Index ~ Home




Questions Answered Extempore by Miss Emma Hardinge 1866


Question 5


WHAT do you understand to be the conditions necessary to admit of mediums being lifted in the air, and of the passage of spirits through material objects, if they can so pass?




THE condition for the elevation of any body from the ground is counter-attraction. All things are held in their place upon this earth by the power of gravitation; that is the one sole power that draws to the common centre the entire of the beings that remain upon the round moving world. Any power that can overcome the earthís gravitation, whether it be the mechanical power that enables us to lift an object, or that which causes the loadstone to suspend a certain weight of iron, or any power corresponding to the power of the loadstone - any force, in fact, that will overcome the gravitation of the earth, can upheave the heaviest body from the earth.


Now, there is a power of magnetism, within that which is the strongest magnet in creation - namely, the human form, which, when the spirit is liberated from matter, and, by a knowledge of chemistry, is enabled so to compose the elements which emanate from a mediumistic body, together with those which are held in solution in atmospheric air, as to form a strong and powerful magnet, or loadstone, which can upheave substances in air. This phenomenon is but the result of the spiritsí and the mediumsí vital magnetism; or the act itself is but a result of that same force which upheaves in this, imponderable ether, the vast bulk of the mighty sun, and revolving satellites. All these are held in space by attraction and counter-attraction. The centripedal force which draws you to the centre of the earth is overcome by a centrifugal force, which sends lighter bodies from the earth. Now, between these two forces in operation, there is an inevitable inequality. There is in all things in nature a



lack of equilibrium which produces alternating movements between the forces of attraction and repulsion. To produce the phenomena of which you ask, we must overcome the attraction of earthís gravitation, and thus we can upheave the mightiest bodies in space. Spirits are but experimenting in the present phase of spiritual phenomena; they are, like yourselves, learning the exhibition of the rudiments of the science of magnetism, and the very simplest of these is the power which enables them to form a magnet of mediumistic and atmospheric essences, and where they have a good battery in the person of the medium who must be highly negative to their positive force, it is one of the simplest of the phenomena of Spiritualism to upheave that negative body in the air.


Your Question concerning spirits passing through material obstacles involves another set of laws entirely. We must ask leave to enter a little more into detailed notice of the subject, and remind you that we requested the permission of this audience, some six weeks since, to deliver in this place a course of Lectures. We did not aim in this to produce mere oratorical effects, but to give through our mediumís best capacity the rudiments of a philosophy On that philosophy, time, study, and spiritual growth will add great superstructures, but it will not remove the basis. A portion of that philosophy related to the question, ďWhat is Spirit?Ē And in rendering the answer, we stated that spirit lived in accordance with a set of laws in no respect analogous to those which govern matter; we urged that spirit transcends all the laws of matter, and that there is no law which rules or governs matter that belongs to a spiritual existence. One of the laws of matter which spirit transcends is that of time and space. We now ask leave to enter upon the question more in full. Time is the boundary of material movements only; there is no time in eternity, but there are periods occupied by certain changes of matter. The changes, for instance, between the sun and this earth, are effected in a certain period of eternity which we call time, and marked by night and day - seasons and years. We find that when material forms are moved in any direction, they require a period in eternity to effect the change. One of the attributes of matter is called impenetrability, but in reality this attribute does not exist; for though you may pierce the very hardest crystal, you still find spaces within it, and still no one atom of matter can occupy the space that is occupied by another atom. The boundary of material forms, then, is that which constitutes space.


But these are the laws of matter, not of spirit; for spirit occupies no space, and spirit lives not in time; and this I must illustrate by calling to your remembrance the late address on Hades: therein it was declared that the spirit outworks from itself its own light or darkness, and therefore makes its own night or day. Cold and heat are also outwrought from the morale of spiritual nature, and hence it is that disembodied souls reside in their own atmosphere, which to them is summer of winter, according to their nature; hence, all darkness, light, season, and time, is of the spiritís creation. Periods in eternity are needed for spiritsí progress, but the extent or limit of that period is dependent on the spiritís energy in working out its progress; hence the bitter season of spiritual cold and spiritual winter may be through countless ages, since it must endure until the frozen heart outworks the latent heat of a moral summer; and the period of summer is the already sunny soul of spiritual love and kindness, an ever lengthening never ending summer-day of eternity. So there is no time in the spirit world. And as the spirit has no density, no weight, and is lighter than all things in creation, so it occupies no space. Your physical bodies are heavier than the ether in which you move, than the water on which you sail, or than the mould on which you tread. Thus



you are the very reverse of the spirit, which is lighter than its world, its atmosphere, or scenery, and thus as unobstructed as the lightest of all elements, it passes through all obstacles of matter. As the finer permeates the grosser, so does spirit permeate all things. Were your eyes open like the seers of old, and could you perceive the various spheres of spirit life, you might see them penetrating each other, and spirits of the finer passing through the very forms and spheres of spirits yet more gross - ay, even passing through them; for pure spirit has no analogy whatsoever with matter, and therefore matter is no obstacle to it. You may say, indeed, that spirit is not ubiquitous, and that in passing from point to point it must occupy time and move through space. I reply, no. All movement in spirit land is efffected by will. According to the energy of that will does the spirit pass from point to point. True there are points in infinity, as there are periods in eternity; but the spiritís will overcomes all these. So if the will is energetic the space exists not; the spirit is where it would by will be. If the will is languid, or if there be counter-attractions to its exercise, the spirit pauses, its will is not strong enough to project itself more swiftly than the moving elements around it, and so it seems to pass through space. And in response to the last part of your question, I answer, the spirit-world is here, nor needs your open door, nor unroofed ceiling, nor aught of material form removed to permit the entrance of the unfettered spirit. Spirit-world and life and presence are already here; spirit is fine and subtle, boundless and transcendant even as thought. You realise no obstacles to thought, and thought is the attribute, and the only attribute that can be comprehended in this world of matter of true spiritual being. The material forms and substances that spirits take on themselves, when, clothed with magnetic matter they strive to telegraph to man through the phenomena of the spirit circle, are the clothings of atmosphere and mediumistic emanations, and these though infinitely sublimated, being compared to spirit still as substance, occupy space, and are definite in form. Nevertheless no obstacle that you can present, not the sword that superstition wields against the apparition, not the bullet that may be fired, the stick with which one strikes, or the hand that passes through the substance of the spirit, can in truth affect it: it is the pure essence of things; while matter is their gross external covering. The laws of these opposing elements do not cohere.


I shall conclude this Question by merely reminding you of one fact patent amongst yourselves, and that is, the experience of the somnambulist. You find, in the waking state, that you are constantly fearful of falling from heights; and the power of gravitation exerted by the earth upon your physical form, drawing you to the common centre, compels you to steer your way carefully in order to prevent your fall in obedience to this force of gravitation. But far otherwise is it with the somnambulist. Unconscious of the presence of a physical body, the spirit and its consciousness alone being awake, the spiritual nature and its laws triumph over the nature and laws of the material body; it realises no gravitation, feels no weight, therefore it passes along the dizzy heights of precipices and stupendous steeps unconscious of its danger, and therefore rarely falling, never indeed, unless the depth of the somanbulic sleep is disturbed by accident. As gravitation only acts between matter and matter, spirit is not obedient to its force, and the somnambulic state is one of its most familiar illustrations.


Question 6  January 8th, 1866