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Questions and Answers

Whether you're a neophyte on the New Consciousness / Mystical / Spiritual Q & APath or a seasoned apprentice — and you have an issue or query that craves circumspection, explanation or our singular interpretation — please feel free to E—mail us.
The Vital Spark staff will do its utmost to unriddle your quandary. And, needless to say, we will afford you AN answer — not necessarily THE answer.



Q: Would you know if there is any sort of consensus on the subject of abortion amongst those on the metaphysical path? In other words, does the so—called 'New Age' venture specific opinions or conclusions on this matter?
C.T., London, Ontario

A: This writer cannot proffer a view on behalf of this site or the New Consciousness community in general. It seems that any opinion on this delicate motif will be met with acute protestation by, at least, a significant percentage of the population at large. So, the following brief sentiments are my own — take them as you will.

There are too many divers legal, philosophical, scientific and even mystical aspects to this issue and so let's not even go there. There have been multifarious debates on abortion for decades. There are those whose religious devotion lauds emotion over reason; whose orthodox remonstrations are based on articles of faith taught since elementary school, or fundamentalist interpretations of specific Biblical passages. And so abortion destroys a living soul — even if it is only a day old.

Another's sense of morality may result in questions like — Is the fetus a living entity? Does it possess a soul? What about such pragmatic reasons justifying abortion as — rape, the mother's life being in jeopardy while in labor, the rampant poverty/starvation in the Third World?

As an eternal student with a firm belief in reincarnation my own search has led me to the following conclusions:

  • There is a difference between the energy (vibratory rate) that is the body (Spirit) and the energy that is Soul (Vital Life Force).
  • The breath is the modus operandi, the ways and means of the Life Force.
  • The soul personality enters the physical vehicle with its first inhalation, its first breath after birth. The soul personality leaves the body with its last breath.
  • Soul can never be destroyed. Each one of us possesses a spark of Divine Essence and this energy always was and always will be.

So, abortion does not kill a human being / personality. Abortion destroys a potential vehicle and prevents a soul personality from incarnating. Now, is this interfering with Divine edict? Are there Karmic consequences?

Karma is not punishment (see article in the New Consciousness section under New Age Defined — Reincarnation and Karma). Karma is a causal Cosmic decree. And whether you're a Christian fundamentalist or a mystical pantheist and you're experiencing shame after having an abortion — then this must be dealt with. If guilt is ignored or internalized it then becomes an integral part of a person's mindset / way of living and will infect relationships with others and, more importantly, will inhibit a full 'awakening' of self.

Even though I personally believe that abortion isn't murder I also believe that men and women who utilize abortion as birth control are irresponsible at best. And everything eventually comes down to motive. What is in your heart / mind when you make such a decision?

Ultimately each individual must decide for him / herself. And so, C.T., this is not a determination I can make for you or anyone else. The answer lies in your own motives, in your own level of spiritual understanding, in your own heart and soul.

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Q: I've read a few articles on Alchemy and was wondering what you knew about it. Was it just about turning metals into gold or was it deeper than that? J.F., Covington, Michigan

A: There is quite a bit of literature on Alchemy but, despite all the information, its origins are still fairly murky. Depending on who you care to listen to the word itself is derived from the Arabic for the "Egyptian art / craft" or the Greek for the "art of making metal ingots". And it was birthed by Thoth. Or Hermes Trismegistus. And it perhaps predated ancient Egypt before wending its way there — and then to India, the Far East, Greece and eventually to Europe where it reached a pinnacle of sorts around the time of the Middle Ages.

Individuals like Roger Bacon and Raymond Lully gained notoriety as alchemists hundreds of years ago and many people still consider only the material aspects of this precursor to modern day chemistry. In point of fact alchemy was an art; a philosophical system whose ultimate goal was the discernment of the mysteries of the Cosmos.

Although the few who have read about alchemy still see in the mind's eye the medieval sage striving to transmute base metals into silver or gold, we have to realize that at its deepest level alchemy symbolizes psychological and mystical transmutation — the base metal (man) into gold (superman). The worldly 'me' transforms into the spiritual / metaphysical 'me' — following the path of awakening, purgation and then illumination (mystical union with the Master Within / Divine Essence). So, the alchemist and the mystic are really two sides of the same coin — both seeking the same end but utilizing distinctive terminology.

Everything is in flux. Everything is changing into something else — the acorn into the oak tree, the toddler into the adult, the stone into ore into metal into gold and so on. Alchemy is a very broad subject — both pragmatic and symbolic — with the fundamental matrix that all matter is, in its origin, one.

Look on the Web / your library / New Age bookstores for more information on Alchemy (and the Philosopher's Stone).

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Ancient Mystery Schools:

Q: I've just started getting interested in a wide variety of esoteric subject matter — like you have on your site — and I've run across a few references to the mystery schools of a few thousand years ago. There doesn't seem to be a lot of information on these schools — at least that I have located. What were they all about?
J.H., Rochester, N.Y.

A: It's difficult to say when the mystery school tradition was inaugurated but I would venture that it endured in one way, shape or form in all of the renowned civilizations of time gone by. The ways and the means of the ancient mystery schools of Egypt, Greece and the Far East are, for the most part, still that — mysteries. This is mainly because of their cardinal rules of confidence and secrecy. The tradition was an oral one. Very little if anything was written down because of the apprehension that this worldly wisdom could be misapplied, exploited and profaned by evildoers and those simply unprepared for the arcane discernment that this cultivation demanded.

Individuals like Hermes, Pythagoras and Hippocrates, to name a few, were participants in this tradition. The early schools were established on a bedrock of mythology and the allegorical denizens of these legends really emblematized specific principles and Cosmic laws. The rather strange account of Osiris and Isis, for example, has esoteric / mystical significance that far overshadows the earthy details. And it is speculated that the profundity that has been left to us from the Egyptian tradition (and others) exists in symbolism (like the tarot deck) and various offshoots of the ancient schools which operate to this very day. Although you won't read it in high school history texts most of the U.S. founding fathers were members of at least two different esoteric orders — and if you haven't noticed the symbolism on the U.S. dollar bill (etc.) then you haven't been paying attention.

We can hypothesize how the earliest civilizations germinated this tradition — how individuals began questioning and investigating the riddles of nature, heaven and earth, birth and death, the ulterior purpose of existence, the complexities of time, space and mind and basically everything that fell into the category of the "unknown".

The schools were devised to awaken students to their maximal human potential, to a more profound acknowledgment, understanding and love of the Vital Force of which they were all a part. This was achieved through ritual, initiation, rigorous study and mental / physical / metaphysical exercises that roused the senses and purified the spirit. The mystery tradition had everything to do with re-spiritualization, morality (living a life where you always tried to do the right thing in thought, word and deed), transcendence and immortality.

