Theosophical Readings on Viruses, Epidemics,
and the Cycles Affecting Both
Before thou canst approach the foremost gate thou hast to learn to part thy body from thy mind, to dissipate the shadow, and to live in the eternal. For this, thou hast to live and breathe in all, as all that thou perceivest breathes in thee; to feel thyself abiding in all things, all things in Self.
Thou shalt not let thy senses make a playground of thy mind.
Thou shalt not separate thy being from Being, and the rest, but merge the Ocean in the drop, the drop within the Ocean.
So shalt thou be in full accord with all that lives; bear love to men as though they were thy brother-pupils, disciples of one Teacher, the sons of one sweet mother.
Of teachers there are many; the Master-Soul is one Alaya, the Universal Soul. Live in that Master as Its ray in thee. Live in thy fellows as they live in IT.
The Voice of the Silence
This webpage is intended to acquaint the reader with some of the theosophical teachings that are relevant to a broader understanding of the nature of viruses and epidemics (of all sorts), and the cycles that affect or govern them. It is not meant to reproduce the current state of medical and scientific knowledge about viruses and their spread, as that information is in abundant supply publicly. It is, however, meant to help the serious student of Theosophy to gain a wider and deeper perspective on the current worldwide health crisis, and its origins and meanings.
Preliminary to reading the following selections, the reader should place them in their proper historical perspective, as the knowledge of the entities we call "viruses" as objects of medical investigation actually only began about the time or after the bulk of these articles - mostly from the 19th Century - were written. The scientific discovery of the first virus, Tobacco mosaic virus, dates from 1892, followed by the first discovery of a human virus (yellow fever) in 1901, so the comments in the several selections below should be understood as pre-dating these discoveries. However, the import of the selections does not depend upon the state of the contemporaneous medical knowledge, as they deal more with the inner side of the phenomena of viruses and their epidemic spread. Further, the selections below do not treat of the subjects in a systematic fashion; some of the selections come from articles that deal with related topics but were not written to inform the theosophical community on viruses per se, as such a field of study did not then exist as it does now. But each selection contains important ideas on the subject as a whole, which the student will easily discern as essential in trying to put together a body of knowledge on this subject based on ancient wisdom.
The theosophical teachings on these subjects are by no means in conflict with scientific knowledge, but are complementary to it, though not constrained by any of the materialistic assumptions of science. In fact, Theosophy teaches that many of these assumptions deny fundamental truths taught by the greatest sages of antiquity and of the present day. Scientific materialism, for example, denies the existence of an immortal, self-conscious soul in human nature and of what Emerson called "the Over-Soul," a universal principle of beneficent spiritual intelligence, unifying and operating throughout all the kingdoms of nature. Theosophy also teaches what some leading scientists have intuited: the primacy of consciousness as a fundamental causal, creative and therefore karmic agent. It is human thought and its moral or immoral, altruistic or self-seeking, motivation, along with the presence or absence of real spiritual knowledge and self-awareness, which lies at the root cause in the formation of diseases. Collective humanity has created these destructive entities. We have participated in countless but traceable causal cycles, large and small, and consequently, we collectively experience the karmic effects governed by laws of distribution. According to some epidemiologists, since the early 1980's we have entered a modern "era of plagues," a history-changing period of zoonotic, highly infectious diseases brought on by an unprecedented level of industrialization, commodification, mis-use and decimation of animal species for human profit and consumption. If the viral epidemics and pandemics that have been occurring with increased frequency and intensity in the last 30 years (such as Avion Flu, AIDS, Zika, Ebola, SARS, and now Covid-19) have taught us anything, it is that the entire human race and the other species we share the planet with are inter-connected in ways we ordinarily do not consider and foresee, and that the actions of one affects the lives of all.
The abuse of any species or any resource will affect the lives of all species. The apparent gap between cause and effect is due to our myopic captivity to a linear sense of time and a merely physical sense of space. We do not fully see the interconnectedness and radical interdependence and thereby minimize our contribution. We do not connect for example, our own over-consumption of animal protein with the mowing down of vast areas of the Amazon rain forests for cattle grazing, with the cavalier abuse of animals in enormous factory farms, nor with the shopkeeper in Wuhan selling bats and pangolins as gourmet delicacies. In truth, each of us bears some level of responsibility for the rise of such maladies, their effects upon our fellowmen and upon nature. Their ultimate resolution requires a radical and fundamental shift in our understanding, a moral awakening and reform that is more spiritual and philosophical in nature, rather than medical or political. As crucial and pressing as the latter are, it will not be until human beings understand that basing one's thoughts, feelings and actions upon high ethical ideals in line with the fact of Universal Brotherhood that we will eventually rid ourselves of scourges and threats such as those presently afflicting our Race.
