Definition | Formation | Nature |
Union w/ Physical Body | Functions


Part 1 of 2: Degree of Purity

The nature of a spirit's perispirit, meaning its degree of purity or etherealization, depends on: 
1) the atmospheric fluids; and 
2) the spirit's own level of moral advancement.

The latter is a major factor because the perispirit evolves and progresses, along with the spirit, from one incarnation to the next.  At any given moment, the perispirit's nature, relative to its current environment, is the sum result of the spirit's actions and experiences throughout its multiple existences, and with each step forward that the spirit makes in its moral advancement, the perispirit becomes subtler, less material. The result is that the intimate make-up of the perispirit is not identical among the incarnate and discarnate spirits that populate a planet and its surrounding space, a kind of variation that does not happen with the carnal, or material bodies of the same beings.

The two factors above work together, whereby depending on a spirit's level of purification (resulting from its moral evolution), its perispirit will be formed from the fluids of a greater or lesser density, within its present environment.

The fact that the perispirit's nature relates directly to the spirit's degree of evolution means that a spirit can not simply take any form it wishes, nor can a spirit travel, at will, to a region of evolution higher that that which it has personally reached.  Kardec explains this in "Genesis".  He writes:     

        "The nature of the fluidic covering always relates directly to the degree of the spirit's moral advancement.  The inferior spirits can not change their covering as they wish, just as they can not pass, at their own will, from one world to another.  There are some, however, whose fluidic covering, despite being ethereal and imponderable in reference to tangible matter, is still so heavy with reference to the spiritual world, that it does not allow the spirit to leave its own environment.  In this category, we include those spirits whose perispirit is so dense, that they confuse it with the carnal body and continue to believe that they are still alive. These spirits, large in number, stay on the Earth's surface, like the incarnate, believing themselves to be still involved in their Earthly occupations and activities.  Others, slightly less materialized, are not so enough to be able to rise above the Earthly regions. 
         On the contrary, the superior spirits can come to the inferior worlds, and even incarnate in them. They take, from the constructive elements of the world they have entered, the materials for the formation of the fluidic or corporeal body, appropriate for the environment of that world. They do this in the same way that a noble man changes, temporarily from his usual, grandiose attire to the clothing of a commoner, all the while remaining a noble man.
         This is how the spirits of the most elevated categories are able to manifest themselves to Earth's inhabitants, or to even incarnate among them as part of a mission. Such spirits bring with them not the covering, but an intuitive memory of the regions in which they lived and which, in thought, they are able to see. They are seers among the blind."


<--- How does this work? 
(excerpt below from
"Genesis" (chap 14, item #11):

"In the same way that fish can not live in the air, that Earthly animals can not live in an atmosphere with air too thin for their lungs, the inferior spirits can not withstand the brilliance and impression made by the most ethereal of fluids.  They would not die in an environment with such fluids, because spirits do not die, but an intensive force keeps them away, just as an earthly being moves away from a very hot fire or a blinding light. 

This is why spirit can not leave an environment appropriate for their nature; to leave a very material environment, they need to first change their nature, by ridding themselves of the material instincts that hold them there, in other words, that they purify themselves through a moral transformation. Through such a transformation, they will gradually identify with purer environments that become a necessity to them, as eyes ̶  for someone who lived a long time in the darkness ̶  naturally become accustomed to the light of day and the brilliance of the sun." 

Chapter 14, item #9

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