In the land surrounding the fortress of Shonar, the Blacksmith cruelly reigned over his companions. He bullied the men and terrorized the women. He died and found himself in the spirit world the same as he left it. A man without pity, who scoffed at the weakness of others and took advantage of his strength and domineering personality to lord over those who couldn’t or wouldn’t fight back. Yet, the spirit realm tells us that there is no such thing as all bad or all good, everyone is a mixture.
The Blacksmith too had good lurking deep within him. It had not yet found a way to emerge. But the process of shedding the rough exterior and allowing the soft and beautiful to reveal itself is one that is not rushed. The timing is up to each individual. Free will means that no one is forced, only presented opportunities, to be picked up or left on the floor.
The high spirit Arnel told the Rev. G. Vale Owen, during a sitting, where G. Vale Owen sat and concentrated upon the message delivered to him from the other side, about how the Blacksmith was given such a chance – not directly, but still, somehow, an event that opened a small door. It began with Arnel accompanying Shonar, to view a woman speaking with some men about their chances to improve. Arnel and Shonar enter a small hut, and saw her addressing the men – she could sense their presence, but the ragged souls in the hut could not:
“She had been speaking, and now one of the men answered her, ‘From where so you come, lady? Your words are fair and your voice is kind. But here have we been these long days past and have seen naught of the glad things of which you speak.’
To him she answered, ‘No and yet they are for you if you will continue on your way of progress with courage. For word has come to us in yonder Fortress that you are wishful to move from this drear place toward the light where your dear ones dwell.’
‘Why come they no more to us now we have passed the gate of death? You say they love us still. Why come they not of their love to us?’
‘My brother, bethink you some little. Would you that your wife and your little son had come to you lately?’
Then he thought the matter out. Before his mind there flashed the blasphemies he had uttered in his despair; the mad rush he had made into the gloomy lands when even the somber light about the Stony Port had pained his eyes; the evil ways he had traversed later, and the companies of men and women he had joined, of aspect vile and hearts as darkened. Then he replied, ‘Lady, to my shame I say it, you speak truth. I would not have them come my ways where I have been, nor bear witness to what manner of life I have essayed since last I saw them. No, they be well where they abide. And say you I may go to them lady, I and these my friends?’
‘If they be of mind to match your own they and you may come. But we will not go direct. There is still need for much training toward the light. Yet the way is a sure way, do you but accept as guide myself and those with whom I work, my brother.’
The man arose and called to his two friends. They had been deep in meditation. Now they were fully awake, and rose to their feet also.
One of them said, ‘There is a lass a little way off yonder to whom I am beholden. When that bully, the so-named Blacksmith, would have felled me once she came between and took the blow for me. Mistress, you tell us you will lead us to our own women and our children. I would that I might carry that poor girl along with us that my goodwife may tell her her thanks for what she did for me.’”
The three men were killed in a religious massacre, they and several thousand others were brutally murdered in a tribal war of one religion exterminating the followers of another. Shonar, the Lord of the Fortress, had originally been instrumental in stopping many of the killed from going back to earth to seek revenge, but still a portion of survivors couldn’t resist the pull of vengeance.
These men, after years of wandering in the Lower Zone, had finally started to seek a higher path, the road first presented to them. While their wives and children, and some neighbors, had wisely chosen forgiveness over hate, these men needed to see the dead-end that primitive emotions bring.
Shonar, Arnel, the woman, the three men accompanying her walked to where they could rescue the young woman. Shonar and Arnel retained their less dense attributes of higher spheres, therefore they were still invisible to the other men as the entire party came to their destination:
“There was a fire before the entrance, and around it there sat some score men and women. When they became aware of the approach of the four they laughed scornfully. And one cried out, ‘I told you this in advance, my pretty fellows. So you come back to us, do you? Well, why not? What else should you find to do in this most beautiful country? It is not well to roam lonely about these lands, forsooth.’ And with a cynical chuckle he turned to warn his hands at the fire.
But there had arisen another of different aspect. He was tall and largely made and of a fierce countenance. He came forward and, standing with feet apart, he placed his fists upon his hips, and in his right hand there was a heavy knotted club. First he addressed the three men. He said, ‘Now what this means this, my pretty fellows? I see you have a lady in your party. Well, I have seen her like before, and she ill consorts with our company. Madam, these three men are no men, but faint-hearts. Do you give answer for them. What purpose is this that brings you here?’
She told him briefly, and he replied, ‘The slut is within her bower there. If you wish her, take her and begone your ways.’
