Practical Occultism by William Q. Judge

Theosophical University Press Online Edition

Letters from May 1888 - June 1888

May 8th 1888

Dear Harte,

. . . . I have all yours. My dear fellow, I am not mad, not a bit. The thing that makes me mad is not yet known to you. I often appear "mad" to others but let me say I really am not inside in that state. Anger ruptures the cohesion of the particles that compose the inner man. If the extension was rejected, well and good. I am not the prophet of God. By the way why don't you return it to me if it was not to be used?

We are all well and busy.

No further news yet from the man and the money about Secret Doc. but I expect it every day. Distances here are enormous and time is used in waiting for trains to get in.

I omitted to say about that novel you spoke of of Hartmanns. As I have no respect for him or his novels, and as he cant write a novel I dont want to meddle in it.

Dont forget, I dont want such a load of the next reprint as you sent me of the others.

Success to you my boy. Roll on the Wheel and may the Treasure of Carnaellas be yours. If you are blown up by Jesus it is good for the soul: Ease and apathy are death.

As ever

May 15, 1888
Dr. Thomas Docking
San Diego, Cal.

My dear Sir and Bro,

I mailed you on Tuesday afternoon a letter closing with the remark that I would separately answer the other points in yours which arrived on Monday.

1. I do not think I can give you any useful advice as to the change of the Insurance plan. Such advice, you perceive, must be asked of me either in my capacity as a Theosophical student or in my capacity as a man of business. But in the former capacity I have no special knowledge of such matters, for Theosophy does not treat of or investigate them: it is concerned, as you know, with the distinctive problems of life and destiny, and has no especial knowledge of secular affairs. I think I may say that the most advanced Adept would disclaim any fitness to advise in a question of this kind. Nor should I, as a man of business, have qualification to counsel you in this matter. I am a lawyer, and the problem you submit to me is not of law but of financial investment, one requiring for its solution a different class of facts and a different experience. It is almost certain, then, that advice from one without the qualifications to give value to the advice would be worthless and probably misleading. My personal opinion, however, is to keep the Insurance.

2. I do not know of any Lamasery in the States. But are you sure, my Brother, that you would better serve your own spiritual development, — to say nothing of the Cause for which we are all at work, by entering one, should it exist? I do not say that in another hemisphere and in certain special cases there may be no value in such a system. But I may safely say 2 things: 1st that in view of the well-known effects of monastic seclusion as abundantly demonstrated in the history of monasteries, in view of the inherited and acquired temperament of one accustomed to Western life, and in view of the discipline and opportunity lost to one who withdraws from the environment prepared for him by Karma, an aspirant to high culture may well ask himself whether such a withdrawal might not be a mistake, and whether Krishna (in the Bhagavad Gita) was not right in urging upon Arjuna that his highest duty lay in his performance of the functions entrusted to him, NOT in the relinquishment of them: 2nd. that in a time like this, when Theosophy has received — as we believe — an impetus from Higher Powers no less wonderful than encouraging, we, who can assist it, have immediately before us a sphere of usefulness and of good, not only to others but to ourselves in serving others, compared to which the self-culture of retirement would seem poor indeed. Upon this matter of Lamaseries I think you may find some worthy hints in Dr. Hartmann's "Adventures among the Rosicrucians," a little book published by the Occult Publishing Co. of Boston, which altho' not an account of an actual lamasery, contains many truths.

3. But even if these views were wholly erroneous, and if it could be shown beyond doubt that you were called, not only to a contemplative life, but to admission to the "inner circle," is it clear that this should be put in the form of a "demand" and that it should be addressed to me? Are you absolutely certain that any of us know precisely the nature of this "inner circle," or what attainments give a claim to entrance therein, or when the moment has arrived when the claim can be advanced? Indeed, does not the addressing of such a "demand" to the General Secretary of the American Section of the Theosophical Society arouse a suspicion that there has been some misconception of the matter? For what is the Theosophical Society, and who its Secretary? The one is an exoteric organization with 3 declared aims, together with a no less clearly-declared disclaimer of power, as such, to communicate with Adepts or to confer spiritual gifts; the other is one of its executive officers, charged with certain oversight of its machinery. I am not an Adept; I have not, as Gen. Secy, any privilege of approaching Adepts; I can no more grant your "demand," or even transmit it to those who can, than can the Secretary of your own Branch. Surely you err in your conception.

