OF THE SOUL
Sleep and Dreams - Spirit Visits of Living Individuals - Concealed Transmission of Thought - Lethargy and Catalepsy – Apparent
Death - Somnambulism - Ecstatic Trance - Second Sight - Theoretical Summary of Somnambulism,
Ecstatic Trance, and Second Sight
Sleep and Dreams
400. Does an incarnate spirit willingly reside in its physical envelope?
“It is as if you asked if a prisoner likes to remain locked up in prison?
The incarnate spirit endlessly pines for its freedom and the more
rudimentary its envelope, the more it wishes to be rid of it.”
401. Does the soul rest during sleep as does the body?
“No, a spirit is never inactive. The bonds that tie it to the body are
relaxed during slumber, and as the body does not require its presence,
it travels through space and has direct relationships with other spirits.”
402. How can we prove a spirit’s freedom during sleep?
“By dreams. When the body is asleep, a spirit enjoys the use of
faculties it does not possess when awake. It remembers the past and
sometimes sees the future. It acquires more power, and is able to communicate
with other spirits, either in this world or in another. You often
say, ‘I had a strange dream, a terrible dream, nothing like reality.’ You
are mistaken in thinking this because it is often a recollection of places
and things that you have seen in the past, or a premonition of those
that you will see in a future existence, or even in this life at some future
time. As the body is slow, the spirit tries to break free of its shackles and
seeks, in the past or in the future, any means of doing so.”
“Poor humans! How little you know regarding the most basic phenomena
in your life! You fancy yourselves to be very educated and are
puzzled by the most ordinary things. You are incapable of answering
simple questions that a child might ask, such as, ‘What do we do when
we are asleep?’ ‘What are dreams?’”
“Sleep frees the soul partially from the body. When you sleep,
your spirit is in the state in which you will fnd yourself after death.
The spirits who are promptly freed from matter upon death are those
who, during their life, had intelligent sleep. Such individuals meet
with other spirits superior to themselves when asleep. They spend
time with them, conversing and learning from them. They even work
on undertakings in the spirit world that they discover to already be
initiated or completed upon death. Based on this you should see how
death should not be feared, since you ‘die daily’20 according to the
words of a saint.
“What we have just stated refers to elevated spirits. Those who
remain in a state of confusion and uncertainty for hours after death
venture into worlds lower than Earth when asleep. They are drawn
back to these worlds by old penchants, or the attraction of desires or
inclinations more despicable than those to which they are addicted
in your world. During these visits, they accumulate more shameful
and mischievous ideas than those that they had acknowledged when
awake. What produces a sense of sympathy in the physical life is nothing
more than the fact that they feel attracted to those with whom
they have spent eight or nine hours of happiness or pleasure. On the
other hand, the basis of the unyielding aversion they sometimes feel
for certain individuals is also found in the intuitive knowledge they
have acquired that those individuals have a conscience that is different
than theirs. They know them without having physically seen them.
This same fact explains the indifference some people feel for others.
They do not care to make new friends, because they know that they
have others who love and cherish them. Sleep has more infuence than
you think on your life.”
“Incarnate spirits connect with the spirit world through sleep. This
is why higher spirits agree to incarnate themselves among you. God
has resolved that they may fortify themselves at the source of goodness
during their contact with vice so that they may not fall into wrongdoing
while trying to enlighten others. God opens the gate of slumber,
through which they may pass to see their friends in the spirit world. It is their leisure time after work, while awaiting their fnal liberation,
which restores them to their true place.”
“Dreams are the recollection of what your spirit has seen during
sleep. However, you must realize that you do not always dream, because
you do not always remember what you have seen, or everything
that you have seen. Your dreams do not always refect the action
of your soul in its full development. They often are merely the
refection of the confusion accompanying your departure or return,
sprinkled with the hazy recollection of what you have done, or what
has occupied your thoughts in your waking state. How else can you
explain the absurd dreams dreamt by the wisest and most foolish of
human beings? Bad spirits also use dreams to torment weak and apprehensive
“You will soon see the development of another kind of dream,
one that is primordial but of which you are unaware. This dream is
that of Joan of Arc, Jacob, the Jewish prophets, and certain Hindu
ascetics, a dream that is the memory of the soul’s experiences while
entirely free from the body. This is the memory of the second life of
which I just spoke.”
