Harold W. Percival

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Harold W. Percival
This is the law: Every thing existing on the physical plane is an exteriorization of thought, which must be balanced through the one who issued the thought, and in accordance with that one’s responsibility, at the conjunction of time, condition, and place.

Harold W. Percival (15 April 18686 March 1953) was a Theosophist and writer who founded The Word Foundation.


Light, greater than that of myriads of suns opened in the center of my head. In that instant or point, eternities were apprehended. There was no time. Distance and dimensions were not in evidence.
Accidents and chance are words used by persons who do not think clearly when they attempt to account for certain happenings.
Though the Realm of Permanence pervades this world of change, it cannot be seen by mortal eyes.
Consciousness is the ultimate Reality; compared with it, all else is illusion.

Thinking and Destiny (1946)[edit]

Thinking and Destiny: With a Brief Account of the Descent of Man Into this Human World, and How he will Return To the Eternal Order of Progression (PDF)
  • This book was dictated to Benoni B. Gattell at intervals between the years 1912 and 1932. Since then it has been worked over again and again. Now, in 1946, there are few pages that have not been at least slightly changed.
    • Author's Forward, p. xxi
  • From November of 1892 I passed through astonishing and crucial experiences, following which, in the spring of 1893, there occurred the most extraordinary event of my life. I had crossed 14th Street at 4th Avenue, in New York City. Cars and people were hurrying by. While stepping up to the northeast corner curbstone, Light, greater than that of myriads of suns opened in the center of my head. In that instant or point, eternities were apprehended. There was no time. Distance and dimensions were not in evidence.
    • Author's Forward, p. xxv
  • You will not be, you cannot be, satisfied with anything less than Self-knowledge. You, as feeling-and-desire, are the responsible doer of your Triune Self; from what you have made for yourself as your destiny you must learn two great lessons which all experiences of life are to teach. These lessons are:
What to do,
What not to do.
You may put these lessons off for as many lives as you please, or learn them as soon as you will — that is for you to decide, but in the course of time you will learn them.
  • Introduction, p. 24
  • This is the law: Every thing existing on the physical plane is an exteriorization of thought, which must be balanced through the one who issued the thought, and in accordance with that one’s responsibility, at the conjunction of time, condition, and place.
    • Ch. 2 : The Purpose and Plan of the Universe, p. 28
  • Accidents and chance are words used by persons who do not think clearly when they attempt to account for certain happenings. Anyone who thinks must be convinced that in a world as orderly as this there is no room for the words accident and chance.
    • Ch. 3, Objections to the law of thought, p. 48
  • A thought has no size in the physical sense but is vast as compared to the physical acts and objects into which it is later precipitated. The power of a thought is enormous and superior to all the successive physical acts, objects, and events that body forth its energy. A thought often endures for a time much greater than the whole life of the man who thought it.
    • Ch. 4 : Operation of the Law of Thought, p. 75
  • Therefore public officials in monarchies, oligarchies and democracies, are as bad as they are. They are the representatives of the people; in them the thoughts of the people have taken form. Those who are not in office would do as the present officials do, or even worse, if they had the opportunity. Corrupt officials can hold office and sinecures only so long as the thoughts of the people are depraved.
    • Ch. 5, Physical Destiny, p. 138
  • Yes, there is a Government of this changing world. The Government is not in the changing world. It is in the Realm of Permanence, and though the Realm of Permanence pervades this world of change, it cannot be seen by mortal eyes.
    • Ch. 5, Physical Destiny, p. 143
  • Consciousness is the ultimate Reality; compared with it, all else is illusion.
    • Ch. 9, Re-Existence, p. 620
  • In every age a few individuals do find The Great Way. They do conquer death by regenerating and restoring their bodies to the Realm of Permanence.
    • Ch. 11, The Great Way, p. 699
  • For you it is possible to do anything; the only thing impossible for you to do is to do wrong, inasmuch as you are knowledge and justice and love.
    • Ch. 14, Thinking: The Way to Conscious Immortality, p. 943

The Word Magazine (1904-1917)[edit]

Our Message

  • In the future, man will act justly and will love his brother as himself, not because he longs for reward, or fears hell fire, or the laws of man; but because he will know that he is a part of his fellow, that he and his fellow are parts of a whole, and that whole is the One: that he cannot hurt another without hurting himself.
  • This is the Message we would bring: the strength to free the mind from ignorance, prejudice, and deceit; the Courage to seek the truth in every form; the Love to bear each other’s burdens; the Peace that comes to a freed mind, an Opened Heart; and the Consciousness of an undying life.
    • The Word Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 1, October, 1904


