SHALL WE TEACH CLAIRVOYANCE?
A NOTE OF WARNING
MY attention has been arrested by the address
delivered in the Adyar course by Dr. Daly and reported in the September Theosophist.
It is entitled "Clairvoyance."
Coming out in the Adyar course, it has a certain flavor of authority which will
appeal to many members of the Society and may cause them to adopt the
suggestions for practice given in the latter part of the address. Yet at the
same time it is very true that the Theosophical Society is not responsible for
the utterances of members in their private capacity.
The fact that clairvoyance is a power sought after by many persons cannot be
disputed, but the questions, Is it well to try to develop clairvoyance? and
Shall we teach it? have not yet been definitely decided. Hence I may be
permitted to give my views upon them.
At the outset I desire to declare my personal attitude on these questions and
my beliefs as to facts. In using the term "clairvoyance" I intend to
include in it all clear perception on that plane.
I. I have for many years been convinced by
proofs furnished by others and from personal experience that clairvoyance is a
power belonging to man's s inner nature; and also that it is possessed by the
2. This faculty is either inherited or educed by practice.
3. Those who have it by birth are generally physically diseased or nervously
deranged. The cases where clairvoyance is shown by a perfectly healthy and
well-balanced person are rare.
4. The records of spiritualism for over forty years in America conclusively
prove that clairvoyance cannot be safely sought after by persons who have no
competent guide; that its pursuit has done harm; and that almost every medium
to whom one puts the question "Am I able to develop clairvoyance?"
will reply "Yes."
5. There are no competent guides in this pursuit to be found here or in Europe
who are willing to teach one how to acquire it without danger.
6. The qualifications such a guide should possess render the finding of one
difficult if not impossible. They are: the power to look within and see clearly
the whole inner nature of the student; a complete knowledge of all the planes
upon which clairvoyance acts, including knowledge of the source, the meaning,
and the effect of all that is perceived by the clairvoyant; and last, but not
least, the power to stop at will the exercise of the power. Evidently these
requirements call for an adept.
Who are the teachers of clairvoyance, and those
who advise that it be practiced? In the main, the first are mediums, and any
investigator knows how little they know. Every one of them differs from every
other in his powers. The majority have only one sort of clairvoyance; here and
there are some who combine, at most, three classes of the faculty. Not a single
one is able to mentally see behind the image or idea perceived, and cannot say
in a given case whether the image seen is the object itself or the result of a
thought from another mind. For in these planes of perception the thoughts of
men become as objective as material objects are to our human eyes. It is true
that a clairvoyant can tell you that what is being thus perceived is not
apprehended by the physical eye, but beyond that he cannot go. Of this I have
had hundreds of examples. In 99 out of 100 instances the seer mistook the
thought from another mind for a clairvoyant perception of a living person or
The seers of whom I speak see always according to their inner tendency, which
is governed by subtle laws of heredity which are wholly unknown to scientific
men and much more to mediums and seers. One will only reach the symbolic plane;
another that which is known to occultists as the positive side of sound;
another to the negative or positive aspects of the epidermis and its
emanations; and so on through innumerable layer after layer of clairvoyance and
octave after octave of vibrations. They all know but the little they have
experienced, and for any other person to seek to develop the power is dangerous.
The philosophy of it all, the laws that cause the image to appear and
disappear, are terra incognita.
The occult septenary scheme in nature with all
its modifications produces multiple effects, and no mere clairvoyant is able to
see the truth that underlies the simplest instance of clairvoyant perception.
If a man moves from one chair to another, immediately hundreds of possibilities
arise for the clairvoyant eye, and he alone who is a highly trained and
philosophical seer - an adept, in short - can combine them all so as to arrive
at true clear-perception. In the simple act described almost all the centres of
force in the moving being go into operation, and each one produces its own
peculiar effect in the astral light. At once the motion made and thoughts
aroused elicit their own sound, color, motion in ether, amount of etheric
light, symbolic picture, disturbance of elemental forces, and so on through the
great catalogue. Did but one wink his eye, the same effects follow in due
order. And the seer can perceive but that which attunes itself to his own
development and personal peculiarities, all limited in force and degree.
What, may I ask, do clairvoyants know of the law
of prevention or encrustation which is acting always with many people? Nothing,
absolutely nothing. How do they explain those cases where, try as they will,
they cannot see anything whatever regarding certain things? Judging from human
nature and the sordidness of many schools of clairvoyance, are we not safe in
affirming that if there were any real or reliable clairvoyance about us
now-a-days among those who offer to teach it or take pay for it, long ago
fortunes would have been made by them, banks despoiled, lost articles found,
and friends more often reunited? Admitting that there have been sporadic
instances of success on these lines, does not the exception prove that true
clairvoyance is not understood or likely to be?
But what shall theosophists do? Stop all attempts at clairvoyance. And why?
Because it leads them slowly but surely - almost beyond recall into an interior
and exterior passive state where the will is gradually overpowered and they are
at last in the power of the demons who lurk around the threshold of our
consciousness. Above all, follow no advice to "sit for development."
Madness lies that way. The feathery touches which come upon the skin while
trying these experiments are said by mediums to be the gentle touches of
"the spirits." But they are not. They are caused by the ethereal
fluids from within us making their way out through the skin and thus producing
the illusion of a touch. When enough has gone out, then the victim is getting
gradually negative, the future prey for spooks and will-o"-the-wisp images.
"But what," they say, "shall we pursue and study?"
Study the philosophy of life, leave the decorations that line the road of
spiritual development for future lives, and practice altruism.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
Path, December, 1890