The Ego after death gradually ascends through the various spiritual realms to the Third Heaven, and at the time of rebirth it gradually descends through the Region of Concrete Thought, the Desire World, and the ether to the physical plane. The writer feels certain that none of his acquaintances have ever mounted to the higher parts of the Desire World or the Region of Concrete Thought without first passing through the ether and the lower Desire World strata, namely the purgatorial region.
Purgatory occupies the three lower regions of the Desire World. The First Heaven is in the three upper regions. The central Region is a sort of borderland — neither heaven nor hell.
The mission of Purgatory is to eradicate the injurious habits by making their gratification impossible. The individual suffers exactly as he has made others suffer through his dishonesty, cruelty, intolerance, or what not. Because of this suffering he learns to act kindly, honestly, and with forbearance toward others in future.
The law we are now considering is called the Law of Consequence. In the Desire World it operates in purging man of the baser desires and the correction of the weaknesses and vices which hinder his progress, by making him suffer in the manner best adapted to that purpose. If he has made others suffer, or has dealt unjustly with them, he will be made to suffer in that identical way. Be it noted, however, that if a person has been subject to vices, or repented and, as far as possible, made right the wrong done, such repentance, reform, and restitution have purged him of those special vices and evil acts. The equilibrium has been restored and the lesson learned during that embodiment, and therefore will not be a cause of suffering after death.
In the Desire World life is lived about three times as rapidly as in the Physical World. A man who has lived to be fifty years of age in the Physical World would live through the same life events in the Desire World in about sixteen years. This is, of course, only a general gauge. There are persons who remain in the Desire World much longer than their term of physical life. Others, again, who have led lives with few gross desires, pass through in a much shorter period, but the measure above given is very nearly correct for the average man of the present day.
It will be remembered that as the man leaves the dense body at death, his past life passes before him in pictures; but at that time he has no feeling concerning them.
During his life in the Desire World also these life pictures roll backwards, as before; but now the man has all the feelings that it is possible for him to have as, one by one, the scenes pass before him. Every incident in his past life is now lived over again. When he comes to a point where he has injured someone, he himself feels the pain as the injured person felt it. He lives through all the sorrow and suffering he has caused to others and learns just how painful is the hurt and how hard to bear is the sorrow he has caused. In addition there is the fact already mentioned that the suffering is much keener because he has no dense body to dull the pain. Perhaps that is why the speed of life there is tripled — that the suffering may lose in duration what it gains in sharpness. Nature's measures are wonderfully just and true.
There is another characteristic peculiar to this phase of post-mortem existence which is intimately connected with the fact (already mentioned) that distance is almost annihilated in the Desire World. When a man dies, he at once seems to swell out in his vital body; he appears to himself to grow into immense proportions. This feeling is due to the fact, not that the body really grows, but that the perceptive faculties receive so many impressions from various sources, all seeming to be close at hand. The same is true of the desire body. The man seems to be present with all the people with whom on Earth he had relations of a nature which require correction. If he has injured one man in San Francisco and another in New York, he will feel as if part of him were in each place. This gives him a peculiar feeling of being cut to pieces.
The student will now understand the importance of the panorama of the past life during the purgative existence, where this panorama is realized in definite feelings. If it lasted long and the man were undisturbed, the full, deep, clear impression etched into the desire body would make life in the Desire World more vivid and conscious and the purgation more thorough than if, because of distress at the loud outbursts of grief on the part of his relatives, at the death bed and during the three-day period previously mentioned the man had only a vague impression of his past life. The Spirit which has etched a deep clear record into its desire body will realize the mistakes of the past life so much more clearly and definitely than if the pictures were blurred on account of the individual's attention being diverted by the suffering and grief around him.
His feeling concerning the things which cause his present suffering in the Desire World will be much more definite if they are drawn from a distinct panoramic impression than if the process were short.
It is possible for the so-called dead to form by their thoughts any article of clothing they desire. They usually think of themselves as being clothed in the conventional garb of the country in which they lived prior to their passing into the Desire World, and therefore they appear so clothed without any particular effort of thought. But when they desire to obtain something new or an unusual article of clothing, naturally they have to use their will power to bring that thing into existence; and such an article of clothing will last as long as the person thinks of himself as being clad in that apparel.
But this amenability of desire stuff to the molding power of thought is also used in other directions. Generally speaking, when a person leaves the present world in consequence of an accident, he thinks of himself as being disfigured by that accident in a certain manner, perhaps minus a leg or arm or with a hole in the head. This does not inconvenience him at all; he can move about there of course just as easily without arms or legs as with them; but it shows the tendency of thought to shape the desire body. At the beginning of the war (World War I) when great numbers of soldiers passed over into the Desire World with lesions of the most horrible nature, the Elder Brothers and their pupils taught these men that by merely holding the thought that they were sound of limb and body, they would at once be healed of their disfiguring wounds. This they immediately did. Now all newcomers, when they are able to understand matters over there, are at once healed of their wounds and amputations in this manner, so that to look at them nobody would think they had passed over in consequence of an accident in the Physical World.
As a result this knowledge has become so general that many people who have passed over since have availed themselves of this property of desire stuff and have molded it by thought in case they wanted to change their bodily appearance. Sometimes those who are very corpulent want to appear more slim and vice versa, those who are very thin want to appear as if they had more flesh. This change or transformation is not permanently successful, however, on account of the archetype. The extra flesh put on a thin person or the quantity taken off one who is corpulent does not stay on or off permanently, but after a while the man who was originally thin returns to his original stature, while the person who tries to take off flesh finds himself putting it back on by degrees, and then has to go through the process anew. It is similar with people who attempt to mold their features and change them to an appearance that suits them better than their original one. However, changes affecting the features are less permanent because the facial expression there as here is an indication of the nature of the soul; therefore, whatever is sham is quickly dispersed by the habitual thought of the person.
During physical life the desire body is shaped more or less like an ovoid cloud surrounding the dense body. But as soon as the person gains consciousness in the Desire World and begins to think of himself as having the shape of the dense body, then the desire body begins to assume that form. This transformation is facilitated by the fact that the soul body, composes of the two higher ethers, the light and reflecting ethers, is still with the man, the Ego. To put it more clearly and bring in a helpful comparison, we may remember that at the time when the Ego is coming down to rebirth the two lower ethers gathered around the seed atom of the vital body are molded into a matrix by the Lords of Destiny — the Recording Angels and their agents. This matrix is placed in the womb of the mother, where the physical particles are embedded in it so that they gradually form the body of the child, which is then born. At that time the child has no soul body. Whatever there may be of the two higher ethers is not assimilated until later in life and is built upon by deeds that are good and true. When the soul body has reached a certain density, it is possible for the person to function in it as an Invisible Helper, and during his soul flights the desire body molds itself readily into this prepared matrix. When he returns to the physical body, the effort of will whereby he enters it automatically dissolves the intimate connection between the desire body and the soul body. Later on when the life in the Physical World has been finished and the two lower ethers discarded with the dense body, the luminous soul body of "Golden Wedding Garment" still remains with the higher vehicles, and into this matrix the desire body is molded at its birth into the invisible world. So as the body of the child was made in conformity to the matrix of the two lower ethers before coming to physical birth, similarly the birth into the invisible world which follows death in the physical region is attended by an impregnation with desire stuff of the matrix formed of the two higher ethers, to form the vehicle that will be used in that world.
But the so-called dead are not the only ones who have the power thus to mold desire stuff into any shape they please. This power is shared by all the other denizens of the Desire World even down to the elementals, and they very often use this faculty of transformation to frighten or mislead the newcomer, as many a neophyte has found out to his consternation when he first entered that realm. For these little imps are quick to know when a person is a stranger and not conversant with the nature of things there, and they seem to take a special delight in annoying newcomers by transforming themselves into the most grotesque and terrifying monsters. Then they may feign atrocious attacks upon him, and it seems to give them the keenest delight if they are able to chase him into a corner and make him cringe with fear while they stand gnashing their teeth as if ready to devour him. But the moment the neophyte learns that in reality there is nothing that can hurt him, that in his finer vehicles he is immune from all danger of being torn to pieces or devoured, and that a quiet laugh at the harmless creatures and a stern command to take themselves off is all that is needed to cause them to turn their attention elsewhere, they soon learn to leave him alone. Thus he learns to force them to do his will, for in that world all creatures which have not been individualized are compelled to do the bidding of higher intelligences, and man is among the latter.
It is a curious fact that subhuman elementals sometimes attach themselves to certain persons, to a family, or even to a religious society; but in such cases it was always found that their vehicle did not consist of the hardened sin body composes of an interlocking desire and vital body, but that the vehicle had been obtained through mediumship practiced by a person of ordinarily good character, and that the ether of this vehicle was in a state of disintegration. To offset this and to prolong their hold on such a vehicle, they demand of those whom they serve, regular offerings of food and the burning of incense. Though they cannot of course assimilate the physical food, they can and do live upon the ether fumes and odors which arise from it, also upon the fumes of incense.
When the Ego has freed itself from the vital body, its last tie with the Physical World is broken, and it enters the Desire World. The ovoid form of the desire body now changes its form, assuming the likeness of the discarded dense body. There is, however, a peculiar arrangement of the materials out of which it is formed, that has great significance in regard to the kind of life the departed will lead there.
The desire body of man is composed of matter from all the seven regions of the Desire World, as a dense body is built of the solids, liquids, and gases of this world. But the quantity of matter from each region in the desire body of a man depends upon the nature of the desires which he cherishes. Coarse desires are built of the coarsest desire stuff, which belongs to the lowest region of the Desire World. If a man has such, he is building a coarse desire body where the matter from the lowest regions predominates. If he persistently puts coarse desires away from himself, yielding only to the pure and the good, his desire body will be formed of the materials of the higher regions.
At present no man is wholly evil, and none wholly good; we are all mixtures of both; but there may be and is a difference in our make-up. In the desire bodies of some there is a preponderance of coarse and in others of fine desire stuff. That makes all the difference in the environment and status of the man when he enters the Desire World after death, for then the matter of his desire body, while taking on the likeness of the discarded dense body, at the same time arranges itself so that the subtlest matter which belongs to the higher regions of the Desire World forms the center of the vehicle, and the matter from the three densest regions is on the outside. When the Ego's earth life is ended it exerts centrifugal force to free itself from its vehicles. Following out the same law which causes a planet to throw that part of itself which is most dense and crystallized out into space, it first discards its dense body. When it enters the Desire World this centrifugal force also acts so as to throw the coarsest matter in the desire body outwards, and thus man is forced to stay in the lower regions until he has been purged of the coarser desires which were embodied in the densest desire matter. The coarsest desire matter is therefore always on the outside of his desire body while he is passing through Purgatory, and is gradually eliminated by the purging centrifugal force — the force of Repulsion, which tears the evil out of man and then allows him to pass upwards into the First Heaven in the upper part of the Desire World, where the force of Attraction holds sway and builds the good of the past life into the Ego as soul power. The discarded part of the desire body is left as an empty "shell."
When the Ego has left its dense body, that dies quickly. Physical matter becomes inert the moment it is deprived of the quickening, life-giving energy; it dissolves as a form. Not so with the matter of the Desire World; once life has been communicated to it, that energy will subsist for a considerable time after the influx of life has ceased, varying as to the strength of the impulse. The result is that after the Ego has left them these "shells" subsist for a longer or a shorter time. They live an independent life, and if that Ego to which they belonged was very much given to worldly desires, perhaps cut off in the prime of life, with strong and unsatisfied ambitions, this soul-less shell will often make the most desperate efforts to get back to the Physical World, and much of the phenomena of spiritualistic seances is due to the actions of these shells. The fact that the communications received from many of these so-called "Spirits" are utterly devoid of sense is easily accounted for when we realize that they are not Spirits at all, but only a soul-less part of the garment of the departed Spirit, and therefore without intelligence. They have a memory of the past life, owing to the panorama which was etched after death, which often enables them to impose upon relatives by stating incidents now known to others, but the fact remains that they are but the cast-off garment of the Ego, endowed with an independent life for the time being.
