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Mar 16, 2006 08:02 AM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck

Thursday, March 16, 2006


In the study of occultism and esotericism (THEOSOPHY ) H P B stresses the

"He who spiritually knows of the One will find the doctrines of Occultism
easy enough to be understood; he who is incapable to spiritually recognize
the Unity of the All, will get lost in the labyrinth of the multiplicity of
external phenomena, and however experienced and learned he may be in the
classification of such phenomena and in giving to them the names adopted by
science, he will necessarily remain ignorant of the Cause of all things,
without the knowledge of which nothing can truly be known... 

There can only be one Love, one Life, one Power, one Wisdom, one Truth, one
Substance, one God, although each of them may become manifest in an endless
number of forms, and all these terms merely represent various aspects of the
One, whose name consists of one letter. 

The One is self existent and self sufficient, and therefore eternal and not
subject to change. It will forever be intellectually incomprehensible,
because the intellect is only one of the many forms of its manifestations
and a part cannot comprehend the whole.  "  [Extracted from article below.]


Reading through the article below:   LETTERS ON MAGIC AND ALCHEMY* -- by H
P  B one comes across definitions that seem to be important in understanding
THEOSOPHY and its doctrines -- the article relates to a passage in the
SECRET DOCTRINE  I  p. 261, which states 
that:  "Chemistry and physiology are the two great magicians of the future,
who are destined to open the eyes of mankind to the great physical truths."

	She proceeds to say (in the S D  I  261...) :

"With every day, the identity between the animal and physical man, between
the plant and man, and even between the reptile and its nest, the rock, and
man—is more and more clearly shown. 

The physical and chemical constituents of all being found to be identical,
chemical science may well say that there is no difference between the matter
which composes the ox and that which forms man. 

But the OCCULT DOCTRINE is far more explicit. It says: --- 

Not only the chemical compounds are the same, but the same infinitesimal
invisible lives compose the atoms of the bodies of the mountain and the
daisy, of man and the ant, of the elephant, and of the tree which shelters
him from the sun. Each particle—whether you call it organic or inorganic—is
a life. 


Every atom and molecule in the Universe is both life-giving and death-giving
to that form, inasmuch as it builds by aggregation universes and the
ephemeral vehicles ready to receive the transmigrating soul, and as
eternally destroys and changes the forms and expels those souls from their
temporary abodes. 

It creates and kills; it is self-generating and self-destroying; it brings
into being, and annihilates, that mystery of mysteries—the living body of
man, animal, or plant, every second in time and space; and it generates
equally life and death, beauty and ugliness, good and bad, and even the
agreeable and disagreeable, the beneficent and maleficent sensations. 


It is that mysterious LIFE, represented collectively by countless myriads of
lives, that follows in its own sporadic way, the hitherto incomprehensible
law of Atavism; that copies family resemblances as well as those it finds
impressed in the aura of the generators of every future human being, a
mystery, in short, that will receive fuller attention elsewhere. For the
present, one instance may be cited in illustration. 

Modern science begins to find out that ptomaine (the alkaloid poison
generated by decaying matter and corpses—a life also) extracted [262] with
the help of volatile ether, yields a smell as strong and equal to that of
the freshest orange-blossoms; but that free from oxygen, these alkaloids
yield either a most sickening, disgusting smell, or the most agreeable aroma
which recalls that of the most delicately scented flowers. 

And it is suspected that such blossoms owe their agreeable smell to the
poisonous ptomaine; the venomous essence of certain mushrooms (fungi) being
nearly identical with the venom of the cobra of India, the most deadly of
serpents.*   [ F-note:  * The French savants Arnaud, Gautier, and Villiers,
have found in the saliva of living men the same venomous alkaloid as in that
of the toad, the salamander, the cobra, and the trigonocephalus of Portugal.
It is proven that venom of the deadliest kind, whether called ptomaine, or
leucomaine, or alkaloid, is generated by living men, animals, and
plants..... "]


Thus, having discovered the effects, Science has to find their PRIMARY
CAUSES; and this it can never do without the help of the old sciences, of
alchemy, occult botany and physics. We are taught that every physiological
change, in addition to pathological phenomena; diseases—nay, life itself—or
rather the objective phenomena of life, produced by certain conditions and
changes in the tissues of the body which allow and force life to act in that
body; that all this is due to those unseen CREATORS and DESTROYERS that are
called in such a loose and general way, microbes. 


