From the archives of some theosophical e-mail lists. ?enter=theos-l

Thu, 18 Nov 1999 14:41:02 GMT

From: "Maureen T Fitzgerald"

Subject: Re: Randy to Alan: the prescient student

I don't believe there can be a "real simple short version" to these questions. And any short version obtained would be specific to one individual as a result of a lifetime of experience and learning, and is bound to change from day to day as one hopefully continues learning and accepting the unknown. Yesterday I came across the following, which may or may not be helpful, or even what you're looking for:

Glossary entry for Dweller on the Threshold From the Collation Of Theosophical Glossaries:

A literary invention of the English mystic and novelist Sir Bulwer Lytton, found in his romance Zanoni. The term has obtained wide currency and usage in theosophical circles. In occultism the word "dweller," or some exactly equivalent phrase or expression, has been known and used during long ages past. It refers to several things, but more particularly has an application to what H. P. Blavatsky calls "certain maleficent astral Doubles of defunct persons." This is exact. But there is another meaning of this phrase still more mystical and still more difficult to explain which refers to the imbodied karmic consequences or results of the man's past, haunting the thresholds which the initiant or initiate must pass before he can advance or progress into a higher degree of initiation. These dwellers, in the significance of the word just last referred to are, as it were, the imbodied quasi-human astral haunting parts of the constitution thrown off in past incarnations by the man who now has to face them and overcome them -- very real and living beings, parts of the "new" man's haunting past. The initiant must face these old "selves" of himself and conquer or -- fail, which failure may mean either insanity or death. They are verily ghosts of the dead men that the present man formerly was, now arising to dog his footsteps, and hence are very truly called Dwellers on the Threshold. In a specific sense they may be truly called the kama-rupas of the man's past incarnations arising out of the records in the astral light left there by the "old" man of the "new" man who now is.


In Tarot tradition, the Moon represents unconscious desires and the fears that accompany the sense of losing control or falling into the unconscious realm of sleep and dreams.

However, if one is afraid to enter one's own astral territory, one can never truly know oneself - and the mystery of initiation is about little more than this. The real confrontation that the Moon represents is the meeting with the "Dweller on the Threshold" of which occult and esoteric teachers speak. This is the giant force of accumulated evil or wrongdoings, the hideous part of the self that a person would rather not look at and would like to pretend doesn't exist, and which rises up at the point of real psychic growth. This "demon" must not only be looked at, but integrated into the being, in order to establish wholeness.


So here we have the methodology for accomplishing the Black Stone that will vanquish and transmute our Dweller or Sin-Body: We must enlist our Martian energy or moving spirit--the "purified metallic Sulfur"--by separating it from any connection with the Personality or lower nature, so that our "unripe Mercury" becomes the voice of pure conscience, moderated by a loving spirit of gentleness and patience. Our Mars becomes the warrior of the Higher Ego, and as the Christ Spirit, speaking through the man Jesus, said: "I come not to bring peace, but a sword" and, "A man's foes will be those of his own household." This will be our St. George who will slay the dragon of our lower nature -- the Dweller on the Threshold.

From Treatise On Astral Projection

Many people have written to me describing their feelings of fear during projection. This is a kind of natural barrier to some people that must be overcome. Some call it "The Dweller on the Threshold". It is a manifestation of your own inner fears, very much like a child's unreasoned fear of the dark; a fear of the unknown.

Many people feel there is something evil waiting for them, or a nasty spirit trying to stop them projecting. This must be faced with courage! Look upon it as a test, an exam, that must be passed before you can project freely. Once you do project, and face it, you will find it is only a hollow threat that will crumple into nothing.

Contributed by David Chance

More information is available at:

The Collation Of Theosophical Glossaries

Van references in:

"Dweller On The Threshold" (on Beautiful Vision)

Part of The Van Morrison Website

Glossary entry for glamour

In esoteric teachings the word glamour has a particular meaning. Alice A. Bailey defines it as mental illusion when intensified by desire, occurring on the astral plane. "Glamour has been likened to a mist or fog in which the aspirant wanders and which distorts all that he sees and contacts, preventing him from ever seeing life truly or clearly or the conditions surrounding him as they essentially are... He is deceived by the appearance and forgets that which the appearance veils. The emanatory astral reactions which each human being initiates ever surround him and through this fog and mist he looks out upon a distorted world." (Glamour - A World Problem (1950)).

