Near Paris, July 13.
IT WAS inevitable that, as summer approached, I should watch with mixed feelings for the fulfilment of the predictions which had been so frequent, and couched in terms so singular. For while their accomplishment might involve misfortune and disaster, their failure would cast serious doubts on the trustworthiness of our guides, and the value of our experiences. Thrice had the Seeress been warned of severe illness “in the spring, or later;” and thrice had I been desired to be prepared to “go southward,” or “to France,” at the same date. There, it was declared, I was “to meet Spinoza’s guardian,” who would “communicate with me by inspiration;” and there was “Mary” to undergo what we interpreted as signifying spiritual as well as physical trials. Truly, if the power of foretelling the future be the crucial test of a revelation, we had predictions ample and definite enough to settle the question regarding that given to us.
The closing month of spring – May – was
within ten days of its end when word reached me that the life on which we had been led to believe so much depended, was so seriously menaced that it seemed probable I might be too late to see its owner again unless I repaired instantly to France. This it was impossible for me to do, save at a sacrifice of duty I hesitated to make. In my dilemma I determined to consult the spirits through such mediums as were available. These I was so fortunate as to find among my friends, in two different and independent quarters. In one it was written for me by the spirit of a dead brother of the medium –
“‘Mary’ is exceedingly ill, but she is not to join us yet. You can help her by writing to her and keeping up her spirits, and by stimulating hope and faith. Do not go until summoned by your guardian. The crisis is passing.”
This proved true, for the next day brought word confirming it in every way.
The other quarter consulted by me presented some features of a kind differing from anything I have yet recorded. The principal “familiar” of the wife of my friend already mentioned, Dr. K––, is a “ministering spirit” of the circle known as that of “Terese,” who had already proved, so far as we could obtain verification, of great use to my sick Seeress. On consulting her in the present emergency, she stated, through
her medium, that she had been engaged in tending the spirits of the victims of the war in the East, but had returned voluntarily to look after “Mary” in her illness. On coming to speak with me, she said through her medium that she had just left “Mary” sleeping soundly, and doing well; and that as she could not herself stay away from the scene of the war, she had left another spirit in charge of her, who would be of great use, “if allowed.” My previous opportunities of testing her accuracy had been such as to give me confidence in her promises. Among these were various diagnoses of the states, mental and physical, of persons known to me, but wholly unknown to the medium, and indicating their independence of any knowledge possessed by me by being far in advance of what I knew at the time. Dr. K–– had himself been profoundly sceptical until convinced, through his wife’s instrumentality, that further incredulity would be incompatible with rationality. The knowledge of the spirit in question respecting the Seeress, extended even to her history previously to her entering on the earth-life. The particulars she gave constituted a striking confirmation of the Seeress’s own impressions, already referred to as haunting her in childhood. The spirit represented in the strongest terms the necessity of paying the utmost regard to the invalid health,
physical and spiritual, if she was to accomplish the purpose for which she had been born, in respect either of herself or of her work. And it was added, “Her time is by no means too long for what she has to do.”
Declaring that the necessity of her return to the battlefield made it impossible for her to stay by us longer, “Terese,” to give her the name claimed by all the Order, enabled the medium to see a number of the souls of the newly slain, ranged as so many children in rows, and habited in white, and weeping bitterly. On her departure, the medium, still continuing under trance, was taken possession of by a male spirit, who, making her seize a pencil and paper, wrote through her in vehement haste, “Wake her instantly, or she will follow Terese to the war, when her ears will for days be full of the howlings of the newly-dead spirits, who cannot bear the sudden chill of the spiritual state; and her eyes will be full of figures, horrible, like raving maniacs. Open the window for air, and recall her instantly.”
“We had great difficulty in waking her, for she was eager to go; and already she declared she could see groups of the spirits of the slain, each surrounded by a number of ministering angels, and weeping bitterly.
My information proved correct in all respects; and when, at the beginning of this month, I
found myself at liberty to quit England on a visit to my Seeress and her family, in their pleasant abode in the neighbourhood of Paris, I found that not only in respect of their prognostics of physical trials, but also of spiritual ones, our “genii” had been true prophets. I learnt this also: That to quit the region of sense for that of spirit is not of itself to escape from temptation and conflict; that still, as of old, is there “war in heaven;” and that “Apollyon, the falsifier of all things,” has not yet exhausted the armory of weapons wherewith to attempt the reduction of the fortress of the soul; yet that by faithfulness and steadfastness he can be overcome. To speak more specifically of the experiences here referred to is not at present permitted me. Those who have been able to follow me thus far, will have no difficulty in taking my word for it that events in all respects justified the prediction; and that for us who were witnesses thereof, fresh and resistless proof was afforded of the soundness of the judgment we had formed respecting what had occurred, and of the importance attached to our work by the denizens, bad as well as good, of the spiritual spheres. The interval of two and a half months which had passed since our last communication, while sufficiently long to allow the seeds of doubt and distrust to manifest their vitality in a quarter where least to be expected,
had not been long enough to suffer them to grow into an impassable barrier between ourselves and our guides. That these on their part had kept their word respecting their refusal to communicate with us while separated, had not been due to any omission on our part to seek their aid. “Mary” had repeatedly sought, with the utmost earnestness, for some sign of their presence, but no response was vouchsafed. And when at length we were reunited, it was not on the first; or even the second, attempt to communicate with them that they found us sufficiently harmonised to afford them access. But at length our perseverance was rewarded. As of old, the chill air of their presence fanned our hands. The shiver passed through our frames; we felt the “virtue” going out of us, and they wrote. We had placed both the old and the new “planchette” on the table, the latter being the one made after their special directions; but, scarcely anticipating the presence of the higher spirits, we were using the old one. Herein our surmise was justified. They indicated their order by writing, in reply to a question –
“Yes; but the new writing-table is reserved for the genii.”
On the next occasion these presented themselves, and to our supreme satisfaction wrote what proved to be an epitome and confirmation of all
that together we had done and learnt and hoped. We had made no specific request, but left them to greet us as they would, and this is what they said to us: –
“Teach the doctrine of the Universal Soul, and the Immortality of all creatures. Knowledge of this is what the world most needs, and this is the key-note of your joint mission. On this you must build; it is the key-stone of the arch. The perfect life is not attainable for man alone. The whole world must be redeemed under the new gospel you are to teach.”
The next communication referred to an attempt “Mary” had made to enlist the sympathies of a young French scientist, of high talent and promise, on behalf of her own generous view of existence, and especially of man’s relations to the animals. The notion of owing any duty beyond the limits of one’s own immediate class or kind, had proved to be wholly new to him; and was received accordingly with utter incredulity and contempt, to her great distress. Sitting at the planchette in the evening (the new one), the following was written by our genii. –
“This is to our Sea of Bitterness, Mary, and Caro. She has done well, but she shall save him yet. We have named him Heart of Stone; but she may grave on it. If she do not, none ever will.”
They had said that they could communicate
with me better by imparting visions to the Seeress than in writing. They had also told me that I was to go to France to meet Spinoza’s guardian, who would communicate with me by inspiration. I had taken with me the MS. of this book, in order to give it a final revision under the eye of the one who had been so closely associated with me in the history it records. Soon after my arrival, I found myself strongly impressed with thoughts relating to the teaching of Spinoza, especially in its relation to that of Jesus. Opening my mind freely to the reception of any light that might come, I was shown clearly what agreement was between them, so far as they went together, and the nature and causes of their failure wholly to coincide and reach the same goal. What was given me was a repetition and extension of what I had before seen and said. And I can have no doubt that the ideas were really impressed on me from without; and that although the spirit of the great thinker himself had soared above the earth-sphere beyond possibility of return, his “guardian,” who could be no other than one of those angels of whom it is said that they always behold the face of the Father and who are free to pass and repass the spheres, had indeed, and by express desire of his charge, come to hold with me the promised converse, and enable me to
correct and perfect the doctrine he had with such infinite patience and skill elaborated on earth. With such perfect ease and readiness were the thoughts presented to me, and with such absolute conviction of their truth as comes only when the appeal is made to the consciousness directly, and without the intervention of reasoning; that it was as if a window had been set open in my mind through which they flowed without let or hindrance. Thus it was that our “genii” redeemed their pledge that I was to “go to France in the spring, or later, to meet the guardian of Spinoza, who would communicate with me by inspiration.” And thus it was I received the following
Message from the Spirit of Spinoza.
