Eve’s Daughters


“Blessed Art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has not made me a woman,” Hebrew males are taught to pray every day.

“When Eve was created, Satan rejoiced,” Mohammed said.

As the Hebrew creation myth, along with many of the other writings of the Old Testament, was later adopted into Christian sacred literature, the writers and religious leaders who followed Christ adopted the same attitude toward women, continuing to use religion to further lock women into the role of passive and inferior beings, and hence the more easily controlled property of a woman. As women's rights and status deteriorated over time, the Church remained committed to its aims of establishing and sustaining a male-dominated society. Wasn't it one of the god's first decrees when he created the earth and all life? Women were to be viewed as senseless, carnal beings, with the Paradise myth justifying and "proving" all views.

“Wives, subject yourself to your own husbands as unto the Lord,” Paul writes to the Ephesians. For, just as Christ is the head of the Church and the savior of the flesh, the husband is the head of the woman. Like the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be subject to their own husbands in all things” (Eph. 5:22 24).

This reminds me of a Hosea quotation in which the husband became so completely associated with the male god that his words became Yahweh's words. Not just priests, but all men were to be called immediate messengers of the Lord in the modern faith, not only in Church, but even in the solitude of a woman's kitchen or even in her room. Paul said that this was the reason that women would be obedient, refusing themselves even the faculty of their vocal cords, let alone their brains, using the now-familiar Eden myth. “Let the woman study in silence for all subjection,” we read in I Timothy 2:11–14. But I will not allow a woman to lecture or usurp power over a man; instead, I will allow her to remain silent. For Adam was created first, followed by Eve, and Adam was not deceived, but the woman who was deceived was in the sin.”

And the word of the origin legend was taken home once more in Corinthians. “Christ is the head of every man; the man is the head of the woman; and Christ is the head of God. Since, while a man is the image and glory of God, the woman is the glory of the man, he does not cover his head. For the woman is of the guy, not the other way around. Man was not made for the woman, but the woman was created for the man” (I Cor. 11:3, 7, 9).

The story of Adam and Eve was repeatedly portrayed as divine evidence that man could possess supreme power in statements carefully crafted to suppress the earlier social order. The male god had the same rank as a male human, so it was no surprise that the Levite priests of Yahweh battled so fiercely for his right. Paul was so bent on proclaiming maleness to be first that he was able to ignore the biological reality of birth— “For the man is not of the flesh, nor the woman of the man.” The suffering is borne by the woman, but the credit is given to the man. As the apostle Peter visited Anatolia, where the Goddess was still worshipped, he denounced the "pagans" for their "love of defiling passion," just as the prophets of the Old Testament did as they violently condemned those who "reveled in the daytime." He bemoaned the fact that these heathens continued to worship Baalim. “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands,” Peter solemnly advised, “for after this way, the holy women too, who believed in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands in the old time” (I Pet. 3:1).

In the name of the Lord, St. Clement, the patriarch of the Roman Church, refused women the fun and wellbeing and strength-building benefits of such athletic sports as grappling and running, arguing that women's practices should be limited to spinning, sewing, and cooking. “The woman taught once and destroyed everything,” said St. John Chrysostom, a fifth-century Christian teacher. Let her not teach on this account.” In the same time, St. Augustine believed that man, but not woman, was created in God's image, and that woman is incomplete without man, while he is complete alone.

Martin Luther said in his writings that it was common for women to be second best to men, based on this same biblical idea. He wrote in his “Vindication of Married Life” that men must preserve their control over women because “the regiment and dominion belong to the man as the head and master of the house,” “for the regiment and dominion belong to the man as the head and master of the house.” John Calvin, a sixteenth-century Swiss reformer, also opposed constitutional freedom for women, calling it a "deviation from the original and correct order of nature." He also advocated for polygamy, claiming that it would help women from being unmarried and childless.

The reason that the fall of the spirit is partly reparable and not irreversible, except here on earth, but the fall of the flesh is to a certain degree irreparable and dangerous, as Christian theologian Hubmaier wrote in a treatise on the independence of will in 1527, is that Adam as a kind of the soul (as is Eve, of the flesh) would have chosen not to eat of the forbidden tree. The serpent did not trick him, but Eve was (I Timothy 2:14). Adam understood the serpent's teachings were diametrically opposed to God's words. Nonetheless, he willed to eat the fruit against his will to avoid vexing or angering his rib, his flesh, Eve. He would rather not have done so. In some of her novels, Dr. Margaret Murray argues that the western world's witch trials are a result of the persecution of ancient "pagan" faiths. This is a distinct possibility, given that women were the prime targets and casualties of those heinous shootings, and so many of the allegations were in some way related to sex. The worship named as the witch cult may have been based on the Goddess Danu, the Divine Ancestress of the Tuatha de Danaan of Ireland, who is perhaps similar to the Goddess Diana of the Romans, Dione of the Greeks, and even Danu of India.

We know that Isis was worshipped in England during the Roman era; a Thames-side Isis temple in London and an altar to Isis in Chester all testify to Her religion's presence in the British Isles at the time. Diana was listed as the chief of witches in a ninth-century declaration about them, according to Murray. “Some evil women, reverting to Satan and diminished by demons' dreams and phantasms, believe and profess that they travel at night with Diana on certain beasts, with an innumerable multitude of women, passing over enormous distances, obeying her orders as their mistress, and evoked by her on certain nights.” Clifford Alderman writes in A Cauldron of Witches that the tale of Eve was once again used to justify the death of those women who opposed the Church. “Woman is more carnal than man: there was a flaw in the conception of the first woman, for she was shaped with a bent rib,” according to a sixteenth-century Church report. She is flawed, and as a result, she is still deceiving. Carnal desire is the source of witchcraft. Women are to be virginal and submissive to men.” Women had gradually been maneuvered into a situation well away from the ancient rank they once enjoyed in the lands where the Queen of Heaven reigned, thanks to the brutal imposition and subsequent forced adoption of male religions. The absolute quality of the decrees attributed to the omnipotent male god was particularly concerning. With the passage of time, the Church's long, strong arm extended everywhere, bringing with its unquestionable "religious" attitudes and the guilt-ridden, subservient position attributed to women. The laws and behaviors initially intended to exclude female religions, personal autonomy, and matrilineal succession, are embedded in the very foundation of contemporary male religions.

These are the precepts that many of our ancestors and parents embraced as the holy and spiritual word of God, making them such an inseparable part of family life that they now influence all some of us who have never been exposed to organized religion's masses or sacraments. It's beyond time to investigate and challenge how profoundly these attitudes have pervaded in the most liberal realms of society today, stubbornly surviving as patriarchal vestiges of a civilization once thoroughly pervaded and dominated by the Church's term. We might wonder to what extent the repression of women's rituals has resulted in the suppression of women's rights.

Despite the holy word of the omnipotent male god, the story of the first woman in the Hebrew creation myth rang in the ears, minds, and spirits of people who resented being lorded over by men. Many of the first women who dared to speak out about the ways in which women were marginalized and the blatant injustice in their status in society had to deal squarely with the Bible tale of the woman who had originally brought about male rule by listening to the serpent's voice. The Church's strength and authority was a far greater impediment to the search for female emancipation in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries than it is today. Nonetheless, the foremothers of the fight for women's liberation bravely spoke out against that force, defying the Church and its teachings. In certain ways, the vindication of women's rights was a vindication of Eve herself. Women who dared to seek equitable justice were always symbolically hounded by thoughts and reminders of Eve's unjust punishment. The characters in the Garden of Eden were once again the subject of discussion in Mary Wollstonecraft's writings in 1792.