Editor, Theosophy Trust
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- 1. The Last Song of the Swan at https://theosophytrust.org/461-the-last-song-of-the-swan
Apropos of Influenza – miscalled the "Russian," but which seems to be rather the scape-goat, while it lasts, for the sins of omission and commission of the medical faculty and its fashionable physicians – what is it? Medical authorities have now and then ventured a few words sounding very learned, but telling us very little about its true nature. They seem to have picked up now and then a clue of pathological thread pointing rather vaguely, if at all, to its being due to bacteriological causes; but they are as far off a solution of the mystery as ever. The practical lessons resulting from so many and varied cases have been many, but the deductions therefrom do not seem to have been numerous or satisfactory.
What is in reality that unknown monster, which seems to travel with the rapidity of some sensational news started with the object of dishonouring a fellow creature; which is almost ubiquitous; and which shows such strange discrimination in the selection of its victims? Why does it attack the rich and the powerful far more in proportion than it does the poor and the insignificant? Is it indeed only "an agile microbe" as Dr. Symes Thomson would make us think? And is it quite true that the influential Bacillus (no pun meant) has just been apprehended at Vienna by Drs. Jolles and Weichselbaum – or is it but a snare and a delusion like so many other things? Who knoweth? Still the face of our unwelcome guest – the so-called "Russian Influenza" is veiled to this day, though its body is heavy to many, especially to the old and the weak, and almost invariably fatal to invalids. A great medical authority on epidemics, Dr. Zedekauer, has just asserted that that disease has ever been the precursor of cholera – at St. Petersburg, at any rate. This is, to say the least, a very strange statement. That which is now called "influenza," was known before as the grippe, and the latter was known in Europe as an epidemic, centuries before the cholera made its first appearance in so-called civilized lands. The biography and history of Influenza, alias "grippe," may prove interesting to some readers. This is what we gather from authoritative sources.
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- 2. Does Vaccination Prevent Smallpox? at https://theosophytrust.org/401-does-vaccination-prevent-smallpox
The November Journal of Science (London) contains an interesting review of Dr. Parkin's new work "Epidemiology, or the Remote Causes of Epidemic Diseases in the Animal and Vegetable Creation," which is well worth reading. Dr. Parkin's theory is that "there occur certain 'pestilential epochs,' during which the world is at frequent intervals devastated by epidemics which travel in a determinate direction from Central or Eastern Asia to the west of Europe and even to America; that during such epochs all diseases, even those not considered as communicable from one person to another, increase in frequency and violence; that these epochs are further marked by Epizoötics and by 'blights' or widespread diseases in the vegetable world, and are attended by a general intensification of earthquakes, storms, floods, droughts, fogs, seasons of abnormal heat or cold, and other convulsions of inorganic nature. Such an epoch is generally ushered in by the appearance of new diseases, or the reappearance of maladies that had become obsolete." The last great pestilential term, Dr. Parkin thinks, began about the seventh century, and the fatal wave or current rolled westward without check to the beginning of the eighteenth century. During this time a succession of epidemics raged, among them the fearful plague or Black Death. In 1803 an epidemic of yellow fever at Malaga carried off 36,000 persons. The plague visiting London in 1665 destroyed, between the months of June and December, 20,000 persons, or one-third of the then whole population. According to Sydenham it had invaded England every thirty or forty years. In 1770 it was at Marseilles, in 1771 and 1772 at Moscow, in 1815-16 in the Neapolitan dominions. But despite its frequent challenges to medical science the best authorities have confessed that of its treatment little is known (see Am. Cyclo. XIII, 369). Nor, in fact, is anything definite known as to the causes of epidemics in general. The author of the medical articles in the Cyclopedia just named prophetically (A.D.1859) says: "The progressive sciences of meteorology and physical geography will probably soon throw additional light upon these difficult questions." Dr. Parkin's new work comes almost as a fulfilment of this prophecy. He seems to have conclusively disposed of two pet popular theories, that of the sanitary reformers that dirt is the primal cause of epidemics, and the notion that they are propagated by contagion. Such is also the opinion of the reviewer in the Journal of Science, who admits that the historical facts mentioned by Dr. Parkin "are decidedly opposed to both." As examples he cites the facts that "the cholera has been known to travel steadily for hundreds of miles in the teeth of a strong monsoon. It often works up a river, showing that it is not occasioned by infectious matter draining into the current." And he adds significantly, "alike in epidemics of plague, cholera, and yellow-fever, it has been found that classes of people who from occupation or habit were most exposed to the air suffered most, whilst those who kept themselves shut up escaped. How ill this agrees with the teachings of the sanitary reformers!"
