The astral counterparts of human beings, as of all animals, plants and objects, are interwoven with the forms visible to human sight. In these counterparts, created from the fixated astral Darkness and from the Light that fixated it, are contained and preserved first and foremost all the human primal urges common to all people; next, the instincts acquired over time that are not common to all, as they originate with each individual’s experiences in life on Earth. These acquired family instincts are the unconsciously accumulated sum of memories and knowledge, partly of learned mechanical motions and partly of feelings and impressions, acquired through experience.
The human primitive instincts retained in the father’s and the mother’s astral counterparts, together with instincts inherited from their ancestors, are passed on to the astral counterparts of their offspring through the human reproductive process just as the family characteristics of the physical body, its peculiarities, its weaknesses, disposition to illness and the like, are transmitted from generation to generation.
Whether the offspring inherits mostly from the father and his forefathers, or from the mother and her family, depends upon various psychological and physical conditions of the parents at the time the offspring receives life (intercourse and pregnancy).
The Eldest were not quite able to give regular laws for "inheritance" for the offspring from the parents. The present laws, still imperfect in many ways, are therefore partly due to the regulating influence of the Light. But as the Darkness diminishes, the laws will emerge more clearly and become more regular, as the human beings themselves can observe.
Through the astral counterparts, human beings thus inherit, firstly, the lower primitive instincts that originate directly with the Darkness, such as self-preservation, the urge to propagate, the assertion of the stronger over the weaker, and so forth; next, all that is acquired over time, routinely or by experience, through the individual’s evil, lawless ways, such as harmful physical habits, pleasure in inflicting suffering on others, criminal tendencies, excessive alcoholic indulgence, sexual unrestraint, and so forth. But since both the earthly body as well as its astral counterpart have come from the Darkness that was fixated by the Earth’s ethereal corona, humans also receive, by direct inheritance from the astral counterparts, those primitive impulses arising from the regulating and harmonizing influence of the Light, such as maternal concern, the impulse to protect the weaker, the individual’s tendency to follow a stronger or older leader, feelings for home and family, and the like; and finally, that accumulated by experience from generation to generation through individual lives and ethical actions, such as an instinctive aversion to base habits, bloodshed, immoral and criminal acts, and so forth, together with automatically acquired movements due to the pursuit of livelihoods not affected by Darkness. All these primitive drives and acquired instincts for good or evil accumulate in the astral counterpart and rest there latently until they emerge, usually in response to some external cause, and give visible proof of their presence.
The spirit that is bound to the human body gives the individual self11 its personal characteristic within the family; but because there is a constant interaction between spirit and body—astral and physical bodies alike—the spirit is able to eliminate part of the lower primitive impulses and reduce the strength of the evil and low instincts inherited from the family, in favor of the regulating and harmonizing influence of the Light. Each human being who so desires, can, by power of will, not only purify, raise and improve the spiritual self, but also eliminate low instincts and impart new Light-instincts to the astral counterpart of any offspring, for example as regards ethical behavior. The more advanced the spirit bound to the human body, the better that spirit can control the lower, purely human impulses and instincts. But even though over several generations a family’s impulses and instincts may have been increased and ennobled by inspiration of the Light and lower urges and instincts subdued by the incarnation of high or advanced spirits into the family, there can be a sudden lessening of these urges and instincts and a predominance instead of impulses and instincts inspired by Darkness should a young, undeveloped and undisciplined spirit be bound to one of the family. Once more, then, the impulses and instincts of Darkness rise to the fore. The cause of such a spiritual decline in the offspring must in most cases be sought in one or in both parents. Those who do not try to subdue the lower impulses and instincts of the body to the best of their ability, and who fail to raise their personal ethics but only follow their inheritance without trying to improve it, cannot expect to see advanced or high spirits bound to any of their offspring. This spiritual depravity is most striking in families into which one of the Eldest has been incarnated. However, when such incursions by Darkness have taken place undeservedly a countermove against the arbitrary incarnations of the Eldest, if possible, has often been made. Thus a high spirit (one of the Youngest) would be incarnated in some or all of the subsequent offspring to hopefully counterbalance the influence of Darkness on the succeeding generations, inasmuch as siblings in their formative years often exert a beneficial influence on the brother12 or sister12 to whose body a spirit of Darkness has been bound.
In a union of two persons where one is incarnated with a spirit of one of the Eldest and the other with a human spirit, the children of such a couple will usually be incarnated with highly developed spirits in order to counterbalance the influence of Darkness on the succeeding generations. But in those cases where the Elder was the first13 to bind one of his spirits to the expected offspring, the family has degenerated through several generations and a great effort was then necessary by the Youngest to restore the upward trend. But where the work has proven too much with no appreciable result, the Youngest—so as not to undermine their combined strength—have terminated their own incarnations in the families strongly afflicted by Darkness. Of necessity, those families have then been allowed to die out. In this way, many once prominent families have degenerated.
In instances where two persons had entered a relationship, one possessing a spirit of the Eldest, the other a spirit of the Youngest, the influence of the Darkness and that of the Light on the astral counterparts of the offspring has usually been almost equal as regards the instincts and impulses of Darkness and those of the Light. The upbringing of the offspring then becomes a deciding factor in determining if Darkness or the Light gains predominance.
The physical brain14 is the instrument through which the astral counterpart’s primitive impulses as well as the instincts of Darkness and those of the Light become apparent in the earthly world. This brain is also the instrument through which the distinguishing spiritual characteristics of the individual are revealed. However, there are decided differences between the ways in which the impulses, the instincts and the spirit manifest themselves.
