The Word Foundation


Harold W. Percival



Section 21

After death. Communications with the dead. Apparitions. The doer becomes conscious that its body has died.

The sixth class of psychic destiny is of the states through which the doer passes after death, (Fig. V-D). After death the various entities that were combined into a human being gradually separate. The more quickly the fourfold physical body is disposed of the better it is for the entities composing it, for the doer and for the people in the world. When the physical body is consumed, the elementals, nature units, which are its atoms, molecules and cells, are freed and return to their respective four elements, that is, states of matter, in the earth sphere. From there they are drawn into other bodies, mineral, vegetable, animal and human. So they continue their constant circulation during the life and the dissolution of the different bodies of which they form a part.

The radiant-solid or astral body, which was during life the matter that contacted the invisible breath-form, took its form from that and was visible to clairvoyants, is now only the shadow of the physical body. During life the fluid body was the carrier of life to the physical body from the food that the four states of matter furnished. In a physical body each cell is insulated and is not in touch with any other cell. The astral, airy, and fluid bodies pass through these cells and connect them with each other, so that a current of life can flow through them. After death the astral body has lost touch with the breath-form and is as dead as the solid body. It decays in the astral state of the physical plane as the flesh decays in the airy, fluid and solid states of the physical plane. The places are now reversed. In life the grosser physical body depended on the astral, but after death the astral depends on the grosser physical and so can last only as long as that does. This disposes of the fourfold physical body, which is dissipated after death and takes no part in any of the after death states of the doer.

The breath-form with its four senses and the portion of the doer remain together in the atmospheres of the doer and go together through a process usually called hell. This entity is the human without the fourfold physical body.

After death there is a period of unconsciousness, that separates the doer from the physical world and the state in which it finds itself. The period may last less than an hour, or it may be many years.

The doer becomes conscious again in different ways. It may become conscious in a dream without being aware of its identity, as a person dreams during ordinary sleep. These dreams are usually incoherent; the scenes in them lack sequence and tangibility and are generally scenes without sounds. Or the doer may become conscious of one of the very early conditions of its life; so a middle-aged man may be conscious as what he was when he was ten years old and remain in that state, playing marbles or on his way to school, for a long, long time. Or the doer may become conscious in one of the positions which it filled in life and continue going over the same acts for a long time. So a messenger may deliver his parcels, a clerk may make his entries, a librarian may sort over his books, a banker may make his loans, a milliner trim hats, a housewife look after her household, a prisoner serve over his sentence in jail, a soldier fight over a battle, an invalid go through his period of illness, and a fisherman catch fish. In these cases they follow the occupations which engrossed one period of their lives on earth and do them over and over again. The rich continue their activities and the poor theirs. Or the doer may wake up as though from a sleep and continue a number of activities, either with or without the feeling of identity. So a fisherman catches his fish, takes them to market, sells them, goes to a tavern, and mends his nets and boat. Another case is where the doer just continues all its ordinary activities. These are a few illustrations out of many.

In all these states the doer lives over scenes from the life it left. Nothing new is done. There is no new thinking. A feeling of identity may or may not be present; if it is present it is the false “I,” the ego, of the human. Other persons may seem to take part in these scenes, but in that case they are not those who actually did take part in the scenes in life. In none of these instances does the doer do anything that it has not done before in life and in none of them is the doer aware, at first, that it has passed through death and has lost its physical body, or that the world it lives in is not the physical world. Questions such as these do not come up, any more than in ordinary life. The bookkeeper did not ask himself in life whether he was awake or dreaming, dead or alive and no more does he ask that in the states described.

The characteristics of these and other such states are that the flesh body is dead, and the doer is not yet aware that it has passed through death and does no new thinking; that what it does it does automatically, with only dreamy sensuous perceptions; and that all seems as real as though it were done for the first time. The condition may be illustrated by scenes that have once been acted and which are reproduced by cinema a thousand times. These states if passed through at all, are passed through by the bad and the good alike; so far there is no reward or punishment.

Not all doers pass through these states, but only those in whose lives strong impressions have been made on the breath-form and who have to wait some time before the judgment. In these states, the doer is with its breath-form on the astral form plane of the physical world. The breath-form cannot be seen by any clairvoyant if the astral body has been sloughed off. If the astral body is still connected with the breath-form the astral body may be seen clairvoyantly. However, while the doer is in the states mentioned it cannot communicate by any means with any one on earth, and it cannot know what is happening on earth. It does not know that the body has died and it cannot do anything but work off the impressions on the breath-form.

If anyone tried to communicate with a doer in one of these states and had power to do it, either directly or through the astral body of a medium, there would either be an interference with that state without the doer’s coming out of it, or else the interference would bring the doer out of the state. That would be a premature announcement to the doer that its physical body was dead. Then the condition in which the doer was automatically living over scenes would cease, and the doer would receive a shock, untimely and cruel, which would cause it to have a longing to return to the earth, or a fear of the earth, and to go through a period of suffering and uncertainty until its time for judgment came. This is the destiny that is experienced by some of those who in life have tried to communicate with the departed. It is one thing for the doer to try to come back; to force it to come back is quite another.

