Monday, June 24, 2019

Gems From the Esoterica Shelf

When visiting bookstores and antiquarian booksellers I usually look for the shelf labelled Esoterica. In most cases the shelf comprise a mixture of esotericism, occultism, spiritualism, mysticism and New Age literature. On this blog I have often referred to writings from the Esoteric Tradition or science of the multiverse, books which very few investigators of UFOs and paranormal phenomena are acquainted with. For those heretics who wish to take a step further into Forbiddden Science I present a short list of gems from the Esoterica shelf.

If you are a beginner in this study don´t make the common mistake of starting with the classic The Secret Doctrine by Helena P. Blavatsky. In 1973 the meditation group I belonged to decided to read and discuss The Secret Doctrine. We gave up after a few sessions. Although this work contain a mountain of interesting facts it is hopelessly unstructured with an abstruse terminology. Esotericism is the science of the multiverse, the knowledge of reality offered mankind by individuals belonging to the next or fifth kingdom in nature, our future in evolution. It is not some vague form of mysticism but as exact as any academic discipline. It is important to remember the glimpses of this science so far presented by various authors have been more or less successful tests or experiments, implemented by the organization of Planetary Guardians, custodians of this knowledge or Ancient Wisdom. They are far from the pathetic mystics and fanatical ascetics portrayed in much popular occultism and channeling. Of necessity these men and women must at the present time work behind the scenes. If the forces of goodwill and construction on this planet can overcome the perveyors of hate and destruction the Planetary Guardians plan to reveal themselves more openly to humanity.

These volumes should not be regarded as authoritative but read with an open and critical mind, the necessary tool of every serious investigator and esotericist. Even the best authors makes mistakes and have their personal idiosynchrasies. After having studied these books you will have a basic idea of the science and philosophy esotericism.

The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett
Published in 1923 by A. Trevor Barker, this book includes all the letters written by two members of the Planetary Guardians, known as M. And K.H. between 1880- 1884. The letters are now housed in the British Library. Basic facts of the esoteric science and much discussion of the problems of revealing themselves, their work and organization to humanity.
”In common with many you blame us for our great secrecy. Yet we know something of human nature, for the experience of long centuries – aye, ages, has taught us. And we know, that so long as science has anything to learn, and a shadow of religious dogmatism lingers in the heart of the multitudes, the world´s prejudices have to be conquered step by step, not by a rush.” (The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, Letter no 1, Oct. 15, 1880, p. 3).

Charles Leadbeater, The Astral Plane (1895)
A clairvoyant study of the inhabitants of the astral plane by Theosophist Charles Leadbeater. This, in my view, is the most comprehensive and detailed taxonomy of non-human entities and phenomena from the multiverse perspective of the Esoteric Tradition. In his introduction C. Jinarajadasa mentions that this was also the opinion of one of the adepts who consequently wanted a copy of the manuscript for the "Museum of Records of the Great White Brotherhood". The Astral Plane was regarded as a "landmark in the intellectual history of humanity." It is a study of great interest to all investigators of UFOs and paranormal phenomena. This quote regarding nature spirits is interesting to compare with John Keel´s theory of the deceptive ultraterrestrials:
"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... 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... in most cases when they come into contact with man they either show indifference or dislike, or else take an impish delight in deceiving him and playing childish tricks upon him." (p. 111-112).

Geoffrey Hodson, Fairies at Work and at Play (1925)
This charming little book is the first written by clairvoyant Theosophist Geoffrey Hodson. He is the author of over fifty titles on Theosophy, psychic powers, spiritualism, meditation and many other subjects. Perhaps best known for his clairvoyant studies of nature spirits and devas. In april 1922 he observed several sylphs or air-spirits. The close resemblance to the famous Mothman, encountered in West Virginia 1966-1967 is fascinating:
”Watching the approach across the valley of some dense storm-clouds, the presence was observed of a number of bird-like air-spirits travelling swiftly in front of the approaching clouds. Many of them are dark and unpleasant to look upon – slightly reminiscent of bats… Their faces are human and well formed, their expression is unpleasant; the rest of the body is not fully formed, and they rather resemble birds with human faces… They utter a weird shrieking noise, and occasionally shoot almost vertically upwards into and beyond the clouds… It is evident that there are many different species of storm-sylphs, varying in size, power, and evolutionary position.” (Geoffrey Hodson, Fairies at Work and at Play, pp. 84-85).

