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Last revised: 17 September 2008

Spirit Hierarchy and Government - The Spirit Planes

"Government" by Natural Law

There is no 'parliament' in the spirit world because there is no need to make laws to regulate the lives of the people who dwell there.

The natural law takes care of people in the spirit world because they are confronted with it in a form which is inescapable. They no longer have physical bodies; the problem of physical life does not concern them. They are now expressing themselves in spiritual form and the natural law is in operation. There is no need for any intermediary. (Silver Birch, SBA, 64.)

However hard you look, you'll see no signs whatever of any form of government. (1) It is there, nonetheless. I dare say you were thinking in terms of legislatures, acts of parliament, by-laws, orders-in-council, decrees, and many more horrors of ordered life on earth. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson to new arrival Roger in MALIWU, 146)

(1) By forms, Msgr Benson means parliaments, law courts, police, etc.

The truth is ... that our "government" is by natural laws and therefore the best in the whole universe. Better, a million times, than anything that could ever be devised from man's ingenuity. Natural laws need no enforcing; they enforce themselves.

The natural laws on earth are not so easily perceived. Few, for instance, can see the natural law at work when thoughts are emitted. We can here, and their effect. Obviously, some of those laws have no effect whatever on earth. If you had tried to shift your physical body by the power of thought, as you are able to do now, Roger, you would have remained where you were. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson to new arrival Roger in MALIWU, 146-7.)

Not Democracy, but Hierarchy

We spirits are not a democracy but a hierarchy - an ordered grade of beings, ascending beyond our capacity even here to follow its upward ranges. But there is no injustice. Each occupies / its position by reason of capacity and fitness. Democracy on earth will fail unless it becomes a brotherhood [of] older and younger brothers. (Philemon [Archdeacon Wilberforce] in LFOS, 28.)

We are banded together, and live under the government of wiser and higher spirits, even as ye are governed. (1) (Bishop Wilberforce in Moses, MSTSW, n.p.)

(1) I do not know if Archdeacon Wilberforce (i.e., Philemon) and Bishop Wilberforce are the same individual. It is possible that they are.

Life in my world is regulated by people who dwell on that particular plane of expression. (Silver Birch, SBA, 57.)

All is known by the powers that be. There is a hierarchy of evolved beings, some of whom have never incarnated in your world. They are charged with fulfilling the divine plan. It is an overall one, and encompasses everything and everybody. (Silver Birch, LSB, 36.)

I have taken counsel with the wise ones who are part of the hierarchy charged with the vital task on which we are all engaged. It is to demonstrate the supremacy of the spirit and all its accompanying gifts so that your world may become richer in beauty and grandeur. Gradually it will rid itself of the greed, selfishness, disruption, violence and all that prevents it from being the kingdom of heaven upon earth. (Silver Birch, LSB, 104.)

When we said "the powers which watch over the world," we did not, of course, mean to localize these powers on one side of this planet, but to imply the all-enveloping watch which the heavenly powers keep about the sphere which is called Earth. These powers are resident in zones of which the Earth itself is the centre, and they lie in concentric circles around it. (Astriel in G. Vale Owens, LBV1, 216.)

And so the Earth is enveloped by, and included in and affected by the spiritual powers, of varying degree and kind, entrusted by the Creator - God - to all these ministers of all these spheres which are around it. (Astriel in G. Vale Owens, LBV1, 217.)

'You have some sort of government, have you not?'

"Yes, we are held to account in various ways. We receive instructions from higher intelligences, and report to them of success or failure. But there is no unreasoning tyranny, remember that. For instance, if I have a talent in some one direction, I may be asked to use that talent. Or if I need instruction in some direction, I may be asked to seek that instruction. All is meant for our development, and for our more intelligent or capable service."

'Then you have nothing that corresponds to our political government?'

"No, for all here is the process of development, and the best good is the one thought."

'How do those in authority gain their position?'

"Can you compare it with the system on earth a little? There are teachers above us who are wiser than we. They come to us to help direct our efforts. Above them are wiser ones still, - I mean those who have been here longer, and have been led into higher knowledge. /

It is like the grades of school, just a little. But the authority in its finality must come from an all-wise ruler whom you call God. And we look up to Christ as his representative among the spheres and circles.

"Then can you understand that the teachers come to us with the authority of goodness and purity of character, and wisdom derived from the higher influences and the higher studies? Character, wisdom, love, service: these are the characteristics of the teachers who help us, who make our laws, and lead us into the higher knowledge and service." (Unnamed spirit communicator to Charlotte Dresser, SWSL, 101-2.)

Each Realm has a Ruler

The natural laws are not the only means of what might be called government here. We have rulers. ... Each realm has its ruler. That's not a strictly accurate term, though we do use it. ... He doesn't [strictly rule]. He presides, and that is very different. I'm talking about the realms of light now. You can see for yourself how much pleasanter and easier it makes life.

No falling of one government merely to make way for another equally bad or stupid or ineffective. No political fanatics with insane and inane ideas and, what is most important, no individuals holding office who are totally unfitted for it. If the people of earth would like to settle some of their worst problems, the spirit world could give them a hint or two on how to do it. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson to new arrival Roger in MALIWU, 147.)

Although each realm has its own resident ruler, all the rulers belong to a higher sphere than that over which they preside. The position is such that it calls for high attributes on the part of its holder, and the office is held only by those who have had long residence in the spirit world. Many of them have been here thousands of years. Great spirituality is not alone sufficient; if it were, there are many wonderful souls who could hold such office with distinction.

