Online Store Directory
Spiritual Meditations and Exercises
Who We Are and What We Teach
Brotherhood of Light Lessons: Course Books on Astrology, Alchemy and Tarot
Calendar of Activities
Astrological Sunday Services
Church of Light TV
Serial Lesson 175
From Course XX, The Next Life, Chapter 3
Original Copyright 1942, Elbert Benjamine (a.k.a. C. C. Zain)
Copyright 2012, The Church of Light
Subheadings: The Time of Next-Life Birth Natural Birth Accidental Birth Surgical Birth A Lady Who Drowned A Man Who Had Heart Failure The Actual Astral Birth Astrological Energies Conditions of Next-Life Birth
Birth Charts: Eva Le Gallienne Chart Ethelbert Nevin Chart
Birth into the Next Life
THE circumstances attendant upon passing to the next life are quite as varied and lacking in uniformity as those attendant upon birth into this life. In fact, the death of the physical body is really the birth into that new existence.
Births upon the earth take place amid widely different surroundings, and birth into the after life may be such that the individual awakens amid attractive conditions, attended by friends who minister to and welcome him; amid the harsh conditions of an isolated and rugged region, or in a hovel where all is dirt and squalor. Just vision the circumstances that attend births on the physical plane; those in the igloos of the arctic, those of the savage in the jungle, those of the journeying American Indian at the side of a trail, those of the tenement regions of our cities, those in the better class homes, and those, increasingly common, in lying-in hospitals where the surgical care and the appointments are of the best. Entry into the astral region has even more scope by reason of a wider range of environments.
Births on the physical plane, whatever the environmental circumstances, may, however, be broadly divided into natural deliveries, accidental deliveries, and surgical deliveries. Those into the next life do not run exactly parallel, perhaps, but they also may be classified into three broad and general categories that have certain points of correspondence with those mentioned as of earth.
Corresponding to the natural deliveries on earth, we have those passages to the next life in which there is continued consciousness during the transition and, perhaps, a will to go. Some of the northern Indian tribes are reputed commonly to die in this manner. When they get old they have an inner feeling that the time is at hand, and they set the day of their passing. On that date they merely lie down and pass consciously to the next plane. Among those advanced in occult knowledge such a method of going over, without losing consciousness, is far more frequent than people suppose. And by one who has practiced travel on the astral plane without losing consciousness while leaving and returning to the physical body, or who has used the Transition Technique of astral exploration, the passing at death is not accompanied by sleep. We may say then, not because it is the most common method of physical death, but because the natural evolution of the higher states of consciousness makes it spontaneous, that the passing to the next plane of existence in full consciousness is the natural method.
Then there is the accidental method. Physical death arrives, even as does childbirth at times, with no warning. It comes suddenly and with a great shock. An explosion may blow the body to atoms. A sudden stroke may sever the bond between the two bodies. Suicide, even though premeditated, may abruptly usher the individual into the next world in a sadly unprepared condition. And a variety of other circumstances, in which there has been no gradual separation of the astral consciousness from the physical, may come under the heading of the accidental method.
But, even as in this country it is far more common to have the attendance of a doctor or midwife at the birth of a child, so far more frequently the individual passes to the next plane through an illness of some duration, and is taken in charge immediately after his passing either by friends who have gone before him, or by those whose regular business it is to greet and take care of those newly arrived from the earth plane. Because of the presence there of those who help us to enter, and get adjusted to, this new world, let us call this the surgical method.
Now, from olden times down to Helen Willman and Harry Gaze, there have been those who preached immortality in the flesh. And I am confident that physical life should be, and can be greatly lengthened. Yet I can hardly imagine a more horrible penalty than being compelled to live forever on the earth. The spiritual man revolts at so gross an avenue of expression, and comes to long for a finer, higher region, where his developing potentialities can find a glorious freedom of action. Nor, out of all those who have taught immortality in the flesh, have any lived much beyond the customary limits of physical life. Therefore, both you and I, in a time that will seem unusually short, are sure to make this change, and it behooves us to learn something about it.
When we pass over, as we surely must at no far date it will be by means of one of the three methods mentioned: the accidental, the natural, or the surgical. But by whatever means we pass over, the circumstances in which we shall find ourselves on that plane depend entirely upon our knowledge of afterworld conditions, our desires, and our spirituality.
