But it is with great thankfulness that he records his conviction that we need have no fear on that score. Only when people are premeditatively malicious and vindictive, and persistently harbor a desire and a purpose to get even with some one, only when such feelings are hugged, nursed, and entertained do they harden the vital body and cause the interlocking grip of these vehicles. We know from the records of the great war that the rank and file have no such sentiments against one another, but that enemies meet as friends whenever chance brings them into such relationship that they may converse one with another. So, though war is responsible for the awful mortality now and will cause deplorable infant mortality in a future age, it will be blameless with regard to the dreadful diseases engendered by obsession and the crimes suggested by these demoniacal sin bodies.
Though mental disabilities, when congenital, are generally traceable to abuse of the creative function in a past life, there is at least one notable exception to this rule, namely, cases such as mentioned in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception and elsewhere in our literature, and described as follows: Where a Spirit, who has a particularly hard life before, it, comes down to rebirth and feels upon entering the womb that the panorama of the coming life then shown it marks an existence too hard for it to undergo, it sometimes tries to run away from the school of life. At that time the Recording Angels or their agents have already made the connection between the vital body and the sense centers of the brain in the forming foetus; therefore the effort of the Spirit to escape from the mother's womb is frustrated, but the wrench that is given by the Ego deranges the connection between the etheric and physical sense centers, so that the vital body is not concentric with the physical, causing the etheric head to extend above the physical cranium. Thus it is impossible for the Spirit to use the dense vehicle; it is tied to a mindless body which it cannot use, and the embodiment is practically wasted.
We also find cases where a great shock later if life causes the Spirit to endeavor to run away with the invisible vehicles. As a result a similar wrench is given to the etheric sense centers in the brain, and the shock deranges the mental expression. Everybody has probably felt a similar sensation on receiving a fright: a surging as of something endeavoring to get out of the dense body; that is the desire and vital bodies, which are so swift in their motion that an express train is as a snail by comparison. They see and feel the danger and are frightened before the scare is transmitted to the inert and slow physical body in which they are anchored, and which prevents their escape under ordinary strain.
Insanity is always caused by a break in the chain of vehicles between the Ego an the physical body. This break may occur between the brain centers an the vital body, or it may be between the vital and the 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 re-embodiment, 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 agent of the Recording Angeles 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 the 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 is 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. It that case the connection between the sense centers of the vital body an the dense body are disrupted and the result is congenital idiocy, epilepsy, St. Vitus dance, and similar nervous disorders.
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.
We have seen that in the waking state the dense body and the vital body are surrounded and interpenetrated by an egg-shaped cloud comprising the desire body and the mind. These vehicles are all concentric, and form so many links in a chain. It is the interpolation of one into the other, so that the sense centers in one are in proper alignment with the sense centers of the other, which enables the Ego to manipulate the complex organism and perform in an ordered manner the life processes which we call reason, speech, and action. If there is a maladjustment anywhere the Ego will be correspondingly hampered anywhere the Ego will be correspondingly hampered in its expression. This perfect balance is health, the opposite is disease.
Disease takes many forms; one is insanity, and that also is of different kinds. Where the connection between the sense centers of the dense body and the vital body is askew, where sometimes the head of the vital body towers above the dense head instead of being concentric with it, the vital body is out of adjustment with both the higher vehicles and the dense body. Then we have the docile idiot. Where the dense and vital bodies are in adjustment but the break is between the vital body and the desire body, a similar condition obtains, but when the break is between the desire body and the mind we have the raving maniac, who is more ungovernable that a wild animal, for that is checked by the Group Spirit. In that case all the animal propensities are followed blindly.
While there are very few who will defend the abuse of the generative function, many people who follow spiritual precepts in other things still have the feeling that frequent indulgence of the desire for sexual pleasure works no harm; some even have the idea that it is as necessary as the exercise of any other organic function. This is wrong for two reasons: First, each creative act requires a certain amount of force which burns up tissue that must be replenished b an extra amount of food. This strengthens and augments the chemical ether. Secondly, as the propagative force works through the life ether, this constituent of the vital body is also augmented with each indulgence. Thus we strengthen the two lower ethers of the vital ody by sending the creative force downwards for gratification of our desire for pleasure; and their interlocking grip upon the two higher ethers which form the soul body becomes tighter and more powerful as time goes on. As the evolution of our soul powers and the faculty of traveling in our finer vehicles depends upon the cleavage between the lower ethers and the soul body, it is evident that we frustrate the object we have in view and retard development by indulgence of the lower nature.
As soon as the vital body has been placed the returning Ego, clothed in its bell-shaped covering, hovers constantly near the future mother. She alone does the work upon the new dense body in the first eighteen to twenty-one days after fertilization, then the Ego enters the mother's body, drawing the bell-shaped covering down over the fetus. The opening at the bottom closes, and the Ego is once more incarcerated in the prison house of the dense body.
The moment of entrance into the womb is one of great importance in life, for when the incoming Ego first contacts the before-mentioned matrix vital body it sees there again the panorama of the coming life which has been impressed upon the matrix by the Recording Angels in order to give it the tendencies required to work out the ripe causation due to be liquidated in the coming life.
At this time, the Ego is already so much blinded by the veil of matter that it does not recognize the good end in vie in the same unbiased manner as when making its choice in the Region of Abstract Thought, and when a particularly hard life reveals itself to the vision of the returning Ego at the moment of entering the womb, it sometimes happens that the Ego is so startled and frightened that its seeks to rush out again. The connection cannot be severed, however, but may be strained, so that instead of the vital body being concentric with the dense body, the head of the vital body may be above the head of the dense body. Then we have a congenital idiot.
As a vampire sucks the ether from the vital body of its victim and feeds upon it, so perpetual thoughts of regret and remorse concerning certain things become a desire-elemental which acts as a vampire and draws the very life from the poor soul who has shaped it, and by the attraction of like for like, it fosters continuance of this morbid habit of regret.
If we indulge in regrets and remorse during every waking hour as some do, we are outdoing Purgatory, for though the time there is spent in eradication of evil, the consciousness turns from each picture when it has been torn out by the force of repulsion. Here, because of the interlocking of the desire and vital bodies, we are enabled to revivify a picture in memory as oft as we please, and while the desire body is gradually dissolved in Purgatory by the expurgation of the panorama of life, a certain small amount is added while we are living in the Physical World, to take the place of that which is ejected by remorse. Thus, remorse and regret when continually indulged in have the same effect on the desire body as excessive bathing has on the vital body. Both vehicles are depleted of strength by excessive cleansing, and for that reason it is as dangerous to the moral and spiritual health to indulge indiscriminately in feelings of regret and remorse as its is fatal to physical well being to bathe too much. Discrimination should govern in both cases.
As the force latent in gunpowder and kindred explosive substances may be used to further the greatest objects of civilization or to outdo the most savage acts of barbarism, so also, this emotion of remorse may be misused in such a manner that it becomes a detriment and a hindrance to the Ego instead of a help. When we indulge in remorse daily and hourly, we are actually wasting a great power which might be used for the most noble ends of life, for the constant indulgence of regret affects the desire body in a manner similar to that which follows excessive bathing of the physical body. Water has a great affinity for ether and absorbs it most greedily. When we take a bath under normal conditions it removes a great deal of poisonous miasmatic ether from our vital bodies, providing we stay in the water a reasonable length of time. After a bath the vital body becomes somewhat attenuated and consequently gives us a feeling of weakness, but if we are in our usual good health and have not stayed in the bath too long, the deficiency is soon made good by the stream of force which flows into the body through the spleen. When this influx of fresh ether has replaced the poisoned substance carried off in the water, we feel renewed vigor which we rightly attribute to the bath, though usually without realizing the full facts as here stated.
But when a person who is not in perfect health makes a habit of bathing every day, perhaps even twice or three times, an excess of ether is taken from the vital body. The supply entering by way of the spleen is also diminished on account of the loss of tone of the seed atom located in the solar plexus and the attenuated condition of the vital body. Thus it is impossible for such people to recuperate between such oft repeated depletions, and as a consequence the health of the dense body suffers; they lose strength continually and are apt to become confirmed invalids.
