Babbit's Principles of Light and Color X

From the 1878 book by Edwin Babbit.

Written at the turning point in human spiritual evolution when the Kali Yuga age of materialism reached its end. Babbit was one of the researchers of the time investigating the non-material, etheric aspects of earthly phenomena. In this chapter he goes deeper into the "finer" frequencies of color and its perceptions. The use of colored light in the treatment of illness and disease became fashionable in America in the late nineteenth century. Babbit was one of the primary researchers of the time.



In considering the laws of visible light and color, we have been dwelling in nature's outer temple; in unfolding the mysterious workings of the odic light and color, we have entered the vestibule of the inner, and have taken the first steps into the citadel of life itself. Shall we dare to open still another door farther within than the mere realms of physical life? Nay, shall we approach the holy of holies and stand in the very presence chamber of MIND? We gaze in awe upon a great temple, a mountain, an ocean, a world. But INTELLECT is greater than these, for it can measure and weigh the worlds themselves, and sweep a thousand times beyond their orbits. Intellect, or Mind, is the soul manifesting through the body, and the soul being a spark of the Infinity is itself infinite.


I have been doubly impressed with the wonders of the Mind from the resplendent character of the forces which it uses, as manifested by a grade of light and color still finer than the odic, which may be termed the psychic or third grade colors. This, of course, is constituted of vibrations which are twice as fine as the odic or four times as fine as those of the ordinary light. In the year 1870 I commenced cultivating, in a dark room and with closed eyes, my interior vision, and in a few weeks or months was able to see those glories of light and color which no tongue can describe or intellect conceive of, unless they have been seen. Do you say it was imagination? But no mere imagination can come half way to the reality of these things. Imagination itself must construct the warp and woof of its fabrics out of realities. The finest mosaic work and the most exquisite works of art are but trash by the side of these interior splendors. I have witnessed what have been called marvelous decorations in museums and palaces of Europe, but none of them are fit to be spoken of in comparison with these peerless colors and exquisite forms. Imagination is generally more dim and shadowy than realities, but these colors were so much more brilliant and intense and yet soft than any colors of the outer world, that when I opened my eyes upon the sky and earth around me after seeing these, they seemed almost colorless and dim and feeble. The sky no longer seemed blue, but blue gray, and a poor blue-gray at that. I saw so many grades of violet, and thermel, and indigo of wonderful depth, and blue, and red, and yellow, and orange, more brilliant than the sun, seemingly hundreds of different tints, hues, and shades which could be easily distinguished apart, that at first I thought there must be different colors from any that are usually visible, but finally concluded that we have the basic principles of all colors in external nature, though so feeble comparatively, that we scarcely know what color is. Sometimes fountains of light would pour toward me from luminous centers merging into all the iridescent splendors on their way. Sometimes radiations would flow out from me and become lost to view in the distance. More generally flashing streams of light would move to and fro in straight lines, though sometimes fluidic emanations would sweep around in the curves of a parabola as in a fountain. What was more marvelous than almost anything else was the infinite millions of radiations, emanations and luminous currents which at times I would see streaming from and into and through all things, and filling all the surrounding space with coruscations and lightning activities. I believe that if the amazing streams of forces which sweep in all directions could be suddenly revealed to all people, many would go wild with fright for fear they should be dashed to pieces. Several times I have seen untold millions of polarized particles of vari-colored luminous matter, changing their lines of polarity scores of times a second, like an infinite kaleidoscope, and yet never falling into disorder, for when a particle left one line it would immediately form in exact order in the next line. For sometime I was much puzzled to know what these could be, but it seems quite probable that they were the luminelles which fill the whole atmosphere and constitute under the solar power the basis of light. The dust of iron filings, as seen by the coarser odic light by Mlles. Reichel and Zinkel, while animated by the magnet, caused exclamations of surprise at the extraordinary beauty. Mlle. Zinkel "saw on the glass plate millions of little brilliant stars arranged in curved lines. She testified the greatest pleasure when, by gently tapping the plate, I caused the stars to move and leap about. The whole of the northward half had a predominating blue light, beautifully variegated with all other colors; on the southward half an equally variegated and beautiful red light prevailed" (p. 357). At the present writing, I have forgotten the exact direction of these lines, but think they were either perpendicular or slightly oblique to the earth's surface. They were seen generally at night between 9 and 11 o'clock, and may have been excited into the fine grade of luminosity by the earth's radiations.


