GENERAL URANOGRAPHY *
Space and Time — Matter — Laws and Forces — First Creation — Universal
Creation — Suns and Planets — Satellites — Comets — The Milky Way —Fixed
Stars — Deserts of the Space — The Eternal Succession of Worlds — The
Universal Life — The Plurality of Worlds.
Space and Time
1. Many definitions of space have been given. The principal one is this: space is the
extent which separates two bodies; from which certain sophists have inferred, that, where no
body is, there can be no space. Doctors of theology have taken this idea as the base of their
belief, that there is necessarily an end to space, alleging that bodies limited to a certain number
cannot form an infinite succession, and that where bodies no longer exist is also the end of
space. Yet another definition of space is: the place where worlds move, the void where matter
acts, etc. Let us leave, in the treatises where they repose, all these definitions, which define
Space is one of those words which represents a primitive and axiomatic idea, self-evident,
to which the diverse definitions which are given serve only to obscure its meaning. We all know
what space is; and I desire only to establish its infinity in order that our subsequent studies may
find no barrier opposing itself to the investigation of our ideas.
Now, I say that space is infinite for this reason: that it is impossible to suppose any limit
to it, and that, notwithstanding the difficulty of gaining a conception of infinitude, it is,
however, easier to think of going eternally through space, than to decide upon a stopping-place
in it beyond which no more space extends.
In order to grasp as far as is possible with our limited faculties the infinitude of space, let
us suppose ourselves departing from Earth, lost in the midst of infinitude, towards any point in
the universe, and that with the exceeding celerity of an electric spark, which traverses thousands
of leagues in a second. Scarcely have we left our globe, having passed over millions of miles,
we find ourselves in a place whence our Earth will appear to us only under the aspect of a pale
star. An instant after, following always the same direction, we shall arrive near the far-distant stars, which you can scarcely distinguish from your terrestrial station; and whence not only the
Earth is lost to our sight in the heavenly depths, but also your sun’s splendor is eclipsed by the
distance which separates us from it. Propelled incessantly at the same lightning speed, we pass
over planetary systems at every step as we advance in space, over islands of ethereal light, over
starry ways, and glorious places where God has scattered worlds profusely, as he has sown
plants on terrestrial prairies.
Now it is only a few minutes since we took our departure from Earth, and already
hundreds of millions of millions of miles separate us from Earth, thousands of worlds have been
displayed to our sight, and yet listen! We have in reality advanced but one step in the universe.
If we continue for years, ages, thousands of centuries, hundreds of millions of earthly
periods of time, to transverse incessantly with the same lightning speed the fields of space, on
whatever side we may go, toward whatsoever point we may direct ourselves from this invisible
grain which we have quitted, and which is called Earth, the same immensity of space will be
ever before us. This is space.
* This chapter is an extract, word for word, from a series of communications dictated to the Spiritual
Society of Paris, in 1862 and 1863, under the title of Uranographical Studies, and signed, GALILEO, M.
C. F. Medium. (These are the initials of the name Camille Flammarion)
2. Time, like space, is a self-evident fact. One can make a better estimate of it by
establishing its relation to the infinite whole.
Time is the succession of things. It is bound to eternity in the same manner as things are
joined to infinitude. Let us suppose ourselves at the beginning of our world, at that primitive
epoch where the Earth was not held in equilibrium by the divine impetus; in short, at the
commencement of Genesis. Time has not arisen from the mysterious cradle of nature, and no
one can tell at what epoch of the ages we are, since the pendulum of the centuries is not yet in
But, silence! The first hour of a newborn Earth resounds through the air, and henceforth
are night and morning. Beyond Earth eternity remains impassive and immovable, although time
marches with steady feet in other worlds. Upon Earth time is enthroned, and during a series of
generations, years and centuries of it will be counted.
Let us now transport ourselves to the last day of this world, to the hour when, its power
for good being paralyzed by age and decay, it will be effaced from the book of life never more
to reappear. Here the succession of events is arrested, the terrestrial movements which measure
time are interrupted, and time is ended with them.
This simple exposition of natural things which give birth to time, perpetuate it, and then
allow it to be extinguished, suffices to show that, seen from the point where we must place
ourselves for our studies, time is a drop of water which falls from the cloud into the sea of
which the fall is measured.
There are as many different and contradictory times as there are worlds in the vast
expanse. Beyond worlds, eternity alone replaces these ephemeral inheritances and quietly fills
with its light immovable the immensity of the heavens. Immensity and eternity without limits,
— such are the two grand properties of universal nature.
The eye of the observer who traverses untiringly the immeasurable distances of space, as
well as that of the geologist who peers into the secrets of the ages, descending even into the
depths of a yawning eternity, where they will some day be engulfed, act in concert, each in his
way, to acquire this double idea of infinitude, duration, and extent.
Now, in preserving this order of ideas, it will be easy for us to conceive that time being
only connected with transitory things depending wholly upon things which can be measured, if,
taking the terrestrial centuries for units, we piled them thousands upon thousands in order to
form a colossal number, this number will never represent more than a moment in eternity, just
as thousands of leagues joined to thousands of leagues are only a speck in boundless extent.
Thus, for example, time being unknown in eternity, and the ages being totally distinct
from the ethereal life of the soul, we could write a number as long as the terrestrial equator, and
suppose ourselves aged by this number of centuries, without making our soul one day older;
and, adding to this uncountable number of ages a series of similar numbers as long as from here
to the sun, or still more yet, imagining ourselves to live during the prodigious succession of
circular periods represented by the addition of those numbers when we should have passed
through them, the incomprehensible accumulation of years which would weigh upon our heads
would be as though they were not: an entire eternity would always be before us.
Time is only a comparative measure of the inheritance of transitory things. Eternity is
susceptible of no measure as regards duration of time: it owns no beginning or end; the present
only belongs to it.
If centuries upon centuries are less than a second compared with eternity, what
comparison does the duration of human life bear to it?
3. At first sight nothing would appear so profoundly varied, so essentially distinct, as the diverse substances which compose the world. Among the objects in art or nature which daily
pass before our eyes, are there two objects which can be accused of a perfect identity? Is it not
only a parity of composition? What dissimilarity at the point of view of solidity, of
compressibility, of weight and multiple properties of bodies, between atmospheric gas and a
thread of gold, between the aqueous molecules in the clouds, and those of the mineral which
forms the bony framework of the globe! What diversity between the chemical tissue of the
varied plants which decorate the vegetable kingdom, and that of the no less numerous
representatives of animal life upon Earth!
