This page is about Elementals in Man mainly, and in general
Elementals are astral beings, such as the Elementals of nature. However there are many more elementals of various classes. One could use the metaphoric image that an elemental is a small invisible 'program' that affects human consciousness. Man creates such elemental mini-programs all the time by his functioning.
Man creates elementals through his activities, passions and cravings. In his incarnate life on Earth, Man is a stage for elementals which will he either release or attract so they stay or stick with him after his death. So through his conscious activity, Man can release elementals (1909-04-12-B-GA110 below).
In magic both white and black, they can be created with the most positive or terrible effects. They also play a role in psychological disorders or what drives people to actions such as suicide.
- phantoms - physical body (1908-06-04-GA102)
- spectres or ghosts (1908-06-04-GA102)
- larvae -astral body (Bardon IIH, also covers phantoms/phantasms/ghosts)
Lecture coverage and references
Ernst Hagemann collected all RSL references to compile an overview of the scattered mentions of the manifold types of elementals by Rudolf Steiner in twenty years of lecturing, see reference below.
- elemental beings that arise through Man's immoral deeds: phantoms, ghosts, spectres and demons .. and their harmful effects
- elemental beings attracted by manual work, by music, by ceremonies, etc
- malevolent elementals, also ahrimanic and luciferically influenced; eg in technology, economic life, through mediums, at birth and death
On the website of Daskalos' teachings we read:
The subject of elementals cannot be exhausted. There was hardly a public Stoa Lesson by Daskalos that did not at least touch on the subject of the elementals. Daskalos considered the study of our elementals as one of the most important for not just his students but for all human beings.
The following introduction (taken from that site) describes essential points, hence it is taken over here in shortened form.
Every thought, emotion and desire creates and transmits an elemental – also called thought-form – that carries on an existence of its own. We create and regenerate two types of elementals. When negative emotion prevails over thought, we have created emotional thought-forms, or desire-thoughts. When our ideas, desires and emotions pass through reason and love, we create reasoned thought-forms, or thought-desires. An elemental can never be destroyed, only disenergized (when no longer fed with etheric vitality). Elementals of a kind collect to form powerful group elementals. If an individual, or a collection of individuals, are vibrating at the same frequency, they will attract such group elementals. ..
One chamber of Man's subconscious contains all elementals that make up our personality. .. . Our present personalities, that is to say the vehicle through which most of us experience and interpret the worlds, are compositions of various elementals born either subconsciously, self-consciously or super-consciously. Elementals having once been created and projected, gain a material existence of their own.
In this way we create different conditions in and around us, which can approach the likeness of paradises or hells. ... We each live in a shell, more or less permeable, of our own design. Just as the gross material body consists of many cells, organized into a working whole, so our personality consists of a network of interdependent psycho-noetical images. The cells of our personality, as we might call them, are precisely, one by one, the elementals which we create and project as a result of our desires and weaknesses, strengths and virtues.
With every thought, each glance, idea, distraction or feeling we create elementals. Even as we sleep, we are emitting elementals that will affect us and those around us. The elementals are emitted with an intensity corresponding to the strength of the desires which gave birth to them. When they have reached their goal and served their purpose, they return to their creator to be projected once again with ever increasing power. This procedure is repeated many times, creating within our personality, either a terrible environment of darkness if the elementals are of low degree, or a strong atmosphere of love if they are good thought-desires
In the same way we can poison the material body by consuming harmful food, or can cleanse it by improving the way we care for it, so we poison or cleanse our personalities: this is how human character evolves.
What is character and what is its relationship with our personality? .. our material body is something which is in constant state of change as substance enters it and other substance is discarded; with the passing of every seven years, not a single cell remains from the body of the seven years prior. We have the opportunity to shape our bodies and health in this constant process of renewal. The same thing happens with our personality: substance is taken in and substance is discarded. With the production and reproduction of elementals we build and rebuild our personality. Here too, we create health or illness, contentment or dissatisfaction, and sow peace or unrest.
For most of us the construction of our personality is performed subconsciously, as we let desires and emotions dictate the character of the personality. Man has been given the gift to create and form the Mind .. given the authority and the responsibility to shape Mind into form.
