What are dreams? Have they all a significance, and how can we invite or induce dreams?
Answer: In the waking state, the different vehicles of the Ego, the mind, desire body, vital body and dense body are all concentric. They occupy the same space, and the Ego functions outwardly in the Physical World. But at night, during the dreamless sleep, the Ego, clothed in the desire body and the mind, withdraws, leaving the physical and the vital body upon the bed, there being no connection between the higher and the lower vehicles, save a thin, glistening thread, called the silver cord. It happens, however, that at times the Ego has been working so interestedly in the Physical World and the desire body has become so stirred up that it refuses to leave the lower vehicles and is only half withdrawn. Then the connection between the sense centers of the desire body and the sense centers of the physical brain are partly ruptured. The Ego sees the sights and scenes of the Desire World which, in themselves, are extremely fantastic and illusory, and they are transmitted to the brain centers without being connected by reason. From this condition come all the foolish and fantastic dreams which we have.
It happens at times, however, that when the Ego is altogether outside the dense body, as in dreamless sleep, it sees an event concerning itself about to materialize, for coming events cast their shadows before, and ere anything happens in the material world it has already happened in the spiritual worlds. If, upon awaking from such an experience, the Ego succeeds in impressing the brain with what it has seen, we have a prophetic dream, which in due time will come true, or which the Ego, if its Fate permits, may modify by a new action. For instance, if warned of an accident, it may take steps to counteract the impending calamity.
Regarding the second part of the question, "How can we invite or induce dreams," we may say that, of course, it is of no advantage to invite or induce dreams of the confused and fantastic kind, and, as for the other kind, there comes a time in a man's life when he begins to live the higher life. Then, gradually, by certain exercises, he evolves the faculty of leaving his body consciously at night or at any other time. He is then perfectly conscious in the invisible worlds. He can go wherever he pleased to the ends of the earth in minutes of time and as he learns how to consciously work in those invisible worlds, h does not "dream" any longer, but lives another life that is fuller or more real than the one he now lives.
What is sleep and what causes the body to go to sleep?
Answer: During the daytime the vital body specializes the colorless solar fluid which is all about us, through the organ we call the spleen. This vitality permeates the whole body and is seen by the clairvoyant as a fluid of a pale rose color, having been transmuted upon entering the physical body. It flows along every nerve, and when it is sent out by the brain centers in particularly large quantities it moves the muscles to which the nerves lead.
The vital body may be said to be built of points which stick out in all directions, inward, outward, upward and downward, all through the body, and each little point goes through the center of one of the chemical atoms, causing it to vibrate at a higher rate than its natural speed. This vital body interpenetrates the dense body from birth to death under all conditions except when, for instance, the blood circulation stops in a certain part, as when we rest a hand upon the edge of a table for some time and it "goes to sleep," as we say. Then, if clairvoyant, we may see the etheric hand of the vital body hanging down below the visible hand as a glove, and the chemical atoms of the hand relapse into their natural slow rate of vibration. When we slap the hand to cause it to "wake up," as we say, the peculiar prickling sensation we feel is caused by the points of the vital body which then reenter the sleeping atoms of the hand and start them into renewed vibration.
The vital body leaves the dense body in a similar manner when a person is dying. Drowning persons who have been resuscitated experience an intense agony caused by the entrance of these points, which they feel as a prickling sensation.
During the daytime, when the solar fluid is being absorbed by the man in great quantities, these points of the vital body are blown out or distended, as it were, by the vital fluid, but as the day advances and poisons of decay clog the physical body more and more, the vital fluid flows less rapidly; in the evening there comes a time when the points in the vital body do not get a full supply of the life giving fluid; they shrivel up and the atoms of the body move more sluggishly in consequence. Thus the Ego feels the body to be heavy, dull and tired. At last there comes a time when, as it were, the vital body collapses and the vibrations of the dense atoms become so slow that the Ego can no longer move the body. It is forced to withdraw in order that its vehicle may recuperate. Then we say the body has gone to sleep.
Sleep is not an inactive state, however; if it were there would be no difference in feeling in the morning and no restorative power in sleep. The very word restoration implies activity.
When a building has become dilapidated from constant wear and tear and it is necessary to renovate and restore it, the tenants must move out to give the workmen full play. For similar reasons the Ego moves out of its tenement at night. As the workmen work upon the building, to make it fit for re-occupancy, so the Ego must work upon its building before it will be fit to reenter. And such a work is done by us during the nighttime, although we are not conscious of it in our waking state. It is this activity which removes the poisons from the system, and as a result the body is fresh and vigorous in the morning when the Ego enters at the time of waking.
Do the Rosicrucians believe in materia medica, or do they follow Christ's method of healing?
Answer: It is generally acknowledged by the best practitioners that materia medica is an empirical science; that drugs do not act in the same way on all person, and that, therefore, it is necessary for the physician to experiment with his patients. Hence materia medica is unsatisfactory. Drugs cannot be relied upon to do the work at all times.
Observation shows that while all oxen will thrive on grass, and all lions are content with a diet of flesh, we find in the human being that there is always an individuality which makes each different from all the rest of his kind; and this peculiarity of the human race arises from the fact that while each species of animals is the expression of one single group spirit which guides the separate animals from without, there is in each human being an individual indwelling spirit, an Ego, and therefore one man's meat is often another's poison.
It is only when materia medica takes this point into consideration that it can be of real service in all cases, and the way to find out the peculiarities of the spirit that dwells in the patient body is to cast his horoscope to see when the times are propitious for the administration of drugs, giving the appropriate herbs at the proper time. Pracelsus did that, and therefore he was always successful with his patients; he never made a mistake. There are some who use astrology for that purpose today; the writer, for instance, has thus used it in diagnosis in many cases. He has then always been able to see the crises in the patient's condition, the past, present and the future; and has thus been able to afford much relief to persons suffering from various illnesses. It is to such uses that astrology should be put, and not degraded into fortune telling for the sake of gold, for, like all spiritual sciences, it ought to be used for the benefit of humanity, regardless of mercenary considerations. If physicians would study the science of astrology, they would thus with a very slight effort be able to diagnose their patient's condition in a manner altogether impossible from the ordinary diagnostician's point of view. Some physicians are waking up to that fact and have discovered by their experiences that the heavenly bodies have an influence upon the human frame. For instance, when the writer was in Portland, Oregon, a physician mentioned as his observation that whenever it was possible for him to perform an operation while the moon was increasing in light, that is to say, going from the new to the full moon, the operation was always successful and no complications would set in. On the other hand, he had found that when circumstances compelled him to perform an operation when the moon was going from the full to the dark there was great danger of trouble, and that such operations were never as satisfactory as those performed while the light of the moon was increasing.
There is also a tendency among physicians more and more to cure by suggestion, giving to the patient a harmless pill and a good suggestion. Every mother, whether she knows the potency of suggestion or not, at times unconsciously applies it in the case of her child. If the little one falls, she may be her suggestion cause it to either cry or laugh. If she says to the little one, "Oh, you poor little baby, you've hurt yourself very bad, that poor little head of yours," the child will commence to cry; but if, on the other hand, she points to the floor and exclaims, "Oh, dear, how you hurt that poor floor, why that is too bad--kiss it!" the child will be very sorry it hurt the floor, thinking not at all of its own lesions.
In a similar manner the physician influences his patient, and it is criminal for a physician to enter the sickroom with a gloomy mien, asking the patient to make his will, telling him that he has not long to live. Those things act upon the patient in a manner far greater than realized, and many a physician has thus killed those whom he might have saved. On the other hand, if he is cheerful and comes into the sickroom with a smile and an encouraging word, if he gives a harmless cure and a good suggestion the patient is apt to recover where otherwise he might succumb to the disease. Thus, suggestion is far beyond materia medica. The faith which the patient has in the physician will work wonders, either for good or for evil, and faith was the method which Christ used in his healing. If the inquirer will look up the instances where the Christ healed the sick in the Bible, he will find that there was always a question concerning the faith of the one seeking healing. To each applicant the Christ said, "According to thy faith, be it unto you."
