The Mental Plane - The First Heaven

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Last revised: 26 May 2009



Contents

The First Subplane of the Mental Plane: “The Blind Puppy is Beginning to Open His Eyes”

General References to the Mental Plane
Self-Acknowledged Inhabitants of the Mental Plane
Philip Gilbert Ascends to the Mental Plane
First Impressions: “All Hell Breaks Loose!”
Myers on the Plane of Color
Language Fails us

Faculties on the Mental Plane

Mental Body
Awareness
Thought
Light
Time and Foreknowledge

Life on the Mental Plane

Self-Luminosity
Sounds and Colours
No Class Distinctions
No Races
All is One
Free to Follow Own Pursuits
Ease of Living
Desire to Serve
Halls of Learning
Music
Science
Sexuality
Regaining Past-Life Knowledge on the Mental Plane
Exceptions: Regaining Past Knowledge on the Astral Plane
Ability to Consult the Akashic Records
Ability to Return to the Astral Plane
Contact with Earth Diminishes in First Heaven
The Difficulty of Continuously Opening

Re-uniting with the Greater Self and the Group

Re-uniting with the Greater Self
Re-uniting with the Group Soul
Frances Bank Makes the First Contact Through Enlightenment
Considerations Upon First Joining One’s Group
Living as a Group
The Danger of Getting Stuck in the Group Soul’s Mold
The Group’s Advancement
Reincarnation and the Group


The First Subplane of the Mental Plane: “The Blind Puppy is Beginning to Open His Eyes”

Ed. The Mental Plane is also known generally as Heaven, the Celestial Plane, the Creative Sphere, and the Devachan.

The First Subplane is known as the First Heaven, Fourth Plane, Eidos, and the Plane of Color.

General References to the Mental Plane

When spiritual realisation dawns they are dead to the astral world and they begin to live in the world of spirit. (1) (Silver Birch, SBA, 57.)

(1) I.e., the Mental Plane.
The astral body is left in a state similar to sleep and the mental body is the [vehicle] used to enter the mental plane. (1) This same principle applies for all of the successively higher planes. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 45.)

(1) When one visits the Mental Plane from the Astral Plane.

I have taken a number of trips out into the mental plane and it is most interesting. You get there before you know it whereas in the astral plane you are conscious of your going. / This is due to the difference in the rate of vibration of the two planes.

For example, if you can send a thought around the world in no time at all, this can be compared to the mental plane. If you send a picture around the world, it takes longer than the thought – and this can be compared to the astral plane. In the astral body, you are slower when you are moving because you are moving through denser atmosphere – denser vibrations but not as dense as the physical world. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 42-3.)

The third and fourth spheres (1) are bright and beautiful, more like a glorified earth with their exquisite foliage and flowers and beautiful scenery. There are many intermediate planes in each sphere and these are more or less observed through the mentality and spiritual unfoldment of those who live there. Really it is an extension of a similar faculty on earth, where a beautiful scene will produce exaltation in one individual while another regarding it is quite unmoved.

Many of the higher spheres and interior states have originated by the combined thoughts of Exalted Beings from Higher Worlds and none are permitted to enter them until they have been purified and are advanced in Spiritual perception. But those who by Prayer, Faith, and especially Love, have their feet firmly planted on the right road while still on earth, rise rapidly from sphere to sphere. (John Heslop, FMABL, 9.)

(1) There is no way to know for certain what the “third and fourth spheres” are as John Heslop uses the terms. However, from the fact that he says that “none are permitted to enter them until they have been purified,” it would seem probable that they are spheres of the Mental Plane; most likely the Mental Plane proper as distinct from the upper regions of the Mental Plane, which are often distinguished from the latter by being called the “Causal Plane.”

The increasing beauty and radiance of the Higher Spheres can hardly be described in words. Every faculty and bent of mind receives its fulfillment here. Thus, there is the artistic sphere, (1) where the aspirations of your finest artists, poets and musicians are realized. (John Heslop, FMABL, 9-10.)

(1) I.e., the Mental Sphere.

Sphere Five (1) is a difficult one to pass: “It is a critical sphere where attunement has to be made in a man’s various traits (2) and all unharmony done away.” (3) It is also the parting of the ways, where is chosen the future part of the spirit. “It is a kind of sorting-room, as one should say, wherein are the inhabitants, in the course of their sojourn there, classified into their proper groups, (4) and proceed onwards in that special branch of service for which they most properly are fitted.” (5) (Lord Dowding, at times citing Arnel, in G. Vale Owen, LBV3, in MM, 59.)

(1) Arnel’s description appears to be of the first subplane of the Mental Plane or “First Heaven.”
(2) This could be a reference to the Judgement.
(3) All unharmony is done away with prior to the Second Death.
(4) These are the Soul Groups.
(5) Once having passed through the Judgment and Second Death, spirits are then free to choose the special branch of service to which they consider themselves most properly fitted.

Sphere Five … is a sphere where some, nay many, stay long. It is a critical sphere where attunement has to be made in a man's various traits and all unharmony done away. A difficult sphere for many to pass, and where many delays are constant to be found. It is therefore that we raised the Temple, for the need was great. It is still new, and we have yet to find how it will serve, and doubtless, as experiment continues, modifications in detail will be made.

But some there are who come and look round them and find nought for them here to learn or to compose within themselves. These quiet, strong ones pass onward, blessing as they go, and the way they take is brighter for their passing; and those who are at hand are gladdened and take courage from the sight of them. It might be otherwise on earth. But those who come so far aloft as to Sphere Five are of no mean grace, and to such the beauty of a spirit more beautiful and strong than they but adds grace to their grace, and certifies to them the reality of the Brotherhood of All. (Arnel in G. Vale Owen, LBV3, 65.)

Self-Acknowledged Inhabitants of the Mental Plane

When I say mental, by the way, I usually mean “of the mental plane” – which is not the same as “being intellectual”…. When I say “of the mind,” I’m talking about a level of consciousness that I equate with being spiritual – “of the mind of God,” really. (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 69.)

Having progressed out of the “astral” or “plane of illusion,” (1) a being becomes little by little more radiant because the form is gradually “at-oneing” itself with creative force. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 67.)

(1) To the Mental Plane. Please note that every plane seems like a land of illusions to one who has graduated to a plane higher than it.

I did not do this [attendance at Electrical College] on the astral plane – I did this work in the realm of the mind. The plane of thoughts is much more refined and powerful than the astral plane. It’s free of the emotional, sentimental swill most people thrive on, but which must be transcended if you are going to develop clear thought. (Nikola Tesla, NTR, 58-60.)

My true life has begun now; the dream condition has ended. (1) (Sigwart, BOTR, 35.)

(1) Sigwart has passed from the Astral Plane into the Mental Plane. Sigwart had an unusually short stay in the Astral Plane, probably because he had an enlightenment experience while in the body: “I became a different human being during my last two years on earth because I found inner self-recognition. Therefore I was calm, happy, and surrendered myself to my fate for I knew and believed. Passing away and rebirth, all that had become clear to me. The truth had penetrated me and ... then the divine calm overtakes you.” (BOTR, 19.)

It matters little which world you happen to be frequenting… Self-discipline will always raise you above the negative vibrations at the astral level and adjust you to the vibrations of the mind at the more rarified mental level. (Mike Swain, FMW, 77.)

When you wake on the mental plane, you will realize that you / are and always have been a son of God. Will you feel that you always have behaved as such, even when you were in the cocoon-stage on earth; half-defunct caterpillar and half butterfly-to-be? (Mike Swain, FMW, 88.)

I am still but a newcomer in that strange world of which we sang:

Heaven is our home. (1) (Philemon [Archdeacon Wilberforce] in LFOS, 45.)

(1) “Heaven” is the Mental Plane. A newcomer would place Philemon in the first subplane or First Heaven.

[Frances Banks] is now in the Creative Sphere. (1) (Helen Graves in TOL, 131.)

(1) I.e., the Mental Plane. Again, a swift passage.

The discarnate being who has conveyed this message (1) has remained in touch with the earth and has followed, step by step, since his death at the beginning of the century, the progress of science, the Great War, which has been continued in the economic war. He has, through communion with the inner mind of his friends who still exist in physical bodies, perceived the change in man's spiritual outlook, perceived his urgent need for some cogent assurance of a spiritual world. Because a man dies, it does not follow that he loses touch with the earth, with that state of Penia – poverty -- from which he rose into the delights of the plane named Illusion, from which he penetrated into the world of Eidos -- pure form -- to the human soul the Heaven World, (2) the ultimate goal. For while on earth the human soul has, in rare moments, perceived that world but has not passed beyond it even when in the loftiest mystic trance. (3) (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

(1) That is, F.W.H. Myers himself.
(2) The Fourth Plane or first subplane of the Mental Plane, the “First Heaven.”
(3) Perhaps Myers’ soul. But, in this book, Paramahansa Yogananda is witness to the mystic having passed to the Buddhic Plane, at least; many, not in this book, like the Buddha, Ramana Maharshi, or Franklin Merrell Wolff almost certainly have passed higher. Myers appears to generalize from his own experience.

I have adventured some thirty-five years ago upon a post-mortem existence. …. Yet … I have not attained to the Fifth plane. (1) (F.W.H. Myers, BHP, n.p.)

(1) By the Fourth Sphere, Myers probably means the First Heaven and, by the Fifth Sphere, the Second Heaven.

Philip Gilbert Ascends to the Mental Plane

It seems that I was already attuned to a more rapid vibration than the astral, even when on earth. (Philip Gilbert, PTS, 70.)

