Doctrine of Mediumship
IT IS NOT within the province of these lessons on mediumship to offer proof that the
numerous kinds of psychic phenomena considered are genuine, but to cite where
such proof may be found and to explain them according to the findings of Hermetic
The most convincing proof, to be sure, is that based upon personal experience, and
thousands are having such proof each day. But my personal experience, or your
personal experience, has very little weight with those who have had no like
occurrence. We must refer such to the innumerable cases of psychic phenomena,
belonging to all classes, which have been painstakingly collected by men of
international scientific standing and integrity. A host of such phenomena have been
witnessed and critically analyzed under such circumstances as to make fraud or
illusion impossible. The person nowadays who denies a wide variety of psychic
phenomena, ranging from telepathy, clairvoyance and premonition to, and
including, haunted houses and materializations, is merely behind the times and
ignorant. Of the many men of international scientific reputation who have seriously
investigated such psychic phenomena I know of not a single one who remains
unconvinced of their genuineness.
Since these lessons were first written there has been a vast amount of additional proof
published. In 1923 Charles Richet, Professor of Physiology in the University of
Paris, came out with a book of over six hundred pages, “Thirty Years of Psychical
Research,” in which he gives a large number of carefully verified instances of the
numerous types of psychic phenomena. In 1920 there appeared in English,
“Phenomena and Materialization,” by Baron Von Schrenk Notzing, a large volume
illustrated with two hundred twenty-five photographs of spirit materializations. The
conditions under which these photographs were obtained were of the strictest nature,
and not only afford positive proof that materializations actually take place, but yield
much new knowledge of the manner in which they are formed.
In 1922 there was published, “Death and Its Mystery,” by Camille Flammarion, a
large collection of authentic instances of telepathy, clairvoyance, the sight of future
events, etc. Also in 1922, another book of the same series, “At the Moment of Death,”
by Flammarion, was published. This book contains a large collection of well verified
cases of phantasms of the living, apparitions of the dying, psychic warnings of
approaching death, deaths announced by blows from invisible agents, and other
psychic manifestations of the dying. In 1923 the third of this series, “After Death,” by
Flammarion, appeared. It contains a large collection of verified cases where the dead
have returned according to previous agreement, and of other manifestations and
apparitions after death. The latter are arranged according to the length of time after
death that they appeared, and constitute conclusive proof that the dead do sometimes
return, the length of time elapsing after death before the return being any time from a
few minutes to thirty years.
Finally, in 1924, “Haunted Houses,” by Flammarion, was published. This book is a
collection of a very large number of cases of genuine hauntings, and forever disposes
of the question of whether or not there actually are haunted houses. Camille
Flammarion, who has attained an international reputation as a scientist through his
astronomical work, has been gathering data on psychic subjects for the last fifty
years. In 1899 he intensified his efforts in this direction, and put forth a wide and
systematic effort to collect well authenticated cases of psychic phenomena. Up to
that time he had received some 500 psychic observations. Since then he has received
more than 5,600 different psychic observations. The Psychic Research Societies of
France, England, Italy, Germany and other countries have published about as many
more that have come to his notice, so that he had some ten or eleven thousand
different psychic observations from which to draw conclusions.
Facts are always of greater weight than theories. Here we have facts; innumerable
facts; verified facts; incontrovertible facts; all testifying that psychic phenomena
take place, and a great many of them testifying that the dead survive.
It seems strange that the very religions that teach life after death are so bitter against
proof being offered that such is the case. If an enlightened people are to believe in a
life after death there must be some proof of it. What better proof can there be than that
the dead return and manifest a personality that is recognizable? If the dead still live,
why should we think there are insurmountable barriers to communicating with them?
As I write no airship has flown across the Pacific Ocean. Some think such a feat
impossible. But it will be done. A retrospect shows a thousand obstacles to man’s
achievement that were once thought insurmountable. But one by one they have been
overcome. Today’s psychic phenomena, it is true, is more or less sporadic and
imperfect. But in spite of this, a vast proportion of it is genuine. As such it points the
way to a more perfect form that may be brought under the control of the human will.
