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Letters from a Living Dead Man





The Return


Tell No Man


Guarding the Door


A Cloud on the Mirror


The Promise of Things Untold


The Wand of Will


A Light behind the Veil


The Iron Grip of Matter


Where Souls go up and down.


A Rendezvous in the Fourth Dimension


The Boy–Lionel


The Pattern World


Forms Real and Unreal


A Folio of Paracelsus


A Roman Toga


A Thing to be forgotten


The Second Wife over there


Individual Hells


A little Home in Heaven


The Man who found God


The Leisure of the Soul


The Serpent of Eternity


A Brief for the Defendant


Forbidden Knowledge


A Shadowless World


Circles in the Sand


The Magic Ring


Except ye be as Little Children


An Unexpected Warning


The Sylph and the Magician


A problem in Celestial Mathematics


A Change of Focus


Five Resolutions


The Passing of Lionel


The Beautiful Being


The Hollow Sphere


An Empty China Cup


Where Time is not


The Doctrine of Death


The Celestial Hierarchy


The Darling of the Unseen


A Victim of the Non-existent


A Cloud of Witnesses


The Kingdom Within


The Game of Make-believe


Heirs of Hermes


Only a Song


Invisible Gifts at Yuletide


The Greater Dreamland


A Sermon and a Promise


The April of the World


A Happy Widower


The Archives of the Soul


A Formula for Mastership






By the vividness with which you feel my presence at times, you can judge of the intensity of the life that I am living. I am no pallid spook, dripping with grave-dew. I am real, and quite as wholesome—or so it seems to me—as when I walked the earth in a more or less unhealthy body. The ghastly spectres, when they return, do not talk as I talk. Ask those who have seen and heard them.
     It is well that you have kept yourself comparatively free of communications “from the other world.”
     It would have been amazing had you been afraid of me. But there are those who would be, if they should sense my presence as you sense it.


     One night I knocked at the door of a friend’s chamber, half expecting a welcome. He jumped out of bed in alarm, then jumped back again, and pulled the blanket over his head. He was really afraid that it might be I! So, as I did not wish to be responsible for a case of heart failure, or for a shock of hair which, like that in the old song, “turned white in a single night,” I went quietly away. Doubtless he persuaded himself next day that there were mice in the wainscotting.

     Had you been afraid of me, though, I should have been ashamed of you; for you know better. Most persons do not.

     It is a real pleasure for me to come back and talk with you sometimes. “There are no friends like the old friends,” and the society of sylphs and spirits would never quite satisfy me if all those whom I had known and loved should turn their backs on me.
     Speaking of sylphs, I met the Teacher last night, and asked him if that French magician I told you about could really make good his promise to his aerial companion, and help her to acquire the kind of soul essential to incarnation on earth as a woman. His answer was, “No.”
      Of course I asked him why, and he answered that the elemental creatures, or units of force inhabiting the elements, as we use that term, could not, during this life cycle, step out of their element into the human.


     “Can they ever do so?” I asked.
     “I do not know,” he replied; “but I believe that all the less evolved units around the earth are working in the direction of man; that the human is a stage of development that they will all reach some day, but not in this life cycle.”
     I asked the Teacher if he knew the magician in question, and he answered that he had known him for a thousand years, that long ago, in a former life, the Paris magician had placed his feet upon the path which leads to power; but that he had been side-tracked by the desire for selfish pleasures, and that he might wander a long time before he found his way back to real and philosophical truth.
     “Is he to be blamed or pitied?” I asked.
     “Pity cuts no figure in the problem,” the Teacher replied. “A man seeks what he desires.”
     After the Teacher went away I began asking myself questions. What was I seeking, and what did I desire? The answer came quickly: “Knowledge.” A year ago I might have answered “Power,” but knowledge is the forerunner of power. If I get true knowledge, I shall have power enough.

     It is because I want to give to you, and possibly to others, a few scraps of knowledge which might be inaccessible to you by any other means, that I am coming back, and coming back, time after time, to talk with you.
     The greatest bit of knowledge that I have to offer to you is this: that by the exercise of will a man can retain his objective consciousness after death. Many persons out here sink into a sort of subjective bliss which makes them indifferent as to what is going on upon the earth or in the heavens. I could do so myself, easily.
     As I believe I have said before, while man on earth has both subjective and objective consciousness, but functions mostly in the objective, out here he has still subjective and objective consciousness, but the tendency is towards the subjective.
     At almost any time, on composing yourself and looking in, you can fall into a state of subjective bliss which is similar to that enjoyed by souls on this side of the dividing line called death. In fact, it is by such subconscious experience that man has learned nearly all he knows regarding the etheric world. When the storms and passions of the body are stilled, man can catch a glimpse of his own interior life, and that interior life is the life of this fourth-dimensional plane. Please do not accuse me of contradicting myself or of being obscure; I have said that the objective consciousness is as possible with us as the subjective is with you, but that the tendency is merely the other way.


     You may remember a pair of lovers about whom I wrote you a few weeks ago. He had been out here some time, and had waited for her, and helped her over the uncertain marsh-lands which lie between the two states of existence.
     I saw these lovers again the other day, but they were not at all excited by my appearance. On the contrary, I fancy that I put them out somewhat by awakening them, by calling them back from the state of subjective bliss into which they have sunk since being together at last.
     While he waited for her all those years, he kept himself awake by expectation; while still on earth she was always thinking of him out here, and so the polarity was sustained. Now they have each other; they are in “the little home” which he built for her with so much pleasure out of the tenuous materials of this tenuous world; they see each other’s faces whether they look out or in; they are content; they have nothing more to attain (or so they tell each other), and they consequently sink back into the arms of subjective bliss.

     Now this state of bliss, of rumination, they have a right to enjoy. No one can take it from them. They have earned it by activity in the world and elsewhere, it is theirs by rhythmic justice. They will enjoy it, I fancy, for a long time, living over the past experiences which they have had together and apart. Then some day one or the other of them will become surfeited with too much sweetness; the muscles of his (or her) soul will stretch for want of exercise; he (or she) will give a spiritual yawn, and by the law of reaction, pass out—not to return.
     Where will he (or she) go, you ask? Why, back to the earth, of course!
     Let us imagine him (or her) awakening from that subjective state of bliss which is known to them as attainment, and going for a short promenade in blessed and wholesome solitude. Then, with a sort of morning alertness in the heart and the eye, he (or she) draws near to a pair of earthly lovers. Suddenly the call of matter, the eager, terrible call of blood and warmth, of activity raised to the nth power, catches the half-awakened soul on the ethereal side of matter, and----

     He has again entered the world of material formation. He is sunk and hidden in the flesh of earth. He awaits birth. He will come out with great force, by reason of his former rest. He might even become a “captain of industry,” if he is a strong unit. But I began by saying “he or she.” Let me change the figure. The man would be almost certain to awake first, by reason of his positive polarity.
     Now, in drawing this imaginary picture of my lover, I am not making a dogma of the way in which all souls return to earth. I am merely guessing how these two will return (for she would probably follow him speedily when she awoke and found herself alone). And the reason why I fancy they will return in that way is because they are indulging themselves in too much subjective bliss.
     When will they go back? I cannot say. Perhaps next year, perhaps in a hundred years. Not knowing the numerical value of their unit of force, I cannot guess how much subjective bliss they can endure without a violent reaction.
     I am sure that you are wondering if some day I shall myself sink into that state of bliss which I have described. Perhaps. I should enjoy it—but not for long, and not yet. However, I have no sweetheart out here to enjoy it with me.