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Experience of the subtle realms: Contents page

Chapter 7. The doctrine of powers

The assumption behind the doctrine of powers is that this physical reality emerges out of the other reality, and that entities in this reality have their matrix, their ei­dolon, and their ally in the other reality. 

What I mean by ‘matrix’ is the subtle formative field that underlies the genesis, devel­opment and maintenance of a physical entity.  The subtle field is assumed to be the primary locus for the blueprint of the structure of the physical entity, and for the pro­gramme of the processes that go on in the physical entity.  The secondary locus for the blueprint and the programme will, of course, be in the physical entity itself, for exam­ple, in the bio-chemical code in the genes.

What I mean by ‘eidolon’ is the idea, archetype, living image, that is the source of the species type, the identity, of the physical entity.  And what I mean by ‘ally’ is the mani­festation of the eidolon  exclusively in subtle reality, in the other world.  So we have the eidolon, the subtle ally, the subtle matrix, and the physical entity: for example, the generative idea of a tiger, the subtle tiger, the subtle matrix of the physical tiger, the physical tiger.

Now the doctrine of powers asserts that we can deal with the physical world not only by means of explicit physical interventions and transactions – which include work done by the physical body and by machines that harness various kinds of physical energy; but also by means of implicit interventions in relation to eidolons,  allies and matrices.

Many cultures and occult traditions have been interested in subtle allies of an animal kind: the subtle cat, the subtle jaguar, the subtle eagle – encountered solely in the other world.  It is as if animal allies in the psi universe, when suitably invoked, become forces for enhancing human mastery of the physical world, and of social events in that world. See section 14 for more on allies.

Well, so much for the theory.  What evidence, if any, lends any kind of support for such a view?  There’s not much, but there is some, although it does not go very far. I am referring, of course, only to my own personal experience – which is the limited scope of this book.

1. Cat power

I was spending the night in a deserted hotel in Mexico on the north coast of Yucatan, just to the west of Progreso.  In the very early morning, between sleeping and waking, I saw, clairvoyantly, a large subtle cat in akashic space, poised in its subtle world and looking ‘down’ at me as I lay on my back in the hotel bed. 

I decided that this cat ally or cat power might be beneficent and helpful to me, so I opened my being to receive it.  No sooner had I done this, than the subtle cat pounced, and seemed to disappear into the vulnerable left side of my subtle body, leaving me feeling invaded and bruised by a disturbing, disruptive kind of energy.  It was as if the cat power had dissolved into me. I was restless, disoriented, and unable to sleep.

I got out of bed, cursing my naivete and ignorance of how to handle ‘powers’, and did some energy exercises to try to clean up and close my subtle body.  Then I climbed back into the bed and managed to get to sleep for another two hours or more. When I finally woke up I still felt a bit psychically bruised and uneasy.

After breakfast, I sat upright on a chair in the hotel bedroom meditating on the space between the worlds.  At was as if some power or presence gave me a clear prompting to go to the next village to the west, Chelem.  I did so.

Wandering around Chelem, I soon met an American Korean war veteran sitting in his garden. He told me his life story, and I told him I was looking for a villa to rent.  His Mexican wife took me to meet a German-born Canadian from Vancouver, who win­tered every year for three months in Progreso, who knew everybody in town, and walked the streets with a small parrot on his wrist. His name was Hermann.

Hermann introduced me to a retired Mexican bar-owner, who agreed to rent me his two-bedroomed villa on the coast at Chicxulub, just east of Progreso, for ten pounds a week.  I felt vaguely uneasy during my negotiations with the ex-bar-owner, but never­theless settled terms and arranged to occupy the villa later in the day after he had cleaned it up.  I drove my hired Volkswagen beetle back into Progreso and took a table in El Cordes, the best coffee shop in town.

I was sitting there reading a book on the Maya, and making notes, when I spotted a woman in khaki shorts and jacket standing near me and looking sometimes at me and sometimes at the chalked-up menu on the wall.  I invited her to join me.  It turned out she had just emerged from a ten day solitary Buddhist retreat in her rented wooden hut in Chelem, and was in need of social contact.  Hermann, who was at the other end of the coffee shop with his wife,  had sent her over to check me out.

I asked her to tell me her name.  She said, ‘Cat’.  I raised my eyebrows.  She said, ‘Yes, that’s my name. I’m called Cat, as in ‘cat’. It’s short for Catherine.’  She was American by birth.

We sat at the table and talked for several hours, drank coffee, later had a meal. I learnt she was forty years old and had been a drop-out since the age of thirty.  After leaving school in California, she had done a degree and postgraduate work, had taught during her twenties in colleges in the USA and England.  Then she gave it all up and hit the Katmandu and cannabis trail, wandering the physical world and drug-induced states of mind.  Still a wanderer, she was now on the spiritual path, having given up drugs two years previously, and having shifted her allegiance to regular meditation  in the Buddhist tradition.

She moved  around the physical world on the basis of psi promptings and hunches, consciously adopted, and always landed on her feet, with true cat power.  I was in­trigued.  But the more she talked the more I felt subtly oppessed and dragged down by her energy, which seemed to have a weight of unresolved negativity in tow.

By now it was time for me to move into my villa.  She asked to see it. We drove out to Chicxulub, I showed her round the rooms and the spacious courtyard.  Then I drove her home to her hut in Chelem.  We arranged to meet again a few days later, when I would pick her up at dawn and we would spend the day together visiting a nearby Mayan site.  We parted, uneasy with each other, glad to be separate, yet committed to meet at least once again.

I returned to my villa to settle in. It was dark. Part of the dining/living area was sepa­rated from the courtyard by a wall of perforated concrete blocks, forming a trellis work of openings from floor to ceiling – an architectural gesture between the worlds.  While unpacking,  I was suddenly disturbed by a sound on this trellis work, and looked up to see a cat halfway up the outside of the wall, peering in at me through one of the aper­tures.  We eyeballed each other for half a minute, both of us absolutely still.  The cat then swiftly continued its climb and  disappeared over the villa roof.

The next morning I discovered that this cat was resident with its kittens in one of the outhouses on the west side of the courtyard of the villa.  It was clear too that it had normally gone through the empty villa to get from the courtyard to the street.   Now because of my occupation it had to go over the roof.

In the space of twenty four hours, I had encountered a subtle cat that had invaded my psychic space, I had met a human called Cat who had oppressed my interpersonal space, and an ordinary village cat who was occupying part of my rented physical  space.  I had no real idea of what to make of all this, but it was certainly interesting.  Coincidence and happenstance it was not.  It was as if I was undergoing some very elementary les­son about the nature of powers; and as if I was a bit too dim to grasp it.

I met the human Cat a few days later and we took a picnic lunch to the Maya site at Dzibilchaltun, halfway between Progreso and Merida. Here, in the limestone that is the bedrock of the Yucatan plain, there is a very large circular well.  It is a beautiful pool, a true opening between the worlds.  We sat on its edge in the shade of trees, and talked for a long time.  It was for me an instructive talk.