There are many various types of elementals. Some spring from inside the personality, others are drawn from the outside environment. We either create elementals with our desire-emotions and thought-emotions; or our personality vibrates at a frequency common to a collection of elementals of a like kind and then attracts these elementals. The latter are the so-called "group elementals" that have been cultivated over the centuries by the perpetuation of common beliefs and actions. They can be either benign or malicious in intent. Our personality, whether weak and ill-natured or strong and compassionate, will activate these group elementals. Once activated they will cling to the host personality, affecting emotions, thoughts and actions. When such group elementals are particularly aggressive they can control our energy centers in a phenomenon similar to possession. Conversely, should they be benign and loving we might experience a sensation of great inspiration or even ecstasy.
The majority of elementals we house are intelligent and demanding: they can force the personality to act in a certain manner which creates the conditions for the elemental to be satisfied and renewed. If we are filled with elementals of greed, envy and hatred, these elementals will dictate to our personality actions and behaviors that will lead to great disagreements and brawls, not to mention hellish inner dissatisfaction. If we are compassionate and peaceful in nature, our elementals will lead us into situations where we can be of some help and service. Consequently, in spite of it being accepted that we do not have always full control over the condition of our material body, in the case of our personality the responsibility is ultimately exclusively our own.
If we have constructed a weak personality, we inevitably form centers of attraction which draw to us the corresponding elementals that others have created or are creating around us. But even in this case, it is we who have the responsibility, because we attract and assimilate only those vibrations which resonate with ourselves. We cannot accuse other people, or the conditions which prevail around us, because the acceptance and assimilation of these elementals is purely our own choice and responsibility.
... someone who is laboring under a particular guilt, can temporarily be helped by an angelic being or through the meditation of other humans who pray for him .. Prayer is the process of shaping and emitting loving elementals.
... Elementals cannot be destroyed. Once an elemental has been created it will continue to exist in either an active state (when filled with etheric vitality from a personality), or in a dormant state (deprived of thought power, lying in the waiting). Inasmuch as our personalities are composed both quantitatively and qualitatively of these elementals, in order to rid ourselves of certain elementals we must be prepared to replace elementals which are a nuisance, with more beneficial ones. When one elemental is driven out, a vacuum remains which can be occupied by a new elemental of any nature. It is vital to fill such voids with elementals that serve a constructive purpose within the personality.
We see why it is difficult for personalities to change too much, too quickly as each personality is composed of a relatively balanced and interdependent network of elementals. Suddenly to remove either large elementals, or a collection of elementals of a like kind, can seriously de-stabilize an individual, leading even to madness. The work of disenergizing elementals must be slow and steady with much resolve.
Elementals can never be defeated in a direct struggle. .. in order to move beyond the chains of the past it is best to recognize their source (using reason), and then work to replace and transcend them. We need to let go and not dwell on past events, as by letting go of the past we dis-energize the elementals that weigh us down, depriving them of their life-blood. We can then live unfettered in the present. Let today belong to today, and not the pull of yesterday, nor the push of tomorrow.
1905-10-17-GA093A makes the link between the astral substance of human elementals with asuric beings
[background on Asuric beings]
The substance in astral space which is pressed together by passionate thoughts is the same as that which surrounded the previous planet, the Old Moon, out of which the Moon has developed to a higher stage. Thus wherever such substance exists, a certain danger is present. We human beings are created in such a way that we are obliged to incarnate in the physical matter of today. On the earlier planet there was not as yet physical matter of this kind; it was more highly developed than that of present day animals and less so than that of present day man. This substance in which Jehovah seeks to incarnate provides, as such, no favourable habitation. But the beings which are so far advanced that they reached their proper stage on the Old Moon will cause no harm. They have no liking for this substance.
It is not the substance in which man is now incarnated. But certain retrograde beings who had fallen behind on the Old Moon had discovered in this astral substance - food for their gluttony. They want to feed on it; it has for them a great force of attraction. This shows that we are continually surrounded by beings whose higher nature is related to our lower. When someone produces egotistical thoughts, this is very welcome to these beings. In other respects they are actually more advanced than man, but they have the craving to embody themselves in the astral forms which we ourselves create. They are the socalled Asuras. Through our baser thoughts we provide nourishment for these asuric beings.
When people whose nature is not yet purified, not yet free from passions, meditate, creating strong thought forms, they conjure up around themselves a powerful aura of desires. In this incarnate asuric beings of this kind which are then able to draw such people downwards. If a person drowsy with sleep meditates and in so doing does not rise clearly enough into thoughts, he creates this substance, and because he has no counterbalance, such beings incarnate in his thought forms.