The dominant vibratory rate at any given time determines the inner-plane level to which we gravitate. Although we may be unaware of it objectively, and although our attention may be so focused on external life that we are almost completely unaware, even in our souls, of the inner-plane condition which surrounds us, nevertheless even while we occupy physical bodies, our astral forms exist upon the vibratory level of the inner plane whose basic rate is similar to our dominant rate. And while due to our preoccupation with external affairs we may be oblivious of such life forms, our astral bodies can be seen by any inner-plane entities occupying the same basic vibratory level. And our thoughts may be perceived by inner-plane entities not belonging to the same basic level, but who are able to extend their consciousness temporarily to the vibratory level of these thoughts.
Within the finer form of man on earth often there are strong vibratory trends which would quickly become dominant were it not that the necessities of physical life so continuously chain the thoughts and feelings to the struggle for physical existence. We all know people who are in essence kind, who love refinement, who desire above all things to be helpful to others, who have love for their fellow man, and who spend some effort in relieving the distress of others with no thought of recompense; but on whose shoulders also falls the burden of providing the physical necessities for themselves and their families. There are powerful spiritual trends present. But the struggle for physical subsistence is so strenuous that most of their attention must be directed toward making a living, toward getting a job and keeping a job, toward preventing aggressive and unscrupulous persons from gaining undue business advantage, and the thousand and one other things that must be done to be physically successful in a world which is as yet far from altruistic.
Thus for most who have strong spiritual inclinations the intervals in which spiritual vibrations are dominant are intermittent and far more rare than the intervals in which the dominant vibration is determined by work for physical necessities and physical comforts. For most who have some aspiration for a spiritual life there are daily periods of devotion in which the vibratory rates are temporarily raised, there are intervals in which affection and tender love are dominant, and other intervals when the glow of some fine deed increases the rate. But in the longer intervals the vibration returns to that which is developed in the struggle for physical survival.
While living in the physical it is not expedient to ignore the physical necessities. But I am sure people in general would spend more time and energy in cultivating the more spiritual moods and acts if they realized that their souls exist now upon the astral plane, and that at any given time it functions on the particular astral level of the inner world which has approximately as its basic vibratory rate the dominant vibratory rate which the individual has at the time. Did they but realize this I am sure they would be more careful as much as possible to maintain a mood which would insure that the astral level thus contacted was one whose influence upon their lives would be physically, mentally and spiritually beneficial.
Merely to contact a given level sufficiently to get information from it through extrasensory perception does not require that the dominant rate of the astral form as a whole shall be adjusted to that basic level, although it is easier to get the information when it is. If the consciousness centered in but a local area of the astral form is able to adjust its vibratory rate to the region, the level and locality on it may be reached merely through extension of consciousness, just as one on the physical plane can examine things at a distance without actually going to them through using sight and smell and hearing. But whatever the dominant rate of the astral form is, that is, the most powerful vibratory rate in it, determines the actual level on which that astral form resides.
Now a particular physical environment is not the cause of the vibratory rate of people residing in it; for under the same external circumstances the dominant vibratory rate, as well as the reactions in general of people differ. Under specific conditions of hardship some people become morose and bitter, some become mild and subdued, some become irritable and antagonistic, and some become kind and sympathetic. But we cannot ignore that the physical environment does have an influence upon the character, and therefore upon the dominant vibratory rate. It is most difficult, for instance, to maintain a harmonious mood of any kind amid clash and discord. It is difficult not to feel anger when attacked, and resentment at injustice. These are emotions which while they last powerfully influence the vibratory rate.
And thus it is that when most people are born into the next life their dominant vibratory rate for a time is powerfully influenced by their habit of meeting the demands of physical environment. Their thought processes for the term of their physical lives have been directed mostly to the things and conditions of the earth plane. And so long as their thoughts are chiefly of these things of earth to which they have become accustomed they tend to maintain the dominant rate which was customary on earth.
Thus in spite of being very good, very bad, or merely indifferent, people when they move out of their physical bodies permanently do not at once gravitate to the realm which later they will occupy. There is a transition period in which, as a rule, they remain rather close to the level corresponding to their previous struggle for physical necessities, and gradually become accustomed to their new condition.
