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Clairvoyance In Space: Intentional
Clairvoyance In Space: Semi-intentional
Clairvoyance In Space: Unintentional
Clairvoyance In Time: The Future
Clairvoyance In Time: The Past
Methods Of Development
Simple Clairvoyance: Full
Simple Clairvoyance: Partial
What Clairvoyance Is



Simple Clairvoyance: Full








We have defined this as a mere opening of etheric or astral sight,
which enables the possessor to see whatever may be present around him
on corresponding levels, but is not usually accompanied by the power
of seeing anything at a great distance or of reading either the past
or the future. It is hardly possible altogether to exclude these
latter faculties, for astral sight necessarily has considerably
greater extension than physical, and fragmentary pictures of both past
and future are often casually visible even to clairvoyants who do not
know how to seek specially for them; but there is nevertheless a very
real distinction between such incidental glimpses and the definite
power of projection of the sight either in space or time.

We find among sensitive people all degrees of this kind of
clairvoyance, from that of the man who gets a vague impression which
hardly deserves the name of sight at all, up to the full possession of
etheric and astral vision respectively. Perhaps the simplest method
will be for us to begin by describing what would be visible in the
case of this fuller development of the power, as the cases of its
partial possession will then be seen to fall naturally into their
places.

Let us take the etheric vision first. This consists simply, as has
already been said, in susceptibility to a far larger series of
physical vibrations than ordinary, but nevertheless its possession
brings into view a good deal to which the majority of the human race
still remains blind. Let us consider what changes its acquisition
produces in the aspect of familiar objects, animate and inanimate, and
then see to what entirely new factors it introduces us. But it must be
remembered that what I am about to describe is the result of the full
and perfectly-controlled possession of the faculty only, and that most
of the instances met with in real life will be likely to fall far
short of it in one direction or another.

The most striking change produced in the appearance of inanimate
objects by the acquisition of this faculty is that most of them become
almost transparent, owing to the difference in wave-length of some of
the vibrations to which the man has now become susceptible. He finds
himself capable of performing with the utmost ease the proverbial feat
of "seeing through a brick wall," for to his newly-acquired vision the
brick wall seems to have a consistency no greater than that of a
light mist. He therefore sees what is going on in an adjoining room
almost as though no intervening wall existed; he can describe with
accuracy the contents of a locked box, or read a sealed letter; with a
little practice he can find a given passage in a closed book. This
last feat, though perfectly easy to astral vision, presents
considerable difficulty to one using etheric sight, because of the
fact that each page has to be looked at through all those which
happen to be superimposed upon it.

It is often asked whether under these circumstances a man sees always
with this abnormal sight, or only when he wishes to do so. The answer
is that if the faculty is perfectly developed it will be entirely
under his control, and he can use that or his more ordinary vision at
will. He changes from one to the other as readily and naturally as we
now change the focus of our eyes when we look up from our book to
follow the motions of some object a mile away. It is, as it were, a
focussing of consciousness on the one or the other aspect of what is
seen; and though the man would have quite clearly in his view the
aspect upon which his attention was for the moment fixed, he would
always be vaguely conscious of the other aspect too, just as when we
focus our sight upon any object held in our hands we yet vaguely see
the opposite wall of the room as a background.

Another curious change, which comes from the possession of this sight,
is that the solid ground upon which the man walks becomes to a certain
extent transparent to him, so that he is able to see down into it to a
considerable depth, much as we can now see into fairly clear water.
This enables him to watch a creature burrowing underground, to
distinguish a vein of coal or of metal if not too far below the
surface, and so on.

The limit of etheric sight when looking through solid matter appears
to be analogous to that imposed upon us when looking through water or
mist. We cannot see beyond a certain distance, because the medium
through which we are looking is not perfectly transparent.

The appearance of animate objects is also considerably altered for the
man who has increased his visual powers to this extent. The bodies of
men and animals are for him in the main transparent, so that he can
watch the action of the various internal organs, and to some extent
diagnose some of their diseases.

The extended sight also enables him to perceive, more or less clearly,
various classes of creatures, elemental and otherwise, whose bodies
are not capable of reflecting any of the rays within the limit of the
spectrum as ordinarily seen. Among the entities so seen will be some
of the lower orders of nature-spirits--those whose bodies are composed
of the denser etheric matter. To this class belong nearly all the
fairies, gnomes, and brownies, about whom there are still so many
stories remaining among Scotch and Irish mountains and in remote
country places all over the world.