As representative of the intellectual side only of that divine dualism which Jesus represented in perfection, the dualism of masculine and feminine, energy and Love, Spinoza rising, like Aristotle, on one wing only, the masculine, for that reason failed to attain the fulness of the results achieved by Jesus, or even by Plato. The object of love must be personal; and only where personality is perfect is there freedom of will. Seeking the nature of existence by means of the intellect only, Spinoza was forced to content himself with a God that is not wholly free, in that he is not wholly a person. This
was because the power of the affections was wanting in him to co-operate with that of the understanding. To know God wholly, man must know him in his manifestation of himself in humanity, and, indeed, in all the existence he has put forth from himself, under both sides of its dualism. God to be known, must be seen in woman as well as in man. Ignorant of woman, Spinoza failed to know God. He thus repeated, though on another plane, precisely that which has been the error of the Church and of the modern world. It is impossible on the single wing of the intellect to attain the elevation at which the personality of the divine existence becomes discernible as a necessary truth.
Personality implies freedom. Spinoza’s failure to recognise the freedom of the creature proceeded inevitably from his failure to recognise fully the personality of the Creator. And this, again, arose through the defect in him of the emotional element. The highest truth, that which is reserved for love alone to reveal, or discern, was thus missed by Spinoza. Saturated though he was by the idea of God, it was still with a God who was not free; not a person, not a God of love. And he who aspired to full knowledge was by this defect himself debarred of those qualities essential to perfection, full freedom, full personality. Although a microcosm of the infinite
macrocosm, and containing in himself in varying proportions all that appertains to the whole of which he is the epitome in small, man can recognise only in either that which he discerns in the other. It was through his suffusion with boundless love, not for humanity in itself, but for the perfection of which humanity was but the fleshly limitation, that Jesus was able to reach the full stature at once of God and humanity, and by virtue of the love that is more than knowledge to attain to all knowledge. For him God was a Person, and will free; and by virtue of his will, his power, and his love, he was Parent.
As is the Parent, so is the offspring. Knowing that freedom is the essence of will, and that therefore man and God are alike, in their respective degrees, free, Jesus was no preacher of universal salvation. To resemble his divine Parent, man must be free to fall as well as to rise – free to damn as well as to save himself. Only that scheme of existence is perfect in which all are free, as its author himself is free. The mistake is to suppose that God damns any one. The earliest lesson learnt on passing to “the other side” of the river of death is this, as has been declared to us by one lately gone over, and whose utterance is recorded in this book, – ”Hell and devils are realities, but the world mistakes their origin.” Their origin is this –
Man creates them for himself in the process of damning himself. And he does this because, being free, and equally balanced between good and evil, soul and sense, light and darkness, the whole and the part, he prefers the evil to the good, the darkness to the light, sense to the soul, the smaller self of the individual to the greater self of the whole. A scheme of existence in which all must finally be saved, in spite of themselves, would, for lack of freedom, be a less perfect scheme than that which actually exists. Though the soul is in its nature indestructible, the individual is not therefore necessarily immortal; for the soul is a loan and not a gift. It is a flame which, tended and fostered, burns up into God; but which, rejected or ignored, burns out and becomes extinct in respect of its possessor, but only after many trials and opportunities of recovery, when the individual perishes, and the soul returns to its divine element.
“Pessimism,” or the system of philosophy which regards God as the will that creates, without the Love that redeems, represents the divorce in man of the two essential halves of his own and of all existence. It is the male without the female, the positive without the negative, the acid without the alkali, repulsion without attraction, energy without space in which to exist and create. It is negation, contradiction, absurdity.
Few, if any, are they who, being in the flesh, can attain the full perfection of the spirit while failing to avail themselves of the means afforded by the fleshly affections. Sex is a divine ordinance of which the ends are very far from being exhausted by the reproduction of the species, or the gratification of the physical appetites. Only by those who fully appreciate the doctrine of correspondence between the spiritual and material planes, can the mystery here indicated be fully discerned. It is to the lack of such appreciation that the moderate failure of Spinoza, and the disastrous one of his latest and most grotesque parody, Schopenhauer, were due. Knowing not in the sense the love that is love, they failed to attain it in the spirit. It is less to defect of head than of heart that false philosophy, whether in religion or science, is due, But where Spinoza was simply deficient in force, Schopenhauer was positively morbid. The inference from this is that something essential is wanting to our knowledge of the character and history of Jesus. Could he have known, as he did know, the love that is of the spirit, without first having known that which is of the flesh? Was he not wholly man? And is not the history assigned to him that rather of a phantom? What if further disclosures show that the man Jesus failed to coincide with the preconceived Christ-idea in respects wholly
unsuspected by those who have exalted tradition above intuition?
July 17. – Although I am adding to this book that which I am from day to day receiving, intending, so soon as a convenient time shall come, to send it to be printed, and am wholly dependent on the influences which have hitherto controlled me for that which is to be set down, I find myself under no manner of apprehension lest that which it may yet contain prove in any way inferior to aught that has foregone. In this confidence I have been singularly sustained by the event of the night just past, an account of which, in order to enable it fully to be appreciated, I must preface by the following statement. In the vision, of which an account is then given, it will be seen how our “genii” once more vindicated their declaration that they could communicate with me in visions through their Seeress better than in writing.
In writing the account given in this book of the manner in which various portions of England and Islam were imparted, I have omitted all mention of one of the most important revelations made to me. This was the passage at pages 425–9, describing the nature and reason of St. Paul’s failure to represent a perfect Christianity. That which I have said on this subject was given me in a waking vision not less palpable than any
other I received, and one in which the very personality of the Apostle himself was vividly portrayed. More than once it had occurred to me that I ought in this book to refer particularly to so important a light on the origin of the system which Christendom has accepted in place of the religion of Jesus, but had not yet come to a determination to rectify my omission, owing chiefly to my hesitation to expand it to greater dimensions. I had never informed any one of the incident of the vision of Paul and his doctrine, or of my hesitation about detailing it. And my coadjutor, the Seeress, was wholly ignorant, not only of this part of my book’s history, and of my doubt whether or not to refer to it here, but of the very existence in England and Islam of the passage in question; for it had passed through the press without the proof being submitted to her, and she had been too much occupied with her own work to give more than portions of the book another reading, and these naturally were the passages which especially engaged her sympathies.
Under these circumstances, and knowing, moreover, that she had retired last evening with her mind intensely preoccupied by matters of the deepest personal interest, my surprise this morning was extreme when I was informed that she had received in the past night a vision in
which a version wholly new to her had been given her respecting Paul and his position in the early Church, and influence on Christianity; and one that, moreover, while it took her wholly by surprise, bore for her the appearance of being perfectly true. Recognising the substantial identity of the account which she then proceeded to give me with that contained in England and Islam, I begged her to write down all that she had retained of her vision, adding that I would afterwards show her the corresponding passage in my book. The following is the result; and her reading of its counterpart was productive of a surprise in no degree inferior to my own. The fact, and its attendant circumstances, have amply sufficed to demonstrate to us anew that “the same spirit” who from the first has impelled and controlled my work is still operative in us; and that it is the fixed determination of the presiding influences of the planet to make the downfall of the world’s sacrificial system the keystone of the edifice and keynote of the music of the regeneration to come, wherein life will no longer represent a struggle for existence, but love will be the fulfilling of all laws; and Jesus, not Paul, be recognised as the founder of Christianity. The Seeress shall, in her own person, relate what I will entitle
The Vision of the Apostles.
