There is a mass of what might be described as "lay" literature on the subject of Spiritualism and Psychism. It is "lay" in the sense that it was written by people who were not themselves Occultists and who therefore knew only the facts of the occurrences but little, if anything, of what was going on "behind the scenes." Mediums are, of course, unconscious when "spirits" are speaking through them. The sensitive clairvoyant can tell only what he or she sees. As has been explained in the text, the real nature of this cannot be known by the ordinary clairvoyant. Nevertheless anyone interested in the subject is advised to read some of the pertinent literature.
The books referred to in the text, listed more or less in the order in which they are mentioned, are here supplemented by others which bear on the subject.
People from the Other World by H. S. Olcott
Reprinted by Chas. E. Tuttle Co. , Vermont.
This is a compilation of H. S. Olcott's reports on what he saw and investigated at the Eddy homestead in Chittenden, Vermont. His reports were published at the time (1875) in two New York newspapers. A wide range of spiritualistic phenomena was investigated.
Collected Writings of H. P. Blavatsky edited by Boris de Zirkoff
12 Vols. Theosophical Publishing House, Wheaton, Illinois.
These volumes contain all, or as many as have so far been found, of H. P. Blavatsky's articles, letters to newspapers and others, but not her personal letters. Their content importantly supplements the information and teachings given in her books, particularly by way of illustration and explanation. Vols. I and IX contain most of the material quoted.
The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett
edited by A. T. Barker Ride &Co., London.
This is a volume of letters received by one A. P. Sinnett from two Masters of the Wisdom, in the years 1880-1884. The letters contain an outline, sometimes some important detail, of the occult teachings. Sinnett summarized these in his Esoteric Buddhism. They were later much expanded by H. P. Blavatsky in her books and other writings.
The Occult World by A. P. Sinnett
A description of some of the phenomena that occurred around H. P. Blavatsky in India in the early years of her Theosophical career.
Esoteric Buddhism by A. P. Sinnett
A first attempt at a connected narrative outline of the occult teachings given him in The Mahatma Letters. (1885) Some of Sinnett's statements, particularly those concerning Mars and Mercury, were later corrected in The Secret Doctrine
The Key to Theosophy by H. P. Blavatsky
This is an important book, in question and answer form, setting out the main teachings of Theosophy, often against a background of current religious thinking. It includes particularly clear statements on the constitution of Man, with precise terminological definitions. It explains Karma, reincarnation, and the occult view on Spiritualism and religion in a forthright authoritative way.
This is a book for close study and periodical re-reading. It is rich in content.
Isis Unveiled by H. P. Blavatsky
Various editions and Publishers. The definitive edition was published in 1972 by the Theosophical Publishing House, Wheaton, Illinois.
This is a dialogue, in two volumes, between Occultism and 1) Science (of the late 19th century) and 2) Religion (also of the period). It is packed with information on a vast range of aspects The work is of immense erudition; some 1,300 other works are quoted from. The historical parts and most of the very cogent arguments are as valid today as when the work was written. It was H.P.B.'s first magnum opus. and it has not yet received the attention of scholars that it richly deserves.
Personal Memoirs of H. P. Blavatsky by Mary Neff Rider, London.
There are now a number of accounts of Mme. Blavatsky's life and work, some of them very inaccurate, scurrilous, and totally
misleading as to the character of the woman and her work. This book, in parts, gives accounts of some of the incidents from Mme. Blavatsky's point of view, which have been so distorted to her detriment. Apart from these, the book is a very human account and in it there are, amongst much other interesting material, the two letters describing Egoic consciousness. (See Chapter 17 of this book.)
When We Die by G. A. Farthing Theosophical Publishing House, London.