However, we can state as an absolute and fundamental truth, that all substances known
and unknown, however dissimilar they may appear, either in view of their constitution or in
regard to their reciprocal action, are only different forms through which matter presents itself,
only varieties into which it is transformed under the direction of the innumerable forces which
4. Chemistry, of which the progress has been so rapid since the epoch in which I lived,
thus far still relegated to the secret domain of magic by its own supporters, — this new science,
which one can justly consider the child of this century is, we observe, uniquely based, far more
solidly than its elder sisters, upon the experimental method. Chemistry, I say, has had fair play
with the four primitive elements which the ancients agreed to recognize in nature. It has shown
that the terrestrial element is only a combination of diverse substances varied to infinitude; that
the air and water are equally decomposable, that they are the product of a certain number of
equivalents of gas; that fire, far from being itself a principal element, is only a state of matter
resulting from the universal movement to which it is submitted, and is of a sensible or latent
In return it has found a considerable number of principles until then unknown, which
have appeared to form, by their determined combinations, diverse substances, different bodies,
that it (chemistry) has studied by following certain laws, act simultaneously, and in given
proportions, in the works operated in the grand laboratory of nature. These principles it has
named simple bodies, indicating by that that it considers them primitive and indecomposable,
and that by no known operation can they be reduced to parts relatively more simple than themselves.*
* The principal simple bodies are: among non-metallic bodies, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, azoth, chlorine, carbon, phosphorus, sulphur, and iodine; among metallic bodies are gold, silver, platinum, mercury, lead, pewter, zinc, iron, copper, arsenic, sodium, potassium, calcium, aluminum, etc.
5. But there, where the appreciation of man is checked even when he is aided by the most
impressionable of his artificial senses, the work of nature continues; there, where the common
man accept appearance for reality, is where the practitioner raises the veil, and distinguishes the
beginning of things. The eye of him who has detected the mole of nature’s action sees alone
under the constitutive materials of the world the primitive cosmic matter, simple and alone,
varied in certain countries at the epoch of their birth, divided into solidarities during their life,
which at length have become disjointed, and received into the receptacle of life’s boundless
whole by decomposition.
6. It is of these questions that we ourselves, spirits, lovers of science, speak when we
assert that the opinions we express are merely conjectural. Upon these questions I will either
keep silent, or prove my knowledge. To those who then would be tempted to see in my words
only a dangerous theory, I will say: learn, if possible, by investigation, the multiplicity of the
operations of nature, and you will recognize, that, if one admits not the unity of matter, it is
impossible to explain not only the science of the suns and spheres, but without going so far, the
germination of a seed in the Earth or the production of an insect.
7. If one observes such a diversity in matter, it is because the forces which have presided
at its transformations, the conditions in which they are produced being unlimited in number, the
various combinations of matter must be unlimited also.
Then the substance that one desires to comprehend belongs properly to fluids; that is to
say, imponderable bodies, or it may be those dressed with the ordinary properties of matter.
There is in all the universe only one primitive substance — the cosmic matter, or cosmos of
LAWS AND FORCES
8. If one of those unknown beings who spend their ephemeral existence in the depths of
the dark regions of the ocean, if one of those polygrastic animals, one of the nereids, miserable
animalcules, who only know the ichthyophagous fish and the submarine forests, received
suddenly the gift of intelligence, the faculty of studying their world, and of establishing a
reasonable idea of that living nature which develops in their midst, and of the terrestrial world
which is not now included in the field of their observation.
If by the marvelous effect of some new power this strange race of beings should be
lifted out of their unbroken darkness to the surface of the sea, not far from the fertile banks of an
isle covered with luxuriant vegetation, to the genial sun, dispenser of a beneficent warmth, —
what judgment would they pass? What theories of universal creation would be theirs, —
theories to be soon effaced by larger appreciation, but by theories still as relatively incomplete
as the first? Such is, O man! an image of all your speculative science. *
* Such is the state of those who deny the spiritual world, when, after having been despoiled of their
fleshly envelope the horizons of this world are revealed to their vision, they comprehend the emptiness of
the theories whereby they attempted to explain everything by matter alone. However, these horizons hold
yet for them mysteries which are successively unveiled as they are raised to greater heights of wisdom by
purification; but on their entrance into this new world they are first to recognize their blindness, and how
far they were from the truth.
9. Now, as I come to treat of the laws and forces which rule the universe, I who am, like
you, a being relatively ignorant of real science, notwithstanding the apparent superiority which
is given me over my Earthly brothers, the opportunity which is mine of studying questions in
nature which is withheld from them in their position, my object is only to expose to you a
general idea of universal laws, without explaining in detail the methods of operation, and nature
of the special forces dependent upon them.
10. There is an ethereal fluid which pervades space and penetrates bodies. This fluid is
ether, or primitive cosmic matter, generatrix of the world and beings. There are inherent forces
in ether which preside at the metamorphoses of matter — the necessary and immutable laws
which rule the world. These multiple forces, indefinitely varied according to the combinations
of matter, localized according to masses or bulk, diversified in their modes of action according
to circumstances and places, are known upon Earth under the names of weight, cohesion,
affinity, attraction, magnetism, and active electricity; the agent of the vibratory movements,
those of sound, light, heat, etc. In other worlds they are presented under other aspects, offer
other characters unknown in this, and in the immense extent of the heavens an indefinite
number of forces are developed upon an unimaginable ladder, the grandeur of which we are as
incapable of estimating as the crustacean animal in the depth of the ocean is of understanding
the universality of terrestrial phenomena. *
Now, just as there is but one simple primitive substance generatrix of all bodies, but
diversified in its combinations, even as all forces depend upon a universal law diversified in its
effects, and which in the eternal decrees has been everywhere imposed upon creation in order to
constitute harmony and permanent stability.
*Should we bring to this all that we know, we should not comprehend more fully that which escapes our
senses than the blind man so born comprehends the effects of light and the use of eyes. Therefore, there
can be in other places properties of cosmic fluid and combinations, of which we have no idea, of effects
appropriated to needs unknown to us, giving place to new and other modes of perception. We do not, for
example, comprehend how we can see without bodily eyes and without light; but who says that there
exist no other agents than the light affecting special organisms? The somnambulic sight, which neither
distance, material obstacles, nor darkness can arrest, offers us an example? Let us suppose that in some
world the inhabitants are normally that which our somnambulists are exceptionally, they will have no
need of the light or of eyes like ours, and they will see that which we cannot see. It is the same with all
other sensations: the conditions of vitality and perceptibility, sensations and needs vary according to
11. Nature is never opposed to itself. The coat-of-arms of the universe has for its only
device: unity - variety. In climbing the ladder of the worlds, one finds unity in harmony in all
creation. At the same time there is an infinite variety in this immense garden of stars. In passing
through the degrees of life from the lowest being even to God, the great law of continuity is
recognizable. In considering the forces in themselves, one can find a series whose result,
mingling with the generatrix, is the universal law.