“In the vision which was given to me last night, it was represented to me that the common view of Paul’s character and position with regard to the primitive Church is a totally false one; and the persons who made the communication which I am about to relate appeared to me to have been personally acquainted with Paul, and to be thoroughly familiar with the events occurring at the time of his apostleship. They told me, with evident indignation, that the Christian Church of today entirely misunderstood the relationship really existing between the Apostles whom Christ had instructed and elected as his missionaries, and the converted Hebrew sacerdotalist. ‘It is amazing,’ they said, ‘that your Church can read in the writings extant concerning our relations with Paul the account of the mistrust, suspicion, and disfavour with which we always regarded him, and not see that he was never one with us. The very leader and chief of our circle withstood him to the face again and again, as though he had been an enemy of the Church; and on one occasion he was forced to fly from the brethren by night and by stratagem, so great and so bitter was the indignation his view of the faith aroused among us who had been the Lord’s friends, and who knew
the truth as Paul never saw it. For he imported into that pure and simple rule of life a mass of Levitical and Rabbinical usages and beliefs which we had shaken from us as the dust from our feet; he sunk the realities of the Gospel of Jesus under an overwhelming weight of hard sayings and sacerdotal misrepresentations; he, who had never known the Master as he was, took upon himself to distort his image into that of a strange God whom we had not known; nor could we recognise in his garbled version of the beautiful and willing martyrdom of the man whom we had so dearly loved, a single trait of his character, or the least resemblance to the doctrine he had taught us. What we had seen and known as the pure and perfect love of a ready death, bravely borne for conscience’ sake, Paul presented to us in a new and unlovely guise as the sacrifice of a victim to appease the anger of the God whom Jesus called his Father and ours. Out of that which had been for us a simple rule of life, a simple purging of the old faith, Paul erected the strange and elaborate system which is called “the scheme of the Atonement.” For us and for Christ there had been no “scheme;” God was reconciled to man by love, and not by sacrifice. But Paul would have a “new religion,” and a creed hard to understand; and he left to the world a Christianity of his own which we knew not, but which is yours
today. And in this he did us greater evil and detriment than if he had persecuted and slain us all physically. For by his false conversion he deceived the world and drowned the truth by a flood of strange doctrines. For this we were all against him, and never acknowledged his apostleship, being persuaded that he knew not Christ nor the faith which Christ taught. Had he been content with the truth, we would never have set our faces against him; for he had many gifts, among which his eloquence was not the least. But through his fatal perversion of the faith, and through his fatal love of metaphysical doctrines and of Rabbinical subtleties, he falsified that which was the glory of the Church, and brought into the world the monstrous doctrines of the “Christianity” which is preached in your churches today,’
“I was further told, that on the night before Paul’s escape in the basket let down from the wall of Damascus, a violent altercation had taken place between him and the ‘brethren,’ in the course of which Paul had maintained that the only chance for the final triumph of the Gospel lay in its erection into a ‘system,’ and one that must of necessity be sacrificial. We then challenged him upon the point, but he insisted that he saw further into the matter than we did, and that his special mission lay in the elaboration
of the plan he had conceived with regard to Christ’s position as a mediator between God and man.
“The foregoing was entirely spontaneous and unexpected. I had not previously given any attention to the subject; nor was I aware of the existence in England and Islam of a passage identical in purport with the substance of the vision I have related.
“I may add, that the personages I beheld in my vision bore no resemblance to any of the numerous representations of the Apostles made by painters; but I was far from being in a sufficiently lucid condition to obtain an impression of their appearance so vivid and distinct as to enable me, as usually is the case, to make a drawing of them. Neither have I been able, with anything like my accustomed accuracy, to reproduce their words. The tone and substance, however, are faithfully rendered. The tone throughout was that of strong indignation, mingled with regret, against Paul; and of scorn at the folly of Christendom in accepting so gross and palpable a perversion of the teaching of Jesus and nature of God as that involved in the sacerdotal doctrine of vicarious atonement.”
July 22. – Yesterday afternoon I was reading aloud for final correction the earlier portion of
my manuscript of this book, and on coming to the passage describing my vision of the soul of a tree, “Mary,” who was sitting near me, was touched on the hand, and impressed to say that spirits were present and listening, and that they intended that evening to impart something to us respecting the subject I was treating, when she had carried out some instructions they had given her. These instructions proved to be of a more ceremonial kind than any we had before put in practice; and the occasion proved to be the commencement of a new phase in our experiences. When the time for sitting came, the Seeress was impelled to discard the planchette in favour of a pencil to be held in her hand, but which, though held by her, was not to be consciously directed by her. For, as with many “mediums,” a feeling of distrust is apt to arise from the habit the spirits have of first putting the ideas they wish to impart into the medium’s mind. It is true that this is no other than what is known as inspiration; but “Mary” was anxious, for her own satisfaction, to make the occasion a crucial one by depriving it even of this pretext for mistrust. Meanwhile, at her request, I seated myself beside her, and placed one of my hands on her head. On the usual phenomenon of the cool afflatus presenting itself, the impulse to write became strong, but was resisted by the
Seeress on the ground that the words to be written had been simultaneously presented to her mind; and she wished, if possible, to be unconscious respecting them. Her wish was presently granted in a remarkable manner, and one that seemed specially contrived to impress us afresh with a sense of the reality and continuity of our experiences, both past and present. For the Seeress was no sooner compelled to commence writing than she fell into a profound state of coma, in which she was wholly unconscious of everything external except my voice, to which she responded readily. The first part of the following communication was written by her in this state. The second was taken down by me as spoken by her. It will be seen that while they refer to the question of the Tree as a symbol of existence, they recognise and supplement the communication received at Easter, and recorded in Chapter VII, which had struck us as so remarkable respecting the origin of evil and the spiritual significance of various orders of animals. Beyond the subject of the Tree, the communication referred to matters quite other than those uppermost in our minds. As the Seeress retired for the night without fully returning to consciousness, it was not until the following morning that she was made aware of what had been delivered through her, when she was no less
gratified than myself at the fulness of the confirmation and the value of the addition vouchsafed. To me it was especially satisfactory to find the waking inspirations, in which the method of creation and the nature of existence had been given to me for England and Islam, thus exactly repeated for one whose own mind was, through the slumber of the organism, completely in abeyance and incapable of originating or influencing the communication. The following is the portion written by the Seeress herself while entranced. I will call it
The Vision of the Tree, and Concerning the Origin of Evil.
“I speak of the Tree and of its meaning. Of this the Hindoos understand more than you, for they represent their gods with many arms. This is because they recognise the fact that the type of all existence is a Tree, and that God’s universal symbol is that of the vegetable kingdom. It is for this reason that the Tree was planted in the midst of the garden, forasmuch as it was and is the type of all existence, the centre from which radiates the whole of creation. Let the insight of the Hindoos instruct you on this matter.
“You have demanded also the origin of Evil. This is a great subject, and we would have withheld
it from you longer, but that it seems to us now that you are in need of it. Understand, then, that evil is the result of creation. For creation is the projection of Spirit into Matter; and with this projection came the first germ of evil. We would have you know that there is no such thing as purely spiritual evil, but that evil is the result of the materialisation of spirit. If you examine carefully all we have said concerning the various forms of evil, you will see that every one is the result of the limitations of matter. Falsehood is the limitation of the faculty of perception; selfishness is the result of the limitation of the power to perceive that the whole universe is but the larger Self; and so of all the rest. It is, then, true that God created evil; but yet it is true that God is Spirit, and being Spirit, is incapable of evil. Evil is then, purely and solely, the result of the materialisation of God. This is a great mystery. We can but indicate it tonight.”
Here the pencil fell from the Seeress’s hand, and she remained for some time utterly insensible, having passed from coma into sleep. Having been assisted to a couch, she after a little while re-entered the trance condition, and called to me to come and hear about the wonderful things she was seeing. I was still writing them down when she woke and asked in surprise why I was
writing – for the room was darkened – and she was incredulous on being told it was what she herself had just being saying. Of neither message had she the slightest knowledge.
While the communication last given is in language provided by the Influences themselves, the following is the Seeress’s own account of what they showed to her. We call it
The Vision of Creation.
“I see a lake, vast and deep and bright. I am not certain whether it is lake or sea. It has no borders that I can perceive. Its waters are so clear I could see the pebbles shining at the bottom, if it had one. It is overspread by a flood of nebulous light, evenly diffused in all parts; and now, as I look, the light has become concentrated into flowers, and between them are spaces of darkness caused by the withdrawal of the light into the flowers. It is a vast floating garden of flowers, and in the midst of the garden is a Tree. The tree spreads out its arms everywhere. The garden is creation, the Tree is God. And the Tree seems in some way to be the flowers, and the flowers belong to the Tree. I cannot discern the material of the Tree; it evades me as I look. It is not matter; it is the substance of matter, the divinity underlying it. God is not light, but that of which light itself is the manifestation.
He willed it to be. Light is the result of his will. He said, Let light be; and it was. Matter is the intensification of Idea. All things are made of God’s thought. He is Spirit, and the substance of things. I see two forces ever in operation. They are the centrifugal and the centripetal. And they are one; yes, one and the same, for I see the force rebound back to God. Creation is ever being projected from God as from a luminous centre; it is always being drawn back again also. Some parts refuse to return; they go into outer space; they are lost. Let me see, – can it be that they pass beyond the sphere of the Divine attraction? Yes; I see that it is so, and oh! they are lost. The spirit is withdrawn; it is as if it were sucked out of them, and they wander away into darkness and expend themselves. The rest, who approach God, develop the spirit in them, becoming more and more like God. He is the richer for them. They continue to exist. They return, but do not become lost in him.
