The Astral Plane - The Dark Plane




Last revised: 16 Sept. 2010


The Dark Plane: The First and Lowest Astral Subplane

The Existence of “Hell”
”The Devil”
The Border of the Dark Plane
Into the Dark Plane
Sin and Punishment
God Can Use Evil Men to Work Good
Evil has no Power When Confronted by Good
The Experience of Time on the Dark Plane
The Notion of Eternal Damnation to Hell
Still Progress can be Slow
Dark-Plane Inhabitants are Obliged to Relive Their Crimes
Dark-Plane Inhabitants Must Make Restitution
Christ’s Death Does Not Remove the Effects of Sin

The Inhabitants of the Dark Plane

The Transition of Those Destined for the Dark Plane
Residents of the Dark Plane
Their Clothing
The Folly of Capital Punishment
The Black Magician
”The Adversaries”
The Possibility of Dark Angels
Spirit Body Malformed Because of Evil

Rescue Work Done on the Dark Plane

General Discussions of Dark-Plane Rescue Work
All Sincere Cries are Heard
The Process of Voluntary Descent from the Summerlands to the Lower Planes
Some Helpers on the Dark Plane
John Heslop from the “Christ Sphere” Works on the Dark Plane
Philip and Alice Gilbert Work among Nazis
The Journey Upward
The Suggestion that Some Spirits May Eventually Disintegrate or are ‘Liquidated’
Denials that Some Spirits Disintegrate or are ‘Liquidated’

Case Histories from the Lower Planes

The Case of a Man with a Lifetime of Anger in a “Gloomy Region”
The Case of an Earthbound Drunkarkd
The Case of a Selfish Suicide
Murderers and Their Victims
The Case of an Evil Official, Encountered on the Dark Plane
The Case of a Nazi and His Victim, Rescued and Recovering on the Higher Astral Plane
A Vision of the Future of Some who have Atoned for Their Crimes

The Dark Plane: The First and Lowest Astral Subplane
Ed. Also known as the Winterland, Underworld, Shadow Land, and “Hell”.

The Existence of “Hell”

Briefly, the lower spheres (1) are more or less interwoven with your earth. This includes Borderland, (2) and the first and second spheres, with all their astral planes; (3) also the Grey World, which is the first of those below Borderland on the downward grade. Below the Grey World there are lands of gloom and sadness, till you reach the land of total darkness. (4) (John Heslop, FMABL, 7-8.)

(1) Lower than the Christ Sphere, that is, where Heslop resides.
(2) The Near-Earth Plane.
(3) Probably the Summerlands.
(4) The Stony Plane and finally the Dark Plane.

Many people do not seem to know that over here there are many places where there are very wicked people who have at one time lived on earth. … They have no wish to come under the power of God and spiritual holiness. They are, of course, people who, like everyone else, have freedom of choice and have deliberately chosen evil because they prefer it. (Gordon Burdick to Grace Rosher, TR, 39.)

There is no hell. (1) The hell that you experience is of your own making, for, on our planes, you are conscious of the memories of what you did upon the earth plane. (Donald Macleod in HT, 12.)

(1) In the sense of being a place, rather than a state of mind.

The bad people when they come here believe in just what is nasty and so they get it about them. (Child Elizabeth B. to E.B. Gibbes in Geraldine Cummins, TS, 66-7.)

There is a condition which could be termed the ‘depths of hell.’ People who have deliberately chosen to live debased or cruel lives and have turned their backs on the light of God find themselves in a state similar to groping in a dark and depressing fog. Everyone there is wrapped up in his own cruel thinking. These souls wander around in this lost state until they, of their own volition, make an attempt to turn toward the realm of light. Some may be lost for eons of time. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 58.)

'It doesn't sound much like heaven when you speak of criminals there.'

  "We are not talking of heaven when we speak of criminals. They are in the mental purgatories or spirit-hells the old writers imagined. There is no burning fire and no eternal punishment, but their mental suffering and final atonement are very real." (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 122.)

The malicious, the criminal, the careless, the unbelieving, the cruel, have a long and weary way to go. The old philosophers in their religion called it "hell." That may be a name for it; but, anyway, justice will not be cheated. (Unnamed spirit in LHH, 114.)

Many appear to consider that there is a burning hell somewhere on or beneath the boundary of our heavenly sphere, and can scarcely give up the idea of everlasting punishment. But the only hell is in the thought or soul of the sinner, and he must be cleansed of evil thought, must be taught the first essential quality of heavenly life, which is unselfish service looking away from self, and growing persistent in the effort to help others. (Unnamed spirit in LHH, 124.)

People don’t believe in the hell of fire any more and they have by their recoil forgotten that there is a real hell. (Julia Ames, AD, 110.)

You may shrink from it, but it is not the less true that sometimes the parting finds itself in outer darkness in which it sees and feels nothing but a dread lostness, a desolation which oppresses, and which is described as Hell. And Hell is no fiction. … Hell awaits those who have built it for themselves, as surely as Heaven awaits those who have built it for themselves. … Not a hell that is punitive incidentally. Believe me, the law of the Universe, which is God, is Love and no pain on this side or that is ever inflicted on any one excepting in such a way that out of that pain and sorrow may spring joy and gladness of heart. …

Hell is a great remedial agency. You see here the result of your life’s works, thoughts, deeds. What you have sown, you reap here. And you must not imagine that the law is here less stern than with you. It is not felt to be so stern because it is more easily understood. And the people who find themselves in Hell when they open their eyes in the darkness find the Beneficence and Mercy of God even in their affliction. (Julia Ames, AD, 164-5.)

There are … Hells, though certainly differing from the physical hells and everlasting fiery torments of man’s warped imagination. There are hells of the spirit and the mind, confining states of misery; dark, depressing, and as real as the tortured consciousness of the dweller therein makes them. (Frances Banks, TOL, 97.)

I have visited the ‘lower regions’ though, I assure you, with Conductors who were able to guide and protect us. Believe me it is a terrible region, or regions, of semi-gloom, of unwholesome ‘sticky’ emotions, of utter distortion of all that is beautiful. One’s feelings are wrung by the pitiful sights; compassion flows out for those poor half-alive creatures in their self-darkness. (Frances Banks, TOL, 81.)

The Shadow Lands … seem to be the clearing houses where unlawful and mischievous adjuncts of the old personalities are rejected, discarded and finally resolved. (Frances Banks, TOL, 117.)

The Shadow Lands do exist for those who cannot accept release from the imprisoned self and, in these shadows, the poor entities remain until they themselves wish to find other and lighter abodes. (Frances Banks, TOL, 134.)

Mother Florence, two other Sisters and I made our journey into what you would call the Underworld. Here we prefer the description Shadow Land, for this is indeed a Land of Shadows. … The Sisters never go without the special Messengers who guide them there and conduct them to the various stations on the way.

There are also Hells though certainly differing from the physical hells and everlasting fiery torments of man’s warped imagination. There are … the confining states of misery; dark, repressing and as real as the tortured consciousness of the dweller therein makes them. Yet these hells are not eternal. The man (or woman) in these mental torments need stay there no longer than his desires keep him. He is free to resist the hatreds, cruelties, lusts of his lower nature which he has retained from his earth life and which are keeping him in dark dungeons amid like-minded inhabitants. He can always choose to follow the Light of Love, Forgiveness and Harmony and always there are souls ready to help, to guide, to comfort and to assist.

No soul is left comfortless unless he wishes it.

That sounds like a paradox but then much that we learn here is different from the teachings of man, even good men who are limited in their ideas. Existence on earth is a state of living in a thought world, illusory, and much more restricted and enclosed by the glamorous web of matter. Beyond physical death the thought world is more apparent and certainly far more potent in its effects. Cause and Effect is still the Law on this plane of astral matter, as it is on earth.

The Shadow Land is a very real place indeed; a gloomy murk covers it to which one has to become accustomed; squalid dwellings inhabited by unhappy, tormented beings who jeer and mock and pursue their warped existences. Sometimes these poor souls live in hatred and rebellion, sometimes in apathy and sometimes with fierce denial that there is any other state of existence possible. (Frances Banks, TOL, 97-8.)

The place was shadow indeed. The shadow of death, but not so definitely the death of the body as the death of the mind, if there the mind is inert in the density caused by the wrong use of a God-given faculty, man’s mind and freewill. This density causes the soul to be starved to such a deficiency as to render it ‘cut-off’ and its Light shut away. Surely that is death … or rather the shadow of death?

This, to me, if far more frightening in its implications than the explanation we, on earth, accept for that phrase. Death of the body is merely a change. The ‘shadow’ of death is a gruesome fact, but, thank God, a fact that will never be experienced by those who try to live the good life and to open their minds to Truth. (Frances Banks, TOL, 82.)

There is a hell, so to speak, that is a plane of darkness where you are living alone and forced to be with your negative thoughts of a lifetime. This is a very difficult state for any soul to go to and it is rare one would, unless he were a particularly evil person. Ultimately all souls can get out into the light. (1) (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 36.)

(1) It may be that ultimately not all souls can get out into the light, as described here.

There is a lower plane [than the earth plane] which your church would call hell. It is a place full of negativity. …

[You go there] only if you have a need to experience [it]. Many people who commit suicide will have to go through this hell of their own making in order to become aware that this is not what they are striving for. It is a punishment, but it is not one that God is giving you. It’s one which you have made for yourself, and it teaches the soul that it does not have the right to take its own life, that it cannot kill, it cannot hurt other people. All of you, usually at one time or another, have experienced this plane. Children who have nightmares are going into this realm. Alcoholics going through DTs are experiencing this level. The child or the adult who takes drugs, who dies taking LSD, will also see this same place. It is a plane of total darkness, great fears, which you have built within yourself. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 10.)

In the case of the very “lowest” astral, the “frequency” is less and not more than the earth frequency; it is a good thing that comparatively few people gravitate there [after death]. Most folk are round about the earth. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 31.)

We put before you no picture of a fathomless hell. (Spirit leader “Imperator” in Moses, MSTTT, n.p.)

We denounce such views of God as are contained in the fable of a material hell. (Spirit leader "Imperator" in Moses, ST, 74.)

We know of no hell save that within the soul: a hell which is fed by the flame of unpurified and untamed lust and passion, which is kept alive by remorse and agony of sorrow: which is fraught with the pangs that spring unbidden from the results of past misdeeds; and from which the only escape lies in retracing the steps and in cultivating the qualities which shall bear fruit in love and knowledge of God. (Spirit leader named “Imperator” in ST, 66.)

Blame the ginshops, and the madhouses, and the prisons, and the encouraged lusts and fiendish selfishness of man. This is it which damns legions of spirits—not, as ye fancy, in a sea of material fire, but in the flames of perpetuated lust, condemned to burn itself out in hopeless longing till the purged soul rises through the fire and surmounts its dead passions. (Spirit leader "Imperator" in Moses, ST, 79.)

“The Devil”

There is no such being as the Devil or Satan or whatever name you give to him. … Satan or the Devil is an invention of man. (Thavis, TIH, 86-7.)

[Of] Chiefs [there are] many who govern; but not such a Devil as theologians have feigned. Spirits, good and bad alike, are subject to the rule of commanding Intelligences. (Spirit leader named “Imperator” in Moses, ST, 27.)

Cease to be perplexed by thoughts of an imagined Devil. For the honest, pure and truthful soul there is no Devil or Prince of Evil such as theology has feigned. Evil comes not nigh him; the adversaries flee from his presence, and the powers of evil are powerless before him. He is guarded around by angel guards, ministered to by bright spirits, who watch over him and direct his footsteps. For him there waits a career of progressive increase in knowledge, and in all that elevates and ennobles the intelligence. He need fear no Devil, unless he creates one for himself. His affinity for good draws around him influences for good. He is fenced around by guardians; nor can he, save by voluntary surrender, fall a final victim to the foe.

His is no exemption from temptation, from the snares of the destroyer, or from the atmosphere which during his probation time he must breathe. The clouds of sorrow and anguish of soul may gather round him, and his spirit may be saddened with the burden of sin—weighed down with consciousness of surrounding misery and guilt, but no fabled Devil can gain dominion over him, or prevail to drag down his soul to hell. (Spirit leader "Imperator" in Moses, ST, 78.)

The Border of the Dark Plane

The light steadily diminishes until we are in a grey land, and then comes the darkness – deep, black, impenetrable darkness; impenetrable, that is, to those who are spiritually blind. Visitors from a higher realm see in this darkness without themselves being seen by the inhabitants, unless it becomes vitally necessary to indicate their presence. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 62.)

The light rapidly dwindled, dwellings were fewer and fewer, and there was not a soul to be seen anywhere. Great tracts of granite-like rocks stretched out before us, cold and forbidding, and the ‘road’ we followed was rough and precipitous. By now, darkness had enshrouded us, but we could still see all our surroundings perfectly clearly. It is rather a strange experience this, of being able to see in the dark, and when one first undergoes it there seems to be an air of unreality about it. But, indeed, it is real enough. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 134.)

We had only been on the threshold of the lower spheres, but we had gone far enough to gather more than an inkling of what lay beyond. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 60.)

I use the terms which use has consecrated. For the arbitrary division, Heaven and Hell. Although corresponding to the truth in its crude essence, [it] is very far from representing things as they are. (Julia Ames, AD, 167.)

Heaven shades off into Hell, Hell shades off into Heaven. Hell shades off to heaven by a million imperceptible gradations. Between the two there is no great gulf fixed…. For the Borderland which divides the two is crossed by innumerable paths, along which the dwellers in Heaven are perpetually leading those who were spirits in prison, to whom those of us who are in the light of the Love of God are preaching. Preaching in this sense, that of loving and making them believe in love and causing them to love. As I wrote, the joy of Heaven is emptying Hell and I never wrote a truer word. The task is not an easy one, but what infinite joy there is when the darkened eye is opened and a soul begins to live! (Julia Ames, AD, 167-8.)

Into the Dark Plane

I have not been far into those dark regions, but I have been a little way; and the misery I saw was quite enough to suffice for some time to come. When I have progressed in my present work and have for some time helped those poor souls from the vantage point of this house, I may be permitted, and probably shall be, to go farther among them. But that is not yet. (G. Vale Owen’s mother in LBV1, 57.)

Those who have deeply sinned, when the come here, pass through periods of mental agony and remorse, indescribably dreadful, and are only too thankful to work out their salvation in any way appointed for them. It is true, alas! That those who have lived evil lives, when they return to earth, try to gratify their animal instincts through human organisms and tempt their victims to sin.

But no man who is attuned to righteousness can be hurt by these spirits of darkness. No one need fear them; they can only hurt those whom they find to be congenial spirits. Lovers of evil they were on earth and, until roused to something better, they continue to be so when they pass to this side. (Therold, FMABL, 96.)

The slums, as I call them, are inhabited by the foulest type of humanity. They are not forced into this way of life by adverse conditions, as is often the case on earth. No, it is something they have earned, or should I say, desired. Many sanctimonious old people, who apparently led virtuous live son earth, are now satisfying their secret passions and perversions, in the company of kindred souls.

The lowest pits of degradation are much worse than anything you have on earth in the practice of vice, malice and cruelty. But, throughout them, the law of justice reigns. There are no innocent victims here, on whom human venom can be vent. These poor souls are all alike and must work salvation out together. /

There is nothing much that can be done for these people until they become sickened or satiated through and through. They then feel a desire for a better way of life. But it may take them ages to desire this change. However, some time or other, they will start the journey to higher mental levels.

If you will cast your mind back over recorded history, to all the crimes that have been committed in the name of religion and reform, the persecution and tortures that have been practiced by people of all nations on innocent victims, you will realize how these cesspools of darkness have been built up and you will, also, realize the justice of that law, demanding that they should be inhabited by those who have created such evils.

These regions are, literally, dark and evil smelling as well. They are cold and dank and slimy. I, sometimes, think that the orthodox hell, with its pit of everlasting flame, would be quite cheerful in comparison. If there is such a place, I have not, as yet, seen it. (Clifford McLean in LFM, 96-7.)

Our visits have carried us to what we verily believe to be the lowest plane of human existence. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 134.)

[In] those realms of darkness and semi-darkness, … all is cold and bleak and barren. … [There] souls have their abode, souls who can rise up out of the darkness if they so wish … and will work for that end. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 104.)

As the higher spheres had created all the beauties of those realms, so had the denizens of these lower spheres built up the appalling conditions of their spirit life. There was no light in the lowest realms; no warmth, no vegetation, no beauty. It is in the power of each soul to do so, and nothing stands in his way but himself. It may take him countless thousands of years to raise himself one inch spiritually, but it is an inch in the right direction. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 84.)

You will recall my mention of the many heavenly perfumes and scents that come from the flowers and that float upon the air. Here in these dark places the every opposite was the case. Our nostrils were first assailed by the most foul odors, odors that reminded us of the corruption of flesh in the earth world. They were nauseating and I feared that it would prove more than Ruth – and indeed I, myself – could stand, but Edwin told us to treat them in the same way that we had mastered the coldness of the temperature – by simply closing our minds to them – and that we should be quite unaware of their existence. We hastened to do so and we were perfectly successful. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 86.)

[If the light regions are called the Summerland,] the dark regions might almost be called the ‘Winterland,’ but for the fact that the earthly winter possesses a grandeur all its own, while there is nothing but abomination about the lower realms of the spirit world. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 133.)

It is not a pleasant subject, but I have been advised that the facts should be given, not with the intention of frightening people – that is not the spirit world’s methods or aims – but to show that such places exist solely by virtue of an inexorable law, the law of cause and effect, the spiritual reaping that succeeds the earthly sowing; to show that to escape moral justice upon the earth-plane is to find strict and unrelenting justice in the spirit world. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 133.)

As we climbed down through one of the numerous fissures in the rocks, I could see and feel the loathsome slime that covered the whole surface of them, a dirty green in color and evil smelling. There was, of course, no danger of our falling. That would be impossible for any dwellers in these realms.

After we had journeyed for what seemed to be a great distance – I should imagine it to have been one mile of earthly measurement, at least – we found ourselves in a gigantic crater, many miles in circumference, whose sides, treacherous and menacing, towered above us.

The whole of this area was interspersed with huge masses of rock, as though some enormous landslide or cataclysm had disrupted them from the upper rim of the crater and sent them hurtling down into the depths below, there to scatter themselves in every direction, forming natural caverns and tunnels.

In our present position we were well above this sea of rocks and we observed a dull cloud of poisonous vapor rising from it, as though a volcano were below and upon the point of erupting. … we could perceive with our intuitive faculties the degree of malignity of the whole place. Dimly, we could see through this miasma what might have been human beings, crawling like some foul beasts over the surface of the upper rocks. We could not think, Ruth and I, that they were human, but Edwin assured us that once they had walked upon the earth-plane as men, that they had eaten and slept, and breathed the earthly air, [and] had mixed with other men on earth. But they lived a life of spiritual foulness. And in their death of the physical body they had gone to their true abode and their true estate in the spirit world. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 134-5.)

We arrived at the border and looked out. Oh! The sight was enough to put us off going any further. It was dark and smelly. We promptly made ourselves invisible (that is easy – you just have to think it and you are). We walked slowly to the town, around which are smelly bog lands. It looked just like a foggy day in London. It is always semi-dark here so there are no trees, shrubs and, needless to say, flowers. Oh, the misery! These poor, poor souls were all dressed in earth clothes and not very clean at that. They all looked miserable…. It was cold as well. They made their own amusement playing cards or musical instruments. There was a library full of books on learning, mostly for bettering themselves, but some never bother to read them. Here, as you may put it, live the villains who fight and quarrel among themselves. From time to time High Spirits come here and walk invisibly amongst them. On seeing anyone making progress and thinking they would like help, they make themselves visible to help them. They have aided many hundreds to progress higher, but some alas will be here forever. …

I made myself visible to talk to one. He was very sad indeed and openly admitted that he did not believe in “after-life,” for he said if he had, he thinks he would have led a different life, for he had been a gangster in America in the ‘20s, and had done much killing and stealing … to make up for his poor upbringing. He said … he would not have thought a place like this existed. This was certainly “hell-fire and damnation.” It was far worse than any slums on earth could be. One top of that it was always cold and dark. At least on earth you did see the sun. He was making progress and I am sure will make the “Summerlands” one day.

There are many women here, but we saw on the whole far more men than women. Children do not come here no matter how bad they are. They go first to the stony plane and straight to school to teach them right from wrong, for a lot do not know, having had bad homes on earth they have not had the proper grooming. Most make good progress and soon enter the land of the sun where their relatives are waiting for them. If no one is there to claim them, there is a beautiful big home where most of them go. They are looked after by kindly men and women who spend all their time with them.