All of the major religions were influenced or fathered by the tradition. Unfortunately organized orthodoxy can be co—opted (and was) although there are still religions (like Taoism) that still have a mystery school flavor and many religions still possess a mystical underbelly (Sufism, Kabbalah) that can be accessed by those who feel so inclined.

And yes, J.H., the mystery school tradition continues today — except that most of the information is available to any sincere student. Will I suggest / recommend any particular one to you and Vital Spark visitors? No! When you are ready the tradition will find you.

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Q. I heard that our city just played host to the annual Bilderberg get-together (June 8 / 06). There was nothing in the press about it. What do you know about these guys?
H.P., Ottawa, Canada

A. The Bilderberg Group was named after the hotel where they held their initial meeting in Arnhem, Netherlands (1954). Every year since then about 125-130 individuals have met in various cities throughout the world.

The attendees are a veritable Who's Who comprising the world's most elite politicians, corporate owners and executives, bankers, media barons and ruling monarchs. Kissinger and Donald Rumsfeld (USA) and Conrad Black
(Canada) have been regulars from our side of the pond.

The Group is very aboveboard as to where they're meeting but the topics discussed and 'who said what' never make it into mainline media. It seems everyone is sworn to secrecy. Bilderbergs themselves will tell you that the original purpose of the meetings was to further understanding between Europe and North America and that no reporters are allowed because those in attendance then have the opportunity to talk feely - without their words and opinions being misconstrued in newspapers throughout the globe.

There is a lot of information on the Web about these meetings and, depending on who you want to listen to, the slants can very from the benign to the uber-conspiratorial. Many think these "elect" individuals operate as a lobby group for their own selfish agendas at best and, at worst, they are infiltrated by Illuminati / New World Order members and influence/set policy, put forward names for leadership, toss certain current heads of state out, plan potential wars and so on. Their goal is one-world government. (Interesting to note that Clinton and Tony Blair attended Bilderberg meetings BEFORE they eventually were elected to the offices of President and Prime Minister).

It's difficult to have an objective opinion about these blue bloods since I've never been to one of their meetings and obviously never will be invited. The secrecy involved leads us to naturally conclude that their aims are not particularly utilitarian or spiritually motivated (LOL). Look at it this way - if 125 of the top scientists in the world (or doctors, lawyers or Indian chiefs) met every year and revealed nothing at all to the body politic - wouldn't you be a bit suspicious? I am - and the lists of attendees over the years include scores of names of specific personages who literally give me the creeps. You make up your own mind, H.P., but I personally don't buy the theory that Bilderberg aims are honorable or high-minded.

One of Vital Spark's Forum sections (Konspiracy Korner) has received a lot of comments about the New World Order and the Illuminati. Check it out.

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Black Helicopters

Q: Could someone please set me straight on this black helicopters business. I don't know what to believe.
P.L., Paterson, New Jersey

A: I don't know what to believe either, P.L., but let's briefly mention the prevailing theories. Most skeptics / journalists / professionals and so—called "experts" will pass off black helicopters as a part of modern day mythology (with the psychologists amongst them iterating that it all represents our fear of government and/or technology). On the other end of the scale we have those individuals who believe black helicopters were created by the New World Order (through nanobiotechnology) to spy on anyone deemed subversive or a person of interest. There have been hundreds of sightings by those who have seen them as physical vehicles — with dark shapes piloting them — the aptly named Men in Black. Many sightings have occurred in Napa Valley and around military bases. Some think they are part of the U.N. forces. Others propose they are not really black but green — and people are confusing ordinary helicopters with conspiracy theory hype.

Let me pass on this interesting anecdote to you — and make of it what you will. An acquaintance of mine (who I believe / trust implicitly) went to California about eight years ago to take a two week course with a rather well—known teacher/author of New Consciousness material (who I also know about and admire). My friend went with said mentor and about a dozen others into this very secluded forest on a daily basis where they would have their sessions. On the second day they were given instructions regarding a new meditation technique and then told to put the instructions into practice. In very little time a black helicopter appeared high above them and hovered for some time. There were no markings on this vehicle — and people were wondering where it came from, since there were no military bases in the area.

This helicopter appeared again the next day when they were practicing this same meditation. On the third day the teacher announced that she would have no more of this and stipulated that she had taken the matter into her own hands and surrounded the group with a protective aura / energy field — my acquaintance explaining to me that it was like a 'cloaking device' (I know, I know. Seems a little Star Trekish to me also). The helicopter did not disturb them again for the next ten days. On the final wrap—up session afternoon, when my acquaintance explained that the instructor had forgotten to put this energy field into position, the helicopter appeared again, for the final time.

Okay, people; what do you think? I still haven't made up my own mind but one thing I know for sure. These individuals (my friend included) are not deluded conspiracy nuts. Something happened out there. The explanation will vary depending on one's belief system and experiential background.

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Q. There seem to be a lot of books out there by authors who channel information. What do you think about channeling in general, and can we trust the advice that is being dispensed to us?
C.K., Dryden, Ontario

A. I have ambivalent feelings about channelers. There are frauds out there. There are also a number of very illuminated scribes who have channeled excellent, edifying revelations for us to peruse, use and share with others.

I took it upon myself to do some extensive research into the area of psychism / channeling and my thoughts and suggestions were incorporated in an article I wrote many years ago. You can access this essay on Vital
Spark -

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Q. I have one word for you - Chemtrails. Something we need to worry about?
R.J., London, Ontario

A. All of us have seen contrails in the sky. Just like motorboats that leave wakes as they plough through the water, jets also leave a condensation trail as the hot air from the engine exhaust mixes with environmental low temperature / vapor pressure. These trails usually dissipate fairly quickly.

What R.J. is referring to are fairly recent phenomena which have been labelled - Chemtrails. Many of us have seen them because we are aware of their existence and actively search the skies to spot them - while the uninformed public simply assumes they are witnessing the aforementioned ordinary contrails.

Chemtrails are not to be confused with cloud seeding and they don't disappear quickly like regular water-based contrails. I've seen chemtrails that have remained static in the sky for hours. They are usually seen in various grid patterns or X's and their existence has really intensified since the early 1990's.

The obvious questions then become - who, why?

The theories are all over the board. Government agencies are fairly mum and provide no comments on the matter - other than the kind of fluff one would expect (even though these trails are manufactured by military and unmarked planes).

Some stipulate that certain chemical agents are being released into the atmosphere (for various nefarious purposes). They say that these chemicals are utilized for mind control, biological reasons, weather modification, population reduction or some sort of method for vaccinating the citizenry (for motives good or not so good).

All I know is that the "puppet press" has gone out of its way to skirt or utterly avoid this issue. I'm not going to list the evidence/theories pro or con because there is just too much information. There are many websites that can provide you with the details you're looking for - including the following Canadian one: I think we all have to wake up on this one and ensure that our elected officials get to the bottom of this - even if the proof in the pudding turns out to be fairly benign.

