[This was written in October, 2005, but seems as timely now as then.]
My friend Jim and I went to Gettysburg intending to help retrieve soldiers who may have died in the battle and remained fixed on earth. (Some souls who get killed may not realize that they are dead. Others may know that they are dead but may be essentially imprisoned by their beliefs about the afterlife, for instance thinking that they must lie in the grave waiting for the last trumpet and Judgment Day.) Drawing on our own experience at retrievals, we figured that we could help. We didn’t at first realize that as usual we were being employed – blunt instruments! – for greater purposes.
For those who came in late ….
For years, Jim has felt the presence of a man named Hank, an ex-Confederate in the Civil War who lost his world with the South’s defeat and spent the rest of his life in the west, dispossessed and bitter. For years, similarly, I have felt the presence of Joseph, a man who became a Union officer. Despite our divergent past-life sympathies, Jim and I became friends a few years ago via the Monroe Institute’s Voyagers Mailing List. But since he lives such a long way off, in Darkest Western Canada, the only times we see each other is when he comes to the institute to do a program.
He arrived again in October, giving himself a few days before starting the program, and suggested that he and I take a little trip up to Gettysburg. I agreed immediately, sensing that there was work for us there, though having little idea what.
When we got there it was after dark, and everything was closed. We went to the cemetery, and stood a few feet inside the open gate, and began a joint guided meditation, resulting in our entering a state both grounded and expanded state, with both of us feeling (intending) the presence of Joseph and Hank. So now we had four of us – two in bodies, two not – to work on the retrieval.
The whole experience took less than 15 minutes, but a lot happened. For one thing, we swept the area, sending our mind’s eyes around the immense scope of the battlefield, south along cemetery ridge, then over to seminary ridge and back up to the town, then sweeping from the right up to Culp’s Hill and around, and from the left to the Chambersburg Pike and around, trying to call anyone in the area who might need assistance. But then it began not to seem right to me that we were thinking of the men as still divided between union and confederate. I thought of the 1938 joint reunion (the 75th anniversary of the battle), and we thought to call them all to a joint reunion.
Nice idea in itself, but that led us to call for help from the spirits of those who had been at that reunion (in the body, I mean). That was a big step, for thus we were using the dead to help the dead. That is, those who were dead but knew it, were thus able to contact those who had died and didn’t know it.
As they came together, I told them that whether they had thought of the union as their country, or their own state, or the confederacy, their country is what they had been fighting for, and their country needs them now. These dead soldiers are connected to millions of people walking around in bodies. They could work from inside (so to speak) to wake up the living to the dangers facing freedom today. You might not think they could, but I have little doubt that much of our internal mental and spiritual world is affected by just such influences.
We left feeling that we had accomplished something important.
Yet we wondered how it could be expanded upon. Surely it shouldn’t be necessary for us to visit every battlefield in the world to retrieve men and set their comrades to retrieving them. After a while we realized that place had little to do with the needs of spirits, and everything to do with our needs. It isn’t necessary to be on the spot, usually. It had been insisted on this time because being on the spot connected our intuitive evidence and sensory evidence. Now that we’ve started the process, physical presence on a given spot isn’t needed, any more than it was needed by those who have done retrievals after the Katrina hurricane, or the September 11 attacks, or the thousands of other natural and unnatural disasters that people quietly clean up after.
Of course Civil War veterans aren’t the only people needing retrieval, even in Gettysburg. Veterans from other wars are buried there, what about them? And I got that everyone who ever passed through Gettysburg could be similarly contacted, regardless whether they died there or ever lived there. It struck me only later – thinking of the number of people who have toured that battlefield in 140 years – that we are talking about millions of people, for this one spot alone!
Beyond Gettysburg, beyond America, are all those uncounted millions of souls needing a nudge to wake them up. Think just of the battlefields of the two world wars in Europe! Think of the Chinese civil war of the 1850s and ‘60s that killed more than a million people. Think of the victims of Stalin’s and Mao’s systematic slaughter. And the worse the circumstances of people’s deaths, the greater the beneficent effect of bringing those souls to safety.
Did we do what we think we did? And, does it mark a new and more efficient way to enlist the dead to help the living to assist the dead? We think so. If we are right so, this could become a huge development. There’s plenty of work to be done. Working one retrieval at a time, we will never clean up the backlog of souls needing retrieving. But if we can become merely the physical point of a vast army of spirits, everything changes.
Working together, the living and the dead can transform this side and the other side. Many of us know in our bones that now is the time. The other side has never been nearer to us in normal consciousness than it is now, and we fully expect it to continue to approach closer. I think it is time for us to step up our efforts to meet it half-way. And it seems that this may be part of the way forward.