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Experience of the subtle realms: Contents page

Chapter 2. Passive hierarchies of the second kind

By a ‘hierarchy’ I mean a social system in which one set of persons makes decisions for another set of persons.  Those who make the decisions may  or may not consult, seek representation from, or be representative of, those for whom the decisions are made: so a hierarchy as I have defined it, can be either democratic or autocratic.

By a ‘passive hierarchy’ I mean a hierarchy experienced by  those  for whom the decisions are made, over whom influence is exercised. Correlatively, an active hierarchy is one considered from the standpoint of those who are making the decisions for others, exerting power over them.

To say that I am the passive one in a hierarchy is only to say that I am the one for whom a decision is being taken by the active person or persons in that hierarchy.  It does not necessarily mean that I go along with the decision made for me.  A young teenager may be in a passive hierarchy with their active parent, but may reject and rebel against the parental prescriptions.

By a ‘passive hierarchy of the first kind’ I mean a social system in this world, in earthly human society, as experienced by those for whom decisions are made by the active persons in the hierarchy. By a ‘passive hierarchy of the second kind’ I mean a social system between the two worlds, in which human beings in the physical world  experience decisions being made for them, influence and power being exerted over them, by intelligent beings in the other world.  A hierarchy of the third kind would be a social system exclusively in the other world. Figure 2.1 shows the three kinds.

Figure 2.1 Passive hierarchies of three kinds

In this figure the recipient passive person is in bold print to indicate that to call the hierarchy passive is to refer to it from the standpoint of the recipient’s experience of it. This implies that passive hierarchies are consciously known by those who are subordinate within them. In the sections that follow, I describe some ambiguous, ‘as if’ experiences that incline me to believe in passive hierarchies of the second kind, where I have some sort of awareness of what is going on. These only occur occasionally. But they may be continuous and unconscious passive hierarchies of the second kind, of which I simply have no awareness at all. This raises fundamental issues in two world politics and I discuss these further in section 10 later in this chapter.

1. Critical decision episodes

I am about to make a critical decision that radically alters the existing pattern of relationships with important other persons in my life, or that inaugurates a new pattern of interactions.  Quite outside my personal feelings and thoughts on the issues involved in the change, it is as if an unseen mentor is commenting on my plan by some kind of thought transmission. And it is as if that mentor is ‘speaking’ for and out of a network of unseen others who have taken a decision about, or at least have a chosen view upon, the current pattern of my social life.

Now of course I can apply Occam’s razor and insist to myself that this unseen mentor is in fact nothing other than a dissociated bit of my own thought process – whose content is suspect precisely because the thought is dissociated.  And I always need to be ready to wield the razor in case I dress up bits of my own psyche in other world disguises. 

But equally I can grow Heron’s beard, in which case I may get a sense of a whole pattern of relationships among intelligent beings in another world, which I call the subtle world; and a sense that this unseen pattern has some critical points of interaction with the network of human relationships in my life.

So far so good.  But what am  I to do  with this notion  of  interacting social patterns in two worlds?  If I become too preoccupied with divining and following dimly felt intimations from the beyond, I become neurotic, superstitious and a slave of unseen hierarchs.  If I ignore totally all such promptings, I cease being true to the authenticity of my subtle experience, and lose sight of the vigour, richness and liberaton of living awarely in two worlds at once, in two kinds of interacting social systems.

One answer is to say that I will use the hidden comments as a device to check over the validity of my purely human thinking about the issues. And conversely, I can use ordinary rational thought to test the status of the unsolicited hunches. So the hunches can be used to examine my reason, and vice versa.  And normally this relation of mutual scrutiny and validation seems best.

But sometimes it is as if the intimations of the unseen mentor hint at issues that are beyond the range of my human awareness.  I then have a choice.  Either I can apply Occam’s razor and cut out the guidance on the grounds that it is of dubious origin and that in any case to follow it would involve a dangerously irrational loss of human autonomy.  Or I can take an experimental risk, and see whether adopting the proposed course initiates me into a grasp of its rationale, in terms either of this world issues or  other world issues.

