Ferry Over Jordan by Margery Lawrence 1944



One of the statements most frequently made about the after life is, “ We don't know what it's like. Nobody has ever come back to tell us!” And yet this is actually one of the most in correct statements it is possible to make.

Plenty of people have come back to tell us about it! Certainly, when they come they are no longer wearing the physical body in which they used to function, so that you cannot see them or shake them by the hand. But if you were on one side of a thick curtain and your father or husband, wife or sweetheart stood on the other side and spoke to you, would you not, even if you could not see them, know them at once by their voices, their little tricks of speech, and things they spoke of that only you and they knew? Of course you would! Yes, they have come back, many thousands of them, and been recognized and welcomed, and they have brought endless information about the land in which they are living - for anybody who will take the trouble to hunt it up and read it. The worst is, of course, that very few people will take that trouble. And in this matter more than in any other, you do not get knowledge or information handed to you all ready-made on a convenient plate. You must try and


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find things out for yourself. They are there, but only for those who look for them.

The next world - the belt or plane of existence just beyond our own earth - is called by various names, “ Heaven”, “ Paradise” , the “ Summerland” , the “ Astral Plane” , and many others, and the questions most often asked about this world are, in my experience, these:

“ What is it like there, and shall we meet our loved ones soon? Does one travel about, and if so, how? Does one live in houses or towns, and is there any eating or sleeping? What about clothes - and how does one pass one's time? Does everybody go there, and in that case what happens to people like the Nazis?”

One of the things that puzzle many people is the fact that descriptions of the next world frequently differ very widely - yet the answer is really very simple. In this our physical world there are countless different countries, with different climates, inhabited by different races, with different foods, clothes, customs, and so on. Descriptions, for instance, of Greenland, of the South Sea Islands, of London, of Arizona, by any traveller, would all vary immensely; yet they are all descriptions of parts of one world - our Earth.

So, on the Other Side, there will be found many as different countries, people, conditions, as there are here; but however different, they are still descriptions of different parts of one world, and all have one thing in common. Those who love truly will find each other at once, by the inevitable law of attraction, and there is no disease or poverty, no blood and horror, no tyranny or injustice, no unhappiness except on the lower ranges of the Astral (sometimes called “ Hell” , “ Hades”, “ Purgatory” , and various other names), of which I shall presently have more to say.

What is it like there? Well, people who speak from the Other Side describe wide rolling seas and mountain-ranges, islands and continents, rivers, lakes and forests, deserts and prairies, just as in this world, but far more beautiful; scattered hermitages where those who love solitude may dwell alone, little villages or groups of houses where happy little communities live and work, lovely pillared temples set in dreamy woodlands where one can rest or pray, stately white cities where slums and congested streets are unknown, where green trees grow along the highways. and children play in endless flower-filled parks and gardens . . . there is no beauty here which is not there also, but many times more beautiful. And there are beauties of which we


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know nothing. There are new and glorious colours - the colour range of that world is far wider than our own and more delicately graded; and there are flowers and trees, birds and insects never seen here.

There are great Halls of Learning, of music, of literature, of science, of art, where can be found everything of worth that has ever been or ever will be written or sung or composed, invented or painted, and many more beside - and all who wish can have access to them. Nothing worth while is ever really lost. We have on earth only the shadow of all these things; the things themselves rest safely on the Other Side, where they were originally born, to be projected from there into some receptive brain on this side! Just as really we have, on earth, only the shadow of real life. Indeed, we ourselves are shadows compared with the vividly “ real” selves we shall be on the Other Side.

This statement may seem puzzling to some students, who will say, “ How can that be? Ghosts and visions, scenes described in the crystal, in dreams, and so on, are shadowy things, while here we live in a substantial world, eating roast beef and sitting on heavy wooden chairs, living in houses that are great piles of brick or concrete, wearing things like solid leather boots and tweed overcoats, and carrying parcels that can be weighed and measured!”