Let us look at the whole subject from another viewpoint. Bro. Syke's letter and your own account of yourself show that you have long and earnestly pursued the aims we know to be the best and highest. Let it be fully conceded that you are sincere, faithful, and a real aspirant to Wisdom. Can you believe, then, that these facts are unknown to Those whose mission it is to produce them? If not, if the Elder Brethren know and gladly hail them, do you not think that They may be trusted to fix the time and the place and the way when further light shall be given? And, if so, then it would seem that you best meet Their wishes and hasten that time by a quiet, thorough performance of every duty lying to hand, a calm assurance that you are not forgotten and will not be neglected, and a patient awaiting the initiation which their better knowledge and larger experience may perhaps deem premature as yet. I know that this is the way in which They tell Their personal disciples to work.

I venture these suggestions, not as an authorized expression from Higher Powers, — not at all, but simply as ideas which commend themselves as seemingly just and reasonable. If, on further thought, they so commend themselves to you, I do not think that we can be far wrong.

Very truly and fraternally yours,

P. S. As I understand, in Lamaseries there [is] neither money nor the means of making it, hence in such a place you would be unable to get money to keep up your insurance.

May 15, 1888
Mrs J V Whitaker


. . . . Your question about sex cannot be in the Path answered, and probably not to satisfy you, in this. Male and female are all human beings now. The woman's body by reason of its peculiarities makes progress in higher occultism difficult. But it does not make it impossible, for there are women-adepts. Again, in strict accordance with nature, the natural character of woman is such that in the final analysis she has a greater affinity for matter and concrete things than the male. This is a natural difference.

The female mind — in general (there are exceptions) — leans to concrete thought and that has a slight natural tendency to draw her away from spirit, which is an abstract thing. The fact is that women are as a rule more intuitional than men but that is not spirit. Spirit being an abstraction it demands abstract ratiocination and as that is not natural to women as a whole, the female environment offers more obstruction to occultism than the male.

But as we are in fact neither man nor woman in occultism and as bodies are only illusory the same heights can be gained by woman as by man but with greater struggle. Hence the ego after reaching that knowledge and after passing through all necessary bodies to give it the required experience strives to get a male body, or rather, naturally gets into one which will enable it to go on easier from that birth through many others.

Yet also, at the same time, there are many beings in Male bodies who are far behind women and who will not progress; and also there are many in female bodies who are in them merely working through certain experiences which will enable them to progress rapidly in this or the next life on earth whether in male or female form it matters not.

Personally I am not a disbeliever in woman, for the greatest living occultist I know is a woman — H. P. Blavatsky.

The sexes are natural divisions that cannot be evaded nor argued away and I cannot agree with you that "woman is spiritually positive." I think the reverse. Nor can I agree with you when you say "while on this earth she is negative to the immense procreative force," for you imply thus that she, woman, is always woman, whereas the fact is that the bodies of men and women alike are only instruments through which the real person, which is neither "she" nor "he," works out its ends in obedience to laws. Hence if the Ego escapes it escapes not as man or woman but as soul. It is the soul, the real, that is in the toils — either in male or female form — and not woman as such nor man as such.

The constant considering these bodies as anything but illusion is error and leads us to make arbitrary distinctions that are misleading and that bind us to earth lives.

There will always be forms of male and female sort to be inhabited by beings so long as the age lasts. In far distant ages, millions of years to come, other conditions will prevail perhaps, but it will make no difference to us because we being spirits always, will have to go through the natural material conditions, whatever they are, that prevail in any age.

You err in thinking that the knowledge you seek cannot be found in the Theosophical Society. It can be found nowhere else. And by studying theosophical writings and doctrines the true standpoint will be reached and the possibility for light to break on us be brought about.

I have stated part of the true doctrine. It will be for you to say in yourself if it is true or not. But certainly no light will be found on the sex problem or any other relating to Man until we are considered as spirits every one and until the false and illusory character of "body" removed as a conception from the mind.


18 May [1888]

Dear HPB

Please reply to this So many people are beginning to ask me to be chelas that I must do something, so I have drawn up the enclosed paper which you can send me with some formalities on it if you think it right to do so — or whatever I ought to have. If you do not think so then please tell me in what way I had best proceed.

I know a good many good ones who will do well and who will form a rock on which the enemy will founder and this plan would encourage them. So fiat something.

As Ever

To William Q Judge: You are directed to draw together all those persons — members of the Theosophical Society — in the United States, who have or express the desire to serve the Cause of the Blessed Masters. This you are to do with the understanding in every case that the persons taken are not thereby made chelas of Masters but simply that they are thus given a chance to make a preliminary trial of themselves, and in each case you will take from the applicant an expression in writing, before making your private register of the name, that they will understand the basis on which you thus take them. Nothing is promised, each will have just what he or she deserves — no more no less, and all must be faithful to The Cause, to Masters and to the founders of the Theosophical Society —

Given etc. etc.