There is not much to do here. … The main idea here is to get people out on to the next plane, so you cannot make it too comfortable. I am sure if I were here I would “die of boredom” as the saying goes. I will never understand how they can sit around playing cards and dominoes for years on end. They have no ambition to go further, and yet on earth that is all they thought about, and that is what got them here in the first place, for they let nothing stand in their way, whether it be murder, corruption, or torture. Some did ‘everything in the book.’

I talked to one or two and tried to tell them of the wondrous sights on the other planes, but some alas thought I was joking and said nothing could be as beautiful as I had described it. I could see I was wasting my time. … It is quite sad for many were very intelligent when on earth, but alas! I think they are too shaken at the whole thing and never get over the “after-life” that they thought did not exist.

We walked around the streets and thanked God indeed that we did not live here. … Many, I am sorry to say, deserve this, for they were evil, and they seemed to pass on their evil ways to others weaker than themselves. Here you have to be strong, and say to yourself, “I am not staying here for ever” and mean it.

Many of the houses were dark and small, many having only two rooms. The furnishings were dark and cheap looking. No carpets or rugs on the floor. No nice pictures to adorn the wall, in fact nothing very much, only the bare necessities. … I suppose you can understand the state of shock some are in when they first see their homes after living in the lap of luxury on earth, everything and everybody at their beck and call. You have no servants in the etheric planes – everyone is equal. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 87.)

Here in these dark lands all is bleak and desolate. The very low degree of light itself casts a blight upon the whole region. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 87.)

Interspersed throughout the great area of this dreadful region were pools of some sort of liquid. It looked thick and viscid, and inexpressibly filthy, as, indeed, it was. Edwin told us that the stench that came from the stench that came from these pools was in keeping with all else that we had seen here. …

We were horrified to see signs of movement in some of the pools and we guessed, without Edwin having to tell us, that frequently the inhabitants slip and fall into them. They cannot drown because they are as indestructible as we are ourselves. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 137.)

Sin and Punishment

Sin, in its essence, is the conscious violation of those eternal laws which make for the advantage of the spirit.

God cannot view sin as a personal injury. He regards it as we regard the offences of a child, which will bring sorrow and retribution in their train. Sin is not in itself any offence against the Creator. The punishment is not wreaked on a defenceless creature. Sin is itself its own punishment, as the transgression of immutable law. (Spirit leader "Imperator" in Moses, MSTTT, n.p.)

No sins go unatoned for. No idle blunder is passed over. It is atoned for by the soul in its future state; its consequences are wiped out as far as may be. Be sure, friend, that every willful wrong will cost you many and many a bitter tear. The seed of wrong sown, ye know not how terrible may be the crop. You must reap it, garner it in sorrow and shame. (Spirit leader "Imperator" in Moses, MSTSW, n.p.)

One has only to see the dark misery of the self-imprisonment of souls in the shadow-worlds to understand the justice and the balance of the Life-Force. (Frances Banks, TOL, 88.)

Your own conscience is your judge: you judge yourself and far more harshly than any tribunal of judges could. If you do not acknowledge the fact that you did wrong in your life, you are left in the lower planes of spirit, for you are unevolved and undeveloped. (Donald Macleod in HT, 12.)

Sin is part error or ignorance; a diversion, a misunderstanding of truth, undeveloped good. Selfishness, pride, and independence of God are the roots of all evil and the beginnings of sin. Thence come dissension, strife, and conflict. … If hell is imply a mental condition within one’s self, it is a self-exclusion from God, from the Father’s heart and home, then men make their own hell. How long will it last? As long as they exclude God and his infinite grace from their lives. It is not God’s will that any should perish. (Ivy Northage’s spirit communicator Chan in Paul Beard, LO, 87.)

Punishment is ever the immediate consequence of sin; it is of its essence, not arbitrarily meted out, but the inevitable result of the violation of law. The consequences of such transgression cannot be altogether averted, though they may be palliated by remorse, the effect of which is to breed a loathing for sin and a desire for good. This is the first step, the retracing of false steps, the undoing of error, and by consequence the creation in the spirit of another longing. The spiritual atmosphere is changed, and into it good angels enter readily and aid the striving soul. It is isolated from evil agencies. Remorse and sorrow are fostered. The spirit becomes gentle and tender, amenable to influences of good. The hard, cold, repellent tone is gone, and the soul progresses. So the results of former sin are purged away, and the length and bitterness of punishment alleviated. This is true for all time. It was on this principle that we told you of the folly which dictates your dealings with the transgressors of your laws. Were we to deal with the offenders so, there would be no restoration, and the spheres of the depraved would be crowded with lost and ruined souls. But God is wiser, and we are His ministers. (Spirit leader named “Imperator” in Moses, ST, 36.)

Of punishment we know indeed, but it is not the vindictive lash of an angry God, but the natural outcome of conscious sin, remediable by repentance and atonement and reparation personally wrought out in pain and shame, not by coward cries for mercy, and by feigned assent to statements which ought to create a shudder. (Spirit leader named “Imperator” in Moses, ST, 66.)

The tyrant, … who gloated over the victims he cruelly tortured will experience similar sufferings in his soul. His imagination has thrilled with, and delighted in, the ugliness of pain, so that ugliness surrounds, penetrates and overwhelms, in the dark places, of his own creation.

Only, of course, for a time will he experience this feverish fantasy. He comes to a point when his goaded self craves to make the leap in evolution. Either he must go further into the Illusory-world and enter a state of darkness and isolation where he may re-organize his whole being, or he may choose to return to earth. Usually, the latter course is preferred, such men can seldom face a period of existence in darkness and solitude.

If, however, he returns to earth, he faces an existence of frustration and disappointment, of powerlessness in many cases, and thus only may he slowly evolve, coming, perhaps, in that fresh earth life, into the inheritance of pity which he derives from the disasters of his lot.

The various sinister figures of history all pass through such phases and all react differently. Some swiftly learning to control the errors of their imagination process, change fundamentally in a life-time. Some make little progress, but may eventually be rescued by other souls within their Group and be led thus out of reach of harm from the baleful fires of their own natures.

In certain cases salvation is only obtained through the actual destruction of a part of this soul's imagination, of, indeed, those scenes of evil which furnish it; and, with their suggestion, renew and feed afresh the sadistic streak that darkens the man's nature.

You may now perceive how vital is the creative activity within each human being, how it is indeed the very core of self, and prepares and builds up a life beyond a life, circumstance and happening for the unborn babe, either in the world beyond death, or again on this earth. (F.W.H. Myers, BHP, n.p.)

The sinfulness of sin chiefly shows itself in the inability to see God. The punishment of sin which is remedial, is the sense of loneliness and darkness which overwhelms the loveless souls when they come into this world, the atmosphere of which is eternal love. This they endure until such time as they love. When they love they turn to God, and see in the darkness a ray of the Love infinite and everlasting, in which they are able to realize, as we do, that they live, and move and have their being. (Julia Ames, AD, 39. Online edition.)

God Can Use Evil Men to Work Good

So my will with [the evil ruler of a dark domain] was done; and then I bade him go forth of the hall into the darkness without, where guards awaited him to take him into that far region where, as he had done to others, it should be done to him. …

The guards I spoke of were men of that same city to which we sent the [ruler of the dark domain]. Evil men they were and did not own allegiance to the Creator of them all. But knowing not whose judgment delivered this one more victim into their hands, nor knowing it was for his ultimate salvation, they did our will without ado. You may find the key here, if you go beneath and deep enough, to much of that which happens on your earth.

Evil men by many are thought to be outside the pale of His Kingdom; and evils and disasters to be faulty manifestations of His dynamic energizing. But both are in His hand to use, and even evil men, unwitting, are made to work out His plans and purpose in the ultimate. (Spirit communicator Arnel in LBV, quoted in Lord Dowding, MM, 66-7.)

Evil has no Power When Confronted by Good

As we went we felt about us a growing power of evil. For you must mark there are degrees of Power, as of evil, in the different colonies there and also diverse notes of evil dominant in its several regions. (Spirit communicator Arnel in LBV, Vol. III, 182, quoted in Lord Dowding, MM, 64.) Evil entities can only harm by the fear they create. (The Unknown Teacher, quoted by Philip Gilbert in PTS, 41.)

It is very curious: there seems to be a basic ‘type’ of power of an electrical nature which motivates all energy. Its laws seem to be somewhat those of electricity. It is very magnetic and the force of gravity is part of it.

Everything that takes ‘form’ through the operation of Thought (thought in some entity’s mind – the Entity may be so advanced that we never see him) is part of this magnetic force. ‘Form’ does not necessarily mean dense physical – we also have form!

This Power emanates … from a source, of which no one in my range knows the true nature. … This power permeates everything. Thought controls it – thought only – as far as its manifestation in Form goes, but naturally so complicated a type of Form as the earth must have been created by an omnipotent Intelligence and it has to work on unalterable laws – laws that must function, at no matter what cost to the individual. I’m beginning to see now the inevitability of events – accidents and disease, for instance. If you, as spirit, take on Form, your form is subject to the laws of Form.

So intensely full of Power – call it the life force, if you like – is the Earth that [the life force] must emerge, incessantly, into form, even if it is only a microbe. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 219.)

In theory, evil has no Power because it is a negation – the absence of life-force. But, unless it is pure, unadulterated evil, and this is rarely found, because it disintegrates, there is a certain life-force in it, not enough to make it become ‘good,’ or in harmony, but enough to give it power to act when in form. For when it has taken shape in some form or body, it can use the laws and forces of this form to its own ends – the Nazi thug has the flesh of his victim to work on, for instance, in various ways.

And then you must remember that standards here differ. What may seem ‘sin’ on earth, like theft or prostitution, is not necessarily a sign of being ‘evil’ here. It all depends on why it was done when judged by the laws of the spirit.

The only form of positive evil in the body is deliberate cruelty delighting in pain. This, in however mild a form, is pure evil and the spirit given to it is set on the path to the real death of its Ego. But if, through selfishness, greed, or laziness, you harm someone else, then you’ve got to repair it, somehow, here, before you can do anything that you really want to do.

Anyhow, on this side, though the struggle between the positive and negative forces goes on, in the near-earth planes, yet Evil has no real power if one is strong, and in harmony with the life-force because it can be dispelled by a positive act of will. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 220.)

The Experience of Time on the Dark Plane

Those of us in the spirit world who live in the realm of happiness and perpetual summer will have no cause to find ‘time hang heavily.’ In this sense we are simply not conscious of the flight of time.

In the dark realms the reverse is the case. The period of darkness will seem interminable to those who live there. However much such souls may yearn for a coming of the light, yet it never comes to them. They themselves must perforce take the first step towards the light that awaits them without their low realm. A period of existence within these dark regions, amounting to nothing more than a year or two of earthly time, will seem like an eternity to the sufferers. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 122.)

The Notion of Eternal Damnation to Hell

These hells are not eternal. The man (or woman) in these mental torments need stay there no longer than his desires keep him. He is free to resist the hatreds, cruelties, lusts of his lower nature which he has retained from his earth life and which are keeping him in dark dungeons amid like-minded inhabitants. He can always choose to follow the Light of Love, Forgiveness and Harmony and always there are souls ready to help, to guide, to comfort and to assist.

No soul is ever left comfortless unless he wishes it. (Frances Banks, TOL, 97.)

Those dark realms are not the theological hell to which people are condemned for all eternity – once in, never out again. Every person, who at present is an inhabitant of those terrible places, has the free choice to emerge from them whenever he changes his mind. He can work his way out precisely the same way as we can work our way from these lovely lands into still lovelier. The law is the same there as here and applies to us all – there and here. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 108.)

Every soul who lives in those awful places once lived upon the earth-plane. The thought is dreadful, but the truth cannot be altered. Do not think for one moment that I have exaggerated in my brief description of these regions. I assure you that I have not done so. I have in fact given you an understatement. The whole of these revolting regions exist[s] by virtue of the same laws that govern the states of beauty and happiness. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 137-8.)

The beauty of the spirit world is the outward and visible expression of the spiritual progression of its inhabitants. … Beauty of mind and deed can produce nothing but beauty….

But ugliness of mind and deed can produce nothing but ugliness. The seeds of hideousness sown upon the earth-plane will inevitably lead to the reaping of a harvest of hideousness in the spirit world. These dark realms have been built up by the people of the earth-plane, even as they have built up the realms of beauty. …

The denizens of the realms of darkness have, by their lives on earth, condemned themselves, each and every one, to the state in which they now find themselves. It is the inevitable law of cause and effect; as sure as night follows day upon the earth-plane. Of what avail to cry for mercy? The spirit world is a world of strict justice, a justice that cannot be tampered with, a justice which we all mete out to ourselves. Strict justice and mercy cannot go together. However wholeheartedly and sincerely we may forgive the wrong that has been done to us, mercy is not given to us to dispense in the spirit world. Every bad action must be accounted for by the one who commits it. It is a personal matter which must be done alone even as the actual event of death of the physical body must be gone through alone. No one can do it for us, but by the great dispensation upon which this and all worlds are founded, we can, and do, have ready and able assistance in our tribulation. Every soul who dwells in these dreadful dark realms has the power within himself to rise up out of the foulness into the light. He must make the individual effort himself, he must work out his own redemption. None can do it for him. Every inch of the way he must toil himself. There is no mercy awaiting him, but stern justice.

But the golden opportunity of spiritual reclamation is ready and waiting. He has but to show an earnest desire to move himself one fraction of an inch towards the realms of light that are above him and he will find a host of unknown friends who will help him towards that heritage which is his due, but which in his folly he cast aside. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 138-9.)

Sin chiefly shows itself in the inability to see God. The punishment of sin, which is remedial, is the sense of loneliness and darkness which overwhelms the loveless souls when they come into this world, the atmosphere of which is eternal love. This they endure until such time as they love. When they love, they turn to God, and see in the darkness a ray of the Love infinite and everlasting, in which they are able to realize, as we do, that they live and move and have their being. (Julia Ames, AD, 68.)

But, you will naturally ask, having in mind orthodox religious teachings on the subject, are those who dwell in greyness or darkness confined to those regions for all eternity? No, no! Never for all eternity. They will remain there for just so long as they wish. Indeed, some of them have lived in the dark realms for thousands of years, but thousands of years is not eternity, although it may seem like it sometimes to some of the inhabitants of those regions. But every soul so situated in darkness is free to terminate his sojourn there whenever he sees fit. The choice rests with himself. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 18.)

If the denizens of the darker regions show no aptitude towards spiritual progression and to lifting themselves out of the darkness, then they will remain where they are. No one forces them to stay there. They themselves elect to do so.

The instant that one of the unhappy inhabitants shows the most minute tendency to lift himself out of the sad conditions of those dark realms, such tendency becomes a wish that others higher up can see, and every help is given that soul to place his feet firmly and strongly upon the upward path of progression. That pathway may be steep and difficult, but neither so steep nor difficult that some one cannot help him to surmount all the obstacles upon the way. This is spiritual progression in the fullest sense of the word. It is open to all. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 19.)

The thought inevitably came into my mind of the doctrine of eternal damnation, so beloved by orthodox religion, and of the everlasting fires of so-called hell. If this place we were in now could be called hell and no doubt it would be by theologians, then there was certainly no evidence of fire or heat of any kind. On the contrary, there was nothing but a cold, dark atmosphere. Spirituality means warmth in the spirit world; lack of spirituality means coldness. The whole fantastic doctrine of hell-fire – a fire which burns but never consumes – is one of the most outrageously stupid and ignorant doctrines that has ever been invented by equally stupid and ignorant churchmen. Who actually invented it no one knows, but it is still rigorously upheld as a doctrine by the church. Even the smallest acquaintance with spirit life instantly reveals the utter impossibility of it, because it is against the very laws of spirit existence. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 84-5.)

The whole crude conception of being damned for all eternity arises from a totally wrong conception of the Father of the Universe, a grotesque conception that has found its supporters throughout the centuries and that has, in consequence, put fear into the hearts of mankind. It is a man-made belief without the slightest foundation in fact. And it is not long before a newcomer to the spirit world finds out that the whole idea of eternal damnation is an utterly impossible one. …

Edwin, Ruth, and I discovered early in our joint endeavours [that] when newly-arrived persons, who obviously could never qualify for eternal damnation, are told that such a thing does not, never did, or ever will exist, they exhibit an immensely strong sense of relief. They usually explain that this feeling of relief is not, as it were, on their own behalf, but partly on behalf of all those others less fortunate than themselves, and partly from the far-reaching possibilities and prospects that this absence of eternal damnation suggests to their minds.

They see at once that the whole spirit world lies before them in equal right with their fellow human beings and that the God of whom they were always rather frightened when on earth is a Father of unlimited and illimitable benevolence, and One, moreover, who could never breathe vengeance upon any one of His children. That in itself is an illuminating discovery which is of great service to the newcomer to spirit lands, since it at once opens his mind to the truth. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 19-20.)

It is useless to deny the sin and misery that surround you because they are there. Not in your imagination, but in actual fact. Oh, my Beloved, how often have I witnessed the agony of the underworld, as the result of real, actual sin! Now, as you throw open the windows in a close, unhealthy room to admit God’s pure air so, if a man turns to God, throws open the windows of the soul, and absorbs Him, he will be redeemed from all that has hurt his material body, all that has marred his soul, and be set free once more. (John Heslop, SABL, 35-6.)

The belief in Hell-fires of everlasting torture in connection with a God of Love is unthinkable. These and many other errors are vital reasons for the revolt from the churches. (John Heslop, FMABL, 50.)

In the childhood of the world, men were taught by pictures and symbols and were helped towards right living by punishments and rewards. Hence the Bible depicts a physical heaven of glittering gems and exquisite beauty for the righteous and a lurid hell-fire [for] the wicked. That these pictures did assist towards a better life and deter the evil-doer is true; the belief in goodness and righteousness for their own sake had to be evolved.

But now the enlightened soul knows that the “Kingdom of Heaven is within you”; beginning on earth, it will materialize into spheres of unspeakable joy and beauty, as you progress on this side. You also realize that a man may carry hell in his own heart and that such a soul, leaving your earth, will, by the law of attraction, enter a real abode of darkness and degradation over here. (John Heslop, FMABL, 52-3.)

Always remember [that] … all will be ultimately brought back and must rise out of darkness into the Light of Purity and Love. (John Heslop, FMABL, 56.)

Still Progress can be Slow

Bad characters in history are still, many of them, in the lower planes where the evil ones go. (Gordon Burdick in TR, 104.)

The fate of the loveless soul is a sad one. But there is no despair. Nor do we ever regard anyone as hopeless. Many are so blind it seems as if the eye had entirely disappeared. But we never give up. And in the end all will come into the Light of the Love of God. (Julia Ames, AD, 168.)

The influences around those in the darkness here are much more evil than the influences on earth, where good influences are ever mingling with the bad. It is only when careless and wicked people get over here that they realize the awful task before them; and that is why so many of them remain for ages in a condition of hopelessness and despair. (G. Vale Owen’s mother in LBV1, 56.)

Dark-Plane Inhabitants are Obliged to Relive Their Crimes

[Hell] is a lonely place where man is not allowed to be in communication with anything other than his own negative thoughts and those thought forms are very ugly and very powerful. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 10.)

The imagination, which here is far more powerful than with you, fills the solitude with specters, and the sinner feels he is encompassed by the constantly renewed visions of his deeds. Nor is this all; he sees those whom he has injured and he fears. If ever a soul needs a Saviour and Deliverer, it is when imagination and memory without love recreate all anew the selfish acts of a loveless life. (Julia Ames, AD, 68.)

You do not realize the exceeding sinfulness of sin until you see its results. And on earth they are often hidden. Here they are revealed. You see what you have been doing. And the sight is often appalling. And as those who love have before them [been] waiting [for] the dear ones whom they loved, so those who hated, or injured, or neglected, they also will find on this side their victims, who need no whip of torment to scourge the sinner, but to reveal to him, ‘See thy handiwork. This thou hast made of me.’ (Julia Ames, AD, 165.)

The spirits of criminals often return and live over again the atrocities for which they are still suffering. It is the law of cause and effect. Their subconscious selves received the impressions of their acts and beliefs so strongly that they are still bound by the old sensations and criminal instincts, and they try to reproduce the semblance of the crimes or incidents that caused these impressions, in the surroundings in which they occurred. They live it over again as an actor reproduces a scene he has memorized. It is through the terribleness of these scenes that they discover themselves for what they are. It is sometimes a lifetime before they turn away from their evil impulses. But it is this earth­walking, this renewing of their past crimes in memory, that finally makes them determine to try for something better. (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth in LHH, 70.)

