Sunday, August 21, 2016

SONS OF HERMES - 27


The Life and Words of Monsieur Philippe

In 1899 Alfred Haehl of Strasbourg read in l’Initiation  an article by Papus called Le Père des Pauvres (The Father of the Poor), a moving panegyric of M. Philippe yet without naming him. Feeling a compelling urge to get to know this apparently superhuman being, he went to see Papus in Paris, who received him cordially and promised to take him to Lyons to visit M. Philippe.

The meeting took place in M. Philippe’s laboratory at 6, rue du Boeuf, from which M. Philippe emerged, a middle aged man of quite ordinary appearance apart from a luxuriant moustache, who radiated a feeling of welcome, along with the surprising words, expressed as between old friends, “Ah, there you are! And about time!”

Papus had arranged lunch with four other guests at a restaurant in town at which a canapé of thrushes was served as a speciality, but which M. Philippe politely declined to eat, saying quietly that men were not meant to eat birds. On being challenged by a woman guest, that it did not seem to stop him from eating beef, he replied that if he ate it, it was because it was permitted. So no vegetarian, but with definite rules as to what was appropriate or not.

At two o’clock they went to his house at 35 rue Tête d’Or where he held a public meeting each day in a hall on the first floor. It was furnished with long wooden seats with room for about eighty people, the light filtered by pale yellow curtains at the large windows.

The place was full of people from all levels of society, including the sick and infirm. A respectful silence fell when M. Philippe entered, who closed the door so that they would not be disturbed by latecomers. He now addressed in turn all who were present, who told him their problems or those of friends or relations whom they represented.

He was heard to say to one old lady “Is your cat better?” who replied, “Yes, and I have come to thank you.” At which M. Philippe addressed all present, “Do you know what this lady did yesterday at ten o’clock? She prayed for her cat and now it is better.” The old lady nodded and everyone laughed. Nobody knew what she could have done at home the evening before but it seemed that M. Philippe did!

Continuing his consultations  he stopped before a man of a certain age and before he could open his mouth told him “Heaven grants what you wish.” Then turning to all, added, “Do you want to know how this gentleman obtained what he desired so quickly? It was because he made such a brave effort to correct his failings.” 

Going from one to another, he had a word to say for each. To questions about their suffering or difficulties he replied kindly with an imposing authority and encouraged the sick to offer their hands to him to be comforted or cured.

To one person he said: “You husband is going to be better, so give thanks to Heaven.” To another, “Your child is cured, but you need to pay. Not in money but by saying nothing bad about your neighbour for a day.”

Then stopping before a crippled man, “Will you all pray for this person and promise to say nothing bad about anyone for the next two hours?” All replied: “Yes!” and after a moment of recollection he told the invalid to walk round the room, who stood up and to the amazement of all walked round without help or crutches, with cries of joy and gratitude from many as the tears ran down their faces.

That evening Alfred Haehl decided not to accompany Papus back to Paris but resolved to make his home in Lyons.

Next day, at two o’clock, he hastened to witness more cures by the “Father of the Poor”, who invited him upstairs after the meeting as he dealt with his mail. This was by the surprising method of throwing the letters unopened into the fire place. But as if to prove that he already knew their contents, he suddenly quoted, word for word, a conversation Haehl had had three years before with a colleague in the precincts of a factory of which he was a director.

“How could you know what was said three years ago and 500 km away, before we had even met?” Haehl wanted to know.

M. Philippe replied quite calmly “Because I was there.” He did indeed seem to have the possibility of awareness over space and time when he chose to use it.

Many desired to conserve as many words as possible of M. Philippe which Alfred Haehl decided to collect and put into a book. The result was Vie et Paroles du Maitre Philippe published by Dervy-Livres of 6, rue de Savoie, Paris containing hundreds of classified entries  ranging from 1889 to 1905.

Although it is arguable that was not so much what M. Philippe said, as what he did, in his remarkable life, that was important. In the various remarks attributed to him he was at pains to point out that many applied only to particular cases, and indeed specifically warned that at any meeting “one may only hear what one needs to hear.” Thus quoted extracts from private conversations could be incomplete or distorted, including a few questionable general prophecies, such as a reversal of the poles of the Earth being likely to cause major climate changes, or the likelihood of a Chinese invasion of the West via the newly opened Trans-Siberian railway.

Thus there can be no claim that his fragmentary statements constitute “the teaching of M. Philippe” for he never expressed an elaborate intellectual doctrine. He often said that our knowledge consists only of images and our mentality a mirror, adding “Whoever could love his neighbour as himself, would know all.”

What one finds in his words time and again with luminous simplicity is the need to try to express  in daily life the great evangelical precepts of prayer, humility and faith. Not that he was a particularly dedicated church man, any more than most of his neighbours. What seemed to make him stand apart was the immense good will that he radiated, and the ability to put  certainty into hearts that was stronger than all reasoning.

 This can perhaps be summed up in one statement of his among many, with a warning to those who might become too adulatory – which included some of Papus’ fellow magicians:

“Some of you think that I am Jesus, or like him. Do not deceive yourselves. I am merely the Shepherd’s dog and the least among you. If someone asks why I keep saying that, it is because in fact I am very small, and because of that God answers my prayers. As for you  who are far too big  – that is why God may not hear you.”

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

DION FORTUNE - INITIATION AND THE STARS


INITIATION & THE STARS

DION FORTUNE

Issued as a FINAL reminder of the Dion Fortune seminar at Glastonbury on 24th September 2016.

For programme and booking details see Company of Avalon website.

The following text is taken  from  letters to students by Dion Fortune in 1942/3. Also published as part of ‘Principles of Hermetic Philosophy’ by Dion Fortune & Gareth Knight (Thoth Publications 1999).

Astrology was originally an occult or secret science, and so it will always remain in its profounder aspects until the dawning light of human progress reveals to all men what in the past was only understood by initiates; such understanding depending not only upon the communication of secrets but upon the power to see their significance when communicated. I have long stood out against secrecy concerning the data and philosophy of occultism, but have never advocated the broadcasting of the methods of its practical application of hygiene for a working knowledge of first aid and homely remedies are one thing, but operative surgery is another. The same analogy applies to occult science in its theory and practice.

It is exceedingly difficult in these days, when so much has been revealed, to know where to draw the line between what is advisable and what is not in indicating the practical application of the esoteric teaching. I have been very frank in the past, especially in my Mystical Qabalah, wherein I gave the real esoteric teaching in its fullness, believing that only those who were fit to do so would be able to avail themselves of it. This is perfectly true so far as unaided students are concerned; but this book has been made extensive use of in other schools, both in England and in America, not only without acknowledgement, but with the students sworn to secrecy. It has been reproduced verbatim on a duplicator and issued as a secret correspondence course in America at a hundred dollars, and in this country it has been used as the basis for an esoteric school with which I should not care to have my name associated. In consequence of these experiences I do not feel able to do more than indicate the practical possibilities of esoteric astrology, reserving the actual methods for more guarded communication to suitable persons  who can be relied upon not to abuse them. Those who have occult knowledge or spiritual intuition will no doubt be able to glean much from these pages, and to their gleanings that are more than welcome; but I would point out that psychic work requires a trained mind and ritual work requires as trained team.