My Unknown Teacher seemed to suggest [that Philip was an advanced spirit] in the messages I had from him. (Alice Gilbert in PTW, 108.)

There is a most wonderful young man building up, but in a blaze of light – brilliant white light – he is very advanced. (Medium to Alice Gilbert of Philip Gilbert in PTW, 224.)

He is far more advanced than you realized on earth. He is working very hard. (Mrs. Robert, medium, to Alice Gilbert of Philip Gilbert in PTW, 225.)

As one acquires more knowledge and power, provided that one is in tune, one’s consciousness seems to expand, one’s whole tempo seems to accelerate, only one can’t stand it for too long. Because, as I told you at first, I’ve deliberately attached myself to the astral plane to work and to await you. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 174.)

There is a new phase of existence beginning for me – very interesting. I am learning to keep two minds going, in a manner of speaking. I just don’t know how to explain it. I can function mentally in two aspects of myself. I can be with you keeping an eye on your doings and I can also be having a maths. Lesson! I have not yet tried to do my helper job as well as doing maths. That would be more than I can cope with yet, as it demands all my resources. … Advanced people here can actually project a sort of shadow image (equipped with power to think) of themselves into several situations, whilst their real Being is somewhere else. (1) I think your Teacher once said something similar, but I am now trying this out and it is very queer. The project image of me is attached by a thought-ray to my real Entity. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 207.)

(1) Could this be what is meant by “Presence Form”?

I was allowed to expand my consciousness for a longer period. I found that I could bear the increased light frequency and the surge of power for a much longer space – at least, it seemed to me. I think it is because all this time I’ve been in a sense gradually absorbing it owing to the frequent calls on the auric power of the Chief that I make, to support me in my activities against the less ‘amiable.’ Anyhow, I ‘rose,’ though it is not really rising in height and, much to my pleasure, I found I could actually float and function for a time as an entity in this higher phase. I spent most of the time trying out motions and thought power. It was terrific. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 177.)

Later, one goes through another sort of emerging process (1) and acquires further power. I shall not do that till you come. It is a willed and conscious act, not like death on earth. We shall be able to do it together. (Philip to his mother in PTW, 124.)

(1) Probably a reference to the Second Death on transition from the first to the second subplane of the Mental Plane – or from the First to the Second Heaven.

My consciousness seems to be more and more in that luminous glow which is an ecstacy. (Philip Gilbert in ITE, 7.)

I am not physical at all now. I am very magnetized. (Philip Gilbert in ITE, 8.)

There are hardly words to give the nature of my new experience (1) – I glow; the body which is the static ME is a form still; very powerful but composed of light irradiated particles – it is of the nature of flame. But this flame is creative. It can be moulded by my Ego at will or consolidate into an ordinary astral shape or blend in an ecstacy of mutual comprehension with others like me or with the more advanced. An inner withdrawal into a focus is the secret for acquiring transcendental knowledge. (Philip Gilbert in ITE, 8.)

(1) Philip is almost certainly by now in the First Heaven.

I have surged outwards – now this shining luminosity must cloak itself 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. (Philip Gilbert in ITE, 9.)

I lose the individual that you knew to an extent – but a pin-point remains and the thought image it builds is what you would see now – an ovoid glow. (Philip Gilbert in ITE, 9.)

First Impressions: “All Hell Breaks Loose!”

When you have progressed far enough to emerge at the mental level, your previous life shrinks down into its negative aspect and all hell breaks loose! You will find yourself becoming emotionally unstable. Necessarily so: for you are / already operating on a mental wave-length. Previously you had been “programmed” to operate on the astral, or emotional, wave-length. But while you are gearing yourself to the mental world, your emotions will take the bit in its teeth and you may think you’ve been kicked by a run-away cart-horse. (Mike Swain, FMW, 77-8.)

I am not in the so-called “Astral Sphere” nor in the “Devachan Sphere” at present, but in a middle realm. (1) I have advanced farther in a shorter time than many others because of my interest in everything spiritual during my life on earth. (2) (Sigwart, BOTR, 28.)

(1) It is likely that Sigwart is in the first subplane of the Mental Plane., or First Heaven, prior to the Judgment and the Second Death. He may be still in his astral body. His rise was very rapid.
(2) Cf. Paul Beard: “Except possibly for a brief space for readjustment, the easy-going enjoyment of Summerland is not for eager souls of sterner temperament because its experiences would already be worthless to them. They bypass it, or, to put it more accurately, they come to the next life having already lived at a level of consciousness beyond that at which such an existence could ensnare them. It holds no necessity for them. Hence they do not meet the experience.” (LO, 92.)

It is impossible to over-emphasize the degree of freedom in this new world, or the joy each and all has in it. (W.T. Stead, BI, 130.)

The lowest heaven is higher than the most wonderful vision of its bliss that you ever had. (Julia Ames, AD, 52.)

We are remote from earth consciousness. When you return [from your sleep travels], you “leave us behind” for you have to reduce your “frequency” very considerably to get back to the physical. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 80.)

Come into my world for a few minutes now and try to visualize it. It is a shimmering world, shifting and blending. …

There are many … spots of thought-created environments made “permanently” for our use by the higher people. (1) An advanced being can develop enormous powers of exteriorizing thought without it turning into dense matter. He can hold such images fixed, and yet withdraw his surface attentions from them – leaving them in the background of consciousness. They project these images so that other people can live in them. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 68.)

(1) Probably angels.

Myers on the Plane of Color

(4) The Plane of Color. Existence in this state is not governed by the senses. It is more directly controlled by mind. It is still an existence in form, and therefore an existence in substance. That substance is a very rarefied matter. It might be called an air of matter. The Plane of Color is within the terrestrial zone or within the corresponding starry zone wherein the soul previously had experience of a physical existence. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

Fourthly, all that life which is apparelled in form as it is known to man, all those lives in ever finer and finer bodies which are connected with the material universe. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

The hour comes when his spiritual perceptions awaken, when he seeks to escape from the memory-dream, when, in short, he realizes his own increased intellectual powers, and, above all, his capacity for living on a finer plane of being. Then he passes from the State of Illusion (1) and enters upon an existence which few communicating intelligences have ever attempted to describe to man. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

(1) Myers’ term for the Astral Plane.

As long as Soul-man would live mainly in form, he must be content to be a Super-terrestrial being. That state contains many degrees, many vehicles of expression. They differ in the rates of vibration; the finer they are, the greater your spiritual and intellectual perceptions; the wider your grasp, the loftier your experience of that Mystery we call God -- the goal of all spiritual attainment.

Now, in the state beyond Illusion, when you are living consciously and are sensible of your subtle body, you dwell in a world which is the original of the earth. Briefly, the earth is an ugly smudged copy of the world wherein dwells the subtle soul in its subtle body. You are doubtless aware that the copyist, when he produces his painting of a masterpiece, usually fails through being unable to convey the soul of the work in question.

The measurements may be correct, coloring and line excellent, but the life is not within it; so you are left cold and aloof, you are merely stirred to a petty irritation when you perceive a copy of an old master you loved. The earth, as you know it, is this unreal thing--a copy of a masterpiece. It is a shadow with all the defects of a shadow. It is, at times, distorted and grotesque; at times, a mere dim outline. Animation is absent. The true life is not expressed in it.

Within the subtle world of which I speak you will perceive a variety of forms which are not known on earth and therefore may not be expressed in words. Yet there is a certain similarity, a correspondence between the appearances of nature and the appearances on this luminiferous plane. Flowers are there; but these are in shapes unknown to you, exquisite in color, radiant with light. Such colors, such lights are not contained within any earthly octave, are expressed by us in thoughts and not in words. For, as I previously remarked, words are for us obsolete. However, the soul, in this plane of consciousness, must struggle and labour, know sorrow but not earth sorrow, know ecstasy but not earth ecstasy. The sorrow is of a spiritual character, the ecstasy is of a spiritual kind. These two transcend imagination, but they finally lead the soul to the borders of the Super-terrestrial region. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

The soul becomes possessed of a new awareness as well as of finer perceptions when he decides to go upwards rather than downwards on the ladder of consciousness; and, therefore, he enters the Fourth plane of being. On earth the average man's normal ego is largely controlled by the body's desires, though the spirit inspires its life and at times lights up the darkness of the human brain with luminous flashes. Still, the spirit, or what I call the deeper mind, can only faintly impress itself upon the ego. Now, in the Fourth stage the spirit is able to enter, with greater intensity, into the time measurement which I call the soul or ordinary consciousness. This soul becomes sensible of the change through his greatly increased intellectual powers. With that increased awareness there comes greater concentration. The memory of the earth life, in its details, is for the time being lost. As long as the soul dwells in form he is subject to the rhythm of the universe and, therefore, to some form of time. Conceive time and appearance as one symbol.

The soul bears with him, however, the fundamental emotional memory, or rather retains contact with it in the first stage on the Fourth plane of life. This plane of color might be more aptly termed "The Breaking of the Image." For on this level of consciousness the soul learns how to control form, learns by myriad experiences the ghostliness of all substance. In the anterior period of his evolution he has been controlled largely by substance. Slowly the graven image is broken, slowly the ego learns so to draw from the higher soul or spirit that he can, at will, break up his form and break from all forms, all appearances about him.

Of course, each individual's experiences vary enormously. I take as my example a sensitive Soul-man who makes definite progress upwards, who does not, as do so many, journey with the undulatory motion of a sea wave, up and down, up and down, though always reaching a little in higher than before.