A compilation of the passages in The Mahatma Letters relating to the after-death states, forming a connected narrative of what happens to us when we die, in the order of the happenings. (Note: This information from the Mahatmas was supplemented in much detail in H.P.B.'s later writings, now incorporated in the Collected Writings. Some of the latter is quoted in this book. )
The Secret Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky
This was Mme. Blavatsky's greatest work. The original edition is in two volumes, giving a massive introduction but, as she said, by no means a complete one, to the occult doctrines on Cosmology and Anthropology. Its authenticity is apparent to the discerning reader. By way of illustration, it draws copiously from world literature on philosophy, science, and religion. Some 1,100 other works are referred to, and there is a mass of material explaining the symbolism, theogonies, etc., of the ancient world. The whole content of this monumental treatise could not be absorbed by an ordinary individual in a whole lifetime of study. It is certainly a book for the serious dedicated student.
Its relevance to our theme is not so much in what it has to say directly about psychic phenomena, which is very little, but in its encyclopaedic survey of matters spiritual and occult, from the point of view of a trained, initiated, Occultist of considerable standing. There is no other extant public work so complete, and yet The Secret Doctrine claims to be only "a nosegay of culled flowers," to quote the author, who adds that she has brought nothing of her own "but the string that ties them." She goes on to say, "Pull the 'string' to pieces and cut it up in shreds, if you will. As for the nosegay of FACTS - you will never be able to make away with these. You can only ignore them, and no more."
Those who want to put what has been written here about Spiriualism and Psychic Phenomena against a background of works by other than theosophical writers, touching on the theme of the great
beyond, are referred to the libraries and book lists of the Psychical Research Societies in the U.S.A. and in England.
The Society for Psychical Research in England publishes a pamphlet "Psychical Research, a Selective Guide to Publications ii English," revised 1972. The address is 1 Adam and Eve Mews London WS 6UQ. This list includes works by the great names in spiritualistic and psychic research, some classical and some modern. It includes those published in both America and England. Some of these works should be read by the serious student so that he knows what modern phenomena are being investigated, what tests are being applied, and what explanations are being advanced. The books are listed under five main categories, General, Mental Phenomena, Physical Phenomena, Trance Mediumship, and Questions of Survival. Some 50 works are shown under these heading and there is a small section on Water Divining.
In spiritualistic circles much importance is attached to a series of "spirit" messages received over a period of some two decades through a number of mediums, mostly by automatic writing. The mediums were unknown to each other and even lived continent apart. The messages were from the deceased F. W. H. Myers (of the Physical Research Society in London) and some of his colleagues as they died. These messages took the form of quotation from, and references to, classical writings in Latin and Greek, some of them quite obscure. The messages formed parts of what could be regarded as literary conundrums of considerable complexity. These were not devised before those posing them had died; that is, they had not been pre-arranged.
The solution of the problems, requiring a thorough knowledge of the classics, necessitated parts of messages, or whole messages from different sources being brought together. This indicated such an ingenuity in the "spirits" posing the problems as to convince many investigators that they were definitely from surviving personalities in the 'after-life'. This conviction was strengthened by the spirits’ up-to-date knowledge of people and their circumstances here on earth and even, in some cases, a degree of fore-knowledge. The whole series are known as the "Cross Correspondences" and are written up in the transactions of the S. P. R. (London). It is unnecessary to go into these in detail here, but anyone who has read this far and who cares to read the accounts of the "Cross Correspondences" will be able to satisfactorily account for the
phenomenon by data given in this book, particularly the powers of elementals and the qualities of the Astral Light.
For the student who wants to keep his reading on a wide basis there are also many works of a general, mostly nontechnical nature which make valuable complementary reading. They indicate the extent to which modern discoveries and investigations are corroborating the theories of Occultism. These are modern works on psychic phenomena, on biofeedback, on seeming psychic responses in plants and animals to inner, invisible stimuli, invisible factors affecting biological functions, etc., etc. There are far too many such works to list individually. They can be found in most large libraries. In making his selection the student will have to follow his own bent but he is recommended to acquaint himself with at least the content in outline of the books listed in this Bibliography. He will then find he has a yardstick against which to measure the worth of all other literature on the same subject.
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