The vital body is active in sleep as well as in the waking state and may be acted upon by the power of suggestion. Sleep may be induced by hypnosis.
We have in our body two nervous systems, the voluntary and the involuntary. The first named is operated directly by the desire body, and controls the movements of the body, tends to break down and destroy, only partially restrained in its ruthless task by the mind. The involuntary system has its particular vantage ground in the vital body; it governs the digestive and respiratory organs, which rebuild and restore the dense body.
It is this war between the vital body and the desire body which produces consciousness in the Physical World, but did not the mind act as a brake on the desire body, our waking hours would be very short, and so would our lives, for the vital body would soon be overridden in its beneficent offices by the reckless desire body, as evidenced in the exhaustion which follows a fit of temper, for temper is a condition where the man has "lost control" and the desire body rules unchecked.
In spite of all its efforts, however, the vital body slowly loses ground as the day goes along, the poisons of decaying tissue accumulate and impede the flow of the vital fluid, its motion become more and more sluggish. In consequence the visible body shows signs of exhaustion. At last the vital body, so to say, collapses, the vital fluid ceases to flow along the nerves in sufficient quantity to maintain the poise of the dense body, and that renders it unconscious and therefore unfit for the use of the Spirit. That is sleep.
So also with the temple of the Ego, our dense body, when that has been exhausted. It is then necessary that the Ego, mind, and the desire body vacate and give the vital body full sway, that it may restore the tone of the dense body; and thus, when the dense body goes to sleep, there is a separation. The Ego and the mind, clothed in the desire body, draw out from the vital body and the dense body, the two latter remaining on the bed, while the higher vehicles hover above or near the sleeping body.
The process of restoration now beings. In a fight in the Physical World the injuries are never all on one side; the winner always has some lesions. The fiercer the fight, and the more evenly the combatants are matched, the more lesions go to each. So with the combating vital and desire bodies, the desire body wins every time, yet its victory is always a defeat, for it is then forced to leave the battle field and the prize, the dense body, in the hands of the vanquished vital body and withdraw to repair its own shattered harmony.
When it withdraws from the sleeping body it enters that sea of force and harmony called the Desire World. Here it lives over the scenes of the day, but in reverse order, from effects to causes, straightening out the tangles of the day, forming true pictures to replace the wrong impressions due to the limitations of the life in the dense body, and as the harmonies of the Desire World pervade it, and wisdom and truth replace error, it regains its rhythm and its tone, the time required to restore it varying according to how illusive, impulsive, and strenuous had been the life of the day.
Then, and then only, does the work of restoring the vehicles left on the bed commence, and the restored desire body starts to revive the vital body, jumping rhythmic energy into it, and that in turn starts to work upon the dense body, eliminating the products of decay, principally by means of the sympathetic nervous system, with the result that the dense body is restored and overflowing with life when the desire body, mind, the Ego enter in the morning and cause it to wake.
It sometimes happens, however, that we have become so absorbed and interested in the affairs of our mundane existence that even after the vial body has collapsed and rendered the dense body unconscious we cannot make up our minds to leave it and commence the work of restoration; the desire body will cling like grim death, is dragged perhaps only half out by the Ego, and starts to ruminate over the happenings of the day in that position.
During the waking state, when the Ego is functioning consciously in the Physical World, its various vehicles are concentric--they occupy the same space--but at night, when the body is laid down to sleep, a separation takes place. the Ego, clothed in the mind and desire body, extricates itself from the dense body and the vital body, which are left upon the bed. The higher vehicles hover above or near. They are connected to the denser vehicles by the silver cord, a thin, glistening thread which take the shape of two figure sixes, one end being attached to the seed atom in the heart and the other to the center vortex of the desire body.
During sleep the Ego also withdraws from the dense body, but the vital body remains with the dense body and the silver cord is left intact.
The Desire World is an ocean of wisdom and harmony. Into this the Ego takes the mind and the desire body when the lower vehicles have been left in sleep. There the first care of the Ego is the restoration of the rhythm and harmony of the mind and the desire body. This restoration is accomplished gradually as the harmonious vibrations of the Desire World flow through them. There is an essence in the Desire World corresponding to the vital fluid which permeates the dense body by means of the vital body. The higher vehicles, as it were, steep themselves in this elixir of life. When strengthened, they commence work on the vital body, which was left with the sleeping dense body. Then the vital body begins to specialize the solar energy anew, rebuilding the dense body, using particularly the chemical ether as its medium in the process of restoration.
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 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, however, that at times the desire body does not fully withdraw, so that part of its remains connected with the vital body, the vehicle of sense perception and memory. The result is that restoration is only partly accomplished and that the scenes and actions of the Desire World are brought into the physical consciousness as dreams. Of course most dreams are confused as the axis of perception is askew, because of the improper relation of one body to another. The memory is also confused by this incongruous relation of the vehicles and as a result of the loss of the restoring force, dream-filled sleep is restless and the body feels tired on awakening.
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 re-enter 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 drivel 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 re-enter. 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.
It depends upon the manner in which we have used our dense bodies in the daytime as to how long the desire body requires to perform the work of restoration of rhythm to the vital body and the dense body. If we have used our bodies strenuously during the previous day, in harmonies will, of course, be correspondingly prominent, and it will take the desire body most of the night to restore harmony and rhythm. Thus the man will be tied to his body day and night. But when he learns skill in action, controls his energy in the daytime, and ceases to waste his strength on unnecessary words and actions, when he commences to govern his temper and to stop in harmony due to incorrect observation, th desire body will not occupied during the entire time of sleep in restoring the dense body. A part of the night may be used for work outside. If the sense centers of the desire body are sufficiently evolved, as they are with most of the intelligent class, the man may and does then slip the cable and soar into the Desire World. He takes in the sights and scenes there, though he does not usually remember them until he has effected a cleavage between the higher and lower parts of the vital body, as previously explained.
In the natural sleep the Ego, clothed in the mind and desire body, draws outside the physical body and usually hovers over the body, or at any rate remains close to it, connected by the silver cord, while the vital body and the dense body are resting upon the bed.
It is then possible to influence the person by instilling into his brain the thoughts and ideas we wish to communicate. Nevertheless, we cannot then get him to do anything or to entertain any idea except that which is in line with his natural proclivities. It is impossible to command him to do anything and to enforce obedience, the same as it is when he has been driven out by the passes of the hypnotist, for it is the brain which moves the muscles, and during the natural sleep his brain is interpenetrated by his own vital body and he is in perfect control of himself, while during the hypnotic sleep the passes of the hypnotist have driven the ether of which its vital body is composed out of the brain, down to the shoulders of the victim, where it lies around his neck and resembles the collar of a sweater. The dense brain is then open to the ether from the hypnotist's vital body, which displaces that of the proper owner. Thus in the hypnotic sleep the victim has no choice whatever as to the ideas he entertains ot the movements he makes with his body, but in the ordinary sleep he is still a free agent. In fact, this method of suggestion during sleep is something which mothers will find extremely beneficial in treating refractory children, for if the mother will sit by the bed of the sleeping child, hold its hand, speak to it as she would speak when it is awake, instill into his brain ideas of such a nature as she would wish it to entertain, she will find that in the waking state many of these ideas will have taken root. Also in dealing with a person who is sick or is addicted to drink, if the mother, nurse, or others use this method, they will find it possible to instill hope and healing, materially furthering recovery or aiding self-mastery.
This method may of course be used for evil, but we cannot refrain from publishing it, as we believe that the good which can be done in this way will much more than offset the few cases where some misguided person may use it for the wrong purpose.
Looked at from the standpoint of one life, such methods as for instance those employed by the healers of the Immanuel 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 th 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.
At death, there is a cleavage of the vital body and the higher parts enter the invisible worlds. Its seed atom is retained by the Ego when passing through the heaven worlds to be used as a nucleus for the vital body of a future embodiment.