Unseen mentors, if they exist, and if they are responsible, have a tricky task. On the one hand they are not being responsible either to their own interests or to human interests if they do not try to alert human beings to critical ways in which social systems in the two worlds interact.  On the other hand, they compromise human autonomy and human learning through trial and error if they bring too much subtle psychic and mental influence to bear upon the decision-making process of human beings.

Furthermore, such mentors may be both well-meaning and in error.  Their perspective on two world issues may be limited by false or outmoded assumptions, even though they are genuinely committed to human welfare. Finally and unpleasantly, there may be nasty hierarchies of the second kind, in which unseen mentors are ill-meaning and malicious, seeking to set up corrupted interactions between social systems in the two worlds.

Given all these possibilities, in the world  of as if, unceasing vigilance and discriminating awareness are minimal attributes of the inquiring human. One thing is certain: if we human beings really are in hierarchies of the second kind, we are going to have more control over our response to them if we practise being aware of their influence.  

2.  Taking it down

I take full responsibility for what I write, but there are clearly and frequently times  when it is as if thoughts, words and phrases are popped into my mind from someone nearby in subtle  space.  Sometimes whole sentences and paragraphs will have this quality of being taken down as if by silent mental dictation from an unseen other.  I am doing the thinking, but supervenient upon this exercise of my autonomous intelligence, there is a regular injection of ideas and words from I know not whom.

Poets, novelists, scientists, creative writers and thinkers of many kinds have reported the same sort of as if experience (Harding, 1942).  It may, of course, be nothing more than a phantasy projection of the psycho-neurological processes whereby a new idea arises in consciousness.  On the other hand, it may be that when I write and think, I am part of a creative passive hierarchy of the second kind, and that my work is done in the context of a field of thought generated by one or more persons in the other world.

Even if this is so, nothing follows about the validity of the ideas I may receive in the context of such a hierarchy.  How ideas are generated, where they come from, does not entail or guarantee anything  about their truth or falsity.  I must be careful not to com­mit a two worlds version of what logicians call the genetic fallacy – which supposes that the origin of an idea determines its truth.

The genetic fallacy has frequently been committed by those who have believed they have been receiving ideas from the other world.  They have improperly supposed that the source of the ideas in the beyond provides a self-evident and sufficient guarantee of their truth.  But of all fallacious criteria of truth, an exclusive appeal to the authority of a higher world is probably the worst.

3.  Over the shoulder

I have done a great deal of group work over the last few years.  And in many of the groups that I run, such as co-counselling training, I will be working with one person in front of the rest of the group, facilitating regression, catharsis and insight, positive growth and change.  Very frequently it is as if there is an unseen counsellor over my shoulder in subtle space, feeding interventions into my mind which I immediately express and ‘pass on’ to the client with whom I am working.

What distinguishes these over the shoulder interventions that I seem to receive is their light, surprising, elegant, often ‘outrageous’ form. This is particularly so in what in co-counselling we call direction-holding, in which a form of words is offered to the client to contradict their ingrained compulsion to be self-deprecating.  Both the choice of words and the meaning light upon my mind unexpectedly.  They are startling and usefully shocking to the client too.

But the same kind of over the shoulder prompting seems to occur with many other kinds of interventions when working with an individual in front of the group. And it is as if the context provided by the human group, the energy of attention focused on the client and myself, greatly facilitates the ease, intensity and clarity with which this phenomenon occurs.

The interventions thus apparently received still seem to me to be characteristiclly mine, part of my style, expressive of my distinctive imagination.  There is here the classic paradox of receiving inspiration while at the same time exercising a high degree of creative autonomy.  This paradox applies, too, to the previous as if experience which I called ‘Taking it down’.