You cannot appreciate this law to the full extent, since the forces which represent it in
your field of observation are restrained and limited. However, gravitation and electricity can be
regarded as a large application of the primordial law which reigns beyond the heavens.
All these forces are eternal, — we will explain this word, — universal as the creation.
Being inherent in the cosmic fluid, they necessarily act in all things everywhere, modifying their
action by their simultaneous working or their succession, predominating here, effacing
themselves farther on; powerful and active at certain points, latent or secret at others, but finally preparing, directing, preserving and destroying worlds in their diverse periods of life, governing
marvelous works of nature, wherever they are exerted, assuring to creation eternal splendor.
THE FIRST CREATION
12. After having considered the universe under general points of view, its composition,
its laws, and its properties, we can extend our studies to the mode of formation which gave light
to worlds and beings. We would descend then to the creation of the Earth particularly, and to its
actual state in the universality of things, and from whence, taking the globe as a starting-point
and for relative unity, we would proceed with our planetary and sidereal studies.
13. If we have well considered the connection, or rather the opposition, of eternity to
time, — if we are familiar with the idea that time is only a relative measure in the succession of
transitory things, whilst eternity is essentially immovable and permanent, and that it is
susceptible of no measurement as regards duration of time, — we should comprehend that there
is no commencement or end to it.
On the other side, if we could form a just idea — although necessarily a very feeble one
— of the infinitude of divine power, we could comprehend how it is possible that the universe
has always been, and always will be; how God’s eternal perfections always spoke of him before
worlds were born. Before time was born, immeasurable eternity received the divine word, and
impregnated space eternal as itself.
14. God, who has always existed, has created through all eternity, and could not be
otherwise, for, however far back is the epoch that our imagination can reach for the supposed
limits of creation, there will always exist an eternity beyond that limit. Weigh well this thought,
— an eternity during which the divine hypostasis, the infinite volition, had been absorbed in a
mute, inactive, and unfruitful lethargy, an eternity of apparent death for the eternal Father who
gives life to beings; of indifferent speechlessness for the Word which governs them, of cold
and selfish sterility for the spirit of love and of vivication.
Let us better comprehend the grandeur of divine action, and its perpetuity under the
semblance of an absolute being! God is the sun of beings: he is the light of the world. Now, the
appearance of the sun gives birth instantaneously to floods of light, which fill all space. So does
the universe, born of the Eternal, raise us in thought to unimaginable periods of infinite
duration, even to the time of the “Fiat lux” in the beginning.
15. The contemplation of the absolute beginning of objects raises us to their Creator.
Their successive appearance in the domain of existence constitute the order of perpetual
What mortal is there who knows how to reveal the unknown and superbly veiled
magnificence which lay under the darkness of the ages, which was developed in those ancient
times when none of the marvels of the present universe existed? At this primitive epoch, where
the voice of the Lord was making itself heard, the materials which were in the future to
assemble symmetrically to form themselves into the temple of nature were found on the bosom
of the infinite void, when at the sound of this mysterious voice, which every creature venerates
as a mother’s, when the morning stars harmoniously sang together!
The world was in its cradle; it was not yet established in its strength and plenitude of life.
No; the creative power never contradicts itself; and, like all things, the universe was born a
child. Invested with laws previously framed, and by initial impulsion inherent in its formation,
primitive cosmic matter gave birth successively to whirlwinds, to agglomerations of diffuse
fluid, to masses of nebulous matter, infinitely modified and divided, in order to form in the
immeasurable regions of space different centers of simultaneous or successive creations.
By reason of forces which predominate over each other, and by ulterior circumstances
which presided at their developments, these primitive centers became each the focus of a special
life. Those least disseminated in space, and riches in acting forces and principles, commenced
from that time their particular astral life. Others occupying unlimited space grew very slowly, or
divided themselves anew into other secondary centers.
16. In carrying ourselves back only a few millions of centuries beyond this present epoch,
our Earth did not exist. Our solar system had not yet commenced the evolutions of planetary
life; and yet splendid suns illuminated the ether. Already inhabited planets gave life and
existence to a multitude of beings who have preceded us in our earthly career. Opulent
productions of an unknown nature, and marvelous heavenly phenomena, had developed, under
the gaze of others eyes, pictures of boundless creation, and even more. Already some splendors,
which had caused the hearts of other mortals, at one time, then to palpitate with the thought of
infinite power, were effaced; and we poor little beings who come after an eternity of life has
passed, we believe ourselves contemporaneous with creation!
Yet again let us comprehend nature better. Let us know that eternity is both before and
behind us, that space is the theater of an unimaginable succession and simultaneity of creations.
The nebula we scarcely distinguish in the far-distant heavens are agglomerations of suns in
process of formation; others are milky ways of inhabited worlds; others the seat of catastrophe
and decay. Let us know that even as we are placed in the midst of an infinitude of worlds, even
as we are in a double infinitude of anterior and ulterior durations, that universal creation is not
for us alone, and that we must not consider this, our little globe, as an isolated formation.
17. After mounting as high as we can, despite our weakness, toward the concealed source
whence worlds flow like drops of water in a river, let us consider the march of successive
creations, and their serial developments.
Primitive cosmic matter comprises the material fluid and vital elements which unroll the
magnificence of all the universes throughout eternity. It is the fruitful mother of all things, the
first grandmother, and, still more, the eternal generatrix. It has not disappeared, this substance
from which sidereal spheres are produced; it is not dead, this power, for it brings incessantly
new creations into light, and incessantly receives the reconstituted principles of worlds which
are effaced from the eternal book of life.
Ethereal matter more or less rarefied, which descends among the interplanetary spaces,
— this cosmic fluid which fills the world more or less rarefied in immeasurable regions, rich in
agglomerations of stars more or less condensed, where astral heavens do not yet shine forth
more or less modified by diverse combinations according to locality in space, — is none other
than the primal substance in which primitive forces reside, from which nature draws all things. *
* If one inquires what the principle of these forces is, and how it can be even in the substance which
produces it, we would reply that mechanics offers us numerous examples. The elasticity which makes a
spring unbend, — is not that in the spring itself, and does it not depend upon the mode of the aggregation
of molecules? The body which obeys a centrifugal force receives its impulsion from the primitive
movement which has been impressed upon it.
18. This fluid which penetrates bodies is like an immense ocean. In it resides the vital
principle which gives birth and life to beings, perpetuating it upon every globe according to its
condition. It is a principle in a latent state, which slumbers when no existence calls for it. Every
mineral, vegetable, animal, or other — for many other natural kingdoms exist, the existence of
which you do not suspect — knows how, by virtue of this universal vital principle, to
appropriate the conditions of its existence and of its duration.
