(This series of 8 Speeches forms part of the 34 Speeches that Demetrius Semelas made on Alchemy in the Lodge of the Essenes of the Order of the Martinists, in Cairo, 1911.)
First Speech by D. Semelas
The State of an Initiate
(19 /10 /1911. Cairo, Egypt)
The purpose of our studies on Initiation in general is to give our brothers and sisters an accurate idea of the work that we propose to carry out in the future. In this manner, through their study, they will be able to find the path that is proper to each personally, the one which each is called to follow.
This study will clearly show you the Unity of the Tradition that has come to us, either through direct transmission or through revelation.
Traditionally, there are 7 degrees in Initiation. Sometimes these are summed up to 3, and sometimes to 2.
The presentation in 3 degrees teaches the mysteries and gives the keys to the 3 planes, the physical, the astral, and the mental. These are analysed: in the science of the physical plane or Alchemy, in the science of the psychical plane or Astrosophy - Astronomy according to the time and place, and finally in the science of the mental plane or Theurgy.
Each of these 3 divisions comprises both theory and practice.
The division into 7 degrees is presented as 4 divisions for theory and 3 divisions for practice.
These 7 divisions were illustrated by the 7 steps of the Temple of Eternal Wisdom, as Kunrath presented them.
In locations where traditional Initiation was given, nobody was permitted to aim at the 5th or 7th degree before having climbed the first ones.
The Initiator assessed his Initiate’s progress by observing its effects on him, and imposed what we call trials on his disciple. These trials varied according to the School, but they all had the same aim. We shall speak about this further on.
Here are the 7 traditional divisions of the Great Initiation :
1st part (theory)
(Unitary and Traditional Principle) 1st degree : Mystery of the Unity
2nd degree: Mystery of the Binary
3rd degree: Mystery of the Quaternary
4th degree:Mystery of the Ternary
2nd part 5th or 1st degree: Adaptation of knowledge & practical
(practical) realizations, all of which lead to the mastery of
the physical plane or to the mastery of Alchemy.
(adaptation and 6th or 2nd degree: Mastery of the Astral or the psychical
plane.realization) 7th or 3rd degree: Adaptation in the mental plane or Theurgy.
As you see, it would be foolish to wish to follow the path of Initiation starting from the end. Some imprudent and ignorant amateurs did so, and the result was exactly the opposite of what they sought. Since the Invisible did not respond to their desires, they were unable to bring about any effectuation. Some of them whose character was weak, were frustrated, fell into the nihilism of atheism, and lost faith in Initiatic work and study. It is due to this thoughtlessness and this erroneous estimate, to this impatience to effectuate something, and to this foolish untested self-confidence that they were defeated and ended up unsuccessful and disillusioned. At the start, they were certainly full of good intentions, but by not following the path from its very beginning, they opened the door wide to scepticism, and finally lost their peace of mind.
I intend to provide each of you with the maximum means, and this is why we shall start on the principles and work our way progressively. We shall go through the first 4 degrees quite rapidly, which each of you will develop according to your aptitude, and then proceed to the particular study of the 3 branches of practice.
* * *
Let us take one of the three branches of the practical part at random, for example, mastery over the astral plane. We observe that in this branch, just as in the other two, all the work requires the possession of certain qualities and virtues and the realization of a certain state.
In fact, anyone who desires to approach the sanctuary and become master of some practice must try as much as possible to give birth to certain virtues within him/her. These are virtues that he does not possess. They have been designated to him through the teachings that he received. He must then cultivate them to the utmost and make them bear fruit, otherwise he runs the risk of being forever excluded from all initiatic practice or, if he attempts the practice, he then runs the risk of ending up in failures and their subsequent evils.
Therefore the disciple must:
Be morally pure. This means that through willpower, he must manage to overcome his passions and vices, banish hate from his soul, as well as everything that can hinder him from doing his humanitarian duties. Because most of his imperfections are the product of the soul, they must be fought in their own domain. And it is only by means of his Will that Man can get rid of them.
Have faith. He must believe in the existence of these 3 planes and firmly want to act on them.
Ignore fear. However, he must bear in mind the importance of the danger that exists. One can attain no mastery whatever if one is afraid.
One who is not pure of heart, one who is thwarted by hate, one who is feeble of will and lacks faith, one who is afraid of his very shadow, who is afraid of the darkness of the unknown must retrace his steps and leave the path. He cannot seek to acquire knowledge of the great mysteries.
When seen from a distance, all these great mysteries correspond to something that is beautiful and brilliant. When they are approached, reality is then seen as monstrous. Indeed take, for example, a person who externally appears beautiful and agreeable to you. What is this person like internally? What is his soul like? It may be full of passions and weaknesses. The psychical, the astral, the plane of the soul is full of all human exhalations. The astral is ugly, and it is in order to prevent you from getting disillusioned that I exhort you, my dear brothers and sisters, to study yourselves, to purify yourselves and to examine your conscience and your heart.
In ancient times anyone who demanded Initiation was compelled to undergo very hard trials. These were not meant to test his physical prowess but to assess his courage. The Masters Initiators chose as their disciples only persons who showed courage in the face of danger and those possessing great knowledge. This was because of the importance of Initiation and because of the active role of Man on the physical and astral planes. It was also because they feared disastrous and regrettable consequences that were likely to result if the one who experimented was ignorant or cowardly. In our days, such trials are no longer applied, and it is now up to the one who desires Initiation to purify his imperfect being through willpower.
Brethren, what did I tell you at the time of your Initiation? I spoke to you of the Unity presented symbolically to you by the 3 luminaries that represent the unity of Initiation on the 3 planes. In our talks on Alchemy, I explained to you the Unity in the physical plane. I shall now explain to you the Unity in the astral or psychical plane. Just as you see 3 flames springing from 3 different luminaries and forming one and unique light, so too, from the united souls of three or more persons there springs a single psychical radiation.
You know the constitution of the human body. Let us now see how the astral or psychical plane or the soul is constituted. The soul or astral is the product of the Essential Force acting on Matter. Matter is thus spiritualized and its etherization or sublimation is the result of the action of the energy of the Spirit on it. This soul, this astral, this psyche is an existing life and possibly verifiable by our animic senses, for it issues from the body and radiates. Because it is the outcome of the union of the 2 Principles of the Binary - Force or Spirit, and Matter - the soul is a third and factitious life.
Let us now see why the soul or astral is produced and what its purpose is. In Creation, all beings are united with one another by means of a mediator. This mediator is invisible to the human eye, but is existence is continuously demonstrated by the experience and the actions in everyday life. It is needless to enumerate to you the proofs of the existence of the soul. The soul, the astral, governs all, encompasses all, and impregnates all.
On our Earth it influences the mineral, vegetal and animal kingdoms. In the Universe it regulates the movement of the worlds and unites them for, since the void does not exist, it is filled with Matter that is etherized to a smaller of greater degree.
As a consequence, the purpose of the creation of the soul is to effectuate the 1st Natural Law, the occult union of all created beings with one another, as also their collective union with the Creator.
The whole of Man’s life is dependent on the soul. Even before Man’s birth, the Spirit fashions the embryo by means of the astral. After Man’s birth the Spirit devotes all its attention and efforts so as to form a healthy body. It seeks to acquire a beautiful covering (envelope) by means of which it (the Spirit) can learn to work on the physical plane. There are persons who managed to reach a superior state of being and from there on sought to penetrate higher than the physical plane by developing their soul and their spirit, which is covered by the soul. They were able to live in half of this Invisible plane and later in the whole of it.
What theory could we give so as to explain the creation of the psychic fluid or astral? A substance can become etherized only if two states that are contrary to one another adapt themselves so as to form a third, which is a factitious, a false state. These two initial states are Matter and Spirit, which are represented in Masonic symbolism by the two pillars of the Temple, one of which is black and the other is white, one is square and the other is round. This indicates two contrary things and this symbolism of the two pillars explains to you the great law according to which a third agent can result from two agents that are negative as regards each other. In this case the result is the Astral. You can find a corresponding action in Alchemy, as well as in the other branches, for the Law of Unity is the same law in all the branches of Initiation.
The symbol of what manifests Truth is at one and the same time a reality, but there also exist adaptations and emblems on all the planes, in all areas and in all the branches of Initiation. In truth the life of Christ can be adapted to everything. An apostle of the Light and of Truth cannot have a life that is not in accord with the Law that governs Creation. Since he is universal, he must accordingly render the data of the Universal Law a reality.
The two pillars designate two states that are contrary to one another and express the binary that we can find everywhere present.
