In its highest aspect, Ākāśa is Divine mind reflected in the waters of Space or Chaos. It is undifferentiated Noumenal and Abstract Space, which will be occupied by Primordial Consciousness. Ākāśa has several fields: The first is the field of latent consciousness which is coeval with the duration of the First and Second Logos. Another Ākāśic field is coeval with the emergence of the Third Logos. From the latent potentiality there radiates a lower field of differentiated consciousness, which is Mahat, or the entire collectivity of those Dhyāni-Chohans of sentient life of which Fohat is the representative on the objective plane and the Mānasaputras on the subjective.
Ākāśa is eternal; Astral Light, periodic and ephemeral. The ideals of Divine Mind become reflected and reversed in the Astral Light, which also reflects the life of our Earth.
Ākāśa is eternal divine consciousness, undifferentiated, and unconditioned. Astral Light is a periodic projection of the One Celestial Unconsciousness to myriads of terrestrial, individualised consciousnesses. Ākāśa is the germ within the acorn; Astral Light is the acorn.
Ākāśa is the Divine Soul of Thought and Compassion, a perpetually reasoning Divinity. Compassion, being the Spirit of Truth, is the Law of laws.
Ākāśa is the Soul of the World on the spiritual plane; Astral Light, the Body of the World on the psychic plane. Prakriti, Svabhāva, or Ākāśa are one and the same — Space as the Tibetans have it. Ākāśa is the noumenon of the sevenfold differentiated Prakriti. Its first differentiation is Universal Intelligence — Mahat or Logos.
Ākāśa-Alaya, being Cosmic Buddhi, differentiates through seven planes. Our Buddhi, as the vehicle of Atman, is of the highest essence of Ākāśa and, therefore, it does not differentiate.
Our Higher Mind is a ray of Ākāśa; our Lower Mind, its reflection leavened with Astral Light, the lowest element of Aether.
Ākāśa is Primordial Substance, the vehicle of Divine Thought. Aether is Astral Light’s lowest plane. Aether or Ākāśa are the first Idea of the yet unmanifested Universe, from which must emanate the future Kosmos, in its descending grades of materiality. But Ākāśa is not the Aether of the Kabbalists, of Science, and even of the Occultists. It is akin to Aether, as the Vedic god was to his son.
Ākāśa is universal principle, Chaos, or the Great Spatial Void. It is neither Aether, nor Space. Its only attribute is Sound, of which it is the substratum, the Śabda Brahmā of the Mystics. To the Occultist, Space and Universe are synonymous terms.
Ākāśa-Alaya is Pradhāna or unevolved cause, that which is eternal, and which at once comprehends what is, and what is not. In the very beginning there was neither day nor night, nor sky, nor earth, nor darkness, nor light, nor any other thing, save only ONE, inapprehensible by intellect, or That which is Brahma, Pums, and Pradhāna. Every thought, as much as action, is dynamic and is impressed in Ākāśa, the imperishable Book of Nature.
Astral Light is the dregs of Ākāśa polluted by man’s selfish and perverted thoughts and deeds, storehouse of all human and especially psychic iniquities. Astral Light is bi-sexual. The male part is purely spiritual; the female part, tainted with matter. Astral Light is not even the thought substance of the Universe, but a mere recorder of every thought. Astral Light retains the thoughts and deeds of the animal man; Ākāśa, those of the Spiritual Man. “Happy are those whose astral sense is not opened, and who do not see all the terrible things that are about us.”
In its highest aspect, Ākāśa is “Divine mind reflected in the waters of Space or Chaos.” It is undifferentiated Noumenal and Abstract Space, which will be occupied by Primordial Consciousness. Ākāśa has several fields: The first is the field of latent consciousness which is coeval with the duration of the First and Second Logos.
Another Ākāśic field is coeval with the emergence of the Third Logos in this wise: “from the latent potentiality there radiates a lower field of differentiated consciousness, which is Mahat, or the entire collectivity of those Dhyāni-Chohans of sentient life, of which Fohat is the representative on the objective plane and the Mānasaputras on the subjective.”
