exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity
Eliza Bisbee Duffey
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Editor’s note: The many examples of evidence/testimony featured on the Afterlife page are potent, each in its own way. It is very difficult to select a favorite. However, if required to choose a single afterlife testimony as most meaningful, it might be Heaven Revised by Eliza Bisbee Duffey (1838-1898). The author, during her mortal life, was an advocate of women’s rights, an independent thinker, a courageous person – she reminds me of the very wise Elizabeth Fry.
I make the assertion concerning the importance of this book – which is free to read on the internet – as it touches upon a most personal aspect of our future lives in the coming “real world” – romance, marriage, and Twin-soul love. We will find that the true marriage and the true romance – I say “true,” in that, we speak here of a spiritual process, an affinity extending well beyond that of fevered attractions based on brain-chemical interplay - become catalyst to spiritual evolvement and utmost happiness in the coming realms. In fact, as you will learn from the words of Margaret, Spirit-Guide, true Eros constitutes the chief happiness on the other side, so much so that, heaven would not be heaven without it! Margaret makes this very plain. See my four books for extended discussion:
Another very important aspect of Duffey's book, an issue that will affect not a few upon crossing over: Twin souls are sometimes temporarily “out of phase” with each other in terms of their development. See the excerpt of Mary, Spirit-Guide and her Twin-soul, Robert, whom she regularly visits in the Dark Realms, encouraging and pleading with him to join her in their “real life” in Summerland. I have read of this before, one Twin attempting help the mate who’s fallen behind, but Heaven Revised’s offering is most poignant.
A review of Duffey's book by Michael Tymn:
Heaven Revised is a narrative of the change we call death. It appears Eliza Duffey was a gifted medium with the ability to connect with spirit and automatic writing, although she claimed that she had scant knowledge of spiritualism and no prior mediumistic ability when she began to write down the words in this book.
In the introduction she writes; During the entire period in which I was engaged in this writing — some three or four months — I lived and moved in a sort of dream. Nothing seemed real to me. Personal troubles did not seem to pain me. I felt as though I had taken a mental anesthetic. I finished the work one Saturday evening. On Sunday evening I spoke as usual before our spiritual society. On Monday morning I awoke for the first time my usual self. Real life had come back to me. I believe that I wrote with unseen assistance, but I hesitate to ask others to endorse this belief. I hesitate even to express it, realizing as I do how often well-intentioned Spiritualists mistakenly attribute to the Spirit-world that which emanates only in their own too often ignorant and ill-informed minds. I know how difficult it is to draw the line between one’s own thoughts and impressions, and those that result from inspiration from higher sources.
The narrator, a woman, writing through Duffey, observes her lifeless body and realizes for the first time she is dead in the physical sense. Her description is reminiscent of modern day out-of-body-experience; “for an instant I seemed frozen with terror, or something akin to it, by a strange object which met my view. What was that in my chamber, — my chamber where I lay so still — that object lying rigid and white, in the familiar yet ever repulsive attitude of death? There were the outlines of the head, the projection of the arms crossed upon the breast, the extended limbs, and the upturned feet. Over all was thrown a white sheet; but with a new experience in vision, as I looked at it my sight seemed to penetrate beneath the snowy pall, and I recognized my own features. My God! Was I then really dead?” The narrator continues to document her experiences in the afterlife, and the spheres she finds herself in are in stark contrast to the orthodox heaven and hell that was generally accepted by Christians at the end of the 19th century. Heaven Revised is as informative and relevant now as it was when it was written more than 100 years ago and is a refreshing contrast to the materialist world we live in today.
HEAVEN REVISED (selected excerpts)
Narrative of Personal Experiences After THE Change called Death
by Mrs. E. DUFFEY
My God! was I then really dead? How
can I describe to you the emotion which swept through me,
and which seemed to shake my whole being to its very center?
Then, and not till then, did the past sweep like a wave over me,
and all that I had been taught and hoped and feared of the great
transition, and the life which was to follow it, seemed to come
out in my memory with unparalleled distinctness. It was a
solemn, an awful moment. The terror passed as soon as it
came, but its solemnity impressed itself upon me...
Then I was dead ! How strange it seemed to be dead, and
yet with such superabundant life ! How mortals misapprehend
the meaning of the word. To be dead means to be alive with
a vitality earthly humanity does not know…
The land of spirits ! Strange as it may seem, I for the first
time realized this fact. My thoughts and emotions up to this
point had all been connected in some way with the world and
the life I had left behind me. But where were the spirit forms
of the loved ones who had passed on before, and whom I had
expected to meet me at the gateway, and to welcome and guide
me into the life eternal? On the threshold of this new life I
felt no fear at my seeming isolation, but a sense of disappoint-
ment and loneliness, and of bewilderment also, stole over me.
Even as these thoughts passed through my mind, the room and
all it contained seemed to dissolve before me. I found myself
upon a great plain which gently inclined toward a valley
through the depths of which flowed a stream. I cannot describe
the beauty of the scene. Earth is beautiful, and its beauties
found their way to my heart ; but the Spirit- world is far more
so. The scene seemed strangely familiar. It was so like, and
yet so unlike, an earthly valley, where I had spent many happy
hours, perhaps the happiest of my life. It seemed, indeed, the
earthly valley glorified and spiritualized, as who shall say that
it was not? The grass was intensely yet softly green, and starr-
ed with myriads of daisies. When last I had beheld the earth-
ly valley, it was still beautiful, but it had the beauty of death,
that sent a chill to my heart, and over it there hung a pall of
cloud which completely enshrouded its depths. But my valley
was resurrected, and was mine evermore.
I was walking, but strange to say my feet did not touch the
ground. I walked along just above the surface of the earth,
just as I had done many times in dreams, the realest dreams I
ever had. What a strange sensation it was to be freed from the
weight of the earthly body, to be released from the physical
law of the attraction of gravitation! I felt that I might rise to
any height to which I aspired, yet was content for the present
to keep near the ground.
But my friends, my spirit friends, where were they?
Why was I thus so isolated in my new life? I was not conscious
of having uttered a thought aloud, but as if in response to it, I
found myself in the presence of two youths whose radiant coun-
tenances possessed more than mortal beauty. Years ago I had
laid away with an aching heart and many bitter tears, two beau-
tiful babes, first one and then another; and many times thereaf-
ter I stretched out my arms with soul-felt longing towards the
unknown land whither they had gone, as if to reach to them and
bring them back to me. But when I clasped my arms to my
breast again, they were always empty. My babes, how I had
longed for them, yearned for them ! They had always been
babes to me in my memory, little tender clinging things, find-
ing their whole world in mother-love. But when I beheld these
youths beside me, some subtle instinct revealed to me that they
were my babes, now nearly grown to manhood. I felt neither
hesitation nor surprise in the recognition. It was as though I
had always expected them to appear thus to me. I only held
out my arms with an unutterably glad impulse, crying, "My
Is there a more contentful, more blissful word in our lan-
guage, in any language, than that word "mine"? Whether
we say it of child, friend or lover, home or heaven, we have ex-
pressed the supremest emotion of our hearts. It indicates the fullest fruition of our hopes and desires, whether they be worthy ones or unworthy ones. Barren and pitiful indeed is the
life of that wretch who cannot say " mine " of some joy, some
hope, or some love. It is the first feeling of the infant heart
when it begins to realize its possession of motherly tenderness
and care, long before it can give the feeling its appropriate word.
It will be the ultimate emotion of the soul, when, having passed
through the cycles of eternity, it shall at last have reached the
center and source of all, and shall be able to say of infinite wis-
dom and love, "mine"!
My lost ones were in my arms, and for a time my soul was
filled with a bliss too deep for words. At last emotions strug-
gled into utterance.
"Our mother!" were the glad words I heard from lips
which had never learned to pronounce them in their brief earth
lives, and then there were eager questionings and glad responses.
"We have been with you, mother," said the elder,
"through all these years. Daily we have visited you. We have
nestled in your arm. You never called us that we did not come,
and we spoke to you, and tried to comfort you, but you did
not always hear us ; and sometimes when our messages reached
your heart, you did not comprehend from whom they came. You
have been our mother still, our helper and our guide; and we in
turn have helped and guided you as far as lay in our power, as
we could not have done had we remained with you on earth.
