Allan Kardec

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56. The form of the perispirit is the human form ; and, as previously stated, when it appears to us, it generally resembles the form by which we knew the spirit, when in the flesh. It might thence be supposed that the perispirit, being disengaged from every particle of flesh, must have moulded itself in some way upon the body, and thus have preserved its impress; but this does not appear to be the case. The human form, though differenced in some details, and with certain organic modifications necessitated by the nature of the sphere in which the soul is called to exist, appears to be common to the inhabitants of all the globes of the universe ; this, at least, is what spirits tell us ; an this form appears to be equally that of all spirits when not incarnated, and possessing only their perispirit. It is also the form under which, through all tune, angels, or pure spirits, have been represented ; from all of which we may conclude that the human form is the type of every human being, to whatever degree he may have attained. But the subtle matter of the perispirit has neither the tenacity nor the rigidity of compact bodily matter ; it is, if we may so express ourselves, flexible and expansive ; and therefore, the form assumed by the perispirit, although similar to that of the body, is not absolutely the same. It yields to the will of the spirit, who can give it any similitude he pleases whereas the resistance of the solid envelope of flesh renders such changes of similitude impossible. Freed from the "vile body" which once compressed it, the perispirit spreads, contracts, or otherwise transforms itself; accomplishing every metamorphosis determined at the moment by the spirit's will. It is through this property of his fluidic envelope that the spirit who desires to make himself known can, when necessary, assume the exact appearance he had when living, and can even show the bodily defects, or other peculiarities, that may serve to identify him.

Spirits, as we have seen, are beings like ourselves, and constitute a population environing us on every side, though invisible to us in our normal state; we say, our normal state, because, as we shall see, this invisibility is not absolute.

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