The vast kingdom of nature-spirits is in the main an astral kingdom,
but still there is a large section of it which appertains to the
etheric part of the physical plane, and this section, of course, is
much more likely to come within the ken of ordinary people than the
others. Indeed, in reading the common fairy stories one frequently
comes across distinct indications that it is with this class that we
are dealing. Any student of fairy lore will remember how often mention
is made of some mysterious ointment or drug, which when applied to a
man's eyes enables him to see the members of the fairy commonwealth
whenever he happens to meet them.

The story of such an application and its results occurs so constantly
and comes from so many different parts of the world that there must
certainly be some truth behind it, as there always is behind really
universal popular tradition. Now no such anointing of the eyes alone
could by any possibility open a man's astral vision, though certain
ointments rubbed over the whole body will very greatly assist the
astral body to leave the physical in full consciousness--a fact the
knowledge of which seems to have survived even to mediaeval times, as
will be seen from the evidence given at some of the trials for
witchcraft. But the application to the physical eye might very easily
so stimulate its sensitiveness as to make it susceptible to some of
the etheric vibrations.

The story frequently goes on to relate how when the human being who
has used this mystical ointment betrays his extended vision in some
way to a fairy, the latter strikes or stabs him in the eye, thus
depriving him not only of the etheric sight, but of that of the denser
physical plane as well. (See The Science of Fairy Tales, by E. S.
Hartland, in the "Contemporary Science" series--or indeed almost any
extensive collection of fairy stories.) If the sight acquired had been
astral, such a proceeding would have been entirely unavailing, for no
injury to the physical apparatus would affect an astral faculty; but
if the vision produced by the ointment were etheric, the destruction
of the physical eye would in most cases at once extinguish it, since
that is the mechanism by means of which it works.

Anyone possessing this sight of which we are speaking would also be
able to perceive the etheric double of man; but since this is so
nearly identical in size with the physical, it would hardly be likely
to attract his attention unless it were partially projected in trance
or under the influence of anaesthetics. After death, when it withdraws
entirely from the dense body, it would be clearly visible to him, and
he would frequently see it hovering over newly made graves as he
passed through a churchyard or cemetery. If he were to attend a
spiritualistic seance he would see the etheric matter oozing out from
the side of the medium, and could observe the various ways in which
the communicating entities make use of it.

Another fact which could hardly fail soon to thrust itself upon his
notice would be the extension of his perception of colour. He would
find himself able to see several entirely new colours, not in the
least resembling any of those included in the spectrum as we at
present know it, and therefore of course quite indescribable in any
terms at our command. And not only would he see new objects that were
wholly of these new colours, but he would also discover that
modifications had been introduced into the colour of many objects with
which he was quite familiar, according to whether they had or had not
some tinge of these new hues intermingled with the old. So that two
surfaces of colour which to ordinary eyes appeared to match perfectly
would often present distinctly different shades to his keener sight.

We have now touched upon some of the principal changes which would be
introduced into a man's world when he gained etheric sight; and it
must always be remembered that in most cases a corresponding change
would at the same time be brought about in his other senses also, so
that he would be capable of hearing, and perhaps even of feeling, more
than most of those around him. Now supposing that in addition to this
he obtained the sight of the astral plane, what further changes would
be observable?

Well, the changes would be many and great; in fact, a whole new world
would open before his eyes. Let us consider its wonders briefly in the
same order as before, and see first what difference there would be in
the appearance of inanimate objects. On this point I may begin by
quoting a recent quaint answer given in The Vahan.

"There is a distinct difference between etheric sight and astral
sight, and it is the latter which seems to correspond to the fourth
dimension.

"The easiest way to understand the difference is to take an example.
If you looked at a man with both the sights in turn, you would see the
buttons at the back of his coat in both cases; only if you used
etheric sight you would see them through him, and would see the
shank-side as nearest to you, but if you looked astrally, you would
see it not only like that, but just as if you were standing behind the
man as well.

"Or if you were looking etherically at a wooden cube with writing on
all its sides, it would be as though the cube were glass, so that you
could see through it, and you would see the writing on the opposite
side all backwards, while that on the right and left sides would not
be clear to you at all unless you moved, because you would see it
edgewise. But if you looked at it astrally you would see all the sides
at once, and all the right way up, as though the whole cube had been
flattened out before you, and you would see every particle of the
inside as well--not through the others, but all flattened out. You
would be looking at it from another direction, at right angles to all
the directions that we know.