A ruler must possess a great deal of knowledge and experience of humanity, and in addition he must always be able to exercise wise discretion in dealing with the various matters that come before him. And all the ruler's experience and knowledge, all his sympathy and understanding, are ever at the disposal of the inhabitants of his realm, while his kindness and infinite patience are always in evidence. This great soul is ever accessible to any who wish to consult him or who bring him their problems for solution. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 130.)

A ruler's knowledge of the people over whom he presides is vast. Lest it should be thought that it is humanly impossible for one mind to carry so much knowledge of the affairs of so many people as there must be in one realm, it must be understood that the mind of the incarnate is limited in its range of action by the physical brain. In the spirit world we have no physical brain to hamper us, and our minds are fully and completely retentive of all knowledge that comes to us. We do not forget things we have learned in the spirit world, whether they be spiritual lessons or plain facts. But it takes time, as you would say, to learn, and that is why the rulers of realms have spent many thousands of earthly years in the spirit world because they are placed in charge of so many people.

For the rulers have to guide and direct them, help them in their work, and unite with them in their recreation, to be an inspiration to them, and to act towards them, in every sense of the word, as a devoted father. There is no such thing as unhappiness in this realm - if for no other reason than that it would be impossible with such a grand soul to smooth away the troubles. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 131.)

Many of [the rulers who preside over the realms here] have been living here thousands of years. It requires the highest attributes to become one: for example, knowledge of humanity and sympathy, understanding, and discretion; patience, kindness, and spirituality. Those are a few that are demanded. A ruler's knowledge is prodigious. At least that is how it would appear to earthly eyes. But you know ... how memories work here. It's safe to say that the ruler of a realm has a vast knowledge of the people under his care and that is what makes him so very different from other folk. For one thing, the rulers belong / to realms higher than those over which they preside. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 148-9.)

Monsignor Benson Visits the Ruler of the Spirit Realms

But over and above the rulers is one who is the greatest of them all, and he is the ruler of the spirit world. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 149.)

[Ruth and I] have ... visited the high abode of the greatest of them all. ... Omar is himself in personal attendance upon him; is, in fact, his right hand. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 90.)

[The Chaldean, Omar] came, he said, with an invitation from the great soul whom we had assembled to honor upon that memorable day in the temple for us to visit him at his own home in the high realm in which he lived. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 190.)

The illustrious personage, towards whose home in the high realms we were making our way, was known by sight to every soul in the realms of light. His wish was always treated as a command and his word was law. The blue, white and gold in his robe, evidence in such enormous proportions, revealed the stupendous degree of his knowledge, spirituality, and wisdom. There were thousands who named Him as their 'beloved master,' the principal among whom being the Chaldean [Omar], who was His 'right hand.' As to his special function, he was the ruler of all the realms of the spirit world (1) and he exercised collectively that function which the particular ruler of a realm exercises individually. All other rulers, therefore, were responsible to him and he, as it were, united the realms and welded them into one, making them one vast universe, created and upheld by the Great Father of all.

To attempt to define the immense magnitude of his powers in the spirit world would be to essay the impossible. Even were it possible, understanding would fail. Such powers have no counterpart, no comparison, even, with any administrative powers upon the earth-plane. Earthly minds can only conjure up those individuals who ruled great kingdoms upon earth, who held sway over vast territories, it may be, but who did so through fear alone, and where all who lived under him lived as serfs and slaves.

No earthly king throughout the whole narrative of the history of the earth world ever presided over a state so vast as that presided over by this illustrious personage of whom I am speaking. And his kingdom is ruled by the great universal law of true affection. Fear does not, could not, exist in the minutest, tiniest fraction because there is not, and cannot be, the slightest cause for it. Nor will there ever be. He is the great living visible link between the Father, the Creator of the Universe, and His children. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 192.)

(1) My surmise is that by "all the realms of the spirit world" Msgr Benson means all the subplanes of the Astral Plane. Otherwise, if the exalted spirit were ruler over all the spirit world, I am hard-pressed to know how Msgr Benson could even see him.

But notwithstanding the supreme elevation of his spiritual position, he descends from his celestial home to visit us here in these realms, as I have to describe to you in a former occasion. And it is permissible for others of incomparably lesser degree to visit him in his own home.

There is nothing unsubstantial, vague or unreal about this regal being. We have beheld him on those great festival days that we have in the spirit world. He is not some 'spiritual experience,' some grand upliftment of the soul produced within us by some invisible means from some invisible source. He is a real living person, as firm as reality as we are ourselves - and we are more real than are you upon the earth-plane, though you are not conscious of it yet! ...

There are mistaken notions that the beings of the highest realms are so ethereal as to be practically invisible except to others of their kind and that they are utterly and completely unapproachable; that no mortal of lesser degree could possibly view them and survive. (1) It is commonly held that these beings are so immeasurably higher than the rest of us that it will be countless eons of time before we shall ever be permitted to cast our eyes upon them even from a remote distance.

That is sheer nonsense. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 192-3.)

(1) Certainly many orders of angels are completely unapproachable and we could not view them and remain unaffected. I do not think Msgr Benson is correct in his statements here.

[The Chaldean, Omar] came behind us and allowed his hands to rest upon our heads for a brief moment. ... The Chaldean told us that by placing his hands upon our heads ... would ... have the effect, in addition to giving us power to travel, of adjusting our vision to the extra intensity of light that we should encounter in the high realm. ... The Chaldean asked us to make ourselves completely passive and to remember that we were upon a journey for our enjoyment and not as a test of our spiritual endurance. 'And now, my friends,' said he, 'our arrival is awaited. So let us be off.'