  • No words will describe this consciousness. The world becomes illuminated. A consciousness of the Universal Self awakens in that one. He is a Brother. He is twice-born; he is a twice-born one.
  • As the cry of the infant awakens in the mother a new life, so also to the quickened man is a new life opened. In the noise of the marketplace, in the stillness of the moonless desert, or when alone in deep meditation, he hears the cry of the Great Orphan, Humanity.
  • This call opens to him a new life, new duties, new responsibilities. As the child to its mother so is humanity to him. He hears its cry and feels his life go out. Nothing will satisfy him except a life given up to the good of humanity. He wishes to provide for it as a father, to nourish it as a mother, to defend it as a brother.
  • The neophyte, through many lives of aspiration and yearning for spiritual light, at last reaches the moment when the light breaks in. He comes to this goal after many days on earth, after many lives in all phases, conditions, circumstances, with many peoples, in many countries, during many cycles. When he has gone through all, he understands the traits and sympathies, the joys and fears, the ambitions and aspirations of his fellow men -- who are his other selves.
  • Man has not yet come into full consciousness of brotherhood, but he may at least theorize about it, and begin to put his theories into practice.
    • The Word Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 1, November, 1904


  • There is another, an Invisible Sun, of which our sun is but the symbol. No man can look on the Invisible Sun and remain mortal. By this light the consciousness of the material is transmuted into the consciousness of the spiritual. This is the Christ, who saves from ignorance and death him who primarily accepts and finally realizes the Light.
  • We are not, as we fancy, living in a world of reality. We are asleep in a world of shadows.
  • Every human being is a messenger, a son of the Invisible Sun, a Savior of the world through whom the Christ principle is shining, to the extent that he understands and realizes the ever-living consciousness within.
  • From one who is conscious of this Consciousness we may have the true Christmas gift--if this is what we seek. The Christmas Presence is the entrance leading to the undying eternal life. This Presence may come while we are still in shadow-land. It will awaken the sleeper from his dreams and enable him to be unafraid of the surrounding shadows. Knowing the shadows to be shadows, he is not afraid when they would seem to enfold and overwhelm him.
    • The Word Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 3, December, 1904


  • For the mind the purpose of life is to acquire a knowledge of its relation to the universe…
  • Through thought in the mind the soul came into the world, through thought the soul became bound to the world, through thought the soul becomes freed.
  • The brain is the workshop of the body, the thoughts which are fashioned from this workshop pass into space to return after a longer or shorter while to their creator. As the thoughts created affect the minds of men of a nature like unto the thought, so they return to their creator to react on him as they had acted on others.
  • Thoughts of hatred, selfishness and the like, compel their creator to go through like experiences and bind him to the world.
  • Thoughts of unselfishness, compassion, and aspiration, act on the minds of others and, returning to their creator, free him from the bonds of recurring births.
  • This knowledge can only come to the man who becomes as "wise as a serpent and as harmless as a dove."
    • The Word Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 4, January, 1905


  • THE soul is an eternal pilgrim, from the eternal past, and beyond, into the immortal future.
  • Desiring to detain the soul in her domains, nature has provided for her immortal guest many varied vestures which she has cleverly woven together into one body.
  • It is through this body that nature is enabled to throw her glamour over the soul and to dull the understanding. The senses are the magic wands which nature wields.
  • How naturally the soul is beguiled. How readily ensnared. How innocently it is enchanted. How easily a web of unrealities is spun about it. Nature well knows how to hold her guest.
  • When one toy ceases to amuse, another is cunningly proposed by which the soul is led ever deeper into the meshes of life. It continues to be amused, occupied and entertained in a continual round of change, and forgets the dignity and power of its presence and the simplicity of its being.
  • It tempers itself and becomes immune against the magic of the wands.
  • The talisman of the soul which will break the spell of the enchantress is the realization that wherever or under whatever condition, It is permanent, changeless; immortal, hence that It can neither be bound, be injured, nor destroyed.
  • The wresting of the wands from nature brings to the soul two other wands: the knowledge of the relation of all things, and the knowledge that all things are One.
  • The ordinary human life is a series of shocks from infancy to old age. By each shock the veil of glamour is pierced and riven. For a moment the truth is seen. But it cannot be endured. The mist again closes in. And strange, these shocks are at the same time made bearable by the very pains and delights that produce them.
    • The Word Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 5, February, 1905