May 26 1888
Dr. Wm Erwin
Indianolo, Iowa

Dear Sir and Bro:

Great pressure of work has prevented an earlier reply and this is only acknowledgment.

All high aspiration is wise. But of course students should go carefully. The subject of your letter is engaging my deepest attention inasmuch as many seekers are writing the same as you have. I may soon be able to write about your earnest inner thoughts in some way that will be advisable. When I have found the proper method I will write again. Meanwhile believe me to be thinking these matters over for you, for others, and for myself.

Fraternally yours

May 26,1888
Dr. A F James
St. Louis

Dear Sir and Bro:

Great pressure precludes the possibility of a lengthy reply to yours of 18th inst. You should read and study first Art. "Occultism and Magic Arts etc" in Lucifer for this month. It replies to you on fundamental points.

The only method of Yoga that I would give a snap for is that found in Patanjali's Yoga and the Bhagavad Gita. True Yoga is not autohypnotization. The true practice of yoga begins by purifying the heart; its perfection is not attainable until the personal idea is completely uprooted. Obviously this takes more than one incarnation. You have in you the Self all powerful and omniscient. It cannot act because the lower self hinders it. The hindrances must be got rid of. The way to do it is in Patanjali and Bhag. G. It is a long, hard and awful road — with peace at the end. All other roads lead to death. But students must measure the task and not take what they cannot do.

I may not be older than you. Age is immaterial.


June 8, 1888

My dear Olcott

Certain matters are occurring here which need attention and action. They call, in my opinion, for definite statements from you and from London.

What I refer to is a disposition on the part of Elliott Coues to constantly pretend that he has power to confer what he calls the second degree of the T. S.

If this were confined to his own immediate coterie — as it was for a time — there would be nothing in it since it was [would] thus remain simply ridiculous, but as he now is gradually spreading it about and "authorizing" persons to say that they are in such degree, and as they are printing it, the whole thing has a tendency to cast ridicule upon the movement and also to arouse needless gossip and jealousy.

His policy is to place himself at the head of some wonderful unknown thing through which (god save the mark) communications are alleged to come from the Masters. He also in a large sense wishes to pull the T. S. away from your jurisdiction and make himself the grand mogul of it in this country.

Now the first thing mentioned is in itself petty but breeds trouble. He has just got into the Religio Jrnl a letter "What is Theosophy" signed "Sarah Hibbert, T. S. of 2d degree," and this has now gone all over the country.

An authoritative statement should be made that as yet there is no such thing permitted as "F. T. S. of 2nd [[degree]]", and that those who are in that degree are bound not to reveal it. I intend now to send an answer to the Religio on the subject and you as Pres't should also.

As to the second, I know that three dots policy is to retain complete control in you. And my desire is to keep the American Section as a dependency of the General Council in India; hence you are the Pres't. It was never my intention to dissever, but to bind. And the form of our Constitution — about which as yet you have not uttered a word, clearly shows that. That is why no Pres't is elected or permitted here.

C. has but lately written H P B that he must have the position permanent pres't and he is awfully cut up that the Convention did not raise him. All he wants is to get up on our shoulders in the eyes of the people while he does not help us a bit, and none of our members want him.

So I would recommend that you call the Council and consider our Constitution, which ought long ago have been done, and decide that we are in affiliation and subordination to India and that we are recognized as a part of the general council, with power to have a secretary as a channel but not to have a yearly president but only a chairman each Convention.

Thus we will have it definite and he can do as he pleases. He has but slight influence and the sooner he gets out — if he wishes — the better for us.

Now I must ask you attend to this and not ignore it as you have the subject in general hitherto.

I speak from facts, for I now know all our 500 members. I know who they are, what they want and who they follow.

Have you sent Coues any charters? He says you have. If so they should be called in.

If you treat this as you have in the past similar matters then I shall not be held responsible, for I cannot work this thing here properly without your cooperation.

As Ever

June 16, 1888

My dear Tookaram:

. . . . The letter from Khandalavalla and as was printed by me as you see by Path. That ends the matter as I wish to avoid controversy. It is delightful to find you working staunchly "with no hope of reward" for the cause we love, and I trust you will not be moved from that attitude. The "Secret Doctrine" is coming out here and in London by Nov and thus all disputes may end. "Offences will come but woe to him by whom they come" must still be true. The T. S. has great strength in America; and the defection from its ranks in India or Europe of a few will not affect us here. I believe the T. S. is now passing through a certain stage in which the real characters of all prominent F. T. S. are to be unveiled, and until that is over much silence will prevail from the Masters.

