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Human Animals Part 30

"Are you quite sure that he hadn't turned aside into another road?"

asked d'Assier of the Customs officer who told him the story.

"That would have been quite impossible: the place where we were had no outlet, and the only way he could get away was by passing over my body: and, besides, the night was clear enough for us to see all his movements. Next morning the inhabitants of the village were cross-questioning each other about the racket they had heard in the night."

"Like the ass of St. Croix," continues d'Assier, "and like all posthumous phantoms, our mule shows himself at night. He is met in a pasture all absorbed in his favourite occupation, that is to say, browsing imaginary grass. As soon as he finds himself tracked by the Customs officers he takes flight, as though he were really carrying contraband goods in his panniers, and he vanishes when he sees himself about to be captured--all things which characterise the post-sepulchral Spectre."

"In certain cases, not yet well defined," adds the same author,[170]

"our internal personality may, by reason of its fluidic nature, take on animal forms. Hence, when one is in the presence of the spectre of an animal, there is some reason to apprehend that this may be a lycanthropic manifestation of the human phantom, unless certain particularities identify its true origin. But I have said enough," he concludes, "to establish the existence of the fluid form-personality in animals and to demonstrate that the post-sepulchral humanity is but one particular case of a more general law--that of posthumous animality."

Another story of animal transformation is regarded by d'Assier as being a case of lycanthropia.

Two brothers occupied a house at St. Lizier, one of whom tells the story as follows:--

"I lived at that time in one of those little houses that you can see at the upper end of the town. I was about twelve years old and my brother was about seventeen. We slept together in a room to which we ascended by a small staircase. One evening we had just gone to bed when we heard someone ascending the steps. Then an animal about the size of a calf appeared. As the window had no blinds and the night was clear, it was easy for us to make out the animal's shape. Frightened at the sight of it, I clung to my brother, who at the first moment seemed as frightened as myself. But, recovering from his terror, he leaped out of bed, ran and caught up a pitchfork which was in the corner of the room, and, placing himself before the animal, said to it in a firm and resolute voice:

"'If thou comest by permission of God, speak: if from the devil, thou wilt have to deal with me.'

"Thus encountered, the animal wheeled swiftly round, and in turning it struck the framework of my bed with its tail. I then heard it descend the staircase precipitately, but as soon as it arrived at the bottom it disappeared and my brother, who was close behind it, was unable to see where it went. It is unnecessary to add that the door of the house was fast shut. As soon as I heard it descend the stairs I took courage and as the window of our room was over the street door I opened it to watch the strange visitor go out, but I saw nothing. My brother and I thought we had seen a wer-wolf and we accused an inhabitant of the vicinity, to whom were charged other adventures of this kind."

A more explicit case of lycanthropy occurred at Serisols, in the Canton of St. Croix, about sixty years ago.

A miller called Bigot had a reputation for sorcery. One day when his wife rose very early to go and wash some linen not very far from the house, he tried to dissuade her, repeating to her several times, "Do not go there: you will be frightened."

"Why should I be frightened?" she asked.

"I tell you you will be frightened," repeated her husband.

She did not take his threats seriously and went out in spite of them.

Hardly had she taken her place at the washing-tub, however, before she saw an animal moving here and there in front of her. It was not yet daylight, and she could not clearly make out its shape, but she thought it was a kind of a dog. Annoyed by its restless movements and not being able to scare it away, she threw her wooden clothes-beater at it, and the tool hit the animal in the eye. Immediately the creature disappeared and at the same moment Bigot's children heard him utter a cry of pain from his bed and shout out, "Ah! the wretch! She has destroyed my eye." From that day he was blind in one eye, so that undoubtedly this animal was not an animal double, but the miller's double in animal form.