But as they become accustomed to the fact they are no longer inhabiting the earth, and no longer compelled to struggle for physical survival, their desires may relinquish the attachments to physical things and permit those aspirations and yearnings which the physical struggle has held in abeyance to gain the dominance they have so often longed for. And as these vibratory rates become dominant they move up or down to levels of the astral realm having similar frequencies.
Desire is the mainspring of action, not only on the outer plane, but also on the inner; and people do not immediately change their desires when they pass to the next life. Instead, for a time their habitual interests and habitual desires remain, and these hold them from moving too far from the vibratory condition customary to them on earth. And these desires also often keep them for a short time sufficiently in contact with the electromagnetic Boundary-Line energy associated with the environments or people they knew on earth, or with the electromagnetic-astral belt surrounding the earth, to enable them to use it.
About the earth there is a dense belt of electromagnetic energy derived from the thoughts of people on earth and the feelings of both men and animals. And even as people in sleep can move from the no man’s land of that condition out to perceive conditions on the slow-velocity material plane, or in to perceive conditions on the high-velocity inner plane, so the vibratory rate of physical necessity which people retain in varying degrees immediately after death, and their desires and habits of physical life, keep them somewhat in contact for a time with this electromagnetic-astral belt, which is referred to in the Bible and in ancient ritual as the River Jordan, or the River Styx.
When we think intently of a condition or region, this tends for a time to tune us to the vibratory rate of that region or condition. And, regardless of spirituality or lack of it, the habitual thoughts of earth things, and the habitual vibration of physical necessity, together with the habit of utilizing electromagnetic energies in thinking, keeps considerable contact with the electromagnetic astral belt about the earth. And thus it is, because they can so readily utilize the energies of this belt, and make the contact with other electromagnetic energies of earth, those who pass to the next life for a time after passing have no great difficulty in making their presence felt by those in whom they are interested who are yet in the flesh. But after that period of time has elapsed that permits adjustment, they move to their own level, and if this level is a highly spiritualized one, it becomes difficult for them to manifest their presence, except through those who utilize extrasensory perception or are unusually mediumistic.
In his book, At the Moment of Death, Camille Flammarion has collected a large array of well-authenticated instances of the power of those who are passing, or who have just passed, to manifest themselves to their loved ones who are at a distance from the body of the deceased.
Furthermore, if the attachment to some particular environment, or some material activity has built a thought form so powerful as to be, at least for a time, obsessive in character, the power of this thought form may be sufficient to hold the person bound to the physical environment, or performing in pantomime close to the earth, this particular activity. With suitable electromagnetic emanations at hand to draw upon, such an earthbound soul may produce a haunting. In any case he will linger near the earth in a somewhat dazed condition, interested in the things that are related to the dominating thought form.
Such a soul has lost his physical body, but he is unaware that he has passed from physical life. His thoughts are as yet so focused on some earth condition, or some idea of earthly purport, that he has not yet awakened to a consciousness of his present conditions and surroundings. Except he is approached through his interest in the absorbing idea that dominates him, neither those on the physical plane nor those on the inner plane can get intelligent conversation from him. He is more like one walking in his sleep, performing, perhaps, very difficult feats, but devoid of his normal awareness. While he has passed from the physical, he is still in the boundary realm, and has not as yet awakened into consciousness of the next life.
When such an earthbound soul finally is born into the life of the inner plane, his method of birth, and his after surroundings, are precisely those common to other souls who pass from physical life into the next life almost immediately. In the one instance the birth is accomplished almost at once, and in the case of the earthbound soul the period of labor is greatly prolonged. But when birth finally comes, the circumstances by which the arrival is surrounded are determined precisely by the same laws that determine those of the more quickly born individual. Knowing this, we can treat all births as belonging to the three previously mentioned categories.
The Time of Next-Life Birth
Of course, viewing the matter in one way, the moment the umbilical cord is severed may be considered the time of birth into the physical world. And on the same ground, it might be considered that the time of birth into the astral world is the moment when the silver cord that connects the astral form to the physical form is severed. But astrologers have found that, in certain instances, it may be sometime after the severance of the umbilical cord before the child draws its first breath and utters it first cry. And they have further found that the chart erected for this first breath, for this first independent act, is, in such cases, the correct chart of birth. Therefore, while customarily the child has its birth when the umbilical cord is severed, the moment of true birth may be delayed until somewhat later. And in like manner, while the moment of birth into the next life might be considered the moment when the silver cord is snapped; in a stricter sense, it seems to me, it should be considered as the moment when the individual awakens to a consciousness of his new life.
