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See out-of-body experience.
A magic cult found in the West Indies, particularly in Jamaica, and similar to voodoo.
From the Latin ob-sedere meaning “sit outside,” this refers to the besiegement of a person by a devil, demon, or spirit. It differs from possession in that the agent does not take up residence inside the body, but assails it from outside. Saints and especially holy persons are said to be safe against possession, but not against obsession. Partially reassuring.
From the Latin occulere, meaning “to cover up.” Used as an adjective, mysterious, not revealed, secret, and obscure are all synonyms.
From the name of the Norse god Odin. The name given by Baron Karl von Reichenbach (1788-1869) to an unmeasurable and undetectable energy that he imagined came from crystals, magnets, and the bodies of certain adepts. This was a precursor to the notion of the equally imaginary aura.
In witchcraft, any substance to be rubbed on the flesh to produce magical results. There were many formulas for flying ointment, for poisonous ointment, and for aphrodisiacs. A special flying ointment was prepared by boiling the fat from newborn, unbaptized children. It did not work.
Olcott, Henry Steel
(1832-1906/7) An otherwise respected agriculturist who took up the cause and theories of H. P. Blavatsky and cofounded the religion known as Theosophy.
(or “aum”) A Sanskrit word often used in mantras and which is pronounced at the beginning and at the end of every lesson of the Vedas, the four sacred books of Hinduism.
The Katha-Upanishad of Hinduism says of “om” that “whoever knows this syllable obtains whatever he wishes.” Well, now you know it, too. Good luck.
In attempts to discover meaning in every natural event or condition, we have used considerable imagination. There are many genuine clues provided by nature: The changing angle of the Sun charts the changing of the seasons, the reappearance of migratory birds heralds the advent of spring, and behavioral differences — what we could call “symptoms” — in animals and humans can indicate physiological situations.
We should not be too surprised to find that our forefathers extended their observations beyond reasonable limits, believing that almost everything that occurred bore some relationship to upcoming events. Thus, not only the position of the Sun, but the configurations of the stars and the planets were also thought to hold significance. Even the general flight patterns of birds and indeed the arrangement and variations of their internal organs took on meaning to observers. Chosen “sacred” animals, by their most minor behavioral meanderings in a temple court, indicated important conditions that could be interpreted, with enough skill. Thereby were born such arts as astrology, phrenology, palmistry and augury.
It might be hoped that we are now free of such impediments to progress. Not so. Most major modern office buildings omit the thirteenth floor, and highly paid lawyers and bankers avoid ladders and black cats. Astrology, worldwide, is a billion-dollar business. Palm readers are sought out by Wall Street brokers, and otherwise bright folks call unseen “certified psychics” by phone to ask their advice.
Progress is often difficult to define. Perhaps it should involve the process known as growing up, as well.
In spiritualistic circles, a “sealed billet-reading” procedure is often used to convince the audience. One popular system for producing this effect is known as, “one-ahead.”
A sitter is told, as he enters the room or church, to write out a question or phrase he wishes to be answered or interpreted, and is told to seal it in an envelope. Often he also writes his initials on the outside of that envelope. The medium accepts a basket full of these envelopes, takes one, and holds it to her head. She announces the contents and comments appropriately on the question or phrase. The medium then tears open the envelope to check how correct she was, then repeats the process with another sealed envelope.
The trick lies in the fact that before accepting the basket of envelopes, the medium has secretly obtained one, opened it, and memorized the contents. It has then been destroyed. Upon picking up the first envelope, the medium misidentifies it as the one secretly peeked at. Opening the envelope as if to check, the medium is now aware of the actual contents of that envelope, and represents that data as belonging to the next one. She is always working “one-ahead.”
This method is worked in every country, even to this day, and is very effective as a convincer.
See out-of-body experience.
A term in opposition to closed medium. The open medium may seek assistance from, and cooperate with, others. He or she is totally aware of the flummery involved. The considerable amount of data available from the Blue Book is contributed to the publisher by the open mediums and used by them. Though the closed performer may compile his or her own data, they are not made available to others.