As far as we could understand your troubles we have helped you
to bear them. When they were beyond our comprehension, as
they sometimes were, we were still permitted to give you our
sympathy and love, and thus you have been unconsciously
soothed and strengthened."
This is the substance of what my boy said to me, though
not perhaps the very words. I was in such a tremor of joy my
memory may not have taken exact note of them.
Then my younger boy spoke : "To us was reserved the
privilege of first meeting you on your entrance to the Spirit-
world. Others are waiting to see and to welcome you, but we
felt that the first hour ought to be ours. "
"My blessed guardian angels!" I exclaimed.
"No, not your guardian angels; only your loving children.
Your guardian you will presently see. It is through her kind-
ness and considerateness that we are with you first. She is here even now. "
I turned, and saw standing at a little distance a woman, ap-
parently of mature years, but with the radiance of heavenly
youth and beauty upon her brow. She held out her arms to
me exclaiming, "My child!"
I felt impelled towards her, and yet hesitated for an in-
stant." You are not my mother?" I said, half by way of asser-
tion, half in inquiry.
"Your spiritual mother, not your earthly one. The ties of
spirit are far more real and enduring than those of the flesh."
Her arms were still extended, and as we mutually advanc-
ed, they encircled me, and I felt a deep inward conviction of
the truth of her words.
"My child," she continued, "the ties which bind us are
those of a kindred spiritual nature and kindred earthly experi-
ences. My trials on earth were similar to yours ; my struggles
and even my failures like yours, only mine more desperate, more
complete. When I entered this life, and realized, as I had not
done before, the meaning of it all, and saw my own mistakes
and failures, and comprehended how I might have avoided
many of them, I cried out in agony of spirit that it was unjust that
I was not permitted to undo them, to set them right. Then
my work was revealed to me, and rebuked and humbled I ac-
cepted it. The higher spirits, to whom knowledge is given
which is withheld from us who are still so near the earth, point-
ed out to me a child whose womanly destiny was to be like my
own. I must go to her, stay by her, and help her by the light
of my experience. Oh ! that was so long ago, you were yet a
little child. I have been with you all these years, helping,
strengthening, comforting; and it makes me glad and grateful
to know that my influence has been felt, and has been in many
instances attended by good results, so that your life is not the
complete failure that mine seemed to be. But remember, only
seemed to be, my child ; for by my own failures did I know best
how to help you ; and thus all things have worked together for
"But how did you speak to me?" I queried. "I know
some are privileged to hear spirit voices, but I have, had, I
mean, not that gift."
"There you mistake. There are few mortals to whom some
spirits, or class of spirits, cannot speak and make themselves
heard. If they draw around them good spirits, then their mes-
sages lift them upward, and give them spiritual strength and
wisdom. If through their vices they seek the companionship
of evil spirits, then their tendency will be downward. We do
not speak in audible words, but our messages are to the heart,
and are felt rather than heard. You often heard me when you
imagined it was only your own mind, your own thought speak-
ing. Sometimes you repulsed me, and then other spirits, whose
influences were not good, came in, and you morally retrograd-
ed. But at all times your children could approach you. You
never even unconsciously repulsed them ; and through their
loving agency I would find my way back to you again. My
child, I have been with you all these years. I know your heart
far better than your own mother could know it, who, strange to
say, does not possess that spiritual kinship with you which I
possess. I know you far better than you know yourself."
Again gathering me in a tender embrace, she kissed me
gently, I almost fancied pitifully. It was so sweet to be thus
offered and to accept the manifestations of affection. A reserv-
ed woman on earth, I was thought to be a cold woman as well ;
and thus, through many respected, and some few felt a genuine
friendship for me, the number of those who really loved me
was very small.
I have not narrated the conversation of my guide exactly
as it occurred. It was more or less interrupted by questions by
myself; but I have given the substance of what she said to me.
"My more than mother," I said at length, "I want to ask
you a question about something that perplexes me. I thought
our departed friends met us at the threshold of the spirit exist-
ence. Why was I condemned to pass from one world to anoth-
"Condemned is not the word, my child," she replied with
a bright smile. " Nor were you alone. You were only seem-
ingly so. We and many more stood near you, anxiously watch-
ing and eagerly waiting, ready to make ourselves manifest. To
many souls the passage from mortality to immortality is a
dread one, and they need all the assistance that loving spirit
presences can give, to keep them in courage until they become
familiar with their surroundings; but you were not one of these.
Alone you chose to walk in most things during your earth life ;
your thoughts and experiences, even your emotions you kept shut
within your own soul. You breasted the tide of death with a
brave heart, calling for no help. You needed the apparent soli-
tude and isolation when the new experiences of spirit life were
forced upon you, in order that you might the more fully un-
derstand them. When the need came to you for companionship,
you called for it, and behold how quickly we responded to your
"You must no longer call me mother," said my compan-
ion with a sweet seriousness." Your own mother is waiting to
welcome you when you are prepared to see her; to her the title
belongs, and it would pain her to hear it bestowed upon anoth-
er. Call me Margaret. I am still your guide as long as you
need my assistance; but I shall become daily more and more
your companion. We shall presently be sisters, not mother and
"Margaret, my sister," I said, kissing her hand, "no name
could suit you better; no name be sweeter for me to utter…
" But why can not I do that which I so long to do that
which seems so easy for you? "
" Oh, you have so much to learn ! " replied Margaret half
smiling. … You cannot communicate with your friends until
you have learned first the proper methods, and next how to
use them. Did you think because you had become a spirit,
that all things were possible to you? I can reach them be-
cause I have so long been familiar with the means of communi-
cation, and especially because of my long association with you.
I have also been brought en rapport with your children. I
have in a certain sense been their spiritual mother as well as
yours. But do not be impatient. You have all eternity be-
fore you in which to learn."
On this my first day was given a
realization of its bright and happy side, and no hint was then
imparted of the darker phases of the spirit-life, and the trials
and severe experiences it held in reserve for me. For spirit-
land is not all beautiful. There are dark places and dark-
ened souls, as there are on earth. Nor have our disciplines
ended with our mortal existence, but are continued here, and
must continue until our souls are entirely purified and refined.
It was probably the next day as you count time that Mar-
garet came to me and said : " There is an interesting ceremo-
nial about to take place on earth, at which I think you would
like to be present."
I had not thought of it - my funeral! One does not
think of one's own funeral as an event of immediate occur-
rence while one is still alive; and I had not yet been able to
realize that I was dead in any sense that made a funeral neces-
We attended, of course. There were the usual outward
signs of mourning : the black plumed hearse, the casket covered
by a heavy pall, the sombre and cumbersome garments. An
intense desire seized me to preach my own funeral sermon.
Spirits frequently controlled mortals and spoke through them;
why not I ? I looked my wish to Margaret, and she smiled and
said, " You can try."
Alas ! I knew no more how to carry out my purpose than
does a child to direct and control a steam engine. So after an
impotent effort, I took my stand beside the casket and lis-
tened to the discourse. How weak it seemed ; how utterly in-
appropriate to the occasion ! If I could only have spoken, I
would have uttered words which should have poured a flood of
light regarding the spirit life into the minds of the listeners,
and comfort and consolation into their hearts, so that their
cheeks should be wet with tears of joy instead of sorrow. Oh,
how hard it was to remain silent when there was so much to
I could sing. I could sing even better than I had hoped or
wished to sing on earth.
To me one of the saddest things of the earth-life had ever
been that the spirit was in all directions hindered and curtailed
in its expression. Through the weakness of the body it must
content itself with imperfect, inadequate utterance, or else re-
main dumb. But freed from the immortal frame, I had acquired a new and a wonderfully expressive language, the language of music. And so at my own funeral I sang triumphantly, though mortal ears heard me not ; and as I sang, lo !
a chorus of angel voices far and near joined in the hymn,
which rang from earth to heaven a ladder of divine song, up
which it seemed as though all souls might have ascended to
the vestibule of paradise. But though the strains rang out jubilantly in a mighty gush of music, the mortals heard only their own weak, sad wail, and were deaf to the harmonies of heaven.