I should not omit mention of “The Case for Spirit Photography” (1923), and “The
Coming of the Fairies” (1922), by A. Conan Doyle. The former book relates
instances of spirit photography and is illustrated from spirit photographs. The latter is
an account of an investigation of some fairies which were photographed by two little
girls under such circumstances as to make fraud impossible.
There are other books and many magazine articles that have appeared in the last few
years, all offering definite examples of psychic phenomena. But those mentioned
will be quite conclusive to any person who can be convinced through reading about
the experiences of others. To those who must have personal experience to convince
them, there is always open the more arduous, but very satisfactory road of
experimental investigation. Of this I feel confident; any person who will approach
the problem with an unbiased mind and investigate painstakingly over a long period
cannot but be satisfied both as to the reality of the various kinds of psychic
phenomena and that the human personality survives death.
This being the case, the question naturally arises: how it is possible for those existing
on other planes of life to manifest themselves through such phenomena, or in any
manner communicate with those yet in the flesh. To answer this question we must
first understand, in its broadest sense, what the term mediumship implies.
Take the smith who shapes a horseshoe. When the iron is placed in the fire it is cold,
meaning that it has a slow molecular motion. The fire, on the other hand, has a swift
molecular motion–is hot. Through contact some of the molecular motion of the fire
is imparted to the iron, increasing its molecular motion. It, in turn, becomes hot,
which is but another way of stating that it is a passive agent of the fire in the forge and
has become a medium for the transmission of its energy.
Next the smith removes the red-hot iron from the fire, places it upon the anvil, and by
means of blows from a hammer shapes it to the form he desires.
He has in his mind an image of the shape it is to assume. His motor nerves respond to
his mind as mediums for transmitting his thoughts to his muscles. The hammer in his
hand is the medium through which he transmits the energy of his muscles in a
particular manner to the iron he is shaping. The iron he shapes, the fire in the forge,
the hammer in his hand, his muscles and nerves; all are mediums through which the
smith transmits a subjective form of energy called an idea into an objective form of
energy called a horseshoe. There is an unbroken chain of mediumship between the
active thought held in the smith’s mind and the passive piece of iron that has become
a horseshoe. In each instance that which was more active controlled and used as a
medium that which was less active. And this is one of the fundamental laws of
mediumship, that the passive is always controlled by the active.
This law in mediumship is as fundamental as that of the conservation of energy.
Conservation of energy not only applies to psychic matters, but is the very Gibraltar
upon which physical science rests. It is the law that energy can never be created or
destroyed. Therefore all energy existing today is derived from some preexisting form
of energy.Energy may be transformed in a thousand different ways, some of which were
noticed in the case of the smith shaping the iron, but it can never be lost to one thing
except through giving it to something else. Thus the energy residing in the mineral
and in the carbon of the air is assimilated by plant life, and this still later is organized
into the cell life of an animal, finally to return to the soil to be assimilated by some
other life form. The energy reaching the earth from the sun may be stored up in plant
life and buried, subjected to great pressure which transforms it into coal, and finally
be dug up by man and used as fuel to generate power for use in all the intricate ways
of modern manufacturing industry. In fact, a little reflection will show that the whole
Solar System is but the medium through which the Sun exercises its controlling
power. To be sure, as still further reflection will indicate, everything in existence
from the highest spiritual beings to the dense rocks of earth are mediums for
transmitting particular kinds of energy.
To sum up the extent of mediumship, without taking space to enumerate examples in
proof of it, the statement may be made that the whole Universe is mediumistic in the
sense of receiving and again transmitting energy, God being the One Great
Now if we look about us we perceive that everything is in motion. At least a close
analysis will reveal that those things which are stationary are only so because of our
dull perceptions. This motion implies that something is acting as a medium for the
transmission of energy. Thus positive and negative electric charges oscillating about
each other may set up the particular transverse wave motions that we call light. Space
then becomes the medium for the transmission of energy. It is passive to and
controlled by the electric charges. Likewise, molecular motion, as heat, may be
transmitted from one object to another. In this case the heat is the controlling agent,
and the object receiving the heat the passive medium. Or radiant heat, which is
electromagnetic motion, may be transmitted across space without a material agent,
communicating motion to the molecules of physical substance, and the physical
substance becomes hot, as when we place an object in the sunshine. The physical
object then becomes the medium for the expression on the physical plane of an
energy received through a non-material medium, from a distant controlling center,
the sun. The radio is another instance of the power of a distant controlling influence
to transmit energy through space and set up physical motions through a passive
The mind of man, as taught by Hermetic Science, is an organization of energy in
astral and still finer substances. These astral energies may be communicated to
physical substance, as was seen in the case of the smith shaping the horseshoe.