I learnt a lot from Cat about the art of wandering the world, about tuning in to the tacit dimension of the flux of physical and social events. You have an inner ear tuned to the other world while moving around this world, so that you always do  land on your feet and find your way.  I surmised that she was indeed resonating to cat power, to the sub­tle ally, identifying with it in her roamings, almost taken over by it. 

And by surrendering to a cat ally myself, I had  quickly tuned in to the subtle flux of so­cial events, which found me a villa (occupied by a cat) in very short order.  But I also learnt from Cat that the price I felt she paid for a total life-style organised by attunement to cat power was for me  unacceptable.  For it seemed to lead to isolation and social alienation, giving birth to psychic and spiritual experiences in out of the way places, like the cat giving birth to kittens in the outhouse of my villa. 

The price, too, seemed to be one of psychological dissociation and buried negativity: a studied unawareness of what was piling up in the soul behind the scenes of the cat-powered focus on the life of the wanderer. 

What seemed clear, however, was that there was a cat power to tap in the other reality.  And whether it was wise to do so or not, such power could be harnessed as a psychic aid to organising events in everyday life in this world.  Perhaps I should say that it was as if all this seemed clear. At any rate, by the end of the day, I did feel I had grasped an im­portant lesson.

The doctrine of animal powers as allies is an old one, found in many occult traditions of those who live close to nature.  Personally, I do not find it very congenial, since in practice it seems to involve too much a feeling of the subtle body being invaded.  But then my experience, apart from its ambiguity, is extremely limited; and I may just be airing my ignorance.

However, I did once find myself quite unexpectedly using the doctrine of animal pow­ers in a way that for me at any rate had none of this invasive feeling. So it may all be a matter of motive, use and context.  But this next experience is very ambiguous in terms of possible explanations, and is slender evidence indeed for a subtle animal ally effect.

2. Mouse power

I had returned from Mexico to fulfil a contract to run some five day workshops at the University of Surrey in England.  The first one was on interpersonal skills training, with 19 participants from all branches of the helping professions.  It ran from Monday to Friday inclusive.

Some time during the weekend immediately before the workshop, I found a small black rubber mouse on the floor in the front of my car. I still have no idea where it came from.  I have checked with all the people who were passengers the previous week, and all disclaim owning a black rubber mouse much less dropping one on the floor of my car.  Perhaps some child on the street threw it through the open door or window when I was not looking.

I put the mouse in my briefcase and decided to take it to the workshop.  At some point on the first day, I placed the mouse in the middle of the floor, in the centre of the circle of chairs.  I said nothing; the participants were perplexed, intrigued, amused.  I left the mouse there throughout the whole of the day.  I put it there again for the whole of the second day; and each day for the rest of the week.

By the third day, people were starting to do business with the mouse, querying its role, its relevance and its meaning.  I asked what projections were being put upon the mouse; what people were seeing it as, symbolically.  A considerable consensus emerged: the mouse stood for the exposure of vulnerability, for risk-taking in areas where one feels timid and insecure and without power.  It became a paradoxical focus, empower­ing the acceptance of powerlessness, hurt and fear.

On the fourth day, there was enormous cathartic release in the workshop, many people working simultaneously on the discharge of pent-up distress, with tears and sobbing.  Of course, this was because we had reached the part of the programme dealing with cathartic interventions, following a progressive build-up on confronting interventions; and because the whole group had together just practised radical breathing and body­work techniques. But it was also as if mouse power was afoot, as if the subtle trembling energy of timo­rousness, the mouse ally, was a subtle catalyst behind the psychological scenes.

I mislaid the black rubber mouse not longer after the five day workshop.  After two months or so, it turned up briefly somewhere among my things. I then mislaid it again, and only came across it when packing on the day I was to fly abroad to run another five day workshop of  exactly the same  kind and title. I decided to take it with me.

Again I put it in the middle of the circle of participants half way through the first day and for every day thereafter.  And again on the fourth day there was a spontaneous re­lease of distress among several members.  The sudden catharsis started with deeply de­nied and intense pain of bereavment erupting  in one person in the middle of a general discussion on psychodynamic theory.  And while I was working with this person, oth­ers were triggered off.  It was two hours before all the cathartic work was done. 

In this group, I had dealt much more intentionally with mouse power, explaining to the group that I was working with the energy of ‘tacit symbolic projection’. For every­one it was a bit of fun, an unusual and slightly bizarre game, to leaven the concentrated content of the workshop.  Some did a little imaginative business with the mouse, see­ing it as this or that.  Some retained a friendly intellectual scepticism about its role and status – for them, it was just a rubber mouse and nothing more.  At a subtler and deeper level, all were intrigued, engaged.

Now of course some kind of catharsis would almost certainly have occurred at some point in the workshop without any invocation of mouse power.  All I can say, once again, is that it was as if the focal symbolism of the mouse added an extra dimension of facilitation below, beyond, outside the explicit level at which people were coping with the mouse in their conscious minds.  And that extra dimension, that tacit power, was truly potent in its own mode.

There is a footnote to this strange tale. There was a young man at the first workshop who was much intrigued by my use of the rubber mouse, by the way it became  a focus for such ardent speculation and projection.  He came to another five day workshop with a different title which I ran shortly after the first one.  He inquired where the mouse was, and I explained that I had lost it.  He clearly missed a surrogate for animal power in the middle of the room, and so turned up on the third morning with a decoy duck that he had bought at a shop selling sporting goods. It was in the middle of the room for three days, but it yielded little power. 

3. Angles as powers

I had rented a small apartment from a surgeon in Veracruz.  It had two bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom and living/dining room.  It was in the back streets well away from the sea, tucked behind another apartment, which the surgeon had rented out to a hand­some young Italian who ran a downtown discotheque.  And behind my apartment was the surgeon’s private operating room.  ‘I only do minor operations here’, he said, as he flung open the door to let me peer in.  The equipment looked rickety and primitive.  I felt anxious for his patients.  But I liked his warmth and friendliness a great deal.

I had come to Veracruz because I had stood at the edge of a wood in Emmsland in West Germany, and had put out mentally a general rhetorical enquiry as to where to go next to explore the interaction of the two worlds, of inner and outer space.  The name ‘Veracruz’ came unexpectedly into my mind.  I could not even remember where it was: Spain, Venezuela, my mind groped with basic geography.

I went to the local library and reminded myself that Veracruz was on the east coast of Mexico, and its principal port.  Of course.  It all came back to me.  Thirty years before I had been driving through central Mexico and had wanted to go to Yucatan – to visit the great centres of the ancient Maya, and to find their residual power still alive in the land.

The peninsula of Yucatan is remote from Mexico City, far to the east, and projecting north into the Gulf of Mexico.  In those days there were no paved roads to it, only dirt roads.  I had a small English car, and was strongly advised to ship it by boat from Veracruz to Progreso, the main port on the north coast of Yucatan.  But I did not have the money or the time to make that trip.  Since then my wish to visit Yucatan had be­come a haunting piece of unfinished business.

