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A Wanderer in the Spirit Lands

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Author Topic: A Wanderer in the Spirit Lands  (Read 4317 times)
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« Reply #90 on: December 21, 2008, 05:48:40 pm »

So these thought-creations had grown up, mass upon mass, till now that I sought to battle with them they seemed to overwhelm and stifle me, wrapping me up in the great vaporous folds of their phantom forms. In vain I sought to beat them off, to shake myself free of them. They gathered round and closed me in even as my doubts and suspicions had done. I was seized with horror, and fought as if they had been living things that were sweeping me to destruction. And then I saw a deep dark crevasse open in the ground before me, to which these phantoms were driving me, a gulf into which it seemed I must sink unless I could free myself from these awful ghosts. Like a madman I strove and wrestled with them, fighting as for dear life, and still they closed me in and forced me back and back towards that gloomy chasm. Then in my anguish of soul I called aloud for help to be free from them, and throwing out my arms before me with all my force I seemed to grasp the foremost phantom and hurl it from me. Then did the mighty cloud of doubts waver and break as though a wind had scattered them, and I sank overcome and exhausted upon the ground; and as I sank into unconsciousness I had a dream, a brief but lovely dream, in which I thought my beloved had come to me and scattered those foul thoughts, and that she knelt down beside me and drew my head to rest upon her bosom as a mother with her child. I thought I felt her arms encircle me and hold me safe, and then the dream was over and I fell asleep.

When I recovered consciousness I was resting still in that valley, but the mists had rolled away and my time of bitter doubt and suspicion was past. I lay upon a bank of soft green turf at the end of the ravine, and before me there was a meadow watered by a smooth peaceful river of clear crystal water. I arose and followed the windings of the stream for a short distance, and arrived at a beautiful grove of trees. Through the trunks I could see a clear pool on whose surface floated water-lilies. There was a fairy-like fountain in the middle, from which the spray fell like a shower of diamonds into the transparent water. The trees arched their branches overhead and through them I could see the blue sky. I drew near to rest and refresh myself at the fountain, and as I did so a fair nymph in a robe of green gossamer and with a crown of water-lilies on her head drew near to help me. She was the guardian spirit of the fountain, and her work was to help and refresh all weary wanderers like myself. "In earth life," said she, "I lived in a forest, and here in the spirit land I find a home surrounded by the woods I love so well."

She gave me food and drink, and after I had rested a while showed me a broad pathway through the trees, which led to a Home of Rest where I might repose for a time. With a grateful heart I thanked this bright spirit, and following the path soon found myself before a large building covered with honeysuckle and ivy. It had many windows and wide open doors as though to invite all to enter. It was approached by a great gateway of what looked like wrought iron, only that the birds and flowers on it were so life-like they seemed to have clustered there to rest. While I stood looking at the gate it opened as by magic, and I passed on to the house. Here several spirits in white robes came to welcome me, and I was conducted to a pretty room whose windows looked out upon a grassy lawn and soft fairy-like trees, and here I was bidden to repose myself.

On awakening I found my pilgrim dress was gone, and in its stead there lay my light grey robe, only now it had a triple border of pure white. I was greatly pleased, and arrayed myself with pleasure, for I felt the white to be a sign of my progression--white in the spirit world symbolizing purity and happiness, while black is the reverse.

Presently I was conducted to a large pleasant room in which were a number of spirits dressed like myself, among whom I was pleased to recognize the woman with the child whom I had helped across the Plains of Repentance and Tears. She smiled much more kindly on the child, and greeted me with pleasure, thanking me for my help, while the little one climbed upon my knees and established himself there as an earthly child might have done.

An ample repast of fruits and cakes and the pure wine of the spirit land was set before us, and when we were all refreshed and had returned our thanks to God for all his mercies, the Brother who presided wished us all God's speed, and then with grateful hearts we bade each other adieu and set forth to return to our own homes.

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« Reply #91 on: December 21, 2008, 05:49:18 pm »

CHAPTER XXVIII.--My Home and Work in the Morning Land.

I was not, however, destined to remain in the Land of Dawn. My home was now to be in the circle of the Morning Land, and I was therefore escorted thither by my friends.
It lay beyond the peaceful lake and those hills behind which I used to watch the light of that dawning day which never seemed to grow brighter or advance in the Land of Dawn, but whose beauties belonged to this Morning Land. This land lay in an opposite direction from that range of hills beyond which lay the Plain of Remorse.

Here in the Morning Land I found that I was to have a little house of my own, a something earned by myself. I have always loved a place of my own, and this little cottage, simple as it was, was very dear to me. It was indeed a peaceful place. The green hills shut it in on every side save in front, where they opened out and the ground stretched away in undulating slopes of green and golden meadow land. There were no trees, no shrubs, around my new home, no flowers to gladden my eyes, because my efforts had not yet blossomed into flower. But there was one sweet trailing honeysuckle that clustered around the little porch and shed the fragrance of its love into my rooms. This was the gift of my beloved to me, the spiritual growth of her sweet pure loving thoughts which twined around my dwelling to whisper to me ever of her constant love and truth.

There were only two little rooms, the one for me to receive my friends and to study in, and the other my chamber of repose, where I could rest when weary with my work on the earth plane. And in this room there was my picture framed in roses, and all my little treasures. The blue sky outside shed down on me so pure a light, my eyes, long wearied to see it, gazed on it again and yet again. The soft green grass and the fragrant honeysuckle were all so sweet, so delicious to me, wearied as I was with my long dark wanderings, that I was overcome with the emotions of my gratitude. I was aroused by a kindly hand, a loving voice, and looking up, beheld my father. Ah! what a joy, what a happiness I felt, and still more when he bade me come to earth with him and show this home in a vision to her who was its guiding star!

What happy hours I can recall when I look back to that, my first home in the spirit land. I was so proud to think I had won it. My present home is far finer, my present sphere far more beautiful in every way, but I have never felt a greater happiness than I felt when that first home of my own was given to me.

I should but weary my readers were I to attempt to describe all the work on the earth plane I did at this time, all the sad ones I helped to cheer and direct upon the better way. There is a sameness in such work that makes one example serve for many.

Time passes on for spirits as well as mortals and brings ever new changes--fresh progression. And thus while I was working to help others I was gradually myself learning the lesson which had proved most hard for me to learn. The lesson of that entire forgiveness of our enemies which will enable us to feel that we not only desire them no harm but that we even wish to do them good--to return good for evil cordially. It had been a hard struggle to overcome my desire for revenge, or wish that at all events some punishment should overtake the one who had so deeply wronged me, and it was as hard, or harder even, to desire now to benefit that person. Time and again while I was working on the earth plane I went and stood beside that one, unseen and unfelt save for the thoughts of me that would be awakened, and each time I perceived that my enemy's thoughts were to the full as bitter as my own. There was no love lost between us. Standing there I beheld time after time the events of our lives blended together in one picture, the dark shadows of our passionate hate dimming and blurring these pictures as storm clouds sweep over a summer sky. And in the clearer light of my spiritual knowledge I beheld where my faults had lain, as strongly or more so than I beheld those of my enemy. And from such visits I would return to my little cottage in the spirit land overwhelmed with the bitterest regrets, the keenest anguish, yet always unable to feel aught but bitterness and anger towards the one whose life seemed only to have been linked by sorrow and wrong to my own.

At last one day while standing beside this mortal I became conscious of a new feeling, almost of pity, for this person was also oppressed in soul--also conscious of regret in thinking of our past. A wish had arisen that a different course towards me had been followed. Thus was there created between us a kinder thought, which though faint and feeble was yet the first fruits of my efforts to overcome my own anger--the first softening and melting of the hard wall of hatred between us. Then was there given to me a chance to assist and benefit this person even as the chance had before come to me of doing harm, and now I was able to overcome my bitterness and to take advantage of this opportunity, so that it was my hand--the hand which had been raised to curse and blight--which was now the one to help instead.

My enemy was not conscious of my presence nor of my interference for good, but felt in a dim fashion that somehow the hatred between us was dead, and that, as I was dead, it were perhaps better to let our quarrels die also. Thus came at last a mutual pardon which severed the links which had so long bound our earthly lives together. I know that during the earthly life of that one we shall never cross each other's path again, but even as I had seen in the case of my friend Benedetto, when death shall sever the thread of that earthly life, our spirits will meet once again, in order that each may ask pardon from the other. Not until then will all links be finally severed between us and each pass on to our appointed sphere. Great and lasting are the effects upon the soul of our loves and our hates; long, long after the life of earth is past do they cling to us, and many are the spirits whom I have seen tied to each other, not by mutual love but mutual hate.

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« Reply #92 on: December 21, 2008, 05:50:09 pm »

CHAPTER XXIX.--The Formation of Planets.

When I had at last learned the lesson of self conquest my mind seemed to be free from a great oppressive weight, and I turned to the study of the spirit land and its conditions with renewed interest. At this period of my wanderings I used to see my friend Hassein very often, and he helped me to an understanding of many things which had perplexed me in my earthly life.
On one occasion when we were seated in my little home enjoying one of our many conversations, I asked him to tell me more of the spheres and their relation to the earth.

"The term spheres," said he, "is, as you have seen, applied to those great belts of spiritual matter which encircle the earth and other planets. It is likewise applied to those still vaster, more extended, thought waves which circle throughout all the universe. Thus we may say there are two classes of spheres--those which are in a measure material and encircle each their own planet or their own solar system and form the dwelling places of the spiritual inhabitants of each planet. These spheres are divided into circles indicating, like steps upon the ladder of progress, the moral advancement of the spirits.

"The other class of spheres are mental, not material, in their constituents and do not belong to any planetary or solar system, but are as limitless as the universe, circling in ever widening currents of thought emanations from the central point, around which all the universe is held to be revolving, and which point is said to be the immediate environment of the Supreme Being, from whom these thought waves are held to proceed. It may perhaps make my meaning still clearer to say there is one great sphere of the intellectual faculties or attributes belonging essentially to the soul, and then to divide this sphere into circles such as the circles of Philosophy, of Art, of Music, of Literature, etc.

