This series of articles condenses and explores the classic (1896) book, Wanderer in the Spirit Lands. If a particular chapter draws your interest, you can click on the chapter link to read the detail in the original book. Italicized passages below are my comments and interpretations. MM)
Ch10. After a series of grueling missions into the darker realms, Franchezzo gratefully returns home to his treasures (the mirror-picture, white rose, and letter) in his small room in the Twilight Land, among this Brotherhood of Hope community of souls who are purifying their tarnished spirits through good service and inner work. He eats a simple, basic food when hungry, which happens every week or so, though he notices that people who had food issues during lifetime eat more often in this spirit community. (While there’s no need to eat after we die, we each carry with us into the next life certain familiar patterns from Earth, so we continue to do earthly things, like eating.) Now Franchezzo is doing inner work with the help of two guides or teachers. One is an astral spirit like himself who has already wandered extensively through the dark realms doing service. The other is from a more refined sphere (probably at the fourth or fifth level), and his bright spirit body is barely visible to Franchezzo, who sometimes senses the guide’s presence or receives intuitive suggestions and lessons in receptive moments. Everyone in the community is doing inner work and attending lectures, and while some assimilate the lessons more quickly than others, no one is pressured or hurried. Some study for a while then wander off to resume their fascination with carnal humans then return to the community to study… back and forth… until they eventually tire of earthly dramas and devote themselves to advancement. Franchezzo has the advantage of a heart connection with his refined loved one on Earth, who keeps him anchored in the promise of peace, love, and joy. His higher guide accompanies him on visits to her side, and during one visit helps him materialize a hand that he can lay upon her shoulder.
Ch11. Franchezzo eventually refines his spiritual vibration to the point that he can now see his higher guide, Ahrinziman, a tall, majestic, Mideastern man dressed in a white robe with golden trim and a golden sash around his waist. Ahrinziman is teaching Franchezzo how to “materialize,” to make his body dense enough to be seen by clairvoyants on Earth or to be caught on film.
Both men had been warm and passionate during lifetime, experiencing violent love and hate. While Ahrinziman has purified himself of those earthly passions, it’s that inner experience that allows him to resonate with kindred spirits like Franchezzo and help them rise and purify as he himself has done over the centuries since his death. He can patiently show them the consequences of their choices. Finer spirits without that resonating earthly experience can only observe struggling souls, not really help them. Ahrinziman can take Franchezzo to the very lowest earthly spirit realm of relentless oppressors where everyone tries to outdo everyone else with their cunning and violence. Everyone’s free to impose their will on everyone else in this dark, Ayn-Randian, Libertarian paradise, and visitors like Franchezzo who are accompanied there by guides like Ahrinziman can trace the brutality to the most savage of the realm… those who “reign in Hell—Kings and Emperors of Evil!” Everyone in the spirit worlds is free to work or play or be idle, to be noble or savage… and they’re each drawn to the realm where they resonate, whether it’s a dark, oppressive hell or a brilliant Summerland paradise or one of the countless realms in between.
Ch12. The materialization sessions are held about every two weeks, and after about three months in the Brotherhood, Franchezzo is ready to ascend to a finer realm. (While time and space are largely an illusion or anomaly of the material realm, spirits close to the Earth at levels 1, 2, and 3 still find themselves subject to the illusion, and they track their experiences by the passage of time.) Spirit groups think about the spirit realms they live in… those invisible realms that surround earth… as divided up into different levels or spheres, and different spirit groups divide them up differently, with perhaps 7 or 12 levels or more. Franchezzo has come to see it as 7 levels of heaven above the earth and 7 levels of hell below it, each level determined by the distance (or vibratory rate) of each realm from the source, or God, which he calls “the great central sun of our solar system.” Each level or sphere is subdivided into 12 sublevels that don’t have solid boundaries between them but blend together one to the next. The “earth plane” is like a living spiritual cloud around the Earth, and it consists of the first of the 7 levels above the Earth and the first of the 7 levels below the Earth. It’s the home of earth-bound spirits. (It’s probably what our spirit friends at Timestream call the “shadow world.”) Franchezzo has now purified himself of enough earthly desires to ascend from level 1 to level 2. He falls into a deep, two-week sleep in his small room, during which time his old, disfigured astral body becomes lighter, or more etherealized, and he awakens in a more conscious, nicer looking astral body. His discarded astral envelope, or empty astral shell, is dissolved by the attending spirits “into the elements.” (This dissolution of the astral shell in the spirit world is probably like cremating the physical body on Earth after death so it doesn’t just lie around and slowly decay.)