The natural, or uninitiated man is represented by the symbol of the five-pointed star, point upwards, upon which he is conceived as extended. The five-pointed star is also the symbol of the elements. This indicates that the natural man is a creature of the elements. As the planets and the zodiacal signs are classified under the elements, we have in this glyph a complete symbol of esoteric  astrology provided the student knows the attribution of the rays, which he will do if he is an initiate, and which it is improbable he will do if he is not an initiate.

The symbol of the adept is the six-pointed star on which he is crucified, not extended. This is an important practical point in the handling of magnetic force. The six-pointed star is composed of two interlaced triangles, and the grade of the initiate is symbolised by the degree to which these triangles are superimposed, the upper triangle representing the individuality, and the lower one the personality. In the unillumined man, the triangles are represented as point to point, and the process of initiation in the Mysteries consists in preparing the personality to be a vehicle for the manifestation of the individuality. This is done by bringing the aim of the personal life into alignment with the aim of the higher self, and making the personality a miniature replica of the higher self. The personality is a projection into the planes of form of a small portion of the higher self for the purpose of evolutionary development through experience. The Divine Sparks, which are the nuclei of the spirits of men, do not issue simultaneously into manifestation from the Great Unmanifest, but are breathed forth in successive impulses of manifestation, so that some are older and some are younger; the elder, other things being equal, are the more evolved.

But things are not always equal, and during the long aeons of evolution some souls press ahead and some fall to the rear in the evolutionary process, and by the time the marching column of evolution has rounded the nadir, what might be termed the geological age of a soul does not always afford us much guidance as to its stage of development. The fact remains, however, that the Divine Sparks come into manifestation during different Ray Phases (see The Cosmic Doctrine) and are indelibly stamped with the type of that Ray, which will always remain the basic type of the individuality, though in the course of evolution they must learn the lessons and acquire the experience of all the Rays in turn in order to become fully evolved   in their many-sided development. The fact that there are twelve Rays indicates that they will correlate with the twelve Signs of the Zodiac, but it is not possible to discern the fundamental Ray type of the higher self until a high grade of initiation is reached, and the revelation is not made in any temple built with hands. It is possible, however, to discern the Ray type of the personality in a given incarnation, and this is indicated by the Sign through which the Sun is passing at his birth.

Initiation into the Lesser Mysteries is of the nature of mass production, in which souls go through the curriculum in the same way that a car goes through the works on the assembly belt. Personal attention is neither necessary nor desirable at this stage because Temple working is team working and initiates at this stage of their training have to master a system and acquire the habit of team-working, get their spiritual and  psychological corners rubbed off, and acquire an all round development; with this end in view, the square pegs have to take their turn in the round holes for a season. A specialised development is not to be undertaken too early because it will inevitably be a one-sided development. Consequently the mystic has to gain experience by working as an occultist, and the occultist, as a mystic; the pagan has to learn the significance of Esoteric Christianity, and the Christian gain experience of the Nature contacts.

When it comes to the Greater Mysteries, however, the position changes, and account has to be taken of the personal horoscope when initiating. The position of the Sun in the horoscope will indicate the line along which the spiritual development should take place, the natural line, and this must be taken in to account in planning the work of the Greater Mysteries. There is no such thing as mass production here; the Greater Mysteries are concerned with the cosmic forces, and every individual must approach them from his own standpoint. According to his astrological make-up, so will he react to the cosmic forces, and so will they react to him. It must not be thought by this that the workings of an adept are limited to his well-aspected factors; he must learn to work with all the cosmic factors in order to complete his training, but he will find it desirable to take into account the way in which the different factors are aspected in his horoscope if he is to work to the best advantage or avoid a rough passage through the badly aspected ones.

The Moon may be taken as representing the evolutionary past of the soul, and its relationship to one or another of the planets may give an indication of the nature of past initiations if the person concerned has been upon the Path in past lives. Each planet represents a psychological factor in the soul of man, and each factor was personalised by the ancients as a deity. “Once an initiate, always an initiate” – if a soul has once entered the Mysteries, it will come back to its Tradition in each successive life. The different Mystery Traditions represent different cults, and the cults represent different avatars of the same factor at different epochs. If the Moon in a horoscope is particularly well aspected to one of the planets, it may be assumed that the subject was an initiate of the particular cult personalised by the deity associated with that planet; we have thus a good starting-off place for the recovery of the memories of past incarnations, and the recovery of these memories is an important part of the work of the Greater Mysteries.

The Rising Sign indicates the destiny of the subject in a particular incarnation, but destiny should be given the Eastern significance of Dharma and not the Western significance of Fate. That is to say, it represents the lessons to be learnt in that incarnation. They can be learnt quickly and well by the application of intelligence, or they can be learnt slowly and with many mistakes, even as can arithmetic. In any case, they have to be finished before adepthood can be attained. It is for this reason that initiation nearly always precipitates all outstanding karma and is followed by a series of crises in the life of the neophyte.

The whole superficial reading of a horoscope, the reading that is commonly given by the uninitiated astrologer, concerns the karma that has to be worked off, and the dharma, or experience that has been gained, before the subject is ready for adepthood. Consequently, such a reading only applies to the once-born, the passive objects of evolutionary processes; as soon as a soul comes on to the Path it is no longer so much driftwood in the stream of life, but is developing powers of self-propulsion and self-direction, and the interpretation of the horoscope, therefore, must undergo profound modification. The influences therein indicated are no longer determining factors but the instruments of the operation. It is well known that there is no braver or more dangerous adversary than the timid person who for once has brought his courage to the sticking-point; so the ill-aspected factor in the map of the once born may be the point of energy in the horoscope of the twice born. But as the process of initiation is one that goes on through a series of grades, it is not possible to lay down any definite rule for adjusting our calculations, and experience is the only indicator. Cumulative experience, however, can be a pretty accurate indicator.

It is the common practice of those who seek guidance from the stars to tell the astrologer nothing save their birth date and sex, and to be greatly impressed when they are told correctly things they already knew only too well. The quarrelsome person, who learns that his Mars is aspected in such a manner as to account for his quarrelsomeness is greatly gratified and goes on his contentious way rejoicing. His quarrelsomeness is adequately accounted for, there is nothing to be done about it, and he is comforted in the endurance of the painful consequences by the knowledge that the stars are responsible. “The woman tempted me, and I did eat,” said Adam, as if the Temptation and the Fall were synonymous terms.