That skepticism destroyed even His power is, perhaps, most evident from the passage where we are told that He journeyed to His native city and found that a prophet is not without honor save in his own country. This story is told in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew, also by Mark, and it is significant that the last verse in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew says that He did not do many mighty works because of their unbelief. Mark tells us that because of their skepticism He was only able to heal a very few people by laying His hands upon them.
The open mind is an essential requisite to all investigation and skepticism is absolutely fatal to the attainment of knowledge. As an illustration, we may mention that the writer was in Columbus a few years go and there went to a lecture by Professor Hyslop, the Secretary of the Society for Physical Research. The subject of the lecture was "New Evidence of a Future Life." The writer was astonished to find that Prof. Hyslop did not present in his lecture one single point which had not been brought out in the last twenty years in the reports of the Society to which he belongs. But the solution came after the lecture, when a question brought out the fact that Prof. Hyslop did not believe in anything that had been said in the Society's reports. He did not believe in the results obtained by anyone but himself. This evidence which he had just presented had been collected by him; therefore it was new to him and he expected his audience to take his word, although he himself was unwilling to take the word of anyone else, and as an illustration of how skepticism acts, he unconsciously gave a very fine example, when he related that, going to a medium on a certain day, Richard Hodgson, deceased, spoke through the medium and Prof Hyslop commenced to ask questions which, though quite simple, Mr. Hodgson had great difficulty in answering. Prof. Hyslop at last impatiently said, "Why, what is the matter with you, Richard; when you were alive you were quick enough; why can't you answer now?" "Then," said Prof. Hyslop, came the answer, quick as lightning, "Oh, every time I get into your wretched atmosphere I go all to pieces." Prof. Hyslop could not understand the reason why, but anyone who has seen a pupil before a Board of Examiners which has made up its mind that he is a dunce will know why, and understand that it was Prof. Hyslop's critical skeptical attitude of mind which caused Richard Hodgson's great difficulty in communicating. We may, therefore, say that we believe in materia medica when used in conjunction with astrology and also in Christ's method of healing, which is Faith Cure, and in the power of suggestion and the various other systems of healing. They all contain some truth, though unfortunately many are made into fads and carried to extremes. Then they lose their power for good and become menaces to those who might otherwise have been benefited.
Since suffering is the result of ouw own actions, do you think it wrong to take medicine to remove pain if one is not hopelessly ill or dying?
Answer: This question reveals an attitude of mind that is extremely deplorable; as well ask if it is right to try to save one's self if drowning, for falling in the water is also an effect of some self-generated cause. Certainly, it is our duty to take medicine administered by a properly qualified person, or attempt to cure the ills from which we suffer in any other way possible that appeals to us. We should be doing decidedly wrong if we allowed our physical instrument to deteriorate for lack of proper care and attention. It is the most valuable tool we possess, and unless we use it circumspectly and care for it, we are amenable to the law of cause and effect for that neglect.
A question such as this reveals an altogether erroneous idea of the law of cause and effect. It is our duty to try to rise above conditions instead of allowing circumstances to guide our lives. There is a beautiful little poem which aptly enunciates this idea:
If we endeavor to turn the sails of our bark of life aright, we shall always be able to modify if not to altogether change conditions, and make our lives what we will instead of sitting supinely waiting for the clouds to pass by, because we have made those clouds ourselves. The very fact that we have made them ought to be an inspiration to give us the courage and energy to unmake them, or push them away as quickly as possible.
What form of healing do you advise, physicians or practitioners, as in the Christian Science belief?
Answer: That depends upon the nature of the sickness and the temperament of the patient. If it is a case of a broken leg, a surgeon is obviously the one to call. If there is an internal disorder and it is possible to get a broad minded physician, then in certain cases he is the one to get. If, on the other hand, a mental healer, Christian Science healer or anyone else who is spiritually minded can be brought in, they may help a person who is himself strong in faith, for, as a tuning fork which is of certain pitch will respond when another tuning fork of the same pitch is struck, so will the person filled with faith respond to the ministrations of these last named ones. But where faith in their methods is lacking in the patient, it is far better to send for a regular physician in whom the patient has confidence, for health or sickness depends almost altogether upon the state of the mind, and in the conditions of sickness where a person is thwarted in his preferences. Besides, whatever good there is in any system of healing, the effects upon a certain person will be beneficial or the reverse in exact proportion to this faith in its healing power.
What is your opinion in regard to fasting as a means of curing disease?
Answer: We may readily conceive that there are more people in the West who die from over eating than from getting too little food. And under certain conditions fasting for a day or two is undoubtedly beneficial, but just as there are gourmands and gluttons, so there are also others who go to the opposite extreme and fast to excess. There lies a great danger. The better way is to eat in moderation and to eat the proper kinds of food; then it will not be necessary to fast at all.
If we study the chemistry of food we shall find that certain foods have properties of value to the system under certain conditions of disorder, and taken properly food is really medicine. All the citric fruits, for instance, are splendid antiseptics. They cleanse and purify the alimentary canal. Thus they prevent disease. All the cereals, particularly rice, are anti-toxins; they will kill disease and the germs of putrefaction. Thus, by knowing these medicinal properties of the different foods, we may very readily secure a supply of that which we need to cure our ordinary ailments by food instead of by pasting.
Do you consider it wrong to try to cure a bad habit, such as, for instance, drunkenness, by hypnotism?
Answer: Most decidedly yes. Looked at from the standpoint of one life, such methods as for instance those employed by the healers of the Immanual movement, are undoubtedly productive of an immense amount of good. The patient is seated in a chair, put into a sleep and there he is given certain so called "suggestions." He rises and is cured of his bad habit; from being a drunkard he becomes a respectable citizen who cares for his wife and family, and upon the face of it the good seems to be undeniable.
But looking at it from the deeper standpoint of the occultist, who views this life as only one in many, and looking at it from the effect it has upon the invisible vehicles of man, the case is vastly different. When a man is put into a hypnotic sleep, the hypnotist makes passes over him which have the effect of expelling the ether from the head of his dense body and substituting the ether of the hypnotist. The man is then under the perfect domination of another; he has no free will, and, therefore, the so called "suggestions" are in reality commands which the victim has no choice but to obey. Besides, when the hypnotist withdraws his ether and wakens the victim he is unable to remove all the ether he put into him. To use a simile, as a small part of the magnetism infused into an electric dynamo before it can be started for the first time is left behind and remains as residual magnetism to excite the fields of the dynamo every time it is started up, so also there remains a small part of the ether of the hypnotist's vital body in the medulla oblongata of the victim, which is a club the hypnotist holds over him all his life, and it is due to this fact that suggestions to be carried out at a period subsequent to the awakening of the victim are invariably followed.
Thus the victim of a hypnotic healer does not overcome the bad habit by his own strength, but is as much chained in that respect as if he were in solitary confinement, and although in this life he may seem to be a better citizen, when he returns to earth he will have the same weakness and have to struggle until at last he overcomes it himself.
Are there any methods of eradicating the calcareous matter which comes into our bodies by wrong methods of diet?
Answer: The question shows that the inquirer is aware that our bodies are gradually hardening from childhood to old age, on account of the chalky substances contained in most of the foods we usually nourish our bodies upon. This calcareous matter is primarily deposited in the walls of the arteries and veins, causing what is known to the medical profession as arterio-sclerosis or hardening of the arteries. The arteries of a little child are extremely soft and elastic, like a rubber tube, but gradually as we advance through childhood, youth and on toward old age, the walls of the arteries become harder in consequence of the deposits of chalk left by the passing blood. Thus in time they may become as stiff and unelastic as a pipe stem. There is a condition which is called pipe-stem artery. The arteries then become brittle and may break, causing hemorrhage and death. Therefore it is said truly that a man is as old as his arteries. If we can clear the arteries and capillaries of this earthy matter, we may greatly prolong life and the usefulness of our body.