When the individual passes to the next life in full consciousness by the natural method, the astral form merely moves out from the physical form in precisely the same manner it does when the individual leaves the physical body voluntarily to make a temporary visit on the astral plane. On such a visit there is always a cord of astral substance connecting the astral body with the physical. The further the astral moves from the physical the thinner this white astral line appears. But in the case of permanent transition to the inner plane, by the natural method of passing, the individual purposely severs this astral cord connecting him with the physical body.
If he is aged, or the physical body is feeble, or if he has carried the refining process to an advanced degree, this line is already quite frail. But whether frail or not, it must be severed to break the connection with the physical form. The advanced soul breaks this line merely by the determination to do so, that is, by thought power. When desirable and necessary, help in this can be obtained from those attending the birth on the other side. .
In the accidental method of birth into the life hereafter, the transition from the physical is apt to be more abrupt. A soldier running across no man’s land may be blown to bits by a bursting shell. He has had no pain and does not know he is physically dead. He keeps on running, reaches the enemy, perhaps, and seeing their astral forms, does not realize that these are not physical, and attacks them. Then he begins to wonder why his bayonet thrusts produce no apparent effect. Others may have passed over about the same time, and they also are unaware of the transition. They talk together, and act in concert against the enemy. They may be joined by a comrade or two who are not dead, but merely stunned, and while lost to physical consciousness are out of their bodies on the battlefield. Or even some pal who has been thinking intently of the battle, and desiring to participate in it, and has gone to sleep with this in his mind, may come along and recognize and talk to them.
Being so close, as yet, to the earth and the activities in which they have been participating, they can see both the astral forms of those I who have just passed from the physical and the astral forms of those yet in the physical. If a horse has just been killed, one of them may jump on its back and ride it, without knowing it has passed over. He sees it stumble and fall, and then arise. He cannot as yet realize that it is only the astral body of the horse that has arisen.
But when he tries to talk to those still in the flesh he will begin to realize that something is unusual. He does not realize that he sees merely the astral forms, which are duplicates of the physical, even to every item of equipment and clothing. But because the attention of these astral friends is focused on the low-velocity region of the external world, which he is unable to see, they neither perceive him nor hear his voice. Their attention is held to a region of which he is oblivious. Not knowing this he is puzzled.
Yet this condition, as a rule, is only of temporary duration. On the astral plane there are organizations of people who have once lived on earth who take an active part in Red Cross work from that side. One of the functions of this organization is, in time of war, to help those who have been shocked out of their bodies, but are not too badly maimed, and the silver cord remains yet unsevered, to get back into and animate their physical bodies. And another function is to help those who are wandering around, after the cord has been severed, dazed by their condition, to complete their births. And a third important function is to reconcile them to the fact that they have been cut off from all physical activity.
Suicides, and violent deaths occurring while the individual is participating in some revolting crime, commonly live for a more or less protracted period amid the distressing thought forms they have created. The period of labor accompanying their birth into the after life is both prolonged and painful. But in the end some skillful physician of the astral cohorts is able to reach their consciousness and bring them through into a consciousness of where they are. So, in the long run they, as well as those more worthy, are awakened into a realization of their true condition and its environment.
But before speaking further of the surroundings of this new birth, we should take some consideration of those who pass by means of the surgical method, that is, the more common method of so-called death.
No two deaths, of course, are exactly alike and, therefore, no two births on the inner plane. Ordinarily, however, the person who passes out by illness or old age lies in bed. Usually the astral form moves toward, and gradually out of, the top of the head. Thus, the feet and hands become cold first, and then the coldness moves upward to the knees. Then, as the astral body gradually moves out through the head the coldness extends to the stomach, chest and vital organs, and finally to the throat.
Because, in such separation of the astral from the physical, the last remnant of the connection between the two bodies is in the region of the brain, the brain may remain clear, to the end; or even when there has been unconsciousness, just before the complete departure of the last remnant, the person, now occupying the astral form which hovers over the physical, may vitalize the physical brain for a moment to permit one last glance in full consciousness at friends in the flesh, the saying of farewell to dear ones, or the delivery of some last message. Then the cord snaps, and the person is no longer a denizen of the flesh.