It is not always, however, that these shells remain soul-less, for there are different classes of beings in the Desire World, whose evolution naturally belongs there. They are good and bad, as are human beings.
Generally they are classed under one heading as "elementals," although differing vastly in appearance, intelligence, and characteristics. We will deal with them only so far as their influence touches the post-mortem state of man.
It sometimes happens, especially where a man has been in the habit of invoking Spirits, that these beings take possession of his dense body in earth life and make him an irresponsible medium. They generally lure him at first with seemingly high teachings, but by degrees lead to gross immorality, and, worst of all, they may take possession of his desire body after he has left it and ascended into heaven. As the impulses contained in the desire body are the basis of the life in heaven, and also the springs of action which cause man to reincarnate for renewed growth, this is indeed a very serious matter, for the whole evolution of a man may be stopped for ages, before the elemental releases his desire body.
When both the good and evil of a life have been extracted, the Spirit discards its desire body and ascends to the Second Heaven. The desire body then commences to disintegrate as the physical body and the vital body have done, but it is a peculiarity of desire stuff, that once it has been formed and inspired with life, it persists for a considerable time. Even after that life has fled it lives a semi-conscious, independent life. Sometimes it is drawn by magnetic attraction to relatives of the Spirit whose clothing it was, and at spiritualistic séances these shells generally impersonate the departed Spirit and deceive its relatives. As the panorama of the past life is etched into the shells they have a memory of incidents in connection with these relatives, which facilitates the deception. But as the intelligence has fled, they are of course unable to give any true counsel, and that accounts for the inane, goody-goody nonsense of which these things deliver themselves.
When a man wakes up in the Desire World he is with one exception the very same man in every respect as before death. Anyone seeing him there would know him if he had known him here. There is no transforming power in death; the man's character has not changed, the vicious man and the drunkard are vicious and dissipated still, the miser is a miser still, the thief is as dishonest as ever, but there is one great and important change in them all — they have all lost their dense body, and that makes all the difference in regard to the gratification of their various desires.
The drunkard cannot drink; he lacks the stomach, and though he may and at first often does, get into the whiskey casks of the saloons, it is no satisfaction to him, since whiskey in a cask does not give out fumes as it does during chemical combustion in the alimentary canal. He then tries the effect of getting into the dense body of drunkards on Earth. He succeeds easily for the desire body is so constituted that it is no inconvenience to occupy the same space with another person. "Dead" people, at first, are often annoyed when their friends sit down in the chair they are occupying, but after a while they learn that it is not necessary to hurry out of their seat because a friend yet in earth life is approaching to sit down. It does not hurt the desire body "to be sat on"; both persons can occupy the same chair without inconveniencing each other's movements. So the drunkard enters into the body of people who are drinking, but even there he receives no real satisfaction, and in consequence he suffers the tortures of Tantalus, until at last the desire burns itself out for want of gratification, as all desires do, even in physical life.
While our evil habits are dealt with in this general way, our specific evil actions in the past life are dealt with in the same automatic manner by means of the life panorama which was etched into the desire body. That panorama begins to unfold backwards from death to birth, upon our entrance into the Desire World. It unfolds backwards at the rate of about three times the speed of the physical life, so that a man who was 60 years of age at the time of death would live over his past life in the Desire World in about 20 years.
We remember that when viewing this panorama just after death he had no feeling at all about it, standing there merely as a spectator, looking at the pictures as they unrolled. Not so when they appear in his consciousness in Purgatory. There the good makes no impression, but all the evil reacts upon him in such a way that in the scenes where he had made another suffer he himself feels as the injured one. He suffers all the pain and anguish his victim felt in life, and as the speed of the life is tripled, so is the suffering. It is even more acute, for while the dense body is so slow of vibration that it dulls even suffering, in the Desire World, where we are minus physical vehicles, suffering is more acute. The more clear-cut the panoramic impression of the past life was etched into the desire body at the time of death the more the man suffers and the more clearly he will feel in after lives that transgression is to be avoided.
The Desire World, the ethers, and the Physical World interpenetrate one another so that the miser is right here among us just the same as he was when he had a physical body to wear. It is not generally understood, however, that the densest desire stuff of which the lower regions of the Desire World are composed, and the Chemical Ether which is the lowest of the four ethers, and even the physical gases, are exceedingly closely knit and form the outside layer of all Spirits which have just been released from the physical body. They are therefore living in the lower region of the Desire World in such close touch with the physical that it is amazing to the writer than people cannot see them.
Thus the miser and all others who have just left the physical body see the people in this world much more clearly than they see the things of the Desire World where they are; for as the man who goes out in the sunshine must first accustom himself to see things by adjusting the focus of his eyes, so also the Spirits which have just entered the Desire World after death require a little time for this readjustment. And the densest material in their being, which is thrown out toward the periphery by the centrifugal force of Repulsion, keeps them earthbound for a longer or a shorter time until they have shed this coarsest material and are able to contact the finer vibrations of the higher regions. For that reason the miser, the drunkard, the sensualist, and similar people whose desires are naturally low and vicious, remain in these nether regions, which may well be called hell, for a much longer time than people with high ideals and spiritual aspirations who have endeavored during life to eradicate their vices and to subdue their lower nature. Their desire bodies contain comparatively little coarse material and that is soon worn away, leaving them free to soar to higher spheres.
There are no specialized sense organs in the finer vehicles, but just as we feel with the whole surface of our body, so the Spirits see and hear, not only with the surface, but with every single atom of their spiritual body, inside and out. What they perceive is not really the physical things which we see with our physical eyes, but every chair, desk, or other physical implement is interpenetrated by both ethers and desire stuff — it is this that they perceive, and that to them is as real and tangible as the physical forms are to our senses.
It is true that the atmosphere of the Earth revolves with it, and so does the desire stuff which constitutes the Desire World of our planet. However, those who have shed the mortal coil and are in the Desire World see through the Earth just as easily as we see through a pane of glass.
The victim of murder escapes this suffering in Purgatory because he is in a comatose state as a rule, until the time when natural death should have occurred, and is taken care of in that respect, like the victims of so-called accidents, but the latter are always conscious at once or shortly after death. If the murderer is executed between the time of the murder and the time when his victim would naturally have died, the comatose desire body of the latter floats to its slayer by magnetic attraction, following him wherever he goes, without a moment's respite. The picture of the murder is always before him, causing him to feel the suffering and anguish which must inevitably accompany this incessant re-enactment of his crime in all its horrible details. This goes on for a time corresponding to the period of life of which he deprived his victim. If the murderer escaped hanging, so that his victim has passed beyond Purgatory before he dies, the "shell" of his victim remains to act the part of Nemesis in the drama of re-enactment of the crime.
The sufferings of Purgatory are the results of moral delinquencies and the resentment of those who are injured thereby. A surgeon who performs a constructive operation is doing a service which merits the gratitude of the person operated upon, and the picture of such an operation in the panorama of life will react upon him in the First Heaven with the gratitude of the person he helped. It will make him more ambitious to serve his fellow men.
On the other hand, those unscrupulous surgeons who persuade people to have operations performed for the love of experimentation, or who take them out of charitable institutions for that purpose will certainly be as severely dealt with as they deserve. As for the vivisectionist's Purgatory, we have seen some cases compared with which the orthodox hell with its devil and pitchfork is a place of mild amusement. Yet there are no exterior agents of outraged Nature to punish such an one — only the agonies of the tortured animal contained in his life panorama reacting upon him with threefold intensity (because the purgatorial existence is only one-third the duration of the physical life). Those people do not realize what they are storing up for themselves, or the torture chambers would soon be emptied and there would be one horror less in the world.
When a person (man or woman) has been very hard and harsh in life, when he has thought nothing of the feelings of others, when he has inflicted pain here, and everywhere on whatever occasion offered, we shall find that his suffering in Purgatory will be very severe, intensified of course by the fact that the purgatorial experience is shorter than the life lived upon Earth; but the pain is intensified in proportion. Now, therefore, it is evident that if his experience were continuous, if the pain engendered by one act were followed immediately by the next, much of the effect of the suffering would be lost upon the soul because it would not feel its full intensity. Therefore, the experiences, as it were, come to it in waves so that there is a period of respite after each period of suffering in order that the full intensity of the next may be felt.
God never seeks to revenge or avenge any wrong, but only to teach those who permit themselves to do wrong not to repeat the act, by giving the wrongdoer exactly pain for pain. The tendency in a future life is to cause him to respect the feelings of others and so be merciful to all the world. Thus the very highest intensity in pain is necessary for the conservation of energy, and to make him good and pure sooner than would be the case if the pain were continuous and the suffering correspondingly lessened.
If the dying man could leave all desires behind, the desire body would very quickly fall away from him, leaving him free to proceed into the heaven world, but that is not generally the case. Most people, especially if they die in the prime of life, have many ties and much interest in life on Earth. They have not altered their desires because they have lost their physical bodies. In fact often their desires are even augmented by a very intense longing to return. This acts in such a manner as to bind them to the Desire World in a very unpleasant way, although unfortunately, they do not realize it. On the other hand, old and decrepit persons and those who are weakened by long illness and are tired of life, pass on very quickly.
The matter may be illustrated by the ease with which the seed falls out of the ripe fruit, no particle of the flesh clinging to it, while in the unripe fruit the seed clings to the flesh with the greatest tenacity. Thus it is especially hard for people to die who were taken out of their bodies by accident while at the height of their physical health and strength, engaged in numerous ways in the activities of physical life, held by the ties of wife, family, relatives, friends, and pursuits of business and pleasure.
The suicide, who tries to get away from life, only to find that he is as much alive as ever, is in the most pitiable plight. He is able to watch those whom he has, perhaps, disgraced by his act, and worst of all, he has an unspeakable feeling of being "hollowed out." The part in the ovoid aura where the dense body used to be is empty and although the desire body has taken the form of the discarded dense body it feels like an empty shell, because the creative archetype of the body in the Region of Concrete Thought persists as an empty mold, so to speak, as long as the dense body should properly have lived. When a person meets a natural death, even in the prime of life, the activity of the archetype ceases, and the desire body adjusts itself so as to occupy the whole of the form, but in the case of the suicide that awful feeling of "emptiness" remains until the time comes when, in the natural course of events, his death would have occurred.
As long as the man entertains the desires connected with earth life he must stay in his desire body and as the progress of the individual requires that he pass on to higher regions, the existence in the Desire World must necessarily become purgative, tending to purify him from his desires. How this is done is best seen by taking some radical instances.
This miser who loved his gold in earth life loves it just as dearly after death; but in the first place he cannot acquire any more, because he has no longer a dense body wherewith to grasp it, and worst of all, he cannot even keep what he hoarded during life. He will, perhaps, go and sit by his safe and watch the cherished gold or bonds; but the heirs appear and with, it may be, a stinging jeer at the "stingy old fool" (whom they do not see, but who sees and hears them), will open his safe, and though he may throw himself over his gold to protect it, they will put their hands through him, neither knowing nor caring that he is there, and will then proceed to spend his hoard, while he suffers in sorrow and impotent rage.
He will suffer keenly, his sufferings all the more terrible on account of being entirely mental, because the dense body dulls even suffering to some extent. In the Desire World, however, these sufferings have full sway and the man suffers until he learns that gold may be a curse. Thus he gradually becomes contented with his lot and at last is freed from his desire body and is ready to go on.
Or take the case of the drunkard. He is just as fond of intoxicants after death as he was before. It is not the dense body that craves drink. It is made sick by alcohol and would rather be without it. It vainly protests in different ways, but the desire body of the drunkard craves the drink and forces the dense body to take it, that the desire body may have the sensation of pleasure resulting from the increased vibration. That desire remains after the death of the dense body, but the drunkard has in his desire body neither mouth to drink nor stomach to contain physical liquor. He may and does get into saloons, where he interpolates his body into the bodies of the drinkers to get a little of their vibrations by induction, but that is too weak to give him much satisfaction. He may and also does sometimes get inside a whiskey cask, but that is of no avail either for there are in the cask no such fumes as are generated in the digestive organs of a tippler. it has no effect upon him and he is like a man in an open boat on the ocean, "Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink"; consequently he suffers intensely. In time, however, he learns the uselessness of longing for drink which he cannot obtain. As with so many of our desires in the earth life, all desires in the Desire World die for want of opportunity to gratify them. When the drunkard has been purged, he is ready, so far as this habit is concerned, to leave this state of "Purgatory" and ascend into the heaven world.
