Etheric plane mountains
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This etheric shell, however, does not drift aimlessly about, as does the variety with which we have hitherto been dealing; on the contrary, it remains within a few yards of the decaying physical body, and since it is readily visible to any one even slightly sensitive, it accounts for many of the commonly current stories of church-yard ghosts. A psychically developed person passing one of our great cemeteries may see many of these bluish-white, misty forms hovering over the graves where are laid the physical vestures which they have recently left; and as they, like their lower counterparts, are in stages of disintegration, the sight is by no means pleasant.
This also, like the other kind of shell, is entirely devoid of consciousness and intelligence; and though  it may under certain circumstances be galvanized into a horrible form of temporary life, this is possible only by means of some of the most loathsome rites of one of the worst forms of black magic, about which the less said the better. It will thus be seen that in the successive stages of his progress from earth-life to the heaven-world, man casts off and leaves to slow disintegration no less than three corpses — the dense physical body, the etheric double, and the astral vehicle — all of which are by degrees resolved into their constituent elements and their matter utilized anew on their respective planes by the wonderful chemistry of Nature.
The Vitalized Shell. This entity ought not, strictly speaking, to be classified under the head "human" at all, since it is only its outer vesture, the passive, senseless shell, that was once an appanage of humanity; such life, intelligence, desire, and will as it may possess are those of the artificial-elemental animating it, and that, though in truth a creation of man's evil thought is not itself human.
It will therefore perhaps be better to deal with it more fully under its appropriate class among the artificial entities, as its nature and  genesis will be more readily comprehensible by the time that part of our subject is reached. Let it suffice here to mention that it is always a malevolent being — a true tempting demon, whose evil influence is limited only by the extent of its power.
Like the shade, it is frequently used to further the horrible purposes of the Voodoo and Obeah forms of magic. Some writers have spoken of it under the name "elementary," but as that title has at one time or another been used for almost every variety of post-mortem entity, it has become so vague and meaningless that it is perhaps better to avoid it.
The Suicide and the victim of sudden death. It will be readily understood that a man who is torn from physical life hurriedly while in full health and strength, whether by accident or suicide, finds himself upon the astral plane under conditions differing considerably from those which surround one who dies either from old age or from disease. In the latter case the hold of earthly desires upon the entity is sure to be more or less weakened, and probably the very grossest particles are already eliminated, so that the man is likely to find himself on the sixth or fifth subdivision of the astral world, or perhaps even  higher; the principles have been gradually prepared for separation, and the shock is therefore not so great.
In the case of the accidental death or suicide none of these preparations have taken place, and the withdrawal of the principles from their physical encasement has been aptly compared to the tearing of the stone out of an unripe fruit; much of the grossest kind of astral matter may still cling round the personality, which will consequently be held in the seventh or lowest subdivision of the plane.
This has already been described as anything but a pleasant abiding-place, yet it is by no means the same for all those who are compelled for a time to inhabit it. Those victims of sudden death whose earth-lives have been pure and noble have no affinity for this plane, and so the time of their sojourn upon it is passed, to quote from an early letter on this subject, either in "happy ignorance and full oblivion, or in a state of quiet slumber, a sleep full of rosy dreams.
Inflamed with all kinds of horrible appetites which they call no longer satisfy directly now they are without a physical body, they gratify their loathsome passions vicariously through a medium or any sensitive person whom they can obsess; and they take a devilish delight in using all the arts of delusion which the astral plane puts in their power in order to lead others into the same excesses which have proved so fatal to themselves.
For such an entity as one of these to meet with a medium with whom he is in affinity is indeed a terrible misfortune; not only does it enable him to prolong enormously his dreadful astral life, but it renews for perhaps an indefinite period his power to generate evil karma, and so prepare for himself a future incarnation of the most degraded character, besides running the risk of losing a large portion of such mind-power as he may happen to possess.
If he is fortunate enough not to meet with a sensitive through whom his passions can be vicariously gratified, the unfulfilled desires will gradually burn themselves out, and the suffering caused in the process will probably go far towards working off the evil karma of the past life. The position of the suicide is further complicated by the fact that his rash act has diminished the power of the ego to withdraw its lower portion into itself, and therefore has exposed him to various additional dangers; but it must be remembered that the guilt of suicide differs considerably according to its circumstances, from the morally blameless act  of Seneca or Socrates through all degrees down to the heinous crime of the wretch who takes his own life in order to escape from the entanglements into which his villainy has brought him; and the position after death varies accordingly.
It should be noted that this class, as well as the shades and the vitalized shells are all what may be called minor vampires; that is to say, whenever they have the opportunity they prolong their existence by draining away the vitality from human beings whom they find themselves able to influence. A student of occultism is taught how to guard himself from their attempts, but without that knowledge it is difficult for one who puts himself in their way to avoid being more or less laid under contribution by them.
The Vampire and Werewolf. There remain two even more vile but happily rare possibilities to be mentioned before this part of our subject is completed, and though they differ widely in many ways we may yet perhaps group them together, since they have in common the qualities of unearthly horror and of extreme rarity — the latter arising  from the fact that they are really legacies from earlier races — hideous anachronisms, appalling relics of a time when man and his surroundings were in many ways not what they are now.