To be in a creative passive hierarchy of the second kind is to discover your own distinctive capacities at the same time as you receive promptings from some person or being in the other world. This hierarchy-autonomy paradox is, I believe, central to the validity of the experience. What is given is already mine. The inspiration is a catalyst of my personal power.

The sceptic, using Occam’s razor, may say:  Why should these ideas and interventions come from unseen persons or intelligent beings in another  world?  Why not from the activity of re-arranged neurological circuits; or from pre-conscious associative mechanisms; or from the collective unconscious; or from some kind of telepathic interaction within the field of purely human culture and society; or from God direct; or from personal imagination; or from psychotic delusions; or from dissociated thought processes; or from some physiological upset or bodily disorder; or from lack of self-confidence and self-reliance?

Well indeed, why not?  My only answer is a phenomenological one.  It is as if there is a discreet, companionable presence – a ka soul as the ancient Egyptians would have said –  maintaining a high degree of anonymity and unobtrusiveness, such a remarkable degree of tact and patience that it almost goes unnoticed, who is busy from time to time priming the pump of my creativity. 

4.  A wider scheme of things

When making plans for the future, in relation to professional work, I have often had the feeling as if I am thinking and planning within a much wider scheme of things – which reaches out from this world into the other.  Part of what I am doing in designing and refining a plan, is testing it for its fit in this wider scheme, whose broad configuration I can divine, but of whose precise details I have very little idea.

The other part of what I am doing, and the more important part, is entirely to do with this world.  I am devising a project that accords with my beliefs and values, that is appropriate to the social context to which it is to be applied, that affirms the true needs and interests of all those involved in it, that is politically realistic, financially viable, and so on.  Yet above and beyond all this is the clear sense of a jigsaw fit with the planning of those in another world who are concerned with the development of culture in this world.

This extrasensory dimension of planning is bizarre since my notion of the wider scheme is inchoate, unfocused.  But the sense of fit  is unmistakable. It is like a nod of hierarchical agreement from beyond.  And if there is a sense of misfit, I will work away at the purely human parameters of the plan, trying out  different valid possibilities in terms of this world, until I feel that it slots into place with what I dimly divine is going on in the other world. 

The sense of a wider scheme of things stands out in my professional experience, since for years now I have only done work that I believe in, that expresses an ideology and a set of values which I have thought out and to which I am internally committed.  Once I had established a position in our social system in which I could work in this way, it became clear that there was an overwhelming abundance of different possibilities for creative planning.

When the future started to pour into the present in terms of so many possibilities, the criteria of this world, while central and pivotal, did not seem enough.  Intimations of the wider scheme became critical in deciding between what appeared to be equally valid this world options.

Occam’s razor could be applied here. It could cut the wider scheme notion down to size and say that it is a delusion born out of the anxiety of choice.  The delusion serves both to defend against such anxiety and to displace it into pseudo-ESP.  Perhaps so; but once again that is not quite the way it seems.

It is interesting to note that the two worlds decision-principle particularly applies when I get into abundance motivation on the work front.  And in terms of two worlds politics, this means that to be in a passive hierarchy of the second kind is to be a subject in the politics of abundance.  It is both liberating and reassuring to be, by choice, politically subject in the midst of of one’s own creative excess.

5. Dimly felt presences

Sometimes it is as if there are dimly felt persons or presences around in subtle space, yet also near at hand as it seems within physical space.  They are not doing anything, or imparting anything, or seeking to intervene in any way from their world into this.  They seem to be bearing witness, noticing, maybe systematically observing, or maybe discreetly lending silent support.  What more can I say? Either they are there or they are not.

Suppose they are there.  Then noticing them already starts to feel like being in a passive hierarchy of the second kind, even though they are not  apparently seeking to exert any influence on my decisions or thinking. But  to see them thus as potential hierarchs could be to misrepresent them.

For perhaps they are wanting dialogue, parity, reciprocity.  Maybe they are tired of the role of active hierarch, however beneficent.  Maybe that role is only a necessary consequence of human beings being unaware of them.  But these are only speculations.  They do not form part of any as if experience.

