Friday, 26 August 2016

Theosophy Basics: Karma, Part 1

Karma, Kismet, Fate, Providence, Destiny all of these terms point to a more or less intuitive belief that in an underlying sense of justice and harmony in life and that we do not live in a nihilistic world of random, hapharzard causality. A fundamental doctrine in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism it is similar to the western term of Providence, (Greek=Pronoia), a term that was greatly discussed in ancient western philosophy.

1-Karma is the Ultimate Law
The Theosophical world view places a primordial importance o on the concept of Karma, considering it the ultimate law, the one law which is pervasive throughout the manifested world:

As I have said, we consider it as the Ultimate Law of the Universe, the source, origin and fount of all other laws which exist throughout Nature. Karma is the unerring law which adjusts effect to cause, on the physical, mental and spiritual planes of being. As no cause remains without its due effect from greatest to least, from a cosmic disturbance down to the movement of your hand, and as like produces like, Karma is that unseen and unknown law which adjusts wisely, intelligently and equitably each effect to its cause, tracing the latter back to its producer. Though itself unknowable, its action is perceivable. (Key to Theosophy, 201)
2- Karma functions on several different levels
William Q. Judge gives the following succinct definition, presenting  the two basic notions of Karma as a moral law and Karma as the general law of cause and effect.:

Applied to man's moral life it is the law of ethical causation, justice, reward and punishment; the cause for birth and rebirth, yet equally the means for escape from incarnation. Viewed from another point it is merely effect flowing from cause, action and reaction, exact result for every thought and act. It is act and the result of act; for the word's literal meaning is action. Theosophy views the Universe as an intelligent whole, hence every motion in the Universe is an action of that whole leading to results, which themselves become causes for further results. Viewing it thus broadly, the ancient Hindus said that every being up to Brahma was under the rule of Karma. (Ocean of Theosophy, 89)

3- Karma is the essential principle of Harmony
Although ascertaining the specific nature of the cause and effects of Karma is difficult, it can be basically understood as one of harmony:
For the only decree of Karma — an eternal and immutable decree — is absolute Harmony in the world of matter as it is in the world of Spirit. It is not, therefore, Karma that rewards or punishes, but it is we, who reward or punish ourselves according to whether we work with, through and along with nature, abiding by the laws on which that Harmony depends, or — break them.(Secret Doctrine I, 643)

4-Karma is the Law of Universal Justice
Therefore, on the human plane, Karmic law is one of justice which punishes the wrongdoers and rewards the virtuous with complete impartiality:

 But if you ask me to define its effects and tell you what these are in our belief, I may say that the experience of thousands of ages has shown us that they are absolute and unerring equity, wisdom, and intelligence. For Karma in its effects is an unfailing redresser of human injustice, and of all the failures of nature; a stern adjuster of wrongs; a retributive law which rewards and punishes with equal impartiality. It is, in the strictest sense, "no respecter of persons," though, on the other hand, it can neither be propitiated, nor turned aside by prayer. This is a belief common to Hindus and Buddhists, who both believe in Karma.  (Key 198)
5-Karma is aTranscendent and Impartial Power
It can be considered to be governed by a higher spiritual power:

What we believe in, is strict and impartial justice. Our idea of the unknown Universal Deity, represented by Karma, is that it is a Power which cannot fail, and can, therefore, have neither wrath nor mercy, only absolute Equity, which leaves every cause, great or small, to work out its inevitable effects. The saying of Jesus: "With what measure you mete it shall be measured to you again" (Matth. vii., 2), neither by expression nor implication points to any hope of future mercy or salvation by proxy. This is why, recognising as we do in our philosophy the justice of this statement, we cannot recommend too strongly mercy, charity, and forgiveness of mutual offences. (Key 199-200)
6- The notion of Karma is the foundation of ethics
The doctrine of Karma has pre-eminently served as a basis for ethics and the Theosophical approach likewise proposes the notion of Karma as a key to ethics based on responsibility and peace:

We cut these numerous windings in our destinies daily with our own hands, while we imagine that we are pursuing a track on the royal high road of respectability and duty, and then complain of those ways being so intricate and so dark. We stand bewildered before the mystery of our own making, and the riddles of life that we will not solve, and then accuse the great Sphinx of devouring us. But verily there is not an accident in our lives, not a misshapen day, or a misfortune, that could not be traced back to our own doings in this or in another life. If one breaks the laws of Harmony, or, as a theosophical writer expresses it, “the laws of life,” one must be prepared to fall into the chaos one has oneself produced. For, according to the same writer, “the only conclusion one can come to is that these laws of life are their own avengers; and consequently that every avenging Angel is only a typified representation of their re-action.” (Secret Doctrine I, 643)
Part 2

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Second Anniversary!

and so another year of regular blogging has passed - in this year we have tried to keep a regular weekly pace of posts that are a mix of older classic material and original writings, trying to be as eclectic and diversified as possible. We've continued with regular features such as the book review and theosophy basics and have even added a regular astrology feature, somewhat accidently as an initial astrology post was surprisingly well-received, thus prompting to continue with more, which were also well-received.