Dark-Plane Inhabitants Must Make Restitution

Most of the evil that we have done of earth follows us here. And we have to follow it up and efface its results. You see it is this way. Every unkind, unjust, cruel thing done by one man to another darkens the sight of the Image of God in that other. And we are, as it were, the moons of God. And if we do not reflect His Love, there is darkness where there would otherwise be light. Hence we find that there are many who have lost faith in God and in their fellows because of our unfaithfulness. And we have to undo that. The responsibility is no doubt endlessly subdivided. But that does not diminish our responsibility for our share. (Julia Ames, AD, 185.)

Heaven is to live in the constant realization of the Love of God. Therefore, every act, word, or thought which is not Love by so much shuts some soul out of Heaven and bars the gates of Hell upon so much of his life as consists of thoughts. Gloomy thoughts, despairing thoughts, bitter thoughts, all these are bars in the gate of Hell. And you who have helped to put them up must help to pull them down and let the prisoners free. But do not imagine that it is a task full of misery. It is the greatest joy of our life here to be endlessly busy restoring the light of love to those from whom we have helped to shut it out. (Julia Ames, AD, 185-6.)

You see that the evil which men do lives after them and it is this evil which is the scourge and punishment of all. We have all sinned and we have all things to put right and to undo. But the joy of those who love is to be able to set about doing this and to know that it can be done. (Julia Ames, AD, 184.)

When you come to examine this you will discover that the essential difference between sinners and saints, between Hell and Heaven, between Redemption and Damnation, is this – that the sinner is unable, not having love in the heart, to sacrifice himself, to undo the consequences of his sin. (Julia Ames, AD, 185.)

Cruelty perhaps cuts more deeply into human nature than any other … perversion. It marks the human soul, scars it more deeply than almost any other vice. The cruel man who has changed his natural craving for affection into a longing to give pain to others necessarily finds himself in a world here where he cannot satisfy this craving. He has pandered to it during all his earth life, and so it has become an integral part of his soul. In the new life he has not, for a time at any rate, the power to inflict pain on anything living. This means for him, with his greatly increased mental powers, a very terrible distress. He goes about seeking whom he may devour and finding naught. The misery of such an unsatisfied state is largely of a mental character. What use to him is a world of light and beauty while still this foul earth longing is unsatisfied? For him there is only one release from his mental purgatory. And until he can find a way of escape, until there is an actual change in his cold, cruel soul, he will remain in outer darkness.

Christ spoke of that outer darkness as being the lot of sinners. By this saying, He did not imply darkness as we know it -- the darkness recognized by the senses. He meant a darkness of soul, a mental distress, a perverted desire that cannot find its satisfaction.

Eventually this individual faces up to his own misery, to his vice; and then the great change comes. He is put in touch with a portion of the Great Memory which Saint John has called the Book of Life. He becomes aware of all the emotions roused in his victims by his acts. He enters into a small part of the mighty Super-conscious Memory of his generation which hovers near the earth. No pain, no anguish he has caused has perished. All has been registered, has a kind of existence that makes him sensible of it once he has drifted into touch with the web of memory that clothed his life and the lives of those who came into contact with him on earth.

The history of the cruel man in the Hereafter would make a book which I am not permitted to write. I can only briefly add that his soul or mind becomes gradually purified through his identification with the sufferings of his victims. (F.W.H. Myers, RTI, n.p.)

Oh, that we could make those on earth understand this! God can, and does, forgive, but all the results of evil must be undone by the man himself, either on earth or when he comes here. The death of our Lord does not prevent this great law of cause and effect from working itself out; and real repentance is not just being sorry for sin, but the setting to work to undo the evil and make restitution. (John Heslop, SABL, 31-33.)

One must remain there until he feels he has learned enough from this experience to be free [of it]. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 10.)

Q: Do souls ever go from this state of darkness into a body?

A: No, they must first be purged of their negativity by this cleansing process, return into the light, review their past incarnations, and study how to better use their potentials in a constructive manner once they have incarnated. It takes a great deal of time before they would be allowed to incarnate. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 10.)

“Then, if they have been the cause of much suffering on earth they have to pass through the stage of making compensation in some form.”

  'How can you be happy when you know some have such difficult paths to tread? And that there are so many of them?'

  "We are happy because we can help, and also because we know that they will finally come into pure thought and kindly lives, and will shed their criminal desires as an individual might shed an old garment."

  'How do they make compensation?'

  "We think they go back to earth at times and try to undo their wrongs. They try to put good or fortunate impulses in place of evil and cruel ones, and sometimes succeed in bringing joy to those they have injured." (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 121.)

  No one save God can tell the real motive which prompts sin and the motive is the whole question. Take the case you suggested - murder. In very many cases, a sudden impulse causes the crime, sometimes the result of awful provocation which was bravely borne time after time, till, in a moment of madness or overstrung nerves, the deed was done.

Now, in such a case, the one who provoked the crime is judged here as more guilty than the one who committed it. Still the sin must be atoned for and that can be done in many ways. First by humble confession to those left behind; then by care for them, working for them, sacrificing the joys and luxuries of life and giving them to those who have been injured; by going into the prisons and helping those who have commited like crimes and bringing them back to God.

I am presuming that the murder has not been detected on earth, but, even if it has, all I say as to the necessity of atonement and restitution is just as true for the arisen spirit. It is the Father alone who measures the duration of the atonement, by repentance and restitution, and permits the spirit to progress. (John Heslop to his wife, F. Heslop, SABL, 159-60.)

Many sins are caused by pride and self-will and they cannot be wiped out till pride has become humility and self-will has been renounced and the will of God has taken its place. When this has become the attitude of the soul on earth, restitution is the natural result and so the sin is atoned for and forgiven and can never rise in judgment against the sinner here. But, when anyone passes into this life filled with pride and self-will, he has a sad time to go through before he can atone for the sins done in the body. (John Heslop, SABL, 160.)

It is possible … that a spirit who has done you a wrong on earth may return to seek your forgiveness and cannot advance till this has been granted. (John Heslop, SABL, 26-7.)

I want to emphasize the fact that it is easier to make restitution while one earth than it is to do so from this side and this is what Jesus meant when He said, “Agree with thine adversary quickly whilst thou art in the way with him.” (John Heslop, SABL, 161.)

God is there, but man can, and does, turn away from Him. Then love becomes lust, and prosperity greed, and parental love becomes tyranny. Ghastly tortures are perpetrated in the name of God and sin grows rampant in the dark places of the earth. But … the divine ego may be obscured, but can never be destroyed in the innermost soul of man.

The pure breath of God’s spirit has the power to re-animate these dead souls when, in whole-hearted repentance, they turn to Him again. (John Heslop, SABL, 36-7.)

God is within you, behind all the error and sin. Open yourselves to His radiant influence. Assert your divine origin. Reclaim once more your lost purity and, by His indwelling power, become truly Sons of God. (John Heslop, SABL, 37)

No man who truly repents and desires to make restitution is ever left despairing and alone; his cry of need is instantly heard and the Divine Christ enters into him, filling him with His indwelling Spirit and so enabling him to overcome. (John Heslop, SABL, 161.)

God’s love is greater than any form of evil. Divine messengers await the first desire for a higher and purer life and the erring and the lost are brought back to Him and willingly expiate themselves the evil they have done. (John Heslop, SABL, 133.)

Christ’s Death Does Not Remove the Effects of Sin

Christ’s death does not remove the effects of sin from any human being. Direct, deliberate sin has far-reaching consequences, stretching even into eternity, and the evil must be undone and the soul make restitution itself for the evil done in the body. God loves the sinner; God forgives the sinner; but, “as a man sows, so must he reap.” Christ does not bear away the consequences of man’s sin; ever man must bear the result of his own sin here or hereafter. (John Heslop, SABL, 106.)

Oh, that we could make those on earth understand this! God can, and does, forgive, but all the results of evil must be undone by the man himself, either on earth or when he comes here. The death of our Lord does not prevent this great law of cause and effect from working itself out; and real repentance is not just being sorry for sin, but the setting to work to undo the evil and make restitution. (John Heslop, SABL, 31-33.)

Let me give you an illustration to make my meaning clear. Take the case of a young man whose whole career is steeped in vice. Suddenly he is awakened to a sense of his sin and is appalled by the revelation. He flies to God in abject contrition and misery and, because God is Love and loves the sinner, when He sees that repentance is real, He forgives him as the Father forgives in the parable of the prodigal son.

But that does not prevent the result of his vicious life making a wreck of his physical frame; that does not undo his evil acts – the women he has ruined, the young men he has led astray, the mother whose heart he has broken, the financial ruin of his family to keep him out of jail. Every one of those acts has to be atoned for, not by Christ, but by the man himself, either on earth or in the hell of bitter regrets which he has made for himself on this side.

It is the doctrine of the substitution of Christ, the Sinless One, to satisfy the laws the sinner has broken that has done so much evil. It has lulled the wicked into a false security. The first thing they find when they come here is the record of their life, and ever man goes to the place he has made for himself, according as that life has been. Absolute, impartial justice is meted out to every man, of every clime and every race. (John Heslop, SABL, 106-7.)

However feeble have been the glimmerings of goodness and truth, here they are fostered and strengthened till they burn brightly for God. The ignorant are instructed, the weary are soothed, and the broken-hearted are comforted. Gradually those who at first fled from the purity and brightness here are brought in by the all-embracing love of God, and we who minister to these lost ones rejoice in the birth of a soul into these higher regions of light and progress. (John Heslop, SABL, 107-8.)

[Regarding] the doctrine of the substitution of Jesus the Innocent for the sins of men … it is obviously unjust and unfair, even to your finite minds, to assume that man can throw all responsibility for transgression on the sinless Christ and go free, free indeed if he will to sin afresh. (John Heslop, FMABL, 50.)

The Inhabitants of the Dark Plane

The Transition of Those Destined for the Dark Plane

There is, when the loveless soul comes here, as much care taken to welcome it as when the soul of love arrives. But the selfish soul is blind and dark and shudders in the dark. (Julia Ames, AD, 68.)

Those whose acrid temperament and selfish disposition have gradually made them loveless and utterly self-seeking find themselves in this world like blind men in the presence of the glory of sunrise. It is there, flooding the world with colour and splendour, but all its radiance does not exist for him because his optic nerve is destroyed. (Julia Ames, AD, 167.)

There is always good at the time of cross-over; even people who have lived lives of selfishness will know and understand the rejoicing, yet then will be put into a place of their own making. But the first few days of the cross-over (as you know time on the earth plane) the entity is allowed to be with his teachers and those who loved him in the past. Before being sent to the lower realms, he is given this joyous reunion. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 11.)

People are where their thought is and anything ‘negative,’ vibrating very slowly (what you call evil) does not seem to be able to impinge on the more evolved people, even if they are on what you call the same spot of space.

But most people here, near the earth, (1) are a mixture of good and bad – just as on earth, and I’ve already seen some queer sights. I’m having to learn the lesson you learned – not to fear anything I see. I have Power. I’m learning to use it. They say that’s to be my job – not too savoury, if you ask me, but it’s a job all right. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 97.)

(1) That is, in the Near-Earth Plane.

There are horrors out here—far worse than the horrors on earth. The decay from vice and intemperance is much worse here than there. I have seen faces and forms that were really frightful, faces that seemed to be half-decayed and falling in pieces. These are the hopeless cases, which even the League of workers I spoke about leave to their fate. It is uncertain what the fate of such people will be; whether they will reincarnate or not in this cycle, I do not know. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XI.)

Residents of the Dark Plane

In these spheres [the debased spirits] must remain subject to the attempted influence of the missionary spirits, until the desire for progress is renewed. When the desire rises, the spirit makes its first step. It becomes amenable to holy and ennobling influence, and is tended by those pure and self-sacrificing spirits whose mission it is to tend such souls. You have among you spirits bright and noble, whose mission in the earthlife is among the dens of infamy and haunts of vice, and who are preparing for themselves a crown of glory, whose brightest jewels are self-sacrifice and love. So amongst us there are spirits who give themselves to work in the sphere of the degraded and abandoned. By their efforts many spirits rise, and when rescued from degradation, work out long and laborious purification in the probation spheres, where they are removed from influences for evil, and entrusted to the care of the pure and good. So desire for holiness is encouraged and the spirit is purified. Of the lower spheres we know little. We only know vaguely that there are separations made between degrees and sorts of vice. (Spirit leader “Imperator” in Moses, ST, 35.)

In the etheric and astral world – the “lower astral” being the earth-bound, and the “lowest” astral being the dregs of creation merging into negation – an entity lives for a time in its own previous thought world, drawn by magnetism to its own kind. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 23.)

It is by the eyes that one can judge. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 126.)

Everyone’s eyes here show their real selves – sometimes it’s rather horrible. I am learning to drive away unpleasant eyes with my Power, but I’m still rather tied up with my earthly experiences. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 99.)

And then there are – fortunately few, comparatively speaking – those who are “evil” – negation – who cannot, when freed of the body, even stay in near-earth. They must “sink” though that is not an accurate word to express their “disintegration” of being. They are in grey-black darkness, for there is no way for the light of creative force to illumine them, as they are not in alignment with it.

Their thought world may surround them. Sometimes, if they have been wealthy, it is a luxurious one which seems, at first, unchanged, but little by little a change does appear: a subtle aspect of corruption, an incursion of nightmare images – which they do not wake up and find are dreams! – a sensation of frustration, and no way out. There are all sorts of grades and facets of this – some worse than others. I try to help these people: at least the young in earth years. I concentrate on them for I feel sorry for them. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 24-5.)

Really unpleasant types – and you’d be surprised: there are not so many as you would think, for most people who behave badly do it through ignorance or weakness, or by being up against human laws which so far, have usually operated in favour of the “haves” against the “have-nots” – well, anyhow, really nasty bits of work stay in their illusions, but in compulsory company with others like them, or with those they have wronged if the latter are full of resentful hate, and they are at the mercy of any unpleasant lower astral entity who may be around. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 13.)

Some [thought forms] are worse than others, of course, but the very worst rarely get to the earth plane except in such places as Buchenwald. Germany will be permeated with them, for some time. Any spot where long sustained cruelty has gone on attracts these images. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 54.)

When those who have led evil lives first realize that they have left the earth life they are often very hard to manage because of their disappointment. They think of their earth life as gone forever, and they have no desire whatever for anything of a spiritual nature; there is nothing to live for, and yet they are alive. It is much the same as life imprisonment on earth, and knowing that it was impossible to get free. Their disappointment often turns to rage and they become for a time nothing but mad creatures. It is a very pitiful sight. Even when they begin to realize that their rage is useless, and they begin to listen to other spirits, it is still one of our most difficult tasks to arouse any ambition and get them started on the upward path. (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 121.)

[On suicide bombers:] Most of them wind up in limbo, bound by the terrible fear that they experienced before pushing the trigger that killed them and others. The advanced souls from the Muslim world are volunteering to assist suicide bombers-easing their fear, pain and guilt that they are in, bound to serve their innocent victims in hundreds incarnations to come. (Myrna Loy in Tatyana Tanika, WW, n.p.)

Robert Leichtman: What has happened to Hitler since he died?

Winston Churchill: I don’t know where in hell he is. [Laughter.] I don’t see him around, I can tell you that. And I’m not really interested.

To those ranks [of the adversaries] gravitate, of necessity, the earth-bound and unprogressed spirits to whom incarnation has brought no gain, and whose affections, centred on the earth, where all their treasure is, can find no scope in the pure spiritual joys of the spheres of spirit-life. Hovering over their old haunts, they live over again their wretched, polluted earth-lives, by influencing congenial spirits still in the body, and so gratifying their lusts and passions at second hand.

The poor wreck whose lusts have survived the death of that body in which and for which alone he lived, have survived the means of direct bodily gratification, finds his resource in seizing on an impressionable medium, and goading him on to sin, so that he may get such poor enjoyment as alone remains for him. The debauched drunkard, who sank his body in disease, and soddened his spirit with the poisoned draughts of liquid fire, now haunts the dens where his pleasure used to be, and goads on the wretches whom it finds it possible to influence. He leers with spite as he drives one more soul to a lower state of misery, and gloats as he draws his own foul gratification, though it spread broadcast ruin and woe among innocent women and their babes, and foster in the midst of your centres of knowledge and refinement a sink of infamy and disgrace.

These things go on all around you, and attract your notice scarce at all. Where the denunciations that should ring from end to end of your world while such plague-spots linger—nay, flourish and abound amongst you? Why is no voice uplifted? Why? but that the dark influence of those baleful spirits avails to blind your eyes and to paralyse the voice of truth within you. /

Not in the gin-den alone, but far round it as from a centre, the malign influence radiates, and the vice perpetuates itself. The sot, dead—as you falsely think—is a sot in spirit still, and his influence perpetuates his vice among congenial spirits yet on earth. The murderer, again, whom your blindness has cut off from the trammels of the body, and let loose in fury on your earth, is not idle. With all his envenomed passions stirred within him, mad with wrath and sense of wrong—for his sin is frequently the result of your civilisation, and he is what you have made him—he goes forth to wreak his vengeance on those who have wronged him. He incites to rage and destruction of life. He is the prolific inciter of crime, and perpetuates the circumstances of which he was the victim.

When will you learn that crimes for which you daily, hourly, visit rude vengeance are but the necessary product of those mixed conditions of life which obtain in your crowded centres of life? Why lop off an ugly branch here and there when the root is rotten? Why punish the wretch because he is what you made him? Nay, if you be but selfish, why let loose on you a wrathful avenger to your own hurt? Ah! friend, you must pass through many cycles of progress before you learn that your criminal code is founded on fallacy, and works to mischief and perpetuation of the abuses it is intended to prevent.

These and such as these, coming from your world such as you have made them, are, of necessity, enemies of progress, purity, and peace; adversaries of ours, and leaders in the attack on the work in which we share. What else can they be? Can that spirit whose earth-life has been one long scene of debauchery and degradation become of a sudden pure and good? Can the sensualist be changed into one who lives for purity, or the degraded animal into a progressive and aspiring spirit? You know it cannot be. They are, in company with hosts of others, the foes of man and spirit so far as their desire is to thwart progress and keep down truth.

Count on them as a perpetual source of antagonism, and if you cannot realise to the full their influence for evil, do not ignore their power, or invite their attacks by exposing yourself to them. We will leave no word of warning unuttered, for the danger is all the more real that it is so secret and so far-reaching. To their efforts operating on congenial spirits in your world you must refer much of crime and misery that exists among you: war with its attendant horrors which yet disgrace and defile your world, and blots your boasted civilisation and refinement. To them attribute the fostering of the crimes that befoul your great cities, that spread a mantle of corruption over them, and make them homes of iniquity and dwelling-places of shame. (Spirit leader "Imperator" in Moses, ST, 158-60.)

Their Clothing

The criminal ones who come over steeped in their own wickedness … appear in dark colors, sometimes quite repellent. (Spirit controls Dee and Mary to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 142-3.)

The destructive forces have coarse garments of the most discordant colors. They imagine themselves in gorgeous apparel. But they will sometime see themselves as they are, which will be when they reach out for something better. (Dee to Charlotte Dresser, SWSL, 49.)

The Folly of Capital Punishment

Under no circumstances should [capital punishment] be allowed. The soul, suddenly severed from the body, is thrown back, and becomes grievously dangerous to humanity. The guardians cannot draw near, and great difficulties are set in the way of its progress. It is only those who have passed away that know what evils follow from this rude and barbarous punishment.

To punish by the withdrawal of what you call life is an act of senseless folly. It is a remnant of an age of blood belonging to the Jewish dispensation. Reform or seclude the criminal, but never kill the body, as you sever from a body a spirit that has not fulfilled its time in your sphere of being. (Spirit leader "Imperator" in Moses, MSTTT, n.p.)

The Black Magician

There are many people who knowingly practice black magic and yet elect to delude themselves that they have no karmic responsibility. That’s ridiculous! If there was anything in the universe that did not have karmic responsibility, it wouldn’t be in the universe. (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 40.)

The personality of a black magician withers. And, when such a person opens the door to the practice of black magic, he also opens the door to the possibility of coming under the influence of someone who knows more about black magic than he does. …

Since he is entering a negative state of consciousness, he of course has to live in it. When one makes a commitment to black magic in an incarnation, it is a binding commitment. The results must be endured for the rest of that incarnation and several more to come.