The molecules of the mineral have their share of this life, as well as the seed and the
germ, and group themselves, like an organized being, into symmetrical forms, which constitute
It is very important to comprehend this idea: that primitive cosmic matter was invested
not only with laws which assure the stability of worlds, but also with the universal vital
principle which causes spontaneous generations upon every world, in proportion as conditions
for the successive existence of beings manifest themselves, when the time comes for the
appearance of children of life, during the creative period.
Thus universal creation is accomplished. It is then true to say that, the operations of
nature being the expression of the divine will, God has always created, and creates unceasingly,
and always will create.
19. Until now we have passed over in silence the subject of the spiritual world, which
also is a part of creation, and accomplishes its destiny in accordance with the august decrees of
I can give only very limited information concerning the mode of the creation of spirits, on
account of my own ignorance; and I must still keep silent upon some matters into which I have
been permitted to search.
To those who are religiously desirous of obtaining knowledge, and who are humble
before God, I will say (while I implore them not to base any one system prematurely on my
words), that the spirit does not receive divine illumination until the time when free will and
conscience are given him to grasp the idea of his high destiny; i.e., until he has passed through a
series of inferior existences, during which the realization of his individuality is slowly
elaborated. This only dates from the day when the Lord impresses upon his forehead his august
seal; then, the spirit takes rank as human.
Again, I beg of you, do not build upon my words dogmatic theories like those so sadly
celebrated in the history of metaphysics. I would a thousand times prefer to keep silent forever
concerning questions so far above our ordinary meditations, than expose you to a
misconstruction of the sense of my teachings, and so engulf you through my imperfection in the
inextricable labyrinths of deism or fatalism.
THE SUNS AND THE PLANETS
20. Once upon a time in the history of the universe, lost among the myriad worlds,
cosmic matter was condensed into the form of an immense nebula. This nebula was animated by
the universal laws which govern matter. By virtue of these laws, and notably by the molecular
force of attraction, it took the form of a spheroid, the only one which can originally be taken by
a mass of isolated matter in space.
The circular movement, produced by gravitation exactly equal in all the molecular zones
toward the center, soon modified the primitive sphere in order to conduct it from movement to
movement toward the lenticular form. We speak of the whole of the nebula.
21. New forces surged in the train of this rotary movement — centripetal and centrifugal
force — the first tending to draw every particle to the center, the second tending to cause the
recession of every atom from it. Now, the movement accelerating itself, according to the
condensation of the nebula and its radius, augmenting as it approaches the lenticular form, the
centrifugal force, incessantly developed by these two causes, soon predominated over the central attraction the same as a too rapid movement of a sling breaks the cord, and throws the
projectile to a distance.
Thus, the predominance of centrifugal force detached the equatorial circle of the nebula,
and with this ring formed a new mass, isolated from the first, but nevertheless in submission to
its empire. This mass has conserved its equatorial movement, which, modified, became its
movement of translation around the solar body. Moreover, its new state gave to it a rotary
movement around its proper center.
22. The nebulous generatrix which gave birth to this new world is condensed, and has
resumed the spherical form; but the primitive heat developed by its different movements
weakening it only by very slow degrees, the phenomenon we have just described will reproduce
itself often during a long period, while this nebulous mass will not become dense or solid
enough to oppose an efficacious resistance to the modifications of form, which successively
impress its rotary movement.
It will then not have given birth simply of one astral body, but to hundreds of worlds
detached from the central focus, issued from it by the mode of formation already presented.
Now, each one of these worlds, invested like the primitive world with natural forces presiding at
the creation of the universe, will engender in succession new globes gravitating henceforth
around it, as it gravitates in concurrence with its brothers around the focus of their existence and
life. Each one of these worlds will be a sun, a center of a whirling body of planets, successively
escaped from its equator. These planets will each receive a particular life, although dependent
upon their astral generator.
23. Planets are thus formed of masses of condensed matter, but not yet solidified,
detached from the central mass by the action of centrifugal force, and taking, by virtue of the
laws of motion, the spheroid form more or less elliptic, according to the degree of fluidity they
have maintained. One of these planets is the Earth, which, before being cooled and invested
with a solid crust, must have given birth to the moon by the same mode of astral formation to
which it owes its own existence. The Earth henceforth inscribed in the book of life, a cradle of
creatures whose feebleness is protected under the wing of Divine Providence, a new cord in the
infinite harp which must vibrate in its place in the universal concert of worlds.
24. Before the planetary bodies have attained a degree of coolness sufficient for
solidification, smaller bodies, veritable liquid globules, are detached from some in the
equatorial plane, — a plane in which the centrifugal force is the greatest, — and which by virtue
of the same laws have acquired a movement of translation around their planetary generatrix,
like theirs around their central astral generator.
Thus the Earth has given birth to the moon, the body of which, being smaller, has cooled
in a shorter time. Now the laws and forces which presided at its detachment from the terrestrial
equator and its movement of translation in this same plane, act in such a way, that this world, in
place of being invested with the spheroid form, takes that of an ovoid globe; that is to say,
having the elongated form of an egg, the center of gravity in the inferior part.
25. The conditions by which the distinctive form of the moon was effected would permit
it scarcely to quit the Earth, and constrain it to remain perpetually suspended in its sky like an
ovoid figure, of which the heaviest parts form the lower face turned toward the Earth, and of
which the least dense parts occupy the summit, which is the side opposed to the Earth, elevating
itself towards the heavens. This is the reason that this body presents continually the same face to
us. It can be likened, in order to better comprehend its geological state, to a globe composed of
cork, of which the base, turned towards the Earth, is formed of lead.
Hence two essentially distinct natures are found upon the surface of the lunar world, — one
without any possible analogy with ours, for fluid and ethereal bodies are unknown to it; the
other, relatively analogous to the Earth, since all the least dense substances are found upon this
hemisphere. The first, perpetually turned towards the Earth, is without atmosphere or water,
except maybe at the boundaries of this sub-terrestrial hemisphere; the other, rich in fluids, is
perpetually opposed to our world. *
* This entirely new theory of the moon explains, by the law of gravitation, the reason why this body
always turns the same face toward the earth. Its center of gravity, instead of being in the center of the
sphere, is to be found upon one of the points of its surface, and, consequently, attracted to the earth by a
greater force than are the lighter parts. The moon produces the effect of figures called Poussahs, which
constantly stand upright upon their base, while the planets, whose centers of gravity are at equal distances
from the surface, turn regularly upon their axes. The vivifying fluids, gaseous or liquid, on account of
their specific lightness, would be found accumulated in the superior hemisphere constantly opposed to the
earth. The inferior hemisphere, the only one we see, must be destitute of them, and consequently
incapable of sustaining life, whilst life would reign on the other. If, then, the upper hemisphere be
inhabited, its inhabitants have never seen the earth, unless by excursions into the other hemisphere, which
would be impossible for them, since it lacks the necessary conditions of vitality. However rational and
scientific this opinion may be, as it has not yet been confirmed by any one direct observation, it can be
accepted only as an hypothesis; and as such it serves as a beacon-star to science. But one has to agree that
up to the present, it is the sole satisfactory explanation of the particularities presented by this satellite.
