There is little doubt of the possibility of developing the power to "see things" of an unusual and unlooked for nature, if a certain course of action is persisted in. The drunkard proves this possibility beyond shadow of doubt. But as to the value of what is then perceived, and even the value of what we may perceive as a result of our concentrated attention on the crystal, that requires further consideration, and a careful decision on the part of the would-be seer, as to what he is prepared to accept as truth, and what he is willing to reject as valueless, despite -- perhaps -- its fascinating appearance.
Here we find ourselves in much deeper waters, but it will be well worth while to give the matter careful consideration, for it is written: "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
We cannot afford to take any chances of exchanging The Soul -- our Greater Crystalline Sphere -- for any lesser consideration that may fascinate us by means of reflection in our Glass Globe or Lesser Crystalline Sphere.
Mr. Melville, while pointing out in his little book that the ancient and more elaborate methods of using the Crystal involve a great deal more preparation, and possibly more danger on account of the fact that in olden times the Seers did not use the Crystal so much as a means to personal clairvoyance, as in order to compel the actual presence of certain genii or spirits in the crystal, and to obtain therefrom answers to such questions as might be propounded by the querent rather discounts the value of the more practical application therein implied.
He says "That as the ordinary experimenter of today has no desire to compel the presence of a spiritual being in the crystal, it is quite unnecessary for him or her to draw magic circles, or to go to the trouble and expense of acquiring and using special or costly apparatus, with the exception of the crystal itself." But, after all, let us pay a little attention to what we are doing, before we accept too readily the statement that a certain degree of trouble and expense are unnecessary and the assurance that we can place reliance on the results obtained by the simple method of gazing into the crystal and taking a chance as to what we see presented to our inner vision. The Ancients, generally speaking, were not half so easily deceived as many moderns who dabble in arts and sciences with very little real knowledge as to what they are undertaking or expect as a result.
I can do no better than quote a brief article which appeared in an American Magazine, written by The Master Therion, on:
THE OUIJA BOARD.
"Suppose a perfect stranger came into your office and proceeded to give orders to your staff. Suppose a strange woman walked into your drawing room and insisted on being hostess. You would be troubled by this. Yet, people sit down and offer the use of their brains and hands (which are, after all, more important than offices and drawing rooms) to any stray intelligences that may be wandering about. People use the Ouija Board without taking the slightest precautions.
"The establishment of the identity of a spirit by ordinary methods is a very difficult problem, but the majority of people who play at Occultism do not even worry about this, They get something, and it does not seem to matter what! Every inanity, every stupidity, every piece of rubbish, is taken not only on its face value, but at an utterly exaggerated value. The most appallingly bad poetry will pass for Shelly, if only its authentication be that of a planchette! There is, however a good way of using this instrument to get what you want, and that is to perform the whole operation in a consecrated circle, so that undesirable aliens cannot interfere with it. You should then employ the proper magical invocation in order to get into your circle the one spirit that you want. It is comparatively easy to do this. A few simple instructions are all that is necessary, and I shall be pleased to give these, free of charge, to anyone who cares to apply.
"It is not particularly easy to get the spirit of a dead man, because the human soul, being divine, is not amenable to the control of other human souls; and it is further not legitimate or desirable to do it. But what can be done is to pick up the astral remains of the dead man from the Akasha and to build them up into a concrete mind. This operation, again, is not, particularly profitable. The only legitimate work in this line is to get into touch with the really high intelligences, such as we call Gods, Archangels, and the like. These can give real information as to what is most necessary for our progress. And it is written in the Oracles of Zoroaster that unto the Persevering Mortal the Blessed Immortals are swift."
* * *
Here, for the case of the Ouija Board applies equally to the Crystal, we find a masterly common-sense explanation of why the ancient and modern adepts resort to more careful, if more elaborate, methods to insure proper results. The danger lies in failure to adopt them, rather than the reverse.
But, after all, we have been considering the crystal chiefly as an aid to the development of our Inner Self, rather than the possibility of Divination by its means. In this course we should persist for the present.
In Melville's work we find a Plate showing the operator seated before his table with his gaze fixed upon the crystal (which being on a stand is nearly at the level of his eyes), while the rays of magnetism, following the line of vision focussed in the eyes, spread out slightly till they reach the crystal, then widely diverge as representing the Universal attraction of the Crystal itself. In other words, The Universal forces and the Human forces meet at the point of the Crystal and thus produce the vision.
Up to this point we had only taken into consideration the Lesser Crystalline Sphere, and the Greater one, or The Soul of Man, but had left out of account the Corresponding Sphere of a Universal Nature. This will be dealt with more fully in its proper place, meanwhile a few words may be said on the modus operandi of bringing the enquirer into direct contact with the crystal, and through its medium, with the unseen world. Melville suggests:
"(1) By Concentration in the Crystal of the greatest possible influx of celestial or terrestrial magnetism, or both.
"(2) By Concentration in the Body of the operator of unalloyed magnetism, through the purity of the amatory functions.
"(3) By Concentration of the Mind, through the mental faculty of "Concentrativeness," acting through the Phrenolegical Brain "centre" located in the superior portion of the First Occipital convolution of the Cerebrum."
All the above, it will be seen, imply CONCENTRATION, and this is all focussed in the Crystal.
The real key to the reference to our "amatory functions" is that we must "fall in love with the object of our work" for Love is the tendency of any two things to become one, thus losing themselves in a third idea, different from either of them. When the experimenter has so concentrated his attention on the crystal that no other idea enters his mind, the SEER and the SEEN, as it were, rush together and blend into a vision of a more Universal Order. Self and the Crystal are both forgotten when this "marriage" takes place.
