o the mind of the advanced occultist there are few
things more deplorable than the confusion; half-
truths commingled with untruth; false doctrine; false conclusions; some concerned with the subject of “spirit communication” in the mind of the Western world. And yet, this confusion, as deplorable as it may be, has served, nevertheless, to attract the attention of thinking people to the subject, and to lead them to further investigation of the matter. Even the fraudulent practices which have been such a scandal in the history of spiritualism in the Western world, as disgusting and revolting as they have been to the mind of thoughtful persons, have served to bring into relief the real truth behind the general phenomena of spiritualism.
Leaving entirely out of consideration the fraudulent, and semi-fraudulent, phenomena which masquerades as “spirit communication,” the subject of the communication between persons in the flesh and souls out of the flesh may be divided into two general classes, i. e. the lower and the higher, respectively. The lower class is composed of (i) cases in which disembodied souls, of a low order—the so-called “earth-bound” souls—manifest their presence to persons still in the flesh; or
The Life Beyond Death
(2) cases of the animation of “Astral shells.” The higher class of the phenomena of “spirit communication,” so-called, consists of cases in which the souls on the higher planes of the Astral manifest their presence to persons in the flesh.
The soul on the higher Astral planes, dwells in the idealistic condition, concerning itself not with the affairs of the world it has left behind it. It, of course, maintains a sympathetic connection with those near and dear to it by ties of love or friendship who have been left behind on the material plane, but such sympathetic connection is entirely of a psychic or spiritual nature, and has no connections with nearness in space, or physical proximity.The tiesand bonds between the disembodied soul and the soul still in the flesh in earth-life may be thought of as spiritual filaments—something like a transcendent form of telepathic rapport. When the disembodied soul is thinking of the loved one on earth, the latter frequently experiences a feeling akin to the physical nearness of the disembodied soul, but this merely arises from the sensing of the mental and spiritual rapport of which we have just spoken. In the same way, the disembodied soul experiences a sense of “call” or message from the person in the flesh when the latter is thinking intently of the former.
So far as this continuance of the feelings of love and affection between the separated souls is concerned, nothing but good can be said, for the soul in the flesh is comforted and strengthened by the feeling of rapport and nearness of the disembodied soul on the Astral Plane; and the disembodied soul experiences pleasure and joy just as it would on earth-life by the physical nearness of the loved one. This relationship is a peculiarly sacred one, and is enjoyed by many persons in the flesh, although they may have but little to say regarding it to others who would not understand. Those who have had this experience will recognize just what is meant by these words, when they read them. Others, who have not had these experiences, can understand them only by reference to the greatest feeling of soul-nearness they
ever have experienced in earth-life. It is, indeed, a communion of soul with soul, almost approaching the perfection of soul-communion on the Astral Plane in some of its aspects, although always leaving a something lacking from the very nature of the case. We wish to be distinctly understood as having nothing but good to say regarding this form of “spirit-communication” between persons bound by ties of love and friendship, one out of the flesh and the other still in earth life. What we shall now proceed to condemn, is something of an entirely different nature.
Advanced occultists are practically unanimously agreed that the practice of recalling the attention of disembodied spirits for mere entertainment, curiosity, or general “exhibition” purposes is most deplorable. The best authorities condemn the practice in the strongest terms. In the first place, the result is always unsatisfactory, for very good and sufficient occult reasons. In the second place, the effect of such recalling is apt to be detrimental to the disembodied soul, by reason of withdrawing its spiritual attention from the things of the higher planes, and turning them back to the things of the material plane, thus retarding its development and unfoldment, and also confusing its mind. It is akin to directing the mind of the growing child back to the things of its prenatal condition, if such a thing were possible. And, to the soul which does not understand the nature and character of its Astral Life (and none but the most advanced souls so do understand) the mixing of the things and phenomena of the material and Astral Planes is most perplexing, confusing, and distracting. The soul should be left to unfold naturally on its new plane, and not called back to earth to satisfy curiosity or to furnish entertainment. The result arising from the latter course is akin to that which would arise were one to persist in pulling up a plant each day to see whether its roots were sprouting and growing.
Another form of recalling the disembodied soul—that of calling it back to comfort and inform loving friends and
The Life Beyond Death
relatives—is scarcely less undesirable. The disembodied soul, drawn back by the pull upon its sympathetic bonds of connection, comes back like a person walking in his sleep, for such is almost precisely its condition. Sleep walking is not a desirable thing to induce in persons on earth, and is no better when it is induced in a disembodied soul. It comes from its Astral experiences in a dazed condition, and gives but little satisfaction to those recalling it, and really suffers a confusingand perplexing experience itself. Those who have had experiences with the recalling of disembodied souls (where the phenomena is genuine) will readily remember the dazed and generally confused answers given, and the generally unsatisfactory results obtained even under the best conditions. The practice of recalling souls from the Astral Plane is a clear perversion of Nature’s processes, and the result is never satisfactory. This practice is never justified, and the best authorities severely condemn it. The glimpse into the nature and condition of the Astral Plane life, which we have given you in this book, should be sufficient for you to see clearly the reason of this opinion, and the cause of the condemnation.
It is true that souls on the Astral Plane, sometimes, under stress of strong memories or worries regarding those they have left behind, have returned voluntarily to the plane of earth-life, and have made themselves known to persons dwelling thereon—even to the extent of actual materialization, at times. These cases are unusual, but are sufficiently frequent to be noted in this connection. In such cases, the strength of the desire of the disembodied soul has caused it to take on objective form to the senses of those to whom it appears, just as a very strong telepathic impression will take on objective form. But, even in such cases, the poor worried soul gradually passes beyond the attraction of earth-life, and ceases to return to its former scenes, but begins to live out its normal Astral Life in accordance with Nature’s laws and plans.
We know that in uttering these truths we are bringing disappointment, and possibly resentment, to the minds of some in earth-life who are fond of the thought that they are in frequent communication with the souls of their departed friends and loved ones. But the truth is the truth, and we are assured that a proper understanding of the subject will reveal to such persons that the highest love for those who have gone before will consist in doing that which is best for those loved ones, so that they will not persist in sacrificing this best interest for the selfish purpose of temporary satisfaction on their own part. Nay, more, the “satisfaction” is never really satisfying— there is always the consciousness that there is something missing, something lacking.
True love consists in giving, rather than in getting. And, is not this true in the matter of communication with those loved ones on “the other side?” Is it not a higher and nobler thing to send them loving thoughts and sympathy, cheering and encouraging them in the unfoldment on the higher planes, than to endeavor to drag them back to the lower plane of materiality for the sake of hearing them say that they are happy and that all is all right with them, and, perhaps, to mumble some semi-coherent platitudes in the manner of a somnambulist? And is it not more worthy of ourselves, who are dwelling in the bonds of the flesh, to raise the plane of our communion with those on the other side to their own higher plane of being, and to commune with them along the lines of spiritual understanding and rapport— in the silence and without spoken words—on the plane where soul may speak to soul without the medium of words, and without the necessity of physical presence? Think over these things, and let your soul speak the truth to you from its inmost heart—be assured that the answer will be one with the truths of the highest authorities.