Master Keys of Life & Death by Captain Walter Carey 1920


CHAPTER V - What Comes After Death?


Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit for ever,

Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems. Arnold.

“ What comes after Death?” is of all questions the most important, and in seeking for an answer several facts must be kept in mind. One of the greatest difficulties in obtaining information about any place we have not personally visited lies in getting complete reports, because each traveller colours his tale unconsciously with his own idiosyncrasies, paying most attention to and making most prominent features that interest him, to the exclusion of others, so that several reports of the same place may give altogether different impressions and yet each be absolutely true so far as it goes. Then there is the difficulty in regard to language, the want of words to express new ideas and conditions, and the great likelihood of the observer totally misunderstanding what is seen through ignorance or inexperience.

The letters of an African chieftain to his relatives describing his first visit to London are a good illustration of the mistakes that are liable from these causes. In writing to his friends at home, amongst many things which were totally misrepresented, he reported the very large


number of the “ idle rich” to be seen daily sleeping on the grass of our parks! To him the driver of a taxicab was a powerful magician! And he was immensely impressed by the lift attendant, who by a wave of his hand took him up or down. The letters ending with many prayers and entreaties to his readers that they would not think he had degenerated into a deceiver and liar of the worst sort, but language failing him he found it impossible to describe the wonders by which he was surrounded.

In taking up the study of the next world we must first understand what is meant by the “ astral plane,” the “ mental plane,” and higher planes, which are simply new names for the after death regions, the old words Heaven and Hell being unsuitable for detailed explanations, since they are too narrow and symbolize only conditions of extremes of happiness or of misery; good enough, perhaps, for the thoughtless who accept as satisfactory and without question the ridiculous statements that they who reach Heaven wear golden crowns and spend their time singing hymns for all eternity; and that in Hell a material fire burns the immaterial spirit for ever and ever!

The expression “ the planes of nature” includes all the regions or planes composing the universe; for convenience each of these is given a particular name, as the physical plane for the region in which everything is composed of physical matter. It is customary to think that this comprises the whole of our earth, but that is a great mistake, for the physical plane is only one of several planes that make the complete globe. The fact that we do not see the other planes has of course nothing to do with their reality, any more than a blind man not being able to see the sea has any effect on the existence of the Atlantic Ocean. The regions called the astral and mental planes, in which live most of those who have passed on, are not distant globes to which the soul travels at death, but are part of this world and inseparable from it, existing all around us and just as real as are the mountains or seas. Therefore our globe contains more and reaches much further than is usually imagined; it is in fact an enormous sphere extending a great way into space, the physical plane (of which we see a part only, for many gases are invisible, as well as all etheric matter) being at the centre. The astral plane, the lowest of the spiritual regions, is another globe of less dense material occupying the same space, but also extending further, nearly, it is said, as far as the moon. The mental plane, a still higher spiritual region, is a third globe of even more rarefied matter partly occupying the same space as the physical and astral, but reaching still further, yet not so far

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as to touch the mental planes of the other planets of our system. These three planes, the physical, astral and mental, interpenetrate, and yet are quite distinct from each other, because each has its own laws, and the range of the vibrations of each plane differs. The reader may find a good illustration of this interpenetration by noticing that we may have in a room sound, light and electricity interpenetrating, that is occupying the same space, and yet each remains quite independent and unaffected by alterations in the others. An instrument constructed for recording sounds would pay no attention to the light or electricity vibrations present, being unaware of either, and to record all the vibrations in the room we should require three different instruments, one to register sound, another light, and a third electricity.

So is it with us here on earth. We have a physical body constructed to sense the physical plane, an astral body to sense the astral plane, and a mental body to sense the mental plane. These three bodies are each made of materials of their own plane, on which only can they be used, which accounts for the fact that the astral and mental worlds are invisible to us during physical life, the faint glimpses that occasionally come through of spiritual existence appearing shadowy and unreal, yet in some dream states when the spirit leaves the physical body and functions in the astral one knows how very real the experiences seem to be; the same holds good at death, when the evolved spirit will find the spiritual worlds most real, and the physical one fade from view.