We of the fifth root race ought to have evolved beyond the possibility of meeting such a ghastly fate as is indicated by either of the two headings of this sub-section, and we have so nearly done it that these creatures are commonly regarded as mere mediaeval fables; yet there are examples to be found occasionally even now, though chiefly in countries where there is a considerable strain of fourth-race blood, such as Russia or Hungary.
The popular legends about them are probably often considerably exaggerated, but there is nevertheless a terribly serious substratum of truth beneath the eerie stories which pass from mouth to mouth among the peasantry of Eastern Europe. The general characteristics of such tales are too well known to need more than a passing reference; a fairly typical specimen of the vampire story, though it does not profess to be more than the merest fiction, is Sheridan le Fanu's Carmilla, while a very remarkable account of an unusual form of this  creature is to be found in Isis Unveiled vol.
Readers of Theosophical literature will be aware that it is just possible for a man to live a life so absolutely degraded and selfish, so utterly wicked and brutal, that the whole of his lower mind may become entirely enmeshed in his desires, and finally separate from its spiritual source in the higher self.
Some students even seem to have supposed that such an occurrence is quite common, and that we may meet scores of such "soulless men", as they have been called, in the street every day of our lives; but this, happily, is untrue.
To attain the appalling pre-eminence in evil which thus involves the entire loss of a personality and the weakening of the developing individuality behind, a man must stifle every gleam of unselfishness or spirituality, and must have absolutely no redeeming point whatever; and when we remember how often, even in the worst of villains, there is to be found something not wholly bad, we shall realize that the abandoned personalities must always be a very small minority.
Still, comparatively few though they be, they do exist, and it is from their ranks that the still rarer vampire is drawn. If, however, he perishes by suicide or sudden death, he may under certain circumstances, especially if he knows something of black magic, hold himself back from that appalling fate by a death in life scarcely less appalling — the ghastly existence of the vampire.
As popular "superstition" again rightly supposes, the easiest and most effectual remedy in such a case is to exhume and burn the body, thus depriving the creature of his point d' appui. When the grave is opened the body usually appears quite fresh and healthy, and the coffin is not infrequently filled with blood.
In countries  where cremation is the custom, vampirism of this sort is naturally impossible. The Werewolf, though equally horrible, is the product of a somewhat different karma, and indeed ought perhaps to have found a place under the first instead of the second division of the human inhabitants of this plane, since it is always during a man's lifetime that he first manifests under this form.
It invariably implies some knowledge of magical arts — sufficient at any rate to be able to project the astral body. When a perfectly cruel and brutal man does this, there are certain circumstances under which the body may be seized upon by other astral entities and materialized, not into the human form, but into that of some wild animal — usually the wolf; and in that condition it will range the surrounding country killing other animals, and even human beings, thus satisfying not only its own craving for blood, but that of the fiends who drive it on.
In this case, as so often with ordinary materialization, any wound inflicted upon that animal form will be reproduced upon the human physical body by the extraordinary phenomenon of repercussion; though after the death of that physical body, the  astral which will probably continue to appear in the same form will be less vulnerable. It will then, however, be also less dangerous, as unless it can find a suitable medium it will be unable to materialize fully.
In such manifestations there is probably a great deal of the matter of the etheric double, and perhaps also a toll is levied upon the gaseous and liquid constituents of the physical body, as in the case of some materializations. In both cases the fluidic body appears able to pass to much greater distances from the physical than is ever otherwise possible, so far as is yet known, for a vehicle, which contains at least a certain amount of etheric matter.
It has been the fashion of this age to scoff at what are called the foolish superstitions of the ignorant peasantry; but as in the above cases, so in many others, the occult student finds on careful examination that obscure or forgotten truths of Nature lie behind what at first sight appears mere nonsense, and he learns to be cautious in rejecting as well as cautious in accepting.
Intending explorers of the astral plane need have little fear of encountering the very unpleasant creatures described under this head, for, as before stated, they are even  now extremely rare, and as time goes on their number will happily steadily diminish.
In any case their manifestations are usually restricted to the immediate neighbourhood of their physical bodies, as might be supposed from their extremely material nature. The Man in the Grey World. I have already explained that the vampire and the werewolf are anachronisms, that they belonged to the evolution of an earlier root-race. But though we have developed beyond that particular form of manifestation of it, the type of person who clings desperately to physical life because he has no certainty that there is any other still persists among us.
Having been intensely material, having had no ideas, no conceptions of any sort beyond the physical during earth-life, he becomes crazy with fear when he finds himself altogether cut adrift from it. Sometimes such men make frantic efforts to return into some sort of touch with physical life.
