Imatges de pàgina

thing more occult, may well be sufficient to disturb the delicate conditions which enable an apparition to become visible at all. Iron, too, in various forms, is said to drive away elementals. I presume this is due to its magnetic properties; and thus the greater use of iron in modern houses, for fireplaces, beds, etc., may be another reason for the comparative rarity of occult phenomena in modern civilized Europe.

The assumption of the immortality of the elementals inay be paralleled by another notion, equally modern, and equally unphilosophical and absurd ; the idea that when a man dies, he finds himself at once in the presence of a personal God. I once heard it said of a suicide, "that he had rushed unbidden into the presence of his Maker;" much as if he had dodged the guards and intruded on the privacy of an earthly monarch. It is also a popular notion that a man becomes practically omniscient when he dies. This, however, is less absurd; for it has perhaps originated in the life. vision, which there is reason to believe always precedes death, commencing even before the link between the physical and the astral bodies is actually and irrevocably broken. It is such notions as those discussed in the present paragraph which will go down to posterity as the “folk-lore” of the present age.

I do not pretend to have exhausted the extensive subject of folk-lore in the present paper, but have merely touched on a few points in which it appears to me that the methods of Theosophy and folk-lore may be advantageously combined. Specialism is the great bane of our age; and we should try to counteract it by investigating every subject from as many distinct points of view as possible. Many of my remarks are tentative, and remain to be proved or disproved by further enquiry.





RECENT investigations have thrown some further light upon the nature of the desire-body in man, and although the results are still fragmentary and somewhat incomplete, they have been thought of sufficient interest to be briefly laid before the readers of LUCIFER. A great deal inore experiment and observation will, however, be needed before a complete theory of the lower vehicles of man's consciousness can be formulated, and especially before the various lines of evolution which come together therein can be disentangled and assigned to their proper places in relation to that general system of evolution on the planetary chain to which the human race belongs.

The writer is inerely a scribe who has been requested to put upon paper the results arrived at as clearly as can at present be done, and with these few words of introduction we may turn to the subject in hand.

In the recent articles upon Dreams” and Man and his Bodies” which have appeared in these pages, the statement is made that the physical body and the etheric double possess each a sort of consciousness of its own, apart from and independent of the Ego, which uses these bodies as vehicles for its manifestation on the physical plane. These statements will become more intelligible when it is added that this dim, blind, and exceedingly restricted consciousness is due to the fact that both the gross body and the etheric double are each “informed” by a portion or ray of elemental essence which is this consciousness. This specialization of monadic essence—asin all similar cases in the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms-is only temporary, lasting as long as the organized life of the body in question endures, and being reabsorbed into the particular class of elemental essence from which it was specialized as soon as the body which it informs disintegrates.

This monadic essence, it must also be remembered, which is specialized as the informing consciousuess, say of the gross body of an animal, is quite different and distinct from that other type of monadic essence which is specialized as the consciousness of the animal as such. For the latter belongs to one or other of the segregated classes of the monadic essence which have reached the animal stage on the upvard arc of their evolution; while the former, the essence which informs the gross body only, belongs to a quite different class of monadic essence which is evolving through the elemental kingdoms on the opposite or descending are of evolution. This distinction will perhaps become clearer in the light of the following remark: the gross body of the animal is inforined by one type of elemental essence, its etheric double by a second, and its astral body by a third, these three seeming to occupy adjacent positions in the downward series of stages; but there is only one class of animal monadic essence on the upward arc out of which is specialized that ray which constitutes the “soul” of the animal, which uses all tliese three vehicles (witli their respective inforining essences) as its vehicles during the life of the animal in question.

In the preceding paragraph I have anticipated a statement which is the foundation of what is to follow, by speaking of the “astral body” of an animal as being informed by a ray of elemental essence, just as are the gross and etheric bodies. This is in fact the case, and all that has been said of the latter applies equally to the astral body-whether of animal or man. And it is about the astral or desire-body of man thus informed that we have now to speak.

