Déjà vu is a French word meaning “already seen or seen before.” The term was coined by a French psychic researcher, Émile Boirac (1851–1917) in his book L’Avenir des sciences psychiques (The Future of Psychic Sciences). Déjà vu is described as an overwhelming sensation that a current moment in your life had already been experienced in the past, but not in this incarnation. Meaning, this feeling of familiarity about a certain situation was not an experience you can recall in this current life.
If you are like me, then you have also had times in your life where you experienced this feeling known as déjà vu. This sensation has happened to me many, many times in my life, to the point that even today at 41 years old as I write this, I still experience these incredibly familiar moments often.
This familiar sensation that you and I feel internally must come from somewhere, but where? How can we feel in our bones or blood that we have seen something before, or been somewhere we know we have visited in the past, when in fact we haven’t in this lifetime? These questions have been pondered upon by some of the greatest gnostics, philosophers, and researchers that the world has ever known. I believe that someday very soon, modern science will verify some of these theories that I will briefly explain below.
Some researchers erroneously believe that déjà vu is some type of mental disorder. Sigmund Freud stated that these experiences are the consequence of repressed desires or is spontaneously reminded of an unconscious fantasy. While others claim that this feeling is the result of the memory of dreams, clairvoyance or some type of psychic, or prophetic spiritual abilities. Some of the greatest scholars ever like Plato, simply call this a simple case of reincarnation. Modern experts on this topic like Dutch psychiatrist Herman Sno believed that déjà vu provided insight into the functioning of both the normal and abnormal brain, and that memories are stored in a format that is similar to that used to store holographic images.
My personal experiences with déjà vu over my lifetime would have me agree with both Plato and Herman Sno.
Plato had said that déjà vu is an actual real memory of events that took place in a past life that proves the theory of reincarnation and now modern science is validating Platos’ theory. However this type of feeling is not called déjà vu. This is called déjà vécu which is French for ‘already lived’ and also déjà visité meaning, ‘already visited.’ All these different French words to describe this gnostic sensation of familiarity are getting rather scientifically technical and confusing which I feel is unnecessary because these words all describe the same thing that is happening within our bodies.
In Platonism, it is said that when something is “learned,” it is actually just “recalled”; and that knowledge is innate with the goal of recalling memories is to get back to true knowledge. In Meno, Plato’s character (and old teacher) Socrates is challenged by Meno with what has become known as the sophistic paradox, or the paradox of knowledge:
Meno: And how are you going to search for [the nature of virtue] when you don’t know at all what it is, Socrates? Which of all the things you don’t know will you set up as target for your search? And even if you actually come across it, how will you know that it is that thing which you don’t know?
The message in this story is simple. Learning is paramount in gaining knowledge that will then help in the recalling of memories from a past life in order for you to reacquire knowledge you once had to then evolve as a soul by searching for more knowledge. All the while, as you walk your path in life and in this pursuit of knowledge, you will naturally relearn old teachings that will help you signify that you are on the right path and also easily acquire new teachings that expound on the previous lives teachings. Hence, the true evolution of the soul is occurring.
One of the world’s most respected gnostics and thinkers, Carl Jung had experienced déjà vu in the 1920’s while on his first visit to Africa. This feeling had occurred when Jung was on a train and he had seen a tallish, brownish-black figure who stood motionless leaning on a spear looking down at his train as it made a turn around a steep cliff on the way to Nairobi. He writes;
“I had the feeling that I had already experienced this moment and had always known this world.” Although this world and this man were something alien to him, he saw the whole thing as perfectly natural. He called this a recognition of what was “immemorially known.”
One of the world’s most renown reincarnation scholars and past life expert author, Dr. Ian Stevenson and other researchers agree with the theory of Plato, and have also claimed that some cases of déjá vu could be explained on the basis of reincarnation. Dr. Stevenson has written books on reincarnation where he relates several cases of déjá vu to people in his studies that were said to be reincarnated.