Apparitions of the dead are not incompatible with these statements. The doer cannot be seen; the doer is not the apparition or specter, which may be seen. There are various kinds of apparitions; some have more or less of a connection with a doer, and some have none.

Some apparitions take place because a medium draws them to his body, sometimes aided by the thoughts of those attending a seance. So a doer, dreaming of one who is present at a sitting, may be attracted to the medium; or after waking from the dream and before the judgment a doer may on rare occasions be drawn to a medium, to give information or express regret to one who is living; or attempt to have something done which the doer had wished to have done before it departed; or a doer may be attracted to the atmosphere of the medium if the dreams of the doer are of a mean, low or brutal nature, such as those of drunkards, criminals or misers; or if the dreams are crude and about things of the earth only, as are the dreams of doers that thought little and only of things of the body. The apparitions caused by these doers come about when the breath-forms of the departed doers get astral matter from the astral body of the medium or of the sitters, and are clothed with that sufficiently to be visible and sometimes tangible. In none of these cases is the doer fully awake; hence come the confused, incoherent and inane effusions of the “departed souls.”

Most apparitions which come through mediums have, however, no connection with departed doers. Such are mere spooks, that is, shells, or rarely cloaks of vices sloughed off by doers during their purifications; or the apparitions are due to elementals which sport and thrill at the expense of the medium and the sitters.

Then there are apparitions seen occasionally at certain times and places. Some of them are seen by anybody and some by certain persons who are mediumistic, or who have the astral use of the sense of sight and who are called clairvoyants. In these cases the specters sometimes use for materialization the astral body of the beholder, without his knowledge. In some cases the specters use the astral body of a nearby animal, which is still or sleeps during the manifestation; or they may use astral matter of their own astral body, if the physical is not too much decayed; or the breath-form may, when the doer dreams vividly, draw astral matter from the radiant state of matter and so become visible, without the aid of any flesh body.

Among such apparitions are shades or wraiths, that is, the astral of the physical body disconnected from the human. They are specters which glide or float along. Usually they do not walk. Often they wear a white sheet or shroud. The reason for this is that a sheet or shroud was placed over the dead body and the astral body soaked through and was impressed by the sheet or the shroud. When it drifts away from the corpse it appears in the garment of death. If burial clothes were used, the wraith appears in burial clothes. Wraiths are senseless; they cannot see or hear, and cannot make any more contact than a fog or a breeze. They drift along magnetic currents as thistledown floats in the air. They may go through a door, a wall or other solid objects.

Then there are apparitions that are seen in some costume worn during life. In such case the doer is dreaming and the breath-form is automatically enacting the dream, astral matter being attracted to and giving visibility to the breath-form which is vivified by the dreaming. Such specters perform the same thing over and over again or they may do different things on different occasions. Sometimes the specter seems to be acting with other beings which are not visible. Usually the specters do not see and are not aware of the beholder.

Another kind of apparition is one which may occur either while the doer does not know of the death of the body and before it enters the dreaming, or before the judgment when the doer has finished the dreaming and may or may not know of having passed through death. The doer is there partly awake; the record on the breath-form may bring up a memory of something which the doer was set upon having done; and the desire to have it done vivifies the breath-form so that it may go to the locality thought of and act to attract the attention of a living person. Such may be cases where the specter appears lifelike and raises a hand to warn or beckons to be followed, or leads to a place where a letter, a document, a treasure, or a murdered or lost body lies. The specter is likely to continue its visits and actions until that which the doer was set upon having done is accomplished. Then the magnetic connections between the breath-form and the letter, document, treasure, or other object cease. There belong also apparitions or presences felt where the mark on the breath-form is set to protect a person in danger, prevent a marriage, or revenge a wrong.

The time during which unconsciousness and such dream and comatose states last, was determined during life by the impressions which thoughts made on the breath-form of the doer. Eventually the doer becomes aware that it has passed through death. It is awakened by its own breath-form or by the Light of its own Intelligence or by entities appointed for the purpose.

When the doer is awakened it connects with its four senses which are in the breath-form. It is awake as it was in the waking state on earth, but it cannot do any thinking other than the very thoughts it had during its earth life. The doer may in this way go over its past life, which is as real or even more intense than it was on earth. Then comes the judgment, which is followed by two distinct stages of suffering in a “hell” which the doer created while it lived on earth. One stage is a suffering by the doer through the senses which are in the breath-form; the other stage is a suffering by the doer itself after it has parted from the breath-form. Both these stages are purifying. At the end of the second state the purified doer arises, meets and unites with its breath-form which has also been purified and enters the state called heaven.