But so strong is habit that the one so released, while quite capable of moving from the room through the walls or through the ceiling and roof, not infrequently awaits the opening of a door through which he now passes to the outside world, where he is met, if they do not already accompany him, by those who guide him to a place of rest.
Concrete examples are usually better than generalizations. So I will relate very briefly, not the actual death, but a scene that occurred immediately following physical death, that I witnessed as a youngster.
A Lady Who Drowned
A young man, with his fiancé and his fiancée’s mother, went up river in a motor boat. The river was swollen with recent rains, the current very swift, and partly or wholly submerged trees were occasionally to be encountered, as they were carried down by the water. Along in the afternoon the motor boat struck one of these snags and upset, throwing all three into the water. Neither of the women could swim, but the young man was an excellent swimmer. Probably trying to be save the mother, both he and the mother were drowned, but the girl, in spite of being unable to swim, and without knowing exactly how, got ashore.
So exhausted was she, by the time she regained consciousness, night was at hand. And it was around nine o’clock before she, in her wandering search for help, reached a farmhouse about a mile from the accident. There they immediately telephoned to town for help, and a searching party was quickly organized.
It was decided, and subsequently verified, that the young man was lodged in an exceptionally deep hole close below the scene of the accident. And it was the opinion of those familiar with the river that the body of the lady was also there; that, in fact, he had been drawn down in the locked embrace of the drowning woman, otherwise so good a swimmer would have saved himself.
The leader of the searching party, who was the most experienced in river work, had on previous occasions had some experience with my “hunches,” as he called them. Therefore, when just about midnight I informed them the body of the woman was half a mile below, lodged against a sandbar, he asked no questions, but commanded two other men to follow in a rowboat, and in the only launch at our disposal, we set off to the designated sandbar with every confidence we should find the body.
The body was at the designated spot, and by the light of the lanterns we carried, was easily located in the shallow water. It was then decided to put it in the skiff, and that one of us should row this skiff down to the village, some two and a half miles below; while the launch should return with the others and the lanterns to try to locate the young man’s body. I was the one chosen to take the body to the village.
There was no moon, but the night was cloudless, and the stars shone clearly; so that I had no difficulty, without artificial light, in keeping the channel and locating the familiar landing. The body lay in the bottom of the skiff, but although the silver cord apparently was severed—at least I did not notice it—the astral form of the woman, standing erect as in life, floated immediately above her head. This astral body accompanied the skiff thus until after I had made the landing.
Although, in physical life, I had not known her well, yet we had been acquainted; and the young man who had also drowned had attended the same school while I was there. I also had a speaking acquaintance with the daughter, who thus had lost her mother and her sweetheart.
It was this daughter about whom the mother was now so concerned. She realized the nature of the accident, and she had the impression that the young man had drowned. This latter distressed her greatly; but the thing that was dominant in her mind was her daughter. She was as yet dazed by the occurrence, and had made no adjustment to her new condition. She feared that the daughter also had been drowned, and was worrying about this, because of the cutting short of the life of one so dear to her who had every bright prospect. And if the daughter had not drowned, the loss of mother and sweetheart, as she thought, would be too much for her to bear.
Feeling, rather than actually hearing, these thoughts, as they revolved over and over confusedly in her mind, I spent the time while we were moving down stream to the village in explaining the whole situation to her, as I understood it, and in reassuring her that everything possible was being done for her daughter, and that worrying over the occurrence would only help to distress her daughter, as well as make her own new condition harder.
I do not know whether or not there were others present from the astral plane, as I rowed down the stream through the night, talking to this astral form of a departed mother. But I do know that when I tied the boat at the landing and went into the village to find the undertaker, that two other faint forms were with her. To me then they seemed spirits from some higher world, come to guide this good woman to her celestial home. And through our conversations she apparently had become reconciled, so that she now also could perceive them. They were talking to her, and she was listening, and as I climbed the bank and left them, I had the impression that very quickly she would relinquish the attractions of the physical body and go whithersoever they should guide her.
I relate this very vivid experience of my youth, not because it is in any way remarkable; but because it illustrates two things very clearly. It indicates that those who have just passed from the flesh have an unusually strong power to impress those remaining behind. This woman showed me where her body was. It happened that I was the one most easy thus to impress. And it illustrates the confusion people may be under who pass out amid unusual circumstances, and how talking to them earnestly, by some one who can contact them, may relieve the worry and bring a speedy adjustment to the new condition.
