No. 1. PRECIPITATION
The word "precipitation" means to throw upon or within. This term is used in chemistry to describe the fact of a substance, held or suspended in fluid, being made to disengage itself from the intimate union with the fluid and to fall upon the bottom of the receptacle in which it is held; in the use of applied electricity it may be used to describe the throwing upon a metal or other plate, of particles of another metal held in suspension in the fluid of the electric bath. These two things are done every day in nearly all the cities of the world, and are so common as to be ordinary. In photography the same effect is described by the word "develop", which is the appearing on the surface of the sensitized gelatine plate of the image caught by the camera. In chemical precipitation the atoms fall together and become visible as a separate substance in the fluid; in photography the image made by an alteration of the atoms composing the whole surface appears in the mass of the sensitized plate.
In both cases we have the coming forth into visibility of that which before was invisible. In the case of precipitation of a substance in the form of a powder at the bottom of the receptacle containing the fluid, there is distinctly, (a) before the operation an invisibility of a mass of powder, (b) upon applying the simple means for precipitation the sudden coming into sight of that which was before unseen.
And precisely as the powder may be precipitated in the fluid, so also from the air there can be drawn and precipitated the various metals and substances suspended therein. This has been so often done by chemists and others that no proofs are needed.
The ancients and all the occultists of past and present have always asserted that all metals, substances, pigments, and materials exist in the air held in suspension, and this has been admitted by modern science. Gold, silver, iron and other metals may be volatilized by heat so as to float unseen in the air, and this is also brought about every day in various mines and factories of the world. It may therefore be regarded as established beyond controversy that as a physical fact precipitation of substances, whether as merely carbon or metal, is possible and is done every day. We can then take another step with the subject.
Is it possible to precipitate by will-power and use of occult laws upon a surface of wood, paper, metal, stone, or glass a mass of substance in lines or letters or other combinations so as to produce an intelligible picture or a legible message? For modern science this is not possible yet; for the Adept it is possible, has been done, and will be still performed. It has also been done unintelligently and as mere passive agents or channels, among mediums in the ranks of European and American spiritualists. But in this latter case it has the value, and no more than that, of the operations of nature upon and with natural objects, to be imitated by conscious and intelligently-acting man when he has learned how, by what means, and when. The medium is only a passive controlled agent or channel who is ignorant of the laws and forces employed, as well as not knowing what is the intelligence at work, nor whether that intelligence is outside or a part of the medium.
The Adept, on the other hand, knows how such a precipitation can be done, what materials may be used, where those materials are obtainable, how they can be drawn out of the air, and what general and special laws must be taken into account. That this operation can be performed I know of my own knowledge; I have seen it done, watching the process as it proceeded, and have seen the effect produced without a failure. One of these instances I will give later on.
Precipitation of words or messages from Adepts has been much spoken of in the Theosophical Society's work, and the generality of persons have come to some wrong conclusions as to what they must be like, as well as how they are done and what materials may be and are used. Most suppose as follows:
1. That the precipitated messages are on rice paper;
2. That they are invariably in one or two colors of some sort of chalk or carbon;
3. That in every case they are incorporated into the fibre of the paper so as to be ineradicable;
4. That in each case when finished they came from Tibet or some other distant place invisibly through the air.
5. That all of them are done by the hand of the Adept and are in his handwriting as commonly used by him or them.
While it is true in fact that each of the above particulars may have been present in some of the cases and that every one of the above is possible, it is not correct that the above are right as settled facts and conclusions. For the way, means, methods, conditions, and results of precipitation are as varied and numerous as any other operation of nature. The following is laid down by some of the masters of this art as proper to be kept in mind.
(a), A precipitated picture or message may be on any sort of paper.
(b), It may be in black or any other pigment.
(c), It may be in carbon, chalk, ink, paint, or other fluid or substance.
(d), It may be on any sort of surface or any kind of material.
(e), It may be incorporated in the fibre of the paper and be thus ineffacable, or lie upon the surface and be easily eradicated.
(f), It may come through the air as a finished message on paper or otherwise, or it may be precipitated at once at the place of reception on any kind of substance and in any sort of place.
(g), It is not necessarily in the handwriting of the Adept, and may be in the hand comprehended by the recipient and a language foreign to the Adept, or it may be in the actual hand of the Adept, or lastly in a cipher known to a few and not decipherable by any one without its key.
(h), As matter of fact the majority of the messages precipitated or sent by the Adepts in the history of the Theosophical Society have been in certain forms of English writing not the usual writing of those Adepts, but adopted for use in the Theosophical movement because of a fore-knowledge that the principal language of that movement would for some time be the English.