From the occult standpoint, of course it is no matter whether we live or die, as the saying is, for death to us does not mean annihilation but only the shifting of the consciousness to other spheres; nevertheless, when we have brought a vehicle through the useless years of childhood, past the hot years of youth, and have come to the time of discretion when we are really beginning to gain experience, then the longer we can prolong the time of experience the more we may gain. For that reason it is of a certain value to prolong the life of the body.
In order to accomplish that result, we must first select the foods that are least impregnated with the choking substances which cause the induration of arteries and capillaries. These may be briefly stated to be the green vegetables and all fruits. Next, it is of importance to seek to eradicate the choking matter which we have already absorbed, if that is possible, but science has not yet found any food or medicine that will with certainty produce that effect. Electric baths have been found to be exceedingly beneficial but not entirely satisfactory. Buttermilk is the best agent for eradicating this earthy substance, and next comes grape juice. If taken continually and in generous quantities, these substances will considerably ameliorate the hardened condition of the arteries.
Is not nature guilty of frequent physical malformations in the plant and animal world as well as in the human race, and can there be a perfectly whole and sane intelligence with a forceful will in a diseased or malformed body?
Answer: We would ask, what do you mean by nature? Bacon says that nature and God differ only as the print and the seal. Nature is the visible symbol of God, and we are too apt to think of nature nowadays in a materialistic sense. Back of every manifestation in nature there are forces, not blind forces, but intelligences. Perhaps an illustration will enable us to realize our relation to them.
Supposing we have materials and tools; we are engaged in making a table and a dog is sitting looking at us. Then the dog, a being of a lower kingdom, will gradually see us planing the wood and putting the top on the legs; it will see the table coming into existence by degrees; it may watch the process, though it may not know the use of the table and may not understand what is in our minds while we are fashioning the table. It simply beholds a manifestation, it sees us working and views the results. Supposing further, for the sake of illustration, the dog could see the materials and how they were gradually being shaped into a table, but could not see us working and putting the various pieces together to form this table; then the dog would be in about the same relation to us as we are to the nature forces. What we speak of as electricity, as magnetism, as expansion in steam, etc., are intelligences which work unseen to us when certain conditions are brought about. Nature spirits build the plants, form the crystals of the rock, and with numerous other hierarchies are working around and about us unseen, but nevertheless busy in making that which we call nature.
These are all evolving beings, like ourselves, and the very fact that they are evolving shows that they are imperfect and therefore apt to make mistakes which naturally result in malformations, so that it may be said in answer to the question that the invisible intelligences which make what we call nature are guilty of frequent mistakes as well as we.
As to the second part of the question, whether there can be a perfectly whole and sane intelligence with a forceful will in a diseased or malformed body, we may say "yes, undoubtedly," but as the expression of that intelligence is dependent upon the efficiency of its instrument it may, naturally, be hampered by the physical deformity, on the same principle that no matter how skilled the workman is, his efficiency depends in a great measure upon the condition of his tools.
What is the effect of vaccination from the occult point of view?
Answer: Bacteriologists have discovered that many diseases are caused by microorganisms which invade our body, and also that when this invading army begins to create a disturbance the body commences to manufacture germs of an opposing nature or a substance which will poison the invaders. It is then a question of which are the strongest, the invaders or the defenders. If the defending microbes are more numerous than the invaders or if the poison which is noxious to the invaders is manufactured in sufficient quantities, the patient recovers. If the defenders are vanquished or the body is unable to manufacture a sufficient quantity of the serum necessary to poison the invaders, the patient succumbs to the disease. It was further discovered that when a certain person has once successfully recovered from a specific malady, he is immune from renewed attacks of that disease for the reason that he has in his body the serum which is death to the germs that cause the disease he has once weathered.
From the above facts certain conclusions were drawn:
(1) If a healthy person is inoculated with a few of the germs of a certain disease he will contract that disease in a mild form. He will then be able to develop the saving serum and thus he will become immune to that disease in the future.
That is the philosophy of vaccination as a means of preventing disease.
(2) When a person has contracted a disease and is unable to manufacture a sufficient quantity of the serum which will destroy the invading micro- organisms, his life may be saved by inoculation with the serum obtained from another who has become immune.
As it is not easy to get such antitoxins or cultures from human beings, these germ-cultures and poisons have been obtained from animals, and much has been written both for and against the use of such methods of fighting disease. With these are are not here concerned; the inquirers asks for the occult viewpoint, which goes deeper than the questions at issue as seen from the material side of life. There are undoubtedly cases where disease has been prevented by vaccination and cases where death has been prevented by the use of antitoxin; there are also cases where vaccination and antitoxin have caused the fatality they were designed to prevent, but that is beside the question. From the occult viewpoint vaccination and the use of antitoxin obtained by the processes in use in bacteriological institutes is to be deplored. These methods work a wrong on the helpless animals and poison the human body, making it difficult for the Ego to use its instrument.
If we study the chemistry of our food we shall find that nature has provided all necessary medicine, and if we eat right we shall be immune from disease without vaccination.
When in normal health the body specializes a far greater quantity of the solar energy than it can use. The surplus is radiated from the whole surface of the body with great force and prevents the entrance of microorganisms which lack the strength to battle against this outwelling current, nay, more! on the same principle than an exhaust fan will gather up particles of dust in a room and hurl them outward does this vital fluid cleanse the body of inimical matter, dangerous germs included. It must not surprise us that this force is intelligent and capable of selecting the materials which should be eliminated, leaving the beneficial and useful. Scientists recognize this fact of selective osmosis. They know that while a sieve will allow any particle of matter to pass through which is smaller than the mesh of the sieve, the kidneys, for instance, will keep certain fluids of use to the body, while allowing waste products to pass. In a similar manner the vital fluid makes a distinction, it rids the body of the poisons and impurities generated inside and repels similar products from without.
This emanation has been called N-rays, or Odic fluid, by scientists who have discovered it by means of chemical reagents which render it luminous. During the process of digestion it is weakest, for then an extra quantity of the solar energy is required for use inside the body in the metabolism of the food; it is the cementing factor in assimilation. The heartier we have eaten, the greater is the quantity of vital fluid expended within the body and the weaker the eliminative and protective outrushing current. Consequently we are in the greatest danger from an invasion by an army of inimical microorganisms when we have gorged ourselves.
On the other hand, if we eat sparingly and choose the foods which are most easily digestible, the diminution of the protective vital current will be correspondingly minimized and our immunity from disease will be much enhanced without the necessity of poisoning our body with vaccine.
If, as you state, the Ego dwells in the blood, is not then the practice of blood transfusion from a healthy to a diseased person dangerous? Does it affect or influence the Egos in any way, and if so, how?
Answer: Among the latest discoveries of science is haemolysis--the fact that inoculation of blood from the veins of a higher animal into one of a lower species, destroys the blood of the lower animal and causes its death. Thus the blood of man injected into the veins of any animal is fatal. But from man to man it is found that transfusion may take place, although at times there are deleterious effects.
In olden days people married in the family; it was then looked upon with horror if one should "seek after strange flesh." When the sons of God married the daughters of men, that is to say, when the subjects of one leader married outside the tribe, there was great trouble, they were cast off by their leader and destroyed, for at that time certain qualities that we now possess were to be developed in humanity and were thus implanted in a the common blood which ran pure in the family or small tribe. Later on when man was to be brought down into more material conditions, international marriages were commanded and, from that time on, it has been looked upon as equally horrible if persons within the same family united in marriage.
The old Vikings would not allow anyone to marry into their family unless they had first gone through the ceremony of mixing blood to see if the transfusion of the blood of the stranger into their family was detrimental or otherwise. All this was because in earlier times humanity was not as individualized as it is today. They were more under the domination of the race spirit or family spirit, which dwelt in their blood, as the group spirit of animals does in the blood of animals. Later the international marriages were given to free humanity from that yoke and make every separate Ego sole master of its own body without outside interference.
