Flight to my Starry Home, by Frederika Bremer
I was in Stockholm when the ambassador, who is sent by the all-wise
Father to pilot his children to the unknown land of roses, called for me,
and I was obliged to part with the body which, though homely and
unattractive, like the dear, good "family roof,"[A] had rendered me
service in many a stormy day.
[Footnote A: Swedish term for umbrella.]
The feeling I experienced in taking my departure was like that of going
out into a pitiless storm, and it was followed by an intense prickling
sensation, similar to that familiarly known as the "foot asleep." This, I
afterwards understood, was occasioned by the electrical current passing
through my spirit as it assumed shape upon emerging from its old frame.
Some twenty minutes perhaps elapsed after the breath leaving the body
before I became perfectly conscious in my new form. Upon recovering the
use of my senses, my whole attention was drawn from myself to the friends
who had gathered in the room which had so recently been my sick chamber.
As I watched them combing the hair and attiring the white, stiff figure
that lay so solemnly stretched upon the couch, my emotions were
indescribable. I endeavored to speak, but my voice gave but a faint
sound, which they evidently did not hear as a spirit, I attracted no
attention. This caused me deep grief, for I desired them all to see me
My sad emotions were presently dispelled by the sound of most mellifluous
music bursting upon my senses; and as I turned my eyes to discover the
source from whence it proceeded, I beheld, resurrected before me, a group
of dear old friends, whose bodies were already dust and ashes in the
Swedish grave-yards, and in the cemeteries of the old and new worlds. A
hearty burst of joy escaped from my lips as I recognized them. We
laughed, cried, shook hands, and kissed first on one cheek and then on
the other, with the same enthusiasm and naturalness we would have shown
had we been inhabitants of dear old mother Earth.
"Come, Frederika! Dear Frederika! don't stay gazing on that old body!
Leave friends who cannot talk with you and come with us!" they clamored
on all sides. Their voices were like a full orchestra; besides, some had
instruments of music, upon which they improvised little songs to my
honor. I was fairly bewildered. Presently they formed a circle about me
and commenced whirling rapidly around and around. I felt as in a hammock
swayed by the wind; a dreamy lethargy stole over me, and I gradually
became unconscious; and thus, I am told, they bore me through the earth's
atmosphere, out in the stellar spaces, to a new world a world not of the
earth, earthy, but the New Jerusalem which I had so often pictured to my
A soft, pleasant breeze blowing directly upon my face, restored me to
consciousness. I opened my eyes, and, lo! I was reclining upon a divan in
a great pavilion. The friends whom I had previously recognized were
around me, some making magnetic passes over me, others engaged in
preparations for my comfort. Upon seeing me awaken, several friends
approached with flowers and fruits. The term "flowers," though a
beautiful appellation, gives but a faint idea of these marvellous
My attention was particularly attracted to one whose corolla was of deep
violet striped with gold, having long silvery filaments spreading out
from the cup in lines of light like the luminous trail of a comet.
In a state of delicious languor, I watched the varied wonders before me.
The pavilion, which was of silver lace or filagree woven in the most
exquisite patterns, was a hundred or more feet in circumference, and
adorned with open arches and columns on its several sides. These columns
and arches were of coral and gold, which contrasted with the silver
network, and the blossoms and foliage of curious plants and vines which
graced the interior, forming altogether a structure of singular elegance
Numberless forms like the fabled peris and gods of mythology glided in
and out of these arches, and approached me with offerings of welcome. One
blooming Venetian maiden presented me with a crystal containing a golden
liquid, which she said was the elixir of the poets and painters of her
nation. The name she gave it was "The Poet's Fancy," and she informed me
that it was distilled from a plant which fed upon or absorbed the
emanations which the active mentalities of these poetic beings exhaled.
This information was quite new to me, and gave me pleasure, as it
accorded with my ideas of correspondence. So I sipped the "Poet's Fancy,"
and imagined that its delicious, aromatic flavor vivified me like rays of
sunshine. If, previously, I had been charmed, I now certainly experienced
a power of enjoyment and quickness of perception tenfold increased.
I then inquired for Swedenborg, Spurzheim, and Lavatar. "You will meet
them further on," said she, smiling. "They are not here." I was so well
pleased with her that I twined my arm around her fairy-like form and we
glided away together. As I desired to obtain a peep at the outside of the
beautiful pavilion, my companion led the way, pausing here and there to
present me to groups who had advanced for that purpose. The company I
found to be composed of writers and painters, interspersed with a few of
my own personal friends; and I felt gratified to find myself so well
received by those whom I had known on earth as celebrities.
"'Tis strange," I remarked to my companion, "that such choice minds
should all be gathered together in one place."
"They are spirits congenial to your own," said she. "Like attracts like,
and they have come from their respective homes in the spirit world to
welcome you here."
"Ah," said I, "I now begin to understand what all this fine company
means! This is my reception."
As we were leaving the pavilion we were joined by Herr Von, the
celebrated Swedish naturalist who had recently entered the spirit world.
He congratulated me upon my safe arrival, and kindly offered to act as
cicerone and to point out to me the marvels by which I was surrounded.
To my astonishment, on reaching the open air I discovered that the
pavilion was located upon the summit of a lofty mountain. The face of
this mountain was of many colors and glistened like precious stones. My
friend led me to the point of a precipice on one side and bade me look
down. This I did, and beheld phosphorescent rays issuing from the sides.
"What wonder is this?" I asked. He informed me the mountain was magnetic
in its character, and that it was, so to speak, the first station from
earth, and a point easily attained by a spirit newly arriving from that
planet. He said I was not permanently to remain upon the mountain, but
was placed there until I should become acclimated to the spirit
atmosphere, and to acquire strength before travelling to that portion of
the spirit land which would form my permanent abode.
The apex of the mountain formed a flat plain about two miles in extent.
We walked onward some distance, when he pointed out to me another
pavilion, much larger than the one to which I had been borne. The
exterior form of each was alike, and resembled a Turkish mosque; the
crown-like canopy which formed the top being surmounted by a ball so
dazzling in brightness that I was obliged to turn my gaze from it. This
ball was composed of an electric combination, which shed its rays far
through space. "And," said the good Herr Von, "as the pavilion is
used for the reception of the friendless and the homeless, they are
attracted and guided to it by its coruscations."
We proceeded some steps further, and he showed me how the mountain, which
is steep and precipitous on the northern exposure, sloped into broken
chains and lower elevations on the southern; and from this point, looking
down, I beheld through the clear atmosphere a billowy landscape, clothed
with soft, rich verdure, more fresh and green to the eye than that which
covers dear mother Earth.
"How wonderful are thy works, O God!" I exclaimed, as we retraced our
steps. And I could not but reflect upon the singular trait exhibited by
Jesus of frequenting a high mountain to pray. Surely, altitude elevates
one into the spiritual state, and no doubt Christ felt nearer to the
spirit world when elevated far above Jerusalem, on the mountain-top, amid
the clouds. Thus, looking down from the sublime height, I realized for
the first time that I too was a spirit and an inhabitant of the world in
which Jesus dwelt!