Fullerton was glad to get your good wishes. He is doing great good here. Please remember me to Rustanji and all others,

and believe me,
As Ever yours

June 18 1888
Samuel E. Horton, Esq.
Washington D C

Dear Sir:

I have yours of 15th in which you offer me a biographical sketch of Dr. E. Coues for the Path at $50., to fill one issue. I am obliged to decline your kind offer, as I have never yet paid money for anything printed in the Path and never shall probably. And besides your sketch is too long. I was only able to devote 4 pages to Col. Olcott, who with myself and Mme Blavatsky founded the Society, and of course could hardly go beyond that in dealing with younger members however scientific and famous they may be.

Hoping you may dispose of your MS. elsewhere,

I am, truly yours,

June 18, 1888

Miss Laura Charles

The misunderstanding, if any, is easily explained.

In your first letter you said that your friend assured you that you had entered the silence and found the peace, spoken of in Light on the Path, while in your writing you showed a troubled condition which negatived the idea of that peace having been attained. The silence and the peace spoken of in that book are very advanced conditions, and while I could not deny any person's assertion that they had reached that, yet when you asked me and furnished in your letter evidence that it had not been reached I answered as I did.

The question you asked, to which I replied "yes," was whether by striving and continuing you would reach the goal desired. This seemed also the burden of your thoughts and therefore I did not suppose I needed to repeat your statement of it. When we make the first step and are determined to continue then it contains in it the fulfillment of our desires, for each further step grows out of the first one. Hence in India they say that he who earnestly reaches the first stage has reached salvation because that genuine impulse will one day bring him to the Truth.

This letter is in my handwriting. The other I directed written, and then added to it before sending. I shall be happy to help you at any time if I can, and when you go away hope that you will send your new address.

I thank you for your donation, but as your subscription to Path has expired I would like to know if the money shall not be applied to a renewal.

Yours truly

June 26, 1888
Mrs. Mary Frances Wight,

Dear Madame:

I have yours of 23d. My previous letter to which you take exception and in which you say there is a lack of fraternal recognition, was one merely of acknowledgment of the receipt of yours. The rules under which I have been educated require that I should not enter into discussion of matters personal to myself and that I should not attempt exculpation either. This letter for the same reason, must also remain as one that is solely in acknowledgment of yours.

Fraternally yours,

June 30, 1888
Chas H Whitaker Esq

Dear Sir:

I have yours of the 28th. No form of ritual has ever been adopted by the T. S. Councils. The only authorized method — which is not a ritual — is, to give the candidate the signs and passwords properly explaining them at the same time. Any ritual which is used at the time is of course only meant by the Branch using it to be a means of impressing the signs and passwords on the mind of the person. The ritual which was spread by the Rochester Branch was made up by a free-mason of this city. The proper way was exemplified at the Chicago Convention where one of your members, Bro. Steams, was present.

At the same time all Branches are at liberty to use a ritual in addition if they see fit, and if they carefully inform the candidate that it is their own and that the theosophical method of communicating for the purposes of recognition is by the use of the signs etc, and that the ritual is not that of the T. S. as a whole.

Hence it follows that, if a Branch President has a member at large to initiate he must in his case, use no ritual but merely give and explain the signs and passwords: the ritual is to be reserved for members taken into the Branch. This seems clear and easy. I had no intention of dictating and only stated facts in my other letter as they existed. Personally I would not care to use the Rochester Ritual considering the attitude and words of Mrs. Cables about the T. S., its founders, and the fact that Mr. Bowen who actively helped her has gone into the Roman Catholic Church and has slandered Mme. Blavatsky and others very shamefully. Then again two years or so ago the initiation as a means of becoming a member of T. S. was done away with and it was decided in India to leave entrance merely to application and endorsement followed by election, the signs and passwords to be for recognition only.

If Mr. Winter should apply to you, you will initiate him in the manner above indicated. I admit that it would be advisable to have a general scheme of explanation of signs etc adopted uniformly among the Branches; and it will no doubt be accomplished.

2 vols. of Sec. Doct. complete all that will now come out and not five. Any other vol. will be additional. The 3d vol. is of practical magic and will not, I think be issued, since neither English nor American people are ready for it but might drop into Black Magic!


July 1888