Tibetan Thought-forms

Tibetan Thought-forms are in Tibetan occultism, thoughts that can create a phantom form called a tulpa. Of temporary duration, tulpas usually assume human shape and are created to be sent out on a mission. In her explorations of Tibetan thought, Alexandra David-Neel successfully created a tulpa, though it was not what she intended and for a time eluded her control.

David-Neel sought to create a lama who would be “short and fat, of an innocent and jolly type.” After several months of performing the prescribed ritual, a phantom monk appeared. It assumed a lifelike form over a period of time and existed almost like a guest in David-Neel’s apartment.

The tulpa tagged along with her as she went out on a tour. To her distress, the tulpa began to change. She wrote, “The features . . . gradually underwent a change. The fat, chubby-cheeked fellow grew leaner, his face assumed a vaguely mocking, sly, malignant look. He became more troublesome and bold. In brief, he escaped my control.” The tulpa began to touch her and rub up against her. Others began to see him, but he did not respond to anyone’s conversation.

David-Neel decided to dissolve the tulpa, according to certain Tibetan rituals, but the phantom resisted her efforts. It took her six months to eliminate him. The entire episode upset her, and she termed it “very bad luck.”

Thought-forms in New Thought and Healing

In the 19th century, the New Thought movement emphasized the creative and spiritual power of thought. Science of Mind, founded by Ernest Holmes, teaches that we are surrounded by an Infinite Intelligence, or Mind (God), which functions upon our beliefs. If we let go of destructive thoughts and replace them with constructive ones, we enter into a cooperation with this Mind that enables us to be healthier, happier, more successful, and more spiritually fulfilled. To this end, daily affirmations, meditation, and PRAYER facilitate that objective. In magical terms, these activities create positive thought-forms that can manifest in the physical world.

Holmes taught that there is but one Mind and that everything is an aspect of it; each of us uses a portion of It. He taught, “My thought is in control of my experience and I can direct my thinking,” and “the ability to control my experiences and have them result in happiness, prosperity, and success lies in my own mind and my use of it.”

“Mind responds to mind,” said Holmes. “It is done to you as you believe.” In other words, do not ask for things, but declare them. This is the Law of Mind, which manifests the beliefs we speak into It.

To improve health and for healing, Holmes recommended meditation upon affirmations such as “God-life surges through my entire body,” or “I am well and successful in everything that I do,” followed by a period of prayer in which the pray-er does not ask for anything but declares desired results, accepts them as though they have manifested, and gives thanks for them. This method can be applied to any situation or need in life. One’s thoughts and motives ideally should be Godlike. A key element is belief in the desired results; Holmes stressed that belief must be felt with the total being. He noted that the effective prayer is one prayed by a person whose faith has removed all doubt.

Similarly, a magician works with complete intensity of WILL, IMAGINATION, faith, and belief. A ritual declares manifestation. In the field of complementary medicine, the term intentionality applies to the power of thought to affect the state of health and well-being. Intentionality corresponds to the creation of positive thought-forms.



  • Ashcroft-Nowicki, Dolores, and J. H. Brennan. Magical Use of Thought Form: A Proven System of Mental and Spiritual Empowerment. St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications, 2001.
  • Besant, Annie, and C. W. Leadbeater. Thought-forms. Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Publishing House, 1969.
  • David-Neel, Alexandra. Magic and Mystery in Tibet. New York: Dover Publications, 1971.
  • Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves and Other Monsters. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2004.
  • ———. The Miracle of Prayer: True Stories of Blessed Healing. New York: Pocket Books, 1995.


The Encyclopedia of Magic and Alchemy Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley Copyright © 2006 by Visionary Living, Inc.