In the Lower Zone, lies the fortress of Shonar. A high spirit, but one who chose to remain in the region of hard and unrepentant souls. In the castle, with walls, and a barrier at the gate, a woman awaits. She was murdered. She was killed by her brother. She knew too much and was a risk. For that she was disposed of. Now, alive as a spirit on the other side, she prays she may be of aid to her sibling, who she has forgiven and wishes to help rise above petty plots and desires for power. He was killed and has resided for some time amongst brigands and plotters like himself.
The high spirit Arnel descended from a superior sphere in heaven, all the way down to the Lower Zone, where light was dim and the landscape was composed of sparse vegetation, with mountains and deep caverns. Within those caverns lived suffering souls. People who have passed from the earth life to the spirit realm, without realizing how they should have changed themselves. Arnel told the Rev. G. Vale Owen, about his destination – the fortress of Shonar:
“The building itself was set to a double purpose. It was made strong against assault, and it was made strong for healing. Strong against those who, either sole or in company, should run amok and in frenzy seek to get within those walls; and strong in the influence which it cast strengthening. This when they had come so far as to own their crimes and desire some better fate than had been theirs in those dark lands without.
The great archway was always open; for none could pass beneath it unless those who worked there gave leave. He might come so far as to penetrate three or four paces within. But then he would stop short in amaze, breathe with difficulty, turn and hastily depart on his ways abroad once more. The reason was that the small cubic space beneath the arch was conditioned to Sphere Four. If you have learned what lessons I have already tried to teach you, you will understand that none could pass this barrier who was not either of degree in progress higher than those of that region, or lent help from those who ministered at that place.”
Lost souls in the Lower Zone don’t always realize the absolute superiority of spirits from high spheres. There would never be even a hint of an equal contest between the two. A higher spirit, could materialize or dematerialize at will, or he could hold the inferior creature and bend them to his will.
As spirits rise, they transform, they become more energy and less matter, they accumulate powers and knowledge. They also gather love and charity for their unfortunate brethren.
Shonar built his fortress at the place he determined so he could assist those still preoccupied with hate, envy, and revenge. Shonar knew he had to handle their rebelliousness with a fist of iron. Arnel described Shonar’s mission to bring light to the dark inside of petulant souls:
“And when they came over by death, then he met and dealt with them still; and the first lesson he taught them was that he was Master. Sometimes this was quickly learned and owned. But often those who were given into his keeping were great souls gone astray. These were stubborn ones, and defied his authority for a long time. Yet until they owned him dominant they were held there in leash, so far as possible, so the harm they would continue to do their fellows should be limited to the smallest possible measure. This would not be eliminated in whole while, still on earth incarnate, like called to their like in spirit. But Shonar did what he was able.”
In the infinite wisdom of the spirit realm, a selection of the cleverest criminals, the most daring, those who were least responsive to orders were shunted to be dealt with in the territory governed by Shonar.
The right of free will is always respected, but the Law of Affinity was also in play. These reprobates, by their very actions and character gravitated together in the land commanded by Shonar. Actually they were extremely lucky. They were to be given a chance to reform. Otherwise, if they travelled to other outlaw cities in the Lower Zones they would have become willing lieutenants to cruel despots and would have found themselves locked in an orgy of hate and anger for years and years. Instead, they were given a chance to improve. An opportunity they didn’t desire.
No different from rebellious teenage boys, who driven by outlandish fallacies and constantly reinforced their misconceptions to each other – refuse to see logic before their eyes. This is the population of Shonar’s district. The majority of his citizens lived in caverns and huts in the mountains and small plains surrounding his castle.
The Citadel of Shonar isn’t the only stronghold placed in the Lower Zone by the spirit world. There are others.
In the book The Messengers, dictated by Andre Luiz to Francisco (Chico) Xavier, Andre journeys down to the Lower Zone so he may learn about the poor souls wandering in the region below heaven. Andre descends into the sparse light, whereupon he comes to an outpost of spiritual love and peace in the middle of a storm of primitive human emotions. Andre tells us his thoughts when he first viewed the castle-like structure:
“The sight of the tall walls was overwhelming! We approached it together, with Vincent and me following Aniceto. I was in awe of this magnificent sight. To my curiosity, though, as we got closer I noticed the building was under tight security – it had thick walls that seemed to extend forever, surround the complex. Who could imagine that a fortress of this nature would exist in the spiritual world? The common notions of heaven and hell keep people from realizing that after physical death humans don’t undergo fundamental changes, just like moving into a different part of town doesn’t change someone’s point of view.
Aniceto rang the bell, which was hidden in the wall. Later I realized that if he were by himself, he would not have needed to do so, since his spiritual powers lay above any type of coarse protection system; however, since we were with him, he brought himself to our level in order to make us feel at ease. Like other superior spiritual entities, he was willing to conceal his own virtues.”