Most do not succeed, and gradually give up the struggle; as soon as they do that, they slip off at once into the natural moment of unconsciousness and shortly awaken in the astral world. But those, whose will is strong enough to attain a partial and  temporary success hold on tenaciously to at least some fragments of their etheric double, and sometimes even manage to draw particles from their physical bodies. We may say that the actual definition of death is the full and final separation of the etheric double from the dense body — or, to put it in other words, the breaking up of the physical body by withdrawing its etheric part from its lower part.
So long as a link is maintained we may have conditions of catalepsy, trance or anaesthesia; when the link is finally broken, death has taken place. When a man withdraws from his dense body at death, then, he takes with him the etheric part of that vehicle. But that etheric matter is not in itself a complete vehicle — only part of one. Therefore while that etheric matter still clings round him, he is neither on one plane nor the other.
He has lost the organs of his physical senses, and he cannot use those of the astral body because he is still enveloped in this cloud of etheric matter. He lives for awhile — fortunately only for awhile — in a dim grey world of restlessness and discomfort, in which he can see clearly neither physical nor astral happenings, but catches occasional glimpses of both as  through a world of heavy fog, in which he wanders, lost and helpless.
There is no reason whatever why any human being should suffer such unpleasantness at all; but he fears that in letting go that shred of consciousness he may lose all consciousness for ever — may in fact be annihilated; so he grasps desperately at this which is left to him. In time, however, he must let go, for the etheric double begins to disintegrate, and then he slips quite happily into the fuller and wider life. Such people may sometimes be found drifting miserably and even wailingly about the astral plane, and it is one of the hardest tasks of the helper to persuade them that they have nothing to do but to forget their fear, to relax their tenseness, and to let themselves sink gently into the peace and oblivion which they need so sorely.
They seem to regard such a suggestion as a ship-wrecked man far away from land might receive an order to abandon his supporting spar, and trust himself to the stormy sea. This person corresponds at the other extremity of the scale to our second class of departed entities, the pupil awaiting reincarnation, but in this case, instead of  obtaining permission to adopt an unusual method of progress, the man is defying the natural process of evolution by maintaining himself in astral life by magical arts — sometimes of the most horrible nature.
It would be easy to make various subdivisions of this class, according to their objects, their methods, and the possible duration of their existence on this plane, but as they are by no means fascinating objects of study, and all that in occult student wishes to know about them is how to avoid them, it will probably be more interesting to pass on to the examination of another part of our subject.
It may, however, be just mentioned that every such human entity which prolongs its life thus on the astral plane beyond its natural limit invariably does so at the expense of others, and by the absorption of their life in some form or another. NON-HUMAN It might have been thought fairly obvious, even to the most casual glance, that many of the terrestrial arrangements of Nature which affect us most nearly have not been designed exclusively with a view to our comfort, to even our ultimate advantage.
That most of us have not yet done so is shown in a dozen ways in our daily life — notably by the atrocious cruelty habitually displayed towards the animal kingdom under the name of sport by many who probably consider themselves highly civilized people. The veriest tyro in the holy science of occultism knows that all life is sacred and that without universal compassion there is no true progress; but it is only as he advances in his studies that he discovers how manifold evolution is, and how comparatively small a place humanity really fills in the economy of Nature.
It becomes clear to him that as earth, air, and water support myriads of forms of life which, though invisible to the ordinary eye, are revealed to us by the microscope, so the higher planes connected with our earth have an equally dense population of whose existence we are ordinarily  completely unconscious. As his knowledge increases he becomes more and more certain that in one way or another the utmost use is being made of every possibility of evolution, and that wherever it seems to us that in Nature force is being wasted or opportunity neglected, it is not the scheme of the universe that is in fault, but our ignorance of its method and intention.
For the purposes of our present consideration of the non-human inhabitants of the astral plane it will be best to leave altogether out of consideration those early forms of the universal life which are evolving, in a manner of which we can have little comprehension, through the successive encasement of atoms, molecules, and cells. If we commence at the lowest of what are usually called the elemental kingdoms, we shall even then have to group together under this general heading an enormous number of inhabitants of the astral plane upon whom it will be possible to touch only slightly, as anything like a detailed account of them would swell this manual to the dimensions of an encyclopaedia.
The most convenient method of arranging the non-human entities will perhaps be in four classes  — it being understood that in this case the class is not, as previously, a comparatively small subdivision, but usually a great kingdom of Nature at least as large and varied as, say, the animal or vegetable kingdom. Some of these classes rank considerably below humanity, some are our equals, and others again rise far above us in goodness and power.
Some belong to our scheme of evolution — that is to say, they either have been or will be men like ourselves; others are evolving on entirely distinct lines of their own. Before proceeding to consider them it is necessary in order to avoid the charge of incompleteness, to mention that in this branch of the subject two reservations have been made.
First, no reference is made to the occasional appearances of high Adepts from other planets of the solar system and of even more august Visitors from a still greater distance, since such matters cannot fitly be described in an essay for general reading; and besides it is practically inconceivable, though theoretically possible, that such glorified Beings should ever need to manifest themselves on a plane so low as the astral. If for  any reason they should wish to do so, the body appropriate to the plane would be temporarily created out of astral matter belonging to this planet, as in the case of the Nirmanakaya.
