In The Aetherius Society we believe in reincarnation, but, in common with a number of Eastern traditions, we do not believe that this takes place immediately after death. Between lives we spend a period of time on a higher or lower plane (or “realm”) of existence, as explained by Dr. King below in an extract from the book Realize Your Inner Potential.
These planes are physical – but exist at frequencies of vibration different from that of this plane. The more basic planes are sometimes referred to as “the spirit world”; the lower realms – as “the hells”; and the higher realms – as “heavenly realms” or the “higher mental realms”.
The realm we end up on after death depends on how we lead our lives here in this world. But this is not so much about punishment or reward as in some religions, as about the law of karma giving us the experiences we need in order to advance spiritually. We are naturally drawn to whichever realm we are most suited to; we are not sent there by anyone else – this is a process that lies entirely in the hands of each of us.
The Other Realms
After death you go to a realm to which intelligences go who are waiting for further instruction. This applies to most people upon Earth today. It does not apply to the enlightened person who can bypass this realm, but it applies to most people. It does not apply either to the evil person, such as a black magician*. The average person goes to this realm, where they are cared for by intelligences who have given themselves the task of looking after people who die without any realization of what is after death. He would stay there for a certain length of time which could be 15 minutes or a year. Every case is judged individually. Then he goes onto another realm, which he deserves to inhabit. It depends on how he has lived his life. If he was a selfish person, for example, he would not go to a very high realm. There he would gain further experience, living much as he has lived upon Earth, though hopefully not in such a selfish fashion. He would live there for a certain length of time – and again, you cannot be dogmatic about how long as time is different on the other realms anyway. Then he would go to the Hall of Self-Judgement, where he would judge himself. Nobody is going to judge him or condemn him; he will learn to become his own judge and jury. He will then await reincarnation upon Earth. With the help of advisors, he will choose his mother and father and the exact time and environment to come back to in order to give him certain lessons which these advisors, coupled with his own higher consciousness, will predetermine. Then he will live upon Earth, die again, go again to the other realms, and so the cycle will go on and on until he no longer needs to reincarnate upon Earth.
The other realms are more mental than this physical plane. Mental manifestation is easier there than it is here. Here we get an idea and then we have to physically work out that idea. Upon all but the very basic realms you could get an idea and build that idea out of a mind substance, whether it be a temple on the higher realms or, in the case of the lower astral realms, a vicious weapon. In years of psychic research and communication with people who actually live on other realms, I learned that they tend to remember either the very small things, which are unimportant, or the very important things which happened in their life. Memory does exist and it is possible, for instance, for a relative who passed away to recognize their existing relatives on this Earth. When these relatives also pass away they would recognize one another and clearly remember their relationship.
Guides are intelligences who have reached a certain stage – not always a very high stage – and have given themselves the task of looking after individuals and groups of individuals on this Earth. Some of them are quite advanced, but the majority are not anywhere near the yoga adept stage. Generally, communication with guides through a medium, unless this medium has had several lives of strict discipline, is very poor. You may get something like 75 percent of the medium and 25 percent of the guide. A medium who has had 10 or 15 years’ strict yoga training in this life may get 25 percent medium and 75 percent guide. There have been rare cases when the ratio is 98 percent guide and 2 percent medium. A very evolved guide could not use a medium unless they were themselves very evolved. If a very evolved guide was to try to get his thought impulses through the average brain, such a guide would do physical damage to the medium. In order for any medium to bring a guide through who is a master, that medium would at least have to be an adept.
The help of a guide comes not only while people are living in this life, but also when they go to other realms. The guide can help them through this waiting period. A guide can also introduce any person he wants to help to the schools of learning, which do exist on these realms. Some passage between one realm and another also takes place. The selfish person, for instance, may change, when he gets to the spirit world. It is not likely, but it can happen. Instead of remaining one of the selfish masses, he might want to really dedicate his life to helping people. If this happened, he would make a tremendous stride forward, because motive manifests more quickly on these realms than it does upon Earth.
Not all the realms are pleasant. There are lower astral realms, populated by drunkards, drug addicts, murderers, black magicians* and so on. You get several layers of involution on these lower regions. There are the really low regions where the worst would go to. They are not like Dante’s Inferno, but they are not very pretty places. If you are advanced, you will have had a special initiation in which you have been taken down to the lower realms and have had a vile job to perform, which will be of tremendous value to inhabitants there. You can do far better work, such as healing and teaching, on the lower realms than you can on the higher realms, because the need for it is so much greater on the lower realms.
While life after death is not the wonderful heaven that some people paint it, it does consist of realms which are very beautiful, and the higher up the scale you go, the more wonderfully beautiful these realms are. More importantly, these realms are very useful inasmuch as people have every conceivable opportunity of advancing and preparing themselves for the next life. It is strange that the further up the ladder you go the longer you tend to stay on the other realms. As above, so below. The more powerful black magicians* can stay longer on the lower planes, and the higher white magicians* can stay longer on the more subtle planes. It is very difficult to get to the higher realms and that is an understatement. The longer you stay on these subtle planes, the more you learn while you are there. Like the more basic realms, these higher planes too have halls of learning.
On the higher planes, groups work together on different projects. They make certain discoveries which are passed on to the realms beneath them, providing it is safe to do so. If one or two people who had been adepts on this Earth get together where time does not quite mean what it does on this Earth, without the limitations that there are here, they can come up with some pretty fantastic discoveries.
There are four realms lower than this physical plane and six realms higher. They are themselves “physical” at their own level, though vibrating at a different rate of frequency. It is vital to remember always that even though there are higher, more evolved and less limiting realms than this one, none are more important. This is the realm to which all reincarnating souls must return again and again, because only here can full mastery over experience take place. All souls from all the realms come together on this plane in order to serve, advance and realize the essential lessons of life. There is no finer way to do this than to radiate spiritual powers to others.
(* Please note: The terms “black” and “white” refer to the type of magic used and have nothing whatsoever to do with skin color or racial origin. The metaphorical use of colors in this way can be traced back at least to the ancient Indian Yoga Sutras of Sri Patanjali (Chapter IV, verse 7), and possibly even earlier. The Aetherius Society is opposed to racism of all kinds and welcomes spiritual seekers of all backgrounds.)