“I thought I was describing orbs in space, projected from a central sun around which they circled; but, looking closer, I see them as individuals. They have become persons. It must be that the method of creation is the same for all.
“God existed prior to creation; there was a time when he did not create; it was his Sabbath
of rest. Such Sabbaths recur, – when there is no material universe. This is when the Divine mind ceases from thinking. For God to think is to create. Matter itself is a result of the Divine thought; it was first produced by the intensification of Idea. It appears to me that water was its first form. Spirit is Divinity itself. God is dual. I see, on looking closer, that through his duality he produces creation. Evil is caused by creation, or the projection of Spirit into matter – that is, it is Spirit which, by being projected far enough from the Divine centre, becomes matter. Perception is one; the senses are specialised modes of perception. God is perception itself. He is universal percipience. He is both that which sees and that which is seen. If we all could see all, hear all, touch all, and so forth, there would be no evil, for evil comes of the limitation of perception. Such limitation was necessary, if God was to produce aught other than God. Aught other than God must be less than God. Without evil, therefore, God would have remained alone. All things are God, according to the measure of the Spirit in them. And now I see that the nearest of all to God is a woman. I am too tired to see more at present.”
July 23. – Intense as had been the Seeress’s pleasure at finding such high recognition of and exercise for her faculty as implied in the foregoing,
it was far exceeded by the delight of the vision presented to her last night, which, as will be seen by the following account written by herself, made by its interest and beauty an impression beyond all previous experience. It consisted in the exhibition to her of a pictorial representation of the discovery I had made by the long and toilsome process described in the early part of this book – namely, the substantial truth and identity of the world’s religions. It seems to me impossible to compare this vision with what I have said on the subject in England and Islam, especially at p. 334, without coming to the conclusion that both are the product of “the same spirit.” We have named it
The Vision of the World’s Religions.
“I found myself – accompanied by a guide, who seemed to me a young man of Eastern habit and appearance, and the same who had spoken last in the ‘Vision of Perfection’ – passing through long vistas of trees, which, as we advanced, continually changed in aspect. Thus we threaded avenues of English oaks and elms, the foliage of which gave way as we passed to that of warmer and moister climates; and we saw overhead the hanging masses of broad-leaved palms, and enormous trees whose names I do not know, spreading their fingered leaves over us like great
green hands in a manner that frightened me. Here also I saw huge grasses, which rose over my shoulders, and through which I had to beat my way at times as through a sea; ferns of colossal proportions – every possible variety and mode of tree-life, every conceivable shade of green, from the densest blue-green to the faintest and clearest yellow. One wood in particular I stood to admire. It seemed as though every leaf of its trees were of gold, so intensely yellow was the tint of the foliage. In these forests and thickets I saw the shrines of numerous gods, such as the Hindoos worship. We came upon them now and then in open spaces; they seemed uncouth and rudely painted, but all were profusely adorned with gems, chiefly turquoises, and all had many arms and hands, in which they held lotus flowers, sprays of palm, and coloured berries. Passing by these strange figures, we came to a darker part of our course, where the character of the trees changed, and the air seemed colder. I perceived that a shadow had fallen over the way; and looking upward I saw we were passing beneath a great roof of dark, indigo-coloured pines, which seemed here and there positively black in their density and depth. Intermingled with them were firs, whose great, straight stems were covered with lichen and mosses of beautiful variety and form, looking
strangely like green ice-crystals. Presently we came to a little, broken down, rude kind of chapel in the midst of the wood. It was built of stone; and masses of stone, shapeless and moss-grown, were lying scattered about on the ground outside. At a little rough-hewn altar within it stood a Christian priest blessing the sacred elements. Overhead the great dark sprays of the larches and cone-laden firs swept the roof of the little chapel, and I sat down to rest on one of the stones, and looked upwards awhile at the foliage. Then, turning my gaze towards the earth again, I saw a vast circle of stones, moss-grown, like that on which I sat, ranged in a circle such as that of Stonehenge. It occupied a little open space in the midst of the forest; and the grass and the climbing plants of the place had fastened on the crevices of the stones. One stone, larger and taller than the rest, stood at the juncture of the circle, in a place of honour, as though it had stood for a symbol of divinity. I looked at my guide and said: ‘Here, at least, is an idol whose semblance belongs to another type than that of the Hindoos.’ He smiled, and turned from me to the Christian priest at the altar. ‘Priest,’ said he aloud, ‘why do your people receive from sacerdotal hands the bread only, while you yourselves receive both bread and
wine?’ And the priest answered, ‘We receive no more than they; for though under another form, the people are partakers with us of the sacred wine with its particle. The blood is the life of the flesh, and of it the flesh is formed; without it the flesh could not consist. The communion is the same.’ Then again the young man turned to me, and waved his hand towards the stone before me. And as I looked, it opened from its summit to its base; and I saw within that its strata had the form of a tree, and that every tiny minute crystal of which it was formed – globules so fine that grains of sand would have been coarse in comparison with them – that every atom composing its mass was stamped with this same tree-image, and bore the shape of the ice-crystals, of the ferns, and of the colossal palm-leaves I had seen. ‘Before these stones were,’ said the young man, ‘the Tree of Life stood in the midst of the universe.’ Again we passed on, leaving behind the chapel, and the circle of stones, and the pines, and the firs; and the foliage around us grew more stunted and home-like. We travelled quickly; but now and then, through breaks and openings in the woods, I saw solitary oaks standing in the midst of green spaces, and beneath them kings giving judgment to their people, and lawgivers administering laws. And at last we came to a
forest of such enormous trees that they made me tremble to look at them. Their stems were so huge that they seemed to me unearthly: they rose hundreds of feet from the ground before they burst out at length, far, far above us, into colossal masses of vast-leaved foliage. I cannot sufficiently record the impression of awe, and even of fear, with which the sight of these monster trees inspired me. There seemed to me something pitiless and phantom-like in the bare severity of their enormous trunks, without break or branch, stretching up into the distance overhead, and there at length giving birth to a sea of dark waving plumes, the rustle of which reached my ears like the sound of tossing waves. Passing beneath these vast trees we came to others of smaller growth, but of still the same type – straight-stemmed, with branching foliage at their summit. Here we stood to rest, and as we paused I became aware that the trees around me were losing their colour and by imperceptible degrees becoming stone. In nothing was their position or their form altered, only a cold grey hue overspread them, and the intervening spaces between their stems became filled up as though by a cloud which gradually grew substantial. I raised my eyes, and Io! overhead were the arches of a vast cathedral, spanning the sky, and closing it from my sight. The tree-stems had
become tall columns of grey stone; their plumed tops were the carven architraves and branching spines of Gothic sculpture. The incense rolled in great dense clouds to their outstretching arms, and broke against them, and hung in floating, fragrant wreaths about their carven sprays. I looked downward towards the altar; it was covered with flowers and plants and garlands, and in the midst of these stood a great golden crucifix. I looked about for my guide to ask him a question, but I could not find him; a vast crowd of worshippers surrounded me; the priest before the altar raised the pyx and the paten in his hands; the people fell upon their knees and bent their heads like a great field of corn over which a strong wind passes. I knelt with the rest, and adored with them in silence.”
July 24. – We passed yesterday afternoon among the lovely woods of St. Cloud, discoursing chiefly over the vision of the preceding evening. Exquisite as was the scene around us, now in its richest beauty, and keenly alive as was the Seeress to its beauty, it served, by the contrast, but to heighten the impression that had been made on her. Point after point of truth and beauty now recurred to her memory, showing that the relation already written is but a meagre sketch of that which was beheld, so that I had hope of being able to render a yet fuller and
richer account than has been given. But it was not to be. Further revelations were in store, the pressure of which made the hope impossible of realisation. Only the signification left by the vision on the Seeress’s mind can now be added. It was this: – That the divine idea of creation, at first expressed in the Tree, after a long series of evolutions, at length attained its full development and perfection in Humanity; and of both Tree and Man the Cross was the reunion. In that is represented God and Man become one. We spoke, among other things, of the light that had been thrown for us on the function of the prophetess. Though associated with the prophet in so many of the elder revelations, the woman has never been represented as fulfilling a part which for its importance was to be compared with that exercised by the present representative of the class. Could it be that the utterances of an Isaiah, and other prophets similarly associated, were really, in great measure, delivered through the women with whom they were allied, and that the men took all the credit to themselves? As an enthusiastic advocate of the rights of her sex, our Seeress more than suspected that herein she had hit upon a new and flagrant instance of man’s chronic injustice to woman.