1. These finer interior views of nature and her forces show us that there are universes within universes, and that the condition of things which we inhabit is not the real universe, but the mere shadowy outer shell of being, while the real cosmos is so much more intense and swift and powerful than the grosser grade of materiality around us that the latter compares with the former somewhat as a mist compares with a solid substance. And yet there are those who think that this lower universe is all that there is for man, while the sublimer realms of existence are to go to waste as a worthless thing. Even so low a grade of being as a chrysalis can awaken from its coffin and move off into the sunlight, but man standing upon the very pinnacle of nature, and the natural master of its domains, must vanish in eternal oblivion, according to these theorists, before he has fairly entered upon the possibilities of things around him.

2. After viewing these wonderfully refined lights, colors, and forms, my ideals of beauty and perfection became greatly improved, and my conception of the possibilities of man and nature grew far broader. The gorgeous transformation scenes of the New York, Paris, and London theaters, which were generally pronounced magnificent, seemed tawdry and rude compared with that soft and exquisite brilliance which so transcends the power of the outer world to equal, or of the external senses to perceive, while in many works of art or design I could observe features in which I think the artist could have improved upon his work if he had seen these higher manifestations of nature.


1. Thousands of persons are able to see these finer grades of colors, and some much more easily and clearly than myself. Some can see them with the eyes wide open in broad daylight, and that while in the midst of company or surrounded by the turmoil of daily cares. A Mrs. Minnie Merton, of New York, informs me that she has always seen them from her childhood, emanating from all human beings, and is in the habit of reading the character of people especially from the emanations of the head. For some time in her childhood she supposed that everybody could see them. An eminent legal friend informed me some time since that he had seen these colors in all their splendor for many years, but at first he found it necessary not only to close his eyes, but to put a bandage over them before he could witness them. A lady in Chicago, whom I had never seen before, saw in a moment, as she met me, while I was still 15 feet from her, what my profession was or ought to be from the radiations of my person. A well-known judge informed me that he could often tell the general character of a speaker's thoughts before they were uttered, from the colors of the emanations. An eminent physician stated to me that he could see countless flashes, radiations and explosive forces all around the head, and that the ganglionic centers often emitted an explosive light, especially under excitement. I have seen a large number of persons who could see beautiful colors around persons or other objects, but could not tell what it meant. In giving an account of these, I do not include all persons who can see colors on merely shutting up the eyes, for in some cases this comes from a somewhat de ranged nervous and bilious action, and in some cases, as in shutting up the eyes and turning them towards the light, the red blood of the eyelid gives a crimson hue as in ordinary light. Sometimes, when the intensity of this red is greater than that which is ordinarily visible, it doubtless partakes more or less of the nature of odic light also.

2. Reichenbach’s sensitives, as we have seen, often saw the beginning of the psychic scale of colors, and probably at times they saw the full scale. They often spoke of the beauty of the flames which they saw. Such expressions as the following are used: —"The columns of flame from each pole astonished her by their size and beauty;" "She described the appearance as one of extraordinary delicacy and splendor;" "Of uncommon beauty," etc. We have seen that in several cases they saw two grades of red as signified on pp. 393, 431, 436, etc., of Gregory's Translation. They saw shining emanations from the head and all other parts of the system, some of which must have been odic and others psychic.


