The Word Foundation



Vol. 13 AUGUST, 1911. No. 5

Copyright, 1911, by H. W. PERCIVAL.



EVERY physical work or production of man, intentional or unintentional, is a shadow of his thought in relation to the senses. What the student of shadows observes concerning physical shadows is as true of these thought shadows. One’s shadows appear larger when far away and become smaller as the shadow maker approaches them. All shadows must change or altogether disappear. From vague outlines shadows appear, become solid and assume importance in proportion to the attention and thought which is given to them. Man, the incarnated mind, does not see his shadow. Man sees and throws shadows when he puts his back to the light. Man sees shadows only when he looks away from the light. He who looks at the light sees no shadows. When looking steadily at a shadow for the light in the shadow, the shadow disappears as the light is seen. An acquaintance with shadows means familiarity with the worlds. A study of shadows is a beginning of wisdom.

All physical things and acts are originated by desire and projected and brought about by thoughts. This is true of the growing of a grain of wheat or of an apple as well as of building and running a railroad or an aeroplane. Each is the projection by thought, as a visible shadow or a copy, of an invisible form. The visible shadows are seen by ordinary men. They cannot see the processes by which the shadows are cast. They do not know the laws of shadows and cannot understand the relationships between the shadow maker and his shadows.

Wheat and apples have existed from the earliest history of man. Yet both would degenerate into unrecognizable growths without the thought and care of man. The forms exist, but their copies cannot be projected as physical shadows except by man. Wheat and apples and all other growths are the bringing of the invisible elements, fire, air, water and earth, into visibility. The elements are not in themselves perceived. They are perceived only when combined and precipitated by or after the invisible form of wheat or apple or other growth.

According to its wants or needs desire demands food, and the thought of man provides it. The food is seen when it is provided, but generally the mental processes by which it is provided are not seen nor understood, and seldom thought of. A railroad does not rise up out of the ground nor fall from the skies, and is the gift of no other deity than the mind of man. Lumbering freight trains, luxurious cars speeding on solid steel rails, are shadows of thoughts by the minds who projected them. The forms of cars and details of appointments were thought out and given form in the mind before it was possible for them to become physical shadows and physical facts. Large areas were deforested in thought before the sound of the axe was heard, and great quantities of iron were mined and wrought in thought before one rail was laid or a mining shaft was sunk. The canoe and the ocean liner first existed in the mind before man’s thought could project on the waters the shadows of their forms. The plans of every cathedral first took form in the mind before the outlines of its shadow were projected against the background of the sky. Hospitals, prisons, law-courts, palaces, music halls, market places, homes, public offices, buildings of grand proportions or of primitive form, structures on steel frames or made of boughs and thatch, all are shadows of invisible forms, projected and made visible and tangible by the thought of man. As projections, these shadows are physical facts because they are evident to the senses.

Imperceptible to the senses, the causes and processes by which shadows are projected become more important and more evident to the mind when the mind will not allow itself to be obscured by its form while standing in its shadow, but will see these as they are by the light which it sheds.

Each shadow projected forms part of a larger shadow, and many of these are part of the precipitation of a still larger shadow, and all form one great shadow. As many minds as are at work so many shadows are projected and all make up the great shadow. In this way we get the shadows which we call food, clothes, a flower, a house, a boat, a ,box, a table, a bed, a store, a bank, a skyscraper. These and other shadows make up the shadow called a village, town or city. Many of these connected and related by other shadows, build up the shadow called the nation, country or world. All are precipitations of invisible forms.

Many minds may try by thought to conceive of the idea of the particular form before one succeeds in bearing the thought into form. When one such form is created it is not seen by the senses, but it is perceived by the mind. When one such thought is projected into the invisible world of form, many minds perceive it and work with it and strive to give it a shadow, until one of them succeeds by the light of his mind in projecting its shadow into the physical world of shadows. Then other minds are able to conceive of the form by its copy or shadow and to project a multiplicity of its shadows. In this way the shadows of the forms of thoughts were and are conceived, and brought into this physical world. In this way physical shadows are reproduced and perpetuated. In this way machines and mechanical devices are thought of and their shadows projected. In this way the thought of man projects into this physical world the shadows of the forms and the thoughts which he discovers in the astral or psychic and mental worlds. So were the shadows of early man brought into existence. So was a wheel, the steam engine, the automobile and the aeroplane, shadowed forth through their invisible forms by thought. So were these shadows, duplicated, varied and multiplied. So will be projected into this physical world by thought the shadow of forms of ideals now but dimly perceived.

Lands, houses, offices, property, all the physical possessions for which men so mightily strive, do not satisfy, and are the outermost of empty shadows. They seem to be, but are not most important to man. Their importance to man does not lie in themselves, but in the thought which man puts into them. Their greatness is in the thought which is in them. Without the thought by which they are projected and maintained they would crumble into shapeless masses and be blown away, as dust.