D'Assier describes an epidemic of "obsession," or possession by demons, which occurred in 1857 at Morzine, in Savoy, and lasted until 1863, many young women and animals being attacked by a peculiar affliction. The atmosphere of Morzine, he says, "was impregnated with a foreign fluid (aura) since all that was required was to give change of air to ensure escape from the clutches of the disease. In certain families the domestic animals ate nothing, or satisfied themselves by gnawing the wood of their mangers; at other times it was the cows, goats, or sheep which gave no more milk, and what little some yielded was unfit for making into butter. These phenomena especially showed themselves in families where there were patients. Occasionally the sickness was transferred from persons to animals, and vice versa. If a young girl was relieved, a beast in the stable fell sick; and if the latter was cured the young girl relapsed into her former state. In face of such facts it was no longer possible to talk about obsession. The pest bursting forth simultaneously in houses and cattle-sheds, could only be ascribed to a physical cause, and the disorders that it provoked in persons attacked showed clearly that these phenomena were due to an excess or a degeneration of the mesmeric fluid...."[171] As a remedy, d'Assier suggests that "Obsession being an abnormal afflux of magnetic fluid upon the nervous system of the patient, the direct remedy is naturally the neutralisation of this fluid by a current of cerebral ether turned in the opposite direction and emanating from an energetic will."

Paracelsus, meaning probably much the same thing, declared that the astral currents produced by the imagination and will of man produced certain states in external Nature. The vehicle through which the will acts for effectuating good or evil he calls the living Mumia. The Mumia of a thing is its life-principle, a vehicle containing the essence of life. Exerting great power, it can be used in witchcraft and sorcery.

"Witches," he says in "De Pestilitate," "may make a bargain with evil spirits, and cause them to carry the Mumia to certain places where it will come into contact with other people, without the knowledge of the latter, and cause them harm." Thus diseases are spread, milk spoilt and cattle infected, the injured people not knowing the cause of the evils with which they are afflicted.

A curious story of bewitched cattle and "blue milk" is told by Franz Hartmann in his "Life of Paracelsus,"[172] in which a kind of animal demon appears to have "possessed" the cattle.

At a farmhouse not far from Munich the milk turned blue. It had been deposited in the usual place and darkened gradually, appearing first a light blue, and becoming of inky hue, while the layer of cream exhibited zigzag lines and shortly the whole mass began to putrefy and to emit a horrible smell. This occurred for many days running, and the farmer began to despair, for he could not discover the cause of the trouble. The stable was thoroughly cleansed, the place where the milk was kept was changed, a different food was given to the cattle, and samples of the milk were sent to Munich to be examined by chemists; the old milk-pots were replaced by new ones, and so on, but nothing produced an improvement in the existing state of affairs.

At last a Countess who resided in the neighbourhood hearing about the matter, went to the farmhouse. She took with her a clean new bottle, and filled it with the milk as it came from the bewitched cows. She placed the bottle in her own pantry, and from that day the trouble at the farm ceased, but all the milk at her own house turned blue.

This went on for three months, during which time everything that could possibly be done was done to discover the cause of the milk being in this condition. Then an old lady who lived hundreds of miles off, having been appealed to, laid a spell by her own occult powers, writing certain incantations on slips of paper which effected a cure of the trouble. But before it ceased, a strange thing happened. As one of the milkmaids was about to enter the stable before daybreak, a huge black demon, in animal form, rushed out of the half-opened door, knocked the milk-pail and lantern out of her hands, and disappeared before she could awaken the household. After this all went well again.

An apparition of this character may be regarded as belonging to the familiars or elementals rather than to the animal-ghosts.

FOOTNOTES:

[168] "Posthumous Humanity," 1887.

[169] _Ibid._, pp. 74-6.

[170] _Op. cit._, p. 80.

[171] "Posthumous Humanity," 1887, pp. 247-8.

[172] 1896, p. 154.

CHAPTER XXIII

ANIMAL ELEMENTALS

Suggestion no doubt plays a large part in producing a belief in the power to change form at will, and the occult aspect of transformation is perhaps more interesting than any other view of the subject.

Incantations, salves, herbs, drugs, perfumes, and other accessories of ritual are merely employed to strengthen concentrative force and to induce a suitable state of mind. In this sense the highest scientific method of transformation is known to the Yogi who, by performing _samyama_ on the powers of any animal, acquires those powers.[173]

_Samyama_ is the technical name for three inseparable processes taken collectively. The three processes are, firstly, contemplation, or the fixing of the mind on something, external or internal; secondly, the unity of the mind with its absorption, in which the mind is conscious only of itself and the object; and thirdly, trance, when the mind is conscious only of the object, and as though unconscious of itself.

