The Tenth Sphere
Sphere Ten is also of exceptional importance because it is the highest of those from which visitors commonly come down to earth level and below. After this stage it seems that some change occurs which makes visitations and communication with lower spheres more difficult.
It is true that Manifestations of the Christ in presence Form often occur in the lower spheres, and occasionally some great angel may descend for a special purpose, but, broadly speaking, it seems that Sphere Ten represents the limit of human comprehensions as to its conditions. Beyond Sphere Ten, as I understand, human words are inadequate to give the remotest conception of spiritual life.
Sphere Ten also has another importance because it is here that (sometimes at any rate) the followers of the Non-Christian religions join up with the great river of spirit progress. (1) (Lord Dowding, MM, 59.)
- (1) It is hard to know what truth value to give to this statement. On the surface, it appears to be simple Christian chauvinism. But it is included in the event that some at-present imperceptible truth lies below it, when stripped of its seeming chauvinism, which further research will make plain.
Specifically I think it is a reference to the induction of a group of Zoroastrians into the tenth Sphere from the Ninth, by Zabdiel, as described [#induct15 below.]
We are they who came before, friend; Astriel, as you know me, and my fellow-workers of the Tenth Sphere of progress. (Astriel in G. Vale Owens, LBV1, 216.)
Who is writing, please!
We are with your mother – Astriel and friends.
Thank you. I thought the wording was not quite like that of my mother and her companions.
No, I suppose it is not. Partly, of course, because we are of different character,, different sphere, and also different sex, which is not without its peculiar characteristics here as with you. And partly, also, because we are of a different earth period from your mother and her friends.
Do you mean you lived on earth some considerable time ago?
Yes, friend, in England, when George the first was king, and some of us earlier still. (Astriel in G. Vale Owens, LBV1, 227.)
I lived in Warwick, and was a teacher in a school there – head master. I cannot give the exact year when I passed over here with any certainty unless I look it up, and it does not really signify. (Astriel in G. Vale Owens, LBV1, 227.)
Beyond are spheres more awful still and more tremendous. But of these we in this Tenth Sphere know but little indeed, and nothing certain. (Astriel in G. Vale Owens, LBV1, 224.)
A Home on the Tenth Sphere
As I stand on the plane of earth, above and beyond lie the spheres, into some of which I have penetrated, and of the Tenth of which I am a member. (Zabdiel in G. Vale Owen, LBV2, 46.)
Now give me your mind that I may continue on my way, for I will that to-night you should be given to know a little further of our doings here in this Tenth Sphere. (Zabdiel in G. Vale Owen, LBV2, 153.)
Since you wish it, I will tell you what I can of my own house and home; and you will probably think I might have done better when I finish, and best of all had I refrained altogether.
The country in which we builded our house touches many spheres, and among them those whose natures radiate many colours according to their virtues, and which coincide most nearly with those of the people with whom I dwell. These colours are mostly other than those you know, but all those you know are here, and in almost infinite combination and hue. According to the occupation in which we are mentally engaged at any time the blend of colours varies, and the atmosphere takes on that tint.
Then the house also vibrates and responds to the thoughts and aspirations, whether of prayer sent onwards, / or help willed backward through the spheres behind us, in which direction lies the earth plane.
Music also proceeds from us, not necessarily by mouth, but more often directly from the heart; and this is taken up also in response by the buildings around us, which are part of our energizing; and also the trees and flowers and all plant life is affected and responds. Thus colour and music are not merely inanimate here, but fraught with our life, and vibrate to our will.
The house is four-square, and yet the walls are not four alone, nor at angles each to the others. They, too, are blended, and the outer and inner atmosphere mingles through them. These walls are not for our protection, but for other uses, and one is to concentric our vibrations, to focus them in their transmission to distant regions where our help is needed and desired. Thus we reach the earth also and sense your doings there, and send you words of instruction, or help in other forms, in answer to the prayers which come to us for us to deal with.
Here also descend those of higher spheres and, by means of these houses and other influences prepared, become tangible to us that we may commune with them on matters which perplex us.
From this house also we send such strength to those who from time to time are commissioned to us from the lower spheres as enables them, for the period of their sojourn among us, to endure the conditions of this sphere with no great discomfort; and also to converse / with and to see and hear us, which otherwise they might not do. As to the aspect of this house from without, I will give you the description of one of those of a lower sphere which is nearer your own. He told me that when he came in sight of it he was reminded of the words, “a city which is set on a hill whose light cannot be hid.” He was a long distance away, but paused and descended to the ground to rest (for he came so far by aerial travel). He shaded his eyes, and gradually was able to look again at the mansion on the hill, far away, in its brightness.
He said he saw the great towers; but they shone so brightly with their blue light that he could not tell where they actually ended, because the light shot up into the heavens above and seemed to continue them there indefinitely. Then the domes – some were red and some gold, and the light from these was likewise too dazzling to see where they ended, or what was their size. The gates and walls likewise shone silver and blue and red and violet, and blazed with dazzling light which bathed the hill below, and the foliage of the trees around, and he wondered how he would enter and not be consumed.
But we saw him, and sent messengers to deal with that his difficulty; and when at last he turned to bless us and depart, his mission being ended, he said to us, “A thought strikes upon me at this time of parting. My fellow-workers will ask me what manner of place is that to which I have been; and how shall I tell them of this glory when once again I am altogether of my / own sphere, and resume its more straitened powers?” And we replied, “Son, you will never quite be as you were, hereafter. For in you will remain somewhat of this sphere’s light and perception. But what you in your heart are able to remember will be of larger measure than you can give to them. For they would not understand if you could tell them; and to tell them you would perforce have to use the language which is current here. Therefore tell them to bend their wills to further development, and one day they shall come and see for themselves what you have seen but are unable to relate.”