It is a common mode of expression to call them spheres, but to my mind it is more correct to describe them as circles. These Intellectual Circles, like great wheels, inclose all those lesser wheels, those spiral rings, which surround each their own solar system, or parent planet, wheels within wheels, revolving around the one great centre continually. In the spirit world only those who are in sympathy ever remain together, and though the ties of relationship or the links of kind remembrance may at times draw together those who have no common bonds of union, these will be but flying visits, and each will return to their own circle and sphere, drawn back by the strong magnetic attraction which holds each sphere and each circle of a sphere in unison. A spirit belonging to the sphere of Music or Philosophy, will be drawn to others of a like disposition who are in the same stage of moral advancement as himself, but his development of a higher degree of music or philosophy will not enable him to ascend into a higher circle of the Moral Spheres, or planetary spheres, than his moral development entitles him to occupy. The central suns of each of the vast intellectual circles of the mental sphere shine as burnished magnets. They are as great prisms glowing with the celestial fires of purity and truth, and darting on all sides their glorious rays of knowledge, and in these rays cluster the multitudes of spirits who are seeking to light their lamps at these glowing shrines. In those rays which reach the earth pure and unbroken, are found those gems of truth which have illuminated the minds of men in all ages of the world's history, and shattered into a thousand fragments the great rocks of error and darkness, even as the lightning's flash shivers a granite rock, letting into the depths below the clear light of God's sun, and those spirits who are most highly advanced are those who are nearest to the central force, to the dazzling light of these starlike centres. These great spheres of the intellectual and moral faculties may, then, be termed the "universal" spheres; those around each planet, "planetary" spheres; and those surrounding the sun centres, "solar" spheres; the first being understood to consist of thought or sound essence, the others of various degrees of spiritualized matter."

"And how, then, would you describe the creation of a planet and its spheres?"

"The creation of a planet may be said to begin from the time when it is cast off from the parent sun in the form of a nebulous mass of fiery vapor. In this stage it is a most powerful magnet, attracting to itself the minute particles of matter which float through all the ether of space. This ether has been supposed to be void of all material atoms such as float in the atmosphere of planets, but that is an incorrect supposition, the fact being that the atoms of matter are simply subdivided into even more minute particles compared to which a grain of sand is as the bulk of the sun to the earth. These atoms being thus subdivided and dispersed through space (instead of being clustered by the forces of magnetic attraction in the planet into atoms the size of those which float as motes in the earth's atmosphere), have become not only invisible to man's material sight but are also incapable of being detected by the ordinary chemical means at his disposal. They are, in fact, etherealized, and have become of the first degree of spirit matter in consequence of the amount of soul essence which has become amalgamated with their grosser elements. In becoming attracted to the glowing mass of an embryo plant, these atoms become so thickly clustered together that the more ethereal elements are pressed out and escape back into space, leaving the solid gross portion to form into rock, etc., through the constant attracting of fresh atoms and the necessarily vast increase of pressure thus caused. These atoms exist eternally, and are as indestructible as all the other elements which constitute the universe, and they are absorbed and cast off again by planet after planet as each passes through the various stages of its existence and development.

"The atoms of matter may be broadly classed under three heads, and again each of the three heads may be subdivided into an infinite number of degrees of density, in order to express the various stages of sublimation to which they have attained. The three principal classes may be termed, material or planetary matter--spiritual or soul enveloping matter, which is no longer visible to material sight--and soul essence, this last being so sublimated that it is not possible for me yet to describe its nature to you. Of the material matter the lowest, most gross form, is that of which mineral substances, such as rocks, earth, etc., are formed; these are thrown off into the atmosphere as dust and reabsorbed continually to be changed, by the process continually going on in nature everywhere, into plants, etc. The intermediate degree between the rocks and the plants is the fluidic, in which the more solid particles are held in solution by the various gases or vaporized form of the chemical elements which constitute them. The second degree of material matter is that of plant or vegetable life which is nourished by the blending of the most gross matter with the fluidic. Thus through infinite gradations of earthly matter we reach the highest, namely, flesh and bones and muscles which, whether it clothes the soul of man or one of the lower animals, is still the highest degree of material matter, containing in this highest degree of earthly material development all those elements of which the lower degrees are composed.

"The second or spiritual form of matter is, as I have said, merely the etherealized development of the first or earthly form of matter, while the soul essence is the animating principle of both, the Divine germ, without which the two first forms of matter could not exist. It is a part of the law of the two first classes of matter that they should clothe the higher soul principle, or they lose their power of cohesion and are diffused into their elemental parts again. Soul matter is the only one which possesses any permanent identity. It is the true Ego, since by no power can it be disintegrated or lose its individuality. It is the true life of whatever lower forms of matter it may animate, and as such changes and shapes that lower matter into its own identity. Soul essence is in and of every type of life, from the mineral and vegetable to man, the highest type of animal, and each of these types is capable of development into the highest or celestial form, in which state it is found in the Heavenly Sphere of each planet and each solar system.

"Since, then, we maintain that everything has its soul of a higher or lower type, it need not create surprise in the mind of any mortal to be told that there are plants and flowers, rocks and deserts, beasts and birds, in the spirit world. They exist there in their spiritualized or developed state, and are more etherealized as they advance higher, in accordance with the same law which governs alike the development of man, the highest type, and that of the lowest form of soul matter. When a plant dies or the solid rock is dispersed into dust or fused into gas, its soul essence passes with the spiritual matter pertaining to it, into the spirit world, and to that sphere to which its development is most akin--the most material portion being absorbed by the earth, the more sublimated particles of matter feeling less of the earth attraction and therefore floating farther from it. Thus in the early stages of a planet's life, when it possesses but a small portion of the soul essence and a large amount of gross matter, its spheres are thrown out first in the direction farthest from its sun and are very material, and the development of its spiritual inhabitants is very low.

"At this early stage the vegetable as well as the animal and human types of soul life are coarse and gross, wanting in the refinement and beauty which may be observed as the evolution of the planet advances. Gradually the vegetation changes, the animals change, the races of men who appear become each higher, more perfect, and as a consequence the spiritual emanations thrown off become correspondingly higher. In the first stages of a planet's life the spheres scarcely exist. They may be likened to a cone in shape, the small end being represented by the planet itself, the earth plane being the highest sphere which has developed, and the lower spheres--by reason of the degraded tastes and low intellectual development of the planet's inhabitants--being like the wide end of the cone. As the planet develops the spheres increase in size and number, and the higher ones begin to form, the point of the cone receding from the planet towards the sun as each of the higher spheres begins its existence.

"Thus are the spheres formed below and above the planet by the constant influx of the atmoms thrown off from the parent planet. At a certain stage of their formation, when the intellectual and selfish propensities of man are more highly developed than his moral and unselfish faculties, these lower spheres in extent greatly exceed the higher ones, and these may be termed the Dark Ages of the World's History, when oppression and cruelty and greed spread their dark wings over mankind.

"After a time the eternal law of the higher evolution of all things causes the higher and lower spheres to become equal in extent and number. Then may we see the forces of good and evil equally balanced, and this period may be termed the meridian of the planet's life. Next follows the period when by the gradual improvement of mankind the figure of the cone becomes gradually reversed, the earth plane becoming again the narrow end by reason of the shrinking and disappearance of the lower spheres, while the higher ones expand towards the highest of all, till at last only this highest sphere exists at all and the planet itself shrinks gradually away till all the material gross particles have been thrown off from it, and it vanishes from existence, all its gross atoms floating away imperceptibly, to be reabsorbed by other planets yet in process of formation.

"Then will the sphere of that planet together with its inhabitants become absorbed into the great spheres of its solar system, and its inhabitants will exist there as do already many communities of spirits whose planets have passed out of existence. Each planetary community, however, will retain the characteristics and individuality of their planet--just as different nationalities on earth do--till they become gradually merged in the larger nationality of their solar system. So gradual, so imperceptible, are these processes of development, so vast the periods of time they take to accomplish, that the mind of mortal man may be forgiven for failing to grasp the immensity of the changes which take place. The lives of all planets are not similar in their duration, because size and position in the solar system, as well as other causes, contribute to modify and slightly alter their development, but the broad features will in all cases be found the same, just as the matter of which each planet is composed shows no chemical substance which does not exist in a greater or less degree in every other. Thus we are able to judge from the condition of the planets around us what has been the history of our earth in the past and what will be its ultimate destiny."

"If, as you say, our spheres are to become absorbed into those of our sun centre, will our individuality as spirits become merged in that of the solar system?"

"No! most certainly not. The individuality of each soul germ is indestructible; it is but a minute unit in the vast ocean of soul life, but still it is a distinct unit, the personality of each being in fact its Ego. It is this very individuality, this very impossibility of dispersing or destroying the soul which constitutes its immortality, which distinguishes it from all other matter, and makes its nature so difficult of explanation or analysis. You have become a member of our Brotherhood of Hope, yet you retain your individuality, and so it is with the soul eternally, no matter through what conditions of existence it may pass. Try to imagine a body so light that the most etherealized vapor is heavy beside it, yet a body possessing such power of cohesion that it is utterly impossible to disintegrate its particles, the power of resistance against all material or spiritual forms of matter which it possesses being equal to that which a bar of steel offers to a cloud of vapor. Imagine this and you will realize how it is that as a spirit you can pass through solid doors and walls of earthly matter, and how a spirit higher than yourself can pass with equal ease through these walls of spiritual matter which surround us here. The more perfectly the soul is freed from gross matter, the less can it be bound by any element, and the greater become its powers, since it is not the soul essence but its dense envelope which can be imprisoned on earth or in the spheres. To you now the walls of earthly houses offer no impediment to free ingress or egress. You pass through them as easily as your earthly body used to pass through the fog. The density of the fog might be disagreeable to you, but it could not arrest your progress. Moreover, when you passed through a fog there was no vacuum left to show where your passage through it had been. This was because the elements of which the fog was composed were attracted together again too quickly for you to perceive where they had been dispersed, and that is exactly what happens when we spirits pass through a material door or wall, the material atoms of which it is composed closing after our progress even more quickly than the fog."

I understand you, and now if, as you say, each type of soul essence has a distinct individuality of its own you will not agree with those who believe in the transmigration of the soul of an animal of the lower type into a man, and vice versa."

"Certainly not. The soul of each type we hold to be capable of the highest degree of development in its own type; but the soul of man being the highest type of all is, therefore, capable of the highest degree of development, namely, into those advanced spirits we call angels. Angels are souls who have passed from the lowest degree of human planetary life through all the planetary spheres till they have attained to the celestial spheres of the solar system, our Heaven of Heavens, which is as far in advance of our Heaven of the planetary spheres as that is in advance of the planet itself. We believe that the soul will go on mounting continually as by ever widening spiral rings, till it has reached what we now term the centre of the universe, but whether when we do attain that summit of our present aspirations we shall not find it to be but a finite point revolving round a still greater centre I cannot say. My own feeling is that we shall attain to centre after centre, ever resting, it may be millions of years, in each, till our aspirations shall again urge us to heights as far again above us. The more one contemplates the subject the more vast and limitless it becomes. How, then, can we hope to see an end to our journeyings through that which has no end, and has had no beginning, and how can we even hope to form any clear idea of the nature and attributes of that Supreme Being whom we hold to be the Omnipotent Ruler of the universe, seeing that we cannot even fully and clearly grasp the magnitude of his creation?"

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« Reply #93 on: December 21, 2008, 05:51:09 pm »

CHAPTER XXX.--Materialization of Spirits.