When the casket was opened, I was the first to gaze upon
the face of the dead ; so, too, was I the last. There were nu-
merous and costly flowers, but I was glad they had placed in
the folded hands, the thin-veined hands, which, whatever they
had found to do, had done with their might, not lilies (few are
worthy to bear them), but daisies which brighten by their beauty
the highways and byways of the common places of life; the
daisies she had loved so well. How the persons of the
pronouns perplex me; I seem not to know whether I am
speaking of myself or someone else. I tried to take one of
these daisies as a memento of the occasion, and transplanting
it to immortal bowers, see if I could not bestow upon it the
gift of immortality. But I was astonished and perplexed.
Though I could consciously touch it, I could not remove or dis-
place it. So even spirit had its limitations.
Again Margaret smiled, and again she said : "You have
so much to learn."
Then I laid beside the perishable earthly flowers, the spirit
blossoms I still bore with me, but after a moment snatched
them back again. No, I could not condemn the precious
spirit treasures to the darkness of an earthly tomb. Earth to
earth, dust to dust, ashes to ashes; but spirit to spirit.
My tears fell on the coffined form no less than those of
the mourners. I seemed to be taking an eternal farewell of my
past self. Thenceforward all connected with my earthly life
would live only in memory. The thought was an inexpressibly
sad one, though there was so much of sorrow in the past, so
much that I would naturally be glad to bury forever not only
to sight but to memory as well.
I stood by the open grave as the casket was lowered into
it, and a sense of the full meaning of death came over me, as
it had never done before, not even since my entrance into the
Spirit-world. I was done with earth forever, save as my work
might temporarily call me thither, and as the clods closed
above my cold clay, I was almost overwhelmed with a realiza-
tion of the solemn future which I now faced with all its respon-
sibilities and its possibilities. I was dead and buried forever-
more to earth. I had been resurrected in the Spirit- world...
But here! Who was I? What was I? Only my old, true self,
after all, but deprived of the screen of the earthly body, behind
which I could conceal my emotions ; without the mask, which
I had worn so long that even I had come to regard it as the true
semblance of myself, by the means of which I could present an
unperturbed exterior while I was being shaken and torn by inward tempests.
The words of the familiar song came back to me: "We shall know each other there."
Truly, yes, without disguises or concealments; and we shall
learn to know ourselves as well. This self-knowledge is not
acquired at once. I realize that it is only beginning with me;
for when I have come to a thorough knowledge of self, I shall
have acquired a knowledge of all things, even of God.
How patient my friends were with me! How they taught
me and helped me or checked me and bade me restrain my impetuosity, as the case demanded. The bonds and bars of earth life being removed, I was like a child to whom is given unwonted [unexpected] liberty. I knew not what to do with it or with myself.
I wanted to realize all the possibilities of my new existence, before I was fully prepared for any of them; and as a consequence of this rashness, the lessons which the future had in store for me sometimes came with a suddenness and a harshness for which I was little prepared.
"Does not each spirit find its own appropriate sphere?" I
asked, urged to the question quite as much by curiosity as by a
genuine desire for knowledge. "I seem to be hovering on the
border land of many spheres, with no place assigned me.
Where am I to find my home and my work?"
"The sphere you are to occupy will be of your own choosing. An ordeal is before you. I wish that it might have been delayed," Margaret replied with a troubled countenance. "But here in the Spirit-world desires are answered. To many the ordeal is so tempered and softened by time and circumstance that they scarcely realize they have passed through it until the
end is reached; but none can escape. It comes to all in some one form or another. Your impatient nature, which cannot wait until the future develops itself, but must snatch at impending events and draw them untimely to you, brings you face to face with something which will require all your courage and fortitude to meet."
My impetuous nature! I had come to believe myself the
most patient of women, but when I began to reflect, I realized
that my much-prized patience was but a thin, outward crust,
by which I had deceived the world and even my own self, while
the genuine impatience of my nature had boiled and surged
within, unchecked and unquelled.
I turned to reply, but found myself alone. A sense of injury came over me. I was to meet an ordeal, and yet all had left me to meet it alone. Surely this was not kind. But while this feeling was still fresh in my mind, it was quickly obliterated, or at least lost sight of by that which I next experienced.
Now how can I describe to you that which has no parallel on
earth ? I can give you only an imperfect idea of what now
occurred, though it came to me with a force hitherto unparalleled in either my earthly or my spiritual existence. The air seemed filled with a strange murmur, and clouds descended and shut from my view all outward objects. The murmur increased until to my astonished and dismayed ears it seemed a roar; and the clouds rolled one upon another, until they took a
definite shape, and this was what I saw and heard. The story of my life was being told in tones that seemed to me must reach to the farthest heavens, and its events were pictured before me by the tossing clouds. I use the words heard and saw, and yet I am not sure that I did either; but the impression made upon my mind was that as if all senses had united in one grand effort to place my past life in its true phases before me. I sat appalled and dismayed; and then as the record of weaknesses and failures went on, I covered my face with my hands, and sank in agony and shame to the ground.
Truly, there is record kept of every event in our lives.
With my belief in Spiritualism I thought I had realized that. I
knew with a sort of superficial knowledge that not only our
personality but our past is written upon all with which we
come in familiar contact, so that a sensitive may from even a
handkerchief or glove, which we have borne about us or worn,
read the story of our lives; but the belief had conveyed no
special meaning to me. I had regarded it as one of the phases
of Spiritualism, more curious than actually valuable ; and now
I was being made to read my own record. I understood why my
friends had withdrawn. It was out of kindness, not from want
of consideration. "Was ever sense of humiliation more com-
plete than mine ? I thought that even in the earth-life I had
formed a tolerably correct estimate of my own character and
resultant acts; but in these dreadful cloud-pictures, how in
those deeds on which I most prided myself as having been actuated by the purest and most unselfish motives, did there too often rest the dark blot of unconscious egotism or self-righteousness. Was I then incapable of pure motives ?
I could not shut my eyes or ears to that which was passing
around me. So after a time I summoned all my courage, and
since I must sit in judgment on myself, I resolved to do so
bravely and thoroughly. How many sombre pictures there
were ! How many half light, half shade ; but now and then
there was a bright one in which some unconscious unselfish-
ness, some little deed I had done and forgotten, without any
any thought of secret self-glorification, and which had not only
been good in its results, but which had sprung from a fountain
of genuine good within my heart, shone out like a jewel from
the dark clouds which surrounded it. Truly our unconscious
acts, be they good or bad, best attest to our true natures. I
was too humiliated for either vanity or self-congratulation
when these gem pictures appeared; but a feeling of deep yet
humble thankfulness stole into my heart, that there were any
gleams of brightness amid so many shadows ; and even as this
feeling crept upon me, the clouds seemed to lighten, and the
sombre pictures took on a tint of comparative brightness from
some unknown source, and the rushing, roaring wind died
away into a murmur. The story of my life was told, and I
had sat in judgment upon myself, and by my own heart was
partially condemned, partially absolved. Then I felt conscious
of someone near me, and Margaret's arm stole around me, and
my face was drawn to her breast and hidden there.
" Has it been more than you could bear ?" she asked.
" No; for I have borne it," I replied.
" See, it is not all ended ! "
" Must I see more ?" I exclaimed with a shudder,
" Surely the limit of my endurance is reached."
But she only raised my head from her breast, and pointed
to the clouds which still seemed to envelop us.
Hesitatingly my eyes followed the direction of her hands,
and behold a strange thing was transpiring. The … had
disappeared, and the clouds were again in violent agitation.
Again they took form, and I saw slowly emerge from their misty
outlines, and gradually shape itself, a structure, my ideal house,
which I had so often beheld in my waking dreams, and some-
times but vainly wished to realize in the earth-life.
"Let us enter," said Margaret.
We did so, and again I encountered a strange experience. Its
walls were covered with, pictures, the pictures I had just beheld
with such perturbation of spirit. Nothing was hidden, every-
thing stood revealed. But a kindly fate, or shall I say providence? had placed the gem pictures where they could best catch the light, and should be a perpetual reminder and incentive to purer and noble endeavor; while the shadow-pictures were put in obscure places, and those which had no touch of brightness in them, but were all- dark, were almost hidden from view. It was enough for me to know that they were there, without the agony of being compelled constantly to rest my eyes upon them.