Wollstonecraft wrote in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, one of the first efforts to highlight the shameful treatment of half the world's population: The prevalent belief that woman was made for man may have derived from Moses' poetical story; however, because very few people, it is assumed, who have given any serious thought to the issue, have ever considered Eve to be one of Adam's ribs, the deduction must be permitted to fall to the earth. Except to the extent that it demonstrates that man has found it convenient to use his power to subjugate his partner, and his ingenuity to show that she should be yoked with her neck bent, because she, like the brute construct, was made to do his pleasure.

She continued by publicly declaring, "Though the cry of irreligion, or even atheism, be raised against me, I would declare, that were an angel from heaven to tell me that Moses' beautiful, poetical cosmogony, and the account of the fall of man, were literally true, I might believe it." An examination of Jean Rousseau's Emilius (Emile), a 1761 plan for children's schooling in a "open society." This treatise, along with Rousseau's Social Contract, influenced both the American and French revolutions significantly. She cited Rousseau's recommended guidelines for the religious education of females in the free Utopia of which he conceived, along with many other male-oriented passages from his writings. Rousseau said, "Because a woman's behavior is subject to public opinion, her trust in matters of religion should be subject to authority for the same reason." Every daughter should be of the same religion as her mother, and every wife should be of the same religion as her husband: for, even if such religion is false, the docility that induces the mother and daughter to submit to the order of nature removes the criminality of their error in God's eyes... they are not capable of judging for themselves, they should abide by the decency.

“The interests of society have thus been restricted to the male line from Adam downwards,” Mary Wollstonecraft observed. Though the French and American revolutions had yet to be fought at the time of Rousseau's writing, this man, who most ardently advocated freedom and independence and whose ideas deeply influenced revolutionaries in each of these countries, proposed (presumably with clear conscience) that women should always "be subject to authority" and "abide by the decisions of their fathoms" even in a "free society." Her mother's religious views were to be decided by her mother's husband, but a daughter was to adopt her mother's faith. Women, supposedly deprived of the "power to judge for themselves," were to merely represent the religious teachings of men, unless they came from a long line of fatherless households, which was a rare phenomenon. The dramatic first line of Rousseau's Social Contract, "He is born free, and he is chained everywhere," a cry for liberty and equality, still rings in our ears, maybe especially in 1976. Yet, according to this same scholar, religious structures and practices that insisted on male dominance over females as divinely ordained (religion being predominantly Christian in France and the North American colonies) were to be embraced without question by women. In 1838, sixty-two years after the American revolution, another stalwart advocate for women's equality wrote of Eve, the mythological ancestor of both Jewish and Christian women, as men's right to oppress and subjugate women was unanimously explained by Eve's sin and retribution.

Sarah Grimke argued, as if in a court of galactic justice, that even if the initial account was valid, hadn't women already completed their sentences? I am aware that woman is still held responsible for bringing sin into the world today. I would not respond to the charges with any counter arguments, though, as previously said, Adam's eager acceptance of his wife's proposal does not savor much of man's supremacy in mental ability. Even if Eve was the greater sinner, it seems to me that man should be content with the dominion he has asserted and exerted for nearly 6,000 years, and that more real nobility will be manifested by attempting to lift the fallen and enliven the poor, rather than holding women in subjection. I don't expect much in return for my sex. I would not relinquish our right to freedom. What I ask is that our brothers and sisters remove their feet from around our heads.

In her insightful research The New Feminism, Lucy Komisar, former vice-president of the National Organization of Women (NOW) in America, outlined the early phase of women's movement for emancipation and opposition. She states that women first became conscious of their injustice when they attempted to speak out in favor of the abolition of black slaves, and that their effort to participate in politics enraged the Church, the official members of the male deity's title. When Sarah and Angelina Grimke went on a tour of New England to speak out against slavery in 1836, the Massachusetts Council of Congregational Ministers issued a statement criticizing them, claiming that "the power of a woman is her dependency flowing from the consciousness of that weakness which God has given her for her protection when she assumes the place and tone of man as a public reformer, she yields."

Sarah Grimke, on the other hand, was not afraid to strike back, even though the Church had just ended its tradition of burning people at the stake for far less. “As they have decided that Jehovah has set women on a lower platform than man, they of course want to hold her there; and henceforth the noble senses of our minds are smashed, and the noble thinking forces are almost entirely uncultivated,” she retorted angrily. Several women concerned about the abolition of slavery decided to attend an international conference in London to discuss the issue, only to discover that a group of American clergymen had gone ahead of them to London to alert the English clergymen that they were coming and that they planned to talk. This sparked a prolonged discussion among the men over women's entry, with the result that women who visited were able to attend—but only if they stood quietly behind a curtained enclosure. The shock of this ruling prompted the first women's rights meeting, which took place in Seneca Falls, New York. A Women's Declaration of Independence was drafted at that convention in 1848, and once again, women spoke out against the Church's treatment of them.

It was written into the Declaration some fifteen centuries after the major obliteration of the Queen of Heaven's and Her priestesses' worship.

“He [man] allows her to participate in Church and State, but only in a subordinate position, citing Apostolic authority for her exclusion from the Ministry and, with certain exceptions, from all public involvement in Church affairs... He has usurped Jehovah's prerogative by citing it as his right to grant a realm of conduct to her while it belongs to her conscience and god.” Many men in 1848, using the power of those same ideas, allied themselves with the male god, and by this authority determined, declared, and imposed their decisions upon women, self-righteously telling them what they should do, much as Hosea had done before.

The Bible was repeatedly brought up to “prove” that their status was unquestionable. Emily Collins, a feminist, wrote in 1848 about a man who whipped his wife, the hardworking mother of his seven children, on a regular basis. This woman not only looked after all of the children and her husband, but she also milked the animals, spun and wove the cloth for all of the family's clothes, which she then sewed, and did all of the family's cooking, sweeping, washing, and mending. Her offence, according to her husband, was that she "scolded," which he described as "nagging," or speaking up and saying what was on her mind. This was recognized as a justification for a Christian man to beat his child. “Then hope, why could he not have chastised her?” Emily Collins enquired, her voice bitter and enraged. It was his privilege—and it was his responsibility, according to how the Bible was read. True, women grumbled over their bad luck; yet the fact that ‘The man shall rule over thee' and ‘Wives subordinate yourselves unto your husbands as unto the Lord,' were considered to be divine decrees forced them to accept their destiny as inevitable.”

Those ancient words once again justified male dominance and power. “It is quite surprising that young Hebrews should be told to honor their mothers while the whole drift of the instruction so far has been to cast scorn on the whole sex,” Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote in The Woman's Bible. What should they do to honor their mothers? It is against all rules and customs.” Religion, as it was known in the nineteenth century in the Western world, was a male religion. Though they may have disagreed over which sacrament to receive whether or which day was the true Sabbath, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam were all in agreement on one thing: the status of women. Females were to be considered as inferior beings created by God to serve as obedient and quiet vessels for the creation of children and the enjoyment and convenience of men. These behaviors not only thrived in the Church, but also made their way beyond those great arched doorways, into the emotions, feelings, and values of every Jewish, Christian, and Mohammedan family. Duncan Crow explains some of the laws of the time and their influence on women in his book The Victorian Woman.

He states that until 1857, a woman did not sue for divorce (except by an Act of Parliament, which was usually reserved for the aristocracy); that until 1881, a husband's legal right to physically restrain his wife from leaving home had never been questioned; and that until 1884, a wife could be jailed for violating her husband "conjugal rights." “The Christian church, too, was a dominant influence in proclaiming and upholding women's subordinate position,” he writes, in addition to these statutes. It had constructed the idea that women's subordination was a retribution for Eve's original sin, based on its Judaic heritage. It revered Paul's words, "Man is not of the sex, but the woman of the man." Crow points out that during the Victorian era, men and women were not only required to attend church every Sunday, but that Bible readings in the house, organized prayer meetings, listening to and hearing sermons, and very strict Sabbath observance were all commonplace in many homes."

