There is a complete description of the second order of spirits in Allan Kardec’s, The Spirits Book, starting at question 107. Second order spirits, while in the spirit realm, are composed of more spirit energy than matter. They are less dense than the lower spirits. Lower spirits, just like us, can’t see or feel their presence.
A general summary is covered in Question 107, of The Spirits Book:
“107. General Characteristics.–Predominance of spirit over matter; desire of excellence. Their qualities and their power for good are proportionate to the degree at which they have arrived. Some of them possess scientific knowledge, others have acquired wisdom and charity; the more advanced among them combine knowledge with moral excellence. Not being yet completely dematerialized, they preserve the traces of their corporeal existence, more or less strongly marked, according to their rank-traces which are seen either in their mode of expressing themselves, in their habits, or even, in some cases, in the characteristic eccentricities and hobbies still retained by them. But for these weaknesses and imperfections they would be able to pass into the category of spirits of the first order.
They have acquired the comprehension of the idea of God and of infinity, and already share the felicity of the higher spheres. They find their happiness both in the accomplishment of good and in the prevention of evil. The affection by which they are united affords them ineffable delight, troubled neither by envy, remorse nor any other of the evil passions which make the torment of spirits of lower degree; but they have still to undergo the discipline of trial until they have completed the work of their purification.
As spirits, they infuse good and noble thoughts into the minds of men, turn them from the path of evil, protect those whose course of life renders them worthy of their aid, and neutralize by their suggestions, the influence of lower spirits on the minds of those who do not willingly yield to the evil counsels of the latter.
The human beings in whom they are incarnated are upright and benevolent; they are actuated neither by pride, selfishness, nor ambition; they feel neither hatred, rancor, envy, nor jealousy, and do good for its own sake.”[i]
Ok, were you like me and a bit disappointed at the last paragraph? I was hoping I fit into that description, until I read that second order spirits who are incarnated weren’t motivated by pride or selfishness and didn’t feel rancor and performed good for its own sake. I had my expectations up until the end. Be that as it may, I will still strive to attain the second order distinction!
I am sure most readers behave in the manner described of second order spirits in their physical life, so I venture to guess that a large percentage of people who are interested in Spiritism and Spiritualism in general are the type who are unselfish and fundamentally good-natured. Unlike me in my earlier years.
Good spirits, while in the spirit realm, reside in heaven. As with spirits, there are many levels of heaven. Even the lower levels of heaven are wonderful places. All stages of heaven are full of colors, buildings, and kindred spirits that would bring warmth to our heart.
We, on earth, would live in very different world without the guidance given to us by second order spirits, under the direction of first order spirits. They are our guardian angels; they are there to whisper warnings in our ear when we start on the wrong path. Not only do they help us, but they assist lower order spirits as well. All of the spirits who haven’t found their way to ascend to heaven, who are stuck close to the surface, are watched over and helped by these valiant second order souls.
The Spirits Book divides this order into sub-classes:
“In periods of ignorance and superstition, men have regarded them as beneficent divinities. They may be divided into four principal groups:-
- Fifth Class–Benevolent Spirits.–Their dominant quality is kindness. They take pleasure in rendering service to men and in protecting them, but their knowledge is somewhat narrow. They have progressed in morality rather than in intelligence.
- Fourth Class–Learned Spirits.–They are specially distinguished by the extent of their knowledge. They are less interested in moral questions than in scientific investigation, for which they have a greater aptitude; but their scientific studies are always prosecuted with a view to practical utility, and they are entirely free from the base passions common to spirits of the lower degrees of advancement.
- Third Class–Wise Spirits.–The most elevated moral qualities form their distinctive characteristics. Without having arrived at the possession of unlimited knowledge, they have reached a development of intellectual capacity that enables them to judge correctly of men and of things.
- Second Class–High Spirits.–They unite, in a very high degree, scientific knowledge, wisdom, and goodness. Their language, inspired only by the purest benevolence, is always noble and elevated, often sublime. Their superiority renders them more apt than any others to impart to us just and true ideas in relation to the incorporeal world, within the limits of the knowledge permitted to mankind. They willingly enter into communication with those who seek for truth in simplicity and sincerity, and who are sufficiently freed from the bonds of materiality to be capable of understanding it; but they turn from those whose inquiries are prompted only by curiosity, or who are drawn away from the path of rectitude by the attractions of materiality.”[ii]
This section illustrates the amount of work that awaits us when we ascend to heaven. When you relieve yourself of your cumbersome physical body, and you wake up in a celestial city, your work has just begun. As in life on earth, where continual education is required, so it is in heaven. While earth is more conducive to altering your basic character and brings out the kindness in you, the spirit world is the perfect location for acquiring knowledge. Imagine the increase in your ability to learn without the worries of money, shelter, food, or “friends” attempting to distract you in a noble quest.
When we communicate with second order spirits, either via a Near Death Experiences, visions, voices, a medium, or alternate methods, we should detect them by their concern for our spiritual well-being. Spirits in the second order, realize that life on earth is not meant to accumulate wealth, but to accumulate spirituality. Hence, when we perform a wrongful act, they will be the ones whispering in our ear, telling us to follow our conscience, whereas lower spirits (third order) will be supplying reasons to ignore our violation of Divine Laws.
In summary, we depend on second order spirits to direct our plan of life on earth, more than we realize. They ensure our progress from one trial to the next, and send us needed semaphores to alert us when our direction is off course. If you would like to learn more about how spirits watch over us and are interested in our daily trials, read my book, The Case for Reincarnation – Your Path to Perfection.
Kardec, A. (2010). The Book on Mediums. Guildford, England: White Crow Books.
Kardec, A. (2010). The Spirits Book. Guildford, UK: White Crow Books.
[i] Kardec, A, The Spirits Book, White Crow Books, Book 2, Question 107
[ii] Kardec, A, The Spirits Book, White Crow Books, Book 2, Questions 108-111