Exploring the Summerlands
The astral world is part of the world of spirit. It is one life in many varying grades, from the lower reaches to the highest stages. It is not divided into watertight compartments. We have to give you terms that you can understand. (Silver Birch, SBA, 58.)
There is a very bright and beautiful sphere of the spirit world which has been given the picturesque and most apposite title of the ‘Summerland.’ (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 133.)
As you know, here in the “Summerland” spirits are still learning and progressing, but are very far from perfection.
Many come over here well developed mentally but lacking in spirituality; others are very spiritual but require that mental quality which is necessary if their spirituality is to be more than a divine ecstasy; while some have neglected to cultivate / along with these good gifts enough of that love and charity which is essential to those who are willing to bear each other’s burdens and so fulfill that law of Christ, which is the true way of progress. (Claude Kelway-Bamber in CB, 47-8.)
S.M. asks a friend, recently passed. Are the spheres like this world?
In every way similar. It is only the change of condition that makes the difference. Flowers and fruits and pleasant landscapes and animals and birds are with us as with you. Only the material conditions are changed. (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, MSTSW, n.p.)
We have no recurrent seasons, no alterations of light and darkness as external indications of time and, in addition, we have no personal reminders, common to all the incarnate, of hunger and thirst and fatigue, together with the ageing of the physical body. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 122.)
Flora – Flowers
Beautiful gardens abound, as there are so many souls who are realizing their earthly longing for colour and harmony by creating beauty here. (Ethel McLean in LFM, 45.)
Q. Are the flowers and gardens a symbol only, or have you the real thing – not only your own thought taking form?
P. The flowers, the gardens, the rivers, the mountains, the scenery of our world would exist if none of us from the earth planet had ever come here. (Spirit communicator Philemon, LFOS, 27.)
There are gardens and flowers here of exceeding beauty. They are formed by thought processes according to certain laws, and only those who love beauty and form are [entrusted] with the work. (Unnamed spirit communicator in SWSL, 59.)
‘You say the park or landscape is a creation of the mind?’
“Yes; but more real than you imagine of mental pictures, because all can see and enjoy the same.”
‘Is this mental picture of a park a mirage or a reality?’
“It is a reality, for mind is the only reality here.”
‘Is such a picture permanent or does it change?’ /
“It would remain until altered by command. It has permanency affected only by the directing wills of the powers who control.” (Unnamed spirit communicator in SWSL, 60-1.)
‘Can you tell us what the flowers are like?’
“Try to imagine a flower that neither fades nor whithers, yet may disappear to make room for other flowers when so desired. We do not destroy, but they become a part of the etheric substance again, to be used later in other creations. We can produce growing plants if we choose, and watch the bud come into flower, and leaf and stem perfect themselves. Or we can create the flower full grown and beautiful.”
Once when Dee had been telling us of her little pupils, and of their play in the gardens, she said:
“The gardens devoted to children are far more beautiful than any known to you. The flowers are of exquisite beauty, many-hued, and with forms unknown on earth. There are lakes with water crystal-clear; fountains softly splashing; tree-shaded nooks and corners; and wide, open places for games or play. Can you imagine children playing in lake or fountain without spoiling their beautiful garments, or catching cold? Can you imagine a sunshine that does not burn, or winds that bring no dust, or play and exercise followed by no fatigue?”
‘Will we be able to see the beautiful landscapes from the first, when we arrive?’
“You will be able to enjoy nature from the first. We have landscapes here, and can go on to other scenes as we wish, the same as you travel to new scenes and places.”
‘Are there changes there? Do the landscapes change? Do your beautiful flowers change?’ /
“The things we wish to remain are stable. But our wishes change, and our surroundings adapt themselves to our thoughts. Would you like to live in an old house when a more beautiful one could be yours? Would you there keep a garden of weeds, if your larger intelligence could produce flowers? Everything here evolves as we evolve. Growth and change are the laws of life both here and there.” (Dee and another unnamed spirit communicator in SWSL, 61-2.)
‘Do the trees and flowers there have any life that is comparable to plant life here?’ “The life of a plant here depends upon the thought of the one who conceived it. For flowers and plants are the work of artists, and each artist has a different conception of beauty. Hence we have a variety and beauty not known on earth.” (Dee in SWSL, 63.)
Earthly gardens at their best and finest are of the very poorest by comparison with these that we now beheld, with their wealth of perfect colorings and their exhalations of heavenly perfumes. To walk upon the lawns with such a profusion of nature about us held us spellbound. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 44.)
We have the most glorious flowers here, some of them like the old familiar cherished blooms of the earth-plane, others known only to the spirit world, but all alike are superb, the perpetual joy of all of us who are surrounded with them. … They are always in bloom, they never fade or die, their perfumes are diffused into the air where they act like a spiritual tonic upon us all. They are at one with us, as we are with them. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 106.)
Spirit flowers, as well as all other forms of nature, are created by the Great Father of the Universe through His agents in the realms of spirit. They are part of the immense stream of life that flows directly from Him and that flows through every species of botanic growth. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 106.)
When we take the tiniest blossom within our hands, … we … feel such an influx of magnetic power, such a revivifying force, such an upliftment of one’s very being, [and] know, in truth, that those forces for our betterment are coming directly from the Source of all good. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 107.)
The flowers and all growing things respond immediately to those who love them and appreciate them. The music that they send out operates under precisely the same law. An attunement upon the part of the percipient, with that with which he comes into contact or relationship, is a prerequisite condition. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 113.)
There are blooms, and plenty of them, that are expressly there to be picked, and many of us do so, taking them into our houses just as we do on earth, and for the same reason.
These severed flowers will survive their removal for just so long as we wish to retain them. When our interest in them begins to wane they will quickly disintegrate. There will be no unsightly withered remnants, for there can be no death in a land of eternal life. We simply perceive that our flowers are gone and we can replace them if we so wish. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 107.)
As one approached any particular group of flowers, or even a single bloom, there seemed to pour out great streams of energizing power which uplifted the soul spiritually and gave it strength, while the heavenly perfumes they exhaled were such as no soul clothed in its mantle of flesh has ever experienced. All these flowers were living and breathing, and they were … incorruptible.
There was another astonishing feature I noticed when I drew near to them, and that was the sound of music that enveloped them, making such soft harmonies as corresponded exactly and perfectly with the gorgeous colors of the flowers themselves. … These musical sounds were in precise consonance with all that I had so far seen – which was very little – and that everywhere there was perfect harmony.
Already I was conscious of the revitalizing effect of the heavenly garden to such an extent that I was anxious to see more of it. … I walked the garden paths, trod upon the exquisite grass, whose resilience and softness were almost comparable to ‘walking on air’; and tried to make myself realize that all this superlative beauty was part of my own home. (1) (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 14.)
- (1) Monsignor Benson is being shown the garden outside his new home, in spirit.
[Ruth] told us how some friends had shown her the method of gathering from the flowers all that the flowers had so lavishly to give. … By placing the hands, she said, round the flower so as to hold it in a sort of cup, I should feel the magnetism running up my arms. As I moved my hands towards a beautiful bloom, I found that the flower upon its stem moved towards me! I did as I was instructed, and I instantly felt a stream of life rushing up my arms, the while a most delicate aroma was exhaled by the flower. She told me not to pick the flowers because they were forever growing; they were part of this life, even as we are ourselves. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 28.)
We each of us keep our gardens alive, in every sense of the term, by the affection which we shower upon them. There is no constant battle with weeds and wild growths; nor are we at the mercy of the elements, whether wind or rain – or lack of rain; of cold or frost; or of too great heat. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 77.)
It’s more like a holiday here. We’re not bothered with all the troubles of things on earth, the weather, for instance – most of all the weather; or the right soil; and everything to do with the planting, and so on. It’s a long process on earth from the moment the seed is planted to the time you come to pick the blooms from the market. But here … we make our plant with its blooms already on it, in all varieties and mixtures of colours. We can have single blooms or double, as we fancy, or as others fancy. And once we’ve made them and planted them out, well, there’s nothing more to do, so to speak. But we’re not idle for all of that – even if it is merely showing people round.
‘You would think, Roger,” I said, ‘that our gardener here has precious little to do. Don’t be deceived. He is the genius behind all our gardens, the designer in chief. He and his colleagues, brothers in the art, are responsible for the loveliness of the many gardens you’ve seen.
We followed our guide along path after path, from flowerbeds to avenues of trees and shrubs. The super-abundance seemed overwhelming, but our friend assured us that everything we say would be put to good used and was not there merely for display. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 99-100.)
We were shown into a spacious apartment containing many shelves filled with large volumes. Our friend took down one volume and opened it at random. It showed a picture of a tulip, exquisitely drawn in colour. It was not an artistic reproduction in the strict sense of the term; it was a purely botanical picture, without background, and revealed full details of the flower and its foliage so that anyone viewing it would know exactly how the flower was composed. Especially true was the colouring of it, so we were informed.
‘It is from these paintings that our pupils learn all the details of the flowers before they commence the actual process of creation. Before you can begin to build a flower, or anything else if it comes to that, you must know precisely all the details necessary for a faithful reproduction. “Near enough” is not good enough. It’s got to be perfect. And the only way to make it so is to know by heart every twist or turn of the object that is to be created. You could take it right [from] the drawing, so to speak; in fact, that is what the beginning always does. But, afterwards, he will study the picture – or an original, if he prefers it – and that leave shim free, when the work commences, to devote his whole mind to the object in hand.
‘In all these volumes, you will find coloured pictures of every flower we make here, both the earthly kinds and those that belong to the spirit world alone.
In addition to these books, we have the prints hanging separately on the walls in another room. That’s done for the convenience of anyone who wishes to view them without through the volumes. Come across the hall into the big room.’
We entered a very large chamber where, hanging upon the walls, were magnificent pictures of every type of garden to be seen in these lands. It was impossible to assess the greater beauty of any one over that of another. They were all equally wonderful.
Some of these sketches have been presented to us from other nursery-gardens, in the same way as we pass on drawings and sketches that portray some particularly happy novelty. A regular exchange goes on, for…, in these lands, we are always on the move in things. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 100-1.)
Flora – Trees
“You are part of the tree, in tune with it; it feeds you and you respond to it in that you recognize it as a reflection of God’s love as you are a reflection of God’s love. It emits a sound like a beautiful tiny bell, again quite impossible to describe, but you hear it within yourself and respond spiritually. The flowers can dance and sing in their own particular way. … Everything gives you of itself in a conscious overwhelming generosity of joy and you reciprocate, sharing everything around you with this giving and taking.”
‘It seems to us you miss much if you cannot see the beauty of nature here.’
“No, we do not. For we have the fairer counterpart here. Groves, mountains, lakes and valleys, all are here as we wish. They are a part of our spirit world and remain.” (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 94.)