Astral Light is here used as a convenient phrase for a term very little understood, viz: “the realm of Ākāśa, or primordial Light manifested through the divine Ideation.” The latter must be accepted in this particular case as a generic term for the universal and divine mind reflected in the waters of Space or Chaos, which is the Astral Light proper, and a mirror reflecting and reversing a higher plane. In the ABSOLUTE or Divine Thought everything exists and there has been no time when it did not so exist; but Divine Ideation is limited by the Universal Manvantaras. The realm of Ākāśa is the undifferentiated noumenal and abstract Space which will be occupied by Chidākāśa, the field of primordial consciousness. It has several degrees, however, in Occult philosophy; in fact, “seven fields.” The first is the field of latent consciousness which is coeval with the duration of the first and second unmanifested Logoi. It is the “Light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not” of St. John’s Gospel. When the hour strikes for the Third Logos to appear, then from the latent potentiality there radiates a lower field of differentiated consciousness, which is Mahat, or the entire collectivity of those Dhyāni-Chohans of sentient life of which Fohat is the representative on the objective plane and the Mānasaputras on the subjective. The Astral Light is that which mirrors the three higher planes of consciousness, and is above the lower, or terrestrial plane; therefore it does not extend beyond the fourth plane, where, one may say, the Ākāśa begins.
There is one great difference between the Astral Light and the Ākāśa which must be remembered. The latter is eternal, the former periodic. The Astral Light changes not only with the Mahā manvantaras but also with every sub-period and planetary cycle or Round.
Then do the prototypes exist on a plane higher than that of the Astral Light?
The prototypes or ideas of things exist first on the plane of Divine eternal Consciousness and thence become reflected and reversed in the Astral Light, which also reflects on its lower individual plane the life of our Earth, recording it on its “tablets.” Therefore, is the Astral Light called illusion. It is from this that we, in our turn, get our prototypes. Consequently unless the Clairvoyant or SEER can get beyond this plane of illusion, he can never see the Truth, but will be drowned in an ocean of self-deception and hallucinations.
And what is the Ākāśa proper?
The Ākāśa is the eternal divine consciousness which cannot differentiate, have qualities, or act; action belongs to that which is reflected or mirrored from it. The unconditioned and infinite can have no relation with the finite and conditioned. The Astral Light is the Middle Heaven of the Gnostics, in which is Sophia Akhamōth, the mother of the seven builders or Spirits of the Earth, which are not necessarily good, and among which the Gnostics placed Jehovah, whom they called Ialdabaōth. (Sophia Akhamōth must not be confounded with the divine Sophia.) We may compare the Ākāśa and the Astral Light, with regard to these prototypes, to the germ in the acorn. The latter, besides containing in itself the astral form of the future oak, conceals the germ from which grows a tree containing millions of forms. These forms are contained in the acorn potentially, yet the development of each particular acorn depends upon extraneous circumstances, physical forces, etc.
All the forces in nature, whether great or small, are trinities completed by quaternaries; all — except the ONE, the CROWN of the Astral Light. . . . It is only after reaching the stage called Tribeni and passing through the study of preliminary sounds, that a Yogi begins to see Kala Brahmā, i.e., perceives things in the Astral Light.
