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Precipitation is an occult method used by the Masters of Wisdom to produce some of the letters they sent to a number of disciples. Mahatma K.H. tells Mr. Sinnett: ". . . bear in mind, that these my letters, are not written but impressed or precipitated and then all mistakes corrected."[1] The precipitation of letters, however, seemed to be a method used as a last resort, when more "normal" ways of deliverance could not be used. Mahatma K.H. writes:

But for the RULE that forbids our using one minim of power until every ordinary means has been tried and failed, I might, of course, have given you a lovely "precipitation" as regards chirography and composition.[2]

He explains it in the following way:

. . .[W]hether I “precipitate” or dictate them or write my answers myself, the difference in time saved is very minute. I have to think it over, to photograph every word and sentence carefully in my brain before it can be repeated by “precipitation.” As the fixing on chemically prepared surfaces of the images formed by the camera requires a previous arrangement within the focus of the object to be represented, for otherwise — as often found in bad photographs — the legs of the sitter might appear out of all proportion with the head, and so on, so we have to first arrange our sentences and impress every letter to appear on paper in our minds before it becomes fit to be read. For the present, it is all I can tell you. When science will have learned more about the mystery of the lithophyl (or lithobiblion) and how the impress of leaves comes originally to take place on stones, then will I be able to make you better understand the process. But you must know and remember one thing: we but follow and servilely copy nature in her works.[3]

In a report of a conversation that Charles Johnston maintained with H. P. Blavatsky we read:

[C. Johnston] "They say that you wrote them yourself, and that they bear evident marks of your handwriting and style. What do you say to that?"

"Let me explain it this way", she [H. P. Blavatsky] answered, after a long gaze at the end of her cigarette. "Have you ever made experiments in thought-transference? If you have, you must have noticed that the person who receives the mental picture very often colours it, or even changes it slightly, with his own thought, and this where perfectly genuine transference of thought takes place. Well, it is something like that with the precipitated letters. One of our Masters, who perhaps does not know English, and of course has no English handwriting, wishes to precipitate a letter in answer to a question sent mentally to him. Let us say he is in Tibet, while I am in Madras or London. He has the answering thought in his mind, but not in English words. He has first to impress that thought on my brain, or on the brain of someone else who knows English, and then to take the word-forms that rise up in that other brain to answer the thought. Then he must form a clear mind-picture of the words in writing, also drawing on my brain, or the brain of whoever it is, for the shapes. Then either through me or some Chela with whom he is magnetically connected, he has to precipitate these word-shapes on paper, first sending the shapes into the Chela’s mind, and then driving them into the paper, using the magnetic force of the Chela to do the printing, and collecting the material, black or blue or red, as the case may be, from the astral light. As all things dissolve into the astral light, the will of the magician can draw them forth again. So he can draw forth colours of pigments to mark the figure in the letter, using the magnetic force of the Chela to stamp them in, and guiding the whole by his own much greater magnetic force, a current of powerful will."

[C. Johnston] "That sounds quite reasonable," I answered. "Won’t you show me how it is done?"

"You would have to be clairvoyant," she answered, in a perfectly direct and matter-of-fact way, "in order to see and guide the currents. But this is the point: Suppose the letter precipitated through me; it would naturally show some traces of my expressions, and even of my writing; but all the same, it would be a perfectly genuine occult phenomenon, and a real message from that Mahatma. . .

[C. Johnston] "Mr. Sinnett showed me about a ream of them; the whole series that the Occult World and Esoteric Buddhism are based on. Some of them are in red, either ink or pencil, but far more are in blue. I thought it was pencil at first, and I tried to smudge it with my thumb; but it would not smudge."

"Of course not!" she smiled; "the colour is driven into the surface of the paper. . ."[4]

The method of precipitation (and any occult phenomena for that matter), requires a considerable use of force and appropriate conditions. On March 11, 1882, Mahatma K.H. wrote to Mr. Sinnett the following:

To force phenomena in the presence of difficulties magnetic and other is forbidden, as strictly as for a bank cashier to disburse money which is only entrusted to him. Mr. Hume cannot comprehend this, and therefore is “indignant” that the various tests he has secretly prepared for us have all failed. They demanded a tenfold expenditure of power since he surrounded them with an aura not of the purest — that of mistrust, anger, and anticipated mockery. Even to do this much for you so far from the Headquarters would be impossible but for the magnetisms O[lcott] and B[havani] R[ao] have brought with them — and I could do no more.[5]

After receiving this explanation Mr. Sinnett wrote again Master K.H., thinking that he might take additional advantage of the conditions presented by the presence of Col. Olcott and the young Indian man. On the 14th he received a very short note from K.H. saying: "Impossible: no power. Will write thro’ Bombay."[6] Finally, on March 18, 1882, the Master completes his explanation saying:

You seemed annoyed, disappointed, when reading the words, "Impossible: no power here, will write through Bombay." Those eight words will have cost me eight days recuperative work — in the state I am in at present. But you know not what I mean; you are absolved.[7]

The process of precipitation by chelas may introduced mistakes. In a letter "to an intimate friend" Mme. Blavatsky says:

There are hundreds of things missing or incomplete in [Esoteric Buddhism]. The teachings were given by Mahatma K. H., a few letters written by Himself, others precipitated by his chelas. The mistakes made, whether through the fault of the “precipitators” or by others, have been and will be gradually explained and corrected.[8]

Online resources


Additional resources

  • Neff, Mary K. The "Brothers" of Madame Blavatsky. Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1932. See Chapter IX, pages 89-96.


  1. Hao Chin, Vic., Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett No. 10 (Quezon City, Manila: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 26.
  2. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 68 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 203.
  3. Hao Chin, Vic., Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett No. 12 (Quezon City, Manila: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993),37.
  4. H. P. Blavatsky, Collected Writings VIII, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1968) 397-399.
  5. Hao Chin, Vic., Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett No. 50 (Quezon City, Manila: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 143.
  6. Hao Chin, Vic., Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett No. 52 (Quezon City, Manila: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 144.
  7. Hao Chin, Vic., Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett No. 54 (Quezon City, Manila: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 148.
  8. "Communication with Masters by H.P. Blavatsky, published by Blavatsky Study Center