Mental energies, residing as they do in substances finer than the physical, are more
active than physical energies, and hence, following our fundamental law that the
passive is always controlled by the active, they exercise a controlling power over the
It is not the volume of energy present that determines its power to control so much as
its relative activity. This relative activity may obtain by virtue of various
circumstances, as when the throttle of an engine is opened, or a small shove is given
to an object nicely balanced on the edge of a precipice. In such cases neither the
throttle nor the shove generates the large amount of energy used. They but release in a
definite direction energy that is already present. Nevertheless, at the moment they
exercise controlling power the throttle and the shove relatively are more active than
the energies released by them.
The human mind, also, by advantage of its intense activity, constantly releases
energies already existing on the physical plane.
One is justified in saying, I believe, that man is man and not something else because
he has learned how to utilize and control very numerous and complex forces and
functions. The soul, which embraces all the various states of consciousness stored in
his astral and spiritual makeup, is able to function through the body of man on the
physical plane only because through a long period of education and effort it has
learned how to control such a body.
The process of evolution is a schooling in the capture, storage, and release of energy.
The physical bodies of all kinds of mundane life are the mediums through which
energy previously existing is diverted into special channels by the intelligences
occupying such bodies. This energy may merely be the food partaken of, which is
utilized in the movements and life processes of the organism. Or it may consist of the
finer astral energies radiated by the Sun and planets. But in any case the height of an
organism in the evolutionary scale is determined by its power to control and
intelligently direct complex energies.
The mollusks, the fishes in the sea, the amphibians, the reptiles, the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field each capture, store, and release energy. They are all
mediums in the sense of receiving and transmitting force. Each, however, in the order
named, has improved upon the methods of the previous one in the power to control
and intelligently direct this energy. Furthermore, man is superior to all other forms
upon the earth, not by virtue of the volume of energy within his body, but by his
ability to control and intelligently direct himself. So long as he has the power
intelligently to direct himself, he is able to utilize not only the energy of his own
body, but a multitude of other energies by which he is surrounded.
The whole struggle for survival is but a struggle of the species and the individual to
preserve and perpetuate the control of its organism. Any tendency, therefore, to
relinquish the control of the human body or to permit another to control it, tends
toward the destruction of the individuality.
This is immediately apparent from a study of material biology only. But when we
consider the methods by which a soul evolves through form after form, in each
learning how to control some new function and process, until at last it has had
experience enough in intelligently controlling energy to be able to incarnate in
human shape, we see from a new angle that the control of one’s organism is perhaps
the most vital thing in human life.
That which people who are striving to accomplish anything continually do is to
endeavor to acquire greater and greater control over their own bodies, their own
energies, and their own thoughts. To be unusually accomplished in any direction
means that an unusual amount of control has been gained over some set of muscles,
or over some mental process, or both. Control over self is the first requisite to
success, and the greater the control the more certain the success. If there is good
control in one direction and lack of it in another, there will be good prospects of
success in the direction of the control, and none in the direction of lack of control.
If we but reflect upon the steps that must be taken by the child in learning to control
and intelligently direct himself before he is capable of making his own way in the
world we will perceive how vastly important is this element of control. It is only
through repeated effort over considerable time that he learns to talk. At first he
cannot control and properly direct the muscles of the tongue and mouth to produce
the sounds he wishes to make. Learning to walk is another process that takes
considerable time. Bye and bye, through repeated effort, control is gained over the
muscles used in walking. We thus might proceed with one thing after another that the
child must learn, each requiring repeated effort over and over again until that nice
coordination between mind and muscles is attained which enables him to perform the
desired act. This laborious process of gaining control of his body on the part of the
child is but a similar, though briefer, process to that followed by the whole of life in
its evolutionary struggle.