This idea of Mahat (the great) Ākāśa or Brahmā’s aura of transformation with the Hindus, of Alaya, “the divine Soul of thought and compassion” of the transHimālayan mystics; of Plato’s “perpetually reasoning Divinity,” is the oldest of all the doctrines now known to, and believed in, by man. Therefore they cannot be said to have originated with Plato, nor with Pythagoras, nor with any of the philosophers within the historical period. Say the Chaldean Oracles: The works of nature co-exist with the intellectual [νοερόν], spiritual Light of the Father. For it is the Soul [ψυχή] which adorned the great heaven, and which adorns it after the Father.2 It is the “Ancient,” because, whether it be called Sophia, Krishna, Buddhi-Manas or Christos, it is ever the “first-born” of Alaya-Mahat, the Universal Soul and the Intelligence of the Universe. The Yajña [Compassion / Sacrifice], say the Brahmans, exists from eternity, for it proceeded forth from the Supreme One, the Brahmā-Prajāpati, in whom it lay dormant from “no beginning.” It is the key to the TRAIVIDYĀ, the thrice sacred science contained in the Rig verses, which teaches the Yajus or sacrificial mysteries. The Yajña exists as an invisible thing at all times, it is like the latent power of electricity in an electrifying machine, requiring only the operation of a suitable apparatus in order to be elicited. It is supposed to extend, when unrolled, from the Āhavanīya or sacrificial fire into which all oblations are thrown, to heaven, forming thus a bridge or ladder, by means of which the sacrificer can communicate with the world of gods and spirits, and even ascend when alive to their abodes. This Yajña is again one of the forms of the Ākāśa, and the mystic world calling it into existence and pronounced mentally by the initiated Priest is the Lost Word receiving impulse through WILL POWER. This first-born is the Sanskrit aja, the Greek αμνός or lamb. Lambs, sheep and goats were sacrificed to Kālī, the lower aspect of Ākāśa or the Astral Light. The “only begotten Son” was sacrificed to the Father; that is to say that the spiritual part of man is sacrificed to the astral. Grace (χάρις) is a difficult word to translate. It corresponds to the higher aspect of Ākāśa. The two aspects are as follows: Spiritual plane: Ālaya (Soul of the Universe); Ākāśa. Psychic Plane: Prakriti (Matter or Nature); Astral Light or Serpent. . . . Space filled with whatsoever substance or no substance at all; i.e., with substance so imponderable as to be only metaphysically conceivable. Ākāśa, then, is Pradhāna in another form, and as such cannot be Aether, the ever-invisible agent, courted even by physical Science. Nor it is Astral light. It is . . . the noumenon of the sevenfold differentiated Prakriti — the ever-immaculate “Mother” of the fatherless Son, who becomes “Father” on the lower manifested plane. For MAHAT is the first product of Pradhāna, or Ākāśa, and Mahat — Universal intelligence “whose characteristic property is Buddhi” — is no other than the Logos, for he is called “Īśvara,” Brahmā, Bhāva, etc. Cosmic Buddhi, the emanation of the Spiritual Soul Alaya, is the vehicle of Mahat only when that Buddhi corresponds to Prakriti. Then it is called MahāBuddhi. This Buddhi differentiates through seven planes, whereas the Buddhi in man is the vehicle of Atman, which vehicle is of the essence of the highest plane of Ākāśa and therefore does not differentiate. The difference between Manas and Buddhi in man is the same as the difference between the Mānasa-putra and the Ah-hi in Kosmos. . . . if the Higher Mind-Entity — the permanent and the immortal — is of the divine homogenous essence of “Alaya-Ākāśa,” or Mahat — its reflection, the Personal Mind, is, as a temporary “Principle,” of the Substance of the Astral Light. As a pure ray of the “Son of the Universal Mind,” it could perform no functions in the body, and would remain powerless over the turbulent organs of Matter. Thus, while its inner constitution is Manasic, its “body,” or rather functioning essence, is heterogeneous, and leavened with the Astral Light, the lowest element of Aether. It is part of the mission of the Manasic Ray, to get gradually rid of the blind, deceptive element which, though it makes of it an active spiritual entity on this plane, still brings it into so close contact with matter as to entirely becloud its divine nature and stultify its intuitions. Aether, this hypothetical Proteus . . . is one of the lower “principles” of what we call PRIMORDIAL SUBSTANCE (Ākāśa, in Sanskrit), one of the dreams of old, and which has now become again the dream of modern science. It is the greatest, just as it is the boldest, of the surviving speculations of ancient philosophers. For the Occultist, however, both AETHER