Another time when we were conversing I asked Hassein for his explanation of the phenomena of the spiritualistic movement which has recently been inaugurated upon earth, and in which I am naturally deeply interested, particularly as relates to materialization, and of which I wished to learn all I could.

Hassein replied: "In order that the mind may grasp the full significance of the Atomic theory, which has of late been advanced by men on earth, and which affords one of the most simple as well as logical explanations of the passage of matter through matter, it may not be out of place to say, for the benefit of those who have not given much thought to the subject and like these questions put before them in the simplest form, that the subdivisions of matter are, as we have said, so minute that even the speck of dust which floats invisible to the eye, unless a sunbeam be let in upon it to illuminate it, is composed of an infinite number of smaller particles, which are attracted and held together by the same laws that govern the attraction and repulsion of larger bodies. The knowledge of these laws gives to spirits the power of adapting these atoms to their own use, while making the manifestations called 'Materializations' now familiar to students of Spiritualism. The atoms suitable for their purpose are collected by the spirits wishing to materialize, from the atmosphere, which is full of them and also from the emanations proceeding from the men and women who form the spirit circle. These atoms are shaped by the spirits' will into the form of their earthly bodies, and held in combination by a chemical substance found, in a greater or less degree, in the bodies of all living things. Were the chemists of earth life sufficiently advanced in knowledge, they could extract this chemical from every living thing in nature and store it up to be used at will.

"This substance or essence is in fact the mysterious Elixir of Life, the secret of extracting and retaining which in tangible form has been sought by the sages of all times and countries. So subtle, so ethereal, however, is it that as yet there is no process known to earthly chemists which can bring this essence into a state to be analyzed by them, although it has been recognized and classed by some under the head of 'Magnetic Aura.' Of this, however, it is but one--and that the most ethereal--element. The life-giving rays of the sun contain it, but who is there as yet among chemists who can separate and bottle up in different portions the sunbeams? And of all portions this especially, which is the most delicate, the most subtle. Yet this knowledge is possessed by advanced spirits, and some day when the world has progressed far enough in the science of chemistry, the knowledge of this process will be given to men just as the discoveries in electricity and kindred sciences have been given--discoveries which in an earlier age would have been styled miraculous.

"Here let me remark as to 'Auras,' that the constituent elements of the auras of the different sitters at a seance have quite as much effect upon the materialization as has that of the medium. Sometimes the chemical elements in the aura of one sitter do not amalgamate or blend thoroughly with those of some other sitter present, and this want of harmony prevents any materialization taking place at all. In extreme cases these antagonistic elements act so strongly in opposition to each other and are so repellent in their effects upon the atoms collected, that they act as a spiritual explosive which scatters the atoms as dynamite shatters a solid wall.

"This antagonism has nothing whatever to do with the moral or mental conditions of such persons. They may both be in all respects most estimable, earnest people, but they should never sit in the same circle and never be brought into magnetic contact, since their auras could never blend, and only general disappointment can result from any atempt to harmonize them. Although, apart, they might each attain satisfactory enough results, they never could do so in any attempt in combination.

"In those known as simply physical mediums, that is mediums with whose assistance purely physical phenomena alone are produced, such as the moving of tables or carrying in the air of musical boxes, and similar feats, this peculiar essence exists, but in a form too coarse to be suitable for materialization, which requires a certain degree of refinement in the essence. In them it is like a coarse raw alcoholic spirit, but in the true materializing medium it is like the same spirit redistilled, refined, and purified, and the purer this essence the more perfect will be the materialization.

"In many mediums there is a combination of the physical and materializing powers, but in exact proportion as the coarse physical manifestations are cultivated so will the higher and finer forms of materialization be lost.

"It is erroneous to imagine that in true materialization you are getting merely the double of the medium transformed for the moment into a likeness of your departed friends, or that the emanations from the sitters must always affect the appearance of the resulting spirit forms. They can only do so when from some cause there is a deficiency of the special essence, or an inability on the spirit's part to use it. In that case the atoms retain the personality of those from whom they are taken, because the spirit is unable to stamp his identity upon them, as a wax image, and until it be melted into a new mold, it will retain the impress of the old. The possession of a sufficient amount of the special essence, on the one hand, enables the spirit to clothe himself in the atoms he has collected and to hold them long enough to melt them, as it were, into a state in which they will take on his identity or the stamp of his individuality. The absence of the essence, on the other hand, causes him to lose his hold before the process has become perfect, and thus he has either hastily to show himself with the imperfect resemblance he has obtained, or else not show himself at all.

"A familiar simile may explain my meaning. When in the earthly body, you took flesh, vegetable, and fluid substances ready formed, containing in a prepared state the elements your earthly body required for its renewal, and by the process of digestion you changed these substances into a part of your soul's earthly envelope. Well, in the same way a spirit takes the ready prepared atoms given off by the medium and members of a materializing seance, and by a process as rapid as lightning artificially digests or arranges them into a material covering or envelope for himself, bearing his own identity more or less completely impressed on it according to his power.

"Every atom of the body of a mortal is drawn, directly or indirectly, from the atmosphere around him, and absorbed in one form or another, and after it has served as clothing for his spirit, it is cast off to be again absorbed in another form by some other living thing. Everyone knows that the material of the human body is continually changing, and yet many think to establish a prescriptive right to those atoms thrown off during a seance, and say that when a spirit makes use of them and adapts them to himself, therefore he must have taken their own mental characteristics along with the material atoms, and thus they try to persuade themselves that the spirit appearing clothed with these material atoms is no more than the thought emanation of their own bodies and brains, ignoring, or more probably not knowing, that the grossest material, not the mental atoms, were all the spirit wanted to clothe himself with and make him visible to material sight.

"The best proof of the fallacy of this supposition is the constant appearance at seances of spirits whom no one present was thinking of at the time, and in some cases even of people whose death was not known to any of the sitters.

"The essence or fluid ether of which I have spoken is that which principally holds the material body together in life. At death, or, more correctly, the withdrawal of the soul and the severance of the connecting link between it and the material atoms of the body, it escapes into the surrounding atmosphere, permitting the particles of that body to decay. Cold retards the dispersal of this fluid ether; heat accelerates it, thus explaining why the body of any animal or plant disintegrates or turns to decay sooner in hot than in cold climates, and thus becomes nourishment fit for those minute parasites which are stimulated and fed by a lower degree of life magnetism which is retained in the discarded envelope. This essence or fluidic ether is akin to the electric fluid known to scientists, but as electricity is the product of mineral and vegetable substances, it is lower in degree and much coarser in quality than this human electricity, and would require the combination of other elements to make it assimilate with the human.

"This higher essence is an important element in what has been termed the Higher Animal Life Principle as distinguished from the Soul-Life Principle and from the Astral Life Principle. Each of which we make distinct elemental principles.

"In trance, either artificially induced or occurring as part of the spiritual development of certain sensitives or mediums, this life essence remains with the body, but, as life is required for its need in trance, a large portion may be taken away and used by the controlling spirit to clothe himself, care being taken to return it to the medium again. With some mediums this life essence is given off so freely that unless care is taken to replace it continually, the death of the physical body will soon follow. In others it can only be extracted with great difficulty, and in some there is so small a quantity that it would be neither wise nor useful to take any away from them at all.

"The aura of those mediums possessing a large amount of a high and pure quality, will diffuse a most lovely clear silver light, which can be seen by clairvoyants, and it helps even immaterialized spirits to make themselves visible. This silver light can be seen radiating like the rays of a star from the medium, and where it is present in a very high degree no other light is required for the materialized spirits to show themselves, the spirits appearing as though surrounded by a silver halo, and with this beautiful light illuminating their garments, they appear much as you see pictures of saints and angels, whom no doubt the ancient seers beheld through the medium of this species of aura.

"Although the aid of a materializing medium and a good circle of persons still in the material body may simplify the process of building up a body in which a spirit may be able to clothe himself, yet it is quite possible for some spirits of the highest spheres to make for themselves a material body without the aid of any medium or any other person in an earth-body. Their knowledge of the laws of chemistry is sufficient and their will power is adequate to the strain imposed on it in the process, and in the atmosphere of the earth as well as in the plants, minerals, and animals, is to be found every substance of which the body is composed and from which the life essence is extracted. The human body is a combination of all the materials and gases found on and in the earth and its atmosphere, and it only requires a knowledge of the laws governing the combination and adhesion of the various substances to enable a spirit to make a body in all respects similar to that of terrestrial man, and to clothe himself therewith, holding it in combination for a longer or shorter period at will.

"Such knowledge is of necessity unknown as yet except in the higher spheres, because it requires a high degree of development in the mental condition of the spirit before he can duly weigh and understand all the minute points and numerous laws of nature involved in the subject. The ancients were right in saying they could make a man. They could do so, and even animate their manufacture to a certain degree with the astral or lower life-principle, but they could not continue to sustain that life by reason of the extreme difficulty in collecting this lower life-principle, and when they had so animated the artificially made body it would be devoid of intelligence and reason, these attributes belonging exclusively to the soul, and neither man nor spirit can endow such a body with a soul--that which alone can give it intellect and immortality. At the same time an artificially made body could serve as a covering to a spirit (or soul) and enable him to converse with men for a longer or shorter time, according to the power of the spirit to retain this material envelope in the complete state. Thus no doubt those of the ancients who had acquired a knowledge of these things could also renew at will the material covering of their bodies, and make themselves practically live upon the earth forever, or they might disperse these material atoms and walk forth in the spirit freed from the trammels of the flesh, reconstructing the earthly body again when it suited them. Such spirit men are the Mahatmas, who by the knowledge of these and kindred secrets do possess many of the marvellous powers attributed to them.

"But where we differ from them is in the application of the knowledge they have thus gained and the doctrines they deduce from it, and also as to the unadvisability of imparting it freely to men in the flesh, and the duty of withholding it from them as a dangerous thing. We hold there is no knowledge given to any spirit or mortal, which may not be safely possessed by every other, provided they have the mental development to understand and apply this knowledge. Our great teacher of these subjects, the guide Ahrinziman, was a native of the East and has been a student of occult subjects, both in his earth life and in the two thousand and more years that have passed since he left the earth, and this is his decided opinion, and he has seen both the origin and the practice of many of these ideas that are as yet new to the Western mind.

"While thus possessing the power to create a material body from the elemental atoms alone, spirits of advanced knowledge seldom use this power, because for ordinary materializing purposes there is no need to exercise it, the emanations from the members of the materializing circle and the aura of the medium, which are already saturated with the necessary essence for the formation of a body, saving them both time and trouble, and simplifying the process. It is just as the buying a ready made piece of cloth simplifies the making of a garment, instead of the tailor having to proceed first to grow the wool, then to spin it, and finally to weave it into cloth for himself before he can begin to make the garment.