The drunkards in the Desire World usually attempt to manufacture the drink for which they crave when they have once learned that it is possible so to mold desire stuff that it becomes whatever you want it to be; but they all declare unanimously that the strong drink or the drugs which they manufacture in that manner give no satisfaction. They can imitate the taste perfectly, but the drink thus manufactured has no power to make them drunk. The nearest they can get to the satisfaction of a real drunk is to insinuate their bodies into those of drunkards who are still in the Physical World. Therefore, they are continually haunting bar-rooms and endeavoring to get the frequenters of these places to take an excess dose of intoxicants.
They also say that they get considerable satisfaction from the fumes carried by the breath of drunkards in the physical body and the more heavy and pungent the atmosphere is in the bar-rooms, the nearer they come to finding the satisfaction for which they are seeking. If only the weaklings who visit such places could see and understand the disgusting tactics of the invisible reprobates hanging about such places, surely it would be an awakening which would probably help those who are not too far gone to retrace their steps to the path of decency and honest living. But, thank God (both for the visible and the invisible drunkards), it is impossible for them to create a den of vice in the desire stuff because the force of Repulsion tends to destroy it as fast as they can bring it into existence.
Let us take as an illustration a drunkard who makes a beast of himself and at the same time abuses his children, depriving them of the necessities of life and the education which they ought to have, who beats his wife, setting the children an example they may follow, and generally lowering their moral standards.
After death that man will feel in Purgatory, first, the tortures of a craving for drink, which he is not able to satisfy, and second, he will feel all the suffering which he inflicted upon his family. He has then paid for his wrong-doing, and it is true that he comes back to rebirth with a perfectly clean slate so far as the actual suffering which he caused them is concerned. But he took a vow to love and cherish the woman who became his wife, and by the performance of the creative act and furnishing the nucleus for a body he assumed the responsibilities of fatherhood toward the children which came to him for help and a suitable environment. The parental responsibilities he also neglected to fulfill, and there is consequently a tie between him and the members of his family. He still owes them a debt of love and service which must be rendered at some future time and therefore in a later life these Egos will be brought together and so placed that he may have an opportunity for doing good toward them. If he does not then take the opportunity, he may in a still later life render an adequate service to someone else. It is for his sake that service must be rendered so that the love nature may be evolved and expanded to become universal and all inclusive.
The same rule holds good in all other cases and as the extreme conditions make the best illustrations, we may take as another instance the relationship between a murderer and his victim. After death he suffered in Purgatory and the actual debt is there wiped out. But a tie has been established between these two Egos, and in a future life they will again meet so that the murderer may have the opportunity of serving his erstwhile victim, that they may become reconciled as friends. Fellow feeling must become universal, since it is the basic principle in the Kingdom of God.
When the break occurs between the desire body and the mind, the desire body (of an insane person who dies) is, as a matter of course, still rampant, and often causes the Ego much trouble during its existence in the Desire World; for the Ego, of course is at no time insane. What appears as insanity arises from the fact that the Ego has no control over its vehicles; the worst of all, obviously is where the mind itself has become affected and the Ego is tied to the personality for a long time until these vehicles are worn away.
In the beginning of the war the desire bodies of the combatants whirled at an awful rate, and it was noted that while people passing over from sickness, old age, or ordinary accidents regain consciousness in a short time, varying from a few minutes to a few days, those killed in war were in a great many cases unconscious for several weeks, and strange to say, those who were almost torn to pieces seemed to wake up much quicker than thousands that had only insignificant wounds. This puzzle was not solved for many months. Before we study the causes underlying this phenomenon, we must first record that when the people who had thus died in intense anger during the first part of the war awoke in the invisible world, they usually started to fight their enemies anew, and until the great educational work started by the Elder Brothers and their Invisible Helpers bore fruit, these people went about with maimed bodies and in great anguish because of their dear ones left behind. Now such occurrences are extremely rare and soon settled, for all have been taught that thought will create a new arm, limb, or face; the patriotic hatred is gone, and "enemies" able to speak each other's language often fraternize with benefit to both.
Purgatory is far from being a place of punishment, it is perhaps the most beneficent realm in Nature, for because of purgation we are born innocent life after life. The tendencies to commit the same evil for which we suffered remain with us and temptations to commit the same wrongs will be placed in our path until we have consciously overcome the evil here; temptation is not sin, however, the sin is in yielding.
Thus we see that it is not an avenging Deity that makes Purgatory or hell for us, but our own individual evil habits and acts. According to the intensity of our desires will be the time of our suffering entailed in their expurgation. In the cases mentioned it would have been no suffering to the drunkard to lose his worldly possessions. If he had any, he did not cling to them. Neither would it have caused the miser any pain to have been deprived of intoxicants. It is safe to say that he would not have cared had there not been a drop of liquor in the world. But he did care about his gold, and the drunkard cared about his drink, and so the unerring law gave to each that which was needed to purge him of his unhallowed desires and evil habits.
This is the law that is symbolized in the scythe of the reaper, Death; the law that says, "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." It is the Law of Cause and Effect, which rules all things in the three worlds, in every realm of Nature — physical, moral, and mental. Everywhere it works inexorably, adjusting all things, restoring the equilibrium, wherever even the slightest action has brought about a disturbance, as all action must. The result may be manifested immediately or it may be delayed for years or for lives, but sometime, somewhere, just and equal retribution will be made. The student should particularly note that its work is absolutely impersonal. There is in the universe neither reward nor punishment. All is the result of invariable law.
To sum up then we may say that all our debts are paid in Purgatory, so far as the commission of wrong is concerned; our debts of love, friendship, and service remain for liquidation in later lives.
To understand mediumship it is necessary to know that at death the same separation takes place as in sleep, but it is permanent. The so-called dead have Ego, mind, and desire body and are often conscious of the world they have left for some time after. Some cling to the earth life, and cannot set their minds to learn the new lessons; we call them "earthbound Spirits." They cannot function in the visible world without a body, however, and so they take advantage of the fact that all Spirits are not confined with equal rigor to the prison of the dense body. Those who are most closely bound are the rank materialists; those who cords do not bind them so tightly are "impressionists," capable of answering in some measure to spiritual vibrations. Persons of positive character thus constituted, if they develop, do so by their own will, and become trained esotericists. Those of weak will can only develop by the aid of others, and in a negative way. They are the prey of earthbound Spirits who constitute themselves "Spirit guides" and develop their victims as "trance mediums," or, if the connection between the victim's dense and vital bodies be particularly lax, into "materializing mediums."
Earthbound Spirits gravitate to the lower regions of the Desire World which interpenetrates the ether, and are in constant and close touch with those people on Earth most favorably situated for aiding them in their evil designs. They usually stay in this earthbound condition for fifty, sixty, or seventy-five years, but extreme cases have been found in which such people remain for centuries. So far as the writer has been able to discover up to the present time, there seems to be no limit to what they may do or how soon they will be let go. But all the while they are piling up for themselves an awful load of sin, nor can they escape suffering therefor; for the vital body reflects and etches deeply into the desire body a record of their misdeeds, and when at last they do let go and enter the purgatorial existence, they meet the retribution which they well deserve. This suffering is naturally lengthy in proportion to the time they have continued their nefarious practices after the death of the dense body-another proof that "Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small."
When the Spirit has left the sin body, as we call this vehicle, in contrast to the soul body, to ascend to the Second Heaven, it does not disintegrate as quickly as the ordinary shell left behind by normal people, for the consciousness in it is enhanced by its dual composition. That is to say, being composed of both a vital and a desire body, it has an individual or a personal consciousness that is very remarkable. It cannot reason, but there is a low cunning present which makes it seem as though it were actually endowed with a spiritual presence, an Ego, and this enables it to live a separate life for many centuries. The departed Spirit meanwhile enters the Second Heaven, but having done no work on Earth to desire or merit a prolonged stay there or in the Third Heaven, it only stays there sufficiently long enough to create a new environment for itself and it is then reborn much earlier than usual-to satisfy the craving for material things which draw it so strongly.
In such cases (people of an evil nature) where the animal nature has been paramount, where there has been no soul expression in the preceding earth life, the division in the vital body cannot take place at death, for there is no dividing line. In such a case, if the vital body should gravitate back to the dense body and there gradually disintegrate, the effect of a very evil life would not be so far-reaching, but unfortunately there is in such cases an interlocking grip of the vital and desire bodies which prevents separation. We have seen that where a man lives mostly in the higher nature, his spiritual vehicles are nourished to the detriment of the lower. Conversely, where his consciousness is centered in the lower vehicles he strengthens them immeasurably.
It should be understood that the life of the desire body is not terminated by the departure of the Spirit; it has a residual life and consciousness.
It is amazing when one searches the Memory of Nature of the past to find how prevalent this interlocking condition of the desire and vital bodies was in former centuries and millenniums. That in our own historical times savagery should have been so common and so brutal, and that might was the measure of right absolutely and beyond dispute, was, to say the least, quite a shock to the writer.
It has been taught that selfishness and desire were purposely fostered under the regime of Jehovah to give incentive to action. This in the course of time had so hardened the desire body that when the advent of Christ took place, there was almost no heaven life among the people then living.
Nor were these ancient people content do all the evil they could in life and then get away, but they must even have their war horses killed, their weapons laid down in their coffins, and everything else possible done to keep them here, for the ether in those things which had belonged to them during life had an attraction for them, and was a means further to keep them within the Earth's atmosphere. It enabled them to haunt — for they actually did haunt — their castles for years and years, and of course it was not only the rich or the warrior classes, but also others. In cases of blood feuds where people were slain, the ghosts incited their relatives to avenge them by remaining about and helping them to carry out bloody deeds.
Thus they perpetuated evil and kept the world in a turmoil of blood and strife; nor is this condition entirely broken in what we call modern days. Wherever a person dies who has fostered malice and hatred in his heart, these interlock the desire and vital bodies and make him a more serious menace to the community than anyone can imagine who has not investigated this subject. Therefore, if for no other reason, capital punishment should be abolished so that we may not let loose upon the community such dangerous characters to incite the morally weak to follow in their footsteps.
The Desire World is the abode of those who have died, for some time subsequent to that event, and we may mention that the so-called "dead" very often stay for a long while among their still living friends. Unseen by their relatives they go about the familiar rooms. At first they are often unaware of the condition mentioned: "that two persons may be in the same place at the same time," and when they seat themselves in a chair or at the table, a living relative may take the supposedly vacant seat. The man we mistakenly call dead will at first hurry out his seat to escape being sat upon, but he soon learns that being sat upon does not hurt him in his altered condition, and that he may remain in his chair regardless of the fact that his living relative is also sitting there.
There are other classes who, so to speak, become immortal in evil. Not quite that, but the interlocking of their vital and desire bodies forces them to stay in the lower regions of the invisible world nearest to the Physical World in which we live.
This class may consequently be met with for a considerable number of years after they have passed away from the body. It is indeed a curious fact that sometimes these vile persons are sought by former friends who have passed out of the body and need help to contact the Physical World. The writer remembers such an instance occurring a few years ago, when an aged relative was about to pass over to the other side. She looked forward very anxiously to seeing her mate who had gone on before her. But as he had already reached the First Heaven, his arms and body had passed away, and only the head remained. Therefore he would scarcely be able to show himself to her when she had passed over, much less influence conditions at the time of the passing, and these were far from being to his liking. Certain things were being done to retard the severance of the Spirit from the flesh and considerable distress was occasioned to the person thereby.
In his anxiety over this condition the husband of the lady secured assistance from a friend whose interlocking vital and desire bodies made it easy for him to manifest. This Spirit took a have cane standing in the room, and knocked a book out of the hand of the passing lady's daughter, which so frightened those present that they stopped their demonstration, allowing the mother to pass out. The poor man who had performed this phenomenon had already been more than twenty years in the invisible world, and so far as the writer can perceive there seemed to be no sign of dissolution of the sin body wherein he had clothed himself; he may remain there for perhaps twice or three times as long.
