The third great class of clairvoyant phenomena, known as Time Clairvoyance, is divided into two sub-classes, as follows:
The characteristics of each of these sub-classes is indicated by its name.
Past-Time Clairvoyance, as indicated by the name, is that class of clairvoyant phenomena which is concerned with the perception of facts, events and happenings of past time. Whether the happening is that of five minutes ago, or of five thousand years ago, the principles involved are precisely the same. One is no more or less wonderful than is the other.
In the first place, it would undoubtedly be impossible to perceive a thing, even by astral vision, if it had entirely disappeared at some time in the past—this would be beyond all natural powers, astral as well as physical. But, as a matter of fact, the things of the past have not entirely disappeared, but, on the contrary, while having disappeared on the physical plane they still exist on the astral plane.
In the occult teachings we find many references to “the Akashic Records,” or what is sometimes called “the records of the Astral Light.”
All that has happened from the very beginning of this World Cycle, millions of years ago, is preserved on these astral records, and may be read by the advanced clairvoyant or other person possessing occult powers of this kind. These records perish only with the termination of a World Cycle, which will not happen for millions of years yet to come.
For instance, as astronomy teaches us, a star may be blotted out of existence, and yet its light will persist long after (perhaps until the end of world-time) traveling along at the rate of 186,000 miles each second.
The light that we now see coming from the distant stars has left those stars many years ago—in some cases thousands of years ago. We see them not as they are now, but as they were at the time the ray of light left them, many years ago;
In fact, it is believed that some of these stars which we see twinkling at night have actually been blotted out hundreds of years ago. We will not be aware of this fact until the light rays suddenly cease reaching us, after their journey of billions of miles and hundreds of years. A star blotted out of existence today would be seen by our children, and children’s children.
The heat from a stove will be felt in a room long after the stove has been removed from it. A room will long contain the odor of something that has been removed from it.
It is said that in one of the old mosques of Persia there may be perceived the faint odor of the musk that was exposed there hundreds of years ago—the very walls are saturated with the pungent odor.
Is it not wonderful that our memories preserve the images of the sounds and forms which were placed there perhaps fifty years and more ago? How do these memory images survive and exist? Though we may have thought of the past thing for half a lifetime, yet, suddenly its image flashes into our consciousness.
this is as wonderful as the Akashic Records, though its “commonness” makes it lose its wonderful appearance to us.
Camille Flammarion, the eminent French astronomer, in a book pictured a possible condition of affairs in which a disembodied soul would be able to perceive events that happened in the past, by simply taking a position in space in which he would be able to catch the light-waves that emanated from a distant planet at that particular time in the past the happenings of which he wanted to perceive.
Another writer has written somewhat along the same lines: “When we see anything, whether it be the book we hold in our hands, or a star millions of miles away, we do so by means of a vibration in the ether, commonly called a ray of light, which passes from the object seen to our eyes. Now the speed with which this vibration passes is so great—about 186,000 miles in a second—that when we are considering any object in our own world we may regard it as practically instantaneous.
When, however, we come to deal with interplanetary distances we have to take the speed of light into consideration, for an appreciable period is occupied in traversing these vast spaces. For example, it takes eight minutes and a quarter for light to travel to us from the sun, so that when we look at the solar orb we see it by means of a ray of light which left it more than eight minutes ago. From this follows a very curious result. The ray of light by which we see the sun can obviously report to us only the state of affairs’ which existed in that luminary when it started on its journey, and would not be in the least affected by anything that happened after it left; so that we really see the sun not as it is, but as it was eight minutes ago.
That is to say that if anything important took place in the sun—the formation of a new sun-spot, for instance—an astronomer who was watching the orb through his telescope at the time would be unaware of the incident while it was happening, since the ray of light bearing the news would not reach him until more than eight minutes later.
“The difference is more striking when we consider the fixed stars, because in their case the distances are so enormously greater. The pole star, for example, is so far off that light, traveling at the inconceivable speed above mentioned, takes a little more than fifty years to reach our eyes; and from that follows the strange but inevitable inference that we see the pole star not as or where it is at this moment, but as and where it was fifty years ago.
If tomorrow some cosmic catastrophe were to shatter the pole star into fragments, we should still see it peacefully shining in the sky all the rest of our lives; our children would grow up to middle-age and gather their children about them in turn before the news of that tremendous accident reached any terrestial eye.