Now this sensitive Soul-man realizes first of all that he has entered a world of myriad colors, lights and sounds. He is sensible of a body entirely dissimilar from the human body. As regards appearance, it can only be described as being apparently a compound of light and colors unimaginable. The shape of this form is influenced by all the ego's past acts so far as they have impressed themselves on his deeper consciousness. This colored compound may be grotesque, bizarre in form, may be lovely beyond words, may possess strange absurdities of outline, or may transcend the loftiest dream of earthly beauty.

In this many-colored region the form vibrates with extreme intensity, for now mind expresses itself more directly in form: so that we can hear the thoughts of other souls. At first only one at a time may break upon that hearing. But after a while we become sensible of the fact that we may hear the thoughts of several souls, each apart and distinct from the other. We dwell in a world of appearances in some respects similar to the earth. Only all this vast region of appearances is gigantic in conception, terrifying and exquisite according to the manner in which it presents itself to the Soul-man. It is far more fluidic, less apparently solid than earth surroundings.

This many-colored world is nourished by light and life in a greater purity, vibrates at an unimaginable speed. The souls, who dwell within the first zone, realize that with increased consciousness they have gained a far greater sensitivity. A hostile Soul-man's mentality may, with a powerful projection of thought, blast and wither some part of your body of light and color. You have to learn how to send out protecting rays. If on earth some other man or woman was your enemy and you hated one another bitterly, you will encounter this man or woman on this luminiferous plane; the old emotional memory will awaken when you meet. For love and hate draw you inevitably towards those souls who are in the pattern of your particular design which is ever shaping and reshaping in the tapestry of eternity.

You will understand, therefore, that pain and pleasure, joy and despair are once more experienced. Again, however, they differ greatly from the earthly conception of them; they are of a finer quality, of an intellectualised character. Mightier is their inspiration, more profound the despair they arouse, inconceivable the bliss they stir within the deeps of your being.

On this luminiferous plane the struggle increases in intensity, the efforts expended are beyond the measure of earthly experience. But the results of such labour, of such intellectualised and spiritualised toil and battle also transcend the most superb emotion in the life of man. In brief, all experience is refined, heightened, intensified, and the actual zest of living is increased immeasurably. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

Mary, Martin and Margaret, his wife, (1) have deeper, richer natures, and soon pass on to a higher level [than their parents]. In this world they evolve in the spiritual, creative sense, and weary, therefore, of the monotony of an existence within earthly memories.

So they set out on the higher adventure. They bid farewell to their parents and leave behind them the old grey colleges, the Gothic church and the quiet, cloistered surroundings which seemed, at one time, to satisfy all their needs. The cause for this change is to be found in the creative impulse which stirs anew in them; which seeks a higher and a greater awareness, a new enterprise, and surroundings that are no longer shaped out of earth memories, but in appearance, construction and being, are beyond any conceptions they had formed of reality when they inhabited their physical bodies.

These three are, indeed, on the level of the Soul-man and so, though they experience grief at parting with their friends and relations and the old university town - now imaginatively conceived - yet they do not hesitate, for they have received the summons to the next state of being, to the world of Eidos. Their ardent and more spiritually active natures compel them to take this upward step, to make a leap in evolution and, because their perceptions have become finer, enter into the enjoyment of a loftier world, magnificent, exquisite, full of strange beauties and forms that may still be, in some respects, reminiscent of earth. These are, however, infinite in variety. They are composed of colors and lights unknown to man. There, on this level, will be found a perfection in outward form, in surface appearances; a perfection only occasionally realized in the creations of the greatest of earthly artists. (F.W.H. Myers, BHP, n.p.)

(1) Myers is depicting a fictional group of people passing from the Astral to the first subplane of the Mental Plane.

Language Fails us

Words are for us obsolete. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

In taking you beyond the etheric plane, I run out of language. We are then among the super faculties for which you have no words. (Sir Ronald Fraser in AL, 177.)

Faculties on the Mental Plane

Mental Body

Once you have got beyond the earthly pull, once you have passed the stage of earthly association and reached the span of spiritual life to which you are thus entitled, (1) you emit a light, an aura, a radiation, which indicates who and what you are. (Silver Birch, SBA, 67.)

(1) I believe Silver Birch is referring to the Mental Plane.

We (1) can identify some of the higher teachers by the radiance of [their] appearance, by their light that comes with the message; because often there is no form of any kind. There is a thought, accompanied by radiance. (Silver Birch, SBA, 60.)

(1) Silver Birch is speaking about levels of existence much higher than the First Heaven, but the First heaven becomes the first level of existence where his words probably begin to have significance.

You are a very complex mechanism, in case you didn’t know it. You consist of a physical body; an electrical or etheric body to energize the physical; and an astral or emotional body. The etheric body is essentially the launching-pad beneath the physical and therefore part of it. Remove its launching-pad and the physical body dies. Over and above all that, you have a mental body Finally, at the hub of the entire composite, is your immortal soul. (1) (Mike Swain, FMW, 79.)

(1) Mike has left out the causal body. I am coming to the view that there are many more bodies between the mental and the soul, which higher orders like the angels inhabit.

Let us try to coordinate the physical body, the emotional body, and the mental body into one beautiful streamlined instrument. It is this instrument that will enable us to emulate Jesus and find the essential divinity within ourselves. (Mike Swain, FMW, 80.)

Remember that you are a composite being, with four energy bodies (1) that must eventually vibrate in unison. (Mike Swain, FMW, 85.)

(1) The physical, etheric, astral, and mental bodies. I am assuming that Mike does not consider the soul itself as a body.

[We are] consciousness in a mental body that does not age or decay. (William James, ADJ, 124.)

On leaving the Third level of consciousness (1) we assume a subtle body which, in beauty and in shape, no longer resembles the physical body. (F.W.H. Myers in BHP, n.p.)

(1) The Astral Plane.

Now, these beings wear a subtle body and they enter a world I would call Super-terrestrial; for they still abide within the ether. Ether is a bad term; but I cannot find another word to define that air or, I would rather say, fluid or emanation which is of the material universe. Pray remember that ether is the ancestor of matter as you know it. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

There are many people here, but they don’t have arms and legs; in fact, they almost don’t have a physical appearance at all. We see each other with our minds. (Eileen Garrett, PP, 155.)

On the higher planes we escape from form and appearance. We can live in an outline. We can express ourselves in color or light, color and light which may not be perceived by the feeble senses of man. (Frederic W.H. Myers, BHP, n.p.)

Now I no longer have an astral body…. To borrow David’s terms, the astral body stays with the spirit until he is ready to leave the “vestibule.” In occult terms, I suppose you would say that I am using my mental body. (Stewart Edward White in PP, 203.)

The beta body is the mental body. … Betty was quite aware of the astral body, but when she was working from the other side, she found it very cumbersome. …

Those of us on the mental plane can extrude into the astral plane and develop an astral counterpart of what we looked like in any given lifetime. To work through David (1) I have to extrude myself into the astral plane. Part of his astral body and part of my astral extrusion become like two hands holding each other. I’m not using David’s and he’s not using mine; we are just holding on to each other. David has given up the use of some of his will so that I can will the use of his speech patterns. It’s very complicated to explain, but easy to do. (Stewart Edward White in PP, 204.)

(1) David Kendrick Johnson is the medium White is speaking through.

The mental chair, (1) then, would appear as something analogous to a plan or design for the physical chair.

Leichtman: Could you sit on it?

If you were on the mental plane, you could do the equivalent of sitting on the chair, but you must remember that people on the mental plane have no equipment to sit with, in the conventional sense. (Laughter.) On the mental plane, you have a somewhat different shape. (Stewart Edward White in PP, 217.)

(1) White has been using the example of a physical chair, as reflected in its Astral, Mental, and Buddhic counterparts.

Leichtman: Unlike our physical bodies, the mental body would not have dense organs that stay in one position, would it?

No.

Leichtman: It’s in constant circulation, isn’t it?

There are organs of a sort, but they are made of mental matter and operate differently than physical organs. You do have what might be called “thought fingers” and “thought toes,” but bear in mind that we are talking about the complete mind of a whole being, not just the intellect as it is thought of in the physical plane. (Stewart Edward White in PP, 217.)

Intelligent thought … is one of the principal ways of activating the beta body [i.e., the mental body] and becoming focused on the mental plane. (Stewart Edward White in PP, 207.)

I want you to try to understand what is difficult, even for me, though I can see it more, now. Real life – real – the core of existence, is spirit – shading ‘downwards’ into mind, and further still into body, with many gradations and impingings in your present stage, of one into another, so that it’s hard to disentangle. I have shed the body as you know it, but I still have a body, yet my life is mental, verging on and aspiring into a spiritual, but far from wholly that – very far. You, in touch with me mentally (and spiritually) are living your real life with me. Your body, which in fact was so often away from mine, is not your real life. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 165.)

It is from the spirit eye that rays of power can be flashed – and from the finger-ends. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 126.)

Awareness

We can shut our consciousness if we are skilled enough. (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 138.)

Your present surroundings are, in a sense, your creation, in that you are mentally so unemancipated; your nerves and senses convey to you your perception of life. If you were capable of focusing your ego or daily consciousness within your deeper mind, if in short you trained yourself to pass into a thought compound from which form, as the senses convey it, were absent, the material world would vanish. You would no longer perceive it. If you were sufficiently developed spiritually you might be able to escape form altogether, though actually this is not possible until you have had numberless further experiences. (Frederick W.H. Myers, RTI, n.p.)

The soul becomes possessed of a new awareness as well as of finer perceptions when he decides to go upwards rather than downwards on the ladder of consciousness; and, therefore, he enters the Fourth plane of being.

