THE WORD occult means that which is hidden. Occultism, consequently, is the
science of hidden forces, and the art of subjecting such forces to human control. Here
we will consider the data upon which occultism rests.
Its subjects are not directly apprehended by the five senses upon which the physical
scientist relies for all knowledge. The line of demarcation between that which is
called occult is, therefore, constantly changing; for scientists every now and then
invent a device by which some hitherto occult force is made directly perceptible to
the physical senses. It is then no longer considered occult.
Not long since, for instance, the power of the lodestone was held to be occult. Indeed,
so far as any knowledge of its nature is concerned, the physical scientists should
include the force of gravitation in the occult category; for they admit it operates
across immense space in which there is nothing that can be apprehended by the five
senses, yet fail to explain by what hidden means the force is transmitted.
The infrared and ultraviolet rays of light, also were occult a few years ago, and are so
yet to the majority of people.
All mental forces fall properly into this category, as is admitted in the case of
hypnotism, exhibiting, as it does, the power of one mind over another.
It is clear, then, that the common application of the word occult, since it depends
upon the experience of the speaker– for what is hidden to one may be perceived by
another–is wholly arbitrary.
Man Fears That Which He Does Not Understand
–The word carries with it an air of mystery, it is true; but all forces are mysterious to
those who have not studied them; and what is mysterious to the ignorant is obvious to
the learned. Yet in all nature, nothing can come permanently under this ban; for all
mysteries may be solved. Thus the simplest conveniences of modern civilization are
mysterious to the untutored savage. He is wont to attribute their power to some
supernatural agency. But there is nothing supernatural–nothing, that is, not
governed by natural laws. Above and below, all obey those by which they manifest;
and while these laws are uncomprehended any phenomenon seems mysterious.
It was this Uncomprehension that caused the terror of the Red Man, who, not
understanding the natural laws underlying its geysers and boiling paint-pots, feared
to enter the Yellowstone Park: while the White Man, sure that its riddles could be
solved, has made it his national playground. And just as the savage inclines to
attribute such phenomena to some supernatural agency, or similarly to attribute the
powers of the burning-glass, and to regard photographs with reverence, so other men,
more highly endowed, but not less ignorant in that special direction, can see in
spiritual phenomena only Divine intervention and miracles.
Thus do all of us fear that which we do not understand; but with understanding comes
courage, for with the dawning of the light of the mind we see how any hidden
danger–if danger there be–may be circumvented. Knowledge reveals it either as a
scare-crow or as a menace, the one to be ignored and the other avoided except as it
can be made subservient to the will of man.
Progression Depends Upon Knowledge
–Man’s only progression, here or hereafter, must be founded on knowledge. Only
by its means can he subjugate his external environment and enjoy its opportunities.
He who is ignorant of the laws of his physical body incurs illness. He who is ignorant
of the laws governing acquisition remains in poverty. He who is ignorant of the social
laws of his land is likely to be deprived of his liberty.
So it is also with things spiritual. Only through a knowledge of spiritual laws can man
mold his spiritual environment and enjoy, while yet on earth, spiritual powers.
Ignorant of the laws of his spiritual body, he incurs moral maladies that follow him
beyond the tomb. Ignorant of the laws governing the acquisition of spiritual
attributes, he misses the greatest treasures of this life, and passes to the life beyond in
spiritual poverty. If, still ignorant, he goes to the new life with no knowledge of the
laws and customs of the denizens of that realm, or if he contacts them while he is still
embodied, he may, in his unenlightened condition, be deprived of his liberty. Only
through knowledge of himself, and of the powers and forces by which he is
environed, can he expect to progress. And it is for this reason that the occultist applies
himself to the acquisition of such knowledge.
Its acquisition, like everything else, depends much upon a proper beginning, and the
occult student, starting out on his voyage in search of the Golden Fleece of spiritual
truth, needs to take care that he sets sail from the right port and in the right direction.
At the very beginning, then, of our bold enterprise, in which we purpose to carry the
student safely across the muddy tide of metaphysics and land him securely on the
bright shores of occult knowledge, we must indicate our port of debarkation and
show it to be a true port.
