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Clairvoyance Of The Past

The third great class of clairvoyant phenomena, known as Time
Clairvoyance, is divided into two sub-classes, as follows: (1) Past-Time
Clairvoyance; and (2) Future-Time Clairvoyance. The characteristics of
each of these sub-classes is indicated by its name.

Past-Time Clairvoyance, as indicated by the name, is that class of
clairvoyant phenomena which is concerned with the perception of facts,
events and happenings of past time. Whether the happening is that of five
minutes ago, or of five thousand years ago, the principles involved are
precisely the same. One is no more or less wonderful than is the other.

Many students confess themselves perplexed when they are first confronted
with this class of phenomena. While they find it comparatively easy to see
how by astral vision the clairvoyant is able to sense events happening at
that moment, though thousands of miles away from the observer, they cannot
at first understand how one can "see" a thing no longer in existence, but
which disappeared from sight thousands of years ago. Naturally, they ask
to be informed how this is possible, before proceeding to develop the
faculty itself. Believing that this question is now being asked by you,
the student of these lessons, I shall pause for a few moments and show you
"just how" this wonderful thing becomes possible to the clairvoyant.

In the first place, it would undoubtedly be impossible to perceive a
thing, even by astral vision, if it had entirely disappeared at some time
in the past--this would be beyond all natural powers, astral as well as
physical. But, as a matter of fact, the things of the past have not
entirely disappeared, but, on the contrary, while having disappeared on
the physical plane they still exist on the astral plane. I shall endeavor
to explain this wonderful fact of nature to you in plain terms, although
it belongs to one of the most mysterious classes of the occult facts of
the universe.

In the occult teachings we find many references to "the Akashic Records,"
or what is sometimes called "the records of the Astral Light." Without
going into technical occult definitions and explanations, I will say to
you that the gist of this occult teaching is that in that high form of the
universal substance which is called the Universal Ether there is found to
be recorded all the happenings of the entire World Cycle of which the
present time is a part. All that has happened from the very beginning of
this World Cycle, millions of years ago, is preserved on these astral
records, and may be read by the advanced clairvoyant or other person
possessing occult powers of this kind. These records perish only with the
termination of a World Cycle, which will not happen for millions of years
yet to come.

To those who cannot accept the reasonableness of this occult fact, I would
say that there are analogies to be found on other planes of natural
manifestation. For instance, as astronomy teaches us, a star may be
blotted out of existence, and yet its light will persist long after
(perhaps until the end of world-time) traveling along at the rate of
186,000 miles each second. The light that we now see coming from the
distant stars has left those stars many years ago--in some cases thousands
of years ago. We see them not as they are now, but as they were at the
time the ray of light left them, many years ago; The astronomers inform us
that if one of these stars had been
[*Transcribers Note: Text missing from original]
sands) of years ago, we would still see it as in actual existence. In
fact, it is believed that some of these stars which we see twinkling at
night have actually been blotted out hundreds of years ago. We will not be
aware of this fact until the light rays suddenly cease reaching us, after
their journey of billions of miles and hundreds of years. A star blotted
out of existence today would be seen by our children, and children's

The heat from a stove will be felt in a room long after the stove has been
removed from it. A room will long contain the odor of something that has
been removed from it. It is said that in one of the old mosques of Persia
there may be perceived the faint odor of the musk that was exposed there
hundreds of years ago--the very walls are saturated with the pungent odor.
Again, is it not wonderful that our memories preserve the images of the
sounds and forms which were placed there perhaps fifty years and more
ago? How do these memory images survive and exist? Though we may have
thought of the past thing for half a lifetime, yet, suddenly its image
flashes into our consciousness. Surely this is as wonderful as the Akashic
Records, though its "commonness" makes it lose its wonderful appearance to

Camille Flammarion, the eminent French astronomer, in a book written over
twenty-five years ago, and which is now out of print, I believe, pictured
a possible condition of affairs in which a disembodied soul would be able
to perceive events that happened in the past, by simply taking a position
in space in which he would be able to catch the light-waves that emanated
from a distant planet at that particular time in the past the happenings
of which he wanted to perceive. The little book was called "Lumen"--I
advise you to read it, if you can find it in your public libraries.

