WHERE is this afterlife? Just where do they live? Where are its boundaries? These are questions that I have some difficulty in understanding, and much more in explaining, and I am frank to admit that I have not had all the information sought on this subject. However, I have some knowledge, gained both from my friends in the spirit world and from my ability to deduce from common facts.
Let it be remembered that those in the afterlife have frequently said that every physical thing of this earth was but a poor imitation of what they have there—that all things exist first in the invisible before they can be reproduced in the visible, and that all that we have is a reproduction in form of some of the things that exist there. Here is what one said on this subject:
“We have often told you, and tell you now, that your earth and all things of your earth have their exact counterparts in the spirit world, just as real, just as tangible, just as substantial, to the inhabitants of this world, as material things and forms are to the inhabitants in mortal form upon your earth.
“If this be true, if we have earth and rocks, so do they; if we have shrubs and trees and growing grains and flowers, so do they; if we have houses, schools, great buildings, so do they; if we have oceans, lakes, rivers, and flowing streams, so do they; if this earth is peopled, why not theirs? I am told they have also many things that we have not, as they cannot be clothed in earth garments nor function on our planet.
The density of that plane differs from ours, as the density of our atmosphere differs from that of the water, in which marine life functions. We move more rapidly and with greater freedom than the life that exists in the deep; so those in the higher etheric plane move more rapidly and with greater freedom than we do—all because the material conditions become higher in vibration as we ascend the scale of motion, and there is more resistance the lower we descend.
Striving for more detailed description, I asked a spirit in our work one evening:
“Where is the spirit world? What of its substance, and where are its boundaries?
“The spirit answered:
“It is difficult to explain to you who know little of matter, the location and boundaries of the various planes where we live. First let me impress upon you the fact that energy, that is, life, cannot express itself except in substance. The idea that spirit people function without substance and that they and the plane in which they live are unsubstantial, is preposterous and illogical. The gases that compose water, taken separately, are as substantial as when united. Why should it be thought impossible, since matter was created, for Nature to create other material than physical, to create spirit material? There are millions of worlds inhabited by human beings in that space you call the sky. Don’t for a moment think that yours is the only world, and that God made the universe for you alone.
“This spirit world is in reality just as much a part of your planet as the earth and rocks you tread upon. Around and about your globe, and forming a part of it, are separate, material, concentric belts or zones, varying in width and vibratory action, and therefore in density, into which all mankind and all planetary life pass, on the happening of that event you call death.
“I only know the boundaries of these planes in which I live and labor. I do not know any more about the boundaries of the planes beyond me than you know of the planes beyond you.
“Others have reported of these localities as follows:
“Your earth has belts, but they exist in a cruder condition than those of Jupiter and Saturn. The belts or zones that lie around your earth are designed for the habitation of spirits out of the body; and as they outgrow the passions of earth and become more refined, they pass to another or higher zone.
“I have discovered, while living here, that there are several magnetic belts encircling your earth, similar in general appearance to the belts that surround the planet Jupiter, and beyond those zones there exists, outside earth’s spirit sphere, a vast spirit world traversing the innermost heart of space.
“I, too, am permitted to gaze back in this way at earthly scenes; and, for a time, to dwell on earthly memories while bringing to you for your world some experiences and observations of my own, both in mortal existence and in the spheres.
“I have observed that there are innumerable states and conditions and diversified experiences in spirit as on earth. We may illustrate by different highways, thus:
“Let one condition be represented by a certain highway, and another condition by another and differing highway, leading through a different country.
“As no two highways of your world lead over the same country and present the same scenery to the traveler, so of the children of earth no two travel over the same highway or have the same experiences; to each are presented different scenes from those presented to any other.
“One person traveling one road is landed into the spirit world at one point, and one on another road enters spirit life at another point; and a third, on yet another road, enters at a different point from either of the others. And so on the endless procession moves, landing its infinitude of differentiated individualities; and each one has a different idea to relate. Therefore no two relate the same story of the earthly journey.
“But the varied highways of earth continue into eternity, and the traveler on each goes eternally on his own road from the earth life. And thus all travel on in the spirit world, having different experiences here, as with you; and, on returning to you, we have different experiences and different descriptions of the spirit world to relate to you, according as each has realized for himself”
This is another spirit’s report:
“There are seven concentric rings called spheres.
The region nearest the earth is known as the first or rudimental sphere. It really blends with your earth sphere. It is just one step higher in vibration. Growing more intense and increasing in action are six more, distinguished as the spiritual spheres. Theses are all zones or circles of exceeding fine matter encompassing the earth like belts or girdles,—each separate from the other and regulated by fixed laws. They are not shapeless fancies or mental projections, but absolute entities, just as tangible as the planets of the solar system, or the earth on which you reside. They have latitude and longitude and atmosphere of peculiarly vitalized vapor. The undulating currents, soft and balmy, are invigorating and pleasurable.
“Although the spheres revolve with the earth on a common axis, forming the same angle with the plane of the ecliptic, and move with it about your sun, they are not dependent upon that sun for either light or heat; they receive not a perceptible ray from that ponderable source.
