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A Wanderer in the Spirit Lands

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Author Topic: A Wanderer in the Spirit Lands  (Read 584 times)
Cynthia
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« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2008, 04:56:54 pm »

CHAPTER VI.--Twilight Lands--Love's Gifts--The Valley of Selfishness--The Country of Unrest--The Miser's Land--The Gambler's Land.

When my period of work in any place was finished, I used to return to the Twilight Land to rest in another large building which belonged to our brotherhood. It was somewhat like the other place in appearance only not quite so dark, nor so dismal, nor so bare, and in the little room which belonged to each there were such things as we had earned as the rewards of our labors. For instance, in my room, which was still somewhat bare-looking, I had one great treasure. This was a picture of my love. It seemed more like a reflection of her in a mirror than a mere painted image, for when I looked intently at her she would smile back at me in answer, as though her spirit was conscious of my gaze, and when I wished very much to know what she was doing, my picture would change and show me. This was regarded by all my companions as a great and wonderful privilege, and I was told it was as much the result of her love and constant thought for me as of my own efforts to improve. Since then I have been shown how this living image was thrown upon the light of the astral plane and then projected into its frame in my room, but I cannot explain it more fully in this book. Another gift from my darling was a white rose-bud, which I had in a small vase and which never seemed to fade or wither, but remained fresh and fragrant and ever an emblem of her love, so that I called her my white rose.
I had so longed for a flower. I had so loved flowers on earth and I had seen none since I saw those my darling put upon my grave. In this land there were no flowers, not even a leaf or blade of grass, not a tree or a shrub however stunted--for the dry arid soil of our selfishness had no blossom or green thing to give to any one of us; and it was when I told her this during one of the brief visits I used to pay her, and when through her own hand I was able to write short messages--it was, I say, when I told her that there was not one fair thing for me to look upon save only the picture of herself, that she asked that I might be given a flower from her, and this white rosebud was brought to my room by a spirit friend and left for me to find when I returned from earth and her. Ah! you who have so many flowers that you do not value them enough and leave them to wither unseen, you can scarce realize what joy this blossom brought to me nor how I have so treasured it and her picture and some loving words she once wrote to me, that I have carried them with me from sphere to sphere as I have risen, and shall, I hope, treasure them evermore.


From this Twilight Land I took many journeys and saw many strange and different countries, but all bore the same stamp of coldness and desolation.

One place was a great valley of grey stones, with dim, cold, grey hills shutting it in on every side, and this twilight sky overhead. Here again not a blade of grass, not one poor stunted shrub was to be seen, not one touch of color or brightness anywhere, only this dull desolation of grey stones. Those who dwelt in this valley had centered their lives and their affections in themselves and had shut up their hearts against all the warmth and beauty of unselfish love. They had lived only for themselves, their own gratification, their own ambitions, and now they saw nothing but themselves and the grey desolation of their hard selfish lives around them. There were a great many beings flitting uneasily about in this valley, but strange to say they had been so centered in themselves that they had lost the power to see anyone else.

These unhappy beings were invisible to each other until such time as the thought of another and the desire to do something for some one besides themselves should awaken, when they would become conscious of those near to them, and through their efforts to lighten another's lot they would improve their own, till at last their stunted affections would expand and the hazy valley of selfishness would hold them in its chains no more.

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« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2008, 04:57:16 pm »

Beyond this valley I came upon a great, dry, sandy-looking tract of country where there was a scanty straggling vegetation, and where the inhabitants had begun in some places to make small attempts at gardens near their habitations. In some places these habitations were clustered so thickly together that they formed small towns and cities. But all bore that desolate ugly look which came from the spiritual poverty of the inhabitants. This also was a land of selfishness and greed, although not of such complete indifference to others' feelings as in the grey valley, and therefore they sought for a certain amount of companionship even with those around them. Many had come from the grey valley, but most were direct from the earth life and were now, poor souls, struggling to rise a little higher, and wherever this was the case and an effort was made to overcome their own selfishness, then the dry soil around their homes would begin to put forth tiny blades of grass and little stunted shoots of shrubs.

Such miserable hovels as were in this land! such ragged, repulsive, wretched-looking people, like tramps or beggars, yet many had been amongst earth's wealthiest and most eminent in fashionable life, and had enjoyed all that luxury could give! But because they had used their wealth only for themselves and their own enjoyments, giving to others but the paltry crumbs that they could spare from their own wealth and hardly notice that they had given them--because of this, I say, they were now here in this Twilight Land, poor as beggars in the true spiritual wealth of the soul which may be earned in the earthly life alike by the richest king or the poorest beggar, and without which those who come over to the spirit land--be they of earth's greatest or humblest--must come here to dwell where all are alike poor in spiritual things.

Here some of the people would wrangle and quarrel and complain that they had not been fairly treated in being in such a place, seeing what had been their positions in earth life. They would blame others as being more culpable than themselves in the matter, and wake a thousand excuses, a thousand pretences, to anyone who would listen to them and the story of what they would call their wrongs. Others would still be trying to follow out the schemes of their earthly lives and would try to make their hearers believe that they had found means (at the expense of someone else) of ending all this weary life of discomfort, and would plot and plan and try to carry out their own schemes, and spoil those of others as being likely to interfere with theirs, and so on would go the weary round of life in this Land of Unrest.

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« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2008, 04:57:33 pm »

To all whom I found willing to listen to me I gave some word of hope, some thought of encouragement or help to find the true way out of this country, and so passed on through it and journeyed into the Land of Misers--a land given over to them alone, for few have sympathy with true misers save those who also share their all-absorbing desire to hoard simply for the pleasure of hoarding.