"If you look at the back of a watch etherically you see all the wheels
through it, and the face through them, but backwards; if you look at
it astrally, you see the face right way up and all the wheels lying
separately, but nothing on the top of anything else."

Here we have at once the keynote, the principal factor of the change;
the man is looking at everything from an absolutely new point of view,
entirely outside of anything that he has ever imagined before. He has
no longer the slightest difficulty in reading any page in a closed
book, because he is not now looking at it through all the other pages
before it or behind it, but is looking straight down upon it as though
it were the only page to be seen. The depth at which a vein of metal
or of coal may lie is no longer a barrier to his sight of it, because
he is not now looking through the intervening depth of earth at all.
The thickness of a wall, or the number of walls intervening between
the observer and the object, would make a great deal of difference to
the clearness of the etheric sight; they would make no difference
whatever to the astral sight, because on the astral plane they would
not intervene between the observer and the object. Of course that
sounds paradoxical and impossible, and it is quite inexplicable to a
mind not specially trained to grasp the idea; yet it is none the less
absolutely true.

This carries us straight into the middle of the much-vexed question of
the fourth dimension--a question of the deepest interest, though one
that we cannot pretend to discuss in the space at our disposal. Those
who wish to study it as it deserves are recommended to begin with Mr.
C. H. Hinton's Scientific Romances or Dr. A. T. Schofield's Another
World, and then follow on with the former author's larger work, A
New Era of Thought. Mr. Hinton not only claims to be able himself to
grasp mentally some of the simpler fourth-dimensional figures, but
also states that anyone who will take the trouble to follow out his
directions may with perseverance acquire that mental grasp likewise. I
am not certain that the power to do this is within the reach of
everyone, as he thinks, for it appears to me to require considerable
mathematical ability; but I can at any rate bear witness that the
tesseract or fourth-dimensional cube which he describes is a reality,
for it is quite a familiar figure upon the astral plane. He has now
perfected a new method of representing the several dimensions by
colours instead of by arbitrary written symbols. He states that this
will very much simplify the study, as the reader will be able to
distinguish instantly by sight any part or feature of the tesseract. A
full description of this new method, with plates, is said to be ready
for the press, and is expected to appear within a year, so that
intending students of this fascinating subject might do well to await
its publication.

I know that Madame Blavatsky, in alluding to the theory of the fourth
dimension, has expressed an opinion that it is only a clumsy way of
stating the idea of the entire permeability of matter, and that Mr. W.
T. Stead has followed along the same lines, presenting the conception
to his readers under the name of throughth. Careful, oft-repeated
and detailed investigation does, however, seem to show quite
conclusively that this explanation does not cover all the facts. It is
a perfect description of etheric vision, but the further and quite
different idea of the fourth dimension as expounded by Mr. Hinton is
the only one which gives any kind of explanation down here of the
constantly-observed facts of astral vision. I would therefore venture
deferentially to suggest that when Madame Blavatsky wrote as she did,
she had in mind etheric vision and not astral, and that the extreme
applicability of the phrase to this other and higher faculty, of which
she was not at the moment thinking, did not occur to her.

The possession of this extraordinary and scarcely expressible power,
then, must always be borne in mind through all that follows. It lays
every point in the interior of every solid body absolutely open to the
gaze of the seer, just as every point in the interior of a circle lies
open to the gaze of a man looking down upon it.

But even this is by no means all that it gives to its possessor. He
sees not only the inside as well as the outside of every object, but
also its astral counterpart. Every atom and molecule of physical
matter has its corresponding astral atoms and molecules, and the mass
which is built up out of these is clearly visible to our clairvoyant.
Usually the astral of any object projects somewhat beyond the physical
part of it, and thus metals, stones and other things are seen
surrounded by an astral aura.

It will be seen at once that even in the study of inorganic matter a
man gains immensely by the acquisition of this vision. Not only does
he see the astral part of the object at which he looks, which before
was wholly hidden from him; not only does he see much more of its
physical constitution than he did before, but even what was visible
to him before is now seen much more clearly and truly. A moment's
consideration will show that his new vision approximates much more
closely to true perception than does physical sight. For example, if
he looks astrally at a glass cube, its sides will all appear equal, as
we know they really are, whereas on the physical plane he sees the
further side in perspective--that is, it appears smaller than the
nearer side, which is, of course, a mere allusion due to his physical
limitations.