On earth the average man's normal ego is largely controlled by the body's desires, though the spirit inspires its life and at times lights up the darkness of the human brain with luminous flashes. Still, the spirit, or what I call the deeper mind, can only faintly impress itself upon the ego. Now, in the Fourth stage (1) the spirit is able to enter, with greater intensity, into the time measurement which I call the soul or ordinary consciousness. This soul becomes sensible of the change through his greatly increased intellectual powers. With that increased awareness there comes greater concentration. The memory of the earth life, in its details, is for the time being lost. As long as the soul dwells in form he is subject to the rhythm of the universe and, therefore, to some form of time. Conceive time and appearance as one symbol.

The soul bears with him, however, the fundamental emotional memory, or rather retains contact with it in the first stage on the Fourth plane of life. This plane of color might be more aptly termed "The Breaking of the Image." For on this level of consciousness the soul learns how to control form, learns by myriad experiences the ghostliness of all substance. In the anterior period of his evolution he has been controlled largely by substance. Slowly the graven image is broken, slowly the ego learns so to draw from the higher soul or spirit that he can, at will, break up his form and break from all forms, all appearances about him.

Of course, each individual's experiences vary enormously. I take as my example a sensitive Soul-man who makes definite progress upwards, who does not, as do so many, journey with the undulatory motion of a sea wave, up and down, up and down, though always reaching a little in higher than before.

Now this sensitive Soul-man realizes first of all that he has entered a world of myriad colors, lights and sounds. He is sensible of a body entirely dissimilar from the human body. As regards appearance, it can only be described as being apparently a compound of light and colors unimaginable. The shape of this form is influenced by all the ego's past acts so far as they have impressed themselves on his deeper consciousness. This colored compound may be grotesque, bizarre in form, may be lovely beyond words, may possess strange absurdities of outline, or may transcend the loftiest dream of earthly beauty.

In this many-colored region the form vibrates with extreme intensity, for now mind expresses itself more directly in form: so that we can hear the thoughts of other souls. At first only one at a time may break upon that hearing. But after a while we become sensible of the fact that we may hear the thoughts of several souls, each apart and distinct from the other. We dwell in a world of appearances in some respects similar to the earth. Only all this vast region of appearances is gigantic in conception, terrifying and exquisite according to the manner in which it presents itself to the Soul-man. It is far more fluidic, less apparently solid than earth surroundings. (F.W.H. Myers, RTI, n.p.)

This many-colored world is nourished by light and life in a greater purity, vibrates at an unimaginable speed. The souls, who dwell within the first zone, realize that with increased consciousness they have gained a far greater sensitivity. A hostile Soul-man's mentality may, with a powerful projection of thought, blast and wither some part of your body of light and color. You have to learn how to send out protecting rays. If on earth some other man or woman was your enemy and you hated one another bitterly, you will encounter this man or woman on this luminiferous plane; the old emotional memory will awaken when you meet. For love and hate draw you inevitably towards those souls who are in the pattern of your particular design which is ever shaping and reshaping in the tapestry of eternity.

You will understand, therefore, that pain and pleasure, joy and despair are once more experienced. Again, however, they differ greatly from the earthly conception of them; they are of a finer quality, of an intellectualised character. Mightier is their inspiration, more profound the despair they arouse, inconceivable the bliss they stir within the deeps of your being.

On this luminiferous plane the struggle increases in intensity, the efforts expended are beyond the measure of earthly experience. But the results of such labour, of such intellectualised and spiritualised toil and battle also transcend the most superb emotion in the life of man. In brief, all experience is refined, heightened, intensified, and the actual zest of living is increased immeasurably. (F.W.H. Myers, RTI, n.p.)

(1) The Mental Plane.

The preceding remarks, outlining a more rarefied existence in the Super-terrestrial zone, must be regarded as merely a rough tracing of a very varied state of being. For instance, in that more spiritualised state there are many forms of expression. In it the soul wears several bodies, passing from one to another as he advances. These become more and more subtle indeed, the fineness of their texture cannot be grasped or understood by even a super-scientist. One law prevails, however, your soul is only aware of those beings who possess bodies vibrating with the same intensity--that is, unless he puts himself into a state analogous to that strange sleep known as hypnosis.

When thus conditioned he may go back, temporarily descend a rung of the ladder and make mental contact with a soul who inhabits a denser shape. He can even descend into Hades, enter its fog and come into touch with human beings. He is thereby frequently caught in the dream of the earth's personality; and it is as if the memory of his experiences on a higher plane were temporarily anaesthetised away. So he is incapable of conveying to earth--save with rare exceptions--any interesting or remarkable information. Caught in the cocoon of earth memories, which frequently are not his own, he can merely speak of trivial material affairs. It is as if he were a drugged bee in a hive, a bee sated with honey.

His awareness on the luminiferous plane has vastly increased, but usually he cannot convey a sense of it to those individuals he may endeavor to contact if he chooses once more, like Orpheus, to go down into Hell in search of the beloved. These remarks will explain why so few ever receive any spontaneous impression of the departed. Indeed, men and women are as ghosts to us, and only when they seek us with faith and with love do they obtain any convincing suggestion of ourselves, of our earth personality. Such a search is legitimate and will neither hurt nor distress the one who is summoned or sought. (F.W.H. Myers, RTI, n.p.)

In his journey up the ladder [man] is gradually emerging from that darkness in the sense that the light becomes brighter, more continuous. When he reaches the Fourth stage his awareness is as brilliant as an ordinary man's awareness is feeble. There are far fewer gaps of unconsciousness, for the spirit can make a surer and more consistent contact with the soul by reason of the fineness of its body and its greater subtlety, by reason of increased intellectual activity on his part. The blind puppy is beginning to open his eyes at last.

Pray examine the picture of the night sea again. It is almost continually illumined by the beacon of the lighthouse. Only at long intervals does darkness descend. Now how is it possible to convey to human beings, by the primitive rude sounds called words, the implications that arise from this far greater awareness? For instance, the intensity of the thought processes of the emotional life seem limitless when compared with the sluggish movements of the human brain, with the crude passion that is roused in the stirring moments of earth life. Take the intellectual activity of a slug or a snail, compare it with that of a man and you will understand how different is the mental world of the soul on the Fourth plane from that of the human being. (F.W.H. Myers, RTI, n.p.)

In this respect he resembles a light house that stands upon a rocky coast on a starless night. Darkness impenetrable covers the sea; every now and then it is lit up by a ray of light which flashes across the waters, illumining their surface but feebly and momentarily. Man's consciousness appears thus to me now. In his journey up the ladder he is gradually emerging from that darkness in the sense that the light becomes brighter, more continuous. When he reaches the Fourth stage his awareness is as brilliant as an ordinary man's awareness is feeble. There are far fewer gaps of unconsciousness, for the spirit can make a surer and more consistent contact with the soul by reason of the fineness of its body and its greater subtlety, by reason of increased intellectual activity on his part. The blind puppy is beginning to open his eyes at last. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

Thought

Our conception of space differs entirely from yours. I can give you a faint glimpse of it if I use the wireless message as an illustration. I have but to concentrate my thought for what you might call a moment and I can build up a likeness of myself, send that likeness speeding across our vast world to a friend, to one, that is, in tune with me. Instantly I appear before that friend though I am remote from him; and my likeness holds speech--in thought, remember, not words--with this friend. Yet, all the time, I control it from an enormous distance; and as soon as the interview is concluded I withdraw the life of my thought from that image of myself, and it vanishes. Of course, I can only make this contact with those on my plane who are familiar with me and, therefore, are in my rhythm.

This trivial illustration of the power of thought to give reality to itself is mentioned here merely in order to show you how much nearer we have come to the Creative Principle. We are gradually learning how to live within and without form, learning how ghostly is the most tenuous substance. We are becoming aware of the fluid, flowing character of mind. We understand how it can control energy and life-force, those units which nourish all manifestations and appearances. (F.W.H. Myers, RTI, n.p.)

Light

We are progressing into Light and yet more Light. To us, now, (1) references to the “golden Throne of God” which formed part of our religious instruction on earth, now reveal definite hidden Truths. The Utmost of such light is beyond our comprehension, which is still limited, or even our highest aspirations. (Frances Banks, TOL, 144.)

(1) Banks is referring to the Mental Plane.

Light here is literally the substance and matter of our thought life. Thus, as our thoughts become attuned to the vibration of Creative Divinity, so the substance of our bodies changes, becoming less dense and reflecting more Light.

We carry our own Light. The greater therefore the selflessness and illumination of our minds and the most positive our response to the higher frequency of vibration, the purer and brighter is the Light transmitted by us. (Frances Banks, TOL, 144.)

Time and Foreknowledge

Time, of course, is different. There’s no such thing as clock time here for we are able to eliminate time as well as space, since we are able to will ourselves to be anywhere at any moment of earth time and are able to look ahead so far into what you call the future that this also transcends the earthly idea of time. (Arthur Ford in WB, 14.)

What you call “looking into the future” is only that ability through clairvoyance or attunement when you escape the three-dimensional boundaries of the physical world and see what will be your future. You behold the effect of the cause you put into motion, what your free will has created. But this does not affect time itself, only your relation to it. (Silver Birch, SBT, n.p.)

Life on the Mental Plane

Self-Luminosity

We are not dependent on the sun for light – we ourselves are, to an extent, luminous – in ratio with the degree of our advancement. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 31.)

Sounds and Colours

Now, a human being cannot imagine a new sound, a new color or feeling; so it is impossible for him to conceive the infinite variety of new sounds, colors and feelings experienced by us on the Fourth stage. (F.W.H. Myers, RTI, n.p.)

No Class Distinctions

There is no distinction of the classes. (W.T. Stead, BI. 130.)