This fatalistic attitude towards astrology should be discouraged by every device of publicity and admonition. We are not drifting logs on the sea of life, at the mercy of wind and tide, but ships with rudder and sails, and the only condition that could preclude all progress on our part is a dead calm; an adverse wind serves a well-designed ship almost as well as a favourable one, for by the skilful interaction of rudder and sails, use can be made of it in a series of tacks. The power to make use of an unfavourable wind is the criterion of design in boat-building; the better the lines of a boat, the closer she can lie to the wind.

So it is with the souls of men. Anyone above the status of the village idiot has some power of spiritual locomotion even under the most adverse aspects. If astrology is used as anything save an instrument of diagnosis, it is the most pernicious of human inventions. Having learned the conditions under which we must needs operate, our immediate task is to deal with them, not to lie down under them.

An initiated astrologer works on a map in the same manner as a psychoanalyst works on a dream – he uses it as an indicator of conditions beyond the immediate range of consciousness. For the full value to be obtained from a delineation, astrologer and subject should study it together, and the astrologer, if he is also something of a psychologist, as he has need to be if he is to fulfil the function he both could and should fulfil, will show the querist how his life history illustrates his reactions to his natal horoscope and the passing configurations of the heavens. The querist brings to the study his knowledge of his own history, the astrologer casts maps for the outstanding dates, and together they study the reactions of the soul to the influences of the stars until the pattern of the life begins to appear.

A diagnosis can then be made in psychological terms, the apparently  random effects of chance and change being correlated with the underlying causes of subconscious motives and those in their turn explained in terms of astrological influences. Such an analysis, and subsequent correlation in terms of another science, are not a mere tying on of labels, but serve the same purpose as the Rosetta Stone on which the same record was engraved in Egyptian hieroglyphs, the hieratic writing, and Greek, thus enabling the riddle of Egyptian civilisation to be read; for Greek was a known language, and from the clues it supplied the hieroglyphs could be deciphered. Astrology and the psychology of the unconscious mind are equally interpretive if the same problem is stated in terms of each and then compared. Psychology shows what its significance may be in terms of the individual’s aims and tendencies, and astrology shows its significance in relation to the cosmic background of evolving life and God’s purpose for man. It is notorious that the power to heal, in fact, depending more than anything else on the personality of the psychotherapist and comparatively little on his system, save in so far as he is a thorough-going Freudian, in which case his power to minister to a mind diseased is small and his power to damage it still further considerable. So also is his power to earn money. A thorough-going Freudian is, fortunately, rare in this country.

It is not often that a sick soul possesses within itself the necessary energy for its own healing. In the days when I worked at a clinic for nervous disorders, it was very noticeable that the students benefitted enormously from a knowledge of psychology applied to their own problems, but the patients benefitted little. The students, being more or less normal and in good psychological health, were able to help themselves by making practical application of their knowledge; but the patients, being abnormal and sick souls, were at the mercy of the conditions that had wrecked them.

We need a technique which shall enable us to apply a counterbalance to the unbalanced elements in a horoscope and so bring them into equilibrium. To Saturn as gaoler must be opposed the energy of Mars as breaker of bonds or Jupiter as giver of good gifts. Having determined the nature of the problem wherein adjustments need to be made, the initiated astrologer “places it on the Tree”; observes to which Sephirah or Path it refers, and then determines what influences should be invoked in order to supply what is lacking or check what is over-active. This being correctly discerned, his knowledge as an initiate should then enable him to prescribe the appropriate rite, talisman and meditation to bring through the compensating force and redress the balance.

DION FORTUNE

Sunday, August 14, 2016

SONS OF HERMES - 26


Faith or magnetic healing?

“An ounce of practice is worth a pound of theory” was a favourite saying of Dion Fortune’s and bearing in mind Monsieur Philippe’s views on the subject, and he was a practitioner par excellence with no high views of animal magnetism as a universal medicine, I had a vivid and somewhat painful demonstration of what seemed to be animal magnetism being passed off as something higher in my youth. It came about by getting rather too close to a popular healer who, to judge from his literature, felt pretty sure that it was courtesy of the Holy Spirit that he operated. I am not too sure about that. But his movement carries successfully on, so I suppose cannot be all bad! {What follows  comes from ‘The Circuit of Force’ by Dion Fortune and myself (Thoth Publications 1998) – p.138}

Invited to a meeting of his, which took place in a packed church, I happened to be introduced to him just before the event. In what may well have been his usual practice, he grasped my hand strongly, and fixed me in the eye with a powerful gaze with the verbal affirmation “God bless you” or words to that effect. Such was the intensity of his gaze that I felt an instant tingling in my brow at the point that is usually regarded as the ajna psychic centre. This passed away however and I took my seat at the back of the church.

Before the healer began the laying on of hands to the sick he began to walk up and down the aisles of the church making sweeping movements of his arms and hands as if drawing in some form of power from the congregation; then he proceeded with his healing of individuals before the altar. As he did so, I began to feel myself getting weaker and feeling increasingly unwell, as well as intensely emotionally irritated, particularly at the repetition and tone of his repeated “Thank you, Father” which he got all the patients to say after he had laid hands on them. Eventually I was sufficiently distressed to leave early and having fortified myself with a hot drink at a nearby café, went on home.

The next morning however I woke to find I had a most uncomfortable point of irritation right between the eyebrows. What is more, the discomfort increased as the day wore on until it was very painful indeed at about midday, after which it decreased in intensity until the sun went down. The next day the same thing happened, the pain coming and going with the light. On the third day I sought medical advice and the doctor diagnosed it as sinusitis, dispensed an inhalant but implied that the only thing to do, short of an operation, was to grin and bear it. However, the problem wore off over a matter of days and I have fortunately never been bothered with it since.

It was a salutary demonstration to me, however, of the reality of some forms of the unseen and also a warning that some alternative healers may have little idea of how and what they may be doing in the course of their empirical healing practice. I imagine no harm came to most people to whom this particular healer projected his magnetic handshake but to a young initiate sensitised by meditation and magical ritual methods it plainly broke a temporary hole in the etheric vehicle, so that I was being literally vampirised in the church, with physiological repercussions following on.

Anecdotal evidence may not cut much ice in scientific circles but is none the less convincing to those who bear the brunt of the actual experience. It certainly convinced me that although doctors may write off much alternative healing as an application of the placebo effect, it was more than a placebo that hit me between the eyes on that particular night.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

SONS OF HERMES - 25


 Somnambulism and Animal Magnetism

Given the sharp differences of opinion with regard to animal magnetism that were somewhat fudged  in the founding of the School of Magnetism at Lyons, it seems worthwhile to make a brief survey of its development over the previous hundred years. What we have to say is a digest of our survey of the subject in The Circuit of Force (Thoth Publications 1998) which in turn had its source in Théories et procédés du Magnétisme  by Hector Durville, teacher of the subject in the 1890’s.