But we have not referred to this subject merely to show the helplessness of Western scientists in face of one of these mysterious wavesof death that flow around the globe at intervals.
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- 3. Theosophy and Epidemics at https://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/books/wqj-all/j-theos-epidem.htm
William Q. Judge of Brooklyn Tells of the Microbe Theory from The Brooklyn Eagle 1892.
At the meeting of the Aryan Theosophical Society in New York yesterday William Q. Judge, the president, spoke on the subject of epidemics. He said:
"The United States is now face to face with a disease which threatens to become epidemic if not prevented from entering the land. Cholera has been here once before to devastate and may get in again. Existing in perpetuity in India it travels over the globe by way of Mohammedan pilgrimages to Mecca, from thence to Russia and then through Europe here. It now skulks in our bay and is perhaps about to be brought into our country through other points. This is a physical epidemic, very important for the time but not so important in the eyes of the theosophist as other epidemics which can develop in the mental and moral organization of man.
Cholera, or yellow fever, or grippe, are peculiar diseases which terrify by their sudden action, but which are really physical and preventable, often curable. Grippe and cholera seem often to flash up suddenly at places very different from their first appearance, leading some to suppose there is a mystery which is not physical in it all. But when we consider that some snake bites in the East act throughout the whole body in a few seconds, and others produce death on the instant, we see that the mystery lies in the ignorance about the disease. Late experiments with cobra and other snake poison have shown that the poison destroys the cells of the blood with inconceivable rapidity, the corpuscles appearing to send the infection along on the instant. In a similar manner, bacteriologists have proved how the microbes of different kinds increase by the million with amazing speed.
No theosophist should deny that science is right in saying that microbes produce disease and also prevent it. For it is an old theosophical, and once secret, doctrine that the microbes -- then called lives -- are divided into two classes, one called builders and the other, destroyers. These, it was held, warred with each other, and whichever side won, the result was disease and death, or health and life. This, too, the old theosophists held, was the cause of man's term of life. For if the builders won all the time up to maturity they again divided themselves into two classes and, beginning to devour each other, at last brought about the death of the body at about 70 years of age.
The theosophists also assert that this microbe theory obtains in the mental and moral spheres, and that epidemics of a moral character may break out among men, causing sudden changes of character in persons who before that were very discreet. The French revolution, in which rivers of blood ran, was brought to its awful pitch by the sudden increase of mental microbes, which produce moral disease sweeping over vast numbers of men. Lynchings and riots such as that of New Orleans, he said, were of the same origin and were nothing more than the sudden development of these criminal microbes in the natures of men, who at other times were perfectly respectable. In the French revolution many excellent persons were carried away by the epidemic and led into the doing or countenancing of dreadful deeds. He referred also to the witch burning in Salem a century ago and declared that the otherwise eminent and respectable citizens who took active part in them were the victims of a mental and moral epidemic that drew them into actions of a criminal sort."
Turning to the present day, Mr. Judge pointed out that in the United States a microbe was developing in the mental and moral spheres which would sooner or later develop so quickly as to infect large masses of men. The recent strike riots and crimes on both sides evidence this, and if our thoughts, our mental feelings, were not speedily changed a vast revolution would be the result. Irrespective of the rights of either side in these struggles, the reason for them was to be found in the selfish character of our civilization, which ignores the idea of universal brotherhood. Great numbers of respectable men are incensed at each other and sides are being taken. The theosophist should stand aloof or he may be a victim to the epidemic on one side or the other. Even some well known members of the clergy have begun to assert that the country's legislation is in the interest of capital as against labor, and newspapers criticize them. The microbe is spreading. When it has made a few more advances it will gain a force overwhelming, and spreading then in vast numbers we will see suddenly springing up a revolution into which all will be drawn -- one side the aggressors, the other, defenders.