All Knowledge Is Based Upon Experience
–No better starting point can be found for such a purpose, nor another nearly so
strong and well defended, as the fundamental assertion, I AM. Following Nature as
our safest pilot, we discover that the first glimmer of consciousness–that which
foreshadows knowledge–is concerned with distinguishing the Me from the
Not-me. Thus a sensation registers as something distinct from me but affecting me;
and it matters not whether we accept the statement of the Cartesian school, “I think,
therefore I am,” or prefer the version of Eliphas Levi, the learned French Magus, “I
am, therefore I think,” the fact remains that the assertion “I AM” is irrefutable.
By no quirk of speculation can we deny the existence of the thinker, who must
postulate a being able to think before he can find ground on which to stand to make
denial. When he admits the existence of a being able to form an opinion, he has
established himself as an entity; for, clearly, if there is no thinker, there can be no
thought; and if there is no thought there can be no denial. Consequently, no one can
deny his own existence; and from this undeniable premise any correct system of
philosophy must start.
The consciousness of the thinker, thus firmly established, is a perception of relations.
These relations may be subjective or objective, but to be conscious of them he must
be able to compare them. Where there is no change, no relative conditions, there can
be no consciousness.
Similarly, limited perceptions of relations mean limited consciousness, and greater
perceptions of relative conditions bring greater consciousness. Evolution is thus
observed to be in the direction of increased perceptions, that is, to be moving toward
greater consciousness. Therefore, as evolution continues, consciousness expands;
and as evolution advances toward infinity, the perceptions increase, until absolute
consciousness is approached.
In the same way, lower forms of life than man have perceptions of the narrower world
in which they live, and these constitute the basis of their actions. But man has not
only perception of his immediate environment, he can recall in memory many of
these external perceptions and combine them in a new order. Such a complex mental
grouping is called a concept. Concepts, in turn, combine into the larger group we call
knowledge, which is thus seen to rest upon experience-gained perceptions, grouped
Even though we gain the knowledge from books, it is nevertheless gained by
experience; for to read another’s writing is an experience as truly as if one were to
feel in himself the physical sensations of the writer. Such an experience is, of course,
mental rather than physical; but it is still an experience. Reasoning, also, is an
experience, arising from the comparison of relations held in memory. In very truth
we have no knowledge except that gained through experience, and that experience is
a continually increasing consciousness of relations of various perceptions and
The first form of this consciousness is decidedly limited; for as a new-born babe I
possess scarcely more than the instinct inherent in all life to struggle for existence. To
what extent these inherited instincts and tendencies depend upon previous
experiences of the soul before birth in human form does not concern us now. Enough
that I, together with all living beings, have an instinct to sustain existence. This
instinct leads to actions that supply nourishment to the body, and these actions
register impressions on the consciousness. At this time, I am unaware of more than a
few primitive sensations, and my consciousness has a very limited scope. But limited
as it is, there soon develops a dim perception of relations. Thus I become aware that
the sensation I later call hunger is appeased by taking nourishment, and that certain
actions on my part lead to this nourishment being furnished by my mother. Here I
take my first step in positive knowledge; for I have discovered the relation existing
between two sets of sensations.
All knowledge possible to me, here and hereafter, must rest upon a similar basis; for
there is no knowledge that does not rest upon experience, and no experience apart
from a perception of relations.
In this typical case I find that a certain set of sensations is followed by another set of
sensations. The same thing happens over and over again, until the connection is
established in memory. Because of the repeated association of these two sets of
sensations in my experience I conclude that the first set is always followed by the
other set. This is KNOWLEDGE.
Growing from infancy to childhood, my perception of relations gains a wider scope.
Day by day I add to the store of such experiences, and of others. Some objects have
thus attracted my attention through the sense of sight, and I have discovered that
things thus seen have come into my possession when reached for. So I reach for the
object of my desire. Since my experience so far has been very limited, my knowledge
is only partial and I reach for an object across the room with the same assurance as if it
were near at hand. But I am unable to procure it, and this adds to my experience.
Later I learn, by repetition of this experience, and comparison of it with similar
experiences in which I have successfully gained possession of the coveted object,
that some objects are close at hand and others are distant. Thus I correct my first
impression that reaching brings an object within range of the sense of touch, and a
knowledge of the relation called distance enters my mind. This knowledge is
emphasized and made important to me through the sensations of pleasure and pain.
