Spirits who may be invoked
274. All spirits, to whatever degree of the scale they belong, may be invoked — the good, as well as the bad ; those who have left this life but lately, and those who have lived in the most remote times ; illustrious men and the most obscure; our relatives, our friends, and. those who are indifferent to us; but it is not said that they will or can always come at our call: independently of their own will, or of the permission that may be refused them by a superior power, they might be prevented by motives which it is not always given us to penetrate. We would say, there is no absolute hindrance to communications except what we shall presently give ; the obstacles that might hinder the manifestation of a spirit are almost always individual, and pertain to circumstances.
275. Among the causes that might oppose the manifestation of a spirit, some are personal to him, some foreign. We must place among the former his occupations, or the missions in which he is engaged, and from which he cannot turn aside to yield to our wishes; in such case, his visit is only postponed.
There is, again, his own situation. While the state of incarnation may not be an absolute obstacle, it may be a hindrance at certain given, moments, especially when it takes place in inferior worlds, and when the spirit himself is. but little dematerialized. In the superior worlds, in those where the ties of spirit and matter are very feeble, the manifestation is almost as easy as in the wandering state, and in all cases easier than in those where the corporeal matter is more compact.
The foreign causes pertain principally to the nature of the medium, to that of the invoker, to the sphere in which the invocation is made, and, lastly, to the end proposed. Some mediums receive more especially communications from their familiar spirits, who may be more or less elevated ; others are capable of serving as intermediaries to all spirits ; that depends on the sympathy or antipathy, the attraction or repulsion, which the personal spirit of the medium exercises over the foreign spirit, who may take him for interpreter with pleasure or with repugnance. That, again, setting aside the innate qualities of the medium, depends on the development of the medianimic faculty. Spirits come more willingly, are more explicit with a medium who offers them no material obstacle. All things, besides, being equal as to moral conditions, the greater facility a medium has in writing or expressing himself the more his relations with the spirit world may be generalized.
276. The facility with which the habit of communieating with such or such a spirit gives, must also be taken into consideration ; with time the foreign spirit identifies himself with the spirit of the medium, and with him who calls him. The question of sympathy aside, fluidic relations are established between them which render communications more prompt: this is why a first conversation is not always as satisfying as might be desired, and it is also why the spirits themselves often ask to be recalled. The spirit who is in the habit of coming is as if at home ; he is familiarized with his auditors, and with his interpreters ; he speaks and acts more freely.
277. To recapitulate: from what we have just said, it results that the power of invoking any spirit whatever does not imply that the spirit is at our orders ; he can come at one moment, and not at another, with such medium or such invocator as pleases him, and not with such other; say what he pleases, without being constrained to say what he does not wish to say; go when it is agreeable to him ; finally, from causes dependent or not upon his will, after having shown himself assiduously during some time, he may suddenly cease to come. It is from all these motives that when we desire to call a new spirit, it is necessary to ask our guide protector, if the invocation is possible ; in cases where it may not be, he quite generally gives the motives, and then it is useless to insist.
278. An important question presents itself here — that of knowing whether or not there would be disagreeable consequences from invoking a bad spirit. That depends on the end proposed, and the ascendency that can be had over ,them. There is no difficulty when we call them with a serious and instructive aim, or with a view of improving them ; it is very great, onthe contrary, if it is from pure curiosity or pleasantry, or if one puts himself in their power by asking of them any service whatever.
The good spirits, in such case, can very well give them the power to do what is asked of them, safe to punish severely afterward the rash man who dared to invoke their help and believe them more powerful than God. It is vain that he may have promised himself to make a good use of it in the end, and to dismiss the servitor once the service is rendered ; the very service solicited, however minute it may be, is a veritable pact concluded with the bad spirit, and he never lets himself be used easily. (See No. 212.)
279. Ascendency is exercised over the inferior spirits only by moral superiority.
The perverse spirits feel their masters in good men ; with those who oppose to them only strength of will, a kind of brute force, they struggle, and are often the stronger. A person tried in this way to tame a rebellious'spirit, by his will; the spirit answered him, " Let me alone, with your bullying airs, you who are no better than I; they might say, a thief preaching to a thief.'
One is astonished that the name of God invoked against them should often be powerless. St. Louis has given the reason in the following answer: —
"The name of God has influence over imperfect spirits only in the mouth of him who can use it with authority by his virtues; in the mouth of a man who has no moral superiority over the spirit, it is a word the same as another. It is the same with the holy things opposed to them. The most terrible arms are inoffensive in hands unskilled in their use, or incapable of bearing them."