And so he went away in great joy uplifted. (Zabdiel in G. Vale Owen, LBV2, 77-80.)
A Temple on the Tenth Sphere
Will you describe the Temple to me, Zabdiel?
What I am able in your words at my disposal I will give you. There is no wall between the facade and the edge of the precipice, so that the Temple is seen most clearly from the plain a little out from the City walls. It / rises sheer from the platform of rock, one arch topping another, and mounting upward in perfect harmony, and in colour growing lighter as the higher arches are reached. The dominating colour I cannot tell you, for you have no such on earth. If I name it a combination of pink and grey that is all I can do; and it does not give you a very exact idea of its aspect. But let that suffice, and indeed I come little nearer in my description of the architecture itself.
There is not one great porch alone, as in most of your cathedrals, but there are five. They are of different build and hue, and are so constructed for the accommodation of those who come hither to worship. For were all to be admitted through one gate, those of lesser power would experience an enervation which would take from their ability to worship when within. So these five door-ways are made to lead them into that nave where they may recover to be strengthened. Here they pay their first vows and devotions. Then they pass on into the great central hall of the Sanctuary, where they all mingle together without discomfort.
There is a square tower over this central space, open to the top and to the sky above. And over the tower bangs a moving, luminous cloud, which is like the Shekinah of old, the Dwelling Place from which, at certain times, descends into the Temple, and upon the worshippers, an access of His Life and blessing.
On the farther side of this space there is another nave; and here are angels who come to meet with those who are called. These minister to us by teaching / of those Mysteries which are of the Higher Realms, and only those who have progressed much may receive their teaching, for it is both very high in wisdom of Divine things and powers, and also it is given sparingly, for, as a moth is destroyed of the flame it seeks too eagerly, so it is not with impunity that the higher Wisdom may be either had or given. Into that inner Sanctuary I never yet have looked, for my time is not yet at hand to do so. And when it comes I shall be ready. I shall not be bidden thither before I am fully prepared. Yet before I am advanced to my next sphere onward I must pass through the learning to be had there, and there alone. Towards this I am at present endeavouring.
I have told you somewhat of that mighty Shrine, but falteringly, for it is too glorious to put into your words. Of such a theme St. John of the Revelation strove to tell to those his brethren who had been less favoured than he. But he could but tell them of precious stones and pearls and light and crystal and no more. Well, that is my present case, my brother, and I am at pause. So let me leave it there with some sorrow that I can do no more than this which falls so short of the glory which crowns and suffuses all that Temple which stands on that Heavenly Mountain in the Tenth Sphere of these long reaches of progress in knowledge and wisdom and power and strength and blessing towards Him Who is the Source and Spring of them all. (Zabdiel in G. Vale Owen, LBV2, 146-8.)
A Resident of the Tenth Sphere Meets His Guide from Beyond
Standing on that high peak radiant with the light which strikes it from the realms behind me, and bathed in the greater light of those before, I commune with those of both spheres and, through them, with the spheres beyond. Such moments are of bliss too great for utterance, and open the eyes of spiritual understanding to see things glorious and mighty, and infinitudes vast, and all-embracing love.
Once I stood thus, with face turned towards my future home, and closed my eyes, for the intensity of light as it moved before me was more than I could / bear continuously. It was there I first was permitted to see and speak to my guide and guardian.
He stood upon the summit over against me opposite; and the; valley was between. When I opened my eyes I saw him there, as if he had suddenly taken on a visible form for me, that I might see him the more plainly. And so it was indeed, and he smiled on me, and stood there watching me in my perplexity.
He was clad of glittering silk – like tunic to the knees, and round his middle was a belt of silver. His arms and legs below were bare of covering, and seemed to glow and give forth light of his holiness and purity of heart; and his face was the brightest of all. He wore a cap of blue upon his hair which was like silver just turning into gold; and in the cap shone the jewel of his order. I had not seen one of this kind before. It was a brown stone and emitted a brown light, very beautiful and glowing with the life which was all about us.
At last, “Come over to me,” he said; and I was thereupon afraid, but not with any terror, but rather abashed of awe. In that way I feared, not else. So I said, “I know you for my guide, sir, for my heart tells me this much. And I delight to look upon you thus; for it is very lovely and sweet to me. In presence you have been with me often on my heavenly road, but always just before, that I have not been able to overtake you. And now that I am given to see you thus in visible form I am glad to thank you for all your love and tending. But, my lord and guardian, I fear to come to you. For, while I descend into the / valley, the brightness of your sphere will dazzle me and make my feet unsure. And when I should ascend to you I think I should faint by reason of the greater glory which is about you. Even here I, from this distance, feel it scarce to be borne for long.”
“Yes, for this time,” he replied, “I will be your strength, as many times before I have been, not always of your knowledge; and at times again when you have known me near but only in part. We have been so much together that I am able now to give you more than hitherto. Only be strong, and with all your courage to the fore; for no harm shall fall upon you. It is to this same end that I have impressed you to come to this place, as often I have come to you.”
Then I saw him for awhile stand very still indeed, as he might have been a statue very well. But presently his form took on another aspect. He seemed to be in tension as to the muscles of his arms and legs; and I could see, beneath the thin gossamer – like garment, that his body there was in like manner exerting its every power. His hands were hanging at his side, and turned outward a little, and his eyes were closed. Then a strange thing happened.