26. The number and condition of the satellites of every planet have been carried
according to the special conditions of their formation. Some have given birth to no secondary
body, — Mercury, Venus, and Mars25, for instance; whilst others have formed one or many, like
the Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, and others.
27. In addition to its satellites, or moons, the planet Saturn presents a special
phenomenon of the ring, which seems from afar, to surround it like a white aureole. This
formation is to us a new proof of the universality of the laws of nature. This ring is surely the
result of a separation which took place in primitive times in the equator of Saturn, just as an
equatorial zone has been thrown off from the Earth, and formed its satellite. The difference
consists in this that the ring of Saturn was found formed in all its parts of homogeneous
molecules, probably already in a certain state of condensation, and enabled in this manner to
continue its rotary movement in the same way, and in a time nearly equal, to that which
revolves the planet. If one of the points of this ring had been denser than another, one or many
agglomerations of substance would have been suddenly expelled, and Saturn would have
counted many satellites more. Since the time of its formation, this ring has been solidified, as
well as the other planetary bodies.26
28. Wandering stars far more truly than the planets which have received this etymological
designation, the comets should be the guides leading us over the limits of the system, to which
the Earth belongs, carrying us into the far-away regions of sidereal space.
But, before exploring by the aid of these travelers of the universe the celestial domains, it
will be well for us to become acquainted as much as possible with their intrinsic nature and their
role in the planetary economy.
29. Men have often seen in these wandering stars growing worlds, elaborating in their
primitive chaos conditions of life and existence which are bestowed upon inhabited worlds;
others have imagined these extraordinary bodies to be worlds in a state of destruction, and their
singular appearance has been made the subject of erroneous opinions concerning their nature.
Astrology has taught that they foretell coming disasters, and that they were messengers decreed
by Divine Providence to warn the astonished and trembling Earth.
30. The law of variety is applied in such great profuseness in the works of nature, that one
demands how naturalists, astronomers, or philosophers have invented so many systems in order
to link comets to planetary bodies, and in order to see in them only stars more or less advanced
in development or decay. The pictures which nature is ever presenting ought, however, amply to
suffice for the removal from the observer’s mind of all search for parallels which do not exist,
and leave to the comets the modest but useful role of wandering stars serving as advance-guards
for solar empires; for the celestial bodies are found in many forms other than planetary. Comets
have not, like the planets, to fulfill the mission of affording an abiding place for humanity. They
travel in successive journeys from sun to sun, enriching themselves sometimes on their route by
planetary fragments reduced to a vaporous state, bringing to their focuses the vivifying and
renovating principle that they cast upon terrestrial bodies (Chap. IX, n° 12).
31. If one of these bodies should approach our little globe in order to transverse its orbit,
and return to its apogee situated at an immeasurable distance from the sun, let us follow it in
thought, in order to visit with it the sidereal countries. To do so we must leap over the
prodigious expanse of ethereal matter, which separates the sun from the nearest stars; and
observing the combined movements of this body, that one could well believe lost in this desert
of infinitude, we should find there still an eloquent proof of the universality of nature’s laws,
which are exercised in distances the extent of which the most fervid imagination can hardly
There the elliptic form is exchanged for the parabolic; and the tail is lessened at the point
of transition to only a few yards, while at its perigee it would extend many millions of leagues.
Perhaps a more powerful sun, more important than the one it has just quitted, will exert over
this comet a greater attraction, and will receive it into the ranks of its own subjects; and then the
astonished children of your little Earth will wait in vain for the return they had prognosticated
by imperfect observations. In this case, we, whose thought has followed the wandering comet
into those unknown regions, will encounter then a new nation never seen before by terrestrial
eyes, unimaginable by spirits who inhabit the Earth, inconceivable even to their thought; for it
will be the theater of unexplored marvels.
We have arrived at the astral world in this brilliant universe of vast suns which shine in
infinite space, and which are the brilliant flowers of the magnificent garden of creation. Until
we arrive there, we can never know what the Earth really is.
THE MILKY WAY
32. During some beautiful starry, moonless nights, everyone has observed this beautiful
white light which traverses the heavens from one extremity to the other, and which the ancients
have named “The Milky Way” on account of its milky appearance. This diffuse light has long
been explored by the aid of the modern telescope; and this road of powdered gold, or this spring
of milk of antique mythology, has been transformed into a vast field of unknown wonders. The
researches of observers have led to a knowledge of its nature, and have shown that, where the
unaided vision could behold only a feeble light, millions of suns, more important and larger
than that which illuminates the Earth are to be found.
33. The Milky Way indeed is a country sown with solar or planetary flowers which
shine in its vast extent. Our sun and all the bodies accompanying it make a part of these radiant
globes of which the Milky Way is composed; but notwithstanding the sun’s gigantic dimensions
relative to the Earth, and the vastness of Earth’s empire, it occupies, however, only an
unappreciable place in this vast creation. One can count thirty millions of similar suns revolving
in this boundless region, apart from one another by distance more than a hundred thousand
times as great as that of the terrestrial orbit. *
* More than three trillions four hundred billions of leagues.
34. One can judge, by this approximation, of the extent of this sidereal region, and of the
relation which unites our system to the universal whole of the systems which occupy it. We can
thus judge of the comparative smallness of the solar domain, and much more of the
infinitesimality of our little Earth. How, then, are the people who inhabit it to be considered?
When I say diminutiveness of our little Earth, our assertions apply not only to its material
form and to the physical extent of the bodies which we study, but still more, and above all, to
the moral state, to the degree to which they have attained in the universal hierarchy of beings. In this latter phase creation is shown in all its majesty, creating and propagating everything by the
solar world, making manifestations of life and intelligence in each one of the systems which
surround it on every side.
35. One becomes acquainted only in this way with the position occupied by our sun, or
by the Earth in the starry expanse. These considerations will acquire greater weight still if we
reflect that the Milky Way seen from afar represents only an imperceptible and inappreciable
point in the immensity of the sidereal creations. Millions like it exist in space. It is a stellar
nebula. If it appears to us richer and more immense than others, it is for this sole reason that it
surrounds us, and develops itself in its extent under our very eyes; whilst the others, lost in
unfathomable depths, are scarcely to be seen.