Back “in the old days” people believed that those 7 higher heavens and 7 lower hells referred to 7 higher-up-in-the-sky heavens and 7 lower-down-below-the-ground hells, as though the various hells and heavens were nested physically inside each other like Russian nested dolls, with Earth in the middle… and if we on Earth could dig deep enough with a shovel we’d find hell.
Today we know (thanks largely to leading-edge science) that was just dense, carnal thinking. In fact, time and space are largely illusions.
The spirit realms can be compared more accurately to radio signals, all jumbled together in the same “space” at the same “time”, each realm remaining distinct by its frequency or vibration. All of those vast heavens and hells are right here, all around us; most of us just can’t “tune into” them consciously with our five senses because our five senses don’t have appropriate living antennas for all those spiritual realms.
Ch13. Franchezzo awakens wearing a dark blue robe with gold trim with the Brotherhood symbol on the sleeve. He’s lying on a soft, down bed in a humble, comfortable little room with a window looking out onto a wide stretch of grassy hills. There are no trees or bushes, just a few scattered, flowering weeds, but there’s lots of green grass. This “Land of Dawn” at level 2 is like a permanent, mostly cloudy day outside, but so much nicer than the dismal “Land of Twilight” at level 1! His heart is filled with unspeakable gratitude. His three little treasures are in the room, and he looks in the mirror-picture to see his lady love on Earth, who is sleeping with a happy smile as though pleased by Franchezzo’s progress. There’s also another mirror in his room, and he’s astonished to see that he’s once again a young man in his prime, about age 30 in appearance. Looking more closely, he can see a certain sadness in his eyes reflecting the suffering through which he’s passed. There’s no longer the unbridled ecstasy of youth that he’d enjoyed on Earth, but a knowing… a certain remorse for those past misdeeds that can’t simply be erased but become a part of the living spirit. Franchezzo is accompanied with other level 2 newcomers, around 500 of them, to a large banquet hall with windows overlooking more hills and a great, peaceful lake. Around 1,000 established residents mingle through the crowd, greeting everyone, until the arrival of The Grand Master, along with his procession, who presides over the Brotherhood at level 2. He welcomes the newcomers to this “House of Hope” as “conquerors in the great battle against selfishness and sin.” All newcomers are crowned with laurel wreaths followed by cheers and singing by the assembled Brothers. (While there are many multilevel networks like the Brotherhood of Hope who help lost souls find their way, it becomes more evident through the book that this Brotherhood associates itself with Christian teachings.) And the welcome banquet begins… fruits that melt in the mouth, wine like sparkling nectar that doesn’t intoxicate, delicate cakes, and light breads. Afterwards, as the Brothers mingle, Franchezzo leaves the banquet and rushes to visit his lady love on Earth, who is preparing for a materialization meeting, and he follows her there, trembling with the knowledge that he’s ready to show himself to her as a happy soul at the prime of life, no longer as an old, dark, decrepit figure hiding his face. When he materializes at the meeting, at first she doesn’t recognize Franchezzo without the stressed features, passioned demeanor and wrinkled brow of his carnal body that she remembers so well, and she doesn’t know what to think. But when he whispers in her ear, “It is I,” she laughs and smiles in recognition.
Ch14. Franchezzo spends more time visiting his love on Earth and enjoying her presence (and less time getting acquainted with his new home in the Land of Dawn), and during one visit he gets an unsettling surprise. She says she’s been visited by a spirit claiming to be Franchezzo’s father and has a message from him, the man whom Franchezzo had loved so deeply because he’d been his only parent ever since his mother’s death when he was very young. His father had such high hopes for his bright, gifted son and was so filled with pride and joy in his accomplishments, that by the time Franchezzo had made a shipwreck of his life, his father’s heart was broken, his dreams destroyed. His father had soon died in anguish for his son… or so Franchezzo has always thought. So Franchezzo is now filled with trepidation about the content of the message from his father. But when she smiles and shares his father’s loving words, a heavy burden of fear and shame is lifted from his shoulders, and he feels like the prodigal son welcomed with open arms. Suddenly he sees his father, also standing beside her, looking just as he’d looked on Earth but with a glorious spiritual luster indicative of the Summerland at level 4. The two men clasp in a tight embrace and enjoy a long talk about old times. His father says he has been observing and supporting both Franchezzo and his lady love both before and after Franchezzo’s death. There has never been any need for Franchezzo’s fear and shame about their father-son bond, as far as his father is concerned. Any dark feelings harbored in Franchezzo’s mind are simply spiritual residue created by the choices he made during lifetime. His lessons, his service, his graduation to level 2, the banquet, his meetings with his lady love, and his loving encounter with his father are all part of his process to cleanse and purify.