A LIGHT BEHIND THE VEIL
MAKE an opening for me sometimes in
the veil of dense matter that shuts you from my eyes. I see you often as
a spot of vivid light, and that is probably when your soul is active
with feeling or your mind keen with thought.
I can read your thoughts
occasionally, but not always. Often I try to draw near, and cannot find
you. You could not always find me, perhaps, should you come out here.
Sometimes I am all alone: sometimes I
am with others.
Strange, but I seem to myself to have
quite a substantial body now, though at first my arms and legs seemed
sprawling in all directions.
As a rule, I do not walk about as
formerly, nor do I fly exactly, for I have never had wings; but I manage
to get over space with
incredible rapidity. Sometimes, though, I walk.
Now, I want you to do me a favour.
You know what a difficult job I often had to keep things
A LIGHT BEHIND THE
going, yet I kept them going. Don't
you get discouraged about the material wherewithal for your work. Work
right ahead, as if the supply were there, and it will be there. You can
demonstrate it in one way or another. Do not feel weak or uncertain, for
when you do you drag me back to earth by force of sympathy. It is as bad
as grieving for the dead.
THE IRON GRIP OF MATTER
TO a man dwelling in the "invisible"
there comes a sudden memory of earth.
"Oh!" he says. "The world is going on
without me. What am I missing?"
It seems almost an impertinence on
the part of the world to go on without him. He becomes agitated. He is
sure that he is behind the times, left out, left over.
He looks about him, and sees only the
tranquil fields of the fourth dimension. Oh, for the iron grip of matter
once morel To hold something in taut hands!
Perhaps the mood passes, but one day
it returns with redoubled
force. He must get out of the tenuous environment into the forcibly
-resistant world of dense matter. But how?
Ah, he remembers! All action comes
from memory. It would be a
reckless experiment had he not done it before.
He closes his eyes, reversing himself
in the in
THE IRON GRIP OF
visible. He is drawn to human life,
to human beings in the intense
vibration of union. There is sympathy
here—perhaps the sympathy of
past experience with the souls of those whom he now contacts, perhaps
only sympathy of mood or imagination. Be that as it may,
he lets go his hold upon freedom and
triumphantly loses himself in
the lives of human beings.
After a time he awakes, to look with
bewildered eyes upon green fields and the round, solid faces of men and
women. Sometimes he weeps, and wishes himself back. If he becomes
discouraged, he may return—only to begin the weary quest of matter all
If he is strong and stubborn, he
remains and grows into a man. He may even persuade himself that the
former life in tenuous substance was only a dream, for in dream he
returns to it, and the dream
haunts him and spoils his enjoyment of matter.
After years enough he grows weary of
the material struggle: his energy is exhausted. He sinks back into the
arms of the unseen, and men
say again with bated breath that he is dead.
But he is not dead. He has only
returned whence he came.
WHERE SOULS GO UP AND DOWN
MY friend, there is nothing to fear
in death. It is no harder than a trip to a foreign country—the first
trip—to one who has grown oldish and settled in the habits of his own
more or less narrow corner of the world.
When a man comes out here, the
strangers whom he meets seem
no more strange than the foreign peoples seem to one who first goes
among them. He does not always understand them; there, again, his
experience is like a sojourn in a foreign country. Then, after a while,
he begins to make friendly advances and to smile with the eyes. The
question, "Where are you from?" meets with a
similar response to that on earth.
One is from California, another is from Boston,
another is from London. This is when we meet on the highroads of travel;
for there are lanes of travel over here, where the souls go up and down
as on the earth. Such a road is
generally the most direct line
between two great centres;
WHERE SOULS GO UP AND
but it is never on the line of a
railway. There would be too much noise. We can hear sounds made on the
earth. There is a certain
shock to the etheric ear which carries the vibration of sound to us.
Sometimes one settles down for a long
time in one place. I visited an old home in the State of Maine, where a
man on this side of life had been stopping for I do not know how many
years; he told me that the children had grown to be men and women, and
that a colt to which he became attached when he first came out had
grown into a horse and had
died of old age.
There are sluggards and dull people
here, as with you. There are
also brilliant and magnetic people, whose very presence is rejuvenating.