“You should try to carefully distinguish between these two kinds
of dreams, at least out of those that you are able to recall, otherwise
you run the risk of falling into contradictions and errors that would be
prejudicial to your faith.”
Dreams are a consequence of the emancipation of the soul.
Souls have more independence by the suspension of the active
and social life, and enjoy indefnite clairvoyance extending to
faraway places, or those we have never seen, or even to other
worlds. This emancipation is what causes the reminiscence
that retraces the events from our present or prior lives. The
peculiarity of the images of what has taken place in worlds unknown
to us, mixed with the present world, produces bizarre
and whimsical patchworks that seem to be devoid of meaning.
The incoherence of dreams is further explained by gaps resulting
from the incomplete recollection of what has appeared to
us in our dreams. This incompleteness is similar to a narrative
that has whole sentences or sections omitted, and the remaining
fragments are randomly thrown together, with a resulting
loss of all logical meaning.
403. Why do we not always remember our dreams?
“Sleep is only rest for the body, and the spirit always remains
active. The spirit is partially free while sleeping, and communicates
with loved ones, in both this world and other worlds. As the body is
heavy and material, it is diffcult for it to retain possession of the impressions
received by the spirit during sleep, because those impressions
were not received through the physical organs.”
404. What should we think of the signifcance attributed to dreams?
“Dreams are not indications of the future, as is often alleged by fortune-tellers.
It is absurd to believe that a certain kind of dream reveals
the occurrence of a specifc event. However, they are indications in
the sense that they present images which are real for the spirit, though
they may have nothing to do with its present physical life. In many cases,
dreams are a memory, and sometimes an intuition, of the future,
if permitted by God, or the vision of something that is taking place in
some other place to which the soul has traveled. Have you not heard
of the many instances proving that individuals may appear to friends
and family in dreams, warning them of what is happening to them?
What are apparitions, if not the soul or spirit of individuals who are
communicating with you? When you are certain that what you saw has
actually taken place, is it not proof that it was not a fgment of your
imagination, especially if what you saw was something that you had not
thought of when you were awake?”
405. We often see things in dreams that appear to be premonitions, but they
do not come to fruition. What is the reason for this?
“The spirit may experience these things, while the body does not.
The spirit sees what it wishes to see because it goes out looking for it.
During sleep, the spirit is always more or less under the infuence of
matter. Consequently, it is never completely free from human ideas,
and the objects of its waking thoughts may conjure up what it desires
or fears, producing an effect of the imagination. When the mind is
preoccupied with an idea, it is very quick to connect everything it sees
to that idea.”
406. When we see living persons, whom we know quite well, doing things
in dreams that they would never dare do in reality, is it a mere effect of
“That they would never dare? How do you know? Their spirit may
visit yours, as yours may visit theirs, and you do not always know what
they may be thinking. Besides, in dreams you often apply to individuals you know, and according to your own desires, what took place, or is
taking place, in other existences,.”
407. Is complete sleep necessary for the emancipation of the spirit?
“No, the spirit recovers its freedom as soon as the senses become
drowsy. It takes advantage of every moment of bodily rest to be free.
The second that the body begins to get weary, the spirit detaches from
the body. The weaker the bodily state, the freer the spirit.”
This is why dozing, or a mere dulling of the senses, often presents
the same images as dreaming.
408. We sometimes seem to distinctly hear words that have no connection with
what we are thinking. What is the cause of this?
“Yes, you often hear words and even whole sentences, especially
when your senses begin to grow drowsy. It is sometimes the faint echo
of a spirit who wants to communicate with you.”