"In some cases so much of the material is taken from the medium's body so as to perceptibly alter its weight. In others nearly the whole of the material covering is used, so that to material sight the medium has vanished, although a clairvoyant may perceive the astral or spirit form still seated in the chair. In such cases it is simply the gross material atoms which have been made use of, while the mental atoms have not been touched. As a rule the spirits who take part in a materializing seance, both those who materialize themselves and those who assist the chief controlling spirit, are ignorant of the means by which the results are obtained, just as many persons who avail themselves of the discoveries of chemistry and the articles manufactured by chemists are ignorant of how those substances are obtained. There is in all materializations an invisible head or director from a sphere greatly in advance of the earth, who may be called the chief chemist, and he passes his directions to a spirit strong in the power of controlling the forces of the astral plane and to others under him, who come in contact with the medium and direct the order of the materializations of personal friends of the sitters, besides sometimes materializing and showing themselves to the circle.

"There is a powerful movement going on now in the spirit world with the object of extending the knowledge of all these subjects, both among spirits and men in the flesh, and the ecclesiasticism, whether of the East or of the West, which would still shut up such knowledge within the precincts of the temple, may fight against this movement, but it will fight in vain. The power is too strong for them. Men are pressing into the avenues of knowledge on all sides and thronging round the doors which, sooner or later, must be opened to them.

"You cannot suppress knowledge. It is the inalienable birthright of every soul. Neither can it be made the property of any class. So soon as the mind begins to think, it will search for knowledge, and feed upon such crumbs as come in its way, and surely it were better to impart the knowledge sought carefully and judiciously so it can be assimilated, than try to suppress the desire for it, or leave the hungry soul to gather it for itself in the garbage heaps of error.

"The human race is advancing eternally, and the tutelage of the child is no longer adapted to the growing youth. He demands freedom, and will break from the leading strings altogether unless their tension is relaxed and he is suffered to wander in the pathways of knowledge to the utmost of his powers. Is it not well, then, that those who are as the sages of the race should respond to this thirst for light and knowledge by giving, through every channel and avenue which can be opened, the wisdom of the ages in such form as may make it the most easily comprehended? This planet is but a speck of the universal knowledge as is adapted to its state, and each hour requires that the expansion of the human mind shall be met by the expansion of its creeds and its resources, by the pouring in of fresh streams of light, not the suppressing of the old lest it should be too strong for the sight."

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« Reply #94 on: December 21, 2008, 05:52:31 pm »

CHAPTER XXXI.--Why the Spheres Are Invisible--Spirit Photographs.

"And now, Hassein, there is another point I wish to ask you about. I have frequently heard men on earth say they want to know, if the spheres exist around the earth and between them and the sun, why is it that all men cannot see them, and why they cannot even see those spirits who are said to be actually in the room with them. Naturally, men are not all satisfied to be told simply that it is because they are not clairvoyants, and have not the soul-sight. They want a still clearer explanation. I am a spirit myself and I know that I exist, and so does my dwelling-place, but I am unable to give an answer to the question. Can you do so?"
Hassein laughed. "I could give a dozen elaborate explanations, but neither you nor these mortals who are unable to see the spirits would be much wiser after I had done so. I must, therefore, endeavor to make my answer as free from technicalities as I can. First, though, let me ask if you have seen the photographs of unmaterialized spirits which have been obtained by certain mediums in the flesh. You will have noticed that to mortal sight they present a semi-transparent appearance. The material doors and windows, furniture, etc. show through the figures of the spirits.

"Now that gives you a very good idea of the amount of materiality possessed by an astral body (the first degree of spiritualized matter). The material particles are spread so thinly that they are like a fine net-work united by invisible atoms of a more etherealized nature--so sublimated in fact that they cannot be impressed upon the most sensitive plates now used by photographers. Spirits after they leave the earth plane cannot be photographed by the plates now in use--they do not possess gross enough atoms in the composition of their bodies, and have therefore to either materialize a body like an earthly one, or they may use another method which has been found successful and which is the one commonly used in the case of spirit photographs, where the spirits are visible to clairvoyant sight though invisible to material eyes. This is simply described by saying these spirits make use of some of those astral envelopes or bodies that I have already described to you as forming from cloud masses of semi-material human atoms--astral shells which never served as the covering of any soul, and which are so plastic in their nature that spirits can mold them into their own likeness as a sculptor molds the clay. These replicas can be and are photographed, bearing a greater or less resemblance to the spirit, according as his will power and his knowledge enable him to stamp his likeness upon them, and though they are not strictly speaking the photos of the spirits themselves, yet they are none the less evidence of spirit power and of the existence of the spirit who has made use of them, because each spirit must himself stamp his own identity upon the plastic astral form, while more advanced scientific spirits prepare that form to receive the impression.

"In the case of materialized spirits' photographs, the spirits really make a body from the more material atoms and clothe themselves in it.

"A clairvoyant seeing one of these astral forms about to be photographed would probably not be able to distinguish between it and a true spirit man or woman, because the power of distinguishing between them is not yet developed in mediums, neither, as a rule, do they know why a spirit that looks solid enough to them comes out on a photographic plate with a semi-transparent appearance. The see the more spiritualized matter as well as the grosser astral atoms, therefore it appears to them as a solid body with well-rounded, well proportioned limbs, not as a transparent shadow of a spirit whose appearance may well give rise to the idea that returning spirits are mere shades, almost, in fact, empty shells--the real reason of the empty appearance being that, as I have said, the photographic appliances at present in use are not capable of transferring the whole spirit's form but only these grosser particles. In the case of a fully materialized spirit being photographed, this transparent appearance does not exist. The form is so perfect, so life-like and solid, that men turn round and say it, therefore, cannot be a spirit photograph at all--it must be nothing but the medium. Blind seekers, who in trying to grasp a subject so vast, so full of the most subtle difficulties, bring to bear upon it only the knowledge suitable for mundane things, and then conclude that they are able to decide finally so momentous, so scientific a question!

"But to return to your question. Having shown you how a photograph may give a spirit whose appearance is like that of the traditional ghost, I will now show you how mortals may also see them as such, but to illustrate my meaning I will first ask you to imagine yourself back in your earthly body with no more powers of spirit sight than you possessed then. Let us liken the material and spiritual sight to two eyes. The one we will call the left, the other the right eye, and let the left stand for the material sight, the right the spiritual. Suppose you stand with your back to the light and hold your forefinger in front of the right eye where it can be seen by that eye only, the left seeing only the wall before you--shut the right eye and the finger is invisible, yet it is there, only not in the line of vision for the left, or material, sight. Now open both eyes at once and look at your finger and you will now see it certainly, but owing to a curious optical illusion it will appear transparent, a mere shadow of a finger, the wall being seen through it, and it may be likened to a ghost of a finger although you know it to be a solid reality.

"Thus you can imagine how a person whose material sight is alone open cannot see that which requires spiritual sight to discern, and how, when both the material and spiritual sight are open at the same mement a spirit may be visible but with the same transparent appearance as your finger had just now. Hence has arisen the popular idea of a ghost. A clairvoyant, looking at any spiritual object with the spiritual sight, does so with the material sight closed through the power of the controlling intelligence who directs that person's mediumship. Therefore to him or to her the spiritual object does present the appearance of a solid reality such as a material finger appears when seen by the material sight alone.

"Few men know and still fewer consider that even their material sight is dependent upon the material atoms which fill the earth's atmosphere, and without which atoms there would be no light to see anything by.

At night mortals can see the stars--even those which are not themselves suns--distant as they are, because they are material objects from which the light of the sun is reflected. During the day the stars are still there, but the immense mass of material particles in the earth's atmosphere being illuminated by the reflecting of the sun's rays from them, causes so dense an atmosphere of light that the stars are veiled and no longer visible to material eyes. Ascend, however, above this material atmosphere of illuminated atoms, and, behold, the stars are again visible at mid-day and the surrounding ether of space, being free from such material particles, is quite dark. There is nothing to reflect the sun's rays.

Thus, although the mortal would be nearer to the sun, yet its light is no longer visible to his material eyes, which can only see when there is some material object, however small, to reflect the light of the sun for him. How, then, does man know that the light of the sun is traveling through the ether space to earth? Only by reason and analogy, not by sight, for beyond the earth's atmosphere the sun's light is invisible to him. Men know the light of the moon to be only the light of the sun reflected from the moon's surface. Experience and experiment have proved this, and it is now universally admitted. In like manner each little atom of material matter floating in the earth's atmosphere is an infinitesimal moon to reflect the sun's light for man and brighten earth with the splendor of these reflections. So again those minute particles that are continually being thrown off into the atmosphere by the earth itself, are but the larger and grosser atoms enclosing or rather revolving round, minute spiritual germs that form a spiritual atmosphere around the earth and reflect for clairvoyants the spiritual elements of the light of the sun. This spiritual atmosphere forms what is known as the astral plane, and bears the same proportion of density to astral bodies that the material atmosphere does to mortal bodies, and the light from the spiritual elements of the sun striking upon these spiritual particles is the light of the astral plane by which spirits see; the material atmosphere of earth being visible to the material sight of mortals. Is it not, then, easy to imagine that the spirit spheres may exist around the earth, and between man and the material envelope of the sun without his being able to see them, by reason of the fact that his spiritual sight is closed and he can only see what is material? The spiritual spheres and their inhabitants are certainly more transparent and intangible to mortal sight than his finger appeared just now. Yet they exist and are as solid a reality as his finger, and are only invisible by reason of his imperfect sight, which is limited to material things of comparatively great density."

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« Reply #95 on: December 21, 2008, 05:53:44 pm »

CHAPTER XXXII.--Through the Gates of Gold--My Mother--My Home in the Land of Bright Day--I Am Joined by Benedetto.

I was always fond of watching the clouds float over the sky and shape themselves into pictures suggested by my thoughts. Since I reached the second sphere of the spirit land my skies have always had clouds floating over them, lovely light fleecy clouds which shape themselves into a thousand forms and take on the most lovely shades of color, sometimes becoming rainbow hued and at others of the most dazzling white, and then again vanishing away altogether. I have been told by some spirits that in their skies they never see a cloud, all is serene clear beauty; and no doubt it is so in their lands, for in the spirit world our thoughts and wishes form our surroundings. Thus, because I love to see clouds they are to be seen in my sky, at times veiling and softening its beauties and making cloud-castles for me to enjoy.
Now, some time after I obtained my little home in the Morning Land I began to see between myself and my cloud-pictures a vision which, like the mirage seen in the desert, hovered on the horizon, distinct and lifelike, only to melt away as I gazed. This was a most lovely ethereal gate of wrought gold, such as might be the entrance to some fairy land. A clear stream of water flowed between myself and this gate, while trees so fresh, so green, so aerial, they seemed like fairy trees, arched their branches over it and clustered at the sides. Again and again did I see this vision, and one day while I was gazing at it my father came unnoticed by me and stood by my side. He touched my shoulder and said:

"Franchezzo, that gate is inviting you to go nearer and see it for yourself. It is the entrance to the highest circle of this second sphere, and it is within those gates that your new home is waiting for you. You might have gone some time ago into those circles which lie between you and it, had not your affection for this little cottage made you content to remain in it. Now, however, it would be as well for you to go forth and see if the wonders of that new land will not still more delight you. I am, as you know, in the third sphere, which will, therefore, be still above you, but the nearer you approach to me the more easily can I visit you, and in your new home we shall be much oftener together."