and the Primordial Substance are a reality. To put it plainly, AETHER is the Astral Light, and the Primordial Substance is Ākāśa, the Upādhi of DIVINE THOUGHT . . . . The Aether is the “Vast abyss” on which the Spirit “dove-like, sat brooding”; it is also “the face of the waters” on which “the spirit rested.”1 The first unmanifested Logos is simultaneous with the line drawn across the diameter of the Circle. The first line or diameter is the Mother-Father; from it proceeds the Second Logos, which contains in itself the Third Manifested World. In the Purānas, for instance, it is again said that the first production of Ākāśa is Sound, and Sound means in this case the “World,” the expression of the unuttered thought, the manifested Logos, that of the Greeks and Platonists and St. John. Dr. Wilson and other Orientalists speak of this conception of the Hindus as an absurdity, for according to them Ākāśa and Chaos are identical. But if they knew that Ākāśa and Pradhāna are but two aspects of the same thing, and remember that Mahat, the divine ideation on our plane — is that manifested Sound or Logos, they would laugh at themselves and their own ignorance. The astral light of the Kabbalists is very incorrectly translated by some as “Aether”; the latter is confused with the hypothetical Aether of Science, and both are referred to by some theosophists as synonymous with Ākāśa. This is a great mistake. “A characteristic of Ākāśa will serve to show how inadequately it is represented by ‘Aether,’” writes the author of Rational Refutation of the Hindu Philosophical Systems [Nīkilantha Gore], thus unconsciously helping Occultism. “In dimension, it is . . . infinite; it is not made up of parts; and colour, taste, smell, and tangibility do not appertain to it. So far forth it corresponds exactly to time, space, Īśvara, (‘The Lord,’ but rather creative potency and soul — anima mundi.) Its speciality, as compared therewith, consists in its being the material cause of sound. Except for its being so, we might take it to be one with vacuity. It is vacuity, no doubt, especially for Rationalists. At any rate Ākāśa is sure to produce vacuity in the brain of a materialist. Nevertheless, though Ākāśa is not that Aether of Science, not even the Aether of the Occultist, who defines the latter as one of the principles of Ākāśa only, it is as certainly, together with its primary, the cause of sound, only a physical and spiritual, not a material cause by any means. The relations of Aether to Ākāśa may be defined by applying to both Ākāśa and Aether the words said of the god in the Vedas, “So himself was indeed (his own) son,” one being the progeny of the other and yet itself. This may be a difficult riddle to the profane, but very easy to understand for any Hindu — though not even a mystic. For once Ākāśa, an almost homogeneous and certainly universal principle, is translated Aether, then Ākāśa is dwarfed and limited to our visible universe, for assuredly it is not the Aether or Space. Aether, whatever modern Science makes of it, is differentiated Substance; Ākāśa, having no attributes save one — SOUND, of which it is the substratum — is no substance even exoterically and in the minds of some Orientalists, but rather Chaos, or the Great Spatial Void. Esoterically, Ākāśa alone is Divine Space, which becomes Aether only on the lowest and last plane, or our visible Universe and Earth. In this case, the blind is in the word “attribute,” which is given as Sound! It is no attribute at all, but the primal correlation of Ākāśa; its primordial manifestation, the Logos, or Divine Ideation made WORD, and that “Word” made flesh. Sound may be considered an “attribute” of Ākāśa only on the condition of anthropomorphizing the latter. It is not a characteristic of it, though it is certainly as innate in it as the idea “I am I ” is innate in our thought. Occultism teaches that Ākāśa contains and includes the seven Centres of Force, therefore the seven Tattvas of which Ākāśa is the seventh, or rather their synthesis. It is the God Śabda Brahmā called also Kala Brahmā Gouri — one of the mystic names for ĀKĀŚA, which gives rise to occult sound — the initiates say. And the ancient Greek mystics, equally with the Western occultists and the adept Brahmans, all agreed in teaching that sound emanated from the Astral Light, or Ākāśa, in its purest essence. The Hindu occultist, or devotee, while practising Raja Yoga, hears the occult sounds as emanating from his own Mūlādhāra — the first of the series of six centres of force in the human body (fed at the inexhaustible source of the seventh or the UNITY, as the sum total of all) and knows that it emanates from there, and from nowhere else. . . . In Space, there is not Matter, Force, nor Spirit, but