We also are familiar with the fact that an acquired power is soon lost if not used. A
marksman, a musician, a mathematician, all must keep in practice if they are to excel.
The college athlete ten years after leaving usually is unable to do any one of many
things he could easily do while in college. Even a doctor or a lawyer must keep in
practice to be able to do good work. A faculty not used atrophies.
Fish that live for generations in the water of underground caverns often lose their
sight. The vermiform appendix, which causes men so much trouble, appears to be but
the degenerate vestige of a larger tract present in man’s ancestors, which was used to
break up cellulose when they ate, as do horses and cows now, grasses and vegetables
having this abundant in their structure. A change of diet has caused it to be no longer
used for its original purpose. Through lack of use it has grown smaller and smaller,
until now it is present only in miniature.
It will be seen, I believe, without further illustrations, which could be supplied
indefinitely, that the acquirement of control over one’s body, or any portion of it, is at
the expense of much energy, and that such control when once gained is easily lost.
Further, it should be evident that as gain in control is progress, loss of control is
Also, as control is gained by effort and practice, loss of control certainly follows lack
of effort and practice. And of all forms of lack of effort toward, and practice in,
self-control, the most rapid method of losing such control is to relinquish the
controlling power to some other entity.
Every form of life, from its birth to its death, must struggle against the invasion of its
organism and more or less complete control of it by other entities. Plants must resist
various insects and parasitic forms. Note how certain insects cause the oak to grow
oak-galls, distortions that are of no benefit to the tree, but benefit the insects only.
Animals must resist parasites and a thousand kinds of germs, and man also must keep
his body clean and vigorous if he would resist the ravages of disease.
Man, too, has had to struggle continually against autocratic powers that would
enslave him physically and financially, and against religious hierarchies that would
enslave his mind. Whenever any form of life ceases to resist invasion, there are
always entities eager to use this loss of control for their own advantage. Whenever
man has relaxed his vigilance politically, he has been despoiled. Look at history and
weigh this well. Whenever man ceases to resist it, religious intolerance takes control.
Read history again. Likewise, whenever man relinquishes the control of his body and
mind to another he is inviting slavery to a master of whose identity he cannot be sure.
But of even greater importance is this, that every time a person delivers the control of
any faculty or function to another he is undoing what it took him so long to learn to
do. The control which is so vital a factor in his life was gained by getting his nerves
and muscles into the habit of obeying him. Such a habit is readily destroyed. Even the
habit of thinking correctly is easily superseded by the habit of permitting some other
entity to do the thinking. It is so much easier. A man who has been sober all his life
can become a habitual drunkard in a few weeks, and unable to remain sober. A man,
likewise, who has a remarkable power of self-control built up over a lifetime can so
destroy that self-control in a few weeks by permitting some other entity to use his
brain and body that he finds it impossible to do what he wishes to do, and impossible
to refrain from doing as the dominating entity suggests.
There is another biological law that any life-form that becomes a parasite ceases to
evolve and degenerates to a lower level. No longer being under the necessity of
procuring food in open competition with other forms of life, having found a way in
which to live with little effort, it sinks to a lower biological level. In a manner not
dissimilar, those who permit themselves to be dominated by some other intelligence,
not only lose the power to control themselves, but become so dependent upon other
intelligences that they fail to progress and tend physically, mentally, and morally to
The soul gained whatever control it has over the brain and physical body through
organizing lines of force in the astral form. These special astral lines of force,
organized by ceaseless effort to control the thoughts and actions, transmit the orders
of the soul to the brain and nervous system. The electromagnetic motions thus set up
cause the person to think objectively in a certain way and to act in a certain way, just
as the soul dictates.
Now, however, if the soul turns the control of its brain and actions temporarily over
to some other entity, this other entity, in order to exercise control, must organize lines
of force in the person’s astral form suitable to transmitting its orders to the person’s
brain and nervous system. Just as every time the person exercises control over his
own actions, the lines of force in his astral body establishing such control are
strengthened, so any time any foreign entity exercises control over the person such
lines of force are strengthened and will the more readily enable a foreign entity to
obtain and exercise controlling power.