Cyril Scott, The Initiate (1920)
In the 1920s and 30s three books excited enormous interest, especially among Theosophists and those interested in the Esoteric Tradition. They were first published pseudonymously, "by his pupil", but later editions gave the actual name of the author, Cyril Scott (1879-1970), English composer, writer and poet. The trilogy was named in sequence The Initiate. Some Impressions of a Great Soul (1920), The Initiate in the New World (1927) and The Initiate in the Dark Cycle (1932). The Initiate trilogy is the life story of Charles Broadbent (Cyril Scott) and his involvement with a man, Justin Morewood Haig, to whom he is introduced in wordly London. Haig seems as first to be as other men but Broadbent soon comes to realize he is an initiate and accepts to be his pupil. The books combine the personal life history of Broadbent with the teachings given by Haig. The Initiate trilogy is a treasure trove of esoteric wisdom and sound psychological insights and advice, presented in a somewhat unusual context but easy and fascinating to read.
"Level - headedness and good sound common sense are what I try to instill into my pupils before I encourage them to peep into the hidden realms. A thorough grounding in philosophy is the first thing to be acquired- otherwise one’s up against hysteria and imagination of a wrong type, and all the other evils we know so well. I know of women who come down to breakfast every morning with the story of some wonderful vision they’ve had in the night, in which some supposed ‘Master’ has appeared and given them ‘teaching’, it turns out to be sheer nonsense or some moral platitude. Well, well- it is fortunate we gurus have a sense of humour.” (The Initiate in the New World, p. 48).

Theodore Illion, In Secret Tibet (1937)
In Secret Tibet is the story of Theodore Illion´s travel in disguise in Tibet in the 1930s, meeting hermits, lamas and the somewhat more mysterious few "wise men". For many years I have been very intrigued by his two books In Secret Tibet (1937, orig. Rätselhaftes Tibet, 1936) and Darkness Over Tibet (1937). Using the pseudonym Theodore Burang he also wrote several books and articles on Tibetan medicine. There are no definite data to confirm that Theodore Illion ever visited Tibet in the 1930s. There have been some speculation that he relied on the information in the books by Alexandra David-Neel, published in the 1920s, and simply used the travelogue about Tibet as a way to present his philosophy. Whatever the truth the books by Theodore Illion are a treasure trove of wisdom. Anyone thoroughly acquainted with the Esoteric Tradition will here find a kindred soul. I do find it amazing that Illion at his young age could have such extraordinary deep insights into esoteric philosophy, coupled with a critical mind and wonderful humour.
"I travelled in Tibet neither as a Christian nor as a Buddhist. I did not look at things there merely with the eyes of the scientist or the philosopher. I tried to examine things in an absolutely unprejudiced way. I do not belong to any sect, party, or denomination." " interest in Tibet was centered around the reality of Tibetan mysteries and psychical phenomena." (p. 18).
And I love his humor: "I am a non-smoker. I only smoke in the company of people who consider non-smoking a virtue". (p. 31).

Robert A. Heinlein, Lost Legacy (1941)
The novel, Lost Legacy, by science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) has been one of my absolute favourite novels since I first read it many years ago. It was originally published in the November 1941 issue of Super Science Stories and later included in the collection Assignment in Eternity. I know of few novels that reveal such a deep and innate understanding of esoteric philosophy. An accomplished and erudite esotericist could hardly have done a better job. The narrative centers around a trio from a California university, Dr. Philip Huxley, professor of Psychology, Dr. Ben Coburn, neurosurgeon, and Joan Freeman, student of Psychology. They discover psychic abilities in one another and theorize that all humans possess these faculties as potentialities. This trio of heretic academics decides on a road trip to Mount Shasta. Climbing the mountain Ben Coburn falls on a slippery cliff and receives a fracture of the shin bone. A tall, elderly man appears from nowhere and offer his help. The group are led through a passageway into the mountain where they find themselves in a living room, illuminated by indirect lightning. They spend the night in this room and in the morning Ben´s wound has mysteriously and completely healed. They are then introduced to the around thirty persons resident in several rooms, men and women of different ages and nationalities. Philip, Ben and Joan are then briefed on the history of the community, their philosophy, inner powers and work in the world. They are custodians of the Ancient Wisdom and have for ages worked behind the scenes to further the cultural and spiritual evolution of man on planet earth.
"... the forces that killed enlightenment in the rest of the world are spreading here. Little by little they have whittled away human liberty and human dignity. A repressive law... a blind dogma, to be accepted under pain of persecution... You see, sir, our antagonists don´t wait. They are active all the time. They´ve won i Asia, they are in the ascendancy in Europe, they may win here in America... With the aid of the archives they (Philip, Ben, Joan) learned the techniques byt which the brotherhood of adepts had interceded in the past when freedom of thought and action in America had been threatened." (p.p. 65, 88-90).