And the discoveries of "mental suggestion" and "hypnotism" will not be forgotten in this disturbance. By suggestion an artificial reproduction of these moral and mental microbes will be brought about and thus natural capacity added to. One side will have its army of suggested persons to do its bidding, and so will the other.
The remedy proposed by Mr. Judge was a vigorous spreading of the doctrines of Reincarnation and Karma, together with the actual practice of good deeds by those who have time and money. The laborers should go to the rich and preach these as compellers of kind acts. The rich should hasten to show to the poor by immediate and universal benevolences that they are acting as nature intended, that is, as nature's trustees of their wealth and time. In that way and none other can the day of revolution by averted. Legislation is idle, arguments on rights and legalities vain. The poor, almost to a man, believe that the rich oppress them. The middling-well-off are between the two other classes.
Theosophy does not seek to abolish rights nor to alter social claims. It declares, however, that each man must serve his neighbor, and that selfish indulgence by the wealthy to the neglect of the poor is a source of destruction. A great charity organization should be formed by every well-to-do woman devoting herself to the poor, and every well-to-do man giving her the means to do so, and all cutting out at once their rounds of balls, parties, teas and frivolities. Otherwise the direful result of an epidemic in the moral sphere cannot be averted.
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- 4. Aquarian Axioms at https://theosophytrust.org/2-aphorisms-on-karma
1. Life is built up by the sacrifice of the individual to the whole. Each cell in the living body must sacrifice itself to the perfection of the whole; when it is otherwise, disease and death enforce the lesson.
2. Harmony is the law of life, discord its shadow; whence springs suffering, the teacher, the awakener of consciousness.
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- 5. Aphorisms On Karma at https://theosophytrust.org/2-aphorisms-on-karma
3. Karma is an undeviating and unerring tendency in the Universe to restore equilibrium, and it operates incessantly.
12. Karmic causes already set in motion must be allowed to sweep on until exhausted, but this permits no man to refuse to help his fellows and every sentient being.
29. Race-Karma influences each unit in the race through the law of Distribution. National Karma operates on the members of the nation by the same law more concentrated….
30. Karma operates to produce cataclysms of nature by concatenation through the mental and astral planes of being. A cataclysm may be traced to an immediate physical cause such as internal fire and atmospheric disturbance, but these have been brought on by the disturbance created through the dynamic power of human thought.
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- 6. The Theory Of Cycles at https://theosophytrust.org/562-the-theory-of-cycles
It is now some time since this theory, which was first propounded in the oldest religion of the world, Vedaism, then taught by various Greek philosophers, and afterwards defended by the Theosophists of the Middle Ages, but which came to be flatly denied by the wise men of the West, like everything else, in this world of negation, has been gradually coming into prominence again. This once, contrary to the rule, it is the men of science themselves who take up. Statistics of events of the most varied nature are fast being collected and collated with the seriousness demanded by important scientific questions. Statistics of wars and of the periods (or cycles) of the appearance of great men – at least those as have been recognised as such by their contemporaries and irrespective of later opinions; statistics of the periods of development and progress at large commercial centres; of the rise and fall of arts and sciences; of cataclysms, such as earthquakes, epidemics periods of extraordinary cold and heat; cycles of revolutions, and of the rise and fall of empires, &c.; all these are subjected turn to the analysis of the minutest mathematical calculations. Finally, even the occult significance of numbers in names of persons and names of cities, in events, and like matters, receives unwonted attention. If, on the one hand, a great portion of the educated public is running into atheism and scepticism, on the other hand, we find an evident current of mysticism forcing its way into science. It is the sign of an irrepressible need in humanity to assure itself that there is a Power Paramount over matter; an occult and mysterious law which governs the world, and which we should rather study and closely watch, trying to adapt ourselves to it, than blindly deny, and break our heads against the rock of destiny. More than one thoughtful mind, while studying the fortunes and verses of nations and great empires, has been deeply struck by one identical feature in their history, namely, the inevitable recurrence of similar historical events reaching in turn every one of them, and after the same lapse of time. This analogy is found between the events to be substantially the same on the whole, though there may be more or less difference as to the outward form of details. Thus, the belief of the ancients in their astrologers, soothsayers and prophets might have been warranted by the verification of many of their most important predictions, without these prognostications of future events implying of necessity anything very miraculous in themselves. The soothsayers and augurs having occupied in days of the old civilizations the very same position now occupied by our historians, astronomers and meteorologists, there was nothing more wonderful in the fact of the former predicting the downfall of an empire or the loss of a battle, than in the latter predicting the return of a comet, a change of temperature, or, perhaps, the final conquest of Afghanistan.