The writer was at one time quite apprehensive of the effect which war might have in respect to locking the desire and vital bodies together and bring to birth legions of monsters to afflict future generations. But it is with great thankfulness that he records his conviction that we need have no fear on that score. Only when people are premeditatively malicious and vindictive, and persistently harbor a desire and a purpose to get even with someone, only when such feelings are hugged, nursed, and entertained do they harden the vital body and cause the interlocking grip of these vehicles. We know from the records of the Great War that the rank and file have no such sentiments against one another, but that enemies meet as friends whenever chance brings them into such relationship that they may converse one with another. So, though war is responsible for the awful mortality now and will cause deplorable infant mortality in a future age, it will be blameless with regard to the dreadful diseases engendered by obsession and the crimes suggested by these demoniacal sin bodies.
Following the above investigations, the writer attempted a number of experiments with Spirits who were in the higher realms of the ether, having just passed out, and with people who had been in the Desire World for a longer or shorter time, some of them being almost ready for the First Heaven. A number of Spirits who had departed this life kindly cooperated as subjects. The aim of the experiments was to determine how far it would be possible for them to clothe themselves in the materials of the lower etheric and even the gaseous regions. It was noticed that those who had just passed out could quite readily endure the lower ether vibrations, although being of good character they were not well satisfied to remain there longer than necessary, for they were uncomfortable. But as we tried people from successively higher regions of the Desire World up to the First Heaven, it became more and more difficult to wrap themselves in ether or descent into it. The consensus of opinion was that it was like going down into a deep well, there to smother. It was also found that it was absolutely impossible for anyone in the physical to see them. We tried by every method of suggestion to arouse the people in rooms which we visited, to a sense of our presence, but we found no response, though in a number of cases the forms which we condensed were so opaque that it seemed to the writer as if they were nearly as dark as those physical people whom we desired to attract. We placed our experimental subjects between the physical people and the light; nevertheless, we had no success, either with those who were from the higher realms or with those who had passed out recently and were able to stay in the given position and density for a considerable time.
It is a mistake to think that heaven is a place of unalloyed happiness for all. No one can reap any more happiness than he sowed on Earth. The measure of our joy there will be the good deeds we did in earth life. The panorama of life etched into our desire bodies just after death forms the basis of our enjoyment in heaven, as it was the decreer of our suffering in Purgatory.
There are two classes for whom post-mortem existence is particularly blank and monotonous; the materialist and the man who was so absorbed in his material business that he never gave a thought to the spiritual worlds. The reason not far to seek. They led good, moral lives as a rule, indulged in none of the vices which find their expurgation in the purgatorial regions of the lower Desire World, but neither have they done any good such as would find its fruition in feelings of joy in the First Heaven. To have given even large sums of money for the building of churches, libraries, or parks will help nothing there, unless the giver took particular interest in his gift, and thus gave himself with the money. Merely to give money will bring affluence in a future life, but to give oneself is more than money - it is soul-growth. The materialistic business man therefore goes to the fourth region, which is a sort of Borderland between Purgatory and the First Heaven. He is too good to suffer in Purgatory and not good enough to have a First Heaven Life. He has still a keen longing for business. With no interests, save desires that cannot be gratified there, his life is an unenviable monotony, though he suffers in no other way.
The out-and-out materialist, who denies God and has the idea that death in annihilation, is in the worst of straits. He sees his mistake, yet having so disassociated himself from spiritual ideas, he often cannot believe but that this is a prelude to annihilation. The dreadful suspense wears terribly on such people, and it is not an uncommon sight to see them going about murmuring to themselves: Is it not soon the end? And, worst of all, if anyone who is instructed tries to inform them they will deny the existence of spirit there as much as they did in earth life, calling him visionary for thinking that there is anything beyond.
There are many people (of the belief that when a man pays his debts, cares for his family, and lives a moral life here, he will be all right thereafter) who have a rather unenviable time in the Desire World after death. They are, of course, to be looked up to from the standpoint of this life only, but at the present time we are required to cultivate at least some altruistic tendencies in order to progress beyond our present evolutionary status.
We find the people who have neglected the higher duties in the fourth region of the Desire World after death. There is the business man who paid a hundred cents on the dollar, who dealt honestly by everyone, who worked for the material improvement of his city and country as a good citizen, paid his employees fair wages, treated his wife and family with consideration, gave them all possible advantages, etc. He may even through them have built a church, or at least given liberally to it; or he may have built libraries or founded institutes, etc. But he did not give himself. He took interest in the church only for the sake of his family or for the sake of respectability; he had no heart in it. All his heart was in his business, in making money, or in attaining a worldly position.
When he enters the Desire World after death he is too good to go to Purgatory and not good enough to go to heaven. He has dealt justly with everyone and wronged nobody. Therefore, he has nothing to expiate. But neither has he done any good that could give him a life in the First Heaven where the good of his past life is assimilated. Therefore he is in the fourth region-between Heaven and Hell, as it were. The fourth region is the center of the Desire World and the feeling there is most intense. The man still feels a keen desire for business, but since he can neither buy nor sell there, his life is a most dreadful monotony.
All that he gave to the churches, institutes, etc., counts as nothing because of his lack of heart. Only when we give for love will the gift avail to bring happiness hereafter. It is not the amount that we give, but the spirit that accompanies the gift, which matters. Therefore, it is within the power of everyone to give and thus benefit himself and others. Indiscriminate money giving, however, often causes people to become thriftless and indigent, but by giving heartfelt sympathy, by helping people to believe in themselves and start life with fresh ardor when they have fallen by the wayside, by giving ourselves in service rendered humanity, we lay up treasures in heaven and give more than gold. Christ said: "The poor are with us always." We may not be able to bring them from poverty to riches and that may not be best for them, but we can encourage them to learn the lesson that is to be learned in poverty. We can help them to a better view of life, and unless the man does that also, he will not be "all right" when he passes out. He will suffer that dreadful monotony in order to learn that he must fill his life with something of real value, and thus is a succeeding life his conscience will spur him on to do something better than to grind out dollars. However, he will not neglect his material duties, for that is as bad as to spurn spiritual endeavor.
During the earlier part of its evolution mankind committed the most atrocious crimes because actuated entirely by selfishness and disregard for other people's feelings. In those early lives we were cunning, cruel, and seldom did a good deed. In fact, it is recorded that at that time man spent the whole of the interval between lives in the purgatorial regions expiating the crimes he had committed during his physical life, and there was no heaven life to speak of. That was the condition spoke of in the Bible as "lost in trespasses and sin," which made it necessary for the Christ to enter the Earth and attempt the task of raising the vibrations, so that altruism might gradually conquer egoism and give us a heaven life upon which promotion and progression in our evolutionary career could be based.
We saw in the last lecture how the evil acts of life and our undesirable habits are dealt with by the impersonal Law of Consequence, and make for good in future lives, and to illustrate we noted its operation in such cases as those of the murderer, suicide, drunkard, and miser. These are extreme cases, however, and there are many people who have lived good moral lives, tainted more by petty selfishness, which is the besetting sin of our age, than by actual pronounced evil. For them the stay in the purgatorial regions of the Desire World is of course correspondingly shortened and the incidental suffering is lightened. Thus in time all pass to the upper regions of the Desire World where the First Heaven is located.
This is the "Summerland" of the Spiritualists. Of the matter of this region the thoughts and fancies of people during life build the actual forms they see in their imagination. It is a characteristic of the inner worlds that the matter in them is readily molded by thought and will, and all these fantastic forms created by people go about, ensouled by elementals and enduring as long as the thought or desire which formed them endures. Around Christmas time, for instance, Santa Claus actually lives and rides around in his sleigh. There are all sorts of variety of him, and he remains in vigorous health for a month or more until the desires of the children who created him cease to flow in that direction, then he fades away till he is recreated next year. The New Jerusalem, with its pearly streets and sea of glass, and all the other pious and moral fancies of the church people are there also. Purgatory has its thought form devil, with horns and cloven hoof, created by the thoughts of people, but in this upper part of the Desire World we find only that which is good and desirable in human aspirations. Here the student revels in libraries and is able to pursue his studies in a much more effective way than while confined to the dense body. If he desires a book, presto, it is there. The artist by his imagination shapes his models perfectly, he paints with living fiery colors instead of with the dead and dull pigments of earth, which are the physical artist's despair, for here in earth it is impossible for him to reproduce the tints he sees with his inner vision, but the Desire World is the world of color par excellence, and therefore he obtains his heart's desire in the First Heaven, and receives inspiration and power to continue his work in future lives.
The sculptor likewise finds this part of the post-mortem state a joy and an upliftment; he shapes with facility the plastic materials of this world into the statues he dreamed of in earth life. The musician is also benefited, but he is not yet in the true world of tone. That ocean of harmony, where the heavenly "music of spheres" is heard, is in the part the Region of Concrete Thought which, in the esoteric Christian religion, we call Second Heaven; and so the musician hears only the echoes of the celestial strains; yet they are sweeter than any he ever heard on Earth, and his soul revels in their exquisite harmony, the earnest of better things to come.
Here we also find all the little children, who go directly to this place after passing out, and if their friends could see them, there would be no mourning, for theirs is rather enviable life. They are always met by some relative or friend who has previously passed out, and are taken care of in every respect. There are people who lay up a great deal of treasure for themselves by giving much of their time to the invention of plays and toys for the little ones, and thus life in this First heaven is spent in the most beautiful way by the children, nor is their instruction neglected. There are brought together in classes, not only according to age and capability, but according to temperament, and particularly instructed in the effects of desires and emotions, which can so objectively demonstrated. Thus they are taught by object-lessons the benefit of cultivating good and altruistic desires, and many a soul who lives a moral life now, owes it to such a cause as the death in infancy and fifteen or twenty years in the First Heaven before a new incarnation was entered upon.
In the lower regions of the Desire World the whole body of each being may be seen, but in the highest regions only the head seems to remain. Raphael, who, like many other people in the middle ages, was gifted with a so-called second sight, pictures that condition for us in his Sistine Madonna, now in the Dresden Art Gallery, where Madonna and the Christ child are represented as floating in a golden atmosphere and surrounded by a host of genie-heads: conditions which the esoteric-investigator knows to be in harmony with actual facts.
In the higher regions of the Desire World the confusion of tongues gives place to a universal mode of expression which absolutely prevents misunderstandings of our meaning. There each of our thoughts takes a definite form and color perceptible to all, and this thought symbol emits a certain tone, which is not a word, but it conveys our meaning to the one we address no matter what language he spoke on Earth.
In the course of time every man makes ready to ascend into the Second Heaven, which is located in the Region of Concrete Thought. All good aspirations and desires of the past life are etched into and branded upon the mind, which then contains all that is of permanent value. The Ego withdraws from the desire body, which is then but an empty shell, and, clothed only in the mind, it ascends into the Second Heaven.
We remember, that after the termination of the panorama, just subsequent to death, when the Ego withdrew from the vital body, it went through a period of unconsciousness before it awoke in the Desire World. There is also an interval between the withdrawal from the desire body in the First Heaven to the awakening in the Second Heaven. But this time there is no unconsciousness; every faculty is keenly on the alert, there is a state of hyperconsciousness, as the Spirit passes through this interval, which is called "The Great Silence." No matter how materialistic a man may have become on Earth, that state of mind has now vanished, and the man knows that he is inherently divine when he reaches this Great Silence which is the portal of his heavenly home. It is as when on awakens after a dreadful dream, and draws a deep sigh of relief at finding that the occurrences of the dream were not realities. So the ego, when it enters this Great Silence, awakes from the delusions and illusions of earth life with a sense of infinite relief, is filled with a feeling of impregnable security, feels anew the restful repose of being in the everlasting arms of the Great Universal Spirit.
