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. “Heaven” is a nebulous term, usually the equivalent of level 3, an afterlife paradise of love and good will, where most people awaken after they die. Level 4 is sometimes called The Summerland, an exquisite place. By the end of the book (below), Franchezzo has worked his way through level 2 and is ready to move into the paradise of level 3.
Ch32. While some skies here on level 2 are clear blue, Franchezzo’s little cottage is graced with light, fleecy clouds overhead that are sometimes white and sometimes tinged with rainbow hues. Sometimes he sees on the distant mountaintop a mirage of ethereal golden gates, which appear briefly just beyond the great river, then fade away. On one occasion his father visits from his home on level 3 and says that the gates are an invitation to the highest circle (sublevel 12) of level 2, or second sphere. Franchezzo has had plenty of opportunity to explore and move to the finer circles of this second sphere, but his love for this small cottage has kept him here at sublevel 1. Now he reluctantly leaves his home and sets off on his ascent toward the gates, which appear more solid as he approaches. Along the way he passes terrace after terrace, each flourishing with cities and countrysides brighter and more beautiful than those he’s passed, and each representing a higher circle within the second sphere. From each terrace he can gaze down onto all the many circles and spheres below, through the earthplane and into the dark chasms of hell. Between each sphere is an energy barrier that prevents anyone from lower spheres from passing unless they resonate with the moral energy of the higher sphere. Reaching the river at the summit, he sees the gates on the other shore surrounded by trees and flowers. He plunges into the river and swims across, emerging with his robe soaking wet… but only for a moment. Suddenly it’s dry and no longer gray but snow-white and of a finer material, indicating his spiritual advancement. The gates slide open at his touch, and he embarks on a wide road bordered with graceful trees that wave as though welcoming him, and beautiful, fragrant flowers that turn to face him as he approaches, leading toward blue and purple hills and a large, glistening lake with boatloads of happy spirits in colorful robes. It all looks like a heavenly version of his beloved southern Italy, but all love and joy with no trace of strife or unpleasantness anywhere. Another small crowd of happy spirits approaches him on the road, including his father, mother, two brothers, and several childhood friends, all waving scarves of red, white, and green and singing lovely songs from the homeland. Even his soulmate from Earth arrives, sleeping in the arms of her guardian, and awakens briefly to greet Franchezzo with a smile and hug before being returned quickly to her sleeping physical body on Earth. His family leads him to his new home, a hilltop villa with one side covered with vines of jasmine and roses, and a large flower garden in the yard. The villa has seven spacious, richly decorated rooms, overlooks a lake and a range of gentle mountains, and is filled with pictures of his happiest moments on Earth, statues, a fountain, musical instruments, two snow-white sofas as soft as goose down, and much more. Through the open windows of the music room he can gaze down upon his past, into the various spheres and circles through which he’s traveled, and there at the center of the spirit realms hovers the Earth, glistening like a star. From the conservatory he can gaze upward into the third sphere toward his future: towers and majestic mountains shining through a dim haze of bright mist, changing from rainbow colors to gold to blue to white. Another room is set up with a feast of fruits, cakes, fine foods, and sparkling wine of the spirit world, and Franchezzo sits down with his loved ones to enjoy the food and friendship. After the warm welcome, Franchezzo is left alone in his villa, soon feels a need for companionship, and his friend Bendetto (Ch24) arrives, having found his own way to this threshold of heaven after his 10-year ordeal in hell, where he had been rescued by Franchezzo and his faithful friend. The two become housemates.
Ch33. Franchezzo welcomes many visitors to his luxurious villa on the threshold to heaven and travels to many bright, flourishing cities, but one experience really stands out: He finally learns why he’s been given such a comprehensive tour of the spirit realms around the Earth since his death. His job now is to become a spirit guardian and to write this book so that people on Earth might more easily:
- understand their real spiritual heritage,
- realize that their choices on Earth determine their afterlife experiences,
- liberate their departed loved ones by letting go, knowing they might meet again one day, and
- access a vast army of light workers for protection against dark forces.
So during one of his many meditative naps in which he communes with his two guardians, he feels Ahrinziman beckon from his much higher sphere. As a white mist envelops him, his ethereal body rises from his sleeping astral body and ascends higher and higher with a lightness he’s never felt before. He lands on a mountaintop, where he’s greeted by his guardian. He can see his villa far below, and beyond that the ebb and flow of the vast earthplane and its many dramas involving many millions of spirits and angels and mortals…
- Elemental astral forms move about near the Earth, some hideous, others beautiful.