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- 7. Integration and Recurrence at https://theosophytrust.org/864-integration-and-recurrence
H.P. Blavatsky, in her essay entitled "The Theory of Cycles", suggested several keys to the interpretation of cyclical phenomena. We can readily discern the vast variety of periodic phenomena which has already been noticed in history, in geology, in meteorology and in virtually every other arena of human experience. We can also recognize the statistical recurrence of certain elements in reference to economics, to wars and peace, to the rise and fall of empires, to epidemics and revolutions, and also to natural cataclysms, periods of extraordinary cold and heat. H.P. Blavatsky's intent was not merely to persuade the reader of the pervasiveness of periodic phenomena through the multiplication of examples, but rather to convey the immanent influence of the power of number and of mathematics within all cyclic phenomena. She reviewed the original analysis of certain historical cycles made by Dr. F. Zasse and published in the Prussian Journal of Statistics. Dr. Zasse presented an account of a series of historical waves, each consisting of five segments of two hundred and fifty years, which have swept over the Eurasian land mass from east to west.
According to Dr. Zasse's chronology, which began at approximately 2000 B.C., the year 2000 of the present era should mark the conclusion of the fourth such wave, and the inception of yet another wave from the east. Commenting briefly upon the importance of one-hundred-year cycles within the longer cycles indicated by Dr. Zasse, H.P. Blavatsky cited his analysis of ten-year and fifty-year cycles of war and revolution affecting European nations. In order to draw attention away from external events and to direct it towards deeper psychological causes, she pointed out:
The periods of the strengthening and weakening of the warlike excitement of the European nations represent a wave strikingly regular in its periodicity, flowing incessantly, as if propelled onward by some invisible fixed law. This same mysterious law seems at the same time to make these events coincide with astronomical wave or cycle, which, at every new revolution, is accompanied by the very marked appearance of spots in the sun.
Elsewhere, both in Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine, she made reference to the eleven-year sunspot cycle, suggesting something of its occult significance in the respiration and heartbeat of the solar system.
During the nineteenth century a number of scientists speculated about the relationship of sidereal and terrestrial events. Dr. Stanley Jevons, one of the founders of econometrics, saw a correlation between sunspot cycles and the rises and falls of economic output and productivity. Jevons went so far as to speculate that "the commercial world might be a body so mentally constituted . . . as to be capable of vibrating in a period of ten years". In The Secret Doctrine, H.P. Blavatsky observed:
Drs. Jevons and Babbage believe that every thought, displacing the particles of the brain and setting them in motion, scatters them throughout the Universe, and they think that "each particle of the existing matter must be a register of all that has happened".
The Secret Doctrine, i 104
Correlating this idea to the occult conception of the enduring impress of thought upon the subtle matter of the invisible human vestures, H.P. Blavatsky intimated the vital relationship between the impress of sidereal influences upon the psyche and the cyclic destiny of human souls.
The Hindu Chitra-Gupta who reads out the account of every Soul's life from his register, called Agra-Sandhani; the "Assessors" who read theirs from the heart of the defunct, which becomes an open book before (whether) Yama, Minos, Osiris, or Karma – are all so many copies of, and variants from the Lipika, and their Astral Records. Nevertheless, the Lipi-ka are not deities connected with Death, but with Life Eternal.
Connected as the Lipika are with the destiny of every man and the birth of every child, whose life is already traced in the Astral Light – not fatalistically, but only because the future, like the PAST, is ever alive in the PRESENT – they may also be said to exercise an influence on the Science of Horoscopy.
The Secret Doctrine, i 105
From such considerations a complex picture emerges of a myriad overlapping cycles and subcycles on several planes of existence. Whilst the enormous breadth and depth of cyclic phenomena would render elusive any exacting analysis of cycles for the neophyte in Gupta Vidya, one should attempt to nurture a cool apprehension of the regular periodicity in the excitement of mental and physical forces affecting both collective and distributive karma.