Science has lately found that the blood of different people has different crystals, so that it is possible now to tell the blood of a negro from the blood of a white man; but there will come a day when they will know a still greater difference, for just as there is a difference in the crystals formed by the different races, so there is also a difference in the crystals formed by each individual man. The thumb-marks of no two people are alike, and it will be found in time that the blood of each human being is different from the blood of every other individual. This difference is already evident to the occult investigator, and it is only a question of time when science will make the discovery, for the distinguishing features are becoming more marked as the human being grows less and less dependent, more and more self-sufficient.
This change in the blood is most important and in time, when it has become more marked, it will be productive of most far-reaching consequences. It is said that "nature geometrizes," and nature is but the visible symbol of the invisible God whose offspring and image we are. Being made in His likeness, we are also beginning to geometrize, and naturally we starting on the substance where we, the human spirits, the Egos, have the greatest power, namely, in our blood.
When the blood courses through the arteries, which are deep in the body, it is a gas; but loss of heat nearer the surface of the body causes it to partially condense, and in that substance the Ego is learning to form mineral crystals. In the Jupiter Period we shall learn to invest them with a low form of vitality and set them out from ourselves as plant-like structures. In the Venus Period we shall be able to infuse desire into them and make them like animals. Finally, in the Vulcan Period, we shall give them a mind and rule over them as race spirits.
At the present time we are at the very beginning of this individualization of our blood. Therefore it is possible at present to transfuse blood from one human being to another, but the day is near at hand when that will be impossible. The blood of a white man will kill all who stand lower, and the blood of an advanced person will poison the less cultured. The child at present receives its supply of blood from the parents, stored in the thymus gland, for the years of childhood. But the time will come when the Ego will be too far individualized to function in blood not generated by itself. Then the present mode of generation will have to be superseded by another whereby the Ego may create its own vehicle without the help of parents.
What are the causes of insanity?
Answer: To answer that question would require volumes, but we may say that from the occultist's standpoint there are four classes of insanity.
Insanity is always caused by a break in the chain of vehicles between the Ego and the physical body. This break may occur between the brain centers and the vital body, or it may be between the vital and desire body, between the desire body and the mind, or between the mind and the Ego. The rupture may be complete or only partial.
When the break is between the brain centers and the vital body, or between that and the desire body, we have the idiots. When the break is between the desire body and the mind, the violent and impulsive desire body rules and we have the raving maniac. When the break is between the Ego and the mind, the mind is the ruler over the other vehicles and we have the cunning maniac, who may deceive his keeper into believing that he is perfectly harmless until he has hatched some diabolical, cunning scheme. Then he may suddenly show his deranged mentality and cause a dreadful catastrophe.
There is one cause of insanity that it may be well to explain, as it is sometimes possible to avoid it. When the Ego is returning from the invisible world toward reembodiment, it is shown the various incarnations available. It sees the coming life in its great and general events, much as a moving picture passing before its vision. Then it is given the choice usually, of several lives. It sees at that time the lessons it has to learn, the fate it has generated for itself in past lives, and what part of that fate it will have to liquidate in each of the embodiments offered. Then it makes its choice and is guided by the agents of the Recording Angels to the country and family where it is to live its coming life.
This panoramic view is seen in the Third Heaven where the Ego is naked and feels spiritually above sordid material considerations. it is much wiser then than it appears here on earth, where it is blinded by the flesh to an inconceivable extent. Later, when conception has taken place and the Ego draws into the womb of its mother, on about the eighteenth day after that event, it comes in contact with the etheric mold of its new physical body which has been made by the Recording Angels to give the brain formation that will impress upon the Ego the tendencies necessary to work out its destiny.
There the Ego sees again the pictures of its coming life, as the drowning man perceives the pictures of his past life--in a flash. At that time the Ego is already partially blind to its spiritual nature, so that if the coming life seems to be a hard one, it will oftentimes shrink from entering the womb and making the proper brain connections. It may endeavor to draw itself out quickly and then, instead of being concentric as the vital and the dense bodies should be, the vital body formed of ether may be drawn partially above the head of the dense body. In that case the connection between the sense centers of the vital body and the dense body are disrupted and the result is congenital idiocy, epilepsy, St. Vitus dance, and similar nervous disorders.
The inharmonious relation between the parents which sometimes exists is often the last straw that makes an Ego feel that it cannot enter such an environment. Therefore, it cannot be too seriously impressed upon prospective parents that during the gestatory period it is of the utmost importance that every thing should be done to keep the mother in a condition of contentment and harmony. For it is a very hard task for the Ego to go through the womb; it taxes all its sensibilities to the very utmost, and inharmonious conditions in the home it is entering are, of course an added source of discomfort which may result in the above named dreadful state of affairs.
When an insane person dies, will he still be insane in the Desire World?
Answer: That depends upon where the break is, for insanity is a rupture in the vehicles between the Ego and the physical body, and this derangement may occur between the Ego and the mind, between the mind and the desire body, or between the desire body and the vital body, and also between the latter and the dense body. If the break is between the dense and the vital body or between that and the desire body, the Ego will be perfectly sane in the Desire World immediately after death, because it has then discarded the two vehicles which were afflicted.
Where the break occurs between the desire body and the mind, the desire body is, as a matter of course, still rampant, and often causes the Ego much trouble during its existence in the Desire World; for the Ego, of course, is at no time insane. What appears as insanity arises from the fact that the Ego has no control over its vehicles; the worst of all, obviously, is where the mind itself has become affected and the Ego is tied to the personality for a long time until these vehicles are worn away.
The Supreme Being, God and Other Gods
What is the use of knowing about the after-death state, what happens in the Invisible World, and all these things? Is it not far better to take one world at a time? Sufficient unto the day is the trouble thereof. Why borrow more?
Answer: If we knew beyond a doubt that at some time we should be forced to leave our country and go to another place to live for a great many years before we would be allowed to return, would it not be a good policy for us to acquaint ourselves with the language, the customs, and the laws of that country? Thus equipped we would not feel so strange, and we would be able to take advantage of whatever opportunities for growth and study we should find there; we would not be apt to run contrary to its laws and get into trouble in consequence of our ignorance, and in many similar ways it would be to our advantage to know about that country.
The foregoing illustrates aptly our position with regard to the Invisible Worlds. After death we shall find ourselves there, and if we are able now to obtain information concerning the conditions there, it will surely benefit us greatly. In the first place, there is the advantage that knowledge will take away from us the fear of death, because we never fear that which we know. In the second place, by knowing about Purgatory and the First Heaven, and by knowing about the evening exercise where we review the happenings of the day in reverse order, we may live our Purgatory here and now in small doses, obtaining the forgiveness of sins instead of waiting to expiate our evil deeds; and if we take advantage of our knowledge we shall be living in an attitude such as we would not attain before entering the future lives, by assimilating daily the good that we have done and expurgating the evil. Thus we shall be able to go soaring through Purgatory and the First Heaven immediately after death.
By knowing what we are expected to accomplish in the Second Heaven, we can more intelligently apply ourselves to the work there; we gain greater consciousness of that realm by familiarizing ourselves with it daily. Thus in various ways we shall be fitting ourselves to become invisible helpers, to live consciously all the time and shorten our evolution by millions of years.
Is there any limit of time set to the Earth life before we are born?
Answer: Yes, at the time when the Ego is coming to rebirth, it forms the creative archetype of its physical form in the Second Heaven with the help of the Creative Hierarchies. That archetype is a singing, vibrating thing, which is set into vibration by the Ego with a certain force commensurate with the length of the life to be lived upon earth, and until that archetype ceases to vibrate the form which is built of the chemical constituents of the earth will continue to live.
