THE SPIRITS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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223. Does the soul reincarnate immediately after being separated from the body?
“Sometimes the separation happens immediately, but more often it occurs after longer or shorter intervals of time. Reincarnation is almost always immediate in higher worlds. Corporeal matter is less coarse in those worlds and a spirit retains nearly full use of its spiritual faculties while incarnated. Its normal state is that of a lucid somnambulist.”


224. What happens to the soul in between incarnations?
“It becomes an errant spirit, hoping for a new destiny. It is in a state of waiting.”


a) How long can these periods last?
“From a few hours to thousands of centuries. There are no predetermined limits to the errant period, which may carry on for extensive intervals of time but is never perpetual. Sooner or later a spirit is permitted to start a new life to purify its previous lives.”


b) Does the length of time that a spirit is left in the errant state depend on the spirit’s will, or can it be imposed as a means of atonement?
“It is a consequence of the spirit’s free will. Spirits are fully aware of their actions, but, in some cases, it is also a punishment inflicted by God.. In others, it has been granted at their own request to enable them to pursue studies that are easier or more effectively carried out in the spirit state.”


225. Is the quality of being errant a sign of a spirit’s inferiority?
“No, because there are errant spirits of every degree. As we have already told you, being incarnated is a transitional state. Spirits are detached from matter in their normal state.”


226. Is it accurate to say that all spirits who are not incarnate are errant?
“Yes, in terms of those who are going to reincarnate. Pure spirits have reached perfection and are no longer errant since: their state is defnitive.”


Depending on their inherent qualities, spirits belong to different orders or pass through varying degrees of advancement successively as they become purifed. Regarding their state as spirits, they may be incarnated, or tied to a material body; errant or disengaged from a material body and awaiting a new incarnation for further improvement; or, pure spirits who are perfect and have no further need for incarnation.


227. How do errant spirits learn, since it cannot be in the same manner as incarnate people do?
“They study their past and try to think of ways to rise to a higher degree. They observe everything that is happening around them while listening to the discourses of enlightened individuals and the counsels of more advanced spirits than they are, and this provides them ideas they did not possess.”


228. Do spirits retain any of the human passions?
“Elevated spirits leave behind the bad passions when they shed their physical envelope and only retain the good passions. However, low order spirits retain their bad passions. Otherwise, they would belong to the highest order.”


229. Why do spirits not leave behind all their wrongful passions when they leave the Earth, considering that they are then able to perceive the disastrous consequences of those passions?
“There are people in your world who are excessively jealous, for example, do you think that they lose this imperfection immediately upon leaving your world? After the departure from physical life, especially those who have had well-marked passions,, the spirits retain a kind of atmosphere that envelops them that is infused with all their former negative base traits, since they are not entirely freed from the infuence of materiality. They catch glimpses of the truth here and there, showing them the true path to follow.”


230. Do spirits progress when they are in the errant state?
“They may in proportion to their efforts and desire for improvement. It is in the physical life that they put the new ideas they have acquired into practice.”


231. Are errant spirits happy or unhappy?
“It depends on their merit. They suffer from the passions they have retained, and are more or less happy depending on the strength of their connection to material life. When a spirit is in an errant state, it has perceptions of what it needs in order to be happy. When this happens, it is compelled to seek what it lacks. However, a spirit is not always permitted to reincarnate when it desires to do so, and in that case it becomes a punishment.”


232. Can errant spirits enter all worlds?
“That depends. When a spirit has left the body, it is not fully disengaged from matter. It still belongs to the world in which it has lived, or even a world of the same degree, unless it has risen to a world of a higher degree. This progressive elevation should be the perpetual goal of every spirit, or else it would never reach perfection. A spirit may enter higher worlds, but it would be as an outsider. It can only obtain a glimpse of them, but such glimpses often trigger a desire to improve, to become worthy of the happiness that is enjoyed in those worlds, and to eventually live in them.”


233. Do purifed spirits ever enter lower worlds?
“They enter them very frequently to help these worlds advance. Otherwise these worlds would be left to themselves, without any guides to direct them.”

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