* * *
The astral, the soul, the psychical plane, which is the product of Matter and Spirit, is neither Matter nor Spirit. It is simply a mediator. Do not seek to find spirituality, intelligence or reason in it. It will deceive you, and all those who have consulted it and asked its opinion - one that it cannot give - ended up with sad results. Still, the Initiate must seek to find out what is behind the physical plane and get to know the astral.
Within the material plane you cannot find any virtue whatever that is superior to instinct. The astral, the soul - which is the etherization of the physical - possesses all the imperfections of the physical and is distinguished by its great incoherence. It can only serve as a mediator so as to enable one to see and control what is more difficult to perceive through physical sight.
By evocations, ceremonials and practices, the Initiate obtains mastery over the astral, while still remaining on the physical plane. As regards what is called ‘voyage to the astral’, it is considered as exceptional as the condensations of a psychical nature (those of psychurgy). One who is called to such effectuations will eventually know how to find the requisite means and the necessary superior assistance to do so.
Second Speech by D. Semelas
On the Quaternary
(26 /10 /1911. Cairo, Egypt)
In our study of the initiatic theory we examined the Unity and the Binary. Today we shall study the Quaternary. The astral proper resides in the Unity, that is to say, in the mixed (compound) basis of the Universal All. In the Binary there is an agent and a patient - two equal contraries. The Ternary belongs to the mental plane in particular but we shall not deal with it for the present. Today we shall examine the force of the Quaternary in both the physical and the astral planes.
But let us first see its composition. Two contrary principles form the Binary; the force that balances them brings them to the Ternary; the product of the two balanced principles contributes to form the Quaternary.
You have probably not grasped very well what I have just told you. The basis of all Initiations is found in the theories that I am now presenting to you. But I shall be as explicit as possible so that you may understand this better.
The importance of the Quaternary in the astral provides most useful knowledge to one who desires to attain mastery over this plane. As we previously demonstrated, in the physical plane the occult force is derived from the union of two contrary physical principles. In like manner, the astral plane is produced from two contrary principles. Here is an example :
On the physical plane, man as such is considered positive whereas woman is considered negative. The attraction of these two principles produces a force, which is sexual love; this in turn produces a neutral being, the offspring ...... and thus the Quaternary is formed.
The same analysis can be made as regards the astral. The necessity of the existence of two principles is everywhere present. For example, would good exist if we did not have the notion of evil? Would we have the perception of daylight if night did not exist? No, we would not. Human thought would not have any concept of all these. Every realization requires the contribution of two contrary agents.
Therefore, in the astral there exist two principles, two forces, two contrary fluids, whose union brings about equilibrium.
We previously defined the astral as vivified and vivifying etheric Substance, which acts on Matter and etherizes it, giving it a factitious life. This force acts on everything in Nature and produces and etherification, and its action differs according to the gender, kind, etc, of the ‘patients’. When this force acts on mineral Matter it produces electricity, which is a mixture of Matter and of the Force that vivifies Matter. Recent discoveries have proved that electricity contains Matter - in very small quantities it is true - but its presence is enough to prove the material origin of electricity. The product of what the Spiritual Force produced, by acting on mineral Matter, is the mineral astral agent, whose active principle is the Force and whose passive principle is Matter. The action of the Cosmic Force on planets creates this mediator, this general agent, this intermediary fluid that unites asterisms to one another.
Since we see a mineral astral, there must also be an astral of the vegetal kingdom. This one differs greatly from the former. The mineral astral produces a kind of fire that supports Matter. The vegetal astral generates a vivifying production which is of service to the animal kingdom and makes it live. It is a kind of fluid that is susceptible to take on a vegetal form.
As such, the astral composition of the mineral kingdom does not possess any definite form.
Electricity cannot be seen or discerned through our material eyes.
Though what we see as a spark is visible, it still does not take on a particular form.
On the other hand, the vegetal astral presents its form to its material principle. One who is able to see well, can see in the neighbourhood of forests other forests superimposed on the lateral ones. In general, the astral of a vegetal can be seen by the imprint of form that it has made on its original patient ( substance ).
In the animal astral, the form is imprinted, and this creates a factitious life, which becomes adapted and remains latent in an astral state. It is felt in both the animal kingdom and in Man. Some sensitive persons have seen in the astral level various animals of strange and bizarre forms that eventually disappeared.
These beings are nonentities; they are animal astral imprints that are destined to eventually dissolve after their formation.
Bear in mind that the astral is not born as a result of an act of Will. In all three kingdoms - mineral, vegetal and animal - as well as in Man, it is the result of the association of Matter and Spiritual Force. Man does not create his astral. His Will has no part whatever in this. Every union produces a result; everything proves this to be so and Science has the same opinion on the subject. The Spiritual Principle Force on the one hand, and Matter, which is another fundamental Principle of Creation on the other, produce the balance of harmony or neutrality, which binds one to the other.
Otherwise life could not exist and be manifest, and Matter would be dead.
Here is the schema of the realization of the Quaternary when applied to the astral. Among the general symbols that we constantly see, and by a new application to what we are studying, the two pillars of the Temple represent the two principles, the black one represents Matter and the white one represents the Spiritual Force. But a common support is needed for these pillars to remain upright, to be located in a particular place. This support will thus provide them with a plane of action, will unite them so that they may contribute to attain a definite purpose. This support is equilibrium, represented here by the line of the earth, on which the two pillars rest. Thus balanced, the pillars unite for a common task. Their union serves to sustain what is placed on top of them. The action of the Spiritual Force on Matter brings forth the
astral, Life, which is the product of this reaction, animating Matter and making it grow.
In this manner we have this schema of the astral Quaternary - the two Principles, Matter and Spirit, which are balanced and thus produce the Astral.
Let us sum up in order to better grasp the whole meaning. We know what the positive is; it is a Force, the Spirit. The negative is Matter. The result is the Astral and Equilibrium. It is the link, the receptacle in or on which the action takes place. In Creation, it is the Universal All, where the work of Nature takes place, the quaternary work. It stands to reason that if we wish to form a chemical or other compound, we need a receptacle; if we wish to construct a temple, we need the ground on which the pillars will stand. It is only this agent, Equilibrium, that permits the action of Force on Matter, and this mystery is one of the most incomprehensible.
The ancient Greeks conceived an allegory so as to put a check on the curiosity of the profane ( secular ), for the Initiates knew what it was all about. It was the myth of Atlas bearing the world on his shoulders. The matter was considered to be quite a clear description, since nobody would think of wondering on what Atlas himself was supported !
So you see that we always come back to the subject of Equilibrium.
The Earth, just like every other star, rests on or in the bosom of a non-material agent, which continually demonstrates its presence. You will object by saying that the equilibrium of the worlds is due to the attraction and repulsion of the stars on one another. This is very true, but this attraction and this repulsion must also be expressed in some place, in some kind of substance. And since everything has a beginning and an end, at a certain point the stars cease to exist. On what then are these stars at the very edge supported ? What encompasses them? Again we come back to Equilibrium and we are obliged to admit its very important role. Now that we have understood what the Quaternary is, we can more easily form a general idea of the usefulness of the occult theory. Both the creator and the created exist in the astral quaternary.
The creator comprises Force, Matter, and Equilibrium.
The created is the result of the concurrence of these three. It is the Astral.
Let us now see if, by analogy, the quaternary exists on another plane, on the physical, for example. The four material principles that make up this plane are the four elements. As you learnt in the Course on Alchemy, this composition of the four elements is created as well as creative Matter. From now on you can see the analogy between the two planes, the physical and the astral. The law of this analogy was defined by Hermes Trismegistus in a great symbolic manner :
’’ What is above is like what is below, and what is below is like what is above ”.
The Hindus have the same dogma, expressed in a different manner : “What is in the large is like what is in the small, and what is in the small is like what is in the large”. What is the usefulness of the quaternary in the study of the Astral? It is quite clear that, since the Astral is a creative and created agent, a person who can have a concept of it and discern the general direction of this creation can penetrate into it and direct it according to their will.
Therefore it is by means of a total knowledge of the quaternary that this result can be attained.
I shall now give you a tangible explanation, a general outline of the way in which the Astral is accomplished. Matter is something passive into which Force is thrust. In other terms, the action of the Spirit involuted in Matter, gives us the following diagram. The horizontal line represents the extremity of Matter, which is here depicted by the darkened area.
The descending slanted line expresses the Spiritual Force. The action of this Force on Matter provokes numerous physical states, such as heat, fire, dissolution, etc. These states differ in degree and variety, depending on Matter.
