||[Jan. 31st, 2019|11:00 am]
In 2012 a TV poll to discover the greatest ever Brazilian was won by Chico Xavier- not a name to conjure with outside Brazil. So who was he- a politician? an entertainer? a sportsman? an artist? No; a spirit medium- author of well over 400 books- all of them channelled. It's as if a similar poll in the USA had been topped by Edgar Cayce.|
I'm reading The Astral City. First published in 1943, it's Chico's most famous book, an account of the post mortem life of a Brazilian doctor. The man dies, wakes up in hell, is rescued by an old man in white, recovers in a hospital on the lower astral and gradually learns to be less of a pain in the arse. There's a slightly sticky atmosphere of Catholic devotion, rather more moralising than we'd be comfortable with today and a surprising acceptance of the doctrine of reincarnation. It's no better than the very similar books produced by British and American spiritualists in the early 20th century (and no worse- because some of them are very readable) but while they're largely forgotten, The Astral City is still in print and has recently been turned into a movie with special effects by Hollywood's finest and a musical score by Philip Glass.