In this country were dark crooked-looking beings with long claw-like fingers, who were scratching in the black soil like birds of prey in search of stray grains of gold that here and there rewarded their toil; and when they had found any they would wrap them up in little wallets they carried and thrust them into their bosoms that they might lie next to their hearts, as the thing of all things most dear to them. As a rule they were lonely, solitary beings, who avoided each other by instinct lest they should be robbed of their cherished treasure.

Here I found nothing that I could do. Only one solitary man listened for a brief moment to what I had to say ere he returned to his hunt in the earth for treasure, furtively watching me till I was gone lest I should learn what he had already got. The others were all so absorbed in their search for treasure they could not even be made conscious of my presence, and I soon passed on from that bleak land.


From the Misers' Country I passed downwards into a dark sphere, which was really below the earth in the sense of being even lower in its spiritual inhabitants than parts of the earth plane.

Here it was very much like the Land of Unrest, only that the spirits who dwelt here were worse and more degraded looking. There was no attempt made at cultivation, and the sky overhead was almost dark like night, the light being only such as enabled them to see each other and the objects near them. Whereas in the Land of Unrest there were but wranglings and discontent and jealousy, here there were fierce fights and bitter quarrels. Here were gamblers and drunkards. Betting men, card sharpers, commercial swindlers, profligates, and thieves of every kind, from the thief of the slums to his well-educated counterpart in the higher circles of earth life. All whose instincts were roguish or dissipated, all who were selfish and degraded in their tastes were here, as well as many who would have been in a higher condition of spiritual life had not constant association on earth with this class of men deteriorated and degraded them to the level of their companions, so that at death they had gravitated to this dark sphere, drawn down by ties of association. It was to this last class that I was sent, for amongst them there was hope that all sense of goodness and right was not quenched, and that the voice of one crying to them in the wilderness of their despair might be heard and lead them back to a better land.

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« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2008, 04:57:55 pm »

The wretched houses or dwellings of this dark Land of Misery were many of them large spacious places, but all stamped with the same apalling look of uncleanness, foulness and decay. They resembled large houses to be seen in some of our slums, once handsome mansions and fine palaces, the abodes of luxury, which have become the haunts of the lowest denizens of vice and crime. Here and there would be great lonely tracts of country with a few scattered wretched houses, mere hovels, and in other places the buildings and the people were huddled together in great gloomy degraded-looking copies of your large cities of earth. Everywhere squalor and dirt and wretchedness reigned; nowhere was there one single bright or beautiful or gracious thing for the eye to rest upon in all this scene of desolation, made thus by the spiritual emanations from the dark beings who dwelt there.

Amongst these wretched inhabitants I wandered with my little star of pure light, so small that it was but a bright spark flickering about in the darkness as I moved, yet around me it shed a soft pale light as from a star of hope that shone for those not too blinded by their own selfish evil passions to behold it. Here and there I would come upon some crouched in a doorway or against a wall, or in some miserable room, who would arouse themselves sufficiently to look at me with my light and listen to the words I spoke to them, and would begin to seek for the better way, the returning path to those upper spheres from which they had fallen by their sins. Some I would be able to induce to join me in my work of helping others, but as a rule they could only think of their own miseries, and long for something higher than their present surroundings, and even this, small as it seems, was one step, and the next one of thinking how to help others forward as well would soon follow.

One day in my wanderings through this country I came to the outskirts of a large city in the middle of a wide desolate plain. The soil was black and arid, more like those great cinder heaps that are seen near your iron works than anything I can liken it to. I was amongst a few dilapidated, tumble-down little cottages that formed a sort of fringe between the unhappy city and the desolate plain, when my ears caught the sound of quarreling and shouting coming from one of them, and curiosity made me draw near to see what the dispute might be about and if even here there might not be someone whom I could help.

It was more like a barn than a house. A great rough table ran the length of the room, and round it upon coarse little wooden stools were seated about a dozen or so of men. Such men! It is almost an insult to manhood to give them the name. They were more like orangutangs, with the varieties of pigs and wolves and birds of prey expressed in their coarse bloated distorted features. Such faces, such misshapen bodies, such distorted limbs, I can in no way describe them! They were clothed in various grotesque and ragged semblances of their former earthly finery, some in the fashion of centuries ago, others in more modern garb, yet all alike ragged, dirty, and unkempt, the hair disheveled, the eyes wild and staring and glowing now with the fierce light of passion, now with the sullen fire of despair and vindictive malice. To me, then, it seemed that I had reached the lowest pit of hell, but since then I have seen a region lower still--far blacker, far more horrible, inhabited by beings so much fiercer, so much lower, that beside them these were tame and human. Later on I shall describe more fully these lowest beings, when I come to that part of my wanderings which took me into their kingdoms in the lowest hell, but the spirits whom I now saw fighting in this cottage were quarreling over a bag of coins which lay on the table. It had been found by one of them and then given to be gambled for by the whole party. The dispute seemed to be because each wanted to take possession of it himself without regard to the rights of anyone else at all. It was simply a question of the strongest, and already they were menacing each other in a violent fashion. The finder of the money, or rather the spiritual counterpart of our earthly money, was a young man, under thirty I should say, who still possessed the remains of good looks, and but for the marks that dissipation had planted on his face would have seemed unfit for his present surroundings and degraded associates. He was arguing that the money was his, and though he had given it to be played for fairly he objected to be robbed of it by anyone. I felt I had no business there, and amidst a wild chorus of indignant cries and protestations that they "supposed they were as well able to say what was honest as he was," I turned and left them. I had proceeded but a short way, and was almost opposite another deserted little hovel when the whole wild crew came struggling and fighting out of the cottage, wrestling with each other to get near the young man with the bag of money whom the foremost of them were beating and kicking and trying to deprive of it. This one of them succeeded in doing, whereupon they all set upon him, while the young man broke away from them and began running towards me. In a moment there was a wild yell set up to catch him and beat him for an imposter and a cheat, since the bag was empty of gold and had only stones in it, the money, like the fairy gold in the stories, having turned, not into withered leaves, but into hard stones.