“We receive our light emanations,” he said, “wholly from a great central source, from which comes uninterrupted splendor, baffling description.
“I can readily appreciate that spirit people along the Frontier and among the rudimentary spheres cannot tell how many there are beyond, and may not all agree, but here is what another says on the subject:
“There are innumerable spheres in the spirit world. If it were not so, progression would be a myth. Some tell you that there are only seven. That is because they have no knowledge beyond that sphere. I do not mean a place fixed by boundaries, for the spheres or degrees in spirit life are only conditions and are not confined to a limited space; as a soul develops, it naturally arises above its surroundings and consequently experiences a change in its spheres or conditions.
“Impressed with the suggestion concerning Jupiter and Saturn, I examined the works of the foremost astronomers, and this is, in substance, what they say:
Jupiter is marked with bands, more or less wide, more or less intense, which show perfectly near its equatorial region. Saturn has a number of what appear to be broad, flat rings surrounding it, but separated from it on all sides, which lie all in the same plane of inclination to the ecliptic. The inner and broader of the two belts or zones is the brightest near the outer part, and shades off toward the planet,—gradually at first, more rapidly afterward. Its inner portion is so dark that at one time it was regarded separate and called “Crape” or “dusty” ring. Modern telescopes show the inner part of this ring transparent.
The physical constitution of the rings is unlike that of any other known objects in our solar system. They are not formed of a continuous mass of solid or liquid matter, but of discrete particles of unknown minuteness, probably widely separated in proportion to their individual volume, yet so close as to appear continuous.
To know the location of the next plane helps one to appreciate conditions that exist there. Our finite minds can comprehend little that we have not actually experienced, and so we mentally grope in our efforts to comprehend what is told us of those more advanced spheres, and must in a measure rely on deductive reasoning. I also have found that spirit people do not agree in many respects, any more than we do. Each reports according to his knowledge and understanding; therefore, each must form his own conclusions, based on reason.
In order to get another expression, I read what I have written to Dr. David Hossack, one of the leaders of the spirit group with whom I worked so many years, and for whose statements I have great respect, and in reply he said:
What appears as space about your earth is composed of ether. There are three distinct circles, the outer filled with more radiant vibrations than those within. Beyond these, the spheres or circles blend with those of other planets. Each circle is very, very many miles in depth, according to your standard of measurement.
“I am much impressed with such statements, as they seem natural and appeal to reason. So far as I know, no one has heretofore attempted actually to locate and fix the boundaries of the afterlife.
Two thousand years of Christian teaching have not enabled a reasoning mind to form any definite conclusions as to where that place called heaven is, or concerning the conditions prevailing where the so-called dead reside, and it seems quite time that we have a scientific explanation, or at least a start along the road.
When Columbus discovered the continent of North America, the whole world at once accepted the fact, changed their ideas about the earth’s shape, and still celebrate his achievement. The psychic investigators within the last seventy-five years have discovered not a continent but millions of inhabited worlds, and now actually locate the planes, begin to understand the substances that compose them, and know something of the light that fills those zones, achievements that transcend all discoveries of modern times. Our descriptions, so concise and brief, but serve as texts, however, and from them we must make deductions and bring understanding to ourselves.
It will be noted that there is a similarity between the circles or rings about our earth, and those of Jupiter and Saturn. Our astronomers contend that these circles or rings are not formed of a continuous mass of solid or liquid substance, but of discrete particles of unknown minuteness, unlike any other visible objects in our solar system. These statements demonstrate that matter has phases or conditions not generally understood by earth dwellers.
Those who have spoken—Faraday, Denton and Hossack, and others above quoted—are in a position to know something of the substance that fills that plane, and they all say it is ether. And what is ether? Our encyclopedias explain it as the upper, purer air; the abode of the gods. Our astronomers say that it is a hypothetical medium of extreme tenuity and elasticity, supposed to be diffused throughout all space. Spirit people say that ether is matter similar to earth substance, but in a very high state of vibration. According to them, the universe is all material, substance or matter in different and varying states of vibration, and those rings, circles or envelopes that surround this earth of ours are just as substantial, visible, real and tangible as anything we have. Those zones vibrate in substantially direct proportion to our thoughts, and may well be called the mental plane.
No thoughtful person can read these statements from distinguished and scientific spirits without being impressed, and without drawing from them rational deductions. Beyond the visible is the true field of discovery. Here secrets are veiled from physical sight, and the mental powers, based on the statements of spirit people, are the only means available to push discovery to its ultimate.
I know that these gentlemen made the statements quoted. The world counted them not only honest but great scientists, when they resided here. Their statements appear in accordance with nature’s tendency. They are rational and I accept them, and, basing my opinion thereon and on other knowledge obtained from persons in the after life, I state without qualification that about this earth there are material concentric belts or zones, composed of ether, which become more radiant and higher in vibration as they extend outward. In these zones all the so-called dead reside and have their homes, where the family relation is ultimately restored. For the first time the local habitations of spirit people have been discovered and the spheres or zones can now be named.
‘Where is the Afterlife?” is taken from Frontiers of the Afterlife by Edward C. Randall