When we come to consider the additional facilities which it offers in
the observation of animate objects we see still more clearly the
advantages of the astral vision. It exhibits to the clairvoyant the
aura of plants and animals, and thus in the case of the latter their
desires and emotions, and whatever thoughts they may have, are all
plainly shown before his eyes.

But it is in dealing with human beings that he will most appreciate
the value of this faculty, for he will often be able to help them far
more effectually when he guides himself by the information which it
gives him.

He will be able to see the aura as far up as the astral body, and
though that leaves all the higher part of a man still hidden from his
gaze, he will nevertheless find it possible by careful observation to
learn a good deal about the higher part from what is within his
reach. His capacity of examining the etheric double will give him
considerable advantage in locating and classifying any defects or
diseases of the nervous system, while from the appearance of the
astral body he will be at once aware of all the emotions, passions,
desires and tendencies of the man before him, and even of very many of
his thoughts also.

As he looks at a person he will see him surrounded by the luminous
mist of the astral aura, flashing with all sorts of brilliant colours,
and constantly changing in hue and brilliancy with every variation of
the person's thoughts and feelings. He will see this aura flooded with
the beautiful rose-colour of pure affection, the rich blue of
devotional feeling, the hard, dull brown of selfishness, the deep
scarlet of anger, the horrible lurid red of sensuality, the livid grey
of fear, the black clouds of hatred and malice, or any of the other
hundredfold indications so easily to be read in it by a practised eye;
and thus it will be impossible for any persons to conceal from him the
real state of their feelings on any subject.

These varied indications of the aura are of themselves a study of very
deep interest, but I have no space to deal with them in detail here. A
much fuller account of them, together with a large number of coloured
illustrations, will be found in my work on the subject Man Visible
and Invisible.

Not only does the astral aura show him the temporary result of the
emotion passing through it at the moment, but it also gives him, by
the arrangement and proportion of its colours when in a condition of
comparative rest, a clue to the general disposition and character of
its owner. For the astral body is the expression of as much of the man
as can be manifested on that plane, so that from what is seen in it
much more which belongs to higher planes may be inferred with
considerable certainty.

In this judgment of character our clairvoyant will be much helped by
so much of the person's thought as expresses itself on the astral
plane, and consequently comes within his purview. The true home of
thought is on the mental plane, and all thought first manifests itself
there as a vibration of the mind-body. But if it be in any way a
selfish thought, or if it be connected in any way with an emotion or a
desire, it immediately descends into the astral plane, and takes to
itself a visible form of astral matter.

In the case of the majority of men almost all thought would fall under
one or other of these heads, so that practically the whole of their
personality would lie clearly before our friend's astral vision, since
their astral bodies and the thought-forms constantly radiating from
them would be to him as an open book in which their characteristics
were writ so largely that he who ran might read. Anyone wishing to
gain some idea as to how the thought-forms present themselves to
clairvoyant vision may satisfy themselves to some extent by examining
the illustrations accompanying Mrs. Besant's valuable article on the
subject in Lucifer for September 1896.

We have seen something of the alteration in the appearance of both
animate and inanimate objects when viewed by one possessed of full
clairvoyant sight as far as the astral plane is concerned; let us now
consider what entirely new objects he will see. He will be conscious
of a far greater fulness in nature in many directions, but chiefly his
attention will be attracted by the living denizens of this new world.
No detailed account of them can be attempted within the space at our
disposal; for that the reader is referred to No. V. of the
Theosophical Manuals. Here we can do no more than barely enumerate a
few classes only of the vast hosts of astral inhabitants.

He will be impressed by the protean forms of the ceaseless tide of
elemental essence, ever swirling around him, menacing often, yet
always retiring before a determined effort of the will; he will marvel
at the enormous army of entities temporarily called out of this ocean
into separate existence by the thoughts and wishes of man, whether
good or evil. He will watch the manifold tribes of the nature-spirits
at their work or at their play; he will sometimes be able to study
with ever-increasing delight the magnificent evolution of some of the
lower orders of the glorious kingdom of the devas, which corresponds
approximately to the angelic host of Christian terminology.

But perhaps of even keener interest to him than any of these will be
the human denizens of the astral world, and he will find them
divisible into two great classes--those whom we call the living, and
those others, most of them infinitely more alive, whom we so foolishly
misname the dead. Among the former he will find here and there one
wide awake and fully conscious, perhaps sent to bring him some
message, or examining him keenly to see what progress he is making;
while the majority of his neighbours, when away from their physical
bodies during sleep, will drift idly by, so wrapped up in their own
cogitations as to be practically unconscious of what is going on
around them.

