FOOTNOTES TO THE LIFE OF PARACELSUS
[Early in 1887, Dr. Franz Hartmann published his valuable work on The Life of Paracelsus and the Substance of his Teachings (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Ltd.). This book must have appeared before April, 1887, as it is mentioned in that month’s issue of The Path, New York (Vol. II, p. 21). H.P.B. contributed to it the following footnotes which appear on pages 30, 45, 46 and 69 respectively.
The first one is appended to the definition of the technical term Acthna, which Dr. Hartmann defines as “an invisible, subterrestrial fire, being the matrix from which bituminous substances take their origin, and sometimes producing volcanic eruptions. It is a certain state of the ‘soul’ of the earth, a mixture of astral and material elements, perhaps of an electric or magnetic character.” To this H.P.B. says:]
It is an element in the life of the “great snake” Vasuki, that according to Hindu mythology encircles the world, and by whose movements earthquakes may be produced.
[The second footnote is appended to the definition of the term Acthnici, as being “elemental spirits of fire; spirits of Nature. They may appear in various shapes, as fiery tongues, balls of fire, etc. They are sometimes seen in ‘ spiritual séances’.” To this H.P.B. says:]
They are the Devas of fire in India, and bulls were sometimes sacrificed to them.
[The third footnote appears in connection with Paracelsus’ definition and description of the Yliaster:]
The Yliaster of Paracelsus corresponds to the “+<” of Pythagoras and Empedocles, and it was Aristotle who spoke first of the form in potentia before it could appear in actu—the former being called by him “the privation of matter.”
[The fourth footnote has reference to Paracelsus’ ideas concerning the evolution of all beings from the elements :]
This doctrine preached 300 years ago is identical with the one that has revolutionized modern thought after having been put into a new shape and elaborated by
Darwin; and is still more elaborated by the Indian Kapila, in the Sankhya philosophy.
[The last footnote is appended by H.P.B. to Paracelsus’ description of his ideas concerning the oneness of Man and the Universe, and of how the one reflects the other:]
This doctrine of Paracelsus is identical with the one taught by the ancient Brahmins and Yogis of the East; but it may not necessarily be derived from the latter, for an eternal truth may as well be recognised by one seer as by another, in the East as well as in the West, and two or more spiritually enlightened persons may perceive the same truth independently of each other, and describe it—each one in his own manner. The terms Microcosm and Macrocosm are identical in their meaning with the Microprosopos and Macroprosopos, or the “Short-face” and “Long-face,” of the Kabala.