Trance proper is the forgetting of all idea of the act, and, still more important, the becoming of the object (such as the animal) thought upon. Thus, the three stages, contemplation, absorption, and trance, are in fact stages of contemplation, for the thing thought upon, the thinker, and the instrument (together with other things which are to be excluded), are all present in the first; all except the last are present in the second, and nothing but the object is present in the third.[174]

The Yogi believes that the mind can enter into another body by relaxation of the cause of bondage, and by knowledge of the method of passing. The bondage is the mind's being bound to a particular body.

The cause of limiting the otherwise all-pervading mind to a particular spot is _karma_ or _dharma_ and _adharma_, i.e. good or bad deeds.

When by constant _samyama_ on these, the effect of the cause is neutralised and the bonds of confinement loosened, then the mind is free to enter any dead or living organism and perform its functions through it. But for this purpose a knowledge of effecting this transfer is equally necessary....

We always think in relation to the ego within us, and therefore in relation to the body. Even when we direct our mind somewhere out of the body, it is still in relation with the thinking self. When this relation is entirely severed and the mind exists as it were spontaneously, outside and independent of the body, the Yogi finds the state of internal mind most favourable for passing from one corporeal shape into another, for it is nothing more than the _vrtti_ (or soul) severed from the body that travels from one place to another. The act of the mind cognising objects, or technically speaking, taking the shape of objects presented to it, is called _vrtti_, or transformation. Those familiar with the so-called spirit-materialisations will readily comprehend the somewhat obscure sense of this aphorism.[175]

Animal elementals or thought-forms were employed by magicians in the remote ages, and believed to be created entities which persisted throughout time and might be sent forth, somewhat in the nature of a familiar, to wreak harm on others. Such animal thought-forms are regarded as natural or possible by many occultists to-day and two modern stories exemplify this belief.

A certain Miss Carter went to have tea at a friend's house where she met a lady whom she knew, a Miss Thory, the sister of an eminent philosopher. Miss Carter asked this lady whether she would be kind enough to tell her fortune from the cards, but Miss Thory declined, saying that she felt tired. Shortly afterwards Miss Carter went away and, as soon as her back was turned, Miss Thory said to her hostess, "My dear, don't have much to do with that young lady, because she goes about telling people that she is beloved by an archangel who kisses her on the lips, but I have seen the creature which hovers about her, and which she takes to be an archangel, and it has the shape of a crocodile and is trying to influence people through her. It is an evil elemental."

The other story concerns two friends, Mrs. Harper and Miss Sylvester, who, travelling together on the astral plane, decided to visit the bottom of the sea. They believed they arrived there and saw an enormous octopus which was floating about amongst the wreckage on the ocean bed. Miss Sylvester immediately made the protective sign of the Pentacle and suffered no inconvenience, but Mrs. Harper neglected to take this precaution and the monstrous animal followed her about. They did not mention these strange experiences to anyone, and they were well-nigh forgotten when some time later it happened that Miss Sylvester introduced Mrs. Harper to one of her friends, a very well-known poet. Meeting Miss Sylvester a few days afterwards, he said to her quite frankly, "I suppose I ought not to say so to you, but I did not much care for your friend, Mrs. Harper. The night after you introduced me to her I could not sleep and whenever I thought about her I was aware of some elemental creature crawling beneath my bed. It had the shape of an octopus with horrible tentacles!"

Phenomena of this character are explained by the occultist as follows:--

The elemental essence which surrounds us is singularly susceptible to the influence of human thought. The action of the mere casual wandering thought upon it causes it to burst into a cloud of rapidly-moving, evanescent forms. Thought, seizing upon the plastic essence, moulds it instantly into a living being of appropriate form--"a being which when once thus created is in no way under the control of its creator, but lives out a life of its own, the length of which is proportionate to the intensity of the thought or wish which called it into existence. It lasts, in fact, just as long as the thought-force holds it together.

Most people's thoughts are so fleeting and indecisive that the elementals created by them last only a few minutes or a few hours, but an often repeated thought or an earnest wish will form an elemental whose existence may extend to many days.... A man who frequently dwells upon one wish often forms for himself an astral attendant, which, constantly fed by fresh thought, may haunt him for years, ever gaining more and more strength and influence over him...."