It seems almost absurd to say that we
wear clothes, the same as you do; but we do not seem to need so many. I
have not seen any trunks; but
then I have been here only a short time.
Heat and cold do not matter much to
me now, though I remember at first being rather uncomfortable by reason
of the cold. But that is past.
A RENDEZVOUS IN THE FOURTH DIMENSION
YOU can do so much for me by lending
me your hand occasionally,
that I wonder why you shrink from it.
This philosophy will go on being
taught in the world and all over the world. Only a few, perhaps, will
reach the deeps of it in this life; but a seed sown to-day may bear
fruit long hence. Somewhere I have read that grains of wheat which had
been buried with mummies for two or three thousand years had sprouted
when placed in good soil in
our own day. It is so with a philosophic seed.
It has been said that he is a fool
who works for philosophy
instead of making philosophy work for him; but a man cannot give
to the world even a little of a true
philosophy without reaping sevenfold himself, and you know the Biblical
quotation which ends, "and in the world to come eternal life." To get,
one must give. That is the Law.
A RENDEZVOUS IN THE FOURTH DIMENSION
I can tell you many things about the
life out here which may be of use to others when they make the great
change. Almost everyone brings memory over with him. The men and women I
have met and communed with have had more or less vivid
recollection of their earth life—that
is, most of them.
I met one man who refused to speak of
the earth, and was always
talking about "going on." I reminded him that if he went on
far enough he would come back to the
place from which he started.
You have been curious, perhaps, as to
what we eat and drink, if anything. We certainly are nourished, and we seem to absorb much
water. You also should drink plenty
of water. It feeds the astral body. I do not think that a very dry body
would ever have enough astral vitality to lend a hand to a soul on this
plane of life, as you are doing now. There is much moisture in our
bodies over here. Perhaps that is one reason why contact with a
so-called spirit sometimes gives warm-blooded persons a sense of cold,
and they shiver.
It is something of an effort on my
part also to write like this, but
it seems to be worth while.
I come to the place where I feel that you are.
undoubtedly refers to my "hypnagogic," visions.—ED.
32 LETTERS FROM A LIVING
I can see you better than most
others. Then I reverse; that is,
instead of going in, as I used to do,
I go out with great force and in
your direction. I take possession of
you by a strong propulsive effort.
Sometimes the writing has stopped
suddenly in the midst of a sentence. That was when I was not properly
focussed. You may have noticed when reversing and shutting away the
outside world, that a sudden noise, or maybe a wandering thought, would
bring you right out again. it is so here.
Now, about this element in which we
live. It undoubtedly has a
place in space, for it is all around the earth. Yes, every tree visible
has its invisible counterpart.
When you, before sleep, come out consciously into this world,1
you see things that exist, or have
existed, in the material world also.
You cannot see anything in this
world which has not a physical
counterpart in the other. There are, of course, thought-pictures,
imaginary pictures; but to see imaginatively is not to see on the astral
plane—not by any means. The things you see before going to sleep have
real existence, and by changing your rate of vibration you come out into
this world— or
A RENDEZVOUS IN THE FOURTH DIMENSION
rather you go back into it, for you
have to go in, in order to come out.
Imagination has great power. If you
make a picture in the mind, the vibrations of the body may adjust to it
if the will is directed that way, as in thoughts of health or sickness.
It might be well as an experiment,
when you want to come out here, to choose a certain symbol and hold it
before your eyes. I do not
say that it would help to change the vibration, but it might.
I wonder if you could see me if just
before falling asleep you
should come out here with that thought and that desire dominant in
I am strong to-day, because I have
been long with one who is stronger; and if you want to make the
experiment of trying to find
me this night, I may be able to help you better than at another time.
There is so much to say, and I can
seldom talk with you. If you were differently situated and quite free
from other things, I could perhaps come often. I am learning much that I
should like to give you.
For instance, I think I can show you how to
34 LETTERS FROM A LIVING
come out here at will, as the Masters
At first I took only your arm to
write with, but now I get a better
hold of the psychic organisation. I saw that I was not working in the
best way, that there was a waste somewhere, so I asked the Teacher for
instruction in the matter. By this new method you will not feel so tired
afterwards, nor shall I.
I am going now, and will try to meet
you in a few minutes. If the
experiment should fail, do not be discouraged; but try again some
other time. You will know me all
right, if you do see me.