Unfortunately, the commitment of many people to black magic is very strong. Many who are powerful black magicians have practiced it for several lifetimes in a row. Of course, they have to make up for it somewhere along the line. …

[They would make up for it] by becoming victims themselves. This could happen in their own lifetimes, which is an unpleasant thing. But, if not, then in many future lives they would be the victim of circumstances. That would almost be a role in life for them – to be the victim of circumstances with no power to contradict them. (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 41.)

In general, the practitioner of back magic has many, many lifetimes of just being a poor downtrodden potato, so to speak. He is not able in those lives to rise above physical awareness at all. (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 42.)

Incidentally, there is a type of black magician who has always been in the world and is today making a “return appearance” for the modern scene. This is the person who thinks he is being very devout and religious and runs around telling everybody else that they are evil and that the devil is going to get them in the end – unless they convert to his particular viewpoint. This is literally practicing black magic. Jesus charged everyone to look for Him in every man. When someone is looking for the devil in every man, he is actually cursing and blighting the people around him! I can’t emphasize that too strongly. (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 42-3.)

There is such a thing as a force being used for evil: but, even then, the force itself is not evil.

I am not denying the existence of the Black Brotherhood. It is permitted to exist. These are souls who exploit the energy of the cosmos for their own selfish ends and they turn a deaf ear to its effect on friend or foe. But they are held down by a built-in brakedrum. They can never hope to progress further / than the mastery of mental control.

The soul, being [eternally] good, cannot partake of an act which might result in evil. The Black Brotherhood may become expert at mastering the natural forces in their physical, emotional, and mental bodies, but they cannot progress beyond that point. Those of them who have tried to progress beyond the mental stage have reactivated their immortal souls as well, whereupon an internal conflict wages between the positive soul and the negative mind and the perpetrator is flung back to the bottom of the ladder of evolution. This entails a long and dismal uphill climb, in which the soul must work itself up again from elementary matter to regained self-respect.

There is no need to fear or pity the ‘evil’ Brotherhood; only remember that they are still your misdirected brothers, even when they put fatuous self-aggrandizement ahead of mutual salvation. (Mike Swain to his father, Jasper, in FMW, 92-3.)

I asked the Teacher if he knew the magician in question, and he answered that he had known him for a thousand years, that long ago, in a former life, the Paris magician had placed his feet upon the path which leads to power; but that he had been side-tracked by the desire for selfish pleasures, and that he might wander a long time before he found his way back to real and philosophical truth.

“Is he to be blamed or pitied?” I asked.

“Pity cuts no figure in the problem,” the Teacher replied. “A man seeks what he desires.” (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XXXI.)

“The Adversaries”

To the purest may come assault from the adversaries, which their guardians will enable them to repel. (Spirit leader "Imperator" in Moses, MSTSW, n.p.)

Earlier on, I promised to tell you more about obsessing spirits. They are invariably prompted by motives of extreme selfishness. They are often people of low intellect. They are the parasites of the spirit world who are prepared to go to any length of degradation to find a human host.

They are quite ruthless in their determination to force an entry into the aura of some unsuspecting earthly victim. They wish to dominate lives of human beings in the flesh. Here again you will find a great diversity of motive; from the domineering mother, who is determined to cling to some hapless child, in the mistaken belief that she alone has the right to direct its mind and actions to the downright evil character, who has chosen this method of satisfying his earthly desires by influencing his host to lead a degraded life.

Unless the obsessing entity is of a very strong character, he or she is liable to be joined by others who have observed a rent in the human aura and are eager to rush in. The confusion is then appalling and the human victim is often driven to insanity by the conflicting desires and emotions of this warring host, each of whom is fighting for supremacy. Your mental hospitals are crowded with such people, who have been attacked and whose auras and personalities have been so violated. (Douglas McLean in LFM, 106.)

There are horrors out here—far worse than the horrors on earth. The decay from vice and intemperance is much worse here than there. I have seen faces and forms that were really frightful, faces that seemed to be half-decayed and falling in pieces. These are the hopeless cases, which even the League of workers I spoke about leave to their fate. It is uncertain what the fate of such people will be; whether they will reincarnate or not in this cycle, I do not know. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XI.)

You need to take certain precautions to protect yourself against those who press round me.

You have only to lay a spell upon yourself night and morning. Nothing can get through that wall—nothing which you forbid your soul to entertain.

Do not let any of your energy be sucked out of you by these larvæ of the astral world. No, they cannot annoy me, for I am now used to the idea of them. You have absolutely nothing to fear, if you protect yourself. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter III.)

Q: Whence come the influences that act upon [man]?

A: From the imperfect spirits, who seek to take possession of him and to dominate him, and who are happy to see him succumb.  It is this temptation that is allegorically pictured as Satan.

Q: Does this influence act upon a spirit only at its origin?

A: It follows him through all the phases of his existence as a spirit, until he has acquired such thorough self-command that evil spirits renounce the attempt to obsess him.

Q: Why has God permitted it to be possible for spirits to take the wrong road?  

A: The wisdom of God is shown in the freedom of choice which He leaves to every spirit, for each has thus the merit of his deeds. (Unnamed spirit communicator to Allan Kardek in WASTAK, n.p.)

I have to warn you, beloved, that the more you advance, the more you will attract attack from the enemies who try to frustrate plans. (Philip to Alice Gilbert in PTS, xxii.)

You must not forget that upon this plane that is nearest to earth, both good and evil forces meet. All come here; and even the malicious ones can communicate with those on earth who will receive their messages. This is one of the evils of the 'open door,' and must be carefully guarded against. Do not harbor thoughts of hatred or revenge; for they will call towards you the evil-minded here, and evil is the result. Be true to high ideals. (Unnamed spirit communicator to Charlotte Dresser, SWSL, 17-8.)

So long as a holiday is associated with giving a loose rein to passion, with the immoderate use of fiery, intoxicating poison, with sensual gratifications, with the body and not with the spirit, it must [interfere with spirit communication]. The body so situated places the spirit at the mercy of the adversaries. But the holiday that is associated with the rest of body and refreshment of spirit is far from being such. When the bodily powers which have been drained by overtaxing work are recuperated by genial and moderate rest; when the mind, vexed and harrassed by the worries and anxieties of daily toil, is refreshed by moderate amusement, and by being relaxed and plunged for a while in oblivion of anxious care, the while it is braced and stimulated by pleasant change; when this is so, a gentle calm pervades the spirit, and renders it peculiarly open to the beneficent influences of the heavenly guardians.

Thus the power of angel ministry is strengthened, and the plans of the most powerful adversaries are set at naught. You must progress far in knowledge of spirit guidance and of the duties you owe to yourselves before your national holidays become aught but opportunities for the degradation of your people. The holiday that is marked by riot and debauchery, by sensuality and gambling, and evil, angry passion and despair, this is no holy day to us, but one to be dreaded and watched and prayed over. God help and guard the blind souls in their insensate folly! (Spirit communicator “Rector” [Hippolytus] in Moses, ST, 43.)

If the eye of man could have seen the vast concourse of the shining ones, massed together for consultation, and for the reception of the larger efflux of the Divine Spirit, they would have been of good cheer. And yet there is the opposite; the legions of the adversaries, gathered together in serried ranks, ready to stop all progress and thwart all revelation of God’s Truth. (Unnamed spirit teacher, member of Spirit leader "Imperator"’s group, in Moses, MST, 40.)

Let your friend avoid intercourse with the spheres, lest he become a prey to the adversaries. We operate on none outside our chosen circle. Each is under his own guide, and must act under their guidance. We can but say that none should cultivate communion with the undeveloped. That course is fraught with risk. Flee the risk. Flee the spirits that lie and deceive. (Unnamed spirit teacher, member of Spirit leader "Imperator"’s group, in Moses, MST, 51.)

The legions of the adversaries are simply the masses of unprogressed, undeveloped spirits, who have banded together from affinity against all that is pure and good. They can only progress by penitence, through the instruction of higher intelligences, and by gradual and laborious undoing of sin and sinful habit. There are many such, and they are the adversaries. The idea that there is no such thing as evil, no antagonism to good, no banded company of adversaries who resist progress and truth, and fight against dissemination of what advantages humanity, is an open device of the evil ones for your bewilderment. (Spirit leader "Imperator" in Moses, ST, 26.)

The organised attempt of the spirits of evil to mar our work will not cease until the Truth prevails. There will be much that is trying to the weal, and also to those whose faith is firm, before it is established. It is the necessary consequence of the existence of evil spirits. (Spirit leader "Imperator" in Moses, MSTTT, n.p.)

To the purest may come assault from the adversaries, which their guardians will enable them to repel. Saving this, the law is absolutely without exception. Like attracts like. (Spirit leader "Imperator" in MSTSW, n.p.)

Evil attracts evil. A curious, vain, frivolous or bad man will draw round him frivolous or undeveloped spirits; but it is at times not true equally of the pure and good. They may be subject to attack from the undeveloped, either as part of their training, or from the machinations of the adversaries. (Spirit leader "Imperator" in MSTSW, n.p.)

But in proportion as the spiritual perceptions are quickened, so do the spiritual foes come into more prominent view. The adversaries, who are the sworn enemies of spiritual progress and enlightenment, will beset the aspirant’s path, and remain for him a ceaseless cause of conflict throughout his career of probation. By degrees they will be vanquished by the faithful soul that presses on, but conflict with them will never wholly cease during the probation-life, for it is the means whereby the higher faculties are developed, and the steps by which entrance is won to the higher spheres of bliss. (Spirit leader "Imperator" in Moses, ST, 174.)

Dark Angels

The other day I asked my Teacher to show me the archives in which those who had lived out here had recorded their observations, if such existed. He said:

    "You were a great reader of books when you were on the earth. Come."

    We entered a vast building like a library, and I caught my breath in wonder. It was not the architecture of the building which struck me, but the quantities of books and records. There must have been millions of them.

    I asked the Teacher if all the books were here. He smiled and said:

    "Are there not enough? You can make your choice." …

        The book which I had opened was a treatise on spirits, human, angelic, and elemental [by Paracelsus]. It began with the definition of a human spirit as a spirit which had had the experience of life in human form; and it defined an elemental spirit as a spirit of more or less developed self-consciousness which had not yet had that experience.

    Then the author defined an angel as a spirit of a high order which had not had, and probably would not have in future, such experience in matter.

    He went on to state that angelic spirits were divided into two sharply defined groups, the celestial and the infernal, the former being those angels who worked towards harmony with the laws of God, the latter being those angels who worked against that harmony. But he said that both these orders of angels were necessary, each to the other's existence; that if all were good the universe would cease to be; that good itself would cease to be through the failure of its opposite—evil.

    He said that in the archives of the angelic regions there were cases on record where a good angel had become bad or a bad angel had become good, but that such cases were of rare occurrence.

    He then went on to warn his fellow souls who should be sojourning in that realm in which he then wrote, and in which I knew myself also to be, against holding communion with evil spirits. He declared that in the subtler forms of life there were more temptations than in the earth life; that he himself had often been assailed by malignant angels who had urged him to join forces with them, and that their arguments were sometimes extremely plausible.

    He said that while living on earth he had often had conversations with spirits both good and bad; but that while on earth he had never, so far as he knew, held converse with an angel of a malignant nature.

    He advised his readers that there was one way to determine whether a being of the subtler world was an angel or merely a human or an elemental spirit, and that was by the greater brilliancy of the light which surrounded an angel. He said that both good and bad angels were extremely brilliant; but that there was a difference between them, perceptible at the first glance at their faces; that the eyes of the celestial angels were aflame with love and intellect, while the eyes of the infernal angels were very unpleasant to encounter.

    He said that it would be possible for an infernal angel to disguise himself to a mortal, so that he might be mistaken for an angel of light; but that it was practically impossible for an angel to disguise his real nature from those souls who were living in their subtle bodies. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XIV.)

There are, as well as good, evil angels, who are with us not less constantly and they are also sometimes visible as Angels of Darkness when we come across. They are with us always and we are with them here when we leave our bodies. We are always swaying hither and thither towards our good and evil guides. We call them, or we did call them, impulses, wayward longings, aspirations, coming we know not where or whence. We see on this side where they come from. (Julia Ames, AD, 72-3.)

We were in the midst of these [good and evil] Beings always, but we mistook them for parts of ourselves. (Julia Ames, AD, 74)

These evil agencies exist. That I know. We see them; but we cannot fear them. For greater is He that is for us than all they that are against us. He is Love. And He is stronger than hate. The only power the Evil Ones have is due to our fear and lack of faith. They are powerless when we yield to the good Guardian who is ever near us or when we know God, who is love. I have not seen much of this evil side of life and my information must be more or less second-hand. (Julia Ames, AD, 74)

Ed. The next case appears to have happened on the Stony Plane, but is included here because it deals with a possible dark angel.

We had a case of doubt to deal with, and scarcely knew how to act for the best. It was that of a woman who had been over here for rather a long time, and who did not seem able to progress much. She was not a bad sort of person, but seemed to be uncertain of herself and everybody—round her. Her chief difficulty was about angels—whether they were all of light and goodness, or whether there were some of angelic estate and yet who were of the darkness. For some time we could not quite see why this should trouble her, as everything here seemed to be of love and brightness. But we found at last she had some relatives who had come over before her, and whom she had not seen, and could not find where they were. When we got at her real trouble we talked it over among ourselves, and then we went to the top of a hill and stated our wish to help her and asked to be shown the best way. A rather remarkable thing happened, as unexpected as helpful.

As we knelt there the whole summit of the hill seemed to become transparent and, as we were kneeling with bowed heads, we saw right through it, and a part of the regions below was brought out with distinctness. The scene we saw—and we all saw it, so there could be no delusion—was a dry and barren plain / in semi-darkness and, standing leaning against a rock, was a man of large stature. Before him, kneeling on the ground, with face in hands, was another smaller form. It was that of a man, and he seemed to be pleading with the other, who stood with a look of doubt upon his face. Then at last, with a sudden impulse, he stooped down and caught the prostrate form to his breast, and strode with him over the plain towards that horizon where a faint light glimmered.

He went a long journey with that burden and, when they came to a place where the light was stronger, he set him down and pointed out the way to him; and we saw the smaller form thank him again and again, and then turn and run towards the light. We followed him with our eyes, and then saw that the other had directed him to the bridge, of which I have told you already—only that end of it which is on the other side of the chasm. Still we could not understand why this vision had been shown to us, and we continued to follow the man until he had reached the large building which stands at the entrance of the bridge—not to guard it, but to watch for those who come and who require refreshment and help.

We saw that the man had been sighted from the watchtower, for a flash of light signalled the fact to those below and to those on the next watchtower along the bridge.

And then the hill resumed its normal aspect again, and we saw no more. We were more perplexed than ever now, and were descending the hill when our Chief Lady met us, and, / in her company, one who seemed to be a high officer in some part of our spheres, but whom we had not met before. She said he had come to explain to us the instruction we had just received. The smaller man was the husband of the woman whom we were trying to help, and we must tell her to go to the bridge and she would be given a lodging there, where she could wait till her loved one arrived. The larger man whom we had seen was what the woman would call an angel of darkness, for he was one of the more powerful spirits in that dark land. But, as we had observed, he was capable of a good deed. Why then, we asked, was he still in the regions of darkness?

The officer smiled and said, "My dear friends, the Kingdom of God our Father is a very much more wonderful place than you seem to imagine. You never yet have met with a realm or sphere which was complete in itself, and independent and separate from all other spheres. Nor are there any such. That dark angel blends within his nature many spheres of knowledge and goodness and badness. He remains where he is first because of the badness remaining in him, and which unfits him for the regions of light. He remains also because, while he could progress if he would, yet he does not wish to do so at present, partly because of his obstinacy, and partly because he still hates the light, and thinks those who set out upon the awful uphill way fools because the pains and agonies are sharper then by reason of the contrast which they see between the light and the darkness. So he remains; and there are multitudes such as he whom a kind of dull and numb / despair prevents coming over.

Also in his time of hatred and frenzy he is cruel. He had tortured and ill-treated this same man whom you saw with him from time to time, and that with the cruelty of a cowardly bully. But, as you saw, that wore itself out, and, when the man pleaded this last time, some soft chord in the heart of the other vibrated just a little, and, on the impulse, fearing a reversal of his intention, he liberated the victim who wished to make the journey, and pointed out to him the way, no doubt thinking in his heart that he was a fool and yet, perhaps, a wiser fool than he, after all."

This was new to us. We had not realized that there was any goodness in those dark regions before; but now we saw that it was but natural that there should be, or, if every one were totally bad, no one would ever desire to come to us here. (G. Vale Owen’s mother in LBV1, 65-8.)

Spirit Body Malformed Because of Evil

[The inhabitants of the Dark Plane] also grow younger [as do the inhabitants of the Summerlands], but their mental condition manifests itself in the appearance. They lack real beauty as we know it here. It is the mind that gives beauty to any face or form. That is more apparent in this world than in yours. (Gordon Burdick to Grace Rosher, TR, 41.)

The spirit body can assume very hideous spiritual malformations. These have nothing whatever to do with the formation of the physical body, but are due solely to the kind of life that its owner led upon earth. The malformations are various expressions of the hideousness that is resident within the mind, on many occasions that have found their outward expression in evil deeds of every description. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 48-9.)

Occasionally we were able to catch a glimpse of the faces of some unfortunates as we passed along. Some were unmistakably evil, showing the life of vice they had led upon the earth; some revealed the miser, the avaricious, the ‘brute beast.’ There were people here from almost every walk of earthly life, from the present time to far back in the centuries. And here was a connecting link with names that could be read in those truthful histories of nations in the library we visited in our realm. Both Edwin and his friend told us that we should be appalled at the catalogue of names, well known in history, of people who were living deep down in these noxious regions – men who had perpetrated vile and wicked deeds in the name of holy religion or for the furtherance of their own despicable, material ends. Many of these wretches were unapproachable and they would remain so – perhaps for numberless more centuries – until, of their own wish and endeavor, they moved however feebly in the direction of the light of spiritual progression. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 87.)

We could see, as we walked along, whole bands of seemingly demented souls passing on their way upon some prospective evil intent – if they could find their way to it. Their bodies presented the outward appearance of the most hideous and repulsive malformations and distortions, the absolute reflection of their evil minds. Many of them seemed old in years, but I was told that although such souls had been there perhaps for many centuries, it was not the passage of time that had so dealt with their faces, but their wicked minds. …

The multitudinous sounds that we heard were in keeping with the awful surroundings, from mad raucous laughter to the shriek of some soul in torment – torment inflicted by others as bad as himself. Once or twice we were spoken to by some courageous souls who were down there upon their tasks of helping these afflicted mortals. They were glad to see us and talk to us. In the darkness we could see them and they could see us, but we were all of us invisible to the rest, since we were provided with the same protection for the dark lands. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 87-8.)

The inhabitants were variously occupied: some were seated upon small boulders and gave every appearance of conspiring together, but upon what devilish schemes it was impossible to say. Others were in small group perpetrating unspeakable tortures upon the weaker of their kind who must, in some fashion, have fallen foul of their tormentors. Their shrieks were unbearable to listen to, and so we closed our ears to them, firmly and effectively. Their limbs were indescribably distorted and malformed, and in some cases their faces and heads had retrograded to the merest mockery of a human countenance. Others again we observed to be lying prone upon the ground as though exhausted from undergoing torture or because of expending their last remaining energy upon inflicting it before they could gather renewed strength to recommence their barbarities. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 137.)

We witnessed all manner of bestialities and grossness, and such barbarities and cruelties as the mind can scarcely contemplate. It is not my purpose nor my wish to give you a detailed account of what we beheld. We had, by no means, reached the very bottom of this foul pit, but I have given you quite sufficient details of what is to be found in the realms of darkness. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 137.)

It is possible for the sinner to resist here [i.e., to resist help from the transition guides or other spirit helpers] as he resisted with you [on the earth plane]. He will not listen, he will not see. And he takes a pleasure in consorting with others in whom love is not. (Julia Ames, AD, 186.)