As Annie Besant defended a pamphlet about the use of contraceptives in 1876, she encountered strong opposition from both the government and the Church. “Physical preventives at all period were viewed as against the will of God; few people appeared to see any inconsistency in intervening with the path of nature by avoiding or curing illness, or constructing houses against the elements, and still refusing to intervene with the mechanism of procreation,” writes her biographer, Arthur Nethercot. Annie Besant, a brave lady, also wrote of child custody rules, implying that much of the views of the day were not dissimilar to those of the Hebrews "because woman was already treated as a chattel." She delivered several speeches in England, crusading against the influence of the Christian Church from the standpoints of secularism and feminism, and wrote several papers and pamphlets, including one titled Woman's Position. According to the Bible, she exposed herself to a great deal of hostility and anger, which was often reflected in physical attack attacks.

Many extracts of early women's movement speeches and essays feature in the compilation of papers and quotations entitled Voices From Women's Liberation, many of which are included in a little-known book called The History of Woman Suffrage, published in 1881. According to a quote from a speech given in 1853 by a woman named Abby Foster, the Church had a strong impact on the teaching and molding of young minds at the time. All of this, she said, was accomplished by the Church's control over the mother, since the infant ultimately obtained the Church's teachings and attitudes. “You will tell me that a woman shapes the mind of a girl, but I charge back that it is the minister who shapes the mind of the woman,” she said. Since he is the one that makes the mother who she is, her education of the infant is just a second-hand transmission of the pulpit's instructions.”

Despite the allegations, organized Church men had no intention of re-examining or revising the lowly status that women had been assigned. Clergymen maintained that males were supposed to rule over females, who were spiritually inferior and intellectually defective by birth, according to the divine ancient word. So it was that, in 1860, Susan B. Anthony was inspired to say, “By statute, general opinion, and faith, from the time of Moses down to the present day, woman has never been conceived of as anything more than a piece of land, to be disposed of at the will and leisure of man.”

As the fight for fair opportunities for women grew in intensity, the Church began to wield its strength and authority with conviction, fervently defending the sacred and holy principle of male dominance. Despite the ignorance of male remarks, which were frequently nothing more than obvious admissions of the dominant class's insecurity in fear of becoming deposed, scantily dressed in what they sought to pass off as easy jest or satire, the antagonism sometimes erupted into vicious physical aggression when humor collapsed. “The clergy were at the frontline of the anti-suffrage movement, dredging up the Bible to show that the proper order of things was feminine submission to man,” Komisar says.

Though women finally gained the freedom to vote, which was merely a part of their overarching aspirations, they nevertheless found themselves living in a completely male-controlled society, where women had been well-conditioned to assume that the male maker had somehow created men smarter than women: women were now able to vote—for men. Those in power sometimes used the terms "State" and "God" interchangeably. The Church's word was still strong, and decades of religious terror, fanatic and frightening crusades, inquisitions, and witch hunts loomed large in the minds of anyone who dared to challenge the Church's authority. Fear and fear had brought the male religions' precepts into every part of life. And the organization that had worked so hard to eradicate the Queen of Heaven's worship now presented the guilty, immoral, painful, and obedient role of Eve in her place.

“Our society remains impregnated with the mythology of the ancient Hebrews,” writes Pat Whiting in The Body Politic, a new compilation of essays from the latest women's liberation movement in Britain. Eve's initial sin also affects us.” In her analysis of women in today's culture, Barbara Cartland refers to women as "the everlasting Eve." Spare Rib is the name chosen for an English magazine dealing with the role of women in contemporary culture, with a witty sarcasm. The Bible and those who believe in the Bible as the holy word of God have suggested, declared, proved, demonstrated, revealed, proclaimed, affirmed, validated, and reaffirmed male dominance for thousands of years. Cartland reflected on the ego-building, heady influence of the Paradise story—for the male—as recently as 1965: Man will find immense comfort in learning that he is truly, as he has always believed, the most magnificent of all God's creations in the succinct record contained in the book of Genesis... It's also reassuring because it confirms man's exclusive, singular role of supreme perfection in the universe.

The foundation of the Genesis narrative, with its indictment of woman's wickedness, has found an echo in the hearts of men in nine-tenths of the earth. Simone de Beauvoir, in her classic analysis of women's inequality, The Second Sex, pointed out the male religion's convenience—for males—with a sensitive sarcasm. “He has the great privilege of making a god approve the code he writes,” writes de Beauvoir, “and as man has sovereign power over women, it is particularly lucky that this authority has been vested in him by the Supreme Being.” Man is master by divine right, according to Jews, Mohammedans, and Christians, among others, and the fear of God will stifle any desire for rebellion in the oppressed female.” In Patriarchal Attitudes, Eva Figes recorded the not-so-surprising reaction of an English archbishop in 1968, who said bluntly, “If the church be thrown open to women, it would be the death knell of the Church for men,” in response to the ordination of women in the priesthood of the English church. When confronted with the issue of women's ordination in the Church in 1971, an Episcopal bishop in San Francisco gave the following response: "The sexuality of Christ is no mistake, nor is his masculinity incidental." This is a spiritual decision.” Komisar described several activities that have occurred since the women's movement gained traction in recent years, events that show a strong questioning of the Church's attitudes toward women. She cited Catholic sisters who have publicly accused the Church of being a male church, claiming that it treats women in the same way it treats girls, who are then labelled as imbeciles.

The Church's influence on individuals and societies may have waned, especially among those who reside in large cities with little community life or strain. Nonetheless, male dominance continues to be emphasized throughout the Church. It is enshrined in the canons and religious literature that the male sects were founded on. “The church may be dying on its feet, but it will cling to the last vestige of the male exclusivity that was its raison d'être in the first place,” Eva Figes writes. Particularly now, the image of the ancient female religion—the Queen of Heaven, the priestesses, the holy sexual customs—remains in the minds of certain of the Church's leaders. On May 23, 1973, The Times (London) published an article titled "Priestesses, a Return to Pagan Creeds." The ordination of women in the male-dominated church sparked outrage once more. According to The Times religious affairs correspondent, the Bishop of Exeter, Dr. Mortimer, warned the convocation of Canterbury yesterday that admitting women to the priesthood in the Church of England would be a tacit change into old pagan sects. Priestesses were popular in ancient nature religions, he claimed, and “we all know the kinds of religions they were and are.” In the past, the church has been so quick to adjust to changing circumstances, and it has had to be extra cautious “in a sex driven culture.”

Whatever the state of the Church at this stage in history, we cannot afford to overlook or underestimate the far-reaching impact that millennia of Church influence have on any of us today, no matter how far away we might be from the pulpit or altar. It's a remarkable family that can go for more than two to three centuries without discovering that their forefathers were heavily influenced by one of the male-oriented religions' beliefs and values. As a result, religious pressures are not as far away from us as we would want to believe. For there are almost invisibly embraced social practices and living habits that represent the one-time rigid conformity to the biblical scriptures within the very framework of family life, in communities that do or did follow male religions. Women's sexual rights, illegitimacy, abortion, abortions, incest, fertility, the value of marriage and children to women, the roles and position of women in marriage, women as sex objects, and the sexual identity of passivity and aggression.

Women's and men's roles in the workplace and in social situations, women who express their ideas, female leadership, women's intellectual activities, women's economic activities and needs, and the automatic assumption of the male as breadwinner and protector have all been so deeply ingrained that feelings and values on these subjects are often regarded as natural by both women and men. Many contemporary women and men can no longer see biblical behaviors as critical or unconditional that the Lord has decreed them to be so, but millennia of religiously based precepts have given the next argument—people have "still" embraced them as correct; thus, they must be the usual, standard way of being. Early female religions are almost completely ignored or overlooked, exposing human behavior and attitudes that were frequently the polar opposite of these so-called "normal" human tendencies, and which, as we have observed, were the root cause of many later religious reactions and attitudes.

