The spiritual realm is highly stratified, partly for the safety of the more highly evolved spirits, but mostly to allow all spirits, high and low, to progress at their own pace. For this reason, each spiritual home is configured to be compatible with that spirit’s preferences, beliefs and even its prejudices. It is a place where the spirit would feel most at home. This is true throughout all of the planes of illusion. It is as true in the Winterlands as it is in the Summerlands. A petty thief will find his old pals and partners in crime where he first lands, and a good family man will find his family and his old trusted friends in one of the Summerlands. The reason that this happens is the spiritual law of compensation (You reap what you sew). It’s a bit like the earthly laws of gravity and really is just a matter of spiritual physics.
Think of the levels above the transitional plane as places where good natured spirits with similar proclivities can get together and enjoy their earthly pastimes without being bothered by criminals who would ruin their comfortable environment. Think of the levels in the Winterlands beneath the transitional plane as places where spirits with similar negative spiritual qualities live together but have no good people to victimize, and no police to keep them from victimizing each other. The good folks don’t have to deal with criminals, and the criminals don’t have to deal with the police. A good deal all around!
It is really up to each individual spirit whether to advance to higher levels, or retreat to lower ones. Most spirits naturally advance when they become bored or frustrated with their current conditions and begin to long for something better. Advancement happens when they begin to discard their prejudices and bad habits and start to substitute more evolved beliefs and motivations. For most, it’s not really all that much different than the ageing process on earth. People start out as brash, and ignorant youths, but begin to acquire wisdom as they age, slowly changing their behavior patterns and lifestyles, usually for the better.
It is the occupation of all spirits, even those apparently stuck in the darkest realms to evolve upwards. No matter how long it takes, each and every spirit always retains the potential to leave its darkness behind and rise. It does this by voluntarily abandoning the habits associated with the darkness and filling itself with light. The term “light” can loosely be translated to mean love, wisdom, kindness and understanding. We, the living, see only an evil spirit, but remember from our discussion of theodicy in chapter 3, evil is really just the emptiness of the soul. The process of filling the soul’s emptiness with light is the essence of spiritual evolution.
The Summerlands are not, by any means, the highest realms in the spiritual world. There are numerous planes above them. On the highest of these planes, the spirits have outgrown their need for matter entirely, so there is no need to create the illusion of earthly environments. There are an equal number of Hellish planes below the planes of illusion as well. There, the illusion of matter persists, in dark and ugly forms.
Virtually no modern medium will deal with spirits in the hells below the Winterlands because these spirits are the very essence of negativity. Making contact with them is not only unpleasant but very dangerous. Evil spirits may use any contact with living people to break out of their dark confines and possess a naïve person or move into his house. This is the reason that Ouija boards are so dangerous. Those mediums that do deal with them deal only with those that find their way back to the transitional plane, and then, only in the context of trying to get rid of them from an earthly environment. The only historic psychic that ever really made an attempt to describe the conditions within the hells was Emanuel Swedenborg.