When the sinner, the evil man, the selfish blinded man, comes over here he wishes to return. He is here in darkness and in poverty. For he has laid up for himself no treasures in this place. His possessions are all with you. He wishes to return and, if the door were wide open, he would return and never reform. Hence it is forbidden him…. Their hope of salvation, their chance of evolution, lies in their being deprived of the gauds and trumpery in which they invested their soul. Now [that] they are bankrupt they may begin again. They are like people who have invested in bogus stock, which pays dividends for a year or two out of capital and then goes smash. They must be made to realize the worthlessness of the world-stock before they will invest in things eternal. They must lose to gain. And what helps them [to maintain the illusion of the world’s trumpery being valuable] is to be allowed out of the outer darkness to see the world in which they sank their all going on just as it did without their being able to partake of the pleasures and indulge in the sins they loved so well. It is a cup of Tantalus. To open up communication between them and your world is for them not good but evil. And for you also it is evil. Hence it is mercifully restricted. (Julia Ames, AD, 180.)

When the sinner arrives here he is as it were in a great hospital. He is allowed still his freedom and he is not forbidden to sin, nor indeed can he help going on in the path which he has fashioned for himself by the thoughts and actions of his lifetime. But he sees now their vanity. He realizes the emptiness of the things in which he spent his life. Not all at once. But he learns and he is unhappy and that unhappiness, bringing sorrow for sin, is the door through which the ministering spirits of Love and Sympathy can enter in. And then, when he opens his eyes, he sees, at first but darkly and with much wondering whether it is a deluding dream, then he has entered upon the path that leads from self to Love, from hell to Heaven. And as each onward step is made, he increases in the longing for the service which will enable him to undo the wrong and spread the light. (Julia Ames, AD, 183-4.)

The Law pulls [the malevolent] to their own kind, and, as you were taught, they can usually only influence those who are foci of the same type of ‘evil’ – ‘Lack of Harmony’ - whereas a benevolent entity can influence as and when it likes, only limited by its own knowledge and power. (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 145.)

Cruelty perhaps cuts more deeply into human nature than any other … perversion. It marks the human soul, scars it more deeply than almost any other vice. The cruel man who has changed his natural craving for affection into a longing to give pain to others necessarily finds himself in a world here where he cannot satisfy this craving. He has pandered to it during all his earth life, and so it has become an integral part of his soul. In the new life he has not, for a time at any rate, the power to inflict pain on anything living. This means for him, with his greatly increased mental powers, a very terrible distress. He goes about seeking whom he may devour and finding naught. The misery of such an unsatisfied state is largely of a mental character. What use to him is a world of light and beauty while still this foul earth longing is unsatisfied? For him there is only one release from his mental purgatory. And until he can find a way of escape, until there is an actual change in his cold, cruel soul, he will remain in outer darkness.

Christ spoke of that outer darkness as being the lot of sinners. By this saying, He did not imply darkness as we know it--the darkness recognized by the senses. He meant a darkness of soul, a mental distress, a perverted desire that cannot find its satisfaction.

Eventually this individual faces up to his own misery, to his vice; and then the great change comes. He is put in touch with a portion of the Great Memory which Saint John has called the Book of Life. He becomes aware of all the emotions roused in his victims by his acts. He enters into a small part of the mighty Super-conscious Memory of his generation which hovers near the earth. No pain, no anguish he has caused has perished. All has been registered, has a kind of existence that makes him sensible of it once he has drifted into touch with the web of memory that clothed his life and the lives of those who came into contact with him on earth.

The history of the cruel man in the Hereafter would make a book which I am not permitted to write. I can only briefly add that his soul or mind becomes gradually purified through his identification with the sufferings of his victims.

I have wandered away from [my] theme … to explain what is meant by Christ's statement that the sinner is cast into outer darkness where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. It is a mental darkness into which the sinner plunges. His own perverted nature has drawn this suffering upon himself. He had free will, the power to choose, and, temporarily at any rate, he chose this mental darkness in the After-life. (Frederick W.H. Myers, RTI, n.p.)

Rescue Work on the Dark Plane

General Discussions of Dark-Plane Rescue Work

There is sin and sorrow on this side. Hell is on this side as well as Heaven. But it is the joy of Heaven to be always emptying Hell. (Julia Ames, AD, 47.)

Oh, for the righting of the wrong, for the delivering of the oppressed, for the uplifting of the dwellers in the abyss, these are the Valhalla glories of our life – the Sports of Heaven. (Julia Ames, AD, 186.)

 "[The dark plane] exists, and is one of the great opportunities for work for the great and blessed spirits who undertake it. …

  "We are … blessed with the sight of the brave spirits who are working with the depraved ones, and we are also blessed with the knowledge that their work is not in vain. Of course all who come are not vicious; only unspiritual, living in the material thought. These are slow to come into the life of the spirit, but come far more rapidly than those whose evil natures have to be transformed.

  "We … have been watching the work of some of our fine spirits with the low and debased ones of earth, and were filled with the pity of it; the unnecessary waste of lives there and the unnecessary waste of time here in bringing them into spirit lives. Then too, all these brave teachers who give themselves to this work might be released for other and pleasanter work, if only —if only, the earth people knew the truth." (Unnamed spirit not engaged in transition work, describing it to Charlotte E. Dresser in LHH, 152-3.)

I see that you are wondering why rescue parties should “waste their time,” as you put it, in descending to these levels. This is always done in the company of very exalted beings from the higher spheres, who have progressed beyond human thought and attained true compassion. Their very presence ventilates the place and sheds light in their stygian darkness. Those who are not ready for reform shrink away from [their light], seeking the cover of darkness to continue their misdeeds. In others, it breeds an uneasiness of mind and the inkling of a desire for better things. For these souls, the light is gradually increased according to their desire to accept it. But no soul is condemned to everlasting punishment. Help is always at hand for those who recognize their need for it. (Clifford McLean in LFM, 95.)

We have the unworthy ones to guide and the wicked ones to convert, and the time and patience given to this work is more than any occupation on earth would probably demand. The unworthy ones are always with us, therefore that work is never done. (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth in SW, 96.)

[Gordon was asked to go to] a place of correction for those who have lived wickedly and who at last wish to receive forgiveness and make amends. We are sent to tell them that if they could prove their sincerity we would help them to raise their standard or condition of life to a higher level. Then they would be able to give proof of their ability to lead a better life and later be able to move to a higher plane. Once men and women have taken their first step, we can really help them on and give them instruction about the real and spiritual life for which we are all created. …

I was glad that I could go to this place again. When I was sent there before, I was very far from knowing what I do now and it was a very hard experience. When you realize that in even the lowest soul there is a divine spark, you know that regeneration is possible. (Gordon Burdick to Grace Rosher, TR, 40.)

There are souls called the ‘shining ones’ who dedicate themselves to going into this dark realm and bringing spiritual light. The souls who are dedicated to this work of rehabilitation are clothed in protective garments so that they are not harmed or pierced by the daggerlike thoughts of hatred which those in the dark realms are throwing out.

The shining ones are not allowed to go and talk to these people, but they stand nearby and call to them through thought – prayer, if you like. The moment souls in this dark area respond in a positive way, the ones who have come to help are able to bring them out into a less dense, foggy world and eventually out into the realm of light. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 57-8.)

There arose one other of [the men in this region of darkness that Arnel and his party are visiting] who came and took [the cursing spirit that Arnel had been speak to] aside. This one had been sitting among them and was drab of dress as any of them. Yet there was gentleness in his movements and somewhat of grace … which was surprising to us. He spoke to him awhile and then they came back to me and this companion said: ‘Sir, this man did not quite understand the purpose of your words, nor that you really did come to comfort and to taunt. He is some little repentant that he spoke to you in words such as were unseemly … Of your kindness, speak to him again….”

I was very much surprised at this speech, so quietly uttered, while the brawling noises came from all around us and shrieks and curses intermingled from the groups by the first upon the plain. I felt that my business was with him in chief, for I had a sure conviction that could I impress him we would through him be able to concern his companions in their future course for he seemed dominant among them and of consequence. …

[The man said to Arnel:} “I ought no longer to delay the discovery of myself to you. I am not of this region, sir, but of the Fourth Sphere, and I am here by choice to do service, such as I am able, among these poor darkened souls.’ ‘Do you live here constant’ I inquired of him, amazed; and he replied, ‘For a long time, yes. But when depression becomes too heavy, I return for a little while for replenishing to my own home and then come hither once again.’ ‘How often?’ I asked him. ‘Since I came here first,’ he said, ‘some sixty years have gone in earth-time and I have returned to my home nine times. Several of those I knew on earth came here in the first early period, but none of late; they be all strangers now. Yet I still continue to help them one by one.’

At this I marveled greatly and ashamed.

Here my party came on tour and thought it a virtue so to do. But the one who stood before me brought to my mind Another, who laid His glory aside and emptied Himself that others might be filled. I think I did not realize in fullness till then what it meant that a man should lay down his life for his friend, aye, and those friends such as these and to dwell with them in these regions of the shadow of death. (Spirit communicator Arnel in LBV, quoted in Lord Dowding, MM, 62-3.)

Could earth people come to realize what they might do for those in the Hells, they would lessen, by their prayers for them, the ills they themselves ssuffer. For by lifting those poor spirits more into the light, and softening their anguish, they would lessen both the numbers and the malice of those who rush to earth to trouble those of like nature with themselves and, through them, the whole of mankind.

It is well for men to look upward and strive towards the light. It is of more virtue to look downwards towards those who have sore need of strength so they may rise out of their unhappy spheres. For, bethink you, friend, this the Christ did long ago and thus they do today. (Spirit communicator Arnel in LBV, quoted in Lord Dowding, MM, 71.)

You must know that spirituality means light, literally, with us here in the spirit world. And absence of spirituality means darkness. The soul in the latter case will be just a dark image, the darker it is the more repulsive and hideous, like the life it led upon earth and which is the cause of the blackness. But a dark life may have been relieved in some minute instance by a good action, some kind action, and that will provide [a] small glimmer of light…. We can work upon that, as it were, to recall to the mind and try to show its owner the difference between this tiny gleam and the rest of its dingy, dark habiliments.

If the soul will listen to reason, then we can make some headway and so increase the light by the owner’s willingness to cleanse the rest of himself. If our words fail to affect the soul in any way, then, perforce, we must let it go upon its way until better thoughts and ideas and wishes come upon the soul in its darkness. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 36.)

You can understand that this is exacting work for us, in spite of the fact that we do not suffer from physical fatigue. Nevertheless, we cannot continue in such enervating conditions without feeling mentally rather jaded and so we emerge once more into the light of our own realms. In the meantime, others will take our places so that no transition is left unattended. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 36.)

Q: If all is, from the point of view of eternity, so temporary, why is it of supreme importance to dig these people [of the lowest astral] out of their trouble?

A: Because it is cumulative. The more muddled, miserable there are who, when they get here, give up and go under to the ever insidious forces of the vacuum [evil or negation], the more these forces grow in power and (though this surely could not happen) the logical result, in the end, would be an unbalancing of universal power and, so, chaos and destruction, but this is unthinkable.

Also, the advanced people are, I am told, affected to an extent by very great waves of misery and malice. I myself am only a tiny atom devoted to Law, and, if that misery so distresses me that I would give my whole energies to the task of mitigation, you must see that those steeped in the infinite compassion of the Christ ray can never be at rest till something is done. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 25.)

There you have the whole crux of the matter. If you are ‘bad’ you repel what is ‘good’ – so you prevent yourself getting help from more advanced people. They are ‘repelled.’ It requires a strong, sustained effort of will for a more advanced entity to get into the consciousness of a degraded one, and unless there is good reason for doing this, such as a love bond or some service to pay back, people here – who retain a good many similar traits to those on earth – are not apt to put themselves out to make so strong an effort. They go about their own business.

It must be awful, darling, to have lost all power of attracting help – awful! It doesn’t bear thinking about. When I think of what I’ve seen in the lower astral, the idea of being left outside the barrier, defenceless, against that, is so appalling that I shudder. But there are very few people who are entirely defenceless. And, anyhow, it’s not so clear-cut as that. There seem to be billions of cross-currents and vibrations impinging on each other. That’s why a positive determined outlook is such a help – and [the] ability to steer one’s own ship. (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 205.)

My set are mostly ex-Service men, young (from the point of view of their last incarnation) and gay and we work among our own sort. Also, we need a good deal of power, for we have to do some ticklish jobs. We fight … with the force of magnetic thought, to disperse “clumps” of evil thought images, entities who, also obeying the law of attraction, are forming nuclei of negation, seeking to dominate the less evolved who are merely weak.

To do this, we have deliberately to “lower our frequency,” by a certain process, and so to open our eyes to what is going on. That’s what I meant by going down into the lower astral. It is not exactly a descent in your sense, for space is neither up or down: it is everywhere.

What we do is to reduce our “speed.” It is almost impossible to put into words that you can understand, but by doing this, we become visible to the lower planes and they to us. Otherwise they can’t impinge on us. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 30.)

I have looked into hell! I may have to return to that region. I shall be given my choice. Grant that I may be strong enough to offer myself freely. Hell is a thought region. Evil dwells there and works out its purposes. The forces used to hold mankind down in the darkness of ignorance are generated in hell! It is not a place; it is a condition. The human race has created the condition. It has taken millions of years to reach its present state. I dare not tell you what I saw there. My brother needed help. A soldier had been killed who had committed very evil deeds. I will draw a veil over them. He was a degenerate, a murderer, a sensualist. He died cursing God and man. An awful death. This man was drawn towards hell by the law of attraction. My brother had been told … to rescue him. He took me with him. At first I refused to go. Then I went. … An angel of light came to protect us; otherwise we should have been lost in the blackness of the pit. This sounds sensational, even grotesque. It is the truth.

The power of evil! Have you any idea of its mighty strength, its lure? Can that power be an illusion too? The angel said so. The angel said the power of hell was now at its supreme height. It drew its power from man! As man rose toward spiritual life the powers of darkness would subside and finally become extinguished. ‘Extinguished’ is my word. The angel said ‘transmuted.’ That conception is quite beyond me. We descended gloomy avenues. The darkness grew. There was a strange allurement about the atmosphere. Even the angel’s light grew dim. I thought we were lost. At moments I hoped we were lost. So strong is the attraction. I cannot understand it. Something sensual within me leapt and burned. I thought I had emptied myself of self before undertaking this great adventure. Had I done so, I should have been safe. As it was, I should have been lost but for the angel’s and my brother’s help. I felt the giant lusts of the human race. They thrilled through me. I could not keep them out. We descended deeper. I say ‘descended.’ If hell is not a place, how can one ‘descend’? I asked my brother. He said we were not moving in a physical sense. Our progress depended on certain thought processes evoked by the Will. (Private Thomas Dowding, PD, 14.)

I never reached the point where the rescue was attempted. The angel and my brother went on alone. I waited for their return in what seemed to be a deep dark forest. There was no life, no light there. One felt stagnation everywhere. The angel said that this was the most insidious kind of hell, stagnation, because no one recognized it as such. (Private Thomas Dowding, PD, 33.)

Those who die filled with thoughts of selfishness and sensuality are attracted down the grey avenues toward this hell of the senses. The darkness of the deep forests appals, the loneliness is intense. … These poor souls hasten onwards, though not toward destruction; there is no such thing. They hasten down into conditions that are the counterpart of their own interior condition. The Law [of Affinity] is at work. This hell is the hell of the illusions and is itself an illusion. (Private Thomas Dowding, PD, 33-4.)

Those who enter it are led to believe that the only realities are the sense passions and the beliefs of the human ‘I.’ This hell consists in believing the unreal to be real. It consists in the lure of the senses without the possibility of gratifying them. I was told a great deal more about this awful region, but I must not pass it on. The angel said that the ‘condition’ would ultimate dissolve into nothingness. Hell, apparently, or that part of it we are speaking about, depends for its existence on human thoughts and feelings. (Private Thomas Dowding, PD, 34.)

The race will never rise to greatness until the passions are controlled. This refers to nations and individuals. On earth I was never interested in such matters. I did not realize the existence of the sexual canker at the heart of human life. What a terrible thing this is! Do not wait until you come over here. Set to work at once. … Gain control of self. Then retain control by emptying yourself of self. (Private Thomas Dowding, PD, 34.)

All the thoughts of lust and passion, greed, hatred, envy, and, above all, selfishness, passing through the minds of men and women, generate the ‘condition’ called hell. (Private Thomas Dowding, PD, 34.)

No outside power can attract a man against his will. A man sinks or rises through the action of a spiritual law of gravity. He is never safe until he has emptied himself completely. (Private Thomas Dowding, PD, 35.)

The angel and my brother returned. They had found him for whom they sought. He would not come away. They had to leave him there. Fear held him. He said his existence was awful, but he was afrai8d to move for fear worse conditions befell.

Fear chained him. No outside power can unchain that man. Release will come from within some day. Sadly we returned to our own places. I began to realize what power King Fear holds over nearly all of us. The angel said that Fear would be destroyed when Love came into her own. (Private Thomas Dowding, PD, 35.)

I cannot entirely shake off the effects of my visit to the lower regions, where evil reigns as lord and king.

It appears that evil is not real or permanent. Its power is permanent, but this power can be transmuted until it serves ends that are divine. More than this I cannot say because I do not know. If you can realize that evil has no real existence and can be eliminated entirely from human life, you will have learnt much. (Private Thomas Dowding, PD, 38.)

All Sincere Cries are Heard

Q: If you were to cry out for help, would you get it?

The cries would have to be sincere within the heart. You would have to know and understand the wrong-doing of your life, the places where you should have helped your fellowman along the way, and the un-doing of all the wrongs that you have done. If these conditions are met, you would be given help. However you would not be allowed to leave such a place until the purging has cleaned out your aura. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 37.)

Q: Are there others, either in the body or out of the body on the others die, able to help these people?

Yes, they are, if the people are willing to be helped. However, if you’re one who is in the darkness, it would take many years of your earth time before you would be receptive enough to seek help, for you are condemning self, and it would be of your own choice, your own volition. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 38.)

The Process of Voluntary Descent from the Summerlands to the Lower Planes

The journey to this place is difficult and wearying for we have, by concentrated thought power, to ‘slow down’ our vibrations so that our ‘bodies’ will be enabled to endure the physical conditions pertaining therein. (Frances Banks, TOL, 97.)

We could visit [the lower planes] whenever we desired. We can always proceed to a realm lower than our own, while we cannot always mount higher. But it was by no means advisable to wander into the lower spheres except under expert guidance or before proper tuition had been given. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 104.)

To visit the lower realms it is necessary to have – for one’s own protection – certain powers and symbols, of which Edwin told us he was in full possession. Such places are not for the curiosity seekers, and no one would be foolish enough to go there for any purpose other than a legitimate one. Those who wander in that direction alone, without authority, are soon turned back by kindly souls whose work it is to save others from the perils that lie beyond. Many souls are continuously passing backwards and forwards across that sad border in the performance of their work. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 62.)

Q: If those you love are at a different rate of spiritual development, then you cannot be with them unless one chooses to adjust to his rate of vibration?

A: Unless they are within the darkness, you can be with them. If they are within the darkness, you can be granted periodic visitations, shall we say, to see them. But a soul in the light cannot travel in the dark without guidance. There are restrictions on that.

But, if the entity was a very negative person and found himself in a realm of negativity and someone he loved died and was in a positive plane, he could not go to see the loved one because then he would be taking his negative aspects into the positive, which would dissolve their beauty. (1) But the person with the positive attributes would be allowed to visit those in the negative or lower realm with no danger.

Q: Are they able to help them when they meet?

A: Oh, yes, very much so. And it is love, once again, educating the soul to the need for change and growth; however, the soul will need to reincarnate again in order to test it then, on the earth plane, for it is through the earth life that your stage of evolution is determined. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 28-9.)

(1) The person in darkness may on occasion be allowed visits to higher realms to inspire and spur on his or her efforts to ascend.

I would have liked to ask Hassein a great many more questions about the astral plane and its many curious forms of life, but we were now fast leaving it behind, and passing downwards through those lower spheres which I had partly explored before. We were traveling through space at a wonderful velocity, not quite with the rapidity of thought but at a speed difficult for the mind of mortal to conceive. Onward and still onward we swept, sinking ever lower and lower away from the bright spheres, and as we sank a certain sense of awe and expectancy crept over our souls and hushed our talk. We seemed to feel in advance the horrors of that awful land and the sorrows of its inhabitants.

And now I beheld afar off great masses of inky black smoke which seemed to hang like a pall of gloom over the land to which we were approaching. As we still floated on and down, these great black clouds became tinged with lurid sulphurous-looking flames as from myriads of gigantic volcanoes. The air was so oppressive we could scarcely breathe, while a sense of exhaustion, such as I had never experienced before, seemed to paralyze my every limb. At last our leader gave the order for us to halt, and we descended on the top of a great black mountain which seemed to jut out into a lake of ink, and from which we saw on the horizon that awful lurid country.