I was so surprised I could not answer for a little time. It seemed incredible that I should be able so soon to pass those gates. Then, taking my father's advice, I bade a regretful adieu to my little home (for I grow much attached to places which I live long in) and set forth to journey to this new country, the gate shining before me all the time, not fading away as it had done before.

In the spirit land where the surface is not that of a round globe as with the planets, you do not see the objects on the horizon vanishing in the same way, and earth and sky meeting at last as one. Instead you see the sky as a vast canopy overhead, and the circles which are above you seem like plateaux resting upon mountain tops on your horizon, and when you reach those mountains and see the new country spread out before you, there are always on its horizon again more mountains and fresh lands lying higher than those you have reached. Thus also you can look down on those you have passed as upon a succession of terraces, each leading to a lower, less beautiful one, till at last you see the earth plane surrounding the earth itself, and then beyond that again (for those spirits whose sight is well developed) lie another succession of terrace-like lands leading down to Hell. Thus circle melts into circle and sphere into sphere, only that between each sphere there exists a barrier of magnetic waves which repels those from a lower sphere who seek to pass it until their condition has become in harmony with the higher sphere.

In my journey to the golden gates I passed through several circles of this second sphere, whose cities and dwelling-places would have tempted me to linger and admire them had I not been so eager to view the fair land which was now the goal of my hopes. I knew, moreover, that I could at any time on my way to earth stop and explore those intermediate lands, because a spirit can always retrace his steps if he desires and visit those below him.

At last I reached the top of the last range of mountains between me and the golden gates, and saw stretched out before my eyes a most lovely country. Trees waved their branches as in welcome to me and flowers blossomed everywhere, while at my feet was the shining river and across it the golden gates. With a great sense of joy in my heart I plunged into that beautiful river to swim across, its refreshing waters closing over my head as I dived and swam. I had taken no heed to my clothing and as I landed on the farther side I looked to see myself dripping with water, but in a moment I found my clothing as dry as could be, and what was still stranger, my grey robe with its triple bordering of white had changed into one of the most dazzling snowy lustre with a golden girdle and golden borderings. At the neck and wrists it was clasped with little plain gold clasps, and seemed to be like the finest muslin in texture. I could scarce believe my senses. I looked and looked again, and then, with a trembling, beating heart I approached those lovely gates. As my hand touched them they glided apart and I passed into a wide road bordered by trees and flowering shrubs and plants of most lovely hues--like flowers of earth, indeed, but ah! how much more lovely, how much more fragrant no words of mine can convey to you.

The waving branches of the trees bent over me in loving welcome as I passed, the flowers seemed to turn to me as greeting one who loved them well, at my feet there was the soft green sward, and overhead a sky so clear, so pure, so beautiful, the light shimmering through the trees as never did the light of earthly sun. Before me were lovely blue and purple hills and the gleam of a fair lake, upon whose bosom tiny islets nestled crowned with the green foliage of groups of trees. Here and there a little boat skimmed over the surface of the lake filled with happy spirits clad in shining robes of many different colors--so like to earth, so like my beloved Southern Land, and yet so changed, so glorified, so free from all taint of wrong and sin!

As I passed up the broad flower-girt road a band of spirits came to meet and welcome me, amongst whom I recognized my father, my mother, my brother and a sister, besides many beloved friends of my youth. They carried gossamer scarfs of red, white and green colors, which they were waving to me, while they strewed my path with masses of the fairest flowers as I approached, and all the time they sang the beautiful songs of our own land in welcome, their voices floating on the soft breeze in the perfection of unison and harmony. I felt almost overcome with emotion; it seemed far too much happiness for one like me.

And then my thoughts even in that bright scene turned to earth, to her who was of all the most dear to me, where all were so dear, and I thought, "Alas that she is not here to share with me the triumphs of this hour; she to whose love more than to any other thing I owe it." As the thought came to me I suddenly beheld her spirit beside me, half asleep, half conscious, freed for a brief moment from the earthly body and borne in the arms of her chief guardian spirit. Her dress was of the spirit world, white as a bride's and shimmering with sparkling gems like dew drops. I turned and clasped her to my heart, and at my touch her soul awoke and she looked smilingly at me. Then I presented her to my friends as my betrothed bride, and while she was still smiling at us all, her guide again drew near and threw over her a large white mantle. He lifted her in his arms once more, and like a tired child she seemed to sink into slumber as he bore her away to her earthly body, which she had left for a time to share and crown this supreme moment of my joy. Ah, me! even in my joy I felt it hard to let her go, to think I could not keep her with me; but the thread of her earthly life was not yet fully spun, and I knew that she like others must travel the path of her earthly pilgrimage to its end.

When my beloved was gone, my friends all clustered round me with tender embraces, my mother whom I had never seen since I was a little child--caressing my hair and covering my face with kisses as though I had been still the little son whom she had left on earth so many, many years ago that his memory of her had been but dim, and that the father had supplied the image of both parents in his thoughts.

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« Reply #96 on: December 21, 2008, 05:54:19 pm »

Then they led me to a lovely villa almost buried in the roses and jasmine which clustered over its walls and twined around the slender white pillars of the piazza, forming a curtain of flowers upon one side. What a beautiful home it seemed! How much beyond what I deserved! Its rooms were spacious, and there were seven of them, each typical of a phase in my own character or some taste I had cultivated.

My villa was upon the top of a hill overlooking the lake which lay many hundreds of feet below, its calm waters rippled by magnetic currents and the surrounding hills mirrored in its quiet bosom, and beyond the lake there was a wide valley. As one looks down from a mountain top to the low hills and the dark valley and level plains below, so did I now look down from my new dwelling upon a panorama of the lower spheres and circles through which I had passed, to the earth plane and again to the earth itself, which lay like a star far below me. I thought as I looked at it that there dwelt still my beloved, and there yet lay the field of my labors. I have sat many times since gazing out on that lone star, the pictures of my past life floating in a long wave of memory across my day-dream, and with all my thoughts was interwoven the image of her who is my guiding star.

The room from which I could see this view of the distant earth was my music-room, and in it were musical instruments of various kinds. Flowers festooned the walls and soft draperies the windows, which required no glass in their frames to keep out the soft zephyrs of that fair land. A honeysuckle, that was surely the same sweet plant which had so rejoiced my heart in my little cottage in the Morning Land, trailed its fragrant tendrils around the window, and on one of the walls hung my picture of my darling, framed with its pure white roses which always seemed to me an emblem of herself. Here, too, I again found all my little treasures which I had collected in my dark days when hope seemed so far and the shadow of night was ever over me. The room was full of soft masses of lovely spirit flowers, and the furniture was like that of earth only more light in appearance, more graceful and beautiful in every way. There was a couch which I much admired. It was supported by four half-kneeling figures of wood-nymphs, carved as it would seem from a marble of the purest white and even more transparent than alabaster. Their extended arms and clasped hands formed the back and the upper and lower ends; their heads were crowned with leaves and their floating draperies fell around their forms in so graceful, so natural a manner, it was difficult to believe they were not living spirit-maidens. The covering of this couch was of a texture like swan's down, only it was pale gold in color; so soft was it, it seemed to invite one to repose, and often have I lain upon it and looked out at the lovely scene and away to the dim star of earth with its weary pilgrims--its toiling souls.

The next apartment was filled with beautiful pictures, lovely statues, and tropical flowers. It was almost more like a conservatory than a room, the pictures being collected at one end of it and the statues and flowers forming a foreground of beauty that was like another and larger picture. There was a little grotto with a fountain playing, the water sparkling like diamonds and rippling over the sides of the smaller basin into one larger still, with a murmuring sound which suggested a melody to me. Near this grotto was one picture which attracted me at once, for I recognized it as a scene from my earthly life. It was a picture of one calm and peaceful evening in early summer when my beloved and I had floated on the quiet waters of an earthly river. The setting sun glowing in the west was sinking behind a bank of trees, while the grey twilight crept over the hollows through the shade of the trees; and in our hearts there was a sense of peace and rest which raised our souls to Heaven. I looked around and recognized many familiar scenes, which had likewise been full of happiness for me and in whose memories there was no sting.

There were also many pictures of my friends, and of scenes in the spirit world. From the windows I could behold another view than from my music-room. This view showed those lands which were yet far above me, and whose towers and minarets and mountains shone through a dim haze of bright mist, now rainbow hued, now golden, or blue, or white. I loved to change from the one view to the other, from the past which was so clear, to the future that was still dim, still veiled for me.

In this picture salon there was all which could delight the eye or rest the body, for our bodies require repose as well as do yours on earth, and we can enjoy to rest upon a couch of down earned by our labors as much as you can enjoy the possession of fine furniture bought with gold earned by your work on earth.

Another saloon was set apart for the entertainment of my friends, and here again, as in the lower sphere, there were tables set out with a feast of simple but delicious fruits, cakes, and other agreeable foods like earthly foods, only less material, and there was also the delicious sparkling wine of the spirit world which I have before mentioned. Another room again was full of books recording my life and the lives of those whom I admired or loved. There were also books upon many subjects, the peculiarity in them being that instead of being printed they seemed full of pictures, which when one studied them appeared to reflect the thoughts of those who had written the books more eloquently than any words. Here, too, one could sit and receive the inspired thoughts of the great poets and literary men who inhabit the sphere above, and here have I sat, and inscribed upon the blank pages of some book laid open before me, poems to her who filled the larger half of all my thoughts.

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« Reply #97 on: December 21, 2008, 05:54:50 pm »

From this room we passed out to the garden, my father saying he would show me my chamber of repose, after our friends were gone. Here, as in the house, flowers were everywhere, for I always loved flowers, they spoke to me of so many things and seemed to whisper such bright fancies, such pure thoughts. There was a terrace around the house, and the garden seemed almost to overhang the lake, especially at one secluded corner which was fenced in with a bank of ferns and flowering shrubs and backed by a screen of trees. This nook was a little to the side of the house and soon became my favorite resort; the ground was carpeted with soft green moss as you have not on earth--and flowers grew all around. Here there was a seat whereon I loved to sit and look away to the earth, and fancy where my beloved one's home would be. Across all those millions of miles of space my thoughts could reach her as hers could now reach me, for the magnetic cord of our love stretched between us and no power could ever shut us out from each other again.