The woman approach the shelter, and, as she stooped to call the girl within, the Blacksmith raised his club to fell her. But the three men rushed to him and caught him before he could strike. They threw him backward, and he fell upon the fire and rolled some yards away into the gloom beyond. Then he once again rose and came rushing toward his assailants, when three women and two men sprang from the circle and stood in his path.
One of these men said, ‘No, Blacksmith, you have bullied that girl overlong, and us also. Here are three who have broken away, and we be five more, and one in the shelter to add to our number. Stand away, for we are all aweary of the life here led, and will go with these and the lady their guide. We are no bright ones, we, no; but we shall find somewhere to abide, and it will not be worse than this place with you for company.’”
Shonar Confronts the Blacksmith
The account by Arnel is all too typical in the Lower Zone. Humans who passed over, but not possessing the amount of spirituality, compassion and love to enter one of the levels of heaven, are deposited here. Where kindness and warmth is rare, where cruelty is all too common. This is what happens when good people leave the rest of humanity to their own devices. There are no examples to be had of the benefits of love and charity, there is no moral force to compel the less spiritually mature to think about their uncaring positions. The full effect of life in a society where might is right is felt in all its nakedness.
We forget, amid all of the stories of harm and corruption that different religions has caused in the past and present, that there has also been great good accomplished. Before Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, forms of Paganism, and others, the law of the jungle persisted, where men dominated others just because they could.
Almost five hundred years before Christ came to earth, Socrates came with a similar message of love
and forgiveness. Socrates was born in Athens, Greece, sometime in the years 470 or 469 BC and lived 71 years until his death by state execution in the year 399 BC. He was executed by the state for questioning the use of power by Athens and his supposedly bad influence on the youth of the day. His major crime was to object to the rule of “might makes right” and his exposure of follies by the leaders of Athens. An example of the teachings of Socrates, as reported by Plato, which may have been objectionable to the ruling citizens of Athens is:
“One should never return injustice for injustice, nor do evil to anyone, whatever may be the evil they have done to us.”
Imagine a world where great spiritual figures like Socrates, Buddha, and Confucius would have no influence. That world is the Lower Zone and below – to an extent. There are moral influences, but they are not native, they appear from outside … they are in the form of higher spirits coming to spread the way and the light to the Kingdom of Heaven.
It was this relief effort that now came into contact with the Blacksmith. He knew this day would come, when his reluctant followers would be enticed by the vision of a better world. He prepared himself for that day; but also, deep inside he longed for it. As the Blacksmith stood there listening to his old crew declare their independence – something happened:
“Then Shonar assumed visibility and stood forward. He said, ‘How long, my brother, will you so deceive yourself and these your victims? You are not the man of might you try to appear. You have neither the strength of body nor of will which you assume. Cease this mockery and own your folly. Only thus shall you fulfil your destiny, which is not to be sought in this drear land, as well you know.’
The man became changed. These people of the region over which the Fortress watched were they who had some little leaning towards the light. Some of them had come from darker places. Some had found their way there by normal gravitation after their passing by the gate of death. The only one of that company who had been lower down was the Blacksmith.
But now every word as Shonar spoke it found its billet in his heart. He knew the words were true. But he could not at the time so subdue his boastfulness in whole. But he said, ‘Aye, master, these words of yours are good words, but not for me awhile. Yet if these others choose to go I will no longer let them. They shall go, and I will be alone with my own business to unriddle the riddle of my heart. It is better so. Do you hear me weaklings? Get you from that mockery of a fire, and steel your hearts to some strength. This gentleman shall take you to some spot less fearsome and more to your mind.’
Shonar raised his hand, but the other continued, ‘Nay, sir, bear with me, I pray you. True, my words had some taint of mockery among them. Yet they are true, for these are weaklings and need soft treatment, as I said. But I wish them harm no longer, Take them, for they be no company fit for such as I; for, if I be somewhat bitter of word and bitter of heart, yet you said not all the truth concerning me. Here and now it is true I am not strong. Yet strength I have within me, held in leash. Leave me, and I will come to you when I am fit. So now begone, and you will ease me.’
Then Shonar gathered all the rest, and we took them away to the Fortress where they were tended and strengthen for their further journey. Some of them were bound for the Glade, the others elsewhere. But all had entered upon the path toward the light, and now that they were in the care of friendly guides they would go astray no more.”
Thus, the Blacksmith was left solitary in his camp. He now had time to think and reflect upon his chosen path. He had seen evil and he had seen good. Now he could rest and meditate upon his next steps.
