Responses and Rebuttals
Jan 01, 1995 08:13 AM
by Jerry Schueler
First of all, I wish everyone a happy new year.
John, re CWL FAQ. Please put me down as caring less about CWL's
love life. I find some of his work helpful to me, while other
stuff I find unhelpful and I simply disregard it. I think CWL
was a very good occultist. Like Eldon, I would rather read G de
Purucker and for pretty much the same reasons.
The following are some general and specific comments and ideas
that I feel I simply have to make. I cannot, in good conscience,
let Eldon voice his beliefs (which I enjoy reading very much)
without a rebuttal of some kind:
Eldon, re Devas. Eldon't essay touches on a significant problem
with theosophical literature in general. Early theosophists,
especially HPB, took a little from Buddhism and from Hinduism and
a few other places, and put together a rather sketchy miss-mash
description of the deities of the invisible worlds. It is very
clear to me that few, if any, theosophists have ever actually
seen or conversed with any of these enitites (CWL is a notable
exception). I see this as an area that really needs some
definition today. The Qabala and other schools (yes, I would
certainly include the Enochian here) are far superior in
outlining both higher and lower beings. New students read of
invisible worlds and how they are populated with "beings," but
except for a bunch of long Sanskrit names, little is to be found,
and they go away looking elsewhere. We need to define these
beings a lot better. Eldon's equation of Devas with Elementals
is only true if we allow the name Deva to take on a very broad
definition; so broad that the name is left with little meaning.
Most occult students would consider Devas as angelic while
Elementals are demonic and thus would feel better if they had
very different names.
Eldon, re Psychic Powers. While Eldon is free to associate the
psychic with the astral if he wants to, I prefer to associate it
with manas - psychic, to me, means mental and has to do with
cognitive processes. Psychic experiences are mental experiences
and take place on the mental plane. I strongly agree with CWL
and Besant that the astral is a realm of emotions while the
mental is a realm of thoughts albeit that the two blend together
in a way that is often difficult to detect. I am not aware of
anything by HPB to dispute this. You can, for example, have a
psychic experience (e.g., a vision of a future event) without any
emotion attached to it. Anyway, I am going with my own
experiences here rather than what someone else says, which I
suppose is the best ticket for this kind of thing. Manas, to my
way of thinking, is more than just "understanding" which in
occultism equates to Binah, the first Sephiroth above the Abyss.
I fail to understand Eldon's reference to "the passivity
necessary for psychic development." Where did Eldon ever get the
idea that psychic development is passive? I would agree that
channeling and mediumship are both passive, but they constitute
only a small portion of possible psychic operations and have
almost no part in magic as define by HPB. She gave clear and
proper warnings against passivity while herself practicing magic
in a wide number of forms, all of which were active. Development
of psychic powers is hardly passive as even a short study of the
Golden Dawn material would show.
"Psychic impressions are not cultivated, they are ignored."
While this is true in some Zen meditations, it is altogether the
opposite with Tibetan Buddhist meditations, which make ample use
of visualization. A beginner, for example, is made to visualize
flowers until he/she can actually smell them, and to visualize
trees until they can actually walk into one and fall down.
Modern medicine has recently determined, much to their surprise,
that cancer patients who visualize themselves healthy and free of
the disease, have a significantly higher cure rate.
Visualizations have played a large part in all branches of
religion and magic througout history, including ancient Egypt and
the Gnostics. Christian Scientists are taught to see themselves
whole and do so before they are healed (they give God the credit,
but as HPB said, they are actually practicing magic).
Visualization is a powerful technique for both psychic and
spiritual development, and is active rather than passive.
Ignoring your psychic impressions is a good technique to use once
in awhile for the specific purpose of seeing its effects.
"The goal is to unify our spiritual natures with the outer
Yes, and this is the goal of yoga, tantra, magic, and occultism
as well. I believe that psychic powers will often be developed
automatically during this spiritual process, and should not be
ignored when they do. One of the tasks of the magician is to
confront his/her inner god/goddess directly in the higher planes.
In my opinion, this is superior to simply having an intuitive
feeling about one's inner divinity.
"This is the opposite of seeking the ability to disconnect from
outer life, practicing tuning out the world, deadening reaction
to others, going into trances, and trying to astral project or
get out of the Globe-D self."
Here we seem to have a fundamental difference between our
viewpoints. For some reason or another, Eldon associates the
development of psychic powers with turning away from the world.
I disagree. Even mystics don't turn away from the world, but
rather see it for what it really is. Getting out of Globe D, and
into the other Globes (figuratively) gives us a deeper
appreciation of Globe D than we can ever have otherwise. It is
only by experiencing the higher dimensions that mental or
acquired knowledge, learned by reading and study, can become the
Knowledge or Gnosis of direct experience. How can we hope to
help others along the Path if we only regurgitate back what we
have read? All of the great spiritual leaders and mystics have
had a direct experience of some kind in the higher planes. If we
all follow Eldon's advice, we will soon become the blind leading
the blind, taking the Teachings on faith, or even worse, we will
become completely dependent on "Masters" who have not followed
Eldon's advice. It is direct experience in the higher planes
that provides us with living Light; that light which stimulates
the mind that otherwise would become stuck in its "grooves" as
HPB points out. Direct experience keeps the mind and the
teachings fresh and new.
