Rosicrucian Writings Online


Contacting The Spiritual World

ARE SEANCES AND AUTOMATIC WRITING
DEPENDABLE?
 
By the Imperator
[H. Spencer Lewis]
 
[From The Rosicrucian Digest December 1931]
 
 
IT SEEMS to me that every so often, approximately every year or two, I find it necessary to speak to our members on the subject of Spiritualism and ways and means of contacting the spiritual world. New members who are admitted to the organization and many of their friends, who have read any of the old issues of our magazines and other publications, feel that they do not thoroughly understand what the attitude of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood is in regard to this subject. Therefore, as the correspondence on this point increases in volume, I find it necessary every year or two to speak about it through the pages of our monthly magazine.
 
Many of those who write to me in these days seem to feel that the Spiritualistic movement, or rather the claims and propaganda of Spiritualism, are more intense and more wide-spread today than they have ever been in the past. My writers argue that this indicates that the Spiritualistic movement and the belief in seances and other forms of Spiritualistic experimentation are becoming more popular and more acceptable to the public.
 
As a matter of fact, my intimate knowledge of and contact with the Spiritualistic movement twenty or thirty-five years ago convinces me that there was far more popular interest, and certainly far more individual experimentation and investigation along Spiritualistic lines in those years than there is at the present time. It may be that many thousands who should be experimenting now or investigating are freely accepting the claims of Spiritualism without investigating and, therefore, the movement and the beliefs of Spiritualism has more followers today than it ever had, despite the fact that there are not as many seances being held in upper rooms in various parts of each city, as was quite common several decades ago.
 
Within recent months, however, several movements have been inaugurated, tending to utilize the un-awakened or dormant interest in Spiritualistic communication, and to direct this interest along new lines and into new channels. I must admit, however, that this new propaganda is not of the unselfish and purely religious type that animated thousands of Spiritualistic centers in the United States many years ago and still animates them. I even feel that some of the new propaganda in this line is of a commercial nature, and while it is very intelligently conducted in order to appeal to thinking minds, there is an unmistakable note of selfishness and personal interest back of these new, popular movements.
 
The idea that through public meetings and study classes, and through a few books and magazines, individuals can be easily taught to successfully contact the spiritual world and receive reliable and intimate personal information of a practical nature makes a strong appeal to those who are in a quandary and to those who love anything of a weird and mystical nature; but the methods used are associated with commercial features, and there is lacking the high religious motive that has really been the most sincere element in all previous Spiritualistic movements.
 
A great many of our members believe that the Rosicrucian organization condemns widely, broadly, and intolerantly all investigation of the possibility of spiritual communication, and that it condemns all investigators, all seekers for truth in this connection, as either mentally incompetent or wilfully fraudulent. This is not the true attitude of our fraternity, and I would regret any act or word on our part that would really indicate such an attitude.
 
It is true that in the past, and at the present, and undoubtedly the same will be true of the future, we disapprove of unscientific, haphazard investigation and experiments, dealing with unknown laws and principles of the Cosmic or the spiritual world. We likewise disapprove of those practices, systems or methods, which are promulgated as simple and harmless ways of contacting the spiritual world, and which we know to be not only misleading and futile in the results obtained but often dangerous to the psychic development and mental status of the experimenter.
 
I do not mean to say that in attempting to test the Spiritualistic claims, there is grave danger of coming in contact with some mighty force or power that may destroy the experimenter before he has an opportunity to protect himself. Whatever forces, powers, laws, and principles the experimenter may contact in his experimenting are generally good and constructive, and can do him or her no harm. But, some of the methods advocated and some of the principles used by a few modern movements are harmful, inasmuch as they are unnatural and are a strain upon certain faculties and functionings of the psychic self, and lead to indulgences of a mental or psychic nature, which are dangerous.
 
In any method of proper attunement with the spiritual world, or with the psychic personality of any being, there should be such a preponderance of peace, health-giving vibrations, and supreme illumination, that the wise investigator will find himself being greatly benefited spiritually, mentally, and physically, through his contacts with the higher realm. There is probably no more beautiful, no more supremely beneficial practice in life than that of attunement with the spiritual world in meditation, prayer, contemplation, or even experimentation. I know from experience and from the testimony of thousands of men and women that every moment spent in the attempt to properly and truly attune with the spiritual world brings a rich spiritual reward that is as necessary to a life of glorious living as any benefit that is granted to humans here on earth.
 
I am not going to take time or space to argue whether many of the communications or so-called messages received by eminent persons, or by experimenters, have actually come from departed personalities living in the spiritual world or not. I think all such discussion is beside the question. I think it is generally admitted that if there is a spiritual world in which the soul or personality of the departed ones continue to live that such personalities will attempt to impress their mind upon others on the earth plane here, and that this impression will translate itself into what might be called messages or visions, communications, or inspirations. I do not believe, from my own experience of over thirty years' investigation of such communications and such processes for bringing communications about, that the foolish, unimportant, unreliable, and nonsensical "messages" that some persons claim to receive from the spiritual world ever emanated from any spiritual kingdom, Cosmic realm, or highly spiritualized personality.
 
