The Fourth Spirit Plane and a concert. Helpers, wise teachers and a trip into space to find more spirits out there too.
In concluding this review of Caroline Larsen's journeys to the World Beyond, I would like to mention that she and Bertha Harris are not the only mediums who have gone out of body in this way. For those who would like to read a longer account of visits to the Spirit World should take a look at "A Soul's Journey" by Peter Richelieu, first published in Durban, South Africa, with the title "From the Turret"in 1953. It has been available from the Aquarian Press, London, since 1989.
The main comment I have to make is to ask why this important evidence of survival and descriptions of our next destination have not been more widely presented to society by our schools, universities and religious institutions. And this is merely a small fraction of all the accounts available from what has been published since Swedenborg's time over 260 years ago. It is comforting to know that we are all assured a future existence, which makes our life here meaningful and purposeful. There is so much panic and fear surrounding the subject of death, and our feelings are naturally aroused over loss and bereavement, but we also have the joy and expectation of meeting our dear loved ones again, if we more clearly understand the process of passing and going on to continue our existence Beyond. The truth needs to be known.
However at the present time, we can rarely talk to a doctor, psychiatrist, scientist or priest about our ability to see into the World Beyond, or see and hear spirits around us. Psychic Science, Spiritual Philosophy and the history and methods of psychical research need to be taught in schools, perhaps within courses of comparative religion and alternative healing. Some church organisations do include this kind of study, such as the various Spiritualist, Spiritist and Psychical Research Societies, Spiritual Frontiers, the Churches' Fellowship, and independent organisations like those of Edgar Cayce or Sylvia Browne. Without doubt, at present, our culture does help us face death with hospice care and looking after funeral arrangements, supplying mortuaries, graveyards and memorials. But much more could be taught about the World Beyond..
So here, in conclusion, is Caroline Larsen, reporting from the Third and Fourth Planes of the Spirit World.
[After] leaving the children, I passed through other parts of the Third plane, where I moved among the throngs of exalted beings, the mansions without end, in the midst of stately gardens. My mind was full of amazement at the extent of this wonderful world. .....The glories of that wondrous spirit land were incomparable. It seemed the best of all possible heavens with its atmosphere of universal peace, sympathy and happiness. Love hovered over all. How delightful it was to pass abode after abode, watching the spirits enjoy the blessings, a scene of extaordinary tranquillity and charm. I spoke to a spirit who was sitting in his garden resting against a tree, entirely surrounded by flowers and luxuriant vegetation of exquisite hue and fragrance. His eyes shone with a calmness of mind beyond human achievement or comprehension. From his face shone a radiant happiness as he answered my amazement by saying "Yes, what an inexpressible joy it is to be permitted to dwell in these glorious realms after so much mortal agony, so many trials, such great tribulations, such piercing sorrows."
Another desire came to me - to hear music. I was guided to a high structure of artistic architecture, whose entire top, arranged like a platform, seated a huge orchestra composed of all varieties of instruments, some familiar to me and others strange. Every musician showed himself a master of his art in the frequent concerts given by this as well as by numerous similar organisations. The music began, and immediately I was held entranced by its sweeping majesty, and by its overwhelming emotional appeal. I could not endure it, perhaps because I was still of earth. Completely overcome, I had to be led away.
My guide now wished to conduct me to a distant place, where there awaited something of great interest to me. Rising a little from the ground, the body at a vertical angle, we passed swiftly through space, impelled only by the agency of the will. Below us a marvellous panorama unrolled, as we travelled on. The delicately coloured spirit houses, with their varied architecture and wonderfully artistic ornamentation, seemed bathed in brilliant light of unearthly splendour. Around them spread gardens with flowers and shrubbery and trees, surpassing in colour and desirgn the most perfect creations of human landscape artists. At intervals the great mansions and palaces for large gatherings rose among the trees, impressive in size yet delicate in colour and beauty of line. Against the vivid brilliance of flowers and olive green of the level lawns on which multitudes of spirits enfolded in their robes of light and many colours continually moved, these perfect creations rose to mould a harmony of form and colour that caught and held the spirit like perfect music. Arriving at a wide flat of open ground, we saw in the distance what appeared to be a great bed of varicoloured flowers, which as we came closer turned out to be a great throng of women spirits, clad in brightly-coloured robes.
They were standing before a huge arched structure, apparently awaiting some event. I learned that they were the helpers waiting to be sent on their errands as angels of mercy, both to the earth and to the lower planes. Since I learned that this was but one place among many where the helpers received their directions, I concluded that there must have been myriads of these ministering angels always ready to serve in the hour of need. Deeply interested, I approached to look more clearly at the spirits nearest me. I felt they were indeed well fitted for the task for which they had volunteered. Their lovely and serene faces were eloquent with warm sympathy. The divine love and kindness that looked from their eyes spoke clearly of the principle that animated all their actions. Words and demeanour told of their impatience to hurry to the work of service that irresistibly called. They made a splendid and delightful picture standing draped in robes of different colours, wearing a head-dress also coloured by their auras. This variety of the lighter and brighter colour, and the brilliant white light streaming from their faces produced an effect of marvellous beauty. A hush now fell on the gathering and every eye turned with expectation toward three figures of authoritative presence, spirits from the higher planes who had come to direct the helpers. They were clad in shining garments and bore themselves with high dignity. They passed below the arch standing in front of the gathering and then appeared upon its top where they issued directions to the helpers, who immediately, singly and in groups, went eagerly on their way. I felt deep gratitude to my guide for the happiness of beholding this scene, which was to me a heaven far more real and comforting than any which I had conceived on earth.
