Magnetic Exhalations

Theosophy affirms that a powerful current of magnetism emanates from ideas as well as from all physical bodies and all human beings. More, that such is the sympathy existing between the kingdoms of Nature that the magnetic emanation of one object or being can affect another, albeit unconsciously. Man, with his power of will, occupies a superior position in the scheme of things, and, by that will-force, can impart his own life or the magnetic atmosphere developed in him to so-called inanimate objects, thereby animating them to a certain degree. The magnetic influence he imparts may be good or evil, depending on his own motive and magnetic purity or impurity.

There is a persisting and widely-prevalent belief that misfortune, unhappiness and even death sometimes attach themselves to certain objects. This may be branded by the sophisticated as superstition, nevertheless Theosophy not only asserts that this is possible but also offers an explanation.

Ample evidence has been put forward for the protective power of talismans "inbued by the influence of that greatest of all magnets, the human will, with a potency for good" (Isis Unveiled, I, 462); but a potency for ill can also be communicated to an object by a malevolent will.

The evil magnetism of certain objects can be explained in more than one way. One explanation is the deliberate laying of a curse. Disaster dogging the path of the possessors of stolen treasure, for instance, might, perhaps, be attributable to such a curse. Ideas of the "evil eye," the ability to lay curses, bewitchings, etc., have been deeply embedded in the common mind since the earliest times, and are no less so at present, despite all the efforts of science to descredit the notion. One reason for this is that the traditions are largely true and rest upon a truly scientific basis, though unrecognized by modern science. Many a phenomenon that science pooh-poohs would be understandable if the interrelation between man and the elemental world were understood. In one of his "Conversations on Occultism" Mr. Judge explains that anything used by a person is connected with elementals and his magnetism. Each object "has certain magnetic relations peculiar to itself, and all of them are soaked, to a greater or less extent, with your magnetism as well as nervous fluid....The elementals are connected, each class according to its substance, with those objects by means of the magnetic fluid." These elementals are acted upon by our thoughts and desires, and can be imbued with potentialities for harm by an evilly-inclined powerful will. Some elementals are described as being "of horrible malignity." It needs to be borne in mind, however, that the power to bless that some individuals have is just as potent as is the power of a curse, and that the latter affects not him who has a pure conscience and the welfare of humanity at heart.

Even if a curse has not been wilfully laid upon an object, the associations clustering about it could affect a sensitive. Through the astral emanations of the things contacted, a certain class of sensitive persons are brought in contact with the current of the astral light connected with those things, and which retains pictures of the events associated with their history (Isis Unveiled, I, 182 ff.). The evil use to which an object has been put leaves its indelible impress upon it, and a sensitive person handling that object might, through the power of suggestion, fall a prey to its evil influence. On the other hand, the association with an object of good, beneficent and happy events would also leave upon it their indelible impress.

There is still another possible explanation as to why some things carry with them a fiendish, devilish influence. The ancients taught that the astral light is projected from the eyes, the thumbs and the palms of the hands. The pure life-giving Light, or magnetic fluid, is called in The Secret Doctrine (I, 76 fn.) "Od," while "Ob" is the name given to "the messenger of death," "the nefarious evil fluid" charged with malicious will and hatred and used by sorcerers. This invisible fluid may be directed against a given object or person with fatal force. But, as said before, the pure in heart have naught to fear.

The following quotations from Theosophical writings throw further light on what has been said above:

Study magnetism with the help of occult doctrines, and then that which now will appear incomprehensible, absurd in the light of physical science, will become all clear. (A Master of Wisdom) the alphabet of magic. It is idle for anyone to attempt to understand either the theory or the practice of the latter until the fundamental principle of magnetic attractions and repulsions throughout nature is recognized.

Many so-called popular superstitions are but evidences of an instinctive perception of this law. An untutored people are taught by the experience of many generations that certain phenomena occur under fixed conditions; they give these conditions and obtain the expected results. Ignorant of the laws, they explain the fact by supernaturalism, for experience has been their sole teacher.

In India, as well as in Russia and some other countries, there is an instinctive repugnance to stepping across a man's shadow, especially if he have red hair; and in the former country, natives are extremely reluctant to shake hands with persons of another race. These are not idle fancies. Every person emits a magnetic exhalation or aura, and a man may be in perfect physical health, but at the same time his exhalation may have a morbific character for others sensitive to such subtile influences. Dr. Esdaile and other mesmerists long since taught us that Oriental people, especially Hindus, are more susceptible than the white-skinned races. Baron Reichenbach's experiments—and, in fact, the world's entire experience—prove that these magnetic exhalations are most intense from the extremities. Therapeutic manipulations show this; hand-shaking is, therefore, most calculated to communicate antipathetic magnetic conditions, and the Hindus do wisely in keeping their ancient "superstition"—derived from Manu—constantly in mind....Oriental experience for a hundred centuries has shown that the germs of moral contagion linger about localities, and impure magnetism can be communicated by the touch. (Isis Unveiled, II, 610-11)

Apply a piece of iron to a magnet, and it becomes imbued with its subtile principle and capable if imparting it to other iron in its turn. It neither weighs more nor appears different from what it was before. And yet, one of the most subtile potencies of nature has entered into its substance. A talisman, in itself perhaps a worthless bit of metal, a scrap of paper, or a shred of any fabric, has nevertheless been imbued by the influence of that greatest of all magnets, the human will, with a potency for good or ill just as recognizable and as real in its effects as the subtile property which the iron acquired by contact with the physical magnet. Let the bloodhound snuff an article of clothing that has been worn by the fugitive, and he will track him through swamp and forest to his hiding-place. Give one of Professor Buchanan's "psychometers" a manuscript, no matter how old, and he will describe to you the character of the writer, and perhaps even his personal appearance....

With these familiar illustrations of the possibility of a subtile fluid communicated from one individual to another, or to substances which he touches, it becomes less difficult to understand that by a determined concentration of the will an otherwise inert object may become imbued with protective or destructive power according to the purpose directing. (Isis Unveiled, I, 462-63)

TALISMAN. From the Arabic tilism or tilsam, a "magic image." An object, whether in stone, metal or sacred wood; often a piece of parchment filled with characters and images traced under certain planetary influences in magical formulae, given by one versed in occult sciences to one unversed, either with the object of preserving him from evil, or for the accomplishment of certain desires. The greatest virtue and efficacy of the talisman, however, resides in the faith of its possessor; not because of the credulity of the latter, or that it possesses no virtue, but because faith is a quality endowed with a most potent creative power; and therefore—unconsciously to the believer—intensifies a hundredfold the power originally imparted to the talisman by its maker. (The Theosophical Glossary)

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