We tread on shifting sand on any scientifically based evaluation of the Unseen. Despite all attempts at an ‘objective’ approach, the assumptions and the evidence, the questions asked and the answers  given, vary from generation to generation. Great excitement arose toward the end of the 18th century when Benjamin Franklin channelled electricity from the atmosphere by the highly dangerous method of flying kites in a thunderstorm, and when Walsh found that electric shocks were given off by certain forms of deepwater fish. Then Galvani made the sensational discovery that dead frogs’ legs could be made to twitch by the discharge of electricity. In a spectacular experiment he connected a limb from one of his specimens to a lightning conductor on the top of his house at the height of a storm, to show the dead limb violently twitch each time there was a lightning flash. It seemed that electricity might be the source of life, and it was but a short step of the imagination to Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein where a monster was brought to life from various disparate body parts.

More controlled experimentation became possible when Volta invented the electrical battery, and this led in turn to the discovery that magnetism was part of the same phenomenon. When an electric current passes through a wire it produces a magnetic field at right angles to the direction of flow. If the wire is then wound into a coil the effect is greatly amplified, and will magnetise a soft iron core placed inside it. Thus was the electro-magnet discovered and by whirling coils in a magnetic field Faraday invented the generator and electric motor.

What we now take for granted as simple experiments in school physics were, two hundred years ago, fascinating researches upon the very borders of life, and they attracted a considerable following, amateur and professional. These interests also embraced other subjects perceived to be on the frontiers of spirit and matter, such as mesmerism, animal magnetism, ‘odic force’ and communication with discarnate spirits and associated phenomena.

At much the same time an Austrian doctor, Antoine Mesmer (1734-1815), attracted attention by effecting cures by what he called ‘animal magnetism’. He established a successful practice in Vienna but faced with hostility from the church and fellow medical practitioners, moved to Paris where he was patronised by high society and began to publish works on the history and practice of ‘animal magnetism’.

Mesmer did not concern himself much with details of medical physiology but kept to general principles. He compared the human body to a magnet, which was also, in its way, capable of acting upon other bodies at a distance. To maintain the body in a state of health it was necessary for its internal magnetism to be in a state of equilibrium. Disease was a condition found when these forces were unbalanced.  He considered the left and right sides of the body to be of opposite polarity, like the arms of a horseshoe magnet, and the hands of the magnetic healer were looked upon as conductors of magnetism of the appropriate polarity. Human and animals bodies were the most powerful source of magnetism, followed by growing vegetation, whilst iron and glass were the most effective conductors.

His methods were very simple, mainly concerned with ‘magnetically’ touching the patient, either with the hand or with a wand of glass or metal. Sometimes he treated patients individually, sometimes assisted by a ‘chain’ of healthy people linked in a circle about them.

He treated patients in groups, assisted by various reservoirs of magnetism, of which the ‘baquet’ is best known, a large container of magnetised water with which he could treat fifty or sixty people at a time. The baquet was a very large basin containing a number of bottles of magnetised water which were submerged under more water, or else buried in some conductor such as powdered glass, iron filings or sand. Thin iron rods protruded from the baquet, which were used to touch the affected parts of patients. A long cord attached to one of the rods could enable those about the baquet to wrap it around the affected part of the anatomy. They could also form a ‘chain’ about the baquet by linking thumbs with each of their neighbours, (the thumbs being considered important magnetic conductors), although the power could be increased if they sat in a close chain with thighs, knees and feet touching so as to form a continuous circle for the flow of magnetic fluid.

An early disciple of Mesmer, who simplified his theories and improved some of his practices, was the Marquis de Puységur (1751-1825), a distinguished soldier in his youth, a colonel at the age of 27, rising to brigadier general, who resigned his commission during the French revolution and returned home, where he gave refuge to many who were fleeing from persecution.

He was well read in the physical science of his day, understood the physical manifestations of electricity, and regarded animal magnetism not so much a circulation of invisible fluid but more a state of vibration. His experiments convinced him that the head and solar plexus were the parts of the human body most susceptible to magnetic emanation, and particularly the eyes. An important contribution of his was the discovery, in 1784,  of ‘magnetic somnambulism’ with its unusual powers.

He did not describe many detailed techniques of magnetic passes because he considered thought and will to be of greater importance. He also realised that magnetic practitioners varied in their ability, although this might be dependent upon the training and instruction they had received. Like Mesmer, he used auxiliary equipment, including the baquet, but preferred the use of trees, which he said already contained their own power, that could also be augmented by human magnetism. His favourite was a great elm tree in the grounds of his mansion with cords fixed to the branches, hanging down to the ground, which the sick could wind about themselves.

Whilst the most dramatic effects that Mesmer attained were through nervous crises, which he believed got rid of morbid elements within the organism, de Puységur did not think such crises indispensable. He considered the true curative state to be, on the contrary, a calm and tranquil one, that he called ‘the magnetic state’ or ‘lucid somnambulism’. This was completely different from ordinary sleep, and included response to suggestion, even telepathic suggestion. He could thus inspire happier thoughts by means of silent mental commands, or induce a patient to make dancing movements by silently running a song through his head. It was not long before anasthaesia was discovered and a remarkable facility whereby sick somnambulists could describe the means for their cure.

Another important figure was Deleuze (1753-1835) librarian of the Museum of Natural History. He did not live far from de Puységur’s country establishment, where he found several people, one of whom was sick, formed in a chain. He joined the chain, soon saw the patient fall asleep, and did so himself.

On returning home he tried magnetising himself, obtained satisfactory results, and henceforth devoted himself to the study and practice of the subject. He was the most cautious of early writers on magnetism as he concentrates on fact and observation rather than speculative theories, and wrote up either what he had seen himself or received from those he considered trustworthy.

 He was a disciple of Puységur insofar that he believed neither in human poles nor the influence of the stars. He thought Mesmer’s theories obscure, too complicated and not in agreement with several physical principles; and although he admitted that a universal fluid might be the cause of major phenomena he could not accept that anyone had the power to direct it over great distances. He differed from de Puységur by insisting on the paramount importance of the will, which he considered could obtain results without the need for belief. Both attached great importance to the somnambulistic state, or what would elsewhere be called trance.

He particularly advised that magnetism be practised only between members of the same sex on account of other sympathies that might be aroused by the process, and should it be necessary that a man magnetise a woman he prescribed detailed rules of conduct. He also recognised that different objects could be magnetised, acting as storage conductors and producing magnetic effects upon those with whom they were in rapport. These included linen or cotton handkerchiefs, leaves from trees, and plates of glass, gold or steel, which placed at a seat of discomfort could ameliorate it.

