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Copyright 1906 by H. W. PERCIVAL


In speaking of clairvoyance and occult matters, a friend asks: Is it really possible for one to see into the future?

Yes. It is possible. Time is divided by the past, present and future. We look into the past, when we remember a thing by seeing in our mind’s eye what has occurred. This seeing in the past everybody can do, but not everybody can see into the future, because few use the knowledge of the past intelligently to see into the future. If one took all the factors and bearings of a past event into consideration his knowledge would enable him to predict certain future events, for though the future is that division of time which has not yet come in fact, still, the actions of the past create, fashion, determine, limit the future, and, therefore, if one is able, like a mirror, to reflect knowledge of the past, he may predict future events.


Is it not possible for one to see actual occurrences of the past and occurrences as they will be in the future as clearly and distinctly as he sees the present?

It is possible, and many have done it. To do this one uses what is called clairvoyance, clear seeing, or second sight. To see clairvoyantly, a second set of faculties or the inner sense of seeing is used. The eye may be used, though it is not essential to clairvoyance, for that faculty which functions through the sense of sight may transfer its action from the eye to some other organ or part of the body. Objects may then be seen, for instance, from the tips of the fingers or the solar plexus. Where the clairvoyant looks on what we call distant objects that have passed or on events which are to come, the part of the body from which this is done is usually in the skull just above the eyebrows. There as on a panoramic screen the scene or object appears which is oftentimes seen as distinctly as though the clairvoyant were at that very place. All that is then necessary so as to communicate what is seen, is the faculty of speech.


How is it possible for one to see clairvoyantly when such seeing is opposed to all our experience?

Such seeing is not within the experience of all. It is within the experience of some. Many of those who have not had the experience doubt the testimony of those who have had it. It is not opposed to natural laws, for it is quite natural, and is possible to those whose linga sharira, astral body, is not too firmly knit into its physical cells. Let us consider the objects which we see, and what we see those objects through. Vision itself is a mystery, but the things with which vision is concerned we do not consider a mystery. Thus, we have physical eyes through which we look into the air and there see physical objects. We think this quite natural, and so it is. Let us consider the different kingdoms into which sight is possible. Suppose that we were in the earth as worms or insects; we should there have the sense of sight, but our faculties would be very limited. The organs which we know as eyes could not be used to see great distances, and the physical sight would be limited to very short spaces. Advance one stage and suppose that we were fishes. The distance through which we could then see in the water would be very much greater and the eyes would be attuned to registering the light vibrations coming through the water. As fishes, however, we should deny the possibility of seeing in any other way than through the water or, in fact, that there was such an element as air. If perchance we poked our noses out and got our eyes above the water into the air then we should not be able to breathe, and the eyes would not be serviceable because out of their element. As animal or human beings we are one stage in advance of the fishes. We see through our atmosphere and are capable of perceiving objects through the eyes at much greater distances than through the water. But we know that our atmosphere, being thick and murky, limits our vision. Everybody knows that in the atmospheres of Chicago, Cleveland and Pittsburg objects can be seen at a distance of a few miles only. In cities where the air is clearer, one may see thirty or forty miles, but from the mountains of Arizona and Colorado distances of several hundred miles may be covered, and all this with the physical eyes. Just as one may see clearer by rising into clearer atmospheres, so one may see clairvoyantly by rising into another element higher than the air. The element which is used by the clairvoyant to see in is the ether. To the clairvoyant who sees in the ether our idea of distance loses its value even as the idea of distance of the worm or of the fish would lose its meaning to a dweller in high altitudes, whose keen eye could detect objects invisible to those who live in lower strata on the plains.


What are the organs used in clairvoyance, and how is one’s vision transferred from the objects near at hand to those at great distances, and from the known visible to the unknown invisible?

Any organ in the body can be used for clairvoyant purposes, but those parts or organs of the body which are instinctively or intelligently used by the clairvoyant are the visual center on the cortex of the brain, the frontal sinuses, the optic thalami, and the pituitary body. Nearby physical objects are reflected by the atmospheric light waves on the eye, which converges these light waves or vibrations to the optic nerve. These vibrations are borne along the optic tract. Some of these are conveyed to the optic thalami, while others are thrown on the brain cortex. These are reflected in the frontal sinus, which is the picture gallery of the mind. The pituitary body is the organ through which the ego perceives these pictures. They are no longer physical when they are there seen, but rather the astral images of the physical. They are physical objects reflected into the astral world of the ego, to see which the lower vibrations of physical objects have been raised to a higher rate of vibration. One’s vision may be transferred from the physical to the astral world in several ways. The most physical is by the focussing of the eye. The etheric or astral world permeates, penetrates, and passes beyond our physical world. The physical eye is so constructed that it registers only such vibrations from the physical world as are slow when compared with the etheric or astral world. The physical eye cannot receive or register etheric vibrations unless it is trained or unless one is a natural clairvoyant. In either case it is then possible for one to change the focus of the eye from the physical world to the etheric or astral world. When this is done, the organs or parts of the body before mentioned are connected with the etheric world and receive the vibrations from it. As one sees the object of his wish by turning his eyes to that object, so the clairvoyant sees a distant object by desiring or being directed to see it. This may seem wonderful to some, but the wonder ceases when the facts are known. By a perfectly natural process the one who sees clairvoyantly rises or is raised to a clearer world of greater distances, even as the deep sea diver may be raised from his limited vision in the water to vision in a foggy atmosphere, and then into high altitudes from which he beholds objects at a still greater distance. One who has learned to see clairvoyantly by a long course of study and training need not follow this method. He need think only of a place and sees it if he wills. The nature of his thought connects him with the strata of the ether corresponding to the thought, even as one turns his eyes on the object which he would see. The understanding of the object seen depends on his intelligence. One may transfer his vision from the known visible to the unknown invisible and understand what he sees by the law of analogy. Starting with the known he rises into what was, but is no longer, the unknown, and so, following the law of analogy, he rises steadily and sees intelligently.