Illustrating the function of pleasure and pain, when learning to walk if I reach for a
chair that is too far away, expecting it to support me, I fall and am hurt. But if I am
correct in my estimate of distance, I avoid the pain of falling and take pleasure in my
achievement. Pleasure and pain, when applied by Nature rather than by man, always
are educational; never reward and punishment as society conceives them. (See
Course 11, Divination and Character Reading, Chapter 5).
Again, a lighted candle looks very pretty and inviting, and I desire to gain
impressions of it through other senses than the sense of sight. I expect a pleasurable
sensation to follow touching or tasting it, because it is pleasing to the eye. But in this
instance my knowledge is imperfect, and the result is pain. Therefore, after touching
the lighted candle I revise my opinion of it, and decide that while it is pleasant to
sight, it is painful to both touch and taste. And in later years I can form the
generalization that acting upon imperfect knowledge often brings some painful
result. This is TRUTH.
We now see that Truth is the conformity of cognition to reality. And while at this
early age my limited experience causes me to form many erroneous conclusions
from the impressions reaching me from the universe, a wider range of experience
enables me to revise my early conclusions and approach more nearly the truth. Thus
is growth in consciousness the continued approximation of cognition to reality,
casting away that which proves erroneous, and confirming that which proves
In later life there are experiences of a mental nature by which the result of other
person’s experiences are conveyed to me through speech and writing. Even a
thought, however, is a movement in some substance, and implies a perception of
relations. The process, therefore, of following the reasoning of another is an
experience as truly as is physical action. And I find that through mental effort I can
draw conclusions regarding the probable result of a certain course of action. I myself
have never had the experience derived from such actions in my own life, but I can
compare them with those which I have had which are most like them. If the resultant
conclusions are correct, if they parallel reality, I derive benefit from them; but if they
are erroneous I suffer. When I have taken this step I rely more upon mental
experience to furnish me the necessary knowledge.
But whether the experience be mental or physical, we have but one reason to rely
upon it; which is that it furnishes us with more or less accurate data for future action.
It is only because we have found, in a similar way, that we can more or less clearly
anticipate conditions and profit by that anticipation that we learn to rely upon the
processes of the mind. Sense impressions and reason are thus alike valuable only in
so far as they furnish correct knowledge; for upon this depends the ability of the
organism continuously to adapt itself to environment, and upon this ability depends
its survival. Failure to adapt itself to an environment accurately apprehended and
correctly reasoned upon means first pain, and finally death. On the other hand,
continuous adaptation means continued life, and the more perfect the adaptation the
fuller the life.
Man, then, has found that reason based upon the perceptions of his physical senses is
necessary for adaptation and consequent survival; but its value depends upon their
accuracy. Therefore, if some other means can be discovered that will give more
accurate results, or additional information, progress demands its adoption.
The Proper Test of Either Physical or Psychical Faculties
–That such other faculties exist in nature–faculties which, relied upon bring
satisfactory results–needs but a glance about us to demonstrate. For example, the
homing pigeon needs neither reason nor any past experience of the region over which
it flies to find its way unerringly to its roost, hundreds of strange miles away. And a
honey-bee needs neither reason nor compass to take a straight course to its hive
through forests and over mountains. The oriole also needs no previous experience to
enable it to build its cleverly-woven hanging nest. These and many other instincts of
wild creatures are reliable within their boundaries, just as man’s reason is reliable
within certain limits. Experience alone determines in any case how much reliance
can be placed on either; and this conformity of later experience to expected results
alone is the test of the value of any faculty.
To learn thus to check the reports of the senses by experience–to test in the
laboratory of life the accuracy of observation and the conclusions based thereon;
especially to be able to do this mentally, without going through the slow and usually
painful process of physical testing–is the greater part of wisdom.
Early in his life the great sage, Giordano Bruno, found out this truth. Looking across
the undulating foothills to Mt. Vesuvius,1apparently scarred and bare of all
vegetation, he desired greatly to visit the volcano and observe its barren stretches at
close range. Finally the opportunity came for him to take the journey and he set forth
from his native fields and vineyards. What was his surprise on reaching the distant
mountain to find its sides covered with vegetation, while, looking back on the lands
of his fathers from that distance, they seemed as barren and destitute of life as the
mountain had seemed. This lesson was never forgotten.
