A Wanderer in the Sprit Lands, by Franchezzo (A. Farnese), , at sacred-texts.com
Another time when we were conversing I asked Hassein for his explanation of the phenomena of the spiritualistic movement which has recently been inaugurated upon earth, and in which I am naturally deeply interested, particularly as relates to materialization, and of which I wished to learn all I could.
Hassein replied: "In order that the mind may grasp the full significance of the Atomic theory, which has of late been advanced by men on earth, and which affords one of the most simple as well as logical explanations of the passage of matter through matter, it may not be out of place to say, for the benefit of those who have not given much thought to the subject and like these questions put before them in the simplest form, that the subdivisions of matter are, as we have said, so minute that even the speck of dust which floats invisible to the eye, unless a sunbeam be let in upon it to illuminate it, is composed of an infinite number of smaller particles, which are attracted and held together by the same laws that govern the attraction and repulsion of larger bodies. The knowledge of these laws gives to spirits the power of adapting these atoms to their own use, while making the manifestations called 'Materializations' now familiar to students of Spiritualism. The atoms suitable for their purpose are collected by the spirits wishing to materialize, from the atmosphere, which is full of them and also from the emanations proceeding from the men and women who form the spirit circle. These atoms are shaped by the spirits' will into the form of their earthly bodies, and held in combination by a chemical substance found, in a greater or less degree, in the bodies of all living things. Were the chemists of earth life sufficiently advanced in knowledge, they could extract this chemical from every living thing in nature and store it up to be used at will.
"This substance or essence is in fact the mysterious Elixir of Life, the secret of extracting and retaining which in tangible form has been sought by the sages of all times and countries. So subtle, so ethereal, however, is it that as yet there is no process known to earthly chemists which can bring this essence into a state to be analyzed by them, although it has been recognized and classed by some under the head of 'Magnetic Aura.' Of this, however, it is but one--and that the most ethereal--element. The life-giving rays of the sun contain it, but who is there as yet among chemists who can separate and bottle up in different portions the sunbeams? And of all portions this especially, which is the most delicate, the most subtle. Yet this knowledge is possessed by advanced spirits, and some day when the world has progressed far enough in the science of chemistry, the knowledge of this process will be given to men just as the discoveries in electricity and kindred sciences have been given--discoveries which in an earlier age would have been styled miraculous.
"Here let me remark as to 'Auras,' that the constituent elements of the auras of the different sitters at a seance have quite as much effect upon the materialization as has that of the medium. Sometimes the chemical elements in the aura of one sitter do not amalgamate or blend thoroughly with those of some other sitter present, and this want of harmony prevents any materialization taking place at all. In extreme cases these antagonistic elements act so strongly in opposition to each other and are so repellent in their effects upon the atoms collected, that they act as a spiritual explosive which scatters the atoms as dynamite shatters a solid wall.
"This antagonism has nothing whatever to do with the moral or mental conditions of such persons. They may both be in all respects most estimable, earnest people, but they should never sit in the same circle and never be brought into magnetic contact, since their auras could never blend, and only general disappointment can result from any atempt to harmonize them. Although, apart, they might each attain satisfactory enough results, they never could do so in any attempt in combination.
"In those known as simply physical mediums, that is mediums with whose assistance purely physical phenomena alone are produced, such as the moving of tables or carrying in the air of musical boxes, and similar feats, this peculiar essence exists, but in a form too coarse to be suitable for materialization, which requires a certain degree of refinement in the essence. In them it is like a coarse raw alcoholic spirit, but in the true materializing medium it is like the same spirit redistilled, refined, and purified, and the purer this essence the more perfect will be the materialization.
"In many mediums there is a combination of the physical and materializing powers, but in exact proportion as the coarse physical manifestations are cultivated so will the higher and finer forms of materialization be lost.
"It is erroneous to imagine that in true materialization you are getting merely the double of the medium transformed for the moment into a likeness of your departed friends, or that the emanations from the sitters must always affect the appearance of the resulting spirit forms. They can only do so when from some cause there is a deficiency of the special essence, or an inability on the spirit's part to use it. In that case the atoms retain the personality of those from whom they are taken, because the spirit is unable to stamp his identity upon them, as a wax image, and until it be melted into a new mold, it will retain the impress of the old. The possession of a sufficient amount of the special essence, on the one hand, enables the spirit to clothe himself in the atoms he has collected and to hold them long enough to melt them, as it were, into a state in which they will take on his identity or the stamp of his individuality. The absence of the essence, on the other hand, causes him to lose his hold before the process has become perfect, and thus he has either hastily to show himself with the imperfect resemblance he has obtained, or else not show himself at all.
