“The hierophants and some Brahmans are accused of having administered to their epoptai, strong drinks or anaesthetics to produce visions which shall be taken by the latter as realities. They did and do use sacred beverages which, like the Soma-drink, possess the faculty of freeing the astral form from the bonds of matter; but in those visions there is as little to be attributed to hallucinations as in the glimpses which the scientist, by the help of his optical instrument, gets into the microscopic world.
A man cannot perceive, touch, and converse with pure spirit through any of his bodily senses. Only spirit alone can talk to and see spirit; and even our astral soul, the Doppelganger, is too gross, too much tainted yet with earthly matter to trust entirely to its perceptions and insinuations.
How dangerous may often become untrained mediumship, and how thoroughly it was understood and provided against by the ancient sages, is perfectly exemplified in the case of Socrates. The old Grecian philosopher was a “medium”; hence, he had never been initiated into the Mysteries; for such was the rigorous law. But he had his “familiar spirit”, as they call it, his daimonion; and this invisible counselor became the cause of his death. It is generally believed that if he was not initiated into the Mysteries, it was because he himself neglected to become so. But the Secret Records teach us that it was because he could not be admitted to participate in the sacred rites, and precisely, as we state, on account of his mediumship.
There was a law against the admission not only of such as were convicted of deliberate witchcraft, but even of those who were known to have “a familiar spirit”. The law was just and logical, because a genuine medium is more or less irresponsible; and the eccentricities of Socrates are thus accounted for in some degree. A medium must be passive; and if a firm believer in his “spirit-guide”, he will allow himself to be ruled by the latter, not by the rules of the sanctuary.”
H. P. Blavatsky