Here we were to rest for a time, and here, too, we were to part from our friends who had so far escorted us upon our journey. After a simple repast consisting of various sustaining spiritual fruits and food which we had brought with us, our leader on behalf of the whole company offered up a short prayer for protection and strength, and then we all lay down upon that bleak mountain top to rest. (A. Farnese, WSL,

Some Helpers on the Dark Plane

There are wonderful Helpers in these regions. These have to be advanced souls, strong in themselves and firm in the Light before they can choose to do such work. Whilst I was there on a visit, I saw the face of a Being of such beauty that I was arrested in my progress onwards and had to stop awhile just to be in the aura of this Great One. I learned afterwards that he had been almost a saint on earth. He was a great mystic, though an unlettered philosopher. Now he is the Leader of a Band of Helpers here and the Light of his countenance, though toned down for his patients to the potency they can stand, is glorious. My Conductor told me that this is his final training work and is a preparation for a high mission on which this great Soul will embark.

I was not sure whether this presaged a return to earth conditions as a Great Teacher or Seer, or whether this is a prelude to undergoing further initiation into greater mysteries. I asked as many questions on the subject as could be answered, and was informed that he was indeed a Master of Wisdom and a most saintly soul, devoted to the Christ and one of a great / band of potential World Redeemers. He has been in the Spheres for more than three centuries, as time is reckoned on earth, and has ‘passed through’ many of the Higher Planes, being a Member of a Brotherhood of Light. His selfless service here is an unspoken lesson. The Sisters reverence Him. Some of them have joined his Band of Helpers and have worked under His Direction, returning to the Home for rest and recuperation after the arduous duties. I know that Father Joseph often visits here and works in the Band. (Frances Banks, TOL, 81-2.)

[These] guardians are only visible to those poor people, in proportion to the light that has been generated in their hearts. (G. Vale Owen’s mother in LBV1, 40.)

John Heslop from the “Christ Sphere” Works on the Dark Plane

I have been made the head of a Band for rescue work. We go to the undeveloped spheres and preach to, and try to reclaim, those immature souls who have left your world in a state of sin. Oh, the horror and darkness of those places!

Often we have a summons from one of the chiefs who direct our spiritual work. These orders come as swiftly as a vibration of light and instantly we make ready to obey. In one of these darkened spheres are those whose pitiful condition calls forth my special sympathy. Sometimes, and this was so last week, they act as those bereft of mental balance and it is then that our services are specially needed.

These states are very dismal and dangerous to those who enter them. Before going we have to obtain a garment of protective magnetism. This shields us and protects us. At the same time, we generate from within the power to make our presence known. (John Heslop, SABL, 28.)

In the Temple of our King special organizations exist to uplift these poor souls. Streams of spirit-light are directed toward them and assist those who minister in these darkened spheres. When we go, it is always in Bands and we journey in the pathway of light. I will not attempt to describe the terrible scenes we witness. It would only distress you. Suffice it to say that here man’s inherent selfishness and cruelty are allowed to work themselves out. And we speak to them of the love of the Father and rescue souls for God. (John Heslop, SABL, 29.)

I have been away on a mission to the Land of Darkness. I had a sudden call to go there, to help one to whom I am appointed to minister.

Your world is in darkness when compared with the Christ Sphere, but it is brilliant when contrasted with those regions where I have just been. There are souls there filled with the torture of remorse, more bitter than anything you can conceive possible. Truly they must work out their own salvation with strong crying and many tears. And we go to carry comfort to them. To speak of the love of the Divine Saviour, which alone can lead them out of darkness into His glorious light.

We are rejoicing today because we have brought up one out of the bitterness of despair into the first glimmering of hope and light and love. So you see I have been at work and my labour has not been in vain. (John Heslop, SABL, 29-30.)

At the moment I am far away in my spirit body on God’s work, helping our poor lost one, who needs so much care just now. Oh, if you could only see and hear this poor soul and realize the agony from which we have so recently rescued her, you would know that I cannot leave her yet. She so often falls back into despair and needs all the encouragement and help that we can give her. Pray for her, dear, to our Divine Lord and so aid me in my work for only He can lifet her our of the darkness into His fuller light.

My present work is very difficult, requiring constant tact and patience, and sometimes I almost lose heart. And I long to be with you for in many ways I feel you need me. Yet the command comes that I go and minister to that poor soul far away in a distant star. (John Heslop, SABL, 30-1.)

I want to write you because I know how you miss John when he is away. He is very busy with the case of which he spoke to you in a recent letter. It is one of special interest to him. By his loving service he has been instrumental in bringing this soul out of the darkness of the underworld into a region of hope. He is very successful with sin-laden souls; his loving sympathy and gentle manner often touch them, where many others have failed. He has a special aptitude for presenting the truth clearly and convincingly. (An uncle of F. Heslop’s in the spirit realms, speaking of her husband, John, in SABL, 31.)

I was called away last Monday…. I went into the dark places of the underworld. It was a sudden call and I was there some little time. Oh, my dear, pray for this poor soul with me. He needs our prayers more sorely than you can even dimly imagine, that he may be delivered from his present evil surroundings and lifted into light and peace.

You see, we can do absolutely nothing until the desire for purity and goodness awakens within the soul. We have watched this one, longing for the first gleam of desire after holiness, and, thank God, this was my message on Monday. So I flew to him on a ray of light, with other loving spirits, that we might foster that little flame of good desire, for fear it flickered out into despair. Truly there is joy among the angels when a sinner repents! And now I bid you pray with us for his complete restoration, that he may arise and repent, and retrieve his evil past for the way of transgressors is hard.

Your heart would ache could you see him now. For the first time he has been brought to see his sin as it really is, and he is crushed to the ground by grief and remorse. We all pray with him and for him, that he may realize the divine love of God and the forgiveness He is willing to bestow [on] every repentant soul. But it will be long before he can pay up every debt he has incurred and undo the evil of a life spent in sin.

God is in everything and He is absolutely pure and good. It was His intention that His divine purity should be the life of all His creation. But He gave man free will. He is free to absorb and live in the perpetual sunshine of this radiant life, but for centuries he has turned away from it. He has vitiated the atmosphere of holiness and purity, and disease and sin have resulted. You must always remember man’s free will because it is a powerful factor for good or evil. (John Heslop, SABL, 34.)

I do not much go to Borderland nor to the first and second spheres because my work does not lie there, (1) except on the rare occasions when I am sent down for the special help of one, probably known to me in the earth life. (John Heslop, FMABL, 7-8.)

(1) Note that this message comes from a book of letters published some time after the first one. By now, John Heslop is no longer visiting the lower spheres.

Philip and Alice Gilbert Work among Nazis

There will be a sticky mess of evil spirits let loose here soon when that Belsen crowd (1) gets over. The woman is a black magician and will be ‘liquidated.’ She had to incarnate first. Why, I don’t understand, but, before you can be ‘annulled,’ you have to re-incarnate – perhaps as a last chance. (2) (Philip Gilbert, PTW, 107-8.)

(1) “The Belsen crowd” are the Nazis officers of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp who were hanged in mid-December 1945. The woman, whom Philip later names as “Irma,” is probably Irma Grese, SS officer and notorious torturer and murderer. An Internet article on her appears below, following the excerpt on the Nazis’ arrival on the astral plane.
(2) Cf: “Hopelessly perverse souls may be given the chance of rebirth on earth, but it is tantamount to starting all over again.” (Philemon [Archdeacon Wilberforce] quoted by Lord Dowding, MM, 92.)

I have been in the lower vibrational – lower even than the average earth vibrations – plane. A.L. (1) took me on an instructional trip, but, believe me, I’ve no desire to go there again. Imagine a dull grey-black mist – almost no light and a feeling as if one were trying to make progress through a viscous clammy jelly. Yet when we went, this mist cleared, to an extent, before us. In this jelly-like mist drift horrors – thought images caused during thousands of years of foul thinking, for no wind ever seems to blow there to clear the atmosphere. I shall not attempt to describe to you the foul images I saw, but to me some of the milder ones were not altogether strange, for, as I told you, I went over the ruins of Pompeii and saw the murals. But that type were not the worst – it was the evil hate which seemed to emanate from the worst of those drifting visions which almost penetrated me – helped by A.L. I made myself positive and gave out power and found that, by doing this and looking steadily at what I feared, I could dispel it, for they were not living spirits – simply impregnated evil thought images.

- Are there people there? -

Yes, unfortunately, shrunken entities with black or dingy grey auras. Sometimes they seemed, at a distance, quite charming to look at, but when you saw clearly, the glow of malice from their eyes was appalling. They seemed so full of ill-will and they were striving to thwart and pain each other incessantly.

- What could they do? -

The stronger willed could cause fear to weaker ones who were not quite so low in the scale, just as on earth, nightmare images can haunt. And amongst each other, the stronger ones frustrated constantly each other’s efforts to crate a pleasing environment. If you can imagine being surrounded by petty hatred on all sides, in a land without light – yet never any restful pitch-black darkness, you’ll get an idea. It is always light enough to see the thought-images.

- Is there any way of them evolving? -

Yes, sometimes ‘scavenging’ is done. On our visit we attracted two women who struggled to follow us. When their determination is strong enough, they may be allowed to return to earth as savages and begin a new phase or they may be allowed to do ‘scavenging’ themselves. A glimmer of light may pierce their gloom.

- Then there is a sort of ‘hell’? -

Well, yes, if you call it that, but it is an inevitable drifting to their own type of person, a heavy gluey atmosphere caused by their slow rate of vibration. And it seems that what your Teacher (2) said in your messages was right – it is hatred and cruelty which are the really unpopular sins, in the eyes of the Higher Plane people. Nobody likes the job of going rescuing among that crowd and the worst ones sink and sink until they become vacuum – and are ‘liquidated.’ It’s not so much brutality of an animal kind, but real mental cruelty, a pleasure in hurting others, which, as you were told, cannot be escaped from. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 131-3.)

(1) Abdul Latif, the Gilberts’ spiritual control. (PTW, 183.)
(2) The “Unknown Teacher,” the Gilbert’s leader.

You too go into the astral ‘underworld’ at times. But they use you more to help the confused and the people who have suffered dreadfully in their pre-death conditions. Yours is a more feminine role! Also, how shall I put it, you are not quite tolerant (only that’s not the exact word) enough to go down to the real scum. One has to combat, yet not denounce with enmity. I don’t quite know how to explain it myself, what I have to do. Even the most debased of horrors – you’ll seem they are negation really, so why worry? Just dispel it – that’s all. You don’t denounce a slug, do you? You just put salt on it!! (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 134.)

There was a very strong, dominating and possessive ex-airman pursuing his companion unceasingly. They’d had some sort of unlovely relationship on earth and the second chap was as weak as a rabbit. Yet he’d done many kindnesses and so deserved help and I was sent on the job. So I made a third in the party and talked magnetically to the rabbit and, being easily impressed, he began to listen eagerly to all I said. I then set a strong protective thought-wall around him and showed him how to concentrate. The other tried to butt in so I gave out power and held him back. He was an unpleasant, greedy brute and I willed him to gravitate to his correct sphere: he’d been so strong that he had temporarily resisted the magnetic urge to get to his kind. Finally, I saw him very slowly and unwillingly impelled towards a charming group of Nazis, Glascow thugs and a gangster or two. There he can find his own level! (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 166-7.)

Yesterday, I tried myself on a nasty bit of work – a Nazi leader who was trying to dominate a mass of his victims, all of them earth-bound, muddled, ill in spirit and with no means of raising themselves from the planes of his vibrations for they had been very material in all their earth conceptions.

I held this focus of evil with my eyes and tried to hook on to the thought of the Old Man [the chief control or “Unknown Teacher”]. There was a response so that my sense of power seemed to expand, and, slowly, the reddish black aura of that scoundrel seemed to shrink inwards. He seemed to deflate, like one of those balloon pigs I used to play with. Then his victims closed round him – I left them to it. It was not a pleasant job, but this kind of astral ‘scavenging’ seems to be badly needed. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 126.)

We’re getting ready for … the letting loose here of that Belsen crowd. (1) They must not let dodge the inevitable consequence. Nor that anyone can, for long, but if the will is very strong, they can resist, and also do as much damage to others as possible before being swept up to their own place. (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 176-7.)

(1) Philip is referring to a group of Nazis to be executed for their crimes at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

I can tell you, in my job here, some toughness is needed for when I cope with what are politely known as the ‘unevolved’ I need guts! It’s the determined ones who come over prepared to throw their weight about here as anywhere and are at once taken into partnership by certain untoward Forces who are tests of one’s power – power to resist and to dominate. It’s not only their will to escape me, but their will to impregnate me with themselves.

They will never do this as long as I am serving and helped by the Master, but I am still near enough to earth conditions to feel the pull of certain sorts of evil, yet my loathing of it when it looks our stark and naked from the eyes of certain spirits here is infinitely stronger than these faint and earthy physical recollections.

They tell me it is because I can still visualize that evil that I am sent to fight it efficiently – hence the jobs I’m given sometimes. The very advanced who dwell always on the higher planes simply can’t contact such evil.

Yes, the impression you got when you saw the film of the Nuremberg trial was right. I and a few friends have been there watching it. There is a wedge of concentrated malice and evil in that dock that glowers astrally like a red-black murk.

Mind you, some of the people trying them are not spiritual! But, in sum, they are advancing – though their morality is based more on the intellect than the spirit, they are on the upward grade.

The Belsen crowd (1) are nearly due – I and some others have to go on that job. (Philip Gilbert on December 8, 1945, to his mother in PTW, 178-9.)

(1) Of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp Nazi officers.

We coped with the Belsen gang, but the details are difficult to describe. With some, it was easy for they were cowards and perverts and made no positive attempt to assert themselves. They all, of course, knew they were dead.

The most evil, Irma, (1) was absorbed at once into what is her kind, a descending whirlpool of, as it might be called, sewage. They tell me that there are, very, very rarely, entities who get so low that they can only descend – and be liquidated. We don’t like to think of it here. She has a strong will and there was need to exert power upon her – her aura was the foulest I’ve yet seen, or smelt… Yes – to us, the aura gives off a certain usually faint ‘odour,’ pleasant or otherwise. Dogs can sense this.

Irma was an ‘old soul’ in the bad sense – she had been forced to re-incarnate as a last chance.

After we had ‘coped,’ we went to the fountain of light in the plane above, and bathed, to refresh ourselves. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 197.)

(1) Probably Irma Grese, a notorious SS officer at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, known as “the angel of death.” An Internet article on her follows. It is noteworthy that, if this article is correct, it substantiates Philip’s messages on the subject. The message in which Philip acknowledges that he has dealt with “the Belsen gang” is dated December 27, 1945; Irma was hanged, according to the following article, on December 13, 1945.

”Irma Grese, The Angel of Death”

“Irma was captivated by Hitler and joined a Nazi youth group. She was later sent to Ravensbruck which was used to train female SS guards. Here she became a camp guard. She was then transferred to Auschwitz where in 1943 she became the senior SS-supervisor which is the second-highest rank a female camp guard could have. In this position she had virtually complete control of over 30, 000 female prisoners. Many survivors provide extensive accounts of the murders, beatings, and tortures that Irma engaged in. She was known for her arbitrary shooting of prisoners, sexual excesses, cruelty and her unrelenting half starved dogs that she would unleash on the prisoners. She was thought to be held accountable for nearly 30 murders a day. Many survivors remember her being dressed in heavy boots and carrying a plaited whip and pistol to beat her prisoners, often to the point of death. These atrocities continued in the Bergen-Belsen camp where she was transferred in 1945…. When Bergen-Belsen was liberated, there were three human lampshades found in her quarters.

“After the camp commandant Josef Kramer, Irma Grese became the most notorious defendant at the Belsen trial. Irma's only defense during the trial was that ‘Himmler is responsible for all that has happened but I suppose I have as much guilt as the others above me.’ Irma was sentenced to death and was hanged on December 13th, 1945.

“Irma, for all intents and purposes could have grown up to be a perfectly normal woman, not a torturing murderer. She fully adopted the anti-Semitic rhetoric and even referred to her prisoners as ‘dreck’ or trash, sub-humans. Also, in her defense statement, we can see that she felt she was following orders and that they should bear the brunt of the responsibility. This girl was corrupted at a young age by what she heard from Hitler and learned in her Nazi youth group, and by the extreme amount of power placed in her hands at the young age of 19.” (Downloaded from, 15 Jan. 2008.)

I have surged outwards – now this shining luminosity must cloak itself (1) and dip into the grey shadows and bring them into life – I am back in ‘lower astral’ but differently – I do not use the earlier techniques; I go in a dark cloak through which gleams light. (2) (Philip Gilbert in ITE, 9.)

(1) Philip is now speaking from a vantage point years after the earlier passages. His experience of being has greatly expanded.
(2) Cf. a similar passage in John’s Heslop’s book: “These states are very dismal and dangerous to those who enter them. Before going we have to obtain a garment of protective magnetism. This shields us and protects us. At the same time, we generate from within the power to make our presence known.” (SABL, 28.)

[Ross] has been with me into the darker places – he is a good companion, steady, unafraid. We wrapped ourselves round like monks and impinged on the shadows we found. Hate and fear flowed out but we gave out light. (Philip Gilbert in ITE, 27.)

The withdrawal you sensed has been into the darkness of the ‘lower astral’ again, though my penetration of this condition of ill-directed thought is not as it was when I first came here and described it nor even as I went in my later efforts. I rarely now build myself an astral form – I impinge on the black miasma of unbalanced emotion and I seek to draw it into myself and this may cause pain.

This power does not work with blaze and crackle for it is part of the dynamo itself which motivates the Mind Sphere and great purity of purpose is demanded if one wants to use it. For any selfish thought creates an obstacle to the current of beauty – and so causes destruction. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in ITE, 75.)

I, having armoured myself with this all-surrounding wall of light can go down where I do go and be untouched by the harsh and “shrieking” rays almost devoid of harmony which impact on me there. I am “insulated,” provided I keep my consciousness steady and full of compassion. If I yield to a feeling of disgust or self-satisfaction, then their force can get through my chinks, for I lose my one-ness with harmony.

It is very difficult to understand and explain this. It is not “moral talk” – I it is a scientific fact of rays. It’s all law. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 66.)

The Journey Upward

When [those who wish to progress] break away, and come to the other end of the bridge [between the dark and lighter planes], I am told that the noises which are heard from behind them are horrible; and dull red flashes of fire are seen. How that is caused I am not able clearly to state, but we are told that both the yells and screeches and howls, and also the flashes, / are made by those left behind who are enraged because of their powerlessness to recapture the fugitive, or to hold him as he is slipping away; for evil is ever powerless against good, be the good ever so small in amount. (G. Vale Owen’s mother in LBV1, 57-8.)

I was once sent to search for a man who had, strangely enough, been brought, on passing from earth, into the second sphere. But he was not fitted to dwell there and gravitated to the spheres below.

I will not pause to explain this matter in particular. It is rare that such a thing comes to pass—not unknown. Such mistakes are made here and there by guides of lesser knowledge. Their zeal outruns their powers of discernment and of penetration, and, when a difficult and entangled personality comes over, mistakes are sometimes made. I descended into the spheres of gloom, therefore, and when somewhat conditioned thereto I began my search.

I went from city to city, and at last I came to a gate where I felt his presence within. You will perhaps not readily understand what I have but just given you. Let it pass. You will one day. Passing within I came by the murky glimmering of light prevailing to a square wherein a large crowd was gathered. The air seemed ruddy of hue, like a smith's working-house, flickering / and faltering as the crowd were uplifted or depressed, grew angry or grew weary. Standing on a stone block was the man I sought. He spoke to the people in a harsh voice earnestly, and I stood behind them and listened awhile.

He was telling them of the Redemption and of the Redeemer—not by name, mark you, but by allusion. Twice or thrice I saw the name upon his lips, but it never came forth, for whenever it happened there, I saw a wave of pain sweep over his face and his hands gripped inward on themselves, and he became silent a space and then proceeded. But of Him of Whom he spoke no one there could doubt the Personality.

For a long time he urged them repent, and told them what the lack of spirit-leaning had done by him, bringing him down, willy-nilly, from his short glimpse of Heaven and light into the thick gloom of these underworlds of pain and remorse. What he was urging them to do was this: he said he had come hither with open eyes, and had marked the way well enough to go back upon his steps and reach the light at length. But the way was long and of painful ascent and very gloomy. He therefore called upon them to be willing to make their departure with him, and all together, as a flock of sheep, for company and mutual aid, and they would come to rest at the end.