Immediately Veracruz became once again in my mind the gateway to Yucatan. So I de­cided to visit both.  I flew to Mexico City and hired a brand new Volkswagen beetle – they are still being manufactured by Volkswagen in a factory south-east of the capital.

I left Mexico City rather late in the day and drove east toward Veracruz, spending the first night in Orizaba.  I set off early the next morning.  When I had gone through Cordoba and was within 70 kilometres of Veracruz, I felt a strong impulse to turn right at a major fork in the road.  I stopped the car and consulted Baedeker’s map of Mexico.  The right fork would take me south-east past Palenque, the first great Maya site and the most westerly one, then on round the southern sweep of the Gulf of Mexico to Yucatan. After considerable doubt and resistance,  I yielded to the impulse and headed south-east, unsure of what I was about.

The beetle surged forward for long hours.  By mid-afternoon, I was driving in a leisurely way along the side road that leads to Palenque off highway 186, when my mind was suddenly hit with the force of a revelation about the doctrine of powers.  I stopped the car, my brain overcome by the energy upon it.  This was not mere conjec­ture or speculation. It was an opening up of consciousness to the inner universe, an opening in which archetypal thoughts themselves were liberating powers.  The reality of the doc­trine was evident in the thinking of it. I sat there, reeling with insight.

Palenque was the first great site of  Maya culture that I was to visit. I climbed up temple pyramids, pored over reliefs and carvings, my mind suffused with the notion of pow­ers. Here immediately I saw a culture living in two worlds at once, attuned to subtle al­lies through ritual, symbol, hierarchy, social structure and architecture.  I did not like all that I saw: a lot of it was oppressive, rigid, superstitious and abusive.  But the im­print of the inner world of powers on the outer forms of the culture was unmistakable.

I continued to explore the Mayan account of the doctrine of powers at the sites of Kabah, Sayil, Labna, intensively at Uxmal; at Chichen Itza, Tulum, Coba; and at Dzibilchaltun.  I reflected that just as the developed nations today abuse their grasp of technological power in war and nuclear arms and other excesses, such as the expropria­tion of profits from the third world; so too the ancient Maya abused their grasp of subtle powers, of subtle allies and matrices, in  keeping the masses oppressed, in the use of human sacrifice.  And I reflected too, on what a proper use of subtle allies and matrices might involve.

Some weeks, some adventures and 6000 kilometres later I returned to Veracruz to keep my appointment with that city. It was difficult to be certain exactly what I was doing in the friendly surgeon’s small apartment.  Every day I devoted myself to painting with acrylic paints I had bought in Germany.  In the afternoon I would wander on the beach, sunbathe and swim.  But was Veracruz just a symbol in my mind, because of past asso­ciations, for an entry into Yucatan?  Or did it have some call upon me as a place in its own right?

One day  about noon I was lying on my back on the bed. I opened my inner sight to three beings in front of me and above me in the other world.   They were impressive and austere, had a great deal of presence, seemed benign, and wanted to communicate with me.  One of them said, ‘One hundred and twenty’.   

Then I lost them.  My psychophysical system couldn’t handle the subtle energy, could­n’t stay open to it.  The doors of the brain ajar to the other world snapped shut, as if on steel springs that were released by exposure to too much light.  I went shopping and had a meal.

I speculated a good deal on the meaning of  ‘One hundred and twenty’.  Did this num­ber refer to days, hours, minutes, years, page numbers in a book (Baedekers guide to Mexico had information about the towns of Cuautla and Cuernavaca on page 120), de­grees of longitude (longitude 120 degrees west of Greenwich is out in the Pacific Ocean at the latitudes of Mexico)?  Or was it degrees of arc in some astronomical measure­ment?  None of these hypotheses seemed to lead anywhere, and I became irritated with the beings who had slipped a number into my head without giving any kind of clue as to its reference or relevance. I went out again into the hot sun and drove to the beach for a swim.

The next day during the morning I once again lay on my back on the bed.  I decided that ‘One hundred and twenty’ referred to an angle for opening awareness.  So with my arms stretched out to the side and my legs splayed, I opened my awareness upwards at an angle of 120 degrees.

I imagined a straight line, a tangent to the earth’s surface, running through my brain and at right angles to my spine. Again in my imagination, from a point on this line in the centre of my brain, I measured on a vertical plane upwards from the line two 30 de­gree angles, one on each side of my brain. Thus was thus a 120 degree angle facing verti­cally upwards from the centre of my brain – and I held my awareness within it, letting my mind open up and expand into inner space at this angle.

Suddenly it as as if a big subtle engine, rather like an internal combustion engine, drove through the left side of my chest and out the back.  Then with inner sight I saw a coloured ring of open light above me.  I attended fully to this open ring, and through it a whole sequence of signs unfolded and tumbled into my  clairvoyant eye.  These vi­sions culminated in a very concentrated, illuminated energy coming down onto my head from above.

I was looking up into something like an elongated narrow pyramid of power.  There was no direct perception of any presence; only the reception of this intensely subtle, ex­hilarating light.  It was as if not only the subtle body, but the physical brain itself was be­ing impregnated with enhanced awareness – which at the same time involved energetic and spatial phenomena – of the other reality. After the experience faded, I relaxed for a bit, then got up to take some food.

While eating, I speculated on the notion of angles as powers.  I got out my Baedekers map of Mexico.  I noted that my strong impulse, after leaving Mexico City, to turn right off the Cordoba-Veracruz road and drive south-east, had taken me through an angle of 120 degrees.  And then it seemed no mere coincidence that this change of direction culminated in a sudden illumination about the doctrine of powers on the side road leading to Palenque, the first great Mayan site I was to visit.

I remember I had resisted the change of direction, and drove on past the turning where the impulse had overcome me.  But as I went on, the pull of the angle became more and more irresistible.  Despite the apparent irrationality of the urge, I yielded to it, drove back to the fork in the road and headed south-east. And it was only after I had made the turning, gone through the angle and driven all the way to Palenque, that I started to feel secure about the change of direction.

Now I made a big ‘as if’ story out of the whole business. I had originally intended to go straight from Mexico City to Veracruz.  Instead I had taken a 120 degree turn to the south-east.  This had led me into the doctrine of powers and a long journey, inner and outer, through Yucatan.  When finally at the conclusion of my travels, I visited Veracruz, the city of the true cross, I was initiated by three presences into the notion of angles as powers, in particular the notion  of 120 degrees as a critical angle for opening awareness to the other reality.

Then I thought of the trine aspect in the astrology I had rejected – the    120 degree be­nign influence of one planet upon another.  I thought of myself leading a group stand­ing at an angle of 120 degrees with the  persons on either side of me in the open circle of participants.  I thought of the three times 120 degrees of the three legged symbol of the Isle of Man, where I had lived as a hermit for a period, going into altered states.  I thought of…

The sceptic in me interrupted such reflections, scandalised by the naivete and credulity of such angle-mongering.

