2 December 2016

Mystic Lore of Gems and Crystals

Precious Stones and Their Occult Influence

Theresa




Editorial Note:

The following article is reproduced from “Lucifer” magazine, London, September 1890, pp. 223 to 226. The word “Lucifer” is an ancient name for Venus,  the light-bearer,  the planet-sister  of our Earth.[1]  

Signing as editor, H. P. Blavatsky added this commentary to the end of the article:

“The above is of course the superstition of the occult tradition. Comparative study in this field of research has yet to be attempted, when it will be proved that there is a true scientific basis in the widespread belief in the virtues of the ‘tears of the Gods’.”

As to the importance of stones, Blavatsky wrote in “Isis Unveiled”:

“Pythagoras pays a particular attention to the color and nature of precious stones; while Apollonius of Tyana imparts to his disciples the secret virtues of each [of them] …”. [2]

(Carlos Cardoso Aveline)

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Mystic Lore of Gems and Crystals

Theresa

From ancient times belief in the magical properties and talismanic virtues of gems and crystals has been prevalent, especially in the East, the source of mystic wisdom. But in these days to credit anything in Nature with occult virtue is held to be a foolish thing, and the practical moderns see no “power to charm” in precious stones, save by their commercial value. So that a jewel once venerated by the Magi of old, as a talisman possessing wondrous power, is to-day for the world at large a valuable ornament, and nothing more. Therefore, let us search for ourselves the lore of the past, and learn the mystic virtues that precious gems possessed in vanished ages.

The Diamond first shines forth. It was held in peculiar veneration by the ancient Romans: fastened on the left arm it banished all nocturnal terrors and was a safeguard against insanity. Moreover, it was held to possess the power of counteracting the effects of poisons and detecting their presence by becoming dim and moist. This belief continued to a late period, but diamonds (probably pulverised) are enumerated as being among the poisons administered to the unfortunate Sir Thomas Overbury by the infamous Earl and Countess of Somerset. A quaint old writer says: “He who carries the diamond upon him, it gives him hardihood and manhood and keeps his limbs whole. It gives him victory over his enemies if his cause be just: keeps his wit good, preserves him from sorrow and strife and the illusions of wicked spirits.” But the diamond must be given freely, “without coveting or buying”, in order to possess these virtues in their full force: furthermore, it loses its talismanic power by reason of the sins of him who bears it. More than one famous diamond has been regarded as the guardian of the ruler of that country to which it belonged; and the Koh-i-noor now in the possession of the English Government is looked upon in this manner by the natives of India, who see in its transfer the downfall of their ancient monarchy. The diamond is under the influence of Mars, and should, correctly speaking, be set in fine steel, iron being the metal of that planet.

The Moonstone is not a diamond, though the late Wilkie Collins so declared in his weird novel of that name; but is a beautiful, though not rare stone, peculiar to Ceylon. It was held in veneration on account of its lunar attraction, and Pliny describes it as “shining with a yellow lustre”, also, as containing an image of the moon, which daily waxed and waned according to the state of that luminary.

The Amethyst was esteemed by the topers of ancient Rome and Greece from a belief that it was a remedy against drunkenness: it was also thought to sharpen the business faculties of merchants and, like the diamond, to counteract the effects of poisonous drugs: and he who possessed one was able to capture birds and beasts easily.

The Sapphire, sacred to the Sun, and called the stone of stones, cured boils, restored weak sight, extinguished fires, mended the manners of its wearers and made the melancholy cheerful. Until the time of “ye dreadful fire” of London there was, in old St. Paul’s Cathedral, a famous sapphire presented by Richard de Preston, citizen and grocer, which cured infirmities in the eyes of all who resorted to its virtues. The stone, however, perished with the cathedral.