We immediately felt ourselves to be floating, but this sensation ceased abruptly after what seemed but a second of time, and thereafter we had no sense of movement whatever. A light flashed before our eyes. It was extremely bright, but it was by no means startling. It vanished as quickly as it came and coincidental with its disappearance I could feel the solid ground under my feet. And then the first vision of this high realm opened before our eyes.

We were in a dimension of unparalleled beauty. There is no imagination upon the earth-plane that can visualize such inexpressible beauty and I can give you only some meager details of what we saw in the limited terms of the earth-plane.

We were standing within the realm of a king - that was evident to us at once. We stood upon an elevation some height above the city; our good friends had taken us to this particular location to present us with this superb view. It would not be possible, they said, to spend more than a limited period here, and so it was the wish of the Chaldean's master that we should see as much as possible within that period.

Stretching before us was the wide stream of a river, looking calm, peaceful, and overwhelmingly lovely as the heavenly sun touched every tiny wave with a myriad tints and tones. Occupying a central position in the view, and upon the right bank of the river, was a spacious terrace built to the water's edge. It seemed to be composed of the most delicate alabaster. A broad flight of steps led up to the most magnificent building that the mind could ever contemplate.

It was several stories high, each of them being arranged in a series of orders, so that each occupied a gradually diminishing area until the topmost was reached. Its exterior appearance was, if anything, almost plain and unadorned, and it was obvious why this should be so. The whole edifice was exclusively composed of sapphire, diamond, and topaz, or, at least, their celestial equivalent. These three precious stones constituted the crystalline embodiment of the three colours blue, white and gold, and they corresponded with the colors which we had seen in the robe of our celestial visitor as we had seen him in the temple and which he carried in such an immense degree.

The blue, white and gold of the jeweled palace, touched by the pure rays of the great central sun, were intensified and magnified a thousandfold and flashed forth in every direction their beams of the purest light. Indeed, the whole edifice presented to our bewildered gaze one vast volume of sparkling irradiation. ...

The precious stones [the Chaldean informed us] were proper to the realm which we were now visiting. In our own realm the buildings are opaque, albeit they have a certain translucence of surface. But they are ponderous and heavy by comparison with the upper realms. We had journeyed through many other spheres to reach this present one, but had we paused to observe the land through which we had passed, we should have seen a gradual transformation taking place until the relatively heavy-looking materials of our realm became transmuted into the crystalline substance upon which our gaze was now fastened. ...

We could see, surrounding the palace, many acres of the most enchanting gardens laid out in such fashion that, from the distant and elevated viewpoint which we occupied, they presented a huge and intricate pattern as in some superbly-wrought eastern carpet. ...

Though we could scarcely remove our eyes from the superlative glory of the palace and its grounds, yet the Chaldean gently drew our attention to the remainder of our prospect.

It extended for miles upon countless miles - or so it seemed to us. The range of our vision was increased in these rarified regions beyond all human conception and so it seemed that literally an unending vista spread before us of more earthly miles than it is possible to contemplate. And all through this wide expanse we could see other magnificent buildings built of still more precious stones - of emerald and amethyst, to name but two, and, far away, what looked like pearl. Each of the different buildings was set amid the most entrancing gardens, where trees were growing of unimaginable richness of color and grandeur of form. Wherever we cast our eyes, there we could see the flashing of jeweled buildings, reflecting back the rays of the central sun, the myriad colors from the flowers, and the scintillations from the waters of the river that flowed before us far away into the distance.

As we were gazing spellbound upon the scene, a sudden flash of light seemed to come from the palace directly to the Chaldean and it was acknowledged by an answering flash which he sent back to the palace. Our presence in the realm was known, and as soon as we had feasted our eyes upon the view, we were asked to walk within the palace where our host would be waiting to receive us. ... We therefore proceeded at once towards the palace.

By the same means of locomotion that had brought us into the sphere, we quickly found ourselves walking upon the terrace beside the river and up a broad flight of steps that led to the main entrance of the palace. The stonework of the terrace and the steps was pure white, but we were much surprised by its apparent softness underfoot for it was like walking upon the velvet softness of a well-tended lawn. Our footsteps made no sound, but our garments rustled as we walked along, otherwise our progress would have been a silent one except for our conversation. There were, of course, many other sounds to be heard. We had not stepped into a realm of silence! ...

Our stay could not be prolonged beyond our capacity to resist the rarity of the atmosphere and the intensity of light, notwithstanding the charge of spiritual force that the Chaldean and the Egyptian had give us. As we passed through, therefore, we had but a fleeting glimpse of the grandeur that encompassed us. ...

As we walked down the corridors we met and were greeted by the most friendly and gracious beings, who thus added to our welcome. Welcome, indeed, was the overmastering feeling that enveloped us as we first put foot within the palace. There was no coldness, but everywhere the warmth of friendliness and affection.

At last we paused before a small chamber, and the Chaldean told us that we had reached the highest point of our journey. I did not feel exactly nervous, but I wondered what formalities were to be observed.... The Chaldean ... immediately reassured us by telling us to follow him and merely to observe those rules dictated by good taste.

We entered. Our host was seated by a window. As soon as he saw us he rose and came forward to greet us. First he thanked the Chaldean and the Egyptian for bringing us to him. Then he took us each by the hand and bade us welcome to his home. There were several vacant chairs close to that in which he had been seated and he suggested that we might like to sit with him there and enjoy the view. It was, he explained, his favorite view.

We drew close to the window and we could see beneath us a bed of the most magnificent white roses, as pure white as a field of snow, and which exhaled an aroma as exalting as the blooms from which it came. White roses, our host told us, were flowers he preferred above all others.