These are higher beings because they had completely developed Manas on the Old Moon, before the coming of the Buddhi impulse; they therefore do not possess this impulse. Hence with them Manas is egotistical. Had not the human being on Earth, from that point of time at which Manas came to him from outside, also received the impulse of Buddhi, had he only developed further the forward urge of Manas, he would have become in the strongest sense of the word an egotistical being. Manasic evolution is one tending to egoism and independence. Its task was to make man independent, but then the Buddhi nature was necessary. The asuric beings already referred to, because they developed Manas too early, have missed this impulse of the Buddhi nature. On the one hand therefore they stand at a higher stage and on the other hand they cannot progress, but go on developing the Kama-Manas, which is egotistical.
[Astral elementals created by Man]
These embodiments of asuric beings in the out streaming of passion-filled human thoughts are one kind of astral beings. They are called artificial elemental beings because they are brought forth artificially by man.
There also exist in astral space natural elemental beings. They proceed from the Group Souls of animals. For each animal group a being exists on the astral plane which unites what is present in the single animals. We meet these also in astral space. Every animal draws its own nature after it astrally like a trail. What is thus formed can however not work so harmfully as what the human being creates in the way of elemental beings. This astral trail is rendered harmless because it is annulled by the Group Souls of the animals.
This is not so however with the beings created through man, because in this case nothing is annulled and hence these elemental beings remain.
1908-06-04-GA102 covers the worlds of spectres, phantoms, demons:
.. another effect of lying, slandering, although these words are not used here in the ordinary crude sense. When more subtly, out of convention, for in-stance, or out of all sorts of social or party considerations, people color the truth, we there have to do with a lie in the sense of spiritual science. In many respects man's whole life is saturated, if not with lies, yet with manifestations bearing an untruthful coloring. The enlightened materialist can at any rate see that an impression is made on his physical body if he receives a blow on the skull from an axe, or if his head is cut off by the railway, or he has an ulcer somewhere or is attacked by bacilli. He will then admit that effects are produced on the physical body. What is not usually considered at all is that man is a spiritual unity, that what happens in his higher members, the astral body and I, has positive effect right down into his physical nature.
It is not considered, for instance, that the uttering of lies and untruthfulness, untruth even in the affairs of life, has a definite effect on the human physical body. Spiritual vision can experience the following: If a person, let us say, has told a lie during the day, its effect remains in the physical body and is to be seen by clairvoyant perception while the person sleeps. Let us suppose this person is altogether un-truthful, piling up lies, then he will have many such effects in his physical body. All this hardens, as it were, in the night, and then something very important happens. These hardenings, these “enclosures,” in the physical body are not at all agreeable to the beings who from higher worlds must take possession of the physical body in the night and carry out the functions otherwise exercised by the astral body and I. The result is that in the course of life and by reason of a body diseased — one might say — through lies, portions of those beings who descend into man at night become detached. Here we have again detachment processes and they lead to the fact that when a man dies his physical body does not merely follow the paths which it would normally take. Certain beings are left behind, beings which have been created in the physical body through the effect of lying and slander, and have been detached from the spiritual world. Such beings, detached in this circuitous way, now flit and whir about in our world and belong to the class that we call 'phantoms'. They form a certain group of elemental beings related to our physical body and invisible to physical sight. They multiply through lies and calumnies, and these in actual fact populate our earthly globe with phantoms.
.. not only lies and slanders but also other things belonging to the soul life produce an effect on the human body. It is lies and slanders which so act on the physical body that a detaching of phantoms is caused.
Other things again work in a similar way on the etheric body. You must not be amazed at such phenomena of the soul: in spiritual life one must be able to take things with all calmness. Matters, for example, which have a harmful result on the etheric body are bad laws, or bad social measures prevailing in a community. All that leads to want of harmony, all that makes for bad adjustments between man and man, works in such a way through the feeling which it creates in the common life that the effect is continued into the etheric body. The accumulation in the etheric body caused through these experiences of the soul brings about again detachments from the beings working in from the spiritual worlds and these likewise are now to be found in our environment — they are “spectres” or “ghosts.” Thus these beings that exist in the etheric world, the life world, we see grow out of the life of men.
Many a man can go about amongst us and for one who is able to see these things spiritually
- his physical body is crammed, one might say, with phantoms,
- his etheric body crammed with spectres,
and as a rule after a man's death or shortly afterwards all this rises up and disperses and populates the world.
... [and further, in the context of oa the state of the astral body during sleep ] ..