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- 8. The Astral Light from The Theosophical Glossary at https://www.theosophytrust.org/theosophical-glossary.html:
"Astral Light (Occult) The invisible region that surrounds our globe, as it does every other, and corresponding as the second Principle of Kosmos (the third being Life, of which it is the vehicle) to the Linga Sharira or the Astral Double in man. A subtle Essence visible only to a clairvoyant eye, and the lowest but one (viz., the earth), of the Seven Akâsic or Kosmic Principles. Eliphas Levi calls it the great Serpent and the Dragon from which radiates on Humanity every evil influence. This is so; but why not add that the Astral Light gives out nothing but what it has received; that it is the great terrestrial crucible, in which the vile emanations of the earth (moral and physical) upon which the Astral Light is fed, are all converted into their subtlest essence, and radiated back intensified, thus becoming epidemics – moral, psychic and physical." – Theosophical Glossary, p. 38
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- 9. Stars And Numbers at https://theosophytrust.org/557-stars-and-numbers
Once the probability, or even the simple possibility, of an occult influence exercised by the stars upon the destiny of man admitted – and why should the fact appear more improbable in the case of stars and man than in that of the sun-spots and potatoes? – and astrology becomes no less an exact science than astronomy. The earth, Prof. Balfour Stewart, F.R.S., tells us,"is very seriously affected by what takes place in the sun" . . . a connection "is strongly suspected between epidemics and the appearance of the sun's surface."1
And if, as that man of science tells us, "a connection of some mysterious kind between the sun and the earth is more than suspected" . . . and the problem is a most important one "to solve," how much more important the solution of that other mystery - the undoubted affinity between man and the stars-an affinity believed in for countless ages and by the most learned among men! Surely the destiny of man deserves as much consideration as that of a turnip or a potato. . . And if a disease of the latter may be scientifically foretold whenever that vegetable crops out during a "sun-spot period," why should not a life of disease, or health, of natural or violent death be as scientifically prognosticated by the position and appearance of the constellation with which man is as directly connected and which bears the same relation to him as the sun bears to the earth?
Ftn 1: One of the best known vegetable epidemics is that of the potatodisease. The years 1846,1860, and 1872 were bad years for the potatodisease,and those years are not very far from the years of maximum sun-spots . . . there is a curious connection between these diseases affecting plants and the state of the sun. . . . A disease that took place about three centuries since, of a periodical and very violent character, called the "sweating sickness" . . . took place about the end of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth century . . . and this is exactly the sun-spot period. . . . (The Sun and the Earth, Lecture by Prof. Balfour Stewart)
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- 10. Isis Unveiled on Epidemic Moral And Mental Disorders at https://www.theosophytrust.org/books-30-isis-unveiled_-vol-i-~-science-h-p-blavatsky:
“If the reader will recall what is said by the learned authors of theUnseen Universe, as to the positive effect produced upon the universal ether by so small a cause as the evolution of thought in a single human brain, how reasonable will it not appear that the terrific impulses imparted to this common medium by the sweep of the myriad blazing orbs that are rushing through "the interstellar depths," should affect us and the earth upon which we live, in a powerful degree? If astronomers cannot explain to us the occult law by which the drifting particles of cosmic matter aggregate into worlds, and then take their places in the majestic procession which is ceaselessly moving around some central point of attraction, how can anyone assume to say what mystic influences may or may not be darting through space and affecting the issues of life upon this and other planets? Almost nothing is known of the laws of magnetism and the other imponderable agents; almost nothing of their effects upon our bodies and minds; even that which is known and moreover perfectly demonstrated, is attributed to chance, and curious coincidences. But we do know, by these coincidences, that "there are periods when certain diseases, propensities, fortunes, and misfortunes of humanity are more rife than at others." There are times of epidemic in moral and physical affairs. In one epoch "the spirit of religious controversy will arouse the most ferocious passions of which human nature is susceptible, provoking mutual persecution, bloodshed, and wars; at another, an epidemic of resistance to constituted authority will spread over half the world (as in the year 1848), rapid and simultaneous as the most virulent bodily disorder."