When I had seen and admired all, my friends led me back to the house and we all sat down to enjoy the feast of welcome which their love had prepared for me. Ah! what a happy feast that was. How we proposed the progression and happiness of each one, and then drank our toast in wine which left no intoxication behind, no after reckoning of shame to mar its refreshing qualities! How delicious seemed this fruit, these numerous little delicacies which were all the creations of someone's love for me. It seemed too much happiness, I felt as in a delightful dream from which I must surely wake. At last all my friends left except my father and mother, and by them I was conducted to the upper chambers of the house. They were three in number. Two were for such friends as might come to stay with me, and both were most prettily furnished, most peaceful looking; the third room was for myself, my own room, where I would retire when I desired to rest and to have no companion but my own thoughts. As we entered, the thing which attracted me most and filled me with more astonishment that anything I had yet seen, was the couch. It was of snowy white gossamer, bordered with pale lilac and gold, while at the foot were two angels, carved, like the wood-nymphs, out of the dazzlilng white alabaster I have vainly tried to describe. They were much larger than myself or any spirits whom I had seen, and their heads and extended wings seemed almost to touch the roof of my room, and the pose of these two most lovely figures was perfect in its grace. Their feet scarce touched the floor and with their bending forms and half-outstretched wings they appeared to hover over the bed as though they had but just arrived from their celestial sphere.

They were male and female forms, the man wearing on his head a helmet and bearing in his hand a sword, while the other hand held aloft a crown. His figure was the perfection of manly beauty and grace, and his face with its perfect features so firmly moulded, expressing at once strength and gentleness, had to my eyes a look of calm regal majesty that was divine.

The female figure at his side was smaller--more delicate in every way. Her face was full of gentle, tender, womanly purity and beauty. The eyes large and soft even though carved in marble, the long tresses of her hair half-veiling her head and shoulders. One hand held a harp with seven strings, the other rested upon the shoulder of the male angel as though she supported herself with his strength, while the lovely head was half bent forward and rested upon her arm, and on her head she wore a crown of pure white lilies.

The look upon her face was one of such exquisite sweetness, such maternal tenderness, it might well have served for that of the Virgin Mother herself. The attitudes, the expressions of both were the most perfect realization of angelic beauty I have seen, and for some moments I could but gaze at them expecting them to melt away before my eyes.

At last I turned to my father and asked how such lovely figures came to be in my room, and why they were represented with wings, since I had been told that angels had not really wings growing from their bodies at all.

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« Reply #98 on: December 21, 2008, 05:55:22 pm »

"My son," he answered, "these lovely figures are the gift of your mother and myself to you, and we would fain think of you as reposing under the shadow of their wings, which represent in a material form the protection we would ever give you. They are shown with wings because that is the symbol of the angelic spheres, but if you will look closely at them you will find that these wings are like a part of the drapery of the forms, and are not attached to the bodies at all as though they grew from the shoulder in the fashion earthly artists represent them. The wings, moreover, express the power of angelic beings to soar upon these outstretched pinions into Heaven itself. The shining helmet and the sword represent war, the helmet the war of the Intellect against Error, Darkness and Oppression. The sword, the war man must ever wage against the passions of his lower nature. The crown symbolizes the glory of virtue and self-conquest.

"The harp in the woman's hand shows that she is an angel of the musical sphere, and the crown of lilies expresses purity and love. Her hand resting on the man's shoulder is to show that she derives her strength and power from him and from his stronger nature, while her attitude and looks as she bends over your couch express the tender love and protection of woman's maternal nature. She is smaller than the man, because in you the masculine elements are stronger than the feminine. In some representations of the angels of men's souls they are made of equal size and stature, because in those characters the masculine and feminine elements are both equal, both evenly balanced, but with you it is not so, therefore are they represented with the woman dependent upon the stronger one.

"The male angel typifies power and protection. The female angel purity and love. Together they show the eternal dual nature of the soul and that one-half is not complete without the other. They also are the symbolical representation of the twin guardian angels of your soul whose wings may be said in a spiritual sense to be ever outstretched in protection over you."

Shall I confess that even in that beautiful home there were times when I felt lonely? I had this home, earned by myself, but as yet I had no one to share it with me, and I have always felt a pleasure to be doubly sweet when there was some one whom I could feel enjoyed it also. The one companion of all others for whom I sighed was still on earth, and alas! I knew that not for many years could she join me. Then Faithful Friend was in a circle of the sphere above me in a home of his own, and as for Hassein, he was far above us both, so that though I saw them at times as well as my dear father and mother, there was no one to share my life with me en bon camarade, no one to watch for my home-coming, and no one for whom in my turn I could watch. I was often on earth--often with my darling--but I found that with my advanced position in the spirit world I could not remain for so long at a time as I had been wont to do. It had upon my spirit much the effect of trying to live in a foggy atmosphere or down a coal mine, and I had to return more frequently to the spirit land to recover myself.

I used to sit in my lovely rooms and sigh to myself, "Ah, if I had but some one to speak with, some congenial soul to whom I might express all the thoughts which crowd my mind." It was therefore with the greatest pleasure that I received a visit from Faithful Friend, and heard the suggestion he had to make to me.

"I have come," said he, "on behalf of a friend who has just come to this circle of the sphere, but who has not yet earned for himself a home of his own and therefore desires to find one with some friend more richly endowed than himself. He has no relatives here and I thought that you might be glad of his companionship."

"Most truly, I would be delighted to share my home with your friend."

Faithful Friend laughed. "He may be called your friend also, for you know him. It is Benedetto."

"Benedetto!" I cried in astonishment and delight. "Ah! then he will indeed be doubly welcome. Bring him here as soon as possible."

"He is here now--he awaits at your door; he would not come with me till he was sure you would really be glad to welcome him."

"No one could be more so," I said. "Let us go at once and bring him in."

So we went to the door and there he stood, looking very different from when I had last seen him in that awful city of the lower sphere--then so sad, weighed down, so oppressed--now so bright, his robes, like mine, of purest white, and though his face was still sad in expression yet there was peace, and there was hope in the eyes he raised to mine as I clasped his hand and embraced him as we of my Southern Land embrace those we love and honor. It was with much pleasure that we met--we who had both so sinned and so suffered--and we were henceforth to be as brothers.

Thus it was that my home became no more solitary, for, when one of us returns from our labors, the other is there to greet him, to share the joy and the care, and to talk over the success or the failure.

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« Reply #99 on: December 21, 2008, 05:56:58 pm »

CHAPTER XXXIII.--My Vision of the Spheres.

How can I tell of the many friends who came to visit me in this bright home, of the cities I saw in that fair land, the lovely scenes I visited? I cannot. It would take volumes, and already my narrative has reached its limits. I shall only tell of one more vision that I had, because in it I was shown a new path wherein I was to labor, one in which I could apply to the aid of others the lessons I had learned in my wanderings.

I was lying on the couch in my room and had awakened from a long slumber. I was watching, as I often did, those two most beautiful figures of my guardian angels, and seeing fresh beauties, fresh meanings in their faces and their attitudes every time I looked at them, when I became conscious that my Eastern guide, Ahrinziman, in his far-off sphere was seeking to communicate with me. I therefore allowed myself to become perfectly passive and soon felt a great cloud of light of a dazzling white misty substance surrounding me. It seemed to shut out the walls of my room and everything from me. Then my soul seemed to arise from my spirit body and float away, leaving my spirit envelope lying upon the couch.

I appeared to pass upwards and still upwards, as though the will of my powerful guide was summoning me to him, and I floated on and on with a sense of lightness which even as a spirit I had never felt before.

At last I alighted upon the summit of a high mountain, from which I could behold the earth and its lower and higher spheres revolving below me. I also saw that sphere which was my home, but it appeared to lie far below the height upon which I stood.

Beside me was Ahrinziman, and as in a dream I heard his voice speaking to me and saying:

"Behold, son of my adoption, the new path in which I would have you labor. Behold earth and her attendant spheres, and see how important to her welfare is this work in which I would have you to take part. See now the value of the power you have gained in your journey to the Kingdoms of Hell, since it will enable you to become one of the great army who daily and hourly protect mortal men from the assaults of Hell's inhabitants. Behold this panorama of the spheres and learn how you can assist in a work as mighty as the spheres themselves."

I looked to where he pointed, and I beheld the circling belt of the great earth plane, its magnetic currents like the ebb and flow of an ocean tide, bearing on their waves countless millions upon millions of spirits. I saw all those strange elemental astral forms, some grotesque, some hideous, some beautiful. I saw also the earth-bound spirits of men and women still tied by their gross pleasures or their sinful lives, many of them using the organisms of mortals to gratify their degraded cravings. I beheld these and kindred mysteries of the earth plane, and I likewise beheld sweeping up from the dark spheres below waves of dark and awful beings, ten times more deadly unto man in their influence over him than those dark spirits of the earth plane. I saw these darker beings crowd around man and cluster thickly near him, and where they gathered they shut out the brightness of the spiritual sun whose rays shine down upon the earth continually. They shut out this light, with the dark mass of their own cruel evil thoughts, and where this cloud rested there came murder and robbery; and cruelty and lust, and every kind of oppression were in their train, and death and sorrow followed them. Wherever man had cast aside from him the restraints of his conscience and had given way to greed and selfishness, and pride and ambition, there did these dark beings gather, shutting out the light of truth with their dark bodies.

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« Reply #100 on: December 21, 2008, 05:57:36 pm »

And again I saw many mortals who mourned for the dear ones they had loved and lost, weeping most bitter tears because they could see them no more. And all the time I saw those for whom they mourned standing beside them, seeking with all their power to show that they still lived, still hovered near, and that death had not robbed of one loving thought, one tender wish, those whom death had left behind to mourn. All in vain seemed their efforts. The living could not see or hear them, and the poor sorrowing spirits could not go away to their bright spheres because while those they had left so mourned for them they were tied to the earth plane by the chains of their love, and the light of their spirit lamps grew dim and faded as they thus hung about the atmosphere of earth in helpless sorrow.

And Ahrinziman said to me: "Is there no need here for the means of communication between these two, the living and the so-called dead, that the sorrowful ones on both sides may be comforted? And, again, is there no need for communication that those other sinful selfish men may be told of the dark beings hovering around them who seek to drag their souls to hell?"

Then I beheld a glorious dazzling light as of a sun in splendor, shining as no mortal eye ever saw the sun shine on earth. And its rays dispelled the clouds of darkness and sorrow, and I heard a glorious strain of music from the celestial spheres, and I thought surely now man will hear this music and see this light and be comforted. But they could not--their ears were closed by the false ideas they had gathered, and the dust and dross of earth clogged their spirits and made their eyes blind to the glorious light which shone for them in vain.