Further, in order that the invading entity, whether it be a hypnotist on the material
plane or a discarnate entity on the astral plane, may be insured against its control
being interrupted inopportunely, it becomes necessary for it temporarily to resist any
effort of the person to break such control. The very act of resisting the person’s
attempts to regain complete control of his own body directs energies toward breaking
down the lines of force in the astral body by which the soul has been accustomed to
control his own brain and body.
The spirit medium, therefore, who undergoes so-called development by becoming
passive and permitting some discarnate entity to take control, is undoing the most
important work of his life and of evolution. Instead of resisting invasion he is
permitting another entity to build lines of force in his astral body that when strong
enough will permit that entity to take possession of the brain and body in spite of its
rightful owner any time it desires to do so. He is permitting lines of force to be
established that provide an open door by which any other entity on the physical or
astral plane may gain a like control over him in spite of himself. He is permitting lines
of force in his astral body which he has spent so much time and effort in building, and
by which he exercises control over his body and its functions, to be wantonly
Every time a person goes wholly or partially under the control of a spirit, a
mesmerist, or a hypnotist, he is assisting in the destruction of his own individuality.
Permitting such control is irresponsible and disintegrative mediumship. Such
practices persisted in bring the unfortunate subject or medium to a state where he is
helpless to repel the invasion of his organism by any active entity, incarnate or
discarnate. Irresponsible mediumship tends to destroy the will and soul.
There are various ways by which these negative states may be induced and
irresponsible mediumship attained. The first requisite is to attain a blank, passive
state of mind in which the soul has no point of contact with or control over the
objective thoughts and actions. In developing circles the sitters are so arranged as to
generate a strong current from their electromagnetic emanations, which is used by
astral entities present to produce a mesmeric effect, and so hasten absolute passivity.
In hypnotism the attention is fixed steadily in some direction to produce a state of
abstraction in which the subject accepts without resistance any suggestion offered
In all these cases the divine soul ceases to act with much force upon the unconscious
mind, other lines of force being set up in it by the dominating idea or entity. It matters
not whether the operator is a hypnotist, a discarnate entity, or the combined thought
forms of other people with whom the subject associates, the effect is the same. He
sees, hears, and desires what the operator demands. These things may be true or false,
but the subject has no method of discriminating. If the controlling entity is intelligent
it may impart useful information. If not, it may utter mere nonsense. In any case the
subject is not exercising his own functions, but merely shadowing what some other
entity wishes him to do or feel. For this he is paying a fearful price, for he is gradually
losing the power to direct his own organism, and is becoming the abject slave to
disintegrative forces. He is undoing what he has struggled so hard to accomplish,
losing the ability to mould a form to meet his needs.
For those unfortunate individuals who have become irresponsible mediums I have
only sympathy and no word of condemnation. Many of them have added to the
happiness of the world by bringing comfort to those whose loved ones have passed
on, and the assurance that there is a life after physical death. Many of them have
submitted themselves to the most rigid tests of scientific men, and have thus provided
irrefutable proof of the various kinds of psychic phenomena, proof also that is
beyond denial that those who have passed through the tomb yet live. The world owes
a great obligation to a host of self-sacrificing spirit mediums.
The world also owes its thanks to valiant doctors who have injected serums into their
own veins to prove their effect. It owes its thanks to thousands of others who have
suffered martyrdom for the sake of science. Nor have I one word of objection to any
person, after he has weighed the consequences well, developing the irresponsible
phase of mediumship. If he is convinced he can be of greater benefit to society by
permitting his individuality to be destroyed that entities from another plane may use
him as an instrument by which to manifest on the physical plane, he should have full
option in the matter. It is desirable, however, that all the facts be known beforehand
so that those who do not wish to make such a heroic sacrifice may not be led into it
If the astral plane, where disembodied entities dwell, were the abode of human
beings only, the matter of surrendering self-control would not assume so serious an
aspect. The thought even of surrendering the body and brain to discarnate human
beings is not altogether pleasant when it is remembered that all the vicious, criminal,
insane, and morbid people who die do not, for considerable time, change in their
desires, tendencies, and traits. In fact, the lower strata of mankind remain very close
to the earth for some time, being earth bound by their physical desires. They welcome
the opportunity to realize those desires through the physical body of any mediumistic
person they can seize. Many an act of crime, many a repulsive habit formed, many an
erratic action, may be laid at the door of a discarnate entity who has found
opportunity temporarily to get control of some person whose power of resistance is
But depraved human beings, and those not depraved, are not the only astral entities
by any means. Every insect, reptile, fish and mammal that dies on the earth exists for
a time on the astral plane. In addition to these forms of life, with which we are more
familiar, there are also countless myriads of other forms, some of which are called
elementals, which have no counterpart on earth, but live wholly on the astral plane.