36. Now, if one remembers that the Earth, comparatively speaking, is nothing or almost
nothing in the solar system, that the latter is nothing or nearly nothing in the Milky Way, this
latter is nothing or nearly nothing in the universe of nebula, and this universe itself a very little
thing in the midst of the vastness of infinitude, one will begin to comprehend what the terrestrial
37. Those bodies called “fixed stars,” and which constellate the two hemispheres of the
firmament, are not isolated from all exterior attraction as is generally supposed; on the contrary,
they belong to one and the same agglomeration of stellar bodies. This agglomeration is no other
than the nebula of which we form a part, the equatorial plane of which as displayed in the sky
has received the name of “Milky Way.” All the suns which compose it are conjointly
responsible: their collective influences react perpetually upon one another, and universal
gravitation re-unites them all in one family.
38. Among these different suns, the greater number are, like our own, surrounded by
secondary worlds, which they illuminate and make fruitful by the same laws which preside in
the life of our planetary system. Some of them, like Sirius, are thousands of times more
magnificent in dimensions and in grandeur than ours, their role are more important in the
universe, whilst a very great number of planets very superior to ours surround them. Others are
very dissimilar in their astral functions. Thus a certain number of these suns, veritable twins of
the sidereal order, are accompanied by their brothers of the same age, and form in space binary
systems, to which nature has given entirely different functions than those which belong to our
sun. * There the years are measured no more by the same periods, neither are the days measured
by the same suns; and these worlds lighted by a double luminary have received a share of
conditions of existence unimaginable to those who have not emerged from this little terrestrial
Other stars without attendants, deprived of planets, have received the best elements of
habitability which are given to any of them. The laws of nature are diversified in this
immensity; and, if unity is the watchword of the universe, infinite variety is no less the eternal
* This is what we call in Astronomy binary stars (double stars). They are two suns, one revolving around
the other, as a planet does around its sun. What a strange and magnificent show the inhabitants of these
worlds, comprised of these systems illuminated by double suns, should enjoy! But also, how different the
conditions of life should be there!
In a latter communication, the spirit of Galileo affirms: “There are, indeed, more complex systems in
which different suns, one facing the other, perform the role of satellites. Marvelous effects of light are
then produced for the inhabitants of the globes they illuminate. In fact, despite the apparent proximity of
one to the other, inhabited worlds can revolve amongst them and receive alternatively the waves of
diversely colored light, in whose union comprises the white light.
39. Notwithstanding the prodigious number of these stars and their systems, in spite of
the immeasurable distances which separate them, they all belong to the same stellar nebula
which the most powerful telescopic vision can scarcely traverse, and which the boldest
conceptions of the imagination can scarcely attain unto, — a nebula which, nevertheless, is only
a unit in the order of nebula which compose the astral world.
40. The stars which they call fixed are not immovable in space. The constellations which
they have imagined to be in the vault of the firmament are not really symbolical creations. The
distance from the Earth and the appearance of the universe measured from this station are the
two causes of this double optical illusion (Chap. V, n° 12).
41. We have seen that the totality of the stars which shine in the azure dome is enclosed
in a cosmic agglomeration, in the same nebula which you call Milky Way; but, although all
belong to this same group, all of the stars are no less animated by their own translation
movement in space. Absolute repose exists nowhere. They are regulated by the universal laws
of gravitation, and revolve in space under the incessant impulsion of this immense power. They
revolve, not in routes traced by chance, but following certain orbits of which the center is
occupied by a superior star. In order to render my words more comprehensible, as an example, I
will speak specially of your sun.
42. One knows, by modern observations that the sun is not fixed or a central point, as
they believed it to be in the early days of modern astronomy, but that it advances in space,
drawing with it its vast system of planets, satellites, and comets.
Now this march is not casual: it does not wander about in the infinite voids, to be lost far
away from the regions assigned to it, its children, and subjects. No; its orbit is measured,
concurrently with other suns of the same order as itself, and surrounded like itself with a certain
number of inhabited worlds, it gravitates around a central sun. Its movement of gravitation, the
same as that of other suns (its brothers), is inestimable by annual observation; for a great
number of earthly centuries would hardly suffice to mark the time of one of these astral years.
43. The central sun, of which we have just spoken, is itself a globe, comparatively
speaking, secondary to another still more important one, around which it is perpetually traveling
with a slow and measured march in company with other suns of the same order.
We might contemplate this successive subordination of suns to suns till our imaginations
became weary of ascending through such a vast a hierarchy; for, let us not forget that they can
count in round numbers thirty millions of suns in the Milky Way, subordinate to one another,
like the gigantic machinery of an immense system.
44. And these stars, so innumerable, live, each and every one, a conjointly responsible
life. For nothing in the economy of your little terrestrial sphere lives a lonely, detached life,
which rule extends to the whole boundless universe.
These systems upon systems would appear from afar, to the eye of the philosophical
investigator who could comprehend the picture developed by space and time, like pearl and gold dust blown into whirlwinds by the divine breath which makes sidereal worlds fly through
the heavens like grains of sand through the desert.
More immovability, more silence, more night! The great spectacle which would then
display itself before our eyes would be the real creation, immense and full of that ethereal life
which the all-seeing eye of the Creator embraces in its boundless vision.
But until now we have spoken only of a nebula. Its millions of suns, its myriads of
inhabited Earths, form, as we have said before, only an island in the infinite archipelago.
DESERTS OF SPACE
45. An immense wilderness, without limits, extends beyond the agglomeration of stars, of
which we have just spoken, and surrounds it. Solitudes succeed to solitudes, and immeasurable
plains extend through the far reaching expanse. Masses of cosmic matter are found everywhere
isolated in space like islands in a vast archipelago. If one can appreciate, in some measure, the
enormous distance which separates the mass of stars, of which we form a part, from the
collections nearest to them, it is necessary to know that these stellar islands are disseminated
sparsely in the vast ocean of the heavens, and that the extent of space dividing them is
immeasurably greater than their respective dimensions.
Now, we must remember that the stellar nebula measure, taken as a unity, a thousand
times the distance between the nearest stars; that is to say, some hundred thousand trillions of
leagues. The distance between them being much vaster could not be expressed in numbers
comprehensible by your minds. The imagination alone, in its highest conceptions, is capable of
attaining to this prodigious immensity. These mute solitudes, destitute of all appearance of life,
can give one the idea, in some measure, of this relative infinity.