all that and much more. It is the One Element, and that one the Anima Mundi — Space, Ākāśa, Astral Light — the Root of Life which, in its eternal, ceaseless motion, like the out- and in-breathing of one boundless ocean, evolves but to reabsorb all that lives and feels and thinks and has its being in it. As said of the Universe in Isis Unveiled, it is: . . . the combination of a thousand elements, and yet the expression of a single Spirit — a chaos to the sense, a Cosmos to the reason.2 The spiral movement is the double movement of the astral light, one spiral inside the other. The diastole and systole of the heart are caused by that double movement of the Ākāśa. With [Esoteric Buddhists] “Alaya” has a double and even a triple meaning. In the Yogāchāra system of the contemplative Mahāyāna school, Alaya is both the Universal Soul (Anima Mundi) and the Self of a progressed adept. “He who is strong in the Yoga can introduce at will his Alaya by means of meditation into the true Nature of Existence.” The “Alaya has an absolute eternal existence,” says Āryāsanga — the rival of Nāgārjuna. In one sense it is Pradhāna; which is explained in Vishnu-Purāna as: That which is the unevolved cause is emphatically called, by the most eminent sages, Pradhāna, original base, which is subtile Prakriti, viz., that which is eternal, and which at once is [or comprehends what is] and [what] is not, or is mere process.1 “Prakriti,” however, is an incorrect word, and Alaya would explain it better; for Prakriti is not the “incognizable Brahma. No Hindu has ever mistaken Prakriti — the Astral Light being only above the lowest plane of Prakriti, the material Kosmos — for the “immortal Spirit.” Prakriti is ever called Māyā, illusion, and is doomed to disappear with the rest, the gods included, at the hour of the Pralaya; for it is shown that Ākāśa is not even the Aether, least of all then, we imagine, can it be the Astral Light. Those unable to penetrate beyond the dead letter of the Purānas, have occasionally confused Ākāśa with Prakriti, with Aether, and even with the visible Sky! It is true also that those who have invariably translated the term Ākāśa by “Aether” . . . have ignorantly imagined it to be “material,” in the physical sense. True, again, that if the characteristics are accepted literally, then, since nothing material or physical, and therefore conditioned and temporary, can be immortal — according to metaphysics and philosophy — it would follow that Ākāśa is neither infinite nor immortal. But all this is erroneous, since both the words Pradhāna (primeval matter) and sound, as a property, have been misunderstood; the former term (Pradhāna) being certainly synonymous with Mūlaprakriti and Ākāśa, and the latter (sound) with the Verbum, the Word or the Logos. This is easy to demonstrate; for it is shown in the following sentences in Vishnu-Purāna: [In the beginning] there was neither day nor night, nor sky, nor earth, nor darkness, nor light, nor any other thing, save only ONE, inapprehensible by intellect, or That which is Brahma and Pums (Spirit) and Pradhāna (primordial matter). Now it is a well-known principle of Occultism that the ONE LIFE which pervades ALL connects all the bodies in space. All heavenly bodies have thus mutual relation, which is blended with man’s existence, since he is but a microcosm in the macrocosm. Every thought, as much as action, is dynamic and is impressed in the imperishable Book of Nature — the Ākāśa, the objective aspect of the UNMANIFESTED LIFE. All our thought and actions thus produce the vibrations in space, which mould our future career. What, in reality, is the Astral Light? As the Esoteric Philosophy teaches us, the Astral Light is simply the dregs of Ākāśa or the Universal Ideation in its metaphysical sense. Though invisible, it is yet, so to speak, the phosphorescent radiation of the latter, and is the medium between it and man’s thought-faculties. It is these which pollute the Astral Light, and make it what it is — the storehouse of all human and especially psychic iniquities. In its primordial genesis, the astral light as a radiation is quite pure, though the lower it descends approaching our terrestrial sphere, the more it differentiates, and becomes as a result impure in its very constitution. But man helps considerably in this pollution, and gives it back its essence far worse than when he received it. Differentiation in the physical world is infinite. Universal Ideation — or Mahat, if you like it — sends its homogeneous radiation into the heterogeneous world, and this reaches the human or personal minds through the Astral Light. The Astral Light, or anima mundi, is dual and bisexual. The male part of it is purely divine and spiritual; it is the Wisdom; while the female