Over time, the basic primal impulses of self-preservation, procreation and so forth have gradually become part of the consciousness of the human spirit, common to all humanity. The primal urges, of both Darkness and the Light, are therefore contained not only in the brain of the astral counterpart but are also present as faint memories and feelings in the brain of the human spirit (the psychic brain). If, say, for some external reason a human individual should for the first time need one of the primal instincts, it is automatically awakened at that moment in those astral brain cells that store, latently, the needed instinctual knowledge. At this awakening, the relevant astral cells vibrate and the vibrations are transmitted to the corresponding cells of the physical brain—interwoven with the astral brain—which thus receives the subconscious knowledge of the astral counterpart. The physical brain then passes the vibrations received on to the relevant nerves, muscles and organs. Simultaneously, as the vibrations from the astral brain cells are transmitted to the physical brain, they are also transmitted through the absorption layer (the casing) to the spirit’s psychic brain—the large nerve center—where they awaken the corresponding memory or feeling of the primitive impulse in the spirit that is bound to the human body. A normal human will therefore feel or act consciously after having received this double prompting, partly through the astral counterpart’s subconscious knowledge and partly through the spirit’s awakening conscious memories that stem from experiences in previous earthly lives. With these memories as a basis, it becomes the concern of the spiritual self to restrain—to bring under control—the primitive impulses of Darkness, so that such things as self-assertiveness at the expense of someone weaker can be subdued, or the urge to procreate can be ennobled.
From the foregoing must be excepted the impulse for self-preservation, which in an infant is clearly subconscious. Not until later, when the spiritual self awakens to consciousness in the earthly world does the individual become conscious of the impulse.
It need not always be an external cause that awakens the primal impulses of Darkness to react in some way. If a very young human spirit, for example, or one of the Eldest, is bound to the human body, the reaction can often take place through a thought recalled by the spirit. This memory, in undisciplined spirits, can activate the astral brain, which passes the received vibrations of thought on to the corresponding cells of the physical brain whereupon the individual becomes conscious of the impulse.
Purely instinctive influences on the physical brain are due entirely to subconsciously accumulated experiences and knowledge in the astral brain, without contribution by the spirit. Instincts of Darkness or of the Light therefore manifest in actions and movements for which there is no basis of thought at the moment of action. For example, if someone is assaulted with blows and the like, that person usually reacts according to the instinct of self-defense15 and strikes out without thought as to where the retaliatory blows land, or whether they hit anything at all. The action is then purely instinctive, but should the person assailed stop to consider—even for seconds—how best to ward off the attack, by hitting back, kicking or the like, then the spirit is involved and through the thought the parrying blows, kicks and so forth are consciously performed. With such conscious action the responsibility of the self for the result of the action is much greater than for a purely instinctive response.
The spirit’s independent communication of thought to the astral and physical brains goes through the cord (the life-giving cord) that binds the spirit to the human body. The cord has its source in the large nerve center16 of the spirit-body that corresponds to the physical brain. From there, the cord passes through the casing to terminate in the astral brain, which, as previously said, is completely inter-woven with the physical.
The cord, which in this manner must serve as the thought-channel between the spirit’s large nerve center and the human body’s brain, is not fully but only partly interwoven with the various areas and ramified parts of the nerve center. The parts of the nerve center meant to be included in the area connected to the cord—or thought-channel—depend on the spiritual stage chosen for the human individual during the earth-life. This provision is of special importance for the Youngest—the pioneers of mankind. Were the Youngest, upon entry into life on Earth, to bring with them all the knowledge, experience, artistic genius and so forth that lay within their spiritual consciousness, they would be rendered entirely unfit to live amidst humanity. They bring only as much of their intrinsic individuality as will be useful during the forthcoming incarnation, whether they are to be artists, scientists, inventors, religious reformers, statesmen or rulers, and so forth. When the decision for the mission on Earth has been made and the spirit has been bound to a human embryo, the cord is interwoven with those parts of the large nerve center whose spiritual weight is to characterize and enable the future human to carry out the task accepted by the spirit bound to the body. If it appears the individual is following the proper path and is capable, despite the attacks of Darkness, to fulfill a yet greater role beyond that chosen before the incarnation, then, by the power of God’s Will, the interweaving of the cord with the spirit’s large nerve center can be expanded to include further areas, so that the individual personality of the human can grow within its sphere of activity. Further areas of the psychic brain can likewise be interwoven with the cord during life on Earth, if deemed necessary to raise the human personality in these further spiritual areas that in some way or other concern the original mission undertaken by the spirit.
With the help of the layer of insulation—the side of the casing facing the spirit—the remaining parts of the spirit’s nerve center are prevented from exerting their influence through the physical brain, so that only those parts with which the brain is in direct connection through the cord can put their stamp upon the human personality.
All that is withheld of the spirit’s knowledge, recollections from previous incarnations, learning and so forth, therefore lies outside the human consciousness. If the layer of isolation has been damaged by the influence of Darkness, more or less of this withheld matter can penetrate to the human consciousness and have a disturbing effect on the personality. One will normally not remember anything from previous existences because such memories would often hinder the individual in best utilizing the present lifetime on Earth. If, say, someone had been a wrongdoer in the previous incarnation, the memory would only be painful and hinder the spiritual development of the individual. Or, had one been a prominent figure with many material goods and a life of leisure, perhaps with no thought for less fortunate fellow beings, and then is in the present incarnation a poor laborer, say, then such an individual might be tempted to compare past and present. The result would be a constant discontent with the present and a hindrance to all spiritual progress.
Only in a few isolated cases, where considered useful by the transcendental world, are humans able to receive information regarding one or more past incarnations. But such information is given only by the spirits of the Light when certain there can be no possible abuse of same. Individuals are therefore strongly urged never themselves to seek information about their previous lives.
Information about lives to come on Earth cannot be given by the spirits of the Light, as God never plans more than one such life at a time for the human beings, and it is always based on the preceding lifetime.