There were many splendid trees to be seen, none of which was malformed, such as one is accustomed to see on earth, yet there was no suggestion of strict uniformity of pattern. It was simply that each tree was growing under perfect conditions, free from the storms of wind that bend and twist the young branches, and free from the inroads of insect life and many other causes of the misshapenness of earthly trees. As with the flowers, so with the trees. They live forever incorruptible, clothed always in their full array of leaves of every shade of green, and forever pouring out life to all those who approach near them. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 14-5.)
The Ground or Soil
[The soil] is perfectly dry – I could detect not a trace of moisture. I found that it ran off the hand in much the same way that dry sand will do. Its colors vary in a wide range of tones, but never does it approach the dark heavy look of earthly soil. In some places it is of a fine granular formation, while in others it is composed of much coarser particles – that is, relatively coarser.
One of the unexpected properties of this soil is the fact that, while it can be taken into the hand and allowed to run from it smoothly and freely, yet when it is undisturbed it remains fully cohesive, supporting as firmly as the earthly soil all that is growing within it.
The color of the ‘earth’ is governed by the color of whatever botanic life it supports. And here again there is no special significance, no deep symbolic reason for this particular order of things. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 14-5.)
What is the ground like? Can you describe it?’
“We walk on solid ground, you might say, but not as earth ground would seem. It has no dust; no rain can make it impassable, nor mud to soil our garments or feet. It is more like a glass foundation. That is not a good comparison, but it is as near as I can think just now. Always smooth, dry, dustless; and always beautiful in its winding way or broad thoroughfare. We may walk through groves, or by running stream, or sit by lake or fountain. Or we may meet others in the broad and beautiful streets. Yet we do not need to use these paths or streets unless we choose, for we can come more quickly, rising above all the habitations and all the natural loveliness, and move swiftly through the air.
“Does this satisfy you? We are not confined to any one way, but can choose our own.”
‘Can you in any way describe what the ground is made of?’ /
“Not exactly, any more than we can describe the material of which our homes are made. There are some things here that are so nearly indescribable to you, that all we can do is to make an attempt at their appearance. No spirit material is exactly like the mortal, and our names for them would convey no meaning to you.” (Dee in SWSL, 62-3.)
I could clearly perceive what had all the appearance of a city of stately buildings, for it must be remembered that all people here do not possess a uniformity of tastes, and that even as on earth, many prefer the city to the country, and vice versa, while again some like both. I was very keenly interested to see what a spirit city could be like. It seemed easy enough to visualize the country here, but cities seemed so essentially the work of man in a material world. On the other hand, I could advance no logical reason why the spirit world should not also build cities. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 24.)
My mind had reverted to the narrow streets and crowded pavements of the earth; the buildings huddled together because space is so valuable and costly; the heavy, tainted air, made worse by streams of traffic; I had thought of hurry and turmoil, and all the restlessness and commercial life and the excitement of passing pleasure. I had no conception of a city of eternal beauty, as far removed from an earthly city as the light of day is from black night.
Here were fine broad thoroughfares of emerald green lawns in perfect cultivation, radiating, like the spokes of a wheel, from a central building which, as we could see, was the hub of the whole city. There was a great shaft of pure light descending upon the dome of this building, and we felt instinctively – without Edwin having to tell us – that in this temple we could together send up our thanks to the Great Source of all, and that there we should find none other than the Glory of God in Truth. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 44.)
It is possible to attain absolute rest and quiet even in the heart of the city without the slightest difficulty. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 126.) The buildings were not of a great height as we should measure and compare with earthly structures, but they were for the most part extremely broad. It is impossible to tell of what materials they were composed because they were essentially spirit fabrics. The surface of each smooth as of marble, yet it had the delicate texture and translucence of alabaster, while each building sent forth, as it were, into the adjacent air a stream of light of the palest shade of coloring. Some of the buildings were carved with designs of foliage and flowers, and others were left almost unadorned, as far as any smaller devices were concerned, relying upon their semiclassic nature for relief. And, over all was the light of heaven shining evenly and uninterruptedly, so that nowhere were there dark places.
This city was devoted to the pursuit of learning, to the study and practice of the arts, and to the pleasures of all in this realm. It was exclusive to none, but free for all to enjoy with equal right. Here it was possible to carry on so many of those pleasant and fruitful occupations that had been commenced on the earth-plane. Here, too, souls could indulge in some agreeable diversion which had been denied them, for a variety of reasons whilst they were incarnate. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 44-5.)
The cities of the earth are mere concentrations for reasons of commercial convenience. There being no commerce in the spirit world we have no need for such concentrations. But what has been done is to place all the great halls of learning of these particular realms in one locality. There is no pressing need that they should be so disposed; with equal facility they could have been distributed throughout a wider area of these regions. But it was felt that a number of magnificent buildings, such as are the halls of learning, would present a much more imposing appearance if they were arranged in an orderly plan, each within a moderately close distance of the other. We can think of no better arrangement. And so the buildings were erected many aeons ago. They occupy an immense area of ground and each is standing in gardens and grounds of peerless beauty. Exactly in the centre of this group of buildings is a temple of unsurpassed grandeur. It forms the hub of the city and from it radiate all other buildings of whatever nature. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 97.)
There are no municipal or civic rights to be considered, no parochial boundaries to be thought of, no suburban or rural privileges to intervene in any way. The city is part of the countryside; the countryside is part of the city. The life of the one is the life of the other, simply because of the continuity of existence in the spirit world and because of the perpetual day-time and perpetual summer-time. There is no hot and stuffy city to make a visit to the country air so pressing. There is no great commercial attraction of the city to draw folk towards that centre. So that, in effect, the country and the city are one. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 98.)
When you come to view the countryside here you find that without hedges and walls and other boundary marks, the whole landscape becomes one vast expanse of parklands interspersed with rivers and streams and wooded land. Standing amid all these beauties are the dwellings of the inhabitants of these regions of the spirit world, and in a part of the countryside there stands what we call the city. Where one ends and the other begins, it would be difficult to say. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 98.)
We have no roads as they are known on earth. We have broad, extensive thoroughfares in our cities and elsewhere, but they are not paved with a composite substance to give them hardness or durability for the passage of constant stream of traffic. We have no traffic and our roads are covered with the thickest and greenest of grass, as soft to the feel as a bed of fresh moss. It is on these that we walk.
In such places where smaller paths are desirable and where grass would seem unsuitable, we have such pavements as are customary in the earth world. But they are constructed of very different materials. The paving is, for the most part, a description of stone, but it is without the usual drabness of color. It closely resembles the alabaster-like material of which so many of the buildings are constructed. The colors vary, but they are all of delicate pastel shades.
This stone, like the grass, is very pleasant to walk upon, though, naturally, it is not as soft. But there is a certain quality about it, a certain springiness, if one may so term it, something like the resilience of certain timber that is utilized in the making of floors. That is the only way in which I can convey any idea of the difference between earthly stone and spirit stone. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 108.)
There are beautiful buildings here that have a translucent radiance and reflect rainbow colours of light, an ever-changing shimmering kaleidoscope of patterns, very beautiful to behold. (Ethel McLean in LFM, 41.)
Of the magnificent buildings in the spirit world, … we have all types, from the earliest known to you on earth down to those of the present day. A type that is a great favourite among us here is that which is commonly known to you as Gothic. But all ages are represented. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 53.)
The materials of which they are constructed have a semi-translucence, an alabaster-like appearance with a superb variety of delicate colourings that seem to change their tones as the beholder changes his viewpoint. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 54.)
Looking at my surroundings, I became aware that I was in a large building of multi-coloured stones, each vibrating a tune like a great orchestra and, as they vibrated, they gave off the most enchanting music. I have said “multi-coloured stones,” but the expression is a misnomer, as mortal man can never imagine, or in imagination remotely approach the colour, beauty or freshness of the walls of this mansion.
I reached out a hand to touch those stones to feel if they were real. They were real. They were, however, not hewn from any quarry because then damage and destruction would be involved. The perfection of the spirit world is not allowed to be marred or impaired in any way whatsoever, as we are all on vibrations of harmony and compatibility and no discords are allowed here. (Donald Macleod in HT, 16.)
I bathed in a glorious lake the water of which was slightly scented. It ran off my body as I stepped out, almost as if it were running off marble or alabaster. (Claude Kelway-Bamber in CB, 7.)
We [can] sink beneath the waters without harm, but rather with enjoyment. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 58.)
Water is fully alive in the spirit world. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 177.)
As the water pursued its course it gave forth many musical notes that constantly changed and weaved themselves into a medley of the most dulcet sounds. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 24.)
I let some of the water run over my hand, expecting it, by its very look, to be icy cold. What was my astonishment to find that it was delightfully warm. But still more it had an electrifying effect which extended from my hand right up the arm. It was a most exhilarating sensation, and I wondered what would it would be like to bathe fully within it. My friend said that I should feel myself being charged with energy…. When I withdrew my hand from the brook, I found that the water flowed off in flashing drops, leaving it quite dry. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 25.)
All we needed for the purpose of enjoying a bath was the necessary water in which to bathe! Nothing could be simpler. We were just to go into the water precisely as we were. Whether we could swim or not was of no consequence. … The water felt more like a warm cloak thrown round me than the penetration of liquid. The magnetic effect of the water was of like nature to the brook into which I had thrust my hand, but here the revivifying force enveloped the whole body, pouring new life into it. It was delightfully warm and completely buoyant. It was possible to stand upright in it, to float upon it, and of course to sink completely beneath the surface of it without the least discomfort or danger. Had I paused to think I might have known that the latter was inevitably bound to be the case.
But beyond this magnetic influence there was an added assurance that came from the water, and that was its essential friendliness, if I may so call it. It is not easy to convey any idea of this fundamentally spiritual experience. That the water was living one could have no doubt. It breathed its very goodness by its contact, and extended its heavenly influence individually to all who came within it. For myself, I experienced a spiritual exaltation, as well as a vital regeneration, to such an extent that I quite forgot my initial hesitancy and the fact that I was fully clothed. …
My mind was saved further perturbation when I recalled that as I withdrew my hand from the brook the water ran off it, leaving it quite dry. I was already prepared, then, for what ensued as we came out of the lake. As I emerged the water merely ran away, leaving my clothes just as they were before. It had penetrated the material just as air or atmosphere on earth will do, but it had left no visible or palpable effect whatever. We and our clothes were perfectly dry!
And now another word about the water. It was as clear as crystal, and the light was reflected back in every ripple and tiny wave in almost dazzlingly right colors. It was unbelievably soft to the touch, and its buoyancy was of the same nature as the atmosphere, that is to say, it supported whatever was on it, or in it. As it is impossible to fall here by accident, as one does on earth, so it is impossible to sink in the water. All our movements are in direct response to our minds, and we cannot come to harm or suffer accident. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 29-30.)