Some messages have been written and precipitated in Hindi or Urdu, some in Hindustani, and some in a cipher perfectly unintelligible to all but a few persons. These assertions I make upon personal knowledge founded on observation, on confirmation through an inspection of messages, and on logical deduction made from facts and philosophical propositions. In the first place, the Adepts referred to — and not including silent ones of European birth — are Asiatics whose languages are two different Indian ones: hence their usual handwriting is not English and not Roman in the letters. Secondly, it is a fact long suspected and to many well known both in and out of the Theosophical Society that the Fraternity of Adepts has a cipher which they employ for many of their communications: that, being universal, is not their handwriting. Thirdly, in order to send any one a precipitated message in English it is not necessary for the Adept to know that language; if you know it, that is enough; for, putting the thought in your brain, he sees it there as your language in your brain, and using that model causes the message to appear. But if he is acquainted with the language you use, it is all the easier for the Adept to give you the message exactly as he forms it in his brain at first. The same law applies to all cases of precipitation by an alleged spirit through a medium who does not know at all how it is done: in such a case it is all done by natural and chiefly irresponsible agents who can only imitate what is in the brains concerned in the matter.
These points being considered, the questions remain, How is it all done, what is the process, what are the standards of judgment, of criticism, and of proof to the outer sense, is imposition possible, and, if so, how may it be prevented?
As to the last, the element of faith or confidence can never be omitted until one has gotten to a stage where within oneself the true standard and power of judging are developed. Just as forgery may be done on this physical plane, so also may it be done on the other and unseen planes and its results shown on this. Ill-disposed souls may work spiritual wickedness, and ignorant living persons may furnish idle, insincere, and lying models for not only ill-disposed souls that are out of the body, but also for mere sprites that are forces in nature of considerable power but devoid of conscience and mind. Mind is not needed in them, for they use the mind of man, and merely with this aid work the hidden laws of matter. But this furnishes some protection illustrated in the history of spiritualism, where so many messages are received that on their face are nonsense and evidently but the work of elementals who simply copy what the medium or the sitter is vainly holding in mind. In those cases some good things have come, but they are never beyond the best thought of the persons who, living, thus attempt to speak with the dead.
Any form of writing once written on earth is imprinted in the astral light and remains there as model. And if it has been used much, it is all the more deeply imprinted. Hence the fact that H. P. Blavatsky, who once was the means for messages coming from the living Adepts, is dead and gone is not a reason why the same writing should not be used again. It was used so much in letters to Mr. Sinnett from which Esoteric Buddhism was written and in many other letters from the same source that its model or matrix is deeply cut in the astral light. For it would be folly and waste of time for the Adepts to make new models every time any one died. They would naturally use the old model. There is no special sanctity in the particular model used by them, and any good clairvoyant can find that matrix in the astral light. Hence from this, if true, two things follow: (a), that new communications need not be in a new style of writing, and (b), there is a danger that persons who seek either clairvoyants or mezmerized lucides may be imposed on and made to think they have messages from the Adepts, when in fact they have only imitations. The safeguard therein is that, if these new messages are not in concordance with old ones known to be from their first appointed channel, they are not genuine in their source, however phenomenally made. Of course for the person who has the power inside to see for himself, the safeguard is different and more certain. This position accords with occult philosophy, it has been stated by the Adepts themselves, it is supported by the facts of psychic investigation inside the ranks of Spiritualism, of Theosophy, of human life.
It is well known that mediums have precipitated messages on slates, on paper, and on even the human skin, which in form and manner exactly copied the hand of one dead and gone, and also of the living. The model for the writing was in the aura of the enquirer, as most mediums are not trained enough to be able independently to seek out and copy astral models not connected with some one present. I exclude all cases where the physical or astral hand of the medium wrote the message, for the first is fraud and the second a psychological trick. In the last case, the medium gazing into the astral light sees the copy or model there and merely makes a facsimile of what is thus seen, but which is invisible to the sitter. There is no exemption from law in favor of the Adepts, and the images they make or cause to be made in astral ether remain as the property of the race; indeed in their case, as they have a sharp and vivid power of engraving, so to say, in the astral light, all the images made there by them are deeper and more lasting than those cut by the ordinary and weak thoughts and acts of our undeveloped humanity.
The best rule for those who happen to think they are in communication with Adepts through written messages is to avoid those that contradict what the Adepts have said before; that give the lie to their system of philosophy; that, as has happened, pretend that H. P. B. was mistaken in her life for what she said and is now sorry. All such, whether done with intention or without it, are merely bombinans in vacuo, sound that has no significance, a confusion between words and knowledge delusive and vain altogether. And as we know that the Adepts have written that they have no concern with the progress of selfish science, it must be true that messages which go on merely to the end of establishing some scientific proposition or that are not for the furtherance especially of Brotherhood cannot be from them, but are the product of other minds, a mere extension through occult natural law of theories of weak men. This leads to the proposition that:
Precipitation of a message is not per se evidence that it is from one of our White Adepts of the Great Lodge.
(To be continued.)
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