Another writer has written somewhat along the same lines. I herewith give
you a quotation from him, that you may get the idea he wishes to
express--it will help you in your conception of the Akashic Records. He
says: "When we see anything, whether it be the book we hold in our hands,
or a star millions of miles away, we do so by means of a vibration in the
ether, commonly called a ray of light, which passes from the object seen
to our eyes. Now the speed with which this vibration passes is so
great--about 186,000 miles in a second--that when we are considering any
object in our own world we may regard it as practically instantaneous.
When, however, we come to deal with interplanetary distances we have to
take the speed of light into consideration, for an appreciable period is
occupied in traversing these vast spaces. For example, it takes eight
minutes and a quarter for light to travel to us from the sun, so that when
we look at the solar orb we see it by means of a ray of light which left
it more than eight minutes ago. From this follows a very curious result.
The ray of light by which we see the sun can obviously report to us only
the state of affairs' which existed in that luminary when it started on
its journey, and would not be in the least affected by anything that
happened after it left; so that we really see the sun not as it is, but as
it was eight minutes ago. That is to say that if anything important took
place in the sun--the formation of a new sun-spot, for instance--an
astronomer who was watching the orb through his telescope at the time
would be unaware of the incident while it was happening, since the ray of
light bearing the news would not reach him until more than eight minutes

"The difference is more striking when we consider the fixed stars, because
in their case the distances are so enormously greater. The pole star, for
example, is so far off that light, traveling at the inconceivable speed
above mentioned, takes a little more than fifty years to reach our eyes;
and from that follows the strange but inevitable inference that we see the
pole star not as or where it is at this moment, but as and where it was
fifty years ago. Nay, if tomorrow some cosmic catastrophe were to shatter
the pole star into fragments, we should still see it peacefully shining in
the sky all the rest of our lives; our children would grow up to
middle-age and gather their children about them in turn before the news of
that tremendous accident reached any terrestial eye. In the same way there
are other stars so far distant that light takes thousands of years to
travel from them to us, and with reference to their condition our
information is therefore thousands of years behind time. Now carry the
argument a step farther. Suppose that we were able to place a man at the
distance of 186,000 miles from the earth, and yet to endow him with the
wonderful faculty of being able from that distance to see what was
happening here as clearly as though he were still close beside us. It is
evident that a man so placed would see everything a second after the time
it really happened, and so at the present moment he would be seeing what
happened a second ago. Double that distance, and he would be two seconds
behind time, and so on; remove him to the distance of the sun (still
allowing him to preserve the same mysterious power of sight) and he would
look down and watch you doing not what you are doing now, but what you
were doing eight minutes and a quarter ago. Carry him to the pole star,
and he would see passing before his eyes the events of fifty years ago; he
would be watching the childish gambols of those who at the same moment
were really middle-aged men. Marvellous as this may sound, it is
literally and scientifically true, and cannot be denied."

Flammarion, in his story, called "Lumen," makes his spirit hero pass at
will along the ray of light from the earth, seeing the things of different
eras of earth-time. He even made him travel backward along that ray, thus
seeing the happenings in reverse order, as in a moving picture running
backward. This story is of the greatest interest to the occultist, for
while the Akashic Records are not the same as the light records, yet the
analogy is so marked in many ways that the occultist sees here another
exemplification of the old occult axiom that "as above, so below; as
below, so above."

I take the liberty of quoting here from my little book, "The Astral
World," in order to give you some further idea of the nature of these
records in the Astral Light. The reader is supposed to be travelling in
his astral body, having the phenomena of the astral pointed out to him by
a competent occultist acting as his guide. The occultist-guide says to the
student: "Changing our vibrations, we find ourselves entering a strange
region, the nature of which you at first fail to discern. Pausing a moment
until your astral vision becomes attuned to the peculiar vibrations of
this region, you will find that you are becoming gradually aware of what
may be called an immense picture gallery, spreading out in all directions,
and apparently bearing a direct relation to every point of space on the
surface of the earth. At first, you find it difficult to decipher the
meaning of this great array of pictures. The trouble arises from the fact
that they are arranged not one after the other in sequence on a flat
plane; but rather in sequence, one after another, in a peculiar order
which may be called the order of 'X-ness in space,' because it is neither
the dimension of length, breadth, or depth--it is practically the order of
the fourth dimension in space, which cannot be described in terms of
ordinary spatial dimension. Again, you find upon closely examining the
pictures that they are very minute--practically microscopic in size--and
require the use of the peculiar magnifying power of astral vision to bring
them up to a size capable of being recognized by your faculty of visual