46. This celestial desert, however, which surrounds our sidereal universe, and which
appears to extend like the distant confines of our astral world, is embraced by the infinite power
of the Almighty, who, beyond these heavens of our heavens, has developed the screen of his
47. Beyond these vast solitudes, indeed, world radiate in untold magnificence, as well as in
regions accessible to human investigation. Beyond these wildernesses splendid oasis float in the
limpid ether, and incessantly renew beautiful scenes of activity and life. There, in the far-away
distance, are displayed aggregations of cosmic substance utterly beyond the range of the
telescope through the transparent regions of our heavens. These nebula that you call diffuse, and
which appear to you like clouds of white dust lost in the unknown depths of ethereal space,
when revealed, develop new worlds, whose strange and varied conditions, when compared with
those inherent in your globe, endow them with modes of life of which your imagination cannot
conceive, nor your studies explain. There creative power shines resplendently in all its plenitude
before him who comes from regions occupied by your system. Other laws are there in activity,
whose forces rule the manifestations of life; and the novel routes we follow in these strange
regions open up to us unknown perspectives. *
* Diffuse nebula is the name given in astronomy to a nebula whose clusters of stars, as of yet,
are unidentifiable. At first they had been considered as an agglomeration of cosmic matter in the process
of condensation to form worlds. Presently however this appearance is thought to be due to its distance,
and that with powerful enough instruments they would all be definable.
Though imperfect, a familiar comparison can give us an idea of the definable nebulae: They are
like groups of sparkles projected by fireworks, at the moment of explosion. To us, each of the sparkles
would represent a star, and the set would be the nebula, or the group of stars drawn together in a point of
space, subjected to a common law of attraction and of movement. Seen from a distance, these sparkles
are barely distinguishable and its group has the appearance of a small cloud of smoke. This comparison
is not exact, as it refers to a mass of condensed cosmic matter.
Our Milky Way is one of these nebulae; we count approximately 30 million stars or suns in it
(see footnote n° 29). It occupies no less than some hundreds of trillion leagues of extension, even though
it is not the largest. Let us suppose that only an average of 20 inhabited planets revolves around each sun;
this would give us an approximate total of 600 million worlds, for our group alone.
If we could transport ourselves from our nebula to another, there we would feel like we were in
the middle of our own Milky Way, though with skies full of stars in a way completely different than ours.
Despite its colossal dimensions, from a distance this Milky Way would appear to us as a small lenticular
speck, lost in infinity. Before reaching the nebula, we would feel like the traveler who leaves a city and
travels through a vast uninhabited country, before arriving at another city. We would have traversed
incommensurable spaces, devoid of stars and worlds, that which Galileo called “deserts of the space.” As
we advanced, we would see behind us a fleeting view of our nebula. While ahead of us we would see that
(galaxy) in whose direction we were heading to, becoming more and more clearer, similarly to the mass
of sparkles from the fireworks. By transporting ourselves in thought to regions of the space located ahead
of the archipelago of our nebula, we would see all around us millions of similar and diverse forms of
archipelagos, each of them encompassing millions of suns and hundreds of millions of inhabited worlds.
All of that which can help us to associate ourselves with the vastness of the extension and of the
structure of the Universe is useful to enhance our ideas, so restricted by ordinary beliefs. God grows
before our eyes, as we better understand the greatness of these works, while recognizing our own inferior
place. As seen, we are far from the belief implemented by the Mosaic Genesis, which makes our small
imperceptible Earth God’s chief creation, and its inhabitants, the sole objects of his concern. We
comprehend the vanity of those who believe that all in the universe was made for them, and of those who
dare to discuss the existence of the Supreme Being. Some centuries from now it will be a motive of
wonder that a religion made to glorify God, has demoted him to such miserly proportions; and has
repelled and considered as being conceived by the spirit of evil the discoveries which could have no other
result but that of augmenting our admiration for the divine omnipotence, upon initiating us to the
grandiose mysteries of the creation. It will be a motive of even greater astonishment when it becomes
known that such teachings were repelled, for they should have emancipated the spirit of mankind and
oppose the preponderance of those who claimed to be God’s representatives on earth.
THE ETERNAL SUCCESSION OF WORLDS
48. We have seen that one primordial and general law alone has been given to the
universe in order to insure eternal stability, and that this universal law is perceptible to our
senses by means of the many modes of operation we call the directing forces of nature. We are
going to show today that the harmony of the entire universe, considered under the double aspect of eternity and of space, is assured by this supreme law.
49. Indeed, if we go back to the primitive origin or first agglomerations of cosmic
substance, we must remark that, already under the empire of this law, matter is submitted to the
necessary transformations which develop from the germ to the ripe fruit, and that, under the
impulsion of diverse forces of this law, the Earth climbs over the ladder of its periodical
revolutions. At first the fluidic center of motion, generator of worlds, thence the central and
attractive nucleus of spheres which have been cradled on its bosom.
We know already that one law presides throughout the history of cosmos. That which it is
important for us to know now is that it presides equally at the destruction of astral bodies; for
death is not only a metamorphosis for living beings, but a transformation for inanimate matter.
If it is correct to say, in the literal sense, that all life is amenable to the scythe of death, it is also
just to add that all substance must of necessity submit to the inherent transformations of its
50. Here is a world that from its cradle has passed through all the succession of years
allotted to it by its special organization; the interior focus of its existence is extinguished: its
elements have lost their original virtue. The phenomena of nature which claimed for their
production the presence and action of forces found in this world, henceforth cannot present
themselves, because the lever of their activity can no longer sustain them.
Now, what would one think if this extinguished Earth, without life, should continue to
gravitate in celestial space without an object and pass like a useless cinder in the whirlwind of
the heavens? Can any of us think it should remain inscribed in the book of universal life when it
is only a dead letter denuded of meaning? No; the same laws which have elevated it above the
dead chaos, and which have adorned it with the splendors of life, the same forces which have
governed it throughout its adolescence, which have supported its first steps in existence, and
which have conducted it to a ripe old age, preside at the disintegration of its constituent
elements, in order to render it in the laboratory from which creative power draws unceasingly
the means of general stability. These elements return to this common mass of ether in order to
assimilate with other bodies, or to help in the formation of other suns. And this death will
neither be a useless event to this or to its sister planets. It will renew in other regions other
creations of a different nature; and there, where some systems of worlds have vanished, will
soon be born a new and more brilliant garden of flowers, more beauteous and fragrant still.
51. Thus the real and effective eternity of the universe is assured by the same laws which
direct the operations of time. Thus worlds succeed to worlds, suns to suns, without the immense
mechanism of the heavens ever reaching the limit of its gigantic resources.
