IN FLANDERS FIELDS
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!
Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae
November 11th is an auspicious day.
It’s the time we remember the fallen. The men and women that gave their lives so honourably for the legacy of freedom that we enjoy today. I want to mention the animals too, in particular the horses and dogs who gave of themselves to be in service to us. The Poppy remembrance began in the aftermath of the First World War but it also encompasses World War II and indeed is relevant as a remembrance for anybody who lost their life in combat so that we could live. We have a lot to be thankful for. The annual remembrance service provides the opportunity for us to count our blessings and to be truly grateful for all that we have.
King George V started the first minute silence for the departed and it was on 11th November 1919 at 11am. ‘’The thoughts of everyone maybe concentrated on remembrance of the glorious dead’’.
And what a lot of dead people there were!
World War I was one of the most deadly conflicts in history resulting in 41 million casualties and 18 million deaths; it’s almost unimaginable.
So many men were killed that for many years after the war ended there wasn’t enough men for women to marry so there was a whole generation of females that spent their life as spinsters. It’s all so sad. Then there was the lethal influenza virus that cut a swathe through Europe. Originating from the trenches it hacked down the last remaining vestiges of life. The horror of living through those times are beyond the ken of many living in our modern age.
Due to the amount of men crossing to the spirit world during the World War I seances and mediumship became extremely popular. Everybody was looking for answers.
Where did all these guys go and why?
The church could not provide the information demanded and in fact spiritualism thrived. This was partly because the people began to challenge the meaning of the afterlife in the Christian doctrine This was found to be inadequate in the face of such a huge loss of life, at the same time the theories of evolution espoused by Charles Darwin and A.E. Wallace were beginning to make an impact on a public that had grown tired of creationist theories.
A.E. Wallace was connected to the College of Psychic Studies in South Kensington.
Other luminaries of the time were also experimenting with ideas regarding spiritualism (including Arthur Conan Doyle). The desire to prove life after death consumed the hearts and minds of those left behind who tried to make sense of the grief and despair that had hit everybody irrespective of their social status, class and creed.
The College in those days was largely funded by people who were trying to find out what happened to their brothers, fathers, sons, nephews and so on.
None was more eager to arrive at a conclusion than Oliver Lodge. He was an eminent physicist and inventor, he held several patents for the radio and was interested in electromagnetism. As a result of his experiments he believed that the spirit world existed in ether.
Oliver Lodge would have undoubtedly taken part in experiments on test mediums of the day at the College and was particularly interested in telepathy. But there was another reason for his interest in spiritualism as he himself had lost his son Raymond Lodge, killed in action in World War I.
His grief knew no bounds.
Oliver Lodge became driven to find out if there really was a place where everyone goes to after leaving this world. He brought together the transcendental world with the physical universe. He believed that life is a supreme enduring essence that fills vast inter-stellar spaces. The physical world is composed from condensing ether which manifests into a conscious, individual form.
During Oliver Lodge's time at the College he observed many mediums including Eusapia Paladino and a certain Mrs Piper.
He related thus:
"The old series of sittings with Mrs. Piper convinced me of survival for reasons which I should find it hard to formulate . . . They also made me suspect -- or more than suspect -- that surviving intelligences were in some cases consciously communicating; though, more usually, the messages came, in all probability, from an unconscious stratum, being received by the medium in an inspirational manner analogous to psychometry."
"The hypothesis of surviving intelligence and personality -- not only surviving but anxious and able to with difficulty to communicate -- is the simplest and most straightforward and the only one that fits all the facts."
On December 3rd 1915, Lodge’s son Raymond communicated through medium, Mrs Leonard.
He described that he was with Lodge’s departed friends and was able to offer advice about things Lodge was doing at the time. He went on to write about a book about his son’s communication which happened several times. The reviews were not always favourable, this was because Oliver Lodge was an eminent scientist and was dabbling in the romantic and emotional.
Whenever I spend time with the history of the wars, in particular with the First World War, I am hit by a cloud of nostalgia.
can get a sense of them crossing over, it is so evocative and I am at once transported back to a time long before I was born. I recently went to the Science Museum where they have a display of World War I technology and what it has evolved into today. I could almost hear the noises, the conversations, the smell of cordite and the immense feeling of unhappiness. Passing to the spirit world was almost a blessed release.
At this time of year when we consider the fallen, let’s be glad for our life and let’s live it to the full. Many others did not have that opportunity.
A REMEMBRANCE DAY SPREAD.
Place the 6 of Cups on the table, this card signifies going back down memory lane, ancestors and those that have gone before, nostalgic associations and learning lessons from the past.
Meditate on this, what does this card mean to you?
Underneath it place 3 cards.
1. This card represents how to think and feel honourably about warriors in the spirit world.
2. How to say Thank you.
3. How to remember them.