Human spirits in the transcendental world can clearly recall their previous earthly existences. (Summary, pages 270-71 in 1979 edition.)
The physical brain plays an important role as receiver and communicator of the experience and knowledge unconsciously accumulated in the astral brain, and of the knowledge, learning, and experience consciously acquired by the spirit during life on Earth.
The following explains how the physical brain receives from its counterpart the accumulated memories and subconscious knowledge that through succeeding generations become instincts inspired either by the Light or by Darkness:
If a person is a craftsman, say a shoemaker, tailor, mason, carpenter or the like, or is engaged in such daily physical activities as choreographic or rhythmic movements, sports, the exercise of technical or manual skills and so forth, the motions of these activities or exercises are carried out with conscious thought while they are being learned. Through the eyes, the physical brain of a normal person receives an image of the task to be performed. This image is transmitted through vibrations of the physical brain cells to the astral brain cells and is then intercepted by the absorption layer (the side of the casing facing the astral counterpart) and transmitted from there to the spirit-body’s large nerve center, the psychic brain. The spirit by its thought retains the image it has received, and through the thought-channel—the cord—the spirit lets the thought follow closely the motions performed during the task so as to learn each detail; but once the physical body, guided by thought and will, has learned to perform the task so that the thought no longer needs to direct it, the individual movements become quite automatic and are repeated independently of thought. As the astral counterpart is completely interwoven with the physical body, the counterpart learns the motion along with the physical body. The subconscious memory of these mechanically acquired movements is stored in the astral brain cells and inherited by the offspring with whom it remains dormant until awakened as instinct through an external or an internal cause. Even if none in the first generations occupy themselves with these tasks whose mechanically or automatically learned movements rest latently in the brain of the counterpart, the memory of these can still be preserved by individuals in the immediately following generations17 and will, if they be needed, reappear in one or another of the family members. The individual then quickly and easily adapts to the task, handles the various tools and carries out the movements required, or takes up the necessary positions, as though they had already been learned. In contrast, an individual whose ancestors have never been accomplished in such tasks will perform the same motions awkwardly and clumsily until the task has been mastered with the help of thought.
However there are exceptions, since humans can be “trained” to perform simple tasks without the help of thought, in a manner similar to the training given animals (torture and beatings are, of course, excluded from this comparison). This applies to those who are mentally retarded or deficient (persons with undeveloped or abnormal brains, that is), so that the spirit cannot enter into proper contact or sufficient rapport with them, either through the absorption layer or through the thought-channel.
Thus, the spirit communicates with the astral and the physical brains through the cord whereas the physical and the astral brains communicate with the spirit through the absorption layer of the casing.
Loss of memory not caused by illness, concussion, or advanced age is usually due to an insufficient use of the astral brain cells and the areas of the spirit’s large nerve center wherein is kept that which is apparently forgotten.
The knowledge, experience and so forth, transmitted to the spirit’s large nerve center through the physical and the astral brain is stored there in well-defined areas. These are connected to the cord (the thought-channel) through fine fibers, or threads, so that the spirit can by its thought and will reproduce the material stored in the astral and the physical brains. If this reproduction of knowledge and experience is not kept active through meditation, retrospection or the like, the fine fibers in the nerve center slacken and become incapable of reproducing what is stored. The corresponding cells of the astral brain then cease to function and lose their elasticity; that is, they can no longer achieve the required frequency, whereupon the stored material recedes into the memory or sinks below the boundary of recollection.
It is often possible through hypnosis to ascertain that apparently forgotten matter is not really lost but still retained in the spirit’s memory—the large nerve center—and can be recalled by a hypnotist; for the spirit, influenced by the stronger will of the hypnotist, will receive an additional energy that enables it to overcome the normal physical limitation. Through this strengthened interplay of energy, the spirit by its own will and thought is again able to reproduce what has been stored—but usually only for as long as the hypnosis is in effect. Indeed, repeated hypnosis might restore enough strength to the fibers of the cord and the astral cells that the forgotten matter may also even be recalled under normal circumstances. But hypnosis repeated many times is not advisable, for it can cause the subject great psychic harm. For example, it can often be destructive morally if the hypnotist is unprincipled. By using a subject both properly and improperly, an unscrupulous hypnotist can weaken the subject’s will and subsequently make the subject completely dependent on the will of the hypnotist.
Forgotten matter can also reappear in the memory under narcosis or high fever, but it usually fades again when normal conditions are restored. However, the temporarily recalled matter can sometimes linger faintly.
The personality, represented by the visible human body, thus consists of three factors: 1) the psychic, 2) the astral, and 3) the physical brain. Naturally, of these only the physical brain is manifest in the earthly world.
1) The psychic brain18 is the seat, or source, of thought and will and also of conscious action—guided by the thought and the will. All knowledge, experience, learning and so forth that the psychic brain receives can by the help of thought be transformed into both psychic and physical values and results. Thus, thought, guided by the will—for either good or for evil—analyzes, coordinates, recreates, refines or sorts everything it receives, then radiates the resulting material through innumerable facets of more or less brilliant nuances, all in accordance with the preceding process of thought. The more advanced the spirit whose psychic brain is the main factor of the human personality, the more prolific the activity of the thought, the more diversified the nuances and the brighter the radiance of the facets. Every thought process regardless how faint or short is perceived concretely by normal persons, since they can to a greater or lesser extent “feel” their thoughts working. All these thoughts that have been reflected upon come into permanent possession of the individual. Values derived during life on Earth from experience, learning, and so forth, are retained by the spirit from incarnation to incarnation and increased with each new incarnation.
In this way, through the process of thought, each individual builds or shapes his or her spiritual personality.
