath the bride is the bridegroom. And he that standeth by rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice.” The genius, therefore, returns to his source, for his mission is ended, and his Sabbath is come. He is one with the Twain.

            55. The genius, then, remains with his client so long as the man is fourfold. A beast has no genius. A Christ has none. For first, all is latent light. That is one. And this one becomes two, that is, body and astral body. And these two become three; that is, a rational soul is born in the midst of the astral body. This rational soul is the person; itself dual, in virtue of its earthly and its divine parts. And from that moment this personality is an individual existence, as a plant or as an animal. These three become four; that is, human. And the fourth is the Nous, not yet one with the soul, but overshadowing it, and transmitting light as it were through a glass, that is, through the initiator. But when the four become three – that is, when the “marriage” takes place, and the soul and the spirit are indissolubly united – there is no longer need either of migration or of genius. For the Nous has become one with the soul, and the cord of union is dissolved. And yet again, the three become twain at the dissolution of the body; and again, the twain become one, that is, the Christ-spirit-soul. The Divine Spirit and the genius, therefore, are not to be regarded as diverse, nor yet as identical. The genius is flame, and is celestial, that is, he is Spirit, and one in nature with the Divine; for his light is the Divine Light. He is as a glass, as a cord, as a bond between the soul and her divine part. He is the clear atmosphere through which the divine ray passes, making a path for it in the astral medium.

            56. In the celestial plane, all things are personal. And therefore the bond between the soul and spirit is a person.

(p. 92)

But when a man is what is mystically called “born again,” he no longer needs the bond which unites him to his Divine Source. The genius, or flame, therefore, returns to that Source; and this being itself united to the soul, the genius also becomes one with the Twain. For the genius is the Divine Light in the sense that he is but a divided tongue of it, having no isolating vehicle. But the tincture of this flame differs according to the celestial atmosphere of the particular soul. The Divine Light, indeed, is white, being Seven in One. But the genius is the flame of a single colour only. And this colour he takes from the soul, and by that ray transmits to her the light of the Nous, her Divine Spouse. The angel-genii are of all the tinctures of all the colours.

57. While in the celestial plane all things are persons, in the astral plane they are reflects, or at most impersonal. The genius is a person because he is a celestial, and of soul-spirit, or substantial nature. But the astrals are of fluidic nature, having no personal part. In the celestial plane, spirit and substance are one, dual in unity; and thus are all celestials constituted. But in the astral plane they have no individual, and no divine part. They are protoplasmic only, without either nucleus or nucleolus.

58. The voice of the angel-genius is the voice of God; for God speaks through him as a man through the horn of a trumpet. He may not be adored; for he is the instrument of God, and man’s minister. But he must be obeyed; for he has no voice of his own, but shows the will of the Spirit.

            59. They, therefore, who desire the Highest, will not seek to “controls”; but will keep their temple – which is their body – for the Lord God of Hosts; and will turn out of it the moneychangers and the dove-sellers and the

(p. 93)

dealers in curious arts, yea, with a scourge of cords, if need be.

60. Of the superior orders in the celestial hierarchy – of those, that is, who, being Gods and Archangels, are to the Supreme Spirit as the seven rays of the prism are to light, and the seven notes of the scale are to sound – the knowledge appertains to the Greater Mysteries, and is reserved for those who have fulfilled the conditions requisite for initiation therein. Of those conditions the first is the complete renunciation of a diet of flesh, the reason being fourfold – spiritual, moral, intellectual and physical – according to the fourfold constitution of man. This is imperative. Man cannot receive, the Gods will not impart the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven on other terms. The conditions are God’s; the will is with man. (1)





(64:1) This lecture was written by Edward Maitland mainly from Illuminations received by Anna Kingsford; and was delivered by him on Wednesday the 1st. June, 1881 (Life of A.K., vol. ii., pp. 17, 33).

(69:1) See C.W.S., part ii., No. xv., p. 275.

(73:1) See C.W.S., part i., No. xl., p. 156.

(89:1) Paragraphs 52 to 58 were on the 28th May, 1881, received by Anna Kingsford in sleep “while she was writing the lecture on the Atonement” (Life of A.K., vol. ii., pp. 12-14; C.W.S., part i., No. xiv., p. 64).

(90:1) Respecting the complete, final recovery of memory, see C.W.S., part i., No. xl., p. 156.

(93:1) See C.W.S., part i., No. ii., pp. 5-8.



Sections: General Index   Present Section: Index   Work Index   Previous: Lecture 2nd – The Soul; and the Substance of Existence   Next: Lecture 4th   The Atonement