No Races

There are no black people as you know them on earth. No matter what colour you are on earth you all end up here the same. On earth people would do better to take people for what they are and not for the colour of their skin, as many Godly souls have been coloured on earth. On meeting them here you cannot tell the difference. I am afraid on your earth plane there will be much bloodshed before this is recognized. (Arthur Conan Doyle, LH, 18.)

All is One

That which I am learning here, (1) in this wider state of consciousness, is a joyous apprehension of the vast wonder of the unity of Creative Mind in which all, ever atom, every soul-fragment, every Group Soul, every creative thought, is One. (Frances Banks, TOL, 144.)

(1) On the Mental Plane.

Free to Follow Own Pursuits

We are free, of course, to follow our own pursuits. There are no college rules or compulsory attendances but I, for one, find myself at the Halls of Learning almost continually. Again, you notice, I repeat the pattern, that avid desire for spiritual knowledge which I now realize characterized all my excursions into different experiences on earth and which I now comprehend, albeit vaguely, as having been the focus of those personalities with which I have returned to incarnation. (Frances Banks, TOL, 143.)

Ease of Living

My life here has been a very normal, healthy and interesting affair, just as my life on earth was. I have been invested with no powers generally attributed to spirits and fairies, I am still just an ordinary man with an ordinary plain, blunt outlook on life; the change has in no way altered me. The only change there is in me is my greater ability to move speedily and to act quickly. I am rejuvenated, and this is a condition which becomes more marked as time goes on. (W.T. Stead, BI, 145.)

Here you can talk for days for there is no night. It stays light all the time, and you do not need sleep. It is like one long sunny day. The only word to describe it is Paradise, for nothing on earth is remotely like it. (Arthur Conan Doyle, LH, 17.)

You may sit at the side and chat to your acquaintances, for no one here would think of snubbing you as on earth. Indeed they are all too ready to speak and invite you back home to partake of refreshments. (Arthur Conan Doyle, LH, 21.)

Desire to Serve

Many of us carry on with our same work as on earth. Here we have no need to work in order to obtain daily livelihood, we work here solely for spiritual refinement and progress; at the same time we keep in touch with our earth interests as a form of recreation. (W.T. Stead, BI, 132.)

Halls of Learning

Here, also, there are Rest Houses—Houses for Music—Houses for Scientific Research—Houses for all, and every kind of information and knowledge; and the entrance fee to each and all of these is Desire. We do not lead a life of continual cramming of information—we lead ordinary earth lives, but with a much keener social interest and much more freedom and exchange of thought. (W.T. Stead, BI, 129-30.)

Teaching faculties of every faculty known and unknown to mankind are available here, and one can study whatever subjects one wishes to master. (Donald Macleod in HT, 12.)

Music

The loftiest spiritual beings were present at [this concert]. Very few could see them because here too, these sublime remain hidden from the less developed souls. I was able to catch a short glimpse through a kind of mist and this proved to be the culimination of these magnificent hours. (1) (Sigwart, BOTR, 69.)

(1) Sigwart was asked to participate in creating a majestic series of symphonies, which were then played for exalted therapeutic ends.

We knew not that [Christ Jesus] was present [at the concert] also. But I feel the after-glow now for His might is too powerful for us not to be made aware of His blessing. It became known to me today, and this filled me with indescribable joy and deepest thankfulness. (Sigwart, BOTR, 80.)

The clearest essence of these spiritual harmonies will penetrate the earthly spheres and should influence mankind. Much illness will be healed, pains of soul will be relived, and good seeds will be encouraged to germinate and sprout.(Sigwart, BOTR, 68.)

A roundelay by a community of the most radiant spiritual beings was the finale. They all had to float in groups through space as the crowning of the greatest event ever. (Sigwart, BOTR, 69.)

Science

A great scientist may at once seek those surroundings in which he will have full liberty to pursue further scientific studies, though these will naturally now be of a rather different character. In life, for him, the thing and not the person roused and stirred his imagination. So he chooses to travel alone and thereby satisfies the fundamental passion or desire of his nature. Equally men and women who care more for some particular work, pleasure, or pursuit, than for any human soul, or circle of souls, will continue to be engrossed in it until the point of satiation is reached. Nor do they require intimate companionships of the usual kind although, when conditions are satisfactory, they can meet and hold intercourse with dwellers on the same plane who are kindled with like enthusiasms. Or they may be drawn together because mutual interest has been aroused, or because each is necessary to the other in a wider and more intellectual sense. (F.W.H. Myers, BHP, n.d.)

Sexuality

In any human contact, whether on the physical plane or on the inner planes, there is a pooling of awareness. It’s been said that in heaven there is no marriage because our ordinary contact with each other is more like a completely merging into someone else. Instead of having a conversation, it is as though both parties become one for awhile. …

Sex, particularly in marriage, is as close as this merging can be approached while in the physical life – except by the enlightened person who has learned to focus his awareness in heaven even while he’s alive in a physical body. (Stewart Edward White in PP, 211.)

In this fundamentally Mind World I which I am now, I see how unimportant is the transient sexual attraction and passion on earth among human beings, how vitally important is a rich imagination in which two minds are on the same level. So the partnership here endures even as the two journey to wider horizons, if there is sufficient imagination. (Winifred Combe Tenant, SBS, 54.)

But, in the world after death which I have called the sphere of “Terrene Imagination," (1) men are the possessors of bodies which reproduce in shape and in general appearance the discarded physical form, though they are clothed in an ethereal substance which vibrates with a greater intensity.

In this sphere (2) there is an absence of that strenuous struggle which leads to creative imagining - creative effort. Women do not bear children though the illusion of sexual passion may be experienced as long as it is the soul's desire. The woman possesses an etheric body so framed that it can serve her as the material shape served her various purposes, wishes and appetites on earth.

In uttering that famous saying, "But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage," Christ spoke of the circumstances that prevail on the higher planes of consciousness. While existing in the world of Terrene Imagination man remains caught in his earthly memories. He is not, therefore, resurrected and still abides within the fantasy of the earth-dream, retaining, if it be his desire, that part of it which relates to marriage.

The problem of marriage, of two husbands or of two wives, is usually solved after death by the pull of the stronger, finer affection. Each soul is either drawn to the one who is most akin and sympathetic to it, or is absorbed by whatever special passion or desire fills its nature.

A pure but passionate love experienced by a certain number of normal men and women on earth is creative in character. It enlarges and inspires the imagination so death does not put out this fire for ever. On the contrary, in the world of Illusion (3) and in the world of Eidos (4) such men and women know pure yet passionate love again. Thus they create with their whole being and because of their greater sensitiveness such self-creative experiences are often heightened and intensified, and increase the vigour of the soul.

There exists in the higher regions of the sphere of Terrene Imagination and in Eidos a harmony and freedom that may not be the lot of true lovers when their minds are dulled and they are weighed down and oppressed by a heavy material body. On the Fourth plane (5) such love changes in character, the conditions of life and consciousness being very different from those that prevail on earth. (F.W.H. Myers, BHP, n.p.)

(1) I.e., on the Astral Plane.
(2) On the first subplane of the Mental Plane or the “First Heaven.”
(3) The Astral Plane.
(4) The First Heaven.
(5) The First Heaven.

Regaining Past-Life Knowledge on the Mental Plane

Ed. For instances of regaining past-life knowledge on the Astral Plane, see here

When the time comes for us to graduate from this sphere (1) I am told that we may then be able to recall our past lives. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 91.)

(1) We cannot know what sphere Lawrence is referring to, but it is most likely the Astral Plane. If so, the reference given at the head of this subsection offers examples of spirits who have attained knowledge of past lives before leaving the Astral Plane, challenging this assertion.

Only as he is crossing over from the astral into the celestial plane would he be able to make use of this knowledge [of all past lives]. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 13.)

Q: What about the knowledge that you’ve gotten between incarnations on the other side? Wouldn’t that come back to you when you left the body?

A: Slowly, very slowly, as the person is able to accept it. (Unnamed spiritual teacher to Betty Bethards in TIND, 12.)

One can, at least in my case, remember one’s last form of existence and also, to an extent, by deliberately contacting higher forms of being, visualize and look forward to one’s future existence. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 26.)

Q: Does the remembrance of his corporeal existence present itself to a spirit, complete and spontaneously, immediately after his death?

A: No, it comes back to him little by little in proportion as he fixes his attention upon it, as objects gradually become visible out of a fog."   (Unnamed spirit communicator to Allan Kardek in WASTAK, n.p.)

In this further state (1) you will be more self-contained; a word I use to express a state of being less dependent upon other people and things for development and progress. In this sphere you will again come in contact with your whole record. A record in full, of all former states: and from this sphere, if your record has qualified to the point of allowing it, you will be given the choice of returning to earth again. Reincarnating. If your record does not qualify for choice in this matter, you will be directed either to return or to continue, according to what the Teachers—the Purified—consider will afford you most opportunity for re-creating yourself and cleansing yourself in the necessary way. It is from this sphere that spirits return to earth, but by the time the most progressed spirit has reached this state he has forgotten in detail his association with earth. I cannot give the shortest period of time which would be necessary to reach this sphere, but the sojourn in the Real World after the Blue Island is a much longer period than that of mortal life; and in each sphere as progress is made the sojourn is longer. (W.T. Stead, BI, 146-7.)

(1) I.e., after the Second Death.

I am being shown how to regain much which I knew of old. It is a fascinating existence and one I long to share with you. (Wellesley Tudor-Pole in AL, 75.)

I have now regained much of the knowledge which I had in my greater self; but only half-truths were filtered down to me in the last life, with many contradictions. (Wellesley Tudor-Pole in AL, 73.)