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Cosmic Consciousness

Q: What is cosmic consciousness?
B.K. Buffalo, New York

A: Our planet is a sphere of organic, animate, vibrating energy. It is alive but we can't say that it is conscious of itself. Dogs and cats possess simple consciousness. They are aware of self but they cannot reason — and whatever you may think is going on in your pet's brain — it's definitely not logic, deduction or rationalization ("I bark, therefore I am").

Early homo sapiens evolved out of this same simple consciousness and over time — language, discourse and contemplation engendered that transition to self-consciousness. This is the prevailing level of awareness / awakening today. We may be wise; we may embrace Divine Essence and possess a highly developed belief system but it's because this is what we have been told or taught.

Cosmic Consciousness is just that — consciousness of the Cosmos — having that momentary flash of illumination or being/living in that state of union (At Onement) with All That Is. For me, the seminal book on this subject matter is still COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS by Richard Maurice Bucke — written a hundred years ago by this Canadian, doctor, scientist, thinker and crony of Walt Whitman. In it he describes this state of awareness and cites numerous examples, famous and not so famous.

There is no shortcut to Cosmic Consciousness. Reading a library of metaphysical tomes or meditating for six hours every day will not, in and of itself, effectuate this ultimate level of understanding. And, to borrow a phrase, you cannot "steal the Sacred Fire", though many may attempt to do so (through hallucinogens, Kundalini exercises for which they are unprepared, etc.) — and sometimes with calamitous and permanent repercussions.

Progressive development is the answer, the Rosetta stone, the Way. Cosmic Consciousness has to be earned. We need to have purity of motive. We then reject and eradicate ego and selfish desires and diversions. We heed those intuitive inspirations that are there to guide us. We not only mouth our beliefs and convictions but put them into practice on a daily basis. By living a life of impeccability (always trying to think, say and do the right thing), through determination and love and service we gradationally awaken that inner flame, that Vital Spark, that heightened awareness that eventually affords us our ulterior purpose, our Divine birthright — spiritual rapture and enlightenment.

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Crystal Skulls

Q. I've read a little about crystal skulls and found the topic quite interesting. What are your feelings about these creations?
T.D., Ajax, Ontario

A. Quartz crystal skulls can basically be divided into three distinct categories. Because of their popularity you can find tons of them at the moment. Many are made in South America and China by craftsmen and are sold to tourists and other interested parties. They were selling them on E-Bay the last time I checked.

The second category involves skulls that are over a hundred years old. Many of these were discovered in Central America and Mexico. Close examination of these skulls provides evidence of tool marks used in their manufacture.

The last category contains skulls that could literally be thousands of years old. There are very few of these relics of the past and detailed studies of these artefacts have revealed that there are no tool marks evident whatsoever.

The problem is that carbon-dating doesn't work with crystals so it's virtually impossible to guesstimate exactly how ancient those third category skulls really are. What is evident is that the methods used to create them are still a mystery to modern day investigators. Since crystals can shatter easily modern artists have to specifically fashion them keeping in mind the axis of the crystal itself. The ancient skulls were created with a complete disregard of this axis - and so modern scientists are at a loss to explain how, or what technology was utilized, by the designers.

Many people use crystals today for healing purposes and some experts speculate that crystal skulls had a similar purpose. Others have said that being in the presence of these ancient skulls has re-energized them or has aided in bringing their hidden talents into the light of day. Some have been healed. There are theories that the ancient skulls are really Atlantean or Lemurian versions of our computers - and contain hidden wisdom - or have high calibre energy fields that sensitive individuals can easily sense.
Others have had very personal and very strange experiences when they have been around these skulls - thus making one think that perhaps they can be used as catalysts to awaken certain individuals to personal, emotional and spiritual truths.

I have always believed that the inhabitants of the ancient continent of Atlantis had extensive knowledge of the power of crystals and had harnessed them for energy purposes. Edgar Cayce had come to a similar conclusion about Atlanteans in one of his trances.

Obviously the scientific community has found no concrete evidence of the healing power of crystals - or how the ancient skulls were even created. At the other end of the spectrum you have researchers and psychics who proclaim that ancient skulls were made by Aztecs or Mayans or Lemurians or even ETs.

If you're interested in studying further - look up all the websites that deal with some of the more famous crystal skulls (Mitchell-Hedges, ET, Max and the Amethyst Skull) and where they are presently located.

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Deja Vu

Q: I have a number of friends and acquaintances who have experienced deja vu. Do you people have an opinion on this phenomenon? I would assume that you probably attribute all these occurrences to past life recall?
G.K., Windsor, Ontario

A: Actually sir, no — and you know what they say about people who 'assume'. And I presently have this eerie sensation that I have been asked this question before.

Seriously though, there has been extensive research done in this area and the theories are quite speculative, contradistinctive and specialized. Is it physiological or psychic? Deja vu is from the French for "already seen" and Neppe has defined it as "any inappropriate impression of familiarity of a present experience with an undefined past". Well, I'm sure that clears it all up, right G.K.?

Deja vecu is when we undergo an experience — seemingly for the second time. Deja visite is when we are in a foreign place and yet seem to know it even though we have never been there before.

Somewhere between 60 to 70 percent of the population admit to having had this experience at least once. There is no one surefire explanation since deja vu has been apperceived by schizophrenics and temporal lobe epileptics, nihilists and New Age mystics. And the last time I checked there had been at least 21 types of deja vu identified and a number of major classifications — including memory disorder, ego defense and subjective paranormal.

Let's briefly delineate a few of the theories:
It's a phrenic fart (my own psychological term) in the intricately timed mechanisms of perception and cognition. My sensory apprehension of something that is happening now gets somehow diverted and is not instantly discerned. It is banked in the brain's memory. The spasmodic delay in the cognitive process makes it seem as if the occurrence is being 'lived' and 'remembered' at the same time.

How about the 'collective unconscious' postulations of C.G. Jung? We are virtual depositories of biochemically inscripted ancestral remembrances. All it takes is for a particular event to trigger subconscious information and the result is the transfer of this data to objective awareness.

Every individual memory is suffused with all the perceptual and emotional information of our pristine experiences. One specific present circumstance (the aroma of mom's apple pie, for example) can elicit a comprehensive memory/scene from an earlier occurrence with that one similar detail and so we confuse the present with the past and feel we have witnessed this movie before.

Then there are those experts who say deja vu has to do with wish fulfillment. Or it can be explained by previous, unrecalled precognitive dreams or subconscious memories of dream projections. And, of course, I have a number of friends who swear they are reincarnation reminiscences.