Social, industrial, political and religious organizations and institutions fill out and enliven the otherwise empty shadows, and these, too, are shadows provided and projected by thought of organizations, formalities, usages and habits.

Man thinks that he does, but he does not really delight in the shadows of the physical world. He believes that his delight is in the shadow, whereas it is so only as long as he fills the shadow out with his desire and his thought, and while his ideals are in accord with his desires. When his desires or his ideals change, then that thing which was the object of desire seems to him an empty shadow, for his thought and interests have been removed.

The values which men attach to the physical shadows which are termed possessions, are given because of the thought which is connected with these. And so man casts his shadows as possessions, which are the projections into this shadow world, of the high or low ideals with which his thought is concerned. And so he projects and builds up in the physical world great institutions and organizations and a home, and these are maintained as long as his interest in the shadows of his creations shall last. But when his ideal is changed, his thought is transferred, his interest ceases and that which he sought and valued most and considered real, he sees to be a shadow only.

Life after life man projects his physical shadow house and lives in it and enjoys the thought of it. He builds his house of shadows in this shadow world until he cannot hold his house of shadows together, and he passes through the shadow of life and through shadows of his hopes and fears, of longings and dislikes, until he reaches the end and passes through the shadows of his ideals in the heaven world which he has built: He lives through the shadow of heaven until his desires call him back into the physical shadow world. Here again he comes to project and then chase the shadow of money, to live in the shadow of poverty, to be tortured by the shadow of pain, enthralled by the shadow of pleasure, lured on by the shadow of hope, held back by the shadow of doubt, and so he passes through the morning and evening of his life, lives through the shadows of youth and old age until he learns the uselessness of striving for shadows and sees that this physical world and all things in it are shadows.

That all physical things are shadows is learned after many lives and through much suffering. But learn it man must, whether by choice or by force. At some time he must learn the futility of longing for, chasing after or depending upon shadows, and at some time he will desist. This learning and ceasing to strive will not make of man a hater or one indifferent to his kind, a pessimist or a useless member of society. It will prevent him from giving undue value to shadows.

One who has learned that all physical things are shadows, learns also that the world is a school of shadows. He takes his place in the school of shadows, and helps to prepare others to enter or assist other students to learn the lessons which shadows teach. He knows, however, that it is not well to encourage all to become students of shadows, nor to show to everyone that physical things are shadows. The experiences of life will do this when it is time. The eyes which see shadows only are not strong enough to stand the light which their shadows obscure. The student of shadows gives full value to his own and all other physical shadows. By his physical shadow he learns the nature and use and limits of all other physical shadows. In his physical shadow he learns of the kinds of shadows which are in the other worlds and how they affect him, and how to deal with them as they pass over him.

Even while living in his physical shadow, and without being able to see astral images, and without having any of the astral senses developed, the student of shadows can tell when an astral or other shadow is passing over him. He may know its nature and the cause of its coming.

All astral shadows act directly on and affect the senses. All mental shadows act on and influence the mind. Passion, anger, lust, malice, fear, greed, slothfulness, laziness and sensuality which move the senses to action, and particularly such which stimulate the senses without any visible cause, are the shadows of astral forces and forms which affect the astral form body, and this moves and acts through its physical shadow. Vanity, pride, gloom, despondency, selfishness, are shadows thrown on the incarnated mind from the thoughts in the mental world.

By action and reaction the shadows of thoughts and the shadows of astral forms and forces may influence the mind and the senses and impel one to do that which is opposed to his better judgment. A student of shadows may learn to detect the different kinds of shadows by watching the play of the shadows as they pass over the field of his senses or as they affect his mental states. If he is not yet able to distinguish these in himself he may watch the play of shadows on others. Then he can see how he is affected when the different shadows pass over him and prompt him to action. He will see how the astral shadows thrown on the senses by the fires of desire cause man to act like a hungry or maddened brute and commit all manner of offenses. He may watch the shadows of the thoughts of selfishness, avarice and gain, and see how they influence him to take away by intrigue or ruthless force from others, by all manner of pretext their possessions, regardless of destitution or disgrace to which he reduces them. He will see that men who are moved by and who chase shadows are deadened to the voice of reason.

When a man will deal with his own shadows as reason dictates, he will learn how to disperse his shadows when they come. He will learn that every shadow may be dispelled by turning to reason and by looking at the light. He will know that when he invokes and looks at the light, the light will dispel the shadow and cause it to disappear. So when come the shadows which cause moods of despondency, gloom and pessimism to obscure the mind, he may by consulting his reason and turning to the light in aspiration see through the shadows.

When a student of shadows is able to see his true light and be guided by it, he is able to stand in his physical shadow without being obscured by it and he is able to deal with shadows at their true value. He has learned the secret of shadows.

The End.