Again, the collective character of mental phenomena is illustrated by an anomalous psychological condition invading and dominating over thousands upon thousands, depriving them of everything but automatic action, and giving rise to the popular opinion of demoniacal possession, an opinion in some sense justified by the satanic passions, emotions, and acts which accompany the condition. At one period, the aggregate tendency is to retirement and contemplation; hence, the countless votaries of monachism and anchoretism; at another the mania is directed toward action, having for its proposed end some utopian scheme, equally impracticable and useless; hence, the myriads who have forsaken their kindred, their homes, and their country, to seek a land whose stones were gold, or to wage exterminating war for the possession of worthless cities and trackless deserts.
The author from whom the above is quoted says that "the seeds of vice and crime appear to be sown under the surface of society, and to spring up and bring forth fruit with appalling rapidity and paralyzing succession."
In the presence of these striking phenomena science stands speechless; she does not even attempt to conjecture as to their cause, and naturally, for she has not yet learned to look outside of this ball of dirt upon which we live, and its heavy atmosphere, for the hidden influences which are affecting us day by day, and even minute by minute. But the ancients, whose "ignorance" is assumed by Mr. Proctor, fully realized the fact that the reciprocal relations between the planetary bodies is as perfect as those between the corpuscles of the blood, which float in a common fluid; and that each one is affected by the combined influences of all the rest, as each in its turn affects each of the others. As the planets differ in size, distance, and activity, so differ in intensity their impulses upon the ether or astral light, and the magnetic and other subtile forces radiated by them in certain aspects of the heavens. Music is the combination and modulation of sounds, and sound is the effect produced by the vibration of the ether. Now, if the impulses communicated to the ether by the different planets may be likened to the tones produced by the different notes of a musical instrument, it is not difficult to conceive that the Pythagorean "music of the spheres" is something more than a mere fancy, and that certain planetary aspects may imply disturbances in the ether of our planet, and certain others rest and harmony. Certain kinds of music throw us into frenzy; some exalt the soul to religious aspirations. In fine, there is scarcely a human creation which does not respond to certain vibrations of the atmosphere. It is the same with colors; some excite us, some soothe and please. The nun clothes herself in black to typify the despondency of a faith crushed under the sense of original sin; the bride robes herself in white; red inflames the anger of certain animals. If we and the animals are affected by vibrations acting upon a very minute scale, why may we not be influenced in the mass by vibrations acting upon a grand scale as the effect of combined stellar influences?
"We know," says Dr. Elam, "that certain pathological conditions have a tendency to become epidemic, influenced by causes not yet investigated . . . . We see how strong is the tendency of opinion once promulgated to run into an epidemic form – no opinion, no delusion, is too absurd to assume this collective character. We observe, also, how remarkably the same ideas reproduce themselves and reappear in successive ages; . . . no crime is too horrible to become popular, homicide, infanticide, suicide, poisoning, or any other diabolical human conception. . . . In epidemics, the cause of the rapid spread at that particular period remains a mystery! "
These few lines contain an undeniable psychological fact, sketched with a masterly pen, and at the same time a half-confession of utter ignorance – "Causes not yet investigated. "Why not be honest and add at once, "impossible to investigate with present scientific methods"?
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- 11. Contemporary note on the current sunspot cycle (No. 25) can be found here:
Scientists predict a new solar cycle is about to begin and that it might be stronger than the last one
Lisa Upton, a solar physicist with Space Systems Research Corporation and co-chair of the panel issuing predictions, said Cycle 25 should begin between mid-2019 and late 2020 and that it should reach its maximum between 2023 and 2026, when between 95 and 130 sunspots are projected.
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- 12. Mental Healing And Hypnosis at https://theosophytrust.org/967-mental-healing-and-hypnosis
The only way in which the affairs of life may be brought into their proper relation and harmony is by an understanding of our own nature, and fulfilling it. That course would make a heaven of this civilization, compared with what it is now. It would obviate nine-tenths, yes, one hundred percent, of those diseases which now afflict us, whether individual or general, sporadic or epidemic. For all diseases are caused by men, individually and collectively; even the catastrophes in nature are the result of man’s misunderstanding of his own nature, and the thinking and acting based upon it. The spiritual power that lies in man’s thinking goes much farther than the formulation of it. Whatever of error he produces finds its return from all parts of nature – from fire and air and earth and water – for all the elements are but the embodiments of so many degrees of intelligence, and we affect them against the nature of the whole, which is a synchronous evolution. We hinder the lives and they resent it. Even the forces of our bodies are composed of lives or different kinds; the very organs in our bodies are composed of different kinds of elemental lives, all having their relations to different parts of nature.
