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 i 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 i 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 of 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:
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.
Some messages have been written and precipitated in Hindu 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 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 or 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 mesmerized 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 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 today 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 rules 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 o 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.
The outer senses cannot give a safe final judgment upon a precipitated message, they can only settle such physical questions as how it came, through whom, the credibility of the person, and whether any deception on the objective plane has been practiced. The inner senses, including the great combining faculty or power of intuition, are the final judges. The outer have to do solely with the phenomenal part, the inner deal with the causes and the real actors and powers.
As precipitations have been phenomenally made through "controlled" mediums who are themselves ignorant of the laws and forces at work, these are but strange phenomena proving the existence of a power in Nature either related to human mind or wholly unrelated to it. These are not the exercise of Occult Arts, but simply the operation of natural law, however recondite and obscure. They are like the burning of a flame, the falling of water, or the rush of the lightning, whereas when the Adept causes a flame to appear where there is no wick, or a sound to come where there is no vibrating visible surface, occult art is using the same laws and forces which the medium are automatically and unconsciously operated by subtle parts of the medium's nature and "nature spirits," as well as what we know as Kama-lokic human entities, in combination. And here the outer senses deal solely with the outer phenomena, being unable to touch in the least on the unseen workings behind. So they can only decide whether a physical fraud has been practiced; they can note the day, the hour, the surrounding circumstances, but no more.
But if one hitherto supposed to be in communication with the White Adepts comes to us and says "Here is a message from one of Those," then if we have not independent power in ourselves of deciding the question on inner knowledge, the next step is either to believe the report or disbelieve it. In the case of H.P.B., in whose presence and through whom messages were said to come from the White Adepts, it was all the time, at the final analysis, a matter of faith in those who confessedly had and have no independent personal power to know by the use of their own inner senses. But there intuition, one of the inner powers, decided for the genuineness of the report and the authentication of the messages. She herself put it tersely in the was: "If you think no Mahatma wrote the theories I have given of man and nature and if you do not believe my report, then you have to conclude that I did it all." The latter conclusion would lead to the position that her acts, phenomena, and writings put her in the position usually accorded by us to a Mahatma. As to the letters, messages of a personal nature, each one had and has to decide for himself whether or not to follow the advice given.
Another class of cases is where a message is found in a closed letter, on the margin or elsewhere on the sheet. The outer senses decide whether the writer of the letter inserted the supposed message or had some one else do it, and that must be decided on what is known of the character of the person. If you decide that the correspondent did not write it nor have anyone else do so, but that it was injected phenomenally, then the inner senses must be used. If they are untrained, certainly the matter becomes one of faith entirely, unless intuition is strong enough to decide correctly that a wise as well as powerful person caused the writing to appear there. Many such messages have been received in the history of the T.S. Some came in one way, some in another; one might be in a letter from a member of the Society, another in a letter from an outsider wholly ignorant of these matters. In every case, unless the recipient had independent powers developed within, no judgment on mere outer phenomena would be safe.
It is very difficult to find cases such as the above, because first, they are extremely rare, and second, the persons involved do no wish to relate them, since the matter transmitted had a purely personal bearing. A fancy may exist that in America or England or London such messages, generally considered bogus by enemies and outsiders, are being constantly sent and received, and that persons in various quarters are influenced to this or that course of action by them, but this is pure fancy, without basis in fact so far as the knowledge and experience of the writer extend. While precipitations phenomenally by the White Adepts in communicating with those thus favored. They had disciples with whom communication is already established and carried on, most generally through the inner ear and eye, but sometimes through the prosaic mail. In these cases no one else is involved and no one else has the right to put questions. The disciple reserves his communications for the guidance of his own action, unless he or she is directed to tell another. To spread broad-cast a mass of written communications among those who are willing to accept them without knowing how to judge would be the sheerest folly, only productive of superstition and blind credulity. And this digression will be excused, it being necessary because the subject of precipitation as a fact has been brought up very prominently. I may further digress to say that no amount of precipitations, however clear of doubt and fraud as to time, place, and outward method, would have the slightest effect on my mind or action unless my own intuition and inner senses confirmed them and showed them to be from a source which should call for my attention and concurrence.