 One of the most successful 19th century successors to these three pioneers was Jules-Denis, Baron du Potet de Sennevoy (1796-1881) more succinctly known as du Potet, whose career as a magnetiser began in spectacular fashion in 1820 at the Hotel-Dieu hospital as we have already described.

Another great 19th century figure was Charles Lafontaine (1803-1892) who travelled all over France giving public demonstrations and curing the sick. In 1841 he came to England where he met Braid, the discoverer of hypnotism, before returning to France in 1848 and thence on to Italy where he was granted a sympathetic audience by Pope Pius XI who helped and encouraged him.

He contributed little to theory but was convinced of the emission of a magnetic fluid closely akin to physical magnetism. He eschewed supernatural theories and believed the will to be an important part of the ability to magnetise - although not in the sense of imposing one’s will upon the patient.

He attached great importance to the somnambulistic state and describes it as a mode of consciousness that is not sleeping nor waking nor dreaming. The somnambule enjoys the full use of faculties, often greater intelligence, more delicate perceptions and sometimes faculties not ordinarily possessed, such as seeing at a distance without help of the eyes, prevision of events, knowledge of hidden things and an instinct for remedies.

Throughout his travels giving public demonstrations in France, England, Italy and Switzerland he was a great populariser of magnetism. His theories were admirably simple, free from all metaphysics and  resting only on physical laws. His demonstration that the will of the magnetiser was not imposed on the patient gave the lie to fears of the abuse of power such as imagined in the dark figure of Svengali in George du Maurier’s novel Trilby in which a beautiful girl becomes the somnambulistically gifted slave and automaton of the villainous magnetiser.

On a lighter note the novel is also an excellent, if sometimes sentimentalised, description of the general atmosphere of young idealistic and artistically gifted bohemian and student folk – of whom George du Maurier was one – and also Papus and his friends – in Paris of the 1890’s. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

SONS OF HERMES - 24


The High Magic of Dr Fernand Rozier

Around the year 2000, a hundred years after Papus and his friends were coming to terms with the powers of Monsieur Philippe, a smart little publishing house – Le Mercure Dauphinois of Grenoble – came upon a lost Cours de Haute Magie (Course in High Magic) by a Dr Fernand Rozier (1839-1922). Dating from 1905 it took on board the mystical element that tended to be overshadowed by the scientific and intellectual approach of the early Papus and his G.I.E.E. lecturers and pamphleteers. They duly published it, with an introduction by the occult historian Serge Caillet (to whom the following biographical notes are indebted).

Gilbert Louis Fernand Rozier, the son of a lawyer, was born in 1822 in the small town of Ebreuil in central France. He was sent to Paris to go to school where he gained a baccalaureate in both science and letters plus a diploma in pharmacy, before qualifying first as a doctor of medicine and then of physical sciences. He was later taken on as secretary to the director of the Paris Observatory, the astronomer Urbain Le Verrier (discoverer of the planet Neptune in 1846) but feeling the call for more worldly experience, left to become ship’s doctor on a transatlantic liner until, after seven years at sea, settling down to a medical practice in Paris.

Along with his scientific career he was interested in occultism and as a seventeen year old met the great magical pioneer Éliphas Lévi, becoming one of his students from 1859 to 1870. At the height of the occult renaissance of the 1880’s he was familiar with Papus and his friends, mostly only half his age. At his home he played host to the producers of l’Initiation and Voile d’Isis, where he had installed a ‘laboratory’ in which, it was recalled, they performed some very curious experiments.

 Contributing to various occult journals, including the alchemical Rosa Alchemica  of  the ‘hyperchemist’ Jollivet-Castellot, from 1900 to 1910, as well as running his course, he produced a series of publications on Curses and Enchantment; Prayer; The Astral Plane; Elemental Spirits; The Invisible Powers; Gods, Angels, Saints and Egregores; Saint Philomena; Inundations and Prophecies; and the Theory of Prophecies, including foretelling the great flood that swamped Paris in 1910.

Some of these titles suggest an interest in mystical well as occult dynamics, and it is significant that he claimed to teach ‘High Magic’ – an echo of Eliphas Levi’s choice of title for his main work Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magic (Dogma and Rituel of High Magic).

 At his death in 1922, at the age of 83, Fernand Rozier had outlived most of the youngsters, and his obituary in Voile d’Isis regretted that he had not had time to write a great work on magic. He had however at least produced this Course, which was however lost until after many adventures, including confiscation by the Gestapo during the war, a copy was discovered among the post mortem papers of Papus’ son, Philippe Encausse (1906-1984), now safely lodged in the archives of Lyons Public Library.

The 200 page course begins conventionally enough, with a recap, largely based on Eliphas Levi, of suggested correspondences of Hebrew letters and Tarot Trumps with Paths on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. This is followed by a rundown of ways of categorising the inner planes of the universe and their correspondence in human and other forms of consciousness, from the simplistic duality of conventional church teaching, through the three circle system of the Druids and the four worlds of the Kabbalists, to the seven principles of Theosophy. He prefers a six-fold system himself, of Divine, Celestial, Mental, Kamic (i.e. feelings and forces), Astral and Physical.

The Divine plane he considered unique, the consciousness of God, beyond the created universe and arguably inaccessible to any created beings.

He regarded The Celestial or Heavenly as the highest of the created planes, formed before any of the lower ones, the realm of the most exalted forms of consciousness, such as the Christ and the Blessed Virgin, and including the angelic realms and also ‘evolved humanity’. The latter indicating that the whole scheme implies the evolution of consciousness through a process of reincarnation in time and space.

In the view of Serge Caillet this is a questionable point, on the grounds that reincarnation is a comparatively recent introduction to western esotericism, largely through the channels of the Theosophical Society. Classics of Western esotericism before the 19th century make little or no mention of it. In conventional Christian teaching there is no need for it, although some Christians seem to find no difficulty with it. Whether it is non-existent, or a universal phenomenon, or a special vocation taken only by some, remains a keen debating point that we will take a close look at later.

This aside, Fernand Rozier found no problem with it, and as his Course goes on to show, he was very much at ease with the dynamics of practical occultism, including different forms of consciousness, whether angelic or elemental, other than the human. And he nails his colours firmly to the mast in insisting upon a Christian approach to occultism – or occult approach to Christianity if one prefers.

But because he found himself the object of attacks from certain theological quarters he felt the need to explain himself, much along the following lines:

“If it is appropriate for me to say to which school I belong, I will willingly say that I belong to my own school, but I prefer a title that will astonish many theologians, who do not realise that in firing at me they fire on their own troops. I call my school Christian occultism – two words that may appear to clash when found linked together, but nothing could be more true.