We've also expanded our web activities onto twitter and facebook, which helped double our web traffic from the first year, with visitors from many different parts of the world. We've also continued our lecture activity, presenting a some lectures on Reincarnation and Karma and a lively activity on H. P. Blavatsky.

For the next year, we hope to continue with more of same and hopefully in the future, we'll be able to diversify the topics more and develop a more contemporary approach - and we have more projects in the works... thanks to one and all for the interest....

"These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they are not original with me,
If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing, or next to nothing,
If they are not the riddle and the untying of the riddle they are nothing,
If they are not just as close as they are distant they are nothing.

This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is,
This the common air that bathes the globe."

Walt Whitman, Songs to Myself, 17, Leaves of Grass, 1892

image thanks to

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Visions - William Stainton Moses 3/3

The statements on page 21 would seem to show that the visions recorded are those of the Devachanic state. For it [is] said that all the scenery and surroundings, the natural world of that plane in short, are the creations of the particular spirit with whose sphere the seer is in contact. This coincides perfectly with the Theosophic view, and when once this truth is really grasped, Spiritualists will realise how mistaken they have been in attacking a doctrine which is in reality what they have so long been seeking for, and which offers them the logical and philosophic system which they need as a basis for their investigations. (Blavatsky (Lucifer, Vol. II, No. 8, April, 1888, pp. 164-165)
Our author received his instruction with respect to the post-mortem condition of man through the agency of clairvoyant visions. Seeming to go out of-the body, and to be endowed with transcendental faculties, he, under the guardianship of the angel, was made to see typical landscapes, buildings, cities and personages. Some dead acquaintances and friends he recognized, and was astonished to see them surrounded with the creations of their own diseased or healthy fancies : they had made to themselves just such residences, costumes, and other objects as were most consonant with their moral, intellectual and spiritual states before disincarnation . (H.S.  Olcott (The Theosophist, May 1888)
Third Day .— September 6th, 1877 . [Automatic Writing.] These scenes, you say, are real—Material? No ; but real. What you call material is nothing to us. Just as the scenes that surround you depend on your self, as, for instance, in respect of colour, so are these scenes that you have visited externalised by the spirit who dwells among them. With us it would be impossible for a spirit at peace with itself to dwell in the midst of desolation and confusion : even as the Vain Ones could not dwell in the Valley of Rest. In fact, then, a spirit makes its surroundings ; and that is the meaning o f the assertion so often made that we are building our house in spirit-land now ? Yes, just so. You are making your character, and according to your character will be your home and its surroundings. That is inevitable. All gravitate to their own place. Those flowers, and gems, and tinsel fripperies, the mirrors of the Vain One, and the peaceful calm of the Valley of Rest, these are but externalised symbols of those who dwell there. They are their types. 
Outward and visible signs of their inward and spiritual state ? Just so. That is the meaning of the saying that with us every spirit is known of what sort it really is. 
No hypocrites ? Yes : but hypocrisy is no use. Many who come to us from you bring with them the idea that they can deceive here, even as they have been used to deceive men. But while the tongue speaks the falsehood, the acts belie it,* the surroundings tell the true story, and the hypocrite is self-convicted. The hypocrites congregate together even as the Vain Ones, and spend their time in the most foolish and futile attempts to deceive one another. All can recognise the hypocrisy in others, though they do not see how patent it is in themselves. Hence by degrees, when they find that hypocrisy is of no avail, they cease to practise it, and rise above it to a higher moral plane. 
Then is the moral government of your world of  that sort entirely ? No coercion ? None : for it is not needed, except in the elementary stages of existence. Spirits rise by knowledge, and by love. * Compare “ The Land of Darkness,'’ where the lips of a man speak a polite lie which the revealed thought contradicts. We cannot hasten the time save by affording the means. This is done by spirits who instruct and elevate as we are doing now. But the motive-spring must come from the receptive mind. We could not teach you if you had no desire to learn. So the gradual elevation of the spirit from one state to another depends altogether on its own desire. Some there are who find a state congenial to them, and remain in it for long. These are chiefly intellectual states. So long as they are nourished there, they are not interfered with by spirits who have progressed beyond them. They make their selection.
Yes. One can sec that even here. Men gel into a particular groove and remain in it. Or they get an erroneous idea and follow it out into endless wanderings. I suppose their education is going on here too ? What has your life been, especially of late, but one long process of education? It will not cease. It cannot cease till you cease to think. 