There was another peculiarity about this house, not only the house itself
but every article of furnishing it possessed seemed somehow to
remind me of something in my earth-life, as though it were act-
ually woven or manufactured out of the actions or impressions of
"This is your home," again spoke Margaret. "You should
be satisfied with it, for it is what you yourself have made it."
A house not made with hands ! How that phrase came back
to me, not made with hands, but built with purposes, endeavors and
achievements. How strange that while I was still surrounded by
the material forms of earth, doing, or perhaps neglecting my
daily duties, I was building myself a house eternal in the heavens !
How kind, how good, how sympathetic Margaret and all my
friends were to me ! I came to realize after a time that what had
seemed such a terrible revelation to the Spirit-world had been only
a revelation to myself ; that my inmost motives were already known ;
the good of my nature appreciated, and its evil deplored by those
who had, by the laws of spirit-life, been permitted to approach
within the circle of personality which surrounded me, as it sur-
rounds us all. How tenderly they encouraged me ; how lightly
they touched upon my faults and failings, and that only to show
me how I might remedy them, and grow in spiritual graces as
well as knowledge.
"But," I asked after a time, "must these dreadful pictures al-
ways remain a terrible, an unendurable reminder of my weak-
nesses and sins? "
"Those pictures which our own deeds have painted can never
be effaced nor entirely hidden," was the reply. "But the time
will come, my dear friend, strange as the idea may now seem to
you, when they will be the most valued pictures of all, when you
would sooner part with the brightest gems which adorn your walls
than these. You wonder why ? Well, I will tell you. In the
work which we all must do towards helping struggling humanity,
we all need to perpetually remember the bonds which connect us
with that humanity, so that we shall be patient and charitable,
with a patience and charity which know neither weariness nor ces-
sation, and these pictures are the visible tokens of these invisible
bonds. They call us back to the past and to our own weak,
erring selves. As we have needed charity, so do we become more
ready to bestow it. As we have been lifted up, do we have
strength and courage to uplift others. In brief, we must fully
realize that we have been human, before we can hope to take the
first step towards the development of that divinity within us.
- Editor's note: How incredibly wise are Margaret's words!
As a kite can only soar aloft while the cords hold it fast to the earth,
so our spirits will float with a steadier, surer motion for this visible bond
which connects us with our earth-life."
It was all so new, so strange, that I could not comprehend it
at once. I am not sure that I do so fully even yet, but I think I
catch glimpses of the truth. I have found myself more than
once regarding some of the darkest and most forbidding of my
life pictures with a new and strange interest which is not all pain.
As it was necessary for the ideal man God to descend to the
earth and drink to the dregs the bitter cup of suffering before he
could enter with sympathy into the sufferings of humanity, so
perhaps it is necessary that we should all know from personal ex-
perience what failure and sin are, in order to fully qualify us to
help other weaklings and sinners.
BUT ARE AS THE ANGELS
The first result growing out of the experiences I have just
narrated, next to that self-knowledge which I began to acquire
through their means, was a knowledge of others. My eyes were
opened so that when I met certain spirits I seemed to enter intui-
tively into their thoughts and feelings; and I found, moreover,
that, as my life record was placed before the Spirit-world that all
might heed, so when the desire came to me from good motives to
read a like record of others' lives, the desire was readily gratified ;
but I also found that when the desire was … any feelings
of selfishness or uncharity, a cloud seemed to overspread the
record so that I could not perceive it clearly. By this means I
quickly found those spirits most congenial to me, and ascertained
my own place in the Spirit-world, my own " sphere," as I had
been wont to think of it. And here again another thing took me
by surprise. Though all classes of spirits, both good and bad, do
not meet and mingle here as on earth, still there is no strong out-
ward demarcation between the different spheres or grades. Spirits
of different approximating grades meet and in outward appear-
ance associate together ; but each one recognizes that inner con-
sciousness, that fine intuition of the spirit which is bestowed in a
slight degree as a rare gift upon some favored mortals, those who
are their true companions and friends; and thus, to the spirit
vision, spirits of different spheres are as plainly and distinctly
separated as though each were walled in into a separate heaven
No ; I am wrong. A strong chain of sympathy binds all together,
causing the lower spirits who have begun to progress at all, to turn their regards and their aspirations towards those above them ; while the latter always respond in accordance with a law within their being, to which they could not be false without themselves descending from their high positions. Thus, while wisdom, justice and truth are the centrifugal forces of the spiritual universe, dividing and separating, love, charity and sympathy are the centripetal forces, binding all together.
I had found my sphere in the association of those spirits
whose degree of development most nearly approximated mine,
and whose society was therefore congenial. I had found my
home, which was, as best I could express it, an outward manifesta-
tion of my own character furnished and decorated with the fab-
rics I had woven, the articles I had constructed, and the pictures
I had painted, by my thoughts and deeds, while yet in the earth
life. It was, as it were, an objective self, and I soon came to
love it as we must always love that which is part of ourselves.
I had yet to learn what my work should be in the Spirit-world;
but I was beginning to grow wiser, and so I curbed my impa-
tience, waiting until that work should develop itself to my com-
prehension, as I felt the assurance it would do in the fullness of
time. Moreover I dreaded by precipitate desires to subject my-
self to another ordeal. Margaret brought to me one day a woman
who was newer to the experiences of the new life than even I.
“Love her," she said; "she needs all your love and tenderness."
A rare bond of sympathy seemed to bind us together, even
from the beginning, and all unconsciously to myself I began my
work by giving a helping- hand to this sorrowing, earth-tried
sister. I did not know it then, but I see it now, how we were
each mutually helpful to the other, I in imparting strength to
a spirit that as yet had little of its own; she in strengthening
me in making a demand for that strength.
I asked her no questions of her past; I thought when she
felt like confiding in me she would do so. I would have been
content to remain ignorant until she chose to enlighten me, but
Margaret thought best it should be otherwise. She told me
how this woman had in earth-life been bound by human laws
to a man who early in her married days had forfeited her re-
spect, and as a matter of course, her love also. But she bore her
burden of sorrow to the end, outwardly patient and uncom-
plaining, and performing for duty's sake, with a heavy heart,
those duties which would have been a rare delight if love had
been the actuating motive. The end came at last. As she
looked for the last time upon the coffined form of her husband,
though she wept tears of pity for both, because of the happi-
ness they had missed, she said to herself, "It is better thus."
I saw from the first that a shadow hung over her. She
seemed expectant yet fearful of something. When I knew
her history, I understood what it was. She was thinking of her
husband, and wondering why he had not come to claim her as
his wife. Margaret read this feeling clearly, and so after a
time she said to her :
"Your mind is not wholly at rest. There is some matter
wherein you are not quite satisfied."
"I had hoped, I had feared," she began, and then hesi-
tated. She could not at once clearly define her own feelings.
"Yes, you have both hoped and feared, and when the fear is
entirely subdued, and only the hope and wish remain, then they
will be realized."
The woman looked up inquiringly. "You are thinking of
the man who was once your husband," Margaret continued, in
answer to the look. "When you are ready to go to him, not
with a revived earthly love, but in a spirit of heavenly love,
which is ready to forgive and to aid, then you will see the man
whom you now fear. He will not come to you, but you will go
to him ; and when you come to know him as he really is, and
comprehend the causes which conspired to make him what he
was and is, your soul will be filled with pity which will make it
forgetful of self, and with thought only for him. Then you
will stretch out your hands to him and become his savior, and
he, with the love he really bears you, still strong in his heart, will follow your guidance whithersoever you choose to lead. This is part of your future work, not all of it. But not yet,
not yet. You are not yet ready for it
"Have no fears," added Margaret reassuringly; "there are
no fetters here to bind the soul. The bonds to which we submit
are only those of mutual affection and mutual adaptation. An
earthly law bound you together, but you are free here, for death
is the great divorcer."
"Are there, then, no husbands and wives, no marriages in
this world ?" I asked earnestly.
