Simple Clairvoyance: Partial

The experiences of the untrained clairvoyant--and be it remembered

that that class includes all European clairvoyants except a very

few--will, however, usually fall very far short of what I have

attempted to indicate; they will fall short in many different ways--in

degree, in variety, or in permanence, and above all in precision.

Sometimes, for example, a man's clairvoyance will be permanent, but

very partial, extending only perhaps to one or two classes of the

phenomena observable; he will find himself endowed with some isolated

fragment of higher vision, without apparently possessing other powers

of sight which ought normally to accompany that fragment, or even to

precede it. For example, one of my dearest friends has all his life

had the power to see the atomic ether and atomic astral matter, and to

recognize their structure, alike in darkness or in light, as

inter-penetrating everything else; yet he has only rarely seen

entities whose bodies are composed of the much more obvious lower

ethers or denser astral matter, and at any rate is certainly not

permanently able to see them. He simply finds himself in possession of

this special faculty, without any apparent reason to account for it,

or any recognizable relation to anything else: and beyond proving to

him the existence of these atomic planes and demonstrating their

arrangement, it is difficult to see of what particular use it is to

him at present. Still, there the thing is, and it is an earnest of

greater things to come--of further powers still awaiting development.

There are many similar cases--similar, I mean, not in the possession

of that particular form of sight (which is unique in my experience),

but in showing the development of some one small part of the full and

clear vision of the astral and etheric planes. In nine cases out of

ten, however, such partial clairvoyance will at the same time lack

precision also--that is to say, there will be a good deal of vague

impression and inference about it, instead of the clear-cut definition

and certainty of the trained man. Examples of this type are constantly

to be found, especially among those who advertise themselves as "test

and business clairvoyants."

Then, again, there are those who are only temporarily clairvoyant

under certain special conditions. Among these there are various

subdivisions, some being able to reproduce the state of clairvoyance

at will by again setting up the same conditions, while with others it

comes sporadically, without any observable reference to their

surroundings, and with yet others the power shows itself only once or

twice in the whole course of their lives.

To the first of these subdivisions belong those who are clairvoyant

only when in the mesmeric trance--who when not so entranced are

incapable of seeing or hearing anything abnormal. These may sometimes

reach great heights of knowledge and be exceedingly precise in their

indications, but when that is so they are usually undergoing a course

of regular training, though for some reason unable as yet to set

themselves free from the leaden weight of earthly life without


In the same class we may put those--chiefly Orientals--who gain some

temporary sight only under the influence of certain drugs, or by means

of the performance of certain ceremonies. The ceremonialist sometimes

hypnotizes himself by his repetitions, and in that condition becomes

to some extent clairvoyant; more often he simply reduces himself to a

passive condition in which some other entity can obsess him and speak

through him. Sometimes, again, his ceremonies are not intended to

affect himself at all, but to invoke some astral entity who will give

him the required information; but of course that is a case of magic,

and not of clairvoyance. Both the drugs and the ceremonies are methods

emphatically to be avoided by any one who wishes to approach

clairvoyance from the higher side, and use it for his own progress and

for the helping of others. The Central African medicine-man or

witch-doctor and some of the Tartar Shamans are good examples of the


Those to whom a certain amount of clairvoyant power has come

occasionally only, and without any reference to their own wish, have

often been hysterical or highly nervous persons, with whom the faculty

was to a large extent one of the symptoms of a disease. Its appearance

showed that the physical vehicle was weakened to such a degree that it

no longer presented any obstacle in the way of a certain modicum of

etheric or astral vision. An extreme example of this class is the man

who drinks himself into delirium tremens, and in the condition of

absolute physical ruin and impure psychic excitation brought about by

the ravages of that fell disease, is able to see for the time some of

the loathsome elemental and other entities which he has drawn round

himself by his long course of degraded and bestial indulgence. There

are, however, other cases where the power of sight has appeared and

disappeared without apparent reference to the state of the physical

health; but it seems probable that even in those, if they could have

been observed closely enough, some alteration in the condition of the

etheric double would have been noticed.