Here you can see a sketch of the formation of the astral. Let us imagine a mass of Matter. As the arrow penetrates into it in a slanting direction and as it involutes into Matter and begins to act within it, it first produces very intense heat.
This is schematically located on the line a-a. The continuous action of the Force then produces a second state in which the heat is less intense but more dense. In the diagram this is located in the line b-b.
The Spiritual Force will then tend to get out of Matter, dragging with it atoms of Matter and will start creating a factitious life. This is located in the line A-A, which touches Matter and encompasses it.
As it continues its evolution, the Force will produce an etherification close to Matter. The line B-B represents this state. After that, the Astral will be free and will emerge from Matter as depicted by lines C-C and D-D.
Since the Astral is derived from Matter, it is subject to the laws of Matter.
Now that it has been etherized, it is subject to the alternatives of the variable attraction and repulsion.
It is born and it dies, though its span of life is longer and more durable than that of physical Matter.
Once the Astral is liberated from Matter, it is subject to the divers currents of the physical world. The Initiate who has command over these currents can provoke any atmospheric state of Matter that he desires. For example, he can cause rainfall by evocation. When Jesus’ apostles prayed to God to fight a period of dryness and bring about rain, it was not God who acted; it was the power of their prayer that moved the astral currents, mastered them, and produced a condensation in a physical mode.
The Magician makes use of the Quaternary in his evocations. In the circle that he has previously traced as a protection, he draws a cross. In this instance, the cross is the symbol of the Quaternary, for it separates the circle into 4 parts and is thus resolved in the Unity.
Magic is the action of physical Man on the astral plane, and whether the cross is drawn in the circle or placed under it .
The domination of Unity over the Quaternary, or the latter’s resolving in Unity, is expressed in both cases.
The cross of Malta and of the Templars X does not express the same quaternary.
Here, it is neither the physical nor the astral plane that is depicted, but the mental plane, whose quaternary is composed of four triangular formations. But we shall return to this subject further on.
This, brethren, was a general outline of the symbolic meaning and the practical value of the Astral Quaternary. You have already studied the Unity and the Binary. Here you should not forget that everything emanates from the Unity and everything returns to it. Note too that the Law of Unity is not a mere fantasy, for everything in the Astral Quaternary is so intimately bound that the existence of Matter is necessary for the existence of Force, and the existence of Equilibrium is necessary to both the above Principles.
When we say that the Quaternary will be resolved into the Unity, be sure that the Great Problems have begun to be formulated and that the comprehension of this fact will lead us to the perception of a higher truth: the Divine Trinity, the Trinity in Unity.
Let us meditate and work. It is by this means alone that we shall acquire knowledge, that ‘the scales will fall from our eyes’ and that the Light will become manifest.
Third Speech by D. Semelas
(2 / 11 / 1911. Cairo, Egypt)
In my previous talks on the study of the Astral, I spoke to you of the occult Unity, of the Binary, and of the Quaternary. Now that we know this theory, let us try to delve deeper into it and apply it to the study of the Pentagram. This symbol is of very great significance and is very powerful in the astral plane. But before I go into an explanation of it, let us first see the different kinds of adaptation of the Astral - this median region between the Spirit and Matter - that were made in the past and are still made today.
You may ask of what use is the knowledge of the astral to an Initiate. This knowledge has two aims: The first is to enable the Initiate, by meditation, to have a concept of the Invisible, to unite himself with the entities that occupy this plane, to get to know its constitution, and to receive the opinions of Superior Spirits. And all this can be achieved while the Initiate remains in his physical body without release from it (exteriorization). The second aim is to enable the Initiate to release himself from the bonds of his physical body, enter the astral plane, see the beings that live in it, and get to know and understand what takes place there. All this can be achieved without the assistance of his sight or any other of his human physical senses.
Let us momentarily stop at the second aim and let us see how this release and ‘trip’ of the Spirit to that region can be realized. Astral exteriorization has been known and practised since all time both among ancient and modern peoples. We shall divide it into two distinct categories: 1) exteriorization in an active mode and 2) exteriorization in a passive mode. The first comprises a) the state of being a student (Initiate) and b) the state of being a Master. The second category comprises exteriorization a) with direct reflection and b) with indirect reflection.
We shall now examine these different categories and subdivisions. Exteriorization in a passive mode with indirect reflection is found as a phenomenon among certain persons who manage to get into a kind of ecstasy by absorbing narcotics. When in this state, these persons have visions of incoherent and false images. These have been called ‘hallucinations’ but this term is not correct. Although incoherence is the particular characteristic of these visions, although the state that these persons are in is not normal, they have still penetrated into a part of the Astral, and what they see is real. I shall describe to you the case of a young girl whose visions were of this category of phenomena. In her sleep at night, she would see beings that surrounded her and threatened her with death. She would then see women beside her who had come to console her and who promised to protect her. In the beginning she was strongly affected by these visions, but she gradually got used to them and was even able to almost take pleasure in this astral nightmare. This state of things eventually wore her out and she fell ill. If the experts of science had examined her, they would have found her hysterical. Hysteria is the term that serves to describe what is beyond the competence of official science. It is a functional not an organic injury. The organs are not attacked, but the regular functioning of the organism is hindered and paralysed. The doctor’s inability to cure it is due to the fact that it is impossible for him to give prognosis concerning an illness if no injury exists on the body. The young girl was disturbed because she was in passive ecstasy and so perceived incoherent inferior things, which influenced her to such a point as to become impressed on her brain. In this manner, when she woke up, she could remember what she had seen in her vision of the lower astral plane.
Exteriorization in passive mode with direct reflection is a state in which one has consciousness of all that exists and is part of the astral plane, a state in which one has a vision of it from a distance. This is produced by the result of auto-suggestion or of the influence of a visible ‘operator1 (magnetist or hypnotist) or of an invisible being that acts on the ‘subject’ and directs it in the astral plane. As an example, I shall mention the case of a young person who was put to artificial sleep. She saw a young man direct her to a great number of places and make her penetrate into them. When she woke up, she remembered what she had seen during her trip, accompanied by her young fiance. She could describe the houses that she had visited and portray the persons she had seen playing cards round a table, and she even gave a great number of details that were checked and found to be exact. There is no mistake about it; this young person had indeed seen, and very well at that. Her Spirit had been exteriorized and had been released from its body due to the effect of the influence of the Will of another person. It thus became subject to the domination of this other Will. But because it was passive, it lacked the power to choose which place to go to but blindly carried out the commands given to it.
Let us now pass on to exteriorization in active mode. It is divided in that of an adept and that of a master. This is true realization in this vast domain of the Astral. The exteriorization of the adept to the astral plane is a voluntary one. In the beginning, the Initiate is directed by a visible or invisible guide that makes him get to know this plane, directs him in it and prepares him towards mastery over it. This manner of exteriorization to the astral does not provoke any injury as the above mentioned examples do - those in passive mode - which always have dire results.
But why are the exteriorizations in passive mode always dangerous, whereas the others are not? The former are dangerous because, as in the first example given, the state of ecstasy is the consequence of a non-normal sleep and, as in the second example given, the subject is under the yoke of a Will that is superior to her own. Therefore her receptive and passive state takes everything that is imposed on her and her body receives the repercussion of the violence of the ‘operator’s’ Will. The Spirit no longer has freedom of action and in this way injuries and physical illnesses may ensue.
As regards exteriorizations in active mode, here sleep is natural. The body rests and the Spirit travels to the astral domain, learns about it, sees it and seeks what is of interest to it. It transmits everything to the brain and impresses it so that, upon awakening, the person in question remembers everything they saw and did. No particular diet is needed; both the Adept and the Master can eat anything and lead an ordinary life.
Mastery - the dream of every adept - is the summit of conscious exteriorization. In this state, the Master sees their body lying on the bed. With lightning speed he transports himself to whatever place he desires for the research that he wishes to make. He can act on all his being and return to his body whenever he wishes to. One who has the faculty of mastering the Astral and the forces that act in it is really in possession of enormous power, which is at the full disposal of his Will. However, certain conditions are indispensable in order to attain this result. The Master must have reason as well as well balanced vital faculties, and he must be truly free. No passive person can aspire to such favours, for here exteriorization is the result of one’s own will through personal impulse during sleep, which is neither artificial nor imposed by others.
A little more than a hundred years ago there was a lot of fuss over magnetism that had just been discovered. Since then and thanks to a number of experiments, there has been proof of the existence of an etheric substance that has an impact on the body, the soul, and even on the Spirit (in the sense that one spirit can influence another by means of this agent). In order to explain to you what I maintain concerning the theories of the Astral, we shall use the experiments made by our predecessors so as to be certain of the veracity of the results.