"In heaven they neither marry nor are given in marriage,
but are as the angels," was the reply, given with a bright smile.
"But I see you entirely misapprehend my answer. Let me ex-
plain. Here among us there are no marriage bonds which bind
the soul to the corpse of a dead affection, but there is love
fuller and more perfect than the earth knows anything about.
You are still tinged with the earthly ideas, and the whole teach-
ing of earth is to degrade sexual affection, and sink it to the
lowest depths. Men and women who hesitate to take in vain
the name of a purely imaginary deity, will not scruple every
day of their lives to profane by light word or unhallowed
deed the most sacred part of their natures. Truly, perverted
love is a terrible demon. It is the embodiment and personifica-
tion of selfishness. It tears, it defiles, it destroys and it exults
in its destruction. It sends more victims to the lower spheres
than any other single cause.
You must look there in these spheres of lost spirits, if you would know to what depths a man and a woman will sink who blaspheme against the holy spirit of love which should find a pure temple in every heart.
- Editor's note: This entire section, a discourse on authentic romance, should be scrutinized, word for word. Here Margaret employs a biblical phrase, "blaspheme against the holy spirit of love"! In order to properly discern Margaret's meaning, one must first understand the original biblical reference. I cannot offer full exposition here, but, instead, I will offer a paraphrase of Margaret's message: People, blaspheme, effectively, speak evil of, and disregard, the promptings of the Purified Consciousness regarding true romance. They do this in the secret chambers of their own inner selves. People marry to get something, in effect, often use their wedding partners to fulfill private desires; however, to "sin against the Purified Consciousness of true romantic love" means that people are not totally guiltless in these actions. On some level there is awareness of wrong-doing. Deep down they harbor secret reservations, doubts, concerning the impropriety of marrying to merely satisfy materialistic/lower-level psychological, animal/mammalian cravings! It's a form of using another person as an object, a means to some other end, rather than love, per se, for the person! And this common form of merchandizing people, of selfishness, of "sinning against the Purified Consciousness," will send more people to Dark Detention on the other side than any other reason!
But search out the possibilities of your own soul, and then tell me if love -
real [romantic] love - is the impure impulse, the degrading impulse, the
subject for jest, which it is so almost universally regarded. Is
not pure [romantic] love the very essence of unselfishness? Does it not ennoble the soul and purify the heart ? Does it not arouse higher impulses and bring the dawn of a spiritual vision to which one can never attain without it? Is there any earthly happiness which brings mortals nearer heaven than this sentiment of the soul, which by even good people is underrated and despised, and which by the ignorant and evil is turned into a curse?
I tell you, a man and a woman who truly love one another on earth
are already in heaven, and when you open the door of the Spirit-
world to admit them, would you shut it in the face of their [romantic] love?
No; let it enter in all its fullness, and glorify their lives here as
"Yes; I mean all [including sexual love]. Do not the flowers bloom, and bloom immortally here ? Every opening blossom is a manifestation of love, a sexual union. Would you deny immortality to the flower of life [romantic love], to that which even as we find it, good, bad and indifferent, is, after all, all that makes life tolerable? It is at the source of all action. It is, when unperverted, the deepest and purest impulse of every heart.
It is the constant theme of your novelists, the perpetual inspiration of your poets. It has incited to the grandest and most heroic deeds, and the noblest self-sacrifice. There is no other emotion [as romantic love] which has such power over the human heart, and which has so controlled the destiny of nations and of mankind in general. Yes, I know you have been used to a cant [i.e., the same old song] about [sterile] spiritual love [as the basis for marriage or the highest motivator], which you have not yet forgotten, even with your present experience in the Spirit-world. You have entertained a dim shadowy idea [from past Earth teachings] that spirits stand stationary like spiritual suns, sending out beams of love, thus enveloping one another; if that is not your precise idea, it is something quite as unspiritual and illusive. But you did not leave your heart behind you with your earthly body. You have the capacity for loving intensified; and, not only that, you have arms with which to embrace.
Is The Conjugal Less Than The Maternal!!
Would you have been satisfied if, when you first beheld your long lost children, you had stood at a distance and regarded them with your imaginary spiritual affection? No; you instinctively stretched out your arms to them, and took them to your heart, and your kisses were on their lips, their brows, their cheeks. Is the conjugal affection less than the maternal? No; my children, we shall all some day, if we may not now, clasp to our hearts someone whom we love, and who will love us with equal ardor in return; but not until we have entirely divested ourselves of the degrading earthly ideas concerning the purest, most sacred, most spiritual sentiment of the human heart [that is, perfected romantic love]!"
"But I thought you said there were no marriages here," we both remarked.
"Nor are there. There are no mismated couples; no degrading selfishness [i.e., the male] on one side, no misery and unrecognized self-sacrifice [i.e., the female] on the other. They are as the angels [that is, living in perfect harmony and complete joy, neither party using the other as a means to some other end].
You Have Not Come To The Arctic Regions!!
Earthly bonds are perpetuated only as the heart has sanctioned them. But [perfected romantic] love is the atmosphere of this life. You have not come to the arctic regions, but to the region where love is a pervading influence, warming all hearts. No spirit can find its most perfect development who misses from his life the experience which [romantic] love can give him. If he has lived a loveless life on earth, the possibility is still reserved for him here. The certainty will come to him in the future. His being cannot be perfected without it."
"His being cannot be perfected without it."
Spirit-Guide Margaret here answers the question posed in "The Wedding Song" - "What is the reason for becoming man and wife?"
Authentic romantic love not only provides ultimate happiness but becomes a kind of salvation process, a catalyst to soul-evolvement. It works only for Twin Souls; you cannot reap these benefits with just any pretty face.
"Is it possible," the new comer asked, "that I shall come someday to feel this love for my husband?"
"For him who was once your husband," Margaret corrected. "No, there is no bond of spiritual attraction between you. You know that now. He will come to recognize it sooner or later, and though his heart is still turning to you, the time will come when he will find a more perfect happiness than he yet dreams of in the companionship of another."
"Take me to him," cried our companion.
"Not yet; you are not prepared. But you shall have the
first lesson in that preparation, and you shall come with us,"
added Margaret, turning to me ; "for I see your mind is full of
My companion turned toward me with a sweet smile, her
eyes being filled with tears, and drawing my arm within her
own, we followed Margaret, who led the way to a temple
which I had often noticed and wished to enter, but had re-
strained my impatience. Within we found, not a shrine, nor an
altar of any kind, but innumerable volumes arranged on shelves
which extended from floor to ceiling.
"Do they, then, have public libraries here?" I asked wonderingly.
"You mistake; this is a library of record, wherein all may
read, whenever they choose, that which pertains to the lives
of themselves and others. Here are the true biographies of
earth, not the false, superficial affairs which pass under that
name in the life from which you have come."
She opened a volume and bade us read. I read a story
which filled me with wonder. It was of a man whose nature
was perverted by inherited traits of an ignorant and depraved
With generous impulses, there was also an inherent
weakness of character which caused him to be readily influ-
enced and swayed for either good or evil. Added to these,
were the conditions of the sensitive or medium, which through
the weakness already spoken of, made him the easy and unre-
sisting victim of evil spirits, who finding the air of even the
lower heavens to which they had passed too ethereal for them,
and missing those gratifications of sense which were their only
conceptions of happiness, continually sought the earth-life, and
manifested their evil natures in evil ways.
When we had finished reading the record, I seemed to see
in my companion's heart the depth of pity which opened down
for the man thus doomed even before his birth to such an inher-
itance of misfortune and misery ! All the hardness which for
years she had entertained melted away, and she sat down and
wept. Yes, we sometimes weep in the Spirit-world, for we
have taken with us our emotional natures, and are not yet beyond sorrow.
"Take me to him ! Take me to him!" she cried. She seemed to feel that every delaying moment was a reproach until she should stand face to face with him.
As Margaret silently led us away from the temple I turned
to leave my two companions, for I felt that in the coming inter-
view, at least, I ought not to intrude. But Margaret beckoned
me back, and the woman clasped my hand with a firmer pres-
sure. We followed a path which I had not before trodden.
