The Word Foundation



Vol. 16 FEBRUARY, 1913. No. 5

Copyright, 1913, by H. W. PERCIVAL.


Psychic Intoxication.

SPIRITUOUS liquors and narcotic drinks have been and are associated in thought with religions and often play a part in ceremonies. However, the use of alcohol or narcotics, in any form, for religious purposes shows a degenerate and degraded form of that religion.

No spirituous liquor or narcotic is used by one who worships in spirit and in truth. In whatever form, the intoxicant is the physical symbol of a reality above or within the physical. Losing sight of the reality, the religionist has clung to the form and ceremony instead of what they symbolize, and the sensuous and sensual minded suppose or believe their practices to be the worship of Deity.

The preparation of spirituous liquors or narcotics in the East and the West have taken two forms. One is from the juice of a plant, the other from the juice of a fruit. One is colorless or white, the other red. In the scriptures of the East the liquor for religious ceremonies is usually spoken of as the white, such as haomah or soma juice, supposed to be from the soma plant. In the West, the ceremonial drink was red, usually prepared from the juice of the grape and called nectar or wine. So, of whatever country, people have religions as their authorities for the drinking of spirituous liquors, and those desiring and wishing to excuse themselves for being addicted to them can use scriptures as their background and excuse. They may argue that patriarchs, prophets, seers of the past, and even great religious teachers, having partaken of or advised drink in one form or another, therefore, spirituous liquors are not only permissible but beneficial, and some argue that, where wine or some other drink has been in use for religious purposes from such remote time, there must be an occult significance in the practice. And so there is.

The religious observances, sacrifices or ceremonies mentioned in ancient scriptures do not, except in their degenerated forms, refer to physical practices. They refer to certain physioligical and psychic processes, to mental attitudes and states, and to spiritual attainments.

By the white fluid is represented the lymphatic system and its fluid; the red is related to the circulatory system and the blood. The generative system and fluid act in connection with these. By physiological or alchemical processes is developed the wine, the amrita, the nectar, the soma juice, of which the scriptures speak. The meaning of the scriptures is not that these fluids should produce drunkenness, but that by interior processes they should renew youth until immortality is attained.

The libations, sacrifices and drinks spoken of in ancient scriptures, should not be taken literally. They are metaphorical. They allude to attitude of mind and psychic processes and their action on the body and its fluids, and to the reaction of the physical and especially the psychic senses on the mind.

The interplay between the forces of nature and the senses and their action on the mind produces psychic intoxication.

Psychic intoxication is the abnormal transference of action of the senses from the physical to the psychic state; the restraint or over-stimulation of function of one or more of the senses; the inordinate desire to sense things of an astral or psychic nature; the disagreement of the senses and their inability to bear true witness and make true reports of the objects and things with which they are concerned.

Psychic intoxication is due to physical causes, psychic causes and mental causes. The physical causes of psychic intoxication are things or physical practices which act on the senses through the organs of sense and transfer the senses from the physical to or connect them with the astral or psychic world. Among physical causes of psychic intoxication are crystal gazing; looking at a bright spot on a wall; exciting the optic nerve by pressing the eyeballs until flashes of color and pictures appear; sitting in a dark room and watching for colored lights and spectral forms; excitation of the auditory nerve by pressing toward the ear drums until strange sounds are sensed; the tasting of certain essences or taking of alcoholic or narcotic drinks until the physical is dulled or stilled and the psychic sense is awakened and excited; inhaling certain odors and incenses; magnetism and magnetic passes; the pronouncing or chanting of certain words or sentences; the exhalation, inhalation and retention of the breath.

These practices are engaged in because of inquisitiveness, idle curiosity, or at the suggestion of another, for amusement, for the sensations resulting, from the wish to obtain strange powers, because of the strong attraction which uncanny or psychic things wield over some persons, or because of a mercenary motive of obtaining money by the practices.

The physical effects following such practices for psychic results are sometimes not injurious to those who do not too long persist in their practices. To those who are determined to succeed and who are persistent in the practice there usually comes physical discomfort, accompanied by ailments and disease of the organs or parts of the body engaged in the practice. By overstraining or improper handling of such delicate instruments as the eye and ear, it is likely that the vision will be affected, the hearing impaired, and these organs will be made unfit to perform their physical functions. The results following the taking of alcoholic or narcotic drinks have been outlined. The effect of inhaling odors and incenses for psychic results, is to excite or stupify the senses or to stimulate the sensual nature. The results following the practice of exhalation, inhalation and retention of the breath, called pranayama, have been described in The Word on previous occasions. Almost invariably the physical results are disastrous according to the persistence in this form of bodily abuse. The lungs are weakened by strain, the circulation made irregular, the heart weakened, the nervous system disorganized, and diseases of the organs and parts affected follow.

The psychic effects from physical practices for psychic purposes are the weakening of the connection between the physical and the astral form body. The ties are loosened; the astral form body in which the senses are centered is dislodged and its moorings loosened. It may pass into the astral world and then slip back into its physical body; it may slip in and out, like a loose joint in and out of its socket, or, like a visiting ghost at a seance pass back through the curtain and into the mediums body. Or, if the astral form does not pass from its physical body, and it seldom does, then, that part in which the sense is in contact, may by practice be switched from its physical nerve contact into astral contact.

