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Ferry Over Jordan by Margery Lawrence 1944

 

VII. ON SEX ON THE OTHER SIDE

For obvious reasons the question of sex and the part it plays on the Other Side is one of the matters that most interests beginners in Spiritualism. So in this chapter I shall do my best to try and explain the future aspect of what we call “ love” (which in earth-life generally implies sex) and the part it plays in the life after death.

First, though there is “ union” - true mental and spiritual mating, which is a thing far deeper and more beautiful than the most perfect physical union - on the Other Side, there is no sex as we understand it, and for eager, warm-blooded young people I can see that this sounds cold and arid to a degree! It is hard for human nature to try and grasp a state of existence, a sort of love, in which physical sex is not needed for the full realization of unity, of complete “ fulfilment” - and yet this is the first thing you will have to do if you are to try and understand what I am going to say! Love expressed through the physical body (I speak of real love, not mere passion) is thus expressed on earth because we have no higher way of expressing it. But love without sex can be experienced even on earth, this is proved by the many cases on record of men and women who love each other faithfully without the physical playing any part in their lives at all - sometimes because one partner or the other is physically disabled, sometimes because they are separated by distance or duty, sometimes because old age, overwork or illness has tamed the


 

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bodily fires. Yet love flames higher than ever - only transmuted into a love transcending sex! And this is what love is on the Other Side - more thrilling, more wonderful than ever, but expressed in a different way.

Many thousands of people have been troubled about the question that was once put to Christ about the woman who married six brothers in succession, who all died - “ and after them the woman died also “ . I have no doubt that Christ's questioners were dissatisfied with His answer that in Heaven there was neither marrying nor giving in marriage, so that in the after-life these earthly marriages counted for nothing. What would happen, then, on the Other Side to this woman who had lived according to the customs of her day - customs which, though to-day they may shock us, were not intrinsically any more wrong or absurd than many of the customs to which we automatically subscribe in this day of life? She would, on awakening on the Other Side, automatically gravitate towards the particular one of the six brothers that she had truly loved . . . or perhaps to some other man altogether, whom she had loved on earth but had been unable for some reason to marry. Love is the only thing that counts on the Other Side - not marriage at all. This again may shock rather conventional-minded people - but before we can study this thing fairly we must try and weed out of our minds as many old-fashioned ideas and prejudices as we possibly can. The old idea that the marriage of two people meant linking them for ever in soul as well as in the body, must be entirely discarded.

The contract of marriage is a social contract first and foremost, a contract belonging to earth - though, ideally speaking, it should, of course, be the mating of souls as well, which is what we really mean by the “ sanctity of marriage”. But like other ideals, this is all too frequently unfulfilled, and people marry each other for any one of a variety of reasons; for mere physical passion, from propinquity (this is responsible for more marriages than many people dream!), for convenience, money, social status, security, a dozen other reasons, many rather ignoble, which none the less seem, to one or both parties at the moment at least, sufficiently strong to make the great gamble of matrimony worth while. Yet fortunately for human nature it does find true love more often than the cynics would allow, and many a little John Smith and Jane Jones, loving each other on sight, marry and love each other truly till the day of their death, and out into the life beyond! But since there is no problem facing these fortunately-mated couples, who join each other instantly and automatically after death, as they joined


 

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each other in life, we need not waste our time over them. The problem is - what of the others?

While I repeat that the perfect marriage is that of true mates whose love goes deeper than the bodily passion they may use to express it, at the same time, to live in physical marriage with a person who is not your true soul-mate is not necessarily a spiritual sin, as so many people think. It is given to few of us to find our soul-mates - and if marriage waited for this there would be few marriages made at all! Some people - women, I think, in particular - tend to think that when they have borne a child or children and love has lost its early thrill, there is something wrong or slightly indecent in continuing to live in physical relationship with their husbands. The great Guides do not teach that this is so; they are eminently sane and kindly people! Of course, if to either party sex­life becomes positively distasteful or revolting, that is another matter. But in this difficult world one has to make many compromises, and even when the first glamour of sex-interest has worn thin, yet for two people to make a home together - especially a home that is to be a good and happy background for children - all the varied aspects of marriage have to be considered. And to rule that a wife or husband still healthy and vigorous does not need a reasonably satisfactory sex-life - particularly if they are expected to remain faithful to their marriage-vows - is to talk nonsense; and fortunately most married couples realize this and adjust their lives accordingly.

But supposing that after marriage has been entered into under an impulse that has genuinely - but mistakenly - been regarded as true love, one of the two, husband or wife, meets his or her real mate? Whether the marriage breaks up or not - whether it should break up or not - is not the point in which we are mainly interested. The point is, whatever they did on earth, what effect would this encounter have in the after-life upon the three souls concerned?