On the development of our several vehicles depends the amount of consciousness possible on either of these planes. On earth one meets people whose bodies are not properly developed, blind or deaf or with other of their senses wanting. To them the physical plane is far less complete than to others who have all five senses fully developed. Similarly, at the change called death, when the physical body with its physical senses is shed, the soul finds itself in the spiritual vehicles and by the spiritual senses of these vehicles contacts the spiritual world. Many then who during earth life neglected their higher nature find themselves astrally or mentally blind, deaf or otherwise deficient, and until progress is made get very limited impressions.

During physical life each of us actually builds up the astral and mental bodies we shall have to live in. If we were sufficiently evolved in character we should even now possess greatly improved vehicles which would give many advantages. Not only would the senses of each report correctly and give full information about everything to which we turned


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our attention on whichever plane we happened to be, but the three bodies would be so refined that we should be able to pass from one to the other at will, without loss of memory, and though living in the physical we should, through our astral and mental bodies, have the astral and mental worlds open to our inner vision and hearing, in fact we should be perfectly clairvoyant and able to communicate as well as ever with those who have dropped the physical body (the dead as we call them); which means that death would have lost all power.

In the present day there are an increasing number of people who, though far from claiming perfection of character, have powers of perception which go beyond the ordinary. This is nothing new, for there are many such cases on record, but until lately to own to a sixth sense involved great danger, the fate of Joan of Arc and others tending to make people reticent, there being little satisfaction in being canonized a few hundred years after martyrdom. But now with the wave of spiritual awakening that is flooding the world, more and more individuals who have this important gift are coming to the front and stating the things they know to be true.

The amount the sixth sense is developed varies very much in different people, in most it is not developed at all, but here and there may be found one with perhaps the power of seeing the human aura and (when the art of understanding the meaning of the colours and their combinations is mastered) of becoming acquainted at sight with other people's characters. In another it may be the capacity of seeing, when conditions are favourable, certain types of thought forms. Others again are able to sense the strong thought of other people, a branch of which has lately been made quite orthodox by christening it “ telepathy.” To some it gives healing powers. In rare cases it gives the power of sensing the cause of illness and of indicating the remedy. The sixth sense again appears as the faculty of seeing astrally, or, more correctly, it is the capacity of passing on to the physical instrument impressions sensed by the higher vehicles. Those who can do this are able to visualize and converse with astral people (the so-called dead), and have unique opportunities for finding out about the next life as far as it can be explained in our language.

It must be understood that these powers are simply a small beginning of the functioning of the sixth sense latent in every human being, but unfolded as yet by few, and which as evolution proceeds will come to all. At present it gives great advantages to those who possess it, in the same


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way that a man with sight and hearing has advantages over the blind and deaf, but is clearly a gift fraught with danger on account of the temptation to use it for selfish ends.

The reader may say - Why should a few people only have the commencement of so extraordinary a sense, whilst others who appear equally evolved have not the slightest sign of it? The reply is by another question: Why is it that people who live similar lives are so different in their nervous systems? If that could be answered, and if we understood all about spiritual laws, the nerves and the higher vehicles, it is probable the first question could be replied to.

It may now be asked what proof is there of these statements about the sixth sense. I refer to the very many published instances on record. In my own case I personally know men living in England leading ordinary lives who have these powers, and have repeatedly had proofs of their genuineness, which may of course be accounted for as being due to my possessing no reasoning powers, and being extremely gullible and foolish. If this be true the same must be assumed for some thousands of others who have had similar evidence, or it may be accounted for from the equally likely cause that these curious powers (curious only because unusual) do exist and are on the increase, in which case we have valuable evidence available to check or support information gained about the next world from other sources. The most satisfactory way is for the reader to obtain personal proof by applying spiritual laws to everyday life. When this is seriously and perseveringly undertaken some or all of the ordinary senses are found to become extended in their range and more acute, very much more being sensed than formerly, the useful quality of intuition becomes keener, and many persons have found one or other of the abovementioned sixth sense powers come into being.