The only time I personally experienced deja vu was when I was sitting in my second Monday morning class on the second floor in secondary school listening to a senile second—rate teacher in the throes of second childhood orating on the imminence of the Second Coming. It was second nature for someone of my character to second-guess what was being expounded upon and raise my hand in objection. I decided not to. I remembered doing so in a previous incarnation and in that incident the humorless S.O.B. burned me at the stake!

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Q. What do you think about dowsing - fact or pseudoscience?
F.D., Albany, N.Y.

A. Dowsing or divining are terms used for procedures which proponents state enable them to locate water (gems, metals or other objects) via the movements of particular devices - like L rods, Y sticks, pendulums or one's own hands.

Dowsing has been utilized throughout the course of earthly history - from the Egyptians to the ancient Chinese. It is said that Greek and Roman divining practices emanated from the timeless lore of Atlantis. During the Middle Ages / Inquisition dowsing obviously fell into some disrepute and was even declared Satanic. The more recent origins of this art stem from 15th century Germany and then England, where the practice was used to find coal deposits.

There are many skeptics and they conclude that any apparatus - whether brass rod or wooden twig - has no power in and of itself and that the movement of any such device is simply an amplification of the (slight) movement in a practitioners hands - which again is just an indicator of the dowser's own expectations.

Supporters claim that dowsing has been used over the course of time to help us expand our perceptions beyond the boundaries of the five senses. Our hands (or the instruments mentioned) can be used as extensions of ourselves and of our senses and become intermediaries between corporeal and superphysical reality.

When this question was forwarded I personally took the time to examine a lot of the research that had transpired in this area over the years and the hard scientific data does not support the pro-lobby. Various experiments (Sydney 1980, Munich 1987, and so on) seem to confirm that dowsers have no especial talent that supersedes the element of chance.

On the other hand, the scientific method can be problematic when it comes to substantiating specific claims - whether we're talking about dowsers and psychics or individuals who can astral project or have encountered near-death experiences. Experiments can be slanted either way - and I doubt that the small core of people who have advanced talents in a variety of these areas even bother to make themselves available for such testing.

I know (and have witnessed) individuals who possess acute subliminal sensitivities to their environment. A divining rod simply interprets the energy field by augmenting one's extended sensory perception - the link between mind and the energy of the object of interest. There are people who are more advanced and more attuned to their own innate natural/intuitive abilities, can sense magnetic fields, see auras, et cetera. However, the amateurs and beginners in the field of dowsing most certainly outnumber the gifted adepts.

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Ever—Burning Lamps

Q: What do you know about those sepulchral lamps that supposedly could burn forever and used to be found in tombs? Do they fall into the same category as the perpetual motion machine or was there some basis to the myth?
B.R., Edmonton, Alberta

A: I'm curious as to what you were reading because the issue of the ancient ever—burning lamps is not the hot topic it was 500 — 1000 years ago. In fact, as far as we know, how these lamps were invented and then powered has not been definitively resolved to anyone's satisfaction.

For those who don't know what we're talking about — it was a fairly common ritual amongst the ancient Egyptians to seal lighted lamps in sepulchers (particularly in the tombs of people of fame or means). This light was intended to assist the dead on their journey out of the darkness and into the next realm. These lamps were also discovered in places like China, Tibet and India.

First of all, let's not dismiss out of hand the very real possibility of such lamps having existed. Something that seems like a miracle to the common person may be a bread-and-butter matter/reality to a student of the Mysteries, to a trained Magi. Countless individuals have walked this earth (Cagliostro, Paracelsus et al) who were privy to 'secrets', to Cosmic laws which the proletariat would consider 'supernatural' or, in the days of yore, 'of the devil'.

Over the centuries at least 150 authorities have weighed in on this subject matter (including Plutarch, Albertus Magnus and St. Augustine). One can well imagine that a fuel that could readily renew itself while it was being expended would certainly become a disputable theorem.

Some of the answers proffered ranged from glow-worms to camphor to calcium sulfide. Or the mechanical device was hooked to an oil deposit in the rock with a wick of asbestos. Or the lamp was never lit but simply ignited on its own as the air entered the tomb when it was broken into. Or the lamps were powered by the kind of unrefined early vase batteries found at Khujut Rabu, near Baghdad, made of copper, silver and iron (although these crude contrivances would not sustain light for such a long period of time).

The history texts confirm that reputable explorers did see and inspect these lamps (and there are very few tombs left for modern science to ever hope to stumble onto that still bear such phosphorescent phenomena) and so we have to rely on some of those dated treatises. One (of many reports) cites a tomb located near Rome in 1540 containing the daughter of Cicero where a lamp had burned for over 1500 years. The entire corpse lay floating in a vessel of oil in a state of unblemished preservation.

Another report describes a lamp that couldn't be extinguished even when water was poured on it and the fire eventually dissipated only when the device itself was destroyed.

Many authorities believed that the lamps could burn for centuries. Others felt they would burn forever. And then there are those who just couldn't buy into it at all.

One source to check out would be the Rosicrucians (known centuries ago as the 'Fire Philosophers'). It has been written that certain members of the Rose Cross untied this Gordian knot and rediscovered the solution to this ancient riddle (probably involving the utilization of the metal gold in some way, shape or form).

So, there are far too many discoveries and references to ignore (from written accounts of perpetual fires in ancient temples to actual sightings by worthy witnesses). A viable conclusion would be that there once endured an empyreal art, known by a select learned group, and this mastery has now vanished without a trace.

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Hollow Earth

Q. I'd like to know if Vital Spark staffers believe that our earth is hollow and that there are inhabitants and cities just below our feet, going on about their business.
E.W., Vancouver, B.C.

A. This is a tough one. The hollow earth theory has been around for a long time and it's akin to subject matter like abortion or capital punishment.
There doesn't seem to be much middle ground. One group believes in the premise. The other group thinks the believers are nuts.

The most recent surge of interest started in the 1800's. Articles and books began appearing about subterranean cities and civilizations. Verne wrote JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH. Many in the Tibetan culture embrace the theory and Lobsang Rampa wrote about it in his books. Edmund Halley (of Halley's Comet fame) went on record supporting the possibility of life existing with our earth. Others wrote about AGARTHA - a society living within the bowels of our planet - with its famous capital being Shambala.

Then there were the writings of Raymond Bernard. There was the whole saga of Admiral Byrd. Did he actually fly inside and meet the people who lived within the planet - or was this a concocted fable? What about the ancient Lemurians - who supposedly dwell far beneath Mount Shasta?

There are theories that people from the now submerged continents of Atlantis and Lemuria were driven underground because of horrific wars and cataclysmic earth changes. There they still reside as keepers of age-old records and technologies. Others surmise that many or all of the UFO's seen circling our globe for the last century actually have their bases within the earth and fly in through openings at the North and South poles. These are, in point of fact, the perfect places for such portals since no one lives there because of the weather. Even the closest bases harboring a handful of humans are not located directly on the Poles - but hundreds of miles away.