Alice Bailey

Alice Bailey, Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle (1950)
The books by Alice Bailey, amanuencis for the Tibetan adept D.K. are generally not for beginners in esoteric study. Telepathy and  the Etheric Vehicle is an exception. It was actually the first Alice Bailey book I stumbled across 1973 at an antiquarian bookseller in Norrköping, Sweden. The balanced approach and sound advice regarding paranormal phenomena and experiences makes this volume an important contribution to esotericism. Naive devotees of channeling should listen to this advice:
”Messages emanating from the relatively nice, well-trained subconscious nature of the recipient. These well up from the subconscious but are regarded by the recipient as coming from an outside source. Introspective people frequently penetrate into the layer of subconscious recollection and are quite unaware of so doing. Their interest in themselves is so intense. Not knowing that they have done this, they regard what they find as unusual, beautiful and important, and then proceed to formulate it into messages, which they expect their friends and the general public to regard as spiritually based. These messages are normally innocuous, sometimes beautiful, because they are a mixture of what the recipients have read and gathered from the mystical writing or have heard from Christian sources and the Bible. It is really the content of their right thinking along spiritual lines and can do no one any harm, but is of no true importance whatsoever. It accounts, however, for eighty-five percent (85%) of the so-called telepathic or inspired writings so prevalent at this time.” (Alice Bailey, Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle, pp. 75-76).

Henry T. Laurency

Henry T. Laurency, Knowledge of Reality (1961)
HenryT. Laurency (Henrik von Zeipel, 1882-1971) was an exceptional intellectual who studied philosophy at Uppsala University. His teachers were the famous Swedish philosophers Axel Hägerström and Karl Hedvall. With this background and most assuredly inspiration from one of the planetary adepts he was able to formulate the esoteric worldview in such a clear and scientific language, with a new terminology, that his books can appeal to academic scholars and humanist intellectuals. His presentation of esoteric philosophy is in an international perspective of a quality unsurpassed. I assume that the international academic community of esoteric scholars will soon discover Laurency as he is a extraordinary intellectual and a fascinating iconoclast even among esotericists because of his harsh, almost Blavatskyan, criticism of other authors in the genre. His criticism of other authors and writing style can be a stumbling block for the more emotional new age mystics but his books are not for the general public. Laurency is addressing the intellectual and cultural elite, His comments on science, philosophy, religion and cultural issues reveal a profound and penetrating knowledge.
"The Knowledge of Reality is not my work, even though I was the instrument holding the pen that wrote it, and was made to rewrite every page until the content was approved as being correctly perceived." (Knowledge of Life. Four. Online version, p. 17).

For the critical student to accept the esoteric worldview as a paradigm or working hypothesis most scholars would probably need some form of empirical data indicating a multiverse. To me the empirical evidence became obvious when investigating UFO and paranormal phenomena. But of course a bridge to esotericism could be found by researching a number of borderland phenomena: healing, out-of-body experiences, remote viewing, materializations etc. In my many blog entries I have tried to show that accepting esotericism as a working hypothesis does not imply irrationalism or a loss of intellectual integrity. UFO researchers such as Jacques Vallee and Allen Hynek have entertained similar ideas. The UFO community have much to learn by a study of the Esoteric Tradition. I predict many heureka moments for those heretical investigators who wish to follow this path in research.