.. just think how modern Man for most part wants to over-rule the mind of another, how he cannot bear someone else to think and like differently, how he wants to work upon the other's soul.
In all that works from soul to soul in our world, from the giving of unjustifiable advice to all those methods which men employ in order to overwhelm others, in every act that does not allow the free soul to confront the free soul, but employs, even in the slightest degree, forcible means of convincing and persuasion, in all this, forces are working from soul to soul which again so influence these souls that it is expressed in the night in the astral body.
The astral body gets those “enclosures” and thereby beings are detached from other worlds and whir through our world again as elemental beings. They belong to the class of demons. Their existence is solely due to the fact that intolerance and oppression of thought have in various ways been used in our world. That is how these hosts of demons have arisen in our world.
.. these beings are just as real as the things which we perceive through our physical senses, and which very definitely produce effects in human life ... one understands the intricacies of life when one learns about these entanglements between the spiritual world in the higher sense and our human world. All these beings are there, and they whiz and whir through the world in which we live.
1909-04-12-B-GA110 – L2 talks about releasing an elemental by looking at a chrystal
.. consider a man in front of a crystal, or a lump of gold .. looking at it.
What happens when a man simply gazes, simply stares with his physical eye upon some outer object?
A continual interplay occurs between the man and the bewitched elemental spirits. The man and that which is bewitched in the substance have something to do with each other. Let us suppose that the man only stares at the object and takes in only what is impressed on his physical eye. Something is always passing from the elemental being into the man. Something from those bewitched elementals passes continually into the man, from morning till night. While you are thus regarding objects, hosts of these elemental beings, who were and are being continually bewitched through the world-processes of condensation, are continually entering from your surroundings into you.
- Let us take it that the man staring at the objects has no inclination whatever to think about those objects, no inclination to let the spirit of things live in his soul. He lives comfortably, merely passes through the world, but he does not work on it spiritually, with his ideas or feelings or in any such way. He remains simply a spectator of the material things he meets with in the world. Then these elemental spirits pass into him and remain there, having gained nothing from the world's process, but the fact of having passed from the outer world into man.
- Let us take another kind of man, one who works spiritually on the impressions he receives from the outer world, who with his understanding and ideas forms conceptions regarding the spiritual foundations of the world, one who does not simply stare at a metal, but ponders over its nature and feels the beauty which inspires and spiritualises his impressions.
What does such a man do?
Through his own spiritual process, he releases the elemental being which has streamed into him from the outer world; he raises it to what it was before, he frees the elemental from its state of enchantment. Thus, through our own spiritual life, we can, without changing them, either imprison within us those spirits which are bewitched in air, water and earth, or else through our own increasing spirituality, free them and lead them back to their own element.
During the whole of his earthly life, man lets those elemental spirits stream into him from the outer world. In the same measure in which he only stares at things, in the same measure in which he simply lets the spirit dwell in him without transforming them, so, in like measure as he tries with his ideas, conceptions and feeling for beauty to work out spiritually what he sees in the outer world, does he release and redeem those spiritual elemental beings.
Now what happens to those elemental beings which, having come out of things, enter into man?
They remain at first within him. Also those which are released at first remain, but they stay only until his death.
When the man passes through death a differentiation takes place between those elemental beings which have simply passed into him and which he had not led back to their higher element, and those whom he has through his own spiritualisation led back to their former condition. Those whom the man has not changed have not gained anything from their passage from the outer world into him, but others have gained the possibility of returning to their own original world with the man's death. During his life man is a place of transition for these elemental beings.
When he has passed through the spiritual world and returns to earth in his next incarnation, all the elemental beings which he has not released during his former life flock into him again when he passes through the portals of his new birth, they return with him into the physical world; but those he has released he does not bring back with him for they have returned into their original element.
Thus we see how man has it in his power, by the way he acts and feels towards outer nature, either to release those elemental spirits which have been necessarily bewitched through the coming into existence of our earth, or to bind them to the earth still more strongly than they were before.
What does a man do when, in looking at some outer object he releases from it an elemental being by elucidating it?
He spiritually does the opposite of what has been done before. Previously, smoke had been brought forth out of fire, but man spiritually forms fire again out of that smoke; only after death does he release this fire.