Among the great host of the recently dead he will find all degrees of
consciousness and intelligence, and all shades of character--for
death, which seems to our limited vision so absolute a change, in
reality alters nothing of the man himself. On the day after his death
he is precisely the same man as he was the day before it, with the
same disposition, the same qualities, the same virtues and vices, save
only that he has cast aside his physical body; but the loss of that no
more makes him in any way a different man than would the removal of an
overcoat. So among the dead our student will find men intelligent and
stupid, kind-hearted and morose, serious and frivolous,
spiritually-minded and sensually-minded, just as among the living.

Since he can not only see the dead, but speak with them, he can often
be of very great use to them, and give them information and guidance
which is of the utmost value to them. Many of them are in a condition
of great surprise and perplexity, and sometimes even of acute
distress, because they find the facts of the next world so unlike the
childish legends which are all that popular religion in the West has
to offer with reference to this transcendently important subject; and
therefore a man who understands this new world and can explain matters
is distinctly a friend in need.

In many other ways a man who fully possesses this faculty may be of
use to the living as well as to the dead; but of this side of the
subject I have already written in my little book on Invisible
Helpers. In addition to astral entities he will see astral
corpses--shades and shells in all stages of decay; but these need only
be just mentioned here, as the reader desiring a further account of
them will find it in our third and fifth manuals.

Another wonderful result which the full enjoyment of astral
clairvoyance brings to a man is that he has no longer any break in
consciousness. When he lies down at night he leaves his physical body
to the rest which it requires, while he goes about his business in
the far more comfortable astral vehicle. In the morning he returns to
and re-enters his physical body, but without any loss of consciousness
or memory between the two states, and thus he is able to live, as it
were, a double life which yet is one, and to be usefully employed
during the whole of it, instead of losing one-third of his existence
in blank unconsciousness.

Another strange power of which he may find himself in possession
(though its full control belongs rather to the still higher devachanic
faculty), is that of magnifying at will the minutest physical or
astral particle to any desired size, as though by a microscope--though
no microscope ever made or ever likely to be made possesses even a
thousandth part of this psychic magnifying power. By its means the
hypothetical molecule and atom postulated by science become visible
and living realities to the occult student, and on this closer
examination he finds them to be much more complex in their structure
than the scientific man has yet realised them to be. It also enables
him to follow with the closest attention and the most lively interest
all kinds of electrical, magnetic, and other etheric action; and when
some of the specialists in these branches of science are able to
develop the power to see those things whereof they write so facilely,
some very wonderful and beautiful revelations may be expected.

This is one of the siddhis or powers described in Oriental books as
accruing to the man who devotes himself to spiritual development,
though the name under which it is there mentioned might not be
immediately recognizable. It is referred to as "the power of making
oneself large or small at will," and the reason of a description which
appears so oddly to reverse the fact is that in reality the method by
which this feat is performed is precisely that indicated in these
ancient books. It is by the use of temporary visual machinery of
inconceivable minuteness that the world of the infinitely little is so
clearly seen; and in the same way (or rather in the opposite way) it
is by temporarily enormously increasing the size of the machinery used
that it becomes possible to increase the breadth of one's view--in the
physical sense as well as, let us hope, in the moral--far beyond
anything that science has ever dreamt of as possible for man. So that
the alteration in size is really in the vehicle of the student's
consciousness, and not in anything outside of himself; and the old
Oriental book has, after all, put the case more accurately than we.

Psychometry and second-sight in excelsis would also be among the
faculties which our friend would find at his command; but those will
be more fitly dealt with under a later heading, since in almost all
their manifestations they involve clairvoyance either in space or in
time.

I have now indicated, though only in the roughest outlines, what a
trained student, possessed of full astral vision, would see in the
immensely wider world to which that vision introduced him; but I have
said nothing of the stupendous change in his mental attitude which
comes from the experiential certainty as to the existence of the soul,
its survival after death, the action of the law of karma, and other
points of equally paramount importance. The difference between even
the profoundest intellectual conviction and the precise knowledge
gained by direct personal experience must be felt in order to be
appreciated.





Next: Simple Clairvoyance: Partial

Previous: What Clairvoyance Is



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