In the same way there are other stars so far distant that light takes thousands of years to travel from them to us, and with reference to their condition our information is therefore thousands of years behind time. Now carry the argument a step farther. Suppose that we were able to place a man at the distance of 186,000 miles from the earth, and yet to endow him with the wonderful faculty of being able from that distance to see what was happening here as clearly as though he were still close beside us. It is evident that a man so placed would see everything a second after the time it really happened, and so at the present moment he would be seeing what happened a second ago.
Double that distance, and he would be two seconds behind time, and so on; remove him to the distance of the sun (still allowing him to preserve the same mysterious power of sight) and he would look down and watch you doing not what you are doing now, but what you were doing eight minutes and a quarter ago. Carry him to the pole star, and he would see passing before his eyes the events of fifty years ago; he would be watching the childish gambols of those who at the same moment were really middle-aged men. Marvellous as this may sound, it is literally and scientifically true, and cannot be denied.”
Flammarion, in his story, called “Lumen,” makes his spirit hero pass at will along the ray of light from the earth, seeing the things of different eras of earth-time. He even made him travel backward along that ray, thus seeing the happenings in reverse order, as in a moving picture running backward.
This story is of the greatest interest to the occultist, for while the Akashic Records are not the same as the light records, yet the analogy is so marked in many ways that the occultist sees here another exemplification of the old occult axiom that “as above, so below; as below, so above.”
The occultist-guide says to the student: “Changing our vibrations, we find ourselves entering a strange region, the nature of which you at first fail to discern. Pausing a moment until your astral vision becomes attuned to the peculiar vibrations of this region, you will find that you are becoming gradually aware of what may be called an immense picture gallery, spreading out in all directions, and apparently bearing a direct relation to every point of space on the surface of the earth. At first, you find it difficult to decipher the meaning of this great array of pictures. The trouble arises from the fact that they are arranged not one after the other in sequence on a flat plane; but rather in sequence, one after another, in a peculiar order which may be called the order of ‘X-ness in space,’ because it is neither the dimension of length, breadth, or depth—it is practically the order of the fourth dimension in space, which cannot be described in terms of ordinary spatial dimension.
You find upon closely examining the pictures that they are very minute—practically microscopic in size— and require the use of the peculiar magnifying power of astral vision to bring them up to a size capable of being recognized by your faculty of visual recognition.
“The astral vision, when developed, is capable of magnifying any object, material or astral, to an enormous degree—for instance, the trained occultist is able to perceive the whirling atoms and corpuscles of matter, by means of this peculiarity of astral vision. Likewise, he is able to plainly perceive many fine vibrations of light which are invisible to the ordinary sight.
In fact, the peculiar Astral Light which pervades this region is due to the power of the astral vision to perceive and register these fine vibrations of light. Bring this power of magnifying into operation, and you will see that each of the little points and details of the great world picture so spread before you in the Astral Light is really a complete scene of a certain place on earth, at a certain period in the history of the earth.
It resembles one of the small views in a series of moving pictures—a single view of a roll-film. It is fixed, and not in motion, and yet we can move forward along the fourth dimension, and thus obtain a moving picture of the history of any point on the surface of the earth, or even combine the various points into a large moving picture, in the same way. Let us prove this by actual experiment.
Close your eyes for a moment, while we travel back in time (so to speak) along the series of these astral records—for, indeed, they travel back to the beginning of the history of the earth. Now open your eyes! Looking around you, you perceive the pictured representation of strange scenes filled with persons wearing a peculiar garb—but all is still, no life, no motion.
“Now, let us move forward in time, at much higher rate than that in which the astral views were registered. You now see flying before you the great movement of life on a certain point of space, in a far distant age. From birth to death you see the life of these strange people, all in the space of a few moments. Great battles are fought, and cities rise before your eyes, all in a great moving picture flying at a tremendous speed.
Now stop, and then let us move backward in time, still gazing at the moving pictures. You see a strange sight, like that of ‘reversing the film’ in a moving picture. You see everything moving backward—cities crumbling into nothingness, men arising from their graves, and growing younger each second until they are finally born as babes—everything moving backward in time, instead of forward.
You can thus witness any great historical event, or follow the career of any great personage from birth to death—or backward. You will notice, moreover, that everything is semi-transparent, and that accordingly you can see the picture of what is going on inside of buildings as well as outside of them.
Nothing escapes the Astral Light Records.
Nothing can be concealed from it. By traveling to any point in time, on the fourth dimension, you may begin at that point, and see a moving picture of the history of any part of the earth from that time to the present—or you may reverse the sequence by travelling backward, as we have seen.
You may also travel in the Astral, on ordinary space dimensions, and thus see what happened simultaneously all over the earth, at any special moment of past-time, if you wish.”
