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Let us take the etheric vision first. In so small a work as this I have no space for that; such people must study the many books containing lists of cases, or make experiments for themselves along mesmeric lines. This paying of intentional astral visits seems very often to become possible when the principles are loosened at the approach of death for people who were unable to perform such a feat at any other time.
We might divine them according to the capacity of the clairvoyant, taking into consideration whether he was trained or untrained; whether his vision was regular and under his command, or spasmodic and independent of his volition; whether he could exercise it only when under mesmeric influence, or whether that assistance was unnecessary for him; whether he was able to use his faculty when awake in the physical body, or whether it was available only when he was temporarily away from that body in sleep or trance.
Not only does the astral aura show him the temporary result of the emotion passing through it at the moment, but it also gives him, by the arrangement and proportion of its colours when in a condition of comparative rest, a clue to the general disposition and character of its owner.
In the investigation of the phenomena of clairvoyance all these varied types and many others will be encountered, and a certain number of cases of mere hallucination will be almost sure to appear also, and will have to be carefully weeded out from the list of examples. Now no such anointing of the eyes alone could by any possibility open a man’s astral vision, though certain ointment rubbed over the whole body will very greatly assist the astral body to leave the physical in full consciousness – a fact the knowledge of which seems to have survived even to mediaeval times, as will be seen from the evidence given at some of the trials for witchcraft.
One to which it will be worth while to give a passing glance is the stage in which a man, though he has no clairvoyant faculty in ordinary life, yet exhibits it more or less fully under the influence of mesmerism. Another characteristic is that any power gained by these methods can at best be only temporary. But, it may be said, the mere fact that he is using astral sight ought to enable him to see it from all sides at once.
Stead has followed along the same lines, presenting the conception to his readers under the name of throughth. I should like to say a few words about this, because it seems to me that some of us are not getting quite as much out of it as we might do. Up among the exceedingly rapid vibrations which affect the ether there is a certain small section – a very small section – to which the retina of the human eye is capable of responding, and these particular vibrations produce in us the sensation which we call light.
By its means the hypothetical molecule and atom postulated by science becomes visible and living realities to the occult student, and on this closer examination he finds them to be much more complex in their structure than the scientific man has yet realized them to be. There are many among them to whom the experience has come at some supreme moment of their lives, when it is comprehensible that there might have been a temporary exaltation of faculty which would be sufficient to account for it.
He will be impressed by the protean forms of the ceaseless tide of elemental essence, ever swirling around him, menacing often, yet always retiring before a determined effort of the will; he will marvel at the enormous army of entities temporarily called out of this ocean into separate existence by the thoughts and wishes of man, whether good or evil. They drift into his mind, unless it is already occupied with something definite, and in the majority of cases they just drift out again, having made only the most trifling impression upon his brain; but here and there he encounters one which interests or pleases him and then he takes that up and turns it over in his mind, so that it departs from him somewhat strengthened by the addition of a little of his mind-force to it.
Cleave, then at Portsmouth, appeared, intentionally on two occasions to a young lady [Page 66] in London, and alarmed her considerably. And though, if astral consciousness be not yet developed, these centres may not be available on their own plane, they are still strong enough to stimulate into keener activity the etheric matter which they interpenetrate. We are living all the while surrounded by a vast sea of mingled air and ether, the latter interpenetrating the former, as it does all physical matter; and it is chiefly by means of vibrations in that vast sea of matter that impressions reach us from the outside.
It must be not our master but our servant before we can take the first step along the line of the true trained clairvoyance, for this is the instrument which we shall have to use, and it must be at our command and fully under our control. It is referred to as “the power of making oneself large or small at will”, and the reason of a description which appears so oddly to reverse the fact is that in reality the method by which this feat is [Page 43] performed is precisely that indicate in these ancient books.
Of course the objects must always be magnified to some extent, or they would be absolutely invisible, but usually the extent is determined by the size of the astral tube and the whole thing is simply a tiny moving picture.
The thickness of a wall, or the number of walls intervening between the observer and the object, would make a great deal of difference to the clearness of the etheric sight; they would make no difference whatever to the astral sight, because on the astral plane they would not intervene between the observer and the object. There are, in fact, many instances in which it has been seen by the person thought of – most probably by means of the unconscious mesmeric influence emanating from the original thinker.
Distance would in that case no bar to the sight, all intervening objects would be penetrable by these rays, and they would be able to cross one another to infinity in all directions without entanglement, precisely as the vibrations of ordinary light do.
C. W. Leadbeater (Leadbeater, C. W. (Charles Webster), ) | The Online Books Page
He is the incarnation of love, of power, of wisdom. It is described in some places as a kind of pondering or dwelling upon a given thought or object, and it is said in the Hindu books that meditation and contemplation will not be successful unless this is practiced first.
The physical c.w.leadbeager has never been accustomed to act at all along those lines, and so it feels itself unable to attack such a problem. See how highly developed is the intellect in the great scientific man; yet perhaps he may have but little yet of the wonderful force which devotion gives.
A very ingenious hypothesis has been offered to account for the phenomenon. Their one great interest is the furthering of evolution, the helping of humanity; they need men devoted to this work, and they are ever watching for them; so none need fear that he can be overlooked if he is ready for that work.
Clairvoyance by C. W. Leadbeater
The word that is here translated concentration comes from the root dhri, to hold. He has made it his own thought for a moment, and so has coloured it with his personality. Occasional flashes of clairvoyance do, however, sometimes come to the highly cultured and spiritual-minded man, even though he may never have heard of the possibility of training such a faculty.
In addition to astral entities he will see astral corpses – shades and shells in all stages of decay; but these need only be just mentioned here, x.w.leadbeater the reader desiring a further account of them will find it in our third Death – and After? This is a phrase [Page 55] frequently and rather loosely employed in some of our Theosophical literature to cover a considerable variety of phenomena, and among others that which I wish to explain.
I do not say that it will be easy, f.w.leadbeater the contrary, it is very difficult; but it can be done, for many of us have had to do it.
One or other of those things we ought to be trying to do, and we must not let it become vague. We in our Theosophical studies have no lack of such subjects, combining deepest interest with greater profit.
Clairvoyance means literally nothing more than “clear seeing”, and it is a word which has been sorely misused, and even degraded so far as to be employed to describe the trickery of a mountebank in clarvoyance variety show.
The view of a distant scene obtained by means of this “astral current” is in many ways not unlike that seen through a telescope. I am not speaking here of a vague possibility, but of a definite fact, for some of our own members in this Society set themselves years ago to try to train the soul along the path of permanent progress, and of those who persevered without faltering almost every one has even already found some definite result.
He ordered that some large water-jars should be c.w.leadbeatfr and filled to the brim.
It is obvious that while the mind is responding to the appeals of the physical, astral and lower mental planes, it is not likely to hear the message that the ego is trying to transmit to the personality from his own higher planes.
One widow Turner, who watched with her that night, says that c.w.lexdbeater eyes were open and fixed, and her jaw fallen. At this stage of development stood many of the prophets and seers of whom we read, who were “warned of God in a dream”, or communed with beings far higher than themselves in the silent watches of the night.