From beneath his feet there came a cloud of blue and pink mingled; and it moved across from him to me until it was a bridge between the two summits, and spanned the valley below. It was in height little more than that of a man, and in breadth a little broader. This gradually came upon me and enveloped me, and when I looked I could see him through the mist, and he seemed very near. / Then he said, “Now come to me, my friend. Tread firmly forward to me, and you shall have no hurt.”
So I began to walk to him through that shaft of luminous cloud which was all about me, and, although as I went it was elastic beneath my feet, like very thick velvet, yet I did not sink through the floor of it into the valley, but continued my way uplifted with great joy. For he looked on me and smiled as I went to him.
But although he seemed so near, yet I did not reach him, and yet again, he stood still and did not retreat from me.
But at last he held out his hand and, in a few steps more, I had it in mine, and he drew me on to firmer footing.
Then the shaft of light faded and I found I stood on the further side of the valley, and looked across on my own sphere. For I had crossed over by that bridge of heavenly light and power.
Then we sat down and communed together of many things. He called to my mind past endeavours, and showed me where I might have done my task in better ways; and sometimes he commended me, and sometimes did not commend, but never blamed, but only advised and instructed with love and kindliness. And then he told me something of the sphere on the borderland of which I then was; and of some of its glories; and how the better to sense his presence, as I went about my task to which I should presently return to finish it.
And so he talked, and I felt in very good fettle of / strength and delight, and of greater courage for the way. So did he give me of his larger strength, and of his higher holiness, and I understood a little more than hitherto of man’s potential greatness, in humility, to serve his Master the Christ, and God through Him.
He came back with me by way of the valley, with his arm about my shoulder to help me with his power; and we talked all the way down and across, and then, as the ascent of the hill on the other side began, we slowly fell to silence. Instead of words we communed in thought and, when a little way up returning I looked upon him, I noticed that I could hot see him quite so plainly; and began to be sad at that. But he smiled and said, “All is well, my brother. Always it is well between you and me. Remember that.”
Still he grew more faint to my sight, and I was minded to turn back again for that reason. But he impelled me gently and, as we ascended, he surely faded away from my sight. I did not see him thus again. But I knew him now as I did not till that time. I felt him in touch with me all the time I lingered on that summit. I turned and looked into the brightness of his sphere across the valley, but I did not see him on the other side. Just as I was turning to depart, however, I looked again, and I saw a form speeding over the mountain peaks beyond; not a solid form, as his had been, but one almost transparent. Like a ray of sunlight he went away from me visibly, or partly so; and that sight, too, slowly faded. But yet I felt him present with me, felt that he knew of me, and what I thought / and did. And I turned to descend with much joy, and greater strength to do my work awhile. (Zabdiel in G. Vale Owen, LBV2, 163-8.)
An Induction into the Tenth Sphere
Presently I meet a company of those who have their dwelling farther ahead, and these I will describe to you. They are some afoot, and some on horses, / and some in wagons, or chariots, – open vehicles they are, of wood, and with gold about them for a binding and bordering, and also devices on their front parts which tell of what realm and order the riders are. The garments of the throng are of many colours, but the dominating one is mauve deepening into purple. There are some three hundred men of them, and I receive and give salutation and inquire whither they are bound, and on what manner of business.
The one I speak to falls out of the line to answer me. He tells me that word has come to his city that a number of those of the Ninth Sphere are about to receive their initiation into this the Tenth, having qualified by their conversation thereto. On hearing this I beg that he will speak to the leader that I accompany them in order to see what is agait yonder, and also that I may add my welcome to their own. On this he smiles, and tells me to walk with him and he will vouch for my acceptance. “For,” adds he, “he you call the leader walks side by side with you.”
At this I turned and looked on him, greatly surprised; for he wore a purple tunic, truly, but it was without ornament, and the fillet on his head was also a purple band with but one red jewel in it, and no device. Others were much more richly clad, and to look upon more comely and princely. I did not say so much, but he was of development greater than I, as I had already began to suspect, and knew my thoughts without their utterance. So he smiled again and said, “These new-comers shall see me as I am at this time; for some among / them, I am told, are hardly ripe for much display of radiance. So they shall be as glorious as I, and they will not be dazed. Have you not lately had an encounter, my brother, as will serve to show you that too much glory may possibly impede instead of help?”
I confessed this to be the truth, and then he said, “You see I am of that sphere to which your guide belongs, and stay here in order to finish my task: as I myself elect to finish it. So I condition myself in such wise that those our brothers and sisters who come hither shall feel the homeliness of home till they be ripe for the glory of the Court. So come, my brother, and we will overtake those yonder before they reach the river.” We did so and crossed the river with them, swimming it, men and horses and wagons, too, and came to the other side. We left my city on the right, and went on to the pass which goes between (Zabdiel in G. Vale Owen, LBV2, 169-71.)
Then round the bend of shore beyond the river come a company of our ladies who, as I learned when I asked, had their habitation in that district in order that they might join those who came to that shore from distant lands. / Great was the rejoicing of us all to greet them, and theirs to receive and give greeting in return.
Then high upon a rounded summit, below which their home was, we saw their Mother standing. She was robed from head to foot in silver gossamer, and shone through her robe like a beautiful glittering diamond or pearl endowed with life and fresh vitality. She looked intently at the party on the sea, and then began to make a weaving movement with her hands. Presently we saw a large bouquet of flowers wag taking shape between her hands. And then she changed her movements, and it began to float out and stretch itself into a rope of flowers which went out into the air, high up across the waters, and at length it rested over the people who were on the sea.
