[Notes on Sibyls]
Theosophist, February, 1884
Article Selections by Dr. Fortin | Notes by H.P.B.
The Sibyl differs essentially from all other subects (mediums), inasmuch as her gift enables her to receive inspirations of the highest order accessible to the conception of the human spirit. . . . The Sibyl was connected with the greatest historical facts, and was held in honour and consulted by the most civilized nations. . . .
[here followed a list of Sibyls]
. . . Roman history preserved the narrative of [Herophile, the Cumœan Sibyl’s] interview with Taruin, the seventh and last king of Rome.Arrived from Thebes she offered him for sale nine rolls of papyrus contining Greek verses in which was contained the the whole destiny of Rome. Tarquin hesitated and tried to reduce the price, the Sibyl burnt six of the rolls. Then the kind, after consulting the College of Pontiffs, purchased the remaining three for Rome. Then the Sibylline books, as is well known, were kept in the capital and destroyed during a fire. . . . History affirms that the Senate had passed a solemn decree that the Sibylline texts should be consulted at every national crisis and danger. The Roman republic owed its safety more than once to the precious prophecies contained in the books of the Sibyl of Cumae.1
1. The Sibyl of Cumæa wore on her head a wreath of verbena. We have verified the influence of that plant upon sensitives. Wild verbena excites and intensifies seership, as to the action of the cultivated plant it is wholly a mystery. Let any woman, who can isolate herself, place upon her head a wreath of wild verbena when writing or doing any other mental work, and she will find herself safe from all bad influence and her faculties will reach their maximum of activity. This practice was followed in every Occult sanctuary. In order to test the origin and the intrinsic value of a communication, one must test its justice. The divine is divine only in so far as it is just—said Socrates.
. . . George Sand, one of the most extraordinary women of our age—belonged to that variety of sensitives which we shall class under the denomination of “Radical Sibyls” . . . [she] could never write her novels during the day, nor as soon as the evening had closed. After midnight, she used to retire alone into a dark apartment, where she began to smoke in order to awaken her faculties of seership. Her whole being was then seized with a sensation that led her very soon into a state of complete exteriority (exteriorisation).2 During those silent hours, her hand wrote with wonderful rapidity, and page after page was covered without the least interruption with writing until daybreak.
2. As the translator understands the unusual term, it must mean with the French author an entire isolation from the divine, and the spiritual, and a complete merging into the psycho-physiological world of inner senses or sensuous perceptions which, unless entirely paralyzed, will always stand in the way of the true spiritual Seer. The first state may be induced through opium, morphia, etc., the second is entirely due to natural idiosyncrasies.