As evening approached, the Seeress experienced an access of that impulse to spiritual intercourse which we have learnt to recognise as a sign that
our guides desire to speak with us. She accordingly prepared for the occasion, repeating the ceremonial of the previous evening, with some additions. The process involved a bath, anointing with fragrant oil, brushing out the hair and allowing it to hang loosely down, and covering herself with a thin and gauzy robe of white, which was fastened with gems of various kinds, the opal being strictly excepted, we presume on account of the malign influence with which it is credited. The night was one of exquisite beauty; and as, thus lightly arrayed, and with bared feet and fair hair streaming behind, the slender form stood by the open window, bathed in the soft light of a moon wanting but two days of its full, and attended closely by the king of the planets, in his fullest lustre, and at a respectful distance by Mars and Saturn; while far below lay the city, so fair to the sense, so foul to the spirit; and within the darkened chamber rose wreaths of burning incense, – the scene lacked nothing to give it a character appertaining to spheres angelic rather than human. Our minds were not specially preoccupied by any subject as that on which we desired illumination. We felt that the work was not our own, and that they who led us would best judge what was best. Hence we merely enumerated some half dozen points – the origin of evil, the nature, history, and mission of Jesus, the motive of creation and
method of redemption – as those on which light would be welcome. On the table lay materials for writing; and at the Seeress’s request I seated myself thereat in order to fulfil the function of scribe; for she was impelled to utter aloud that which was about to be delivered through her. This was a new feature, and one which we regarded as significant of a new development of her powers. Presently, extending an arm upwards, and placing a hand over her eyes, she spoke with the halting utterance of one repeating what with some difficulty was heard from afar. Looking at her, I perceived that the afflatus had descended, and the spirit was upon her. As usual with those in a comatose state, she was insensible to all external influences, save only to the voice of myself as the one with whom she was in rapport. This was her first deliverance on that evening. I call it
The Vision of the Error of Paul.
“At this moment I hear a surge of waters. Out of the midst of them a voice seems to speak to me. This is what it says: –
“‘Many years before Paul wrote, there arose a sect called the Manichæans. The founder of that sect, like the founder of the Epicureans, was inspired by us; but they, like the Epicureans, understood not Sin. The founder of the Manichæans,
whom we call Felix, saw this, that evil was the result of creation; but his disciples understood that all matter was evil. In this alone they erred. And Paul, following his reason, but uninspired, perceived only the doctrine of the disciples. It is true, then, as the founder of the Manichæans saw, that evil is the result of creation, but not that matter is evil. He who among you possesses the most vivid imagination, can project upon the retina palpable rings of his thought. Thus it is with Deity. I have said already that Matter is the intensification of Idea, and that evil is the result of materialisation. You have asked me, why then did God create? I perceive that God created by force of will; and that, willing he imparted to every thought the power of will which, but for the limitation, could not have existed. He, then, is so much the richer by the will of the thought which he projects.’”
Here the speaker ceased, and I looked towards her, intending to express the feeling akin to that of disappointment which the communication, remarkable and important as it was, had excited in me. For it was not, I felt, for a message of that description that the scene before me had been prepared.
On looking towards her, however, I found that she had quitted her erect position, and was
kneeling in a rapt attitude, and praying, with her arms extended towards the skies. To whom or for what she was praying, I knew not. Had I known, I should have been spared a period of severe uneasiness. For, as I learnt on the following day, she had, under the entrancing beauty of the night, and an access of spiritual exaltation, yielded to a sudden and uncontrollable impulse, to pray that she might be taken to the stars, and shown all the glory of the universe. My uneasiness arose from my impression that she had been taken unawares, and that therefore our guides could not be trusted for refraining from rash enterprises. But, as appeared from the sequel, that which occurred was only in compliance with her own request – a request with which possibly they had inspired her. For presently she rose, and after gazing upwards in ecstasy, she lowered her eyes and clasped her arms round her head to shut out the view, uttering the while in tones of wonder, mingled with moans and cries of anguish, the following tokens of the intolerable splendour of the vision she had courted, and which, when it came, proved more than she could bear. We call it
The Vision of God and the Universe.
“Oh, I see masses, masses of stars! It makes me giddy to look at them. O, my God, what
masses! Millions and millions! WHEELS of planets! O, my God, my God, why didst thou create? It was by Will, all Will, that thou didst it. Oh! what might, what might of Will! Oh, what gulfs! what gulfs! Millions and millions of miles broad and deep! Hold me! – hold me up! I shall sink – I shall sink into the gulfs. I am sick and giddy, as on a billowy sea. I am on a sea, an ocean – the ocean of infinite space. Oh, what depths! what depths! I sink – I fail! I cannot, cannot bear it!”
Observing here that she was becoming unsteady, and swaying to and fro as one on shipboard, I approached close, in order to catch her in case she fell. This presently happened, and I placed her in a chair, from which, however, she presently slid to the floor, where she insisted on remaining during the rest of her trance. But so wholly independent were her spirit’s sensations of her bodily position, that this change afforded no relief from the feeling of rising and sinking by which the soul’s passage across the gulfs of space was accompanied; and during the rest of the vision, and through the night, and far on into the next day, she endured all the miseries of a rough sea voyage.
The intensity of the body’s distress, however, effected no abatement of the spirit’s ecstasy; and the paroxysms of wonder, fear, and adoration
alternated continuously with those of the physical malady. So unrestrained were her expressions of anguish and apprehension at the sights presented to her, that it become necessary to close the windows, to prevent an alarm out of doors; and mingled with her exclamations to the very end were descriptions of what she felt and saw – things, persons, and scenes, so novel and unanticipated – described so vividly and graphically as to leave no doubt either of their reality or that of the journey she was making to the centre of her own and of all consciousness. She declared repeatedly that her soul had quitted her body, and was being borne through the universe by invisible guides, herself also being invisible. It appeared as if it were through the occasional failure of her own faith that she experienced the sensation of falling which was so distressing to her. Her exclamations continued: –
“I shall never come back. I have left my body for ever. I am dying; I believe I am dead. Impossible to return from such a distance! Oh, what colossal forms! They are the angels of the planets. Every planet has its angel standing erect above it. And what beauty! – what marvellous beauty! I see Raphael. I see the Angel of the Earth. He has six wings. He is a god – the god of our planet. I see my genius, who called himself A.Z.; but his name
is Salathiel. Oh, how surpassingly beautiful he is! My genius is a male, and his colour is ruby. Yours, Caro, is a female, and sapphire. They are friends – they are the same – not two, but one; and for that reason they have associated us together, and speak of themselves sometimes as I, sometimes as We. It is the Angel of the Earth himself that is your genius and mine, Caro. He it was who inspired you, who spoke to you. And they call me Bitterness. And I see sorrow – oh, what unending sorrow do I behold! Sorrow, always sorrow, but never without love. I shall always have love. How dim is this sphere! Oh, save me – save me! It is my demon that I am approaching. It is Paris – Paris himself, once of Troy, now of the city that bears his name. He is floating recumbent. He turns his face towards me. How beautiful and dark he is! Oh, he has goat’s horns – he has goat’s horns! Save me, save me from him! Ah, he sees me not. I forgot, I am invisible. Now I have passed him.”