From it he learned to distrust the reports of his senses, and thereafter carefully
devised means of checking and testing the accuracy of all sense impressions. As a
result he became the greatest scientist of his time and assisted in the overthrow of the
Aristotelian system of philosophy and the establishment of the heliocentric system of
astronomy, by his achievements proving that he had found the true method of
His greatness was directly connected with the fact that he early discovered what we
must all discover before we can correct and improve our knowledge–namely, that
we constantly misinterpret our sense impressions, and despite repeated efforts to
check them one against another and to subject them to reason we almost daily draw
from their reports wrong conclusions.
Thus we see a familiar face across the street and go to offer greetings only to find
ourselves confronted by an utter stranger. We have made a mistake. Or we hear a
sound, and conclude it comes from a great distance; but investigation proves it to be a
faint sound close at hand that, because of lack of volume, we mistook for a greater
sound, more remote.
But in addition to the reports received by these physical senses, we have to consider
the claims of the super-physical senses; for some people declare they are able to
check the impressions of the physical senses by impressions received through other
avenues. They also assert that they are able to draw correct conclusions without the
ordinary process of reasoning. Both the truth and the reliability of such impressions
and conclusions must be subjected to the same tests. Their value–like the value of
more usual conclusions–can be determined only by experience.
We have just found that our only excuse for accepting the reports of the physical
senses and ordinary reason as a basis for action is that conclusions based upon them
have coincided with later experience. The reliability and truth of other methods of
interpreting phenomena must be determined by the same standard.
Thus if by some other faculty than physical sight I see a friend approaching, and later
this friend actually pays me a visit, and I ascertain he was on the way at the time I had
the vision, I tentatively conclude there is an inner sense of sight. If I have frequent
experiences of this kind, as some persons certainly do, and if on each occasion when I
see the event by clairvoyant vision, the external event actually transpires, though I
had no means of knowing, through any physical avenue, that it would so transpire, I
am gradually justified in placing confidence in such visions as a basis of future
If, again, some business proposition is presented to me and even before I have
reasoned about the matter I feel that it will prove a failure, and events later prove this
intuition correct; and such occurrences frequently take place, I am justified in
concluding that there is a possibility of arriving at a correct judgment apart from
reasoning. And if on many occasions I find the experience with reality coincides with
the impressions received through intuition, I am justified in basing future actions
If in such a case the report of physical sight or ordinary reason conflicts with the inner
sense of sight, and with intuition, I must then reflect which has more generally
proved correct in the past, and incline toward that one.
The Dogmatism of Material Scientists
–It should be unnecessary to call attention to the foregoing obvious truths. But there
is a tendency among material scientists to overlook the fact that the physical senses
are but instruments by which reality may be determined, and that their value lies
wholly in their ability correctly to report the universe and to direct man’s actions in
To assert, as many of them do, that the physical senses and reason are the only means
by which the universe may be apprehended and knowledge gained, is thoroughly
unscientific; for any such assertion is an assumption not verified by experience.
When it takes this attitude, material science is as dogmatic as the religions it
ridicules; for it assumes a superiority and infallibility that its own history refutes. It
boasts of its experimental methods, but fails to apply those methods except to a very
limited section of the universe–a limited section which it dogmatically assumes to
be the only legitimate field of investigation. When scientists take such an
unwarranted stand, sincere men, seeking the truth in all regions; seeking, that is, to
conform cognition to the infinite and inexhaustible Reality, must protest.
Attempts like this to narrow the field of inquiry arise from a very natural effort to
bring the subject of study–this vast universe–within reach of the circumscribed
intelligence of the investigator.
It is not a new attempt. The Inquisition rose to a similar attempt, and haled before it, a
few hundred years ago, the famous scientist, Galileo, who had dared to investigate
beyond the ecclesiastical limits and to inquire into the solar system. Such breadth of
inquiry was then held sacrilegious, just as the breadth of inquiry of Psychical
Research and still more of Occultism is subject to the reproach of orthodox physical
scientists. For while today the legitimate field of experimental investigation has
expanded to include the entire realm of physical phenomena, it is still restricted to
that comparatively limited field, and those who declare that there are vaster realms to
be explored, interior to the physical, are considered to be as foolish as were the first
astronomers who declared the earth to be, not the center of the universe, but merely
one planet among many, moving around a sun a million times larger.
