Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Astral Facts—The Awakening

Sweet friends—what the women lave
For the last sleep of the grave,
Is a hut which I am quitting,
Is a garment no mere fitting,
Is a cage from which at last,
Like a bird, my soul hath passed.
Love the inmate, not the room,
The wearer, not the garb—the plume
Of eagle, not the bars
That kept him from those splendid stars.

After Death in Arabia, Arnold

The Awakening

In the case of the majority of persons, the first emotion on awakening in the Astral World is an intense and weird loneliness, a confused consciousness of being surrounded by vague shadowy forms, and of being watched by innumerable eyes, yet without the ability fully to formulate their thoughts or understand by whom or what they are watched. For, at this stage, the awakened ones have not yet learned to use their astral senses or to discriminate among the strange sights, sounds and feelings. It must be remembered that in the Astral World, they are in the same relative position as is a newborn babe when it first opens its eyes to earth life. Could we enter into the babe's feelings, we would find vague memories of the life it had left, a sense of just awakening from a deep sleep (the period of gestation) and a newborn and uncomprehending wonder at the strange sights and sounds surrounding it. If, however, the ones passing over have studied or have had at least some understanding of what they are to expect, the confusion is but momentary. And if they have prepared for the change by having some wise Soul gather together their loved friends and relatives to meet them, it is a joyous reunion.

In the case of sudden death, either by accident or in war, when the mind is filled with the desire for life and the intense excitement of battle, the first awakening often brings the soldiers a sense of being suddenly awakened after having fallen asleep at their posts and they look around in amazement for the familiar battlefield. The great stillness after the roar of battle strikes terror to their Souls. Then, perhaps, a bird can be heard singing joyously near them, for physical sounds can be heard in the astral until its singing melts their hearts and perhaps a flood of tears brings relief. Even those who have passed out in hatred, with the lust for killing strong within them, awaken in this great silence and loneliness only to find no one near them. In both instances, this is purposely arranged, so that whatever is good in them may have a chance to awaken.

This is especially true in the case of those who pass out through an explosion or who have been victims of a bursting shell, in which case the astral, as well as the physical body, has been shattered. In such a case, it will take some time before the attractive and cohesive power of the life-principle can draw the astral atoms around it and reconstruct the bodily form. During this period, the Soul remains unconscious. In such a case, the feeling on first awakening will be quite similar to the sensations of returning consciousness after an anaesthetic, the same feeling of faintness and exhaustion, which, however, soon passes off.

Many, after passing through the first period of silence and great loneliness, when they first begin to recognise others around them, even one whom on earth they would have called an enemy, are so glad to find companionship that, be they on their side or the enemy's, they are eagerly sought, for, at this stage, it is the attitude of the real Inner Man that is apparent, hence those of similar natures and ideals are instinctively attracted, no matter what their positions may have been on earth. Only as they begin to identify themselves with their old earthly conditions, with the old personality, its uniform, equipment, last orders, etc., do they realise the difference in nationality. With some few, however, the force of the old hostilities and thoughts may for a time impel them to hunt out and attack the enemy. In such cases, they at once, through their strong thought-force, return to the battlefield on the physical plane, but once there, they find conditions greatly changed.

When in the flesh it was quite easy to know on which side they were fighting; friend and foe could be distinguished merely by their uniforms, but now all is different, for to the astral sight the real forces back of the war (good and evil) are plainly seen, and the aura of each man who is truly and heroically fighting for principle, even though mistaken, is illumined by the light of his ideals, the light varying in colour and brilliancy according to the strength and purity of these ideals. While over each one filled only with cruelty, hatred and the desire to killsort of blood madnesscan be seen hosts of the most malignant entitised forces, i. e., forces manifesting in forms which express the thoughts of evil which generated them. These forms are seen to surround their victims, sometimes like monstrous serpents, which writhe in and out of their bodies, emerging from the heart or solar plexus or again from the mouth or head. And over all may be seen clouds of evil faces; forms of unspeakable cruelty and lasciviousness horribly pictured in living but unearthly shapes. If the Soul belongs to the side of evil, he will join his forces wIth these monsters in orgies of horror and throw himself madly into the fray, becoming in turn because of his disembodiment, an obsessing demon. If, however, he has in him even a spark of better feeling (and how few are entirely without it) sooner or later he allies himself on the side of good.