Almost before I realized it the wretched young man was clutching hold of me and crying out to me to save him from those devils; and the whole lot were coming down upon us in hot pursuit of their victim. Quick as thought I sprang into the empty hovel which gave us the only hope of asylum, dragging the unfortunate young man with me, and slamming the door I planted my back against it to keep our pursuers out. My Goodness! how they did yell and stamp and storm and try to batter in that door; and how I did brace myself up and exert all the force of mind and body to keep them out! I did not know it then, but I know now that unseen powers helped me and held fast that door till, baffled and angry that they could not move it, they went off at last to seek for some fresh quarrel or excitement elsewhere.



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« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2008, 04:58:44 pm »

CHAPTER VII.--The Story of Raoul.

When they had gone I turned to my companion who sat huddled in a heap, and almost stunned, in one corner of the hut, and, helping him to rise, I suggested that if he could make shift to walk a little, it would be well for us both to leave the place in case those men should think fit to return. With much pain and trouble I got him up and helped him slowly to a place of safety on the dark plain where, if we were without shelter, we were at least free from the danger of being surrounded. Then I did my best to relieve his sufferings by methods I had learned during my stay in the House of Hope, and after a time the poor fellow was able to speak and tell about himself and how he came to be in that dark country. He was, it seemed, but recently from earth life, having been shot by a man who was jealous of his attentions to his wife, and not without reason. The one redeemeing feature about this poor spirit's story was that he, poor soul, did not feel any anger or desire for revenge upon the man who had hurried him out of life, but only sorrow and shame for it all. What had hurt him most and had opened his eyes to his degradation, was the discovery that the woman for whose love it had all been done, was so callous, so selfish, so devoid of all true sense of love for either of them, that she was only occupied in thinking how it would affect herself and her social position in the world of fashion, and not one thought, save of anger and annoyance, had she given to either her unhappy husband or the victim of his jealous anger.

"When," said the young man, whom I shall call Raoul, "when I knew that I was truly dead and yet possessed the power to return to earth again, my first thought was to fly to her and console her if possible, or at least make her feel that the dead yet lived, and that even in death I thought of her. And how do you think I found her? Weeping for me? Sorrowing for him? No! not one atom. Only thinking of herself and wishing she had never seen us, or that she could blot us both out from her life by one coup-de-main, and begin life again with someone else higher in the social scale than either of us had been. The scales fell from my eyes, and I knew she had never loved me one particle. But I was rich, I was of the noblesse, and through my help she had hoped to climb another rung of the social ladder, and had willingly sunk herself into an adulturess, not for love of me, but to gain the petty triumph of queening it over some rival woman. I was nothing but a poor blind fool, and my life had paid the penalty of my folly. To her I was but an unpleasant memory of the bitter shame and scandal that had fallen upon her. Then I fled from earth in my bitterness, anywhere, I cared not where it was. I said I would believe no more in goodness or truth of any kind, and my wild thoughts and desires drew me down to this dark spot and these degraded revellers, amongst whom I found kindred spirits to those who had been my parasites and flatterers on earth, and amongst whom I had wasted my substance and lost my soul."

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« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2008, 04:59:31 pm »

"And now, oh! unhappy friend," I said, "would you not even now seek the path of repentance that would lead you back to brighter lands and help you to regain the lost inheritance of your manhood and your higher self?"

"Now, alas! it is too late," said Raoul. "In hell, and surely this is hell, there is no longer hope for any."

"No hope for any?" I answered. "Say not so, my friend; those words are heard all too often from the lips of unhappy souls, for I can testify that even in the darkest despair there is ever given hope. I, too, have known a sorrow and bitterness as deep as yours; yet I had ever hope, for she whom I loved was as the pure angels, and her hands were ever stretched out to give me love and hope, and for her sake I work to give to others the hope given to myself. Come, let me lead you and I will guide you to that better land."

"And who art thou, oh! friend, with the kind words and still kinder deeds to whom in truth I might say I owed my life; but had I not learned that in this place, alas! one cannot die--one can suffer to the point of death and even all its pains, yet death comes not to any, for we have passed beyond it, and it would seem must live through an eternity of suffering? Tell me who you are and how you come to be here, speaking words of hope with such confidence. I might fancy you an angel sent down to help me, but that you resemble myself too much for that."

Then I told him my history, and how I was working myself upwards even as he might do, and also spoke of the great hope I had always before me, that in time I should be fit to join my sweet love in a land where we should be no more parted.

"And she?" he said, "is content, you think, to wait for you? She will spend all her life lonely on earth that she may join you in heaven when you shall get there? Bah! mon ami, you deceive yourself. It is a mirage that you pursue. Unless she is either old or very plain, no woman will dream of living forever alone for your sake. She will for a time, I grant you, if she is romantic, or if no one come to woo her, but unless she is an angel she will console herself by and by, believe me. If your hopes are no more well founded than that I shall feel only sorry for you."

I confess his words angered me somewhat; they echoed the doubts that always haunted me, and were like a cold shower bath upon all the warmth of romance with which I had buoyed myself up. It was partly to satisfy my own doubts as well as his that I said, with some heat:

"If I take you to earth and we find her mourning only for me, thinking only of me, will you believe then that I know what I speak about and am under no delusion? Will you admit that your experience of life and of women may not apply to all, and that there is something that even you can learn on this as on other matters?"