So great was the Seeress’s terror at the sight of this figure, that I endeavoured to reassure her by reminding her that she was in charge of great and good angels, who would not let her come to harm at the hands of any demon, be he who he might. Of the grounds of her terror I had too good cause to be aware; for she had several
times of late suffered from visitations for which we had been sorely troubled to account. I am not permitted to specify the particulars further than to say that, on coupling this incident in her vision with the previous occurrences referred to, I find the strongest grounds for believing that the passages in England and Islam (pp. 253, 257-8, 260-2, and 341), in which I was made to speak of Paris and Helen of Troy as being at this day the presiding evil genii of the French capital, is no allegory, but a literal fact. But that portion also of my book had escaped the Seeress’s notice; and hers was a wholly separate suggestion. There were circumstances connected with the experiences referred to strongly calculated to show that certain tales ordinarily referred to mythology, of demoniacal visitation, do not misrepresent the actual fact. Paris lost sight of, and his sphere left behind, she continued: –
“I am entering a brighter region now. What glorious form of womanhood is that, so queenly, so serene, and endowed with all wisdom? It is Pallas Athene, – a real personage in the spiritual world! And yonder is one of whom I have no need to ask. I am passing through the circle of the Olympians. It is Aphrodite, mother of love and beauty. Oh, Aphrodite, spirit of the waters, firstborn of God, how could I adore thee! And men on earth now deem the gods and goddesses
of Greece mere fables! And I behold them living and moving in strength and beauty before me! I see also the genii of all the nations dwelling serenely in heavenly circles. What crowds and crowds of gods from India and Egypt! Who are those with the giant muscles? They are Odin and Thor, and their fellow-gods of Scandinavia. Not dead and lost for ever; only withdrawn from the world whereon they sought in vain to stamp their images for ever.
“Oh, the dazzling, dazzling brightness! Hide me, hide me from it! I cannot, cannot bear it! It is agony supreme to look upon. Oh God! oh God! thou art slaying me with thy light. It is the throne itself, the great white throne of God that I behold! Oh, what light! what light! It is like an emerald? A sapphire? No; a diamond. In its midst stands Deity erect, his right hand raised aloft, and from him pours the light of light. Forth from his right hand streams the universe, projected by the omnipotent repulsion of his will. Back to his left, which is depressed and set backwards, returns the universe, drawn by the attraction of his love. Repulsion and attraction, will and love, right and left, these are the forces, centrifugal and centripetal, male and female, whereby God creates and redeems. Adonai! O Adonai! Lord God of life, made of the substance of light, how
beautiful art thou in thine everlasting youth! with thy glowing golden locks, how adorable! And I had thought of God as elderly and venerable! As if the Eternal could grow old! And now not as man only do I behold thee! For now thou art to me as woman. Lo, thou art both. One, and Two also. And thereby dost thou produce creation. Oh God, oh God! why didst thou create this stupendous existence? Surely, surely, it had been better in love to have restrained thy will. It was by will that thou createdst, by will alone, not by love, was it not? – was it not? I cannot see clearly. A cloud has come between.
“I see thee now as woman. Maria is next beside thee. Thou art Maria. Maria is God. Oh Maria! God as woman! Thee, thee I adore! Maria-Aphrodite! Mother! Mother-God!
“They are returning with me now, I think. But I shall never get back. What strange forms! how huge they are! All angels and archangels. Human in form, yet some with eagles’ heads. All the planets are inhabited! how innumerable is the variety of forms! Oh! universe of existence, how stupendous is existence! Oh! take me not near the sun; I cannot bear its heat. Already do I feel myself burning. Here is Jupiter! It has nine moons!”
“Are you sure?” I cried. “Look again.”
“Yes; nine – some are exceedingly small. And oh, how red it is! It has so much iron. And what enormous men and women! There is evil there, too. For evil is wherever are matter and limitation. But the people of Jupiter are far better than we on earth. They know much more; they are much wiser. There is less of evil in their planet. Ah! and they have another sense, too. What is it? No; I cannot describe it.”
“Is it like that of the migratory birds?” I inquired.
“No; I cannot tell what it is. It differs from any of the others. We have nothing like it?”
“Come, you are nearing earth now.”
“No, no. I cannot get back yet, I shall never get back. I believe I am dead. It is only my body you are holding. It has grown cold for want of me. Yet I must be approaching; it is growing shallower. We are passing out of the depths. Yet I can never wholly return – never – never!”
Her apprehension was not without justification, for several hours passed ere her consciousness was once more wholly replaced in her body.
It is impossible for any one, who did not witness the intensely dramatic action and tone with which these ejaculations were uttered, to form anything like an adequate conception of the sense of reality they inspired. Following every
step with eager sympathy, I seemed myself to behold and experience all that was being described almost as vividly as if I had really accompanied her flight. Hence I found it scarcely possible to doubt that the Seeress was in the right, when she declared her conviction that what she had been permitted to behold was no illusion but the reality itself of the universe. My acquaintance with the zodiacal planisphere, moreover, gave me a peculiar facility for following her progress. For as she passed from one ring to another of the concentric spheres of existence, and from one spiritual constellation to another of national deities, to arrive at length at the supreme and central force-point of all, and find that to be GOD, I could recognise the identical scheme which had been shown to the seers of old, John, Ezekiel, Hermes, and those still earlier of Chaldea and Hindostan, to whom were given the primitive revelations. And I observed this also, which gives for me its supreme value to this vision. I had already, in England and Islam been impelled to characterise the sitter on the throne in the apocalyptic vision as the divine Two-in-One, though John had not thus declared him. John’s zodiacal revelation, while essentially identical with those of his predecessors, had been a further development upon theirs. For he saw God as love, while they had seen him only as will, wisdom, or force. But of the further constitution of the divine
nature he said nought, for the time was not yet come for it to be divulged to the world. Perhaps it was not yet come for it to be disclosed even to him. It is difficult to believe that while telling so much of that which had been shown to him, he would not have told more had he been shown more. This, then, as I understand it, is the significance of the new revelation of the zodiac made through our Seeress. It is a further disclosure to man of the divine nature, and an intimation that henceforth God is to be recognised in his duality on all planes of existence, as he never yet has been recognised, in order that by knowing God and knowing himself, man may now carry on the development of the earth’s consciousness to its last and crowning stage. Thus proving himself in spirit and flesh alike made “in the image of God, male and female,” he will realise the full accomplishment of the work of the sixth day of creation on its highest plane, and so become ready for the final Sabbath of perfection and rest.
The Seeress describes the attitude and expression of Adonai as indicating the absolute calmness and repose of the power without effort, which is conceivable of the infinite alone. Though bearing distinctly the aspect of humanity, it was impossible, she felt, to represent the form in definite outline, and she declares that it seems like a sacrilege to attempt thus to reduce it. The
fact is not without significance that, after neither vision in which she had beheld deity associated with or under the form of a woman, did she retain any recollection of having done so. This part of the revelation was not to be through her.
July 26. – The greater part of the day following the receipt of this vision was passed by the Seeress in her bed, where her sufferings from the continued sense of the heaving and sinking of her transit were still very severe, for all surrounding objects continued to rock and sway as with one recently off a stormy voyage. It was late on the second day when she presented herself, and then it required all her power to receive her wonted lesson from her instructor in the sciences. Of renewed communication that evening we had no thought, her nervous system being far too much shaken, and her force reduced, to allow of further exhaustion without danger. I was happy to find, on conversing with her on the subject of her vision, that she had a perfect recollection of nearly the whole of it, and was able even to amplify my account and supply sundry details. Her lesson over, she was still further lowered, and this by reason not only of the intellectual exertion, but of the nature of the subject. For it had been a lesson in physiology; and her instructor had insisted on detailing a number of experiments he was engaged in making upon, rabbits, and guinea-pigs, and other living
creatures – experiments consisting in tying the passage between the kidneys and bladder in order to produce blood-poisoning through the diversion of the secretions from their proper course; varnishing their bodies in order to produce another form of poisoning – namely, that which arises from the suppression of the cutaneous evaporation, and ends in a lingering death by asphyxia; together with other favourite barbarities of the vivisecting class, all of which have been hundreds of times repeated, and are wholly useless for any purpose of therapeutics – a purpose, indeed, contemned as “sentimental” by the ruthless worshippers of the god Knowledge. Her teacher had, moreover, in answer to a question, admitted the impossibility of arguing from the animal to the human economy.
Having already embittered her relations with other of her teachers by her energetic remonstrances on this behalf, the Seeress had endured in silence a recital that to her was simply agonising; but her demeanour showed what she had suffered, and that she was yet further unfitted for a renewal of spirit communion. Hence we had on parting for the night no anticipation whatever of that which was about to take place.