[ F-note: † It might be supposed that these "fiery lives" and the microbes
of science are identical. This is not true. The "fiery lives" are the
seventh and highest subdivision of the plane of matter, and correspond in
the individual with the One Life of the Universe, though only on that plane.
The microbes of science are the first and lowest sub-division on the second
plane—that of material prana (or life). The physical body of man undergoes a
complete change of structure every seven years, and its destruction and
preservation are due to the alternate function of the fiery lives as
"destroyers" and "builders." 

They are "BUILDERS" by sacrificing themselves in the form of vitality to
restrain the destructive influence of the microbes, and, by supplying the
microbes with what is necessary, they compel them under that restraint to
build up the material body and its cells. 

They are "DESTROYERS" also when that restraint is removed and the microbes,
unsupplied with vital constructive energy, are left to run riot as
destructive agents. 

[ F-note, p. 263 -- Thus, during the first half of a man's life (the first
five periods of seven years each) the "fiery lives" are indirectly engaged
in the process of building up man's material body; life is on the ascending
scale, and the force is used in construction and increase. After this period
is passed the age of retrogression commences, and, the work of the "fiery
lives" exhausting their strength, the work of destruction and decrease also

An analogy [ see S D  I  200, diagram ]  between cosmic events in the
descent of spirit into matter for the first half of a manvantara (planetary
as human) and its ascent at the expense of matter in the second half, may
here be traced. These considerations have to do solely with the plane of
matter, but the restraining influence of the "fiery lives" on the lowest
sub-division of the second plane—the microbes—is confirmed by the fact
mentioned in the foot-note on Pasteur (vide supra) that the cells of the
organs, when they do not find sufficient oxygen for themselves, adapt
themselves to that condition and form ferments, which, by absorbing oxygen
from substances coming in contact with them, ruin the latter. Thus the
process is commenced by one cell robbing its neighbour of the source of its
vitality when the supply is insufficient; and the ruin so commenced steadily
progresses. ] 

Such [263] experimenters as Pasteur are the best friends and helpers of the
Destroyers and the worst enemies of the Creators—if the latter were not at
the same time destroyers too. However it may be, one thing is sure in this: 

The knowledge of these primary causes and of the ultimate essence of every
element, of its lives, their functions, properties, and conditions of
change—constitutes the basis of MAGIC. 

Paracelsus was, perhaps, the only Occultist in Europe, during the last
centuries since the Christian era, who was versed in this mystery. Had not a
criminal hand put an end to his life, years before the time allotted him by
Nature, physiological Magic would have fewer secrets for the civilized world
than it now has. ... "  	S D  I  261-4


                                    LETTERS ON MAGIC AND ALCHEMY* --H  P  B 
THE term "occult" is applied to certain things winch are beyond the power of
being perceived by the external physical senses and which can be known only
in a higher than the ordinary state of consciousness. To those who are able
to enter that superior consciousness in which the spiritual faculties are
opened, these things will cease to be "occult ;" but to those who are
deficient in that power and especially to those who deny the possibility of
any higher perceptive faculty than that of the external senses, the inner
mysteries of Nature will be incomprehensible, and the reading of books on
metaphysics and occultism will perhaps have no other effect than to disorder
their imagination. 
The inner mysteries of the "Temple" cannot be unveiled; it is the observer
himself who must remove the veil that hangs before his eyes; there is no
other key to the understanding of Nature than the power of understanding
     Logical argumentation and inductive or deductive reasoning are good
enough as far as they go, but they are only crutches for those who cannot
walk on their own legs; they are means by which those who cannot see certain
things may form a more or less correct opinion as to how these things would
look if they were able to see them; they are the aids of speculative
science, but they do not convey real knowledge, for real knowledge is the
direct perception and understanding of a truth as it is and not merely as
what it is said or imagined to be. 
     Real knowledge is therefore not obtained by mere theoretical
speculation but it is the result of experience, and as a person without
well-developed external senses can have only an incomplete experience in
regard to external and sensual things ; likewise he who is unconscious of
the things of the spirit can have no real knowledge of spiritual truths ;
nor can he who is in possession of real self-knowledge communicate it to
another who has no such experience; for however true a thing may be to him
who knows, it will be only a matter of opinion or belief to those who have
not had the same kind of experience. 
     It is therefore exceedingly difficult to speak in a comprehensive
manner about things in regard to which the majority of man-kind have only
very vague opinions, and even the terms which must be employed to express
thoughts on occult subjects differ widely in their meaning according to the
intellectual or spiritual standpoint of the reader. No sooner is a new term
applied to signify some spiritual power, it is immediately travestied and
misapplied to external things by those who have not the least conception
that such powers exist. 