4. Lines as powers of vision

The whole idea of geometrical entities as powers is an odd one: it supposes that such spatial abstractions can have a dynamic influence upon human consciousness and be­haviour.  But from the standpoint of the doctrine of powers, four aspects of reality deeply interpenetrate: archetypes, space, energy and consciousness.  The archetypal forms of space itself will have a profoundly energetic effect upon  shifts of conscious­ness.  This, at any rate, is the theory. Let me elaborate it further.

The archetypal forms of space comprise, at least, point, line and plane.  Physical reality is very much the world of the point: things with centres of gravity move from point to point. The other, subtle reality is the domain of the plane: beings with circumferences of levity move from plane to plane. 

In physical vision, there is only one perspective from the point of perception. In psi vi­sion, there can be multiple perspectives from the plane of perception.

In this world, the line is a point-to-point connection. And the line of vision is from the eye to the centre of the visual field; we always look along a line that goes straight to what we look at. In the other world, the line is a plane-to-plane intersection.  Here the line of vision, which is at the intersection between the moving plane of the third eye and the plane of its perceived field, circles the periphery of that field. We are out there partici­pating in what we look at, with variegated views of it. 

Psi vision, being the more inclusive, subsumes the point-to-point mode.  But the point-to-point psi perspectives are not just from where I am but from any point on the pri­mary peripheral line of my psi sight.  Psi vision can contract itself to look out exclu­sively from the centre where I stand, and thus become like physical vision; but its su­pernatural tendency is to function at and from the periphery, using the centre point as a coordinating reference for its diverse views from out there.

In physical vision, while the central line of sight is from the eye to the focal point in the visual field, subsidiary lines of sight go from the eye in an extended cone to the rest of the visual field.  In psi vision, while the main line of sight is along  the intersection of the main moving plane of the third eye and the main plane  of its subtle field, differ­ent but con­comitant lines of sight are along the intersections of different planes through the third eye and different planes  of its subtle field.  Hence the initially baf­fling, tum­bling over­lap of diverse perspectives, from many points on many different peripheral lines of sight.  Hence, too, the strong sense of participating in the creative generation of what is being perceived. 

You may say that it is the structure of the physical eyes that determines the perspectives of ordinary vision, so how can a perspective be generated from a point out there on the periphery of the clairvoyant  field, where there is no kind of structured organ of sight of any sort.  One highly speculative answer is that all views are aspects of the spatial form of universal consciousness: the diversity of the imagination of the divine in entertain­ing innumerable vistas of its creation.

The third eye, the ‘organ’ of clairvoyant sight, is a centre of reference that coordinates a peripheral selection of these perspectives and views that are inherent in the structure of universal consciousness. And it makes this selection by pitching its vision at a cer­tain planes of interaction with its chosen field of view. The physical eyes, by contrast, materi­alise a very limited bit of the inherent spatial structure of universal conscious­ness, pro­viding a kindergarten of visual grasp entirely in the point-to-point, exclusively unilin­ear mode.

So perception, the basic form of consciousness,  whether at the physical or subtle levels, is bound up dynamically with the archetypal forms of space – point, line and plane. And the simple notion of lines as intersections of planes leads over into a consideration of somatic attunement to subtle power lines.

5. Lines as powers between the worlds

It is as if there are lines of power at intersections between the worlds, between the phys­ical plane and the subtle planes.  Certain lines seem to have power to liberate  con­sciousness into attunement with the subtle matrix of the physical body and/or with the wider akashic universe.  Hence the importance of alignment.

The most accessible alignments are to do with the physical body.  And the simplest of these is to do with the spine.  F.M.Alexander got on to this with his formula ‘head for­ward and up’.  There is a way of elongating the spine, head and neck, of procuring a subtle vertical alignment of them, that attunes consciousness as if to a very fine, central current of subtle energy.  This subtle energy line is at the interface between the physical body and its subtle matrix. It ascends vertically within the subtle space of the spine: when entered it gives an unmistakable lift.  In Chapter 9, I call it the levity line.

The work of M. Noro in Paris extends and refines this simple practice. He calls his art kinomichi, and trains his students to acquire skill in a whole range of very subtle elon­gations and stretchings, involving the hands, feet, limbs, trunk, head and neck. When the alignment of felt physical tension is right, it is as if physical sensation shifts over into awareness of fine lines of chi (subtle) energy.  Consciousness of the physical body becomes transformed by, subsumed within, consciousness of its subtle matrix.

The sensation of physical stretching in the domain of gravity shifts over to the subtler sense of  elongation and flow in the domain of levity.  One starts to experience di­rectly the reality of dual incarnation in a physical body and in a subtle matrix body, and to sensitise and refine the former by conscious attunement to the latter.  And all this is done by muscular alignment to the lines of power at the intersection of the subtle ma­trix and the physical body.

Ritual and meditative posture and gesture are concerned with the same phenomenon: getting the physical body aligned to subtle power lines at its interface with the other world.  In this case, it is as if these power lines reach out beyond the matrix field  of the physical body into the wider reaches of the unseen universe.  Angles as powers may be involved here too.

Both these procedures – the elongation of  parts of the physical body into lines of power at the interface with its matrix, and the  ritual alignment of the body to power lines that reach deeper into inner space – can be practised quite informally and experimentally.  It is just a matter of very fine adjustment of the parts of the muscu­lar and skeletal system, until it is as if sensation of bodily tension shifts over into a psi-sense of fine lines of subtle potency. I could equally well have entered this experi­ence in the chapter on transfigurations.

Although this work is at the subtle matrix level, it inevitably starts to wake up the sub­tle body proper, and thus initiate a person into becoming their own ally. In the next sec­tion, I will briefly clarify these different notions.

6.  Powers and the person

At the outset of this chapter, I mentioned the view that entities in this reality have their eidolon, their ally and their matrix in the other reality.  How does this doctrine of powers apply to the human being?

The eidolon of a person is rather like Jung’s archetype of the self, or the transpersonal self in Assagioli’s psychosynthesis, or Kant’s ‘intellectus archetypus’, or Blake’s ’emanation far within’.  Its the original form of the soul, the archetypal primus of the developing person, the distinctive transcendental identity within, behind and beyond the everyday self.

The subtle matrix of the human being is the formative field that generates and sustains the physical body. It’s the subtle field that contains the blueprint and programme for bodily form and process. It’s not the same as the subtle body.

The subtle body proper is dormant, semi-functional, within the subtle matrix in most people.  It is involved in everyday life in perception, in touch, in speech, but tacitly – it goes unnoticed. It is the potential vehicle for the person in the other world.  With con­scious development it can temporarily depart from the subtle matrix and physical body, as in out of the body experiences. 