Perhaps a still more recent experience will be useful in indicating these same principles, and also how those just passed over may still do things for those remaining in the flesh.
A Man Who Had Heart Failure
This was following 1929, during a year of great financial depression and unusual lack of employment. The head of a family who are close neighbors of ours passed out suddenly in the night of heart failure.
This man, who had a wife and two children, was a carpenter. We knew that he had not had steady work, but as he had been working some, and the family always previously had seemed well-to-do, we had no thought that they might be very hard pressed for money.
Yet about four o’clock of the second morning after his passing, my wife was awakened out of a sound sleep. This man stood before her, and when she spoke to him he said, “I want you to do me a favor. I want you to see that M._____and the kids have money to eat on.”
He not only seemed anxious, but worried. So my wife at once replied, “I will go over to your house the first thing in the morning, and we will see they do not want for anything.”
Upon hearing this, he seemed both relieved and pleased, and without saying more, disappeared.
Next morning, as promised, she went over to his home. His wife, when informed of what had transpired said when he died they had only fifty cents; but that her father, receiving a telegram announcing the death had thought she might need funds, and had at once telegraphed her money, so that she was really not at all in need.
There is no doubt that this man’s thoughts of the evening preceding his sudden passing were largely occupied by how, with the meager sum at his disposal, he was going to provide for his family’s welfare. He awakened in the night, in distress, and passed out in his wife’s arms before help could be summoned.
After passing, he continued to worry about the circumstances of his family. Evidently he had been unable to get close enough to his wife, perhaps because of her grief, to know she had received financial assistance from her father. He was quite unaware that the family had been provided for. And being acquainted with us, it was quite natural for him to seek our aid. He was well aware of our occult beliefs, and shared some of them. And it was quite characteristic that he should come to my wife rather than to me; for in any little borrowing of tools or utensils, such as occurs among friendly neighbors, he never disturbed me at my writing, but all such transactions were with my wife.
The Actual Astral Birth
Yet the incidents here related cannot be considered actual births into the next life. As far as related, they were deliveries, but full birth was not accomplished until somewhat later. For commonly, except in the natural method where consciousness is retained throughout, the individual after passing from the physical body falls asleep. In the case of the earthbound soul this sleep does not take place until after the binding condition has been broken. With some the sleep may be of long duration, and with others of short duration. It may be only a momentary loss of consciousness. But in any case the individual moves in his astral form to the level and place where his new birth is to take place. This is not his later level and environment, but a point somewhere toward it, in a transitional region somewhat influenced by physical necessity vibrations and his still strong physical desires.
The moment when he awakens into consciousness after this sleep, or if sleep has not intervened, the moment when as a result of a conscious realization of what has happened the vibratory rates of his astral form cease sympathetic response to physical conditions and adjust themselves to the astral world, is the moment of his birth into the new life.
This birth into the next life is under astrological law, quite as much so as the birth into physical life. He does not awaken into this consciousness of the new plane and does not accomplish that complete adjustment to it which constitutes this birth, until the astrological vibratory rates correspond in their quality, harmony and discord with the various energies of the astral form he has built in human life. That is, even as at birth into the physical form, the planets map by their positions the organizations of energy of his total previous experiences that constitute his character at physical birth, so also other astrological forces map quite as fully his character, as organized within his finer form, as it has been constructed up to the time of his physical demise. He will not be born completely into the new life until this astrological relationship obtains.
Now I do not wish to imply that a map of the heavens set up for the moment of the person’s physical death tells anything about his condition in the after life; for, in the first place, this moment is not, as a rule, the same as his birth on the inner plane. Nor do I wish to imply that the progressed aspects as calculated from physical birth still continue to influence the individual even after he has passed to the next life. Nor is the birth chart of the next life such as can be calculated using the surface of the earth as a center, and the revolution of the earth on its axis as the measure of progressions, as we do in calculating progressions as influencing us on the physical plane.
As soon as we get any considerable distance from the earth plane we are uninfluenced by the rotation of the earth, and while throughout nature there are alternate periods of activity and rest, day and night as known on earth do not there exist.
