The Reality of Ascension on the Spirit Planes – Part 3/4

In this part of our series we look at actual visits to the next subplane or plane. A visit to a subplane is not actually an Ascension. A visit to a different plane altogether is an Ascension.

In the spirit world up till now an Ascension from the Astral Plane to the Mental Plane meant shedding the astral body. A mere visit did not. But a visit required some preparation.

The reason I cite these visits is to demonstrate that people cannot permanently reside on a higher plane unless they are first spiritually suited to do so. And I examine this circumstance because it makes plain why terrestrials today will not be able to ascend unless they too are spiritually and constitutionally suited to the more refined vibrations.

Let’s start with Philip Gilbert’s discussion of how he visits higher realms for a short period of time but cannot stay there.

“Then having finished my ‘welfare work’ (it is difficult to say how long it takes, as time is not the same) I go for a little light relief to one of the places of instruction. I do maths or I listen to music and often, when doing that, I use it as a sort of funnel and go out into a wider space circle and increase my power so that I breathe for a while the ‘air’ of a further plane of existence.

“Music is one of the ‘corridors’ for evolving upwards. Even a very unspiritual entity can, if he comprehends music, flash upwards for a brief period, but he can’t stay there, if his whole being is not in tune.” (1)

On another trip he had to leave because his mother, who still occupied a physical body, could not stay long. Some readers will say that this outcome is explained by the mother still being incarnated, but Phillips says that the reason they could not stay was that the mother was “not strong enough” to breathe the air except for a brief time.

“We were in a luminous plain of encircling white light with faintly outlined domes and pinnacles reaching upwards into infinity. These are the thought worlds of the advanced – the creations of mind immeasurably stronger than ours. Music seemed to be emerging from each breath of air: at one moment, it was a ‘cello and we blended with it and tried to increase our power even more.

“An indescribable joy was in our hearts. We seemed to be one person, yet we each perceived, heard and felt. Flecks of radiant power floated around us.

“But we could not stay long, for you, tied to the earth plane, are not strong enough to breathe this air save for a brief flash.” (2)

Frances Banks was allowed a visit to the Mental Plane from the Astral but also found that she could not stay long.

“I went with Doctor X to ‘visit’ some of his contemporaries and his friends in another part of this new life. I suppose you would call this the Higher Planes. Anyway, we found ourselves within a ‘medical circle’ of souls. There were many souls and they radiated a joyous concentration that was catching. We found ourselves chatting away eagerly in groups. …

“[The] Leader said that soon He would have the pleasure of welcoming Doctor X on to his ‘staff.’ I was thrilled for my new (yet old) friend. I was so happy for him. It was a moment, I felt, of supreme achievement.” (3)

“It was my most marvelous experience of this new aspect of Life. I felt filled with Light… That is the only way I can express it. But neither of us could hold this great intensity of vibration for long. We felt (so to speak) used up by this High Frequency so that presently I, for one, had the strange experience of dwindling. And then we were both back in my garden….

“But we both had a taste of the beauty of the Higher Spheres and of communion with progressed souls… I felt as though I was shining. The Light stayed with me.”(4)

So Frances Banks, who had lived a pure life on Earth, still could not hold the vibrations of the Mental Planes for long and had to retreat and retire back to the Astral.

Claude Kelway-Bamber is close to his transition to the higher plane but still is aware of the changes needed and must exercise great control to spend some time in the higher setting.

“I have told you before how the body of a spirit going from the third to the higher spheres undergoes certain changes. On those occasions I have to control my conditions mentally. I am aware of a dual consciousness within myself; part of my mind is occupied in soothing and controlling my body and maintaining the correct poise, while the spiritual part is praying, and I feel as if I were reaching up to try and touch God and to pull myself up to Him.” (5)

To be sure, residents of the spirit world can go lower but not higher as Silver Birch and Astriel tell us.

“The sphere or plane on which you exist in our world contains individuals at the same stage of spiritual development as you are. You can’t go higher spiritually until you are ready. You can go lower, as many of us do to perform missionary work among the unenlightened beings in the lower spheres.” (6)

“When I am in the tenth of these zones, my cognizance is limited, more or less, by that Tenth Zone as to its outer or superior boundary. I may, on occasion and by permission, visit the Eleventh zone, or even go higher; but residence in those higher zones is not permitted me.

“On the other hand, the zones inferior to the Tenth are not impossible to me; for the zone in which I dwell, being a sphere, includes within itself, even geometrically considered, all the nine inferior spheres.” (7)

Robert High Benson states that the right to go higher is something that is earned, whether for a visit or for residence.