2) The astral brain, on the other hand, automatically accumulates and retains all impressions received during earthly human life until given occasion to reproduce what it has received, exactly as recorded, with no additions.
This can be illustrated as follows:
Someone gazes, say, at the ruins of an ancient castle. If the visual contemplation is accompanied by thought, an image of what is seen will be formed—through the vision and the physical brain—in both the astral and in the psychic brain. But if the viewer gazes unthinkingly upon the ruins and surroundings,19 as so often happens, then only the astral brain captures a reflection of that seen. The psychic brain remains unaffected, when the thought does not react to the vibrations of the astral cells. Later when, for some external reason—perhaps seeing a somewhat similar scene—the image of the ruin recorded in the astral brain automatically emerges in the physical brain, reproduced there exactly as the astral brain once received it. If the thought now concentrates on this emerging image, the image also assumes definite form in the psychic brain. Then, with the emerging image of the ruins from the subconscious as a start, the person can, say, by the power of thought, create a splendid castle with ramparts, moats, and so forth—a probable reconstruction of the original castle now in ruins. It is thus the thought that has worked upon and utilized the image of the ruin that was preserved and automatically reproduced by the astral brain, as the latter is able only to repeat that received, not to form from it.
The astral brain is affected not only through sight, but also through the other senses—hearing, smell and so forth. Impressions of experiences, events, sounds, tones and so forth can thus reappear on a given occasion—can be reproduced, that is, exactly as they were received.
An example follows of the many automatic movements humans perform with the help of the astral brain during everyday life:
In a room are two washstands, separated by a cupboard. Normally, a mirror hangs by a nail over one washstand. Someone enters, their psychic mind momentarily engrossed in a train of thought far removed from the immediate situation. However, the person’s eye catches sight of the mirror, lying at that moment, for example, on a table where it does not belong. The person’s astral brain instantly produces a mental image of the mirror hanging on the wall and, without interrupting his or her train of thought, the person takes the mirror—quite automatically—goes toward one of the washstands, holds up the mirror and lets it slide down the wall to allow the string to catch on the nail. The move fails and is repeated three, four or five times, still quite automatically. But with the repeated moves the vibrations of the astral brain cells awaken the individual from his or her thoughts. The train of thought started long before is thus suddenly interrupted, and the thought of the individual is willfully given a new direction. He or she lowers the hand holding the mirror, studies the wall and through the concentration of conscious thought discovers there is no nail whereon to hang the mirror—the nail is over the other washstand. The astral brain (the human subconscious) was incapable even of the following reasoning: that the mirror would not hang upon the wall because there was nothing to hang it on. Not until the vibrations of several unsuccessfully repeated movements awakened the individual’s consciousness—the spirit— could the subconscious error of the astral brain be corrected.
Finally, an example of the way a human being, to whose physical body an undeveloped spirit is bound, can, through autosuggestion believe he or she has “seen” every detail of an event, even though it was perceived only in fragments:
Someone witnesses, for example, an accident that is due to several “coincidences”. The shock of being present at the maiming or sudden death of one or more fellow beings causes an involuntary closure of the witness’s eyes—perhaps for only a few seconds. The image that through the sight and through the physical brain is registered in the astral and the psychic brains is then quite incomplete, since these can receive an image only of what the witness has “seen”. Later, recalling what took place and what he or she experienced, the witness tries by thought to piece together the recorded fragments. As an “eye witness”, the witness should of course know what had happened, but not recalling20 closing the eyes21—perhaps at the decisive moment—the witness’s thought sets about reconstructing a plausible general impression: it happened in such and such a way. . . But with the constant repetition of such thoughts, new images assume—through the thought-channel, the cord—definite form in the astral brain. These images appear with every repetition of what the eyewitness has experienced, and, supported by the thought, they become steadily clearer until the individual becomes convinced of having seen the accident in every detail; and although he very well knows that his thoughts have dwelt at length on the same subject, still he is deceived by the train of images that his thought has composed. As a rule it is useless that another eyewitness unfolds the event for him as it has really taken place, for he will, in most cases, stoutly maintain that his is the correct version.
Such uncritical thinking serves no other purpose than to push back the original exact but fragmented image received by the astral and the psychic brains and to produce a train of self-composed images having nothing to do with reality.
If a more advanced or a high spirit is bound to the physical body, such self-suggestion will not be able to take place as the spiritual self will quickly survey the situation and understand that it has received that which has happened only in fragments. And if the individual tries to gather these fragments into a complete picture, he or she will likewise realize that it was their own thought which had filled in the gaps.
Thus, the astral brain, the human subconscious, can never formulate, combine nor create new thoughts from its unconsciously stored knowledge—its impressions, learning, motions, or anything seen, heard or read—since it is able only to reproduce that which is received.
3) The physical brain—the receiver and communicator—is the only apparent factor in the human personality that, being an organ, is easily subjected to human scientific investigation. But since the other two factors cannot be materially investigated as can the physical brain, mankind has hitherto been unable to recognize these two non-visible but highly important factors—important, because so much of the human personality can only be explained and understood through their existence.
Had the Eldest, upon creating the human beings, separated the material Darkness (the molecular) from the astral Darkness—as was their intent—and proceeded solely on a molecular basis, humans would have been endowed with only a physical brain (this refers only to human beings without the spiritual consciousness given by God). This brain could only have received—not retained anything. Each new impression would at once erase the previous one, and even if the physical brain were exposed daily to the same impressions these would each time be equally new to the individual. No experience, no knowledge, absolutely nothing could have been passed on to the offspring of such beings. Humans would then have become lesser than animals, whose astral counterpart’s brain retains urges, instincts, feelings, and so on, that can be passed on with a regulating and improving effect.