The subtle ally of a person is that person’s subtle body in conscious use. If the per­son’s subtle body is dormant, and functions only in the tacit, unnoticed mode, then he or she is ‘sleeping on their ally’. Each person, through cultivating out of the body expe­riences, has the potential to become their own ally in the other world.  Similarly, each person, by developing conscious command of the subtle body in everyday situations, can be­come their own ally in this world.  And, through ritual and related activities, be their own ally between the worlds. Figure 7.1 shows the physical body within the matrix body, and the subtle body developed  with heart.

Figure 7.1  The physical body within the subtle matrix, and the  subtle body developed with heart

As persons we are souls, individual centres of reference, with  basic capac­ities for un­derstanding, feeling and choosing.  We receive and impart, and are distin­guished by our ability to learn and change, develop and grow.  We are also notorious for our re­fusal to bother.

In the next few sections, I relate some experiences that bear on the powers of the per­son.  And see section 14 below for more on the concept of the ally.

7.  Eidolon encounter

A medical friend of mine once gave me a phial of very pure LSD in clear liquid form, left over from the days when its medical use was officially sanctioned in the UK.  I took it one week-end in my flat in Hampstead in London.

Two hours or so after ingestion, I was sitting in my living room, and my daughter, who was in her early twenties and who had a room in the flat at the time, came in.  We talked for a short period and then she left to go out.

During this talk, my brain registered very extraordinary clairvoyance indeed. For I saw us both clad in transcendental garments, and bespangled with jewels of great beauty, which were suspended on the skin of the face and arms, as well as embroidered into the clothing.  But the jewels and the garments were not mere decoration.  They resonated with awareness, with places of origin and spiritual acclaim. In this vision, the en­counter was archetypal, eidolon to eidolon.  I saw us as if on high, in the first place and in the first time.

8. Subtle matrix meditation

This is one of the simplest uses of the doctrine of powers.  There are two versions of it, one to do with the subtle matrix blueprint of the physical body, the other to do with the subtle matrix programme of physiological processes.

To do the subtle matrix blueprint meditation, simply lie down on your back on a com­fortable surface, relax all the muscle groups, calm and open the breathing, then em­power the physical body by systematically visualising every aspect of its structure.

Mentally scan over  all the parts of the skeleton, then all the muscle groups, then the skin, then the cardiovascular system, then the nervous system, then the alimentary canal and its associated organs, then the lungs, then the kidneys and bladder, then the endocrine glands, and so on.  All you need is a modest general grasp of basic anatomy: it’s the broad configurations you visualize, not detailed structures.

When I do this, it is frequently as if I am scanning over the systems of the physical body  from a position in subtle space just a few inches above it. The perspectives I get are as if I am looking down from a  double that is a little outside and above the physical body, facing it. It is as if, then, my consciousness is in the subtle matrix field, empower­ing both it and the physical body it coheres and informs.  And I  go on to scan the struc­tures exclusive to the subtle matrix itself: its energy centres, channels and power lines.

Sometimes when I do this exercise, it fades out into deep sleep before I have got half way through it. And this sleep is usually very refreshing. The exercise has been one of my primary forms of  health care for years. 

To do the subtle matrix programme meditation, lie down and relax as before.  This time you entertain in your awareness all the temporal rhythms of your body. Two of these you can immediately hold in mind: your heart beat and your breathing. Become aware of these two rhythms simultaneously.  Now let your temporal imagination reach out to include much higher frequency metabolic, cellular and molecular rhythms.  Then ex­tend it to include the low frequency rhythms of eating and excreting, waking and sleep­ing, sexual arousal and repose.  Expand your consciousness to embrace all these differ­ent frequencies at the same time, sensing their concurrence, vibrating together from birth to death.    

9. Running in two worlds at once

There is a well-known exercise for developing conscious use of the subtle body in this world.  I practised it once in Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies.  I was vaca­tioning there with a friend in the late summer, and we had rented a small cabin over­looking Pyramid Lake – which was set in commanding scenery a mile outside the town of Jasper itself.  Behind the cabin, the forest stretched away, slowly rising toward the sudden ascent of towering mountain faces.

I got in the habit of going out into the forest in order to run through the matrix space of the forest, with my awareness centred in my subtle body. This meant, of ocurse, that my physical body was also running through the physical forest.   But that was incidental, at any rate to start with. 

The main task was at the subtle body level, the physical running being the fall-out from that level. So I closed my physical eyes, relying on subtle sense or clairvoyance to grasp the physical lay-out of the forest, and put my energy forth at the subtle level. Then it be­came my subtle body ‘running’ through the matrix space of the wood, with my physical body following along in its wake, as in Figure 7.2. I should say that it was as if this was going on.

The reason it was very much an as if experience was because my fear was too great for me to close my eyes  for more than a few seconds when running.  If I had been able to run at reasonable speed in that rather cluttered forest for a full minute with my eyes closed, there would, I am sure, have been much less ambiguity around.  For then psi power could more securely be said to have been guiding my physical body around trees, rocks and thickets. As it was, the experience was exhilarating and great fun, and I could keep my fear at bay, and my eyes closed for just long enough, for me to feel I was on to something. 

The exhilaration became even greater when I decided to forget about the challenge of closed eyes.  With my psi awareness pitched at a plane just above me to get an overview of the matrix space of the wood, I let my physical body follow my subtle body around, effortlessly empowered by its stream of subtle energy.  My eyes were open, but their vision, too, was caught up in a psi sense of the wood that was much more ex­ten­sive than my physical perspectives. I was now running fully and unashamedly in two worlds at once, each enhancing the vigour and reality of the other; and this was re­ally living. I forgot to remind myself that it was still only an as if experience.

Figure 7.2  Following in the wake of the subtle body

There were brown bears around in the forest. And they were known to be sometimes unfriendly and dangerous, if you suddenly came upon one behind a  tree.  My fear of meeting a bear was noticeable when I just ran in the ordinary physical way.  It was also one of the factors that made it difficult for me to run with closed eyes for more than a few seconds, when practising two-worlds running.  But when I did two-worlds running full blast with open eyes, my fear of meeting a brown bear disappeared.  I am not sure what to make of this, except to say I find it interesting.

Another interesting point is that I never fell over, never banged into anything, ac­quired no cuts, scratches or bruises – and, of course, never met a bear.

10. Being your own ally

Stand alone in a quiet room well placed with feet apart. Align your posture at least with the power lines of your body’s subtle matrix, and if possible beyond that with power lines leading off into inner space.

With elbows somewhat bent, hold your hands out, palms upward. Keeping the arms and hands so, rotate them both in sweeping circles, going in opposite directions to each other.  So the hands come toward each other, sweep upwards together, then swing outwards away from each other, round and down, coming back towards each other, then up and out again; and so on.

But do these movements in and with the subtle body, in subtle space, simultaneously, so that the primary intent is in the subtle world surrounding and interpenetrating and upholding the physical world in which you stand.

