THE NATURE OF VRIL
In the Arcane Teaching, the term “Vril” indicates the universal principle of vital-energy, life-force, or vital magnetism, as it is sometimes called. The term itself is believed to have had its origin in the language of ancient Atlantis, tradition holding that the Atlantean root vri, meaning life, is the source of the word Vril, the latter expressing the idea of the vital principle or life-energy.
This original root term is believed to have influenced similar elementary terms in the Sanscrit, and through this that great source of tongues, the Latin, from which our own language is largely derived. In many languages we find words indicating manly vigor, energy, virility, which undoubtedly owe their origin to the original Atlantean root term vri from which our term is derived. In the ancient Greek we find the term veros, meaning ” a hero.”
In the Sanscrit we dis-cover vira, meaning ” a hero,” and in the ancient Irish war, meaning ” a man.” The Gothic wain, and the Anglo-Saxon wer, each meaning ” a man,” as well as the Latin word vir, meaning ” a man,” (from which our terms “virile, virility,” originated,) also appear to have been derived from the Atlantcan term vri, or “life.” It was very natural to identify the concept of ” man ” with ” life.” In our own language the terms ” virile ” and ” virility indicate life-force or vital-energy, particularly in the sense of procreative power, the usage of these terms bearing out the above stated theory of their origin. Bulwer, who was well-versed in occult tradition and terms, used the term ” vril ” in one of his novels, to indicate a mysterious form of cncrgy employed by a newly discovered and highly advanced race of people, upon whose doings his story was based.
It is almost certain that Bulwer borrowed this term from some of the ancient occult writings, with which he was so familiar, and that the ancient Arcane term ” vril ” was known to him. In many of these ancient occult treatises we find frequent reference to ” Vril,” not only in its sense of the principle of vital energy, but also in that sense of inherent usable energy which we seek to express by the term ” human magnetism.” In such writings we find the term employed to explain many of the phenomena of occultism.
Nearly, if not all, of the schools of occultism, in all lands and in all times, have taught the existence of this wonderful principle of energy. In Persian mysticism the term glama is used in the same sense; in Hindu occultism we find the word plum serving a similar purpose. Mesmer seems to have stumbled upon this truth when he taught the existence of ” the universal fluid,” although he was far from the truth in his deductions therefrom. In the revival of interest in occult science in western lands, so noticeable in the past generation, and which continues to the present time, we find frequent references to “human magnetism,” “animal magnetism,” ” vital magnetism.”
And in the schools of “magnetic healing” which attracted so much attention about ten years ago, we heard much of “the magnetic fluid.” The existence of the principle of Nature which we call “Vril” in the Arcane Teaching, has been recognized by many schools of thought through-out human history. Many names have been given to it, and many theories have been ad-vanced to account for its existence, and to explain its purposes and effects.
We shall not attempt to go into the history of this idea, nor to consider the many attempted explanations above referred to. We prefer to go to the fountain head, and present the original Arcane Teaching regarding the principle of Vril. In the Arcane Teaching, then, the term ” Vril” is used in several senses, general and particular, as we shall see as we proceed. In the first place, Vril is held to be a great cosmic principle of very fine energy permeating ali forms of matter, and immanent in thought processes as well, being employed by the prin-ciple of mind in its work of thinking. But Vril is not identical with mind.
Mind is held to be a prior manifestation of the Infinite. From the mental principle arose Vril and the grosser forms of energy, and then the forms of matter fine and gross. In this original sense Vril is perceived to be a great universal principle from which proceeds a multitudinous manifestation of activities. Vril, in this phase of existence, cannot be defined any more than any universal principle can be defined. We have no words with which to define or explain it. It is only when we descend to the consideration of its manifestations that we are able to explain or define it in our finite terms. In the second sense of the term, Vril is the principle of inner vital power or energy found to be immanent in all forms of specialized mat-ter, inorganic or organic.
It is this recognition of universal immanence that has led science to advance the new theories that Life is present in all forms of matter, even in the crudest and grossest states, phases and forms of matter. Haeckel boldly asserts that the atoms of matter possess something akin to life, and manifest the capability of perceiving something like sensations, and the ability to respond thereto. Haeckel says: “The two fundamental forms of substance, ponderable matter and ether, are not dead and only moved about by extrinsic force, but they are endowed with sensation and will (though naturally of the lowest grade); they experience an inclination for condensation, a dislike for strain; they strive after the one and struggle against the other.” Haeckel also says: “The different relations of the various elements toward each other, which chemistry calls ‘affinity,’ is one of the most important properties of ponderable mat-ter; it is manifested in the different relative quantities or proportions of ponderable matter; it is manifested in the different relative quantities or proportions of their combination in the intensity of its consummation. Every shade of inclination, from complete indiffer-ence to the fiercest passion, is exemplified in the chemical action of the various elements to-ward each other, just as we find in the psychology of man, and especially in the life of the sexes. Goethe, in his classical romance, ‘Affinities,’ compared the relation of a pair of lov-ers with the phenomenon of the same name in the formation of chemical combinations.