“I am Christian because I believe completely in the Christian teaching, and I am an occultist because, instead of contenting myself with practising my religion, I study its hidden mysteries and seek to explain what priests perform but fail to understand. I study the invisible as it presents itself to me, just as when studying physics or chemistry, without concerning myself with other factors.

“I am a Christian occultist because I have studied much, have compared various initiations with each other, and have reached the certainty that all truth is founded on Christian doctrine. I know very well that what I say here may seem excessive and that I would have difficulty in making you accept it, or at least some of you. But if you like to take hold of an important fact: that which I call Christian doctrine corresponds exclusively with the teaching of Christ, you may perhaps believe me more easily.

“Does this mean that all other religions are a tissue of errors? That is what some fanatics claim but it is not true. What is more, I claim that it is impossible to understand Christianity completely if one does not know other religions. Paganism, Mazdaism, Hinduism for example contain precious keys. A day will come when our adversaries know us better and may bitterly regret the war they made on us, and understand what precious auxiliaries we have been for them – or rather, for Religion.

“We study hidden things and are accused of hiding our studies. We describe the nature of occult traps to warn the public of its dangers, and are accused of setting traps ourselves. We bring men to God and show the works of God in hidden things and are accused of limiting the powers of God or even of denying them. But there is no antagonism between religion and occultism; on the contrary, one completes the other. And as I find security only in Christianity, and only find complete truth in the words of Christ, the occultism I teach is Christian occultism.”

And as his course progresses we find it eminently practical with a dual approach of “the penetration of the invisible worlds onto the physical plane” in one direction and “ways of penetrating the invisible worlds from the physical plane”– concluding with different types of vision – imaginal, corporeal, intellectual and prophetic.

In the Spring of 1900, upon inner direction, he formed a group, La Fraternité de sainte Philomène (The Fraternity of St Philomena) insisting that it was not a secret society, had no statutes and required no oaths. It was a society whose foundation rested in the invisible, for which St Philomena herself (an early saint and martyr of obscure and evocative origin) chose the members. Those who had complete faith in her stood most chance of being admitted, the physical members of the Fraternity providing an etheric egregore of which the saint might be called the soul.

In my view a pattern that might be regarded as that of any valid ‘contacted group’ whoever the principal inner plane contact might happen to be, or claim to be, whether ancient philosopher or respected historical or legendary figure. In all of which there applies the acid test of “by their fruits shall ye know them.”

Thursday, July 28, 2016

DION FORTUNE - REINCARNATION & THE STARS


REINCARNATION & THE STARS

DION FORTUNE

Issued as a penultimate reminder for the Dion Fortune seminar at Glastonbury on 24th September 2016.

For programme and booking details see Company of Avalon website.

The following text is taken from  letters to students by Dion Fortune in 1942/3. Also published as part of ‘Principles of Hermetic Philosophy’ by Dion Fortune & Gareth Knight (Thoth Publications 1999).

There is a factor which neither astrology nor psychology have taken into account, and that is the question of reincarnation. Without some doctrine as to the whence and whither of the soul, psychology is a descriptive science and no more, and this lack is particularly felt in its application as psychotherapy. Astrology equally, though one of the occult sciences, has in its modern form nothing to tell us concerning the relationship of its findings to the doctrine of reincarnation. Nevertheless it is in this particular concept that we must seek the link between the two sciences which deal with man’s soul and its fate. I cannot in these pages go deeply into the doctrine or reincarnation; its outlines can be found in many excellent books published by the Theosophical and Anthroposophical Societies and by independent writers, and to these I refer my readers who want exact and detailed information on this subject. If the doctrine of reincarnation is disputed, my argument can go no further, so I do not propose to discuss the matter, but to leave those who dispute it to drop out at this stage of the argument and proceed to show how the astrological concepts would be affected if  reincarnation were a fact.

It has often been pointed out that the exact moment of the birth of an infant is dependent upon many factors, not least among which are the previous engagements of the doctor, who may expedite the birth by instrumental means or leave it to take its natural course, thus profoundly modifying the natal horoscope which may subsequently be cast. How can the doctrine of karma or the laws of heredity be correlated with astrological findings in such circumstances? What shall we say of divine justice if the future life of a human being is determined by the fact that the doctor got tired of waiting and applied the forceps?

Matters become clear, however, if certain esoteric concepts are taken into consideration. Let us grant that conception takes place exactly as described by the biologists through the union of germ and sperm, each bringing with it the characteristics of their respective stocks to express themselves or inhibit each other along Mendelian lines. These physical factors determine the physical organism through which the incoming soul will have to express itself, and in view of what we know nowadays of the ductless glands, it is obvious that its temperament and the reactions based thereon are closely conditioned by heredity, and that only a will and intelligence of a very high type can control the emotional reactions due to a defective thyroid. Let us accept all these biological data, as we cannot very well refuse to do in the face of the evidence, but let us nevertheless continue our enquiry into the scope of free will and the means of determining the destiny of the soul.

These are the conditions, then, under which the newly originating body is conceived and formed; its nature being biologically determined and conditioned within very narrow limits; some modification, but not a great deal, being brought about by the health of the mother during her pregnancy, and the exact birth moment being determined partly by Nature and partly by the doctor. Now let us conceive of an innumerable host of discarnate human souls of all types and degrees of development awaiting upon the Inner Planes their chance to incarnate and continue their evolution. These souls will be of many and varied types, and at widely different stages of evolution, and will require an equally wide range of conditions to afford them scope for development. When conditions are present that fit a soul, might we not conceive that it slips into incarnation in the same way that a key slips into a Yale lock, and that it is not the condition of the psychic atmosphere at birth that puts its stamp on the blank page of the new-born soul, but a soul of a corresponding type that incarnates under given conditions. This is a more rational, and also a more ethical concept of astrological determinism than that which ascribes our fate to our stars.

Let us see how this method of incarnation works out in detail. At the end of an incarnation the soul enters into a subjective state of consciousness on the Inner Planes, for it possesses no senses or muscles through which to lead an objective existence. In this state it contemplates its past life, and this contemplation constitutes its heaven and hell. If it is a soul of an undeveloped type it profits by its experience to the same simple and direct extent as a burnt child dreads fire; if it is an evolved soul, its contemplation may extend itself into meditation and the work of the creative imagination. In due course it will have absorbed all the nutriment of experience that its past life can yield, and will need to gather fresh experience in order to make further progress. Having lain down in the byre of heaven to chew the cud of earthly experience, it must now return to the fields of earth to graze again.

Time and space on the Inner Planes bear no relation to time and space on the physical plane save insofar as they are anchored thereto by means of symbolism and the association of ideas. On the physical plane, time is measured by the revolution of the earth on its axis and its circuit round the Sun, and space is measured in relation to the earth’s surface. On the Inner Planes, time and space are modes of consciousness, as modern philosophy is beginning to realise. To consciousness unconditioned by matter, time present is that of which it is conscious; time past is that of which it is not thinking at the moment; and the future is that of which it is unaware. Space likewise is near or far according to its occupancy of the focus or fringe of consciousness. What we are thinking of is present, and what we are not thinking of its absent. We can demonstrate this by working up a state of terror by imagining ourselves to be in a place of danger, the degree of terror being determined b y the degree of vividness of the picture thus built up.