In time a point is reached were the result of the pain and suffering incident to purgation, together with the joy extracted from the good actions of the past life, have been built into the seed atom of the desire body. Together these constitute what we call conscience, that impelling force which warns us against evil as productive of pain and inclines us toward good as productive of happiness and joy. Then man leaves his desire body to disintegrate, as he left his dense body and vital body. He takes with him the forces only of the seed atom, which are to form the nucleus of future desire bodies, as it was the persistent particle of his past vehicles of feeling.
The usual time of duration of one's stay in the Desire World, after leaving the body at death, is one-third the length of the life lived in the body, but this measure is only a general guide. There are many cases in which the stay is shortened or lengthened. For instance, if a person follows The Rosicrucian Fellowship exercises, particularly the retrospection in the evening, he may in this scientific manner, provided he is very earnest and sincere in the performance thereof, entirely obviate the necessity of a purgatorial experience. The pictures of scenes where he wronged someone would have been wiped away from the seed atom in his heart by contrition and thus there would be for him no purgatorial expiation. Where he had done something commendable, that would be absorbed as pabulum for the soul, and this would materially shorten, if not entirely do away with, experience in the First Heaven. Thus such a person would be comparatively if not entirely free to devote himself to the service of humanity in the beyond, and as such he might remain in these lower regions. However, they would not, for him, constitute Purgatory or the First Heaven. Many of the most devout disciples do this humanitarian work for a number of years after passing over. There are some, however, who go to the Second Heaven at once. The soul growth attained during the life of helpfulness which freed them from the purgatorial and First Heaven existence also enables them to carry on certain investigations there and go through a certain schooling which will fit them for a higher and better position as helpers of humanity in a future life. This class, therefore, could not be seen by any friend or relative going out of the body during sleep.
The "Aerial Region" is the third division of the Region of Concrete Thought. Here we find the archetype of desires, passions, wishes, feelings, and emotions such as we experience in the Desire World. Here all the activities of the Desire World appear as atmospheric conditions. Like the kiss of the summer breeze come the feelings of pleasure and joy to the clairvoyant sense; as the sighing of the wind in the tree tops seem the longing of the soul and like flashes of lightning the passions of warring nations. In this Region of Concrete Thought are also pictures of the emotions of man and beast.
Both color and form are there (in the Second Heaven), just as in the Physical World, but tone is the predominating feature of the World of Thought. Color is most accentuated in the Desire World and form in the Physical World, although it is true that the colors and forms of the Second Heaven are much more beautiful than in the other worlds.
After a time (in the Third Heaven) comes the desire for new experience and the contemplation of a new birth.
Previous to taking the dip into matter, the threefold Spirit is naked, having only the forces of the four seed atoms (which are the nuclei of the threefold body and the sheath of mind).
It (the seed atom) can take, in each region, nothing except the material for which it has an affinity and nothing beyond a certain definite quantity even of that. Thus the vehicle build around this nucleus becomes an exact counterpart of the corresponding vehicle of the last life minus the evil which has been expurgated and plus the quintessence of good which has been incorporated in the seed atom.
The material selected by the threefold Spirit forms itself into a great bell-shaped figure, open at the bottom and with the seed atom at the top. If we conceive of this illustration spiritually we may compare it to a diving-bell descending into a sea composed of fluids of increasing density. These correspond to the different subdivisions of each world. The matter taken into the texture of the bell-shaped body makes it heavier, so that it sinks into the next lower subdivision and it takes from that its proper quota of matter. Thus it becomes still heavier and sinks yet deeper until it has passed through the four subdivisions of the Region of Concrete Thought and the sheath of the new mind of the man is complete. Next the forces in the seed atom of the desire body are awakened. It places itself at the top of the bell, inside, and the materials of the seventh region of the Desire World draw around it until it sinks to the sixth region, getting more material there, and this process continues until the first region of the Desire World is reached. The bell has now two layers-the sheath of mind outside and the new desire body inside.
Except in the case of a very highly developed being, this work of the Ego (building its vehicles) is most negligible at the present stage of man's evolution. The greatest scope is given in the building of the desire body, very little in that of the vital body, and almost none in the dense body; yet this little suffices to make each individual an expression of his own Spirit and different from the parents.
When the impregnation of the ovum has taken place, the desire body of the mother works upon it for a period of from about eighteen to twenty-one days, the Ego remaining outside in its desire body and mind sheath, yet always in close touch with the mother.
We know that the silver chord is grown anew in each life, that one part sprouts from the seed atom of the desire body in the great vortex of the liver, that the other part grows out of the seed atom of the dense body in the heart, that both parts meet in the seed atom of the vital body in the solar plexus, and that this union of the higher and lower vehicles causes the quickening.
The Archangels became experts at building a body of desire stuff, the densest matter of the Sun Period. Therefore, they are able to teach and guide such less evolved beings as man and animal how to mold and use a desire body.
Again we have a seeming anomaly, for the Archangels were the humanity of the Sun Period when the vital body was started, at a time when man had as yet no desire body, but the difficulty vanishes when we remember that each of our bodies is the shadow of one of the aspects of the Spirit, and that the vehicles are not given by these Hierarchies. They are merely helpers of man in training a particular vehicle, because of a special fitness. Thus the Archangels are trainers of our desire bodies, because they became experts at building and using such a vehicle when they were human in the Sun Period, for them they build their densest bodies of "desire stuff," as we are now building ours from chemical mineral matter.
In the Moon Revolution of the Earth Period the Archangels (humanity of the Sun Period) and the Lords of Form took charge of the reconstruction of the desire body, but they were not alone in that work. When the separation of the Globe into two parts occurred, there was a similar division in the desire bodies of some of the evolving beings. We have already noted that where this division took place, the form was ready to become the vehicle of an indwelling Spirit, and in order to further this purpose the Lords of Mind (humanity of the Saturn Period) took possession of the higher part of the desire body and implanted in it the separate selfhood, without which the present man with all his glorious possibilities, could never have existed.
Thus in the latter part of the Moon Revolution the first germ of separate personality was implanted in the higher part of the desire body by the Lords of Mind.
The Archangels were active in the lower part of the desire body, giving it the purely animal desires. They also worked in the desire bodies where there was no division. Some of these were to become the vehicles of the animal Group Spirits, which work on them from without, but do not enter wholly into the animal forms, as the individual Spirit does into the human body.
The desire body was reconstructed to render it capable of being interpenetrated by the germinal mind which, during the Earth Period, will be implanted in all those desire bodies in which it was possible to make the before-mentioned division.
The Lords of Mind took charge of the higher part of the desire body and of the germinal mind, impregnating them with the quality of separate selfhood, without which no separate, self-contained beings such as we are today would be possible.
As when reflected in a pond, the images of trees appear inverted, the foliage seeming to be the deepest down in the water, so the highest aspect of the Spirit (the Divine Spirit) finds its counterpart in the lowest of the three bodies (the dense body). The next highest Spirit (the Life Spirit) is reflected in the next lowest body (the vital body). The third Spirit (the Human Spirit) and its reflection, the third body (the desire body), appear closest of all the reflecting mirror, which is the mind, the latter corresponding to the surface of the pond — the reflecting medium in our analogy.
The lowest vehicle of the Archangels is the desire body. Our desire body was added in the Moon Period, at which time Jehovah was the highest Initiate. Therefore Jehovah is able to deal with man's desire body. Jehovah's lowest vehicle is the Human Spirit and its counterpart is the desire body. The Archangels are His helpers because they are able to manage the Spiritual Sun forces and the desire body is their lowest vehicle. Thus they are able to work with and prepare humanity for the time when it can receive the spiritual impulses directly from the Solar Orb, without the intervention of the Moon.
Jehovah helped man to get control over the mind and desire body by giving Law and decreeing punishment for its transgression. The fear of God was pitted against the desires of the flesh. Thus sin became manifest in the world.
The Angels cause man's corn and grapes to grow or wither, his cattle to increase or not, his family to multiply or die out, as required to bless him for obedience to the law of the chief Race Spirit Jehovah, or to punish him for transgression against the law. Under his sway all the Race Religions: Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Judaism, etc., have flourished and worked in the desire body as Religions of the Holy Spirit. Jehovah helps man to curb the desire body because that was started in the Moon Period.
The Angels worked alone with man in the Hyperborean Epoch, when he had only a dense and a vital body, but in the Lemurian Epoch, when the desire body was added, the Archangels also took a hand, to help the infant human Spirit to control its future vehicles. They neutralized the desire body so that it was sexually active only at certain times of the year.
At stated times of the year (during the Lemurian Epoch) the Archangels withdrew their restraining influence on the desire body and the Angels marshaled humanity to great temples where the generative act was performed at times when the constellations were propitious. Our present-day honeymoon trips are atavistic reminders of those migrations for propagative purposes, and show a connection with the heavenly bodies in the name Honeymoon.
When propagation had been accomplished, the desire body was again neutralized, and in consequence there was no more pain connected with parturition than is the case with the animals at present, where similar conditions obtain now.
The human Ego was very weak (in the middle third of Atlantis) and had to get help from someone else. Therefore Jehovah, the highest Initiate of the Moon Period, the ruler over the Angels and Archangels that work with men, breathes into man's nostrils, gives him lungs, and gives him the Race Spirit in the air that is to curb the hardening tendencies of the desire body and help him to get it under control. The desire body has control of the voluntary muscles. Every movement we make is caused by desire, and every exertion breaks down tissue, and hardens more and more every particle of our tissue.
There are three steps by which this work (union with the Higher Self) conquers the lower nature, but they are not completely taken one after the other. In a certain sense they go together, so that at the present stage the first receives the most attention, the second less, and the third least of all. In time, when the first step has been wholly taken, naturally more attention can be paid to the other two.
There are three helps given in attaining these three stages. They can be seen in the outside world, where the great Leaders of humanity have placed them.
The first help is Race Religions, which by aiding humanity to overcome the desire body, prepare for it for union with the Holy Spirit.
The full operation of this help was seen on the Day of Pentecost. As the Holy Spirit is the Race God, all languages are expression of it. That is why the apostles, when fully united and filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke with different tongues and were able to convince their hearers. Their desire bodies had been sufficiently purified to bring about the wished-for union and this is an earnest of what the disciple will one day attain to — the power to speak all tongues. It may also be cited as a modern, historical example, that the Comte de St. Germain (who was one of the later incarnations of Christian Rosenkreuz, the founder of our sacred Order), spoke all languages, so that all to whom he spoke thought he belonged to the same nation as they. He also had achieved union with the Holy Spirit.
The effect of this (Ancient Initiation) was to produce a race having the proper degree of laxity between the dense and vital bodies; also to wake the desire body from its state of lethargy during sleep. Thus a special few were made fit for Initiation and were given special opportunities that could not be given to all. We see instances of this method among the Jews, where the tribe of Levi were the chosen Templars; also in the case of the Brahmins, who were the only priestly class among the Hindus.
When the blood flowed from these centers, the great Sun-Spirit Christ was liberated from the physical vehicle of Jesus and found Himself in the Earth, with individual vehicles. The already existing planetary vehicles He permeated with His own vehicles and, in the twinkling of an eye, diffused His own desire body over the planet, which has enabled Him thenceforth to work upon the Earth and its humanity from within.
At that moment a tremendous wave of spiritual sunlight flooded the Earth. It rent the veil which the Race Spirit had hung before the Temple to keep out all but the chose few, and it made the Path of Initiation free thenceforth to whomsoever will. So far as concerned the spiritual worlds, this wave transformed the conditions of Earth like a flash of lightning, but the dense, concrete conditions are, of course, much more slowly affected.
Like all rapid and high vibrations of light, this great wave blinded the people by its dazzling brilliance, therefore it was said that "the Sun was darkened." The very opposite was what actually occurred. The Sun was not darkened, but shone out in glorious splendor. It was the excess of light that blinded the people, and only as the entire Earth absorbed the desire body of the bright Sun-Spirit did the vibration return to a more normal rate.
In the Sun Period, the lowest of the Globes was in the Desire World, and therefore the Archangels have the desire body as their lowest vehicle yet; but Christ has gone beyond. He has raised Himself higher, so He has the Life Spirit as his lowest vehicle today, and ordinarily uses no denser vehicle. Only by the power of the Life Spirit can the national tendency be overcome and a universal brotherhood of man become a fact. The vehicles pertaining to the World of Thought, the Ego, and the mind, make for separateness. They have that for their characteristic. But the Life Spirit is the unifying principle in the universe, and therefore Christ is the only one fitted to bring about brotherhood.