Then it drew itself inward, and began to form a flat spiral, and circled above their heads awhile, and then gently settled down upon them, and broke up into a shower of roses and lilies and other kinds of flowers, which fell upon them and about them. As I looked I saw their faces change from inquiring expectation into glad smiles of happiness, for they understood the token they had received, and knew that love and beauty awaited them in this new sphere to which they had journeyed far to come.
Now I was able to see the fashion of their ship. Indeed it was no ship at all, but a raft. How shall I speak of it simply? It was a raft, indeed, but it was no bare structure, for there were upon it couches and beds of soft down, and instruments of music; and of these the chief was an organ on which three / men were now beginning to play at one time, – all these and other things of comfort. And at one side I noticed what looked like an altar of offering, but in detail I cannot speak of it, for I do not know the use of it explicitly.
Now the organ begins to sound, and the people afloat break forth into an anthem of praise to the All-Father, to Whom every knee bows in adoration, for from Him only is Life, and all are through Him enabled. The Sun shines forth His life to earth, and the Heavens are as chambers within the Sun for light and warmth of love. To Whom, and to all those Gods Who owe Him birth and due allegiance, be our duty paid in offering of a pure heart and will of loyalty.
Now, these words were of a strange tone to me. But when I heard them, and the music which bore them through the air, I looked once again at the Altar, for I thought to find in it an answer. But this I could not. There was no sign or emblem upon it by which I might interpret this thing. It was but later that I was able to come at the meaning of it. (Zabdiel in G. Vale Owen, LBV2, 172-3.)
Now, they had disembarked upon the shore, and all were gathered beneath the high headland which stood above like some giant watch-tower. Then their leader looked among us for our Chief, and at last espied him, and knew him. For they had met before. So he came to him and the two greeted each one the other with warm love and blessing.
They conversed together for some time, and then our Chief stepped out and spoke to our new brethren, somewhat thus: “My friends and brethren, children with us of the One All-Father, Whom all adore according to that light he has, I bid you welcome to your new home.
“You have come far to seek it, and it will not disappoint you when you explore its beauties. I am but a humble servant here, but as it is to the Colony over which I am set that you will be led to begin your manner of life here, I am sent thus to welcome you.
“As you well know, and have learned by a long course of training, the faith you once held was but / one single ray of the whole sunshine of God’s great Love and Blessing. In the course of your instruction and development you have come to understand so much as this and more. One item alone of your own peculiar manner of worship have you retained – the Altar I see upon your vessel. But inasmuch as the distinguishing device has faded from its pedestal, and as I saw no smoke of incense rise as you neared the shore, in offering of thanksgiving and adoration, I think that, as a token and badge, your Altar has lost some, or all, of its meaning to you. It is for you to choose whether you will bring that with you, or leave it aboard to return it to the land from whence you came for the use of others less progressed than yourselves; or whether you will land it, and convey it with you into your new life here. Will you, of your courtesy, consult together, and tell me?”
Then they held a conference, but not for long; and their spokesman said, “My lord, it is even as you say. There is now little meaning left to us in that which once was of aid to know and worship God our Father. For we have, by much teaching on the part of others, and our own meditation, come to know that all God’s children are of one birth and race, as children of the One Father Alone. The time is now when it helps us no more to remember aught which divides, even though it be in love and general tolerance. We would, therefore, send it back; for yonder are those who perhaps remember more of the details of that religion which we have now progressed beyond.
“And now, my lord, we follow you to learn, of / your goodness, and that of our brethren who serve under your guidance, what more we may of the Brotherhood of all mankind in the light of this brighter land, and those realms which lie beyond.” “You have very well said it,” replied the Chief, “and it shall be so. Had you chosen else it would have pleased me; but this choice pleases me the better. And now, my brothers and sisters, come, and I will lead you into the fields which lie beyond this Gate, and into your Home.”
So saying, he mingled with them, and kissed every one upon the brow; and I noticed that, when be did this, their countenances became of a more luminous aspect, like our own; and their clothing became more radiant also. And the Mother descended from her station aloft, and did as he had done. They were so happily met with us, and we with them, that we did not hurry to depart. Also their leader came some way with us for company; and we set off through the Gate, while the Mother and her maidens sang a hymn of Glory to the Highest, and to us a welcome and farewell in one. So we took our way inland along the valley.
Now, you will wonder at that Altar, and at the meaning of the speech of our Chief
If I might interrupt you, Zabdiel, why do you avoid telling me his name?
I will tell you his name as you may put it into these letters, but cannot render it to you in its essential manner. Moreover, that is not permitted me. I will call him Harolen. That has three parts in speaking it, / and so has his; and it will serve very well. So, to proceed. He was much in occupation among the throng until we had passed the valley and river and were well into the country, the aspect of which I have not described to you hereto, for it was beyond that spot where I first met him. Then, when I noticed he had leisure, I approached and asked him who these were, and what worship they and he had spoken of on the shore. Harolen answered, in effect, that they in the earth life had been worshippers of the God Whose Name was wrapt in the Fire and in the Sun, and Whom the old Persians reverenced. (1)
Now, I must add to that, of my own knowledge, this, ensuing. You must know that, when people first come out of the earth life into the first stage of their life eternal on this side, they are as they left the earth. This much you know. They who have any serious religion at all continue their worship and manner of life and conduct according to that religion as to its main and leading principles. But as they progress there is a winnowing, and the chaff is blown away, one fistful after another, as they go on from sphere to sphere. Yet while some shoot ahead, the bulk linger and go more leisurely onward; and those who have left them behind come back to them, from time to time, to instruct them.
