The word “clairvoyance” means “clear seeing.” In its present usage it covers a wide field of psychic phenomena; and is used by different writers to designate phases of psychic phenomena differing widely from each other. The student is apt to become confused when he meets these apparently conflicting definitions and usages. In the glossary of the Society for Psychical Research, the term is defined as: “The faculty or act of perceiving, as though visually, with some coincidental truth, some distant scene; it is used sometimes, but hardly properly, for transcendental vision, or the perception of beings regarded as on another plane of existence.”
Mrs. Henry Sidgwick, a distinguished writer on the subject of psychic phenomena, in one of her reports to the Society for Psychical Research, says: “The word clairvoyant is often used very loosely and with widely different meanings. I denote by it a faculty of acquiring supernormally, but not by reading the minds of persons present, a knowledge of facts such as we normally acquire by the use of our senses. I do not limit it to knowledge that would normally be acquired by the sense of sight, nor do I limit it to a knowledge of present facts. A similar knowledge of the past, and if necessary, of future facts may be included. On the other hand, I exclude the mere faculty of seeing apparitions or visions, which is sometimes called clairvoyance.”
The above definitive explanation of the term clairvoyance agrees with the idea of the best authorities, and distinguishes between the phenomena of clairvoyance and that of telepathy, on the one hand; and between the former and that of seeing apparitions, on the other hand. I, personally, accept this distinction as both scientific in form, and as agreeing with the facts of the case. You will, of course, see that the acceptance of the existence of the astral senses throws light on many obscure points about which the psychic researchers are in doubt, and reconciles many apparently opposing facts.
All scientific authorities, as well as the best occultists, divide the phenomena of clairvoyance into several well-distinguished classes. The following classification is simple, and indicates clearly the principal forms of clairvoyant phenomena:
(1) Simple Clairvoyance, in which the clairvoyant person merely senses the auric emanations of other persons, such as the auric vibrations, colors, etc.; currents of thought-vibrations, etc.; but does not see events or scenes removed in space or time from the observer.
(2) Clairvoyance in Space, in which the clairvoyant person senses scenes and events removed in space from the observer; and, often also is able to sense such things even when they are concealed or obscured by intervening material objects.
(3) Clairvoyance in Time, in which the clairvoyant person senses scenes and events which have had their original place in past time; or scenes and events which will have their original place in the future.