[The water] glistens and sparkles; it is crystal clear; it is buoyant; one can slip beneath its surface and enjoy its warm embrace as it folds its living arms about you. It soothes, it invigorates, its inspires. It will produce the most beautiful sounds when it is disturbed on its surface. The ripples of the wavelets will reflect back a multitude of rainbow tints and will emit the purest of musical tones. Have you any water like that upon earth? I cannot remember ever seeing such when I was there.
There is no such thing as stagnant water here; every drop of it is everlastingly living water of jewel-like purity. We can bathe in it, we can ride upon its surface in many a splendid vessel, or we can descend beneath it without harm to ourselves because it is our nature that no harm can come to us. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 76.)
Ruth fully expected [the sea] to taste of salt, but it did not, much to her surprise. As far as I could observe, it had no taste at all! It was sea more by virtue of its great area and the characteristics of the adjacent land than anything else. In all other respects it resembled the water of the brooks and lakes. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 91-2.)
When viewed from an elevation that is fairly high above sea level, the water presents a scintillating expanse of colour. There are no storms to agitate the surface violently; at the same time the sea is not always of a glassy smoothness. The gentlest of breezes will play lightly upon the waters, rippling the surface and forming little waves which take on a hundred tints in the smallest space so that these rays of reflected light are for all the world like the flashes of colour that are to be seen issuing from the purest of diamonds.
It is a thrilling experience to behold for the first time this glittering effect that is natural to all water in the spirit world. When I first beheld it I could hardly believe my eyes, so unbelievably inspiring was the spectacle. And even now, although I have become to some extent a seasoned resident of these realms, I can still be thrilled by the interplay of colour whenever I come within sight of river or lake or sea. And that applies to all of us here. Familiarity has not made us indifferent. There would be something radically wrong with ourselves if it did. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 95.)
Never had I expected to behold such a sea. Its coloring was the most perfect reflection of the blue of the sky above, but in addition it reflected a myriad rainbow tints in every little wavelet. The surface of the water was calm, but this calmness by no means implies that the water was lifeless. There is no such thing as lifeless or stagnant water here. …
A short walk down a pleasant winding path brought us to a sandy seashore. Edwin informed us that it was a tideless ocean and that at no place was it very deep by comparison with terrestrial seas. Storms of wind being impossible here, the water was always smooth and, in common with all water in these realms, it was of a pleasantly warm temperature that could occasion no feelings of cold – or even chilliness – to bathers. It was, of course, perfectly buoyant, possessed no single harmful element or characteristic, but it was, on the contrary, life-sustaining. To bathe in its waters was to experience a perfect manifestation of spiritual force.
The sand upon which we were walking had none of the unpleasant features associated with the seashore of the earth-plane. It was never tiring to walk on. Although it had every appearance of sand as we had always known it, yet to the tread it was firm in consistency although soft to the touch of the hand. In fact, this peculiar quality rendered it more like well-kept lawns to walk on, so closely did the grains hold together. We took some handfuls of the sand and allowed it to run through our fingers and great was our surprise to find that it lacked every trace of grittiness, but seemed to the touch more akin to some smooth, soft powder. Yet examined closely it was undeniably solid. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 90-1.)
Earthly Necessities not Needed
Such things as hunger and thirst and going to sleep and waking up – those are cast off. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 51.)
With us all those harassing and troublous minutiae of daily life are absent. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 67.)
Life can be so free here! There is none of that machinery of living which makes people on earth such slaves. In our world a man is held only by his thoughts. If they are free, he is free. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XVI.)
Nothing to fear, neither sickness, poverty, age nor death. Why count the years when each passing one will only add to your happiness and power and preserve forever both youth and beauty? Goodbye to bithdays! Greet the future with joy that will take no cognizance of years. (Spirit control Mary Bosworth in SW, 93.)
As for the rest, be assured that we do have the spirit counterpart of all the blessed things on earth: – libraries, homes, flowers or lakes or groves. But we do not have the clumsy and awkward material things which are found necessary on earth. We do not need cars, or balloons or automobiles. Oh, no! Life is easier than that; and travel a luxury, and movement a delight. (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth in LHH, 94.)
Things which are of the essence of mind, such as music and musical instruments, function here admirably, but objects which really appertain to the physical earth, such as cars, only have an outward semblance; they do not work well. Mainly because our own methods of transit are so different. But a ship can be made to function in a gentle gliding on great glimmering sheets of water; it is a fine sensation when one is wanting to rest and whizz about. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 29.)
We do not crave for food as you nor do we kill to live. Matter, in your sense, is done with and we have no need of sustenance, save that which we can draw in with the air we breathe. Nor are we impeded in our movements by matter, as you are. We move freely and by volition. (Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Winchester in AD, 87.)
There are no political parties and no big business. As there is no need for money. Life is much happier. Ambition of that sort has no object. There is no fighting and struggling for success in a material sense. (Grace Rosher’s sister Phyllis in TR, 80.)
[Think] of the myriads of things we don’t need here. In an idle moment you could compile such a list of commodities that are not required for life in the spirit world as would reach the dimensions of a store’s catalogue.
Think now. Start with the domestic arrangements of a house. Food, for instance. We don’t need food, so that means the elimination of a huge industry comprising all the various departments of eating and drinking, and all the vessels and utensils for manufacturing it, cooking it, and serving it.
Our clothes are provided for us by the operation of a natural law – another vast industry dispensed with.
The transport system you have already seen here! … Then think of all the trades and professions that have no counterpart or equivalent in these lands. … Of shops there are none … because there is no commerce of any kind. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 68-9.)
We have no need for food and drink so that we do not require the indispensable earthly kitchen. The space, therefore, that would upon earth be occupied by this culinary necessity is devoted to other purposes in the spirit world homes. We have no lack of uses to which we can put such rooms. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 65.)
These wayfarers find themselves in familiar surroundings amongst people of a similar mentality. But they find very frequently that their actual needs are not the same. They are not condemned to some mechanically performed task for the greater part of their existence, because their etheric bodies do not require food. They draw what is essential for their well-being from that all-pervading invisible substance. On earth men are slaves of the physical body, and, therefore, slaves of darkness. In the Hereafter we may truly say that, given certain conditions, they become servants of the light. As food, or its equivalent money, is not the principal object of their existence, they have at last time to serve the light. That is to say, they are in a position in which they can reflect at their leisure and begin to reach towards this strange and marvellous life of the mind. (Frederick W.H. Myers, RTI, n.p.)
Human passions and human needs and wishes are gone with the body, and the spirit lives a spirit life of purity, progress, and love. Such is heaven. (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, ST, 66.)
The Absence of Decay
There is no decay in this world. I know it is a permanent construction. (Gordon Burdick to Grace Rosher, TR, 48.)
Remember we never have rain or bad weather so there are no wear-and-tear problems. (Mike Swain in FMW, 39.)
As no dust or grime exists up here, we have no reason to wash our clothes. Nor do we need dry-cleaners. When we feel that our clothes don’t have the shine we’d like them to have, we exercise our minds and the clothes shine as brightly as we deserve. (Mike Swain in FMW, 37.)
Time has no effect on our buildings. They do not crumble or decay. Their durability depends simply on the wills of their masters, and, so long as these will, the building stands, and then is altered as they will. (G. Vale Owen’s mother in LBV1, 87.)
There is no decay [here]. Nor is there any smoky atmosphere to cause blackening or discoloration! (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 31.)
The incarnate person, upon the mention of spirit world houses, immediately thinks of them in terms of cleaning and upkeep, and the idea of houses in the spirit world then becomes distasteful.
Here again arises a confusion between your world and ours. Recollect what I have said about our world being incorruptible and you will see at once that the two words dust and dirt, which are such a nightmare to those of my friends on earth who have the care of their own homes in their hands, simply cannot have any meaning in the spirit world. Dust and dirt are merely disintegration in progress and, so, where you have no disintegration, as in the spirit world, so you will have no dust and dirt. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 71-2.)
Our homes will require no attention throughout the whole period of their existence and that may be hundreds of years of your time. A house wholly unoccupied for such a protracted period would be, at the end of that time, as immaculate as on the first day of its erection. And that entirely without the least attention having been paid to it.
The fabric of the house comes under the same conditions and these conditions are a law. We have no winds in the spirit world, that will wear away the stones or bricks of which a house is built, nor do we have a smoke-laden atmosphere which will eat into the surface of our buildings or cause them to crumble away into dust. We have no rains to cause rot and rust to set in and so to require various replacements. All our possessions within doors, our furniture and our hangings, our personal belongings, such as our books, all alike are subject to the same splendid law. They cannot deteriorate, receive damage, become soiled; the colours in our hangings and upholsteries cannot fade or become shabby. Things cannot get broken or cracked with age. We cannot lose our small possessions by mislaying them. The floor-coverings on which we walk can never become worn out with constant tread of feet. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 72.)
The surfaces of the stone [used in building] are as clean and fresh as on the day when they were raised up. There is nothing to soil them, no heavy smoke-laden atmosphere to eat into them, no winds and rains to wear down the works of exterior decoration. The materials of which they are built are of the spirit world, and therefore they have a beauty that is not earthly. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 52.)
Physical decay, brought about by the elements and the passage of years, was a condition that did not exist in the spirit world and, though an edifice might look as though it had been erected but yesterday, it may have been standing many hundreds of years. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 76.)
What is there to disturb the order of [our houses]? There can be no dust because there is no decay of any sort whatsoever. There can be no dirt because here in spirit there is nothing to cause it. The household duties that are so very familiar and so very irksome on the earth-plane are here non-existent. The necessity for providing the body with food was abandoned when we abandoned our physical body. The adornments of the home, such as the hangings and upholstery, do not ever need renewal because they do not perish. They endure until we wish to dispense with them for something else. And so what remains that might require attention? We have, then, but to walk out of our houses, leaving all doors and windows open – our houses have no locks upon them and we can return when we wish – to find that everything is as we left it. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 89.)
You couldn’t destroy anything however hard you tried. If you find you no longer need or desire a thing it will simply fade away to all appearances, just evaporate before your eyes. But it is not lost; it will return to the source from which it came. (Monsignor Benson’s spirit co-worker, Ruth, in Benson MALIWU, 23.)
There is no such thing as waste matter in these realms. That which is not wanted either ceases to exist altogether or is returned to the source whence it came. By ceasing to exist, I do not mean that which is not wanted is annihilated, but that it ceases to exist in the form it held before it became unwanted. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 113.)
A Home of One’s Own
[Spirits] (1) have houses of their own if they want them, because they desire them and they earn them. But some do not desire houses. Some prefer them built according to their own styles of architecture, some prefer to incorporate ideas of lighting which are, for example, not known to you. This is a matter of personal taste dependent upon the creative ability of the spirit concerned. …
Once you have earned it, then its style is purely a matter of taste. If you would like it open to the / sky you can have it. You must remember that these things are largely controlled for a long time by individual habit. Habit is a mental attribute and it persists after death.