Now you become your own ally, and it is as if the subtle gestures in subtle space  weave and concentrate together an empowering, vitalising  and scintillating cloud of subtle energy that charges up your subtle body, your subtle matrix and thence your physical body.  Vary the gestures, their rhythm, their shape, their speed.  Note how you can vary the intensity with which the subtle  energy weaves together around you. Feel the fluc­tuations in its uplifting and electrifying force.

In my experience there is a supernatural limit to the amount of subtle energy you can activate and concentrate around you in inner space, by the use of this method.  When I have reached a certain level of charge, the effect dies down.   Continued activity of the arms becomes counter-productive and seems to negate the positive charge already ac­quired.

The opposite of consciously being your own ally in this way, is unawarely being your own enemy.  This means you lose a subtle charge. You let it get drained off you by a combination of psychological inertia and negative thinking.   Also by social interfer­ence, when other people blindly yet inconsiderately tap it, feeding tacitly off its uniden­tified essence. Worse still you may compulsively initiate social situations in which you become disadvantaged, a psi victim.  You go out of your way to give away your power.

The seer needs to resist this propensity for lack of assertiveness, for inappropriate social submission.  It comes from a high degree of what Keats called ‘negative capability’, by which he meant the poet’s ability to be out there totally absorbed in the object of his vi­sual contemplation.  The seer understandably longs to meet someone who has the same high degree of negative capability, for when two people exercise it lovingly and awarely in relation to each other, they can experience deep harmony and spiritual re­lease. 

But it is no good going forlornly around acting out the grief of not finding people of this sort, by unawarely submitting to subtle-energy-devourers.  Put your negative capa­bility on an active social parasite, and you get what you deserve for such lack of pre­science and command.

Being your own ally in social situations, having appropriate command of  subtle when interacting with other human beings, is, of course, the same as the practise of presence, which I discussed in section 10, Chapter 5.  It means, as I explained there, manifesting the  subtle body and its command of energy in inner space, through all the physi­cal channels of communication: eye contact, touch, posture and gesture, facial expres­sion, relative position, tone of voice.  This gives a massive inner boost to social interac­tions.

What we need are more charismatic interpersonal training courses, where people can learn to overcome their repression of psi and their psi shyness, and practise interacting as doubly incarnate beings.  At present, almost all of this practice is cast in the form of the martial arts, such as Aikido. But the martial arts, or some of them, are at best the backyard of love, the rearguard arm of care – where your command of subtle enables you to topple your opponent in a way that has regard for his enlightenment.  I describe some basic forms of charismatic training in Chapter 9.

Finally, there is being your own ally in erotic situations, when making love. I shall dis­cuss this more fully in the next chapter.  Making love is primarily a subtle body and subtle energy phenomenon, and only secondarily a physical body experience.  But few sex manuals take account of this fundamental truth, or give any report on the many psi dimensions of the erotic.

11.  Subtle knack

The word ‘knack’ means ‘acquired or intuitive faculty of doing a thing adroitly’ (COD), and originally meant, in Middle English, ‘sharp blow or sound’.  By ‘subtle knack’ I mean ‘acquired or intuitive faculty of doing a thing adroitly through command of sub­tle energy’. This overlaps with several of the experiences already mentioned, such as being your own ally, running in two worlds at once, the practice of presence, the prac­tice of alignment.

It is the same as projecting chi energy in and with physical movement in order to throw your opponent, as practised in Aikido.  Some ballet dancers, perhaps, intuitively develop subtle knack in doing their leaps and bounds, in their ability to appear to ‘hover’ for a split second up in the air.  Similarly with some ice skaters. It is as if they command their physical bodies out of a prior command of their subtle energy and sub­tle body in matrix space.  In general, the ability of a human being to appear to function in the mode of levity has, in my view, something to do with subtle knack.

Another application of subtle knack is in aligning the body with subtle power  lines and angles, in order to facilitate lifting, levering, manipulating and carrying physical objects. This may extend on occasion to having some effect on mechanical parts at a distance: subtle knack exercised in relation to some external part of a machine, such as a lever or button or key, may produce effects – which cannot be explained mechanically – on in­ternal parts.

Some applications of subtle knack are to do with projecting threads, filaments cords or lines of subtle energy, or of partially projecting the subtle body itself. One of my favourite exercises for exploring the use of such projection is as follows.  I stand under a tree with a horizontal branch well above me which will take my weight.  The height of the branch is at the very limit of my ability to grasp it with one leap upwards from where I stand. Before I leap I project subtle filaments to hook round the branch.  Then I leap along the filaments. This makes the leaping much more elegant, successful and ef­fortless than if I do it in the ordinary way.

A more all-purpose application of projection is to project the subtle body just in front of you, and then let it carry you along in its wake, as I described in running through the forest. This is useful for dealing with gravity, as when ascending a  great  height of steps. There are 97 steps in the spiral staircase at Regents Park underground station in London.  When the lift is out of use, it is interesting to compare making the ascent in the wake of my subtle body projected a couple of steps up ahead of me, to making it by direct physical effort.

12.  Elements as powers

It’s an old occult doctrine that the four elements of earth, water, air and fire, are, in their subtle  mode, powers – that can be called upon to enhance human activity whether in this world, in the other world, or at the interface between the two.  I will re­late two experiences that bear modestly on this doctrine.

Some years ago, a colleague of mine sold me four microdots of LSD, procured from a heavyweight boxer in Berlin. I carried one of them with me on a visit with a friend to Sri Lanka.  I wondered whether I might feel moved to swallow it at some Buddhist shrine.  But no.

My companion and I hired a chauffeur driven car in Colombo, and crossed the island, first to Kandy, then on to Trincomalee in the north-east.  On the way, we visited the great rock plateau of Sigiriya, which sticks up boldly out of the surrounding plain, and on the top of which one of the ancient Buddhist kings had built a palace and a citadel. Standing on this massive rock, high up in the sky, in the hot afternoon sun, with a light wind striking across my face and arms, I was poised for take-off into the other world. But this too was not to be.

After some time in Sri Lanka, we flew via Singapore and Jakarta to Bali.  One day, after we had been in Bali for some time, I made a solitary trip to the town of Besaki, the reli­gious centre of the island.  It stands, with its numerous temples and temple courtyards, at the foot of the sacred mountain Agung-agung, which is a sleeping volcano.

I reached Besaki at noon.  Sitting in the shade of a food stall on the main street, I swal­lowed my microdot with a lunch of Nasi Goreng, the popular Indonesian rice dish.  I reckoned the LSD would release slowly and come through into my nervous system in about one hour.  Meanwhile, I would walk slowly up the slopes of Agung-agung.

I got beyond the first reaches, rising out of the rice fields, and was well up the lower slopes, with commanding views, and with the main mass of the mountain towering above me. A few yards to the left of the pathway, I spotted a ruined and deserted temple courtyard.  As I rested here, the LSD came through.