Your practical, hard-headed man will argue thus “ If I hit another fellow on the chin I know I have hit something hard and solid, and certainly his chin knows that it has encountered something solid in my fist - whereas if I tried to hit a ghost, my fist would go through him. So if the next world is composed of as intangible matter as ghosts are made of, how can you call it solid?”

In order to get at what I mean, you will have to get a new idea of what “ solidity” means. This earth is solid to us only because we are living in what is called the same dimension - in other words, it seems solid to us because we, with everything inside, outside and about us, moves at the same vibration. But at the same time it is not quite so solid as you think. In proof of this take two things only, the X-ray and the radio. If walls and houses were really and truly solid, no sound could pass through them, as the waves of the wireless do; and certainly, if the human body were really solid, nobody could photograph bones through the solid cover of flesh upon them! It is a question of adjusting yourself to another point of view, that is all. This world appears solid to us simply because our bodies belong to it; and the world after death will appear as solid when we get there as this does, because our bodies will belong to it


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- will be tuned in, as it were, to its vibrations. And then it will be this world (if and when we make contact with it!) that will appear faint and transparent and altogether unreal!

The question as to whether you will meet your loved ones soon after getting to the Other Side is easily answered. Love being the greatest magnet in the world, those who love truly come together as a matter-of­course after death - and, indeed, often the first face seen on the Other Side, when the “ dead” person wakes up to his new life, is the face of the one that he has “ loved long since and lost awhile” . Indeed, not seldom someone who has gone over first is allowed to come back to earth at the moment of a loved one's death, to help him over the “ crossing of the Styx” , as the ancients gracefully called the passage from life to death - or rather, from death to life. There is a basis of solid truth in many of the mawkish death-bed scenes seen in so many Victorian children's books, where the dying child lifts its eyes to an unseen figure standing beside the bed, and departs breathing its mother's name. Love is a cable that cannot be broken. It holds through death, and beyond.

But - it must be real love! Passion, lust, the desire for possession, the jealous, greedy sex-hunger that many call love - these things are not love. (I shall deal in much fuller detail with this absorbing point in my subsequent chapter, “ Sex on the Other Side” .)

As regards travelling - and how the mouth of a born traveller like myself waters at the prospect of unlimited travelling, minus the worry of luggage, passports, and so on! - since thought is power, and life on the Other Side is governed by thought, or by “ will” , if you like that term better, travelling is done by thought. You desire to be in a certain place or with a certain person - and you are there! If you wish to wander idly about forest or hillside, or to fly swiftly as a bird, or to sail the seas, you can do all these things by the power of your mind. No mechanical vehicle is needed. But by the same power of mind, in the Other World, you can create anything you want, from food and drink, clothes, cars, houses, and so on -and if you want a car or a plane, or a ship or anything else, you can create it by the power of your mind. (This will explain the passage in Lodge's Raymond that has puzzled many, when a spirit talks about having a whisky-and-soda - and brings me to the point often raised about food, clothes, etc., on the Other Side.)

People who have only just “ come over” often continue for some time automatically to react to their earthly desires - especially very materialistic people who loved rich dinners, drinks, opulent cars,


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clothes, jewels, all the sort of things that meant “ life” to them when they lived on earth. As long as they desire them they will “ create” these things mentally – and to them they are perfectly satisfying, just as real as they were when they lived over here! But after a while they begin dimly to realize that something is wrong - to feel dissatisfied and to grope vaguely after something better; and that means progression, so that after a while they grow out of the desire for all of them - especially for food. Food is not needed for a fully-developed soul, nor actual sleep either, though there are plenty of beautiful Houses of Rest where, if it is needed, one can lie and repose in a soft semi-trance that perhaps may be called sleep - a sort of other-world echo of sleep!

It is not only the grossly-material souls who still cling to the material things of earth. Many of the younger, less-advanced souls do the same out of sheer ignorance, and “ build” themselves the most extensive houses, clothes, etc. - it is a sort of “ hangover” from earth-life, and often leads to very funny sights, such as a little girl who was a kitchen-maid or slum-child in earth-life, who will go about hung with diamonds and dine off gold plate in a house as big as Buckingham Palace! It was her idea of heaven on earth - and so she reproduces it on the Other Side, till she learns better!

