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A Wanderer in the Sprit Lands, by Franchezzo (A. Farnese), [1896], at

CHAPTER XI.--Ahrinziman.

To these meetings for materialization I was always accompanied by that majestic spirit of whom I have already spoken, and whom I now knew by his name, Ahrinziman, "the Eastern Guide." As I was now beginning to see him more clearly I will describe him to you.

He was a tall, majestic-looking man with long flowing white garments bordered with yellow, and a yellow girdle around his waist. His complexion was that of an Eastern, of a pale dusky tint. The features were straight and beautifully molded, as one sees them in the statues of Apollo, though their peculiar Eastern cast caused them to vary a little from the perfect Grecian type. His eyes were large, dark, soft and tender as a woman's, yet with a latent fire and force of passion in their depths which, though subdued and controlled by his strong will, yet gave a warmth and intensity to his looks and manner, from which I could easily believe that in his earth life he had known all the sweetness and all the passion of violent love and hate. Now his passions were purified from all earthly dross, and served but as links of sympathy between him and those who, like myself, were still struggling to subdue their lower natures, and conquer their passions. A short silky black beard covered his cheeks and chin, and his soft wavy black hair hung somewhat long upon his shoulders. His figure, though tall and powerful, had all the litheness and supple grace of his Eastern race, for so marked are the types of each race that even the spirit bears still the impress of its earthly nationality, and although centuries had passed since Ahrinziman had left the earthly body he retained all the peculiarities which distinguished the Eastern from the Western people. The spirit was strangely like an earthly mortal man, and yet so unlike in that peculiar dazzling brightness of form and feature which no words can ever paint, nor pen describe, that strange and wonderful ethereality, and yet distinct tangibility, which only those who have seen a spirit of the higher spheres can truly understand. In his earth life he had been a deep student of the occult sciences, and since his entry into the spirit world he had expanded and increased his knowledge till to me it seemed there was no limit to his powers. Like myself, of a warm and passionate nature, he had learned during long years of spirit life to overcome and subdue all his passions, till now he stood upon a pinnacle of power whence he stooped down ever to draw up strugglers like myself, whom his sympathy and ready understanding of our weaknesses made ready to receive his help, while one who had never himself fallen would have spoken to us in vain. With all his gentleness and ready sympathy, however, he had also a power of will against which, when he chose to exert it, one sought in vain to fight, and I have beheld on more than one occasion some of the wild passionate beings amongst whom he worked, brought to a stop in something they were about to do which would have harmed themselves or others. They would be spellbound and unable to move a limb, yet he had never touched them. It was but by his own powerful will, which was so much stronger than theirs that for the time they were paralyzed. Then he would argue the matter with them, kindly and frankly, and show to them in some of his wonderful ways the full consequences to themselves and others of what they were about to do, and when he had done so he would lift from them the spell of his will and leave them free to act as they desired, free to commit the meditated sin now that they knew its consequences; and seldom have I known any who, after so solemn a warning, would still persist in following their own path. I myself have always been considered one whose will was strong, and who could not readily give it up to any other's, but beside this spirit I have felt myself a child, and have bowed more than once to the force of his decisions. And here let me say that in all things in the spirit world man is free--free as air--to follow his own inclinations and desires if he wishes, and does not choose to take the advice offered to him. The limitations to a man's own indulgence and the extent to which he can infringe upon the rights of others, are regulated by the amount of law and order existing in the sphere to which he belongs.

For example, in the lowest sphere of all, where no law prevails but the law of the strongest oppressor, you may do what you please; you may injure or oppress another to the very last limits of his endurance, and those who are stronger than you will do the same to you. The most oppressed slaves on earth are less unhappy than those whom I have seen in the lowest sphere of all, where no law prevails and where only those spirits are to be found who have defied all laws of God or man and have been a law to themselves, exercising the most boundless oppression and wrong towards their neighbors. In those spheres which I shall shortly describe, it seems that strong, cruel and oppressive as a spirit may be, there is always found someone still stronger to oppress him, some one still crueller, still wickeder, still more oppressive, till at last you arrive at those who may truly be said to reign in hell--Kings and Emperors of Evil! And it goes on till at last the very excess of evil will work its own cure. The worst and most tyrannical will long for some other state of things, some laws to restrain, some power to control; and that feeling will be the first step, the first desire for a better life, which will give the Brothers of Hope sent to work in those dark spheres, the little loophole through which to give the idea of improvement, and the hope that it is still possible for them. As the spirit progresses upwards there will be found in each circle of the ladder of progress an increased degree of law and order prevailing, to which he will be ready to conform himself, as he expects others to conform where the laws affect him. The perfect observance of the highest moral laws is found only in the highest spheres, but there are many degrees of observance, and he who respects the rights of others will find his rights respected, while he who tramples upon his neighbor will in turn be trampled upon by the stronger ones.

In all respects man in the spirit world is free to work or to be idle, to do good or to do evil, to win a blessing or a curse. Such as he is, such will be his surroundings, and the sphere for which he is fitted must ever be the highest to which he can attain till his own efforts fit him to become a dweller in one higher. Thus the good need no protection against the evil in the spirit world. Their own different states place an insurmountable barrier between them. Those above can always descend at will to visit or help those below them, but between them and the lower spirits there is a great gulf which the lower ones cannot pass. Only upon your earth and on other planets where material life exists, can there be the mixture of good and evil influences with almost equal power. I say almost equal, since even on earth the good have the greater power, unless man shuts himself out from their aid by the indulgence of his lower passions.

In days of old when men's hearts were simple as little children's, the spirit world lay close at their doors and they knew it not, but now men have drifted far from it, and are like mariners upon a raft, who are seeking now again through fog and mist to find it. Kind pilots of the spirit world are striving to guide and help them to reach that radiant land that they may bring back a bright store of hope and light for the weary strugglers upon earth.

Next: Chapter XII.--My Second Death