Rosicrucian Writings Online
The Truth About Spiritualism[From The Mystic Triangle August 1927]
We wish to announce to our members that in our next issue we will have a long and interesting article by our Imperator on the subject of The Truth About Spiritualism.
So many of our members have inquired about the attitude of AMORC on the subject of spiritualism and have wondered at the stand the Order takes against the usual spiritualistic demonstrations, that we feel it timely to publish this illuminating and instructive article.
Bear in mind that the Imperator was President of the New York Institute for Psychical Research for many years, as well as chairman of a committee appointed by leading
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The Truth About SpiritualismBy Profundis XII.
[From The Mystic Triangle September 1927]
Some Important Facts Which
Reveal the Rosicrucian
Attitude on this Subject.
THIS is not an expose, nor an attack upon the Spiritualistic Church of America or elsewhere. We are not concerned, at the present time, about Spiritualism as a religion, but rather with Spiritualism as a movement among men and women; for with thousands upon thousands Spiritualism is not a religion but a mystery, a weird problem, a challenge to the dexterity of the mind, and a source of endless investigation.
Fundamentally, the claims of Spiritualism, as a religion and as a science, are sound and rational to the spiritual minded and the learned. Fundamentally, we say. The fundamentals of Spiritualism are that the real part of man is immortal and that the soul essence is immortal. The soul-consciousness of man is not a mortal, destructible thing, and therefore cannot die; not even the physical body of man really dies, for it simply passes through evolutionary stages of changes. Man, therefore, at transition, is separated into the two great parts of his existence--physical and soul consciousness. The one returns to its primary elements and original source--the earth--and the other returns to its source, unchanged, for it is not of the mortal stuff that ever changes. Hence, the real part of man is immortal in life, lives ever and forever.
But such fundamental claims regarding man are not unique to the Spiritualistic church or movement. The ancients made such claims, and today two hundred and sixty-three various religious and cults make the same claims and have made them for centuries. We need not go to a
It is the secondary claims that the Spiritualists make, their enlargement upon the fundamentals, that makes them unique in religion and in science. And it brings weirdness, fascination, allurement into its whole program, opening the door to fraud, deceit and misconception of facts.
These secondary claims are that: man in his spiritual state, after transition, is not only a living, conscious being, but conscious of all his past and the past of others, conscious of his present state and the present state of others, and cognizant of his future and the future of all beings; that he can easily communicate, associate and intimate with all those living, like him, in the spiritual world and those living on the earth plane; that he can return to earth at will, clothe himself with some form of material essence with which he becomes physically visible, absorb physical energy with which he can perform physical feats equal in prowess to the physical power he possessed while in an earthly body, dissolve that body and power at will and recede into the invisible spiritual world again, etc.; that he is forever ready at call to appear to any who ask, ready to serve for any purpose, always interested in the grossest as well as the most cultured of worldly affairs, and generally busily engaged in labor and interests in the spiritual world which can have no place in the spiritual scheme of things.
Looking at these secondary claims we see at once the immediate difference between them and the beliefs generally held for ages by the most advanced of spiritual students and theologians. That is why the established church, the conservative thinker and the rational philosopher demand proof and demonstration, and tend to disbelieve in the Spiritualistic movement.
Our Spiritualistic friends will say at once that there is proof, and plenty of it, of these secondary claims, and that settles it. We say there is no such proof, that is, proof of all these claims, and that the demonstrations do not prove the contentions and often prove the very reverse, as we shall show.
Let us examine, then, the demonstrations of Spiritualism. Eminent men have loaned their names to the endorsement of some phases of the Spiritualistic claims. That tends to give color to the whole list of claims; but it really does not do so. The principal test and demonstration of the spiritualistic claims pertains to the continued consciousness of those who have passed through transition. You will note that this is really very close to the fundamentals of Spiritualism and not to the secondary claims. However, the unthinking mind seldom notes the distinction. In other words, proving that the soul of man is conscious, or cognizant of its consciousness after transition, is not proving that the soul of man is capable of doing all the other things claimed for it.
We will take a very definite point in the whole argument. Men, as scientists, have made serious, and profound, tests to secure some evidence that communication between a soul consciousness on this earth and a soul consciousness on the spiritual plane is possible. Looking at this from the mystical point of view, it would establish the fact of spiritual contact or spiritual attunement between the various expressions of soul-consciousness, regardless of distance or conditions. It has been established that two soul expressions, in living, physical bodies, here on this earth plane, have communicated with each other under certain conditions. It has been called telepathy. To prove that the same contact can be made between a soul on earth and one on the spiritual plane, would help to prove the fundamental law and would be, indeed, an important matter. But all the evidence stored up by the eminent scientists within recent years, and all the demonstrations occurring in private life in recent years, do not prove what the spiritualists, generally, claim. The demonstrations do prove that communication is possible; but the how and why are little understood, even by those eminent scientists who have been devoting years to the investigation.
