Kabalistic Views Of “Spirits”

I beg you to again allow me a little space for the further elucidation of a very important question – that of the “Elementals” “and the “Elementaries.” It is a misfortune that our European languages do not contain a nomenclature expressive of the various grades and conditions of spiritual beings. But surely I cannot be blamed for either the above linguistic deficiency, or because some people do not choose, or are unable, to understand my meaning! I cannot too often repeat that in this matter I claim no originality. My teachings are but the substance of what many Kabalists have said before me, which to-day I mean to prove, with your kind permission.

I am accused (1) of “turning somersaults” and jumping from one idea to another. The defendant pleads – not guilty. (2) Of coining not only words but Philosophies out of the depths of my consciousness. Defendant enters the same plea. (3) Of having repeatedly asserted that “intelligent Spirits other than those who have passed through an earth experience in a human body were concerned in the manifestations known as the phenomena of Spiritualism.” True, and defendant repeats the assertion. (4) Of having advanced, in my bold and unwarranted theories, “beyond the great Éliphas Lévi himself.” Indeed? Were I to go even as far as he (see his Science des Esprits),I would deny that a single so-called spiritual manifestation is more than hallucination, produced by soulless Elementals, whom he calls “Elementaries” (see Rituel de la Haute Magie).

I am asked: “What proof is there of the existence of the Elementals?” In my turn I will enquire: “What proof is there of ‘diakkas,’ ‘guides,’ ‘bands’ and ‘controls’?” And yet these terms are all current among Spiritualists. The unanimous testimony of innumerable observers and competent experimenters furnishes the proof. If Spiritualists cannot, or will not, go to those countries where they are living and these proofs are accessible, they, at least, have no right to give the lie direct to those who have seen both the Adepts and the proofs. My witnesses are living men teaching and exemplifying the Philosophy of hoary ages; theirs, these very “guides” and “controls,” who up to the present time are at best hypothetical, and whose assertions have been repeatedly found, by Spiritualists themselves, contradictory and false.

If my present critics insist that since the discussion of this matter began, a disembodied soul has never been described as an “Elementary,” I merely point to the number of the London Spiritualist for Feb. 18th, 1876, published nearly two years ago, in which a correspondent, who has certainly studied the Occult Sciences, says:

    Is it not probable that some of the elementary spirits of an evil type are those spirit-bodies, which, only recently disembodied, are on the eve of an eternal dissolution, and which continue their temporary existence only by vampirizing those still in the flesh? They had existence; they never attained to being.

Note two things: that human Elementaries are recognized as existing, apart from the Gnomes, Sylphs, Undines and Salamanders – beings purely elemental; and that annihilation of the soul is regarded as potential.

Says Paracelsus, in his Philosophia Sagax:

    The current of Astral Light with its peculiar inhabitants, Gnomes, Sylphs, etc., is transformed into human light at the moment of the conception, and it becomes the first envelope of the soul – its grosser portion; combined with the most subtle fluids, it forms the sidereal [astral, or ethereal] phantom – the inner man.

And Éliphas Lévi:

    The Astral Light is saturated with elementary souls which it discharges in the incessant generation of beings. . . . At the birth of a child they influence the four temperaments of the latter: the element of the Gnomes predominates in melancholy persons; of the Salamanders in the sanguine; of the Undines in the phlegmatic; of the Sylphs in the giddy and bilious. . . . These are the spirits which we designate under the term of occult elements (Rituel de la Haute Magie, vol. ii. chapter on the “Conjuration of the Four Classes of Elementary”).

“Yes, yes,” he remarks (op. cit., vol. i. p. 164):