The Crystal has been famous through all time for the visions beheld in it by clairvoyants. A Beryl was the most favorite medium, for Aubrey tells us in his “Miscellanies” that “A Beryl is a kind of crystal that hath a weak tincture of red in it, wherein magicians behold visions. When Sir Marmaduke Langdale was in Italy, he went to one of those who did show him a crystal wherein he beheld himself kneeling before a crucifix. He was, at that time, a Protestant, but afterwards became a Roman Catholic.” Rossetti in his weird, magnificent, ballad, “Rose Mary”, sets forth the awful powers of the spirits of the Beryl, the stone that is: -

“Rainbow-hued through a misty pall,
Like the middle light of the waterfall.”

Dr. Dee said of his famous crystal (now in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford), that it “was brought to him by the angels of God, and that the form of it was round and large”. There are crystal-seers even in these practical days, and the present writer has many psychic friends who behold visions in gems and crystals, or even spheres of common glass.

The Ruby, when bruised in water, relieved weakness of the eyes and helped disordered livers: if the four corners of a room, house or garden, were touched with it they would be preserved from lightning, tempests, or worms: it dispersed foul air and kept lovers’ faith unbroken, and when worn it was impossible to hide it, as it would show through the thickest covering.

The Topaz stopped bleeding and possessed marvellous powers of emitting light. One was presented to a monastery by the noble Lady Hildegarde, wife of Theodoric, Count of Holland, and this stone was said to send forth so brilliant a light, that in the chapel where it was kept prayers were read without any other lamp. The virtues of the topaz increased or decreased according as the moon was new or old, and when cast into boiling water, it at once deprived it of heat.

The Pearl was greatly venerated in the early ages for its occult virtues. They were said to be brought forth by boiling the gem in meat, when it healed the quartan ague. Bruised in milk, and taken internally, it was good for ulcers and cleared the voice. The Greeks and Romans believed that pearls were formed from the dew of heaven falling into the open shell of the oyster during the breeding season, and they wore crowns of them as amulets.

The Emerald was held to have the power of blinding serpents who gazed on its lustre; but it strengthened the human sight, and the ancients were never tired of looking at their rings if this gem was set therein. The Holy Grail, of the Arthurian legends, was said to have been a chalice formed of a single emerald used by the Redeemer at his last supper. Brought from heaven by angels, it was preserved by Joseph of Arimathea, and is yet believed to be on earth, angel-guarded, but visible only to the entirely pure. Among the virtues ascribed to emeralds was that of proving if lovers kept troth or no. In allusion to this belief, L.E.L. has written:

“It is a gem which hath the power to show
If plighted lovers keep their troth or no:
If faithful, it is like the leaves in spring;
If faithless like those leaves when withering.”

The Empress Josephine wore only emeralds after her divorce from Napoleon, and was painted in them by Isabey. An emerald set in copper should be an appropriate love token, as both gem and metal are under the influence of the planet Venus.

The Turquoise was also good for the sight, and was thought to be “a cheerer of the soul”; furthermore it diverted the evil of any fall that might happen to its wearer. It grew paler as its owner sickened, lost its color entirely at his death, but recovered it when placed on the finger of a new and healthy possessor. Suspended by a string within a glass it told the hour by striking against the side: and he who possessed one believed that he might fall from any height without injury, as the stone attracted to itself the whole force of the concussion.

The Opal was not regarded by the ancients as the bringer of misfortune; on the contrary it was believed by them to possess the virtues of every gem whose color appeared on its prismatic surface. It also conferred the gift of invisibility on its wearer, and was invaluable for the sight: hence the name “opal” or “eye-stone”. It is the matter-of-fact moderns who regard this gem as ill-omened. A Russian who meets with one when purchasing goods will buy nothing more that day, looking on the opal as “the evil eye”. The French dislike this stone as being unlucky, and lately, a friend of the present writer, who is a learned physician and occultist, ascribed certain misfortunes that had befallen him to his having come into possession of a beautiful opal ring, till one of the stones breaking he had them removed and replaced by pink coral, whereupon his ill luck ceased.

The Carbuncle anciently (believed to be produced in the head of a species of fox) had the same power of emitting light as the topaz; and the Garnet produced discord between lovers, but preserved the health and spirits.