It's amazing how many essays and books there are either attesting to the viability of life within our planet - or debunking said notion. It's even more interesting how many of these volumes go into intricate academic detail about how it's scientifically possible for life to be sustained within the planet - or how it cannot be so.

It would take forever to list those arguments here. From everything I have read about the topic - I cannot personally dismiss the hollow earth theory as fallacious. I also don't have clear and overwhelming proof to substantiate it. There are accounts by many many individuals who have claimed to have visited within and/or met the denizens of these ancient societies. They can't all be crazy, can they? I only wish I could have been one of those adventurers myself.

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Q: In an essay on your site one possible preparatory ritual suggested for meditation was the burning of incense. Is this just because it smells pleasant or is there something more deep—seated and abstract to this spiritual etiquette that's over my head? And how did this incense thing start anyway?
C.L., Brampton, Ontario

A: Well, C.L., I've never been an avid consumer of incense myself but one particular relating to this subject has always stuck in my noggin. Regardless of whether you think the story of the Three Wise Men is fact or fable, of the three gifts they bore with them, two were incense — frankincense and myrrh. In other words, they were deemed just as important, as valuable as gold.

The word is derived from the Latin INCENDERE / INCENSUS — to burn, to engender passion/emotion to become enflamed. Human beings have atavistic traits. We retain and maintain traditions that were incubated in the psychological / physiological nature of our ancestors. Primitive men and women, in their efforts to appease the gods, must have certainly felt that what smelled good to them would most assuredly have the same effect on their individual deities, and so their altars were laden with fragrant essences from flowers, trees and herbs.

Incense must have been an ingredient in the earliest religions. Rulers used the aromas to purify their abodes and expel evil spirits. Pungent herbs and extracts were placed in the bodies of the deceased. Temples in Egypt and India utilized incense / fragrances — symbolic of the unity of the sensory transcendent experience — and various religions and cultures to this day sustain the custom (importance of sandalwood to the Hindus; censing during the Catholic Mass, etc.).

The most expensive resins were almost exclusively used by royalty and the wealthy and were imported from ancient countries of the Middle East. And although, naturally, incense was employed for purification, divination and ritual purposes, the mystical sine qua non was also front and center.

Incense had a Divine essence. It was an instrument/medium of communication. Smoke was a supplication to the Cosmic. It was symbolic of transmutation — physical and spiritual. It was our superego, our thoughts and emotions, our devotional invocation rising into the ether — to the Godhead. Just as the material substances were converted into fumes so likewise — the true essence of who we really were — was transfigured to a higher vibration.

Some meditators avail themselves of the various aromatic essences because, for them, it is an aid in the introspective process. The symbolism may still be intrinsic (to purge, to purify, to uplift) but, pragmatically speaking, the aftereffects could also contribute to a more relaxed condition, a more self—aware state of mind, a freeing of one's psychic energy and, possibly, a triggering of remembrances — from this life or a previous one. The only caveat I would offer is that it might be worth your while to shop around and invest in quality products since some of the synthetic fragrances on the market today are probably more toxic than they are beneficial.

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Indigo Children

Q. What can you tell me about Indigo kids?
R.L., Aurora, Ontario

A. The term "Indigo Child" came into being to indicate the life color the new generation of our offspring was carrying in their auras (representing intuitive prowess and the psychic abilities of the third eye chakra).

There are quite a few authors, thinkers and metaphysical students who are telling us that untold numbers of so-called Indigo children have been born during the last 10 - 15 years (and more sporadically before that) and that their specific mission is to take all of humanity to the next level of mental, emotional and spiritual evolution. They come to us remembering what most of us have long since forgotten - about our past and our true selves.

The following are some of the characteristics many of these children

  1. They are quite intelligent, precocious and creative.
  2. They bring with them a very high sense of self and self-worth - and they are not timid about telling us what is on their minds - speaking their truth.
  3. They seem to want to live by their wits and instincts and are sometimes described as 'wise beyond their years'.
  4. They can have day dreamy, large, deep eyes.
  5. They can get quite frustrated with our 'usual methods of doing things'. They see better ways and can usually offer alternative solutions - whether we're talking about the home environment, the classroom, et cetera. So they're looked upon as rebels and non-conformists and tend to have difficulties with authority and authority figures.
  6. They can get easily bored (especially at school). Many don't feel understood, can be impatient and can become anti-social if they are not with their own "kind". Unaware parents can then become alarmed, take them to professionals and , more often than not, said professionals brand them with labels like ADD and ADHD.
  7. They come into life full of compassion for humanity and are sensitive to the trials and tribulations of others. Depending on how they're raised, treated and regarded by family and friends (i.e. being taught to act, think and behave in ways that are discordant and inconsistent with their own instincts) this empathy can sometimes turn into coldness.
  8. Some have the ability to see colors/auras around others and Etheric entities.

Since there is still so much research to be done and so much thought to be given to this relatively new subject matter - it's too early to determine exactly where the truth lies. You have intelligent people proclaiming that these kids are the bridge to our future, that they have arrived to change the human vibration to a higher frequency, that they can assist our planet into Ascension and that they require special training from parents and teachers. On the other hand, you have professionals and skeptics who jump on the 'brain disorder' bandwagon and hand mommy and daddy a bottle of Ritalin (which then has quite dire consequences for most of the children taking it).

Go to your local New Consciousness bookstore for more detailed descriptions about INDIGO and CRYSTAL children.

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Q: What can you tell me about initiation? It seems everyone from biker gangs to various Lodge members go through specific rituals. Why? G.V. Richmond Hill, Ontario

A: The word 'initiation' comes from the Latin INITIUM (instruction or beginning) or INITIA (mysteries). Initiation obviously preceded the Romans and its origins are obscure at best but one would not have to go out on a limb by hazarding a guess that initiation, in some way, shape or form, has existed since the dawn of civilization.

Much of ancient tribal existence focalized on concepts of valor / manhood with the adolescent male being subjected to sometimes unspeakable acts of maltreatment and cruelty from the patriarchs of the clan. The ulterior purpose was to grin and bear it — to prove one's mettle. And in some respects, have things changed all that much? Today's street gangs have not progressed beyond this sadistic ritual. Military boot camps and college frats operate on the same principle. I once conversed with someone who had belonged to the French Foreign Legion and getting the crap knocked out of you was a regular happenstance for the raw recruit.

Every culture/religion utilizes initiation rites — whether for marriage, funerals, baptism (submerging the body in water), sacraments of Confirmation and Communion, and the list goes on. Initiation grew out of a human need to consecrate the above ceremonies.