Sticking to just this one point, we mean, specifically, that the mere fact that Sir Oliver Lodge or any other man has received an intelligent communication through a medium from some soul that has passed on, does not mean that the spiritualistic theory of how this is possible, or why, is true. One may proceed to test a scientific postulation or belief with certain theories in mind, and secure some definite results believing them to prove the theory, and then find later that the theory was absolutely unsound.
So Rosicrucians claim that the Spiritualistic theories in general--that is, those of the secondary nature--are unsound, and although they lead to various results, inconsistent at times, they are not scientifically demonstrable.
To the mystic who is familiar with nature's psychic laws, the facts of so-called spirit communication are these: if it is desired to contact and communicate with the soul-consciousness of one who has passed on to the spiritual existence, then the one on the earth plane must so disassociate his psychic or soul-consciousness from his material body and project it upward or inward that it rises to the sublime heights of rapport with the soul-consciousness on the spiritual plane, and that for the time being the two expressions are dwellers on the spiritual plane, spiritual beings of the truest sense. This, we see, is just the opposite of the common understanding about spiritual communication; for it is generally believed that the spirit or soul of the departed one comes down to earth and clothes itself with the power to speak and the ability to materialize.
One may argue that this is an immaterial point; but the fact is that it is the most important point in the whole matter. It is on this point that all methods of investigation proceed, or swing, as a pivot point. It determines not only the methods to be used in investigation, but it determines the nature and quality of the investigation, the type of person who should investigate, and the nature of the preparations necessary before beginning the tests. If it is we, here on this earth plane, who must establish the attunement by reaching up to the higher state of consciousness, that is a far different matter than depending upon the higher-expression, with all their pureness and theoretical readiness, to come down to us, regardless of any preparation, in spirit, on our part; if we must cast aside our material self to such an extent that we are just a soul-consciousness for the time being, worthy in every way to temporarily attune with the soul-expressions on the higher plane, that is a different thing from retaining our complete physical and spiritual combination and waiting for the higher souls to take on a physical form or physical attributes in order to be of the lower state in which we dwell; if it is possible for us to become the real communicant without an intervening medium--such as a so-called psychic--that is a different thing from sitting in an unprepared state and depending upon some more or less sensitive person to draw upon the spiritual minds of the soul-expressions and through these mediums receive the desired communications.
In other words, the mystic says: no third person is necessary or even desirable. Real soul-communication between persons formerly attuned--such as mother and child, husband and wife--if possible at all, would depend upon the re-establishment of such attunement, for a temporary time, without either the aid of an unknown third person, or the inevitable interference of a third person's mixed or modulating attunement.
Reviewing the world's best demonstrations of spirit communication, whether in the laboratory of the scientist, or in the private work of interested individuals, such as the work of Patience Worth, we find that the most satisfactory evidence has been secured when the communications have been direct between the two communicants. It may be that in some cases this has led to messages for a third person, but in all such cases the two real communicants were in direct contact, and the one on the earth plane was a psychic or spiritual person of the highest order, reaching up to the heights of the spiritual world.
If one reasons on this point long enough one will discover that the majority of the secondary claims of Spiritualism cannot be true and are the result of misunderstandings and fraud--conscious or unconscious. For, soul-expressions on the spiritual plane would not--because they could not--reach down here and clothe themselves with a material form and thus lower their standard of nature; while the living souls on this plane can reach upward.
That is why pure mysticism--and especially Rosicrucianism--teaches that we should practise such methods as will enable us to cast aside, for a few minutes at a time, the physical cloak and permit the soul consciousness within us to soar to the sublime heights of Cosmic contact--not only for the purpose of attunement with anyone dear on that plane, but especially to contact the consciousness of God. This is real Cosmic Consciousness. But it requires a study of many laws, it requires practise of the many arts of attunement, it means living a life that purifies us of our sinful colorings and purges us of our earth-bound propensities. We must attain such attunement. It cannot be secured by sitting in darkened rooms and merely concentrating. It cannot be invoked by prayerful formulas or mystical music. It is not helped one iota by the intervention of a third person, no matter how spiritual or mediumistic.
The day is not far distant when the facts of spirit communication will be well established. It will come about through the gradually rising consciousness of millions of souls here on earth who are understanding the laws and living them, bringing themselves closer to God and the Cosmic; and there is a point when soul-communion, between souls on earth and those on higher planes, will be possible whenever necessary. Then we will know the fundamental facts of the spiritual relation of all beings, the truth of the Brotherhood of all mankind, and the real Fatherhood of God.
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