The Eldest soon realized, however, that they could never succeed in creating from material Darkness alone, so they proceeded to create from the double material.22 Thus, like the animals, humans were given an automatic retentive ability—the astral brain—that, through the vibrations of the physical brain cells, receives and retains impressions that would otherwise vanish as soon as received.
When God had bound a spiritual being to the physical human body, the brain of the body became an instrument also for the spirit so that the physical human could be influenced not only by earthly surroundings but by the transcendental as well.
As previously explained, humans can through the astral counterpart pass on to their offspring instinctive skills that in future generations can bring benefit and pleasure to the individual. Through this inheritance, human talent is created—whether a craft that can be enriched and ennobled by this talent or any of the forms of art, such as poetry, painting, sculpture or music. The manner in which individuals understand and utilize their abilities, their talents and their gifts will clearly reveal to what extent they, by means of their spiritual selves, draw their creations in under the influence of the Light and away from that of the Darkness. The better a talented person is able to approach all that is natural, beautiful, exalted, harmonious and pure, the greater is the influence of the Light on the work; whereas unnatural, distorted and ugly forms and lines, discordant tones and harsh, jarring sounds reveal the influence of Darkness toward decadence. The same holds true for literature that emphasizes and glorifies all that is ugly in life, that defends immorality and tends to degrade the thought and the imagination.
The same rule applies to all such creatively productive people. They reveal themselves through their work as they are—spokesmen for the Light or for the Darkness.
To contribute something new within existing forms of art, science or other fields, or to create something entirely new, hitherto unknown, be it in the arts, in science or in any other area, requires the genius possessed only by the Youngest or the Eldest, and from the creations of their genius as humans it is also apparent whether the work is produced in the service of the Light or serves Darkness.
Talent can thus be passed on from generation to generation, whereas genius can never be inherited; but genius can be brought forth from talent, that is, the high spirits often let themselves be incarnated in families where, through inherited talent, they can sooner and more easily display their genius as desired.
Gradually, as the physical brain develops with the growth of the body from childhood to a more mature age, it becomes an increasingly useful instrument for the spirit bound to the physical body. The personal, distinguishing characteristics of the individual grow more distinct; one acquires an ever greater ability to receive impressions through the physical brain, to bring to fruition through the thought-channel the abilities brought from the transcendental world and by the power of one’s will to advance ethically and thus to possibly make use of inherited family talents. But however well-developed the human brain may become, it can never act independently, since the independent thought process comes solely from the spirit bound to the human body.
The physical brain—as an instrument for the spirit—is best compared with a musical instrument, such as a violin. The violin cannot independently sound a single note.23 Tones are not produced until the bow is drawn over the strings, and then the sound issuing will closely reflect the talent of the musician. The genius will with ease produce a wealth of tones and sounds and combine them to a whole of harmonious beauty while an unmusical person on the same instrument—be it the finest of Cremonas—can but call forth a succession of dissonant sounds. Between the genius and the unmusical individual is to be found a range of those who are more or less musically gifted and accomplished, each playing according to his or her individual talent and ability. But let one string snap and the greatest genius can call forth only harsh and grating sounds from that string. Likewise is the physical brain the instrument of the spirit. The higher the spirit, the better and more fully can the brain be employed in the transposition of the thoughts of the spirit so that they can appear in the earthly world. But let parts of the brain be impaired by illness or aging, then even the most advanced spirit cannot effectively employ the damaged cells.
If a child early shows signs of being exceptionally talented, those raising the child should guard against allowing these abilities to be developed too soon lest this be at the expense of other brain tissues, for the brain can easily suffer damage from a one-sided development during the formative years. The risk then is of passing a weak, stunted brain on to any descendants.
With defective or completely abnormal brains, the interaction between spirit and brain becomes more or less incomplete, and the more incomplete the interaction the closer the human being comes to animal-like behavior and action. If spirits of the Light during development of an embryo become aware that the brain will be abnormal or predisposed to ailments that in later life could partially or completely destroy or harden the brain tissue, they as a rule attach to the body a younger, less developed spirit. The spirit then will not suffer because of an inability to absorb impressions or knowledge or to assert the self sufficiently in the earthly world. But if someone during earthly life becomes personally guilty (through improper living habits, drunkenness, various bodily excesses, etc.) of leaving a feeble body and brain predisposed to illness as a heritage to any descendants, the spirit that failed to discipline either the self or the body which was the visible representative of the self in life, will, under the Law of Retribution again and again be bound to that family to whom it had brought partial or wholly physical degeneration. Where a more highly developed spirit is the cause of decadence in a family, the spirit will suffer because of its inability to assert itself in life on Earth. As they gradually came under the Law of Retribution many of the Eldest who through their willful incarnations had caused otherwise sound families to degenerate, have had to atone for their sinful and lawless conduct and ways of life in previous incarnations by being bound to partially or wholly degenerated human bodies.
All the abnormalities of the physical body are brought under the Law of Retribution whenever possible, so that spirits bound to defective bodies have always in some way been guilty in an earlier incarnation of actions that can bring retribution in the form of an impaired, malformed, or deficient body.
If a man or a woman, through no fault of either, acquires a physical ailment that directly or indirectly can be inherited by the offspring, they should never bring children into the world until the ailment is fully cured and cannot be passed on to the children.
If someone is fully aware of the inheritability of such an ailment yet nevertheless procreates, that person must bear full responsibility for the suffering thus brought upon the family. Under the Law of Retribution, the spirit that was bound to such a person’s body will be repeatedly incarnated into the family whose disposition toward illness is due to lack of responsibility by the spirit in that life on Earth during which the ailment was made heritable.
However, those unaware of the heritability of their disease will be exempt from incarnation in the afflicted family. Such spirits will then be bound to that family whose members have in one way or another brought on themselves an incarnation of bodily suffering.