So they go on from age to age, and realm to realm, / and sphere to sphere; and all the while they approach nearer to the Universal idea of the All-Father. Brethren they still are together; but they learn to welcome, and then to love, brethren of other modes of religious thought and belief; as these others do also. And so there is a constant and increasing intercourse between those of varying creed. But it is long before most will merge together in absolute unity. These old Persians still retained many of their own peculiar ways of looking at things, and will do so long hence. Nor is it to be wished for otherwise. For every one has a character of his own, and so adds of his own to the commonwealth of all. (Zabdiel in G. Vale Owen, LBV2, 172-9.)
- (1) Zabdiel’s descriptions suggests Zoroastrians or Zarathustrians, known today as “Parsees,” in India where their largest population resides.
The territory through which we passed was hilly but not mountainous, and on every side were green knolls, and here and there a dwelling. As we went Harolen became slowly changed in aspect. He grew brighter of countenance, and his robes began to assume a more luminous appearance. By the time we had progressed past the woodland on our left hand he was come into his normal beauty and appeared thus. On his head a symbol of light appeared, as it might be a crown of jewels of red and brown, which sparkled and shone forth their rays, and between the rays and about there hovered an emerald radiance. His tunic fell to his knees, leaving bare his arms; and a gold belt he wore about his middle, clasped with a jewel of pearl-like substance, but in colour green and blue. His cap was of like colour, two-tinted, and on his forearms were zones of gold and silver interwoven. (Zabdiel in G. Vale Owen, LBV2, 181.)
As I looked on him, thus so simply garbed and yet so altogether beautiful, I felt his great power. For in his eyes there shone clear holiness, with dignity to command, while his brow, over which his brown hair parted and curled backward about his temples, seemed to woo humility and gentleness as a sister more beloved. Yet he was such as no one of lesser estate might willingly dare in opposition, while none would fear him, so that one be simple in his good intent and loving withal. One he was whom to follow his lead was joy, and in whose protection and guidance implicit trust might well be placed. For he was a Prince, with a prince’s power, and wisdom to use it aright in gentleness and love. (Zabdiel in G. Vale Owen, LBV2, 182.)
Arriving here Harolen called a halt, and asked for silence for a little space, as he had a message to bring to them from his chief city, which lay ahead beyond the rising hills and out of sight.
So we kept silence and, presently, a great flash of light shot through the heavens from some point beyond the hills in front. It struck upon us and we stood all bathed in a flood of brightness; but no one was startled or afraid, for the light had joy in it. But if it clothed us, then about the chariot in which the Prince stood was a very glorious thing to be seen.
He stood there quite still, but the light about him became focussed and concentrated; and he appeared no longer as he had been hereto, but, as it were, transparent and all aflame with glory. How shall I make you to have some small idea of what I wish to tell? Try to picture him made of alabaster, but living and glowing and irradiated through with a beauty of glorious light, itself alive and rejoicing. Every jewel and ornament became suffused with it, and the chariot itself was glowing as with flames of fire. And all about him were glory and the majesty of life and energy. The horses, also, did not so much absorb as reflect the radiance. And the circlet about his head shone forth with a sevenfold intensity.
Yet he did not rise into the heavens, as well he might have done, so translucent and sublimated had he become in appearance. He stood there still, his / eyes looking straight into the light and reading it as a message, as if he saw what we could not see, and that, too, not there but far away ahead over the hills, at the place from which that light was sent.
The next we knew surprised us all greatly. Instead of compelling some wonder or miracle of power, he quietly knelt down in his wagon, and bowed his face into his hands, silent and still. And yet we all felt that he was not afraid, but master, of that light, and of even higher majesty. We knew he bowed to One of greater might and in holiness higher than he. So we, too, knelt and bowed to worship Whom he worshipped, knowing a Power was present, but in whose Person we did not know.
As he knelt thus we presently heard music and voices chanting some very beautiful theme, but in words we none of us could interpret. Still kneeling we looked up and saw that Harolen had decended from his wagon, and stood upon the road in front of us his company. Walking down the road towards him was a Man, clad in white from head to foot. One circle of light crossed His forehead and girded His hair behind. No jewel did He wear, but over His shoulders two bands, which were crossed between His breasts before, and were held in place with a belt. They and it were of silver and red mingled. His face was calm, and with no majesty save that of love and kindness; and He walked with slow and thoughtful / step, as if He bore in His heart the weal and woe of some great universe. It was no sadness we saw, but something near akin, and yet I cannot name it, so unfathomable was that quiet all-embracing calm which was about Him.
He came to where Harolen still knelt, and said some word to him in a tongue we did not know; and also His voice was so subdued that we felt He spoke rather than heard Him. The Prince looked up then into His face and smiled; and his smile was lovely, as everything about him was lovely. Then the Other bent down and folded him in His arms, and raised him up, and stood by his side and held his hand in one of His own. Standing thus He raised His right hand and, looking on us, He blessed us and spoke words of cheer and encouragement to proceed in our work which lay ahead of us.
He was not eloquent, but rather were His words those of a mother to her children setting forth on A journey. No more than this, and spoken so quietly and so simply, and yet in suchwise that they gave us confidence and joy together, and all fear was taken away. For at the first we were somewhat in awe of Him before Whom our Prince had bent the knee. Standing thus, the light all gathered itself together and enveloped Him, and while He held the hand of Harolen He became more and more invisible, and then was gone from sight where He had stood. And the light was gone, as if He had absorbed it into Himself, and had taken it with Him when He went. (Zabdiel in G. Vale Owen, LBV2, 183-6.)
Reference to the “Seventh Sphere” and Beyond
Ed. Please note that I consider what Imperator describes as the “Seventh Sphere” to be in advance of what Astriel and Zabdiel describe as the “Tenth Sphere.”