Thus the word "Faith," which originally meant "spiritual knowledge," is now
universally misapplied for "belief" or "creed ;" "attraction" is called
"love," while, in fact, it is only the reaction of love; "begging," i. e.
the requests for the gratification of selfish desires, is called "prayer,"
which in its true sense means the aspiration of the soul for the highest,
implying entire forgetting of self; "magic," or the exercise of spiritual
powers for a wise purpose, is misnamed "witchcraft," &c., &c. 
     Terms are misleading unless they are properly understood, and to avoid
as much as possible such an unfortunate misunderstanding, it will be
necessary to preface the following articles by giving an exact definition of
some of the terms used therein: 
     GOD.—The infinite, unlimited, unconditioned, omnipresent and
unmanifested Absolute; the intellectually incomprehensible, fundamental and
universal Cause of all that exists, in which all exists and in which we all
are, and live, and have our being. 
     SUBSTANCE.—The universal invisible essence of which all visible and
invisible forms are made; whether in its transcendental aspect as
"Mind-substance" or the matter which gives shape to thought; or in its more
gross, dense and material aspect, where its outward appearance becomes
manifest to the external senses and in which state it is usually called
     POWER.—A state of Substance in which it manifests activity. This
activity may manifest itself in various forms and on various planes of
existence. It may act without or with relative consciousness. As there is
only one fundamental Substance, there is only one fundamental Power, and the
two are only two aspects or modes of manifestation of the eternal
unmanifested One called God. 
     WILL.—The fundamental and original Power from which all other forces
and activities in the universe spring. Every imaginable power or force from
relatively unconscious motion up to self-conscious spiritual love, is
therefore nothing else but a certain mode of manifestation of Will, and all
the different terms applied to these forces, such as "life," "light,"
"sound," "electricity," "heat " &c., merely signify the various aspects and
modes of manifestation of that one fundamental power called the Will in the
same sense as all imaginable substances, from relatively unconscious granite
rock up to self-conscious spirit forms, are only various shapes of one
fundamental original substance which assumes various qualities in its
various forms of manifestation, according to the nature of its internally
acting Will. 
     IMAGINATION.—The creative power of Deity, acting in Nature as a whole,
or in individual beings, which governs the construction of form according to
a certain pre-conceived plan or pre-existing idea. The Imagination like the
Will, may act with or without relative consciousness, and be exercised with
or without any voluntary conscious effort. The growth of a tree is the
result of the image of the future tree existing unconsciously within the
imagination of the seed, and being gradually rendered objective by the
internally acting and relatively unconscious will having been stimulated
into action by influences coming from external surroundings. There are many
things existing in man's imagination; but he is not conscious of all of them
at one given moment of time. 
     THOUGHT.—The exercise of the power by which the images in the mind come
to the consciousness of the latter. Man creates no ideas; he merely grasps
the ideas which are already existing and whose images are reflected in his
mind as in a mirror, and by the act of thinking he combines or resolves them
and puts them into new shapes. The lower animals perceive only the images
which are reflected in their minds without any effort on their part; but man
has the power to rise by his will into the higher region of ideas, and to
select and grasp ideas according to his choice. 
     SPIRIT.—Will and Imagination united into one, and acting undividedly in
the same direction and for the same purpose. The will, by identifying itself
with a thought, invests the latter with a spiritual power; the imagination
uniting itself with the will guides the latter, and thus a spiritual and
self-conscious power may be made to act as far as thought can travel, or as
far as the will can reach. 
     CONSCIOUSNESS—Certain states, resulting from the action of the Will
upon the Imagination. There can be no absolute unconsciousness in the
universe, for all things are the products of an activity which is eternal
and therefore self-existent and self-conscious, even if it is without any
relative consciousness in regard to any existing form. External things may
come to man's external consciousness by means of his external perceptions;
but spiritual and "invisible" things come to his inner consciousness by
means of the emotions and sensations produced within the sphere of his Mind.