When magnetism is used as a healing agent and is guided by spiritual will and a pure desire, it is harmless to Man. It is continuously generated within us by the pressure exerted by the Spiritual Force on Matter through the nervous system. A truly astral fluid incessantly issues from the organs of the human body and every nerve- terminal is a projector of this fluid.
If your hand touches a person at a certain point, you will both feel a sensation that is the result of this physical touch - an astral communication. The best proof of the existence of this agent is that even if you do not see the movement of the person who touches you, you will still be conscious that the movement has been made. This is because, by means of the nervous system, the astral fluid has reached the brain. The brain is in direct communication with all the members of the body through a nerve conductor that transmits sensation to the brain. The whole body is covered by a network of nerves and the extremities of the members are the terminal points of this organism. It is through these that the astral fluid is released. When a person contacts another, he/she transmits to the other what his/her body produces. It is a spiritual-material-etherification; it is the astral fluid.
We can distinguish two kinds of transmission :
1) simple, without any continuity of spiritual vibrations, and
2) with continuity of vibrations.
In the first case, transmission is made for cures through magnetism. You surely know that when someone feels pain in any part of their body, if hands are laid at the very place where the pain is, the pain eases. This is produced by the impact of astral release, which is at first projected by the person who magnetizes and then is driven into the part that has been afflicted and so re-establishes the astral action and accomplishes the cure. This of course depends on the equilibrium of the ‘operator1. In the second case, a person who wishes to make his Will felt by another who is at a more or less great distance away, makes use of this mediator which serves as a vehicle so as to transmit a thought or bring about a cure from a distance.
The astral fluid does not escape from the body only from the extremities of the members or from the projecting organs, such as the eyes, but it radiates over all the surface of the body and is projected outwards at the rate that the spiritual-material action is produced. When the Initiate wishes to communicate and impose his will at a distance, it is through the radiation of the whole of his astral that he can manage to transmit his desire and do what he has decided to do. I will later give you certain indispensable details on this subject and practice.
You now have some information regarding this active agent that we do not see; we only feel its effects. The ancient Initiations knew all about it, and Martines de Pasqually made use of it.
Let us now see of what usefulness the astral is to Man. Even when fully awake, if the Initiate makes certain preparations and uses certain formulas, he can manage to get into contact with the Astral and the beings that dwell in it.
By condensation of this intermediary, he can see the entities, order them, impress them or, on the other hand, be ordered and act according to their Will. When the Initiate acts as described in the first instance, that is, when he is obeyed and when the spirits carry out his orders, this science is called High Magic. In the opposite case, which is but the magic of a malevolent ignorance, it is the Black Magic done by the sorcerer who becomes the tool of base astral entities, which command him.
During ceremonies of High Magic, the Magician follows certain preparatory rites in detail and makes use of symbols.
These are indispensable so as to attract the spiritual element, which becomes manifest by astral condensation.
By exerting his Will, the Magician acts on the spirits and the powers that he has evoked. He is their absolute master; he sees and commands them, and his orders are carried out. Among the symbols that he uses during his evocations, there is none more powerful than the Pentacle or Pentagram, the corresponding knowledge of which explains the mysteries of all the planes and all the initiatic adaptations: Alchemy, Magic, etc. This symbol has the power to fetter any spirit and, when used by a learned ‘operator1, because it is a sign of divine power in Creation, it brings terror to the astral domain and subjects all the beings found there to the one who holds and has knowledge of it.
In Black Magic, the ceremonies, rites and preparations are totally different from the practices of the Magic of Light.
In the latter, the Pentacle is held upright, whereas in Black Magic it is held upside down. The signatures of the genii are reversed as also the names and signs. Everything done is meant to attract the influence of the spirit of disorder, of incoherence, and of evil.
In a pact that has been previously made, the sorcerer is not the master of these evil entities that he evokes; he is their servant; he carries out their Will and they make his desire come true.
Note that there is a great difference between their Will and his desire as regards the eventual action. A lot of persons are sorcerers without meaning to be and they later become sorcerers through habit. They have no knowledge of Occult Philosophy but have seen or possess some wizard’s book of so-called spells, with alluring titles and infallible recipes, such as to become loved, to discover treasures, etc. They imagine that in order to acquire magical power, it is enough to pronounce certain bizarre words or utter incomprehensible phrases and thus be able to give orders and be served by spirits. They feel very brave and courageous, draw the circle - or even forget to draw it at all - and inscribe signs that they do not understand. They enter the circle, like powerful warriors, holding the sword in one hand and the wand in the other, and begin their evocations. They may be able to see or they may not, but the mere utterance of certain words and formulas has some result, which in most cases is bad. There are many examples that can be cited. This temerity, to dare carry out operations whose importance one does not know, was, is, and will always be the surest means that leads to certain loss. Absolute ignorance of these matters is the sorcerer’s characteristic. After his infernal evocations, he is overcome by vices and commits the monstrosities of the entities that visit him. If he is not subjected to serious illnesses or organic perturbations, he is under the yoke of evil genii and base entities of the Astral. He ends his life in misery, full of horrible nightmares and eventually kills himself.
It is therefore the Initiator’s duty to prepare the Initiate so that he may have knowledge of these matters. All those who come to Initiatic Societies seeking for the Truth will find it. They will have the joy of knowing and practising this alluring attraction towards the Invisible. But serious study must precede this, for the Initiator must indicate the road to be followed - and it is a long and hard road.
We shall study these phenomena and the causes that provoke accidents; we shall learn, by purely physical means, about the force that acts. And while on the mystic path, we shall be able, by conscious release during natural sleep, to have a perception of what exists in that region, of its laws and of what can be of use to us.
This result is the outcome of work and of the Initiate’s perfection, together of course with the permission of the Invisible.
Fourth Speech by D. Semelas
On the Psychical Senses
(10 / 1911. Cairo Egypt)
You surely remember that in my previous speech I mentioned releases (exteriorizations) to the astral plane, their classification, various cases of possession, and mastery over this plane, which is superior to the physical one. It is a plane of etherized Substance and in it Force is freely manifest. There, everything evades our physical senses, though we have direct contact with this plane by means of our invisible or psychical senses.
I also spoke to you about Man’s communication with the beings that live in the Astral, by means of the practice of Magic.
I shall proceed to explain to you the manner in which you can acquire the necessary power for your evocation, and how you can come in contact with all the beings of the plane in question. But before I do so, let us see what our relations with it can be, how and in what way we feel its influence daily, in what form do we see its inhabitants, and how the reality of this plane is manifest.
The astral plane certainly exists for every person and we can all have perception of it, either awake or asleep. Although its reality cannot be checked by instruments or the physical senses, we can have conscience of it thanks to the psychical sensibility that we are all susceptible to feeling.
When awake, by means of which organs can we have the sensation of the existence of the astral? When we find ourselves among individuals whose evolution is not advanced and as such, is of truly inferior mentality, we feel a certain psychical discomfort. When we meet a person for the first time, we immediately submit to and in turn make that person also submit to an astral influence. Both of us feel a sentiment of sympathy or antipathy in a lesser or greater degree. This sentiment is not the result of physical contact, due to sensations of sight, taste, hearing or touch. It is due to the psychical perception that provides Man with conscience, by setting his psychical senses into action. These last, contrary to the physical senses, can never lead him to error. These invisible senses have the faculty of making Man feel everything that is not related to the physical plane. They are of three different kinds: hearing, sight, and a general psychical sensation. Their seat is located in the breast, and more particularly in the heart.
How do these astral or psychical senses function? During sleep and in a state of dreaming, our senses of sight and hearing are activated. In a state of wakefulness, only the general psychical sensation derived from the heart is active. Consequently, suggestion, telepathy, transmission, attraction and all spontaneous or provoked influences manifested in this state of wakefulness are effectuated by psychical means that result from the astral contact.
What other means do we also have so as to feel the influence of the Astral?
