In the works upon the subject of the Astral Plane, particularly if the work be by one of the old authorities, there will be found many references to what are called “earth-bound” souls. As a rule, these references are to the lower order of souls, which refuse to lift their mental gaze beyond the things and scenes of earth, and which haunt their old scenes of activity and life, finding therein the only pleasure that is possible to them in their degraded condition. But, in this consideration, we must not neglect a mention of a higher order of souls who, unfortunately, are slow to break their earthly bonds, and who cling closely to those who have been left behind them. Let us consider this last class for a moment.
It sometimes happens that a soul who is naturally fitted for the normal life on the higher Astral Planes, is so tied and attached to matters concerning earth-life, that after its awakening from the soul-slumber it at first refuses to participate in the normal Astral existence, but, instead, busies itself with the affairs of earth-life which it should have left behind it. This unfortunate condition arises generally from some sense of unperformed duty, remorse, or anxiety about the welfare of some loved one left behind. In such cases it actually hovers in space around the
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presence of the person or place in which it is interested, and, under extraordinary psychic conditions it may actually make itself visible to the senses of persons in the flesh.
To this class belong the poor afflicted souls which wander about, haunting the scene of their earthly misdeeds, their remorse causing them to make vain endeavors to undo or atone for their misdeeds. Of course, these unfortunate souls are not fully “wide-awake” on the Astral Plane, neither are they wide-awake on the earth-life plane. Instead, they act like somnambulists, on either plane, failing to partake of the normal life of either phase of existence. Akin to these are those worried and tormented souls who feel that they have left some duty or task unfulfilled, and who in a somnambulistic condition hover around their former scenes of life, endeavoring dreamily to set matters right. A third class is composed of a few who are so attached personally to souls left behind in the flesh, that they brood over the loved persons, impotently striving to aid and guide them.
In all of these cases, there is but one duty for those in the flesh to perform—and that duty is plainly marked. This duty consists in mentally advising the poor souls that their proper scene of activity is on the Astral Plane; that their duty demands that they cease brooding and hovering over earth scenes; and that they yield themselves to the upward attraction, rise to their proper plane of Astral existence, and enjoy the blessings thereof. Those who are conscious of the presence of disembodied souls of this type should not shrink from this duty, no matter how much it may pain them to instruct the disembodied soul in this way. It is like talking to a young child, in the majority of cases, (owing to the semi-sleep condition of the earth-bound soul of this type). Although the soul may grieve and weep like a child, like the child it should be bidden to do its duty and to go to its spiritual abode. This advice will often be heeded by the earthbound soul, and it will yield to the upward attraction, and cease its troubled existence. However, in time, even without
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such advice, the attraction of the higher spheres will prevail, and the soul will rise to its rightful place on the Astral. We caution everyone against encouraging the earth-bound soul to remain. It is like encouraging the unborn child to remain in the womb, or the unfolding butterfly to remain in the chrysallis stage. No good comes from encouraging a violation of Nature’s laws, on any plane of existence, including the Astral.
The lower class of earth-bound souls belong to an entirely different category from those just mentioned. This lower class is composed of souls of a very low degree of spiritual development—those in which animality is predominant, and brutish materiality the characteristic emotional attribute. These souls are considered as “earth-bound” by reason of the fact that the attraction of the material earth-plane so overbalances the urge of the upward attraction that the latter is more than neutralized, and the soul lives on a plane as near the material plane as is possible to it. In fact, the lower planes of the Astral inhabited by this class of souls is so little removed from the material plane that it may be spoken of as almost a transition stage between the material and the astral plane—a blending of the two. It is as if a very thin veil were placed between this plane and the scenes of material life—a tantalizingly thin veil it is to these low souls—so that while these souls may not actually participate in the earthly affairs, they may yet be dimly conscious of them.
