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.