This life on Earth lasts until the course of events foreshadowed in the wheel of life, the horoscope, has been run; and when the Spirit again reaches the realm of Samael, the Angel of Death, the mystic eighth house, the silver cord is loosed, and the Spirit returns to God who gave it, until the dawn of another life-day in the School of Earth beckons it to a new birth that it may acquire more skill in the arts and crafts of temple-building.
By the fact of death if has been possible for the Angels to teach humanity between death and a new birth how to build a gradually improving body. Had man learned in that far past how to renew his vital body, as he was taught to generate a dense vehicle at his own pleasure, then death would indeed have been an impossibility and man would have become as immortal as the gods. But he would then have immortalized his imperfections and made progress an impossibility. It is the renewal of this vital body which is expressed in the Bible as "eating of the Tree of Life." At the time of his enlightenment concerning generation man was a spiritual being whose eyes were not yet blinded by the material world, and he might have learned the secret of vitalizing his body at will, thus frustrating evolution. Thus we see that death, when it comes naturally, is not a curse but our greatest and best friend, for it frees us from an instrument from which we can learn no more; it takes us out of an environment which we have outgrown, that we may learn to build a better body in an environment of wider scope in which we can make more progress toward the goal of perfection.
During life the collapse of the vital body at night terminates our view of the world about us, and causes us to lose ourselves in the unconsciousness of sleep. When the vital body collapses just subsequent to death, and the panorama of life is terminated, we also lose consciousness for a time which varies according to the individual. A darkness seems to fall upon the Spirit. Then after a while it wakes up and begins dimly to perceive the light of the other world, but is only gradually accustomed to the altered conditions. It is an experience similar to that which we have when coming out of a darkened room into sunlight, which blinds us by its brilliancy, until the pupils of our eyes have contracted so that they admit a quantity of light bearable to our organism.
When the man passes out a 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 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 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.
No matter how long we may keep the Spirit from passing out, however, at last there will come a time then no stimulant can hold it and the last breath is drawn. Then the silver cord, of which the Bible speaks, and which holds the higher and the lower vehicles together, snaps the heart and causes that organ to stop. That rupture releases the vital body, and that, with the desire body and mind, floats above the visible body for from one to three and one-half days while the Spirit is engaged in reviewing the past life, an exceedingly important part of its post-mortem experience. Upon what review depends its whole existence from death to a new birth.
All ancient people, whether in the East or in the West, know much about birth and death which has been forgotten in modern times, because second sight was more prevalent then. To this day, for instance, many peasants in Norway assert ability to see the Spirit passing out of the body at death, as a long narrow while cloud, which is, of course, the vital body; and the Rosicrucian teaching--that the deceased hover around their earthly abode for some time after death, that they assume a luminous body and are sorely afflicted by the grief of dear ones--was common knowledge among the ancient Northmen. When the deceased King Helfe of Denmark materialized to assuage the grief of his widow, and she exclaimed in anguish, "The dew of death has bathed his warrior body," he answered:
When she (the author of The Ministry of Angels) was about eighteen years of age, a girl friend called Maggie was suddenly taken very ill and died in her arms. Immediately after her heart had ceased to beat, she says, "I distinctly saw ascend from her body something in appearance like smoke or steam as it rises from a kettle in which water is boiling. The emanation rose only a little distance and there resolved itself into a form like that of my friend who had just died. This form, shadowy at first, gradually changed until it become well defined and clad in a pearly white, cloud-like robe, beneath which the outlines of the figure were distinctly visible. The face was that of my friend, but glorified with no trace upon it of the spasm of pain which had seized her just before she died."
This is just as we have taught: at the moment of death, when the silver cord has been ruptured in the heart, the vital body rises out through the sutures in the skull and hovers a few feet above the body.
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.
At the moment of death when the seed atom in the heart is ruptured which contains all the experience of the past life in a panoramic picture, the Spirit leaves its physical body, taking with it the finer bodies. It then hovers over the dense body which is now dead, as we call if, for a time varying from a number of hours to three and one-half days. The determining factor as to the time is the strength of the vital body, the vehicle which constitutes the soul body spoken of in the Bible. There is then a pictorial reproduction of the life, a panorama in reverse order from death to birth, and the pictures are etched upon the desire body through the medium of reflecting ether in this vital body. During this time the consciousness of the Spirit is concentrated in the vital body, or at least it should be, and it has therefore no feeling about this matter. The picture that is impressed upon the vehicle of feeling and emotion, the desire body, is the basis of subsequent suffering in the life in Purgatory for evil deeds, and of enjoyment in the First Heaven on account of the good done in the past life.
These were the main facts which the writer was able personally to observe about death at the time when the Teachings were first given to him and when he was introduced by the help of the Teacher to the panoramic reproductions of life when persons were going through the gate of death, but the investigations of later years have revealed the additional fact that there is another process going on during these important days following death.
A cleavage takes place in the vital body similar to that made by the process of initiation. So much of this vehicle as can be termed "soul," coalesces with the higher vehicles and is the basis of consciousness in the invisible worlds after death. The lower part, which is discarded, returns to the physical body and hovers over the grave in the great majority of the cases, as stated in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception. This cleavage of the vital body is not the same in all persons but depends upon the nature of the life lived and the character of the person that is passing out. In extreme cases this division varies very much from normal. This important point was brought out in many cases of supposed Spirit obsession which have been investigated from Headquarters; in fact it was these cases which developed the far-reaching and astounding discoveries brought out by our most recent researches into the nature of the obsession from which the people who appealed to us were suffering. As might be expected, of course, the division in these cases showed a preponderance of evil, and efforts were them made to find out if there was not also another class of people where a different division with a preponderance of good takes place. It is a pleasure to record that this was found to be the case, and after weighing the facts discovered, balancing one with another, the following seems to be a correct description of the conditions and their reasons:
The vital body aims to build the physical, whereas our desires and emotions tear down. It is the struggle between the vital body and the desire body which produces consciousness in the Physical World, and which hardens the tissues so that the soft body of the child gradually becomes tough and shrunken in old age, followed by death. The morality or immorality of our desires and emotions acts in a similar manner on the vital body. Where devotion to high ideals is the mainspring of action, where the devotional nature has been allowed for years to express itself freely and frequently, and particularly where this has been accompanied by the scientific exercises given Probationers in The Rosicrucian Fellowship, the quantity of the chemical and life ethers gradually diminishes as the animal appetites vanish, and an increased amount of the light and reflecting ethers takes their place. As a consequence, physical health is not as robust among people who follow the higher path as among people whose indulgence of the lower nature attracts the chemical and life ethers, in proportion to the extend and nature of their vice, to the partial or total exclusion of the two higher ethers.
Several very important consequences connected with death follow this fact. As it is the chemical ether which cements the molecules of the body in their places and keeps them there during life, when only a minimum of material is present, disintegration of the physical vehicle after death must be very rapid.
At death a separation takes place; the seed atom is withdrawn from the apex of the heart along the saturnine pneumogastric nerve, through the ventricles and out the skull (Golgotha); all the atoms of the vital body are liberated from the cross of the dense body by the same spiral motion, which unscrews each prismatic atom of ether from its physical envelope.
This process is attended with more or less violence according to the cause of death. An aged person whose vitality has been slowly ebbing may fall asleep and wake up on the other side of the veil without the slightest consciousness of how the change took place; a devout and religious person who has been prepared by prayer and meditation on the beyond would also be able to make an easy egress; people who freeze to death meet with what the writer believes to be the easiest of accidental deaths, drowning being next.
But when a person is young and healthy, especially if of an irreligious or atheistic turn of mind, the prismatic ether atom is so tightly entwined by the physical atom that a considerable wrench is required to separate the vital body. When the separation of the physical body from the higher vehicles has been accomplished and the person is dead, as we say, the light and reflecting ethers are separated from the prismatic atom. It is this stuff, as described in the Cosmo-Conception, which is molded into pictures of the past life and etched into the desire body, which them begins to feel whatever there was of pain or pleasure in the life. The part of the vital body composed of the prismatic chemical and life ethers then returns to the physical body, hovering above the grave and disintegrating synchronously with it.