The experience of de ja vu should not be regarded as a sign of mental abnormality. Many clear-headed persons have had the experience. These include, among others, the novelist Charles Dickens (1877, p. 37) and the poet A. E. Housman (Graves, 1979, p. 166). Neppe (1983) has published a comprehensive review of the deja vu experience.
We have all some experience of a feeling, that comes over us occasionally, of what we are saying and doing having been said and done before, in a remote time – of our having been surrounded, dim ages ago, by the same faces, objects, and circumstances – of our knowing perfectly what will be said next, as if we suddenly remember it!
In the past it has been very difficult to replicate the déjà vu experience in clinical settings in order to properly study this subject using science. However, recently modern research is starting to give us a clue to explain what déjà vu may actually be, by recreating this sensation using both hypnosis and neurosurgery. I believe that the information we are discovering today, our ancestors had actually already known about in the past. Ancient clues told in legend and carved in stone indicate that like modern science today, are leading us researchers to our brains and also our DNA. These subjects I have written about many times before in past articles such as, Ammon’s Horn,Amon – King of Gods and Lord of Thrones and DNA Gnosis.
In my next article on this subject, I will help bring to light the modern science that I believe will someday soon prove that of this phenomenon known as déjà vu. I believe like Plato that this is really just the recalling of memories from past lives which reside within our DNA, that we then process using our minds which then creates a chemical firing in our blood and brains. This subsequently creates a vibrational intuitive sixth sense that we can actually feel on our skin or in our blood wich gives the sensation we know of today as, déjà vu.
“The soul of the world,” says Macrobius, “is nature itself” [as the soul of man is man himself], “always acting through the celestial spheres which .it moves, and which but follow the irresistible impulse it impresses on them. The heavens, the sun, great seat of generative power, the signs, the stars, and the planets act only with the activity of the soul of the Universe. From that soul, through them, come all the variations and changes of sublunary nature, of which the heavens and celestial bodies are but the secondary causes. The zodiac, with its signs, is an existence, immortal and divine, organized by the universal soul, and producing, or gathering in itself, all the varied emanations of the different powers that make up the nature of the Divinity.”
This doctrine, that gave to the heavens and the spheres living souls, each a portion of the universal soul, was of extreme antiquity. It was held by the old Sabæans. It was taught by Timæus, Plato, Speusippus, Iamblichus, Macrobius, Marcus Aurelius, and Pythagoras. When once men had assigned a soul to the Universe, containing in itself the plenitude of the animal life of particular beings, and even of the stars, they soon supposed that soul to be essentially intelligent, and the source of intelligence of all intelligent beings. Then the Universe became to them not only animated but intelligent, and of that intelligence the different parts of nature partook. Each soul was the vehicle, and, as it were, the envelope of the intelligence that attached itself to it, and could repose nowhere else. Without a soul there could be no intelligence; and as there was a universal soul, source of all souls, the universal soul was gifted with a universal intelligence, source of all particular intelligences. So the soul of the world contained in itself the intelligence of the world. All the agents of nature into which the universal soul entered, received also a portion of its intelligence, and the Universe, in its totality and in its parts, was filled with intelligences, that might be regarded as so many emanations from the sovereign and universal intelligence. Wherever the divine soul acted as a cause, there also was intelligence; and thus Heaven, the stars, the elements, and all parts of the Universe, became the seats of so many divine intelligences. Every minutest portion of the great soul became a partial intelligence, and the more it was disengaged from gross matter, the more active and intelligent it was. And all the old adorers of nature, the theologians, astrologers, and poets, and the most distinguished philosophers, supposed that the stars were so many animated and intelligent beings, or
eternal bodies, active causes of effects here below, whom a principle of life animated, and whom an intelligence directed, which was but an emanation from, and a portion of, the universal life and intelligence of the world.