I was all alone driving my car once. I turned a bend and swung
over to the wrong side of the road, when a voice in my head
shouted at me to get back onto my own side of the road. Without
thinking, I jerked the wheel. Another car came flying around the
bend just missing me. A good friend of mine once got onto an
airplane. He had a "bad feeling" about it, and deplaned. He
booked on the next flight instead. He feld silly about this,
until later learning that the first plane went down killing all
onboard. I offer these as two examples in which psychic powers
can help, and can be benificial in our lives. I certainly admit
that psychic powers are a double-edged sword and can be helpful
as well as harmful. But Eldon is throwing out the baby with the
bathwater when he says that we should downplay or ignore all
psychic activity in our lives.
"The barriers we naturally find in our personality to psychic
senses are part of the Guardian Wall, a protective barrier put up
for us to foster our spiritual evolution."
Our Guardian Wall is put there by ourselves, not by anyone else.
It is there to protect us, yes, but only until we can handle
psychic experiences. It is much like repression, where we
"forget" stuff that we can't presently cope with. The teaching
that Adepts, Masters, or Gods emplaced a Wall for our protection
is a beautiful metaphor, but the plain fact is that we each put
up our own Wall and we can each take it down at any time. Such
"handling" should come naturally and not be forced. We shouldn't
break through the Wall until we are prepared to cope with what we
see behind it. I certainly agree that moral development must
proceed psychic development, which should follow spiritual
development. But I believe that if you persist along the
spiritual path far enough, your will develop psychic "powers"
automatically and they will be integrated into your life
naturally and without danger. Of course, if you follow Eldon's
advise and deliberately ignore it as it comes to you, then this
probably won't come about. Magic and psychism are rather like
matches; they can be useful if you know how to handle them and
you give them respect, and are dangerous otherwise. But ignoring
your own psychic experiences is dangerously close to repression
and the ostrich who sticks his head in the sand is sometimes
bitten in other places.
"Extension of our senses beyond the physical world do not bring
us higher consciousness."
I absolutely disagree with this statement and would refer to
every saint, occultist, and mystic throughout history as my
source. What about, for example, our spiritual senses? We could,
I suppose, debate about the word "higher." I would call a plane
higher if it is closer to divinity. If sensing things that are
closer to divinity than our five physical senses won't bring
about higher consciousness, than I cannot guess what would.
"There is an element of escapism in the desire to go to other
This is nonsense. Escapism has to do with motive. We go to
other planes every night in our dreams. Is this an escape from
the waking state? I go to other planes to discover the truth
about myself and about the world in which I live. When we leave
the living room to go to the kitchen, we may see this as escaping
the living room, but we can also view it as trying to learn more
about the house in which we live.
Some Personal Comments on Magic. The Globes of our planetary
chain are not out there' in space somewhere. We do not leave
Earth and go to another planet in this or any other solar system.
We enter another dimension rather than go anywhere in our
spacetime continuum. The term astral traveling' is a metaphor; a
poetic way of looking at it, rather like the way calling our aura
a Body of Light is a metaphor. The Golden Dawn call it spirit
vision' and perhaps this is closer to what really happens. It is
a different perception, a shift in our consciousness rather than
going somewhere, although that is how we talk about it. Many
people, including a lot of theosophsts, have very strange ideas
about the Globes. The Globes are not so weird or scary as some
of us believe. In fact, each and every one of us goes to all 7
of the lower Globes peridocially. The waking state is equivalent
to being on Globe D. Sleep with emotional dreams is equivalent
to going to Globes C and E. Sleep with dreams without emotions
is equivalent to going to Globes B and F. Dreamless sleep is
equivalent to going to Globes A and G. An intense experience of
bliss and oneness with all things is equivalent to the higher
Globes. Why must we make such simple teachings so needlessly
complicated? The practice of astral traveling, which so many
theosophists seem afraid of and warn against, is really nothing
more than falling asleep while maintaining conscious awareness.
HPB calls it a brown-study.' That is all there is to it - all the
rest is flourish and window dressing. CWL knew this, but I fear
theosophists have taken the warnings of HPB too much to heart.
However, she also points out the age-old occult teaching of Dare,
Try, and remain Silent. Eldon would have us refuse to Dare or
Try. I respect his desire to do so if he wishes. For myself, I
prefer to Dare and Try, and I try to keep the results of my
experiences to myself as much as possible. But sometimes, I
really must speak out at least a little.
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