It is said that a magician who understands the subject and knows what effect he is producing may acquire great power along these lines and can call into existence artificial elementals which, if he be not careful, escape from his control and become wandering demons.

The magicians of Atlantis brought into being wonderful speaking animals who had to be appeased by an offering of blood lest they should awaken their masters and warn them of impending destruction.[176]

An even more terrible, psychic animal-being is described by occultists as the Dweller on the Threshold. In answer to the question, What kind of an animal is a human creature born soulless? Madame Blavatsky[177]

explains that "the future of the lower Manas is terrible, and still more terrible to humanity than to the now animal man. It sometimes happens that, after the separation, the exhausted soul, now become supremely animal, fades out in Kama Loka, as do all other animal souls. But seeing that the more material is the human mind, the longer it lasts, even in the intermediate stage, it frequently happens that after the present life of the soulless man is ended, he is again and again reincarnated into new personalities, each one more abject than the other. The impulse of _animal life_ is too strong: it cannot wear itself out in one or two lives only. In rarer cases, however, when the lower Manas is doomed to exhaust itself by starvation: when there is no longer hope that even a remnant of a lower light will, owing to favourable conditions--say, even a short period of spiritual aspiration and repentance--attract back to itself its Parent Ego, and Karma leads the Higher-Ego back to new incarnations, then something far more dreadful may happen. The Kama-Manasic spook may become that which is called in Occultism, the 'Dweller on the Threshold.'...

"Bereft of the guiding Principles, but strengthened by the material elements, Kama-Manas, from being a 'derived light,' now becomes an independent entity, and thus, suffering itself to sink lower and lower on the animal plane, when the hour strikes for its earthly body to die, one of two things happens; either Kama-Manas is immediately reborn in Myalba, the state of Avitchi on earth, or, if it becomes too strong in evil--'immortal in Satan' is the occult expression--it is sometimes allowed, for Karmic purposes, to remain in an active state of Avitchi in the terrestrial Aura. Then through despair and loss of all hope, it becomes like the mythical 'devil' in its endless wickedness; it continues in its elements, which are imbued through and through with the essence of Matter; for evil is coevil with Matter rent asunder from Spirit. And when its Higher-Ego has once more reincarnated, evolving a new reflection, or Kama-Manas, the doomed lower Ego, like a Frankenstein's monster, will ever feel attracted to its Father who repudiates his son, and will become a regular 'Dweller on the Threshold' of terrestrial life."

Concerning the evolution of man-animal and animal-man, Madame Blavatsky[178] declares, "it is most important to remember that the Egos of the Apes are entities compelled by their Karma to incarnate in the animal forms, which resulted from the bestiality of the _latest_ Third and the earliest Fourth Race men. They are entities who had already reached the 'human stage' before this Round. Consequently they form an exception to the general rule. The numberless traditions about Satyrs are no fables, but represent an extinct race of animal men. The animal 'Eves' were their foremothers, and the human 'Adams' their forefathers; _hence the Kabalistic allegory of Lilith or Lilatu_, Adam's _first_ wife, whom the Talmud describes as a _charming_ woman with _long wavy hair_, i.e. a female hairy animal of a character now unknown, still a female animal, who in the Kabalistic and Talmudic allegories is called the female reflection of Samael, Samael-Lilith, or man-animal united, a being called _Hayo Bischat_, the Beast or Evil Beast (Zohar). It is from this unnatural union that the present apes descended. The latter are truly 'speechless men' and will become speaking animals (or men of a lower order) in the Fifth Round, while the adepts of a certain school hope that some of the Egos of the apes of a higher intelligence will reappear at the close of the Sixth-Root race. What their form will be is of secondary consideration. The form means nothing. Species and genera of the flora, fauna, and the highest animal, its crown--man--change and vary according to the environments and climatic variations, not only with every Round, but every Root-Race likewise, as well as after every geological cataclysm that puts an end to, or produces a turning-point in the latter. In the Sixth Root-Race the fossils of the Orang, the Gorilla and the Chimpanzee will be those of extinct quadrumanous mammals and new forms--though fewer and ever wider apart as ages pass on and the close of the Manvantara approaches--will develop from the 'cast-off'

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