The higher vehicles--vital body, desire body and mind--are seen to leave the desire body with a spiral movement, taking with them the soul of one dense atom. Not the atom itself, but the forces that played through it. The results of the experiences passed through in the desire body during the life just ended have been impressed upon this particular atom. While all other atoms of the desire body have been renewed from time to time, this permanent atom has remained. It has remained stable, not only through one life, but it has been a part of every desire body ever used by a particular Ego. It is withdrawn at death only to reawaken at the dawn of another physical life, to serve again as the nucleus around which is built the new desire body to be used by the same Ego. It is therefore called the seed atom. During life the seed atom is situated in the left ventricle of the heart, near the apex. At death it rises to the brain by way of the pneumogastric nerve, leaving the desire body, together with the higher vehicles, by way of the sutures between the parietal and occipital bones.
When the higher vehicles have left the desire body they are still connected with it by a slender, glistening, silvery cord shaped much like two figure sixes reversed, one upright and one horizontally placed, the two connected at the extremities of the hooks.
One end is fastened to the heart by means of the seed atom, and it is the rupture of the seed atom which causes the heart to stop. The cord itself is not snapped until the panorama of the past life, contained in the vital body, has been reviewed.
Care should be taken, however, not to cremate or embalm the body until at least three days after death, for while the vital body is with the higher vehicles, and they are still connected with the desire body by means of the silver cord, any post-mortem examination or other injury to the dense body will be felt, in a measure, by the man. Cremation should be particularly avoided in the first three days after death, because it tends to disintegrate the vital body, which should be kept intact until the panorama of the past life has been etched into the desire body.
The silver cord snaps at the point where the sixes unite, half remaining with the desire body and the other half with the higher vehicles. From the time the cord snaps the desire body is quite dead.
In the beginning of 1906 Dr. McDougall made a series of experiments in the Massachusetts General Hospital, to determine, if possible, whether anything not ordinarily visible left the body at death. For this purpose he constructed a pair of scales capable of registering differences of one- tenth of an ounce.
The dying person and his bed were placed on one of the platforms of the scale, which was then balanced by weights placed on the opposite platform. In every instance it was noted that at the precise moment when the dying person drew the last breath, the platform containing the weights dropped with a startling suddenness, lifting the bed and the body, thus showing that something invisible, but having weight, had left the body. Thereupon the newspapers all over the country announced in glaring headlines that Dr. McDougall had "weighed the soul."
Occultism hails with joy the discoveries of modern science, as they invariably corroborate what occult science has long taught. The experiments of Dr. McDougall showed conclusively that something invisible to ordinary sight left the body at death, as trained clairvoyants had seen, and as had been stated in lectures and literature for many years previous to Dr. McDougall's discovery.
But this invisible "something: is not the soul. There is a great difference. The reporters jump at conclusions when they state that the scientist have "weighed the soul." The soul belongs to higher realms and can never be weighed on physical scales, even though they registered variations of one-millionth part of a grain instead of one-tenth of an ounce.
It was the vital body which the scientists weighted. It is formed of the four ethers and they belong to the Physical World.
As we have seen, a certain amount of this ether is "superimposed" upon the ether which envelopes the particles of the human body and is confined there during physical life, adding in a slight degree to the weight of the desire body of plant, animal, and man. In death it escapes; hence the diminution in weight noticed by Dr. McDougall when the persons with whom he experimented expired.
This feature of life after death is similar to that which takes place when one is drowning or falling from a height. In such cases the vital body also leaves the desire body and the man sees his life in a flash, because he loses consciousness at once. Of course the silver cord is not broken, or there could be no resuscitation.
When the endurance of the vital body has reached its limit, collapses in the way described when we were considering the phenomenon of sleep. During physical life, when the Ego controls its vehicles, this collapse terminates the waking hours; after death the collapse of the vital body terminates the panorama and forces man to withdraw into the Desire World. The silver cord breaks at the point where the sixes unite, and the same division is made as during sleep, but with this important difference, that though the vital body returns to the desire body, it no longer interpenetrates it, but simply hovers over it. It remains floating over the grave, decaying synchronously with the dense vehicle. Hence, to the trained clairvoyant, a graveyard is a nauseating sight and if only more people could see it as he does, little argument would be necessary to induce them to change from the present unsanitary method of disposing of the dead to the more rational method of cremation, which restores the elements to other primordial condition without the objectionable features incident to the process of slow decay.
In leaving the vital body the process is much the same as when the desire body is discarded. The life forces of one atom are taken, to be used as a nucleus for the vital body of a future embodiment. Thus, upon his entrance into the Desire World, the man has the seed atoms of the dense and the vital bodies, in addition to the desire body and the mind.
When a man dies, he at once seems to swell out in his vital body; he appears to himself to grow into immense proportions. This feeling is due to the fact, not that the body really grows, but that the perceptive faculties receive so many impressions from various sources, all seeming to be close at hand.
When the man dies and loses his dense and vital bodies there is the same condition as when one falls asleep. The desire body, as has been explained, has no organs ready to use. It is now transformed from an ovoid to a figure resembling the desire body which has been abandoned. We can easily understand that there must be an interval of unconscious resembling sleep and them the man awakes in the Desire World. If not infrequently happens, however, that such people are, for a long time, unaware of what has happened to them. They do not realize that they have died. They know that they are able to move and think. It is sometimes even a very hard matter to get them to believe that they are really "dead." They realize that something is different, but they are not able to understand what it is.
When the moment arrives which marks the completion of life in the Physical World, the usefulness of the desire body has ended, and the Ego withdraws from it by way of the head, taking with it the mind and the desire body, as it does every night during sleep, but now the vital body is useless, so that too is withdrawn, and when the "silver cord" which united the higher to the lower vehicles snaps, it can never be repaired.
We remember that the vital body is composed of ether, superimposed upon the dense bodies of plant, animal, and man during life. Ether is physical matter, and therefore has weight. The only reason why the scientists cannot weight it is because they are unable to gather a quantity and put it upon a scale. But when it leaves the dense body at death a diminution in weight will take place in every instance, showing that something having weight, yet invisible, leaves the dense body at that time.
The "silver cord" which units the higher and lower vehicles terminates at the seed-atom in the heart. When material life comes to an end in the natural manner the forces in the seed-atom disengage themselves, pass outward along the pneumogastric nerve, the back of the head and along the silver cord, together with the higher vehicles. It is this rupture in the heart which marks physical death, but the connecting silver cord is not broken at once, in some cases not for several days.
In lecture No. 3 we say that the vital body is the storehouse of both the conscious and subconscious memory; upon the vital body is branded indelibly every act and experience of the past life, as the scenery upon an exposed photographic plate. When the Ego has withdrawn it from the dense body, the whole life, as registered by the subconscious memory, is laid open to the eye of mind. It is the partial loosening of the vital body which causes a drowning person to see his whole past life, but then it is only like a flash, preceding unconscious; the silver cord remains intact, or there could be no resuscitation. In the case of a Spirit passing out at death, the movement is slower; the man stands as a spectator while the pictures succeed one another in the order from death to birth, so that he sees first the happenings just prior to death, the the years of manhood or womanhood unroll themselves; youth, childhood, and infancy follow, until it terminates at birth. The man, however, has no feeling about them at that time. The object is merely to etch the panorama into the desire body, which is the seat of feeling, and from that impress the feeling will be realized when the Ego enters the Desire World, but we may note here that the intensity of feeling realized depends upon the length of time consumed in the process of etching, and the attention given thereto by the man. If he was undisturbed for a long period by noise and hysteria, a deep, clear-cut impress will be made upon the desire body. He will feel the wrong he did more keenly in Purgatory and be more abundantly strengthened in his good qualities in Heaven, and though the experience will be lost in a future life, the feelings will remain, as the "still, small voice." Where the feelings have been strongly indented upon the desire body of an Ego, this voice will speak in no vague and uncertain terms. It will impel him beyond gainslaying, forcing him to desist from that which caused pain in the life before, and compel him to yield to that which is good. Therefore the panorama passed backward, so that the Ego sees first the effects, and then the underlying causes.