The Universe itself was regarded as a supremely intelligent being. Such was the doctrine of Timæus of Locria. The soul of man was part of the intelligent soul of the Universe, and therefore itself intelligent. His opinion was that of many other philosophers. Cleanthes, a disciple of ZENO, regarded the Universe as God, Or as the unproduced and universal cause of all effects produced. He ascribed a soul and intelligence to universal nature, and to this intelligent soul, in his view, divinity belonged. From it the intelligence of man was an emanation, and shared its divinity. Chrysippus, the most subtle of the Stoics, placed in the universal reason that forms the soul and intelligence of nature, that divine force or essence of the Divinity which he assigned to the world moved by the universal soul that pervades its every part.
An interlocutor in Cicero’s work, De Natura Deorum, formally argues that the Universe is necessarily intelligent and wise, because man, an infinitely small portion of it, is so. Cicero makes the same argument in his oration for Milo. The physicists came to the same conclusion as the philosophers. They supposed that movement essentially belonged to the soul, and the direction of regular and ordered movements to the intelligence. And, as both movement and order exist in the Universe, therefore, they held, there must be in it a soul and an intelligence that role it, and are not to be distinguished from itself; because the idea of the Universe is but the aggregate of all the particular ideas of all things that exist.
The consequence is, that those who feel themselves competent and qualified to serve the people, refuse with disgust to enter into the struggle for office, where the wicked and jesuitical doctrine that all is fair in politics is an excuse for every species of low villainy; and those who seek even the highest places of the State do not rely upon the power of a magnanimous spirit, on the sympathizing impulses of a great soul, to stir and move the people to generous, noble, and heroic resolves, and to wise and manly action; but, like spaniels erect on their hind legs, with fore-paws obsequiously suppliant, fawn, flatter, and actually beg for votes. Rather than descend to this, they stand contemptuously aloof, disdainfully refusing to court the people, and acting on the maxim, that “mankind has no title to demand that we shall serve them in spite of themselves.”
* * * * * * It is lamentable to see a country split into factions, each following this or that great or brazen-fronted leader with a blind, unreasoning, unquestioning hero-worship; it is contemptible to see it divided into parties, whose sole end is the spoils of victory, and their chiefs the low, the base, the venal and the small. Such a country is in the last stages of decay, and near its end, no matter how prosperous it may seem to be. It wrangles over the volcano and the earthquake. But it is certain that no government can be conducted by the men of the people, and for the people, without a rigid adherence to those principles which our reason commends as fixed and sound. These must be the tests of parties, men, and measures. Once determined, they must be inexorable in their application, and all must either come up to the standard or declare against it. Men may betray: principles never can. Oppression is one invariable consequence of misplaced confidence in treacherous man, it is never the result of the working or application of a sound, just, well-tried principle. Compromises which bring fundamental principles into doubt, in order to unite in one party men of antagonistic creeds, are frauds, and end in ruin, the just and natural consequence of fraud. Whenever you have settled upon your theory and creed, sanction no departure from it in practice, on any ground of expediency. It is the Master’s word.
[paragraph continues] Yield it up neither to flattery nor force! Let no defeat or persecution rob you of it! Believe that he who once blundered in statesmanship will blunder again; that such blunders are as fatal as crimes; and that political near-sightedness does not improve by age. There are always more impostors than seers among public men, more false prophets than true ones, more prophets of Baal than of Jehovah; and Jerusalem is always in danger from the Assyrians.
Sallust said that after a State has been corrupted by luxury and idleness, it may by its mere greatness bear up under the burden of its vices. But even while he wrote, Rome, of which he spoke, had played out her masquerade of freedom. Other causes than luxury and sloth destroy Republics. If small, their larger neighbors extinguish them by absorption. If of great extent, the cohesive force is too feeble to hold them together, and they fall to pieces by their own weight. The paltry ambition of small men disintegrates them. The want of wisdom in their councils creates exasperating issues. Usurpation of power plays its part, incapacity seconds corruption, the storm rises, and the fragments of the incoherent raft strew the sandy shores, reading to mankind another lesson for it to disregard.