"My good friend, believe me that I ask your pardon with all my soul if my unbelief has pained you. I admire your faith and would I could have but a little of it myself. By all means let us go and see her."

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« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2008, 04:59:55 pm »

I took his hand and then "willing" intently that we should go to my beloved, we began to rise and rush through space with the speed of thought almost, till we found ourselves upon earth and standing in a room. I saw her guardian spirit watching over my beloved, and the dim outline of the room and its furniture, but my friend Raoul saw nothing but the form of my darling seated in her chair, and looking like some of the saints from the brightness of her spirit and the pale soft aureole of light that surrounded her, a spiritual light invisible to you of earth but seen by those on the spiritual side of life around those whose lives are good and pure, just as a dark mist surrounds those who are not good.

"Mon Dieu!" cried Raoul, sinking upon his knees at her feet. "It is an angel, a saint you have brought me to see, not a woman. She is not of earth at all."

Then I spoke to her by name, and she heard my voice and her face brightened and the sadness vanished from it, and she said softly: "My dearest, are you indeed there? I was longing for you to come again. I can think and dream of nothing but you. Can you touch me yet?" She put out her hand and for one brief moment mine rested in it, but even that moment made her shiver as though an icy wind had struck her.

"See, my darling one, I have brought an unhappy friend to ask your prayers. And I would have him to know that there are some faithful women on earth--some true love to bless us with were we but fit to enjoy it."

She had not heard clearly all that I said, but her mind caught its sense, and she smiled, so radiant a smile, and said: "Oh! yes, I am ever faithful to you, my beloved, as you are to me, and some day we shall be so very, very happy."

Then Raoul who was still kneeling before her, held out his hands and tried to touch hers, but the invisible wall kept him away as it had done me, and he drew back, crying out to her: "If your heart is so full of love and pity, spare some to me who am indeed unhappy and need your prayers. Pray that I, too, may be helped, and I shall know your prayers are heard where mine were not worthy to be, and I shall hope that even for me pardon may yet be possible."

My darling heard the words of this unhappy man, and kneeling down beside her chair offered up a little simple prayer for help and comfort to us all. And Raoul was so touched, so softened, that he broke down completely, and I had to take him by the hand and lead him back to the spirit land, though not now to a region devoid of hope.

From that time Raoul and I worked together for a little in the dark land he had now ceased to dwell in, and from day to day he grew more hopeful. By nature he was most vivacious and buoyant, a true Frenchman, full of airy graceful lightness of heart which even the awful surroundings of that gloomy spot could not wholly extinguish. We became great friends, and our work was pleasanter from being shared. Our companionship was, however, not destined to last long then, but we have since met and worked together many times, like comrades in different regiments whom the chances of war may bring together or separate at any time.



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« Reply #22 on: December 21, 2008, 05:00:45 pm »

CHAPTER VIII.--Temptation.

I was again called upon to go to earth upon a mission of help, and to leave for a time my wanderings in the spirit spheres; and now it was that the greatest and most terrible temptation of my life came to me. In the course of my work I was brought across one still in the earth body, whose influence over my earthly life had done more than aught else to wreck and spoil it, and though I also had not been blameless--far indeed from it--yet I could not but feel an intense bitterness and thirst for revenge whenever I thought of this person and all the wrongs that I had suffered--wrongs brooded over till at times I felt as if my feelings must have vent in some wild burst of passionate resentment.

In my wanderings upon the earth plane I had learned many ways in which a spirit can still work mischief to those he hates who are yet in the flesh. Far more power is ours than you would dream of, but I feel it is wiser to let the veil rest still upon the possibilities the world holds even after death for the revengeful spirit. I could detail many terrible cases I know of as having actually taken place--mysterious murders and strange crimes committed, none knew why or how, by those on earth whose brains were so disordered that they were not themselves responsible for their actions, and were but the tools of a possessing spirit. These and many kindred things are known to us in the spirit spheres where circumstances often wear a very different aspect from the one shown to you. The old beliefs in demoniacal possession were not so visionary after all, only these demons or devils had themselves been once the denizens of earth.

It so happened to me then, that when I came once more, after long years of absence, across this person whom I so hated, all my old feelings of suffering and anger revived, but with tenfold more force than is possible in earth life, for a spirit has far, far greater capabilities of suffering or enjoyments, of pleasure or pain, love or hate, than one whose senses are still veiled and deadened by the earthly envelope, and thus all the senses of a dismbodied spirit are tenfold more acute.

Thus when I once more found myself beside this person, the desire for my long-suspended revenge woke again, and with the desire a most devilish plan for its accomplishment suggested itself to me. For my desire of vengeance drew up to me from their haunts in the lowest hell, spirits of so black a hue, so awful a type, that never before had I seen such beings or dreamed that out of some nightmare fable they could exist. These beings cannot live upon the earth plane nor even in the lower spheres surrounding it, unless there be congenial mortals or some strong magnetic attraction to hold them there for a time, and though they often rise in response to an intensely evil desire upon the part of either a mortal or spirit on the earth plane, yet they cannot remain long, and the moment the attracting force becomes weakened, like a rope that breaks, they lose their hold and sink down again to their own dark abodes. At times of great popular indignation and anger, as in some great revolt of an oppressed people in whom all sense but that of suffering and anger has been crushed out, the bitter wrath and thirst for revenge felt by the oppressed will draw around them such a cloud of these dark beings, that horrors similar to those witnessed in the great French Revolution and kindred revolts of down-trodden people, will take place, and the maddened populace are for a time completely under the control of those spirits who are truly as devils.