The irresistible passion that draws Edward to the sympathetic Ottilia, or Paris to Helen, and leaps over all bounds of reason and morality, is the same ‘unconscious ‘ attractive force which impels the living spermatozoon to force an entrance into the ovum in the fertilization of the egg of the animal or plant—the same impetuous movement which unites two atoms of hydrogen to one atom of oxygen for the formation of a molecule of water. This fundamental unity of affinity in the whole of na-ture, from the simplest chemical process to the most complicated love story, was recognized by the Greek scientist, Empedocles, in the fifth century B. C., in his theory of ‘the love and hate of the elements.’ It receives empirical affirmation from the interesting progress of cellular psychology, the great significance of which we have learned to appreciate in the last thirty years.
On those phenomena we base our conviction that even the atom is not with-out a rudimentary form of sensation and will, or, as it is better expressed, of feeling (aesthe-sit) and inclination (tropesis)—that is, a uni-versal ‘soul’ of the simplest character. The same must be said of the molecules which are composed of two or more atoms. Further combinations of different kinds of these molecules give rise to simple and, subsequently, complex chemical compounds, in the activity of which the same phenomena are repeated in a more complicated form.” Science now admits, nay, positively affirms, that the principle of Life is immanent in, and manifest through, all forms of material things, inorganic as well as organic. We are not now concerned with the idea of the presence of mind in all of these forms, except inasmuch as mind is always an accompaniment of life.
Life is generally defined as the quality of sensation and will manifested in forms of matter. But a closer deﬁnition is now being advanced by science. The latest conception is that Life consin: in the power of independent action and movement—that is, in the ability to act and move from inner and inherent power, and not from power or force applied from without. It is this very power to act and move which the Arcane Teaching holds to be the second phase of the existence of VriL
A body may possess sensation and will—ability to feel, and ability to exercise volition—and yet not be able to act and move. Feeling and will are mental states or qualities—but the power which acts and moves is something different from mind, for it is what is called vital-force. life-energy. or Vril. A man may feel the sting of an insect, and may then will to brush aside the insect.
But unless (by the exercise of his will, usually, but sometimes by reﬂex activity) he sends acurrent of vital-force, lite-energy. nervous energy—Vril, in short—his muscles will not contract nor will his hand move. Moreover. without Vril he cannot even perform the processes of thought, and come to decision regarding the brushing away of the insect. Vril is the force which operates the machinery of life from the crudest movement up to highest ecercise of the brain cells of the philosopher or mathematician.
Vril, then, in its second phase of manifestation or existence, is the inner power of actionand movement of all material forms of the universe. It is by the action of Vril that the ions, electrons, oorpuseles, or particles of elementary matter are attracted and repelled, and by which they engage in the wild whirl around each other which resembles the movement of the planets around our sun. which attraction and repulsion and consequent “whirl ” combine to form what we know as the atom of matter.
Likewise. it is Vril which causes these atoms to be attracted and repelled, and to manifest constant vibration. thereby forming the combinations which give to us our eighty elements of matter. And it is by Vril that the molecules (formed of two or more atoms) manifest their varying degrees of cohesion andother molecular qualiﬁes, properties, and attributes. and thus give us the distinctive qualities of matter in all of its various forms. Vril, then, is the ﬁne energy of force which enables material things to move of their own power— the power within that. Vril is, in itself, this poer within, which enables the particle or atom of matter to move to and fro; which enables the atoms to form their combinations: which causes the molecules to manifest theirqualities; which enables man to bend his arm and direct his pen at the behest and command of his will, urged thereto by his feelings or desires. and supervised by his intellectual reasoning.
Moreover, Vril is at the heart of the great mystery of science—Gravitation; that force which operates over inﬁnities of space without the measure of time, and in spite of obstacles and interferences. Gravitation, which contradicts all the minor laws of physics, is seen really to be Vril. life-energy, and vital-force, in its second phase of manifestation. Vril, in the second phase of manifestation. pervades all space—it is inunanent in the universal ether. Wherever anything is, Vril is. in its second phase of manifestation. The above is quite in- adequate to give a complete idea of the existence and nature of Vril. but it is sufﬁcient for our purposes at this time. VRIL, in the third sense of the term. or the third phase of its manifestation or existence. is the life-force or vital-energy of all organic forms of life—of all living creatures. From the single cell or moneron in the slime of the ocean-bed, or the lowly quasi-organic forms of green sediment or deposits on rocks and old trees to the highest forms of animal and human life, Vril is ever present and operative.
Just as protoplasm is the peculiar phase of matter which serves as the body of living organisms. so is this phase or form of Vril the peculiar force or energy which always accompanies organic life. In fact it is the distinctive property or attribute of organic life. When science is forced to decide whether or not a thing is “living” in the ordinary sense of the term, it is the possession or non-possession of this form of Vril which serves to decide the matter and make the distinction. It is this third phase of manifestation of Vril which forms the object