Ernst Hagemann writes about 1911-09-19-GA130
A new group of elemental beings began to appear on earth "around the turn of the 20th century", and one can consider them to be the servants of the Christ being; they work in from the earth's periphery, and quotes 1911-09-19 as follows:
People with an awakened spirit will be able to see new beings in the processes of nature. Whereas men who are not yet clairvoyant will increasingly be able to experience a refreshing element in nature-in spite of all their melancholic feelings about the relentless death processes-the one whose clairvoyant powers awaken will be able to see new elemental beings arising from dying nature...A new kingdom of nature beings Was born around 1899; this is emerging from nature as a spiritual spring which is visible and experienceable for human beings...Those people who will be able to experience what was just described as a fact of nature, will preserve such impressions with something quite different than ordinary memory. As seeds preserve the forces gathered by the elemental beings through the winter and into spring, so will these people carry over the new elemental spirits which stream towards them.
We began this lecture with the elemental beings who are asserting themselves in nature; we ascended from the peculiar visions which induce us to restrain our actions and to listen to the inner word, and in all this we see that...men will perceive the Christ as an etheric phenomenon; they will see the One who will only enter into world events from the ether...They will become aware that there will be a chemistry which is perme-ated by the Christ impulse, a botany which is permeated by the Christ impulse, and so on. These are not based on spirit-less molecules. All that is spread out in nature comes from the spirit. Thus a flower is an ethe-ric being, and on the other hand, the spirit out in the world has penetrated the earth through this flower. The highest meaning is revealed to us in the flower forms which spring forth from the earth. One will not only accept things through faith, but one will know them...therefore, we will only find out how to follow the Christ impulse through an understanding of the sublime measures which proceed from the spiritual leadership of the world.
1911-09-19-GA130 with a more expanded quote (other translation)
.. we began this lecture with the elemental spirits manifesting themselves in nature and continued with the visions that impel us to listen to the inner word. In all these occurrences grouping themselves round a central point, we see that those human beings who find the right path to the spiritual world, human beings through their natural development, will be able to see the Christ as an etheric vision: see Him Who will only take part in world events from out of the etheric. We see that all these occurrences group themselves around the future Christ event. ..
.. Those men whose spirit is awakened will be able to see beings of a new order in the processes of nature. Whilst the human being who has not yet become clairvoyant will increasingly be able to experience that despite all his melancholy feelings concerning the continual death process, there is something of a rejuvenating quality in nature, the human being whose clairvoyant faculties have awakened will see new elemental beings issuing out of dying nature.
Whilst in outer physical nature relatively little will be seen of the great change at the turn of the twentieth century, the spiritually awakened soul will feel: times are changing, and we human beings have the task of preparing spirit knowledge. It will become more and more important to observe such things and carry them in our consciousness. For men are free either to take up such things for the salvation of humanity or to let them pass them by, which will lead to disaster.
.. at the turn of the century a relatively new kingdom of nature-beings will come into being, arising from nature like a spiritual spring, and human beings will be able to see and experience this. And though it would show great apathy of soul if a person were unable to perceive the sprouting forth of springtime, there is more to come. Those people who will grow able to experience as a fact of nature what has just been described, will preserve these impressions in quite a different way than through ordinary memory. They will carry beyond the threshold the new elemental spirits that stream towards them, as the seeds carry their life through the winter into spring. What was experienced in spring and what was experienced in autumn, this bursting forth of nature in the spring and this melancholy in autumn, had no connection one with the other in the past. What the cosmos gives out from its memory enables us to carry over something of what we have experienced in the autumn into the spring. If we let the elemental forces of autumn work in us, then we can feel in a new way what will be given us in the future. Everything will acquire something new in the future, and it is our duty to prepare ourselves through our knowledge of the spiritual to understand it. For Spiritual Science has not come into the world through the personal whims of men, but because new things are happening in the heavens, that can only be perceived when men take up the results of spiritual research. This is why the theosophical movement has come into being.
Now if we submerge ourselves into the Kama of the pre-earthly period we are drawn down by the asuric beings. The higher forces of these our spiritual predecessors stand occultly bound up with the passions and forces of our own lower nature. Wherever there are dissolute excesses, there the substance is given in which powerful asuric forces pour cunning intellectualism into the world. In the case of decadent tribes similar powerful asuric forces are to be found. The black magician draws his most powerful forces out of the morass of sensuality. The purpose of sexual rites is to introduce such magic into these circles.
A battle is continually taking place on the earth, the one side striving to purify the passions, the other side striving to intensify sensuality. The beings who are guided by the Christ-Principle seek to win the Earth for themselves, but there are also the other antagonistic beings who seek to usurp the Earth.