As to what determines the length of the panorama, we remember that it was the collapse of the vital body which forced the higher vehicles to withdraw, so after death, when the vital body collapses, the Ego has to withdraw, and thus the panorama comes to an end. The duration of the panaroma depends, therefore, upon the time the person could remain awake only a few hours, others can endure for a few days, depending on the strength of their vital body.
When the Ego has left the vital body, the latter gravitates back to the dense body, remaining hovering above the grave, decaying as the dense body does, and it is indeed a noisome sight to the clairvoyant to pass through a cemetary and behold all those vital bodies whose state of decay clearly indicates the state of decomposition of the remains in the grave. If there were more clairvoyants, incineration would soon be adopted as a measure of protection to our feelings, if not for sanitary reasons.
Our latest investigations indicate that where a man spiritualizes his vehicles, the constitution of the vital body, made of ether, is most materially changed. In the ordinary man there is always a preponderance of the two lower ethers--the chemical and life ethers--which have to do with the upbuilding and propagation of the physical body, and a minimum of light and reflecting ethers, which are concerned with sense perception and the higher spiritual qualities. After death the body of the ordinary man is laid in the grave and the vital body hovers about two feet above the mound, gradually disintegrating. The dense body disintegrates simultaneously. However, when we say it decays, we really mean that it becomes much more alive than it was while man inhabited it, for each little molecule is now taken charge of by a separate, individual life. It begins to associate with its neighbors; the unity of an individual life is superseded by a community of many lives.
Therefore we speak of such decaying corpses as alive with worms. The denser and the more gross this vehicle is, the longer time it will require for disintegration, because the vital body hovering above the tenacious magnetic hold that keeps the dense molecules in check. The two higher ethers vibrate at a much more rapid rate than the lower, and where a man by spiritual thoughts has massed around him a great volume of this ether, which then composes his vital body, the vibrations of the dense body also become more intense. Consequently, when the man leaves his body at death there is little or nothing of the vital body left behind to keep the components of the physical body in check. The disintegration is therefore very rapid. This we cannot easily prove because very few people are sufficiently spiritual to make the difference noticeable, but you will recall that in the Bible it is said of certain characters that they were translated. Also, the the body of Moses was so vibrant that it shone, and this body was not found, etc.
These were cases where the body was rapidly returned to the elements, and when the Christ's body was laid in the grave its disintegration took place almost instantaneously.
However, so long as the archetype of the physical body persists, it endeavors to draw to itself physical materials which it then shapes according to the form of the vital body. Thus it is difficult for the Invisible Helper who passes out of his body to refrain from materializing. The moment his will to keep away from himself all physical impediments is relaxed, materials from the surrounding atmosphere attach themselves to him as iron filings are drawn to a magnet, and he becomes visible and tangible to whatever extent he desires. Thus he is enabled to do actual physical work wherever it is necessary, no matter if he be thousands of miles away from his body. Therefore the Spirits who pass away from this earth life are unable to materialize save through a medium where they extract her living vital body, drape themselves therewith and thus attract the physical substances necessary to make themselves visible to the sitters.
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 immediately following death is this: During that time the panorama of the past life is being etched upon the desire body which will be 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, an as that is the storehouse of the pictures of 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 one-half days are past. Unless help were given, the passing 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.
A phenomenon similar to the panorama of life usually takes place when a person is drowning. People who have been resuscitated speak of having seen their whole life in a flash. That is because under such conditions the vital body also leaves the dense body. Of course there is no rupture of the silver cord, or life could not be restored. Unconsciousness following quickly in drowning, while in the usual post-mortem review the consciousness continues until the vital body collapses in the same manner that it does when we go to sleep. Then consciousness ceases for a while and the panorama is terminated. Therefore also the time occupied by the panorama varies with different persons, according to whether the vital body was strong and healthy, or had become thin and emaciated by protracted illness. The longer the time spent in review, and the more quiet and peaceful the surroundings, the deeper will be the etching which is made in the desire body. As already said, that has been a most important and far-reaching effect, for then the sufferings which the Spirit will realize in Purgatory on account of bad habits and misdeeds will be much more keen that if there is only a slight impression, and in future life the still small voice of conscience will warn so much more insistently against mistakes which caused sufferings in the past.
Never since the world was has there been such universal sorrow as there is at the present time (1914). But besides this, we must not forget we are now laying up for ourselves a great deal of future suffering; for, as has been explained in the Rosicrucian literature, it is impossible for these people who are now so ruthlessly and suddenly torn away from their bodies to review their past life, and thus the etching of the life panorama does not take place as it should. Therefore these Egos will not reap the fruit of their present existence as they should in Purgatory and the First Heaven. They will come back minus this experience at some future time; and it will be necessary, in order that they may regain what they have lost, to let then die in childhood so that they may have the new desire body and vital body imprinted with the essence of their present life.
We saw that when the Ego had finished its day in the school of life the centrifugal force at Repulsion caused it to throw off its dense vehicle at death, then the vital body, which is the next coarsest. Next in Purgatory the coarsest desire stuff accumulated by the Ego as embodiment for its lowest desires was purged by this centrifugal force. In the higher realms only the force of Attraction holds sway and keeps the good by centripetal action, which tends to draw everything from the periphery to the center.
In the Second Heaven as much of the vital body as the Life Spirit had worked upon, transformed, spiritualized, and thus saved from the decay to which the rest of the vital body is subject, will be amalgamated with the Life Spirit to insure a better vital body and temperament in the succeeding lives.
When we left the Ego in its pilgrimage through the invisible worlds, we had reached the point where it entered the Third Heaven after discarding the dense body at death, the vital body shortly afterwards, the desire body upon leaving Purgatory and the First Heaven, and finally before leaving the Second Heaven it also left the sheath of mind behind, and then entered the third Heaven absolutely free of encumbrance. All the discarded vehicles decay, only the Spirit persists, laving for a while in the great spiritual reservoir of force which we call the Third Heaven, in order to fortify itself for the next rebirth into Earth-life.
The vital body is composed of four ethers. The two lower ethers are particular avenues of growth and propagation. In the vital body of a person whose chief concern is with the physical life, who lives as it were, entirely for the sensual enjoyment, these two ethers predominate, whereas in a person who is rather indifferent to the material enjoyment of life, but who seeks to advance spiritually, the two higher ethers form the bulk of the vital body. They are then what Paul calls the soma psuchicon, or soul body, which remains with man during his experiences in Purgatory and the First Heaven where the essence of the life lived is extracted. This extract is the soul, whose two chief qualities are conscience and virtue. The feeling of conscience is the fruit of mistakes in past earth lives, which will in future guide the Spirit aright and teach it how to avoid similar missteps. Virtue is the essence of all that was good in former lives, and acts as an encouragement to keep the Spirit ardently striving upon the path of aspiration. In the Third Heaven this amalgamates thoroughly with the Spirit and becomes a part thereof. Thus in the course of his lives man becomes more soulful, and the soul qualities of conscience and virtue become more strongly operative as guiding principles of conduct.
But there are some people who are of such an evil nature that they enjoy life spent in vice and degenerate practices, a brutal life, and who delight in giving pain. Sometimes they even cultivate the occult arts for evil purposes so that they may have a greater power over their victims. Then their fiendish, immoral practices result in hardening their vital body.
In such extreme cases where the animal nature has been paramount, where there has been no soul expression in the preceding earth life, the division in the vital body spoken of before cannot take place at death, for there is no dividing line. In such a case, if the vital body should gravitate back to the dense body and there gradually disintegrate, the effect of a very evil life would not be so far-reaching, but unfortunately there is in such cases an interlocking grip of the vital and desire bodies which prevents separation. We have seen that where a man lives mostly in the higher nature, his spiritual vehicles are nourished to the detriment of the lower. Conversely, where his consciousness us centered in the lower vehicles, he strengthens them immeasurably. It should be understood that the life of the desire body is not terminated by the departure of the Spirit; it has a residual life and consciousness. The vital body is also able to sense things in a slight measure for a few days after death in ordinary cases (hence the suffering causes by embalming, post-mortem examinations, etc., immediately after death), but where a low life has hardened and endued it with great strength it has a tenacious hold on life and an ability to feed on odors and liquors. Sometimes, as a parasite, it even vampirizes people with whom it comes in contact.
