Spiritual Vision: Piercing the Illusions of Sense

Musical Thought Form

ALL of what we call ‘reality’ may actually be subjective, that is beholden to our powers of perception, according to Theosophy.

If, as in the words of the dying Buddha, “all compounds are perishable” then all collections of atoms are to be considered ‘illusions.’

They are, according to The Secret Doctrine (1:329), because they are the “creation of the perceiving Ego.” But this must not be considered a solipsistic argument. If we only knew how to get past our five senses we could contact the underlying ‘reality’ of physical things.

The term “Ego” here must ultimately refer to a personal state, and as such must always relate to specific ‘states’ of consciousness.  But this is only from our plane of perception. According to The Secret Doctrine (1:330), once we have gotten past that plane, and scaled the “peak of Omniscience,” the “knowledge of things-in-themselves” is immediately available to us.


The Illusion of Motion

One of the best ways to describe what Theosophy is, arts reporter Ali Snow remarked on a Utah Public Radio show, “is to think of it as a kind of fusion of religion and science.”

“A desire to prove or to explore some of the mystical forces that made religion work and make the spiritual world work.”

A striking example of this kind of fusion is H. P. Blavatsky’s description how “the sense of sound is the first thing that manifests itself in the universe … in  correspondence with colors or sight.”


Colors and Sound

About this sensory synesthetic power Blavatsky wrote:

“If you could only see clairvoyantly a person playing a piano, you would see the sound as plainly as you hear it.”

“You can even put cotton in your ears—you will see the sound and every little note and modulation that you could not do otherwise.”


Making reference to this sensory merging (known today as “synesthesia”) she explained: “One would merge into the other. You can taste sound, if you like, too. There sounds which are exceedingly acid, and there are sounds which are exceedingly sweet, and bitter, and all the scale of taste, in fact.” 

“There is no nonsense, I say it seriously, and you will find it so if you want to know about the super-physical senses.”

(Secret Doctrine Dialogues p. 86)

Alexander Scriabin, a Russian pianist and composer who was deeply influenced by Theosophy, visualized a grand magnum opus which he titled “Mysterium.” Click the link here to listen to Nora Eccles, Harrison Museum of Art as the three curators describe the exhibit, Painting Music: Enchanted Modernities, who gives us a personalized tour of the Theosophy promoted  power (click below the photo):

Elisabeth Sulser

Synesthete Elisabeth Sulser

Click to start below:

This interesting phenomenon is demonstrated practically by the multiple senses of a unique synesthete from Zurich, Switzerland named Elizabeth Sulser. A psi investigator writes:

“Her particular combination of senses is so unique that she is the only person in the world documented to have it.”


Astral Senses

Musical notes prompt different shapes and colors to appear in Sulser’s direct field of vision, while intervals induce various flavors on her tongue.

Elizabeth has an extremely rare neurological condition — the involuntary fusion of sound, sight and taste. Says Elizabeth: “I didn’t know what it was, I was very frightened of myself, and I thought I would get crazy.”

Blind Man Sees

A clinically blind man who clearly saw what he should not have seen. surprised science writer, Andrea Gawrylewski, reporting in The Scientist. As she described the experiment she had to wonder:

“How much can you see with a non-functioning visual cortex?”

“With lesions on both sides of his visual cortex,” reports a paper published in Current Biology, Intact navigation skills after bilateral loss of striate cortex“he was able to flawlessly navigate an obstacle course.” Biologists and neu, rologists are still searching for the hardware (neurons) responsible for this seeming impossibility.”

Hopelessly searching on a materialistic foundation, according to Theosophy, because the sense organs responsible for the effect are astral, and not discoverable on the physical brain neurons.

Material Brain

“It remains to be determined which of the several extra-striate pathways,” the article comments, “account for this patient’s intact navigation skills.”

“It is not fully understood how this is possible,” according to the paper.

This event may be one of  modern science’s many stubborn puzzles. As noted Theosophy readily sees an answer, i.e. explaining the “extra-striate pathways” as “astral,” an unaccepted explanation in modern science.

Indeed, it is by virtue of this inner power, when developed to its fullest unerring potential, H. P. Blavatsky explained, is how the ancients achieved their Gnosis, or true spiritual insights.

How’d He Do That?

Mainstream Science is still myopic to the emerging cognitive evidence that consciousness may not be dependent on the physical brain. As Blavatsky points out in The Secret Doctrine (2:149), “The whole issue of the quarrel between the profane and esoteric sciences:

“…depends upon the belief in, and demonstration of, the existence of an astral body within the physical, the former independent of the latter.”