What I mean is that astrological forces continue to influence us in the next life just about as they do here. Only those who are astrological students know anything about this on the levels close to earth, just as only astrological students know anything about it on the earth. Nevertheless, on the entrance to the next life, the astral form undergoes an adjustment in which whatever experiences and thoughts have been added to it since physical birth are more markedly discernible in that form.
The person, according to the thoughts he has held and the deeds he has performed may, immediately after his new birth appear much younger or much older, better proportioned or worse proportioned, more beautiful or more ugly, larger or smaller, nicely attired or merely wrapped in rags. These manifestations of his outward appearance represent his character as developed to date and are mapped by the astrological conditions at the time of his new birth.
Furthermore, because astrological energies carry the throb of cosmic forces urging all toward evolution and progress, other energies of an astrological nature that correspond in their affect to the influence of progressed aspects in a physical birth chart, are operative as environmental forces, and thus influence his life on the inner plane quite as much as the more familiar progressed aspects do on the physical plane.
This does not mean that they bring to him events such as are brought to him by progressed aspects on earth. On the higher levels the discords do not manifest in the sordid way they do on earth. They do not bring the loss, illness and sorrow; because these conditions have been left behind. But they do exert a pressure at times that is discordant. It is one of the great lessons both here and there to learn how to transmute discords into harmony. Discords do not have the same affect on the inner plane; but throughout nature there are both harmonies and discords as alternating influences. Yet they manifest differently on different levels.
For instance, what corresponds to a very adverse progressed planetary aspect in the astral birth chart of a rather highly evolved soul may cause him to consider it his duty to descend on missionary work into the hells that are even below the level of the ordinary earth plane. He does not permit his sympathies to cause him suffering; but nevertheless, he contacts, of his own free desire, sordid and to him repulsive conditions, that he may lift others to a happier state.
Conditions of Next-Life Birth
Nowadays it is very seldom a child is born into physical life without there being someone present besides the mother to give assistance. Nor is the next plane less well provided in this respect. There are those whose occupation it is to assist in the birth of those who pass into that life, and who also assist the newborn individual to get his proper bearings. There are large organizations for doing this work, with well-developed resources. There are other individuals who are freelance workers. And some there are who travel unfrequented paths, go into the slums or into the wilderness, and give aid to those who enter this life there. Because of these various ones who engage in this work, it is really less likely for anyone to be born into the next life without attendance than it is into this one.
And the environments in which such births take place are quite as varied as those possible to imagine on earth. Whether high or low in the vertical scale depends largely upon the dominant vibration of the individual; and the kind of environment is largely determined by the stronger thoughts and desires. Yet when, as in the case of some great disaster, many individuals of varied tastes and moral qualities pass to the next plane together, or in the case of a whole company of soldiers wiped out at once in a war; it sometimes happens that the hospital corps, or emergency relief, of the other side, is able to use the collective vibratory rates and energy of the whole group to keep them together for awhile and usher them all to certain quarters that are prepared for them.
In such a case, these quarters with their appointments are on a level close to that of physical necessity, which is usually referred to as being close to earth, and the group vibration sustains all in them until after their birth, and until after they have grown somewhat accustomed to the changed conditions. Then each gravitates to his own level and the environment where his thoughts take him. That is, he moves as guided by his desires.
But the birth of those of mean disposition may not be in a nicely furnished sanitorium with fine buildings and elegant grounds and everything provided for the relaxation, comfort and amusement of those becoming adjusted to the new life. Instead, it may take place in the corner of a hovel, on a pile of rags. It may even take place in a forest, or out on barren slopes of rock. Such environments have an affinity for certain types of sordid thoughts. The individual is not compelled by anyone to be born in such a place, he determines the place of his birth by his own character. This law of affinity and correspondences is apparent even on the physical plane, and is inexorable on the inner ones.
Furthermore, in obedience to this same law, his features, his form, and even the garb in which he is thus born, express his inward characteristics. If he has, on earth, developed miserly traits, he will probably be smaller and shriveled. If he has been very licentious, this will show in the hideous leer of his countenance. If he has been vicious enough, he may even be crippled. But if his character as developed on earth is fine, his body will appear beautifully proportioned and his face may have the radiance ascribed commonly to an angel. If his thoughts have been somewhat sour he may appear older than when last seen on earth, but if his thoughts have retained elasticity and enthusiastic expectancy, even though the physical body was aged, he will have the appearance of being much younger than when he passed out.