When asleep, Man has dreams that are derived from his impressions of the day, or again sees things that have no relation to these impressions. The origin of both is wholly due to his astral vision. How do we consider these two kinds of phenomena? In the first case, is it a fact that the actions of the day are formations that exist in the astral or just impressions registered in the brain, which present themselves to our memory during sleep? The actions that we do and the thoughts that we emit during the day are not able to impress the brain to such a point, but they do leave a trace on the astral plane. I shall explain to you the theory concerning this phenomenon: You all know where this fluid is derived from - this fluid that fills the void and is the universal mediator. It is derived from the Astral. In Man too, the Spirit acts on Matter and produces this agent. Once it has been produced, on what parts of the human organism does it in turn act? It acts on the nervous system, which is an organ specially created either to manifest this agent or to have command over it. Every action that Man does, every movement, every emission of thought, everything - whatever its plane, physical, moral or intellectual - produces vibrations that affect the nervous system. The vibration ‘astralizes’ Matter and registers everything that has been done and thought on this mediating plane. In this manner, all around the person who has provoked them, in his/her astral atmosphere, these formations remain for a certain length of time, about a day or more, and are likely to be seen and perceived. Man is thus able during his sleep to see again these astral cliches that he has produced. Consequently it is not the impression given to the brain that makes these cliches reappear, nor is it the Spirit that has kept these memories. However, the Spirit, released from the physical body and wandering in the Astral all around its body, sees and remembers. It reviews what it has done, it sees once again the faces of persons with whom it has spoken when it was attached to its body, remembers conversations and in a word, it sees a detailed picture of what it has lived through, and facts whose physical impress has been registered on the astral plane.
Dreams that have no relation with actions and impressions of the day can be of three different natures. In the first case, when the Spirit, released from its body, travels in the Astral, it may come across vibrations of actions made or events that took place in distant places. In this way, it is impressed. When it wakes up, it may remember having assisted in certain curious events. Sometimes, the spirit meets other spirits; they communicate and exchange thoughts. Upon awakening, the person remembers having seen a certain friend or having heard certain news.
In the second case, the Spirit that has been initiated travels in the Astral, fully conscious of what it sees and hears.
It analyses, is capable of judging, and can go wherever it pleases. It voluntarily transmits its impressions to the brain so as to recall them upon awakening.
The third case is the nightmare. It comes as the result of very great nervous excitement or is caused by a state due to the absorption of a great quantity of food or drink. It is not produced by any impression of the Spirit but by the effect of the astral on the nervous system. In this state, Man sees beings trying to strangle him, horrible animals, or again whatever he can imagine as most hideous. This phenomenon is explained as follows: the extreme nervous excitement caused by inebriety or the absorption of too much food produces an effect that corresponds to being physically carried away.
It is represented in the astral plane, and Man makes unconscious evocations that provoke a coagulation of the Astral and attract elementals and other impure beings of this plane, which momentarily take possession of his body.
These disorders of the nervous system have very dire results. The beings that come to trouble Man’s sleep and cause nightmares can be seen by the Magician, whose evocation is a conscious one.
The Magician who makes an evocation is obliged to enclose himself within a protective circle. This is not because he runs any danger from the superior spirits that he evokes, but because he wishes to protect himself from the inferior and incoherent entities that swarm in the astral plane. Ignoble beings can present themselves and try to frighten him so as to make him leave his circle and thus have him at their mercy. The role of the circle is to serve as an astral rampart to the Magician and scare away these elementals.
In order to be able to make an evocation, the Magician should not be in a normal state. He should be driven by some stimulant - coffee, alcohol, tea, ether, hashish, nicotine, etc., that is, by some substance that causes a nervous over-stimulation. You observe that the state required for an evocation is similar to the one that provokes nightmares to the person who has drunk or eaten too much. The Magician voluntarily causes this over-stimulation of the nerves in order to provoke an astral condensation, to see entities, and command them. The state he is in permits him to be fearless and enables him to push back all evil entities.
On the other hand, the one who is drunk or has eaten too much, due to this very nervous over-stimulation, involuntarily condenses the Astral, without making any evocation. He thus allows the elementals to approach him, feels their influence and is in the hold of nightmares from which he is saved only by waking up, that is, when his Spirit returns to his body.
If he falls asleep again, the chain is formed once more and the nightmares reappear. He wholly recovers only when, upon awakening, he walks around for a few minutes until the astral coagulation dissolves completely.
It should be quite understood that I take full responsibility for the theories that I present to you. I am authorized to tell you all this through personal experience. These ideas may have already been expressed by those who have dealt with the subject. I leave it to your good sense to draw the suitable conclusions in accordance with the spirit of our Order.
We should not deny the existence of the Astral. We all feel its impact, and the present speeches can permit you to study in what way we can establish well- balanced relations between the physical and the astral planes. We shall thus know what we must do so as to avoid the unfavourable action of evil entities and attract the good and superior spirits from whose influence we can only profit. They will enlighten us concerning this domain and help us acquire superior initiatic instruction.
The Initiate tries to communicate with the astral plane because of the importance of the knowledge that he can derive from it. He does not desire any material profit but an intellectual one, whose result is far from insignificant to anyone who knows. It is indeed very agreeable to follow a path that leads to the mastery of this plane. This mastery provides its chosen one with the mysterious key that will open the door of secrets to him. He will then learn the most marvellous and noble things, whose reality he cannot even suspect while still in the physical plane. He will then possess power that flatters him, and from then on will be able to act for the common good and be of assistance to his brethren, physically, morally and spiritually.
Now that we have proved the existence of the Astral, let us examine its usefulness to the Initiate.
The Initiate who has the qualities required in order to have contact with the inhabitants of the astral plane, the Initiate who has an intense desire and a pure heart, must do everything possible so as to acquire knowledge of this superior plane that governs intellectual, moral, psychical and physical forces. He must then try to apply his knowledge in the present plane for his own benefit and for that of all others.
Once the Initiate is master of the astral plane, he has greater facility in speeding up his own evolution.
He can perform acts (works) that will render both him and others happy. At first these will be intellectual, but later, through practice and adaptation, they will be morally, physically, and socially beneficial. He will understand laws that were unknown to him. This new knowledge will reveal to him a number of mysteries. When he crosses the threshold, he will become a new being who possesses the knowledge of the great mysteries of Nature and the allegories of the Cabbalah. He will have the solution to all the problems set in his Spirit and possess that most precious good - moral consolation, evenness of temper in his affections, and peace of heart. Moreover, in his ‘trips’, the Initiate will see unknown places that will attract him by the beauties found there. He will go wherever he desires and rapidly get knowledge that would have required years to acquire in a mere physical body. He can learn the mysteries of Man’s life and get to know Man perfectly well. Then, through his own willpower, he can impose, suggest, and emit ideas that will become a reality for the good of others. His life will truly be a life with a mission which, together with intellectual satisfaction, will provide him with a priceless spiritual harvest.
Now that the Initiate has been informed of all these advantages, he must also remember that the person who wishes to enter this domain and acquire mastery over it, must possess certain qualities. He must have a resolute will, invincible strength, and indomitable courage, for when he tries to cross the threshold of this plane, a gigantic green dragon - the guardian - will stand before him and try to prevent him from entering. At that moment he must make use of his courage, which has not so far been put to the test. He must vanquish the dragon and cross the threshold. After that, courage is useless to him; he will not need it any more. The greatest step has been taken; from now on he will need only perseverance. He must be impassive and not allow himself to get distracted. He will thus have complete control over his intellect. If he does not want the chain to break, he must keep his heart pure, have only good intentions and make deliberate use of his power only for a good cause. If he abused this power, he would end up, like in the allegory, wasting all the strength acquired at such pains and would irrevocably lose it.
In conclusion, let us add that whoever wishes to reign in this domain must be able to express an opinion on everything that he sees and hears, solve the questions that usually cause frustration, adapt his knowledge to what he wishes to carry out, and set everything that he comprehends about occult secrets for the benefit of humanity.
Fifth Speech by D. Semelas
On Good and Evil
(10 /1911. Cairo, Egypt)
In my previous speech we examined the principal ways of acquiring the practice of exteriorization in astral body.
On this subject I told you that the person who wished to try these practices should be prepared from all points of view: spiritual, moral and psychical.
Today, I take the opportunity to speak to you about the psychical qualities and defects which - under the general denomination of Astral Morality - are classified as Good and Evil.
I shall not deal with the subject in a spiritual sense; I do not want to classify Spirits as good or evil, since in their essence they are not so. Good and Evil are found only in the astral of every Spirit. We shall try to find out what is Good and what is Evil, and then whether these qualities and defects exist in astral Essence.
A number of great Theosophists have written treatises under various titles in order to explain Good and Evil. Most of them have presented them from the spiritual point of view. Others have tackled the subject on an inferior level. After a number of compilations and studies on Man, they still did not find the true cause of the existence of Good and Evil and have ended up denying their existence. This is an error. Good and Evil do exist, but they must not be considered as two opposites. They are neither in the physical nor in the spiritual plane. The truth concerning this subject lies only in the median plane, the astral plane.