Barrie gave an excellent picture of this, the realization of the “ Heaven” of a slum-child, in his play A Kiss for Cinderella.

Similarly the ignorant, childish-minded type of people who simply cannot imagine life without cocktail-parties, dances, race-meetings and all that, drift towards others who feel the same urge (like tends to like inevitably on the Other Side, and you find, very literally, your level at once!) and so “ build up” that sort of life in its suitable setting, by the power of their thoughts. It is still quite as real, as hectic and exciting to them as life on earth - but it will really be artificial! But nobody laughs, as it is recognized as a phase through which many young and ignorant souls often pass at first - and after a while, as children grow up and leave their toys behind them, these people grow up too, and emerge to reality.

I am afraid, though, that people who find their main interest and amusement in blood sports such as hunting, shooting, and so on, will not find a chance of satisfying their curious tastes.

Though the “ little brothers of humanity” , as gentle St. Francis called the birds and beasts, have their place in the “ Other Side” , there is certainly no killing to be done - and such very limited souls will have to content


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themselves with solemnly building up imaginary golf courses, polo and tennis grounds, and so on, for their amusement, until they slowly begin to realize how futile it all is, and to feel within them a fumbling desire for something better. Then they will realize the truth of where they are and what is happening to them - and then those who really love them, and the Guides and Teachers who have patiently awaited the moment for them to “ waken”, will be able to help and advise them in their first stumbling steps towards real knowledge.

As regards clothes, it is again a question of quite literally “ wishful thinking” . If you want to reproduce the Paris models you wore over here - though you will look rather silly! - you can. If you feel happier in the national dress of your country (and many nationals do) you can wear that, or you can wear a Roman toga, Regency curls or a Victorian crinoline and bonnet, whichever happens to please you - and this brings me to a point that seems to puzzle many people when they see a “ ghost” or a materialization of some loved one known on earth.

“ Why,” people ask, “ do spirits, when showing themselves to their friends on earth, sometimes appear in white misty garments resembling the traditional ghost-drapery, and sometimes in the ordinary clothes they wore on earth, and again, at times almost in fancy-dress?”

The answer is that the appearing spirit chooses to appear in whatever garments he feels will best help his recognition - but it must by no means be concluded that the garments in which he is seen here are necessarily the garments he habitually wears on the Other Side! For instance, my father has been seen wearing three different types of dress - a grey tweed golfing suit, in his barrister's wig and gown, and (the last time) in a very dignified robe-affair of some light colour, greyish or blueish. I am sure this last more closely represents the sort of clothes he is actually wearing on the Other Side. But the other times, when he was manifesting comparatively soon after his death, he showed himself deliberately dressed in clothes that he knew I should at once recognize. Similarly I have seen one of my uncles who was a doctor wearing the white coat of a surgeon - again, to assist recognition. My mother has been seen in various types of dress - once in a pretty “ Edwardian” yellow faille evening dress flounced with black lace and trimmed with bunches of violets, and again in a rose-trimmed toque that she wore when my father lay dying. The first was described as “ fancy-dress” by the puzzled medium, but I knew what it meant at once. I still have a photograph of my mother in it - though I was only about four years old


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when she wore it, I have always remembered and loved that dress. The rose-trimmed toque, a favourite of Father's, she wore the day before he died; and I am convinced she showed herself to me in that to symbolize that she had found my father and had discarded the mourning she wore for him on earth. I have never seen her in her widow's weeds, and I doubt if I ever shall - for the very good reason that she has no reason to mourn any more, having found my father! So all trappings of woe, even if they helped recognition, would be fantastically untrue.