Thus: the same rule applies to all humans: the thoughts and conscious actions of the present incarnation determine if succeeding incarnations become lives of greater or lesser spiritual and bodily suffering, or of health and happiness.
The human astral counterpart cannot separate from the physical body until death sets in. The “double” that occasionally appears is therefore not the counterpart but either the spirit bound to the human body or a phantom—a thought-image “created” by the spirit. It is, however, difficult for humans to discern if it is a phantom or a spirit that appears before them. If the double appears shortly before the actual individual arrives, and if that individual has not given thought to the locale nor to the people who see the double there, then it is the spirit that has arrived ahead of the body; but if the actual individual does not subsequently appear then the double is ordinarily a phantom. The individual has imagined himself at a given place and his thought-image becomes visible to those present there. But if it can be ascertained that the individual was asleep when the double appeared then it is normally the spirit24 seen, not the phantom.
Only the Eldest and the Youngest possess this ability.
During sleep, the vitality of the body is renewed through the influence of the Light that replenishes energy lost through spiritual or physical activity when awake. The younger the body, the better and more easily is this loss made good by a new supply of life energy. If the body is aged or ailing, the replenishment will not be as complete because the bodily organism at an advanced age or in a sickly state cannot absorb the currents of the Light as fully as can a younger or healthier body. And when the time comes that the body, because of age or serious illness can no longer react to the Light and renew its vitality, it begins to approach its dissolution—a process completed by death.
During its formative years and while its metabolism is strong, the physical body needs much sleep so as to develop in health and harmony through the absorption of currents from the Light-ether and the Earth’s corona of Light. When growth ceases and the metabolism slows, neither the fully-grown nor aged body can absorb the currents of the Light as completely as before. As a result, the more one ages the less sleep will be needed. However, about six hours should be the minimum since insufficient sleep can prematurely weaken an aging body if it lacks abundant health. After prolonged illness the weakened body needs somewhat longer periods of sleep than normal so as to be supplied with the necessary amount of the energy of the Light.
Very elderly individuals can feel so physically exhausted in their final years that they constantly “doze off”. This need for frequent sleep is usually due to mental lethargy—the self no longer has the energy to stay spiritually or physically active. This senile dozing does not strengthen but only weakens the body even more and hastens its dissolution.
It is in sleep that the human body can best come into contact with the currents of Light of the surrounding ether. Enough restful sleep is always essential for the physical body weakened by loss of energy. Sleep for a normal person also affords rest for the spirit that is bound to the body. If the spirit—constantly fatigued by its presence within the Earth’s atmosphere of Darkness—is denied necessary rest and additional Light at the same time as the physical body, the individual will, after sleep, feel mentally wearied and unable to perform the earthly tasks with sufficient mental alertness.
During sleep the guardian spirit often gives warnings to those who may have strayed onto paths that can lead them away from their intended callings in life on Earth. These warnings can be given as visionary, symbolic dreams or as words of caution that at times, on awakening, can be clearly and firmly impressed upon the memory. But not all can recall these admonitions equally clearly, whether given as visions or in words. Usually a feeling persists that something or other is not as it should be. By reviewing the recent past or reconsidering plans for the future, those warned by the guardian spirit during sleep may often discover the cause for the warning. That person’s task is then to correct errors, take a different course, or make good use of the message in some other way.
Messages by the guardian spirit through dreams can also be comforting, encouraging, reproving or prophetic.
During sleep, many humans have been enticed and assisted by the Eldest into releasing themselves from their bodies to undertake nocturnal excursions on their own. Impressions received by the spirit on these excursions, for example from association with the Earth-bound spirits, were transmitted through the cord to the brain of the sleeping body, thus producing more or less clear and continuous images of the experience, which then sometimes, through the brain of the astral counterpart, could be remembered in the waking state as dreams.
Through hideous and obscene dream-images, the discarnate Eldest and the Earth-bound spirits have likewise attempted to corrupt the human mind and thought in order to gain greater power over humans.
Many dreams originate with sickly conditions of the body or are due to a wrong position of the body during sleep so that too much blood flows to the brain tissues and cause the brain to react to the increased pressure instead of resting. Such abnormal conditions can prompt the astral brain to bring up obscure memories that almost always lead back to something experienced, seen, read or heard. Loud voices and sensations of heat or cold can likewise stimulate the astral brain to transmit some memory images. Dreams of more consistency can result from the ever-active thoughts of the spirit as it attempts to co-ordinate the confused images transmitted by the astral brain. But as the connection between the psychic and the physical brain is always somewhat slackened during the sleep of the physical body, the spiritual self can seldom bring satisfactory order to the chaos of the dreams.
In rare instances the psychic brain of a sleeping person can transmit memories from previous lives on Earth.
While spirit and body are united, the “life-giving cord” that connects them cannot be seen from the transcendental side. But as soon as the spirit separates from the body, for example during sleep, the cord is extended or spun out more and more—like a spider’s thread—as the cord absorbs the aura of Light or of Darkness that surrounds the spirit-body. When the entire aura has been used up, or spun out, the cord tightens and automatically withdraws, and the spirit must follow until it unites again with the body, likewise quite automatically. The greater the aura of Darkness or the Light, the farther the spirit can move from the body. Since their auras are not very large, human spirits can move only short distances—30 to 60 or up to 100 meters. The Eldest and the Youngest, however, can move over long distances. The Youngest can even reach their spiritual dwellings in the outermost sphere around the Earth. Since the cord is highly elastic it cannot disrupt, but the spirit must remember not to use up the entire aura, as it will then invariably be drawn back.