In discussing death the first interesting point is that the passage to the spiritual planes is painless. It is true that what is called accident or illness often may be very painful, but there is no need to fear death itself. The idea of a fearful and lonely passage through the valley of the shadow of death is an error. As soon as the process of death sets in, pain gradually ceases, for as the spirit is withdrawn from the physical body the sense of feeling of the physical naturally becomes less and less, just as in falling asleep one becomes drowsy and less and less conscious of one's surroundings, the contortions of the body and the death rattle that so often distress the relatives being merely muscular contractions. For


the developed, death itself is but a momentary unconsciousness; for the less developed the process is longer; it may extend over days or hours, while the spirit is being disengaged from the physical vehicle. This goes on until only a thin thread connects the body, and when that breaks the body is dead - and the spirit, freed from the physical, is born into the spirit world and is indifferent as to what becomes of its late body, the funeral ceremonies interesting it not at all, for during this period the soul is awakening (in some cases very slowly) to the new world, where most interesting matters claim its attention, provided it is not disturbed by unrestrained grief, or longing for its return to earth on the part of relatives, which cause the greatest distress. For though the relatives may consider the person dead, the new-comer to the spirit world is under no such delusion, and if all is well there is a most delightful feeling of extraordinary health and fitness. The most helpful attitude of relatives is when they unselfishly restrain their natural sorrow and follow the departed in thought with prayer and loving wishes for his or her well-being.

The conditions the spirit finds itself in on awakening after the change of death varies from the highly developed who awake to the glories of the Heaven world, the ordinary person who cannot believe that he is dead, and the undeveloped who finds himself in gruesome surroundings; between these there is an infinity of degree of happiness or the reverse. Into which grade of consciousness the spirit wakes depends on how the life just closed has been spent. If the earth life has been rightly used in accordance with spiritual laws and therefore as a preparation for spirit life, the soul will awake to happiness and useful work. If the earth life has been wasted or evilly lived, there are many degrees of differences of unhappiness down to extremes of misery; but in all cases the suffering is terminable; never is this state, as has been blasphemously taught, “ for ever and ever.” The God of Love permits punishment under spiritual laws only to awaken the foolish and wilful spirit. As soon as that happens an improvement in the environment sets in, or to speak more correctly, the environment does not change, but the spirit ceasing to fight against Divine laws finds its vehicles improve and is able to sense more refined and harmonious conditions which were present all the time but invisible; then once on the path of right endeavour there is no limit to the happiness that can be attained.

For all classes of spirit people there are some conditions that are general. For them heat, cold, hunger, thirst, disease, physical pain and atmospheric changes do not exist, nor is there ever any darkness except

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for those in the lowest states, everything being brighter, colours more beautiful and far more brilliant than anything we can imagine. A strange world where money, food and shelter are not required; where the qualities of each are visible to all, for though thought clothes the astral body as one wishes, yet character cannot be hidden because they show in the colours and arrangement of the aura, so it is not possible for any one to disguise his real disposition and pretend to be other than he really is. The mask so often worn on earth has fallen, the man himself stands revealed.

The astral body is a very superior vehicle to the physical, because the senses are not limited to separate sense organs as the eyes, ears, etc.; the astral vehicle has no specialized sense organs and the senses are not confined to one part, but are, as it were, all over, so that developed astral sight is in all directions, goes much further, and is much more penetrating: it is only necessary to fix the attention on anything and the whole of it, all sides, top, bottom, as well as the interior, is seen at once, not in perspective as we see things, but as they are. Our physical plane limitations of movement no longer exist because a developed astral body is able to travel (within the limits of the astral world) in any direction with the speed you think of it as moving, and is not delayed or hindered by obstructions of any sort unless the owner chooses to think he has met something he cannot pass. Nor can it be injured in any way, an astral body being able to pass through astral matter without inconvenience, a difficult condition to imagine: but one must remember that the natural laws of this plane are quite different from those of the physical to which we are accustomed, astral matter moving, obeying and taking shape in obedience to the power of trained thought, which in these spiritual regions is all powerful.

Our physical world might be described as divided into many sub-planes according to the education and intelligence of the inhabitants, the coarse and ignorant being on a lower sub-plane than the more evolved; similarly in the astral world, the scenery, surroundings and inhabitants appear quite different according to the spiritual advancement reached by the observer, ordinary human inhabitants of any sub-plane being only able to see sub-planes of their own spirituals level and below, all above being invisible, the subplanes becoming more and more refined as progress is made, until the highest, which borders as it were on the Heaven world, is reached.