- Earthbound spirits of men and women, tied to their gross and carnal pleasures and worldly interests, meddle in the lives of mortals… or stand helplessly near their grieving loved ones who are oblivious to their presence.
- As brilliant consciousness from higher realms streams to Earth, sensitive people whose spiritual eyes and ears are partly open, are inspired to create works of music and art that stir human souls, or to produce technological inventions and scientific theories that improve human lives… these creative men and women being called geniuses.
- Angelic gatekeepers stand here and there on the earthplane beside doors where knowledge and wisdom from the higher realms filter down through a vast multilevel network, flooding through the doors to certain people of pure heart and generous nature who have the sensitivity and commitment to help the world.
- Some of these protected doors 1) falter as the gifted humans surrender to earthly distractions, or 2) distort as they surrender to dogma and misunderstanding, or 3) putrefy as they surrender to savage human thoughts and desires and dark spirits move in… at which time the doors are closed permanently by the gatekeepers.
- Bright light from the central sun streams down constantly onto the Earth, and glorious strains of music from celestial spheres fill the world with heavenly song.
- Wave after wave of dark and awful spirits, 10 times more damaging than the earthbounds, rise from the spheres of hell, crowding and clustering around humans wherever fear and hate and cruelty and lust prevail… blinding human eyes from the light and deafening human ears from the music.
- Brilliant generals who had been among the most evil and strong-willed of spirits (Ch25) before finding their way to the light through grueling amends and service, now lead vast armies of strong warriors against those waves of dark spirits attracted to the Earth by human savagery, all contending for humanity’s soul.
- These dark hordes, flowing up from the lower spheres like massive storm clouds, sweep across the Earth, stirring savagery and trying to take over the communication doors… as the equally vast armies of white, gold, and silver, in an aura of brilliant light, sweep down from finer spheres upon the dark cloud.
- These two armies meet each other head-on, and like powerful currents of pure water against pools of dark oil, they’re mutually repulsive and unable to interpenetrate, so they simply try to scrub each other from the face of the Earth.
- The dark hordes seem more stubborn and successful during troubled times, until hosts of powerful angels descend, casting brilliant rays of light into the oily mass to break it into pieces that are finally absorbed back into the darker spheres.
- High above each person on Earth shines a brilliant star, a soul, containing that person’s destiny or life mission, which when followed through noble life choices makes the star glow brighter, but when neglected through savage choices and earthly distractions causes the star to fade… the condition of that star being sensed to a greater or lesser degree by the people, plants and animals who encounter the person, depending on their sensitivities to these finer soul energies.
On that note, Ahrinziman bids his student adieu, and Franchezzo descends to his villa in the Bright Land, which is so like his beloved southern Italy, and he falls into a deep sleep to assimilate this incredible lesson.
Ch34. And so marks the end of Franchezzo’s journey, the conclusion of his first afterlife mission…
- Dimming his soul during lifetime through worldly distractions and savage choices, then
- Waking in darkness after an early death,
- Making the arduous ascension from darkness into light while confronting and atoning for his mistakes,
- Encountering many souls along the way, some of them trapped in the dark without the will or desire to seek the light, but a few ready to be rescued,
- Finding God, the universal creative, sustaining force that is far beyond personality, religious belief, and other earthly trappings,
- Seeing humanity caught in an endless, exasperating struggle between faith and reason simply because humans can’t perceive through their five senses the vast spiritual reality around them,
- Recording everything in exhaustive detail, and
- Sharing it with humanity.
Now Franchezzo continues his work in spirit communication, sending silent messages to receptive minds on Earth. He takes many journeys to the earthplane to help earthbound spirits find their way to the light. He often visits the Brotherhood’s beautiful palace in this Bright Land to listen to brilliant spirits from finer realms in the white-marbled Hall of Lecture. And he visits his soulmate on Earth every day, offering her help and protection. He looks forward to the day when he’s ready to ascend to a higher sphere, to celebrate her arrival in the spirit lands, and to welcome her to an even brighter home, where “the twin stars of Hope and Love shall shine eternally.”