These low earth-bound souls, as a rule confine their earth visitations and brooding to the actual scenes which have attracted them in earth-life. And these souls take a fiendish delight in trying to influence those of their own kind still in the flesh, when in a muddled condition, urging them to fresh infamies and often to actual crimes. In some extreme cases these low souls have been known actually to seek their own discarded Astral shell, or even that of another of their kind, and by a great effort cause it to materialize for a short time in objective form as a “ghost.” The nature of these entities changes
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but little by their transition to the Astral, and they take the same delight in “rough-house” performances, practical jokes, etc., as in their days in the flesh. Many instances of ghostly appearances, the throwing about of physical objects, etc., have been due to this class of disembodied earth-bound souls. They always may be dismissed and caused to disappear by the person in the flesh showing them that he understands their real nature, and bidding them begone. A bold front, and authoritative command, coupled with words showing that their pretenses are “seen through” will always rout these creatures, and send them back where they belong, crestfallen and abashed.
Another favorite amusement of a certain class of this kind of low disembodied souls, is that of appearing in Astral form, by taking advantage of an Astral shell, in spiritualistic seances, or other gatherings in which the psychic conditions are so sufficiently strong and favorable as to aid in the materialization. In such cases these creatures often impudently strive to impersonate other souls, either of some friend or relative of some one present, or else of some historical character. Anyone who has ever attended spiritualistic seances and seen “George Washington,” or “Julius Caesar” appear and converse in the tone and words of the Bowery, of Whitechapel, will readily understand the reason thereof. A knowledge of this fact will serve to throw light on many perplexing phases of psychic phenomena.
These lower class souls, however, spend but a short term on the Astral Plane, and very soon pass on to reincarnation in surroundings corresponding with their natures, and to which they are attracted by spiritual laws. Their whole attraction being toward the physical and the material, there is nothing to hold them on the Astral Plane, and their abode there is of very brief duration, in the majority of cases. And, yet, even in the very worst and most brutal person, then is always a little of the good, and a spark of spiritual glow, which brightens a little during each visit to the Astral Plane. And, in the course of time,
Earth Bound Souls
this little spark is sufficiently kindled to manifest a tiny blaze, which lights the way of the poor soul and illumines the road toward higher things. So that even among these poor entities there is at least a certain degree of hope and promise. But the majority are degenerated and fallen souls—descended from a once higher state—who, if they fail to profit by the pains of the material life, are apt to tend still further downward until kind Nature wipes them out as independent entities, and resolves them back to their original spiritual elements.
There are sub-planes of the Astral so low and degraded that we hesitate to mention them. They are inhabited by the very lowest and most degraded and degenerate souls—souls which are on the sure descent to annihilation, being unfit to serve as carriers of the sacred plane. Of the details of these sub-planes, we shall not speak at this place. Enough to quote the words of two distinguished occultists, one of a former age, and one of to-day. The old sage said of these sub-planes: “What manner of place is this I see. It hath no water. It hath no air. It bath no light. It hath no foundation. It is unfathomably deep. It is as black as the blackest night.” The latter-day investigator says: “Most students find the investigation of this section an extremely unpleasant task for there appears to be a sense of density and gross materiality about it which is indescribably loathsome to the liberated Astral body, causing the sense of pushing its way through some black viscous fluid, while the inhabitants and influences there are unusually undesirable.”
It should scarcely be necessary to warn persons not to dabble in psychic phenomena of a material character, which brings them more or less into contact with these lower planes of the Astral. But, nevertheless, we do wish to set forth this warning in this place, just as we have elsewhere in our works. For there is always the temptation and fascination of the unknown for many persons, usually those who are not familiar with the phenomena of the Astral Plane. Such persons, like “fools, rush in where angels fear to tread,” and attract to themselves
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all sorts of undesirable Astral entities and conditions. Our general advice on this subject is: keep the mind fixed on the higher truths of the spirit, and the higher life of the soul; and turn the face resolutely away from the lower forms of psychic phenomena; in fact, do not seek “phenomena” at all, but seek ever the Truth which, when known, makes all other things clear. Seek ever the sunshine of Spirit, and avoid the baleful glare of the psychic moon.