As already mentioned, many human spirits had over time learned from the Eldest how to disembody during sleep. But with the return of the Elder (Ardor) to God, normal conditions have been restored, so that human spirits, while the body rests, can no longer release25 themselves without help,25 since God has removed this unlawfully acquired knowledge from their spiritual memories.
If a more advanced human spirit has pledged before incarnation to help the high spirits in a mission during life on Earth, the guardian spirit with God’s permission can release the spirit from the sleeping body to remind it in various ways of its pledge or to help in the fulfillment of the pledge by instructive discourse. If necessary the guardian spirit can bring its charge to its habitation in the spheres, augmenting with its own radiations of Light the human spirit’s aura so that the cord can extend far beyond normal reach.
Whenever they wish, the Youngest have the ability to leave the body during nightly sleep but never do so unless prompted by their guardian spirit.
Those Eldest incarnated by Ardor and still living on Earth as humans have all, during nocturnal sleep release, been informed by the Youngest of the return of Ardor. Each has also been admonished to conform to the laws given by God for the spirit while it is bound to the earthly body. Most have submitted voluntarily to these laws and, by His Will God has eliminated enough of their aura of Darkness that, like the human spirits, they can move only short distances from the body and can only be released without assistance when body and spirit separate spontaneously on the body’s sudden unconsciousness through illness, accident or anesthesia.26 Since God compels none to submit to His laws, those few of the Eldest who declined to comply are still able to move as far from the earthly body during sleep as before. But to counteract as much as possible any harmful influence on humans, one of the Youngest accompanies each of the Eldest during any such nocturnal excursions.
In séances where the manifestations of Darkness still occur, these incarnated Eldest27 often appear under false names and with false messages and so forth. This cannot be prevented as long as humans continue experimenting with Darkness. Attention is again directed to that stated earlier (pages 248-51 in 1979 edition) regarding the offensive practice of séances, their unlawfulness, and the dangers to which mediums and participants expose themselves by submitting to the influence of Darkness. As soon as these Eldest have terminated their lives on Earth this disorder will cease forever, as they will not again be incarnated until they have advanced far enough toward the Light that they will voluntarily submit to the laws of God.
When the Eldest created the human beings they adjusted their organs of sight to catch and reflect the sun’s fainter luminous beams, originating with the globe's nucleus of Darkness.28 The human eye therefore cannot normally see the astral-material emissions of the Light of the ethereal-astral corona of the sun. But gradually, as the Darkness about the Earth is eliminated, some of the sun’s more luminous rays that come from the astral-material vibrations of the Light will be able to penetrate to the Earth and by this intensify,29 beautify and brighten the sunlight. The human eye will then slowly adjust to this stronger sunlight.
The Eldest terminated the interweaving of the human astral and physical organs of vision at a given point so that humans would “see” only the forms and figures of the earthly world, not their corresponding astral forms. Not until God had given the human body spiritual life could the humans to whom the Youngest were bound “see” spontaneously or continuously with the spirit’s eye. Later, this held true also for those to whom the Eldest, or more advanced human spirits were bound.
The connection between the human astral and physical organs of hearing was also broken off at a particular point by the Eldest, so that the astral sounds might not be heard. Clairaudients therefore use the hearing organs of the spirit, not those of the astral counterpart.
All animals, unlike human beings, have double vision. The physical eyes of the body capture and reflect the earthly forms while the eyes of the astral counterpart capture and reflect the astral counterparts. But since animals owe their existence mainly to the molecular vibrations of Darkness and therefore lead their lives in the earthly world, their astral vision is the weaker so that all they see of astral forms are the counterparts released from the earthly material world.30 Animals can also see the spirit bound to the human body, but only as a misty extension of the contours of the earthly figure. The astral organs of sight of the animals cannot however perceive the strong rays of Light emitted from the radiant spirit-bodies of the Youngest, nor can they see the ethereal-astral corona of Light of the sun and the stars.
When the Earth-bound spirits walked the globe, the animals were able to see them but could not distinguish between the living and the “dead” humans.
The astral and physical hearing organs of animals are also closely interconnected so that animals are able to hear a number of sounds inaudible to humans.
Like humans, the animals have primal impulses that in part originate directly with Darkness and in part from the regulating and harmonizing influence of the Light from the corona of the Earth. Through the astral counterparts these instincts are likewise inherited from individual to individual in the various species and subdivisions of animals.
During the past millions of years the counterparts of the many animal species have acquired a certain amount of knowledge through experience, and this can likewise be passed on from individual to individual. This acquired knowledge lies latent until the animal needs to use it. The animal’s physical brain will then, when necessary, be automatically stimulated by the astral brain and the subconscious knowledge will manifest itself in the earthly world as instinctive actions and feelings. As no spirit is bound to the animal body, an animal will always act impulsively and with no conscious understanding of why it acts or feels in such a way. Without exception, every animal acts and feels only as prompted by the subconscious knowledge of its astral counterpart. The most extensive training by humans cannot evoke independent thinking in an animal. All skills acquired by the higher animal species through training, will for them always remain automatic, subconscious knowledge. New experience and knowledge acquired by each animal during its life will be inherited by its offspring and will always emerge for the animal’s benefit if needed.
The more care and kindness shown animals, the closer many can attach themselves to humans. They can in all their behavior then display an immediate devotion and faithfulness hardly to be equaled in the human world. But even such devotion and faithfulness is instinctive and often acquired from generation to generation through close association with man.
Because of the regulating and adaptive properties and harmonizing influence31 of the Light, more order has gradually come into the animal world so that the animals in many ways lead highly regulated lives.31 This applies to all earthly animal life, the higher as well as the lower. Through the ethereal corona of the Earth—the Earth’s psyche—unconscious life is everywhere guided toward greater order and harmony.