The human race is held sway, Bailey says, "by a very ancient glamour or series of glamours, of entrenched desires, potent aspirations of some kind and definitely human-made forms which seek to hold the consciousness of humanity upon the astral plane. Such a glamourous concept is that of money and its materialistic value. This glamourous desire is like a dense fog, cutting off the vision of truth, and distorting a very large number of human values."

Contributed by Alan Pert, Sydney, Australia

Alice A. Bailey writes about various New Age/New Thought topics such as esoteric astrology. This discipline attempts to understand the energies conditioning life on earth beyond the (traditional astrological) planetary and zodiacal influences to embrace the Seven Rays, their distant star sources and other non-ecliptic fixed stars. Ms. Bailey's book Esoteric Astrology was one of the last in a series of 19 books telepathically dictated and transmitted to her by the Tibetan Master, Djwal Khul, over a period of 30 years in the first half of this century.

The reincarnating soul as the purposeful initiator of experience in the human kingdom is the underlying assumption of esoteric astrology, which asserts that all astrological influences are energies the seeker toward mastery must learn to manage wisely.

Van alludes to Alice Bailey in the Beautiful Vision liner notes: "Lyrics on 'Dweller on the Threshold' and part of 'Aryan Mist' inspired by Glamour - A World Problem by Alice Bailey and the Tibetan"

Contributed by Kimberly Livingston

Other books by Alice A. Bailey [and the Tibetan] - click on the links below to order or review them at

Initiation, Human and Solar

Letters on Occult Meditation

The Consciousness of the Atom

A Treatise on Cosmic Fire

The Light of the Soul

A Treatise on White Magic

From Bethlehem to Calvary

Problems of Humanity

The Reappearance of the Christ

Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle The Externalisation of the Hierarchy

Esoteric Psychology: A Treatise On The Seven Rays

Esoteric Astrology

More information on Alice Bailey is available at:

Van references in:

"Dweller On The Threshold" (on Beautiful Vision)

"Aryan Mist" (on Beautiful Vision)

"Ivory Tower" (on No Guru, No Method, No Teacher)

"Green Mansions" (on Hymns to the Silence)

Part of The Van Morrison Website

Glossary entry for astral

According to esoteric doctrine, there are a number of different planes, or levels of reality. The names usually given to these planes, taking them in order of materiality, rising from the denser to the finer, are the physical, the astral, the mental, the buddhic, and the nirvanic. The substance of each of these planes differs from that of the one below it in the same way as, though to a much greater degree than, vapour differs from solid matter.The astral region is the second of these great planes of nature - the next above (or within) the physical world. It has often been called the realm of illusion - not that it is itself any more illusory than the physical world, but because of the extreme unreliability of the impressions brought back from it by the untrained seer. This is because of two remarkable characteristics of the astral world: (1) many of its inhabitants can rapidly change their form, and cast glamour over those with whom they choose to sport; (2) objects are seen from all sides at once.

There are three types of inhabitants in the astral world: human, non-human and artificial. The adept and the psychically developed person can gain access to the astral plane at will. Much has been written about astral projection, whereby the adept can leave his/her physical body, and travel great distances in the astral world.

When people dream they enter the astral world, but in most cases in an uncontrolled manner. This is why our dreams are so chaotic and unpredictable. The "dead" inhabit the astral plane where they work out their karma, according to the quality of the life they have led. This stage is sometimes called the "summerland". When they are prepared, they leave the astral body and go to the next sub-plane.

Among the non-human entities are the elementals: slyphs (air spirits), salamanders (fire), gnomes (earth) and nymphs or undines (water). There are various nature spirits, such as fairies, pixies, elves, trolls, fauns, imps, and goblins. They have their own forms but can assume any appearance at will. Under ordinary conditions they are not visible to physical sight,but they have the power to materialise at will. Normally they are upset by humans and prefer to avoid them.

Artificial inhabitants are thought forms, created by people either unconsciously or consciously. Human thoughts create living entities on the astral plane. If the thoughts are weak, the entities only survive for a few minutes.

