It would seem that Madame Blavatsky had constantly in mind, in preparing her first major work for publication, the need to demonstrate to the educated reader of her day that what she had to say was indeed "no new candidate for the world's attention". Each chapter of Isis Unveiled is introduced by a selection of extracts from respected sources ancient and contemporary, which demonstrate that neither the attitudes displayed nor the information given by her were without precedent. The final chapter is headed by several such quotations, of which one is given here. The chapter begins with an attempt to summarize the main features of the oriental philosophy as presented in the two volumes of Isis. However, as indicated earlier, Madame Blavatsky was at this period experimenting with the mass of material at her command and trying to find out how to give it to the world. Consequently, there is no clear sifting of fundamental principles from secondary detail and illustration. The contrast between this first attempt at a numbered summary and the later statements in The Secret Doctrine is striking evidence of her own development as both pupil and teacher.
A Ten-point Summary
"The problem of life is man. Magic, or rather Wisdom, is the evolved knowledge of the potencies of man's interior being; which forces are Divine emanations, as intuition is the perception of their origin, and initiation our induction into that knowledge .... We begin with instinct: the end is OMNISCIENCE".(v2 p587)
It would argue small discernment on our part were we to suppose that we had been followed thus far through this work by any but metaphysicians, or mystics of some sort. Were it otherwise, we should certainly advise such to spare themselves the trouble of reading this chapter; for, although nothing is said that is not strictly true, they would not fail to regard the least wonderful of the narratives as absolutely false, however substantiated.
To comprehend the principles of natural law involved in the several phenomena hereinafter described, the reader must keep in mind the fundamental propositions of the oriental philosophy which we have successively elucidated. Let us recapitulate very briefly:
1st. There is no miracle. Everything that happens is the result of law - eternal, immutable, ever active. Apparent miracle is but the operation of forces antagonistic to what Dr. W. B. Carpenter, F.R.S. - a man of great learning but little knowledge - calls "the well-ascertained laws of nature". Like many of his class, Dr. Carpenter ignores the fact that there may be laws once "known", now unknown to science.
2nd. Nature is triune: there is a visible, objective nature; an invisible, indwelling, energizing nature, the exact model of the other and its vital principle; and, above these two, spirit, source of all forces, alone eternal and indestructible. The lower two constantly change; the higher third does not.
3rd. Man is also triune; he has his objective, physical body; his vitalizing astral body (or soul), the real man; and these two are brooded over and illuminated by the third - the sovereign, the immortal spirit. When the real man succeeds in merging himself with the latter, he becomes an immortal entity.
4th. Magic, as a science, is the knowledge of these principles and of the way by which the omniscience and omnipotence of the spirit and its control over nature's forces may be acquired by the individual while still in the body. Magic, as an art, is the application of this knowledge in practice.
5th. Arcane knowledge misapplied is sorcery; beneficently used, true magic or WISDOM.
6th. Mediumship is the opposite of adeptship; the medium is the passive instrument of foreign influences, the adept actively controls himself and all inferior potencies.
7th. All things that ever were, that are, or that will be, have their record upon the astral light, or tablet of the unseen universe; the initiated adept, by using the vision of his own spirit, can know all that has been known or can be known.
8th. Races of men differ in spiritual gifts as in colour, stature or any other external quality; among some peoples seership naturally prevails, among others mediumship. Some are addicted to sorcery and transmit its secret rules of practice from generation to generation, with a range of psychical phenomena, more or less wide, as the result.
9th. One phase of magical skill is the voluntary and conscious withdrawal of the inner man (astral form) from the outer man (physical body). In the cases of some mediums withdrawal occurs, but it is unconscious and involuntary. With the latter the body is more or less cataleptic at such times; but with the adept the absence of the astral form would not be noticed, for the physical senses are alert and the individual appears only as though in a fit of abstraction - "a brown study", as some call it.
10th. The corner-stone of MAGIC is an intimate practical knowledge of magnetism and electricity, their qualities, correlations and potencies. Especially necessary is a familiarity with their effects in and upon the animal kingdom and man. There are occult properties in many other minerals equally as strange as that in the lodestone, which all practitioners of magic must know, and of which so-called exact science is wholly ignorant. Plants also have like mystical properties in a most wonderful degree, and the secrets of the herbs, of dreams and enchantments are only lost to European science, and needless to say, too, are unknown to it, except in a few marked instances, such as opium and hashish. Yet the psychical effects of even these few upon the human system are regarded as evidences of a temporary mental disorder. The women of Thessaly and Epirus, the female hierophants of the rites of Sabazius, did not carry their secrets away with the downfall of their sanctuaries. They are still preserved, and those who are aware of the nature of Soma know the properties of other plants as well.
To sum up all in a few words, MAGIC is spiritual WISDOM; nature, the material ally, pupil and servant of the magician. One common vital principle pervades all things, and this is controllable by the perfected human will. The adept can stimulate the movements of the natural forces in plants and animals in a preternatural degree. Such experiments are not obstructions of nature, but quickenings; the conditions of intenser vital action are given.
The adept can control the sensations and alter the conditions of the physical and astral bodies of other persons not adepts; he can also govern and employ as he chooses the spirits of the elements. He cannot control the immortal spirit of any human being, living or dead, for all such spirits are alike sparks of the Divine Essence and not subject to any foreign domination.(v2 p590)
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