The Blacksmith Appears at the Fortress
Sometime later, Shonar was summoned by one of his staff. He was told there was a man at the front gate wishing to speak with him. Arnel was there at the time also. So they both went to find out who had called. And found him at the archway under the gate to the Fortress, which protects the castle by screening any lower spirit from entering, unless they are allowed; for the atmosphere of the area under the archway is of a higher sphere, and hence, too bright for a spirit of lesser degree. Arnel tells us of the meeting:
“The man stood some yards away, just within the circle of gloom. Shonar called to him, standing within the archway, ‘Come you near to me, my friend, that I may see what manner of man you be.’
‘Sir,’ replied the visitor, ‘I cannot far toward where you now stand. That light within there is of discomfort to me. Nevertheless —.’ And he, setting his lips together, made some five or six paces forward. It was as if he was ascending a stream, breasting the current. Then he stood still and said, ‘I can no farther than this, my lord Shonar. It must suffice you.’
I stood behind and to the left of Shonar, who replied, ‘It suffices, friend. I see you now more plainly. You have been at some traffic with yourself since last met, my brother.’
This was true, as I could see. He was not so tall as when I saw him last, and his bulk was lessened. He was somewhat thin, and much humbled. It was true what Shonar had said to him by the fire of his camp. So long as he set his mind upon the bully’s part to play it, he was able to keep up a counterfeit of strength and lusty appearance. But so soon as he set himself to seek the truth about his condition, so soon as he made resolve to mend his ways, then all that false delusion of great strength and valor began to fade, and he appeared just what he was, no hero, nor a leader of men, but just a sinner in his weakness, and one who should follow humbly those who were better and stronger than he if he would find ease of body and mind.”
Arnel stated a central truth about the spirit realm, no matter what level a spirit resides, their outward appearance is a factor of their inner thoughts. They are what they believe themselves to be. Some appear as bright high spirits and others take on the shape of demons and monsters – due to their image of themselves and their actions.
The Blacksmith, finding that he no longer enjoyed nor desired oppressing others to his will by force – changed. His outward appearance shed its threatening image, and his body began to reflect his true nature – a thoughtful human, who knows he has much to learn and much damage to atone for.
Shonar told the Blacksmith to wait while he and Arnel went to check the records of what the Blacksmith has been up to since they last met. Shonar found out that now the Blacksmith had four women in his crude hut. Arnel was curious, for when they first met the Blacksmith had but one and she was terrified of him.
Shonar and Arnel walked back to where the Blacksmith was reposing under a tree, listening to a choir of women workers. He appeared serene and happy to be able to listen to uplifting music after so many years wandering the Lower Zone.
Shonar stood in front of the Blacksmith:
“He said, ‘Rest where you are, Blacksmith; it is better so. The music helps you. Now, tell me, what can we do for you and your four companions who make their place of sanctuary your hut in the woodlands?’
‘It was that I came to you about, my lord. These four I found ill-used and cruelly entreated by a small band of wanderers. So I took them to shelter. If it pleases you, come and fetch them away, so I may get ahead with my work of coming at the truth of things by meditation.’
‘We will come’, said Shonar, and we went with him and found the four women. Three were of the Bishop’s band and one a stranger.
When they were ready to come with us Shonar turned to the man and said, ‘And now, my friend, will you come also with us? You shall have welcome within the house, I give you good warrant; welcome, and time of ease for rest and meditation. That is your purpose here; why not bring it to an issue in better quarters?’
‘Nay,’ he said, ‘you mean me well, sir, and I thank you for the boon you offer me. But I have it in mind to do somewhat of helpfulness to counter what I have done else so long a time. I will bide hereabouts and maybe, if I keep watch with open eyes and ear. I shall be able to bring you more fish to your net from time to time. I have not what strength of body was to me but a little while ago; yet my mind is now more given to action, and my will more strong. These will serve me. Make me, therefore, your watcher hereabouts, and I will do what I am able with what measures of small merit I possess.’
Shonar looked upon him in silence for some time. The man looked aground. At last he raised his head and, turning, gazed over the plain where he had ravaged the region like some robber chieftain of old.
I saw his eyes moisten a little. Then he turned to Shonar and said quietly, ‘It is naught I do. It is naught, my good lord, that you should look this so kindly upon me. You tell me you have my record yonder. I do not well understand your meaning, but I know it is truth if you say it. Read that record, therefore, and you will perchance think more justly and less kindly of me. So leave me now and, when I have occasion. I will come again to your gates and give you greeting.’