The censorship of general education and popular literature, whether by mistake or design, ignores the fact of their relevance, if not their presence. In 1971, one highly well-informed and learned feminist started a book on modern-day women's political issues with three lines on ancient female faith. She wrote that pagan traditions used to worship women, but that gods replaced goddesses and male dominance in religion was founded in an age we don't know anything about. Another book on the role of women in history begins with Greece, with the introduction implying that Crete's civilization was the only significant community that existed before Greece, and that nothing is known about Crete or any of the other early civilizations. At a women's studies conference in 1971, a woman anthropology professor from a well-known university in the United States told a group of women that all goddesses were fat, nude fertility figures created and worshipped by men. It's past time to reveal the truth about early feminist faiths.

They've been kept secret for far too long. We would be able to comprehend the early history of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as their responses to the female religions and practices that followed them, using these statistics. We would be able to explain how these responses contributed to the political attitudes and historical events that happened when these male-oriented religions were emerging—attitudes and events that played such a significant role in forming the portrayal of women during and after those times—if we have these facts. With these facts, we will be able to clear away centuries of ignorance, misinformation, and suppression of information, allowing us to examine the picture, rank, and roles still attributed to women today. We will develop the historical and political insight necessary to reject the notions of "natural or divinely ordained positions," paving the way for a more rational understanding of the capacities and potential of children and adults, male and female, as separate human beings. The story of the Garden of Eden will no longer be able to haunt us until the ancient origins of today's gender stereotyping are well known. Killing a rebellious consort was not the solution, and neither was silencing and economically crippling women. We will continue to say we have become a fully decent species when women and men bite the apple—or fig—at the same time, learn to value each other's ideas and views, and treat the earth and its wealth as a space that belongs to every living person in it.


Household Spirits

 The "household gods" are minor deities that are responsible for the family's well-being and the farm's success. These creatures can take many forms; they can be completely abstract; they can live within the house or outside in nature at a place of prayer, hunting, or fishing. In any case, they are tethered to the family or to individual members of the family, and they accompany them everywhere they go. We only consider benevolent spirits based on northern European beliefs. These spirits do not constitute a single entity and can be separated into two categories: men folk's deities and their economic activities, and women folk's deities and their activities. These also have a medicinal purpose in the traditions they entail.

These deities were passed down through the generations, with the son inheriting his father's and the daughter inheriting her mother's. They are not so different to ancestor worship in a pan Indo-European cultural context. The paternal spirit is the only one that plays a major part. This differentiation, of course, applies to the patriarchal aspect of the society in question, but it also corresponds to the sex assigned to the soul, as we can see. Lauri Honko clarifies something significant in his research of german land folk traditions: “Every hut has its spirit; everywhere there is a heated space (a hearth), there is a spirit.”

Since fire is a sign of habitation, such spirits tend to reside in homes, earning them the moniker "domestic" in comparison to those found in nature, which are known as "earth spirits," "spirits of place," or "local deities." Ancient times Domestic gods were under the control of the familial cult in antiquity. Zeus, the Greeks claimed, was the house's father and protector; after the farm was encircled by an enclosure, he was given the name Herkeios, and his altar was built in the yard inside that enclosed area. Since he distributed resources and maintained the deposits, he was also known as Ktesios, or "the Acquirer."

He was offered food-filled pitchers as sacrifices in a ceremony known as panspermia, which means he was given seeds of all kinds. Zeus Melichios, or "Healthy, Favorable One," took on a serpentine appearance. He carried wealth and was portrayed on a throne with a bountiful bell. At feasts, Zeus Soter, "the Savior," offered the first and last offerings. He was also known as Agathos Daimon, which means "good ghost." At the end of the meal, he was served pure water, and he, too, was a snake.

The Dioscuri, Zeus' sons, had a meal cooked for them and foods given to them; they, too, were portrayed as serpents guarding the house. It's worth noting how often reptiles feature in mythologies about domestic gods. In the Romans, we even come across several deities. The Lar familiaris, for example, was not initially a domestic deity, and his worship derived from the rural cult of the compita, in which the Lares were revered as protectors and guardians of the lands (agro custodies) surrounding the home.

They were worshipped at the hearth, rather than in the fields, where they had originally received their offerings. The Lar familiaris was given a part of the meals that he was acquainted with in the past. At family feasts, he was presented with wreaths, champagne, incense, vegetables, cakes, and honey, as well as a lamb in the event of a death. This god was linked to the destiny of the entire family. The Lararium, which contained their effigies and had two snakes drawn on its walls, was the home of all the household gods.

The goddess of the hearth, Hestia, was next, to whom wine was given at the start and end of the meal. Her altar is the focus of the domestic cult oversaw by the woman who prepares the offering (far pium) for her, which is thrown into the flames. She coincides with Vesta, the personification of the hearth that is her headquarters; her altar is the centerpiece of the domestic cult overseen by the woman who prepares the offering (far pium) for her, which is cast into the fire. During the dinner, the fire set a plate of food meant for her on fire.

Vesta was associated with the Penates, a collective term for all household gods worshipped near the hearth. They were served foods that were either thrown into the fire or placed on a plate; if a piece dropped on the floor, it was picked up, placed on the counter, and then thrown into the fire. All of these rites relate to a fire cult whose presence among Indo-Europeans has been proven. Finally, we have Limentinus and Limentina, Forculus and Forcula, the gods who guard doors and thresholds.

In his play Aulularia, Plautus gives us a clear representation of the views of his day. A deceased ancestor left his heir a sizable inheritance hidden underneath the hearth, but the heir's son paid no attention to the deceased man and avoided leaving food offerings. He fell into debt after his tutelary ancestor abandoned him. Only the daughter continued to look after the elder, giving him the customary offerings of wine, incense, and other items every day.

This integration of a deceased person into a position spirit is something that can be remembered, and it can occur more than once in the centuries to come. These cults were battled with all of Christianity's might, and they were outlawed by Emperor Theodosius' rule, but they persisted, often in the Roman colonies' rural areas. The names of the deities disappeared, but not their functions, and it was these unnamed beings that guarded the hearth and the entrance to the building from then on.

The sacrifices given to these supernatural creatures have survived, sometimes in the same way, and we will see them again. During the Middle Ages, there were no real deities in the Middle Ages; they had evolved into ghosts, or beings that were responsible for the family's well-being as well as the prosperity of their agricultural practices. I'll distinguish between direct accounts and indirect statements. Direct accounts leave no question about the identity of the character portrayed. For example, in fictional literature, house spirits are transformed into simple dwarves of vague existence.

The Indiculus superstitionum pointed to dough numbers, known as de simulacro consparsa farina, in which scholars identified household spirits. Although we only come across accounts on a rare occasion, they are very instructive until one can discern what lies under the words of their characters, the majority of whom wrote in Latin. Burchard, Bishop of Worms, for example, uses the words "faun" and "satyr" to refute a propitiatory ritual at the beginning of the eleventh century, but the meaning explicitly shows that the monsters described have little in common with the ancient Roman beings.

You've made little funny bows and children's shoes and thrown them into your cellar or attic for fauns and satyrs to play with so they can show you other people's things and make you wealthier. Legends tell us that a household spirit gives fodder taken from a stranger to your livestock, explaining the enigmatic expression "give you the products of others" many centuries later. This may also be milk from a neighbor's pigs, and in Scandinavia, there is a spirit known as the troll cat, milk hare, trollkat, or mjlkhare.

This ghost, working for a witch, takes other people's milk and spits it back into the troughs by the house's entrance. Notker the Stammerer (died) tells a strange tale in his Gesta Caroli Magni (Charlemagne's Deeds). A ghost or spirit who played tricks on people and mocked them was known to enter the smithy and play with his hammers and anvils all night long. “Hey mate, if you don't stop me from haunting your smithy, put your pitcher over there and find it full every day,” the Hairy One (pilosus) told the blacksmith as he tried to defend himself and his property with the sign of the cross of Salvation.