The law of cause and effect, however, is the arbiter of the way the life is to be lived, and certain opportunities for spiritual growth are set before the Ego at various points in its earth life. If these opportunities are made use of, the life will continue along the straight path, but if not it diverges, as we might say, into a blind alley where the life then is terminated by the creative hierarchies, which destroy the archetype in the Heaven World. Thus we may say that the ultimate length of an earth life is determined before we are born physically, but the life may be shortened if we neglect certain opportunities. There is also the possibility in the case of a few, where the life has been thoroughly lived, where it has been very full, and where the person has endeavored in all cases to live up to his opportunities, that more life may be infused into the archetype than had been done in the first place, and so the life may be prolonged, but as said, that is only in exceptional cases.
Is it possible to shorten the time between death and a new birth, so as to hasten one's evolution, and, if so, how?
Answer: Yes, it is possible for everyone who will take the pains to review this life every day, in reverse order, from evening until morning, judging himself for the things he has done amiss, promising himself to rectify his mistakes and doing it to the best of his endeavor. When he does that he will eradicate the sins he has committed from his life and he will steadily become a very much better man or woman than those who do not perform this simple exercise. Thus the sins which would otherwise be expurgated in Purgatory have been already dealt with in life and so the Purgatorial existence will be materially shortened. When at the time of the evening exercise, the man reviews the good he has done and promises himself to endeavor to do even better in the future he is also assimilating the good he has done each day, and will therefore make enormous strides in soul growth so that he will also obviate the necessity for life in the First Heaven. Such a man will then be definitely treading the path of initiation; he is then in reality outside the ordinary laws which govern mankind, for he is a helper in evolution and will, therefore, be given the opportunity to return to earth in that capacity much sooner than would otherwise be the case.
Are there any seasons and times, ages and epochs, in the other world?
Answer: No. We might say that there it is all one long day. There is no time, for that which makes time here is the rotation of the earth upon its axis and its orbital revolution around the sun. These motions make day and night, summer and winter, heat and cold, etc., because the earth's opaque and solid composition renders it impervious to the rays of light and heat emitted by the sun, so that one-half of the earth is always cold and dark. But in that other world nothing is opaque nor solid, hence there is neither heat nor cold, there is neither summer nor winter, there is no light, there is no night, but it is one long bright day.
Therefore, we often find that those who have passed out by death, while fully remembering their past earth life, will have no sense of time since passing out, and may sometimes ask the question as to the length of time which has elapsed since that event.
There is only one method there of gauging time, and this is used by the trained clairvoyant in fixing events when he is reading in the memory of nature, namely, by astrology, by noting the positions of the stars. Of course, if the event he is looking for is something which happened in historical times, he may readily fix the year of the occurrence by noting some historical event which happened at the same time, but where he has to go back for many thousands of years, as, for instance, when he wishes to determine the time of the Atlantean floods, he uses particularly the precession of the equinoxes, which is the motion of the sun backward through the twelve signs of the zodiac, a motion that requires about twenty-six thousand years to bring the sun once around the circle. He may then read back to the times of the Atlantean floods, counting how many of such periods of twenty-six thousand years elapsed between the first flood and the second, the second and the third, and then the years from then to our present time. If he is ignorant of the stellar science, he cannot do that, so that is one more reason why the student of occultism should familiarize himself with astronomy.
Does a person who has been buried alive become conscious of his condition? And how does the spirit get back to the body when it lies in the grave?
Answer: It is evident from the changed position of corpses in coffins that sometimes when a body has been buried before the spirit had definitely left it, that spirit has returned to the body and moved that body about in agonizing attempts to obtain the necessary air. And, of course, that would show consciousness had been regained in the body. The spirit, of course, is not at all hindered by the solid nature of the earth and the coffin from coming and going, a spirit passes just as easily through a wall or other opaque or dense obstacle as we pass through the air.
Why do childern die?
Answer: There are many causes for the death of children. We will give a few of the principal ones. In the first place, when an Ego returns to earth life, it is drawn to a certain family because it can there get the environment which is calculated to further its progress, and where it may liquidate a certain amount of the fate generated by itself in previous existences. Then when parents make such radical changes in their lives that the Ego would not be able to get that experience, or liquidate that fate, the Ego is usually withdrawn and sent to another place where it may get the right conditions for its growth at that time. Or it may be withdrawn for a few years and reborn in the same family when it is seen that the conditions can be obtained there at that late time. But there is a cause that is responsible for infant mortality which lies much farther back, namely, in previous lives, and to understand this cause it is necessary to know something about what takes place at death and immediately after.
When a spirit is passing out of the body, it takes with it the desire body, the mind and the vital body, and the vital body is at that time the storehouse for the pictures of the past life. These are then etched into the desire body during the three and one-half days immediately following death. Then the desire body becomes the arbiter of man's destiny in Purgatory and the First Heaven. The pains caused by expurgation of evil and the joy caused by the contemplation of the good in life are carried over to the next life as conscience to deter man from perpetuating the mistakes of past lives and to entice him to do that which caused him joy in the former life more abundantly.
When those next of kin to a dying person who are present in the death chamber burst into hysterical lamentations at the time the spirit passes out, and keep that up for the next few days, the spirit which is at that time in exceedingly close touch with the Physical World will be much moved by the grief of the dear ones, and will not be able to focus its attention closely upon the contemplation of its past life, and thus the etching made in the desire body will not be as deep as it would if the passing spirit were left in peace and undisturbed. Consequently the sufferings in Purgatory will not be as keen nor will the pleasures in the First Heaven be as great as otherwise and therefore, when the Ego returns to earth life, it will have lost a certain part of the experience from the previous life. that is to say, the voice of conscience will not speak with the same emphasis as would have been the case had the Ego been left undisturbed by lamentations.
In order to compensate for this lack, the Ego is then usually brought to birth among the same friends who lamented over it, and it is then taken away from them while yet in the years of childhood. Then it enters the Desire World, but, of course, a little child has not committed any sins that need to be expurgated and so its desire body and the mind remain intact; it then goes directly into the First Heaven to wait until a new embodiment offers, but this waiting time is used to school it directly in the effect of the different emotions, both good and evil. And often a relative meets it and takes it in charge, having the task of teaching it that which it had lost through the lamentation that person indulged in, or else it is taught by others. At any rate, the loss is more than made up, so that when the child returns to the second birth it will have as full a moral growth as it would have had under ordinary circumstances had there been no lamentation at the time when it passed out.
What is the cause of the vast number of deaths which occur in infancy and childhood?
Answer: When the man passes out at death, he takes with him the mind, desire body, and vital body, the latter being the storehouse of the pictures of his past life. And during the three and one-half days following death these pictures are etched into the desire body to form the basis of the man's life in Purgatory and the First Heaven where the evil is expurgated and the good assimilated. The experience of the life itself is forgotten, as we have forgotten the process of learning to write, but have retained the faculty. So the cumulative extract of all his experiences, both during past earth lives and past existencies in Purgatory and the various heavens, are retained by the man and form his stock in trade in the next birth. The pains he has sustained speak to him as the voice of conscience, the good he has done gives him a more and more altruistic character.
Now, when the three and a half days immediately following death are spent by the man under conditions of peace and quiet, he is able to concentrate much more upon the etching of his past life and the imprint upon the desire body will be deeper than if he is disturbed by the hysterical lamentations of his relatives or from other causes. And he will then experience a much keener feeling for either good or bad in Purgatory and in the First Heaven, and in after lives that keen feeling will speak to him with no unmistakable voice; but where the lamentations of relatives take away his attention or where a man passes out by an accident perhaps in a crowded street, in a train wreck, theater fire, or under other harrowing circumstances, there will, of course, be no opportunity for him to properly concentrate; neither can he concentrate upon a battle field if he is slain there, and yet it could not be just that he should lose the experiences of his life on account of passing out in such an untoward manner, so the law of cause and effect provides a compensation.