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There is an important exception to the statement I mentioned just now, that the astral world is far brighter than the physical; the lowest sub­plane is the exception, for in it is found all that is coarsest and most

unpleasant in surroundings and inhabitants. (See W. Leadbeater : The Astral

Plane) This is a dismal region inhabited by undeveloped individuals whose desires during earth life were gross and brutal; 4,000 years ago it was described by an Egyptian seer as follows: “ What manner of place is this into which I have come? It hath no water, it hath no air, it is deep, unfathomable, it is black as the blackest night, and men wander about helplessly therein, in it a man may not live in quietness of heart.”

In the present day a partial description of this region may be obtained by listening to the so-called ravings of a man suffering from delirium tremens, a disease in which excessive drink has broken down the protective screen between the physical and astral planes and partly opened up astral sight, but owing to the unrefined state of the patient’s vehicles it is only the very lowest levels that become visible to him. A man so suffering sees loathsome astral creatures from which he shrinks in terror, increased by the lack of understanding of his friends, who think him delirious, but he is really actually seeing his own thought forms as well as those of others and perhaps elementary astral creatures attracted by his condition, thus getting a foretaste of the sub­plane on which he will find himself on the death of his physical body.

Undeveloped individuals, criminals, suicides (who have committed their rash act from cowardly motives), and those who have committed grave faults find themselves at death very much alive, but in a state of fear and general discomfort, a very real hell that must be endured until either their evil passions are worn out or until they succeed in improving their astral bodies by cultivating good desires and doing useful work for others, when they may rise to happier conditions, or may perhaps be permitted to reincarnate and make a fresh start in a new body in the physical world. All such are very much helped by the prayers and good wishes of those still in the flesh.

Criminals who are found on this part of the astral world are often full of fury towards humanity, and owing to the increased powers now available are able to work much harm to the living by obsessing the weak minded and urging them on to crime, a fact which shows how extremely wrong is capital punishment, for instead of banishing the malefactor from the world as is supposed, the effect is to set him free with largely increased powers for evil.


Here in the physical body it was possible to imprison the convicted felon and by the imprisonment of his body to confine his undeveloped spirit, so preventing further mischief, but set free on the astral plane by execution, there is no way of imprisoning or controlling him.

As soon as these facts are understood, instead our laws demanding the death penalty for certain crimes, the greatest trouble will be taken to keep criminals alive, confined, and of course placed under a careful system of training, in which by work, discipline and kindness, their mentality may be improved character altered for the better, and they may cease to be a danger to society.

Criminals at the death of their bodies are often haunted by their victims, in reality by thought forms of their victims unconsciously formed by themselves from whom they fly in terror, or may spend their time in mentally repeating over and over again the desires and passions that led up to their crime, which they visualize and react, as well as all the fear and punishment that followed. This is occasionally seen in the case of criminals still in the physical body who have escaped the law, but finding life unbearable, owing to the torture of their thoughts, give themselves up to justice in the hope of gaining expiation or the supposed oblivion of death.

Some who have passed over who do not realize the folly of their past actions haunt places on earth where assemble the most vicious and degraded, and endeavour to satisfy their cravings for physical life and sensations by entering into the auras and even into the bodies of people who by uncontrolled passions and in other ways provide the opportunity. They then endeavour to goad these to crime or evil living, a course of action which besides the injury it does to the living will by Karmic law make their conditions worse than ever in the future truly for such as these the last state is worse than the first.

Suicides, who, thinking to evade their difficulties, have taken their lives from selfish or cowardly motives, find themselves in circumstances much worse than those from which they thought to escape, but have to endure much greater discomfort than if they had remained on earth and faced their troubles. This continues until the time arrives when in the natural course their lives would have come to an end.

It is related by one on whom the vicissitudes of earth life pressed very heavily, that feeling herself unequal to continuing the fight, she thought to end it by the destruction of her physical body; seeking oblivion in death she found it, in the sense that the physical body and the earth

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vanished, but she found herself in darkness and solitude, with life and memory uninjured.

We know that one of the severest punishments is solitary confinement, even for a very few days, but this spirit had the appalling experience of being cut off from every one for an uncalculated period, and though always searching could find no companionship. The horror of the situation becoming greater and greater, at last feeling that she must be on the verge of madness, she cried out for help.

Immediately spirit helpers came to her, explained the reasons of her position, and told her that they had been there all the time of her loneliness, but were unable to make their presence felt until she prayed for help.