409. When not yet half asleep and with our eyes closed, we often see distinct
images and highly detailed fgures. Is this a product of our imagination or an
actual effect of vision?
“The body being numb, the spirit tries to break free from its shackles.
It is transported and sees, and if the sleep were deeper, the vision
would be a dream.”
410. Sometimes, when asleep or half asleep, we have ideas that seem to be
excellent, but despite every effort we make to recall them, these ideas are wiped
from our memory upon waking. From where do these ideas originate?
“They are the consequence of the freedom of the spirit, who frees
itself from the body, and enjoys the use of other faculties when free.
They are often advice given to you by other spirits.”
a) What is the purpose of such ideas and advice, since we forget them anyway?
“Those ideas often belong to the spirit world rather than the physical
world. However, though the body may forget them, the spirit does
not and the idea recurs to it at the right moment when awake, as a
411. Does the incarnate spirit, when it is free from matter and acting as a
spirit, knows the time of its death?
“It often has an intuition of it. It sometimes has a very clear vision of
it that allows the intuition to be retained upon waking. This is what gives
some the ability to foresee the time of their death with perfect accuracy.”
412. Do spirit activities when the body is sleeping or resting fatigue the body?
“Yes, because the spirit is attached to the body, like a balloon tied
to a post. As the post is shaken by the movements of the balloon, the
activity of the spirit reacts upon the body, and may cause it to feel tired.”
Spirit Visits of Living Individuals
413. The liberation of the soul during sleep seems to indicate that we simultaneously
live two lives, that of the body, which gives us a life of outside
relationships, and the invisible life of the soul, which gives us a life of hidden
relationships. Is this true?
“During the liberation of the soul, the spirit life takes precedence
over the physical life, but properly speaking, these are not two separate
lives, but two phases of one life. A human being does not live a
414. Can two individuals who know each other visit one another in sleep?
“Yes, and many others, who are not aware of their relationship when
awake, meet and talk. You may have friends in another country without
even knowing it. Visiting friends, relatives, acquaintances, and anyone
who can be of use to you in sleep is very common, and you yourselves
carry out these visits almost every night.”
415. What is the purpose of these nightly meetings, since we do not remember
“The intuition of them generally remains with you while awake,
and is often the origin of ideas that occur to you in a seemingly spontaneous
manner afterwards, without your being able to account for
them. In reality you obtained them from the spirit contact in which
you participated during sleep.”
416. Can incarnates trigger spirit visits to happen? Can they do this by saying
to themselves right before falling asleep, ‘Tonight I will meet this person,
and talk to them about this subject?’
“This is what happens: The person falls asleep, and his or her spirit
awakens. The spirit of that person is often very far from following the
plan that it decided upon while in the body because human life is of
little interest to a spirit when its free from matter. This only applies to
those members of the human race who have already reached a certain
degree of perfection. Others spend their spiritual life very differently.
They give free rein to their passions, or remain inactive. It may so
happen that a spirit visits someone that their incarnated self suggests to visit before falling asleep, but this is not because it was willed to do
so while awake.”
417. Can incarnate spirits get together and form assemblies while asleep?
“Defnitely. The bonds of friendship, old or new, often bring together
spirits who are happy to enjoy each other’s company.”
By the term old one must understand the bonds of friendship
forged in prior lives. Upon waking, we recall a sense of
the ideas that we derived from these meetings, but we do not
know the source.
418. If I believed that one of my friends had died and this were not true,
could I meet my friend as a spirit and discover that he or she is alive? Could
I preserve the awareness of this fact when awake?
“As a spirit, you could defnitely see your friend and learn the truth
about his or her situation. If the belief in the death of that friend had
not been imposed on you as an atonement, you might preserve an
impression of your friend’s existence, just as you may preserve that of
his or her death.”
Concealed Transmission of Thoughts
419. How is it that the same idea, like a discovery for instance, can occur in
multiple places at the same time?