Yet since we agree that all knowledge must be based upon experience, and since
repeated experiences, as we have just seen, tend to correct false impressions derived
from a too-limited experience, it is clear that any avenue by which man can arrive at
that wider and more accurate cognition is legitimate, and that the only test of its
usefulness lies in the verity.
Thus if I have a dream, and this dream is followed in a few days by a certain event,
and I have the same dream again and again, and on each occasion it is followed by the
same event, the dream is just as useful a source of information regarding the
approach of this particular event as if the information had come through some
recognized physical channel.
If such dreaming is cultivated and the images thus presented to the mind are found by
experience invariably to signify approaching events, and by this means situations are
foretold accurately and repeatedly that could not have been known by any merely
physical means, these dreams become a legitimate source of valuable knowledge,
whose reliability has been determined by repeated experiment.
As a matter of fact, many people receive information through such dreams, and there
are indisputable records of lives having been saved by them.
True, I am not justified in coming to the conclusion that dreams, clairvoyance,
telepathy, and other psychic activities now called occult, are to be relied upon
without full proof; and I am not justified in accepting loose explanations of them; or
any explanations that have not been tested thoroughly by experiments.
Thus if I hear a voice clairaudiently, purporting to come from someone long since
dead, I may accept the fact that I hear the voice and wait for further confirmation of its
supposed source. Devices have been arranged to check physical experiments against
false conclusions; and tests may be contrived in these cases also to preclude the
possibility of deception in determining the identity of a discarnate entity. Nor am I
justified in following the advice received through this clairaudient faculty unless I
have found through repeated observation of information so gained that it is reliable.
Even then, on some particular occasions the information gained might lead astray,
just as I might find the advice of a friend unusually good, but on some special
occasion it would prove faulty. The accuracy and value of information received
through any channel, physical or psychical, equally requires experimental
The literature covering the field of psychical research, here just touched upon, will
prove amply to any unprejudicated mind that there are senses and faculties other than
the five physical senses.
Physical science, as yet unable to account for these powers, conveniently ignores
them, and, assuming an air of enlightened superiority, puts the entire matter aside by
simply saying “Bosh!” This is bad enough, as an exhibition of the limitations of our
advanced men of science, but it is worse because to the lay mind the utterances of
these savants are considered final.
The general impression is that material science is infallible, when the truth is that it is
undergoing a constant process of revision, each decade trying to correct the mistakes
of the previous decade. Thus what is accepted as scientific today was unknown a few
years ago, and may in its turn be refuted in years to come. Indeed, many of the very
things science proclaimed to be impossible thirty years ago are now accomplished
facts. Current scientific opinion is thus continually overthrown by new discoveries,
and the whole structure must be rebuilt to conform to the altered conceptions.
This is not at all to the discredit of material science, and occult science should follow
the same procedure; for, as we have been seeing, it conforms to the method by which
knowledge grows; but nevertheless to build upon the conclusions of material science
alone is to build upon the ever-shifting sands. Its conclusions should be steadied and
bettered by the binding cement brought from other and wider regions.
–But whatever the value of the conclusions of others, every true scientist after
assimilating them, desires to read the Book of Nature for himself. Sooner or later he
examines the ground of his own first-hand knowledge, and here he well may start
with the positive knowledge “I AM.” This, certainly, he knows of himself.
Next, he discovers there is something else than I AM: The Universe Exists. This he
It is from these feelings that he endeavors to determine the nature of that universe in
relation to himself; to the one who feels and knows. And here he discovers the dimly
felt presence of the super-physical senses and is almost sure to learn that in his
community is someone claiming to possess these senses in a more marked form.
Through this person, or others of the same sort, the earnest scientist supplements the
knowledge gained from physical research with the further knowledge to be gained
from psychical research. It is probable that his first experiments will be inconclusive;
but if he persists over a sufficiently extensive area, he will discover beyond the
shadow of a doubt–as has every scientist who has done thorough work in this
field–that there assuredly are faculties, principles, and forces as yet undreamed of
by materialistic philosophers. With this conviction he becomes an occult scientist.
