23. Although, during life, the spirit is chained to the body by the perispirit, it is not such a slave that it cannot lengthen its chain, and transport itself to afar in some point in space or upon the Earth. The spirit is only with regret attached to the body, because his normal life is liberty, whilst the corporeal one is like that of a serf bound to the soil.
The spirit is then as happy to leave his body as the bird is to leave its cage. It seizes all occasions for freeing itself from it, and profits by all instances where its presence is not necessary to the relation of life. It is the phenomenon designated under the name of emancipation of the soul. It takes place in sleep. Every time that the body reposes and the senses are inactive, the spirit releases itself. (See “The Spirits’ Book,” chap. 8.)
In these moments the spirit sees spiritual life, whilst the body sees only vegetative life. It is partially in the state in which it will be after death; it passes through space, converses with friends, and other free or incarnated spirits like itself.
The fluidic-link which holds it to the body is not broken until death. A complete separation does not take place until the absolute extinction of the activity of the vital principle. So long as the body lives, the spirit, at whatever distance it may be, is instantly recalled to it as soon as its presence is necessary; then it resumes its relation with the course of exterior life. Sometimes, upon the awakening of the body, it preserves the remembrance of its peregrinations, – an impression more or less distinct, which constitutes a dream. It is en rapport, in all cases, with the intuitions which are suggested to it by new thoughts and ideas, and justify the proverb, “Night brings counsel and advice.”
Thus are also explained certain characteristic phenomena of natural and magnetic somnambulism, catalepsy, lethargy, ecstasy, etc., and which are none other than manifestations of spiritual life. *
* See examples of lethargy and catalepsy: “Revue Spirite,” Madame Schwabenhaus, Sept., 1858, p. 255; The Young Cataleptic of Souabe, Jan., 1866, p. 18.