“We have already said that spirits communicate with one another
during sleep. When their body awakens, spirits remember what they
have learned and think that whatever outcome of that learning is actually
a product of their own. Consequently, several individuals may
learn the same thing at the same time. When you say that an idea is
‘in the air,’ you are using a fgure of speech that is much closer to the
truth than you realize. Everyone unconsciously helps spread it.”
Our spirit often reveals to other spirits the object of our
thoughts and refections before we went to sleep, without our
being aware of it.
420. Can spirits communicate with each other when the body is awake?
“A spirit is not enclosed in its body, as in a box, but radiates around
it in every direction. It can communicate with other spirits even when
awake, although this is much more difficult to do.”
421. How is it that two individuals often have the same thought at the same
time when fully awake?
“It is because two like-minded spirits may communicate their
thought to each other even when the body is not asleep.”
A communication of thoughts between spirits sometimes enables
two individuals to see and understand one another without
words. We could say that they speak the language of the spirits.
Lethargy and Catalepsy – Apparent Death
422. Patients who experience lethargy usually see and hear what takes place
around them, but are unable to express themselves verbally. Is it through the
eyes and ears of the body that these impressions are received?
“No, they are received by the spirit. The spirit is conscious, but
cannot express itself.”
a) Why is it unable to express itself?
“The state of its body prevents it. This unusual state of the spirit’s
organs proves that human beings are something more than their bodies,
since the body is no longer functioning, and yet the spirit acts.”
423. While the body is in a state of lethargy, can a spirit fully separate from
the body, giving it all the visible indications of death, and then come back
and inhabit it?
“The body is not dead when experiencing the state of lethargy.
The vitality in the body is dormant, however it still maintains some of
its functions. Its vitality is dormant, but is not extinguished, and a spirit
is tied to its body as long as it is alive. Once the links that bind them
are broken by real death and decomposition of the physical organs, the
separation is complete and the spirit never returns to that body. When
one who is apparently dead comes back to life, it is because death was
not fully completed.”
424. Is it possible to rejuvenate the ties that were ready to break and restore
life to a person who would have died without proper medical assistance in a
“Yes, and you have proof of this every day. Magnetism often exercises
a powerful restorative action, because it provides vital fuid to the
body, which it needs to keep the organs functioning.”
Lethargy and catalepsy are both a type of temporary loss of
sensitivity and power of motion, caused by some unexplained
physiological condition. They differ in that in lethargy the
overpowering of the vital force is general and gives the body
the appearance of death, while in catalepsy, it is localized, and
may affect a more or less extensive portion of the body, while
leaving intelligence unaffected. Lethargy is always natural and
catalepsy is sometimes spontaneous, but it may be artifcially
produced and also dispelled by magnetic action.
425. Is there any connection between natural somnambulism and dreaming?
How can it be explained?
“In somnambulism the soul has more independence and its functions
are more developed than when dreaming. It feels perceptions
that it does not have while dreaming, which is an imperfect form of
“In somnambulism, the spirit is in total possession of itself. The
physical organs suffer from a type of catalepsy and are no longer receptive
to external impressions. This state most frequently occurs during
sleep, because the spirit is then able to free itself from the body, which
enjoys the repose that is indispensable to matter.”
“Somnambulism occurs when the spirit of the sleeper is determined
to do something that requires the body. It uses the body in
the same way that spirits use a table or any other material object to
produce physical manifestations, or a human hand to produce written
communications. When a human being is conscious of a dream, his
or her bodily senses related to memory are beginning to wake up. In
dreams that we are conscious of, the sensorial organs, including those
related to memory, begin to awaken and imperfectly receive the impressions
produced by objects or external causes, and communicate
them to the spirit. The spirit, also in a resting state, only perceives
confused and often disconnected sensations and without any apparent
reason, oftentimes further muddled with vague memories of either
the present life or previous ones. It is easy to understand why somnambulists
do not remember their visions, and why most have no rational
meaning. I say most because dreams are sometimes the consequence
of a specific memory of events that have occurred in one of your former
lives, or even a sort of premonition of the future.”
