12 Chapter XII


The ancients thought that Ether filled the sky, and was the home of the Gods. It was contended by Aristotle that it extended from the fixed stars down to the moon. Modern science has heretofore contended that all space is filled with a substance having rigidity and elasticity, with a density equal to our atmosphere at a height of about 210 miles – easily displaced by any moving mass – compared to an all-prevailing fluid or derivative of gases through which heat and light are constantly throbbing.

In Modem Views on Electricity, Sir Oliver Lodge, speaking the last word concerning Ether, says:

“It is one continuous substance filling all space; which can vibrate as light, which, under certain unknown conditions, can be modified or analyzed into positive and negative electricity; which can constitute matter; and can transmit, by continuity and not by impact, every action and reaction of which matter is capable. This is the modern view of the Ether and its functions. The most solid substance in the world is not iron, is not lead, is not gold, is not any of the things that impress our sense as extremely dense. The most solid thing in existence is the very thing which for generations has been universally regarded as the lightest, the most imperceptible, the most utterly tenuous and evanescent beyond definition or computation; it is the Ether. The Ether is supposed to permeate everything, to be everywhere, to penetrate all objects, to extend throughout all space. The Earth moves through it; the sun and all the stars have their being and their motion in and through the Ether; it carries light and electricity and all forms of radiation. Nobody has ever seen it, or rendered it evident to touch or to any other sense. It escapes all efforts to feel it, to weigh it, to subject it to any kind of scientific experiment. It plays no part in mechanics. It neither adds to nor takes away from the width or substance of any known substance. We are assured by some of the highest authorities that the ether is millions of times more dense than platinum, one of the most solid metals known.”

Surrounding us and filling what we know as space and permeating all things, is that substance termed Ether. It is a subtle essence hard to define that is in the atmosphere we breathe, highly sensitive, through which the light of the sun travels in undulating waves, but just as much a substance as the very rocks and stones. There is a gross Ether and there is also a refined Ether. Through the medium of the grosser Ether we send our ethergrams, but of the finer, more sensitive ether, we know but little.

The suggestion that all life has etheric form is entirely new. Whether we are advanced enough to appreciate a proposition so beyond our experience, is a question, but a moment’s reflection, and we do comprehend that all life comes from the invisible, and ultimately goes back to the invisible. The unseen then is the real, and the seen, the result of invisible causes. There is a world within a world, all contained in this wondrous universe. We see and touch only the outer garment of the etheric universe which, temporarily clothed with gross material, is working out its development. A directive intelligence has made all Nature’s laws, through which each inhabited planet moves and has its being, has its domain in the invisible. The invisible then becomes a legitimate field of inquiry.

I am assured by those versed in the physics of the afterlife, with whom I have speech, that all life, down to the atom, and beyond, has etheric form; that every atom that makes up the mass of rock; that every molecule of earth that covers the barren stone; that every grain of sand that forms the ocean shore; that every seed, and plant, and shrub, and tree; that every drop of water that flows in creeks, falls as rain, or constitutes the lakes and seas – all have etheric form. The etheric requires for growth a covering of matter lower in vibration than itself, the same as the seed planted in the earth, and in that outer garment it increases and reaches a higher development. No life force can exist in the physical unless it has a garment suitable for that purpose. Dissociate the etheric form from the outer garment, and the individual can no longer remain an inhabitant of this sphere, dissolution has taken place. Could we follow into the conditions beyond we would ultimately find that every star and constellation has etheric as well as physical form, and that they are visible only because they are clothed with gross material, the same as our own planet, for all laws hold continuity throughout the Universe.

It is the etheric body that sees, hears, feels, smells, and tastes, evidenced by the fact that the physical body has none of the five senses when separated from the etheric. The ear, for instance, with its complicated chamber and auditory nerves, really hears through the etheric brain. Sever the nerves, destroy the tympanum, and you destroy the communication; put any of the very fine mechanism of the auditory chamber out of commission, and you either cannot hear at all, or at best very imperfectly. Every concussion causes an ever widening circle in the atmosphere, that is, in the ether of the atmosphere, which at last reaches the auditory chamber, communicates with those fine nerves and with the brain. By that wonderful process we understand the difference between harmony and in harmony, between sweet sounds and discords. Similarly, through a disturbance set up in the ether we understand language.

Horses, cattle and sheep will exist and wax fat on grass and water. Put them all together in an enclosed field in a tropical country and keep them there indefinitely, what happens? They feed on identically the same food, and multiply; the flesh covering wastes and is from day to day replaced, a complete change being ultimately brought about. Why do they not inter-breed, why does each hold individual form? It is solely because each has an invisible form, that is a form composed of matter in a very high state of vibration which holds continuity, having reached the state termed etheric, at which point the life form neither disintegrates nor enters into new combinations. Man differs from the animal only in development. At the moment of conception, he possesses an etheric body, minute and perfect beyond comprehension, and if permitted to inhabit the physical body for the usual period of time, attains a normal growth.

When by heat we break down the outer garment of a lump of coal, when the physical will no longer hold the energy, the life, or the etheric form, the two are dissociated; in other words, the energy or life-form escapes, to pass into some other state; the outer garment, the cinder or ash on the other hand returns from whence it came, ultimately to be taken up by another form of life, until in time it shall have been so refined that it will hold continuity because it has become etheric. And all this to demonstrate that man is a part of one stupendous whole, evolved from the etheric life in the mass, refined to the point where he holds individuality. Death, so-called, is the passing out of the individual spirit or etheric body from the flesh covering. Released from that outer garment it becomes an inhabitant of a plane where all is etheric, but to the etheric sense and touch all things are just as tangible, real, and natural as when in earth life.

It is utterly impossible for a human being to understand the change in which death so-called occurs unless he realizes that every individual possesses a spirit form composed of etheric atoms, just as much matter as the flesh garment that is visible and tangible. Knowing that fact, he can then understand that dissolution is simply the separation of the physical from the etheric body when the former by accident, disease, or age can no longer obey the will of the occupant. When the physical body can no longer do its part, the spirit or etheric body, by a natural law, abandons the flesh garment, and by that act ceases to be an inhabitant of the earth-plane. This is all that occurs at the time of dissolution.