Now comes an interesting question. Is it necessary that the crystal or other magical link or material basis be within sight of the operator at all? Again, may the concentration of the mind of the operator on a point within his own being produce similar, perhaps better results? In other words, is the crystal but a means towards CONCENTRATION OF MIND, which when accomplished may be better transferred to some other centre or focal point.
In regard to the question of the magical link the author may quote one of his own early experiences which may be of interest to some other students.
On May 28th, 1914 between 10:10 and 10:35 P. M. his Magical Record shows that in accordance with instructions received from the great Order of which he was then a Neophyte, he was attempting to answer the following Examination Question from a series of practical questions forming part of the task of his Grade.
"Discover by means of Astral Visions the nature of the Alchemical principles Sulphur, Mercury, and Salt. How do they differ from the Three Gunas and from the Elements Fire, Water and Air?"
Without going into the means of Astral Vision (not the crystal) or the early part of the visions, we may quote the following entry from his record:
"Thirdly, I considered "Salt" and there came a vision of a ship upon the sea, this ship presently struck a rock and was sucked down into the depths of, the ocean, to rise no more. And I meditated upon this, as the action of Tamas, sloth. Once strike the "Earth" and its "Waters" (or Tamas) will draw you down and hold you fast, more surely than either the energy of Sulphur or the calm of Mercury."
"May 29th, 1914. Last night, after entering diary about 11:5 P. M. I felt very cold indeed, and went over to the next camp to fetch R. I was still shivering when I went to bed. This morning, at the Railway Station, I heard of the sinking of 'The Empress of Ireland'.
"It was not until after my arrival at the office that I remembered the vision I obtained last night, when it suddenly flashed across my mind as a strange coincidence. On further thought I noticed the time (10:15 to 10:30 P. M. Vancouver British Columbia.) exactly corresponded to 2:30 A. M. at Quebec where the time is 4 hours different. The "Empress" went down at 2:30 A. M."
I thought this of sufficient interest from a scientific point of view (although the vision had come to me merely as a Symbol of the Element, Water) to take a little trouble to prove that I had recorded the vision before I could possibly have heard of the accident and within 10 minutes of the actual event the other side of the Continent, so I got a friend to fetch my diary from home and to witness the fact of the entry.
Was the thought form produced by the occurrence transmitted to me while in a receptive state of mind; and had the shivering anything to do with the condition?
Now comes the interesting point. All the above may have been coincidence, but I was interested, some months later, to receive a letter marked "RECOVERED BY DIVERS FROM THE WRECK OF THE EMPRESS OF IRELAND" and returned with the Government stamp to that effect thereon. This letter turned out to be the one I had written to Fra. 0. M. on May 21st INFORMING HIM THAT I WAS ABOUT TO COMMENCE THIS SERIES OF EXPERIMENTS." (See Figures II and III.)
In the above instance the LETTER containing the magnetism of the writer, seems to have been a sufficient link, at a distance of thousands of miles, to produce a SYMBOLIC VISION of the nature sometimes seen in Crystals.
But it must be remembered that the mind of the Seer chanced at that time to be CONCENTRATED, not on the lesser crystal but within His Greater Crystalline Sphere, the Astral portion of his Sphere of Sensation, or MAGIC MIRROR OF THE UNIVERSE.
This, in the properly trained Seer, becomes of far greater importance than the exterior crystal globe, for although it but reflects the Higher Visions, it does so directly not by relays. Also it is more like a Hollow Sphere at the CENTRE of which is the CONSCIOUSNESS of the OPERATOR.
We may now consider how the Ancients looked upon the Universe as to its formation. Their plan does not tally with modern scientific ideas, but it was probably the result of their own experience of Higher Planes, and as before stated, however perfect the Vision it to not true when brought down to this plane.
According to the anonymous author of "The Canon," the cosmos of the Christians, according to late writers, but presumably derived from the tradition of the ancient church, consisted of three principal divisions: First, there were the three circles of the empyreum, secondly, the sphere of the fixed stars, together with the seven planets; and, lastly the sublunary, or elementary world.
The accompanying diagram and description will make the matter clear. At the Centre of their conception is the Earth, or Elementary Kingdom, around which circled the Moon. Outside this, is a series of concentric spheres of the Planetary Influences. First Mercury, then Venus, The Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, beyond which great sphere is to be found that of the Zodiac or Star Universe. BUT OUTSIDE THAT AGAIN is what they conceived as THE CRYSTALLINE SPHERE, as it were the Magic Mirror of Heaven about which was the Primum Mobile or Whirling Motion and Finally the Great Unknown Empyreum. (See Figure IV.)
If we can get but a faint conception of this UNIVERSAL CRYSTALLINE SPHERE, we shall be well repaid for the trouble and pains we may be at to accomplish this. In order that we may attain to that Perfect Clear Vision, known to the Adepts, we must learn to receive the Light of this Universal Sphere in the Crystal Soul of our own being, thus obtaining true Knowledge of the Higher Self, and finally of God and The Universe.
We may well stand in awe before the greatness of this conception, as compared - perhaps - with the aims we set out to accomplish at the beginning of our practice. Yet "The soul of man is immortal, and its future Is the future of a thing whose growth and splendour have no limit. The principle that gives life dwells In us, and without us, is undying and eternally beneficent, is not heard or seen or felt, but is perceived by the man who desires perception. Each man is his own absolute law-giver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself, the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment." (Idyll of the White Lotus.)
And we, each and every one, must choose for him or herself, whether we linger on the way, or with untiring effort press onward to the true goal of Clear Vision.