426. Is there any connection between magnetic and natural somnambulism?
“They are the same thing, only one is artifcially induced.”
427. What is the nature of the agent called magnetic fuid?
“It is the vital fuid, which may be described as animalized electricity.
It is a modifcation of the universal fuid.”
428. What is the cause of somnambulistic clairvoyance?
“We have told you that it is the soul that sees.”
429. How can the somnambulist see through dense bodies?
“Bodies are only dense to your rudimentary senses and organs. We
have told you that matter is not an obstacle for a spirit, since it can freely
pass through it. Somnambulists often tell you that they see through
their forehead, knee, and so on, and because you are bound to matter,
you do not understand that they can see without their receptor organs.
However, when your ideas infuence them, they may be fooled into believing
that they actually need those organs. If left to their own devices,
they would understand that they see through every part of their bodies,
or, rather, that their vision is completely separate from the body.”
430. Since the clairvoyance of somnambulists is derived from their soul or spirit,
why do they not see everything, and why do they so often make mistakes?
“First, low-ranking spirits do not see and understand everything,
because they still share your faws and prejudices. Second, as long as
they remain attached to matter to any degree, they cannot fully enjoy
their spiritual faculties. God has given the faculty of clairvoyance to
humankind for a serious and useful purpose, not to learn things that
human beings are not permitted to know. This is why somnambulists
do not know everything.”
431. What is the source of a somnambulist’s innate ideas, and how can they
accurately discuss things that they are unaware of when awake, and that
transcend their intellectual capacity?
“Somnambulists may possess more knowledge than you give them
credit for, but this knowledge is dormant when awake because their
envelopes are too fawed to remember everything they know as spirits.
However, what are they, essentially? They are spirits who incarnated
for a mission, and somnambulism awakens them from their lethargic
state. We have repeatedly told you that we are reborn many times. This
succession of lives causes somnambulists to lose sight, in a new existence,
of what they may have known in a previous life. When a crisis
starts, they recall what they knew once, but sometimes only partially.
They have knowledge, but they do not know where it comes from or
how they came to possess it. When the crisis is over, their memories
fade from consciousness as they re-enter the physical life.”
Experience shows us that somnambulists also receive communications
from other spirits, who tell them what to say and fll
in the blanks of what they are missing. This is often witnessed
in medical consultations. The spirit of the somnambulist notes a disease and another spirit indicates the remedy required.
This dual action is often obvious to witnesses, and is frequently
revealed by the somnambulist through expressions such as, “I
am told to say,” or, “I am forbidden to say.” In the event of the
latter, it is always dangerous to persist in trying to obtain information
from a somnambulist because we then open the door
to fippant spirits, who rattle on about everything in complete
disregard for the truth.
432. How do you explain the power that some somnambulists possess to see
from very far distances?
“Have we not told you that the soul transports itself during sleep?
It does the same thing during somnambulism.”
433. Does the degree of somnambulistic clairvoyance depend on the physical
makeup of the body or on the nature of the incarnate spirit?
“Both, but there are physical qualities that determine whether the
spirit can free itself from matter more or less easily.”
434. Are the faculties enjoyed by the somnambulist the same as those that a
spirit possesses after death?
“They are the same up to a certain point. A somnambulist is still
attached to matter and you must take its infuence into account.”
435. Can somnambulists see other spirits?
“That depends on the nature and level of their abilities. Most of
them see other spirits perfectly well, but they do not always recognize
them as spirits and mistake them for physical beings. Somnambulists
and especially those who know nothing about Spiritism often make
this mistake. They do not understand anything pertaining to spirits
and are shocked to see them in human form. This leads them to believe
that they are living persons.”
The same effect is felt at death in those who believe that they
are still alive. Nothing about them appears to have changed.
The spirits around them seem to have bodies like ours, and
they mistake the appearance of their own body with that of a
436. When somnambulists see objects at a distance, do they see them with their
bodies or with their souls?
“Why would you ask such a question, since the body does not see?