We seated ourselves, and I had an opportunity, as our host spoke to us, of observing him at close quarters where before I had but seen him from a distance. Seeing him thus, in his own home and surroundings, his facial appearance was, in general, similar to that which he had presented when he visited us in the temple in our own realm. There were differences, however, as we saw him here; differences that were largely a matter of light intensity. His hair, for example, seemed to be golden when he came to us. Here it seemed to be as of bright golden light, rather than of the color of gold. He looked to be young, to be of eternal youthfulness, but we could feel the countless eons of time, as it is known on earth, that lay behind him.

When he spoke his voice was sheer music, his laugh as a rippling of the waters, but never did I think it possible for one to breathe forth such affection, such kindliness, such thoughtfulness and consideration; and never did I think it possible for one individual to possess such an immensity of knowledge as is possessed by this celestial king. One felt that, under the Father of Heaven, he held the key to all knowledge and wisdom.

But, strange as it may sound, though we had been transported unfathomable distances to the presence of this transcendingly wonderful being, yet here in his very presence, we felt perfectly at home, perfectly as ease with him. He laughed with us, he joked with us, he asked us what we thought of his roses, and had the Chaldean managed to keep us merry upon our way thither. He spoke to each of us individually, displaying an exact acquaintance with all our concerns, collectively and personally. Then finally he came to the reason for his invitation to us to visit him.

In company with my friends, he said, I had visited the dark realms and I had recounted what I had seen there. He thought that it would be in the nature of a pleasant contrast if we were to visit the highest realm and see for ourselves some of its beauties; to show that the inhabitants of such high realms are not shadowy, unreal people, but, on the contrary, they are like ourselves, capable of feeling and exhibiting the emotions of their fine natures, capable of human understanding, of human thought, and as easily susceptible to laughter and free-hearted merriment as were we ourselves.

And he had asked us to visit him in order to tell us himself that these realms, wherein we were now visiting, were within the reach of every soul that is born upon the earth-plane, that no one can deprive us of that right; and that although it may take countless years of time to reach those realms, yet there is all eternity in which to achieve that end, and that there are unlimited means to help us upon our way. That, he said, is the simple, great fact of spirit life. There are no mysteries attached to it; all is perfectly straightforward, plain, and unrestricted by complicated beliefs, religious or otherwise. It requires no adherence to any particular form of orthodox religion, which, of itself, has no authority to assure any single soul of its powers to secure the soul's 'salvation.' No religious body that ever existed can do that.

And so this realm of incomparable beauty was free and open to all to work they way thither from the very lowest and foulest realm. It may take eons of time to accomplish, but that is the great and superb finale of the lives of the earth world's millions of souls.

Our good friend, the Chaldean, then mentioned to his 'master' that our stay had almost reached its limit. The latter said he was sorry to observe that it was so, but that such powers as had been invoked for us had their limitations, and, so, for our comfort, we must work within them. However, he added, there are other occasions and thus he extended further invitations to us.

We now rose and I could not resist the lure of the view of the roses from the window. I gazed out once more, then we made ready to depart.

Our gracious host said he would accompany us to the hill from which we had had our first glimpse of his kingdom. We followed a different route from that by which we had reached the palace. And what was our delight when it led us directly to the rose bed. Stooping, our host culled three of the most choice blooms that mortal eyes have ever beheld and presented one to each of us. Our joy was still further heightened by the knowledge that with the affection that we should shower upon them, the blooms would never fade and die. My one anxiety was that in taking them to our own realm we should see them crushed, perhaps, by the unaccustomed density of our heavier atmosphere. But our host assured us that they would not, for they would be borne up by our thoughts of them and of the giver, and between the one and the other they would be amply supported, and would so remain.

At length we reached our point of departure. Words would not express our feelings, but our thoughts passed unfailingly to him who had brought us this supreme happiness, this foretaste of our destiny - and of the destiny of the whole earth world and the whole spirit world. And with a blessing upon us all, and with a smile of such affection, of such ineffable benignity, he bade us God-speed, and found ourselves once more in our own realm.

I have tried to tell you something of what we saw, but words cannot be found to describe it because I cannot translate the purely spiritual into earthly terms. My account must therefore fall far, far short. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 194-201.)

The Ruler of Spirit Realms Visits Monsignor Benson in the Summerlands

[Monsignor to Roger:] Do you remember you once asked us if we knew how old the spirit world is, and that we told you about one being, at least, who was in existence himself before the earth was? You remember, of course. Well, it is he who is coming and, incidentally, it is he who is the ruler of all the realms of the spirit world. ...

You know, Roger, there are folk on earth who believe that the beings of the highest realms never by any chance leave those realms because it would be too appallingly distasteful for them to leave the rarified state in which they live. That is absolutely wrong. Those marvelous beings can, and do,, journey into the different realms. It sometimes transpires that an individual may be speaking to one such personage and be totally unaware of it.

He is not the Father of the universe.... He is known by sight, Roger, to every single soul living in the realms of light. How many thousands there are who name him their "beloved master" ... it is impossible to say.

He exercises over all the realms the function that the individual ruler exercises over the realm to which he is appointed. He unifies the whole of the realms of the spirit world into one gigantic universe, over which reigns the Father of us all. You cannot have the remotest conception ... of the magnitude, the immensity or the powers possessed by him, and yet, with it all, he is the most gracious being it is possible to contemplate. His position is one of absolute regality, if one can so term it, while he himself is indescribable.

You will be able to judge for yourself, very soon, the enormous degree of knowledge, spirituality, and wisdom he possesses. The colours denoting these three attributes are blue, white, and gold and he has them upon his robe in enormous proportions. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson to Roger in MALIWU, 150-1.)