We usually think that when a child is born it is born and that is the end of it; but as during the period of gestation the dense body is shielded from the impact of the outside world by being placed within the protecting womb of the mother until it has arrived at sufficient maturity to meet the outside conditions, so are also the vital body, desire body and mind in a state of gestation and are born at later periods because they have not had as long an evolution behind them as the dense body and, therefore, it takes a longer time for them to arrive at a sufficient state of maturity to become individualized. The vital body is born at the seventh year, when the period of excessive growth marks its advent. The desire body is born at the time of puberty, the fourteenth year, and the mind is born at twenty-one, when the child is said to have become a man or woman--to have reached majority.
That which has not been quickened cannot die, and so when a child dies before the birth of the desire body it passes out into the invisible world in the First Heaven. It cannot ascend into the Second and Third Heaven because the mind and desire body are not born and will not die, so it simply waits in the First Heaven until a new opportunity for embodiment offers, and where it has died in its previous life under the before-mentioned harrowing circumstances, by accident or upon the battle field or where the lamentations of relatives rendered it impossible for it to gain as deep an impression of the evil committed and the good accomplished as would have been the case had it died in peace, it is instructed when it has died in the next life as a child in the effects of passions and desires so that it learns the lessons then which it should have learned in the Purgatorial life had it remained undisturbed. It is then reborn with the proper development of conscience so that it may continue its evolution.
As in the past man has been exceedingly warlike and not at all careful of the relatives who passed out at death because of his ignorance, holding wakes over those who died in bed, which were few, perhaps, compared to those who died on the battle field, there must necessarily on that account be an enormous amount of infant mortality, but as humanity arrives at a better understanding and realizes that we are never so much our brother's keeper as when he is passing out of this life and that we can help him enormously by being quiet and prayerful, so also will infant mortality cease to exist on such a large scale as at present.
Does the cremation of the dense body after death affect the spirit in any way?
Answer: During life and in the waking state of consciousness, the vehicles of the Ego are all together and concentric, but at death the Ego, clothed in the mind and desire body, withdraws from the dense body, and as the vital functions are at an end, the vital body also is taken out of the dense body, leaving it inanimate upon the bed. One little atom in the heart is taken out and the rest of the body disintegrates in due course. But at that time there is an extremely important process going on, and those who attend the passing spirit in the death chamber should be very careful that the utmost quiet reigns there and in the whole house, for the pictures of the whole past life which have been stored in the vital body are passing before the eye of the spirit in a slow and orderly progression, in reverse order, from death back to birth. This panorama of the past life lasts from a few hours to three and one-half days. The time is dependent upon the strength of the vital body which determines how long a man could keep awake under the most severe stress. Some persons can work for fifty, sixty and seventy hours before they fall down exhausted, while others are capable of keeping awake only a few hours. The reason why it is important that there should be quiet in the house of death during the three and one-half days immediately following death is this: During that time the panorama of the past life is being etched upon the desire body which will be the man's vehicle while he stays in Purgatory and the First Heaven, where he is reaping the good or ill that he has sown, according to the deeds done in the body.
Now, where the life has been full of events and the man's vital body is strong, a longer time will be given to this etching than under conditions where the vital body is weak, but during all that time the dense body is connected with the higher vehicles by the silver cord and any hurt to the dense body is felt in a measure by the spirit. So that embalming, post mortem examinations and cremation are all felt. therefore, these should be avoided during the first three and one-half days after the time of death, for when the panorama has been fully etched into the desire body, then the silver cord is broken, the vital body gravitates back to the dense body and there is no more connection with the spirit, which is then free to go on with its higher life.
When the body is buried, the vital body disintegrates slowly at the same time as the dense body, so that when, for instance, an arm has decayed in the grave, the etheric arm of the vital body which hovers over the grave also disappears, and so on until the last vestige of the body is gone. But where cremation is performed the vital body disintegrates at once, and as that is the store-house of the pictures of the past life, which, being etched upon the desire body to form the basis of life in Purgatory and the First Heaven, this would be a great calamity where cremation is performed before the three and a half days are past. Unless help were given, the passing spirit could not hold it together. And that is part of the work that is done by the invisible helpers for humanity. Sometimes they are assisted by nature spirits and others detailed by the Creative Hierarchies or leaders of humanity. There is also a loss where one is cremated before the silver cord has broken naturally, the imprint upon the desire body is never as deep as it would otherwise have been, and this has an effect upon future lives, for the deeper the imprint of the past life upon the desire body, the keener the sufferings in Purgatory for the ill committed and the keener also the pleasure in the First Heaven which results from the good deeds of the past life. It is these pains and pleasures of our past lives that create what we call conscience, so that where we have lost in suffering we lose also the realization of wrong which is to deter us in future lives from committing the same mistakes over and over again. Therefore, the effects of the premature cremation are very far reaching. Sad it is to say, that while we have a science of birth with obstetricians, trained nurses, antiseptics and everything else necessary to the comfort and well being of a little stranger, we sadly lack a science of death to help us to care for the departing friends of a lifetime.
Is a person has lost his memory through nervous shock or fever does that affect his vital body and prevent him from getting the record of his life in the three days immediately following death?
Answer: No. Memory is of three kinds: There is, in the first place, the record which is made by our senses. We look about us in the world, we see and hear things, these impressions are engraven upon the cells of our brain and we are able to consciously call them back--yet not always, but in varying degree, for this memory is extremely unreliable and capricious, and were this the only method of gaining a record of our lives the law of cause and effect would be invalidated--our after life would not be a sequence of what we have done or left undone in the past.
There must be another memory, and this is what scientists have called the subconscious mind. Just as ether carries to the camera of the photographer a record of the surrounding landscape and imprints it upon the sensitive plate to the minutest detail, regardless of whether the photographer observed these details or not, so also does the same ether which carries a picture to our eye and imprints it upon the retina carry into our lungs a similar picture which then is absorbed by the blood, and as the blood passes through the heart this record is indelibly inscribed upon the sensitive seed atom which is located in the left ventricle of the heart near the apex. The forces of that seed atom are taken out by the spirit at death and contain the record of the whole life to the minutest detail, so that, regardless of whether we have observed the facts in a certain scene or not, they are, nevertheless, there.
George du Maurier has written a story called "Peter Ibbetson," wherein this theory of the subconscious memory is very clearly shown. Peter Ibbetson, a prisoner in an English penitentiary, learned how to "dream true," that is to say, by putting his body in a certain position he learned how to lock the currents of ether within himself so that at night he was able at will to keep in touch with any scene in his past life that he desired to; there he would see himself as a spectator (grown man that he was), and he would also see himself among his parents and playmates and in the environment as he was at the time that scene was enacted. He would see the whole scene with many more details than he had been able to observe at the time when the events took place in this material world. That was because, under these circumstances, he could get in touch wit his own subconscious memory. He would have been unable to gain any information concerning the future, but the past had been inscribed upon the tablet of his heart and was, therefore, accessible under the proper conditions. It is from this subconscious memory that the record of life is taken after death, and as that is dependent upon the breath alone, it continues regardless of all other circumstances while life is in the body, and though a man may lose his conscious memory and become unable to recall past events at will, the subconscious memory contains them all and will give them up at the proper time.
If a disembodied spirit can pass through a wall, can it also pass through a mountain and the Earth, and can it see what is inside?
Answer: That depends upon what kind of a disembodied spirit the enquirer has in mind. When a man dies, he is just the same as he was before with the exception that he has no dense body and, therefore, it is perfectly possible for him to pass through a wall or mountain either. But he is not able to pass through the earth.
