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September 30, 2005

Witchcraft Its Power in the World Today by William Seabrook

Foreward: (excerpt)
Exploding a Non Sequitur Perched on the Horns of Dilemma


Although this book may boil and bubble with the dirty doings of modern witches, white and black; with current sorcerers, incantations, human vampires on the Riviera; panther men in Africa and Satanists in Paris; Devil Worshippers in New York; werewolves in Washington Square; witchcraft curses and killings dated 1940 here in the United States-it is going to be a dissapointment to all who believe in the supernatural.


I am addressing it to the rational people only. It is going to show them, if I can, that while witchcraft is not demonic, it is a specific, real, and dangerous force, evil when used for evil, mysterious in some of its manifestations, but always alalyzable, always understandable within the bounds of reason, and compatable in consequence, like crime, snake bite, insanity, and yellow fever.


A thousand books, histories, and treatises were written in the age of superstition, to prove that this deadly snake was a basilisk. Another thousand volumes have been written in our age of so-called reason to prove that since the snake is not a basilisk, it consequently cannot bite you. I am a firm disbeliever in basilisks, but also a disbeliever in nonsequiturs.

1940

September 12, 2005

Nature's Magic by Allan J.Stover

Introduction

The world is a Mirror of Infinite Beauty,
yet no man sees it.
It is a Temple of Majesty.
yet no man regards it.
It is a Region of Light and Peace,
did not man disquiet it. -- Thomas Traherne

*

The ancients taught that the Earth is a living being, and it is indeed so. They saw in the rising and setting of the Sun and in the cyclic sweep of the seasons a sacred drama in which all nature took part; as, like a musical symphony, the year and its lesser divisions progressed through the four seasonal movements. They had few books, nor did they need them, for life itself was an inexhaustible volume of revelation.

There is great need today to point out the spiritual side of nature, to teach the oneness of all life, and to restore to scientific knowledge the ancient, lost reverence for the "web of life" in which we live.

As a generation we are so blinded with knowledge that we do not see the wonder behind even the simplest things, but live in a world whose taste is as the taste of ashes in the mouth.

It is sometimes said by materialists that there is no law in nature, no plan or purpose; yet Nature is indeed a living demonstration of the laws of cycles, reimbodiment, and cause and effect, of which Theosophy teaches. These and other habits, or laws, of nature apply to all grades or degrees of existence. That which occupies billions of years on a cosmic scale, takes place in an instant of time within an atom. The great is repeated in the small and follows the same pattern.

We can know the life of vanished continents by the still surviving trees growing in our gardens and forests. We can discover the traces of a once more active plant-life in the microscopic plants that can be found in any stagnant pool of water, swimming and darting around for food like the animals. The scrubby desert tea, found on all continents, is but an after-thought of the same great stock which formed the giant redwoods, pines and cedars. The low club mosses we carelessly crush under our feet on some hillside were once huge trees that formed the coal forests of two hundred million years ago.

The simplest events of nature, when understood, are acts of white magic. The change of the dragon fly from the crawling, brown water-nymph clinging to the bottom of a pool to the glittering, winged adult of the air, is a living symbol of the transition of the human soul from plane to plane.

In fact everything, in its form and habits, reveals its inner nature, and in so doing becomes a living symbol of abstract and spiritual qualities. It is the recognition of this which has led to the adoption of natural forms as a kind of universal symbolic language. Thus, in ancient times, a white lily suggested purity; a red rose, Love; the spring anemone, Frailty; the crocus, Cheerfulness; the laurel, Victory; and the olive branch, Peace.

Even today, upon important occasions of happiness or sorrow, we instinctively feel the futility of words and resort to nature's symbolic language. The Christmas Tree, the Easter Lily -- all gifts of flowers or of precious stones -- carry a message, often beyond the power of words to suggest. .

