Allan Kardec

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53. The very idea that people usually form respecting spirits renders the question of their manifestation incomprehensible; for these manifestations can only occur through the action of spirits on matter, and as it is generally supposed that spirits are divested of all matter, it is asked, with some show of reason, "How can a spirit act on material things?" Here is the general error, for a spirit is not an abstraction, but is a definite being, limited, and Circumscribed. The spirit incarnated in the human body constitutes the man's soul; when the spirit quits that body at death, he does not emerge from it stripped of all covering. All spirits assure us that they preserve their human form and, in fact, when they appear to us, they do so in the form by which we knew them during their human life.

If we observe people attentively at the moment of their death, we find that their soul is in a state of confusion ; their perceptions are muddled; they see their bodies, whole, or mutilated, according to the manner of their decease; and, at the same time, these souls see themselves, and feel that they are still living. Something tells them that the body lying there is their body, and they feel a difficulty in comprehending how it can be that they are separated from it. They Continue to see themselves under their previous form, and this sight produces in some of them, for a certain period, a singular illusion, viz., that of believing themselves to be still in the flesh. They have to gain experience of their new state, before they can become convinced of its reality.

When they have got over this first moment of perplexity, they learn to look upon their corpse as an old garment which they have slipped off; and are not sorry to be quit of They feel themselves to be lighter, and to have dropped a burden; they no longer suffer from physical pains, and are delighted with their power of rising into the atmosphere and gliding through space, just as, when in the body, they have often done in their dreams. *

Meanwhile, notwithstanding that they have lost their body, the souls retain their personality; they retain their human form, but a form which neither troubles nor embarrasses them; and they also retain the consciousness of their self, and of their individuality. What must we conclude from this? Why, that the soul does not leave its all in the coffin, but that it carries something away with it.


* If the reader will look again at what we have said, in The Spirits’ Book, about dreams and the state of the spirit during slumber (400, 418), he will see that those dreams which almost every one has experienced, in which we find ourselves moving as though we were flying, are nothing but a vague remembrance of the sensation experienced by the spirit, when, during slumber, it has momentarily quitted its body of gross matter, taking with it only its fluidic body; the same fluidic body which it will preserve after death. Those dreams may therefore give us at idea of the state of the spirit, when freed from the fetters which bind it to the earth.

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