Just so Philip, in the first months after sudden death, whilst still in the “aura of his incarnation” says little about the great panorama of “re-incarnation” and the higher spheres into which eh withdraws later. Only as he begins to withdraw into his higher “Ego” does the pattern emerge for him. (Philip to Alice Gilbert in PTS, xxxii.)

And now, I go and you come with me to those dim recesses of far-spun web. We will explore Time – come then into those silent depths of velvet darkness where is embedded the events of your Past. Come and study, for your instruction – Come! (The Unknown Teacher to Alice Gilbert in PTW, 213.)

We went to Tibet, to that land of high peaks and violet shadows that your Teacher told you of. But it was into past scenes that we delved. We heard the rich resonance of the ancient gong which called us to the inner mysteries; we saw the great heavy shouldered yaks tugging at their loads. We stood at dawn and watched the glow of sun rise over the peaks.

We were, I think, blood-brothers in an earthly sense, in those days, but this was not our first incarnation – I can’t get any further back yet – we were monks in the inner ring., We studied what we called the mysteries, but it is really only the occult knowledge that you have of concentration, the power of thought, and the laws of inevitable consequence.

But we had original and independent minds – you aggressively so – and would not accept all. We set our face against intolerant practices, and should have died for it, but, it seems, the Grand Lama, who was inspired by your Teacher, our Chief, was shown in a vision what was happening in the remote temple where we played our little part, and by the power of his thought, arrested the knife of sacrifice just as it was poised over your heart.

We re-saw this scene and shuddered, even now, but a great sense of Peace came on us both and we found ourselves back in your room sitting on the divan by your sleeping body.

Since then, they tell me, we have chosen to re-incarnate several times – and always together – once in ancient Egypt where we were man and woman, and, once, as you saw in your sleep, in old London. There too we were man and woman – I, restless, adventurous, and a flirt, but always returning to you, who were serene, peaceful and a housewife, yet in secret practicing the occult.

So you see we have been … ‘down the time-track.’ (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 143-4.)

Last night you and I went on a very long journey – we managed to pick up our Egyptian lives. It is not easy to do this even when discarnate and we did not get them very clearly – only a blur of images. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 195.)

Last night you went a very long way – we contacted the Chief. He was with us in China, in an old temple there – at least so it seemed to us - but our consciousness was raised so that all things seemed one – we could see a vast panorama. You remember nothing except that you woke well and very happy, but I am still dithering with the power which seemed to surge through us when the Master fixed his penetrating eyes on us, like rapiers, yet not harmful. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 202.)

There is upheaval [in the thought web] and I think of our experience in Atlantis before the volcano erupted. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in ITE, 38.)

Ability to Consult the Akashic Records

We are particularly favored in this sphere because the akashic records are available to us. Your every thought, deed and action while you are on earth is permanently recorded on the rarified vibrations of our etheric world. These records can never be obliterated. Whenever one of the Great Masters needs to measure the development of a particular soul, he merely tunes into that particular wave-length and the Akashic records reveal his innermost thoughts. It is like watching a three-dimensional color T.V. You see everything exactly as it happened, as though you were there in the flesh. (Mike Swain in FMW, 59.)

I (1) have been in Constantinople and have stood in the very room where I once had a remarkable experience, hundreds of years ago. I have seen the walls, I have touched them, I have read the etheric records of their history, and my own history in connection therewith. …

The ether around [the Grecian] peninsula is written over with their exploits, in daring thought as well as daring action. The old etheric records are so vivid that they shine through the later writings; for you must know that what are called astral records lie layer against layer everywhere. We read one layer instead of another, either by affinity or by will. It is no more strange than that a man may go among the millions of volumes in the British Museum and select the one he wants. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XXXII.)

(1) Judge Hatch is speaking from the Astral Plane. It is unsual to be able to consult the Akashic Records from the Astral Plane.

Ability to Return to the Astral Plane

When people have passed from the astral plane, they can again come back to it. Through the power of thought, they reclothe themselves in astral substance. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 66.)

Although these men (1) are on the mental plane, they can return to the astral plane and walk among us and talk with us here. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 66.)

(1) Mattson is discussing Francis Bacon and Martin Luther.

Contact with Earth Diminishes in First Heaven

I do not find it an easy matter to ‘speak through’ a medium. As you appreciate, I have the conviction that there that there is no necessity for this. On this level of thought, (1) telepathy is developed to a greater potential than was practiced on earth. By means of thought transference I endeavour to reach the minds of old and dear friends still in physical existence. Sometimes I am happy to think that my efforts meet with a certain response. At others the veil of illusion (even in those who should know better) inter/feres with reception and the contact is faulty or is even rejected. But this will be so whilst those on earth still cling to the theory of separativeness. (Frances Banks, TOL, 144.)

(1) Frances Banks is now speaking from the Mental Plane.

The Difficulty of Continuously Opening

Now that I have left behind the dark veils which blind the spiritual insight during one’s earthly pilgrimage, I find that I am still repeating the pattern, (1) only from another angle. No longer do I doubt as once I did. Now I know. Yet with all honesty I have to admit that Reality appears, at times, too wonderful even for my growing and expanding consciousness.

It might surprise you to learn that this reaction is a common one amongst the pilgrims I have met. The mind, you see, is only slowly, very slowly, opening to its vast potential. The veils of matter which now, to us, are represented by a loss in frequency of vibration have, so recently, been dissolved that we / can and do proceed only into each successive stage with deepening understanding and a widening of conscious awareness. To put this idea into the language and metaphor of the earth world, it is as if Cinderella had, inexplicably, become a Princess. (Frances Banks, TOL, 142-3.)

(1) The pattern of doubt.

Re-uniting with the Greater Self and the Group

Re-uniting with the Greater Self

Now I want to speak about the greater self. This was a discovery for me of enormous importance. I had always glimpsed the possibility of there being a more advanced Andrew somewhere, but he was so elusive. I didn’t really know how or where to look for him – then we met! I was slightly embarrassed. I was a new boy. He was myself grown wiser, but how were we to co-operate? He was tall – I am short. He was strong and athletic – I was wrinkled and puny. He was like an elder brother and yet he was like himself and then he looked at me and took me in his arms as you would a small child and breathed on me – that was all, and I, Andrew, became as one with this great being. It is beyond understanding or explaining but it is true. We are only a very small reflection of the self we leave outside the earth body and, when we have accepted death and entered into the majesty of passing out of the physical, this wonderful enlargement of mind and spirit is awaiting us. (Father Andrew Glazewski in AL, 92.)

I had no idea about our greater selves. Douglas has made complete contact with his, but most of us are broken pieces; the earth life body seems only to have held a small part of me and there is a much nicer Joe – in fact, far too nice a Joe, who is waiting for me, the imperfect Joe, to take over. (Sir Alvary Gascoigne in AL, 112.)

Suddenly, as the sense of expansion grew, I was conscious of a being beside me fashioned in some ways on the same mould. I turned and looked at him and I said at once, “Oh, you must have been my brother Oliver whom I never saw in earth life.”

“No,” he replied, “I am yourself.”

“But,” I stammered, “I’m still me. What do you mean?”

“Yes, and I’m still you and myself, one and the same. I have been your light reflection all through your earth life and now we can be re-united.”

I wasn’t at all sure I was in favour of this getting together and said so. He merely laughed and said, “Don’t quarrel with your hands and feet and you’ll be a much more complete Joe if we are united.”

“Well, how do we do it?” I asked.

“Don’t be in a hurry. You must learn to accept me first as your shadow or reflection. But I only reflect the highest in you.”

This disturbed me greatly. “There isn’t very much of the higher as you call it in me.”

“Well, I find there is,” was the unexpected reply; “I am the result of your effort and industry and uprightness, together with your fundamental love for the people around you. Oh, I know, lots of them irritated you beyond bearing, but you did bear with them and all that has built up an entity which is me. Now you see I am entirely you, so you can’t throw me out or brush me off. I am you cleaned up and ready to receive the higher vibrations: how do you take that? I’m a sort of bank balance on the credit side.”

“Well, I’m awfully glad to hear that I have a bank balance and of course I accept you as part of myself; I suppose as you are the upper boy you’ll take command.”

I didn’t like the idea of jettisoning my way. But he only laughed and said, “Trust me. I won’t usurp your will. We can co-operate quite easily.”

And so the oddest sort of marriage began between the two me’s, and I found I was enormously but enormously changed, stronger, happier, richer by far in understanding and in correlating events and the purposes behind them. And so I was able to take on these missions to and from Everest and Chartres, which the lesser Joe could never have undertaken. (Sir Alvary Gascoigne in AL, 168-9.)

Though D. has only been over a short time, he is already united to at least a part of his greater self and this part spoke through him. (Sir Alvary Gascoigne in AL, 59.)

Re-uniting with the Group Soul

As I lay entranced, (1) soaking in the reflected glory of the heavenly fields, I was approached by a number of souls. They greeted me kindly and told me that they were members of my group. (Donald Macleod in HT, 16.)

(1) While still on the astral planes.

Those who stand the tests … pass to another and altogether different and lighter land – and each becomes impersonal. Impersonal in the sense that they are no longer Jack Brown and Madge Black; they are now pure spirit people and their former love, which had been a personal and individual thing, is no longer for one but equally for all. All are alike to all. The purest tissue of God Love binds one and all. (William T. Stead, BI, 147.)

Men will lose all the shells of unwanted matter accumulated around them … of a soul kind (1) … and will become a spiritual and blessed company of brethren. (Anonymous teacher of the White Eagle Lodge in Paul Beard, LO, 127.)

(1) In the Second Death.