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« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2008, 05:01:05 pm »

In my case these horrible beings crowded round me with delight, whispered in my ears and pointed out a way of revenge so simple, so easy, and yet so horrible, so apalling in its wickedness, that I shall not venture to write it down lest the idea of it might be given to some other desperate one, and like seed falling into a fruitful soil bring forth its baleful blossoms.

At any other time I should have shrunk back in horror from these beings and their foul suggestions. Now in my mad passion I welcomed them and was about to invoke their aid to help me to accomplish my vengeance, when like the tones of a silver bell there fell upon my ears the voice of my beloved, to whose pleadings I was never deaf and whose tones could move me as none else could The voice summoned me to come to her by all that we both held sacred, by all the vows we had made and all the hopes we had cherished, and though I could not so instantly abandon my revenge, yet I was drawn as by a rope to the one I loved from the one I hated.

And the whole wild crew of black devils came with me, clinging to me and trying to hold me back, yet with an ever feebler hold as the voice of love and purity and truth penetrated more and more deeply to my heart.

And then I saw my beloved standing in her room, her arms stretched out to draw me to her, and two strong bright spirit guardians by her side, while around her was drawn a circle of flaming silver light as though a wall of lightning encircled her; yet at her call I passed through it and stood at her side.

The dark crowd sought to follow, but were kept back by the flaming ring. One of the boldest made a rush at me as I passed through, and tried to catch hold, but his hand and arm were caught by the flame of light and shriveled up as though thrust into a furnace. With a yell of pain and rage he drew back amidst a wild howl of derisive laughter from the rest.

With all the power of her love my darling pleaded with me that I should give up this terrible idea, and promise her nevermore to yield to so base a thought. She asked me if I loved my revenge so much better than I loved her, that to gratify it I would raise up between us the insurmountable barrier of my meditated crime? Was her love indeed so little to me after all?

At first I would not, could not yield, but at last she began to weep, and then my heart melted as though her tears had been warm drops of her heart's blood falling on it to thaw its ice, and in bitter anguish of soul that I should have caused her to shed tears I knelt at her feet and prayed to be forgiven my wicked thought--prayed that I might still be left with her love to cheer me, still with her for my one thought, one hope, my all. And as I prayed the circle of dark spirits, who had been fighting to get in and beckoning to me and trying to draw me out, broke like a cloud of black mist when the wind scatters it, and they sank away down to their own abode again, while I sank exhausted at my darling's feet.

At times after this I saw the dark spirits draw near to me, though never again could they come close, for I had an armor in my darling's love and my promise to her which was proof against all their attacks.



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« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2008, 05:01:57 pm »

CHAPTER IX.--The Frozen Land--The Caverns of Slumber.

I was next sent to visit what will indeed seem a strange country to exist in the spirit world. The Land of Ice and Snow--the Frozen Land--in which lived all those who had been cold and selfishly calculating in their earthly lives. Those who had crushed out and chilled and frozen from their own lives and the lives of others, all those warm sweet impulses and affections which make the life of heart and soul. Love had been so crushed and killed by them that its sun could not shine where they were, and only the frost of life remained.
Great statesmen were amongst those whom I saw dwelling in this land, but they were those who had not loved their country nor sought its good. Only their own ambitions, their own aggrandizement had been their aim, and to me they now appeared to dwell in great palaces of ice and on the lofty frozen pinnacles of their own ambitions. Others more humble and in different paths in life I saw, but all alike were chilled and frozen by the awful coldness and barrenness of a life from which all warmth, all passion, was shut out. I had learned the evils of an excess of emotion and of passion, now I saw the evils of their entire absence. Thank God this land had far fewer inhabitants than the other, for terrible as are the effects of mis-used love, they are not so hard to overcome as the absence of all the tender feelings of the human heart.

There were men here who had been prominent members of every religious faith and every nationality on your earth. Roman Catholic cardinals and priests of austere and pious but cold and selfish lives, Puritan preachers, Methodist ministers, Presbyterian divines, Church of England bishops and clergymen, missionaries, Brahmin priests, Parsees, Egyptians, Mohammedans--in short all sorts and all nationalities were to be found in the Frozen Land, yet in scarcely one was there enough warmth of feeling to thaw the ice around themselves even in a small degree. When there was even a little tiny drop of warmth, such as one tear of sorrow, then the ice began to melt and there was hope for that poor soul.

There was one man whom I saw who appeared to be enclosed in a cage of ice; the bars were of ice, yet they were as bars of polished steel for strength. This man had been one of the Grand Inquisitors of the Inquisition in Venice, and had been one of those whose very names sent terror to the heart of any unfortunate who fell into their clutches; a most celebrated name in history, yet in all the records of his life and acts there was not one instance where one shade of pity for his victims had touched his heart and caused him to turn aside, even for one brief moment, from his awful determination in torturing and killing those whom the Inquisition got into its toils. A man known for his own hard austere life, which had no more indulgence for himself than for others. Cold and pitiless, he knew not what it was to feel one answering throb awake in his heart for another's sufferings. His face was a type of cold unemotional cruelty; the long thin high nose, the pointed sharp chin, the high and rather wide cheek bones, the thin straight cruel lips like a thin line across the face, the head somewhat flat and wide over the ears, while the deep-set penetrating eyes glittered from their penthouse brows with the cold steely glitter of a wild beast's.

Like a procession of spectres I saw the wraiths of some of this man's many victims glide past him, maimed and crushed, torn and bleeding from their tortures--pallid ghosts, wandering astral shades, from which the souls had departed forever, but which yet clung around this man, unable to decay into the elements whilst his magnetism attached them, like a chain, to him. The souls and all the higher elements had forever left those--which were true astral shells--yet they possessed a certain amount of vitality--only it was all drawn from this man, not from the released spirits which had once inhabited them. They were such things as those ghosts are made of which are seen haunting the spot where some one too good and innocent to be so chained to earth, has been murdered. They seem to their murderers and others to live and haunt them, yet the life of such astrals (or ghosts) is but a reflected one, and ceases as soon as remorse and repentance have sufficed to sever the tie that links them to their murderers.