I know also that all who depart from this life at the time of transition do not depart to such an extent that their personalities are immediately transferred to a higher realm where every evil thought, every evil idea, and every earthly passion and impulse are instantaneously eliminated. In other words, I know that the mere transition or separation of personality and body does not result in an automatic purging of the mind and personality of the person to such an extent that they are immediately free of all of the erroneous ideas and tendencies, as well as evil beliefs and habits, which they possessed while still in the body. We should realize that in attempting to make contact with the spiritual personalities of those who have gone from active life here, we are opening the doorway widely and broadly to unrestrained contact with any and all personalities that may be able to contact us.
 
Therefore, in attempting to contact the spiritual realm of the Cosmic realm, we should keep in mind that we may not be necessarily contacting those who are pure of thought and truly spiritualized in the highest sense. Most certainly, one would be foolish to think that because Berkeley, California, is the seat of great learning and many schools and systems of ethical culture, that by merely going to Berkeley and contacting anyone passing on the street, one would come in contact with a highly evolved, highly educated, and extremely ethical personality. To believe that by making such a casual contact with anyone in the city of Berkeley would result in a noble inspiration, a beautiful idea, or a trustworthy communication would be to open our minds to many forms of deceit and bitter disappointment.
 
Since the spiritual world is peopled by those who have evolved to and attained the highest degree of spiritual development and understanding, as well as by those who are a little better than what they were here on the earth plane, it should be apparent to every sane and rational investigator that extreme care must be taken in making spiritual contacts at any time, especially if one is going to place any dependence, reliability, or faith in the results of the contact, or if one is going to be influenced by the impressions that result from such contacts.
 
The Rosicrucians know also that the highest types existing in the spiritual world are not waiting momentarily, hourly, and daily for contacts from anyone with any kind of a motive and for any purpose. If contact with these highly evolved spiritual beings is possible at all, it is possible only because of a high motive and because the person seeking the contact is able to spiritualize himself or inwardly attune himself to the same noble, beautiful, spiritual standard possessed by the one being sought.
 
We cannot conceive of a spiritual realm in which the most noble and beautifully evolved beings of all times, devoted to a great and noble work, place themselves in such a position as to be available to any person who calls for them through any professional medium, or through any simple process of concentration. We do not find the noble persons of this earth plane or the highly evolved, intellectual, spiritual beings of our earthly surroundings constantly available to everyone who seeks their words of advice or help, nor do we find these wonderful characters ready to answer foolish and nonsensical questions relating to the most idiotic incidents of life.
 
Without being too personal, I might say that in my own case, I feel that I would be in any spiritual realm of consciousness in the future, much like I am today. Since my present position affords me the opportunity of giving advice and help to those who have really serious problems and who are devoting their time and their efforts to helping others in the higher and more noble things of life, I find it necessary, because of the lack of time and conditions, to limit my services, my interviews, my correspondence, and my personal contacts, to those who have only the serious things of life, the more important things of this earth, and the highest motives as the urges for their contact with me. Since time and many other conditions necessitate the limitation of the number of contacts that can be made with me in twenty-four hours, and since I must keep my mind attuned with the higher and better things of life, rather than with the sordid and purely selfish, I naturally refrain from such contacts, interviews or calls upon my time as are outside of the standard I have set. Most certainly, when my soul is freed of this body and I find myself conscious in a higher realm with the ability to do in a larger scale what I have been trying to do here on earth for thirty or more years, and with my own evolution and development to keep in mind also, I will not reverse my present methods and place myself in such a position that I will be available to everyone who calls upon me in a mental way, or everyone who rings a psychic bell and asks that I appear in their presence and talk with them on any subject, or help them in any personal, selfish, or nonsensical plan or scheme that they may have.
 
There are those who think that while it would be presumptuous to call at my office and interrupt my work, merely to ask me if I can help them find a lost pocketbook or tell them whether two sweethearts will eventually marry or not, it would not be presumptuous to call upon me in a psychic state after my transition and demand that I give of my more important spiritual time a half hour or more to the consideration of such unimportant problems.
 
When persons approach the spiritual world with such unspiritual questions in their minds and with purely earthly, mundane problems to be solved, they are very apt to come in contact with those who are on a level of development or on a plane of consciousness agreeable to the nature of the problems being presented, or perhaps in contact with those who are still so earthly in their consciousness and forms of thinking that they will give any kind of an answer, any form of advice, and laugh at the gullibility of the inquirer.
 