Physical initiations engender psychological outcomes — and it's the spiritual Initiation that is of the most interest to us here at Vital Spark. Many books have been written about the human desire to merge / harmonize with Divine Essence — from the Eleusinian mysteries of old to the quest for the Holy Grail to the many organizations today that are assisting us in the 'awakening' process. Bona fide initiation occurs within one's consciousness; it is a thoroughfare from mind to emotion, from unfamiliarity to understanding, from darkness to Light. It usually involves:
This can involve a physical or emotional separation from others — the young initiate leaving the clan and going out into the wilderness; a time for reflection and purification (from fasting to examining one's purity of motive); being examined by others to ensure that one possesses the necessary training and cultivation (mental and moral). Symbolically we're talking about a dissatisfaction with the old way of doing things and the desire to emerge from the shadow into the Light.
This is the born again experience — the adept being lifted out of the sarcophagus in the King's Chamber. It symbolizes rebirth — from ignorance to wisdom. We abandon past beliefs and notions.
We understand not merely in an objective sense — but also on a deeper and more profound level. We experience (perhaps simply a taste of) that object of our desire.

And from here we then return to our course of life, our career, our circle of acquaintances — hopefully with a more concerted and resolute zeal to be of service to our brothers and sisters.

Mystical initiation does not need to be a complex and embellished ritual — and it usually isn't. It oftentimes transpires during one of our private moments and so, in a sense, we initiate ourselves. There will probably be no drama but manifestations are possible — from seeing the extraordinary to simply experiencing a feeling of tranquility.

The person on the mystical path will have more and more choices to make during the awakening process and those judgments and the thresholds that will need to be traversed will become even more equivocal and intangible. But, righteous decisions will become the waterways to the river's source, to a newborn rhythm of unfoldment, to that Unity to which we all aspire.

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Music (Of The Spheres)

Q: When my aunt was on her deathbed she told my mother that she had a feeling she was about to depart — and that she was hearing the most wonderful music. I'm wondering if there's music playing (continually) on the next plane?
P.K., Red Deer, Alberta

A: Well I sincerely hope it's music, and not Muzak. I might be a little disconcerted if I had to listen to a non—stop celestial symphony rendering the greatest hits of 50 Cent or Celine Dion.

Many cultures of ancient times considered music to be not merely an entertaining diversion but rather a vibratory energy which could either deprave us or lift our spirit to the loftiest realms. Many of today's popular alternative, heavy metal, rap artists can produce instrumental vibrations that are certainly inharmonious to plants and animals — not to mention the human ear. On the other hand, classical and New Age compositions can induce a calming, hypnotic and ecstatic reaction within the listener.

Everything in our plane of existence has a tone — vibrating at its own frequency. Our chakras / psychic centres are stimulated by musical notes — raising our emotional state of mind or heightening a healing process transpiring in our physical being. Since the beginning of time music has been utilized in rituals, in churches and during the most significant events in our personal and collective lives.

I think the phrase "Music of the Spheres" goes back to Pythagoras — who wrote about the mathematical communion between notes in the musical scale. Everything had its own "number" (rate of vibration) and so the stars in the sky pulsed in the same way that the plucked strings of a violin reverberated rhythms and harmonies.

We don't mean that planetary / celestial vibrations are audible, in the same sense that your mother certainly didn't hear the music that your dying aunt seemed to be enjoying. However — time, circumstance, awakening and especially attunement can make us one with the highest universal energies. There will come that day when our Higher Selves hear / feel / sense that grand opera that has always circumscribed us — the Music of the Spheres.

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Q: I went to a palm reader about a year ago and, to tell you the truth, even though I really want to believe, the session didn't leave me very impressed. What's your opinion on palmistry?
P.V., Toronto, Ontario

A: About fifteen years ago, P.V., I went to such a reader myself — who had two decades of experience. He told me a few things about my personality that hit fairly close to the mark but looking back now, as far as his "predictions" were concerned, not one of them ever materialized.

Palmistry, or to use the five dollar word — chiromancy — has been around forever and has always been regarded as a pseudo-science by so-called experts. I am no more a fan of cynical scientific 'experts' than I am of amateur prognosticators who take your money after throwing a little theurgical telepathic tommyrot your way.

The literature on palmistry is extensive so if you're interested in learning about what the shape of your hand and the mounds on your hand signify, what and where the life, head, fortune and health lines are, and whether your Mount of Venus will augur your success or failure — by all means, be my guest.

As far as I'm concerned — palmistry's generalities just don't wash. Many people with short life lines are cashing their Social Security checks every month and tons of individuals with long life lines are already pushing up daisies — and have been frolicking in the Happy Hunting Grounds since their 20's, 30's and 40's. Supposedly construction workers and other blue collar types have short, stumpy fingers. All artistes, pianists, mystics and those generally possessing aesthetic dispositions have longish delicate hands and digits. Well, examine the hands of your friends and make up your own mind.

But — you protest — I had a reading and my palmist was right on the money. I believe you. But I believe you for the following reason. There are psychically awakened individuals who do have a gift, who have developed certain clairvoyant and mediumistic abilities. Some need and fervently believe in their "props" (crystal balls, tea leaves, tarot cards or the palm of your hand). Most others don't — and simply require the close proximity and well of information that is your auric field.

For a more detailed account of the positives and negatives of the psychic community in general — go to the Vital Spark Articles section (under Psychism/Astrology) and read the essay Second Sight / Second Thoughts.

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Q: I just saw that old movie 'Poltergeist' on TV and was inspired to ask you guys about it. Is there credible evidence for this phenomenon? W.D., Lockport, New York

A: Poltergeist derives from the German for "to knock" or "rumbling ghost". It has an extensive history going back a few thousand years in various cultures. The occurrences seem to incorporate everything from vile odors to raps, noises and other discordant disturbances.

Obviously the skeptics will conclude that Poltergeist is just one big hoax. As usual, the skeptics would be wrong. There certainly are more than enough hoaxers who have been exposed, who have confessed, and who have been seen, for example, throwing objects around and attempting to fool others. However, there are countless cases that defy logic, that have been observed by reliable witnesses, and for which there seems to be no reasonable explanation.

Some professionals / parapsychologists deem that poltergeist is telekinesis — at a subconscious level. It is an outward manifestation of some emotional trauma — usually transpiring in/around young, prepubescent females (who may have psychological issues that they are dealing with). This negative energy is expelled outward — resulting in said noises or inanimate objects being levitated or thrown about. These episodes usually start and end fairly quickly, but can occasionally continue for quite some time.

There is another group of experts who believe that practically all examples of poltergeist can be attributed to spirits of the dead — and that this involves mostly harmless object movement.