As we assembled before the house, we could perceive a distinct brightening of the light upon the outskirts of our small 'estate.' And we knew this for an unmistakable sign that our visitors were near. ... Another moment and we saw them approaching. ...

Our visitor took the hands of each of us, and spoke a word of kindly greeting. Franz and Peter had each taken an arm of Roger to give him assurance, and the picture presented by this action at once amused our visitor, for it chanced that our two friends had taken a somewhat firm hold upon Roger's arm.

"What is this, my children?" he laughed. "You look to be holding the boy to prevent his escape from us. ... Come now, Roger, my child," he said, "what is there to fear? Would you be fearful of me? Give me your hand - so. Now banish hence all fears, never to return. It sounds like an incantation, doesn't it?"

Roger's confidence was restored immediately and he was himself once more.

"I think it will be safe now to release your prisoner, Peter and Franz."

The two appeared somewhat confused because neither of them had realized, not Roger, that they were still linked in arms. The rest of us enjoyed this little episode, trifling enough in itself, but filled with kindness and humanity, and revealing, as clearly as the noonday sun, that even the highest personages from the highest realms of the spirit world are not impossible beings, grim and forbidding, humourless and unsmiling, but that they breathe forth from the very essence of all that is warmhearted and human.

Roger never for an instant took his eyes from our illustrious guest, who was habited as he usually is upon such visits: that is to say, in a gossamer-like white robe, bordered with a deep band of gold, fastened by a great pink pearl. His hair was golden, though when this is seen in the high realm where he lives, the golden hue becomes golden light.

What seemed to attract Roger most of all was the countenance of our visitor, for following upon what we had told him of his immense age, as measured in earthly time, and running into millions of years, yet could Roger perceive no signs of the passage of time. Yet most assuredly when he spoke to Roger, the latter knew that there stretched behind him aeons of time, while he presented the outward appearance of eternal youthfulness.

At length we repaired indoors; our guest seated himself in the special armchair while we occupied a half-circle round him - seated also, I need hardly add, for upon all such occasions we behave like rational human beings!

Our guest spoke to each of us in turn and here again, lest I should be misunderstood, let me hasten to affirm that our conversation was also upon rational lines. We were most certainly not like a group of school-children being submitted to an awful inquisition by some bloodless inspector. We were free to speak when we wished, subject to the demands of ordinary good manners. And what is most important, we had many an occasion for laughter - and we laughed. ... Our guest thanked the two composers (1) for all their work, as well as that of their colleagues, and assured them of his ever continued help and inspiration. It was interesting ... to hear the three discussing a number of musical technicalities with lively vigour. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson of the Ruler of the Spirit Realms in MALIWU, 152-4.)

[After the ruler left,] what we had enjoyed was no 'spiritual experience,' such as the religiously-minded on earth might consider it to be. An overwhelming experience, it would be foolish to deny, and its spiritual value would be equally foolish to ignore, but the emotions we felt were deliriously bright, cheerful, happy, exhilarating emotions; never pious or sanctimonious, nor so awe-inspiring as to leave us bereft of all sense of complete enjoyment - for the latter is what is intended by the visit, and not something done solely for the 'good of our immortal souls.' Those same immortal souls would derive superabundant benefit in a natural way, without overlaying it with an unnatural, impossible religiosity. (The Ruler of the Spirit Realms visits Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson in MALIWU, 156-7.)

How Decisions are Made

Each and every form of work has its separate organization. There are no such things as haphazard methods. Every type of pursuit has those in charge of it who are experts and the administration admits of no muddle or fuss. There is no mismanagement for everything runs with the smoothness of perfectly-constructed machinery under the operation of efficient hands.

It must not be concluded from this that we are infallible. That would be a totally wrong estimation, but we know that whatever our mistakes may be we are always sure that our perfect organization will come to our rescue and help us to put things right. Mistakes are never frowned upon as a piece of glaring inefficiency, but are regarded as very good lessons for us by which we can profit to the fullest extent. But because of this sympathy with our mistakes, we are not careless on that account, for we have our natural and proper pride in our work, which spurs us on to do our best always - and free from mistakes. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 182-3.)

As soon as some new building is desired, the ruler of the realm is consulted. ... Knowing, as he does, so intimately the needs and wishes of all in his realm, there never arises a case where some building is required for the use and service of all but that the wish is granted. The ruler then transmits the request to those in authority above him, who in turn refer it to those still higher. We then foregather in the central temple in the city where we are received by one whose word is law, [a] great soul...

Now, this seemingly involved procedure of passing on our request from one to another, may suggest to the mind the tortuous methods of officialdom with its delays and protractedness. The method may be somewhat similar, but the time taken in performance is a very different matter. It is no exaggeration to say that within the space of a few earthly minutes our request has been stated, and the permission - with a gracious blessing accompanying it - has been granted. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 116-7.)

It is something of a proud boast upon the earth-plane that you have reached such an age of speed. By comparison with our rapidity of motion, why, you are scarcely moving! You must wait until you come to live here with us. Then you will know, too, what real efficiency and real organization are like.

They are like nothing upon the earth-plane. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 182.)

My teaching comes from my great Master, (Elijah) whom I see face to face, and he has his teaching from his great Master. (1) I cannot yet enter into the spheres of Contemplation, but my Master descends to me, and has given me this mission. We are all links in a great chain which extends even to the Most High. The spirits who are under my direction receive their orders from me, and meet from time to time to hold converse with me. All is order with us, and self-will is not exercised with us. (Spirit Teacher Imperator in Moses, MST, 10.)

(1) Elijah's teacher is Moses. See ST, 187.