Shonar went to him and placed his left hand upon the man’s right shoulder and took his right hand within his own. Neither spoke. The Blacksmith gazed downward, but with head erect; only his eyelids were lowered. Shonar looked straight upon his countenance, firmly gripping his hand the while, yet neither spoke. Then we turned and departed, carrying the four women with us across the plain. We went awhile in silence, and then my friend turned to me and, in a low voice, and slowly and thoughtfully, ‘Arnel, my brother, what time God made man He made a mighty riddle – like a maze within a garden – hard to solve. But get you to the center, and there is a very comely bower, full of beauty as a bird is full of song. And it is worth the while to get there.’”
This is the greatness and shame of mankind. Humans are capable of terrifying cruelty, yet these same animals, on top of the food chain, can perform loving and magnanimous acts. Actions which can melt a heart, but which came from a moral monster just a short time back.
God made us this way, independent, with free will, so we could find our path to love, only after tremendous destruction of the environment around each one of us. With free will, He also gave us a conscience, a device to constantly measure our progress, which speaks to us and lets us know if the road we take is the right one.
Countless lives are spent in just learning to pay attention to our moral governor. Only after dying repeatedly of stress, induced by spreading harmful vibrations, due to our deeds, do we eventually come out one day, with the realization that love is the only path, and all others lead to thorns and regrets.
Along the way, we experience small islands of compassion and charity, just enough to light the flame, to feel that small tingle of satisfaction of helping our fellow human.
Women and men travel through multiple lives, taking advantage of the opposite sex in whatever manner they are able, some by brute force, others by cunning. But, by the planning of the spirit realm, they are born into the world the sex that they scorned. By this they learn about life on both sides.
Karma, the great record keeper of the spirit world, tracks our every move and flags every misdeed and every good deed accomplished. All of this is put into the mix and the best set of courses, a customized curriculum is fashioned for each life. So we may keep learning through all of the chaos we spawn each time we come into the physical world.
Eventually, through all the hardships, our core becomes brighter and full of love – we start to shine. We begin to understand that service to others is the greatest deed possible. This is what Shonar was trying to say. The journey through the garden and the maze is complex, but at the center is the reward – the bright light of love unbounded and connected to God.
After the first visit to the great gate of the Fortress, the Blacksmith would, from time to time, show up and bring people to Shonar’s outpost in the Lower Zone. The Blacksmith would never accompany the folks inside, instead, he would merely wave and return back to the gloom. Carrying on his quest to rescue poor suffering souls from people like himself, who, a short time ago, who would take advantage of their weakness. He would bring them to his stone hut and help them until they were strong enough, morally and physically, to be ready for the next phase of their treatment, at the Fortress.
As the Blacksmith spread his message of deliverance in the lands near the castle, Shonar notice that he no longer had any record of the Blacksmith. This was very unusual, for it showed the Blacksmith had the advanced capability of turning off his automatic updates to the Fortress. Shonar knew this was a mark of a person with great will.
Focus and dedication are two vital attributes to have to ascend in the spirit world. One cannot underestimate the importance of mind control in the realm of Universal Logic. As spirits we aren’t wholly organic creatures, with a weak ability to shift our body with our mind. On the contrary, our mind creates the body.
To look at a spirit carefully and their capabilities, you have to take our physical selves and turn it inside out. While we on earth are vulnerable to numerous afflictions to our bodies; disease, accidents, and wear and tear – all the while our mind keeps working, keeps our bodily functions in line, and we persist in our thoughts. A spirit has no such physical weaknesses.
A spirit can be thrown down a cliff, cut open, and whipped – he or she will feel pain, but only because their mind tells them to feel pain. There is no automatic pain delivery from organic nerves. The perception of pain is all it takes. The body is a façade, the mind is the structure. The mind controls the appearance and the mind provides the defense and offense when encountering other spirits.
In our physical world, a stab or blunt force, will stop us in our tracks, even though our mind is willing to drive forward – in the spirit realm, it is the mind which is the center of strength. Force of will amongst spirits on a similar level is the measure of relative power, not bulk, height, or size.
The Blacksmith, who was physically imposing, while he thought of himself as a tyrant, became slender and shorter when he transformed his personality. His outward appearance was modified by his self-realization of his new character and attitude. As he continued to help the needy, his mind grew in force, and he was able to control outside connections and interfaces which he had never realized he had had before.
But even those of stout mind need rest and recovery. One day the Blacksmith came to the Fortress with his latest group of souls searching for the light. The Blacksmith, looking exceeding weary, was brought through the gate to the inside. Shonar led him to the Hall. Arnel tells what happened next:
“They went just within the Hall and sat upon a settle to the right as they entered. Then the newcomer said, ‘I thank you, my lord Shonar, for your good patience with me. This young knight here has told me my poor wanderers shall be well cared for. That is well indeed. So, if it please you, I will rest me awhile, as you give me good leave to do, and then I will get away to my work again.’