It is the soul.”
437. Since the soul transports itself, how is it that somnambulists feel the
heat or cold of the place where their souls are located, which is sometimes
very far away from the body?
“Their souls have not entirely left their bodies and are still attached
by the link that unites them. This link is the conductor for sensations.
When two individuals in two different cities use electricity to correspond
with each other, electricity is the link between their thoughts
and it enables them to communicate with one another as though they
were right next to each other.”
438. After death, do the use somnambulists made of their ability influence
“Of course, as is the case for the good or bad use of all the abilities
that God has given to human beings.”
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 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
“If human beings study them honestly, without the bias of preconceived
notions, they cannot seriously entertain the position of the materialist
or the atheist.”
447. Is there any connection between the phenomenon known as second sight
with dreaming and somnambulism?
“They are all the same thing. What you call second sight is also
a state in which the spirit is partially free, although the body is not
asleep. Second sight is soul sight.”
448. Is second sight permanent?
“The ability is permanent, but its exercise is not. In less material
worlds, spirits can free themselves more easily from matter and communicate
with one another via thought, without excluding verbal
speech. In those worlds, second sight is a constant ability for most of their inhabitants. Their normal state may be compared to that of waking
somnambulism among you, and this is why they manifest themselves
more easily to you than those who are incarnated in more rudimentary
449. Does second sight occur spontaneously, or through the will of those who
possess that gift?
“It generally occurs spontaneously, but will often plays an important
role in producing this phenomenon. Look at fortune-tellers, for
example, and others who really have that power, and you will fnd that
their will helps them with this second sight or what you call vision.”
450. Can second sight be further developed by exercise?
“Yes, effort always leads to progress and the veil that covers things
becomes more transparent.”
a) Is this ability dependent upon physical makeup?
“Physical makeup undoubtedly has a large role, as there are characters
and structures with which it is incompatible.”
451. How is it that the second sight appears to be hereditary in certain families?
“This is due to a similar physical makeup, which is transferred in
the same manner as other physical qualities. It is also due to the development
of the ability through training, which is passed down from one
generation to another.”
452. Is it true that circumstances develop second sight?
“Illness, impending danger or any major disturbance may develop
it. The body is sometimes in a state that allows spirits to see what cannot
be seen with the human eye.”
Times of crisis and turmoil, powerful emotions, and any causes
that stimulate the moral nature may develop the second sight.
It seems as if Providence gave us a means of calling upon it.
All religious groups and parties subjected to persecution have
provided numerous instances of this fact.
453. Are the individuals who are gifted with second sight always conscious
of their ability?
“Not always. It seems natural to them and many believe that if everybody
observed themselves they would have the same power.”
454. Can we attribute the perceptiveness of people who possess startling clear
judgment in relation to everyday life as a form of second sight, although they
are not extraordinarily gifted?
“This is always due to more open radiation of the soul, enabling
one to see more clearly than those whose perceptions are more heavily
masked by matter.”
a) In some cases, can this ability provide the foresight of future events?
“Yes, it may yield premonitions because there are many degrees of
this ability. The same person may possess all of these degrees or only
some of them.”
Theoretical Summary of Somnambulism,
Ecstatic Trance and Second Sight
455. Natural somnambulism occurs spontaneously and independent
of any known external cause, but among certain people endowed with
a special physical makeup, they may be produced artifcially through
the action of a magnetic agent.
The state called magnetic somnambulism is no different than natural
somnambulism, except that it is artifcially produced, while the other
Natural somnambulism, despite its miraculous nature, is a wellknown
fact that few now dispute. Why should we view magnetic somnambulism
as more extraordinary or incredible simply because it is
produced artifcially, like so many other phenomena? Some say that
charlatans exploit it, but that is another reason to refuse abandoning
it to their hands. Whenever science embraces somnambulism, charlatans
will have far less infuence on the masses. Meanwhile, since both
natural and artifcial somnambulism effectively, are a fact – there is
no arguing against fact – they are gaining grounds despite detractors,
even in the realm of science, where it is entering through a multitude
of side doors instead of through the front. Its right to be scientifcally
respected will soon be fully recognized.