The wretched guy, who was more afraid of physical pain than of losing his immortal soul, took his adversary's counsel. To fill the smith's pitcher, the "Hairy One" (the name is a Latin term for what was a local reality) stole wine from a miser. We can see that this entails the conclusion of a contract between a spirit and a man by contrasting Notker's tale to more recent texts. It’s not uncommon for the household spirit to rob other people's property (such as fodder or food) and give it to the person he's adopted.

As a result, the Latvian pukys robs his neighbors of money, butter, wheat, and other valuables and gives them to his owner. Thietmar of Merseburg (died) chastised the people of Delitzsch, near Leipzig, for worshipping their house spirits in the eleventh century. “Evil spirits often engage in their games in the stables, bearing candles whose wax drops into the manes and necks of the animals, and the manes of these horses are closely braided,” William of Auvergne wrote in his treatise De Universo (On the Universe), written between and in the thirteenth century.

We see ghosts attached to these creatures, who either care about them or bother them, hidden within this Christian meaning that demonizes the intruders. The domestic spirit is usually hidden behind the common name of dwarf in Germanic nations, which is the Latin version of the word "pygmy." The word "dwarf" covers a wide range of characters, most prominently the schrat, which glosses before CE referred to as fauns, satyrs, furry ones, sylvan ones, and other catchall names.

“Many people assume that every house has its own Schrat,” according to Michael Beheim, “who will make the wealth and boost the reputation of whoever shows him honor,” which is very clear. Penates was replaced by schrat in a Latin-German dictionary. Gervase of Tilbury wrote the following in the thirteenth century. Spirits perpetrate their jokes in human bodies made of air, which they put on with God's approval, just as nature creates such marvels in the human universe.

For example, England has demons (though I'm not sure whether I should call them demons or strange spirits of unknown origin), whom the French refer to as neptunes and the English refer to as portunes. It's in their essence for them to enjoy the beauty of happy peasants. When peasants sit up late at night to finish their household chores, they appear out of nowhere, warming themselves at the first and eating little frogs that they drag out of their pockets and roast over the coals.

They have wrinkled skin and a short stature, reaching less than half a thumb, and they dress in tiny rags sewn together. If there is something in the house that needs to be transported or a hard job that needs to be completed, they get right to work and complete it faster than humans will. It is a law of nature that they can be beneficial but not harmful. This is the first mediaeval text to describe the physical characteristics and attire of house spirits.

The picture would last for a long time. “The Little Schrat and the Polar Bear,” a German fable from the thirteenth century, told the following tale. A Norwegian and a bear slept at a peasant's house for the night, but the house was haunted by a sprite who was just three spans tall but had immense power and wearing a red hat. He had a habit of tossing everything, including furniture and utensils, about. This sprite emerged from his hiding position in the middle of the night, entered the oven to warm up, and saw the bear asleep by the hearth.

He tried to scare it down, which resulted in a brawl. The sprite appeared to the farmer in the morning and informed him that he was leaving and would not return until the big cat had departed the home. Even in the nineteenth century, thankful peasants were said to make new clothes for these ragged house spirits, which caused them to vanish, which was not at all what they expected. In this respect, the Zimmern Chronicle, written about –, tells us the following: A Freising weaver thanked the gnome for his work by presenting him with a pair of shoes and a black blouse, which he gladly accepted.

Later, he gave the other a red hat, which he sadly accepted before leaving, never to return. The color red is responsible for the spirit's absence in this case, a motif that can be seen in the Germanic countries. William of Auvergne is the only person I know of who has kept two names for house spirits, joculatores and joculares, which mean "pranksters," in his treatise On the Universe. The following is a summary of their conduct. By hurling stones or turning the bedding inside out, the prankster stops people from sleeping.

He deceives people by stealing small light items that are quickly taken away, in plain sight and even from their own hands, and transporting them to another place. William also references the faunus, who he refers to as "the common people's fulet in French," which means "sprite," but is a composite of details from different sources. These "sprites," he claims, are idolaters who lie and lead men astray. They're a bunch of knuckleheads with bear horns that are undoubtedly "wives of incubus devils." Gerald of Wales (Giraldus Cambrensis, –) recounts a spectacular incident in a related manner.

Unclean ghosts have been in near contact with humans in these parts of Pembroke in our own days. And if they aren't apparent, their presence is sensed. They have a habit of manifesting themselves, tossing refuse all over the place, first in the home of Stephen Wiriet, then later in the home of William Not, keener perhaps to be a nuisance than to do any actual harm.

Things became much stranger in Stephen's home, since the spirit there had a way of fighting with humans. When they complained, as they did often in sports, he would publicly chastise them for any nefarious crime they have done since their childhood. If you ask me what the origin and reason of a case like this is, I have no idea, just that it has often been the forerunner, as they term it, of a sudden transition from poverty to prosperity, or even more often, from luxury to poverty and absolute desolation.

It strikes me as strange that areas cannot be cleansed of such visits by sprinkling holy water, which is widely used and should be administered liberally, or by using high holy water, or by doing some other religious ritual. This last comment obviously indicates that this isn't about unclean spirits and "demons"! Gerald of Wales brings up another intriguing case. A third manifestation happened at the same time, in the province of Pembroke that I have been mentioning to you, in the home of Elidyr of Stackpole. It took the role of Simon, a young man with red hair.

He could be seen and touched, but this was a full incarnation. He took the household keys from the man in charge and assumed the position of steward with full confidence. He ran the household with great foresight and attention to detail, or so it seemed, that everything flourished, and nothing was ever missing in his care. Elidyr and his wife just had to think about what they wanted for their table or day-to-day use, maybe suggesting it to each other but not to Simon, and he would automatically retrieve it without being asked.

He'd say things like, "You ordered this, and I got it for you." He was well-versed in their family's investments and their efforts to save money. Everything he decided to do, whether it suited his master and mistress. He'd go ahead and do it right now, no questions asked. He never went to church and never said a single Christian word. He never slept in the house and was still on time for work in the morning.

And, by accident, he was seen conversing with his fellow-demons near the watermill and the pool one night by a family member. His master and mistress interrogated him the following morning. He was fired on the spot and turned over the keys he had been keeping for at least forty days. When he returned, they interrogated him and demanded to know who he was. He said that he was fathered on her by an incubus who had arisen in the form of her husband, and that he was born to some rustic beldame in the same parish.

Insofar as it combines the theme of the incubus, a direct result of clerical learning, underscored by the color of Simon's hair and his utter lack of religious sentiments, with that of fairies and domestic spirits, this account has an abundance of descriptions in its adulterated plot. The fundamental elements, on the other hand, are readily evident. Simon contributes to the household's well-being, and his magical existence is shown by his discovery of all its mysteries. Gerald of Wales also demonstrates the polymorphism of house ghosts, as the accounts mention little old white-haired men or a young man.

The most recent beliefs affirm this, stating that the spirit is not limited to a particular shape, but may also take on the form of an entity or item. Finally, according to the chronicles attributed to the Senones monk Richerus, a completely innocuous house spirit existed in an Epinal house from the time of the Nativity until the Feast of John the Baptist. In one of his poems, Konrad von Würzburg mentions a wooden kobold (ein kobolt von buhse), and another poet known as Der Meissner mentions a silent kobold.

These two examples clearly point to a doll or fetish, which is a physical manifestation of the domestic spirit. Konrad von Haslau writes at the end of the thirteenth century that a taterman—another name for the brilliant domesticus (house spirit)—should never be drawn on a table, although Hugo von Trimberg (circa ) says it should never be drawn on a wall. The meaning in both situations suggests that the metaphor in which the word "kobold" occurs corresponds to a kind of dishonesty.

