THEOSOPHY, Vol. 10, No. 8, June, 1922
(Pages 249-252; Size: 14K)
(Continued from May)
[Part 5 of a 7-part series]
AND now to the doctrine of Paracelsus. His incomprehensible though lively style must be read like the biblio-rolls of Ezekiel "within and without." The peril of propounding heterodox theories was great in those days; the Church was powerful, and sorcerers were burnt by the dozen. For this reason we find Paracelsus, Agrippa, and Eugenius Philalethes as notable for their pious declarations as they were for their achievements in alchemy and magic. The full views of Paracelsus on the occult properties of the magnet are explained partially in the famous book Archidaxarum, in which he describes the wonderful tincture, a medicine extracted from the magnet and called Magisterium Magnetis, and partially in the De Ente Dei, and De Ente Astrorum, Lib. 1. But the explanations are all given in a diction unintelligible to the profane. "Every peasant sees," said he, "that a magnet will attract iron, but a wise man must inquire for himself. ... I have discovered that the magnet, besides this visible power, that of attracting iron, possesses another and concealed power."
He demonstrates further that in man lies a hidden "sidereal force," which is that emanation from the stars and celestial bodies of which the spiritual form of man -- the astral spirit -- is composed. This identity of essence, which we may term the spirit of cometary matter, always stands in direct relation with the stars from which it was drawn, and thus there exists a mutual attraction between the two, both being magnets. The identical composition of the earth and all planetary bodies and man's terrestrial body was a fundamental idea in his philosophy. "The body comes from the elements, the (astral) spirit from the stars. ... Man eats and drinks of the elements for the sustenance of his blood and flesh; from the stars are the intellect and thoughts sustained in the spirit." The spectroscope has made good his theory as to the identical composition of man and the stars; the physicists now lecture to their classes upon the magnetic attractions of the sun and the planets.
Of the substances known to compose the body of man, there have been discovered in the stars already hydrogen, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and iron. In the stars observed, numbering many hundreds, hydrogen was found except in two. Now if we recollect how they have deprecated Paracelsus and his theory of man and the stars being composed of like substances; how ridiculed he was by astronomers and physicists for his idea of chemical affinity and attraction between the two; and then realize that the spectroscope has vindicated one of his assertions at least, is it absurd to prophesy that in time all the rest of his theories will be substantiated?
The unity of the universe was asserted by Paracelsus, who says that "the human body is possessed of primeval stuff" (or cosmic matter): the spectroscope has proved the assertion by showing the same chemical elements which exist upon earth and in the sun are also found in all the stars. The spectroscope does more: it shows that all the stars are suns, similar in constitution to our own; (see Youman's "Chemistry on the Basis of the New System -- Spectrum Analysis") and as we are told by Professor Mayer that the magnetic condition of the earth changes with every variation upon the sun's surface, and is said to be "in subjection to emanations from the sun," the stars being suns must also give off emanations which affect us in proportionate degrees.
And now a very natural question is suggested. How did Paracelsus come to learn anything of the composition of the stars, when, till a very recent period -- till the discovery of the spectroscope in fact -- the constituents of the heavenly bodies were utterly unknown to our learned academies? And even now, notwithstanding tele-spectroscope and other very important modern improvements, except a few elements and a hypothetical chromosphere everything is yet a mystery for them in the stars. Could Paracelsus have been so sure of the nature of the starry host unless he had means of which science knows nothing? Yet knowing nothing, she will not even hear pronounced the very names of these means -- which are, hermetic philosophy and alchemy.
The next point for physiologists to verify is his proposition that the nourishment of the body comes not merely through the stomach, "but almost imperceptibly through the magnetic force, which resides in all nature and by which every individual member draws its specific nourishment to itself." Man, he further says, draws not only health from the elements when in equilibrium, but also disease when they are disturbed.
Living bodies are subject to the laws of attraction and chemical affinity, as science admits; the most remarkable physical property of organic tissue, according to physiologists, is the property of imbibition. What more natural, then, than this theory of Paracelsus that this absorbent, attractive, and chemical body of ours gathers into itself the astral or sidereal influences?
"The sun and the stars attract from us to themselves, and we again from them to us." What objection can science offer to this? What it is that we give off is shown in Baron Reichenbach's discovery of the odic emanations of man, which are identical with flames from magnets, crystals, and in fact from all vegetable organisms.
Paracelsus said of the "nervous ether" of which Dr. B. W. Richardson, F.R.S. wrote, that: "The Archaeus is of a magnetic nature, and attracts or repulses other sympathetic or antipathetic forces belonging to the same plane. The less power of resistance for astral influences a person possesses the more will he be subject to such influences. The vital force is not enclosed in man, but radiates (within and) around him like a luminous sphere (aura) and it may be made to act at a distance. ... It may poison the essence of life (blood) and cause diseases, or may purify it after it has been made impure, and restore the health."