These elementals have a certain amount of intelligence. Other astral entities have
intelligence in different degrees. Some are malicious, some are cunning, some are
mischievous, some harmless and mirthful. Any one of these creatures may find the
opportunity to take control of an irresponsible medium. The lines of force permitting
foreign control have been established in developing, and provide an open door, by
which any astral entity may find it convenient to enter and manifest itself, even as an
animal may walk into a house when the door is open.
Such entities are not above impersonation, and some are quite clever at it. Surely no
one in his right mind can listen to the senseless drivel sometimes given forth by a
medium in the trance state as coming from an intelligent loved one who has passed
beyond, without realizing there is imposture. The mightiest intellects of the world are
supposed by some to come back through mediums and utter time worn platitudes and
inane remarks. They revel in the puerile and frivolous. Nor is the medium a fraud, he
has merely been taken possession of by some astral entity who delights in
perpetuating a hoax.
Yet because of such obvious untruthfulness and lack of integrity on the part of the
entities that all too often control mediums we must not jump to the conclusion that all
communications are unreliable, or that irresponsible mediums never really transmit
messages from the dead. Sometimes the messages are genuine, and reveal beyond
doubt the personality of the loved one. Sometimes the control is a departed friend
who offers such proof of his identity that it can not be disputed. Particularly when the
mediumship is developed and practiced in the sanctity of the home, and is
accompanied by high spiritual ideals and noble desires is it more common to receive
genuine communications from the dead. A pure heart and noble trend of mind do not
tend to attract low or mischievous astral entities.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle vouches for the following case of a spirit message which
cannot be satisfactorily explained except as a genuine communication from the dead.
He maintains that the circumstances were fully investigated and found to be quite
It seems in Australia the two sons of a couple interested in spiritualism had a boat in
which they occasionally took a ride on the bay. On the particular day in question no
one knew they were going boating, and no one saw them go. But at evening they
failed to show up for dinner. Considerable concern was felt and after a time, when
they failed still to appear, a seance was held. One of the youths took control of the
medium and stated that a squall had upset their boat and that he had been devoured by
a large fish which he described. No trace of the boys or the boat was found, but some
days later a large shark, of a species which is almost never seen in those waters,
drifted upon the beach, and in its stomach were found the watch and pocket knife of
the boy who stated through the medium he had been devoured when the boat upset.
The shark, a large blue one, if I remember correctly, also answered his description,
being of great rarity in that region.
As no one knew the youths went boating, or knew that they upset, the information
could not have been received telepathically from a living person. Besides, it would be
beyond the power of any living person unless he was actually with the boys when the
accident took place, to know what kind of a fish had devoured him, or that he had
been eaten by a shark. Yet the description of this unusual fish was furnished.1
My very plain statement of the effects of irresponsible mediumship, based upon
careful research and observations covering more than a quarter of a century and an
intimate acquaintance with a great number of mediums, may seem quite
discouraging to those who have hopes of communicating with their loved ones who
have passed beyond the physical plane. But it need not be so, for I have so far only
considered the negative, irresponsible and disintegrative phases of mediumship.
There is another form of mediumship that is positive, responsible, and constructive,
by which it is possible, and without any injurious effects, to duplicate any
phenomena that may be produced by the irresponsible and disintegrative method.
Tasting, smelling, seeing, hearing, and feeling are all forms of mediumship. Through
direct contact with substances, or small portions of substances, the organs of taste,
feeling, and smell have energy imparted to them that is transmitted by the nerves to
the brain and thence through electromagnetic motions to the unconscious mind. Such
mediumship does not depend upon negativeness and passivity, but upon the
development of sensitive organs and upon the alertness that enables them to receive
impressions from the outside world.