     ETHER.—The universal but invisible element of "Matter" in its aspect as
non-molecular substance. 
     It seems almost unnecessary to reiterate the statement that all the
above explained terms are not intended to represent these things as being
essentially different from each other; they only refer to different aspects
or forms of manifestation of the eternal One for which there is no name and
no definition. 
He who spiritually knows of the One will find the doctrines of Occultism
easy enough to be understood; he who is incapable to spiritually recognize
the Unity of the All, will get lost in the labyrinth of the multiplicity of
external phenomena, and however experienced and learned he may be in the
classification of such phenomena and in giving to them the names adopted by
science, he will necessarily remain ignorant of the Cause of all things,
without the knowledge of which nothing can truly be known. 
Therefore the ancient Rosicrucians said that he who knows many things knows
very little, while he who knows only One—knows all. 

     The requirements of human language have made it necessary to give
separate names to the various kinds of manifestations produced by the
absolute One, and from this circumstance arises the illusion which makes it
appear in the eyes of the ignorant as if these things were different from
each other, not merely in their external appearance but in their essential
If we were permitted to speak correctly we would have to say in speaking of
a Man, a Horse, a Stone: That of which we intellectually know nothing, and
for which we have no appropriate name, having manifested itself to our
external consciousness in the form of what we have chosen to call a "man," a
"horse," a "stone," &c. 

Instead of speaking about Life, Light, Sound, &c., we would perhaps have to
say: "Those vibrations of the universal Ether of Space, which are invisible
and intangible to our senses, but which, by acting upon certain media and
under certain conditions, produce within our external consciousness the
phenomena which we call "life," "light," "sound," etc. 
Such a roundabout way of speaking would be more philosophical: but it is
doubtful whether it would be more comprehensible and practicable for use. 


Language is, after all, only an aid and not a substitute for the exchange of
thought. Minds who are in harmony with each other will have no great
difficulty in understanding each others thoughts, even without the use of a
great many words, while those who are in disharmony with each other will
only increase their misunderstanding by using a great many words.
External language like any other external thing, can only be relatively
true; absolute truth is self-evident to those who can see it, and requires
no human testimony or certificates. Every assertion requiring logical proof
is therefore true or false according to the aspect under which the object is
seen; a circle seen from the plane in which it exists, is only a straight
line with two ends and a middle part; seen from above or below it is a
circle without any end; looked at sideways, it is an ellipsoid and if one
half of it is invisible it may appear to be a parabole.
All external science, however true it may be in one way, is false in
another, and all dogmatic assertions prove nothing but the vanity of him
from whom they originate; for there is no one who knows absolute Truth
except He who is Himself the Life, the Way and the Truth, the self-conscious
divine Spirit in Man. 
     Under such circumstances it would perhaps be wisest to be silent and to
say nothing at all, and if we nevertheless attempt to speak about things
belonging to the interior realm of Nature, it is not for the purpose that
our views should be regarded as being intended to give any new revelations;
but merely as furnishing food for thought and as an aid by which the Truth
which exists within the inner consciousness of the reader may come nearer to
his intellectual understanding. To those who have already found the truth,
we have nothing to say. 
                                                THE UNITY OF "MATTER."
     A great deal has been written about the question: "What is Matter and
what is Mind ?" Scientific and philosophical dissertations have been written
without very much elucidating the subject, the usual answer having resulted
in: "Mind is no matter, and matter never mind." Nevertheless, the answer
seems plain; for "Matter" and "Mind" are undoubtedly two terms signifying
two different aspects of modes of motion of the eternal One. 
This truth is clear to the spiritual perception of those who can see with
the eye of Reason, and they require no further proof; but even to those who
are accustomed to reason only from the plane of external observation, the
Unity of the All and the consequent identity of Matter and Mind is a fact
which gradually forces itself upon their scientific attention. 
     The scientific and religious world seems to be gradually rising out of
the profundity of its ignorance. Some 288 years ago Giordano Bruno was
burned alive as a heretic for having proclaimed the fact that there is only
one God and consequently only one Substance in the universe, and now the
same truth is believed in by some of the greatest luminaries of science.
Professor Suess, in his inaugural address as rector magnificus of the
university of Vienna in 1888, publicly expressed his belief in the Unity of
the All, even in the stronghold of Roman Catholicism, without being burned
or even challenged by the followers of orthodoxy. 
Having called the attention of his hearers to the newest discoveries of
science made by means of the spectroscope, by which the identity of material
substances existing upon the various planets and stars is proved, and having
mentioned the important discoveries of Mendelejeff, which go to show that
there is a scale of harmony of chemical substances resembling that of colour
and sound, he spoke the following memorable words: "As the dawn precedes the
sunrise, likewise all great discoveries are preceded by a foreboding of
their coming. To-day the Unity of all Substance is instinctively felt to be
a truth, but the united labour of all nations will soon discover the way to
prove it intellectually to be so." 