We can therefore conceive that souls awaiting incarnation are not hovering at some particular spot on the earth’s surface, but are abiding in the state of consciousness to which their evolution has brought them, and that whenever and wherever the astrological influences produce that condition in the earth’s atmosphere, a relationship is established with souls of a corresponding type, and if a new-born body is available, one or another of them will enter it. We can thus see why it is that horoscopes are cast for the moment of birth and not for the moment of conception, which seems the more rational method, for it may be that, despite tradition to the contrary, the soul enters the body with the first breath. We know what importance is attached to the breath in Eastern occultism, and the philological relationship between ‘breath’ and ‘spirit’ in all languages, and may well take a hint from the testimony of such independent witnesses that enables us to explain one of the greatest anomalies of astrological doctrine.

We can also see in the light of this explanation why horoscopes are seldom the exact fit astrologers would like to believe them to be. “The stars cannot lie,” they say, when the subject protests at some obvious discrepancy between him and his horoscope; but if we realise that unborn souls are coming into incarnation as best they can in the circumstances available to them, and that the unevolved have little choice or discretion, we can see that during the earlier phases of its evolution, life is apt to be a little haphazard and that it is only the more highly evolved souls who have the power to exercise any discrimination in the choice of a vehicle or an environment, or have the patience to do so. We are dragged back into matter by the urge of unfulfilled desires just as a thirsty horse seeks water. In consequence our environment often presents us with difficulties which have to be overcome before we can start on our life work, for it is our lower nature that has most to say about the manner of our incarnation, and only a very highly evolved soul has the knowledge and power necessary to overrule its own urges.

It will thus be seen that the state of the psychic atmosphere during which a soul incarnates is a very useful guide to the spiritual condition of that soul, though it has no influence whatsoever on that condition, which is the product of past evolutionary experiences. The lock does not affect the key, but the key can only enter the lock it fits: thus while key and lock are not causally related, they are nevertheless functionally related. Upon this analogy is astrology justified of its wisdom.

The spiritual entity that thus takes flesh will also require vehicles of mental and astral substance as its subtle sheaths. Are these sheaths built up by the incarnating entity on a spiritual basis, or do they build up around the nucleus of the physical germ, so that the immortal spirit takes over its astral and mental vehicles ready made along with its physical body, all three being determined by the astrological conditions of the earth atmosphere? In view of the fact that endocrine conditions so closely influence emotional and mental states, and also influence not only closely but precisely the physical type and rate of growth, it is probable that the physical germ is the nucleus for the organisation of all the vehicles of manifestation; but in view also of the fact that emotion immediately influences the functioning of all glands, it is not only probable but certain that the incarnating entity exercises an influence upon the subsequent development of its vehicles in proportion to its own development. That is to say, if it is self-conscious and self-directive it will exercise control over its vehicles extending even into the functional activities of its most dense. Evidence of this is afforded by the various forms of mental healing, which are dependent upon the power of the subtle vehicles to influence the dense, whether by the influx of spiritual power, mental suggestion, or the emotional manipulation of the astral through the imagination. But equally, because the spiritual self is congruous to the conditions in which it incarnates, it is improbable, unless extraneous influences are brought to bear upon it, that it will cause its vehicles to deviate widely from their natural type because that type represents its condition. When such influences are brought to bear, as in the case of religious conversion, hypnotic influence, spiritual healing, or the training of an initiate, then we may expect wide and even startling divergations from the original condition and line of development of both mind and body.

It is clear in the light of such experience that the vehicles of man are not so many mass-produced machines, incapable of alteration or adaptation. We know that they are capable of a wide range of adaptation, and consequently would be capable of alteration if we knew how to set about the process and where to open up the sealed controls. Even the physical body, the densest and most set in its ways of all the vehicles, is capable of profound modification of function, if not of organic structure, under the influence of mental healers as well as of environment and disease; the subtler vehicles are malleable in proportion to their subtlety. All depends upon the influences brought to bear upon them. In the case of the highly evolved being, self conscious and self-directing, strong and direct spiritual influences can be brought to bear; but as the spiritual philosophy of the more highly evolved cultures is an ascetic philosophy, a turning away from matter to spirit, such influence is seldom brought to bear, and in consequence the vehicles of the more highly evolved are often grievously mismanaged, their sensitivity being blown about by all the winds of emotion prevailing on the astral, and it is left to the more primitive cultural type to exhibit the spectacular phenomena which certain yogis and fakirs have displayed as evidence of spiritual powers.

Unevolved types of souls have little or no self consciousness in the earlier stages of their development, and consequently no insight into their condition or power of self determination based thereon. Only in proportion as man acquires power of thought control can he become master of his fate, ruler of his stars and healer of his body. The direction taken by such control, however, will always be determined by the fact that a character is congruous to the stars under which it incarnates, and to its own physical type, else it would not have incarnated thus and then; consequently as has been pointed out in another context, it will tend to work along the lines it laid down for itself when it incarnated, and drastic changes are unlikely in the absence of drastic stimuli. Nevertheless, we must not overlook what can be effected by drastic stimuli in the case of the more highly evolved types of souls.

It might then be said that man’s subservience to the stellar influences is in proportion to his primitiveness, but this would be incorrect, for the unevolved are insensitive, and the less individualised they are, the more they are at the mercy of psychological type and environment. The average man shares in the unmodified fate of the society in which he is born. He starves in its depressions and prospers when it booms. The evolved type may struggle out of the rut into relative freedom. It must never be forgotten, however, that all freedom is relative, and can only operate within the fixed laws of its nature, whether these be astral or social, for each plane and mode of existence has its own laws, which are simply the limitations of its nature that determines its type.

We can see, then, that people react to astrological influences according to their degree of development, but not in a steadily rising line of sensitivity. The unevolved are relatively insensitive; the psychically evolved are highly sensitive; the spiritually evolved are sensitive, but can control and direct their functioning, reactions and development by virtue of the power to react which their sensitivity confers when directed by a controlled and purposive intelligence. Not enough has been made of this fact in popular astrology. We can perhaps sum all this up by saying that the unevolved are influenced predominantly by earth conditions; the psychically evolved by lunar or emotional conditions, and the spiritually evolved by solar conditions; or translated into less esoteric language, the unevolved react blindly and helplessly to the physical conditions of their environment and the physiological laws of their being, not realising the possibilities of modification and control that can be exerted by the mind; the minds of the psychically evolved influence their bodies and environments powerfully but blindly, there being no directing intelligence to guide their activities; the highly evolved, through auto-suggestion and mind control are able to guide their own processes on all planes.