Not materially different from Shonar’s fortress. Surrounded by unscalable walls, and advanced security. Both in regions populated by our unfortunate brothers and sisters who left the earth life no better, or worse, than when they came into it.
Inside the impregnable outpost were scenes of beauty. Andre reports:
“What a wondrous place! Just ahead of me, beautiful gardens and promenades flanked by lush trees as far at the eye could see, and the shadows here weren’t as pronounced as outside. A soft light pervaded the entire compound. I noticed that what the walls had been hiding was actually a large complex of buildings that reminded me of an imposing, well-kept old university campus. On the streets and on the promenades, groups of people went about their business, not taking notice of our presence.”
From Andre’s description, the castle seemed more like a walled city. Arnel spoke of Shonar’s outpost in similar terms, beautiful inside, but not so grand as to compare to a fortified city:
“Passing within, there runs a long corridor ahead and, off this are many chambers, some large, some small. These are each fitted to a purpose. They are conditioned in diverse degrees and varieties of influence. Here are those placed who are being treated according to their own particular needs.
In the center of the pile is a large hall, with passages and rooms set in its walls. The hall is hung with rich curtains and is a very comely place; not majestic, but full of comfort to the eye and ear and body. To the eye, for if the light is not bright it is kindly. To the ear, for the curtains are so made that they emit soft musical sounds whenever moved; waters also are heard and, at the further end, there is set a large basin level with the marbled pavement, and there are fish in it. Also there issues, high up in the wall, a waterfall which is very pleasant both to the eye and ear. To the body, for this is the place where the workers come from time to time for refreshment; and in that hall there is an atmosphere of rest and kindliness and purity and, in sooth, a blend of all the opposites of those evil sentiments given forth by the poor darkened souls yet yonder about the mountains and the plains.”
Once again, two mediums, one from England, who died in 1931, well before World War II had begun, and the other from Brazil, who received the book from the spirit realm in 1944. Both Spiritist. Although the Rev. G. Vale Owen never gave himself that exact title, while in the earth life, but that is what he was. Both reporting the placement of merciful outposts in the Lower Zone to assist souls to find a better path. Both expressing the danger of the surrounding area and the need for protection.
Understand the spirit realm and your place within it, for you are an immortal spirit and you have come to earth many times. Learn your place in the broader scheme of things, read my book Explore Your Destiny – Since Your Life’s Path is (mostly) Predetermined. You will have many of your deep questions answered.
It was to this level, an outpost in the Lower Zone that Claire, the forgiving sister, travelled to wait for her brother. She dwelt within the fortress. Amidst a sanctuary of beauty circled by dark passions. Arnel tells us how as he entered the large hall, he spotted Shonar and Claire:
“Here we met Shonar. He was sitting near the fishpond, and with him was a young girl who sat beside him upon the stone bench. From time to time she looked to him with love and gratitude. I knew her, for I had met her on former visits of mine.
‘Which, to a young lady, is as sugar to a filly,’ said I smiling.
‘Nay,’ she said; ‘real news this time, dear Arnel. He is within our walls at last; really here, Arnel. Now give me joy of my news!’
She held me, with both hands now upon my breast, and kept me at arm length while she gazed steadfastly into my face with a look of triumph. And indeed I lowered my defense at once. Taking her within my arms with some tenderness, I laid her fair head against my shoulders and said, ’Claire, my little one, this be news indeed, and God His blessing. It is worthy all the travail of the road I have come to this far place to hear the like of it. And now, my dear one, you shall take me to him; for I also would give him a welcome, for his most splendid fight, and victory at the end of it.’”
The outpouring of gladness that one who sank so deep is now climbing out is genuine. High spirits don’t mark trespassers as unreformable brigands for life – as we do frequently here on earth. The feeling of love for their brethren is real because they know they have been through the same process. They realize the path to ascend is not straight, but a road which goes forwards, backwards, and sideways – as there are temptations as every turn. And only by occasionally succumbing to those selfish pleasures do we learn to deny them in the future.
The earthly rewards are terrifyingly real to us while in physical form. At times they are an irresistible magnet pulling us toward them – we think if only we can achieve that goal, we shall have everything we could desire in life – a chimera, but one that was blindingly real at the time. And that illusion took hold of every fiber of our existence.
Arnel reports how Jean, Claire’s brother, had once gambled all on a quest for a dream:
“The man of whom she had told me this news was her brother. They were two children of noble lineage and great wealth on earth. For self-protection, she having learned of some plot of his in evil-doing, he killed her. When she learned that he too has come over, being slain in a fight to which this plot had led, she besought that she might return near his place of expiation to help as she was able, and to welcome him on his amendment. More times than one I had found her waiting, waiting for him who still dwelt out yonder in the gloom. Solemn she was and quiet, but full of sweet resignation and faith that her prayers would avail in due time. And now he was come into the Fortress and was placed in one of those dim-lighted chambers somewhere near the outer walls of the citadel.