As soon as the senses are made to contact astral matter or psychic forces they are attracted by kaleidoscopic flashes of color, by peculiarly arranged tones, by fragrances of flowers which seem familiar but which come from no earthly blooms, by a strange feeling when any of the objects are touched. As soon as the senses are attuned and related to the newly discovered world, unrelated scenes and figures and colors may crowd upon and into each other, moving panoramas may be on view, or the physical body and world may be forgotten, and the person with newly developed senses will seem to live in a new world, in which the experiences may be tame or full of adventure, may exceed in vividness and delight the most ardent imaginings, or be racked or wrecked by terrors no pen will depict.

When one has from natural adaptation or physical practices had the astral or psychic world opened to his senses, figures or scenes or sounds may at any time break into ordinary affairs of the senses and lead him off, truant from his work.

Psychic intoxication begins before a person’s senses are switched into contact with the astral or psychic world. Psychic intoxication begins with an eager curiosity or earnest desire to see things, to hear things, to touch things, to have to do with things, other than physical. One may never have any of his psychic senses opened or developed, and yet suffer from psychic intoxication. Some such experience as seeing and talking with an apparation at a materialization seance, or table tipping by unseen hands, or "spirit-writing" between closed slates, or the levitation of objects, or seeing on a bare canvass or other surface a picture precipitated without physical means, will create in some people a desire, to have more of such exhibitions; and with each test the desire for more is increased. They may believe implicitly or doubt everything they see and what is told them by those concerned in the exhibit. Yet, like confirmed drunkards, they hunger for more, and are satisfied only when they are under the influence which prevails. Under this influence, created or induced by themselves or others, they are in a state of psychic intoxication.

But psychic intoxication affects more than the comparatively few who seek spiritistic manifestations, and those whose senses are attuned to the psychic world.

Gambling is a form of psychic intoxication. The gambler hopes to win more money by his games than he could by legitimate work. But he wants more than the money. Aside from the money there is a peculiar fascination in the playing of his game. It is the fascination he wants; the fascination of the game is the intoxicant which produces his psychic intoxication. It matters not whether the gambling for money is called illegal and pool rooms and gambling houses forbidden, or whether the law permits the gambling, as on stock or other exchanges, and at race tracks; the gamblers, though perhaps far different as to station of life, are the same by nature, or, are made kindred in spirit by the psychic intoxication of gambling.

Another phase of psychic intoxication is felt in outbursts of anger or passion, when some influence seems to rush into the body, boil the blood, fire the nerves, burn out the strength, and to leave the body exhausted from its raging violence.

Sex intoxication is the most difficult form of psychic intoxication for man to deal with. The sex influence surrounds each person and may act as an intoxicant to one of opposite sex. It is the most subtle and that on which depends all other forms of psychic intoxication. One may come under this form of intoxication due to the presence of another or by his own thought. But when one is under the influence, it enters through and overpowers the senses, is a whirlwind with the emotions, and may compel to acts of madness.

The effects of psychic intoxication are not disastrous to the body only, and the senses, but also to the mind. Psychic intoxication in any form claims attention and prevents thought in one’s legitimate field of work. It interferes with one’s particular business and duties in life. It uses the physical body up and makes it unfit for useful work, inhibits or overstimulates the senses and so disqualifies them from being fit instruments for the mind’s work in the world, and it gives wrong impressions and false reports through the senses to the mind, and it discolors the mind’s light and prevents the mind from getting an understanding of true values and of seeing its work with the senses and in the world.

Psychic intoxicants cannot be seen through the physical eyes, as can such physical intoxicants as whiskey or wine, but their effects may be as deadly. A psychic intoxicant is an element or force of nature which should be harnessed and used wisely when introduced into the body, else it may act as disastrously as dynamite.

By certain physical practices, the physical body and its organs are made more sensitive to psychic influences. Then by some suggestion, or thought, or fancied insult, the emotions will be stirred up. Then the senses open and are made to contact the particular element or elements to which they correspond. Then the blind force rushes into the body, whirls the emotions and shocks and shakes the physical body and uses up its nervous energy.

The astral form body is the center toward which all intoxicating psychic influences move. The astral form body is a magnet by which the cells making up the physical body are held in place. The astral form body may act as a sponge and as a storage battery. As a sponge absorbs, the astral form body may be allowed to absorb influences and things which dwarf and eat it away. But it may, on the other hand, be made to grow in strength and usefulness in the ocean of life in which it is borne up and supported. As a storage battery, the astral form body may be allowed to be controlled by creatures which draw off and absorb its force and burn out its coils; or, it may be made a battery of increasing capacity, and its coils may be kept charged with full power to go on any journey and do all necessary work.

But for the astral form body to be made a storage battery of power, the senses must be guarded and controlled. To guard and control the senses and fit them to be good ministers of the mind, a man must refuse to take psychic intoxicants, must refuse to give way to psychic intoxication.must Outbursts of passion must be checked or prevented, else the coils for the storage of life will be burnt out, or his power drawn off.

Things of the senses and psychic influences need not be excluded from the senses and interests. One cannot exclude them and remain living in the world. Things of the senses and psychic influences are necessary as fuel, but not as intoxicants. No influence that cannot be controlled should be allowed to come into the body, and only such psychic influences should be permitted entrance as are useful or can be made use of in one’s purpose in life. Nature’s forces are indispensable servants to their masters. But they are relentless drivers of their slaves, and persistent chasteners of men who refuse to become their masters.