portion (the spiritus of the Nazarenes) is tainted, in one sense, with matter, and therefore is evil already. It is the life-principle of every living creature, and furnishes the astral soul, the fluidic périsprit, to men, animals, fowls of the air, and everything living. Animals have only the germ of the highest immortal soul as a third principle. It will develop but through a series of countless evolutions; the doctrine of which evolution is contained in the Kabbalistic axiom: A stone becomes a plant; a plant a beast; a beast a man; a man a spirit; and the spirit a god. According to Occult teaching the Astral light is not the “thought substance” of the Universe, but the recorder of every thought; the universal mirror which reflects every event and thought [of] every being and thing, animate or inanimate. We call it the great Sea of Illusion, Maya. What relation have the Astral Light and Ākāśa to memory? The former is the “tablet of the memory” of the animal man, the latter of the spiritual Ego. The “dreams” of the Ego, as much as the acts of the physical man, are all recorded, since both are actions based on causes and producing results. Our “dreams” being simply the waking state and actions of the true Self, must be, of course, recorded somewhere. Read “Karmic Visions” in Lucifer,3 and note the description of the real Ego, sitting as a spectator of the life of the hero, and perhaps something will strike you. . . . But [in] a holy life there is a kind of aura developed which protects a man from them. All Elementals and Dugpas are afraid of the Protean Power. Its very presence seems to strike terror into them. The Permanent Element has followers, but the Protean power does all its work itself. . . Referring to the function of the Permanent Element of the First Ray when the time comes directing each man’s Logos to come to it, it exercises a kind of control over the other Logoi. Imagine a given point in space as the primordial one; then with compasses draw a circle around this point; where the beginning and the end unite together, emanation and reabsorption meet. The circle itself is composed of innumerable smaller circles, like the rings of a bracelet, and each of these minor rings forms the belt of the goddess which represents that sphere. As the curve of the arc approaches the ultimate point of the semi-circle — the nadir of the grand cycle — at which is placed our planet by the mystical painter, the face of each successive goddess becomes more dark and hideous than European imagination is able to conceive. . . . This picture is either a copy of the one described to posterity by Berosus, the priest of the temple of Belus, at Babylon, or the original. We leave it to the shrewdness of the modern archaeologist to decide. But the wall is covered with precisely such creatures as described by the semi-daemon, or half-god, Ōannēs, the Chaldean manfish,1 “ . . . hideous beings, which were produced of a two-fold principle” — the astral light and the grosser matter.
Astral Light summed-up
Astral Light is the same as the sidereal light of Paracelsus and other Hermetic philosophers. Physically, it is the aether of modern science. Metaphysically, and in its spiritual, or occult sense, aether is a great deal more than is often imagined. In occult physics, and alchemy, it is well demonstrated to enclose within its shoreless waves not only Mr. Tyndall’s “promise and potency of all terrestrial life,” but also the realization of the potency of every quality of spirit. Alchemists and Hermetists believe that their astral, or sidereal aether, besides the above properties of sulphur, and white and red magnesia, or magnes, is the anima mundi, the workshop of Nature and of all the cosmos, spiritually, as well as physically. The “grand magisterium” asserts itself in the phenomenon of mesmerism, in the “levitation” of human and inert objects, and may be called the aether from its spiritual aspect. The designation astral is ancient, and was used by some of the Neoplatonists. Porphyry describes the celestial body which is always joined with the soul as “immortal, luminous, and starlike.” The root of this word may be found, perhaps, in the Scythic aist-aer — which means star, or the Assyrian Ishtar, which, according to Burnouf has the same sense. As the Rosicrucians regarded the real, as the direct opposite of the apparent, and taught that what seems light to matter, is darkness to spirit, they searched for the latter in the astral ocean of invisible fire which encompasses the world; and claim to have traced the equally invisible divine spirit, which overshadows every man and is erroneously called soul, to the very throne of the Invisible and Unknown God. As the great cause must always remain invisible and imponderable, they