The wide range and development of mental healing in all its aspects, from the most spiritual to the most superstitious, has made us familiar with the powers the mind can exercise over the body when it gives itself seriously to the task, as it very seldom does owing to the bondage of habit and the inhibiting power of negative auto-suggestions due to incredulity. Such experience encourages us to ask whether the astrological influences which cause the various factors in our being to react in sympathy can also be controlled by the power of the self-directive mind possessed of insight. The initiate answers this question in the affirmative. He does not ignore the power of the stars, as does the sceptic, but he believes that the proper way to use a birth chart of a progressed horoscope is for diagnostic purposes and that it should never be regarded as a blueprint of Fate. To the unevolved, unable to cope with stellar influences, the revelation of the significance of a horoscope can do little good and much harm, and for this reason astrology should rightly be an occult or hidden wisdom, reserved for initiates.

The initiate is as averse to its indiscriminate and unenlightened use as any magistrate fining a fortune teller because he knows the power of auto-suggestion to reinforce the influences of the stars and make bad influences an excuse for inertia or rashness. Moreover, although the casting of a horoscope is a matter of arithmetic about which there can be no two opinions, the reading of it is a very different affair, and the old saying – “So many men, so many minds” necessarily applies, especially in view of the fact that but few people know their exact birth moment. It is well known that the unanalysed psychoanalyst invariably projects his own complexes on to his patient, and the same is true of the astrologer. He is a creature of his age and his inhibitions, and he will regard the planets as malefic or catalysts, benefices or karma according to taste. A bad aspect will be regarded as an evil fate or an abreaction of repressions and a good aspect will be regarded as a stroke of luck or a release of inner power according to the degree of enlightenment of the mind that studies it.

To assess the influence of the planets in terms of good or bad luck of various types is a gambler’s way of making a living as distinguished from honest and creative work. Folk watch their aspects to learn their fate in the same way that the stock gambler watches the market reports; and as the stock gambler is worthless as a citizen, contributing nothing to the wealth of nations,  a mere unproductive parasite, so the superstitious believer in astrology will mark time on the evolutionary path because his fatalistic attitude prevents him from assuming mastery over his fate and denies him the power to learn by experience and become a bigger and better man as the result of battling with the storms of life.

DION FORTUNE

 

Friday, July 15, 2016

SONS OF HERMES - 23


The School of Magnetism in Lyons

Whatever caused this strange event and sudden blow to Papus’ self esteem – and we are all entitled to our own theories – psychological, occult or mystical – he was big enough to follow it up and try to find out for himself. Thus by October 1895 we find him in close association with Maître Philippe, intent on introducing him to a wider audience, to which end, he teamed up with Hector Durville, who over the last ten years had established a school of magnetism and massage in Paris, and suggested that Maître Philippe’s operation down in Lyons be incorporated with it.

This may not have seemed a likely arrangement at first sight, as Maïtre Philippe did not have much time for animal magnetism or hypnosis or even occultism for that matter, but having the backing of qualified doctors – Papus himself and another bright young spark, a protégé of Papus, Dr Emmanuel Lalande, (pen name Marc Haven) – may have caused him to feel his work was given greater legal validity. He was appointed Director of the Lyons branch of the organisation, doing his usual thing, with lectures on anatomy, physiology and the like provided by the doctors – particularly Dr Lalande who in course of time married M. Philippe’s daughter, Victoire, and helped her father in his laboratories.  

 A rough translation of the beginning of the inaugural speech by Papus gives some idea of intentions at the time.

“It is a great honour for me to open this School of Magnetism in Lyons, established by the Magnetic Society of France as a branch of a School of practical magnetism and massage that has been recognised by the University of France as a Higher Independent Establishment of Instruction.

“Moving to Lyons has the effect of providing the teaching body of a new School as I was pleased to find your beautiful town has enough devoted and trained practitioners to set up not one but three schools of magnetism if required.

“It is thus that I answer the voice of the people, a powerful voice whose echoes ring through the centuries, while that of academics is barely heard after a few months. Along with the thanks of the poor and the humble, and the blessing of mothers whose children have been condemned by official science, yet are elevated to glory by a simple name for those who do not know him,  and great one for those who understand the mystery of his work – that of PHILIPPE!

“When I first met this strange man who knows the essence of such great things I asked ‘Who are you to possess such powers?’

“He replied: ‘I assure you I am less than a stone, and all the merit comes from God who sometimes deigns to listen to the prayers of the least of his children, for, I tell you the truth, I am nothing, I am less than nothing’.

I have known many men. I have lived in the company of many ambitious egos and have always heard said around me: ‘I am this’ or, ‘I am that...’ And for the first time in my life I heard the strange words: ‘Me? I am nothing, why do you address me when there are so many who are wiser?’

“I had found my MASTER. After a long time looking for someone who was nothing in the midst of those who seemed great. However I had much trouble making the modest M. Philippe accept the official title of Professor of the Clinic of Magnetism to which he had such right. {With all due respect it was probably the word ‘magnetism’ that caused M.Philippe to seem reluctant, although he did later compromise by speaking of a ‘higher’ magnetism in relation to his powers. GK}

“Around him, as around all those who defend the Truth by example, are raised many enemies, as powerful as they are ignorant of the greatness of the work they attack. They who dare condemn ‘love of money’ in one who leaves his house wearing a warm coat in winter and returns without it because he has met a shivering unfortunate on the way.

“But the voice of the people replied in simple words greater than any fine phrases: Monsieur Philippe is the father of the poor!

“They wanted to accuse this man, who cures the incurable by praying to God for them, of the illegal practice of medicine. And it required a new law on the practice of medicine and the judgment of the Court of Appeal at Angers to show the doctors that there exists a medicine of the soul, and that this medicine is at the disposal of the pure in heart and has nothing to do with pharmaceutical formulae.

“I am a doctor of medicine, which is to say that I can perhaps speak of how a sick person is progressing , but in ten years, please God, I hope to be conscious enough of the practice of high theurgy to cure a sick person whom I can, at best, relieve a little at the moment.”

To which we might add a couple of paragraphs of a letter from M. Philippe to one of his intimate friends:

“Do not worry about me for, believe me, I have come to carry the Light into confusion, and I have not come unarmed, without a good escort. Armed with Truth and Light I will triumph, be sure of that. If I could not bear the struggle I would only have to desire rest and I would have it immediately.

“If I have not asked for your support here, it is to leave it for later, when I pass before a greater Tribunal. For that I will need witnesses to speak for me, for Truth and for Heaven.  Fight also by praying for your wicked brothers, asking forgiveness from God for those who spit in your face saying – “If you are God, come down from the cross.”