"The astral vision, when developed, is capable of magnifying any object,
material or astral, to an enormous degree--for instance, the trained
occultist is able to perceive the whirling atoms and corpuscles of matter,
by means of this peculiarity of astral vision. Likewise, he is able to
plainly perceive many fine vibrations of light which are invisible to the
ordinary sight. In fact, the peculiar Astral Light which pervades this
region is due to the power of the astral vision to perceive and register
these fine vibrations of light. Bring this power of magnifying into
operation, and you will see that each of the little points and details of
the great world picture so spread before you in the Astral Light is really
a complete scene of a certain place on earth, at a certain period in the
history of the earth. It resembles one of the small views in a series of
moving pictures--a single view of a roll-film. It is fixed, and not in
motion, and yet we can move forward along the fourth dimension, and thus
obtain a moving picture of the history of any point on the surface of the
earth, or even combine the various points into a large moving picture, in
the same way. Let us prove this by actual experiment. Close your eyes for
a moment, while we travel back in time (so to speak) along the series of
these astral records--for, indeed, they travel back to the beginning of
the history of the earth. Now open your eyes! Looking around you, you
perceive the pictured representation of strange scenes filled with persons
wearing a peculiar garb--but all is still, no life, no motion.

"Now, let us move forward in time, at much higher rate than that in which
the astral views were registered. You now see flying before you the great
movement of life on a certain point of space, in a far distant age. From
birth to death you see the life of these strange people, all in the space
of a few moments. Great battles are fought, and cities rise before your
eyes, all in a great moving picture flying at a tremendous speed. Now
stop, and then let us move backward in time, still gazing at the moving
pictures. You see a strange sight, like that of 'reversing the film' in a
moving picture. You see everything moving backward--cities crumbling into
nothingness, men arising from their graves, and growing younger each
second until they are finally born as babes--everything moving backward in
time, instead of forward. You can thus witness any great historical event,
or follow the career of any great personage from birth to death--or
backward. You will notice, moreover, that everything is semi-transparent,
and that accordingly you can see the picture of what is going on inside of
buildings as well as outside of them. Nothing escapes the Astral Light
Records. Nothing can be concealed from it. By traveling to any point in
time, on the fourth dimension, you may begin at that point, and see a
moving picture of the history of any part of the earth from that time to
the present--or you may reverse the sequence by travelling backward, as we
have seen. You may also travel in the Astral, on ordinary space
dimensions, and thus see what happened simultaneously all over the earth,
at any special moment of past-time, if you wish."

Now, I do not for a moment wish you to understand that the above
experience is possible to every clairvoyant who is able to sense past-time
events and happenings. On the contrary, the above experience is possible
only to the advanced occultist, or to the student whom he may take with
him on an astral trip, in the astral body. The clairvoyant merely catches
glimpses of certain phases and fields of the great astral record region or
state. For that matter, the ordinary clairvoyant merely sees a reflection
of the true Astral-Light pictures--a reflection similar to that of a
landscape reflected in a pond. Moreover, this reflection may be (and
frequently is) disturbed as if by the ripples and waves of the pond in
which the landscape is reflected. But, still, even the ordinary
clairvoyant is able to secure results which are wonderful enough in all
truth, and which far transcend the power of the person functioning on the
physical plane alone.

Past-time clairvoyance is frequently induced by means of psychometry, in
which the clairvoyant is able to have "the loose end" to unwind the ball
of time. But, still, in some cases the clairvoyant is able to get en
rapport with the astral records of past-time by the ordinary methods of
meditation, etc. The main obstacle in the last mentioned case is the
difficulty of coming in contact with the exact period of past-time sought
for--in psychometry, the vibrations of the "associated object" supplies
the missing-link.