Dimly felt  presences may, of course, just be projections of dissociated or unfulfilled bits of my own psyche.  So I have to be careful, discriminating. I also have to allow for the fact that not all projections are just projections.  For I may project a bit of my own psyche  onto a presence in subtle space, just as I can onto another human being. 

The fact that a psychological mechanism of projection is at work, does not of itself mean that there is no dimly felt presence.  Indeed, if a presence is dimly felt, then this sensing of it is quite likely to trigger off the projection of some psychological material.  On a two worlds view, it is just as plausible to hold that a presence elicits a projection, as it is to hold that a projection explains away a presence.

6. Invisible healing episodes

Sometimes I wake up in the night and for a second or two in that psi corridor between sleeping and waking I am aware that some persons are gathered around me in the other world ministering to my subtle body in the mode of healing.  They are applying something to it, or injecting something into it, or doing some kind of psychic surgery, or administering energy.  The glimpse is too brief for me to get a clear understanding of exactly what is going on.  But unmistakably it is as if some therapeutic or medical event is afoot.

This is a healing passive hierarchy of the second kind.  It is a surprising event, each time it happens. It is also agreable and reassuring to be so cared for, even though the treatment is quite unsolicited and unexpected.  I did not ask for it, and did not know I needed it.  It seems as if someone is taking unilateral decisions about my welfare – yet  it also seems as if I am giving my tacit consent.

The simple criterion for distinguishing this happening from a dream is that I am awake when I notice it.  Only just awake, but still awake.  Nor is it a recollected dream.  Rather it has the urgency and immediacy of brief clairvoyance.  Of course it could also be an hallucination induced by the anxiety of hypochondriasis.  But the experience is too unusually matter of fact for this kind of reduction.

The treatment I receive in these healing episodes is not administered directly to the physical body.  It seems, rather, to be applied to what I call the subtle matrix, the other worldly double out of which  the physical body emerges. Nor am I aware of any particular physical affliction at the times when these treatments are given. They may relate to my stamina under severe stress. 

7. From a long way away

I frequently find myself staring at the physical horizon, the line between the physical earth and the physical heavens, as if I am also gazing into the subtle space of my own origins, a long way away in the other universe.

It is as if I am dimly aware of where I have come from in that other universe, and of those whom I have left there, and from whom I am now separated.  And it is as if I have temporarily become a willing subject in a  special hierarchy of the second kind, in which the active hierarchs are people I know very well indeed. There is a sense of profound, yet deeply hidden and occluded, intimacy.

And in relation to this group, it is as if I am my own hierarch too. As though there was and is a time and space and world in which we agreed and agree upon what I am about in this world.

8. Ritual hierarchies

Ritual activity can create a very powerful experience as if one is in a dynamic passive hierarchy of the second kind, with energy and influence streaming from presences active in the other world.

I have participated in several kinds of ritual activity over the years, with different groups of practitioners of the craft.  Without exception, these groups each had their own version of a doctrine of communion with powers and presences in the other world, for purposes of introducing helpful and healing influences into human society.

All the different rituals used had certain basic components.  There was the opening up of a protected subtle space within the physical space of the room being used: this was a psychic zone close to this world, a zone that once protected and energized could receive presences from more interior spaces, whose powers could then be sent forth on their facilitative mission.

There was the use of invocations and chanting, of movement and gesture, to create this working psychic zone, to fill and protect it with human energy, to invoke  presences from the beyond, and to facilitate the emission of their power.  Such work can create extraordinarily intense psychic and spiritual conditions. 

I have conducted several formal pieces of research into altered states of consciousness, using the method of co-operative inquiry, many of which included elements of ritual activity, and I have written about these elsewhere.  I also conducted a very informal inquiry with a small group of friends in London just a few years ago.  And this merits a short report.