"A familiar simile may explain my meaning. When in the earthly body, you took flesh, vegetable, and fluid substances ready formed, containing in a prepared state the elements your earthly body required for its renewal, and by the process of digestion you changed these substances into a part of your soul's earthly envelope. Well, in the same way a spirit takes the ready prepared atoms given off by the medium and members of a materializing seance, and by a process as rapid as lightning artificially digests or arranges them into a material covering or envelope for himself, bearing his own identity more or less completely impressed on it according to his power.
"Every atom of the body of a mortal is drawn, directly or indirectly, from the atmosphere around him, and absorbed in one form or another, and after it has served as clothing for his spirit, it is cast off to be again absorbed in another form by some other living thing. Everyone knows that the material of the human body is continually changing, and yet many think to establish a prescriptive right to those atoms thrown off during a seance, and say that when a spirit makes use of them and adapts them to himself, therefore he must have taken their own mental characteristics along with the material atoms, and thus they try to persuade themselves that the spirit appearing clothed with these material atoms is no more than the thought emanation of their own bodies and brains, ignoring, or more probably not knowing, that the grossest material, not the mental atoms, were all the spirit wanted to clothe himself with and make him visible to material sight.
"The best proof of the fallacy of this supposition is the constant appearance at seances of spirits whom no one present was thinking of at the time, and in some cases even of people whose death was not known to any of the sitters.
"The essence or fluid ether of which I have spoken is that which principally holds the material body together in life. At death, or, more correctly, the withdrawal of the soul and the severance of the connecting link between it and the material atoms of the body, it escapes into the surrounding atmosphere, permitting the particles of that body to decay. Cold retards the dispersal of this fluid ether; heat accelerates it, thus explaining why the body of any animal or plant disintegrates or turns to decay sooner in hot than in cold climates, and thus becomes nourishment fit for those minute parasites which are stimulated and fed by a lower degree of life magnetism which is retained in the discarded envelope. This essence or fluidic ether is akin to the electric fluid known to scientists, but as electricity is the product of mineral and vegetable substances, it is lower in degree and much coarser in quality than this human electricity, and would require the combination of other elements to make it assimilate with the human.
"This higher essence is an important element in what has been termed the Higher Animal Life Principle as distinguished from the Soul-Life Principle and from the Astral Life Principle. Each of which we make distinct elemental principles.
"In trance, either artificially induced or occurring as part of the spiritual development of certain sensitives or mediums, this life essence remains with the body, but, as life is required for its need in trance, a large portion may be taken away and used by the controlling spirit to clothe himself, care being taken to return it to the medium again. With some mediums this life essence is given off so freely that unless care is taken to replace it continually, the death of the physical body will soon follow. In others it can only be extracted with great difficulty, and in some there is so small a quantity that it would be neither wise nor useful to take any away from them at all.
"The aura of those mediums possessing a large amount of a high and pure quality, will diffuse a most lovely clear silver light, which can be seen by clairvoyants, and it helps even immaterialized spirits to make themselves visible. This silver light can be seen radiating like the rays of a star from the medium, and where it is present in a very high degree no other light is required for the materialized spirits to show themselves, the spirits appearing as though surrounded by a silver halo, and with this beautiful light illuminating their garments, they appear much as you see pictures of saints and angels, whom no doubt the ancient seers beheld through the medium of this species of aura.
"Although the aid of a materializing medium and a good circle of persons still in the material body may simplify the process of building up a body in which a spirit may be able to clothe himself, yet it is quite possible for some spirits of the highest spheres to make for themselves a material body without the aid of any medium or any other person in an earth-body. Their knowledge of the laws of chemistry is sufficient and their will power is adequate to the strain imposed on it in the process, and in the atmosphere of the earth as well as in the plants, minerals, and animals, is to be found every substance of which the body is composed and from which the life essence is extracted. The human body is a combination of all the materials and gases found on and in the earth and its atmosphere, and it only requires a knowledge of the laws governing the combination and adhesion of the various substances to enable a spirit to make a body in all respects similar to that of terrestrial man, and to clothe himself therewith, holding it in combination for a longer or shorter period at will.