Agate, Coral and Amber are among the gems of inferior value, possessing mystic virtues. Powdered agate mixed with water was believed to be an antidote to snake poison; and storms could be averted by burning agates. Coral beads are worn in India as amulets; and the Italians to this day fasten little coral branches round the necks of their children and horses, to neutralise the effects of the “Malocchio” or evil eye. It has ever been held a charm against witchcraft, and to protect the wearer from tempests and robbers.

Amber also was worn by children as a charm, and by adults as a protection against insanity; suspended from the neck it cured the ague. The Shah of Persia carries about him a cube of amber, supposed to have fallen from Heaven, and believed to have the power of rendering him invulnerable. Amber, ground up with honey or rose oil, was formerly a specific against deafness or dimness of sight. Tacitus describes the amber gatherers as a sacred nation, worshipping the mother of the Gods, called Hertha.

The Onyx in the Middle Ages was believed to expose its owner to the assaults of demons, hideous dreams at night and law suits by day.[3] The Crysolite, on the contrary, expelled phantoms, and brought all kinds of good fortune.

The Loadstone was formerly set in wedding rings, being indicative of love’s attraction. Armed with this wondrous mineral, a man might walk freely among reptiles, as they had then no power to harm him. Paracelsus and other mystics have written extensively upon the marvellous virtues of the loadstone, both as a curative and a magnet.

The Jacinth and the Bloodstone also possessed extraordinary properties. The former cured fever and dropsy, banished evil fancies, restrained luxury, and rendered its wearer victorious, powerful, and agreeable; while if set in gold, those virtues were greatly increased. The latter, if wetted in cold water, was invaluable for the cure of wounds, and was used by the West Indians for that purpose.

The ancient writers mention many stones the very names of which are unknown in our day, that in past ages were held to possess miraculous powers: but they were either altogether fabulous, or if they existed, were so rare as to have been unknown save to very few. Thus, the Bezoar stone, said to be procured from the kidneys of a wild animal found in Arabia: the Toadstone growing in the toad’s head; the Snakestone and many others all possess this apocryphal origin, being most probably ordinary mineral substance under other names. The early Christians bestowed religious and emblematical significations upon precious stones, probably with a view to ridiculing the occult virtues ascribed to them by ancient philosophers.

The following are the gems and metals under the influence of the seven chief planets: -

Saturn         Onyx             Lead
Jupiter        Cornelian      Tin
Mars           Diamond       Iron
Sun             Sapphire        Gold
Venus          Emerald        Copper and Brass
Mercury      Loadstone     Quicksilver
Moon          Crystal          Silver

Among the ancients, rings or talismans formed of each stone and metal, with certain ceremonies, at the times when their respective ruling stars were strongest, were venerated as possessing all the virtues of the planets under which they were formed.

(Theresa)

NOTES:

[1] Since the Middle Ages the term has been distorted by ill-informed theologians. (CCA)

[2] See the article “The Invisible Power of the Sapphire”, by Helena P. Blavatsky, which is available at our associated websites.  The text is a fragment from pp.  264-265 of “Isis Unveiled”, by Helena P. Blavatsky, The Theosophy Co., LA, 1982, Volume I. (CCA)

[3] This Medieval view is unilateral and superstitious. The Onyx is associated with Saturn, with Capricorn, and firmness of decision. It is said to stimulate self-control. (CCA)

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26 November 2016

In the Light of Karma

Escaping the Illusion of Fortuity

Luke Michael Ironside




Much confusion presently exists in esoteric literature as to the exact meaning of the term “Karma”, and as a result one will find that the notion is susceptible of misleading shades of definition and interpretation among contemporary writers on the subject.