And the ideas that I yet now will form the objective surroundings of my future home ? Yes : hence the necessity for having ideas true, and symmetrical. Symmetrical!
Yes : I see. That was why the mirrors were broken, and why all was so orderly and exact in the Valley of Rest ? Yes. It is necessary to strive to get true notions of things. Most of those who spend their time in contemplating only the external appearance of things conceive wrongly of their real nature. We do not refer now to philosophers who spend their time and energy in investigating the composition of natural things. They arrive at one aspect of truth, and are so far commendable. The scientists of your world are laying up for themselves stores of knowledge which will enable them the better to recognise and appreciate what will burst upon their astonished gaze in another state. We refer to those who take perverted or one-sided views of spiritual things. They become spiritually deformed, and their homes partake of the deformity. A man does not become deformed by any amount of knowledge about matter, even if lie spend his earth-life m investigating the properties of a gas, but lie does become deformed if lie pervert his intellect by shutting it out from expansive views of spiritual things, narrowing it to a groove, prostituting it to expediency or fashion, even as lie would far more surely render it leprous by conscious vice. 
What do you call perverted views ? We cannot tell you more than you know. There are in your world social relationships, into all of which truth purely spiritual should enter. The politico-economical questions, the social questions, the political questions, the interdependence of classes, the relations of the wealthy with the poor, the conficting interests of peoples and the mode of their settlement, these all are vital. 
Questions of social reform ; labour and capital; charity, social science, and political economy generally ? Peace and war and the like ? Yes, such are matters on which it is of vital moment to have views which are true, and by that we mean that it is important to the spirit to view them from the plane of spirit, and not from that of the world, its conditions, and its fashions. False ideas on such matters become ingrained in the spirit, cause spiritual bad habits, and provoke spiritual disease. It is not possible for a spirit to lay up for itself more disease, in every sense, than by cultivating worldly notions about these spiritual things which should be spiritually discerned. Most of the views current about them are human fallacies, and must be abolished before the new era of peace and progress can advance. We strive earnestly against them ; for be you sure that the spirit which spends itself in getting selfish gain by using out the strength of its fellows without giving equable remuneration—we put out of view fraud—is not likely to be happy in the land where selfishness is a curse. Nor is the wealthy man who neglects wealth’s duties ; nor the capitalist who grinds down his slaves ; nor the panderer to lusts and vices, the man who poisons the body and debases the spirit of his fellows by selling to them base and bac food, or maddening adulterated drinks ; nor the man who is trained to war, and lives for that and that alone, though that need not be of itself always bad. Some of these are what you call necessary. They are not. Understand that. They arc the excrescences which have grown upon your social system, upon your moral system, upon your political system; the which, all of them, in their various degrees, are rotten. In no sphere of your life can more real good be done than in these, for the race is benefited and the spirit ennobled by their consideration. 
Yes. I t must be so. But surely the mere materialist is doing harm. A man like * * * with magnificent talents, is he doing the best for himself ? No : but he is laying up stores of knowledge for his race which will benefit them. He will come to us to a certain extent naked as to spirit, but with the advantage of having laboured to add to the store of human knowledge and having sought after truth. He will not have anything to unlearn in that direction : though as regards the field of inquiry on which he must then enter he will be a little child. 
Yes. 1 see. B u t surely he will have to unlearn a good deal o f his theory. What becomes o f such men on their first entry into your plane? He will have to unlearn many theoretical deductions, but few fundamental facts as he now views them. I t is in the interdependence of facts that your scientists go wrong. Such spirits of truth-lovers congregate together and find their delight in tracing the hidden springs which they could not discern before. It is long frequently before they find interest in anything else. Some, like our friend Benjamin Franklin, delight in pursuing the train of investigation which interested them in the body, and in bringing their knowledge to bear on human progress. Many influence spirits still in the body and direct their researches. Some find that all their earth life was wasted because they desired not truth, but their own opinion, to prevail. Some do not even find that out for long : but go on dogmatically following out their theories until they blunder more and more. But we have said enough. Be sure that you keep a clear mind : avoid narrow prejudices : dare to look facts in the face : be true to yourself and you need have no fear. Our friend has written for me, seeing that you find difficulty in reading what I write. Rector. 