Christ, as an Archangel, had learned to build down to the desire body, but the vital body and the dense body He had never learned to build. The Archangels had worked on humanity from without before, as Group Spirits do; but that was not enough. The help had to come from within. That was made possible by the combination of Christ and Jesus and therefore it is true, in the very highest sense, in the most literal sense, when Paul says:
"There is but one mediator between God and man-Christ Jesus, the righteous."
On the other hand, the Initiates have progressed and evolved for themselves higher vehicles, discontinuing the ordinary use of the lowest vehicle when the ability to use a new and higher one has been attained. Ordinarily, the lowest vehicle of an Archangel is the desire body, but Christ, who is the highest Initiate of the Sun Period, ordinarily uses the Life Spirit as lowest vehicle, functioning as consciously in the World of Life Spirit as we do in the Physical World. The student is requested to note this point particularly, as the World of Life Spirit is the first universal world, as explained in the section on worlds. It is the world in which differentiation ceases and unity begins to be realized, so far as our solar system is concerned.
Christ could not be born in a dense body, because He had never passed through an evolution such as the Earth Period, therefore He would first have had to acquire the ability to build a dense body such as ours. But even had He possessed that ability, it would have been inexpedient for such an exalted Being to expend for that purpose the energy necessary for body-building through an ante-natal life, childhood and youth, to bring it to sufficient maturity for use. He had ceased to use, ordinarily, vehicles such as would correspond to our Human Spirit, mind, and desire body, although He had learned to build them in the Sun Period, and retained the ability to build and function in them wherever desired or required. He used all His own vehicles, taking only the vital and dense bodies from Jesus. When the latter was thirty years of age Christ entered these bodies and used them until the climax of his Mission of Golgotha. After the destruction of the dense body, Christ appeared among His disciples in the vital body, in which He functioned for some time. The vital body is the vehicle which He will use when He appears again, for He will never take another dense body.
How then are we to unfold our spiritual power? What is the way, the truth, and the life? We have had the threefold path shown us in the glorious teaching of the Christ. Ordinary humanity all over the world are being worked up by law, which works upon the desire body and holds it in check. The thinker is pitted against the flesh. But under law no one can be saved.
The Christian religion has not yet had time to accomplish this great object (Universal Brotherhood). Man is still in the toils of the dominant Race Spirit and the ideals of Christianity are yet too high for him. The intellect can see some of its beauties, and readily admits that we should love our enemies, but the passions of the desire body are still too strong. The law of the Race Spirit being an "An eye for an eye," the feeling is "I'll get even!" The heart prays for love; the desire body hopes for revenge. The intellect sees, in the abstract, the beauty of loving one's enemies, but in concrete cases it allies itself with the vengeful feeling of the desire body, pleading, as an excuse for "getting even," that "the social organism must be protected."
While the clean thoughts take us a long step on the path of attainment, the emotions and desires of the desire body are not so easily subdued, for that vehicle is already considerably more set than the mind. While the regenerate mind readily agrees to the idea that we should love our enemies, the desire body (the emotional and passionate nature) aims with every fiber of its being to get even-to get an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Sometimes, even years and years after we think that the sleeping serpent is subdued, that we have at last gained mastery over it, and that it cannot mar our peace, it may suddenly rise and overthrow all our hopes, take the bit between its teeth, go on a rampage, and vow vengeance for some real or fancied wrong. Then it takes the whole power of the higher nature to subdue this rebellious part of our being. This, the writer thinks, is the thorn in the flesh concerning which Paul besought the Lord thrice and was given the answer: "My grace is sufficient for thee." It certainly does need all the grace one can command to overcome, and eternal vigilance is the price of safety, so let us "watch and pray."
It is the desire body which is responsible for all our actions, good, bad, or indifferent, and the oriental philosophers have therefore given directions to their disciples to kill out desire and to abstain from action, good or bad, as much as possible, in order that they may thus save themselves from the wheel of birth and death. But that temper, which is such a great menace when it takes control, may be made as effective for service under our proper guidance. We would not for one moment think of taking the temper out of a knife; we should then be unable to cut anything therewith. The temper of the desire body must be controlled but not by any means killed. For the dynamic power of motion and action in the invisible world is stored in this desire body, and unless it is intact, we cannot expect to control ourselves there any more than an ocean liner whose engines were disabled could buffet the ocean waves. There are certain societies which teach negative methods of development, and one of their first instructions to the pupil is to drop the jaw and make himself perfectly negative. Anyone floated from the Physical World toward the Spiritual World by such methods would certainly find himself as driftwood upon the ocean, cast hither and tither by the waves, the prey and the sport of every current. There are in the inner worlds, as well as here, beings who are anything but benevolent, who are ready to take advantage of anyone that ventures into their world not fully prepared to protect himself against them. Thus we see the supreme importance of subjecting our desires to the will of the Spirit here in this world, of forcing this desire body of ours into subjection so that it may be trained before we attempt to enter the inner world. Here it is, in a very large measure, held in check by the fact that it is interpolated within the dense body, and therefore cannot sway us hither and yon in the same degree as it can when it has been released from the physical prison-house.
Even the subjection of the desire body, difficult as it is to accomplish, will not serve to make a man conscious in the invisible worlds, for the desire body has not evolved to such a point that it can act as a real instrument of consciousness. It is unformed and cloudlike in the great majority of people, and only a number of vortices are present as sense centers or centers of consciousness; these are not yet sufficiently unfolded so that they can serve the purpose without some other help. Therefore, it is necessary to work upon and educate the vital body in such a manner that it may be used in soul-flights. The part of the vital body formed of the two higher ethers, the light ethers and the reflecting ether, is what we may term the soul body; that is to say, it is more closely linked with the desire body and the mind and also more amenable to the Spirit's touch than are the two lower ethers.
There are a great many people who associate spirituality with a great show of emotionalism, but this idea has absolutely no foundation in fact. On the contrary, the kind of spirituality which is developed by and associated with the emotional nature of the desire body is unreliable in the extreme; this is the variety that is generated in revival meetings where emotionalism is brought up to a high pitch, causing a person to make a great splurge of religious fervor which soon spends itself and leaves him exactly as he was before, much to the chagrin of the revivalists and other people who are engaged in evangelical work. But what else can they expect? They set out to save souls with drums and fifes, with rhythmic revival songs, with appeals made in a voice which is raised and lowered in harmonic waves, all of which are as powerfully effective on the desire body as storms which stir the sea to fury and then subside.
When newspapers start out to inculcate certain ideas into the public mind, they do not expect to accomplish this by a single editorial, no matter how powerfully written, but by articles of daily recurrence they gradually create the desired sentiment in the public mind. The Bible has been preaching the principle of love for two thousand years, Sunday after Sunday, day after day, from hundreds of thousands of pulpits. War has not yet been abolished, but the sentiment in favor of universal peace is growing stronger as time passes. These sermons have had but a slight effect insofar as the world at large is concerned, no matter how powerfully a particular audience might be moved for the time being; for the desire body is that part of the composite man which was impressed at the time and was stirred thereby.
The desire body is a later acquisition than the vital body, hence not so crystallized, and therefore more impressionable. Because it is of a finer texture than the vital body, it is less retentive, and the emotions so easily generated are also dissipated.
It is sometimes contended that hypnotism may be used benevolently for the cure of drunkenness and other vices, and it is readily admitted that, viewed, solely from the material standpoint, that appears to be true. But from the viewpoint of esoteric science it is far otherwise. Like all other desires, the craving for liquor is in the desire body, and it is the duty of the Ego to master it by will power. That is why he is in the school of experience called life, and no man can do his moral growing for him, any more than he can digest another's dinner for him. Nature is not to be cheated; each must solve his own problems overcome his faults by his own will. If, therefore, a hypnotist overpowers the desire body of a drunkard, the Ego in the drunkard will have to learn its lesson in a future life, if he dies before the hypnotists. But if the hypnotist dies first the man will inevitably turn to drink again, for then the part of the hypnotist's vital body which held the evil desire in check gravitates back to its source, and the cure is nil. The only way permanently to master a vice is by one's own will.
The desire body is the perverted expression of the Ego. It converts the "Selfhood" of the Spirit into "selfishness." Selfhood seeks not its own at the expense of others. Selfishness seeks gain regardless of others. The seat of the Human Spirit is primarily in the pineal gland and secondarily in the brain and cerebro-spinal nervous system which control the voluntary muscles.
The desire body, which we sense as our emotional nature, is always seeking something new. This desire for change of condition, change of scene, change of mood, love of emotion and sensation is due to the activities of the desire body, which is like the sea in a storm, full of waves, tossing hither and thither, at random and without design, each one powerful and destructive when unbridled and without allegiance to the central directing power.
The mind, indeed, is the focus through which the Spirit endeavors to subdue the lower personality and guide it according to the ability acquired during its evolutionary period. But at the present time it is so vague a quantity that among the great majority of people it cannot be reckoned with, and they are therefore led principally by their feelings and emotions, without much amenability to reason and thought.
Recognizing the great and wonderful power of the emotional body and its amenability to "rhythm," which may be said to be its keynote, progressive theology has addressed itself to and focused its efforts upon appeals to this vehicle. It is this part of our nature which enjoys the entertainment of the sensational vaudeville pastor. This vehicle it is that sways and groans under the rhythmic rant of the revivalist, itself vibrant with emotion, rising and falling in the well calculated measure of the speaker's voice. Unity of pitch is soon established, a state of actual hypnosis where the victim can no more help going to "mourners bench" than water can refrain from running down hill. They realize powerfully for the time being the enormity of their sins and they are equally anxious to start a better life. Alas, however, the next wave of attraction to their emotional nature washes away all the preacher has said, as well as their resolutions, and they stand exactly where they were before, much to the chagrin and sorrow of the evangelist concerned.
Thus all efforts to elevate humanity by work upon the unstable desire body are and must always prove futile. This the esoteric schools of all ages have recognized and they have therefore addressed themselves to the changing of the vital body by working with its keynote, which is repetition.
The expression, "prepared the Earth," means that all evolution on a planet is accompanied by the evolution of that planet itself. Had some observer gifted with spiritual sight watched the evolution of our Earth from some distant star, he would have noticed a gradual change taking place in the Earth's desire body.
Under the old dispensation the desire bodies of people in general were improved by means of the law. This work is still going on in the majority of people, who are thus preparing themselves for the higher life.
The Group Spirit works upon animals through their desire bodies, calling up pictures which give to the animal a feeling and a suggestion of what it must do. Likewise, the allegorical pictures, which are contained in myths, laid the foundation in man for his present and future development. Subconsciously these myths worked upon him and brought him to the stage where he is today. Without that preparation he would have been unable to accomplish that work which he is now doing.
The Ego has several instruments — a dense body, a vital body, a desire body, and a mind. These are its tools and upon their quality and condition depends how much or how little it can accomplish in its work of gathering experience in each life. If the instruments are poor and dull there will be little spiritual growth and the life will be a barren one, so far as the Spirit is concerned.
If strict attention is paid to hygiene and diet, the dense body is the one principally affected, but at the same time there is also an effect on the vital body and the desire body because, as purer and better materials are built into the dense body, the particles are enveloped in purer planetary ether and desire stuff also. Therefore, the planetary parts of the vital and desire bodies become purer. If attention is paid to food and hygiene only, the personal vital and desire bodies may remain almost as impure as before, but it has become just a little easier to get into touch with the good than if gross food were used.
No matter what people say to us or about us, their words have no intrinsic power to hurt — it is our own mental attitude towards their utterances which determines the effect of their words upon us for good or ill. Paul, when facing persecution and slander, testified that "None of these things move me." All who hope to advance spiritually must cultivate equipoise, for without it the desire body will either run riot or congeal, according to the nature of the emotions generated by intercourse with others, whether worry, anger, or fear. We know that the dense body is our vehicle of action, that the vital body gives it the power to act, that the desire body furnishes the incentive to action, and that the mind was given as a brake on impulse.