I shall try to tell you what Good is and prove to you its existence. After study and meditation, you have all observed the Great Harmony that reigns in Nature. I have already drawn your attention to this subject. Today, I once again exhort you to see and discover the Law of Harmony that governs everything. You all know that the stars are beings that follow their course in the Universe with perfect mathematical precision. You know that the Sun, which gives us light, and the Earth, on which we live, follow this same Law of the Great Universal All. We can also see that the atoms that compose our own body, as well as that of every living being, follow the same Law, and that everything in the Universe, just as in Man, functions and works towards a determined end. After seeing harmony in movement, we see it in colour, and after studied concentration we see it in the vibrations emitted in the Universe, and we shall then understand the Universal musical Harmony.
But what is the role of harmony and what does it tend to? Its role is to bring the plurality of beings back to perfect Unity. This is indeed a Sublime Work. The thought of it alone leads to concentration and to the adoration of God through His works.
What is the Law of Creation? It is the Law of Harmony, and everything, absolutely everything in the Universe is subject to this Law. Every action made that conforms to this Law is classified as Good. Every action committed outside this Law, every discordant sound, every dissonance or broken tone, everything outside Harmony is Evil. Evil cannot exist, move or live, for the Law of Harmony will bring it back to the path of life and may eventually annihilate it altogether so as to remake it harmonious. It will then be part of the Good.
An example: Take the soldiers at their training camp. They must all make movements in complete harmony, following a determined manner and time. In the beginning they move their weapons right and left, and the movements are as many as the number of soldiers. The sergeant follows them and punishes them accordingly. The soldiers pay greater attention and try to carry out the movements in complete harmony. Here you have an example of Good and Evil.
Any movement of disharmony is Evil. When the harmonious vibrations arrive from the Astral, they bring about the punishment of such actions in the soul of Man, as well as in the Universe. When the acts of Man are made to conform to harmony, then the victory of Good is re-established in the Astral. So you see that Evil is indeed done, but it exists only momentarily, for in the end it is absorbed. Good is always victorious.
Let us now see a more concise theory of the idea of Good and Evil. Every accomplished act, every emitted vibration in the physical or astral planes, every movement that does not conform to Universal Harmony - which is the Unique Law of the Works of the Creator - is Evil. Consequently, every movement, vibration or act committed in the physical or astral planes that conforms to the Unique Law of Harmony is Good.
What does the theory of Good and Evil in the Astral prove to us and what is its usefulness? This theory proves the existence of spiritualized dynamic agents that are charged with the maintenance of the Unique Law of Harmony. These agents check and bring back to order the discordant tones, the dissonances in Universal Harmony, and hinder the disharmony of vibrations and all revolt against the Unique Universal Law. Agents of Evil also exist and the Saviour mentioned them when He spoke of demons well exerted in Evil and of angels at the service of Good. What we have seen bears witness in favour of this theory. Besides we become aware of the reality of these agents through their physical and astral effects.
One who aspires and is called to work in the astral plane must be well balanced. In order to achieve this balance, one needs to know only one of these powers so as to communicate with the beings of this plane. But one needs also know the origin of both agents so as to be able to have command over them and master them. In other words, one must know both Good and Evil. The full knowledge of these two agents will lead to the realization of Harmony and Unity. The Magician - absolute master of the astral plane - will be able to acquire brilliant lights and incalculable benefits.
I do not preach to you the appeal of Good and the horror of Evil. Instead I draw you attention to the practical usefulness that the zealous Initiate can obtain from the science of Good and Evil.
When we start practising, we shall examine the nature of these agents; we shall learn how to attract some and repel others. Then the Initiate can call himself an authority on Good and Evil.
Sixth Speech by D. Semelas
On the Astral and Talismans
(29 /11 / 1911. Cairo, Egypt)
I recently spoke to you about exteriorizations in astral body and divided them into 3 categories: the passive, the active auto-exteriorization, and the active one. The first is that of mediums and spiritualists of today; the second is that of the Initiate-disciple in the science of the astral plane, and the third is that of mastery over this plane.
I have already explained to you these various states and means. I shall not refer again to the first state, for it is a false one. The subject that has been put artificially to sleep is in an absolutely passive state. We know the means used and also know that those who are subjected to them attract the direst effects for their immediate future.
Let us pass on to the other categories. The active auto-exteriorization is the stage of learning the science of the astral plane. It is the principle of the conquest of this plane. But there are certain means necessary to make us acquire this ability. We shall examine these first, and then try to have a true concept of the theory and practice of mastery over the Astral.
To begin with, brethren, what is a Talisman? It is any object on which a strong will has been imposed and fixed through certain means and rites that we shall describe. Today, the talisman is an object of commerce. It is traded for quite a substantial sum, according to its so-called power. This is pure exploitation, considering that the occult value of such a talisman is absolutely nil.
A talisman is not some metal plaque or a piece of parchment on which circles, pentacles, signs and seals, etc. are etched. No, it is not. A talisman of real value and real power must be made by a Master in accordance with some rites and by following certain formulas that have been revealed and proved correct by practice.
There are three kinds of talismans, for here again we come across the Law of the Ternary. This is the principal Law, which is divided into three integral parts.
If the Initiate wants to make a person feel some sensation whatever, he takes an object, a piece of parchment or a metal plaque, and imposes his Will on it according to what he wishes to be felt and focuses (fixes) this Will by means of certain signs. When the person for whom this talisman is destined comes into contact with it, he/she is subject to the Will of the ‘operator1 and feels everything that the latter wanted to impose on him/her. This fact corresponds to the experiments of Magnetism and Hypnotism.
The talisman pertaining to the second category is one that has such virtue (power) as to allow the persons wearing it to exteriorize in a state of wakefulness. In a way they spring from their physical body and, in a kind of ecstasy, are able to see and know distant horizons.
In the well-known Arab stories of marvels, which even today can be found in the corner bookstore and which amuse people with their fantastic complications, there is the story of Khalima. It tells of a man who found a talisman and placed it on his forehead. Immediately there appeared before him the vision of a mountain in whose depths lay hidden treasures. This man, who was the King’s son, saw all this, as well as many other marvellous things that he could not have seen physically, and started travelling so as to discover this fantastic mountain. His talisman acted as his guide and he eventually arrived at the place indicated. He found an opening to the cave, entered it, saw the treasure and took it away with him.
I do not mean by this that the role of such a talisman is to help discover hidden treasures. By making use of such talismans, one can see a lot of other things besides.
3. The talisman pertaining to the third category is that which belongs to the Initiate who has had the patience to go through the stage of learning. He then possesses it and wears it, and thanks to the power that has been fixed upon it, he can exteriorize during his ordinary sleep. He can wander about in the Astral and have full conscience of everything that takes place at a particular area that he desires to visit. Finally, the Initiate acquires power in this plane - in a word, he has mastery over it. The astral auto-extriorization at the stage of learning is not effectuated by the disciple’s own Will but by the Will that he borrows from his Initiator. This Will is impressed on an object. But once the Initiate attains mastery, the object no longer has any power other than his own. In the beginning, with the help of the talisman, the Initiate releases his astral body, together with his spiritual Essence. He is fully conscious of everything he does; he travels and acts.
After spending some time in exercise, the Initiate travels in the Astral with his Initiator. The talisman is the goal of his Initiation. When he is given it, he wears it all the time and by studying the effect that ensues, he can tell whether his Initiator is truly a Master of not. The Initiate feels a Will within him, it is that of his Initiator. He strengthens this Will by means of his exercises; he can perceive the astral plane better as well as his own physical body lying at rest. This is a great step forward and his quest is answered by allegories of revelation. It is this passage from the physical plane to the astral one, which I shall later explain to you.
Gradually the talisman loses its power in a degree commensurate to the Initiate’s gain of power. By the time the power of the talisman is spent, the Initiate has become Master and can even have his own adepts.
The Initiate can now start travelling in the astral without being escorted by his Master. Since he possesses his talisman, he no longer needs his Master. He eventually acquires mastery without having to submit to passiveness, such as is imposed to the pupils by ‘operators’. From then on the talisman is but a memento of his Initiator. Now that the Initiate has become a Master, he can begin his real work in the astral and sidereal plane. But he must not feel any pride in his success, for pride brings disharmony, a discordant and dissonant note that can make him lose forever the power that he acquired with such difficulty.
Seventh Speech by D. Semelas
On the Astral (contd)
(6 /12 /1911. Cairo, Egypt)
In my previous speeches I mentioned to you the possibility of astral ‘trips’. I pointed out the different ways by means of which the Initiate’s Spirit is released and can thus have the vision of distant horizons, while all the time his physical body is asleep and lies inert on the bed.
Today I would like to speak to you again about this same possibility, but not from an occult or mystical point of view but from a scientific one.