After a time Margaret spoke.
"My child, do not reproach yourself unjustly. You per-
formed your part nobly, and did your duty well. Your self-sacri-
fice was more than ought to have been required of you. If you
failed in a true appreciation of the difficulties which beset his
path, it was because you had no knowledge of nor means of
understanding them. Blame not yourself, but rather the un-
just human law and popular sentiment which refuse to allow
those to separate whom God hath not joined together."
We had passed out into a barren plain, and the path was
rough and stony. The sky, too, which hitherto had beamed
with more than earthly light, seemed to become gradually over-
cast, until finally, as compared with the light we had left be-
hind us, there was scarcely more than twilight. Looking back-
ward, the light of the region we had left shone like an aurora
borealis upon the horizon.
"Shall we go back?" Margaret asked.
"Oh, no, no!" the woman responded with fresh eagerness,
and we quickened our steps.
At last we espied in the gloom a figure sitting lonely
among the rocks. The woman started and then stood still for
an instant. She had recognized the figure.
"Oh, I pity him, so deeply!" she exclaimed, "but there is
not one throb of [romantic] love for him in my heart."
The man seemed to feel our approach, for he turned and
looked eagerly in our direction, as if expecting some one. Evi-
dently his expectations were at last realized, for as he saw us he
sprang up with a look of joy.
"You have come at last!" he exclaimed. "I have been
waiting for you day by day ever since I heard you had entered
spirit-life ; waiting in this solitude until I thought I should go
mad ; and yet you never came ! You saw everyone else, of
course, before you thought of me !"
I recognized in his fretful and jealous complaining what
must have been the earthly character of the man. The mem-
ories it awakened seemed almost more than the woman could
bear; but she withheld all answer. He continued:
"You will at least stay with me now you have come? "
"No," replied Margaret; "her home is not here."
He stretched out his arms as if to embrace her, but she
only took his hand and pressed it with what warmth she could.
"The same cold-hearted, cruel woman you were on earth!"
he exclaimed with bitterness.
"The old repellent feelings seemed to be struggling to
come back in the breast of my friend. I whispered to her :
"Remember the record. It is not himself who is speaking,
But, through him, generations of undisciplined, selfish and way-
ward ancestors, and hordes of evil spirits, who, by their frequent influence and control, have perverted what little of good there was left in his nature."
She smiled sorrowfully as she pressed my hand, and then
went and sat down beside him ; and spoke kindly to him, try-
ing to arouse the better feelings of his heart, not by reproof or
moralizing, but by bringing happier emotions uppermost. Mar-
garet and I turned to one side and left them alone.
Presently I felt a strange oppression in my breast, and my
head began to swim as if with vertigo.
"We must remain here no longer," said Margaret; "this
air is poison."
She called to our companion, who immediately arose and
came back to us.
"You will take me with you? " the man asked entreatingly.
"I have looked forward to this meeting all these years. You
surely will not drive me away now."
He entreated so pitifully, that his wife seemed to know not
what to say. She looked inquiringly to Margaret.
"Let him come, if he wishes," she responded, much to my
So with a cheerfulness he had not yet manifested, he
walked beside us, forgetting his past grievances in a flow of jubilantly happy conversation.
As we returned, the sky gradually grew brighter and the
air purer until we had nearly reached our starting point. The
man had hesitated more than once on the route, apparently
stumbling oftener as the obstacles in the path decreased.
"I can go no further," he said at last. "We must stop
here. I cannot breathe, and the light almost blinds me. We
must retrace our steps a little way, for this climate is certainly
not a healthy one."
" Your wife's home is further on," said Margaret.
"Her home should be where her husband is," he returned
with his old querulousness.
Then Margaret turned to him, and with a severity which
she had not before manifested, she said :
"You are no longer on earth. This woman is no longer
your wife, but free to come and go as she chooses. Her home
is waiting for her, a home which you yourself realize you cannot
enter. Shame upon you, who with your selfishness still un-
checked or unchanged, are not content with having blasted her
mortal existence and filled it with sorrow and care, but now
must seek to drag her into the semi-darkness where you find
your congenial home. You may come to her when you are
fitted, but she cannot go to you, except as an occasional visitor,"
The man drooped in dejection. The blow seemed almost
too great for him, and yet he bore it, and at last turned to her
with an uncharacteristic gentleness.
"Forgive me," said he, "I will not curse you now as I
have done in the past. I will not even seek to do so. I will
not again ask you to come to me until I find myself more
worthy. I did not realize my unworthiness until now. Promise
me when that time comes'!
Margaret interrupted : "She can make you no promises,
and you must seek to exact none. But I will make this promise
in her stead, that when you become truly worthy of the love of
a good woman, the desire of your heart, whatever it may then
be [as you come to know that desire in growing self-knowledge], shall be gratified."
- Editor's note: How would you like Margaret as your attorney? She's good. [smile]
He slowly retraced his steps, and we turned and went on
our way. Looking back, the last glimpse we obtained of him,
he was standing with face turned towards us, and with out-
stretched arms, as if silently entreating us.
The interview was altogether a sad one, and yet not wholly
unsatisfactory. My friend's work had begun, and she felt that
some little had been accomplished. What a prolonged task it
promised to be ! However, here we are not limited by time, but
have all eternity in which to work.
After Margaret had left us, my friend embraced me silently,
and then took her departure. I sat down to think it all over, and
presently became lost in revery; and when at length I aroused
myself from it I found myself repeating: "But are as the
angels ! But are as the angels ! "
INTO THE DEPTHS
The remembrance of that desolate, cloud-shadowed region
haunted me. When next I saw Margaret I questioned her about
it. Were many spirits condemned to remain in its desolation and
" My child," she replied, " how little you know of the world
you have entered ! The place you visited is the border land be-
tween the higher and the lower spheres. It is where those spirits
are compelled to stay whose virtues are merely negative ones;
they are, so to speak, outside the gates ; whose vices are due to
weakness rather than to radical wickedness of heart. There are
depths below that where the light becomes dimmer and dimmer,
until at last not a ray can penetrate, and the darkened souls remain in perpetual outer darkness.
“Is it possible to visit these places?" I asked hesitatingly.
"It is possible to visit them," was the reply, " if your motive is to benefit those who are compelled to remain in them until they have progressed to a higher spiritual condition. To some the work given to do is to be continual visitants and messengers of peace and hope to these benighted souls. Only high and pure spirits are entrusted with this work. Those to whom still cling the weaknesses and superstitions of earth, have neither the
wisdom nor the strength to do this work well, and are themselves
in perpetual danger. If your wishes lead you in that direction,
it can do no harm and may possibly benefit you, to be able to
judge for yourself to what depths the spirit of man may sink. I
have witnessed it but rarely, for the sight is not a pleasant one,
and my work has lain in other directions. I will summon a messenger to accompany you."
In accordance with that subtile law by which spirit can com-
municate with spirit, though at a distance, Margaret sent her
message, and in response to it, there presently appeared the most
beautiful being I had yet beheld. Her garments were radiantly
white, and a sort of luminous atmosphere seemed to surround her
like a halo.
"Do then, indeed, women habitually visit these dreadful
scenes?" I asked, as the messenger was approaching.
" Women are better fitted for the work than men," was Mar-
garet's reply. "They are safer from harm and more respected by
the depraved of the other sex than are men. Know you not that
a pure woman with a noble purpose in her heart may walk safely,
though unguarded, save by her own purity and nobility, any-
where, whether on earth, in heaven, or in hell? "
This beautiful woman was unknown to me. I could not
enter into her thoughts or divine her nature ; but she smiled
sweetly upon me, and a sense of delightful companionship stole
over me, and I felt at peace and rest in her presence. When she
spoke, her voice was rich and mellow, and sweet as the sweetest
music. Its very tones seemed to convey her meaning, so that
words were almost superfluous.
We at once set out upon our journey. We seemed to descend
by steep and circuitous paths. As we proceeded I perceived
many spirits, all intent upon their own pursuits. The way grew
darker and rougher, and the forms that we saw were more for-
bidding in their aspects. My companion stopped now and then
to exchange a kindly greeting with someone she met, and I noticed with wonder how the grim faces lighted up with a borrowed beauty while she spoke to them, as if her very presence were a benediction.