These embodiments of asuric beings in the out streaming of passion-filled human thoughts are one kind of astral beings. They are called artificial elemental beings because they are brought forth artificially by man.
There also exist in astral space natural elemental beings. They proceed from the Group Souls of animals. For each animal group a being exists on the astral plane which unites what is present in the single animals. We meet these also in astral space. Every animal draws its own nature after it astrally like a trail. What is thus formed can however not work so harmfully as what the human being creates in the way of elemental beings. This astral trail is rendered harmless because it is annulled by the Group Souls of the animals. This is not so however with the beings created through man, because in this case nothing is annulled and hence these elemental beings remain.
The other beings, the demons created out of immoral actions, also have an astral body, an etheric body and a physical body, at the watery stage, of course, but they do not have the basis for developing an I. They are born headless, as it were. Instead of taking up the basis for progressing along a regular evolutionary path to the Future Jupiter existence, they reject this basis. By doing so they condemn themselves to the fate of dropping out of evolution.
But this only increases the hordes of luciferic beings, for they fall under their power. As they cannot progress in a regular way they have to become parasites. This is what happens to all the beings who reject a normal evolution; they have to attach themselves to others in order to move on. Beings who arise through immoral actions have the particular inclination to be parasites in human evolution on earth under Lucifer's leadership - to which they have succumbed - and to seize hold of the evolution of human beings before they make their physical entry into the world. They attack human beings during the embryonic stage and share their existence between conception and birth. Some of these beings, if they are strong enough, can continue to accompany the human being after birth, as seen in the phenomena of some children who are possessed. ..
.. What is brought about by the criminal demons attached as parasites to unborn children is the cause of a deterioration in the succession of the generations; it gnaws at human beings, making them less able to develop than they would be if these demons did not exist. There are various reasons for the decline of families, tribes, peoples and nations, but one of them is the existence of these criminal demon parasites during the period mentioned. ..
.. These things play an important part in Earth evolution as a whole, and they bring us into contact with deep secrets of human existence. This is often the cause of people acquiring certain prejudices and points of view even before they are born. So people are tormented by doubts and uncertainties in life, and all kinds of other things, because of these demonic parasites.
.. These beings cannot do very much with what human beings develop once their ego makes itself felt, but they prey on them all the more before they are born or during their earliest years. Thus we see that evil actions, too, have a significant effect in the cosmos and work creatively, but their creativity tends in the direction of the Old Moon existence. For what human beings pass through in the embryonic period, when these demonic beings can prey on them, is basically the heritage of the Old Moon evolution, which makes its appearance in all kinds of subconscious, instinctive behaviour. Something stemming from the older and better days of physical science is the instinct it preserves about the human embryonic period not being calculated according to ordinary months but lunar months; science still speaks of ten lunar months, and knows certain other things, too, concerning the connection of embryonic development with the phases of the moon.
.. So we see that our Earth evolution contains two tendencies. There are good deeds that contain the impulse to work creatively on Earth in preparation for Jupiter, so that man's successor on the human level can come into being. But evil deeds have also brought into our evolution the tendency to drag Earth back again to the Old Moon evolution and make it dependent on everything to do with subconscious impulses; in fact there are far more of these subconscious impulses in materialistic humanity of modern times than there were in bygone ages when people were less materialistic.
1919-12-06-GA194 1922-05-28-GA212 describes the elemental world in the context of the future of mankind, the influence of ahrimanic elementals, but also:
What we have considered so far amounts to one aspect of what in the future threatens mankind. There is another aspect — just as the lower elements of earth, water and air are inhabited by elemental beings, so are the higher elements of light ether, chemical ether and life ether. However, these beings of the higher elements differ considerably from those of the lower ones. The beings of light, and particularly those of life, do not aim at becoming multitudes. The ones who strive the most to become multitudes are the beings of the earth element. The beings of the etheric element strive rather towards unity. It is difficult to differentiate them from one another; they do not express any individuality and rather strive to amalgamate. Certain initiates in ancient times, through whom certain teachings of the Old Testament originated, turned their attention particularly towards the etheric elements. The strong tendency of these elements towards unification created an influence which resulted in the strict monotheism of Judaism. The religion which is based on the worship of Jehovah originated mainly from a spiritual vision of the realm of the ethers. In this realm live spiritual beings who do not strive to separate from one another and become many individuals. Rather do they strive to grow together and disappear into one another; they seek to become a unity.
See more in Franz Bardon and Initiation.