First, however, a remark or two must be made upon the meaning of the word “desire.” Sometimes, both in ordinary and in Theosophical usage, we find it employed in a narrow, restricted sense, and then again in its widest and most extended signification. It is most convenient now to take it in the latter. Used thus it comprises every form and phase of reaching out towards, longing for, seeking after, or craving for anything, whether actually present or only dimly felt after. It thus includes at one end of the scale such selective attraction as we see in the mineral kingdom in the form of chemical affinity, and on the other the highest forms of spiritual aspiration, with all that lies between the two. Each stage, whether of upward or downward evolution, will display a different form of

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this activity of " desire," and some day special terms will be needed to denote each. Thus the essence informing the gross body exhibits its own phases of desire in the form of hunger, thirst, desire for rest or activity and the like, some of which are induced therein by the condition of the tissues of the body, while others may arise spontaneously in the essence itself.

Now “desire" is much more active and varied in the astral body than in either the etheric or the physical, and this appears to be mainly due to the peculiar nature of the essence which informs it. This informing essence is extreinely active, ceaselessly groping and reaching out in all directions, producing the everchanging flashies of colour which are so characteristic of the kâmic aura, or aura of the astral body. This elemental essence, specialized in the astral body, seems to be inspired with the one dominant craving to feel, to get the sense of existence through sensation. Its chief characteristic is thus an unceasing reaching out after sensation in every form ; preferably pleasurable, but rather the most painful than none at all. For, in some curiously blind and inchoate way, this essence gets a sense of life and existence when suffused with sensation; and this is what it is ceaselessly groping and reaching out after, in the strange, blind, dimly intelligent, instinctual way already mentioned.

This groping after sensation is the life of the which informs the astral body, and is the means by which its own evolution proceeds. Quite naturally, therefore, it is ever striving after its own ends, irrespective of all else, being totally indifferent to, and probably unconscious of, any results or quences which may ensue eitlier to the body on the one hand or the Ego on the other. And equally, of course, no such conceptions

, as those of right and wrong are in any way applicable to it. In seeking sensation it is only following out the law of its own nature; and the keener, the more vivid, the inore intense the sensation it obtains, the more its evolution is furthered. Hence we must not in any way associate the idea of evil or good with the activity of this order of monadic essence in itself; though these activities acquire the aspects of good and evil when considered, as we shall do presently, in relation to the Ego and its evolution as affected by them. But considered apart from the Ego they have no



colouring of good or evil, and indeed it inay be questioned whether what we know as pain and pleasure are distinguishable in its sensations apart from the presence of the Ego.

Now, as has just been remarked, the more keen and vivid the sensation, and the more there is of it, the more the evolution of this eleinental essence is furthered. And this essence feels in a dim kind of way—though whether by inherent instinct or as the result of past experience is as yet undetermined—the essence feels that when it can bring mind, that is the power and life of Manas, into association with itself, its capacity of sensation is gre enhanced, and it obtains keener, fuller, more vivid and intense sensations, as well as kinds and orders of sensation which, apart from Manas, would lie beyond its reach.

Hence, taking now the complete man, this elemental essence which informs the astral body is ever striving to draw the Manas into closer and closer association with itself, and to make the Manas work for its ends by leading it to believe that it (Manas) wants these sensations which the essence is reaching out after. Hence arises a conflict of interests. The line of evolution of Manas leads it away from those regions where those sensations are obtainable which this essence craves for, up into the higher regions of pure mânasic life; while the evolution of this essence, tending as it does downwards towards the mineral kingdom, leads in the exactly opposite direction. Thus the true interest of Manas is opposed-for the time being—to that of the elemental essence, and hence there arises in man that inner conflict which St. Paul described as the law of the flesh, which warreth against the law of the spirit.

Here we seem to have a solution of the difficult problem of the desire-nature in man. For that higher order of monadic essence which has completed its downward sweep through the mineral kingdom and has developed upwards through the vegetable and animal stages to the verge of individualization as man, finds itself using as a vehicle the astral body of a highly developed animal type informed by this sensation-seeking order of monadic essence on its downward course. And when complete individualization ensues and the mânasic consciousness develops, it is largely entangled in the meshes of this astral or desire body.

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