People who have dwelt only in this country are accustomed to certain styles of houses and thus it is those styles in which they live because it is a habit to do so. Once they have outworn that habit they have other types of houses. This is a very wise provision which ensures continuity; it prevents shock and life is smoother and more harmonious as a result. (Silver Birch, SBA, 63-4.)
- (1) Silver Birch is speaking from an unknown plane much higher than the Astral, but his points are still germaine here.
The imagination builds for [the newcomer] any kind of home they choose. We have beautiful mansions here and beautiful cars. People can choose to have those things denied to them in their earth time and they will manifest those for themselves. You have only to build them through the creative source in your own mind. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 27-8)
I love my little home. The Messenger helped me to create it. … The Messenger told me I could call it mine. It was a time when the words ‘mine’ and ‘thine’ still held a meaning for me. (Private Thomas Dowding, PD, 66.)
- (1) “The Messenger” is Dowding’s personal teacher. In Dowding’s case, the teacher has come from an elevated level – the Christ Sphere.
My friend [Edwin] then proposed that … he would take me to a very nice ‘place’ that had been made ready for me. … He hastened to explain that in reality I was going to my own house, where I should find myself immediately ‘at home.’ (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 12.)
Both the house and the garden, [Edwin] told me, were the harvest I had reaped for myself during my earth life. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 18.)
My own house came into existence in the spirit world after I had earned the right to have it there as my home, to be set apart for me until I should arrive in spirit lands to live. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 85.)
After a short while, … I was told to open my eyes. I did so. What I saw was my old home that I had lived in on the earth-plane; my old home – but with a difference. It was improved in a way that I had not been able to do to its earthly counterpart. The house itself was rejuvenated, … rather than restored. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 7.)
[Edwin] had, so far, left unanswered my question as to who was the kindly soul who tended my garden [around his spirit home] so well, but he read my unspoken thought and reverted to the matter himself. …
Having earned the right to possess them, I had built them with the aid of generous souls who spend their life in the spirit world performing such acts of kindness and service to others. Not only was it their work, but it was their pleasure at the same time.
Frequently this work is undertaken and carried out by those who, on earth, were expert in such things and who also had a love for it. Here they can continue with their occupation under conditions that only the world of spirit can supply. Such tasks bring their own spiritual rewards, although the thought of reward is never in the minds of those who perform them. The desire of being of service to others is always uppermost. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 18.)
There is absolute freedom of choice as to what type of house one shall inhabit. Once you have earned the right to own a house which is to be your home, you are at liberty to choose just the style of domicile that pleases you most. It may be one that you have longed for all your life upon earth, but thus far have been unable to gratify your long-cherished desire. Here in the spirit world your wishes are at length fulfilled. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 69.)
Our homes and our houses are not necessities, but additions to an already enjoyable life. You will find many people here who do not possess a home; they do not want one, they will tell you, for the sun is perpetually shining and the temperature is perpetually warm. They are never ill, or hungry, or in want of any kind and the whole beautiful realm is theirs to wander in. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 149.)
When you come to this side you will be met by loving friends, and you will soon acquire your spirit powers. In this way you will be quickly introduced to the spirit home that is awaiting you. We only wish you could see [your home] now. You have a description of it, but you little realize its beauty. We have changed a few things since that was written, but it is still much the same.
You would think we were wonderful architects, no doubt. But you must remember that we have so much help in everything we wish to do, that we can acquire a ripeness of knowledge on such a subject in a time that you would consider marvelous. We have no way of picturing the comfort, the ‘hominess’, of our abode. It is all as our thought and desire have constructed, and in this way reflects our own personalities. We sometimes say that a home resembles its occupants, for it represents the character so truly. (Spirit control Dee to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 143.)
We do love our homes, and we love to have them beautiful; but they do not require the care that is given earthly homes. Beauty is care-free here. We wish we could give you a picture of our home, but you would want to come right away if we did! (Spirit control Mary Bosworth in SWSL, 65.)
Are your homes material?
Yes, friend, but not as you count matter. Things are real to us, but would be imperceptible and impalpable to your rude senses. We are not fettered by space as ye are. We are [as] free as light and air, and our homes are not localised as yours. But our surroundings are, to our refined sensations, as real as yours. (1) (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, MSTSW, n.p.)
- (1) Imperator is speaking of a realm much higher than the astral but his comments still apply.
Q: Does everyone live in homes with loved ones?
A: The majority of people do, for this is what they are used to and conditioned to on the earth plane. It would be strange for them not to under the same conditions they had. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 24.)
Q: Do [couples] live together in homes as we know them?
A: Yes, they do. Usually identical to those which they had lived in on the earth-plane and had been happy in. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 27.)
Luminescence and the Home
We have no need to think about which point of the compass our residence shall face. With you upon earth, it is the desire of most folk to obtain as much of the sun’s light and warmth as possible; hence the desire that the home shall face towards the sun, with the principal rooms situated on the sunny side of the house. But here, the sun shines perpetually, a great central sun, and it shines with equal intensity from all directions. Its light penetrates with the same constant luminosity in every room in the house, irrespective of the room’s position. The front of the house will be as bright during every moment of the day because we have no day, and therefore the phrase in its earthly sense becomes meaningless from our point of view – the front of the house will always be as bright as the back. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 62.)
Furniture and Other Furnishings
You who have only seen earth world furniture can have no possible conception of the richness of spirit world furniture. We have no mass-production methods; each piece of furniture, from the simplest article to the most elaborate, is the work of a master craftsman whose pride in his work is only exceeded by our pride in the great dispensation that can provide such treasures for our greater joy and happiness. Much of the furniture which I have since added to my home contains some of the most exquisite carving it is possible to imagine; such carving, indeed, one could never have believed to exist. Even the simplest piece of furniture can be so treated as to make it fit for a king – to use the old expression. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 68-9.)
We have no use for fire-places in our houses as a means of warming the room. We have no winter or autumn or spring in these realms. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 70.)
Ownership Gained by “Spiritual Right”
It has often been said that we build our spirit homes during our earthly lives – or after. That is so only in a broad sense. What we have built is the right to build. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 121.)
Everything is attainable – you have to work for success, but there is no frustration. (Barbara in AL, 31.)
There is ownership in the spirit world. Indeed, why should there not be? Ownership, however, is gained in a different way from that of the earth. There is only one right of ownership in the spirit world and that is the spiritual right. None other will suffice; none other even exists. According to our spiritual right, gained by the kind of life we have lived upon earth and afterwards according to our progression in the spirit world, so can we possess. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 55.)
Many people arrive here to find themselves richly and abundantly provided with spirit-world possessions that are far in excess of those which they owned upon earth. And the contrary is often the case. Possessors of great earthly effects can find themselves spiritually poor when they come here. But they can gain the right to possess more, far more than they could own on earth and of greater value and beauty. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 55.)
We Have the Freedom to Choose Where We Will Live
Some of us like to live in communities, others like to live in rural cottages on the rolling downs, or even alone in the forests. We are free to choose where we would like to live, and with whom we would like to live. (Mike Swain in FMW, 37.)
One must not be misled by appearances in regard to the size of dwellings here. Frequently, what on earth would be termed a ‘humble’ cottage is here the home of a celebrity in some particular branch of human endeavour, a name that perhaps was a household word on earth. In the spirit world it is most unsafe to judge of the inmate by the size and shape or style of his dwelling. It is not that the owner of the cottage or small house is glad to live thus after living on earth in some rather palatial residence. It is rather that the charm of the cottage type of dwelling appeals to him and no one will dispute his right to do as he pleases, and he will exercise that right still further when it comes to the matter of internal arrangements of whatever nature. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 69-70.)
No Boundaries around “Personal” Property
I was struck by the fact that there were no signs of walls or hedges or fences; indeed, nothing, so far as I could see, to mark off where my garden began or ended. I was told that such things as boundaries were not needed, because each person knew instinctively, but beyond doubt, just where his own garden ended. … I was wholeheartedly welcome to go wherever I wished without fear of intruding upon another’s privacy. I was told I should find that that was the rule here and that I would have no different feelings with respect to others walking in my own garden. … I had no notions whatever of ownership personally, although I knew that it was my own ‘to have and to hold.’ And that is precisely the attitude of all here – ownership and partnership at one and the same time. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 15-6.)
Setting up a Home: The Case of Mary and Dee
‘Now Dee, we want you to go on with the story.’
“I will begin with our home-making. Mary came near to being just pure intellect before I arrived. (1) But she found her heart then, and our companionship was ideal from the first. I wanted a home. She did not at first care for it, but now loves it as much as I.
“We decided upon the architecture, and wished rooms enough for friends; and, of course, I wished pictures and books and beauty in every part of the home. We planned it together. And when you come, you will find in it what I desired on earth, – beauty, rest, books, music, halls for entertaining others, and quiet places for those who wish for quiet. The setting is in a grove, and I know you will love it as we do.”
‘As you do not need kitchens, dining-rooms, or bedrooms, just what use do you have for a home?’
“We go there for the comfort of companionship. I mean quiet companionship; for our homes are as sacred to our personality as an earthly home. No one intrudes, no crowds gather; but quiet companionship is there, and the many things we love: – books, music, pictures, rest, or the entertaining of friends. Nothing / is lacking except those things necessary to mortal comfort or convenience.”
‘Just how do you entertain? You do not play cards or give afternoon teas, do you?’
“Mary says: The manner of entertaining is as diverse as personality. Some have readings, some have artistic scenes, or you might almost say, dramas. Others at times give pure fun-loving entertainments, and all is well, and every one happy!”
‘Do you have great dramas?’
“… You know that the great actors still give great impersonations. And, indeed, much history is told in that way. Shakespeare wrote historic plays, and actors here are greatly in demand for historic representations.” (Spirit controls Mary Bosworth and Dee in SWSL, 67-8.)
- (1) Dee may be saying that Mary became worthy of passing to the Mental from the Astral Plane.
One Long Sunny Day
It is Always Light
Here, … there is … endless sunshine and beauty of timeless perfection. (Arthur, Lord Sandys, in AL, 39.)
It is always light; but we do know when your sun hides its face from you, and we use your expressions of day and night which you would understand better than our continuous light and our limitless activity. For spirit sight does not require the sun. (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 98.)
It is perpetual day [here]. The great celestial sun forever shines. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 15.)
We have no night. … We have no division of night and day. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 72-3.)
The sun is always shining in these and other regions. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 34.)
I had observed that there did not appear to be what we should commonly call shade beneath the trees, and yet there did not appear to be any glaring sun. It seemed to be that there was a radiance of light that penetrated into every corner, and yet there was no hint of flatness. My friend told me that all light proceeded directly from the Giver of all light, and that this light was Divine life itself, and that it bathed and illumined the whole of the spirit world where lived those who had eyes spiritually to see. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 15.)