YOU will be interested to know that
there are people out here, as
on the earth, who devote themselves to the welfare of others.
There is even a large organisation
of souls who call themselves a League. Their special work is to take
hold of those who have just
come out, helping them to find themselves and to adjust to the new
conditions. There are both men
and women in this League. They have done good service. They work on a
little—I do not want to say higher plane than the Salvation Army, but
rather a more intellectual
plane. They help both children and adults.
It is interesting about the children.
I have not had time yet to observe all these things for myself; but one
of the League workers tells me that it is easier for children to adjust
themselves to the changed life than it is for grown persons. Very old
people are inclined to sleep a good deal, while children come out with
great energy, and
36 LETTERS FROM A LIVING
bring with them the same curiosity
that they had in earth life. There are no violent changes. The little
ones grow up, it is said, about as gradually and imperceptibly as they would have grown on
earth. The tendency is to fulfil the
normal rhythm, though there are
instances where the soul goes back
very soon, with little rest. That
would be a soul with great curiosity
and strong desires.
There are horrors out here—far worse
than the horrors on earth. The decay from vice and intemperance is much
worse here than there. I have seen faces and forms that were really
frightful, faces that seemed to be half-decayed and falling in pieces.
These are the hopeless cases, which even the League of workers I spoke
about leave to their fate. It is uncertain what the fate of such people
will be; whether they will reincarnate or not in this cycle, I do not
The children are so charming! One
young boy is with me often; he calls me Father, and seems to enjoy my society. He would be, I
should think, about thirteen years
old, and he has been out here some time. He could not tell me just how
long; but I will ask him if
he remembers the year, the calendar year, in which he came out.
It is not true that we cannot keep
our thoughts to ourselves if we
are careful to do so. We can
guard our secrets, if we know how.
That is done by suggestion, or laying a spell. It is, though, much
easier here than on earth to read the minds of others.
We seem to communicate with one
another in about the same way that you do; but I find, as time goes by,
that I converse more and more by powerful and projected thought than by
the moving of the lips. At
first I always opened my mouth when I had anything to say; it is easier
now not to do so, though I sometimes do it still by force of habit. When
a man has recently come out he does not understand another unless he
really speaks; that is, I suppose, before he has learned that he also
can talk without using much breath.
But I was telling you about the boy.
He is all interest in regard to certain things I have told him about the
earth,—especially aeroplanes, which were not yet very practicable when
he came out. He wants to go
back and fly in an aeroplane. I tell him that he can
fly here without one, but that does not seem to be the same thing to
him. He wants to get his
fingers on machinery.
I advise him not to be in any hurry
about going back. The curious thing about it is that he can
38 LETTERS FROM A LIVING
remember other and former lives of
his on earth. Many out here have no more memory of their former lives,
before the last one, than they had while in the body. This is not a
place where everyone knows everything—far from it. Most souls are nearly
as blind as they were in life.
The boy was an inventor in a prior
incarnation, and he came out this time by an accident, he says. He
should stay here a little longer, I think, to get a stronger rhythm for
a return. That is only my idea. I am so interested in the boy that I
should like to keep him, and
perhaps that influences my judgment somewhat.
You see, we are still human.
You asked me some questions, did you
not? Will you speak them aloud? I can hear.
Yes, I feel considerably younger
than I have felt for a long time,
and I am well. At first I felt about as I did in my illness, with times
of depression and times of
freedom from depression; but now I am
all right. My body does not give me
I believe that old people grow
younger here until they reach
their prime again, and that then
they may hold that for a long time.
You see, I have not become all-wise.
been able to pick up a good deal of
knowledge which I had forgotten; but about all the details of this life
I still have much to learn.
Your curiosity will help me to study
conditions and to make inquiries, which otherwise I might not have made
for a long time, if ever. Most people do not seem to learn much out
here, except that naturally they learn the best and easiest way of
getting on, as in earth life.
Yes, there are schools here where any
who wish for instruction can receive it—if they are fit. But there are
only a few great teachers. The average college professor is not a being
of supreme wisdom, whether here or there.
