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The Way of Power: Studies in the Occult

Lily Adams Beck

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A study of the occult, taking you through various ways and means of achieving stillness and peace. The author is very fond of Indian teachings and a lot of the book reflects this.

This book has 148 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1928.

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Excerpt from 'The Way of Power: Studies in the Occult'

"The Occult Of Today Is The Science Of Tomorrow."

I have chosen this motto for my book relating to the occult, for it is an attempt to describe the (at first) very small experiences and knowledge which led me to see the reality of the true occult world lying like an almost uncharted country behind the thick jungle of fraud and charlatanry, and which have led me also to state in comparative detail what I found on my journey and the conclusions it compelled. I use the illustration of "going through the Looking Glass" for two excellent reasons. Firstly, everyone knows that remarkable story of Alice, dear to two or three generations, and how she passed through the Looking Glass to the queer upside-down sort of country behind it. Secondly, few people realize that the book is a wonderful parable of how you can get through the mere reflections of things into the reality behind them if only you know the way. Carroll, who was a great mathematician, knew of the undiscovered country from that point of view. I found a very different road and as a matter of fact there are almost as many roads as there are people. The country behind the Looking Glass, generally called the Occult world, is reality, and the daily world we live in is Shadow-land though the reflections look so hard and bright and real that they take most of us in.

The world is a great mirror. A man sees himself in it as the foremost figure and around him the persons and things which make his surroundings. The Japanese have called it the Mirror of the Passing Show--an uncommonly good name. Seeing it with our eyes we take this reflection for reality and are quite content to believe our senses and go comfortably or uncomfortably on our way. Very few people know what blind feelers the five senses are--feeble, faulty, mistaken, and yet (until we know better) our only means of approach to anything outside the prison of ourselves. We pity a blind, deaf, dumb man, but are much in the same case ourselves. It is only a question of degree, and the microscope, telephone, and so forth carry us a few steps farther into the dark. They are simply extensions. That is what makes the occult world so amazingly interesting.

We see, no longer blinded by our eyes,
And hear, no longer deafened by our ears

which is distinctly good business in such a fascinating universe.

Like others I lived in perfect satisfaction with the gay ordinary reflections in the Looking Glass World until the first doubt overtook me in childhood. My mother, who had trained me to be perfectly fearless in matters of the imagination, told me a strange experience which had befallen her and her sisters and it set me thinking.

Her father owned many ships. A little dance was to be given, and she and her sister were practicing some dance music two evenings before, with a third sister to turn the leaves--three happy girls. The drawing-room was a very large one with dividing folding doors thrown back. As they played, the standing sister suddenly caught my mother's hands and the tune crashed in discord. Leaning round the folding door was a man roughly dressed in a thick short coat. He called out authoritatively "Stop the music," and, as they thought, drew back behind the folding doors and was gone. I should explain that only two of the three saw. One saw nothing, which is curious but not unusual in such cases. Two saw and heard. My mother said that no thought of what is called the supernatural struck them, but they were frightened because a strange sudden man in the house when it is shut up for the night is not altogether a pleasant visitation. Still, it might have been someone to see their father on business. The three rushed into the dining room with their tale and behold their father was dozing in his armchair at the head of the empty table after dinner, his glass of punch beside him. When the house was searched and nothing found they could not explain the man though they could not dismiss him from their minds; and the dance arrangements went on until next evening. Then, as again they were rattling off their music, came interruption. My grandfather put his head round the folding doors exactly as the stranger had done. . . . "Stop the music," he said. "One of the ships has gone down with all hands. There can be no dance tomorrow." The man they had seen sounded, he thought, very like the captain of the lost ship. They could get no nearer to a clue but the thing was as certain to the two from whom I heard it as the sight of each other.

Now when one hears a personal experience like this from people one knows do not lie, it is either dismissed as hallucination, or makes an impression coloring all opinion. I turned it over and over in a very young mind and accepted it as what people called "a ghost," but that did not last. A ghost is only a symptom. Why did ghosts come to some people and not to others? And, if they came at all, from where and for what purpose? Was their country far or near? I had no fear, but deep curiosity, and from that moment knew that the shining surface of the mirror of the world may be jarred by quite other reflections than those one reckons on. But the question in my mind was, Where do they come from? Is there another world beside this which is their domain? Even then, I did not think this covered all the ground.

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