Until 130 years ago, the concept had little or no meaning to the inhabitants of the Western world; and it was only with the introduction of the Theosophical Society and the teachings of Blavatsky that Karma, along with the notions of reincarnation and the Oneness of Life, entered into the mainstream. Today, despite its widespread popularity as a concept, Karma is often misunderstood and misrepresented as a mere shadow of its true depth and complexity; watered-down by the effects of its adoption in mass culture and inclusion in common and colloquial parlance.

Theosophically speaking, Karma may be described as referring to the Spiritual Law of Cause and Effect which is inherent in the very fabric of the Universe. As such, it is immutable and changeless, acting automatically and invariably in the evolution and order of the Cosmos in which we exist and have our being. When applied to the life of the individual, it may be regarded as the ultimate Law of Justice, whereby one reaps the results of one’s own sowing, enjoying or suffering the results of one’s own actions, and which operates along the lines of individual experience, life, and character. It is entirely impersonal, and yet infinitely fair in its working.

In this sense, Karma is much like the natural laws of mathematics and physics, operating along exact lines and bringing forth exact effects in accordance with the invariability of its law. It stands beyond the questions of good or evil, reward or punishment, morality or immorality, and so forth; acting rather as a great natural force over and above any such questions of human conduct. Karma is not something imposed upon us by the arbitrary judgement of a revengeful god or the spiritual powers that be; as an absolute law it should be regarded rather as the manifestation of effects in accordance with the causes we have set into motion; it is simply the Law of Cause and Effect.

In The Key to Theosophy [1], Blavatsky writes of Karma that it is:

“...That unseen and unknown law which adjusts wisely, intelligently and equitably each effect to its cause, tracing the latter back to its producer. Though itself unknowable, its action is perceivable.”

Karma is thus known solely by the evidence of its effects in the phenomenal world, which are likewise mirrored in the life of the individual. We do not perceive Karma in itself, nor do we fully understand the essence of Karma, yet we do know how it works by the nature of its invariable Law, which is constant and unchanging, and as a result we may accurately predict and define its mode of action.

As the Law by which every action must result in an equal reaction, Karma may also be considered as containing a harmonising principle; it is only by the Law of Karma that the Universe maintains its equilibrium. The whole cosmic process in action is according to the Law. We know from Newton that to every action there must be an opposite and equal reaction: Cause and Effect. This Law is Universal Law which orders and balances the rhythmic workings of the world, keeping the universe in this state of perfect equilibrium. Without such constant balance and adjustment, the Universe would collapse in a ravaging tempest of chaos and confusion – atoms would burst asunder and planets fly off their courses. Scientific knowledge would become an impossibility, as there would be no laws by which to predict the patterns of phenomena. The Universe would, in fact, cease to exist altogether. 

Karma, as the Law of Cause and Effect, stands at the substratum of scientific study and systemisation, and as such underlies the observations and experiments of all empirical systems of enquiry. The exact operation of the Law, and the means by which it manifests in the phenomenal world, remain points of contention among the various schools of thought, yet the fundamental necessity of such a principle of causation is held as axiomatic by all. Indeed, to do away with Karma would be to relinquish the world to the dominion of chance; that fictitious shadow of existence before which men grovel and fret in submissive surrender to the predicaments of environment.

There is no randomness in Nature; the Universe courses through its ceaseless cycles with clockwork constancy. To arrive at any understanding of the nature of existence and the invariable Laws of the Cosmos one must first apprehend this eternal Law of Cause and Effect, for without it there would be total chaos, and all phenomena would lack sequence or structure. Harmony – Hierarchy – Correspondence – Order – these are all the progeny of this basic elemental Law.

Under Karma, every Effect is determined by its Cause. Such may seem to be a statement of the obvious to the reader, yet when fully appreciated the fact of this may drastically shake the seeming surety of one’s pedestal of common sense. How often do we speak idiomatically of “chance” and “luck”, as if events in our lives occurred at random, devoid of prior causes! It seems the conceptions of “chance” and “luck” are rooted deep in the fabric of our cultural subconsciousness – taken for granted even – and as such are not easily shaken off. This is the illusion of fortuity. A world in which “chance” and “luck” exist would be an idle one, as random occurrences do not require any scrutiny of thought nor effort or will. There would be no motivation, as there would be nothing to accomplish. In such a world periodicity would not exist; there would be no cycles by which Nature may run her rhythmic course, and as such there would be no weather – no seasons – no tides. Things would simply happen, irregardless of one’s actions of lack thereof. In a world without Karma, chaos would reign.