We composed an invocation of several stanzas, the whole not more than a page in length. It began ‘Invisible friends and living people, open to adventure and inquiry, unbound by rigid rules and concepts, we invite your co-operation…’ – and then went on to seek support and empowerment, from those in the other world and in this, for the creation of what we called a self-generating culture whose members  would live intentionally in both worlds at once. 

There were opening and closing procedures and between these a variety of motions, dances, chants and gestures. We did the ritual once a month.

We also met to discuss what impact the ritual seemed to be having, if any, upon the outer world – as evidenced by events and encounters which any one of us had experienced.  This became a baffling and at times bizarre exercise in decoding ambiguities. If we believed that the ritual had some impact on the flux of social events, then it was reasonable to suppose that some of these events would come our way, and that they would have some bearing on our notion of a self-generating culture.  But while events that came our way and that had such a bearing were easy enough to identify, how to pick out the ones specifically stirred up by the ritual?

It was like trying to chart the influence of an imperceptible wind, with no clear criteria to distinguish the signs of its passing.  At our meetings, as we sifted through the different events  that had any possible claim to be ritual-induced, we always had a sense that some of them had a valid claim, but were never really sure which.  The task of specific discrimination was quite beyond us. We may also, of course, have been congenially deluded about the whole business. Yet it was impossible to get away from the sense that something was going on. An interesting sort of inquiry, to be sure.

9. Two world politics

It seems to me there are a few basic political points – supported by some psychological and epistemological ones – to make about passive hierarchies of the second kind.

1.  If there are active hierarchs in subtle space, then they have no claim to authority other than what my human autonomy chooses to confer upon them. 

2. If there are passive hierarchies of the second kind, then any conscious involvement in them can be disabling and distracting unless I have an autonomous set of beliefs, norms and values in this world.

3. If there are passive hierarchies of the second kind, then discrimination, inquiry and unceasing vigilance, are wise when dealing with them. 

4. The as if perspective is an important aid to this discrimination, together with the judicious growing of Heron’s beard balanced with the proper application of Occam’s razor.

5. Given all these caveats, then it is as if passive hierarchies of the second kind can be exciting, liberating, exhilarating, enriching autonomous human interests with wider dimensions and perspectives. 

Many ancient societies, of course, have seen themselves as part of a passive hierarchy of the second kind, with the shaman, priest or priest-king as the intermediary between the human race and active hierarchs in the beyond. However these were societies with no concept of independent human inquiry, and with no grasp of personal and political autonomy. Hence they were frequently riddled with dogma and superstition, with conventionalism and political oppression.

There was a grasp of the two worlds reality of the human con­dition.  But with no theory of knowledge, they lacked discrimination in handling two worlds ambiguity, and seemed to have little grasp of distorting refraction effects between the worlds (see Chapter 14).  And with no sense of personal and political autonomy, they were too dependent on assumed guidance from the beyond. All this was ultimately their undoing.

A modern approach to passive hierarchies of the second kind calls for a great deal of inquiry into all aspects of interaction between social systems in the two worlds. I address some of the issues involved in such inquiry in the next section. There are also major political issues. For if you believe the accounts given of it in a great deal of occult literature, there is benevolent autocracy of the most far-reaching kind going on in the relations between developed persons in the other world and people in this world.  The discarnates are taking all kinds of complex and subtle decisions over humans for their welfare, but without any formal consent at all.

As long as human beings do not acknowledge the existence of the other world, and are unaware that a great deal of their psychological, social and moral stability may in fact depend upon the influence of its spiritual administrators, then there is no real alternative to the model of benevolent autocracy.  But it does reduce our highly sophisticated modern societies to kindergarten status, when seen in the context of the great sweep of cosmic politics.

What happens, of course, if and when human beings do become properly aware of this discarnate influence, is an important and valid question.  Will unseen beings of great moral and spiritual stature, and transcendental political acumen, seek the formal consent of earthly persons for the exercise of their overshadowing power?  Or when we have beings of  radically different attainment, on very different levels of existence, are there principles of hierarchy which simply override such democratic notions?  