Children, when born into astral life, are of the same size and usually not much changed in appearance, as when on earth. But they grow to maturity after their astral birth, and then present a mature form which corresponds in its lineaments with the inward character. On the inner plane the character shines through the outward form in a way that is unmistakable.
But wherever and whenever the individual is born into astral life, it is but a short time usually until someone comes along, if not already there, who is willing to help him. Not that anyone can bear his burdens for him. Or make a vicarious spiritual progress. Each is the arbiter of his own destiny. But there are those on the inner plane who make it their business to act as guides and to give advice to the newly arrived. Usually such are present at the new birth to assist in it and in the subsequent adjustment.
The individual who thus awakens into astral life may, or may not, be willing to take the advice or even listen to, these guides. If he has a fixed idea that he is going to a heaven paved with gold, about as soon as he is born on the inner plane he moves in search of such a place and is quickly attracted to such a thought-form environment built by others of like faith. Here he may reside for a long time, if his faith is unwavering, before some missionary of the real truth is able to reach his consciousness and jar him into a realization that this is merely an artificially created erroneous environment. Then his real advancement begins.
Those without such fixed convictions of how things must be, start their progression sooner. But this progression, if they have been very wicked in the real sense of finding joy in the suffering of others, and being viciously selfish, must begin at a basic level even below the common level of earth, and in environments that are distressing, indeed.
After birth on the next plane and the transitory period of adjustment has been finished in a temporary realm, rest home, or other environment, the individual is pulled down by the grossness of his essential vibratory rates to a level below, or is lifted up by them to a spiritual level above. He finds his own real moral level as surely as the surface of water seeks its level on the face of the earth.
The strong thoughts and desires, further, attract him to an environment corresponding to their nature. If they are warlike, he is attracted to a place where there is strife. If they are greedy, he moves among greedy companions, where the weight of his body and possessions seem unbearable. The after life is quite dissimilar to earth life in that those of like tastes herd together, and those of different inclinations do not intermingle.
Nothing other than his own inclinations keeps the individual on the level where he thus finds himself, or amid the surroundings. He is not ordered to go there by any person, or by any supernatural being. He goes there because of the law of affinity. And he can move himself to any environment that he can cultivate a strong enough desire for, that will offset the desires and thoughts already organized that hold him where he now is.
Nor does he have to remain on the level, or plane, where he now finds himself. But he cannot ascend to any level that has a vibratory rate higher than his own. If he would live on a spiritual level he must cultivate spiritual qualities, so that his dominant vibratory rates will be spiritual. And there are ministers, or teachers, who visit all realms, more than willing to instruct the inhabitants how to raise their vibratory rates, how to live better lives, and rise into better conditions.
But even as on earth, teachers of spiritual things cannot force their great truths down the unwilling throats of all they meet. They are ever ready to dispense wisdom; but they cannot compel others to accept it. Advancement in the astral realm after death of the physical body, even as here, depends upon willingness and effort.
Eva Le Gallienne Chart
January 11, 1899, 7:00 a.m. 0W. 51:30N.
Data given in her autobiography.
1903, separation of father and mother: Mars semisquare Pluto r.
1906, saw Bernhiardt act, and resolved to become an actress: Venus opposition Pluto r.
1907, heartbroken when separated from nurse: Sun sesquisquare Pluto r.
1914, William Faversham offered her part in tour of America, but mother thought her too young: Sun sextile Uranus r.
1915, friends launched her on successful stage career: Sun sextile Uranus p.
1926, won gold medal for achievements, and as founder and director, on October 25 opened Civic Repertory Theatre in New York; it ran six seasons.
Ethelbert Nevin Chart
November 25, 1862, 8:00 p.m. 80W. 40:30N.
Data from Life of Ethelbert Nevin, by Vance Thompson.
1872, wrote first musical composition: Venus trine Mars p.
1874, published first musical composition: Mercury sesquisquare Jupiter p.
1877, took lessons from best tcachers in Europe: Sun conjunction Venus p.
1879, strife with father over choice of career: Mercury trine Mars p.
1880, father consented to let him be musician: Venus sextile Jupiter p.
1881, published Apple Blossom, The Lovers, The Milk Maids: Sun sextile Jupiter p.
1888, January 5, married happily and composed many songs: Sun sextile Venus. r.