But there are thousands of helpers on the battlefields and in the trenches trying to help all who will listen to realise their real condition and what they are really fighting against. They are thus gradually taught that it is not their fellow men they should attack, but the evil forces that are obsessing certain leaders of the Central Powers and trying to obsess the rank and file as well, playing upon and enlarging and driving to extreme expression every animal and brutal instinct and selfish desire which become like open doors through which such forces can manifest. All the lust-forms and demons which are the inciting causes of the war are there seen in their true and hideous form, the personified forms of lust, hate, greed, cruelty, ambition, desire for power, etc. These evil entities are seen to swarm around and mingle in among the fighters on both sides and urge them to give vent to cruelty and their baser passions. But they are successful only with those whose minds are open and receptive to such incitements. Therefore, hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the astral, gathered from both sides of the conflict, are fighting side by side to destroy the obsessing demons. In fact, many of the soldiers from the Central Powers, seeing how their former leaders and comrades are obsessed by these swirling vortices of evil force, are the most eager, energetic and courageous of all, for it takes courage of a high moral as well as physical quality to encounter these vaporous, clammy whirlpools of evilin their efforts to destroy them and free their people from their influence. 

Those in the astral who keep trying to fight are only those few who have made themselves channels through which the evil astral forces could express and who would be so filled with hatred and lust of battle that they would desire to continue after passing on, just as it is only the comparative few out of the great mass of mankind who desire to continue their habits of debauchery after passing on.

The real instigators of this war are the evil astral forces, the hosts of the accumulated thought-forms of lust, greed, envy, hate, selfishness and unbrotherliness engendered by the wrong-thinking of humanity from the beginning, as well as the results of their evil words and deeds, all of which are ever seeking expression through their creators. During this battle, all the stored up evil must have a focus through which it can pour itself out upon the lowest or physical plane where its precipitation will end the cycle of its manifestation, adjust the Karma and permit the good aspect of the forces involved to be extracted.

We might give this historic example

Germany, through ambition, pride and lust for power has opened the door to the hordes of evil astral forces which are seeking to obsess humanity and wreck their will upon it. Hence, through giving expression to these forces, Germany has become the instrument through which they are being poured out into the world to the testing of the other nations, just as Judas became the instrument of testing to the other disciples.

Excerpted and edited from Realms of the Living Dead—A Brief Description of Life After Death, Harriette Augusta Curtiss and F. Homer Curtiss, the Curtiss Philosophic Book Company, Washington D. C., 1926

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Astral Facts—The Astral Double

The Astral Double

In man and animals, the astral pattern is not directly related to the physical body, but projects from itself a shadowy counterpart called the astral double. This double is capable of infinite contraction so as to be contained in the foetus and become the basis of the physical manifestation. The growth of the foetus simply abstracts the physical elements from the mother and builds them into the meshes of the astral double, thus materialising it. This double is not only the model into the meshes of which the physical is built, but it is also the vehicle by means of which the currents of life-force from the astral body, which is always in the Astral World, as well as the life-force liberated by the digestion of food and derived from the water and air, reaches and supports the physical body. It is the reservoir or sponge of life, gathering it up from all the natural kingdoms around, and is the intermediary between the kingdoms of Pranic and physical life. Life cannot come immediately from the subjective to the objective, for Nature goes gradually through each sphere. Therefore, the astral body is the intermediary between the vital world and our physical body and pumps in the life. It is also the vehicle by which the vibrations of the Physical World reach our consciousness as sensations. The lower kingdoms, whose evolution has not as yet built up the body of sensation, or only in a rudimentary way, are more directly connected with the astral double.

All forms of life cease to grow in size when the astral double has been materialised to its full size, for then no further increase in size can take place.