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« Reply #25 on: December 21, 2008, 05:02:23 pm »

Other spirits I saw haunting this man, and taunting him with his own helplessness and their past sufferings, but these were very different looking; they were more solid in appearance and possessed a power and strength and intelligence wanting in those other misty-looking shades. These were spirits whose astral forms still held the immortal souls imprisoned in them, though they had been so crushed and tortured that only the fierce desire of revenge remained. These spirits were incessant in their endeavor to get at their former oppressor and tear him to pieces, and the icy cage seemed to be regarded by him as being as much a protection from them as a prison for himself. One more clever than the rest had constructed a long, sharp-pointed pole which he thrust through the bars to prod at the man within, and wonderful was the activity he displayed in trying to avoid its sharp point. Others had sharp short javelins which they hurled through the bars at him. Others again squirted foul, slimy water, and at times the whole crowd would combine in trying to hurl themselves en masse upon the sheltering bars to break through, but in vain. The wretched man within, whom long experience had taught the impregnability of his cage, would taunt them in return with a cold crafty enjoyment of their fruitless efforts.

To my mental query as to whether this man was ever released, an answer was given to me by that majestic spirit whose voice I had heard at rare times speaking to me, from the time when I heard it first at my own grave. On various occasions when I had asked for help or knowledge, this spirit had spoken to me, as now, from a distance, his voice sounding to me as the voice spoken of by the prophets of old when they thought the Lord spoke to them in the thunder. This voice rang in my ears with its full deep tones, yet neither the imprisoned spirit nor those haunting him heard it; their ears were deaf so that they could not hear, and their eyes blind so that they could not see.

And to me the voice said: "Son, behold the thoughts of this man for one brief moment--see how he would use liberty were it his."

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« Reply #26 on: December 21, 2008, 05:02:40 pm »

And I saw, as one sees images reflected in a mirror, the mind of this man. First the thought that he could get free, and when once free he could force himself back to earth and the earth plane, and once there he could find some still in the flesh whose aspirations and ambitions were like his own, and through their help he would forge a still stronger yoke as of iron to rivet upon men's necks, and found a still crueller tyranny--a still more pitiless Inquisition, if that were possible, which should crush out the last remnant of liberty left to its oppressed victims. He knew he would sway a power far greater than his earthly power, since he would work with hands and brain freed from all earthly fetters, and would be able to call up around him kindred spirits, fellow workers with souls as cold and cruel as his own. He seemed to revel in the thought of the fresh oppressions he could plan, and took pride to himself in the recollection that he had ever listened unmoved to the shrieks and groans and prayers of the victims he had tortured to death. From the love of oppression and for his own relentless ambition had he worked, making the aggrandizement of his order but the pretext for his actions, and in no single atom of his hard soul was there awakened one spark of pity or remorse. Such a man set free to return to earth would be a source of danger far more deadly than the most fierce wild beast, since his powers would be far less limited. He did not know that his vaunted Inquisition, which he still sought to strengthen in all its deadly powers, had become a thing of the past, swept away from the face of God's earth by a power far mightier than any he could wield; and that, like the dark and terrible age in which it had sprung up like a noisome growth, it had gone nevermore to return--thank God!--never again to disgrace humanity by the crimes committed in the name of him who came only to preach peace and love on earth--gone, with its traces and its scars left yet upon the human mind in its shaken and broken trust in a God and an immortality. The recoil of that movement which at last swept away the Inquisition is yet felt on earth, and long years must pass before all which was good and pure and true and had survived throughout even those dark ages shall reassert its power and lead men back to their faith in a God of Love, not a God of Horrors, as those oppressors painted him.

From this Frozen Land I turned away chilled and saddened. I did not care to linger there or explore its secrets, though it may be that again at some future time I may visit it. I felt that there was nothing I could do in that land, none I could understand, and they but froze and revolted me without my doing them any good.


On my way back from the Frozen Land to the Land of Twilight, I passed a number of vast caverns called the "Caverns of Slumber," wherein lay a great multitude of spirits in a state of complete stupor, unconscious of all around them. These, I learned, were the spirits of mortals who had killed themselves with opium eating and smoking, and whose spirits had thus been deprived of all chance of development, and so had retrograded instead of advancing and growing--just as a limb tied up and deprived of motion withers away--and now they were feebler than an unborn infant, and as little able to possess conscious life.

In many cases their sleep would last for centuries; in others, where the indulgence in the drug had been less, it might only last for twenty, fifty, or a hundred years. These spirits lived, and that was all, their senses being little more developed than those of some fungus growth which exists without one spark of intelligence; yet in them the soul germ had lingered, imprisoned like a tiny seed in the wrapping of some Egyptian mummy, which, long as it may lie thus, is yet alive, and will in a kindly soil sprout forth at last. These caverns, in which kind spirit hands had laid them, were full of life-giving magnetism, and a number of attendant spirits who had themselves passed through a similar state from opium poisoning in their own earth lives, were engaged in giving what life they could pour into those comatose spirit bodies which lay like rows of dead people all over the floor.

By slow degrees, according as the spirit had been more or less injured by the drug taken in the earthly life, these wretched beings would awake to consciousness and all the sufferings experienced by the opium eater when deprived of his deadly drug. By long and slow degrees the poor spirits would awaken, sense by sense, till at last like feeble suffering children they would become fit for instruction, when they would be sent to institutions like your idiot asylums, where the dawning intellect would be trained and helped to develop, and those faculties recovered which had been all but destroyed in the earth life.