To unearth a few tidbits of knowledge, one must sift through an immense number of books, which are more important because they testify to the belief's presence outside of literature. There are three mediaeval accounts that are especially moving because they represent different aspects of the convictions that we're interested in. The first comes from a Silesian clergyman named Brother Rudolf, who wrote a treatise on The Priesthood's Dignity.

A woman joins after them, shouting, "What are you carrying?" as they pace across the fire with the newborn. “A sleeping hare, lynx, and fox,” the stupid woman said. They take the brush that was used to clean the fireplace and use it to brush the boy. They never send someone fire from their house, and therefore sin against God during a birth, among other things. They smash an egg on the threshold with a broom as they carry an infant back to the house (no doubt after the baptism).

The mother stands with her child behind the front door in the evening, calling to the wooden woman we name fauness, so that her child weeps and hers behaves. These women use five stones to determine who will be their husband. They give each stone a name and put it in the fire; once it has cooled, they throw it into the sea. They believe the stone that makes a shrill whistling sound as it enters the water contains the name of the husband they will marry.

They even throw nettles soaked in urine into the flames, along with bits of bone, coffin wood, and a variety of other items, to make their husbands burn with passion for them like the objects in the fire. Others who consider themselves to be more knowledgeable in the dark arts create pictures of men out of wax, dough, or other materials. To torment their lovers, they throw them into a pit or on top of an anthill.

They bury pots filled with different items in some corners and even behind the stove for the Penates gods known as Stetewaldiu [“Masters of the premises”] in new buildings or those into which they are going to set up their households. As a result, they refuse to allow anybody to pour anything there. They cast a bit of food there now and then to keep the gods benevolent with the household. They stick hawthorn branches on their roofs to ensure their livestock offer a lot of milk, and they plant trees in front of their house on the day of the apostles Philip and James (May).

They cannot access a house from a door that has been transported with a dead body. The hearth with its accessories, the threshold, the fence, the corners, and the roof—in other words, the middle of the house depicted by the fire burning there, the openings, and the covering—are all instantly visible thanks to Rudolf. Keep these elements in mind and they will appear in texts dating back to the twentieth century!

The second account is taken from Antonius of Florence's (–) inventory of beliefs: Have you ever made the mistake of thinking that when the fire crackles, it means someone is dying? Have you hesitated to allow the fire to be extinguished for fear of bringing bad luck into the house? Have you saved the Christmas log and planted it in your yard, or have you blessed your corners and doors with it?

It is a mortal sin to recite the Our Father while approaching the window and plugging your ears in order to extract information from the first words that arrive from outside in order to learn what you want to hear. Have you ever imagined that anything would happen or that it will have significance? If you sneeze before leaving your building, what do you do? Have you ever laid blessed olive branches or a grain of wheat from a manger on your hearth to see if anyone is going to survive or die? Have you ever hesitated to give anything away from your house or vowed to give something on the first day of the calendar year when you thought your earthly possessions would diminish?

During the March calends, have you blessed your door or hung something in front of your house? Antonius confirms the relevance of the previously listed places, but his comments are mostly directed at divination and defense activities. His list, on the other hand, is useful in that it gives us precise dates for such rites. They are almost the same as those from classical antiquity as well as those from more modern times.

The last account comes from an anonymous treatise written in the fourteenth or fifteenth centuries and preserved in an anonymous manuscript from Saint Florian Monastery: Some people take a pinch of dirt from under the bench before going to Christmas mass, and if they notice anything alive in it, they will not die. When they get home from church, they put the branches in the manger first, then under the shelter, to ensure that the cows will return without trouble (to the barn). They carry the branches around their houses to keep foxes away from their chickens. There would be a lot of ice if anyone sits on a table for Twelve Days.

They eat a round loaf of bread and cheese while walking around their house on the last night of the Twelve Days. In the area, there will be as many haystacks as mouthfuls. When someone has a dream of the oven collapsing, the housemaster or his wife will die. No worm will reach a person's ear if his hands are placed above the fire, and his nails will not turn black. The people fill a nine-liter container of water on Christmas Eve and leave it until the next morning, when they weigh the water level. If it is smaller, the person will be poor for the whole year; if it is constant, nothing will change; but, if there is more water, the person will be rich.

It is best to bury a piece of steel under the gate and make the animals cross through it while taking the herd out to pasture. They are not going to be enchanted. They throw some of the second crop and beaten oats on the roof and leave it there for the next twelve days. They then use it as feed for their livestock. The beasts will be fertile, and the storks will not waste the food. The well-being of the animals and circumambulation rituals are given considerable status in this collection, but divination and omens are not completely missing, and the sections of the house listed confirm what we have seen previously.

As a result, the three accounts we've just looked at tend to round out and illustrate the core themes of the analysis I'm discussing. On this point, we should also remember áttr orvalds ens viförla (The Tale of Thorvald the FarTraveled), a wonderful thirteenth-century text whose details exactly matches that of the Kristni saga (Saga of Icelandic Christianization). Thorvald visited his father Kodran in Iceland with the Saxon bishop Fridrek.

He had a stone on his farm in Gilja that he and his family took offerings to, claiming that it housed their helper spirit (ármar). If he didn't know who was better, the bishop or the ghost, Kodran declined to be baptised. Fridrek sung some canticles over the exploding block. Since the spirit had been vanquished, Kodran allowed himself to be baptized. The plot is more descriptive, and the information it provides provide us with a comprehensive overview of how a domestic spirit's action is depicted.

The bishop was known as a seer (spámar) by Kodran, who retorted to his son that he already had one who was very useful: he forecast the future, secured his animals, and told him of what he wanted to do and what he could keep an eye on. As a result, he had immense faith in him and had revered him for a long time. Since the spirit urged Kodran against converting, Thorvald proposed that they see if the bishop could send it fleeing, forcing his father to allow baptism. The proposal was approved by Kodran.

Fridrek prayed and sang canticles while sprinkling holy water on the ground. In a dream that night, the spirit appeared to Kodran, terrified and full of reproaches. Fridrek was a thief who tried to evict him from his house by throwing boiling water on it; his children were crying from the water's injuries. The next day, the bishop resumed his activities, and the spirit returned to see Kodran. His pleasant demeanour and fine clothing were no longer visible; he was wrapped in a dreadful animal hide that was black and hideous to look at. He pleaded with Kodran to expel the intruders, but Fridrek began to spray holy water on the pillar, causing the spirit to flee.

“Who will now secure your property like I have?” he asked. “When I didn't know the real Deity, I honoured you as a strong and useful father,” Kodran replied. Now that I've discovered you're unreliable and frail, it's time for us to part ways and for me to put my faith in God, who is smarter and stronger than you. The text speaks for itself, and the spirit's tutelary essence is clear. We know where he lives, and a fact reported in the year by the Chronicle of the Jesuits who converted Lithuania to Christianity corroborates the two Scandinavian accounts.

The anonymous author writes about the people who live on the property. Wide stones [lapides non parvi] planted in the earth and put in such a way that their flat surface is on top and filled not with soil but with straw are stored elsewhere in the farm's buildings. They are referred to as Deyves [goddesses] and are revered as protectors of wheat and livestock. Deyves is a popular name for supernatural beings, especially secondary deities such as the domestic gods who protect every family and farm.

In this explanation, we see the same elements as in Rome, where the goddess Ops Consuia, guardian of grain, is buried in the earth and receives offerings. House spirits may be the hypostases or avatars of ancient deities, according to the Jesuit Annals and Roman rituals. We'll have to come back to this stage. Through this way, we get a snapshot of everything that corresponds to the accounts of Burchard of Worms and Thietmar of Merseburg through the tales of missionaries.

We must also pay particular attention to the enigmatic statements in the ancient chronicles that pack into one rushed sentence a summary of the worship of household gods, which they confuse with the worship of the great deities. Much of this is paganism, and the Church has thrown it all together in one pile; now it's up to us to figure it out! In the meantime, Frijofs saga hins frkna (The Saga of Frijof the Bold) tells us that the embodiments of domestic gods were warmed by fire and dried with a blanket, as the Norwegians did with the Brödstainar and Faksar not long before.


