“When Iamblichus, Herodotus, Pliny, or some other ancient writer tells us of priests who caused asps to come forth from the alter of Isis, or of thaumaturgists taming with a glance the most ferocious animals, they are considered liars and ignorant imbeciles. When modern travelers tells us of the same wonders performed in the East, they are set down as enthusiastic jabberers, or untrustworthy writers.
But, despite materialistic skepticism, man does possess such a power, as we see manifested in the above instances. When psychology and physiology become worthy of the name of sciences, Europeans will be convinced of the weird and formidable potency existing in the human will and imagination, whether exercised consciously or otherwise.
And yet, how easy to realize such power in spirit, if we only think of that grand truism in nature that every most insignificant atom in it is moved by spirit, which is one in its essence, for the least particle of it represents the whole; and that matter is but the concrete copy of the abstract idea, after all.
In this connection, let us cite a few instances of the imperial power of even the unconscious will, to create according to the imagination or rather the faculty of discerning images in the astral light.
We have but to recall the very familiar phenomenon of stigmata, or birthmarks, where effects are produced by the involuntary agency of the maternal imagination under a state of excitement.
The fact that the mother can control the appearance of her unborn child was so well-known among the ancients, that it was the custom among wealthy Greeks to place fine statues near the bed, so that she might have a perfect model constantly before her eyes.
The cunning trick by which the Hebrew patriarch Jacob caused ring-streaked and speckled calves to be dropped, is an illustration of the law among animals; and Aricante tells “of four successive litters of puppies, born of healthy parents, some of which, in each litter, were well formed, whilst the remainder were without anterior extremities and had harelip.”
The works of Geoffroi St. Hilaire, Burdach, and Elam, contain accounts of great numbers of such cases, and in Dr. Prosper Lucas’s important volume, Sur l’Heredite Naturelle, there are many. Elam quotes from Prichard an instance where the child of a negro and white was marked with black and white color upon separate parts of the body. He adds, with laudable sincerity, “These are singularities of which, in the present state of science, no explanation can be given.”
It is a pity that his example was not more generally imitated. Among the ancients Empedocles, Aristotle, Pliny, Hippocrates, Galen, Marcus Damascenus, and others give us accounts quite as wonderful as our contemporary authors.”
H. P. Blavatsky