What is clear is that two worlds politics is a deeply interesting, entirely unacknowledged and unexplored field of study. It brings us face to face with the reality and dynamics of theocracy. If high-raised beings in the other world are in some sense commissioned by the divine to exercise subtle beneficent power over us, where does this leave our right, if there be one, to encounter the divine on our own terms and in our own way, or through intermediaries of our own choice? Or to put it in another way, if God has a right to appoint guides over us when we are in ignorance of their work, does that theocratic right continue when we become aware of what they are doing?

There is a bizarre note of unreality about such questions.  Is this simply because the whole language of political jurisprudence is quite inappropriate at this level of being?  Or is it, rather, that at a deeply unconscious level we have become so conditioned to political impotence in the theocratic arena, that we are uncomfortable at the thought of claiming our rightful power?

10. Other world science

Charles Tart wrote an important paper years ago (Tart, 1971) on what he called state-specific science. Special conditions attach to researching altered states of con­sciousness, because you have to enter the state to do the research, and that state may start to redefine what constitutes research into it. Thus research into the other world has certain other world protocols attached to it. I will discuss these as a set of issues.

Initiation and inquiry.  The traditional approach to other worlds was authoritarian. It prescribed initiation through a set of procedures laid down from on high. The neophyte was guided on a hazardous journey into unfamiliar terrain, and required faith and dedication.  The element of inquiry was always there in rudimentary form as watchfulness and discrimination. But in the last analysis the final court of appeal was established authority within the tradition – the high priest who was guided by the gods.

Fully-fledged inquiry is self-directed and is at odds with the benign authoritarianism of traditional initiation. Finding out what the other world is like is very different from being told or being shown. Finding out may be dangerous and being told or shown may be restricting. How to resolve this dilemma? The modern protocol, I believe, is that some element of initiation is wisely accepted. This proceeds not through a priestly hierarchy, but directly by psychic prompting from the subtle realms. This also has its own difficulties, mainly the validity of the prompting.

Some sort of map is also needed. In Cosmic Psychology (Heron, 1988), I distinguish between the realm of the recently deceased and the realm of presences and powers. The latter is the domain of those with a mastery of the divine powers of creation. Prompting from presences of this order is characterized by a fiery energy that kindles the subtle body with its stimulating force, and is evidence that they are drawing near.

To enter the other world with enough thoroughness to inquire into it is to be presented with this basic geography, to differentiate between these two realms and to seek the prompting of the higher rather than the lower.

World-transformation and inquiry.  This is a closely related point. Those in the realm of powers and presences have their own important agendas in relating to this world. These include clearing up past confusions, and preparing  for the emergence of a new order of earthly life. When approached they will invite you to share this concern with them, so that what you initiate as an inquiry process may turn, through their influence, into a clearing or preparatory ritual. But some balance needs to be kept between these two kinds of claim. Too much inquiry protocol and the other world is veiled off by excessive pedantry and caution. Too much ritual work in  attunement to the risen, and an enervating lack of discrimination can occur.

Basic data. In the light of the former two points there are certain basic data that present themselves from the outset. They are the state-specific preconditions of other-world inquiry, its  inalienable first fruits.  (1) There are benign and powerful presences in a luminous world of their own. (2) When invoked they will signal their response with a rush of fiery psychic energy to the subtle body of the inquirer. (3) Their domain is other than, and transcendent to, the realm of the recently deceased. (4) They will initiiate you by means of direct psychic prompting into paths and conditions for inquiry. (5) They have their own clearing and preparatory agendas which may cut across too much preoccupation you may have with inquiry as such. Already in these statements there are a mass of embedded inquiry issues.