Order of the Golden Dawn
(more correctly, “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn”) Founded in 1888 in London, this was a secret society that boasted as members Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Mrs. Constance Wilde (wife of Oscar Wilde), and Aleister Crowley. Founder S. L. MacGregor Mathers said that he obtained his esoteric knowledge for the order from “Secret Chiefs” and “Masters” while in trance.
An icon of the Order of the Golden Dawn, incorporating symbols used by the Rosicrucians.
The order broke up in 1900.
A name given by psychologist Wilhelm Reich (1892-1957) to an imaginary substance he believed was normally evenly distributed about the body, but gathered into the genital area during orgasm, then was redistributed after that event. Lack of proper, satisfying orgasms, he said, led to orgone imbalance and attendant negative symptoms of every sort.
Reich preached that cancer was caused by a lack of orgone.
In 1940 he built and marketed a box he called an Orgone Accumulator, and sales were brisk. It was simply a three-foot-square box made of two layers, wood on the outside and metal on the inside. The natural orgone from the sky, he said, was soaked up by the wood and transmitted to the metal and thus to the body of the owner, crouched inside. Orgone Blankets followed, as well as small orgone “shooters” that were said to direct concentrated orgone to needed areas.
Only fourteen years later, in 1954, ever-vigilant investigators for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had discovered these devices and obtained an injunction against Reich selling his products. However, Reich continued, and in 1956 was tried, convicted, and sentenced to a $10,000 fine plus two years in prison. He died in prison, praised by his followers as a persecuted pioneer of progress.
A peculiarly British form of quackery indistinguishable from chiropractic. Used when patients find out that chiropractic doesn't work, and need to be fleeced by something else.
Bearing a name said to be derived from the French and German words for “yes,” the Ouija board is simply a flat, smooth board bearing the letters of the alphabet, numbers, and often the words “Yes,” “No,” “Maybe,” and “Goodbye.” A hand-sized, heart-shaped device perched upon three short legs, each of which has a pad or wheel to enable the instrument to slide freely across the board, is known as the planchette. This is used as a pointer, the tapered end of the heart shape indicating letters on the board.
The Ouija board and heart-shaped planchette.
One or more operators sit around the board, each lightly resting fingers upon the top of the planchette. It is said that spirits or other entities cause the planchette to move about the board, spelling out messages and answers to questions posed by the operators. (This process is a form of “dactylomancy,” or divination by means of finger motions.)
Actually, the movement is due to the ideomotor effect and this can be shown by the fact that when the operator is properly blindfolded, only gibberish is produced.
The Ouija board was patented in 1892 by a Maryland novelty company.
See also planchette.
Ouspensky, Peter Demianovich
(1878-1947) A Russian mathematician and mystic, Ouspensky is best known for his interest in George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (1877?-1949) and for his explanations of Gurdjieff's teachings. He also wrote on the Tarot, and in his most popular work, Tertium Organum, he tried to reconcile Western rationalism with Eastern mysticism.
He met Gurdjieff in 1915, was profoundly impressed, and became a disciple, but broke with him in 1924.
(also, OBE or OOBE) Mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 by Saint Paul:
I know a Christian man who fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of it, I do not know — God knows) was caught up as far as the third heaven.
The word ecstasy is derived from the Greek, meaning “out of place” or “out of body.”
Parapsychologist Charles Tart has defined the phenomenon as an event in which the experiencer (1) seems to perceive some portion of some environment which could not possibly be perceived from where his physical body is known to be at the time; and (2) knows at the time that he is not dreaming or fantasizing.
However, this definition also matches (1) the experience anyone has of listening on the telephone, watching a television broadcast, or hearing a radio program, and (2) it is difficult to imagine how one can know that he “is not dreaming or fantasizing,” if Webster's definition of an hallucination is
the apparent real perception of sights, sounds, etc., that are not actually present.
Given the exceedingly complex nature of the cognitive process in human beings, it cannot be said with any degree of certainty that sensory/perception malfunctions do not occur that give the strong impression of being “real” while in actuality there is no corresponding situation or event.
Parapsychologist Susan Blackmore covered the subject thoroughly in her books Parapsychology and Out-of-the-Body Experiences (1978) and Beyond the Body (1982).