1. The very fact that all objects radiate their own peculiar streams of light and color, while their interior potencies are revealed thereby, has given me the basic principles of the whole etherio-atomic law by means of which so many mysteries of force stand revealed. If, at first sight, the reader has deemed my positions at times as based on assertion with reference to the working of these different grades of ethers, without sufficient data of fact, it is proper that he should understand what a vast volume of facts could be given to sustain my positions, not only from my own experience, but from that of very many others. Besides this would it not be well for the reader to ask himself how I could have had the skill to hit upon those basic principles of force which so easily and naturally explain Attraction, Repulsion, Cohesion, Adhesion, Electricity in its various grades, Heat of various kinds, with the very law of movement required for its production, Light of different grades with the law of electrical and thermal colors, Chromo-Chemistry, Chromo Therapeutics, and many other points, if I had not been taught by seeing and feeling these wonderful fluidic emanations and radiations which are the law of all things? For this reason it strikes me as being exceedingly important to have these finer forces explained with some fulness not only as giving the fundamental principles of the philosophy of this work, but of all philosophy of force both in external nature and in mental action, for, as we have seen, both the physical and spiritual universe are constructed on principles of absolute unity.

2. Many of our scientists, with a singular perversity of mind, grasp with all their souls after the grosser elements of nature, writing long treatises on a bug, a worm, a mineral, or a skeleton, but when marvelous facts are revealed with regard to these more beautiful essences of being, these lightnings of power without which the whole universe would be but a formless and lifeless mass of debris, they utterly fail to receive the glad tidings with philosophical candor, commence persecuting the discoverer as though he was an enemy, and return to the corpses and bones of the dissecting-room in preference to the radiant forms of the world of life. "We build on exact science and deal with tangible realities," is their watchword, and so they go right off in a carriage with one wheel into the pathways which lead to all confusion and inexactness of knowledge. Take, for instance, the common conception of a single ether which they conjecture must exist throughout all space. They have no facts to prove it, and have not the least idea of how the thousands of grades of force, luminous, thermal, electrical, magnetic, and molar are transmitted over and through it, but have endowed it with properties, as we have seen, at discord with all known law (Chap. Eighth, V). These exact men are immensely inexact. They cannot tell the cause of even so simple a thing as muscular contraction; are quite ignorant of nervous force, nervous diseases being confessedly the "scandala medicorum"; have but a dim conception of the cause of sensation, the laws of mental action, of chemical affinity, of the fundamental potencies of drugs, and many other important matters which after all these ages might have been understood far better if they had but condescended to inquire into the basic principles of power as they exist in the fine forces. "The brain of man itself," says Tyndall, "is an assemblage of molecules arranged according to physical laws; but if you ask me to deduce from this assemblage the least of the phenomena of sensation or thought, I lay my forehead in the dust and acknowledge human helplessness." (Amer. Lectures on Light). Ever grateful as an American for the simple and beautiful lectures on light, and the donations in favor of scientific culture which this apostle of science has favored us with, still I feel confident that if he had not pushed far from him the investigation of these psychological forces, he could at least have understood something of the processes of "sensation and thought." I believe, however, that he would be too truthful to do as did the Vienna clique of Doctors with regard to Reichenbach's investigations, or as some British and American Doctors have done since that time. Referring to the Vienna Doctors, William Gregory, M. D., F. R. S. E., remarks as follows: "It is painful to think that parallel cases have not been wanting in England. The spontaneous somnambulism, and apparent transference of the senses, in Miss M'Avoy, met with precisely similar treatment; as did the very interesting facts which occurred in the case of Dr. Elliotson's patients, the Okeys. There was the same predetermination to find the patient an impostor, the same utter absence of all cogency in the evidence adduced, and the same rash and unjustifiable, as well as unmanly accusation of imposture, brought against persons of whom no evil was known, apparently because the authorities chose to assume the facts to be impossible. The still more recent case of Miss Martineau's servant girl is another instance in point. Having seen that girl, and made observations on her, I can speak with confidence of her honesty and truthfulness." Alas! If scientists cannot rise above prejudice into the pure atmosphere of truth, whom shall we trust?