And he also said that "The whole of the Microcosm is potentially contained in the Liquor Vitæ, a nerve fluid ... in which is contained the nature, quality, character, and essence of beings. The Archaeus is an essence that is equally distributed in all parts of the human body. ... The Spiritus Vitæ takes its origin from the Spiritus Mundi. Being an emanation of the latter it contains the elements of all cosmic influences, and is therefore the cause by which the action of the stars (cosmic forces) upon the invisible body of man (his vital Linga Sharira) may be explained." Had Dr. Richardson studied all the secret works of Paracelsus he would not have been obliged to confess so often "we do not know," "it is not known to us," etc. Nor was the Archaeus a discovery either of Paracelsus or of his pupil Von Helmont; for this same Archaeus is "Father-Aether", the manifested basis and source of the innumerable phenomena of life -- localized.
We must bear in mind that Paracelsus was the discoverer of hydrogen, and knew well all its properties and composition long before any of the orthodox academicians ever thought of it; that he had studied astrology and astronomy, as all the fire-worshippers did, and that, if he did assert that man is in direct affinity with the stars, he knew well what he asserted.
More than one pathologist, chemist, homeopathist, and magnetist has quenched his thirst for knowledge in the books of Paracelsus. Frederick Hufeland got his theoretical doctrines on infection from the mediæval "quack", as Sprengel delights in calling one who was immeasurably higher than himself. Hemmann, who endeavors to vindicate this great philosopher and nobly tries to redress his slandered memory, speaks of him as the "greatest chemist of his time." So do Professor Molitor, and Dr. Ennemoser, the eminent German psychologist. According to their criticisms on the labors of this Hermetist, Paracelsus is the most "wondrous intellect of his age," a "noble genius." But our modern lights assume to know better, and the ideas of the Rosicrucians about the elementary spirits, the goblins and the elves, have sunk into the "limbo of magic", and fairy tales for early childhood.
Kemshead says in his "Inorganic Chemistry" that "the element hydrogen was first mentioned in the sixteenth century by Paracelsus, but very little was known of it in any way." And why not be fair and confess at once that Paracelsus was the re-discoverer of the hidden properties of the magnet and animal magnetism? It is easy to show that according to the strict vows of secrecy taken and faithfully observed by every Rosicrucian (and especially the alchemist) he kept his knowledge secret. Perhaps it would not prove a very difficult task for any chemist well versed in the works of Paracelsus to demonstrate that oxygen, the discovery which is credited to Priestly was known to the Rosicrucian alchemists as well as hydrogen.
Christopher Columbus discovered America and Americus Vespucius reaped the glory and usurped his dues. Theophrastus Paracelsus re-discovered the occult properties of the magnet -- "the bone of Horus" which, twelve centuries before his time had played such an important part in the theurgic mysteries -- and he very naturally became the founder of the school of magnetism and of mediæval magico-theurgy. But Mesmer, who lived nearly three hundred years after him, and as a disciple of his school brought the magnetic wonders before the public, reaped the glory that was due to the fire-philosopher, while the great master died in a hospital!
So goes the world: new discoveries, evolving from old sciences: new men -- the same old nature.
(To be continued)
COMPILER'S NOTE: The following are two separate items which followed the above article but were on the same page. I felt it was useful to include them here:
THE BRIHADARANYAKA UPANISHAD
He who dwells in the Sun, and within the Sun, whom the Sun does not know, whose body the sun is, and who rules the Sun within, he is thy Self, the ruler within, the Immortal.
He who dwells in the space, and within the space, whom the space does not know, whose body the space is, and who rules the space within, he is thy Self, the ruler within, the Immortal.
He who dwells in the moon and stars, and within the moon and stars, whom the moon and stars do not know, whose body the moon and stars are, and who rules the moon and stars within, he is thy Self, the ruler within, the Immortal.
He who dwells in all beings, and within all beings, whom all beings do not know, whose body all beings are, and who rules all beings within, he is thy Self, the ruler within, the Immortal.
He who dwells in the seed, and within the seed, whom the seed does not know, whose body the seed is, and who rules the seed within, he is thy Self, the ruler within, the Immortal; unseen, but seeing; unheard, but hearing; unperceived, but perceiving; unknown, but knowing. There is no other seer but this; there is no other hearer but this; there is no other perceiver but this; there is no other knower but this. This is thy Self, the ruler within, the Immortal. Everything else is of evil.
Lines of demarcation of property, of trade and of commerce, political lines, lines of thought and of conduct, all are recognised as fundamentally necessary in the activities of men. A line is a pure abstraction, length without breadth, invisible, non-existent. It is Spiritual, and what is not in line with it is a cause of trouble.
[Part 6 of a 7-part series]
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