What are we to think, therefore, of some of the modern systems which promulgate the idea of using the ouija board, or using automatic writing, or writing in a mirror, as simple and easy ways of contacting the spiritual world? Certainly, this is belittling the high standard of true spiritual doctrines and it is placing the inquirer, the investigator, in a serious position. From a long and careful study made of so-called spiritual practices in the past, I am fully convinced of two things regarding so-called automatic writing. In the first place, most of such writing is useless, unreliable, deceiving, and nonsensical. Secondly, a persistence in the practice of relaxing and submitting one's nervous and psychic self to the impulses of automatic writing generally results in regretted and sorrowful conditions of mind and consciousness. In fact, I do not know of anything of a mental or psychic nature that has so unbalanced so many minds and left so many rational and clear thinking brains in a muddle of irrationality, bordering upon insanity, as has the continued practice of automatic writing.
 
I think that we receive each month in our offices at least one hundred manuscripts from one hundred different persons asking us to judge the value of something that has been written automatically, and each month brings a new batch of manuscripts from an entirely new group of writers. In every case, these writings are of little value, for the statements in them are unreliable and usually uninteresting except to the person who receives them. Secondly, a majority of them show that the mind of the writer is wandering in its saneness and ability to logically reason, otherwise he would not permit the pencil in his hands to write such matter as even a child would recognize as being silly, uninteresting, unprofitable, and usually wholly ungrammatical and illogical. Certainly, if the same matter was written under normal conditions and sent by one person to another by mail as a normal communication, it would be considered a sure indication of a subnormal mental condition.
 
The very best authorities in the study of spiritualism today have long since reached the conclusion that the only dependable and reliable information to be secured from the spiritual world is that which comes silently, unpretentiously, and generally unexpectedly to some worthy person in the hour of real need, and when there is real spiritual attunement. I have talked much with some of the leaders of the more scientific schools of spiritual philosophy, and find that they agree with me that the organized systems or the plans for organized and group contact with spiritual beings is not the true and dependable way of discovering any real evidence regarding the facts of a future life.
 
A Word of Warning
 
Therefore, I feel that I am justified in issuing this word of warning and urging others to think twice before they allow themselves to be drawn into any new movement that has for its motive, or for its objective, the attunement with the spiritual world, for the purpose of receiving messages through automatic writing or similar methods. Nor, are the popular movements, designed to enable individuals to reach the psychic world for personal experiences, to be depended upon, while they are operated as a nation-wide movement associated with some form of commercialism. I am not criticizing the many beautiful and wonderful Spiritualistic churches to be found in thousands of our American cities and in other lands where sacred services are held, and where the thoughts and vibrations of those in the congregation are gradually lifted to a higher realm where they may contact some inspirational communication, which they will feel inwardly in a moment of divine attunement. Nor do I mean to criticize those who are devoting their lives to the work of acting as a spiritualized medium in assisting others to attune themselves properly. But I do mean to criticize some of the popular movements, which are attempting to promote organized classes for the study of automatic writing, Spiritualistic communication, and other forms of weird, spiritual practices, solely for the sake of making the little mystery that surrounds Spiritualism of popular appeal and thereby rob the entire practice of its sacredness, solemnity, and dignity.
 
As fast as we find any of our members associated with any such movements as these, we are advising them that they must discontinue such work or discontinue their membership with our organization.
 
We have said over and over again in our lectures and in all of our teachings that the true way of contacting any possible spiritual realm in which there may be any spiritual personalities worthy of contact is to develop one's own inner, sacred, psychic self to such a high degree of spiritual attunement that contact will be easy and simple in the privacy of one's own life and without any of the mechanics, without any of the claptrap, and without any of the dangers of fantastic practices. In other words, it is not necessary that another disembodied personality should take possession of you and of your hand, and of your muscles, and automatically write what you, yourself, would not think of writing. Nor is it necessary or helpful for you to allow yourself to be enveloped by the personality of some earth-bound character that has not yet evolved to a high spiritual state, and thereby become a slave to this character, and to chatter or talk, or do things that this invisible personality may force you to do through taking possession of your nervous system and your mind power.
 
The only reliable, dependable, and ennobling contacts of a spiritual nature are those which are made by you in all of your goodness and psychic evolution reaching up to the highest characters that can be contacted, and thereby making sure that the contact takes place in the highest realms rather than down here in the lowest.
 
We greatly regret the present popular movements in this regard for they are tending to hold the spiritual contacts upon the lowest level and will unquestionably result in many sad experiences for the thousands who are now abandoning all of their sane and rational thinking for the sake of following something that appears to be new, but which, after all, is as old as many of the so-called forms of black magic and witchcraft. To assist in such movements, to promote them, and to delve into their practices is regrettable, and I trust that none of our honored and respected members will be tempted to take part in any such propaganda, no matter by whom originated, nor how ethically and intellectually the propaganda may be presented.
   

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