Can an occultist look into the future whenever he so wills, and does he use a clairvoyant faculty to do it?

A clairvoyant is not an occultist, and although an occultist may be clairvoyant, he is not necessarily so. An occultist is one who has a knowledge of the laws of nature, who lives in conformity with those laws, and who is guided from within by his highest intelligence. Occultists vary in degree of knowledge and power even as the laborer varies in understanding and ability from the engineer or astronomer. One may be an occultist without having developed clairvoyance, but the occultist who has developed this faculty uses it only when he is dealing with subjects belonging to the astral world. He does not use it for pleasure or to gratify his own or another’s whims. It is not necessary for the occultist to use the clairvoyant faculty to see into the future, though he may do so, if he desires, by intently holding his thought on a particular period in the future and willing to see and know what is transpiring at that time.


If an occultist can pierce the veil why do not occultists, individually or collectively benefit from their knowledge of coming events?

An occultist who would look into the future and benefit personally from his knowledge would cease to be an occultist in the true sense. An occultist must work in conformity with natural law and not opposed to nature. Nature forbids the benefiting of one individual to the detriment of the whole. If an occultist, or anyone who works with higher powers than those possessed by the ordinary man, uses those powers against the others or for his individual benefit he opposes the law which he should work with, not against, and so he either becomes a renegade to nature and a selfish being or else loses the powers which he may have developed; in either case he ceases to be a true occultist. An occultist is only entitled to what he needs as an individual and for his work, and the feeling of selfishness or the love of gain would blind him to the law. If he is so blinded, he is then unable to understand and comprehend the laws which govern and control life, which pass beyond death, and which relate and bind all things together into a harmonious whole for the good of all.


What is the ‘third eye’ and does the clairvoyant and the occultist use it?

The “third eye” referred to in some books, particularly the “Secret Doctrine,” is that little organ in the center of the head which physiologists call the pineal gland. The clairvoyant does not use this third eye or pineal gland to see distant objects or to look into the future, though some clairvoyants who have lived good and pure lives may for a brief second have had the third eye open. When this occurs their experiences are quite different from any before. The occultist does not ordinarily use the pineal gland. It is not necessary to use the pineal gland or third eye to see into the future, because the future is one of the three divisions of time, and organs other than the pineal gland are used for looking into the past, seeing the present, or peering into the future. The pineal gland or third eye is above the divisions of mere time, though it comprehends them all. It has to do with eternity.


Who uses the pineal gland, and what is the object of its use?

Only a highly developed person, a high occultist or master, can use the “third eye” or pineal gland at will, though many of the saints, or men who have lived unselfish lives and whose aspirations have been exalted, have experienced the opening of “the eye” in moments of their highest exaltation. This could only be done in this natural way, as a flash in the rare moments of their lives and as a reward, the fruition of their thoughts and deeds. But such men could not open the eye themselves, because they have not been trained, or because they were not able to maintain a long continued course of the training of body and mind necessary to the attainment. An occultist, knowing the laws of the body, and the laws controlling the mind, and by living a morally pure life, at last calls into use long disused functions of the body and faculties of the mind, and finally is able to open his “third-eye,” the pineal gland, by his will. The object of the use of the pineal gland or “third eye” is to see the relationships as they exist between all beings, to see the real through the unreal, to perceive truth, and to realize and become one with the infinite.


How does the third eye or pineal gland open, and what happens at such opening?

Only an occultist of a high order could answer this question with certainty. Without pretending to any such actual knowledge, we may with benefit, however, speculate about as well as anticipate the manner in which this is accomplished, and also the result. One who lives the ordinary worldly life cannot open or use his “third eye.” This physical organ is the bridge between body and mind. The power and intelligence which operates through it is the bridge between the finite and the infinite. He who lives in the finite thinks in the finite and acts in the finite cannot grow into and comprehend the infinite while he so lives and thinks and acts. The initial step to be taken toward opening the “third eye” is to control the thoughts, to cleanse the mind, and make the body pure. This strikes at the roots of life, and covers the whole range of human development. All duties must be performed faithfully, all obligations be lived up to strictly, and the life must be guided by one’s inherent sense of justice. One must change the habits of thought on the baser things to the consideration of the higher objects of life, and thence of the highest. All the forces of the body must be turned upward in thought. All marital relations must have ceased. One so living will cause the long disused occult organs of the body to become active and awakened. The body will thrill with a new life, and this new life will rise from plane to plane in the body until all of the finer essences of the body carry the power to the head and finally, either of itself naturally, or by an effort of the will, the flower of eternity will bloom: the Eye of God, the “third eye,” will open. The radiance of a thousand suns is not to be compared to the light of truth which then fills and surrounds the body and penetrates all space. Objects, as objects, disappear and are resolved into the principle which they represent; and all principles as representing the real are in turn resolved into the immensity of the whole. Time disappears. Eternity is the ever-present. The personality is lost in the individuality. The individuality is not lost, but it expands into and becomes one with the whole.

A Friend [H. W. Percival]