* * * * * * The Forty-seventh Proposition is older than Pythagoras. It is this: “In every right-angled triangle, the sum of the squares of the base and perpendicular is equal to the square of the hypothenuse.”
The square of a number is the product of that number, multi-plied by itself. Thus, 4 is the square of 2, and 9 of 3.
Joan. — Advance our waving colors on the walls! — King Henry VI. Act IV.
“My life has been devoted to the study of man, his destiny and his happiness.” — J. R.
BUCHANAN, M.D., Outlines of Lectures on Anthropology. IT is nineteen centuries since, as we are told, the night of Heathenism and Paganism was first dispelled by the divine light of Christianity; and two-and-a-half centuries since the bright lamp of Modern Science began to shine on the darkness of the ignorance of the ages. Within these respective epochs, we are required to believe, the true moral and intellectual progress of the race has occurred. The ancient philosophers were well enough for their respective generations, but they were illiterate as compared with modern men of science. The ethics of Paganism perhaps met the wants of the uncultivated people of antiquity, but not until the advent of the luminous “Star of Bethlehem,” was the true road to moral perfection and the way to salvation made plain. Of old, brutishness was the rule, virtue and spirituality the exception. Now, the dullest may read the will of God in His revealed word; men have every incentive to be good, and are constantly becoming better.
This is the assumption; what are the facts? On the one hand an unspiritual, dogmatic, too often debauched clergy; a host of sects, and three warring great religions; discord instead of union, dogmas without proofs, sensation-loving preachers, and wealth and pleasure-seeking parishioners’ hypocrisy and bigotry, begotten by the tyrannical exigencies of respectability, the rule of the day, sincerity and real piety exceptional. On the other hand, scientific hypotheses built on sand; no accord upon a single question; rancorous quarrels and jealousy; a general drift into materialism. A death-grapple of Science with Theology for infallibility — “a conflict of ages.”
At Rome, the self-styled seat of Christianity, the putative successor to the chair of Peter is undermining social order with his invisible but omnipresent net-work of bigoted agents, and incites them to revolutionize Europe for his temporal as well as spiritual supremacy. We see him who calls himself the “Vicar of Christ,” fraternizing with the anti-Christian Moslem against another Christian nation, publicly invoking the blessing of God upon the arms of those who have for centuries withstood, with
fire and sword, the pretensions of his Christ to Godhood! At Berlin — one of the great seats of learning — professors of modern exact sciences, turning their backs on the boasted results of enlightenment of the post-Galileonian period, are quietly snuffing out the candle of the great Florentine; seeking, in short, to prove the heliocentric system, and even the earth’s rotation, but the dreams of deluded scientists, Newton a visionary, and all past and present astronomers but clever calculators of unverifiable problems.
Between these two conflicting Titans — Science and Theology — is a bewildered public, fast losing all belief in man’s personal immortality, in a deity of any kind, and rapidly descending to the level of a mere animal existence. Such is the picture of the hour, illumined by the bright noonday sun of this Christian and scientific era!
Would it be strict justice to condemn to critical lapidation the most humble and modest of authors for entirely rejecting the authority of both these combatants? Are we not bound rather to take as the true aphorism of this century, the declaration of Horace Greeley: “I accept unreservedly the views of no man, living or dead”? Such, at all events, will be our motto, and we mean that principle to be our constant guide throughout this work.
Among the many phenomenal outgrowths of our century, the strange creed of the so-called Spiritualists has arisen amid the tottering ruins of self-styled revealed religions and materialistic philosophies; and yet it alone offers a possible last refuge of compromise between the two. That this unexpected ghost of pre-Christian days finds poor welcome from our sober and positive century, is not surprising. Times have strangely changed; and it is but recently that a well-known Brooklyn preacher pointedly remarked in a sermon, that could Jesus come back and behave in the streets of New York, as he did in those of Jerusalem, he would find himself confined in the prison of the Tombs. What sort of welcome, then, could Spiritualism ever expect? True enough, the weird stranger seems neither attractive nor promising at first sight. Shapeless and uncouth, like an infant attended by seven nurses, it is coming out of its teens lame and mutilated. The name of its enemies is legion; its friends and protectors are a handful. But what of that? When was ever truth accepted a priori? Because the champions of Spiritualism have in their fanaticism magnified its qualities, and remained blind to its imperfections, that gives no excuse to doubt its reality. A forgery is impossible when we have no model to forge after. The fanaticism of Spiritualists is itself
“Thou can’st not call that madness of which thou art proved to know nothing.” — TERTULLIAN: Apology.