I knew a woman who married, very young, a cousin with whom she had been brought up - a marriage of affection only on her side, though she quite honestly thought it was love. They had three children and lived quite happily till suddenly she met another man, a soldier who came to live near by. Almost at once my friend (call her Lesley Dixon, though that is not her name) fell in love with him, deeply and sincerely, and he with her.

She was faced with a truly dreadful situation! Here was her true mate, the very core of her heart, wretchedly unhappy, living with a shrewish


 

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termagant of a wife and longing for the happiness that only she could give. And on the other side stood her good husband, adoring her, unconscious that her heart was not only no longer his, but had never truly been his, and her three growing children . . . the struggle was long and terrible, but at last she decided to stay with her husband, not so much for his sake as for the sake of the children whose home and background would have been broken up had she left them. Her lover loyally accepted her decision, but left the neighbourhood with his wife, and shortly afterwards was killed in a Commando Raid in Europe. Now the question that will be asked by many people is, what will happen after death to this pathetic trio? All three fine and honest people, the husband and the lover both adoring the woman, and the woman, while truly fond of her husband, loving the other man with her whole being - a very different thing! The usual remark is: “ What a dreadful meeting they will have when the husband knows the truth” - but that is not so.

Pain, anger, misunderstanding arising from sex belong to the body alone-and when we find ourselves on the Other Side without these tiresome bodies with their selfish, bitter, possessive reactions, we shall find ourselves regarding our earthly loves and lovers in an entirely different way!

If, for instance, the love between Lesley and her lover is as real and deep as they believe (and having known both, I believe it is the real love), they will automatically come together, directly the mists of the crossing-over have cleared from their eyes - indeed, I feel sure that the first face that Lesley will see on awaking will be that of her soldier lover. And the husband? If he had been a mean or petty, sour little soul he might have carried over with him - as the less-worthy among us unfortunately do - his earthly resentments, in which case he would be gently held back from meeting his ex-wife and her mate, and taught to understand himself and the law of love, and to weed out these resentments, until he was free of them and fit to move forward and join the more advanced souls. But as Tom Dixon was a fine and unselfish character, I feel sure he will not need this training, but will greet his wife and his friend of earth gladly, and be happy to see their happiness . . . and turn to greet his own real love that he had missed on earth. And with what amazed delight and surprise will he turn - for somewhere there is for all of us a “ true-love”, the love for whom we have always secretly longed. Though we may not always meet them in this our journey through earth, and have to fill the gap with lesser loves - yet we shall, we must, meet them


 

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inevitably in the end, for it cannot be too often stressed that Love is the strongest force on earth.

The three great Forces that sway the Worlds are Love, Wisdom and Power - and Love is the strongest of the three. Hence on the Other Side the Law of Love operates instantly, bringing together those who truly love whether they were mated on earth or not, and gently showing those who thought they knew love, that their love was not the real flaming torch of heaven, but either the high blaze of passion, which fades with earth, or else the pleasant home fire of affection that had lighted the hearthstone of their earth-life and then, its duty done, faded out with that life.

Many happy marriages are those lighted by this hearth-fire of affection, of friendship, mutual liking and respect, shared tastes and sympathies - and I would be the last person to decry the value of these marriages. For so many of us, this is marriage at its best - because we know no better.

These are marriages of earth rather than of heaven - yet they often play an important part in the training of two souls, who come together for the mutual learning of lessons, for mutual help and companionship, and for the breeding of children to whom the surroundings and influence of that particular couple prove especially helpful. But their earth-life together once over, the partners in this type of marriage, when they meet on the Other Side, meet, not as husband and wife, but as two pleasant friends who have shared a worthwhile experience, as friends on earth share a flat together for a time. But on the Other Side they come to know that their earthly marriage-link, while beautiful and even satisfying for a time, was not an eternal one - and sooner or later each of the two partners will find their own mate at their side.

Here is a case in which a correspondent is puzzled as to how the people concerned would “ sort themselves out” after death. I quote from his letter.