When first controlling Stainton Moses, Imperator said he had been with him nearly all his life. At first he was in the sixth sphere, (1) later in the seventh sphere. (Mrs. Stanhope Speer commenting on Imperator in Moses, MST, 5.)
- (1) The spheres that Imperator is referring to are far beyond the Summerlands.
I, myself, Imperator Servus Dei … come from the seventh sphere to work out the will of the Almighty; and, when my work is complete, I shall return to those spheres of bliss from which none return again to earth. (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, ST, 22.)
After my ministry with him is over, I go whence I can never again personally return to earth. I shall only be able to influence through other spirits. (1) (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, MSTTT, n.p.)
- (1) Imperator’s comment demonstrates the difficulty in comparing descriptions of the spheres. For, while Imperator says he cannot personally return to Earth from the Eighth Sphere to influence mortals, Astriel and Zabdiel (see below) have returned from the Tenth Sphere and speak directly through the hand of G. Vale Owen. This suggests that what Imperator means by the “Seventh Sphere” is in fact beyond what Astriel and Zabdiel mean by the “Tenth Sphere.”
This conclusion is bolstered by the fact that the women being inducted into the “Tenth Sphere” are scarcely past the confines of their original religion, whereas Imperator in the “Seventh Sphere” sees clearly the primitive trammels of conventional, organized religion.
Stainton Moses: Did you ever know a case of a spirit, lately passed over, going to the seventh sphere in a few years?
Never. It may not be. It is deceptive throughout. Flee such. (Unnamed spirit teacher, member of spirit leader Imperator’s group, in Moses, MST, 60.)
Beyond the seventh sphere there are other celestial states, but of these I cannot speak. (John Heslop, FMABL, 10.)
A Resident of the Christ Sphere Points to Higher Regions
Beyond the seventh sphere there are other celestial states, but of these I cannot speak. (John Heslop, FMABL, 10.)
We do not feel as weary as you do, but there is need to be cleansed from the deflilement of earth and to re-adjust to the Divine Harmonies. So we pass into one of the many beautiful chapels opening from the main building, and resting in the healing rays of light, we become bathed in their purity and are cleansed and revived. Oft-times in the calm and beauty of these chapels, enveloped in the incense from a thousand flowers, combined with strains of exquisite music, we rise into a condition of Trance, in which our spirits are wafted to Higher Spheres, (1) where we mingle for a while with the Exalted Beings who inhabit them. (John Heslop, FMABL, 18.)
- (1) Again, John indicates that higher spheres exist above his Christ Sphere.
Below the dome there is a raised dais, from which Exalted Beings from Higher Spheres instruct us. From this one centre they ever minister to the inhabitants of this Sphere and these Spiritual Instructors are in contact with other Spheres, which transcend even this one in beauty and perfection. (John Heslop, FMABL, 21.)
My present mission is in two spheres above this [Christ Sphere], and its beauty is quite indescribable to anyone on your side. I cannot dwell in it habitually and still continue in close contact with you on earth; so while you are there, my Beloved, I can only visit this exalted region for a time. (John Heslop, FMABL, 86.)
How I wish I could give you even a faint idea of the nature of my work in the Ninth Sphere, but, as I have told you many times, you have no words that I could use, no parallel of comparison. … The work is progressing, and will be completed in due time, when I shall return to our home in the Christ-Sphere for rest and refreshment. (John Heslop, FMABL, 85-6.)
My work in the Ninth Sphere was difficult and complicated, but it has all been successfully carried out so now I hope to come often to see you for I have returned home. (John Heslop, FMABL, 86.)
John has been too busy to come to you this morning. He is engaged with those Higher Spirits whose special work is to keep back Anarchy and Revolution from this dear land. Where clear judgment and the conciliatory spirit are needed, he is very successful and so has plenty of scope at the present time for the exercise of those gifts. (Mother of F. Heslop in FMABL, 87.)
Unknown, Unidentifiable Planes
References to Unknown “Higher Planes”
When you have read of the appearance of those who come from the higher, or inner, planes, do you not find they are described as shining figures radiating light, rather than as having shape? That is because personality has gone. It is because there is less of the bodily expression about them. (Silver Birch, SBA, 58.)
The realm or sphere which is my natural habitat has a radiance and a translucence that you cannot understand, clogged as you are by matter. (Silver Birch, PSB, 23.)
I come from a realm where all is light and colour, where hearts sing with the sheer joy of living, where all are busily engaged in congenial pursuits, where all the arts flourish, where each is imbued with the idea of service, with sharing what he has with those who have it not, where there is an intensity and vitality, a joy and radiance in well-doing. (Silver Birch, PSB, 27.)
I have only just returned from the higher spheres which are my natural habitat. I have sought refreshment and renewal in higher spheres than the one I usually occupy when I communicate with you according to the manner of your world. (Silver Birch, LSB, 104.)
For a short time I shall be in the spheres where I lived for many years, to feel once again that vitalizing power of the spirit, so invigorating in its strength, so beautiful in all its fullness, making you realize what life is when you are able to experience it in the higher realms of spirit. We speak with all humility and with no pride at all.
If all the beautiful paintings of the world, all the inspired visions and all the great artistry that you have ever heard of in your world of matter and all the deepest and greatest beauties of nature were all combined into one whole object it would be but a very pale reflection of life in the higher regions. (Silver Birch, SBT, n.p.)