Elementals appear in initiation, and hence also in IIH. In Step 2 the transformation of character, working one's white and black soul mirrors is transmuting one's elementals.
And for the broadness of perspective (not that it is in any way advised because this is a very advanced state of initiation): in step 6 the conscious creation of elementals is described as a magical practice.
Rawn Clarke comments:
In Step Six, Bardon explains the magical creation of Elementals and makes the student aware of other similar creatures, such as larvae, schemata and phantoms. The reader may find Bardon's analysis surprising, for it certainly does not seem like what others have written on this subject in the past. Bardon, in his usual manner, penetrates to the heart of the matter from an Hermetic perspective. In order to create a truly effective Elemental, the student must possess a very high proficiency with plastic imagination. It is also necessary that the student have mastered the depth point exercises since it is from within the Akasha that an Elemental is formed and sent off to the appropriate realm.
The creation technique that Bardon describes concerns a very simple Elemental that will be effective upon the mental sphere. From there, its effect may reach down into the astral and later into the physical realm, if this is the desire of its creator, but its primary focus will be upon the mental realm itself. This sort of Elemental is the best place to start. Once success has been achieved with this simple method, then you will be better able to create more complex creatures.
Bardon provides several rules that must be adhered to in the creation of an Elemental -- the shape and color, the name, the purpose or task to be accomplished, and the duration of its effectiveness. Another important rule to follow is that you must completely disassociate your mind from involvement with the Elemental once it has been created. You must be able to release it and turn your mind firmly to other matters. If you do not, the Elemental will remain attached to your own sphere and not become fully effective (if at all) within the realm you wish to send it to. You may, periodically, recall your creation to your presence and recharge it, but you must again release it completely so that it may go about its business without your meddling.
This may seem an easy matter to the passive reader but it actually requires great mental discipline to release something you have created. Again, your moral development is at issue here. Take care that you don't create something to meet petty needs for it will most likely turn and bite you in the butt.
Franz Bardon comments in on the various elementals in the theoretical introduction of IIH
.. the astral plane is inhabited by many other beings of which I am mentioning only some species here. .. another kind of being is the larvae, which have been brought into life consciously or unconsciously, by intense sensorial thinking, through the astral matrix. They are not real beings, but only forms thriving on the passions of the animal world, on the lowest step of the astral level. Their instinct of self-preservation carries them into the sphere of those men whose passions are responsive to them. They will try, directly or indirectly, to raise and kindle the passions slumbering in man. If these forms are succeeding in seducing men to give in to their suitable passion, they are feeding and thriving on the emanation of this passion produced in man. Man laden with many passions will attract a host of such larvae in the lowest sphere of his astral plane. A great fight takes place and, in the problem of magic, this fact plays an important role. More about it is to be founding the chapter dealing with introspection [step 2] ...
and step 6 includes a description of larvae, phantoms, and phantasms or shadows.
The difference between an elemental and a larva is basically the fact that
- an elemental is created deliberately by the magician whereas
- the larvae form themselves involuntarily in the corresponding mental sphere as the result of a strong physical excitement, no matter what kind of excitement this happens to be. The stronger the excitement is, the more mental material a person is subsiding, the larva will become all the stronger, denser and more viable, especially in the case of a regular and frequent repetition of the same physical excitement.
This involuntary formation of larvae occurs in any human being, young or old, magically trained or not, regardless whether the person knows or ignores it. If the physical excitement is fading due to the fact that no attention has been paid to the upsetting affair, the larva too will disappear by and by until finally dissolving itself.
Consequently there will be in the mental sphere a constant bringing forth and dying of larvae, naturally at the cost of the mental matter of each human being. We are causing these events by our own psychic excitement. The reasons can be very different, usually fear, grief, sorrow, fright, hatred and envy and such like producing them. The shape that the larva shows depends on the cause of the psychic excitement and is always symbolic.
Anyone who knows something about symbolism will be able to get a clear idea about this problem; for example, a thought of love will always be symbolized by a heart, a thought of hatred by an arrow or a flash, etc. In spite of the fact that the larvae, these undesirable mental inhabitants cannot be seen by the normal human being, they still do exist, and the well trained magician can see them on the mental plane.
In sensitive or excitable persons, the mental matter is much more separable and the reproduction of larvae is obviously easier and more intense. Such people wreck themselves, their health, especially their nerves, but they also damage their intellectual faculties and involve other (highly suggestible) people too. All kinds of mass psychosis are originating here. There is no need to describe mass psychosis in detail, because everybody will have made observations and had experiences regarding this problem.