There, where your eyes admire the splendid stars under the vault of night, — there,
where your mind contemplates the magnificent radiance, resplendent in far-distant space —
through countless ages, the finger of death has extinguished these splendors. Long ago void has
succeeded to this radiance, and received new creations yet unknown. It takes millions of years
for the light of these stars to reach us, by reason of their immense distance from us; and the rays
that we receive today are those that were sent in our direction a long time before the formation
of this Earth. We continue to admire them long ages after their extinction.*
What are the six thousand years of historic humanity compared with the measureless ages before them? Seconds to your ages! What are your astronomical observations compared with the actual state of the universe? The shadow eclipsed by the sun.
* Here there is an effect of the time the light takes to cross the space. Scientists have defined the speed of light in a vacuum to be exactly 299,792,458 meters per second (about 186,000 miles per second). Since the mean distance of the earth from the sun is 149,503,000 km (92,897,000 mi), it takes approximately 8 minutes and 30 seconds from the sun to earth. From this results that a phenomenon that takes place on the surface of the sun will only be perceived eight minutes later; and for the same reason, we will see it only eight minutes after its disappearance. If, due to its distance, the light of a star takes a thousand years to reach us, we cannot see this star until a thousand years after its formation. (For complete explanation and description of this phenomenon, see the “Revue Spirite” of March and May of 1867, pgs. 93 and 151; clarifications from “Lumen,” by M. C. Flammarion).
52. Here, then, as in our other studies, let us recognize that Earth and man are as
nothingness compared to that which is; and that the most colossal operations of our minds
extend yet only near unto the confines of an immensity and eternity of existence in a universe
which will have no end.
And when measureless periods in our immortality shall have passed over our heads, when
the actual history of the Earth will appear to us like a vaporous shadow in the depth of our
remembrance, when we shall have inhabited during countless ages all the multiple degrees of
our cosmological hierarchy, when the most distant domains shall have in future, ages been
passed through by innumerable peregrinations, we shall have still before us an unlimited
succession of worlds, — an unending eternity for perspective.
53. This immortality of souls, of which the system of the physical world is the base, has
appeared to be imaginary in the eyes of certain thinkers. They have ironically styled it the
immortal traveler, and failed to comprehend that the soul possessed immortal life before this
world was made. However, it is possible to make them comprehend all the grandeur of it, — I
would say, nearly all the perfection of it.
54. That the works of God are created for thought and intelligence, that the worlds are the
abodes of beings who contemplate them, and who discover under their veil the power and
wisdom of Him who formed them, is no longer doubtful to us; but that the souls who people
them are harmoniously linked together is what is important for us to understand.
55. Human intelligence, indeed, does not really take it in the existence of these radiant
globes which scintillate in space as simple masses of inert matter without life. It scarcely
dreams that there are in these far-distant regions magnificent twilights and splendid nights,
fruitful suns and days full of light, valleys and mountains where the multiple productions of
nature have been developed in all their luxuriant pomp, and that a realm so admirably adapted
to the enfoldment of every potency of the soul should remain forever destitute of conscious life.
56. But to this eminently just idea of creation it is necessary to add that of the unity of
humanity; and it is in this that the mystery of the future exists.
One and the same human family has been created throughout the universe of worlds; and
the ties of a fraternity yet unappreciated on your part bind you to these worlds, and they to you.
If these astral bodies which harmonize in their vast systems are inhabited by intelligences, it is
not by beings unknown to one another, but by beings marked in the forehead with the same
destiny, who needed to encounter one another for the discharge of their functions of life, which
cannot be discharged apart from their mutual sympathies. There is one great family of spirits
populating the celestial worlds. There is one grand radiance of the eternal spirit embracing the
expanse of the boundless universe, and which remains as a primal and final type of spiritual
57. By what strange aberration could we refuse belief in the immortality of the vast
regions of ether, when we enclose it within an inadmissible limit and an absolute duality? Ought
not, then, the true system of the universe to precede the true dogmatic doctrine, and science the
theology? Will it deviate as to the point of establishing its base upon metaphysics? The reply is
readily given, and shows us that the new philosophy will be triumphantly enthroned upon the
ruins of the old, because its base will be victoriously elevated above ancient errors.
THE PLURALITY OF WORLDS
58. You have followed us in our celestial excursions, and you have visited with us the
immense regions of space. We have seen suns succeed to suns, systems to systems, and nebula
to nebula. The splendid harmonious panorama of cosmos has been unfolded before our eyes,
and we have received a foretaste of the idea of infinitude, which we can comprehend in all its
extent only in a future state of perfection. The mysteries of ether have unveiled their secret hitherto incomprehensible, and we have conceived at least an idea of the universality of things.
It is important now to pause and reflect.
59. It is well, without doubt, to have recognized the smallness of the Earth, and mediocre
importance in the hierarchy of worlds. It is wise to have lowered the human arrogance so dear to
us, and to have become humiliated in the presence of absolute grandeur; but it will be much
more satisfactory to interpret with the moral sense the spectacle to which we have been
witnesses. I desire to speak of the infinite power of nature, and of the idea which we ought to
form of its mode of action in the diverse extend of the universe.
60. Habituated, as we are, to judge of things by our poor little sojourn here, we imagine
that nature has not been able to act, or ought not to act in other worlds, except in accordance
with the rules which we have recognized here below. Now it is precisely in this respect that it is
important to reform our judgment.
Cast your eyes upon any region whatsoever of your globe, and upon anyone of the
productions of its nature. Do you not recognize there the seal of an infinite variety, and the
proof of an unequalled activity? Do you not see upon the wing of the little canary-bird, upon the
petals of an opening rosebud, the fascinating fecundity of this beautiful nature?
When your studies are applied to the winged beings which cleave the air, — when they
descend to the violet of the woods, to the depths of the ocean, — in all and everywhere you read
this universal truth: All-powerful nature acts according to place, time, and circumstances. It is a
unit in its general harmony, but a multiple in its productions; it handles a sun as a drop of water;
it peoples an immense world with living beings, with the same facility as it opens the egg
deposited by the autumn insect.
61. Now, if such is the variety that nature has been able to depict in all places on this little
world, so narrow, so limited, what can you imagine of its action in larger worlds, so great in
extent, which far more fully than the Earth attest her unknown perfection?
Do you not then see, around each one of the suns in space, systems similar to your
planetary system? But you do not see that these planets support the three kingdom of nature that
develops around you. For, as no two human faces are exactly similar, this same prodigious,
unimaginable variety has been displayed in the abodes of ether which float on the breasts of
Since animated nature commences with the zoophyte and ends with man, since the
atmosphere feeds terrestrial life, since the liquid element is incessantly renewed, since your
seasons are succeeded in this life by the phenomena which divide them, do not conclude that the
millions on millions of worlds which roll in space are similar to this: far from it. They differ
according to the diverse conditions which have been developed on them, and according to their
respective roles in the drama of the universe: they are varied gems in an immense mosaic,
diversified flowers in a super garden.