Temperature and Seasons
There are no extremes of temperature so another spur to effort is missing. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 115.)
I noticed, too, that a comfortable warmth pervaded every inch of space, a warmth perfectly even and as perfectly sustained. The air had a stillness, yet there were gentle perfume-laden breezes – the truest zephyrs – that in no way altered the delightful balminess of the temperature. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 7.)
There’s no unpleasant wind or cold. It’s always the same, steady, unvarying, genial warmth you can feel now. So there’s nothing from which we need protection as on earth, in the way of elements. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 34.)
Here we have no recurrent seasons of spring, autumn, and winter. Instead we enjoy the glory of perpetual summer – and we never tire of it. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 31.)
We have no winter or autumn or spring in these realms. We have only the glories of perpetual summer. Winter-time on earth can have its beauties and grandeur in the countryside, with its leafless trees and dark earth, with the mist upon the landscape and the feeling of quietness while all nature seems to sleep.
But winter can also have its miseries and unpleasantness. The bitter cold, the storms of wind and rain, the fog that descends and narrows the earth till distance is lost. Certain it is that you have the spring and summer to help to compensate for these trials, but who is there who would not wish to prolong the earthly summer far … beyond its allotted period, if it were possible? Now, if you were to take the most perfect summer’s day as far as the weather was concerned, you would still be far, far below the splendour of the heavenly summer of these realms. And with us every day is summertime.
Incidentally, we never become tired of it. I have not found one single, solitary individual in these regions who has at any time expressed the wish for a change of weather. When you come here and sample it for yourself, you will feel the same about it, I am certain. If not, then you will be the one interesting exception that will prove the rule! (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 70.)
Q: Do you have wintry and cold weather?
A: Not in the pat I am living in.
Q: Where are the cold zones?
A: Well, I don’t know; I haven’t been to any and I don’t want to. (Gorden Burdick to Grace Rosher in TR, 36.)
When you get here you’ll see that time doesn’t really matter. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 124.)
Time … is of little consideration. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 35.)
Time and space, as you know them, are gone. (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, MSTSW, n.p.)
All arbitrary and exterior standards are gone and time and space are felt in direct relationship to one’s present experience. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 52.)
We never think of the passing of time, for it means nothing to us. You have no idea what a sense of freedom this gives. The feeling that one must do certain things at a certain time is gone, and yet it brings no sense of laziness. We have more ambition in every way. There is pleasure and interest in every moment. (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 100.)
My experience of time is now so luxurious as to provide unlimited access to thought’s processes, unhampered by appointments or life’s necessities. (William James, ADJ, 23.)
The sense of duration, which is each individual’s measure of passing time, is checked and regulated on earth by exterior standards set according to earth movements and position with regard to the sun, hence time is a highly formalized concept which over-rides the individual sense of duration. Here the exterior checks are absent and we begin to realize that our sense of duration is a function of our kind of consciousness and alters as the scope of that consciousness widens. In other words, the rate of experiencing quickens as we ascend and so the change over from time to timelessness comes about gradually as we are fitted to adjust to it. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 95-6.)
Here there is no night and day by the alteration of which time can be measured. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 31.)
Neither do we have the many other indications of time that force themselves upon the earthly consciousness – such, for example, as hunger and fatigue. Nor in the more lengthy passage of time such as the ageing of the physical body and the dulling of the mental faculties. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 31.)
Those of us in the spirit world who live in the realm of happiness and perpetual summer will have no cause to find ‘time hang heavily.’ In this sense we are simply not conscious of the flight of time. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 122.)
In the spirit world, time can … be made to stand still, and we can restore our sense of it by quietly resting or walking. It is only our general sense of time that we restore, not the passage of time. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 126.)
Some people, who would not otherwise have done so, have returned to the earth world for the very purpose of satisfying their curiosity as to the number of years they have been in the spirit world. I have spoken to some who have made this journey and they were amazed to discover the unsuspected scores of years that had passed by since their transition. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 122.)
In the spirit world time can … be made to stand still, and we can restore our sense of it by quietly resting or walking. It is only our general sense of time that we restore, not the passage of time. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 126.)
I know there is much dissatisfaction with the spirit world on account of the practical impossibility to give correct ideas of time spacing. I should like to say a little about that before going into the main interest of today’s writing. You must not be over hasty in condemning us for this failure. On earth, you all space your time by days and hours, etc., but those spacings are also based, or perhaps more definitely marked in your mental reckoning, by the habits of the day. You have always taken certain things at certain hours. You have a light sky and a dark sky; without a watch you know fairly accurately the time of day by your inclinations – fatigue or freshness, the need for food or rest, etc., etc.
Now on this side of the grave we have no real necessity for rest or for food. We have no dark sky – only a light one, and we have, for the sake of the present illustration, an unlimited supply of energy. Consequently we are not able to break up the time into spaces which correspond with earth spacings. (W.T. Stead, BI, 85-6.)
Timelessness can only be when one’s consciousness has reached infinite heights. But the values of time are different here. (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 158.)
It is difficult to know where one is in earth-time, which doesn’t exist here in our sense, though, to an extent, my body is limited by certain conceptions of time and, if one is clever at thinking oneself back into earth conditions, one can think back into earth-time. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 151.)
Yours is a demarcation [of time] for purposes of convenience. You have charted certain passages as minutes or hours, or seconds, or days. And all that is based upon the rotation of the earth and its relationship to the sun. We (1) do not have night and day. Our source of light is not the same as yours. Therefore, we do not have time in the sense in which you have it. Our measurement of time depends upon our spiritual state, that is, we feel time in the sense of enjoyment. Time, to us, is a mental experience.
In the lower spheres, where life is not very enjoyable, it seems a long time to them. In higher spheres – and I am speaking relatively – where there is much more congenial activity, time seems more speedy in the sense that there is always some new phase of interesting labour. But it is not apportioned in hours, or days, or months, or years. (Silver Birch, SBA, 61.)
- (1) Silver Birch is speaking from a vantage point much higher than the Astral Plane, but his comments here are applicable to the Astral Plane nonetheless and he does not identify the plane from which he speaks.
Even in your world you have the illusion of time. One hour is not always the same to you; and five minutes can sometimes seem as long as one hour. That is the mental aspect of it. If you appreciate that in our world mental aspect is the reality, you will see that we are divorced from the purely mechanical aspect of time as it affects you. I think that is the best way to express it. (Silver Birch, SBA, 63.)
If I wished to meet someone … then I send a thought and if it is convenient we meet. There are no letters to be written. …
If I am desired to attend some group, the request is sent to me mentally, I receive it and I go. It would not be sent to me now because it would be known that I am at this moment speaking with you. There are no diaries; it is a world of the mind and of the spirit. (Silver Birch, SBA, 62.)
Time is the eternal present. It is not past or future. It is your relationship to time that determines your past and future. If you visualize time — this is very hard to convey — as a circle which is constantly moving round, the point where you touch it is what you call your present. The part where you have touched it is what you call your past. The part you have yet to touch is what you call your future. But so far as time is concerned it has no past or future.
Space must exist in the spirit world. Take my own realm alone, as an example. Standing at the window of one of the upper rooms of my house I can see across huge distances whereon are many houses and grand buildings. In the distance I can see the city with many more great buildings. Dispersed throughout the whole wide prospect are woods and meadows, rivers and streams, gardens and orchards, and they are all occupying space, just as all these occupy space in the earth world. They do not interpenetrate upon the earth-plane. Each fills its own reserved portion of space.
And I know as I gaze out my window, that far beyond the range of my vision, and far beyond and beyond again, there are more realms and still more realms that constitute the designation infinity of space. I know that I can travel uninterruptedly through enormous areas of space, areas far greater than the whole of the earth world trebled in size, or greater. I have not yet traversed anything like one fraction of the full extent of my own realm. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 125.)
One thousand miles of earthly space is a great distance, and to cover it takes some considerable time if the slower means of transport are employed. Even with the fastest method a certain time must elapse before the end of the thousand mile journey is reached. But in the spirit world thought alters the whole situation. We have space, and we have a certain cognizance of time in relation to space. Thought can annihilate time in its relation to space, but it cannot annihilate space.
I can stand before my house and I can bethink myself that I would like to visit the library in the city which I can see some ‘miles’ away in the distance. No sooner has the thought passed with precision through my mind than I find myself – if I so desire it – standing before the very shelves that I wish to consult. I have made my spirit body … travel through space with the rapidity of thought … but the space still remains there with everything it contains, although I had no cognizance of time or the passage of time. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 125-6.)
Space is illimitable, as you know, yet the difference between your phase of consciousness and mine does not seem to be one of space exactly – at least it need not be, though, naturally, many things are happening in ‘our space,’ which you would think of as thousands of miles away.
But if you could expand your consciousness, as you partly do in thought, to perceive through the solid wall of matter which bounds you in the body, but which is really only an image, you might discover, on what you call this point of space, the astral world with its beings busy on their activities. Yet each being is ‘insulated’ by his aura, good or bad, from direct vibrational onslaughts on his core of sensitivity, which is the real self. (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 191.)
Everything here looks so much vivider and colour is so much more delicate! (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 117.)
Whereas you are governed by certain primary colours we have other ranges of colour beyond your comprehension. (Silver Birch, SBA, 60.)
The living often equate death with darkness, for how can the dead see? … Yet here I am surrounded by illumination that emanates from everywhere – colors more sparkling than any I knew on earth, a light of enchanting varieties, not even or monotonous but seemingly alive in its own fashion. It emanates from what I see, but also seems to be inherent all about me, whether or not there is anything to be perceived otherwise. (William James, ADJ, 164.)
Color has wonderful properties. In this case each color is confined to a certain particular locality. For a few miles away everything is varied in the normal manner. There is also a “Pink” country and a “Yellow” one. You get these effects on earth sometimes for a few minutes in the glow of a sunset.
Blue is a spiritual color, pink a love condition, and yellow an intellectual one.
These color-effects help spirits, not by giving, but by stimulating the perception of those particular qualities. As you know, here in the “Summerland” spirits are still learning and progressing, but are very far from perfection.
Many come over here well developed mentally but lacking in spirituality; others are very spiritual but require that mental quality which is necessary if their spirituality is to be more than a divine ecstasy; while some have neglected to cultivate / along with these good gifts enough of that love and charity which is essential to those who are willing to bear each other’s burdens and so fulfill that law of Christ, which is the true way of progress.
People on earth are now recognizing the properties of color and are beginning to use it in a small way. It is useful for the cure of certain diseases, for it has a marked effect on mental conditions, and, as you know, various colored lights cause certain curious changes in plants and flowers. (Claude Kelway-Bamber in CB, 47-8.)