It is a well known fact that, though most clairvoyants and ordinary psychics are capable of telling much about the sights and the scenes of the Desire World, there is very little information at hand concerning the inside of the earth, for it is found by ordinary clairvoyants that if they attempt to enter the earth there is something like the same effect as when a man hurls himself against a wall. That is because the earth is the body of a great spirit and that spirit may not be approached in its inner recesses, except by the path of initiation. There are nine layers of varying thickness in the earth around the core, which forms, as it were, a tenth part, and the Lesser Mysteries are the gate which leads to that innermost core. There are nine degrees in the Lesser Mysteries, and in each degree the candidate becomes able to penetrate into the corresponding layer of the earth, while the tenth initiation belongs to the Greater Mysteries where there are four divisions. The first teaches all that can be known by man in the Earth Period; the second of the great initiations would bring him the knowledge that will be gained by all humanity at the end of the Jupiter Period; the third of the great initiations would bring him the wisdom attained by humanity at the end of the Venus Period, and the fourth would end his evolution in the present scheme. He would have the same standing as humanity will have at the end of the Vulcan Period. Then he will know all that the earth will contain in this embodiment and its future manifestations. The lesser Mysteries will also have taught him the evolution he went through in the three periods previous to our present Earth Period. It is these secrets which are locked up in the earth, until man has opened the door himself in the proper manner, so that no spirit, whether in the body or discarnate, can see what is inside the earth until the gate of initiation has opened its latent faculties.
Do we meet our loved ones after death, even if they have held a different belief from our own? Or perhaps, been atheists?
Answer: Yes, we certainly meet them and we know them, for there is no transforming power in death. The man will appear just as he was here because he thinks of himself as being of that shape, but the place where we meet, of course depends upon several things.
In the first place if we have lived a very religious life, so that we shall have no existence at all in Purgatory and but a very short existence in the First Heaven, going almost directly to the Second Heaven, whereas, the one whom we love was of such a nature that he would have a long stay in the Desire World, then, of course, we should not meet until he arrived in the Second Heaven. If we pass out shortly after our friend, the meeting would not take place for perhaps twenty years; but then, that would not matter for in those regions a person is entirely unconscious of time.
The materialistic friend, if he had lived a good moral life, as we usually find that those people do, would remain in the fourth region of the Desire World for a certain number of years, according to the length of time he had lived, and would then pass into the Second Heaven, though he would not have there as full and as perfect a consciousness as that possessed by a person who had been dwelling on the realities of life.
We would see him, know him and be associated with him for centuries in the work upon our future environment, and there he would not be materialistic at all, for when the spirit arrives in that region, it is not under the delusions which sometimes envelop it here in this material world. Each and every one knows himself as a spiritual being and feels the memory of this earth life as we feel a bad dream. The spirit, upon entering that world, wakes up to its own true nature in any case.
Do we recognize loved ones who have passed out through the gate of death?
Answer: Yes, we certainly do. When a man passes out of this body, he is exactly the same as he was before. There is no difference whatever, except that he has no physical body; he sees himself in the Desire World, and as he retains in his consciousness a picture of himself as he looked here, this desire body will at once take the shape possessed by the physical body, so that anyone who had known him in earth life will also know him when he has passed over into the beyond. Besides, it may be well to add that there is no transforming power in death--that man is also mentally and morally the same person. We often hear people who have loved some one speak of the dear, departed angel, even if they conceded that he was very much of a devil here in earth life, but they usually think it irreverent to refer to him as such when he has passed out. The fact remains, nevertheless, that only those who were good here are good there.
Does the man who commits suicide stay longer in purgatory than the people who die naturally?
Answer: When the Ego is coming down to rebirth it descends through the Second Heaven. There is is helped by the Creative Hierarchies to build the archetype for its coming body, and it instills into that archetype a life that will last for a certain number of years. These archetypes are hollow spaces and they have a singing, vibratory motion which draws the material of the Physical World into them and sets all the atoms in the body to vibrating in tune with a little atom that is in the heart, called the seed atom, which, like a tuning fork, gives the pitch to all the rest of the material in the body. At the time when the full life has been lived on the earth the vibrations in the archetype cease, the seed atom is withdrawn, the dense body goes to decay and the desire body, wherein the Ego functions in Purgatory and the First Heaven, takes upon itself the shape of the physical body. Then the man commences his work of expiating his evil habits and deeds in Purgatory and assimilating the good of his life in the First Heaven.
The foregoing describes the ordinary conditions when the course of nature is undisturbed, but the case of the suicide is different. He has taken away the seed atom, but the hollow archetype still keeps on vibrating. Therefore he feels as if he were hollowed out and experiences a gnawing feeling inside that can best be likened to the pangs of intense hunger. Material for the building of a dense body is all around him, but seeing that he lacks the gauge of the seed atom, it is impossible for him to assimilate that matter and build it into a body. This dreadful hollowed- out feeling lasts as long as his ordinary life should have lasted. Thus the law of cause and effect teaches him that it is wrong to play truant from the school of life and that it cannot be done with impunity. Then in the next life, when difficulties beset his path, he will remember the sufferings of the past which resulted from suicide and go through with the experience that makes for his soul growth.
Does a good man have to go through purgatory and be conscious of all the evil there before he can get into the first, second and third heaven; and if so, isn't that an undeserved punishment for him?
Answer: The inquirer should get away from the idea of punishment. There is no such thing as punishment. Whatever happens to a man is in consequence of immutable, invariable laws, and there is no personal God who gives rewards or punishments as he sees fit, according to an inscrutable will or any other such method. When the Ego invests itself with bodies, or when it divests itself of its vehicles, this is done on the very same principle and by the very same laws that govern, for instance, in the case of a planet. When a planet is being formed from the central firemist, a crystallization has taken place at the poles where motion is the slowest. The crystallized matter is thrown out by centrifugal force and flies into space because it is heavier than the rest of the firemist. For similar reasons, when the body of the spirit which is densest has become so crystallized and heavy that the spirit can no longer use it to gain experience the process of disrobement is accomplished by the centrifugal force which naturally eliminates the dense body first. That is what we call death. Then the spirit is free for a time, but the coarsest desire matter which was the embodiment for the lowest passions and desires must also be thrown off, and it is the forcible ejection of low desires that causes pain in Purgatory where the centrifugal force of repulsion is the strongest. If a man has any of that coarse matter in his desire body, naturally he will have to stay in Purgatory and undergo the process of purgation before he can enter the First Heaven. There the centripetal force of attraction whirls all the good in the life inward to the spiritual center, where it is assimilated as soul power available for the use of the spirit in its next earth life as conscience. Thus our stay in Purgatory depends upon how much of the coarse desire matter there is in the man, and a good man naturally would have very little or nothing of that kind. Therefore, he would have no life to speak of in Purgatory; he would pass directly through those regions into the Heaven World.
What is the condition of the victim of a murder and the victim of an accident subsequent to death?
Answer: There is no such thing as an accident at least where the accident terminates fatally. The life of any person in its ultimate length is ordinarily decreed before birth, but there are certain points of life where there is as it were a parting of the ways, where certain opportunities for growth are placed before the person, which he may either take or leave. Where he fails to use his opportunities, the life, as it were, runs into a blind alley, and terminates shortly afterward.
That, however, is not usually the case in an accident, but there may be certain reasons which make it desirable that the man should be cast out of his body in a violent manner. He is then in the same position as all others when they have passed out; he commences his Purgatorial existence at once.
The case of the victim of murder, like the case of the suicide, is different. Man, on account of his divine nature, is the only being who has the prerogative of causing disorder in the scheme of his unfoldment, and as he may end his own life by an act of will, so may he also end the life of a fellow creature before its time has come. The suffering of the suicide would also be the suffering of the murdered, for the archetype of his body would keep on gathering material which it would be impossible for him to assimilate; but in his case, the intervention of other agencies prevent the suffering and he will be found floating about in his desire body, in a comatose state, for the length of time that he would ordinarily have lived. If the murderer is brought to justice, as we say, and suffers capital punishment, the magnetic attraction will bring him together with his victim, who will constantly remain before his gaze, and that is really a much more severe punishment than any which we could mete out to him; but the victim knows naught of the presence of its slayer.
Where is heaven?