From these she learned how she might improve her miserable conditions; they told her that the only way was to accomplish, as it were, a reversal of what she had done in committing suicide. In other words, he task was to prevent some other soul from accomplishing the deed contemplated by them similar to her own. This with her experience seemed a simple matter, but imagine her dismay on finding how difficult it is for one who has left the physical body to influence those still in the flesh. Here was a spirit burning with desire to help, to warn, and to explain to others from her personal experience, but found that with the loss of the physical body, which she had so recklessly destroyed, she had lost the instrument and with it largely the opportunity for influencing others.

One is accustomed to think that spirit people can easily present thoughts and influence the living, but in practice that is very difficult. This spirit tells us we can have no idea of the horror of looking on at a person bent on a fatal course leading to self-destruction and being unable to do anything that will arrest the catastrophe. For knowledge and power to influence other people from the spiritual planes is only acquired after considerable study and experience.

The fact of the matter is that at death we lose the body - the physical tool suitable for work on the earth plane - after death it is therefore far more difficult to accomplish than during earth life when the tools suitable are to hand. The practical lesson for us is, not to postpone useful and kindly work, but to “ Do it now.”

After heartbreaking disappointments stretching over many years, success was at last achieved, and one who had every intention of suicide


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was dissuaded. Our narrator then found herself free at last from earth­restraining conditions and found happiness in further and pleasanter work.

All arriving on the astral plane who have not learnt self-control during earth life, find their earthly passions and desires not only more active, but more difficult to control; if these are of low type great pain is mentally suffered, because, having lost their bodies, physical desires cannot be satisfied, except by the unsatisfactory method of obsessing living people of similar nature; the drunkard craves for drink more than ever; the depressed and gloomy have the same emotions, but stronger; the miser has the same passion for gold and may endure agonies in seeing his heirs recklessly spend the fortune he accumulated with such trouble.

To all these classes the other inhabitants appear of similar nature or worse, because the sight possible through a coarse astral body is limited to a view of the worst part of the astral aura, all that is good and higher in other people being invisible. So it is easy to understand how the idea of Devils and Hell may have originated.

The danger which I have mentioned of obsession of the living by some dead person or by one of the numerous classes of astral plane inhabitants who may wish for experience in a physical body, is a very real one, but it is a danger that can be guarded against, first, on the physical plane, by keeping the body in a refined and wholesome condition by pure food and attention to hygienic laws; secondly, on the spiritual planes, by doing everything possible to purify and get the emotional and mental vehicles well under control. The greater the control the Ego has over his vehicles, the more difficult is it for another to unlawfully seize and make use of either of them.

It is possible for obsession to occur in several ways when the threefold shield of a pure body, pure thoughts, and right actions is damaged; by injury to the body; again by violent emotion such as fear or sudden shock, which sometimes jars the vehicles to such an extent as to cause madness. Or, for instance, when a person is in such a rage as to lose control of himself, he attracts similar vibrations, and some astral being may be drawn into his aura. This may also occur by the use of drugs, or excessive drink, when instead of opening up astral sight as in delirium tremens, the effect may be to attract some undesirable spirit.


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Again the screen may be destroyed by foolish attempts to develop astral sight by dabbling with spiritism, which must not be confused with spiritualism.

Spiritism consists in the phenomenal side of spirit manifestations, at séances in which the sitters provide conditions under which astral plane inhabitants may manifest, either by knocks, moving of furniture, or physical manifestations of various sorts, and even materialization. The danger is that a door from the astral plane being thrown open, there is no check on who may step in; and as we know the least developed are they who seek most to get into contact with earth life, it is naturally more likely in promiscuous séances that entities of this class will be attracted than those from higher planes.

Such a séance might be compared to a person who, living on the high road, threw open all the doors and windows of his house, when it would be more likely that tramps would enter and make themselves at home, than that a learned professor would walk in and give a valuable discourse.

Unless the Earth-dweller has first developed his inward forces and is using them in his life for altruistic work, there must be grave danger in dabbling with the occult. But when so developed the possibilities of getting into contact with master minds may mean the bridge that will extend physical science into fields of discovery in superphysical regions. It may be that the manifestations of the séance room, at present so largely despised by the educated, may prove to be the stepping-stone to reach to higher philosophy.

Spiritualism, if rightly understood, must ever stand as a philosophy of life, both in its manifestation here and hereafter. Universal in its nature, it embraces all religions as far as the truth is revealed in them, proclaims the Brotherhood of Man, the Fatherhood and Motherhood of God, and reveals a path that all must tread, by the eternal progression of the self, until at last the ultimate of this evolution is reached.

