(Continued from Part 3, yesterday.)
Astral museums are very, very different from earthly museums, Mgr Benson suggests.
“Earthly museums are rather cheerless places. They have an aroma of mustiness and chemical preservatives, since their exhibits have to be protected from deterioration and decay. And they have to be protected from man, too, by uninspiring glass cases. But here there are no restrictions.
“All things within these halls are free and open for all to see and hold in the two hands. There is no mustiness, but all the beauty of the objects themselves sends out many subtle perfumes, while the light of heaven streams in from all quarters to enhance the glories of man’s handicrafts.
“No, these are no museums; very far from it. They are temples, rather, in which we spirit people are conscious of the eternal thanks that we owe to the Great Father for giving us such unbounded happiness in a land of which so many upon earth deny the reality.” (1)
I was always fascinated with the description, from G. Vale Owen’s mother, of the way a globe of the Earth could almost come alive. And even historical scenes would come into view.
Let me cite that description at some length:
“The globe slowly left the pedestal, or pivot, or whatever it rested on and began to float out from the wall.
“As it approached the centre of the space it entered the blue mist and immediately on contact began to enlarge until it became a great sphere glowing with its own light and floating in the blue space. It was exceedingly beautiful. Slowly, very slowly, it revolved on its own axis, evidently in the same way the earth does and we were able to see the oceans and continents. These were flat patterns, like those on the terrestrial globes used on earth. But as it revolved they began to assume a different aspect.
“The mountains and hills began to stand out and the waters to sway and ripple: and presently we saw minute models of the cities, and even details of the buildings. And still more detailed grew the model of the earth till we could see the people themselves, first the crowds and then the individuals.
“This will be hard for you to understand, that on a globe of some perhaps eighty to a hundred feet in diameter we are able to see individual men and animals. But that is part of the science of this institution – the enabling of these details being seen individually.
“Still more distinct grew these wonderful scenes, and, as the globe revolved, we saw men hurrying about the cities and working in the fields. We saw the wide spaces of prairie and desert and forest and the animals roaming in them. And as the globe slowly circled we saw the oceans and the seas, some placid and the others tossing and roaring, and here and there a ship. And all the life of Earth passed before our eyes….
“Soon the scenes began to change on the revolving sphere and we were taken back thousands of years of the life of the Earth and the generations of men and animals and plant life which had been from the present to the ages when men were just emerging from the forest to settle in colonies on the plains. …
“When we had satisfied our eyes for a while, the globe gradually became smaller and smaller and floated back to the niche in the wall and then the light faded out from it and it looked like an alabaster carving, just as we had seen it at first, set there as an ornament.” (2)
Moreover, displays of animals could “come alive:” and even become transparent, accordi9ng to her.
“The animals about the walls were also used for a like purpose. One would be vivified by these powerful rays and brought into the centre of the hall. When so treated it could walk of itself like a live animal, which it was temporarily and in a certain restricted way.
“When it had ascended a platform in the centre space, then it was treated with the enlarging rays – as I may call them, not knowing their scientific name – and then with others which rendered it transparent and all the internal [organs] of the animal became plainly visible to the students assembled.
“Then it was possible to bring over the living model a change so that it began to evolve backwards- or should I say ‘involve’? – towards its simpler and primal state as a mammal, and so on. The whole structural history of the animal was shown in that life-like process. …
“Also it was possible for any student to take charge and continue the development according to his own idea and this not of the animals alone, but of the heavenly bodies and also of nations and peoples, which are dealt with in another hall, however, specially adapted to that study.” (3)
Tomorrow let’s look at the so-called temples of learning
(Concluded in Part 5, tomorrow.)
(1) Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson through Anthony Borgia, medium, Life in the World Unseen. M.A.P., 1993, 51-2.
(2) The mother of G. Vale Owens quoted in Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding, Many Mansions. London, etc.: Rider and Co., n.d., 57-8.
(3) The mother of G. Vale Owens quoted in Lord Dowding, ibid., 57-9.