This question must be answered with a definite “no”. Occult training, which generally includes exercises for the attainment of clairvoyance, clairaudience, etc., is a hindrance to free development and to real spiritual ascent. As long as the training is fairly successful it results in what in former times was described as magicians.
It is a process of one-sided groping forward from below upwards, whereby the so-called earth-bound limits can never be crossed. All the phenomena likely to be achieved in such conditions will always be of a lower and most inferior order, which cannot actually uplift a man inwardly, but may well lead him astray.
Through these efforts man is only able to penetrate into his immediate, more ethereal environment, where the entities are often more ignorant than man on earth himself. All that he accomplishes in this way is that he opens himself to unknown dangers, from which simply not opening himself would have protected him.
One who has become clairvoyant or clairaudient through training will often see or hear things on this low plane which have the appearance of being lofty and pure, yet are far from it. In addition there is his own imagination which, even more stimulated by his training, also creates an environment that the student then actually sees and hears, with confusion as a result. A man thus artificially trained stands insecurely on his feet. He cannot discriminate nor, with the best will, can he draw a sharp line between truth and deception or between the thousand-fold ways in which the formative power works in ethereal life. Finally there are the base and, for him, decidedly harmful influences to which he opened himself voluntarily and with much effort and which he cannot oppose with a higher power. Thus he soon becomes a rudderless wreck on an unknown sea, which may become a danger to everything that comes into contact with it.
It is exactly the same as with a person who cannot swim. He is quite capable of sailing in perfect safety over the unfamiliar element in a boat. This can be compared to earthly life. However, if during the voyage he removes one of the planks, then he tears a hole in his boat through which the water will enter, depriving him of his protection and pulling him down. This man, unable to swim, will become a victim of the unfamiliar element.
Such is the process in occult training. Man only removes a plank from his protecting boat, but does not learn to swim!
There are also swimmers, however, who call themselves experts. Such swimmers already possess a certain talent, which with some training they continually develop further in order to make it more effective. In such cases more or less natural talent will be combined with artificial training. However, even the best swimmer is confined within rather narrow limits. Should he venture too far his strength will give out, and he will finally be just as lost as a non-swimmer unless... help comes to them both.
In the Ethereal World such help can only come from the Luminous Heights, from the pure spiritual realm. And this help in turn can only approach if the one in danger has reached a certain degree of purity in his soul’s development which will provide a firm hold. Such purity cannot be obtained through experimental occult exercises, but only through raising the level of true inner integrity by constantly looking upwards to the purity of the Light.
If a man has followed this path it will in time bring him a certain measure of purity and will naturally be reflected in his thoughts, words and deeds. Then, by degrees, he will obtain a connection with purer heights from which, through reciprocal actions, he will also receive increased strength. In this way, throughout all the intermediary steps, he then has a connection which will hold him and to which he can cling. It will not be long before he is given, without any effort on his part, everything that the swimmer tried to achieve in vain. But it is given with the care and caution inherent in the inexorable Laws of Reciprocal Action, so that he gets only as much of it as his own strength can counterbalance, whereby all danger is removed from the outset. Finally the separating barrier, which may be compared to the planks of a boat, becomes thinner and thinner, and finally falls away altogether. That then is the moment when, in the same way as a fish is at home in water, he himself will feel quite at home in the Ethereal World right up to the Luminous Heights. That alone is the right way. All premature results achieved by artificial exercises are wrong. Only to the fish in water is water truly without danger, because that is “its element”, for which it has been properly equipped in a way which even a trained swimmer can never attain.
When a man undertakes this training, it is preceded by a voluntary decision, to the consequences of which he is then subjected. Therefore he cannot expect that help must be given him. He had the freedom to decide beforehand.
However, a man who induces others to take up such training, who consequently are exposed to all sorts of dangers, must take a great part of the consequences of the guilt of each individual upon his own shoulders. He will become ethereally chained to them all. After laying aside his physical body he must irrevocably descend to those who have departed before him, to those who have succumbed to the dangers, right down to him who sank lowest of all. He himself is unable to ascend until he has helped every single one to rise again, until their wrong path has been obliterated and everything neglected through such training has been made up. Such is the balance brought about by reciprocal action and, at the same time it is the way of mercy by which he can right the wrong and ascend.
If such a man has influenced others not only through speech but also through the written word, he will be affected even more severely, because the writings go on doing harm even after his earthly death. He must then wait in the Ethereal World till the last person he has led astray through the written word and whom he is obliged to help onto the right path has crossed over. Centuries may elapse in this process.
However, this does not mean that the field of the Ethereal World should remain untouched and unexplored during life on earth!
At the appropriate hour it will be given to those who are inwardly matured to feel at home where others would still be in danger. They will be permitted to see the Truth and pass it on. However, at the same time, they will also be able to clearly survey the dangers which threaten those who, by means of occult training, wish to penetrate one-sidedly into the lower spheres of unknown regions. They will never advocate occult training.