Secondly, quite outside of and entirely unconnected with the four classes into which we are dividing this section, there are two other great evolutions which at present share the use of this planet with humanity; but about them it is forbidden to give any particulars at this stage of the proceedings, as it is not apparently intended under ordinary circumstances either that they should be conscious of man's existence or man of theirs.
If we ever do come into contact with them it will most probably be on the purely physical plane, for in any case their connection with our astral plane is of the slightest since the only possibility of their appearance there depends upon an extremely improbable accident in an act of ceremonial magic, which fortunately only a few of the most advanced sorcerers know how to perform.
Nevertheless, that improbable accident has happened at least once, and may happen again, so that but for the prohibition above mentioned it would have been necessary to include them in our list. The Elemental Essence belonging to our own evolution. As the name "elementary" has been given indiscriminately by various writers to any or all of man's possible post-mortem conditions, so this word "elemental" has been used at different times to mean any or all non-human spirits, from the most god-like of the Devas down through every variety of nature-spirit to the formless essence which pervades the kingdoms lying behind the mineral, until after reading several books the student becomes absolutely bewildered by the contradictory statements made on the subject.
For the purposes of this treatise let it be understood that elemental essence is merely a name applied during certain stages of its evolution to monadic essence, which in its turn may be defined as the outpouring of Spirit or Divine Force into matter.
We are all familiar with the idea that before this outpouring arrives at the stage of individualization at which it forms the causal body of man, it has passed through and ensouled in turn six lower phases of evolution — the animal, vegetable, mineral, and three elemental kingdoms. When energizing through those respective stages it has sometimes been called the animal, vegetable, or mineral  monad — though this term is distinctly misleading, since long before it arrives at any of these kingdoms it has become not one, but many monads.
The name was, however, adopted to convey the idea that, though differentiation in the monadic essence had already long ago set in, it had not yet been carried to the extent of individualization. When this monadic essence is energizing through the three great elemental kingdoms which precede the mineral, it is called by the name of "elemental essence.
Be it remembered, then, that when spirit resting on any plane it matters not which — let us call it plane No. Similarly when it continues its descent to plane No. The force energizing in it — its  soul, so to speak — will however not be spirit in the condition in which it was on plane No.
When a still further descent is made to plane No. It will be seen that, since this process repeats itself for every sub-plane of each plane of the solar system, by the time the original force reaches our physical level it is so thoroughly veiled that it is small wonder men often fail to recognize it as spirit at all.
Suppose that the monadic essence has carried on this process of veiling itself down to the atomic level of the mental plane, and that, instead of descending through the various subdivisions of that plane, it plunges down directly into the astral plane, ensouling, or aggregating round it a body of atomic astral matter; such a combination would be the elemental essence of the astral plane, belonging to the third of the great elemental kingdoms — that immediately preceding the mineral. In the course of its 2, differentiations on the astral plane it draws to itself many and various combinations of  the matter of its several sub-divisions; but these are only temporary, and it still remains essentially one kingdom, whose characteristic is monadic essence involved down to the atomic level of the mental plane only, but manifesting through the atomic matter of the astral plane.
The two higher elemental kingdoms exist and function respectively upon the higher and the lower levels of the mental plane; but we are not at the moment concerned with them. To speak, as we so often do, of an elemental in connection with the group we are now considering is somewhat misleading, for strictly speaking there is no such thing. What we find is a vast store of elemental essence, wonderfully sensitive to the most fleeting human thought, responding with inconceivable delicacy in an infinitesimal fraction of a second to a vibration set up in it even by an entirely unconscious exercise of human will or desire.
But the moment that by the influence of such thought or exercise of will it is moulded into a living force — into something that may correctly be described as an elemental — it at once ceases to belong to the category we are discussing, and becomes a member of the artificial class. Even then  its separate existence is usually of the most evanescent character, and as soon as its impulse has worked itself out it sinks back into the undifferentiated mass of that particular subdivision of elemental essence from which it came.
It would be tedious to attempt to catalogue these subdivisions, and indeed even if a list of them were made it would be unintelligible except to the practical student who can call them up before him and compare them. Some idea of the leading lines of classification can, however, be grasped without much trouble, and may prove of interest.
First comes the broad division which has given the elementals their name — the classification according to the kind of matter which they inhabit. It has long been the custom to pity and despise the ignorance of the alchemists of the middle ages, because they gave the title of "elements" to  substances which modern chemistry has discovered to be compounds; but in speaking of them thus slightingly we have done them great injustice, for their knowledge on this subject was really wider, not narrower, than ours.
They may or may not have catalogued all the eighty or ninety substances which we now call elements; but they certainly did not apply that name to them, for their occult studies had taught them that in that sense of the word there was but one element, of which these and all other forms of matter were but modifications — a truth which some of the greatest chemists of the present day are just beginning to suspect.