We learn from The Cosmo-Conception, that thought forms from within and without the body are being continually projected upon the desire body in an endeavor the arouse feeling which will lead to action, and that reason ought to rule the lower nature and leave the higher self scope for expression of its divine proclivities. We also know that habitual thought has power to mold even physical matter, for the nature of the sensualist is plainly discernible in his features which are as coarse and gross as the features of the spiritually minded are delicate and fine. The power of thought is still greater in its potency to mold the finer vestures.
We have already seen how thoughts of fear and worry congeal the desire body of anyone who indulges in that habit, and it is equally certain that by cultivating an optimistic frame of mind under all circumstances we can attune our desire bodies to any key we wish. After a time, that will become a habit. It must be confessed that it is difficult to hold the desire body down to any definite lines, but it can be done, and the attempt must be made by all who aspire to spiritual advancement.
We have created a subtle aura about us under the guardianship of the Divine Hierarchies reigning over the seven planets: Saturn, Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Venus. The Universe, or great world, is mystically called the seven-stringed lyre of Apollo. Our individual organism or microcosm is a replica or image of God, and it behooves us to awaken in ourselves an echo of this music of the spheres. Most of us have learned to respond too much to saturnine vibrations of sorrow, gloom, fear, and worry, which congeal our desire bodies, and it would be to the lasting benefit of all to try to cultivate the spiritual vibrations of the Sun, filling our lives with optimism and sunshine which will dispel the saturnine gloom and despondency and prevent such thoughts entering our aura in the future.
The prime necessity of advancement is equipoise. All who aspire ought to adopt Paul's motto, "None of these things move me."
It is a proof of the benefit of religion that it makes people happy, but the greatest happiness is usually too deep for outward expression. It fills our whole being so full that it is almost awesome, and a boisterous manner never goes together with that true happiness for it is the sign of superficiality. The loud voice, the coarse laugh, the noisy manner, the hard heels that sound like sledge hammers, the slamming of doors, and the rattling of dishes are the signatures of the unregenerate, for they love noise, the more the merrier, as it stirs their desire bodies. For their purpose church music is anathema; a blaring brass band is preferable to any other form of entertainment, and the wilder the dance, the better. But it is otherwise, or should be, with the aspirant to the higher life.
As proper food feeds the body in a material sense, so the activity of the Spirit in the dense body, which results in right action, promotes the growth of the Conscious Soul. As the forces from the Sun play in the vital body and nourish it, that it may act on the dense body, so the memory of actions done in the dense body — the desires, feelings, and emotions of the desire body, and the thoughts and ideas in the mind — cause the growth of the Intellectual Soul. In like manner the highest desires and emotions of the desire body form the Emotional Soul.
The Emotional Soul, which is the extract of the desire body, adds to the efficiency of the Human Spirit, which is the spiritual counterpart of the desire body.
Having been exiled from the Garden of Eden, the Etheric Region, by learning to know the material world, in consequence of repeated sexual abuse which has focused his attention here, this increased use of the desire body hardened the dense body and it began to require food and shelter. Thus man's ingenuity was taxed to provide for the body. Hunger and cold were whips of evil that called forth Man's ingenuity; they forced him to think and act to provide for his necessities. Thus he is gradually learning wisdom; he provides for these contingencies before they come, because the pangs of hunger and cold have taught him to guard himself. Thus wisdom is crystallized pain. Our sorrows, when they are past, and we can calmly view them and extract the lessons they contained, are mines of wisdom, and are the wombs of future joys, for by them we learn to order our lives aright. We learn to cease sin, for ignorance is sin and the only sin, and applied knowledge is salvation, and the only salvation. That seems a broad statement, but if we try it out in thought it will be found to be as absolutely true and capable of demonstration as the fact that twice two are four.
The vital body aims to build the physical, whereas our desires and emotions tear down. It is the struggle between the vital body and the desire body which produces consciousness in the Physical World, and which hardens the tissues so that the soft body of the child gradually becomes tough and shrunken in old age, followed by death. The morality or immorality of our desires and emotions acts in a similar manner on the vital body. Where devotion to high ideals is the mainspring of action, where the devotional nature has been allowed for years to express itself freely and frequently, and particularly where this has been accompanied by the scientific exercises given Probationers in The Rosicrucian Fellowship, the quantity of the chemical and life ethers gradually diminishes as the animal appetites vanish, and an increased amount of the light and reflecting ether takes their place. As a consequence, physical health is not as robust among people who follow the higher path as among people whose indulgence of the lower nature attracts the chemical and life ethers, in proportion to the extent and nature of their vice, to the partial or total exclusion of the two higher ethers.
When a man passes out at death, he takes with him the mind, desire body, and vital body, the latter being the storehouse of the pictures of his past life. During the three and one-half days following death, these pictures are etched into the desire body to form the basis of the man's life in Purgatory and the First Heaven where the evil is expurgated and the good assimilated. The experience of the life itself is forgotten, as we have forgotten the process of learning to write, but have retain the faculty. So the cumulative extract of all his experiences, both during past earth lives and past existences in Purgatory and the various heavens, are retained by the man and form his stock in trade in the next birth. The pains he has sustained speak to him as the voice of conscience, the good he has done gives him a more and more altruistic character.
As the scenes in the life panorama which unrolls before the eyes of the Ego after death, cause a suffering in Purgatory which cleanses the soul from a desire to repeat the offenses which generated those pictures, so the salt wherewith the sacrifices upon the altar of burnt offerings in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness were rubbed before being placed before the altar and the fire wherewith they were consumed symbolized a double fiery pain similar to that felt by the Ego in Purgatory. Confident in the Hermetic axiom, "as above, so below", they evolved the method of retrospection as being in harmony with the cosmic laws of soul growth, and capable of accomplishing day by day that which the purgatorial experience does only once in a lifetime, namely, cleansing the soul from sin by the fire of remorse.
In Purgatory the cleansing process is accomplished by the centrifugal force of repulsion which tugs and tears the desire stuff, in which the picture is formed over its matrix of ether, out of the desire body. At that particular time the Ego suffers as it made others suffer, because of a singular condition in the lower regions of the Desire World where Purgatory is located. Some seers who are unable to contact the higher regions speak of the Desire World as illusory, and they are right so far as the lower regions are concerned, for there all things appear reversed as we see them in a glass. This peculiarity is not purposeless — nothing in God's kingdom is; all things serve a wise end. This reversal places the erring soul in the position of its victim, so that when a scene unrolls on the screen of its past life where it did a wrong to someone, the Ego does not stand as a mere spectator and see the scene re-enacted, but it becomes, for the time being, the victim of the wrong and it feels the pain felt by that wronged one, for the centrifugal force of repulsion exerted to tear the picture from the desire body of the wrongdoer must at least equal the hate and anger of the victim which impressed the picture upon the seed atom at the time of occurrence.
During retrospection the aspirant endeavors to imitate these conditions; he tries to visualize the scenes where he did something wrong, and the remorse he endeavors to feel must at least equal the resentment felt by whomever he wronged. It then has the same effect of expunging the record of the injury as does the centrifugal force of repulsion, which accomplishes the eradication of evil in Purgatory for the purpose of extracting therefrom the quality of the soul which we know as conscience, and which acts as a deterrent in hours of temptation. Thus used, the emotion of remorse cleanses and purifies the desire body of weeds and tares, leaving the soil free and fostering the growth of manifold virtues that blossom into spiritual advancement and bring greater opportunities for service in the Master's vineyard.
But as the force latent in gunpowder and kindred explosive substances may be used to further the greatest objects of civilization or to outdo the most savage acts of barbarism, so also, this emotion of remorse may be misused in such a manner that it becomes a detriment and a hindrance to the Ego instead of a help. When we indulge in remorse daily and hourly, we are actually wasting a great power which might be used for the most noble ends of life, for the constant indulgence of regret affects the desire body in a manner similar to that which follows excessive bathing of the physical body.
"As above, so below, and as below, so above," says the Hermetic aphorism, enunciating thereby the great Law of Analogy which is the master-key to all mysteries. When we use the centrifugal force of remorse to eradicate the acts of evil from our hearts during the evening exercise of retrospection, the effect is similar to the action of the water which removes the miasmatic poisoned ether from our vital bodies during the bath, and thus leaves room for an influx of pure health-promoting ether. After we have burned out the wrong-doings in the sacrificial fire of remorse, the poisonous substance thus eradicated leaves room for the influx of desire stuff which is morally healthier and better soil for noble deeds. The more thoroughly we are purged by this remorse, the greater the vacuum produced and the better the grade of new material we attract to our subtler vehicles.
But, on the other hand, if we indulge in regrets and remorse during every waking hour as some do, we are outdoing Purgatory, for though the time there is spent in eradication of evil, the consciousness turns from each picture when it has been torn out by the force of repulsion. Here, because of the interlocking of the desire and vital bodies, we are enabled to revivify the picture in memory as often as we please, and while the desire body is gradually dissolved in Purgatory by the expurgation of the panorama of life, a certain small amount is added while we are living in the Physical World, to take the place of that which is ejected by remorse. Thus, remorse and regret when continually indulged in have the same effect on the desire body as excessive bathing has on the vital body. Both vehicles are depleted of strength by excessive cleansing, and for that reason it is as dangerous to the moral and spiritual health to indulge indiscriminately in feelings of regret and remorse as it is fatal to the physical well-being to bathe too much. Discrimination should govern in both cases.
As a vampire sucks the ether from the vital body of its victims and feeds upon it, so perpetual thoughts of regret and remorse concerning certain things because a desire-elemental which acts as a vampire and draws the very life from the poor soul who has shaped it, and by the attraction of like for like, it fosters continuance of this morbid habit of regret.
If, by continual prayer, we obtain forgiveness for the injuries we have inflicted upon others and if we make all the restitution possible, purify our vital bodies forgiving those who have wronged us, and eliminate all ill feeling, we save ourselves much post-mortem misery, besides preparing the way for Universal Brotherhood, which is particularly dependent upon the victory of the vital body over the desire body. In the form of memory, the desire body impresses upon the vital body the idea of revenge. An even temper amid the various annoyances of daily life indicates such a victory, therefore the aspirant should cultivate control of the temper, as it includes work on both bodies. The Lord's Prayer includes this also, for when we see that we are injuring others, we look about and try to find the cause. Loss of temper is one of the causes and it originates in the desire body.
Most people leave physical life with the same temperament they bring into it, but the aspirant must systematically conquer all attempts of the desire body to assume mastery. That can be done by concentration upon high ideals, which strengthens the vital body and is must more efficacious than the common prayers of the Church. The esoteric scientist uses concentration in preference to prayer, because the former is accomplished by the aid of the mind, which is cold and unfeeling, whereas prayer is usually dictated by emotion. Where it is dictated by a pure unselfish devotion to high ideals prayer is much higher than cold concentration. It can never be cold, but bears upon the pinions of Love the outpourings of the mystic to the Deity.
The prayer for the desire body is, "Lead us not into temptation." Desire is the great tempter of mankind. It is the great incentive to all action, and in so far as the actions subserve the purposes of the Spirit, it is good; but where the desire is for something degrading, something that debases the nature, it is indeed meet that we pray not to be led into temptation.
"Lead us not into temptation" is the prayer for the desire body which is the storehouse of energy, and furnishes incentive to action through desire. An oriental maxim says, "Kill out desire," and the Orientals furnish good examples of the indolence resultant upon attempt to do that. "Kill out your temper" is the foolish admonition sometimes given those who lose their temper. Desire or temper is a valuable asset, too valuable to be stunted or killed; the man without desire is like steel devoid of temper — of no account. In Revelation, while the six churches are praised, the seventh is utterly anathematized for being "neither hot nor cold," a wishy-washy community. "The greater the sinner, the greater the saint" is a true adage, for it takes energy to sin and when that energy is turned in the right direction, it is as much of a power for good as previously it was for evil. A man may be good because he cannot summon up sufficient energy to be bad, then he is so good that he is good for nothing, like the Nicolaitanes. While we are weak our desire nature masters us and may lead us into temptation, but as we learn to control our desire nature, our temper, we may guide it in harmony with the laws of God and man.