I had slept for about two hours, when I awoke to find my door open, and a strong and fragrant odour pervading the room. Hastily arraying myself, l repaired to the apartment dedicated to
the celebration of our mysteries, where I found standing beside the table the Seeress, semiconscious, and arrayed as on the previous occasion, while the table presented evidence of the manner in which she had been occupied; for it was covered with sheets of paper of which several were filled with writing. Pointing to these, she said that she had summoned me in order that I might place them in safety until the morning, and then give her something to restore her to life, as she was chilled to ice, especially in the region of the head; a symptom I recognised at once as indicating an access of trance lucidity. When at length, by the administration of food and warmth, she was restored to full consciousness, I learnt, in reply to my remonstrances, that the impulse to communicate had seized her during a brief glance she had taken at the moon ere retiring, with a force she could not resist, and that she had mechanically obeyed it. She added that of the nature of the communication received she had no conception, except that it referred to the sea, the saline odour and moisture of which she had felt as palpably as if she had been on the shore, where, indeed, it proved she had been in spirit. On the following morning we eagerly perused together the message that had been so strangely delivered; when I had no doubt that it had been in order to avail themselves of the moon’s full that our genii had insisted on thus using the
Seeress at such a time. How far their communication merits to be regarded as belonging to the category of what the Pentateuch terms “the precious things put forth by the moon,” must be gathered from its contents. For ourselves it was a wholly new, authoritative, and inestimably valuable
Revelation Concerning the Immaculate Conception.
“I stand upon the sea-shore. The moon overhead is at the full. A soft and warm breath, like that of the summer wind, blows in my face. The aroma of it is salt with the breath of the sea. O Sea! O Moon! from you I shall gather what I seek! You shall recount to me the story of the Immaculate Conception of Maria, whose symbols ye are!
“Allegory of stupendous significance! with which the Church of God has so long been familiar, but which yet never penetrated its understanding, like the holy fire which enveloped the sacred Bush, but which, nevertheless, the Bush, withstood and resisted.
“Yet has there been one who comprehended and who interpreted aright the parable of the Immaculate Conception, and he found it through US, by the light of his own intense love, for he was the disciple of love, and his name is still – the Beloved; – John, the Seer of the Apocalypse. For he, in the vision of the woman clothed with the sun, set forth the true significance of the
Immaculate Conception. For the Immaculate Conception is none other than the prophecy of the means whereby the universe shall at last be redeemed. Maria – the sea of limitless space – Maria the Virgin, born herself immaculate and without spot, of the womb of the Ages, shall in the fulness of time bring forth the perfect man, who shall redeem the race. He is not one man, but ten thousand times ten thousand, the Son of Man, who shall overcome the limitations of Matter, and the Evil which is the result of the materialisation of Spirit. His Mother is Spirit, his Father is Spirit, yet he is himself incarnate; and how then shall he overcome evil, and restore Matter to the condition of Spirit? By force of Love. It is Love which is the centripetal power of the universe; it is by Love that all creation returns to the bosom of God. The force which projected all things is Will, and Will is the centrifugal power of the universe. Will alone could not overcome the evil which results from the limitations of Matter; but it shall be overcome in the end by Sympathy, which is the knowledge of God in others – the recognition of the omnipresent Self. This is Love. And it is with the children of the Spirit, the servants of Love, that the dragon of Matter makes war.
“Now, whether or not the world be strong enough to bear this yet, we know not. This is not the first time we have revealed these things
to men. An ancient heresy, cursed by the Church, arose out of a true inspiration; for the disciples are ever weaker than the Master, and they have not his spiritual discernment. I speak of the Gnostics. To the Master of the Gnostics we revealed the truth of the Immaculate Conception. We told him that Immanuel should be the God-Man who, transcending the limitations of Matter, should efface the evil of materialisation by the force of Love, and should see and hear and speak and feel as though he were pure Spirit, and had annihilated the boundaries of Matter. This, then, he taught; but they who heard his teaching, applying his words only to the individual Jesus, affirmed that Jesus had had no material body, but that he was an emanation of a spiritual nature; an Æon who, without substance or true being in the flesh, had borne a phantom part in the world of men. Beware lest in like manner ye also are misread. It is so hard for men to be spiritual. It is as hard for us to declare ourselves without mystery. The Church knows not the source of its dogmas. We marvel also at the blindness of the hearers, who indeed hear, but who have not eyes to see. We speak in vain, – ye discern not spiritual things. Ye are so materialised that ye perceive only the material. The Spirit comes and goes; ye hear the sound of its voice; but ye cannot tell whither it goeth nor whence it cometh. All that is true is spiritual.
No dogma of the Church is true that seems to bear a physical meaning. For Matter shall cease, and all that is of it, but the Word of the Lord shall remain for ever. And how shall it remain except it be purely spiritual; since, when Matter ceases, it would then be no longer comprehensible? I tell you again, and of a truth, – no dogma is real that is not spiritual. If it be true, and yet seem to you to have a material signification, know that you have not solved it. It is a mystery: seek its interpretation. That which is true, is for Spirit alone.”
Thus at length was it made fully manifest to me that the scheme of the earth’s redemption by a Virgin-born Saviour, which, known to the earliest ages and contained in the earliest Bible – the Bible of the zodiacal planisphere – has constituted the foundation and controlled the superstructure of the earth’s religions, was originally a revelation from the spiritual world as a part of the plan of creation; and by its very nature incapable of the material rendering assigned to it by the Churches. Inheriting the knowledge of the dogma, but ignorant alike of its source and its significance, these had, by its degradation to the physical plane and restriction to an individual, made it the agent not of salvation but of destruction; inasmuch as it is upon the doctrine of a divine and immaculately-born victim that the world’s sacrificial system – at once consequence,
cause, and evidence of its utter materialisation – has been erected and sustained; while by its implied repudiation, as intrinsically impure, of the physical functions of Sex, the human affections have been degraded and trampled under foot.
Those who with intelligence and sympathy have followed me thus far, will be able to comprehend and appreciate the profundity of the gratification with which I read and reread this deliverance. Here was the seal set to that from which I myself, after declaring it in England and Islam (p. 468-9), had almost recoiled, notwithstanding the attestation received, as possibly transcending the limits of my commission; and half fearing lest perchance my intuition had been overpowered or obscured by prepossession or reason. I have already, when treating of the subject in this book, described it as one on which I was desirous of further light (p. 94). And now such light has come, in no dim and flickering rays, but in a full and sudden burst of complete illumination that leaves nothing to be desired; and the supremest dogma of the world’s Churches, pagan as well as Christian, has at length found its true interpretation, to be henceforth no longer a curse but a blessing to mankind.
Not otherwise is it with the other utterances, however vast their import, of which England and Islam was made the vehicle. Of that which was said there, whether concerning the nature and
relations of spirit and matter; the system, method, and motive of creation; the correspondence of the creative and redemptive forces with those of repulsion and attraction, centrifugal and centripetal, will and love, male and female; the meaning and object of religion; the relations of God and man; the nature and place of the true Self; the error of Paul; the significance of the Apocalypse; and the utter falseness of that whole sacrificial system which, reared on the sacerdotal perversion of the nature of existence, has in the past been the world’s greatest bane, is in the present its direst menace, and in the future its sole enemy; – all has now been reiterated and confirmed, with a fulness and distinctness that leave nothing to be desired, by the Tutelary Angel himself of the Planet.
Well might we have deemed our work over and done when thus recognised and crowned. But had such been our belief the following vision, which was received by the Seeress on the night of July 29th, would have removed it. It was accompanied, however, by the strongest impression that for the present the communications are wholly or nearly over. I give it in her own words, entitling it –
A Vision of the Secret of Youth.
“I saw myself seated at a table writing in a great white book; but what I wrote I knew not.
At my right hand sat Caro, and it seemed to me that another, whom I could not see, stood behind me and guided my pen. All about me was light and of a white colour. My dress was white, the walls of the room appeared argentine, the letters of the words I wrote were themselves traced in silver. I said, ‘If I write so much I shall grow old.’ And some one answered, ‘Not while the sun stands in the centre of all things.’”
According to frequent Scripture wont, this vision was in token of its importance thrice repeated; and though accompanied by the impression I have described, it clearly constituted an imperative injunction to hold ourselves at the disposal of our guides in readiness for further communications. As the time of our separation was at hand, and our plans for the future were undetermined, it remained, and at the time of this present writing still remains, uncertain how, when, or where the communications may be resumed. It can scarcely be doubted, however, that if only we still maintain that faithfulness to our intuition of the best, so aptly described in the foregoing vision as keeping the sun in the centre, the requisite facilities will not be waiting in due time.
A few days later I quitted France, the communications still continuing, though with less frequency, and consisting chiefly of directions and cautions for our own guidance. They were
interspersed, however, with sundry utterances of a more general character, with a selection from which I will conclude this narrative.