Astral Senses


The crass person who adopts the cheap cynical approach toward occult matters, which he reveals in his would-be "wise" comment that he "believes only in what his senses perceive," is well-known to the student of occultism. 
He seems to conclude that his cheap wit has put an end to the situation, implying that the occultist is a credulous, "simple" guy who believes in the presence of objects that defy the facts of the senses.

While the opinion or beliefs of people in this class are obviously unimportant to any genuine student of occultism, their mental mindset is worth noting insofar as it acts as an object lesson in the childlike attitude of the ordinary so-called "practical" individual when it comes to the matter of the facts of the senses. These ostensibly practical people have a lot to say about their senses.

They want to talk about "the facts of my senses." They still talk a lot about possessing "solid sense" and "sound common sense," and they often boast about having "horse sense," which they seem to think is an asset. Except, alas, for the greed of this group of people. They are often seen to be very credulous in matters outside of their ordinary work and thinking, following without doubt the most ludicrous teachings and dogmas given to them by the voice of some supposed authority, while scoffing at some sophisticated instruction that their minds are incapable of comprehending.

Anything that looks out of the ordinary to them is considered "flighty," and deficient in their cherished "horse sense." However, I have no intention of devoting time to these meaningless half-penny brains. I've included them to draw your attention to the fact that the concepts of "meaning" and "senses" are very closely linked in the minds of many people. They treat all awareness and wisdom as "meaning," with all such sense deriving directly from their five senses.

They almost entirely disregard the mind's intuitional stages and are oblivious of many of the higher thought mechanisms. Such people believe what their senses tell them to be so. They believe it is heresy to doubt a sensory analysis. "It almost makes me question my senses," one of their favorite lines goes. They are oblivious to the fact that their senses are, at best, faulty devices, and that the mind is continually engaged in correcting the erroneous reports of the usual five senses.

Not to mention the widespread occurrence of color blindness, in which one color seems to be another, our perceptions are far from precise. We can be led to believe that we smell or taste things that don't exist, and hypnotic subjects can be led to believe that they see things that don't exist except in the person's imagination. The well-known experiment of crossing one's first two fingers and positioning them on a small point, such as a pea or the tip of a lead pencil, demonstrates how "mixed" one's sense of feeling can get.

The several well-known examples of optical illusions illustrate that even our keen eyes may be deceived—every conjuror knows how simple it is to deceive the eye with persuasion and misleading gestures. The most well-known example of erroneous sense-reports is that of the earth's rotation. The world is a set, immovable entity, and the sun, moon, planets, and stars pass through it every twenty-four hours, according to a person's senses.

Only when one accepts the reasoning faculties' reports does one realize that the earth not only spins on its axis every twenty-four hours, but also circles around the sun every three hundred and sixty-five days; and that the sun, carrying the earth and other planets, moves around space, moving toward or through some unknown point far away.

If there is one sense report that seems to be without doubt or challenge, it is this basic sense report of the fixedness of the planet under our feet and the motions of the celestial bodies surrounding it—but we realize that this is only an illusion, and that the details of the case are very different.

Again, how many people are aware that the eye perceives something backwards and that the subconscious eventually learns to change the impression? I'm not going to convince any of you to question the results of your five senses.

That would be unintelligent, for we all depend on these five senses in our daily lives, and we would easily come to grief if we dismissed their reports. Instead, I'm attempting to familiarize you with the true nature of these five senses, so that you can recognize what they aren't as well as what they are; and so that you can see that it's not absurd to believe that the ego, or soul, of a person, has access to more channels of information than these commonly used five senses.

Once you have a correct empirical understanding of the true nature of the five ordinary senses, you will be able to comprehend the existence of the higher psychic faculties or senses intelligently, and therefore be well equipped to use them. So, let us take a few moments to get this basic wisdom firmly embedded in our heads. What precisely are the five senses? "Feeling, seeing, listening, eating, and smelling" would be the first response.

But that's a list of the various types of sensing. When it comes down to it, what is a "sense"? A sensation is a "faculty, possessed by creatures, of perceiving foreign objects by means of observations made upon the organs of the body," according to the dictionary. When we get down to the basics, we discover that man's five senses are the channels by which he becomes aware or conscious of knowledge about things outside of himself. These senses, however, are not limited to the sensory organs.

Back of the organs is a strange configuration of the nervous system, or brain centers, which carry up the signals obtained from the organs; and back of it is the ego, or spirit, or mind, which, at the end of the day, is the true KNOWER.

The eye is merely a camera; the ear, merely a sound-wave receiver; the nose, merely a sensitive mucous membrane arrangement; the mouth and tongue, merely a reservoir of taste-buds; the nervous system, merely a sensitive device built to send signals to the brain and other centers—all are merely part of the physical machinery, and all are susceptible to impairment or destruction. The true Knower who makes use of all this apparatus is at the heart of it all. Science tells us that of all the five senses, that of Touch or Feeling was the original—the fundamental sense.

All the others are thought to be variations and advanced versions of this initial sense of emotion. I'm telling you this not only because it's fascinating and instructive scientific knowledge, but also because knowing this truth will help you understand what I'll have to say about the higher faculties or senses more clearly. Many of the most primitive and simplistic types of animal life have only this one meaning, which is mostly underdeveloped.

The basic life type "feels" the touch of its food or other items that might meet it. Plants have a meaning like this, which in certain situations, such as the Sensitive Plant, is very established. We find signs of taste and anything akin to primitive hearing or sensitivity to sounds long before the sense of sight or light sensitivity existed in animal life. Smell evolved from the sense of taste, with which it is now closely associated.

The sense of smell of certain lower animal life forms is much more evolved than in humans. Hearing developed over time from the primitive sensation of sounds. The strongest of the senses, sight, came last and evolved from the basic sensitivity to light. Although, as you can see, both senses are just variations on the initial sense of touch or sensation. The touch or sensation of light waves striking the eye is registered. The touch or sensation of sound waves or air movements that enter the ear is registered.

The chemical touch of food particles or other compounds meeting the taste buds is recorded by the tongue and other taste seats. The chemical touch of gases or fine particles of material that meet the mucous membrane of the nose is registered. Sensory nerves detect the presence of external stimuli that meet nerve ends in different areas of the body's skin. Both of these senses merely document the interaction or "touch" of external objects, as you can see. The sense organs, on the other hand, are not responsible for detecting the presence of objects. They're all fragile bits of devices used to capture or collect primary impressions from the outside world.

As wonderful as they are, they have human predecessors, such as the camera, which is an artificial eye; the phonograph, which is an artificial ear; the delicate chemical apparatus, which is an artificial taster and smeller; and the telegraph, which is an artificial nerve. Not just that, but nerve telegraph wires are still there, carrying signals from the eye, ear, nose, and tongue to the brain, informing something in the brain of what has been sensed at the other end of the line.

If you cut the nerves that connect to the eye, even if the eye continues to register correctly, no message can enter the brain. And the brain will be rendered blind, with no messages from the nerves supplying the eye, ear, nose, tongue, or any other part of the body reaching it. You know, there's a lot more to getting meaning signals than you would imagine at first. All of this implies that the self, or spirit, or consciousness, as you like to call it, is the true Knower who becomes mindful of the outer world through the senses' signals.

When the mind is cut off from these texts, it becomes almost blank in terms of external objects. Any one of the senses would be diminished or cut off, implying that a portion of the ego's universe would be diminished or cut off. Similarly, each new meaning applied to the list continues to broaden and expand the ego's universe. In certain cases, we are unaware of this. Instead, we have the propensity of believing that the universe is made up of a finite number of objects and truth, and that we are aware of every single one of them.