Office of Inquiries, Headquarters, and Similar Hierarchical Lines of Organization

Situated in the city, which is not far from my home here, is a large building which carries out the important functions of an office of records and inquiries. Here knowledge is to be obtained upon an infinite range and variety of subjects and affairs. Of all these, what closely interests us at the moment is that department which deals with the actual passing of folk from the earth to the spirit world. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 11-2.)

In the city there is an immense building which exercises the function of an office of records and inquiries. (In the earth world you have your multifarious offices of inquiry. Why should we not have ours?) Here a great host of people is available to answer all manner of questions that are likely to arise both from the newly-arrived and from those of longer residence. Occasions will occur when we need a solution to come problem that has arisen. We may consult our friends upon the matter only to find that they are as uninformed as we are ourselves. We could, of course, make an appeal to some higher personage and we should receive all the help we wanted. But the higher beings have their work to do, in just the same way as we have, and we forbear to interrupt them unnecessarily. And so we take our difficulty to this grand building in the city.

Among its many important duties is that of keeping a register of people newly arrived in this particular realm. ... But a still more important service is that of knowing beforehand of those who are about to come into this realm. This information is accurate and infallibly reliable. It is collected through a varied process of thought transmission, of which the inquirer sees little or nothing. He is merely presented with the required information. The value of this service can be readily imagined.

In normal times upon the earth-plane, when transitions maintain a fairly steady level, it is valuable enough, but in times of great wars, when souls are passing into the spirit world in the thousands, the advantages of such an office are almost incalculable. Friend can meet friend and together can unite in helping others who are passing into spirit lands. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 180-1.)

Lists have been kept of all people who have died violently in any way, recently, and of those who are still "unsettled" here. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 31.)

It seems endless, the number of people needing help. Our control department has lists of them, running into millions - yes, literally!. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 30.)

You are anxious ... to know when your friend is likely to be coming to the spirit world to reside; you want to know when his 'death' is going to take place. Your first step is to go to the inquiry office. There you will be readily assisted to consult the right person for your needs. You will not find yourself passed from one 'official' to another nor will you be submitted to other forms of procrastination. All that will be required of you is to furnish the name of your friend and you will be asked to focus your attention upon him to establish the necessary thought link.

When this has been accomplished, you will be requested to wait for a brief period - in your time it would amount to only a few minutes. The requisite forces are out into action with astonishing rapidity and we shall be presented with the information of the time of our friend's arrival. The actual date may mean very little to some of us.... Whatever our condition of proximity to the earth-plane, we shall be assured that when that event is close at hand we shall be informed of it without fail. In the meantime, we shall be given a conception of the closeness of the event or otherwise.

The organization that exists behind this one service should give you some idea of the vastness of the whole office of help and inquiry. There are many others. The same building houses people who can provide answers to the innumerable questions that arise in the minds of us here, especially among the newly arrived, and its extent covers the whole range of spirit activity. ... This office employs thousands of people, usefully and happily. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 181.)

One evening we asked if they could find a lady who had passed to that side some fifteen years ago. Mary said she would send out messengers to inquire. After a few moments of quiet, she continued: -

"We cannot find her. Our guides think she has gone to higher planes. I called messengers and they went straight to headquarters, (Did you know we had this help?), but could get no information, so they returned. (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 140-1.)

"We asked for one who had lately passed to that side, but they could not find him."

'Could you not find his guides?'

"Not necessarily. Do not forget the immensity of this spirit world, and the millions upon millions who come. Can you possibly understand it all? The coming, coming, coming of souls into this life is not readily comprehended. We have to have a very complete system of guides, messengers, and mediums even sometimes, to trace the unknown ones whose friends on earth are seeking for them. We are glad to try, but say this, that you may have patience while we use our skill in finding the unknown one." (Unnamed spirit to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 146.)

I have now the habit of "telepathing" to our H.Q. for my assignments of work to be done, and, having digested this, I go first and make all the needed enquiries as to the location of the person I am to seek out. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 32.)

[An English person] had lived at Amiens. She had lost her child during the war, not by death, but by loss when fleeing before the German onrush. ... But the child had been adopted by quite kindly parents and is now growing up a sturdy chap; this we found out through our Research Gang. (1) Yet the mother still went on searching; she would not believe that he was dead. ... When at last she grasped what had happened, you took her to the boy, (2) and she is happy, watching over him. (Philip Gilbert to his mother Alice in PTS, 56-7.)

(1) The "Research Gang" is described in the next quote. (2) That is, Philip's mother, Alice, who is also the automatist, took the woman to the woman's son on the earth plane. Alice did so on one of her regular nocturnal visits to the spirit plane during which she pursued rescue work.

Q: What do you mean by the Research Gang? A: There is a tendency among you people to think that we are omniscient - knowing everything and everybody! This is absurd - just as absurd here as with you. We can't trace an individual entity, in our world or yours, without some link. A physical link such as a letter will put us in touch with someone in the body, but to dig out a discarnate one - from trillions! - takes some doing. We have to link with the spot where he lived and pick up his tracks. One thing we have that you have not - speed! We can get on with the job in what you call seconds.

Well, just now there are so many people lost, bewildered, out of the normal, one set of people, here devote themselves to perfecting this form of tracking down relatives and so on. It is often the only thing needed, but essential, as in the above case, to quieten and stabilize a person newly flung out of incarnation by violence. You see, it is all common-sense. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 57.)

Hierarch, Hierarchy and Hierophant

I'm going to define the terms Hierarch, Hierarchy, and Hierophant. Most people don't know what they mean. A Hierophant is a keeper of the mysteries - the mysteries being, of course, the way the universe really runs and why. Now, as you know, this is really a very simple thing that is just mysterious to most people.