All these healing schemes, ‘isms, and religions are attempts to dodge our responsibility. Our complaints about our environments are attempts to dodge our responsibility. Our belief in this God or the other God, or this system of belief, this salvation, are attempts to dodge our responsibility. We have to accept that responsibility, and stay with it, first, last and all the time. For we are all bound up in one great tie; we cannot separate ourselves from each other, nor from any other being. The high beings above us who have passed through the stages which we are now passing through are just as closely related to us – and more so – than we are to each other; for They desire to help us in every way, if we would only allow Them. Savior after Savior has come to the earth for our benefit, but no one can give us any more benefit than to point to the truths that have been given all down the ages. We must take advantage of that knowledge and advance out of the state in which we have placed ourselves. No Savior can save us. No God can protect us. No devil can torment us. For both the God and the devil are within. The devil is the misunderstanding of our nature. The God is that place in ourselves that we come to know and realize and see reflected in the eyes of every living being. It is the God in us which demands self-advancement, self-induced and self-devised exertions, and the full acceptance of responsibility.
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- 13. The Skin of the Earth by Mr. WQ Judge at https://universaltheosophy.com/articles/wqj/the-skin-of-the-earth/:
I saw that the evil mist had gathered strength in one part of the place, and had destroyed the harmony and swiftness of so many of the little beings that the great circling globe was moving off its axis, circling more and more, so that I knew upon whatever earth this happened great changes would occur, and that in the path of the mist there would sweep over man epidemics of disease and crime. Horrified at such impending calamities I sought for an answer and looked towards my guide. As I did so he disappeared, and upon the wall his voice seemed to paint itself in living letters that themselves gave out a sound.
“It is the thoughts of men.” I hid my face, appalled at owning such a heritage, and when I looked again great jets spurted through the Skin of the Earth, thoughts spouting and pouring out in miasmatic streams.
I would have asked much more, but again from some vast distance came the tones of the deep bronze bell; a shower of earth’s blossoms fell about me; I had passed the wall; my guide was gone; and I was alone in my own room reflecting on what I had seen.
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- 14. The Last Song of the Swan at https://theosophytrust.org/461-the-last-song-of-the-swan:
Therefore, we are right in saying that – in this our century at all events – Sister Rose Gertrude is, as was Father Damien before her – a spiritual mystery. She is the rare manifestation of a "Higher Ego," free from the trammels of all the elements of its Lower one; influenced by these elements only so far as the errors of her terrestrial sense-perceptions – with regard to religious form – seem to bear a true witness to that which is still human in her Personality – namely, her reasoning powers. Thence the ceaseless and untiring self-sacrifice of such natures to what appears religious duty, but which in sober truth is the very essence and esse of the dormant Individuality – "divine compassion," which is "no attribute" but verily "the law of laws, eternal Harmony, Alaya's SELF." It is this compassion, crystallized in our very being, that whispers night and day to such as Father Damien and Sister Rose Gertrude – "Can there be bliss when there are men who suffer? Shalt thou be saved and hear the others cry?" Yet, "Personality" – having been blinded by training and religious education to the real presence and nature of the HIGHER SELF – recognizes not its voice, but confusing it in its helpless ignorance with the external and extraneous Form, which it was taught to regard as a divine Reality – it sends heavenward and outside instead of addressing them inwardly, thoughts and prayers, the realization of which is in its SELF.
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- 15. Light, Love and Hope at https://www.theosophytrust.org/892-light-love-and-hope:
As long as there is light, there will be shadow. Yet every human being can at any moment turn his face away from the shadow and towards the light of the sun. Whenever one is with other souls, one can ask oneself, "Do I love others more than myself? Do I take less and give more to others? Do I actually reach out within myself, within my mind and heart, and also in my acts, towards other human beings? In the way I look at other human beings, can I salute the Divine within them? Can I shed light and also be grateful for the light that I daily receive from others?" By asking questions of this kind, one will find that all increments of change become significant. Life becomes not only worth living, but worth consecrating. The mind and the heart recapture the immanence of the ideal of boundless Love and Light.
Hermes, March 1985