This is a child's way of thinking. Remember how much smaller the world of a person born blind or deaf is relative to the world of the normal person! Consider how much bigger, broader, and more wonderful our planet would become if any of us were unexpectedly given a different meaning! How much more will we be able to perceive? What a difference it will make. How much more can we learn? How much more will we have to discuss?

Why, we're in the same boat as the unfortunate blind girl who said that the color scarlet must be similar to the sound of a trumpet. She had no idea of color because she had never seen a beam of light, so she could only see and talk in terms of touch, sound, taste, and scent. She would have been deprived of even more of her world if she had already been mute. Consider these points for a moment.

Assume, on the other hand, that we developed a new sense that enabled us to detect electrical waves. Under that scenario, we'd be able to "see" what was going on in another location—perhaps on the other side of the globe, maybe on another planet entirely. Imagine having the ability to see through a stone wall and into the rooms of a building if we had an X Ray sense. We might see what is going on Mars and transmit and receive emails from others who live there if our view was enhanced by the inclusion of a telescopic adjustment.

Or, if we could see all the mysteries of a drop of water with a microscopic adjustment—perhaps it's for the best that we can't. In the other side, if we have a well-developed telepathic sense, we would be mindful of others' thought-waves to the point that no secrets would be kept concealed from anyone—wouldn't it drastically change existence and human interaction? Many will be no more amazing than the evolution of our senses. We can do any of these stuff with devices built by man's brain—because man is nothing more than a natural imitator and adaptor.

Perhaps there are people on other worlds or planets that have seven, nine, or fifteen senses instead of the five we have. Who knows what will happen! However, it is not appropriate to use one's imagination to conjure up images of creatures on other worlds that possess more senses than humans. Although occult teachings affirm that there are entities on other worlds with senses as far higher than those of the earth-man as the latter's are higher than those of the oyster, we don't have to go far to find evidence of beings with far higher and more powerful faculties than those used by the average man.

We just need to understand man's higher psychical faculties right now to see what new worlds are available to him. When you have a scientific view of these things, you'll find so much of the overwhelming body of marvelous encounters of men throughout history, which the "horse sense" man dismisses as "queer" and "contrary to sense," is simply nothing mystical. You'll find that these interactions are almost as normal as those affecting the five senses—even though they are super-physical. You must understand that there is a significant distinction between supernatural and super-physical.

Both occultists are aware that man has additional senses beyond his five senses, but few men have learned them enough to use them effectively. Occultists refer to these extrasensory perceptions as "the astral senses." The name "Astral" is taken from the Greek word "astra," which means "star," which is used by both occultists, ancient and modern. It's used to define the planes that are directly above the physical plane. The astral senses are man's parallels to his earthly senses, and they are linked to the person's astral body in the same way as the physical senses are linked to the physical body.

The aim of these astral senses is to allow a person to obtain sensations on the astral plane in the same way as his physical senses allow him to do so on the physical plane. The consciousness of man experiences only the sense sensations of the actual organs of sense on the physical world; but, as the mind acts and vibrates on the astral plane, it needs astral senses to receive the impressions of that plane, which are present, as we shall see. Any of man's physical senses has a corresponding astral equivalent.

Thus, in latency, man can see, sound, taste, smell, and hear on the astral plane through his five astral senses. Furthermore, the strongest occultists understand that man has seven physical senses rather than only five, but these two extra senses are not activated in the normal human (though occultists who have reached a certain stage are able to use them effectively). In the astral plane, these two additional physical senses have equivalents.

People who have evolved their astral senses can receive astral plane sense sensations almost as clearly as they can receive actual plane sense impressions using their physical senses. For example, the individual can sense events on the astral plane; read the Akashic Records of the past; see events in other areas of the world; see past events; and, in unusual situations, catch glimpses of the future, though this is much rarer than the other types of astral sight. Again, using clairaudience, a person can hear sounds from the astral plane, both past and present, and in rare cases, hear things from the afterlife.

In either case, the explanation is the same: impulses are received on the astral plane rather than the actual plane. The astral sensations of hearing, taste, and sensing function in the same way. However, although we sometimes experience astral sensing, we scarcely experience astral smelling or tasting during those processes of psychic phenomena, because the astral senses are available and ready to be used. Only while moving in the astral body do the last two described astral senses, namely scent and taste, come into action.

Telepathy, also known as mind transference, is a phenomenon that exists on both the physical and emotional planes. On the physical world, it manifests randomly, while on the astral plane, it is as transparent, consistent, and receptive to demand as astral perception, for example. The average person experiences only sporadic bursts of astral sensing and is rarely able to witness the phenomena at will. In the other hand, a learned occultist will move from one set of senses to the other with a simple act or effort of will anytime he wishes.

Advanced occultists will also work on both the physical and astral realms simultaneously, but they don't often want to. To see astrally, the educated occultist literally changes his visual mechanism from actual to astral, or vice versa, in the same way that a typewriter operator shifts from small letter to capital form by pressing the shift key on his keyboard. Many people believe that to use the astral senses, they must fly on the astral plane and in the astral body. This is a blunder.

In cases of clairvoyance, astral visioning, psychometry, and other practices, the occultist resides in his own body and experiences the phenomenon of the astral plane very quickly by the astral senses, just as he can perceive the phenomena of the physical plane through the physical organs—in certain cases, much more easily. In most instances, the occultist does not even need to reach the trance state. Travel in the astral body is quite another phase of occult phenomena and is far more difficult to manifest.

Under the supervision of a qualified tutor, the pupil can never try to fly in the astral body. In Crystal Gazing, the occultist simply uses the crystal to harness his influence to put his astral vision into view. The crystal itself has no mystical qualities; it is merely an instrument for achieving a purpose, a piece of valuable equipment to help in the development of such phenomena. In psychometry, an entity is used to put the occultist "in tune" with the person or item with which it is associated.

However, the astral senses are used to describe the thing's past environment, as well as the current and past behavior of the individual in question, and so on. In other words, the entity is simply the unwound end of the psychic ball of twine that the psychometrist winds and unwinds at will. Psychometry, like crystal gazing, is just one form of astral seeing. Telekinesis, or movement at a distance, requires the use of both astral sensing and astral will motion, which is also followed by the actual projection of a part of the astral body's material.

We have an example of the simplest method of astral seeing in Clairvoyance, which does not include the "linked entity" in psychometry or the focal point of the crystal in crystal gazing. This is true not only to regular clairvoyance, in which the occultist sees astrally the happenings and doings at some remote stage, at the time of observation; it is also true of historical clairvoyance, or astral seeing of past events; and future clairvoyance, as in prophetic vision, etc. All of these are just various variations of the same thing.

"These phenomena are supernatural, way beyond the domain of common law," some of you might suggest, "and yet this guy will have us think otherwise." Dear reader, please don't leap to conclusions too quickly. What do you know about natural law and phenomena's limits? What gives you the freedom to declare that something outside the normal spectrum of sensory perception is outside of Nature? If you know you're attempting to put a cap on Existence, which is basically limitless?

If a man from a previous century had been told that the wonders of wireless telegraphy could be manifested, he would have been similarly justified in asserting that they were mystical. Going back even more, the man's father would have said the same thing about the telephone if someone had been so brave as to predict it. Imagine the response of some of the old men of the time to the telegraph if we go back another century.

These objects, though, are merely the discovery and deployment of some of Nature's amazing powers and energies. Is it any more implausible to believe that Nature already has a mine of undiscovered treasure in both man's mind and constitution and in inorganic nature? These phenomena are as normal as the physical senses, and not a smidgeon more miraculous. It is perhaps that we are used to one and not the other that the astral senses seem to be more wonderful than the real senses. Nature's workings are all amazing, and none are more so than the others. When we come down to the heart of it, they are all beyond our comprehension. So, let's keep our minds open!