Then I beheld other mortals whose spiritual sight was partly unveiled and whose ears were not quite deaf, and they spoke of the spirit world and its wondrous beauties. They felt great thoughts and put them into the language of earth. They heard the wondrous music and tried to give it expression. They saw lovely visions and tried to paint them, as like to those of the spirit as the limits of their earthly environments would allow. And these mortals were termed geniuses, and their words and their music and their pictures all helped to raise men's souls nearer to the God who gave that soul--for all that is highest and purest and best comes from the inspiration of the spirit world.

Yet with all this beauty of art and music and literature--with all these aspirations--with all the fervor of religious feeling, there was still no way opened by which men on earth could hold communion with the loved ones who had gone before them into that land which dwellers upon earth have called the Land of Shades, and from whose bourn, they thought, no traveler could return--a land that was all vague and misty to their thought. And there was likewise no means by which those spirit ones who sought to help man to a higher, purer knowledge of Truth could communicate with him directly. The ideas and the fallacies of ancient theories formulated in the days of the world's infancy continually mixed with the newer, more perfect sight which the spirit world sought to give, and clouded its clearness and refracted its rays so that they reached the minds of mortals broken and imperfect.

Then I beheld that the walls of the material life were pierced with many doors, and at each door stood an angel to guard it, and from each door on earth even to the highest spheres I saw a great chain of spirits, each link being one stage higher than the one below it, and to mortals upon earth were given the keys of these doors that they might keep them open and that between mortals and the spirit world there might be communication.

But, alas! as time passed on I saw that many of those who held these keys were not faithful. They were allured by the joys and the gifts of earth, and turned aside and suffered their doors to close. Others again kept their doors but partly open and where only light and truth should have shown they suffered errors and darkness to creep in, and again the light from the spirit world was sullied and broken as it passed through these darkened doorways. Sill more sad, as time passed on, the light ceased to shine at all and gave place to the thick impure rays from dark deceitful spirits from the lower sphere, and at last the angel would close that door to be opened no more on earth.

Then I turned from this sad sight and beheld many new doors opened where mortals stood, whose hearts were pure and unselfish and unsullied by the desires of earth; and through these doors poured such a flood of light upon the earth that my eyes were dazzled, and I had to turn aside. When I looked again I saw these doorways thronged by spirits, beautiful, bright spirits, and others whose raiment was dark and their hearts sad because their lives had been sinful, but in whose souls there was a desire for good, and there were spirits who were fair and bright, but sorrowful, because they could speak no more with those whom they had left on earth; and I beheld the sorrowful and the sinful spirits alike comforted and helped by means of the communication with the earth, and in the hearts of many mortals there was joy, for death's dark curtain was drawn aside and there was news from those beyond the grave.

Then I saw pass before me great armies of spirits from all the higher spheres, their raiment of purest white and their helmets of silver and gold glittering in the glorious spiritual light. And some among them seemed to be the leaders who directed the others in their work. And I asked, "Who are these? Were they ever mortal men?"

And Ahrinziman answered me: "These were not only mortal men but they were many of them men of evil lives, who by reason thereof descended to those Kingdoms of Hell which you have seen, but who because of their great repentance and the many and great works of atonement which they have done, and the perfect conquest over their own lower natures which they have gained, are now the leaders in the armies of light, the strong warriors who protect men from the evils of those lower spheres."

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« Reply #101 on: December 21, 2008, 05:58:11 pm »

From time to time I saw dark masses of spirits, like waves washing on a shore and flowing over portions of the earth, drawn thither by man's own evil desires and greedy selfishness, and then I would see them driven back by the armies of light spirits, for between these two there was a constant conflict, and the prize for which they contended was man's soul; and yet these two contending forces had no weapons but their wills. They fought not save with the repelling powers of their magnetism which was so antagonistic that neither could long remain in close contact with the other.

Ahrinziman pointed out to me one door at which stood a mortal woman, and said: "Behold the chain there is incomplete; it wants still one link between her and the spirit chain. Go down and form that link, and then will your strength protect her and make her strong; then will you guard her from those dark spirits who hover near, and help her to keep open her door. Your wanderings in those lower spheres have given you the power of repelling their inhabitants, and where stronger power is required it will be sent to protect her--and those who seek to communicate through her will do so only when you see fit, and when you desire to rest in the spirit world another guide will take your place. And now look again at the earth and the conflict that surrounds it."

I looked as he spoke, and saw black thunder clouds hovering over the earth and gathering dark as night, and a sound as of a rushing storm swept upwards from the dark spheres of hell, and like the waves of a storm-tossed ocean these dark clouds of spirits rolled up against the sea of bright spirits, sweeping them back and rolling over the earth as though to blot out from it the light of truth, and they assailed each door of light and sought to overwhelm it. Then did this war in the spirit world become a war amongst men--nation fighting against nation for supremacy. It seemed as though in the great thirst for wealth and greed for conquest, all nations and all peoples must be engulfed, so universal was this war. And I looked to see were there none to aid, none who would come forth from the realms of light and wrest from the dark spirits their power over the earth. The seething mass of dark spirits were attacking those doors of light and striving to sweep away those poor faithful mortals who stood within them, that man might be driven back to the days of his ignorance again.

Then it was that like a Star in the East I saw a light, glittering and dazzling all by its brightness, and it came down and down, and grew and grew till I saw it was a vast host of radiant angels from the heavenly spheres, and with their coming those other bright spirits whom I had seen driven back by the forces of evil gathered together again and joined those glorious warriors, and this great ocean of light, this mighty host of bright spirits swept down to earth and surrounded it with a great belt of glorious light. Everywhere I saw the rays of light, like spears, darting down and rending the dark mass in a thousand places. Like swords of fire flashed these dazzling rays and cut through the dark wall of spirits on all sides, scattering them to the four winds of heaven. Vainly did their leaders seek to gather their forces together again, vainly seek to drive them on. A stronger power was opposed to them, and they were hurled back by the brightness of these hosts of heaven till, like a dark and evil mist, they sank down, rolling back to those dark spheres from which they had come.

"And who were these bright angels?" I asked again, "these warriors who never drew back yet never slew, who held in check these mighty forces of evil, not with the sword of destruction but by the force of their mighty wills, by the eternal power of good over evil?"

And the answer was: "They are those who are also the redeemed ones of the darkest spheres, who long, long ages ago have washed their sin-stained garments in the pools of repentance, and have, by their own labors, risen from the ashes of their dead selves to higher things, not through a belief in the sacrifice of an innocent life for their sins, but by many years of earnest labors--many acts of atonement--by sorrow and by bitter tears--by many weary hours of striving to conquer first the evil in themselves that they who have overcome may help others who sin to do so likewise. These are the angels of the heavenly spheres of earth, once men like themselves and able to sympathize with all the struggles of sinful men. A might host they are, ever strong to protect, powerful to save."

My vision of the earth and its surroundings faded away, and in its stead I beheld one lone star shining above me with a pure silver light. And its ray fell like a thin thread of silver upon the earth and upon the spot where my beloved dwelt. Ahrinziman said to me:

"Behold the star of her earthly destiny, how clear and pure it shines, and know, oh! beloved pupil, that for each soul born upon earth there shines in the spiritual heavens such a star whose path is marked out when the soul is born; a path it must follow to the end, unless by an act of suicide it sever the thread of the earthly life and by thus transgressing a law of nature plunge itself into great sorrow and suffering."

"Do you mean that the fate of every soul is fixed, and that we are but straws floating on the stream of our destiny?"

"Not quite. The great events of the earth life are fixed, they will inevitably be encountered at certain periods of the earthly existence, and they are such events as those wise guardians of the angelic spheres deem to be calculated to develop and educate that soul; how these events will affect the life of each soul--whether they shall be the turning point for good or ill, for happiness or for sorrow--rests with the soul itself, and this is the prerogative of our free will, without which we would be but puppets, irresponsible for our acts and worthy of neither reward nor punishment for them. But to return to that star--note that while the mortal follows the destined path with earnest endeavor to do right in all things, while the soul is pure and the thoughts unselfish, then does that star shine out with a clear unsullied ray, and light the pathway of the soul. The light of this star comes from the soul and is the reflection of its purity. If, then, the soul cease to be pure, if it develp its lower instead of its higher attributes, the star of that soul's destiny will grow pale and faint, the light flickering like some will-o'-the-wisp hovering over a dark morass; no longer will it shine as a clear beacon of the soul; and at last, if the soul become very evil, the light of the star will die out and expire, to shine no more upon its earthly path.

"It is by watching these spiritual stars and tracing the path marked out for them in the spiritual heavens, that spirit seers are able to foretell the fate of each soul, and from the light given by the star to say whether the life of the soul is good or evil. Adieu, and may the new field of your labors yield you the fairest fruits."

He ceased speaking and my soul seemed to sink down and down till I reached the spirit body I had left lying on my couch, and for a brief moment as I re-entered it I lost consciousness; then I awoke to find myself in my own room, with those beautiful white angels hovering over me, symbols, as my father had said, of eternal protection and love.

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« Reply #102 on: December 21, 2008, 05:59:11 pm »

CHAPTER XXXIV.--Conclusion.

My task is done, my story told, and it but remains for me to say to all who read it, that I trust they will believe it is as it professes to be, the true narrative of a repentant soul who has passed from darkness into light, and I would have them ask themselves if it might not be well to profit by the experiences of others and to weigh well the evidence for and against the possibility of the spirit's return. And you who would think the gospel of mercy after death too easy a one, too lenient to the sinners, do you know what it is to suffer all the pangs of an awakened conscience? Have you seen that path of bitter tears, of weary effort, which the soul must climb if it would return to God? Do you realize what it means to undo, step by step, through years of darkness and suffering and bitter anguish of soul, the sinful acts and words and thoughts of an earthly lifetime?--for even to the uttermost farthing must the debt be paid; each must drink to the last dregs the cup that he has filled. Can you imagine what it is to hover around the earth in helpless, hopeless impotence, beholding the bitter curse of your sins working their baneful effects upon the descendants you have left, with the taint of your past lurking in their blood and poisoning it? To know that each of these tainted lives--all these beings cursed with evil propensities ere they were born--have become a charge upon your conscience in so far as you have contributed to make them what they are, clogs which will continue to drag back your soul when it attempts to rise, until you shall have made due atonement to them, and helped to raise them from that slough into which your unbridled passions have contributed to sink them? Do you understand now how and why there may be spirits working still about the earth who died hundreds of years ago? Can you imagine how a spirit must feel who seeks from the grave to call aloud to others, and especially to those he has betrayed to their ruin as well as his own, and finds that all ears are deaf to his words, all hearts are closed to his cries of anguish and remorse? He cannot now undo one foolish or revengeful act. He cannot avert one single consequence of suffering which he has brought upon others or himself; an awful wall has risen, a great gulf opened between him and the world of living men on earth, and unless some kind hand will bridge it over for him and help him to return and speak with those whom he has wronged, even the confession of his sorrow--even such tardy reparation as he may still make is denied to him. And is there, then, no need that those who have passed beyond the tomb should return and warn their brethren, even as Dives sought to return and could not? Are men on earth so good that they require no voice to echo to them from beyond the gates of death a foreshadowing of the fate awaiting them? Far easier were it for man to repent now while still on earth than to wait till he goes to that land where he can deal with the things of earth no more, save through the organisms of others.