She was evidently held in veneration by all.
Still we pursued our way until everything became so changed
that it was as though we had entered another world; and here
my companion began her mission in earnest. A group of men
and women were indulging in boisterous mirth and singing ribald
songs. She stopped and spoke to them with a sweet seriousness
which at once arrested their attention and commanded their re-
spect. There was no seeming condescension in her manner. She
spoke to them almost as though she might have been one with
themselves; nor was her conversation anything of the sermonizing
order. Its chief intent seemed to be to arouse the best and kind-
liest feelings of their hearts, and thus prepare the ground for any
good seed which might be sown therein. I took note that the
songs and rough jests ceased, and more than one woman drew a
little one side, as if ashamed of the part she had been playing.
Being a stranger among them, my companion was ques-
tioned regarding whence she came, and she gave an earnest and
minute description of the sphere from which she descended.
Her auditors looked at one another in silence. One or two shook
their heads as if doubtful whether the story were to be taken for
anything more than a flight of the imagination. One rougher
than the others in his appearance, but yet with a certain honest
look about him, at last ventured to speak his thoughts.
"Well," said he, "I have been over on this side a good
many years as they count time on earth, and I've never found
any better place than this. I know there are a good deal worse
ones over yonder, and so I think myself fortunate to be as well
off as I am."
Another taking courage added his testimony. "I'm sure
I'm happy enough here. We have pretty jolly times, don't we,
All nodded in assent.
One young woman who had been regarding the stranger in-
tently from the moment of her first appearance, said in a low
voice, audible only to ourselves :
"This is not the kind of heaven I used to picture to myself
when I was in earth-life. I am not in hell, for that is over yonder; so this must be heaven;" but it seems to me there might be a brighter, happier place, and if there is, I wish I knew the way there."
My companion put her arm about this young woman, and
drawing her to one side, held a long conversation with her. I
know not what they said, but when they returned, there was a
look of inspiration which I had not before seen on the face of
the one, and tears in the eyes of the other. As we passed on I
saw that the latter had left her companions, and was sitting by
herself, apparently lost in deep thought.
" Are these people really as contented and happy as they
seem?" I asked.
'Yes," my companion replied; "they are as happy as their
natures will permit them to be. They have no perception of
any higher or better life, and so feel no longings to attain to such
a life. As soon as they are made to realize that there is a possi-
bility of progress, an unwonted restlessness will seize them, and
they will not long remain here. That young woman will pres-
ently find herself stifled by her present surroundings, and will
be forced to seek a purer atmosphere."
"What class of people in earth-life contribute to people
"Those whose hearts are not inherently bad, but whose
spiritual natures have not been developed ; those who have lived
selfish lives, finding in the gratification of the animal instincts
and propensities their greatest, in fact, their only pleasure. They
are incredulous as to even the existence of a higher sphere than
their own, because their spiritual perceptions have not yet been
" What is their manner of living? "
"Very similar to that to which they were accustomed on
earth. Good and evil impulses alike sway them by turns. They
know no pleasures beyond those of the senses, and selfishness is
the dominant feeling. They have their discords and conten-
tions, their misunderstandings and their feuds, the same as on
earth; and yet they will tell you, as they have done, that they are contented and happy. It is this class of spirits that mortals have most to fear. Unscrupulous and almost conscienceless
they care not what trick they impose upon the credulous, what
the consequences of their evil impulses. There is a constant ef-
fort on their part to gain the control of mediums for a gratifica-
tion of propensities which is denied them in their present life.
Oh, earthly mediums cannot be too careful to surround them-
selves with an atmosphere of personal purity, in order to render
themselves unapproachable by the influence and control of such
spirits as these."
Still we descended. It became so dark that we had almost
to grope our way, but here and there there seemed to be beacon
fires, which lit up the scene with a lurid glare. At last we reach-
ed a plain. The path seemed to lie narrow and uncertain be-
tween morasses on either hand. Here and there ditches, half-
filled with slime, were revealed in the fitful light of the fires.
Forms as of strange, hideous creatures crouched here and there,
and glared at us with flaming eyes and hungry faces. I shud-
dered and cowered, and drew closer to my companion, who
walked confidently and fearlessly along the path, her radiant
atmosphere gleaming out in the semi-darkness. The path seem-
ed to stretch far ahead through a landscape whose dreary monot-
ony was almost unbearable. Low clouds hung over our heads,
and they, too, were lit up with fiery touches by the fires. Great
bats flapped their wings and circled round and round overhead,
and once the melancholy call of an owl fell upon my ear. Pres-
ently other strange cries and wails reached me, causing my blood
to run cold with horror.
Involuntarily I exclaimed :
"Listen to the wails of lost souls! "
"Truly, yes," responded my companion; "souls to whom
were given the light of truth and the guide of conscience, and
the knowledge of the spirit, but who wilfully turned their backs
upon them all, and thus forfeited heaven and happiness. Their
souls are lost in this morass, while the darkness which envelops them prevents their finding the path again without great difficulty. Here they must wander and struggle and wail and de-
spair, until they willingly open their hearts to the truth, and reach
out their hands for that help which will surely be given them
when they sincerely desire it."
Here and there were rudely constructed huts which seemed
to serve the purposes of shelter for the wretched inhabitants of
this sphere. In front of one of these sat a woman with dishevel-
ed hair and distorted countenance, wringing her hands, and now
and then uttering fierce cries.
My companion paused to speak with her.
" Will you tell me the cause of your distress? " she asked.
At first the only reply was inarticulate raving; but presently
the maniac, for so she seemed, became calmer, and with a con-
fidence inspired by the sweet, pure face of the questioner, she
wailed out :
"I murdered my unborn babes one after another. I had
not the excuse of shame which I wished to conceal. I was a
fashionable woman, and I wanted my time to devote to society
and my own amusement, and children would be in the way; so
I murdered them, poor helpless things, murdered by the one
who should rather have sacrificed her life to protect them. Oh, I
am a murderess!" she fairly shrieked. "Sometimes their little
innocent faces look down reproachfully out of the clouds, and
then I go mad, mad, mad!" and indeed she did, manifesting
all the symptoms of the most violent form of insanity.
"Do you not comprehend one of the causes which peoples
the lunatic asylums in the earth? It is sometimes a relief for
these mad spirits to control a human form, and give way to their
paroxysms through that organism. As humanity is elevated and
made to recognize and obey the higher laws of its being, this
sphere will have fewer inhabitants, and this form of insanity
among humans become more rare. When they learn the sin of
forcing an unwilling motherhood upon a woman who is neither
spiritually nor affectionally prepared for the responsibility and
the privilege, then will the cause of sin such as this woman has
committed, be removed. No woman should become a mother
until her desires go forth to meet and to welcome the duties and
joys which belong to motherhood."
"Do you ever call for your injured children to come to
you? " my companion asked the wretched woman.
"Call for them! How should I dare to do so? They would
curse me! "
"No, they would come to love and bless and help you."
"Oh, if I only thought so! If I only dared!" and for a
moment her ravings ceased in thoughtful silence.
" Learn to forget yourself and your own misery, and think
of these little ones whom you might have loved and cherished.
Learn to love them, and love will work wonders for you."
A gleam of hope came into the despairing eyes, and we
passed on, leaving her with that new-born hope to comfort her
" When she calls for them in love, then those little ones will
be brought to her, and will help to lead her out of this terrible
place," was what my companion said to me.
" You leave a word of comfort with everyone," I remarked.
"That is my mission," she returned.
Then other sounds fell upon my ears, and in the weird light
we saw a man apparently beside himself with terror. His hand
was outstretched as if to ward away something which menaced
him, and though his face was half averted, his eyes seemed held
as if by a spell, by the cause of his terror. Presently I dis-
tinguished what it was. A huge serpent lay coiled at his feet, as
if about to spring upon him, its tongue protruding and its fiery
eyes gleaming upon him and holding him in spite of his will.