  • Food is an occult essence. It may not appear so to the men of our times, but in the future man will see and appreciate this fact and discover a food which will change his body into one of a higher order. The reason why he fails to do it now is because he does not control his appetites, does not serve his fellow-men, and does not see the deity reflected in himself.
  • The universe is food.
    • The Word Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 4, March, 1905


  • Of all subjects, consciousness is the most sublime and important
  • there has lived no one however great who has solved the final mystery of consciousness.
  • The universe is embodied consciousness.
  • The purpose of evolution is the transformation of matter until it finally becomes consciousness.
  • Through continued effort each of us will at last reach the golgotha of suffering and be crucified between the matter of the turbulent underworld and the glories of the over-world. From this crucifixion he will arise a new being, resurrected in consciousness from the individual self-conscious mind, to the I-am-Thou-and-Thou-art-I soul of collective humanity.
    • The Word Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 6, March, 1905


  • The purpose of motion is to raise substance to consciousness.
    • The Word Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 8, May, 1905


  • Consciousness is in no way different in a lump of clay than in a saviour of the world.
    • The Word Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 9, June, 1905


  • All physical disease is due to over or under oxygenation of the blood.
    • The Word Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 10, July, 1905


  • Our earth is like a hollow and spherical sponge in a current of the ocean of life. We live on the skin of this sponge.
    • The Word Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 11, August, 1905


  • Forms do not exist for the purpose of ensnaring and deluding the mind, although forms do ensnare and delude the mind. It is really the mind itself that deludes itself and allows itself to be deluded with form, and the mind must continue in delusion until it shall see through forms and the purpose of forms.
  • there are two Paths: the Path of Form and the Path of Consciousness. These are the only paths. Only one can be chosen. No one can travel both. All must choose in time, none can refuse. The choice is as natural as growth. It is decided by one's underlying motive in life. The path chosen, the traveller worships as he travels.
  • The larger form absorbs the smaller, be the forms physical or spiritual, and worship hastens the process. The concrete forms which are worshipped by human minds give place to worship of ideal forms. The smaller gods are absorbed by larger gods and these by a greater god, but gods and the god of gods must, at the close of the eternities, be resolved into homogeneous substance.
  • When one can remain steadily, fearlessly, and without anxiety in the point of alone-ness, there is this mystery: the point of alone-ness expands and becomes the all-one-ness of Consciousness.
  • Entering the life-stream of the world, wrapping itself in grosser and denser matter, sinking into the senses and drugged into forgetfulness by the emotions, the mind is encircled, hemmed in, bound down and held a prisoner by form.
  • Through form the senses have grown into seeming realities, have forged about the mind invisible cords of the emotions that are stronger than bands of steel, but so delicately have they been fashioned that they seem akin to all that is dear in life, to life itself.
  • Form is now God …Who dares renounce allegiance to the God? Who knows and dares and wills, can dethrone the false god, and use it to diviner ends; unshackle the captive; claim his divine inheritance; and begin the path that leads to the All-one-ness of Consciousness.
    • The Word Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 10, July, 1905


  • The bodies of the first great period had somewhat the appearance of crystal spheres and were less material than sunlight. Within the crystal sphere was the ideal of the future man. The beings of this race were sufficient in themselves. They did not die, nor will they ever cease to be so long as the universe shall last, for they represent the ideal forms after which all forms have been and will be built.
  • The duty to the world is that two beings of opposite sex should blend into one being to produce a perfect type, which type would include both father and mother within itself.
    • The Word Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 1, October, 1905


  • When the mind first begins to incarnate it is terrified and repelled by the animality of desire.
  • Desire is an octopus deep-seated in the organs of sex… with blind selfishness of the vampire it draws out the forces of the very body through which its hunger is appeased, and leaves the personality a burnt out cinder on the dustheap of the world.
    • The Word Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 2, November, 1905


  • No thought can be killed at once as is sometimes erroneously believed…But if it is refused sustenance each time that it returns it will gradually lose power and will finally fade away.
  • …man is the victim of his thoughts, who pursue him throughout life. Man thinks and nature responds by marshalling his thoughts in a continuous procession while he looks on with wondering gaze, unmindful of the cause.
    • The Word Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 3, December, 1905


