When the Storms are Stilled: Earth and Spirit Life Compared

At some point, probably in this year (although I don’t know that for sure), we will spend some time in the Fourth Dimension. It’s my belief that the Fourth Dimension is of the same vibratory frequency as the Astral Planes; the Fifth as the Mental Planes.

I thought it might be enjoyable for us to spend a few moments on the Astral and higher planes listening to residents there describe some of the differences between them and the Earth Plane.

I could write about how they don’t eat, drink, sleep or breathe, to speak of. Sometimes they take food but not often. There certainly is no need to. But I’d like to get away from that kind of obvious discussion and look at some less obvious matters here. On another occasion, I’ll look at the differences caused by leaving behind a physical body and emerging in our new spirit apparel.

Degrees in Heaven

One difference between physical and astral life is that on Earth we’re all jumbled together but in the spirit planes we’re separated out. That’s what Julia Ames meant when she said “there are degrees in heaven.” (1)

Archdeacon Wilberforce explains that “we spirits are not a democracy but a hierarchy — an ordered grade of beings, ascending beyond our capacity even here to follow its upward ranges.” (2)

This isn’t a concept that we may accept readily. To us, hierarchies represent class distinctions and other similar and similarly-objectionable structures that are seen as thrust upon us.

But on the spirit planes, everyone is sorted out. Those who led corrupted lives find themselves in disagreeable surroundings and those who led decent lives, whether rich or poor, honored or despised, find themselves in agreeable surroundings.

What these differing planes reflect is, as Silver Birch explained, “all humanity is at different stages of evolution.” (3) All of life is an evolution of the spirit from a position of unconscious awareness of its true identity to a position of conscious awareness. The more aware a person is of Self, the higher the plane on which they reside.

We’ll encounter a similar phenomenon with Ascension, I believe. I think we think that everyone will end up on the Fifth Dimension. But I no longer believe that. I’m convinced that some will find themselves on the Fifth, some on the Sixth, some on the Seventh, etc., in much the same way that they would if they transitioned. How could it be otherwise given the nature of the higher realms?

People don’t end up on the same plane there. Why would we when we ascend, given the variability of spiritual evolution?  To think otherwise is to project our Third-Dimensional arrangements onto dimensions that are not Third-Dimensional.

Objective vs. Subjective

Depiction of Malachi (Imperator)

Judge David Hatch reminds us that humans in the body live objective lives whereas humans outside the body lead subjective lives.

“Now, remember that in this form of matter where I am men are living principally a subjective life, as men on earth live principally an objective life. (4)

“This use of the terms ‘outer’ and ‘inner’ may seem confusing; but you must remember that while you go in to come to us, we go out to come to you. In our normal state here we are living almost a subjective life. We become more and more objective as we touch your world. You become more and more subjective as you touch our world.” (5)

It isn’t that only the objective consciousness functions on Earth and only the subjective consciousness functions on the astral planes. It’s more that people prefer to use the objective side of the mind in Earthly life but the subjective in astral life.

“While man on earth has both subjective and objective consciousness, but functions mostly in the objective, out here he has still subjective and objective consciousness, but the tendency is towards the subjective.

At almost any time, on composing yourself and looking in, you can fall into a state of subjective bliss which is similar to that enjoyed by souls on this side of the dividing line called death. … When the storms and passions of the body are stilled, man can catch a glimpse of his own interior life, and that interior life is the life of this fourth-dimensional plane. Please do not accuse me of contradicting myself or of being obscure; I have said that the objective consciousness is as possible with us as the subjective is with you, but that the tendency is merely the other way.” (6)

The Astral Plane is malleable to thought whereas the Earthly plane is more obviously malleable to physical manipulation. Transport on the astral planes is by thought: Think where you want to be and there you are. Building structures, fulfilling needs, even communicating swiftly becomes all by thought on the Astral Plane. Thought is seen as subjective; physical manipulation as objective.

Increasing Impersonality

The higher we rise in the spirit planes, the more impersonal we become. “Imperator,” the prophet Malachi speaking through the Rev. Stainton Moses, describes the situation as we rise higher and higher in the spirit world.

“Learn to recognise the impersonality of the higher messages. When we first appeared to this medium he insisted on our identifying ourselves to him. But many influences come through our name.

“Two or three stages after death spirits lose much of what you regard as individuality and become more like influences. I have now passed to the verge of the spheres from which it is impossible to return to you. I can influence without any regard to distance. I am very distant from you now.” (7)

Also as we rise higher, the importance of the group increases and the importance of the individual decreases. Imperator explained the nature of some of the messages that Rev. Moses was receiving from higher sources. They could not be described so much as coming from individuals as from groups – our soul groups. Here an unnamed member of Imperator’s spirit circle explains.

“In some cases the influence is not centralised; it is impersonal, as you would say. In many cases the messages given you are not the product of any one mind, but are the collective influence of a number. Many who have been concerned with you are but the vehicles to you of a yet higher influence which is obliged to reach you in that way. We deliberate, we consult, and in many instances you receive the impression of our united thought.” (8)

Gradually individuality seems to slip away. One of Imperator’s circle of communicators, named Elliotson, describes his experience of Imperator.