Only let them not go astray by the roadside, for ravines and rank forest lands they must pass beside, and those who should stray might lose the track for ages and wander lonely whither he could not tell, but always in darkness and peril from the cruel who lurked in those regions to wreak their / frenzy on any who came within their power. So let them follow the Banner he would bear before them and they should then have nought to fear. For the Banner he would make for them would be a symbol of great strength to them for the way.

That is the burden of his speaking to them, and they seemed not without a wistful readiness of response. He stood there silent some time, and then there came a voice from one in the crowd who cried: "What banner do you speak of? What arms will you emblazon on it, so that we know whose leadership we follow?"

Then the man who stood upon the stone in the middle of the square lifted his hand on high and tried to force it downward to make a line, but could not. He tried to do this many times, but his arm seemed palsied whenever he tried to move it downward deliberately. Then, at length—it was a very painful sight to me who knew him—he heaved a sigh loud and full of tears of agony, and his hand fell of itself and hung limp by his side. Soon he started, and stood erect once again with determination on his face. He had realized that he had made a vertical line through the air, and lo, there shone along the path which his falling hand had taken a faintly luminous streak standing before him. So with much effort and caution he once more raised his hand, stretched away from the line and somewhat above the middle of its length, and sought to approach and cross through it, but this again he could not.

I could read his mind and what was in it. He was / trying to give them the Ensignment for the banner they should follow—the Sign of the Cross. So in pity I pressed forward, and at last stood by his side. I traced first the vertical line still visible. I traced it slowly, and as I did so it shone out with a brightness which lighted the square and the faces of the crowd assembled. Then I made the cross-piece, and there it shone before us, and we, hidden by its luminous radiance, stood behind unseen.

But I heard a wild cry and a great wailing and looked out again. The Cross had grown more dim, and I saw the multitude were prostrate and writhing in the dust of the great square, seeking to hide their faces and blot out the memory of that sign. It was not that they hated it—these were come through that stage of remorse—but it was the very progress they had made towards repentance that caused their present pain. Remorse was blending into sorrow for sin and ingratitude in these, and that progress added bitterness to their sorrow.

The man beside me did not grovel as the others, but knelt down with his face covered with his hands, and his hands on his knees—bowed double with his agony of repentance.

Now I saw I had been too much in haste, and what I had meant for their comfort had been their undoing, so I had much labour to restore them once again to their proper mood of calm on which I might, taking the office of my friend upon myself, begin to play the tune he had begun. At long last I was successful in my task, but I made my resolve, then and there, to be more restrained in the use of that / potent sign in these dark realms hereafter, lest I should cause more pain to those who already had so much of their own to bear.

You called the speaker your friend

Yes, he was my friend. He and I had taught philosophy in the same university when in earth-life. He was of a right life, and not without generous impulse on occasion. Brilliant, however, rather than devout, and—well, he is on the upward way now, and doing much good among his fellows.

They had their banner after all, as I sought to tell you. But it was not of very excellent workmanship—merely a couple of tree-branches, much twisted and gnarled, as trees grow in these dim quarters—but they strung them together and called it a cross, but the cross-piece tilted sometimes up and sometimes down, and it was grotesque but for the earnestness of them and what it meant to them; for it stood to them for the power it signified, and for Him from Whom that power flowed, and so to them it was indeed a Sign most Sacred and to be followed bravely, but in silence and in awe. And the strip of red cloth which they tied about the intersection flowed out like a stream of blood.

And they followed where they saw it go before them on the long, long journey, often weary and footsore, but ever towards the Uplands where they knew they would find the light. (Arnel in G. Vale Owen, LBV3, 68-72.)

One from a sphere above, … was passing through Sphere Five…. He was one of those whose business it is to descend into the darker realms on occasion when any certain locality is seething so much with dissension and tumult as to affect painfully those in the spheres next in advance and adjoining. Such effervescence throws off a kind of distressful influence which, rising up to the sphere above, hinders what progress is there proceeding, and pulls back those not very robust spirits whose lot is cast in that dim place, so that they lose heart and cease for the time being from their struggle to continue their way out of the gloom toward the light of the upper spheres. This is not so powerfully felt by them as to bring upon them the discouragement of despair, except the tumult below them be of extraordinary vehemence. When that happens, then the one I have spoken of with others descends and soothes the poor restless ones into such stupor that their distress does not affect those who have won a little way ahead in ascent. (Arnel in G. Vale Owen, LBV3, 79.)

The Suggestion that Some Spirits May Eventually Disintegrate or are ‘Liquidated’

My new body does not need food in your sense; it is nourished, they tell me, by magnetic currents emanating from the Source of Power. That is why anyone given over entirely to the Powers of Negation must eventually disintegrate because they automatically ‘cut off supplies,’ in a way of speaking. (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 107.)

The woman (1) is a black magician and will be ‘liquidated.’ She had to incarnate first. Why, I don’t understand, but, before you can be ‘annulled,’ you have to re-incarnate – perhaps as a last chance. (Philip Gilbert, PTW, 107-8.)

(1) Irma Grese, an SS supervisor at Bergen Belsen, a Nazi concentration camp. See “Irma Grese,” the Angel of Death,”, downloaded 15 Jan. 2008.)

The most evil, Irma [Grese], was absorbed at once into what is her kind, a descending whirlpool of, as it might be called, sewage. They tell me that there are, very, very rarely, entities who get so low that they can only descend – and be liquidated. We don’t like to think of it here. ...

Irma was an ‘old soul’ in the bad sense – she had been forced to re-incarnate as a last chance. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 197.)

Clearly, as one is an immortal part of an infinite dynamo, or so it seems, with a centre of Power benevolent but impersonally just, the only logical course is to be in alignment with it and not be a ‘screw loose.’ For eventually, as this is a living dynamo, just as the human body ejects germs which do it no good and ‘foreign bodies’ are pushed out sooner or later, so I suppose any individual entity which frustrates the whole will be expelled. And when one sees here the enormous range of interests to explore, the endless variety of occupations, one doesn’t feel agreeable to the idea of extinction! Especially as, I’m told, ‘liquidation’ only comes as a last step on a long path of misery, foul thinking and acting. (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 130.)

The lost entity would very soon after death find himself unable to stay in the astral world, and would be irresistibly drawn in full consciousness into ‘his own place,’ the mysterious eighth sphere, there slowly to disintegrate after experiences best left undescribed.  …

The eighth sphere cannot claim him until after the death of the [physical] body.” (Charles Leadbeater, AP, 81.)

Those who refuse all efforts to help them to resist evil become so negative that they cease to function in the end or only in a vague, almost unconscious, state. They are dead to the things of the spirit. (Gordon Burdick to Grace Rosher, TR, 40.)

The soul, being [eternally] good, cannot partake of an act which might result in evil. … Those of [the Black Brotherhood] who have tried to progress beyond the mental stage have reactivated their immortal souls as well, whereupon an internal conflict wages between the positive soul and the negative mind and the perpetrator is flung back to the bottom of the ladder of evolution. This entails a long and dismal uphill climb, in which the soul must work itself up again from elementary matter to regained self-respect. (Mike Swain to his father, Jasper, in FMW, 93.)

Edgar Cayce said that if, over the course of eons and innumerable lifetimes, a soul refuses to follow its divine self, then that soul can lose its personal identity. It will be reabsorbed into the Creative Energy of Life, or God, as a drop of water is reunited with the sea. But the readings indicate that drastic conclusion would be rare. The more usual course is for the soul, through its experiences in physical life and the afterlife, to grow toward a recognition of its relationship with God. (Elsie R. Sechrist, DDNPU, xx.)

Imperator says: “Of the lower spheres we know little.” But he believes that specially obdurate spirits may so determinedly resist every good influence that they finally lose identity and become extinct. … This is the sin against the Holy Ghost of which Jesus told His followers and … the annihilation of the soul is its reward. Remember, however, that Imperator does not teach this as a certainty and that other spirits with greater knowledge of the lower strata tell us that every soul will eventually be saved. He endorses the general teaching that there is no personal Devil. (Lord Dowding, MM, 104.)

We have said something to you of the reasons why the voluntarily degraded souls sink until they pass the boundary beyond which restoration becomes hard. The perpetual choosing of evil and refusing of good breeds necessarily an aversion to that which is pure and good, and a craving for that which is debased. Spirits of this character have usually been incarned in bodies where the animal passions had great sway. They began by yielding to animal desires, and ended by being slaves of the body. Noble aspirations, godlike longings, desire for holiness and purity, all are quenched, and in place of spirit the body reigns supreme, dictating its own laws, quenching all moral and intellectual light, and surrounding the spirit with influences and associations of impurity. Such a spirit is in perilous case. (Spirit leader named “Imperator” in Moses, ST, 34.)

Of the lower spheres we know little. We only know vaguely that there are separations made between degrees and sorts of vice. They that will not seek for anything that is good, that wallow in impurity and vice, sink lower and lower, until they lose conscious identity, and become practically extinct, so far as personal existence is concerned; so at least we believe. …

Mercifully, such cases are rare, and spring only from deliberate rejection by the soul of all that is good and ennobling. This is the sin unto death of which Jesus told His followers; the sin against the Holy Spirit of God of which you are told. The sin, viz., of rejecting the influences of God’s holy angel ministers, and of preferring the death of vice and impurity to the life of holiness and purity and love. It is the sin of exalting the animal to the extinction of the spiritual; of degrading even the corporeal; of cultivating sensual earthly lusts; of depraving even the lowest tastes; of reducing the human to the level of the lowest brute. In such the Divine essence is quenched; the baser elements are fostered, forced, developed to undue excess. They gain absolute sway, they quench the spirit, and extinguish all desire for progress. The vice perpetuates itself, and drags the wretch who has yielded himself to the animal enjoyments further and further from the path of progress, until even the animal becomes vitiated and diseased; the unhealthily stimulated passions prey on themselves; and the voice of the spirit is heard no more. Down must the soul sink, down and yet down, further and further, until it is lost in fathomless obscurity.

This is the unpardonable sin. Unpardonable, not because the Supreme will not pardon, but because the sinner chooses it to be so. Unpardonable, because pardon is impossible where sin is congenial, and penitence unfelt. (Spirit leader named “Imperator” in Moses, ST, 36.)

When a spirit was so wicked that it sank to the lowest sphere [it] became merged in the ocean of spirit, to be at some future time re-incarnated. (Stainton Moses, ST, 20.)

With regard to re-incarnation, Imperator always said it was not true as generally held. It occurred sometimes when an exalted spirit wished to return to benefit mankind; it also happened when a spirit was so wicked that it sank to the lowest sphere and became merged in the ocean of spirit, to be at some future time re-incarnated; though, perhaps not in this world, as a school that has failed once was not likely to be tried again. (Stainton Moses in MSTTT, n.p.

[Stainton Moses] asks about a spirit that grows worse instead of better.

The spirit that had developed the bodily tastes, and neglected the spiritual, grows more and more earthly; the guardians are less and less able to approach it, and it gravitates further and further from light. We have said that there are six spheres below this earth, though we have never penetrated below the fourth. Below that are the miserable, abandoned spirits who sink down deeper and deeper, who become unable to rise, and who gradually lose their personality; even as the purified, when they near the presence of the Supreme. /

Such undergo what your sacred records name the second death. (1) They do not emerge from the hell they have created. They are lost. - Signed by Rector, Doctor, Prudens. (2) (In MST, 65.)

(1) Most other spirit communicators associate the “second death” with the shedding of all earthly traces that occurs on the cusp of advent to the Second Heaven. Many incarnate sages use the term to refer to enlightenment.
(2) Rector is Hippolytus; Doctor is Athenodorus; and Prudens is Plotinus.

Denials that Some Spirits Disintegrate or are ‘Liquidated’

[Sun-Ray] would not admit that even the most degraded entity could ever be ‘liquidated.’ (Alice Gilbert of Sun-Ray, medium Mrs. Robert’s spirit control, who was asked about spirits being liquidated in PTW, 226.)

These poor souls hasten onwards [towards hell], though not toward destruction; there is no such thing. (Private Thomas Dowding, PD, 14.)

Case Histories from the Lower Planes

The Case of a Man with a Lifetime of Anger in a “Gloomy Region”

One day [Mitchell] showed me a man who will be his superior. He took me to a gloomy region where he needed help. There we found a man, lost as I once had been. His being glowed with power and darted out brilliant rays of blue and purple, the colours of a high spiritual development, but he was enveloped in a cloud of anger and despair and at the heart of him was a black and composite nucleus of evil. We found him difficult to approach; twice we were drive back choking with his emanations and at first he spurned our help. Mitchell told me afterwards that this was a great if erring soul beside whom any of us would be small and feeble once he was cured of his infirmities. I am intensely interested and shall follow his course. He has had no fame or fortune on earth; he might well have been one of those whom I should have despised; yet potentially he is one of the great ones. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 57-8.)

But to return to Tom Harris. He grieved terribly for his wife and her grief for him affected him strongly… Fortunately for his passionate and powerful nature there was no long waiting and the timing of her coming was perfect. Tom had almost cleared the dark cloud at the centre of his being and so could meet her in his true form and nature at last. So another story had a happy ending as I suppose all stories must have here. It is true that there can be great distress when a man and a woman are unified again here only to find their disaffinity and that their future course cannot run together. One may be unable to get beyond the early planes and the may be for onward; although one can hold back, voluntarily for awhile, sooner or later the second body must be discarded and the spirit released to go farther. Many of the ties made on earth seem to be of this evanescent nature. Sentiment and loyalty keep people together for a time who have no real affinity but as soon as they are strong enough to face reality they can part happily and go on to find their real mates. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 109-10.)

The Case of an Earthbound Drunkard

I had no difficulty in finding a hell full of drunkards. What do you fancy they were doing? Repenting their sins? Not at all. They were hovering around those places on earth where the fumes of alcohol, and the heavier fumes of those who over-indulge in alcohol, made sickening the atmosphere. It is no wonder that sensitive people dislike the neighbourhood of drinking saloons.

     You would draw back with disgust and refuse to write for me should I tell you all that I saw. One or two instances will suffice.

     I placed myself in a sympathetic and neutral state, so that I could see into both worlds.

     A young man with restless eyes and a troubled face entered one of those “gin palaces” in which gilding and highly polished imitation mahogany tend to impress the miserable wayfarer with the idea that he is enjoying the luxury of the “kingdoms of this world.” The young man’s clothes were threadbare, and his shoes had seen much wear. A stubble of beard was on his chin, for the price of a shave is the price of a drink, and a man takes that which he desires most—when he can get it.

     He was leaning on the bar, drinking a glass of some soul-destroying compound. And close to him, taller than he and bending over him, with its repulsive, bloated, ghastly face pressed close to his, as if to smell his whiskey-tainted breath, was one of the most horrible astral beings which I have seen in this world since I came out. The hands of the creature (and I use that word to suggest its vitality)—the hands of the creature were clutching the young man’s form, one long and naked arm was around his shoulders, the other around his hips. It was literally sucking the liquor-soaked life of its victim, absorbing him, using him, in the successful attempt to enjoy vicariously the passion which death had intensified.

     But was that a creature in hell? you ask. Yes, for I could look into its mind and see its sufferings. For ever (the words “for ever” may be used of that which seems endless) this entity was doomed to crave and crave and never to be satisfied.

     There was in it just enough left of the mind which had made it man—just enough to catch a fitful glimpse now and then of the horror of its own state. It had no desire to escape, but the very consciousness of the impossibility of escape was an added torment. And dread was in the eyes of the thing—dread of the future into which it could not look, but which it felt waiting to drag it into that state of even greater suffering than its present, when the astral particles of its form, unable longer to hold together because of the absence of the unifying soul, would begin to rend and tear what was left of the mind and astral nerves—rending and tearing asunder, in terror and pain, that shape whose end was at hand. …

And the young man who leaned on the bar in that gilded palace of gin was filled with a nameless horror and sought to leave the place; but the arms of the thing that was now his master clutched him tighter and tighter, the sodden, vaporous cheek was pressed closer to his, the desire of the vampire creature aroused an answering desire in its victim, and the young man demanded another glass. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter .)

The Case of a Selfish Suicide

Ed. I have no proof that the man concerned in this next case ended up on the Dark Plane, but Imperator’s description of him being especially selfish seems to indicate that he went to a deeper level of suffering than simply the Lower Summerlands or Stony Plane.

SM: Is he unhappy? (1)

How should he be blest? He lifted sacrilegious hands against the shrine in which the All-wise had placed his spirit for its progress and development. He wasted opportunities, and destroyed, so far as he was able, the temple in which dwelt the Divine spark, which was his portion. He sent forth his spirit alone and friendless into a strange world where no place was yet prepared for it. He impiously flew in the face of the Great Father. How should he be blest?

Impious, disobedient, wilful in his death, heedless, idle, selfish in his life, and yet more selfish in bringing pain and sorrow on his earthly friends by his untimely death — how should he find rest? The wasted life cries out for vengeance. The fostered self-hood dominates him still, and makes him ill at ease. Selfish in his life, selfish in his earthly end, he is selfish still. Miserable, blind, and undeveloped, there is no rest for such as he till repentance has had its place, and remorse leads to regeneration. He is outcast.

SM: What hope of progress?

Yes; there is hope. Already there stirs within him the consciousness of sin. He sees dimly through the spiritual gloom how foolish and how wicked was his life. He begins to wake to some faint knowledge of his desolation, and to strive for light. Hence he remains near you. You must help him though at your own cost. SM: Willingly; but how?

By prayer first. By fostering the dawnings of the higher life. By allowing the unhappy spirit to breathe the higher atmosphere of work. His spirit knows not what that pure and bracing atmosphere is. You must teach him, though his presence be unpleasant to you. You have summoned him, and he comes obedient to your call. You must bear with him now. You cannot undo what you have done in spite of us and of our wishes. Your consolation must be that you will be engaged in a work that is blessed.

SM: It is not fair to say I summoned him; but I will do anything. He was mad and not accountable.

He was and is accountable and he begins to know it. The seeds of his final sin wherewith he has cursed himself were sown in a life of idle uselessness. He fostered and encouraged morbid self-introspection. He brooded over self, not for the purpose of progress and development, not to eradicate faults and foster virtues, but in selfish exclusiveness. He was enwrapped in a cloud of distorted selfishness. This bred in him disease, and in the end he fell a prey to tempters in the spirit, who fastened on him and drove him to his ruin. He exposed himself a prey to those who are always ready to seduce to ruin, and so far he was mad, as you say; but the mad act was the result of his own acts. And now he throws the same influence around those whom he wounded in his death. A curse to himself, be becomes a curse to those he loves. (Spirit leader "Imperator" in Moses, ST, 182.)

(1) Stainton Moses has drawn to the circle a suicide, a man Moses knew intimately throughout his life. Having done so provided Moses with the evidence he needed of the survival of death, but it saddled him with the obligation to assist this apparently selfish and deluded soul.

[Selfishness] is the plague-spot of the spirit, that which wrecks more souls than you dream of. It is the very paralysis of the soul. And when to it is added this, … that the selfishness is passive, it becomes more fatal. There is a selfishness which is far less baleful in its poison, and which finds it counteracting power in activity, and which even becomes the spring of actions which have in them a form of good. There is a selfishness which causes a spirit to do well that it may have the good report of its fellows: and there is a selfishness which is content to do good so it be not vexed or troubled, which will yield to any influence, so it may escape anxiety.

These are faults which hold the spirit back from progress; but they are not the baleful plague which ate into this spirit’s life, and drove it to despair and death. That was the meaner selfishness which stirred him not to any deeds or to action of any kind. It was idle and useless, no less than self-pleasing; nay, it was not even self-pleasing, for the whole life was blurred and blotted with morbid scrutiny of self, till its very lineaments were eaten out. This selfishness was cruel alike to himself and to his friends.

There are grades of sin, and his was deep. … It is not necessary to go through in detail the story of that wasted life. Its spirit was eaten out with cruel selfishness, and its end was destruction of self-consciousness. Mad he was, as you estimate madness. None lifts the hand of the suicide against himself save when the disordered mind has lost its power of judgment. The balance is destroyed, and the spirit has fallen a prey to the tempters which surround it.

But your estimates of sin are rude. The state was self-induced. The spirit delivered itself over to the foes, and wrought its own ruin. This was not one of the cases where hereditary conditions of disease unfitted a spirit for judgment and right action. The suicide was the outcome of the selfish idler. It was an access of temptation that withdrew the power of reason, and caused the crime.