Answer: The Christ said "Heaven is within," and yet we are shown that at the time when He left His disciples, He ascended into heaven. to understand this, we must analyze the constitution of a planet, and according to the hermetic action "as above so below," we shall understand better if we first analyze the constitution of man.
The man has first the dense body which we see with our eyes, but that dense body is not as solid as it appears; in fact it is permeated by a number of invisible vehicles. It is composed of the solids, the liquids and the gases of the chemical region, but these, science tells us, are interpenetrated by ether, for man's body is no different from all other things in the world, and in the densest solid as in the rarest gas, science says, and says truly, every little atom is vibrating in a sea of ether. This ether is still physical matter; a consideration portion is specialized by man and forms an exact counterpart of our dense body, besides protruding about an inch and a half beyond the periphery of our visible body. It was this part that the doctors in Boston weighed by placing dying people on scales. They noted that when the last breath was drawn something having weight left the body and the side of the scales which had the weight on it fell to the floor with startling suddenneess. The newspaper reporters claimed that the doctors had weighed the soul, but what they did weigh was this vital body composed of ether which leaves the body at death.
We have a still finer vehicle called the desire body, which is composed of what occultists call desire stuff, and it may be seen by one having the sixth sense unfolded as an egg-shaped cloud enveloping the dense body on all sides, so that the latter is located in the center of the desire body, as the yolk is in the center of the egg, with the difference only that while the white envelops the yolk but does not interpenetrate, this desire body permeates both the vital body and the dense body in every nook and cranny. There is a still finer material in the makeup of man which we may call "mind stuff," composed of the coarsest material of the world of thought, the material wherein we form our concrete thoughts, and this envelops the indwelling Ego.
The world is similarly constituted. Besides this visible world which we see, composed of the solids, liquids and gases, and interpenetrated by ether, there is also a desire world which permeates every part of the Physical World and reaches out into space beyond both air and ether. Then there is the world of thought, and that also penetrates every part of our planet, from center to circumference, reaching out into space still farther than any of the other worlds.
During earth life, man lives upon this firm, visible earth, but after death, according to the deeds done in the body, he may be still imprisoned here, as the Purgatory regions are everywhere around and about us, also below in the inner recesses of the earth. The First Heaven is also here in a certain sense, insofar as similar material to that of which it is constituted is around and about us, but the First Heaven itself, the place where the spirits who have been liberated usually dwell, is beyond our atmosphere. The Second heaven may also be truly said to be within, for the material of which it is constituted is here and the spirits who are there might visit us, yet the conditions here, the thought currents, etc., would be derogatory to their work and development. Therefore, they prefer to stay in the farthermost, outermost part of our planet, where the pure mind stuff is unsullied by our selfish and deleterious thought currents.
The Third Heaven is a place in which very few people at the present stage of development have any consciousness, because most of us are guided in our thought activities more by emotions and feelings concerning concrete things than by abstract thought, which is the peculiar faculty pertaining to the Third Heaven. When we think of love, we usually think of love in connection with some person; that is a concrete thought. But of Love in the abstract, very few of us are able to think. We can think of a house, an animal, etc., they are concrete, but we dislike to think of an abstract proposition such as, for instance, that the square of the hypothenuse equals the square of the other two sides of a triangle. Therefore, most of us have very little consciousness in the Third Heaven, and consequently very little of the material of that world is in the makeup of our planet.
It is said that there is no sorrow in heaven, but if our loved ones are met there and then pass on, does not the parting from them involve at least a sense of dissatisfaction?
Answer: No, it does not, for there we see things as they are. Here we are blinded. When the Ego comes into the Physical World, it is in one sense a cause for rejoicing, as we rejoice at the birth of a child, for this world affords us experience and material for soul growth. But looking at it from another point of view, when the Ego comes into this world and enters the prison house of the dense body, it is in the most limited condition imaginable, and to rejoice at the time when the child is born and lament when it is liberated by death is in reality analogous to rejoicing when a friend is put in jail and giving way to hysterical lamentations when he is liberated.
When the spirit passes into the heaven World, it meets a number of those with whom it has associated in earth life in the First Heaven, but there it has already become so spiritual and so much in touch with the realities that it knows there is no death. Therefore, when someone passes into the beyond there is a rejoicing and a pleasure at the preferment of one whom we hold dear, and the knowledge that we shall meet again will certainly take away any pang that might be felt by those who are left behind.
Please explain how to concentrate in order to help those in the other world? Do you mean sitting in the silence and sending out loving, helpful thoughts to them?
Answer: The ability to send out a thought and the power that that thought has to accomplish the purpose for which it is sent, depends upon the definiteness wherewith the thinker is able to visualize that which he desires to accomplish. And the usual occult schools, particularly those along the lines of Eastern thought, advise the method of concentration whereby thoughts are focused upon one single point, as the rays of the sun are brought to a focus in a magnifying glass for thus their forces are massed, and as the sun's rays will burn when focused, so will the thought invariably accomplish its object when concentrated to a sufficient intensity.
It takes long practice, however, to learn how to do that, and there are very few people in the West who are able to thus direct their thoughts to any purpose. The western religion, recognizing this disability, teaches another method which is much more efficient than concentration, namely, prayer.
Therefore, if we wish to help those who have passed out of the body, we may pray earnestly for their welfare and that they may learn the lessons of this life thoroughly in their experiences in Purgatory and the First Heaven; then we shall accomplish much more than if we try the cold, intellectual method of concentration. The attitude of the body sometimes has a great deal to do with the intensity of the prayer, and if a kneeling position seems to facilitate the act, the kneeling position should be taken. On the other hand, as Emerson said:
so that the attitude of the body during the act of prayer is immaterial except as found to be conducive to produce the greatest intensity of purpose; for that is what makes the prayer effective.
Do those who have passed out of Earth life keep watch and ward over us who are left behind; for instance, do mothers look after their little children, or even the larger ones?
Answer: Yes, very often a mother who has recently passed out will watch over her little children for a long time, and instances have been recorded where mothers have saved their babes from dangers. Thought not knowing consciously how to materialize, love for the little ones and intense fear for their safety caused the mothers in such instances to draw to themselves material so that they could be seen by the little ones. Those whom we call dead do not usually go away from the house where they have lived until quite a long time after the funeral. They stay in the familiar rooms and move about among us, although they are unseen by us. Of course, when their time comes to go into the First Heaven, they do not remain any longer in our houses, but very often they visit them. When in time they enter the Second Heaven, they are no longer conscious of this physical sphere in the sense of having homes, or friends, or relatives; they are then rather to be looked upon as nature forces, for the time being, for they work upon the earth and humanity in the very same manner as the nature forces who do not take human embodiment.
Thus it is perfectly true that they watch over their loved ones for a long time after they have passed out, and it has been often noted by persons attending the death of a mother whose children had passed out, perhaps a number of years before, that at the time of dying she would see the children around her bed and exclaim: "Why, there is Johnny, and what a big boy he has grown to be," and so on. The people around the bed would probably think that a hallucination, but it is not, and it will be noted that a certain phenomenon always attends those visions, namely, when a person dies there comes over him a darkness which he feels descending upon him. Many persons pass out without again seeing the Physical World. that is the change from our light vibrations to the vibrations of the Desire World, and is similar to the darkness that spread over the earth at the time of the crucifixion. With other people it happens that the darkness lifts after a moment and then the person is clairvoyant, seeing both the present world and the Desire World, and there, of course, appear the loved ones, who have been attracted by the impending death, which is birth into their world.
Thus we may say that our loved ones are interested in our welfare for a long time after passing out, but it must be remembered that there is no transforming power in death; that it does not give them any special ability to care for us, and that they have no means of really influencing our affairs, so that it is not quite right to look upon them as our guardian angels. They are merely interested spectators except in a few specific cases where an intense love enables them to perform some slight service in case of great need. That service, however, would never take the form of enriching us or anything like that, but is more in the nature of a warning of danger or the like.
A Life Cycle