The Inadequacies of Physical Science
–Already in the realm of physical science he has found its advocates making claim
to knowledge they can in no way substantiate. He knows that the things conceded to
be the very bulwarks of scientific accuracy and precision are very far from it when
put to the test.
Such discrepancies between theory and practice are not loudly announced to the
general public, because the bread and butter of scientific men depend upon their
reputation for knowledge and accuracy. For example, the Law of Gravitation, which
is the basis of all astronomical and mechanical reckoning, and is stated thus–The
attraction of Gravity between two bodies is directly in proportion to the product of
their masses and inversely as the square of their distance–does not give precision in
celestial calculations. By all the teachings of physical science the planets should
exert an influence upon each other which could be exactly measured according to this
law. But as a matter of experience it is found that a decimal must be added to the
squares of their distances, and even with this tampering with figures to make the
answer coincide with observed results the actual positions of the planets continue to
vary from their calculated places, and there is a continual alteration of the
mathematical formulas in an attempt to get the correct answer.
Again, take the theory of the tides as accepted and taught in the schools of the land.
One might suppose, from the definite way it is set forth, that this theory is the essence
of scientific accuracy. But in actual practice the tides do not at all coincide with their
theoretical rise and fall;2indeed, the divergence is sometimes so wide that the Moonapparently repels the tides instead of attracting them,3and they occur at points almost
opposite those at which they would theoretically be calculated. Therefore in actually
predetermining the tides for practical purposes their fluctuations are frankly
calculated from past observations. It is the case of getting the right answer without
knowing why, like a schoolboy working a problem whose answer is given in the back
of the book.
Noting this familiar performance on the part of men of standing in the scientific
world, our occult investigator is not surprised to find that there are many claims
advanced by enthusiastic students of occultism also that can not be verified. But he
no more throws over all of occultism when he makes this disconcerting discovery,
than, under similar circumstances, he casts aside all the findings of physical science.
The Proof of the Pudding Is in the Eating
–At this stage, his attention may be called to Astrology. No one can seriously and
thoroughly investigate this occult science without becoming convinced that certain
positions of the planets coincide with certain characteristics and events in the life of
No psychic sense is needed for such a demonstration. It is purely a matter of
experiment. For if a certain angular relation of two planets coincides always with
events of a certain nature, and enough birth-charts of persons having this position can
be secured to prove it to be much more than a coincidence, no amount of theoretical
argument can refute the facts.
Physical science is reluctant to accept such conclusions, or even to make the
necessary experiments to verify them, because it has so far found no adequate theory
to account for them. Isabel M. Lewis, of the U.S. Naval Observatory, writing in
Nature Magazine for April, 1931, says: “It is doubtful, indeed, if any astronomer
would know how to cast a horoscope or make astrological predictions of any kind.”
(See Course 17, Cosmic Alchemy, Chapter 6.) Yet these same astronomers, ignorant
even of how to set up a birth-chart, freely pass judgment that astrology must be false
because they have no theoretical grounds by which to explain it.
Alchemy may next claim the attention of our investigator. Although he knows it is
stigmatized as an exploded science, he no longer accepts as final the dictum of a
school he has found to be often prejudiced, a dictum, moreover, pronounced by men
without knowledge of the subject they condemn. He finds that the two chief tenets of
alchemy, as laid down by the ancients, are that there is a Primitive First Substance of
which all physical matter is composed, and that it is possible to transmute one or
more metals into another totally distinct metal.
Such ideas have been ridiculed by chemists until within the last few years. Now,
however, it has been proved that all atoms are built up in a special way of particles of
electricity, some negatively charged, others equally positively charged, all held
within a certain volume by the interaction of the attraction between the negative
electrons and the positive positrons. Thus has electricity been demonstrated as the
Primitive First Substance.
Furthermore, radium decays into helium and lead. Professor Ramsey has transmuted
copper into lithium; and other scientists, through bombarding the atoms of one or two
elements, much as radium bombards on its own, occasionally score a direct hit and
smash out a piece of the nucleus of the element and thereby transmute each part into
an atom of some other element. Thus the very theory and processes of alchemy, so
long scoffed at by material scientists, have now been demonstrated in their own
By methods as experimental as theirs, under conditions as strictly scientific, the
Occult Scientist has demonstrated Magic, Astrology, and Alchemy. This makes him
reluctant to discard any branch of occultism without first giving it a thorough
He approaches different methods of divination with, perhaps, a good deal of
skepticism; but even in this he is surprised to find results that can not be attributed to
coincidence, and he is forced to conclude that there are laws underlying such matters
totally ignored by physical science. But then, he reflects, physical science has never
determined the laws governing the source of the sun’s heat. Every theory it has
formulated to account for this phenomenon–and, for that matter, for numerous
others–has been torn to shreds by later investigation. It is not astonishing, then, that
it has failed to discover the mental laws governing divination.