In others the temptation might have taken other forms; but whether it led to destruction of self, or to ruin or hurt of others, to whatever gratification of self it tended, the root is the same. That spirit which neglects to use its powers, which acts not, but morbidly dwells on fancied ills or sufferings, assuredly breeds in itself disease.

The law of existence is work—for God, for brethen, for self; not for one alone, but for all. Transgress that law, and evil must ensue. The stagnant life becomes corrupt, and acts as a corrupter of others. It is vicious and noisome; hurtful to the community, in that it defrauds it of its due from one of its members, and sets up a plague spot of infection which becomes a fertile centre of mischief.

It matters not what course the evil takes, its source is still the same. In this case the evil eventuated in personal harm, and in the wrecking of a wasted life. It has ended in sorrow and shame to the injury of all who were associated with him. When the cord of earth-life was severed, the spirit found itself in darkness and distress. For long it was unable to sever itself from the body. It hovered round it even after the grave had closed over the shrine which it had violated. It was unconscious, without power of movement, weak, wounded, and distressed. It found no rest, no welcome in the world to which it had come unbidden.

Darkness surrounded it, and through the gloom dimly flitted the forms of congenial spirits who had made shipwreck of themselves, and were in unrestful isolation. These drew near, and their atmosphere added vague discomfort to the half-conscious spirit. / It was not till the first shudder of awakening conscience attracted the ministering spirits that anything could be done to palliate the misery, not yet half felt or acknowledged, or to minister healing to the soul. When it stirred amid the darkness, the ministers drew near and strove to quicken the seared conscience and to awaken remorse.

In seeming cruelty they strove to bring home a knowledge of its state, and to paint before it a picture of its sin. Only through the portal of remorse could it enter into rest; and so the conscience must be quickened at the cost of pain. For long their efforts availed little; but by degrees they succeeded in awakening some measure of consciousness of sin, and the spirit began to grope blindly for some means of escape from a state which had become loathsome to it.

Frequent relapses dragged it back. The tempters were all around it, and no effort of theirs was spared to mete out to the spirit the full measure of its lawful penalty. They know it not; they do but gratify their debased instincts, but they are the avenging ministers of doom. The hope for the spirit is that it may be nerved to occupy itself with some beneficent work, and so to work out its own salvation.

To this end it must journey on through remorse and uncongenial labour: for by no other means can it be purified. Selfishness must be eradicated by self-sacrifice. Idleness must be rooted out by laborious toils. The spirit must be purified by suffering. This is the only upward path of progress; a path that its past has made it difficult, nearly impossible, for it to tread. Reiterated efforts must secure each onward step, and frequent slips and backslidings will try endurance to the utmost. Step by step the way must be won in sorrow, remorse, and shame, with faintings and cries of the despairing soul; won, too, against temptation all around, against the suggestions of the foe who will not fail to goad the aspiring soul; won as through a baptism of fire. Such is the penalty; such the road to the heaven that can be won in no other way.

Such help as the ministers can give will not be withholden. It is their glorious mission to help on the aspiring, and to cheer the fainting soul. But, though they may comfort, they cannot save one pang, nor palliate by one jot the penalty of transgression. No vicarious store of merit can avail; no friend may bear the burden, or lift it from the weary back. It must be borne by the soul that sinned, though helps and aids be given to strengthen and support the failing energies. This is the inevitable penalty of a wasted life.

It may be that the half-quenched spark may be quickened again, and be fanned into a flame strong enough to light the spirit onward. It may be that the spirit may wander in gloom and desolation, deaf to the voice of the ministers, and groaning in lonely unrest, nerveless for the struggle, till the sin through cycles of purgatorial suffering, has eaten out its virulence. It may be that the time consumed in such purgation may seem to you an eternity; or the soul may wake and stir before its condition has become fixed; and so by an effort of despairing energy may struggle up to light, and may welcome the suffering that leads to purification, and may have strength not all sapped to cast off the habits of earth, and wake to newness of life.

It may be; but such cases are rare. Characters are not so easily changed; nor does the fire of purification work so rapidly. Too frequently he that died selfish or filthy is selfish or filthy still, and the present proves only a perpetuation of the past. Pray for strength to minister to him who has in him the first faint dawnings of progression. Pray that his darkness may be enlightened, and his unrest soothed by the angelic ministrations. Such prayers are the most potent medicine for his disease. (Spirit leader "Imperator" in Moses, ST, 183-4.)

We have not painted the picture in all its details; nor have we overdrawn or overcoloured it in any way. We are not able to bring home to you the full horror of the desolation and misery of such a wasted life. No words that we can write would express the full measure of the woe felt by a soul that has awakened to remorse after a life such as this of which we speak.

For the rest, we are not responsible for any ideal. We put forward none, save that which exists in the eternal and unalterable sequence of events. Selfishness and sin bring misery and remorse before they can be purged away. It is not we who laid down that law, but the Eternal and All-wise. We have but pointed out to you again the operation of a law the working of which you may see all around you.

We desired to point out what men are apt to forget, that though there be no formal judgment such as has been imagined, at a far-distant day, in [the] presence of an assembled universe, when the Recording Angel shall produce the Books of Doom, and the Christ shall sit in judgment, and shall condemn the sinner to an everlasting hell; though there be none of this, yet that every act is registered, every thought recorded, every habit known as a factor in the future character.

We would show you that the judgment of condemnation needs no paraphernalia of assize, but is conducted in the silent recesses of the soul itself. No judge is there but the voice of Spirit communing with itself, and reading its own doom. No books but the records of conscience; no hell but the flame of remorse that shall eat into the soul and purge it as by fire. And this, not in a far-off future when the arisen myriads of humanity shall all have been gathered up, but instant on death, quick as consciousness awakes, sure as the soul stirs in the new life. This too, not subject to a faint perhaps, in a dim and hazy light seen far off down the vista of the future, but sure and certain, instant and inevitable. We would teach you this.

For it has been said of us that our Gospel removes the terror from religion, by which motive alone the most of men may be governed and restrained, and substitutes for it a faith which teaches salvation for all, whatever their deeds may be, whatever creed they may profess. We do not teach any such insensate creed. You know it; but you need to have repeated again and again the truth on which we have been insisting: Man makes his own future, stamps his own character, suffers for his own sins, and must work out his own salvation. We did but dwell on this side because the story of that wasted life invited by its example. (Spirit leader "Imperator" in Moses, ST, 185.)

Murderers and Their Victims

An old man came over here after an earth life that was by no means exemplary. He was a thief who had killed a man during one of his expeditions and, as soon as he arrived here, he met his victim. He did not know how to express his sorrow, but the victim had no ill feeling and told him that he was grateful for his release from a wretched earth life. … He set to work to teach the old man that he must atone for his bad life, but that the punishment was automatic and not vindictive. After a time, the murderer and his victim became fast friends and made progress together. It is not always the apparently good people who get on quickly over here. (Dr. Margaret Vivian quoted in Paul Beard, LO, 83.)

A friend who has made an unexpected appearance in my life is a young man named Edgar R., who came here a very long time ago. His story is a sad one and explains the length of time he has needed in this plane. Is it horrifying to know that he was a murderer? In a moment of frenzy he killed his wife and the law them sent him to death with all the usual accompaniments of shame and violence. I can well imagine the impossible conditions into which at first he drifted. His own shame and despair drew him to the darkest regions of the early planes and his plight there was awful. He hid himself among the debased and brutal population of a town of ill-repute, afraid that his victim would find reproach him. Here he lived in a dark hell of his own making, a prey to fear and remorse. There are certain devoted souls who manage to penetrate to these regions in search of any who can be helped and they found Edgar eventually and persuaded him to face his problem, come out of hiding and find his wife.

She also had suffered. Anger and hatred of him had prevented her progress, but by degrees she was helped to see and understand the real situation for which she had been partly responsible, but which had been hidden from her by the mists of her own anger. These two poor souls were still bound to each other by wrong-doing which seems to make nearly as strong a bond as love itself. Until they had cleared the anger from their souls and the blindness from their eyes they could not get free. They neither of them wished to remain together, or so they thought at first; yet when, by the help of those skilled in bringing about such adjustments they did at last face the evil in themselves instead of condemning it in each other, the change in their whole condition produced a strange solution. They each laid hold again upon their essential innocence; they renewed the long-lost appearance of youth and charm and to their own surprise they found that the bond which really held them together was love.

They are together now in an ideal relationship and the joy they take in each other has been won through long purgatorial suffering. So the clumsy bungling of human justice has been compensated by the justice of God. This is not a sentimental notion of mere forgiveness of sins – that would alter nothing – but a true regeneration through suffering and the cleansing of the perilous stuff which would otherwise continue to poison the springs of living. Although I know of the black spots in this world where there seems to settle an irredeemable silt of the base and brutal, I am convinced by many such tales of rescue and redemption that ultimately all of these unfortunates will make their way up into the sunshine and will there work out their own salvation. Edgar then and his charming wife are happy and useful members of our community and when the time comes it looks as though they may be ready to go on together. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 105-6.)

Will you be shocked, Mum, if I tell you what I have recently done? (It sounds rather like the "Chamber of Horrors" at Madame Tussaud's.) I went down to the Astral plane, searched for and made friends with a murderer! He was a man who some years ago paid the extreme penalty for killing his wife.

I did not seek him for curiosity,—that would have been unjustifiable,—but because I was trying to trace the cause which led to such a tragedy, and to find the "kink" in the man's character which made the deed to him seem excusable. I found X.—a very decent chap, fond of animals and children, a quiet, inoffensive little fellow. He tells me he was driven positively mad by his wife; contempt and loathing ended in hate of her.

She seems to have been an odious woman; he said she was coarse, unfaithful, drank to excess, and "nagged" without ceasing, till he absolutely became desperate. For about a year after be came over here he had a terrible time, because he was sullen and full of hate and rage; then he began to calm down and to see, however evil his plight had been, he had no right to take her life. As soon as the desire for improvement came, friends were ready to help him, and he is already much happier, and / working among those who come over full of misery and bitterness as he himself did.

He never mentioned these unpleasant things about his wife at the trial, as he might have done in order to try and extenuate matters against himself. Poor devil, he was more sinned against than sinning, I think! (Claude Kelway-Bamber in CB, 22-3.)

The Case of an Evil Official, Encountered on the Dark Plane

We walked closer to one of the sub-human forms that lay sprawled upon the rocks. What remnant of clothing it wore might easily have been dispensed with, since it consisted of nothing but the filthiest rags, which hung together in some inconceivable way, leaving visible great gaps of lifeless-looking flesh. The limbs were so thinly covered with skin that one full expected to see bare bones showing forth. The hands were shaped like the talons of some bird of prey, with the finger nails so grown as to have become veritable claws. The face upon this monster was barely human, so distorted was it, and malformed. The eyes were small and penetrating, but the mouth was huge and repulsive, with thick protruding lips set upon a prognathic jaw, and scarcely concealing the veriest fangs of teeth.

We gazed earnestly and long at this sorry wreck of what was once a human form and I wondered what earthly misdeeds had reduced it to this awful state of degeneration.

Edwin, who was experienced in these sights, told us that in time we should gain certain knowledge in our work, which would enable us to read from the faces and forms of these creatures what it was that had reduced them to their present state. There would be no need to accost them to find out at least some of their life’s story, for there it was written for the experienced to read. Their very appearance, too, would be a safe guide as to whether they needed help or whether they were still content to abide in their sunken state.

The object that was now before us, said Edwin, would warrant little sympathy as he was, because he was still steeped in his iniquity and was obviously showing not the least sign of regret for his loathsome earthly life. He was dazed at the loss of his physical energy and puzzled in his mind to know what had befallen him. His face showed that, given the opportunity, he would continue with his base practices with every ounce of power that remained to him.

That he had been several hundred years in the spirit world could be seen by the tattered remnants of his garb, which bespoke a former age, and he had spent the greater part of his earth life inflicting mental and physical tortures upon those who had the misfortune to come into his evil clutches. Every crime that he had committed against other people had, at last, reverted to, and descended upon, himself. He now had before him – he had done so for hundreds of years – the memory, the indelible memory, of every act of evil he had perpetrated against his fellows.

When he was upon earth, he had acted under a false pretence of administering justice. In very truth, his justice had been nothing but a travesty and now he was seeing exactly what true justice really meant. Not only was his own life of wickedness continually before him, but the features of his many victims were ever passing before his mind, created out of that same memory which is registered unfailingly and ineradicably upon the subconscious mind. He cannot ever forget; he must always remember. And his condition was aggravated by the anger of feeling like a trapped animal.

We stood together, a little group of three, but we could not feel one tony vestige of sympathy for this inhuman monster. He aroused none within us. He was receiving his just merits – no more, no less. He had judged himself and condemned himself and now he was suffering the punishment he had, solely and entirely, inflicted upon himself. Here was no case of an avenging God, inflicting condine punishment upon a sinner. The sinner was there, truly, but he was the visible manifestation of the unalterable law of cause and effect. The cause was in his earthly life; the effect was in his spirit life.

Had we been able to detect one tiny glimmer of that light – it is a real light that we see – which is an unmistakable sign of spiritual stirrings within, we might have done something for this soul. As it was, we could do nothing but hope that one day this dreadful being would call for help in true earnestness and sincerity, His call would be answered - unfailingly. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 135-6.)

The Case of a Nazi and His Victim, Rescued and Recovering on the Higher Astral Plane

Mother Florence … took us apart and told us that a new and very / difficult ‘patient’ had just been brought up. Quietly she told us the facts about this new arrival.

The man had been a powerful Nazi leader; well-known and extremely powerful during the last war. After the downfall of Germany he had committed suicide. (I cannot give his name, but it is not Hitler.) Since that time he had been ‘lodged in the shadows.’ Mother Florence explained that he had been ‘wandering in the lower places.’ You would no doubt refer to this dark place as the ‘lower astral.’ In any case, for twenty earth years, he had been imprisoned by his own evil.

Now he had been rescued. He was conscious of his terrible cruelty and filled with remorse. Mother Florence warned us that he would need very special nursing. Care, understanding and help. Also that we might get a shock at his appearance which, I gathered, was not a sight such as I had ever witnessed.

Mother also warned us to draw ‘a web of protection’ around us and to hold firmly to the Light.

I was apprehensive as we went towards a separate ward at the far end of the Home. But not prepared for the sight that met us.

The ward was dark and gloomy, very different from our usual light and sunny rooms. A pall of murky twilight seemed to hover over it. Only slowly did it become apparent to us that ‘something’ lay on the bed. I looked away quickly from the repellant sight. The poor creature’s body appeared covered with sores and scars; the eyes were closed.

“He thinks he is blind,” Mother Florence whispered. “He is not of course. But the Light here is too bright and penetrating for him as yet; and he cries out that it has blinded him.”

The man was a terrible and pathetic sight. As I looked away again I became aware of Father Joseph who sat at the head of the bed behind the patient. …

“This poor unfortunate creature needs all our care and compassion. He has come to us to be healed and to be enabled to face himself and judge his deeds when he wakens from his terrible ordeal of darkness. Let us together concentrate our thoughts and blessings on him. Let us feel a gentle soft healing Light, God’s healing Force of the utmost sweetness and gentleness pour out from our souls to his. / Let us ask that Light may come into his place; that it may touch him, comfort him and give him sweet sleep….” …

The poor creature moaned but I scarcely heard him. The ward had been dark. Gradually Light grew in it; in one corner an intense shimmer of Light became clearly visible; a Light that condensed into a white-hot Flame, like a pillar of fire.

Then I knew that a Celestial Being had added His Ray of Spirit Force. I found myself praying, not only for this tormented soul but also for the souls of his victims. (Frances Banks, TOL, 49-51.)

The great Light faded slowly, but now the gloom had gone from the ward. Our patient lay still. The rigours of his body had ceased. He seemed to be asleep. (Frances Banks, TOL, 51.)

“In the next ward,” Mother Florence was saying, “is a woman who was one of his victims, a young Jewish mother who had arrived with him. She has been bound to him by her deep hatred. But she is progressing because she had real love in her heard for her husband and child who were snatched from her. She has the power of Love in her soul. He, poor creature, has not … yet….”

“And,” Mother Florence went on, “when he is healed sufficiently they must confront one another and learn forgiveness, understanding and charity.” (Frances Banks, TOL, 52.)

Our ‘patient’ is still ‘sleeping.’ He has not changed and possibly will continue to rest in this pure Light of healing and love until his soul has regained sufficient strength and peace to begin its long progress onwards.

I have talked with the Jewish girl who arrived with him. She has recovered sufficiently to begin to re-orient her thought; to change the angle of her thinking. She was a ‘good’ woman; that is, she was moral and kind and loving. But it will take much instruction and gentle working out of her problems before she will be enabled to view the horror of what happened to her in an objective manner.

The old ingrained ‘eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth’ belief has to be transmuted through this new angle of judging into an appreciation of Love as the instigator of life. Already some of the virulent hatred is dissolving as she now realizes that the avenger receives nothing constructive or worthwhile by insisting on recompense.

Mother Florence told her about the poor soul who was the instigator of her tragedies, and she knows that he is even now resting and being ‘healed.’ So far she can scarcely bear to think of his being healed, but she will. Now all that she asks is to be reunited with her husband and child who were taken from her. Her won sufferings in the camp to which she was taken and where she later died are being obliterated in her consciousness as she is learning to relax and let go of the earthly life and all the terror and hate in it and to live in the Light. (Frances Banks, TOL, 56.)

Our Nazi patient is still the same: inert, motionless, shut up in the shell of himself. A shell indeed.

Father Joseph tells me that the poor creature might be like this for what we would say on earth [is] many years. He has already been held in the dark bondage of the hell of his own making since the end of the last war, and that is over twenty years ago. (Frances Banks, TOL, 64.)

Our Nazi then may lie like this long after many of the patients, helpers and servers here have graduated to Higher Spheres.

Still we have regular ‘thought-sessions’ for him, Even the Jewish woman has been to see him! She stood looking at this pathetically disfigured soul and at last she whispered: “He doesn’t look so evil, does he?”

The wonderful lesson about this is that by the time he is ready to confront her, she will have progressed enough to be able to forgive all the injuries for which he was responsible; and she will be prepared to help him. And he will need help! (Frances Banks, TOL, 64.)

Poor soul he is … but not a “lost soul.” There must have been some good which the Great Ones recognized. Otherwise our Nazi patient would not have been “rescued.” His besetting sin, which blacked out all else, was love of power. It swelled into viciousness against another race, even causing him to put to death men, women and children of that race. …

There have been monsters throughout history who have burned, tortured, pillaged and ravaged. What has happened to them? They could not all have been “lost.” Poor creatures, they must have crawled up out of the slime of their misdeeds into some soul-light at some time and perhaps then have hastened back to birth with only half-digested knowledge. … But as each soul must come to the judgment of his earth deeds and results of them, one can only ask for strength to be vouchsafed to this poor, deluded entity when he too stands at the bar of judgment. Will no one on earth pray for his soul at that time?

We have been instructed to “pray for those who despitefully use us.” Here, surely, is a living example for us ball. (Frances Banks, TOL, 65.)

Our Nazi patient still sleeps. His Jewish victim has been visited by her husband, a kind and gentle soul, and they have talked long and earnestly. The child who was taken from her is not, it appears, in this World. Her husband told of his long / search. At last he was told that the child had lived on and hgad grown up. Poor soul she exists, bitter and unhappy and sunk into a sordid life.

On learning this information, the mother at first reverted to her bitterness and longing for revenge, but, as Father Joseph and her husband pointed out to her, revenge has no meaning now. There is no avenging of injury here, or, I imagine, in the realms above. There is only understanding, forgiveness and selfless love.

After much discussion (and I was “called in” to speak at some of the sessions) our poor, sad mother became calmed and was enabled to see Purpose in all things. Now she is as anxious as her husband to locate the girl and get into touch with her by thought, love and concentrated prayer. She herself needs a great deal more cleansing of her “etheric” before she can succeed iun her quest. She is already a different soul. The old, hard shell is melting from her. Gentleness and maternal love shine in her.

She is happy to be once more with the husband she lost and is preparing to join him in the home he is preparing for her. At first she may sojourn with him for a space, returning here to rest and grow strong in her soul. Later, when the healing is accomplished, the way will be open for these two souls to be together and to contact their daughter. (Frances Banks, TOL, 66-7.)

A Vision of the Future of Some who have Atoned for Their Crimes

I shall … tell of one more vision that I had, because in it I was shown a new path wherein I was to labor, one in which I could apply to the aid of others the lessons I had learned in my wanderings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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