‘Blacksmith,’ said Shonar, ‘you have, by much labor, earned advancement. We have workers here who will overtake the affairs you have made your own till now. They will make your house yonder their point of vantage, and you shall go on to other work in brighter places, as is your meed.’
But he replied, ‘Nay, but I will continue – will continue —‘and he stopped. He had sighted four people who stood near the middle of the chamber talking. They were those who had come hither with James.
‘Is it that you know them, these four?’ Shonar asked; and he answered.
‘The two lads have a semblance of my own two sons. But of daughters I had but one only. Yet those two are surely sisters both, for their faces are sister’s faces. I am not able to solve this riddle, sir, and I am very much perplexed.’
‘And yet the one is of greater age than the other, Blacksmith.’
‘My friend, you have spent your time hereto in regions where youth is rarely seen. These four have come here on a visit from a sphere where childhood grows to youth and age returns to like condition. Parent and child preserve their kinship, which also finds expression outwardly. But none may say the one is old and the other is young, as age and youth are accounted upon earth.’
The Blacksmith looked intently at the group and then slowly arose and, half turning toward Shonar, said, ‘Have I your leave, my good Lord?’
Shonar nodded, smiling, and the man went forward. As he came near they turned and saw him. The girl leaped forward and encircled his neck with her arms. Then came the two boys and each one took a hand of him and, raising it to his lips, held it there long and caressingly. Then they fell away, and the other woman came forward. There were tears of joy in the eyes of both man and wife as they took each other breast to breast and rested there, content thus to meet and greet each other after many years.’”
After decades of separation, the Blacksmith was finally reunited with his family. Nothing is by chance on the other side. The Blacksmith was led through the gate and into the Hall for a purpose. It was planned that he encounter his family at that moment of time. High spirits requested that his wife and children visit the Fortress at that particular moment so they could see their father.
The spirit realm rewards hard work and sacrifice. The Blacksmith, who toiled so long in compensation for the wrongs he committed in the Lower Zone was judged to have received his due. He had grown spiritually out of that sphere. He now belonged to a higher level.
Although, Arnel tells us that the Blacksmith requested to work with Shonar in his old location, and it was granted. The Blacksmith would on occasion travel upwards to visit his welcoming family when he required rest; he still wished to be of service to those of whom he once belonged.
The tale of the Blacksmith could be the story of any one of us. I am certain that at one time or another, I too was a tyrant and a bully, who felt pity for no one and no thing. Impatient with any obstruction in my path.
This is why, when we look upon people we don’t care for, because of what they have done or what they stand for, we shouldn’t just see the present. We need to control our emotions and take a deep breath.
We should look at the potential. We should visualize every individual on an arc of improvement. Some are just starting and will need to spend multiple lives causing havoc and pain … and paying back every transgression – until they reach the point where the good intentions outweigh the bad. Whereupon, the trajectory points increasingly upward.
This shall happen for each and every one of us. For some, it may take eons, for others only thousands of years – but all shall achieve the goal of being a perfect spirit one day.
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.
Learn the signs the spirit realm is sending you. I explore how our guardian angels and kind spirits look out after us. Read my book 7 Tenets of Spiritism – How They Impact Your Daily Life to find out how you are being guided.
Kardec, A. (2008). The Gospel According to Spiritism. Brasilia (DF): International Spiritist Council.
Owen, R. G. (1971). The Outlands of Heaven. London: The Greater World Association Trust.
Wikipedia. (2014, August 5). Socrates. Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socrates
Xavier, F. C. (2008). The Messengers. Philadelphia, PA: Allan Kardec Educational Society.
 Owen, G. Vale, The Outlands of Heaven, The Greater World Association Trust, pp. 174-176
 Owen, G. Vale, The Outlands of Heaven, The Greater World Association Trust, pp. 176-177
 Kardec, A., The Gospel According to Spiritism, EDICEI, p. 42
 Owen, G. Vale, The Outlands of Heaven, The Greater World Association Trust, pp. 177-178
 Owen, G. Vale, The Outlands of Heaven, The Greater World Association Trust, pp. 179-180
 Owen, G. Vale, The Outlands of Heaven, The Greater World Association Trust, pp. 182-183
 Owen, G. Vale, The Outlands of Heaven, The Greater World Association Trust, pp. 190-191