Death is, therefore, simply the withdrawal of this finer astral double and its contained life-force from the physical shell. It is the withdrawal of this definite body that gives to the outer body that is left behind the shrunken and cadaverous appearance seen in so-called death. This also accounts for the loss in weight of the physical body immediately after death and before evaporation could account for such loss. This astral double is attached to the physical body by an astral cord (something like an umbilical cord), which does not permit it to withdraw very far from the physical, although in some mediums it can be extruded to a considerable distance and be used as the basis for materialisations. Normally, at death, it should be indrawn into the astral body proper, although it is often left floating near the physical corpse, and in certain atmospheric conditions, it can be seen objectively by the physical sight as a wraith or ghost.

Since the astral body is the counterpart of the physical when it is withdrawn from the physical, it bears the exact likeness of the individual, with all the distinguishing marks, moles, etc., it possessed at the time of transition. Those who have passed on into the astral are, therefore, as easily recognised and identified as they would be on earth. For, after leaving the physical body, there is little more change of appearance than there is in removing an overcoat, except that when a physical limb or part is lost, the astral part will not be lost, unless so shown for purposes of identification.

After passing on from a long and exhausting illness, and especially in the case of an old person who is tired of life and no longer clings to it by either thought or desire, it is common for such to pass into a deep and restful sleep varying in duration according to individual needs, previous ideas, etc. We know, of course, that thought and desire rule the Physical World, but in the Astral World, they rule to a far greater degree and far more quickly, for the plastic matter of that World yields very rapidly to the creative and moulding power of thought and will. Therefore, a person who for years held the thought that leaving the Physical World ended all or one who believed that he would sleep until Gabriel blew his trumpet would naturally pass into a comatose or dense sleeping condition after passing on. This condition would perhaps last for years or even centuries until the desire or thought force put into the idea was exhausted and he was released from its effects.

All these types of sleepers float aimlessly in the Astral World, swept hither and thither by astral currents which, much like the winds of earth, are continually flowing in various directions. In this Realm, we can see as well as feel these astral winds and  as the astral is the World of Desire and Sensation, we can here see that many of these winds are but the forces generated by humanity's restless and disquieting thoughts, which form mighty currents plainly seen to be made up of living elementals, tenuous forms even in this Realm, yet passing in great streams and with a moaning crymuch as the wind moans on earth. Again, there can be seen mighty storm-winds made up of the embodied evil and malignant thought forces generated by mankind, here seen entitised as demons of destruction sweeping on with tremendous power. Yet always there is blowing here a steady wind from the East, which is the force of blessing sent forth into all the world from the Heart of the Universe. This appears as made up of Angelic Beings who float on with faces radiant, unseeing and unheeding anything through which they pass, intent only on their mission, which is to carry the divine creative love-forces and pour them out on all creation. The sleeping and floating forms are, therefore, in danger as well as very much in the way, quite as much so as would one be on earth who lay down in a busy thoroughfare and went to sleep. Therefore, special attention is given to such, very much as special policemen would prevent a like occurrence on earth; there are those whose business it is to look alter such Souls and to convey them to specially prepared retreats where they are tenderly cared for and protected.

Those who wake up immediately or soon after passing on usually have a short period of confusion while they are getting their bearings, much as one is sometimes confused on awaking in a dimly lighted room, which seems full of vague shadows until one is fully awake and recognises things as they are. To many, this transitory condition inspires fear, especially if they passed on with a fear of death. But with the help of their loved ones or others duly appointed by the Masters, this fear soon passes and they realise what the change is that has taken place. The thing to impress upon the minds of all is that the moment a Soul cries out for Light and help, at that moment help is sent. And when one is passing through the change called death, if the friends and relatives send up the prayer of faith that the Soul shall be met on the threshold of the other world, it will be done. 

Many, however, are not welcomed owing to the fear inspired by their false earthly teaching. Those who are not thus met naturally do not know where they are or why they are surrounded by such unfamiliar conditions, or they may for a time think they are dreaming. They may remember that they have been sick but think they have just awakened from a night's sleep. 