The fact is that in this particular case our despised forefathers' analysis went several steps deeper than our own. They understood and were able to observe the ether, which modern science can only postulate as a necessity for its theories; they were aware that it consists of physical matter in four entirely distinct states above the gaseous — a fact which has not yet been re-discovered. They knew that all physical objects consist of matter in one or other of these seven states, and that into the composition of every organic body all seven enter in a greater or lesser degree; hence all their talk of  fiery and watery humours, or "elements," which seems so grotesque to us.
It is obvious that they used the latter word as a synonym for "constituent parts," without in the least degree intending it to connote the idea of substances which could not be further reduced. They knew also that each of these orders of matter serves as a basis of manifestation for a great class of evolving monadic essence, and so they christened the essence "elemental. It will be observed that this first broad division of the third of the elemental kingdoms is, so to speak, horizontal — that is to say, its respective classes stand in the relation of steps, each somewhat less material than that below it, which ascends into it by almost imperceptible degrees; and it is easy to understand how each of these classes may again he divided horizontally  into seven, since there are obviously many degrees of density among solids, liquids, and gases.
There is, however, what may be described as a perpendicular division also, and this is somewhat more difficult to comprehend, especially as great reserve is always maintained by occultists as to some of the facts which would be involved in a fuller explanation of it. Perhaps the clearest way to put what is known on the subject will be to state that in each of the horizontal classes and subclasses will be found seven perfectly distinct types of elemental, the difference between them being no longer a question of degree of materiality, but rather of character and affinities.
Each of these types so reacts upon the others that, though it is impossible for them ever to interchange their essence, in each of them seven sub-types will be found to exist, distinguished by the colouring given to their original peculiarity by the influence which sways them most readily.
It will be seen that this perpendicular division and subdivision differs entirely in its character from the horizontal, in that it is far more permanent and fundamental; for while it is the evolution of the elemental kingdom to pass with almost infinite slowness through  its various horizontal classes and sub-classes in succession, and thus to belong to them all in turn, this is not so with regard to the types and sub-types, which remain unchangeable all the way through.
A point of which we must never lose sight in endeavouring to understand this elemental evolution is that it is taking place on what is sometimes called the downward curve of the arc; that is to say, it is progressing towards the complete entanglement in matter which we witness in the mineral kingdom, instead of away from it, as is most other evolution of which we know anything. Thus for it progress means descent into matter instead of ascent towards higher planes; and this fact sometimes gives it a curiously inverted appearance in our eyes until we thoroughly grasp its object.
Unless the student bears this constantly and clearly in mind, he will again and again find himself beset by perplexing anomalies. In spite of these manifold subdivisions, there are certain properties which are possessed in common by all varieties of this strange living essence; but even these are so entirely different from any with which we are familiar on the physical plane that  it is exceedingly difficult to explain them to those who cannot themselves see them in action. Let it be premised, then, that when any portion of this essence remains for a few moments entirely unaffected by any outside influence a condition, by the way, which is hardly ever realized it is absolutely without any definite form of its own, though its motion is still rapid and ceaseless; but on the slightest disturbance, set up perhaps by some passing thought-current, it flashes into a bewildering confusion of restless, ever-changing shapes, which form, rush about, and disappear with the rapidity of the bubbles on the surface of boiling water.
These evanescent shapes, though generally those of living creatures of some sort, human or otherwise, no more express the existence of separate entities in the essence than do the equally changeful and multiform waves raised in a few moments on a previously smooth lake by a sudden squall. A question naturally arises in the mind here as to what intelligence it is that is exerted in the selection of an appropriate shape or its distortion when selected.
The intelligence, therefore, is obviously not derived from the mind of the thinker; and we certainly cannot credit the elemental essence itself, which belongs to a kingdom further from individualization even than the mineral, with any sort of awakening of the mental quality.
Yet it does possess a marvellous adaptability which often seems to come near it, and it is no doubt this property that caused elementals to be described in one of our early books as "the semi-intelligent creatures of the astral light. When we read of a good or evil elemental, it must always  be either an artificial entity or one of the many varieties of nature-spirits that is meant, for the elemental kingdoms proper do not admit of any such conceptions as good and evil.
There is, however, undoubtedly a sort of bias or tendency permeating nearly all their subdivisions which operates to render them rather hostile than friendly towards man. Every neophyte knows this, for in most cases his very first impression of the astral plane is of the presence all around him of vast hosts of protean spectres who advance upon him in threatening guise, but always retire or dissipate harmlessly if boldly faced.
In the golden age before this sordid present, men were on the whole less selfish and more spiritual, and then the "elementals" were friendly, though now they are so no longer because of man's indifference to, and want of sympathy with, other living beings. From the wonderful delicacy with which the essence responds to the faintest action of our minds or desires, it seems clear that this elemental  kingdom as a whole is much what the collective thought of humanity makes it.
Any one who will think for a moment how far from elevating the action of that collective thought is likely to be at the present time, will see little reason to wonder that we reap as we have sown, and that this essence, which has no power of perception, but only blindly receives and reflects what is projected upon it, should usually exhibit unfriendly characteristics. There can be no doubt that in later races or rounds, when mankind as a whole has evolved to a much higher level, the elemental kingdoms will be influenced by the changed thought which continually impinges upon them, and we shall find them no longer hostile, but docile and helpful as we are told that the animal kingdom will also be.