The more one returns to the cause of the psychic excitement and the more attention one pays to it, the stronger the larva will become. Any larva that is condensed very strongly will show a great deal of self-preservation instinct and will try to prolong its duration of life as far as possible. For this reason, it stimulates the mind of the given person, trying at every opportunity to draw his attention to the cause of excitement and to revive it constantly. Such a well-fed larva can become fatal to a sensitive or emotional individual, and numerous mental disturbances such as persecution mania and the like are the result of it.
Many people are living under the erroneous supposition of being haunted and destroyed by black magicians, whereas they are in fact victims of their own fantasies, or putting it correctly, victims of the larva they have been creating themselves. People like this usually will not find out about this problem until they leave their mortal frame. ...
... next I am going to describe another group of entities existing in the mental sphere, namely the group of the phantoms or phantasms. The difference between a larva and a phantasm is as follows:
- A larva is quite unconsciously adopting a shape in the mental sphere, appropriate to the motive of the single or repeated psychic emotion, whereas
- a phantom accepts a certain form originating in the fantasy of Man. Exactly in the same way as it happens to be with the larvae, the phantom is likewise reinforced, revived and animated by the repeated evocation of the picture, regardless of whatever the matter might be, and it will be capable of influencing not only the mental or astral plane, but also the material level.
Two examples may serve to illustrate this topic:
- [ .. first example about phantom of someone who is obsessed with a self-made up thought .. ultimately leading to suicide]
- The second example shows the same occurrence but with a different underlying motive: Here we have to deal with a phantom of eroticism: the birth of such a phantom – if one may use the expression of birth at all – takes place in the face, the beautiful body of a living person, sometimes only a photo, a pornographic illustration or something similar with the purpose of provoking the lust, the sexual instinct, regardless of the person belonging to the female or male sex. Provided anyone being in love, having no opportunity at all of satisfying his personal longing, the stronger and more vehement this yearning will grow, and at thesame time the phantom’s insinuations will become stronger, because it is thriving entirely on thoughts of yearning. The more the concerned person tries to resist this unsatisfied love, the more obtrusive the phantom will become. At first it will turn up in dreams and allow is victim to revel in the most delightful transport of love. A little later it will provoke the sexual instinct and allow sexual intercourse in the victim’s dreams. The pollutions produced in this way help the phantom to become denser and to influence the victim more and more, because the sperm represents the vital power that the phantom is sucking up like a vampire. The point in question here is not the material sperm, but the animal vital power accumulated in the sperm. The victim is losing the ground under his feet, his willpower is diminishing, and the phantom gradually wins the upper hand. If fate is not so kind to such a one as to have him enlightened in good time and to find the right distraction for him, the phantom’s mode of action will result in more dangerous effects. The person becomes confused, stops eating, the nerves are over-excited and such like. [etc]
.. one theme left to be described, that of the phantasms or shadows. Phantasms are animate presentations of people already deceased. .. As soon as a human being leaves behind the mortal frame, it is at once in the fourth state of aggregation, usually called the “world beyond”. Without any mediating substance, it is impossible for a being to operate on our tri-dimensional sphere, just as a fish cannot swim without water. The same thing prevails upon beings already passed away to the world beyond.
Remembering, praising, mourning the deceased, any memory of or tribute to them will create and enliven imaginary pictures of the dead, which as a result of frequent repetition have a rather long duration of life. We call these pictures, created by the living ones, phantoms. It is this kind of phantom that manifest themselves in great numbers to the so-called spiritualists, evokers, diviners, etc. The spooks and hobgoblins also are nothing else but phantoms preserving, condensing and thriving on the affection and attachment of the bereaved ones, asit happens in the case of the shadows. This can be stated without difficulty by citing a being that manifests itself in different places at the same minute at once through so-called mediums, which is nothing but a manifestation of the dead person’s phantom, because phantoms can be created by the hundreds. It is very sad that these phantoms always are mistaken for the real dead person by the spiritualistic mediums. A lot of mischief, self-deception, and fraud is carried out in this line.
.. No wonder that a phantom has such a strong instinct of self-preservation as to present itself as a vampire to the medium or the whole circle, and indeed becomes fatal to the neighborhood as well.
References and further reading
- Ernst Hagemann: 'World Ether-Elemental Beings-Kingdoms of Nature' (1996) - this is a partial extract from 'Vom Wesen des Lebendigen' (1962 in DE)