“Some of the higher spirits have, as I know, almost lost their identity. There comes a time when the individuality is dissipated and enlarged, and becomes a centre of influence. The exalted spirit, Imperator, who directs this medium, bathes me in his influence. I do not see him, but he permeates the space in which I dwell. I have received his commands and instructions, but I have never seen him. The medium sees a manifestation of him, which is necessary in his case, not in mine.” (9)

Automatic writing such as Rev. Moses used

Increasing Difficulty of Return to Earth

The reason most of our spirit communications describe the Astral is that only on the planes near Earth can spirits return to Earth and only on those planes do they want to.

Julia Ames explains the situation in one of her communications to W.T. Stead from the afterworld. Julia had been after Stead to start something he called “Julia’s Bureau,” where many mediums would be available to get word to suffering relatives of what had become of their loved ones. Then gradually she stopped pushing him on the subject, finally explaining what had happened this way:

“It is with us as with immigrants to my former country. When they arrive their hearts are in the old world. The new world is new and strange. They long to hear from the old home and the post brings them more joy than the sunrise. But after a very little time the pain is dulled, new interests arise, and, in a few years, sometimes in a few months, they write no more.

“With us here the change is even more rapid. For the new life is more absorbing and the survivors constantly recruit our ranks. When the family circle is complete, when those we loved are with us, why should we trouble to communicate? The whole planet with its 1,500,000,000 inhabitants is full of strangers, our life lies on our own plane.

“Therefore, do not think that what I said of the eager, passionate longing of those on this side to communicate with you is true of any but those in the midst of whom I was when I wrote [earlier].” (10)

As spirits pass into higher realms, they cease to want to communicate with Earth-dwellers and may even find the task difficult and uncomfortable, as Elliotson explains to Rev. Moses.

“The return to earth is a great trial to me. I might compare it to the descent from a pure and sunny atmosphere into a valley where the fog lingers. In the atmosphere of earth I seem completely changed. The old habits of thought awaken, and I seem to breathe a grosser air.” (11)

Imperator found it even more difficult than Elliotson because he inhabited a higher plane.

“The higher spirits can only exist for a short time in your atmosphere, and it is often difficult for us to approach you. I myself am far away from the medium, and unable to draw nearer to him, on account of his mental and corporeal conditions. When out of health, I cannot approach him. Spirits recently passed from earth can more readily draw near to him, but we are able to influence from a distance – time and space not existing with us.” (12)

Imperator last inhabited a body in his lifetime as Malachi and tells us that he seldom comes back to the near-Earth planes.

“I have left this earth a very long time [ago], and only returned to impress this medium. It is my mission. Very few spirits can return to earth from those distant spheres, but God has sent me for a special work.” (13)

After finishing his work with Rev. Moses, Imperator tells us that he will go to a plane from which return to the near-Earth environs will be impossible.

“After my ministry with him is over, I go whence I can never again personally return to earth. I shall only be able to influence through other spirits.” (14)

Air Chief Marshall Lord Dowding discusses how Sphere Ten is the last sphere from which spirits can return to Earth. After that, they cannot. It is impossible to know what “Sphere Ten” represents. There is no consistency among spirit numbering systems.

“Sphere Ten is also of exceptional importance because it is the highest of those from which visitors commonly come down to earth level and below. After this stage it seems that some change occurs which makes visitations and communication with lower spheres more difficult. …

“Broadly speaking, it seems that Sphere Ten represents the limit of human comprehensions as to its conditions. Beyond Sphere Ten, as I understand, human words are inadequate to give the remotest conception of spiritual life.” (15)

So the higher a spirit rises on Jacob’s ladder of consciousness, the less likely he or she will be to communicate with Earth.

There are many more differences between life in the body and outside it.  I’ll continue the discussion at a future date, because knowing something of life on the Astral Plane will tell us a little bit about what life will be like for us in the Fourth Dimension, which we’ll spend a little time in before going on to the Fifth.

But for now, I’ll stop here.


(1) Julia T. Ames through W.T. Stead, medium, After Death. A Personal Narrative. New York: George H. Doran, n.d.; c. 1914, 52.

(2) “Philemon” (Archdeacon Wilberforce) in Henry Thibault, Letters from the Other Side. [Letters from Archdeacon Wilberforce or “Philemon.”] London: 1919, 28.

(3) Silver Birch, Silver Birch’s Teachings. Located at http:/, n.p.

(4)  Judge David Patterson Hatch (“X”), Letters from a Living Dead Man. Elsa Barker, med. New York: Mitchell Kennerly, 1914. Ebook downloaded from, 28 August 2008, Letter XXII.

(5) Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XXI.

(6) Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XXXI.

(7) Spirit leader Imperator in Rev. Stainton Moses, More Spirit Teachings. Trance Teachings. Electronically published by, n.p.

(8) Unnamed spirit teacher, member of spirit leader Imperator’s group, in Rev. Stainton Moses, More Spirit Teachings. Electronically published by, 51.

(9) Elliotson in Moses, MSTTT, n.p.

(10) Julia Ames, AD, 175-6.

(11) Elliotson in Moses, MSTTT, n.d.

(12) Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, MSTTT, n.p.

(13) Loc. cit.

(14) Loc. cit.

(15) Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding, Many Mansions. London, etc.: Rider and Co., n.d., 59.

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