The lowest aspect of the Spirit, the Human Spirit, next offers its petition to the lowest aspect of Deity for the highest of the threefold bodies, the desire body: "Lead us not into temptation."
When death has taken place and man finds himself in the Desire World, the magnetic powers of the seed atom are spent, the archetype is dissolving, and therefore the centrifugal force of Repulsion forces the desire stuff of the desire body outward toward its periphery. The matter belonging to the lower regions is thrown off first by the process of purgation, which cleanses the man from all evil acts of his past life. This is the result of the same natural law that in the Physical World causes a sun to thrown off matter which then becomes planets. To interfere with this law would be disastrous to any human being even supposing it were possible, which it is not. So it is useless to attempt to help anyone in that manner.
It is different with the Initiate who goes to the Desire World during life. Then the seed atom of the desire body forms a natural center of attraction, or gravitation, which holds the desire stuff in that vehicle to accustomed lines. Also it is different with anyone who performs the scientific exercises given in the Mystery Schools. Such a person is constantly purging his desire body of the coarser matter so that at death he is not affected to the same degree by the centrifugal force of Repulsion as those who have not had this training.
But there is another way in which we may help someone near and dear to us provided we have his cooperation. To make this clear it is necessary to mention first that the coarser the desire stuff in the desire body, the more tenacious is its hold upon a man; therefore expurgation by the force of Repulsion causes great pain, and that is what we feel in the purgatorial experience. If we were perfectly willing to let go and acknowledge our faults when the pictures of them appear in the life panorama instead of trying to make excuses for ourselves or being stirred anew by the anger and hate of the past, then it would involve much less pain to eradicate them from our desire body. If this fact can be impressed on one whom we are anxious to help, if we can get him into the state of mind where he is willing to acknowledge his wrongs and mistakes from the very bottom of his heart, then the process of purgation will be both shorter and less painful, and he will rise to the higher regions where the force of Attraction holds sway in a much shorter time than otherwise.
The same result can be accomplished by prayer; also by kind thoughts, thoughts of upliftment and helpfulness, for these have the same effect on those who are out of the body as kind words and helpful acts have on people who live in this world.
Devotion to high ideals is a curb on the animal instincts, and generates and evolves the emotional soul. Cultivation of the faculty of devotion is very essential. In some people this is the line of least resistance, and they are apt to become mystic dreamers. The energies of the desire body are then expressed as enthusiasm and religious ecstasy. There are also some people who develop abnormally the faculty of discrimination, which leads along cold intellectual lines of metaphysical speculation. In either case there is a lack of balance, a danger. The mystic dreamer, because dominated by emotion, may become subject to all sorts of illusion. That, the intellectual esotericist will never do, but he may end in black magic if he pursues the path of knowledge for the sake of knowledge and not for service. The only safe way is to develop both head and heart.
Since this ancient time (time of Hiram Abiff) the lunar Angels have taken charge principally of the moist, aqueous vital body composed of the four ethers, and concerned in the propagation and nourishment of the species, while the Lucifer Spirits are singularly active in the dry and fiery desire vehicles. The function of the vital body is to build and sustain the dense body, while that of the desire body involved destruction of the tissues. Thus, there is a constant war going on between the desire and vital bodies, and it is this war in heaven that causes our physical consciousness on Earth. Through many lives we have worked in every age and clime, and from each life we have extracted a certain amount of experience, garnered and stored as vibratory power in the seed atoms of our various vehicles.
Thus, each of us is a builder, building the temple of the immortal Spirit without sound of hammer; each one is a Hiram Abiff, gathering material for soul growth and throwing it into the furnace of his life experience, there to be worked upon by the fire and passion of desire. It is being slowly but surely melted, the dross is being purged in every purgatorial experience and the quintessence of soul growth is being extracted through many lives. Every one of us is thus preparing for initiation, preparing whether we know it or not — learning to blend the fiery passions with the softer gentler emotions. The new hammer or gavel wherewith the master workman rules his subordinates is now a cross of sorrow, and the new word is self-control.
This desire matter has since evolved; the fiery, martial substratum of passion and the aqueous lunar basis of emotion have become capable of numerous combinations. As thought furrows the brain into evolutions and the face into lines, so have the passions, desires, and emotions marshaled the mobile desire stuff into curved lines and whorls, eddies, rapids, and whirlpools, resembling a mountain torrent at the time when it is at its greatest disturbance — it is seldom ever at even comparative rest. This desire stuff has, in successive periods of its evolution, become responsive to one after another of the seven planetary vibrations emanating from the Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars. Each individual desire body has, during that time, been woven into a unique pattern, and as the shuttle of fate flies back and forth unceasingly upon the loom of destiny, this pattern is being enlarged upon, embellished, and beautiful, though we may not perceive it. As the weaver always does his work on the reverse side of his tapestry, so are we also weaving without fully understanding the ultimate design or seeing the sublime beauty thereof, because it is yet on the side away from us, the hidden side of Nature.
Anything happening in the Physical World is reflected in all the other realms of Nature and, as we have seen, builds its appropriate form in the Desire World. When a true account of the occurrence is given, another form is built, exactly like the first. They are then drawn together and coalesce, strengthening each other. If, however, an untrue account is given, a form different from and antagonistic to the first, or true one, is created. As they deal with the same occurrence, they are drawn together, but as their vibrations are different they act upon each other with mutual destructiveness. Therefore, evil and malicious lies can kill anything that is good, if they are strong enough and repeated often enough. But, conversely, seeking for the good in evil will, in time, transmute the evil into good. If the form that is built to minimize the evil is weak, it will have no effect and will be destroyed by the evil form, but if it is strong and frequently repeated it will have the effect of disintegrating the evil and substituting the good. That effect, be it distinctly understood, is not brought about by lying, nor denying the evil, but by looking for the good. The esoteric scientist practices very rigidly this principle of looking for good in all things, because he knows what a power it possesses in keeping down evil.
As man progresses in the school of life, his experiences teach him, and his desires become purer and better. Thus by degrees the material of his desire body undergoes a corresponding change. The purer and brighter material of the higher regions of the Desire World replaces the murky colors of the lower part. The desire body also grows in size, so that in a saint it is truly a glorious object to behold, the purity of its colors and its luminous transparency being beyond adequate simile.
When by the increased vibration of the pituitary body, the lines of force have been deflected sufficiently to reach the pineal gland, the object has been accomplished, the gap between these two organs has been bridged. This is the bridge between the World of Sense and the World of Desire. From the time it is built, man becomes clairvoyant and able to direct his gaze where he will. Solid objects are seen both inside and out. To him space and solidity, as hindrances to observation, have ceased to exist.
The philosophy of the attainment of spiritual sight and insight is to compel the desire body to perform the same work inside the dense body while we are fully awake, positive, and conscious as it does outside in sleep and in the post-mortem state.
There are certain currents in the desire body of everyone. They are strong, well defined and form seven great vortices in clairvoyants, but are weak, broken, and devoid of vortices in the ordinary man who cannot "see." Development of those currents and vortices leads to spiritual sight. In the daytime, when we are engrossed in material pursuits, these currents are sluggish; but as soon as man draws out of the dense body during sleep and commences the work of restoration the currents revive, the vortices spin and glow. The desire body is then in its native element, free from the clogging weight of the material body.
When he has reached that point of abstraction (during concentration) the sense centers of the desire body commence to revolve slowly within the dense body, and will thus make a place for themselves. This in time will become more and more defined, and it will require less and less effort to set them going.
We remember that the Hierophants of the old Mystery Temples segregated some of the people into castes and tribes such as the Brahmins and the Levites, for the purpose of providing bodies for the use of such Egos as were advanced enough to be ready for Initiation. This was done in such a manner that the vital body became separable into two parts, as were the desire bodies of all humanity at the beginning of the Earth Period. When the Hierophant took the pupils out of their bodies he left one part of the vital body, comprising the first and second ethers, to perform the purely animal functions (they are the only ones active during sleep), the pupil taking with him a vehicle capable of perception, because of its connection with the sense centers of the dense body; and also capable of memory. It possessed these capabilities because it was composed of the third and fourth ethers, which are the mediums of sense-perception and memory.
Since Christ came and "took away the sin of the world" (not of the individual), purifying the desire body of our planet, the connection between all human dense and vital bodies has been loosened to such an extent that, by training, they are capable of separation as above described. Therefore Initiation is open to all.
The finer part of the desire body, which constitutes the Emotional Soul, is capable of separation in most people (in fact, it possessed the capability even before Christ came), and thus when, by concentration and the use of the proper formula, the finer parts of the vehicles have been segregated for use during sleep, or at any other time, the lower parts of the desire and vital bodies are still left to carry on the process of restoration in the dense vehicle, the mere animal part.
That part of the vital body which goes out is highly organized, as we have seen. It is an exact counterpart of the dense body. The desire body and the mind, not being organized, are of use only because they are connected with the highly organized dense body. When separated from it they are but poor instruments. Therefore, before man can withdraw from the dense body, the sense-centers of the desire body must be awakened.
The aspirant to the higher life cultivates the faculty of becoming absorbed AT WILL in any subject he chooses — or rather, not a subject usually, but a very simple object, which he imagines. Thus when the proper condition or point of absorption has been reached where his senses are absolutely still, he concentrates his thought upon the different sense centers of the desire body and they start to revolve.
At first their motion is slow and hard to bring about, but by degrees the sense centers of the desire body will make places for themselves within the dense and vital bodies, which learn to accommodate themselves to this new activity. Then some day, when the proper life has developed the requisite cleavage between the higher and lower parts of the vital body, there is a supreme effort of the will; a spiral motion in many directions takes place, and the aspirant stands outside his dense body. He looks at it as at another person. The door of his prison house has been opened. He is free to come and go, as much as liberty in the inner worlds as in the Physical World, functioning at will, in the inner or outer world, a helper of all desiring his services in any of them.
Before the aspirant learns voluntarily to leave the body, he may have worked in the desire body during sleep, for in some people the desire body becomes organized before the separation can be brought about in the vital body. Under those conditions it is impossible to bring back these subjective experience to waking consciousness, but generally in such cases it will be noticed, as the first sign of development, that all confused dreams will cease. Then, after a while, the dreams will become more vivid and perfectly logical. The aspirant will dream of being in places and with people (whether known to him in waking hours or not matters little), conducting himself in as reasonable way as if he were in the waking state. If the place of which he dreams is accessible to him in waking hours, he may sometimes get proof of the reality of his dream if he will note some physical detail of the scene and verify his nocturnal impression next day.
He will next find that he can, during sleeping hours, visit any place he desires upon the face of the Earth and investigate it a great deal more thoroughly than if he had gone there in the dense body, because in his desire body he has access to all places, regardless of locks and bars. If he persists, there will at last come a day when he need not wait for sleep to dissolve the connection between his vehicles, but can consciously set himself free.
One stage of the Christian Mystic's spiritual development involves a reversal of the creative force from its ordinary downward course where it is wasted in generation to satisfy the passions, to an upward course through the tripartite spinal cord, whose three segments are ruled by the Moon, Mars, and Mercury respectively, and where the rays of Neptune then light the regenerative spinal Spirit Fire. This mounting upward sets the pituitary body and the pineal gland into vibration, opening up the spiritual sight; and striking the frontal sinus it starts the crown of thorns throbbing with pain as the bond with the physical body is burned by the sacred Spirit Fire, which wakes this center form its age-long sleep to a throbbing, pulsating life sweeping onward to the other centers in the five-pointed stigmatic star. They are also vitalized, and the whole vehicle becomes aglow with a golden glory. Then with a final wrench the great vortex of the desire body located in the liver is liberated, and the martial energy contained in that vehicle propels upward the sidereal vehicle (so-called because the stigmata in the head, hands, and feet are located in the same positions relative to one another as the points in a five-pointed star), which ascends through the skull (Golgotha), while the crucified Christian utters his triumphant cry, "Consummatum est" (it has been accomplished), and soars into the subtler spheres to seek Jesus whose life he has imitated with such success and from whom he is thenceforth inseparable.