I have already proved to you the existence of evil in the Astral and, through various instances of experiments, the reality of the phenomena that result from it.
In this our present brief study we shall see how science could prove that the Spirit can become released and leave its physical envelope and how and by what organs this Spirit can continue distributing life to the body while it is in this state.
According to the occultists of antiquity, the exteriorized Spirit remained attached to the human body by a very fine thread of astral fluid issuing from the navel. This theory is not correct, for in ancient times people were ignorant of quite a number of things that have been discovered since, and therefore the medical or other scientific opinions of that time were erroneous. The fact is that the Spirit cannot be attached to the body by the navel. It stands to reason that it can only be attached to the head, which is the seat of the brain and where - as was demonstrated - all the human faculties are located. Besides, all the physiologists and neurologists have admitted that all actions have the brain as their source.
The head is pre-eminently the region where the Spirit dominates. The Spirit transmits its Will and its orders to the organs by means of the brain. Let us have an anatomical view of this organ (the brain) and let us examine how the Spirit can approach or withdraw from it.
!!! lobes of the brain / Pineal gland ? Cerebellum.
You see here a sketch of the brain and its annexes. It is divided into lobes, and the small appendage towards the front is the Pineal Gland. Lower down, you can see the Cerebellum. It is absolutely necessary for you to have an accurate concept of what I present to you, for you must not accept any idea unless you have first analysed and understood it completely.
Now let us see how the Spirit transmits its orders to the body by means of the brain. The Spirit has continuous domination over the two lobes. The cerebellum, independent of the brain, is separated from it during our sleep, whereas it adapts itself in a different manner when we are awake, and is in contact with the brain.
Every will, power, or order that is emitted by the Spirit produces a stimulation in the particular part of the brain which is the seat of the faculty that the Spirit desires to set into action. This part is attached by a thread to the cerebellum, which is a mass of nerve fibres. Thus, the stimulation produced in that particular part of the brain transmits the order to the cerebellum, which in turn transmits it to the nerves. Finally, these last execute the order by setting the corresponding organ in motion.
Two nerves start from the cerebellum. One passes inside the spine and is the spinal cord, whose function is to nourish the muscles. The second is found along the spinal column; it is the Great Sympathetic nervous system, (automatic) whose role is to stimulate movement.
Nourishment of the muscles is carried out as follows: a nervous network sends force to the muscle in question and another nervous network removes the toxic substances that have been formed.
Two nerves are also needed to set an organ in motion; one gives movement whereas the other removes the force towards the brain. The spinal cord nourishes the muscle with force; the sympathetic nerve makes the organ move and the Spirit transmits its Will at times to the one an at times to the other.
There exists a third nervous plexus. This proves the possibility of exit to the Astral; it is the Pneumo-Gastric nerve (automatic). It starts from the centre of the brain and descends down to the lower abdomen. It gives nourishment as well as movement to the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, intestines, etc.
The domination of the Spirit over the brain is revealed by two active productions - the voluntary and the involuntary action. The voluntary action takes place when the Spirit stimulates a certain part of the brain where a faculty that can become manifest resides. The involuntary action takes place when the stimulus is on a part that has a perpetual impulsive function, such as the production of heartbeats, bowel movement, contraction and dilatation of organs - in a word, whatever pertains to the maintenance of the internal organs of the body.
This is the reason why the pneumo-gastric nerve is directly attached to the brain. If it were attached to the cerebellum - which is separated from the brain during sleep - no internal function could have been possible.
What is the theory concerning sleep ? There are many theories, but we shall look at the principal ones. When the cerebellum gets detached from the brain, thus cutting off all communication between it and the nervous system, Man is asleep. The body is at rest, but the heart, just like all other internal organs, keep working. They go on with their functions because they are perpetually directly dependent on the Spirit through the mediation of the pneumo-gastric nerve whose starting point is the centre of the brain.
What is the theory concerning sleep? There are many theories, but we shall look at the principal ones.
When the cerebellum gets detached from the brain, thus cutting off all communication between it and the nervous system,
man is asleep. The body is at rest, but the heart, just like all other internal organs, keep working. They go on with their functions because they are perpetually directly dependent on the Spirit through the mediation of the pneumo-gastric nerve whose starting point is the centre of the brain.
Can the Spirit withdraw at a distance from the brain? The Spirit can withdraw from the brain but always remains bound to it at a point - the Pineal gland. By the mediation of this gland it continues to stimulate the brain, which - by means of the pneumo-gastric nerve - will direct the functioning of the internal organs.
The muscles, which depend on the great sympathetic nerve as well as on the spinal cord, do not receive the nourishment of force during sleep. In the state of wakefulness, this nourishment is provided in the degree that it is spent. It is when the muscle works that it is nourished for, if the fluidic force did not arrive immediately and were not commensurate to the muscular effort exerted, any continuous work would be impossible.
For example, if you take hold of a spring at both ends and start pressing them together, you will see that after a few minutes’ exercise you hands will be paralysed and you will be unable to continue. If you stop for a few minutes and then resume, you note that you can go on with the exercise. Where has the force come from that allows you to resume?
It comes from the nerves that have sent it to your arms when the latter were obliged to stop. This has been scientifically verified.
It is possible for the Spirit to leave the body while the latter is in a state of sleep, for then the Spirit does not have to stimulate so many parts of the brain as it does when the person is awake. All the Spirit’s work lies in maintaining he movement of the internal organs. Besides, when asleep, the body does not feel anything and therefore it does not send any impressions to the brain. When a person is awake, it is impossible for the Spirit to withdraw from the body. The brain is continually stimulated, either by the Spirit itself or by external impressions. Moreover, the Spirit has to sustain the body and watch over it.
Why do we shut our eyes when we sleep? Man shuts his eyes because the greatest stimulus between the external world and the brain must cease when the Spirit is released. I repeat, the Spirit should then have to stimulate only a part of the brain - that which maintains the life of the human being. The heart cannot stop beating or the bowels stop working in a certain manner so as to digest the nourishment. Thus the Spirit is free to do what it likes, free to work and to travel in the astral plane.
How can the Spirit transmit what it sees and hears during its distant exteriorization in the astral plane? When we have our eyes open we have knowledge of the form, the size and the quality of things. If we close our eyes, this consciousness ceases and we understand that the nervous stimulation provided by sight is reflected in the astral part of the brain so that the Spirit can read it there. The Spirit does not see the part in question but sees the reflection that is registered in the cerebral mirror.
The brain is the most useful organ. Even if Man were able to live without it, he would act without purpose, would be idiotic and have no notion of what is all around him.
When the Spirit travels in the Astral, it perceives the spiritual aspect of everything presented to it. It transmits this perception through the fluidic thread to the brain, which retains the impression for a certain time. When the person wakes up, this impression becomes manifest as a memory. Then Man remembers having seen and heard, having travelled to certain places, and can make profitable use of the knowledge acquired.
All Initiates agree on the subject of conscious exteriorization of the Spirit in the Astral. Those who had the faculty to do so were neither insane nor ill. Scientifically they were right and what they had seen was normal.
These demonstrations do not only prove the possibility of astral travel, they also set us on the road towards the knowledge of the means to achieve it.
Eighth Speech by D. Semelas
On the Astral (contd)
(27 /12 /1911. Cairo, Egypt)
In my previous speech I explained to you the possibility of an exteriorization in astral body. This I did by means of positive science. To this end, I gave you a general outline of the nervous anatomy and mentioned the role of the brain, of the Pineal gland, of the Cerebellum, etc.
I shall add a few words to remind you of it all. In the human organism, the nervous system is divided into two principal nerves. The first is of the same substance as that of the brain. It starts from the cerebellum and follows internally the spinal column. It is the spinal cord, whose role is to nourish the muscles with force (strength). The second is the great sympathetic nerve, which descends in a course parallel to that of the spine, and its function is to make the muscles move.
The internal organs are also nourished and moved by a third nerve, which starts from the centre of the brain.
It is called the pneumo-gastric ( automatic ) nerve. It makes the heart, lungs, bowels, etc. function.
Now that this has been established, let us ask the question: How is sleep obtained? I shall first present to you the scientific theory and then follow it up with mine.
The brain is composed of nervous cells about the form sketched here. Small fibres issue all around these cells.
These cells are all superimposed on one another and hold and touch one another. The scientific medical theory is the following: when the cerebral cells relax and are at a distance from one another, sleep ensues. From then on, since the union and contact no longer exist between the cells, the nervous circuit is cut off, the faculties momentarily stop working and the body can rest.
