This series of articles summarizes and explores the classic (1896) book, Wanderer in the Spirit Lands. I try to preserve the original meaning in the summary (which is regular type). My observations and comments are in italics.
Ch27. Franchezzo and his large rescue party are welcomed home to the Land of Dawn with a great victory festival. Each receives a new robe of light-gray (indicating spiritual advancement) with gold star and anchor on the left sleeve (symbols of the Brotherhood). In his room he finds a fragrant wreath of white roses framing the mirror-picture of his soulmate on Earth. He relaxes on his snow-white couch and gazes outside at the peaceful hills, until summoned to the large hall for a banquet and heartwarming reunion with his father and new friends. After the feast, majestic music fills the room, and large gray and gold curtains covering the walls glide apart to reveal a massive mirror of black marble, on which a 3D reenactment of their mission begins to play like a movie. The music become so stirring and the action so intense that the audience forgets where they are as they’re drawn into the grueling scenes in the depths of hell. Scene after scene they relive the adventure of each team member amid the wailing and the fierce battle cries, all accompanied by tumultuous music… that finally fades into a most exquisite sweetness as the movie ends. His father explains to a puzzled Franchezzo that this huge movie-mirror consists of many transparent sheets or cards, each imprinted with the experiences of one team member. All of those experiences have become a sort of akashic record of the mission. The spirit worlds are formed by the thoughts and actions of the souls, and all feelings, words, and events are captured in objective form (e.g. on sheets like these) so that anyone who resonates can experience them. Franchezzo “belongs to the spheres of art, music, and literature,” so he experiences the records as pictures, text, music and spoken word. These advanced technologies in the spirit world are gradually being developed on Earth by an awakening humanity. (The implications for ITC research become obvious here… the advancement of Earth technologies and resonant mind-states to connect with spiritside technologies.) After the banquet Franchezzo and the other team members return to their rooms and enter a state of mind-awake-body-asleep that lasts several weeks. Awakening from the long sleep, his job now is to work with confused souls on the earth plane (level 1 and level -1) who inhabit the same, lighter-version spirit cities (Genoa, Milan…) as those dark copies (level -7 of hell) he’d visited during the mission. Now, Franchezzo urges earthbound spirits to rise above earthy interests by impressing in their minds a sense of what he’s seen in the dark realm… the dangers and traps that can befall meddlers. Some of these spirits get only a vague sense of the dangers and ignore the warning, while others are more receptive to be helped. Overall, so many people on Earth are dying in a confused state, and the ties to Earth remain so strong, that the Brothers need all the help they can get. As months pass, Franchezzo feels the restless pull to advance toward the realm where his soulmate will one day awaken after her death. (He can now communicate mentally with her, clearly and directly.) It feels like a race to get to that finer state by the time she does, but Franchezzo realizes that impatience like this is just one of the many discordant earthly emotions that keep spirits trapped on the earth plane… along with their fears, doubts, suspicion, and envy. He still has much to learn about purifying himself, and there’s so much to process! So his guide Ahriniziman tells him of the Land of Remorse, where spirits here on level 2 can do inner work, to come to terms with their inner savage. But the Land of Remorse is such a grueling experience that many spirits avoid it for years or centuries after they die. For most spirits here on level 2, soul-searching is a slow, step-by-step process, but Franchezzo’s guide thinks he’s heart-strong enough for a wholesale cleansing experience. He thinks, Oh great, how long? Answer: 2-3 weeks of earth time. So he’s taken to some distant hills—the Land of Remorse—where he’ll process his emotional baggage, not so much the little daily weaknesses and missteps of earth life, but the significant things he did that hurt others. Now he’s barefoot, wearing a crude, dark-gray robe, and bearing a heavy load of lifetime mistakes across the burning, barren sand. Picture after picture of his past rise before him like a mirage… his cruel words, the wounded feelings and the tears of those affected, his countless bad thoughts and selfish actions… until he sinks to his knees and weeps tears of shame and grief. As each teardrop hits the ground, a tiny, brown flower sprouts with a drop of dew in its center, creating a small oasis of beauty in the weary desert. Finally feeling less burdened, he resumes his journey with a series of encounters:
- He accepts a wailing child from the arms of its weary mother, one of those women without a maternal instinct who never wanted a child. Unable to love and care for the poor child, she’d often punished it for being troublesome until it had died at age 5. She died shortly afterwards of the same fever. Since then the child’s been stuck to her, so she was advised to take this journey. Franchezzo kisses the child, who smiles up at hime and wraps its tiny arms around his neck, and the woman says she’s supposed to carry the child a little farther, and then it will be taken to a finer realm to be cared for by spirits who are fond of children.
- Next he comes to a rough, rocky terrain forged by pride and scorn, the kind of scorn he had felt as a gifted artist toward other artists of mediocre talent. He had no use for them. Now he realizes that many people of humble talent on Earth produce great beauty once they arrive in the spirit worlds. Above him he sees a young man clinging to the rocks, exhausted by his lifelong drive to achieve wealth and nobility while sharing no love with those around him. Franchezzo gets bruised and torn helping the fellow to the summit, then feels his own load has lightened as though he’s made amends to some of the crushed spirits of those he’d scorned during lifetime. As his friend proceeds on his own journey, Franchezzo sits for a long time thinking he will return to Earth one day to help the less fortunate and to encourage the less gifted.
- Passing through a rugged ravine, he then finds a group of frustrated spirits huddled before a large, insurmountable iron gate. One woman is especially distraught, having spent much time trying to get through. As he helps and consoles her, the gate suddenly melts away, he passes through, and the gate closes. The key to opening the gate, he realizes, is kind thoughts and deeds.
- He comes to a rickety bridge and a miserable old man too feeble to cross. Franchezzo rushes to his side and offers to help him, but the old man says the rotten bridge won’t hold their combined weight. “Go on without me.” Undaunted, Franchezzo hoists the old man on his back, then creeps and crawls perilously across the groaning, buckling bridge. The old man turns out to be his guide Ahrinziman, who removes his disguise, laughs, and tells Franchezzo he’s passed the test of selflessness.
- Finally Franchezzo comes to the valley of the phantom mists, where puffs of gray mist form haunting ghosts of the doubts and suspicion, bitterness and disappointments that had ruled his later life. The distorted, hateful-looking things close in on him, whisper maliciously in his ear, and crowd him toward a dark pit. He wrestles like a mad man for dear life until anguish drives him to grab the nearest phantom and fling it away, and then the thick cloud of doubt breaks apart and drifts away like a breeze. He passes out on the ground, exhausted.
- When he awakes he’s finally at peace in a paradise meadow near a stream of crystal clear water, a beautiful grove of trees, and a pond with water lilies… a hint of nice things to come.