About twenty years ago this writer had his one and only experience involving this subject matter. I was with an female acquaintance (who had an interesting history — and went through a period of time when certain machinery would not work when she was present; the dials on watches she was wearing would revolve in rapid sequences, et cetera). We were standing in a room and I heard this very loud detonation from the corner. I looked around and there was nothing there but a stack of chairs. Within seconds I heard another two or three very ear—splitting and jarring 'cracks'. My friend touched my arm, looked into my eyes and stated "That was me". I could tell by the look on her face that she knew what she was talking about.

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Remote Viewing

Q: What's the deal with Remote Viewing?
J.L., Bangor, Maine

A: Remote viewing is a procedure whereby clairvoyance (astral projection) is utilized under controlled conditions. An individual's consciousness is, if you will, 'projected' to a person, object or place (locally or anywhere in the world) — which has been hidden from the subject. There is a very specific protocol involved. The goal is to gather information regarding a "target" — and it is said accurate data can be accumulated about something as simple as finding a missing person, or as complicated as seeing a past event or even some future plan.

The origins of this procedure can be traced back to Rene Warcollier who was involved with telepathic experiments (where pictures / drawings were mentally projected to subjects who would then record their impressions). For more historical background see also — Ingo Swann, Bob Monroe and Joseph McMoneagle.

It is a matter of record that a lot of research was carried out in this field — especially during the years from 1975 — 95 (at places like Stanford, and obviously other more secluded sites). Since the Communist Russians were heavily into paranormal research at this time, it didn't take long for the CIA to get involved. A few remote viewers have come forward since then (and written books) detailing their CIA adventures and what exactly was going on.

The present extent of government / military involvement is difficult to gauge. It's probably not something they would ever give up on and even though the official story might be that their efforts in this arena have been diminished or have been completely discontinued, I personally would find this difficult to swallow.

What has also transpired since then is a proliferation of schools and individuals who are offering training in remote viewing. Just go to your search engine and a flock of them will appear on your screen. Your guess is as good as mine as to which ones are credible and offer value for your money. Obviously one needs a latent clairvoyant ability from the get—go before even thinking of becoming involved in such a venture and, if you are blessed with such a gift, perhaps some Remote Viewing University is not the way to enhance your talent. Find books, workshops and mentors who will assist in the awakening of your intuitive abilities — rather than taking a chance on becoming some military stooge working in covert operations for all the wrong reasons.
(The last half of the last sentence was mostly tongue—in—cheek but ... you never know ...)

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Speaking in Tongues

Q: I've always wondered about those Christians who speak in tongues during their gatherings. Is there anything to this practice or is it all just nonsense?
R.D., Ottawa, Ontario

A: Glossolalia (speaking in tongues) has a history which stretches from its Biblical roots to the 17th century (Huguenots) to the 18th (Quakers) to the 19th (Mormons) and to the present day (Christian Charismatics, Pentecostals, Catholics). There are members of other religions and even certain 'unbelievers' who speak in tongues today.

At first glance some obvious questions come to mind. Could these people be speaking an actual foreign language — perhaps learned in a previous incarnation? What we're referring to here is xenoglossia — where someone, under hypnosis for example, recites a known ancient or present language without having been educated in it. There is documented evidence of xenoglossia but the cases are few and far between.

Could these utterances be an "angelic" language, if you will, since when all of us return to the dimension where we really reside we certainly won't be communicating in Swedish or Pig Latin? Again, we can't dismiss this notion out of hand but experts who have studied glossolalia surmise that there is no confirmation that it is a language since it's very difficult to parse unintelligible sounds let alone identify any sort of structure — whether phrases or sentences. Also, there doesn't seem to be much, if any, commonality between people speaking in tongues from different congregations, religions and countries.

People who claim that they can interpret these utterances have also been examined under strict laboratory conditions and no two test subjects have ever agreed on any particular sound sequence.

Fundamentalists and Scriptural spin doctors who try to explain this altered state of consciousness as a "gift of the Holy Spirit", as a holy experience of ecstatic oration inspired by God, bring no evidence to the table except their own interpretation of various Biblical passages — and we all know what a sticky wicket this can be.

And here is my question on the matter. Can anyone ascribe any pragmatic value to speaking in tongues? Individuals who attune with the Divine through prayer or meditation sometimes encounter vivid inspirational results — visually, intuitively et cetera. Divine Essence does not toy with us or play silly games. If the Cosmic wanted to motivate, to spiritually galvanize us, would the method be to fill our minds and mouths with meaningless unintelligible babble? They say the proof is in the pudding and until more reliable documentation surfaces I think we can safely venture that the main ingredient in this particular custard is sugared gibberish.

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Q: Thankfully I haven't run into any of that eternal damnation of Hell-fire stuff on your site. A relative of mine committed suicide two years ago. What do you think happened to him? Does suicide equal bad karma?
R.Y. Oakville, Ontario

A: Organized religions, and most people for that matter, have not regarded the suicide with an overabundance of compassion. They have adjudged and imposed a bevy of consequences and moral repercussions. Many deem suicide a selfish and cowardly act whereby an individual takes the easy way out — escaping affliction or emotional pain or world weariness. Let us briefly recap what suicide is and what it is not — because there is an important difference between active / willful suicide and the passive / reactional taking of one's life.

The Kamikaze pilot, the GI who falls on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers, the incurable senior who asks to be removed from life support, the Secret Service agent who jumps in front of the President to take a bullet meant for his leader, and even the terrorist who blows himself up along with innocent bystanders — not one of the above has committed suicide. They have self—sacrificed themselves for another, a country or a cause — whether or not others may regard the cause as righteous or not. And the pages of history books are replete with the names of those who gave up their lives for an ideal or so that others could survive.

Active suicide involves a calculated determination to escape the vicissitudes of one's existence (like the CEO who is exposed as an embezzler and decides to blow his brains out rather than face humiliation and incarceration).

And even in cases of premeditated suicide how can anyone of us accurately judge the perpetrator or the act? Can we imagine the physical/mental distress that may have played a part, the misery that one may have been subjected to, the anguish that may have accumulated over the course of one's life? Do any of us really know what was going through Ernest Hemmingway's mind the day he decided to put that shot gun into his mouth? Everyone of us has a slightly distinct and atypical breaking point.

Suicide must not be sanctioned but neither should the self—righteous castigate those who have taken their own lives. How could they possibly know the facts? The key factor lies in the motive — and only this will determine the karmic aftermath.

As to the specifics of what happens after such a transition well, there are a number of theories. Some speculate that the suicide goes to that level of dimensional existence that parallels his/her spiritual awakening. Some say that certain suicides become temporarily earth—bound. Others feel that soul personalities boomerang almost immediately into other reincarnational cycles as soon as appropriate physical vehicles are available to afford them similar life experiences to the ones they were attempting to circumvent. It is highly probable that suicide is a lesson in itself and that those who do away with themselves eventually imbibe an especial wisdom from having committed the act — as all of us do after we have experienced and then surmounted certain agonizing trials and tribulations.