“There are other realms immeasurably more beautiful than that in which we were now happily living; realms of unsurpassing beauty into which we cannot penetrate until such time as we have earned the right to enter, either as visitors or as inhabitants.” (8)

Even for a visit, a person must approach the vibrational level. The higher realms are not open to sightseers.

“A traveller like me who wishes to go to some particular heaven must first feel in himself what those souls feel who enjoy that heaven; then he can enter and commune with them. He could never go as a mere sight-seer.” (9)

To close off this article, let’s look at the difficulties that Benson had to surmount to visit the “ruler” of his plane, who lived on a much higher plane.

“[Ruth and I] have … visited the high abode of the greatest of them all,” he tells us. (10) Of him Benson writes:

“No earthly king throughout the whole narrative of the history of the earth world ever presided over a state so vast as that presided over by this illustrious personage of whom I am speaking. And his kingdom is ruled by the great universal law of true affection.

“Fear does not, could not, exist in the minutest, tiniest fraction because there is not, and cannot be, the slightest cause for it. Nor will there ever be. He is the great living visible link between the Father, the Creator of the Universe, and His children.” (11)

The ruler’s assistant, Omar the Chaldean, prepares them for their visit by instilling power into them:

“[The Chaldean, Omar] came behind us and allowed his hands to rest upon our heads for a brief moment. … The Chaldean told us that by placing his hands upon our heads … would … have the effect, in addition to giving us power to travel, of adjusting our vision to the extra intensity of light that we should encounter in the high realm. …

“The Chaldean asked us to make ourselves completely passive and to remember that we were upon a journey for our enjoyment and not as a test of our spiritual endurance. ‘And now, my friends,’ said he, ‘our arrival is awaited. So let us be off.’” (12)

However, though they visit the immensely-beautiful palace of the ruler for a time, soon the power that Omar has bestowed on them wears off and they must leave:

“Our good friend, the Chaldean, then mentioned to his ‘master’ that our stay had almost reached its limit. The latter said he was sorry to observe that it was so, but that such powers as had been invoked for us had their limitations, and, so, for our comfort, we must work within them.” (13)

In some instances spirits who wish their charges to visit the higher realms cloak them; others hold their arm while they ascend to purer settings. Those who wish to acend permanently are told that their astral bodies must “die” for the passage to be made, as Ethel McLean tells us.

“I am told that, when the time comes to pass on from this sphere to a higher one, a similar process [to physical death] takes place. But as there is no dust or decay here, the elements that compose the vehicle of expression in which we now function are simply absorbed back into the ether. We shall again find ourselves in a yet more refined body on a higher plane of consciousness. This process continues until ultimate perfection is achieved.” (15)

In our next part in the series, I’ll give examples of Ascensions from the spirit planes to the higher realms that corroborate Ethel’s description.

So far what we’ve done is to illustrate why sources like Matthew Ward or SaLuSa might say that one has to be sufficiently prepared so that one can hold the light of the Fifth Dimension. We see here that souls who cannot hold the light or endure the vibrations of a higher plane cannot remain there. And that is the reason why we, now, prepare ourselves for our Ascension.


(1) Philip Gilbert through Alice Gilbert, medium. Philip in the Spheres. London: Psychic Book Club, n.d., 33.

(2) Ibid., 69.

(3) Frances Banks in Helen Graves, Testimony of Light. London: Churches Fellowship for Psychical & Spiritual Studies, 1975; c1969, 48-9

(4) Ibid., 49.

(5) Claude Kelway-Bamber in L. Kelway-Bamber, ed., Claude’s Second Book. New York: 1920, 48-9.

(6) Silver Birch, Light from Silver Birch. Comp. Pam Riva. London: Psychic Press, 1983, 19.

(7) Astriel in G. Vale Owens, medium, The Life Beyond the Veil. Book I: The Lowlands of Heaven. New York, 1921, 216.

(8) Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson through Anthony Borgia, medium, Life in the World Unseen. M.A.P., 1993, 55.

(9) Judge David P. Hatch in Elsa Barker, medium, Letters from a Living Dead Man [probably Judge David P. Hutch]. Mitchell Kennerly, 1914, Letter XLVIII.

(10) Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson through Anthony Borgia, medium, More About Life in the World Unseen. San Francisco: H.G. White, 1956; c1968, 90.

(11) Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson through Anthony Borgia, medium, Life in the World Unseen. M.A.P., 1993, 192.

(12) Ibid., 194.

(13) Ibid., 201.

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