Such beings are therefore one of the greatest menaces to society imaginable. They have sent countless victims to prison, broken up homes, and causes an unbelievable amount of unhappiness. They always leave their victims to prison, broken up homes, and causes an unbelievable amount of unhappiness. They always leave their victims when the latter have come into the clutches of the law. They gloat over their victims' sorrow and distress, this being a part of their fiendish scheme. There are other classes which delight in posing as "angels" in spiritualistic seances. They also find victims there and teach them immoral practices. The so-called "Poltergeist" which enjoys breaking dishes, upsetting tables, knocking hats over the heads of the delighted audience, and similar horseplay, is also in this class. The strength and density of the vital body of such beings make it easier for them to give physical manifestations than for those who have passed beyond into the Desire World, in fact, the vital bodies of this class of Spirits are so dense that they are nearly physical, and it has been a mystery to the writer that some of the people who are taken in by such entities cannot see them. Were they once discovered, one look at their evil, sneering faces would very soon dispel the delusion that they are angels.
Wherever a person dies who has fostered malice and hatred in his heart, these interlock the desire and vital bodies and make him a more serious menace to the community than anyone can imagine who has not investigated this subject.
Earthbound Spirits, such as previously mentioned, gravitate to the lower regions of the Desire World which interpenetrate the ether, and are in constant and close touch with those people on earth most favorably situated for aiding them in their evil designs. They usually stay in this earthbound condition for fifty, sixty, or seventy-five years, but extreme cases have been found in which such people so remain for centuries. So far as the writer has been able to discover up to the present time, there seems to be no limit to what they may do or how soon they will let go. But all the while they are piling up for themselves an awful load of sin, nor can they escape suffering therefore, for the vital body reflects and etches deeply into the desire body a record of their misdeeds, and when at last they do let go and enter the purgatorial existence, they meet the retribution which they well deserve. This suffering is naturally lengthy in proportion to the time they have continued their nefarious practices after the death of the dense body--another proof that "Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small."
The red cloud of hate is lifting, the black veil of despair is gone, there are no volcanic outbursts of passion in either the living or the dead, but so far as the writer is able to read the signs of the times in the aura of the nations, there is a settled purpose to play the game to the end. Even in homes bereaved of many members, this seems to hold good. There is an intense longing for the friends beyond, but no hatred for the earthly foe. This longing is shared by the friends in the unseen and many are piercing the veil, for the intensity of their longing is awakening in the "dead" the power to manifest by attracting a quantity of ether and gas which often is taken from the vital body of a "sensitive" friend, as materializing Spirits use the vital body of an entranced medium. Thus the eyes blinded by tears are often opened by a yearning heart so that loved ones now in the spirit world are met again face to face, heart to heart. This is Nature's method of cultivating the sixth sense which will eventually enable all to know that man is an immortal Spirit and continuity of life a fact in nature.
At every death the tears that are shed serve to dissolve the veil that hides, the invisible world from our longing gaze. The deep-felt yearning and the sorrow at the parting of loved and loving ones on both sides of the veil are tearing this apart, and at some not far distant day the accumulated effect of all this will reveal the fact that there is no death, but that those who have passed beyond are as much alive as we. The potency of these tears, this sorrow, this yearning is not equal in all cases, however, and the effects differ widely according to whether the vital body has been awakened in any given person by acts of unselfishness and service according to the occult maxim that all development along spiritual lines begins with the vital body. This is the basis, and no superstructure can be built until the foundation has been laid.
When an Ego is on its way to rebirth the seed atom of the vital body gathers new material. The polarity of this material determines its sex during the coming life.
The seed atom of the vital body is next aroused into activity, but here the process of formation is not so simple as in the case of the mind and the desire body, for it must be remembered that those vehicles were comparatively unorganized, while the vital body and the dense body are more organized and very complicated. The material, of a given quantity and quality, is attracted in the same manner and under the operation of the same law as in the case of the higher bodies, but the building of the new body and the placement in the proper environment is done by four great Beings of immeasurable wisdom, which are the Recording Angels, the "Lords of Destiny." They impress the reflecting ether of the vital in such a way that the pictures of the coming life are reflected in it. It (the vital body) is built by the inhabitants of the heaven world and the elemental spirits in such a manner as to form a particular type of brain. But mark this, the returning Ego itself incorporates therein the quintessence of its former vital bodies vital bodies and in addition to this also does a little original work. This is done that in the coming life there may be some room for original and individual expression, not predetermined by past action.
The vital body, having been molded by the Lords of Destiny, will give form to the dense body, organ for organ. This matrix or mold is then placed in the womb of the future mother. The seed atom for the dense body is in the triangular head of one of the spermatozoa in the semen of the father. This alone makes fertilization possible and here is the explanation of the fact that so many times sex-unions are unfruitful. The chemical constituents of the seminal fluid and the ova are the same at all times and were these the only requirements, the explanation of the phenomenon of unfertility, if sought in the material, visible world alone, would not be found. It becomes plain, however, when we understand that as the molecules of water freeze only along the lines of force in the water and manifest as ice crystals instead of freezing into a homogeneous mass, as would be the case if there can be no dense body built until there is a vital body into which to build the material,; also there must be a seed atom for the dense body, to act as gauge of the quality and quantity of the matter which is to be built into that dense body. Although at the present stage of development there is never full harmony in the materials of the body, because that would be a perfect body, yet the discord must not be so great as to be disruptive of the organism.
When the impregnation of the ovum has taken place, the desire body of the mother works upon it for a period of from eighteen to twenty-one days, the Ego remaining outside in its desire body and mind sheath, yet always in close touch with the mother. Upon the expiration of that time the Ego enters the mother's body. The bell-shaped vehicles draw themselves down over the head of the vital body and the bell closes at the bottom. From this time the Ego broods over its coming instrument until the birth of the child and the new earth life of the returning Ego commences.
It is stated in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception that the vital body of a woman is positive and the vital body of a man is negative. When the agents of the Recording Angles are assisting an Ego to come to birth, the matter of sex has already been determined, either by the law of alternation or a modification of that law by specific circumstances in the individual life of the Spirit, and the Ego is then helped to draw to itself as sufficient amount of the different kinds of ether as required by its development. These materials are all of certain polarity, either positive or negative. When a matrix made solely from positive etheric atoms is placed in the womb of the prospective mother, these atoms will unerringly drawn to themselves negative physical atoms, and the resultant child body becomes female in consequence. If, on the other hand, the matrix which is placed in the mother's womb is composed of negative etheric atoms, it will attract the positive dense atoms with the result that the male sex organ is most developed and the sex therefore masculine. Life, like electricity, requires both positive and negative expression, otherwise it cannot manifest.
When the Ego is on its way to rebirth through the Region of Concrete Thought, the Desire World, and the Etheric Region, it gathers a certain amount of material from each. The quality of this material is determined by the seed atom, on the principle that like attracts like. The quantity depends upon the amount of matter required by the archetype built by ourselves in the Second Heaven. From the quantity of prismatic ether atoms that are appropriated by a certain Spirit, the Recording Angels and their agents build an etheric form which is then placed in the mother's womb and gradually clothed with physical matter which then forms the visible body of the new-born child.
The silver cord which has grown from the seed atom of the desire body (located in the heart) since conception, is welded to the part that has sprouted from the central vortex of the desire body, (located in the liver), and when the silver cord is tied by the seed atom of the vital body, (located in the solar plexus), the Spirit dies to life in the supersensible world, and quickens the body it is to use in its coming Earth life.
A child's vital body at birth is unorganized. Up until the age of seven, when the individual vital body is born, it draws from the macrocosmic vital body.
