The Word Foundation



Vol. 13 JUNE, 1911. No. 3

Copyright, 1911, by H. W. PERCIVAL.



MAY your shadow never grow less. Without knowing its import this expression is often used by those who bear good will to the one who is addressed. It may be used as a mark of respect, a salutation, or a benediction. It is used by dark tribes of equatorial Africa and the South Seas, as well as by the fair skinned people of Northern latitudes. Some attach much meaning to the words; others use them lightly as a passing salute. Like that of many phrases in common use, the meaning of this one is more important than is supposed. The phrase must have been coined or used originally by those who knew what shadows are. “May your shadow never grow less” means by inference that one’s body may grow towards perfection and that he will live an unending life through all days. Without a physical body casting it, we cannot see a shadow in the physical world. The stronger a physical body is the better will be its shadow when it can be seen. When one’s shadow is projected by the light and is seen, it will show the condition of the health of the body. If the shadow increases in strength it will show a corresponding health and strength of body. But as the physical body must at some time die, for one to live an unending life means that the shadow must become independent of its physical body. So that for one’s shadow not to grow less really means that his astral body, the form of his physical body, will become so perfect, and independent of its physical body, that he will live in it throughout ages. This cannot be unless the shadow, instead of being as it now is, merely a projection of the form of the body, increases in strength and power and becomes, as it can be, greater and better than the physical body.

From what has been said, and as one becomes better acquainted with shadows, it will be understood that a shadow is not, as generally supposed, an obscuration of light, but that a shadow is a subtle copy or counterpart which is projected by that part of light which the physical body is unable to intercept and which passes through and carries with it the shade. In bodies of organized life, the shadow which is thrown is not of physical particles. It is that which is through and connects and holds together the particles or cells of the living body. When a copy of this invisible and interior man which holds the physical cells together is projected in space and can be perceived, all interior conditions will be seen. The condition of the physical will be seen as it then is and as it will be within a certain time, because the physical is but an outward expression of and which develops from the invisible form man within.

A shadow of an organized body of life is projected by light, similarly as is a picture on a photographic plate; but whereas the picture on the plate or film can be seen printed by the light on a surface, prepared to hold its impress, no surface has been made known to hold and make visible the shadow as projected and precipitated by the light.

Because of the seeming intangibility and uncertainty associated with shadows, the thought of shadows as a subject for study may seem strange. The study of shadows is likely to cause one to question the evidence of his senses and the reality of physical things in this physical world about him. One who knows little about shadows knows less of physical things. The physical world and all things in it are known at their true values according to the degree of knowledge one has of shadows. One will learn what physical objects are by a knowledge of shadows. By learning of and by proper dealing with shadows, man can climb from world to world in his search for knowledge. There are shadows thrown or projected from three of the four manifested worlds, and there are many varieties of shadows in each world.

Little attention has been given to shadows because it is supposed they have no real existence. Those things which seem to cause shadows are physical bodies. We value all physical bodies for what they seem worth but we consider a shadow as nothing, and regard as fancy the queer effect which some shadows produce when they pass over us. As we learn that shadows have actual existence we shall also learn that the shadow, not the outline which is perceived, is not caused by the physical body which appears to cause it, but by the invisible form man within the physical. The physical body obstructs the visible rays of light and thereby gives outline to the shadow, that is all. When one looks steadily enough and with understanding at his shadow he perceives that it is the projection of the invisible form within his physical caused by the light which passes through it. When one who knows the value of a shadow and its cause sees a physical body he may gaze at it until he sees through it and perceives the invisible form within, and then the physical disappears, or is seen and regarded only as a shadow. Is then in fact the physical body the real object of form? It is not.

The physical body is little more than the shadow of its form and the physical body is comparatively as unreal and as fleeting as that which is usually called its shadow. Remove an object, and the shadow disappears. When the form of one’s physical body is removed as at death, the physical body decays and vanishes. Some might say that the statement that the physical is as much a shadow as what is called a shadow, is untrue, because the shadow immediately disappears with the removal of the form which caused it, but that one’s physical body often lasts years after death. It is true that shadows disappear at once and a physical body retains its shape long after death. But this does not disprove that it is a shadow. One’s shadow passes when he moves his physical body and his shadow cannot be seen in or on the place it seems to have left; because, first, the observer cannot see the actual shadow and sees an outline of light only; and, second, the place on which the shadow was thrown and the space in which it was has not been prepared and cannot retain intact the projection of the form which is the shadow. Yet the surface on which the shadow was thrown does retain a faint impress of the shadow, if the form remained long and steadily enough for the light which passed through it to precipitate the impress in detail. On the other hand, the cells or particles of which the physical body is composed are magnetized and adapted to each other by the form through which they are precipitated and they are held in place as long as their magnetic attraction for each other lasts. Ages were required for nature, under guiding intelligences, to provide physical conditions by which invisible matter could be projected through and maintained according to the invisible form of which the physical is but the shadow made in a way compact and visible. This entire earth with its cloud piercing peaks, its rolling hills, great forests, wild and desolate expanses, with its cataclysms and upheavals, its deep crevices and chasms, its gem-studded chambers, as well as all forms which move through its recesses or over its surfaces, are only shadows.

There are many varieties and degrees of physical bodies, but all are only shadows.

To the senses it does not seem possible that a pig, the pyramids, a tree, a jibbering, bewhiskered ape, a beautiful woman, are shadows. But they are, nevertheless. We do not see the forms of the pig, the pyramid, the tree, the ape or the woman. We see only their shadows. Almost anyone will be willing to deny or ridicule the statement that all physical appearances are shadows. But those who are most likely to scoff at the statement are least able to explain how crystals are formed, and from what, how gold is precipitated, how a seed grows into a tree, how food is transformed into bodily tissue, how a hideous or beautiful physical human body is built up from a germ which is smaller than a grain of sand.

According to the law and by the definition of a shadow, these facts can be explained and understood. In the case of a living organism its body is maintained by food; food, which is of light and air and water and earth. This fourfold food though formless in itself is precipitated or deposited in a compact mass according to an invisible form. When food is taken into the body it could not be digested and assimilated, but would decay, were it not for the breath which acts on the blood as light and impels the blood to take up the food and carry it and deposit it in the various parts of the body according to the definite form in the body, and outward to its uttermost parts. So as long as the breath or light continues and its form remains, its shadow, the physical body, is maintained. But when the light or breath leaves, as at death, then its shadow the physical body must decay and vanish, like as a shadow disappears by the removal of the object or the turning off of the light which produced it.

Mankind as minds and their forms through which they act live in their shadows, their physical bodies, and move in the world of physical shadows, though they do not believe them shadows. They seek the shadows which they consider realities and are pained, disappointed and broken when these vanish. To stop the pain and remain unbroken, man should not chase shadows nor flee from them; he must remain in and learn of them, until he finds that which is permanent in his world of changing shadows.

To be continued.