Often repeated and strong thoughts will form an entity whose existence may extend to many days. This is the basis of real magic, and the trained adept uses the mind to create on the astral level, sometimes bringing the creation into the physical world.

People from all around the world have in their folklore tales of fairies, ghosts, hauntings, and things that go bump in the night. This is not just superstition, but comes from a time when people were more sensitive to the invisible world. The Irish have a long tradition of contact with the "little people", denizens of the astral world.

Contributed by Alan Pert, Sydney, Australia

Van references in:

"Astral Weeks" (on Astral Weeks)

Part of The Van Morrison Website

Glossary entry for karma

The word "karma" means action, and the derived meaning is "action, and the appropriate result of action". This concept is very important in Hinduism and Buddhism. As applied to the moral sphere it is the Law of Ethical Causation, through the operation of which a person reaps what he sows; builds his character, makes his destiny, and works out his salvation. Karma also applies to groups of people such as families and nations.

The doctrine of re-birth is an essential corollary to that of karma, the individual coming into physical life with a character and environment resulting from his actions in the past. Current actions will in turn determine future circumstances.

Contributed by Alan Pert, Sydney, Australia

More information available at:

More information on Buddhism can be found at

More information on Hinduism can be found at

Van references in:

"These Dreams of You" (on Moondance)

"Till We Get the Healing Done" (on Too Long In Exile)

"Satisfied" (on Common One)

Part of The Van Morrison Website

Glossary entry for music of the spheres

The concept of the "Music of the Spheres" dates back at least to the 16th century, and is a central idea in the Elizabethan world picture:

"The idea that the universe is bound together by harmony or concord is fundamental in Elizabethan cosmology. The music of the spheres orders the heavens, and music alike orders and tempers human passions and social forces." (The Norton Anthology of English Literature, vol 1., p.1049)

This phrase and the idea behind it figures prominently in Sir John Davies' "Orchestra, or A Poem of Dancing" from 1596:

"The poet recounts how one night when Penelope (Ulysses' Queen) at Ithaca appeared among her suitors, Athena inspires her with special beauty. Antonius, most courtly of the suitors, begs her to dance or in his own words to Imitate heaven, whose beauties excellent Are in continual motion day and night.

Penelope refuses to join in something that is mere disorder or misrule, and there follows a debate between the two on the subject of dancing. Antonius maintaining that as the universe itself is one great dance comprising many lesser dances we should ourselves join in the cosmic harmony. It was creative love that first persuaded the warring atoms to move in order. Time and all its division are a dance.

The stars have their own dance, the greatest being that of the Great Year, which lasts 25,800 years of the sun. The sun courts the earth in a dance. The different elements have their different measures. The various happenings on the earth itself Forward and backward rapt and whirled are According to the music of the spheres.

[...] stands [...] for something central to Elizabethan ways of thinking: the agile transformation from abstract to concrete, from ideal to real, from sacred to profane. And the reason is the one given before for similar catholicity: the Elizabethans were conscious simultaneously and to an uncommon degree of 'the erected wit and the infected will of man'. It was thus possible for Davies to pass from the mystical notion of the spherical music to the concrete picture of Elizabeth's courtiers dancing, without incongruity."

(E.M.W. Tillyard, The Elizabethan World Picture, Pelican 1943, pp. 112-114)

To relate this back to Van: His world picture seems to me remarkably similar in its ability to incorporate the opposites (say Jellyroll and Spiritual Healing) in one song, one performance, one breath. He certainly has many references to the powers of music and dance, and I think he would gladly agree to the feeling that 'the universe itself is one great dance...'

It is possible that Van never read the Elizabethan poets, and that he came to this philosophy via other routes (f. ex. some of the New Age/therapy ways of thinking, that themselves are not original but derivates of Western philosophy and Eastern religion and mysticism), but clearly there are some correspondences here in the lyrics to "Dweller", for instance the phrases "I'll sing the song of ages", "I'm gonna turn and face the music, the music of the spheres", etc.

Contributed by B. Sorensen

Van references in:

"Dweller On The Threshold" (on Beautiful Vision)

"Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" (on The Healing Game)

Part of The Van Morrison Website