These poor souls would only learn very slowly, because they had to try to learn now, without the aids of the earthly life, those lessons which it had been designed to teach. Like drunkards (only more completely) they had paralyzed brain and senses and had avoided, not learned, the lessons of the earthly life and its development of the spirit.

To me these Caves of Slumber were inexpressibly sad to behold--not less so that those wretched slumberers were unconscious for so long of the valuable time they lost in their dreamless, hopeless sleep of stagnation.

Like the hare in the fable, while they slept others less swift won the race, and these poor souls might try in vain through countless ages to recover the time which they had lost.

When these slumberers shall at last awake, to what a fate do they not waken, through what an awful path must they not climb to reach again that point in the earth life from which they have fallen! Does it not fill our souls with horror to think that there are those on earth who live, and pile up wealth through the profits made from that dreadful trade in opium, which not alone destroys the body, but would seem to desroy even more fatally the soul, till one would despondently ask if there be indeed hope for these its victims?

These awful caves--these terrible stupified spirits--can any words point a fate more fearful than theirs? To awaken at last with the intellects of idiots, to grow, through hundreds of years, back at last to the possession of the mental powers of children--not of grown men and women. Slow, slow, must be their development even then, for unlike ordinary children they have almost lost the power to grow, and take many generations of time to learn what one generation on earth could have taught them. I have heard it said that many of the unhappy beings when they have attained at last to the development of infants, are sent back to earth to be reincarnated in an earthly body, that they may enjoy again the advantages they have misused before. But of this I only know by hearsay, and cannot give any opinion of my own upon its truth. I only know that I should be glad to think of any such possibility for them which could shorten the process of development or help them to regain all that they had lost.



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« Reply #27 on: December 21, 2008, 05:03:32 pm »

CHAPTER X.--My House in the Twilight Lands--Communion Between the Living and the Dead.

In my home in the Twilight Land I rested now for a time, studying to learn more of myself and the powers I had within me, and seeking to apply the lessons I had learned in my wanderings. My chief instructor at this time was a man like myself in many respects, who had lived a similar life on earth and had passed through the lower spheres, as I was now doing, and who had become a dweller in a bright land of sunshine from which he came constantly to teach and help those of the Brotherhood who, like myself, were his pupils.
There was likewise another teacher or guide whom I sometimes saw, whose influence over me was even greater, and from whom I learned many strange things, but as he was in a much more advanced sphere than the other, it was but seldom that I could see him as a distinct personality. His teachings came to me more as mental suggestions or inspirational discourses in answer to some questioning thought on my part. This spirit I shall not now describe to you, as at this time of my sojourn in the Twilight Land I saw him but very dimly, and only clearly when my progression had carried me into a brighter state.

Though this man was not fully visible to me I was often conscious of his presence and his aid, and when later on I learned that he had been my principal guardian spirit during my earthly life, I could easily trace many thoughts and suggestions, many of my higher aspirations, to his influence; and it was his voice that had so often spoke to me in warning or in comfort when I struggled on almost overwhelmed with my terrible position on first entering the spirit world. In the days of darkness I had been faintly conscious of his form flitting in and out of my little cell, and soothing my terrible sufferings with his magnetism and his wonderful knowledge and power.

On returning to the Twilight Land from the darker spheres I had visited, I felt almost like returning to a home, for, bare and shabby as my room looked, and small and narrow as it was, it yet held all my greatest treasures: my picture mirror in which I could see my beloved, and the rose, and the letter she had sent to me. Moreover I had friends there, companions in misfortune like myself, and though we were as a rule much alone, meditating upon our past mistakes and their lessons, yet at times it was very pleasant to have one friend or another come in to see you, and since we were all alike men who had disgraced ourselves by our earthly lives and were now seeking to follow the better way, there was even in that a bond of sympathy. Our life, could I make you fully realize it, would indeed seem strange to you. It was like and yet unlike an earthly life. For instance, we ate at times a simple sort of food provided for us, it would seem, by magic whenever we felt hungry, but often for a week at a time we would not think of food, unless indeed it was one of us who had been fond of good eating on earth, and in that case the desire would be much more frequent and troublesome to satisfy. For myself my tastes had been somewhat simple, and neither eating nor drinking had in themselves possessed special attractions for me.

There was always around us this twilight, which was never varied with dark night or bright day, and which was most especially trying to me in its monotony. I so love light and sunshine. To me it was ever as a life-giving bath. I had been born in a land of earth where all is sunshine and flowers.

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« Reply #28 on: December 21, 2008, 05:04:08 pm »

Then although we usually walked about this building and the surrounding country much as you do, we could float a little at will, though not so well as more advanced spirits do, and if we were in a great hurry to go anywhere our wills seemed to carry us there with the speed almost of thought.

As for sleep, we could spend long intervals without feeling its need, or, again, we could lie and sleep for weeks at a time, sometimes semi-conscious of all that passed, at others in the most complete of slumbers. Another strange thing was our dress--which never seemed to wear out and renewed itself in some mysterious fashion. All through this period of my wanderings and while I was in this abode it was of a dark--a very dark--blue color, with a yellow girdle round the waist, and an anchor worked in yellow on the left sleeve, with the words, "Hope is Eternal," below it. There were close-fitting undergarments of the same dark color. The robe was long and such as you see penitent brotherhoods or monks wear on earth, with a hood hung from the shoulders, which could be used to cover the head and face of any who desired to screen their features from view; and indeed there were often times when we wished to do so, for suffering and remorse had made such changes in us that we were often glad to hide our faces from the gaze of those we loved. The hollow eyes, sunken cheeks, wasted and bent forms, and deep lines suffering had traced upon each face told their own story but too well, and such of us as had dear friends on earth or in the spirit land still grieving for our loss, sought often at times to hide from their eyes our disfigured forms and faces.