“This is not a matter of to-day,Or yesterday, but hath been from all times;And none hath told us whence it came or how!” — SOPHOCLES.
“Belief in the supernatural is a fact natural, primitive, universal, and constant in the life and history of the human race. Unbelief in the supernatural begets materialism; materialism, sensuality; sensuality, social convulsions, amid whose storms man again learns to believe and pray.” — GUIEOT.
“If any one think these things incredible, let him keep his opinions to himself, and not contradict those who, by such events, are incited to the study of virtue.” — JOSEPHUS. FROM the Platonic and Pythagorean views of matter and force, we will now turn to the kabalistic philosophy of the origin of man, and compare it with the theory of natural selection enunciated by Darwin and Wallace. It may be that we shall find as much reason to credit the ancients with originality in this direction as in that which we have been considering. To our mind, no stronger proof of the theory of cyclical progression need be required than the comparative enlightenment of former ages and that of the Patristic Church, as regards the form of the earth, and the movements of the planetary system. Even were other evidence wanting, the ignorance of Augustine and Lactantius, misleading the whole of Christendom upon these questions until the period of Galileo, would mark the eclipses through which human knowledge passes from age to age.
The “coats of skin,” mentioned in the third chapter of Genesis as given to Adam and Eve, are explained by certain ancient philosophers to mean the fleshy bodies with which, in the progress of the cycles, the progenitors of the race became clothed. They maintained that the god-like physical form became grosser and grosser, until the bottom of what may be termed the last spiritual cycle was reached, and mankind entered upon the ascending arc of the first human cycle. Then began an uninterrupted series of cycles or yugas; the precise number of years of which each of them consisted remaining an inviolable mystery within the precincts of the sanctuaries and disclosed only to the initiates. As soon as humanity entered upon a new one, the stone age, with which the preceding cycle had closed, began to gradually merge into the following and next higher age. With each successive age, or epoch, men grew more refined, until
the acme of perfection possible in that particular cycle had been reached. Then the receding wave of time carried back with it the vestiges of human, social, and intellectual progress. Cycle succeeded cycle, by imperceptible transitions; highly-civilized flourishing nations, waxed in power, attained the climax of development, waned, and became extinct; and mankind, when the end of the lower cyclic arc was reached, was replunged into barbarism as at the start. Kingdoms have crumbled and nation succeeded nation from the beginning until our day, the races alternately mounting to the highest and descending to the lowest points of development. Draper observes that there is no reason to suppose that any one cycle applied to the whole human race. On the contrary, while man in one portion of the planet was in a condition of retrogression, in another he might be progressing in enlightenment and civilization.
How analogous this theory is to the law of planetary motion, which causes the individual orbs to rotate on their axes; the several systems to move around their respective suns; and the whole stellar host to follow a common path around a common centre! Life and death, light and darkness, day and night on the planet, as it turns about its axis and traverses the zodiacal circle representing the lesser and the greater cycles. Remember the Hermetic axiom: — “As above, so below; as in heaven, so on earth.