The great mystic and philosopher of the sixteenth century, Paracelsus, said that:

He who wants to study the book of Nature must wander with his feet over its leaves. Books are studied by looking at the letters which they contain; Nature is studied by examining the contents of her treasure-vaults in every country. Every part of the world represents a page in the book of Nature, and all the pages together form the book that contains her great revelations.
To rediscover Nature's treasure-vaults, we need no seven-league boots to explore the far corners of the Earth, nor a time-machine to transport our consciousness to past eras of Earth-history. By a study of that which is near at hand, we may understand both far-off lands and the distant past. Sympathy and analogy are the keys to great treasures of understanding and an ever growing feeling of kinship with all that is.

Considered thus, the hush preceding sunrise, the golden glory of sunset, the changing tempo of the seasons, the turmoil of wind and storm, all these become illumined with an inner meaning.

There is no event in nature which does not mirror in the small those laws which are cosmic in their greater manifestation. Our words, even the letters of the alphabet, originated in the ancient and primeval language of nature.

The world around us provides the here and now by which we can understand the universe, knowing a teaching to be true from our own observation and experience.

The materials for this book have been drawn from nature and from an extensive scientific literature. The motif and the spirit which infuses it is due entirely to the precious treasures of wisdom given to the world by H. P. Blavatsky and G. de Purucker.

The great sages of all time have urged us to seek for the soul of nature, to prove their teachings for ourselves.

It is with such a quest in mind that the following has been written.


1948

September 5, 2005

The Esoteric Tradition Vol I & II, by G. de Purucker

Introduction (excerpt)

Truth may be defined as that which is Reality; and present human intelligence can make but approximate advances or approaches to this Cosmic REAL which is measureless in its profundity and in its infinite reaches, and therefore never fully comprehensible by any finite intellect. It was a wise declaration, in one way, that Pontius Pilate made, as alleged, when Jesus, the great Syrian Initiate, was brought before him: "What is Truth!"; for a man who knows Truth in fulness would have an active intelligence commensurate with the Universe: and whose intelligence is universe-wide?


There are, however, relative truths, and it is relative truth that the human mind can comprehend and therefore can understand. In and by this reflexion we immediately cut away the ground from any assertion that the Theosophical Philosophy teaches dogmas, meaning by the term 'dogma' an unreasoning, blind, and obedient assent to the mere voice of authority -- which is something that is inadmissible in genuine Theosophical study.


The Theosophist does not, therefore, proclaim these essentially natural truths as dogmas which one must accept, willy-nilly, if he expect to have any hope of being 'saved'! The Theosophical Philosophy admits nothing of the sort. As Theosophists our sole duty in teaching our sublime Philosophy is to present this Ancient Wisdom of the Gods in such fashion that men will be interested in it and begin to study it for themselves, and will learn to abide by the results of their own careful examination and sifting of the evidence. To those to whom the Theosophist presents his Theosophical doctrines, he says: "Here is a truth which we have tested, and we have found in it all that the heart and mind crave for. Try it. You are the judge in this case, and you must take the consequences of what you shall choose. You may err in your judgment, but the principle of self-choice and unfettered free will in choice is so sacred to us that on this point our teachings definitely tell us that it is better to be honest and true to the best in us, even if that best be imperfectly manifest, than to accept offhand or without lengthy examination the teachings of any other human being as gospel-truth; for by doing this latter you cripple your own will, weaken your own discrimination in judgment, and thus undermine the fabric and fiber of your own character."


What, then, is dogma? Dogma is a Greek word. It was originally a Greek political term, which became, through its adoption by the Christian church, a religious word, Christianly religious, having a Christian atmosphere about it and Christian meanings and consequent Christian implications, which in its original sense and usage this word dogma never had.


The word itself comes from the Greek verb dokein, 'to seem to be,' 'to appear to be.' A dogma, therefore, was something which appeared to be, or which seemed to be, a truth: an opinion about truth, if you like; and hence this term 'dogma' was frequently employed in certain ones of the Greek states as signifying the decision, the considered opinion, and therefore the final vote, arrived at and taken in a state council or assembly. It was thus used as a public ordinance or decree passed by the constituted authority in the Greek state. In Athens, however, these considered votes were called psephismata.


Edoxe toi ekklesiai -- 'it appeared to the council,' i. e., to the gathering, to the assembly, -- was the usual form in which such votes were recorded and quoted.

1935