Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

The Rev George Vale Owen

The Rev George Vale Owen wrote five books with the umbrella title Life Beyond the Veil. Individual titles are Lowlands of Heaven, Highlands of Heaven, The Ministry of Heaven, Battalions of Heaven and Outlands of Heaven. They are channelled books. Vale Owen sat in the vestry of his church in Warrington and let the real authors guide his writing hand. The first of these real authors was his deceased mother, the others were more advanced spiritual beings- or angels if you prefer- with Hebraic-sounding names- all ending in "el". One of them- Zabdiel- had run a school in 18th century Warwick, another- the most advanced- Arnel- had been a member of the English community in Florence at the time of the renaissance.

The books have a strongly Christian flavour. This will have a lot to do with the medium colouring the message. Vale Owen was a conscientious, orthodox, High Anglican priest- and his guides find this limiting and have to keep reminding him that there are more religions than the Christian one and more " Christs"  than Jesus.  He dutifully acknowledges and records these words of caution and then proceeds to ignore them. I picture his guides shrugging and going, "Oh well, if he insists on Jesus, we'll give him Jesus."

Owen's Heaven is a bustling sort of a place. People are busy learning and teaching and sending out missions into the hells to rescue lost souls. Other people make things- like houses and gardens and works of art. Higher up, in regions unreachable by Vale's relatively lowly guides, the great work of the universe goes forward- and stars and planets and species are being evolved.  Heaven is beautiful- and gets brighter and more beautiful the further in you go. Vale Owen's informants talk of spheres within spheres which shade into one another. Any spirit's position in these spheres is dependent on the degree of brightness he or she has learned to bear. The lower spheres- which are all we get to see- are as solid-seeming to their inhabitants as the earth sphere is to us- but lovelier and less restrictive. Heavenly spirits have bodies but don't need to feed them- and can control and mould their environment by exercise of their mental powers. They can fly, communicate telepathically- and see colours beyond the range of human sight.

You could argue that Vale Owen was a fraud but I don't see how he can have been when in every other particular he was a man of scrupulous honesty and high moral character- a hard-working pastor, uninterested in money, universally loved and respected. You could argue that he was self deceived and- well- he considered that possibility himself. In the end you have to fall back on the Pauline test and consider the value of the material he produced- which- in spite of a certain Victorian stained-glass quality (spirits can only use such ideas, images and words as are already present in the medium's brain- and Vale Owen was a very Victorian stained-glass sort of a chap) is visionary, inspiring and- incidentally- consistent with other channeled writings being produced at the same time. If Vale Owen was making it all up he was a man of remarkable imaginative qualities- a sort of early 20th century William Blake. He is odd- but then so is Blake- and neither of them is trivial.

In his time- the second and third decades of the last century- Vale Owen was a celebrity. His books were serialised in one of Lord Northcliffe's papers, he did lecture tours and Conan Doyle was his supporter and friend.  He has since fallen into deep, deep obscurity. You'd think (or at least I would think) that what happens after death would be of such pressing concern to people that these books and others like them would continue to have some currency, but...

Well, in some respects I just don't understand people.
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