THE PATTERN WORLD
THERE is something I want to qualify
in what I said the other day,
that there is nothing out here which has not existed on the earth. Since
then I have learned that that statement is not exactly true. There are
strata here. This I have learned recently. I still believe that in the
lowest stratum next the earth all or nearly all that exists has existed
on earth in dense matter. Go a little farther up, a little farther
away—how far I cannot say by actual measurement; but the other night in
exploring I got into the world of patterns, the paradigms—if that is the
word—of things which
are to be on earth. I saw
forms of things which, so far as I know, have not existed on your
planet—inventions, for example. I saw wings that man could adjust to
himself. I saw also new forms of flyingmachines. I saw model cities,
and towers with strange wing-like projections on them, of which
I could not imagine the use. The
progress of mechanical invention is evidently only begun.
Another time I will go on, farther up
in that world of pattern forms, and see if I can learn what lies beyond
Bear this in mind: I merely tell you
stories, as an earthly traveller would tell, of the things I see.
Sometimes my interpretation of them may be wrong.
When I was in the place which we will
call the pattern world, I saw almost nobody there only an occasional
lone voyager like myself. I naturally infer from this that but few of
those who leave the earth go
up there at all. I think from what I have seen, and from
conversations I have had with men and
women souls, that most of them
do not get very far from the earth, even out here.
It is strange, but many persons seem
to be in the regular orthodox heaven, singing in white robes, with
crowns on their heads and with harps in their hands. There is a region
which outsiders call "the heaven country."
There is also, they tell me, a fiery
hell, with at least the smell of
brimstone; but so far I have not been
there. Some day when I feel strong I
42 LETTERS FROM A LIVING
will look in, and if it is not too
depressing I will go farther—if they
will let me.
For the present I am looking about
here and there, and I have not studied carefully any place as yet.
I took the boy, whose name by the way
is Lionel, out with me yesterday. Perhaps we ought to say last night,
for your day is our night when we are on your side of this great hollow
sphere. You and the solid
earth are in the centre of our sphere.
I took the boy out with me for what
you would call a walk.
First we went to the old quarter of
Paris, where I used to live in a former life; but Lionel could not see
anything, and when I pointed out certain buildings to him he asked me
quite sincerely if I were dreaming. I must have some faculty which is
not generally developed among my fellow citizens in the astral country.
So when the boy found that
Paris was only a figment of
my imagination—he used to
live in Boston—I took him to see heaven.
"Why, this must be the place my
grandmother used to tell me about. But where is God?"
That I could not tell him; but, on
looking again, we saw that nearly everybody was gazing in one
direction. We also gazed with the
others, and saw a great light, like
a sun, only it was softer and less
dazzling than the material sun.
"That," I said to the boy, "is what
they see who see God."
And now I have something strange to
tell you; for, as we gazed at that light, slowly there took form between
us and it the figure which we are accustomed to see represented as that
of the Christ. He smiled at
the people and stretched out His hands to them.
Then the scene changed, and He had on
His left arm a lamb; and then
again He stood as if transfigured upon a mountain; then He spoke and
taught them. We could hear His voice. And then He vanished from our
FORMS REAL AND UNREAL
WHEN I first came out here I was so
interested in what I saw that I did not question much as to the manner
of the seeing. But lately—especially since writing the last letter or
two—I have begun to notice a difference between objects that at a
superficial glance seem to be
of much the same substance. For example, I can
sometimes see a difference between those things which have existed on
earth unquestionably, such as the forms of men and women, and other
things which, while visualised and seemingly
palpable, may be, and probably are,
This idea came to me while looking on
at the dramas of the heaven country, and it was forced upon me with
greater power while making other and recent explorations in that which I
have called the pattern world.
Later I may be able to distinguish at
a glance between these two classes of seeming objects. For
example, if I encounter here a being,
or what seems a being, and if
I am told that it is some famous character in fiction, such as jean
Valjean in Hugo's
I shall have reason to believe
that I have seen a thought-form of
sufficient vitality to stand alone,
as a quasi-entity in this world of
tenuous matter. So far I have not encountered any such characters.
Of course, unless I were able to hold
converse with a being, a
form, or saw others do so, I could not positively state that it had an
essential existence. Hereafter
I shall often put things to the test in this way. If I can talk to a
seeming entity, and if it can answer me, I am justified in considering
it as a reality. A character in fiction, or any other mental creation,
however vivid as a picture, would have no soul, no unit of force, no
real self. Whatever comes to me
merely as a picture I shall try to
submit to this test.