A Hierarch is a teacher of the mysteries and the Hierarchy is the group of workers who in essence keep the universe running. It is something like the hierarchy of angels talked about in the Catholic religion, among others. (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 48-9.)

Spirit Hierarchy and Government - The Earth Plane

The Spirits Who Watch Over the Earth

The Hierarchy is very much concerned with the world. I don't know why people believe that after you die you go away and aren't concerned with the world anymore - at least some world, even if not this one. You don't really die, you just step over - you dispose of a part of you that is no longer useful. If you were spiritual when you were alive, you'll still be very busy trying make the physical plane a spiritual plane after you step over. This is very much what the White Brotherhood is involved in: helping people grow up in a spiritual sense - grow up into a greater maturity, the maturity of the angels, really. That's the goal of physical life, after all. And it's what life on the inner planes is all about, too. We all work very hard here on the inner planes. You have no idea how difficult it is to get one simple idea through a physical head. (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 49.)

[The Hierarchy] is very much behind anything that is going to make humanity wake up and grow up in the sense I was just talking about. (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 50.)

Love, power and wisdom, these three are the driving force, the cosmic stream that emanates from the Divine Hierarchy which, as servant of God, guides and controls the planet Earth.

This hierarchy consists of a number of group-souls and these, from the Fifth level of consciousness, (1) direct and organize life, being responsible for even the minutest parts of the design - every atom, every electron finding its place in the scheme of the great energising powers. Order, method and harmony reign in the structure of the material world. For behind everything that exists pleasant or unpleasant to the sight of man, there is spirit working untiringly, organized on differing levels.

And though man has the power to choose (within the limits of his group-personality, he is master of his destiny), the mighty framework of the earth, the seas, and their motion through space, are all controlled and calculated out to the last decimal by certain groups who have journeyed as far as the plane of Flame. (2) These have not yet any considerable knowledge of the universes external to the universe we recognize as our own. It is necessary for us to have participated in the imaginative life on the plane of Light (3) in order that we may adventure into those other triumphant manifestations of the Cosmic Creative Wisdom.

I have, perhaps, rather rashly implied that the Hierarchy of Souls who, under the direction of God, guide and control the planet Earth are master mathematicians. They might be more correctly described as artists. Their work, though balanced and harmonised, does not express in its manifested character the exact precision which is required by the human mathematician. The design, as I have stated, is calculated to the last decimal. But when represented it contains variety.

The electron, for instance, seems to have a certain independence of its own and to act in a manner inconsistent with the precise exactitude of a machine. For it is the artist's imagination rather than that of the mathematician which creates and maintains the invisible universe, the created thing itself becomes creative, and therein lies one of the secrets of life and destiny. (Frederic W.H. Myers, BHP, n.p.)

(1) I suspect that the "Fifth level of consciousness" is the Second Heaven or second subplane of the Mental Plane.(2) Again, probably the Second Heaven. (3) I suspect that the "Plane of Light" is the Third Heaven.

When we said "the powers which watch over the world," we did not, of course, mean to localize these powers on one side of this planet, but to imply the all-enveloping watch which the heavenly powers keep about the sphere which is called Earth. These powers are resident in zones of which the Earth itself is the centre, and they lie in concentric circles around it.

The inferior zones are those near the planet's surface, and progress in power and glory as the distance is increased. But yet, space must be enlarged in meaning when applied to these spheres; for distance has not the same obstructive sense to us as it has to you. ...

The Earth is the centre about which many spheres are; and is enclosed / ... in all those spheres. And the residents in the earth life are potentially in touch with all those spheres, and actually so in ratio to their altitude spiritually considered - spiritually, because these spheres are spiritual and not material.

Even the material Sphere of Earth is only so phenomenally, for it is a manifestation in matter of all these zones of spiritual power which envelop it; and of others, too, of other degree which interpenetrate it. (Astriel in G. Vale Owens, LBV1, 216-7.)

The higher authorities who use us as messengers ... are the ones who have control of world affairs... They have the power to stay the hand of evil if it seems that a great disaster might arise. (Gordon Burdick to Grace Rosher in TR, 50.)

The White Brotherhood

The "gentlemen in white" are the White Brotherhood. Now I don't want to make it sound like a men's club. ... a clockworks, but they are very much concerned and involved with mankind's growth. The nature of their tasks is something akin to keeping the planet earth in orbit. What they do is so influential on the physical plane and on the destiny of man as an organized social group that it is really hard to tell you where they don't have an influence.

They are not angels, although there are angels who supervise. This is a group of people who are still incarnating and who are very much involved with the physical plane. They are responsible for the physical plane becoming a spiritual plane. Most of you here are involved with the gentlemen in white in one way or another.

Leichtman: They oversee the entire evolution of humanity.

Yes. (Stewart Edward White in PP, 221.)

There are so many rumors going around the United States and other places that the White Brotherhood is a secret society of men something like the Elks Club up in Canada and they wait until they know you need them. Now isn't that ridiculous?

The White Brotherhood is not the only part of the Hierarchy, either. The Hierarchy of beings who keep the stars in the sky, the planets in their orbits, physical life functioning, and physical consciousness growing is much larger than just the White Brotherhood. These beings are abundantly helpful, but most of them are on the inner planes. Some of you tend to reincarnate and go sort of blundering through physical lifetimes, having a great good time when all is said and done.

You know, Jesus Christ is not actually in the White Brotherhood. He is not in any of the hierarchies. He is the Hierarch.

If He decided to reincarnate at this time, He would most likely come back as a janitor, as He has said sometimes. [Laughter.] And nobody would have to tell anybody who He was. Nobody would care - He would be such a wonderful person. (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 48.)