Our lives had somewhat of monotony about them in the regular order in which our studies and our lectures followed each other like clockwork. At certain stages--for they did not count time by days or weeks, but only as advance was made in the development of each spirit--when a lesson had been learned, in a longer or shorter time according to the spiritual and intellectual development, the spirit was advanced to a higher branch of the subject studied.

Some remain a very long time before they can grasp the meaning of the lesson shown to them; if so, the spirit is in no way hurried or pressed on as is done in earth education, where life seems all too short for learning. As a spirit a man has all eternity before him and can stand still or go on as he pleases, or he may remain where he is till he has thought out and grasped clearly what has been shown, and then he is ready for the next step, and so on. There is no hurrying anyone faster than he chooses to go; no interference with his liberty to live on in the same state of undevelopment if he wishes, so long as he interferes with the liberty of no one else and conforms to the simple rule which governs that great Brotherhood, the rule of freedom and sympathy for all. None were urged to learn, and none were kept back from doing so; it was all voluntary, and did anyone seek (as many did) to leave this place, he was free to go where he would, and to return again if he wished; the doors were closed to none, either in going or returning, and none ever sought to reproach another with his faults or shortcomings, for each felt the full depth of his own.

Some had been years there, I learned, for to them the lessons were hard and slow to be learned. Others, again, had broken away and gone back to the life of the earth plane so many times that they had descended to the lowest sphere at last, and gone through a course of purification in that other House of Hope where I had first been. They had appeared to go back instead of forward, yet even this had not been in truth a retrogression, but only a needful lesson, since they were thus cured of the desire to try the pleasures of the earth plane again. A few, like myself, who had a strong and powerful motive to rise, made rapid progress, and soon passed on from step to step, but there were, alas! too many who required all the hope and all the help that could be given to sustain and comfort them through all their trials; and it was my lot to be able, out of the storehouse of my own hopefulness, to give a share to others less fortunate who were not blessed, as I was, with a stream of love and sympathy flowing ever to me from my beloved on earth, cheering me on to fresh efforts with its promise of joy and peace at last.




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« Reply #29 on: December 21, 2008, 05:05:01 pm »

CHAPTER XI.--Ahrinziman.

To these meetings for materialization I was always accompanied by that majestic spirit of whom I have already spoken, and whom I now knew by his name, Ahrinziman, "the Eastern Guide." As I was now beginning to see him more clearly I will describe him to you.
He was a tall, majestic-looking man with long flowing white garments bordered with yellow, and a yellow girdle around his waist. His complexion was that of an Eastern, of a pale dusky tint. The features were straight and beautifully molded, as one sees them in the statues of Apollo, though their peculiar Eastern cast caused them to vary a little from the perfect Grecian type. His eyes were large, dark, soft and tender as a woman's, yet with a latent fire and force of passion in their depths which, though subdued and controlled by his strong will, yet gave a warmth and intensity to his looks and manner, from which I could easily believe that in his earth life he had known all the sweetness and all the passion of violent love and hate. Now his passions were purified from all earthly dross, and served but as links of sympathy between him and those who, like myself, were still struggling to subdue their lower natures, and conquer their passions. A short silky black beard covered his cheeks and chin, and his soft wavy black hair hung somewhat long upon his shoulders. His figure, though tall and powerful, had all the litheness and supple grace of his Eastern race, for so marked are the types of each race that even the spirit bears still the impress of its earthly nationality, and although centuries had passed since Ahrinziman had left the earthly body he retained all the peculiarities which distinguished the Eastern from the Western people. The spirit was strangely like an earthly mortal man, and yet so unlike in that peculiar dazzling brightness of form and feature which no words can ever paint, nor pen describe, that strange and wonderful ethereality, and yet distinct tangibility, which only those who have seen a spirit of the higher spheres can truly understand. In his earth life he had been a deep student of the occult sciences, and since his entry into the spirit world he had expanded and increased his knowledge till to me it seemed there was no limit to his powers. Like myself, of a warm and passionate nature, he had learned during long years of spirit life to overcome and subdue all his passions, till now he stood upon a pinnacle of power whence he stooped down ever to draw up strugglers like myself, whom his sympathy and ready understanding of our weaknesses made ready to receive his help, while one who had never himself fallen would have spoken to us in vain. With all his gentleness and ready sympathy, however, he had also a power of will against which, when he chose to exert it, one sought in vain to fight, and I have beheld on more than one occasion some of the wild passionate beings amongst whom he worked, brought to a stop in something they were about to do which would have harmed themselves or others. They would be spellbound and unable to move a limb, yet he had never touched them. It was but by his own powerful will, which was so much stronger than theirs that for the time they were paralyzed. Then he would argue the matter with them, kindly and frankly, and show to them in some of his wonderful ways the full consequences to themselves and others of what they were about to do, and when he had done so he would lift from them the spell of his will and leave them free to act as they desired, free to commit the meditated sin now that they knew its consequences; and seldom have I known any who, after so solemn a warning, would still persist in following their own path. I myself have always been considered one whose will was strong, and who could not readily give it up to any other's, but beside this spirit I have felt myself a child, and have bowed more than once to the force of his decisions. And here let me say that in all things in the spirit world man is free--free as air--to follow his own inclinations and desires if he wishes, and does not choose to take the advice offered to him. The limitations to a man's own indulgence and the extent to which he can infringe upon the rights of others, are regulated by the amount of law and order existing in the sphere to which he belongs.

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