The faculty of clairvoyance2may be exercised with no more negativeness than it is
necessary to exercise in the ordinary sense of sight. Transverse wave motions in
space convey the image of an object to the eye. Through the optic nerve and brain the
image is registered in the astral consciousness. Wave motions in the astral substance,
corresponding to a transverse motion in space, convey the image of an astral
object–and all physical objects have astral counterparts–to the organ of sight of the
astral body. Through the astral eyes the image is registered upon the unconscious
mind. When the image is raised into the region of consciousness the result is
clairvoyance. Material objects offer no resistance to the passage of astral vibrations,
hence by clairvoyance one may see what is transpiring on the opposite side of the
earth, or in the homes of the dead. To do this requires the development of the ability to
direct the astral sense of sight and the ability to raise from the astral brain the image so
received into the physical brain. This is no more negative or disintegrative than is the
exercise of memory, which it greatly resembles.
The old hermetic scientists classified telepathy3as the seventh sense, intuition being
the sixth. It certainly presupposes a particular kind of sensitiveness by which the
wave motions sent out through space by a person thinking may be intercepted and
registered. It would seem, much as in a radio set, that the receiver must be able to tune
in, or be keyed to a similar rate of vibration, in order to receive thought messages.
Such ability does not depend upon negativeness, but upon sensitiveness or ability to
extend consciousness. It is a faculty that may be cultivated without in any manner
To hear another person speak it is not necessary that we subject our will to his.
Neither is it necessary to be in any manner under the control of another in order to
The astral body has organs of hearing, astral ears. Just as wave
motions in the air carry sound to the physical ear, so other similar wave motions in
astral substance carry astral sounds to the astral ear. The ability to hear clairaudiently
may be cultivated much as the ability to hear physically may be cultivated, and
exercised with no more injury.
To feel an object which we can touch necessitates a certain form of mediumship, but
does not necessitate our being under some other entity’s control. Everything has its
astral counterpart, which retains as modes of motion the vibrations of its past and
present environment. Through the astral sense of touch, called psychometry5these
vibrations may be discerned, and their meaning may then be interpreted by the soul.
This interpretation when raised into the region of consciousness may reveal all the
events that have happened in the vicinity of the object. But this exercise of the
psychometric faculty, while requiring alertness and the development of the ability to
recognize the sense impressions of the astral body, needs no more irresponsible
mediumship than does the physical sense of touch.
Prevision,6the seeing of that which is still in the future, is not dependent upon the
disintegrative forms of mediumship. If one is so situated as to observe an aeronaut
drop a sand bag from a balloon, he may predict to a friend standing in an adjoining
room that in a few seconds a bag of sand will strike the earth at about a given spot. The
friend, not seeing the balloon, may be quite startled at the fulfillment of the
prediction. Man’s astral senses are able to see the various factors converging which
culminate in an event.
It should be remembered that all that is ever experienced is retained in the
unconscious mind, or soul. This is proved both by hypnosis and by psychoanalysis.
Under hypnosis a subject may be made to recall any event of his past, events which
are entirely beyond his ability to remember in his normal waking state. Likewise,
through the free association method, the psychoanalyst causes his patient to
remember events even in minute detail, which have long been forgotten, and which
ordinarily could not have been recalled. Whatever man once knows he never loses,
for he retains it in his soul. Moreover, what any man has ever known is never lost to
the human race, for the record is preserved as modes of motion persisting in the astral
world, and may be recovered by any person who can tune in on this record.
With such a storehouse of information to draw from, in addition to the use of the
psychic sense organs, previsions, remarkable as they often are, seem less astounding.
These storehouses of knowledge are invariably drawn upon by those whom the
world calls geniuses. Usually the genius is unaware of the source of his knowledge
and inspiration. Nevertheless a critical comparison of the birth-charts of people who
are naturally psychic reveals that any person who has the planet Neptune unusually
prominent in his chart of birth may develop the ability to contact and draw
information, consciously or unconsciously, from the astral plane. Thomas A. Edison,
the inventor, for instance, may or may not have faith in psychic matters, yet he has the
Sun and Mercury in conjunction with Neptune, and all exceedingly strong by
position, in his birth-chart. This makes it unusually easy for him, through
extrasensory perception, to contact and draw information from the inner planes. In
fact, of all the geniuses whose birth-charts I have examined up to the present time, I
have so far found not one in which a prominent Neptune is absent. It would seem that
every imaginable form of knowledge exists on the inner planes of life, and is
accessible to those who can raise their vibrations sufficiently to tune in on it. Genius
is the ability to contact such higher planes and assimilate the knowledge so received
in such a manner as to be able to transmit it to less capable minds.