For Spiritism, somnambulism is much more than a physical wonder.
Somnambulism sheds a brilliant light on psychology and it is a
state in which we can study the soul, because in this state the soul fully
reveals itself. One of the phenomena that characterize the soul is clairvoyance
– which is independent of the ordinary organs of sight. Critics
claim that somnambulists do not see all the time and, at the will of the
experimental scientist, as they see with the eyes. Should we be shocked
that the results are not the same given that the means are different? Is it logical to expect identical effects when the instruments do not
exist? The soul has properties just like the eyes, and the former must
be judged in its own right, and not by analogy.
The root of the clairvoyance of both the magnetic and the natural
somnambulist is the same exactly: it is an attribute of the soul, and it is,
in fact, an intrinsic ability of the spiritual being in us, and which has
no limits than those assigned to the soul itself. They see wherever
their souls can transport themselves, regardless of the distance.
At a distance, somnambulists do not see from where their bodies
are located, as if through a telescope. It is, instead, as if the objects in
the scope of their vision are in front of them, as if they were exactly
where they see them because their souls are there in reality. This is why
their bodies seem to be overpowered and deprived of sensation, until
their souls retake possession of them. This partial separation of the
soul and the body is abnormal and is not permanent. This is why the
body feels tired after a lapse of time, especially when the soul is active
during that partial separation.
The fact that soul sight or spirit sight is not restricted and has no
defnite center explains why somnambulists are unable to attribute any
special organ or focus to it. They see because they see, without knowing
why or how, because sight for them, as spirits, does not have its
own place in the body. If they refer their perception to their body, this focus
seems to be where vital activity is greatest, particularly in the brain, the
epigastria region, or whatever organ is where the bond between the
spirit and body is strongest.
The scope of somnambulistic clarity is not limitless. Even when
completely free, a spirit only possesses the abilities and knowledge associated
with its degree of evolution. This limitation is further narrowed
when associated with matter and subjected to its infuence. This
is why somnambulistic clairvoyance is neither universal nor foolproof.
It is less reliable when it deviates from the purpose given by nature,
and is, instead, treated as a curiosity or subject of experimentation.
When the spirits of somnambulists are free, they more easily
communicate with other spirits, incarnate or disincarnate, through the
contact of fuids that make up their perispirits, and which enable the
transmission of thought, like an electric wire.. Somnambulists do not
require verbal speech to convey thoughts, which they feel and deduce.
This method of perception makes them highly accessible and vulnerable
to the infuences of the moral atmosphere surrounding them.
Because of this, the presence of a large group of spectators to witness
a somnambulist’s ability is not ideal, particularly when it is comprised of those who are only curious. These manifestations only occur freely
in intimate gatherings, and under the infuence of sympathetic surroundings.
The presence of those who are malicious or hostile produces the
same effect as someone’s hand touching the sensitive person.
Somnambulists see their spirits and their bodies at the same time.
The spirit and the body are two beings that represent their dual existence,
both spiritual and physical blend into one by the ties that united
them. Somnambulists do not always understand this situation and the
duality, which often leads them to speak of themselves as if they were
speaking of another person. In such cases, the physical being sometimes
speaks to the spiritual being, and the spiritual being sometimes
speaks to the physical being.
In each physical existence, spirits acquire more knowledge
and experience. They lose sight of these gains when they reincarnate
because matter is too rudimentary to allow them to recall this
knowledge fully. However, they remember it as spirits. This is how some
somnambulists show signs of possessing knowledge beyond their
education and apparent intellectual capacity. Therefore, the intellectual
and scientifc inferiority of somnambulists while awake
does not disprove the knowledge that they may display when lucid.
Depending on circumstances and intention, they may draw
this knowledge from their own experience, from clairvoyant perception
of actual events, or from counsels that they receive from
other spirits.. Their statements are more or less correct depending
on their degree of evolution.