The sounds here are distinct, bell-clear, separate, and each tone if it were visible would be like a crystal. (William James, ADJ, 165.)
Q. Is there sound of voices or music in your world?
P. The soul of sound, of colour, of fragrance, of taste even – I cannot convey these things, except to say that all these earth joys are almost infinitely multiplied in our world, rightly called heaven. You remember Tyndall – no, I think it was Huxley, who talked of hearing the grass grow. You know about the microphone, which renders a fly’s footfall like the tramp of an elephant. Sound is a substance, sound is creative, sound is form.
Music is the language of the spheres, the means of intercourse between the worlds of interstellar space. All these glories – even on earth they are such – are minus quantities and qualities compared to their after-death equivalents. … They are real, actual as on earth, only more so, infinitely more so. (Spirit communicator Philemon, LFOS, 27.)
When you come here, you learn that musical expression, which on earth you had regarded as a pleasure or luxury, is the language of every soul as it rises into higher and ever higher spheres. It is part of everything and interprets us, as speech expresses your longings and desires. (John Heslop, FMABL, 34.)
Music and Colour Produce Each Other
Color is sound and sound is color. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 50.)
Tell Daddy when he plays the piano in the evenings I see his music in “colors” all the time. Nearly all major keys are like primary colors: “C” and “G” specially look red and yellow, “E” not so decidedly; “D,” “F,” and “A” are secondary / colors such as mauve and green and certain shades of violet. “B” is white. The sharps and flats are varieties of these; they tinge of blended colors. The colors vary in relation to the other notes played; for instance, “C” sharp, though actually the same note on the piano, is different when used as “D” flat. (Claude Kelway-Bamber in CB, 48-9.)
Colour and sound are the predominant features of this sphere. It is quite impossible, absolutely, to describe their quality, as you have nothing approximating it on earth. I see that your mind has flashed to a vision of neon signs and glaring lights, Lesley. I do assure you, it is nothing like that, dear. This is an harmonious blending. Sound produces colour and colour blends with sound; the effect is not only beautiful, but restful as well. (Ethel McLean in LFM, 41.)
Color and sound – that is, musical sound – are interchangeable terms in the spirit world. To perform some act that will produce color is also to produce a musical sound. To play upon a musical instrument, or to sing, is to create color, and each creation is governed and limited by the skill and proficiency of the instrumentalist or singer. A master musician, as he plays upon his instrument, will build above himself a most beautiful musical thought-form, varying in its colors and blends of shades in strict accordance with the music he plays. A singer can create a similar effect in relation to the purity of the voice and the quality of the music. The thought-form thus erected will not be very large. It is a form in miniature. But a large orchestra or body of singers will construct an immense form, governed, of course, by the same law. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU,112.)
We do not suffer from bodily fatigue. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 54.)
I don’t actually sleep but I do sometimes feel tired, and then I lie down and rest, and refresh myself by bathing in the lake. (Claude Kelway-Bamber in CB, 16.)
One just stretches oneself out wherever one feels like it and ‘sleeps’ – that is, one goes into a sort of blissful blank which seems very useful. I don’t often feel like it. I could go on and on endlessly exploring and investigating all I can see and sense. (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 142.)
‘Where are Mary and Dee?’
“Out in space somewhere. I do not know their particular interest today, but there is always interest. Do not forget that.”
‘Interest enough for the whole twenty-four hours without sleep or rest?’
“Yes, for the whole twenty-four hours of day, week, months, years, ages, eternity – without the unconsciousness you know as sleep. Spirit does not weary. It has its passive times, but they are fraught with renewed strength and blessing.” (Unnamed spirit watcher while controls and spirit communication group are off traveling, to Charlotte E. Dresser in LHH, 127-8.)
While I rest, I no longer sleep in the old terms, though I may, for the experience. Immediately following my death I slept out of habit, but gradually did so less and less as my sensations of time altered. (William James, ADJ, 119.)
Does the soul body require recurring periods of rest, similar to that which obtains on earth? Now, there are no arbitrary time divisions here like night and day, according to which earth occupants sleep during night and work during day. But every soul after a period of activity becomes tired and needs rest and recuperation. This is obtained by something akin to slumber; it may be partial or absolute insensibility like sleep, but it is always dreamless.
When the soul organism requires such rest, there comes round / and about it a kind of twilight, which is an indication that rest is necessary and it also induces slumber. There is no uniformity as to the time or the manner of seeking this repose – each one takes it just when he or she feels the need of it. It is always restful and restorative and some good people on earth will be thankful to know that when this need is felt, rest always ensues. Insomnia is unknown in this life. (Unnamed spirit communicator in SRE, 62-3.)
[Our] fatigue must not be thought of in terms of earthly physical fatigue. The two are not really comparable. With us there is no heaviness of the limbs, no aching joints, no leaden weariness that makes the very movement of ourselves a misery to us; nor yet must it be thought that our fatigue is comparable with your earthly mental tiredness where you have the inability to focus the mind upon anything except for the briefest possible time. Nor, again, do we lack interest in our affairs or feel restless and ill at ease. The word fatigue is the best I can find. There really is no word that adequately describes the situation. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 43-4.)
With you who are incarnate, physical energy will be expended during the course of your daily life until such time as it is necessary for you to rest. Rest is essential to you if you are to continue to function upon the material plane of the earth. When you retire to rest and to sleep, and while your spirit body is absent, your physical body is replenished with the energy that keeps you alive and active. Your body is, as it were, charged with force enough to carry you through your day and beyond it, if necessary. It constitutes a reservoir of force.
With us it is different. Force is continuously flowing through us from the source of all life. We are a channel for this inexhaustible energy which flows to us according to our needs of the moment. We have only to ask for a greater supply of force for some special purpose or for the accomplishment of some particular task upon which we are engaged and it is immediately forthcoming.
We have no need to recharge ourselves through the medium of sleep as do you. Our fatigue – for want of [a] better word – is more in the nature of a desire for a change from what we were doing, whether it be pleasure or work which is occupying our energies. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 44.)
The rest of the newly-arrived person is frequently advisable, or necessary, to allow of adjustment of the spirit body to its new conditions of life. It has been accustomed to being very securely fastened to the physical body where it can receive whatever unpleasantness the physical body may be submitted to during the course of its earthly term.
An alert mind can quickly throw off these physical repercussions and adjust itself to the new life. Other types of mind will be slower and more leisurely. The long and painful illness will be one of the unpleasantnesses to which I have just referred, and so a period of rest is undergone. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 45.)
In no sense is the spirit body impaired by any earthly illness that caused its permanent transference to the spirit world. But earthly illness reacts upon the mind, which is turn bedims whatever natural brightness the spirit body may possess. It is purely a matter of thought and has no reference at all to the personal brightness of spiritual progression. No ill-health or illness can take that away.
A period of rest will therefore restore the spirit body to its proper and natural tone, both of colour and harmony with its life and surroundings. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 45.)
Now, most souls, when they have been out some time, fall into that state of reverie, or dream, which I had so long desired to experience for myself. Some souls awake at intervals, and show an occasional interest in the things and people of the earth; but if the sleep is deep, and if the soul is willing or desirous to leave the things of the earth behind, the subconscious state may last uninterruptedly for years, or even centuries. But a soul that could stay asleep for centuries would probably be one that was living according to long rhythm, the normal rhythm of humanity.
So, when I went into the deep sleep, I went into it with a spell upon myself not to remain too long.
Oh, it was wonderful, that dream-country in my own self! The Theosophists would perhaps say that I had taken a rest in the bliss of devachan. (1) No matter what one calls it. It was an experience worth remembering.
I close my eyes and went in — in — deeper than thought, where the restless waves of life are still, and the soul is face to face with itself and with all the wonders of its own past. There is nothing but loveliness in that sleep. If one can bring back the dreams, as I did, the sojourn there is an adventure beyond comparison.
I went in to enjoy, and I enjoyed. I found there the simulacrum of everyone whom I had ever loved. They smiled at me, and I understood the mystery of them, and why we had been drawn together.
I refound, too, my old dreams of ambition, and enjoyed the fruit of all my labour on earth. It is a rosy world, that inner world of the soul, and the heart’s desire is always found there. No wonder that the strenuous life of earth is oftener than not a pain and a travail, for the dream-life which follows is so beautiful that the balance must be preserved. …
As I went to rest, I commanded my soul to bring back every dream. Of course I cannot say whether some may not have escaped, any more than you can say on waking that you have or have not forgotten the deeper experiences of the night. But when I came back into the normal life of this plane that is called astral, I felt like an explorer who returns from a strange journey with wonder-tales to tell. Only I did not tell them. To whom should I relate those dreams and visions? I would not be a bore, even to “disembodied” associates. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XLIX.)
- (1) The “Devachan” is the Theosophical name for the Mental Plane, the next plane above the Astra.
I found in my own dreamland a fair, fair face. No, I am not going to tell you about that; it is my little secret. Of course I found many faces, but one was lovelier than all the others…. I did not encounter her as an actual presence in sleep, only the simulacrum of her. In the deeper dreamland we see only what is in our brains. Things do not exist here, only the memories of things and the imagination of them.
Imagination creates in this world, as in yours: it actually moulds the tenuous substance; but in the greater dreamland I do not think that we mould in substance. It is a world of light and shadow pictures, too subtle to be described.
Even before this experience I had gone into the memories of my own past; but I had not revelled in them, had not indulged myself to the extent of conjuring with light and shade. But, oh! what’s the use? There are no words to describe it. Can you describe the perfume of a rose, as you once said yourself? Can you tell how a kiss feels? Could you even describe the emotion of fear so that one who had not felt it, by former experience in this life or some other, would know what you meant? No more than I can describe the process of spiritual dreaming. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XLIX.)
No provision for the body remains to be made. (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, MST, 48.)
SM.: Have you food?
Not as you understand it. We are supported by the spirit ether which interpenetrates space, and by which your spirit-bodies are even now supported. It is the universal food and support of the spirit, whether incarnated or not. (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, MSTSW, n.p.)
As time goes on even the habit of demanding nourishment gradually wears off. We are no longer bothered by hunger and thirst; though I, for instance, still stay myself occasionally with a little nourishment, an infinitesimal amount compared with the beefsteak dinners which I used to eat. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XXVII.)
We do not crave for food as you, nor do we kill to live. . . . We have no need of sustenance save that which we can draw in with the air we breathe. (Bishop Wilberforce in Moses, MSTSW, n.p.)
To turn to more mundane matters, darling, you want to know how I eat? Well, my body absorbs all the nourishment it requires from the atmosphere, like the leaves of trees do. (Claude Kelway-Bamber in CB, 16.)
My new body does not need food in your sense; it is nourished, they tell me, by magnetic currents emanating from the Source of Power. (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 107.)
Hunger and thirst can no longer prove one’s undoing since one can go on indefinitely without food or drink. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 51.)