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Q: I saw an old clip on TV the other day of a Russian woman moving various objects with her mind. What's the latest on telekinesis and is there any solid evidence one way or the other as to its validity?
S.E., Hamilton, Ontario

A: The lady you saw on television could very well have been Nelya Mikailova — who was the focus of a number of Soviet scientific studies / experiments years ago.

The words 'telekinesis' and 'psychokinesis' are used interchangeably by some (although there is an appreciable distinction) but what we're generally talking about is the movement of objects/energy at a distance, by cerebral force, without physical contact.

There are still scores of famous and not so famous skeptics who pass this novelty off as mere trickery. Many of them don't seem to realize that over the millennia many so-called 'supernatural' phenomena have been relegated to the 'natural' because the cosmic / scientific laws involved were deciphered and assimilated.

Some of the research being done is a bit beyond my personal grasp and when you start using words/terms like Casimir force, ZPF and quantum electrodynamics well — my eyes start to glaze over. Perhaps I'll just give my brief TK FOR DUMMIES version of what I think is going on.

Sages, philosophers and occultists of the past, from Paracelsus to Bacon, have written of the mind's capacity to provoke and occasion movement in extraneous objects. Thoughts are THINGS! Every human is enveloped in a magnetic field — as is every object. The neural vitality between our ears is constantly synthesizing electromagnetic waves. Magnetic fields overlap / interact and sometimes the results can be 'unworldly'.

Researchers have tried to figure out why this faculty is highly developed in a small percentage of individuals and not in most others. However, the laboratory milieu is far from a perfect setting for such an investigation. What is requisite in any potential subject is the aptitude to be able to thoroughly relax and concentrate. Ambiance is a key — which might explain why such occurrences often transpire in the seclusion of one's own sanctum. Suggestion, belief, mood and determination are all crucial factors. And when you add the ingredient of 'subtle momentum' to this stew (permitting circumstances to unfold naturally and resistlessly — instead of trying to 'force' the issue) then the psychic energy intrinsic in each and every one of us can manifest in extraordinary ways.

And, of course, there's the subconscious. We may consciously focus our resolve, our ulterior purpose, but it's not so much what we 'imagine' that counts; it's what we 'know' will happen.

There have been countless reported examples of telekinesis. Skeptics dismiss them as anecdotal. Let me add another anecdote to the mix (since I was chosen by my Vital Spark compeers to handle this question because of it).

I have been on the mystical path for some time. Along the way I have learned from spiritual mentors and a few select metaphysical schools of thought. About twenty years ago I was in the midst of practicing certain exercises on a daily basis — designed to augment powers of concentration, meditation, intuition et cetera. In some cases I succeeded and in others I didn't.

I wasn't in the most positive frame of mind when I started the telekinesis experiment because it seemed quite difficult — even though you were not expected to move mountains.

The instructions were to take a bowl (about 10 or 12 inches in diameter) and fill it with water. When the water was absolutely still you placed a regular paper match in the middle of the bowl. You then placed your hands around the bowl without touching it. You were told to relax, focus and through the power of thought, attract the match to the edge of the bowl nearest you (match head first).

I tried this experiment every day for about three weeks. Nothing much happened. On a couple of occasions, after about twenty minutes of effort, the match did end up at the edge of the bowl — but this had nothing to do with my powers of concentration. Most matches, after twenty or thirty minutes, slowly make their way to the edge even in a seemingly motionless body of water.

Then one night during that third week the following occurred — and the reasons could encompass any or all of the explanations mentioned in the paragraphs above.

I was about ten minutes into my focused state. The match was directly in the middle of the bowl about six inches from the edge — the match head facing away from me. Suddenly the match did a 180. It turned completely around in about four seconds. It then traversed six inches of water in another three or four seconds until it stopped at the bowls edge — almost as if it had a tiny outboard motor attached to its end. I was literally dumfounded. The entire happenstance from start to finish had taken less than 10 seconds.

It might surprise you to learn that I never tried that particular experiment again. The purpose behind the various exercises in the first place was a combination of self—discipline, try and try again, and then hopefully — awakening, success, the aha experience. This would then be firmly imprinted in your subconscious ... they instructed me ... I did it ... they were right.

Perhaps I never tried it again because I felt I might not recapture or top that exhilarating moment. I had been in the "zone" for a few precious seconds. I guess I didn't want that feeling to be tempered by any future failures. And that's my little anecdote — make of it what you will.

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Q. A couple of acquaintances of mine were discussing the subject of Walk-In's the other day. I found it interesting but I'm fairly new to this material. Any opinions?
J.B., Detroit, Michigan

A. I first heard about Walk-Ins when I read the books of Ruth Montgomery in the 1980's (STRANGERS AMONG US / THRESHOLD TO TOMORROW / A WORLD BEYOND). I found the concept quite fascinating (although I couldn't quite swallow some of the historical and present day figures she named as Walk-Ins and I later ascertained that other experts and reviewers had the same issues with her speculative research).

The simplest analogy that I can proffer is to regard our physical bodies as houses. This is where our soul personalities reside. However, a soul personality "exists" whether it has a house or not. My spirit may be the occupant of my present 'house' but there are conditions whereby I can vacate the premises and allow another soul personality to take over without the house having 'to die' first.

The idea of Walk-Ins has been mentioned in sacred Hindu literature. This "soul exchange" method usually occurs during some life threatening situation - a car accident which leaves one clinically dead or near death; an operation in a hospital under similar circumstances, et cetera. There has been an agreement ahead of time for one 'spirit' to leave the vehicle so that another can take over. The main rationale is that the incoming soul personality thus is able to forgo the 20 year (or more) process of birth / childhood / early adulthood and immediately commence the service to humanity intended.

The 'new' personality assumes full responsibility for the body and everything that entails (as per the previously mentioned agreement between the two souls). There is obviously an adjustment period. It seems some incoming souls have stated that they retained all the memories of the previous inhabitant. This does not appear to be the case all the time. Family members notice personality changes. The records indicate that, for example, divorces have taken place because the spouse of the incoming soul personality cannot deal with this stranger that has entered his/her life. I'm sure there are as many different scenarios as there are happenstances.

It is important to note that (most) Walk-Ins are not perfected Masters arriving to accomplish earth-shattering Cosmic missions. They are usually more "awakened" than the previous soul but they have their 'issues' and peculiarities that also require resolution - for they too are striving for the perfection that will ultimately lead them to Source. Many of them are filled with sacred purpose and the motivation to assist their fellow human beings and the planet in general. Some are apparently more successful than others because free will and temptation can lead to backsliding, stagnation or outright unproductiveness.

In summary, I personally have no problem with the concept. How many such souls there are presently strolling our byways is impossible to say - but apparently there are enough since many self-recognized Walk-Ins have started having their own conventions.

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