Others, when they awaken to the fact that they are not really dead but are as much alive as ever, cannot believe they have crossed the great river and entered another state of existence. As they have considerable physical force and magnetism clinging to them, they are naturally in very close relation with the friends they have left behind; can still see them moving about preparing for the funeral of the body of flesh they have so recently quitted, but refusing to speak or pay attention to them. While in this sphere of attraction, they are acutely sensitive to the emotions of those to whom they are so closely connected, magnetically, as well as mentally. Hence, the weeping and display of grief so often indulged in by the mourners causes the departed ones great anguish and suffering, as emotions of grief, sorrow or inharmony cause greater suffering and have a far more depleting and exhausting effect upon the astral body than upon the physical body, great as we know that to be. This is especially so when the departed ones are unable to make the loved ones understand that they are not dead, only gone on before; cannot make them realise their presence, their love and their solicitude over the conditions and changes transpiring on earth. Therefore, as little emotion as possible should be displayed over the passing of a loved one, especially at the time of the passing when everything should be peaceful and calm, and for the first few days afterwards while the loved one is still closely enmeshed in earth conditions. This is particularly true of those who pass out through accident while in the full vigour of life. Such persons still have so much physical life-force and magnetism in their auras that they remain in close touch with earth conditions for long periods, at least as long as they would normally have lived but for the accident.

We should say farewell to our loved ones with no more grief than would be natural were they starting on a long journey on which they would be absent a number of years, for we will see them again, when we follow them, just as surely as on earth if we journeyed to their new home. Instead of spending time and force in useless grief and mourning, the time should be spent in quiet meditation and in an effort to correlate our consciousness with theirs and assure them of our love and understanding. Mourning clothing should not be worn, nor should constant visits be paid to the grave, for all such acts and thoughts tend to hold the departed one down to the discarded body through the law of attraction.

The recently deceased is often strongly, even morbidly attracted to the discarded physical body for some time, hence haunts its burial place. But it is thus held only as a result of thought or desire, the desire to see what becomes of the former outer garment it wore while on earth. Cremation is, therefore, always desirable, not only because more sanitary and less revolting to think of but because it consumes the physical magnetism and this releases the deceased at once from that source of attraction to the Physical World. But great care should be taken to see that cremation is not carried out until the astral body has had time to withdraw completely from the physical body or considerable suffering to the departed one may result. The best indication as to the proper time for cremation is when definite signs of physical disintegration appear. 

Excerpted and edited from Realms of the Living Dead—A Brief Description of Life After Death, Harriette Augusta Curtiss and F. Homer Curtiss, the Curtiss Philosophic Book Company, Washington D. C., 1926

Astral Facts—The Realm of Reflection

The Realm of Reflection—Its Scenery
The first Realm above the Physical World, in rate of vibration, we term the Realm of Reflection. Here we find reflected every object which exists in the Physical World, or to be more accurate, the physical objectman, animal, vegetable as well as all so-called inanimate thingsis the reflection or materialisation of its astral duplicate. Here we find the astral pattern of all living things. But everything is seen reversed as in a mirror. For instance, a number such as 123 would be seen as 321, etc. Day and night are also the reverse of the corresponding periods on earth. So-called night exists only in the Realm of Reflection, the Ethereal Realm and the Desire Realm. And even in these, it is far from being the same as an earthly night, although the moon and stars are visible. 

While the scenery of this Realm is the counterpart of the scenery of earth, it is much more, for here there is a luminosity and translucence, which makes familiar objects far more brilliant and beautiful and reveals their true nature far more than does their physical counterpart on earth. While plants, trees, animals and people are all seen here, they can also be seen through, just as on earth we can see into and through a glass of water. In the Astral World, we can also see all sides at once (not in perspective) and with the glow and colours imparted to everything by the currents of life-force which sweep through them. For the Astral World is a world of four dimensions instead of three.