“ A man crippled early in life by a car accident, found that his wife, whom he dearly loved, and who was a woman honourable, charming and courageous, who had nursed and looked after him for many years since his accident, had fallen in love with another man, his friend - also a man honourable and fine in character. The husband did not divulge his knowledge of the truth - though he knew that these two were suffering desperately, he knew also, being a hopeless invalid, that his wife would not leave him, nor would his old friend


 

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try to persuade her to betray him, and his invalid condition made it impossible for him to give her cause to divorce him. He knew that he might linger on for years, a barrier between two people who loved each other - and also loved him! He felt that there was only one solution for the tangle, and he took it. He swallowed an overdose of a sleeping-draught and died, so that the two he loved could marry - and only the doctor who had his case in hand ever knew that the ‘accidental’ death had actually been deliberate. After a while the wife and the friend married, and lived as true lovers to the end of their lives, each loving also the memory of the husband - and then, like the woman in the Bible, ‘last of all they died also'. Now how (asks my correspondent) would these three meet - the two lovers now knowing the truth, that the husband had killed himself in order to release them, and the man who, for their sakes, had taken upon his soul the sin of suicide? Would not the lovers find their heaven of happiness together spoilt and stained by the realization of the price that had been paid for that happiness? And what of the fate of the man who had sinned for them?”

The answer is that greater enlightenment brings greater understanding; that the lovers, recognizing and valuing the greatness of the gesture (though wrong in itself, its unselfish motive made it great) that had given them their happiness, would greet the husband, unfearing, unembarrassed, as the friend and comrade he was; and that he would rejoice with them, with no bitterness or resentment, while awaiting the coming of his own soul's companion, for whom he had mistaken his earthly wife. For, make no mistake - on the Other Side two people never love the same person in the same way! It is only over here that we make these pitiful blunders, and mistake so many other emotions for the one real love.

Only recently I had an interesting case that proves how much wider and more generous is the understanding of love that is gained by a normally-developed soul when it reaches the Other Side - the way in which it drops earthly jealousies and only wishes to see the loved one left behind safe and well cared for.

A young naval officer (call him Layton, though that is not his real name), married only a year or two before to a girl to whom he was devoted, was drowned at sea early in the war. His mother, who was devoted to him, was outraged when a year later the young widow married again - a man who had been a rival of her son's for his wife's


 

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hand before their marriage, and of whom the young husband had, during life, been very jealous. Old Mrs. Layton was so angry at what she considered a slight upon her son's memory that young Lieutenant Layton got in touch with me (though I had never met him or his mother or wife, in life) and begged me to tell his mother that the marriage was largely of his prompting - from the other Side! (*) He told me he was still very fond of his wife, though he realized now that she should really have married his rival, who was more truly suited to her than himself; and that after death, realizing he had (to use his own expression) “ rather pushed her” into marriage with himself, he had wanted to put matters straight as far as he could, from the Other Side, and know that she was happy and cared for, under the other man's love. And then (to use his own words again) “ I can go ahead without worrying”. One other thing he said was illuminating; it was this:

“ Of course, I couldn't have done this once! I used to hate old Bill like poison - and I'd have murdered him if he had come near Phyl. But I've learnt better over here. I know what a good chap he is, and I've no jealousy left. I just want her to be happy.”

So he begged the Guides he had met on the Other Side to help him to “ influence” his rival to write to his widow and suggest a meeting, after which he felt certain the old love-link would revive . . . and “ lo and behold, it was so!”

(*) This is an interesting instance of the medium's “ light” showing on the Other Side attracting souls who want to communicate. I never knew this boy, and was sitting with the medium for matters of my own, when her Control said a young naval man, a stranger, had seen the “ light”, and being very anxious to contact earth again, begged me to send a message for him to his

mother, to try and explain the marriage which was causing her so much resentment and pain.

I have had several interesting instances of this sort of thing; husbands begging their widows to marry again, lovers trying to influence their sweethearts into filling the gap left in their lives, or trying to persuade them not to hang back out of a mistaken sense of respect for their memories, or worse, out of a still more mistaken idea that they, on the Other Side of Death, would know and resent or feel hurt at their “ Unfaithfulness....”

This is not so! As we progress we leave these mean and petty reactions behind. And yet some of you may say: “ Do you mean to say that Mrs. So­and-so, who is a demon of jealousy and has led her poor husband such a dance for all these years, will undergo a complete transformation the minute she gets on the Other Side?”


 

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Of course I do not mean to say anything of the sort! Mrs. So-and-so, like many other persons whose soul-development was so backward that she “ carried over” practically intact all her earthly passions and prejudices, would not contact her husband at all - until she had learnt better! And not then unless there was some real link between them that made the contact essential. People who are still hag-ridden by jealousy or by any other similar emotion, on the Other Side, are either childishly narrow and selfish souls, or else deliberately and wilfully clinging to the things of earth they have left behind - and as long as they remain in this state of mind they will have to remain apart, being steadily and kindly taught by Those whose business it is to look after such sufferers (for indeed they are, these people, diseased in mind and soul) until they have reached a stage, when softened and sobered, they can meet the souls they treated so badly on earth and try to begin to understand them. Sometimes this process takes many years - but there is nothing for it but patience. Patience, and the knowledge of the law of love, which is the ultimate answer to all things.