On the lower rungs of this ladder of consciousness dwell those souls who still cling to human habits of thought, to the earthly personality, to their own individual line of thought. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

The higher the ego climbs on the ladder of consciousness, the nearer it draws to other kindred souls. I have already told you that there may be a thousand, a hundred, or merely twenty souls all fed by one spirit. Their consciousness of comrade-souls increases on the higher levels of existence. In time they are able to enter into the other souls' memories, perceive their experiences and be sensible of them as if they were theirs. Mind becomes communal in the last stages, for the spirit, the unifying principle, is tending all the time to produce greater harmony, and therefore greater unity. These various individuals are merging more and more, becoming one in experience and in mind, and thus attaining to undreamt-of levels of intellectual power. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

When I was on earth I belonged to a group-soul, but its branches and the spirit -- which might be compared to the roots -- were in the invisible. Now, if you would understand psychic evolution, this group-soul must be studied and understood. For instance, it explains many of the difficulties that people will assure you can be removed only by the doctrine of reincarnation. You may think my statement frivolous, but the fact that we do appear on earth to be paying for the sins of another life is, in a certain sense, true. It was our life, and yet not our life. In other words, a soul belonging to the group of which I am a part lived that previous life which built up for me the framework of my earthly life, lived it before I had passed through the gates of birth. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

It is true, however, that, on occasions, the pilgrim meets with only one race when he makes these strange journeys into the past. Perhaps he finds the life of the Victorian era as it existed in London in the eighties, or the social conditions that prevailed in Devonshire during the Napoleonic wars, or the peasant life of the Highland crofters during the seventeenth century. (F.W.H. Myers, BHP, n.d.)

(1) He will rejoin his group on the Mental Plane.
(2) That is, the Astral Plane.

Here, in the After-death, we become more and more aware of this group-soul as we make progress. Eventually we enter into it and share the experiences of our brethren. You must understand, therefore, that existence for my soul -- as separate and apart from my individual ego -- is dual. I lived two lives, one in the world of form, and one subjective, in the community of which I am a member. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

The actual construction of the group-soul must be clearly visualised. Its spirit feeds, with life and mental light, certain plants, trees, flowers, birds, insects, fish, beasts, men and women; representatives of living creatures in varying states of evolution. It inspires souls who are on various planes, various levels of consciousness in the After-death. It feeds, also, creatures on other planets. For the spirit must gather a harvest of experience in every form. Gradually these intelligences evolve and merge. The experience necessary to the spirit is completed when all the souls necessary to the design have reached this Fifth plane. Once they become sensible of their oneness and their individuality they may go forward to the Sixth plane. There is, then, a breaking of the threads, a casting away of the dross of emotional experience, a sifting and changing on the part of all these souls. They pass once more into Hades and review, in that state, all that now lies behind them. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

Men and women may not care to accept these statements of mine. They long either for an indestructible individuality in the Hereafter or for a kind of spiritual swoon in the life of God. You will perceive in my analysis of the group-soul that we are individuals and members of one whole. And when you come to the Fourth, and more particularly to the Fifth stage, you will realize how fine and beautiful is this brotherhood within the one being; how it deepens and intensifies existence; how it destroys the cold selfishness so necessary to an earth life, where one living creature must continually destroy another's manifestation in matter in order to maintain its physical life. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

Nothing that has occurred here or has been shown to me in the occurrences of my life here in Eternity has brought any change in my belief in Group Work and in the evidence of Group Souls. (1) (Frances Banks, TOL, 114.)

(1) Banks is discussing the subject from the standpoint of the Astral Plane. Her membership in one of these groups “is to come.” (TOL, 117.)

We are, to my limited knowledge, all members not of one Group but of many, and the many make up the Great Group or the Great Soul Being in which we live and move and have our being … and these great Beings unite to form further great Group Souls or Divine Beings in the Divine Company of Heaven. (Frances Banks, TOL, 115.)

In the guidance of these Groups are great Beings, watching over the progress of their cell-like clusters of souls. They work on higher mental Rays of influence, for although I know very little about them as yet, I have questioned many souls who have contacted them and worked amongst them.

These Soul Groups are extensive, yet concentrated in their classes and workshops. They realize more than we can possibly do the Divinity inherent in every particle of the Cosmos. They are able to study Divine Laws beyond our understanding. They commune together with and in the Mind of the Higher Beings whose Soul Group they constitute. They work for progress in Divine Imagination and they work as Divine Inspirational Groups. They inspire lower groups with their findings, for they still contain the lower groups within their Centres as cell-points in a vast, intricate and beautiful organism.

Amongst them are philosophers, scientists, researchers, priests, teachers. They are parts of Groups which influence and impress such movements on earth as Psychic Research, Healing movements, Religious Co-operation, the advancement of Science and all movements intended to bring Light upon future worlds. (Frances Banks, TOL, 116.)

All great aspirations, revelations and divine whisperings of intuition originate in and through the Spirit of the Group to which one belongs, i.e., the Highest Point of the Group. Thus, family sacrifices, family peace, love, harmony all originate from the Group Soul of the family; in the same way, great aspirations for service and for imparting knowledge to others and for the guiding and enlightenment of our fellows comes from the Great Spiritual Being who is the Centre Group Spirit of that particular group.

Since I left the earth I have been taught by a Teacher with whom I am in contact, mentally and spiritually. He Himself is a part of the Group Soul towards which I am progressing and of which, although I was not entirely aware, I have been a member for many ages. This Teacher is a higher Disciple, a wise and advanced soul, and is able to impart knowledge and wisdom to souls in the Group. (Frances Banks, TOL, 118.)

I thought I was doing this (1) on my own, until I learned that I was an instrument of a greater Group. That too was a thrill, to realise that our Group Work had been a preparation for this means of contact. (Frances Banks, TOL, 121.)

(1) Banks is referring to her work in the Rest Home.

The Group itself is made up of souls at all levels of consciousness, from the highest to the mediocre, but the Spirit of the Groups only Itself advances as the younger and les knowledgeable members make progress. It is a unified advance. No member of the Group can pass beyond the call and communication of other members. When the Group itself advances into the Divine Company, then there will be no ‘stragglers.’ But, as I am instructed, such an experience is far beyond the Group consciousness at this stage. (Frances Banks, TOL, 119.)

The progressing entity is drawn by the Law of Attraction to a Group progressed to that stage which will express, for him, the intensity of awareness which he is now capable of receiving. (Frances Banks, TOL, 135.)

All is expansion here, but expansion in stages. This Law is exact. No entity can propel itself forward into a Group until its emotional, mental and spiritual expansion at least is comparable with the fringe of that Group’s awareness. … Here, illusion, glamour and self-deception are of no avail. One reveals what one is. One advertises oneself even in one’s apparel. The mask has been shed with the physical body. The develop/ing Light body, its dimness or brilliance, is apparent, especially to members of the Group to which the quality of such Light permits graduation. (Frances Banks, TOL, 135-6.)

Group Souls preside over universal movements, over great causes and thus members of one Spiritual Family are often attracted to each other by mutual interests, by a special life work, as well as by external links. They work together, may indeed share their lives in partnership, or may only meet occasionally as they work in some particular project.

Sometimes, by what appears to be a perverse fate, members of the same Group are separated, born into the apparently wrong camps. Their lives become tragic, often futile in their repeated efforts to rejoin their similar companions and their rightful work. Strangely enough many never find their right niche. Often they live and die as outcasts. But, as the entire complement of a Group Soul is never in complete incarnation at the same time, i.e., there is always an integrated part of the Group on this Side, the outcasts, after their transition here and after they have gained consciousness of their state and have attained to at least some measure of Light, rejoin their own Groups. (Frances Banks, TOL, 139.)

All who are in the sphere of love and light (1) dwell in families, communities, groups, the binding force of which is love, love alone, sympathy, mutual affection. There you have less one-sidedness than on earth. It is a world of mutual loves and affections and pursuits. (Philemon [Archdeacon Wilberforce] in LFOS, 96-7.)

(1) I am presuming that Archdeacon Wilberforce is referring to the First Heaven because people do not necessarily live in communities on the Astral Plane. But I could be wrong in my attribution.

For the last few years I have been one of a band (1) who have been working on the cause and treatment of cancer and, in the fullness of time, we will give our reports and findings to mankind. It will interest you to know that Pasteur, Dr. Schweitzer, Madame Curie, David Livingstone, and some of the people who are working on this project are here. (2) Others are working on heart disease, leukemia and other chronic illnesses. (Donald Macleod in HT, 10.)

(1) Macleod being with his medical band or group suggests that he is communicating from the Mental Plane.
(2) Most probably, are attending the same spirit circle, on the spirit side, on which Macleod is communicating to his son. Frances Banks also met with Pasteur.

In spirit-life we do not talk of independence. That is a fallacy of earth. Spirits are in union and communion mutually interdependent. They are joined in rapport with those from whom they have learned, or to whom they have taught somewhat. (Spirit communicator Magnus in Moses, MSTSW, n.p.)

Frances Bank Makes the First Contact Through Enlightenment

Do you recall that in the early communications from the Rest Home to which I first graduated for service, I recounted the story of a certain doctor, the surgeon who had, whilst in the earth body, fallen victim to drug addiction? You remember that, with him, I visited a Group and was in communication with a number of advanced Souls. On several visits I met and communed with these Minds which have reached high standards of consciousness and wisdom. Sometimes they patiently explained Group workings to me. One, a fine and illumined Soul instructed me: “Seek for your own place. Ask that Light may open your mind to that which is for you, that your vibratory rate may be increased to respond to the vibration of your Group, that you may become aware of them, for they are very close beside you.”