In the period immediately following birth the different vehicles interpenetrate one another, as, in our previous illustration, the sand penetrates the sponge and the water both sand and sponge. But, though they are all present, as in adult life, they are merely present. None of their positive faculties are active. The vital body cannot use the forces which operate along the positive pole of ethers. Assimilation, which works along the positive pole of the chemical ether, is very dainty during childhood and what there is of it is due to the macrocosmic vital body, the ethers of which act as a womb for the child's vital body until the seventh year, gradually ripening it during that period. The propagative faculty, which works along the positive pole of the life ether, is also latent. The heating of the body--which is carried on along the positive pole of the light ether--and the circulation of the blood are due to the macrocosmic vital body, the ethers acting on the child and slowly developing it to the point where it can control these functions itself. The forces working along the negative pole of ethers are so much the more active. The excretion of solids, carried on along the negative pole of the chemical ether (corresponding to the solid subdivision of the Chemical Region), is too unrestrained, as is also the excretion of fluid, which is carried on along the negative pole of the life ether (corresponding to the second or fluid subdivision of the Chemical Region). The passive sense perception, which is due to the negative forces of the light ether, is also exceedingly prominent. The child is very impressionable and it is "all eyes and ears."
Although the vital body of an infant is still comparatively unorganized at the time of birth, the ether which is to be used for its completion is within the aura, ready to be assimilated, and if anyone in its surroundings happens to be weak and anemic, and unconscious vampire, he or she draws from the unassimilated store of ether of the infant much more easily than from that of an adult whole vital body is fully organized. Naturally the weak person draws more easily ether that is negatively polarized, as in the body of a boy baby, than the positive ether of the girl baby. Massage of the spleen and stimulation of the splanchic nerves, carefully and conservatively practiced will aid the etheric counterpart of that organ in its activity of specializing the solar energy upon which the vital processes are as dependent as the lungs are on air.
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 then 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.
Only a small portion of the ether appropriated by a certain Ego is thus used, and the remainder of the child's vital body, or rather the material from which that vehicle will eventually be made, is thus outside the dense body. For that reason the vital body of a child protrudes much farther beyond the periphery of the dense body than does that of the adult. During the period of growth this store of ether atoms is drawn upon to vitalize the accretions within the body until, at the time when the adult age is reached, the vital body protrudes only from one to one and a half inches beyond the periphery of the dense body.
From the first to the seventh year the vital body grows and slowly matures within the womb of the macrocosmic vital body and because of the greater wisdom of this vehicle of the macrocosm, the child's body is more rounded and well-built in later life.
While the macrocosmic vital body guides the growth of the child's body it is guarded from the dangers which later threaten it when the unwise individual vital body takes unchecked charge. This happens in the seventh year, when the period of excessive, dangerous growth begins, and continues through the next seven years. During this time the macrocosmic desire body performs the function of a womb for the individual desire body.
Were the vital body to have continual and unrestrained sway in the human kingdom, as it has in the plant, man would grow to an enormous size. There was a time in the far distant past when man was constituted like a plant, having only a dense body and a vital body. The traditions of mythology and folk lore all over the world, concerning giants in olden times are absolutely true, because then men grew as tall as trees, and for the same reason.
The vital body of the plant builds leaf after leaf, carrying the stem higher and higher. Were it not for the macrocosmic desire body it would keep in in that way indefinitely, but the macrocosmic desire body stops in at a certain point and checks further growth. The force that is not needed for further growth is then available for other purposes and is used to build the flower and the seed. In like manner the human vital body, when the dense body comes under its sway, after the seventh year, makes the latter grow very rapidly, but about the fourteenth year the individual desire body is born from the womb of the macrocosmic desire body and is then free to work on its dense body. The excessive growth is then checked and the force theretofore used for that purpose becomes available for propagation, that the human plant may flower and bring forth. Therefore the birth of the personal desire body marks the period of puberty. From the period that attraction toward the opposite sex is felt, being especially active and unrestrained in the third septenary period of life--from the fourteenth to the twenty-first year, because the restraining mind is still unborn.
It will be remembered that assimilation and growth depend upon the forces working along the positive pole of the vital body's chemical ether. This is set free at the seventh year, together with the balance of the vital body. Only the chemical ether is fully ripe at that time; the other parts need more ripening. At the fourteenth year the life ether of the vital body, which has to do with propagation, is fully ripe. In the period from seven to fourteen years of age the excessive assimilation has stored up an amount of force which goes to the sex organs and is ready at the time the desire body is set free.
By the seventh year the vital body of the child has reached a perfection sufficient to allow it to receive impacts from the outside world. It sheds its protective covering of ether, and commences its free life. And now the time begins in which the educator may work on the vital body and help it is in the formation of memory, conscience, good habits, and a harmonious temperament. Authority and discipleship are the watchwords of this epoch, when the child is to learn the meaning of things. In the first epoch it learns that things are, but must not be bothered about their meaning, except what it picks up of its own accord, but in the second epoch from seven to fourteen years, it is essential that the child should learn the meaning of them, but should learn to take things on the autority of parents and teachers, memorizing their explanations, rather than reasoning for itself, for reason belongs to a later development, and though he may do so of his own accord, with profit, it is harmful at this period to force him to think.
It must not be imagined, however, that when the little body of a child has been born, the process of birth is completed. The dense physical body has had the longest evolution, and as a shoemaker who has worked at his trade for a number of years is more expert than an apprentice and can make better shoes, and quicker, so also the Spirit which has built many physical bodies produces them quickly, but the vital body is a later acquisition of the human being. Therefore we are not so expert in building that vehicle. Consequently it takes longer to construct that from the materials not used up in making the lining of the archetype, and the vital body is not born until the seventh year.
When the vital body is born at the age of seven a period of growth begins and a new motto, or relation rather, is established between parent and child. This may be expressed in the two words authority and discipleship. In this period the child is taught certain lessons which it takes upon faith in the authority of its teachers, whether at home or at school, and as memory is a faculty of the vital body it can now memorize what is learned. It is therefore eminently teachable; particularly because it is unbiased by preconceived opinions which prevent most of us from accepting new views. At the end of this second period, from about twelve to fourteen, the vital body has been so far developed that puberty is reached.
Children who die before the seventh year have been born only so far as the dense and vital bodies are concerned and are not responsible to the Law of Consequence. Even up to twelve or fourteen years the desire body is in process of gestation, as will be more fully explained in the next lecture, and as that which has not been quickened cannot die, the dense and vital bodies alone go to decay when a child dies. It retains its desire body and mind to the next birth. Therefore it does not go around the whole path which the Ego usually traverses in a life cycle, but only ascends to the First Heaven to learn needed lessons, and after a wait of from one to twenty years it is reborn, often in the same family as a younger child.
Animals and plants have a vital body, too. Although this vehicle is lacking in the mineral, the disintegration of hard rock, etc., affects the vital body of the Earth.
When we consider plant, animal, and man in relation to the Etheric Region we note that each has a separate vital body in addition to being penetrated by the planetary ether which forms the Etheric Region. There is a difference, however, between the vital bodies of the plants and the vital bodies of animal and man. In the vital body of the plant only the chemical and the life ethers are fully active. Hence the plant can grow by the action of the chemical ether and propagate its species through the activity of the life ether of the separate vital body which it possesses. The light ether is present, but is partially latent or dormant and the reflecting ether is lacking. Therefore it is evident that the faculties of sense-perception and memory, which are the qualities of these ethers, cannot be expressed by the plant kingdom.
Turning our attention to the vital body of the animal we find that in it the chemical, life, and light ethers are dynamically active. Hence the animal has the faculties of assimulation and growth, caused by activities of the chemical ether and the faculty of propagation by means of the life ether--these being the same as in plants. But in addition, consequent upon the action of the third or light ether, it has the faculties of generating internal heat and of sense-perception. The fourth ether, however, is inactive in the animal, hence it has no thought nor memory. That which appears as such will be shown later to be of a different nature.
The separate Ego is definitely segregated within the Universal Spirit in the Region of Abstract Thought. It shows that only man possesses the complete chain of vehicles correlating him to all divisions of the three worlds. The animal lacks one link of the chain--the mind; the plant lacks two links--the mind and the desire body; and the mineral lacks three links in the chain of vehicles necessary to function in a self-conscious manner in the Physical World--the mind, the desire, and the vital bodies.