To return to the protecting shield we were considering, it may be injured by evil thoughts, or by such apparently harmless amusements as planchette, automatic writing, or attending public séances, when if not actually obsessed it is easy to pick up and carry home most undesirable astral acquaintances, guests who when once admitted are most difficult to eject. The sensible man steers clear of all such dangers and adds to his defences by wearing the invisible armour of pure thought, word and action.


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At the present state of evolution of most of us the limitations of our physical bodies are a great protection in shutting out the astral plane, for we are not yet wise enough to deal with astral plane forces with safety, nor are we fit to be trusted with powers of the astral senses, which might be a hindrance in distracting us from the physical plane duties we are here to carry. out. There would be also the tremendous temptation for the undeveloped to use clairvoyant and other psychic powers for evil purposes, such as gaining power over others, or amassing wealth. If such were yielded to it would be fatal to the individual's evolution. Doubtless, as before mentioned, these powers will in time come to all, and humanity will look back with astonishment at the material, selfish and practically atheistical social conditions of the world in the present day.

Let us now consider how the next world appears to the more developed and more numerous class of ordinary people whose thoughts during earth life were chiefly centred on worldly affairs, who led conventional, selfish and careless lives. To these the astral plane appears just like the physical, and many are unable to realize for a long time that they have passed through the change of death, for the reason that they find themselves, though without a physical body, still alive, and in their thoughts and desires just the same as before. These conditions are very puzzling to them, for in some ways they find they have increased powers, but though they see and hear their former associates they cannot communicate with them.

There is a popular belief amongst many that when the soul reaches the next world everything that was difficult and obscure will be made plain. They adopt their religious views with the same blind faith that they accept their doctor’s orders and prescriptions, and think the Creator, Christ and the Angels will be visible and that the individual will be instantaneously so changed as to be able to understand all mysteries. The whole of the evidence goes to show that these ideas are entirely false. The amount visible to any soul depends on its development. Knowledge is gained in the next world in a manner similar to the method by which it is gained here, that is, by studying cause producing effect, and by overcoming difficulty by personal effort. At death the soul does not receive any short cut to knowledge, the ignorant remain ignorant still, though to those who seek there are many opportunities for learning which are not available on earth. On low spiritual levels may be found some who in their blindness still deny that there is a God


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and attribute everything to chance or the haphazard working of the forces of Nature.

On earth most of us have to work in some way or other to obtain a living, but in the spiritual world nothing of the sort is required. This in popular opinion ought to provide the conditions for perfect happiness. Each has health, no money is required, and every one may do exactly as he pleases, always provided he has developed the power to attain to that to which he desires, and, if sufficiently evolved, has the ability to make any article, building, or scenery that is wished by thought power. How does it work out? Take the case of one who during earth life spent the greatest part of his time in any of the most usual but trivial manners, for instance one who devoted himself to sport. After death his desires remain unaltered, he wishes to go out shooting or hunting, but he finds he cannot kill because astral bodies cannot be harmed, since astral bodies and astral matter pass through each other without injury. Then he may discover that astral animals are quite aware of his wishes and not only unfriendly (remembering how they were treated in earth life) but with the power to make things uncommonly unpleasant to him; there are also other astral plane creatures with the capacity of assuming any form they wish, and if antagonistic may be very terrifying to one who does not know how to deal with them. So our sportsman is likely to find himself in the position of the hunted; or contented to leave astral sport alone. What, then, is he to do to occupy his time, how is he to find happiness?

How will the vivisector and those who support vivisection fare in that world?

How is the gambler or one accustomed to occupy himself with games of chance to spend his time? What would be the use of winning money in the world where money is of no value, and where cards and all other objects can be seen through? The ambitious find it of no use to scheme for titles or social position in a world where rank is not recognized, but only nobility of soul.

All these and similar types of people cannot find happiness, for they have brought over with them the strong physical plane desires they had during earth life, and as they cannot now carry on their usual business or occupation find existence unsatisfactory and monotonous.

To the majority astral life is far happier than the physical, and is lived at a higher spiritual level in a wonderful and beautiful world, which is the


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Summerland so frequently described in spiritualistic literature, with its marvellous buildings and scenery.