On the evening of August 6th, “Mary,” being entranced, beheld her genius standing beside her, “splendid, colossal, and beautiful.” Under his inspiration, she delivered a long series of utterances – admonitory, prophetic, and exegetic – among which were the following. It will be seen that they not only confirm and amplify the communications already received, but that they exhibit in a striking manner the purpose our guides had in view when they impelled their Seeress that was to be, on a course of scientific study. It is only by supplementing imagination with knowledge, the subjective vision with the objective fact, that the correspondence of the material to the spiritual world can be revealed. That which is here disclosed may be regarded as but a specimen and an instalment of the treasures in store.
“The music of the spheres,” she commenced, “is a fact! a tremendous fact! It opens upon me so fully and richly, and the subject is such a vast one, that I could speak volumes about it; but I must not touch it now. I wish I could have music, though. The spirits could do so much better with music, especially that of the organ, which has neither strings nor metal, but uses the air itself. That is why the organ is in churches. The wind represents the
spirit. They prefer melody, too, to harmony. Melody produces such exquisite order among the particles of air. Any interruption, like the barking of dogs which I hear, disturbs the order and breaks up the image, as the throwing of a stone into water destroys its reflection of the heavens.
“You wish,” she continued, “to know the meaning of the dream concerning the Bird, and the Treasure in the house without shutters. We mistook it. It referred to that which must be, which must come, no matter what you say or suppress. It was not so much a warning or an admonition as a prophecy. ...
“I perceive that all the Christs of the world are precisely those over whom the veil of Matter is thinnest. This is why the painters and poets of all times have always represented the saints, and especially Jesus, with the aureole. It is the spirit shining through the veil of flesh. This is why the face of Moses and of Stephen shone. ...
“There is a verse in the Apocalypse which stands thus: – ‘And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days clothed in sackcloth; and they shall have power to shut heaven that it rain not in the days of their prophecy; and over the waters to turn them into blood.’ This signifies that the world is on the brink of a terrible convulsion, as you have
already foretold. ... The prophet is said to occasion that which he predicts. The Dragon is always Materialism. ... With us the veil of Matter is thin. Hence our spirits are accessible to the angels; they get at us readily. The part of the veil around you is rent by Love; with me, by Courage. You are Latitude and I am Longitude; and yet the Sun is in the centre for both of us. It is so curious! I wish you could see it. The sun is in the centre of the two lines which cross each other, and comprise all the world – the lines of expansion and of aspiration. …
“If you have any question to ask, ask it now, before the power grows weak.” (In reply to further questions about the dream) – “Publish all as proposed, taking what caution you can; but the dream was a prophecy, and must be fulfilled.”
“Concerning the Resurrection, Ascension, and other Christian dogmas. What the spirits said about the Immaculate Conception is true of all these. All are of spiritual significance. Materialism is a mere veil. Whatever is true is true for Spirit. Matter has no part in it whatever. This, and a great deal else which we are beginning to know, was seen in part by all those different orders of the Catholic Church which have been separated off by her into monastic grades. These were the Franciscans, Benedictines, Dominicans, Carmelites, and others. They were bodies of
philosophers, and their doctrines were veiled under allegories; always adapted to the Christian faith, which faith they held in a spiritual sense. And the Church knew it, and gave to the vulgar the fable instead of the truth. Was this wise, was it right – knowing so much, to withhold so much? Having the truth but refusing to impart it, the Church of the Middle Ages at last lost the truth. It is twilight now in the Church. The sun is above it, not in its centre. (...)
“It seems to me that Pius the Ninth is specially preserved to see the beginning of the coming changes. ...
“It is shown to me that the Catholic Church has the whole of the truth in a parable; but the truth is wholly spiritual, and the Church has materialised it. I see the rays from the sun streaming down upon her, but as they pass into and across the atmosphere which envelops her, each ray becomes encased in a sheath of matter, so that the sheath only is apparent, and the true impalpable ray within it is concealed. It is like the cylinder-axis of a nerve – the true nerve – which, passing from the inner substance of the spinal marrow into the periphery, becomes then – and only then – encased in a sheath of medullary matter, and an exterior membrane of connective tissue; so that beneath these the true axis is hidden, and the volume of
the nervous cord increased by a foreign substance. … The Church has all the truth; but the priesthood has materialised it.
“I perceive a great war in Europe. There are multitudes of soldiers in white uniforms, and some in red. All Europe seems at war. I see Paris again. Poor Paris; he is in a terrible state of mind, waving his arms frantically and lamenting. He has lost his city again! There is with him a figure, that of a woman, and fair, but of whom I cannot see. I am not afraid of him now. ...
“All France is doomed! It will be partitioned.
“But when is this to be? Years hence, perhaps. A prophet can never judge of time. Even Jesus did not know the time of the fulfilment of his predictions. The Hebrew prophets generally thought their prophecies on the eve of realisation. ‘Of the day and the hour knoweth no man, not even the Son, but the Father only.’ ...
“In spite of all the Catholic Church holds on without end. She has a new dogma, the divinity of the Blessed Virgin. ... They will have Matter. ... The sects call it ‘blasphemous,’ not comprehending its inner truth and spiritual meaning. The spirits are full of humour, and they are merry over their confusion and alarm. I see Dr. –– writing a book
about the number of the ‘Beast’ – 666. He says the new dogma is the ‘filling up of the cup.’ Spiritually, of course, the Church is quite right; but he does not understand it. I cannot tell whether the Church is on the verge of the new dogma, or far off. ...
“It is strange that John the Seer should have understood and beheld all this so plainly so long ago. I wish you could see it as I do. It seems to me as though I stood in the midst of a vast system, and saw around me Past, Present, and Future, all as one. That is why it is impossible to prophesy precisely with regard to time. I know what is past, what is future, but not the when. ...
“Many whom I know are about our orbit; but I can distinguish perfectly only such as are in the spirit. Those who are too materialised for the spirit to shine through them, do not reveal themselves to me. They appear dark; they are in an outer circle. I see women chiefly.”
The following are the dreams referred to in the foregoing utterance. The Seeress was anxious to make an addition to our circle, which, however desirable on some accounts, might have proved the introduction of an unmanageable element. I was in doubt, moreover, how far it was prudent to publish at present all that I then contemplated
publishing. Hence in the evening of the night on which these dreams were given, we had parted, impressing on each other the necessity for seeking at once further light. It will be seen that each case was separately provided for in the visions imparted. They were given to the Seeress on the night of August 2nd. We have called them
The Visions of the Bird and of the Treasure.
“I dreamt that I had a beautiful bird in a cage, and that the cage was placed on a table in a room in which there was a savage-looking cat. I took the bird out of his cage and put him on the table. Instantly the cat sprang upon him, and seized him in her mouth. I threw myself upon her, and strove to wrest away her prey, loading her with reproaches, and bewailing the fate of my beautiful bird. Then suddenly some one said to me, ‘You have only yourself to blame for this misfortune. While the bird remained in his cage he was safe. Why should you have taken him out before the eyes of the cat?’
“A second time I dreamt. I was shown a house built in the midst of a forest. It was night, and all the rooms were brilliantly lighted by lamps. But the strange thing was that the house had no shutters outside its windows, and the windows reached to the ground. In one of
the rooms sat an old man counting money and jewels on a table before him. I stood in the spirit beside him, and presently heard outside the windows the sound of footsteps, and of men’s voices talking together in hushed tones. Then a face peered in at the lighted room, and I became aware that there were many persons assembled without in the darkness watching the old man and his treasure. He also heard them, and rose from his seat in alarm, clutching his gold and his jewels, and endeavouring to hide them. ‘Who are they?’ I asked of him. He answered, with a face white with terror, ‘They are robbers and assassins. This forest is their haunt. They will murder me, and seize my treasure.’ ‘If this be so,’ said I, ‘why did you build your house in the midst of this forest, and why are there no shutters to the windows? Are you mad or a fool that you do not know every one can see from without into your lighted rooms?’ He looked at me with stupid despair. ‘I never thought of the shutters,’ said he. As we stood talking, the robbers outside congregated in great numbers, and the old man fled from the room in which he had been sitting to another. But this also was brightly illuminated within, and the windows were shutterless. The robbers without followed on his track, and so pursued him from room to room all round the house.
Nowhere had he any shelter. Then came the sound of gouge and mallet and saw, and I knew they were breaking into the house, and that before long the owner would have met the death he had invited by his folly, and his treasure would pass into the hands of the robbers.”