[Notes from The Life of Paracelsus]
From The Life of Paracelsus, 1887
Selections by Franz Hartmann | Notes by H.P.B.
Acthna.—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.1
1. 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.—H.P.B.
Acthnici.—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.”2
2. They are the Devas of fire in India, and bulls were sometimes sacrificed to them.—H.P.B.
. . . All things and all elementary substances were contained in it [Chaos], in potentia, but not in actu, in the same sense as in a piece of wood a figure is contained, which may be cut out by an artist, or as heat is contained in a pebble, that may manifest its essence as a spark if struck with a piece of steel.3
3. The Yliaster of Paracelsus corresponds to the Ἐν 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.” (Note by H. P. Blavatsky)
. . . The elements, too, have each one its own Yliaster, because all the activity of matter in every form is only an effluvium of the same fountain. But as from the seed grow the roots with their fibres, afterwards the stalk with its branches and leaves, and lastly the flowers and seeds; likewise all beings were born from the elements, and consist of elementary substances out of which other forms may come into existence, bearing the characteristics of their parents.4
4. 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. (Note by H. P. Blavatsky)
. . . Everything in the Universe reflects itself in man, and may come to his consciousness; and this circumstance enables man, when he knows himself, to know the Universe, and to perceive not only that which exists invisibly in the Universe, but to foresee and prophesy future events. On this intimate relationship between the Universe and Man depends the harmony by which the Infinite becomes intimately connected with the Finite, the immeasurably great with the small. It is the golden chain of Homer, or the Platonic ring.5
5. 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. (Note by H. P. Blavatsky)