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Visions - William Stainton Moses 2/3

From the Key to Theosophy, chapter 9:
ENQUIRER. But "M. A. Oxon" is a Spiritualist?
THEOSOPHIST. Quite so, and the only true Spiritualist I know of, though we may still disagree with him on many a minor question. Apart from this, no Spiritualist comes nearer to the occult truths than he does. Like any one of us he speaks incessantly "of the surface dangers that beset the ill-equipped, feather-headed muddler with the occult, who crosses the threshold without counting the cost." (1) Our only disagreement rests in the question of "Spirit Identity." Otherwise, I, for one, coincide almost entirely with him, and accept the three propositions he embodied in his address of July, 1884. It is this eminent Spiritualist, rather, who disagrees with us, not we with him.
V I S I O N S . By “ M.A. (Oxon.) ” Second Day,—September 5th, 1877. [Pursuing the same plan as before, I found myself in spirit with the Angel and a number of other spirits, with whom I was conducted, as it seemed, far away into space. I was told that the company was for protection, or for the furnishing magnetic support to me, as I was going into the “ Spheres of Desolation ”—“ the Land of Darkness.” We passed rapidly over a tract of country not unlike that which obtains in the iron district, only more lonely and bare. The soil seemed barren, and was covered over with ref use—-just as those places near an iron furnace are heaped with slag and rubbish. Prom it arose a noisome stench. I could detect no sign of life, nor could I fancy anything living there. Our path took us further and further away from life, until we came to a place where I could hear a distant rumbling as of the ocean, and I saw an entrance to a sort of cavern, round which more rubbish was piled. We descended into this aperture, which was choked with filth, and from out of which mephitic vapour ascended. After going through many tortuous passages, we came to a vaulted cave in which glowed a fire, and from which issued sulphurous smoke. There was a forge in it, and the floor was piled with half-formed engines of destruction. I could hardly breathe, and was refreshed by some passes made over my head by one of the attendant spirits.
I then saw X. Y. Z.,* grimy and filthy, naked to the waist, round which a few rags were gathered. His hair was matted with dirt, his face and body begrimed, and Streaked here and there with blood and perspiration. He was savagely welding some material that did not look like metal on his anvil, and was cursing with much vehemence. He was not at once aware of our presence, and when he was he saluted the Angel with a volley of execrations. I need not detail the conversation with him. He did not see me until we were about to leave, and he then grinned savagely, and said, “ Ah ! you, you know now where that fire came from that burned you.” (At one of the seances I had described him as sitting near me, and had out my hand in his direction. He had suddenly touched me, and the result was a blister on my hand.) We turned to leave, and his mocking laugh rang in our ears as we went. I wished to question, but was told to refrain till I had resumed the bodily state. Emerging again into the air above ground, we passed rapidly away, and I was conscious of a dreamy feeling as when one dozes in a carriage ; a sense of motion combined with repose. I cannot tell how long this continued. 

* X. Y . Z. was a young man of great ability, but of unbridled temper. H e lived in chronic disagreement with his family, and finally took to furious drinking, and killed himself thereby at an early age. I have never known anyone drink as he did. He must have been soaked through and through in ardent spirit. I had known his father and all his family, as well as himself, and had been the means sometimes of mediating between them. But he was mad with drink and rage, because he could not have all he wanted, and was unmanageable. He used very violent language habitually. His family was fairly tolerant of his vagaries, but his father was a hard man, and irritated him, driving him to despair [January 11, 1888]. 