There are many difficulties in trying to get descriptions of the higher planes. On earth we live in a three-dimensional world, but the spirit planes have four or more dimensions or extensions of consciousness. Again our three-dimension language is made to describe physical plane objects, and we know how very imperfect it is and how easy it is to be misunderstood and to convey wrong impressions. So, naturally, when we wish to speak of higher sub-planes of the astral world, and as the physical earth and its occupations recede from view, it becomes increasingly difficult except in the most general manner to describe the superphysical conditions, and our descriptions get more and more vague. How impossible would it be for a traveller to try and describe life in a battleship to the dwellers in the heart of some continent who had never seen the sea, yet those people would be very much mistaken if they concluded that the traveller was untruthful and the sea and ships imaginary. One is reminded of the story about the inhabitants of a tropical country who thought that they had proof that Europeans were liars because they stated that in their country rain and water were sometimes solid, and owing to paucity of words in their language much interesting information was withheld because the people could not have received it.

It may be for similar reasons that we have no information about everyday occupations on the higher parts of the spiritual planes, but there is much evidence that many progressed spirit people keep in touch with the earth and take interest in mundane affairs. Some evolved ones who are beyond the necessity of earthly lessons return to impart knowledge and to work for the spiritual advancement of the race.

Some are drawn by the power of love to individuals. It might be thought that at death a pure spirit would pass to such high regions as to be lost to those still in the flesh or less spiritually advanced, but there need be no fear on this account, for the power of Love is so great that it will build a bridge from any plane.

Others, whose earth training is not complete, stay to act as guardians and advisers to those of the living who are sufficiently in sympathy or similar in character to them. Their power and work varies with development. It consists in suggesting helpful thoughts and occasionally of warding off dangers, similar to the duties that are popularly attributed to guardian angels; with the difference that these guardians


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being still imperfect learn very much from the trials, victories or defeats of their wards.

At some of the purgatorial stages, astral life is extremely uncomfortable, to others a little more developed it appears in many ways a continuation of physical life, but to those who are taking their evolution in hand and who can live comfortably without a physical body, it is a most happy, active, useful, and ever-extending life, far beyond anything we can imagine, where very much is learned as the spirit progresses, influencing the future by the Karma that is made before passing to life in the Heaven world. The still more evolved and spiritually minded have either a short, happy useful life on the highest part of the astral world, or pass unconsciously and rapidly through the whole plane, like an arrow shot from a bow, to wake to the glories of the Heaven world.

Our Heaven world (a part of the mental plane) is a region where matter is in a still more rarefied condition and obeys laws that are different from those of the astral or physical planes, the ultimate particles of which the plane is built having, as it were, one overcoat less than astral particles and two overcoats less than physical particles. It is, therefore, a very much more beautiful and brilliant world, being nearer to reality, that is to spirit. This produces conditions which make description of the plane impossible on account of the poverty of our language, which fails to express or give any description of the intense bliss and active life that is possible.

On the physical plane there is much of pain and suffering; on the astral plane, physical pain cannot exist, but there may be great emotional distress and mental suffering. In the Heaven world nothing in the way of pain or suffering can enter, the only condition possible is one of greatest happiness. It is impossible for us to realize the conditions of a world where space and time as we know them do not exist, where language is not necessary, because thought is visible and at once understood; and where the seventh sense of a developed mental body gives the powers of all the senses combined and of instantaneously understanding all about any object under consideration.

Access to the physical, astral, and mental planes can be obtained by those who have evolved to the higher spheres, when they wish to lend their aid; and it is well for us that developed souls often renounce the higher worlds so that they may serve us who are less advanced pilgrims on the Path.


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From the higher spheres, pre-existences can be seen in all their details and the Karmic causes followed through; from the study of these the spirit gains in knowledge and power and builds up capacity for right action in the future.

All human beings will eventually reach this happy region, but whether the journey is long or short, calm or stormy, depends on each individual. The length of life on the different planes varies according to development. Each plane presents its lessons and its tasks. When these are learned and accomplished the Ego finds himself in possession of power enabling him to reach the next stage. Thus the ladder of life unfolds, and is climbed step by step, its upper rungs giving access to realms far beyond our comprehension, and which can only be indicated by the one word - Infinite.

CHAPTER VI - What is the Use of Animals?