The “Planes of Contemplation”
Life is of two stages – progressive and contemplative. We, who are still progressive, and who hope to progress for countless myriads of ages (as you say) after, the farthest point to which your finite mind can reach, we know naught of the life contemplative. But we believe that far – far in the vast hereafter there will be a period at which progressive souls will eventually arrive, when progress has brought them to the very dwelling place of the Omnipotent, and that there they will lay aside their former state, and bask in the full light of Deity, in contemplation of all the secrets of the universe. Of this we cannot tell you. It is too high. Soar not to such vast heights. Life is unending, as you count it, but you are concerned with the approach to its threshold, not with the inner temple. (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, ST, 28.)
In the spheres of contemplation, as we called them, the inner heaven of contemplative wisdom, the home of the Infinite and the Absolute, is perfect peace. Why should the beatified cross its threshold, to come back to the unrestful atmosphere of the purgatorial spheres, unless it be to bring some of their own blessed peace with them? Some there are who have so returned at great spiritual epochs, and have animated and inspired men by their vast and tranquil wisdom; but it is rare. Sufficient for you to know now that a spark of Deity dwells within your soul, and that infinite possibilities are within your grasp. (Spirit teacher, possibly Imperator, possibly not, in Moses, MST, 65.)
The “Celestial Planes”
Ed. I would normally place these quotes from Bethards’ teacher in the section dealing with the Mental Plane, which is often called “celestial,” but I am not certain that all karma must be finished before one enters the Mental Plane. In fact it cannot be so if the Judgment occurs after the first subplane of the Mental Plane and the second death after that, because both have to do with earth karma. So I place it in a separate category and await further enlightenment on the subject.
Once you have completed your karmic ties and learned your lessons on the earth plane, having gained balance spiritually, mentally, and physically, you will then go to the celestial, where you will totally shed your astral body in order to allow yourself to live in the vibrations of the celestial, using only your celestial body. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 16.)
Until a soul has completed all karma and gained that perfect balance within himself he cannot go into the celestial. He must finish up through the earth and the astral planes before being allowed to enter the celestial heavens. At that level, he then never has to incarnate on the earth plane again, as all karma is then worked through.
If he so chooses – and this can be done from the celestial level – he may incarnate on earth again for a life of service. Then he goes back, putting on his astral coat and his earthly physical body, and comes again to work with mankind.
Once you again enter the earthly realms, you are open for karma. If you create some, it must be worked out instantly, as you will have no other life. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 17.)
Because these planes [above the celestial] are a higher frequency and an interdimensional reality, you would be unable to understand what they are from your present perspective on the earth plane. Knowledge must be gained in a highly advanced meditative state. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards in TIND, 17.)
The “Empyrean Plane”
They say that, as I have chosen to confine myself to this plane for the time, I have to remain bounded by its limit of consciousness, except in inner flashes. Just as you, on the physical, only get flashes in your sleep of the empyrean plane.
– What do you mean by that word? I’ve never heard that expression before. –
I don’t know – that is how they often call it. Vast, limitless, flowing upwards in a spiral. (1) (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 98.)
- (1) Annie Besant describes the Empyrean this way: “In this stage [the chelâ or disciple] has to bring into full working order the inner faculties, those belonging to the subtle bodies, for he needs them for his service in the higher realms of being. If he has developed them previously, this stage may be a very brief one, but he may pass through the gateway of death once more ere he is ready to receive his third Initiation, to become ‘the Swan,’ the individual who soars into the empyrean, that wondrous Bird of Life whereof so many legends are related.
On this third stage of the Path [of Initiation] the chelâ casts off the fourth and fifth fetters, those of desire and aversion; he sees the One self in all, and the outer veil can no longer blind him, whether it be fair or foul. He looks on all with an equal eye; that fair bud of tolerance that he cherished on the probationary Path now flowers out into an all-embracing love that wraps everything within its tender embrace. He is ‘the friend of every creature,’ the ‘lover of all that lives’ in a world where all things live.” (Annie Besant, AW, 338-9.)
I am beginning to find myself – I can do a great deal more than I could at first.
One can rise into a dimension of pure Light, it seems. One feels exhilarated, ecstatically so – yet there is Life there too, but I feel it, I don’t see it. I can only stay there for the briefest flash because I have got to stay in consciousness of the near-earth plane in order to help you and do my job. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 115.)
In your sleep last night, we both raised our consciousness, helped by the Advanced People, into the Empyrean and into our minds flowed the sensation of pure Light, vibrating into a million radiations of sound and colour and conscious being. We couldn’t stay long – it seemed too strong, but you awoke with a memory of it. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 129.)
We had a long trip last night – a trip of healing for you. We went into the Empyrean, to the wide plains of Light you used to speak of. We held each other’s fingers – finger-tip to finger-tip – so that the current of Power flowed through us both. This is how spirits unite to achieve extra Force. Tuning ourselves into the Chief, and with a joint effort of will, we soared and the fluid ecstacy poured through us both and a ray of healing was directed on you via me. The atmosphere seemed to be a velvety violet with flakes of power like sparkles and bubbles seething around us. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 136.)
We have been very far tonight into the empyrean with that surging blend of criss-cross interlacing rays of every luminous colour, so that only the skilled can find a way. Yet in space phraseology, it is the ‘sky.’ … Try to keep steadily in mind that the ’empyrean’ is actually leaving earth space and flowing off into the system of our planets. But one can be in earth space and yet be in the higher stage of consciousness, for discarnate life can co-exist with yours. (Philip Gilbert, PTS, xxv.)