When I was fully conscious again I saw a very different scene before me. I was looking at a town, large and thickly peopled apparently, for I saw many spirits hurrying to and fro in the streets. But the oddest things surrounded me. Everything was unfinished. There was a most pretentious palace with no roof, and, on close inspection, built of mere gimcrack material, the walls set with sham diamonds ; looking-glasses everywhere, and walls half-hung with tawdry tinsel. The very streets were unfinished, and had mirrors here and there, and toilet appurtenances at the corner of the streets, and outside of the houses. I saw many stop and look at themselves, and give a twist to the moustache or a more jaunty set to the hat. I saw no women, all men and boys. While I wondered at this I found myself going up the steps and through the hall into one of the houses. It had the same unfinished air, the same tinsel magnificence, the same cold, cheerless appearance. We looked into a room on the ground floor and found nothing but combs and brushes and broken mirrors, and fearful clothes of loud patterns, all heaped together in confusion. We passed on upstairs, and there, surrounded by mirrors, I saw A. B.* He was clothed in most extraordinary raiment, of loudest pattern, and most unharmonious colours, shaped according to our ultra-fashionable pattern. His hair was reeking of strong-scented grease, and he was industriously trying to disguise the scar over his eye with rouge and pearl-powder. It had been made at his death, and it disfigured his face. He turned to greet me, but with an air of great preoccupation. He did not listen to what I said, but interrupted me at once with some foolish question as to the cut of his coat. He brought a mirror to show me the beautiful way in which he had parted his hair (as if I wanted a mirror to see that). He evidently thought mirrors the great thing in his life. He made disparaging remarks about the personal appearance of those with me, who now had assumed the natural appearance of men : and he kept throwing about some very fade-smelling scent which was very nasty. Now and then he seemed to have gleams of sense : and then he hastily covered his face and body with his hands, as though to hide them from our gaze. But the gleams soon passed, and he turned again to his mirrors and pomatum. He was vigorously brushing his back hair when we left him.] [Another period of half-consciousness and I found myself back in the body, with an extremely vivid memory of what I had seen. I have immediately fixed the impression in what I have now written.] [By automatic writing.] What------ Do not question now, but arise and eat and cleanse the body in cold water, after that we will explain. [Having done so I resumed :—] What do the scenes mean ? Will you explain or shall I ask special questions ? We will explain. In the first journey you were taken to the Sphere of Desolation. It is inhabited by those wretched ones who have sunk in sensuality to a state typified to you by fiery torment. They dwell in a desolate and barren land where no life is, because such is their spiritual state. The spirit whom you went to visit had debauched himself with fiery drink, and had occupied himself in dragging down others to his own level, to their own ruin and misery. Hence in his spiritual state he is grimy and blood-stained to your eye, occupied in forging abortive instruments of destruction in the midst of a stifling and noisome atmosphere. His language is cursing and bitterness, and his punishment is to see designs that are full of promise marred and broken by clumsiness of execution. This is the outcome of his life—genius wrecked by debauchery. The stench was the analogue of his spiritual thoughts. The metal that he was welding was an amalgam which in his exceeding cleverness lie had made to supersede all others, and he knows not that it is rotten and can never be welded. So again in his life. He would not walk in the path of duty, nor do his allotted work, but would find but new ways for himself, and then rush to drink because they came to nought. He is now leading a life which strikes you as horrible ; not so him. To him it is strenuous exertion which he vainly thinks profitable. He will not see till the efforts of the Ministers have availed to stir in him some spiritual life. This has been done more than once, but he has always relapsed. 

* A. B. was personally known to m e : a young man of extreme personal vanity, who was always dressing and redressing : a person of a very unbalanced mind, which finally gave way altogether, and he took his life by stabbing himself. As he fell he struck his head against some object and made a deep scar over the left eye. This is alluded to in the description in spirit.

Horrible / Can't he be got at? What was the experience of him in earth-life. True ; he was most impracticable. He is far more so now. Leave him to those who are wiser than you. We turn to your other friend. In the scene you saw you will discover the analogue of his life. For what was it? Vanity, All vanity. Hence he lives in the city of vanity where all is vain and frivolous, empty and unsatisfying. The houses and buildings are unfinished, for the vain ones have no care for anything but themselves, and so they cannot concentrate attention so as to complete anything. They are tawdry and full of base shams, because the vain ones live in the external, and cannot discern between the gold and its imitation. The mirrors that lie everywhere are to the vain ones the ornament they most desire, for they show them their own exterior. The essences and pomades and brushes and the like are the necessities of life, for the vain ones live in vain attempts to deck themselves with what they imagine will trick out their fancied charms; though, as you saw, they succeed only in covering themselves with that which is noisome and ridiculous. The spirit whom you visited spent his life in vanity, and it has eaten into his soul. For now the spirit-body that he has, and which he thinks so much of, is scarred over with blains, full of corruption and disease, which it is his great and constant care to disguise with varied plasters and appliances. Had you been able to see beneath those clothes which he delights in, you would have seen a mass of sores, the noisomeness of which he vainly attempts to cover by sprinkling about the scent which you so disliked. All the vain ones dislike and disparage each other, and are purely selfish. They require to deck themselves as you need food. Hence their streets are furnished with means of so doing as yours are with shops and drinking fountains. There are no women in their city for the vain ones would fear that their finery would be eclipsed. 