The clairvoyant merely catches glimpses of certain phases and fields of the great astral record region or state. For that matter, the ordinary clairvoyant merely sees a reflection of the true Astral Light pictures a reflection similar to that of a landscape reflected in a pond. Moreover, this reflection may be (and frequently is) disturbed as if by the ripples and waves of the pond in which the landscape is reflected. But, still, even the ordinary clairvoyant is able to secure results which are wonderful enough in all truth, and which far transcend the power of the person functioning on the physical plane alone.
Past-time clairvoyance is frequently induced by means of psychometry, in which the clairvoyant is able to have “the loose end” to unwind the ball of time. But, still, in some cases the clairvoyant is able to get en rapport with the astral records of past-time by the ordinary methods of meditation, etc.
The main obstacle in the last mentioned case is the difficulty of coming in contact with the exact period of past-time sought for in psychometry, the vibrations of the “associated object” supplies the missing link.
Lacking the “associated object,” the clairvoyant may obtain the link by bringing into the imagination some associated scene of that time—something else that happened about the same time.
All that is needed is to get hold of something associated in space or in time with the sought for scene. All that is needed is the “loose end” of association. Sometimes the clairvoyant senses some past-time experience, the place and time of which is unknown to him.
In such cases, it is necessary for him to get hold of some “loose end” by which he may work out the solution. For instance, the picture of a certain building or personage, or historical happening, may give the key to the mystery.
In very high forms of past-time clairvoyance, the clairvoyant is able not only to perceive the actual happenings of the past, but also to actually sense the thought and feelings of the actors therein—for these, too, are recorded on the astral plane.
In other cases, the clairvoyant person is able to picture scenes and happenings relating to his past incarnations, even though he is not able to sense other past-time events and scenes. But, here again, many good past-time clairvoyants are not able to catch these glimpses of their own past lives, though able to perceive those of other persons.
Some persons are able to perceive events that have happened to persons present before them, but are not able to contact past-time events in the ordinary way. There are a thousand-and-one variations in clairvoyant work. Only the highly advanced occultist is master of all of them. But, still every one may develop himself or herself, from humble beginnings.
It is far better to err on the side of healthy skepticism, than of over-credulity, and it is an admirable rule never to hunt about for an occult explanation of anything when a plain and obvious physical one is available. Our duty is to endeaveor to keep our balance always, and never to lose our self-control, but to take a reasonable, common-sense view of whatever may happen to us, so that we may be wiser occultists, and more useful helpers than we have ever been before.
“We find examples of all degrees of the power to see into this ‘memory of nature,’ from the trained man who can consult the records for himself at will, down to the person who gets nothing but occasional vague glimpses, or has perhaps had only once such glimpse. But even the man who possesses this faculty only partially and occasionally still finds it of the deepest interest.
The psychometer, who needs an object physically connected with the past in order to bring it all into life again around him; and the crystal-gazer who can sometimes direct his less certain astral telescope to some historic scene of long ago, may both derive the greatest enjoyment from the exercise of their respective gifts, even though they may not always understand exactly how their results are obtained, and may not have them fully under control under all circumstances.
“In many cases of the lower manifestations of these powers we find that they are exercised unconsciously.
Many a crystal-gazer watches scenes from the past without being able to distinguish them from visions of the present.
And many a vaguely-psychic person finds pictures constantly arising before his eyes, without ever realizing that he is in effect psychometrizing the various objects around him, as he happens to touch them or stand near them.
An interesting variant of this class of psychics is the man who is able to psychometrize persons only, and not inanimate objects as is more usual. In most cases this faculty shows itself erratically, so that such a psychic will, when introduced to a stranger, often see in a flash some prominent event in that stranger’s earlier life, but on similar occasions will receive no special impression.
More rarely we meet with someone who gets detailed visions of the past life of nearly everyone whom he encounters. It may easily happen, moreover, that a person may see a picture of the past without recognizing it as such, unless there happens to be in it something which attracts special attention, such as a figure in armor, or in antique costume. Its probable, therefore, that occasional glimpses of these astral reflections of the akashic records are commoner than the published accounts would lead us to believe.”
Do not try to rush development too rapidly.
Perfect and develop yourself in one line of psychic power, before seeking another. Take things cooly, and do not lose your head because you happen to achieve some wonderful phenomena. Do not become conceited and vain-glorious.
And, finally, do not prostitute your powers to ignoble ends, and make a cheap show of them. By cheapening and prostituting the higher psychic powers, the student frequently ends by losing them altogether. Moderation in all things is the safe policy.
And it always is well for the occultist to resist temptation to use his powers for unworthy, sensational, or purely selfish purposes.