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12. The Process of Re-Embodiment.

A woman, before and after conception, may dwell in thought much upon some real or ideal character, and this may attract to her that very character in spirit life. There are no ideals in the worldly sense. The ideal in thought represents some living type in the spirit. The highest character of which you are capable of conceiving has a representative in spirit, and your present highest conception may be relatively imperfect. Hence, your hero, your ideal, the actual reality in spirit life attracted to you, may still be incomplete, your incompleteness blinding you to his defects. 

Such a spirit may be attracted to a woman before her child is born. It may be the spirit of some one who was very prominent in an earth life. It may have been a poet, a philosopher, a warrior, a statesman, a great artist. That spirit may be very unhappy. It may be seeking rest and finding none. It may, through its imperfectness, be unable to come near those very dear to it in the life of its former body. On earth, spirits of the body may come apparently in close association. Much, then, may be inflicted by one and endured by the other. One side of a husband’s nature may be harsh, unfeeling, inconsiderate, and tyrannical, when the wife is always gentle, considerate, and uncomplaining. In spirit life they cannot again unite, until the defects on one side or the other have been cured. Spirits cannot come into close and permanent association unless their relationship be real. It cannot be assumed.

The woman so dwelling much in thought on some person in spirit life attracts that spirit, and gives to it the only rest it can find. You will here naturally love to be where you are much admired and made to feel at home. It is precisely the same with the spirit. When you entertain some spirit in the thought of appreciation and admiration, when you read of their lives, or dwell on their deeds or utterances, and are thrilled by them, you are often thrilled by the presence of that very spirit. Because, as you have sent out your thought or spirit to him, he sends his in return, responsive to yours, and in proportion to the intensity of your admiration will be the concentration of that spirit upon yours, and the nearness of its presence.

The spirit in question so attracted to the woman at the period of which we speak, and able to find no other rest, may at last, through such concentration of interest, be absolutely, though unconsciously, mesmerized by her. It attaches itself permanently to her. It is unable to leave her. It comes at last to see through her eyes and hear through her ears. Its opinions are swayed and tinged by her opinions more and more, until at last it ceases to have any of its own. The condition of mind so thrown upon the spirit may be seen all around us in greater or less degree. 

Thousands lose more or less of their individuality through the influence of others. Unconsciously, they think another’s thoughts, hold another’s opinions, see with another’s eyes. Mesmeric control means only thought control. To be much with another person, to have little other association, to be dependent for one’s happiness entirely on one association, involves the danger of the mesmeric or thought control of that person; in other words, of thinking their thoughts and holding their opinions instead of your own. Such control may be held unconsciously by the other, or it may be held consciously. It is to be guarded against by variety of association and periods of solitude, whereby we may “find our real selves.”

So absorbed in the woman, the spirit’s mind drifts towards what most occupies her attention. That naturally would be the child she is to bring into the world, or in other words, the new organization forming within her. It becomes attached to it by a spiritual link. In effect, the woman has unconsciously gained a total mesmeric control of the spirit. She has sent that spirit into a mesmeric sleep or state. In such state the spirit has already forgotten itself and its past existence. It is in a sense but a part of the woman, doing and thinking as she wills. It is then linked by a spiritual tie to the child, because the woman’s aspiration may be for a child like her ideal, the steady flow of thought in such desire forming this spiritual link. A flow of thought means a flow of substance, as real as any we see and feel. A flow of thought between you and another person is an unseen link between you and that other person, no matter how far distant are your bodies.

The child body is then born with an actually mesmerized spirit linked to it, not that the spirit is within the child’s body. No spirit is actually enclosed in any human body. Its nucleus is there, but a spirit is an organization which reaches far out from the body. A spirit is wherever it sends its thought. Send all your thought in reverie to any place, and most of your real self will be in that place.

The body is an organization distinct and apart from the spirit. It is simply the instrument used by the spirit in the earth state of existence. Being in an earth life, the spirit needs an instrument of earth in order to adapt itself to the requirements of the earth life; as when you go down in a coal‑mine, you need a coarse miner’s suit of clothes for use in the mine, rather than satin or broadcloth. In this sense the body is a protection to the spirit in its earth life; and spirits who lose their bodies before reaching a certain stage of knowledge and consequent power feel and suffer much from such loss, because the spiritual body or spirit, obliged by reason of its immaturity to remain on the earth (as very many are obliged to remain), may feel and suffer intensely from the thought of the mortals about it. It is “sensitive” to a degree which can hardly be realized here. Any person exceedingly impressional, and so made to feel pleasant or unpleasant by the presence of others, according to their nature or disposition, may comprehend to some extent how weak spirits, drawn by an attraction they cannot resist towards certain people, may be made to suffer. The body with all its ailments, resulting through ignorance of spiritual law, is still a protection to our immature spirit against the power of evil thought.

