Concentration. In the first place, the student should cultivate the faculty of Concentration, that is the power to hold the attention upon an object for some time. Very few persons possess this power, although they may think they do. The best way to develop Concentration is to practice on some familiar and common object, such as a pencil, book, ornament, etc. Take up the object and study it in detail, forcing the mind to examine and consider it in every part, until every detail of the object has been observed and noted. Then lay the object aside, and a few hours after pick it up again and repeat the process, and you will be surprised to see how many points you have missed on the first trial. Repeat this until you feel that you have exhausted your object. The next day take up another object, and repeat the process. A drill of this kind will not only greatly develop the powers of Perception, but will also strengthen your powers of Concentration in a manner which will be of great value to you in Occult Development.
Visualizing. The second point of development for the student, is the development of the faculty of Visualization. In order to Visualize you must cultivate the faculty of forming Mental Pictures of distant scenes, places, people, etc., until you can summon them before you at will, when you place yourself in the proper mental condition. Another plan is to place yourself in a comfortable position, and then make a mental journey to some place that you have previously visited. Prepare for the journey, and then mentally see yourself starting on your trip; then seeing all the intermediate places and points; then arriving at your destination and visiting the points of interest, etc.; and then returning home. Then, later try to visit places that you have never seen, in the same way. This is not Clairvoyance, but is a training of the mental faculties for the exercise of the real power.
Psychometry. After you have developed yourself along the lines of Concentration, and Visualization as above stated, you may begin to practice Psychometry, as follows: Take a lock of hair; or handkerchief; or ribbon; or ring; belonging to some other person, and then press it against your forehead, lightly, closing your eyes, and assuming a receptive and passive mental state. Then desire calmly that you Psychometrize the past history of the object. Do not be in too much of a hurry, but await calmly the impressions. After a while you will begin to receive impressions concerning the person owning the object pressed against your forehead. You will form a mental picture of the person, and will soon begin to receive impressions about hicharacteristics, etc. You may practice with a number of objects, at different times, and will gradually develop the Psychometric power by such practice and experiments. Remember that you are developing what is practically a new sense and must have perseverance and patience in educating and unfolding it.
Another form of Psychometric development is that of tracing the past history, surroundings, etc., of metals, minerals, etc. The process is identical to that just described. The mineral is pressed against the forehead, and with closed eyes the person awaits the Psychometric impression. Some who have highly developed the faculty have been able to describe the veins of mineral, metal, etc., and to give much valuable information regarding same, all arising from the psychic clue afforded by a sample of the rock. mineral, metal, etc. There are other cases of record, in which underground streams of water have been discovered by Psychometrists, by means of the clue given by a bit of earth, stone, etc., from the surface. In this, as in the other phase mentioned, practice, practice, practice, is the summing up of the instruction regarding development.
Crystal Gazing. We consider the use of the Crystal, Glass Ball, or other forms of what the ancients called “The Magic Mirror,” to be the best plan of developing Psychomantic Power. As we have already explained, this method serves to focus the concentrated desire, will, and thought of the person, and thereby becomes the starting point for the Astral Tube, of which we have frequently spoken in this work. The student becoming proficient in this class of phenomena, passes by easy, gradual and natural stages to the higher and more complex phases of the subject. The “Magic Mirror” (of which the Crystal is but a form) was used by the ancient Occultists in developing the powers of their students, and in all countries, and in all ages, it has played a similar part in the process of developing psychic powers, and serving as a focal point for the erection and operation of the Astral Tube, Psychomancy and other forms of occult and psychic phenomena.
At this point, we wish to tell you that there is no special virtue or magical properties or qualities in the Crystal itself—it is merely an instrument for Astral Vision, just as the telescope, microscope and other optical instruments are instruments employed in the phenomena of physical vision. It is true that the atomic and molecular characteristics of glass, crystal, etc., tend to produce the best results, but, after all, water, ink, etc., have been, and may be similarly used. No, there is no special “magic” in the crystal itself, so do not allow yourself to fall into any superstition regarding its use.
Various teachers use different forms of the Crystal, or substitutes for it. Some of the teachers whose patrons are among the wealthier classes of the community, insist upon their pupils possessing globes of pure crystal, insisting that the latter alone gives the best results. But others who have pupils among people with shorter purses, have found that their pupils obtained just as good results by the use of a ball of plain glass, which is inexpensive. Others have advocated the use of watch crystals laid over a piece of black cloth, preferably velvet. Others have used polished steel objects, or pieces of polished metal of various kinds, a new silver coin, for instance. Others still, have used a large drop of ink poured into a small dish, etc. Others have had cups painted black on their inner surface, into which they poured water, and claimed to have obtained the finest results. All the old talk about magic ceremonies and incantations being necessary in manufacturing the Magic Mirror, is pure nonsense, which has grown around the scientific facts of the case, as is so often the case. Do not be deceived by any such tomfoolery. A number of persons prefer to gaze into the bright substance of a precious stone. So you see, when we use the term “Crystal,” we mean that the student may make his choice of any, or several, of the above‑mentioned objects, or that he may even substitute some other object of his own choosing, possessing the requisite power of reflection.
There are but very few directions to be given in the use of the Crystal. Read what we have to say at the conclusion of our lesson on “Crystal Gazing” in this book, (Lesson VI). The principal point insisted upon by nearly all the teachers, is that of placing the back of the gazer to the light, instead of having him face the light.
The simple general direction is that the gazer should practice by himself, at first, in a quiet room, sitting with his back toward the light, with the Crystal placed before him on a table, on a piece of black cloth, or other dark material, and then gaze calmly at the Crystal. Do not be afraid of winking, and do not strain or tire the eyes. Some prefer making funnels of their hands, and gazing through them just as if they were opera‑glasses, and we think this plan a very good one, for it serves to shut out distracting light, and sights. If you fail to see anything at the first trial, do not be discouraged, but persevere. A number of trials are necessary in some cases, while in others wonderful results have been obtained at the first experiment.
An English authority recommends that beginners failing to get direct results, then try to “visualize” something that they have already seen—something familiar, such as a chair, a ring, a face, etc., and then turning to the Crystal endeavor to reproduce there. It is claimed that this practice will often gradually lead to actual “seeing” in the Crystal.
The first signs of the actual “seeing” in the Crystal, comes in the form of a “cloudiness,” or “milky‑mist” in the crystal, which slowly resolves itself into a form, or scene, which appears gradually like the precipitation of a photograph upon a sensitive plate in the developing room. In some cases, the “misty” cloud deepens into a black one, from which the pictures appear.