Lacking the "associated object," the clairvoyant may obtain the link by
bringing into the imagination some associated scene of that
time--something else that happened about the same time. All that is needed
is to get hold of something associated in space or in time with the sought
for scene. All that is needed is the "loose end" of association. Sometimes
the clairvoyant senses some past-time experience, the place and time of
which is unknown to him. In such cases, it is necessary for him to get
hold of some "loose end" by which he may work out the solution. For
instance, the picture of a certain building or personage, or historical
happening, may give the key to the mystery.

In very high forms of past-time clairvoyance, the clairvoyant is able not
only to perceive the actual happenings of the past, but also to actually
sense the thought and feelings of the actors therein--for these, too, are
recorded on the astral plane. In other cases, the clairvoyant person is
able to picture scenes and happenings relating to his past incarnations,
even though he is not able to sense other past-time events and scenes.
But, here again, many good past-time clairvoyants are not able to catch
these glimpses of their own past lives, though able to perceive those of
other persons. All these variations are due to certain technical
differences into which I cannot go into detail at this place. Again some
persons are able to perceive events that have happened to persons present
before them, but are not able to contact past-time events in the ordinary
way. There are a thousand-and-one variations in clairvoyant work. Only the
highly advanced occultist is master of all of them. But, still every one
may develop himself or herself, from humble beginnings.

In concluding this lesson, I wish to call your attention to the following
advice from a man well advanced in the knowledge of the astral plane. He
says: "It would be well for all students to bear in mind that occultism is
the apotheosis of common-sense, and that every vision that comes to them
is not necessarily a picture from the Akashic Records, nor every
experience a revelation from on high. It is far better to err on the side
of healthy skepticism, than of over-credulity, and it is an admirable
rule never to hunt about for an occult explanation of anything when a
plain and obvious physical one is available. Our duty is to endeaveor to
keep our balance always, and never to lose our self-control, but to take a
reasonable, common-sense view of whatever may happen to us, so that we may
be wiser occultists, and more useful helpers than we have ever been

"We find examples of all degrees of the power to see into this 'memory of
nature,' from the trained man who can consult the records for himself at
will, down to the person who gets nothing but occasional vague glimpses,
or has perhaps had only once such glimpse. But even the man who possesses
this faculty only partially and occasionally still finds it of the deepest
interest. The psychometer, who needs an object physically connected with
the past in order to bring it all into life again around him; and the
crystal-gazer who can sometimes direct his less certain astral telescope
to some historic scene of long ago, may both derive the greatest enjoyment
from the exercise of their respective gifts, even though they may not
always understand exactly how their results are obtained, and may not have
them fully under control under all circumstances.

"In many cases of the lower manifestations of these powers we find that
they are exercised unconsciously. Many a crystal-gazer watches scenes from
the past without being able to distinguish them from visions of the
present. And many a vaguely-psychic person finds pictures constantly
arising before his eyes, without ever realizing that he is in effect
psychometrizing the various objects around him, as he happens to touch
them or stand near them. An interesting variant of this class of psychics
is the man who is able to psychometrize persons only, and not inanimate
objects as is more usual. In most cases this faculty shows itself
erratically, so that such a psychic will, when introduced to a stranger,
often see in a flash some prominent event in that stranger's earlier life,
but on similar occasions will receive no special impression. More rarely
we meet with someone who gets detailed visions of the past life of nearly
everyone whom he encounters. It may easily happen, moreover, that a person
may see a picture of the past without recognizing it as such, unless there
happens to be in it something which attracts special attention, such as a
figure in armor, or in antique costume. Its probable, therefore, that
occasional glimpses of these astral reflections of the akashic records are
commoner than the published accounts would lead us to believe."

I would say to my students, make haste slowly. Do not try to rush
development too rapidly. Perfect and develop yourself in one line of
psychic power, before seeking another. Take things cooly, and do not lose
your head because you happen to achieve some wonderful phenomena. Do not
become conceited and vain-glorious. And, finally, do not prostitute your
powers to ignoble ends, and make a cheap show of them. By cheapening and
prostituting the higher psychic powers, the student frequently ends by
losing them altogether. Moderation in all things is the safe policy. And
it always is well for the occultist to resist temptation to use his powers
for unworthy, sensational, or purely selfish purposes.

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