There can be no exception to this Law. Nothing can happen outside of Cause and Effect. What we ascribe to the domain of chance is merely that which falls outside of our limited scope of understanding. In our limited state of consciousness, we attempt to restrict nature to the realms of finitude, fancying that as our senses perceive, so must nature be. While yet in truth, we are as fish in a tank, oblivious to what lies outside our microcosmic habitat besides a peeping glance with fisheye lens through the distorted glass.

Plotinus writes in the Enneads that:

Those who believe that the world of being is governed by luck or chance and that it depends upon material causes are far removed from the divine and from the notion of the One.[2]

The conception of chance is therefore a divisive one, as there can be no notion of unity in a world which lacks order. It is only by a recognition of this Law that we may begin to understand the principles underlying the operations of Nature, and by such, rise above the material plane of life, placing ourselves in touch with the higher aspects of our being. In so doing we may become Masters of Destiny, forming a conscious part of the Law, and thus determine our own Karma. We become the Cause, instead of the Effect.

Understanding Karma gives us the key by which we may be liberated from the chains of suffering and delusion. Thus unshackled, we find ourselves able to rise above the circumstances of our environment and to walk through life’s challenges joyfully and with courage. We arrive at the recognition of our own place in the cosmic scheme, in which we are the creators of our own delights – our own despairs. Our troubled thoughts are transmuted in the awareness which comes from our self-reflection, and replaced instead by noble aspirations and a positive outlook on life. Under Karma, we must walk our own trail, and pave our own path along the way. The trail may be rough at times, at other places smooth, but in all circumstances it remains for us to forge the way forward; through bog, through bush, through brake, through brier.[3]

Theosophy offers us the knowledge whereby we may arrive at such an understanding of the Law of Karma. It reveals to us the indisputable fact that we ourselves are the architects of our own futures and the builders of our fate. The Law may be used to mold and shape our destinies through the right use of free choice and will; there is no fate but what we ourselves make. Karma is a river that winds ever onward, from past to present, and from present to future; it is fluid, and flows ceaselessly into the ocean of possibility. Here we swim amid the waves of the vast, infinite sea; a light unto ourselves, from which encroaching shadows flee.

NOTES:

[1] H. P. Blavatsky. The Key to Theosophy. The Theosophical Publishing Company, London, 1889. See Section XI, subtitle “What is Karma?”. 

[2] Plotinus. Ennead VI. 9.

[3] William Shakespeare. A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act III, Scene I).

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23 November 2016

The Aquarian Theosophist, November 2016

 

The opening thought of the month says:      

Injustice is rather short-lived, while blessing is the substance of the future.

Pages 1-3 present the article “The Solar System, Within One’s Soul: Theosophical Lessons from the Sun and the Moon”.   

On page 4 one finds “Good Will and Cooperation” and “The Seedling of the Future”.  On page 5, “The Sunny Science of the Heart” discusses the fact that timing is essential to life and karma.

Preparing the Omega Point” is on pages six and seven. After that we have the article “Ideas, Fancies and Insights”.

These are other topics in the November 2016 edition of the “Aquarian”: 

* Unmasking Organized Ignorance;

* Thoughts Along the Road; 

* The Birth of the Future;

* A Sacred Teacher Clarifies: Theosophists Must Be Independent;

* The Pilgrim and the Tide; and

* The Dynamics of Sacrifice and Bliss.

The 15 pp. edition includes the List of New Texts in our associated websites, and closes with three questions to our friends and readers, on the article “Preparing the Omega Point”. 


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You can find the entire collection of The Aquarian” at our associated websites.

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