And now we come to another angle on this absorbing matter. How do the children of a broken marriage react to their parents when they meet them on the Other Side? Often a divorce or separation between two dearly-loved parents results, in life, in many evils to the children, ranging from mere unhappy bewilderment to resentment and jealousy amounting to morbid hatred, a warped outlook on life and a host of other distressing troubles. Often no amount of patience and kindness on the part of a “ step” father or mother can bring them any real friendship with the children, and the permanent embitterment of many young hearts through the breaking up of their homes and the separation of the parents they loved, no matter how ill-mated, is a serious matter indeed: one that should cause many married people, fretting at the yoke of an unsatisfactory marriage, to pause and wonder whether it is not better to try and try and try again to make some sort of an adjustment of their differences, so that the background that means so much to the growing souls around them - for whom they are, in those young, formative years at least, responsible - shall be kept intact.

This is to me the sole “ immorality” about divorce - its effect upon the children, who cannot as yet fight for themselves but are so pitiably dependent upon their elders. I do not regard action taken between two childless adults, who at least fight each other on the same level, as even counting in the same breath.


 

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However, we are not dealing here with the effect of a broken marriage upon the earth-life of either children or parents, but discussing their reactions to it in the after-life - and happily the ill effects that children may suffer in life do not extend into the life after death. A really badly­warped “ case” may take some time to shake off the effects of its earthly suffering, but in time, once free from the body, it can meet and understand the actors in the tragedy of which it has been the victim, without the purely earthly reactions of jealousy or resentment. In the afterlife such can - and often do - find themselves attracted to the “ interloper”, male or female, if this individual has worthwhile qualities, because, once on the Other Side, they can see that soul's value as a soul, no longer clouded and prejudiced by its relationship to another soul they loved!

Even on earth I have seen this fundamental attraction trying to make itself felt between two souls. But, baulked and stifled by the antagonism of the child-body that housed one of the souls, it could make no headway.

I remember a little boy of about ten who, to his mother's great distress, flatly and steadily refused even to try and make friends with the man she had married two years after divorcing her first husband - a drunken waster who had treated her despicably, but whom his little son had always adored. The child refused in the surliest possible way to accompany her and his stepfather to the circus, but I saw tears in his eyes - tears that he stubbornly fought back - as he silently watched the car depart. When the sound of its departing wheels had finally died away I asked him why he had refused - didn't he want to go? He looked at me with an angry glint showing behind the tears in his blue eyes. “ Course I wanted to go!” he snapped. “ But not with him!” There was a long pause and the little fellow added slowly, almost as though against his will, “ You know, if it wasn't that he's taken my Daddy's place I'd like him very much. He's - he's awfully kind and jolly. But . . . he's always with Mummy, just like Daddy was, and I don't . . . I won't like him!”

I could say nothing - but as I went away I found myself dwelling sadly upon the tragic way in which the bodily reactions hamper the spirit of the human creature. Here was a typical case! A fine and honest man trying to make friends with a fine and honest little lad who, in his innermost heart, recognized his qualities and secretly wanted to be friends . . . but inevitably the natural jealousy of the child, both on his own account and on the account of his father, stepped in to prevent it,


 

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creating hostility where friendliness should reign. The possessive male in little Danny hated the new male who had taken possession of his mother, the adoring little son hated the man who had taken his father's place . . . and whether the liking that he obviously had, despite himself, for his father's successor would ultimately succeed in establishing itself despite all this, I did not know.

That is some three years ago, and I have reason to believe that in this instance the gap has been bridged and the two are fast friends. But often this does not happen, and the child goes through life with an antagonism either open or hidden in his soul, an antagonism that often drives a wedge between the child and the innocent parent, as well as that parent's “ partnership-in-crime” - and it is the dread of this antagonism continuing after death that troubles many parents, especially mothers, though occasionally fathers too.