It is simply, then, a new body for the spirit’s use that is furnished by the mother. Yet this body has a certain life of its own. It is analogous to the life of a plant. Like a tree, it has its youth, its maturity, and its decay. Were the spirit possessed of sufficient knowledge, it could arrest this decay, and keep its instrument so long as it desired, not only in a condition of maturity, but of ever‑increasing vigor. It would do this by sending itself (that is, its thought) into the higher spirit life, and, through such line or ray of thought as a connecting link, draw to itself supplies of the life‑giving element belonging to that region of spirit. One name for this process is “aspiration.” In other words, it is the desire or prayer or demand for the highest and best. This mental action is as much based on a scientific law as is the attraction of gravitation. It is the actual sending of a part of our real being (the spirit) to a place from whence it draws fresh supplies of life. The thought we so send upward is as much a real thing, though invisible, as a telegraph wire, and, like a telegraph wire, it is an actual conductor of life to us. It is also the wire sending us messages and knowledge of methods for increasing such life and power.

The spirit so linked to a new body is not a “new being.” It is the same spirit having a new instrument to work through, but it is still a spirit, in a sense asleep. The thought power of the mother still remains upon it after the new body comes into the world; for it is influenced by all the mother’s thought, and her errors in thought, and the errors and ignorance in thought of all about it. It is still a spirit under the mesmeric influence of the operator or operators, these being the mother and those in close association with her. The mesmeric or thought power of several, focussed on one person, is proportionately greater than that of one mind. All this is brought to bear on the spirit. It may in its last body have been a Catholic, a Jew, a Mohammedan. But if the mother and those about it be Protestants, it may also be Protestant, simply because the thought of all about it influences it to such belief.

While the body is very young the spirit can make but little use of it. In the year‑old babe, it is in effect but a fragment of the old spirit that animates the new body. When it cries for food, or is annoyed by reason of any discomfort, it is as if you pinched or pricked the body of a full‑grown person during sleep. There is just enough animation or spirit left in the sleeper’s body to protest with a cry or a movement akin to that of the child. Because, in reality, during sound, healthy sleep, your spirit, your real self, is not with your body. It is abroad, roaming around, seeing other spirits in other places, and only connected with the body by a link.

The spirit linked to the new body during the period called childhood is still mesmerized. It is not its real self. It cannot, to any extent, take advantage of its past experience; that is eclipsed by the wills of the operators. If it be a strongly marked spirit, and one having passed through many previous re‑embodiments, it will, as it grows up, and comes more and more under the influence of other minds, begin gradually to show something of its real self. It will internally protest and antagonize against much of the opinion about it. It will have a thousand thoughts, which it soon learns not to express to others, because they will be termed “wild and visionary.” These are indeed visionary, but real visions. They are the promptings of the soul. They are the reachings out of the real self, the spirit, towards what is indeed true, despite the hamperings of the thought influence about it.

The new body given it may be an imperfect one. As the seeds of stunted plants produce other plants inferior in quality, so are bodies brought forth imperfect. The thought influence of those around it may aggravate such physical imperfection; that is, if the parents are always thinking disease, they show disease in the child. A mother dwelling on her complaints bequeaths those ailments to her child. The spirit is often actually mesmerized into the belief that it has a weak stomach or weak lungs. The parent who dwells even in the desire for alcohol will, in this way, bequeath the appetite for liquor on the child, though he may not drink a drop. This is the real cause of what are termed “inherited diseases.” They are not inheritances of the body. They are inheritances of the predominant thought of those most around it while young. Did the parents, though afflicted themselves with diseases, think health, and combat the tendency to think of their ailments, they would gradually cure themselves, and bequeath health to their children, despite the infant’s physical imperfection at birth, which is also a result thrown on it by the mother’s thought, or the thought of those around it.

So the spirit, thus furnished with a new body, may come again into the world to run its race, weighed down from the start with a new load of error. Not in a sense its real self, asleep, and insensible of the powers it may have used and proven for itself in a recently past existence; doomed to an enslavement of surrounding thought influence; habituated for years to such influence, till such habit chains it to a rut of thought; taught that it is nothing but the body it uses; educated to deride nearly all spiritual power, and spirit itself, as nonsense; cursed with appetites, possibly thrown upon it by the minds of others, in the manner stated above.

Re‑Embodiment Universal in Nature.