Wild animals, snakes, etc., are also encountered in the astral, but only in the localities corresponding to where they would naturally be found on earth. Every animal does not have a conscious life in the Astral World, as it takes many animals of one kind to express the Group Soul of a species. Hence, it is only the more advanced animals that are sufficiently individualised to have an astral life. This is most common among those which have had some kind of contact with man and have absorbed more or less of his emanations of individuality. Hence, it is common for all domesticated animals to be found in the astral, and even wild animals which have been hunted by man. Another explanation is that the leaders of packs, herds and flocks are the most advanced, hence are usually individualised enough to have a life in the Astral World.

Here also the vegetation follows the seasonal changes of the various countries, but they occur somewhat in advance of their manifestation on earth, for that which is to manifest on earth descends from the higher Worlds into the Astral World and later is embodied on earth. We must not think, however, that it is the physical forms of objects that are thus seen, for this is not the case. As a rule, physical objects are not seen from the Astral World, except during the period of dense earth attraction just after leaving the Physical World and while the consciousness is responding to the keynote of the physical more than to the astral.

Since love is the greatest attractive power, one in the astral may choose to remain in close physical contact with a loved one on earth for many years. For instance, a mother may remain so close to her children on earth that she would be able to see into their physical conditions throughout their entire lives, although she would gradually tend to see into the conditions in their hearts and minds rather than their physical conditions. There are, however, certain exceptions. By special training, one in the astral may be taught to see into the Physical World, for the astral body when purified emanates a form of radiance, which under proper conditions can be projected into dense physical matter and thus make the physical visible. Also, the presence of a certain type of physical medium enables the one in the astral to see physical objects and persons. Otherwise, the objects of the Physical World are just as non-existent to the dweller in the astral as are the things of the astral to the average dweller in the physical. Those in the astral see the astral bodies of physical objects, animals and people, which are more or less luminous, or more or less foggy or dense, according to their degree of development. But since the consciousness of those dwelling on earth is not functioning in their astral bodies but in the physical, they appear asleep, insensible or unresponsive to those on the astral, except when the consciousness of the earth dweller is responding more or less imperfectly to the Astral World during dreams, visions, trances, etc.

The Realm of Reflection being the most objective of the Astral World may be called the physical aspect of the astral. The astral bodies of the great majority of the lesser evolved humanity who have left the Physical World therefore naturally gravitate to this Realm. Many such so-called spirits report through mediums that there is no heaven world or perhaps, since their sensations are far more acute, that they are worse off than when on earth, thus showing that they are living what is little more than an extension of their life on earth be that life pleasant or unpleasant. For the interests of those dwelling in this Realm of Reflection are largely what they were on earth and they have similar gatherings and organisations, clubs, churches, theatres, recreations, etc, which attract those whose desires affinitise them to such gatherings, each one going just where he or she belongs by affinity.

Here also teachers and helpers from the higher Realms descend to help and instruct those who are seeking to understand their changed conditions and surroundings. Many, however, are so absorbed in the earth attractions and in trying to communicate with their friends on earth that they will not listen or pay any attention to such teachers, although they are accessible to all.

There is an organisation in the higher Realm similar to the Red Cross Society which has workers whose duty it is to descend into this lower Realm to aid, care for, comfort and instruct those who are passing out, especially those who know something about the change and are willing to listen and receive instruction. This organisation is specially equipped to watch over, help and instruct those who are passing out in great numbers in times of disaster, pestilence and war; indeed many soldiers as soon as they are fully awakened to the astral conditions are enlisted in this astral Ambulance Corps and most eagerly give their services, under the able instruction of appointed teachers, until they can be taught no longer to identify themselves with earth conditions. Those who will not profit by instruction must be left, just as such must be left on earth, to learn through experience, perhaps by suffering, if they will not learn without it.