But just as the true scientist finds the material sciences oppressed by many erroneous
ideas and theories, so also he finds speculation and supposition so largely covering
the facts of occult science that he can gain very little through reading the current
works upon such subjects.
Mystical folly and absurd and conflicting doctrines meet him on every hand.
Everyone whom he consults has an opinion, but usually quite unsupported by
experimental facts. His only recourse seems to be to advance, step by step, applying
the methods of experimental science to psychical and spiritual things, and so gain
knowledge at first hand. He knows that to do this requires application, effort, keen
discrimination and, finally, the development of the senses of the unconscious mind.
Although intuition and thought transference undoubtedly are activities or
perceptions of the unconscious mind, because they so commonly reported the
phenomena of the physical plane the ancients classified them as physical senses,
along with the other five. But whether five or seven, the experience gained through
these physical senses is the foundation of all knowledge of physical life.
The Seven Psychic Senses
–There are also seven psychic senses by which the phenomena of the world interior
to the physical are reported to the unconscious mind, and from thence may be raised
into the region of physical consciousness. The experience gained through the use of
these psychic senses is the foundation of knowledge of life on the inner planes. Nor
are they so rare as to make this manner of investigation a practical impossibility; for
more people than is generally supposed possess at least one of them in a more or less
advanced stage of development.
The number is unknown because the ridicule that follows the announcement that one
possesses such a faculty frequently deters people from making their psychic ability
known. Nevertheless, even a little candid investigation will reveal the fact that such
senses exist, and that by their use worlds other than the physical may be explored and
understood, even as the physical world is explored and understood through the
reports of the physical senses.
Moreover, even as the physical senses may be developed to a state of keenness and
accuracy, so may the psychic senses be roused from their dormant condition and be
educated to a state of efficiency.
In this education, either one of two methods may be followed. One is negative,
mediumistic, passive and destructive to the individuality. It brings a train of evil
results and should never be allowed. The other method is positive, controlling,
active, and tends to build up the Will and Individuality, increasing the power of the
mentality and bringing greater vigor to the body.
Psychic Senses Are Not Infallible
–This constructive method of training brings highly satisfactory results, and may be
followed without danger. Moreover, as the psychic senses develop, their reports
should be carefully analyzed and verified. They are yet immature, and as it took years
after birth to educate the sense of sight so that it became a reliable guide to effort, it
may take that long to develop psychic-sight, or any psychic sense, to a comparative
degree of accuracy.
Most persons’ psychic senses when first awakened are just about as accurate as were
their physical senses immediately after birth. Consequently it is absurd to take the
reports of these rudimentary faculties as indisputable. Yet they can be developed
through exercise; and experience will indicate just how much reliability can be
placed upon their reports.
It will be found that they often give information that later can be verified–such
information as could not possibly be gained at the time through the physical senses.
And as the reliability of the psychic senses increases they may safely be used to
report the phenomena of the inner worlds. These reports may be checked, one against
another, and compared with later experiences of those realms in such a way as to give
the same certainty about the things of the inner worlds as may be had through the
physical senses about the things of the outer world.
At a still later period of occult development, if the student has had the patience and
ability to follow so far the royal road leading to initiation, it becomes possible to
leave the physical body consciously and travel on a plane interior to the physical.
Means may be devised by which it is possible to prove with scientific certainty that
this journey was an actual fact, and that the places thus visited were actually entered.
When he makes such a journey, the student is able to say with certainty that there are
inner regions, just as when he visits a city on the physical plane he is certain that such
a city exists, and can describe it.
Immortality is more difficult of proof. Still, one who visits the homes of the dead and
converses with them has ample assurance of life after death.