Attitudes of mind. Approaching the other world involves certain fundamental attitudes. The first two seem to me to be aspiration and faith. Aspiration is a moving of the soul toward a more enriched awareness of what and who there is; an orientation of the will and the emotions toward a deeper acquaintance with the universe in all its modes. Faith is a buoyancy of belief that is sustained by hunches, intimations and intuitions which far transcend the inquirer’s current range of experiential evidence. Without these twin supports the process of inquiry has little chance of taking off and being upheld.

The inquirer also needs a continuously discriminating awareness, the exercise of a subtle critical subjectivity,  an inner alertness that makes appropriate distinctions and boundaries. This, in turn, is allied with self-determination, the commitment to find one’s own way, to take in idiosyncratic journey, to create the inquiry out of personal imagination and ground it in personal experience. 

The final pair of attitudes needed are the social ones of co-operation and confrontation.  The inquirer needs to co-operate with peers at various stages of the inquiry. And in this context of co-operation, be willing to give and receive critical confrontation, by which I mean consciousness-raising feedback which helps to correct the delusions and aberrations that can beset purely personal experience.

The cosmic and the mystical.  The other world resonates closely to its creator. An inquiry into the former will climax in an inquiry into the latter. Elevated souls in the realm of powers and presences carry with them an aura of divinity that potentizes the human inquirer with a zeal for the holy and the sacred. Aspiration and faith can take the inquirer to the very nub of personal experience: its source.  It follows that there are two dynamically related poles of the inquiry. One is to do with the unseen universe and its inhabitants. The other is to do with the divine source of all that is, and centres on the fields of theology, eschatology and religious psychology.

Thought becomes experience. In ordinary inquiry it is appropriate to make a distinction between the poles of thought and experience. An ordinary state co-operative inquiry moves to and fro between immersion in relevant experience and reflection on it. The distinction starts to break down when inquiring into the other world. Thinking itself becomes a mode of experiencing the other reality. Changes of thought, like alchemical processes of the mind, become ways of entering the subtle domains. The inquirer starts to encounter and do energetic business with what he or she thinks about in this fashion.  It is as if the experience emerges out of such transformations of thinking. The processes of reflection and experience converge upon each other.

Declarative validity. If other-world experience transcends and transforms the thought processes out of which it emerges, any subsequent reflection which is not at the same level of transcendence and transformation, is not going to be much use in generating illumi­nating theory. So valid theory starts to merge into revelation. To put it crudely, you have to talk the language of the gods to show their existence.  There is here a validity of declaration that has to be taken into account: a higher experience reveal its content validity through a transformation of the thought processes that led up to it. This idea has to be handled with care otherwise we get a return to archaic, traditional intu­itionism, which was  dogmatic and authoritarian. Yet it clearly has an important claim upon the inquirer who cannot depend solely on ordinary state notions of validity. Too much use of this declarative canon would become suspect and ungrounded, but no use of it at all would suggest that the inquirer is still earth-bound, plodding round the treadmill of falsification, corrective feedback and all the rest of it.

Communion, declaration and communication. Subtle presences contact humans primarily by communion. This is a felt intimacy of soul, a distinctive celebration of spiritual togetherness, mediated by a rush of refined energy that carries a strong, invigorating and exalting charge. Such communion declares the existence of an integrated group of presences inhabiting their own luminous domain, who manifest through fiery subtle energy which they can project as a transcendental embrace or inclusive field. It also declares that in some essential way I participate in their personhood and in their world, and that love is an ecstatic union without loss of personal distinction. The communion declares these basic ontological data, which I can translate into my own language, but it does not communicate anything. There is no use of any ordinary kind of language, any agreed set of symbols which convey information and which are transferred by signs or sounds from their minds to mine.

This distinction between declaration and communication is quite fundamental. Declaration, as I use the term,  is  the language of being. It is experienced through resonant communion with and participation in what there is in any dimension. It is grounded in the life of feeling.  Declaration reveals a fundamental set of meanings about creation which is prior to and the foundation of any system of communication. And by communication I mean an exchange of symbols between persons by means of which they convey information to each other.

Experience of the subtle realms: 

Contents page

Chapter 3