The Real Senses

The real organs of sense are in what is called the astral body, W. Q. Judge says in The Ocean of Theosophy, not in the physical brain: “These [inner] organs of sight, touch, hearing and tasting…

“are interior, and their outer organs are but mediators between the visible universe and the real perceiver within.

Science & The Sacred

—Suspending Our Sense of Awe

In her first book, Isis Unveiled, H. P. Blavatsky speaks of how the source of this individualized astral pattern in humans, and all other kingdoms, is a subdivision of a universal information field.

It is referred to by biologist Rupert Sheldrake in this video clip, as the “morphogenetic field,” a term coined by him. “The dominant orthodoxy of materialism,” Sheldrake insists, “is crumbling.”


All the ancient occultists and yogis knew about the existence of this field, also called the invisible (to ordinary persons) “astral body.”

Among may other functions and divisions, this field is the substratum or design pattern for our bodies and their organs of sense.


“The astral body has in it the real organs of the outer sense organs,” W. Q. Judge writes, and “in it are the sight, hearing, power to smell, and the sense of touch.”

“It has a complete system of nerves and arteries of its own for the conveyance of the astral fluid which is to that body as our blood is to the physical. It is the real personal man.”

Fields R Fundamental


The Astral Perispirit

H. P. Blavatsky

“The astral perisprit is contained and confined within the physical body as ether in a bottle, or magnetism in magnetized iron,” wrote Mme. Blavatsky in The Veil of Isis Vol. 1, page 198:

“Its inherent activity causes the incessant physical operations of the animal organism and ultimately results in the destruction of the latter by overuse and its own escape.


“It is a centre and engine of force, fed from the universal supply of force, and moved by the same general laws which pervade all nature and produce all cosmical phenomena.”

“It is the prisoner, not the voluntary tenant, of the body.”

Thus the magnetism of the magnet is indistinguishable from the iron filings, Blavatsky concludes, which are ‘dancing’ in perfect synchrony with their invisible partner.

Iron Will

Picture the analogy of a handful of iron filings scattered randomly on a piece of paper. Hold a magnet beneath the paper. Then, watch how the presence of the magnet causes the hundreds of little bits of iron to instantly arrange themselves in perfect symmetry, matching the pattern of the magnetic field.


In this simple grade school experiment you have the principle of how the human form, or any form in nature, is assembled in lock step uniformity with its bioelectric astral model — its subtle, invisible “pattern body.”

Mango Tango

In his foundational article Culture of ConcentrationTheosophical Founder William Q. Judge wrote:

“This inner being [astral entity] is, so to say, inextricably entangled in the body, cell for cell and fibre for fibre.”

The Mango

Using the analogy of a mango, Judge describes the astral entanglement as the way the fibre of the mango fruit exists in the mango…

“…we have the inside nut with thousands of fine fibres spreading out from it through the yellow pulp around…there is great difficulty in distinguishing the pulp from the fibre.”


Proof Positive

Inner Rulers

“Now, this ethereal body has its own organs,” Judge explains, “which are the essence or real basis of the senses described by men. The outer eye is only the instrument

“by which the real power of sight experiences that which relates to sight; the ear has its inner master – the power of hearing, and so on with every organ.”


“Wonder” – Alex Grey

There are cases, Judge says, “where certain parts of this inner body have by some means

“developed beyond the rest… and we have one who can see or hear clairvoyantly or clairaudiently.”


Presumably, such was the case of the clinically blind man. He may have possessed an inherent natural clairvoyant ability that manifested with the loss of his physical sight. His astral eyes, the matrix of the physical sight, took over the business of seeing.

Astral Colors

Astral effects suggest a most intriguing topic: synesthesia’. This involves “an experience by one sensory system while encountering stimuli through another sensory system.

“For instance, some synesthetics experience colors when they hear sounds or music. Others see distinct colors when they see letters and numbers.” (Greg Clayton)

Wassily Kandinsky

Sometimes painting in response to music, Theosophy inspired synesthete artist Wassily Kandinsky sought to create a visual representation of musical sounds, instruments, melodies and rhythms. Click here to view his work.

Kandinsky wrote a manifesto for abstract art, called Concerning the Spiritual in Art (Uber das Geistige in der Kunst). “All art students are advised to read [this] short masterpiece by Wassily Kandinsky,” a reviewer notes. “This classic best explains the concepts that lead to abstract painting in the modern era. Kandinsky recognized the connection between music and painting.”

Blavatsky News:

Centenary of ‘Concerning the Spiritual in Art’

Wassily Kandinsky II by Jacques Moitoret

Wassily Kandinsky II by Jacques Moitoret

 “… he showed something of the influence Theosophy had on him by a reference to both Theosophy and H.P. Blavatsky.”

J.S. Bach, “Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.”

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