All forms of life are results of a continued series of re‑embodiments in what we call matter. We may call matter the cruder form of spirit, so organized as to be visible to the physical eye.

Animals, birds, fish, and reptiles are re‑embodied. To deny a spirit to one form of intelligence is to deny it for all forms, man included. The animal re‑appears in a series of births, each birth giving to its spirit a new form. Each of these is a slight improvement on the last, if the animal is in its wild or natural state. Progression, improvement, and continual change from a coarse to a finer organization, are not confined to man.

In pre‑historic ages there existed those immense clumsy beasts, birds, reptiles, and fish, whose bones now prove that they lived. These are the unwieldy parents of our present races of animals. The spirit of a mammoth living countless ages ago may now exist in the elephant, deer, or wild horse. It is the refined spirit, using a body lesser in size, finer in quality, more graceful, and more agile. It is the result of the unconscious tendency in all forms of life to the finer and better. When the spirit of the clumsy, wallowing, sluggish reptile or mammoth was using its body, it had always the desire for an organization or instrument which it could move about with greater freedom. It felt its tons of flesh and bones as an incumbrance. When that spirit had worn out one body and had found another, this desire still remained. Desire or demand will always shape the body in accordance with the ruling wish of the spirit. Such shaping is of course very slow, as we compute time. But time is as nothing in the growth of a planet and the growths on a planet.

Re‑embodiment makes every animal trained by man more intelligent and better adapted to the use he wishes to put it. The spirit of the dog trained to the water, being given a new body, retains the skill and training it received from its master in the old one. If the desire of the dog was for fleetness, its body is shaped more and more through such desire for swift running.

The process of re‑embodiment for the animal is the same as that for man. The spirit passed from one body is attracted to another organization in which a new body of like character is forming, and when that body becomes a distinct organization from that of the parent, the animal spirit comes in possession of it,—such possession becoming more and more complete as the body grows to maturity, and lessening after the maturity of the organization is passed.

The play and sportiveness of infancy and youth are due to the lightness and exhilaration coming of the spirit’s having a new body. It is for the same reason that you feel better in a new suit of clothes than an old one. The old suit is filled with your old thought, for thought is a substance which attaches itself to and permeates whatever is nearest he who thinks. Your old suit is filled more or less with the depressed evil or immature states of mind you have experienced in wearing it. When you put it on, you are putting on more or less of such low or despondent thought.

The animal passes from re-embodiment to re‑embodiment, through periods compared to which that embraced in man’s known history is but a mere drop in the ocean. At last it reaches a point where the re‑embodiment of its own species ceases. Its spirit is attracted to a finer and more complex organization. It is incorporated with, and becomes a part of it. That spirit organization is man.

In ages far remote from any known historical record, man’s savage instincts were but little above those of the savage animal. He was in reality but an animal, with more skill and ingenuity in the art of killing. His intellect had grown to that extent as to realize that a stick, a stone, or a sharp point on a stick or stone, could be used to let the life out of other animals. In this state the mother might attract to her the spirit of some more intelligent or highly developed savage animal. That spirit would then lose its identity as a quadruped, and re‑appear in the body of a man or woman child. It might not be the only spirit re‑embodied in the new being. The chief spirit might be that of some man or woman whose old body had died.

The supposed fables in the ancient mythologies concerning beings half men, half beasts,—such as centaurs, half man, half horse, or mermaids,—have their origin in these spiritual truths. Our race has been so developed out of the animal or coarser forms of life. Countless ages ago all forms of life were coarser than now. As these grew finer, man attracted and absorbed the spirit of the finer.

The spirit of an animal can actually be re‑embodied in a man or woman, and its prominent characteristics will appear in that man or woman. Remember that, as to size and shape, the spirit of a horse need not be like the horse materialized in flesh and blood. Spirit takes hold of a mass of matter, and moulds that matter in accordance with its ruling desire, and the amount of its intelligence. An anaconda is but the faint spark of intelligence only awakened into desire to swallow and digest. Such low forms of life as reptile or fish have not even awakened into affection for their young. The reptile, as to spirit or intellect, is but a remove from the vegetable. Because spirit belongs also to the vegetable kingdom. Trees have a life of their own: they are gregarious, and grow in communities. The spirit of the old tree re‑animates the new one. There is in the vegetable kingdom the unconscious desire for refinement, for better forms of life. For this reason is the entire vegetable kingdom of a finer type than ages ago, when the world’s trees and plants, though immense in size, were coarse in fiber, and in correspondence with the animal life about them.