  • thought is karma.
  • As the spider's world is limited to the web of its own spinning, so a man's world is limited to the thoughts of his own weaving.
  • He lives in his own universe, the confines of which he builds. And what he believes to be realities are the thought pictures with which he fills it. As the web may be swept away and the spider remains to build another, so in each life the individuality causes to be built for itself a new universe, though most often the personality knows it not.
  • The personality is a form, a costume, a mask, in which the individuality appears and takes its part in the divine tragedy-drama-comedy of the ages now being again played on the stage of the world.
  • The personality is an animal which the individuality, the traveller of the ages, has bred for service and which if nourished, guided and controlled, will carry its rider through desert plains and jungle growths, across dangerous places, through the wilderness of the world to the land of safety and peace.
  • Here the alchemist magician consumates the great work, the mystery of the ages - of changing an animal into a man and a man into a god.
  • These are the voices of the personality, and the one which speaks the loudest will usually prevail. But when the heart asks humbly for the truth, that instant a single voice is heard so gentle that it stills dispute. This is the voice of one's inner god - the higher mind, the individuality.
    • The Word Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 4, January, 1906


  • At certain moments in the lives of an individual there wells up from within a conscious expansion of consciousness… In a breath, in a flash, in an instant of time, time ceases and this interior world opens out from within. More brilliant than myriad suns it opens in a blaze of light which does not blind or burn. ...he has seen the light, he has felt the power, he has heard the voice.
  • Thus he lives to help others; and so while living, acting, and loving in silence, he overcomes life by thought, form by knowledge, sex by wisdom, desire by will, and, gaining wisdom, he gives up himself in the sacrifice of love and passes from his own life into the life of all humanity.
  • After first seeing the light and feeling the power and hearing the voice, one will not at once pass into the realm of soul. He will live many lives on earth, and in each life will walk silently and unknown over the path of forms until his selfless action shall cause the realm of soul again to open out from within when he will again receive the selfless love, the living power, and the silent wisdom. Then he will follow the deathless ones who have travelled before on the deathless path of Consciousness.
  • The sum total of a life time's thoughts is the destiny or inheritance of the future incarnation.
  • Man cannot have or use will freely who is not himself free, and no one is free who is attached to his actions or the results of his actions. Man is free only to the degree that he acts without attachment to his actions.
    • The Word Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 5, February, 1906

The Zodiac

  • Man was circular before he came into the physical world.
  • It shows that the progenitors of early humanity have watched the development of early humanity during all the races and their cycles, until finally some have descended and taken up their abode in the dwellings provided.
  • Capricorn is the sign of individuality, having attained which the human fulfills his obligations to others and becomes a god.
  • The physical world is the arena or stage on which is played the tragedy-comedy or drama of the soul as it battles with the elemental forces and powers of nature through its physical body.
  • That one who brings on miscarriage or abortion is in turn made the victim of like treatment when his or her time to incarnate comes.
    • The Word Magazine, Vol. 3, No. 1, April, 1906


  • It is well that we cannot solve the mystery. To do so might destroy our shadowland before we can live in the light.
  • The soul comes from the eternal, but has lost its wings and its memory while coming through the earth's dense atmosphere. Arrived on the earth, forgetful of its true home, deluded by its vestures and the fleshly coil of its present body, it is unable to see into the beyond on either side of the now and here. Like a bird whose wings are broken, it is unable to rise and soar into its own element; and so the soul dwells here for a little while, held a prisoner by the coils of flesh in the time-world, unmindful of its past, fearful of the future-the unknown.
  • the Infinite here appears to be finite as it enters into the play of life.
  • The paste, the paint, the costume, the footlights and the play cause the soul to forget its being in eternity, and it is immersed in the littleness of the play.
  • Each soul lives in a distinct world of its own, and of its own making, which it relates to or identifies with itself. The soul builds a physical body within and around a portion of itself for a sojourn and experience in the physical world. When the sojourn is at an end it dissipates the physical body by the process called death and decay.
  • In the early stages of humanity the gods walked the earth with men, and men were ruled by the wisdom of the gods.
  • …for every part of the body of man there is a corresponding force and entity in nature, which is the body of God, and the beings who take part in the building of the body are bound to that part which they have built and must respond to the nature of the function which that part is commanded by the incarnated ego to perform.
  • When passion and lust are controlled and overcome there will be no door through which maleficent beings can come into the world.
    • The Word Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 2, May, 1907

Quotes about Percival[edit]

  • Because Thinking and Destiny is so rich with inspired information, most of which requires extensive study, I have prepared The Path to introduce readers to those concepts in Percival’s book which are the easiest to comprehend. These are taken directly from Thinking and Destiny, most of the statements in this book being in Percival’s own words.
    It is essential that all men and women become aware of what they are, why they are here on Earth and what they must do to preserve civilization before it is too late.
    I believe that the beginning of this awareness can be found in The Path.

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