People of a fairly advanced type who have common interests and have learnt the art of thought creation, have united their thought force to form little “worlds,” like that garden or the Hall of Music, which are almost indestructible because there is a constant stream of new power brought by fresh arrivals, to hold it firm and clear and to improve it. …
The more advanced in spirit that these communities are – tuned in with the harmony of the whole – the more efficiently their thought creations take on form, because they can use the life-force.
It is these advanced beings from the higher empyrean who have created those rest-homes I told you of, for the weak and weary who have not the ability to function for themselves, at first. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 50-1.)
Ed. Also known as the Beyond, Out Yonder in Myers’s system. I do not know where this plane fits in the cartographies of other communicators.
- (7) Lastly, the Seventh Plane. The spirit and its various souls are now fused and pass into the Supreme Mind, the Imagination of God, wherein resides the conception of the Whole, of universe after universe, of all states of existence, of past, present and future, of all that has been and all that shall be. Herein is continuous and complete consciousness, the true reality. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)
Lastly comes the seventh state, the merging of the journeying soul with its spirit. When you attain to that beatitude you pass into the Beyond, you realize the meaning of the word immortality. Matter is transcended, cast off. You enter into timelessness and become one with the Idea behind all life, one with God, one with that portion of His Spirit which has been connected with you in all the planes of existence. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)
I might tell you, no one we have ever known or heard of has ever stepped off into the Infinite. It will probably be a few million years before we shall want to go into the Infinite; it means the submerging of the personality. All personal desire must be dead; we have to learn to wish to be of and as God. That’s where the old idea of sacrifice comes; it’s the giving up of some personal desire. (Claude in CB, 77.)
I don’t see how [Frederick Myers in the book ”The Road to Immortality”] … can possibly know about the seventh plane and how one feels in it because no one who has got that far has come back, even to this plane, to tell us. (1) It seems to me that no one could put down the Nature of the Infinite Cause in a few hundred words. I feel he was setting out, as many do, even here, his own philosophy – a very lofty and possible one, but only … his facet.’ (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 140.)
- (1) This statement cannot be correct because both John Heslop and the Messenger in Private Dowding inhabit the Seventh or Christ Sphere and both return to lower spheres on occasion to work or serve spirits. The difficulty probably lies in the fact that the Seven Planes that Myers refers to are seven planes of human evolution and, above them, lie many more planes, the Seventh Plane in actuality being many planes higher than the Christ Sphere. See next section on this subject.
Again the choice must be made. Is the soul prepared to make the great leap, prepared to pass wholly from time into timelessness, from an existence in form into formlessness? This is the most difficult of all questions to answer. Only a very few reply in the affirmative when first faced with it.
The Seventh state might be described as the “passage from form into formlessness.” But pray do not misunderstand the term “formlessness.” I merely wish to indicate by it an existence that has no need to express itself in a shape, however tenuous, however fine. The soul who enters that Seventh state passes into the Beyond and becomes one with God.
This merging with the Idea, with the Great Source of spirit does not imply annihilation. You still exist as an individual. You are as a wave in the sea; and you have at last entered into Reality and cast from you all the illusions of appearances. But some intangible essence has been added to your spirit through its long habitation of matter, of ether the ancestor of matter, of what the scientists call empty space, though, if they but knew it, empty space is peopled with forms of an infinite fineness and variety.
Actually the passage from the Sixth to the Seventh state means the flight from the material universe, from that space which is a part of it. You dwell not only outside of time but outside of the universe on this last plane of being. Yet you can be and are, in one sense, within the universe. You as part of the Whole–and by the Whole I indicate God–may be likened to the sun; your rays pervade the material universe, yet your spirit remains detached from it, reigning in the great calm of eternity. To be of the universe and to be apart from it is, possibly, the final achievement, the goal of all endeavor.
In a few brief words I have spanned existence within aeons of time, and I have endeavored to give you a glimpse of that mystery, timelessness. When you dwell out Yonder, you, as a part of the Divine Principle in its essence, are wholly aware of the imagination of God. So you are aware of every second in time, you are aware of the whole history of the earth from Alpha to Omega. Equally all planetary existence is yours. Everything created is contained within that imagination, and you, now by reason of your immortality, know it and hold, as the earth holds a seed, the whole of life, the past, the future, all that is, all that shall be for ever and for ever.
The Beyond baffles description. It is heart-breaking even to attempt to write of it.
That Spirit-man, God the Son, expressed a great truth when He said,” Many are called and few are chosen.” Only a very few pass out Yonder during the life of the earth. A certain number of souls attain to the sixth state, but remain in it or, in exceptional cases for a lofty purpose, descend again into matter. They are not strong enough to make the great leap into timelessness, they are not yet perfect. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)
Myers’ ” Spirit Man” Arises from and Passes Back into Formlessness
A Spirit-man is a human being — of whom perhaps a few score have appeared on earth since time began. He differs from others in that his spirit retains that intense and direct inspiration from God when it enters into time and communicates with the incarnate man. Therefore, Spirit-man alone has expressed eternal truth, either in his life or in his words. When his physical body dies he dwells in Hades, but he does not tarry in Illusion-land. Swiftly he passes up the rungs of the ladder; easily may he become one with the Father. For even while on earth he has known the Father, having drawn his inspiration from the imagination of God. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.) Spirit-man is not caught in this eidolon or living ghost, in [a] wraith of earthly beliefs. The great masters are not thus ensnared. Christ, the Son of God, entered into Hades, but He did not abide in any of the other planes of being. Christ, being inspired directly by God, was connected with no group-soul. He passed from Hades out Yonder; for His physical body was, during His lifetime on earth, the direct expression in the clay of that Essence, the Imagination of God. Truly, Christ was a limited expression of the Whole, was in earthly life linked to the Whole. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)
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