Whatever may have happened in the past, it is evident that we may look forward to a passable "golden age" in the future, if we can arrive at a time when the majority of men will be noble and unselfish, and the forces of nature will co-operate willingly with them.
The fact that we are so readily able to influence the elemental kingdoms shows us that we have a responsibility towards them for the manner in  which we use that influence. Indeed, when we consider the conditions under which they exist, it is obvious that the effect produced upon them by the thoughts and desires of all intelligent creatures inhabiting the same world with them must have been calculated upon in the scheme of our system as a factor in their evolution.
In spite of the consistent teaching of all the great religions, the mass of mankind is still utterly regardless of its responsibility on the thought-plane; if a man can flatter himself that his words and deeds have been harmless to others, he believes that he has done all that can be required of him, quite oblivious of the fact that he may for years have been exercising a narrowing and debasing influence on the minds of those about him, and filling surrounding space with the unlovely creations of a sordid mind.
A still more serious aspect of this question will come before us when we discuss the artificial elemental; but in regard to the essence it will be sufficient to state that we undoubtedly have the power to accelerate or delay its evolution according to the use which, consciously or unconsciously, we are continually making of it. The majority of magical ceremonies depend almost entirely upon its manipulation, either directly by the will of the magician, or by some more definite astral entity evoked by him for that purpose.
But we must never think of the "elemental" as itself a prime mover; it is simply a latent force, which needs an external power to set it in motion. Although all classes of the essence have the power of reflecting astral images as described above, there are varieties which receive certain impressions much more readily than others — which have,  as it were, favourite forms of their own into which upon disturbance they would naturally flow unless absolutely forced into some other, and such shapes tend to be a trifle less evanescent than usual.
Before leaving this branch of the subject it may be well to warn the student against the confusion of thought into which some have fallen through failing to distinguish this elemental essence which we have been considering from the monadic essence manifesting through the mineral kingdom.
Monadic essence at one stage of its evolution towards humanity manifests through the elemental kingdom, while at a later stage it manifests through the mineral kingdom; but the fact that two bodies of monadic essence at these different stages are in manifestation at the same moment, and that one of these manifestations the earth elemental occupies the same space as and inhabits the other say a rock , in no way interferes with the evolution either of one or the other, nor does it imply any relation between the bodies of monadic essence lying within both.
The Astral Bodies of Animals. This is an extremely large class, yet it does not occupy a particularly important position on the astral plane,  since its members usually stay there but a short time. The vast majority of animals have not as yet acquired permanent individualization, and when one of them dies the monadic essence which has been manifesting through it flows back again into the particular stratum whence it came, bearing with it such advancement or experience as has been attained during that life.
It is not, however, able to do this quite immediately; the astral body of the animal rearranges itself just as in man's case, and the animal has a real existence on the astral plane, the length of which, though never great, varies according to the intelligence which it has developed.
In most cases it does not seem to be more than dreamily conscious, but appears perfectly happy. The comparatively few domestic animals who have already attained individuality, and will therefore be reborn no more as animals in this world, have a much longer and much more vivid life on the astral plane than their less advanced fellows, and at the end of it sink gradually into a subjective condition, which is likely to last for a very considerable period.
One interesting subdivision of this class consists of the astral bodies of those anthropoid apes  mentioned in The Secret Doctrine vol. Nature-Spirits of all Kinds. So many and so varied are the subdivisions of this class that to do them anything like justice one would need to devote a separate treatise to this subject alone.
Some characteristics, however, they all have in common, and it will be sufficient here to try to give some idea of those. First we have to realize that we are here dealing with entities which differ radically from all that we have hitherto considered. Though we may rightly classify the elemental essence and the animal astral bodies as non-human, the monadic essence which ensouls them will, nevertheless, in the fullness of time, evolve to the level of manifesting itself through some future humanity comparable to our own, and if we were able to look back through countless ages on our own evolution in previous world-cycles, we should find that that which is now our casual body has passed on its upward path through similar stages.
That, however, is not the case with the vast kingdom of nature-spirits; they neither have been,  nor ever will be, members of a humanity such as ours; their line of evolution is entirely different, and their only connection with us consists in our temporary occupancy of the same planet.
Of course since we are neighbours for the time being we owe neighbourly kindness to one another when we happen to meet, but our lines of development differ so widely that each can do but little for the other. Many writers have included these spirits among the elementals, and indeed they are the elementals or perhaps, to speak more accurately, the animals of a higher evolution.
Though much more highly developed than our elemental essence, they have yet certain characteristics in common with it; for example, they also are divided into seven great classes, inhabiting respectively the same seven states of matter already mentioned as permeated by the corresponding varieties of the essence. Thus, to take those which are most readily comprehensible to us, there are spirits of the earth, water, air, and fire or ether — definite intelligent astral entities residing and functioning in each of those media.