Anon she took me to him. He sat upon a bench against the wall, and I spoke to him kindly, and told him how we all had helped him find his way hither, he all the while unwitting. I told him of his sister’s purpose in being hereabouts and of her patience in waiting.
When I had ended he was in tears, with his face within his hands upon his knees. This was he who in earth life had been a young scoffer at all which was good, a follower of most that was evil and, through it all, of haughty demeanor, in that he was of high rank and of ancient lineage.”
Unbeknownst to Claire and Jean, another high spirit, James, watched the scene. James, who too, had supported Claire in her quest for her brother, was a relatively newcomer to the spirit realm after his passing. But, due to his piety and wisdom had risen rapidly.
Unlike Jean, born with silver and gold about him, James came to earth in humble beginnings. He had not gained wealth or fame during his time on our planet … he gained a more valuable prize – love, charity, and honor. Attributes which enabled him to ascend with astonishing speed in the spirit hierarchy.
Arnel, in his description of Jean, didn’t emphasize his ill deeds and non-belief to belittle him, but to explain what trap he had fallen into while on earth. Arnel continues the story of the encounter:
“I thought of it all as I stood there silent for a moment. And then Claire spoke, ‘I have been permitted to come hither, Arnel, thrice ere this. And I have told him that now he is no more of those who need despair in any wise, for he has come to this house a victor.’
‘That is true,’ said I, ‘and, now that you have come so far, you will continue. Be brave, dear lad, and Claire will help you; and we will help you also.’
Then he raised his face, slowly got him on his feet, stood there thinking a moment, and then slowly walked toward us. About us the gloom was not so deep, for we could not subdue our own brighter condition in whole. He said, ‘I know you, sir, for him my sister had named – Lord Arnel. I thank, sir, for all you have done for me a stranger. What horrors and what tortures I have endured I have well deserved. But that the gentle Claire, my sister, should shed her love-smiles upon me who did her such great evil is to me both anguish and sweetness in one blend. And who is this one, sir, by your good leave? I have not seen this young lord hereabout sooner.’
I told him the history of James, and he turned to the young leader and said, ‘Had we met in earth life, sir, I would have scorned you for a lout and my much inferior. I meet you here and crave your leave that I may touch your hand.’
At this James stepped quickly forward and seized the other’s hand within his own in a right hearty clasp. Then looking, upon the young man kindly, he said, ‘My brother, that noble blood of yours did you no good turn on earth. But there is in you some true worth and high nobility. We find it here, my brother, in unlikely people. You are one of these. Keep me in mind, my brother, for you and I may do great things together yet.’
I felt there was some mutual sympathy of understanding between these two which I could not fathom. It was, as I could see, one of those cases where two souls meet who have never met before and, without ado, each seeks the other by instinct. For they realize, with no reasoning whatsoever, that in their deeper hearts they are akin.”
Jean learned the hard lessons thrown at him. The spirit world probably knew the choices he would likely make once born into wealth and power. His failures, his decisions to grab what he wanted, no matter the consequences – was an episode that he needed.
If Jean sat in a classroom and read about a young man, heir to a great family, with intelligence and wit, who made all the morally wrong choices and died trying grabbing more wealth and power – Jean would have learned nothing, except think about how he would have tried to accomplish the nefarious goal and be successful. No, Jean had to live it, he had to live the entire curriculum so he would be the center of the story. The drama had to play out for him to take to heart the moral theme of his last life on earth.
The care and planning the spirit world put into Jean’s education is the same as spent on each one of us. While we are in the middle of a stressful period in our life, think well what lesson we need to learn, think well what our behavior should have been, and think well all those areas and times we could have done better – then rip out those urges for revenge and hate for the players that were involved and think only of ourselves and how we should humbly seek out the truth and improve our character.
Understand the trials you encounter are there for a reason. Learn from hard knocks and use them to hasten your spiritual health. Read my book The Problem is the Solution – 7 Life Complications Sent to Test and Teach You, to determine what debts you are paying and what lessons you must acquire.
Owen, R. G. (1971). The Outlands of Heaven. London: The Greater World Association Trust.
Xavier, F. C. (2008). The Messengers. Philadelphia, PA: Allan Kardec Educational Society.
 Owen, G. Vale, The Outlands of Heaven, The Greater World Association Trust, p. 170
 Owen, G. Vale, The Outlands of Heaven, The Greater World Association Trust, p. 169
 Xavier, F. C., The Messengers, Kardec Educational Society, p. 75
 Xavier, F. C., The Messengers, Kardec Educational Society, p. 75
 Owen, G. Vale, The Outlands of Heaven, The Greater World Association Trust, pp. 170-171
 Owen, G. Vale, The Outlands of Heaven, The Greater World Association Trust, pp. 171-172
 Owen, G. Vale, The Outlands of Heaven, The Greater World Association Trust, p. 172
 Owen, G. Vale, The Outlands of Heaven, The Greater World Association Trust, pp. 173-174