     This old and nevertheless ever new truth that the All is only One, and
that the great variety of forms in Nature is merely a variety of forms and
not of essential being, is the fundamental basis in the pursuit of occult
study. It begins to be universally recognised, and yet its full importance
is seen only by few. It is the most sublime idea which can be grasped by the
human mind, and the consequences of its recognition reach far beyond the
limits of time into Infinity. 
Cornelius Agrippa says: "The One completely penetrates every other number;
it is the common measure, the foundation and origin of all numbers. It is
unchangeable and excludes multiplicity. Multiplied with itself it is its own
product; it cannot be divided into parts but every division produces a
multiplication, i. e., it produces units, of which none is larger or smaller
than the original unit and of which every part is the whole. It is the
beginning and end of all things, but it has itself neither a beginning nor
an end. All things originate from the One, and all tends towards unity in
the end; all that exists finds its true being in the One, and those who seek
for salvation in the One must get rid of their multiplicity and return to
the One." 
     There can only be one Love, one Life, one Power, one Wisdom, one Truth,
one Substance, one God, although each of them may become manifest in an
endless number of forms, and all these terms merely represent various
aspects of the One, whose name consists of one letter. 
     THE ONE IS SELF EXISTENT AND SELF SUFFICIENT, and therefore eternal and
not subject to change. It will forever be intellectually incomprehensible,
because the intellect is only one of the many forms of its manifestations
and a part cannot comprehend the whole. A scientific examination can
therefore have nothing to do with qualities of the absolute One, it can only
deal with its manifestations. 

As soon as the One begins to manifest itself, it steps out of the sphere of
pure being and a duality comes into existence. 

Formerly it was only Cause; now it is Cause and Effect and as every Action
produces a Reaction, it becomes at once a Trinity of Cause, Action and
Reaction the incomprehensible mathematical point; extending in three
dimensions, assumes the aspect of a triangle constituted of Matter and
Motion and Space.
manifest themselves in a great many ways. There are forms of matter or
Substance in the mineral, vegetable and animal Kingdoms there are
substantial forms in the realm of the Elementals and in the Kingdom of gods.

There are forms of Motion, from unconscious motion up to conscious thought,
and still higher up to the action of the self-conscious Spirit but Space
remains always the same, and there can be no other but a three-dimensional
Space; for "Space" represents Form, and Three is the number of Form. A form
with more or less than three dimensions is unthinkable, and can have no
existence for us. 
      To recapitulate, we have therefore the Unit'' of the Cause; the
Duality of the form of its manifestation, and the Trinity of the Effect.
Within the eternal absolute One, Matter and Motion, Will and Ideation are
one; but as soon as they manifest themselves they appear as a duality,
producing a trinity, the child, in which the qualities of the Father and
Mother find their united representation. 

[This article was first printed by H. P. Blavatsky in LUCIFER for November,
            THEOSOPHY VOL. 3, APRIL,  1915  pgs. 308-313 ]

Best wishes,

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