How, then is this precipitation done, and what is the process? This question brings up the whole of the philosophy offered in the Secret Doctrine. For if the postulate of the metaphysical character of the Cosmos is denied, if the supreme power of the disciplined mind is not admitted, if the actual existence of an inner and real world is negatived, if the necessity and power of the image-making faculty are disallowed, then such precipitation is an impossibility, always was, and always will be. Power over mind, matter, space, and time depends on several things and positions. Needed for this are: Imagination raised to its highest limit, desire combined with will that wavers not, and a knowledge of the occult chemistry of Nature. All must be present or there will be no result.
Imagination is the power to make in the ether an image. This faculty is limited by any want of the training of the mind and increased by good mental development. In ordinary persons imagination is only a vain and fleeting fancy which makes but a small impression comparatively in the ether. This power, when well-trained, makes a matrix in ether wherein each line, word, letter, sentence, color, or other mark is firmly and definitely made. Will, well-trained, must then be used to draw from the ether the matter to be deposited, and then, according to the laws of such an operation, the depositing matter collects in masses within the limits of the matrix and becomes from its accumulation visible on the surface selected. The will, still at work, has then to cut off the mass of matter from its attraction to that from whence it came. This is the whole operation, and who then is the wiser? Those learned in the schools laugh, and well they may, for there is not in science anything to correspond, and many of the positions laid down are contrary to several received opinions. But in Nature there are vast numbers of natural effects produced by ways wholly unknown to science, and Nature does not mind the laughter, nor should any disciple.
But how is it possible to inject such a precipitation into a closed letter? The ether is all-pervading, and the envelope or any other material bar is no bar to it. In it is carried the matter to be deposited, and as the whole operation is done on the other side of visible nature up to the actual appearance of the deposit, physical obstructions do not make the slightest difference.
It is necessary to return for a moment to the case of precipitations through mediums. Here the matrix needs to trained imagination to make it nor trained will to hold it. In the astral light the impressions are cut and remain immovable; these are used by the elementals and other forces at work, and no disturbing will of sitter being able to interfere-simply from blind ignorance-there is no disturbance of the automatic unconscious work. In the sitter's aura are thousands of impressions which remain unmoved because all attention has been long ago withdrawn. And the older or simpler they are the more firmly do they exist. These constitute also a matrix through which the nature spirits work.
I can properly finish this with the incident mentioned at the beginning. It was with H.P.B. I was sitting in her room beside her, the distance between us being some four feet. In my hand I held a book she never had had in her possession and that I had just taken from the mail. It was clear of all marks, its title page was fresh and clean, no one had touched it since it left the bookseller. I examined its pages and began to read. In about five minutes a very powerful current of what felt like electricity ran up and down my side on the skein, and I looked up at her. She was looking at me and said: "What do you read?"I had forgotten the title, as it was one I had never seen before, and so I turned back to the title page. There at the top on the margin where it had not been before was a sentence of two lines in writing in ink, and the ink was wet, and the writing was that of H.P.B. who sat before me. She had not touched the book, but by her knowledge of occult law, occult chemistry, and occult will, she had projected out of the ink-bottle before her the ink to make the sentence, and of course it was in her own handwriting, as that was the easiest way to do it. Hence my own physical system was used to do the work, and the instant of its doing was when I felt the shock on the skin. This is to be explained in the way I have outlined, or it is to be all brushed aside as a lie or as a delusion of mine. But those last I can not accept, for I know to the contrary, and further I know that the advice, for such it was, in that sentence was good. I followed it and the result was good. Several other times also have I seen her precipitate on different surfaces, and she always said it was not proof of anything whatever save the power to do the thing, admitting that black and white magicians could do the same thing, and saying that the only safety for any one in the range of such forces was to be pure in motive, in thought, and in act.