” Mr. Alfred R. Wallace argues with sound logic, that the development of man has been more marked in his mental organization than in his external form. Man, he conceives to differ from the animal, by being able to undergo great changes of conditions and of his entire environment, without very marked alterations in bodily form and structure. The changes of climate he meets with a corresponding alteration in his clothing, shelter, weapons, and implements of husbandry. His body may become less hairy, more erect, and of a different color and proportions; “the head and face is immediately connected with the organ of the mind, and as being the medium, expressing the most refined motions of his nature,” alone change with the development of his intellect. There was a time when “he had not yet acquired that wonderfully-developed brain, the organ of the mind, which now, even in his lowest examples, raises him far above the highest brutes, at a period when he had the form, but hardly the nature of man, when he neither possessed human speech nor sympathetic and moral feelings.” Further, Mr. Wallace says that “Man may have been — indeed, I believe must have been, once a homo-
Concerning the theurgic or magic sense in which the Egyptian priests exhibited in the Bembine Table of Isis the philosophy of sacrifice, rites, and ceremonies by a system of occult symbols, Athanasius Kircher writes: “The early priests believed that a great spiritual power was invoked by correct and unabridged sacrificial ceremonies. If one feature were lacking, the whole was vitiated, says Iamblichus. Hence they were most careful in all details, for they considered it absolutely essential for the entire chain of logical connections to be exactly according to ritual. Certainly for no other reason did they prepare and prescribe for future use the manuals, as it were, for conducting the rites. They learned, too, what the first hieromancers–possessed, as it were, by a divine fury–devised as a system of symbolism for exhibiting their mysteries. These they placed in this Tablet of Isis, before the eyes of those admitted to the sanctum sanctorum in order to teach the nature of the Gods and the prescribed forms of sacrifice. Since each of the orders of Gods had its own peculiar symbols, gestures, costumes, and ornaments, they thought it necessary to observe these in the whole apparatus of worship, as nothing was more efficacious in drawing the benign attention of the deities and genii. * * * Thus their temples, remote from the usual haunts of men, contained representations of nearly every form in nature. First, in the pavement, they symbolized the physical economy of the world, using minerals, stones and other things suitable for ornaments, including little streams of water. The walls showed the starry world, and the done the world of genii. In the center was the altar, to suggest the emanations of the Supreme Mind from its center. Thus the entire interior constituted a picture of the Universe of Worlds. The priests in making sacrifices wore raiment adorned with figures similar to those attributed to the Gods. Their bodies were partially bare like those of the deities, and they themselves were divested of all material cares and practices the strictest chastity. * * * Their heads were veiled to indicate their charge of earthly things. Their heads and bodies were shaved, for they regarded hair as a useless excrescence. Upon the head they bore the same insignia as those attributed to the Gods. Thus arrayed, they regarded themselves to be transformed into that intelligence with which they constantly desired to be identified. For example, in order to call down to the world the soul and spirit of the Universe, they stood before the image shown in the center of our Tablet, wearing the same symbols as that figure and its attendants, and offered sacrifices. By these and the accompanying singing of hymns they believed that they infallibly drew the God’s attention to their prayer. And so they did in regard to other regions of the Tablet, believing of necessity the proper ritual properly carried out would evoke the deity desired. That this was the origin of the science of oracles is apparent. As a touched chord produces a harmony of sound, likewise the adjoining chords respond though not touched. Similarly the idea they expressed by their concurrent acts while adoring the God came into accord with basic Idea and, by an intellectual union, it was returned to them deiformed, and they thus obtained the Idea of Ideas. Hence there sprang up in their souls, they thought, the gift of prophecy and divination, and they believed they could foretell future events, impending evils, etc. For as in the Supreme Mind everything is simultaneous and spaceless, the future is therefore present in that Mind; and they thought that while the human mind was absorbed in the Supreme by contemplation, by that union they were enabled to know all the future. Nearly all that is represented in our Tablet consists of amulets which, by analogy above described, would inspire them, under the described conditions, with the virtues of the Supreme Power and enable them to receive good and avert evil. They also believed they could in this magical manner effect cures of diseases; that genii could be induced to appear to them during sleep and cure or teach them to cure the sick. In this belief they consulted the Gods about all sort of doubts and difficulties, while adorned with the simulacra of the mystic rite and intently contemplating the Divine Ideas; and while so enraptured they believed the God by some sign, nod or gesture communicated with them, whether asleep or awake, concerning the truth or falsity of the matter in point.” (See Œdipus Ægyptiacus.)