could prove their assertions merely by demonstration of its effects in this world of matter, by calling them forth from the unknowable down into the knowable universe of effects. That this astral light permeates the whole cosmos, lurking in its latent state even in the minutest particle of rock, they demonstrate by the phenomenon of the spark from flint and from every other stone, whose spirit when forcibly disturbed springs to sight spark like, and immediately disappears in the realms of the unknowable. Paracelsus named it the sidereal light, taking the term from the Latin. He regarded the starry host (our earth included) as the condensed portions of the astral light which “fell down into generation and matter,” but whose magnetic or spiritual emanations kept constantly a never-ceasing intercommunication between themselves and the parent fount of all — the astral light. “The stars attract from us to themselves, and we again from them to us,” he says. The body is wood and the life is fire, which comes like the light from the stars and from heaven. “Magic is the philosophy of alchemy,” he says again.1 Everything pertaining to the spiritual world must come to us through the stars, and if we are in friendship with them, we may attain the greatest magical effects. “As fire passes through an iron stove, so do the stars pass through man with all their properties and go into him as the rain into the earth, which gives fruit out of that same rain. Now observe that the stars surround the whole earth, as a shell does the egg; through the shell comes the air, and penetrates to the centre of the world.” The human body is subjected as well as the earth, and planets, and stars, to a double law; it attracts and repels, for it is saturated through with double magnetism, the influx of the astral light. Everything is double in nature; magnetism is positive and negative, active and passive, male and female. Night rests humanity from the day’s activity, and restores the equilibrium of human as well as of cosmic nature. When the mesmerizer will have learned the grand secret of polarizing the action and endowing his fluid with a bisexual force he will have become the greatest magician living. Thus the astral light is androgyne, for equilibrium is the resultant of two opposing forces eternally reacting upon each other. The result of this is LIFE. When the two forces are expanded and remain so long inactive, as to equal one another and so come to a complete rest, the condition is DEATH. A human being can blow either a hot or a cold breath; and can absorb either cold or hot air. Every child knows how to regulate the temperature of his breath; but how to protect one’s self from either hot or cold air, no physiologist has yet learned with certainty. The astral light alone, as the chief agent in magic, can discover to us all secrets of nature. The astral light is identical with the Hindu Akasha, a word which we will now explain.
Kabbalistic symbols corrected
Éliphas Lévi shows it [the Astral Light1 very truly “a force in Nature,” by means of which “a single man who can master it . . . might throw the world into confusion and transform its face”; for it is the “great Arcanum of transcendent Magic.” Quoting the words of the great Western Kabbalist in their translated form,2 we may explain them perhaps the better by the occasional addition of a word or two to show the difference between Western and Eastern explanations of the same subject. The Author says of the great Magic Agent: “This ambient and all-penetrating fluid, this ray detached from the [Central or ‘Spiritual’] Sun’s splendour . . . fixed by the weight of the atmosphere (? !) and the power of central attraction . . . the Astral Light, this electromagnetic aether, this vital and luminous caloric, is represented on ancient monuments by the girdle of Isis which twines round two poles . . . and in ancient theogonies by the serpent devouring its own tail, emblem of prudence and of Saturn” [emblem of infinity, immortality, and Kronos (Chronos) — Time — not the god Saturn or the planet]. “It is the winged dragon of Medea, the double serpent of the caduceus, and the tempter of Genesis; but it is also the brazen snake of Moses encircling the Tau . . . lastly, it is the devil of exoteric dogmatism, and is really the blind force (it is not blind, and Lévi knew it), which souls must conquer in order to detach themselves from the chains of Earth; for if they should not, they will be absorbed by the same power which first produced them, and will return to the central and eternal fire.” . . . Éliphas Lévi commits a great blunder in always identifying the Astral Light with what we call Ākāśa. What it really is will be given in Part II of Vol. II.3
Akasha: Etheric, not Astral.