The Golden Star
“It is the same with spirit-photography. The genuine, unfaked photographs of what are supposed to be these ‘spirits’ exist in large numbers. There can be no doubt about the honesty of the mediums, sitters, and photographers in such cases. But they are not photographs of spirits, but photographs of the semblances of these ‘spirits’ as they were during their lifetime, and not as they are after they have sloughed off the earthly body. These photographs are the reflections of what is already indelibly impressed upon the mind of the sitter, or sitters, or medium; they are pictures of those images abiding in the aura of one or more of those present, and as such they are genuine phenomena. Thoughts are things, and if the thought is strong enough the sensitive plate in the camera will reproduce it. Regard the vagueness of most of such photographs; the rigidity of the subjects; the sameness of the pose and position in nearly all of them; all wrapped up in the traditional ghost-wrappings or clouds of the stage, or of amateur theatricals. Very often the supposed likeness is so vague that it might fit almost anybody. The fact of the matter is that they are objective copies from subjective photographs impressed upon the ether of space, and, as such, constantly thrown out by our thoughts, words, or deeds.
“When the theories of the Spiritualists are compared with the facts of Occult Wisdom, we come to some interesting conclusions.
“The theories are the result of untrained observation and wrong deductions on account of insufficient training in the Mysteries. After beholding many wonderful phenomena at séances, the most intelligent spectators work out for themselves a fairly consistent theory of how these things happen. On comparing notes with one another, they will find that others have come to similar conclusions. Then they feel convinced that their views are correct and issue forth to proclaim these discoveries. But—what they have witnessed can be compared with the spectacle we behold at the theatre from before the footlights. We have not yet been introduced to the stage-manager or the producer, and we see only what they wish us to see. What goes on behind the scene is hidden from us; and the play itself is an illusion to our senses. It is only the person initiated into these illusions, having full knowledge of the apparatus behind the curtain, who can know how the effects are made possible; and he will have an entirely different viewpoint with regard to the stage-technique and the marvellous tricks, feats and effects which dazzle the spectator. Thus, the initiate has facts at his disposal, and the spectator only theories.
“The spiritualistic medium has generally a well-defined preconception of what he thinks he ought to see or hear, or make contact with in any way you like. In most cases he will see or hear just that and seldom more. But the trained seer can place himself en rapport with real entities and see and hear truly—without preconceptions—what takes place in the spiritual worlds. He can thus contact elementaries, elementals, or the spirits, minds, or souls of human entities on higher planes. Thus spirit will reach up to spirit, never down; for, as I have already stated, the spirits dwelling in the higher spheres cannot descend into our material and dense atmosphere on earth. Moreover, the medium can only see and hear what the particular spirit with whom he makes contact sees and hears. When on the Astral plane that spirit lives in a Paradise or Dreamland of its own making, surrounded by all the things and beings it loves, or for which it has a longing. The discarnate spirit (mind) of a European will find itself in an entirely different dream-region from that which a Red Indian, a Polynesian, or a Chinese spirit would behold. Moreover, the fact that a medium is conscious of contact with a discarnate spirit makes that spirit not necessarily aware of this contact. It is possible to obtain knowledge of the spirit-world without the spirits being aware of it. The mind of the medium becomes assimilated with that of another personality and thinks, speaks and writes as the departed one would have done on earth; a synchronisation of the two minds, in other words. Should the medium obtain a true picture of such a spirit clairvoyantly, this does not mean that he has seen it as it was on earth; he may have seen a semblance of it in the Astral light; especially if the passing over took place many years ago. Furthermore, the untrained medium, or the medium who is not under the guidance of an expert, such as the ancient High Priests were, or as the modern Adept is, will inevitably colour any contact with the conceptions of his own mind. Therefore, we never receive a true picture or message in such cases.
“A bereaved sitter at a séance can unconsciously place a medium and a discarnate spirit en rapport on account of the strong longing for renewed contact with the lost one in the mind of the sitter. But here again the spirit itself is not necessarily aware of this. It must not be forgotten that immediately after the final separation of the spirit from the deceased human body (which often takes place several days after the death of the body itself), this spirit sinks into a state of unconsciousness or sleep. It is borne around on magnetic currents and swayed about like a dead leaf in the wind. So it may pass within the range of vision of some seer, or the medium in question; or its reflection in the Astral light may be caught by the inner eye of a clairvoyant. As a rule the trained seer will know from the position, or aspect, of the spirit he beholds, whether it is in a dream-state or subjectively or objectively conscious of its surroundings and self; and the spirit-form may assume an animated or even transfigured appearance, according to its degree of spirituality or purity. Against these possibilities we have the danger of the passive state of the medium being the cause of its coming under the dominion of the elementaries and elementals.
“The uninitiated theorise and generalise and are therefore empiricists; the trained Occultist is a Scientist. He knows the forces he is contending with and has no need to speculate about them and so build up a fanciful structure that rests on air and has no foundations.
“For thousands of years hundreds of real initiates have explored the unseen worlds. The results of their explorations have been recorded and collected and discrepancies eliminated by fresh verifications. These facts have been generalised and the laws governing them deduced therefrom and again verified by experiment. Therefore, it must be admitted that Occultism is in every sense of the word an exact science, whilst the conclusions of the untrained seer can only be empirical. It is just as ridiculous and vain to question the work and science of the mathematicians, for instance, as the work and science of the trained Psychists; but Spiritualism in the hands of the amateur of Occultism can never become a science.
“The objective phenomena of Spiritualism are the results of the activities or interventions of Elementals, or half intelligent nature forces, and elementaries or shells, retaining very little of the personal memories, but in which the more material or animal instincts survive. The latter survive the body for only a limited time; gradually all consciousness departs and they disintegrate. The purer the personality, the less their vitality; the coarser the human being from whom they were separated, the longer their survival, and the greater their chance of finding their way into the séance room. No real good can come of any intercourse with these beings. Even if not actually wicked, they are always imperfect and weak and their influence can never be elevating. Moreover, it is wrong to encourage such remnants into activity or to feed them upon the vital essences coming from the sitters, thus galvanising them into a fictitious renewal of their existence. Association with these beings can never benefit mankind in any way, and sometimes it causes great harm.
“Of such nature are the ‘angel’ guides of the Spiritualists. Idle dreams and speculations; the succubi and incubi of medieval times are now the spirit ‘wives’ and ‘husbands’ of modern days! Since Spiritualism—as such—began in the 19th Century there have been thousands of good, pure and honest men and women, who, but for the cultivation of the evil capacity for reception of impressions by elementaries, might have lived useful lives leading to higher things, but who through the gradual pernicious influence of these low, earth-bound natures, have sunk from bad to worse. Often they meet with a premature end on account of constant heavy losses of their vital essences which are soaked up by these ‘spirits’; and cause not only their own ruin, but the ruin of those near and dear ones who have become the innocent victims of these entities and the dreadful atmosphere surrounding them when they followed home the weaker members of once happy families.
“Once a person comes under the dominance of the elementaries, his or her very nature changes completely. We see a loving wife and mother turn into a very fiend towards her husband and children; utterly callous and indifferent to their well-being. We see homes that were once happy and harmonious entirely devastated and ruined beyond redemption. This influence can turn a good man into a demon and a good woman into a fiend. They become completely lazy and filthy and neglect their homes and kin as well as themselves. Many are driven to suicide or have to be locked up in mental homes. Oceans of tears have been wept by their relations, and untold misery caused by the evil influences of these foul spirits. And still the séances go on; mediums freely advertise for new clients; ‘investigators’ keep on following the dangerous roads that so often lead to the total loss of all they hold dear.”