It may be asked how it is possible for any kind of creature to inhabit the solid substance of a rock, or  of the crust of the earth. The answer is that since the nature-spirits are formed of astral matter, the substance of the rock is no hindrance to their motion or their vision, and furthermore physical matter in its solid state is their natural element — that to which they are accustomed and in which they feel at home. The same is true of those who live in water, air, or ether. In popular language they are known by many names — fairies, pixies, elves, brownies, peris, djinns, trolls, satyrs, fauns, kobolds, imps, goblins, good people, etc.
Their forms are many and various, but most frequently human in shape and somewhat diminutive in size. Like almost all inhabitants of the astral plane, they are able to assume any appearance at will, but they undoubtedly have definite forms of their own, or perhaps we should rather say favourite forms, which they wear when they have no special object in taking an other. Under  ordinary conditions they are not visible to physical sight at all, but they have the power of making themselves so by materialization when they wish to be seen.
There are an immense number of subdivisions or races among them, and individuals differ in intelligence and disposition precisely as human beings do. The great majority of them apparently prefer to avoid man altogether; his habits and emanations are distasteful to them, and the constant rush of astral currents set up by his restless, ill-regulated desires disturbs and annoys them. This helpful attitude, however, is comparatively rare, and in most cases when they come in contact with man they either show indifference or dislike, or else take an impish delight in deceiving him and playing childish tricks upon him.
They are greatly assisted in their tricks by the wonderful power which they possess of casting a glamour over those who yield themselves to their influence, so that such victims for the time see and hear only what these fairies impress upon them, exactly as the mesmerized subject sees, hears, feels, and believes whatever the magnetizer wishes.
The nature-spirits, however, have not the mesmerizer's power of dominating the human will, except in the case of quite unusually weak-minded people, or of those who allow themselves to fall into such a condition of helpless terror that their will is temporarily in abeyance.
They cannot go beyond deception of the senses, but of that art they are undoubted masters, and cases are not wanting in which they have cast their glamour over a considerable number of people at once. It is by  invoking their aid in the exercise of this peculiar power that some of the most wonderful feats of the Indian jugglers are performed — the entire audience being in fact hallucinated and made to imagine that they see and hear a whole series of events which have not really taken place at all.
We might almost look upon the nature-spirits as a kind of astral humanity, but for the fact that none of them — not even the highest — possesses a permanent reincarnating individuality. Apparently, therefore, one point in which their line of evolution differs from ours is that a much greater proportion of intelligence is developed before permanent individualization takes place; but of the stages through which they have passed, and those through which they have yet to pass, we can know little.
The life-periods of the different subdivisions vary greatly, some being quite short, others much longer than our human life-times. We stand so entirely outside such a life as theirs that it is impossible for us to understand much about its conditions; but it appears on the whole to be a simple, joyous, irresponsible kind of existence, such as a party of happy children might lead among exceptionally favourable physical surroundings. If, however, he declines to be frightened by any of their freaks, they soon accept him as a necessary evil and take no further notice of him, while some among them may even after a time become friendly and manifest pleasure on meeting him.
Some among the many subdivisions of this class are much less childlike and more dignified than those we have been describing, and it is from these sections that the lower types among the entities who have been reverenced under the name of wood-gods, or local village-gods, have been drawn. Stay calm and focused. Think of a door. Thirty-six words of scribbled-down instruction to master a millennia-old spiritual phenomenon—this is the power of a binge-worthy Netflix thriller.
That allure is, in part, how our protagonist Louise Simona Brown gets tricked into evacuating her soul from her physical form, leaving her vulnerable to astral possession by the end of the series. The astral projection and lucid dreaming in Behind Her Eyes is a little silly, a lot technicolored, and perfectly plotted. With the added benefit of visuals, the Netflix series serves up those hat tips toward the paranormal as early as the premiere, when a woman named Louise with a pathological inability to mind her own damn business begins having an affair with a man named David Tom Bateman at the exact same time she befriends his lonely wife, Adele.
It is a wild ride. The final twist—and then the other final twist, and also the final final twist—suggest that we really should have suspected this homicidal Freaky Friday astral body swap all along. A world where astral travel is a commonly accepted spiritual practice , if not a scholarly accepted scientific one. Could lucid dreaming and astral projection really be as simple as counting your fingers before bedtime?
I intend to find out—no matter how many fingers I have to count, Marvel movies I have to watch, waking hours I have to spend lying down, teas I have to drink, experts I have to badger with emails, or astral planes I have to traverse. And, I guess, because the idea of exerting some control over my circumstances during a time when circumstances are so often out of my control sounds pretty damn appealing.
Both astral projection and lucid dreaming are ancient concepts that have points of credibility throughout history. Some of the effects of lucid dreaming are actually backed up by science ; and even as stodgy an entity as the U. Army repeatedly deployed intelligence officers to study astral projection at the Monroe Institute throughout the s, as revealed by declassified CIA documents. Though the practices are often linked in theory, their differences—both in approach and application—are vast.