Those who know of these helpers can, therefore, be met and be taken care of. They can also arrange for their loved ones to be met by a reception committee which will include the dear ones who have gone before provided they are still interested in those left behind and naturally wish to welcome them. All that is necessary for anyone in any part of the world is to send out a mental wireless call for the invisible helpers and the loved ones will be gathered to greet the newcomer. These facts are the basis for the belief in the efficacy of prayers for the deadpurgatory being simply the lower Realm of the Astral Worldalso for the belief in the value of baptism for the dead as advocated by St Paul. Not only do such prayers surround the loved one with comforting, helpful and protective thought forces, but they also serve to call the attention of the invisible helpers to their needs.

It should be clearly understood that no one is confined to this Realm of Reflection except by the density of his astral body and the earthliness of his thoughts and desires, just as no one is confined to materialistic thoughts while on earth unless he so desires, for in this Realm a cry or even a strong desire for Light and help will bring it.

While the astral body is still dense and heavy with the water vapour, gases and. magnetism of earth, the recently deceased person is apt to think he can be transported only by walking, running or riding in conveyances. He, therefore. walks or rides either in the astral counterpart of such vehicles or in their thought-forms created either by himself or collectively by all who think they need such vehicles. Later on, they learn that so little energy is required that the astral body can be transported by the will, a strong thought of or desire to be in a certain place transporting it there almost immediately. Although there is usually a sense of a definite journey through the air. During such incredibly swift passages, the emanations of their auras stream out behind them and are often mistaken for wings by untrained psychics. We dream of flying through the air because we remember such journeys made in the astral during sleep or because we remember such experiences during our excarnate existence previous to our present incarnation.

The recently deceased thinks he can be nourished only by the same kinds of food which were necessary for his physical body. In fact, the glamour of this Realm makes him think that he must carry on life just as he did while on earth and subject to the same laws, and it may be a long time before he learns better. Hence, many of the more ignorant and less advanced, as well as the high livers and the gluttonous are found thronging the kitchens of hotels and restaurants and sucking in the vapours and emanations from the food that is being cooked, as do many others in the kitchens of their former homes. The more intelligent are able to draw to themselves duplicates of their favourite dishes, the creative power of their thought forming them not as mere illusions, but from the astral emanations of the physical substances, for while the astral body still contains so much dense earth magnetism and matter, the need is still felt for some formeven if it be only the less material of physical food.

 In the astral, as in the physical, you seek the association of those with whom you affinitise. 

The law of specific gravity obtains here as well as in the Physical World; just as a physical object or body will sink or float according to its density, so the astral body will sink into the denser strata or will float up into the particular stratum and Realm to which it is affinitised. We are told As a man thinketh in his heart so is he and in the Astral World this fact becomes very apparent. Here we literally find ourselves in the environment our thoughts had created while on earth with the same kindred Souls and living out the true inmost thoughts and desires of our heart which perhaps on earth we had tried to hide, for here there is no cloak to hide our true inner desires. As we think, so are we. Therefore, to some, it is hell, to some but an extension of earth life, while just as surely to others it seems to be Heaven. 

The more degraded haunt bars and brothels in an effort still to experience the desired sensations, but as the denser atoms fall away and the earth attraction loses its power, the person finds that in some mysterious way he is transported through the air wherever in thought he desires or wills to be and is nourished by currents of force brought to him by the mere thought of food, and still later he forgets all about the necessity for food.

While the astral body may remain for a long time in this Realm, the consciousness can soar into the higher Realms at any time, provided the desire to reach up is present, just as with those still on earth the consciousness can leave business and household cares and soar into the realms of literature, art, science or spiritual thought. In other words, desire is the governing factor in the Astral World even more fully than on earth. But in this more ethereal World, the desire promptly brings the condition desired, while on earth its attainment is hampered and delayed by the limitations of the more dense and rigid matter, which must be overcome before it can manifest.

The substance of the Astral World is so ethereal that it is moulded by thought, hence any entity who understands the mechanism can assume any appearance it desires, even that of an angel of light, as St Paul tells us.

Here also are found the astral graveyards where the discarded astral bodies are gathered.

Excerpted and edited from Realms of the Living Dead—A Brief Description of Life After Death, Harriette Augusta Curtiss and F. Homer Curtiss, the Curtiss Philosophic Book Company, Washington D. C., 1926