If I see a peculiar form of tree or
animal, and can touch and feel it,—for the senses here are quite as
acute as those of earth,—I
know that it exists in the subtle matter of this plane.
I believe that all the beings whom I
have seen here are real; but if I can find one that is not, a being
which I cannot feel when I
touch it and which cannot respond to my questions,—I shall
46 LETTERS FROM A LIVING
have a datum for my hypothesis that
thought-forms of beings, as well as things, may have sufficient cohesion to seem real.
It is undoubtedly true that there is
no spirit without substance, no substance without spirit, latent or
expressed; but a painting of a man may seem at a distance to be a man.
Can there exist deliberate
thought-creations here, deliberate and purposive creations? I believe
so. Such a thought-form would
probably have to be very intense in
order to persist.
It seems to me that I had better
settle this question to my own satisfaction before talking any more
A FOLIO OF PARACELSUS
THE other day I asked my Teacher to
show me the archives in which those who had lived out here had recorded
their observations, if such existed. He said:
"You were a great reader of books
when you were on the earth. Come."
We entered a vast building like a
library, and I caught my breath
in wonder. It was not the
architecture of the building which struck
me, but the quantities of books and
records. There must have been
millions of them.
I asked the Teacher if all the books
were here. He smiled and said:
"Are there not enough? You can make
I asked if the volumes were arranged
"There is an arrangement," he
answered. "What do you want?"
I said that I should like to see the books in
48 LETTERS FROM A LIVING
which were written the accounts of
explorations which other men
had made in this (to me) still slightly known country.
He smiled again, and took from a
shelf a thick volume. It was printed in large black type.1
"Who wrote this book?" I asked.
"There is a signature," he replied.
I looked at the end and saw the
signature: it was that used by Paracelsus.
"When did he write this?"
"Soon after he came out. It was
written between his Paracelsus life and his next one on earth."
The book which I had opened was a
treatise on spirits, human, angelic, and elemental. It began with the
definition of a human spirit as a spirit which had had the experience of
life in human form; and it defined an elemental spirit as a spirit of
more or less developed self-consciousness which had not yet had that
Then the author defined an angel as a
spirit of a high order which had not had, and probably would not have in
future, such experience in matter.
I hope no one will expect me to answer the question
why should such a book appear
to be printed in large black type. I have no more idea than has the
A FOLIO OF
He went on to state that angelic
spirits were divided into two sharply defined groups, the celestial and
the infernal, the former being those angels who worked towards harmony
with the laws of God, the latter being those angels who worked against
that harmony. But he said that both these orders of angels were
necessary, each to the other's existence; that if all were good the
universe would cease to be; that good itself would cease to be through
the failure of its opposite—evil.
He said that in the archives of the
angelic regions there were
cases on record where a good angel had become bad or a bad angel
had become good, but that such cases
were of rare occurrence.
He then went on to warn his fellow
souls who should be sojourning in that realm in which he then wrote, and
in which I knew myself also to be, against holding communion with evil
spirits. He declared that in the subtler forms of life there were more
temptations than in the earth life; that he himself had often been
assailed by malignant angels who had urged him to join forces with them,
and that their arguments were sometimes extremely plausible.
He said that while living on earth he
had often had conversations with spirits both good and bad;
50 LETTERS FROM A LIVING
but that while on earth he had never,
so far as he knew, held converse with an angel of a malignant nature.
He advised his readers that there was
one way to determine whether a being of the subtler world was an angel
or merely a human or an
elemental spirit, and that was by the greater brilliancy of the light
which surrounded an angel. He said that both good and
bad angels were extremely brilliant; but that there was a difference
between them, perceptible at
the first glance at their faces; that the eyes of the celestial angels
were aflame with love and intellect, while the eyes of the infernal
angels were very unpleasant to encounter.
He said that it would be possible for
an infernal angel to disguise himself to a mortal, so that he might be
mistaken for an angel of
light; but that it was practically impossible for an angel to
disguise his real nature from those
souls who were living in their subtle bodies.
I will perhaps say more on this
subject another night. I must rest