"Such knowledge is of necessity unknown as yet except in the higher spheres, because it requires a high degree of development in the mental condition of the spirit before he can duly weigh and understand all the minute points and numerous laws of nature involved in the subject. The ancients were right in saying they could make a man. They could do so, and even animate their manufacture to a certain degree with the astral or lower life-principle, but they could not continue to sustain that life by reason of the extreme difficulty in collecting this lower life-principle, and when they had so animated the artificially made body it would be devoid of intelligence and reason, these attributes belonging exclusively to the soul, and neither man nor spirit can endow such a body with a soul--that which alone can give it intellect and immortality. At the same time an artificially made body could serve as a covering to a spirit (or soul) and enable him to converse with men for a longer or shorter time, according to the power of the spirit to retain this material envelope in the complete state. Thus no doubt those of the ancients who had acquired a knowledge of these things could also renew at will the material covering of their bodies, and make themselves practically live upon the earth forever, or they might disperse these material atoms and walk forth in the spirit freed from the trammels of the flesh, reconstructing the earthly body again when it suited them. Such spirit men are the Mahatmas, who by the knowledge of these and kindred secrets do possess many of the marvellous powers attributed to them.
"But where we differ from them is in the application of the knowledge they have thus gained and the doctrines they deduce from it, and also as to the unadvisability of imparting it freely to men in the flesh, and the duty of withholding it from them as a dangerous thing. We hold there is no knowledge given to any spirit or mortal, which may not be safely possessed by every other, provided they have the mental development to understand and apply this knowledge. Our great teacher of these subjects, the guide Ahrinziman, was a native of the East and has been a student of occult subjects, both in his earth life and in the two thousand and more years that have passed since he left the earth, and this is his decided opinion, and he has seen both the origin and the practice of many of these ideas that are as yet new to the Western mind.
"While thus possessing the power to create a material body from the elemental atoms alone, spirits of advanced knowledge seldom use this power, because for ordinary materializing purposes there is no need to exercise it, the emanations from the members of the materializing circle and the aura of the medium, which are already saturated with the necessary essence for the formation of a body, saving them both time and trouble, and simplifying the process. It is just as the buying a ready made piece of cloth simplifies the making of a garment, instead of the tailor having to proceed first to grow the wool, then to spin it, and finally to weave it into cloth for himself before he can begin to make the garment.
"In some cases so much of the material is taken from the medium's body so as to perceptibly alter its weight. In others nearly the whole of the material covering is used, so that to material sight the medium has vanished, although a clairvoyant may perceive the astral or spirit form still seated in the chair. In such cases it is simply the gross material atoms which have been made use of, while the mental atoms have not been touched. As a rule the spirits who take part in a materializing seance, both those who materialize themselves and those who assist the chief controlling spirit, are ignorant of the means by which the results are obtained, just as many persons who avail themselves of the discoveries of chemistry and the articles manufactured by chemists are ignorant of how those substances are obtained. There is in all materializations an invisible head or director from a sphere greatly in advance of the earth, who may be called the chief chemist, and he passes his directions to a spirit strong in the power of controlling the forces of the astral plane and to others under him, who come in contact with the medium and direct the order of the materializations of personal friends of the sitters, besides sometimes materializing and showing themselves to the circle.
"There is a powerful movement going on now in the spirit world with the object of extending the knowledge of all these subjects, both among spirits and men in the flesh, and the ecclesiasticism, whether of the East or of the West, which would still shut up such knowledge within the precincts of the temple, may fight against this movement, but it will fight in vain. The power is too strong for them. Men are pressing into the avenues of knowledge on all sides and thronging round the doors which, sooner or later, must be opened to them.
"You cannot suppress knowledge. It is the inalienable birthright of every soul. Neither can it be made the property of any class. So soon as the mind begins to think, it will search for knowledge, and feed upon such crumbs as come in its way, and surely it were better to impart the knowledge sought carefully and judiciously so it can be assimilated, than try to suppress the desire for it, or leave the hungry soul to gather it for itself in the garbage heaps of error.
"The human race is advancing eternally, and the tutelage of the child is no longer adapted to the growing youth. He demands freedom, and will break from the leading strings altogether unless their tension is relaxed and he is suffered to wander in the pathways of knowledge to the utmost of his powers. Is it not well, then, that those who are as the sages of the race should respond to this thirst for light and knowledge by giving, through every channel and avenue which can be opened, the wisdom of the ages in such form as may make it the most easily comprehended? This planet is but a speck of the universal knowledge as is adapted to its state, and each hour requires that the expansion of the human mind shall be met by the expansion of its creeds and its resources, by the pouring in of fresh streams of light, not the suppressing of the old lest it should be too strong for the sight."