Not only do inanimate objects retain in their astral counterparts the impress of the
events that transpire in their vicinity, but all organic material retains the mental
impress of the life form that organized it. The desires and fears of an animal, for
instance, are strongly implanted in the astral substance associated with its flesh.
When man eats this flesh its astral vibrations tend to build up and fortify the animal
nature within himself. If the animal was slain while in great pain or terror, this
influence is incorporated into the astral counterpart of the flesh, and has a tendency to
impart a similar vibration to the person eating it.
It is undoubtedly true that the original vibrations of the food one eats may be
changed. Yet the food has had its astral vibrations polarized toward the soul of the
form of which it was a portion, and so transmits more readily the grades of energy
necessary for that form. Now man can obtain the proper chemical elements in
organized form from widely different combinations of food. But while any balanced
ration may supply him with blood and tissue and also transmit a grade of astral
vibrations, still it is found he has greater difficulty in raising the tones to higher
octaves of transmission with some foods than with others.
One of the laws of mediumship is that the grade of energy transmitted by anything
depends upon the refinement of the substance. The more refined the instrument the
higher and more potent the grade of energy that may be transmitted through it. Some
foods have become so set in transmitting only the lower octaves of astral force that it
is almost impossible to raise their vibrations to a point where they will transmit
higher grades. At the same time these strongly polarized foods, such as the flesh of
animals, while unaccustomed to transmitting finer forces, are capable of conveying
even more readily those energies, which also are very useful in their proper place,
that go to build up brute strength and physical force. The higher kinds of vegetable
foods, not having been dominated by desires, not so strongly polarized, may more
readily be converted into a medium for the transmission of those higher kinds of
energy that nourish the intellect and soul powers.
From the laws of mediumship thus far mentioned it may be seen that life depends
upon an organization capable of receiving and transmitting complex forms of
energy, and the more refined the organization the higher the grade of energy
transmitted and the higher the quality of life. Life, Light, and Love originate with
God, and the amount of energy, intelligence, and affection any being expresses
depends upon its ability to receive, utilize, and transmit some portion of these
In addition to pointing out the general laws of mediumship, I have been at some pains
to explain the disintegrative effect of irresponsible mediumship. In the two following
chapters I shall take up and explain the methods by which the various kinds of
spiritistic and psychic phenomena are produced. But the student should not forget
that any phenomena produced on the physical plane by a discarnate entity operating
through a medium under control, might have been produced by the medium without
such disintegrative control if he had undergone proper training.
Full instructions on the training necessary to produce such phenomena by the
constructive method, and without being under the control of another, will be
furnished the neophyte at the proper time. As to the methods by which the faculties of
clairvoyance, telepathy, clairaudience, psychometry, and prevision may be
developed along constructive lines, these are furnished without cost to all Church of
Light members who demonstrate their fitness to use this knowledge by passing
examinations on the B. of L. courses.
1. From a lecture given by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at Trinity Auditorium, Los
2. Book II, Ch. III and VI of Thirty Years of Psychical Research, by Richet, and Ch.
VII of Death and Its Mystery, by Flammarion, are devoted to numerous authentic
cases of clairvoyance.
3. For numerous authentic instances of telepathy, see Book III, Ch. II, of Thirty Years
of Psychical Research, by Richet, and Ch. VI of Death and Its Mystery, by
Flammarion, p. 91.
4. For authentic cases of Clairaudience see Thirty Years of Psychical Research, by
Richet, p. 272, and After Death by Flammarion, p. 91.
5. For authentic cases of psychometry see Thirty Years of Psychical Research by
Richet, p. 188.
6. For numerous authentic cases of prevision see Thirty Years of Psychical Research,
by Richet, Ch. VII, and Death and Its Mystery, by Flammarion, Ch VIII and Ch. IX.