The Bembine Table of Isis
A MANUSCRIPT by Thomas Taylor contains the following remarkable paragraph:
THE oldest, the most profound, the most universal of all symbols is the human body. The Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, and Hindus considered a philosophical analysis of man’s triune nature to be an indispensable part of ethical and religious training. The Mysteries of every nation taught that the laws, elements, and powers of the universe were epitomized in the human constitution; that everything which existed outside of man had its analogue within man. The universe, being immeasurable in its immensity and inconceivable in its profundity, was beyond mortal estimation. Even the gods themselves could comprehend but a part of the inaccessible glory which was their source. When temporarily permeated with divine enthusiasm, man may transcend for a brief moment the limitations of his own personality and behold in part that celestial effulgence in which all creation is bathed. But even in his periods of greatest illumination man is incapable of imprinting upon the substance of his rational soul a perfect image of the multiform expression of celestial activity.
Recognizing the futility of attempting to cope intellectually with that which transcends the comprehension of the rational faculties, the early philosophers turned their attention from the inconceivable Divinity to man himself, with in the narrow confines of whose nature they found manifested all the mysteries of the external spheres. As the natural outgrowth of this practice there was fabricated a secret theological system in which God was considered as the Grand Man and, conversely, man as the little god. Continuing this analogy, the universe was regarded as a man and, conversely, man as a miniature universe. The greater universe was termed the Macrocosm–the Great World or Body–and the Divine Life or spiritual entity controlling its functions was called the Macroprosophus. Man’s body, or the individual human universe, was termed the Microcosm, and the Divine Life or spiritual entity controlling its functions was called the Microprosophus. The pagan Mysteries were primarily concerned with instructing neophytes in the true relationship existing between the Macrocosm and the Microcosm–in other words, between God and man. Accordingly, the key to these analogies between the organs and functions of the Microcosmic man and those of the Macrocosmic Man constituted the most prized possession of the early initiates.
In Isis Unveiled, H. P. Blavatsky summarizes the pagan concept of man as follows: “Man is a little world–a microcosm inside the great universe. Like a fetus, he is suspended, by all his three spirits, in the matrix of the macrocosmos; and while his terrestrial body is in constant sympathy with its parent earth, his astral soul lives in unison with the sidereal anima mundi. He is in it, as it is in him, for the world-pervading element fills all space, and is space itself, only shoreless and infinite. As to his third spirit, the divine, what is it but an infinitesimal ray, one of the countless radiations proceeding directly from the Highest Cause–the Spiritual Light of the World? This is the trinity of organic and inorganic nature–the spiritual and the physical, which are three in one, and of which Proclus says that ‘The first monad is the Eternal God; the second, eternity; the third, the paradigm, or pattern of the universe;’ the three constituting the Intelligible Triad.”
Long before the introduction of idolatry into religion, the early priests caused the statue of a man to be placed in the sanctuary of the temple. This human figure symbolized the Divine Power in all its intricate manifestations. Thus the priests of antiquity accepted man as their textbook, and through the study of him learned to understand the greater and more abstruse mysteries of the celestial scheme of which they were a part. It is not improbable that this mysterious figure standing over the primitive altars was made in the nature of a manikin and, like certain emblematic hands in the Mystery schools, was covered with either carved or painted hieroglyphs. The statue may have opened, thus showing the relative positions of the organs, bones, muscles, nerves, and other parts. After ages of research, the manikin became a mass of intricate hieroglyphs and symbolic figures. Every part had its secret meaning. The measurements formed a basic standard by means of which it was possible to measure all parts of cosmos. It was a glorious composite emblem of all the knowledge possessed by the sages and hierophants.