Those who have only one instance of clairvoyance to report in the

whole of their lives are a difficult band to classify at all

exhaustively, because of the great variety of the contributory

circumstances. There are many among them to whom the experience has

come at some supreme moment of their lives, when it is comprehensible

that there might have been a temporary exaltation of faculty which

would be sufficient to account for it.

In the case of another subdivision of them the solitary case has been

the seeing of an apparition, most commonly of some friend or relative

at the point of death. Two possibilities are then offered for our

choice, and in each of them the strong wish of the dying man is the

impelling force. That force may have enabled him to materialize

himself for a moment, in which case of course no clairvoyance was

needed or more probably it may have acted mesmerically upon the

percipient, and momentarily dulled his physical and stimulated his

higher sensitiveness. In either case the vision is the product of the

emergency, and is not repeated simply because the necessary conditions

are not repeated.

There remains, however, an irresolvable residuum of cases in which a

solitary instance occurs of the exercise of undoubted clairvoyance,

while yet the occasion seems to us wholly trivial and unimportant.

About these we can only frame hypotheses; the governing conditions are

evidently not on the physical plane, and a separate investigation of

each case would be necessary before we could speak with any certainty

as to its causes. In some such it has appeared that an astral entity

was endeavouring to make some communication, and was able to impress

only some unimportant detail on its subject--all the useful or

significant part of what it had to say failing to get through into the

subject's consciousness.

In the investigation of the phenomena of clairvoyance all these varied

types and many others will be encountered, and a certain number of

cases of mere hallucination will be almost sure to appear also, and

will have to be carefully weeded out from the list of examples. The

student of such a subject needs an inexhaustible fund of patience and

steady perseverance, but if he goes on long enough he will begin dimly

to discern order behind the chaos, and will gradually get some idea of

the great laws under which the whole evolution is working.

It will help him greatly in his efforts if he will adopt the order

which we have just followed--that is, if he will first take the

trouble to familiarize himself as thoroughly as may be with the actual

facts concerning the planes with which ordinary clairvoyance deals.

If he will learn what there really is to be seen with astral and

etheric sight, and what their respective limitations are, he will then

have, as it were, a standard by which to measure the cases which he

observes. Since all instances of partial sight must of necessity fit

into some niche in this whole, if he has the outline of the entire

scheme in his head he will find it comparatively easy with a little

practice to classify the instances with which he is called upon to


We have said nothing as yet as to the still more wonderful

possibilities of clairvoyance upon the mental plane, nor indeed is it

necessary that much should be said, as it is exceedingly improbable

that the investigator will ever meet with any examples of it except

among pupils properly trained in some of the very highest schools of

occultism. For them it opens up yet another new world, vaster far than

all those beneath it--a world in which all that we can imagine of

utmost glory and splendour is the commonplace of existence. Some

account of its marvellous faculty, its eneffable bliss, its

magnificent opportunities for learning and for work, is given in the

sixth of our Theosophical manuals, and to that the student may be


All that it has to give--all of it at least that he can assimilate--is

within the reach of the trained pupil, but for the untrained

clairvoyant to touch it is hardly more than a bare possibility. It

has been done in mesmeric trance, but the occurrence is of exceeding

rarity, for it needs almost superhuman qualifications in the way of

lofty spiritual aspiration and absolute purity of thought and

intention upon the part both of the subject and the operator.

To a type of clairvoyance such as this, and still more fully to that

which belongs to the plane next above it, the name of spiritual sight

may reasonably be applied; and since the celestial world to which it

opens our eyes lies all round us here and now, it is fit that our

passing reference to it should be made under the heading of simple

clairvoyance, though it may be necessary to allude to it again when

dealing with clairvoyance in space, to which we will now pass on.

Simple Clairvoyance: Full What Clairvoyance Is facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail