THE SPIRITS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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439. What is the difference between ecstatic trance and somnambulism?
“Ecstatic trance is a more refned form of somnambulism. When experiencing ecstasy, the soul is even more independent.”


440. Does the soul of the ecstatic really enter higher worlds?
“Yes, the ecstatic person sees those worlds and perceives the happiness of those living there. However, there are worlds that are blocked off to spirits who are not amply purifed.”


441. When an ecstatic expresses the desire to leave Earth, is he or she speaking sincerely or out of the instinct of self-preservation?
“That depends on the degree of the spirit’s purifcation. Those who see that their future situation will be better than their present one will make an effort to break the shackles that bind them to Earth.”


442. If people experiencing ecstatic trance were left to their own devices, could their souls defnitively leave their bodies?
“Yes, such individuals might actually die and it is therefore necessary to call them back by everything that may attach them to the lower life. Others must show them that if they break the bonds that keep them on Earth, they effectively block a later possibility of staying in a world in which they perceive that they would be happy.”


443. Sometimes, people in an ecstatic trance profess to see things that are clearly a fgment of the imagination imprinted with human beliefs and prejudices. Are the things that they see not always real?
“What they see is real for them, but they may see it in their own way since they are still attached to matter. Likewise, they may express it in a language adapted to prejudices formed by the ideas with which they were raised. They may cater to prevailing prejudices to make themselves better understood. This is how they are most likely to make an error.”


444. How much confdence should we have for the revelations of ecstatic persons make?
“Persons in an ecstatic trance may very frequently be mistaken, especially when they seek to penetrate what must remain a mystery to humankind. They then give in to their own ideas, or become the victims of deceptive spirits who take advantage of their enthusiasm to dazzle them with false visions.”


445. What inferences can we draw from the phenomena of somnambulism and ecstatic trance? Can we consider them a sort of initiation to the future life?
“It would be more correct to say that somnambulists may obtain glimpses of their past and future lives. If human beings study these phenomena, they will fnd the solution to more than one of the mysteries their unaided reason seeks to uncover in vain.”


446. Could the phenomena of somnambulism and ecstatic trance support theoretical materialism?
“If human beings study them honestly, without the bias of preconceived notions, they cannot seriously entertain the position of the materialist or the atheist.”

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