From the edge of the temple courtyard, I could look  down far across the island, I could look up at the rim of Agung-agung’s volcanic cone, and I could look straight out into the sky, face to face with clouds tumbling around the sun. Now the elements became interfused, combinatorial: the fire and heat and light of the sun, the warm wind and  my breath blowing in and out, the water of my blood and the sap and juice of the sway­ing plants, the footstool of the earth and its surging configuration from mountain-top to far horizon.

I started to dance in the ruined courtyard of that ancient temple.  And I danced a Balinese dance, knees bent and thighs pointed out, arms angled and wrists upturned, fingers elegantly articulating the rhythm of the elements – as they swayed and swung and rocked together in the syncopated beat of all creation.  What exhilaration: the ma­trix world of earth, air, fire and water, dancing in my soul, dancing in the physical world and in my perception of it.

My dance embodied the continuous creation of what I saw and felt and heard and smelt, its intertwined mobility of being.    Yet the moving world had also a gem-like prescience in being what it was, every second, as it pirouetted into form.  The dance of the jewel, I thought; that most stable of substances – the diamond, the ruby, the amethyst – fraught with the discreet, ecstatic passion of its generative minuet.

I started to dance down the mountain-side.  As my arms, wrists and fingers continued to move with spontaneous precision in the Balinese manner, I noticed how their ges­tures were at one with the gestures of form and movement in  the plants and grasses alongside the mountain path.  I danced with exact abandon, revelling in the unity of all morphogenesis.

Now I danced standing on one spot on the edge of the path, looking up at Agung-agung’s volcanic rim.  The rim was in the shade from passing cloud.  I wanted to see the mountain top  sublime in sunlight. So I danced a dance to move the cloud away from the sun.  In immediate and felt response the cloud dissolved to let the sun irradi­ate the peak.  I knew I was in matrix command of elemental powers.    

 I was caught up in the sacred dance of creation for a long time.  Then I noticed dusk was falling, and I started to get anxious about finding my way down the mountain to Besaki before it was completely dark.  By the time I reached the rice fields it was black.  I got lost where the path turned into a narrow ravine  between the banks of the fields.  I couldn’t  see where to go or which turning to take. 

My fear was just starting to do disturbing things to my LSD-induced clairvoyance, when I heard two boys talking nearby.  I called out. They shone a torch to find me, and es­corted me back to Besaki.  They took me to a small eating place, owned by one of the  leading officials of the temple complex. This man took my order of chicken and rice and went off behind a screen to instruct his wife.

The LSD was winding down its influence, but it was still active. I sat alone at the wooden table, alive with  inner grace.  Then, one by one, from behind  the screen, the small daughters of my host and hostess emerged – dancing.  Each came out, without a word, beaming with delight, performing classic Balinese dance with exquisite inno­cence and charm, until four of them were dancing before me.  The youngest was not more than five years old, the oldest perhaps twelve.

Their mother came out to shoo them away, embarrassed  that they had presumed to dance for me.  I restrained her and asked her to allow them to continue. Now legiti­mate, they really took off.  They seemed to sense my mood, my state of being.  They swung through the ancient repertoire as if they knew they were in my heart and the heart of all things.

And indeed they were. I have never witnessed, either before or since,  such an un­quali­fied account of the universal process.  Like a magic mirror they shone back to me, in enhanced form, the truths of the dance I had discovered in myself on the slopes of Agung-agung.   I like to think that to this day their aesthetic command of elemental power is still at work in the temples of Besaki, stunning the soul of every worshipper with unprecedented grace. 

My second experience of the elements as powers was altogether more sedate, more static, more immersed.  I was sunbathing with a friend beside a small lake in Emmsland in Germany.  It was a weekday morning in late autumn. The sun was hot. The only other people around were a couple lying out on the opposite side of the lake, some distance away.

I waded into the water to swim.  After swimming about ten ‘lengths’ out from the bank to a log and back, I came to a halt where the water was deep enough for my head only to be out of it, with my feet resting lightly on the soft mud at the bottom of the lake.  I stood upright with my arms out to the side, just below the surface.  There was no wind: the water was still.  I was facing the sun.

I now took my awareness inside the heat and fire of the sun, the cool, wet pressure of the water in the lake, the ooze of the mud around my feet, the air refreshing my lungs.  I tuned in to the harmony of these elements in their subtle mode. It was as if I was sus­pended in the internal, elemental psi matrix of the external world, at the same time as being suspended intimately in the physical elements themselves.  In my imagi­nation, I shifted over into feeling like a water-lily – in the physical world, in the subtle matrix world, and at the interface between the two.

If I take Occam’s razor to these two experiences, I should, I suppose, not leave much growth upon them.  In the first, I am just undergoing the effects of an hallucinogenic drug.  And in the second, I am, well, just standing quietly up to my neck in a lake.

But from a two worlds point of view, in particular from a doctrine of powers point of view, LSD itself will have its ally, its subtle form, in the other world. And the subtle ally of LSD is a power indeed in its transformative effects on consciousness.  Hence when taking physical LSD, it wise to invoke and get in a healthy, positive relationship with its subtle  ally – otherwise disorientation and disturbance of mind may follow.  Personally, on the five occasions I have taken LSD or mescalin, I have always done a lit­tle ritual of ingestion, to face my consciousness in the right direction.  Treated with re­spect, the ally will offer an impeccable education in altered states of consciousness.

Again, from a doctrine of powers point of view, each element – earth, air, fire and water – has its ally, its subtle  form.  The test is really one of noticing, of discrimination.  Every time you use water, tune in to subtle  water.  Is it there, do you subtle-encounter it?  More to the point, every time you breathe, as well as breathing in air, can you notice also the prana, the subtle air?  If not, why not?  Perhaps because it is so obvious to con­sciousness that you missed the blatancy of its presence.

There is a paradox about the subtle universe: the refined way it infuses our everyday ex­perience in this world makes it too obvious to notice. It is a necessary experiential con­dition of so much about ordinary states of consciousness, that we take it for granted to such an extreme degree that we cease to attend it.  The main problem with the use of Occam’s razor as an epistemological tool, is that it can become the victim of this restric­tive delusion. It rests so securely on the forgotten obviousness of the subtle, that it slashes away happily denying that it is there.

13. Matrix space

I have referred several times already to the notion of matrix space and I devote the re­mainder of this chapter to saying more about it. In terms of the doctrine of powers, to enter that form of awareness that is the matrix space of the physical world, is to start to exercise a special command over that world. 

By ‘matrix space’ I mean the space of which physical perspectives give their distorted view.  It is the space which defines the real shape of a material object, the shape which the geometry of Euclid describes – the geometry we all study at school.  The real, Euclidean shape we can never perceive with our eyes, we can only grasp it with the imaginative awareness that helps to make sense of physical perception.  So when I look at a wooden cube, I always perceive it in perspectival form: my visual image of it is a distortion of its true Euclidean cube shape – which is only present in my awareness.