When an animal is to be born, the Group Spirit, helped by nature spirits and Angels, fashion the vital body of the coming animal, which is then deposited in the womb of the mother and the seed atoms are deposited in the semen of the male; then gestation takes place and an animal is born. Without the presence of the seed atom and the matrix vital body no dense animal body can be formed. Similar conditions govern fecundation in the case of an egg, or a plant seed. They are like the female ova--they are so many opportunities. If an egg is put into an incubator or under a hen, the Group Spirit sends forth the requisite life, accepting the opportunity for embodiment. If a seed is dropped in the soil, that also is fertilized when the proper conditions have been made for its development, but not before. When an egg is crushed, cooked, or in other ways disqualified for its primal designation, or where a seed is stored for years perhaps, there is no life, and consequently we do no wrong when we use these products for food. It is even beneficial to plants when the ripe fruits are removed, because then they cease to take sap from the tree unnecessarily.
The animal has no "individual" Spirit yet, but has a so-called Group Spirit, which informs all the members of a species. The separate animals have three bodies--a dense, a vital, and a desire body--but lack one link in the chain: mind. Hence animals do not ordinarily think, but as we "Induce" electricity in a wire by bringing it close to another which is charged, so in a similar way by contact with man a semblance of thought has been "induced" in the higher domestic animals, such as the dog, horse, and elephant. The other animals obey the prompting (which we call instinct) of the animal Group Spirit. They do not see objects in such clear outlines as does man; in the lower species in the animal consciousness resolves itself more and more into an internal "picture-consciousness," resembling man's dream state, except that their pictures are not confused, but convey perfectly to the animal the promptings of Group Spirit.
The animal Spirit has in its descent reached only the Desire World. It has not yet evolved to the point where it can "enter" a dense body. Therefore the animal has no individualized indwelling Spirit, but a Group Spirit, which directs it from without. The animal has the dense body, the vital body, and the desire body, but the Group Spirit which directs it is outside. The vital body and the desire body of an animal are not entirely within the dense body, especially where the head is concerned. For instance, the etheric head of a horse projects far beyond and above the dense physical head. When, as in rare cases it happens, the etheric head of a horse draws into the head of the dense body, that horse can learn to read, count, and work examples in elementary arithmetic. To this peculiarity is also due the fact that horses, dogs, cats, and other domestic animals sense the Desire World, though not always realizing the difference between it and the Physical World. A horse will shy at the sight of a figure invisible to the driver; a cat will go through the motions of rubbing itself against invisible legs. The cats sees the ghost, however, without realizing that it has no dense legs available for frictional purposes. The dog, wiser than cat or horse, will often sense that there is something he does not understand about the appearance of a dead master whose hands it cannot lick. It will howl mournfully and slink into a corner with its tails between its legs.
Dr. McDougall also tried his scales in weighing dying animals. No diminution was found here, though one of the animals was a large St. Bernard dog. That was taken to indicate that animals have no souls. A little later, however, Professor La V. Twining, head of the Science Department of the Los Angeles Polytechnic School, experimented with mice and kittens, which he enclosed in hermetically sealed glass flasks. His scales were the most sensitive procurable and were enclosed in a glass case from which all moisture had been removed. It was found that all the animals observed lost weight at death. A good sized mouse, weighing 12.886 grams, suddenly lost 3.1 milligrams at death.
A kitten used in another experiment lost one hundred milligrams while dying and at its last gasp it suddenly lost an additional sixty milligrams. After that it lost weight slowly, due to evaporation.
Thus the teaching of occult science in regard to the possession of vital bodies by animals was also vindicated when sufficiently fine scales were used, and the case where the rather insensitive scales did not show diminution in the weight of the St. Bernard dog shows that the vital bodies of animals are proportionately lighter than in man.
The Angels are particularly active in the vital bodies of the plants, for the stream of life ensouling that kingdom started its evolution in the Moon Period, when the Angels were human, and they worked with the plants as we are now working with our minerals. There is therefore a particular affinity between Angels and plant Group Spirit. Thus we can account for the enormous assimilation, growth, and fecundity of the plants. Man also grew to an enormous size in the second or Hyperborean Epoch, where the Angeles had principal charge. So does the child in its second septenary epoch of life, because then the Angels have full sway, and at the end of that epoch, at fourteen, the child has reached puberty and is able to reproduce its kind; also due to the work of the Angels.
They were the molds which drew to themselves the dense material forming the plant-bodies of the present day and also of the plant-forms of the past, which are embedded in the geological strata of our Earth globe.
These ethereal plant forms were aided in their formation when the heat came from the outside, after the separation of the Earth from the Sun and Moon. That heat gave them the vital force to draw to themselves the denser substance.
The vital body is the most important principle of the plant, it is that which makes the plant grow stem and long in alternating succession, so that the plant grows taller and taller; but there is no variety, the plant goes on repeating all the time. Stem, leaf, and branch--ever the same.
The plants have only a dense body and a vital body; hence they can neither feel nor think. They lack desire body and mind, and therefore a greater gap exists between the plant and its Group Spirit than between the animal and its Group Spirit; hence the consciousness of the plants is correspondingly dimmer, resembling our state of dreamless sleep.
The mineral has only a dense body. It lacks three links to connect it with its Group Spirit. It therefore is inert and its unconscious resembles that of the dense human body in the "trance" state when the human spirit, the Ego, has passed correspondingly beyond it.
In conclusion, let us note that the three worlds in which we live are not separated by space. They are all about us, as light and color, imbedded in the physical matter; as lines of cleavage in the mineral. If we let a dish of water freeze, and examine it under a microscope, we shall see the ice crystals divided off from one another by lines. These were present though unseen in the water as lines of force, invisible until the proper condition brought them out. So one world lies imbedded in the next above, unseen to us until we provide the proper conditions; but when we have fitted ourselves, Nature, who is ever ready to unfold to us her wonders, expresses ardent joy over every one who has a helper in evolution thus attains to citizenship in the invisible realms.
As we saw in Lecture No. 3, the plants have a dense and a vital body, which enables them to do this work; their consciousness we also saw, was as a deep, dreamless sleep. Thus it is easy for the Ego to overpower the vegetable cells and keep then in subjection for a long time, hence the great sustaining power of the vegetables.
To function in any world, and express the qualities peculiar to it, we must first possess a vehicle made of its material. In order to function in the dense Physical World, it is necessary to have a dense body, adapted to our environment. Otherwise we should be ghosts, as they are commonly called, and be invisible to most physical beings. So we must have a vital body before we can express life, grow, or externalize the other qualities peculiar to the Etheric Region.
When we examine the four kingdoms in relation to the Etheric Region, we find that the mineral does not possess a separate vital body, and at once we see the reason why it cannot grow, propagate, or show sentient life.
As an hypothesis necessary to account for other known facts, material science holds that in the densest solid, as in the rarest and most attenuated gas, no two atoms touch each other; that there is an envelope of ether around each atom; that the atoms in the universe float in an ocean of ether.
As sensation in animals and men is due to their separate vital bodies, so the feeling of the Earth is particularly active in this sixth stratum, which corresponds to the World of Life Spirit. To understand the pleasure felt when mining operations are disintegrating the hard rock, and the pain when deposits gather, we must remember that the Earth is the dense body of a Great Spirit, and to furnish us with an environment in which we could live and gather experience, it had to crystallize this body into its present solid condition.
The vital body of the plant is composed only of the two densest ethers--the chemical ether and the life ether--which enable the plant to grow and propagate, but it lacks the two higher ethers--the light ether and reflecting ether. Hence it has no sensation or memory of what passes around it. Therefore, amputation of a limb will not be felt by the plant, and in the case of the cliff which is blasted, only the chemical ether is present, so that the crystals will have no feelings at all. Still, it would be wrong to infer that there is no feeling in either of these cases, for though the plants and the minerals have no individual means of feeling, they are enveloped and interpenetrated by the ethers and the Desire World of the planet, and the Planetary Spirit feels everything, on the same principle that our finer, having no individual desire body, cannot feel, but we, the indwelling Spirits inhabiting the body, feel any hurt done to the finger.
| Next | Table of Contents | Home |