In our experience with the material world we have often found the instincts
implanted by nature a better index to reality than reasoning from limited premises; so
in this matter also we find our instincts a better guide than prejudice. Thus, instinct
teaches animals to prepare warm dens for winter and stock them with food. They do
not know of winter by individual experience, for they make this preparation for the
first winter of life. Similarly, man instinctively looks for a future life and strives to
prepare for it. The occultist, urged on by instinct, prepares for a life immortal, a life of
never-ending progression; and by the development of his individual faculties
explores its realms, and while yet on earth gains knowledge of its laws.
We repeat that the data upon which occult science rests is purely experimental, and
even as in physical science it is necessary to form a hypothesis as a working basis, so
also in occult science certain working hypotheses are essential. But occult science
does not stand or fall by the correctness of theories any more than does physical
For example, the science of chemistry was founded upon Dalton’s Atomic Theory,
until recently universally accepted. But with the explosion of that theory which so
long served as a working hypothesis for all chemists, and the adoption of the
Electronic Theory in its stead, chemistry does not fall.
Neither does the disproof of any prevalent occult theory seriously affect occultism.
Its truths are based upon observed phenomena carefully checked and compared. Yet
when some ideas not sufficiently checked and confirmed are admitted to the edifice,
they can be removed or improved without destroying the whole structure.
We Make No Claim to Infallibility
–Every science and every religion of the past which has claimed infallibility has
lived to see such claim disproved. In the very nature of things, as I trust I have clearly
shown, any claim to infallibility is absurd; because knowledge of the universe is
endless and the evolution of intelligence is toward the acquisition of more and more
Nor are we attempting to get our ideas accepted on faith. On the contrary, we indicate
to the student just how to go about it to develop his own intelligence and his own
psychic faculties, and earnestly advise him to disprove or verify every statement we
make by experiments of his own.
Most religions teach that there is a life after death. But they discourage any attempt to
prove such an existence. We, THE CHURCH OF LIGHT, however, believe that
painstaking research should be carried out on every possible plane, and in all
departments of nature, including those physical and those spiritual, to the end that
man may not merely believe, but may know, the conditions under which he is
required to live in each distinct realm, that he may utilize the laws and principles so
discovered to be successful, in the larger sense, wherever he may function.
Physical life is but a fragment of that total life which is man’s inheritance. The more
knowledge we have of the laws of the physical plane, including occult laws, the surer
our chances of physical success. Physical success is not to be ignored.
But we must also, if we are to have a basis for success in our life in its vaster scope,
acquire a knowledge of the laws governing other planes. The more comprehensive
our knowledge, the better we are fitted to adjust ourselves to the demands of this
wider life. It is this knowledge that THE RELIGION OF THE STARS attempts to
These lessons make no claim to infallibility. They do, however, present the present
views of those on various planes, including the physical, who anciently or in modern
times, have been specially qualified for, and have carried out, research on every
available plane. They are offered to students, therefore, not as the final word after
which nothing more can be said; but drawing from high intelligences on various
planes, as the best information available at the present moment of evolution.
1. William Boulting, Giordano Bruno, His Life, Thought, and Martyrdom
(Salem, NH: Ayer, 1914/1972) .
2. Charles A. Young, A Scientific Book of General Astronomy for Colleges and
Scientific Schools, p. 307 (Boston: Ginn, 1888).
3. Sir George Darwin, Tides and Other Kindred Phenomena, p. 161, 188
(Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1898).
Update of Scientific work on E.S.P.
Rupert Sheldrake has written a book called Science Set Free, 10 Paths to New Discovery.
It is a complete review of the general approach of science in the period from 1900 to 2011.
It outlines how science has been completely dominated by the materialist point of view to
the detriment of the true purpose of science as a “method of observation”. For the student
of Hermetic Philosophy as presented by C.C. Zain (Elbert Benjamine) it is an excellent
update on the failure of materialist dominated science to eliminate the problem of
consciousness and the idea of a soul being the origin of our physical life. It asks
the right questions for the student and updates the research into E.S.P. in the
mineral, plant and animal worlds along with our psychic connection to our
universe. Sheldrake has an internet site that is on our Light Of Egypt Interesting
Sites list. It along with the Skeptiks website are recommended to help the student
understand the continued actions by “Atheistic Materialism” to keep science from
Linden Leisge 02-17-2014