Pray allow me to vindicate the position ascribed by you to the Theosophists – but which has also been that of all genuine seekers after Divine communication since the beginning until now – from the reproach of selfishness in declining the control of extraneous spirits. The motive is neither a selfish one, nor is it the fear of affording access to low or bad spirits, but the positive knowledge that it is not only dangerous and injurious to oneself to weaken the bond between oneself and one’s own animating, indwelling spirit by suffering another spirit, whether high or low, to enter in and take possession, but it is injurious to the obsessing spirit itself. To use the faculty of holding converse with visitors, whether from the world of men or the world of spirits, is one thing; but to abdicate the ownership of one’s house, and suffer another to occupy it, the owner being meanwhile altogether unconscious of that other’s character and proceedings, is another thing, and one that is as unwise and perilous in the case of a spiritual as of a material visitor. It is not by seeking outwards that a man can attain the interior unfoldment which alone can advance him spiritually, or qualify him to help others. Only by climbing the ladder within oneself can one reach the kingdom within, which alone is divine. And to seek to climb by the ladder of others is both to fail oneself, and to keep those others back by strengthening the bonds which bind them to earth. No doubt some of those who speak in trance are really uttering that which they know of their own spirit, even though they may suppose it to be an extraneous one. But in this case the speaker is conscious, and understands that which is imparted. The true spirit of a man never controls his client, nor, if it can help it, steps aside to allow another to enter. It is a common mistake to suppose that all sudden and vivid suggestions of ideas or other intimations come from without. A spirit does not cease to be a spirit by becoming incarnate, and it is at least more respectful
to one’s own spirit to give it the credit for what it tells us, than to set it aside in favour of some wandering stranger. No doubt such visitants may, and do, gain by association with persons of pure and high intent, but it is enough for this end that they frequent the atmosphere of such persons.
(203:1) Letter of E.M. in Light, 8th December 1883, p. 531.