I remember one much-worried father talking to me about it! A widower, he had married again, rather late in life, and his two daughters (though both married, with families of their own) had greatly resented this marriage and virtually refused to meet his wife. Losing his first wife very early in their marriage, he had brought the girls up from babyhood, and both adored him, and evidently counted upon “ Papa” remaining in effect a bachelor all his life to serve and spoil them as he had always done. And when, only a few months after the marriage of the second girl, he announced his engagement to a neighbour - a charming and intelligent woman suitable in every way to be his wife, of whom both the girls had apparently been extremely fond - his daughters greeted the announcement with incredulous anger, scorn, and an attitude of mind that seemed to consider the re-marriage of a fine, healthy man of only fifty-three or four as something almost indecent! He said plaintively to me:

I couldn't be more happily married - and in fact I realize now that I ought to have married Connie years ago. I was always deeply attached to her, but I had a sort of idea that while the girls were still with me they ought to have all my attention, and that it wouldn't be fair to bring another woman, however nice, into our home. I've spoilt them, I guess - but I really did think, when they both got married, that there could be no objection to my planning a new life for myself. But nothing I can do will bring them to see reason, and it worries me to pieces! And what if it goes on after death? They keep harping on how upset Mary (his first wife) would be. Do you suppose that when I peg out I shall meet Mary


 

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and Connie, and if so, will she side with the girls against poor Connie, and shall I be involved in an all-round row?”

This truly doleful picture of his arrival on the Other Side, to face a troop of angry women, all fighting over his body, as it were, made me laugh - but I think I finally managed to eradicate it and sent him away consoled! I pointed out that, as in the case of Mrs. So-and-so, if either the first wife or the second cherished feelings of jealousy or enmity, she would not be allowed to contact her husband until these feelings had been weeded out! But if (as is more likely) each woman recognized in the other sterling good qualities that had served and helped the man they both loved in life, they would meet as friends, each cordially acknowledging what the other had done; and then whichever was John's true mate, Mary or Connie, would remain at his side, while the other departed to find her own place and her own mate. And as regards the two foolish daughters, whose jealous possessiveness towards their father, had blinded them to his right to happiness in his own way, not in theirs, if they remained stubborn in their antagonism they would be held back until they had learnt better and were willing to beg their father's forgiveness and try to begin to understand him, the two women who had loved him, and themselves, just a little better than when they lived on earth. And it is more than likely that “ Mary”, their own mother, would reprove them gently and show them that it had been with her full approval, even with gladness, that she had seen her John, left alone, finding peace and happiness with a woman-companion whom she knew was worthy of him.

I agree that the generosity, the unselfishness of this outlook, is difficult for many people to understand . . . and yet it is to be found more often than you would imagine, even in this selfish world. I remember hearing an old gentleman who adored his wife (a woman a good deal younger than himself) say - and I know he meant it - that he “ hoped his Katie would marry again if she were left a widow”. She was a delicate woman, shy and gentle, and he said he would “ feel much happier if he knew some nice kindly fellow was looking after her, as he could no longer do so”. Occasionally one also sees a generous phrase in a will - I recall one. “ In the event of my death, I hope my widow will marry again. She has made me so happy that I should hate to think no other man could share my good fortune.”

Surely if you love anyone you wish for their happiness? And certainly (though I do not pretend to any particular greatness of soul) I would not


 

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wish my husband to remain lonely if I had to go home first. The link between us is too strong ever to be broken by death, and if I go first, I shall, I know, be with him still in spirit, very, very often, until the time comes when he comes over to join me and we go onward together. But it would make me far happier to know that during the remnant of his life on earth he had someone to walk and talk with, someone to nurse him when he was ill, to laugh with and companion him when he was well, than to picture him sitting lonely in an empty flat, with only my portrait and his memories to stave off the loneliness that age brings to all of us in time.

Make no mistake! Those that truly love will drift together, after the death of their physical bodies, as naturally as the magnet drifts towards the needle, as inevitably as night follows day! The difficulties, the pain and anger and misunderstandings that belong to the body and so often cloud the vision of true love, will clear away as morning mists clear from the hillside when the sun begins to rise - and when we meet our lovers, our husbands and wives and sweethearts on the Other Side we shall begin to understand the true inwardness of the Nazarene's words: “ There shall be neither marrying nor giving in marriage, but all shall be as the angels of God in Heaven.”

Author's note:

Certain people will say that in this chapter I have not gone sufficiently deeply into

the “ twin-soul” theory, that ideal mating so rare on earth, so much longed-for, consciously or subconsciously, by every human creature. The answer is that I could not go into discussion of the real meaning of the marriage of “ twin-souls” (or “ affinities”, to use the older-fashioned term) without delving into a much more involved and difficult subject, that of the original duality of the human creature, the “ spiritual Hermaphrodite”, the “ Divine Androgyne”, whose twin halves, parted in the dim and misty past of the Races, are for ever seeking each other, hungering for the union that once was theirs.

To try and explain this would have meant plunging into very deep esoteric waters -

and this book is written for enquirers, not for advanced students. Therefore I have deliberately avoided expanding this theme, important as it is. Those who have “ graduated” sufficiently far to study this subject, will have no difficulty in finding teachers greater than myself to deal with it.

ON REINCARNATION