The White Brotherhood's behind all sorts of projects. ... It's a group of people who have dedicated their lives - and I don't mean their physical lives, but their entire beings - to humanity; humanity's growth and humanity's development. It's more like a monastery in the sky, in the sense of what a monastery should be. (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 50.)

I'm a member of the White Brotherhood, too. You knew that, didn't you? (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 51.)

I had the honor to work with the Masters Morya and Koot Hoomi in my lifetime. They are still alive now, using the same physical bodies. I met them several times in Tibet. They are responsible for getting everything started that I did in my lifetime.

Koot Hoomi would come to me astrally - I hesitate to say it, but that's what happened. There are good parts to the astral, too. He would dictate or show me something in this way. Djwhal Khul, of course, did the same thing with Alice [Bailey]. These people are physical representatives of the White Brotherhood, Masters of the Lodge of the planet Earth. (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 51.)

Then there are certain fine minds who come next in descending order - I am now giving the physical Hierarchy from the top down. These are people like Albert Schweitzer and myself when I was alive, people who have the honor of translating a Master's work into the world in some way because the Master wishes to remain anonymous. He has too many things to do to become famous. And then under that, there are many people who are less well-known, but who nonetheless make important contributions to humanity. (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 51-3.)

Now, there's a whole classification of inner plane adepts. I believe it was Dion Fortune who first mentioned them. Of course, people like Morya, Koot Humi, Djwhal Khul, and Cecil George are also inner plane adepts. They can be both physical and have a life on the inner planes as the same time at will. Then, under the inner plane adepts are rank upon rank of teachers in the inner planes. Most of the good teachers that come to people in psychic states and give lessons that are valuable are members of the White Brotherhood. (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 53.)

The desire of the personality is not sufficient to get you into the White Brotherhood. People belong to the White Brotherhood because their spirit has made a commitment to humanitarian work in the world. Since this commitment is made at the level of the inner being, it is binding on the personality, too.

It should be obvious that my work was successful because I received a tremendous amount of support from members of the White Brotherhood. But the same is true of some of the enlightened leaders in music, literature, government, business, medicine, or any of the important areas of service to humanity. (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 53.)

If people sincerely try to be in contact with their spiritual ideals, and then seriously involve themselves in their daily work with compassion and dedicated effort, they are going to honor whatever commitment they may have with the White Brotherhood.

It is automatically contacted by that particular attitude and perspective. In fact, that is the only way contact can be made. In other words, the so-called Invisible Brothers, as we are used to say, find the worker in the physical plane, rather than the other way around. (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 57-8.)

If you find someone running around babbling about their membership in the White Brotherhood, you can be almost certain that he is not a member. There is a saying that reflects an occult truth: he who claims a power, a virtue, or a talent is accountable for behaving in such a way that manifests the power, virtue, or talent he claims. It's amazing how much jeopardy people place themselves in with their false claims. And there is jeopardy! (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 58.)

I was present in a Lodge today where I have heard and learned much. It exists on your earth, but I am forbidden to name it. It was very beautiful. It belongs to the greatest on earth. I was led there to participate in something. It is a deep and earnest community, all members are highly developed individualities.

Also many of us spiritual beings were present. The Lodge is not in Europe but in Mauretania. I am not allowed to say more. You will hardly find the name on an ordinary map. It is a historical place, every educated person would recognize it. (Sigwart, BOTR, 20.)

The "Nine Unknowns"

[The ascended Masters of the White Brotherhood] are not the "Nine Unknown[s]," as you would talk about them. The "Nine Unknown" are ordinary mortals who live an ordinary span of years. They could change that if they wanted to, but they don't. And there are more than nine - there are more like none thousand, but again I'm speaking in riddles. (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 51.)

The Nine Unknown have access to [physical records like the ''Book of Dzyan'']. I was not allowed to write about the Nine Unknown, incidentally. Talbot Mundy was very carefully selected to write that book [''The Nine Unknown'']. It's an unusual account of something that almost really happened to him. Of course, it was fictionalized, but it's very close to something that actually occurred in his life. ...

The Nine Unknown have done a beautiful job of translating some of these old books into modern languages. This is part of their function. Of course, the Nine Unknown pass their work on from generation to generation, so there is a continuous, unbroken line. These people are not in control of the world - they are more the custodians of the world. In the long run, I think they are going to see to it that mankind doesn't hurt himself permanently. (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 63-4.)

[Tesla discusses ideas for terrible weapons that he did not commit to paper.] It would have been irresponsible to loose those ideas on humanity. ...

I will make an aside here. The so-called "Nine Unknown" have something to do with policing this department. (Nikola Tesla in NTR, 39.)

The Spiritual Hierarchy has Foreknowledge of Earth Events

The earth world, in its blind ignorance, hurls hundreds of thousands of souls into this our land, but those who dwell in the high realms are fully aware long before it happens, of what is to take place upon the earth-plane, and a fiat goes forth to the realms nearer the earth to prepare for what is to come. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 116.)

Personages from those [high] realms have more than astonished me with the accuracy of their foreknowledge of events that were to take place upon the earth-plane. Their means of acquiring this information is far beyond the comprehension of us in this realm. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 124.)

Foreknowledge of terrestrial events both national and private is possessed by a certain order of beings in the spirit world and, when expedient, this knowledge is communicated to others who in turn pass it on to those principally concerned. Among the first to receive pre-knowledge of an impending war are the difference homes of rest. The office of inquiry will be similarly informed. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 124.)

Those wise beings in the higher realms are in possession of all knowledge of what is transpiring upon the earth world. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 184.)