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Spheres(religion, spiritualism, and occult)
Based on information obtained by mediums through contact with spirits, the spirit world has been described as having seven spheres. Although there is some contradictory information, generally the first sphere is seen as the realm of “gross and ignorant” spirits, and that it is gloomy and desolate there. The thought is that such an atmosphere will bring about a desire to move on. The second sphere has scenery as natural as that on earth, and has harmony, love and kindness. The higher spheres cannot be seen by those on the lower levels and information about them can only be obtained from those spirits who make a point of visiting the lower levels. However, it is believed that there is much about the higher levels that is simply beyond the comprehension of those on the lower levels and cannot, therefore, be adequately described. According to Nandor Fodor, it is said that “beyond the spheres are the supernal heavens of boundless extent. This is the ultimate abode of the glorified and blest.”
Hudson Tuttle, in Arcana of Spiritualism (1876), views these different areas as zones or levels, rather than spheres specifically. He claims that they are 120 degrees wide, in other words they extend for 60 degrees on each side of the equator. Tuttle said, “Whether spirits can pass to other globes depends on their degree of refinement. While some are very pure and ethereal, others are gross and unrefined. The sensualist, the depraved debauchee, in many instances, are so gross that gravity chains them to the earth’s surface as it does man. They are denser than the spirit ether, and hence have weight, and cannot rise from the earth. Others, who are more spiritual, can only rise to the first sphere; while others, still more refined, pass at will through the universal ocean of ether, visiting other globes and solar systems.”
The first trance reference to spheres was made by Frederica Hauffe (1801–1829), who was known as the “Seeress of Prevorst.” She also drew diagrams of the spheres. Many other mediums have produced information about the spheres; much of it contradictory. Geraldine Cummins, in her book The Road to Immortality (supposedly dictated by the spirit of the then deceased Frederick W. H. Myers), gives the “Chart of Existence” which shows the journey of the soul. The seven spheres are listed as,
- The Plane of Matter
- Hades or the Intermediate State
- The Plane of Illusion
- The Plane of Color
- The Plane of Flame
- The Plane of Light
- Out Yonder, Timelessness
“Between each plane,” the spirit said, “or new chapter in experience, there is existence in Hades, or in an intermediate state, when the soul reviews his (or her) past experiences and makes his choice, deciding whether he will go up or down the ladder of consciousness.”
Emanuel Swedenborg’s descriptions of the world beyond death included details of a number of spheres, “representing various shades of luminosity and happiness.” Swedenborg said that in these spheres the scenery and conditions of this present plane were closely reproduced; there were houses and temples, halls for assemblies, and palaces for rulers. Possibly because his views were tinged by his theological background, he spoke of angels and devils, though he did say that both such were the spirits of those who had previously lived on earth and were either highly developed souls or undeveloped souls. He gave many views of the afterlife, all in great detail. Many of his ideas have been absorbed into Spiritualist beliefs.