For long I meditated on these words.

Suddenly, as I looked upon my old friend, Father Joseph, when we were attending a patient in the Home, I beheld, not the usual brown habit with which I have always associated him, but a ‘surround’ of glorious blue which clothed him. It seemed that I looked right into him. My inner eyes were opened. I knew. His smile was gentle but all understanding as he said: “My child! Welcome home!:

The words were sufficient, the contact was made. It had been necessary for me to await enlightenment, but he had always known. I found it difficult to leave the Home and Mother Florence where I had been so happy. But the prospect of progress was inspiring. Besides, I was comforted by learning that Mother Florence would be visiting the Group to which I was going from time to time, as she too was one with it, yet perforce chose to remain at her duties in the Home until all her ‘flock’ had been safely welcomed to this side of life.

I cannot make explicit to you the ‘mechanics’ of my move to the Group, partly because I yet am not entirely cognizant of all that occurred myself, and partly because there is no pocket of thought in your mind which could ‘receive’ such information. This I can offer for your consideration and that of the readers: whilst I was meditating in my golden garden, I found myself ‘transported’ back to that Temple of Learning where once before I dared to penetrate. Only this time, Father Joseph (I now know him by another name) was with me.

Together we joined a cluster of entities about a Teacher. Immediately I experienced a rise of consciousness, an upsurge of joy, a mingling of unity and harmony which coloured my whole being. I cannot explain this in any other terms though I doubt whether they will have the same connotation for you.

I knew this was right for me. I had come into my own. There was no definite acceptance, the entire operation was unobtrusive and simple, yet I had the conviction that all was well, that I was amidst my fellow-travellers on the Way.

What is this Group called?” I flashed silently to Father Joseph. He smiled.

“What have you always sought, my child – Reality!”

Then I knew it for the extension of that reaching out for Spiritual Truth and Creative Force which, when on earth, we had termed ‘mysticism.’ Here was the first phase of the search for Mystical Union but on a higher level, and without the incubus of earth personality and the fluctuating interference of the fleshly desire body. (1) (Frances Banks, TOL, 140-1.)

(1) The desire body is the astral body. Banks is saying that all earthly desire had by now fallen away from her, another indication that she is on the Mental Plane now.

Considerations Upon First Joining One’s Group

At last came the opportunity to pursue the progress onwards (1) which I so eagerly desired. By similarities of mind and aspiration I was ‘drawn’ towards a Group. Eagerly I ‘communed’ with them. My joy was deep and strong when I realized that I had, indeed, found my own Group even though I knew myself to be only on the outer fringe of their activities. …

Gradually I became aware of my fellows as ‘arrayed’ in colours as in garments and by the depth or brightness of soberness or brilliance of their ‘surround,’ I cam to know, not only their characters, but their individual advance into the Spiritual Realms. This was indeed most revealing, yet humbling.

I saw that now I must discard the habit to which I had clung. It had served its usefulness. I must wear what I am as a garment. The thought was terrifying. What was I? Dare I stand before my Group companions in the ‘new habit’ of my thought? Would the colours be somber or bright? Long and earnestly I talked with others who were in very much the same predicament and I meditated earnestly on what I wanted to be that such may be presented in truthful Light about me. (Frances Banks, TOL, 137.)

(1) Most likely to the Mental Plane.

This is a new stage. I am still a neophyte. It is the preparatory stage (concentration before meditation in the earthly technique) of working down into oneself to discover what one really is; the utterly honest summing up of one’s faculties both mental and aspirational and then ‘letting forth’ of whatever Light has dawned into a shape. ‘Let you Light so Sine’ has a solid meaning here.

Gradually the garment evolves, the colour settles, and you are arrayed as you really are. You have assumed your Light. In other words, the surviving personality is reunited with at least a part of the true Soul body. (Frances Banks, TOL, 137.)

You can now take your rightful place in the Group, albeit only on the outer ring. Your ascent into consciousness has begun. You are clothed in raiment of Light as your fellows. Now your Light can mingle with their brilliance and become One in intensity. Thought and aspiration grow into joy and ecstacy. Channels of wisdom and knowledge open to you, beauty becomes a living reality.

This is the ‘breakthrough’ I had longed for when in the physical body. It never manifested in intensity then. Flashes of awareness but served to deepen the hunger of the personality for the soul’s radiance. Perhaps this clarity of consciousness is not possible in the materialism of earth life. I cannot know the answer to that. … All this was within me then as now, but the veil of glamour and illusion barred my sight, as it still veils Reality for most dwellers on the earth. (Frances Banks, TOL, 138.)

From time immemorial it seems that I have been attached to [this Group]. Now this is a reunion. … Every soul has its place in the Divine Scheme of Living. Every soul belongs to a Group and forms an integral part of a Group soul. I do. You do. The meanest beggar in the street / does, the greatest genius does.

A Group Soul is constituted of souls at individual levels of progress, each complementing the others to make a Whole. One is part of a Group Soul as one is part of a family in the physical sense; a family relationship may be temporary, but a soul relationship is eternal. (Frances Banks, TOL, 138-9.)

At higher levels of consciousness, Group Souls unite to form greater Units. This, I reason, must be the continued Law of Progress into Divinity which is a Unity, a Oneness, a total, mysterious and glorious whole. But only thus far dare I aspire to the Divine Plan. Here / and now I am privileged to be enabled to touch only the fringe of the consciousness of Groups working at this level and to co-operate with them. (Frances Banks, TOL, 139-40.)

I knew [Van] slightly before and now I find we are in the same group and I am honoured and grateful to serve under him.

We have a most heterogeneous group, many diplomats (including your brother [Sir Alvary Gascoigne]), and people like Halifax, whom I also knew. He is away beyond me, but tremendously influential. We all grow and develop under the immediate influence of each other. (Lord Dowding in AL, 179.)

Living as a Group

You will want to know more of my occupations [and] living arrangements…. (1) I have a new home. I share a beautiful estate with others of the Group. This place has wide sloping grass lands, trees and flowers of the most exquisite beauty and avenues of Light, I have no other words for this, for meditation and contemplation. As we here are closer in vibration to the Spiritual Worlds, the echoes of the music of the spheres along these avenues becomes a glory sweeping our thoughts and aspirations into contemplation of the Mystery of Divinity and Eternal Life. (Frances Banks, TOL, 143.)

(1) On the Mental Plane.

Like all else, we tend to live in our own communities. (Donald Macleod in HT, 17.)

The Danger of Getting Stuck in the Group Soul’s Mold

In the Fourth stage the soul becomes sensible of the group-soul, and through the awareness there arises a great change. He begins gropingly to realize the character of experience, the possibilities of mind; and in this Fourth stage if he is a Soul-man he is peculiarly liable to error. That is to say, once he becomes cognisant of the group-soul and of its many emotional and intellectual experiences he may, if a certain section of that group-soul be in a fixed mould, take upon himself its shape and remain within it for aeons of time. In this connection when I write "mould" I desire to indicate a certain special outlook. For instance, a fanatical Buddhist or a very devout Christian may be held within the groove of his earthly beliefs. For those other souls in his community are, perhaps, also, held in the chains of those particular ideas. So there he may remain, making no progress, in a thought or in a memory world which consists of the Christian or of the Buddhist dream. He is held fast in the tentacles of an octopus. This octopus is the earthly Christian or Buddhist idea of an After-life, their view of the universe as created when on earth.

Now, you will recognize that such conditions tend to inhibit progress. For it means -- to use another metaphor -- dwelling in an intellectual chrysalis, living in the past earthly conceptions. And it is needful that the journeying soul should come to a state in which he can at will survey them, but not be held by them, or be imprisoned in their limitations. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.) Every Christian born upon the earth is inspired by some individualized spirit. When I write "individualized" I desire to indicate that it is a thought of God; it is not, therefore, the Whole, it is not the Fount of all life.

So there are numerous fanatical Christians who, though they led lives of rectitude on earth, committed certain intellectual sins. These might be summed up in the phrase "rigidity of thought," "an outlook limited by fanaticism." Briefly, they are wedded to a limited concept. In the fourth stage of existence they must learn how to escape from such a prison if they are to make further progress. These remarks apply equally to Buddhists, Mahommedans, and all those other fanatical adherents of various religions or, as in the modern world, of scientific conceptions. For science tends more and more to become a religion or special outlook for many human beings.

Now, if the soul is to pass from the Fourth to the Fifth stage he must first shake off, cast from him any dogma, any special earthly outlook which has shaped his mentality, which confines it; so that his vision is limited, and his experiences are, therefore, also limited; consciousness of reality being thus withheld from him. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

The Group’s Advancement

As I begin to comprehend now, the purer and stronger the Light from each unity soul of the Group, the greater the advancement of the Group Soul Itself towards ultimate bliss of Union, towards that ineffable Light which will ever be the mystery and wonder of Divinity.

Yet each ‘unit’ must be proved, i.e. its Light must be subjected to the test of veils of density of other spheres of action. / So many units return again and again to the nothingness of dense matter, bravely asserting the lasting reality of their illumination. So often such units, clothed in their passing personalities, fall into ignorance, becoming subject to materialistic concepts.

Some are blessed on their journeys by flashes into the Light and, in rare cases, the Light gained in these spiritual Worlds holds steady, shining through the fleshly masks to bless and encourage their fellow travelers in the darkness of supposed separativeness. Light shines from the eyes of these advanced egos and is reflected in the magnetic fields which surround their dense bodies. (Frances Banks, TOL, 145.)

Reincarnation and the Group

We all try to evolve as a soul group when one of us decides to reincarnate. (Donald Macleod in HT, 17.)

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