Physical space is matrix space seen always from one point of view. You can move your point of view here and there, but you still only have one point of view. Such a view reveals only the physical object. The very first degree of subtle space – when I am as it were inside physical space – is matrix space seen from more than one point of view, by peripheral or clairvoyant vision.  Then the third eye organises many different and si­multaneous views from out there, as I discussed in section 4 earlier in this chap­ter.  And such vision reveals not only the physical object, but its subtle matrix as well.

So if you want to see the subtle formative double of a tree, look at the tree physically from one point of view, and in imagination ‘see’ the tree simultane­ously from several points of view.  This imaginative act liberates the tacit clairvoyance normally con­strained within physical vision.

Earlier in this section I suggested that matrix space is the space of which Euclid’s geome­try gives an account.  This is all right for everyday earthly life on the surface of this planet. But geometries other than Euclid’s may better describe matrix space in the wider reaches of the physical universe.    Matrix space is first and foremost what we experi­ence – as a form or structure of consciousness.  The geometrical descriptions come sec­ond.  It is important not to identify any one geometry with the protean nature of matrix space.  I address these issues in Chapter 10.

Matrix space, the space of the real or true shape of physical things, is the most accessible form of subtle space.  It is that subtle space that is the womb of physical forms and of our one-pointed perspective on them. It  is the immediate subtle framework of the ev­eryday material domain.  And the third eye can give us access to it independent of vi­sual perception, by organising a selection of viewpoints inherent in space-and-univer­sal consciousness. 

Normally, of course, I only get access to matrix space in and with the use of my eyes.  Thus when I look out of this window across the valley to the distant hills, my mind is busy making matrix sense of the foreshortened perspective presented by my physical vision.  My awareness is out there in the matrix space of the landscape correcting and compensating for the distortions of my physical view. This tacit clairvoyance goes un­noticed since it is so bound to physical vision.

But there is no necessity for my awareness of matrix space to be thus restricted to com­plementing the perspectives of ordinary perception.  I can set it free. And I can do this in two stages.

The first step to freedom is practised together with everyday sight.  While looking down  from this upstairs window, I actively move my mind around the matrix form of the garden, extending my awareness throughout its complete spatial gesture, in and with my physical view of it.  It is as if my imagination is out there, getting all kinds of heterogeneous views which interweave and overlap to create a grasp of the garden’s real shape in space. 

  So I ‘see’ the garden from the far corner, from above,  from this angle, from that angle. And this alongside my ordinary looking, buttressing it with many-faceted ‘views’. These subtle ‘views’ are yielded by my tacit clairvoyance once it is  released from servi­tude to physical eyesight, and can organise subtle perspectives from diverse points in the local matrix space.

This mental activity is rather close to what Goethe called ‘exakte sinnliche Phantasie’, which he recommended – in his study of the metamorphosis of plants as an essential adjunct to the observation of nature.  It is an activity which  liberates the imaginative awareness that is always present supplementing perception, acknowledged by Kant as productive imagination, by Coleridge as primary imagination. 

Such imagination tends to function in a minimal mode when caught up in ordinary looking.  It yields just enough grasp of matrix space to make sense of the physical view, then goes to sleep, doesn’t bother any more.  My belief, of course, is that this imagina­tion is not just ‘imagination’.  It is, as I have suggested, a mode of tacit clairvoyance in the subtle matrix domain. 

Sit in a chair and look at any object. With your physical point-centred vision thus an­chored to just one perspective, now let your mind complement this physical view with all sorts of different views from various parts of the room.  Note the pull of subtle, pla­nar vision: how  the mind is drawn rapidly to switch from view to view, now from this angle, now from that.  Tacit clairvoyance, once authorised to function as an indepen­dent complement to physical sight, will quickly assert peripheral command.

But it can be liberated from any necessary association with immediate physical percep­tion at all.  So the second step to freedom is to explore the matrix space of the garden when I am not looking at it with my physical eyes, but sitting with my back to the win­dow, eyes closed.  Now of course in order to do this I use my memory images of the garden.  I remember how it looks and use these remembered perspectives for launching my imagination off into all sorts of other non-remembered views.

I ‘scan’ the garden from many different vantage points I have never physically been in, up in the sky, from the rooftop of the house, from below ground level.  In this way I grasp the real shape, the matrix form, of the garden.

This imaginative roaming through the matrix space of the garden is the same as the imaginative exercise, described above, when actually physically looking at it.  The dif­ference is that when I launch my imagination off from remembered perspectives, I no­tice much more fully that it is not ‘just imagination’ at work. For when I move from a remembered view to a non-remembered view, up in the sky, say, over a tree on the side of the garden, it is as if there is that unmistakable tang of reality in the shift: I en­counter the garden, I don’t just recall it as in the remembered view.

This is the start of explicit, not just tacit, clairvoyant access to the matrix space of the garden. Of course, it needs a lot of practise, a lot of training.  Remembered physical per­spectives are a good basis from which to conduct this kind of training. The seer has a lot to learn about how to interpret the cues in this kind of psi viewing of matrix space, and it helps to have a familiar foundation.

But there is something deeper going on.  Behind all the heterogeneous clairvoyant scanning of matrix space, there is the luminous fact that matrix space itself is a form of awareness: not your awareness or my awareness, but awareness-as-such.  Which is why, sometimes, you can get beyond clairvoyant scanning, and enter that ecstatic awareness which alone encompasses, as it is, the full true shape and gesture of the garden in space.

There is, however, a much more accessible version of being in the matrix shape of something all at once, without having a physical view or clairvoyant ‘views’ of it.  This is simply entering with full awareness the subtle matrix of your physical body as a whole.  You have a four-dimensional grasp of the complete three-dimensional gesture of your physical body.  You apprehend its matrix shape all at once.  This is an essential part of charismatic training, and I deal with it in Chapter 9.

14. More on the concept of an ally

I have used the term ‘ally’ so far in this chapter in two related senses.  First, there is the subtle form in the other world of the archetype of something, organic or inorganic, in this world.  Second, there is the consciously functioning subtle body of the human be­ing, whether that subtle body is at work in and through the physical body, or whether it is busy with travel in the other world. 

This rendering of the term ‘ally’ is different from that sometimes used in necromancy – where ‘ally’ may refer to a nonpersonal, quasi-intelligent centre of subtle force or en­ergy.  Such a centre of force may assume – or may be commanded to assume – any one of a wide variety of different forms, either in the other world or on occasion in this. ‘Elemental’ has been another term used for this kind of entity.  The sorcerer seeks power over and through elemental entities of this sort.

Then again, ‘ally’ could also be used to refer simply to a personal presence in the other world – a discarnate or subtle soul, an ancestor – who has friendly and supportive intent in relation to a human being.

It does not matter very much what terms we use, as long as we are clear about the dif­ference between the various sorts of being: the subtle form of the archetype of some­thing organic or inorganic; the consciously used subtle body of a human being; a non­personal centre of subtle force; a subtle soul or personal presence in the other world. Of course, for the cautious inquirer, it is only as if there is a difference among these things.  More to the point, it is only as if any of these things exist at all.

Experience of the subtle realms: 

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Chapter 8