These varied garments, therefore, all serve some particular purpose, and for a time many souls on the Other Side wear a reproduction of their earthly clothes - again, until they begin to grow in understanding. And when once progress sets in, the souls over there, growing away from the trivial echoes of the earth-life they have left behind, gradually assume their real garments, which are actually composed of the vibrations of their own individual personalities, that appear as light floating “ robes” of various types and colours. (Hence the “ draperies” seen clairvoyantly by many mediums.) Lilac, rose, coral, pale mauve, gold, blue, leaf-green-according to your development and your character will be the colour of your “ robe”. The higher the development the lovelier the colour, and the highest-developed and the most beautiful characters of all wear white . . . which in itself actually combines all the colours we know and many others. But the white of the robes a Great One will wear, shining, luminous, is very different from the blank, uninteresting colour we call by that name.

In answer to the question “ What do they do all day?” the answer is “ Work, study, experiment, progress, service” - and if anyone pulls a long face at such a programme, let me assure them that nobody is forced to work unless they want to! There is no such thing as forcing anybody to do anything! The Great Law is love, and love means patience and understanding and the readiness to wait until the pupil, or the patient (and some of those who come over, particularly the dogged atheist, the shallow cynic or the money-grubbers, deserve both titles), slowly begins to “ awake” , to consider, to wonder why he is bored, unhappy and restless-and that means he is ready for work or study of some sort. Ready to begin making progress.

Everyone has some special gift or interest or talent - often so deeply hidden in life that we do not even know that we possess it - and in the after-life each will drift automatically towards others similarly gifted, so as to form groups with congenial tastes who, under the guidance of the


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Masters, will learn to use their gifts for the service of humanity. Chemists, doctors, artists, musicians, writers, inventors, mathematicians gather together, each in their own group, to work on new schemes, new beauties, new inventions for the help of man, and combine to try and project upon the earth the result of those schemes. My father is working still with the law he loved, trying, along with a group of other brilliant lawyers, to help to improve our earthly laws - he was one of those who helped to influence the Government to alter the old divorce laws, that pressed so harshly upon women. T. P. O'Connor, the “ Father of the House of Commons” , whose after-death talk to me I have described, is still working on his old passion, politics, helping to influence his country, Ireland, for its good - and doubtless still indulging with his colleagues in the wordy wrangles he loved so dearly!

A famous airman that I knew is helping to “ put through” to inventors over here a new and wonderful type of plane - everybody gradually finds their place, their interest, their real friends and work there; nobody is lonely or lost or unheeded. There is no such thing as a person without anybody to love them – unless they themselves have repudiated love, all their lives. And these, alas, will have to go to the lower ranges of the Summerland until they learn that love is the whole of the Law of Life.

“ And the evil ones, like those that inaugurated the Nazi regime, murderers, tyrants, traitors, sadists and their kind - where do they go?” This is another question often asked.

These go to the very lowest valleys and deeps of the Astral to those dark and desolate spaces that Christ visited when He is reported to have spoken to the “ spirits in Hell” . Those who have knowingly chosen the wrong path have no part or lot in the wide and sunny after-life that is the heritage of every normal, decent human being when he leaves this earth. They must remain sunk in the darkness they have themselves created until they begin to understand and repent of their evil and to long to do better - and immediately they do this, they can begin the long and weary climb upwards! Fortunately for them, there is no lack of generous souls always willing to help them - the moment they show a wish to be helped.

The plaint may rise - “ But is everybody working all the time? Don't they have any fun?”

First of all, there is no fun like work, the work you love. Secondly, they do have fun! That is, if to live with those you love round you, to know


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health and strength, to rejoice in magnificent sunshine, blue skies, shining seas, friendship and love and gaiety, and that thing known as joy (which few of us have ever truly imagined here, and certainly none of us have known), if these things can be expressed by the word “ fun” , then it is here! The lucky so-called “ dead” who have earned happiness, find it in full measure, pressed down and running over - you have only to talk to those who communicate to be certain of this! One of my most charming memories is once “ hearing” at a séance the laughter and chatter of a group of spirit-children at play, and the joyous voices of the older people with them.

I have no doubt that this chapter will read like sheer nonsense to the confirmed sceptic - but to him I would say, “ Go and investigate before you scoff! Read, study, listen - as I did for years before daring to express an opinion. And at the end of those years - I doubt if you will scoff.”