(On the basis of the information given concerning the knowledge, unconsciously acquired by the human astral counterparts under the influence of Darkness or the Light, humans can themselves draw comparisons with the lives of animals and determine what is due to the regulating, purifying, separating and harmonizing influence of the Light, and what is caused by the eroding and destructive power of Darkness.)
When earthly life forms and objects are destroyed by death, decomposition, burning and the like, their astral counterparts loosen, as previously said, and are released. Simultaneously, the radiations of the corona of Light withdraw and eject the counterparts released from the physical forms or objects. These then are absorbed by the accumulations of Darkness that constantly surround the globe. With this continuous rejection of astral counterparts, the globe’s ethereal corona of Light is gradually purged of the Darkness that broke forth over the Earth at the downfall of the Eldest. As the corona of Light is purified, its influence upon earthly life increases; but since earthly life comes from the Darkness originally fixated by the corona of Light, the globe will not be fully cleansed until all life on Earth has ceased—at a time known only to God.
When the accumulations of Darkness that have absorbed the astral counterparts are in one way or another depolarized, for example by collisions amongst themselves, by collision with the Earth’s radiations of Darkness or the like, they are absorbed and eliminated by the Light-ether—but not by the corona of Light.
If collisions of polarized astral or spiritual Darkness occur indoors, they can often be perceived by humans who are not mediums. The sounds produced by these collisions depend on the size of the accumulations and can vary from a faint crackle to loud explosive crashes of shorter or longer duration. However, the phenomena of the Light that always accompany de-polarizations can only in few instances be observed by anyone other than mediums.
As the Youngest began incarnating among human beings, the Light was again brought to the Earth. It came partly through the Passage of Light that God by His Will had laid through the ruined Kingdom and partly from the ethereal radiations of Light from the incarnated Youngest, and the effect was to draw forth into reality in the earthly world more of the as yet latent seeds of life. The astral counterparts of these animal and plant forms have a greater strength of Light than the other counterparts (from the transcendental world they appear faintly tinted, while the others appear gray or black). When these earthly life forms and figures are destroyed, the Light in their counterparts is separated and absorbed partly by the corona of Light and partly by the Light-ether; the Darkness in the counterparts is as usual absorbed by accumulations of Darkness.
(If you are reading this in a computerized file format, page references cannot be found unless you have a copy of the original printed book on hand)
11) The self is the spirit and all the good and evil inherited through the astral counterpart.
12 three times) Sometimes twins have been incarnated with a spirit of Darkness and with a spirit of the Light respectively.
13) The spirits of Darkness were bound to the embryo in the third month of pregnancy.
14) By the physical brain is meant the greater as well as the smaller part of the brain along with the part that continues into the spinal cord. It is of course not intended here to explain the function of the various centers of the physical brain, merely to outline the interconnections between the psychic brain of the spirit, the astral brain of the counterpart, and the brain of the physical body.
15) The instinct of self-defense has been acquired by humans over millions of years of struggle for existence, and so must definitely be regarded as an instinct and not as a primal impulse.
16) Commentary, pages 187-88, regarding the structure of the spirit-body.
17) These memories can fade completely in later generations.
18) Summary, pages 312-13, regarding split personality.
19) The image the physical brain cells received through the eyes can be so faint it cannot be impressed on the astral cells. The astral brain cannot then, of course, reproduce anything of what was seen.
20) The shock may blur remembrance of it.
21) A sudden fright can momentarily paralyze one’s consciousness so that the physical and astral brain cells are unable to vibrate. Nothing of what is seen registers as long as the paralysis lasts. Gaps may then occur and interrupt the overall image, even though the eyes remain open.
22) Since astral Darkness formed an integrated entity with the corona of Light, the Eldest were not able to separate it. The material with which they worked therefore appeared as if it was double, but actually it was composed of three elements: the corona of Light, and the astral and the molecular Darkness.
The ability of the astral brain to retain values and impressions received through the physical brain is thus determined by the Earth’s corona of Light which fixates the astral Darkness. Although the astral and physical brain cells can be destroyed, the innermost principle of the astral cells cannot be annihilated since it is created from the indestructible radiations of the corona of Light. Not until the physical body has expired will the radiations of the Light withdraw (Summary, page 295). A spirit bound to an imbecilic person will, through the Light-principle of the astral cells, receive impressions that are transmitted through the absorption layer. But the spirit does not become conscious of these impressions until released from the physical body.
23) A violin can produce faint tones if the strings are activated by sound-waves from a piano, say. By itself, without action of some sort or other, it cannot produce sound.
24) By their thought and their will, the Eldest have often given themselves an appearance corresponding to living human beings, and by appearing visibly on the plane of the earth thus "acted" as doubles of these persons.
25) Spirits often disembody under narcosis, fainting spells, or the like, but then it is entirely automatic.
26) Commentary, page 191.
27) These Eldest are scattered over the Earth, in many countries. When awake they usually remember nothing of their nocturnal excursions but a few can at times remember them as faint, blurred dreams. During sleep-release these spirits are able to participate in séances of materialization, dematerialization, levitation, and so forth.
28) The human eye cannot catch the weakest luminous rays from the sun’s nucleus of Darkness.
29) This will happen also to all other celestial bodies, likewise to those that reflect only the sunlight (non-luminous globes). Over the centuries the “stars” will thus gain in luminosity. Excepted are of course those stars so extensively damaged by Darkness that their luminosity is in strong decline.
30) It requires about 48 hours for the released counterpart of the larger animals to dissolve completely, but the smaller the counterparts the less time needed.
31 twice) As examples: the lives of ants and bees, the ingenious nest-building of many species of birds, the migrations of birds, the migrations of fish between oceans and fresh water, and so on. Countless examples exist in the animal worlds of the air, land, and sea