How queer ! Did he really think those awful clothes were decent ? Why, they were louder than those o f a music hall comic ! They would seem to him the acme of everything lovely for a brief hour, when he would devise some others : for the vain ones change often. The City is large. Yes : for the vain ones are very numerous. Do not seek further information now. The Angel goes, and we may be able to show you more hereafter. This is a new form of teaching. Does it come from the Angel ? Yes. I t is the form employed by the grade from which she comes. Why “ she ”? Is the Angel feminine ? No. You said “ she,” and the feminine best suits the tender grace and purity of one who has not been in rude contact with your earth. Has she passed through many forms of Incarnation ? Oh, yes : but not on your earth. I may not say more. —Farewell. Hector . 

SAME DAY— EVENING. [ I was conscious of the presence of Harmony , and gradually I resumed the conditions before described. After gazing for some minutes at the crystal, I seemed to be disengaged from the body and stood with the Angel in a very peaceful scene. We seemed to travel very rapidly over an undulating tract of country, presenting a general appearance of peacefulness and repose. Nothing attracted my attention, but I was impressed with a desire to stay in so peaceful a neighbourhood. Passing swiftly we came to a valley shut in by low hills, wooded to their very tops, and with a great luxuriance of herbage and flowers. A river meandered slowly and without a ripple through the valley, and the only sound I could detect was the cooing of doves. A delicate scent of new mown bay pervaded the scene, which was one of intense repose. The angel stopped over a cottage—it was hardly more—embowered in flowers, and with a fountain playing in the front of it. The stillness was almost oppressive; and I turned to contemplate the extremely orderly arrangement of everything. Standing in the garden, apparently meditating, was a striking figure ; not in any sense majestic—something was wanting, I should say, of power—but decidedly striking. It was the upright form of an oldish man with clear-cut features, well-formed head and hands; and the body was draped in fair white, with very little relief in colour.* 

He looked at us as we approached him, and saluted us, with rather stately courtesy. We entered the cottage and found ourselves in a room in which orderly arrangement was the first thing that struck me. The furniture and surroundings were simple enough, but all was kept with precision, and nothing seemed out of place. I was struck with the similarity of the place to what I have seen often enough on earth. I should say that order was the great characteristic; not profundity, or novelty. He seemed to know me, and I conversed with him; and during the conversation, I was not conscious of any other presence. He spoke freely of our seances, of his appearance two or three times (especially at a seance where he materialised), and expressed the warmest interest in what we were doing to familiarise men with the truths of spirit intercourse. He did most of the talking, for I have not yet got power enough to individualise when out of the body.} I cannot say that anything was told me of importance. I was more impressed with the very strong likeness that the face bore to that known to me by a photograph and by the materialisation. I inquired whether he would visit us at our seances. He said, “ Oh! no, that is not permitted. I have put you in the way, and now you must go on. You will come to me. I shall not return.” I said that it would be a comfort if he could. He said, “ I cannot. It is not in my choice.” I pressed that there were medial spirits, and that he might communicate through them. He put it aside with a rather dignified wave of the hand, and said, “ You do not know our life and our interests.” He showed me with much interest apparently a very beautiful flower of a kind not familiar to me, and directed my attention to the opening bud. He said that one of his great delights was the study of flowers. The whole impression left on me was that I had been calling on a gentleman who was occupied in ordinary pursuits of a rather refined nature, of no great depth and of no originality. There was a pervading atmosphere of simplicity and sincerity. I asked for messages or tokens, and he said, “ My love is none other than it always was. Never mind messages. Take this ; ” and he plucked a rose just bursting from the bud. But when I put out my hand to take it, it was not plucked, but blooming on its stem. I wondered, and he signed me to go, and we left.] [Automatic Writing.] Can you give me a n y message about the last vision ? I t was not a vision, but experience. No : all is clear, is it not ? Oh, yes. B u t I should have liked something more personal. H e is beyond the range of the personal, in an atmosphere of peace and rest. H e could not, if he would, concern himself with you. B u t his affections are v iv id ? But cannot operate to your earth. Leave the personal. H e is happy. We cannot do more now. 

* A connection of a close friend of mine. I never saw him except at a materialisation stance. I had seen his portrait, but I had no knowledge of the man in the body. He had been, I am told, a refined, courteous man, of no special power or force of character ; a high-minded gentleman, very orderly in his habits, neat and precise. Of this is a touch of naturalness which may bear on the question of reality. 

Part 3