The necessity of producing and consuming food is no longer a factor in our economy. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 115.)
When you first arrive here, … the routines of eating and drinking and sleeping are too firmly established to be eliminated at one fell swoop. So, if you think you need to sleep, well, you lay down on a couch in one of the houses and you sleep for as long as you want. If you think you need to eat, then you eat your fill.
There are no excretory organs in our bodies. For example, when I drink a glass of water, it just diffuses itself throughout my system and that’s that! In other words, it’s converted into energy. (Mike Swain to his father, Jasper, in FMW, 34.)
We don’t think of putting food into our mouths because it isn’t needed. Therefore, the whole of the astral digestive tract and the elimination organs, like the kidneys and colon, cease to function – I guess you could say they become / paralytic. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 45-6.)
The spiritual or soul body is immune from anything analogous to death; yet for its health and development it requires sustenance of a kind. You see, / it is a soul or mind body and food for the mind is essential for its well-being and growth. …
Just as you breathe air in the earth life, so here you inbreathe all these revivifying and beneficent influences surrounding you to which you happen to be en rapport. In this way soul nourishment is automatically imbibed. As you open your mentality to higher influences and recuperative forces, they enter and your soul body becomes reinvigorated and fortified. (Abbe Henry Bolo in SRE, 77.)
Now, with little children and adults likewise who are children in spiritual things, a semblance of eating as on earth is sometimes desirable and may be indulged in with great benefit. These folk – little children and children of a larger growth – who can conceive of no satisfactory existence without receiving food through their mouths, find means to gratify their imaginary needs. (Abbe Henry Bolo in SRE, 78.)
The necessity for providing the body with food was abandoned when we abandoned our physical body. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 89.)
The essential requisites indispensably associated with an earthly homestead were, of course, completely superfluous here, for example, the severely mundane matter of providing the body with food. That is one instance of the difference. And so with others it is easy enough to call to mind. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 19.)
It is difficult for you on earth to imagine yourself without hunger and the need for food. To be hungry and thirsty is instinct with human nature on earth. When you come to reside permanently in these realms of the spirit world, you leave your hunger and thirst for ever behind you. You will never, therefore, miss the food and drink for which you no longer have any need. And that state in turn becomes instinct with human nature in the spirit world. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 74.)
Food – Fruit Optionally Available
We have the most wonderful fruit on this plane, of a texture and quality that I am unable to describe to you fully. It has a spiritual quality of sustenance, suitable to our etheric bodies and is greatly enjoyed by all.
There are many varieties. Replicas of earth fruits abound, perfect in every detail to look at. There are also many kinds that are unknown to you. But here fruit is of a different substance … and although other foods are not necessary to us, we gain much from eating fruit. Like everything else here, the colours are indescribably beautiful so my energies have been directed to creating an artistic display in which I have been greatly helped by Cliffy, who has a keen appreciation for colour and is an expert at arrangement. (Ethel McLean in LFM, 82.)
There is no wastage because the very juice which may be discarded dissolves into the surrounding ether and, instantaneously, returns to the substance of the tree. (Cliffy McLean in LFM, 81.)
Fruits – beautiful to behold and luscious to the taste – are in great profusion and may, as thought necessary, be plucked and eaten. These fruits contain, in concentrated form, mental and spiritual essences. Though seemingly eaten, they are not swallowed as is food on earth, but are dissolved in the mouth cavity, then imbibed into the system.
But folk, as they grow upward and progress onward, ultimately perceive the puerility of the process, and do not pursue it. (Abbe Henry Bolo in SRE, 78.)
If I see a beautiful apple tree with bright red applies on it, I can reach up and pick one off and swallow it – all it does is to give me a tingling sense of satisfaction!
We have hundreds of trees which bear fruit and the fruit never drops off or rots. It stays crisp and fresh. When we occasionally feel depressed – and we do, Dad; when the people we left behind are sorrowing for us too intensely, it depresses us up here! – the best way to cheer up is to wander out and pick an apple or a pear, or any other fruit we happen to fancy. It has the effect of recharging our batteries. (Mike Swain to his father, Jasper, in FMW, 34.)
I have already remarked that we are never hungry, from which it might be inferred that our social gatherings are entirely without refreshment. Such is not the case. We have the most delicious fruit in abundance. Our host or hostess, whoever it may be, will always see to that. But it is fruit that is very unlike yours on earth, we eat it for a different reason, and it produces a totally different effect upon us.
To take the fruit itself first. We have a much greater variety than do you, even taking into account the diversity to be found in the different parts of the world. All the fruits that you have we also have here, but with the quality there is no comparison. And the size, too, is remarkable. That you must see to believe!
The fruit contains a great quantity of nectar-like juice, at the same time leaving the flesh of the fruit firm to behold, and its appearance does not belie it for it tastes even more lovely than it looks. In eating the fruit we are not conscious of internal satisfaction such as you are on earth with your fruit. We feel at once a powerful force running through our whole system, a feeling of exhilaration both mental and physical. We have no physical hunger that calls for satisfaction; whatever fruit we eat acts as a life force, and, as it were, stirs up mentally and charges us with vigour. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 73.)
Our host led us into the orchard where I beheld many trees … in full fruit. He looked at me for a moment, and then he took us to a splendid tree that looked strongly like a plum tree. The fruit was perfect in shape, with a deep rich coloring, and it hung in great clusters. Our host picked some of it, and handed it to us, telling us that it would do us both good. The fruit was quite cool to the touch, and it was remarkably heavy for its size. Its taste was exquisite, the flesh was soft without being difficult or unpleasant to handle, and a quantity of nectar-like juice poured out. My two friends watched me closely as I ate the plums, each bearing upon his face an expression of mirthful anticipation. As the juice of the fruit streamed out, I fully expected to spill an abundance upon my clothes. To my amazement, although the juice descended upon me I could find, upon examination, no traces of it. … They hastened to explain to me that as I am now in an incorruptible world anything that is ‘unwanted’ immediately returns to its own element. The fruit juice that I thought I had spilled upon myself had returned to the tree from which it was plucked.
Our host informed me that the particular type of plum which I had just eaten was one that he always recommends to people who have but newly arrived in spirit. It helps to restore the spirit, especially if the passing has been caused by illness. … The various fruits that were growing were not only for those who needed some form of treatment after their physical death, but all enjoyed eating thereof for its stimulating effect. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 26.)
As to the actual supply of fruit, our host said that all he knew was that as he picked his fruit other fruit came and took its place. It never over-ripened because it was perfect fruit, and, like ourselves, imperishable. … There is no earthly fruit I know of with which comparison can be made. We can only, at any time, give such an indication to the senses by comparison with that which we have already experienced. If we have not had that experience, then we are at a complete and absolute loss to convey any new sensation, and nowhere is this more appreciable than in the sense of taste. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 27.)
You would … find that you could manage very nicely if you were never to partake of any fruit here, but once you have tried it and sampled its rich benefits, you have discovered a pleasure that you will never want to deny yourself. And there is no need to deny yourself upon any grounds whatsoever. There is plenty of it to be had simply for the gathering of it and you may ‘tuck in’ without fear of being dubbed a glutton.
Where does the fruit grow? Most people have a garden attached to their houses and they are bound to have a favourite fruit tree tucked away in some corner that will amply supply them both for the requirements of hospitality and for their own personal needs. But there are large tracts of land here that are entirely applied to growing fruit of various sorts and for various purposes. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 74.)
I have spoken to you of food in the limited extent of fruit, but what of drink? Do we never feel the need for liquid of some sort? Never. But you must know that there is an enormous quantity of juice to be found in the fruit which would be sufficient to quench any thirst of reasonable dimensions!
However the spirit world is not an arid waste, as you will by this time have gathered. There is water in abundance in the rivers and streams and brooks and every drop of it not only fit to drink, but, indeed, like no water to found upon earth. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 75-6.)
Certain Habits Persist
Drug and alcohol addictions actually do carry over into the astral bodies. Withdrawal treatments must take place on the astral plane in these cases before a sense of wholeness can be achieved. It is far easier to break these habits while still in the physical body. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 48.)
All these habits that we have on earth come through with us and for a while we are subject to them. We must do these things [like sleep] because it is a shock to arrive here suddenly and to realize that certain things don’t need to be done. That takes adjustment. I now have adjusted to the fact that I don’t need to sleep and I certainly don’t need to eat or drink. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 52.)
If we’re the kind of people who can’t live without the written word and must know what’s going on, then we’re not going to be content to sit down and pick it up from the ether as the advanced people do. We must go and look at the printed word, visiting libraries and reading rooms.
At first we communicate in words and find out how slow it is. That is the transitory stage before we start to communicate by thought. In all these ways one has to experiment. As I said before, in the beginning we have merely stepped out of the physical body and we are still ourselves. After a little while we begin to change and adapt to our new environment – the same way we change on earth by living in different areas. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 52.)
When the soul leaves the body it is at the first moment quite unclothed as at birth. … When the thought of nakedness crosses the spirit there comes the clothing which you need. The idea with us is creative. We think, and the thing is. I do not remember putting on any garments. There is just the sense of need and the need is supplied. (Julia Ames, AD, 66-7.)
It is easy to get the clothes one wants here. I do not know how I became possessed of the garments which I wore on coming out; but when I began to take notice of such things, I found myself dressed about as usual. I am not yet sure whether I brought my clothes with me. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XV.)
All decent folk have latent at the back of their minds the idea that clothing is indispensable. The consciousness of this need is woven into the very texture of their thinking; it is an integral part of themselves; they could not conceive of an existence for themselves where garments could be altogether dispensed with. This idea has such a governing and determining effect upon their life and action that, without conscious effort, it is sufficiently powerful to automatically garb them on their emergence through death. … So that, when man awakes from the sleep of death, his latent sense of the proprieties of decent life have already provided him with suitable garments. (Abbe Henry Bolo in SRE, 73.)
I can will myself into any clothes I want. I usually get myself into my tweed coat and flannels. It is true what you read in Many Mansions. Some people go about seeing themselves in the most fantastic outfits. They are dressed as their inner nature builds them up. That is why, at first, Grandpa so often ‘showed’ to mediums in a sort of black cassock, like a clergyman. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 104.)
‘What sort of clothes do you wear, Mike?’
“Any old thing we choose. It’s simply a matter of concentrating on a particular cut of cloth and, hey presto! We’re wearing it!”
“There is one robe that we would never try to alter; our spirit robe. When we have public gatherings here, or when we call on one of the higher brethren in the halls of wisdom and learning, we simply discard our personal fashion of the moment and our spirit robes appear at once. They hang in classical folds and come in an entire spectrum of glowing colors, We can never change the color or alter the shape of a robe, because its function is to reflect the true condition of our spirit.
