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An Outline of Occult Science

imaginative stage being, as we have said, the first. Now the term “imaginative” can cause confusion in the minds of some, to whom “imagination” stands only for “imaginings”—that is concepts that lack reality. In occult science, however, “imaginative” cognition must be understood to be that kind of cognition which results from a supersensible state of consciousness of the soul. The things perceived in this state of consciousness are spiritual facts, and spiritual beings, to which the senses have no access, and—since this condition of the soul is caused by meditating upon symbols, or “imaginations”—the sphere to which this condition of higher consciousness belongs may be termed the imaginative world, and the knowledge relating to it, imaginative knowledge. “Imaginative” stands, therefore, in this sense, for that which is “actual” in a higher sense than are the facts and beings of physical sense-perception. A very natural objection to the use of the symbolic pictures here characterized is that they arise from a dreamy thinking and an arbitrary imagination, and might therefore have doubtful consequences. But any such doubts are unjustified in regard to the symbols given by true occult schools. For these symbols are chosen in such a way that they can be looked at quite apart from their connection with outer sense reality, and their value is to be found exclusively in the power with which they work upon the soul when it turns its attention wholly away from the outer world, when it suppresses all sense-impressions and shuts out every thought to which it might be stimulated from without. The process of meditations is best demonstrated by comparison with sleep. In one respect it is like the state of sleep; in another, the exact opposite of it. It is a sleep which when compared to the day-consciousness, represents a higher state of being. The point is that by concentration on the given conception or image, the soul is obliged to call up much stronger forces out of its own depths than it uses in ordinary life or knowledge. Its inner activity is thereby enhanced. It becomes detached from the body, as it