FOR the most comprehensive and lucid exposition of occult pneumatology (the branch of philosophy dealing with spiritual substances) extant, mankind is indebted to Philippus Aureolus Paracelsus (Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim), prince of alchemists and Hermetic philosophers and true possessor of the Royal Secret (the Philosopher’s Stone and the Elixir of Life). Paracelsus believed that each of the four primary elements known to the ancients (earth, fire, air, and water) consisted of a subtle, vaporous principle and a gross corporeal substance.
Air is, therefore, twofold in nature-tangible atmosphere and an intangible, volatile substratum which may be termed spiritual air. Fire is visible and invisible, discernible and indiscernible–a spiritual, ethereal flame manifesting through a material, substantial flame. Carrying the analogy further, water consists of a dense fluid and a potential essence of a fluidic nature. Earth has likewise two essential parts–the lower being fixed, terreous, immobile; the higher, rarefied, mobile, and virtual. The general term elements has been applied to the lower, or physical, phases of these four primary principles, and the name elemental essences to their corresponding invisible, spiritual constitutions. Minerals, plants, animals, and men live in a world composed of the gross side of these four elements, and from various combinations of them construct their living organisms.
Henry Drummond, in Natural Law in the Spiritual World, describes this process as follows: “If we analyse this material point at which all life starts, we shall find it to consist of a clear structureless, jelly-like substance resembling albumen or white of egg. It is made of Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen. Its name is protoplasm. And it is not only the structural unit with which all living bodies start in life, but with which they are subsequently built up. ‘Protoplasm,’ says Huxley, ‘simple or nucleated, is the formal basis of all life. It is the clay of the Potter.'”
The water element of the ancient philosophers has been metamorphosed into the hydrogen of modern science; the air has become oxygen; the fire, nitrogen; the earth, carbon.
Just as visible Nature is populated by an infinite number of living creatures, so, according to Paracelsus, the invisible, spiritual counterpart of visible Nature (composed of the tenuous principles of the visible elements) is inhabited by a host of peculiar beings, to whom he has given the name elementals, and which have later been termed the Nature spirits. Paracelsus divided these people of the elements into four distinct groups, which he called gnomes, undines, sylphs, and salamanders. He taught that they were really living entities, many resembling human beings in shape, and inhabiting worlds of their own, unknown to man because his undeveloped senses were incapable of functioning beyond the limitations of the grosser elements.
The civilizations of Greece, Rome, Egypt, China, and India believed implicitly in satyrs, sprites, and goblins. They peopled the sea with mermaids, the rivers and fountains with nymphs, the air with fairies, the fire with Lares and Penates, and the earth with fauns, dryads, and hamadryads. These Nature spirits were held in the highest esteem, and propitiatory offerings were made to them. Occasionally, as the result of atmospheric conditions or the peculiar sensitiveness of the devotee, they became visible. Many authors wrote concerning them in terms which signify that they had actually beheld these inhabitants of Nature’s finer realms. A number of authorities are of the opinion that many of the gods worshiped by the pagans were elementals, for some of these invisibles were believed to be of commanding stature and magnificent deportment.
The Greeks gave the name dæmon to some of these elementals, especially those of the higher orders, and worshiped them. Probably the most famous of these dæmons is the mysterious spirit which instructed Socrates, and of whom that great philosopher spoke in the highest terms. Those who have devoted much study to the invisible constitution of man realize that it is quite probable the dæmon of Socrates and the angel of Jakob Böhme were in reality not elementals, but the overshadowing divine natures of these philosophers themselves. In his notes to Apuleius on the God of Socrates, Thomas Taylor says:
“As the dæmon of Socrates, therefore, was doubtless one of the highest order, as may be inferred from the intellectual superiority of Socrates to most other men, Apuleius is justified in calling this dæmon a God. And that the dæmon of Socrates indeed was divine, is evident from the testimony of Socrates himself in the First Alcibiades: for in the course of that dialogue he clearly says, ‘I have long been of the opinion that the God did not as yet direct me to hold any conversation with you.’ And in the Apology he most unequivocally evinces that this dæmon is allotted a divine transcendency, considered as ranking in the order of dæmons.”