My time for leaving the third plane had now come, and I knew that soon I must return to reinhabit my earthly body. But before that I implored my guide to give me at least a glimpse of the glories of the fourth plane. To my joy, he consented.
THE FOURTH PLANE
As we approached the fourth plane, my eyes were almost blinded by the glory of the spectacle. From every direction thronged troops of spirits, apparently converging on a great building of amazing size, beauty and splendour. Each spirit seemed enveloped in a ball of flaming white light, emanating from himself and giving to the brilliant light of this plane an additional splendour and force that to me became almost overpowering in its brilliancy. There the spirits were dressed in aural garments of varying colours which the emanating light did not conceal; the women in robes falling in rich folds, the men in closely-fitting garments. The scene was of marvellous beauty and indescribable brilliance. Almost at once my guide brought me to the lines of the moving procession, and soon, with the rest, I entered the majestic hall toward which the spirits were thronging. It was an enormous auditorium, arranged in a semi-circle about a raised platform. Without apparent ushering, or other show of authority, the great throng found their accustomed places in the most orderly fashion. Seats were assigned to myself and my guide, and while we were waiting expectantly there was opportunity to study the assemblage. The foremost impression was that already mentioned - of the inexpressible and overpowering brilliance, produced by the natural illumination of this plane, the white splendour of the faces, the light about them, and the aura which coloured their shining raiment in a multitude of hues, their faces vivid with intelligence and power, and flowing with sympathy, love and understanding. For these spirits had not only triiumphed in self-mastery; they had attained wisdom and a knowledge of mysteries of which I could only faintly guess. Conscious of my own unfitness, I felt myself fading into utter insignificance. Conversations and discussions engaged groups of spirits near me - discussions that appeared weighty and of intense interest.
A hush now fell on the congregation as five teachers in garments more shining than any I had yet seen ascended the platform and in turn began to speak. All present listened with rapt attention, hung upon their words and unconsciously pressed closer, eager to know the wonders being unfolded. I could understand nothing - it exceeded my powers - but none the less I felt the influence, and struggled to approach the wonderful strangers. My movements in the throng created some confusion, and I was rebuked and fed with reproving looks, particularly as any spirit there could see and know that I was out of place. However my guide spoke up on my behalf, explaining that I had not yet passed over, but was permitted to visit. This seemed to satisfy those around me, and I heard murmurs of understanding. I remained quiet until the speakers finished. The great concourse broke up in quiet order, and my guide and I went on our long journey to the first plane, already recounted, in accordance with my expressed desire. I saw little else of the fourth plane, but I was informed that life there was similar to life in the third plane, though more developed, more perfect, and more glorious.
My trips to the various parts of the Spirit World, it must be understood, were at different times, for otherwise I should have been too long absent from my body, which would have meant bodily death, and I would have been compelled to remain prematurely in the spirit realms.
The last journey I made was into the immense spaces of our universe, and this occurred some time subsequent to my return from the fourth plane. This seemed to me by far the longest journey I had made, as the four planes I had visited appeared to be not far distant from our solar system. Accompanied as always by my guide, I passed first through the spaces of our solar system, and then out into the abyss of space, among the countless stars which were moving with incredible speed. The sight challenged the imagination, but much as I marvelled at these enormous material worlds, I wondered infinitely more at the countless living beings that filled the universe. Spirits of high superiority and authority such as I had never seen even in the fourth plane passed in every direction, singly and in larger or smaller groups. A white light of intense power emanated from each, and enveloped them in a flaming radiance that varied in intensity in proportion to their spiritual power. All were garbed in glowing white. The combined brilliancy of the light thus produced flooded all space. The great whirling globes were as nothing to this awe-inspiring spectacle. The mere sight of these majestic spirits even from afar was enough to convince me that they were the rulers and controllers of the whole [physical] universe. My guide explained they were part of that supreme power that rules and guides both the material and spirit universe.
[So ends Caroline Larsen's account of her out-of-body trips into the Spirit World, and out into the physical universe, where spiritual beings also play their part. Most of us cannot see or feel them around us, except now and again. There is more to Heaven and Earth than we shall ever be able to comprehend as long as we belong to the material plane. But we can be sure, from these accounts and descriptions we have been reading, that there will be more to learn, when finally it is our turn to enter the World Beyond for a longer stay than is permitted while we live on earth. Richard Rowley].
Reviewed and condensed from "My Travels in the Spirit World" by Caroline Larsen. Vermont, 1927.
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