In both natural and magnetic somnambulism, God provides undeniable
proof of the existence and independence of the soul by
allowing us to witness the awe-inspiring display of its emancipation.
Through these phenomena, it opens to us the book of our destiny.
When somnambulists describe their visions, it is obvious that they are
seeing what they are describing, just not through their human eyes.
They see themselves at that distant point, and feel transported there.
Part of the somnambulist is actually present at that distant point, and
since it is not the body, it can only be the soul or spirit. We human beings
lose ourselves in abstract and unintelligible metaphysical subtleties
in search of the root of our moral existence. However, God places
the simplest and most certain means for studying experimental psychology
right within our reach.
Ecstatic trance is the state in which the soul’s independence from
the body is most apparent and tangible to the observer.
In dreaming and somnambulism, the soul wanders through physical
worlds. In an ecstatic trance, the soul penetrates an unknown
world, that of ethereal spirits, with whom it communicates, bounded
by unsurpassable limits that would not be granted to the spirit without
fully breaking the links that tie it to the body. Enveloped by different
wonders, captivated by a harmony that is foreign to Earth, and overwhelmed
by immeasurable bliss, the soul catches a glimpse of heavenly
happiness, and it may be said that it places one foot on the threshold of eternity.
The annihilation of physical ties is almost complete while a person
is in an ecstatic trance. The body possesses organic life only and a
single thread connects it to the soul. It would break forever from the
exertion of only the slightest effort.
In this state, all earthly thoughts disappear and give way to the
purifed sensitivity that is the essence of our immaterial being. Completely
absorbed in this transcendent state of contemplation, a person
in an ecstatic trance views human life merely as a stop on our eternal
journey. The successes and failures of this lower world, along with its
rudimentary joys and sorrows, are nothing more than pointless incidents
along a journey, and the ecstatic person anxiously awaits its end.
The same thing happens with ecstatics as with somnambulists: depending
on their level of elevation their lucidity may be more purifed
or less so, and they may or may not be able to grasp the truth of things.
In their abnormal state of ecstasy, there is sometimes more nervous
excitement than true lucidity. In fact, this nervous excitement impairs
their lucidity and the resulting revelations are often a mixture of
truth and error, inspirational and ridiculous ideas or even outrageous
whims. Inferior spirits often take advantage of this excitement, which
is a source of weakness when unrestrained, to overpower the ecstatic
person. They assume the appearance that confrms the ideas and preconceptions
from their waking state. This is an obstacle, but not all
cases are similar, and we must weigh their statements carefully and
judge their revelations under the microscope of reason.
The soul can be emancipated when it is awake, and this allows people
possessing the second sight to see, hear, and feel beyond the limits of
our senses. They perceive things wherever their soul may travel through
ordinary sight, and judge these perceptions to be some kind of mirage.
When the second sight occurs, the physical state is visibly changed. A
person’s gaze becomes distant, and his or her physical appearance refects
that the nervous system is in an unusual state. It is apparent that
the physical eyes take no part in present perceptions because vision
continues, despite the closing of the eyes.
The second sight, for those who possess this gift, appears as natural
to them as conventional sight. It is an attribute of their being, and
they are not aware of its exceptional character. They normally forget
this brief lucidity, which fades from their memory like a distant dream.
The power of the second sight varies from a perplexing sensation
to a clear perception of present or distant things. In its rudimentary
state, it gives some individuals acuity or confdence in their decisions
and actions that we may call the precision of the moral glance. At a higher
degree of development, it incites premonitions. Even further developed,
it may show events that have already taken place, or that are
about to happen.
Natural and artifcial somnambulism, ecstatic trance, and second
sight all stem from the same cause. Like dreams, they are a branch
of natural phenomena and have always existed. History shows us that
they have been recognized and exploited since the dawn of time. They
provide an explanation for a great number of occurrences that irrational
preconceptions have led humanity to label as “supernatural.”