“Suppose on earth I had been a man with a violent temper. My robe here would have splotches of dark, muddy gray or dirty red shot through with gray. This proclaims to all and sundry that it’s high time the wearer began ridding himself of these blemishes.
“Most of us here wear our spirit clothing most of the time; when we combine this with our gift of telepathy, it’s well nigh impossible for anyone to maintain a phoney front and hope to get away with it!” (Mike Swain to his father, Jasper, in FMW, 36-7.)
You want to know about clothes? Well, you can wear just what you like here; there are no fashions to follow or appearances to keep up. Though a very mixed array is the consequence it does not seem incongruous, for here you dress to express yourself and not to impress your neighbors.
I dress as I did with you, but some people wear white robes because they think when out of the mortal body it is the correct thing to do. If I chose to wear a tunic and sandals, or a “Beefeater’s” getup, no one would laugh and jeer; they would realize it made me happy, and that is reason enough. (Claude Kelway-Bamber in CB, 20.)
I have a special friend who belonged to a knightly family in the middle ages. He went on a crusade and eventually lost his life in Palestine. We have found much in common in our knowledge of and love for the Near-East. … Imagine visiting the desert in company with a fully armed Crusader! He keeps the fashion of his clothing and the accoutrements of his day, as most people do. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 118-20.)
‘How about [Mary’s] dress?”
“She wears delicate colors, as nearly all do; sometimes rose color, pink, or lavender, but in shades more delicate than any you know. We are never afraid of injuring our robes, for they are not subject to wear or soil. They are never in the way, and we do not step on or get entangled in them.
“We are clothed in garments that correspond to our mental and spiritual condition. You will appear in a simple white garment at first, and this will change as you change. Mental qualities express themselves outwardly, and different minds express different colors.
“Minds that are filled with doubt are sometimes clothed in incongruous colors. The destructive forces have coarse garments of the most discordant colors. They imagine themselves in gorgeous apparel. But they will sometime see themselves as they are, which will be when they reach out for something better.
“The clothes are made by thought processes, as are all our beautiful surroundings. We are clothed when we first arrive, and only the color remains for us, which is decided by our own thought lives. We can change when we choose, but few changes are made, for the material is indestructible.”
We had been talking of dress one evening, and jokingly asked about the prevailing fashions there. /
“We could never describe the fashions here, for they change with lightning swiftness. We would have to describe the prevailing thought instead. Thought manifests itself in changes of color. Character always differentiates the appearance. The appearance is lovely in proportion as the spirit is lovely. Dress is more than external adornment; it becomes a sort of symbol of character.” (Dee to Charlotte Dresser, SWSL, 50-1.)
“The spirit shows externally here, and a white soul will have a pure external – not always white – but a shining and beautiful garment. We wish you could see Mary and Dee. They are lovely in dress as in soul, for the outer garment here is sure to express the inner nature.”
‘Mary has been described to us as dressed in silvery white.’
“She is often dressed in that way; and your Dee has most wonderful garments. A Parisian dressmaker would be enchanted. But he would try in vain to reproduce such beauty. It is the soul that shines through, and the life that expresses itself in the outer garment.”
“I haven’t much of a wardrobe yet. I’ll hope for a white dress by the time you come.”
‘What color have you now?’
“A mixed color; some white, but other colors mixed in. I have not overcome my mortal faults or thoughts entirely. But I am trying – I am!”
‘What do the men wear?’
“They wear a sort of flowing robe, like the classic robes of the Greeks, I think, a little, and these take on the colors of the character too.” (Spirit communicator “A.H.” to Charlotte E. Dresser in LHH, 49-50.)
The reference in the preceding paragraph to clothing caused us to ask what they were wearing as robes now. Dee replied: –
“Mary has on her usual white and glistening robe. Mine, (do you remember the colors I loved?), sometimes a pink, sometimes a lavender, but in delicate shades not known on earth.”
One of our number facetiously remarked: –
‘And you do not have to send [them] to the cleaners, or keep extras banging in a closet!’
“Not much! Thought, or the thought method, performs the work. We can throw them aside and assume others at will. What has he learned at even earthly seances? Has he not seen the seemingly perfect materials dematerialize?”
This referred to a time when the questioner had seen the clothes on a materialized spirit change before his eyes from an ordinary suit to a military suit with brass buttons.
I asked how the clothes of the newly arrived were supplied. “They usually appear in white, because that is the spirit color.”
‘Who supplies them?’
‘We think that belongs to spirit appearance. I should except, however, the criminal ones who come over steeped in their own wickedness. They appear in dark colors, sometimes quite repellent.”
Some of us apologized for inquiring so minutely about such things.
“It will help when you come. There will be no strangeness for you over here, we think. Thought prepares the way, and you will all feel that you are just coming home.” (Spirit controls Dee and Mary to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 142-3.)
One thing which makes this country so interesting to me is its lack of conventionality. No two persons are dressed in the same way – or no, I do not mean that exactly, but many are so eccentrically dressed that their appearance gives variety to the whole.
My own clothes are, as a rule, similar to those I wore on earth, though I have as an experiment, when dwelling in thought on one of my long-past lives, put on the garments of the period. …
There are many people here in costumes of the ancient days. I do not infer from this fact that they have been here all those ages. I think they wear such clothes because they like them. …
One day, when I had been here only a short time, I saw a woman dressed in a Greek costume, and asked her where she got her clothes. She replied that she had made them. I asked her how, and she said:
“Why, first I made a pattern in my mind, and then the thing became a garment.”
“Did you take every stitch?”
“Not as I should have done on earth.”
I looked closer and saw that the whole garment seemed to be in one piece, and that it was caught on the shoulders by jewelled pins. I asked where she got the jewelled pins, and she said that a friend had given them to her. Then I asked where the friend had got them. She told me that she did not know, but that she would ask him. Soon after that she left me, and I have not seen her since, so the question is still unanswered. …
I began to experiment to see if I also could make things. It was then that I conceived the idea of wearing a Roman toga, but for the life of me I could not remember what a Roman toga looked like.
When next I met the Teacher I told him of my wish to wear a toga of my own making, and he carefully showed me how to create garments such as I desired: To fix the pattern and shape clearly in my mind, to visualise it, and then by power to desire to draw the subtle matter of the thought-world round the pattern, so as actually to form the garment. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XV.)
‘Do different nationalities show any difference in dress?’ “Not much. The clothing seems to express their thoughts or character, and Russian or [Hindu] may express the same thought or character.” (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 111.)
Both the texture and the hue of our garments take their quality from the spiritual state and character of the wearer. (G. Vale Owen’s mother in LBV1, 40.)
The atmosphere also has an effect on our clothing, and enters into the influence of our own personalities in its effect on texture and colour. So that while, if we were all of the same quality spiritually our clothing would be of the same tint and texture, by reason of the atmospheric influence, this is in fact modified by the degree in which our own characters differ one from another.
Also the tint of our robes changes according to the part of the grounds in which we happen to be. It is very interesting and instructive, and also very beautiful, to see them change as one turns down a side walk where different vegetation flourishes, or where the arrangement of the various species of plants is different. (G. Vale Owen’s mother in LBV1, 52.)
How is the spirit body covered? A great many people – I think it would be true to say the great majority – wake up in these realms dressed in the counterpart of the clothes they wore when upon the earth-plane at the time of their transition. It is reasonable that they should, because such attire is customary, especially when the person has no foreknowledge whatever of spirit world conditions. And they may remain so attired for just as long as they please. Their friends will have told them of their true state of being and then they can change to their spirit clothing if they so wish. Most people are only too glad to make the change since their old earthly style of clothing looks very drab in these colorful realms. It was not long before I discarded my old clerical attire for my true raiment. Black is altogether too somber amongst such a galaxy of color.
Spirit robes vary in themselves almost as much as the realms vary. There always seems to be some subtle difference between one person’s spirit robe and another’s, both in color and form, so that there is an endless variety in the two particulars of color and form alone.
All spirit robes are of full length; that is, they down to the feet. They are sufficiently full to hang in graceful folds and it is these very folds that present the most beautiful shades and tones of color by the effect of what on earth would be called ‘light and shade.’ It would be impossible to give you anything like a comprehensive account of the different additional features that go to make up the whole composition of spirit vesture.
Many people will be found wearing a girdle or sash around the waist. Sometimes these will be of material, sometimes they appear to be of gold or silver lace or tissue. In all cases of the latter, they are rewards for services performed. No possible conception can be formed of the superlative brilliance of the golden or silver girdles that are worn by the great personages from the higher realms. They are usually adorned with the most beautiful of precious stones, fashioned in various shapes and mounted in beautifully wrought settings, according to the rulings that govern such matters. The higher beings, too, will be seen to be wearing the most magnificent diadems, as brilliant as their girdles. The same law applies to these. Those of us of lesser degree may perhaps be wearing some such embellishment as I have just described, but in a greatly modified form.
There is an enormous wealth of spirit lore behind the whole subject of spirit adornments, but one fact can be plainly stated: all such adornments must be earned. Rewards are given only upon merit.
We may wear what we like upon our feet and most of us prefer to wear a covering of some sort. It usually takes the form of a light shoe or sandal. I have seen numbers of people here who have a predilection for going barefooted and they do so. It is perfectly in order and it excites no comment whatever. It is natural and commonplace with us.
The material of which our robes are made is not transparent, as some would perhaps be inclined to imagine! It is substantial enough. And the reason why it is not transparent is that our clothing possesses the same vibrational rate as the wearer. The higher one progresses the higher this rate becomes and consequently dwellers in those elevated sphere will take on an unimaginable tenuousness both of spirit body and clothing. That tenuousness is the more apparent to us than to them – that is, externally apparent. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 154-5.)
It is difficult to describe [our] costume because so much rests in being able to give some comparison with a particular earthly fabric. Here we have no such materials, and all outward appearances are produced, not by the texture of the material, but by the kind and degree of light that is the essence of a spirit robe. Those that we now saw [at the home of rest, on the relatives and friends awaiting their loved ones’ awakening] were in ‘flowing’ form and of full length, and the colors – blue and pink, in varying degrees of intensity – seemed to interweave themselves throughout the whole substance of the robes. They looked very comfortable to wear, and like everything here, they require no attention to keep them in a state of perfect preservation, the spirituality of the wearer alone accounting for that. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 35.)
We seldom wear any covering upon our heads. I do not remember seeing anything of the sort anywhere in this realm. We have no need for protection against the elements! (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 155.)
[Monsignor Benson trades his earthly attire for a spirit robe;] Immediately I had expressed the wish to follow Edwin’s suggestion of discarding my earthly style of clothes, those very clothes faded away – dissolved – and I was attired in my own particular spirit robe – of the same description as those I could see about me. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 36.)
We do not know what natural process comes into operation in the making of [our spiritual clothes]. There are many things that we must know first and so we take things as we find them. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 70.)
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