Lizards crawled over his feet, and rats and all sorts of noisome creatures
ran or crept hither and thither about him ; but these
lesser annoyances were for the instant forgotten in the greater
fear which paralyzed him. After a time the serpent, as if its
purpose had changed, slowly uncoiled itself and crept away, and
then these inarticulate utterances which had at first attracted
our attention took the form of words, and the man prayed and
cursed almost in the same breath. At one moment he defied
the hideous creatures which surrounded him, and bid them do
their worst ; at the next he begged to be delivered from them.
"This is the drunkard's hell," said my companion; "a hell
which begins even upon earth. This man gave himself up to
the slavery of drink; he destroyed his own prospects in life ;
begat children upon whom the curse is perpetuated; impover-
ished his family ; seduced his friends to a like destruction ; broke
his wife's heart; and at last died of delirium tremens. He has
brought himself to his present condition, and here he must re-
main until he feels remorse, not for the consequences of his sins,
but for the sins themselves."
Presently we came to another man sitting silent and bent,
and with his hands pressed to his breast,
"Behold," said my companion, " a victim of remorse. It
burns in his bosom night and day like a perpetual fire, and yet
it does not help to lift him out of his present condition, because
he will not even admit to his heart a full sense of his guilt, but
is continually justifying and finding excuses for himself"
"What was this man's sin?" I queried.
"He won the love of an innocent girl, and through that
love, which was yielded entirely and confidingly to him, he
dragged her down to her destruction, even glorying in the
shame he brought upon her. She in her turn became desperate,
and sank to as great a depth of degradation as he, revenging
herself upon his sex by luring as many as possible to their destruction.
But her sins fall in great measure upon him, and he still refuses to recognize that."
With head still bowed he had not yet perceived our presence. Presently he exclaimed, as if the words were wrung from him by inward agony:
"Oh, it burns! it burns! it is burning my heart out! "Will
this inward fire never cease? My God! how can I endure it longer? Yet I am sure I was no worse than the rest. If they were justified, why was not I?"
Then my companion spoke:
"Because to you were given greater and clearer powers of
spiritual discernment, but you scorned the gifts and made no
use of them."
Then something happened which filled me with wonder.
The man looked up as the words fell upon his ear and a strange
terror seized him, and he shrank back and cowered as if in fear.
"Who are you?" he at length found voice to ask. "Mary, is it truly you, or has my punishment taken on a new form, and is this strange illusion to haunt me in the future, to be a perpetual reminder of that which I would forget?"
"Robert, it is I," was the reply given in the lowest and sweetest of accents.
"It is false!" he shrieked, springing to his feet." It is only an illusion from which I will escape. Mary is here somewhere in this valley of the shadow of death. Why should she not be when I am here? A wicked woman is worse and more degraded than a wicked man, all know that; and I once saw her here when I first came, when she came to reproach me for her misery, and to taunt me with my own."
"Robert, it is indeed I," again replied the sweet low voice. "I was here, but I am here no longer. I have found a better way, a better place. Robert, I loved you once, I love you still; let the past be blotted out between us, and let me lead you up to the light."
She held out her arms to him, and the man sinking to his
knees, clung to her skirts and sobbed like a child. For the
first time in all his earthly and spiritual life his heart was
touched and softened; and then I saw a strange thing occur. I
seemed to see the fire within his bosom, and his tears descend
and extinguish it; and encircled by the arms of the woman he
had so grievously wronged, he felt peace and rest.
"Will you come with me?" the white-robed ministering
angel said to this man who was stained with foulness from his vile dwelling place, and though she clasped him in her arms, her garments received no stain.
"Not yet, oh, Mary, not yet. I am not worthy. But I will make myself worthy."
I turned away and left them alone, unwilling to profane the sacredness of their interviews by my presence. The kiss she imprinted upon his forehead when at last she found it necessary to leave him, he seemed to receive as a benediction.
"Robert, remember we belong to one another!" were her parting words.
I would not break the spell which seemed to be upon my
companion by any words of idle questioning, as eager as was
my curiosity. After a time she herself spoke. As she turned
her face towards me it seemed transfigured with a celestial light.
There was a radiant smile upon her lips, though tears stood in
"You do not understand it?"
"No; it is all a mystery."
"It is true. I am the woman whom that poor wretch betrayed. I once found an abiding place in his death and terror-shadowed valley, and have progressed to my present position only by terrible and prolonged self-conflicts. You wonder why I am sent back as a messenger. A guide in such a land as this should know it well; and I do know it, alas ! too well. I know the outward terrors of these wretched people, and their inward sufferings and struggles ; and I know the path which leads out
of their present condition, because I myself have traveled it. It
is part of the atonement I must make for the sins committed in
the past. The obligation to come here will be removed only
when I have helped to undo as much evil as I helped to create
in the world. Oh! no one can measure the consequences of his
evil acts until he enters the Spirit-world. My garments were
once as foul and stained as any of these; but see, they are white
now!" she exclaimed joyously. As I looked at her, the luminous atmosphere which still surrounded her seemed to dart out rays of living light.
"Does it not make you very wretched?" I asked, "to come
here so continually and witness so much misery?"
"It did at first," was the reply, "but now I feel that no
more. The sight of it all only calls forth my fullest sympathies,
and gives me power and will to work. Now I can look beyond,
and see all these lost souls redeemed and purified, and walking
in the light of perfect day…
In my eagerness to fully master the subject which had been
presented to my mind by the experiences just narrated, I talked
with others who were endowed with greater wisdom than I, and
the following is the substance of what they said to me:
In most other matters which concern human welfare,
whether political, social or religious, the world has seen many changes. Human thought has been revolutionized many times. Old orders of things have been overturned and annihilated, in spite of the croakings of that large class of conservatives which has existed in all ages, and which always turns its eyes admiringly towards the past, deplores the present, and predicts evil for the future. Chaos has sometimes seemed to result, yet, in the end, each succeeding condition has shown itself an improvement upon its predecessor. But in the relations of the sexes there has been little inherent change. The forms and ceremonies of marriage have varied with different nations and different races; sometimes a wife was stolen, sometimes purchased, sometimes assumed the relation by her own free consent; but the idea of wifehood in the mind of the husband to-day is substantially the same as that in the comprehension of the tent dwellers who first rudely organized society; that is, that a wife is something which a husband owns or possesses.
More than that, the idea of the conjugal union, conceived when man was wholly on a material plane, and knew nothing whatever of his spiritual nature, and founded on the fiercest instinct of humanity, and the most debasing when it is not held in check by reason and modified by spiritual development, is still entertained by the multitude. Still further, the world does not yet comprehend that it is love, not law, that creates true marriage. Law recognizes it but does not and cannot make it. It is right that it should be recognized and regulated by law for the good of society, the preservation of homes, the protection of wives, and the maintenance of the rights of children. Love without marriage is to be condemned for many reasons, but marriage without love is equally accursed.
To those whose hearts are pure, love, even under the most
unfortunate circumstances, may become a blessing and a sacrament; they will cast off the evil and retain only the good; but to those in whose hearts impurity dwells, though ten thousand priests should solemnize the bonds, and ten thousand legal documents ratify them, marriage can bring only sin and degradation.
If there is a paradise on earth, it is a home where husband and wife truly love each other, and seek through their marriage a development of their spiritual natures; nor are such marriages impossible, or even infrequent. Happy homes are the bulwarks of a nation's prosperity...
The tide of immigration sets steadily from your land to
ours. There is no emigration back to earth. All faces are turn-
ed toward the Spirit- world…
I may not live my own life over again, but by the experi-
ences of that life, gained through weariness, pain and bitter
anguish, I may help and bless other lives…
Spiritualism is the religion of personal responsibility, of
never-dying hope, and of eternal progress. It is the religion
which meets every need and every trial of life, holding a clearly
burning beacon to light the way; and as men live up to the
highest knowledge of truth within their hearts, newer and
greater truths shall be given them, and they shall be led by
spirit hands, spirit voices shall whisper in their ears, and their
souls, shall be attuned to the harmony of heaven…
May the Spirit of Peace find its way to all your hearts, and
abide with you now and forever.
Truth Wears no Mask, Bows at no Human Shrine, Seeks Neither Place nor Applause; She only Asks a Hearing.