I met a spirit once who in the reign of Queene Anne had defrauded another of a property by means of forged title deeds, and who when I saw him was still earth-bound to that house and land, utterly unable to break his chains until the help was given him of a medium through whom he confessed where he had hidden the true title deeds, and gave the names of those to whom of right the property should belong. This poor spirit was freed by his confession from his chain to that house, but not from his imprisonment to the earth plane. He had to work there till his efforts had raised up and helped onward those whom he had driven into the ways of sin and death by his crime. Not till he has done so can this spirit hope to leave the earth plane, and there he still works, striving to undo the effects of his past sin. Will anyone say his punishment was too light? Shall anyone judge his brother man and say at what point God's mercy shall stop and that sinner be doomed eternally? Ah, no! Few dare to face the true meaning of their creeds or to follow out even in thought the bitter and awful consequences of a belief in eternal punishment for any of the erring children of God.

I have in these pages sought to show what has been the true experience of one whom the churches might deem a lost soul, since I died without a belief in any church, any religion, and but a shadowy belief in a God. My own conscience ever whispered to me that there must be a Supreme, a Divine Being, but I stifled the thought and thrust it from me, cheating myself into a sense of security and indifference akin to that of the foolish ostrich which buries its head in the sand and fancies none can see it; and in all my wanderings, although I have indeed learned that there is a Divine Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe--its upholder and sustainer--I have not learned that he can be reduced to a personality, a definite shape in the likeness of man, a something whose attributes we finite creatures can argue about and settle. Neither have I seen anything which would incline me to believe in one form of religious belief rather than in another. What I have learned is to free the mind, if possible, from the boundaries of any and every creed.

The infancy of the race of planetary man, when his mental condition resembles that of a child, may be called the Age of Faith. The Mother Church supplies for him the comfort and hope of immortality and takes from his mind the burden of thinking out for himself a theory of First Cause, which will account to him for his own existence and that of his surroundings. Faith steps in as a maternal satisfier of the longings of his imperfectly developed soul and the man of a primitive race believes without questioning why he does so. Among the early tribes of savages the more spiritualized men become the mystery men, and then the priests, and as age succeeds to age the idea of an established church is formulated.

Next comes the Age of Reason, when the development of man's intellectual faculties causes him to be no longer satisfied with blind faith in the unknown, the mother's milk of the Churches no longer assuages his mental hunger, he requires stronger food, and if it be withheld, he breaks away from the fostering care of Mother Church which once sustained but which now only cramps and cripples the growing and expanding soul. Man's reason demands greater freedom and its due share of nourishment, and must find it somewhere, and in the struggle between the rebellious growing child and the Mother Church, who seeks to retain still the power she wielded over the infant, the Faith that once sufficed as food comes to be regarded as something nauseous and to be rejected at all cost, hence the Age of Reason becomes a time of uprootal of all the cherished beliefs of the past.

Then comes another stage, in which the child, now grown to be a youth who has seen and tasted for himself the joys and sorrows, the penalties, and pleasures and benefits of reason, and has thereby learned to put a juster value on the powers and limitations of his own reasoning faculties, looks back at the faith he once despised, and recognizes that it also has its beauties and its value. He sees that though faith alone cannot suffice for the nourishment of the soul beyond its infant stage, yet reason alone, devoid of faith, is but a cold hard fare upon which to sustain the soul now becoming conscious of the immeasurable and boundless universe by which it is surrounded, and of the many mysteries it contains--mysteries reason alone is not able to explain. Man turns back to faith once more and seeks to unite it with reason, that henceforth they may assist each other.

Now Faith and Reason are the central thought principles of two different spheres of thought in the spirit world. Faith is the vitalizing principle of religion or ecclesiasticism, as Reason is of philosophy. These two schools of thought which appear at first sight opposed to each other, are none the less capable of being blended in the mental development of the same personality, the properly balanced mind being that in which they are equally proportioned. Where one predominates over the other to a great degree, the individual--be he mortal or disembodied spirit--will be narrow-minded in one direction or the other and incapable of taking a just view of any mental problem. His mind will resemble a two wheeled gig which has a big and a little wheel attached to the same axle, and in consequence neither wheel can make due progress, the mental gig coming to a stop till the defect be remedied.

A man may be thoroughly conscientious in his desire for truth, but if his intellectual as well as his moral faculties have not been equally developed, his mind will be like a highway blocked by huge masses of error, so that the ethereal rays from the star of truth cannot penetrate it; they are broken and refracted by the obstructions, so that either they do not reach the man's soul at all or they are such distorted images of the truth that they are simply a source of prejudice and error. The intellect may be called the eye of the soul, and if the sight of that eye be imperfect the soul remains in mental darkness, however earnest may be its desire for light. The mental sight must be developed and used ere it can become clear and strong.

Blind ignorant faith is no safeguard against error. The history of religious persecutions in all ages is surely proof of that. The great minds of earth to whom great intellectual discoveries are due have been those in which the moral and intellectual powers are equally balanced, and the perfect man or angel will be the man in whom all the qualities of the soul have been developed to their highest point.

Every attribute of the soul, mental and moral, has its corresponding ray of color, and the blending of these forms the beautiful and varied tints of the rainbow, and like it they melt into one another to form the perfect whole.

In some souls the development of certain faculties will take place more rapidly than that of others; in some certain seed germs of intellect and morality will lie fallow and give no sign that they exist, but they are none the less there, and either on earth or in the great Hereafter they will begin to grow and to blossom into perfection.

Evil is caused by the lack of development of the moral attributes in certain souls and the over development of other qualities. The souls which are now inhabiting the lower spheres are simply passing through the process of eduction needful to awaken into active life and growth the dormant moral faculties, and terrible as are the evils and sufferings wrought in the process they are yet necessary and beneficent in their ultimate results.

In the sphere where I now dwell there is a magnificent and beautiful palace belonging to the Brotherhood of Hope. This palace is the meeting place for all members of our Brotherhood, and in it there is a fine hall built of what is the spiritual counterpart of white marble. This hall is called the "Hall of Lecture," and in it we assemble to listen to discourses delivered to us by advanced spirits from the higher sphere. At the upper end there is a magnificent picture called "The Perfect Man." That is to say it represents a man, or rather angel, who is relatively perfect. I say relatively perfect, because even the utmost perfection which can be imagined or attained, can only be relative to the still greater heights which must be eternally possible for the soul. Unlike Alexander who mourned that he had left no more worlds to conquer, the soul has no limits put to the possibilities of its intellectual and moral conquests. The universe of mind is as boundless as that of matter, and as eternal. Hence none can use the word perfect as implying a point beyond which progress is impossible.

In the picture this relatively perfect angel is represented as standing on the highest pinnacle of the celestial spheres. The earth and her attendant spheres lie far below him. His gaze is turned with an expression of wonder, delight, and awe to those far distant regions which lie beyond the power of mortal mind to grasp, regions which lie beyond our solar universe. They are become for the angel his new Land of Promise.

On his head the angel wears a golden helmet, symbolizing spiritual strength and conquest. On one arm he bears a silver shield typical of the Protection of Faith. His garments are of dazzling white showing the purity of his soul, and the wide outstretched wings symbolize the power of intellect to soar into the highest thought-regions of the universe. Behind the angel there is a white cloud spanned by a rainbow whose every tint and shade blended into perfect harmony shows that the angel has developed to the highest degree every intellectual and moral attribute of his soul.

The rich coloring of this picture, the purity of its dazzling white, the brilliancy of its glowing tints, no pen can describe, no earthly brush could ever paint, and yet I am told it falls far short of the beauty of the original picture, which is in the highest sphere of all, and which represents a former grand master of our order who has passed on to spheres beyond the limits of our solar system. Replicas of this picture are to be seen in the highest circle of each earth sphere in the buildings belonging to the Brotherhood of Hope, and they show the connecting links between our Brotherhood and the celestial spheres of the solar system, and also to what heights all may aspire in the ages of eternity before us. Yes, each one of us, the most degraded brother who labors in the lowest sphere of earth, and even the most degraded soul that struggles there in darkness and sin unspeakable, is not shut out, for all souls are equal before God and there is nothing which has been attained by one that may not be attained by all if they but strive earnestly for it.

Such, then, is the knowledge I have gained, such the beliefs I have arrived at since I passed from earth life, but I cannot say I have seen that any particular belief helps or retards the soul's progress, except in so far as this, that some creeds have a tendency to cramp the mind and obscure the clearness of its vision and distort its ideas of right and wrong, thereby preventing those who hold those beliefs from possessing the perfect freedom of thought and absence of prejudice which can alone fit the soul to rise to the highest spheres.

I have written this story of my wanderings in the hope that amongst those who read it may be found some who will think it worth while to inquire whether, after all, it may not be, as it professes to be, a true story. There may also be others who have lost those who were very dear to them, but whose lives were not such as gave hope that they could be numbered with those whom the churches call "The Blessed Dead who die in the Lord"--dear friends who have not died in the paths of goodness and truth--I would ask those mourners to take hope and to believe that their beloved but erring friends may not be wholly lost--not utterly beyond hope, yes, even though some may have perished by their own hands and under circumstances which would seem to preclude all hope. I would ask those on earth to think over all that I have said and to ask themselves whether even yet their prayers and their sympathy may not be able to help and comfort those who need all the help and comfort that can be given to them.

From my home in the Bright Land--so like the land of my birth--I go still to work upon the earth plane and among those who are unhappy. I also help to carry forward the great work of spirit communion between the living of earth and those whom they call dead.

I spend a portion of each day with my beloved, and I am able to help and protect her in many ways. I am also cheered in my home in the spirit land by the visits of many friends and companions of my wanderings, and in that bright land surrounded by so many memorials of love and friendship, I await with a grateful heart that happy time when my beloved one's earthly pilgrimage shall be finished, when her lamp of life shall have burned out and her star of earth has set, and she shall come to join me in an even brighter home, where for us both shall shine eternally the twin stars of Hope and Love.

(The End.)
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« Reply #103 on: December 21, 2008, 05:59:40 pm »

A Wanderer in the Sprit Lands, by Franchezzo (A. Farnese), [1896], at
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