The true evolution, then, is that of spirit, taking on itself through successive ages many re‑embodiments, and adding to itself some new quality with each re‑embodiment.

The “survival of the fittest” implies that the best qualities so gathered do survive. The lower, coarser, and more savage are gradually sloughed off. The best qualities in all animal forms of life eventually are gathered in man. He has so gained or absorbed into himself courage from the lion, cunning from the fox, rapaciousness from vulture and eagle. You often see the eagle or vulture beak on one person’s face, the bull‑dog on that of another, the wolf, the fox, and so on. Faces hang out no false signs of the character of the spirit. Man, unconsciously recognizing this, uses the terms “foxy,” “wolfish,” “snaky,” and even “hoggish,” in describing the character of certain individuals.

No animal taken from its wild or natural condition, and trained by man through successive generations for man’s use, is really improved as an animal. It is only improved for man’s use or pleasure. An animal overloaded with fat, such as may be seen at an agricultural show, is deprived of agility and strength. The development of fat to such an excess is an injury to the animal. Man’s domestication of fowl or animal is artificial; it makes that fowl or animal entirely dependent on him for its support; it is then unable to sustain itself as in its wild or natural state. The domesticated duck or goose is a helpless waddler, almost unable to fly: its power of flight has been lost through generations of captivity. The bird or animal has a right to all the powers nature has given it. We rob it of those powers for the sake of its flesh, its eggs, or such use as we can make of it.

The spirit of the domesticated animal is absorbed into that of man. With it he absorbs the spirit of slavery, of dependence, of helplessness. He absorbs an unnatural, forced, and artificial product of spirit. This tinges his own spirit with that of slavery, dependence, and a certain helplessness. So the wrong he does the animal returns again to him.

Nature refuses at last to perpetuate forced or artificial conditions in any sort of life. The higher or finer the breeding, the greater the care required to sustain bird, animal, or vegetable, the more liable are they to disease. Our highly bred cattle must have warmer housing, and food requiring more care in its preparation, than the so‑called inferior type. A Californian mustang, which is a near approach to the wild horse, will sustain itself and do hard work where the highly bred animal would starve. Eventually, a point is reached where artificial breeding can go no farther. The artificialized type grows more and more delicate, and requires more and more care. If that care be removed, and the animal can survive, it returns in a few generations to the original wild type, as is seen in the rabbit; which, if left alone, will in three or four generations revert to gray, the color of the wild species, and when it is gray is a hardier animal than when white or “pied.” Nature, after all, knows best what to do with her own. Man makes no real improvements on nature. Let the spirit alone to its own impulses, let the spirit alone to its own direction, and it will do all things well. When we meddle with it, we bungle. 

All grains, fruits, and vegetables cultivated by man are natural types captured and enslaved by him. They are bred to forced conditions. They are dependent on man’s care. Remove that care and they cannot sustain themselves, as do the wild growths, or as did the parents of our present wheat, potato, apple, cherry, or other vegetable in their natural states. In consuming these artificial growths, man absorbs also their spirit of dependence, of slavery, and unnatural condition. All this tends to cripple and retard the growth of his spiritual powers.

All cultivated vegetable growths, like all artificially raised animals, are more subject to disease than the same species in their wild state. If neglected by man, they either disappear altogether or revert to the original type.

Even to‑day wild creatures in their natural state can be wooed by persistent kindness to thorough tameness. But with captivity and killing and hunting, the bird and animal learned to fear man. The fear implanted in the animal is through eating of its blood, again transferred to man. So is every other unnatural or distorted quality, coming of artificial or unnatural growth. We absorb of the helplessness of plant or animal entirely dependent on man’s care.

The material is temporary; the spiritual is permanent. What we see, be it tree, animal, or any form of matter, is really held together by spirit. We should call the attraction of cohesion, the power of spirit to hold all matter together. To trust in material things and material law, as it is mistakenly called, is to trust to the engine that draws the railway train, instead of the engineer who runs it. The engine represents the material; the engineer, the moving and controlling spirit.

Q's notes:

I don't know as much as the author did about the food as he described above, but it's interesting to know.  However, I do know that when we eat something in peace and poise, our system digests the food better and we feel happier, compare to when we eat in hurry or under a hostile environment/state of mind.  Do you feel the same?  How do you think about this matter? 


Image Credit:


Jetsetter (n.d). [Image]. Retrieved July 1, 2021, from


Mulford, P. (1886-1887). The process of re-embodiment and re-embodiment universal in nature. Your forces and how to use them (pp.109-124). Hollister, Missouri: YOGeBooks by Roger L. Cole. doi: 2015:01:16:10:43:09

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