In fact, it is the practice of putting your body to bed while your mind stays awake. Once outside of the human body, that astral form can travel wherever it wants to in the universe. You do the reality checks, you count the fingers, you focus and stay calm while lucid dreaming, you think of a door, walk through it, and then boom: Your soul is free to travel anywhere you can imagine on the astral plane. Astral travel may not have the practical appeal of teleporting, the obvious health benefits of yoga, or the edge of witchcraft And why would anyone want to astral travel so badly?
The most righteous reason is because the spiritual community sees astral projection as a sort of radical self-care. In the astral realm, adherents say, you can heal grief through encounters with loved ones who have passed on, or embrace the physical manifestations of your past traumas, or gain insights into illnesses and relationships that you can then bring with you back into this reality. The slightly less righteous reason—the one that most on-screen depictions are banking on—is that astral travel is pure escape.
You can do anything you want in the astral realm without the fear of getting arrested or making everybody mad at you. Fistfight with the Rock? You can do that there. Look like Dermot Mulroney? You can do that there! Look like Dylan McDermott? You can also do that there! You can do that there, but be cool about it—ethics still exist in the astral realm.
Eventually I attended a workshop with Jade and she shared with the new astral projectors among us why someone would choose to dedicate their life to teaching others astral projection. How is this possible? Seemingly in this reality! So just the sheer extraordinariness of it is—you want to explore, you want to do it.
Which brings me to my own astral projection journey, and my second, far more elusive astral travel teacher I listen to the Water Magister on a podcast , I check out his Airbnb Experience reviews on hiatus during COVID, but all five stars , and I fire off a message to his website … And when that goes unanswered, I fire off an email to his Gmail address … And when that goes unanswered, I request to follow him on Instagram … And when that goes unaccepted, I send a slightly more desperate email, and start piecing together my own lucid dreaming and astral projection study plan while I wait … INT.
My Living Room—Late Morning, Day 3 Watching Inception on HBO Max I start where any good journalist should when researching an ancient spiritual phenomenon: by sitting down with its most lucrative pop culture interpretation to date.
The plot of Inception is simple. Just kidding, the plot of Inception is nearly incomprehensible—either a work of unique artistic vision, or a hubris-fueled act of dorm-room philosophy, depending on whom you ask.
But I had forgotten that Leo and Co. For my lucid dreaming practice, I have a sound machine that all the most brand-conscious babies use— the Dohm Classic in pink , set to level II, always—and the fool-proof method of a fictional teenager from a Netflix thriller.
Pinch myself and say I am awake once an hour.
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|Etheric plane mountains||Above the astral plane, already familiar to us at Alcalde lay the etheric plane, as the ether lies beyond the stars, while still beyond is the omnic plane, the Loka of the Perfect Silence. Mostly, the Water Magister lets me ask him my rudimentary astral projection questions for 90 minutes, etheric plane mountains me generous, straightforward answers in return. It is entirely without any kind of consciousness or intelligence and drifts passively about upon the astral currents just as a cloud might be swept in any direction by  a passing breeze; but even yet it may be galvanized for a few moments into a ghastly burlesque of life if it plane mountains etheric to come within reach of a medium's aura. It is our duty to open the way to his return to that which is dearer to him than life. But though we have developed beyond that particular form of manifestation of it, the type of person who clings desperately to physical life because he has no certainty that there is any other still persists among us. This latter would be far more distinct and definite — a closer reproduction of the man's physical appearance; while instead of the floating mist-wreath we see a sharply defined ovoid shape, preserving etheric plane mountains form unaffected amidst all the varied currents which are always swirling around it on the astral plane.|
|Crypto wallet statistics||There can be no doubt that in later races or rounds, when mankind as a whole has evolved to a much higher level, the elemental kingdoms will be influenced by the changed thought which continually impinges upon them, and we betting pontianak timur find them no longer hostile, but docile and helpful as we are told that the animal kingdom will also be. With the added benefit of visuals, the Netflix series serves up those hat tips toward the paranormal as early as the premiere, when a woman named Louise with a pathological inability to mind her own damn business mountains having an affair with a man named David Tom Bateman at mountains exact same time she befriends his lonely wife, Adele. Once an individual has attained the meditative state of nirvikalpa mountains in an earthy or astral incarnation, the soul may progress upward to the "illumined astral planet" of Hiranyaloka. As the pupil must by the hypothesis be a man of pure life and high thought, it is probable that in his case these spiritual forces will be of abnormal strength, and therefore if he enters upon this heaven-life, it is likely to be extremely long; but if instead of taking it he chooses the Path of Renunciation thus even at his low level and in his humble way beginning to follow in the footsteps of the Great Master of Renunciation, the Lord GAUTAMA  Buddha Himselfhe is able to expend that reserve of force in quite another direction — to use it for the benefit of mankind, and plane etheric, infinitesimal though his offering may be, to take his tiny part in the great work of the Nirmanakayas. It is all around us at the present moment. Still, comparatively few though they be, they do exist, and it is from their ranks that the still rarer vampire is drawn. Thus he becomes a living power during his astral life, able to carry on the work of helping others as he used to do during his hours of sleep.|
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