This theory has not been able to be proved as absolutely correct, for experimentation is impossible. This hypothesis was formulated after a superficial examination of the possibility of setting the cells at a distance from one another.
We could accept this theory, but I shall prove to you that the cells separate from one another for other reasons. If the cells did not cut off all contact with one another, concentration on a single subject would be impossible.
When I am dealing with a subject, the particular faculty from which my subject is derived is located in the brain and the corresponding cells will all be in close contact with one another. However, in all the other parts of the brain, where other faculties, alien to the subject, reside, the cells will separate from one another.
You must have seen in the shop-windows of opticians those plaster heads whose skull is divided into small compartments in which the various human faculties are inscribed: one for memory, another for courage, etc. The study of all this forms the science of phrenology. This science was established as a result of a host of observations and verifications. For example, a man was hurt at the forehead and it was observed that he lost the faculty of speech. It was also observed that others who were hit at the very same place on the forehead, all lost the faculty of speech. It was therefore accepted that the place where the wounds had been inflicted was the seat of the faculty of speech.
Thus, when a person concentrates on a particular subject, all the cells of the other parts of the brain, where the faculty in question does not reside, separate from one another so as to allow the Spirit to act with lucidity and greater ease.
Now I shall present my own theory, which again cannot be proved by experimentation. But I shall also present you with its plausibility.
According to anatomists, the cerebellum is separated from the brain. It is a mass of threads and fibres that end up in nerves. This organ is adapted on the posterior part of the brain. Through it, the Will of the brain is transmitted to the great sympathetic nerve and the result is movement or again, it is transmitted by means through the spinal cord to the vital fluid, which is ceaselessly made to circulate by the Spirit.
During sleep, the cerebellum is separated from the brain and has no contact with it. Proof of this is that a void between these two organs has been observed in persons during sleep. Scientists have observed and verified this but have been unable to explain the reason for it. During sleep then, communication between the brain and the nervous system is cut off. But the person who is asleep may make certain unconscious movements. This is due to a small residue of the nervous fluid contained in the body. It is a kind of deposit that remains in all the nervous plexuses. These movements are not guided by the Will. For example, when the body gets tired in a certain position, it moves round to another one. Still, how are these involuntary movements during sleep explained, since the cells of the brain are separated? This question proves the falsity of the medical theory. The brain never stops working; it is always active. Sleep is caused only due to the lack of contact between the brain and the cerebellum.
Let us now look at another aspect of this question. The reflection of sensation, vision or other effect on the brain is produced by a nervous stimulus. The ocular nerve will be stimulated by every image that crosses the eye. I see you; the ocular nerve is stimulated and transmits this stimulus to the brain. I also have conscience of what I see. I then close my eyes. There is no longer any stimulus and therefore no transmission. Or again, I have a certain brainwave; there is a stimulus; the cerebral nerves work and cannot possibly relax.
If a person is extremely tired, the Spirit leaves the brain and the person becomes comatose, like someone dead. And yet, the heart keeps beating, the lungs, as well as all the other internal organs, go on working, even though the cerebellum has been separated from the brain and all communication between them has been cut off. Why is this so? The internal organs go on working because the pneumo-gastric (automatic) nerve that makes them function is directly dependent on the brain. It starts from the pineal gland and has no connection whatever with the cerebellum. It receives the fluid directly from the brain.
Again, how can this be? Since the brain is inactive and does not process the fluid? The Spirit does not feel fatigue.
It knows no time or place. Its work is perpetual and its seat is the brain. Even when it is at a distance from the brain, it is still linked to it by an invisible astral thread. The possibility of this fact can only be proved by radiotelepathy.
At what point is the Spirit linked to the brain? Science gauges this somewhat. It is a particular point from which all functions depart. Science has been obliged to kill quite a number of living beings in order to solve this problem. In their experiments, scientists always observed an alienation preceding death or again, a sudden death. Therefore there was no conclusive evidence.
I shall try to make myself clearer. When the cerebellum is separated from the brain, the latter goes on functioning and acts through the pneumo-gastric nerve in order to continue the vital internal nourishment of the body, which it has abandoned while dealing with some external matter, such as spiritual research, etc. The Spirit is released and leaves the brain at rest, while all the time it is still linked to it (if I can use this expression) at this particular point. This point is a conceptive organ of the brain and - as I have already told you - by means of this organ the brain receives the impressions so that when the person wakes up, he/she will have conscience of what the Spirit saw and did during sleep. During its astral travel, the Spirit transmits its impressions to their corresponding centres (locations), such as the auditory, ocular, etc. and upon awakening, the person has an idea of what they heard, saw, etc. in their astral trip.
Science cannot claim that we deviate from the truth since we can prove that our assertions are possible. If this Force is not material, it can very well be at a distance from its physical envelope, see, hear, and then return to it. I do not want to speak to you about dreams according to the scientific point of view, for we are formally opposed to this theory. Since the principle in question is erroneously defined, the result of the research is inevitably equally false.
What we need to know here is:
To feel and know the principal point of the brain where the seat of the Spirit is found or, better still, the point on which the Spirit acts directly.
To know the means by which we can exercise the subtle parts of the brain and render them sensitive to the reflections sent by the Spirit regarding what it saw during its exteriorizations.
To learn what work is needed to be done in the brain so as to manage to travel in the Astral.
Note well that I do not seek to impose any dogmas on you. I do not wish to suggest any ideas to you. I only tell you what I know and my aim is simply to show you a method of developing your faculties, as also to make you understand the possibility of astral travel.
Observe the sketch. It represents approximately a view of the brain as seen from below. You note that almost in the centre there is a kind of cyst. It is the pineal gland. It is this essential point that is of interest to us. This gland is filled with a liquid that looks like water but rapidly evaporates. It was observed that when an animal was killed during its sleep, this gland was full of the liquid in question whereas if it was killed while awake, the gland was partially full. This liquid is a deposit of the nervous liquid that is meant to maintain the body in life during the absence of the Spirit. Of what use is this knowledge to the Initiate? The Initiate is interested in this study :
1) so as to develop the size of this gland and
2) so as to render these brain centres (localizations) of the intellectual faculties more sensitive to the impressions of astral
sight, hearing and touch. In this manner the Initiate will be able to remember the places that the Spirit visited in its astral travels.
How can these results be obtained from a philosophic point of view? If we wish to obtain a result in this direction, it is important to do some exercises that will help develop the pineal gland. One such exercise is to regulate our sleep, that is, go to sleep and wake up at regular hours. Another exercise is the practice of meditation.
How is it that such apparently simple exercises are able to develop such significant faculties? When we focus and fix our thoughts on a subject or on an organ, we have reflex ideas of this thought or organ. If I keep thinking that I have heart trouble, in a short time I shall observe that my thought has acted in a certain manner, that an action or a reflex has been produced, and that I really have got heart trouble.
Meditate. Concentrate you Will on withdrawal to the Astral. This will provoke a certain nervous stimulus that will bring on a congestion or rush of blood on that part of the brain where this faculty resides. The blood is driven to that part and makes it develop and grow. Meditation allows the development of the pineal gland and prepares one for the state of learning (of being a Disciple).
Other secondary exercises will provide you with the means to remember what you see and hear in the Astral.
I do not advise you to draw a black point on the wall and keep staring at it for hours on end. No, because this would only suggest to you all kinds of absurdities and you will end with nothing but sore eyes. This is a wholly passive way of meditating and has nothing to do with Initiation. Instead, try reading something at a great distance or focus all your forces on something far away. In this manner you will develop those parts of the brain that pertain to sight and will manage to have the visual impression of what is distant. This is what the astral trip is all about. For a period of about 5-10 minutes, while in a very normal state, try to distinguish something that is at a great distance. You will acquire a stronger and more sensitive sight.
Again, try to catch conversations carried out some distance away. This exercise - which corresponds to the one of sight - will develop your hearing. You will thus learn to focus a certain faculty at a particular point and examine it thoroughly.
In the Astral, you mainly see and hear; the sense of touch is of no use to you. Its development belongs to the domain of exteriorisation in astral body and later in coagulation.
We now enter into the second branch of the study of the Astral. It is the study of Magic, which is the action and domination of the Spirit over everything external, by the intermediary of the astral fluid.
In conclusion, I advise you to practise developing your faculties so that you may be able to perceive what at present is impossible for you to know. You will thus start practising this priceless Initiation.
I make a point of stressing to you that this is not in the least a matter of autosuggestion, for you could easily confuse what has just been said with the passive methods of auto-suggestion. All the work must be carried out by the 3 Virtues of the Spirit. This is why knowledge of the topography of your brain is necessary so that you may develop certain of its organs in full consciousness.